Guest Blog Goodness–JC Conway

Please welcome JC Conway to the blog!

Most writers I’ve known say that writing is invigorating, while some say that it’s their therapy. How does your writing serve you? Do you express your life through the story or does the theme come from your vision?
I’m not sure there’s a distinction between those two things, but I think my stories reflect my vision more than my life. Not that you won’t see me in the stories. Some people very close to me insist they see me in my stories—often in characters that, on the outside, are about as different from me as night is from day. But, to the extent that observation is true (and it probably is), it’s consistent with my vision, which is that there is a little bit of each of us in each other. Writing actually helps me see that, and as I delve into a character’s motivations and flaws I learn more than I expect about what makes us all so understandably similar, despite dramatic differences in circumstances.

Who or what inspired you to write?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t make up stories. When I was too young to express them in writing, they existed in pictures or toys and the tall tales I would add. So I would have to say I was either born with the inspiration, or my parents raised me in such a way, in my earliest formative years, that it was instilled before I knew it.

Inspiration didn’t stop there, of course. There were grade school teachers that saw that spark and kept it alive, each encouraging me in their own way. And there were those real writers that wrote stories that awed me—fantastic places and situations involving children I could relate to doing things I would have never imagined. From the time I could read I have always had a book I was reading—usually on the nightstand. Writers have touched me again and again with their imaginations and descriptive talents, and I have always wanted to do that, too, in whatever way I could, knowing that my voice is different from all others, just like each author that inspired me differed undeniably from each other.

What are your five “desert island” books?
This is always a hard question for me, because I’m not much of a re-reader. In fact, the only stories I can recall reading more than once were A Wrinkle in Time and Lord of the Rings. But I will select a new story over one I know if given a choice. (There are just too many wonderful stories and excellent writers out there.) So my list of five is a mix of re-reads and author picks:

  1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (I still love that one and will read it several more times)
  2. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King (It’s the one King book I’ve read that isn’t a type of creepy horror story. I can’t get enough of the way he writes—his voice is amazing. But this is the only story (plot and setting-wise) that fits my taste—a suspenseful story about a girl lost in the woods)
  3. Something by Dickens that I haven’t read (his wry sense of humor gets me every time, and his straightforward approach to prose is just perfect—timeless, really)
  4. Something by Steinbeck that I haven’t read (a little more serious than Dickens, but always hits a note that resonates)
  5. Something by Janet Fitch that I haven’t read (I read White Oleander and Paint it Black—they both had an imagination and authenticity that felt beautiful)

What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?

I guess the best thing a reader can do if my work strikes a good chord is to let others know in whatever way works for that reader, whether that be reviews, blogs or word of mouth. Stories are a personal experience. I love the stories I write and I share them hoping others will like them, too. Helping me share is a wonderful way to say thank you.

Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂
Definitely not—at least not in terms of location. One scene, in particular, takes place in the New Mexico desert atop a rock formation. It was romantic, under a starlit sky, and the characters used a ground cloth—so no dirt in the wrong places. But my partner has expressed little (make that “no”) interest in actually trying the great outdoors in such a way. Not that I’m ruling it out, mind you!

Hearts in Ruin is available in print or e-book formats:

You can learn more about J. C. Conway and his work at the following sites:

Blurbage:

Andrea had one goal in life, a quiet career as a mainstream archaeologist—nothing more nothing less—and she’s one ancient secret away. When she is teamed with maverick prodigy Daniel Fuchs at his controversial pre-Clovis dig on tribal land, she soon realizes his wild theories may sidetrack her career. Her smartest move is to expose him and that is exactly what she plans to do. Except…he’s hot, sexy, and there is a chance his theories may be right.

As the dig deepens and outside forces mount, Andrea and Daniel find their careers and their shaky relationship on the brink of ruin. Who can she trust? To survive professionally and emotionally, Andrea must decide between what is expected and what she believes, because time is running out and the developers’ bulldozers are poised to level the site.

Delve into the mystery and excitement of an archaeological dig in the New Mexico desert and experience the drive, determination, and passion surrounding the quest to unlock the Paleolithic past in this contemporary, romantic suspense.Hearts In Ruin…no shovel required to join this adventure to discover an ancient truth!

PG-13 excerpt:

As the scene begins, archeologists Daniel and Andrea, who have been at odds about how their dig should be handled (despite an undeniable attraction to each other), are at a formal dinner at Daniel’s former university. Daniel is frustrated at being forced to navigate academic politics this evening instead of actively working in the field.

Excerpt

LSB Cover Art Template for PhotoShopLater in the evening, Daniel slipped out to the patio for a reprieve—just a few moments of peace. The wide balcony overlooked the east side of campus with the lights of town beyond, backed by the night shadows of the mesa. He inhaled. Even here, amid streets, buildings, miles of surrounding commercial and residential neighborhoods, the scent of the uncivilized desert predominated. Its stillness soothed him.

“So there you are.”

He turned, startled. Andrea stepped into view, stunning in Pamela’s dress. He’d seen her in it all evening, but not in the moonlight like this.

He struggled for composure. He hadn’t expected anyone to join him here, especially Andrea. She was a hit at the dinner, a fresh young woman, as smart as the stuffy regulars, but piercingly direct and good humored.

“Is everything all right?” he asked.

“Sure.” She stepped toward him. “Except my date ditched me.”

“I didn’t think you needed me in there.”

Her eyes glinted. “So, you tired of the crowd?”

He laughed. She could not have nailed it much better. “Let’s just say I’ve already been to enough meetings, dinners, and functions of all kinds with this group to fill a lifetime.”

She stood next to him now at the railing and stared across the campus. “It’s a pretty school.”

He shrugged. “It has its charms.”

A subtle hint of perfume mingled seamlessly with the desert breeze. Amazing. Most of the women inside seemed anxious to disguise or completely cover up the smell and feel of the dry desert environment. But Andrea, who had never lived in the climate or even visited the desert before, chose a fragrance that accepted it and even complimented its arid beauty.

“Not all fake Ivy-League like the U,” she explained.

He smiled. “No. And if you have a thing for adobe and stucco then you can really learn to love it.”

She turned, leaning back against the railing. “The people seem nice,” she ventured. “I don’t really know why you left. Just because they didn’t support the dig? It seems you could’ve worked it out with these folks.”

Daniel could not tear his gaze from her profile and the bare shoulders just touched by soft and inviting golden-brown hair. But he was held by more than that. All of her qualities were admirable. Not only was she fascinatingly attractive, and perhaps even in spite of it, she was brilliant and clear minded, and she loved her work.

“They um…” Daniel’s throat thickened, as if he were trying to talk underwater. There was something about her—something between them that transcended this project, he knew. He’d been avoiding it. He wanted no complications during the dig. But that was only part of the problem. The fact was, he didn’t want to draw her too far into his private quest. He couldn’t do that to her. Not now, not at this critical juncture with her career poised to launch. It was bad enough that she was the project leader, and he hoped she didn’t have to explain that away the rest of her life after he finally published his findings. But why then, if he felt that way, did he recruit her? She was clearly in the running for a post at a good school. This project, once the controversy surfaced, was not a good stepping stone on that path. Did he really think if he kept her role limited that it could minimize the fallout to her career?

It had been different for him. He didn’t work so hard for his opportunities. He had been young when he reached that point. Just eighteen, still a kid. He met Madeline and willingly abandoned most of the career courses Andrea should follow. He was committed to his project. He never saw it as a choice. But how could he lead Andrea down the same path—especially after she worked so hard for so many years to gain a solid foothold in academia?

Andrea’s brow furrowed with contemplation and she turned to him. “I think you should have just stuck to your guns here. They like you more than you know.”

He drew a breath. “Not all of them.”

She lowered her chin. “You’re about as likeable as they get.”

He smiled, and without thinking, touched her hand. She didn’t retreat. The air warmed with electricity. A remnant of his rational mind searched for a response to her statement—a quip, a compliment, a rebuttal…anything. But the futile effort was overshadowed by the sharpening of his senses, an awakening triggered by her presence and warm touch.

“I uh…”

She turned to face him squarely. He touched her arm, feeling the impossible softness of her skin. Her hand touched his stomach and slide to his waist. Her expression shifted. Her eyes surveyed his face. Was she searching for resistance or its opposite? He didn’t know. He wasn’t sure he cared. But he could tell that this closeness was something they’d both thought about before.

The moment grew, nearly eclipsing all else. He knew in his mind and heart that if he didn’t embrace her now, the moment could vanish forever. His heart pounded. He did not weigh options. This was not a matter of choice. It was roaring compulsion. He leaned close. He felt the heat of Andrea’s cheek, her warm breath. Their lips brushed across each other. Daniel savored the soft pass once, twice, then opening slightly more and connecting, pressing, tasting and melding. His chest filled with fire. The world fell away. He reached around her, pulling her close. She nestled in, leaving no gap.

He felt no barrier between them. His lips touched her nose, her cheek, the crook of her neck. He returned to her lips and they tasted each other again. Andrea mewed. It felt right to be lost in her touch and her breath. Their chests heaved together. Their embrace softened. Daniel roamed the curve of her spine. She responded with equal, soft passion. He felt the release of a long, satisfied sigh.

They touched foreheads.

He smiled. She giggled lightly.

A rough, “Ahem,” broke the moment like shattered crystal. They weren’t alone.

Eyes widened, they released their holds and turned.

“I don’t mean to disturb you.”

Daniel regained his bearing. William Lassiter and Morgan Hamilton stood near the patio door holding cocktail tumblers.

 

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