Around The Fire Welcomes Janina Grey.
Good morning! I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas and it's not over yet! New Year is on it's way. 2021 brought a lot of changes to my life, both good and not so. I brought in the year with Covid, retired, lost my mom, traveled. Life is up and down, right? Well, I hope yours is on an up. Today we're going to meet someone new to the fire. I love meeting and getting to know people. When I did work and a newbie started they would sit them by me. I'd preform the "interview". Who are you? Where do you live? What did you do before? Etcetera. Yup, Nosey Nellie. In my defense, it was done in a friendly way. And, if you don't ask, how are you going to find out. I ask. Even in tough situation when there's an elephant in the room. Lucky for all of us there's no elephant today, only a wonderful woman and author who I'm delighted to share with you. So grab a cuppa something, and join the conversation Around The Fire.
Hi, Janina! Welcome to my fire. While I pour, why don't you tell us who you are other than your bio?
I’m so many things besides just a pretty bio. I embrace and help other women embrace their feminine power, both as a domestic violence and sexual assault advocate, and as a 3rd Degree Pagan/Wiccan High Priestess. Both positions are a place of healing, where I guide other women to look beyond who they think they are and help them become who they are meant to be.
That's so interesting. So many women need to be not only survivors but overcomers. To have someone in their corner to aid them is an important thing. Tell us, what interests besides writing do you enjoy? For instance, what do you read or hobbies you have?
I love being outdoors, so my husband and I do a lot of camping in our little Teardrop camper we’ve named Forevermore. Even during the pandemic, when things were closed, we spent the summer camping in our backyard. I love hopping on the back of my husband’s motorcycle and going on long rides throughout the Upstate New York countryside. When I’m indoors and not writing or napping, I like to read books about Celtic deities, or any of my Central New York romance writers.
We love camping Upstate. Forevermore is a great name for a place that brings so much joy and memories. Our camper is 2HOOTS. Who are your go-to people. Those who you count on for support in your writing career.
The Central New York Romance Writers group and my Herkimer Diamonds Critique partners, and my husband David (who will let me pull him out of anything he’s involved in to run a scene by him) are my main sources of help.
Isn't it wonderful to have such a supportive spouse. Mine is as well. Critique groups rock (ha, pun used here. I used to work with someone who often visited the Herkimer Diamond mines).
Who or what books or authors are your inspiration?
I’ve always loved Jude Deveraux. She was the reason why I started writing.
Do you have any fun or outrageous talent?
I love the Tarot, ghost hunting, and drumming around the fire.
What is your neighborhood like? Are there any places you frequent? What makes them special?
Herkimer is a small Mohawk Valley village, inside the Town of Herkimer, inside the County of Herkimer in upstate New York, nestled along the Erie Canal and Mohawk River. We are known for the Herkimer Diamond, which has amazing healing energy. In addition to being known for Diamonds, Herkimer as the BEST CHICKEN WING PIZZA which you can get at VINNY’S Pizza in the heart of Herkimer. I even mention them in my latest book, LOVE IN THE FOREST.
Hmm, I think my next trip may include Vinny's. Wings are one of my favorites. If they made a movie about your life, what would the title be, and who would play you?
I think if they made a movie about my life the title might be called something like, RESILIENCE: It’s not a four letter word. I’ve beaten three different non-related types of cancer, survived a divorce as a single mother of two pre-teens, and I work with Domestic and Sexual Violence survivors. I’d like to be played by Sandra Bullock.
Inspiring, you are an overcomer. Do you have a particular object like a piece of jewelry or a keepsake of some sort? Can you tell us what makes it special to you?
My mom’s clock, which hangs in my living room, is one of my favorite keepsakes. She passed in 2012 and I inherited her clock. I once wrote a poem about how she always feels near with the ticking of the clock. My daughter hates it because I once associated it with my mother’s heartbeat.
What is your favorite mug or teacup.
I have dozens and dozens of mugs, one to suit every mood and occasion. My absolute favorite to drink from when writing is my CNYRW mug with that logo on one side and the phrase, “My hero can kick your hero’s butt,” on the other. My second favorite is a Peanuts Gang mug my son gave me.
Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a moment in time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is yours?
In 2001, I had the opportunity to travel to Sydney, Australia, where I climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Standing at the top of the bottom of the world I “held” the setting sun and rising moon in each of my outstretched hands. That was the most empowering moment of my life and it changed my life forever.
Would you rather have unlimited international first-class tickets or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
I’m a Sagittarian, and we love to travel. We also love to eat, but flying doesn’t have as many calories as say, Vinny’s Chicken Wing Pizza.
LOL! You're correct. Janina, tell us, what kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I start out each book writing journey with a Tarot reading to determine who my characters are, what they are like, their inner and outer conflicts, what the plot will look like, and it grows from there.
I like that you consider each book a journey. How do you select the names of your travelers?
The characters tell ME their names, first names at least. The last names I usually try to tie in with their personality, or pay tribute to my ancestors;
What was your hardest scene to write?
My hardest scene to write was the death of Brooke Meadows, in Love in the Forest. Spoiler alert; it’s a near death experience, not exactly a full on death. And she comes back.
Thank you so much for joining me Around The Fire today, Janina. Maybe our camping paths will cross one day and we'll share a plate of wings. One last favor. Can you leave a bit about your book and where we can find out more about it and you?
LOVE IN THE FOREST
Steamy Contemporary Romance with a Paranormal Twist.
Step into the mystical and magical forests of Upstate New York, where Earth and Sky camp photographer Brooke Meadows has taken refuge from the demons of her past as she uses her ability to communicate with the dead to heal loved ones left behind.
A peek inside.
Unable to cope with the loss of his wife and daughters three years prior, Josh Quinn, CEO of the number one dating site Quirkyflirt.com, is ordered by his board president to take a break from his Big Apple Headquarters. He finds himself at Earth and Sky Retreats, where confronting his grief has led him to experience a life-altering transformation and re-evaluation of reality.
Will Josh leave behind his fast-paced, high society life in the concrete mountains of New York City, for the magical, bewitching world Brooke reveals to him in the foothills of the Adirondacks?
Will Brooke acknowledge and accept her own journey of transformation and healing as she and Josh explore the winding paths and summits that lead them to find love in the forest?
Want a bit more? Here's a Love In The Forest Excerpt:
“Thank you.” Josh put down his drum and pocketed the sunglasses he had placed on the seat beside him. He leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees, sharing her personal space as he stared into her eyes.
“For?” Her breath caught as she noted, being this close, that his baby blues might actually be baby teals, something she’d never noticed before now.
She scooted her metal folding chair backwards, then beelined to the storage shelves. Pausing for a second, she shook her head to clear the crazy thought he’d been about to kiss her. Her drum made a solid thud as she set it on the shelf. After finding the nearest window and opening it, she scanned the wall for the overhead light switch by the door and headed in that direction. The room had darkened considerably as another storm blew in from the southeast.
“Teaching me how to drum. Reminding me what it’s like to feel again. I haven’t felt anything in a long time.” He rose from the folding chair and carried his drum to the shelf Brooke had placed her drum on. After setting the djembe next to Brooke’s, he joined her by the door.
She watched his every move; the graceful way he unfolded himself from the chair; the casual yet commanding way he sauntered across the rec room; to the way he studied her face, his eyes settling on her lips as he halted by her side.
Her heart pounded wildly and her breathing lost its normal flow as he reached for the wall switch and shut the lights so they stood in the shadows once more. “Thank you. For teaching me how to drum,” he said, his voice barely audible.
“You’re welcome,” she said in a breathless whisper. She cleared her throat and continued. “It’s getting dark. Storm’s blowin’ in.” Brooke’s voice cracked and she swallowed thickly. “We should go.”
“We should, shouldn’t we?” His words came softly, cloaked in a husky timber.
“Yes.” She answered too quickly as he took another step closer.”
Review by InD’Tale Magazine December 2021 Issue (shortened by D. V.)
“Love in the Forest” portrays a new way of interacting with spirits which is quite feasible. The Adirondacks for the backdrop is a wonderful choice, with its ever changing seasons. It is fall in the story, and it is easy to imagine the trees in their colored glory and walking through the fallen leaves. Josh and Brooke are two very strong characters who are fighting demons from their pasts. The telling of Josh’s past is too repetitive. There are many characters in this tale, both campers and counselors; some of each are one dimensional. It is interesting to see how the love story unfolds in spite of Brooke and Josh’s quirks. This is a very unique story that is a true joy to read!
(Reviewer: Belinda Wilson)
Soul Mate Publishing
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Website: www.janinagrey.com quirkyflirt.com
A bit more about the author
Janina Grey has been writing since she could hold a crayon, and there has been no stopping her since. Journaling, short stories, poetry, newsletters, news, feature, columns, Op/Eds, and press releases have kept her busy her whole life. But it was the sweet Harlequin romances she read in her downtime that stayed forever in her heart and gave her the inspiration to write her own contemporary romances now published with Soul Mate Publishing.
By day, Janina guides domestic and sexual assault survivors down their path of healing and empowerment. But in the wee hours of the morning, she hunkers down at her childhood writing desk with Imagine Dragons, Coldplay, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, or Led Zep streaming through her earbuds while she brings to life her characters as they face their real-life sorrows and successes, and best of all, their happily ever afters.
Growing up on Long Island and living periodically in Tennessee as a youth has given her the opportunity to meet many different types of people and experience many different lifestyles. After moving from Long Island to settle in the Mohawk Valley in Upstate New York with her family, she found the support needed to pursue her writing endeavors with Central New York Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America.
When Janina is not writing, she may be marching for women’s rights, kayaking, camping, drumming, or dancing around the fire.
With her two children grown, she and her husband, David, share their 113-year-old Mohawk Valley farm house homestead with a few resident spirits and a very squawky murder of crows.
Thanks for Stopping by.
Anna Taylor Sweringen
12/27/2021 09:29:11 am
Thanks for sharing. I know Herkimer well. My husband and I had a cabin in Little Falls and on the way up we'd stock up at Hannaford's. Happy sales.
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Your Host D.V. Stone
Award winning multi-genre author and blogger. Fantasy, romance, mid-grade. Nothing better than a campfire, book, and glass of wine. Okay maybe there is.📚
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