Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, and I live there with my husband and three girls ranging in ages from 3 to 10 year old. I’m a coffee addict and a Mine-craft junkie, and I adore spending time with my family, especially at the
I love writing books infused with humor, mystery, and steam. My series, the Wickwood Chronicles, is set in the fictional
town of Wickwood where the unexpected keeps happening. Book three in the series, Ghost of a Summoning, will be
coming out on September 14th, and it’s all about a prophecy that needs to be stopped or the gates of hell will be opened on Earth. (It’s funny too, I swear!)
How do you make time to write?
I wake up early in the morning and join the #5amwritersclub on Twitter. Sometimes it’s hard to make myself roll out of
bed and sometimes I wake up before my alarm. It’s the best time for me to write because everyone else in my house is
asleep and I find I’m the most productive in the morning.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I think writer’s block can be attributed to either a lack or inspiration or a lack of motivation. If you really want to, you can
get around those. The biggest dry spell I had with my writing was because of depression. It took a while, but I got back
into my routine a step at a time. Even if I sat down and only wrote fifty words, I did it daily, and eventually returned to my regular pace.
When I feel a lack of inspiration, I read a lot. I’ll return to old favorites, or binge on something new.
Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it.
I write paranormal romance, and I absolutely love ALL romance. Paranormal is especially exciting because I love
mythology and the fantastical paired with high stakes and spice.
I’m with a small press called City Owl Press, and I love being one of their authors. They’re supportive and energetic and I
hope to be working with them for a long time yet.
Are you an Introvert or Extrovert? How does this affect your work?
I’m an extroverted introvert. I like meeting new people, but it can be draining, and I have no problem spending time on
my own. I think my biggest challenge is on social media. It’s hard for me to connect with new people, but I work at it a
little bit at a time.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Let’s do this!
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Reach out to people in the writing community and make connections. Other authors can be some of your greatest allies,
and you’ll never know what opportunities might come up.
Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
Lots of places! My website and newsletter sign up at https://www.jemcdonald.net/
And here are my social media links:
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
I’d love to! This is the beginning of Ghost of a Gamble, the first book in the Wickwood Chronicles.
Her tote bag hitched on her shoulder, Bree picked up her pace as she weaved in and out of the early morning shoppers.
Late. Late. Late. So damn late. One or two hours she could get away with. But three? Even Theo couldn’t be that
forgiving. Could he?
The eviction notice she’d found on her door that morning burned a hole in her back pocket. Trying not to dwell on it, she
trotted through the bustling morning crowd of old downtown. She skirted around a young family, then bumped into a
man with a camera pointed at the clock tower.
“Sorry!” she shouted as she dodged between a dog and bicycle, breezing past the advertisement board. Her short jog
finished in front of Theodore’s Bakery.
Bree inhaled the scent of fresh baked bread and thrust open the door. Chimes tinkled overhead. A line of customers
snaked through the shop, every table full with coffee-drinking, scone-eating patrons.
“Hey, Fran,” she said as she rushed to toss her tote bag on the back counter and grab her apron.
Behind the cash register, a harried Fran, her white hair coming out of her bun, shook her head, unsmiling. “I tried to call
“I turned my phone off.” As usual when I’m sleeping.
“Theo wants to talk to you.”
Bree glanced at the lineup, then back at Fran.
“Go,” Fran said, jerking her chin to the kitchen.
Tying the apron around her waist, Bree pushed through the swinging doors and found her boss taking a batch of buns
out of the oven. “Hey, Theo. Sorry I’m late. Fran said you wanted to talk to me?”
Theo’s bald head gleamed as he slid the pan into one of the cooling racks before meeting her gaze. “I can’t do it
anymore, Bree. I’m going to have to let you go.” His eyes held regret.
No. No. No. Not again. This wasn’t happening. “I’m sorry. I won’t be late again. I promise.”
He wiped his brow with his forearm. “I thought maybe it could work, but you’re not made for mornings.”
Bree smoothed her apron with shaky hands. “Then I can come later and do the shop work like Fran. I can clear tables
and serve people.”
He shook his head. “That’s what I have Fran for. I hired you for the back and that’s the person I need. I can only hire one
other person and I need that person here at six.”
From his quiet voice and the hard set of his shoulders, Bree knew he’d already made up his mind. She gave him a small
nod and forced her chin not to wobble. “I understand.” She stared at the tips of her sneakers. “I’m sorry I didn’t do a
better job.” Being yelled at would have been so much easier than dealing with his disappointment.
Do you have an excerpt you’d like to share with us?
A heavy sigh made her head snap up. Maybe he’d changed his mind? But the expression in his eyes told her not to get
her hopes up.
“Look,” he began. “I’ll give you a recommendation if you need it. I’ll keep an eye out if there are openings anywhere.”
Her breath hitched. “You’d give me a recommendation?”
“Hey, when you’re here, you’re a good worker. It’s these early hours that don’t suit you.”
If it were only the case. Bree’s stomach squeezed. Nine o’clock. Ten o’clock. It didn’t matter what time her job began.
She’d lay awake at night, wanting to fall asleep, willing herself to fall asleep, and nothing would happen but her brain
playing the haunting sound of the wind whispering through the pine trees in her ears.
And now she’d lost another job because she couldn’t wake up in the morning. Her eyes drifted over the pans stacked in
the sink, all the dough that hadn’t been rolled out yet. Failure had her shoulders slumping. She turned to leave, then
stopped. “Um, I hate to ask this, but my paycheck?”
Another sigh. “Fran’s got it up front.”
“Thanks.” She pushed the swinging door open and paused. “You were a good boss,” she said over her shoulder. The
sound of dough smacking the counter followed her into the storefront.
The line in the bakery had diminished some, but every table had someone at it. Fran gave her a sympathetic smile.
Guess she knew I was getting fired when I walked in the door. Bree took off her apron, grabbed her tote bag, and waited
until the last person in line had paid. She sidled up to the counter, hip pressed against the glass housing everything from cinnamon buns to focaccia, and gave Fran a half smile. “I’ll get an Americano to go.”
Fran rang her up. Bree scanned the patrons, trying not to let the gloom of being fired set in. She needed a new job or
she’d be living on the street in a week. Her eyes darted to the advertisement board full of flyers and posters outside the
bakery. Maybe she could find something there, something that didn’t involve a morning shift.
Fran passed her a coffee and her check. Bree glanced at it and a little of the tension in her chest eased. Just enough to
cover what she owed her landlord.
She dug into her pocket for a five to pay for the coffee. She knew she had one. She’d put it there yesterday and hadn’t
spent it. Or had she? Her front pockets were empty. She quickly checked her back pockets, but only found the eviction
notice. Her cheeks heated. Her bank account probably had enough in it for her to use her card, right? It would be a
gamble. She swallowed and met Fran’s brown eyes.
Fran waved a dismissive hand. “This one’s on me. Consider it a going away present.”
Bree barked out a laugh. “Like, ‘Please go away and never come back’ kind of present?”
Fran’s hand flew to her chest. “Oh, my, no! I’m just sorry it didn’t work out. Now Theo’s going to be a person short until he
finds someone more suitable.”
More suitable. Bree had heard that one before too. The door chimed and a new customer received Fran’s attention. Bree
lifted her cup. “Thanks for the coffee.”
Fran gave her a small smile, then turned her attention to the man in a suit. Bree eyed her check, a hard knot solidifying in her chest. She still needed another full month’s rent in three weeks.
The check wrinkled between her fingers as she squeezed it. One option would be to take the money and run. It was
enough that if she packed up and left tomorrow, she could settle in a new town and not look back. She’d already paid
her last month’s rent when she’d signed the rental agreement. And no one would miss her here.
The door chimed behind her as she left the yeasty smells of the bakery. Bree inhaled the crisp air of the street, people watching as they bustled around her, trying to focus on anything but the unease in her chest. She sipped her coffee and
winced when it burned her tongue.
Rubbing the sting away on the back of her teeth, she strolled the five steps to the advertisement board. From beneath
the half-wall, she saw someone on the other side in combat boots and black jeans. Bree scanned the ads. Most were
college students searching for roommates. Others were for concerts coming up in the Wickwood area.
The hard knot in Bree’s chest mutated into a hot burn. She really needed a job.
Thunk. Thunk. A stapler hit the other side of the board. She straightened. Thunk. Thunk. Slowly, she edged to the side
and peeked around the board to check out what Mr. Combat Boots had posted. Probably looking for a roommate.
She noticed his hair first. Brown with a hint of red, it swept across his forehead to stop below his chin. A dusting of
stubble showed through his tawny skin, but nothing you could call a beard. And his clothes matched his boots. All black.
He’s cute. Her heart did a double thump. Really cute.
Straightening, she stepped around the board to get a better look at his flyer. His golden eyes tracked her, then quickly
looked away. He stepped back to admire his handiwork, and she stood beside him, shoulder to shoulder. Her body
hummed. Acting casual, Bree took a cautious sip of her coffee and read the flier.
HELP WANTED IMMEDIATELY
PART-TIME FIELD ASSISTANT
RESILIENT PERSONALITY PREFERRED
*NEEDS TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND*
She pursed her lips. “What do you do? Make pornos or something?” She wouldn’t want to star in a porno—not that she
didn’t have the skills—but taking a leap into adult entertainment wasn’t a life goal. She wasn’t a prude and could
probably be an assistant.
“What?” He turned so abruptly, he hit her elbow. She managed to hold onto her coffee, but some splashed out of the lid
and landed on his jacket with a splat.
“Oh, my God.” Bree set her cup on the ledge of the advertisement board and dug around in her tote for a tissue. “Are you
hurt? Are you burnt?”
Eyes wide, he shook his head.
“I’m so sorry.” Bree kept digging in her bag. There must be a napkin or something in here. “Not that it was my fault, mind
you, since you hit my hand. But I am sorry I poured coffee on you.” She found a used, crumpled up tissue, stared at it for
a full two seconds, shrugged, and wiped at the front of his jacket. “At least I didn’t get your boots wet.”
As she turned to reaffirm her coffee was secure on the ledge, she hit the cup with her tote. The cup tipped, tipped…she
reached…and it fell to the ground with a dull thud. The lid flew off and coffee splattered her sneakers and his boots.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe I did it again.” Easy come, easy go. That’s how it was with free pity coffees. She went to a
knee and swiped at the moisture on his boots. The embarrassment ringing in her ears made it hard for her to hear.
“Please stop,” he said, the words finally making it through.
She peered up to see his wonderfully beautiful face twisted in distress. Glaring at the tissue, she grimaced, and shoved
it in her tote before hopping to her feet.
“Sorry,” she muttered. Had she ruined her chances?
She glanced at the flyer. She really needed a job, but if he was wanting a fluffer, that was probably a deal breaker.
“So, um, you’re needing a field assistant? I’m actually looking for a job.” Best not to mention she’d been fired five
Instead of saying yes or no, he stared at her with bewildered eyes. She cleared her throat. No change in his expression.
She cocked her chin to the flyer. “The porno thing? I haven’t worked at a porno shoot before.”
“Porno thing?” That snapped him out of it. “What? No.” He shook his head. “No porno thing.”
From the completely shocked look on his face, she knew he had to be telling the truth. She swallowed hard. But was it
something worse? Her mind scrambled to fill in the blanks left by the flier. Grave digger? Grave robber? Neither fit.
No matter what it was, she worried at her bottom lip, believing she might have just ruined her shot at making sure she
didn’t end up homeless.