Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Friday, January 27, 2006

The Grail King cover art is here!

The cover art for my August Love Spell book, The Grail King, arrived yesterday. Isn't it gorgeous? The misty blue atmosphere and the crimson letter vividly capture the tone of the book, which is a paranormal historical romance set in Britain and Wales. Those of you familiar with my previous book, Celtic Fire, will recognize some of The Grail King characters. The new book takes place some thirteen years after the events in the earlier book.

The Grail King is Owein, a Celtic Druid and Seer with a brutal past. His rival in love is Marcus Aquila, a Roman blacksmith. The heroine, Clara Sempronia, is the daughter of the Roman commander who ordered Owein's village destroyed. Clara needs Owein's help to retrieve a magic Grail (yes, it's "the" Holy Grail). Owein wants the Grail for himself and his people - will he betray Clara's trust to get it?

The Grail King is the first book in my new series with Dorchester, the Druids of Avalon series. After generations of persecution, the Druids have returned to the mystical island of Avalon. Can they retain their legacy of Light? Or will encroaching Darkness cause them to abandon their ideals?

Keep an eye on for upcoming sneak peeks, free short story tie-ins, and a very special reader contest! I'll be giving away a custom sterling silver pendant bearing the Druids of Avalon logo...sign up for my reader newsletter and you'll be the first to know the details!

Until next Friday,


» Friday, January 20, 2006

Harlequin Goes Manga!

I’m a big fan of Manga (Japanese-style graphic novels), especially romantic Manga, so when I heard last year that Harlequin had contracted with Darkhorse Comics to produce a line of Harlequin Manga for the US market, I was psyched!

Two HQ Manga lines launched in December – “Pink” for age 12 and up and “Violet for “sophisticated readers age 16 up.” Neither book appeared on the shelves of my local teen Manga store, so I turned to Amazon. Pink wasn’t available, but the first Violet title, Response, was.

At first glance the cover art didn’t appeal much – it looks like a Harlequin Presents cover gone cartoon, and both characters have their eyes closed! If you read any Manga at all, you know that a character’s eyes are a big part of what gives Manga art its appeal.

Once I opened the book, however, I was very pleased with the artwork. First of all, I want to point out that the age rating has nothing to do with risqué artwork. The drawings are very beautiful and have an appealing, dreamlike quality. The pages are drawn entirely in violet ink, which takes a little getting used to. But the overall effect is lovely.

I was a bit disappointed with the traditional tone of the plot, which included amnesia and a temp secretary's forced marriage to her rich CEO boss. I was hoping for a more modern story, I guess. This tale is classic Harlequin.

If Response is a taste of stories to come, it will be interesting to see if Harlequin will gain a niche in the American Manga market, especially with the over-18 crowd. The book’s Japanese right to left format is sure to daunt older women who are unfamiliar with Manga. Will the classic Harlequin category novel story line appeal to Manga-reading young women and teens? I don’t know.

And what about the single-volume format? A typical teen Manga appears as a multi-volume series with continuing characters. This format allows for more secondary characters, skillful character development, slower pacing, and a complex story line. It also keeps kids coming back to the store again and again for the latest volume in their favorite series. Will the quick Harlequin read catch on? Again, the jury is out.

Verdict: If you like Manga, Harlequin Violet: Response is worth a look on the strength of the artwork alone. If you’re unfamiliar to Manga, but like a traditional Harlequin romance novel, you’ll like this book, too. Don’t freak out over the right to left format. There are instructions for Manga novices in the back (front?) of the book. You’ll catch on quickly enough.

See ya next week,


» Friday, January 13, 2006

Are There Demons Among Us?

The answer is yes, if the rising popularity of exorcisms means anything.

Last month I spotted an Associated Press article about eight relatives in Mexico who believed two young family members were possessed by demons. The exorcism they performed ended in the death of both children. The story was so grisly it prompted me to do some research on modern-day exorcism.

Here’s what I found out: Demonic possessions – and exorcisms – are on the rise. An official Rite of Exorcism from the 1600s has been updated and translated from the original Latin. There’s even a bona fide International Association of Exorcists, which offers advice on how to distinguish mental illness from demonic possession. An exorcist convention last year in Mexico drew over 500 participants.

Unfortunately, it seems the “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME” warning labels are in short supply. Amateur exorcisms often result in the injury or death of the possessed. In Guyana, a woman was sentenced to ten years in prison after killing her friend in an exorcism rite that included beating the possessed woman with an iron bar. In England, a woman was whipped to death during an eight-hour exorcism ritual. In West Bengal, when a professional exorcist failed to help an ailing girl, her father tried a do it yourself beat-the-kid-with-a-broomstick remedy that killed the girl.

And then there are the more benign charlatans: In Germany, a young woman paid 5000 Euros for an exorcism remedy after a fortune teller convinced her she was possessed by evil spirits.

If the Devil’s out there, I’m sure he’s laughing.


» Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year’s Festival of Drunkenness: Not a New Idea

If you partied like a lunatic on New Year’s Eve, here’s a new excuse for your drunken revelry: you were just doing your part to save mankind from destruction.

According to a Discovery Channel news article, ancient Egyptians participated in a Festival of Drunkenness on the New Year that included drinking beer, singing, dancing and engaging in sexual activity. All these revelries were performed under the strict supervision of a couple people whose job it was to remain sober. An ancient designated driver?

Unlike our own New Year’s celebrations, the ancient party was NOT for fun. New Year’s inebriation was a serious business. According to a myth called “The Destruction of Mankind,” there’s a Lion Goddess who likes to snack on humans. When the goddess gets drunk, she tends to forget her appetite for human flesh, so it was everyone’s religious duty to go down to their local temple and attend a New Year’s orgy.

Wow. Those ancients really knew how to party.

Happy New Year!