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by Barbara Sheridan
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity
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1st Anniversary Issue ~ February 2001

Collaborations ~ When two heads are even better than one!

PNR Poll: We Want More............Romance!

Jacqueline Hamilton

Jacqueline S. Hamilton is the proud owner of twenty-seven shades of red lipstick.

Though she considers herself a happy person, Jackie fights daily with her envy issues. She considers herself a workaholic/procrastinator and would rather lay on the sofa patting her tummy, teaching Miriam’s dog how to smoke, and then lie about it. She is passionately enamored of Steven Spielberg’s Animaniacs.

Jackie decided to write romance novels because she can’t sing, can’t dance, it doesn’t involve high math, or high heels. She also believes the body God intended to give her was misplaced on Jennifer Lopez. Jackie doesn’t exercise because she believes the eleventh commandant is “Thou shall not sweat,” which is why she doesn’t have a body like Jennifer Lopez. The sands of time have gotten caught in the middle of her hour glass figure.

Miriam Pace

Miriam Pace is the only woman in the world with her own hand cream collection, which she uses everywhere on her body except her hands. Hergreatest beauty secret is lip balm for the elbows. She has the refinement of aVictorian lady, the intelligence of a Nobel Prize Laureate, and, when the stars are straight and the moon is full, the vocabulary of a truck driver. She has been known to level mountain ranges with the lift of an eyebrow. But friends consider her generous, warm and a closet dominatrix.

She is known as the curator of the Pace Zoo. At any time, one can find sheep in her backyard, a German Shepard mix breed dog who thinks she’s a cat, a Queensland heeler who tries to herd everything on two and four feet, kamikaze koi with an attitude, a Persian who needs Prozac, and a Bengal cat who prowls the house pretending to be the ‘real’ thing.

She knew she was destined to be a writer when she started receiving her first rejections in high school, and decided something was wrong with the editors and not her. Acknowledged as the Goddess of All Things, Miriam is the first person everyone turns to when they need a decision. She has been accused of making up Jackie’s mind for her.

An Interview with J.M. Jeffries

PNR: First tell us how the two of you came to be writing partners?

Miriam: I like to walk and I coerced Jackie into walking with me. We'd brainstorm and after awhile, she just horned in on my action. My book became our book, and our book eventually became Road-Tested at DiskUs.

Jackie: She forced me to exercise and I hated her for it. The only way to get back at her was to usurp her story. But my wicked evil plan backfired and she stayed my friend and still forces me to exercise.

PNR: How does the collaboration work? Who does what? Do you brainstorm ideas? Write individually?

Miriam: We get together two days a week and just write. Jackie's best at dialogue and I do the detail work. We brainstorm in the car on the way to the Dairy Queen where Jackie likes dipped cones and Mr. Misty's and I like hot fudge sundaes. If it's been a tough drive, Jackie needs both to calm down. The other customers are still trying to figure out what we're doing.

Jackie: Miriam cracks the whip. She's a relentless slave driver with no caring for my artistic soul. She forces me to work, work, work, work, work. Help me. Help me. Help me. I'm being held against my will in the closet.

You have currently published four novels, with two small print publishing houses, Imajinn and Genesis. Is there a reason that you targeted the smaller houses?

Miriam: Because they liked us and our writing. One of the editors at Precious Gems told us we were too wacky for WalMart.

Jackie: Small presses you have a little more autonomy. But you have to work a lot harder which basically goes against my philosophy of life, but I'm willing for my career.

PNR: Let’s talk Cupid. Where did the idea for this series come from?

Miriam: The bottom of the Pepsi bottle. Jackie's very caffeine sensitive and after a few too many she starts to hallucinate. So when the well runs dry, I buy a twelve pack.

Jackie: Actually, Cupid was born in one of Miriam's writing classes which she let me tag along and be the straight man for a change. She was talking about building characters from the ground up and happened to mention the fact that she loved the name Amberlin and wanted to write a story about a kleptomaniac. During the three hours of class, I plotted it all out and told her on the way home in the car. That story became Cupid: The Amorous Arrow, which was also considered too wacky for WalMart.

PNR: Judging from you books and your bios, and you answers thus far <g>, you both have a sense of humor. Do you feel that humor is important to a romance novel?

Miriam: Nobody and nothing should be taken seriously. Falling in love is funny and people do stupid things. My husband proposed to me seventeen times before I finally said yes. Love is sort of counter- productive, but we all thirst after it, all want it. We need it. We've all done some crazy things for it.

Jackie: Everything in life could use a little humor. Gets us through the tough times, and makes the good times better. It makes us more human even though you might be writing the most serious of serious books, a little levity makes a nice counterpoint.

Part of the humor of these stories is the what I call plain-speak. Cupid and especially Venus actually speak the things most people think but don’t say. In other words they don’t mince words, tell it like itis. What other aspects of humor have you integrated into the stories?

Miriam: I'm Cupid. Jackie is Venus. Need I say more. We always look for the weirdest situation you can put the characters in. We come up with weird ideas and then run with it. I look for the absurd in all the situations. Would a 40 year old kleptomaniac vendetta really happen in real life? You take a little reality and stretch it like Silly Putty.

Jackie: Cupid and Venus are our alter-egos. Cupid may be a little techno-guy, but he's cool. Miriam has always wanted to be cool. He knows what happening, what's up to date. Miriam gets to be herself. And Venus is a tramp. She's my alter-ego. I was raised to be a nice little Catholic girl. Venus can say anything, can have any man she wants, gets to be as trampy as she wants to be and relishes her ability. She gets to be more human by being a goddess.

PNR: There are a variety of mythological characters in the stories, but Cupid and Venus are the main ones. The are matchmakers. Are they very successful or do the heroes and heroines manage to get together in spite of them.

Miriam: Cupid and Venus are the lynchpins in the stories. We use the other mythological characters as straight men. As are the hero and heroine. I think the hero and heroine could fall in love without the machinations of Cupid and Venus, but Cupid and Venus make it so much more fun.

Jackie: I don't think the hero and heroine can fall on their own. They'd probably never even meet. Without Cupid's techno-skills or Venus' ego. These elements play into the story, in that for one reason or another have to prove they can make these two people fall in love.

Miriam: Sounds like we're arguing, doesn't it. But our quirkiness and view of our characters and stories is what makes them work. We may have two different views, but the stories still work.

PNR: Cupid and Venus's methods are, shall we say, often a bit unorthodox, does this get them in trouble?

Miriam: It wouldn't be any fun if Cupid and Venus did things in a normal manner. I can't quite see Venus waking up in the morning and saying, I'm going to do this. She has to make it harder on herself so that her solutions seem more brilliant.

Jackie: They have to dive into the unorthodox in order to prove that gods aren't so godlike or powerful. With the exception of Cupid most of the gods that we portray are more like spoiled three-year olds then wise beings whose wisdom runs the world. Humanity is nothing more than an elaborate puppet stage for the gods to manipulate. It's not that the gods don't love the humans, but when it comes down to the basics, it's all about god ego and that's where I find the humor in Cupid and Venus.

PNR: The heroes and heroines of your books are generally socially mismatched. Naturally this presents a challenge for the love gods as Jackie mentioned, but do they have other things in common or is it more a matter of each providing the other with balance?

Jackie: That works for the books because that's what works for us.

Miriam: This is a good question. One of the reasons we chose socially mismatched heroes and heroines is because they would be harder to get together and have to work harder at making their love successful. Anything worth having is worth working for.

Cupid is in a bit of hot water already when the series begins. Venus isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer but somehow always manages to outwit her adversaries. At the end of book two the Bewildering Bequest, this has gotten them in further trouble. Tell us where they stand at the beginning of book three.

Miriam: Venus has been demoted to the goddess of fruit trees. We had a lot of fun with the fruit tart joke. We also had a lot of fun with Vesta, the goddess of virtue and the hearth's iron chastity belt.

Jackie: Poor Cupie, he's now the god of goats and he's miserable. All those fleas. He has ticks and hooves and is hating life. He can't get a date, he can't scratch hard enough, all because he listened to his mother. Venus is probably the most egotistic, spoiled, narcissistic, self-involved being on the planet. But, above all of that, Venus still wants people to fall in love. In that desire, she's single-minded and why she succeeds. She has the tenacity of a pit-bull wrapped in a Pomeranian's body.

PNR: In the new release, The Captivating Chauffer, the world as we know it is about to experience big changes. Dare I ask who is Venus’s replacement?

Miriam: Vesta the goddess of virtue is going to replace Venus per Jupiter's orders, and she wants to bring morality and virginity back into fashion. And our job as romance writers is to make sure she doesn't succeed.

Jackie: Vesta wants to take all the hormones out of love.

PNR: I think this is the biggest challenge Venus and Cupid have faced yet. The hero and heroine of The Captivating Chauffer are totally mismatched personality wise, how on earth did those two decide to put them together?

Miriam: We had to find the ultimate mismatched pair. We don't want the stories to get stale. Series are hard to keep fresh. We were looking for something really off-the-wall, so I borrowed Jackie's inability to find the front door even with a map and used that for Frankie. Wait till you read the next book!

Jackie: Venus' ego is on the line. Because we needed the ultimate challenge.

The heroine is self admittedly directionally challenged <g>. How does she end up chauffeuring the hero around the country. Does this make it easier for Cupid and Venus to maneuver?

Miriam: We wanted to do a road story where the characters get out and see the world instead of being stuck in one place. We've all taken a vacation that looked good on paper and turned out to be BORING. We wanted to add unexpected elements to something that could be quite ordinary.

Jackie: Andrew Sullivan planned the world's most boring vacation and we couldn't let him take it.

Miriam: So we added Frankie to the mix. She ends up on the job because her uncle's probation officer won't let him leave the state. In other words, she was the only one available.

PNR: How does the hero deal with all this? What is the compelling reason that he doesn’t just fire her?

Miriam: The hero doesn't drive. If he fires her, he'll be stranded.

Jackie: And despite the fact it's not his plan, he's having a good time. Part of the deal of being with Frankie, he gets to relive being a seventeen year old boy again since he didn't get to do that. There's something magical about recapturing your youth with a pretty girl.

PNR: Frankie, the heroine, seems to be pretty self confident otherwise. Does the hero shake up her sense of self at all?

Jackie: I think that in a lot of ways, Drew represents everything that Frankie wants, but doesn't know she wants it -- yet. And he is a challenge because because is fun-impaired. Frankie can't resist the urge to fix that.

Miriam: I really like Frankie. She has a strong sense of who she is. I don't think she's ever shaken up because she accepts the most bizarre things because the most bizarre things happen to her. Trouble just finds her. She's a magnet so she goes with it and makes it fun for herself.

PNR: She seems to have the upper hand for the most part. The hero seems a bit lost. Does Frankie have any insecurities? How does she overcome them? At what point does Drew take charge of the relationship?

Miriam: Frankie's different. She dresses funky and takes great joy out the most simple of things. Her parents and grandmother are determined to make her normal: a wife and mother. She wants a relationship where the man accepts her for who she is. If she has any insecurities it's probably in her differing way of looking at life. Not that it's skewed, just different.

Jackie: Frankie isn't that different. She won't compromise on her happiness. Shouldn't we all be this way. She wants a husband and a family and a career. Andrew dwells in the conventional. We need him at a crossroads in his life. He's making a decision on his future direction. He's ending his nurturing phase and now he wants to be selfish, to live for himself. But all his plans get derailed when he meets Frankie.

Aside from the Cupid series, you also have another novel, published by Genesis. Tell us about it. I assume it is a straight romance rather than paranormal. Is humor still a major factor in this story?

Miriam: Humor is always a major factor. We can't seem to write anything without injecting it with humor. One of the reviewers said our dialogue was witty. A Dangerous Love is a romantic suspense.

Jackie: We turned from wacky humor to cop humor which tends to be steeped in dark humor. In my research about cops, to protect themselves from what they see, they laugh. And I wanted to capture that essence. Plus writing about sex and killing are two of my favorite subjects.

Well you are up to CC in the Cupid series. Can we expect more of those stories in the future? What is up and coming for J.M. Jeffries?

Miriam: The next Cupid book is a February 2002 release. We're dithering about the title. The Dazzling Debutante, or the Diplomat's Daughter, or the Dipsy Doodle. Actually, Venus accepts a wager to make two people fall in love without using magic. Olivia Montgomery, who was Vesta's choice for Andrew Sullivan in the CC book, is the heroine. She finds herself sent to bodyguard school.

Jackie: We're still arm-wrestling over the titles. I like to think of this story as either Cupid find his manhood and Venus gets a gun. Needless to say, a whole new storm is brewing.

PNR: Ah, somehow I knew that those two couldn't leave poor Olivia hanging. Thanks Ladies!

J. M. Jeffries

Jaqueline Hamilton

Miriam Pace



Buy it now!

ImaJinn Books

February 2001
Trd. Pb.,224 pages
ISBN: 1893896137

Jupiter has demoted Venus to Goddess of Fruit Trees and Cupid to God of Flocks and Shepherds. To make matters worse, Jupiter promotes Vesta, Goddess of Virtue, to Goddess of Love. Vesta is determined to bring chastity belts back into fashion. In retaliation, Cupid and Venus set out to prove that no one plays the love game as well as they do by matchmaking the impossibly mismatched Andrew Sullivan and Francesca Ling.

Andrew Sullivan has spent his life raising his siblings and making money. Now, the last of his siblings is grown, he’s sold his business, and he wants to take a driving vacation across the United States. The only problem is he never learned to drive. He hires Francesca Ling to chauffeur him, unaware that she is seriously directionally impaired. Despite his complaints, about Frankie, Andrew finds himself lusting after the sexy, free-spirit. But Andrew isn’t about to let himself fall for a maddening woman who can’t read a map, parallel park, or get anywhere on time.

Frankie Ling knows she’s driving Andrew crazy. She also knows that the stodgy financial wizard needs to learn how to have fun. She sets out to show him the time of his life, but when she finds her heart getting involved, she quickly puts on the brakes. Andrew’s made his mark on the world and wants to settle down. Frankie is just starting her career and doesn’t want or need a man to complicate her life.

Venus and Cupid step in to help the couple realize they are meant for each other. They provide aphrodisiacs and a wild romp at the Chateau d’Amore. When that fails, they stoop to lying, blackmail, and masquerading as bears to keep the lovers together. But Andrew and Frankie still refuse to fall in love.

Can Cupid and Venus convince this mismatched couple that they belong together, or will Vesta have her way and change the rules of love forever?

More Cupid Tales

Buy it now!

ImaJinn Books
October 1999
Trd. Pb., 185 pages
ISBN: 1893896013

Buy it now!

ImaJinn Books
March 2000
Trd. Pb., 189 pages
ISBN: 1893896064

Also by J. M. Jeffries

Buy it now!

Genesis Press (Indigo)
October 2000
Trade Pb., 266 pages
ISBN: 1585710261






Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with:
J.M Jeffries
Christine Holden
Elizabeth Keys
One Year Later
Barbara Sheridan

Romance News:
Sandra Dugas and John DeSalvo present:
Fan Appreciation

Media News

































All book synopsises are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.

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