And Jericho Burned by M.J. Compton-Review, Interview and Giveaway
And Jericho Burned
Toke Lobo and the Pack #2
Genre: adult, paranormal romance, shifters
Release Date: February 11, 2015
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 11, 2015
Lucy Callahan will do anything to save her sister, even if that means marrying a stranger. Even if that stranger is an undercover government agent out to destroy the cult holding her sister hostage. Even if that stranger is a . . . werewolf.
REVIEW: AND JERICHO BURNED is the second installment in MJ Compton’s adult, contemporary Toke Lobo and The Pack paranormal romance series focusing on the Loup Garou wolf pack. This is caterer and human female Lucy Callahan and beta wolf shifter Stoke Smith’s storyline. Although AND JERICHO BURNED is the second book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.
The premise focuses on Lucy’s need to rescue her pregnant sister from the New Sinai cult. Randy Butler, New Sinai’s self proclaimed leader has taken Michelle Callahan as his wife and is determined to add to his harem of women in the same manner as the biblical Joshua. When Lucy attempts to escape Randy’s guards while at a local concert, she will come face to face with Stoker Smith-an ATF agent and musician who claims Lucy is his mate. What ensues is the building relationship between Lucy and Stoker; the rescue attempt of Lucy’s sister Michelle, and the revelation that there are supernatural beings who inhabit the planet alongside the human population.
The relationship between Stoker and Lucy is one of immediate attraction but more so for Stoker as he is drawn to the woman whom he wants to claim and marry. In this particular series, male wolves are not sexually active or aroused until in the presence of their mate, and therefore we are front and center for Stoker’s fumbling and ill-conceived attempts to woo and seduce his mate. As a shifter male, Stoker is all about protecting his mate but it is virtually impossible when Lucy continues to search for a way to rescue her sister from a potential Waco-style massacre. Lucy is quick to accept the existence of werewolves and the soul mate connection she has with Stoker Smith but she is reluctant to obey or accept the terms of werewolf mating habits-in this there is a constant struggle between our leading couple.
The secondary and supporting characters include alpha leader Toke (Tokarz) Lobo; Restin-Toke’s second in command; Hank- a wolf whose mate and baby died in childbirth; as well as an assortment of beta, omega and delta wolves whose position in the Pack sometimes makes for some unusual situations. We are introduced to Randy Butler-the man who owns and operates New Sinai, and the man who will set out to destroy Michelle, Lucy and anyone who questions his power and commands.
There are many references to former cults including Waco, as well as references and similarities to the Jericho biblical story. Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho is a song and theme used throughout the storyline-one that parallels the ATF and Randy Butler’s war against one another. People will die and the walls will come tumbling down.
AND JERICHO BURNED is an interesting take on shifter hierarchy, cult situations, and werewolf mating habits. The Pack is all about protecting their females and the hopes for the next generation. Most of the shifter wolves are likeable if not entertaining; there were a few issues with flow and pacing as the storyline would jump between plot points without a break or lead in but overall AND JERICHO BURNED is an enjoyable and delightful read. If you are a fan of shifter storylines, give AND JERICHO BURNED a try.
Copy supplied by the author.
Reviewed by Sandy
TRC: Hi MJ and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of AND JERICHO BURNED.
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
MJ: I’m married with two adult children. I grew up in the country with legions of cousins (and aunts, uncles, and all my grandparents plus a couple of great-grandmothers). As adults, many of us are still close. I attended a small rural school. My graduating class of about 90 students has produced three published authors, something I find amazing. My junior high school English teacher called me out of the blue the other night to congratulate me. He knew publication was always my goal.
TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?
MJ: Reading has been a major influence on me. And for many years, I read anything. Now I’ve become more selective. I won’t finish a book I don’t enjoy. My local chapter of Romance Writers of America taught me so much. What I learned there helped me focus and hone my skills.
TRC: If you had a choice, which career, other than writing, would you like to attempt?
MJ: I would probably do something with music if I weren’t a writer. Or maybe art, because color is important to me.
TRC: Your bio states you had a 30 year career in local television. What are some of the more memorable highlights?
MJ: There are so many . . .I attended opening night ceremonies of the 1981 National Sports Festival while taping footage for the mayor’s re-election commercials. The US had boycotted the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, so the ’81 NSF was a big deal. I gave three-time world champion boxer Carmen Basilio a couple of black eyes–with make-up, of course–while we were taping a spot for Golden Gloves.NASCAR driver Kurt Busch–who is currently in the news–was a guest on a show I produced. I spoke with actress Jean Stapleton (of All in the Family fame) on the phone. I got to meet then-First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton when the CBS Morning Show brought her to town for a Town Hall Meeting edition of their show (and I had dinner with Bryant Gumbel the night before). Oh, and the Secret Service broke some of the dishes in the kitchen set we used for a show I produced while they were looking for bombs. We got a lot of mileage, joke-wise, out of that one.Former co-workers include Al Roker, Mike Tirico, and David Muir.
TRC: AND JERICHO BURNED is the second release in your Toke Lobo and the Pack paranormal romance series. Would you please tell us something about the series and premise of the book?
MJ: During the French Revolution, aristocrats weren’t the only ones to lose their lives. French werewolves were also persecuted. A contingent of them approached the U.S. Minister to France and cut a deal: we will serve your new country if you will give us sanctuary. Werewolves make great spies–superior hearing, seeing, and speed, plus the ability to change form and their inherent viciousness make them formidable foes. The secret treaty was signed and the werewolves came to the United States. Flash forward to the new millennium. The werewolves have made a nice life for themselves in the USA. My particular pack owns a brewery in Colorado (Moonsinger Beer). And the pack alpha also has a country band, Toke Lobo & the Pack. They’re getting successful, too. Things are going well until the government decides to call on them for some treaty-fulfillment work. Very few people (outside of the werewolves) know about the treaty, and it isn’t often invoked, but when it is, the werewolves take their part very seriously.
Except the guys keep running into their mates. You see, in my werewolf universe, werewolves are pre-destined for their mates and once they have found their personal one-and-only, keeping the mate safe is first priority. And since the first two books involve human females, there’s lots of conflict.
TRC: Joshua and the walled city of Jericho is a part of the theme and premise throughout the novel. What was behind your decision to use a biblical reference and song for Stoker and Lucy’s storyline?
MJ: I was pondering how the werewolves could breach a stockade fence and the story of Jericho came to me in a flash. When I re-read the story of Joshua, I found there were several interesting parallels that would work very nicely with my plot–and it gave me a title I love.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters in this storyline, which models or actors best represents your ideal image?
MJ: Country music star Tim McGraw was the visual inspiration for Stoker Smith (hero). Lucy (heroine) is a little tougher. Maybe Reese Witherspoon, with really short hair.
TRC: Do you have plans to write a storyline for Hank and Michelle?
MJ: I’ve been toying with another subplot involving Hank and Michelle. That would be in Luke Omega’s book.
TRC: How many books do you have planned for the series?
MJ: Right now, four in all.
TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?
MJ: Keeping the “universe” consistent and believable was the most challenging aspect of writing And Jericho Burned. I had to keep going back to the werewolf rules I’d invented in the first book to make sure I stayed uniform. Also, keeping one of the sex scenes from bordering on a rape scene was really difficult. My editor and I went over it several times to make sure Stoker’s naivety was clear.
TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
MJ: A lot of editing. Seriously. I like to use subtle foreshadowing, so I’ll write blatant to get what I need, then I go back to erase until there is only the barest hint of what I plan to do. Lisa Gardner is a genius at unpredictability, and I study her books to see how she does it.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
MJ: My process involves a little bit of each. I tend to be more of an organic writer than an organized one. I try to fully flesh out the characters before I begin writing, but they often reveal things about themselves I hadn’t realized. That’s exciting. One of the most amazing things about being an author is writing something early on in the story and learning why I wrote it later on.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?
MJ: I believe in the power of point-of-view, especially what authors call “deep POV.” I “become” the character as I write. I ask myself, “what would I be feeling if this happened to me–not only emotionally, but the physical manifestations as well?” If I can get those experiences onto the page, the reader can also experience them.I think some authors fail by staying on the surface of the story and not delving into the meat of emotion behind the actions. I recently read a highly-acclaimed book about life in Germany during the second World War, and I was disappointed by the lack of emotion. The facts were well-researched and the story was intriguing, but there was no emotional depth. It was a telling, not a showing (another favorite author maxim). I also find books written in first person, present tense to be on the shallow side, but that could be a personal preference on my part. Again, this is a point of view issue. However, I don’t have problems with books written in first person, past tense. One of the authors I grew up reading, Mary Stewart, wrote in first person. Her books are classics in the gothic genre.
TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?
MJ: I’ve found if I just keep writing–it doesn’t have to be good or interesting or even relevant–but if I keep writing, I can write my way out of the “block” and back into the story.
TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?
MJ: I have a weakness for “bubblegum” music.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
MJ: I’m working on a couple of projects: the next Toke Lobo & the Pack book; a series of baseball romances; and one publisher is interested in a series about lacrosse. Oh, and my critique partners and I are going to self-publish an anthology. My contribution is about a werewolf baseball player. Apparently I have a thing for men in packs/on teams.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
MJ: Love a book? Write a review!
Favorite Food pizza
Favorite Dessert Wegman’s Peanutbutter Cup Sundae Ice Cream
Favorite TV Show Downton Abbey
Last Movie You Saw In a theater, The Mockingjay, Part 1. Saturday nights are movie night at our house, so I see a different movie every week.
Dark or Milk Chocolate Dark. Well, really Nutella (not one of the knock offs, but the real stuff).
Secret Celebrity Crush I don’t know if it’s secret, but Henry Cavill (the new Superman).
Last Vacation Destination Rome, NY for their annual Capitolfest (silent/early talky film festival)
Do you have any pets? Not any more. I do miss my cat.
Last book you read Obsession in Death by JD Robb
Pet Peeve the person who is holding the TV remote clicking around constantly.
TRC: Thank you MJ for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success.
MJ: Thank you for having me!
MJ Compton is graciously offering a Kindle copy of MOONLIGHT SERENADE (Book 1) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.
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