Monday, January 26, 2009

Countdown to the End Time

by Nancy

Two or three times a year, I discover a new author whose work captivates me. I love finding new books to enjoy, new sequels to await, and never mind what this does to the TBR pile. Much rarer, though is the experience of reading a new author and being totally blown away by the world that author creates. I had this experience last year with author Jessica Andersen's The Nightkeepers, the first in her adventure-packed, hot Novels of the Final Prophecy. Fellow bandita Anna Sugden put us in touch with each other. I'm delighted to have Jessica join us today and celebrate the release of the series' second book, The Dawnkeepers.

Jessica has a Ph.D. in genetics and did research on glaucoma before launching her writing career with Harlequin Intrigue. Her medical-themed books for this line have earned her RITA and Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award nominations. While researching a book, she came across the Mayan prophecies about 2012. Following up on them inspired the Nightkeepers.


Welcome, Jessica! Tell us about the Nightkeepers series so far.

I’m happy to!


The long-count calendar of the ancient Maya ends December 21, 2012, on the day of a potentially dire astrological conjunction. The NOVELS OF THE FINAL PROPHECY tell of the ancient myths that come to life in the years leading up to the end-date, and their opposition by the Nightkeepers, descendants of an ancient race sworn to protect mankind from the apocalypse.

In NIGHTKEEPERS (June 08, Signet), the Nightkeepers’ last king is forced to team up with a sexy female narcotics detective in order to reunite his scattered warriors and fight the demons of the Mayan underworld, Xibalba. Wielding ancestral magic based on bloodletting and sex, the king must choose between duty and his love for the human woman who is the gods' destined sacrifice.

In DAWNKEEPERS (Jan 09, Signet), Nightkeeper Nate Blackhawk isn’t about to let the gods determine his destiny- especially when it comes to his feelings for Alexis Gray, his ex-lover and nemesis. But when they’re forced to work together, racing to recover seven antiquities before the demons get their claws on the vital artifacts, Nate and Alexis will have to face their feelings- and their past- in order to defeat an ancient enemy.

Would you like to share an excerpt from one of the books?


Absolutely!! From DAWNKEEPERS:

As Alexis walked to the throne, she knew she was alone yet not alone. He was here, too - the lover of her dreams, the one who was Nate yet not, the one who loved her like he had, but didn’t break her heart. That was how she had always known it was a dream before. Now, though, she wasn’t sure what to call it. She’d touched the statuette and been transported into a dark, formless corner of the barrier, yet now she was back on earth- she knew it from the taste of the air, and the strong sense of being underground.

When she reached the end of the arcade, the pathway she was on curved and widened, forming a platform in front of the throne. There, in the center of the flat space, she saw shadowy footprints in the dust, those of bare human feet, standing facing the throne.

Almost without conscious volition, acting as she had done in the dream, she toed off her shoes and stepped into the footprints. They fit perfectly, as they had in her fantasies. The certainty that she had been in this chamber before, that she’d done this before, was overwhelming, as was the knowledge that the moment she blooded herself, placed her hands on the altar and said his name, he would be there with her.

The certainty - and the nerves - had her hesitating. Then, knowing she didn’t have a choice, not really, she pulled a ceremonial knife she didn’t recognize from a weapons belt she didn’t remember putting on, and drew the blade sharply across her palm. She hissed against the pain, and blood flowed, dark crimson in the amber torchlight. Then she reversed hands and cut her other palm. Her bloodied fingers slipping on the haft of the knife as she set it aside.

“Gods,” she whispered, hope and fear spiraling up within her. “Help me to be worthy.” More, she prayed for the gods to help her understand what the dreams were telling her- about her mother. About herself, and the man who wore the hawk medallion.

Knowing there was no other way, she closed her eyes and pressed her bloodstained palms to the altar, and said the words that had come to her in a dream, though she was no seer: “Tzakaw muwan.” Summon the hawk.

A detonation rocked the room. Water splashed the walls and the footpath, and the sound of ripples turned to thin screams coming from the carved onlookers, who hadn’t moved, yet somehow seemed to gape in awe.

She turned, knowing what she would see.

He stood opposite her, at the edge where the stone and the water met. His eyes bored into hers, hard and intense and no-nonsense. He wore combat gear, with his black shirt unbuttoned at the top to show a glint of gold. He was Nate, yet not, just as she was Alexis, yet not.

She was the smoke and he was the hawk. And that was all that really mattered as his eyes darkened and he strode toward her, his intent as clear as the need inside her...



How did you become interested in Mayan mythology?

That goes back to when my parents used to take me down to the Yucatan and go ruin ratting. That was just before Cancun really became a tourist destination, so it wasn’t too expensive. It was also back before many of the big ruins were closed to the public, so I got to climb up inside El Castillo at Chichen Itza, dangle my toes over the edge of the sacrificial cenote, and generally immerse myself in the ruins. Those experiences stuck with me for a long time, although my occasional ‘gee, I’d like to be an archaeologist’ thoughts got lost amidst my other interests. Then one day I stumbled on a reference to the Maya long count calendar, and how it would end on 12/21/2012. That totally reawakened my early interest in the Maya, and became a series proposal!

How closely do you adhere to the myths, and how much do you embroider?

Because I needed to be able to deviate from the historical record in places, and because the Maya are a living culture, I conceived the Nightkeepers as the remnants of an older, magic-wielding culture that lived with the ancient Egyptians, then the ancient Maya (accounting for some of the apparent cultural similarities between the two groups). Thus, while the Nightkeepers’ myths aren’t exactly the same as those of the Maya, they’re largely parallel and consistent in feel. Both groups worship their ancestors, use blood sacrifice and sex as channels to reach their gods, and revere sacred foods such as chocolate and maize. However, the Nightkeepers’ religion places far more emphasis on the power of mated pairs- and the magic inherent in lovemaking- than the Maya did.


Our regular visitors know I really love super-heroes, and your Nightkeeper magi seem to be in that tradition. Did you make conscious choices to make them that way, or did they just sort of evolve?

I’d say the answer to that is “yes” and “yes.” LOL! I’m a sucker for a super-hero, too, particularly the ones that start off as everyday people. I wanted to write about people like you and me who got ‘that call’… you know, the one where your (adopted) parent says, “Um, you know those stories I told you when you were a kid? Well, they’re true, you’re one of the people in them, and you’ve got four years to save the world.” So in that way, yes, I set out to write about a group of super-heroes. But in so many other ways, the stories evolved out of the Maya tradition, and the momentum that the characters themselves built as I started writing.



Which heroine and heroine would you say have the darkest romantic conflict?

I’d say that each of the characters and their romantic conflicts have some very dark aspects. Because balance is an important part of the Maya tradition, each of the mated pairs is a complex mix of light and dark that balances out when they come together despite their obstacles. Of the books that are finished so far, SKYKEEPERS (coming August 09) is easily the darkest, due to the nature of the hero’s past, and the sacrifices he’s asked to make. But I know for certain that at least one, maybe two of the future books will take it even further than that as we get closer to 2012 and things start spiraling.


Which character do you think has the hardest road to travel, if you can tell us that without giving anything away?

I’d like to think that each of the characters has, for them, the hardest road to travel. When dealing with a nine-book story arc, with each book focusing on a different hero and heroine, I think it’s important that although the larger stakes need to increase from book to book, the stakes for each hero/heroine pair have to be the absolute highest for them, personally, in their book. And that means giving them the hardest decisions possible for their personal circumstances.

The Final Prophecy series is very different from your other books, Harlequin Intrigues. Tell us about those.

Glad to! My Intrigues are almost always science-based, either medical suspense or forensic procedural, often inspired by my own lab experiences. Because I’m the sort of reader who loves coming away from a book feeling as though I’ve learned something, I generally explore a cool aspect of science in each Intrigue. I try not to lecture - and my editors make sure I don’t! - but I also try to include interesting details that the reader might not have known going into the story.

What are you working on now, and what are your long-range plans?

I’m working on the fourth ‘Keeper book as we speak. Signet just bought books four through six- yay! And assuming sales are good enough for them to continue with the series (fingers crossed), there will be three more after that, bringing us up to the final battle at the end of 2012!


Do you have any upcoming signings where our visitors might meet you?

My upcoming signings are: Feb 7, Farmington, CT; Feb 14, Millbury, MA; and Mar 28, Framingham, MA, as part of a major multi-author signing run in conjunction with the New England RWA conference. More deets on all of the above are on my website: www.JessicaAndersen.com/.

Readers, what’s your favorite kind of epic tale? Do you expect an apocalypse, as so many cultures foretell, or not? If you were going to visit the world of a particular culture’s myths, which culture would you choose?

Jessica's giving a signed copy of Dawnkeepers to a randomly chosen commenter!

Don't forget, the Romance Bandits are blogging on RNTV all week! We've written vignettes and are giving away prizes. After you comment here, pop over and join us.

110 comments:

Louisa Cornell said...

I love a good epic tale of redemption. Something where the least likely hero saves the day. I love just about any epic with good characters who I can cheer for and cry with as they struggle. I don't believe too much in an end of time apocalypse. I would like to believe that the human race will figure it all out before it is too late and that we will continue in some form or another for all time.

Virginia said...

GR are you going to be at my house again!

Louisa Cornell said...

Yipeee!!! The GR is coming to Bama! He picked the perfect day because it is supposed to be really nice tomorrow. Now, if I can just get him and Frodo to be really nice to each other!

Virginia said...

Missed him by a feather! Congrats Louisa on nabbing that rooster!

Louisa Cornell said...

Hmm. I would have to say that I would want to visit the culture or King Arthur, the Once and Future King. Their end of time tales are a little nicer with Arthur returning to bring about a time of brotherhood and chivalry once more.

As a Native American I have studied much of my ancestors mythology and I find it fascinating. How cool was it to grow up running around Mayan ruins, Jessica? Wow! And I love the sound of the world you've created.

In my ancestors religion when you die you go to the edge of a great chasm. On the other side is the Great Spirit and every animal you have encountered in your life. The animals decide if you are worthy to cross over. If you aren't, you fall into the chasm and continue to fall for all time never to be in the presence of another creature. Complete separation from man, God and the animals. Now THAT would be Hell. That's why I try not to kill any bugs unless I have to. With my luck I'll end up on the other side of the chasm from a herd of ticked off cockroaches!

Elyssa Papa said...

I've heard so many great things about this series. I definitely want to read these books!

Jessica, can you tell us anything about how you received "the call?"

Treethyme said...

I've been hearing a lot of good things about these books, but that excerpt just convinced me to order them. I don't know if my TBR pile will be able to stand the weight of more books: Must. Read. Faster.

Virginia said...

Welcome to the lair Jessica, and congrats on your new release!! You books sound very intriguing. I would love to read them.

I don't much believe in the end of time apoclaypse. Because I think man kind has the knowledge to keep this world going. I think we will persevere. Things are really hard right now, but I want to believe that we will pull through it all.

Nancy said...

Louisa, you got the bird! Congratulations.

Virginia--you were close!

Louisa, if I may suggest--put Frodo in charge of the bird. That will keep him out of trouble. Maybe.

Nancy said...

Louisa, I hope we'll figure it out, too. I'd like to think we'd save ourselves from monumentally self-destructive stupidity.

In Jessica's world, it isn't humans who're causing the apocalypse. It's a celestial alignment, which is a way cool thought, to me, as long as it's make-believe. Though there are some humans working to bring it about.

Nancy said...

Treethyme wrote: Must. Read. Faster.

LOL! I'm with you there, Treethyme! That pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I'm hoping that when school is out in May, I can hunker down and read some of the wonderful books that've been waiting their turn.

Of course, I'll go to RWA this summer and learn about more wonderful books. And probably buy some. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Elyssa, thanks for stopping in. Jessica will be joining us later in the day. I'd like to hear her call story, too.

Nancy said...

Virginia wrote: I think we will persevere. Things are really hard right now, but I want to believe that we will pull through it all.

I like to think so, too. I do enjoy reading about imaginary catastrophes, though, especially if there's a struggle to prevent them. These books have people working to prevent the apocalypse and others working to bring it about. Which I thnk is cool, because I think every hero needs a worthy adversary.

And there's magic--y'all know I'm a sucker for that! *g*

Natalie Hatch said...

I have been waiting for this series. The whole Mayan calendar, prophecy, end of the world disaster zone is just too terrific not to read. I note that our lovely Gerard Butler is supposed to star in a movie '2012' based on the Mayan theory of the end of the world. Now that'll be worthwhile watching. Purely for research purposes of course.
Jessica thanks so much for answering our questions. Mine is with all the demands you had as a research scientist how did you find time to write?

Nancy said...

Louisa, it's always nice to meet another Arthur fan! When I went to England as a student in 1976, we went to Tintagel. The guidebook said archaeologists had discovered the ruins of a monastery but nothing consistent with Arthurian legend. Disappointing, but not unexpected, and the ruins were cool.

Our family went back there several years ago. In the interim, a lightning strike had burned off a lot of the peat on the headland. And what should be under it but the stronghold of a 6th century nobleman of great wealth? One who traded with distant lands.

How cool is that? *g*

In the golden retriever rescue program where we got our dogs, they talk about the rainbow bridge that dogs and humans cross over after they die, and they always say humans who work in rescue are met at the rainbow bridge by the dogs they've helped and loved. I wonder if that saying was inspired by that concept of judgment at a chasm by the Great Spirit and the animals.

Nancy said...

Natalie--a Gerard Butler movie about 2012? What fun research!

Jessica will be along later in the day. The time question is a good one. I'll be interested in her answer, too.

jo robertson said...

Welcome to the Lair, Jessica! Your Nightkeepers series sound amazing and intriguing. I really enjoyed the excerpt you posted.

Great interview, Nancy. I like the questions you ask.

With a PhD in genetics, what kind of work did you do before launching your writing career?

I love those old epics of Homer, of the hero's journey on a grand, mythic scale.

danie88 said...

Hi Jessica!

Another great series to add to my wishlist! I'm LOVING the covers as well!

I honestly couldn't pick just one specific time period or culture because I'd honestly like read an epic tale about all of them. Does that make sense? I'm a pro at confusing people lol

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Louisa, hon, he hasn't been to visit you for ages, has he? Well done!

Jessica, welcome to the lair! Nancy, fantastic questions as ever. I know you've been raving about these books forever. More for the TBR pile - sighs. But smiles too!

Jessica, huge congratulations on all the buzz for the books. I've heard nothing but good stuff wherever I've gone about these. And how clever to use the Mayan myths. I love the sound of you as a little girl crawling around all those ruins. What an amazing opportunity for you!

limecello said...

Congrats on the Gr, Louisa!
Thanks for visiting with us today, Jessica! I loved your post.
As for the epic tale... hm - I haven't read any in a while. I don't "require" the "threat of [an] apocalypse," but do see how it adds a lot of drama. And of course it's something that everyone has thought of - and can some what relate to. Although - now that I think about it - all epic tales seem to mention it. The difference is - is the end a bit further away, or does it seem eminent?
I'm definitely interested in your series and plan on checking it out :)

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Jessica - Welcome to the lair.
I visited some of the Mayan ruins about five years ago - such a throw back in time. One does get an amazing sense of power when you climb to the top of the stone structures. I have one of those circular Mayan calendars in my bedroom, though I don't know how to read it. THe Nightkeepers is already in my TBR pile. Sounds like I'll have to shift it higher in the stack.

Helen said...

Congrats Louisa it is a while since he visited you isn't it have fun with him and watch the car keys

Great interview Jessica and Nancy and the books sound really good I do love reading books that are part of a series.

Searching the ruins sounds fasinating must have been lots of fun.

I don't think much about an apocalypse I agree with what Louisa has says and as for another culture I would like to visit over the years I have read a lot of westerns with Indians in them and I have really enjoyed them and would like to learn more about their myths and culture.

Have Fun
Helen

Jane said...

Hi Jessica,
Congrats on the new release. If I were to visit the world of a particular culture’s myths I would choose Egypt. The ancient Egyptians have always fascinated me with their beliefs of the afterlife and ritual practices.

Congrats on the GR, Louisa.

Marisa O'Neill said...

For those of you who haven't picked up this series - I say, what are you waiting for? It's one of my favorites.

Jessica I'm so excited that books four through six are sold, YEAH! That's great.

My favorite kind of epic tale is very much like the Novels of the Final Prophecy. One phone call and your world changes and you have to save it. Bringing together a group of people to fight the worst evil in the world and in so doing finding their own strengths. One of the many things I love about this series is that both the men and women are strong warriors and meet each challenge with courage. They may grumble a bit, they may question, they may even be a bit afraid - but when it comes to the hammer hitting the nail, they do the right thing. I love the inner struggle of the characters and their courage.

Caren Crane said...

Jessica, welcome to the Lair! Your books about the Mayan prophecies sound fascinating. I've been intrigued by them since we went to Chichen Itza. I was, frankly, appalled by how they let people climb the pyramids and generally lay hands and feet on such ancient artifacts that should be preserved, but that's a rant for another day. *g*

The prophecies themselves and the Mayan culture are such dense stories with so many unknowns. I think it's great your parents were ratting about the ruins before others discovered them. What an ideal research situation for a fertile young mind!

I will be checking out all your books for sure. Plus, (whispers) I kind of like all the historical detail and scientific tidbits. Ssh! I know editors believe most readers don't - and maybe they don't! - but I do. I find books that do more than scratch the surface infintely interesting.

Then again, I sort of write fluff. Hm. I suppose I would have to KNOW things before I could put them in books. Too bad!

Louisa, congrats on nabbing the Golden Rooster and taking him back to his home of origin for the day!

Jessica Andersen said...

Louisa- congrats on the GR! :)

I love the idea of giving the animals the choice of whether or not the dead can cross over. That seems very... fair, somehow.

Lousia and Virginia (re the end date)- Interestingly, there are two lines of thought on the meaning of the 12/21/2012 end date: One says that it means the end of time itself, i.e. the big Game Over. The other says it marks the shift of humanity from the fifth galactic cycle (that in which 'mankind will turn away from the gods and worship machines'), to a more global, eco-friendly consciousness. Whether or not one believes in the symbolism, I think it's a nice idea to hope we're moving toward a better tomorrow.

Jessica Andersen said...

Elyssa- hi, and thanks for asking aboot how I got 'the call' :)

I My first Intrigue, Dr. Bodyguard, arose from a spotlight at RWA national (in Dallas, maybe?), where the senior Intrigue editor talked about wanting cutting-edge stories. She said, “Give me high-tech, give me DNA, give me something I can sink my teeth into!” I sat up and thought, "I can do DNA!" So I went home and started writing a story set in a gene-mapping lab very like the one where I did my doctoral work (remember, write what you know!). I was so excited about the story that I fired off a query letter when the book was about a third of the way done. And got a rejection letter when it was two-thirds done. Le sigh.

But I kept going and finished the book, sure that this was the story that was finally going to sell. I was finaling in good contests and knew that I was close, but just needed that right timing/right editor/good karma moment. So even though Intrigue had already rejected the story, I went to a local conference and pitched it to the attending editor from Harlequin. She got a gleam in her eye as I pitched, and when I was done she told me to send the full, immediately.

Two weeks later, the phone rang, and when I answered, the editor identified herself. My first response? "Oh, do you need another copy of the book?" [I figured they'd spilled coffee on it, or it got mangled in the mail.]

She said, "Um... no. I'm buying it."

Dead silence.

She again, "Do you want me to give you ten minutes and call back?"

LOL!

Jessica Andersen said...

Treethyme- Thank you! I hope you do pick up the books. I love, love, love this series and am glad the excerpt resonated! I write the books I want to read- lots of running and screaming, plot, research. . . and hot sex :)

Natalie Hatch- I write full-time these days, but keep myself current (or actually ahead of the curve) in the world of science by editing scientific journal articles part-time for an Australian-based company. Because I have both writing and science skills, I often work on articles written by scientists who are not native English speakers, or that have been translated from another language by a non-scientist translator. I really love the work, as it keeps another part of my brain working alongside the fiction part :)

Nancy- I totally thought of the Rainbow Bridge poem when I saw Louisa's post. There's another version of the poem that talks about the power of an animal rescuer to bring abandoned animals across the bridge, too. Both of them tear me up- and those who know me in person know that's not an easy thing to do!

jo robertson- Hi, and thanks for asking! During my PhD work and for about a year after, I worked at the New England Eye Center, helping map genes for different types of glaucoma. When I left the lab, I taught horseback riding and edited journal articles (see above) to make the bills while trying to launch my writing career. These days I still edit, because I'd miss the science too much if I didn't!

Jessica Andersen said...

danie88- thanks for the welcome! And OMG I love the covers, too. The one for the August book is absolutely smoking!

Annna- hi, and thanks for the shout out! The Maya themes in the book were a perfect fit for me, because the research has become as much a hobby as part of the job :)

limecello- yes, I think lots of epic tales have some sort of larger threat, whether to a village (Beowulf comes to mind) or the world at large. It certainly helps propel the action when there are larger-than-life stakes!

Donna- Thanks for stopping in, and I hope you love the books when they make it to the top of the TBR pile!

Helen- I'm happy you enjoyed the excerpt! I'm with you on being very interested in the native cultures of the US- there are some very cool parallels between the Maya myths and those of the Hopi, which I'm hoping to touch on in later books. I also love thinking about whether parallels between different cultures come from actual contact, a collective unconscious, or ??

Beth said...

Welcome to the lair, Jessica. Thanks for sharing that fantastic excerpt and telling us about your wonderful series! I can't wait to get my hands on the first two books *g*

Is it difficult to keep track of so many characters, their backgrounds and current storylines? Any tips on organization when writing a series?

Thanks for the great interview, Nancy!

Jessica Andersen said...

Jane- I'm so with you on finding ancient Egypt fascinating! There's a fair bit of Egyptology built into the Nightkeepers' world (see above re: cultural exchange). If you're interested, there's a short story set in ancient Egypt that's posted on my website (http://www.jessicaandersen.com/background/the-nightkeepers/winikin/). I'll get even deeper into that mythology in the August book. Love it!

Marisa- Hugs, hon!! I don't have much to add to your post, 'cause I'm right there with you :)

Caren- LOL on liking details in your romance novels- your secret is safe with me! I've been blessed with the perfect editors for this series- they pretty much said, "Put in all the detail you want, and we'll help you pull it back to readability." They also warned that this is the sort of series that will attract smart fans who'll gleefully nitpick, so I'd better have my facts right and my rules consistent. So that's been one of my big goals- to let the characters tell their stories, but make sure the little things are all nailed down!

Gillian Layne said...

Way to go, Louisa! :)

I am a huge fan of connected stories, so your books sound delicious, Jessica. Would you care to share your writing process with us? Do you write start to finish on your rough draft, or polish as you go along?

Thanks for sharing your stories with us! :)

Jessica Andersen said...

Beth- Hi, and thanks for asking! I'd say that on one level it's tough tracking so many characters and storylines, and on another it's easy... and I think which details fall into which categories might depend at least partly on how your brain works. (?)

I'm terrible with names and faces. Truly terrible. I'm constantly reintroducing myself to people I met twenty minutes earlier, that sort of thing. But once I've connected a person to our conversation/email exchange/shared experience, etc., I'll remember everything about that interaction, even years later.

So for me, because the Nightkeepers, winikin and humans in the series are real, tangible people, I have no trouble keeping track of what's going on in their lives at any given moment of a story, because for me they exist. They're people whose lives intersect with mine.

However, I'm forever blanking on names and the nitpicky details of their descriptions. For those things, I've got a binder with pictures and stats for each character. And (thank the gods) I've got great copyeditors who have developed style sheets of their own that track me and make sure I don't blow it.

I will say that the deeper I get into the stories, the more I fear mistakes. To that end, I've recently taken on a couple of very smart fans of the series to act as beta readers.

Jessica Andersen said...

Gillian- Happy Monday :)

Re: the writing process, I'd say it varies a bit with each book, but in general, I write a ten page or so outline, then write the first two hundred or so pages of the book. Then I throw out those two hundred pages and write a different two hundred pages. Then I write another hundred pages, and go back and rewrite the first two hundred pages based on what I've learned about the characters and story from that middle hundred (and the beginning I already threw out). By that point, I'm usually about two weeks away from my deadline, so I panic and write the last three hundred pages in a twenty-hour-a-day blind panic (my manuscripts are usually around six hundred pages, 200k words on a first pass). Then I ship it off to my editors. Nightkeepers required several rounds of revisions. Dawnkeepers was accepted almost exactly as it was turned it. Skykeepers (the August book) required two major revisions. Have I mentioned how much I love my editors???

It's really a terrible process, but I can't seem to do anything to change it. As I'm now starting book four, I've got a really good outline and a really solid idea of what should happen in the book, so I'm hoping I can just write it front-to-back with some sort of calmness. But probably not :)

Kirsten said...

Jessica,

thanks for visiting and sharing so much about your series and your writing process! I am working on book two of a series (i've only sold books 1 and 2, but it's a three book series in my mind!) and my mind is absolutely BOGGLING at trying to keep nine book straight. Nine. Wow. The hardest part to me sounds like keeping that tension escalating through all the books. You must be a true master of your craft! :-)

I'm not sure what popular culture's world I'd visit, but it probably wouldn't be one that had a lot of bloodletting or an apocalypse in it. Probably more like a Buddhist place of calm and peace. ;-) But a fascination with mating sounds all right. I'd be okay with that. LOL.

Thanks for visiting! Good luck in the future with the rest of your books! Here's to the sale of books seven through nine!

Di R said...

Jessica,

I love, Love, LOVE this series!
The characters leap off the page and drag me along for an amazing ride.
I am eagerly awatiting Skykeeper

Di

Nancy said...

Jo, glad you like the interview! And the excerpt. What comes after the excerpt is way cool, too!

Nancy said...

Danie, aren't those covers fabulous? Very evocative. You may remember I loved Greek mythology as a child. That interest has broadened as I've gotten older, and I love epics set in different cultures, too.

I like the way these books blend contemporary society with the mythological underpinnings of the epic.

Nancy said...

Anna, glad you liked the interview! As for the TBR pile--you're a major contributor to it, you know, with the authors you recommend.

Frankly, I've given up ever getting it under control. I think the dh has, too. *sigh*

Nancy said...

limecello wrote: I haven't read any in a while. I don't "require" the "threat of [an] apocalypse," but do see how it adds a lot of drama.

I think it raises the stakes. Most epic fantasy has a cataclysmic consequence if the heroes don't succeed. Or at least, the ones I've read. I think that's what sets it apart from traditional fantasy. I read a lot of fantasy and SF that doesn't have that cataclysmic threat, too.

Gillian Layne said...

Jessica, thanks for the reply! A two-hundred page toss, eh? I'm pretty sure the Banditas keep an stash of chocolate around here for those kind of writing emergencies. :)

Nancy said...

Donna, I envy you getting to visit those sites. I'd love to see them someday. I occasionally buy Archaeology magazine, and they've published some articles about the Aztecs, Maya, and Olmecs that were really interesting.

Nancy said...

Helen wrote: I have read a lot of westerns with Indians in them and I have really enjoyed them and would like to learn more about their myths and culture.

Have you read any of Tony Hillerman's mysteries, Helen? He died last year, but his Navajo detectives won acclaim and so accurately portrayed the culture that he was officially designed a Friend of the Navajo Nation.

Glad you liked the interview--and the reminder about the GR and the keys was timely!

Nancy said...

Jane, I've always found ancient Egypt fascinating. The whole ritual of mummification and saving the organs (eeew, but interesting conceptually) and furnishing the tomb for the afterlife is intriguing. And the pyramids are way cool. I hope to see them for real someday.

Nancy said...

Marisa wrote: Bringing together a group of people to fight the worst evil in the world and in so doing finding their own strengths.

If a book is structured around this kind of situation, I'm usually on my way to the cash register with it. A group of heroes covering each other's backs while fighting against the greatest odds will grab me every time.

The comic book I most loved as a child, The Legio of Super-Heroes, featured an ensemble of super-heroes struggling to save the galaxy, and the adventures I most treasured were multi-part epics, unusual for the industry way back when, with the fate of humanity in the balance. Stargate SG-1 has the same motif. So does Star Wars.

I do love them all!

Nancy said...

Uh, that's Legion of Super-Heroes. Aargh! I hate not spotting an error until I hit "send." Or, as here, "publish."

Jessica Andersen said...

Kirsten- Thanks for the kind words! Yes, there's definitely a challenge to ramping up the stakes and action continuously throughout a longer story arc, but I think the main thing to focus on is making each story the biggest and best it can be. I try very hard not to set a cool scene aside, thinking 'I should use that in another book and do something smaller here.' Instead, I work to make each book the absolute highest stakes for those two characters at that moment in time. Then I challenge myself to take it even further in the next book!

Happy writing, and good luck finishing book 2 and selling book 3!

Di R- THANK YOU :)

Gilliane- you're very welcome! And yes, chocolate is always a good thing! [It's actually a focus of the August book, as chocolate originated in Mesoamerica and was a large part of Maya ritual.] It definitely hurts to chuck that much work, but I seem to be one of those writers who spends a lot of time figuring out what *doesn't* work for a given story and set of characters, before I figure out what *does* work. Le sigh.

Nancy- I'm with you on the mummification thing. To malaprop Brendan Fraser from The Mummy: "For the record... when I die, don't sign me up for mummification."

Pat Cochran said...

As I age and near my own personal
"end time," I find that reading
about end times is not as special
as I had thought. Yet, I try to keep an open mind and the King Arthur tales are favorites. Since I am descended from indigenous peoples of Mexico (exactly which I don't know), it might be nice to read something based on the Maya. This sounds very interesting!

Pat Cochran

Minna said...

If you were going to visit the world of a particular culture’s myths, which culture would you choose?

The Finnish culture, obviously. And Sami. But I'm also interested in the Celtic myths and Native American myths.

Adiemus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXpulL9ZXGU

Enigma - Return to innocence
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JpJjsHgYHA&feature=related

Beyond The Invisible
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMI67lbz0Qc&mode=related&search=

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Jessica and welcome to the Bandit Lair! Wow, what a great premise for a series. Nancy you are ALWAYS getting me in troublewith the TBR pile. I'm betting if I go to B&N and pick up The Nightkeepers, I'll be back to get the second book before the week's out.

Drat.

Jessica, these books sound fab. Your Intrigues sound really great too. I was LOL about your response to the Harlequin editor.

Do you find it challenging to write short for Intrigue and write long for the ST series, or do the stories dictate for you? :>

Louisa, congrats on the GR!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jessica, forgot to say a huge CONGRATS on the sale of the remainder of the series! Wheeeee! :>

flchen1 said...

Hi, Jessica!! I agree with Louisa--I can't resist a good tale of redemption. Those are so hopeful, even when it all seems so grim!

I do expect an apocalypse, but I don't think we know the time, unlike how some myths predict. It's fascinating to see how many different foretellings exist though. And I loved reading those big books of cultural myths as a kid--Hawaiian ones with Pele and the others sound like a great setting to explore :)

Christie Kelley said...

Welcome to the lair, Jessica. Your books sound fantastic and just what I need right now.

I'll have to find some time to hit Borders soon.

Joan said...

Hi Jessica! Welcome to the Lair!

Your series sound fabulous (Um, there aren't any flying monkeys are there? {Looks anxiously around}

I'd like to visit Iron Age Ireland. The whole Celtic culture fascinates me but the particulars of Eire even more so.

Love me some Celtic warriors!

Keira Soleore said...

Jessica, welcome, welcome to The Lair. This is my first introduction to you and your books, and my gosh, I am fascinated!!

As a fan of Nostradamus (in various translations), I love this apocalyptic stories, because the external event cannot be averted and is largely out of human control. This brings out the best and worst in people.

What a fabulous way to write a world-building story that a historical as well as a contemporary. Wow!! The ancient Mayans had developed such a complex, intricate culture that I feel as if the onion on them is only half peeled yet; there are layers more to go to get to the core.

I'm a huge fan of Icelandic sagas, Indian mythology, and Irish myths. So your books will hit just the right spot. I've added them to my list.

Thanks, Nancy and Vrai for introducing me to this fabulous set of stories and a new writer.

Louisa dear, don't take the GR to work with you, OK? Your clients might not appreciate rooster prints on their frostings.

Jessica Andersen said...

Pat- hi, and thanks for checking in! I will say that although the overarching series premise is the Nightkeepers defending against the apocalypse, each individual story is more about the hero and heroine of that story achieving a smaller, more personal goal, finding true love, and growing into themselves within the new paradigm they've been dropped into (i.e. 'guess what... you're a mage and you need to save the world!'). Nightkeepers is (for me, anyway) has a strong theme of fatherhood, whether of blood or circumstance.

Which isn't to say that you'd necessarily love the stories if you're not into end of the world books! But (in my humble opinion) each story has more than just that one goal and character arc :)

Minna- some of the Finnish myths are *very* cool.

Jeanne- I hope you do check out the books (though LOL on the TBR issue), and thanks for the congrats on selling books 4-6!

Re: the question of writing both Intrigues and these big books, last year was a *very* tough twelve months for me, as I turned in four Intrigues and two Final Prophecy books, which works out to be more than 2000 polished manuscript pages, not counting the hundreds of pages of garbage I threw out. Not. Doing. That. Again.

That being said, I really enjoy the differences between the books. My writing voice is (imho) similar between the two, with lots of action and detail, but obviously the level of story differs between the two, given that the Intrigues are about a third the length of the FP books. It's fun to start an Intrigue and know I'll have a finished product relatively quickly. But at the same time, I love starting a Final Prophecy book and knowing I get to spend a few months with the characters and storylines I love best :)

flchn1- hi back! I would totally buy books based on the Hawaiian myths of Pele. When are you going to start??

Christie- thanks for the shout out, and I hope you do check out the books, and love them!

Joan- hi, and thanks for enjoying the interview! Nope, no flying monkeys, I promise. And no clowns, either (shudders at own personal horror). LOL :)

Keira Soleore said...

Minna, I'm displaying my ignorance here.... but did the Finns (the Ugric ancients) also develop mythological worlds and stories of heroism and derring-do? If so, could you point me to some English translations? Thanks!

Minna said...

Louisa, I just have to ask: are you familiar with the story about how bear lost his tail?

Jessica Andersen said...

Keira- thanks for the welcome! Our tastes sound very similar. If you haven't already, you might want to check out the History Channel specials on the 2012 doomsday; they talk about how several different lines of evidence (pieces of the I Ching, several mathematical patterns, a web-mining program, etc.) all coincide at 12/21/2012. I find it all very cool (as y'all might have guessed... lol).

Minna said...

Derring-do? That's a new word for me. Ok, about the mythological worlds...

Minna said...

Well, in Kalevala you can find for instance Tuonela, Lintukoto and Pohjola.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalevala
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_mythology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Paganism
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/kveng/

Minna said...

http://virtual.finland.fi/Arts_Entertainment/

Literature
Kalevala – The Finnish National Epic
Kalevala – from myth to symbol
Kanteletar

Nancy said...

Caren, you went to Chichen Itza? How cool!

I know what you mean about the touching thing. It amazes me how many people will touch historic monuments. The first time I went to Stonehenge, the guards were fighting a losing battle against people in our tour group (Americans, sad to say) letting their kids CLIMB on the fallen stones!

These books are definitely intricate and, as you must've figured from Jessica's description, meaty. But they move fast.

Too fast with Skykeepers not due until August! *grumble*

Nancy said...

Jessica wrote: The other says it marks the shift of humanity from the fifth galactic cycle (that in which 'mankind will turn away from the gods and worship machines'), to a more global, eco-friendly consciousness.

This sort of evokes Tolkien's Age of Elves ending, making way for the Age of Men. I like the idea of cycles, especially if each rises farther than the one before.

p226 said...

I suppose there might be an apocalypse around the corner. Though if it happens in 2012 it'll be an interesting coincidence. But I'll leave my reasoning for my suppositions off the table, as I have a lot of opinions on geopolitics, and some of them are quite unpopular. And beyond that, the Lair here isn't really a place where I want to talk politics of any sort.

However, my favorite epic reads have significant hints of geopolitics in them. In LOTR for example, the politics between the various races and kingdoms play heavily in the tale. Ancient alliances and rivalries are a huge part of the way the books flow and come together.

Another epic read is Dune. Dune weaves amazingly complex layers of galactic politics. Sure, Star Wars touches on it, but nothing like Dune. And Dune doesn't drive towards an apocalypse so much as a massive, sweeping socio-religious revolution. One could easily parallel Herbert's work by describing it as painting the flow to a galactic caliphate as inevitable. Very interesting food for thought, that.

I've never really thought about what mythic world I'd be interested in visiting. In so many of the mythos, the characters are diety. So to visit such a world, one might not want to do so as a mortal, no? You might just find out that you're crunchy when fried and taste good with ketchup.

Minna said...

Tolkien:
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngbeyond/

Christine Wells said...

Wow! Jessica, welcome to the Lair and Nancy, thanks so much for introducing Jessica's writing to us. That excerpt just blew me away.

Hmm, I love Greek epics like The Odyssey, where man pits his wits against all kinds of foe. I think it would be both electrifying and terrifying to live in the world of Greek myth. If the gods promise to be kind to me, though, I'd give it a try:)

Woohoo on the bird, Louisa! I wonder if he's managed to steal some Tim Tams from Helen to bring you.

PJ said...

Welcome, Jessica! That was a terrific interview, Nancy.

Jessica, I've heard so many good things about this series and now that I've read your interview and the excerpt I'm even more excited about reading the books.

The culture of the Maya fascinates me. They were such an advanced civilization. How lucky you were to have made all those trips to the Yucatan. I've been to a lot of the Aztec sites in Mexico but haven't made it to the Yucatan...yet.

Joan said...

I promise. And no clowns, either (shudders at own personal horror). LOL :)

Well, you did it. You displaced my aversion to flying primates with something more horrifying!

Clowns!

Shudder

Nancy said...

Beth, glad you liked the interview!

Re: your question on organizing series--that's something that always impresses me, how authors can create such a complex world in the first place and then keep track of it. No matter what tools they use, it's a feat, imho.

MsHellion said...

I'm with Louisa--I love epic tales of redemption.

I'm so happy to have discovered this series: it has the paranormal-contemporary setting I love to read, but it feels fresh and new. (Okay, so I'm a little tired of vampires and witches. I'm sorry.) I love Jessica's voice in these novels; and they're very well paced and well-developed! Keep them coming!

Nancy said...

Jessica, thanks for sharing your call story! It's great.

You wrote to Caren: They also warned that this is the sort of series that will attract smart fans who'll gleefully nitpick, so I'd better have my facts right and my rules consistent.

I noticed this phenomenon when I was more active in fandom. People who really get into something don't just read or watch it--they learn it. Magic and fantasy elements tend to attract that kind of following.

For example--I still know the call letters for Kirk's Enterprise and Picard's. And the names of Superman's birth parents. *sigh* And their dog. And all three of Supes's "LL" initial girlfriends.

And Gandalf's birth name . . .

Nancy said...

Kirsten wrote: Probably more like a Buddhist place of calm and peace.

I think there are days we all want that, Kirsten. As for your series, I personally would not be at all surprised to see it go beyond three. That happened with Gillian Summers' YA, and it could happen to yours.

Nancy said...

Di R. wrote: I am eagerly awaiting Skykeeper

You and me both, Di! You and me both.

Nancy said...

Gillian, I love connected stories, too. Even if they do make the periodic weeding of the bookcase more difficult!

You wrote: I'm pretty sure the Banditas keep an stash of chocolate around here for those kind of writing emergencies. :)

Oh, we have all kinds of things stashed around here for various kinds of emergencies. ;-) The trick is keeping them away from the rooster on his rare forays into the Lair.

Nancy said...

Jessica wrote: Nancy- I'm with you on the mummification thing. To malaprop Brendan Fraser from The Mummy: "For the record... when I die, don't sign me up for mummification."

I keep meaning to see that movie. I hear it's great. Whether it is or not, I'm with him!

Nancy said...

Pat, I love King Arthur, too. I liked Kinley MacGregor's Lords of Avalon series, even though it's a bit of a darker take on the story--Arthurian and contemporary punk, sort of.

How neat that you're descended from indigenous Mexican peoples!

Nancy said...

Minna, you always come up with cool stuff and interesting references. Thanks!

Nancy said...

Jeanne wrote: Nancy you are ALWAYS getting me in troublewith the TBR pile.

Tough noodles, Duchesse! *g* This is what happens when you hang with people who like the same kinds of books you do. Or, in other words: backatcha! :-)

Nancy said...

By the way, I want to thank everyone who popped over to RNTV to support the invasion. I loved the Monday group's vignettes, and the completion offerings have been wonderful!

Nancy said...

Fedora wrote: It's fascinating to see how many different foretellings exist though. And I loved reading those big books of cultural myths as a kid--Hawaiian ones with Pele and the others sound like a great setting to explore :)

Indeed it does! One of the things I learned from Joseph Campbell (watching him on PBS--I couldn't get into The Hero With A Thousand Faces) is how much commonality so many mytholgies have. Floods, for instance.

Are those big books you mentioned the D'Aulaire ones? I loved those! And went out as an adult and bought them for us to share with the boy.

Nancy said...

Christie--glad to see you out of the cave!

JT wrote: Love me some Celtic warriors!

Do the gladiators know this? Hmm?

Just BTW, my favorite character on Boston Legal, Alan Shore, had a clown phobia. I'd rather take on a clown than a flying money, though.

Nancy said...

Keira, I think we'll both be looking at those sites Minna provided. There was also a National Geographic special on the myths Tolkien used. Can't remember the name, but it's available on DVD.

Nancy said...

p226 wrote, on Dune: One could easily parallel Herbert's work by describing it as painting the flow to a galactic caliphate as inevitable. Very interesting food for thought, that.

It's a fascinating book. I taught it in my SF class last semester. There are also certain parallels with the Middle East in that book. I don't like the sequels as well, but I love Dune. I also admire it, which doesn't necessarily follow.

Nancy said...

Christine, glad you liked the interview! You know I love Greek myths, too. I think that's one reason I'm drawn to the Dark-Hunters, whose Greek gods have little to recommend them.

I read an unusual book last year, Gods Behaving Badly, about the Greek gods in contemporary London. Except for Artemis (much better here than in the Dark-Hunter universe), they aren't very admirable. Or heroic. BTW, that book contains rather a lot of very graphic language, just as a warning to anyone who's interested in the concept. I wasn't prepared for that aspect of the book.

Nancy said...

Minna, thanks for the Tolkien reference.

Nancy said...

PJ, glad you liked the interview!

I envy your trips to all those Aztec sites. I'd love to see those someday.

You didn't go in a hanglider, did you? ;-)

Nancy said...

Ms. Hellion, I'm a little tired of vampires, too, but I'm not the best judge since I've never been a big fan, though there are some vampire novels I like (Sunshine, by Robin McKinley). I'm still up for reading witches if the story has a fresh angle.

Jessica Andersen said...

p226 (and Nancy)- another Dune fan here- the first book, not so much the sequels. Then again, it was probably a given, as I was named after the Lady Jessica... and then raised by parents who would name a kid after a character in Dune.

Christine W- thanks for the shout-out, and for enjoying the interview!

PJ- I'm jealous in the reverse- I've only been to Maya ruins, haven't yet made it north to the Aztec sites. I hope you enjoy the books if you decide to pick them up!

Joan- I'm a huge fan of BONES, and take comfort in the fact that Booth hates clowns.

MsHellion- hi back, and thanks for loving the books! I'll confess that the only vamps I read are my crit partner's. Mostly, I stick to sci-fi, SFR, and the occasional good historical or contemporary by a known author. It's tough for me to read in genres where I'm writing, because I'm either constantly comparing, or afraid of absorbing stuff by osmosis (so to speak).

Susan Sey said...

I'm sorry I'm popping in so late! I just wanted to tell Jessica how excited I am she's in the lair today! I got hooked on the Nightkeepers series when I picked the first one up at RWA's national conference last year, & sat around biting my nails until I could snatch up Dawnkeepers last weekend. I gobbled it up in like two days (no small feat for a stay at home mom who has to hide from her kids if she wants to read for more than two minutes at a time--there's a two year on my leg as I type this) & am now drumming my fingers waiting for book #3.

I'm thrilled to hear Signet ponied up for books 4-6! Yay! Here's hoping they sign on for 7-9, too! I'm always so happy to find a new author whose work I love. Add in a series I can follow & characters I can revisit in each book? Heaven!

Keira Soleore said...

Jessica, I'll definitely look into the History Channel and also, well, google (though I'm sure there's a ton of alarmist junk out there, too).

Minna, thanks a TON for all those Finnish lore links. Happy surfing days are here again. :)

catslady said...

What a fascinating upbringing! I'm pretty open to anything happening - there are so many possibilities (watch the history channel lol) for humans to die off. I think the planet will be here for a while but not so much humans. Your books sound fascinating too.

Patricia Burns said...

The world will not END December 21, 2012.

Even if the seven-year tribulation period of Bible prophecy was to begin tomorrow, seven years would bring us to the year 2016.

From the end of the tribulation period, the world will continue on through the Seven Last Plagues and the Millennium (a thousand years), to finally be destroyed after the battle of Gog and Magog.

If I would venture a guess/speculation of what COULD happen on that specific day (if it has not occurred prior to that date) would be the Sixth SEAL appearance of the Lord with power and majesty (Re.6:12-17).

However, the Scriptures do declare we do not know the day or hour.



Patricia (©) Bible Prophecy on the Web
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BibleProphecy
Author of the self-study aid, The Book of Revelation Explained © 1982

Nancy said...

Jessica--I had no idea you were named after Paul's mother! With that background and these books, you really should go to DragonCon!

Nancy said...

Susan, glad you made it! With your family commitments, I'm truly awed that you could read any book so quickly, let alone one so meaty.

Nancy said...

Keira, I caught the end of one of those specials. I wish I'd seen it.

I tried Google to find material I could use for a class I'm teaching this semester. Many, many hits came up, and it was hard to distinguish, at first glance, the material grounded in scholarship from that grounded in enthusiasm or supposition.

I usually rely on websites ending in .edu or containing university or college names to make that distinction for me, but I couldn't find any in the first several pages of hits. I may have to use the old-fashioned method and go to the university library. *g*

Trish Milburn said...

Jess! I'm so late getting over here today. Too much going on, as usual.

I'm really looking forward to Dawnkeepers. I read Nightkeepers on the train to and from San Francisco last summer. And huge congrats on the newest sales!

Since you're a science gal, I wondered if you watched shows like Fringe and Eleventh Hour and, if so, what you think of them? I've been enjoying both, but then I'm not a scientist. Oh, I see you like Bones. I love that show! I heart David Boreanaz. :)

Nancy said...

Catslady wrote: there are so many possibilities (watch the history channel lol) for humans to die off.

Ain't it the truth? If you spent a lot of time watching the History Channel or NatGeo lately, you'd get the feeling that we're just destined to die off from either meteors or stupidity. Or both. :-)

I miss Josh--Digging for the Truth. I didn't warm to the guys who followed him, and the last one made me nutty because he repeated the program name every third sentence. Y'know--I read it in the opening credits. I can retain information more than 90 seconds. I quit watching altogether because of him.

I hear Josh is on the Discovery Channel these days, but he's not on a program we seem to get.

But I digress. I like that Underground Cities show, sometimes, and am generally into their archaeology programs, though I tend to regard mummies as dead people who don't really need a lot of camera time. I like the ecology shows and some of the ones about engineering feats.

But you didn't really ask about that anyway, did you? :-) Sorry to ramble on.

Nancy said...

Trish--Eleventh Hour, with Rufus Sewell? That's an interesting show. I sort of wish he were more active, though. You know I love kick-butt heroines, but I like the hero to be dashing, too.

Some friends introduced me to a strange little movie called Cold Comfort Farm, which is based on a book. He has a role in that. Not dashing but kind of sweet.

Nancy said...

Keira and Catslady, what I started out to say before I started rambling was that those History Channel documentaries can be very helpful in pointing out academic sources. Which, in turn, help narrow Google searches.

Cassondra said...

Wow, what a party in the lair today! And I MISSED IT! WAH!

I haven't gotten to read through all the comments, but WOW, what a great interview Jessica and Nancy! Jessica, thanks for being our guest in the lair today.

I have to say, Jessica, I'm incredibly envious of your childhood experiences--getting to explore stuff that most of us will never get to see--and explore it in that "kid" way--kids see stuff in different ways, and I think, notice different things than adults notice.

What a great journey you're taking readers on, all because of that childhood interest! I do have a question if it hasn't been answered, though you may have turned in for the night--What was your favorite ruin when you were a kid, and why?

Okay, more books for the TBR pile. *sigh* This never ends! Okay, maybe that's a good thing.
;0)

Nancy said...

Cassondra, late is better than never! Glad you liked the interview. Doesn't all that poking around sound like great fun?

Jessica Andersen said...

Susan- Thank You for loving the books! I really appreciate the note, and am hard at work on the next set of books :)

Keira (and Nancy)- I've got a decently annotated reference list on my website. Pretty much everything listed under the historical references is scholarly or one-off scholarly, while the refs listed under the '2012' heading are a mix of alarmist, spiritual, and hard science.

catslady- thanks for checking in, and I'm with you on the History channel stuff. And I love your screen name!

Trish- Hey girl! Great to see you here :) I have to admit that I haven't gotten caught up in Fringe or Eleventh Hour- not sure why, just haven't totally clicked with me yet. I'm rabid for Bones and the new Battlestar Galactica (like, don't talk to me while I'm watching them, on pain of death), and also like House, Criminal Minds and the Mentalist, along with the History and Discovery channel stuff :)

Cassondra- hi, and I'm glad you made it, even a little lateish! Hmm... I think one of my favorite ruins from a purely 'fun' standpoint would be Xel-ha and nearby Xcaret, which have great snorkeling, caves, hot springs, and such. Or pretty much the entire island of Cozumel.

From an archaeological and mythological standpoint, the main pyramid and sacred well at Chichen Itza are standouts, as is the watchtower at Tulum, way up on the cliff.

Or... well, really, they're all pretty cool as far as I'm concerned. I'd love to get further south next, into Belize if possible.

I'm turning in for the night, but will check in the morning in case there are other questions or comments. But for now, I'd like to extend my most sincere thanks to Nancy for inviting me here today, to Anna for putting us in touch with each other, and to each of you who posted, made me feel welcome, and kept the conversation so lively. Thank you, Banditas!!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I meant to comment on that aspect of things too, Jessica. The image you as a child, prowling through the ruins... :>

Hey Nancy, Rufus Sewel...slurp. Velly nice. Have to confess I agree with you that I'd like him to be more active in 11th Hour. I think that may be coming, though. We'll see. :> Have you seen Fringe?

Nancy said...

Jeanne, I have not seen Fringe. What is it?

Jessica, I'll check that list. Thanks.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Fringe is an odd program about psychic phenomenon, cutting edge research into the mind and body...sort of like 11th hour but edgier, harsher and with a lot higher stakes. :>

Trish Milburn said...

Jess, I love Battlestar Galactica too. Of course, I've been asking, "What the frak?" a lot lately. They've got a lot of questions to answer and problems to resolve in these final 7 episodes.

Trish Milburn said...

Nancy, yes, Eleventh Hour is the one with Rufus Sewell. I've really enjoyed it and Fringe because it deals with these wild science-based cases, fringe science in the case of Fringe.

p226 said...

Then again, it was probably a given, as I was named after the Lady Jessica... and then raised by parents who would name a kid after a character in Dune.

I just wanted to return to say that is .... just pure awesome.

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Jess! Sorry I missed the party yesterday - bad migraine - but wanted to pop in and say hi and rave madly abut all of your books - the Intrigues and your Keepers series. Hope everyone is rushing out and ordering everything you've ever written - because every one of your books is fab!