Debbie: Morning all! Today we are up at the frosty North Pole to talk with Author Judy Dawn about her latest release in her Men of Snow series, Nine Day Rush.
Debbie: Oh, fine. I don’t want you getting hypothermia. I am NOT getting nekkid to keep you warm. Next time have the foresight to bring your own.
LJ: Next time tell me we’re coming to the North Pole, and I will!
Debbie: What part of “We are going where Santa lives” didn’t you understand?
LJ: Well, I didn’t think you were serious. Wait…isn’t that Judy Dawn now?
LJ: Welcome to Garland & Gould! Great to have you here!
JUDY: Thanks, I’m excited to be here talking about my books.
DEBBIE: Yes, welcome. Okay, I want to know right off the bat how the Men of Snow came about! I’ve read several of their stories and love them!
JUDY: I’m glad to hear you’re a fan, the encouragement fuels my creativity. Thank you.
I love the holidays. Not just the events, but the spirit that surrounds them. The spirit of giving, forgiving, celebrating, laughing and loving. Imagine what the world would be if we all practiced kindness, joy, and understanding year long. This interest brought about the Men of Snow concept. I can’t control the world or people, however, I can do my best at reminding everyone that life isn’t so bad. I took a small step. I created the perfect man and a happy ending is guaranteed in every story.
DEBBIE: I think that is a giant step! I am a firm believer that people need to get more of a positive attitude in life and everyone needs a little romance. The holidays are the perfect time to start looking at your life and figuring out what you can do to enrich it and others as well.
LJ: That concept is right down my alley! As a romance author, of course I love happy endings. Throw in the perfet man? And yeah, I’d say you have a winner! So let’s get into the story a bit. The name of the book is Nine Day Rush—very cool title I might add. And the heroine is Jackie. Tell us a little about her. Something the readers might not know.
JUDY: She’s kinda cold and everyone in the town thinks she is stand-off-ish, but she’s literally cold. She’s the daughter of Jack Frost and she doesn’t have all of her powers yet. She’s resigned to the fact that she’s too unique, her future will be a lonely tale.
DEBBIE: Awww, that’s sad.
LJ: (hands Deb a tissue) It is sad.
JUDY: That won’t happen in my book because sad endings aren’t my thing. So, look out Jackie you’re about to get Rushed.
LJ: Whew! I was worried there for a moment. What a great obstacle for her to overcome. She thinks her life is one thing and BAM, it’s gonna change completely! Awesome!
DEBBIE: Woohoo! (hands tissue back to LJ)
LJ: Seriously? You can keep it. (pushes Deb’s hand away) Don’t say I never gave you anything.
DEBBIE: Oh, gee. So generous. I’ll keep it and cherish it forever. Along with all the headaches and bald spots you’ve given me. So, Judy, does Jackie have any secrets?
JUDY: When she’s ice sculpting, she sets out her chainsaw and chisels. The thing you may not know is she never uses them to sculpt.
LJ: Okay wait. I was surprised to hear about the ice sculpting. But the part about not using a chainsaw or chisels blew me away. How does she sculpt then, with a hair dryer and sculpting gel?
DEBBIE: Ummm, she’s Jack Frost’s daughter. Do you think she might be a tad magical?
LJ: Well, she said she didn’t have all her powers yet. She might be chipping at it like a beaver. But yeah, maybe she has a little magic in that department.
DEBBIE: Chipping at it like a beaver. Really?
LJ: Hmm…well big buckteeth weren’t mentioned, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have them.
DEBBIE: What planet do you live on?
LJ: I’ll take that rhetorically since we both know it’s the third planet from the sun. But just to be sure, let’s ask our guest to clarify the heroine issue. (turns to Judy) Give us three words that describe Jackie.
JUDY: Kind, lonely, and onehailofawomanthatisthefutureofwinter. (Yeah, I made up that third word, but I’m a author and that’s my super power!)
DEBBIE: LOL, I love that superpower!
LJ: I have that superpower but it’s a secret. Wait…okay, so it’s not anymore. You should let me use it more in our books, Debbie.
LJ: (bats eyelashes) Of course.
DEBBIE: Oookay. That’s a darn scary thought. (turns to Judy) So what about Rush. What’s he like? His dreams and hopes?
JUDY: Rush has fulfilled his duty as Kringle’s Secret Service. He’s ready to settle down into this life of happiness and he’s nervous about finding his believer in time because he’ll die if he doesn’t. Rush wants a traditional 2.06 children, white picket fence, perfectly normal family. But in my books we celebrate the unique and fantastic.
LJ: There’s a lot to be said for unique and fantastic.
DEBBIE: Oh yeah, you’d know unique.
LJ: And fantastic. Why’d you leave that part out?
DEBBIE: Did I? Huh.
JUDY: It’s a testament to the power of belief and finding happiness even when it’s unexpected.
LJ: I’m liking Rush. Give us three words that describe him.
JUDY: Supportive, Determined, and Sensual.
DEBBIE: Awesome words for the hero.
LJ: When did you start writing?
JUDY: I started writing when I had my kids. Painting and sculpting left a mess around the house and I needed another creative outlet. The next thing I knew, I was hooked.
LJ: I hear that! It’s addictive for sure.
DEBBIE: Let’s give a peek for the reader. What are the first seven sentences of the story? Yep, only seven! LOL
JUDY: Jackie stepped away from the view of the furious snowstorm through her mountain cabin’s second-story window. Her booted steps echoed on the hardwood floors and her determination set with each clop down the stairs. She grabbed her keys from the entry table and swung the front door open.
Crisp air shocked her nostrils. Her cheeks tingled from the icy wind while she hurried to her truck. Huge snowflakes stuck to her eyelashes and on her shoulders. Jackie yanked open the four-wheel drive’s door and climbed inside, kicking her heels on the threshold before settling behind the wheel.
DEBBIE: Brrrr. That made me chilly, lol. I love the snow, but only until January 2nd. Then it can be 70 and sunny.
LJ: If you love warm weather so much, what are we doing at the North Pole then? We could’ve done this interview in Miami.
DEBBIE: Have you never noticed the theme to all our interviews? We go where the story or author dictates we go? Where have you been all this time?
LJ: (shivers) Feel free to break protocol whenever.
DEBBIE: And take away the fun of torturing you. Never.
LJ: I knew it!
DEBBIE: (turns to Judy) What’s your favorite genre to read?
JUDY: I enjoy them all but Romance, Fantasy, and Science Fiction are top on my list.
LJ: An author after my own heart!
DEBBIE: Sorry, still haven’t crossed that Sci-Fi line.
LJ: I’m not done with you yet. Once you cross over, you’ll never go back. It’s very liberating and fun and creative. Now, just let go of the edge of the box you’re clinging to….J
DEBBIE: I am NOT clinging to a box! Sanity maybe, but not a box!
LJ: Wait, when were you ever sane?
DEBBIE: I have my sane moments.
LJ: You keep telling yourself that. So, Judy, your bio says you write magical realism encouraging hope, love, and the pursuit of happiness. Is this something you strive for in your own life?
JUDY: Yes. I’m always on the hunt for positive things and I do my best at paying it forward, adding light to the world. I don’t understand why someone would want to constantly bombard themselves with dark emotions when the world is so bright and free.
LJ: Wow, Judy. I couldn’t agree more. Do you need a writing partner?
DEBBIE: Writing partner sitting right next to you and can hear every word you say.
LJ: But she writes sci-fi!
DEBBIE: Fine, by the time we get done writing ALL the stories we have locked in the recesses of our brains, not to mention the ones we’ve already discussed, you can be her partner.
LJ: Deal! Hmm. Wait a minute….
DEBBIE: Sorry, you said deal! Moving along, Judy, what advice would you give an aspiring author?
JUDY: Never let anyone control your vision or discourage you from following your passion.
DEBBIE: I couldn’t agree more! Judy and I were in an on-line critique group together a looong time ago. It was a great group of supportive writers, but there was one that had nothing but nastiness to say about everyone’s works. Needless to say she didn’t last long.
LJ: (shakes head) I don’t get that. Waste of energy. (clutches mug) Course, you’re always hatin’ on my coffee.
DEBBIE: So coffee is your passion?
LJ: Where have you been?
DEBBIE: I thought it was just your addiction. I thought I was your passion. Well, writing with me anyway.
LJ: (Blink, blink…blink) Judy, epublishing has exploded, but getting your work out there isn’t that easy. What is the most important thing you learned about self-publishing?
JUDY: There are a lot of people who believe and support the dream.
LJ: Good to know! J
What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
JUDY: how did you know my answer?...
QUICKIES- (the real ones this time, lol.)
Winter or summer: HA, Winter for sure.
Hamburger or hot dog: A sloppy, grilled, quarter pounder loaded with everything.
Walk on the beach or hike through the woods: Trees, I must have trees.
4 star restaurant or homemade dinner for two: Depends on who is cooking.
Brussel Sprouts or Lima beans: Occasionally, both.
Red or blue: Absolutely.
Shoulders or butt: A nice butt in a fitted pair of pants-ohlala!
It’s late…Twelve midnight. Time to go night-night. You snuggle in beneath your sheets and comforter for a good night’s sleep. But what doesn’t seem like an hour later, you’re shivering. Half asleep, you reach for your covers but can’t find them. Maybe on the floor? You sit up, and with a yawn, open your eyes. What the—? Where is your bed, your nightstand, your down comforter? Your legs are freezing and your teeth start to chatter. You look down and discover you’re sitting on ice. Glancing around, you see a bucket turned upside down, and four walls of weathered wood with one small window. There’s a hole in the ice next to you. OMG…am I in a fishing shack?
You push to your feet and sit on the bucket. Wow, it’s cold. You wish you’d worn your flannel PJs to bed instead of your Hard Rock Café T-shirt. The water in the hole swirls and you lean over. Is something down there? Thoughts of the movie The Thing flood your mind. You bolt to your feet and try to open the door…but drat, it’s locked. You look toward the window. Nope, to small to break and climb through. You’re trapped. You stare at the water, unable to look away for fear of what might come through that hole in the ice.
A HUGE light gray head pushes up, complete with whiskers and long white tusks. Two flippers flop to the icy surface to hold the immense beast above the water. A walrus? He stares at you with beady black eyes.
“Excuse me,” says the walrus. “But do you know the way to San Jose?”
You blink several times. Those tusks look long and deadly. “Oh, my! You can talk?”
“Well, of course. All walruses can talk…if they feel the need to, or find someone interesting, or as in my case, are in need of directions. So, do you know the way to San Jose?”
“I’d like to help, but I don’t even know where I am myself.”
The walrus snorts—slimy fish snot peppers your bare legs. You jerk at the unexpected icy goo. Ick.
“Helping a walrus with directions is quite an honor. But since you are unable to help, I can’t let you run around telling the world that walruses talk. Why I would be banned from Blubber Con, excluded from my weekly fish soiree, and those nasty little penguins would laugh at me.” A horrible noise erupts from his enormous mouth. “I suppose I should have you as a treat.”
Terrified, you look around and find a bendy straw, a belt, and three frozen minnows. What do you do?
JUDY: I ask the walrus, “How old are you?”
“I’m fifteen, what does that matter?”
For clarity, I ask, “What month is this?”
After a moment of contemplation and emotion control, my challenge is clear. Walruses are typically harmless to humans. I say, “Come here.”
The walrus snorts again. “Excuse me? Did you not hear me?”
I turn the bucket upside right, place the minnows inside, and strap it to my waist with the belt. Straw in my hand, I sit on the ice. “Right here.”
I pat the cold slab next to me. My body trembles with the chill seeping through my thin clothes and into my bones . Anxiety clouds my determination. I shake my head and slap the spot next to me again. “Come sit.”
“I’m not sure I can resist temptation.” The walrus waddled to the spot.
“I’m not sure I can survive the cold, but I believe I can and I’m sure I will because of it.” I offer a smile.
“What are you doing?” His gruff tone rakes down my spine.
I put the straw in my mouth, lie back on the ice, and wait for a moment.
The cold water starts rising from the hole. My body shivers when it pools around me. A hollow echo accompanies the water as it buries me. I fist my hands against growing anxiety while the water lifts my body from the cold slab. Floating to a large hole in the ceiling, I heavily breathe through the straw.
I wiggle my nose, close my eyes, and imagine inner heat protecting me from the cold surrounding me.
An undercurrent twists and turns, I struggle for a brief moment with numbing sensations, and then warmth eases my fears.
I open my eyes. The walrus is swimming next to me. I look in the opposite direction and another walrus approaches us. Continuing to breath through the straw, I unlatch the bucket and swirl water into the container, releasing the minnows towards the second walrus.
The new walrus, cautiously, appreciates the treats and notices my lost companion.
He makes these loud, distinguished noises that vibrate through the water while he swims in a series of flips. Bubbles swirl around him, adding to the show.
The female is impressed and the mating walruses leave together.
After a moment, something snags my clothes. I explode out of the water, through the hole in the roof, with a yanking force. When I settle on a boat, my husband hugs me tightly and says, “Where have you been? I’ve searched everywhere.”
“You’ve found me.” I cuddle closer to his strong chest. “You always find me.”
“It’s pure luck.”
I look up, studying his aged whiskey eyes and say, “It’s not luck. It’s fate. Nothing can come between us.”
“I love you,” he says.
“I love you, too.”
The boat floats towards the sunrise and he warms me from my heart to my soul.
DEBBIE: Awwww. I almost cried.
LJ: Good thing you still have that tissue. (sniff sniff) I should’ve kept it for myself. What a beautiful ending. I say you survived it!!
DEBBIE: Here, don’t say I never gave you anything (hands her the wadded up tissue)
LJ: (tucks in pocket) Hey, I have three boys. I’ve been trained for moments like this. So, Judy, it has been awesome having you here today. You are definitely welcome back anytime!
DEBBIE: Absolutely. We’d love to learn what the Men of Snow are up to next.
LJ: So, where’s our boat back to civilization? I’m freezing and almost out of coffee.
LJ: What? I didn’t know we were coming to the North Pole!
Debbie: YOU DID TOOO!
LJ: Like I said, I didn’t think you were serious. Still, that doesn’t solve how we’re going to get home. Think we can steal—um, borrow a couple of the big guy’s reindeer?
Debbie: I dunno, have you actually seen any yet? Or the fat jolly guy for that matter.
LJ: No. (grabs Deb’s arm) Uhh, Debbie…why is that mound of snow moving?
Debbie: Ummm, the snowman’s watching a porno? How the hell do I know?
|Snowman porno...sorry couldn't resist.|
LJ: (tilts head) Uh, no. I don’t think that’s what you think it is. But I can see how you might mistake it for— OMG! That’s a snout! That mound of snow is a polar bear!
Debbie: Sweet! Wait, polar bears have snouts? What’s a snout anyway? Why can’t people just say nose? You did mean his nose right?
LJ: (grabs Deb’s arm and starts backing away from the bear) Yes, a snout is the projecting nose and mouth on animals. Let’s not get into technicalities. Point is that bear has a lotta pointy teeth and are killers. We’re the only tasty treat on this frozen wasteland.
Debbie: And what do you expect me to do wiggle my nose and blink us back home?
(jing, jing, jing)
LJ: Wait, what’s that noise? (points to the sky) Is that what I think it is?
Debbie: Wow, I never knew Santa’s sleigh was so huge!
LJ: Judy must have told him we needed a ride home.
Debbie: And look at all those reindeer! (frowns) He seems to be coming at us pretty darn fast though.
LJ: Debbie…if I checked at Santa’s lists, would I find your name on Naughty or Nice?
Debbie: Depends on who you ask….
Jackie has a secret.
Magic rules her existence, but she craves a normal life.
She returns to Frost Mountain and chilling rumors separate her from the townspeople.
Then, her eccentric father confesses something that freezes her desire.
Will she accept Rush when he pledges his love to her?
Judy Dawn writes magical realism encouraging hope, love, and the pursuit of happiness. She integrates fantasy into real world environments with romantic elements. Her contemporary Men of Snow stories have thrilled e-readers since 2010 and Amazon placed A Secret Gift on the recommended reading list in 2011. Those who like uplifting endings will enjoy Judy Dawn’s unconventional stories about the magic of love.