Journeys of the Heart

An author's journey

Meet Tess Quinn

Tess Quinn’s debut novel, The Bewitched Cowboy was released this week.  Welcome, Tess and thanks for visiting today.  The plot of your story revolves around an arranged marriage, a concept that may be unfamiliar to some readers.  Please tell us a bit about yourself and how you incorporated the idea into your book. 

Thank you so much for having me Kathleen! When I first started plotting ‘The Bewitched Cowboy,’ I had no idea the basic premise would be arranged marriages. My critique partners knew I needed a break from a project I was revising, and they decided to challenge me with a little writing prompt: I had to write a novella with a story line that was different from anything else I had read. I did a little Googling and came up with the wacky combination of cowboys and witches.

 But what would really screw things up for my characters? Well, I’m a 24 year old Hindu girl. My parents are pretty traditional and the phrase ‘arranged marriage’ got thrown around a lot in conversations. People didn’t really understand the concept of an ‘arranged marriage’ and thought it was the most archaic concept ever. I figured that my cowboys and witches would be the perfect place to show that ‘arranged marriages’ aren’t all that foreign.

 Arranged marriages occur in the poor villages of Thailand, India & China….or they can occur in the wealthy socialite societies of Manhattan and L.A. Both socio-economic groups may have different reasons for encouraging a marriage: a poor family may want a woman in the house to birth children to help with the family farm. The socialite families in Manhattan may want a more elite business merger tied in a traditional method.

 In ‘The Bewitched Cowboy,’ Destiny and Matt are forced to get married and ‘bond their powers’ within two weeks otherwise Destiny dies and Matt loses his control of the weather forever. They both had something to lose, but neither Destiny nor Matt were marriage-ready adults, either. They approached their union the same way other individuals might have approached arranged marriages: with caution, an attempt at cordiality, and an attempt to survive. The Manhattan socialite could understand how important a marriage would be for her family so she copes, and tries to make friends with her new husband. She tries to learn about him as quickly as possible, and her feelings towards him may change from roommate to lover. Meanwhile, a family in a Chinese village could have married their son to an appropriate bride from two villages over. The son takes care of the bride as if she was a guest at first because he doesn’t know the woman at all, and then, slowly she becomes an integrated part of the family out of necessity and familiarity.

 Arranged marriages may have their faults. After all, the word ‘marriage’ is culturally viewed upon as an emotional bond, a religious union of two people who mean the world to each other. Arranging a marriage takes that emotional and pure intention for a religious union out of the equation. However, we see examples of failed love-marriages all the time. People believe that all the other factors that go into a good marriage don’t matter if love exists. Yes, I firmly believe that some people are lucky enough to have relationships filled with so much love that everything else is trivial. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. Arranged marriages are like a scientific approach to the union: two individuals have to measure and weigh all the important factors that go into a good marriage. If all these other factors match up, then love with come with time.

 Not too bad, huh? Destiny and Matt, my characters in ‘The Bewitched Cowboy’, learned how love could come with time. They didn’t expect love in a relationship that was more of a partnership than a romance. But then again, isn’t that the best way to fall in love? In situations where you least expect it?

 I hope you’ll think so to if you decided to read ‘The Bewitched Cowboy.’ Happy reading, everyone!


Book release date: February 24, 2010

The Wild Rose Press: Faery Rose Line

Novella. You can purchase the book at:

Book Blurb:

The last thing Matt expected his twin to tell him was that he had to marry the woman of his parents’ choice or suffer the loss of his powers.

Destiny, a PhD and successful parapsychology writer, certainly did not expect her mother to tell her that she would die if she didn’t get married to a man chosen for her in infancy.

The collision of two hardheaded, anti-marriage witches makes Destiny and Matt’s first encounter explosive. Now they have to figure out a way to get along for the two weeks they can’t be separated without doing the one thing that could change their fate forever…falling in love.

Author Bio

Award-winning author Tess Quinn was raised in the countryside of northeast, Pennsylvania. With very little to do in a town where the local high school gym was a barn and the cow-human ratio was 2.5 to 1, Tess filled her spare time with eighties music and a lot of reading. Unfortunately there was only one bookstore and two libraries in the Valley while Tess was growing up, so she started writing sequels to her favorite novels. When she ran out of favorites to write about, she started creating her own stories, and she has been writing ever since. Tess graduated from Muhlenberg College with a B.A. in English. She continues her obsession with writing while she currently attends law school in New York.

Visit Tess at

Check out Tess’s website for her book birthday give away and comment to get the chance to win a prize!


February 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

When Goals Implode

When I plunged into the Writes of Spring (the February writing challenge set up by my writer’s group, PLRW) I was certain I could meet my modest goal of 25 pages on my current work in progress.  Per my own goals setting tips, I selected a reasonable goal and worked at it in small increments.  All ran smoothly for about a week.  I was writing consistently and feeling pretty cocky about my accomplishments. 

The universe does not like cocky.  Just when I was feeling optimistic about meeting the challenge, all hell broke lose.  The edits of my new book, Palace of Dreams, arrived and had to be dealt with.  Okay small detour.  They were barely out the door to my editor when my new cover arrived. Not a problem. I just needed to start thinking about promo ideas, but I had time.  Within 3 days of my cover the release date for the book was announced.  The ebook would be out the first week of March.  Okay that promo thing was going to have to be moved up. 

Before I received word about my release date, I had offered to help a fellow author promo her new book.   So beginning this week I will have my first blog guest, Tess Quinn who will be sharing a fascinating view on arranged marriages and how they tie into Bewitched Cowboy, her first book with Wild Rose Press.  After that I’ll be off on a first for me, a blog tour to promote the release of Palace of Dreams.

  So what happened to WOS?  Have I given up on the whole thing?  Not completely.  I like to think of it more as strategic regrouping.  When giving those tips on goal setting, I should have added one more—be flexible.  When life gets in the way, there’s no need to wave the white flag.  It’s okay to reexamine the original goal and realign it to fit the new flow.  I may not make 25 pages, but I’ll keep plugging away.  Every page I manage is 1 page closer to the end of the book.  And helping my friends to launch their books or taking time to launch my own is a worthy goal even if it isn’t the one I began with.


February 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Winter Reading

With Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction for six more weeks of winter, there is still plenty of time to curl up on a cold day with a good book and a cup of tea or hot chocolate.  Cosmopolitan magazine, book editor, John Searles recently released his list of favorites. 

For those of you who read the Historian, Elizabeth Kostova is back with The Swan Thieves. Lou Berney has a new thriller, Gutshot Straight. Adriana Trigiani’s new one is Brava Valentine.  One of the best reads of the season, according to Searles, is Chris Bohjalian’s, Secrets of Eden.  Or you might try The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris or Amy Bloom’s Where the God of Love Hangs Out. (love that title. 

I have my own list of recent favorites straight from the pile of books on my night stand.  A fan of Tony Hillerman’s, Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn mysteries set in the southwest, I just finished his, The Sacred Clowns. I also gobbled up two of Allison Brennan’s thrillers that I picked up at the New Jersey Romance Conference, The Prey and The Hunt.  Both were fast-paced rollercoaster rides.  As the snow falls I’m in the middle of Penelope Williamson’s historical romance set in the high Victorian era of Rhode Island, Passions of Emma

If nonfiction is more your style, my friend, Linda, who has just joined a book club, recommends Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  After reading this, she says you’ll certainly think more about that carrot or tomato you put in your mouth.  Another good read is Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Tea. 

So many wonderful books to choose from!.  Almost makes me want winter to last a little longer.

February 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Writes of Spring!

No more excuses. This year I’m taking part in the Writes of Spring, the annual February (okay so it’s not quite spring, but we’re a hopeful bunch) writing challenge organized by my writing group, the Pocono Lehigh Valley Romance Writers. My goal was to finish most of the first draft of a short story I’m working on for submission to Ellora’s Cave, entitled, Winter’s End. I have the characters, the plot, the big black moment and the end worked out so 25 pages was an achievable goal. So it seemed until the first edits for my novel, Palace of Dreams arrived. So now I’m juggling 2 goals—complete the edits and keep working on the short story. The Writes of Spring are supposed to be a challenge. I just didn’t think they would be quite so…well, challenging. 

I’m not alone in my struggle to reach my goals.  It seems as if half my fellow writers are running into unanticipated roadblocks.  Life just keeps getting in the way which is often the reason why so few people at the end of the year have achieved the goals they made the previous New Year’s eve.  It helps to write goals down, as does being part of a group working toward the same end.  The WOS authors post frequently, encourage each other to keep plugging away and celebrate even the tiniest victory.  Keeping goals realistic and breaking them down into manageable chunks is another good way to stay on target.  I’m trying to follow all the tips.

 Check back at the end of February to see if I succeeded.

February 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Something New

It’s official.  My latest book, an erotic futuristic entitled, Palace of Dreams has been accepted by e-publisher/small press, Ellora’s Cave.  Since my first book was a paranormal romance and the next two were historical romances, writing erotic romance is a big departure for me.  So how did I end up writing for ‘the dark side’ as a fellow EC author calls it?  To be completely honest, I’m not sure.  It certainly wasn’t part of my original plan.  I’d never even read an erotic romance until meeting my critique partner and fellow Cerridwen/Ellora’s Cave author, Kathy Kulig.  She’d published several erotic short stories and was working on a novel for EC at the time.  Reading her pages was certainly enlightening.  She lent me a few books.  Then I bought a few from Ellora’s Cave and started reading the free ones I received at conferences.  What I discovered was there were some pretty good books out there—steamy and explicit, yes, but also with great plots and engaging characters. 

Although I was learning more about my company and the huge success of Ellora’s Cave’s ‘romantica’, a word coined and wholly owned by them, I still had no intentions of writing for their line.  None of my story premises lent themselves to the careful blend of hot sex, plot and character required by the genre.  That is until the idea of a dream palace set far in the future where tourists could experience all their wildest fantasies popped into my head.  Some of those dreams (knowing human nature, more than just a few), I surmised would be of the erotic variety.  Shortly afterward, my main character, dream guide, Inari Rau began to take form, along with her love interest, the slightly younger, very hot, new guide, Kastel Fane.  Before I knew it, I was writing an erotic futuristic. 

Now reading or writing women’s erotica isn’t for everyone.  And of course I’ve had to put up with the endless jokes, comments and raised brows from friends (and some writers) who think erotic literature is nothing more than dressed up porn.  Since I pretty much had the same opinion before I began this adventure, I can’t exactly blame them.  Not that it’s deterred me.  I just started to work on my first erotic short story, a medieval entitled Winter’s End

Will I write ‘romantica’ forever?  Probably not.  But for the moment I’m enjoying stretching my writing wings and trying something new.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment