When I first began writing for publication about ten years ago, I loved to experiment with genres. I tried some sci-fi (people were critical about the sun continuing to shine in the post-apocalyptical world I’d created.) I wrote about werewolves, now called wolf-shifters (and had to do waaay too much research on the mating habits of wolves to pull that off.) I did one vampire book (and was immediately criticized because true lovers of the vampire genre know there are rules about what a vamp can and can’t do.) Frustrated, I turned to the one paranormal genre in which I thought I could get away with making my own rules—ghosts.
I have a love/hate relationship with ghost stories. I love really good ones that scare the bejeebers out of me. Yet sometimes, I hate the feeling a ghost story leaves me with. Allow me to explain.
Recently, I read a paranormal mystery with a telepathic child and I enjoyed it all the way to the end, when I discovered the child and the hero’s love interest had both died a while back in the story. The hero didn’t know they were ghosts until the last couple pages. UGH. I was frustrated with the ending and felt cheated when I closed the book (okay, I punched off the Kindle app on my phone.) I’d invested in the hero and when I discovered he didn’t really get a happily ever after, I felt bad for him.
I thought back to when I decided to try my hand at writing ghosts. My first few attempts were decent enough short stories with nice little plots and some steamy sex, and they all sold. Looking back now, they were extremely formulaic. Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, boy discovers girl is a ghost, boy is stunned beyond belief, boy realizes girl needs his help to pass over to the other side, boy helps girl, girl fades away, boy is happy to have helped and drives away with a smile on his face. I actually got away with that formula several times and as I said, the stories weren’t bad, just stereotypical.
I’d used the same plot device that I’d read in the recent book. The hero wasn’t unhappy at the end, but he didn’t live happily ever after, either. And if there’s one thing I want readers to know when they pick up a Jenna Byrnes book, it’s that there will be a happy ending. I’ve gotten criticized for that, too, some readers calling it insta-love. I don’t mind. I have a set number of pages to tell my tale. My characters are usually quite true to life. If some of them occasionally fall head over heels a little too quickly, well, that’s a part of the big circle, isn’t it? I must admit I did it myself a couple of times, back in the day.
When Jude Mason and I decided to create a series about a haunted inn we did two things differently. First of all, the Kindred Spirits books are gay romantic suspense so each of them is boy meets boy. (My favorite genre to read and write!) Secondly, the ghosts were already there, known to the people who lived in the inn, but quite a shock to those just passing through. We set about telling the stories of those ghosts and why they were there. Tying their past lives into the current lives of the inn guests was great fun.
I’ll admit to a plot twist at the end of the last book, but that was because we knew it was going to be the end, and we wanted to do something special. If you like gay paranormal romance and romantic suspense we hope you’ll check out our Kindred Spirits series from Totally Bound.
"Welcome to Whiskers' Seaside Inn. Do you have a reservation?"
Whiskers' Seaside Inn doesn't sound like the most exotic location for a weekend getaway, but it's certainly intriguing. Ethan Roberts is smitten the moment he sees the weathered clapboard inn and finds out it's for sale. He's even more taken with the establishment's hunky handyman, Cade Wyatt.
The inn has two paying guests, but Ethan discovers another cast of characters who come and go as they please. Cade might be nonchalant about the ghosts, but Ethan's not sure he feels the same. He wants Cade more than anything, but Cade won't leave the inn. Somehow, Ethan must find a way to live with the spirits as well as the man he's come to love.
Can I ever make this place my home? He knows he could, in a heartbeat, if the inn was truly as serene as the face it presents to the world. Deep inside, something's festering. He's tried to ignore it—or not to believe in it—but he's past that, now. There are ghosts or spirits at Whiskers', plus one batty old woman, and he needs to know more about all of them.
"Annie, Laura and Ben," Ethan repeated dully. "The ghosts."
Chuckling, Cade faced him. "Actually, they're spirits. You really don't want to believe in them, do you?"
"Ghosts—spirits—aren't real," Ethan insisted. "I believe that."
"Well, Mr. Roberts, I have a feeling your beliefs are about to be tested."
Frankie’s FlameBook six in the Kindred Spirits series
They say opposites attract. Can a geek and a hunk find happiness among the ghostly apparitions at Whisker's Seaside Inn?
Two very different men with one shared problem.
Frankie Nelson is a computer geek with a problem. He's caught his life partner cheating on him, and the socially awkward side of him is not sure how to deal with it. He decides to get away and clear his head, winding up at Whiskers' Seaside Inn, the Oceanside home of his Aunt Delia.
Raul Herrara is a sporty outdoorsman who doesn't even own a computer. When he meets Frankie it's apparent they have little in common—other than a mutual deep lusty desire for each other. Just when Raul realizes he's fallen for the shy nerd, Frankie's partner comes to claim him. Unless Frankie can speak up for himself, the new relationship may be over before it's really begun.
Reader Advisory: This book is part of a series but may be read as a standalone story.