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Well, I’ve come to an end to my Blog Tour. It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been exciting checking for new comments each day and I’ve had some lovely ones – people really can be very kind and generous. Anyway, here are the last few dates and hosts on my tour. Check them out!

My ‘Made it’ Moment with host Jenny Milchman

‘Sink or Swim’ Interview with host Stacy Juba

Interview with host Marilyn Meredith.

I want to thank all seventeen of my hosts. They’ve been absolutely amazing! And to think they have guest bloggers all the time. They must be awesome at organisation. I take my hat off to each and every one of you. Thank you ladies and gent. You’re all welcome on my blog at any time.

Oh. I nearly forgot. This is not part of my tour, but something I did separately and that just happens to have coincided with the last day of the tour. Anyway, here’s an interview I did for Sylvia Massara of The Lit Chick Show! This one’s the Real McCoy, with an introduction and everything, so you can ignore the previous interview I put up for this.

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I”m delighted to announce that Deadly Reunion is published today. Deadly Reunion is my eighteenth novel and the fourteenth in my humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. Here’s the blurb:

Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation – a poisoning, courtesy of a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the number of Rafferty and Kelly family attendees has grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim’s fellow reunees. But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.
Watch the trailer I made:
Read an extract:
A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel by Geraldine Evans
EXCERPT from Chapter One
‘Poisoned? Are you sure? Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty regretted his rash query as soon as it left his mouth. For Dr Sam Dally let him have it with both barrels.
            ‘Of course I’m sure. Would I be telling you the man was poisoned if I wasn’t? I never question your professional judgement’ – which was an out and out lie – ‘so I’d thank you not to question mine.  Conium Maculatum was what killed him. Or, to your uneducated ear, hemlock.’
           ‘That’s right. A very old-fashioned poison. Goes back to the classical Greeks, so I believe. Maybe even further back. Now, is there anything else you’d like to question while you’re at it?’
            ‘All right, Sam. Keep your hair on,’ said Rafferty. Which – given Sam’s rapidly balding pate, was another unfortunate slip of the tongue. But this time it brought nothing more than the testy,
            ‘Well? Is there anything else you’d like to question my judgement about?
            Rafferty felt – given his mounting foot-in-mouth episode – that a simple ‘no’ would suffice.
            ‘Hmph.’ Dally sounded disappointed as if he was just in the right frame of mind to have another go. ‘Ainsley had been dead between fourteen and sixteen hours before he was discovered. The first symptoms would have started after around half an hour. He’d have experienced a gradual weakening of muscles, then extreme pain and paralysis from the coniine in hemlock, the effects of which are much like curare. It’s probable he went blind, but his mind would have remained clear till the end.’
            ‘Christ. What a horrible way to go.’
             ‘Yes. Death would be several hours later from paralysis of the heart.’
            ‘Is the poison likely to be self-inflicted?’
            ‘’Well, it wouldn’t be my choice.’
            Nor mine, thought Rafferty. He couldn’t believe that a sportsman like Adam Ainsley would choose such a way to go.
            ‘But figuring that out’s your job, Rafferty. I suggest you get on with it.’
            Bang went the phone. Or it would have done but for the frustrations caused by modern technology, which didn’t allow anything so satisfying.
            ‘Sam and Mary must have had a domestic this morning,’ Rafferty said to Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn as he leaned back in the now shabby executive chair that Superintendent Bradley had decreed was the appropriate seating for his detectives. ‘He just bawled me out something chronic.’
            Llewellyn, who had never been known to make an ill-advised remark, gave a gentle sigh. ‘Dr Dally has never appreciated having his professional conclusions questioned.’  It was a gentle reproof, but a reproof nonetheless. ‘You were talking about the body found in the woods, I presume?’
            Rafferty nodded. Adam Ainsley had been found in Elmhurst’s Dedman Wood around eight in the morning two days ago by a local woman walking her dog. There had been no visible signs of injury and it had been assumed the man had had a heart attack while out for a too energetic run; the track suit and trainers had suggested the possibility. Ainsworth had been attending a reunion at Griffin School, an exclusive, fee-paying establishment for eleven to eighteen year olds situated two miles outside the Essex market town of Elmhurst, where Rafferty’s station was located.
            ‘Did I hear you mention Hemlock?
            Rafferty nodded. ‘I thought that would make you prick up your ears. That’s what Sam reckons killed him. Said it goes back to your pals, the ancient Greeks.’
            ‘Yes. According to Plato it’s what Socrates used to kill himself after he was sentenced to death. He drained the cup containing the poison and walked about until his legs felt heavy. Then he lay down and, after a while, the drug had numbed his whole body, creeping up until it had reached his heart.’
            ‘Yeah, Sam said it was paralysis of the heart muscle that would have killed him. Sounds like hanging would have been quicker, even without an Albert Pierrepoint to work out the drop required. Anyway, enough of this classical Greek morbidity. We’d better get over to the school,’ said Rafferty. ‘Can you get some uniforms organized, Dafyd? I’ll go and tell Long-Pockets what Sam said and meet you downstairs.’
            ‘Long-Pockets’, otherwise known as Superintendent Bradley, was obsessed with the budget, in Rafferty’s opinion, hence the nickname. As far as he was concerned, crimes took what they took, in time, money and manpower.
            The uniforms were quickly mobilized by the simple expedient of roistering those on refreshment breaks out of the canteen. After Rafferty had gone to see Bradley, he returned to his office and rung the school to let Jeremy Paxton, the headmaster, know the results of the toxicology tests and that they were on their way; that done, he went down to reception to meet up with Llewellyn and the woodentops and headed out to the car park.     
The August day was gloriously fresh and bright, just as a summer day should be, with a light breeze, to stop it getting too hot, and a deep blue sky without a cloud in sight. Rafferty, Llewellyn and two of the constables, Timothy Smales and Lizzie Green, piled reluctantly into the car, which was as hot as Lucifer’s crotch as it had been standing in the sun. Rafferty, not a lover of air-conditioning, which, anyway, would barely have started to work by the time they got to the school, wound his window right down and stuck his head out to catch the breeze.
              The run out to Griffin School was a pretty one, past lush farmland, via roads overhung with trees whose leaves formed a soft green bower over the tarmac. On days like this, it felt good to be alive, though this latest suspicious death lowered his spirits a little. Winter was a more fitting season for death.
Adam Ainsworth had been staying at Griffin for a school reunion. Unusually, the reunees had opted to get back together for an entire week rather than the more usual one evening and, conveniently for Rafferty, were still put up in the school’s dormitories. He wondered if they were regretting it now. Being cooped up beyond one’s desire with old enemies, as well as old friends, was a recipe for rising antagonisms that could be helpful to their investigation. There was nothing like spite for encouraging gossipy revelations

I hope you enjoy the book should you decide to read it.

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Ten Tips for Writers with host Nancy J Cohen

Third excerpt of Deadly Reunion with host Debbi Mack

An interview with host Wendy Gager

Fourth excerpt of Deadly Reunion with host Peg Herring

Fifth excerpt of Deadly Reunion with host Chris Redding

How to put a video book trailer together with host Marian Allen

An interview with host Kaye George

What a lot! Sorry – I should have been putting these up every day. Trouble is, I’ve been getting deeply involved in writing my next book as well as correcting the formatting of Death Line which I’ve had converted from an Amstrad disk preparatory to putting it up as another ebook, so, as you can imagine, my head’s been pretty full.

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Peg Herring, an historical and contemporary mystery author is currently on a Blog Crawl and is posting about the English language and its wonderful richness. Today, Peg’s talking about Idioms. Why not visit Peg’s blog and see what other blogs she’s visited and what other aspects of the language she has been discussing? Her blog address –

Now I’ll hand you over to Peg.
Thanks to Geraldine for hosting today’s stop on Peg’s Blog Crawl. Yesterday’s post, “And What About Contractions?” is at
The Post – Idioms
English is stuffed with idioms, words strung together with meaning in addition to what the individual words indicate. It drives ESL students crazy and adds humor in TV shows like “NCIS”, where a running gag has Ziva confused by idioms. When McGee says, “I have hung a net,” she says, “I do not know who Annette is or why you are so proud of killing her.”
Idioms are helpful for adding color and character, but a writer runs the risk of dating her work and losing readers of a different era or age. Phrases like “ghetto blaster” and “cut a rug” come and go quickly and seem ridiculous only a few years after the phrase is coined.
Even idioms that stay in the language can miss the mark in the wrong character’s mouth. A teenager would probably eat a bug before she would say “Clean as a whistle” or “happy as a clam”, and an older person must have good reasons for using terms like “bust a move” or “phobar”.
While context might help readers figure out an unfamiliar idiom, the author’s responsibility is to see that his readers have a fair chance to comprehend his words. On the other hand, readers should be willing to think about why an idiom was used and what it might mean. I was told the story of a writer whose editor would not let him use the term “walking point” in a novel about Vietnam-era soldiers because she had never heard the term before. Give us a break, chickie!
For your entertainment, I’ve listed below some common idioms and where they came from.
A       As dead as a doornail- used in 1350 or earlier, but Shakespeare used it in King Henry VI, Part 2
 A      As white (now pure) as driven snow-Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale
A       A drop in the bucket-The Bible, Isaiah: 40:15
         Pearls before swine-The Bible, Matthew: 7:6

        Take the Dickens-this saying has nothing to do with the writer Charles 
         Dickens. A euphemism for devil or devilish, Dickens was probably a shortened
         form of the word “devilkins”.

         Happy as a clam – This one used to have a second half: “happy as a clam at
         high tide”. At high tide, the clams are safe and sound under the water, and you
         can’t dig them out and eat them.
         Worth one’s salt Roman soldiers were paid via a salarium, money intended for
         the purchase of salt. The English word salary derives from the Latin word for “salt”.
      Learn the ropes – A new sailor had to become acquainted with knot tying as well as handling the ropes on the individual sails.
      Hit the sack or hit the hay- In the early 1900s, it was common for mattresses, or sacks, to be stuffed with hay or straw, therefore “hitting the hay” or “hitting the sack” was a literal thing.
      Mind your p’s and q’s – There are two explanations for this one, and I like both:
First, innkeepers used to keep a chalkboard on the wall to keep track of orders, using “p” for “pint” and “q” for quart. It is said that when a customer began to get rowdy, the host would point to his name on the board and tell him “Mind your p’s and q’s!”
The other explanation comes from early printing, where letters were set by hand into the presses to make a page. The letters were carved backward, and it was easy to confuse similar letters, so printing devils were told to “mind their p’s and q’s”.
The Poser: Name three books/series where an animal is central to the plot.
The Prizes-Weekly prizes (your choice of THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY in e- or print format) drawn from the names of those who comment on the blogs as we go. Comment once/day, but the first commenter each day gets entered twice in Saturday’s drawing!
The Pitch: THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, First in The Dead Detective Mysteries, paranormal mystery. Tori Van Camp wakes in a stateroom on a cruise ship with no memory of booking a cruise, but she does have a vivid recollection of being shot in the chest. Determined to find out what happened and why, Tori enlists the help of an odd detective named Seamus. Together they embark on an investigation like nothing she’s ever experienced. Death is all around her, and unless they act quickly, two people she cares about are prime candidates for murder. Read more about this book and the author at or buy the book at
The Perpetrator: Peg Herring writes historical and contemporary mysteries. She loves everything about publishing, even editing (most days). Peg’s historical series, The Simon and Elizabeth Mysteries, debuted in 2010 to great reviews. The second in the series will be available in November from Five Star.
The Pathway: The next entry, “Eccentric Phrases” and the answers/comments to the Poser will be up tomorrow on
Thank you, Peg, for a very interesting post. I must admit, I love just about everything concerning the English language – even the spelling! Throughout its history it has accommodated words from other languages and this is partly what gives it its richness. Thanks again, Peg. Don’t forget, to follow Peg’s Blog Crawl, go to: to see where Peg is posting during her Crawl.

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Crime author, Peg Herring will be pausing here on 22 February 2011 during her Blog Crawl. Why not stop by and see why she’s visiting and what she’s going to be posting about?

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I’ve just made a Video Book Trailer for DEADLY REUNION, the latest novel in my humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. Here’s a short blurb to tell you a little about the book:

Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation – a poisoning, courtesy of a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty.
Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the number of Rafferty and Kelly family attendees has grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim’s fellow reunees. But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.

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Why not visit Nancy J Cohen’s blog and read my Ten Tips for Writers. You never know, you might learn something fresh! This is the latest stop on my Blog Tour:

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Here’s the latest post on my Blog Tour. The Blog Host is Chris Verstraete and the post covers various topics: Ten Tips for Writers, plus What I Learned from series book numbers 1-14 in my Rafferty crime series, plus excerpt of Deadly Reunion. Thank you, Chris, you’re a star.

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Here’s today’s post, with a ‘Thank you’ to Peg and Rhonda (see previous post) for hosting me.

If you’re interested in bringing out an ebook, you could do worse than read this. You’ll even learn how much it cost me! Here’s the link:

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Follow my Blog Tour. Here’s the latest post:

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Today I’m very pleased to welcome JOHN DESJARLAIS, the author of VIPER, BLEEDER and other books. A former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, John Desjarlais teaches journalism and English at Kishwaukee College in northern Illinois. His first novel, The Throne of Tara (Crossway 1990, re-released 2000), was a Christianity Today Readers Choice Award nominee, and his medieval thriller, Relics (Thomas Nelson 1993, re-released 2009) was a Doubleday Book Club Selection. Bleeder and Viper (Sophia Institute Press, 2009 and 2011 respectively) are the first two entries in a contemporary mystery series. His work has appeared in periodicals such as Student Leadership Journal, U Magazine, The Critic, On Being, Student Soul, Apocalypse, The Upper Room, The New Pantagruel, The Karitos Review, Dappled Things and The Rockford Review.  A member of The Catholic Writers Guild, The Academy of American Poets and Mystery Writers of America, he is listed in Contemporary Authors, Who’s Who in Entertainment, and  Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

On All Souls Day, Selena De La Cruz’s name is entered in her parish church’s “Book of the Deceased.”

The problem is, she’s not dead.
And someone thinks she should be.  

Is it “The Snake,” a notorious drug dealer Selena helped to put in prison when she was a Special Agent with the DEA years ago? Or someone far, far more dangerous?

VIPER  a mystery

by john desjarlais
coming March 2011
from Sophia Institute Press

the thrilling sequel to BLEEDERHaunted by the loss of her brother to drugs and a botched raid that ended her career with the DEA, insurance agent Selena De La Cruz hoped to start afresh in rural Illinois. But her gung-ho former boss needs her back to hunt “The Snake,” a dealer she helped arrest who is out of prison and systematically killing anyone who ever crossed him. His ‘hit list’, appended to a Catholic Church’s All Souls Day ‘Book of the Deceased,’ shows Selena’s name last. Working against time, small town prejudice and the suspicions of her own Latino community, Selena races to find The Snake before he reaches her name while a girl visionary claims a “Blue Lady” announces each killing in turn. Is it Our Lady of Guadalupe or, as others believe, the Aztec goddess of Death?

See the 30-second video trailer here:

That certainly sounds intriguing. Tell us a little more about your latest novel, Viper.
VIPER is the sequel to BLEEDER, a mystery published in 2009. It features a minor character from the first book as the protagonist, Latina insurance agent Selena De La Cruz. Since the first book touched upon immigration issues in rural Illinois and my main character Reed Stubblefield was disabled and dealing with insurance problems, Selena provided a way to present a positive and empowered Mexican-American character while at the same time addressing those insurance claims. As soon as she walked on the stage in those cherry high heels and with that attitude, I knew she had a story of her own. She played a larger role in BLEEDER than I’d originally envisioned. Then, in thinking about the next book and the “Book of the Dead” on All Souls’ Day, I learned that the Mexican holiday called “The Day of the Dead” runs nearly concurrently with that feast. It was clear to me then that the sequel would feature Selena and the story would be told against a rich tapestry of Aztec mythology and Mexican Catholicism.

What age were you when you decided to write a book and what prompted you to do it?

I was 35 and working as a scriptwriter in a small media company that produced videos for corporate training and public relations. I produced a documentary on the history of Western Christianity and became intrigued by the Irish monastic movement – scholarly men and women who valued art, literature and poetry, who were close to nature and champions of womens’ rights. Columba of Iona fascinated me in particular – a hot-tempered monk with “Second Sight” from a royal family who went to war over a disputed manuscript. 3,000 men were killed in the “Battle of the Book” in 560 AD, and in remorse, Columba exiled himself among the Picts of Scotland where he dueled the druids, miracles versus magic. He’s also the first man in recorded history to have encountered the Loch Ness sea-beast. This was material for a novel, I told myself, and I wrote “The Throne of Tara” in 1989 (it was published in 1990 and re-issued in 2000).

You have written historical novels – do you have any plans to write more?
No – I’m hooked on mysteries for the time being.
Did you find your background in teaching a great help when it came to
writing novels and if so, why?
Teaching literature and writing has provided me with a short cut in learning the elements of style, perhaps, although I’ve benefited more from writers’ conferences and books about genre novel-writing.  Being a teacher allows me time to write, especially since I have summers free – and my college granted me a sabbatical to finish a draft of BLEEDER.I imagine, as your books combine history, religion and mystery that you must
do a lot of research. How do you set about this? Does the research take
longer than writing the novels?
Research is time-consuming but opens up many character and plot possibilities. I love libraries, and the Internet has changed everything. I conduct interviews where needed. You might think that the historicals require more research than the mysteries, but it is a different kind of research and nearly as demanding. For historicals, one must re-create a world and pay assiduous attention to every detail of clothing, customs, architecture, weapons, food, the works. Everything contributes to atmosphere and authenticity but must never be overbearing. With contemporary mysteries, there are a whole new set of concerns. For BLEEDER, I needed to do research on blood diseases, cancer treatment, anxiety medications and other medical things. I needed to learn about the mystical phenomenon of the stigmata and the Catholic Church’s procedure for investigating such things (they are quite rigorous and skeptical about it), as well as know the process of canonization. I was not Catholic at the time of drafting and so I needed to learn about the Mass and the special services on Good Friday (I didn’t know there was no Mass on Good Friday). Then there’s all the police procedure, police interrogation techniques, police report writing, coroners’ inquests, etc. VIPER was even more of a challenge, since I had to create a credible Mexican-American female protagonist in the insurance business with a troubled background in the DEA and ongoing issues in her family.  So research about Aztec religion, snake handling, vintage car repair, firearms, DEA undercover operations and crime scene management were all easier than learning to “be” a 30-something Latina.

Tell us about your heroine, Selena De La Cruz, and why you decided on her
character. Is the choice of name of any significance?

Selena is a thirty-something Mexican-American woman in a family of three brothers; her Mami and Papa were well-off since he was a PEMEX executive before becoming an official in the Mexican consulate in Chicago. The family was raised in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago. Selena’s fraternal twin Antonio developed a drug problem in the Army and was killed in a car accident in Germany, leaving her with his chili-pepper red 1969 Dodge Charger called “The Beast.” Always a tomboy anyway, Selena was motivated by this incident to join the DEA where she applied her finance degree from Loyola in the Financial Tracing division before hitting the streets where she really wanted to be. She is handy with a P226 SIG Sauer pistol, does undercover work well, and knows how to maintain her awesome car. She’s fond of expensive shoes (seized drug money pays for them) and struggles with living in two worlds at once, being bi-cultural and being an independent woman in a man’s world. Her real name is Selena Perez; she changed it to De La Cruz when she left the DEA under a cloud and wished to start afresh as an insurance agent in rural Illinois. The name is from a medieval Spanish poet and mystic she admires, Juan De La Cruz (John of the Cross). 

Here are some reviews for VIPER

“I just couldn’t put it down! More compelling than BLEEDER!”
     Regina Doman, author of The Shadow of the Bear and The Midnight Dancers

“Non-stop action, nail-biting suspense –and enough genuine compassion to warm the coldest heart. A winner, start to finish.”Jeanne M. Dams, author of the Dorothy Martin and Hilda Johansson mysteries

“A compelling mystery that will keep readers in suspense.” spiritualwomanthoughts

“Desjarlais keeps you guessing as the action accelerates faster than De La Cruz’s souped-up vehicle. VIPER strikes fast and sinks its teeth in you. You won’t be able to put it down.”Tony Perona, author of Second Advent and Angels Whisper

“A don’t miss it page turner that blends ancient Aztec mysticism, Catholic Mariology, and a good old-fashioned whodunit.”Mike Manno, author of Murder Most Holy and End of the Line  

Wow! As we can see, above, you’ve had some tremendous reviews. So what next for John Desjarlais? It sounds as though your novels would make for exciting movies. Is there anything in the wind?

No movie options yet. I need an agent for that, and my previous agent left the business after a serious car accident. I managed to sell BLEEDER and VIPER on my own.

What are you currently writing?

I’m working on the third book in the mystery series and, at the moment, I think it will be the last in this arc. I’d like to try a stand-alone thriller and pitch it to an agent next year. Let’s see if Selena has other ideas.

Clearly religion has played a big part in your life. Tell us about your upbringing, where it happened and the importance that religion had in it.

I was raised Roman Catholic in north-central Massachusetts but it didn’t mean anything to me and I chucked it all in high school. However, I discovered Jesus in college and was utterly transformed. After bouncing among churches, I finally landed in the Presbyterian Church where I was a devout disciple for years along with my wife. Around age 50 I began reading the Church Fathers and Catholic poet and intellectual Thomas Merton, seeking a closer, more ‘sacramental’ union with God through contemplative prayer. I went to Catholic monasteries on retreats and came to see that the majesty, mercy, and mystery in the Catholic tradition was completely fulfilling. It was nothing like what I knew as a kid. There is a beauty, peace and wisdom here that has made me a new man. I appreciate the Catholic social teaching on justice for the poor and the weak, and the historic support of the fine arts is also a wonderful thing.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that your readers would like to know?
My wife and I are involved in retired racing Greyhound rescue. These gentle creatures make excellent family companions and I’d encourage everyone interested in adopting a dog to do a little research at a site like in Illinois (REGAP is “Retired Greyhounds As Pets”);  there are REGAP chapters in many states and rescue organizations in many other countries.
Thank you, John. A most interesting interview. I was intrigued to learn about your background and the widely divergent style of your novels.
An interview with John can be found in Novel Journey and Time with Tannia.Contact John at his website:

Visit John’s blog,
Johnny Dangerous

Meet John at

Follow John on Twitter

Viper is not yet on Amazon, but here are the links for Bleeder – USA paper, Kindle, and UK paper, Kindle:

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Coming Soon! Interview with John Desjarlais

John Desjarlais is a former producer with Wisconsin Public Radio, he teaches journalism and English at Kishwaukee College in northern Illinois. His first novel, The Throne of Tara (Crossway 1990, re-released 2000), was a Christianity Today Readers Choice Award nominee, and his medieval thriller, Relics (Thomas Nelson 1993, re-released 2009) was a Doubleday Book Club Selection. Bleeder and Viper (Sophia Institute Press, 2009 and 2011 respectively) are the first two entries in a contemporary mystery series. A member of The Academy of American Poets and Mystery Writers of America, he is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment and  Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. 
John sounds like an interesting man to interview and I’ll be doing just that on 14 February 2011. Why not stop by on that day and find out more about John and his books?