Authors In Our Midst: Annie DeMoranville – Run Aground

Jules Erbit Illustration

I follow a lot of our fellow BJ authors on FB, Twitter, and I know there a few publishing dates coming up. I want to remind you, send me an email with a photo of your book cover, where it’s available and the book description for posting consideration. I’m more than happy promote your work.

Also if you’d like to start the writing group again, I’m willing to do it, just need some help in how you’d like it to look. It needs to be something relatively easy for me to post weekly, monthly or whatever configuration you’d prefer. My original idea of soliciting guests to discuss writing and publishing may not work in my current crazy schedule, but I could definitely put up a general post.

Now for some shameless self-promotion from my secret identity. Our guest author:

Early this summer after several edits and about a dozen rewrites, I published the first book in the TJ Wilde trilogy. Starting with waking up from a dream knowing the character and basic story, to having friends who read and re-read the first chapters and convinced me to continue, it took me a while to decide to take the final steps. I finally hired an editor, a proof-reader and looked at what was involved in publishing.

As a matter-of-fact, during most of the duration of our writing group here, it sat finished on my office shelf, mocking me to do something, anything, with it. I learned so much from all of you, I began the next steps. I will tell you hiring the editor and the first edits were in self-defense – Bailey had just died and I needed something, anything, that would direct my energies from the pit I was in. 

I published it just in time for my mom’s birthday, where she promptly found a typo in her gift – so I handed her a notebook and pencil and told her to go for it. She found a few more, so the book is better and she felt part of the process, win-win in my mind.

In the meantime, my dad said he couldn’t wait to read it, at which point all the air went out of the room. See, Run Aground is decidedly a beach read, an R-rated beach read. A female driven, mystery romance. And that romance is definitely adult.

My dad’s response: “What, you don’t think I know my adult daughter….” To which I went into “la-la-la-la, how about them Red Sox” mode.

Beautiful cover design by our own jacy

Without further ado:

Run Aground, kindle and paperback availble here

A Sexy, Witty, Murderous Adventure

My life was not going as I had imagined. But I had a plan:

FIRST, in between being chased by Scary Dudes and frequently dodging bullets, I was determined to solve the murder of mysterious lawman, Mike Fraser. He died in my arms after involving me in a criminal investigation, so this was personal.

NEXT, I was going to get my Soon-To-Be-Ex to sign our divorce papers (a divorce he had insisted on, by the way). Then I would be free to take full advantage of the well-muscled U.S. Marshal that was now guarding my body, day and night.

FINALLY, I was going to find my dream job as far away from Peoria, IL and as close to an ocean as I could possibly get.

It was a simple plan. All I had to do was live long enough to implement it.

And I was definitely not going to fall in love with the sexy U.S. Marshal sitting at my kitchen table. Even if every cell in my body was saying he was too good to let go.

For TJ Wilde, it was difficult to tell who was more dangerous,

the men trying to kill her

or the man she was falling in love with…

Finally, here’s a little background on the Castle house (a real place) and some of the landmarks in the book.

So there we go… I’m well into the second book of the trilogy, and I’m also working on a cozy mystery series, both should be available by summer and spring respectively. And my newest project is an Instagram short story photography series.

Feel free to use this as an open thread. And let me know if you want to restart the writing group.

62 replies
  1. 1
    debbie says:

    I love the cover!

  2. 2
    archteryx says:

    It’s good inspiration. I’m currently 40 pages and about 18,000 words into book 2 of my novella (though if the page/word count ends up in total what I think it is going to end up, it’s going to be a full fledged novel, not a novella).

    It’s a rare fan work that’s got the full support of the author, too, at least as long as I don’t attempt to make $ off it.

    I wouldn’t mind restarting the writer’s group. These days I have enough creative writing done that I actually could contribute to it!

  3. 3

    It’s a fun read! I recommend it.

  4. 4

    Does anybody have any tips about getting a children’s book published? I have one I’d like to get published, only I don’t know how to write a good query letter, and I’m kind of hung up because I’m leery of just pulling the trigger and sending one off.

  5. 5

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Aaawww. Thank you.

    I’m cleaning the house and cooking a pot roast, so I’ll be in and out and answer any questions and see how we stand on the writing group restart.

  6. 6
    Mary in Ohio says:


  7. 7
    Central Planning says:

    Since it’s an open thread, Firefox on my iPhone won’t open BJ – Page cycles/blinks between all black and all white. I think it’s an ad problem.

  8. 8
    JPL says:

    Very cool! Congrats!

  9. 9
    Felanius Kootea says:

    Great cover – congratulations! I finally joined a meat-space writing group to finish my book. It has taken me too many years to complete the draft because I refused to acknowledge that for me, the pressure of a deadline is what I need. My work life will always intrude otherwise. The group will critique my book in October and after a final round of editing, I’ll send it to the agents who reached out to me after I published a short story in Ploughshares. My family is asking to read it and I’m having similar feelings of squeamishness about some sex scenes but I will have to get over it.

  10. 10
    Snarkworth, short-fingered Bulgarian says:

    Congratulations, TaMara!

  11. 11
    satby says:

    I love the cover too! I didn’t realize this was you, TaMara!

    I’m in awe of all of you writers, published and unpublished. Like most avid readers I would like to write too, but never start.

  12. 12

    @Felanius Kootea: I have stories about editing and those sex scenes. Kinda hilarious. Will share if we get back to the writing group.

  13. 13

    Nice cover, and congratulations on getting Book 1 done and out the door!

  14. 14
    MagdaInBlack says:

    You had me at “Peoria.”
    Good lord, no wonder she wanted to escape!

  15. 15

    Congratulations! Lovely cover.

  16. 16
    stinger says:

    Aww, how nice of you to include my portrait at the top of this post! Yes, that is how I dress and how I pose when reading a book. I just read the words around my hand.

    Seriously, love the art!

  17. 17
    Josie says:

    Congratulations on publishing, Tamara. That would be my dream come true. I did get an honorable mention for the entry I submitted to the Writers’ League of Texas annual manuscript contest, so that has given me some motivation to finish up my first draft and start revising. Still a long slog ahead, but I am not giving up.

    ETA: I ordered your book through kindle unlimited. I am looking forward to reading it when I escape the Texas heat and vacation with my brother in Washington (state) next week.

  18. 18

    Continuation of writing posts on Balloon Juice is a great idea.
    I remember that there was interest in an offline writers group. If people are interested I could make a Google group for writers. So we can give each other feedback etc. M4 who is more tech savvy than I am had promised to help as well.
    If interested my blog email is

  19. 19
    stinger says:

    Amazon just delivered Run Aground to my Kindle app; I look forward to reading it!

    And, Dorothy, I am really eager for Sept. 28 and The Wind Reader! I so enjoyed both Deep as a Tomb and Finders Keepers.

  20. 20
    Eljai says:

    How exciting! I look forwarding to reading it!

  21. 21
    J R in WV says:

    Congratulations, Ta-Mara, on getting published. A life-changing and victorious accomplishment indeed!!

    So jealous, but filled with admiration!

  22. 22
    J R in WV says:

    Holy Crap, there’s a picture of a DAWG on the back of that book!!!!

    We’ve got a dawg writing novels here, now!!! Whoot!!

    ;-) And a sweet looking doggy, too!

  23. 23
    opiejeanne says:

    @MagdaInBlack: LOL!

    I spent a few hours in Peoria and liked the riverwalk area in 2006. There was an art market and we bought several items. We were staying in a worse place for my dad’s army reunion about 30 miles east. I don’t suppose I’d like living there much, though.

  24. 24
    opiejeanne says:

    Congratulations on publishing, and kudos for finishing it. Will pick it up.

  25. 25
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Its been a few years since I’ve been to Peoria: its the big city when you live in the LaSalle-Peru area.
    It is a river town, and its had its ups and downs economically. My memories are of the downturns.
    Minor league hockey tho ! There’s a plus.

  26. 26
    opiejeanne says:

    TaMara: Castle House was built for $12000 in 1895! Wow! That was a whole lot of smackers for a house then.

    We owned a house in Southern California built in 1912 that had cost the grand sum of $4000 to build and that was a huge amount to build a house in that place at that time.

  27. 27
    CliosFanBoy says:

    love the illustration….

  28. 28
    Ruckus says:

    Pretty sure the house I grew up in, built around the same time, early 19teens, didn’t cost $4000 to build. But then it was 2 stories, 2 baths, 2 bedrooms and a sun porch upstairs. So maybe. Had a huge avocado tree in the front with fruit that would get 4-5 in in dia. We used to give away shopping bags of them.

  29. 29
    Mike in DC says:

    It(the pic in the thread post) reminds me of the pinup art era of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Vargas was the most famous of the pinup artists, but there were a bunch of them, including a couple female pinup artists. There are collections available through Amazon.

  30. 30
    Ruckus says:

    @TaMara (HFG):
    Congrats on getting published!

  31. 31
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @Mike in DC:
    I am reminded of Maxfield Parrish.

  32. 32
    FelonyGovt says:

    Congratulations! The book sounds great and I plan to get it for Kindle. I also want to catch up on @Dorothy A. Winsor: ‘s works!

    I’m so in awe of all of you authors. I love to read and always thought I’d write a book, but here I am at Medicare age and I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  33. 33
    stinger says:

    @FelonyGovt: Sure, it can still happen! Just put down the first sentence of your story, or the last sentence, or write a conversation that would happen somewhere in the middle, or describe a person or garden or library or somewhere you think a scene might take place.

    Then tomorrow, write a little bit more. You’ll get hooked!

  34. 34
    Zoey2020 says:

    Congratulations! Nicely done, and wonderful premise.

  35. 35
    opiejeanne says:

    @stinger: I chewed on an idea for a story for 10 years before writing down what I thought was the first chapter. Ha! It was just the first few paragraphs of what became the first chapter. My chapters are all pretty short so I imagine that the 31 could be combined to create fewer but longer chapters.

    That first tiny bit of writing sat in my computer for another 10 years, and when I took it up again it started expanding in a mostly natural way. When it starts to feel forced my writing is bad so I stop and do something else until the next day. I’m retired so I have the time to write, or so you’d think but just setting up a space to write and making it a habit to work a little each day has pushed the story to places I didn’t know where it would go on the way to the ending. I’ve known the ending for more than 20 years, it’s just the getting there that’s the fun (and sometimes surprising, sometimes difficult).

    One thing that helped establish a habit was that I did NaNoWriMo last November. It’s a challenge to write 40,000 words in 30 days. That sounds terrifying until you break it down into a minimum to write every day, and then some days the words would just come and keep coming and I would find that if they didn’t come so easily at some point I had some leeway. I’m probably well over 60,000 words now and the end is coming soon. I think. Then I get to go back and tear it apart, dump one complete chapter that was fun to write but the book doesn’t need it.

  36. 36
    opiejeanne says:

    @FelonyGovt: I’m about your age. The above post is meant for you. D’oh!

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Mike in DC:

    Vargas was the most famous of the pinup artists, but there were a bunch of them, including a couple female pinup artists.

    One of the best-known of whom was my stepmother, Pearl Frush (later Pearl Mann). Apart from all the calendar girls, soft drink ads, and magazine illustrations, by far her most recognizable image is “Little Debbie” of snack-food fame.

  38. 38
    opiejeanne says:

    @Ruckus: Ours had been a grand winter home for someone from New York. It was in formal in the way that Arts and Crafts houses were, no formal entry, very large living room (20 X32), very large formal dining room (15 X 19), family dining room, wires still in both dining room floors for buttons under the carpet to call the maid. We made the family dining room into a family room. House was 3800 sq ft so if we wanted to get away from the kids there were plenty of places to be alone, and it was a Golden Age to be a child in that neighborhood and our three had a nearly ideal childhood. We paid $150k in 1984 and had very well-heeled neighbors with pools and boats and beach houses, and they all shared.

    That was our third house and we only left it reluctantly for a job when there were no jobs there. The first one was built in 1924 for less than a grand and cost us $15k ub 1970.

  39. 39
    opiejeanne says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Your life and your background are fascinating. Really and truly amazing. I am glad to read them, too.

  40. 40
    Aleta says:

    You had me at TJ Wilde. And again at Run Aground. Then the typeface.
    This is wonderful news.

  41. 41
    Josie says:

    I am probably ten years older than you. I started my book (historical fiction) about two years ago. I work on it off and on as the spirit moves me. The story has been in my head for years, but I am working on filling in the details and the historical context. Believe me, you are never too old to do something creative. I fully intend to get it published, one way or another, even if no one reads it but my grandchildren. Also, it gives me something to think about when I wake up at 3:00 in the morning and am waiting to go back to sleep.

  42. 42
    ellie says:

    Congratulations! I just added it and am looking forward to reading it. Are you a member of any local writing groups? I ask because I am in the Denver area.

  43. 43
    Miss Bianca says:

    Oh, wow! Another book to toss onto the tottering to-be-read pile! : )

  44. 44
    Aleta says:

    I can just picture Mrs. Sara Holman after her husband’s death: a leisurely bath upstairs and then, escaping the servants’ notice, climbing down the cast iron downpipe for a rendezvous and breaded pork tenderloin with a root beer at Lou’s Drive In.

    There was a house like that one in the town on the Mississippi where I partly grew up The funeral home looked like that one too, and an A&W sold tenderloin sandwiches across from the junior high.

  45. 45
    Miss Bianca says:

    Oh, and since we’re talking about writing groups and shameless self-promotion, I am announcing – mostly so that I’ll feel obliged to continue – that I am dusting off and continuing my fanfic re-write of Georgette Heyer’s “The Quiet Gentleman” – tentatively titled, “The Brown Girl” – mostly for fun, but also for eventual (I hope!) publication.

    Why that one? It’s not because I think I can do a better job than the incomparable Georgette – far from it. But this is not one of my favorites – it’s one where I felt dissatisfied with the characterization and motivation of the villain of the piece, so I am re-writing it with him as the hero. Also, some of the secondary characters – particularly the heroine’s parents – are so delightful that I wanted to see more of them. In fact, I love the heroine’s parents so much that they would be ripe to get their own story – a sequel or prequel or what-have-you, which the degenerate Modern Age seems to require. ; )

  46. 46
  47. 47
    stinger says:

    @opiejeanne: No worries! I’m about the same age myself. Twenty years ago I wrote 5 or 6 chapters of a book, then set it aside. Three years ago I went at it again. I signed up for a writing workshop at the community college, and have stayed with the workshop ever since. It took me two years to finish the story, and upon seeing my 2-chapter submission, a publisher has asked for the “complete”! So I can relate to both you and FelonyGovt!

  48. 48
    Miss Bianca says:

    @stinger: That is so cool!

    @TaMara (HFG): And heartiest congratulations, btw! I can’t wait to read your work! Sexy US marshals, yum! (Visions of Timothy Bullock in “Justified” dancing thru’ my head)

    And boy, can I relate to the thought of cringing at your parents reading the sex scenes in your novel, LOL! Count me in as one who would be interested in BJ writer threads/group starting up again!

  49. 49
    WaterGirl says:

    I want to read your book! Why isn’t this available on iBooks?

  50. 50
    WaterGirl says:

    @ jacy: I could not love your cover more!

  51. 51
    Ruckus says:

    If I recall properly my parents paid the princely sum of $24+K for our house in 1961. Family friends paid the unheard of sum of $49K for one of two houses on a roundabout at the top of the canyon in our fair town about the same time. Mom sold the house about 35 yrs later for $350K and thought she got ripped off. She didn’t.
    Your house sounds a lot nicer than the one I’m describing, there were a couple like that up the nice tree lined street we lived on. Which was wide enough to drag race on, which you probably can tell, happened one more than one occasion.

  52. 52
    tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat) says:

    Congratulations, Tamara! This looks like a fun read and I’ll definitely look it up.

    I always seem to come to these threads late. I would love to see the writer’s thread back, but have to say that because of the time difference, whenever I got to the thread it was always dead. Any chance you could choose a different time or alternate the the time every other week?

    I published a romantic suspense last year under the name Zia Westfield. I have two more now sitting with my publisher. I have been very slow to figure out the marketing and promoting aspect. And since I’m a teacher, I try very hard life to keep my writing separate from my day job. I would love to talk about the business side of writing as well as the craft with others.

    @Miss Bianca: I am a huge Georgette Heyer fan. My favorites are The Grand Sophy, Federica, The Unknown Ajax, Lady of Quality, The Black Sheep, The Talisman, and Sprig Muslin. She is superb at comedy. Have you read her suspense novels?

  53. 53
    Miss Bianca says:

    @tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat): You mean her murder mysteries? I have several of them, but find them generally inferior, in plotting and characterization, to her Regencies and Georgian comedies, and they’re not on my re-read list. The exception is “A Blunt Instrument”, but that’s entirely because I love Randall the Snake’s inveterate snarkiness.

    Yes, many of your favorites are my favorites too! “The Grand Sophy” and “Black Sheep”, definitely. I would add “The Masqueraders” and “The Marriage of Convenience” and “These Old Shades”, but I love the Georgian period. Also, got a thing for that cross-dressing motif, so I’d probably add “The Corinthian” into that mix as well. I need to re-read “The Unknown Ajax” – so many people love that one, and I find I barely remember it!

  54. 54
    tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat) says:

    @Miss Bianca: The Blunt Instrument is a good read. There’s another as well that I can’t recall the title. I hated Penhallow. I remember that. Do read The unknown Ajax when you can. I think you’ll enjoy it. Also, I agree on the books you listed above. On the vein of older detective series, have you read any of the Patricia Wentworth Miss Silver series?

  55. 55
    opiejeanne says:

    @Ruckus: Our house was out in Riverside. Our second house cost $42k, $4k overpriced in 1976 (divorce sale, the husband held us up for that 4 grand), but we sold it for $125 in 1984, which allowed us to buy the third place. We needed more space, wanted a bigger yard and enough bedrooms for the three kids. The girls ended up rooming together again about six months after the older one had me paper and paint the room we used as a library/guest room after our AFS student went home. The bedroom upstairs was 14 by 19 and had a row of French windows overlooking the side yard (a whole city lot) and above a pair of long window seats. It was the nursery from Peter Pan.
    The house was an amazing place to live as a kid, a fun house for parties and we had a lot of them. Our son was 14 when we bought it just as he was about to start HS. The middle kid was 5, the youngest was 18 months. Everybody had kids their age, and most had at least 3 kids. We’d still be living there if the jobs hadn’t disappeared in 1991. Almost bought it back when we moved back from the SF area.

  56. 56
    Miss Bianca says:

    @tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat): Oh, for Heaven’s sake, *brain fart*…it’s “Behold, Here’s Poison” that has Randall in it!

    I can’t remember the Miss Silver series…I’m going to have to look them up!

  57. 57
    tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat) says:

    @Miss Bianca: Do so! If you like older Detective series, I think you might enjoy this one. It actually spans from around WWII to the sixties or 70s, UK setting. It’s a very different writing style than what today’s genre demands.

    Off to work . Catch you later!

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    Aw, man, I missed the thread. 😢 I’ve been fighting off a migraine since last night, so I’m only just now getting online for a few minutes (backlit screens are bad for my migraines).

    I’ve been stalled out on my own book since I need to re-do the outline since it needs some heavy revisions, and I haven’t had the brain space for that because of surgery prep. I’m still off work next week, so I hope I can get to it.

    TaMara showed us a copy of the book at the Denver meetup in July so we could all ooh and aah over it.

  59. 59

    been busy today but finally checked in, so yay and CONGRATULATIONS.

  60. 60
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    Wow! This is SO cool! Congratulations! You must be so freakin proud of yourself! I hope so, anyway. You deserve to be!

  61. 61
    stinger says:

    @tokyocali (formerly tokyo expat): I have several Patricia Wentworth/Miss Silver books. None of them stand out in my mind as individually memorable, but I love those books in general. In fact, it’s time to start re-reading them!

    I’m a couple of chapters in to Run Aground, and am really enjoying it, TaMara/Ms. DeMoranville!

  62. 62
    Bonnie says:

    I am only a reader. I love mysteries! Look forward to reading. Thanks.

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