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Author Spotlight: Edale Lane

Edale Lane

Welcome to my weekly Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.

Today: Edale Lane is an Amazon Best-selling author and winner of Rainbow, Lesfic Bard, and Imaginarium Awards. Her sapphic historical fiction and mystery stories feature women leading the action and entice readers with likable characters, engaging storytelling, and vivid world-creation.   

Lane (whose legal name is Melodie Romeo) holds a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s in history, and taught school for 24 years before embarking on an adventure driving an 18-wheeler over the road. She is a mother of two, Grammy of three, and a doggy mom. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Lane now lives her dream of being a full-time author in beautiful Chilliwack, BC with her long-time life partner. 

When she isn’t writing, you may find her playing her French horn, working in her garden, or practicing agility with her tiny Havanese, Piper.Enjoy free e-books and other promotional offerings while staying up to date with what Edale Lane is writing next when you sign up for her newsletter. https://bit.ly/3qkGn95

Thanks so much, Edale, for joining me!

J. Scott Coatsworth: How long do you write each day?

Edale Lane: It varies. Some days I’m so busy doing life stuff I haven’t time to write at all and others I can be engrossed for twelve hours or more. On average, I probably write four to five hours a day and spend another two or three doing business-related things (promoting, creating graphics, cover designs, doing my newsletter, moderating my Facebook Group, planning campaigns, and all that jazz.)

JSC: Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

EL: I suppose women who love women aren’t underrepresented in sapphic fiction, but they are in the vast millions of books published every year. Walks with Spirits is a book of mine completely devoted to Native Americans, who are completely underrepresented. Today’s novel, Cold in Murder, includes a character with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and several key African American characters. In the previous book in the series, Queen of Murder, a new Puerto Rican non-binary character was introduced. I try to include people naturally, like the love interest happens to be non-binary, or the victim happens to be African American, because they are integral parts of Virginia society so logically, they would be there, rather than try to forcibly represent a group just to do so.

JSC: Name the book you like most among all you’ve written, and tell us why.

EL: My favorite book is always the one I’m writing at the moment, which right now would be Atlantis, Land of Dreams. Would you ask a mother to choose which of her children she likes best? Preposterous! I could say Heart of Sherwood because it launched my career, or Sigrid & Elyn because it was a number one best-selling Viking Historical Romance or Daring Duplicity because it’s sold the most paperbacks or Meeting over Murder for launching my most successful series so far. Truth is, there’s not one I don’t like, or else I wouldn’t have written it.

JSC: What book is currently on your bedside table?

EL: The Empires of Atlantis: the Origins of Ancient Civilizations and Mystery Traditions Throughout the Ages by Marco M. Vigato. Yes, it’s research for my work in progress, and also quite fascinating.

JSC: Who did your cover for Cold in Murder, and what was the design process like?

EL: I’m proud to say I created the cover for Cold in Murder—well, the whole Lessons in Murder series. I was about halfway through writing when ideas started coming to me for the cover. The story takes place in winter, so the snow. Then I found cool icy letters at a graphics site I subscribe to. The cardinals and blue jays are mentioned in the book, and I thought they were pretty, so I found a non-attributed image in the public domain. Then I used the BookBrush cover creator to remove backgrounds and meld them all together, layering, shading, fading, and tweaking until I got it to look just the way I liked it. Finally, I topped it off with the same fonts, title, and author name placement as the rest of the series.

JSC: What inspired you to write this particular story? What were the challenges in bringing it to life?

EL: Many months ago, plot ideas for future crimes for Jenna to solve flooded into my brain along with the natural progress of her relationship with Randi. One of these was to give her a cold case to solve. Playing on the cold theme, I set it during an early winter storm week, with plenty of freezing weather. Jenna has been the character to see the most growth over the series and she decides she’s ready to propose to Randi. Adding one more layer of “cold”, things pop up to temp Jenna with getting cold feet. A goal of mine is to make every story and character completely believable and to also highlight other issues beside gender and sexuality. In this case, it’s Alzheimer’s with side dishes of race and homelessness. Crimes to solve don’t happen in a vacuum. They aren’t always perpetrated by evil villains. Sometimes life is complicated. You can still expect a happy ending.

JSC: Tell me about a unique or quirky habit of yours.

EL: For the last five, six, seven years or so, I always create a playlist of positive affirmations, meditations, and music to listen to while I sleep.

JSC: What pets are currently on your keyboard, and what are their names? Pictures?

EL: Piper, the Hyper Havanese! My adorable distraction creator.

JSC: What’s your favorite line from any movie?

EL: While there are many, this still hits the top: Sam to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. “I can’t carry it (the ring) for you, but I can carry you.”

JSC: What are you working on now, and what’s coming out next? Tell us about it!

EL: I may have mentioned this already (wink, wink). Atlantis, Land of Dreams is coming later this spring. Billed as fantasy, I consider it historical fiction based on what might have actually happened. It’s a second chance ff romance rolled into mystery, suspense, political intrigue, and action on an epic scale. This isn’t Marvel Comics. I’ve researched the science, legends, archaeology, literature, and used my imagination to deduce what could have occurred in the time around 9,600 BCE, the end of the Younger Dryas Period. There’s tons of evidence to support the idea of advanced civilizations before the Biblical flood, and the geological and climate upheavals of the Younger Dryas were more than enough to wipe away most evidence of their existence—most, not all. Think: anatomically modern humans, with the same brain capacity as we possess, have been on earth for at least 200,000 years. What’s the likelihood they just sat around in small groups living in caves, hunting and gathering for 195,000 years, and then just woke up one day and decided to build the pyramids? Yeah. Our history books tell us what they think happened based on the evidence people can prove; it doesn’t mean they’re completely right. OK—romance, action, with fantastic realism. Are you on board?


Cold in Murder - Edale Lane

And now for Edale’s new book: Cold in Murder:

Is any case too cold to crack?

Jenna’s gaze lingers over the diamond rings in the showcase. She wants to pop the question to her partner Randi if she can only arrange the perfect proposal. Per usual, her work as Roanoke PD’s leading homicide detective gets in the way, not to mention the inconveniences of an early winter storm.

Randi, who knows Jenna isn’t ready for marriage, has a surprise planned for their first anniversary. She’s also crafting a strategy to visit both their families for Christmas while preparing for the end of the semester.

When a dying mother asks Jenna to investigate her daughter’s unsolved murder from thirty years ago, she can’t refuse. Despite the unlikelihood of success, she digs into the past and interviews whoever is still alive. But will buried concerns unearthed by the investigation give Jenna cold feet?

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Excerpt

Jenna checked the time when she finished her report. Eleven-thirty on a Friday means … Randi is out of class. She pulled out her personal cell phone and pushed in contact number one. “Hey, sweetie, how’s your day going?” Jenna relaxed and leaned back in her chair, happy the weekend was racing to meet her.

“Better now that you’re on the line,” purred Randi’s seductive reply. 

“Glad to hear it.” Butterflies crowded Jenna’s tummy as images of a romantic dinner and marriage proposal clouded her mind. “Are we still on for tonight?”

“Tonight? Was something supposed to happen tonight?” Randi’s voice carried an edge of sneakiness surrounding its innocent core. 

“You know we made plans to go out for dinner to Alexanders,” Jenna chided. “And it looks like I’ll be free, just wrapping up a robbery.” 

“Well, barring any unforeseen murders, I’m definitely in.” Randi’s giddy giggle caused a tingle to run down Jenna’s spine. “I have a surprise for you,” she sang tauntingly. 

“If you tell me, it isn’t a surprise.” Jenna’s answer was accompanied by Jamison’s knowing grin. She made a zipping motion across her lips while oblivious Bauman played on his computer. 

“Which is why I’m not telling you,” Randi toyed. “Are you coming home, or should I meet you there?” 

Jenna considered. She wasn’t sure how long it would take to select the perfect ring and she had clothes here she could change into if necessary. “If I’m not home by six-thirty, I’ll meet you there at seven for our reservation. Does that work?”

“Of course, sweetie. That gives me lots of time to start grading this mountain of papers, give some attention to Byron and Bandit, and get prettied up for you.” 

“You’re always beautiful,” Jenna cooed, and she meant it too. Her woman was tall and lean, with brilliant, earthy eyes, and a warm presence that felt the way fresh-baked bread smelled—like home should feel. Randi’s long, golden-brown strands were perfect for gliding her fingers through and her smile could light up Tolkien’s land of Mordor. She may not be glamorous like Trisha Jamison, but she was strong and sweet and intuitive and wonderful. 

“I see you’re still wearing those rose-colored glasses of yours,” Randi quipped. “I sure hope you never lose them.” 

“You are beautiful, and I love you, and I’ll see you at seven.”

“Be careful out there!” 

“You two are so cute together,” Jamison commented with a glowing grin. 

“Yeah, yeah,” Jenna muttered as she crammed her phone into her pocket and turned an annoyed expression to her computer screen. It was great Trish thought they were cute, but really—to announce it in their somber office in front of Ethan? It was embarrassing. 

Jenna flicked a glance at Bauman, who hadn’t reacted and didn’t seem to notice anything that had been said. “What are your plans for the weekend?” she asked him as she finished the last page of her report. 

“Who, me?” He lifted a blank expression, but she saw the ticking of his brain behind the façade. 

“Yes, you, Mr. ‘I have other sources of income’ Bauman.”

“Uh …” His eyes cut to the side and his knee bounced. “I have a thing. An out-of-town thing.”

An irresistible tickle of warmth shot through Jenna as she recalled Ethan spending extra time with one of the drag queens from a big case they worked a couple of months ago. “A Geek thing or a Mario thing?” she asked with playful interest. 

Bauman’s face turned beet red, and his body language said he wanted to run for the parking lot, but Jamison stepped in. 

“It’s OK, Ethan,” she soothed. “You must have missed Jenna’s sweet declarations of love on the phone over here. You know you’re safe with us.”

“Well, there’s an artsy thing happening in Asheville, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to broaden my horizons a little,” he explained nervously. 

Jamison worked to subdue radiant beams of gleeful joy. “I think that’s a mag idea. People need to broaden their horizons, don’t they, boss?” 

Jenna was formulating a witty response when Officer Stewart stuck his head in the door. 

“Lieutenant Ferrari? There’s a lady out here to speak to you. I put her in the visitors’ lounge,” he said in a sorrowful manner that caught Jenna’s attention. A trickle of electricity crackled over her skin and her heart beat a little faster. Ladies didn’t just show up to talk to her for no reason. Combine that with Stewart’s demeanor, and she realized something was amiss. 

“What’s happened? What’s wrong?” Jenna surged out of her chair and met his gaze.

“Ah, it’s not urgent, Lieutenant,” Stewart assured her. “It’s just … I know this woman. She’s been coming in for years now to ask about her daughter’s case that was never solved. Everyone who worked on it is retired or dead, I think. Anyway, it might be a comfort if you go have coffee with her, listen to what she has to say. Her name’s Mrs. Ramsey, Donna Ramsey.” 

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