Earth-shaking News

Clancy Ramirez, the heroine of my August 27 release, Hollywood Demon, is a geomage, which means she can make the earth shake or grow still. And Clancy wants to come home, to one of the most famously unstable regions in the world – California.

jenny schwartz, hollywood demon, paranormal romance, kindle unlimited,California fascinates me not just because of its complicated geology, but because its climate is a lot like where I live in the south-west corner of Australia. I feel a kinship to California. We both have that coastal vibe, sunshine and zany people. But … California has earthquakes!

When you’re writing a paranormal romance or any kind of suspense novel, it helps to tap into people’s fears. Doing so raises the stakes. Vanity Fair has an interesting survey on what Americans most fear. But there’s no way I’m writing about your boss! That’s a total mood-killer 😉 I didn’t consult this survey or any other one when I was plotting Hollywood Demon, I just knew that for me, having the earth move beneath my feet is all kinds of terrifying because it doesn’t end there. Roads buckle, gas lines catch fire, water supply breaks down, chaos!

But then, the demon muscled into the story and it went in another direction. It’s still vitally important that Clancy is a geomage (fascinating magic), but the story is set in Hollywood, and in Hollywood it’s all about appearances. Are people really who they seem?

Mark Yarren, the hero of the story, isn’t over the tragedy of his broken engagement. But not for the reasons Clancy thought. Here’s a tiny snippet to tease you:

He stopped at a red light and turned to her. “That ‘everything’—her movie roles, her incredible beauty, her star quality—were part of the contract. Phoebe sold her soul to a demon. When the demon came to collect it, at the site of the car crash, she tried to give him my soul, instead.”

“No,” Clancy protested instinctively. Mark and Phoebe had been in love. Phoebe couldn’t possibly have tried to trade his soul for hers. It couldn’t be true.

People aren’t always who they seem, especially in Hollywood!


Instafreebie. I’m still exploring this site, but it seems to offer free books. Do any of you use it? Do you like it? Have you found any great books there?


On a non-writing topic, I really want to make cornbread. I’ve never eaten any and it sounds delicious. I’ve found this recipe for cornbread, but before I try it, does anyone have any tips?


And finally, names! People think naming children and pets is difficult – and it is! – but pity the poor author who is constantly on the hunt for names (and has to google that they’re not real and famous people). So I tend to bookmark sites like this one: common names by profession. Plus the American Social Services Administration does popular names by birth year. So helpful!


14 Replies to “Earth-shaking News”

  1. About cornbread – less sugar is better.
    I always cook it in a cast-iron skillet. Lightly grease the skillet and heat it in the oven before adding the batter. Makes a yummy crust!
    You can add shredded cheddar and/or chopped jalapenos.

    1. Valerie, I think I might have to buy a skillet. It’s not in my Aussie cupboard! I’m wondering if I can get away with a shallow cake tin or my apple pie dish – that might work! I’m all for crust so I’ll definitely pre-heat the skillet/dish. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Instafreebie is OK, but it doesn’t tell me (like Amazon does) if I already have the book or not. So I have to do a search on my Kindle, especially if it’s not a recently released book, to see if I have it already or not. I’ve only seen free books on it. Don’t know that they are set up to collect money.

    1. Pat – oh what a bother! I often look to pick up a book on Amazon, only to be shown that message – you bought it on…! Thanks for the heads up, I’ll remember to check first 🙂

    1. Melinda – oh good! my kindle is old (also cracked, but it works!), so I hope everything is easy. Navigating with those fiddly buttons isn’t easy. I’ll have to find the cord to transfer files. Thank you!

  3. I’ve had a few authors use instafreebie as a way to offer book copies without involving amazon or the other big retailers. There’s another site that they also use for copies that I’m not remembering at the moment. I didn’t realize that instafreebie also offered a variety of books so I’ll have to check that part out.

    This is my go to cornbread recipe –
    she just tweaked it to this, which I’m going to try when it’s cool enough to use the oven –

    1. Elizabeth, the gremlins went and hid your comment somewhere, so I’ve only just retrieved it from them. Then I went and got distracted by the Mexican lentil stew mentioned in your cornbread recipe. Mmm. That sounds yum too. And I like your cornbread recipe. I’ve found others that recommend buying buttermilk to use in them. This recipe is nice and simple. Thank you!!

  4. I have tried instaFreebie and received great downloads. Use it all the time. Would recommend it to everyone who wants free books from authors they like to read and also to try different authors.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I’m always so doubtful of anything new (to me) since learning how to do things online takes me ages. I’ll have to try it! My book budget will thank me 🙂

  5. Hey Jenn!

    I have tried Instafreebie and I’ve gotten some decent downloads from there. I get email notifications from them too just so I don’t miss an option.

    Now, cornbread. Hard to believe you’ve never eaten that. One of my husband’s faves. He eats it as a midnight snack all mashed up and drizzled in milk. Um…that’s not my thing but lots of ppl swear by it. We prefer the cornbread that has a tad bit of a sweet taste. Not crazy about the hard, saltier version of cornbread. Like ours moist and kinda like sweet corn, a hint of sweetness. Especially great with my delicious red beans and rice! I can make a mean pot of red beans and smoked sausage. Anyway, good luck with your recipe.

    Names for characters? Hm. To be honest, I took a long time coming up with names for my four children. I’m impossible with names. You should hear my passwords. I cringe when I have to create a name or code. Lol.

    California. I’ve never had the privilege to visit our lovely western state (my mom has) but I can think of plenty reasons to stage a book there. I think it’ll be a great setting.

    1. Mary — ooh! I like your husband’s idea for eating cornbread. I thought it just had to be savoury. Now I’m doubly determined to try making it! You made me hungry describing how you serve it – I’m inviting myself to dinner!

      Don’t, please don’t! mention passwords. They’re the bane of our lives, aren’t they? Remember when all we had to do was sign a check? 🙂

      I’d love to see California – and Louisiana, obviously! – and Texas… although I think if I get to the Texas Hill Country you won’t be able to pry me out with a crowbar. It looks so beautiful on the TV show “Fixer Upper”.

      I’m going to try Instafreebie and stop being a big baby about trying new things 🙂

      1. Oh! Texas Hill Country is EVERYTHING you think it is! It’s absolutely beautiful. Crystal clear streams & rivers, green hills, rocky hills, undisturbed land for miles. Breathtaking! My lil sis asked me yesterday to go w/her to Leaky, Tx. for several days. However, not sure I can get away. My baby just had his first child yesterday; a beautiful 7#9oz. beauty named Leila Raye (pronounced Lay-la.–Hm. A fictional character name suggestion for you. Ha.) Spent entire day and evening at hospital. My 2nd granddaughter this summer!! We’ve been blessed. Unfortunately, our parish was inundated with rain and floods BUT we managed to stay dry. My nephew…not so lucky. Two feet of water in his one year old home. Very disheartening but the community has been most helpful and Keller-Williams Realtors set them up in a rental until their home can be repaired. They lost everything!!! House & both cars. Thankfully, we only lost power and internet service, even though we live across from Bayou Teche. (Pronounced Tesh)

        You’re always welcomed to dinner, of course. Keep us posted on your adventures in the kitchen and how you fare with the cornbread recipe.

        1. Mary – oh my goodness! A new grandbaby!!! Leila is a beautiful name 🙂 How wonderful two have two granddaughters born this summer – they can be the best of friends. Cousins are special!

          I was worried about you and yours hearing of the floods. So glad you’re safe — but your poor nephew. The weather is so extreme these days. Definitely needs to be balanced by extra kindness from humans to help us all through … and people are kind! like the realtor you mention.

          I’m plotting my cornbread adventure … I’ve checked the local supermarket and they have buttermilk which some recipes include … now to decide whether to use it or regular milk! Decisions, decisions.

          (I’m smiling so big at the thought of two granddaughters in one summer – lovely!)