Monday, 11 November 2013

Margie Church: The Poet's Wife

Welcome, welcome, Margie Church! We're so glad to have you here today on Heart of Fiction.

Margie re-releases her book Nopeming Shores in its newly edited and newly covered, and newly titled, version -- The Poet's Wife.

First a little about Margie --

Margie is a native Minnesotan who has a degree in television news writing and editing. While currently working in a nuclear power plant (no, she's not a Homer Simpson relation) she's also a professional editor and novelist. Margie has a number of pasttimes, but says her guilty pleasures include reading, listening to music (loves Italian opera and Bob Seger), and food (particularly fresh lobster, honey bourbon, and real vanilla ice cream . . . though not all together, I'm sure). When not writing or researching, Margie can be found at the opera, working on her bucket list (Alaska and the Outback are there), and trying to figure out a way to get onto the Letterman Show!

As you might tell, Margie has a great sense of humor, but she's as serious as it gets when it comes to her books. She's a prolific erotica and romance writer who's just placed some of her work with Ellora's Cave, and comes to Tirgearr Publishing with one of her favorite books, Nopeming Shores, which, as above, has seen a big facelift in terms of fresh editing, a new cover, and a new title -- The Poet's Wife.

Lily Halloway lost her husband, Gabe, in Afghanistan, but she can't quite let go . He was the love of her life and doesn't know how to go on without him. When she finds a haiku, the words seem to jump out at her, but she takes it as a fluke. When other haiku's start showing up, she knows Gabe's spirit is reaching out to her. She desperately wants to keep Gabe close to her but knows this is an unhealthy way to live. Will she ever be able to let go? Is she ready to let another man into her life? Will she ever be?

The Poet's Wife is a heart-wrenching tale of love more so than a love story. It's a tale of loss, and one of healing. Margie tells the story which has undoubtedly plagued many war widows over the decades. She approached the topic sensitively, with forethought and understanding, and much compassion. The reader won't be able to help feel a tightened chest while reading nor stop the inevitable tear from cross the cheek. Tissues are highly recommended as one reads the story of one woman's experience in coming to terms with the greatest loss in her life. Readers will come away having used all of their emotions. This is one for the classics list! A must read.

This story could not have been written on its own. Margie enlists the poetic mastery of J. Andrew Lockhart who wrote the haiku in The Poet's Wife, and today we welcome both Margie and Andrew to Heart of Fiction.

It's no secret writers are incredibly busy people. When they have a spare few minutes, they find ways of filling them. I'm sure the same can be said for you, Margie. Tell us what your daily routine is like. Do plan your day or just wing it until everything is done at the end of the day?
The first order of business during the week is my job as a writer. I work in site communications for a nearby nuclear power generating plant. I'll give you a minute to shut your slack jaw. So, all day long I'm writing about nuclear chemistry, safety, federal regulations, and editing/producing video. I like this job, but damn if it doesn't cut into my fiction writing time. During the week day evenings right now, I mostly deal with administrative things since I have several books coming back on the market or coming out for the first time. The queries, synopsis writing, new blurbs, blogs, website, and author group work is time consuming. Friday evening through Sunday I spend on writing new material. I had a daily word goal of 1k. Before I went back to work full time, that was a walk in the park. Two of my characters have threatened to find a new author. It's a heck of a balancing act, especially since I still have one child at home and a husband who have the nerve to need my attention sometimes, too. LOL  Once I get these admin things under control, it's not unusual for me to write 4-5k in a weekend, and 1k in an evening.

Sounds like you definitely need a schedule. Your job at the nuclear plant must also be great fodder for research. Some stories there, I'm sure!

How do you write? Do you have a dedicated room in your house you've commandeered for your office, or do you move around with a laptop? Or haunt the local coffee shop? Please, describe your writing space.
It's utilitarian, since I am inspired simply by the keyboard and monitor...and messy. I have notes everywhere. Do NOT touch those notes – even if they have dust on them. LOL I have a number of notes my son and husband wrote to me tacked up. I have a small stack of poetry books given to me by my writing partner, K.B. Cutter, in a cubbie for times I need a breather. My tiara is perched nearby to wear on the days I do something spectacular. I have a number of favorite psalms and inspirational items to feed my spirit taped under the tiara's shelf. The very hunky, James Scott, smiles at me in an autographed 8"x10" taken of him at the Emmy Awards. (I met him. He's to die for.) Then, I have this crazy calendar hanging up about nuns and nunsense. My lunatic sister gives "the Churchlady" one every year for Christmas. I scribble my critical info on this thing. I also have a collection of rocks that my husband and sons have collected for me during their treks to Lake Superior. What is it about boys and rocks? I don't dare throw them out. I'm sure there's bad Karma for that one. Two full Rolodexes of my freaking passwords are always within reach. If my house ever burns down, I'm screwed. Photos of my family, friends, places I've been, poetry I've written, and sexy inspiration scroll on my screen constantly.
Sounds like a great writers cave! You'll have to tell us more about this tiara. I think I might want one!

So, what do you enjoy doing when you're not writing? We've learned a few things already. Tell us something we don't know.
During the snow-free months (LOL) I love flower gardening. I have three gardens, and watching them change as spring eventually becomes autumn gives me great pleasure. The weeding? Not so much. During the rest of the year, I like snowshoeing. I love walking at night all year long.  The sounds of crickets and cicadas in the warm months or the sight of falling snow and holiday lights are truly my favorite things. My youngest drags me out for bike rides and Boy Scout activities. My eldest plays snare drum in Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps so we enjoy going to those performances. I love concerts and go to the opera a few times a year. I also like contemporary artists – P!nk rocked St. Paul last winter.
Margie, you're definitely one active lady. It's no wonder you have such great stories to tell, and we thank you for sharing them with us in your stories. Thank you, too, for spending the day with us here at Heart of Fiction.

Hopefully we'll get to know Andrew a little better in the comments. Maybe he'll share some of his beautiful haiku with us during the day.

Before we check out the excerpt, remember, Margie is giving away a copy of The Poet's Wife to one lucky commenter today. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you.

• • •

Lily Holliway's life is shattered when her husband, Gabe, is killed in Afghanistan. A new job and dear friends aren't enough to ease her yearnings for the love she clings to.

Gabe feels her grief so strongly that his spirit cannot leave the confines of this world. He can't rest in peace until he's sure Lily is going to be okay. In desperation, he reaches out to her using his special gift.

Finding the mysterious haiku makes Lily question her grip on reality. When she sees Gabe face-to-face, can she believe her eyes?
Lily must trust the only man she's ever loved to help her begin again.

At home, Lily set her keys on the counter top. Frowning, she thought they made a very loud metallic scrape and clunk for such a small number of keys. The clock chimed the top of the hour and she glanced in the clock's direction. Lunchtime, more or less. She glared at her bag, kind of grateful she wouldn't be packing another one any time soon. But there was no sense letting the last go to waste.

She unrolled the sack, thinking what a loud crunch the paper made. My nerves really must be shot. She took out the half sandwich. Ham and Swiss on pumpernickel. No mustard, no mayo, just plain. Exactly the way she liked them.

Lily leaned against the door jamb and watched deep green leaves flutter in the gentle breeze. She took a bite of her sandwich and chewed. Emptying her brain of worries and drama, Lily inhaled summer's fresh scents. Her heart thumped, reminding her she was alive even if her soul didn't feel like it.

A gust came up. A snap made her turn around. A pen rolled across the living room floor, apparently blown off its perch on the end table. Lily took another bite of sandwich, set it on the counter, and then went to pick up the pen. Her soft-soled shoes made quiet thumps as she walked on the wooden floor. When she stooped to retrieve the dime-store pen, her ankles cracked.

A piece of paper, half-concealed under the couch, caught her eye. She scooped it up. The gray-lined paper had a ragged edge, as though torn hastily from a notebook. She wondered where the paper came from since there weren't any small notebooks lying around. Turning it over, she opened her her eyes wide in surprise. She'd recognize that chicken scratch anywhere. But how did a note in Gabe's handwriting get on my living room floor? Her vision blurred as she read.

new each day,
the river’s water-
second chance 

The unexpected connection to Gabe's thoughts and emotions threw her for a loop. She crumpled the paper and then pitched the scrap in the general direction of the wastebasket under her writing desk. The paper ball bounced off the small trashcan and skittered across the floor, out of sight.

Dazed, she sagged into the corner of the couch. She rested her forehead on her arm. "What second chance? You're dead."

• • •

Margie Church writes erotic romance novels with a strong suspense element, in keeping with her moniker: Romance with SASS (Suspense Angst Seductive Sizzle). Never expect the same thing twice in one of her books. She tackles subjects and conflicts that aren't typical in romances. Life is complicated. People are, too. Marrying those concepts makes her work fascinating to read. Margie was 2011 GLBT Author of the Year, and her book, Hard as Teak, was named 2011 GLBT Book of the Year at Loves Romances Café. She is well-known for her BDSM erotic romances as well.

Margie lives in Minnesota, is married, and has two children. Some of her passions are music, biking, walking on moonlit nights, fishing, and making people laugh.

Find Margie online --

Tirgearr Publishing


  1. Welcome to Heart of Fiction, Margie AND Andrew! And congratulations on the relaunch of this stellar story.

    Margie, This is a wholly emotional read. Considering you normally write erotica/erotic romance, where did you get the idea to write this story?

    Andrew, What beautiful haiku throughout this story. It works so well, and you really have a talent for it. When did you become interested in poetry?

    1. I'm back!! Whew, busy morning at the nuclear plant. One of the things I manage is the huge digital displays. I thought about putting up The Poet's Wife cover and a buy link...and decided maybe not. :-)

      Where did I get the idea for the book? The war in Iraq and Afghanistan provided the main sentiment and theme. My sister's husband was serving at that time and having him gone for a year was so difficult for her. Native American culture is prevalent in Minnesota and rather than make the story religious, I decided to pull in some of the spirituality of the Native Americans. Lake Nopeming is a fictitious place but it's based on Lake Winnibigoshish. Nopeming, loosely translated is Ojibwe for place of rest. It plays an important role in the story.

    2. LOL You're funny. But yeah, that would have been one heck of a display! If only for a quick picture and back to business as usual.

      My father served in the Navy until just after I was born. I can only imagine how hard it was for mom 'on her own' and pregnant. I can only imagine how hard it was for your sister. But women are strong. We survive, right?

      That's really interesting about the translation of nopeming. I like that you pulled in that spirituality rather than resorting to a traditional inspirational theme. One thing about the Native People is their naming of places. Long, complicated names to describe something simple. I visited upstate NY years ago and stayed a week on Lake Chautauqua. In Seneca, it means 'bag tied in the middle' which is what the lake looks like. Of course, other translations include the place where one is lost...the place of easy taken out...foggy place...high up...and two moccasins fastened together. Sounds about as complicated as Irish translations!

    3. I'm very glad we have Lake Superior instead of Gitchigummi. Tough spelling all these but there's a mystical quality in The Poet's Wife that I think readers will enjoy.

  2. Thank you for hosting us and for the warm welcome to the family. I will swing back this afternoon after work to answer your question, Kemberlee and hopefully a few others, too.

    Happy release day to us all!

  3. Love the cover. Looks like a really good book..Thanks for sharing. grandmatinaof2(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    1. It's a wonderful story. I hope you'll read it, Tina.

  4. I do love the sound of that book, Margie - and I also love Haiku! Definitely one for my TBR list. Can't believe you hold down such ain interesting job too - I bow down in admiration!

    1. Hi Rosemary. Thanks for visiting. Not many dull moments in my life. I can't imagine having a weekend with nothing to do. Andrew wrote about 6 haiku for this book and today he has a new on to celebrate the release. I hope you'll visit my blog Romance With SASS! As for the day job, it is never the same each day, but there's a particular rhythm. I call it "breakneck." :-)

      Thanks for the awesome intro, Kem. Love how hard you worked to make me shine. A word about the tiara - I got it several years ago when I used to complain about motherhood being such a grind and no glamour. Now, I can have the glamour whenever I want. LOL

  5. Absolutely love the cover, Margie, and the book sounds great. Good luck with it.

    1. Thanks Charlene! I think it's perfect.

    2. Hi Margie. The Poet's Wife has a beautiful cover. It sounds like a very sensitive
      story full of emotion. It's on my list of to read books.
      Congratulations and best of luck with sales.

    3. It's a very gripping story, Cathy, but it's not all sad. There are some funny moments and plenty of reasons to be inspired. Thanks for commenting!