Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lisa Medley's Debut in New Harlequin Line

Today I’m happy to welcome fellow Ozarks Romance Author member Lisa Medley whose debut urban fantasy novel REAP & REPENT just released on March 3. Congratulations Lisa! Your story to publication is unique and exciting. Would you share a little of that with us?

My story began with a contest. Which I lost. In September of 2012, I entered the Harlequin "So You Think You Can Write contest. Out of more than 700 global entries, my first 5,000 words made it into the Top 28 when I was asked to submit the full manuscript for final judging. After more than a month of grueling waiting and nail biting via social media, I learned I had not moved on to the Top 3.

At that point, I pretty much considered the adventure over. I was proud of how well my book had fared and was ready to begin the long road to submitting it for publication. As I made my plan of attack but before I had actually sent it anywhere, I got a THE CALL from Harlequin for its newly launching imprint, Harlequin E.

They bought the first book (the contest entry) and the next two in the series. All three will publish this year.

What a fantastic story. And it's a perfect one. Love how your publishing came from a contest you lost! Please tell us a little about your debut title.  
For an overview, here's the blurb:
Deacon Walker is a burned out loner, whose two hundred years as a reaper have left him empty inside. But when he meets Ruth Scott, a gorgeous shut-in with unusual gifts, he’s forced to set his career complacency aside to train her for a destiny she never knew existed. Soon the two will face the ultimate test: a battle against demons determined to destroy humanity, one soul at a time.

Great blurb, Lisa.How did the concept for the reapers come to you?

I needed something that hadn’t been reincarnated for the umteenth bazillionth time. Something that might stand out in a crowded field of paranormal monsters in love.

I chose reapers because there just weren’t that many authors writing about them. The reapers I knew of aren’t sexy. Reapers are death. And skeletal. And…grim. So I set out to make them better. Still human-looking but human DELUXE! Lots of dark potential there. I sat down and got to work making a world for them to live in, threw in some demons, an evil fallen angel and the Reaper Series was born. 

Sounds fantastic.Would you share an excerpt?

Absolutely. This is from the Prologue.

What does a guy have to do around here to get some service? Deacon Walker marveled as he glared at the undulating queue of grotesque reapers in front of him. 

For all that’s holy, move the hell along already.

It had been a long week, and it wasn’t over yet. He needed to make at least one more pass through the hospital circuit before he could call it a day. He could already feel the tug of a freshly departed soul. Again. People were dropping like flies lately.

He massaged his brow, trying to soothe his exhausted patience as the line inched forward at a snail’s pace.

He was worn thin. Over the past few weeks, three demon soul poachers had popped up in his fair city of Meridian like poisonous mushrooms after a hard rain. While it wasn’t unheard of for one to slip out from Hell every now and then, three was a nightmare.

When it got topside, a demon’s M.O. was to steal a human body, poach a few souls from the dead and dying, and then make its merry way back to Hell, taking its host’s soul along for the ride. The only way to save the souls a poacher was carrying was to behead the host with a scythe. Not a pretty thing to do, but the poor suckers were too far gone by then to survive anyway. No human could withstand the pressures of being ridden by a demon. And it was worth it to save a handful of souls, not to mention inconveniencing the demon.

Deacon refused to lose any souls from his territory. At all.

So far the score was Deacon, 3. Demons, 0.

As a reaper, carrying souls to Purgatory for judgment was his job and he wasn’t about to cede his territory to poachers who used up their hosts like they were disposable Tupperware. So now, in addition to his normal day job, he also had to keep an eye out for more demon invaders.

While demons burned through most human hosts in a matter of days, some in a matter of hours, they had discovered long ago that under the right circumstances they could ride a reaper. Of course, they couldn’t just worm their way in like they did with humans—they had to be invited. But once a deal was struck? They were in.

And reapers? Yeah, they could hang on for decades inside a reaper. Deacon knew that fact firsthand.

His stomach twisted at the thought, but he shook it off, looking ahead with a heavy sigh.

Seriously, this line? Still. Not. Moving?
God, he needed a freakin’ vacation. Extended. He dragged a hand through his hair in frustration as his mind flipped through postcard-esque locations of reapings past. He snarled at the thought of New Orleans in summer. He would definitely want to go someplace cool—cool as in frigid, not hip. He was sick of the heat, and it was only the beginning of summer in the semitropical Midwest.

Come to think of it, he was sick of a lot of things.

This place was high on the list. It was as hot as…well, Hell actually. Or at least what he imagined Hell to be, although he’d never actually been there. Thank God.

Steam rose from random cracks in the stone floor of the underground station, veiling the place in a humid sulfur stench.

He pushed forward, finally making his way to the front to deposit his cargo of souls. He didn’t bother chatting. In. Out. Move on. It was a motto that served him well.

Mission completed, he hustled through the crowd, forgoing the bar-side frivolity of some of the more socially inclined reapers and their small talk about their glory days in the field or—even better—the missteps of the newest reapers. Newbies often tested their limits to humorous if not disastrous effect at least once in their early careers. That was exactly why new reapers had mentors or at least worked in teams. From all the laughter, he could tell that the stories were good ones. It didn’t tempt him.

He slapped his palm against the black granite monolith and flashed out of Purgatory to what he prayed was his last stop of the day.

I love this story! What’s your next project?

My current WIP is a ghost romance called Haunt My Heart about a hexed Civil War soldier who gets a second chance at life. I’m halfway through the writing of the first draft. After that, it’s back to the reapers for book four. The characters are already talking to me … late at night.

That premise sounds great. Now, what one tip would you offer writers?

Keep writing. Don’t get stuck on your first work. Write it, polish it, start submitting it and move on to your next project. You’ll have to keep juggling but you might have to plant a lot of seeds before something starts to grow. It only takes one seed grown to fruition to reap a harvest.

Excellent advice. What if we want to know more about reapers?

I’ll be posting on my website Lisa Medley, Author Blog all month about my reaper world. Come visit and leave a comment so I’ll know you stopped by!

Here's a little more about Lisa. Lisa Medley writes reapers. The grim kind. Her urban fantasy romance, REAP & REPENT is available now in a Harlequin E Box Set with three other Harlequin debut authors. A lover of beasties of all sorts, she has a farm full of them in her SW MO home including:  one child, one husband, two dogs, two cats, a dozen hens, thousands of Italian bees and a guinea pig. Not so in love with the guinea pig. She can do ten pushups IN A ROW and may or may not have a complete zombie apocalypse bug-out bag in her trunk at all times. Just. In. Case.

 REAP & REPENT is available in a Harlequin E Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance Box Set with the works of three other amazing new Harlequin authors! REPEAT & REPENT will be available for single-title release June 2, 2014.

Follow Lisa on Social Media here:


  1. Hi Lisa,
    I'm so glad you're here today. Reap & Repent is a fantastic book. The first of many, many successes!


  2. Great interview as always Barbara!

    1. Thank you Wanda. Lisa's interviews are always so entertaining! And congratulations on your recent great news :)

  3. Sounds like an interesting concept. Congratulations on your success : - )

    1. Hi Sonya. Doesn't Lisa have unique story concepts? I'm looking forward to more of her work. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I always love reliving Lisa's THE CALL story. What a fantastic way to start a writing career!

    1. I know, Allison, Isn't it the best? Yours isn't so bad, yourself. Congrats on your newest. I'm looking forward to reading it, too. What a great group we have!

  5. Love that publications story. Guess I need to work on that advice about not getting stuck on your first work. ;)

    1. Your call story will be exciting, too, Sharon. Looking forward to that one, too.

  6. Thanks, everyone! You guys ROCK! :D xxxooo

  7. I think you had a great idea going with something that hasn't been hashed to death. This is the first I've heard of reapers.

  8. Hi! I finally made it over here. Lisa, big congrats on your writing success and your MANY books in the works. I'm impressed. I, too, love your story to publication and also need to heed your advice about not getting stuck on my first novel. I've been wallowing in it for years!

  9. I have a penchant for stories like this, and glad to have learned of it. As for your advice, perfect. My first book is my favorite, but having finished writing the 4th, I see much improvement in my writing. I haven't sold the first one yet, and in the process of polishing. The second sold... there is something to be said to keep pushing forward. Looking forward to reading the book.

  10. It is a great story. And a great book!

  11. A 4th book? Cool! And Haunt My Heart sounds like a perfect read for me. Hugs and Blessings!