Carolyn Crane Guest Post and GIVEAWAY

My Sad Case of Author Geography Jealousy!

Confession: I used to be a little jealous of paranormal authors who live in more exotic or gritty places than Minnesota or Wisconsin. Or who know other places well enough to write about them. The American Midwest, where I live, never seemed spooky or paranormal. Yet, I know nothing else!

My author jealousy list: Jaye Wells, Adrian Phoenix, and Erin McCarthy who can write about spooky New Orleans. I mean, what a great paranormal city! And Suzanne McLeod gets awesome London. Carolyn Jewel sets her paranormal series in fabulous San Fran. And Vicki Pettersson lives in and uses Las Vegas, which is fabulously strange.

Lara Adrian and JR Ward have their East Coast settings, steeped in tradition, perfect for vampire clans. And Sierra Dean and Thea Harrison go for gritty New York. And then there’s lucky Charlaine Harris who can be all Deep South gothic with strange and colorful characters in her Southern Vampire books. Even Patricia Briggs has it all over me with her cool West Coast settings. And then we have the many Seattle-based writers—Mark Henry, Richelle Mead, Kat Richardson and other taking full advantage of awesomely gray city.

Yes, the Midwest has Chicago, which is kind of gritty. I set my UF trilogy, the Disillusionists, there, or at least in a fantastical version of it. Chloe Neill uses Chicago of course. (Yay!) So does Julie James. Okay, she’s not paranormal, but I love her so much. And, some writers do use Minneapolis: Amanda Carlson and Moira Rogers have books set here in Minneapolis, where I now live.

Though you often have Midwestern writers setting their books elsewhere. I’m looking at you, Nicole Peeler, setting your series in Maine and down the East Coast. And Midwest girl Shiloh Walker, writing as J.C. Daniels, put Blade Song in Florida. Traitors! No, actually, I did it too with my erotic romance pen name, Annika Martin—as soon as my heroine is taken hostage by the hunky bank robbers, they get out of Wisconsin for their smutty and criminal exploits. For book 2 they’re in the L.A. criminal underground, which I’m totally fudging off a trip there once.

Because, I grew up in suburban/semi-rural Midwest. What do I have? Strip malls. Corn fields. Pot lucks featuring tator tot casseroles in Lutheran church basements. Quaint towns. Snow and slush. Fish fries at rural supper clubs. Neatly trimmed lawns. Boo hoo!!

But I’m feeling better these days and actually had some good wholesome dark fun with my rural Minnesota setting in Mr. Real. It was kind of a big thing for me to claim my Midwestern roots with it, but now I’m glad I did.

In the book, a lonely girl uses an occult computer program to bring a sexy spy from a TV ad to life; the actor who plays the character – and has come to hate him – is not amused.

So this is a James Bond-ish product spokesman my heroine conjures for a sexy visit, and he sees the Midwest in a whole different way. She takes him to a rural supper club where the décor and mounted deer heads are left over from the 1960’s and he finds it bizarre, and possibly sinister.

And he doesn’t at all get the lawn ornaments—are they serious? Is somebody trying to gaslight him? The woods seem a perfect place to bury a body. Now I’m kind of glad we have what we have here. I just needed to see the paranormal weirdness in it!

Mr. Real

The girl of his dreams…with the secret agent of his nightmares

Alix Gordon is a girl who doesn’t take life too seriously. What’s the fun in that? So when she stumbles across occult software that can bring any computer image to life, she conjures up lots of awesome outfits and accessories. And then, on one drunken, horny night, she conjures up Sir Kendall, the sexy TV ad spy . . . who looks exactly like Paul Reinhardt, the super hot martial arts teacher who kicked her out of class a few years ago.

Fighter Paul Reinhardt has good reason to hate Sir Kendall, the character he brought to life to land a part in a TV ad; he’d do anything to forget him. A cross country road trip seems just the thing . . . until Paul finds himself inexplicably drawn to Minnesota and is shocked to discover Sir Kendall – in the flesh – with the girl he’d once loved from afar. He barges into Alix and Sir Kendall’s love nest, determined to stop the madness – somehow.

But is super spy Sir Kendall transforming into something more dangerous anyone can imagine? And what will Sir Kendall do when Paul and Alix finally give into their mad lust for each other?

Enter to win!


Up for grabs: a digital ARC of Mr. Real! To win, let me know a book setting you have loved. Contest open internationally until 10-16-12 @ 11:59pm EST. Winner announced shortly after. Good luck!


  1. I love this blog, location envy very funny. I live in Ohio not exciting lots of fields full of corn and soy beans.
    My favorite location is Scotland. Maybe because I love hot highlanders…..hmm. They alway talk about their land in sure a way that it makes you want to be there also.
    Your book sound really good. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. Wow, this book sounds really different. A book setting I really love? I like Scotland like Lori, but the seetting is what appeals to me most, but the characters and their relationship.

  3. This sounds really good, thanks for the post 🙂 I can’y wait to read it.
    Im thinking i like it when there in a moutain setting.

  4. I have to say, I’m partial to San Francisco since I live in the Bay Area. However, aside from there, I love books set in Alaska or the Yukon. It’s such an amazing place, and so isolated that you can well believe paranormal stuff is happening and nobody notices.

  5. Im good with rural. Im in N Central Texas – dirt, trees, cows and kids (not so much the kids anymore but..,) Anything could happen here and no one would know – its great! LOL. Sounds like a great read – definitely TBR.

  6. I’m going to say New Orleans. I seem to read a lot of books set there. Love Adrian Phoenix and her Maker’s Song series. Heather Graham writes sets her stories in many places, but love her description of the East Coast. And an imaginary setting that is described so well you want to go look for the town to visit.

    Thanks for the giveaway,
    Elizabeth Gray

  7. I feel your pain. I’m trying to finish mine, and set it in…of all places…Oklahoma! Gah! Best of luck, your style is great and will overcome geography! I just hope, when mine is done that I am so lucky. 🙂

  8. I’ve liked a lot of different settings in books. I’ve especially enjoyed reading books set in New Orleans. Maybe because it seems so different from here in Massachusetts. I’ve lived in the same city just about all of my life so anyplace that isn’t here usually feels more exciting to read about.

    Mr. Real looks really interesting. I’m looking forward to reading it when it comes out!

  9. Book setting maybe beach or island ? Uhmm… Come visit Bali in Indonesia you will like it. The cover.. Is very tempting.

    And thanks for the giveaway, hope can win Hahaha….

  10. I’m from NJ, (you never know where the bodies are buried, it would make for a great zombie book!), but living in Edinburgh now. Definitely a great city for lots of paranormal. The creepy history is amazing. Mary’s Queens Close, Burke and Hare, Jekyll and Hyde, and on and on.
    As for the midwest, John Sandford isn’t exactly UF, but his bad guys are scary as anything. And creepy killers are definitely what I think of when I think of Minnesota now.

  11. Ah well, it’s all in the eye of the beholder isn’t it 🙂 I’m Swedish and I find the American Midwest and Minnesota in particular very fascinating. After all this is were so many of the Swedish emigrants went when they left their mother land, it’s the place where some Swedes perished while others prospered and found new and better lives for themselves and their families. It’s where Karl-Oskar and Kristina travel in author Vilhelm Moberg’s The Emigrants series and where traces of Scandinavian immigrants like them, can be found in place names such as Lindström (so cool!) This makes the American Midwest feel close to my heart, even though I have never been there. I hope I’ll get the opportunity to go some day 🙂

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