Jess McConkey's 5 Firsts and Lasts

The-Widows-of-Braxton-County-199x300Our guest today: Jess McConkey Why we love her: You may not know this, but we love a book with some good ol' mystery in it!

Her latest: The Widows of Braxton County

The Scoop: Family secrets can bind and destroy.

Kate is ready to put her nomadic, city-dwelling past behind her when she marries Joe Krause and moves with him to the Iowa farm that has been in his family for more than 140 years. But life on the farm isn't quite as idyllic as she'd hoped. It's filled with chores, judgmental neighbors, and her mother-in-law, who—unbeknownst to Kate until after the wedding—will be living with them.

As Kate struggles to find her place in the small farming community, she begins to realize that her husband and his family are not who she thought they were. According to town gossip, the Krause family harbors a long-kept secret about a mysterious death that haunts Kate as a dangerous, unexplainable chain of events begins.

Our thoughts: Tired of the same ol' same ol'?  Then pick up this mystery!

Giveaway: One SIGNED copy!  Leave a comment and you'll be entered to win!  We'll choose the winners after 8am on Sunday, July 28th.

Fun Fact: Jess also writes books as Shirley Damsgaard!

Where you can read more about Jess: Facebook!


Jess Mconkey author photoKiss

First: As I recall, it happened in the neighbor boy’s sandbox when I was approximately 5 years old and was the result of a dare issued by his sister. Always one to rise to a challenge, I planted one on his rather gritty cheek. He yelled “Yuck!” and promptly left the sandbox. So much for my first experience at romance.

Last: I’ve been single for a number of years, so unless I count the peck on the cheek from my five year old grandson, I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember!!

Book read

First: My mother always read Little Golden Books to me so I’m sure my first book was one of those. However my favorite book as a child was THE LITTLE RABBIT WHO WANTED RED WINGS by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey. Many people now say that book discourages children from being individuals, but that isn’t the message that I remember…the message I received was about the importance of being yourself, of accepting who and what you are. Must’ve stuck because that’s basically what every book I’ve ever written is about too!

Last: My taste in reading is all over the board, so as long as a story has a good plot, spunky protagonists, and snappy dialogue, I’m in!! I recently finished The Maggie MacKay: Magical Tracker Series by Kate Danley and really enjoyed it. Another favorite recently read is the latest in Ruth Downie’s Medicus Series--SEMPER FIDELIS: A NOVEL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE (MEDICUS). Great mystery series about a doctor serving in Rome’s Legions and stationed in Britannia in 122A.D.

Risk Taken

First: Since my life’s philosophy has always been “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” it’s hard to say what the first risk was. I do recall the time, as a preschooler, I climbed to the top of my swing set just to see if I could do it then being too scared to climb down. My mother finally heard me screaming and rushed out to rescue me. Then there was the time I rode my pony up the loading chute to see if he’d fit…What can I say?? I’ve often thought an appropriate epitaph for me would be “It seemed like a good idea at the time!”

Last: Going camping with my family over the 4th of July weekend. That might not seem like much of a risk, but it involved six children ranging in the age from 3 to 15 years old; sparklers (several articles of clothing now have burn holes in them courtesy of the three year old who thought he’d see what would happen if he touched someone with a lit sparkler); and four dogs. We were the family no one wanted next to them!

Aha moment

First: Do not put a Shetland pony into a loading chute without dismounting first. (See response to first risk taken.) Unfortunately the “aha moment” came a bit too late and I successfully trapped myself and the horse in the chute. (He was so fat that my legs were pinned against the side of the chute.) Once again it was Mom to the rescue and, except for a few tears, neither child nor horse were damaged in the operation.

Last: The last “aha” moment involved five grandchildren, the tip of a Star Wars light saber, a knife, and a bottle of dish soap. It seems one of my 11 year-old grandsons has inherited my curiosity and decided to see if his finger (the middle one…of course) would fit into the broken end of a light saber. It did…quite well. In fact, so well that I thought it was going to take a trip to the emergency room in order to remove it. The “aha” moment came when I thought of the dish soap. Unfortunately the end was closed so it was necessary to saw off the tip as the other four children gathered round, staring intently. They were no doubt wondering if Grandma was going to get the tip of the finger as well as the tip of the light saber, and if she did, they didn’t want to miss it. The story ends well…the tip was removed (the saber, not the finger) and soap was squirted into the remainder of the tube. A few wiggles later, and voila, the offending object slid off.

Hell ya moment

First: I’m sure there were others before this, but the most memorable “hell ya” moment came when I received author copies of my first book. Fist pumping and a happy dance were also involved.

Last: Not to be redundant…but receiving author copies of this book! But I’m cooler now and don’t dance around the house.

Thanks, Jess!