Today I am so pleased to welcome Morgan Brice to Joyfully Jay. Morgan has come to talk to us about her latest release, Treasure Trail. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


Making it Feel Real

When I dive into reading a book, I want it to be a full-immersion kind of escape. I want to be so deep into the fictional world, so wrapped up in the characters, that I don’t hear the phone ring and I ignore the doorbell. Reading is an escape for me, as I know it is for many other folks, a way to leave the cares of the real world behind and trade them for action, adventure, exciting locations, and romance.

Which means that when I put on my author hat, I’ve got a big job ahead of me to make the world of the book real enough to blot out everything else for my readers.

So before I can make it real for readers, the book world has to be real in my own mind. That’s one reason why the locations in all of my books are places where I’ve been, and in many cases, where I lived. Every city, every area, has a vibe. If you don’t know the feel of a place, you can describe all the landmarks correctly, but it won’t be right. New York City is not Chicago. Charleston is not New Orleans. Whatever similarities they have, there’s something about the energy—not to mention the history, food, climate, etc.—that’s very different, and it’s that difference that makes a place unique.

I do a lot of research on every book. That might include an in-person visit to refresh my memory, if at all possible. If not, Google Earth and Google Street Views are wonderful tools. I dive deep into local photos, tourism information, landmarks, history and menus. I look at the special events and celebrations, and the regional foods. I keep my ears open for regional words or ways of saying something. Those are the details that will have someone who is familiar with a place nodding and thinking, “yep, that’s right.”

It matters, because if I get it wrong, it can throw a reader out of the story. Maybe most readers won’t have a personal connection to a setting, but some might. I want the book’s setting to match their memories of a location. And for those who aren’t familiar with a location, I want to give them enough sensory description that when the book is done, they feel as if they’ve visited.

In Treasure Trail, the first book in my new series set in Cape May, New Jersey, I wanted to share what makes that beach town special. Cape May has beautiful Victorian houses, amazing local restaurants, a charming downtown and vibrant local arts scene, cute yellow-striped beach cabanas, and an atmosphere that is slightly more formal than your average boardwalk. The town also has a reputation for being very haunted, something you don’t find in every seaside resort. The deeper I dug, the more tidbits I found to make readers’ visit special!

Treasure Trail’s characters aren’t your average beach combers, either. Erik Mitchell used to track art fraud and bust up forgery rings, but after a close call, he moves to Cape May to make a fresh start. Ex-cop Ben Nolan is also starting over, and sparks fly when the two men meet. But when old scandals and murders come to light, they’re going to need each other and every bit of luck to get their happy ending.

A cursed hotel, a missing clock, and an old skeleton add up to trouble for Erik and Ben. As they’re navigating a new town, a budding relationship and the scars of old betrayals, they’ve got to decide who to trust, because someone wants to turn Erik and Ben into Cape May’s newest ghosts!

If you’ve read my Badlands and Witchbane books, you’ll spot some familiar names, since all my series have cross-overs and cameo appearances. The same is true for characters from the non-romance urban fantasy I write as Gail Z. Martin. That makes for a spooktacular expanded universe!

Have fun reading Treasure Trail—I hope when you finish, you’ll feel like you’ve found a new favorite beach!


Erik Mitchell traveled the world uncovering art fraud and relic theft, which pitted him against spoiled billionaires, unscrupulous collectors, mobsters and cartels. He worked with law enforcement across the US and Europe, but a sting goes wrong and Erik ends up injured, then returns to find his partner cheating. Erik decides to stop globe trotting and buy an antique shop in scenic Cape May, NJ, rebuild his life, and nurse his broken heart.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

Undercover Newark cop Ben Nolan went down in a hail of bullets when a bust went sideways, after a tip-off from a traitor inside the department. After he recovers, he spends a couple of years as a private investigator, only to tire of seeing the worst of human nature. So when his aunt offers him the chance to take over her rental real estate business in Cape May, it seems too good to be true. Now if he could just believe he could ever be lucky again in love.

When a missing antique shows up under mysterious circumstances, Ben and Erik are plunged into danger as a cursed hotel’s long-ago scandals resurface. Someone wants those secrets to stay buried—and is willing to add Ben and Erik to the death toll to keep the past hidden


Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, and Treasure Trail. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!


Comment on the blog post and enter for a chance to win a Kindle-ebook version of one of Morgan’s backlist books (from her Badlands and Witchbane series). Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, July 14th at 11:59 pm ET.

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
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  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
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  • Void where prohibited by law.
FILED UNDER: Giveaway, Guest Post