Today I am so pleased to welcome Jenn Burke to Joyfully Jay. Jenn has come to talk to us about her upcoming release, Graveyard Shift. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

Halloween in the Great White North

I spent a good chunk of my childhood—from age 3 to age 11—in Edmonton, Alberta. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the city, saying it’s Canada’s northernmost provincial capital should give you some clue about what it was like to live there.

Cold. It was cold.

Many years, there was a lot of snow on the ground before Halloween even arrived, so coming up with Halloween costume ideas was challenging. I often had two costumes: my real costume (the one I’d wear to school), and the one I had to settle for that would fit over my snowsuit. I was frequently a last-minute hobo.

I thought I’d share a couple of fun Halloween stories from my childhood in Edmonton.

The “Princess”

When I was about 6 years old, the snow held off and I was able to trick-or-treat in my chosen costume. I was a princess! Mom dressed me in her going-away dress from her and Dad’s wedding—it was robin egg blue, with lace and sparkles, and oh-so-very 1960s. Next up was a blonde, curly wig, and bright blue eyeshadow and eye-meltingly pink lipstick—this was 1982, after all. But there was something missing. The dress didn’t fit quite right.

Aha! Mom had a solution. She put one of her bras on me and stuffed it with socks. There! The dress fit much better. My transformation into a princess was a success!

Or, at least I thought so, until I got to the first house.

“Oh!” said the woman. “So cute! Are you Dolly Parton?”

Dolly Parton? “No, I’m a princess!” Couldn’t they tell?

Next house. “Oh my goodness, a little Dolly Parton!”

“No, I’m a princess!”

Third house. “It’s a Dolly Parton!”

“NO.” I might have stamped my foot. “I’m a PRINCESS.”

And on and on it went. Finally I gave in. I had no bloody clue who Dolly Parton was, but okay, sure. I was Dolly Parton.

Turns out Mom might have stuffed the bra a little too full.

Roger the Robot Ghost

When I was about 10, my parents bought me an Omnibot toy robot. If you don’t know what this is, check out this video. For this 1980s baby geek, this was the BEST. PRESENT. EVER. You could program it to go around your house by itself. You could move it using the remote control. You could play a cassette tape in it and its eyes would flash with the beat of the music. You could even talk into the microphone and your voice would come out of the robot, like it was speaking—and its eyes would flash then, too!

Naturally, I named my Omnibot Roger, because alliteration (Roger the Robot).


I had the great idea that for Halloween, I would dress Roger up as a ghost and use him to answer our door. I got a pillowcase and cut two eye-holes in it, so Roger’s flashing red eyes were visible. Then I cut a couple of more holes so his arms could hold a tray with candy and we were all set for trick-or-treaters.

When a kid knocked on the door, my dad stood behind the open door, out of sight. We’d taken the screen out of the screen door—because hey, it wasn’t too cold that year either!—and let Roger approach the kid as my dad said, in his deepest, scariest voice, “Boo!”

The poor kid screamed and fell off the doorstep as he tried to run away.

So, in retrospect, maybe Roger the Robot made a slightly more convincing ghost than we’d anticipated.

Hey, maybe that’s where the funny/snarky/maybe-not-ghost Wes came from… 😉


Shifting Into High Fear

Ghost/god Wes Cooper and his not-life partner, vampire Hudson Rojas, have settled into cohabitation in an upscale part of Toronto. So what if their hoity-toity new neighbors haven’t exactly rolled out the welcome mat for the paranormal pair? Their PI business is booming, and when a suspect they’ve been tailing winds up in the morgue, it’s alongside a rash of other shifters in apparent drug-related fatalities.

Now Wes and Hudson must connect the dots between the shifter deaths and an uptick in brutal vampire attacks across the city. Throw in a surprise visit from Hudson’s niece—who may or may not be on the run from European paranormal police (who may or may not exist)—and guardianship of a teen shifter who might be the key to solving the whole mystery (if only she could recover her memory), and Wes and Hudson have never been busier…or happier.

But when a nightmare from Hudson’s past comes back to haunt him, their weird, little found family is pushed to the brink. Mucking this up would mean Hudson and Wes missing their second chance at happily-forever-afterlife…

This book is approximately 74,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!


Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

Jenn is the author of a number of paranormal and science fiction romance titles, including the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (authored with Kelly Jensen) and her newest series, Not Dead Yet, both from Carina Press.

She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.

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