Tag Archives: Jaime Rush

New Titles by Naples Authors

The following “roundup” was published in the Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2009 issue of the Naples Florida Weekly.

 Out of the Darkness, by Jaime Rush.  Avon Books.  $6.99.

Out of the Darkness is part two in Jaime Rush’s “Offspring” series, an ambitious sequence of linked paranormal romances. The characters, many introduced in A Perfect Darkness, have various supernatural abilities. One converses with the dead; another can image the future and release the vision in eerie paintings. One can set fires through psychic energy. They are particularly sensitive to one another because they are all part of an extended family: in part biological, in part the result of experiments that have produced or altered them.

Their common goal is to trace their origins, master their special gifts, and discover – perhaps to thwart – the ends for which they were engineered. A rogue government project has brought them into being. Like so many projects of super-patriots, the Offspring were designed to serve the national interest – but something has gone wrong.  They pose a threat to their would-be controllers, and The Offspring themselves have divided into adversarial groups. The controllers strive to exploit the supernatural abilities of The Offspring, conduct further experiments, and destroy those whom they cannot manage.

In Out of the Darkness, Ms. Rush introduces several new characters, while elaborating upon those already established. Rand Brandenburg and Zoe Stoker are forefront, their red-hot romance simmering. Zoe, who owns a tattoo parlor, is a Goth type who has yet to control her special power of telekinesis. Biker Rand is a loner who uses his future-view talent to gamble. The terms of their relationship and the ways in which they fit into the larger Offspring family hold our interest even while we follow their quest to understand their mysterious talents and origins and foil their enemies.

Out of the Darkness is high on action and thrills, featuring otherwise ordinary twenty-something individuals whose struggles to deal with their unusual psychic powers are presented in a convincing manner within a larger conspiracy plot that does not seem so far-fetched at all.

Kroopenpopper: An Everglades Adventure, by Virginia Saalman. Moson Publishing. $15.

Written to entertain children ages 4-8, Virginia Saalman’s book brings a Maryland family to a small Everglades town for summer vacation. The children, Mary and Tommy, are frightened by a large black bear. However, as can only happen in children’s stories, the bear befriends them and leads them on a journey through the swamp to satisfy Mary’s curiosity and find the home of the squirrels. Along the way, they meet several other Everglades denizens, and each decides to join in the quest. In this way, the children (and the readers) learn about the Everglades inhabitants: the deer, the beaver, the panther, the howler monkey (a zoo escapee), the snake, the barred owl, and others. Towards the end, they arrive at the squirrels’ home at the base of a tree, only to encounter a taste of danger.

 Fanciful additions to the expected characters include a giraffe (only because Mary wants to see one) and a night-flying woofing bird – or did they just imagine that scary creature?

The author, who also wrote the well-received Frog Poop and Other Stories, does a fine job of blending entertainment and instruction, these ends supported marvelously by the stunning illustrations supplied by Patti Tedesco Jones. Mrs. Jones, who is legally blind, runs the New Sight Greeting Card Company.

Naples Oldest Tradition: Swamp Buggy Days, by Lila Zuck. Collier County Historical Research Center. $24.95.

This dazzling presentation of Naples’ history is at once a must-have, lavishly illustrated coffee table book and a treasure trove of research. Lila Zuck has turned over every relevant document in local archives, public and private, to fashion a fact-packed narrative of community life.

Ms. Zuck traces, in meticulous detail, the origins and development of the yearly tradition, now sixty years old, by which the Naples community successfully branded itself for the purpose of attracting tourism, having fun, and fostering community solidarity and pride. In so doing, the author weaves together brief anecdotes involving colorful individuals who made important contributions to the town’s prosperity and culture. Through the lens of the Swamp Buggy competitions and parades, readers become more familiar with the doings of those families whose names are recorded on the community’s street signs and public spaces. They become familiar, as well, with the contributions of lesser-known individuals whose talents and efforts have helped fashion the unique blend of ingredients that is Naples.

Swamp Buggy Days is the lively story of how a dynamic, cohesive community invented and re-invented itself, winning a place on the national map of attractive destinations. It’s a book of record and a celebration. And it’s a bargain. See www.collierhistorical.org.

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Naples Novelist Gives Readers a Rush

On her new website, Jaime Rush offers readers her Naples post office box address. A series of photos marks her striking resemblance to Naples author Tina Wainscott. Indeed, the copyright page in the advance uncorrected proof for her book, A Perfect Darkness, reveals that Wainscott is the copyright holder. Often, publishers and agents recommend the nom de plume gambit when a writer veers off in a new direction. They fear confusing the existing fan base. My own guess is that the new series by “Jaime Rush” will draw readers who never heard of Tina Wainscott, and that Wainscott readers will have no trouble enjoying the Jaime Rush offerings.rushtitle

Tina Wainscott is a Naples girl. In her youth, the future novelist made up stories to tell her friends and relatives. She would also, with her friends, script and act out what she calls “mini-movies.” At nineteen, a couple of years out of Lely High School (class of 1983) and taking business courses at Edison Community College, Wainscott (her last name was Ritter until marriage) became more serious about a writing career. She took an adult education course in creative writing, and then she took it several more times. The course, led by Betzi Abram, got Wainscott more focused: she had to turn something in every week, and the criticism helped her develop the tough skin one needs as a writer. Her first novel, On the Way to Heaven, was published in 1995. She has been going nonstop ever since.  Several of her novels have Florida settings.

Wainscott/Rush crafted paranormal romances earlier in her career, while romantic thrillers have been more frequent in recent years. With the series launched by A Perfect Darkness, this prolific author for the first time envisions a multi-novel saga.

The term “paranormal” connects with “supernatural” – with an emphasis on unusual psychic powers. The characters in A Perfect Darkness have an arsenal of shared as well as unique abilities. One of them can see ten seconds into the future, another can converse with the dead, yet another can image the future and release the vision in eerie paintings. And one can set fires through psychic energy. The paranormal characters in this novel are particularly sensitive to one another and can communicate – and more – across time and space. This is because they are connected as the children of an extended family: in part biological, in part the collective result of experiments that have produced or altered them.

They are known as The Offspring, and their common goal is to trace their origins, master their special gifts, and discover – perhaps to defeat – the ends for which they were engineered.

We meet them as adults, some of whom have been long aware of their special gifts and others who are just discovering them. The novel’s central character, computer repair genius Amy Shane, is in danger, and what threatens her brings her into contact with some of her para-siblings. They mine their shared memories, putting some of the pieces together.

The reader discovers, along with the characters, that some kind of rogue government project has brought them into being. Like so many projects of super-patriots, The Offspring were designed to serve the national interest – but something has gone wrong.  They pose a threat to those who would be their controllers, and The Offspring themselves seem to have divided into potentially adversarial groups.  The controllers strive to exploit the supernatural abilities of The Offspring, conduct further experiments, and destroy those whom they cannot manage.

Sorting this all at will take Jaime Rush several novels, but she is off to a strong start, balancing revelations with new questions that keep readers guessing and turning  pages.  

The hook for romance readers is – believe it or not – paranormal sexual intimacy. A romance between Amy Shane and Lucas Vanderwyck – the artist and leader of the Offspring – develops in their interactive dreams, and in these shared dreams they know sensual rapture and emotional bliss. The lurking question: will it be this good when it’s not a dream? An intriguing question that interacts with many other questions in the novel.

Jaime Rush has set A Perfect Darkness in Annapolis, Maryland. This setting, a relatively small town not far from Washington, DC, seems a good choice for evoking the corridors of power without getting bogged down in iconic urban landscapes. While more could be done with the setting (state capital, sailing and seafood mecca, home of U. S. Naval Academy), the important aspects of setting and environment in this genre are the extensions of the what-if premise. And on these Rush is masterful, as she is in developing a cast of intriguing characters defined through vivid dialogue and action.

Aside from Amy Shane, whose talents include sensing and interpreting the emotional “glows” that emanate from people, the author provides readers with Eric and Petra Aruda – strikingly attractive twin Offspring whose psychic powers complicate their all too normal jealousies and frustrations. There is the mysterious Rand, whom the team must attempt to rescue late in the novel. And there is a host of villains, most notably Gerald Darkwell, over whom The Offspring must prevail. There is also an old friend of Amy’s father, a man from whom she seeks protection and guidance.  But “Uncle” Cyrus seems to have compromised loyalties and uncertain motives. Which side is he on? Riddle follows riddle.  tina-wainscott

Jaime Rush sums up the appeal of the series as “X-Files meets Friends.” She’s on target here, and it’s a potent combination. A Perfect Darkness is due from Avon Books in late January.

BEFORE JAIME’S BIRTH, Tina Wainscott was doing just fine. You can find several Book Beat Columns about Tina, and also, more recently, a brief review on another title by Jamie Rush. Run the names in the web site search box, right sidebar.

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