Monday, June 16, 2014

Jaime Lee Moyer, Guest Blogger

Some of my favorite posts come from authors who talk about libraries. When you read the post
today by Jaime Lee Moyer, I hope you think about it. What book or library or person made you a lifelong reader? (I know you are a lifelong reader, or you wouldn't be reading this blog.)

Jamie Lee Moyer’s Delia’s Shadow won the 2009 Columbus Literary Award for Fiction. She is the author of A Barricade in Hell (summarized below).  Moyer has sold short fiction to Lone Star Stories, Daily Science Fiction, and to the Triangulations: End of the Rainbow, and Triangulations: Last Contact anthologies, and edited the 2010 Rhysling Award Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Moyer lives in San Antonio with writer Marshall Payne, three cats, three guitars, and a growing collection of books and music.  Thank you, Jamie Lee.


I don't remember owning a book of my own until high school. I was the oldest of four, money was beyond tight, and what money my parents had went to other things—like food and clothing. Raising four kids on a pressman's salary was tough.

That doesn't mean there weren't any books in my life. Far from it. I didn't own any books, but between the books in my grandmother's house and the library I was never short of things to read.

My grandmother never got to go to high school, but she filled her house with books and educated herself. If there was a book club on any subject, Grandma Jackson joined. She had books crammed full of pictures about The Old West, The Seven Wonders of the World, birds, fish, Ancient Egypt—everything.

I devoured those books even before I learned to read. Those were my childhood picture books, and you could say my grandmother's house was my first library. The bright pictures, full of strange sights and things I'd never seen, fed my curiosity and sparked my imagination.

The hours I spent with my grandmother's books are why I have such an intense interest so many subjects. I'm convinced that all those books and pictures helped make me a writer.

Going to school and learning to read meant I graduated to the public library, and new, different kinds of books. I wasn't confined to just looking at pictures and making up my own stories now. I knew what all—or most—of the words meant. I became obsessed with story, with characters, began to crave a sense of wonder and books that took me away from my everyday existence.

This might just be the classic formula for creating a life long reader. It created one in me.

Thus began my love affair with libraries and librarians. I regret that I don't remember names, but I remember faces, and eyes shinning as a librarian handed me a book they were sure I'd love. Librarians were the keepers of the kingdom, the magicians who opened doors and pathways to far off lands. They were my best friends then; they are my best friends now.

At least once a week, twice a week in summer, my mother, my sisters and brother, and me, would troop off to the library.  I brought home as many books as I could carry. Most weeks I read through my stack of books twice. Some weeks I started in on my mother's books as well.

Librarians helped, and encouraged, me to read through entire sections of the library.  When I'd gone through all the Nancy Drew books, they showed me the Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, and then when my interests changed, helped guide me to Ray Bradbury, Mary Norton, and Andre Norton.  

As an adult, they showed me books on the discovery of Tut's tomb, Jack Horner's books on dinosaurs, and introduced me to books about paleontology and the origins of early humans. A librarian handed me my first book about ghosts and the supernatural.

As far as I'm concerned, book loving grandmothers and librarians will always be my heroes. They opened the world to me. And they helped make me a writer.

Jaime Lee Moyer's website is

Twitter: @jaimeleemoyer

A Barricade in Hell by Jaime Lee Moyer. TOR. 2014. ISBN 9780765331830 (hardcover), 336p.

This week, I have a copy of Jaime Lee Moyer's A Barricade in Hell to give away. Here's a summary of the book:  Delia Martin has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with the ability to peer across to the other side. Since childhood, her constant companions have been ghosts. She used her powers and the help of those ghosts to defeat a twisted serial killer terrorizing her beloved San Francisco. Now it's 1917—the threshold of a modern age—and Delia lives a peaceful life with Police Captain Gabe Ryan.

That peace shatters when a strange young girl starts haunting their lives and threatens Gabe. Delia tries to discover what this ghost wants as she becomes entangled in the mystery surrounding a charismatic evangelist who preaches pacifism and an end to war.  But as young people begin to disappear, and audiences display a loyalty and fervor not attributable to simple persuasion, that message of peace reveals a hidden dark side.

As Delia discovers the truth, she faces a choice—take a terrible risk to save her city, or chance losing everything?


If you would like to win a copy of the book, email me at Your subject line should read: "Win A Barricade in Hell." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. The contest will end Thursday, June 19 at 6 p.m. CT. I'll notify the publicist, who will send the book to the winner.


Mason Canyon said...

Jaime, a wonderful look at how you came to enjoy books. Libraries are a wonderful treasure I hope we never lose in our ever-growing techno world. Wishing you much success.

Lesa said...

Mason, I'm with you, naturally, in considering libraries such a treasure. I hope we never lose them either!