Jana J.J. McGraw

"I write stories about people who do bad things and think they can get away with it. Boy, how wrong they are…"

A Memorable Book Signing

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One of the events we were invited to was the North Carolina State Firemen’s Association Convention, and Randolph Mantooth that played John Gage on the show “Emergency” was there. It was great to meet him and get a picture with him. My son and I even got the nerve to go up on the lift of the ladder fire truck. Yes, that is us from way up there, and no I didn’t pass out.

We enjoyed the three days we were there. Sold books, met some wonderful people, and saw some amazing things. That what’s great about book signings, the experiences you have and the memories you make. You never forget them.

The Mystery of the Hummingbird


Did you know that the hummingbird are one of the smallest birds there are? And are named for the humming sound created by the beating of their wings, as they hover in mid-air and feed upon nectar from a flower. A fascinating fact I found out about them is that their wings move in the same pattern as the infinity symbol, the figure eight.

In legends, a hummingbird is often portrayed as a healer or as a spirit being who helps people in need, and sometimes plays the important mythological role of fire-bringer. Seeing a hummingbird is a sign of good luck in many Native American tribes, especially Northwest Coast tribes. In ancient Mexico, hummingbirds were considered sacred and associated with royalty and warriors; the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli, patron god of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, had the hummingbird as his divine animal and was sometimes depicted in hummingbird form in traditional Aztec art. In some Mexican tribes today, hummingbirds are believed to be messengers from the afterworld or manifestations of a dead person’s spirit. (


  Hummingbirds are my favorite and have been for a long time. They hold a special meaning to me that will forever remain close to my heart. I have always made sure that I have feeders out for them as soon as I know it is time for them to make their appearance every spring. When they do arrive, they bring with them a joy to my heart and each time I see them as they hover above the feeders and the flowers in my backyard, I can’t help but smile. Something this small, this delicate, brings such a feeling of peace and contentment to me and I am thankful for each year that passes that they return again and again.

I’m sure everyone is wondering what hummingbirds have to do with my books. It’s a mystery surrounding hummingbirds. The mystery? I decided that when I wrote each book, that I would insert the hummingbird…somewhere. It may have been added within the pages, or possibly on the front or back covers. I’m not telling. It’s your mystery to uncover.

They have been with me through each book, and now they are with those of you who own the books. A blessing in its own way to each of you.

This was something that most didn’t know about the books, and I hope that you can find them…solve the mystery. If by chance you do…I hope you let me know…

Picture from

Summer’s Kiss and a Murderer’s Touch


“Legend’s Game” was set in the late summer months of the year and the story involved Larsen and another bordering mountain town called Bryant. The days were still hot and humid, teasing the townships with a hint of a breeze, but nothing more. Then the afternoon storm clouds would roll in over the mountains, carrying a promise of a break from the heat of the day.

The fragrances of ginger lilies and magnolia’s mingled together and drifted through the air as the evening sunsets painted the skies a vibrant orange and red. The night sounds of crickets, cicadas, and tree frogs would come together in harmony as families sat out on their front porches and enjoyed a glass of fine southern tea.

All was fine within the unspoiled worlds of Larsen and Bryant, until murder and mayhem collided into them, and turned their towns upside down. A deadly game was set into motion that neither place would have imagined they would be pawns in.

The idea for the storyline came from the game of chess and was to be used by a highly intelligent, methodical killer. His moves and maneuver’s would pull all involved into cold-blooded deception, intrigue, and trickery. The one hope that either town had was a person that already knew of Legend, and had come the closest that anyone had, to capturing him. His name was Memphis Kane. A new detective that I created and introduced in this latest book.

I added some new surprises to certain characters in this book. Some twists that I hope have left readers with wanting more, and if you haven’t read “Legend’s Game” yet…I hope you will grab a copy and let it grab you!

Murder Served Cold


“Pieces of You” storyline was created around the winter months of the year and the holidays. Larsen was decorated in holiday cheer, with store shop windows adorned in festive lights, vibrant holly, and presents wrapped in gold and silver. A massive Christmas tree stood watch over the square. Its branches bearing a multitude of homemade decorations by the school children of Larsen, and atop it shined the brightest star during the winter nights. The heady fragrance of pine floating through the air, mixing with the crisp, clean smell of winter was intoxicating, and Larsen lay wrapped in white cocoon of powered snow. A sheltered haven, a hallmark moment in time…until the finger of death caressed the people of Larsen…at least certain chosen ones that is.

Even in small towns that appear as though they are the perfect setting for a Norman Rockwell painting can hold secrets of abuse and domestic violence. Larsen was no different and that was the way I wanted the story to unfold.

Many families suffer in silence as abuse runs rampant behind closed doors. Children are abused, husbands and wives are beaten, and elderly individuals are mistreated. Domestic violence is a vicious circle that many never escape. They stay and are abused over and over, or they lose their life. Either way has a bad ending.

So in developing this story, I wanted those that are hurt, those that are abused, and those that lost their life at the hands of another, to be avenged. Let me say right off the bat so that there isn’t any confusion, taking the law into one’s own hands is not the right thing to do, but in writing fiction you can create a world as you see fit. One where the monsters of the world pay for what they do to the innocent.

I hope that those that have read it, enjoyed it, and for those that haven’t, I hope that you will grab a copy, sit down with a cup of Joe, and enjoy karma as it unfolds.

In closing, “Pieces of You” was dedicated to all those that have been touched by domestic violence. Women, men, and children; to all who have lost their lives to it; and for the many more who are still trying to survive through it.


From the Imagination

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When writing “Initial Kill” I created the quiet southern town of Larsen, tucked safely away in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A good quality town with deep historic roots. Its streets were lined with specialty shops, café’s, bakeries, an old fashioned diner that had stood strong through the years of progress, brick and mortar bookstores, a town square, and a few other homey touches that brought the town to vibrant life.

The time was spring and the air was mixed with the fragrances of honeysuckle, mimosa, and roses. Life was good, life was safe, and life was cherished in the town of Larsen.

I wanted to write, to create a place that I remembered growing up. One of good memories and special times that can never be replaced. I truly believe that when we are children, we rush through life, hurrying to grow up and go outward, then when we are there, when we have reached adulthood, we look back to the carefree days of our childhood years and long to return to them. To recapture things that were so full of meaning and depth. That to me, is one of the reasons I enjoy writing. To create a time, a place, that in its own way, remains frozen in time forever.

While I can’t open my mind to you and share the visions of Larsen, its beauty, or the people who live there, I can on occasion, share pictures that I have found, that come close to images I thought up, created, and splashed across the pages.

One in particular is a cabin. Now while I won’t tell you where this cabin is or how it fits into the story, I will say it plays a significant role. If you have read “Initial Kill” then you already know where it belongs. If you haven’t read it, well I certainly hope you will grab a copy and find out the mystery of the cabin and its importance to the plot of the story.


Pictures citied from


Jake North & Dean Colter

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Jake North & Dean Colter

It seems that these two have quite the fans, so I thought I would write some more about them. Those that have read all three books, I think, know them pretty well, but for those that haven’t gotten to know them, I’d like to share a bit more of their creation.

Jake was developed from the idea of what most women would want in a good man. Handsome, a steadfast provider, very devoted not only to his work, but to his family, fiercely protective, having a good heart, and true to his words. Jake was level-headed most of the time, unless someone put his family in harm’s way. If that happened, he was a raging bull. He would be married to Lexi, his childhood sweetheart and their relationship was strong and would stand through anything.

Dean on the other hand, was developed from the idea of what most women would want in a bad boy type. Dangerously good-looking, always the flirt and flatterer, forever the risk taker, always the cocky and bold one, but a protector and guardian over those he cared about. He would be single and a ladies man to many. That is until he met Allie…

When I put Jake & Dean together as partners, I didn’t know right off that they would remain that way through all three books, or that they would become steadfast friends, but it is funny how things work themselves out isn’t it? I had at first thought of killing Dean off in the first book (Yes I said that and please don’t kill the messenger) but I could not bring myself to end him. I liked him too much and just couldn’t see getting rid of him. I’m glad I didn’t.

With each book, Jake & Dean worked together to make things happen. They made sure the bad guys were taken care of, they made sure their town was safe, they made sure their loved ones were protected, and their friendship became solid to the point of being brothers. Theirs was a friendship that stayed strong, and it showed both professionally and personally.

I thoroughly enjoyed creating these two and writing about them. Developing them the way I wanted to, and the way I thought was best for the storylines. I think their fans would agree.

Then in the third book, a new detective came into the picture, moved into Larsen, and became a new presence in the detective division. Memphis Kane was his name. But he’s a new story for another day now isn’t he? I wonder what will happen? I bet you do too…

Thrillers Come in Three

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When a woman dies in a house explosion, Detective Jake North feels that something nasty has just crawled into his quiet Southern neighborhood. Larsen is a good quality town with deep historic roots. People stroll down the sidewalks of Main Street with no fear of being mugged. They take drives out in the country, not worrying if they will be car-jacked. Their children aren’t afraid to play in their own yards. Now, Jake fears that has all changed. His fears are soon confirmed when more bodies start turning up, each victim, meeting a grisly end. What ties them together? Secrets they’ve covered up. Lies they’ve bought their way out of. Lives they’ve destroyed. People go to great lengths to hide nasty secrets. But someone else goes even further to dig them up and settle some scores. It’s up to Jake and his partner Dean to figure out what a crudely carved initial on the bodies and a shocking photo left behind have in common. But as they get too close to learning those nasty secrets, Jake may wish they hadn’t.


Ever wonder what happens to the helpless, the weak, and the feeble when there’s no one there to protect them? The people of Larsen are about to find out just how strong and deadly retribution can be. In Pieces of You, the adventures continue as the detective team of Jake North and Dean Colter have more murders to solve, at least one of which hits close to home. As they try to solve a series of gruesome murders, Jake and Dean discover that innocence does not always matter. Security isn’t what it appears to be. Safety can turn into something deadly. So-called love may not be love at all. This novel explores what can happen if justice is denied and then avenged. The ending is a surprise, but one that will stick with the reader who will wonder whether these murders were motivated by the failed judicial system or if the killer is just a cold-blooded savage.


Games are meant to be fun, to be enjoyed. Some can be easy; some, hard. Some can be relaxing; some, highly competitive. In the end, games are just that…games. Right? Wrong. Some games can be extreme. Some can be daring. Some can be ruthless…even fatal. Such is Legend’s Game. He picks a town, chooses his opponents, and his deadly game begins. Detectives Jake North and Dean Colter are pulled into a web of cold-blooded deception, intrigue, and trickery. It will take all of their expertise and skill to track down this killer. Fortunately, they will be assisted by Memphis Kane, a new detective assigned to their division. Kane has already come close to Legend, closer than he wanted, and he is more than ready to take the killer down. The three of them will hunt Legend. If they fail, it will all too soon be…game over.

This is my Time to Write…


When evening comes and the light of day has begun to fade, this is my time to write.

When the soft pink of the darkening sky touches the velvet blues of the mountains, blending and joining as the sun sets, this is my time to write…

When the day is letting go to the night, and the soft breeze of evening floats down through the hills and the valley’s. It’s gentle kiss upon the branches of the evergreen’s, this is my time to write…

There is peace in the evening…one that pours over the soul, and washes away the trials of the day. This is my time to write…

Twilight has come and idea’s spill onto one page and flow into the next. This is my time to write…

Writing is a journey. An awakening of your thoughts and ideas. A creation that you alone bring to life. A story that comes from the depths of you. Whether it be at sunrise or sunset, if you truly love to write, find that time and create with all your heart…Find your time to write…

Questions That People Have Ask


Where may I find your books?

You may purchase them in paperback through Amazon.  You may also order them through Barnes & Noble, Books a Million, and Powell’s Books.

Are they available for e-readers?

Yes, you may order them for Kindle and other e-readers through Amazon.

Are your books in a series and should they be read in order?

It is entirely up to the reader. I myself like to read in order. If you have characters and relationships that continue into future books, you want to be better able to follow their lives. Knowing what has already occurred pulls the reader into the story, and they can’t wait till the next book comes out to find out what is happening.

How did you come up with your
characters? Detectives Jake North
and Dean Coulter?

I thought it would be interesting to write from the male point of view. Even though it has been challenging, I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. I enjoyed creating two male main characters and the task of coming up with the characteristics of each one.  I also gave each of them an individual voice and outlook.

How do you decide about book signings and other public appearances?

If someone requests a book signing, I will do what I can to make that book signing happen. Scheduling can be an issue at times, but usually it can be worked out. I also have to say that I really enjoy meeting all the new people. If you are interested in a book signing in your town or an appearance at your club or organization, just contact me.

When do you write?

I work on writing every day, and every chance I get. I enjoy it immensely, especially getting wrapped up in the story, spinning it along, and watching it form in front of me.

Do you ask anyone to read your manuscript before it’s published?

Yes. I know there are some that don’t, but I trust those that are close to me and know that they aren’t going to cut me any slack. If something doesn’t sound good, or look right, they tell me, and I go back and rework the problem area.

Who are your favorite writers?

Well I have several. James Patterson, John Sandford, Tess Gerritsen, Patricia Cornwell, Jeffrey Deaver, Dean Koontz, and Nicholas Sparks.

Would you like to see the books made into a movie or maybe a television series?

Yes. I would love to see Detectives Jake North and Dean Coulter hit the big screen, wide open!

How do you come up with your ideas?

I love, love crime and thriller fiction, so of course that was my obvious choice. I like keeping things on the edge and keeping people guessing.

Are your characters based on anyone in particular?

No. My work is fiction. All characters have been created purely in my head.

If anyone has other questions that they would like to ask, please feel free to post a question, or even if you just have a comment. Thank you!

To The Readers


When I began writing, one of the things I wondered was, would anyone read it? It’s not an easy task to write, and writing a book, well that takes discipline. You have to work at it every day, and not just for a few minutes. You have to dedicate time to your story. Every line of it, every character, every action, every minute, from beginning to end. It’s in your hands, it’s your baby, and no one sees it but you. Then when it’s done, it’s time to open it to the world, and that can be knee buckling.

Again, would anyone read what I wrote? Yes they did, and as anything goes, some loved the books and wanted more, some liked them, and some not. That’s where critics come in. Critics to me are just people, and you can’t please everyone. Even the very famous have to deal with critics and not all of their work is welcomed either. So you take it with a grain of salt and keep on going.

Am I famous? No. Will I ever be? Well Hollywood hasn’t called yet, but one can always dream… right?

So to the readers that have stood beside me, supported me, read each book, waited patiently for the next one to come out, and continue to ask for more…A huge thank you for believing in me as you have.

Thank you for falling in love with Jake & Dean, for wanting more of the thrilling rides they take you on through each book, and diving into each story, holding your breath to the very end.

Writers can’t make it without their readers…To mine…You’re the best!

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