Burning Distance—The Daughter of Jesse West

Umbrellas snap open like a flock of blackbirds arriving at the grave. Twelve of us stand wing to wing as clouds roll over the green hills and the rain falls harder. Few families endure one murder. I am mourning the second in my lifetime. I’m nineteen years old, and I am beginning to see that life connects.
My father used to say, “There are no coincidences, only life showing you its patterns.”
As I watch our small gathering on the hillside, I strain to see the pattern….

So begins my new novel Burning Distance which publishes on March 7 and can be ordered now. The opening chapter of the novel and an essay “Manuscript in the Drawer” will also appear on pub day in The Hopkins Review online.

I hope you’ll enjoy the story—find it moving, entertaining, informative, surprising…

I leave the adjectives to readers who I hope will also take a moment to write a comment or review with online booksellers if that is how you order. These are used to offer extra promotional benefits for the book. They also help the book on its way.

Burning Distance took years to research and write and even longer to publish. You may find of interest the Author’s Note at the end of the book which shares some of that journey and history. The publisher through Goodreads promoted Burning Distance this month with some giveaways of the digital book.

While the facts are well-researched for Burning Distance, the characters, the story and the world created sprang from imagination. The novel’s promotional copy heralds the novel: “Jane Austen meets John le Carré in this cross-cultural love story and political thriller….A modern-day Romeo and Juliet set against a background of arms smuggling in the Middle East.” I hope the book will appeal to readers who like international political thrillers and also those who enjoy a love story and family drama with characters you can care about.

I hope you will come along on the journey of Burning Distance. If you find yourself engaged, please tell a friend or many friends. A book extends its life through its readers and expands that life through word of mouth. Let me know what you think. And make some noise!

Thank you in advance,

Events and appearances will be posted on the Speaking page of this website. I love to speak and meet with readers. Requests for appearances, zoom meetings or book club discussions can be noted under Contact Info.


  1. Christopher Bordeaux on February 2, 2024 at 8:55 am

    Way to go. Quite the accomplishment.

    • Joanne on February 2, 2024 at 9:16 am

      Thank you! And thank you for reading and responding.

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