Thursday, June 29, 2017


Too bad secret identities only last forever in comic books.

Unmistaken Identity
Fanboys, #1
by Marie Johnston
Releasing June 21st 2017
Mara Baranski is living the fangirl’s dream, running a comic book shop that supports her and her ailing mother. She is even given the chance to buy the building—for a dollar. That is, until her dear friend and landlord dies before the sale goes through. Now Mara has forty-five days to clear out her shop or convince the resentful son of the old owner to change his mind—if she can only corner him long enough to ask.

Despite being abandoned by his father years ago, Wesley inherited all of his dad’s assets and ambition—but not his gullibility. When the tantalizing woman at his nightclub turns out to be the woman who scammed his lonely father, he seizes the chance for a little revenge. But after using a fake name to get close to his target, Wes is soon coming up with excuses to keep his identity secret a little longer.

As the forty-five days count down, Mara’s loyal customers swoop in to help save her store. Even more, her handsome new boyfriend is making her believe in happy endings again. Too bad secret identities only last forever in comic books.
She had to hunt Wesley Robson down tonight, didn’t want to waste more time on her search. As it was, the night would be too short for decent sleep. Saturday was game day at her comic book shop. Participants showed early and played intensely for hours. Board games, card games, electronic games. She would jump in and play them all, or run around the store helping customers.
It was her favorite day of the week, but still a long one.
What did Wesley look like, anyway? She would’ve seen him if she’d been able to go to the funeral. By the time she’d found out about Sam’s sudden death, though, he’d been gone and buried. There had to be a picture of his boy online. Just as she pulled out her phone to do a search, someone settled onto the barstool next to her.
“Macallan 12.”
The deep voice resonated through her bones. She almost groaned. He had the rumble of a rugged man, a primal mating call in her opinion. Admittedly, her last few dates had put the “boys” in fanboys, not men who knew their way around a woman.
She peeked at him from the corner of her eye. Her fingers tightened around the stem of her glass.
Holy hotness, Batman! He reminded her of one of her favorite superheroes. Jet-black hair, sky-blue eyes nearly glowing under the club lights, wide shoulders. If he wore a cape and had a large S on his shirt, she’d sit on his face. She’d still consider it, given his charcoal slacks and white-striped shirt, which likely had been cinched by a tie all day. The first two buttons were undone and his sleeves were rolled up. What was that style called? Industrial hot-as-hell businessman.
“What’s your poison?”
She shot him a surprised glance. He gestured to her already half-empty glass.
What had the bartender said it was? “I think it’s named after some rapper.”
He chuckled with genuine humor. “Are you here with the bachelorette party?”
When hell froze over. “No.”
The bartender leaned over the counter to hand him his drink. “The lady said she was looking for the owner.”
Stay out of it, dude. Wait, he knew the total package next to her? Maybe the new arrival also knew the owner. “Do you know Mr. Robson?”
His eyes crinkled with his smile. Even the man’s teeth were perfect. “Why would you want to find him? I’ve heard he’s an ass.”
She rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”
Hotness savored a long sip of his…whatever a Macallan was. “You’ve gotta tell me what he did to you.”
The pink bangs that framed her face dropped into her eyes. She feathered them away. His gaze traced from her hand to her dual ponytails, the plain brown hair streaked with pink. Instead of blond highlights, or lowlights, or whatever stylish women did, she’d chosen pink—because it was fun and girly. One of the few splurges she allowed herself.
Her hair often drew attention, not always the flattering kind. But she enjoyed his. “He’s shutting down my store. Tearing down the whole damn building. ‘Upgrading.’” She gave the last word air quotes.
His right eye twitched and he stared at her for a heartbeat. Humor drained from his expression and his gaze narrowed slightly.
Her heart rate increased at being the object of such scrutiny. She wanted more, but she also felt like she’d done something wrong.
Finally, a grin curled his full lips. “That bastard.”

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I titled my book Unmistaken Identity because the hero, Wes, knew exactly who Mara was and purposely tried to fool her. So she was wasn’t exactly mistaken about his identity, but was misled. I thought this was a fun premise to work with. I wish I could say I’ve been mistaken for some epically awesome person, but it’s never happened.

My husband, though… When my oldest daughter was about two years old, she started calling her Ken doll her Daddy doll. This Ken had black hair and blue eyes like my husband, so I could see how she connected the two, but that was as far as the resemblance went. But then she’d point at men in pictures and say Daddy. Cover models on magazines: Daddy. Superman: Daddy. Any man with dark hair and awesometackular abs was Daddy.

I thought it was cute, but started to wonder… Why wasn’t she pointing out female models as Mommy? Why weren’t her brunette Barbie dolls called Mommy dolls? One day, when my “Runner’s World” arrived in the mail, my daughter pointed to the attractive cover model wearing nothing but athletic shorts and an impressive six-pack and said, “Daddy.” So, I found a magazine with a dark-haired woman on the front asked her if that was Mommy.


 Sigh… I tried. Moving on…

Much like Wes did in the first scene of Unmistaken Identity, I’ve also introduced myself as someone else. I do this rather regularly, in fact.

Hi, I’m Marie Johnston.

For over a decade, coming up with ideas of pen names was fun and by the time I actually wrote a book, I knew what my pseudonym would be. I thought of using my real name, but I wanted the separation between my personal life and my business. Marie Johnston is, essentially, my business name. Only instead of introducing myself as So-And-So from Company Name, I can simply say “I’m Marie Johnston.”

But let me tell you—The first time I had to introduce myself as my pseudonym was weeeeiiiirrrrd. I went to my first writing conference last year and every time I said “I’m Marie” I thought someone was going to jump out and yell “LIAR!!!!”. It was odd enough to get used to signing all my emails as Marie, but person-to-person is something I’m still not used to.

My critique group is across the country from me and when we meet, which isn’t often enough anymore, they Facetime me. One time, one member tried to get ahold of me and since me and my family can’t figure out the mystery of keeping our phone accounts separated, she got my husband on Facetime. When she asked for me, she got a gruff, “I don’t know anyone named Marie.” 

So, there are few hurdles when going by a different name than normal. If I had to develop another pen name again, I’d probably keep my real first name. A lot less weirdness that way. Until then, “Hi, I’m Marie Johnston.”

Author Info
Marie Johnston writes paranormal and contemporary romance and has collected several awards in both genres. Before she was a writer, she was a microbiologist. Depending on the situation, she can be oddly unconcerned about germs or weirdly phobic. She’s also a licensed medical technician and has worked as a public health microbiologist and as a lab tech in hospital and clinic labs. Marie’s been a volunteer EMT, a college instructor, a security guard, a phlebotomist, a hotel clerk, and a coffee pourer in a bingo hall. All fodder for a writer!! She has four kids, an old cat, and a puppy that’s bigger than half her kids.

(a $10 Amazon gift card)
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