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I live in a quiet, historic town where the only exciting things to happen occur in books. Most days, you can find me with a cup of tea in one hand, hunched over my laptop as I write, read, or research.

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Guest Post: Magical Ottawa by Jenn Burke

Spotlight Book: Her Sexy Sentinel

Callie Noble fled to Ottawa, overwhelmed by a strange new power she can’t control. Her only hope is to seek the help of the one man who broke her heart… Derrick Llewellyn, one of the Sentinels charged with the protection of the city’s mysterious secret. Loving another marked individual isn’t just forbidden…it’s the surest way to drive them both mad.

Read more here.

I moved to Ottawa with my family in 1987 and…well, to be honest, I hated it. My dad was in the Canadian Armed Forces, and though we’d moved before in my lifetime—from Trenton, Ontario to Gander, Newfoundland, and then to Edmonton, Alberta—I’d been so young for the other moves across the country there had been no adjustment period.

Ottawa was too different from what I’d known. It wasn’t flat like the prairies I loved. It had a lot more people—Ontario in general did. For awhile, I felt hemmed in. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I really started to appreciate what makes Ottawa unique.

Ottawa is a weird little city of juxtaposition. It’s not that small—its population is about 1 million, last I checked—but compared to its closest large neighbours of Toronto and Montreal, it’s definitely a smaller sibling. It’s the seat of the boring Canadian federal government—but also the main hub for exciting new tech development. It has summers where it can feel like 40 Celsius—and winters where the temperature dips to minus 40 Celsius and lower. It’s calm and quiet—until an international fireworks competition lights up the sky, or a music festival rocks downtown.

For a little city, Ottawa has a lot going on. Think of something you’d like to celebrate, and Ottawa probably has a festival for it. There’s the Tulip Festival in May, which celebrates Canada’s unique friendship with Holland. In the summer, there’s Bluesfest, an acclaimed music festival that features more types of music than just the blues. In the winter, there’s Winterlude, featuring ice slides and sculptures in downtown parks, and Beavertail pastries and hot cider along with world’s longest skating rink, the Rideau Canal. In between these, there are so many other festivals—Poutine Fest, Rib Fest, Greek Fest, CityFolk, HOPE Volleyball BeachFest, the Dragon Boat Festival, Ottawa Children’s Festival, and so many more.

Ottawa is known for poutine and Beavertails—but did you know we’ve probably got the highest number of shawarma restaurants in Canada and possibly North America? Yep. And I’ve eaten at a lot of them. I’m kind of a shawarma fiend.

Leaving all the food, festivals, government and tech behind, Ottawa is a supremely green city. Maybe not in the 21st century sense of environmentally friendly (though the municipal government seems to be trying to move in this direction) but definitely in the sense of not wall-to-wall concrete. Ottawa boasts the largest publicly held greenbelt in the world, a barrier created in the 1950s to protect the rural land bordering the capital from urban sprawl. Ottawa’s kind of expanded past this greenspace now, but it’s ensured that there are a ton of trails and nature for residents and visitors to explore.

This is an area surprisingly rich in history and culture, and I’m not the only author to set a magical book here. Charles de Lint wrote about a magical house in the ByWard Market in Moonheart and about hidden magical creatures in his series about Jack of Kinrowan. ‘Nathan Burgoine has set two of his worlds in Ottawa—his queer superhero novel, Light, takes place during Pride Week in Ottawa, and his Triad series dips heavily into the history and culture of the area (plus vampires, demons and wizards). My first book, Her Sexy Sentinel, is also set in Ottawa—and the area is so rich and wonderful I’ll be setting future books here too.

And having my characters enjoy some shawarma like good Ottawa residents!

About the Author

Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

Jenn is the author of the upcoming The Gryphon King’s Consort from Dreamspinner Press and the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press. She’s also the author of Her Sexy Sentinel, a paranormal romance from Entangled Publishing.

She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.

Visit her at www.jennburke.com.

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