Tag Archives: mystery

Guest Release Promotion—Blood Stained Memories by Kathy L. Wheeler

The Writing Life: Ha! I’m not sure how I find the time to write. I was a computer programmer, then laid off and all set to get stuff done! Well. One finds it’s not as easy as all that. All of sudden, you are taking care of stuff that you haven’t gotten to for years, and now that you don’t have a “day” job, you find yourself volunteering for other things. Granted, they do relate to your writing life, but still, they are things that take you away from the one thing you are trying to accomplish—writing!

All in all, what you’ve accomplished is creating more stress. So I’m starting a new resolution…(in October). No more extra stuff! Well, except for this blog. Thank you, Linda Carroll-Bradd.

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There on the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle lies the ruins of a haunted, old armory…

Helena Abigail Evans-Ross remembers nothing from her past except the sting of her Aunt Lydia’s hand almost knocking her head from her shoulders. “Don’t look!” she screamed, just as Abby’s gaze meets her father’s blank stare, and the realization that she is holding the bloody knife that ended his life. She’s home to learn the truth—but can she live with a truth is she is the one who murdered her own father?

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EXCERPT

I glanced over to my handsome chauffeur. Water from his hair dribbled down a strong neck that disappeared into the collar of his rain-soaked shirt. He and Adam must be somewhere in their mid-to-late thirties by now. I knew his dry hair would resemble burnished gold. The light from the dashboard didn’t reflect the tone of his skin.

I leaned back in the seat and let his accent wash over me. Its familiarity settled nerves drawn so tight I felt I would shatter with a sudden move. I cleared my throat. “Where do you call home, Mr. Creighton?” There wasn’t much of him that reminded me of that long ago young man, just the clipped British words, making it easier to remember to refer to him as Mr. Creighton.

He grinned. Most likely relieved I’d finally joined the conversation. “Call me, Ian. Manchester, mostly. I’ve been here since spring assisting Adam with his research. I spent summers here on the island as a younger man until—” He tossed a quick glance in my direction. “Well, I’d planned on returning home by now.”  His gaze dropped to my ringless fingers before he shifted his attention back to the road. “Though I may find my stay here pleasantly extended.”

Until what? I wanted to scream. Instead, heat flamed my cheeks at his not-so-subtle regard. I curled my fingers beneath my tote and out of sight, at a loss for words. My goal on this quiet Gulf Coast island was not to find romance. My sole agenda dealt with the bland contents of the letter stowed in my bag. A letter stained with my own bloody prints.

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Kathey Wheeler

Kathy L Wheeler loves the NFL, NBA, musical theater, travel, reading, writing and … karaoke! Kathy lives in Edmond with her attorney and musically talented husband, Al. She has one grown daughter who has an adorable baby boy, and one bossy cat, who acts as if she were the rescuer rather than the rescue-e!!

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Guest Release—Ghost In The Rain by Marie Treanor

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A haunted Highland house, battered by storms and murder…

Arriving at remote Invershiel House in the Scottish Highlands, researcher Kate Yorke is fascinated by the reclusive and troubled owner – notorious rocker Dan Stewart. Dan is haunted by the deaths of his fellow band members, especially his ex- lover Islay Lamont, whose shade seems to flit around the in the rain.

Then Kate trips over a dead body which inexplicably vanishes. It becomes a race against time to find the identity of the body and the killer. And to discover if she and Danny have any kind of future together. Or even at all…

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EXCERPT

I had to acknowledge that my peace was churned up by his unexpected presence here. It wasn’t even an unpleasant feeling; in fact it felt rather…exciting. But it was disturbing.

I took off my glasses and rubbed my eyes. I suspected Dan Stewart carried such disturbance wherever he went. If I thought about it, the whole house felt different now. As if its peace had gone too; as if it had sprung to life, eager, waiting.

Mocking my own silly fantasy, I stood abruptly and paced around the room, trying to recover my lost concentration. I suspected I was just tired and would work much faster and much better after a good night’s sleep.

I paused by the window to watch the storm. Although the thunder had stopped, the wind and rain were still blasting the trees and rattling the window. Close-up, I could feel the draught through my thick sweater. On impulse, I retrieved my phone from my bag and tried to capture the raging storm on its camera. But it looked too tame on the screen, not deep or dark enough, no real movement in those black clouds still scudding and swirling across the sky. I wished I could paint. For a moment, I even wished I could be part of it, to go outside in it again. There was nothing to stop me, except common sense.

I smiled to myself and lowered the phone, just as a movement in the garden below caught my eye. Someone was out in this. Someone not remotely dressed for it either. Through the darkness and the almost opaque mist of rain, I could make out only that it seemed to be a woman wearing only some kind of floating, white, wispy garment, more like the loungewear of wealthy women of past centuries than anything anyone would wear today for any purpose. The odd garment shimmered as the figure glided across the lawn, impossibly graceful.

On impulse, I raised my phone again and snapped.

Perhaps she moved too quickly. Nothing of her showed on the screen except an indistinct blur of light against blackness. Frowning, I looked again out of the window, but the woman had gone. Vanished.

Gone back inside if she’s got any sense whatsoever.

I could tell myself that, and believe it. I just couldn’t quite silence the tiny voice in my head that whispered I might just have seen a ghost…

And then, before I could laugh myself back to sceptical normality, another figure strode into view. Two figures. A man and a large dog. The dog was trotting along at his side, sniffing the grass. Even in darkness, the man was unmistakably Dan Stewart. He seemed to be wearing the same old khaki jacket. I could see the rain running off him in rivulets. It hadn’t seemed to touch the ghostly woman…

He stopped, gazing ahead, and slowly turned as if looking for something, or someone. Just for a moment, I was tempted. I even raised my phone hand. But it felt too wrong to take a picture of him without permission in his own home. He was facing the house now and without warning, he tipped back his head and caught me staring down at him.

I felt frozen in that distant gaze. Forcing myself, I gave a feeble wave and dragged my eyes free towards the black, wooded hills and the furiously scudding sky. Still, I was aware of him striding back towards the house. I even heard his voice calling to the dog which loped after him.

Restlessly, I abandoned the window. I needed to go to bed. My eyes, my mind, were all far too tired.

Ellie had been quite blasé about leaving the letters out of their locked cabinet. “Even if anyone knew about them, who’d steal them round here?” she’d said reasonably. I took her at her word and just stuffed my own notebook into my bag before picking it up and heading for the closed door, where I paused, because I could hear footsteps pounding up the stairs.

My heart drumming, I waited for them to pass before I left the room. They strode closer, along the hall, and I held my breath. He’d go past; he must go past…

The door flew open, and Dan Stewart stood there, scowling at me. Raindrops stood out on his wet hair and clothes.

No, he wasn’t pretty. But there was something devastatingly attractive about that rough, bony face and those big, grey eyes that seemed much darker than before.

“Did you take any pictures?” he asked abruptly.

I blinked. “Sorry?”

“Pictures,” he repeated. “With your phone.”

I lifted my chin. “No,” I said. “I’m not that rude. Or crass.”

His frown deepened for an instant, and then his whole face relaxed into a grin. “Not of me. I wouldn’t wish that on you. I mean before I went out?”

The dog, a large, hairy creature of indeterminate breed, pushed past his legs and regarded me, wagging his tail.

“I took some pictures of the storm,” I said with as much dignity as I could muster, before I gave in and held out my hand to the dog.

In much more peremptory fashion, Dan Stewart held out his hand to me. “Can I see them?”

I paused with my hand on the dog’s head, feeling my hackles rise. I straightened, no doubt glaring my outrage, but his eyes and his hand remained steady. I curled my lip, a trick I’d recently discovered was quite famous for taming unruly students, and took the phone from my bag, slapping it into his palm.

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Marie Treanor lives in Scotland – in a picturesque village by the sea – with her eccentric husband, three much-too-smart children and a small puppy who rules them all. Marie is the award winning author of over forty paranormal romances – Indie, New York and E-published.

 

Email: Marie@MarieTreanor.com.

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Guest Interview–Helena Fairfax

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I’m a British author, and I live in Yorkshire, in the north of England. My first contemporary romance was released in 2013, and there’s been no stopping me ever since :)

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Heartwarming romance with believable heroines, strong heroes, and uplifting endings

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I live near the Yorkshire moors – close to where the Brontë sisters used to live – and I walk the moors every day with my rescue dog. I love to watch the changing seasons, and now, in spring, everything is coming alive. It’s wonderful to see the colours creeping back over the barren winter landscape.

Besides walking, I also read, read, and read!

Do you start a new story with the plot or characters first?

I start with the characters. Romance novels are all about internal conflict – the personalities of the hero and heroine, and what it is that’s keeping them apart. I will also have a particular setting in mind. The story evolves naturally out of these elements.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I generally have a good idea of the overall structure of the story and the character arc of the hero and heroine. In The Scottish Diamond – the novella I’ve just released – things didn’t go quite according to my initial plan, and the hero turned out to have a secret that surprised even me! That was really exciting to write, and I love this hero possibly more than any of my others (and that’s saying something :) )

What is the starting point for research—story concept or when you get stuck while writing?

It’s a bit of both. I’ll research as I’m mulling the story over, and then when I get stuck I go away and research some more. It’s easy to get sucked into the research side of things, so I try not to let it become a distraction. Having said that, I’ve had some of my best ideas for moving the story forward while researching.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

My stories are set in various locations, from France to Scotland, London, and the north of England. I’ve been to all the places I’ve written about. I think it is possible to write about somewhere you’ve never been to – the internet is a wonderful resource – but it would take a lot more effort and possibly not be as realistic.

Can you share a tip about what you do when you get stuck in creating a story?

I take a break from it. Sometimes as little as ten minutes away from staring at the screen. By the time I get back, I’ve worked out what to do next, and it seems obvious. Other times, it takes a lot longer. When I’m really stuck, I find it useful to discuss the story with someone else. Just talking about it can often help you see the solution. My husband is brilliant at seeing an answer, especially when it involves the development of a character. Talking things through with him will often fire me with new enthusiasm

Describe a normal writing day (or period, if you have other employment obligations).

On a normal writing day I take my dog for a very long walk first, before sitting down to my computer. I get my emails, social media, etc, out of the way, then settle down to write as much as I can before my brain starts to freeze and the words start to dry up. I find it quite hard to write in the evening when I’m tired.

 

What’s your dream vacation destination?

Anywhere by the sea. I love Cornwall, and also the Welsh coast, and the Mediterranean for the sunshine.

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pinterest, collages) when plotting or writing?

I’ll find a photo of someone – usually someone famous, like a film star or musician, and I use it as the basis for my main characters – the hero especially. I’ll refer to the photo when I’m describing them. This helps me have an image in mind, and it keeps my descriptions consistent. There’s no changing the hero’s eyes from grey to brown half way through the story, for example. I’ve pinned some of the photos I’ve used for each story to my Pinterest board.

In what genre do you read?

I read a lot of contemporary romance in order to keep up with what’s happening in the genre. Besides that, I read pretty much anything, apart from horror and psychological thrillers, which I find too tense. I like detective novels and sci-fi, and I read a lot of literary classics. I’m just reading some Chekhov short stories. They’re really entertaining and a surprisingly easy read.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

It depends on the age of the character, what they do for a living, etc. If it’s a child, I might have a look at newspaper lists of most popular names, for example. Once I’ve decided on a name, then that’s it – I find it very difficult to change it. It would be like renaming one of my own children!

Are you a pet person? If so, what do you have?

As I said above, I have a rescue dog. She’s a Staffie cross, and was abandoned as a puppy on the streets of Leeds (a large city near where I live). She was already called Lexi when we adopted her, and so we’ve kept the name. She’s a brilliant dog with us – very loving, playful, and affectionate – but she gets very stressed around strangers and other dogs. Living near the moors is ideal. We can walk in splendid solitude, which suits us both – Lexi so she can chase rabbits, and me so I can dream up my stories!

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I’d like them to find my stories a page-turning and entertaining read, to fall in love with my characters, and to come away feeling uplifted.

The Scottish Diamond 300 dpi

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What do you do when nothing is what it seems…even the man you love?
“Fair is foul, and foul is fair…”  When Lizzie Smith starts rehearsing Macbeth with her theatre group in Edinburgh, she’s convinced the witches’ spells are the cause of a run of terrible luck. Lizzie’s bodyguard boyfriend, Léon, is mysteriously turned down for every job he applies for, until he’s finally offered the job of guarding “The Scottish Diamond,” a fabulous jewel from the country of Montverrier.

But the diamond’s previous guard has disappeared in mysterious circumstances. The Scottish Diamond has a history of intrigue and bloody murder, and Lizzie is plagued by nightmares in which Macbeth’s witches are warning her of danger.
Then Lizzie discovers she’s being followed through the streets of Edinburgh, and it seems her worst fears are about to be realised…

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EXCERPT

I continued to frown up at him, troubled. He took my face in his hands and kissed me.

‘I know what it is,’ he said, his eyes twinkling. ‘It’s all your talk of witches and ghosts. Your Scottish superstitions are rubbing off on me and I’m seeing things in this gloomy weather that aren’t there at all.’

He swung me into his arms and kissed me again.

After that, Léon dismissed his vigilance as something brought on by the strangeness of his new city. And once he began his new job at the Castle, he didn’t mention being followed again, and in fact, all the tension he’d been showing disappeared, and he became almost his old self. He left the house with a sense of purpose that had been lacking in his previous aimless wanderings around Edinburgh. And the best thing was, he was beginning to understand more and more of our Scottish brogue every day.

I later discovered it wasn’t just our Scottish way of speaking he was mastering. A few days after he started work, I was in the kitchen preparing our evening meal, when I heard the front door close and Léon’s light tread in the hall. Usually he went straight upstairs to change, but this evening he came directly to the kitchen and put his head round the door. His eyes brimmed with amusement.

I stepped closer to give him a kiss, and he pushed the door wide. My mouth fell open. He was dressed in a kilt. The green tartan cloth was thrown over one broad shoulder in Highland fashion, and the pleated skirt revealed an inch or two of tanned, muscular leg above a pair of thick, cream-coloured socks.

‘Wow,’ I stuttered. ‘You look…’ I breathed out in a long whistle. ‘You look amazing.’

He smiled broadly, showing his white, even teeth in one of the first real smiles I’d seen him give since we left Europe.

‘This is my new uniform.’ He spread his arms a little, glancing down at himself. ‘Not a bad effort for a half-Italian, half-Montverrian. What do you think?’

‘Not bad at all.’ My face decided right then and there to turn a decided pink, and to hide the fact that I couldn’t keep my eyes off him, I threw my arms around his neck and planted a kiss below his ear.

His arms encircled me, and he murmured, ‘Ever made love to a man in a kilt?’

And after that, everything between us was perfect again. All my worries about Léon wanting to go home to Italy, and all his former tension vanished, and we were just as we had been during those idyllic two weeks we’d spent at his home on the Amalfi coast that summer.

But of course, perfect times can’t last forever. Everything changed when I realised it wasn’t Léon who was being followed. It was me.

Helena Fairfax photo

Helena Fairfax writes engaging contemporary romances with sympathetic heroines and heroes she’s secretly in love with. Her first novel, The Silk Romance, was a contender for the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme Award and a runner-up in the Global Ebook Awards. Helena Fairfax was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize in 2014.
Helena is a British author who was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She’s grown used to the cold now, and these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in the north of England, right next door to the windswept Yorkshire moors. She walks this romantic landscape every day with her rescue dog, finding it the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings.
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If you’d like to get in touch, or find out more about my books, writing, and photos of my settings or the Yorkshire moors where I live, please follow my newsletter by subscribing here: http://eepurl.com/bRQtsT

All new subscribers to my newsletter will receive a FREE copy of Palace of Deception – a romantic suspense novella

You can also visit me on my website at www.helenafairfax.com, or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HelenaFairfax/, or Twitter https://twitter.com/HelenaFairfax

Guest Release-Betrayal by Karen Cogan

Betrayal cover from John

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Bethany never imagined becoming the target of a hired killer. Her intent had been to clear her roommate of murder and get her out of jail. After a tip from a neighbor about a ski-masked man leaving the apartment and tossing something in a dumpster, she retrieves a pair of bloody gloves from the dumpster and places them in her brief case for safe keeping. On the way to take them to the police station, she is attacked and injected with a fast-acting sedative. In a desperate attempt to protect the evidence, she thrusts the briefcase at the man in front of her and begs him to take care it.

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EXCERPT

Bethany glanced behind her, heart skittering, as she hastened along the street. Though she hoped to blend in with tourists in southern Staten Island, she couldn’t escape the feeling she’d been followed. She’d told no one except the detective about the evidence in her briefcase. Since it could prove the innocence of her friend, she was eager to turn it in. Fortunately, in two more blocks she would arrive at the station. She could hand it over and stop worrying.

Someone brushed against her and she tightened her hold on the satchel. Pedestrians here were working people with a sprinkling of petty thieves. The last thing she needed was to have an opportunist steal what was valuable only as evidence and discard it in a dumpster where it would never be found and justice would never be done.

She entered the crosswalk with the throng. Half-way across the street she felt a sharp jab beneath her right rib. She grimaced as she stumbled forward, bumping into the broad back of the man striding ahead of her. He turned to study her with striking blue eyes.

Someone touched her hand and whispered, “Let go and I’ll let you live.”

She jerked her hand away as her vision began to blur. The man she had jostled turned with a frown. “Are you all right?”

She held on to the satchel. As his face became hazy, she thrust it towards him. “Take care of this please. It’s important.”

He took it from her grasp as she toppled forward. She heard a buzz of voices as strong arms lifted her, and then, oblivion.

Luke carried the limp woman across the street and cradled her in his lap while he called 911. A crowd gathered while he checked her quickened pulse. What could have happened to her? His thoughts were interrupted as a man leaned towards him.

“She’s prone to fainting spells. I can hold onto the attaché case. I’m her brother.”

Luke evaluated the man and made a quick decision. “She told me to keep it safe. It’s fine with me, for now.”

The man didn’t insist, yet continued to stand by, expressing none of the concern Luke would expect of a brother while Luke focused on the woman, making sure she continued to breathe.

The steady shrieking of an ambulance preceded its arrival at the curb. Luke moved back to allow the attendants to administer to the fallen woman. They took her vitals and loaded her onto a stretcher.

“Where will you take her?” Luke asked. Not only did he need to know where to deliver the satchel, he was curious about why it was important enough to protect.

“Mount Sinai.”

“I’m a friend. Can I come along?”

The man nodded. “You can ride up front with the driver.”

Luke held onto the briefcase as he strode to the passenger door. What possessed him to care about what happened to this stranger? He should send the attaché with her and forget the whole thing.

He glanced into the crowd and saw the man who claimed to be her brother watching from the outskirts of the bystanders. If he had it to bet, Luke guessed the guy knew what was inside that case and had a reason for wanting it. Perhaps he had injured or drugged the victim to steal it. The possibilities ran through his mind as he climbed aboard. He thought about going after the suspect. Yet, he doubted he would catch him, given the distance between them. If he didn’t stay with the victim, it would be harder to locate her and return her property. He shut the door and buckled his seat belt. Whatever the outcome, he was along for the ride.

The driver was a stocky, middle-aged man with thinning hair who asked Luke, “You her husband?”

“No. She fell into my arms. I was complemented until I realized she was unconscious.”

The man nodded. “Sounds like my experience with women.”

Luke’s curiosity about what was in the case burned as they drove to the hospital. When they arrived, he waited for the paramedics to lift the woman from the ambulance and wheel her into the emergency room.

“How’s she doing?” Luke asked the small blond attendant who was pushing the cart,”

“She’s stable.”

Once inside, he was asked her name. “I don’t know. We just met. You’ll have to get identification from her purse. Please let me know when she’s able to have a visitor.”

The rigid, vinyl chair in the waiting area poked against his shoulder blades. He resigned himself to the discomfort and the television comedy that spewed raucous laughter. His thoughts were on the woman who’d passed out in his arms.

He turned the briefcase over in his lap. If she protected something illegal, he refused to be any part of it. He studied the lock, and knew it would be no problem. He fished in his pocket and withdrew the knife set he’d carried all through his stint in the military. With a few quick twists, he had it open. He peered inside the bag to see two bloody gloves staring back. If she didn’t have a good explanation, he was going straight to the police.

Bethany awoke in a narrow bed. She squinted at the bright ceiling light, and struggled to remember why she was hooked to an IV. What had happened? She moved to sit up and her head throbbed. Then, it all came back. He had wanted the gloves. Had he gotten them?

She fumbled for the buzzer as a nurse entered the room. “I had an attaché case. Where is it?”

The young woman knitted her brow. “Don’t be upset. Your things are bagged beside your bed.”

“I need to see them.”

The nurse moved swiftly to her side. “Don’t try and get up. I’ll hand it to you.”

Bethany knew from the weight of the bag it didn’t contain the attaché case. She fought rising panic. “My briefcase is missing. Where is it?”

“I don’t know. There’s a gentleman in the waiting room who wants to see you. Perhaps he has it.”

Karen Cogan

A native of Houston, TX, Karen spent her early years enjoying life along the Gulf Coast. After high school, she attended Texas A&M as well as the University of Houston where she obtained a B.S. in early childhood education. She has written numerous articles and stories, books for children and novels for adults. She particularly enjoys writing contemporary and historical romance.

She now lives in the Southwest with her family and assorted pets.

Web contacts:

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Guest Promotion–Landlocked by Marilyn Baron

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Amelia Rushing is an inexperienced South Florida realtor with weather issues, and a loser in love. Her grandmother asks her to sell some property on an isolated North Carolina mountaintop, and upon investigation, Amelia finds the tract is landlocked. Determined to make her first sale and right the injustice to her grandmother, Amelia travels to the town of Confrontation and enlists the help of local real estate attorney, Alec Brady, who thwarts her at every turn.

Sparks fly when Amelia announces her plans to move into her grandmother’s cabin until she can sell the property. It is Alec’s current home, and he’s not giving it up. When Amelia discovers that thirty years ago a prominent landscape artist disappeared in the town of Confrontation, she is anxious to solve the decades-old mystery, but there’s a serial killer on the loose, one nobody wants to turn in, despite the number of people missing. What is the community hiding, and does Alec know where the bodies are buried?

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The Wild Rose Press

EXCERPT

He was too freaking gorgeous with his chiseled movie-star face and a buff body to match. He extended his hand, and she stood up to shake it. But for a  moment, he’d rendered her incoherent.

“Welcome to our little part of—”

“I’ve already had the ‘little part of heaven,’ speech from your receptionist,” Amelia said when she rediscovered her voice.

Alec skewered her with a piercing look from his fathomless blue eyes.

“You think I’m a hillbilly.” His deadpan delivery indicated it was more of a statement than a question.

“You must be a mind reader.”

“Don’t have to be. It’s written all over your face.”

“Okay, I have to ask. What’s a Duke grad doing in a backwater town like Confrontation? And I use the term town loosely.”

Practicing law,” Alec answered dryly.

“I’ve already contacted a local broker/realtor named Barry Brady, and he referred me to you. He said he’d looked at the papers I faxed over and that we couldn’t proceed with the sale. That’s when he recommended I see you. Your secretary’s named Brady, too. Is everyone in this town related?”

Alec’s face flashed a barely disguised smile. Must be an inside joke.

“Pretty much, ma’am.”

“I’m glad I could amuse you. Do you all intermarry up here in Confrontation?”

“I’m not married.”

“No cousins available?”

“Is that a serious question?”

IMG_1172 (2)MarilynBaronMarilyn Baron is a corporate communications consultant in Atlanta. She’s a member of RWA and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW), recipient of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award and winner or finalist in writing awards in single title, suspense romance, novel with strong romantic elements and paranormal romance.  Landlocked is her 10th book with The Wild Rose Press.

WEB CONTACTS

Website:  www.marilynbaron.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marilyn-Baron/286807714666748

Blog:  Marilyn blogs with Savvy Authors on the 22nd of every month at  http://savvyauthors.com/blog/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MarilynBaron

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4722647.Marilyn_Baron

Guest Release–Fear Land by Rolynn Anderson

Fear Land 6E_final

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Tally Rosella, acclaimed child psychiatrist, avoids adults because their brains rant at her.  When she begins a child study to connect her findings to PTSD, devious colleagues at a California university block her progress.

Army Major Cole Messer won’t admit trauma destroyed his marriage and ability to lead.  His priorities: enroll his highly anxious son in Tally’s study and return to active duty.

 Someone is dead set against Tally’s presence at the university, and blowback from her battles put Cole and his boy in jeopardy.  Watch what happens when people struggling with shades of anxiety collide with corrupt, revengeful foes.

BUY LINK–Amazon

NOTE: This title is free August 11 and August 12. Save the link.

EXCERPT

“California.  Recycle capital of the world,” Tally muttered as she hauled two big plastic bags across the parking lot to the garbage cans.  “And I have to walk from my apartment to China to dump mine.”

At the beginning of the tricky business of lifting the container lid and hoisting one heavy bag into it, she heard, “Wait!   I’ll help,” from behind her.

Startled, she let the lid drop with a bang.  Owen Harper.  Damn his hide.  Was he watching from his kitchen window to catch me out here?  Now she was cornered behind high walls, at dusk, with a mean-headed man.  Tally pulled in air for courage, inhaling fetid odors instead.

Harper reached for her garbage bag, resting his hand on hers for a couple seconds before he pulled the plastic from her grip and dumped the bag.  She barely had time to compose herself before she faced him and said, “Thank you.”  After her minor victory with her new assistant, cutting off the corners of the woman’s bitterness, why not try it with Harper?

She handed him the second bag.  “How are you doing, neighbor?” Tally avoided his eyes by checking her hands for dirt and dusting off her black pants.  Does he hear fear wobbling my words? 

“Fine, Tally.  Saw you struggling with a heavy load.  Thought you could use some help.”

“Rescue number two,” she said, holding up two fingers.  “Nice of you.”  Neighborly chit-chat next.  “Is SLO home for you?  Do you have family nearby?”

“A half sister is all.  Sad to say we’re not close.”  His neutral expression implied he wasn’t sorry.

With a glance at her watch, Tally tried one more entrée.  “Charles tells me you’re busy all day doing interviews.”

He shrugged.  “At this stage of the study, I’m usually in my car or in a VA hospital.”  When she winced, he gave a wry smile.  “Somebody’s got to do the follow-ups.”

“Right,” she said, unable to think of another response and feeling too isolated from buildings and people.  Tally shivered, rubbed her arms and took two steps toward the opening of the corral.  Harper moved as if to block her exit.

What could she do but look up into his eyes?  Was he teasing her?  Hoping to say more?  Wanting to ask her out?  Ready to attack her?  God knew.

His brain screamed: Die Bitch.  Die Now Bitch!  Loud.  Clear.  With knife-sharp consonants.

“Oh,” Tally said, horrified.  “Forgot.  I’m the test audience for Andy’s bird show-and-tell.  Better go.”

Harper turned, squinting in the direction of Cole’s apartment.  Was he checking for a light to prove she was telling the truth?  While he was diverted, she pushed her way around him and scurried toward the complex.  “Hey, wait,” he said.  “I’ll walk you back.”

“That’s okay.  Thanks for the help.  I’m late.”

She wanted to run from him after what she’d seen in his eyes, but she walked.  Briskly.  She walked because she’d learned something very important about Owen Harper.  He got off on scaring her.  He’d misinterpreted her downcast eyes as a submissive gesture.  Damn it, avoiding his gaze had sent the wrong message.

Instead of tamping down Harper’s rant, she’d just hiked it up to a new level.  Not only did he want her to die, but inadvertently, she’d cranked up his rage to the point he wanted her to die now.

rolynn large color

Scandinavian, Army Brat, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, Author.  She delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges.  Her hope: You’ll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters capture your imagination and your heart.

 

WEB CONTACTS:

http://rolynnanderson.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rolynn-Anderson/188767867821613 

https://twitter.com/rolynnanderson

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4990049.Rolynn_Anderson

http://rolynnanderson.blogspot.com

OTHER TITLES of Award-winning Suspense Spiked with Romance

LAST RESORT: http://amzn.com/B00550W1BQ

FADEOUT: http://amzn.com/B00YWE3Z2U

SWOON: http://amzn.com/B00A1P6P 3U

LIE CATCHERS: http://amzn.com/B00HJDS1LG

Guest release–The Newspaper Code by Lisa J. Lickel

The_Newspaper_Code

BLURB:

Judy Wingate’s NOT-BFF, Olivia Hargrove of the Robertsville Reporter, discovers a Civil War-era secret newspaper code that may lead to a seven million dollar windfall.

Not long after Judy and Hart’s baby is born, Judy and Ardyth are embroiled in another murder. This time it’s 99-year-old Esme Espe, the queen of the Petunia Society, Robertsville’s Garden Club. Dead-heading petunias has become a serious undertaking in Robertsville.

EXCERPT:

Ten minutes later, Judy, who’d accompanied Olivia to her second-floor apartment above the card shop, stood with her in front of the big oval mirror in the bathroom. Judy hovered behind her, deciding what to say and how to say it. Olivia still hadn’t told her about the code in the newspaper, or much about Adam.

And the hair! What in the world could she say without being accused of being too honest again?

“Hopeless, isn’t it? I might as well shave it off.” Olivia made a face at herself.

“I changed my mind. Do you really need glasses?” Judy decided to start with something easier. “Who…why did you decide on that style?”

“The clerk said cat’s-eyes were retro chic and I’d be memorable.” Olivia raised one eyebrow. “I’ve a lot to learn about reading people, don’t I?”

Judy took a deep breath, not about to start sharing her secret ability to read body language. She’d gotten so good at it after taking a class a few years back her former principal tried to use her as a kind of human lie detector in student behavior hearings. Her gift seemed to have faded since having Elizabeth. “I think you want to try something simpler. Have you heard of ‘less is more’?”

“Of course.” Olivia removed the glasses and reached into a drawer. She pulled out a pair of wire rims. “This is my last prescription. And, yes, I do need glasses. If I want to see anything, that is.” She stuck them on her nose and peered, eyebrows beetled, at herself. “Are these better?”

“If you want to look like a reject from Woodstock. You don’t exactly have to be in style, but you should aim to be stylish.”

“You’re saying I have no style?”

“That’s not what I mean.” Judy prayed for the right words. “Sometimes I think you don’t care about how you look.”

“I don’t usually have time to do makeup and hair, with my job.” She studied her reflection. “But I’m afraid I might end up a batty lonely old lady, like Esme, in a houseful of stray animals.”

“Esme had a lot of people who cared about her. She did things for the town. She might have lived alone, but I don’t think she was lonely. And Ardyth says she didn’t really have a houseful of strays. That was just a rumor.”

“Oh.”

“You didn’t report that, did you?”

“No. It’s not relevant. I don’t think.” Olivia turned to look at her. “Unless somehow one of her strays got into trouble with, like, shredding her work, or picked up something that belonged to someone else and brought it back. I read a book, once, where a packrat hid jewels in its nest and the homeowner was killed over it.”

“That’s pretty far-fetched.”

Olivia shifted back into place and gathered her hair in both hands. “What about this?”

Judy didn’t have a clue what to do with the wiry mop on Olivia’s head. “Have you tried growing it?”

“This is about as long as it gets.”

“Have you tried braiding, or something?”

“I’m hopeless.”

“Maybe I can try.” Judy studied the amount of hair and the directions it coiled. “I learned how to do this style back when I had my apartment in Lewiston. One of my neighbors was a flight attendant, and she liked to have her hair away from her face. Let me see. I divide it first. Do you have a comb?”

Five minutes of untangling and looping later, Olivia jerked under her hands. “Ouch!”

“Sorry. It’s been awhile.” Judy tucked under one of the French braids she’d styled around Olivia’s face. “And I have a daughter now, so I better get back in the habit before she starts asking me. Okay, how’s that?”

Wow, who knew Olivia had a real face under all that. Heart-shaped, too.

“Um, okay. I guess.” Olivia gave a cursory glance at the mirror. She raised her chin and looked at Judy’s reflection. “How many boyfriends have you had?”

Ah, so she’s back to thinking about Adam Gordon. Let’s follow this tack. “I’m probably not the best person to ask about boyfriends,” Judy warned.

“Besides the one who was a murderer,” Olivia added.

Judy felt the tingle of anger. No matter how nice Olivia looked on the outside, tact was not part of her inner make up. She acted more like one of Judy’s students.

Don’t take it personally, she reminded herself.

But maybe I can turn this to my advantage. “Graham was my first adult boyfriend,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons I didn’t know he couldn’t be trusted—I didn’t have any experience with boys. Men.”

“So, you’re saying I can’t trust my feelings about Adam Ray because I don’t know any better.”

Judy cleared her throat and finished the other braid before stepping back. “That’s pretty blunt. Why don’t we talk about the things you know for sure, not what you think or feel?”

Olivia nodded. “I can do that. Let’s see. We went to college together.” She frowned. “He was three years ahead of me. I guess I don’t even know for sure that he graduated, though I could look it up on line.”

“If he took a teaching job at a college, let’s assume he finished college and graduate school.”

“I had no idea what he was doing after college until he sent that letter inviting me to collaborate.”

“Those were his words? He wanted to collaborate?” Judy smothered a laugh. “I haven’t heard that one before.”

“You think it’s just a line?”

“I don’t know. I’m sorry, that wasn’t very nice of me. What else did the letter say?”

Olivia pulled the towel from around her neck and replaced the wire rims with the cat’s-eyes. “Here, you can read it for yourself.”

BUY LINKS

Amazon

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MuseItUp Publishing

Lisa Lickel E 110 KB

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A multi-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and magazine editor.

Web contacts

Website

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Twitter: @lisajlickel

Guest Interview–Lynda Coker

Say hello to an author friend from The Wild Rose Press, Lynda Coker.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Writing Timeless Romance You’ll Read Again and Again.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I’ve always had a love affair with fabric. I sewed clothing in the beginning, then tried my hand at traditional quilting. I’m not one for structure, so I soon switched to art quilts, mostly wall-hangings. I found I could use my imagination in design and execution. I was hooked.  A photo of one of my pieces is below.

fabric art_Coker giveaway

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

My writing style is definitely, and sometimes deplorably, freestyle. :) As I said earlier, I detest anything that looks like an outline or schedule. So I fly by-the-seat-of-my-pants, better known in the writing world as a ‘Pantser’. Once in a while, when I’m having trouble deciding on which plot path to take next, I will break down and outline a couple of thoughts.

Have you traveled to any locations that appear in your books?

I recently spent two weeks in Galveston, Texas where I did research for a book that is now in progress. It’s the first time I’ve combined a vacation with a book research site. It was both enjoyable and interesting. I can still hear the surf and taste the salty air.

What was your biggest surprise in the editing/revision process?

It has to be my editor’s favorite phrase – Dangling Participles. I’ve come to dread that phrase… I’m a constant grammar student, but sad to say, I don’t think I’ll ever graduate. I think part of the problem is being ‘Southern’. Being born in Texas and living here most of my life, I think my brain is hardwired to speak and write Texany. I’m not sure how to describe that, but you can be sure, it’s not completely normal. (*Winks)

Do you use visual aids (storyboards, Pintrest, collages) when plotting or writing?

Pintrest is an absolute treasure chest of visual aids. I create a board for each book I’m writing and pin things that reflect elements of that book. Followers can get a feel for a story before it’s ever released. I use the boards to keep followers up to date on the progress of each book and when it is contracted and released.

What resources do you use for picking character names?

I don’t use any name resources. When I’ve gotten an in depth understanding for my characters, appropriate names seem to just pop in my head. I’ve sometimes played a mental game when waiting for an appointment or sitting in my favorite book store. I study people and then give them a name that reflects their perceived personality. This whole process probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me, but I never have a problem naming my characters.

StormeeWaters_w8636_300BLURB

Dirk Savage never fails to acquire what he wants until he encounters Stormee Waters and a backwash of trouble…

Stormee Waters knows about hard times. Needing to care for her aging grandmother and teenage brother, she moves to Houston, Texas and takes a writing job for a popular magazine. Her first assignment is to interview a successful business man for a series of articles entitled, Make My Man Texas-Sized. Her target, Dirk Savage, appears to have the right criteria. He’s adventurous with the air of a conqueror. Admired by his peers and coveted by beauty queens and debutantes, he’s just the type of man that Stormee needs to make her first article sizzle and sell. But can she handle the heat when she catches his attention?

Dirk Savage is used to acquiring what he wants, except in the illusive quest for the one woman who can fill his heart. The shock of discovering her in the naive young woman assigned to interview him sets his jaded emotions on high alert. Can he convince her that his pursuit is genuine?

EXCERPT

He studied her in silence before making a blunt reply. “I’ll pick you up at 7:30 this evening.”

Had he extended an invitation or a command?  “Well—ah.” She shrugged to hide her confusion.

“Surely, you eat dinner?” he quizzed through lips curved with humor.

“I suppose it’s okay.” She fiddled with the edge of her collar and contemplated the hint of challenge underlying his playful smile.

“Dress casually but bring a wrap. We’ll be dining by the river.” He dismissed her with a short command to leave her phone number and address with the receptionist.

Why do I feel as though I’ve been ordered to show up for duty call? Did alpha males assume that women in general deferred to their decisions, or was she just a simple-minded exception?

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon

I’m hosting a launch giveaway with a variety of prizes through my website. Click here

Lynda Coker

Lynda is an author of contemporary romance that lingers in a reader’s mind long after they’ve closed the book. She lives in Northeast Texas with her husband of fifty years. They enjoy traveling, trying new foods, spending time with family and friends, and doing community service work together. When she feels the need to take a break from writing, she enjoys creating fabric art.  She offers an open invitation to view both her writing and fabric art on her blog.

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Fabulous 99cent sale today only

 

I’m starting November 2014 with something special. I’m adding 20 fabulous books to my digital library.

It’s a privilege to join these writers with the inclusion of my holiday novella THE RING THAT BINDS, a western historical that was released in December 2012. But that’s the great thing about historical—they don’t become outdated. In case you missed it, November 1st would be a good time to pick it up. If you already have it, consider giving it to someone as an affordable but oh-so-thoughtful gift: an early Thanksgiving gift, a birthday gift, a thank you gift or “just thinking of you” gift.

Below are the books I’ll be buying November 1st. This list has books of all sizes including popular genres like romance, mystery, fantasy, suspense, paranormal, and historical. Wow. Not only will I be buying these books for my own reading pleasure, but at this price, I can gift several to my reading friends.

Yes, you got it. This diverse list includes books I know will score me points with friends who have birthdays in November or family members who will love reading the book over the long Thanksgiving weekend, for friends who are traveling in November and need a good book to read on the plane, and friends who will be cheered knowing I was thinking of them.  At 99 cents, each of these books will cost far less than a greeting card and a stamp, will arrive faster, and the joy of reading the book will last far longer.

The Amazon links are included below. Hope this gives you and your loved ones a happy Saturday and a fun start to November. Enjoy!

NAME Title Buy link
Kristy Tate Stuck With You http://amzn.com/B00KQ9JT5C
Jackie Hyman Calling All Glass Slippers http://amzn.com/B00N97L532
Michelle Knowlden Jack Fell Down http://amzn.com/B00LYNHVTU
Susan R. Hughes Heart’s Desire http://amzn.com/B00KTT0SUO
Lou Nelson Emerald Fortune http://amzn.com/B008S4PH1W
Shauna Roberts Claimed by the Enemy http://amzn.com/B00LNE709G
Kathy Bennett A Deadly Denial http://amzn.com/B00MAGGHKY
Kitty Bucholtz Unexpected Superhero http://amzn.com/B00D4FOLHQ
Michael Payne Neighbors http://amzn.com/B00O4CRCOC
Angie Ray Ghost of My Dreams http://amzn.com/B00JJGB8CA
Laura Taylor Love at the Beach (3 books *) http://amzn.com/B00OJ47DOY
Debra Salonen Judy Uncensored http://amzn.com/B00NJCK5EC
Linda Carroll-Bradd The Ring That Binds http://amzn.com/B00AM0OQSK
Geralyn Corcillo She Likes It Tough http://amzn.com/B00NNXWFAE
Chris Marie Green Shadows Till Sunrise http://amzn.com/B00NHYS8WS
Barbara McMahon The Bachelor’s Baby Promise http://amzn.com/B006Q64YYK
Donna Fasano The Single Daddy Club: Derrick http://amzn.com/B00AN7524Y
Adrianne Lee You Don’t Know Jack http://tinyurl.com/l7awb7g
Jan Hudson Big and Bright http://amzn.com/B00AB4FW30
Kathleen Creighton Demon Lover http://tinyurl.com/puk7opn