Tag Archives: suspense

Guest Interview–Maureen Bonatch

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

It’s interesting that you ask that question since I’ve recently had my website and my logline updated. Previously it was, “Making the Ordinary Extraordinary and Laughing all the Way”.  My new one is, “Stories with Hocus Pocus and All That.”

I believe both capture the essence of my writing, which is humorous paranormal and fantasy romance.

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

My characters always start the story. Sometimes I don’t even know their names when they begin telling me their story.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

As you can see from my answer above, my writing is freestyle (or panster as some refer to it–I write by the seat of my pants.) I’ve tried to force myself to plan out part of my story to reduce editing after, but most of the time my characters have minds of their own, lol.

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

Most of my stories feature small towns surrounded by dense wooded areas (a great place to tuck away all kinds of secrets). I draw from my home to create the settings, although I don’t use any specific locations.

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

Yes, definitely. I currently have a Shih Tzu, or I should say, he has us, lol. Scruff’s been with our family for four years now. Prior to that, we had a Lhasa Apso for 14+ years. My girls have had an array of other critters over the years—guinea pigs, hermit crabs, fish and a hamster. My husband is allergic to cats, or I’m sure one might’ve been in the mix as well.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope readers find a relaxing escape from the everyday. That they might laugh a little and wander out of the comfort zone of their imagination. That they might appreciate those around them once they look a little closer and see the extraordinary concealed within.

EvilSpeaksSoftly_Oct 11

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They were never supposed to meet. Fame came easy for Liv by following in the footsteps of the female writers in her family. The cycle repeated for decades…until Liv changed the story. Her villain doesn’t like the revision—and he isn’t a fictional character. In his story, the bad guy always wins.

They were never supposed to find love. Liv never questioned her demanding nocturnal muse, or the strange incidents in her old, family home until she met Gage. His job was to watch her from afar, not reveal the truth about the curse and the stories of the dead. They’ve broken all the rules. Together they unravel secrets as they strive to stop the cycle. Liv’s ability to find love, and protect her loved ones, hangs on the fickle whims of the dead—and they’ve got nothing to lose.

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EXCERPT

“I met this strange man at the bar last night. He told me some really weird stuff.” I paused. When she remained silent, I continued. “He said it was related to my writing.” She watched me with the fascination of one who desperately wanted to look away but couldn’t. As if a deer blinded to the oncoming headlights, she was fixated, trapped. “He said to talk to you.”

I searched her face. I knew my Grams. When resignation settled on her features a knot clenched in my stomach from either fear, or the excitement of validating Gage didn’t fabricate the story. Perhaps he wasn’t crazy.

Grams slowly closed her eyes and opened them again. “He found you?”

I nodded.

She turned to stare out the frosted window where the birdfeeder sat frozen over from the recent snow. “I can’t believe he took that risk. Watchers are never to approach the Recorders. It could totally upset the balance.” She worried her lower lip between her teeth.

When she used the same terms as Gage, my anxiety elevated. I expected her to deny his claims and then we’d laugh about the incident. “Grams, please tell me. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I took a deep breath. “Some weird things happened last night. Occasionally I notice unusual things, but it’s an old house and I have an active imagination, but this time it scared me.”

Added note: This manuscript placed second in the 2015 Golden Palm Contest of the Florida Romance Writers—Paranormal category

maureenbonatch

Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.

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Guest Release Promotion–All In For Love, an anthology

Why we decided to write All In For Love:

Late in 2016, a few of us started a conversation about forming a box set which featured short romances and romantic suspense stories. One had a ghost! We decided to place it in the vicinity of Buffalo and Niagara Falls so that we could also bring in an influence from Toronto, Canada. The casino resort setting came easy and voila! All In For Love came alive. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing each story.

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Welcome to La Bonne Chance Resort & Casino!

With thousands of people passing through the casino’s doors on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that a variety of lives and loves are on the line there. It’s said that you’re more likely to lose your heart at La Bonne Chance than a hand of poker. Whether you are the Director of Casino Operations or the guy who created its software, a jilted bride or a black jack dealer, a past guest’s ghost or a sous chef–when it comes to love, the stakes are high.

Ready to roll the dice?

An Inn Decent Proposal, Sharon Buchbinder
Can an hotelier with a past and a chef with a future revive the grand dame in a neglected old inn?

Perfect Odds, Lashanta Charles
When a jilted bride meets the man of her dreams, will she embrace the new plan, or cling stubbornly to the old one?

A Ghost To Die For, Keta Diablo
She didn’t believe in ghosts…until one showed up in her room.

Raising Kane, Kat Henry Doran
Funny how a night in jail will change a woman’s outlook on life.

For Money Or Love, Margo Hoornstra
She’s the one woman he can’t afford to lose.

Take A Chance On Me, M.J. Schiller
Who do you count on when the chips are down?

GIVEAWAY  To add to the fun, we are giving away a gambling-themed handmade item to ONE lucky commenter who will be selected by a Random Number Generator.

LINKS

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Guest Release Promotion—UnderStory by Lisa Lickel

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Lily Masters is not getting involved with any fake job scheme covering a sex trafficking operation supposedly cooked up by her stepbrother, prison guard Art Townsend. Hoping to get help at a friend’s place before a blizzard, Lily loses her way. She’s found by Cam Taylor, a poetry-spouting former lit professor. Cam has his own reasons to hide while writing a biography of his Civil Rights activist grandparents and accidentally stirs up a cold case murder involving a potential Supreme Court judge.

Beneath every story is layer upon layer of trust and lies.

BUY LINK

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EXCERPT

Kingston’s cabin was maybe half a mile away through the woods, if she got the direction right. He’d hide her for a while, help her figure out what to do. She had to be close to the turn-off toward the tiny crossroads community of Spruce. She could make it. If she alerted the authorities before Art found her, she might stay alive.

If she wanted to. Brisk air reinvigorated her brain cells, forcing them to work overtime, remembering the bad parts about growing up, and now, trying to do more than run on instinct. A woman like her, born defective, was useless, her father said. She shouldn’t bother trying to get a boyfriend, her mother told her.

But she wasn’t useless and had done well…until lately.

She would figure this out and live.

She had to. For Kenny.

Art would be mad when he realized she’d taken his new Jeep. He didn’t really think she was that stupid, did he? To believe she’d hide out until he could have her declared dead? That he would turn over part of the insurance money so she could start over somewhere else at the age of twenty-eight?

Her breath glittered in the rusty morning light through the fine powdery flakes swirling down. Honeysuckle grabbed her jeans. Hawthorn tore her cheek, tugged back her hood and tangled in her hair, pulling it from the loose bun she’d tied before huddling into her mother’s old coat. She didn’t even pause. The coming storm had been forecast for the past three days, with each prediction adding inches to the snow total.

She hitched the nubby wool higher around her ears, dragging the red plaid fringed blanket into the understory.

Lisa Lickel A (3) 105 KB

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer and editor. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. She is vice president of Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat, Inc. Lisa loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and workshops, is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor.

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Guest Interview—Terri Wangard

Tell us a bit about you and your background

I’ve loved libraries since I was a little girl and we visited the North Branch of the Green Bay library. My favorite books included the Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka stories. I earned a Master of Library Science degree and worked for a few years in libraries before joining the family business full time. We publish Classic Boating magazine.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

History that entertains and enlightens. And that’s what I hope my stories do.

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

A little of both. For my first story, I had the characters. For the next two stories in the series, the plots were obvious, but not until I had the characters did the plots get fully developed.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

Since I write World War II stories, I listen to World War II music. My favorite songs include “Comin’ In On a Wing and a Prayer” and “The White Cliffs of Dover.” I also listen the soundtracks like “Pearl Harbor” and instrumentals by Jonn Serrie.

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

Yes, but before I knew I would be writing about those locations. I’ve spent a little time in Germany and Sweden. Now I wish I’d taken more pictures, or could go back.

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

After writing Friends and Enemies, which released in January, I started writing a contemporary, but an editor at an ACFW conference suggested I would need a series to be offered a contract. The story was set aside and I’ve been doing historical ever since.

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

I didn’t get into Pinterest until after I’d written this series. Now I have Pinterest boards for each book. As I get ideas for my work in progress or future projects, I’ve been collecting pins in private boards. I tend to spend way too much time looking at pretty pictures!

What resources do you use for picking character names?

From my first book, I needed lots of German names, so I used my family tree. For my next books, I used names I liked and could live with during the year-long writing process. I have changed names or spellings. For No Neutral Ground, I noticed in cemeteries that “Jenny” was often spelled “Jennie” on older tombstones, so I made that change.

No Neutral Ground

 

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After his father divorces his mother because of her Jewish ancestry, Rafe and the rest of his family flee Germany. As a B-17 navigator, he returns to Europe. Flying missions against his former homeland arouses emotions that surprise Rafe. Despite being rejected, he is troubled by the destruction of Germany and his heart still cries for his father’s love.

Sweden may be neutral, but it’s full of intrigue. Jennie assists the OSS at the American legation in Sweden. She thought she’d be doing passive, behind-the-scenes work. Instead, she’s pushed into an active role to gain intelligence and frustrate the Germans.

How can Rafe and Jennie succeed in their dangerous roles when they are so conflicted?

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EXCERPT

The wind sliced right through Jennie Lindquist’s coat. So warm in Illinois, it now felt as thin as a pillowcase. Late winter was the wrong time of year to cross the North Atlantic. The temperature hovered around ten degrees, but with the wind and the ship’s speed, it seemed far below zero.

Her gloved fingers had grown stiff from the cold. She had to keep sketching, though, or she would lose her model.

The soldier continued to stare at the spot where the Statue of Liberty had long since faded from view in their wake. The quivering of his chin was his only movement.

Jennie perched on a stowage bin. After adding several pencil strokes to shade the edge of his arm, she held up her drawing and studied it through narrowed eyes. Had she captured his forlornness?

It would have to do. She shoved her sketch pad and pencil into her tote bag. Plenty of time remained aboard the ocean liner-turned-troopship to accomplish her goal of sketching a series capturing life aboard ship.

Overhead, the last escorting U.S. Navy patrol plane dipped its wings and turned back to New York. The Queen Mary was on her own to cross the North Atlantic and elude any skulking German submarines eager to hurtle a torpedo into her. Jennie scanned the horizon. Nothing but endless waves.

Ice crystals sprinkled down, luring her gaze upward. Lifeboats hung suspended overhead. A flexing chain caused more ice to break loose. Dismal gray camouflage paint hid the Cunard Line’s signature colors of red, white, and black. Behind her, one of the ship’s funnels belched smoke as the ocean liner charged full speed ahead at thirty knots. At least the frigid wind prevented soot from drifting down on the military personnel crowding the deck.

An officer standing ten feet away didn’t seem to mind the arctic blast as he raised his face to it. Jennie avoided contact with the military men. Her father had warned her to be wary of their intentions.

This one, however, tempted her. His profile presented classic lines an artist would love to paint. Portraits weren’t her specialty, but, my, oh my, his handsome features practically begged her to try her hand at capturing his likeness. Below the edge of his cap gleamed close-cropped blond hair; his eyes, when he turned his head, shone a startling blue. His heavy coat failed to hide broad shoulders tapering to a slim waist. To her eye, he presented the epitome of male perfection. Did the inner man match the gorgeous outer appearance?

Stray snowflakes swirled about him, and he brushed them away. She set aside Dad’s advice and invaded the solitude surrounding him. “You must be a northerner to be enjoying this glacial wind.”

He straightened to his full height, at least six feet tall, and settled his gaze on her. A quick grin lit his face, and her numb fingers itched to start sketching. “With a choice between enjoying the invigorating sea air or the warm, uh, unventilated air inside the ship, the cold air won.”

“Unventilated air?” Jennie laughed. “How polite.”

His smile came easily, as though he was used to wearing it.

“Someone on the last voyage must have been quite seasick in the room I’m assigned to. The smell was bad enough to drive me into this gale.” Looking back out to sea, he hunched his shoulders and tilted his head to the right, then the left. Weak sunlight glinted off white-caps as the morning overcast broke up, but the restless waves continued to batter themselves against the ship’s hull. He maintained his grip on the railing. “The way the ocean’s churning, we may have a lot more gastronomic upheavals. And to think, I used to enjoy being in a sailing club.”

“Did you sail on the ocean?”

“Sail, no, although I’ve been on a previous ocean voyage. Rivers or the North Sea was where I mostly sailed, but” ― he glanced back at the milling crowd of servicemen ― “we weren’t packed in tight like this.”

The North Sea? Wasn’t that in Europe? Jennie grabbed the railing as the Queen Mary veered to port. Every eight minutes, the ship zigzagged to avoid a potential submarine’s crosshairs. She’d timed the turns.

His voice held an unfamiliar accent. It wasn’t English. He’d been on an ocean voyage, singular, and he’d sailed on the North Sea. He must be from Europe, maybe from a country overrun by Hitler’s army. He should have some stories to tell.

The cold and the pressing crowd of soldiers faded into the background. “Where are you from?”

She leaned forward for his reply.

“Milwaukee.”

“Milwaukee?” She stepped back. So much for hearing about foreign lands. “Really? I’m from Chicago.”

His gaze roved over her. “You’re not in uniform. What’s a civilian doing on a troopship?”

Jennie straightened to her five-foot, six-inch height. “I’m joining my parents in Sweden. My dad’s a military air attaché based at the American legation, where he works with interned American airmen. He came home on leave for the holidays and took my mom back with him in January. Now I’m going, too, to help out.”

“My grandparents came from Sweden. Do you speak the language?”

“Enough to ask for help if I get lost.” She laughed at his widened eyes. “Yes, I speak Swedish. Maybe not as fluently as a native, but I have Swedish grandparents, too. My mom’s been pen pals all her life with a cousin whom we hope to meet.” She tugged her hat down more securely and retied her scarf before the wind pulled it free. “Do you have relatives there?”

“Opa’s brother, my grandfather’s brother, lives on the west coast of Sweden.”

“The west coast. Highly unlikely I’ll be able to pay him a call and tell him I met you.” As a group of rowdy soldiers brushed past them and eyed her, Jennie stepped closer to her new acquaintance and pulled her coat’s collar tighter.

She turned back to face his puzzled perusal.

“There are twelve thousand troops onboard.” He looked around the deck. “Are civilian quarters still available?”

“Well, I heard about the accommodations used by Prime Minister Churchill when he sails, but somebody already claimed those.” She could get used to his grin. “Did you know there’s a hospital unit onboard? I’m billeted with the nurses.”

A soldier stumbled hard into the officer, who muttered something under his breath that didn’t sound like English.

She stared at him. “You said something in neither English nor Swedish.”

He looked at her for a long moment, and his relaxed posture stiffened. “I am Rafe Martell, second lieutenant and navigator in the United States Army Air Force. In a more peaceful time, I had another name and lived in Germany. But then Germany decided I wasn’t good enough to be a German, and America offered me a new home.”

A hint of challenge gleamed in his eyes.

Why would Germany not want him?

“I’m Jennie Lindquist.”

“Jennie Lindquist? Good Swedish name. Do you sing?”

“Excuse me?”

“Sing. Have you not heard of Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale? My great-grandparents heard her sing and my grandfather says they insisted they heard an angel.”

The ship lurched to starboard, causing Rafe to stagger against the rail and inhale sharply.

Jennie grinned. So he wanted to know if she could sing? Now was the time to demonstrate her ability. “Rock a bye airman, on the ship’s deck. When the ship rolls, the airman gets sick.”

A startled laugh burst from Rafe. Tears welled in his eyes ― from the wind? ―   and he used both hands to whisk them away. The childlike gesture was endearing.

“May I ask why Germany didn’t want you?”

He stared out to sea as though he wouldn’t answer. Why should he? His experiences were none of her business. Then his gaze probed her soul, and she resisted the urge to squirm.

“I’m half Jewish.”

His clipped answer was totally unexpected. Jennie had read newspaper reports about the Night of Broken Glass a few years ago, when the German people destroyed Jewish property. The pictures in the newsreels had been stunning. Hard to imagine such crime could be committed by civilized people in this modern era. Editorials speculated the destruction was inflicted by members of the Nazi Party and most Germans hadn’t approved. However it happened, Jewish lives and livelihoods had been ruined. That’s what he’d faced? She hugged herself to stop a shiver.

His look dared her to say something. What could she say? He didn’t resemble the people shown in the pictures.

“You don’t look Jewish.” She cringed at her rude reply, but a smile stretched across Rafe’s face.

“I agree. I should have been pictured on Aryan propaganda posters instead of being forced to run for my life.” He bounced his fist on the rail. “I had no idea my mother was Jewish until I was expelled from the Hitler Youth. That’s a Nazi version of the Boy Scouts. To suddenly be lumped with a social group I had no relationship to or understanding of…” He paused for a moment as he searched the horizon. He shook his head. “It was a shock.”

“How did you get away?” She might be probing an unhealed wound, but she might never have the chance to talk to someone from Germany again.

“My grandfather is a partner in a Dutch flower bulb business. I arrived in Amsterdam within two weeks of my disgrace, supposedly as an apprentice. The next week my grandparents, mother, sister, and brother arrived. The following summer, in 1937, we boarded the Statendam and never looked back.” His grin returned. “And as of last summer, I am a citizen of a country where the nationalities are mixed up and melted together.”

“What about your father?”

“He divorced us to keep his job.”

Jennie opened her mouth to ask him to repeat that, but Rafe’s flat tone hadn’t invited questions. Bitterness, anger, and hurt glittered in his eyes. His jaw shifted as though he battled his emotions.

She looked out to sea to give him time to himself, and they stood in silence.

What was it like to have a father who would turn his back on his family? And what was life like for Jews in Europe? They were so far away. Jews in America had it better, didn’t they? Did she know any? There may have been some among her colleagues at the art museum where she’d worked. How could she be so ignorant? She massaged her brow as her head began to ache.

Terri Wangard

Terri Wangard grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. Her first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days she is writing historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Connect with Terri:
www.terriwangard.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

Guest Interview—Emily Paige Skeen

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

Even though I’ve always loved writing, I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to make a living at it. So, I chose Public Relations as my career goal. But actually, I changed my major several times throughout college. Looking back, I think it was because I knew deep down that writing was my passion, I just didn’t really know where to start and I needed a degree that I could “do something” with.

After college, I worked as the PR and Marketing Manager for a small business, but it never fully satisfied me. I didn’t feel appreciated for the work I did, and the stress level was high. I left that job in search of an organization that would nurture, challenge, and appreciate me – all at the same time. Well, I found exactly that. I landed a job that wasn’t what I went to school for, but that gave me experience in a lot of different things, including writing. My bosses were amazing and we were all truly a family. I moved up the leadership ladder quickly and really loved going to work.

Still, something was missing. I had a three-year-old daughter at home when I discovered that my husband and I were expecting another baby. My heart was telling me to stay home with the children, but our financial situation was telling me it wasn’t possible. But I had to find a way. So, I started completing writing gigs on a content mill platform. It didn’t pay much, but it was the start of my freelance writing career.

You may be wondering what all of this has to do with my fiction work. Fiction writing is what I consider my calling, but it’s an incredibly difficult field to break into – and even more difficult to succeed in, as the competition is overwhelming. I had self-published Magnolia Lake while still working full-time, but never got offered a traditional publishing deal until I took a leap of faith and quit my job (isn’t that such a God thing?). And then I stumbled upon Prism Book Group, and the rest is history.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

To be honest, my life tends to revolve around the computer lately. Between freelance writing, working on my newest story, and promoting Magnolia Lake, I get a LOT of screen time.

But when I do tear myself away, I love to play outside with the kids. My youngest got a trampoline from Santa Claus last year, and I get a kick out of jumping on it with her. It may just be fun for her, but it’s quite the workout for Mama! I’ve taught her the games my friends and I used to play on my trampoline as a child, and she loves it.

Other than that, I enjoy bargain shopping (I thrive on finding good deals!), date nights with my husband, movie and dinner dates with my best girlfriends, and reading – I’d read all day long if I could, preferably on a beach somewhere.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I’d say it’s a mixture of both. I start with a general idea, sort of a feeling. It’s hard to explain, but I get this sense of what would make a good story – almost like a vision. It could be just one scene playing out in my head or a theme for an entire story, and I go from there.

I do like to plan out each character, though. Once I have a story idea, I literally write a description of at least the main characters – everything from personality to clothing style to job, even their flaws. I’ll let you in on a little secret, though. I actually didn’t do this right away with Magnolia Lake. But one day I read an article by an author about the importance of detailing your characters before you start writing. So even though I was halfway through Magnolia Lake, I went back and jotted down a few things about each of my important characters. And it has made a huge difference. It helped a lot during the editing stage. I would read something I had previously written and think, “Okay, Landon would never say that this way. Maybe he’d say it this way instead.”

But other than a general idea of how the story will go and the details about each character, I don’t do a lot of planning. Part of the joy of writing is seeing where each book takes me as it develops. Sometimes I end up with a completely different ending than I’d envisioned, or a new character makes its way onto the page.

I’ll say this, though. I tend to sporadically imagine very specific scenes. I guess you could say inspiration strikes at the most random moments. Whether it’s from a conversation I’m having with someone or something I just observe around me, I’ll get this entire scene playing out in my head. I’ve learned to carry a journal in my purse, because if I don’t write it down immediately, it’s gone.

 

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

Honestly, I was shocked at the sheer amount of editing involved – how many times my editor and I sent the manuscript back and forth! If you know me, you know that I pride myself on grammar and strive toward perfectionism in my writing. So it befuddled me that each time I read the manuscript, I found a new grammatical error or a sentence that didn’t flow well.

Before I self-published Magnolia Lake back in 2013, I personally edited it at least three times, and I had one of my sisters edit it too. I thought there was no way any problems would be found. Little did I know! And not just small issues, but also a rather big time-frame problem. That’s why I’d love for people who purchased the original, self-published version to check out the new one. It’s so much better!

Do you write in a genre other than the one of this release?

Magnolia Lake is Young Adult Fiction, but my current work-in-progress is what I guess you’d call Contemporary Christian Fiction. While I enjoy writing for the YA audience, I’m focusing on a more mature audience for my next few projects. The main characters’ ages are mid to late twenties. The writing is still clean and appropriate enough for a teen to read, but will resonate more with adults who are possibly recently married, have graduated college and are starting their career journeys, or are new parents. I plan on doing more YA work in the future, though.

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Popular and beautiful, Cora Stephens has it all – including the perfect football-star boyfriend – until one fateful afternoon. Facing heartache and betrayal, Cora turns to long-time friend, Landon, for comfort. While his love for her grows, she does everything in her power to avoid getting hurt again – including flinging herself into the arms of another boy.

Then, just as Cora’s shattered world starts putting itself back together, life throws something her way that’s more horrific than she ever could have imagined. Through the emotional and physical pain, she begins to lose hope and abandon her faith. Will this once light-hearted, happy prom queen find her way back home?

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The name of a person who comments will be selected to win an ebook of Magnolia Lake.

EXCERPT

As I backtracked through the parked vehicles, I heard footsteps again. Pausing, I looked around. Nobody was there. In fact, the entire parking lot seemed to lack a normal level of activity. There were plenty of cars, but there was not a single person walking around.

I shook my head to clear it, and started walking again—a little faster this time. Suddenly, I heard the sound again. Before I could turn around, something jabbed my back and a hand was over my mouth. I gasped and my whole body shook with fear. The smoothie I held slipped through my hand, splattering all over my shoes and jeans.

Suddenly, hot air blew in my ear at the same time I heard a deep voice say, “Don’t make a sound or I’ll push this knife through your back all the way into your heart.” The gloved hand tightened over my mouth. “Now walk,” the voice ordered.

My legs didn’t move. I was completely frozen with terror. My mind raced as I contemplated what to do next. I knew Kayla couldn’t see me. She was facing the opposite direction and there were too many cars between us. If I screamed I’d get stabbed, but it might give me a chance to wriggle free of this man’s hold. I vaguely recalled a special on TV that said most attackers would back off if you screamed, no matter what they said. I tried to open my mouth, but the assailant’s hold strengthened so that I couldn’t even part my lips. My heart rate accelerated and I couldn’t breathe. I was having a panic attack.

“I said move!” The stranger pushed me so hard I almost lost my balance, but then my legs finally seemed to work. I walked as he directed. We went straight for a minute, then he turned me to the right. After what felt like a thousand years, we were standing in front of a white, windowless work van. It was parked between a big jacked-up truck and a huge SUV. Nobody could see what was going on, if there was even anyone in the parking lot.

The side door opened and I stared into the face of another stranger. At least, I assumed he was a stranger. He wore a ski mask to hide his identity.

The first man shoved me into the van. There were no seats aside from the two in the front, so I fell backward and hit my head on something metal. I cringed and lay frozen for a minute. Then I saw what might be my only chance.

The first man stood in front of me, laughing. The second man leaned against the opposite side of the van, sitting cross-legged and messing with a cell phone.

I took a deep breath and kicked with all my strength, barely missing my attacker’s groin. He doubled over and I scrambled to my hands and knees. My heart raced as I struggled to get out of the van. Just as I had one foot out, the second man grabbed my other foot, dragging me back.

Since I’d been half standing, the force of his pull caused me to thud against the van floor again, this time on my stomach. Then he grabbed my waist and flung me against the van wall next to him.

Tears sprung to my eyes as the first attacker, also wearing a ski mask, climbed into the van and slammed the door. I could only see his eyes, and they were staring at me with nothing but pure evil. Then I saw him lift something round—a paperweight maybe? I couldn’t tell exactly what the object was, but I tried to back away as I realized what he intended to do with it. I closed my eyes, praying the blow would be quick.

Emily Skeen

Born and raised in a small Georgia town, Emily Paige Skeen takes from her own life experiences to create real, relatable characters for her novels. She loves to intertwine small-town charm with deep emotion and intrigue, creating stories that inspire readers.

When she’s not writing or chasing after her two youngsters – both under the age of five – you can find Emily reading, soaking up the sun whenever possible, or shopping. She, her husband, and their kids make their home in a tiny little town an hour south of Atlanta, on a five-acre plot of land right off a bumpy red-dirt road. Emily loves to sit and listen as the ever-present crickets and frogs perform their harmonious concerts in the still, quiet evening hours.

Writing has always been Emily’s passion, ever since she crafted her first sloppily hand-written story plastered over spiral notebook paper at the emotionally-charged age of thirteen. Now, she strives to encourage and inspire girls and young women with her writing. She believes that with a little bit of faith and a whole lot of love, anything’s possible.

Author’s web contact links:

Facebook:

Website

Blog

Twitter

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.

BUY LINK

Amazon

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:

Amazon:  (http://bit.ly/1ZLfzto,

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karencoganfanpage

WordPress: https://wordpress.com/post/kecogan.wordpress.com/258

Guest Interview—Danele Rotharmel

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

Hello, Linda! It’s so nice to have a chance to talk with you and your readers! I grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, I knew I wanted to be a writer. As I was growing up, I was always scribbling stories and perfectly ghastly snatches of poetry. (I’m not kidding about the ghastly part—my poetry is pretty awful!) However, my literary dreams seemed to die when my home’s furnace malfunctioned and I became ill from carbon monoxide poisoning. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, partial amnesia, and the worst case of writer’s block imaginable.

For years, I couldn’t write a word. Zip. Nada. Nothing. I would try incredibly hard, but my sentences were as flat as a deflated balloon. My illness worsened, and I was put into quarantine to keep me away from the perfumes and other chemicals that are so prevalent in today’s society. My quarantine lasted for seven years. As my health gradually improved, my writing ability was restored. I began spending massive amounts of time at the computer, and eventually, I had penned the first six novels in The Time Counselor Chronicles. The first book in the series, Time Tsunami, has just been released.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I enjoy many activities, but walking while listening to music is my favorite. I absolutely love to go for long, leisurely strolls. I also enjoy gardening, baking, cooking, and drawing.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

Although I use a loose outline, my books were written as a way to escape quarantine and to distract myself from physical pain. Because of that, my writing is definitely more freestyle. Sometimes the pain I was experiencing was incredibly intense, and on those horrible days, it helped to let my imagination roam far beyond the walls of my home. I loved mentally wandering the fascinating world of TEMCO. I’ve found that writing a book is even more enjoyable than reading one. And writing is definitely more fun than watching TV or trying to nap. Napping drives me bananas.

If you use music while writing, name your favorite types.

I’m easily distracted, so I wear ear plugs while I write—the green squishy kind that you roll up and stick in your noggin. Sometimes that’s not enough, so I put on noise-reduction earmuffs too. Needless to say, I miss a lot of phone calls. However, I do use music in another way. My characters have become very real to me, and most of them have their own theme song. For instance, in my fourth book, Time Awakening, Phoebe’s song is “Held” written by Christa Wells and sung by Natalie Grant. Phoebe goes through something awful, but she learns that God was with her—holding her—the whole time. In my opinion, certain songs just seem to belong to different characters. They seem to define who they are and express what they are going through.

I suppose that’s the same for me. My current theme song is “I Will Not Be Moved” written and sung by Natalie Grant. When I became ill, I felt like my life had been totally destroyed. I questioned everything about God and my faith, and in the end, I came to the firm conclusion that God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy. When I hear my song, my whole soul rises up and shouts, “Amen!”

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

Actually, I have. Time Tsunami takes place in two locations: Washington D.C. (where TEMCO headquarters is located) and a small mountain town in Colorado. I visited Washington D.C. in 2000, and I loved it. It’s such a beautiful city. There’s something so grand and awe-inspiring about our nation’s capital. When I was trying to come up with a location for TEMCO, Washington D.C. seemed to be the perfect fit. My other location, Charlesberg, is a fictional town created from a conglomeration of Colorado towns I’ve visited. I’ve lived in Colorado my whole life, and the Rocky Mountains are in my blood. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

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

You mean besides pulling out my hair, rending my garments, and wailing loudly? I go for a walk around the lake behind my house and listen to music. For me, staring at a blank computer screen is deadly. I need to feast my eyes on blue skies, colorful flowers, and the sun sparkling on the water. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always work in the wintertime. It’s hard to gaze soulfully at nature during a blizzard. On those days, I watch something funny on TV and try to relax. One good thing about my books is that I split the action between several different characters and locations, so if I’m stuck in one area—the other areas are usually still flowing. I think that helps.

In what genre do you read?

I read anything I can get my hands on. If I’m bored and don’t have a book available, I’ve been known to read canned-food labels, toothpaste boxes, and even VCR manuals. I simply love to read. I always have. The only thing I don’t like to read is anything sexy or demonic. Those types of books make me uncomfortable and give me nightmares. But other than that—bring it on!!!

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope my readers will completely lose themselves in the pages of my novels. I hope my books will provide them with the sweet escape that they have provided for me. When I became ill, I totally lost my ability to write until God restored it. Because of that, I want to honor God with my books. In a very real way, my novels catalogue my journey back to faith. I hope that my readers feel God’s presence as they read. I hope they sense His fingerprints on every page.

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Linda! I enjoyed answering your questions, and it was an honor to talk with your readers.

Time Tsunami

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To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past…

Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution. Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother.  If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.

William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline. As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path?

Will she return from the deadly mission?

BUY LINKS

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT

As a blue glow filled the room, Gil looked through the time portal at William and Director Matthews. Her heart missed a beat. She didn’t know what was going on, but judging by the men’s tense expressions, it wasn’t good.

“Hi, guys, what’s up?” she asked in a deliberately casual tone.

“We’re thinking of pulling you from the field,” William replied.

What?”

“Rick’s more dangerous than we thought.”

“I don’t care if he’s Jack the Ripper,” she said flatly. “I’m staying.”

Director Matthews picked up a handful of printouts. “He isn’t Jack the Ripper, but he might as well be. I’ve found evidence that he’s killed at least ten women.”

“I don’t care.”

“You’re facing a serial killer,” William said. “You must realize the seriousness of the situation.”

“I do realize it. You don’t. Today’s Danny’s D-day. If I abandon him, he’s gonna die on death row. I love that kid, and I’m not about to let his life be destroyed. Where’s Dr. Nelson? She’d agree with me.”

“She said it was our decision,” the director replied.

“It’s my decision too, and I’m not about to abandon—”

“It’s not abandonment,” William interrupted. “GAP’s only predicting a fifty percent chance that it’ll make a difference to Danny’s future if you stay. Regardless of your hard work, Daniel Winston may be destined for death row. We’re not risking your life over a hopeless—”

“There’s no way you’re getting me out of here! If there’s a fifty percent chance that Danny can be saved, I’m taking that fifty percent chance. It’s my life I’m risking. Not yours.”

William ran a hand over his face. “We’re all risking a lot.”

“I don’t care. I’m not—”

“Enough of this!” William said harshly. “Let the director speak. When he finishes, we’ll discuss things.”

“Here it is, Gil,” the director said. “Bald facts. Fact number one: Rick’s a serial killer. He strangles women with a red cord and hangs their bodies to mimic suicide. He does his murderous work so well, that unless a coroner’s an expert, the homicide is missed. At this time, it’s impossible to know how many murders Rick’s committed.

“Fact two: Rick’s meticulous and methodical—that means he’s dangerous. He’s undoubtedly been planning to kill Sue for weeks. He’ll already have things set in motion.

“Fact three: GAP’s predicting a 98.8 percent chance that if you stay, you will be hurt. Since Danny has only a fifty percent chance of escaping death row, you’ll be risking your life on a gamble.”

Gil sat quietly for a few moments. “I’ve heard what you’ve said and understood it. Will you respect my decision?”

“Yes,” William replied. “It’s your decision to make.”

“Then my answer’s the same as it was from the beginning. I’m staying. Now, give me all the information you can about what I’m facing, and please do it fast. I don’t have much time, and I need all the help I can get.”

GIVEAWAY

To one lucky person who comments on this blog post goes the spiral bound journal “Trust In The Lord With All Your Heart”, 10 purple butterfly notecards with envelopes, and purple-flowered tea cup and saucer seen below:

 

Purple Teacup Journal and Notecards

 

Snippets from 5-star reviews on Amazon:

“Fascinating story! So drawn in by the characters and I could relate with them easily.”

“Full of action, suspense, drama, and romance. Would recommend it to anyone.”

“Loved this book! I could not put it down. Definitely worth reading!”

Danele Rotharmel

Danele Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing her to be put into quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.  Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful.

WEB CONTACT

blog:  https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Character Interview from Blood Moon by Leah St. James

 

How about you introduce yourself by providing the basics?

Good morning, Linda. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today. I’m excited to meet your readers!

Where were you raised?

I’m a Midwestern girl, born and raised in Iowa, in a town near the bump at the Mississippi. I attended college in Virginia though, and fell in love with the beach. I moved there my sophomore year of college and never went back.

Family members?

My mom, dad and younger brother still live in Iowa. We visit every so often, mostly around the holidays. Thank goodness for Skype!

My husband, Matt, is an FBI agent assigned to the nearby field office. I met him at a mystery conference. He was giving a talk on profiling serial killers, and I asked him to show me his badge <winking>. We’ve been together since.

Did you always want to be a book reviewer?

Well, no. My degree was in English lit, so I always hoped I would do something with books and fiction. I was one of those kids who hid under the blankets with a flashlight reading after my bedtime. I started my review blog, Readers’ Retreat, in college, and it took off. Now I read and review two to three books a week.

What do you like most about reviewing books?

The best part is discovering a new author and helping to get the word out to other readers. It’s like finding that pristine, perfectly formed conch shell on the beach after a storm. Like it’s been there all along, just had to get churned to the surface.

 What are your reading tastes?

My personal favorite is romantic suspense. I love that feeling of apprehension in a well-crafted suspense novel, and trying to figure out how the hero and heroine will get themselves out of trouble, and into love. I also love relationship stories, not necessarily romantic. You know, like mother-daughter stories, or sibling stories.

Professionally, I read pretty much all genres, but I draw the line at the way-out things, like bestiality.

List your favorite book of all time and why.

Oh gosh…that’s a tough one. I don’t think I can. It would be like picking a favorite child.

Do you have any hobbies?

I love to cook and experiment with new textures and flavors. It’s a great outlet to cleanse my palate, so to speak, between books.

 What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?

(Shivering) Well, last Halloween I got in a bit of trouble while Matt and I were walking on the beach. There was this big, red moon in the sky, and it was so romantic. And all of a sudden, all you-know-what broke loose. (Shivers again.) But, you know, now I’m fine, Matt is fine, and the bad guy is behind bars…I hope.

Halloween_cover_lowres

 

Leah St. James – Blood Moon

One Halloween night, a killer terrorized a strip of Virginia beachfront, murdering a dozen young women whose only crime was walking the beach with a boyfriend. Now, fifty years later, book reviewer Ronnie can’t shake the feeling that another has come to take his place. Is it nothing more than her vivid imagination running wild, or are the spirits stirring, warning of approaching danger?

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Leah_web_SMALLER

Leah is a worrier, a self-described neurotic who tends to imagine the worst-case scenario in response to brewing troubles. She hasn’t decided if this leaning toward the dark side is what draws her to write edgy, gritty stories, or if the suspenseful mysteries and Gothic romances that filled her childhood bookshelves somehow imprinted their shadows on her psyche.  Despite (or maybe because of) this propensity for infusing her fiction with murder and mayhem, she still craves those happily-ever-after endings and the romance of everlasting love.

You can read more about Leah at www.leahstjames.com

Connect with Leah on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

EXCERPT  FROM “BLOOD MOON” included in “Mysteries of the Macabre | A Halloween Anthology.”

On the beach, two lovers kissed. Behind them, the moon—hanging giant and hazy red in the sky—dripped feathery tendrils into the sea, painting crimson tips on the dancing waves.

Its raw beauty was lost on the two, engrossed as they were in each other, entwined so closely, they appeared from a distance as one. They never heard my approach. Never knew I’d been observing them earlier while they joined their friends around a bonfire.

I moved closer, my steps inaudible over the crashing surf. Something about the woman—girl really—called to me. More than that…vexed me.

Maybe it was her waist-length hair the color of coal. Most of the girls teased their hair into those ugly beehives, but she’d let hers flow free, like a curtain of silk. She reminded me of…

I forced that image from my mind. Maybe it was the way her date, a handsome young man, brought her hand to his mouth for a kiss. He pressed his lips not to the back of her hand, like a gentleman would, but to the center of her palm. I imagined their eyes making love as surely as if they lay together, unclothed, in bed.

Maybe it was her response, a trill of sensuous laughter, carried by the sea-scented breezes to my ears.

My stomach stormed. What made her boy-man so special? Why did he deserve her love?

A need to make her suffer, just as I had suffered, rose and filled my soul with hate. Despite that, my hands flexed with the urge to touch, to sample the woman’s lushness, the curves so happily on display in the indecently short dress with fanciful red polka dots that looked eerily like that moon.

Was it a symbol, a sign, that it was time to indulge that craving for her body, her blood? Was it destiny that brought me to their part of the world on that specific night?

 I moved in. First on the boyfriend. So unaware. So full of youthful passion in the way he clutched her close. A quick chop to the back of the head, and the boy-man was down, twitching in the sand. When he woke, would he understand that it was his attention that caused her death?

I turned to her. She backed up, her eyes rounded, her hands over her open mouth. Screams bubbled from her crimson lips, so loud and shrill they must have come from some deep dark place in her soul.

Blood coursed through my veins, carried by the excitement of the prize before me, and I laughed at the sheer power of the moment. I stepped closer, close enough to see that her cheeks were wet with tears, close enough to smell fear.

I grabbed for her and —

Something hot and sweaty clamped on the back of Ronnie’s neck, and a shriek tore up her throat as she twisted to face her attacker.

Matthew jumped  back, hands lifted, palms out. “What the hell, Ronnie? I just wanted to tell you it’s almost time to go.”

“Sorry.” Sitting up from where she’d been lounging on the couch, she gave her husband a sheepish smile and drew in a slow breath to calm her heart. “I was reading.” She flipped the paperback around to show him the cover of the true-crime novel she’d started earlier in the day.

Half illustration, half black-and-white photo, it depicted a shadowed man poised over a woman sprawled on a beach. Her body lay prone, right arm akimbo, legs splayed. A tear in the bodice of her mini-dress revealed a jagged, bloody gash over her heart. Blood had gushed from the wound and pooled in the sand at her side, puddled slick and oily-looking in a splash of red moonlight. In the background, a man’s face stared from behind prison bars with eyes that were at once triumphant and defiant.

It was a mock-up—he’d never been caught—but every time Ronnie looked at the cover, she shivered at the sheer evil of the man whose very real kill diary had been excerpted in the best-seller.

With a snort, Matthew took the paperback, flipped her bookmark in place, then snapped it shut and placed it on the end table. “What a shock. I’m surprised you even remember you have a real life half the time. Pretty soon you’re going to be buried in your work…literally.” He gestured to the several stacks of books crawling drunkenly up the wall in the corner of their living room.

“Not all of us can have jobs saving the world,” she said, raising her voice so he could hear her as he walked away. Wasn’t a big to-be-read pile to be expected for the life of a book reviewer?

Guest Promotion–Landlocked by Marilyn Baron

Landlocked_w10128_Final for Print high res

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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?

BUY LINKS

All Romance ebooks

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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

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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.

 

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