Tag Archives: mystery

Interview with Vicki Batman

Welcome to the blog, Vicki.

What are your hobbies away from the computer?

I do have other creative outlets. I like to stitch needlepoint and embroidery. Usually, when Handsome and I watch TV in the evenings, I pull out my project and get to work. Kinda “doing two things at once” idea.

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

I say characters, but it is what they say—the dialogue–I start with first. I write lots of it; then, I have to go back and add the details.

Is your writing style planned or freestyle?

I am what my friend calls a “plotster,” meaning plot(ter) + pant(ster) = plotster. I know the plotting elements I have to hit-beginning, middle, black moment, end. I sit down and write in a linear fashion. Yes, I toss some stuff, but most goes in.

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

I listen to classical guitar, classical music, Simply Frank, and the ’70s.

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

I also write romantic comedy short stories and have had a lot published. Others are in collections I have published.

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

I am a pet person. All my life, I’ve had cats until our sister cats passed a while back. For the last ten years, Handsome and I are mom and dad to Champ and Jones, the Adora-poos.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I want readers to have a good laugh, sigh with the ending, and enjoy the ride.

BLURB

Great job. What man? And murder. Newly employed at Wedding Wonderland, Hattie Cooks is learning the industry from a woman she greatly admires. When her former brother-in-law is found dead in his luxury SUV, all fingers point to Hattie’s sister, who is planning her own I Dos.

Detective Allan Wellborn is caught between a rock and a hard place—Hattie’s family and investigating the murder of a well-connected Sommerville resident, the same loser who was once married to Hattie’s sister. Determining who’s the bad guy—or gal—isn’t going to be easy and sure to piss off someone.

Can Hattie beat the clock to find out who murdered Tracey’s ex before she is charged with the crime and her wedding is ruined?

BUY LINKS

Amazon E-book

Amazon Print

Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook

Barnes and Noble Paperback

The Book Depository Paperback

BAM! Books-A-Million Paperback

Google Play eBook

Kobo eBook

EXCERPT

Stuart bounded to my side. “Hattie. Allan. You’re naturals.”

I rolled my eyes. Great. I passed the tango test.

Allan chuckled.

I stayed in position for what seemed like hours but most likely were five loonnng minutes. My lower back spasmed, which caused me to grimace. Allan pulled ever-so-gently and restored me to my feet. I removed my hands from his. Moisture coated my palms and sweat dripped down my back along my spine. I was a wreck.

“Thank you so much, couple.” A beaming Ms. Yolanda rotated. “I’m impressed by your length and beauty.”

Length and beauty—my ass.

REVIEW COMMENT

Review: I loved it! It was a very entertaining and a fast read that kept me engaged throughout. The pacing was perfect. My only complaint is now I’m craving M&Ms and enchiladas. And donuts. And wedding cake.

Funny, sweet, and quirky, Vicki Batman’s stories are full of her hallmark humor, romance, and will delight all readers. She has sold many award-winning and bestselling romantic comedy works to magazines and most recently, three humorous romantic mysteries. An avid Jazzerciser. Handbag lover. Mahjong player. Yoga practitioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Cat fancier. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome Hubby.

WEB CONTACTS

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Instagram

Bookbub

 

Inerview with Nancy Brashear

Welcome to the blog, Nancy. Let’s get to know you.

I’m a Southern California gal who grew up in some pretty unusual settings and situations, one of which became the inspiration for Gunnysack Hell. Through life experience, I’ve learned two things (well, more than that!). The first is that God watches out for children. The second is not to judge others; they’re usually doing their best in the moment, and everyone has opportunities to grow into better versions of themselves. A little more about me? I’m living a pretty terrific life at the beach as a faith-filled wife and mother of grown children with seven grandgirls ranging in age from five to twelve. And the sunsets over Catalina Island are magnificent.

What’s the logline that describes your writing themes?

“The truth will set you free.” For example, in GH, one of my main characters struggles against a “big lie” fed to her by the perpetrator. If she can grasp the truth of the situation, she can free herself from silence, take action, and forgive herself. My writing usually includes a character who’s struggling with some kind of a “demon”—an untruth that’s keeping them captive to something.

Do you start with plot or characters first?

The characters usually find me and mull around in my subconscious for a while before they pop onto the page. I begin with the outside perimeter (the general story frame) before I assemble the smaller, interior scenes, which are character driven. It’s a little like putting a jigsaw puzzle together.

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

During the final stages of editing, I morphed into an artistic conductor and orchestrated the visual feeling tone, lengths of paragraphs, and white spaces on the page. It was like I was using visual magic to create a book that would draw the reader’s eyes throughout it from beginning to end. I enjoyed this entirely different creative process after all the hard-core editing and line-by-line proofreading! (By the way, I took Linda Carroll-Bradd’s editing course, and it was very helpful in writing tighter and eliminating reader distractions in my text.)

What other genres do you write in?

I’ve published poetry (and won first place in a poetry contest recently!) as well as short stories in anthologies and stand-alones (a creepy, retold fairytale for grownups). I’ve written two unpublished adolescent novels (science fiction and time-slip fantasy), completed rough drafts of two contemporary adult novels, and have the beginning of another psychological thriller hiding in the wings. As a recently retired English and Education professor, I published in academic venues and designed content for educational publishers and websites. For the last several years, I’ve been reviewing new books for children and adolescents (International Literacy Association website).

What visual aids do you use when writing?

I love, love, love Pinterest! For almost every storyline, I have a separate board. Check out the one for GH (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/writing-ideas-gunnysack-hell/) with 136 pins, which even includes actors I would cast in character roles. For “Dare to Wish Upon a Star,” the prequel short story to GH (download here: www.nancybrashear.com), I compiled a 1940s board on Victorian mansions, furniture, clothing, tub claws, etc. (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/claires-story-gunnysack-hell/)

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

I hope readers connect with my stories as “mirrors” that reflect their own experiences or “windows” that give them insights into the lives of others. Either way, I’d like them to come away from my writing with a renewed sense of compassion and hope for themselves and others.

BLURB

“There’s more to fear in the desert than scorpions and rattlesnakes.” It’s the summer of 1962, middle of the Cold War, and the O’Brien family has moved off-grid to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. After all, the desert has to be a safer place to raise a family than the crime-ridden city, and there they can build a new future. But evil also stalks dusty desert roads, and eight-year-old Nonni finds herself harboring a terrible secret: Only she can identify the predator who has been terrorizing the community. And he knows where she lives.

BUY LINKS

Barnes & Noble buy link: Nook and Paperback

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/gunnysack-hell-nancy-brashear/1138547553

Amazon buy link: Kindle and Print

https://amzn.to/3pFfBpk

EXCERPT

I read this morning that Donald Fricker was granted parole after serving twenty years in prison. Once I saw his name in print, the decades disappeared in the flick of a newspaper page. My childhood flooded back to eight-year-old me, too scared to identify him and save my family.

It was May of 1962. My family had recently moved to our new home, our grandparents’ one-room homestead cabin in the California high desert with tarpaper and chicken-wire lining the walls. It never occurred to me to ask my father why we had moved from our three-bedroom suburban home by the beach to “off the grid.”

All I knew was that we used kerosene lanterns, the chemical outhouse under the tall water tank, a wood- burning stove, and an old-fashioned ice-box that our father replenished daily with a big block of ice from Jolly’s Corner.

Tessa, my six-year-old sister, and I walked home alone, every school day, from the bus stop, a mile and a half down an isolated dirt road.

That’s when it happened, the thing that changed our family. I’ll never forget that day. I protected Tessa even though I broke all of my promises to Mama I’d made just the night before. To walk directly home from the bus stop, not to talk to strangers, and to stay away from open wells.

That afternoon, when the bus’s hissing air brakes signaled our stop, we leapt from the bottom step onto the dirt shoulder of the road.

I picked the perfect stone from the side of the road. It had to be small and round, with no sharp edges, and light enough to kick all the way home.

Tessa followed on my heels, talking my ear off, and stepping on the heel of one of my tennies. “Gave you a flat!”

“Back off!” I glared at her. Mama said those shoes were like gold, and we were to protect them. I gave the rock a punt and forged ahead.

Oblivious to things going on out there in the desert, we were lulled into a sense of safety and routine. Like Eve, we didn’t feel the danger around us until it was too late to escape. Instead, I should have been paying attention to the truck following us slowly.

Down the deserted road.

Yes, this is our story.

My story.

 

REVIEW COMMENT

“I can’t recall the last time I was so impressed with someone’s writing style. It’s pure genius! Gunnysack Hell, told through the various family members’ point of view, takes the readers down a tunnel filled with mystery, thrills, and excitement. This masterpiece is not to be missed.”~L. C. Hayden, Award-winning and best-selling author, http://www.lchayden.com/

(The Harry Bronson Thriller Series, When Memory Fails as seen on NBC and ABC, and others)

Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls have supported her writing adventures. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters as well as website content and writing projects with educational publishers. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child. Visit www.nancybrashear.com to learn more.

WEB CONTACTS

Author website: www.nancybrashear.com

Author FB: www.facebook.com/nancybrashearauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancybrashearauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/drnancybrashear

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nancy-brashear

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Brashear/e/B083JNZGPR%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/

 

Enter Nancy’s Free eCopy Giveaway Drawing of Gunnysack Hell at her blog (ends February 26) by leaving your name and choice of the version you’d like if you’re one of the three winners: Mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook), or [scrolling] PDF! Winners will also be mailed a postcard of Gunnysack Hell.

(https://www.nancybrashear.com/february-drawing-for-free-e-copy-of-brashears-gunnysack-hell-ends-feb-26/.)

Also by Nancy Brashear – Ready or Not: A Creepy, Retold Fairytale for Grownups

https://amzn.to/3reLgOK

Guest Interview with Sorchia DuBois

Tell us a bit about you and your background.

I taught English in small schools and community colleges for about twenty-five years. Now I am an editor/customer service representative for a virtual education provider which allows me to work from home. I have a couple of grown kids and one delightful granddaughter who, unfortunately, lives for most of the year in Germany.

Writing is something I put off for far too long because I bought the ideas that you can’t make a living at it and anything you can’t make a living at isn’t worth doing. These things are both wrong. I’m never happier than when I have a story in progress—unless it’s when I’m promoting a finished book. This is what I wanted to do since I was a kid and I could kick myself for letting myself be influenced by naysayers.

What’s the logline that describes your writing?

Magic, Mystery, Romance, History, A little Whisky, and a Cat

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

While the idea of a plot may trigger my interest, it’s the characters that build the story for me.  The Zoraida Grey series, for instance, started with an idea for a character—and not even the main character. Zoraida’s granny was the instigator—and once you get to know Granny, you’ll see how this had to be the case. I wanted to write about a witchy lady who lives in the wilderness in Arkansas. Which led me to wonder why someone with those skills would be in Arkansas. Which led me to wonder about her family. Which led me to her granddaughter, Zoraida.

When I start thinking about characters, I need to know all about them. I have a list of questions and I use Tarot cards to get the answers. This takes me in strange directions, and this was how Zoraida went from Arkansas to a haunted castle in Scotland to the Yucatan jungle and back. The plot sprang from her and Granny’s family history.

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

The Zoraida Grey trilogy is an urban fantasy/adventure series. I’m currently working on a small-town mystery series—probably also a trilogy since that seems to be the way my so-called mind works. Working titles are All the Pretty Knives, Birds of a Feather, and Corked. I’ll always include bits of fantasy and magic realism to see how those elements work in other genres—anything speculative sounds like fun to me.

In what genre do you read?

I will read nearly anything including the backs of cereal boxes. I steer clear of gratuitous violence and while I have read erotica, I get a little bored unless the writer can think of new, um, angles. My favorites are psychological thrillers, mysteries, any kind of fantasy, and humor.

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

I’m a cat lady and proud of it. The current count is nine—mostly rescues. Everyone in the house is fixed, including the humans, and most of us have had our shots, too. I live in the country where the cats can roam as they want—no indoor litter box except in really bad weather when the divas in the pride refuse to wander far from the fireside. While I did not plan to have this many cats and am not seeking any more, I do enjoy their company.

What do you hope readers gain from your stories?

An author I admire named M.C. Beaton once responded to this question by saying, “I never wanted to be a literary writer. I wanted to be an entertainer. All I wanted was to give what a lot of writers had given me: a good time on a bad day.” While I would like to give literary writing a try one day, I have to agree with M.C. I write what I enjoy, and I hope that enjoyment translates to my readers. Bad jokes, quirky characters, and absurd situations make me laugh so I try to add those things to my books.

Blurb for Zoraida Grey Trilogy

How many Scottish witches does it take to destroy one small-town fortune teller?

The Zoraida Grey trilogy follows Zoraida from Arkansas to Scotland on a quest to retrieve a healing stone to save her granny’s life. But it seems Granny hasn’t told her everything. Soon Zoraida is smack dab in the middle of a witchy clan war and in danger of being ensorcelled by not one but two smoking hot witches. The truth of her own heritage is buried deep beneath Castle Logan. Trouble is the only one who strikes fear in the black hearts of the Logan witches has stepped in a steaming pile of Voodoo thousands of miles away in the Caribbean.

To save her granny and her best friend, Zoraida must choose between her old, safe life or a new one filled with magic and danger.

The task may be the end of her—or the beginning.

Start the adventure with Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones in which Zoraida discovers just what a mess Granny has let her in for. Continue the story in Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen in which Zoraida journeys to the Yucatan Jungle to retrieve a Scottish wizard who turns out to be naked and painted blue. The trilogy ends in Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes as Zoraida returns to Castle Logan with vengeance on her mind.

Buy Links: (each book just 99 cents through Jan 22)

Stop by Sorchia’s Universe for more info or go straight to buy links at your favorite sites:

Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones: books2read.com/u/mKJkvZ

Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen: books2read.com/ZoraidaGrey2

Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes: books2read.com/ZoraidaGrey3

Excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes

Dinner guests at Castle Logan look like a traveling Halloween party in search of a human sacrifice. Why am I surprised? A few of them stare at the looming figure of Jock in the doorway, but the majority seem to be people not put off by a giant wizard and his feathery familiar in the foyer.

Castle Logan looks much as I remember it, but I’m changed in more than appearance. The place is as creepy as it ever was. Dark shadows lurk in the upper hallways, a cold mist flows along the floor, and the prickle of magic crawls across my skin like a dozen tiny spiders. The first time I walked into Castle Logan, I had a severe case of the heebie jeebies. Now, the weirdness feels homey. I’m glad to be back.

Normal rules don’t apply here. We’re going to sit down to dinner as if nothing monumental has happened. Our unexpected appearance is but one of many odd happenings in the last quarter hour alone.

Zhu materializes beside me and hands me a glass of wine. I marked her presence and apparent good health the first minute I walked into the castle. I’m glad to see her, and not just because of the wine, though that’s a nice plus.

“You took your sweet time,” she says, grinning like a drunken Cheshire cat. “This place is nothing like Arkansas.”

“You’re the one who wanted to see witches and real magic. I didn’t want to come back too soon and ruin your fun.” I breathe a silent sigh of relief. She’s safe and she’s not bewitched. The world is still right side up. “You look pretty chummy with all these folks. I had the idea you were being held hostage.”

As I lift the glass of wine to my lips, I notice a tall, blue-eyed man standing close to Zhu. If I didn’t know better, I would say he was her bodyguard. And if not for the large, dark Scotsman holding my hand, I would be giving this blond fellow a longer look. Instead, I raise my eyebrows at Zhu.

Zhu smiles sweetly and sips her wine. By this, I understand I am not the only one with a story to tell.

Snippet from Reviews

“This is a really fun magical adventure. It is light-hearted but has a serious, suspenseful edge to it as well. Zoraida is a great narrator for the tale and hearing everything from her point of view allows the author to surround her with characters who we are not really sure of their intentions.” LIAL at The Romance Reviews for Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones

~*~

“Zoraida’s inner narrative is a dazzling combination of humorous self-deprecation, sarcasm, and wit. It’s like Practical Magic, Charmed, and The Craft had a baby and named it ‘Zoraida Grey’.”  On My Kindle Review of Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen

~*~

“So many secrets and surprises it keeps you guessing and wondering. You should definitely read this book-series!!” HG review of Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes

Sorchia Dubois is the pen name of a mysterious, retired English teacher who lives deep in the forest in a tall house with nine cats. Sorchia writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and small-town murder mysteries. She published her first book in 2018 at the ripe age of mumblety-seven and plans to publish at least ninety-nine more. Her latest accomplishment is to survive cancer, which was no fun, but served to broaden her perspective—that’s for sure. Currently, she’s working on All the Pretty Knives, the first in a new trilogy to be released 2021-22.

WEB CONTACTS

You can find Sorchia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You can also follow her at Amazon, Bookbub, and Goodreads. Check out the current sale on Sorchia’s website, Sorchia’s Universe, and sign up for my newsletter to get updates on new releases.

Guest release–Blood and Breakfast by Alicia Dean

Myself and twelve other authors (13 total, get it? 😊) each wrote a spooky, suspenseful story in the ‘A Friday the 13th Story’ series. They are stand-alone but have recurring threads and they were all released on Friday, November 13th.

My contribution to the series is titled Blood and Breakfast. Check it out below. And be sure to check out my contest where you can win an Amazon gift card! Find details here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeCUDvF4YrTa1YzADCvrQIWbK8Q6Ro7Gnb0yRxxl3Kg2Fkd-Q/viewform?usp=sf_link (Contest ends Dec 15, 2020)

Determined to boost the sagging ratings of her internet radio show, “A Dark Place,” murder junkie Sasha Gillette checks into the Talley House Bed and Breakfast in North Kingston, Rhode Island. She and her co-host plan to broadcast an episode about the murders that took place there thirteen years earlier on a Friday the 13th, when a man butchered his entire family.

Not long after Sasha arrives, the other guests begin to disappear. Has a killer from the past resurfaced or is there a copycat on the loose?

One of the lone survivors, Sasha finds herself trapped with a sadistic killer and, suddenly, murder isn’t as much fun as she thought.

Excerpt

“I’m going to look for her. It’s not okay that she’s been gone for hours when she said she’d be back in thirty minutes. Do you know where she was taking her walk?”

“I-in the woods.”

“Well, of course she was,” I muttered. “Agnes, do you have a flashlight I can borrow? And maybe something I can use for a weapon?”

Agnes nodded. “I’ll get you a flashlight. I have a hammer.”

Dorset rose as well. “I’ll go with you.” He cut his gaze to Bradley, but the dufus just sat there without volunteering to help. “Nothing, old chap? Not going to offer to come along?”

“I should stay here in case she comes back,” Bradley murmured but he didn’t look at them. Was he afraid…or feeling guilty?

I shivered when we stepped outside, drawing my hoodie tighter around my body. The nearly half full moon hovered in the cloudy sky behind the branches of a Tulip tree. Lightning flashed, illuminating the back yard. The icy air held the scent of rain. “We need to hurry,” I told Dorset. “It looks like it might storm.”

He nodded. “I’d say let’s split up to cover more ground, but with one flashlight and hammer, and with the odd happenings lately, maybe we should stick together.”

“Agreed.” My teeth chattered, though it wasn’t all that cold.

We walked along the wood line, shouting for Macy, shining the flashlight between the trees. Nothing. As if by mutual agreement, we entered the woods. I shuddered, not only concerned about a potential maniac, but also leery of whatever creatures might be scurrying around at my feet. I was a city girl and didn’t even own a pet. I was not okay with encountering an animal, of any kind.

We searched for another half hour with no sign of Macy. We were deep into the woods when the sky opened up and doused us with buckets of rain. Thunder rumbled and more lightning flashed. We gave up and hurried back to the house.

The others were waiting for us.

“Anything?” Bradley asked, his voice high-pitched with anxiety. He seemed much more concerned about Macy than he had been about his wife.

“Not a sign,” I said. “We need to call the police.”

“I did.” Agnes was seated in the forest green wing chair in the corner of the library. “They took the information but said she’s an adult and can leave any time she wants.” She rose. “We waited dinner for you. Let’s eat.”

A pall hung over the room as we ate in silence, the air thick with fear and confusion.

Afterward, I excused myself and headed upstairs, anxiety weighing on me. I had an overwhelming feeling that I wouldn’t sleep a wink. Nor would anyone else.

Please like Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Fri13thShortStories

Amazon buy link

Fun Fact:

I was plotting my story and trying to figure out why a normal family man would suddenly snap and murder his family. I realized that hallucinations could cause people to do crazy things, so I researched what could make people hallucinate. I discovered that the plant, jimson weed, can cause serious hallucinations. I also wanted to incorporate some kind of an authentic local legend in my story, so I researched legends in various states and came across the Devil’s Footrock in Rhode Island.  I was able to mesh the two–jimson weed and the Devil’s Footrock–to come up with how the husband/father in my story lost his mind and killed his family. It’s so much fun when ideas click and make a story come together. Here’s a photo of Devil’s Foot Rock:

 

All stories in the Friday the 13th series:

 

Links to Evil by Rolynn Anderson

Till Death by Maureen Bonatch

Blood and Breakfast by Alicia Dean

Retribution by D.J. FitzSimons

Shattered Reflections by Tamrie Foxtail

A Deadly Game by Jannine Gallant

Dead to Rights by Margo Hoornstra

In the Still of the Night by Callie Hutton

Glimpse, the Dinner Guest by Stephen B. King

Scorned by Anna Kittrell

Vanity Kills by Dianne McCartney

Fatal Legacy by Krysta Scott

Azrael’s Chosen by Leah St. James

Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 10, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who shared the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley (she almost always works in a mention of him into her stories) and watching (and rewatching) her favorite televisions shows like Ozark, Dexter, Justified, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and Vampire Diaries. Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Web Contracts

Website: http://aliciadean.com/

Blog: http://aliciadean.com/alicias-blog/

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

Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_

Instagram: AliciaDeanAuthor

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alicia-dean

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/aliciamdean/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468339.Alicia_Dean

Christmas Wishes Romance giveaway ending soon

If you haven’t already participated in the giveaway for a chance to receive free ebooks in several genres, don’t wait. Click through to the page on Connie Bretes’ website or enter through the Rafflecopter below.

 

My giveaway, Silent Signals, is a historical western romance set in December 1887 in Aspen, Colorado with a rancher and a woman who trains shepherding dogs.

Christmas Wishes Romance Ebook Giveaway

Sale on Gothic Mystery Novellas–99 cents each

 

This Halloween...Dean graphic

A World of Gothic…Gothic Mystery Novellas ON SALE for ONLY 99 cents each through Halloween!

A group of authors from countries all over the world were drawn together by our love of the classic gothic mysteries by authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney.

While the stories are stand-alone, they each share a recurring thread of a Spinel stone, which can play a small or large part in the plot. We have stories set in Scotland, Greece, Oklahoma, Florida, France, Ireland, and more.

We hope readers have as much fun reading these stories (we recommend you do so with the lights on) as we had writing them.

Dark Hunt ~ A World of Gothic: Florida by Tamrie Foxtail

Ghost in the Rain ~ A World of Gothic: Scotland by Marie Treanor

House at the Edge ~ A World of Gothic: Greece by MM Jaye

Haunting at Spook Light Inn ~ A World of Gothic: Oklahoma by Alicia Dean

Haunting in the Pines ~ A World of Gothic: East Texas by Janis Susan May

Raven of Blackthorn Manor ~ A World of Gothic: Ireland by Gemma Juliana

Blood-Stained Memories ~ A World of Gothic: Florida by Kathy L Wheeler

Sea of Darkness ~ A World of Gothic: France by Amanda McCabe

Shadows and Lies ~ A World of Gothic: Louisiana by Raine English

Sinister Ceremony ~ A World of Gothic: Maine by Stacey Coverstone

Guest Post-Writing is a Solitary Life by Diane Burton

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Linda. Since we both belong to a special group called Authors Helping Authors for so long, we should call it Friends Helping Friends. That’s one of the great things about technology and writing—meeting so many writers online and becoming friends, even when we’ve never met in real life.

Writing is a solitary business. When we’re in the groove, we don’t want to be bothered, we don’t come out of hiding until we’re exhausted or famished, then we dash back into our cave and work some more. Being “in the zone” doesn’t just apply to athletes. I’ve felt the rush that comes when the words flow and everything falls into place. I’ve also felt that frustration, almost depression, when nothing comes, when the Muse takes a vacation. I’ve never faced a blank screen because starting a new project is exciting. Getting those first words down is exhilarating. Around chapter eight, I bog down. I need a plan. Or at least a better one than “they live happily ever after.”

My frustration comes when I reread what I’ve written and wonder “where the heck was I going with this?”

My latest release, Numbers Never Lie, a romantic suspense, began about fifteen years ago. I knew where that story was going. I wrote and wrote. I was in the zone. Then, Life intruded (as Life does), and I set aside the story. This winter, I remembered how much I’d written, including the ending. I thought it would be a piece of cake to tweak it and release it. Hah! I wasn’t as “finished” as I thought. I hadn’t written the ending—I wrote about how the ending should go. Consequently, I had a lot more work to do than I’d thought.

My mother always said easy jobs are the ones that take the longest because something always goes wrong. She was talking about fixing a leaky faucet or a squeaky floor board. The same could be said about writing. Twice, now, I’ve taken an old manuscript and brought it up to date. And, twice, I’ve said it’s easier to start new than rewrite a story.

Still, I enjoyed Numbers Never Lie. I liked the premise—a fish out of water—before I realized it was more mystery than suspense, and more about second chances. The story didn’t change as much as my perspective.

Be sure to see the Rafflecopter at the end of this post and sign up to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Numbers Never Lie  for July 10

Blurb:

A shocking secret brings danger to Jack Sinclair and his sister Maggie.

As kids, they were the fearless threesome. As adults, Jack’s an accountant; Drew, a lawyer; Maggie, a teacher and camping troop leader. Upon returning from a weekend camping trip, Maggie receives horrifying news. She refuses to believe her brother Jack’s fatal car crash was an accident. If the police won’t investigate, she’ll do it herself. Convincing Drew Campbell to help is her only recourse.

Drew Campbell was too busy to return his best friend’s phone call. Too busy to attend a camping meeting important to his teen daughter. Too busy to stay in touch with Jack. Logic and reason indicate Jack’s accident was just that–an accident caused by fatigue and fog. Prodded by guilt, he’ll help Maggie even if he thinks she’s wrong.

A break-in at Jack’s condo convinces Maggie she’s right. Then her home is searched. What did Jack do that puts Maggie in danger?

Numbers Never Lie is available at Amazon.

Excerpt

Maggie Sinclair wondered for the tenth time that morning why she hadn’t had her head examined before agreeing to Ellen’s offer. The week before, Maggie called off the trip when not one parent volunteered to chaperone. She hated disappointing the girls who had been crushed when their leader moved away. For the past two months, they talked about camping again. But week after week they returned with the same news. Their mothers refused, and their dads were too busy.

So when Ellen said her dad would help, the girls went wild. And Maggie, who should’ve known better, believed Ellen who swore she’d asked and her father agreed. Maggie should have followed up with a phone call, but years of avoiding Drew Campbell prevailed. Years of unreciprocated longing—from when her heart first took notice, through the years when he was single, then when he was married. Except for that one time, she never let him know. Avoidance was best.

Now here she was needing his help with the girls. Preparing them for a week-long camping trip to Isle Royale had been Trish Morrow’s goal when she started the group four years ago. The girls loved roughing it. They just needed more hiking and camping experience before tackling the primitive island in Lake Superior.

Though they’d gotten a late start this morning because of the fog, Maggie noticed the girls’ energy start to flag after the fifth mile of the hike. That was when she put Drew Campbell at the front of the line. From the rear, she watched him trying to set a faster pace—especially after Gretchen’s assurance that they could keep up. The man was in a world of hurt even if he was making a concerted effort not to show it. He looked so trim, so athletic, Maggie had assumed he was in good shape.

Typical desk jockey. He probably got his exercise in a climate-controlled gym. No, wait. In a health club.

For better or worse—and she was afraid worse was the operative word—she was stuck with him for the next thirty hours.

Are we having fun yet? she mocked herself as she tromped through the woods with eight tough little girls on the brink of womanhood and her brother’s best friend. From the back of the line, Maggie watched his long-legged stride and the way his navy golf shirt revealed his strong shoulders and the way his obviously new jeans conformed to his butt. She lifted the tail of the bandanna knotted around her neck and wiped the sweat from her upper lip. She couldn’t blame the sun for the heat coursing through her.

Okay, Sinclair, she told herself, keep your mind on the matter at hand. And not how good Campbell’s butt looked in tight new jeans.

Good Lord, she felt fifteen again—instead of thirty-four. Her stomach in knots, her skin on fire. Lusting after the man who said she kissed like a guppy.

Diane Burton

About the Author:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides writing science fiction romance, she writes romantic suspense, and cozy mysteries. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.

For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

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Guest Release Promotion of The Mason’s Mark by M.S. Spencer

Thank you so much for having me at Musings about the Writing Life, Linda. Several of my romantic suspense/murder mystery books are set in Alexandria, Virginia, a colonial town on the Potomac River across from Washington, DC, where I lived for many years. The Mason’s Mark: Love and Death in the Tower, is one of those novels.

GeorgeWashingtonMuseum in Masonic Memorial

Most of The Mason’s Mark, is set at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. The 330-foot-tall building has three sections—the ground level, the main floor, and the tower. The tower holds six progressively smaller rooms. The top level opens to an observation deck, from which visitors can see all of Alexandria and Washington, DC—or, if you’re my heroine, find a dead body.

The fourth floor contains a museum dedicated to George Washington. Washington served as the Charter (first) Master of the Alexandria lodge, and many of his letters and memorabilia are housed here, including the Washington family Bible. Since our heroine and hero meet in the museum, it follows that the Mason’s Mark would involve long-lost papers, distant family scandals, and academic intrigue concerning our first President. Delicious mystery and even more delicious romance ensue.

TheMasonsMarkLoveandDeathintheTower_1027

BLURB

In the worst first day at work ever, newly minted docent Claire Wilding’s carefully memorized spiel is interrupted by the discovery of a dead body. As she deals with a smitten police detective, a hunky Senator, shadowy black ops agents, and two eccentric mothers, she learns more than she ever expected to about jewels and pennies, renegade Italian Masons, and our first President’s family secrets. Along the way she discovers that first love is not always the right love.

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EXCERPT

When they reached Prince Street, Gideon found a parking spot directly in front of her house, no small feat. Just one more way he’s special, thought Claire glumly. He walked her to her door. She unlocked it and turned to thank him, but he was already on his way to his car.

Ichabod greeted her with a snarl.

“I know. I forgot to feed you. Come on, Icky.” She found a can of cat food and emptied it into his bowl. Then she poured herself a large glass of water and took it to the living room to conduct an analysis of the soiree.

So at any point did I come across as even semi-coherent? She tried to hack through the warm, fuzzy blanket of the evening. Gideon had been the perfect gentleman, ordering foie gras and champagne, pointing out the constellations with obvious expertise, helping her in and out of the car. It all seemed so…unreal. Like he was acting a part. Too perfect. And he’d sucked her in like soda through a straw. She slapped her forehead, forgetting that she still held the glass. Water sluiced across her face and ran down her front. She mopped it up with some tissues and vowed to hit the antique stores that weekend. I’ve got to get a coffee table. Preferably one with cup holders.

The doorbell rang. With the disintegrating tissue pressed to her face, she stood on tiptoe to check the peephole and looked straight into an unblinking sea-green ocean. Gideon. After a minute she remembered to open the door.

He stared at her with concern. “Are you all right?”

Claire pulled the tissue away and noticed black streaks on it. Her mascara must have run. Oh no, I bet he thinks I’ve been crying. She rubbed her eyes, hoping that wasn’t making it worse. “Fine. I spilled a glass of water, that’s all.”

“Oh.” He stood, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “Um, could I come in for a minute?”

She pointed at the living room and backed away, then turned and leapt up the steps. A quick look in the mirror confirmed her suspicions. I look like something Ichabod’s been playing with. She fixed her face, wrung out her blouse, and returned with renewed aplomb.

Gideon filled the small space. Claire sidled around him and sat on a packing crate. He looked around the room. “So…er, have you just moved in?”

“Yes.” It struck her that he was more uncomfortable than she and drew strength from that. “About a week ago. Sorry about the mess. Won’t you have a seat?”

He dropped down on the loveseat but immediately sprang back up. He patted his rear, flummoxed. “Why am I wet?”

Claire put a hand to her mouth to suppress the giggle. “Ooh, I’m sorry. I forgot. That’s where I spilled the water. Here, let me.”

She retrieved a towel from the kitchen and began to dab at the dark blotch on his khakis. He stood it for a minute, then put a hand under her chin and lifted her up. “You’d better stop doing that. This is hard enough for me.” He blinked. “Do you…do you know how beautiful you are?”

The question threw her. How to respond? Yes? No? Tell me more? She decided to let him talk.

“Your eyes are the color of the deepest part of the Caribbean Sea on a cloudless day. I could sink into them and drown.” He touched her brow. “And these little cinnabar ringlets framing that soft, creamy face…” He wrapped one around his finger. “Wind one up tight and it could strangle me.” He took her hand. “Your fingers—so slim and delicate, like little stilettos. Sharp enough to gouge an eye out.”

Claire stepped away from him, bewildered. “You make me sound like a vicious animal. Why?”

His hands dropped to his sides. “Because I sense how dangerous you are.”

“Dangerous?”

“To me. Claire…I—” He gazed at her helplessly.

Someone had better take charge.

M. S. Spencer Author (2)

Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. Blessed with two fabulous grown children and an adorable grandchild, she has published ten romantic suspense/mystery novels. She now divides her time between the Florida Gulf coast and a tiny hamlet in Maine.

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Guest Release Promotion–Four White Roses by Judy Ann Davis

FourWhiteRoses_w11096_750

When widower Rich Redman returns to Pennsylvania with his young daughter to sell his deceased grandmother’s house, he discovers Grandmother Gertie’s final request was for him to find a missing relative and a stash of WWI jewels.

 

Torrie Larson, single mom, is trying to make her landscape center and flower arranging business succeed while attempting to save the lineage of a rare white rose brought from Austria in the 1900s.

 

Together, the rich Texas lawyer and poor landscape owner team up to rescue the last rose and fulfill a dead woman’s wishes. But in their search to discover answers to the mysteries plaguing them, will Rich and Torrie also discover love in each other’s arms? Or will a meddling ghost, a pompous banker, and an elusive stray cat get in their way?

BUY LINKS

The Wild Rose Press

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KOBO Books

EXCERPT

“Okay, the blue shirt with the gray slacks doesn’t make you look as stiff and lawyerly-looking as the white shirt does,” Marlene said. “Too bad you don’t have any softer-colored shirts.” She dangled three other ties in her hand she had brought along with her.

Rich glowered at her. “Lawyerly-looking? Softer colored? Are they even words? All I want to do is not look like an affluent stuffy lawyer with a stick up—”

He stopped and looked over at his small daughter, then continued in an irritated voice. “I want to look dressy, but not straitlaced or smug. You know what I mean.”

“But you are a stuffy lawyer, and it’s no secret your bank accounts won’t bounce, you dolt,” Lulu said with a huff. “I thought you and Torrie were going out as friends.”

He looked at the elderly housekeeper. “We are. But I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable, and I want to feel casual, but well-dressed.”  He picked up a blue and white striped tie and held it to his chest. All three females groaned. He chose a darker blue one and the groans grew louder. He glared at them. “I’ll have you know some of these ties are pure Italian silk and cost a fortune. To some people, neckties are a symbol of success and authority.”

“Then send them back to Rome and let the Pope bury the lifeless-looking things.” Lulu rose. “They look like they should be on a corpse.”

Rich looked at Marlene. “Can you believe I’m paying her to insult me?”

Lulu snorted. “No, Perry Mason, you’re paying me to feed you, do your laundry, and oversee the household. The advice is free.” She headed for the door. “I’m going home, kids. See you in the morning.”

“I can’t wait,” Rich muttered and followed it with a dismal shake of his head.

Lulu paused and offered him a don’t-you-dare-tangle-with-me stare, then looked at Estella with a tender, warm, grandmotherly smile. “Your daddy doesn’t realize the only reason I take his grief is because I love to be with you, doll face. Tomorrow we’re making brownies and Perry Mason here is getting zip, zero, none, nichts, nada.” She headed out the door.

“Stop calling me Perry Mason!” Rich shouted at her retreating back. He heard her cackling laugh as she hustled toward the stairs.

“Okay, Sunshine.”

JudyAnnDavis Blogs

With a degree in journalism and communications, Judy Ann Davis has written for industry and education. She enjoys writing short stories and novels with a touch of romance and mystery—and lots of comedy. She is a member of Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America, and divides her time between Central Pennsylvania and New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

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