Monday, February 28, 2011

ExerpTuesday: Sybil Nelson

Book Blurb:

What would you do if you had one chance to kill the man who raped your 12-year-old sister?

No judge. No jury. No witnesses.

Seventeen-year-old child prodigy Garrett Anthony has to answer that question. As he holds a gun to the head of his sister’s rapist, he flashes back to his traumatic past: five-years-old in a foster home, seven-years-old stealing food to survive, and at 16 visiting his black father in prison for the first time.

After years of fighting to secure a stable life for himself and his sister, he finally has a scholarship to a prestigious Washington DC private school and the love of a Virginia senator’s daughter. But this new found and tenuous happiness begins to unravel once he reveals the family secret which is the catalyst to the painful decision he must make. Can he take the life of someone else and continue to live with himself?


“May we speak to you in the hall?” the doctor asked me after poking his head in. “I’m sorry I didn’t introduce myself properly,” he said once we left the room. “I’m Dr. Shepherd and this is Rowena Smith from Child Services.”

I shook both their hands and said, “I don’t understand why Child Services is here?” while eyeing them suspiciously. I’d seen enough of Child Services for five lifetimes.

“We spoke to your mother,” Dr. Shepherd said ignoring my question. “She faxed over a letter giving you power of attorney over Eden. She trusts you to make all the decisions concerning her welfare.” That letter was worthless in my book. I’d already been doing that for the past twelve years.

“Will you tell me what’s wrong with my sister, please?” Dr. Shepherd and Rowena Smith exchanged a look, a look of foreboding that instantly made my heart race.

“You might want to sit down, son,” the overweight black lady said as she put her hand on my shoulder.”

“I don’t want to sit down. I want to know what’s wrong with her.”

Dr. Shepherd sighed and said, “Your sister had a miscarriage.” I stared at him blankly as the words swirled around my mind. Everything logical in me told me it was impossible.

“I’m sorry. You must be looking at the wrong chart. My sister is only twelve.”

“It’s not a mistake, Garrett. We’ve already performed the D&C. The fetus was about 6 weeks old.” My knees gave out. I collapsed in a chair. My heart tightened in my chest. My stomach revolted. I thought I might vomit. The doctor kept talking, but I really couldn’t hear anything else.

“Who did this? Who could do that to a child?” I asked, interrupting the doctor’s details.

“We need your help to figure that out,” Rowena said. “Does she have a boyfriend? Is there any chance this was consensual?”

I glared at her. How could she even suggest something like that?

“A detective is on the way,” she said once she noticed my fierce expression. “Do you know anything that may help with the investigation?”

I shook my head. I knew nothing. What kind of brother was I to let something like this happen? I should have been paying more attention to her. This was my fault and I was going to fix it.


Leslie DuBois lives in Charleston, SC with her husband and two daughters.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense Tour: Dawn Brown

After a devastating personal tragedy, history professor Hillary Bennett seeks refuge in the quaint Scottish village of Culcraig, hoping to research a legend and salvage her career. Instead, she finds her hostess dead, and her hopes for the future pinned to the woman’s black sheep heir.

The last thing Caid Douglas needs is a decrepit manor house to remind him of his estranged family, but he does need the money selling the house would bring to pay off his debts. In desperation he offers to honor his great aunt’s arrangement with Hillary—if she pays him to stay at Glendon House and view his ancestor’s journals, he’ll have the money to fix up the family mausoleum and sell it.

But an ancient curse hovers over the village, and the secret to lifting it lies in the journals. Will Caid and Hillary realize what they have and uncover the truth before a twisted killer silences them forever?

Someone was in the house with them…

“You know,” Hillary said, keeping her voice low. “This house is huge. We could check each room individually, but who’s to say that whoever’s here won’t just keep moving around as we search, eventually working their way into a room we’ve already checked? We’ll never be one hundred per cent sure we’re alone.”

“Are you suggesting we separate?”

Her grip on his hand tightened. Did she even realize she’d done that?

“It would probably make more sense to split up. If we worked from opposite ends and met in the middle, it would reduce the chance of an intruder slipping away. But as I said, this place is huge and we’re only two people, the odds of our mystery person eluding us are still pretty good. Not to mention the confusion.”

“Confusion?” Caid tried to suppress his grin.

“Yes. If we separated, we could easily wind up tracking each other. At least together, if we hear or see anything out of the ordinary, we know that it has to be someone else.”

“What an astounding rationalization.”

She frowned at him in obvious consternation. “I think I made some very good points.”

He smiled. “Aye, you did. I’m sure you’ve convinced yerself quite nicely. Did you bring the subject up simply because you were concerned that I might think you liked holding my hand?”

He couldn’t stop his smile from widening, especially when she struggled to untangle her fingers from his, but as they entered the kitchen, he tightened his grip.

"Dinnae be like that. I’m just having a wee bit of fun with you."

She ceased struggling as her delicately shaped brows drew together in disbelief. "That wasn't here earlier."

"What?" He turned to the direction she pointed.

A brass fireplace poker lay dead center on the battered harvest table. On the floor, a series of watery footprints stretched between the back door to the table.

Christ’s sakes. Hillary hadn't just been frightened alone in an old house, there had been someone else here.

But who? And why?

Review: Death Pans Out

Death Pans Out

by Ashna Graves

Hardcover, 288 pages,

from Poisoned Pen Press

Reporter Jeneva Leopold, faced with a life-altering decision, takes a leave of absence from her job to recover from surgery. Breast cancer has claimed part of her body and she wants time to recover in relative peace. Not just from the debilitating effects of the surgery itself, but she wants to be in a place where she can think about her life and her existence. This is a novel about an unusual woman with an unusual plan to rehabilitate herself.

There are great stories surrounding the searches for precious metals from California, South America and the Yukon, as well as the production of gold from less well-known regions, and this one takes its cue from those stories. Fact or fiction, we are never quite sure, but here is a story which may well become a part of that so interesting body of literature.

Jeneva’s family has long owned an idle gold mine in the mountains of Southern Oregon, a harsh, vastly rural region of high deserts, mountains, isolated communities, wild animals and, legends. One legend surrounds the mysterious disappearance of Jeneva’s uncle, Mathew. Mathew disappeared one night from the cabin at the mine almost twenty years before the story opens, and his mining partner has retreated into a silent years from which he may never emerge.

Jeneva takes a long leave of absence and moved to the cabin at the mine where she intends to spend several months of the summer physically and mentally recovering from her trauma. Almost immediately, a parade of compelling characters begins to invade her peaceful existence, from a weird self-styled “artifact hunter,” who insists that he always camps on Bureau of Forestry land and visits the area regularly, to a hearty sheriff who seems at times too good to be true, to a taciturn former model and beauty queen turned rancher, to assorted miners, a tall funeral director and other assorted characters. They all make for some fascinating scenes and while the action is never of a high order, the rising tension and sense of danger to Jeneva and her friends, is well-handled.

I enjoyed the story, learned some things about governmental land management and local attitudes toward government, and found the ending quite a surprise. If there are small problems with this debut novel, they stem from an experienced reporter acting entirely too trusting and naive to serve the story, and a couple of the rants are a little too long. That said, I look forward to another adventure with Jeneva Leopold.

Carl Brookins,

Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island,

Bloody Halls, more at Kindle & Smashwords!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Authorsday: Misha Crews

1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I can't remember ever not wanting to be a writer. I enjoyed stories so much as a child that the idea of creating my own just seemed a natural extension of that!

2. How long have you been writing?

I wrote my first musical-comedy variety show when I was about eight, and I never looked back! I don't remember what I called this theatrical masterpiece, but I do recall that it involved a "clown" wearing roller skates with a pillow tied to his derriere (I was safety conscious, even then!) and someone getting hit in the face with a powder puff. High comedy!

3. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I would definitely call myself a plotter, but I don't map out the whole book before I get down to work. I like to get a general sense of the story line and then start writing. I will usually plot and write, plot and write.

4. What drew you to the subject of HER SECRET BODYGUARD?

I’d been wanting to try writing a kind of light romantic suspense for a long time (my other two books are also romance, but they’re a bit longer and more serious). One night I was listening to an old Bob Seger song, and I thought, “This song has a great story. Somebody should make a movie out of it!” Well, I don’t make movies, but I do write books. I drew my inspiration from that, and though the book turned out very differently from where it started, I’ll always think of Hollywood Nights as the anthem for HER SECRET BODYGUARD.

5. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
My first novel was called HOMESONG and it was published in 2008 by Vanilla Heart Publishing. It’s a book that started out as a simple love story about childhood sweethearts who are reunited after twenty years, but it grew from there into an exploration of a small town and its secrets.

6. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know?
I love 1980s horror movies! I grew up in the ‘80s, and my mother would never let me watch scary movies. So of course when I was old enough to rebel, that’s all I watched! During the month of October I will usually end up watching all of the Halloween movies. It doesn’t matter how cheesy they are: I still love them!

7. Describe your book.

It’s a pretty straightforward romantic suspense: girl meets guy, guy turns out to be a thug, other guy is hired to protect girl…well, you get the picture!
Really, it’s about a young woman, Blake Sera, who finds out that Rube Jeffries, the man she’s been living with, is a dangerous criminal. The problem is, Rube is all that Blake’s got in the world, and she can’t help but care about him. At the same time she’s coming to this realization, a new man comes into her life: Caleb McKenna. Blake is kind of jaded; she thinks that Caleb is just some Iowa farm boy who’s come to Hollywood for a vacation. But Caleb is actually Blake’s secret bodyguard: he’s been hired to protect her, although he doesn’t know who or what is putting her in jeopardy.

8. What’s your favorite quote?

I admit I'm kind of a quote-aholic, so it's hard to pick, but one of my favorites is this: "I have a very simple philosophy. Fill what's empty. Empty what's full. And scratch where it itches." - Alice Lee Longworth. That seems to cover everything!

9. What three things would you want with you on a desert island?
A fully-stocked Starbucks, a fully-loaded Kindle, and a fully-charged iPod. (Hmmmm, maybe "roughing it" is not for me....)

10. What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?

Well, my second novel, STILL WATERS, is set in 1956. While I was writing it I became enamored of mid- to late-1950s art: the music, the paintings, the literature. All of it seemed to be speaking of a culture straining at the seams, ready to break out, and heralding the drastic and remarkable changes that came only a little more than a decade later. I would love to take a trip back in time and experience a little of that for myself.


When a Special Forces veteran is hired to protect a Malibu playgirl, sparks fly faster than bullets. But will they live long enough to realize they're falling in love?

In an exciting twist on her timeless tales of heart and home, author Misha Crews sets her latest story in Los Angeles, playground of former model Blake Sera. Although she's not yet thirty, jaded Blake is sure she's seen it all. Until she discovers that the man she's been living with is up to his neck in the murky underworld of crime. When Special Forces veteran Caleb McKenna is secretly hired to protect the glamour gal, he's sure that Blake is just another pretty face whose only interests are sunning, funning and shopping till she drops. But soon he realizes that there's more to her than big blue eyes and a killer smile. Can they survive their passion? Can they survive at all?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense Tour: Marie-Nicole Ryan


Marie-Nicole Ryan is an award-winning author, and most of the time she writes contemporary romantic suspense. On occasion she’s been known to go to the dark side with an erotic historical western. She grew up in Western Kentucky, but moved to Nashville where she lived for several decades. Recently she came back to her roots and is once again living about ten miles from where she grew up. She lives with one very spoiled wonder sheltie by the name of Cassie.

LOVE ME IF YOU CAN, Marie-Nicole Ryan

Amazon Buy Link

Also available at The Wild Rose Press, Fictionwise, Barnes & Noble


Nashville sizzles in the summer. No wonder Tess and Scott combust.

Nashville Homicide Detective Tess O’Malley has a lot to prove. She comes from a long line of police officers, including her father and older brothers. First she and her partner are taken off a high profile case and sidelined with a cold case instead. After reviewing the files, she’s certain her cold case is connected to the current one, and she sets out to prove it. Too bad it means locking horns with a handsome PI who could win her heart and derail her career.

Scott Holt is all business when it comes to running his family’s PI firm. When the lovely Detective O’Malley comes to question him about his possible involvement in her cold case, he has everything but business on his mind. Like locking lips with the fiery redhead.

Love Me If You Can, © 2010 Marie-Nicole Ryan

All rights reserved, The Wild Rose Press


Tess took another bite of pizza, her silver gaze never leaving his. “You going to help me out or not? Forbes is your client, after all.” Her voice rose and, again, heads turned in their direction.

“Calm down. I’d like to live long enough to walk you home…and maybe get a good-night kiss.”

Taking a deep breath, she leaned back and signaled everything was cool. “You want to walk me home and kiss me good-night? How sweet.”

Her soft tone mocked him, but he didn’t care.

“Like we’re high school sweethearts.” She wrinkled her nose, but her eyes shone with moderate good humor.

“Would you rather I said what I was really thinking?”

Her lashes fluttered briefly, then she eyeballed him directly. “Maybe. Depends on what you were really thinking.”

He lowered his tone a notch. “About pressing you up against the wall and having my way with you.”

For a second, her gray eyes flashed silver.

Damn. He was a goner—as in, he’d gone too far. Said too much. Too soon.

She leaned forward. “I’ll have you know I don’t engage in up-against-the-wall, wild animal sex on the first date, not that this is even a date.” Her tone was matter-of-fact, but her cheeks flushed a pretty pink. Maybe he could still pull his nuts out of the fire before they went up in smoke.

“A guy can always hope,” he said, without a chance in the world she wouldn’t kick him to the curb. Or have one of her fellow officers do the honors.

“A guy can hold his breath…until he turns purple.”

“I can see I’ve put my foot in it. I’m sorry… But damn, the sight of your mouth. Your skin. Your eyes. Dammit. You’re driving me up a wall.”

“Another reference to the wall? Would that be the same wall?”

“Bad choice of words.”

Monday, February 21, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Geraldine Evans

Deadly Reunion

A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel by Geraldine Evans

Publication: 24 February 2011 (UK) 1 June 2011 (US)

Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation - a poisoning, courtesy of a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the number of Rafferty and Kelly family attendees has grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim's fellow reunees. But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.

EXCERPT FIVE from Chapter Two
Given that Dr Sam ‘Dilly’ Dally had performed the post mortem late on Tuesday and the toxicology reports hadn’t come through until the afternoon of the next day, it was eight in the evening by the time Rafferty and Llewellyn finished questioning the seven suspects amongst the reunees. They had also questioned the cook, Mrs Benton, who had got on her high horse when Rafferty had asked her if she had any idea how hemlock might have found its way into either Ainsley’s vichyssoise soup or his chicken salad.

‘That food was perfectly all right when it left my kitchen,’ she had insisted, bosom and grey curls bouncing indignantly. ‘Has anyone else died or been taken ill? No,’ she answered her own question. ‘Of course they haven’t. It’s that lot out there you need to interrogate.’ She stabbed her right index finger in the direction of the dining hall where the seven suspects had been joined by the other reunees for their evening meal. To judge from the racket going on beyond the serving hatch, the news of the day was still being avidly discussed, but Rafferty noticed that the seven were being given a wide berth. As though conscious of their leper status, they huddled together for warmth. Even the oh-so-confident Giles Harmsworth and the bad boy, Sebastian Kennedy seemed subdued and kept their heads bent over their melon and Parma ham starter.

Mrs Benton reclaimed Rafferty’s attention. ‘Thirty years I’ve worked at this school and some of that lot were vicious thugs back then; it seems they’re no better now. Yes, it’s them what you want to question, Mr Detective, not me. I’ve always been a good, honest woman, never done anything wrong in me life, not like that lot. That Giles – the one who’s now ‘something in the City’, he’s not as holier than thou as he’d have you believe. Teacher’s pet and a snitch is what he always was. I don’t suppose he’s changed much and it won’t be long before he’s confiding something to you. It just better not be about me, that’s all or I’ll fetch him a clout round the ear, big and self-important as he is, that he won’t forget in a hurry. And that Kennedy boy, he was always a troublemaker. Lives on a trust fund, or so I gather. The saying that the Devil finds mischief for idle hands is true enough. And another thing. You want to ask yourselves why it was that too handsome for his own good, Adam Ainsley was the one who was poisoned. He always had the girls after him. You mark my words, this’ll be one of them crimes of passion that the Froggies go in for. I always thought he’d come to a sticky end.’

Rafferty had, in spite of her unhidden antagonism, questioned the cook thoroughly, though she’d inadvertently told them as much about several of the suspects as any snitch. He thought he could discount Mrs Benton and Tom Harrison, the grounds-man cum caretaker from the list of suspects, as even though Mrs Benton had admitted little liking for the dead man or a number of his fellow reunees and had prepared Ainsley’s last meal on this Earth, he couldn’t see how she could have poisoned him without taking out some of the rest of the table: each table’s soup was served up in a tureen from which it was ladled out into the individual dishes at the table. The same applied to the salad main course. The lemon sponge that they’d had for pudding would have given no opportunity for doctoring. And, however chippy her personality, he didn’t have Mrs Benton tagged as a psycho. Harrison, the grounds-man, had been in the kitchen earlier in the day, for his elevenses, and could have added hemlock to the ingredients for the meal. But again, like Mrs Benton, he would have had to have no qualms about taking out whoever was unfortunate enough to share Ainsley’s table.

Mrs Benton had explained that one person at each of the dining hall’s eight-seater tables would come to her hatch and collect each course. For the suspects’ table, it had been the Senior Common Room peacemaker, Victoria ‘Brains’ Watson, who had collected the food and dished it out. This would then be passed along the row, first on one side and then on the other. Adam Ainsley had been sitting at the far end of the table on the opposite side from Victoria. From this, Rafferty had concluded that any one of four people would have had the best opportunity to slip something in Adam Ainsley’s food: There was Victoria ‘Brains’ Watson, who had served up each portion, Giles Harmsworth, the over-serious Alice Douglas and Simon Fairweather, the quiet young man who, beyond mentioning that he was a civil servant at the Home Office, had had little to say for himself, even at the interview. This left the other three as less than prime suspects: Sebastian Kennedy, Sophie Diaz and Asgar Sadiq, it seemed unlikely, though possible that either Kennedy, Ainsley’s left-hand neighbour or Gary Sadiq, Ainsley’s neighbour across the table from him might also have had a chance to slip a foreign substance in his food. Anyway, they would all remain on the suspects’ list for the present.

Rafferty had brought in some more uniforms to help question the other hundred reunees. Although it didn’t seem they would have had the opportunity to poison Ainsley, Rafferty had the feeling that the cause of this murder – if murder it was, as it might turn out that Llewellyn was right and they could still be labouring over a suicide – lay deep in the past when they had all been teenagers together. So they might well have useful information. The motive for murder was, he thought, going to take some digging out. But at least, for now, he was more than happy to simply burrow into the surface memories of each of them. Any deeper digging would have to wait until they’d separated those who’d been amongst Adam Ainsley’s intimates, whom Rafferty and Llewellyn would question more deeply, and the rest.

Paxton, beyond supplying them with their room, the map of the school and the list of the reunion’s attendees and their home addresses, had been able to provide them with little other information. Of course, he had been in post for less than a year. Rafferty made a mental note to find out the name and current address of the school’s previous headmaster, who had, according to Paxton, been in situ for several decades and who had certainly been in his post when the current reunees had attended the school.

They returned to the station and while Llewellyn typed up the interviews of the seven suspects, Rafferty sat and made a list of chores for the next day. If he was to find out about possible vendettas, soured love affairs and the like, he would need to go and see Adam Ainsley’s parents, who lived in Suffolk. And he would need to send somebody to question Adam Ainsley’s two ex-wives. For that he thought a woman’s touch was called for and Mary Carmody, the motherly, thirty-something, sergeant sprang immediately to mind. People confided in her; even Superintendent Bradley tended to seek her out in the canteen and bend her ear over budgetary worries and insubordinate inferiors – not that Mary had betrayed his confidence – but Bradley’s earnest stance over the tea cups and Mary’s motherly, head on one side air, had given it away. That, and the fact that, even when he was whispering, Long-Pockets Bradley had something of a booming voice. Quietness wasn’t in the man. Yes, he’d despatch Mary with Llewellyn, who was diffident with women, to one ex and he’d take the other himself.



ebooks on

ebooks on

Geraldine Evans’s website:

Geraldine Evans’s blog:


The draw of all the comments throughout the Tour will take place at the end of the Tour (end-Feb). There will only be three winners, each of whom wins one signed copy of Deadly Reunion, my latest hardback (fourteenth in my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series), one copy of each of two ebooks that are the first and second novels in my Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, that is, one of Dead Before Morning and one of Down Among the Dead Men. They will also receive a subscription to my blog (which they can let lapse when it runs out).

Crime Author, Geraldine Evans
Geraldine Evans has been writing since her twenties, though only began to get novels published halfway through her thirties. As well as her popular Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series, she has a second crime series, Casey & Catt and has also had published an historical, a romance and articles on a variety of subjects, including, Historical Biography, Writing, Astrology, Palmistry and other New Age subjects. She has also written a dramatization of Dead Before Morning, the first book in her Rafferty series.

She is a Londoner, but now lives in Norfolk England where she moved, with her husband George, in 2000.

Deadly Reunion is her eighteenth novel and fourteenth in the humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. She is currently working on the next in the series.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Talk With Kate from Double the Trouble

I’m Katherine Wesley, but everyone calls me Kate. After five years of living in self-imposed exile, I’ve returned to my home town of Twinsburg, Ohio. Okay, I was hiding away because my fiancĂ© jilted me two days before our wedding. He didn’t even have the guts to tell me in person. Oh no, he sent me a note and took off to Las Vegas. I left town shortly after, because I couldn’t stand the looks of pity from everyone. I know everyone said I wasn’t the first and I probably wouldn’t be the last, but that doesn’t help when it happens to you. So I fled and I built a new life for myself. I even opened a very successful flower shop in Clyde, Ohio.

But now I’m back and I’m opening my own florist shop here. Problem is, I heard my ex is back too. Not that I care. I mean seriously, I’m over him. The fact my heart beat a little faster the first time I ran into him didn’t mean a thing. Heck, it flipped twice as hard when I met my client’s brother. Not that I was looking for a guy, believe me, I wasn’t. Good grief I was happy just the way I was. I didn’t have to answer to anyone and no one had to answer to me. Nope, I was quite happy, thank you very much

Life was fine until I visited my Aunt Kate’s grave, well mostly fine. I mean my ex and Emma’s brother seemed to be vying for my attention. I never had that happen before and quite honestly, I could live without it. Talk about uncomfortable. But the florist shop was doing well for just having opened. Emma’s wedding helped that.

So there I was, minding my own business, going to the cemetery and that’s when I found a dead body.

Well let me tell you, life turned upside down, backwards, forwards, and everything in between. Between my ex, Emma’s brother –who had twin daughters I might add, and the dead body, let’s just say life got complicated.

To make matters worse, the twin sister of the victim showed up in town. Well, let’s just say things got real interesting after that.

You’ll have to read Double the Trouble to find out what happened. It’ll be released in March 2011.

Visit me at my website – and/or my blog

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Authorsday: Ian Pattinson

Today I welcome author Ian Pattinson:

How did you pick the genre you write in?
I write in various genres. I concentrate on the story I want to tell rather than trying to force it to comply to a set of rules. Consequently I'm not sure which, if any, genre Sounds of Soldiers would fit into. It's a satire on technothrillers, with very few technothriller-y bits. Or maybe science fiction, though all of the technology described is currently available. I think it would end up on the General Fiction shelves of a bookshop.
I have written a couple of crime novellas, which are the beginnings of what I hope will be a long running series. And the story I'm working on at the moment is a horror comedy.

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
It depends upon how I feel about the story. Sounds of Soldiers was fairly seat of the pants. I had a strong idea of what had happened before the story opened, some of which is related in flashbacks, but no real plan for the main body of the story. The narrator was exploring, and the early chapters mostly came from me imagining how something would work in the world I'd created and then having him encounter an example. As the details built up I expanded upon them until the point where it was fairly obvious where the story was going.
Other stories have been more tightly plotted before I started them. My current story has a plan for the first three chapters, and I will plan the rest of the book once I'm sure I've established everything I want to.

What drew you to the subject of Sounds of Soldiers?
I used to read lots of technothrillers- Tom Clancy, Dale Brown and the like. They were something of a guilty pleasure for me, I liked the background research and tight plotting, but found the dialogue was often wooden and the attitude to the rest of the world patronising. The books all seemed to assume that the USA, and, more specifically its Right wing and military, was always right and would always prevail.

For a long time I wanted to write a technothriller satire, taking the excesses of the genre- a blind worship of technology, the assumption that might is always right, etc.- and do a story about a war started for the most dubious of reasons. However, the technothriller writers kept placing themselves beyond satire- for example, in Rainbow Six Clancy painted environmentalists as genocidal extremists and defended the West's right to destroy the planet. There was the danger that, no matter how far over the top I went, some people would think I was serious.

In the end I approached the subject from a different angle. I began wondering what would happen if the US started a poorly judged war and lost, and how would a technothriller style big dumb conflict affect civilians. Apart from filling body bags, everyday citizens are generally ignored by the genre.
The final planning for the story was coming together in late 2008, and news from the US gave me another angle. What if a politician as dogmatic and uninformed as Sarah Palin was in charge of the States? What sort of bad policies would result?

The way I told the story was influenced by the book Stasiland, a great book about life in East Germany before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. From this I got the idea to tell the story as a travelogue. With everything in place it all went together quite easily.

Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?
I found researching the story quite easy. For a few years I wrote a blog on Green developments and technology, and lots of the details in the story were based upon things I'd already investigated for that. Scenes in Paris were based upon a few days I'd spent there. The trickiest part was a sequence on France's Mediterranean coast, as I'd never been there, but I managed to get the geographical information I needed from Google Maps.

What’s your writing schedule?
I don't have a schedule. I work part time, and the days can shift around the week. I also have other projects on the go. Because I'm a bit disorganised this all means that I'm not writing anywhere near as much as I ought to, though I am working to rectify that.

What’s your favorite quote?
"No plan survives first contact with the enemy."

What is your favorite word?
Most of my favourite words are rude. I do like "discombobulate" which means to confuse someone.
(Chris Redding note: That's one of my faves, too.)
What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?
Probably Japan. But I'd also like to spend a month or two in New York City, or live in Paris for a year. And there's a lot- most, in fact- of Europe that I haven't visited. This year or next, when I've made enough money, I plan to Interrail around Europe. I'll have to be careful, though, that's what the narrator of Sounds of Soldiers was doing when the war broke out......

What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?
The Future. I know that's a bit of a facetious answer, but if you go back more than a few years you'll find yourself in a nastier, more brutal world. And then you'll realise that you don't have the skills needed to conjure up things the locals imagine are magic. I don't know how to make gunpowder, I've only once skinned and filleted a dead animal, despite my country upbringing I never learnt to fish and I've completely forgotten how to control a computer from the command line. I don't even have an encyclopedic knowledge of key sporting results so I could gamble my way to wealth.
No matter what people may say, things are better now than they've ever been. Life spans are lengthening- not just in the West but all across the globe- diseases are being eradicated and we're illuminating the areas previously darkened by superstition. We run the risk of reversing the positive trend, it's true, but I'm optimistic. I want to see what great things we can do as a planet in the years to come.

Where do you write?
Recently I've been writing in coffee shops, because it's good to get out of the house. Sometimes I write in bed. Because I have a netbook now I'm trying take it with me more often and get in a bit of writing wherever I end up.
You are welcome to make up your own questions if you like also. Anything you think will illuminate what you want your readers to know.
Author Bio:

Ian Pattinson was born in Wales in 1970. Growing up, he lived in Brazil, Lancashire and Cumbria before going to university in Manchester and settling there. Ian blogs regularly at and often draws inspiration from the links he posts. He wishes he could drag himself away from the computer more often so he could get more cycling done.

Book Blurb:
Sounds of Soldiers imagines a Green future after a cataclysmic war rips apart Europe and destroys the United States. Returning to Manchester after five years on the continent reporting on the war, Robert Jones sets out to reconnect with friends and family and find out how life changed away from the front line. Presented as a travelogue with flashbacks to the war, Robert finds recycling projects, a new sense of community and shadows and ghosts reaching across the Channel for him.

Sounds of Soldiers can be bought in paperback or as a pdf from

Or for Amazon's Kindle- (UK), (US)
Information about other books, and formats as they become available, can be found at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense: Jess Anastasi

Today I welcome fellow All Things Romantic Suspense Tour participant, Jess Anastasi.

1. What drew you to the subject of Dead Reality?

I actually got the idea for Dead Reality in a dream, which, as weird as that might sound, isn't that unusual for me. A lot of my ideas come to me that way. Anyway, once I had the idea of agents going undercover on a reality TV show, I couldn't stop thinking about it and turned it into this book.

2. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?

Oh no, it's bad. Okay, I called it My Raven Storm, it was a historical romance and it was terrible! I wasn't ever dumb enough to think I could actually get it published. It was more of an experiment to see if I could actually write. Which, apparently I can.

3. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?

I think my strength has always been in my dialogue, that's one thing I've never had a problem with. My crit partner constantly has to remind me to 'trust my dialogue', that my characters are conveying a lot with their words and I don't need to go over explaining. I always worry my readers aren't going to 'get' what I'm talking about.

4. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it?

No matter how much I try, I just can't weed passive voice out of my work. I write it even when I think I'm no writing it! Thank god for my crit partner and editor!

5. What is your favorite word?

'Apparently'. I say it all the time. Look, I already used it once in this interview. And it tends to slip into my books quite a bit. Its one of those words I have to go do a find and delete/replace for when I've finished a manuscript.

6. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?

I would love to learn how to play the piano. I took some basic lessons when I was a kid, but you know what kids are like, never stick to anything for longer than five minutes. I keep telling myself that when I grow up and have more time, I'll go buy a piano and get lessons!

7. What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I always felt like these two characters, Ella and Bryce, really had something. Every time they were in a scene together, you never quite knew what was going to happen. Their relationship really drove this book and I only hope that comes across when people read it.

8. Who is your favorite character in your book?

I love Bryce. He's one of my favorite characters out of all the books I've written. Though he was a bit of a player, and could be a total smart alec, once he realized he loved Ella, he manned up and made the HEA happen.

9. What was the hardest scene to write?

After Ella and Bryce have an intimate moment, Ella runs off because she realizes she loves Bryce and is scared about what that'll mean for her. But, Bryce hasn't come to the same realization yet. Except he's having all these feelings and doesn't really know what he's doing or why he's doing it. I found it hard to honestly portray his confusion, for him to be too stubborn to see the light, yet make it believable. I think it worked in the end, but when people read that scene, I'm sure they'll be yelling "because you're in love, you idiot!" like I was at the time. But, Bryce just wasn't able to see it yet at that point.

10. What was your favorite scene to write?

There were a few scenes I really enjoyed writing, small moments when you could see the relationship evolving. But I think I really liked writing the ending. Not because it was the end! Because Ella and Bryce had to get through some tough issues to get their HEA, not to mention someone trying to kill them! It was good to see it all come together in the end.

Author Bio:

Jess has been making up stories since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn't deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. She loves loud music, dumb movies, and a good book on a rainy day. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia with her very supportive husband, two kids and one spoiled border collie. Learn more about Jess at

Book Blurb:

FBI Special Agent Ella Waverly is wrapping up one last assignment before heading off on her first holiday in five years. But flip-flops and cocktails are the last thing on her mind when she meets the new team leader, Special Agent Bryce Lain, and finds out her holiday is being scuttled for an undercover assignment.

Agent Lain is gorgeous, the kind of gorgeous that guarantees he’s an arrogant jerk. The news that he’ll be her partner in the dangerous mission is almost enough to make her head explode. Before the day is out, Ella finds herself at Little Palm Island Resort in Florida, masquerading as a contestant on the latest reality TV show – Lord Bachelor. The bachelor in question, a disgraced British peer, is suspected of raping and murdering several women back in London.

As humidity frizzes her hair beyond the help of any type of de-frizzing, smoothing, glossing product, Ella tries to wrangle working against nineteen husband-hungry bimbos, one suspected serial killer and one seriously hot agent who’s trying everything he can to get under her skin.

Buy links:

Noble Romance Publishing:


Thanks for stopping by Jess.

Monday, February 14, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: R. A. Vaughn

Fifty years ago, Zavier became a Collections Demon in order to save his lover’s life. He hates his job, but once you make a deal with Corporate South, there’s no backing out. Answering a routine summons, he never expects to come face to face with his reincarnated lover.
Fifty years ago, Zavier became a Collections Demon in order to save his lover’s life. He hates his job, but once you make a deal with Corporate South, there’s no backing out. Answering a routine summons, he never expects to come face to face with his reincarnated lover.

Ryan Monroe is a desperate man searching for a way to save his dying sister. His attempt at summoning a soul collection demon to exchange his soul for his sister’s life finds him face to face with Zavier.

For the first time in years, Zavier’s life has purpose. Despite his employer’s disapproval, Zavier intends to rebuild his relationship with Ryan. Corporate South has other plans.

Can Zavier and Ryan find a way to break free of Corporate South and beat death?

Warning, this book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Male/male sexual practices.


“You rang?” Zavier asked, glancing down at his watch. He just wanted to be done with the business at hand.

The man almost jumped out of his skin as he whirled. Zavier had tried to make enough noise to announce his approach, but apparently he hadn’t been successful.

“Man, you scared the crap out of me. I didn’t expect anyone to be wandering around out here at this hour.”

“You’re saying you didn’t summon me here?”

“Summon?” the man asked, looking momentarily confused. Then the light bulb went on. “Are you–”

“Yeah, yeah, my name is Zavier. Your wish is my command and what not. Tell me why I’m here, instead of at home in bed in the middle of what was shaping up to be an excellent wet dream.” He couldn’t resist messing with the man. Zavier found his nervous fidgeting sort of cute.

Head cocked to the side, the man just studied him a moment. Zavier did the same, running his gaze over him, admiring his hard thighs. Very nice. A form-fitting white t-shirt molded to rather impressive abs and a broad, muscular chest. Oh yeah, Zavier thought, a night or two with this guy could definitely improve his mood. Call him shallow, but he couldn’t help but admire a well-toned body.

Tearing his gaze from the guy’s pecs, he continued scanning upward to inventory the man’s face. Strong chin, lips made for kissing and–

When their eyes met, he froze. The world seemed to stop spinning as he stared into gorgeous, familiar green eyes. Something about those eyes tugged at his memory, causing a tingle at the base of his skull. Zavier broke eye contact while he wracked his brain, but didn’t look away from his face. His inability to remember pissed him off. Sometimes the rules and regs of demon life sucked, especially the “Swiss cheese memory” policy.

Turning his attention back to his potential client, Zavier caught the man giving him a long, slow once-over. Just to fuck with him, Zavier let both his annoyance and a hint of seduction slip into his words. “Would you like me to do a little turn for you? Give you a better look?”

A slight blush spread across the man’s face. “What? No. It’s just–you aren’t what I expected. I imagined something a little more Hellraiser and a little less Ralph Lauren.”

Sighing, Zavier closed his eyes, calling up a bit of the darkness caged within. When he raised his lids he let his inner demon show through.


The man gasped. “Uh, not really.”

“Whatever.” Zavier huffed and snuffed out the fire, allowing his eyes to return to their usual blue. “Can we get on with this?”

“Oh, sure. H-how do we do this? Do I need to say any type of special incantation?”

“No, just tell me what you want.”

The man dug in his pocket and pulled out a picture of a beautiful blond woman, who wore a huge smile as she cuddled a newborn baby. “This is my sister, Maggie, and her daughter Mya. Maggie has cancer. Pancreatic, stage four.” He glanced at the photo, his expression grief-stricken, before determination chased it away. “I need you to cure her. I want her to have a one hundred percent clean bill of health.”

Zavier stared at the picture. Sympathy and an odd sense of commiseration squeezed his heart. The woman had those same familiar green eyes. In the picture they shone bright, happy, and full of life. “You must love her a lot.”

“I’d do anything for her.”

Tears shimmered in the man’s eyes. He pressed the heels of his hands into them before any could fall. When he continued, his words turned defensive. “Look, my mind is made up. I just want to do this and go home.”

Zavier stared at the man, awed by his apparent selflessness. No one this genuine had summoned him in ages. It tugged at something inside him, warming him. If he could help this man in some way without locking him into the soul contract, he’d do it. The board, however, would have his hide if he offered his services free of charge. Pushing his personal feelings aside, he did his job despite the sour taste it left in his mouth.

“It’s your life.” Zavier sighed.


Rayna Vause aka R.A. Vaughn is fascinated by the paranormal and she loves a good romance as well, which probably explains why these two elements perpetually crop up in her writing. At a young age, she began penning fairy tales and fables, but it wasn’t until she read her first romance novel, in her freshman year of high school, that she discovered her true calling. The perpetual student, she took fiction writing classes and steeped herself in tales of love conquering all before attempting to write her own story. But, as she wrote she knew something was missing. Again, she found her inspiration in a book, one filled with suspense, romance, and witches. From that moment, she began to spin tales of psychics, vampires, and other extraordinary characters.

When not writing, R.A. spends her time reading, getting caught up in a video game, watching reruns of Ghost Hunters, and attending karate class.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valetine's Day: Detour 2 Death

Hi everyone! Thank you so much, Chris, for hosting me today.
I think that every book has a particularly interesting story about its creation. For Detour 2 Death, it was the book that almost didn’t happen, and when it did, there were quite a few interesting events.

Detour 2 Death is highly imaginative. The settings are mostly located in the realm of dreams and alternate realities. In Davey’s coma place, called Feverland, the world is a red desert filled with bat-bird monstrosities. In Shadowland, the dark side of Marsden Memorial, lost souls are tormented by the Black Reaper. Kaylee spends a good deal of time spirit-walking in the natural world, but her experiences are very unnatural. This is the first time I had a chance to play with world-building and I loved every minute.
The interesting aspects of writing this book was how people I loved kept creeping into the story. My father, who happened to be dying of pancreatic cancer at the time, becomes the elderly man who helps Kaylee navigate the hospital in her spirit form. He has my father’s build and some of his disabilities. While my dad has since passed on, I feel really blessed to have him alive in my book.

Another aspect that emerged in this story was a love triangle I had flirted with in School’s Out 4-Ever, the second book in the Extreme Hauntings series. The archangel Raphael becomes even more of a love interest. Kaylee has been stuck with a very volatile version of her blossoming love interest, Davey. Between her difficulties helping him survive and the compassion she finds in Raphael, she’s beginning to have feelings for both of them.

By the end of the series, Kaylee will be graduating high school and on her way to college. Watching these romantic interests develop and her powers evolve is going to be a blast! Thank you again, Chris, for having me here today! I’d love to offer one of your readers a free beaded book thong. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered to win!


Detour 2 Death back cover blurb:

There are worse things than death, but not at Marsden Memorial hospital.

Kaylee Hensler knows her best friend Davey is on the brink of death. She knows this because she’s a psychic. When she flees the girl’s reformatory to get to him, she has no idea the special sort of hell waiting for her.

Reapers are collectors and they come in many forms. In Feverland, the world created by Davey’s sickness, the red reaper goes by the name of Molok, an ancient evil with deep roots. In Shadowland, the dark side of the hospital, a black reaper promises torture and torment to lost souls. The white reaper is the most fearsome, giving Kaylee three days before he collects both her and Davey’s souls.

Kaylee has one secret weapon, one she doesn’t fully understand. Her abilities will be tested, her loyalty betrayed, and her love misplaced. No one escapes Death.

J.R. Turner Bio:

Award-winning author J.R. Turner lives in Central Wisconsin with her husband and three children. She began writing in high school, and after a decade working as a commercial artist, started her first novel in 1999. Aside from crafts, camping and cooking, she loves holidays. A favorite is Halloween, a combination of spooky supernatural fun and chocolate. Visit her at to learn more!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Review for Kind of Blue

Kind of Blue

by Miles Corwin

ISBN: 978-1-60809-007-5

From Oceanview Publishing

323 pages, November, 2010

A few years ago, this author wrote a couple of serious non-fiction books about the Los Angeles Police Department. He spent a lot of time with cops in that city and wrote books that became best-sellers, “The Killing Season” and “And Still We Rise.”

Now he’s back with a powerful persistent novel that draws from the same source material. “Kind of Blue,” is not your ordinary police procedural. It constantly reminds readers that the cops involved are no super beings, rising above the worst humanity can offer to save their city; nor are they all thugs, wife beaters and abusers. They are ordinary citizens, sometimes corrupt, sometimes honorable and brilliant, often prejudiced, but too often willing to make the supreme sacrifice for the citizens they serve. And, occasionally they violate the rights of criminals.

Author Corwin bends a keen and discerning eye on this stew of varying humanity to fashion a fascinating novel of human relations. Asher Levine, a dedicated, mostly honest cop, is one of LA’s best homicide detectives. But as the book opens, Levine is a former cop, having abruptly resigned after he was unable to protect a vital witness from being murdered. The death of Latisha Patton, never solved, devastates the detective and causes him to question his abilities, even though it is clear that apart from his dedication, he is a brilliant detective. So he resigns.

A year passes and a decorated officer has died, murdered in his home and the special homicide squad needs Levine’s help solving the case. More to the point, certain key executives in the LAPD hierarchy need the case solved or at least put to rest. Levine has had that year to discover his resignation hurts him more than it does the LAPD. With clearance from the top cops, Levine is fast tracked back to the force and handed the case.

The problem, of course, is that Levine won’t just concentrate on the current case and thus all sorts of actions that need to be buried along with the ghost of Latisha Patton. Traces of other earlier activity begin to resurface as Ash Levine winds his way through labyrinthine police and social structures of the street until he comes to the shocking final solution.

The title is apt, a riff on a 50 year old Miles Davis studio piece, the cover fits the mood and the attitude of the novel. All the elements fit nicely and it was a pleasure to read this excellent book.

Carl Brookins,

Case of the Greedy Lawyer, Devils Island,

Bloody Halls, more at Kindle & Smashwords!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Blog Crawl: Peg Herring

Thank you, Chris, for hosting Peg’s Blog Crawl today! Yesterday’s post, “Losing the Spice”, is at

The Post: Inventing Words

Children do it all the time, but most of their words don’t stick. I had a student once who was always giving us new words or terms that were both inventive and descriptive. “Road pizza” was her term for smashed animals on the highway, and “gription” was a combination of grip and traction.

Shakespeare often invented words and phrases, and we use many of them still. “The milk of human kindness”. He also invented names for his characters. Romeo is found nowhere before his use of it for the teenager in love with Juliet.

Poe’s contribution to the language is tintinnabulation, although it isn’t used much, probably due to the difficulty of spelling it.

Lewis Carroll’s inventive combinations, which Humpty-Dumpty calls portmanteau words, bring two words into one, evoking connotations of each. Brillig, slithy, gimble, etc.

John Lennon in his poetry often made up words, usually of the portmanteau variety. The word belonely, from “I Sat Beloney”, is quite evocative.

Sometimes words are invented from necessity, but necessity can be the Mother of Boring. Who decided “This will be washing machine,” for example? Couldn’t we borrow from the French and call it a laver or invent a term for it, like dirtaway?

The age of technology means that words you never heard of yesterday are used by everyone today. It must drive the editors of dictionaries nuts.

Finally, popular use makes some non-words into words, whether we like it or not. My huge Webster’s won’t list alot, and it advises against using alright, but both words are destined to be included someday in the language, because they are used every day. (Don’t get me started on those who don’t know the difference between every day and everyday). Besides, already and altogether are in, so why not?

The Poser-Name three series/books in which the sleuth owns a small store of some kind.

The Prizes-Weekly prizes (your choice of THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY in e- or print format) drawn from the names of those who comment on the blogs as we go. Comment once/day, but the first commenter each day gets entered twice in Saturday’s drawing!

The Pathway: The next entry and the answers/comments to the Poser will be a special post on SUNDAY for Creatures and Crooks Bookstore and Lelia Taylor: Why Do We Read Who We Read?

The Pitch: THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, First in The Dead Detective Mysteries, paranormal mystery. Tori Van Camp wakes in a stateroom on a cruise ship with no memory of booking a cruise, but she does have a vivid recollection of being shot in the chest. Determined to find out what happened and why, Tori enlists the help of an odd detective named Seamus. Together they embark on an investigation like nothing she’s ever experienced. Death is all around her, and unless they act quickly, two people she cares about are prime candidates for murder.

The Perpetrator: Peg Herring writes historical and contemporary mysteries. She loves everything about publishing, even editing (most days). Peg’s historical series, The Simon and Elizabeth Mysteries, debuted in 2010 to wonderful reviews. The second in the series will be available in November from Five Star.

Peg’s Blog Crawl-February, 2011

January 31-Post schedule of Blog Crawl, explain prizes, etc.

Feb. 1 Peg Herring-Why Do We Say That? Part I

Feb. 2 Chris Verstraete-Slowing Readers—Bad Policy

Feb. 3 Melissa Bradley-He Said, She Panted

Feb. 4 Marilyn Meredith-The Dreaded Adverb

Feb. 5 Weekend-Draw for Prizes from Week 1

Feb 6 Weekend—

Feb. 7 Rhonda Dossett-The Ones Spell Check Won’t Catch

Feb 8 Nancy Cohen-Metaphors

Feb. 9 Kaye George-Names Into Words

Feb 10 Lisa Haselton-Losing the Spice

Feb 11. Chris Redding-Inventing Words

Feb 12. Weekend-Draw for Prizes from Week 2

Feb.13. Lelia Taylor Syntax and Sentence Structure

Feb.14 Jenny Milchman-Why Do We Say That? Part II

Feb.15. Pat Brown-Dialogue and What It Reveals and

Feb. 16 Debbi Mack-Portmanteau Words

Feb. 17 Peg Brantley-The Possessive Problem http://www.suspensenovelist.blogspot

Feb 18 Bo Parker-Read It Aloud

Feb 19 Weekend-Draw for Prizes from Week 3

Feb. 20 Weekend

Feb. 21 Jeff Marks-And What About Contractions?

Feb 22 Geraldine Evans-Idioms

Feb. 23 Maryann Miller-Eccentric Phrases

Feb. 24 Peg Herring Being Precise

Feb. 25 –Peg Herring Open Topic

Feb. 26 Weekend-Draw for Prizes from Week 4

Feb. 27 Weekend

Feb. 29 Stacy Juba-Why Do We Say That? Part III

March 1-Final Drawing for Prizes from All Entries

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Authorsday: Laura Vosika

How did you pick the genre you write in?

I feel more as if it picked me. It just happened to be the genre that was necessary to tell the story.

What drew you to the subject of Blue Bells of Scotland?

A couple of things. Years ago, I read a children's novel called In the Keep of Time, about four children who go into a Scottish keep in the 1970's and come out in medieval Scotland. My novel uses this same idea, but it's also inspired by my life in music, and the lyrics of the theme and variations well-known to trombonists, Blue Bells of Scotland. Part of the inspiration was a flash of an image of a man selfish and arrogant enough to gamble away his livelihood (his trombone) and con his girlfriend into pawning her heirloom ring to get it back. Woven together, these three things produced the story of what happens when just such a man, who has never done a noble thing in his life, goes into a modern Scottish keep and wakes up, not in his own century, but in a time of battles, streaming banners, and noble deeds.

If you have a day job, what is it?

I teach music lessons on piano, harp, guitar, and all the wind instruments. I've been doing it for over twenty years and still enjoy almost every minute!

What’s your writing schedule?

Typically, I get up early, do a little straightening and run a load of laundry, then write until it's time to get my youngest boys ready for school. When they've left or I come home from dropping them off, I write until it's time to take my youngest to kindergarten. When I drop him off, I drive to work and write until my first student comes. When I get home, I spend some time with the kids, get them to bed, and write until I'm ready to go to bed myself.

What authors do you admire?

I really love Ted Dekker's writing, not only the writing itself, but the fact that you can enjoy his writing on multiple levels, either as a good story, or for the deeper messages and themes he weaves into them. I also really loved Jennifer Egan's The Keep and Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, for the way the stories kept twisting and turning, always keeping the reader guessing. I admire Dick Francis for the way he can turn out good stories, one after another.

What other time period besides your own would you like to experience?

At this point, because I have read so much about it, I'd really like to experience medieval Europe, and find out how much historians have gotten right, and the ways in which our age has failed to really understand the time. I would love to meet James Douglas and Robert the Bruce in person. They were amazing men for any time, but especially their own, men who frequently practiced compassion and mercy in an age that typically didn't. I'm not sure I'd like to stay there long, though. It was a brutal time and a hard life.

What’s your favorite thing about your book?

It has all the elements I love, that I would enjoy reading in someone else's book: the world of classical music that I don't find in many novels, history, adventure, and the mystery of being thrown into and experiencing another time.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I like learning languages and playing instruments. Currently, I mostly play harp and guitar. I go out with my kids, to playgrounds, ice skating, skiing. Occasionally, I really relax by doing sudokus and kakuros.

What is the one thing your hero would do that you wouldn’t?

Shawn is a drunken, gambling, womanizing liar. I had fun with him, but I wouldn't do most of what he does.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Definitely the scene in which Shawn plays the sackbut at a medieval fair to prove to his pursuers that he is not Niall Campbell. I enjoyed writing about trombone music I have played and loved, myself, and hopefully bringing it to life for others.

Author Bio:

Laura Vosika grew up in the military, experiencing European castles and the history of America's east coast. She earned degrees in music and education, and worked for years as both a freelance musician and music educator. In addition to finishing The Blue Bells Trilogy, she has several other novels and two non-fictions in progress. She is the mother of nine, currently living in Minnesota.

Book Blurb:

Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants—until the night Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower.

He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall's tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee. They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.

Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life—pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts—seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness and teaches him the true meaning of faith.

Blue Bells of Scotland is both a historical adventure and a tale of redemption that will be remembered long after the last page has been turned.

Buy code:

Monday, February 7, 2011

ExcerpTuesday: Kaye George

Twenty-two-year-old Imogene Duckworthy is waiting tables at Huey's Hash in tiny Saltlick, TX, itching to jump out of her rut and become a detective. When Uncle Huey is found murdered in the diner, a half-frozen package of mesquite-smoked sausage stuffed down his throat, Immy gets her chance. Immy's mother, Hortense is hauled in for the crime. Unclear of the exact duties of a PI, Immy starts a fire in the bathroom wastebasket to bust Mother out of jail. On the run from the law with her mother and her toddler daughter, Nancy Drew Duckworthy, Immy wonders, now what?

Chapter 1

"That's it, Uncle Huey!" Imogene Duckworthy whipped off her apron and flung it onto the slick, stainless steel counter. "I quit!" If only her voice didn’t sound so…young. Her order pad, pencil, even the straws skittered out of their pouches and across the floor. She took a step back, her shoes sticking to the trod-upon-after-lunch debris of squished lettuce, blobs of gravy, and bits of unidentifiable brown stuff.

"You can't quit, darlin'," drawled Uncle Huey in that thin, nasal voice that made him seem six inches shorter than his five ten. "You're family." He dipped a scoop of mashed potatoes onto a plate, ladled thick brown gravy on top, and handed it to the cook.

"I'm not working double shifts again next week." Immy hoped she sounded serious. Mature. Convincing.

"Well, you'll just have to, won't you? Since Xenia just quit on me today, you and April are all the waitresses I've got left."

Clem, the portly cook, piled the hot plate with thick slabs of meatloaf, spooned green beans beside them, and shoved it into April's waiting hands. Immy hadn't eaten lunch yet and the oniony smell of the meatloaf kicked up some saliva under her tongue. She watched April swing through the double doors and glimpsed the white-washed dining room, full of scarred wooden tables and chairs, almost empty of customers now.

She’d worked and played in this restaurant her entire twenty-two years. It had been started by her grandparents and handed down to her father and her uncle. Since her father’s death, of course, Uncle Huey had run it alone.

Would she miss this place? Maybe, but she was quitting anyway.

Immy pounded her fist on the work counter. Hugh Duckworthy jumped. "No, Uncle Huey. April is all you've got left. And if you'd kept your mitts to yourself, you'd still have Xenia." Immy's hands shook as she snatched her purse and jacket from her cubby, but she succeeded in stomping out the back door of the diner, past the cook and busboy who were staring openmouthed. Aside from troublesome customers, she didn't talk back to people often, even when she wanted to.

Even if Uncle Huey was her father's brother, he was a first class jerk.

© by Kaye George 2011

Kaye George, an Agatha nominated short story writer, is the author of CHOKE, Mainly Murder Press, May 2011, as well as A PATCHWORK OF STORIES, a collection of her previously published stories. She reviews for "Suspense Magazine", and writes for several newsletters and blogs. She, her husband, and a cat named Agamemnon live together in Texas, near Austin.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

All Things Romantic Suspense Blog Tour: Rachel Haimowitz

Rachel was kind enough to give me a preview of an upcoming short story from an anthology she is working on. This is exciting because lots of authors won't share their works in progress, so I am honored.

He is a strange boy, quiet and shy for all his clear intelligence—a “spark” that, even in the three short days he’s been here, has become obvious to everyone but himself. He doesn’t talk much, not to his betters and not even to us, but I can tell he’s always thinking, wondering, watching and listening and touching when he thinks nobody will see. He has a book in one slim hand now, the fingers of the other running over its cover, its spine, fingering its pages. I want to tell him it’s okay, that he can read it if he wants to, that it and all the others in this room are here for the likes of us. But I’m afraid I’d scare him away, and anyway he hasn’t learned to read yet.

But he counts well, knows more math than I do, and I’m a whole year older than him.

He puts the book down, back on the shelf exactly how he found it with a nervous care that makes something twist inside my chest. I wonder if he had to tiptoe around his old master’s house with such care. I even asked him about that his first night here, in that roundabout, unobtrusive, therapeutic sort of way they teach us Companions. “My master’s been dead a long time,” he said, avoiding my question deftly, eyes down, his long skinny fingers playing at the fabric of his pants. I think he didn’t like them; he’d been dressed in real finery when Master Krantz had brought him in, but of course we’re not allowed to keep things like that. Despite the clothes, I think he came from a Bad Place. A very, very Bad Place.

His hands are empty now, one trailing across a row of books as he takes slow, measured steps across the study lounge, the other curled over his shoulder, trying to soothe a healing welt. I wonder, for a moment, how those hands would feel on my shoulders. He’s a pretty little thing, skinny as he is. But we all are, us Companions-in-training. I’ve heard my teachers talking; they want to get their hands on him too. But Master Krantz says he bought him for Bigger Things.
Still, I’d like to make him feel good. He looks so sad, standing over there all by himself. Lost, too. This isn’t his world, and until he has his letters, it never can be. But the way his calloused fingers caress the books, I know it won’t be long. He wants to be one of those boys studying at the table in the corner, surrounded by history and politics and current events. He wants to learn of the freemen’s world, and service it in ways that I never will. He wants those Bigger Things Master Krantz talked of.
Network news anchor Daniel Halstrom is at the top of his field, but being at the bottom of the social ladder—being a slave—makes that hard to enjoy. Especially when NewWorld Media, the company who's owned him since childhood, decides to lease him on evenings and weekends to boost their flagging profits.

Daniel's not stupid; he knows there's only one reason a man would pay so much for what little free time he has, and it's got nothing to do with his knowledge of current events. But he's never been made to serve like that before, and he fears he won't survive the experience with his sanity intact.

He finds himself in the home of Carl Whitman, a talk show host whose words fail him time and again when it comes to ordering Daniel to bed. Daniel knows what Carl wants, but it seems as if Carl isn't willing to take it, and Daniel's not willing to give it freely. His recalcitrance costs him dearly, but with patience and some hard-won understanding, love just might flourish where once there'd been only fear and pain. Can Carl become the anchor in Daniel's turbulent life, or will he end up the weight that sinks his slave for good?

(Content warning: This book contains potentially triggering subject matter, including a violent rape that is NOT committed by either hero. Please take heed.)

Anchored is available at Noble Romance Publishing and

Rachel is an M/M erotic romance author and a freelance writer and editor. She originally dipped her toes into cable news and book publishing, decided the water was cold and smelled kinda funny, and moved on to help would-be authors polish and publish, write for websites and magazines, and ghostwrite nonfiction.
Her first novel, an M/M fantasy erotic romance titled Counterpoint: Book One of Song of the Fallen, released in August 2010 with Guiltless Pleasure Publishing. Her second novel, an M/M alternate-history erotic romance titled Anchored: Belonging Book One, released January 17 with Noble Romance Publishing. Her third, Crescendo: Book II of Song of the Fallen, will release in the fall of 2011. In between, Rachel is writing shorts and novellas, including the M/M BDSM collection Sublime: Collected Shorts, and a not-yet-released cyberpunk novella titled Break and Enter, co-written with Aleksandr Voinov.
You can find Rachel tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chiczofrenia: Crazy is An Art Form

Guilt goes better with a side of wine

If I had a dollar, even a nickel, for every time I feel guilty about something I would be rich. Maybe that would assuage my guilt or at least make it more tolerable. What am I feeling guilty about you ask? Not being able to please everyone all the time, not being one of those moms who is Betty Crocker and loves to clean and do laundry. Missing deadlines, forgetting to call someone back, you name it. Now I don’t do all these things at once, I’m not that hopeless, but I feel guilty about something at least once a day. When I started to realize this was a problem and not just because I felt bad but because life is not perfect and it is what it is. You can’t always feel guilty about it. So I started looking into why I felt this way so often. What I realized pretty quickly is that it was mostly driven by me. I had previously thought people made me feel guilty but when I started to examine things more closely it was my own perceived guilt because I felt somehow I was disappointing the person and it almost made me mad at them because I felt bad of my own accord. Something had to change so I came up with a plan. I decided that during the course of the day I would write down everything I felt guilty about and then not worry about it, put it out of my mind, until I had a chance to pour myself a glass of wine that night, look at it, and reflect on the situation. Then, and only then, decide if I should truly feel guilty or was it a case of my over active guilt ridden mind?

After a few days of doing this exercise I found that I was able to let go of many things that in the past would have made me feel guilty for days. I thought maybe it was because I didn’t dwell at the time and by the evening the sting had wore off and I was more easily able to dismiss it. However, I was telling this story to a girlfriend and her first question was, “how much wine are you drinking while doing this?”

Hmm, maybe that was the key. The more wine I had the less guilt I felt. Now that’s not a problem I care to examine too closely.



Do you remember back when you were young and it was all about Barbie dolls and Baby Alive? If you had brothers, or even if you didn’t, there might be a Stretch Armstrong and some Hot Wheels thrown in. As young girls, we enjoyed playing house. Traditional play acting for girls and boys alike. Mimicking our parents and grandparents. Is this where we learned that we wanted to have that perfect life? Is it what all the people against Barbie and Ken were fearful of? I’m taking creative license here as I don’t know if anyone is actually against Barbie and Ken, but I think it sounds plausible. We played with the perfect Barbie, in her perfect clothes, her perfect corvette, and perfect Ken. Barbie and Ken never defaulted on their mortgage or had the corvette repossessed, and Barbie’s boobs never sagged, her butt didn’t droop. Did we feel this was how life was supposed to be? Perfect? How did you feel the first time you realized that life wasn’t going to be like Barbie and Ken living the life in the Dream House? Was it when you hit puberty and realized that you weren’t going to be 36-24-34? How did you feel? I felt cheated. Damn that fantasy.
Chiczofrenic is the term for the woman who is purposeful and intentional in how crazy her life may be. The goal with this book is to recognize many women drive themselves crazy, intentionally, by trying to be all they can. I firmly believe we can have it all. A great relationship, being a great mom, keeping a good house (if that’s important to you), being a career woman, following your dreams, working out, eating right, and many more. Women seem to have the knack for how to manage it all and not go crazy. Women seem to always take on more and more…and are successful at it.

Women have tried forever to pretend they fit in the norm even when the norm wasn’t what they wanted. I want women to embrace that more - without caring what anyone thinks. Learn to laugh at your own craziness and be cool at the same time. Be the strong individual you want to be while looking like a million bucks.

Being a woman is difficult and is a constant evolution and journey of self discovery. It’s not always an easy journey and through the process you realize everyone has her own issues. Her own brand of crazy, which is my own kind of normal. Crazy but embracing it.

ISBN: 978-0-578-07034-6

Book: $14.95 Available on

E-Book: $9.95 Available on Kindle and Smashwords