Sunday, December 30, 2012


BLONDE DEMOLITION is free today and tomorrow. Please go down load it

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Free book

Last day to get my thriller Incendiary for free. (Dec 26).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Luke Murphy

Excerpt from Dead Man`s Hand

In a pool of sweat, he shot up in bed. "Jesus!"

Pain bolted through his swollen right knee, but the emotional pain from a shattered ego hurt even worse. It was the same pain and nightmare that had visited him many nights over the last four years. He was the only one to blame for USC's humiliating loss and his own humiliating personal downfall.

Removing the sweat-soaked sheets, he hobbled across the room, dodged the strewn clothes on the floor, stepped into the bathroom and quietly closed the door behind him. He flicked on the light and squinted as the sudden brightness blinded him. Then he reached for the bottle of Percocet, his loyal companion in these isolated, agonizing nights.

He shook three of the blue painkillers into his hand, his steady diet of Percs. When he couldn't get enough from his doctor, he bought extras from a dealer. He downed the pills, chasing them with a mouthful of water. They would take some time to kick in, but relief was on its way. The drugs, along with his secret hopes and plans, were all that kept him from slipping over the edge.

He used his hands on the vanity to hold his weight and stared into the mirror. At twenty-six, he already had the hair and face of a stranger.

"You should let your dreadlocks grow long," his boss suggested. "More intimidating."

The patchy facial hair was Calvin's decision. The overall effect was menacing—just right for his line of work.

His sharp brown eyes, which at one time had won him glances from beautiful women in college, were usually hidden behind dark sunglasses. Unseen eyes were intimidating too and when he took them off to stare at a victim, he could use his eyes to look like a madman.

He closed them now and shook his head in disgust. "You look like shit. Hell, you are shit."

The press had certainly thought that, four years ago. Always ready to tear down a hero, they had shown no restraint in attacking him for his egotistic, selfish decision and obvious desire to break his own school record. One minute he was touted as the next Walter Payton, the next he was a door mat for local media.


What happens when the deck is stacked against you…

From NFL rising-star prospect to wanted fugitive, Calvin Watters is a sadistic African-American Las Vegas debt-collector framed by a murderer who, like the Vegas Police, finds him to be the perfect fall-guy.

…and the cards don't fall your way?

When the brutal slaying of a prominent casino owner is followed by the murder of a well-known bookie, Detective Dale Dayton is thrown into the middle of a highly political case and leads the largest homicide investigation in Vegas in the last twelve years.

What if you're dealt a Dead Man's Hand?

Against his superiors and better judgment, Dayton is willing to give Calvin one last chance. To redeem himself, Calvin must prove his innocence by finding the real killer, while avoiding the LVMPD, as well as protect the woman he loves from a professional assassin hired to silence them.


Luke Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec with his wife, two daughters and pug.

He played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. Since then, he’s held a number of jobs, from sports columnist to radio journalist, before earning his Bachelor of Education degree (Magna Cum Laude).

Murphy`s debut novel, Dead Man`s Hand, was released by Imajin Books on October 20, 2012.

For more information on Luke and his books, visit:, ‘like’ his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter!/AuthorLMurphy

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Authorsday: Lia Davis

Interview and Giveaway with Lia Davis

How did you pick the genre you write in?

I’d always loved creative writing. When I started reading paranormal romance about four years ago, I fell in love with the genre. That was also when my muse perked up and said, “Hey! We can do this.”

Now I’m working on two paranormal romance series and loving the worlds far more than I’d believed I would. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?

Write what you love to read. Write EVERY day, even if it’s only for 30 minutes. And join a critique group. Writers are awesome people and great for support.

If you have a day job, what is it?

I do have a day job. I have a BS in accounting and currently work in the accounting/finance department for a vendor management software company.

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

My ability to create lovable and believable characters. I write them as they come to me.

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

Grammar and vocabulary. I use to struggle with reading and spelling when I was in school. But I’m learning, and I have the app on my phone.

What’s your favorite food?

Pasta! And anything chocolate.

What’s your favorite thing about your book?

I love the interaction between Khloe and Jagger.

Who is your favorite character in your book?

Khloe is in this one. She’s fun and I never really know how she’s going to react to something.

What was the hardest scene to write?

I still have a hard time writing the love scenes. They take me the longest to write.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Fight scenes. I love the fast pace and the action.

Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure being here.

Title: Death’s Storm, The Divinities, book 2

Author: Lia Davis

Technical genius and demi-goddess--aka Divinity--Khloe Bradenton relies on no one for help, and she definitely doesn’t need comfort from anyone other than her twin. After her parents died by the demons’ hands over two years ago, she has graciously stepped up to her place in the war between demons and witches. When a creature far more dangerous than the ones responsible for killing her parents claims he is her guardian, she is torn between her desires for the dark predator and the painful loss she has endured at the hands of her enemies.

One of the last death demons still in existence, Jagger has pledged his life to the Goddess Hecate. Charged with the guardianship over the Divinities, he is never to approach them, but to aid them from a distance. When the firestorm, Khloe, sacrifices herself to save her twin and best friend and becomes the prey, he has no choice but to reveal himself to her. He is taken by surprise when the need to claim her as his own emerges. A desire he has never felt before could be more dangerous than the demons out to destroy them.

Now Available at Amazon | B&N | ARe | Kobo

Author Bio:

Lia Davis is a mother to two young adults and two very special kitties, a wife to her soul mate, a paranormal romance author, graphic designer, and co-owner to Fated Desires Publishing, LLC. She and her family live in Northeast Florida battling hurricanes and very humid summers. But it’s her home and she loves it!

An accounting major, Lia has always been a dreamer with a very activity imagination. The wheels in her head never stop. She ventured into the world of writing and publishing in 2008 and loves it more than she imagined. Writing and designing are stress relievers that allow her to go off in her corner of the house and enter into another world that she created, leaving real life where it belongs.

Her favorite things are spending time with family, traveling, reading, writing, chocolate, coffee, nature and hanging out with her kitties.

Author website | Fated Desires Publishing | Books Amour | Heartthrob Haven Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | G+
Lia will be giving away a swag pack to TWO lucky commenters. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comments.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Dare

by Joan Chandler

Self-professed Christmas addict Gia Dixon, and by-the-book Ethan Castle have been best friends all their lives. When tragedy strikes Ethan’s family, Gia’s the rock he depends on to pull him through the darkest days. Then, a shared, long-forgotten memory leads to an unexpected yet tender kiss. Can a simple Christmas dare help them find true love?


Funny how times had changed, Gia thought to herself. How was it possible to have gone all these years and not have thought of him romantically? Yet now all she wanted to do was steal a minute alone to kiss him again. Or more.

She saw headlights coming down the road and opened the door, preparing to walk out to meet him.

“No, ma’am,” she heard Ethan call out. He was already getting out of his Jeep and motioned for her to turn around and go back inside.

She was unsure what to make of it, but did as he asked. Then she heard the doorbell ring. Slowly she opened the door, and saw his smiling face. She backed up a step to allow him to walk inside.

“We may be taking things slow, but I’m still going to do it the right way. When I ask you out on a date, I’ll park and come to your door. If this were seven years ago and you were living at home, your dad would have kicked my ass if he ever caught me letting you just walk out to the curb to get in my car.”

Gia could easily recall the many times her father had complained about that when other boys had done it to her.

“How right you are. My mistake.” She laughed. “From now on I’ll expect to be courted properly according to the Henry Dixon Dating Manual.”

“Besides, stealing a quick moment alone behind closed doors gives me the opportunity to do this.” He pulled her into his embrace to softly kiss her.

When their lips parted, she commented, “I don’t think Daddy had that in mind when he made up that particular rule. But you score extra points for showing initiative.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Joan Chandler is a Florida native who has lived in the Deep South all of her life. She is married with two children who are her pride and joy. She lives a double life of sorts, holding down a nine-to-five job during the day, and writing steamy romance at night—often with her black cat curled up in her arms as she types.

When she’s not spending her spare time working on her next novel, she loves to go camping, sharing girls’ night out with her friends, walking her two dogs, and watching football.

Twitter account: @joanchandler1
Find me on facebook: Joan Chandler
Previously published works are Perfectly Imperfect, and No Regrets. Both are available at:
Barnes & Noble:
Joan will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card, winner's choice, to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $10 gift card to Bath & Body Works to a randomly drawn host.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ExcerpTuesday: Jodie Pierce


The Queen is once again ruling her subjects only this time it is a school for the ‘different’ children in Scotland. A school full of vampires, witches, warlocks, elves and fairies, one that is feared and hated by all who attend. A new group of witches and warlocks show up to her gates and cause all kinds of havoc within the school. Vampires and witches are at odds and only a few can see the survival of the school. An ancient lover and the Queen are reunited but at what costs? A new, as well as an old lover unite to attempt to take the Queen off her throne. Will it work? Will the Queen maintain her horrendous rule over the students? Can the spells woven work and change history? All will be told in the end.


The people of the land considered you condemned if you entered The Queen’s Land. Children who were different were sent here for an upbringing designed to nurture their abilities. The children it The Magikal Vampire Kingdom and were terrified of going there. They often hid their abilities as long as possible so as not to be disparaged in this place. Students came to her school for guidance and segregation from humans and their homes around the continent. Many traveled several days and nights to get there on horseback or by car for the more wealthy families, most without the love and support from their parents and family. They felt doomed and alone until they arrived and found others like themselves. They found a common bond that they otherwise would never have had.

The vampires stayed to themselves. The rest of the students were too scared to befriend them, so they had their own group…minus the fairies, who also kept to themselves. They were obsessed with flying and had no time for outsiders or distractions. So, finally, the witches, warlocks and elves teamed up for a volatile marriage. Nonetheless, they each learned from the others in many different ways and of course, academically. They knew the rumors of the place being hell for children. Once you entered, you rarely came out for one reason or another.

The Magikal Vampire Kingdom tried to mimic what they could of the human world, so as to be prepared should the humans finally accept them. The school could not have a ton of students, running around like crazy, acting inappropriately and ultimately scaring their new friends. Upon being taken into the Queen’s Land, each student would be marked with a bite mark tattoo on the inside of the right bicep. It was as if the Queen herself personally put her mark on every one of them. It was a mark that could never be removed or hidden from others. Even as an adult, the mark would still be present and label you as an outsider in any community you entered. It was a mark that told others you were special and to be avoided at all costs. Consequently, most students tended to stay at the school as long as possible, even as adults, and became advisors or teachers.

Author Bio:

Jodie Pierce is thirty-seven years old and lives with her hubby, John in Cleveland, Ohio along with four beautiful step-children. She has had a fascination with vampires since they were introduced to her as a child and has had a long history with them. It wasn't until she started reading the Anne Rice vampire books that she was truly inspired. She was an exchange student in Brasil in high school so you can find some of her experiences from there in her stories. Many of her stories have historical or researched facts as she also enjoys research and learning about new places. She has published four short novels(Eternal Press), a short story in "Midnight Thirst 2", an anthology(Melange Books), has three self-published books and has several short stories that she still works on. She's always busy with the next great vampire story as her mind is non-stop and even plagues her dreams.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Blog Hop

The holidays

When I was a kid, every New Year’s we were either at my Uncle Paul’s house in Maryland or he and his wife were at our house.

Sometimes my Uncle Eddie would be there with his family, too. If we stayed in Maryland, I got to stay with Uncle Eddie because he had kids. Cousins!!! We played marathon games of War and when electronic football first came out, we played marathon games of that. We would manage to shove 15 people at a table that only sat 8. When I try to do this my DH doesn’t get it. This was what I grew up with. It’s normal to me.

Ah. Good times.

These days my house is the gathering place. My sister and her husband drive up from North Carolina. My DH’s brother drives in from Michigan. My nephew makes the trek from Minnesota and every other year, my other nephew and his wife come in from Alaska.

A house full. And I love it. Everyone cooks or cleans up. No one pulls any more weight than anyone else.

Best of all, we all like each other. I am so lucky to not have any drama at holiday time.

Excerpt A View to a Kilt

“There’s a pack of reporters out there.”


Gazing past him out the two sets of glass doors, she saw the news vans. Damn. She bit her lip, glancing from him to the door. She sighed. “Is there another way out?”

He nodded and she found herself following the man. She took two steps, then stopped short. Am I crazy?

He turned to look at her.

“What? The other door is this way.”

“Who are you?”

He smiled and saluted. “Gus Macpherson, a friend of Lieutenant Bob Carnes.”

Her eyes narrowed, but he looked like the type of friend Bob might have. With his erect posture and constantly scanning eyes, “Cop” might well have been stamped on his forehead. She looked around the hallway then back at Gus. “If you touch me, I’ll scream.” Just in case she assessed him incorrectly.

He put his hands up. “These will not come anywhere near you.”

“Okay, lead on.”

He continued in the direction he had indicated earlier. Some part of her brain registered a nice butt in worn jeans. The thought went no further. The tall man led her through the emergency department, down a hallway to the Main Entrance.

She stopped by the door, arms crossed. “Won’t there be reporters, here?”

The redhead shook his head. “Take a look.”

No news vans.

“You’re right,” she said, but when she looked up the man had disappeared.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Autumn Jordan

Thank you, Chris, for hosting me today. I guess we’re here to talk about romance novels.

Why do millions of readers—I say readers because men actually makeup a good percentage of romance readers— head to their favorite book store each week and purchase books? I know why I do. Because I want to be whisk out of my world and become engrossed in a story about the meeting and growing relationship of two people.

A plot is very important, but a story with the simplest of plots can become a best seller if the characters come to life. Bringing them to life is a writer’s priority and we do that through emotion.

In my recent release, Seized By Darkness, I dug deep into the emotions I felt for my mother, my father and my children. Why those relationships? Because Seized by Darkness is about a young

girl of sixteen, on the cusp of starting her life, disappearing. She is kidnapped off the street she walked every day. I drew on a realm of emotions I would feel if I had experienced a similar circumstance. I actually sat in a dark sectioned of my basement, listening to silence, and thinking about my family and how my disappearance would affect them. They’d search. My mother, who is a sweetheart, would be broken hearted and my father who has always been the protector would feel as if he’s failed. And he wouldn’t know how to comfort my mom.

My chest tightened and I could barely breathe as my thoughts turned to my children. I honestly don’t know if I could keep it together if one of them were abducted.

After some reflecting, I decided to begin Seized By Darkness with Nicole eight years after she was snatched. She now has a son from the Russian mafia monster that plucked her, as a virgin, from the trafficking mill and has kept her as his own. Nicole is strong, the way I hope I would be. She has never given up hope that she would be free and she’ll do anything to have her life back and ensure her son will not grow into a monster like his father.

She is also fragile. Nicole hopes not, but wonders whether her family has forgotten about her. Her faith has been broken. And, she knows, without a doubt, that no man will ever look at her, much less love her, after she has been made a whore.

Enter U.S. Marshal William Haus. He is the man fairytales are made of. Strong, intelligent and has a heart the size of the Utah salt flats and just as warm. You thought I was going to say drop


dead handsome, but you can see that he is without a doubt fine. But, Will has issues of his own, and as Nicole and he work to bring down the trafficking ring, his feelings for Nicole grow and he has no choice but to face his past.

Emotional? Yes, Seized By Darkness is filled with passion, mine.

If you’re a writer, how do you discover your character’s emotions? And if you’re a reader, do you have any comments or questions?

Seized By Darkness is available from Amazon and B&N in both digital and print format.

Amazon UK:
Amazon USA:

BLURB for SEIZED BY DARKNESS (material is copyrighted):

The old air conditioner, which did little more than act as a fan pushing warm air into the room, rattled in the window, pulling Nicole from a fretful sleep. Under her long hair, sweat beaded the nape of her neck. She stretched and peeled away from the damp sheet under her. Through heavy lashes, she noticed a boot tapping the air at the base of the single-sized bed and her heart shot into her throat. Clutching the sheet to her bare breasts, she rolled and scrambled to the opposite side of the bed, only to be pinned, faced-down onto the mattress by the intruder.

“Let me go.” She thrashed and kicked back, striking air. Her breasts squished into the mattress springs. She ignored the pain, reached behind her, and grabbed fists filled with the assailant’s long hair. With all her might, she yanked hard.


She winced, her ear ringing with the attacker’s cry.

He dropped his weight from his elbows, forcing the air from her lungs. His fingers locked around her wrists and tried breaking her hold on him. “Damn, Katrina. Stop pulling. You’re ripping my hair out.”

Every muscle of her body went stark still, except for her eyes-they widened. “Will?” Over her shoulder, she peeked through her auburn strands and caught a glimpse of Will’s cheek plastered against her bare shoulder.

“Yeah. It’s me. Christ. Now let go.” His hot breath caressed her sensitive skin, sending tingles down her spine.

Nicole became aware of the softness of his hair between her fingers, his musty scent bombarding her nostrils on the cusp of each sharp breath she inhaled, and every inch of his hard body pressing against her backside. Warmth pooled between her legs and she closed her eyes against her body’s reaction to him. “You first.”

He let go of her wrists.

Nicole slid her arms close to her body and pushed against the mattress, trying to topple his weight from her, so she could roll over, but he kept her pinned in place.

The discounted, thin sheets she’d bought at the local Dollar-Mart and his clothing were the only barrier between his hot flesh meeting hers. The knowledge caused the room to grow warmer. “I let go. Now get off of me.” She bucked against him. A mistake. She laid still.

“Not until you tell me what were you reaching for?”

“What?” She glanced at him and then scanned the nightstand next to the bed. “Nothing. I don’t have a gun if that is what you’re thinking. I was just trying to get away.”

“Not until you promise me you won’t try to run.” Will arched up and bore his weight on his elbows. His strong thighs held her legs in place while his hard ridge pressed against her backside.

She fisted the sheet below her, trapped her lip between her teeth, and wrestled with the fire mounting low in her belly. Not to go dizzy with want, Nicole remained still. “I’ll scream if you don’t. My landlord has great hearing, and, he has a huge shot gun.”

“You don’t want to do that.”

She struggled to push up on her elbows again. “Why not?”

“I’ll have no choice but to flash my badge and haul your ass out of here, sheet optional.”

“Ha. Ha.”

“I’m glad you find the situation funny,” his warm breath caressed her neck.

She struggled against his weight and her desire for him. “I mean it. I’ll scream.”

“Go ahead. I doubt anyone will hear you.”

Brushing her hair from her face, she peeked over her shoulder and saw amusement dancing in his eyes. “Why’s that?” she asked between clenched teeth.

“Your landlords, Malcolm and Hilda Handwerk, they’re near eighty and both have hearing aids. Also, about twenty minutes ago, they left to go to the market and their closest neighbor is a half a mile away.”

“How do you know who my landlords are?”

“It’s my job to find shit out.” His warm breath tickled her ear. “Now, if you promise not to run, I’ll let you up. We need to talk.”

She sighed. Her breasts flattened against the lumpy mattress as she caved. “What choice do I have?”

“We all have choices. Take your time. I’m quite comfortable.”

Without seeing his face, Nicole knew Will grinned——from ear to dimple. Frustration should be what she felt, but with Will’s hard muscles pressed against her backside, frustration wasn’t the term she’d use to describe her condition. She’d never wanted a man before, but from the moment she’d laid eyes on Will she had wondered how delicious having him inside her would feel. If she rolled over under him, she could experience a man she truly wanted. She felt Will’s hard reaction to her and knew he wanted her too.

But doing so would cement the notion in Will’s mind that she was indeed a whore. She didn’t want that. She closed her eyes and took in the memory of his body on hers—that would have to be enough. “I promise. Now, please, let me up.”

“I knew you were a smart lady.” The bed springs creaked and the air surrounding her cooled as Will pushed himself up and stepped back off the bed.

To learn more about Autumn Jordon please visit
(All pictures have been purchased by Autumn Jordon for the use in promotion of Seized By Darkness)

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

I was invited by Willa Blair to join the blog hop The Next Big Thing. Go check out her blog post. Here are my answers to the questions.

What is the title of your next book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Someone once told me a story idea they had about a police photographer who was an arsonist. If there is a series of arsons, the police take pics of the crowd watching the fire. If they spot someone in all of the pictures, that is probably the arsonist. But what if the arsonist was the person taking the pictures? So my question, was what if the person starting the fires was the person investigating the fires?

What genre does your book fall under?


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Josh Brolin for the hero. Amy Adams for the heroine.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A firefighter and an EMT must join forces to stop a serial arsonist.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Or are you with a publishing house?

It is published with Imajin Books.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Three months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Demolition Angel by Robert Crais

. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I am fascinated by fire and investigating them.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The hero is a firefighter. Enough said.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Authorsday: Sally Carpenter

1. How did you pick the genre you write in?

I’ve written nonfiction, science fiction and plays but mystery is the genre where I’ve had the most success getting published.

2. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I plot. I need to know who done it and why and the ending so I can make the clues and red herrings fit and work up to the climax. To me, writing like taking a trip: you can plan out the route in advance and get there quickly and efficiently, or start driving aimlessly and end up in the wrong direction or at a dead end.

3. What drew you to the subject of “The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper?”

I love the book “Bimbos of the Death Sun,” which is about a murder at a science fiction fan convention, and I love the Beatles, so I thought, why not a murder that takes place at a Beatles fan convention?

4. Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?

No. I already knew about The Beatles from reading about them and playing their music for years. My protagonist is a former teen idol, and I had attended teen idol concerts and collected records. I read autobiographies by several real-life teen idols and that helped tremendously.

5. What was the worst advice you’ve gotten? Did you know it at the time?

When I finished my book, the first one in the series, someone told me that publishers don’t buy the first book you’ve written and that I should write another one with the same character. But I eventually published this book.

6. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?

My experience is that agents and larger publishers were not open to unpublished authors, and that getting an agent was a long and arduous task, so I looked at small presses that took new, unagented authors. I heard about Oak Tree Press from the Sisters in Crime listserv. OTP loves new authors.

7. If you have a day job, what is it?

I work in the editorial department of a weekly community newspaper. I process press releases, proofread, write headlines and photo captions, layout the ads and occasionally write local play reviews.

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

I procrastinate. A deadline will get me moving.

9. What’s your writing schedule?

Because of my day job I write in the evenings and weekends. I try to write a scene at a time. I handwrite first drafts and then type them into the computer and revise.

10. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?

Vatican City and also England.

Author Bio:

Sally Carpenter is native Hoosier now living in Moorpark, California

She has a master’s degree in theater from Indiana State University. While in school her plays “Star Collector” and “Common Ground” were finalists in the American College Theater Festival One-Act Playwrighting Competition. “Common Ground” also earned a college creative writing award. “Star Collector” was produced in New York.

Carpenter also has a black belt in tae kwon do.

She’s worked as an actress, college writing instructor, jail chaplain, and tour guide/page for a major motion picture studio. She’s now employed at a community newspaper.

She’s a member of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles chapter. Contact her at Facebook or

Book Blurb:

In the 1970s, teen idol Sandy Fairfax recorded ten gold records and starred in the hit TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth.” Now he’s a 38-year-old recovering alcoholic, desperate for a comeback. He takes the only available job offer, a guest appearance at a Beatles fan convention in the Midwest. What looks like an easy gig turns deadly when a member of the tribute band is shot and the police finger Sandy as the prime suspect. Sandy starts sleuthing to find the killer while filling in for the deceased musician at a concert and dealing with the fans.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

ExcerpTuesday: Judy Alter

A big-box development, an injured husband, and a stalker. Kelly O’Connell has her hands full in Trouble in a Big Box.

I remember September 2, 2010 clearly. Mike called about eleven and asked if I wanted to meet him for lunch. For him, it would be breakfast. Mike is a patrol police officerand works the late afternoon and evening shift, so he usually gets up around ten in the morning. We agreed to meet at eleven-thirty at the Old Neighborhood Grill, before it got crowded. When I got there, Mike had already secured a booth and ordered. We talked about the girls and their school activities. Maggie was showing promise in ballet, which Mike said would make her walk funny the rest of her life, and Em was taking great pride in her art work, which was probably above average for second grade, not that that’s saying much. And we talked about how our beloved Fairmount neighborhood was getting back to normal after being held hostage to fear of a serial killer who targeted older ladies. We neither one mentioned that my mom and I came close to being the final victims of Ralph Hoskins. There was no need to talk about it.

Mostly, we were happy. We were newly married, young—at least young in heart, since we were both soon headed out of our thirties. But we had become a family with my two daughters, Maggie now ten, and Em, now seven. We were in love, and we were happier than two people have a right to be. Maybe I should have recognized that, but neither of us had any way of knowing that Mike was about to be fighting for first his life and then his mobility, I would be stalked by a vengeful enemy, and a big-box store would threaten our idyllic Fairmount neighborhood. No, for the time, all was peaceful, and I assumed it would stay that way. Foolish optimism on my part. It’s not just being married to a police officer that gets me into trouble. It’s me.

After lunch, we parted—me to go back to my office, O’Connell and Spencer Real Estate, and Mike to get ready for his patrol. He kissed me on the nose and turned toward his car. I simply stood and watched him walk away, thinking what a lucky female I was. I will always remember the way he walked that day, because it would be almost a year before I saw him walk unassisted again, and he never again walked with the same casual self-confidence


Kelly O’Connell has her hands full: her husband Mike Shandy is badly injured in an automobile accident that kills a young girl, developer Tom Lattimore wants to build a big-box grocery store called Wild Things in Kelly’s beloved Fairmount neighborhood, and someone is stalking Kelly. Tom Lattimore pressures her to support the big box, and his pressure turns to threats. Kelly activates a neighborhood coalition to fight the project and tries to find out who is stalking her and why. Mike is both powerless to stop her and physically unable to protect her and his family from Lattimore’s threats or the stalker. After their house is smoke-bombed and Kelly survives an amateur attack on her life, she comes close to an unwanted trip to Mexico from which she might never return.


An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of three books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, and Trouble in a Big Box. With Murder at the Blue Plate CafĂ©, she moves from inner city Fort Worth to small-town East Texas to create a new set of characters in a setting modeled after a restaurant that was for years one of her family’s favorites.

Before turning her attention to mystery, Judy wrote fiction and nonfiction, mostly about women of the American West, for adults and young-adult readers. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame at the Fort Worth Public Library.

Judy is retired after almost 30 years with TCU Press, 20 of them as director. She holds a Ph.D. in English from TCU and is the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven.

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