suspense

A PARTY OF PEACOCKS

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Alice Fitzpatrick

Today I’d like to welcome Alice Fitzpatrick author of the Kate Galway mysteries. Toward the Pebbled Shore, the first book in the series, was a semi-finalist for the 2012 and 2013 Unhanged Arthur Award 
for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel and a finalist for the 2013 Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel. Her novels are currently looking for their forever home with an agent and a publisher.

Take it away Alice.

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That folly was past now—but still he could not visualize her except against the background of the great white house in Riverside Drive, with the peacocks and the swimming-pool and the gilded tower with the roof-garden. “The Incredible Elopement of Lord Peter Wimsey” by Dorothy L Sayers

I have always been fascinated by peacocks. As a Brit now living in Canada, I spend an inordinate amount of time during my trips home touring Georgian mansions and exploring ancient castles. For me, no British stately home is complete without a pride of elegant blue peacocks, their green trains trailing across a wide expanse of lawn. These iconic birds are as familiar as the maid in her black uniform and stiff white apron or the mistress in the morning room sipping tea in a sweater set adorned by a single row of pearls.

Having grown up reading the novels of Agatha Christie, when I came to write my own books, there was no question that I would choose the Peacock 3traditional mystery known as the cozy. These books are often set on a rambling country estate, a seemingly uneventful place. Yet it isn’t long before the shrieks of peacocks are announcing the discovery of a brutal murder.

Although not native to Great Britain, these magnificent birds have been in residence for almost two thousand years. It was the Romans who brought them to the island, and the peacocks have never looked back. They soon became a favourite of feudal lords, landed gentry, and aristocracy. At a time when powerful men were looking for conspicuous ways to express their social position, the exotic peacock was an impressive symbol. There was no more ostentatious display of wealth than a roast peacock, often served with full plumage, on a medieval banqueting table.

As far as I can determine, no peacock has ever figured prominently in a mystery novel. What these birds are experts at, though, is providing atmosphere and, if the writer is so inclined, symbolism.

Geoffrey Chaucer was one of the first British writers to use the peacock to refer to people who swagger and preen: “And yet as proud a pekok can he pulle.” Early Christian artists interpreted the many eyespots on the bird’s 200 tail feathers as the all-seeing eyes of God and the Catholic church. Because the peacock sheds these feathers annually and it was believed that its flesh did not decay, the peacock came to symbolize renewal and resurrection.

Peacock 5-1But to most of us, peacocks simply represent pride. Thus a peacock strutting through the garden of an estate allows the writer to pass comment on its inhabitants. My own novels, set on an island off the west coast of Wales, feature an abandoned gothic castle complete with peacocks who have reverted to their wild state. To the islanders, the peacocks are a reminder of the hubris of the rich Victorian industrialist who designed and built this architectural monstrosity.

So if you are looking to add a bit of exoticism or social commentary to your novel, look no further than a peacock. I’d like to say that they’d appreciate the gesture, but if they’re as vain as we believe they are, they’ve come to expect it.

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 Toward the Pebbled Shore

Kate Galway is no stranger to death. After all, she’d grown up under the shadow of her Aunt Emma’s suicide, her body having washed up on the beach the year before Kate was born. Now Kate has returned home to an island off the Welsh coast where she is forced to confront family secrets that are better kept hidden, including that her aunt was murdered and the killer is still on the island.

 

Eyespots 1DS Lazarus sat on the sofa in Kate’s cottage with Constable Byron Finch beside him. Lazarus had undone the top button of his shirt and pulled his blue and beige tie, wrinkled and puckered, to one side to get it out of the way. Lazarus was the kind of man who would look slovenly even if you put him in new clothes. What was it someone said about Dylan Thomas — he looked like an unmade bed? Lazarus wasn’t quite that bad — more like an untidy sofa — but it gave him the appearance of a man who coasted through life, quite content with his lot, happy to take orders, while ducking any responsibility.

Kate resisted the temptation to go over and brush what looked like toast crumbs from his jacket.

“So when was the last time you saw Hannah Sutherland?” he asked.

“The day Siobhan and I were attacked in her garden.”

“We’ve heard about this from the deceased’s sisters. I’d like to hear your version of the events. When was this?”

“A week ago — last Sunday. And no, we don’t know who attacked us. It was dark.”

“Were you at the Hall on a social call?”

She looked at Byron and, knowing what was coming, he lowered his eyes. “No, Siobhan and I were digging for a tea tin we’d seen Hannah bury in the garden earlier that day.”

“And why were you digging up a tea tin in the middle of the night?”

“Sgt. Lazarus, even on Meredith Island, eleven o’clock is hardly the middle of the night. But that aside, we thought that it might contain some evidence into the murder of my aunt.”

Lazarus glared over at Byron. “There’s been a second death? Why wasn’t I told?”

“It was over fifty years ago, sir.”

Kate was impressed with Byron’s ability to keep his voice steady and calm.

Lazarus leaned back. “Oh.” Painfully aware that he’d made a fool of himself, he focused his anger toward Kate. “Regular little Dorothy Sawyer, aren’t you?”

Kate resisted the temptation to smirk. “If you mean Dorothy L. Sayers, she’s the writer. That would make me Lord Peter Wimsey.”

Lazarus ignored her comeback and carried on. “Did you report the attack?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“We have no police on the island. We handle things ourselves.”

Lazarus’s eyebrows descended and knit themselves together. “I hope that doesn’t mean you take the law into your own hands. The police force doesn’t hold with vigilantism.”

Kate was really getting tired of this fool. “What are you implying, DS Lazarus? That we convene secret courts in the pub at midnight, pass judgment in dark hooded cloaks, and then throw the offender from the highest cliff . . .” and Kate left the sentence hanging to allow the image to work its way into Lazarus’s brain.

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You can follow Alice at:

alicefitzp.wordpress.com
facebook.com/alicefitzp
twitter.com/alicefitzp
linkedin.com/pub/alice-fitzpatrick/55/4b5/5a.

 

 

Categories: Books, cozy mysteries, Mystery, peacocks, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Another Snippet

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I’m back again with another small piece. Be sure to catch all the other snippets posted by the many talented authors via Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors.

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Here’s a following bit from the second chapter of Wyoming Escape.  Let me know what you think.

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Wyoming Cover - 1600

One dead body is frightening enough. A second one, plus a dirty cop, sends chef Mikela Richards fleeing for her life. She hides on a Wyoming Dude ranch, but her attraction to an on-leave Marine threatens her fragile feeling of safety.

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Hiding her shaking hands under the table, Mikela offered a tentative smile. “I’m fine–just not good with loud noises.” Damn, when would she get over jumping at the slightest racket? How long before the memories of dead men stopped haunting her? She took a deep breath and willed her trembling to quiet.

Once she was sure she wouldn’t spill anything, she sipped at her cup and glanced around the small coffee shop. Not much to look at. Whoever was manning the stove knew their stuff, though. The scrambled eggs passing her table were fragrant with herbs and the coffee was the best she’d tasted in a week.

 
Categories: Cowboys, Dude ranches, Mystery, nature, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized, Western romance, writing, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

My Therapist Barks

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GenieGabrielPhoto600Today my guest is Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel. Genie is an optimist whose rose-colored glasses have bent frames and cracked lenses. She writes about people who find courage and integrity in the darkest times of their lives, who rescue stray dogs and kittens, who find a person they would willingly give their lives for, and who make their little corners of the world a better place.

FREE BOOKS!
Genene is offering a free PDF copy of her most recent book, St. Batsy and the Time Machine, to 5 commenters!

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Raz150x174Love unconditionally. Dream big. Play with great seriousness. Bark at strangers and skateboards.

These are some of the lessons my dogs have come to teach me. I’m working on the first three, but think I’ll leave the barking to my herd of doggies.

Fur against my face and the soft smell of a dog curled protectively around me existed before my first memories of this life. My mom used to tell stories of me as a toddler, sleeping with my head pillowed on our Collie’s belly.

I grew up on a farm, and we always had a dog. I wanted a horse too, but was in high school before my dad gave in to my begging to have one. Do you think you can become addicted to the smell of a horse? To this day, even the memory of that sweet aroma totally relaxes me.

However, after graduation, I moved to the city to claim a job and my own life. A back yard isn’t the best place for a horse, but I could indulge my love for dogs. A small, mixed breed Lady became the first beloved companion in my adult life. She tried to teach me to choose my relationships wisely. Ah, if only I had listened to her. An ill-fitting marriage ending in divorce turned my focus back to dogs as companions.

Batman150x194I was almost forty years old when I discovered the joy of shelter dogs and living with more than one canine. The more time I spent with dogs, the more I learned.

When I began writing, dogs naturally turned up in my stories. My first novel, published as The Rock Star, featured a dog who turns on the coffee maker for his mistress and has an attitude similar to my first shelter dog, a Border Collie mix.

Two of my romantic comedy novellas also feature dogs inspired by canines who have shared my life. My latest book to be released in print, St. Batzy & the Time Machine, features a terrier with a penchant for misadventures. His attitude is quite similar to my own terrier, who views fences as something to try to dig under, jump over, or wiggle through.

Dogs will definitely continue to be strong characters in my writing. In fact, I will soon be publishing a book about my journey with dogs and how they have guided me through traumas and brought me face to face with sometimes uncomfortable truths. However, underlying all their actions is pure, unconditional love and the support to make our most precious dreams a reality.

Oh yes, and to play–no barking needed on my part!

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StBatzyCoverFront200An eccentric inventor is determined to reclaim his wayward time machine and save his beloved wife from her latest misadventure. If only they can travel safely past the black hole…
 

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When they were seated, he told Dorinda the story of how he and Maddie had met. How he loved her from the first moment, and never thought a woman as bold and brave would ever love him in return. “My Maddie still goes on grand adventures to change the world. I worry about her, but I’m so proud of her.”

Dorinda remained quiet for a few moments after Horace stopped talking, then said softly. “I would like to live in a world where there is plenty of food and women are allowed to follow their passions.”

In the next breath, she pushed out a sigh and stood. “’It is not productive to grumble about what cannot be. I will leave you to rest, and I have much to think about. Thank you for a look into the future. You have given me hope.”

“Let me accompany you back to the village.” Horace also rose.

However, Dorinda shook her head. “As an elfenchaun, I’ll be quite safe with the creatures of the forest.”

Still, Horace watched Dorinda from the entryway of the time machine until the trail of shimmering green faded into the night. Elfenchaun or not, he worried about the delicate creature who had shown him such kindness. Would she truly be forced to give up the life of relative freedom she had known and marry a man who would control her every move? He would not want to smother his Maddie’s bold spirit, even if it cost him days of worry when she was gone.

All the next day, Horace toiled under the watchful eye of Dorinda’s grandfather. As the light of day faded into twilight, the man shook Horace’s hand and presented him with a curved piece of metal to repair the time machine.

Though exhaustion threatened, the desire to return to the year 2011 and rescue his Maddie gave Horace the energy to drag the metal back through the forest and replace the damaged panel of the time machine.

As Horace gathered his tools and placed them back inside the time machine, he looked forward to seeing Maddie again. He walked the short distance to a small stream and splashed cool water over his face, any tiredness dripping away with the water that ran down his skin. Soon he would see his Maddie!

The short distance back to the time machine took only a few moments, yet Horace knew something was not as he left it. His steps slowed and he looked cautiously around, listening carefully for any clue to what might have happened in the moments he had been gone.

A moan near his feet was all that prevented him from stepping on a tiny crumpled body on the ground. “Dorinda?”

He bent over the little elfenchaun, stunned by the pallor of her face and the broken remnants of her iridescent wings. “What happened?”

“Over here! I saw her fly this way.” Strident shouts tore the peace of the night to tatters as lanterns bobbed closer and closer.

Adrenaline surged through Horace. As carefully as possible, he lifted Dorinda and carried her into the time machine. Laying her on a pad next to Batzy, Horace locked the door panel and started the sequence for the reactor. “Clement, can you give us a boost to get us out of here?”

“Thank the heavens!” Maddie appeared on the monitor beside Horace’s cousin.

Clement’s fingers flew over the computer keyboard. “What took you so long to make repairs?”

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Print version of St. Batzy plus Genie’s other books on:  http://tinyurl.com/mozwtzd

ebook version of St. Batzy also available at Rogue Phoenix Press:  http://tinyurl.com/mwzuj4v

Categories: animals, dogs, healing, Horses, Paranormal, Relationships, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Time travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Weekend Snippets Again

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It’s been a while since I did a Snippet Sunday , so I thought I’d try it again.  I know I have lots of fun reading all the other snippets posted by the many talented authors via Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors.

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Here’s a bit from the second chapter of Wyoming Escape.  Let me know what you think.

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Wyoming Cover - 1600

One dead body is frightening enough. A second one, plus a dirty cop, sends Mikela Richards fleeing for her life. She hides on a Wyoming Dude ranch, but her attraction to an on-leave Marine threatens her fragile feeling of safety.

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Mikela squinted against the bright Wyoming sun pouring through the cafe window and gave her breakfast order. Her last words were drowned out by a loud blast that shook the building and rattled the dishes. She clamped her hands over her mouth to stifle a scream while images of blood and death flashed in her mind. The waitress’ hoarse, smoky voice brought her back to the present.

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“It’s okay, honey. Just old Cranky’s truck backfirin’ again. Wish he’d get the darned thing fixed.” The buxom woman peered at Mikela in concern. “You all right? You’re white as a sheet.”

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You can find Wyoming Escape on Amazon
Amazon
Be sure to check out more fabulous snippets listed on Snippet Sunday on Facebook
and on the Weekend Writing Warriors website
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Happy reading!
Categories: animals, Books, Cowboys, Dude ranches, Horses, Love, Mystery, nature, outdoors, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized, Western romance, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Falling For You Again

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kate curranToday I’m welcoming another Kate–Kate Curran, author of the recently released Falling For You…Again. Kate started her creative journey writing fiction, but got sidetracked to a career in photojournalism, specializing in agriculture. Fifteen years later, she went back to her first love and published three children’s books. Now she has switched her talents to romance. Falling For You is her second romance novel.

Here’s Kate Curran:

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Watson Falls

Watson Falls

Waterfalls intrigue me. Always have always will. Their beauty and mystery draw me both as a photographer and a writer. Some of my very favorite waterfalls are in Oregon.  Highway 138 from Diamond Lake to Roseburg is referred to as the Highway of Waterfalls. (http://tinyurl.com/mvkz9cs) Watson Falls is spectacular. Toketee Falls is on my must see list. And further north, east of Portland is Multnomah Falls. Spectacular. Someday I picture a waterfall in one of my books to add intrigue and color.

My early romance reading days consisted of Kathleen Woodiwiss, LaVyrle Spencer, Joan Johnston, Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Heather Graham. These are the ladies who inspired me to write my own book

What prompted me to write a book of my own?  I’ve always got something to say J.  I would call my stories deeply emotional. I talk about family relationships, and I look for ways to resolve issues. They won’t be perfect, but my characters will learn to communicate and find better ways to resolve their issues.

My current book, Falling For You…Again is about a couple, Clare and Ethan Burke who have basically had a fairytale marriage until their 14 year-old daughter, Grace, dies in a boating accident.  Ethan almost dies in the same accident.  As the story begins two years later, Clare and Ethan are on the verge of divorce until Clare goes missing on a photo shoot.  A blizzard is eminent and they both discover their love is stronger than either of them realized.

To me this isn’t a story about death and dying, but a story of survival and that there can be happiness, and love and an engaged life after losing a child. A fan whose daughter died in her early twenties told me she wasn’t sure she could the read book, but she did. She said it didn’t bring her down, but uplifted her. And that’s what I want to give my readers. A few tears, some laughs, romance and an ending that warms their heart.

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KC-FFYA-200x300

They vowed to love each other forever, then grief tore them apart.

Clare and Ethan Burke carved out a life in Paradise Falls, Idaho. While Clare built a career as an outdoor photographer, Ethan taught eighth-grade science. They raised three children and had a happily-ever-after life until tragedy struck and their daughter was killed in a boating accident.

Two years later Clare and Ethan still love each other, but their grief has pushed them to the brink of divorce. Their problems become insignificant when Clare leaves for a photo shoot into the mountains and doesn’t return. With a blizzard looming, Ethan must move heaven and earth to find her.

Will they get a second chance or lose each other forever?

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Available on:
Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/o4raxml
Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/402961
Barnes & Noble:  http://tinyurl.com/lb5zjv3

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Present day, Paradise Falls, Idaho…

Clare Burke bolted upright in bed.

The hazy light of dawn filtered through the French doors and sent a halo of light over the shimmering image at the foot of the bed.

“Grace.” Two years and two days since her death, and her daughter still came to her, comforted her.

Questions overrode logical thought, but rather than sort through them she blurted out the one that continually weighed on her. “Are you happy?”

Grace smiled that smile that would drive a hermit in search of companionship, then vanished.

Had she been real or imaginary? The lines were as blurred as Grace’s image.

Tears welled in Clare’s eyes, and her heart absorbed a wave of grief. Why had Grace been taken from her? Why her child? All she had left of the daughter she loved were memories. Memories of pursed lips hiding braces, purple-streaked blonde hair and the snort of teenage sarcasm.

The faint light illuminated the sky blue walls. The room should have made her think of wide open spaces, but instead it had become her prison.

She stared at the stack of self-help books on her nightstand. She knew the titles as intimately as she did herself. Learn to Grieve, Living Without Your Loved One and her more recent pick,  The Top Three Reasons Marriages Fail: Finances, Communication, and Emotional Detachment.

The knot wedged in her stomach wound tighter as she stared through a blur of tears at her husband, Ethan, sound asleep, twisted around the down comforter like a deranged pretzel.

When was the last time she’d felt truly connected to him?

Two years and two days.

They’d embraced life back then, now they tolerated it. They were shells of their former selves—colorless imitations of the vibrant couple they’d once been. Back then she would have told him about Grace’s visits. Now they were barely civil to each other. Ethan was here physically. Emotionally, he had become as untouchable as Grace.

The faint shriek of their oldest son, Jack’s, alarm filtered through the adjoining wall.

Tousled brown hair poked above the covers. A pair of matching brown eyes slowly opened and stared back at Clare.

“What time is it?”

Once upon a time that raspy voice had been her idea of a mating call. Now she felt a desperate ache that nothing filled. “Six.”

His knuckles grazed her cheek. “Still a while until we have to get up.”

Clare knew that tone, the darkening of his eyes, the wisp of a smile that had once held the promise of bliss. It would be impossibly easy to say yes, to curl into him and ignore the fact that sex for her had become as tempting as unflavored gelatin.

She pressed his hand to her cheek. “Could we just hold each other and talk instead?” Her words stripped the smile from his face.

He rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling. “Honestly, Clare, I’m all talked out.”

“I’m not.” She desperately wanted to recapture the closeness they’d shared, and the only way she knew how to do it was by talking.

He turned his head to look at her. “You never are.”

Three simple words and their bedroom became a war zone.

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You can contact Kate Curran at:

http://www.katecurran.net
http://www.facebook.com/katecurranauthorpage
http://www.twitter.com/katecurrankate3
http://www.goodreads.com/KateCurran
http://www.katecurran3.blogspot.com/

Categories: Books, dealing with death, death of a child, Love, nature, outdoors, romance, survival, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 11 Comments

Sheep and Writing Stories

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borrowed chickens.

Please welcome my guest KB Inglee. KB writes historical short stories which have appeared in several print anthologies.  Her story “Weavers Trade” placed second in Bethlehem Writers Roundtable. Many of her story ideas come from her job as historical interpreter at two living history museums near her Delaware home. And sheep are often her inspiration.

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When I was 7 my sister was given riding lessons as a Christmas present. How can that be fair when I was the one who devoured every horse book in the library and turned our back yard apple tree into a whole stable of horses? The first story I wrote was about a horse named Star.

Imagine my surprise when I realized my first novel had not one single animal in it. It was set in a time when horses were common forms of transportation. I didn’t have so much as a cat in the kitchen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you are going to write historicals, you need to do the things your characters do. I visited a living history museum near my home and discovered a flock of heritage sheep. I learned to give tours, tell the story of the family that lived there. My first published work (Farmer’s Daughter, Miller’s Son) is a kid’s look at the time period. I hand stitched a set of appropriate clothing. All the while I was longing to get my hands on the sheep. I wanted to do any animal type work my characters might have done: drive oxen, plow with horses, and raise chickens. I don’t remember when I was first invited to work with the sheep, probably I got to feed them when the regular shepherds were out of town. In ten years I worked myself up to head shepherd.

I was of an age where I was happy to move from 1200 pound animals with heavy feet with iron shoes to something smaller which didn’t break bones when it stood on my toes. I have been present at the birth of lambs, had had to put down old and sick animals that have been my friends for years. I can tell you how the industrial revolution changed agriculture and how the market value of sheep has changed over the years. I can process wool from the back of the sheep to the back of the person. I even butchered a sheep.

author vs sheepIf I have a muse at all, it is these animals. Like my protagonist they appear gentle but they will happily knock you down and walk over you if you are in the way. Like my protagonist they are patient and can stand around for hours waiting. If you have food, then they will push and shove to get to it, just as my protagonist will to find the answer to a problem.

If I am stuck for an idea or the way out of a plot problem, all I have to do is stand among the sheep. I can dig my fingers deep into the wool, listen to them breathe, watch them interact with each other and with me and the visitors. It may be a form of meditation.

There are still no animals in my narratives, but I have a whole flock involved in the writing.

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Here are some of KB’s stories, available on Amazon.

Joseph's captivity.

“Joseph’s Captivity”, Untreed Reads, 2012
A grumpy Joseph finds himself exiled, not to Egypt, but to an island
off the coast of Maine in the early colonial period.

Fish Nets.

“Netted”, Fish Nets, Wildside Press, 2013
A pile of string helps uncover a murderer

Magic Bullet.

“The Magic Bullet“, Death Knell V, Infinity Press, 2013
An article in French and an old gun provide the clues to solve a series of armed robberies.

Categories: animals, anthologies, history, living history, Mystery, outdoors, sheep, Short story, suspense, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

A Flight of Marewings

marewings-tour-banner Welcome back everyone. Hope you had a great holiday season. Today my guest blogger Kristen Walker talks about how she learned about horses so she could write about them for her novel A Flight of Marewings.

Fantasy author Kristen S. Walker dreams of being a pirate mermaid who can talk to sharks, but she settles for writing stories for teens and adults. Her new novel, A Flight of Marewings, tells the adventure of a duke’s illegitimate daughter who must stop her father’s murderers–by taming a dangerous monster. A Flight of Marewings is now available in print from Amazon and digitally from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other ebook retailers.

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Writing About Horses Secondhand

When I was a little girl, I loved horses better than anything else. I read every book at the library with a horse on the cover, from Black Beauty to The Red Pony. I collected horse figures and put up posters of horses on my walls. I begged and begged my parents for riding lessons. But my parents said no to riding both for financial and safety reasons, and I had to content myself with looking at horses from afar. Now fast forward a few decades to today and my passion for horses hasn’t really diminished, but I find myself with almost no firsthand experiences with horses.

So writing a book about horses would be crazy, right? I must be crazy, because I was determined not to let my personal lack of knowledge stand in my way. I knew that I wanted to write about marewings (my magical half-horse, half-demon creatures) in a way that would be instantly recognizable to anyone who knew horses. I had to find a way to fake it. Here’s how I did it.

1. Academic research Before the internet, I checked out books at the library. Today, information on everything from grooming to breeding to training horses is only a Google search away. I knew that I had to double-check my facts, because the fictional horses I’d read about could be the products of artistic license or author ignorance. (Fantasy novels are known for a phenomenon called the “motorcycle horse”, where the hero rides all over the fantasy map without stopping to take care of or feed his poor horse–treating them just like a convenient motorcycle!) While I couldn’t find real world information about winged horses, I wanted to base my marewings’ behavior on real horses as close as I could. Accounts of catching and taming wild horses were very important, because catching a marewing is a focal point of my novel.

2. Talking to experienced riders Again, the internet came in handy here, because I don’t know many horse riders personally. But online, there are experienced riders who were happy to answer my questions. And I really loved finding blogs where owners and riders talk about their daily experiences with their horses. They’re full of anecdotes and insights that can only come from hands-on time. Without stories of my own, I could read the stories of others. These were huge for illustrating the special bond between a horse and rider that have worked together for a long time.

3. Watching Horses When I was younger, I used to walk to the bus stop for school, and I passed a paddock with an old gray gelding named Sunny. I could spend hours standing there just watching him. I’ve also been to visit horse ranches and watch other riders work with their horses. There are also great documentaries, and even videos on YouTube that show horse behavior. (Not Hollywood movies, though, because those can be just as wrong as books!) Nothing substitutes for real experience, but we can’t always try everything that we want to write about. The internet makes research easier. And even when you have some experience, it doesn’t hurt to check for things you may not know. And maybe someday I will have the chance to get to know a horse a little better, and write about the experience. I look forward to that day.

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marewings-cover-sm .

Korinna’s life gets turned upside down when the ghost of her father suddenly appears. Her father was duke of Kyratia City and he wanted Korinna to marry his warlord, the foreign mercenary Galenos, and inherit his title–but the city’s Council has other plans. When the Council denies Korinna’s right to rule, she decides to join Galenos’s mercenary company and tame a wild marewing in order to take the city by force. But people whisper that the late duke’s untimely death was murder, an induced madness that forced him to dance himself to death–and now that madness is spreading. Can Korinna become a marewing rider and conquer Kyratia in time to save everyone?

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Available at:  http://www.amazon.com/B00HMTRAJQ/ and other eBook retailers

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To read a sample chapter or check out Kristen’s pirate pictures, please visit kristenwalker.net.

You can talk good books, cats, or medieval cooking with Kristen anytime on Twitter (@KristenSWalker) or Facebook.

Categories: blog hops, Books, fantasy, Horses, Love, Paranormal, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

99¢ E-BOOK SALE

99 book sale

Check out the awesome books–including Wyoming Escape!

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If you enjoy eBooks, over 60 authors have come together to offer their books for .99 for four days only. Get ’em while you can.

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http://99kindle.blogspot.com/

Categories: Books, Christmas, Mystery, Paranormal, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jerrie Alexander

Jerrie Alexander.

Romantic suspense author, Jerrie Alexander, is my guest today and we’re going to switch it up a little. Instead of talking about animals, she’s going to answer some questions, both silly and serious, so we can get to know her better. And she’ll tell us who she’d like to play one of her heroes.

Before we get started I want to remind you of the two promotions I’m part of this month.

The Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt. http://tinyurl.com/n85tvtn

Indie Tribe Special Christmas Showcase. http://tinyurl.com/nxyqbxn

Now to get to our questions:

If you were an animal, what kind would you be? (Can’t stay entirely away from animals.)
Hmm, I wanted to say a dog, but only if I could pick my owner. We have a dog somebody threw away…literally. We found him in our back yard, too weak to lift his head. The vet said he’d been traveling and he’d been bitten by a much larger dog, which wouldn’t take much. Buddy weighs ten pounds. So maybe, I’d be a dolphin. They live as a family, seem to be happy, are playful, and protect each other. A bonus is that I love the ocean.

Who are the important people in your life? Have they influenced your writing?
Without a doubt, my family. We’re a tiny group as neither my husband or I came from large families, but we love each other!
They do influence my writing. My husband has always told me I could do or be anything I wanted. Who could go wrong with that kind of support? One of the last John Wayne type of character, a little of him is in every hero I write. Our daughter critiques my work. She’s invaluable.

What’s your favorite dessert?
Can you say sugar? 🙂 If it is sweet, I’m there. To pick one is like asking which one of my books is my favorite. If I have to choose, Tarimisu. Love it!

What books would you take with you to a desert island?
Other than, “How to Survive on a Desert Island?” Anything written by Linda Howard. I’d throw in a few Elizabeth Hoyt historical romances (she’s my go to when I need a break from romantic suspense.)

What prompted you to write your book? Did you want to say something specific?
I’ve always loved to write. Many, many moons ago, I thought I wanted to be a reporter and studied journalism. My desire to embellish quickly changed to fiction.

Specific? Maybe that women are strong, resilient creatures. My heroines, in spite of bad things happening to her or her loved ones, play a vital role in solving the problems.

What’s your favorite room in your house?
Our living room. There’s nothing special about it to describe. Couch, chairs, fireplace, and big screen TV. But at the end of the day, it’s where we put our feet up and relax together. It’s where we talk to each other.

What is your writing process? (How do you develop your stories?)
I’m a solid panster. I do a profile on each character. I have to  understand each personality, then I decide what the base issue is and to whom. But the story unfolds as I write. Sometimes it generates a lot of rewriting, but as hard as I’ve tried, plotting doesn’t work for me.

If you were a color (red, blue, green, etc.), what would you be?
Red! It’s always been my favorite color. To tell the truth, I have no idea why, but if there’s something on the rack that’s red, it calls to me. 🙂

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t think so. No ritual or lucky yoga pants. My friends and family would tell you differently. I agonize over the beginning of a new book. Searching for something new and fresh, I worry that I’ll never come up with a unique story line. So I’ll pour over FBI profile books and news stories until I find a scenario that I can make mine. I don’t guess that’s a habit…more of a quirk.

Coffee or tea? Beer or wine? Sweet or tart?
Coffee in the morning. Hot green tea during the day.
Most of the time it’s neither. I can drink one glass of wine. Drink two and the next morning, I’ll have a hangover. Hate that feeling!
Sweet! Blue Bell ice cream in particular.

If your book is made into a TV movie, who do you want to play the hero?bailey chase 1
Along with the character profile, I find a picture for each one. In my first book, The Green-Eyed Doll, Bailey Chase would be perfect. He plays Branch, the deputy on Longmire.

What’s your next project?
No Chance in Hell, book three in the Lost and Found, Inc series. It’s Marcus Ricci’s story and I’ve completed eight chapters so there’s a lot more to be done. Marcus carries a big guilt and hasn’t been happy for a long time. He’ll get there, but I make him earn it. 🙂

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Jerrie’s latest book is Cold Day in Hell, book two in her Lost and Found, Inc series.

Cold-Day-In-HellEbook200x300Ex-Army Ranger Tyrell Castillo’s first mission for Lost and Found, Inc. goes awry when his contact is kidnapped, and he’s left scrambling for weapons and explosives. He’ll have to blow up a drug cartel’s compound, rescue the woman, and keep her safe while they cross the sweltering hot Colombian jungle.

Driven by the need for revenge, Ana Maria Vega Cisneros doesn’t want to be rescued. She wants revenge. She’ll risk her life to ensure the drug lord who killed her family suffers the same fate.

The cartel leaves a trail of blood on their hunt for Ty and Ana. When Ty receives the order to kill the drug lord with extreme prejudice, he and Ana will face the enemy head on. Can Ty protect the woman who’s hell bent on vengeance? The woman he’s grown to love?

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Excerpt:

Ana Cisneros stood close to the window. Craning her neck to see outside, she was unaware he’d entered the room. With no time for introduction, he reached around and clamped his hand over her mouth.

As expected, he’d startled her. She fought, slinging her body back and forth like a wet dog. She kicked at him, so he whirled her around and jerked her body snug against his.

“Quit struggling. I’m here to help you,” he whispered, trying to sound reassuring. No doubt, with the flames outside casting an eerie glow, he looked like an alien. A man wearing night-vision goggles, geared up with a pistol on his hip and another in a holster strapped to his thigh, and a rifle over his shoulder would scare most anybody. Not to mention the machete sheathed on his back and the SOG knife in his hand. “Do you understand?”

He took the slight movement of her head as a yes and relaxed the pressure off her lips. His reward? She bit his finger and pummeled his ribs with her free fist.

What the hell? The lamb had attacked the lion. He reapplied the pressure while keeping one eye on the door.

“Stop that,” he commanded, impressed at her bravado.

Even through the lens on the night-vision goggles, he spotted a bruise on her cheek. Heat sizzled up his spine at the bastard who’d hit her.

He’d expected fear or panic to be oozing from her every pore, but didn’t sense either emotion from her. Waves of anger rolled off her.

He didn’t have time to reason with her. And from what he’d seen so far, sweet-talking her was out. “I’m going to remove my hand. If you fight me, I’ll tie and gag you. Got it?”

This time he got a full nod. The expression behind her eyes made him doubt her honesty.

“I don’t have time to argue, so you’ll have to trust that I’m the contact you were supposed to meet in Bogota.” Cautiously, he lifted two fingers from her lips and waited to see if she complied.

“I know who you are,” she hissed. “And you’ve ruined everything.”

“Me? I think you’ve cornered the market on screw-ups.” He quickly assessed her condition. Other than the bruise, she appeared to be unharmed. Long dark hair fell around her shoulders. She wore jeans and a T-shirt.

Damn, she was a little thing. Beautiful, bruised, and pissed. Protecting her as they crossed the sweltering jungle wasn’t going to be easy. This woman was going to make the next few days a living hell.

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Buy Links:
Amazon:  http://goo.gl/nXU8QV   Available in print or Ebook
Barnes & Noble:  http://goo.gl/zTOA2i    Available in print

Contact Jerrie at:
Webpage – http://www.jerriealexander.com
Blog – http://www.jerriealexander.com/category/blog/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jerrie-Alexander /121521571355959?ref=hl
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/jerriealexander
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/jerriealexander
Google+  – https://plus.google.com/u/0/
Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/jerriealexander/

Categories: Books, Cowboys and Lawmen, lawmen, Mystery, outdoors, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 25 Comments

FOREWARNING Excerpt

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Another 5 star review for FOREWARNING

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Magical.
“A great mystery to the very end. Lots of great realistic characters made this book fun and the main character’s talents believable.”

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Forewarning Cover

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Grieving and guilt-stricken after her husband’s suicide, Kasey Martin has closed her energetic healing practice and retreated to her Oregon horse ranch. One night, she rescues a badly injured man, and against her better judgment, uses her neglected skills to save his life. This starts her on an unexpected journey of healing and danger.

Complicating her life is Jim Bradley, an old friend who has long been in love with her and wants her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

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Excerpt:

With each step down the deserted hall to the waiting room, the band around Kasey’s chest drew tighter. The frantic desire to scurry back to her ranch, to run from what she had done, almost made her turn around. She suppressed the urge. She needed to find out if the man would be okay, to find out if she had helped—or hurt—him.

She stopped in the ladies room to wash the blood off her hands and clean up a bit. Her mother’s brown eyes and heart-shaped face stared back at her from the mirror as she dried her hands. But the auburn hair she smoothed and gathered into a low ponytail again was her father’s legacy, as was her empathic sensitivity. He possessed an uncanny ability to understand animals and deal with their problems and had been known as a “horse whisperer” long before the term became popular.

His ability to feel emotions extended to people as well as animals, for which Kasey was grateful. Her breath caught as she thought of his gentle love and support. He’d helped her understand and deal with her sensitivity, showing her it was a gift rather than a curse. How often during this past year she’d wished she could turn to him for help, as she had as a child. That wasn’t possible. He had his own pain to deal with, and she couldn’t burden him with hers.

Leaving the restroom, she continued down to the waiting area. Tonight was the first time she’d been to the hospital since Brian’s death, and the small, chair-filled lounge stirred up painful memories. Memories of the man who had been her life. To her relief, the room was empty, and she chose a seat in a corner where she wouldn’t be easily seen.

Exhaustion dropped her into the chair with unexpected force. She tried to focus on the television in the corner; instead the night’s events kept playing over and over in her mind. The blood on the man’s too-pale face. The raw, charred skin of his palm. Her hands focusing healing energy. Her hands focusing healing energy.

Her legs began a restless dance, so she jumped up to walk off some of the tension. What she really needed was to go for a run. Since that wasn’t possible, she returned to her chair and started a deep breathing exercise—in for four counts, hold two, out for seven counts and hold for two. Eventually the rhythmic pattern took effect. Her eyelids closed, and her head flopped to the side in a restless doze.

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Jim Bradley paused at the door of the waiting room and gazed at the sleeping woman. Damn, she’s lovely. Not that Kasey would agree right now, of course, given her mud-stained jeans, green rubber boots and ratty sweatshirt. To him, she looked wonderful. He let the desire he always suppressed when around her thrum freely through his body. For this moment, he didn’t have to be on guard. For this moment, he could just enjoy looking at her and contemplate a time when he could let her know his heart. Soon, he hoped. Soon.

Kasey shifted in her chair and Jim quickly brought his feelings under control, directing his thoughts to the surgery he had just completed. Now was not the time to reveal his yearning. She had enough to deal with tonight. He pulled his shoulders back and headed into the room.

“You’re going to a get a heck of a stiff neck if you stay kinked like that much longer.”

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Available on Amazon

 
Categories: alternative medicine, dressage, energetic healing, healing, Horses, Mystery, nature, outdoors, Paranormal, riding, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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