Posts Tagged With: romantic suspense

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

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

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

spaceneedleMy guest today is Mitzi Flyte. Mitzi enjoys saying that she got her first writing rejection more than fifty years ago at the age of 12. (Now you know how old she is) That rejection didn’t stop her from writing. Even being a Registered Nurse didn’t stop her. Mitzi’s been published in short story and poetry anthologies and in the local newspaper. She also had an erotic novella published under a pen name (she was still employed at the time). Retired from nursing, Mitzi spends her time online and writing. And, oh, yeah, she’s returned to school to get a BA in Professional Writing. Mitzi lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter who are also writers, an assortment of cats (not enough to be called “crazy”) and a dopey hound dog.

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Before we get to Mitzi’s post, I’d like to put in a small promo for the Winter Wonderland Scavenger Hunt put on by Night Owl Reviews. A group of authors, including me, are offering gift baskets to lucky winners. Prizes include gift cards, signed books, eBooks, jewelry, swag and even a Kindle. This is your chance to find great authors and books and win something too. Visit their site and sign up.  http://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Pages/Articles/Winter-Wonderland-2013

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“Who’s afraid of The Big Bad Wolf?”
“I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.”small__5425196221

“My, Grandma, what big teeth you have…”
“All the better to eat you with…”

We grew up with these tales of wolves.

But are wolves really bad-actors?

Throughout history humans have feared the wolf because it is a large predator. At 100 pounds for a male and slightly less for a female, a wolf is about the size German Shepherd. They are usually a mottled gray in color but can be black, reddish brown and even white. They are pack predators that can and do target domestic herd animals such as goats and sheep. However, since records started being kept in the 1800s there has been no documented case of a healthy wolf attacking a human—any recorded attacks were by a rabid wolf or a wolf-dog hybrid. Wolves are naturally afraid of humans and tend to “disappear” into their surroundings when humans are nearby.

Throughout American history wolves have been feared by the farmer and rancher. Over the years that fear decimated the wolf population in North America, which is slowly returning. In parts of Europe wolves were hunted to extinction.

The wolf is a pack animal; the pack consists of an adult pair and their offspring. It takes a pack to raise the pups. The alpha pair may even “adopt” offspring of other wolves.

They have a wide area for hunting prey, are very territorial and will defend that territory to the death.

Humans have taught the wolf survival skills. During the 1800s when the bison were being exterminated by hunters, wolves learned to listen for the gunshots, wait until the bison was skinned and then they would go in to feed on the carcass. In more modern times when wolves were hunted from the air, they learned to avoid wide-open spaces when there was the sound of an airplane.

Once on the endangered lists, their numbers are growing; however, there continues to be a backlash against these animals. To learn more and to help in the preservation of wolves in the wild, go to:

https://www.facebook.com/wolfwatcher.org
http://www.lakotawolf.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lakota-Wolf-Preserve/249291433960
http://wolfsanctuarypa.org/

Inescapably, the realization was being borne in upon my preconditioned mind that the centuries-old and universally accepted human concept of wolf character was a palpable lie… From this hour onward, I would go open-minded into the lupine world and learn to see and know the wolves, not for what they were supposed to be, but for what they actually were.

-Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

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small__2475444361The Guardian Prophecy by Mitzi Flyte– release February 2014

If everything we were told about wolves is false, then what about what we were told about werewolves.

Zoologist Kate Riley has spent several days testifying before Congress about the effects of climate change on North American animals and returns home to help an investigation of an unusual death, possibly done by a wolf. Kate owns a wolf preserve in the Pennsylvania mountains and can account for each one in the preserve. Patrick Brendan, another specialist, is brought onto the case and believes that the killer may be more than just an animal.

As the death toll mounts, Kate finds herself being stalked by memories of a distant past and a chilling evil. She begins to doubt Brendan and her own scientific knowledge. Is the killer more than an animal? Is Brendan more than who he says he is? And why is she drawn to a man who could be a murderer?

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You can contact Mitzi at:

http://www.mitziflyte.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MitziFlyteAuthor

https://twitter.com/mitziflyte

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/5425196221/”>Tambako the Jaguar</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucumari/2475444361/”>ucumari</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Categories: Mystery, outdoors, Paranormal, Romantic suspense, Uncategorized, Werewolves, Wolves | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Animal Instincts

Patricia RosemoorWebUSA Today Bestselling Author Patricia Rosemoor has written 95 published novels that have generated more than seven million sales for eight publishers. Her fascination with “dangerous love” has led her to bring a different mix of thrills and chills and romance to each book. ANIMAL INSTINCTS and CRIMSON DUET (2 related holiday novels at a discounted price) are now available at digital retailers.

Welcome Patricia!

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What fun, a blog that specializes in books with horses, romance and mystery. I’ve done a few of those myself, including BORN TO BE WILD for Entangled last year. And my new Entangled Ignite, ANIMAL INSTINCTS, definitely has animals, but, alas, no horses.

            The vet was blocking my line of sight. I looked down beyond her. A wounded animal lay on the ground. Not a dog, but what looked like a scrawny coyote, its side open and soaked with blood. What was a wild animal doing here? Where had it come from?AnimalInstincts500 FINAL

I went around the camera equipment and was able to sense its heartbeat. Wanting to know if it was aware, I tuned in to it and got the weirdest sensation…help me…please…almost as if I could hear what it was thinking rather than seeing images as I normally did.  Animals never communicated with me like that.

            …hurt…can’t move…hide…

            A little spooked, I rubbed my arms and thought, We’re going to help you…won’t let you die. Then I looked to the vet.

            “Um, in case you didn’t realize it, the coyote’s alive and needs your help.”

            “It’s still alive?” The vet zeroed in on the animal. “Don’t get too close.” And glanced up at me. “Oh, it’s you.”

            “Skye Cross,” I said, but she didn’t volunteer her name.

            She knew my face like I knew hers. I had a habit of showing up when animals were in trouble, so many of the ACC vets and officers recognized me on sight.

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Skye Cross is a pet supply store owner and animal rescuer. At the beginning of ANIMAL INSTINCTS, she thinks she’s seeing that rescued dogs from a fight are safe. But they’re not dogs, they’re predators. Later she learns they’re something else altogether, and hero Luc Lazare is one of them!

bigstock-Black-Leopard--Years--4788401I loved writing this book. Actually, it practically wrote itself.

Of all the heroines I’ve written, I identify most closely with Skye. I’ve had a lifelong love with animals. Didn’t always have them because I was “allergic” and my parents wanted me to stay away from them. So I had an outside cat. When I was older, my parents did get me a dog. But once I was on my own, I started adopting cats and rescuing them from the streets of Chicago. My husband and I rescued a few dogs, too, one of whom made his home with us.

My love of animals brought me to the Lincoln Park Zoo so often that I decided to volunteer there, which I did for eleven years. And while I was still at the zoo, I decided to volunteer at the brand new PAWS Chicago adoption center. I helped socialize cats who were usually wary of humans, and helped convince visitors to adopt now. Many cats and dogs had been taken off the street by Animal Control, and on a daily basis, PAWS went to AC and took the adoptables.

PAWS also sponsored some Humane Society of Illinois meetings about passing laws against dogfighting. Wanting to spread awareness of this terrible practice, I thought to write a story in which murders were linked to dogfighting, but I became convinced that it would be a hard sell, so I switched it to shifter fights, with seeming wild animals as the combatants.

The holidays from Thanksgiving to the New Year is a time of giving, and I’m hoping that this year, those of you who can will support an animal shelter or sanctuary or zoo, whether it is by volunteering, buying gifts that help the organization or by donation. Here are a couple of places that I support:

PAWS Chicago, with it’s adoption center, spay and neuter clinic, and at the forefront of animal advocacy.

Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the last free zoos in the country.

And for all you horse lovers, the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, where I did on-site research (South Dakota) for TOUCH ME IN THE DARK, my third book in The McKenna Legacy series.

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ANIMAL INSTINCTS buy links:
Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ko2lqu9
BN: http://tinyurl.com/kftlhhd
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/m2uvz2r
iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/m99o29p

You can find Patricia at
Website: http://patriciarosemoor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaRosemoorAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PRosemoor

Categories: Books, Dogs and cats, fantasy, Love, Mystery, Paranormal, romance, Romantic suspense, shape shifters, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

A DREAM COME TRUE

GloriaToday I’d like to welcome Gloria Alden author of the Catherine Jewell mystery novels The Blue Rose and Daylilies for Emily’s Garden. Gloria is a former third grade teacher who is spending her retirement writing short stories and novels. Her published short stories include “Cheating on Your Wife Can Get You Killed,” winner of the 2011 Love is Murder contest; “Mincemeat is for Murder” which appeared in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, “The Professor’s Books” in the FISH TALES Anthology; and “The Lure of the Rainbow” in FISH NETS, the newest Guppy Anthology. Her latest novel Ladies of the Garden Club will be coming out soon.

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A DREAM COME TRUE

When I was a young girl, I galloped everywhere hitting my thigh to go faster on my imaginary horse. I galloped through fields and woods leaping logs, galloped across the road to my cousin’s house or to my grandparents farm and sometimes further down the road to another cousin’s house. Sometimes I rode Wildfire, and sometimes it was Thunderhead or Flicka or another horse in my stable of horses. I dreamed of someday having a ranch in the west with hundreds of horses.

I think my love of horses came from the story my dad told of a pony he rode one summer in the mining town in Pennsylvania where he grew up. My grandfather was foreman of the mining stable. The superintendent of the mine bought a beautiful black pony for his son, and it was kept in the mining stable. The pony tossed the boy the first time he tried to ride it so the superintendent asked my father, about the same age as his son, to ride and gentle it. All summer my father rode that pony, but the superintendent’s son never got over his fear of it so the pony was eventually sold.

During my galloping period, I read every horse book in my small rural library numerous times, and at Christmas I usually got a horse book, too. I dreamed of horses and drew pictures of horses, but I was thirty-eight years old before I finally got my first horse. My husband heard of a horse for sale and took me to see it. Of course, I fell in love with that strawberry roan paint. I thought he was beautiful. A few days later he was delivered. We had no barn, no saddle or bridle or even a lead rope. We did have hay, grain and a water bucket.

We put him in a shed and a few days later my husband and young teenage sons started building a barn – a large barn with five stalls. A week after my horse arrived, I now had a saddle and bridle.  I was ready for my first ride on my very own horse. Now, mind you, my riding had been very limited over the years. Mostly it was while we were on vacation and found a riding stable where you paid for an hour ride with a group on trails following a guide. Seldom did we move out of a walk, but maybe we’d trot a little and once in a great while gallop for a few minutes. Neither my husband nor I had ever saddled a horse, but we’d watched while these trail horses were saddled so we knew how to do it. Or so we thought.

As soon as the horse was saddled, I mounted and headed down a trail into the woods beside our home. He was a high stepper and both of us were eager to be out and on the trail. I was euphoric. His ears were perked forward interested and curious as we went along. And then I turned him around to head back. Maybe I should have thought twice about buying a horse named Rebel because as soon as we were heading back, he took the bit in his mouth, and I couldn’t slow him down. He was heading home, and just where that home was in his mind, I didn’t know. It was then I felt the saddle slip. I learned from that experience, you always tighten the girth, wait a bit for the horse to relax and then tighten it more. Anyway the saddle slipped and ended up under Rebel. Fortunately, I was able to kick my feet free from the stirrups and landed on the ground still holding onto his reins so he didn’t end up in some other county. He jumped about trying to get rid of that thing, but fortunately, I was able to unbuckle the saddle and not get kicked or stepped on.

So at the end of my first ride on my very own horse, I walked home with a saddle on my back now leading a docile horse. It wasn’t exactly the way I had envisioned that first ride. Eventually, Rebel was sold. He was a rebel. Over the years there were other horses and ponies. Once we had five at one time, one we boarded for a friend. My four kids joined 4H, and I became proficient at saddling and caring for horses. I learned to pull a horse trailer to take them to shows and for riding lessons and even took riding lessons, too.ponies2

Then there came a day when I had to move. I had to sell my last two horses because I didn’t have the money to put new fencing around the pasture of the small farm I bought. The house needed too many repairs and the barn needed a new roof. But my love of horses never went away. However, I down sized the dream. Now I have two totally useless small ponies – sisters – that I rationalize keeping as being compost makers for my gardens, but it’s really because I love them.

What dream did you have when you were young? Did it ever come true?

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blueRose_flatIn The Blue Rose Catherine Jewell enjoys the small quiet town she’s recently moved to where she’s a botanist at Elmwood Gardens and also has a small garden center, Roses in Thyme. At least she does until she discovers a body with a garden fork in his back at Elmwood Gardens. John MacDougal, the police chief of Portage Falls, has never had to deal with a murder in his ten years as police chief. As he questions the suspects, many who are Catherine’s co-workers and friends, she works to divert his suspicions elsewhere since she’s sure none of them could be the murderer. When another body is discovered, they start working together, and in spite of their inexperience and several close calls with death, they solve the murders and restore calm to the little town of Portage Falls.

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In Daylilies for Emily’s Garden Catherine Jewell is excited about restoring the gardens at the estate ofdaylilies_frontPreview1 the reclusive Emily Llewellyn. Everything for this project is arranged through Charles McKee, her secretary and companion. Catherine’s curiosity of this eccentric recluse is piqued when her only contact with Emily is through brief glimpses of her through a window before she quickly disappears. Catherine’s excitement dims a little when she discovers a dead body. Meanwhile other unsettling events are going on in Portage Falls. A bypass coming closer to town threatens wet lands and the residents are divided on the next phase of the construction.  When environmental activist Bruce Twohill comes to save the wetlands some consider him a savior while others like Police Chief John MacDougal are suspicious of this stranger. Another dead body is discovered and the buzz around town thinks it’s connected with the first body.  Returning characters from The Blue Rose plus new and interesting or quirky characters add color to the small town of Portage Falls in this second book in The Catherine Jewell Mystery Series.

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Both books are available on Amazon and Smashwords

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You can contact Gloria at:
Website: www.gloriaalden.com
http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com

Categories: Horses, Mystery, nature, outdoors, ponies, riding, Romantic suspense, Trail riding, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Cats In my Stories

Welcome Andrew McRae today as he talks about how cats slip into his stories.

Andy-PG-Small

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Andrew  is a misplaced Midwesterner who rolled downhill to the San Francisco Bay a quarter-century ago. He is the author of Murder Misdirected (2012) from Mainly Murder Press and “The Case of the Murderous Mermaid and Other Stories” (2013) a collection of whimsical murder mysteries. He has had numerous short stories published in the past few years; notably “Felony at Farquhar Farms” in the collection “The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping” (2012) and “Frankenstein and The Spanish Nun” in the collection “Moon Shot” (2013), both published by Untreed Reads.

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Cats have a way of slipping into my stories, the way cats do. I usually don’t plan on a cat appearing in a story when I first set out to write it, but cats are good at sneaking into places not intended for them, as anyone who has ever lived with a cat knows.

There is a bookstore cat in my novel, Murder Misdirected. His name is Junior and he is handsome, as all male cats are. He sees it as his duty to greet customers and welcome them to his store. Junior also enjoys sunning himself in the bookstore windows and lying on the upper bookshelves of the store where he can keep a close eye on things.

Junior is based totally and completely on the real Junior, a cat who helped me with the writing of that novel. He did this by insisting on keeping my lap from being empty and cleverly batting the keyboard and mouse to see what improvements to my writing might result. Naturally, I in turn attribute any and all typos to Junior, not that that bothers him.

I have to admit that I received more comments about Junior from early readers of the manuscript than most of the other secondary characters. This was especially true during a particularly harrowing chapter in which all the main characters, including Junior, are in deadly danger. “No, not the cat!” was a typical comment.

In my recently completed sequel to that novel, so new as not to have a title settled on, Junior is back, furry as ever and even more pleased with himself.

In my collection of whimsical short mysteries, “The Case of the Murderous Mermaid and Other Stories” another cat makes an appearance. Her name is Precious. She has one eye, sharp claws, and she is based on a cat who lived with the pleasantly wacky mother of a friend of mine, and is the basis of a character, herself, in the story.

However, it is another cat who shows up most often in my stories, one that is not based on any cat with whom I have ever been acquainted in what passes for my real life.

She is a black and white cat of indeterminate age and origin. She is pretty, as all female cats are, but she has no set name. In a series of children’s stories about a toy poodle named Spot, she is simply called “Kitty Cat” and she has a way of disappearing, as all cats do, as she walks away with her tail straight up in the air. She also has a habit annoying Spot by slowly winking one eye at him. Woof!

In a series of stories in the slip-stream genre I have written, The Black and White Cat is sometimes seen strolling in the story’s background, while other times she is perhaps, but only perhaps, a mysterious entity who serves as the catalyst for the story’s action.

In a middle grade novel that I am finishing this month, The Black and White Cat is the cause of two children going back in time (and returning safely, of course.) That cat certainly gets around!

In one of her most tenuous appearances, she shows up in a science fiction mystery story titled, “Frankenstein and The Spanish Nun”. This story will be in the soon to be released “Moon Shot” anthology of short stories from Untreed Reads. There is a young woman in my story with the first name of Katrina, or ‘Kat’ for short. She makes her entrance in the story wearing a black and white headscarf. Cats can be so sneaky at times!

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MD-BookCoverMurder Misdirected is the story of a pickpocket who one day picks the wrong pocket and finds himself on the run from the police, the FBI, and a killer.

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MurderousMermaidPosterThe Case of the Murderous Mermaid and Other Stories is a collection of three whimsical stories of mystery and murder.

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The Case of the Murderous Mermaid and Other Stories
Murder Misdirected
Available now in paperback and ebook from Mainly Murder Press,
Amazon and Untreed Reads.

Categories: Bookstores, Cats, Dogs and cats, Mystery, Short story, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , | 7 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.

***

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

Those Doodle Dogs

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Judy 2 (2)Today I’d like to welcome Judy Alter, best selling author of the Kelly O’Connell and Blue Plate Cafe mysteries. You can read  a short excerpt from her most recent release, DANGER COMES HOME, below.
First, in keeping with the animal theme of this blog, Judy is going to talk about her “doodle dogs.” I’m sure you’re just as curious as I am as to what those are.

Welcome Judy.

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I have had and loved dogs all my life—a few Cairn terriers (which we showed) but mostly big dogs—collies, labs, a Labradoodle_Brown (2)couple of Irish wolfhounds, bearded collies, and most recently, an Aussie. When I first saw a labradoodle, I fell in love with the gentle giant—he reminded me of my Irish wolfhounds. I decided then and there I had to have one, cost be darned. They were bred to be hypoallergenic service dogs and have the dispositions to make great companions.

By the time I was ready to get another dog (I still had an aging Aussie), it wasn’t cost that did me in—it was age. My older brother, a physician, advised sternly that a woman of my age (seventy-plus, thank you very much) had no business with an 80 to 100 lb. dog. He was right. I didn’t even walk Scooby, the Aussie, because he pulled me down twice in his unquenchable need to herd everything from school buses to strollers, from UPS trucks to motorcycles. Reluctantly I agreed.

Then I found a kennel that raised mini Labradoodles—bred from miniature poodles. I studied the Web site, corresponded with the owners, and finally sent a deposit. The big day came when the puppies were ready to meet their forever families—and for us, it was a family affair. One son, two daughters, and three grandchildren went with me. The Labradoodles were six weeks old and had just wakened from a nap; they were loving and sweet but quiet, and not one wormed its way into my heart. The owner casually mentioned she had one bordoodle left (border collie and poodle) and brought in a black bundle of energetic playfulness. She chased balls, she played with toys, she licked each of us in joyful exuberance—and she got her spot in my heart right then. She was eight weeks old, and we brought her home that day.Sophie on her first day with us (2)

Scooby, the Aussie, would have nothing to do with her at first, but gradually they really bonded, and he undertook to train her a bit. I only saw him turn on her once, when she tried to steal his treat, and she scooted away quickly, whimpering. When Scooby died, she grieved, slept in his bed, and briefly abandoned her house manners.

Sophie is two-and-a-half now, still full of exuberance. When one of her favorite people—my daughter, my grandson, the lawn guy, or the groomer—arrives, she is ecstatic with enthusiasm, barking, growling, howling (I’ve never known a dog with so many vocal intonations). She loves to play in the house and chase critters outside. I don’t walk her because at 35 lbs. she would easily pull me down in her zeal to chase another dog or a squirrel. Other than that and jumping on peoSophie 8.30.2013ple to tell them how much she loves them, she is well behaved—sits, stays, housebroken, crate-trained, a joy to have. When I work at my desk, she lies at my feet—until she decides she’s had enough of that and it’s playtime. Then she gives a “ruff” and presents me with a toy to toss.

I always think I love the current dog more than any other (except one classic collie I will never forget), but, truly, I do love this dog.

Every night, we sit on the floor and have a little conversation and a lot of petting, and every morning we wake up to a little talk. It starts the day off right to say good morning to my doodle dog.

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Now here is a bit about Judy’s most recent release, DANGER COMES HOME. Available on Amazon and other Ebook retailers.

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 Danger-MD (2).

In Danger Comes Home, dogs, drugs and death take Kelly O’Connell on a wild ride with a runaway girl and her abused mother, a relapsed former gangsta, and a drug-dealing gang in her own neighborhood. Add in an imperious recluse for variety, and as usual Kelly’s life is anything but calm. Husband Mike Shandy is right: she has a talent for trouble.

 

Excerpt

And so we chattered away about plans for the summer as we rounded the corner onto Magnolia. Pony Tail leaned against the building, idly watching us, and didn’t move. Thus began the longest two-block walk I’ve ever taken. I couldn’t ask Mona if she was as wired as I was, but I felt as though my back had a bull’s eye painted on it. Each time we took a step forward, I told myself we were that much closer to the office, but half of me didn’t believe we’d ever make it. There were people on the street ahead of us, and I didn’t dare turn around to see if Pony Tail—or anyone else—was behind us.

“You’re walking too fast,” Mona said. “Dead giveaway, slow down and tell me what you’re cooking for supper tonight.”

Wow! She’s better than I am at this. She’s probably had more practice.

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You can learn more about Judy and her numerous publications at:  http://www.judyalter.com

And catch her blogs at:  http://www.judys-stew.blogspot.com
and:  http://potluckwithjudy.blogspot.com

Categories: Books, Dogs and cats, Judy Alter, Love, Mystery, nature, Puppies, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

FOREWARNING – Free Sept. 19-23

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FOREWARNING – Free on Amazon, Sept. 19-23!!

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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.

.

.

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.

***

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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Free on Amazon, Sept. 19-23!!

Categories: alternative medicine, dressage, energetic healing, healing, horse personalities, Horses, Mystery, nature, outdoors, Paranormal, riding, romance, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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