After fifteen long, dangerous years in the service, Navy SEAL Clay Pickett is ready for his new mission: build a model sustainable community and show the world an exciting alternative to a consumption-based life. If that means he’s got a deadline to find a wife in order to win the reality TV show that’s filming his sustainable adventure, so be it. He’s got just the woman for the job in mind: beautiful, dedicated Nora Ridgeway.
When Nora left her job as a school teacher in Baltimore to live a simpler, Jane Austen style life in Montana with her friends, she was relieved to escape the escalating threats of violence from an unknown student stalker, but she can’t help feeling she’s abandoned the other high schoolers who put their faith in her. She’s torn about Clay’s advances, too. On the one hand she’s never met anyone like the strong, sexy SEAL. On the other hand, life’s taught her to take relationships slow—and Clay’s on a deadline.
When arson strikes and Nora disappears, Clay knows he’ll need every trick he learned in his time with the SEALs to track her down and save her life.
Can two people caught by their pasts have a chance at a future?
When Clay looked at her like that she thought she could handle anything, but Nora figured it wouldn’t do to let him know the effect he had on her. She was glad that with the big crowd gathering around the empty firepit, the cameras had too much to focus on to be filming them. “We’ve got a lot of work to do before we can think about that,” she warned him.
She bit back a smile. “Why do I get the feeling you were a handful back in school?”
“What makes you think I’m not a handful now?”
Her gaze dropped below his belt buckle. “Several handfuls, from what I’ve seen.” Nora swallowed. Maybe Clay hadn’t heard that.
“Did you seriously just say that out loud?” Clay asked her.
“I think I did.” Nora giggled, tried to cover it up and snorted instead. A laugh escaped her tightly compressed lips. She never said things like that. And she never snorted. Another unladylike sound slipped out.
“Handfuls?” he repeated. He set his plate down. “Handfuls.”
“Several.” Nora giggled again.
“Were you drinking the cooking sherry again?”
“I think Kai slipped me something.” He must have, because suddenly, perched on a log next to Clay, eating solar-cooked stew, she felt—relaxed.
Clay leaned in and kissed her neck. “We can measure those handfuls later if you like.”
“No sex. You’re not supposed to distract me from my work, remember,” she whispered back, his lips sending shivers down her spine.
“I never agreed to any of that.” he agreed. “We can at least cop a lot of feels while you’re writing, right?”
Nora laughed out loud and several heads turned their way. Clay kissed her neck again. “Can we go to your tent right now?” he whispered in her ear.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
NYT and USA Today bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/environmentalist, she ditched her California lifestyle and moved north to laid-back Vancouver Island. Like the characters in her Chance Creek series, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, and is never happier than when planting flowers or creating her next Chance Creek novel. Visit www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, contests and other cool events!
Cora Seton will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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As an author I struggle with plotting, and so I was pleased that today’s guest could share these words of wisdom with us.
To Outline or Not Outline: That Is The Question
I was recently at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in Maryland and was scheduled to appear later in the day inside the same pavilion as the great thriller writer Jeff Deaver. Jeff didn’t speak extensively about his new Lincoln Rhyme book, but instead focused his remarks on his process of writing. As you may know, his books take several twists and turns, often with surprise endings. Jeff spends most of his time not on actual prose composition, but outlining. Over the course of many months, he develops a detailed outline that provides him a scene-by-scene schema for the story he wants to tell.
The other extreme is another great horror/mystery/thriller writer, Stephen King. He will be appearing at the National Book Festival this September in Washington, D.C. The book festival is one of the great programs under my purview at the Library of Congress, and we are very excited about King’s appearance this year. In preparation of his visit and to learn from a master storyteller, I’ve been pouring over his excellent book, On Writing. While his books are no less complex than Jeff Deaver’s, King does not outline. He comes up with a premise for his book (“a popular author is nursed back to health by a crazed fan”) and allows the characters and story to develop as he writes. He may know the endpoint of the story, but how he gets there is part of the ongoing creative process as he writes.
I adopt neither the Deaver or King methodology. My process is somewhere in between. I usually devise a fairly comprehensive outline of the sequence of “big scenes.” My books take place over the course of three or four days, much like Deaver’s. In the outline, I work on the story development based upon the days leading up to my main character (Kit Marshall) solving the mystery. What obstacles can I throw in her path? How do I allow the subplots to develop? When and how does she come across important clues and the dreaded red herrings? I try to put the basics in my outline and work from the sequence I’ve constructed.
I'm nowhere as free form as Stephen King, and definitely less structured than Jeff Deaver. Finding out my process was a happy medium between these best-selling authors somehow comforted me. Perhaps there are virtues of both styles to imitate. After all, structure and creativity are crucial components of a novel. The bottom line is that there are no right answers in writing – the only thing that matters is whether an author tells a good story the reader can’t put down.
Homicide in the House
During a government shutdown, Kit’s congresswoman boss is found standing over the dead body of a top staffer she tangled with in front of the press. The police are about to name her as the prime suspect. The weapon was the Speaker’s gavel, an item entrusted to the congresswoman the previous night. The killer knows Kit is on the case. Can she solve the mystery in time to save her job and her life?
Smartphones are great time wasters. I fiddled with various apps as I waited. The next level of “Angry Birds” was within my grasp when I heard footsteps and voices across the hallway. I got up and stood in the doorway to greet my boss.
From the look on her face, she was not pleased. She charged like a linebacker to the exit of the Speaker’s lair with Jack Drysdale on her heels.
“Stop, Congresswoman Dixon. You’re not listening to reason!” From behind, Drysdale placed his hand on Maeve’s left shoulder in an attempt to prevent her from leaving the suite.
Maeve had impressive reflexes. She turned her body toward him and grabbed his wrist with her right hand. “Don’t touch me! Is this how the Speaker’s staff treat members of the House?” Her voice was loud and filled with vitriol.
The gaggle of reporters who had been relaxing inside the anteroom trailed behind me. This was better than a boring pen and pad session. One of them murmured, “I think that’s Dixon from North Carolina.”
This was not a good development, but Maeve didn’t know that the press had a front row seat to her implosion.
Maeve clutched Drysdale’s wrist for several seconds until she let it go. Apparently her physical assault didn’t intimidate him. He ran ahead and stopped directly in front of her.
Stretching his arms out wide to slow her down, Jack made his last stand. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have done that. Please come back in the office so we can sort this out. You’re a valuable part of this caucus and the Speaker wants to work with you on this deal.”
Maeve shook her head. “You guys in House leadership are typical politicians. You can’t take no for an answer. I’m not ready to make a decision. Now get out of my way.”
Unmoving, Drysdale locked eyes with Maeve. She didn’t look away and squared her shoulders. I could almost feel the tension around me as the reporters anxiously waited for the outcome. What was Maeve going to do? Knee him in the groin if he didn’t back down?
After a moment that seemed like an eternity, Drysdale gave in and stepped aside. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and hurried into the hallway to catch up with her. As we exited the corridor, I glanced back to the doorway where I’d been standing. Every reporter was on his or her phone, ostensibly calling in the most salacious story of the shutdown thus far. A junior member of Congress and the Speaker’s top aide had nearly come to blows in the Capitol. A high school reporter could make that story fly.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She writes the Washington Whodunit series published by Camel Press. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.
Colleen J. Shogan will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/05/vbt-homicide-in-house-by-colleen-j.html
Lady of the Moon is currently FREE on Amazon
Lady of the Moon is part one of The Silver Wheel, which is also available on Amazon
It is the story of a young Celtic woman, Sirona, who comes of age at a time when the Romans are conquering Britain. As she enters into womanhood Sirona starts to have visions. What these visions mean is a mystery, but as they become more frequent they lead her into situations that alter the course of her life. She finds friends and allies, but also makes enemies.
From the first page I was totally enchanted. Mary Gillgannon describes a world that is both fascinating and historically accurate. Her writing flows from the first word to the last sentence.
I’m going to purchase The Silver Wheel so that I can read the end of Sirona’s story. Lady of the Moon is well worth downloading.
Heads turn when milliner Missy Dubois waltzes into town to set up shop on the Great River Road in Louisiana. Heaven only knows the brides who get married in the grand old mansions there could use a bit of help.
But then Missy discovers a murder among the magnolias, and even the worst “bridezilla” seems suddenly tame.
Time rewound with each footfall as I began to climb the grand outer staircase at Morningside Plantation. The limestone steps, burdened with the history of five generations, heaved their way toward heaven.
At the top lay a wide-plank verandah supported by columns painted pure white, like the clouds. By the time I took a third step, the digital camera in my right hand began to dissolve into the sterling silver handle of a ladies parasol. The visitors’ guide in my left hand magically transformed into a ballroom dance card bound by a satin cord.
Another step and the Mississippi River came into view as it flowed to the Gulf, languid as a waltz and the color of sweet tea. Could that be a whistle from a steamboat ferrying passengers past the plantation? If so, a turn and a wave wouldn’t be out of the question once I reached the top of the stairs, and good manners would dictate it.
I was about to do that when I realized the whistle was only my friend’s cell and not a Mississippi riverboat. “Ambrose! Turn that thing off. Honestly.”
“Sorry.” He shrugged. “I always forget you were Scarlett O’Hara in a past life.”
The mood was broken, though, and the sterling silver in my hand returned to plastic while the linen dance card hardened to a glossy brochure.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sandra Bretting works as a freelance feature writer under contract to the Houston Chronicle. She received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and wrote for other publications (including the Los Angeles Times and Orange Coast Magazine) before moving to Texas.
Her Missy DuBois Mysteries series debuts from Kensington/Lyrical Underground in May 2016. Bretting’s previous mysteries include Unholy Lies (2012) and Bless the Dying (2014). Readers can reach her online at www.sandrabretting.com and through Facebook at www.facebook.com/sandra.bretting.
Sandra Bretting will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2016/04/vbt-murder-at-morningside-by-sandra.html
First Three Pages of Seismic Crimes
Hey, everyone! Iâm going to keep this short since the excerpt is so long. Seismic Crimes is Book Two in the Disaster Crimes Series and my first novel. To celebrate, I thought Iâd entice you *wink* with the first three pages.
Beth didnât die.
The anxious weatherman forecasting Hurricane Sabrinaâs arrival was wrong. She didnât even die at the big, slightly calloused hands of Donovan Goldwyn, as she had thought she would. Accused of killing his brother, Donovan had shown all the signs of being a murderer, but she later realized he wasnât a killer despite his suspicious mannerisms. Together, they had taken down one of the police officers responsible for killing Donovanâs brother, but one of the killers got away.
Now they were paddling her canoe through the floodwaters leftover from Hurricane Sabrina. Seeing the devastation all around broke Bethâs heart. A tree had fallen onto a house they passed, severing the house in half. She wished they could stop there to see if anyone needed help, but they had to get to the Orlando Police Department as soon as possible.
With great regret and a silent prayer the owners had evacuated, she looked away to see even more destruction. Some houses appeared untouched by Sabrinaâs wrath, but many hadnât been so lucky. Roofs had been ripped off; lawn decorations and furniture, that hadnât been moved inside, had been thrown everywhere, as if Sabrina had thrown a tantrum. Even a childrenâs swing set had been knocked over.
Beth looked away from the heartbreaking scene and forced her gaze to stay glued ahead as she paddled with their only oar. In front of her, Donovan used a shovel. As the canoe cut through the water, time blurred.
Her arms and neck were burning with fatigue by the time they reached the police department. Donovan pulled the canoe up the steps and held out his hand to her. Her knees shook as she stood and stepped onto solid ground. Standing in front of Donovan, her hand in his, she looked up at him. She couldnât imagine the turmoil he was going through inside, but she could see signs of it. His brows were drawn, his eyes streaked with red lightning bolts. She reached up with her free hand and laid it against his cheek.
He put his hand over hers and then pulled her in for a soft kiss. When he inched back, he whispered in her ear, âThis may sound crazy, but I love you.â
Beth gazed into his eyes, saw it was true. Her heart twirled in relief.
âI love you, too.â She glanced at the police department. âAre you ready for this?â
His jaw tensed. âDoesnât matter if I am or not, this needs to be done.â
Hand in hand, they walked inside. Five officers stood near the entrance, guzzling water from bottles and listening to the reports coming in on their radios. A woman manned the front desk. She answered the phone that never stopped ringing. Beth couldnât imagine how many calls were coming in on the emergency lines. Hundreds of people were probably calling for help, but the police wouldnât be able to respond to every call, not in their squad cars with this flood. During past hurricanes, the State Emergency Rescue Team went out in trucks and boats to rescue stranded people and they would have to again.
A few civilians, who had to ride out the storm in the department, milled about anxiously. The mingled scents of stale coffee and sweat teased Bethâs nostrils. Large ovals of perspiration spread beneath the officersâ arms and trickled down their backs. They looked as though they were about to dissolve into puddles. Although the generators were working, the A/C was weak, and the air inside the station was more humid than outside.
The officersâ heads swiveled to Donovan and Beth when they stepped through the doors. Their heat-exhausted faces registered surprise.
âHoly shit,â one of them said. âThatâs Donovan Goldwyn!â
In the next instant, the five officers rushed toward him, their guns drawn. Donovan put up his hands. Two officers grabbed his arms, wrenching them behind his back to restrain him. âDonovan Goldwyn, youâre under arrest for the murder of Ryan Goldwyn.â
Title: Seismic Crimes
Author: Chrys Fey
Series: Disaster Crimes Series (Book Two)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Format: Digital and Print
Page Count: 282
An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricaneâBeth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.
Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she canât deny what she feels for him. Itâs her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminalâs crosshairs.
When a tip reveals the killer's location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?
HURRICANE CRIMES 99Â¢ SALE!