#CrimeTime ~ Evil Lives Here ~ “Evil Undercover”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $2.00 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

Evil Lives Here, Season 5, Episode 3, Evil Undercover

Westminster, Colorado, August 2003

Lori McLeod and her first husband divorced when their daughter, Kaysi, was four years old. Lori was not looking for a relationship when she met Scott Kimball at casino in Blackhawk, Colorado. His mom was in a wheelchair, and he moved furniture so she could sit and play and Lori was impressed, thinking that it showed what a kind, caring person he was. They struck up a conversation. Scott had two young sons, but he only had them part time. He told her he worked for the FBI. She thought, if the FBI trusts him, why couldn’t she?

She was reluctant to allow someone in, but they got close quickly and she trusted him, even though she found him a bit secretive. They would stay at her house, and he would leave in the middle of the night. He told her he was working undercover and went on to say, even though it was breaking the rules, he would tell her details. He said he was working a case where a girl named Jennifer was killed by drug dealers. He said that, for her own safety, he couldn’t tell her exactly where he was going and what he was doing.

 

Lori McLeod

The first time Lori went to Scott’s house, she was a bit taken aback. Based on the feminine décor, she could tell it had been decorated by a woman.  She asked if he’d decorated it or if he had a wife. He explained that the house belonged to his friend, Jennifer, and he was leasing it while she was away. She asked if it was the missing girl in the case he was working. He said no, they just have the same name. There were no female personal items to make her think someone was living there, so she wasn’t all that suspicious.

Their relationship became more serious, and he found a farmhouse for them to live in. Their kids met one another and got along well. One day, Scott asked Lori to deposit a check for him. In the memo line was the name ‘Jennifer’ and she thought it must be related to the case he was working on.

One night, they’d been to casino and they were walking to the car when several police cars converged on them and arrested Scott. He was home the next day and explained that it was just part of what he was doing for the FBI.

After they moved in together, Lori started to see a more hateful side of him. He seemed to enjoy killing prairie dogs that roamed around the area. As he focused on one, he’d say ‘this is my mom,’ then he would kill it with a pellet gun, then say ‘this is my brother,’ and ‘your turn, Dad.’ One day, she said, “Please tell me one of those prairie dogs doesn’t have my face on it,” and he said, “I wouldn’t shoot you. No, I’d do something really special for you.” She wasn’t sure if he was kidding

He appeared to be a great father but, as she got to know him, she saw that he could be cruel. He was out with his boys one day and the younger one ran into the house yelling for her to call 911. He said his brother was hurt. Scott came running toward them with his son in his arms. He explained that a storm grate had fallen on him. While she was on the phone with 911, she saw Scott’s truck heading out and knew that he was taking his son to the hospital. When she arrived at the hospital, the child was covered in blood. She was confused, because the doctor said the injuries were from a fall. She said “No, a storm grate fell on him.” Scott explained that, on the way to the hospital, the boy was getting sick and he tried to open the window but accidentally opened the door and fell out. The little boy almost died and was in a medically induced coma. When he was able to speak, the first thing he said was, “Why did Dad do this to me? I don’t know why he pushed me.” Lori was stunned and horrified The neuro surgeon said the child had a brain injury and didn’t know what he was saying. Lori was worried but believed the doctor. Why would Scott be taking him to the hospital if he wanted to hurt him?

One day, Scott’s Uncle Terry came to live with them. Lori didn’t like it. The man gave her the creeps, but she tolerated his presence. She arrived home one night to find that the furniture had been moved around and their white sofa was outside by pool. She asked what happened and Scott told her that Terry’s dog got sick on the sofa. He explained that Terry had hit won a lottery and took off with his stripper girlfriend. Lori found the story hard to believe, but she didn’t question it because she was glad he was out of her house.

After Lori’s daughter, Kaysi, graduated from high school, she moved out of the home. Her new roommate introduced her to crystal meth. She struggled with her addiction for a while but finally got clean, found a job, and moved back home. Things seemed to be going well until the day Scott showed Lori a vial of drugs and said he’d found it in the house. Lori knew that neither she nor Scott did drugs, so they had to belong to Kaysi. Brokenhearted, not wanting to see her child die from drug use, Lori confronted her. Kaysi swore they weren’t hers and pleaded with her mother to believe her. Lori was certain she was lying. Lori planned to take Kaysi to the police station and asked Scott to watch her while she grabbed some things.  When she got downstairs, Scott said, “She’s waiting it the car.” But, they got outside and Kaysi was nowhere to be found.  Days went by and Lori didn’t hear from her daughter—nor had anyone else. Lori searched but couldn’t find her. She tried to file a missing persons report but the police wouldn’t file it since Kaysi was over 18 and it was ‘her right to be missing.’ Scott reassured Lori, telling her to calm down, just let her do her thing, she’ll come back.

Lori married Scott the same month Kaysi disappeared.

Not long after Kaysi went missing, her boyfriend, CB, called and told Lori that he and Kaysi had been staying at a motel and Scott had been paying for it and taking Kaysi to work. Lori didn’t believe it at first, but CB said that the day she disappeared from Lori’s house, Scott gave her money and put her on her bike, and she took off. The last day Kaysi was seen, Scott had taken her to work, and she never came back. Lori confronted Scott and he denied it and said CB was a liar and a drug addict. He said, “If I pass a polygraph, can we just never talk about it again?” She agreed and Scott seemed surprised. She believes he expected her to think that, if he was willing to take the test, he must be telling the truth. He took the polygraph and passed every question except “Do you know where Kaysi is?” He explained that it was probably because he was the last one to see her (at their house that day Lori was going to take her to the police) and knew where she’d disappeared from. Lori believed him.

Kaysi McLeod

One day, Scott told Lori that he went into Kaysi’s room and found that her make up case gone and her necklace that CB had given her was hanging on her doorknob. Scott suggested she’d left it there as a clear message that she wanted it given back to CB because she was done with him. He said, “She doesn’t want you to call the police on her. She’ll come around when she’s ready.” Lori was relieved. It meant her daughter was okay. She left money on the bed in case she came back to the house. But Kaysi never took the money.

A year after Kaysi went missing, Scott didn’t come home one night. A detective knocked on Lori’s door and asked where he was. Lori said, “He’s on a case working for you. I’m sure your office can track him down.” He said, “Scott doesn’t work for us, he’s an informant. He’s a convicted felon for writing bad checks. But now he’s on the run.” The detective went on to explain that he was linked to a missing person and was the last one to have seen her. He showed her a photo of a girl, Jennifer Marcum and said he was trying to solve her murder. He also showed Lori a photo of Leann Emery, who was also missing and linked to Scott. The detective asked if she knew of any other missing people surrounding Scott. She mentioned Kaysi.

When Lori confronted Scott, he claimed the police were setting him up. It was easier for Lori to believe that, because it meant her daughter could still be okay. She wanted him to convince her that he was telling the truth.

One day in 2007, the FBI called Lori and said she and her ex-husband, Kaysi’s father, needed to come talk to them. The FBI told the parents that hunters had found human remains and they needed DNA to identify them. Lori gave them Kaysi’s baby teeth. They used them to confirm that the victim was Kaysi.

The police searched Scott and Lori’s house. They found blood under carpet that was matched to Scott’s uncle. Lori learned that the townhouse Scott was living in—the one he said he was leasing from a friend–belonged to Jennifer Markham. He’d moved into her home after killing her.

One thing that Scott had told Lori was true. He was an FBI informant. He’d been released from jail in 2002 when he told the FBI his cellmate Steve Ennis, had asked him to kill a witness in a drug case. Once released, Scott himself killed Ennis’s girlfriend, Jennifer Marcum. Scott was given a 70 year sentence for the murders of Kaysi McLeod, Jennifer Marcum, Leann Emory and Terry Kimball.

Lori had to live with the guilt of her daughter’s death. “There are days I think I’ve forgiven myself but when I take time to think about it, I am the one who brought him into our lives. I’m the one responsible for her being gone.”

Many people agree that she was naïve and stupid and should have seen what the psycho was capable of. I have mixed feelings. She did seem very naïve, but I am sure she never dreamed Scott would murder her child.

In 2015, Lori was diagnosed with breast cancer and given 6 months to 2 years to live. After the shock wore off, she was excited. “I get to leave sooner and be with my kiddo. When I pass, my plan is to be cremated and they will open Kaysi’s casket and my cremains will be placed there. We’ll be together in heaven.”

In December, 2019, several months after the episode aired, Lori passed away.

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Filed under Crime Time

“10 Moments That Changed My Life” by Susan Furlong ~ New Release: By Promise Made

#AHAgrp

Please help me welcome author Susan Furlong with the moments that changed her life, and her latest release, By Promise Made.  

10 Moments That Changed My Life

  1. At age five, I got my first pair of glasses. One of my earliest memories is sitting in my Kindergarten class and crying because I couldn’t see what the teacher was explaining for us to do. Those glasses made all the difference, and I took them off only to sleep from then on.
  2. As a child I was always considered the “ugly duckling” of my siblings. People would come up to my mother and say “M and L are so pretty. Susie doesn’t look anything like them.” To which my mother would sadly reply, “No, she doesn’t.” The one who kept me from being obsessed as an adult with what others think of my looks was my father who would curl his finger, rub my cheek, and say “Susie, you are so pretty.” I eventually grew to look like my great-grandmother who was always referred to as “Lottie, the pretty one.”
  3. The birth of a child always changes a life forever. My son who is now fully grown, married, and a father of his own will always be my baby. He is an independent, self-sufficient man of whom I am very proud, but as the book by Robert Munch says, “I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.” Whether he likes it or not!
  4. Because my husband worked as a social worker, and I was a teacher in the public schools, when it came to children, we always wanted to “make one and buy one.” So we adopted a three-year-old from the foster care system. He was handsome and intelligent, but also damaged by severe physical abuse and fetal alcohol syndrome, which was virtually unheard of at the time. We soon learned the consequences of both were devastating. Using every resource available, we did our best to “heal” him, and we quickly learned who our true friends were and who were not.
  5. The very first article I ever had published was a short story called “The Dumbest Kid in School” for a children’s magazine. After years of writing just for myself, I finally got up the courage to send things out. Numerous rejections, but when the acceptance letter and $200 came in the mail, I jumped for joy at the mailbox. My neighbors thought I was crazy!
  6. I got Lasik surgery done on my eyes. My vision was extremely bad – 20/800 – and I couldn’t wear contacts anymore because of dry eye syndrome. When I came out of surgery, I could immediately see things I had never seen before. The nurse gave me instructions, but I wasn’t listening because I was so excited to see the candy bars and coffee maker on the counter. When we checked out at the nurse’s station, I could see the individual files on the shelves behind the desk. I started to cry because I was so happy, but the nurse asked what was wrong. I know exactly how the healed blind man in the Bible felt!
  7. My first experience in community theater was in the chorus of Guys and Dolls. It took all my courage to tryout, but once I got on stage, I loved it. I quickly realized that I wanted to play ALL the parts and that pushed me into all forms of onstage performance. I write, direct, sing, and act, mostly for church presentations. I co-wrote my first play, The Twelve Seats at the Table, about the Last Supper. It was published by Eldridge Publishing and has been presented over 100 times across the country. I now work with a traveling music and drama ministry called LightReaders in which I sing, act, and write most of the programs we do. I also work with children who bring so much excitement to any song or play.
  8. I love being a teacher. I got up every morning saying, “What do I GET to do today?” I looked forward to every day and to every child – well, not every child, but most! Being a teacher filled my life. Then I retired, and suddenly I had to figure out how I was going to fill my time now. One afternoon I prayed that whatever it was I did, I wanted to give back, and I wanted to be busy. And, wow, has that come true! My schedule is filled with my writing, my drama and music work, my granddaughter, my work with our local historical society and spending time with my friends at lunch or a movie. A lot of this has come to a halt because of the pandemic, but I am still busy and doing all the things I love!
  9. After a heartbreaking experience at a church I had attended for over 20 years, I was looking for another church, but being completely traumatized, I was having trouble finding the right place for me. Then LightReaders, my music and drama ministry group, was invited to present during a service at a Methodist church. As I walked into the Sanctuary, I was greeted by the Greeters for that Sunday – Three older women all dressed in pink blazers with the name tags Huey, Dewey, and Louie. These women (Laine, Vida, and Betty) had been best friends since childhood and were now in their 80s. As I shook each one’s hand, I laughed and commented on their name tags. These three “ducks” were so friendly, welcoming, and with such a great sense of humor that I knew I had found the place for me.
  10. My granddaughter was born in 2001, and as any grandparent will tell you, becoming a grandparent is the best thing God ever invented. If I had known what fun having grandchildren would be, I would have had them first!

 

Blurb:

She wants to take off his head. He wants to win her heart.

Hugh Cullane, accused of murder and sentenced to hang, is forced to deliver a message of betrothal to four-year-old Queen Mary of Scotland. He faces death yet again when, in rejecting the proposal, the queen’s guardian orders his severed head sent back to England in a jar.

Trained to protect her queen at all costs, Katherine Payne can show no mercy to the handsome messenger, despite the way his stolen kiss unsettles her single-minded sense of duty. Trapped between the English and Scottish armies, she must escape with Mary. Hugh joins her as they are chased by men determined to murder the young queen in their own quest for power.

Excerpt:

(After escaping the disastrous Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, Kit, Hugh and young Mary flee north.)

In the distance, bobbing heads of the horses of an English patrol headed in their direction.

“Down the cliff is the only way. Ye take Mary,” she said, tugging the straps of Mary’s carrying sack off her shoulders. “The wall of the cliff has a small cave in it about halfway down. We can hide inside. I’ll go down first and lead the way. Ye follow with the babe. I’ll guide ye. Here.” She hefted Mary and the carrying sack onto Hugh’s back. “The straps will rub on yer shoulder and start the bleeding again, but there is no other way.”

“Doesna matter. Are ye set, little one?” he asked Mary.

She kissed him on the cheek. “Aye, the man will take good care of me, Kit”

… “I think I see the cave.” She pointed. “I’ll start that way and call for ye to follow.” Swinging her legs over the side, she quickly started the climb down.

Hugh watched her from the top, trying to memorize where she put her feet and hands. “Mary, ye watch Kit verra carefully so ye can help me put my feet in the right places. Ye can even grab hold of the stones with yer hands to help me. Can ye do it?”

“Aye. Kit and I climbed this cliff more than once. Captain Rand put a rope around her waist, but we didna need it. Kit and I climbed up and down all by ourselves.”

“Are ye ready?”

“I am!”

Hugh adjusted quickly to Mary’s extra weight, and he found it relatively easy to follow Kit’s route down over the jagged rocks.

About halfway down the face, Kit called to him. “I see it. The cave. About thirty feet to yer left. I’ll get there and lead ye to it.”

“Aye,” he said.

That’s when loose rocks started sliding down the cliff, not the pebble or two that fell off when his hand hold wasn’t secure, but bushels of debris falling fast and hard. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Kit fighting to find a foothold. She had a grip on a rock with both hands, but her legs swung uselessly. She grunted and strained, but she didn’t cry out.

“I am coming to ye!” called Hugh.

“Nay!” she called back. “Get to the cave where Mary will be safe. I’ll find a way.”

Her right hand slipped off the stones, followed by her left, and she fell fast and hard. Time slowed down  as she flew through the air, bouncing repeatedly against the face of the cliff. Two, three times she slammed into the wall. Her tunic caught on a stone and ripped nearly off. On the fifth time, another jagged edge caught her boot and tore it from her foot and twisted her body until she fell headfirst toward the ground. She landed on her back at the edge of the road below with a sickening thud.

Mary screamed.

 

Buy Links: UNIVERSAL LINK https://books2read.com/u/mlW1rq 

 Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/Promise-Made-Susan-Leigh-Furlong-ebook/dp/B08DYZM2D6/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=Susan+Leigh+Furlong&qid=1598989549&s=digital-text&sr=1-6

Barnes and Noble    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/by-promise-made-susan-leigh-furlong/1137427006?ean=9781509232284

Ibooks  https://books.apple.com/us/book/by-promise-made/id1526065222

Kobo (This link with be available for By Promise Made after 9/23.) https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/steadfast-will-i-be

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52209069-steadfast-will-i-be?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=EBE51N2MZt&rank=1

Author Bio:

Susan Leigh Furlong was born in the middle of a blinding spring snowstorm at the University of Michigan, which forced her mother to walk across campus in the snow to the hospital while in labor. She moved six times to various big cities across the country before the age of fourteen, but at college she met and married her love and moved to his small hometown in southern Ohio where she taught first grade and fourth grade and raised her children who did not have to change schools even once.

After performing in her first community theater play, she quickly realized that she wanted to play ALL the parts, which is exactly what a writer gets to do. She co-wrote, The Twelve Seats at the Table. Now along with writing sketches for adults and children, she also performs and sings with a music and drama ministry, LightReaders.

Her love of history led her to write two plays about her now hometown, performed in readers theater style by local citizens with nearly 100 antique photos displayed on a screen. She then wrote two historical non-fiction books about her town’s people and history published by Arcadia Publishing.

Susan first discovered romance novels when she won a copy of Velvet Song by Jude Deveraux at the local bookstore. She reads all varieties of books, but historical romance is forever her first choice.

Steadfast Will I Be and By Promise Made are her first works published by The Wild Rose Press. A third one is in the editing stage.

 

Website https://www.susanlfurlong.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SusanLeighFurlong/

Twitter https://twitter.com/FurlongLeigh

Email: SusanLeighFurlongwriter@gmail.com

Five Star Reviews

 N.N.LightsBookHeaven.com

“By Promise Made is a historical romance I couldn’t put down. I have read a lot of books dealing with Queen Mary of Scots, but this story puts a new spin on the young queen. From the first page, I was transported to medieval Scotland. The descriptive narration is so well done, I sniffed the air and heard the sounds of everything going on in By Promise Made. The plot moves at a great pace with plenty of twists and turns. Told in multiple POV’s, the reader gets a secret glimpse into what motivates characters which I adored. The characters themselves are so expressive, I instantly connected with them. My favorite character has to be Katherine. Her heart wars with her sense of duty which brought such a depth to her. Start to finish, By Promise Made, is a brilliant historical romance and one I highly recommend!”

Marilee Lake: “By Promise Made is a wonderfully written story. Hugh and Kit both have to face personal flaws to have a future together. Set in Scotland it offers an authentic glimpse into troubled times during the reign of the infant Queen Mary.”

Stephen Wright: “Susan Leigh Furlong has added a second installment in her series of romance and adventure novels. This story moves along briskly and interweaves historical persons and fictional characters into a powerful love story. You can embrace these characters and really feel their passion along with them. A great story!”

12 Comments

Filed under 10 Moments that Changed My Life, Author Blog Post, New Release

Author Interview with Terry Korth Fischer & New Release: Gone Astray – GIVEAWAY!!

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Terry Korth Fischer…

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets? 

I have lived in Texas most of my adult life, although I was born in South Dakota. When I was a child, our family moved often, but we always spent summers visiting our grandparents in Nebraska. I have wonderful memories of those times. To this day, Eastern Nebraska holds a special place in my heart and is the setting for much of my writing.

Where did you get the idea for Gone Astray?

A dozen years ago, I wrote a short story a month to share it with my sister, mother, and a few cousins. They did the same. Some of us were writers; the others were good sports. As you can imagine, over time, one by one, they dropped out. My challenge was to continue to write without the family commitment. Writing a novel was the answer. I read a lot of mysteries—traditional, cozy, and thrillers. I thought, why not? I can do that. Right around the same time, a friend’s mother disappeared. One morning she was fine, and the next, she was gone without a trace. A missing woman is not the main story in Gone Astray, but it was the spark that started the whole creative process.

Are there any tricks, habits or superstitions you have when creating a story?

If I have to admit to anything, it would be to over-organizing. I like an outline before I begin and then write toward an ending. The novel’s shape flexes as the story grows and matures, and I’ve been known to toss the plan aside. I don’t think I could get started without one.

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

I don’t think I could cast the actors—especially Rory Naysmith, my protagonist. I hope I’ve written the characters so that readers see them in their mind’s eye, and they can select the perfect flesh-and-blood actor for each role. Of course, I picture each character before I write. The internet is full of movie and TV celebrity images. I cold-heartedly steal their pictures and post them in my scrivener software to stay inspired. 

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

My husband devours westerns. I would love to surprise him by writing one. Maybe, someday.

What is your favorite quote?

Years ago, I received a humorous greeting card. On the front, a cartoon hippo dressed in a tutu stood at the top of a platform, preparing to dive. Fifty feet below sat a half-filled paper cup. The caption read, “Nothing is obvious to the uninformed.” I love that. When you can’t imagine failure, how hard can any task be?

Are your characters based on real people, or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

All my characters have pieces I’ve taken from real people, not replicas as much as bits of attitude and personalities borrowed. The trick is to blend the traits into the fictional characters, so the models don’t recognize themselves.  

What do your friends and family think of your writing?

My whole family is supportive. It would be wonderful if they were readers, as well.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

That’s easy. Marilyn Beauregard is a seventyish busy-body widow. With a flashy wardrobe, nosy tendencies, and nerves of steel—she’s been there; done that. Marilyn’s a gal that gets in your way for your own good—precisely the kind of person I would cross the street to avoid.

 

I want to thank you for having me here today.

My pleasure, Terry…thank you for being my guest!

#Giveaway!!

Terry is giving away a $15 Amazon Gift card to one lucky commenter!!

Blurb*

A heart attack sends detective Rory Naysmith reeling. Too young to retire, he accepts a position in small-town Winterset, Nebraska. Handed an unsolved truck hijacking case, and the assistance of a rookie, Rory sets out to prove he is still able to go toe-to toe with men half his age. When the body of a Vietnam veteran turns up, he dons his fedora and spit-shines his shoes. But before he can solve the murder, an older woman disappears, followed closely by a second hijacking. He doggedly works the cases, following a thread that ties the crimes together.  But can Rory find the mental and physical strength to up his game and bring the criminals to justice before disaster strikes?

Excerpt*

“Powell’s back,” he said to Esther.

She pushed off from the wall. “Thank you.” They stood toe to toe, Esther’s chin level with his eyes. “I think Sunny wants you.”

Rory looked in the dispatcher’s direction, his gaze passing over the security monitors on the way. On the center screen, Chief Mansfield’s face stretched from edge to edge. Clutching the phone to his ear with a beefy hand, he glared into the camera.

The chief wanted him. Rory’s mouth went dry. He swallowed hard as the first hit of adrenaline kicked in. Hot damn—it was about time!

Buy link(s) Gone Astray amazon https://amzn.to/2LHnlYI

Buy link Gone Astray Barnes & Noble https://bit.ly/3q5h4Wh

Bio*

Terry Korth Fischer writes short stories, mystery, and memoir. Her memoir, Omaha to Ogallala, released in 2019, S&H Publishing, Inc. and Gone Astray, her debut mystery, The Wild Rose Press, in 2021. Her short stories have appeared in numerous print anthologies and online magazines. Terry is a member of SinC, Pennwriters, Inc. and Clear Lake Area Writers. Transplanted from the Midwest, Terry lives in Houston with her husband and their two guard cats.

Contact links

Website: https://terrykorthfischer.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/terryiswriting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerryIsWriting

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/terrykorthfischer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14349440.Terry_Korth_Fischer

Book  Gem Author Page: https://www.bookgems.com/profile/tkfischer/

BLOG Website: https://www.terryiswriting.com

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Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway, New Release

Love and Murder with Author Brenda Whiteside

Please help me welcome today’s guest and one of my author friends, Brenda Whiteside…

How do you feel about series books? I don’t read series exclusively, but when I find one I like, it’s like hitting the lottery. I want each book to be a story in itself, but I love steeping myself in a setting or a family or a culture. I love getting involved with characters who will appear in subsequent books, even if in minor roles.

Born and raised in Arizona, the setting was a natural choice for my Love and Murder Series. My cast of characters for the first three books came to me like they’d been hanging around, waiting for me to notice them. I committed for five books to my publisher…and that’s the contract I got. Yikes! Set in stone. With only three storylines in my head, I dug in and tried not to worry about books four and five.

Luckily, someone emailed me after reading book one and commented that they hoped Penny (nick-named the Black Fairy for her Goth style) would have her own book. Book four took shape. I had no idea when she did her walk-on part in book one what a past she’d had—thirteen years hiding from a murderous FBI agent hired by a presidential candidate. And they come after her in book four, The Power of Love and Murder.

Unfortunately, no one came forward with a comment to get my muse inspired for book five. As is the usual way I work, the two main characters stepped forward, but their stories were hard to squeeze out of them. As it turns out, the blood, sweat, and tears of wringing out a story for book five proved worth it. The Deep Well of Love and Murder is one of my most complicated plots to date, and I managed to bring in all the main characters from the first four books.

****************************************

I agree, Brenda. I love series. And yours is a great one. I have read most of the books in the series and plan to read the ones I haven’t. Thanks so much for joining me!

If you haven’t read the Love and Murder Series, now is the time. Books 1 and 5 are on sale for $.99 and books 2, 3, and 4 are on sale for $1.99:

The Art of Love and Murder

When the past and present collide, Lacy discovers her future mired in secrets, threats and murder.

Southwest of Love and Murder

Writing murder mysteries is all in a day’s work until an obsessed fan brings Phoebe’s stories to life.

A Legacy of Love and Murder

Inheriting an Austrian Castle is an Alpine fairytale for August, until someone begins killing the heirs.

The Power of Love and Murder

Penny’s secrets can ruin a presidential contender, got her family murdered…and mark her as the next hit.

The Deep Well of Love and Murder

A vengeful ex-husband isn’t the only obstacle to happiness for Laura Katz and Randy Silva…a high stake, bloody fight for his land puts them at risk.

BOOKS ON SALE AT AMAZON

BOOKS ON SALE AT BARNES & NOBLE

BOOKS ON SALE AT iTUNES (APPLE)

Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure stories with a touch of romance. Mostly. She and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. For now they’ve settled in Central Arizona, but won’t discount the possibility of another move in their future. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW is fishing, Brenda writes.

Visit Brenda at https://www.brendawhiteside.com

Or on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2

She blogs and has guests: https://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003V15WF8

Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3972045.Brenda_Whiteside

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/brenda-whiteside

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brendawhitesideauthor/

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Filed under Author Blog Post, Ebook Deal, For Writers, New Release

February Featured Books – Find New & Amazing Authors!!! #AHAgrp #BookWorm #AmReading #Ebooks

Looking for something new and fabulous to read? Try these…

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Sheriff Layton didn’t want the responsibility of protecting Gwen Standish, an unclaimed mail-order-bride, from harm in his town. But could he keep his own self-interest from interfering?

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After one concussion too many, Ben Leit is done as the NFL’s golden boy quarterback. Then his father, who was about to expose a bombshell sports scandal, is murdered.

Mimi Fitzroy, CIO for Rex Sports International, panics as she discovers thousands of stolen emails that prove Rex is breaking federal laws—big time. As Ben and Mimi work together to find a killer, they also find a connection they weren’t expecting and didn’t want.

They are headed for an explosive showdown in Seattle…and not everyone will walk away.

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2018 MAGGIE Winner – Georgia Romance Writers
“Bridges of Madison County” meets “Norma Rae”
An impossible choice between duty, desire, and faith – and the wrong decision could cost her everything.
No one can understand Helen Hodges’s burning need to have a child, a need she’s abandoned in her childless marriage. But when David Drummond, the local textile mill owner, visits her small South Carolina town, those repressed yearnings come forth again, deepening her discontent as she falls in love with him.

But David’s appearance brings escalating union and racial tensions to the town, and Helen is torn between her Catholic faith, her duty to her husband, and her growing desire to be with David. Overrun with guilt, she renounces her lover and chooses to remain with her husband. But when she learns some life-changing news, she must rush to tell David before he leaves town, and her life…forever.

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It’s the summer of 1962, middle of the Cold War, and the O’Brien family has moved off-grid to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. After all, the desert has to be a safer place to raise a family than the crime-ridden city, and there they can build a new future. But evil also stalks dusty desert roads, and eight-year-old Nonni finds herself harboring a terrible secret: Only she can identify the predator who has been terrorizing the community. And he knows where she lives.

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Rodeo star Dillon McCoy comes home to the mountains of North Carolina to lick his wounds and take over running the family ranch, the Lazy M, unaware danger awaits. Diana Thompson is having doubts about her engagement to Trent Sawyer. Needing time away, she agrees to leave Chapel Hill and spend Thanksgiving with her friend Jenn at her ranch. When Diana and Dillon meet, neither can deny their attraction, but both must resolve past relationships before giving in to their desire. Danger lurks after Dillon turns down an anonymous offer to purchase the ranch. And when a body is found, Dillon is determined to discover who wants the McCoy land bad enough to commit murder. Can he and Diana elude the killer while the sparks of their newfound love grow?

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“A man who desires revenge should dig two graves.” -Anonymous
The gated mansion on Orcas Island was built as a refuge for a timber baron’s family. The Temples enjoy insulating barriers of wealth for generations. But the heirs sense of security is brutally shattered when a mysterious madman stalks family members stoking defensiveness and fear. Enter Detective Brock Thompson with the Seattle Police Department who strives to track down and stop the perpetrator as threats against the family escalate. Along the way the detective unearths Temple family secrets that were never meant to see the light of day. Thompson struggles to overcome his own phobias while investigating a darkness that nearly envelopes the Temples.

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When the train US Marshal Reese Calhan is riding on explodes, he is one of two survivors. Trouble is, the other survivor is the woman who betrayed him years ago. A woman he thought was dead. This time he will not fall prey to her wiles. He’ll see the vixen jailed for her crimes if it kills him. Recovering from a recent jilting and now a train explosion, Shanna Johnston has no idea why the handsome stranger insists he knows her and calls her by another woman’s name. His heated looks and knowing kisses spark a fire in her she cannot ignore–even as her own mysterious past is closing in.

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Returning home from another trip abroad, Collin Crawford, met the enchanting governess of his two precocious nieces. He felt drawn to her immediately and thought she had as well. Now he must right a terrible wrong – and do so without damaging their fragile relationship.

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Click Here for More Info

When a tyrant in stilettos replaces her beloved boss, and her ex snags her coveted job, teacher Dana Narvana discovers there are worse things than getting dumped on Facebook. Time for the BFF advice squad, starting with Dana’s staunchest ally, Alex—hunky colleague, quipster, and cooking pal extraordinaire. But when the after-hours smooching goes nowhere, she wonders why this grown man won’t make up his mind.

Alex Bethany’s new lifestyle gives him the confidence to try online dating. What he craves is a family of his own until a life-altering surprise rocks his world. He knows he’s sending Dana mixed messages. Alex panics when he thinks he’s blown his chance with his special person. From appetizers to the main course will these two cooking buddies make it to dessert?

Funny and bittersweet, Dana and Alex’s story will have you rooting for them.

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With her stepfather’s sudden death, Lady Anastasia Covington goes from living a privileged lifestyle to selling vegetables in the village marketplace in the blink of an eye. Alone and at the mercy of her nefarious stepsister, she yearns for love and acceptance.

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Ivy Pierce is a Cupid who prides herself on doing her job well. Except when it comes to a certain human male, Grant Crawford. Each time she’s supposed to shoot her arrow into his heart, her stomach hurts, her chest hurts, and she feels….sad. Cupids are never sad.

Humans who are not looking for love only get three chances to find it. And after Ivy sabotages Grant’s last chance, her boss, Aphrodite, sends her to earth to right her wrong. She has until Valentine’s Day to help him find his soul mate.

But the more she’s around him, the more she wants him for herself, even though she knows that can never be. A Cupid and a human? Unheard of.

As V-Day draws closer, can she sacrifice her own happiness to help the man she loves find his?

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Crime Time ~ JonBenet Ramsey ~ Who do you think is guilty?

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

I love watching true crime shows…as long as they are about murder…, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 Each week, I blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.

One of my short stories, Blood and Breakfast, is about a crime junkie who gets a little closer to murder than she anticipated. You can buy the Kindle version here for only $2.00 Blood and Breakfast – It’s also part of a print book with 6 other scary stories: A Collection of Friday the 13th Stories

(This is not based on a particular ID episode…it’s about a case that is all too familiar to us all)

A sweet, innocent child, murdered. A vicious killer unpunished

Boulder, Colorado, December 26th, 1996

Some of these things are what I’ve heard/read in reports and articles. They may not all be accurate, but enough of them are to make this a very troubling case.  

  • Those who believe it was an intruder mention the unidentified DNA, but any DNA found, such as on her panties, is suspect because of the way the crime scene was decimated.
  • Burke never seemed upset about his sister’s murder. Not as a child during the police interviews nor as an adult in the Dr. Phil interviews, where he had this creepy weird smile on his face the entire time. He said he was lying in bed, wondering if something had happened to JonBenet. Why would he wonder that?
  • Dr. Phil said to Burke in the interview: There still are people who believe that you killed your sister. What do you say about that?
  • Burke replied, Look at the evidence or the lack thereof. (Isn’t this a strange response? Almost sounds like, ‘they can’t prove it, can they?’)
  • Handwriting was similar to Patsy’s and so was some of the phrasing? From a Christmas note from the Ramseys: Had there been no birth of Christ, there would be no hope of eternal life, and hence, no hope of ever being with our loved ones again. From the ransom note: If we monitor you getting the money early we might call you early to arrange an earlier delivery of the money and hence an earlier pickup of your daughter.
  • How come John and Patsy never paid attention to the time and/or noted that the deadline for kidnappers to call had passed?
  • If an intruder was in the house for hours, there would have been some kind of DNA/evidence of his/their presence?
  • If the intruder wrote the note before the murder, what did he do with it during the murder? He didn’t put it on the stairs right away, because the Ramseys would have seen it earlier. He didn’t have it folded in a pocket. The sheets were laid out straight with no ‘wear’ on them.  What are the logistics of his movements? Let himself into the home while they are gone. Wait til all are asleep. Grabbed JonBenet. Took her down to basement and killed her. At what point during this did he go back  upstairs and write and leave the note? There was no reason for an intruder to leave a note, period. He never called to collect any money. If that was his intent, he would have taken her body with him. What was the purpose of the note from an intruder’s perspective? From the Ramseys perspective, a note makes perfect sense, since they would want to steer the blame to a stranger.
  • If there was an intruder, he passed a handful of exits he could have used to leave the house with JonBenet, why carry her down to the basement where he’d be trapped if anyone in the house got out of bed?
  • In the 911 call, Patsy was hyperventilating but not crying. Her word choices were weird and distant. Most of us would shout, My daughter’s missing. Please help. Or something like that. She said: ‘We have a kidnapping’ and ‘she’s 6 years old and blonde’ – Also, why hang up instead of staying on the phone to make sure they were coming?
  • It’s odd to refer to the following year as 1997, which Patsy did in her Christmas letter of 1996 and the writer of the note did. Why not say, ‘If you want her to see tomorrow or a new day or next year’ – 1997 was almost a week away. The kidnappers surely didn’t plan to keep her that long (had they had her at all, which they didn’t)
  • John Ramsey went down into the basement on his own a short time before he was asked to search the house.
  • Most families of murder victims constantly call the police to see if they’ve made any progress. The Ramseys did not.
  • Patsy seems very clinical in interviews. Her excuse of ‘I have to compartmentalize and treat it clinically’ doesn’t make sense. What loving, innocent mother would or could force herself to be so calm and emotionless. She says ‘the case’ and ‘the crime’ etc. Very detached language.
  • The marks on JonBenet’s body that some claimed were from a stun gun also matched the piece of toy train track that belonged to Burke.
  • The Ramseys did not stay together and comfort one another. Each hung out with friends. John went through his mail. He claims he as looking for something from kidnapper, but if she’d been kidnapped that morning, how would he have time to get something in the mail?
  • Why would the writer of the ransom note refer to themselves as a small foreign faction, which is vague and odd and doesn’t make them seem very powerful or threatening? And this line: We do respect your bussiness [sic] but not the country that it serves. Why compliment John’s company?
  • The Ramseys immediately called the police, even though the note said their child would be beheaded if they did.
  • They immediately called their friends to come over. Odd.
  • They sent Burke away, rather than keeping him close. If one child had just been brutally murdered by a stranger and someone who they felt had it out for John, why wouldn’t they keep Burke close to protect him and keep an eye on him? Some say they would have kept him close if guilty because of being afraid he’d talk. But the police were at their house. That is the place where they’d most NOT want him talking.
  • Though Patsy and John were in separate rooms, when confronted about the ransom note, they both said that perhaps the ransom note was written by a woman. A strange conclusion for both of them to draw on their own, suggesting they had discussed what they would say to investigators. Even more chilling in Burke’s interview, to some questions he responds, “not that I recall”. This was the exact same phrase Patsy used in her interviews, suggesting to investigators that Burke had been coached by Patsy.
  • Why did the Ramseys tell friends not to talk to police? You’d think they would want everyone to talk to the police in the hopes they might learn something that could lead to their daughter’s killer.
  • Why didn’t Patsy rush in the room when John brought JonBenet’s body up? It’s my understanding that she waited a few minutes before going into the room.
  • Why leave the note spread out on the stairs? Why take a practice run? Why use a pad and pen that was in a drawer of the home? If you plan to kidnap someone, you would likely write the note ahead of time, not hang around the house for hours and write a 3 page note while in the home, risking someone getting up and finding you.
  • Why would the kidnappers/killers refer to themselves as a small foreign faction, which is vague and odd and doesn’t make them seem very powerful or threatening? Why compliment John’s company?
  • Why was Patsy wearing the same clothes from the night before if she’d been asleep all night? She said when she woke up, she got dressed and went downstairs. At that time, she supposedly didn’t know anything was wrong, so it’s not like she was so upset, she just threw on her previous night’s clothes without thinking. She was a classy, wealthy woman and it makes zero sense she’d get up and put on the previous night’s party clothes.
  • Why would a kidnapper hang out so long and write such a lengthy, rambling ransom note rather than getting to the point of his/her demands? It might not make sense for Patsy to write such a note either, but if she wrote it, she was no doubt out of her mind with grief and fear and confusion, and she wouldn’t be making much sense.
  • Why would a kidnapper not bring anything with him and use things found in the home?
  • Why would an intruder snatch, kill, assault JonBenet while in the home and leave her body in the home instead of taking it with them? They increased their risk of being caught every moment they were in the house. The note was left on the back staircase, which wasn’t obvious. Patsy came down that way, but the kidnapper would have no way of knowing that and would most likely leave it in the kitchen or the front staircase.

So….what are your thoughts?

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Author Randy Overbeck – Human Trafficking & New Release: Crimson at Cape May

Please help me welcome author, Randy Overbeck, with an article on an important topic…

In the U. S., another teen girl is trafficked every 90 minutes!

Today, we have plenty of crises to deal with—political unrest, the traumatic toll of the Coronavirus, a devastated economy that will take years to recover. 

But there is one crisis—tragic, devastating and universal—that is going on everyday, in small towns and large, in inner cities and suburbs, which gets almost NO headlines or news coverage. Based on the best estimates, in the U. S. alone, 5000 teen girls get sucked into the world of human trafficking every year. That’s a hundred young girls a week, fourteen a day, almost two every hour.

And almost no one talks about it.

That why, when I penned my new novel, Crimson at Cape May, a ghost story/mystery, I chose to tie the whodunit to the crime of human trafficking. The narrative is set in Cape May, New Jersey, a breathtakingly beautiful resort town on the East Coast with pristine, white beaches and the largest collection of beautiful Victorian mansions in the country. A perfectly apt, small town setting for a murder mystery. 

And not very far from this idyllic getaway extends a network of human trafficking smugglers, who supply young girls and women as prostitutes, up and down the eastern seaboard.

Of course, all the events described in my novel are fictional. But the reality and the truth is amazingly close to the world captured in the novel. Crimson at Cape May has been described as a cold case murder mystery wrapped in ghost story, served with a side of romance, all set in one of the most beautiful locations in the country. But it is also a novel that reveals the ugly truth about the scourge of sex trafficking and bondage. 

The narrative for the novel is set more than twenty years earlier, in 1999, but the facts about human trafficking captured in the story are sadly still true, only more so today. In fact, did you know that in 2021, there are more people being trapped in human trafficking than at any time in human history.

Her is a link to a brief article with some astonishing—and depressing statistics:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/investigations/2019/07/29/12-trafficking-statistics-enormity-global-sex-trade/1755192001/

Now, my new novel is no treatise on the subject of human trafficking. It is, as advertised, an award-winning, five-star amateur sleuth mystery and suspense with romantic elements, as they say in the business. I’m confident readers will be captivated by the breathtakingly beautiful scenery, fall in love along with Darrell and Erin, feel compelled to help the street-wise kid, Cassie, and solve the whodunnit of the baffling murder. Scores of Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbub readers have already shared how much they enjoyed the novel.

But I also hope and pray that readers come away with a better grasp of the problem of human trafficking and maybe, just maybe, a desire to do something about it.

 

BLURB—CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY

No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. With his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast. One resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help.

He can’t refuse.

Joining forces with Cassie, a street-wise teen and another sensitive, he investigates the bride’s death and discovers her murder is connected to a far greater horror. But can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up being the killer’s next victims?

 

REVIEWS—CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY

“With both elements of mystery and suspense, readers across genres will find this second book about Darrell Henshaw intriguing…I highly recommend it.” ★★★★★Literary Titan

“It’s a ghost/mystery story filled with suspense and action. The plot is so engrossing it had me hooked from the very first page.” ★★★★★—Nana’s Reviews, Greece

“An exciting paranormal mystery I couldn’t put down… A great read. Highly recommend!” ★★★★★N.N. Light’s BookHeaven

 “Rollicking good…Darrell is a wonderful protagonist, an ordinary man put into extraordinary situations and rising to the challenge..” ★★★★★ —Over My Dead Body magazine

“I loved everything about this book. As a ghost story combined with a mystery, a romance, a social injustice and stunning historical details, Crimson at Cape May has something for everyone.” ★★★★★—ReaderViews

 “Masterly spooky adventure…an accomplished work of haunting mystery fiction that fans of the genre won’t want to miss out on. Highly Recommend.” ★★★★★—ReadersFavorite.com

BOOK TRAILER—CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY

Social Media Sites:

randyoverbeck@authorrandyoverbeck.com

www.authorrandyoverbeck.com

@OverbeckRandy

FB: Author Randy Overbeck

PURCHASE LINKS—CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY

https://www.amazon.com/Crimson-Cape-Haunted-Shores-Mysteries/dp/1509231633/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1BCBKCDPQRK3L&dchild=1&keywords=crimson+at+cape+may&qid=1599856137&sprefix=Crimson+at+Cape+May%2Caps%2C163&sr=8-2

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crimson-at-cape-may-randy-overbeck/1137088608?ean=9781509231638

https://www.bookbub.com/books/crimson-at-cape-may-by-randy-overbeck

BIO

Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker, capturing state and national accolades for his work. As an educator, he served children for more than three decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, Blood on the Chesapeake (2019) and Crimson at Cape May (2020) have earned five star reviews and garnered top awards and recognition from sites such as Literary Titan, ReadersFavorite.com, ReaderViews.com and N. N. Lights Bookheaven. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

 

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Author Interview with Jayne York ~ New Release: Midnight Acquisition

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Jayne York…

 

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’m originally from the flat lands of Nebraska, but I was raised in the Rocky Mountains, a tiny hamlet called Coal Creek Canyon. Now I live and work in upstate NY.

Where did you get the idea for ‘Midnight Acquisition”?

I’ve always loved the idea of opposites attracting. God knows, it’s happened to me. In this book I wanted to explore the ability people have to justify their choices, primarily those that have the ability to bring them a fulfilling existence. There are times in everyone’s life when we choose to do something we know is going to hurt and do it anyway. My characters are caught between pain and joy. The story lies in their choices and the outcome of them. 

Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)?

I’d never written action scenes and thought a good chase was a challenge. It was harder than I expected to keep up the pace and the excitement while staying in character.

What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

I’ve been a jeweler for over 40 years. The temptation to delve into the technical aspect of the craft was almost overpowering. At the same time I didn’t want to dumb down the representation of what it takes to work in that industry. It was a fine line and I hope people are intrigued by what I’ve revealed.

What was your first job?

I was a late surprise to my parents and my siblings were out of the house by the time I was old enough to be helpful. So my first job was chief tool-schlepper for my father. It was unpaid and expected. I probably complained, but you can bet that I loved being the center of his attention.

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?

Procrastination. I fight it every day.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and you could have 3 (inanimate) objects, what would they be?

My computer, an internet connection, and a solar powered generator.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Given the circumstances, she did her level best.”

 

Below is a letter I received from, if you can believe it, one of the main characters in my newest book, “Midnight Acquisition.” I know. I mean the cheek of the man!

2/1/21

Dear Ms. Jayne York,

My name is Becket Ford, and I’m a thief. I’ve always been a thief. But you know that, don’t you, Ms. York?

A friend of mine sent me a copy of your newest novel, “Midnight Acquisition.” Great title and cover art, by the way. I’m not sure whether I should pat you on the back…or sue you for libel. You make it tough for a hard-working man like me to make a living. I’d love to know who the hell your sources were, though. I’d like to get to know them a little better, if you get my drift.

I’ve got to admit that I was astounded by the way you crawled inside my head and dissected how my lifestyle came into being. It was like you bugged my life and picked out the most embarrassing, intimate, and crazy funny things that happened to me during my career. Thank God, the things that could get me arrested in ten European countries, you left out. Perhaps the most shocking and frankly frightening aspect of your book was detailing the methods I used to lift the Rochambeau family’s necklace. Do I get any points for the way I wrapped up that particular job?

I say frightening because most people consider themselves safe and protected from people like me. You see, people, even people in a business as security-sensitive as a major jewelry store, often fall prey to the mindset of “this will never happen to me.” I’m here to tell all you complacent and lackadaisical business people—it can, and it will happen to you if you’re foolish enough to take that attitude. But I’m also of the mindset that there isn’t a lock that can’t be picked or a system that can’t be beaten given the right time and intelligence. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the thief has a lifetime of practice to draw upon.

As to your dialogue, most of it might as well be direct quotes from recorded conversations. Rest assured, I’ve scrubbed all my residences, ditched all previous identities, and dumped all my vehicles. This stunt of yours, this book, is costing me big time. My girlfriend, Juliette, is pissed, intimating that information like yours could only come from an old lover. Or worse yet, a current one. I’m in constant trouble, as you can imagine.

I hesitate to give you her phone number. Calling her will only make my life harder. Regardless, with sources like yours, you won’t have a tough time finding it.

Here’s to your career as a stalker. In the future, find someone else to pick on.

Sincerely,

Becket Ford, “former” pickpocket and jewel thief.

Order now on Amazon

BLURB:
Juliette Rochambeau was heartbroken when the boy she loved ran from South Carolina. Fifteen years later, she returns to her hometown to appraise her family’s historic gem-encrusted necklace. Becket Ford is a thief whose regret over leaving Juliette behind tears at his heart. His remorse, however, must take a back seat when a sadistic puppet master forces him to use their connection to steal the necklace or die trying. As they both vie for possession of the priceless jewels, lingering desire and emotion from years ago explode back to life. But escaping a madman and finding a future free of their past may just be a fantasy… 

EXCERPT:
“Hello, Jules.” His lips quirked up, and she took a hesitant step toward him as if he’d pulled on an invisible thread. A swarm of bees erupted in her chest. He stood, and she couldn’t help herself; she took him in from hair to soft leather loafers. Their gazes locked. His startling gray eyes should have been cool given the color, but the emotion swimming in their depths held her fixed in place. Riveted. The silvery center rimmed in a blue so dark it was nearly black, and thick lashes, a lush sable brown like the roots of his hair. This Beck was as familiar as home and at the same time different as night from day. Gone was the boyish promise of good looks, and in its place, a devastatingly handsome man. The shoulders she used to love were broader, his waist honed. The flat stomach she’d caressed with curious, questing fingers was now an impressive six-pack of muscle revealed by the cling of his T-shirt. His chest, when he drew in a deep breath, strained the white fabric. Her body seemed to disconnect from her mind, and the power of speech deserted her. When she finally mustered the wherewithal to reply, her voice resembled the grate of a rusty screen door. “What are you doing here?” She cleared her throat. “I mean, hello yourself. I didn’t know you were back in Charleston.” She fought the urge to sling herself across the distance and jump into his arms. Her fists clenched to drag back control. Pull yourself together, Juliette. He trashed your stupid heart and didn’t think twice.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I can’t resist the call of a great story. As the child of a world-class machinist and a frustrated artist, I learned early on the joy of creating handcrafted jewelry. Each piece, like every customer, has its own tale to tell. You’ll find them, collected like pearls in a strand, inside my steamy contemporary romance and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense novels. Like my one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, the heroines in my books are rare, desirable and priceless. Their hearts can only be won by sexy, formidable heroes. ~*~ Find me online at: http://JayneYork.com

 

 Website: JayneYork.com

Blog: JayneYork.com/What’s On My Mind

Email: Jayne@JayneYork.com

Twitter: @JayneYorkAuthor

Facebook: JayneYorkAuthor

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My New Release – Sweet Fantasy Valentine’s Day Short Story – Cupid’s Beau

I’m pleased to share my re-release of Cupid’s Beau through The Wild Rose Press – Just in time for Valentine’s Day! 

#WRPbks
#AHAgrp
#ShortStory
#BookWorm
#Valentine’s Day

Fun Fact:

I love to create fictional locations for my stories, and I always try to attach some kind of meaning to them. For Cupid’s Beau, I set it in Wisconsin because I wanted it to be a wintry setting and because my favorite NFL team is the Packers. For the name of the town I chose Castleville. It’s a play on Castle Rock, from Stephen King novels, and a town I lived in as a child for a brief, idyllic time, Cassville, Missouri. (Technically, we didn’t really ‘live’ in Cassville. We lived in some odd Bermuda triangle type location that was a mash up of Exeter, Washburn and Cassville, but we attended Cassville schools, so that’s what I went with 😊)

 

Blurb:

Ivy Pierce is a Cupid who prides herself on doing her job well. Except when it comes to a certain human male, Grant Crawford. Each time she’s supposed to shoot her arrow into his heart, her stomach hurts, her chest hurts, and she feels….sad. Cupids are never sad.

Humans who are not looking for love only get three chances to find it. And after Ivy sabotages Grant’s last chance, her boss, Aphrodite, sends her to earth to right her wrong. She has until Valentine’s Day to help him find his soul mate.

But the more she’s around him, the more she wants him for herself, even though she knows that can never be. A Cupid and a human? Unheard of.

As V-Day draws closer, can she sacrifice her own happiness to help the man she loves find his?

Excerpt:

He helped Gretchen into her coat and walked her to her car. She hesitated before climbing inside the door he held open. Did she expect a goodnight kiss? Snow had started, and he wanted to get back in, so he leaned forward. She lifted her lips, and he gave them a quick kiss. “Goodnight, Gretchen. I had a nice time.”

Her expression showed disappointment, but she didn’t voice it. She slid in the driver’s seat. He closed the door and watched while she backed out of the parking spot and headed down the road.

Before going in, he glanced down the street. A woman was outside a small cottage half a block away. Was that Ivy? What was she doing outside, in the dark, with a blizzard brewing?

None of his business. He turned toward the restaurant, but didn’t go in. What if something was wrong? If she was hurt? How would he feel if he didn’t at least go check on her? Cursing under his breath, he whirled and stalked down the sidewalk to her house.

“Ivy? What are you doing out here?”

She turned to him, her eyes wide. She wore a white coat with a fur hood framing her face. “Grant! Hi. Isn’t it beautiful?”

He blew into his hands and rubbed them briskly together. “It’s freezing. Are you out of your mind?”

She closed her eyes and stuck out her tongue, trapping a snowflake and swallowing. She looked at him. “You try it. It’s wonderful.”

He nearly groaned with irritation. “I don’t have time—”

She took his hand, her soft, gloveless skin warm on his. “Just try it.”

Letting out a heavy sigh, he groaned again. The sooner he acquiesced, the sooner he could leave. He stuck out his tongue. Icy snowflakes drifted into his mouth. Nope. He still didn’t get it.

She squealed. “Wasn’t it great?”

Her green eyes sparkled, the pink in her cheeks making her look…heart stoppingly lovely.

He hadn’t seen anyone show such pure joy in…well, ever. Especially in something so insignificant. He looked up into the sky. Snow drifted down from the blanket of blackness. The Heavens dumping an icy wonderland on Earth. Nature was amazing. While he didn’t exactly share Ivy’s enthusiasm, maybe it wasn’t so insignificant after all.

Kindle

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Apple Books

 

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Author Interview with Nancy Brashear ~ New Release: Gunnysack Hell

Please help me welcome Nancy Brashear. Her new release with The Wild Rose Press, for which I was the editor, is a fantastic read. You’ll definitely want to grab a copy.

Please tell us a little about yourself, where are you from? Where do you live now? Family? Pets?

I’m a California girl, born in Santa Monica. However, I lived most of my childhood in the desert, my teens in a ski resort in the mountains, the majority of my adulthood in the San Gabriel Valley. And now I’ve cycled back to the beach where I have a lovely view of Catalina Island from my office (the gazebo in the breezy corner of the yard!) where I spend a lot of time writing. I live there with my husband (my high school sweetheart) and our rescue dog, Goldie Licks. Our three grown children and their families, which include seven busy grandgirls ranging in age from five to twelve, visit often.

Tell us a little about how the book came together

“The Challenges of Writing Gunnysack Hell, a Book with Rotating POVs”

Gunnysack Hell, my first psychological thriller, was inspired by my childhood stint in the desert and something that happened to my family. I began writing it in third person and got about halfway through, but the story didn’t feel right. I began over, this time switching to first person, and things began to come together, but it wasn’t until I let the other family members tell their own stories that the novel was born.  Writing in first-person, rotating POVs, presented me with many technical challenges such as keeping individual voices for each character (and what each person knew and wasn’t telling others), making sure there was minimal overlap, and always moving the action forward. With the help of an excellent editor Ally Robertson (aka Alicia Dean), I was able to make sure that all the moving pieces worked. I’m gratified that the book has received well by readers.

What book have you read that you wish you had written?

From a technical writing viewpoint, I loved the complete cleverness of the suspense book, Gone Girl, with Amy as the ultimate believable and, as we find out, unreliable narrator. I loved how the author manipulated the points of view (along with the reader) through the forward/backwards chronology of the story. I loved the planted clues. Most of all I loved the wild ride that the reader was taken on, and I’d love to write a book like that.

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I was a junior high and elementary school teacher before I moved into teaching at the university level. I have a Ph.D. in Education with concentrations in literacy development and children’s literature. I served as the Chair of Teacher Education working with new teachers at my university for twelve years before moving to the English Department where I taught Literature for Children and Adolescents and mentored students planning to become high school and college teachers for another decade. I love teaching. As Professor Emeritus, I still occasionally teach an online course I developed in the M.A. in English program and also serve on students’ portfolio committees.

What was your first paid job (other than babysitting or ironing shirts)?

My neighbor hired me to work as a soda jerk in her penny arcade in Big Bear Lake, California, when I was thirteen. I learned to make a mean cherry coke, root beer float, and malt from scratch! I’m also a whiz at making cotton candy!

What actors would you like in the main roles if your book were made into a movie?

I made a Pinterest page (https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/writing-ideas-gunnysack-hell/) while I was writing Gunnysack Hell so that I kept a visual in my mind as I described the characters (Sean Connery, father; Loretta Young, mother; Barbara Stanwyck, grandmother; Jodie Foster, older sister; and Georgie Henly, younger sister).

What do you want your tombstone to say?

“Life is all about choices.”

Have you written any other books that are not published?

I’ve written two adolescent novels (sci-fi and historical fiction) and two adult novels (realistic fiction). They all need a lot of editing, but I’m hoping to bust some of them out into the world!

How did you come up with the title Gunnysack Hell?

The perpetrator (in his off-screen crimes) has been attacking women around the periphery of the Mojave Desert and leaving them in gunnysacks. Gunnysack Hell began as a working title and stuck.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That no matter how painful it is to do so, recognizing and speaking the truth will set you free. This is something one of the main characters has to do in order to free herself from the psychological bondage of silence.

Other bits about me …

  • I have eclectic tastes in music including rock and roll, jazz, classical, and musicals. For the last two years, our family has been caught up in the songs from Hamilton, and some of our grandgirls know all of the lyrics.
  • My favorite (well, most interesting!) place I’ve visited is Zimbabwe during a revolution during an election year there when I was teaching a course and had my family with me. We were almost hijacked on the way back to the airport.
  • In all my international travels, I haven’t visited Ireland (and I’m part Irish!). I’d like to visit there and track down some obscure relatives.
  • My favorite sports to watch are ALL of the Winter Olympics games!
  • I love assembling jigsaw puzzles.
  • My love language is making soup and sharing it.
  • I lived in a UFO Space Commune at Giant Rock with my family when I was in the second grade.

I enjoyed getting to know you better, Nancy. And thanks for the kind words!  

Enter Nancy’s Free eCopy Giveaway Drawing of Gunnysack Hell at her blog (ends February 26) by leaving your name and choice of the version you’d like: Mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook), or [scrolling] PDF! Winners will also be mailed a postcard of Gunnysack Hell.

(https://www.nancybrashear.com/february-drawing-for-free-e-copy-of-brashears-gunnysack-hell-ends-feb-26/)

Blurb: “There’s more to fear in the desert than scorpions and rattlesnakes.” It’s the summer of 1962, middle of the Cold War, and the O’Brien family has moved off-grid to the Mojave Desert in Southern California. After all, the desert has to be a safer place to raise a family than the crime-ridden city, and there they can build a new future. But evil also stalks dusty desert roads, and eight-year-old Nonni finds herself harboring a terrible secret: Only she can identify the predator who has been terrorizing the community. And he knows where she lives.

Excerpt from Gunnysack Hell: Nonni – The Serpent

I read this morning that Donald Fricker was granted parole after serving twenty years in prison. Once I saw his name in print, the decades disappeared in the flick of a newspaper page. My childhood flooded back to eight-year-old me, too scared to identify him and save my family.

It was May of 1962. My family had recently moved to our new home, our grandparents’ one-room homestead cabin in the California high desert with tarpaper and chicken-wire lining the walls. It never occurred to me to ask my father why we had moved from our three-bedroom suburban home by the beach to “off the grid.”

All I knew was that we used kerosene lanterns, the chemical outhouse under the tall water tank, a wood- burning stove, and an old-fashioned ice-box that our father replenished with a big block of ice from Jolly’s Corner on his way home each day.

Tessa, my six-year-old sister, and I walked home alone, every school day, from the bus stop, a mile and a half down an isolated dirt road.

That’s when it happened, the thing that changed our family. I’ll never forget that day. I protected Tessa even though I broke all of my promises to Mama I’d made just the night before. To walk directly home from the bus stop, not to talk to strangers, and to stay away from open wells.

That afternoon, when the bus’s hissing air brakes signaled our stop, we leapt from the bottom step onto the dirt shoulder of the road.

I picked the perfect stone from the side of the road. It had to be small and round, with no sharp edges, and light enough to kick all the way home.

Tessa followed on my heels, talking my ear off, and stepping on the heel of one of my tennies. “Gave you a flat!”

“Back off!” I glared at her. Mama said those shoes were like gold, and we were to protect them. I gave the rock a punt and forged ahead.

Oblivious to things going on out there in the desert, we were lulled into a sense of safety and routine. Like Eve, we didn’t feel the danger around us until it was too late to escape. Instead, I should have been paying attention to the truck following us slowly.

Down the deserted road.

Yes, this is our story.

My story.

*****************************************************************

Check out Nancy’s short story… ONLY 99 cents!

Bio: Nancy Brashear lives in Orange County, California, with her husband, Patrick, and their rescue dog, Goldie, where her grown children and seven grandgirls have supported her writing adventures. A professor emeritus in English, she has published short stories, poems, academic articles, textbook chapters as well as website content and writing projects with educational publishers. Gunnysack Hell is her debut fiction novel and was inspired by a true-crime event. And, yes, she did live off-grid with her family in a homestead cabin in the Mojave Desert when she was a child. Visit www.nancybrashear.com to learn more about Nancy’s interests and writing projects (and to get a free prequel story, “Dare to Wish Upon a Star,” with Claire, the mother in Gunnysack Hell as a child).

Contacts:

Author website: www.nancybrashear.com

Author FB: www.facebook.com/nancybrashearauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nancybrashearauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/drnancybrashear

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/nancy-brashear

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Nancy-Brashear/e/B083JNZGPR%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nancybrashear/

 

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