Peggy Jaeger’s DIRTY DAMSELS ( DotComGirls Series Book 1)

Please help me welcome the talented Peggy Jaeger with her intriguing new release!

DIRTY DAMSELS ( DotComGirls Series Book 1)

This isn’t your childhood version of Cinderella, folks, but a 2019 retelling of the fairy tale with a few modern twists.

Ella Jones is the CEO of an exclusive cleaning company titled DIRTY DAMSELS. With a $150,00 business loan and a sound business plan, Ella’s company has grown in leaps and bounds since she first started it in college. You know you’ve made it in the business world when someone wants to acquire what you’ve built, and now Ella’s fighting a corporate takeover. As she fights for her company, she also fighting not to lose her heart to the one person who could take everything she’s worked for away.

Blurb:

When I first saw Cynderella all covered in soot in that sexy maid uniform, I knew I wanted to be her Prince.

She’s a small and savvy businesswoman who’s built her cleaning company from the ground up. But now that Dirty Damsels is booming, I’ve been hired to arrange a hostile takeover.

But the temptation of having her was too much to ignore… We ended up spending one night together—a night neither of will forget. Now, I want more. I need more. I want to spend every night, skin-on-skin, with my beautiful Ella.

Problem is, when she finds out who I really am, she’ll never forgive me.

Excerpt:

The bathroom door opened.

In his tailored suit he’d been impressive and striking. With a white bulky towel wrapped around his waist, and the humidity in the bathroom sluicing off his damp torso, he was downright magnificent. Those wide and solid shoulders tapered down into biceps I could tell regularly attended a gym with him, and then into forearms corded with strong sinew and veins.

“I-I’m sorry,” I stammered. “I’m almost done. I’m sorry.” I blushed again and I cursed my fair skin. But really, how could I not blush and stutter when faced with this unbelievable specimen of hotness standing five feet away from me, all wet and hard muscled and gorgeous?

He moved like a panther across the rug, soundlessly stalking, as if playing with his prey, until he came to the opposite side of the bed.

He took one corner of the sheet in his hand and yanked it. “Do you have enough on your side?”

Speech was impossible because I knew I’d start blabbering again, so I nodded and tucked the sheet under the mattress.

“Hospital corners.” He nodded and then mimicked my motions. “I love a tight sheet.”

I couldn’t help but stare at the way his biceps swelled when he lifted the mattress as if it weighed nothing, and shot the sheet under it. Nor could I forgo glancing at the thick mat of black hair crisscrossing from one side of his pecs to the other and then down, disappearing below the towel. And I’d have to have been struck blind and stupid – which I’m neither – not to notice and admire the trim, tight waist and abdomen the towel was securely wrapped around.

At least I prayed it was securely wrapped.

I grabbed the comforter, shook it out and he helped me place it over the bed.

“Toss me one of those,” he commanded when I grabbed a pillow and began tugging the case on.

He caught both in midair.

The bed made, I turned to tell him about the platter of food, but stopped before the words could leave my throat. He’d moved without a sound again, coming to stand so close to me I could smell the citrus scent of the soap he’d used wafting off his body.

He placed a hand on my shoulder and gave it a little squeeze. I swear my body temperature went up ten degrees. I figured by now I resembled one of those cartoons where the character’s head turns beet red and then explodes upward.

“Thanks, Cinderella.” A devilish grin tripped across his tired face. “But I need to crash now, so…”

I truly could have stood there for the rest of the afternoon basking in his hotness, but I got the hint.

I nodded and made one last visual sweep of the room.

“Do you want me to close the blinds?” I asked, turning back just in time to see him drop the towel and slide – gloriously naked – into the freshly made bed.

Holy Mother of God. The man had a butt made for grabbing. Two perfect, round, and tight cheeks dipped from that narrow waist, leading downward to two thick and powerful thighs. Since his back was to me he didn’t notice my jaw hanging open  to my knees while he burrowed under the comforter.

“Mmm…sure. Thanks, Cinderella.”

Even half asleep his voice made my heart skip a few beats and my girlie parts go zing.

 

Buy links:

Amazon: Exclusive to KU readers for free

Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TBBPHM8

Print Version: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1640348409

Bio

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer!

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, she brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go “What??!”

Social Media links:

Website/Blog: http://peggyjaeger.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peggy_jaeger

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peggy-Jaeger-Author/825914814095072?ref=bookmarks

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13478796.Peggy_Jaeger

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mmj122687/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/peggy-jaeger

You-Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDR8RRIlssIyS0FYZWeGqsg/videos?view_as=subscriber

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit & Author Interview with Kathy L Wheeler

I’m happy/sad to introduce today’s guest. I’m happy because she has a new release and I’m thrilled to have her on my blog. I’m sad because she’s a dear friend who moved away from me a few years ago and I miss her terribly! Please help me welcome my friend, Kathy L Wheeler…

 

Hi. I’m Kathy L Wheeler. I recently migrated from Oklahoma City to the Seattle area. When I say recent, it’s been within the last two years. We love the weather—not too hot, not too cold, no tornadoes, rarely straight-lined winds…. Do I sound like a weather mogul? I’m not. It’s just that in tornado alley, you have to be “weather aware.” I live with my musically talented husband, Al. We brought sweet, neurotic dog, and our “finicky” cat, Carly.

Where did you get the idea for Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit & Mail Order Bride: The Breakaway?

I tend to be a bit wayward and adventurous, meaning, I stray from the norm. I love history and the different time periods. I can’t remember where my idea came from exactly for this 2 book series. It might have been just a flash. “What if the mother of the heroine was a saloon madame and decided it was time for her daughter to join the family business? What kind of mother does this! She’s a horrible mother, right? But…is she? There are definitely some psychological issues going on here. The second books takes another twist that bring the East and West together. Soooo fun!

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

Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros. I love this author. However, she lost her mother a few years ago and has not written anything new. So, I’m left with re-reading everything she’s written over and over and over and over…. (Please Ms. Medeiros, save me by writing something new….)

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

Well. Currently, I am an Aflac agent, but, well, my husband is insisting that I concentrate on my writing. Yay, me! I have friends whose husbands are not nearly as supportive as mine is. That makes him an excellent hero, don’t you think?

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

All of my reading is fiction. That bugs a lot of people. The variety of the stories I read are pretty narrow. I’m picky, picky, picky. I don’t like shallow, telling, head-hopping…blah, blah, blah. When I can’t find something that suits my mood, I re-read. Yes, re-read books because I know they will put me in the right frame of mind.

What was your first job?

I worked at the movie theater in Longmont, Colorado in 1976! One incident, in particular, I remember: I had to work Christmas night (December 25). I had a crush on a guy (all the girls had the same crush). The release of the movie? The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds. So half the football team showed up at the theater. Well, I had to wait on my crush and could hardly breath. That crush was a huge source of entertainment for my parents, two sisters and two brothers. I was such a dork.

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

“Aflac”

What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?

I have too many favorite books to list only one. I go by authors: Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Linda Howard, Teresa Medeiros, etc…etc… My favorite childhood books: age 10, Betsy and Tacey series; Age 13, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew; Age 14, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Phillip Carr (I could go on forever)

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Mail Order Bride series?

I hope they find a sense of adventure and surprise. I hope they connect to the heroines in both books and I hope they sense the difference in the two heroines personalities. That’s what I hope.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

As difficult as it to read a bad review, at least you know someone completed the book. Reading is so subjective, so it’s imperative that the author not take offense to a bad review. So I would rather have a bad review than no review.

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

Ha! If you look at my backlist, you would realize how ridiculous a question this is. From contemporary to historical fairy tale, to 1920s, Regency, Civil War, and now Western Historical. The good news is all but one has a happy ending. (What can I say, Cinderella’s stepmother was evil, but at least you learn why!)

What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on an island with?

I don’t care who, just so long as it’s a he and he can hunt and cook. I’ll take care of the rest.

My turn! I’m a huge sports fan. Are you? Who’s your team? Let’s be friendly rivals or excellent cohorts – go Dallas Cowboys and Oklahoma City Thunder!

Alicia Dean, Thanks so much for having me.

It’s my pleasure! Fun interview. Ha, “Aflac” made me laugh.

Readers, tune in next week for a look at Book 2 in the series!

Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit:

After a disastrous first marriage, Will Jeffers hasn’t the stomach for another emotionally entailed union. All he needs is a wife to cook, nurse his mother, and look after the homestead. But good women are few and far between in Colorado mining country. A mail order bride is the perfect solution.

Amelia Johannasen is running for her life. Her mother has decided it’s time her daughter joined the family business, shattering Amy’s dreams of marrying for love. Imagine her surprise when she is mistaken for Will Jeffers mail order bride. She’ll take it

With a head for numbers and talent for spinning tall-tales but no notion of how to cook or nurse a manipulative old woman how can she reach the heart of a man once burned so badly, he’s sworn off love?

Excerpt: Mail Order Bride: The Counterfeit

“I’m happy to see you made it safe, ma’am. I apologize for being late, but as I mentioned in my letters, my ma, well, with her sick and all. I figured we oughta to start back right after the ceremony.”

She froze still as a statue. “Ceremony?”

“Our nuptials. I’m afraid I can’t leave Ma alone for long. No tellin’ what kind of—” He chuckled, but even to his own ears it sounded forced. “We can, uh, talk about that later. Your nursin’ skills and all.”

Those lovely eyes blinked up at him. And once again, he found himself drowning in bewitching sensations.

She heaved in a deep breath and let it out slow. “We’re to be … m-married? Now?

He hardened his tone. “Yes’m.” He had no time for cold feet or feminine hysterics. “It’s what we agreed on, ma’am.” He bit out the words, tamping down the surge of irritation…and something he couldn’t define. Panic, that she wouldn’t follow through? It was ridiculous, an outrageous thought. He shook it off and pressed on, determined to see his plans fulfilled. “Er, I don’t get to the Springs all that often. And there ain’t no preacher within twenty miles of Cripple Creek.”

Her plump lips turned down. The sight coiled his insides tighter than a rattler ready to strike. “Cripple Creek? That’s a long way, right?”

Was she trying to renege? He steeled his spine. He’d done wasted enough time and money getting’ her here. More than anything he wanted, no needed, to secure this marriage.

Something banded his chest, squeezing out every square inch of air, at the same time, softened him inside. Desire rippled through him. “I’m working the mines near there,” he said gently. “The homestead isn’t quite that far out.”

The small breath and small nod she gave, released his own held breath.

He cleared his throat. “Yeah, it’s a long way.”

Kathy L Wheeler (a.k.a. Kae Elle Wheeler for her Cinderella Series) has a BA in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Oklahoma that includes over forty credit hours of vocal music. She was a computer programmer for the Hertz Corporation for over fifteen years and utilizes karaoke for her vocal music talents. Other passions include the NFL, the NBA, travel, musical theatre, painting, reading, and writing.

She is a member of several Romance Writers of America chapters: Greater Seattle, Olympia and Eastside chapters, The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History.

Her main sources of inspiration come from a mostly an over-active imagination. She currently resides in the Seattle area with her musically talented husband, Al, and their bossy cat, Carly, and sweet dog, Angel.

 

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Bookbub ~ Amazon

 

https://kathylwheeler.com

https://twitter.com/kathylwheeler

https://facebook.com/kathylwheeler

https://pinterest.com/kathylwheeler

https://instagram.com/kathylwheeler

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kathy-l-wheeler

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Crime Time ~ Sins & Secrets ~ “Lexington”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

Sins & Secrets, Season 2, Episode 1,  “Lexington”

Lexington, Kentucky, July 17, 1994

A group of University of Kentucky students were hanging out, celebrating the twenty-first birthday of Trent DiGiuro, a well-liked student at the university. Trent was a football player but, at 6’2 and 260 lbs., he was told he was too small and too slow to play. But, he went out and tried anyway, giving it all he could and holding his own with the other, bigger players. He was thrilled when he made it on the team.

At around 12:30, when the party was starting to wind down, a shot rang out. Shawn, one of the friends, asked Trent DiGiuro if he’d heard it. It was in that moment, he realized Trent had been shot. A friend held a shirt on Trent’s head as they waited for an ambulance.  The shirt was immediately soaked in blood. Although Trent was rushed to the hospital, he died—the coroner stated that he died within seconds of being shot.

All of the partygoers were interrogated and tested for gun residue. They told of some guys who drove up in a pickup and wanted to crash the party and were told it was a private party. That ended up leading nowhere. It was determined that the shot, which was directly into Trent’s ear, came from a distance, most likely from a spot above where Trent was located. People wondered if UK football players were being targeted.

For two years, the investigation went unsolved. Then, authorities received a call that they should check out a student named David Cante. They went to David’s house and were shocked at what they found. It was clear that Cante had an unhealthy interest in Trent DiGiuro. They not only found a cache of weapons; they found a rifle that was similar to the one that killed Trent. They also found several paper plates with creepy messages written on them, including one that said he and Trent were twins. He seemed to be obsessed with the victim, which raised a red flag. But, when they dug deeper, they found no connection between Cante and Trent’s murder.

Three more years passed without a break in the case. The story was featured on America’s Most Wanted, which brought in a ton of leads. None of them resulted in anything worthwhile. Then, in January 2000, an attorney called police and told them he had some information from someone who wished to remain anonymous. The attorney gave them the name of Shane Ragland. They learned that Shane was another student at the university. The anonymous source said the motive was Shane being blackballed from a fraternity. Police spoke to a friend of Trent’s who said he was pledging with Shane and Trent was there. On the wall was a calendar of college girls. Shane pointed to one and said he’d slept with her. She was a friend of Trent’s and the girlfriend of the president. Later, the president confronted Shane and he was blackballed from the fraternity. Shane blamed Matt and went after him, attacking him in a bar. When Trent learned of the attack, he called Shane and told him that Trent was the one who told the president. He said if he had a problem, he should take it up with him. Unfortunately, those words sealed Trent’s fate.

Even though this seemed like a minor conflict and shouldn’t have led to murder, it was the only thing police had. Police thought Ragland sounded like a solid suspect but couldn’t go anywhere without knowing the identity of the source. They convinced the attorney, who gave them her name–Aimee Lloyd, a former girlfriend of Shane. She told them she and Shane were out drinking one night and they played the game, “What’s the worst thing you’ve done?” When it was Shane’s turn, he said he’d shot someone. He told her he killed Trent. He even showed her the rifle he’d used. And made her promise she’d never tell anyone. For five years, she kept the promise, Then, one day she read an article about the anniversary of Trent’s death. All she could think about was what his family was going through and knew she had to do something.

She agreed to work with police on a sting operation. They set up a ruse that Aimee would email Shane to establish contact. She did, and they began to communicate frequently. Shane suggested they meet get together some time, and Aimee agreed. She told him she would have a layover in Lexington if he wanted to meet with her. Aimee met with Shane in a lounge at the airport. Some of the other patrons were undercover cops, and Aimee was wired. Police had gone in the night before and set up the bar so they could record audio.

At first, they talked about old times, then Aimee began to cry. She said, “Something has been bother me, something you told me a long time ago, and I wish you never had. I need to know how you feel about it, so I can find out what kind of person you are before we go further.” He told her that he regretted it. She asked if he was ever going to do anything about it and asked if he could live with himself. He told her he didn’t have a choice. Then, he said, “You’re not setting me up, are you?” Aimee nervously laughed off the question, then said goodbye and headed to her flight, a nervous wreck.

The confession was enough to get a search warrant and they found a rifle that was the same caliber as the one that killed Trent. They arrested Shane. When he they interrogated him, he refused to admit he killed Trent.

Shane’s wealthy father posted his 500,000-dollar bond and hired the best attorney. Aimee took the stand at the trial and Shane’s attorney cautioned the jury to be careful believing her. They had Aimee’s diary and read extremely personal, explicit entries she’d written about hers and Shane’s sex life. Shane’s defense claimed that a person with behavior that racy couldn’t be trusted as a witness. Ugh, that’s outrageous. I’m shocked the judge allowed it. They had his freaking OWN words saying he regretted killing Trent, yet they put forth a defense like that?

The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to thirty years. However, a motion was filed by Shane’s attorneys, claiming that one of the ballistics experts gave false testimony. His guilty verdict was overturned. After discussing the option with Trent’s family, prosecutors offered Shane a deal. He plead guilty to manslaughter. With time served, he walked out a free man. So disgusting. His family wasn’t thrilled with the plan but said they didn’t have much choice. I’m not sure why they didn’t. It seems to me that they had a pretty solid case and should have tried it again. Although, they did get the satisfaction of having Shane admit he killed their son.

Aimee Lloyd was so terrified Shane would seek revenge that she went underground. She had to change her identity and completely disappear.

Not wanting Shane to live a life of luxury and enjoy his daddy’s millions, the DiGiuro family sued Ragland, and in 2008, the family was awarded $63.3 million, including $3.3 million in lost wages. It was the largest amount awarded in Fayette County and the second largest ever in Kentucky.

In 2012, Ragland sustained a spinal cord injury in a traffic accident where he was driving too fast on wet roads and not wearing a seatbelt. He has been confined to a wheelchair since. I guess Karma is indeed a bitch. However, it doesn’t seem he’s learned his lesson. In 2015, he was in Court on charges of domestic abuse for beating his girlfriend and her children. His only consequence was that he was ordered not to be around the children, although the woman stayed with him. Sometimes, the things people do amaze me.

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Crime Time ~ Sins & Secrets ~ “Lexington”

#CrimeTime with Alicia Dean ~ 

Sins & Secrets, Season 2, Episode 1,  “Lexington”

Lexington, Kentucky, July 17, 1994

A group of University of Kentucky students were hanging out, celebrating the twenty-first birthday of Trent DiGiuro, a well-liked student at the university. Trent was a football player but, at 6’2 and 260 lbs., he was told he was too small and too slow to play. But, he went out and tried anyway, giving it all he could and holding his own with the other, bigger players. He was thrilled when he made it on the team.

At around 12:30, when the party was starting to wind down, a shot rang out. Shawn, one of the friends, asked Trent DiGiuro if he’d heard it. It was in that moment, he realized Trent had been shot. A friend held a shirt on Trent’s head as they waited for an ambulance.  The shirt was immediately soaked in blood. Although Trent was rushed to the hospital, he died—the coroner stated that he died within seconds of being shot.

All of the partygoers were interrogated and tested for gun residue. They told of some guys who drove up in a pickup and wanted to crash the party and were told it was a private party. That ended up leading nowhere. It was determined that the shot, which was directly into Trent’s ear, came from a distance, most likely from a spot above where Trent was located. People wondered if UK football players were being targeted.

For two years, the investigation went unsolved. Then, authorities received a call that they should check out a student named David Cante. They went to David’s house and were shocked at what they found. It was clear that Cante had an unhealthy interest in Trent DiGiuro. They not only found a cache of weapons; they found a rifle that was similar to the one that killed Trent. They also found several paper plates with creepy messages written on them, including one that said he and Trent were twins. He seemed to be obsessed with the victim, which raised a red flag. But, when they dug deeper, they found no connection between Cante and Trent’s murder.

Three more years passed without a break in the case. The story was featured on America’s Most Wanted, which brought in a ton of leads. None of them resulted in anything worthwhile. Then, in January 2000, an attorney called police and told them he had some information from someone who wished to remain anonymous. The attorney gave them the name of Shane Ragland. They learned that Shane was another student at the university. The anonymous source said the motive was Shane being blackballed from a fraternity. Police spoke to a friend of Trent’s who said he was pledging with Shane and Trent was there. On the wall was a calendar of college girls. Shane pointed to one and said he’d slept with her. She was a friend of Trent’s and the girlfriend of the president. Later, the president confronted Shane and he was blackballed from the fraternity. Shane blamed Matt and went after him, attacking him in a bar. When Trent learned of the attack, he called Shane and told him that Trent was the one who told the president. He said if he had a problem, he should take it up with him. Unfortunately, those words sealed Trent’s fate.

Even though this seemed like a minor conflict and shouldn’t have led to murder, it was the only thing police had. Police thought Ragland sounded like a solid suspect but couldn’t go anywhere without knowing the identity of the source. They convinced the attorney, who gave them her name–Aimee Lloyd, a former girlfriend of Shane. She told them she and Shane were out drinking one night and they played the game, “What’s the worst thing you’ve done?” When it was Shane’s turn, he said he’d shot someone. He told her he killed Trent. He even showed her the rifle he’d used. And made her promise she’d never tell anyone. For five years, she kept the promise, Then, one day she read an article about the anniversary of Trent’s death. All she could think about was what his family was going through and knew she had to do something.

She agreed to work with police on a sting operation. They set up a ruse that Aimee would email Shane to establish contact. She did, and they began to communicate frequently. Shane suggested they meet get together some time, and Aimee agreed. She told him she would have a layover in Lexington if he wanted to meet with her. Aimee met with Shane in a lounge at the airport. Some of the other patrons were undercover cops, and Aimee was wired. Police had gone in the night before and set up the bar so they could record audio.

At first, they talked about old times, then Aimee began to cry. She said, “Something has been bother me, something you told me a long time ago, and I wish you never had. I need to know how you feel about it, so I can find out what kind of person you are before we go further.” He told her that he regretted it. She asked if he was ever going to do anything about it and asked if he could live with himself. He told her he didn’t have a choice. Then, he said, “You’re not setting me up, are you?” Aimee nervously laughed off the question, then said goodbye and headed to her flight, a nervous wreck.

The confession was enough to get a search warrant and they found a rifle that was the same caliber as the one that killed Trent. They arrested Shane. When he they interrogated him, he refused to admit he killed Trent.

Shane’s wealthy father posted his 500,000-dollar bond and hired the best attorney. Aimee took the stand at the trial and Shane’s attorney cautioned the jury to be careful believing her. They had Aimee’s diary and read extremely personal, explicit entries she’d written about hers and Shane’s sex life. Shane’s defense claimed that a person with behavior that racy couldn’t be trusted as a witness. Ugh, that’s outrageous. I’m shocked the judge allowed it. They had his freaking OWN words saying he regretted killing Trent, yet they put forth a defense like that?

The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to thirty years. However, a motion was filed by Shane’s attorneys, claiming that one of the ballistics experts gave false testimony. His guilty verdict was overturned. After discussing the option with Trent’s family, prosecutors offered Shane a deal. He plead guilty to manslaughter. With time served, he walked out a free man. So disgusting. His family wasn’t thrilled with the plan but said they didn’t have much choice. I’m not sure why they didn’t. It seems to me that they had a pretty solid case and should have tried it again. Although, they did get the satisfaction of having Shane admit he killed their son.

Aimee Lloyd was so terrified Shane would seek revenge that she went underground. She had to change her identity and completely disappear.

Not wanting Shane to live a life of luxury and enjoy his daddy’s millions, the DiGiuro family sued Ragland, and in 2008, the family was awarded $63.3 million, including $3.3 million in lost wages. It was the largest amount awarded in Fayette County and the second largest ever in Kentucky.

In 2012, Ragland sustained a spinal cord injury in a traffic accident where he was driving too fast on wet roads and not wearing a seatbelt. He has been confined to a wheelchair since. I guess Karma is indeed a bitch. However, it doesn’t seem he’s learned his lesson. In 2015, he was in Court on charges of domestic abuse for beating his girlfriend and her children. His only consequence was that he was ordered not to be around the children, although the woman stayed with him. Sometimes, the things people do amaze me.

 

[I love true crime shows, and I watch them every night. (Since I write suspense, thriller, and mystery, it’s not a waste of time…it’s research, right? 🙂 ) I love Investigation Discovery and watch many of the various shows, although some are a little too cheesy. However, there are plenty of shows that are done well enough to feed my fascination with murder. Each week, I’ll blog about some of the recent episodes I’ve seen and I’d love to know your thoughts.]

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Filed under Crime Time

Author Interview & An Excuse For Murder by Vanessa Westermann

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Vanessa Westermann…

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

I’m half-Canadian, half-German and was born in Germany. I moved to Canada two years ago and currently live in Ontario.

Why did you choose this genre?

I’ve always loved reading crime fiction, starting with Nancy Drew mysteries to Agatha Christie and Tana French. It’s not the violence of the crime, but the emotion that motivated it that intrigues me – the why, rather than the how.

I wanted to write a traditional village mystery, with its puzzles and quirky characters, but include the suspense of a thriller. In order to accomplish this, An Excuse For Murder is told from two points of view: from the perspective of Gary Fenris, a haunted former bodyguard who commits murder and then has to live with the consequences, and from the perspective of Kate Rowan, a bookstore owner who discovers the body. The characters are linked by danger and uncertain romance.

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

Besides being a writer, I’m an English teacher and have also taught creative writing to young adults. I love teaching. Having the chance to inspire students and make a difference in their lives is wonderful.  There’s never a dull moment. And I get to spend my day talking about books.

What was your first job?

My first job was in Karstadt Oberpollinger, a department store in Munich, Germany. I worked in the store’s pop-up Christmas market. Besides having to listen to two recently released pop albums being played over and over again at the MAC cosmetics counter, it was a lot of fun.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why?

My favorite book of all time would have to be The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Literary detective, Thursday Next, is on the trail of a criminal mastermind who is kidnapping characters from classic works of fiction. In this alternative version of 1985 London, people are obsessed with books – there are museums devoted to famous authors and “HyperBookworms”, i.e. Thesaurean maggots. The Eyre Affair is surreal, witty and gripping.

I was lucky enough to interview Jasper Fforde about his latest standalone, Early Riser, on my blog: https://www.vanessa-westermann.info/Fforde-interview

What’s your favorite childhood book?

My favorite childhood book is I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith and my favorite picture book is The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read An Excuse For Murder?

After they read An Excuse For Murder, I would like readers to come away with a sense of hope: that Gary will lay his ghosts to rest and that he will solve another crime with Kate. I would be thrilled if my characters linger on in readers’ minds after the last page has been read, and that Kate, Gary and Marcus feel like old friends.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

I would have to quote Oscar Wilde on that one: “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.” I would rather have a bad review than no review.

What is your favorite quote?

“The trouble with real life is that you don’t know whether you’re the hero or just some nice chap who gets bumped off in chapter five to show what a rotter the villain is without anyone minding too much.” ― Sarah Caudwell, The Sirens Sang of Murder

If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would love to have tea with Kate in The Old Fire-hall Café and then help her stock books in her bookstore, while discussing the mysterious behavior of the late Mr. Wendell.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism given to me as an author was by an editor who described an early version of An Excuse For Murder as a “woman-in-danger novel”. I was horrified that I had given the impression that my female protagonist needed saving. I revised the novel, making sure that Kate showed strength and courage in every decision she made and every action she took. The best compliment I received was from Barbara Fradkin, in her praise quote for An Excuse For Murder: “Kate Rowan is the perfect heroine for our times; wit, charm, and spirit balanced by impressive skills in self-defense and lock-picking.“ Taking the tough criticism to heart, and making those changes, led to the best compliment.

How did you come up with the title?

The book was originally titled The House of Silent Words. In that earlier version of the manuscript, the focus was on Kate and the other tenants living in the fairy-tale house, owned by Kate’s great-aunt. Gary Fenris was just a shadowy figure on the sidelines. During revisions, Gary became a protagonist in his own right and the title had to reflect that change. An Excuse For Murder stems from Gary’s storyline and emphasizes the theme of revenge.

Blurb:

As a former bodyguard, it should be easy for Gary Fenris to kill, especially when the motive is revenge. But Gary has made two mistakes in his life. The first was letting the woman he loved die on his watch. The second was thinking vengeance could bring him peace.

Local bookstore owner and amateur lock pick Kate Rowan loves nothing more than a good mystery. Her curiosity soon leads her down a trail of blackmail, obsession and death. Despite the risk – or maybe because of it – Gary finds himself drawn to Kate. When danger strikes, Gary is forced to face the fact that he used love as an excuse for murder. And he’s got one last score to settle.

 Excerpt:

The ghost of her laughter teased across his skin, raising the hairs on his arms.

There she was, vibrant as though she was in the room with him. “Don’t tell me you don’t like it.” She gave her new dress a twirl, barefoot and beautiful, all ready for a night out but for the heels she would wait to put on to the last. Her toe-nails were painted red. The arch of her foot flexed strong and graceful with the movement. Her blonde hair shone in the light of memory. She stopped short, the soft blue fabric swinging against her legs, and grinned at him.

It went straight through him. He raised the bottle of Scotch to his lips, holding on to the vision. It wavered beneath the intensity of his gaze.

Then there was nothing on the floor but scuff marks and the shimmer of dust. His trainers, mud-caked from that morning’s eight kilometer run, took up the space where her heels should have been. He had almost forgotten the way she used to toe her shoes off, always sliding the left one off first for some inexplicable reason.

The wall was cold and hard against his back, the Scotch smooth and warm.

There was no other choice. He’d made his decision two years ago. It was time.

Tomorrow, he would commit murder.

 Buy links:

Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Kobo | Books-A-Million

 

Bio:

Vanessa Westermann is a former Arthur Ellis Awards judge, and has given a talk on the evolution of women’s crime writing, at the Toronto Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Her book review column entitled “Vanessa’s Picks” was published in the monthly newsletter of a popular Toronto mystery-specialty bookstore, from 2012 to 2016. The column was developed into a blog, featuring literary reviews and author interviews.

While living in Munich, Germany, Vanessa attained an M.A. in English Literature and went on to teach creative writing.

Vanessa currently lives in Canada and is working on her next novel, while drinking copious amounts of tea.

Readers can find her blog at www.vanessa-westermann.info and follow her on Twitter @VanessasPicks.

Contact links:

Website & Blog | Twitter

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Writing about PTSD in Romance by Kimberly Beckett


Please help me welcome Kimberly Beckett with a fascinating article and her latest release, Racing Toward Love.

Writing about PTSD in Romance

            In my day to day life, I work as an attorney for the United States Department of Defense, and have been doing so for a little over thirty years.  During that time, I have worked with colleagues that have been exposed to combat situations, and/or their spouses, and have seen the direct impact to the lives of military members who suffer from PTSD.  Therefore, when, as a writer, I decided to create a character that suffers from the effects of PTSD, I resolved to do as much research as I could to make the experience as authentic to my readers as possible.

            In Racing Toward Love, the second book in my Horses Heal Hearts series, I dive more deeply into the background of Ian Stafford, a former British SAS officer, who suffers PTSD. Ian was first introduced to my readers in Dressage Dreaming, book one of the series. Ian’s PTSD started when he watched his best friend die in his arms – felled by an enemy sniper.  Ian believes himself responsible for his friend’s death – after all, he was his commanding officer, and as such responsible for the lives of every man in his command.  That sense of responsibility, coupled with the fact that his friend relied on Ian for advice and support, triggered flashbacks, a quick temper, and nightmares that have haunted Ian ever since.

            In my research, I discovered a relatively new treatment for the men and women who suffer from PTSD, not just from combat, but from other traumatic experiences they’ve suffered in their lives. It was called Cognitive Processing Therapy, or CPT. If you’re a writer seeking to write an authentic character with PTSD, I recommend researching the therapy. It was extremely helpful for me. I also spent some time interviewing those military members I knew who suffered from the effects to find out more about how episodes were triggered, and what they and their loved ones could do to avoid the onset. Sometimes, I’m sorry to say, there really is nothing a family member or friend can do but stand by and let the patient know they’re there for them.  There are no easy solutions to PTSD, but with the love and devotion of their own special hero or heroine, those who suffer from PTSD have hope.

Learn more about Kimberly Beckett at her website:  www.kimberlybeckett.com.

Her books can be found on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Dressage-Dreaming-Kimberly-Beckett/dp/1682916693

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KTDLWQD

About Racing Toward Love

Ian Stafford is a former British Special Forces soldier and Afghanistan war veteran who still has nightmares after watching his best friend cut down by a sniper in a remote village in Afghanistan. When he sees a woman in a local pub begin harassed and threatened, he intervenes. During the ensuing brawl, the woman escapes, but Ian accidentally stabs one of his attackers who later dies.  Ian is charged with manslaughter, and the woman who can exonerate him has disappeared.

     Megan Brady and her father Daniel never imagined that the thoroughbred colt they raised from birth would grow up to be a contender for the British Triple Crown.  Seabiscuit II is the last horse you might imagine as a champion if judged by looks alone.  Like his namesake, Seabiscuit II is not much to look at, but has a heart as big as all outdoors, and refuses to be beaten.  Unfortunately, the Irish mob has also taken notice, and has approached Megan’s brother Stephen with an offer of a bribe to purposely lose the most important race of his career.  Stephen refused, and Megan has taken it upon herself to thwart the mob, but their brutal tactics nearly see her raped until Ian steps in to save her.  Megan knows she must come out of hiding to exonerate Ian, but knows if she does, the mob will be there too.  Meanwhile the date of the big race approaches.

     Can Megan’s example of courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and the will to prevail even when the going looks tough, help Ian come to grips with his grief, and give him the courage to forgive himself and allow himself to live and love again? Will Ian be able to trust Megan with his heart?

Chapter 1

Megan Brady’s stomach fluttered as she parked her car in front of the Rusty Nail Pub just outside of Woking and near Guildford. There were no other buildings nearby and very few cars in the lot. She had to admit that the location was ideal for a clandestine meeting, but the atmosphere clearly favored the men she was supposed to be meeting. The pub was practically deserted, so there wouldn’t be anyone to help her should the encounter go badly.

Megan gripped the steering wheel of her father’s car as she debated whether she should even go in. This wouldn’t be easy, primarily because the party she was there to meet was expecting her brother Stephen and would not be happy she had come in his place.

“OK, Megs,” she whispered under her breath. “You’re here now. There’s no going back. Let’s do this.”

She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders, and opened the car door.

Megan entered the pub and was immediately assailed with the stench of stale beer and cigarette smoke. Although smoking had been banned in bars in the U.K. for years, it appeared this establishment didn’t abide by government rules. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the dark, drab interior. Getting her bearings, she slowly walked to the bar. She was somewhat surprised to see she was the first to arrive. No one resembling the party she was supposed to be meeting was in the pub. There were only a couple of other patrons in the place, none of whom took any notice of her. She walked over to the bar and sat down.

The bartender looked at Megan curiously. Apparently, few people other than locals frequented the Rusty Nail. He approached cautiously and asked, “What can I get for you?”

Megan knew she needed all of her wits about her if she was going to survive a confrontation with the organization that was threatening her family, so she ordered a soda.

The bartender cast her an even more curious stare and dispensed the soda, placing the glass in front of her.

Just as the bartender served Megan her drink, the pub door opened, and Megan quickly turned. A tall, good-looking, well-built young man with sandy blond hair cut in a distinctive military style entered the pub. Megan watched with interest as his gaze scanned the interior of the pub as if to memorize every detail of the place and its inhabitants. Once he had completed his sweep of the room, he made his way to a table. The bartender walked over to take his order, and Megan overheard the man order a steak and potato pie and a beer. The bartender served him the beer right away.

She surreptitiously watched the man as he sipped his beer and waited for his food. This wasn’t the person she was there to meet. For one thing, he wasn’t looking for anyone; he just went about his business. It appeared he was reading a booklet of some sort, but he occasionally looked in her direction. Obviously, he was just as curious about her as she was about him. Did he live nearby? Or was he just passing through? She wasn’t very familiar with this area, but she was fairly certain there weren’t any military bases in the vicinity.

A door slammed in the back of the pub, drawing her attention. Four large, burly men emerged from the shadows. They scanned the room but quickly focused on her. As one, they moved toward her. The apparent leader, the largest of the four with a jagged scar down one side of his face, sauntered up to Megan and leered at her.

“Im surprised to see you here, Miss Brady,” the man said insolently. Megan noticed immediately that he spoke with a distinctly Irish accent. “We have business with your brother. Where might he be?”

Megan hoped the men couldn’t see how fast her heart was beating as she dug deep and found the courage to respond in a clear, firm voice. “Stephen sent me in his place.” She squared her shoulders and looked at the leader defiantly. “My father asked me to give you a message. Neither Stephen nor my father will accept your bribes. Seabiscuit II will run his race at the Epsom Derby. We will not agree to lose intentionally as your boss has requested. We ask that you accept our decision and leave us alone.”

Megan watched as the man’s expression slowly changed from lascivious to enraged. In truth, her father didn’t even know she was there, and he probably would have tied her up and locked her in her room if he had known she had talked Stephen into allowing her to take his place for this meeting. However, when Stephen had approached her and told her that members of the O’Reilly crime family had tried to bribe him to throw the Epsom Derby, one of the richest races in Britain and the second race in the British Triple Crown, she easily fell back into her familiar role of big sister and protector and persuaded him to allow her to take care of things.

She was now seriously regretting that rash decision. Feigning a bravado she didn’t feel, Megan looked toward the pub entrance. “Now that I have delivered my father’s message, if you will excuse me, gentlemen, I have to go.” Megan left some cash on the bar to pay for her drink and started toward the door.

The leader, who unbeknownst to Megan was the O’Reilly family patriarch’s nephew and chief enforcer, Colin Fitzpatrick, grabbed Megan’s arm and hauled her back toward him with enough strength that she lost her balance and fell into him. She shoved both arms against his massive chest, trying to push herself away from his brutal embrace, but he only laughed at her ineffective struggles.

“My friends and I came a long way to make a deal with your brother, darlin’,” he said with a sneer. “Now that you’ve taken that away, I think you owe us. Boys, let’s take her to the back of the pub and collect our payment before we go back to the boss. This way we’ll at least get something for our trouble.”

The other three men grinned their approval and raked her with their eyes, lingering on her breasts. She shuddered with revulsion, and her heart raced as the full implication of what she had gotten herself into hit her. She glanced at the bartender to see if he would help her, but he was purposely ignoring the situation. No help there. She scanned the pub to see if anyone else was paying attention and noticed that the blond military man was watching and appeared concerned. Would he help her? She had to try.

“No,” she said in a loud, clear voice. “I don’t want to go with you. Leave me alone, or I’ll call the police.”

Colin only chuckled. “No one here is going to help you, sweetheart. This pub is owned by the same people who pay my salary, and, as for the police, well, let’s just say I’m not too worried about them either. Come along quietly, now, and we’ll try to make this easy on you. If you fight us, you’ll only get hurt.” His gaze swept her body hungrily.

Regardless of the man’s assurances, Megan knew that if she surrendered to these men, she would suffer unbearably. Her only option was to resist. She refused to go quietly and allow these men to rape her without a fight. “Please just leave me alone,” she pleaded. When the man continued to drag her, she planted her feet, forcing Colin to stop. “Let me go!” she shouted. When the man didn’t respond, she lashed out with her open hand and slapped him. “I said, let me go!”

Megan was shocked at her own audacity and watched in horror as Colin drew his fist back to strike her. He could easily break her jaw.

Suddenly, a very strong and very large hand grabbed the man’s fist and held it. “You heard the woman. Let her go.” The resonant and commanding voice came from just behind Megan, and she turned around to see the man she had decided was a soldier standing right behind her, appearing big, strong, and determined. Megan noted with some relief that the man was over six feet tall, had a muscular, athletic build, and exuded strength and confidence.

Ian Stafford had been watching the scene unfold before him, and, seeing no one in the pub willing to help the woman who was clearly in danger, made the split-second decision to come to her defense.

“Mind your own business, laddie,” Colin replied. “This is none of your affair.” He loosened his fist, though, and Ian released his grip on the man’s wrist. Little did the thug know how close he had come to having his wrist broken.

“I’m making it my affair since the woman clearly doesn’t want to go with you. Do yourself and your friends a favor, and let her go.”

Colin snickered and glanced over at his friends, who were also laughing. He responded, “I don’t know how you’re going to stop us. You’re only one man against four.” He turned toward the back of the pub, dragging Megan with him. Megan realized there was nothing she could do to stop the inevitable, thankful that her rescuer had at least tried to help her. Then, before she realized what had happened, the thug was lying on his back on the pub floor with his nose broken and blood streaming down his face. The impact of the stranger’s fist to his face had caused him to let go of Megan, who moved out of harm’s way toward the pub entrance. Unfortunately, after she escaped his grasp, the man’s friends surrounded the stranger, who even Megan knew was no match for four trained mob enforcers.

Ian knew he was in trouble, but at least he had gotten the woman out of immediate danger. Now, he could deal with the four thugs who had tried to rape her. He’d broken the leader’s nose, but the brute wasn’t entirely out of commission, and Ian could tell that the other three were experienced brawlers. They wouldn’t be easy for one man, even one man with Special Forces training, to subdue.

To survive this fight, he would need his knife, tucked conveniently in his boot. It was the one habit he had brought home from Afghanistan that had been difficult to break. Since his last tour in country, he didn’t feel safe without a weapon of some kind on his person at all times. Ian reached down quickly and unsheathed the knife. With it, he was able to fend off the men for a time, but despite Ian’s best efforts, it wasn’t long before two of the thugs pinned his arms, and a third tried to wrest his knife out of his hand.

Ian knew from the nature of the men he was fighting that if he lost his knife, his life would be forfeited, so he dug deep and used all his remaining strength to wrest his right arm away from one of the thugs. The knife he still held went straight into the belly of the man directly in front of him. The man collapsed immediately, and Ian was shoved to the ground as two of the thugs carried their comrade away—presumably to a hospital.

Colin looked at the bartender and barked, “You, I know you work for my uncle, tie this man to a chair and call the police.”

At first, the man looked confused, but the leader spoke to him sharply. “Look, man, we know where you live, and we can reach your family easily. Do what you’re told, or they’ll pay the price.”

The man paled, and then rushed to comply. His hands trembled as he tied Ian to a chair.

The leader further instructed the bartender, “When the police come, you will tell them this man started the fight and attacked us without provocation. We acted in self-defense, but he stabbed our friend. Do you understand?”

The bartender nodded again, and, apparently satisfied with the response, the leader left the pub, presumably to join his friends at the hospital.

When the police arrived, the bartender did as he was told, and despite his protests, Ian was arrested for criminal assault with a deadly weapon. The woman he saved had disappeared.

 

About the Author

Ever since she can remember, Kimberly Beckett has loved horses. She wore out 4 rocking horses before she was 5 years old, and as she got older, she read every horse story in print, from Black Beauty to My Friend Flicka. It wasn’t until she got her first job as an attorney for the federal government, however, that could afford to buy her first horse, and she hasn’t been without at least one ever since. She has been riding dressage for several years and has earned her United States Dressage Federation Bronze Medal. When she wasn’t reading about horses, she was reading romance novels, and her favorites always involve an alpha male Hero riding a magnificent horse. Kimberly has now found a way to combine her love of horses with her love of romance by writing her own version of equine-facilitated happily ever afters. She truly believes that Horses Heal Hearts. She lives in southwest Ohio with her two adopted greyhounds, and two warmblood horses.

If you loved Racing Toward Love, please read the first book in Kimberly’s Horses Heal Hearts Series, Dressage Dreaming, where readers are first introduced to Ian Stafford, his brother, Michael, and Michael’s love, Jessica Warren. 

To find out more about Kimberly, and to keep up with her next release, please visit her website, www.kimberlybeckett.com and sign up for her periodic email updates. 

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Author Interview with Charlene Namdhari ~ New Release: Undercover Affection

I am happy to host today’s guest, Charlene Namdhari, with an interesting interview and her latest release…

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

My name is Charlene and I’m glad to be here. I am a fairly new author and excited to announce the release of my second book yesterday. I’m from Sunny South Africa and live in the City of Gold, Johannesburg. I share a home with two kids, four dogs, a cat, two dragons, seven fish and um…oh the husband of course.

Where did you get the idea for Undercover Affection? Why did you choose this genre (is it something you’ve written in before)? Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share? What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

The idea for Undercover Affection came from my love for cop series. I enjoy Criminal Minds, NCIS and Law & Order, so I wanted to write something with a Cop as the heroine. I’ve read a lot of erotic romance over time and I find while some of them are good, they lack plots which I thought would be nice. Ashni Scott Callahan, the heroine, is most woman’s dreams of an ideal woman. She’s smart, sassy, mischief and can kick ass. I think setting the romance in New York was a little difficult for me as I haven’t been there, so I hope I’ve done a good job depicting the city well. I enjoyed writing this story and now a second book seems to be churning in this head of mine about another character in this book, although a series was never the thought process to begin with. I believe our characters have a mind of their own and they will guide us as to where they want to go.

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

Silly as it sounds I like to write in front of the tv when watching one of my favorites. No idea why but it seems to work well when I want a story to come out. The idea that works best for me is to just write and sort out the junk later

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

Pet Semetary and IT. I love Stephen King

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

I am the Executive Assistant to the MD of a large international corporate and their events manager.

What’s your favorite book of all time and why? What’s your favorite childhood book?

IT by Stephen King. Scared the hell out of me then and have hated clowns ever since. My favorite childhood books was Nancy Drew and the Perry Mason cases.

Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

An honest critical review would be appreciated.  Authors work hard to put a good book together and while you can’t please everyone being honest about what worked and didn’t work for you would be appreciated rather than making fun of the author. This way the author knows how to tackle their next book and not be demotivated.

What celebrity would you most like to be stranded on an island with?

Geez that’s a tough one. If I must choose then it would have to be Chris Hemsworth and if he’s busy then Dwayne Johnson

What do you want your tombstone to say?

Innocent by Nature, Naughty by Choice

If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? (PG-13 please 🙂

Cody Bentley from Daredevil’s Mistress. Lock the door, throw away the key and make all my scenes in my novels come true

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

You can do better. Your writing style is similar to Nora Roberts

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

The current president of our country.

Your favorite…

Movie Miss Congeniality

Music Madonna

Place you’ve visited Barcelona and Italy

Place you’d like to visit Greece

TV show from childhood MacGyver

TV show from adulthood CSI

Food Peppermint Tart

Which do you prefer: Board games/card games or television? Television

Great interview…I also LOVE Stephen King!! Thank you so much for joining me today. Please share more about your new release…

 

Blurb:

Ashni Scott Callahan is a tough as nails detective with no time for love. She’s taken down drug lords, human traffickers and diamond smugglers. So going undercover is as easy as eating a slice of pie. That is until she has to spy on sexy billionaire, Avinash Rai. Could a potential criminal be this delicious? One slice, she soon discovers is not enough, she wants to lick the whole damn plate.

Avinash Rai, hardworking billionaire, takes what he wants when he wants, but prides himself on honesty. He’s a man women don’t ignore, that is until a sexy stranger visits his usual hangouts without so much as a glance in his direction. Intrigued, he’s up for the challenge. Only, nothing prepares him for her spirited personality or their intense attraction.

Will Ashni surrender to the man’s charms and jeopardize her case? Will Avinash finally understand his father’s motto: in life, you win some, you lose some and then you fall in love? And will he be able to forgive Ashni’s lies?

Buy Links:

Amazon USA: https://amzn.to/30jIafA

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2Qo2M21

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2HHgwSL

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2VGQ2cz

Others: https://books2read.com/u/mBQddN

 

Bio:

Born and raised in the coastal city of Durban, South Africa, she now lives in the City of Gold, Johannesburg. Charlene’s days are an energetic mixture of a full time job, a wife and mom to two beautiful teenagers and four dogs. She holds a law degree and is a passionate events manager.

Charlene enjoys travelling, a Mediterranean cruise being her most recent venture. She hopes to retire to a beautiful seaside cottage where she can spend lazy days on the beach drinking cocktails and focus all her energy on writing. She is of the firm opinion that one should not give up on a dream but rather make every attempt to get there no matter how long it takes.

Her love for writing stemmed from an avid interest in English at School, more so Literature and enjoyed writing short stories. She attempted her first full length novel fifteen years ago and although she loved the finish product decided she’d write mainly as a hobby and only recently sought publishing.

Believing writing is the wings to holistic escapism, she makes the time in her busy schedule giving life to her dreams of bringing together passion filled heroes and heroines in a happily ever after.

Contact Info:

Email: charlene@cybersolutions.co.za

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CNamdhari

Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/charlene.namdhari.7

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

Website: www.charlenenamdhari.co.za

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SUMMER OF 99 CENTS BOOK FAIR ~ NEW GIVEAWAYS DAILY ~ June 5-8, 2019

#99CentEbooks

SUMMER OF 99 CENTS BOOK FAIR

NEW GIVEAWAYS DAILY

June 5-8, 2019

https://bookwrapt.com/summer-of-99/

What would summer be without a ton of must-read books loaded onto your reading device of choice to enjoy on a lazy June afternoon? Our fair is filled with 99 cents bargains on sale for a limited time in contemporary romance, paranormal romance, thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, women’s fiction, romantic suspense, and more.

Plus, each day of the fair we’re giving away a $15 Amazon gift card and 12 books from the fair via Amazon instant giveaways!

Look for Books from Your Favorite Authors!

Alexa Aston • ME 🙂 • Amanda Uhl • Anne McClane • Brenda Whiteside • Cara Marsi • Catherine Kean • CB Samet • Debbie White • Elizabeth Rose • Emerald Dodge • Honey Phillips • Jacqueline Diamond • Jennifer Allis Provost • Jessie Kwak • Jim Stein • JL Lora • Jordan Hallak • Karen Michelle Nutt • Katherine Gilbert • Kristine Smith • LC Owen • Leslie Scott • Linda Mooney • LJ Swallow • Loralee Evans • M.D. Dalrymple • Margaret Tanner • Maria Geraci • Morgan Kay • Morgan Kay Wyatt • Rayna Noire • Rhondi Ann • Rose Pearson • Sherrie Lea Morgan • Stephanie Queen • Tara Gallina • Taylor Marsh

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Jenna Barwin New Release: Dark Wine at Dusk (A Hill Vampire Novel Book 3)

Please help me welcome Jenna Barwin with a fun interview and her brand new release…plus, a giveaway!!

Thank you, Alicia, for hosting me today. I’m so excited to be here. Dark Wine at Dusk, the third book in the Hill Vampire series, and it was released yesterday.

How was the Hill Vampire series born?

I’ve been fascinated by the vampire myth my entire life. I read Dracula as a young teen, and something in me wanted the vampire, the tragic hero, to get the girl. That was my starting point.

What is the Hill Vampire series about?

It’s an urban fantasy romance, and combines mystery and political intrigue with a continuing love story. It’s set in an exclusive winemaking community of vampires.

Here’s the elevator pitch for the first book in the series, Dark Wine at Midnight: A research scientist is forced by her people to spy on the vampires she’s trying to help. One of those vampires is an expert winemaker who’s hiding his own deep secrets. In the end, he learns to love again, and she learns to embrace her own decisions, which includes choosing him.

Who is your favorite character, and why?

The hero, Enrique “Henry” Bautista Vasquez. I enjoy writing him. He’s the first character I created in the Hill Vampire series, and I just loved the process of discovery—peeling back the layers to find out who he is.

He’s originally from Mexico. He came to California in the early 1800s, where he was turned vampire, and founded the town of Sierra Escondida. So he has a deep backstory, entwined with California’s history, and I like weaving the two together.

He’s also an expert winemaker, with bourbon-brown eyes and long, ebony hair, but he’s a bit moody. Because of a dark secret he carries, he’s been unsuccessful at relationships. He’s also very protective of the town he founded. So when Dr. Cerissa Patel arrives in town, he’s suspicious of her, but also attracted to her, and his suspicion is fighting with the feelings she’s stirred up in him.

In Dark Wine at Dusk, we finally get to learn his secret. In many ways, Dusk is Henry’s book.

Does he get his happily ever after?

No spoilers! But I can safely say it wouldn’t be a romance if he didn’t ultimately get his happily ever after with Cerissa, the heroine. Still, he has to work for it over the series’ arc.

To put it another way, the Hill Vampire novels are a “same couple series.” I’m an avowed fan of same couple series, so I wrote what I love.

Please explain to readers, for those who may not know, what do you mean by same couple series?

It’s a series of novels following the same couple from their first hot glimpse of each other, all the way through to their marriage and beyond. As a reader, once I’ve fallen in love with a couple, I want to read more about them.

Faye Kellerman did a great job reeling me in with the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mystery series. Peter Decker is a police detective and his Orthodox Jewish wife Rina assists him in solving crimes. They have their ups and downs, but I fell in love with them when they fell in love with each other. I happily followed them through their engagement, marriage, kids and ultimately, into retirement.

In the world of urban fantasy and paranormal romance, I swoon over Jeaniene Frost’s Cat and Bones books. She kept the sizzle going through seven books, along with writing very satisfying adventures for her pair. To keep me entertained, the adventure or mystery has to be as strong as the romance, and Jeaniene Frost delivers on both.

It’s what I hope to achieve with the Hill Vampire series.

Thank you for joining me today. Please tell us more about your book. 

Blurb for Dark Wine at Dusk:

A seductive spy. An alpha vampire. A hidden threat to their love…

When a rogue vampire group attacks again, Dr. Cerissa Patel’s happily ever after with the man of her dreams must take a back seat to her mission.

Her lover, vampire Henry Bautista, is quick to pick up the gauntlet. He’ll do anything to help his beautiful spy capture the conspirators who are determined to enslave mortals.

But as Henry’s secret past rears its ugly head, it not only threatens their mission, but risks their love–and their very lives.

“Passionate, breathtaking and beautifully written.” ~InD’tale Magazine

Excerpt:

Henry accepted the shiny silver pouch Cerissa handed him. Usually, she used a blue bag to package blood from her human clones and a red one when she drew a higher concentration of red blood cells. What did the silver bag contain?

“If you don’t mind being my guinea pig,” Cerissa added.

“Guinea pig?” He started a pan of water heating on the stove. The pouch wasn’t wrapped in a self-warming bag. “What is different about this blood?”

“While I was away, I figured out how to induce the clones to produce a higher concentration of stress hormones—adrenaline, as well as cortisol and norepinephrine, if you want to be technical—to create the blood Rolf craves.”

“You think this will satisfy him?”

“We’ll have to experiment to find out. I don’t know what the cause is. It could be a substance addiction he can be weaned off, with support. If his problem is akin to a deficiency, more like a diabetic who needs insulin to survive, then I’ll have to determine the proper dosage. Just because the blood produces a mental high doesn’t mean it’s bad for him.”

Henry turned off the flame under the pot and slid the bag into the warm water, swishing it around so the contents would heat evenly without cooking. Cooked blood was disgusting.

“There is an exhilaration that comes from drinking adrenaline-spiked blood—”

“I’m calling it ‘adrenaline-enhanced’ for now,” she said. “The other term has baggage.”

“You could be right.” He fished the bag out of the water, cut the corner with scissors, and poured it into an insulated coffee mug. A quick sniff told him it smelled like the blood of a victim who’d been hunted.

Is this a good idea?

He sniffed again, and a thread of apprehension brushed his skin. He took a sip and closed his eyes. The sudden rush pounded through his veins, followed by an ice-cold chill. He dropped the mug on the kitchen island. It toppled, and the blood spread across the granite counter.

Cerissa rushed to his side. “Henry, are you all right?”

He stumbled back, fighting the surge, the power, the desire for more.

“Y-you made it too s-strong,” he stammered, and clutched the edge of the island’s granite top. The spilled blood flowed between his fingers, invoking images he’d rather forget.

“I’m sorry,” she said, clinging to his arm.

Her scent beckoned to him. He gripped the counter harder and fought the driving desire to plunge his fangs into her. “Please, cariña, step back.”

“Henry—”

“Step back. I don’t need new sins to repent for.”

 

Dark Wine at Dusk is book three in the Hill Vampire series. It will enhance the reader’s experience to read Dark Wine at Midnight and Dark Wine at Sunrise, before reading Dusk.

And great news—Dark Wine at Midnight, the first eBook in the series, is on sale for $0.99 through May 31, 2019 on Amazon. Click on the image to be taken to the series purchase link.

Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m sponsoring a giveaway to celebrate the launch of Dark Wine at Dusk and to thank my blog tour readers (giveaway begins 5/29/2019 and ends 6/25/2019)

The four prizes being given away are:

  • $10 Amazon.com Gift card
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Midnight
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Sunrise
  • eBook copy of Dark Wine at Dusk

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. One prize per entrant. See Giveaway page for full terms and conditions.

 

Bio & Social Media Links:

Jenna Barwin writes the Hill Vampire novels, which blend mystery, wine, and romantic spice into a heady (and steamy) combination.

When not writing, she enjoys underwater photography, and is known to occasionally attend a Victorian dance in full regalia right down to pantaloons and a hoop skirt.

If you’d like to stay up to date on her newest releases, join her VIP Readers: jennabarwin.com/jenna-barwins-newsletter/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JennaBarwin (@JennaBarwin)

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

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

BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jenna-barwin

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jenna-Barwin/e/B06XV6TMG9/

Goodreads Author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16632097.Jenna_Barwin

Website: https://jennabarwin.com

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, giveaway, New Release

Diana Rubino’s Bootleg Broadway

Please help me welcome Diana Rubino with a fun new release…

BOOTLEG BROADWAY
Booze, music, sex, murder, Prohibition New York. What a time to be alive!
Now on audio with the expressive voice of Nina Price.

After FROM HERE TO 14TH STREET, set in 1894, I needed to set this a generation later, which happened to be the 1930s-­with Prohibition and the Great Depression as the backdrop. This is the first book I ever wrote where I created the characters first, with nothing to do yet. The plot developed the way it did because of who they are. My goal was to get the protagonist Billy McGlory into one mess after another. This era couldn’t have been more suited to Billy’s adventures, a few of which he barely escaped with his life.

Fun Fact:
As in FROM HERE TO 14th STREET, a lot of characters have nicknames like Piggy Balls and Dirty Neck Bruiso. I sat around the table with my surviving aunts and uncles who were then in their 80s and 90s, and they rattled off these nicknames from ‘the old days’ in Jersey City like they made them up yesterday. That was a standard Italian neighborhood custom, everybody had a nickname. Some were more descriptive than others. But you didn’t just ’get’ a nickname. You had to earn it.   
 
Some more nicknames from the old neighborhood:
 
Bruno Chicken Body
Butta Jeans
Charlie Burp
Chick a la zoo
Dirty Dicky
Dirty Neck Bruiso
Floody
Frankie Butch Butch
Gravel Gertie
Hoo Hoo
Jazzy Lou
Jijji Balls
Jinji
Vigi-Leak

My fav passage from BOOTLEG BROADWAY (which made my aunt cringe):
 
Pru had kept closemouthed all day about what she was giving him for his birthday. He badgered and hounded her, but she wouldn’t give in.
As Ma began divvying up the rum cake, the doorbell rang, and Da came back with a long box. “This thing’s heavy. What’s in here, Pru? Billy’s tombstone?”
Billy cut the ribbon with the cake knife and slid the lid off. Wads of tissue paper filled the box. As he removed the last layer of covering and revealed what was inside, they all gasped­-a sculpture of a naked man, in all his masculine glory ­and fully aroused. He had one hand on his hip and one foot upon a pedestal on which was inscribed in bold letters,
BILLY.
“Oh, crap.” His face turned red hot.

About Me

My passion for history and travel has taken me to every locale of my books and short stories, set in Medieval and Renaissance England, Paris, Egypt, the Mediterranean, colonial Virginia, New England, Washington D.C. and New York. My urban fantasy romance, FAKIN’ IT, won a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, the Richard III Society and the Aaron Burr Association. My husband Chris and I own CostPro, an engineering firm based in Boston. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano, devour books of any genre, and spend as much time as possible living the dream on my beloved Cape Cod. 

Contact Links

My Website
www.dianarubino.com
 

My Blog
www.dianarubinoauthor.blogspot.com
 

Facebook 
https://www.facebook.com/DianaRubinoAuthor/?ref=hl

Twitter
https://twitter.com/DianaLRubino

Goodreads
http://bit.ly/1V3GCgt

Amazon Author Page
http://amzn.to/1EQWdfJ
 

Chat and Promote … Fans of Historical Fiction and Nonfiction
http://bit.ly/2HrCOEQ

Purchase BOOTLEG BROADWAY
getbook.at/NewYorkSagaBookTwo

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release