Category Archives: Author Blog Post

Author Interview with Patricia McAlexander ~ The Student in Classroom 6 #RomanticSuspense

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Patricia McAlexander… 

 

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

I grew up in Johnstown, New York, a town of about 11,000 in the foothills of the Adirondacks. I lived for a time in New York City and Madison, Wisconsin, attending graduate schools, and in Denver, Colorado, where I taught at an extension of the University of Colorado. I now live in Athens, Georgia, where I moved with my husband when he took a position in the University of Georgia’s English Department—and soon I taught there myself. Our grown-up son lives and works in Atlanta. I’ve had various much loved pets throughout my life—a turtle, a guinea pig, a cat. And there were the dogs. I grew up with a cocker spaniel named Rusty (one of my first words was ‘Russ,”) and later a beagle named George. Here in Athens there was Daisy, a poodle, and Peanut, a dachshund. Right now, however, I’m “between pets.”

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

The genre of The Student in Classroom 6, like that of my first two published novels,  is romantic suspense. I chose romance because love is something most of us need and hope for in our lives—look at the themes of songs, movies, literature.  Now, in these difficult times, we need such themes more than ever. Also, romance can involve personal growth, something I’m interested in as a teacher. In my fiction, I portray individuals further developing their own values and identities as they discover love. I included the suspense (in this novel, a murder mystery) to add extra drama to the romance. 

Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share? 

A specific event inspired this novel. I live on an historic street in Athens, Georgia, lined with old houses and huge, old trees. One night my husband and I came out of our house to find the road and sidewalk in front of it completely blocked by gigantic magnolia limbs. Part of the ancient tree across the street had split off and fallen. The city cleaned up the road, but a private tree service had to come and take down the dangerous remaining portion of the tree. From our porch we had a front row seat, watching the drama of the tree removal and the skilled men up in the bucket and at its base taking it down. That event inspired me to create one of the main characters in The Student in Classroom 6—Tyler McHenry, the young arborist taking Katherine Holiday’s continuing education course. 

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book? What was the most difficult thing about this one in particular?

Fort me, the most difficult thing about writing a book is accurately portraying situations and actions I’m not familiar with. I do a lot of research, a lot of Googling, to find answers to questions that arise. For example, for The Student in Classroom 6, I researched the arborist profession—I even read an instruction manual on operating bucket trucks—and interviewed the owner of a local business, New Urban Forestry, who answered my questions and let me come with his team to one of their work sites.

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

I’m now retired, but I taught literature and writing at the college level—first as an instructor at the University of Colorado, then as teaching assistant at the University of Wisconsin, and finally as a professor going through the tenure and promotion process at The University of Georgia. In all these places, one thing stayed the same: I loved working with students.

What was your first job?

In the nineteenth and much of the twentieth century, my hometown, Johnstown, New York, was a center of the glove-making industry.  I worked in a glove factory for two summers while I was a college undergraduate. Maybe someday I’ll write a novel  about those experiences. It would be an historical novel—according to some sources, these novels are about a time period at least 25 years before the book was written.”(It’s hard to believe, but novels set in 1987 would thus be considered historical.) The glove factories have all closed now. 

Have you written any other books that are not published? 

I’ve written Second Wives, an historical novel based on my ancestors who emigrated from Baden (now part of modern Germany) to New York in 1850. It is about my widowed great-great-grandfather, Martin Kornmeyer, who sold all his belongings and, with his seven children and a servant, Rosa, sailed from Rotterdam on the Jane E. Williams, arriving in the New York harbor on October 7. He married Rosa, bought land in Boonville, New York, and farmed, as did his oldest son. The novel goes on to describe the life of Martin’s granddaughter, my grandmother, who was twice married. I’ve visited the cemeteries where Martin and Rosa and my grandmother’s two husbands are buried and the farm where my grandmother grew up. I’ve just returned from a cruise on the Rhine—tracing the route the original family surely traveled by barge to reach Rotterdam. Second Wives has not yet been published. I say “not yet,” as I hope someday it will be, and in the meantime,  I continue to learn more about these ancestors and revise it.

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

Many of the characters in my novels are at least in part based on real people. In The Student in Classroom 6, Tyler’s mother, a strong woman who home-schooled Tyler, is inspired by my own mother. Also woman with a strong personality, Mom was my high school Latin teacher, and before that she homeschooled a physically handicapped girl who at that time could not attend the high school in person. Just as Tyler’s mother was a contrast to his arborist father, my intellectual mother was a contrast to my more pragmatic father, a coach and teacher of what was then called “industrial arts.”  Of course, my English teacher protagonist, Katherine Holiday. is based in part on myself.

What do your friends and family think of your writing? 

They are some of my biggest fans, and I appreciate them greatly. 

How did you come up with the title? 

I thought the title “The Student in Classroom 6” reflected both the suspense and the romance of the novel. There has been a murder on the campus of The University of Georgia, and for all anyone knows, the murderer might be a student—even one of the students in protagonist Katherine Holiday’s continuing education class, which meets in Classroom 6. And in the back of that classroom there is that the sexy, intelligent young man to whom she is strongly attracted.

How much of the book is realistic?  

Much of The Student in Classroom 6 is grounded in reality, drawing on my experiences teaching at the University of Georgia and living in Athens. At the same time, of course, I tweaked that reality to advance my plot. For example, Katherine teaches adult continuing education classes, but by 2009, the year most of this novel takes place, such classes for UGA credit were no longer offered—and even when they had been, they were not part of faculty members’ regular assignments.  The campus murder takes place near an outside elevator with a glass through which the killer apparently saw his victim descending. An outside elevator does exist at UGA’s Psychology-Journalism building, but it has no window.

Blurb:

Although a faculty member has been killed on campus and the murderer is still at large, English instructor Katherine Holiday never suspects the criminal might be one of her students. In fact, there’s a man in her adult evening class she wishes she could know better.

Seeing no need for a college degree, Tyler McHenry, a partner in his father’s successful tree service, writes fiction for his own pleasure. No one at the University needs to know his personal reasons for enrolling in a first-year composition course. Still, he finds himself fascinated by the pretty teacher, who believes his writing should be published.

Excerpt:

“You know, Ms. Holiday,” Tyler said as he walked with her back to her porch, “it was against regulations to bring you up in the bucket. Only accredited personnel are supposed to go up.” He paused. “Just like it’s probably against regulations for University instructors to get too friendly with students in their class.”

“It is,” she said, feeling somehow bold. “But if you can break a rule, I can. Would you like to come in for a beer?”

“That may not be so wise. I am an owner of this tree business and an owner of the bucket truck. I was not worried about breaking that rule tonight. I knew it was safe for you when I brought you up in the bucket. That is not the way it is with you and the University.  And you don’t know—” he hesitated.

“Know what?”

He smiled a little, as if joking. “Whether you’d be safe alone in your house with me.”

Buy links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Student-Classroom-6-Patricia-McAlexander-ebook/dp/B09THQ2FDT/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1648132789&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble (includes Nook):  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-student-in-classroom-6-patricia-mcalexander/1141068087?ean=9781509241750

i-books: http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9781509241767

About the Author: 

Patricia McAlexander is from upstate New York. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New York at Albany, a master’s from Columbia University, and a doctorate from The University of Wisconsin, Madison, all in English She is now living in Athens, Georgia, with her Southerner husband, whom she met as a graduate student in Wisconsin. As a teenager, Pat wrote fiction for her friends, but she turned to academic writing with her career. Now retired from the University of Georgia, she has renewed her interests in photography, travel, and history—and in writing fiction.

Website: https://patriciamcalexander.weebly.com

Email: mcalexanderpatricia@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/patriciamcalexanderwriter/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PatMcAlexWriter

Instagram: www.instagram.com/patriciamcalexander/

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

May 2022 Featured Books – Find New & Wonderful Authors!!! #AHAgrp #BookWorm #AmReading #Ebooks

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

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Cameron Rutter drowned two months ago in a lake on a Cheshire moor. Some say a morgen—a spirit who drags men to a watery grave—was responsible. Others say it was the phantom Grey Lady. The police say Gareth Gynne was the guilty one. Whoever—or whatever—killed Cameron needs to be sorted out. And ex-police detective Michael McLaren is asked to do just that.
McLaren’s not keen on delving into the mystery. The accused is the nephew of McLaren’s nemesis, Charlie Harvester. And if there’s one thing McLaren doesn’t want to do is to associate with another Harvester, no matter what generation he is.
Suspects and motives for the murder rise to the surface like air bubbles in the haunted lake. Perhaps the flesh-and-blood killer was a villager opposed to Cameron’s crusade to keep the moor in its pristine state, rather than develop it for the tourist trade. Others say someone Cameron had arrested came back to kill him in a vindictive attack.
Or was the morgen really responsible?
Can McLaren discover the killer, or will he too become a victim of the haunted water?

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Unable to escape his past, Matt Stone heads North leaving behind the memory of his dead wife and son. His journey takes a turn when he comes across his late son’s doppelgänger; Trevor Reed. Blinded by the resemblance, Matt becomes obsessed and begins stalking him. Little does Trevor know, he becomes wrapped up in Matt’s delusions. Concerned, Trevor’s mom, Jesse, enlists the help of the local authorities to keep him safe. Despite the involvement of police and eventually the inclusion of the FBI and an enthusiastic reporter, Trevor disappears. The Reeds will do anything to get their son back which results in a chase starting in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts to an Island on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Will their efforts be enough? Will they find Matt and Trevor? Or will they be too late?

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Jace Hastings, rising music star, is presumed dead in a vehicle collision, courtesy of a stalker with deadly designs. Ten years later, P.I. Gaelen Wyndom can’t believe someone wants her to find him.

Pelham Flannery rejoined the world from ICU, fully aware someone had tried to kill him. To live, he went under the radar, distanced himself from music, and disguised everything that would give away his identity as Jace. After a decade, is it safe to come out of hiding?

Gaelen, delighted to be trained as a professional investigator by her new husband, continued in her new career after he was killed. Assigned to locate Jace Hastings, she isn’t told who wants to find him, but she puzzles it out. If she’s right, it’s the man who tried to kill him before. Which means she needs to find Jace Hastings and save him.

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Tamsyn McKiernan thinks her dreams have come true. She’s engaged to a dashing Key West bachelor and finally in her widowed father’s good graces. But in her heart, she knows something’s wrong. She loves the ocean and the quiet pleasures of nature–so what does the aristocratic life she’ll lead truly hold for her? Mercenary captain Drake Ashton is neck deep in preparations for the Spanish-American War, running guns and other supplies to Cuban natives who want out from under their Spanish masters. He and his brother Freddie risk their lives daily, focused on saving his friends on the island. Nothing else matters but his mission. A chance encounter with a spiny sea urchin brings the two together, and neither of their lives will ever be the same again.

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Winner of the EPPIE 2004 Trophy Award for Best Anthology, Cosmic Sculpture is a collection of fourteen science fiction and fantasy stories plus the “Dragon’s Den” novel. Read tales of futuristic Mars, ancient Atlantis, mysterious dragons, mischievous faeries, creative reincarnation, lonely vampires, and more. Then inside the Dragon’s Den, a remote training facility on the icy and isolated world of T’Panabar, martial arts master Raza learns he is the key to locating an illegal mining operation. With both treachery and sorcery afoot, he must confront the most dangerous dragon of all: himself. [Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology released in 2003 by Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. Available in hardback, paperback, and eBook download]

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Lisa Kirkpatrick is stubborn, but she’s not stupid. If this guy needs a date to evade an unwanted admirer, who is she to object? It’s not as if handsome men are lining up to ask her out. Sure, they know there’s a woman in the wheelchair, but it would never occur to them that there’s a WOMAN in the wheelchair. He notices. This solid, fun, straight-shooting guy ticks off every box on her ideal man list. But why do they call him Slick?

Roger Plankey thought his life was full until he walked into the town clerk’s office and laid eyes on the woman behind the counter. A spunky, independent woman with a dash of humor and just enough sass to keep him on his toes. She fills that unknown void in his life like she was made for him. But is there such a thing as too perfect?

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Chloe plans to stay only a short time at her brother Joe’s ranch in 1893 Oklahoma Territory. Despite her efforts to avoid Joe’s matchmaking schemes, she is soon entangled in them. At the same time, she catches the interest of a nosy and possibly dangerous ghost called Fire Horse. All Max McKee wants is to buy a few horses. Before he realizes it, he becomes part of Joe’s scheme to marry off the rich and lovely Chloe, who happens to be the owner of those horses. Max is a man with many secrets. Despite the risks, he finds Chloe irresistible. When a series of strange fires spooks the local ranchers, Chloe and Max must work together to discover who is setting those fires and try not to get themselves killed in the process.

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They each hit the trail solo in search of themselves…

Overworked entrepreneur Jules Martinez is sick and tired of men leaving her for their exes. Determined to wipe the giant, scarlet R for rebound off her forehead, she kicks off a yearlong vow of celibacy with five, blissful weeks backpacking her favorite trails through Washington State. Solo.

Out-of-work financial analyst Evan Davenport hasn’t been happy since camping in Scouts as a kid—before his wealthy parents and now ex-fiancé made all his major life decisions. Hoping to find joy and purpose, he buys all the latest ultralight backpacking gear, flies to Washington, and sets off alone on a weeklong speed hike through the wilderness.

Mother Nature has other plans, though, and keeps shoving Evan and Jules in each other’s paths. Usually naked. When sparks fly, can they find what they’re looking for in life together instead of apart?

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Cassanne Thomas returns to New Orleans to start her life over and becomes the target of a supernatural serial killer. Escaping her close call with death, Casi is the only witness to the crime and finds herself placed in protective custody by a handsome Cajun detective. But with her dark, troubled past, trusting the police is the last thing she wants to do.

Detective Lucas Avery, the top homicide detective in NOLA, is unaware of the supernatural world surrounding him. With the killer stalking the streets, he vows to shield the beautiful, enigmatic Casi with his life while fighting his growing attraction to her. He’s been burned before.

Danger chases Lucas and Casi from the streets of the French Quarter to the wilds of the bayou. Will they be able to stop a monster, straight out of a nightmare or become victims themselves?

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All her life Polly Bridger has perceived a miraculous light in others. She sees it in her parents who sacrifice everything to keep her safe, and later in the eyes of young Albert Coward who offers her both solace and love. Victorian London is not an easy place for a girl to survive. Polly does not want to end up like so many other girls, earning her bread on the streets.

But when Albert is sentenced to jail for thievery and her choices are few, Polly sells the one thing she has left, while fiercely holding onto her belief Albert will return to her. Is it too late for a reunion between Polly and Albert? Or will love, however tarnished, shine on forever?

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Marina Antonovna, a Soviet spy, and Mateo Arcusa, an American homicide lieutenant first meet in Cambodia during the Vietnam War as enemies. Fearful that the most powerful man in the Soviet Union, KGB Chairman Vladimir Kurenkov, has ordered her death, Marina risks everything to defect to the United States. She promises Mateo that her days as an assassin are over. Vladimir is determined to do whatever it takes to bring her back and, by threatening Mateo’s life, forces Marina to break her promise.

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And check out these spooky, Friday the 13th short stories

Find the series here: Amazon Series Page

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#HobbyCareerPassion: Sadira Stone ~ Zodiac Encounters Anthology / Steamy Romance #Blog #AHAgrp

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Sadira Stone…

Crystals, Palmistry, Astrology & Tarot: Getting Woo-Woo for Zodiac Encounters

My two novellas in the Zodiac Encounters Anthology feature a funky, woo-woo crystal shop in a Washington State beach town. Customers come to Madame Zora’s Psychic Emporium for tarot, palm, and aura readings, or to buy all sorts of esoteric gear like books, crystals, figurines, and don’t forget the tie-dyed socks!

I love browsing this kind of hippie-dippy shop and dabbling in divination. As a teen, I learned palmistry—mainly because my best friend learned to read tarot cards and I wanted a cool party trick like hers. Recently I bought my own tarot deck and am slowly learning how to use them. Fascinating!

A hippie mama at heart, imagine my delight when I was invited to participate in a steamy, astrology-themed romance anthology! My two signs are Capricorn and Taurus, paired with a Scorpio and an Aquarius, respectively, so I had to learn lots about these star signs. I also got my own natal chart done just for kicks. About 80% was spot on, while the rest left me scratching my head. I’m a Leo with Capricorn rising and a Taurus moon! Coincidence? Or a nudge from the universe?

Gemma, my Aquarius heroine, works in her Aunt Zora’s crystal shop, so of course I expanded my crystal collection while writing her story—to add authentic detail, and because pretty rocks are cool! I’ve got carnelian and clear quartz crystal for mental clarity, rose quartz to balance energy, rainbow flourite for productivity and creativity, amber for healing, aragonite for homesickness, labradorite to temper negativity, and amethyst for decision making. The latter also protects from drunkenness, in case I’m every tempted to drink while writing! So far, that’s not a problem, but you never know…

My theory about crystals: just knowing that a certain stone is supposed to help with a certain problem will focus your intentions and actions toward solving that problem. Woo woo? Not necessarily. After moving from Washington State to Las Vegas, I was terribly homesick and having a hard time seeing the pluses of living here. Placing that chunk of aragonite (small brown crystal at 7 o’clock in the photo) on my nightstand and holding it every night and morning, my homesickness has eased—probably because I set the intention of letting go of those sad feelings.

So, I hope you’ll enjoy Madame Zora’s crystal shop and the help she provides to the characters in Capricorn and Taurus. Zodiac Encounters is on sale for just 99¢ (ebook only) for a limited time, so grab your copy from your favorite online bookseller!  Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/bMYOr8

When the stars align, passion sizzles!

Limited time only–grab these 12 spicy, astrology-inspired novellas by bestselling and award-winning romance authors. From Capricorn to Sagittarius, these tales bring the heat!

Which star sign is the most seductive? Hot-blooded? Sensual? Dominant? Twelve fiery couplings showcase the steamy possibilities.

Claim your copy while they last, and experience red-hot, star-fated romance at its finest.  

Excerpt:

From Taurus:

   “Hey, Jesse.”

   He turned toward her with a quizzical scowl.

   “You know about the Esoteric Arts Expo in Portland next month?”

   “Yeah. Got the extra herbs Zora ordered under a bank of grow-lights.”

   “You’ll be there, right?”

   His dark brows drew together. “At the expo? No. Why?”

   Gemma grasped his arms, relishing the feel of firm muscle through his thick woolen coat. “You’ve got an organic herb farm! You could offer teas, tinctures, potted plants. Give me a list of what you grow, and I’ll write up their magical properties.”

   Jesse snorted, which only made him more bull-like. “Listen, I grow culinary herbs, stuff for tea and home remedies, not magic potions.”

   Yup, bull-headed to a fault. She forced her lips to unscowl. Being judgmental would get her nowhere with his type. He needed practical proof. “How could you ignore this huge market? The esoteric community is hungry for local products with integrity.”

   “My business is none of yours.” With another sexy snort, he loomed over her. “You ever actually worked the land, princess? It’s not airy-fairy spirituality. It’s heavy lifting and dirt under your nails.”  He held a broad, dirt-stained palm before her face and wiggled his fingers. Immediately, her imagination zoomed to how those powerful hands would feel on her bare skin, their rough scrape raising goosebumps of pleasure. Would he be a forceful lover? Brutal, even? Or perhaps surprisingly tender?

   Giving her head a little shake, she took his hand and inspected his palm. “Interesting Mount of Venus.” She rubbed the base of his thumb. “Nice and fleshy.”

   She had his attention now. People loved being told about themselves. With narrowed eyes, he peered at the spot she was massaging. “Mount of Venus? What does that mean?”

   “Fullness here shows you’re passionate, sensual. And see this mark? Like a little X?”

   He squinted, rumpling his eyebrows adorably.

   “This means you have a lot of love to give.” She was only quoting the many books on palmistry she’d studied, but a skeptic like him would probably assume she was just spouting pickup lines.

   But now, he simply held her gaze for a long, heated moment. His nostrils flared, but whatever snarky comment he concocted remained behind his tightly pressed lips.

   Focus. Plan. Expo. She forced her shoulders down. “So why not share some of that love with Zora and me? You help us with new products for the Esoteric Expo, and we’ll help you with new customers for your herbs.” See? Practical, logical—just the way you like it, stubborn Taurus.

Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/bMYOr8

Fascinating, Sadira. Thanks so much for sharing. Your anthology soujnds wonderful.

Please tell us a little about yourself…

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, spent most of my adult life in Germany, first as a soldier and then as a teacher on U.S. military bases, moved to Washington State, and recently relocated to Las Vegas to be near my first grandchild. No pets at the moment except my adorable granddogs, two short-haired mini dachshunds. Married to a wonderful guy—ours is a late-in-life love story. One gorgeous, talented daughter from a previous marriage, and one handsome, smart stepson.

I adore writing steamy contemporary romance. Some authors and readers prefer to flee reality in favor of fantasy worlds, but I love plumbing the depths of life in our times—the heartache, the humor, the passion. Themes you’ll find in any Sadira Stone book: heroines who reject confining traditions and roles, and the complex men who cherish them—also chosen family, family reconciliation, and lots of food!

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

I’m a retired high school teacher—English, French, German, theater. I loved some of the kids like my own, but the constant bureaucracy, negativity, and pointless “educational initiatives” wore me down.

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

I just don’t get the appeal of most reality TV. What’s the point? I do like cooking competitions, though.

Do you collect anything?

Crystals and semi-precious stones. Pretty rocks are cool!

What was your first job?

Church secretary. Not fun.

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

Housework! Alas, the floors don’t clean themselves.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Zodiac Encounters?

A big, satisfied smile. 😉

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

I’ve written, but never published, some slightly sexy cozy romance—but experts in that genre tell me cozy readers want zero sex in their stories. Hmmph. Cozy romantic suspense? I’ll find a bookshelf for them someday.

What is your favorite quote?

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here, we might as well dance.

Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?

I don’t enjoy reading dark stories, so I’ll never write about a character being tortured, abused, etc.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She had a blast.

About the Author:

Award-winning contemporary romance author Sadira Stone spins steamy, smoochy tales set in small businesses—a quirky bookstore, a neighborhood bar, a vintage boutique… Her stories highlight found family, friendship, and the sizzling chemistry that pulls unlikely partners together. When she emerges from her writing cave in Las Vegas, Nevada (which she seldom does), she can be found in belly dance class, or strumming her ukulele, perhaps exploring the West with her charming husband, or cooking up a storm, and always gobbling all the romance books. For a guaranteed HEA (and no cliffhangers!) visit Sadira at sadirastone.com.

 

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Filed under Author Blog Post, For Writers, Hobbies...Careers...Passions, New Release

Author Interview with Karen C. Whalen ~ New Release: Toes on the Dash ~ #WRPbks #AHAgrp

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Karen C. Whalen, sharing her latest release, a funny, fabulous cozy mystery, Toes on the Dash.

Hello, Karen…so nice to have you with us today.

Q-  What is your favorite quote?

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve always imagined.” —Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau is often quoted, but that’s because he was one smart guy. This quote makes my heart soar and helps me to believe in myself.

Because I can imagine a pretty great life.

Most authors admit they always wanted to write. I did, too, from an early age. I loved to read and could imagine myself writing a book. My dream came true in 2016 when my first book was published by The Wild Rose Press (TWRP), Everything Bundt the Truth, a murder mystery centered around a dinner club group. My eighth book was published by TWRP on April 25 of this year, Toes on the Dash, another murder mystery, this time involving a super-feminine, shoe-aholic who drives a tow truck in high heels.

Q- How did you come up with the title?

I got the Toes book title from a song I heard on the radio, Take A Little Ride, by Jason Aldean. I had the radio turned up and the window rolled down, trying to sing along, trying being the operative word here. He sings about his girl’s pretty pink toes on the dash. And my imagination took off. Was it possible to leave toe prints on the dashboard of a car? If so, this could be an important murder clue! I checked with my local police department and learned people can leave toe prints, often a vital piece of evidence at a crime scene.

So, my main character, Delaney Morran, suddenly became the kind of gal who props her toes on the dash. When her jerk of an ex-boyfriend is found dead in the trunk of a car she’s towed and her toe prints are discovered on the dash of said car, Delaney becomes the prime murder suspect.

Why, you ask, is Delaney driving a tow truck in high heels? Why is she even driving a tow truck at all? Well, Delaney received an unexpected inheritance—the keys to a tow truck—from her dead-beat dad. And she has some issues. She has very few memories of her father and wishes she could’ve known him better. Plus, her dad died in a mysterious hit-and-run accident that was never solved. So, despite the fact she’s never even changed a tire in all of her twenty-eight years, she decides to give the rough and dangerous business a chance. And, can you imagine all the dead bodies she stumbles upon in the car hauling business? Spoiler alert: she finds a dead body in every book. Actually there’s no surprise there.

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

Delaney’s dream is to get to know her dad by doing the work he did and driving the truck he drove. Plus, being her own boss is a dream come true. The message of the book is this: if you work hard enough at something, you can succeed at it. As Thoreau said, go confidently after your dreams. And live the life!

She went from wearing stilettos to hauling stiffs

Blurb:

Super-feminine and confirmed shoe-a-holic Delaney Morran receives an unexpected inheritance—the keys to a tow truck from a dad she’s never known. Even though she hasn’t changed a tire, or even driven any kind of a truck, she’s determined to make the rough and dangerous business a success. When she hauls a vehicle with the body of her jerk-of-an ex hidden in the trunk, the small-town cops in Spruce Ridge, Colorado do not believe this a coincidence. They have her in their headlights as the prime suspect. When the news hits, her business stalls. As a woman trying to make a living in a man’s world, she drives her rig in four-inch-heels to set herself apart. But she must toughen up her image and solve the crime or she’ll end up parked in jail.

Excerpt:

Stopping with my hand on the door, I sneaked a peek left and right, worried someone I knew would recognize me, then I took a deep breath and stole inside. Need I explain? This is a small town.

My eyes took a moment to adjust to the dark. One girl wearing a thong—thank goodness she wasn’t anyone I knew—was on stage. Mr. Hot Head sat at the bar with a tall beer, foam on top, glass full. Looked like he had just been served a fresh, cold one, and this early in the day, too. I backed out the door, ran for the tow truck, and zipped back to the alley as fast as I could.

I angled the truck in front of Hot Head’s Jeep and muscled the dolly wheels over to the rear end, crouching low to the ground, getting a whiff of the rank dumpster. Hot Head couldn’t see me from inside the building, but he had a sixth sense about me, and I was determined to keep under his radar. I jacked up the first dolly wheel and was on my way around the back bumper to jack up the second one, when bam!

I stumbled right into Hot Head. He had a tire iron in his meaty fist.

Buy links:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09S5XH9KQ?ref_=dbs_m_mng_rwt_calw_tkin_0&storeType=ebooks&qid=1644676163&sr=8-1#detailBullets_feature_div

Barnes & Nobel:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/toes-on-the-dash-karen-c-whalen/1140989970?ean=2940160712291

Apple books:

https://books.apple.com/us/book/toes-on-the-dash/id1609810860

 

Karen C. Whalen is the author of two mystery series for The Wild Rose Press: the Dinner Club Mysteries featuring Jane Marsh, an empty nester who hosts a gourmet dinner club, and the Tow Truck Mysteries starring Delaney Moran, a super feminine shoe-a-holic who drives a tow truck. Both are cozy mysteries about strong friendships and family ties set in Colorado. The first book in the Dinner Club series tied for First Place in the Suspense Novel category of the 2017 IDA Contest sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America. Whalen worked for many years as a paralegal at a law firm in Denver, Colorado and was a columnist and regular contributor to The National Paralegal Reporter magazine. Whalen loves to host dinner clubs, entertain friends, ride bicycles, hike in the mountains, and read cozy murder mysteries.

http://karencwhalen.com

https://www.facebook.com/whalencozyauthor (author page)

https://www.facebook.com/whalenkarenc  (personal page)

https://www.instagram.com/whalenkarenc

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April 2022 Featured Books – Find New & Wonderful Authors!!! #AHAgrp #BookWorm #AmReading #Ebooks

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

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Toxic waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been poisoning the environment, human beings, and wildlife for more than six decades. When her brother dies a horrible death at Hanford, Casey Long, a kayaker and windsurfer by day and bartender by night in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington, swears to put an end to the upriver contamination. But, how can she possibly take on the entrenched fortress of a facility?

After she confides in Little Bear, a bitter Native American fisherman, they contrive a dangerous plan. Joined by a peculiar mishmash of collaborators, they risk everything to save the environment and achieve justice for all injured parties, past and present.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Louisa Burgess had erred when it came to love before. She had no intention of doing so again. And certainly not with a man who arrived at her door with a posse on his heels. Yet it was a vow she considered breaking every evening — AT TWILIGHT.

Reviewers say…

“AT TWILIGHT is a powerful, unforgettable story — a western that’s at once tender and gritty, passionate and exciting, with a climax that will both shock and uplift. It comes alive with historical details and offers readers a journey of the heart.”
Romantic Times

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She should have followed the rules. “Rule 2: Always double-tap.” Now a girl must travel back in time to that never never land of spies and samovars. To the land of bears, bombs, babushkas, and borscht to finish the job. To the land where anything can happen and often does.

On course in the Pacific, an American ship experiences an event unlike anything that any ship has ever undergone.

Faydra “Spider” Green has had a storied career as a Navy lawyer, juggling being the daughter of a former U.S. president. She has successfully navigated complex diplomatic situations, pulse-pounding legal investigations, and dangerous military missions, managing each time to save the day. But now, a man who had nearly cost Fay her life has seemingly returned from the dead. Now, hellbent on revenge, he poses a threat to Fay and national security. Fay will have to go to extraordinary lengths to stop him, even tampering with the bounds of time and space.

“Norm Harris is a brilliant author who knows how to write thrillers. This is my first Norm Harris book, and it won’t be my last. If you’re a fan of pulse-pounding thrillers with a twist, pick up Deception Pass.” N N Light Amazon “Vine™ Voice” reviewer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Daven Talvi made a choice a quarter-century ago to serve the Bitterroot Elf Clan, allowing the Circle of Elders to send him into suspended animation until the queen could be rescued. In doing so, he gave up his mate and his newborn son, sacrificing his own life for that of the clan. It had been a mistake. With the clan now in chaos and the new young queen in hiding, Daven must acknowledge his own errors and take responsibility to set things right. He teams up with Lane Donatelli, a human who has too long used food and computer gaming to feed his own insecurities. Together, they use Lane’s beloved technology with Daven’s innate magical abilities to wage battle against the evil elf mages threatening the clan. [Clan Elves of the Bitterroot (Book 3) | Fantasy novel released by Dragonfly Publishing, Inc. | Available in Hardback, Paperback, and eBook]

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Enrique Marin wants a quiet life after the death of his wife. Just one problem stands in the way—he’s possessed by the misanthropic English demon, Tzazin. A violent night under demonic influence accidentally leads Enrique to love, and it’s anything but quiet.

Shy, autistic yoga instructor Elle thought allowing herself to be possessed by the very-not-shy sex demon Key would help her find love. She finds Enrique, but she didn’t count on coping with the anti-demon bigotry of society.

Fate—and AA meetings for the possessed—brings them together, but hostile forces, demonic and human, fight to keep them apart. It might cost them everything to keep their love alive.

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Chloe plans to stay only a short time at her brother Joe’s ranch in 1893 Oklahoma Territory. Despite her efforts to avoid Joe’s matchmaking schemes, she is soon entangled in them. At the same time, she catches the interest of a nosy and possibly dangerous ghost called Fire Horse. All Max McKee wants is to buy a few horses. Before he realizes it, he becomes part of Joe’s scheme to marry off the rich and lovely Chloe, who happens to be the owner of those horses. Max is a man with many secrets. Despite the risks, he finds Chloe irresistible. When a series of strange fires spooks the local ranchers, Chloe and Max must work together to discover who is setting those fires and try not to get themselves killed in the process.

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And check out these spooky, Friday the 13th short stories – ONLY 99 cents each while on pre-order…

Find the series here: Amazon Series Page

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Spotlight On: M. S. Spencer ~ Hidden Gem: the Secret of St. Augustine / #CozyMystery #RomanticSuspense #WRPbks #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, M.S. Spencer with her new release: 

 

Release day for Hidden Gem: the Secret of St. Augustine!! Let me introduce you to the heroine—Philo Brice, owner of Mind Over Matter, an antique book and map store, and the hero, Barnaby Swift, graduate student and famous cruciverbalist. In the excerpt, he takes her for the best chili in St. Augustine. Or so he thinks.

Blurb:

Barnaby and Philo’s story begins with very bad chili and a dead body.

Barnaby is in St. Augustine, Florida, to teach a college seminar, and plans to use The Secret—a treasure hunt book—as a framework for his class. He enlists Philo Brice, owner of an antique map store, to aid him in seeking clues in the historic sites of the ancient city.

Together they face murderers, thieves, thugs, and fanatics, heightening their already strong attraction to each other. Can they solve the puzzle and unearth the treasure before the villains do? Philo and Barnaby pursue several twisting paths and false leads before arriving at a startling conclusion.

 

Excerpt:

Barnaby stopped to survey the street, took a tentative step, and halted again. He whirled around and trotted back the way they had come. “Ah, here we are. Thought for a minute I’d misplaced it.” He led Philo down an alley she’d never noticed before to a tiny restaurant—little more than a hole in the wall. A chalkboard hung in its grimy window. Scrawled on it were the words Welcome to Flora’s. “Let’s see what the specials are.” He read. “Well, how do you like that? Chili’s on the menu. Again.” He held the door for her.

The interior was painted a garish turquoise. Two wobbly Formica-topped tables took up the open space. Pink vinyl stools lined the counter. A woman supported herself on its scratched and stained surface, folds of fat cushioning her elbows. On the steel shelf behind her stood a large coffee urn and a cake stand piled with dusty-looking churros. How on earth did she wedge herself into that cramped space? She has to weigh four hundred pounds.

Barnaby strode up to the woman. “You must be Flora. Reservations for two at six, under Swift. I know we’re a trifle early, but could you squeeze us in?” Flora stared silently at him. He said heartily, “Well, then. Two bowls of your finest chili please, with all the fixings. You want a beer?” This last to Philo.

“Thanks.”

He walked over to a refrigerated display case and pulled two bottles out. “Dos Equis. Excellent.”

They sat at one of the tables, and Flora brought out two soup bowls filled with a dark red mess, along with a tray of grated cheese, and chopped onions and peppers. She plunked a basket of fresh tortilla chips in between the bowls. “Buen provecho.”

Barnaby pulled a small bottle from his pocket. “I always carry my own hot sauce. A blend of pineapple, serrano chilis, and chipotle, with a hint of chocolate.” He poured a generous amount over his chili.

Philo took a tentative bite of hers. Her eyes opened wide, and she almost spit it out.

Barnaby handed her a napkin, concern coloring his face. “Whatever’s the matter?”

She wiped her mouth and whispered, “This is vile.”

 

 Buy link(s):

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/mZZ2Ry

https://books2read.com/Hidden-Gem-The-Secret-of-St-Augustine

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Gem-Secret-St-Augustine-ebook/dp/B09QJHCB4V

Barnes&Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hidden-gem-m-s-spencer/1140893266   /BIN ID: 2940161144589

ITunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/hidden-gem-the-secret-of-st-augustine/id1605417704

 

About M.S.:

Librarian, anthropologist, Congressional aide, speechwriter—M. S. Spencer has traveled the globe. She has published fifteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Social media

Blog: https://msspencertalespinner.blogspot.com

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/msspencerauthor

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/msspencer
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/msspencerauthor/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-s-spencer

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“10 Moments That Changed My Life” by Cara Bertoia ~ New Release: Casino Queen #WRPbks #Blog

Please help me welcome author Cara Bertoia with the moments that changed her life, and her latest release, Casino Queen.  

10 Moments That Changed My Life

When I saw this blog post suggestion, I found it intriguing. Could I distill my life into ten moments that changed my life? I found it quite the challenge and I love challenges.

  1. The first disappointment in my life came at nine years old. My family moved from my beloved Charleston, South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina only a four-hour drive but a world apart. Charleston was a walkable city filled with antebellum mansions, and beaches galore. And Charlotte a suburban ghost town where you never saw a human walking.
  1. In my senior year in college my boyfriend decided he didn’t want to get married. Not sure what to do next I decided to spend my last semester at the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico. I loved it there, and when I got home and he proposed I decided I didn’t want to be married. I wanted to travel.
  1. My first year after college I was teaching school and living in Charlotte. Then one day my father dropped dead of a heart attack while playing tennis. My heart broke because he was the parent I felt the closest to. I joined the sad club that day, but it cut the ties that tethered me to Charlotte.
  1. On a summer break from teaching, I traveled to Lake Tahoe to work as a blackjack dealer. I never returned to teaching and spent the next three years dealing at Caesars Tahoe.
  1. Eventually I moved back east to take a job in hi-tech. A friend from Tahoe passed through town on her way to New Zealand to work for Princess Cruises. An adventure down under sounded like more fun that my job, so I applied to the cruise ships and got a job traveling the world.
  1. After I had been at sea for five years, and getting a bit anxious about my future, my Prince Charming appeared. We both worked on the Star Princess. Three months later Ray jumped ship to leave with me. We married a week later. I discovered that although I had sucked at dating I was great at marriage.

  1. We took jobs at an Indian Casino in Palm Springs, California. It turned out to be the best job of our lives. The tribal chairman was the most charismatic man I had ever met. Native American casinos had just opened in the Coachella Valley with thousands of people from all over the world moving to work there. It resembled a modern-day gold rush.
  1. We contracted to build a house in Palm Springs. Three fourths of the way through our contractor abandoned us. We didn’t know anything about permits, or building, but we finished the house without divorcing. We didn’t even get into a fight. That is when we truly became Team Bertoia.
  1. We sold our property and moved to Florida to be nearer my sisters. We traded a house and a garden for an apartment in a high rise. Unfortunately, a few years later my sister died. But at least I had that time to reconnect with my family.
  1. I loved the casino industry but an underbelly of corruption ran underneath the surface just perfect for a thriller, and I decided I was the perfect person to write it. I embarked on my next career as a novelist. Now, I spend my days looking out at the ocean as I write about my casino years.

Manager Caroline Popov’s job is to clean up the Night Hawk. In the process her list of enemies grows. With her life on the line, can she pull out a win.

Excerpt:

“Why did I transfer you up from Palm Springs to be my Casino Queen?” The charismatic Tribal Chairman John Tovar asked.

“Casino Queen, really? Apparently, you are the only person in America who isn’t watching the show about the seven kingdoms on cable. The queens always get killed in the most horrific ways. They are hanged, beheaded, poisoned, burned alive in an explosion, or have their throat slit,” an exasperated Caroline Popov answered.

“I promise that won’t happen to you.” He gestured for her to take a seat at an empty ‘Mystic Mermaid’ slot machine, then sat across from her. They swiveled their

chairs to face each other. John tried to act serious, but a smile kept pulling at the corner of his eyes. “According to the Mazurie decision, Native American tribes are considered sovereign nations. Therefore as leader of the tribe, I am King of the Shotowa.”

He continued. “Believe me, when I met the Queen of England I was introduced as the leader of the Shotowa nation. Let me be clear, as soon as you drove into this parking lot you entered the nation.” He gestured toward the uniformed officers standing at the door. “We have our own army.”

She decided to play along with the flow of his logic. “You mean security guards.”

“Precisely, trained courtesy of the United States Marine Corps. The tribe issues its own currency, gaming chips made of ceramic clay, stamped with our logo. At the cashiers’ cage, our central bank, those chips can be exchanged for U.S. dollars. Anyone can find food in our three restaurants or the team member dining room for employees. An underground well supplies us with water. We provide hotel rooms for shelter. Any guest who comes to stay with us will find their basic human needs covered by the Shotowa Tribe. Never forget we are a sovereign nation. I am the King, and I anoint you Queen of the Night Hawk.”

 

Buy link(s):

Amazon 

 B&N

 Google Books

Bio: 

Cara Bertoia grew up in a strait-laced Southern family, but she was always fascinated with casinos. In her twenties on a summer hiatus from teaching in North Carolina, she drove to California and became a dealer at Caesars in Lake Tahoe. She discovered that after teaching high school, handling an unruly gambler was a piece of cake. Her mother highly disapproved of her working in a casino, “a place so bad it has ‘sin’ in the middle.”

Eventually, she succumbed to pressure from the family and returned east to take a hi-tech job in Boston. She also began working on her MFA in writing at Emerson. Her goal was to write the first realistic novel about casino life from the perspective of an experienced table games dealer. She is always amazed that normal and sometimes quite intelligent players become absolutely clueless in the casino. They repeat superstitious nonsense and no amount of logic can change their position, maybe her novel will.

While in Boston she was offered the opportunity to join Princess Cruises as a croupier. Jumping at the chance, she spent the next five years circling the globe. Sometimes life exceeds your dreams. She was awed by the wonders of Venice, the fjords of Norway, and the Northern Lights in St. Petersburg.

Cara returned from ships with a very special souvenir, her Scottish husband Ray. They went to work at the Spa Casino in Palm Springs, and now live in Hollywood, Florida, where she writes about her casino years while wistfully gazing out at the ocean.

I love to connect with my readers. Please send me a picture with Casino Queen. I will post those pictures to my social media.

mailto:carabertoia@yahoo.com

TikTok:  tiktok.com/@carabertoia

Cara Bertoia’s Blog 

 Twitter 

 Cara Bertoia – Author 

Instagram

 Goodreads 

 BookBub 

 Facebook

 

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KISS OF THE ASSASSIN Political Thriller by Joylene Nowell Butler #Giveaway #WRPBks #Blog

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Joylene Nowell Butler…

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

I am Canadian/Métis, the author of the suspense novels Dead Witness, Maski: Broken But Not Dead, Break Time, and Matowak. Dead Witness was a finalist in the 2012 Global eBook Awards, and Broken But Not Dead won a silver medal in the 2012 IPPY Awards in New York.

Born in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, I am the youngest of three children of Charles (Charlie) Murray Nowell, veteran, farmer and truck driver, and Gabrielle Frances, a member of the wartime singing trio The Desjardins Sisters. When my father was discharged from the Navy, he moved us from Victoria to Haney (Maple Ridge) B.C.

I grew up with horses, cows, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs. A die-hard tomboy, I received a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Philosophy from Douglas College and attended Simon Fraser University.

In 1979, my husband and I moved our five sons to Prince George, BC. In 1992 we built a log/stick home on Cluculz Lake, 36 km east of Vanderhoof. Twenty-five years later, we sold our house and today split our time between Bucerias, Nayarit and Cluculz Lake, B.C.

Where did you get the idea for KISS OF THE ASSASSIN? 

I wrote the first half of Kiss of the Assassin, my second manuscript, in 1991 and finished it in early 1993. I think it began with the question: Can a child survive the most unspeakable tragedy?

This is me guessing that it began with that question because it was 30 years ago and, honestly, I don’t remember. While writing my third novel I noticed that all my novels begin with a question, and they all exhibit the same theme: the parent/child relationship. The nice thing is that despite having written Kiss of the Assassin so long ago, every time I pulled it out and reread it, I was amazed that I’d written such an intense and riveting story so early in my career. 

Q: Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

It’s painful to receive a negative review but better than no review at all. That’s another reason I advise authors not to read their reviews. You’ll never satisfy every reader every time. It’s impossible. Bad reviews create controversy. Controversy stimulates book sales. If you receive 100 bad reviews and 100 good ones, buyers notice. They’re curious about what side of the spectrum they’ll fall on. One hundred readers took the time to read your book and leave a negative review. But one hundred also took time to leave a positive review. Which begs the question: How many enjoyed the book but kept their thoughts to themselves?

Statistics have proven that reviews are essential. It’s about word-of-mouth. More reviews, more visibility. Good or bad. I don’t concern myself about bad reviews because I know I wrote the best novel I could write.

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

I once had a beta reader tell me that if she had a hard copy of my book, she would have thrown it across the room. She said my protagonist was a wimp. That was tough to hear, but it made me want to be a better writer. The book in question eventually became a finalist in the Global e-Book Awards.

The best compliment I ever received was when a Vietnam Veteran read a draft of Kiss of the Assassin and asked me when had I been in-country. Meaning: Was I a Vietnam Vet? When I told him I wasn’t, he was stunned.

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

Thank you, Alicia, for asking that question. I think there are two messages in Kiss of the Assassin.

Firstly, I hope anyone reading this novel comes away believing that no matter how traumatic a childhood, you are a miracle, a miracle that deserves to be happy. Don’t let the past beat you down. And if it has—get back up!

Secondly, even in a harsh and cruel world, lost and broken souls can find each other.

Q: How much of the book is realistic?  

Another good question. I write suspense thrillers, so I hope my novel seems realistic. If it doesn’t, I’ve failed. My job is to pull you into the story and make these events and characters seem real. That’s what I, as a reader, want in a novel.

Q: Your favorite… 

Movie – The Jason Bourne movies and The Polar Express.

Music –  Rock, Jazz, Classical, and Reiki Music. 

Place you’ve visited  – United States, Mexico, Jamaica, Indonesia, U.K., and Bali. I love Canada so much, I’ve driven across it four times, once by myself.

 

Thank you, Joylene…I’ve enjoyed getting to know you! 

Readers, Joylene is offering a Giveaway!!! One winner will receive an ePub version of Kiss of the Assassin. To enter, comment and share the post on Twitter. (You can use the Twitter button under ‘Share This” found at the bottom of the post).

Blurb: 

Marina Antonovna, a Soviet spy, and Mateo Arcusa, an American homicide lieutenant, first meet in Cambodia during the Vietnam War as enemies. Fearful that the most powerful man in the Soviet Union, KGB Chairman Vladimir Kurenkov, has ordered her death, Marina risks everything to defect to the United States. She promises Mateo that her days as an assassin are over. Vladimir is determined to do whatever it takes to bring her back and, by threatening Mateo’s life, forces Marina to break her promise.

Excerpt: 

“Maybe you do value life,” he [Mateo]said as if she hadn’t spoken. “You spared mine. Why?”

For the first time since childhood, Marina could not focus. Memories of Cambodia were clear enough, but her thoughts weren’t. Too many unresolved sentiments. How could she answer? She looked away from his intense mien and pressed the back of her hand to her moist forehead. A chill swept across her arms and she shivered. She had spared him because…?

Whatever the reason, a drunk didn’t deserve an answer.

He waited.

Her head tilted, looking up at the stars. True, he wasn’t just any drunk. But what good would the answer serve? It would bring back no one.

“Your V.C. buddy wanted to kill me,” he said. “You stopped him. Look, I don’t want to know your secrets. I just want to know why me? Why did you risk getting me back over the border? To imply I was a traitor? The CIA had a lot of questions I couldn’t answer. Mostly ’cause I couldn’t remember. Lucky for you, my memory was one gigantic fog until tonight.”

“Are you threatening me, Sergeant?”

“No. I told you I wouldn’t tell anyone and I won’t.”

“Why should I believe you?”

“Because I’d have told the CIA about you when I had the chance. I didn’t.”

“And now? They suspect you of treason. Point the finger at me and problem solved.”

“And have your death on my conscience? No thanks. Look, as I said before, I’m not asking for state secrets; I just want to know why you stopped him from putting a bullet in my brain. Tell me, and I’ll be out of your life forever.”

Again, Marina reiterated in her mind that she owed him nothing. “I have to go. My guardian will be wondering where I’ve gone.” She jumped down and brushed off her backside, moving past him. His fingertips skimmed across her arm and her skin tingled.

“I’m haunted—can’t you see that? My brothers are dead. Please, I need to know why I’m alive. Is there a reason? What reason? Is it my second…third chance or just a fluke?”

Marina kept walking. “I’m sorry, sergeant. I can’t help you.”

Buy links: 

Amazon.com – Kiss of the Assassin

Amazon.ca  – Kiss of the Assassin 

Bio: 

Joylene Butler lives with her husband in the tiny village of Cluculz Lake in central BC, Canada in the summers and Bucerias, Nayarit in the winters. She is the author of three suspense novels and a contributor to one anthology.

Blog: https://joylenebutler.com

Email:  cluculzwriter@yahoo.ca

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March 2022 Featured Books – Find New & Wonderful Authors!!! #AHAgrp #BookWorm #AmReading #Ebooks

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

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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.

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The moment Astan Hawk accepts his clan’s challenge to protect the young Elf Queen Jelani, trouble dogs his heels. Jelani’s human upbringing clashes with clan tradition, spurring dangerous intrigues within the Circle of Elders. Soon even the motives of Astan’s father, Daven, come into question. With nowhere else to turn within the clan, Astan has no choice but to ask Jelani’s human friends for help. Then his problems really begin. Paranoid hermit Crispy, empathetic social worker Iris, and computer whiz Lane complicate Jelani’s unexpected pregnancy and the young queen’s attempts to rule her people. And hiding in shadows, outcast Grigor Biren plots revenge for the loss of his mentor by seeking the help of powerful elf mages who live deep within the forest. Can Astan fulfill his promise to keep Jelani safe when the whole world seems to have turned against them? [Book II of the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot Series | available in hardback, paperback, and ebook from Dragonfly Publishing, Inc.]

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Abby Marlow, computer security expert, lands a job at the best IT security firm in the country. Her sole focus is financial independence so she never has to rely on others again, especially a man. But why does her boss make her wires short circuit?

Ted Endicott, CEO and founder of the IT security firm, is hard of hearing. Although an expert in his field, he’s still uncomfortable admitting his hearing problem to clients or employees. So why is he willing to accept Abby’s help?

As Ted and Abby work together, barriers fall away, and the lines blur between colleagues and lovers. But a security glitch in a client’s system shows one of Ted’s employees is the hacker, and all signs point to Abby. Can they get past the suspicion and find a future together?

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Help me! I am a girl lost and alone. I do not know who I am or where I am. Please find me.

When the woman awoke, she did not know much. She knew her head hurt and her body ached. She knew there was blood streaking the side of her face, obscuring her vision. She knew the sun was beating down on her, hot and ruthless. But she did not know how she had gotten here, in this sandy, desert hell. She did not know where her injuries had come from. Most importantly, she did not know who she was.
Faydra “Spider” Green is a spirited Navy lawyer who wants nothing more than to do the right thing and to see justice done. After reconciling with her father, former President William Green, Fay is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Alvin Joe, a retired admiral who has vanished – seemingly into thin air – from his Florida home, along with secret files for a top-secret military weapon. Alongside her bubbly, quick-witted sister and a handsome, affable Sheriff, Fay sets out to track down Joe. But she soon finds herself embroiled in a deeper, and far more sinister, plot involving an unscrupulous corporation, the mafia, and a truly evil man who has his sights set on destroying her.

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Toxic waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been poisoning the environment, human beings, and wildlife for more than six decades. When her brother dies a horrible death at Hanford, Casey Long, a kayaker and windsurfer by day and bartender by night in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon/Washington, swears to put an end to the upriver contamination. But, how can she possibly take on the entrenched fortress of a facility?

After she confides in Little Bear, a bitter Native American fisherman, they contrive a dangerous plan. Joined by a peculiar mishmash of collaborators, they risk everything to save the environment and achieve justice for all injured parties, past and present.

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Lady Raell can fight, ride, and argue politics as well as her brothers. Only being mistress of her father’s household keeps her in skirts. In Naed, the new Lord of Druemarwin, she has found devotion, a kindred spirit, and a marriage promise. But when a forgotten and unwanted betrothal comes to light, she has no choice but to run.

Amidst sweeping revolution, Naed must rally his people, fend off assassination attempts, and fight against claims he’s a traitor. Then he discovers everything about his lineage and family is a lie. And his beloved belongs to another.

With lives and a kingdom at stake, Raell and Naed must find a way to protect the innocent and save their love.

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Hired as the town’s school teacher, Maria O’Donnell and her sister Abigail arrive in the Colorado Territory in 1875, only to find the uncle they were to stay with has been murdered.

Rancher Tye Ashmore is content with life until he meets quiet and beautiful Maria. He falls in love at first sight, but her reluctance to jeopardize her teaching position by accepting his marriage proposal only makes him more determined to make her part of his life.

When their lives are threatened by gunshots and a gunnysack of dangerous wildlife, Tye believes he in the cross-hairs of an unknown enemy. Not until Maria receives written threats urging her to leave does she realize she is the target instead of the handsome rancher.

With the help of Tye, Abigail, and a wily Indian called Two Bears, Maria works to uncover her uncle’s killer and put aside her fears. But will she discover happiness and true love under Colorado’s starry skies?

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St. Patrick’s Day could be the most dangerous time of the year…

Name’s Bram Farrell. I’m a PI—well, used to be. Michigan doesn’t think I have the requisites for a license in this world. My experience is nearly all within the pages of a set of fantasy novels written by Calista Amberson, who I thought died shortly after yanking me into the real world but hadn’t. Currently, I rank at the top of her “Erase These Idiots” list. The feeling is mutual.

As St. Patrick’s Day dawned, I thought the only dangerous thing on my social calendar was meeting my secretary-cum-sugarplum Naomie Enright and her family. It wasn’t—though downing green dyed potato salad had taken courage. No, it was finding the Irish goddess Danu waiting for me at the bar of Enright’s Pub. She had a sword for me to find. Someone had nicked The Retaliator, an ancient Tuatha blade that could kill with just a scratch.

Not many of them around in twenty-first-century Detroit.
Except Naomie’s brother happened to have a friend who liked to buckle on some swash and dazzle crowds with sword play. And he’s vanished, only the scents of ghoul and vampire lingering in his wrecked apartment. That’s never good.
And it was headed for even worse. I needed an edge to solve—and survive—this case!

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Angel Killian Dugan’s annual trip to the family castle in Scotland is shattered by the arrival of Legion Commander North. Killian’s skills are needed for an urgent time travel assignment. A rogue demon has escaped back in time. He must discover the why and where then stop the demon before it can damage the past and change the future.

Killian’s girlfriend Chinoah Grace, a Native American shapeshifter is included in the mission, which takes them to the wild west town of Wylder, Wyoming in 1878. She will have her hands full fitting in and making friends. Nothing is as it seems. They encounter visions, spirit quests, and a mysterious shaman. On top of it all, blending in as a blacksmith is more physically difficult than he imagined. But not as challenging as keeping his hands off his undercover wife. Will they complete their assignment or run out of time?

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For three years Raza has been in the Dragon’s Den, a military training facility on the isolated icy world of T’Panabar. There he serves as master of martial arts, counting the days until he can return home. When his father Zara arrives as escort to Kareez, a young woman from a powerful political family, Raza learns the visit is a ruse. Trouble is brewing between political and military circles. Zara’s real task is to help Raza find proof of an illegal mining operation. With treachery afoot at every turn and Kareez a constant distraction, Raza must deal with the powerful Eshkalle dragons incarnate, of which he is one.

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“Up on the Roof and Other Stories” is a unique collection of nineteen humorous and serious short stories exploring the lives and relationships of the young and old.

Author and Story teller Judy Ann Davis weaves her award-winning tales to make her readers laugh, maybe cry, but always able to relate to the unique characters and the dilemmas they encounter.

A grizzled old farmer, Pop, climbs up on his farmhouse roof to meditate, check his chimney and antenna, and ends up talking to God on his portable phone in “Up on the Roof.”

In “Bald Revelations,” Maureen is convinced her husband of twenty years is planning to leave her when he purchases ten new pairs of black socks and starts singing Beach Boy songs.

These are clean eclectic stories about people and family relationships for an audience of all ages. Genres include mystery, romance, and comedy…and even two westerns.

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February 2022 Featured Books – Find New & Wonderful Authors!!! #AHAgrp #BookWorm #AmReading #Ebooks

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

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Erin Shipley grew up on Keystone Lake before moving to Tulsa and becoming an associate attorney. Now, she’s back, representing a client who is concerned about the flooding and property values around the lake. Properties underwater are being bought and sold for pennies on the dollar by someone called T & H Realty. When her friend’s uncle, Jeff, dies mysteriously on the lake, Erin wonders if it has anything to do with the real estate scam and launches an investigation.

The dam is old and zebra mussels are clogging it, not allowing enough water to flow out. If the dam breaks, it will flood downtown Tulsa and areas around it. But that’s not the only danger…whoever killed Jeff isn’t finished with their diabolical plan, and Erin and those she loves are at risk from more than just a dam break.

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Combining the classic charms of Agatha Christie with the delightful humor of M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin novels, Mark Reutlinger’s Mrs. Kaplan mystery series returns as a notorious crank meets an untimely fate.
Yom Kippur is a day of reflection and soul searching. But at the Julius and Rebecca Cohen Home for Jewish Seniors, Vera Gold misses this opportunity to atone for her many sins when she up and dies. Indeed, Vera was such a pain in the tuchis to all those around her that when her sister claims Vera was deliberately poisoned, the tough question isn’t who would want to kill her—but who wouldn’t?

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A person should be allowed to do what they do best, Harte Favre feels. Unfortunately, ladies of good family who are heiresses as well, are expected to forget that they were excellent card players (particularly when it comes to occasionally manipulating the cards) or being excellent shots. She is far more the expert than her cousin Yancy when it comes to either firearms or card playing. But it is being caught playing poker with her father’s friends that lands Harte on the next Eastbound train. As Yancy is equally in their black books, it is uncertain whether she is escorting him or he her.

Sent to her staid relatives in Chicago, Harte is sure that the men cruising the ballrooms in search of complacent wifely material will no doubt be as boring as those she’s already run through their hoops in Virginia City, Nevada. She knows Yancy has no intention of seriously considering becoming a lawyer under their uncle tutelage. The trouble is she wants a man who interests her, who draws her like a moth to a flame. A man of fire. One quite likely dangerous. Possibly even an outlaw. A gun hand, indubitably. The sort of man her parents, her best friend, and no doubt her uncle and aunt feel is not the right sort to invite into the family.

Yet, it is the night before she and Yancy are due to leave Virginia City that she finds such a man. Of course, at the time, he thinks she is a blood thirsty boy determined to protect her dangerously bored cousin’s back. When fate throws them together aboard the train the next morning, she finds it impossible to ignore him.

Richard Thorton finds Harte dangerously intriguing and knows better than to associate with a woman of her class…and no doubt, clutches. She is a woman longing to be wanton, though he doubts she would feel the same should he give into the temptation.

She wants him for more than merely physical education exercises, though. She wants him to protect her feckless cousin Yancy. A job just as likely to see him pushing up daisies as staying within her alluring circle, because Harte Favre isn’t merely dangerous. She’s the equivalent of a goddamn gut shot, slow, painful and fatal.

In a story that boards an Eastbound, rather than Westbound, train and steams from Nevada to Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory, and then on to Chicago (both the drawing rooms of the wealthy and the worst Red Light districts), Harte takes a chance to live the life she longs for, reinventing herself as Lucky Clover, a lady gambler. Thorton finds his past is intent upon dragging him back to living by his gun, something he’d hoped to avoid, and revisiting the streets he grew up on as a thief and a young pickpocket. His secrets aren’t his alone for there are others who recreated themselves, as he did, hiding as he is with a name of their own choosing.

Disaster is but a shot away, but who will pull the trigger, and who will the victim be, are answers hiding in the shadows of Chicago.

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Texas Ranger Crocker loves being a lawman and is fascinated with the female sheriff. Jessie Heinz loves being a sheriff but wants more for herself. Should the combustible couple allow sparks to fly? Or call it quits to preserve the peace?

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Ghost-writer Melody Layne is stranded in Paris when the over-sexed but unloved French movie star who hired her to produce his memoir accidentally drowns before the interviews begin. It’s a major financial relief when his enigmatic Spanish son re-hires her, but the seductive Carlos Ortega is strangely silent about his reasons for funding a feel-good bio about a father that he clearly despised. There’s enough amour in the air for Melody to ignore this apparent paradox… at least until she uncovers a hidden cache of death threats addressed to the actor. For the French police, the sexy, secretive Spaniard – and sole heir to the actor’s immense fortune – is suddenly a prime murder suspect. Can Melody’s research into the Ghosts of Carlos-Past be enough to save her lover from prison?

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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.

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Danger. Deception. Desire.

He broke her heart once. Can he save her life now?

Doriana Callahan’s life is unraveling. Someone is stalking her and sabotaging her father’s company; her teenage son is rebelling; and Logan Tanner is back in town. For sixteen years she’s kept an explosive secret from Logan, a secret he soon discovers.

Logan never belonged in Doriana’s world, but a long time ago he allowed himself to dream of a future with her, until the awful night he was forced to run. Now he’s back and he needs her forgiveness, but first he must forgive himself.

Despite the fact that Doriana kept the existence of his son from him, Logan vows to protect her. He races against time to stop the culprit threatening Doriana and works to forge a bond with his son.

Can the love and passion that still burn between Doriana and Logan overcome old lies and new dangers? The clock is ticking on a second chance at love.

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Sheriff Brock Westin wasn’t going to get married simply to make his younger brother’s life easier. If Luke wanted hot meals, clean clothes and fresh bedding, then he could darn well get married himself. Caught in the middle was a mail order bride expecting a husband and home to care for. Would either of them step up and be the man Lilian needed?

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When Jelani tries on a real glass slipper left lying on the sidewalk, it splits in half and out pours dozens of two-inch high creatures who scurry away into the shadows. As if that’s not bizarre enough, she is soon approached by two men claiming (of all things) to be elves who need her help to rescue their queen.

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A female lawyer must prove a war hero’s innocence. Navy SEALs hijack a Russian warship to stop a North Korean missile crisis.

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Stealing a ticket from a mail order bride can’t be bad if the woman has already married your brother, can it? Now to convince the Texas widower you are the perfect one to care for his children.

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