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#HobbyCareerPassion: “A Passion for Life” ~ Author Brenda Whiteside ~ #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,  Brenda Whiteside…

 

A PASSION FOR LIFE

by Brenda Whiteside

Google Dictionary defines passion as a strong and barely controllable emotion; also as an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. My goal is for all of my characters to possess some passion.

Most of the characters in my stories in some way resemble people in my life. They could grow from a single personality trait of someone I know or have met into a full-blown hero or heroine, or my character might have much in common with the real-life person. In all cases, they have a passion that drives them forward to discover more about themselves.

Then there is Phoebe Anderson—my alter ego. Phoebe is the heroine in Southwest of Love and Murder, the second book in the five-book series. She’s a successful murder/mystery writer who lives in southern Arizona and loves coffee. My main writing genre is Romantic Suspense, but that’s close. I was born and raised in Phoenix. And I do LOVE my coffee.

Phoebe’s passion for writing started when she murdered her first husband on paper seventeen years ago. That book launched her career. She spends her mornings at the Lacy Latte consuming caramel lattes and creating villains we love to hate.

For Phoebe’s career passion, I didn’t have to do much research. Writing has long driven my days and leaked into my nighttime fantasies. As far as her preferred location to create her stories, I’m jealous of her. There isn’t a fancy latte café within two hours of me. But if I could, I would, so Phoebe gets to combine her two passions, writing and coffee, and I can live vicariously through her.

Mason, the hero in Southwest of Love and Murder, likens Phoebe’s style to a gypsy. She’s all gauzy skirts, filmy blouses, lots of jewelry, and long blonde hair with a few streaks of gray. Her passions go beyond her writing. Mason can attest to her boundless passion in at least one area. Her passion for life runs deep. In fact, anything Phoebe does is with passion.

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

BLURB

Mystery writer, Phoebe Anderson, owes her success to killing her first husband on paper seventeen years earlier. Now, someone has actually done it. When she decides to take a few days away on the ranch of her best friend’s brother-in-law, she doesn’t expect romance to find her…or murder to follow her.

Mason Meadowlark is happy with his wild cowboy ways, avoiding love since the death of his baby and the end of his marriage twenty years ago. When Phoebe shows up, he fights to control his emotions, but soon wonders if she just might be worth the risk of opening his heart again.

With an obsessed fan close on her heels, Phoebe is thrown into her own murder mystery…and the next target on his list is Mason.

EXCERPT

Phoebe shuddered and stilled.

Like the aftershocks of an earthquake, trembling overtook her body. Her knees wobbled, but Mason caught her before she collapsed.

“What’s wrong?” He hugged her briefly then brought his face even with hers. “Phoebe, tell me. Why are you shaking? What’s happened?”

“Oh my God, Mason.” She spread her hands on his chest and glanced back at the bathroom. “Tell someone to call an ambulance. Hurry!”

He took a step toward the ladies’ room, but she grabbed his shirtfront. “No!” She peered around him and shouted. “Someone call nine one one.”

Mason touched his pocket. “My cell’s in the truck.” He grabbed the shoulder of a male customer, the closest person to them. “You got a cell on you?”

The man nodded and pulled a phone from his pocket.

“Call nine one one right now. There’s been…” His face questioned her.

“Someone’s badly hurt in the bathroom. Oh hell, hurry!” She thumped her palms against his chest.

The man pulled out his cell as he raced into the ladies’ room.

Phoebe wrapped her arms around Mason, tipped her chin upward, and found the words. “It’s that
waitress, Mason. Carla.”

His expression went blank, from concern for her to no comprehension.

“There’s so much blood.” She stifled a gag, the sweet, copper penny reek still heavy in her nostrils. “Her throat.” A shudder rippled the length of her body. “I think she’s dead.”

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

For a limited time, Southwest of Love and Murder is on sale for $.99 at the following sites:

BUY LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Southwest-Love-Murder-Book-ebook/dp/B00QQPMIMQ

Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/southwest-of-love-and-murder/id965678707?mt=11

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/southwest-of-love-and-murder-brenda-whiteside/1121003952?ean=2940149945269

If you enjoy audio books, Southwest of Love and Murder is available in the form also:

AUDIO BUY LINKS

Audible US: https://www.audible.com/pd/Southwest-of-Love-and-Murder-Audiobook/B07MGZ1GMM

Audible UK: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Southwest-of-Love-and-Murder-Audiobook/B07M623KW2?

iTunes Audiobooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/audiobook/southwest-love-murder-love-murder-series-book-2-unabridged/id1448484811

Brenda Whiteside is the author of suspenseful, action-adventure romance. Mostly. After living in six states and two countries—so far—she and her husband have decided they are gypsies at heart, splitting their time between Northern Arizona and the RV life. They share their home with a rescue dog named Amigo. While FDW is fishing, Brenda writes stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense.

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brendawhitesid2

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

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

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

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

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

 

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#HobbyCareerPassion: “A Passion for Horses” ~ Author Kara O’Neal ~ #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, Kara O’Neal…

A Passion for Horses:

My name is Sarah Kerry, and I live with my father and step-mother in Asheville, North Carolina. We have a profitable farm, with well-stocked stables. I spend my days with our horses.

Horses are beautiful creatures. They understand people much better than we do and respond to a person’s mood in ways that have always fascinated me. I respect their judgment and pay attention to their reactions around others.

Nothing is better than an early morning ride, and I must admit, that I love to race. So does Anthem. That’s my horse. He’s gorgeous and spirited and likes reckless rides as much as I do.

When a person from my past, a person I thought was my friend, showed up, I should have followed Anthem’s instincts. Liam Devlin has evil in his veins, and he wants nothing more than to abuse the power he holds over me.

Anthem knew. When I introduced him to Liam, he tossed his head and backed up. I realized Anthem didn’t like Liam, but I kept quiet, afraid to be rude. I let Liam into my home, and now my life is in shambles.

But at least I have Anthem, and he takes me away from all of it. We ride over the fields, the wind whipping over us, and for a brief moment, I’m safe.

An Excerpt:

The river rushed before her, strong and free. What she wouldn’t give for the ability to run unchained, to grab the happiness she wanted and never look back. She exhaled deeply and closed her eyes.

Michael Lonnigan stepped closer, the warmth of his solid frame seeping into her. “Tell me,” he urged. “Who is the man who stalks your every step?”

As she looked up, an image of her predator flashed before her. “He is…no one.”

“No one?” His voice grated on the phrase. “He had his arm around your waist in church today.”

She clenched her teeth, keeping the bile down as the memory of his touch plagued her.

“If I didn’t know your true feelings,” Michael continued, “if I hadn’t seen you step away from him, I’d think you didn’t love me.”

His hands came up to rest on her shoulders. “Tell me who stands between us. Why have you turned away from me and gone to him?” he begged, his tone rough and seared with pain.

She ached to tell him, to lay her burdens at his feet, but no one could know her family’s shame and peril. To confess her hell would be to betray her father, and she couldn’t do that. “Please,” she urged, her voice wavering, “you must let it alone. We can’t be together anymore.”

He gripped her tighter, pulling her back against his chest. She allowed the intimate embrace, needing his touch, for it was her life’s blood. He ran his hands down her arms and circled her waist. As he buried his face in the crook of her neck, he breathed in deeply.

Yearning centered inside her, making her heart pound. One month of precious courtship, thirty days of happiness, thirty nights of sweet longing, gone now. Obliterated by her dead mother’s hand.

Michael Lonnigan, the man of her heart, could never be hers. Tall, broad shouldered, dark haired, brown eyed and with a smile true and honest, he would not belong to her. She had to leave him, to set him free. It would kill her to do so.

His arms tightened so firmly, she feared he might carry her off. Pushing at his forearms, she yanked herself from his solid hold. “I have to go.” Her knees shook as she took the necessary steps away from him.

“I can’t accept this,” he called after her as she walked swiftly down the path through the swaying pine trees. “I can’t let you go.”

Tears formed in her eyes.

“I love you, Sarah,” he cried.

Sobs clutched her chest as she picked up the pace, branches snagging at her skirt. Her life had been ruined, her dream crushed, and her sweet love could do nothing about it.

Blurb:

Sarah Kerry’s world is shattered when a man from her past, Liam Devlin, shows up with proof that, if shared, would send her father to the noose. In order to keep Liam quiet, she must break her young courtship with Michael Lonnigan and marry Liam instead.

Michael is crushed and angry when Sarah abruptly ends their courtship, but he knows something isn’t right. He’s seen the new man hanging around the Kerry family and believes the man is blackmailing the woman Michael loves. Unwilling to let her go, Michael will do whatever it takes to save Sarah and make her his own.

Saving Sarah is $0.99 and is available here:

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087CG14JC/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=kara+o%27neal+saving+sarah&qid=1587507691&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saving-sarah-kara-oneal/1129607915?ean=2940163902194

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/saving-sarah-19

Apple – https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1506428776

Bio:

Born and raised in Texas, the state had to be the setting for my first series. From the food to the fun, like floating the rivers, it is the fire in my blood that inspires me. My family and friends take center stage in my books. My sisters and best friends are my heroines, and my husband created my favorite hero. Love and family are the point of my stories, and I seek to entertain, relieve stress, and inspire people. Books can take one on a journey that one can relive over and over. I am extremely grateful to those authors who did that very thing for me. I learned and I fell in love with their words and characters. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Social Media:

Website –  www.karaoneal.com

Bookbub –  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kara-o-neal

Amazon –  http://www.amazon.com/Kara-ONeal/e/B00FL19TH8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1465007993&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble –  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/kara+o’neal?_requestid=845025

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/KaraONeal84/

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/KaraONealAuthor

Pinterest –  https://www.pinterest.com/karaoneal7/

Goodreads –  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7278350.Kara_O_Neal

Blog — http://www.karaoneal.com/blog

Blog – The Story Continues — http://www.karaoneal.com/the-story-continues

 

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Author Interview with Stanalei Fletcher, PLUS a 99 cent sale!!!

I love author interviews and today, I’m sharing an interesting one from Stanalei Fletcher, along with an amazing 99 cent sale on each of the books in her Northstar Security series!

 

What is the first book that made you cry?

The first book that made me cry…hmmm…this is tough question, because I’m not a very emotional person. I honestly don’t recall any books as a child that brought tears to my eyes, although I do recall sobbing pretty hard at the movie, Black Beauty. The first book that made me cry came a bit later in life. I’d been reading everything I could put my hands on by Alistair McLean. I’d left reading his first book, HMS Ulysses until almost last, thinking I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as his other works. I was wrong. This book wasn’t just about one protagonist. Instead, the story fictionally chronicled the ship and the men who fought aboard her. Their heroic struggles to save that ship still resonates with me. I’m not ashamed to say I cried at the end of that story.

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym (or do you already)?

I do write under a pseudonym. My pen name is a combination of my husband’s middle name and my father’s middle name. I chose to do this partly as a marketing tool and partly because I still work a day job, where most of my fellow coworkers do not know I write.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Excellent question and one that challenges writers who desire to have their works published and read. I don’t believe what I write is terribly original in concept or in plot lines. I believe the originality in my stories comes from the personal experiences and knowledge I bring to the story. I am a firm believer in STORY. Readers and audiences in general, select their entertainment with preconceived expectations. If I don’t deliver on those expectations, they will intuitively know something is missing. They may not know what, but they will feel dissatisfied when they close the book. I strive very hard to make sure I don’t leave a reader wanting.

Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

My Northstar series is a connected work, currently with five books. However each book in the series was deliberately written to be read as a standalone. Personally, I’m not a fan of serials, so I don’t care to write them. That said, I do understand their appeal and the authors who produce them have my upmost respect. I think it’s a rare talent to write in the same world book after book.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

Unfortunately, I would tell my younger self the same thing I tell myself today. Stop worrying about things I can’t control. I’ve had people telling me that all my life. Yet, it’s still a concept I’m trying master.

How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?

I don’t believe it’s my place to make demands on any reader. I certainly do what I can to take care of the reader by producing the best work I’m able. It’s my job as a writer, especially if I want the reader to part with, not only their hard earned dollars, but their time, to put effort into my craft and offer them a satisfying read and time well spent.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

I do see writing as spiritual practice. I see it as a way to put my expressions and emotions into words. I believe it to be a practice on the path to mastery of life.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Like many writers, I have a baby names book. And I make use of it. There were all those great names I wanted to name my own children but I was limited to only a few…which for the kids ended up being mostly family names. Well, now I get to name my characters with those great names. How cool is that?

That said, I do try to fit the name to the personality of the character as I envision him/her. If I find a name isn’t working, it’s not like I have to go before a judge to have a character’s name changed. I can simply pick another name. That’s pretty cool too.

What is your favorite childhood book?

I have a well-worn book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I’d have to say that is my personal favorite. I’m not locked into a single story, but have all the great ones from Cinderella to Snow-White and Rose-Red.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part of my artistic process is being an artist. I’m mostly left-brained and tend to overthink a lot of the process. But I do love the creative sparks and it’s very exciting for me when it flows and the words come together.

 


Stanalei Fletcher’s January Blowout Sale Blog Tour
All 5 Northstar Security Series books are on sale for only 
$.99 during the tour only!

GiveAway: Stanalei is offering some fabulous prizes during this tour. One Lucky winner will have the chance to choose an ebook from her backlist, another lucky winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate, and one lucky winner will have the chance to choose a print book from Stanalei’s backlist. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember to follow along with the tour to increase your chances of winning. You may find the other tour locations here

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Series Blurb: 

Northstar Security Firm is an elite private security agency whose mission statement: GUIDED BY THE TRUTH, is the guiding principle to provide justice for those who have been wronged. Founded by former CIA agents Byron O’Neal, Katherine O’Neal, and Sean Malone, Northstar Security has a ninety-nine percent success rate. That one percent is a still open case involving Katherine’s murder and Sean Malone’s career-ending gunshot wound. Nothing is a hundred percent guaranteed, and angst over one unsolved case doesn’t stop good men and women from fulfilling their duty.

Proving Ground

Northstar Security Series Book #1

About the Book: 

Caitlin Malone believes screw-ups don’t get second chances. When she returns to Oregon after failing her first Northstar Security assignment and stumbles across a plot to steal deadly pathogens, she sees a chance at redemption.

For USDA Forest Ranger, John ‘Mac’ MacAlistair, having Caitlin home again brings up feelings that are better left buried.

When Caitlin is trapped by the wildfire, started by the terrorists, her only hope of rescue is pinned on Mac, the man she’s tried two years to forget.

Buy Links:
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press

 

Dead Reckoning
Northstar Security Series Book #2
About the Book: 

Byron O’Neal, Northstar Security Firm’s director didn’t always run an elite private investigation firm. His early CIA years were spent chasing Soviet spies. Now his past is catching up, and Kellee, Bryon’s daughter is caught in the middle of a game of Russian Roulette. Northstar agent and former Navy SEAL, Egan Maddox, is tasked to save Kellee from the Russian mafia before it’s too late, a task that puts not only his life, but his heart on the line.


Buy Links:
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press 

Beyond Duty
Northstar Security Series Book #3

About the Book: 
Northstar Security agent, Riley O’Neal, balks at posing as anyone’s husband for an assignment. Nevertheless, to rescue the kidnapped wife of a U.S. Senator, he’ll perform his duty and do his best to resist the charms of the very woman who deceived him on a previous mission.

U.S. Army Lt. Mary “Chip” Anderson is uneasy about the undercover assignment to pose as newlyweds. Concealing her attraction to Riley while staying focused on the task, may be the biggest challenge. Despite efforts to remain objective, enforced proximity ignites emotions and a desire to make the fake honeymoon real.

When Chip is kidnapped during a botched rescue attempt of the senator’s wife, both women become pawns in the case that threatens the nation’s security. Riley must remain objective, save the women, and avert the threat. But after that, can he convince Chip that she wants to wear his ring forever?

Buy Links: 
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press 

Excerpt:
Riley waited until the conference door closed and then picked up the sealed envelope on the table. “What’s this?”

His father gestured with his hand. “Open it.”

Riley tore one end of the envelope. Not seeing anything at first, he tipped it upside down. Two gold bands slid out. The innocent symbols of eternal love clattered ominously on the table. The larger one spun a moment before coming to rest, barely touching the smaller ring.

Chip gasped.

Riley felt immobilized by the significance of the gold glinting under the room’s fluorescent lights. As though on cue, they both reached for the rings. When their hands collided, Chip snatched hers back and balled it into a fist.

He picked up the smaller ring first, and rolled the smooth metal between his fingers. He strode around the table and stopped in front of the petite lieutenant.

She stood her ground. Taking her left hand, he heard her draw a breath.

His gaze locked on to the violent storm brewing inside her gray eyes. The temperature inside the room increased. His breathing matched the rise and fall of her chest as the room filled with white noise. Her slender hand trembled ever so slightly as he slipped the band onto her fourth finger. It fit perfectly. He stared into the dark pools of her eyes, like a man dying of thirst in the scorched desert. Uninvited, the timeless words from the marriage ceremony echoed through his head. “With this ring…”

Stunned by the thought, he stopped short of speaking the words aloud. At the head of the table, Byron cleared his throat and broke the spell.

Riley dropped her hand as though he’d been burned. He returned to his side of the table, picked up the other ring, and slid it on the fourth finger of his left hand. No fanfare. No ceremony. Only an unfamiliar burden he was about to carry. A partner—a wife as a cover story—with two lives and the nation’s security at stake.

 

Breaking the Honor Code
Northstar Security Series Book #4

About the Book: 

Cyber-terrorism brings even the most powerful companies to their knees. When Northstar Security Firm discovers a breach inside their computer firewall, agent Sloan Cartland will do anything to help the firm’s brilliant computer tech, Allison Richards, find the culprit—even after he learns that all evidence of the hack points back to Allison.


Buy Links: 

Amazon | The Wild Rose Press

Tell It Like It Is
Northstar Security Series Book #5

About the Book: 

 

FBI agent, Nelson Kane’s Aunt Rosalee has a story to tell. Someone wants her stopped. When Northstar Security’s unconventional bodyguard, Justine Shelby, is assigned as Aunt Rosalee’s protection, Shelby learns she’s as welcome as a wiretap at the annual J. Edgar Hoover Christmas party. Ornaments start to fly when Shelby informs by-the-book, Agent Kane to stay out of the way while she helps his aunt complete her tell-all memoirs.

Buy Links:
Amazon | The Wild Rose Press

About the Author:

Stanalei’s love of writing romance stems from reading favorites such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Barbara Cartland, and Alistair MacLean. She has over twenty years of training in the martial arts and holds the rank of Sandan, a third-degree black belt, in Aikido.

After a taste of life on both U.S. coasts, she now resides near the beautiful Wasatch Mountain Range with her hero, who just happens to be her best friend and husband. Together they enjoy backcountry dirt trails on a RZR, visiting our National Parks, or exploring museums and ghost towns. You may visit Stanalei at: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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