Tag Archives: Thriller

#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…



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.



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.


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:


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:


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/



Filed under Author Blog Post, Hobbies...Careers...Passions

Author Interview with Gary Guinn ~ New Release: Sacrificial Lam

Please help me welcome Gary Guinn who is sharing a little about himself and about his new release, a thriller mystery that sounds like my kind of read!


  1. Where did you get the idea for Sacrificial Lam? Was there anything unusual, any anecdote about this book, the characters, title, process, etc, you’d like to share?

Fairly early in my career teaching at the university, a disturbing incident occurred. Three of my colleagues at the university, who were all liberal, progressive professors like myself, received anonymous threats couched in violent terms. The university was a small, conservative, southern place, and liberal professors like ourselves were in a real minority and sometimes found teaching there an uncomfortable fit. At the same time, we felt a sense of purpose in being the source of divergent, more open, views in the areas of politics, social issues, and religion. The threats created a tense environment, and though nothing could be proved, there was a pretty strong suspicion of who was responsible. As it happens, the threats stopped, and nothing further came of them, but that situation became the kernel for developing the series of mystery/thrillers featuring English professor Lam Corso, a liberal who teaches at a small, conservative southern college. Sacrificial Lam is the first in the series. The second, which I am about halfway through, has the working title A Lam to Slaughter.

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

All my previous writing had been literary fiction, usually historical. But my writing had begun to feel stale, and I found myself doing a lot of revising of older work rather than creating new work. So I decided to break out of the mold altogether and do something totally different. I’ve always loved reading mystery/thrillers, but didn’t think I could pull one off. National Novel Writing Month was just around the corner, so I spent a couple of weeks outlining the story and then cranked out fifty-five thousand words in November. It was great fun and really seemed to open my creative juices again and let them flow. After a year of revising with my writing group and editing with my publisher, it was ready to go.

  1. What was the most difficult thing about this novel in particular?

Probably the most difficult thing about writing this particular novel was that I was using a setting that all my friends were familiar with, and I was basing some of the characters in the novel on people who would be recognizable. I had to make the place and the characters believable as fictional characters in spite of the fact that they would be recognizable to many readers. I wanted readers to read the story, not think about the biographical background and connections.

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

Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich. When I read that novel, I fell in love—with the book and with Louise Erdrich. The sense of mystery, bordering on magical realism, and the rich characters made me want to cry half the time. And her beautiful treatment of the Native American culture in the novel was just delicious. There’s no other way to describe it. Delicious. And the novel was full of surprises. A really engaging narrative. Erdrich’s language just overwhelmed me at times, like music, like the language of love. I’ve read the book again and loved it as much the second time—a sure sign that it’s true love.

A close second in answer to this question would be The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss. That is the only novel I have ever finished reading and then gone right back to page 1 and started reading again. Loved it. I think I’m seeing a pattern here—Love Medicine, The History of Love.

  1. What do you want readers to come away with after they read Sacrificial Lam?

Sacrificial Lam pits liberal, progressive, humanistic ideas against radical, fundamentalist, religious/political/social ideas. But it doesn’t preach a particular ideology. In fact, the sympathetic characters have to confront their cherished beliefs in light of the immediate threat of violence and death. The novel presents the very real complexity of what it means to believe, to have real commitments, passions, that are challenged by reality.

I want readers to come away with a sense of the problem of extremism, of radical belief that drives us to put the lives of, the dignity of, other human beings at minimal value. That puts theology of any kind above the humane treatment of people.

  1. Would you rather have a bad review or no review?

The bane of most writers is marketing and promotion. We love to write. We love our books. But we hate to spend a huge chunk of our lives marketing. But it is marketing that we have to do. And one of the most important promotional tools is the book review—lots and lots of book reviews! When I first started learning how to promote my books, like most people I thought, “Good reviews, good. Bad reviews, bad.” So I might have answered the question then as I’d rather have no reviews than a bad review. But I’ve learned that even bad reviews bring attention to your book. And more importantly, they bring balance to all those 5-Star reviews that your friends and family write. If you have fifty reviews, and they are all 5-Star, a smart reader will be a little suspicious. But if the average of your reviews is 4.5 Stars, then a reader will think that you have received a few negative responses but that the great majority of people loved the book.

  1. Your favorite…

Movie: Smoke Signals, based on a short story by Sherman Alexie titled “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.” A wonderfully quirky and funny movie that will make you cry for the compassionate treatment of the main characters.

Music: Well, I love Bluegrass. And I love 1940’s Big Band. And I love Classical Guitar. But if I had to name an artist that I want to sit down and drink brandy or beer and listen to all night, it would be Norah Jones. Tom Waits would be a close second. Paul Simon a close third.

Place you’ve visited: The village of Chamonix at the base of Mont Blanc in the French Alps. My wife and I spent our 25th anniversary there, hiking in the mountains, having dinner at sidewalk cafes, watching the moon set over the mountain from bed, with a glass of wine.

Place you’d like to visit: Machu Picchu in Peru. I’ve been to some beautiful Mayan ruins in Central America, but those sky-high ruins above the clouds at Machu Picchu just seem like the ultimate Mayan experience.

TV show from childhood: Gunsmoke. Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty and Chester and Doc. What could possibly be better?

TV show from adulthood: Humans, Jack Taylor, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders.

Food: Italian Chicken Spaghetti with red wine.

Loved your answers, Gary…interesting! Very wise words on the review situations.


When English professor Lam Corso receives a death threat at work, he laughs it off.  A liberal activist at a small Southern conservative college, he’s used to stirring up controversy on campus.  It’s just part of the give and take of life.  Even when violently attacked, Lam is convinced it must be a mistake.  He can’t imagine anyone who would want to kill him for his beliefs.

When his home is broken into and his wife’s business vandalized, Lam is forced to face the truth. His wife—a passionate anti-gun crusader—is outraged when Lam brings a gun into the house for protection. The police can’t find a single lead. Left to their own devices, Lam and Susan are forced to examine their marriage, faith, and values in the face of a carefully targeted attack from an assailant spurred into action by his own set of beliefs.

What will it cost to survive?


In the silence immediately after Susan screamed, Simon’s high wail came from upstairs. Billy’s voice broke through, “Mom? What happened, Mom?” His voiced moved to the top of the stairs. “Mama, I’m scared. Where are you?” Simon was sobbing.

Susan grabbed the flashlight and scrambled to her feet. The darkness of the room pressed in on her, weighted with threat, the silence in the downstairs smothering her voice. She shined the flashlight toward the stairway, heading that way, and yelled, “Boys, can you see the light from the flashlight?”

She flicked the light around the room, and seeing nobody, she yelled again, with less panic this time, “Nothing to be afraid of, Billy. I’m sorry I scared you. You and Simon come on downstairs right now.” She shined the light on the stairway steps, fear crawling up her spine from the darkness behind her.

Buy Links:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Sacrificial-Lam-Gary-Guinn/dp/1509213058/

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sacrificial-lam-gary-guinn/1125460487?ean=2940157292218

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/sacrificial-lam

TWRP http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/4887-sacrificial-lam.html



Gary Guinn lives in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, with his wife, Mary Ann, and their lab mix, Seamus, and their Corgi mix, Peanut. He writes both literary and mystery/thriller fiction. His first novel, A Late Flooding Thaw, was published by Moon Lake Publishing in 2005. His poetry and fiction have appeared in a variety of magazines, and his short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, the latest being Yonder Mountain, from the University of Arkansas Press. His mystery/thriller novel Sacrificial Lam, released by The Wild Rose Press March 3rd, is set on a small Southern college campus. His favorite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling, and brewing beer (and of course, drinking it).

Contact Links:

Website https://garyguinn.com

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/garyguinnwriter/

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Gary-Guinn/e/B01N4GPT7P

Goodreads author page https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/585203.Gary_Guinn

Twitter https://twitter.com/@gmguinn

Email gary.guinn@gmail.com



Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

I Write. Therefore, I Review by Oliver F. Chase

Please help me welcome Oliver F. Chase with an excellent article about reviewing…


I Write. Therefore, I Review

Why yes, I write books. Did you fail to notice the patches on the elbows of my tweed jacket, and the vacant, yet meaningful gaze?

Nah. That ain’t me. I’m the guy in the trenches, always learning and testing, and re-learning; ever on the look out for a clever turn of phrase; and always marketing my work and myself…albeit, very delicately. Nothing’s worse than a bore who believes he’s the next Lee Child.

Writers also review. Especially those of us who are as yet “undiscovered” and thus, un-contracted by a biggie. Writing is not a competition, but more like an aftermarket team sport. We write alone but need one another in the business end of creation. Like reviewing another’s novel. This is a new truth in the age of the self help publishing world. Therefore, I thought I’d pass along a few must-do’s and must-have’s  that have helped me over the years. This is a quick list that could easily be much, much longer.

When you review for another, have these few things at your fingertips:

  • Know the plot and the theme. Don’t so gauche as to give it away. That means, of course, you need to read the book, and not use someone else’s Cliff Notes.
  • Have a ready-list of main or interesting characters. Grab your reviewing audience, just like you grab someone in your own work. A great character is a way to engage others, just like wonderful scenes. You may the character were yours, but aren’t, so give insightful due to the author. Yours will be better next time, guaranteed.
    • I suggest you only refer to one scene that you liked. Remember, no spoilers.
  • If you’re reviewing for the writer crowd, you can mention pace, grammar, arc.. that sort of thing. Don’t bother if you’re reviewing for the public. No one cares.
  • Was the storyline predictable, or were you so engrossed, you simply became lost and totally blew off your brother’s wedding. Go ahead and admit you were having too much fun to pick the story apart.
  • If you did like the story, tell the reviewing audience why. Open up a bit, let them see into your private wardrobe, floppy collars and all. The reviewing audience  is looking for something real, even if fantasy or Sci-Fi. The story either rings true, or it doesn’t.
    • Oh, and the old shirts? Toss’m. They’re not coming back.
  • Do the boring stuff, too.
    • Tell the reviewer who you think would enjoy the story. If you can, compare the writing to others.
    • Be cautious about setting the prospective reader’s expectations. Let the author rise to the occasion, not the prospective reader. Be careful not to force the issue. Your credibility is on the line, too.
    • Recommend the story to right audiences: YA, thriller adults, cozy mysteries. There’s nothing wrong with a cautionary statement, as well. I appreciate these, especially for writing that makes me squirm a bit.
    • Proofread your review. Reviewers will likely do a search on you, and may even want to see what you’ve written.
    • Be professional, friendly and helpful. Leave your various chips (on your shoulder) and axes (to grind) at home. A review is no place for personal politics…unless, of course you’re reviewing an opinion piece.
  • If you’re going to zing the story, temper the author with praise. Be cautious and be honest. Praise in public. Excoriate, or in this case criticize, person-to-person.

If you can’t figure out how to critique kindly, or gently prod the doggie story that made you cringe, thank the author and pass.  Demurring may be a bigger kindness, even though we need thick skins in this business. Be circumspect, genuine, and honest.  After all, don’t we all end up in the same place, anyway?  Life’s too short for anything else.


Thank you SO much, Oliver. I am not good at reviews, but I will bookmark your suggestions and work on my reviewing skills. Love this article!

Check out these books by Oliver. Don’t they look like fantastic reads?





Oliver grew up on military bases throughout the country and like all boys, played good guys and bad. Coaxing him into an afternoon of baseball along Lake Erie, hiking the Southern California’s hills or paddling a canoe in the North Carolina backwater didn’t take much unless a book found him first.

His best friend and he joined the Marines and took a deferment to attend college. Herb left school finding stumbling blocks that seemed insurmountable at the time. A year after graduating, Oliver stepped onto a sweaty tarmac with a manual Smith Corona typewriter not far from where Herb died. Fate usually finds a way of putting day-to-day frustrations into a cruel perspective, especially when lost in the haze of an ugly war.

Thirty-one young men flew days and nights in the mountains trying to keep the world safe for … well, says Oliver, that’s not really true, is it? The only reason we ever went into those dark, frightening places was for friends, most of whom we’d never met before that day. That they lived, meant others died and that still haunts to this day.

He spent time wandering. Lots of young veterans did so, some on foot, some just on the rails of life. Many like Oliver made stops along the road. He never slept in the park or a bus station, although many did. Most found a way out of the maze, too many others did not. Oliver promises it was not he truly at risk, but still believes pulling the right ticket is mostly a matter of circumstance and luck.

He did a bit of teaching on the Navajo reservation, spent a few years with the cops and a couple alphabet agencies but never quit writing. The old manual typewriter became a memory when his first computer came along. A notebook travels with him now, the wanderlust never completely leaving him be. Today, he spends days on the family’s tiny farm and following the season, sometimes wondering if the old Smith Corona founds a home, too. He hopes so, wishing his old friend happy days.



Filed under Author Blog Post

Author Interview with A.K. Smith – New Release: A Deep Thing

I am thrilled to introduce today’s guest, A.K. Smith. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Vegas at a conference where she pitched her story to me. She sent it to me at The Wild Rose Press, and we contracted it. Now, it’s finally released! It’s a fantastic story filled with intrigue and emotion. Please help me welcome A.K., who is going to tell us a little about herself…


Why did you choose this genre?

My first Dean Koontz book was Whispers, (the last novel he wrote on a typewriter). I was around fourteen, and I remember thinking I was reading a racy, thrilling, exciting adult novel. The pace of the book captivated me and the surprise ending fascinated me. I then went on to devour Stephen King, James Patterson, and John Grisham novels. The suspense kept me turning the pages, and I fell in love with stories that surprised me and could keep me up at night. The “What if’s,” fascinated me and in my writing, I wanted twists and turns. I love being surprised—but, I also love a happy ending.

Where did you get the idea for A Deep Thing?

My husband and I took a romantic vacation to the Mexican Rivera Maya, and we discovered cenotes. Cenotes are deep iridescent underwater caves with fresh water. Outside Puerto Morelos, Mexico there is a road called “Route de Cenotes” we hired a taxi driver to take us to see a cenote. We drove back uncommercialized dirt roads, and in the middle of the jungle he let us out, and we walked back a jungle road to a beautiful hole in the ground. The water luminescent, we were in awe of our surroundings. You can dive, snorkel and swim in these wonders of nature, and the setting was surreal. When we returned home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the cenotes. Why had I never heard of them? Why were they so secret and on private land? What if? We returned to the Rivera Maya before the final draft of my novel and dove the cenotes in Tulum. It was an incredible experience.  My novel was born in the Yucatan.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read, A Deep Thing?

When they close the book or read the last page– I want their mind to be racing. The question in their mind, What if?

What is your favorite quote?

I love quotes, and there are so many epic ones, but “What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?” motivates me.

If stranded on a desert island and you could have three (inanimate) objects, what would they be?

I love this question because of the What if’s. My practical side would choose a swiss army knife (you can do everything with that), my iPhone and a solar charger. I have an off- the grid cabin and my iphone charges with a simple solar charger and last for eight hours. Then I would have all my kindle books, the bible, movies, music, even a compass, and flashlight app. Come to think of it; I better download a survival guide.

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

Hmmm.  My husband is not a celebrity, so I can’t choose him. So, who could I put up with? I’m not a huge Keith Urban Fan; I like his music, but he seems like a down-to-earth nice guy, definitely not bad to look at and he appears even-tempered. I think he would do, at least if nothing else, we could sing together. If he’s not available, I choose the best looking, even tempered, reality survivor guy.

Giveaway: 1 e-book, 1 print book. Winners selected by Alicia Dean. To qualify, retweet, facebook or pin the blog post and paste the link in comments. Winners picked on Friday, December 23rd.



What was her husband hiding in the jungles of Mexico?

Rocked by her husband’s tragic death, Kendall Jackson strives to put her life back together. But Ryder, her nineteen-year-old stepson, is bitter and wants nothing to do with her. And she can’t keep the grief at bay. Sometimes, it’s so strong, she wonders if life is worth living.

A call from a cave diver in Mexico gives her hope of mending the relationship with her stepson. Before his death, her husband arranged a diving expedition as a birthday gift for his son. Kendall persuades Ryder to honor his father’s last wish.

From the campus of Western Maryland College to the woods of Camp David and the caves of the Yucatán, Kendall and Ryder take a journey to discover what her husband worked so hard to hide, and to protect his treasured secrets from falling into the wrong hands. The choices they make will decide their fate and the future of others. Will they risk everything for the truth? 

Take the trip. Join the journey. Because sometimes you need to escape to an island, beach or mysterious jungle.


Buy Link: Amazon


 The Wild Rose Press



A.K. Smith is the author of debut fiction novel, “A Deep Thing” from the Wild Rose Press. She loves all things jungly, beachy and mysterious. Her goal is to write thrillers, suspense, and romance, which have the power to make you stay up late.

A new scuba diver, she counts diving in a cenote (underwater caves in the Yucatan) and surviving– one of her biggest achievements. Mexico has a special place in her heart; it’s where she escaped after walking out on Corporate America and where she fell in love on a sailboat. She is a graduate of Shippensburg University (BA) and has a Master of Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She treasures her family, friends, and kindness. Her goal is to step foot on every continent in the world. She blogs at www.wordstravelfilm.com.

Check out her website at www.aksmithauthor.com or find her on Twitter@aksmithbook, and Facebook/aksmithbook.



Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

A Bodyguard’s Trip to Peru (book # 4 of the series with Jazmin & Ethan) by Ann Raina

Please help me welcome today’s guest, Ann Raina, with her latest release….

About the author

Ann Raina lives in Germany with cats and a horse. In between real life necessities, writing is her most important task and also a privilege. The latest series, starting with The Secretary’s Bodyguard, turns around a loving couple trying to live their life in spite of dangers and other troubles.



While at a conference with the Secretary of State, Ethan and Jazmin get confronted with terrorists, drug dealers, and a bunch of nasty people.


He put an arm around her shoulder when she huddled against his side. “Are you feeling all right?”

“Yeah.” She put a hand on his belly. “They gave us enough food and drink to be satisfied. I was allowed to brush and braid my hair, and we could wash ourselves. I hadn’t put it beyond them to hand you a razor. You look like a thug by now, with that stubble.”

“Thanks a lot.” He gave a curt bow and ran a hand over the stubble on his chin. “I don’t mind skipping shaving for a few days.”

Her voice sank to a threatening growl. “You won’t show up like some grizzly hunter on Christmas day, right?”

Ethan pursed his lips as if pondering the possibility. “If I’m to play Santa, I need more than stubble. I should start growing a beard right away.”

Jazmin made a disgusted face and he chuckled. “Imagine your mom’s face when I open the door in some checkered flannel shirt, unkempt, and with a beard reaching down to my chest. What would she say?”

“She’d check the name plate and ask if her son-in-law had moved.” Jazmin shook her head. “Don’t do that to her. You know how much she loves to show off with her famous son-in-law, the bodyguard. She’ll bring her closest friends and their families. I bet she’d faint seeing you like a scoundrel.”

“And you?” He kissed the tip of her nose. “What would you say?”

Jazmin replied in her bedroom voice, “I’d rip that ugly shirt off your body, push away the beard, and kiss my way down your navel. If you’d dare to wear anything else, it would have to go, so I could check whether your accessories were still intact on Christmas day.”

Ethan swallowed. He appeared out of breath. “You don’t like checkered flannel shirts?”

“I like unwrapping you to see you in nothing, Ethan, and you damn well know it.” She cocked her head. “The beard would be next on my list, of course.” And when he arched his brows, she added, “I like my man neat, clean-shaven. That reminds me that I’ve always wanted to wet shave you.”

“Wet shave? Why’s that?”

Jazmin ran a hand across his chin and cheek, smiling about his disgust. “The feel of it. Nothing compares to a wet shave. It’s so…smooth.”

“You really want to do that?”

“A girl can have dreams, right?”

Ethan inched away from her to look her in the eyes. “If that’s something you like—why haven’t you told me?”

Jazmin gave him an innocent look. “Because you once told me you didn’t like the time and effort. Especially not with your fast growing beard.”

“You remember that? After such a long time?”

Jazmin nodded. “I do.”

He shook his head, then a smile broke through. “Let’s make a deal, princess. Once back at home, I’ll allow you to shave me to your heart’s content, okay? That’s my Christmas gift for you.”

She bit her lips. “Just the beard?”

 A Bodyguard’s Trip to Peru

Copyright © 2016 Ann Raina

ISBN: 978-1-4874-0769-8

Cover art by Carmen Waters

Get the book here:






Filed under Author Blog Post

What the River Knows by Katherine Pritchett – Suspense Debut Novel from The Wild Rose Press

Please help me welcome Katherine Pritchett and her debut novel, What the River Knows. I’m especially pleased to host Katherine, since I was fortunate to be her editor for this tense, compelling read. 


Click to be taken to the buy pages:


Barnes and Noble

The Wild Rose Press


When a hometown girl is brutally murdered, Detective Scott Aylward vows to bring a killer to justice. His focus on the case further damages his failing marriage and reinforces the knowledge that he always fails those who matter most–his parents, his boss, his wife, but most of all the victims who expect him to bring them justice.

His search for the killer takes him back to his roots and crosses his path with the missing piece of the puzzle. When the shocking truth is finally revealed, he finds himself unarmed and face to face with the killer. This time, failing might cost him his life.


He slowed his pace within twenty feet of a gray and twisted tree trunk that must have once supported a massive cottonwood, but now instead provided a windbreak that allowed sand to settle in its lee and let shrubs gain a foothold. He looked down the sloping bank of the dike toward the river, noting the lazy flow as it rippled barely a foot deep in half a dozen shallow braided channels within the banks. A gray heron took off from a sand bar, long legs dangling behind him.

He stopped and squatted to view the path from a different angle. Just this side of the tree trunk, he saw indistinct grooves in the sand of the path that could have been made by a body being dragged. Big bluestem waved behind the tree trunk, and a sand plum thicket guarded the north side of the approach. Buffalo grass carpeted the ground from the path to the tree, obscuring any sign from this angle. He stood up again.

Now it looked like there were faint marks in the grass, here and there, that could be drag marks. He continued on the other side of the path, careful not to disturb the sign. At last he was even with the northern edge of the sand plum thicket. Again, he went down to see what he could observe from this angle. He spotted some broken branches and a few tufts of buff fur, where the dog had bounded in to make his discovery and dragged the man in his wake. He followed the path of fur and branches with his eyes, and finally saw something large and too pale a pink to belong in that environment. Reminding himself to stay detached and professional, he stepped up on the tree trunk to get a better view.

And now, let’s get to know Katherine…

Where did you get the idea for What the River Knows?

This book was inspired by a murder nearly 40 years ago that is still unsolved. My suggestion about what might have happened and the character of the victim is purely my imagination, however.

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

It just seemed to me that the river witnessed the crime. It knew; now if it would only tell.

What is the most difficult thing about writing a book?

Other than knowing when to stop editing and revising and consider it done, I find I hit a spot about 2/3 through when it’s time to up the ante and start the wrap up. Sometimes I find myself floundering here trying to find that exact point.

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

I quit writing on this one for a long time, because it was taking me someplace dark. I worked on a romance and life seemed to be imitating art, as I fell in love. Then my love died of leukemia after we only had five months together, and I couldn’t write on the romance any more. Then, the dark place I was already in found an outlet in this book, and brought me back to the light.

Are there any tricks or habits you use when creating a story?

I use music to create a mood. Romantic ballads for a love scene, exciting music for chase scenes. Then I try to write as if an actor would have to convey all emotions without the narration. This makes it easier to show, don’t tell.

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

I work for a natural resource agency and have for 30 years. I love most of the work (get a bit frustrated with the red tape from time to time). The job has taken me from coast to coast and got me behind the scenes for experiences not available to the general public. The people I work with in my agency and others are passionate about what they do for the benefit of the public and the natural resources we protect.

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

If I could just quit procrastinating, I would have so much more time for writing and everything else I need to do. However, sometimes the time I spend just sitting on my porch watching birds gives me insights I wouldn’t have if I were more efficient. I’ll quit procrastinating—someday.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read What the River Knows?

I hope the readers of any of my books come away with a greater understanding of how multi-dimensional human beings are. Good guys, bad guys, victims, bystanders, perpetrators: all have wants and needs and reasons for the things they do. When those reasons collide, we have conflict. Someday, maybe we’ll learn to avoid those collisions. We’ll learn to foster each other’s humanity.

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

Science fiction.

What is your favorite quote?

I don’t know who said it or if I made it up. You can’t choose the hand you’re dealt, but you can choose how you play it.

Thank you so much for joining me, Katherine. I enjoyed the interview and wish you the best!


Filed under Author Blog Post, New Release

Ten Tantalizing Tales of Blood-Pumping Romance and Heart-Thumping Danger! For ONLY 99 cents!

*** NEW RELEASE! ***

Ready for some major thrills and chills mixed with toe-curling romance? The PASSION & DANGER BOXED SET is now live! Get 10 award-winning, best-selling, FULL-LENGTH NOVELS with over 4,000 4- to 5-star Amazon reviews–all for only .99 cents!!!

LIMITED RUN–Get Your Copy Now!

If you only have one dollar to spend on books this summer, this is it!

(Click on cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Link – More buy links at end of post)



About the books… 

Deadly Offerings by Alexa Grace


Anne Mason thinks she’ll be safe living in the Midwest building a wind farm. She may be dead wrong. Someone is dumping bodies in her corn field and telling Anne they are gifts—for her!  Michael Brandt, the new County Prosecutor is the last person Anne can trust, but he may offer her only chance of survival from a psychopathic killer. But will she survive the passion that rages between them?

Stolen in Paradise by Toby Neal


One betta fish, two dead biologists, three trysts, four suspects and thirty-five pairs of shoes add up to complicated days in paradise for Special Agent Marcella Scott.

Marcella gets into deep sand investigating the death of a prominent scientist washed up on a Waikiki beach with a bullet hole between the eyes. She also has a secret vice, more dangerous than expensive shoes—and it leads her into arms that are too close for comfort.

Revenge by Dana Delamar


Mafia don Enrico Lucchesi struggles to preserve a fragile truce with the Andretti family. But when Kate Andretti flees from her abusive husband, Enrico won’t leave her in jeopardy. Can he save her without reigniting the bloody feud between the families?

Deadly Obsession by Kristine Cayne


Nic Lamoureux’s perfect movie star life is shattered by a stalker who threatens any woman close to him. When he meets photographer Lauren James, the attraction is instant–and mutual. She’s exactly the sort of woman he craves, but the stalker makes deadly clear Lauren is the competition. And the competition must be eliminated.

The Dream Jumper’s Promise by Kim Hornsby


Tina Green’s missing husband is presumed dead on Maui and now she’s being haunted by strange dreams. When former boyfriend, Jamey Dunn, turns up at her Lahaina dive shop and offers help, she can’t believe his preposterous claim to enter dreams. As they piece together clues to her husband’s disappearance, secrets and lies rise to the ugly surface.

Soul Seducer by Alicia Dean – Sizzling Paranormal Thriller Romance


She spent her entire life fighting death. Now she’s falling in love with him…

When her loved ones are threatened, Nurse Audra Grayson will risk her life…even her soul to save them. But can she risk her heart to a Grim Reaper?

Love on the Ropes by Pat White

Passion_andDanger_PatWhite (1)

An undercover assignment as pro wrestler Jack the Stripper exposes more than Jason McBain’s six-pack abs. Will the DEA agent lose his heart to the woman who becomes his prime suspect in a drug smuggling ring?

The Good Daughter by Diana Layne

Passion_andDanger_DianaLayne_2 (1)

Most good daughters would say they owe their fathers everything. Marisa Peruzzo, Mafia princess, would.

She owed him for killing her fiancé.

She owed him for destroying her mother.

She owed him for chaining her to the ‘family business’.

And she owed him for taking away her lifelong friend.

Payback’s a bitch.

Someday Somebody by Lori Leger

Passion_andDanger_LoriLeger (1)

Two men want her, only one wants her dead.

Carrie has her hands full with three teens, a new career in road design, and a budding relationship with a sexy land surveyor named Sam. When a series of harmless phone calls take a terrifying turn, Carrie’s small town life gets dangerous.

An Eye for Danger by Christine Fairchild


One’s lying to protect her, the other’s lying to betray her.

When Jules Larson, a war photographer with PTSD, stumbles onto a murder scene, she finds herself trapped between a dangerously seductive detective, Stone McCarthy, and his nemesis, Sam Wainwright, the sexy undercover cop who’ll capture her heart at any cost. As their sole witness, Jules is targeted by a secret organization of corrupt cops. But which man can she trust to save her life?


To purchase:

Kindle US: http://amzn.to/1I5s0qm

Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1GCek90

Kindle CA: http://amzn.to/1ErLIgU

Kindle AU: http://bit.ly/1cnX36M

Nook US: http://bit.ly/1aHA59y

Nook UK: http://bit.ly/1FDalsF

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1DAp2dT

iBooks: http://apple.co/1DWcvn4

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1GQCsVH

Check out the fabulous trailer here: 



Filed under Entertainment, For Writers, New Release

99¢ Sale Ends Soon – How to Plot with Find the Magic & Suspense Thriller Without Mercy

The last day of 99 cent pricing for each of these books is November 15, 2014. Be sure to grab your copies now.

(They will, however, continue to be available through Kindle Unlimited after the sale ends.)

Find the Magic – How to Plot a Story in 10 Easy Steps

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

Vertical background of brown color with magic book

How to write a novel? That is the question. There are probably as many answers to that question as there are people who ask it.

Wanting to write and actually doing it are two very different things. I am well acquainted with the sometimes grueling process of churning out a story. Over the years, I have tried many methods for creating and completing manuscripts, and have tweaked and honed it down to a workable (for me) process.

Using specific examples from one of my own novels, Without Mercy, I share my method in this mini how to book. The first eight steps actually deal with plotting while the last two are designed to help expand your outline into a well-developed draft. There is no one, perfect way to create a story, but there will be a method, or methods that work for you. I’m not sure if this is the one, but it works for me. Only you can decide if it also works for you. Fingers crossed that it does!

*** Warning – Please do not purchase without reading a sample. (This is solid advice for any book, fiction or non. If you are not intrigued in the sample, you will likely not enjoy the book)


5.0 out of 5 stars Great quick-start guide for writers November 8, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A quick read with easy to follow directions for streamlined plotting and excellent tips for rewriting clunky sentences. Includes some show and tell examples for clear understanding of the concepts presented. Will be one of my go-to reference books. I bought the book after seeing mention of it being released. A great bargain!


Without Mercy

(Click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon Buy Page)

Without Mercy Extra Large

How far will a mother go to protect her child?

When an apparently random bank robbery turns out to be a sinister plan, single mother China Beckett is thrust into a nightmare.

A group of mercenaries take over her life, threatening her young daughter and everyone they love. Each time China makes a mistake, someone dies. She’ll fight to the last breath to protect her child, but with no idea what move will be the wrong one, that might not be enough.

As the lives of China’s loved ones are jeopardized, she must take action, although she has no idea where to turn—and time is running out. But then, a startling truth is revealed and China discovers that the only person who can save them might be a ghost from the past.

*** Warning: Explicit language and graphic violence ***



5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Story of Love and Betrayal September 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Single mom China Beckett is Teller Manager for Greater Oklahoma Bank. On just another work day, she gets a phone call that her six year old has suffered an asthma attack at school. When she goes to her bitchy manager’s office for permission to leave, the boss from hell gives her a hard time.
Then the woman is shot. Dead. Right in front of China.A bank robbery is in process. And the robbers apparently know who she is. They call her by name.

This is how China Beckett is launched into a bizarre and horrifically violent period of her life. A period in which: 1. A scarred and psychotic bodyguard moves into her house; 2. Random people are killed in order to make her cooperate; 3. Her estranged lover returns from the dead; and 4. She finds out she is tougher than anyone thinks.

Wow, what a story. There is a man behind the curtain who is pulling the strings, manipulating everyone from the band of psychotic killers to their random victims to China and everyone she loves. We are kept guessing who that might be. Is it China’s current boyfriend, the sweet fireman and former mercenary? Her ex-husband, a successful doctor who suddenly ran off to San Francisco? Or Aiden, the father of her daughter, a man she
thought had died years before in a civil war in Africa?

There’s so much to like about Alicia Dean’s newest suspense novel. I was rooting for China from page one because she is brave, consistently putting her child’s safety above everything else. Riveted by the swift plot, I had no idea how she would rescue herself, save her child, and find the love she deserves. But I was sure she would do so because China Beckett is cool, smart, and tough as hell.

You’ll have to read Without Mercy to see how one devoted mother takes a life-threatening situation into her own capable hands. And manages to turns her whole life around.

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Filed under Entertainment, For Writers