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and Fearless Friday as told by my guests and me.

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Breakfast Date Supplied the Ideas for A Cold Death by Marilyn Meredith


MUSE MONDAY

Please welcome my guest, Marilyn Meredith, and don't forget to enter her contest!
Hubby and I have a weekly breakfast date with several people from our church and of course there is lots of conversation.
One of the couples related several tales about the time they worked as caretakers of a summer camp. During the winter they stayed on to do necessary repairs and maintenance. They related an incident during a huge snow storm when the owner of the camp decided to appear unannounced with several guests in tow.
The snow made it impossible for them to drive into the camp and the visitors trekked through the deep snow struggling with their belongings and food they’d brought with them to enjoy. Much got left behind.
They also described how high the snow drifted on the two story lodge and some of the difficulties they had to face.
It wasn’t long before I knew I had to use all this information in a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery. At other breakfasts I asked our friends more questions about the storm and the camp itself. Some of the information I used, some I changed, and some didn’t work for the story that formed in my head and eventually on my computer. A Cold Death is the result.
It’s a bit lighter than some of the other Tempe Crabtree mysteries, and certainly colder, making it a good book to read on these hot summer days.
Thank you so much for letting me visit on your blog today, Brenda.
Marilyn
Blurb for A Cold Death:
Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her husband answer the call for help with unruly guests visiting a closed summer camp during a huge snow storm and are trapped there along with the others. One is a murderer.
Bio: 

Marilyn Meredith’s published book count is nearing 40. She is one of the founding members of the San Joaquin chapter of Sister in Crime. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra, a place with many similarities to Tempe Crabtree’s patrol area.

Blog:  http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/ and you can follow her on Facebook. 

Contest: 

Once again I’m going to use the name of the person who comments on the most blogs on my tour for a character in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery—which may be the last in the series.  

Tomorrow I’ll be here:  https://jwillsbooks.com/blog-posts/









Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Writing Wicked Heroes by Zara West

WICKED WEDNESDAY

It's a wicked day and we love bad boys. Welcome Zara to Discover yourself...

Do you think all romance heroes have to be good guys? I don’t. I like it when a bad, bad boy turns out to have a heart of gold under all that gritty, tough armor. But as I have learned writing a “bad” hero is really hard to do.

In my just released romantic suspense, Close to the Skin, the billionaire hero, Vernon Newell, is a murdering criminal who runs a huge criminal operation. Not only that, but he kidnaps the woman he loves, and when her brother comes to rescue her, injures him and leaves him penniless.

Needless to say, based on my Amazon reviews, many readers instantly dislike Vernon and fully agree with the heroine that no matter how much she loves him, he is somebody to stay far away from. But that was exactly what I wanted my readers to think at the start of the book.

But this is not the expected way to write a romance novel. As a writer, my challenge was to come up with a way to save this man and make him worthy of the heroine’s love.

In order to do this, I decided that Vernon has to be put through the proverbial writer’s wringer until he has nothing left to give. So that is what I do. Among other things, Vernon’s family betrays him, innocent people are killed, he is tortured near to death. In the end has to give up everything.

But through it all one thing remains constant. His love for Bella. But what woman in her right mind wants a penniless ex-crook? Read Close to the Skin to find out.

Four tips on crafting wicked heroes

1. Give him at least one good characteristic.

2. For every bad thing he has done, make sure he pays retribution.

3. Match him up with a strong woman with the power to make him change.

4. Make sure that when he changes, the event is earthshattering for him, and the people who know him.

Let me know. Do you like romances in which the hero has to give up everything to win the woman he loves?

CLOSE TO THE SKIN
BLURB
Never back down, never turn your back, and never fall in love. Head of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise, Vernon Newell doesn’t let family ties or misplaced sympathy get in his way. But there is one chink in his armor—Sirena Patras, the beautiful young Greek girl he seduced and deserted eight years ago. 

When Vernon discovers that Bella Bell, a prospering tattoo artist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is actually Sirena, he sets out to woo and to win her. Despite her attraction to the fabulously sexy man, Bella wants nothing to do with a hard-headed, ruthless criminal.  

But when threatening messages start arriving, and Vernon disappears, Bella must choose to abandon the man she loves or risk her life to save him. 


EXCERPT
The man was dead.

Her brother had killed him in front of her eyes.

Or had it all been a lie?

If anyone knew what was going on it would be Vernon. She moved back into the living room and peered out the window. The sky was still dark. The street light still burned. Dare she call him? He’d think she’d capitulated. Wanted him.

She dropped the curtain and straightened her shoulders. She wanted him all right. She wanted answers. She wanted to know why dead men were calling her and threatening notes appeared in her mail.

Hands shaking, she punched in Vernon’s cell number. It rang once. Twice. She imagined him holding her, kissing her. His low, rumbling voice whispering in her ear. No, she couldn’t talk to him. Not yet. She was still addicted to the man.

She tapped the phone off and curled back up on the sofa. Tomorrow. Tomorrow, she’d send him an e-mail—a nicely worded formal request.

At that moment, the phone in her hand rang. Vernon returning her call? She hesitated. Then flicked it on.

A low pitched voice spoke through heavy static. “Does Vernon know what you did?” A frisson of fear crept down her spine and burrowed deep into her core. She tossed the cell phone onto the floor and buried herself under the silk shawls, struggling to breathe.

Forget all the reasons why Vernon was the wrong man for her. She needed him. She needed him now.

BUY LINKS:

BIO
Zara West loves all things dark, scary, and heart-stopping as long as they lead to true love. Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Zara spends winters in New York where the streets hum with life, summers in Maritimes where the sea can be cruel, and the rest of the year anywhere inspiration for tales of suspense, mystery, and romance are plentiful.  
Swept off her feet by her own Indiana Jones, Zara has followed sheep and goats up and down mountainsides in Greece, Crete, and Italy, been stranded on the banks of the Rhine with no money and one chocolate bar, and while she has never been kidnapped, she has been abandoned on an island in the middle of t wilderness for longer than she wants to remember. 
A member of RWA, Zara is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies, and have received awards from Women on Writing, Stone Thread Publishing, Tryst Literary Magazine, and Winning Writers. Her novels have placed first in the Pages from the Heart and Romance Through the Ages contests, second in the Touch of Love contest, third in the Emma Merritt, 5th in the Fab5, and long-listed for the Mslexia Award.

WEBSITE
MEDIA LINKS
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE
FACEBOOK
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INSTAGRAM


Monday, September 11, 2017

Brewing and Stewing with Voices in My Head

MUSE MONDAY

Today, I'm all over the place with my musing. Inspiration struck me last week, and I'm anxious to get going on my next book...but...I need to decide on the time period.

My sister is taking me for two days in Jerome, Arizona. Jerome is a ghost town turned artsy mecca that clings to the side of Cleopatra Hill in the Mingus Mountains. In the 1920s 10,000 people populated the area, but when the ore dried up the town was abandoned. By the 50s, the town had shrunk to about 100. Slowly, a mix of artists and wanderers settled there and by 1967 it was being settled by people known as hippies. To this day, an eclectic mix of residents, still artsy and free-thinking, have made their homes there. The population hangs just under 500 and is a tourist stop.

Shortcut between streets
My initial thought was for a romantic suspense with a dash of mystical set in the 1970s. Keep in mind, I'm not writing about
the 70s, but the story I envision would be suited for a less techy time period and people who reside slightly outside of conventional norms. I want to plunk my characters down in Jerome. The city will make a great backdrop for the stories.

So...before I begin, I have to know if the time period will work. I've gotten all kinds of mixed opinions on this. Some tell me, the 70s are a dead end for interest. Some tell me, my genre concept is exciting and would fit perfectly. Some tell me, they don't pay attention to the time period as long as they like the story. Some tell me, they wouldn't bother if it's set in the 70s.

I'm excited about the stories brewing in my head, but my muse tells me to hold up until I know what
Old mining aparatus
era before I take the get-it-on-paper plunge.

I'd love to hear you opinion.

Meanwhile, I'll keep stewing on the idea.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Wild, Wooly, and Hot

TRIPPIN' THURSDAY (sorry, fell on Friday)

A few years back, we retired from the day jobs. You followed our farm experiment on Tortuga Thursdays for three years, but we sold the farm. We traded in the little RV for a bigger one, but we aren’t ready to hit the road fulltime. What comes next? We’re not sure. It's all about transition these days. These are...

The In-Between Years

Are you someone who rises with the sun, whose energy is at it's peak before others put their foot out of bed? I love the morning hours. Here in Arizona, once the sun is halfway between the mountains and straight up, the heat
Horses looking for a treat
blankets the Ranch. Creatures in the basin know this, too.

I walk early morning with my friend Cindy. I'd walk with FDW, but he's on a different clock than I am. By the time he slides out of bed, I've not only walked but written a chapter and had 3 cups of coffee. He prefers the night. Of course, there are lots of night creatures in the basin...owls and coyotes among them...but it's not advisable to
Vulture posing
walk after dark. So, he walks when it's hot. If you haven't heard, I loathe heat.

Early morning is cool and fresh. The sunrise is usually spectacular. There are always bunnies
Cotton tail




skittering through the bushes. This guy spends his time on the Ranch and isn't too fearful of humans. Vultures hang out high overhead.
Makes me a little afraid for the bunny rabbits, but we do have an abundance. There are horses and cows on either side of the RV Ranch. The horses are friendly. The cows refuse to come too close.

Wooly tarantulas are a treat to see. I know we have plenty of
Tarantula by my door
them here, but they aren't roaming around in the open too often. They're good spiders, and not harmful to humans. They still creep me out.

Javelina wander through the park, regularly eating from flower pots. They're up earlier than I am so I've yet to get a really good
Can you see javelin?
picture. I don't care to run into wild pigs anyway. They're unpredictable.

I saw a bobcat yesterday morning. He was no more than a blur as he darted across our
Standoffish cows
path several yards in front of us. That was close enough!


Monday, September 4, 2017

In the Moment by Jennifer Wilck


MUSE MONDAY

Please welcome my guest, Jennifer Wilck.

Three days ago, my latest book, In the Moment, was released by The Wild Rose Press. This book is special to me, because it was inspired by a beautiful house I toured a town over from me. I love touring old houses. I love the architecture, the lifestyle and thinking about the people who lived there. When I saw that a Victorian mansion was for sale, and that there was an open house, my girls and I jumped at the chance to see it. We wandered through every floor except for the basement, a converted wine cellar that was blocked off because apparently a deer had gotten inside through the outside entrance—wonder if she preferred white or red? The main floor had gorgeous moldings, wainscoting, fireplaces, floors and stained glass windows. The kitchen and powder room had been modernized and our jaws dropped as we wandered from room to room. The two upper floors were bedrooms. While the second floor had also been renovated—while keeping the charm and look of the time period—the third floor had not, and you could see the original wood planked floors in the servants’ quarters. It was a fascinating history lesson. 

Since I didn’t have a spare couple of million dollars lying around to purchase and continue the updates, I decided to write about the house instead. It is now the main setting of In the Moment and I enjoyed revisiting the house through pictures as I wrote. I worked really hard on the cover with the cover artist—I wanted to convey the tone of the book and include the house—I think she did a great job! 

Here’s the blurb: 

Cassie Edwards, a former foster child, purchases an 1870s Victorian mansion, the one home from her childhood where she felt like part of a family. She’s spending her summer lovingly restoring it, with dreams of one day raising a family of her own here. Rayne Tucket, a photojournalist, is haunted by the death of his best friend in Afghanistan, a death he thinks is his fault. He survives day to day. Forever is not in his vocabulary. Swearing off photography, he answers an ad for a handyman—mindless, no emotion involved. As the two of them renovate her house, can Cassie show Rayne that love is strong enough to heal all wounds? 

And here’s an excerpt: 

“Cassie?” He let go of her hand.

His voice startled her. She turned to him. If she hadn’t witnessed his reaction to the storm, she’d never know it now. Well, maybe she would. There were fine lines between his brows and shadows beneath his eyes. But otherwise, he looked no different than usual. They sat next to each other, legs touching.

“Stop talking.”

He took her face between his hands. They were rough and calloused against her skin. He ran his fingers over her cheeks and pushed her hair behind her ears. She stared into his eyes. In the dark of the porch, she couldn’t see their color, only their glimmer as he traced her jawline. The heat from his body warmed her; the pressure of his fingers anchored her to this spot, with him, right now. They were close enough for his breath to feather on her cheek. Each inhalation and exhalation sent shivers down her spine. For the first time, she remembered she wore a threadbare T-shirt beneath her cotton robe.

His thumbs brushed her lips, and she opened her mouth. His nose bumped hers. He bent to kiss her. Their lips touched. She sighed as he dragged them back and forth across her mouth.
Finally. 

Interested? Here are the buy links: 







Wednesday, August 30, 2017

HAVE YOU KISSED A VILLAIN TODAY?

WICKED WEDNESDAY

Have you read a book lately with a character that you love to love? Or one you love to hate? How about a character you don’t give a bat’s butt about? (stealing a little color from a character in my latest book, The Deep Well of Love and Murder)


Take a look at some of your favorite literature characters. Those characters who you love or hate, who get you teary eyed or hot under the collar, are not totally good or totally bad. The ones you don’t remember or who left you feeling flat were not flawed good guys or bad guys with some redeeming quality.


Even a bad guy was a child who had a mom who loved him…at least until he set the family dog on fire.


He was married at one time with a loving wife who died and the death scarred him for the rest of his days. The circumstances of that death sent him over a cliff that he now can’t get back up. (hint-hint: The Power of Love and Murder)


How about an evil woman who not only worshipped her grandfather as a child, but came to be brainwashed by him and now seeks revenge and just restitution of all he lost? (hint-hint: A Legacy of Love and Murder)



Then there is the villain who commits the unthinkable all in the name of love. Can worship be construed as love, and when that love is lost, drive him to act in ways considered mad? (hint-hint: The Art of Love and Murder)


I have fun writing truly evil characters, but there has to be a reason, even if only in their own minds, for the evil. 

Back to my original questions. Have you read a book lately with a character that you love to love? Or one you love to hate? How about a character you don’t give a bat’s butt about?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Fearless Vamps...a Whole Family by R.E. Mullins

FEARLESS FRIDAY

Thanks to Brenda Whiteside, this Fearless Friday is all about R E Mullins paranormal series about the Blautsaugers. This family of vampires goes through a lot to secure their happily ever afters.

Press the Goodreads button at the very end for an opportunity to win a copy of the author’s upcoming release: Cold Hearted Vampire 

Each book can be read as a stand alone. Read in order to further increase your enjoyment.

First we meet the family in It’s A Wonderful Undead Life 

The story focuses on Gabe, the eldest child of Andris Blautsauger. Cailey, a night-shift phlebotomist, has been found stunted or left trapped in the untenable position between the vampire and human realms. Gabe understands what he’s giving up even as he knows he must finish her turning. If he doesn’t, she will die. What he doesn’t expect is to be captivated by the feisty woman. 

Book Two, Vampire In The Scrying Glass is all about gorgeous
Rafe. The youngest in the family was only a toddler when he saw his mother beheaded by religious zealots. Now a tough Nosferatu Enforcer, he tracks down vampires from the murderous Toltec clan. Knowing vampire/human relationships rarely work out, he can’t stop himself from falling for Cailey’s best friend, Morgan.

Unbeknownst to him, she’s a witch hiding powers she can’t control. When a demon threatens his family, can they come together to dispatch it back to hell? 

Book three features Metta Blautsauger in A Vampire To Be Reckoned With. This middle child and Andris’ younger daughter is known as the family airhead.

What her relatives don’t know is that Lucas O’Cuinn recruited her long ago and trained her to be an agent for the secretive vampire Orcus Agency. After her mother’s murder, she nobly returns home to tend Rafe. Now that he no longer needs mothering, she’s grown bored with life.

A group of local, human ministers livens things up when they ask for help in taking down a human trafficking group called Servuco. Orcus isn’t happy to learn about their former agent’s unsanctioned activities and sends Luke to reign her in. Can old hurts and new dangers bring them back together? 

It all concludes in Cold Hearted Vampire set for Internation release on September 6, 2017. The book is already available for pre-order—check below to find where.

Inside you’ll discover the exciting conclusion of the Blautsauger family saga.  

Dr. Michaela Blautsauger is on a one vampire mission to complete her blood formula. Her goal—to end vampire dependence on human blood. Learning about a plant which possesses the necessary properties to be her blood base, she sets off for the Yucatan jungle, an area held by their Toltec enemy.

Human Detective Seth Whitehead has been secretly monitoring Dr. Blautsauger for several years. Convinced she has the answers needed to solve a cold case. The next thing Seth knows he’s headed to Mexico to extricate her from the jungle.

What can he do to save her when Toltecs capture her? It seems that Morgan, now a vampire/witch has given him a secret weapon. 

Blurb and excerpt from Cold Hearted Vampire:m

Bottom of FormTop of Form

Dr. Michaela Blautsauger, a Nosferatu vampire, is considered an expert in her field of work. However, her skills when it comes to dealing with others and showing emotion is almost non-existent. When Detective Seth Whitehead barges into her lab, she discovers the human is just as interesting as the blood formula she is working on.

Seth's tenacity to find who is committing crimes in Amber Heights pits him against vampire aristocracy as well as Toltec vamps who are nasty to say the least. When the she-vamp he is falling heart over fangs for leaves the country to find the blood plant she needs, he follows and discovers his cold-hearted vamp truly has a heart.

When they both fall into Toltec hands, Seth knows he will do anything he has to do to keep Michaela from suffering harm. But will he be able to keep his own life in the process?

Rating: Hot
Page Count: 384
Word Count: 96955

Excerpt

Sweat poured off them, coating their skin as they collapsed down on his tiled entry in a tangled heap.

“What was that?” Michaela panted.

He decided, because it was what he wanted to think, that she sounded impressed. “Can’t let you call all the shots,” he spoke lazily as he slicked a hand up to her waist, and half-heartedly tickled her.

She retaliated by tugging on a bit of chest hair. Playfully, teasingly, they began to grapple. Rolling over and over across the foyer floor. Their hands slipped off slick skin as they tried to best the other in a sexy sort of King-of-the-Hill game.

“The winner gets her way in whatever she wants to do next time.” Michaela laughed. Scissoring her legs, she practically knocked him off her.

Seth whacked his funny bone, and yelped as he crowded her against the front door. Giving up on pinning her, he pushed up on his haunches, and rubbed his sore elbow. They shared a light-hearted and yet intimate grin. “Naked wrestling just topped my list of all-time favorite pastimes,” he told her.

“Oh, yeah?” The competitive little minx cheated by utilizing her vampire strength against him. Flipping him onto his stomach, she sat astride his lower back, and held him down with her palms braced against his shoulders. Her thighs gripped his waist in a hold he didn’t want to break. “Mine too,” she leaned over to whisper in his ear and pressed teasing little kisses all over the side of his face.

Had he ever been taken down so easily by a female half a foot shorter and weighing a good stone less? Or had such a good time being defeated? No doubt, her strength was astounding. That gave him a moment’s pause. He’d just had sex, twice now, with a vampire. Been inside the living undead. Even as the idea boggled his mind, he found he only wanted a chance to do it again.

Because, vampire or not, he had feelings for the lovely and cool Dr. Michaela. From their first kiss, he’d known there was something about her. Something that drew him in. Not just animal magnetism, but the almost indiscernible vulnerability he glimpsed in her eyes. Anyone who thought her cold and unfeeling had obviously never looked below the surface—or had her in the sack.

She was open in her lovemaking. Kept nothing hidden. It made him wonder why she considered it so necessary to keep her passionate side concealed the rest of the time.

His front door suddenly slammed open. Hitting hard against Seth’s hip, and almost knocking Michaela off of him. Their private time ended as three men clambered through the broken entry.

Seth instinctively reached for a weapon that wasn’t there.

“Dad!” Michaela squealed, and everything inside him froze as solid as ice. Scrambling off Seth’s body, giving a flashing view of that lovely backside, she attempted to use his body as a shield.

Even as he sat up straight, she was tugging at him and cowering behind his back.

Catching the look of pure venom in Andris Blautsauger’s eyes, Seth slapped a hand to his forehead and groaned.

Things were about to get really ugly. 

I hope you enjoyed this peek inside Cold Hearted Vampire.

Ready for preorder at Amazon

                           The Wild Rose Press

                     Or any online book outlets.

See what else the author is working on at remullins.com

Or follow her on Facebook and Goodreads


Goodreads — go to Goodreads to enter a giveaway. Your name might be picked to receive a copy of Cold Hearted Vampire. Contest ends soon so hurry.

Thanks again to Brenda Whiteside for graciously hosting me today on her Discover Yourself Blog.