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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Writing Wild Wolves by Sylvie Grayson


I love wolves, or photos of wolves, I suppose. There is some degree of wickedness in these lovely creatures, so I think Sylvie's post is apropos...and interesting. Please welcome her today and read on.
I’m a strong believer in using what I know when writing my books. I’ve been surprised many times by authors who write about business or sports or other pursuits but don’t seem to have the background knowledge needed to make the scenes convincing or even accurate.

When I was a child, my family moved to the North Peace River area of British Columbia. We lived on a homestead, which meant a small hand-built log cabin with no power or running water. The school in the village went to grade eight, so after that it was home schooling. I was thirteen and my younger sister nine, when I was designated to walk her the mile and a half to the bus stop to get her to class, and meet her again in the afternoon.

One morning, I had seen her onto the school bus, and turned to walk home. Our dog, Captain, was a wayward beast and had come with us, but soon ran off chasing rabbits, yipping through the trees on a fruitless quest. Walking down the road, I called him. Soon, I heard him coming, his cries getting louder as he approached. He bounded up the snowbank on the side of the road, and down onto the roadway. But he didn’t stop, running flat out across the road and up the bank on the other side, out of sight through the trees.

I soon saw why. Two large timber wolves leaped out of the bush to the top of the snowbank and paused when they saw me. I froze. We stared at each other. I thought—I’m going to die now. I ran at them, waving my arms wide to appear as large and intimidating as possible, yelling as loud as I could. They jumped down the bank, loped across the road, up the other bank and into the forest after Captain.

I truly believed we’d never see our dog again. He had been running flat out, yet these wild creatures did a leisurely lope that was at least as fast. Our dog returned home around noon. He was exhausted and slept in front of the stove for the rest of the day.

When writing False Confession, I had a real urge to include scenes from those days. It isn’t often I write about the Canadian north, the blizzards and days of snow and cold. But here was my chance. So although the book is set in Victoria, British Columbia, the characters take a trip to the northern part of the province. Here is an excerpt—

False Confession excerpt --

Surprisingly the wind was dying down but the snow continued to fall in a dense curtain all around him. After tying an orange warning tag to the truck bumper, he headed back down the road.
When he got to the driveway turn off, he spied a set of prints in the snow superimposed over his own. They looked like impressions made by a very large dog, which seemed unlikely. Dogs didn’t roam far from home in this type of weather, and these paw marks were remarkably far apart, indicating a long reach.
His gaze sharpened as he peered through the thick fall of snow. The tracks led straight down the drive toward the cabin. As he got closer, he saw movement ahead of him and stopped where he stood as his gut clenched. A tall, mottled grey shape paced sinuously past the front door of the cabin and turned toward the woodpile. A thick ruff around its neck and nose to the ground, the wolf moved with purpose as it explored their tracks in the snow.
Alex froze. What should he do now? Was he in danger? Was the animal hungry enough to consider him dinner? He waited, anxious, as the wolf changed direction and patrolled back toward the front door. Glory had better not choose that moment to open the door and look out, because who knew what her reaction would be, or what would happen then.
He moved forward a dozen feet, heart hammering in his chest, as the wolf raised its head and stared directly at him. They both remained immobile. Then the wolf turned and trotted noiselessly behind the woodpile and into the woods.
Alex ploughed his way steadily toward the cabin door through the heavy snowfall, keeping an eye on the spot where the wolf had disappeared. The light was dull as night approached, and he needed to get inside.
Lungs labouring, he reached the door and stepped through, slamming it behind him and throwing the latch. He paused to catch his breath and allow his heart rate to slow.
Better not tell Glory about that encounter. She was already nervous as hell about their precarious situation.

Back blurb—False Confession

Did Glory fall for the wrong man, or is someone lying?

Music teacher Glory has given up on men, with good reason. Then she meets the handsome lead guitar player in the band she has just joined.

Alex, body builder and construction foreman, is determinedly single because he’s given up on women. But that’s before he meets the keyboard player who just joined his brother’s rock band. Suddenly his interest is revived and he goes on a crusade to gain Glory’s attention.

But when Alex disappears and the police claim they have a confession giving damning evidence against him, Glory has to make a decision. Can she trust the man she’s fallen for, or has she been fooled into believing a lie?

Buy link for Amazon -

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Christmas Suspense #TuesdayThoughts

How about a great holiday read that's full of suspense AND romance? Love, Murder, dishonest politicians, snow, small Arizona mountain town, rock star, and most of all suspense...

This Christmas, Penny Spark’s desire to reconnect with family causes her to expose her true identity—a secret she’s hidden for thirteen years from the political powers who murdered her family.

Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets Penny, he believes this holiday season could be the start of life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world.

With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Both by Sylvie Grayson


Please join me in welcoming Sylvie Grayson as my guest today.

I never thought I would be writing sci fi/ fantasy. I have read quite a bit of it, but started out writing contemporary romantic suspense. I like the challenge of the suspense, and enjoy the relationships that blossom from the stories. But fantasy grabbed me. Thus began the Last War series. I have four books out now and am working on Book Five.

Writing sci fi was a real eye-opener. Suddenly I got to invent my whole world rather than try to fit the story into the one we live in today. It was astonishingly freeing. Now I go back and forth, one contemporary for each fantasy. It keeps me interested, it keeps me fresh. The only drawback is that because it is an invented world, I have to read my copious notes and pore over the maps and lists of words I have created to get up to speed before I begin each new story.

You’ll notice I move between calling it sci fi and then fantasy, or usually sci fi/ fantasy. That’s because my critique group and I can’t decide where these stories fit, so we put them in both!

Here is the blurb and an excerpt for Khandarken Rising, The Last War: Book One.

Back Blurb –

Major Dante Regiment must find a way to protect Beth, as the Emperor is not the only one causing chaos in Khandarken

The Emperor has been defeated. New countries have arisen from the ashes of the old Empire. The citizens swear they will never need to fight again after that long and painful war.

Bethlehem Farmer is helping her brother Abram run Farmer Holdings in south Khandarken after their father died in the final battles. She is looking after the dispossessed, keeping the farm productive and the talc mine working in the hills behind their land. But when Abram takes a trip with Uncle Jade into the northern territory and disappears without a trace, she's left on her own. Suddenly things are not what they seem and no one can be trusted.

Major Dante Regiment is sent by his father, the General of Khandarken, to find out what the situation is at Farmer Holdings. What he sees shakes him to the core and fuels his grim determination to protect Bethlehem at all cost, even with his life.

Excerpt –

Abe left in a fury. Now as he travelled along the Southern Highway, a forest of evergreens flashing past on each side, he felt himself cooling off and rational thought taking over. Madill Advisor might have been Gregoff Farmer’s lawyer, but they could find someone else to do the legal work of enforcing the will and transferring Holdings.

He heard a warning siren and turned his head to see the flashing lights of a Constable patrol truck approaching from behind. He slowed and was pulling his scooter toward the side of the road, when a roar sounded to his right and an aerial scooter came out of the trees. It came fast, heading straight for him. If he didn’t move he’d surely be hit. He gunned the small engine and tried to dodge it. From the corner of his eye, he saw another scooter coming at him from the other side. What was going on? He was going to be mowed down if he didn’t get out of the way of these two maniacs. A shot of alarm urged him on. Aerial scooters had much more capability and speed than his solar vehicle.

He was at top speed now, trying to keep himself on the road with no idea where the Constable patrol truck had disappeared to behind him. A flash of laserfire shot across his bow and he automatically slowed. The next flash hit the scooter, and it stalled for a moment before sputtering back to life. He felt a searing pain in his leg and realized his pants were on fire. Stretching with a gloved hand, he batted at the cloth as his skin singed under the heat, the other hand occupied with keeping the scooter aimed down the road.

The scooter frame jolted under the impact of bullets hitting the fender. He felt a strange sense of destiny. A moment ago he’d thought he could be injured when he saw the first aerial coming at him, but now realized he was under attack and may not even survive the encounter.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What is it About Maine and Mysteries? by Lea Wait

Wicked Wednesday

I love Wicked Wednesday, don't you? Enjoy my guest today, Lea Wait!

Recently I was at Crime Bake, a mystery conference in Massachusetts, and someone asked me, “What’s with all the murders in Maine? Dark winters?”

I assured her we didn’t have a lot of murders. In fact, last year only five states had fewer murders than the twenty in Maine. Most of those deaths were domestic homicides. Sad, of course. But usually involving drugs, alcohol and tempers, not the result of complicated plotting.   

“Then,” asked the woman, “Why are so many mystery writers from Maine?”

She certainly had a point. The number of horror, crime, mystery, thriller, suspense, spy,  police procedural and true crime writers in the state known as “Vacationland” is rather amazing. I’m a member of a loosely organized group who blog at and our membership varies from year to year, but never disappears. In fact, at that mystery conference I met half a dozen aspiring  unpublished mystery authors who, yes, lived in Maine.

So maybe it’s Stephen King’s presence. Or the dark woods and winters. Maybe it’s the mix of people who call Maine home, and the wide variations in economic status throughout the state. Maybe it’s the choice of backgrounds – we have beaches and mountains. Wilderness and cities. Farms and fishermen. People whose families have been here for generations, and people who arrived yesterday.

But, for sure, they don’t kill each other, except in our books. Don’t want to brag, but I alone have killed off more than twenty people in my twenty-one books. And I’m sure that right now, in some study or kitchen or coffee shop in Maine, some writer is killing off another character.

Most of us mystery writers know the others, and some of us are close friends. We have a supportive community. We’re members (with writers in other fields) of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, which sponsors a one-day Maine Crime Wave conference every spring. Many of us are members of the New England chapters of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Maine is lucky to still support about 45 independent bookstores. Almost every town has a library, and many of them host author talks.  

And, perhaps most important, we writers support each other. In addition to that blog I mentioned earlier, we’ve been known to critique each other’s work, celebrate each other’s successes on social media, form panels to speak at libraries, schools and other events, attend each other’s book launches and author talks, and sometimes even share rooms at conferences.

Which is good. Because otherwise it would get pretty lonely, just sitting in front of a computer, thinking of creative ways to kill people.

Not that we don’t do that, too, of course! You’ll excuse me, while I decide which poison will work best in my next book …

Lea Wait Bio:

Mainer and USA Today best-selling author Lea Wait adopted four daughters when she was single. Now she’s married to a Maine artist, and writes mysteries and historical novels about people searching for love, acceptance, and a place to call home. Her most recent mystery is THREAD THE HALLS, a holiday mystery set in Haven Harbor, Maine. For more information about Lea and her books, see her website, She also invites you to friend her author page (Lea Wait/Cornelia Kidd) on Facebook. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017



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

Tonto Creek

The last few weeks have zipped by. Cooler days and chilly nights have come to Tonto Basin. It's all about being outside now. Nearly every morning, on average five days a week, I get in a three mile walk with either a couple of neighbor women or FDW. We've taken some side trails and had some adventures finding our way out. That's what I'm leaving you with today...get out and explore your neighborhood. 
Beaver was here

Atop the hill

So perfect for Tonto Basin


Strange Cloud

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wickedly Twisted Fun by Marni Graff


Please welcome Marni Graff as guest blogger today!

I’d never written a psychopath before, so found it was great fun to create the character of Viktor Garanin for my new book. Here’s a scene where readers can see how his wickedly twisted mind works: 

It had been a frustrating morning for Viktor Garanin. He arrived promptly as the museum opened, only to be told that the man he needed to speak with, Mr. James Fisher, would be out of the building all morning for a talk at an historical society. He wasn’t expected in his office until 2:30 that afternoon.

            Viktor did a good job of hiding his contempt for the secretary who imparted this information. With her public school accent and haughty manner, all that creamy pale skin and soft blonde hair, she was so condescendingly polite she reminded him of his mother. So terribly British. She represented everything he loathed about the English.

            He’d left the museum in a tense state, fists clenched, wanting to strike out at something or someone. If he knew the town better, he would have looked for a boxing gym to get a bloody nose, or to give a few.

            Instead, he attached himself to a tour headed behind Bath Abbey to the Roman baths, where the green, glowing water, laden with over 40 minerals you could taste—bah!—steamed up into the colonnaded terrace. This was topped with a collection of statues the Victorians had erected of Roman emperors mixed with British governors. Who else would they put up there but themselves? More than just hating British architecture, he hated the people, their looks, their customs and their bloody-minded assurance that they were superior beings. He hated his mother.
He’d followed the tour to Pulteney Bridge, the Palladian edifice executed in pale Bath stone often compared to Florence’s Ponte Vecchio as two of the world’s prettiest bridges. This one had a road running through its center. Along either side, shops sold tat of all kinds, strung out across its span. Hideous.

            His contempt for the whole British nation surged, cementing his resolve to see his plan for their ruination through to its culmination, whatever the cost. What was one pitiful life of a dead art restorer compared to the greatness he would achieve with a national outbreak of smallpox that destroyed the entire British population? Then there would be no more weaklings, like his mother, who couldn’t take what his father had dished out.

            At the back of his mind, a small voice whispered that if his succeeded in what he’d hoped, there was no guarantee the epidemic wouldn’t spread to his beloved Russia. Being an island had its advantages for quarantine and control. Viktor thought the world would rise up and make certain that no one from anywhere in the British Isles would be able to leave or travel anywhere. The thought of the resulting international upheaval satisfied him almost as much as the ensuing deaths. If he were extremely lucky, Ireland might be included in the ban, but he wouldn’t dwell on that. Only Vanya would have notice and time to get himself to Russia and join Viktor, back to his homeland.

            Viktor lingered by the weir. The guide informed them that this had been built as part of a flood prevention scheme in the late 1960s. Viktor recognized the site from the most recent film version of Les Miserables, where Russell Crowe as Javert committed suicide. Viktor stared at the thundering water, and pictured himself holding James Fisher of the fancy Holburne Museum over the weir by his ankles, as the man screamed and bucked and pleaded for mercy. The daydream blossomed, and he felt satisfaction flood him when he let go and watched the idiot’s body falling, falling, falling into the rushing water. 

You can find more of Viktor Garanin in Marni Graff’s newest Nora Tierney English Mystery, THE GOLDEN HOUR, set in England. The award-winning series features American writer Nora, living in England, with a nose for murder. Available in paperback, Kindle and Audible ( and at Bridle Path Press: http://

Monday, November 6, 2017

#sale Love and Murder Must Reads #MFRWauthor


My books don't go on sale often, so an announcement is in order. Book two, Southwest of Love and Murder and book four, The Power of Love and Murder in the popular Love and Murder Series have been reduced from $4.99 to $1.99 on most all sites where eBooks can be found. Click on either of these :

The Wild Rose Press - Brenda Whiteside
Amazon - Brenda Whiteside

This sale will end November 16th. Happy reading!


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.

Undercover Book Reviews
WOW!!!...a ride you sure as heck don’t see coming!

Long and Short Reviews
Southwest of Love and Murder is a very enjoyable book. Although it is book two in a series, it can definitely stand on its own. I recommend it to anyone looking for a romantic suspense with a sexy hero and a sassy heroine.

For thirteen years, Penny Sparks has managed to hide from the political powers who murdered her family. When she unwittingly exposes her true identity, not only is she marked for death, but the people closest to her risk meeting the same fate. 
Jake Winters is out of rehab and coming to grips with his demons. When he meets his sister’s roommate, Jake believes Penny might be that someone who can help him find life after rock star status…until her secrets blow up his world. 
With a government agent turned hit man closing in on her, Penny and Jake race to expose the presidential contender behind the murders of her family. Even if they win the race with death, the murder that stands between them could end their hope for a new life.

If you’re a fan of romantic suspense, this is a must read. If you’re a fan of suspense and/or political thrillers, you’ll love it!

Like the other "Love and Murder" books in the series, Brenda crafted a story full of mystery, corruption, bit of romance, and ended it all with a happily ever after.