Wednesday, November 21, 2018

WIP Update #RomanticSuspense #series

The plot thickens, as the cliché goes. Joshua, Arizona is buzzing with the news of a body found down in The Ravine. The bones are twenty-five to thirty years old. That could mean the unsolved murder from 1990 might be related to the unidentified body. Could it be the body of the teen who went missing? Or could the teen have been the murderer of both of them? Will Magpie’s father be a suspect in two murders? I’ve dipped into all of these questions.

As for the romance side of the book…

I hit the spot in my WIP (work in progress) when it seems apparent the two main characters are not going to be able to keep their hands off each other. Yes, the sex scene loomed. Every reader of romance expects it and probably anticipates the moment the hero and heroine jump into bed…or
wherever. But the sex scene can also add to the suspense of a Romantic Suspense. It’s not the dangerous kind of suspense, but there is still the page-turning moment. Will they, or won’t they?

“What do I do to you, Zack?” Magpie ventured her first real smile of the evening. With his fingertips sending a tickling sensation along her lower lip, she couldn’t help but enjoy the moment.
He slipped his hand along her jawline and under her hair to caress her neck, and the pleasant sensation his fingertips caused traveled south.
“You make me a little crazy.” His husky voice caressed her.
She leaned into him, set her hands on his thighs, and brushed her mouth across his lips. His vanilla coffee breath was sweet. His mouth warm and soft, yet firm.
He licked his lips, and his breath came in short puffs. “You make me a lot crazy, Magpie.” He blinked, his green eyes going dark emerald with emotion.
What was she doing? She’d met this man only yesterday. “This…us…it’s crazy all right.” Her body didn’t care. Her fingertips pressed into his jean clad legs.

Magpie and Zack got their moment…only they didn’t. The timing was just too early.

This is a partial scene from Chapter Nine. I’m now halfway through Chapter Eleven. Unfortunately, it’s not been a good month for writing. Lots of personal events, including the upcoming holidays, have created obstacles. I am, at least, just over the halfway mark of
completing the first draft. Once Thanksgiving is behind us, I’ll dig in.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Iceland for Christmas by Laura Strickland Genre Hop Part 5 #Holidays #Christmas


This is the last segment of Laura's posts about different genres. And I love this idea. I would love to adopt Iceland's tradition. Read on and enjoy. And if you've had a good time reading about the different genres Laura writes, please visit her web site to see how you can find all of her great books.

In Iceland, they have an amazing tradition. On Christmas Eve—an enchanted night by anyone’s standards—folks there present one another with gifts of books, following which they make some hot chocolate, snuggle up and spend the cold winter’s night reading. It’s called Jolabokaflod, or flood of books, and if there’s a better or cozier idea, I just can’t imagine it.

For me, the holidays are all about cozy. Whatever way you celebrate, whether it’s with candles, carols or family gatherings complete with comfort foods, there’s a feeling of warmth that starts at the heart and spreads outward. Good scents, great company and gratitude for shelter against the cold all combine to create deep contentment.

I don’t know about you, but I get that same feeling when I curl up with a good book. I think it’s one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether I use an e-reader or choose the more tactile experience of a physical copy, the result’s the same. The world goes away, a new world blossoms in my mind’s eye, and bliss ensues.

That’s doubly true when the book is a holiday story. Magic is woven between those pages, complete with reindeer, Christmas cookies and snow—there has to be snow. Anything’s possible, mistletoe has the power to summon your true love, and wishes always come true.

I think that’s why we love to read holiday stories, and to write them. But why should Jolabokaflod be confined to only one night? There are so many great holiday books out there, and Christmas decorations are already in the stores. I say, gift yourself a book, grab your comforter and your favorite treat, and cuddle up. Let the flood begin!

What’s your favorite holiday story?

Blurb for Northern Magic:

When Santa asks his worker, Olja, to help make another elf’s Christmas wish come true, she believes the job calls for a love potion. Brewing it up will require her to travel all around the North Pole gathering unusual supplies, and to take a few dangerous risks. But she’s never failed Santa in the past and doesn’t intend to now. 

Elf Runi’s in the business of guiding Santa’s sleigh and making other people’s wishes come true. This year he’s dared make a wish of his own, one from the heart. When he meets Olja, he hopes he’s found his forever. But it will take assistance from a reindeer, a generous helping of love and a whole lot of magic to make his wish come true. That is, if Olja and Runi can just outwit the three troublesome trolls who decide they’d make a fine winter’s snack.

Buy links for Northern Magic:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wicked Sexy with Sadira Stone on #Wicked Wednesday #erotica


It's wicked sexy today. Please welcome my guest, Sadira Stone. Read on and enjoy. Then go to her web site and sign up for her newsletter. You'll receive a freeby!

Many thanks, Brenda, for this chance to meet your readers!

The word Wicked carries a whisper of “I really shouldn’t, but I’m gonna.” Go ahead, try it. Say, “Tonight, I’m going to be wicked.” Feel that satisfied smile tugging at your lips? I love that feeling.

My contemporary romance Through the Red Door was inspired by my love of indie bookshops, as well as my fascination with erotic artwork from long ago. After all, people who lived in Pompeii, ancient Egypt, pre-Colombian Mesoamerica, or Baroque-era Europe were as amorous as we are today, and they expressed their sensuality in erotic art, bawdy songs and stories.

Side note: In my previous career as a high school English teacher, I’d point out the dirty jokes in Romeo and Juliet. I didn’t explain them, of course. I just said, “That’s a bawdy line, y’all,” and giggled to myself as the students tried to figure it out. The Bard had a wicked sense of humor.

So, Clara’s indie bookshop is in trouble, faced with the overwhelming competition of a huge chain store. Her one advantage: an extensive collection of historical erotica curated by her late husband and kept behind a locked red door at the back of her shop. Since Jared’s death, Clara hasn’t had the heart to tend to her collection. Until Professor Nick Papadopoulos arrives in search of research materials for a project.

Here’s an excerpt:

Probably just one of those guys who flirt with everyone. Thinking of him that way made it easier to face the prospect of seeing him again when he came for the rest of the books on his list. She knew in her bones she was not ready for a— what, a fling? A flirtation? A hot tumble among the naughty books? Her body’s fevered response to Nick felt like a betrayal to Jared. But the thought of running her hands along Nick’s tawny skin warmed her in places that had been too cold for too long.

If spicy contemporary romance warms your cockles—and other parts—I hope you’ll enjoy Through the Red Door. If you’ll pop over to my website and sign up for my email newsletter, I’ll send you A Peek Behind the Red Door: Historical Erotica that Inspired the Book Nirvana Series.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Unexpected Cross-Pollination by Nancy Raven Smith #PreciousStones #Mystery


Please welcome my guest. I don't know about you, but the title drew me in. And it's all about how a book came about, which is always fun!

Hi, Brenda. Thank you so much for letting me visit and share how the setting for my current work-in-progress, Land Sharks - The Killer From Coober Pedy, came to be.

Most people are familiar with the phrase “cross pollination.” The obvious definition is of pollen from one type of flower being dusted onto a different one. Here, I’d like to use it as borrowing, using, and/or being inspired by a field of interest other than one’s own. This is a common occurrence for people in creative fields, and it happened to me recently from a source I didn’t expect.

My husband teaches metal fabrication and jewelry. I write mysteries. Recently, I attended a rock and mineral show with him. The fossils, rocks, and petrified wood were fascinating, but what I found most interesting were the discussions we had with several vendors from Australia who were selling opals.

Apparently, the majority of opals in the world come from two places in Australia. Lightning Ridge, which is to the northwest of Sydney, and Coober Pedy, which is located north of Adelaide in South Central Australia and part of the outback.

When I got home, I was so intrigued by Coober Pedy that I did some research and discovered some interesting facts. Here are some of them.

  • Opals were discovered in Coober Pedy in 1915 by a fifteen-year-old boy who was part of a small group of men searching for gold.
  • Top Opals are worth more per carat than diamonds.
  • Opals can often be located scattered on the surface of the ground, although most are found by digging vertical mine shafts.
  • The terrain around Coober Pedy is so barren, it’s often used in movies to represent landscapes on Mars.
  • Gold and oil have recently been discovered in Coober Pedy, making it a fortune hunter’s dream location.
  • People from over forty-five countries live in Coober Pedy.
  • The climate is so hot that many people live underground in caves and re-purposed mines to avoid the heat. 
Here’s my favorite fact - the name Coober Pedy is from an Aborigine word meaning “white man in a hole.” 

As a mystery writer, I’m interested in frauds, cons, and scams. If I can write a mystery which includes a fraud in an exotic location, along with some romance and humor, I’m happy. So I owe my husband a big thank you taking me to an afternoon rock and mineral show and introducing me to the unusual town of Coober Pedy. It became the setting for my current work-in-progress, Land Sharks - The Killer From Coober Pedy. Book two in my Land Sharks series.


When an embezzler is murdered, Beverly Hills bank fraud investigator, Lexi Winslow, tracks the stolen money to a town in the Australian outback. Unfortunately, she’s persona non grata in that country. She needs to get in, recover the money, and get out before the Australian police discover her presence. But will the unexpected appearance of an ex-lover make her linger too long? 

Excerpt from Land Sharks - The Killer From Coober Pedy
Lexi Winslow, a bank fraud investigator from Beverly Hills, and her young partner, Steve, approach the house of a suspected embezzler.
            Steve and I pass through a low hedge to reach Willis’ front door. As we do, I notice a curtain twitch at the house next door exposing a middle-aged woman peeking out at us. Nosy neighbors are probably the second best security you can have. Dogs are the first, of course. And I can hear one inside Willis’ house barking up a storm. It sounds like a smallish dog from the timber of its voice.
            Steve rings the doorbell and the dog inside turns frantic. There’s a narrow, heavily tinted bronze glass panel beside the door. In the dark interior, I can barely make out what appears to be a mixed-breed Westie. I think mixed-breed because it has spots all over it and West Highland Terriers are normally solid white. This one scratches wildly at the door. But no one responds to the bell. Steve rings again with the same result.
            “There’s someone home at the place next door. See if they know anything,” I say. “I’m going to walk around back.”
            Steve heads to the neighbor’s, and I let myself through the side gate into the fenced back yard. There are tall hedges down both sides and a low fence at the far end of the mowed yard. Beyond the fence is a dirt lane that parallels the street in front. I step carefully along the flagstone path in an effort to keep my favorite heels from being ruined by sinking into the soft dirt. Reaching the back door, I peer inside.
            The Westie unexpectedly leaps up on the other side of the glass, startling me. I hastily back a step. And then I look again at the dog through the clear, sunlit window.
            I draw my gun. Those aren’t spots on the dog’s coat, it’s blood. 
Land Sharks - The Killer From Coober Pedy (Book 2) - available Spring 2019 on Amazon. 
Land Sharks - A Swindle in Sumatra (Book 1) - Free on KU and available now on Amazon at

Find Nancy here: 

Another Nancy Raven Smith book:

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Fall in #Rural #Arizona

What a great time I had a couple of weeks ago in Chino Valley, Arizona. The Chamber of Commerce sponsored the 50th anniversary of Yavapai College with a day long event. This is rural Arizona so there were hayrides, a truck and tractor show, pumpkin patch, corn maze, beer garden, food, dog costume contest, and vendors. I was part of that last group.

A fellow author, John J. Rust, joined me in offering our books. I signed and sold a bunch. This event was held far from town, and I
was doubtful about the attendance, but I was wrong. Lots of people and lots of readers. It was a great time.

This month is NaNoWriMo. Translation: National November Writing Month. An author can get into this seriously, or not so much like I do. If you take part in the national group, you have check in and set goals. I belong to a group called Pretendo NaNo. We set our own goals, cheer each other on, and don't judge when we fall short. I've been doing okay. The first book in my new series is taking shape. Helping our son move cut into my writing time, but family always comes first.

Another day down the drain as far as writing was yesterday. I had oral surgery. I'm having the tooth I knocked out in June replaced with a permanent one. Yesterday, they inserted the screw that the permanent tooth will be attached to. Nothing like having your head drilled. No fun. Still recovering this morning.

I'm enjoying the cooler, darker mornings here in Arizona. This is my favorite season. What's yours?

Thursday, November 1, 2018

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE MEANS EASY SHOPPING #holidaygiftguide #holidayshopping #Christmasgifts #books

Have you started your holiday shopping yet? I’ve teamed up with over forty-five award-winning/bestselling authors to bring you the ultimate holiday gift guide for any Book Lover. 

Books make the best gifts and N. N. Light’s Book Heaven has got you covered with their Holiday Gift GuideThe best part: it’s an online store. Scroll away and do all your holiday shopping in one place. Over 130 books to choose from, many of them from award-winning and bestselling authors. Head on over and check out the selection. 

You may even find a book or two to treat yourself to. This shopping is hard work. . . you deserve it. For the Holiday Gift Guide, click HERE.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Genre Hop Part 4 #Spirits Among Us by Laura Strickland #Halloween #Samhain


This has been such a great genre series by Laura. This one is particularly interesting since we're in the Halloween month. Read on and enjoy and then tell us your ghostly experiences. I have one!

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. As a girl, I usually started decorating our large house in Buffalo’s Riverside section early, cutting out black cats with arched backs from construction paper and hanging ghosts made from old, white sheets in the dining room windows. I loved the atmosphere of the celebration, which seemed to incorporate the changing of the season from summer, bursting with life, into a time of crumbling leaves and cooling temperatures, when the very world seemed prepared to die.

Of course, I didn’t know back then what I do now, about the ancient Celtic roots of Halloween. The Celtic year ran from what we call November first to what we know as Halloween (and our Celtic forebears called Samhain.) Samhain was the time when the old year died and the new was born. The veil between the worlds of the living and the dead became so thin spirits could easily cross over to visit, pester or even torment those of us left behind.

Perhaps my Celtic ancestors influenced me more than I ever guessed. When I began writing, my pen often drew pictures that included the spirit world. Visits from deceased parents play a large part in my Guardians of Sherwood Trilogy, and when you’re a descendant of Robin Hood, that can get very interesting, indeed. My Lobster Cove story, The White Gull, features a haunting by a dead husband. In my Contemporary Romance, Awake on Garland Street—set in my (deceased) mother’s native city of St. John’s, Newfoundland—the hero, Brendan O’Rourke, is beleaguered by the ghost of his grandfather, who lingers in the attic of the family home and plays Irish fiddle, maybe even better than Brendan!

Why incorporate the dead in stories penned for the living?  Why not? I love the atmosphere it adds—just as I loved the shivery, quivery thrill of Halloween way back when. And, after all, who can say that spirits are not among us, especially at this time of year? Go ahead, invite a spirit into your next story. I double dare you!

So, let’s share—who can say s/he’s been visited by a ghost?

Blurb for featured book, Awake on Garland Street:

Brendan O’Rourke hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep since he arrived back at the family home in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The famed Celtic fiddler’s being haunted by the ghost of his great-grandfather, Charlie, who’s bent on keeping Brendan from ruining his life with the same selfish choice he made between music and the woman he loved.

Grace Dawe was finished with Brendan O’Rourke eight years ago when he chose music over their relationship. So why can’t she look at him now without going weak in the knees? And why, when he offers everything she’s ever wanted, is she considering his welfare above her own? Not until a beautiful old tune shows them the true meaning of love will they find a way to play their own song.

Buy link:

Born and raised in Western New York, Laura Strickland has pursued lifelong interests in lore, legend, magic and music, all reflected in her writing. She has made pilgrimages to both Newfoundland and Scotland in the company of her daughter, but is usually happiest at home not far from Lake Ontario, with her husband and her "fur" child, a rescue dog. An inveterate genre-hopper, Ms. Strickland’s books range from the Scottish Romance, Devil Black, to her award-winning Buffalo Steampunk Adventure Series.  Awake on Garland Street is her sixteenth book with The Wild Rose press.