Thursday, July 28, 2016

Female Villains to Die For

Giveaway Alert!

First—I’m giving away an e-copy of Just Like Gravity and a $10 Amazon gift certificate. All you have to do is leave a comment about your favorite villain from literature or the movies and the fine folks at Just Romantic Suspense Blog will choose a winner based on a random number selector at Midnight—on July 29. They will let me know who won the next morning and I’ll get your prizes on their way to you that day. If you win and don’t receive your prize in a timely manner (or if you lose and want to know what the heck happened and when the next contest will occur) you can always message me here or at or email me at

Bad guys! Ya gotta love ‘em. Without a good villain, a movie or book just doesn’t ring true. The late Alan Rickman is and always will be my favorite male villain––urbane, witty, sarcastic, highly intelligent, and honest. The villains he plays couldn’t care less about laws or society’s ridiculous prejudice against mayhem for personal gain. You get the feeling he loves his work.

The problem with villains is that women are sorely underrepresented in the world of bad. Oh yeah, you have your Lady MacBeth’s and your assorted wicked stepmothers, but in general, guys dominate the antagonist roles. To make it worse, when a woman does serve as the antagonist, she often has to wear a scanty outfit designed by hormone-crazed adolescents. In the hands of (some) male writers who don’t understand what motivates women, her psycho tendencies may turn into thinly veiled representations of PMS  symptoms or menopausal mood swings.

Fortunately, not all female villains fall short. Here, in chronological order, are seven of the baddest ladies to grace the silver screen.

  1.         1939. The Wicked Witch of the West as played by Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz. First, Dorothy drops her house on the WW of the W’s sister then she leads the chorus of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.” This is not the beginning of a warm friendship. What’s a witch to do? If you have warm fuzzy feelings about the WW of the W, read or go see Wicked—the story from her point of view.
  2.       1941 Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyk), Double Indemnity. Film Noir is chock full of gals out to take advantage of poor, unsuspecting, but eternally horny private eyes/insurance salesmen/nightclub owners. Phyllis is all that with an extra helping of sociopathic narcissism on the side. She finds herself married to a rich but unexciting man and stuck with a difficult step-daughter. Her life would be so sweet, if only she could get rid of them both. Enter Fred MacMurray. She plays him like a cheap kazoo. Even Edward G. Robinson can’t save him.
  3.         Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter), Play Misty for Me, 1971
  4.         Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), Fatal Attraction, 1987. Numbers 3 and 4 are birds of a feather. Both in casual affairs with well-meaning, but callous men who dump the ladies for the next flavor of the month (or to go back to the wife for a while.)  Spurned and sick of it, they take action that many women in the audience can only dream about. The men involved may not deserve exactly what they get, but they deserve a version of it.
  5.       Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), Misery, 1990. Every author wants loyal, even rabid fans, but Annie Wilkes takes it to the next level. A little Munchhausen by Proxy, a dash of schizophrenia, and a whole truck load of batcrap crazy. She’s had a horrible life with nothing to look forward to except the next book by her favorite author. You have to feel a little sorry for her—right up until she pulls out the ball peen hammer.
  6.        Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis), Natural Born Killers, 1994. I can take all the fantasy horror you want to throw at me. Psychological thrillers are more likely to keep me up at night but true to life stories--reenactments of real events like In Cold Blood or Helter Skelter--scare the bejesus out of me. Juliette Lewis nails her role in this movie so well, I have only watched it one time. Just the thought sends me scurrying around the house locking doors and loading guns.
  7.        O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Lui), Kill Bill: Volume 1, 2003. An intelligent, beautiful, driven killing machine. She’s an upwardly mobile female in the male-dominated world of contract killings and Japanese Yakuza. Ya gotta give her credit.

My new book, Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, contains villains galore—including a couple of gals who just want to watch the world burn. Ursula Logan, the matriarch of a powerful clan of Scottish witches, controls the remote village of Black Bridge, Scotland, with cruel indifference. But her sights are set on something a bit higher. What can a small-town fortuneteller do to stop her? Zoraida finds clan intrigue, handsome Scottish witches, and danger beyond her wildest dreams. 

Check out my blog at for the latest news on this release—and the chance to win advance copies and other prizes.

In my first book, JustLike Gravity, the antagonist is a man who follows the protagonist Anna through three lifetimes. Anna and her lover just can’t get rid of this guy and they suffer the tragic consequences. Now the stakes are higher.  Anna pulls together the threads of uncertain memories to face him one more time. Visit my website at for more info and to get a copy.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST July 29th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Check out the JRS SHOWCASE for additional giveaways!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Giveaway Alert!

Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Romantic Thriller

Hidden Falls is exactly as Samantha Parker left it—small, insular, and prone to gossip. Eighteen years have passed since she witnessed her brother’s murder, but she’s still the talk of the town. Until a handsome child psychologist with haunting memories of his own arrives.

Dr. Ethan McClane isn’t exactly a newcomer. If it weren’t for his latest case, he’d never set foot back in Hidden Falls. Thankfully, no one seems to recognize him as the troubled teen from years past. Not even Sam, the delightfully sharp and sexy high school chemistry teacher he can’t stop thinking about.

When Sam and Ethan work together to help one of her students, sparks ignite. But Sam’s hazy memories of a long-ago night concern Ethan, and unlocking the repressed images reveals a dark connection between them. As the horrors of the past finally come to light, their relationship isn’t the only thing in danger. A killer will strike again to keep an ugly secret hidden. This time no one will be safe.

Their eyes held for several seconds. Samantha's gaze dropped to Ethan's lips. And as her breathing picked up, the desire he’d been fighting since the day he’d first heard her voice flared hot and strong.

He leaned down to kiss her.

Grimly barked, and she jerked back.

“Where did that stupid dog run off to?” She stepped around Ethan. “Grimly?”

Ethan sighed. They were always getting interrupted just when things were about to get interesting.

He followed her up the path before she could get too far ahead. “Samantha?”

Rounding a bend, he spotted her, standing on the edge of a clearing. Blue-green mountains lingered in the distance. The faint rush of water whispered through the trees.

Ethan slowed as he drew up beside her and looked around the forest. Déjà vu trickled through him, leaving his skin prickly and hot. And not in a good way.

“I used to play up here when I was a kid.” Samantha pointed. “My friends and I built a fort in the trees through there. On the other side of that ridge is a waterfall and swimming hole where we used to cool off when it was really hot.”

Ethan knew all too well about the waterfall. His pulse picked up, and he fought the growing sickness in his stomach.

He hadn’t realized this was the forest. He’d been a kid when he’d been here last. Hadn’t put two and two together. Hadn’t once thought it could be anywhere near Samantha’s property.

Samantha turned up the path and resumed walking.

Thankful she hadn’t noticed, he drew a deep breath and followed. But his fingers curled into his palms to fight the sudden nicotine craving, and he wished he hadn’t thrown away that last pack he’d kept hidden in his car.

His muscles finally relaxed when he realized they weren’t headed toward the falls but into the trees again. Samantha wove around tree trunks, over downed logs on the sparse path. She was quiet as she made her way across the forest floor, and for the first time, Ethan didn’t mind. She stopped again as they approached a small run-down cabin. The roof was patchy, missing in spots. The glass windows were broken out. Pinecones littered the front stoop, and the logs of the old shack were rotted and cracked in multiple places.

“I always end up here,” she said softly. “I don’t know why, but whenever I come this way, I always end up in this place.”

Ethan didn’t remember the cabin, but it had obviously been here for years. “Did you used to play here too?”

“No. I’ve never even been inside. But, I don’t know, it always just seems to draw me up here. Like it’s waiting for me.”

She was quiet for a long time as she studied the shack, and a whisper of foreboding shot down Ethan’s spine.

This time, he didn’t hesitate to reach for her hand. Suddenly needed the contact. And something inside him sensed she needed it too.

She looked over as his thumb grazed the back of her fingers. “Weird, huh?”.

“No, not really. Something about the place probably scared you as a kid. Childhood fears can last a long time.”

“I have dreams about it.” Her gaze slid back to the cabin. “There’s a light on in the windows—a cold light that seems to spill through the holes in the glass. And I can hear voices—angry voices—and crying. But I can never get up the courage to go in. I’ve made it to the window, but I’ve never looked inside.”

The blank look in her eye sent a chill over Ethan that had nothing to do with the air temperature. Gently, he squeezed Samantha’s hand, and something inside him sensed this cabin was not just part of a dream. Somehow it was tied to the haunted look in Samantha’s eyes and the reason she kept herself closed off from those around her.

“Samantha,” he said again softly.

She blinked rapidly. “Stupid, huh? Bet you could analyze the heck out of that one.” She pulled her hand from his and started walking again. “Where’s that darn dog? Grimly!”

Ethan followed Sam away from the shack. He wanted to know more about the cabin and her dream but sensed this wasn’t the time. Samantha was already nervous around him. Just the fact she was opening up to him at all was a step in the right direction.

Grimly’s incessant barking echoed through the trees. “I sure hope he hasn’t found a skunk again,” she said. “I’m going to kill that dog if he went after one.”

Ethan laughed behind her and slipped his hands into his pockets, relieved she sounded normal once more. “Yeah, me too. That’d seriously ruin my appetite, and my plans to hit on you later at dinner.”

She smiled back at him. A big, gorgeous smile. One that brought the heat right back to his belly and made him forget that cabin, the waterfall, and everything else he didn’t want to remember. “He loves to dig. The last time he disturbed a sleeping family of skunks, he reeked for a week. Trust me, it wasn’t funny.”

Ethan caught up with her and reached for her hand again. Her fingers were warm where they slid around his. Warm and soft and perfect. And once again those tingles spread up his arm and down into his chest. “Maybe we shouldn’t chance leaving him alone. We should stay in tonight.”

Amusement lit her eyes. “I don’t cook.”

“That’s okay. I do.” He tightened his grasp on her hand, pulling her to a stop. Interest sparked in her eyes. Interest and excitement.

“You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you, doc?”

He reached for her other hand, lacing his fingers with hers. “I try to be. Wanna make out in the woods?”

She laughed. “It’s cold out here.”

“I know it sounds cliché, but I could warm you.” Her lips curved into a smile. A tempting, seductive, tantalizing smile.

“I think you might be trouble, Dr. McClane.” When she didn’t make any move to pull away, he let go of her hands and slid his arms around her back, tugging her body against his. Her hands flattened against his chest, and her hips drew flush to his, sending all those tingles straight into his groin. “The best kind, though, right?”

Author Bio
Before topping multiple bestseller lists—including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal—Elisabeth Naughton taught middle school science. A voracious reader, she soon discovered she had a knack for creating stories with a chemistry of their own. The spark turned into a flame, and Naughton now writes full-time. Besides topping bestseller lists, her books have been nominated for some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, such as the RITA® and Golden Heart Awards from Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Golden Leaf Award. When not dreaming up new stories, Naughton can be found spending time with her husband and three children in their western Oregon home.

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                           Check out the JRS SHOWCASE for additional giveaways!

Monday, July 25, 2016


Congratulations to "Betsy" and "Joan V.", the winners in Monica's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Recently, I was enjoying an early morning latte and realized that July of last year I was a brand new author, anticipating the release of my first book. Now, one year later and I’m every bit as excited about my second book! I still need to pinch myself to believe the dream is real. It’s a powerful thing to create a story world and fill it with your imagination. 

And that got me to thinking (too much caffeine does that to me). Surely everyone has a superpower. That thing you love to do, the thing you do so well that it makes you want to break into a happy dance. My motto is - If you love it, ace it, and embrace it.

I love research, I love travel even more. Combine the two and that's my superpower. I want to go places, experience new things, see the world. That’s even true in the books I read and movies I watch. So when it comes to writing, setting is just as important to me as who my story people are. If I’m not interested in where the characters are hanging out, the writing falls flat.

I’m currently writing the Jewel Intrigue Series for Kensington’s Lyrical Press and the one thing they all have in common, besides the jewel thing, is each book is set in an exotic locale.

DIAMOND LEGACY takes place in Botswana, Africa. (July 2015)
EMERALD FIRE is in St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic, & Mystic, CT. (July 2016)
PHANTOM PEARL is in Queensland, Australia and Singapore. (June 2017)
There’s a fabulous benefit to being a traveling author…you can write off part of those travel expenses on taxes. I learned this a little too late for DIAMOND LEGACY, book #1 in the Jewel Intrigue Series. Oh man, I could’ve gone to Botswana! But I learned…and last summer we flew to Boston, Cape Cod, and Mystic, CT for research on book #2, EMERALD FIRE. We did it again this May and went to Queensland, Australia for research on book #3, PHANTOM PEARL. It was beyond incredible - the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, crocodiles and koalas…crikey, mate!

Book # 4 has yet to be named, it doesn’t have story people, or even a plot. But I’m pretty sure it will be set on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Because look at it…

Tell me the #1 destination on your bucket list and you’ll be entered to win one of two free ebooks of DIAMOND LEGACY.

What happens when a dental zoologist flies to Botswana to give a rare albino hippo a root canal? She lands smack in the middle of a diamond smuggling ring and right in the way of an undercover agent for International Diamond Security—one who knows firsthand the horror of conflict diamonds. Determined to bring down the cartel, he accepts the veterinarian’s help. But when the past catches up to him and the stakes skyrocket, he must risk all to save her from an evil that has haunted him for fifteen years.


History didn’t always get it right. Sometimes the past is changed by a two-hundred year old journal written by a man history declared insane...

He’s a top-notch marine bounty hunter is on the hunt for the Emerald Fire, a 120-foot Sunseeker yacht stolen by ruthless Caribbean pirates. She’s an obsessed historian on a quest to clear her grandfather’s name and retrieve a Prussian queen’s priceless royal emeralds. Danger lurks at every turn as they battle against the odds to decipher a historical legacy and settle a score against a family gone mad.

Release date: July 19, 2016

About the Author 
Adventuring is in Monica McCabe’s blood. She’s addicted to travel, National Parks, & exploring new places and mysterious locales. She’s climbed glaciers and ancient Mayan pyramids, dived shipwrecks and reef caves, camped in Sasquatch country, and drove across the USA three times. When not traveling she’s writing romantic action adventure books, playing outdoors, or researching that next big trip. Book 2 in the Jewel Intrigue Series – EMERALD FIRE, will be released July 19, 2016 with Lyrical Press / Kensington Publishing.

You can find Monica McCabe at:
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST July 26th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Check out the JRS SHOWCASE for additional giveaways!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Shining the spotlight on my hero, Noah . . .

From RIGHT THROUGH ME, the first book in The Obsidian Files, a brand new series by Shannon McKenna!

Shining the spotlight on my hero, Noah . . . 

Iron self-control is what brooding, taciturn biotech tycoon Noah Gallagher is all about. The amber flash of reflective light in his eyes is hidden behind dark contact lenses. His steely, enhanced muscles and his many scars are covered by a perfectly cut business suit. No one, not even those closest to him, know the secrets of his soul. But all of that is about to change . . .

I love tales of reluctant superheroes whose mad skills and fabulous powers set them apart and doom them to secrecy and solitude. Those guys just make me tingle all over. Those of us who have ever felt like a loner or an outcast, any of us who’ve been the bullied bookworm in the schoolyard—we’re  the ones who thrill to the archetypal fantasy of the secret superhero who has to pretend to be a mild-mannered wimp when he’s actually the man of steel, or whatever flavor your favorite superhero might be. 

I go for that. As a kid in elementary school, I used to fantasize that I had secret powers. If I was being tormented by mean girls or bonehead boys I’d think, “One searing glance from my ray-gun eyes and you would be toast. But I won’t, because I’m classy and I won’t sink to your subhuman level. Loser.”

My latest hero Noah Gallagher speaks to all those secret fantasies. As a teenager he was swept up into a secret research project to create supersoldiers. Noah was the one who organized the other kids to rebel and escape from that living hell. So ever since, he’s found himself the captain of a motley band genetically modified fugitives. 

Noah feels compelled to protect and defend his freaky tribe, and he uses every means at his disposal to do so. He’s been modified for speed and strength and toughness, he has cutting edge biotech implanted all over his body. Enhanced muscles, super-dense bones, augmented visual abilities, speeded-up cognition, these are the tools he uses to keep them safe and navigate them through a world of hidden dangers. For that he needs every last bit of his hard-won self control.

Then Caro Bishop makes him lose it.

Noah is enthralled by the mysterious Caro. She can’t resist Noah’s seductive charisma, and she goes so far as to offer him one wild night of passion, but no more. No names, no questions, no phone numbers, no future, because Caro is on the run from a deadly enemy herself, and fears exposing yet another innocent person to the toxic danger in her life. The last time she did, it did not end well. 

What Caro doesn’t know is that Noah is far from innocent—and uniquely suited to being exposed  to danger. It’s what he was made for.  

Noah can’t admit this to her, but he can’t seem to leave her alone, either, or to control his innate instinct to protect her. In fact, he can’t keep his hands off her at all. She drives him to distraction. She makes him lose his cool. The only solution is to keep her as close to him as possible.

Caro and Noah are honor-bound to secrecy and solitude, but they can see each other’s true essence, and they can’t resist the pull. And even though the violent upheaval both inside and outside them feels like utter doom, when all hell breaks loose, it’s the only thing that can save them and lead them home . . . 

I hope you enjoy RIGHT THROUGH ME!  Happy reading, and infinite thanks to Just Romantic Suspense for having me!


Stranger, speak softly...

Biotech tycoon Noah Gallagher has a deadly secret: his clandestine training as a super-soldier gives him abilities that go far beyond human. Yet he's very much a man. When Caro Bishop shows up at his Seattle headquarters with a dangerous secret agenda, his ordered life is thrown into chaos. Caro is a woman like no other—and her luminously sensual beauty cloaks a mystery he must solve.

Caro's lying low, evading a false charge of murder. She means to clear her name, and she'll do whatever it takes to survive—but seducing a man like Noah is more than she bargained for. His amber eyes have the strangest glow when he looks at her—she could swear he sees the secrets of her heart. The desire smoldering in Noah's eyes awakens her own secret hunger, but Caro has to resist his magnetic pull. Anyone close to her becomes a target. The only right thing to do is run, far and fast, but Caro can't outrun Noah's ferocious intensity—or deny the searing passion that explodes between them.

Nothing else matters—until a vicious enemy bent on the ultimate revenge puts his murderous plan into play. Noah and Caro must battle for their lives...and their love...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Romantic Suspense—Anywhere and in Any Time!

Congratulations to the winners, "Janice H.", "Janet K." and "Amy S.", the winners in Cathryn's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

     Romance has been a staple for readers ever since story tellers have been telling their tales. And who doesn’t love a good romance laced with a healthy dose of peril and suspense?  Because romantic suspense has been around ever since storytelling became the major source of entertainment for people all down through the ages, it can also use any time in history as its backdrop.

    I love reading books of romantic suspense set in other times.  The action and danger keeps me riveted, the romance has me sighing, and the different time and place always takes me away.  When I began writing my own books, it was natural for me to set my series in some other time, with strong and resourceful   who  were full of life.  So I set my romantic suspense stories in the American West—where danger easily lurks around any corner, and there are thousands of different places to set the scene.

The Circle ofFriends series takes place in the young and rowdy town of San Francisco, glittering with the newly discovered gold from the mines in the mountains to the east, and where thousands eagerly stepped off  (and then the entire crew abandoned) the ships in search of their fortunes.  With so much gold, so much opportunity and a town exploding up the hills rising above a sparkling bay, there’s no escaping the schemes  and deadly plots of those who wanted a piece of it all, no matter who got in their way.

   I hope you’ll enjoy reading a new type of romantic suspense, and become lost in the stories of a close knit circle of women who dare to stand on their own in a time and place that called on every ounce of their courage, ingenuity and loyalty to each other, and the brave, hardened men who love and protect them. 

I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to stop by my web page (and this is where you go to sign-up for my list!), Facebook page, send me a tweet or catch me on goodreads!

I’m giving away two e-book formats (.mobi files for kindle readers or a kindle app), and one $10 Amazon gift certificate. Just leave a comment and give your guess on how a killer can manage to move about in total silence, just the way the killer does that Lillian and Charles have to face.

Thank you for reading my blog post—and Happy Reading!
Cathryn Chandler

 Although the series has recurring characters, every book can be read as a stand-alone novel, and Only One Dream is no exception.  This is the third story in the series, and follows the romance of Lillian, the orphaned girl who grows up to own the very successful  owner of The Gentleman’s Club, and Charles, a sophisticated gambler from Virginia.  While the love between them grows, a pair of deadly killers strike close to Charles, with Lillian targeted as their next victim.
Come meet Lillian, Charles and all the unusual, bold and engaging people around them, who band together and form an unbreakable Circle of Friends.

Twitter:   @catcauthor

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST July 23rd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.