Sunday, February 14, 2016

There’s Danger Everywhere

Sher Your Memories Photography
With: Ryshia Kennie

There’s nothing like a trip to find an idea for a romantic suspense.  Danger is everywhere, well not really but it’s amazing what an active imagination can find.  Why just today a trip to the grocery store unearthed one suspicious driver cutting in front of me just a little too quickly, obviously escaping the scene of the crime.  And in aisle three of the grocery store I saw a tall man with a slouch looking rather furtively at the canned goods as if that wasn’t his true purpose, as if he was waiting for someone or something to…

Look at that, fifteen minutes away from home and I’ve got at least one villain ready to go.  Now I just need to find a little love in the air and voila.... 

Seriously, I wish a romantic suspense were that easy.  One thing is certain, my stories are born out of my love of travel that started with long ago family vacations.  Every summer my father drove us to various locations across Canada and the United States, and even a tiptoe into Mexico.  As an adult I’ve ventured further afield and along the way I’ve filled travel journals with encounters and experiences.   Some memories need no recording, like the Hawaiian earthquake or the face-to-face standoff with the monitor lizard in Malaysia.  All of those experiences influence my stories. I love to recreate the feel of those foreign settings, placing my characters smack in the middle of a place that’s frothing with danger, whether its Myanmar’s majestic Plains of Bagan, the temples of Angkor Wat or the sweeping plains of New Mexico

Setting to me is as important as the characters.  This is the home where everyone is going to live and love, and possibly die…but don’t go keeping a body count! 

While I’ve published other romantic suspense novels, Suspect Witness is special because not only has it just become available, it’s my Harlequin Intrigue debut!  Set in Malaysia, the setting was easy to bring alive as I’d travelled to Malaysia and to the Gunung Mulu National Park and their massive caves that become in Suspect Witness, a place for my characters to run amuck, to fear- to flee and maybe - to love.

Excerpt from Suspect Witness

Singapore—Saturday, October 10

She had been pretty once.

Now her skin gleamed in the glow of the fluorescent lights. A strand of auburn hair fell across a well-shaped brow and her lips held a glimmering trace of sherbet lip gloss.

"It's a shame, really," the coroner said as his sun-bronzed hand held the edge of the stark white sheet. "Life was just getting started. Twenty-five or there about." He shook his head. "I try to remember that every time I step out of the house. Enjoy the moment. You just never know. And in this job you're reminded of mortality every day." A strand of salt-and-pepper hair drifted across his forehead. "I try not to think about it or it would drive me crazy."

"True," Josh Sedovich said. "Any idea how she died?"

The coroner nodded. "She was hit by a blunt object to the back of the head. Surprising, I always thought Singapore so civilized until I moved here and took this job. Unfortunately, it's turned out no better than anywhere else."

"Why does it always end like this? On a temporary visa to see the world and, just like that, it's over." Josh ran his hand along the side of his neck. "It's damn hot in here."

"No air-conditioning," the coroner said. "Is she who you're looking for?"

"No. Fortunately not." He fisted his right hand. Not so fortunately for the unknown young woman on the coroner's slab.

Links to purchase Suspect Witness:


Ryshia Kennie is the award-winning author of her city’s writing award and a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. There’s never a lack of places to set an edge-of-the-seat suspense as prairie winters find her dreaming of warmer places for heart-stopping stories.  Settings with deadly villains threatening intrepid heroes and heroines, who battle for their right to live or even to love, in a place that neither - or both, may call home. 


Or, get all the news by signing up for her newsletter:  The Walkabout

Friday, February 12, 2016

CATS—WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?

With: Cindy McDonald

Giveaway Alert!

I’m a dog lover—always have been. That’s not say that I don’t like cats, I do, I just prefer the company of a dog. When you call a dog—they come. When you call a cat—they take a message and get back to you later. The interesting thing about being a dog lover is that there are virtually no dogs in any of my books—my characters all seem to have cats. 

Hmmm…

What’s up with that?

In my Unbridled Series, Ava West has a white Persian cat named Stella. In the second book from my First Force Series, To the Breaking Pointe, I introduce the character, Silja Ramsay, a prima ballerina who has a calico named Greta, and in book #3, Into the Dark, of the same series, Lil Haliday now has a tabby kitten named Tickles. Well, if you’ve read To the Breaking Pointe it only makes sense that Lil would turn up with a kitten rather than a puppy in the next book. 

Sooo…where are the dogs in this self-proclaimed dog lover’s stories? My Cocker Spaniel, Allister, is starting to feel a bit betrayed.


Never fear fellow dog lovers—and Allister—I am in the process of writing book #4 of the First Force Series, To the Brink, and operative Dan Garrison has a Border collie named Boo. I have also begun writing a cozy mystery series, The Fiona Quinn Mysteries. Fiona has a Maltese named Harriet. 

Finally! The dogs will be represented!

I think that readers enjoy it when authors include animals in their story lines—as long as they don’t monopolize it. I’ve actually had reviewers mention how much they love the horses that I write about in my Unbridled Series. I’ve also noticed that when I post a photo of my dog or one of my horses on Facebook I get an enormous amount of  “likes” and comments—more so than if I post a photo of one of my grandkids. 

I must confess, I’m not one who particularly enjoys a story that features an animal a lot. I wasn’t one of those kids who enjoyed books like Black Beauty or My Friend Flicka—those story lines were just a little too…tame for me. I guess that’s why I read and write romantic suspense. I’ve used cats to enhance the stories—to help the reader identify (if you will) with the characters that I’ve created, but I’m very careful not to make the story about the animal—I’m vigilant in keeping the story focused on the suspense and the romance that churns until it comes to the boiling point in the heat of that suspense.

Nonetheless, I think Allister is feeling better about the situation—even if there are no Cockers in the books—sorry, buddy.                      



Giveaway question:
So, here’s the question that I pose to you: Do you enjoy stories that include pets or is it something that makes no difference in your reading pleasure? Let me know how you feel about it—hey, three lucky readers will get to choose the book (kindle only) that they win! To enter, leave your comment, email, and which one of the First Force books you’d like to win…

INTO THE CROSSFIRE...

It had been four years since ex-Navy SEAL, Jack Haliday, had an explosive run-in with a biker gang wounding their leader, Gunner. During those years Jack had acquired everything he ever wanted: a beautiful wife, an adorable daughter, and a lovely home in the suburbs—everything was as perfect as it could get, until Gunner returned to twist Jack’s world inside-out with a vengeance that he could never have prepared for. Critically injured, he found himself surrounded in the security of First Force International and in the care of their head medic, Dr. Rayne Lee, a beautiful and compassionate woman who knows firsthand the sharp slice of loss and grief.

Now Jack has a score to settle and he’s got some new friends to help him, but in the end, can Rayne help to ease his grief and encourage him to start a new life with team First Force? 


TO THE BREAKING POINTE...

Five years ago First Force operative, Grant Ketchum, let the ballerina of his dreams dance right of his life. Silja Ramsay returned to her birthplace, Russia, to take the position of the principal dancer for the Novikov Ballet Company. She was living her dreams, and although they had very little contact, Grant was proud of her.

The owner and director of the ballet company, Natalia Novikov, has a dark secret: her beloved ballet company is almost broke. Natalia has become so desperate for funds to keep the company afloat that she's forced her dancers to prostitute themselves to financial contributors at exclusive after-show parties.

As the Prima Ballerina of the troupe, Silja has been exempt and kept in the dark about the parties, until a big-time American financier, who is obsessed with Silja, offers to bail the failing ballet company out and provide Natalia with everything she will ever need. His prerequisite: Silja must become his personal companion, live in his home, and fulfill his every desire.

 Against her will, Silja is taken to the American's mansion, but before she goes she manages to send a text to the only man who can save her, Grant: HELP!

   Now Grant Ketchum is on a mission to find his lost ballerina and rescue her from this powerful man's subjugation. He will do anything to get her out alive. If they survive, will he let her chasse out of his life again?

INTO THE DARK...

Four years ago, Dr. Rayne Lee lost her husband and her four-year-old daughter, Sierra, to a group of hostile guerrillas in the Amazonian Valley of Peru. It had taken every bit of her constitution to rebuild her life and to join her uncle’s international security firm, First Force, as the team’s head medic. She still desperately missed her husband and her daughter, but all-in-all everything was back on track—until the phone calls started.

A young girl was calling claiming to be Sierra. The tiny trembling voice claimed that the guerrillas were holding her captive, and there was only way for them to be reunited: Rayne must travel to Peru and give them something that she has. Moreover, the guerrillas have another stipulation: Rayne must come alone.

Suddenly the ghosts from Rayne’s past are chasing her down a dark road.

What could they possibly want from her?

Could she return to the place where her family was murdered and she was brutalized for seven horrid months?

Was it really Sierra calling?

Rayne knew that she had to take the risk—she had to find out!

About the Author:
For twenty-six years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. She often notes: Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things that I have experienced with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack—she muses: they are greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered. Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born. Currently there are five books in the series.
Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series’, especially with a military ops theme. Although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write one. At this time, there are three books in her black ops series, First Force: Into the Crossfire, To the Breaking Pointe and Into the Dark. Book #4, To the Brink, is scheduled to release in September of 2016.
People are always asking Cindy: Do you miss dance? With a bitter sweet smile on her lips she tells them: Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love writing my books, and I love sharing them with my readers.
Cindy resides on her forty-five acre Thoroughbred farm with her husband, Bill, and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Feb. 13th. 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 maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Seduction In Seville


Giveaway Alert!

Nerd Girl Official
"We are taken on a wild ride and I loved every minute of it. I like to read books that have action and move at a fast pace and this one was just what I wanted. I look forward to reading more from this author. "

Seduction in Seville (The Men of FTI, Book #2)

In a hospital in Seville, Spain, Patrick Kane lies in a coma. Ambushed and shot while protecting someone important to him, he fights to survive.

She never thought she would see him again. Patrick, the man who’d brought her back.
Eight years ago, Patrick Kane, a joint partner in Fairlane Trade International, descended into a basement of horrors. That horrible day he rescued many women, but one he would always remember. Her beautiful doe eyes filled his dreams and haunted his nightmares.

Madison Lockwood, a nurse, has struggled to put her past behind her, trying to forget the time she spent in captivity. But she recognizes the man who rescued her and brought her out of that terrifying reality. She owes him her life. Patrick is gravely injured, and Madison vows to see him through.

When Patrick opens his eyes, he instantly knows that he made a mistake leaving Madison after freeing her from the clutches of a human trafficking ring. She is meant to be his. As Patrick tries to win over a wary Madison, the past they both thought was gone for good comes back with a vengeance. One by one, the survivors of the horrific ordeal are being murdered. Patrick knows that Madison will be next if he doesn’t protect her.

Together they must fight for their survival. Seduction In Seville, book two in the Men of FTI series, is a tale of redemption, murder, new beginnings, and love that takes the reader on a wild, exotic ride.

“And you needed me. You leaned on me, slept on me. Held my hand when we got to the hospital. I should have never left. At first, I told myself it was the right thing to do. You didn’t know me. You didn’t need me. I convinced myself that I was making it up. That what I was feeling was to make me feel better. I couldn’t save them all. I saved you. So, I told myself that this was all just me trying to take away my guilt...and that you really didn’t need me. But then, after time had passed and I saw your face more clearly...the way you had looked up at me in that basement. The way you looked at me in the Jeep. In the hospital. I knew leaving was a mistake. You did need me.”
Madison was silent through it all. His explanation, though disjointed, was perfectly clear. She continued to look up at him. She had no clue what to say, so she didn’t say anything.
“And then I realized it wasn’t just about what you needed. It was about what I needed. I needed you and to be there for you. To see you through it. And I could’ve found you, but...I didn’t. I stayed away.”
“Why?” she whispered.
He looked down at her then. “Because I knew Madison. I knew.” As if this were an entirely understandable explanation.
“You knew what, Patrick?”

He stared at her, unblinking, and then said, “That you were mine.”


Other titles by this author: 
SEDUCTION IN SEVILLE

Want to know what started it all?

In the mangroves of Sierra Leone, two strangers raised a world apart find themselves inextricably connected. Seduction in Sierra Leone, the first in a series of three novels, is a fast-paced tale of murder, lust, and love that transports the reader to a foreign and mysterious world of danger.

Aislinn Salameh, an American relief worker, is searching for purpose in her self- imposed lonely world. The stranger who enters her village on a blistering hot day seems more animal than human. She knows she should stay far away but can’t stop herself from being drawn to the mysterious man.

Brandt Fairlane is haunted by the sins of his past. Detached from others, Brandt has spent his life alone. His line of work is too dangerous for the luxuries of love and family.

When Brandt sees Aislinn and her haunting eyes, he knows he must possess her. But when Brandt’s past comes back from the dead and Aislinn is caught in the crossfire, it is up to him to keep her safe. In order to survive, they must learn to rely on one another. As they run for their lives, the heat between them becomes undeniable. Now, Brandt must not only protect Aislinn from a madman committed to stealing her away, but he also must protect her from himself. Because if Brandt steals her body and her heart, he’ll never let her go.

Reviews for Seduction in Sierra Leone, The Men of FTI Book 1

Night Owl Reviews 
“Seduction in Sierra Leone has a great combination of action and romance. This book is well written and fast paced. There is enough hot sex to keep you reading and cheering on the couple. I recommend this book to all suspense and military romance readers. I’m looking forward to next book.” 



Author Bio:
Olivia Night, a fictional character herself, has always been an avid reader and writer. She found the romance genre in college and has never been able to get enough. One sleepless night, the main characters of Book One in her Men of FTI  series sprang from her head fully formed. They demanded she tell their story; so she did. As they revealed themselves, so did two other intriguing characters. Those characters convinced her to give them their own books because their stories were worth telling too. And so Olivia suddenly became a romance author. When Olivia is not writing, she has the best job in the world, which, too, will remain a secret. In her free time, she reads, write, drinks wine, or is, most likely, out emulating Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Olivia lives in one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in the U.S.—Baltimore. She lives with her cat, which she is convinced was a gladiator in his past life. Olivia plans to continue being awesome at this thing called life. Really, that’s her only goal.



Follow Olivia @olivianightread

Monday, February 8, 2016

How Pinterest reconnected me with my muse…


A few years ago I was afflicted with a pretty acute case of malaise when it came to writing. Some of it was a lifestyle choice (I quit smoking) and some of it was just the fact I’d hit a wall.  I dorked around with a few projects, but a few years ago I stumbled upon a tool that revolutionized how I, as a writer, visualize my characters, and in doing so, helped bring my muse back to life after a long winter’s sleep.  


Back in the olden days (oh, say 5 years ago), lots of writers, including myself, scoured magazines looking for the “perfect” photos to visualize their characters with. Which was a ton of wasted time, because once you start looking at pretty pictures, it’s hard to stop.  And sure, with the advent of Pinterest, we still look at gorgeous images, but I’d argue that we can be a bit more focused now.

As an indie writer, these storyboards also help my cover artist a bunch when it comes to her creating a great cover. Because with Pinterest, I can tell a story within the story through pictures alone. And if I stray from what I’d originally envisioned, they show me how to get back on track, or drive me to take a secondary route. I wish I had a Pinterest board for each of my stories, but I only have them for two of my finished books (Shoot to Thrill and Something Witchy This Way Comes) and for a plethora of works in progress.  

I loved my Pinterest board while writing Shoot to Thrill, and I hope you’ll enjoy it (and the book) just as much!

Excerpt of Shoot to Thrill

I rifled through my case file box, looking for an interview done over thirty years ago.  Being the FBI’s go-to girl for the unofficial cold cases section had been my choice, my request, but it had become a parade of one low-budget chain hotel after the other, and now they all looked alike, just like my cases were starting to blend together.  If I hadn’t eaten some pretty fabulous barbeque tonight, I probably wouldn’t even know I was in Kansas City.

I found the interview I was looking for and settled back against the chair.  I’d be re-interviewing this witness tomorrow, seeing if she remembered anything else about the little girl who’d disappeared from a neighborhood park thirty-two years ago, and the panel station wagon she’d last been seen in.  Hunters found her remains years later in Arkansas, with little forensic evidence to point out who’d killed her and left her body in a remote part of the Ozarks.  Dentals had confirmed her identity, and we’d been called in because the victim had been taken across state lines.

Standard procedure.  Which sucked on so many levels I couldn’t even begin to count them.  I really, really hated cases like this.  It was easier when it was an adult who disappeared, or was killed.  They’d had at least a fighting chance at life.  But a five-year-old? Hurting kids made me want to inflict some damage on the assholes who’d done this, who’d taken a child’s innocence and exploited it in the worst way possible.

Yeah, today was definitely one of those days—new case, dead kid, not-quite-shitty hotel.  Even good barbeque couldn’t begin to balance out my day. 

SHOOT TO THRILL

The Colorado Academy for Superior Intellect (CASI) …only the best and the brightest may attend…and only if they possess a Talent the Meece Foundation deems of value. Founded in the late sixties, the Academy is the brainchild of Hugh Meece, pharmaceutical groundbreaker…and CASI is its shining jewel. Their motto: Exploring the last frontier...the human mind. 

Special Agent Arin Thomas always gets her man, but when she embarks on a personal mission to uncover the details behind her best friend’s death, she discovers a world she’s never even imagined. A world where extrasensory powers are exploited, and where her badge makes her a big, shiny target. 

Dr. Jonah Summers would be more than happy to run the Colorado Academy for Superior Intellect (CASI) if only people would stop shooting at him. But that’s a pointless wish when someone with a bottomless bank account and a direct line to Russian special forces has CASI and everyone connected to it in the crosshairs. 


Arin and Jonah find themselves dodging a merciless killer with a hidden agenda while trying to fight their own attraction. It’s only a matter of time before one of them has to Shoot to Thrill in order to kill—or be killed. 

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/1P60ldE
Kobo:  http://bit.ly/1SElFte
iBooks:  http://apple.co/1X1V0Hq

Website: http://www.tlschaefer.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TL_Schaefer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TLSchaeferANDKeiraRamsay/
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Saturday, February 6, 2016

By Break Of Day

With: M.L. Buchman

Giveaway Alert!

BY BREAK OF DAY

NAME: Kara Moretti
RANK: Captain of the Army’s stealthiest remote piloted aircraft (Don’t call it a drone)
MISSION: To be the eyes of the team

NAME: Justin “The Cowboy” Roberts
RANK: Captain of the Army’s most powerful helicopter
MISSION: To redeem the past, at any cost

They Put Life, Limb, and Heart on the Line

Two new captains join The Night Stalkers with two different strategies in life, love, and combat. When Brooklyn-raised Kara joins the crew, she knows one thing as an absolute truth: to stay safe, keep everything and everyone at a distance. Born in Texas, Justin knows only one honorable way to make up for losing his first crew to a suicide bomber: he flies with all his heart. When Kara and Justin collide on a top secret mission deep in the Israeli desert, then the battle truly begins.

M. L. Buchman has over 35 novels and an ever-expanding flock of short stories in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year,” Booklist “Top 10 of the Year,” and RT “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of the Year.” In addition to romantic suspense, he also writes contemporaries, thrillers, and fantasy and science fiction.

In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.

He is now a full-time writer, living on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing at www.mlbuchman.com.

Buy Links:

This February, M. L. Buchman raises the stakes—and the heat—in By Break of Day, the latest in his acclaimed Night Stalkers series. To celebrate Buchman joins us on the blog to share an excerpt and answer a quick Q&A!

How do you do research for your books?
I read voraciously. I read memoirs, technical manuals, blog posts, newsfeeds, especially anything that will offer me insights into how a character might feel/react/think. I interview people only rarely, but that has much more to do with my own deeply introverted nature than any lack of desire to get it right. I spend and hour of research for every 3-4 hours of writing. 

An Excerpt:
Captain Justin Roberts flies a massive Chinook twin-rotor helicopter. Captain Kara Moretti flies a drone and is trying out to be the Air Mission Commander during a training exercise.

Captain Justin Roberts gave the collective control between his knees a little nudge forward. Fifteen tons of helicopter carrying a platoon of U.S. Rangers and their gear eased forward as smooth as a baby’s behind.
Every single time he flew his big MH-47G “Golf” Chinook helicopter, it was a surprise—a surprise of how much fun it was. Like they were meant for each other since long before they met.
SOAR only flew three primary types of helos, all deeply modified to the 160th’s specification. The Little Bird, the Black Hawk, and the Chinook Golf. His girl was the monster of the outfit. Calamity Jane was definitely a Texas-sized lady: big, powerful, and dangerous.
“I feel the need for a song.”
“Oh God, spare us.” Danny Corvo spoke up from the copilot seat. From there he was Justin’s second set of eyes and the master of the helo’s general health and well-being.
Oh, give me a home,” Carmen cut in from her position at the starboard gun close behind Justin’s seat.
Carmen Parker was hot shit with an M134 minigun that could unload four thousand rounds-a-minute of hell on anyone who messed with her. She was also king, er, queen of the bird—the absolute last word on maintenance and loading.
Where the Chinook helos roam.” Talbot George was always off-key at the side gun behind Danny’s copilot position, but he sang with heart, even if with a distinctly British accent.
And the flights are at night every day,” the three of them sang together in splendidly awful harmony.
Danny groaned as if in the throes of death-by-torture agony.
As usual, Raymond Hines kept his own counsel at the rear ramp gunner’s post. The Chinook was the size of a school bus inside. Tonight, in the cargo area between the cockpit and Ray’s rear post, thirty U.S. Rangers and their three ATVs were counting on SOAR to sling them into position. The big rotors fore and aft let her lift her own weight in cargo; even in high-hot conditions the Chinook outperformed most everything around.
By the third chorus their harmonies were better, so Justin hit the transmit switch for the last of it. It got the answering transmission he was hoping for.
“Justin, honey?”
“Here for you, sweetheart.” Kara Moretti just slayed him. From the first briefing where she’d moseyed in all dark and Italian and perfect, his head had been turned hard enough that he kept checking his neck for whiplash. Then when she opened her mouth and poured out thick Brooklyn… Two months later and he still didn’t know what to do with that, not a bit of it. It was all… wrong, yet it was so right. Her voice should be some sweet bella signora, like the one he’d spent a week with while stationed at Camp Darby outside of Pisa on the Italian coast a couple years back.
Instead Kara was—
“You do that to me again and you’re gonna be singing soprano the rest of your life. We clear, Cowboy?”
—a hundred percent, New York. “Y’all wouldn’t do that to me now, would ya?” He laid it on thick.
“Castrate the bull calf? In a heartbeat. And I ain’t your sweetheart.”
“I’ll hold him down while you trim ’em,” Lola Maloney called in from the DAP Hawk.
He was about to say something about how it made the meat taste more luscious and tender—which was why they castrated most bull calves—but he couldn’t figure out how to phrase it without it sounding crude and perhaps tempting her to start looking for some neutering shears when Trisha cut in.
“Roger that! We’ll pin him, you chop and cauterize. Use a really hot iron.”
Claudia Jean Gibson at the controls of the Maven II didn’t speak much, but he could feel her out there agreeing with them.
Justin winced in imagined pain, as he was sure every man on the comm circuit did. He figured maybe it would be better if he kept his mouth shut. Once the women of the 5D got on a roll, wasn’t no man on God’s green earth who was safe.

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