Thursday, September 3, 2015

I Think I Worry the Government

With: Julie Ann Lindsey

Giveaway Alert!

Do you know about website analytics? Analytics are a great way to track who visits your website or blog. I keep a close eye (read: stalk) my analytics. I love to know how many people drop by each day and where they’re from. I enjoy seeing the variety of random places visits originate from, like local library systems, the Ford Motor Company and CBS. What I find especially fun is the number of regular hits I get from Alexandria. Yes. That Alexandria. I’m apparently a real attraction for the Pentagon, Department of Defense and US Army Intelligence Service Center. They visit my website often. Actually, all the big guys make regular rounds at my place. I assume some super-high-tech software sends them my way. I admit to having one or two red flags. The word murder, for example, makes a regular appearance in my text. I imagine that if I had one of those word clouds on my blog, it would probably look something like this: Murder, Murder, Death, Stab, Beat, Poison, KILL, KILL, KILL. I can see why that generates a little attention from Homeland. 

It’s not just me. Mystery lovers worldwide are bound to have some unique and possibly disturbing blog content from time to time. It’s a hazard of the job. Plus, we like it. We blog about what thrills us. We relish the details of high stakes investigation, the shocking reality of true crimes and the terror of knowing it can happen to anyone. 

I write cozy mysteries for Carina Press. Cozies are the upbeat, fun-loving cousins of romantic suspense, but even with a few more laughs, less sex, and no gore, there’s still a murder and plenty of terrifying moments for the heroine. I research everything to death, and in turn I think I worry the government. My obsessions may seem dark, but in reality I love a good thrill and a tricky puzzle, so mysteries are a perfect fit. Who knows? Maybe I’ll gain a few readers from DC. Whatever the outcome, mystery writers must waste a ton of the government’s time. I giggle every time I think about it. 

Giveaway: How about you? Does your love of mystery have you on the watch list? I’d love to know! Respond in the comments section below to win a digital copy of A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder.

A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder
The Geek Girl Mysteries, Book 1

IT manager Mia Connors is up to her tortoiseshell glasses in technical drama when a glitch in the Horseshoe Falls email system disrupts security and sends errant messages to residents of the gated community. The snafu's timing couldn't be worse—Renaissance Faire season is in full swing and Mia's family's business relies on her presence.

Mia doesn't have time to hunt down a computer hacker. Her best friend has disappeared, and she finds another of her friends murdered—in her office. When the hunky new head of Horseshoe Falls security identifies Mia as the prime suspect, her anxiety level registers on the Richter scale.

Eager to clear her name, Mia moves into action to locate her missing buddy and find out who killed their friend. But her quick tongue gets her into trouble with more than the new head of security. When Mia begins receiving threats, the killer makes it clear that he's closer than she'd ever imagined.

Amazon       Barnes and Noble       Carina Press     iTunes    Kobo

About Julie:
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multigenre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. She’s a self-proclaimed nerd with a penchant for words and proclivity for fun. Julie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three small children. Today she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world.

Learn about Julie at
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Blogging at Musings from the Slush Pile
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Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 3rd. 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.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Objection, Your Honor

With: Rachel Dylan

Congratulations to "Christine", the winner in Rachel's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

You would think after almost a decade of practicing law, I’d want to write books about non-legal topics. But I find myself drawn back into the fictional legal world time and time again.

My new release, EXPERT WITNESS, is about a forensic sketch artist named Sydney Berry who is testifying as an expert witness in a murder trial. The accused is a well-known businessman who has ties to organized crime. Sydney has been through so much in her life, including a violent past. But she is a fighter who refuses to let the past define her. Sydney becomes a target because her testimony could lead to a guilty verdict.

U.S. Marshal Max Preston is fiercely loyal and has a tremendous amount of respect for Sydney—including the fact that she’s willing to testify even given the great risk to her life.

I had so much fun writing this book. Taking my real life courtroom experiences and transferring them into a world with all the excitement and drama but none of the mundane tasks.

Are you a legal junkie when it comes to books and TV shows? Which ones are some of your favorites?

Rachel will be giving away one ebook copy of EXPERT WITNESS to one commenter or email entrant.



Minutes after testifying in a murder trial, sketch artist Sydney Berry is almost killed in a drive-by shooting. United States Marshal Max Preston saves her life then whisks her away to safety. She's his first protected witness, and he'll do everything in his power to keep her safe. But Sydney doesn't want to hide from danger. She is determined to finish her testimony and put a killer away. With potential suspects coming from all corners, Sydney will have to trust Max with her deepest secrets—and her life.


Rachel Dylan writes inspirational romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense and the Windy Ridge Legal Thriller series. Rachel has practiced law for almost a decade and enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. She lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids--two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. You can find Rachel at

You can find Rachel at
Twitter: @dylan_rachel

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 2nd. 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. 

Monday, August 31, 2015


I thought a lot about siblings as I wrote my Hard Target series. I have three siblings, all of them female. I could have made all three main characters for the books female—like a Charlie’s Angels thing—but decided differently. It was my chance to make up a sibling group. What I wouldn’t have given to have an older brother while growing up. Other girls had older brothers and they seemed to have the market on the male mystique. Wouldn’t it have been cool to have a big brother to take care of you when you got into a jam? One who brought home their cute friends to visit? I was so envious of those girls who had big brothers. 

When it was my turn to make up a sibling group, I now had a chance to have my own big brother via my character. Hmmm. . .what would that be like: two older brothers, a year apart, with my heroine being four years younger. They’d be opinionated. They’d be classic alpha males, but with a soft spot for their little sister. But she was no shrinking violet of a sister. Strong females are the only type of women I write. Besides, they were orphaned at a young age and taken in by a man who groomed them to be assassins. 

They were tough. All three of them. And Sabrina could hang with the big boys all day long. Nobody would bet against her in a fight. Jake is the classic middle child. He’s laid back in his style, but when push comes to shove he gets the job done. And Max is the overachiever oldest sibling.

The following is the opening scene from Hard to Trust:

Cleo clutched Jake Shaw’s arm and whispered against his ear. “They are keeping Monsieur Lang in there.” She pointed toward one of the twisted alleyways outside the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. 

“Are you sure he’s alive?” Even though he should be better at reading deceit, her almond-shaped eyes revealed nothing when they stared back at him. 

“Yes.” She planted a soft but memorable kiss on his lips. “I’ll let them know you’ve paid the ransom, and they’ll release him as promised. Look for the red door.” With those final words, she urged him forward while clutching the money he’d given her. 

That infamous Shaw itch crawled up his back despite her reassurances. Between the late hour and the narrow space shielded by buildings on both sides, only a sliver of moonlight made its way below. 

He pulled the gun from beneath his shirt and considered his options. Several doors lined both sides. In the dark, it was impossible to spot any color, even red. While he ached to get out his penlight, drawing attention to his presence wasn’t a recipe for success. Instead, he listened at each door, hoping he’d hear something to give him a clue. 


By the time he got to the fifth door, the itch wouldn’t let up, warning him trouble had morphed to a higher level. Something wasn’t right. Disaster hung in the air, commingling with the humidity, bringing an oppressive feeling to an oppressive situation. 

He glanced behind him. Nothing. Still his chest constricted. This felt all kinds of wrong. 

Even at this time of night, the pervasive silence shouldn’t be this…dead calm. The hair on his forearms stood at attention, as if confirming his suspicions. 

A breeze filtered inside the tight confines seconds before the rat-tat-tat of gunfire kicked up bits of cobblestone. As he cowered inside the nearest doorframe and waited for the next assault, he scanned the top of the adjacent buildings. But every time he peeked his head out of the safety of the vestibule, another round pinged the walls around him.  

All three books are on sale for .99 in the Hard Targets Trilogy: Hard to Kill, Hard to Trust and Hard to Stop.

Bio – Wendy Byrne
Wendy lives in the Chicago area. She has a Masters in Social Work and worked in the child welfare field for twelve years before she decided to pursue her dream of writing. Between teaching college classes, trying to get her morbidly obese cat to slim down and tempering the will of her five-year-old granddaughter, who's determined to become a witch when she turns six so she can fly on her broom to see the Eiffel Tower and put hexes on people--not necessarily in that order--somehow Wendy still manages to fit in writing. She spends the remainder of her days inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy.

She has written three books in the Hard Targets trilogy, Hard to Kill, Hard to Trust and Hard to Stop. In addition, she has a contemporary romance through Entangled Publishing called The Millionaire’s Deception as well as a romantic suspense called Bad to the Bone, a self-pubbed Christmas short story called The Christmas Curse and two interracial romances, Fractured and Mama Said.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Bad Guy Therapy

With: Lisa Belcastro

Congratulations to "Erin", the winner in Lisa's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I admit it: I love writing about the antagonists – those bad guys who are determined to destroy our heroine, hero, and/or their possible romance. What’s so enticing about bad guys? For me, I model them after real life people from frustrating or difficult or even painful situations, and then I work through my hurt or anger by writing them into a story in an unflattering or compromising scenario.  

Got a difficult co-worker? I can write that person, either male or female, into a book and work out my annoyance by getting them fired, or . . . arrested for stalking. My girlfriend’s ex-husband who refused to pay child support? In a previous book, he ended up flat on his back after an upper cut to his jaw. Whatever the trouble, there’s nothing like venting through the keyboard. I have one author friend who’s killed off her ex-husband four times through different characters in her murder mysteries. She hasn’t had a fight with him in over ten years, but she sure has had some fun expressing her anger in a healthy manner.

In A Dream for Love, Laurel Simmons is a single mom with an adorable 4-year-old daughter named Gracie, and a secret past that could get them killed. That last thing Laurel’s ex-husband told her to do was to terminate her pregnancy or he would terminate her.  She ran, and she’s been running since.

When Laurel wins a week’s stay at movie star Ryan Crandall’s beach house on Martha’s Vineyard, all she wants to do is relax with Gracie. Her dream vacation lasts less than half a day before Headline Crandall shows up unexpectedly. Ryan’s exploits are public knowledge, and a major reason Laurel will evade him like a mouse eludes a hungry cat, but there’s a particularly slimy character lurking around Ryan’s movie set who’s more than a little interested in Ryan and his coming and goings.

Danger is unavoidable for Ryan and Laurel. Co-habiting in Ryan’s house is unavoidable. The question they have to answer is whether the attraction between them is something they want to avoid. It will take more than a dream for Ryan and Laurel to find love.

If you could write a bad guy into a novel, would you have a little fun working through some pain and frustration?  One commenter wins a copy of my latest release, A Dream for Love, and a few extra surprises!

A Dream for Love 

A single mother with a secret past. A Hollywood star who's life is anything but hidden. Will the past deprive them of a future? Or will they dare to dream a dream for love? 


When the gavel hit the wooden block at the Possible Dreams Auction, Laurel Simmons sat in stunned silence. Her sister had lost her mind, purchasing a week’s vacation stay for two at actor Ryan Crandall’s beach house on Martha’s Vineyard. And then Tammy announced that she was giving the “dream” to Laurel as an early birthday present. 

A month later, Laurel and her four-year-old daughter Gracie arrive at the luxurious house on Squibnocket Beach ready to swim, play, picnic and enjoy the peace and solitude together. 

Laurel’s dream vacation quickly turns into a nightmare when Hollywood bad boy Ryan Crandall shows up to escape his latest tabloid headlines. Ryan wants the woman and her child gone. Laurel wants him gone. Fate will bring them together for reasons neither one of them expected, but fate will also drive them apart. 

Laurel has a past she needs to keep hidden. Her life and Gracie’s depend on it. Ryan has a past, and present, that’s been food for public consumption for over a decade. Will the past deprive them of a future? Or will they dare to dream a dream for love? 

Praise for Lisa Belcastro

Truly the best book I've read in months.” – Amazon Reviewer

If a book had all the perfect elements in it, then this book does.” 
--Goodreads Reviewer

Lisa Belcastro does a wonderful job making the story come alive . . .”
-- Author Elaine Stock

Ms. Belcastro didn't disappoint me at all.” Author Collette Cameron


Author Bio:
Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard.  She loves running, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, chocolate, reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat, Ben, who keeps her company while she creates fictional lives for the numerous characters living inside her head. 

Lisa runs as an ambassador for TEAM 413 (, and has completed a marathon (26.2 miles) in all fifty states. 

When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community, planting and weeding her numerous gardens, training to run the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge in January 2016, walking the beach looking for sea glass, or enjoying a great meal while she pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine.

Visit with Lisa at:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Following the Muse

Congratulations to "Martha L.", the winner in Denise's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

In 2005 the southeastern United States was battered by one of the worse hurricanes in our history.  Her name was Katrina and she devastated Louisiana. Thousands upon thousands of people were affected across the United States.  Many people were displaced and missing. Some exploited for sex trafficking. Many have not returned to Louisiana.  My hat is tipped to those who went back to help rebuild. Homes and businesses were lost as well and to this day Louisiana continues to work to return to pre Katrina. 

However, it’s not just disasters that displace people. Children and women and young men are exploited every day in what most likely is sex trafficking. This is what inspired ‘Saint’s Bayou.’  After recently visiting New Orleans on vacation the deal was sealed.  The book that had my muse begging me to write it had to be written and fast. However, there are so many things that go into writing a book. You go from the thought or concept of it to putting the words on the page to the final product and holding the completed book in your hand and turning the pages, hoping it’s as awesome as you dreamed. 

As an author I can only imagine what a family and victim goes through when someone is exploited and missing. I’ve been blessed to have not had to face that first hand. I have had family members who dropped off the radar for a while and that alone is very stressful. Yet, still, there is no comparison. 

When dealing with social issues in a story our characters will need to be strong. The hero and heroine just as strong as their counter part. What makes them that way?  It is how they were raised? Their past and the obstacles they’ve had to endure? Or is it just who they are?  What makes them survivors? Does their strength also make them vulnerable to hurt and disappointment?  From missing and exploited children, woman and young men, to pharmaceutical companies exploiting money to federal marshals protecting running for their lives romantic suspense and kick ass hero and heroines are the way to go!

Her arms moved around his waist and pressed against the small of his back while her hips moved against his front. She didn’t speak. Didn’t have to. Damn. He didn’t come all the way to Norfolk, Virginia for a one night stand. Regardless of why he was there, he was a goner. He couldn’t form a coherent thought when the heat from her body wrapped around his. Sweat dripped between his shoulder blades and his palms itched with the need to touch her without the barrier of clothing. He glanced over her head toward the table and Nolan smiled, tilted his head toward the door and then nodded his approval of the thoughts he’d been afraid to speak. 

He lowered his mouth to her neck and pressed his lips to the curve of her shoulder. She shivered under his touch and tightened her grip on his shirt. Her body swayed even more and her hips ground into his front in a fashion that anyone watching would have thought it was the most erotic thing a woman could do to a man.  If she didn’t stop, he was going to come in his pants and that is not where he wanted to be when he came.

“What’s your name?” her voice wrapped around his head. It was as sultry and piercing as her gaze was hot.

“Tyson, Tyson St. Jerreau.” He swung her around, bending her back across his arms and then drew her to him, their faces only inches apart. 

“Well, Tyson, Tyson St. Jerreau, what on earth are you going to do with me.” 

He groaned, swallowed, groaned again. Damn, she’s a fiery hell cat.  “Not as much as I’d like to.”
Saint’s Bayou

Tyson St. Jerreau didn't believe in fate, luck or love at first sight. He believes in getting the job done. It's about the missing women and children. The girls and the boys. It’s about the case. The one thing he certainly didn't have time for was history repeating itself. 

Raine Jacobs doesn't believe in fate or love either or anything else that instills beliefs that life is fair and what it's supposed to be. After all, she shouldn't even be here. She's supposed to be dead. 

As anger builds and sparks fly, when their paths cross... again, will they be able to put the past where it belongs... in the past and allow what's building between them to blossom or will the lies separate them forever.

Denise will be giving away a copy of SAINT'S BAYOU to one person leaving a comment or email entry.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug 28th. 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.