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Monday, October 20, 2014

Finding My Passion


A few years ago (I won’t tell you how many), I hit the ripe old age of forty and thought my life was over. Why not? When the entertainment industry projects the idea of valuable womanhood to be young, ultra thin, and beautiful? I no longer felt young. I’ve never been ultrathin. (The smallest size I’ve ever worn was a six, but I my appetite was off at the time. One of my legs wouldn’t fit into a size zero!) And as far as beautiful goes? I’m beautiful on the inside. That’s what matters, right?

In the midst of my mid-life crisis, I was desperately searching for something to give my life meaning. I’d trained to be an accountant, but I was never going to be a partner in an accounting firm. The desire to give it all for something so…boring just wasn’t there, so I wasn’t going to reach the pinnacle of accounting success. What can I say? Accounting is not my passion. Never has been. Now it’s something I do part time to make a few bucks so I can afford to do things I’d rather do.

I’d always loved music, but there’s no venue for a middle-aged singer. By the time it appeared on the American cultural landscape, I was already too old to try out for American Idol. In my twenties, when I could have pursued the dream, I wrote a few songs, learned a few chords, and sang numerous songs with recording artists. Of course, none of them were aware of our duets. I had no idea where to begin a musical career and I was a long way from the center of the recording industry.

Maybe I played around with writing lyrics for a while because I’ve always been fascinated with the power of words. Maybe that’s why I devoured so many books, regretting the end of the story as if I’d said goodbye to a trusted friend, a dependable comforter. The right word can change more than the meaning of a sentence. It sets the tone of what’s being expressed. Whether lyrics or literature, words create moods and foster memories.

So at the ripe old age of forty, I found my passion. I’d deserted it for years, but when I searched for something to get excited about, to devote my excess energies to, I found writing again. Putting together strings of words in the hope a collection of sentences glued together into paragraphs, scenes, and chapters might create a mood and foster a memory.

So my passion is to influence the heart, mind, or soul of a reader, those avid devourers of the written word. I’m not talking about the casual reader. There are those that read and those that are readers. We know who we are.

My latest passion is a series of paranormal romantic suspense books I’m writing entitled The Haunted Hearts Series. The first book in the Haunted Hearts series is Laurel Heights

Here is a short excerpt from the book:

Since Laurel had moved into her aunt’s house, she hadn’t fallen asleep once without pharmaceutical help. The sleeping aid usually lulled her into lullaby land, but the drug seldom got her through the night without a nightmare. She was quickly running out of the prescription and would have to resort to over-the-counter antihistamines soon. The doctor she had seen in Fairview wouldn’t renew her prescription. He hadn’t wanted to prescribe it anyway. She wouldn’t be going back to him.

She lay still beneath her comforter, listening to the unusual sounds coming from the lower floor. The house made a lot of noises, especially at night. She sucked in a ragged breath when it made a few more. Thuds and bumps sounded like footfalls. Was someone in the house or was she being paranoid? Every shadow reminded her of Rand. He was in prison and would be incarcerated for a very long time, probably the rest of his life, but he could easily send one of his loyal subordinates to find her.

She wrapped her fingers around the grip of the baseball bat she kept next to her bed and hoped she wouldn’t have to use it. Confronting an intruder with a hollow piece of aluminum seemed like a lame defense. She had been considering purchasing a gun, but hadn’t done so yet. Maybe it was time. She’d have to buy one under the radar because she didn’t want anyone doing a background check on her. Acquiring a shotgun shouldn’t be too hard. It seemed everyone in Arkansas owned a firearm of some sort.

She threw off the comforter, rose from the bed, slipped across the room with the bat over her shoulder, and opened the door to peer down the hallway toward the front stairs. Nothing moved. The house was quiet. Maybe a little too quiet. Only moments before, a symphony of strange noises had disturbed the night. It was as if opening her bedroom door had turned off the sound.

She stared at the back stairs directly across from her bedroom and considered going down to the first floor to check the door locks, but nixed the idea. Locked doors wouldn’t keep someone out of the house if they really wanted to get in. Better to barricade herself in her bedroom and keep the bat close by. She slammed the door shut.

No moonlight filtered through the flimsy fabric covering the window. The moon hid behind a thick cloud cover. She tugged at the curtains, pulling them tighter to keep out the night. Before she stepped away, she caught a glimpse of something not quite right. Peeking between the curtain panels, she stared across the backyard. On the other side of the grimy window, a dim light flitted back and forth inside the detached garage.

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Laurel Heights. The book can be purchased at the following links: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.



You can find me at these sites: Facebook, Twitter, My Website, and Suspense, She Writes Blog.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I Write Romantic Suspense…With What???


Giveaway Alert!

I’ve been writing suspense stories for as long as I can remember. Some of them were horrible, forever to collect dust under my bed. (Yes, I started writing in the days before computers were everywhere.) Some were revised and edited into my 1st set of novellas and some were expanded, edited and formed into my 1st full-length books. I have some hot and steamy romances with some light suspense elements. I’ve also created stories at the other end of the spectrum, with a sweet romance and an intense suspense angle. Of all my romantic suspense stories, though, none has had paranormal elements. Until now.

I tend to shy away from paranormal stories. The average plots, ghosts, for example, don’t appeal to me. But a seed of an idea, one completely off the beaten paranormal path I was used to reading about, lodged into my brain. As I thought more about it, I began to jot down books or movies with paranormal elements that I did enjoy: Highlander (with immortals), Outlander (with time-traveling), Terminator (with a machine killer), Evelyn Vaughn books (Goddess Grail Keepers), Supernatural (2 brothers fighting demons of the Underworld), and The Avengers (Okay, that one was mostly for Chris Hemsworth), to name a few. So when I finally admitted to myself that I might like some paranormal stories, I allowed myself to play with some possible plot ideas. It was at this time the ideas of the Hidden Destiny series came into mind. 
Once I began drafting Wake Me, I got lost in the story. A woman who sees the future in her dreams? How would she deal with her ability when no one believed her? What thoughts would go through her mind when she had no choice but to try to decipher her dreams? Add to all that, how would she deal with a detective grounded in reality? The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. Soon I started plotting new stories connected to this one, stories with other characters who struggle with different paranormal abilities. Wake Me may be my 1st story with paranormal elements, but it will definitely not be the last.


Her psychic dreams come true.

Sarah McKinley’s attempts to take her foreknowledge of crimes to the Seattle Police Department marked her as a troublemaker and were never taken seriously. Starting over in Austin, she plans never to reveal her gift, but shortly after she arrives, the dreams begin again, and the local police want to know why she has knowledge only the killer could possess. 

Detective Jesse Cordell watched his mother con people with her “psychic ability” all through his childhood. He hones in on Sarah, who has means, motive, and opportunity to have murdered the victim in his current investigation. Instinct tells him she didn’t commit the crime, but she definitely knows more than she’s letting on.

Can he put aside his doubts and join forces with her, against everything he believes in, to find the real killer? Or will he do his job and put her behind bars? After all, there’s no such thing as the “psychic ability.” Or is there?

To read an excerpt: http://alexabourne.com/wake/

Available at:

Giveaway:
Alexa is giving THREE prizes throughout her Wake Me Blog Tour! Leave comments in any (or all!) of the tour stops and you will be in the running! So for this stop, do you like paranormal elements in your stories? If so, how much is too much?   

The rest of the tour is here:

Bio:
Alexa Bourne is a teacher by day and a romance writer by nights, weekends, and all school holidays. She also teaches online classes for writers throughout the year. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance and is thrilled to have the chance to share her stories with readers everywhere.

When she’s not concocting sinister plots and steamy love scenes or traveling and exploring new cultures, Alexa spends her time reading, watching brainless TV, and thinking about exercising. Okay, she also spends way too much time interacting with readers and writers on social media sites. But don’t tell her editors! Find out more about her and her books on her website, www.alexabourne.com.

Social Media:

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 19th. 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.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Swift Strike


Congratulations to Jonetta, Jill, Erin, Bn100 and Jo-Anne, the winners in Loren's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!
Hello Readers!

I’m Loren Mathis and I’m a new romantic suspense author.  I grew up in a rural town in eastern NC.  I went to college at UNC.  I am grateful that I’m now able to pursue my dream as a writer, and to share the characters who roam around my head with you.

Swift Strike is the second novel in my “SEAL Team 14” series.  It is a standalone novel so the first book does not have to be read in order to enjoy this installment. The SEAL Team 14 series focuses on an elite group of U.S. Navy SEALs.

SWIFT STRIKE

HIS MISSION

Ensign Jesse Denison and his comrades on SEAL Team 14 have a new assignment:  rescue a group of civilian hostages who have been kidnapped by a rogue terrorist cell in central Somalia. Little does he know, this seemingly innocuous rescue mission will change his life forever...

HER HEART

After she is rescued by Navy SEAL Jesse Denison, petroleum engineer, Lena Westlake, can’t get the handsome, brooding soldier out of her mind. Despite their intense attraction to one another, Lena doesn’t have a reason to believe that the two of them will meet again after her rescue.

NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS

When Lena is attacked again by the same terrorist cell mere days after her first rescue, Jesse comes to realize that this terror group has a broader, deadlier agenda than just oil production disruption in Sub-Saharan Africa. An agenda that includes the acquisition of a cutting edge weapons technology developed by Lena's father...
Will Jesse be able to save the woman he has grown to love before it's too late? Or will Lena share a similar death as his former girlfriend, another woman he could not save…

 Excerpt:
“Zaida ya kivuli,” the man barked out in a low, gritty voice. Jesse didn’t have a freaking clue what language the guy was speaking in. Jesse was fluent in Arabic, but the words falling out of the militant’s mouth were definitely not Arabic.

“Don’t move an inch,” Jesse commanded, raising his Sig Sauer P228 a notch higher. He repeated his directive in Arabic. It was going to be a tough shot. Lena’s head blocked all but a quarter of the shorter man’s face. “Slowly, put the knife down and step away from the woman.”

“Zaida ya kivuli,” the man recited the words again before saying the more familiar, “Allah Akbar.” 

A soft anguish-filled sob escaped Lena’s lips. Her eyes widened with fear, sweat rolling down the sides of her face. Then the militant moved his wrist. The movement was so slight as to be almost imperceptible, but he was ready for it. 

Jesse did not hesitate to pull the trigger. He took the head shot. The whole tragic ordeal was over in a matter of seconds.

Slumping to the ground, the knife slipped from the man’s lifeless fingers. Jesse sprinted toward Lena who’d also collapsed to the floor in the aftermath of the shot. 

Dropping to his knees, he reached for her. His hands swiftly skimmed her face and neck to see if she’d somehow been injured in the shooting, checking for a heartbeat. His eyes closed in relief when he felt the persistent thudding of her pulse against his fingertips. 

Slipping a hand underneath her head, he touched her shortened locks. Those assholes had apparently chopped off her hair. Luckily, she hadn’t been harmed by his shot. She was drenched in the blood and brain matter of her captor, but she didn’t have any visible bullet wounds or lacerations. She still lay unresponsive, but she had probably fainted from the stress of the situation. 

“Jesse, we have got to hustle, man,” Luke intoned quietly from somewhere behind him. “We’ve got about seven minutes to make it back to surface and to the boat.”


Available on Amazon
Giveaway:
Comment for your chance to win a free copy of my book!  There will be 5 winners drawn!

For more information about my books, you can find me at:
Official Author Site:  http://loren-mathis.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LorenMathis7
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Loren-Mathis-Author/555217847856621
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7145670.Loren_Mathis

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 18th. 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, October 15, 2014

Halloween Party at Silver Lake.


Congratulations to Taurus and Brooke B., the winners in Kallie's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

Thank you Just Romantic Suspense for having me visit. I’m excited about Halloween and thrilled to be here! Why? The Shadow Soldiers, their ladies, and friends are off to a Halloween party this year. This is something new for them. They don't usually play dress up and I think the women tricked them into it because they like to socialize while having a bit of fun. October is a foggy month on the lake, so even the boat ride and the setting at the social club on the island will be spooky, and the drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be enough to curl your toes. Let's check out their costumes…


   
Sully and Breeana:
Dick Tracy and Breathless Mahoney – Dick is an honest cop and Breathless is the shady woman who tried to seduce him. It didn't work in the movie, but we all know Sully is a knock over for Bree in real life. While Sully is a big, scary, police lieutenant when he's not kicking villain butt with the Shadow Soldiers, it's Breeana who is the center of his world.
Theo and Melena:
Spiderman and Mary Jane Watson – absolutely, Theo will always protect Melena from harm. The role of Spiderman suits him. And just like Mary Jane, Melena is more determined than tough and tends to get herself in very sticky situations. Did I also mention she can't drive a boat worth a damn? Whatever you do, don't ride to the party with her. Don't worry…aside from her lack of boat smarts and pixyish size, she is Theo's equal in every way!
Rocket and Billie:
Norman Bates and his mother – matching costumes, what fun! Billie and Rocket loved putting their heads together on makeup and hair, too. Actually, I think Rocket looks a little like Norman when he's on the job with the Shadow Soldiers, chasing down real criminals. It's not the clothes or the wig, but the enthusiasm he brings to the hunt! 
  

Micah and Remy:
Fred and Daphne – hmm, what a great choice! This couple has an adventurous side in the comics, and Micah and Remy had a doozy of an escapade in Lethal Abandon. It's a good thing the others were there to give them a hand, or they might not be around to tell the tale! 

Hawke:
Scooby-Doo – the antithesis of Hawke and a strange choice. Although, Scooby might be all about treats but he always gets the bad guy in the end…and so does Hawke. Besides, Micah and Remy needed more people riding in The Mystery Machine and he didn't have much of a say in the matter. Since he has to go or risk Remy driving him insane, he's decided he might as well go as the top dog! 

Hunt:
Shaggy – Hunt may not be a spaced-out hippy type like Shaggy, but he figured he could impersonate one for the night. A box of Scooby Snacks, a little hair gel, green T-shirt, brown pants and he is all set. He knows the lingo from watching the show as a kid…and, yeah, as an adult in his downtime. I think Hunt needs a woman of his own before he becomes Shaggy in real life. It's a good thing he's going to find one at the cemetery in the next Shadow Soldier novel!



Law:
Velma – really? Oh, oh, this can't be good. Law is almost six-five and weighs two-hundred-fifty pounds. I hope he can find a big enough dress to cover that body. He doesn't look happy because he got stuck with the Velma role due to a bet he lost with Hunt. (I have it on good authority Hunt flipped a coin that had the same face on both sides.) One of the most physically powerful of the Shadow Soldiers, Law has disguised himself as many things in the line of duty, but never a woman because who would believe it? He is one ugly female. 


Papa Joe and Stella:
The Mystery Machine – ah, how cool is that? It seems Papa Joe is adept at building more than just bang sticks. I had no idea as I only just met him in Lethal Abandon. Stella has been in a few of the novels, since she is Melena's aunt. Fun choice, Joe and Stella, but can you carry the darn thing? It looks heavy. Oh, wait…there are handles on the plywood walls inside. It looks like everyone will be pulling their weight when it's party time. It's a good thing Stella has a pontoon boat to schlep this baby over to the island!

Doc and Effie:
Frankenstein and his bride – Boris and Elsa are very much like Doc and Effie, don't you think? Yeah, Doc might be the MD, but Effie is a nurse practitioner, more than capable of coping with any of Doc's wild clients! She always fills in for Doc when he is out fishing…usually by patching up one of the Shadow Soldiers or their ladies.

*All images have Pinterest designation on the internet.

So there you have it...Halloween at Silver Lake. For more about my novels, please drop me a line. Email me through my Website, visit me on Facebook or connect with me on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Kallie


Here is the official release of Lethal Abandon (Book 4, Shadow Soldier series) (ebook and print, The Wild Rose Press). Here’s the blurb:

When wildlife biologist Remy Renaud gets lost in the Everglades, she doesn’t expect to find a body dump—and herself on the Endangered Species list. However, when a modern day warrior steps in to protect her, she is forced to trust a man she doesn’t know. A man she could come to love. A man she could lose if a killer has his way.

Micah Rivera agrees to hide Remy, but when the FBI decides to use her as bait to catch the killers, he and his team spring into action to keep her out of harm’s way. Now with both law enforcement and murderers on their trail, Micah is left in an untenable position—keep his team safe and Remy out of trouble without losing his heart to the woman he has sworn to protect. As Remy and Micah join forces, one thing becomes clear. To survive, they must defeat the enemy at his own game.

Author's note:
I can’t imagine anything worse than stumbling across a body dump, unless it’s fighting for your life to get out of there in one piece. Remy does just that. It is later she realizes she will need help to survive the aftermath. Not just what she has seen, but the killers who intend to silence her for being there. Remy is headstrong and used to taking care of herself. It isn’t easy for her to allow Micah and his team to sweep her along in a tidal wave of moves and counter-moves to save her life. She makes mistakes that jeopardize others, but with Micah’s help she finally understands. She can be strong while having a loving relationship without sacrificing her independence and sense of self. And isn’t that the way love should be? 

Lethal Abandon is available for purchase at all online retailers.

Giveaway:
All those who leave a comment on this blog will go into the draw to win one of two digital copies of this book.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 16th. 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.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The DAMAGE DONE May Be To Your Heart

Congratulations to Jonetta and Mary P., the winners in M.J.'s giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I love romantic suspense! It’s like double the return on your reading time investment because it gets your heart pumping in two ways. The romance plays its part in making your pulse race and so does the suspense.  

First, there is an inherent suspense in romance. Will the hero and heroine end up together? (I hope you read that with your best soap opera announcer’s voice.) But, realistically, you say, we all know there is a happily ever after coming. Where’s the suspense in that? The suspense is in how they get together. The odds should seem pretty insurmountable at times and you should be wondering, “How are these two ever going to work this out?” The romance part of the story also gets things humming with its scintillating sex scenes. Even if you’re a PG author, the emotional level of your intimate scenes should be high. The breakup scenes and proposal scenes should get you revved up, too.

Running side by side, you have your suspense story. Bad things are happening. Your hero and/or heroine are in danger.  This alone should keep you turning pages. After all, if you don’t read, they may never get out of the dark place the author put them. (Ever feel guilty for closing a book when the characters are in jeopardy? It’s kind of the same premise as your team losing because you didn’t watch them.)  The suspense rises throughout the book. Crime scenes become more gory or spooky. The killer gets closer and closer to the characters, outwitting them at every turn. Terror drives your hero and heroine into each other’s arms…and then you’re back to the romance. See how nicely the parts of the story work together? 
I hope I have made my readers anxious for my characters in this way in my new romantic suspense,  DAMAGE DONE.  It’s a story told in two parts, one about Teddy McKee, his love, Gabrielle, and his best friend, Sean; the second, fourteen years later, about Teddy’s son Michael. Though separate stories, they circle around and are tied together by the suspense plot line in the end. 

DAMAGE DONE

When an unhappy youth leaves him damaged, will Teddy Mckee be able to find love?

“Teddy Passmore McKee was born in Cork, Ireland, with a limp and a chip on his shoulder that threw his balance off all the more.” When he falls in love with the dark haired beauty born of an Irish father and a Spanish mother, will Gabrielle Quinn be able to restore his balance? And what about the charming Sean Hennessey? When Gabby catches his eye, too, will Teddy’s playboy best friend cause his own damage?

Fourteen years later, will Teddy and Gabrielle’s son be able to overcome the damage done to him in his childhood?

“Even through bloodshot eyes he could see she was different.”  But can Michael leave behind the bottle, and his womanizing ways, to win over the lovely Tess Flanagan? Tess has sustained some damage of her own. Can she and Michael overcome the terrors of the past and learn how to love each other?

And if they do, will they be able to elude those after them who want to create their own damage?

On the run after an altercation leaves their boss in a pool of blood, will Michael and Tess be able to stay one step ahead of their pursuers? Or is it simply too late to correct the damage that has been done?

EXCERPT ~
“Tessie…” He offered again. “We have to get out of here.”

She remained frozen in her spot, staring blindly over the cliff. He moved a step closer and gently grasped her elbow. “Tess—”
She whirled around and his heart caught in his chest as he stared into her wild green eyes. Tears shone on her damp cheeks, glimmering in the moonlight like trails of scattered diamonds. “Nay, Michael,” she said, her words coming out choked. “I have to tell them the truth. It’s my fault. …I k-killed him.” She sobbed.

He looked at her sadly, begging her, “Let me help you.”

The back door creaked open and light spilled out from the bar across the grass, startling them. He saw Jimmy Flynn’s outline in the doorway. “They’re out here!” he yelled.

Without waiting for a response, Michael took Tess’s arm and steered her along the cliff’s edge. He stepped over the railing and helped her to the other side as well. They stood on a narrow ledge. To the left a trail dropped off toward the sea. He led her skittering down the path, loose rock pebbling the beach far below. He had taken the pathway many a night when he was drunk and feeling particularly reckless. Tonight he hurried over it with only self-preservation and Tess’s safety in mind.

They heard voices above them, coming from every direction as searchers fanned out along the top of the cliff. Their eyes met. They hardly dared to breathe. A flashlight beam ventured over the railing and along the cliff face. She clutched his hand, squeezing it until he lost feeling in his fingers. He tried to flatten himself even more tightly against the rock face, wishing it would somehow melt and absorb them. Several seconds passed and the beam of light was joined by another, and another, each swinging away, and then toward them again.
He grabbed a quick look at the churning sea below then closed his eyes for a second, and his stomach dropped. 

BIO ~
MJ is a lunch lady in the heart of Central Illinois. My gosh! Can you get more folksy than that? She met her husband at the University of Missouri-Columbia and now she has a nineteen-year-old (how did that happen?) and seventeen year old triplets! She loves to read, karaoke (where she can pretend she is a rock star) and spends WAY too much time on Facebook. She grew up in St. Louis and still has family there.


You can find M.J. at:


You can find DAMAGE DONE at:


Giveaway:
Author M.J. Schiller will give away an ebook, of the winner’s choice, from her REAL ROMANC E COLLECTION to two winners. To be entered, just leave a comment below. If you’d like, you can answer one of the following questions:

1) What is it about romantic suspense that you like?
2) What is your favorite romantic suspense novel?
3) Have you ever been to Ireland?
4) When was the last time you were on the run for your life? (Just kidding. We don’t want to know!)

Thanks for reading!

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 14th. 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.