Friday, August 23, 2013

Weekend Blog Hop

It's the weekend!  I don't know what's happened to summer, but we only have one more weekend in August. I hope you've been able to enjoy it, wherever you are.

Secret Cravings Publishing is having a blog hop this weekend. 30 of their favorite authors, including yours truly, are offering you the chance to check out some of their works. Along the way, you might just win a free copy of a book that's being featured.  Since I've got two mystery/romance novels with SCP, I'm going to be giving away a copy of each one. But you have to answer a question at the bottom of this post.  So give it a try.  But first, here's a little bit about my novels.


Jamie Richmond, reporter turned author, is doing research for her next book. Attempting to capture the realism of a police officer’s duties while on patrol, she manages to tag along for a shift with a state police trooper. A few traffic stops and a high speed chase later, Jamie’s ride takes an unexpected turn when she witnesses the trooper being shot.  Although it is not a fatal injury, Jamie becomes obsessed with unraveling the facts behind this violent act. While she is trying to sort out this puzzle, she becomes romantically involved with Malone, another trooper with a few mysteries of his own. Now Jamie’s attention is divided between a blooming romance and solving the crime which is haunting her. Jamie begins to question the events that took place and exactly who could be behind the shooting. It was a devious mind. But who?

Here's a quick excerpt from the story.

The first time on the sofa was wild. There was no chance for foreplay. We both wanted it too much for that. Clothes were flung so far that I didn't find my red bra until two days later.  It must have bounced off the wall and slid behind the planter. After the initial rush, Malone introduced me to the romantic aspects of each room in my apartment.  At one point after a warm bath together, I was on my stomach in bed and he proceeded to drive me crazy by slowly making patterns down my spine with one solitary fingertip.
Each time after the first started out slow and tender. A kiss here, fingers stroking there. Malone was toying with me, bringing me to the edge of excitement now, his lips following his finger.  My whole body felt alive, energized with the reactions to his touch.
He kissed his way up my body, taking his time. A nuzzle here, another tantalizing kiss there.  My skin was singing. My face was flushed, probably as red as my hair.  At about the time I could actually feel my body starting to recover, he zeroed in on my breasts.
Now I can’t say this is true for all women. I can only speak for me. Maybe it’s because of the infrequency of romantic interludes. Or maybe it’s my age. Or maybe the moon was rising.
My breasts are small. I hinted at that before. There are fourteen-year old girls out there with bigger breasts than mine. To clarify the situation, all my bras are padded and yes, the cup size is A. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but it’s what I’ve got and I’d never consider surgery to pump them up.  All I know is that when Malone starting stroking and kissing my breasts, it’s like there was a direct connection down below. I was immediately wet with anticipation yet again.
“What am I going to do with you,” I whispered my voice little more than a feathery gasp.
 “Whatever you would like, I’m open to suggestions.”

Vanishing Act

Jamie Richmond is still discovering her way in the romantic relationship with the mysterious Malone when her best friend Linda Davis comes home.  The beautiful Linda suddenly finds herself swept up in a whirlwind romance of her own with an older man, Dr. Vincent Schulte. But not everything is all champagne and flowers for Linda. She suddenly realizes she’s become the target of a stalker. The problem escalates. Jamie is determined to protect her friend, but even she is at a loss when Linda suddenly disappears one cold, snowy day.  The police are searching for clues. Despite Malone’s attempts to keep Jamie on the sidelines, she is driven to find out what happened to Linda and where she could be. Despite her best intentions, Jamie has once again put herself in danger while trying to unravel the mystery.

Here's an excerpt:

Linda and I had gone to the gym, as was our custom. Earlier in the day, she had found a childish Valentine’s card tucked under the windshield wiper on her car. There was no signature, just a cartoon character offering up their heart. It could have been from anyone. Or it could have been from her stalker. She had started to throw it away, but remembered the warning from Malone. So she was a little unnerved when we went to work out. But the physical activity, the pounding music, and the noise of the other women grunting and groaning through the moves helped to improve her mood. We bundled up afterward and were headed for the car. The lot had been crowded when we’d arrived, so we had ended up parking at the far end.
Talking quietly, trudging through the clumps of snow and ice, neither one of us heard him at first.
“It’s getting to the point where I just want to stay home,” she said quietly.
“You can’t hide, Linda. If you become a prisoner in your own home, then he wins. And you are much too strong a person to let that happen.”
She gave me a wan smile. “I know, Jay Kay, it’s just…”
“Hey!” a gruff voice snapped at us from only a couple of feet away.
Linda let out a shriek of surprise. She lost her footing on the ice and crashed to the pavement. Looking over my shoulder, I saw a blocky shape, hidden in the shadows beyond the reach of the overhead lights, gliding close to the back end of a parked car. He took a menacing step forward, one hand clutching something tightly and extending it towards us.
“Run!” I screamed at Linda for all I was worth.
“Hey,” he snapped again, still reaching for us.
I took a step toward him and planted my left foot on one of the few dry patches of pavement. Then I swung my right foot as hard as I could, as if I was about to nail a fifty yard field goal to win the Super Bowl. Without realizing it, I braced for the impact. To this day, I’d swear I was aiming for his crotch. But I missed.
Maybe the pavement wasn’t dry after all. Or maybe suddenly shifting my weight to make that kick caused me to lose my balance. Or maybe subconsciously I couldn’t really kick a guy in the balls. Or maybe he sensed what was happening and he took a step back. I’ll never really know.
In my peripheral vision, I could see Linda scrambling to her feet, already racing toward her car, clicking the remote control to unlock the doors. My leg continued its arc and just before making contact, my left leg shot out from underneath me.
My foot slammed into the bulky guy. I caught him square in the chest. With my body going horizontal, it must have looked like some kind of ninja move. Whatever it was, it was enough to take him off his feet, and he went down with a thud. I couldn’t be sure, but it looked like his head bounced off the pavement.
I landed on my side and scrambled immediately to my feet. I was crouched in a fighting stance, anger and adrenalin churning in my gut. The guy let out a low groan. He made no move to get up.
Suddenly lights flared around us. Linda had managed to start her car and pull it into the aisle. She lay on the horn, a long deep-throated wail that cut through the night. A few people who had been moving across the parking lot came running over.
Illuminated by the headlights, I looked down at the attacker. He was an older man, with a couple of day’s worth of stubble across his face. His left hand was pressed against his chest, roughly in the spot in which I’d kicked him. Slowly he raised his right hand in my direction as our eyes locked. His voice made a throaty rasping noise as he spoke.
“She dropped her glove.”

* * * *

 Malone was not happy. The look on his face told me everything I needed to know. I’d stepped over some kind of line.
 “Jamie, I told you I’d take care of this. You can’t be taking matters into your own hands.” His voice was tense. There was none of the tenderness, the humor or the calm that I usually associated with Malone.
“But Malone, I can’t leave it alone. We’re talking about my best friend.”
“I know who we’re talking about! But you can’t go running around like some renegade in a movie, trying to see that justice is done. This whole thing could have blown up in your face.”
“But I…”
“No buts, Jamie.” He leaned forward, looming over me. “You put an innocent old man in the hospital, attacking him like that. And the only thing he had done was to follow Linda out to her car because she dropped her glove.”
“But Malone…”
He threw up his hands in disgust. “You just don’t get it! You get this notion in your head that you’re right and to hell with everyone else.” I couldn’t remember Malone ever swearing before. He couldn’t look at me.
“I’m sorry, Malone.” My voice was little more than a whisper.
“Sorry might not be enough, Jamie. You could have killed that guy. And what if he’d really been after Linda? What if he was armed? Instead of just getting in your car, and calling for help, you could have been putting yourself in harm’s way.”
 I kept my eyes on the floor. There was no way I could look at him. It was all I could do to shrug my shoulders.
“No more heroic moves, Jamie.”
“We’ll do whatever you say, Malone. I really did think she was in trouble.”

Now here's your question:  What Hollywood star is the one that you most associate with, either their looks, their talent, their charm, their sex appeal, their attitude or their sense of humor. Pick the trait that matches you and tell me what your favorite role for this star was.

You can check out the other authors

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Work In Progress Part Two

Recently I wrote about my efforts with "WHY 319" a mystery about a serial killer. I'm currently in the editing phase, trying to make it as clean and error free as possible. At the same time, I'm working on a new story, what will be the third installment in the Jamie Richmond Mystery series.

In this book, Jamie's past is suddenly brought into sharp focus as a collection of art works created by her late father are discovered. It's been twenty-five years since his death, yet his popularity has never waned. With this story, I'm planning on reuniting some old lovers, working in some intrigue with a dash of danger and enough confusion to keep everyone guessing. And just in case you're curious, Malone and Jamie's relationship continues to bloom, with plenty of action to keep the romance alive.

Here's an excerpt for you to check out.  I'd appreciate any comments you'd like to share. In this scene, Jamie Malone and Ian are opening the first crate in the warehouse where the artwork has been discovered.

They eased the crate to the ground. Malone took the hammer and a small crowbar. Carefully he inserted the edge of the bar along the lid. He smacked it a couple of times with the hammer. Nails groaned at his effort. I watched him circle the box, working the edge of the crowbar in and loosening the lid from the sides. Ian took the other bar from me and moved behind Malone, prying up the sections. In less than a minute the lid was free. They stepped back so we could all see it.
     “Do you want to do the honors, Jamie?”
     I shook my head. My nerves were so bad I’d probably drop the lid on my foot. “Let Ian do it. He found the crate.”
     The kid glowed with delight. He started to reach for the lid.
     Both guys looked stunned. “Change your mind?”
“No, Eric, but I want to capture this on video. We’re going to record each crate being opened. I want to be consistent. I want to do it right.”
With their help it only took a few minutes to set up the tripod and the video camera. Once we were filming, I read off the crate’s code, indicated the date and time and who was present. Ian moved forward and lifted the lid carefully. Angling the camera, I could see that the contents were wrapped in burlap. Malone and Ian reached into the box and lifted out the sculpture. They set it in the center of the worktable. Malone pulled a knife from his pocket and gently cut through the coarse fabric. Once a rip was made, they pulled it apart. Malone tenderly lifted the sculpture off the table while Ian removed the burlap. I think my heart stopped. I know my breath did.
“It’s amazing,” Ian said. “This is so cool.”
“It’s just like the sketch in the file.” Malone said.
I stopped the video. Unhooking it from the tripod, I passed it to Ian. “Do a slow pan, top to bottom, then move around and capture it from every side. I’m going to take some shots with the other camera.”
Ian nodded and quickly accepted his new assignment.  Malone was staring at the piece. Then he set the hammer on its head and leaned the handle against the sculpture.
“What are you doing, Eric?”
He shook his head. “Wrong again, Jamie. I’m just giving it a sense of scale. With the hammer in the picture, you can tell roughly how big it is.”
“We should measure it,” I said, stepping past him to take a couple of photos. “Do you have a tape in the toolbox?”
“No, but I’ve got a couple at home. We can bring one tomorrow and get the dimensions. Maybe we should weigh it too.”
I glanced at him, eyebrows raised. Malone innocently raised his hands but there was no hiding the smirk on his face. Like many women, I refuse to have a bathroom scale in the house. If I really want to know if I’ve gained any weight, there is a scale at the gym. Or I can use the one at Vince’s office.
“I am not buying a scale.”
“You don’t have to. There’s an industrial one back in the corner of the storeroom, beneath the windows. Peter must have used it for the occasional shipment.”

Ignoring the slight flush of heat on my face, I moved around the table and shot more pictures. Ian completed his circuit and returned the camera to the tripod.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Charming Hero Blog Hop

Today I'm participating in The Charming Hero Blog Hop.  This is a chance for you to learn more about the guys who populate romance books and even win a free copy of one of my books.  Check it out.

- What your hero’s name and where does he come from?  
Malone is his name and he comes from the west side of Michigan. He doesn’t use a first name, only goes by Malone.

- What’s your charming hero’s profession?
 Malone is a sergeant with the Michigan State Police. In addition to being in charge of the crew on the afternoon shift (3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.) he also patrols the roads. Malone is an excellent marksman, a sharpshooter with both pistol and rifle.

- Now, there’s a lot about our heroes that sets all women in a flutter. What’s your hero’s greatest weapon when it comes to seduction?
Malone has a killer smile, what Jamie, his love interest, refers to a low voltage smile, where the corners of his mouth turn up seductively and his cobalt blue eyes give you the impression that the devil is dancing inside them.

- If your hero resembled one or more celebrities, who would they be? (provide pictures, he could be a blend)
Think of a combination of Matt Bomer (the charming thief from the “White Collar” television series) and Colin Ferguson (the strong, self assured sheriff from the series “Eureka”). That’s Malone, a mixture of charm, strength and self confidence.

- Apart from being incredible charming, how would you describe your hero’s personality?
Malone has plenty of self confidence and his powers of persuasion have yet to fail him. He’s a smart guy and his intelligence and his strength of character are evident in all that he does. Malone can be a calming influence if the situation demands it, but he’s also a ‘take charge’ kind of a guy, a natural leader.

- Does your hero have a favourite saying or motto?
No, but if he did it would probably be something along the lines of ‘keep your eyes and ears open, so you don’t miss something good.’

- Post a scene of ten lines or less that captures your hero using his charm to win over both our readers and heroine.
Here’s a quick scene with Jamie and Malone from “Devious” the first book in the Jamie Richmond mystery series.

He just stood there, staring at me. I could feel his eyes tracing their way down my body. A chill ran up my spine, but I couldn’t move. “You are an incredibly beautiful woman.”
I blushed and lowered my eyes. “It’s just the gown.”
“Don’t do that.” His voice had taken on a thick, husky quality.
“Do what?”
“Downplay the compliment.” Malone reached out his right hand and took my left. We started dancing slowly, moving in perfect sync to the music. “Just smile sweetly, say, ‘thank you’ and accept the fact that I believe you are an incredibly beautiful woman.”
He twirled me around the apartment. “Do you have any idea how incredibly sexy this is? To come in that door and find you like this?”
“Malone, are you going to kiss me?”
That killer smile crossed his face. “I thought you’d never ask.”

Now here’s your chance to win a free e-copy of “Vanishing Act”, the second book in the series.
You have been given the gift of a magical twenty-four hours to be devoted to romance. You can spend this anywhere in the world, with anyone you choose, from a famous celebrity to the college boy who is spending the summer cutting lawns in the hot sun. Tell me who you’d be with, where you would go, and how you would spend those twenty-four hours.

You can also check out the other authors participating.