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


  1. This is a hard one. So, I'll guess Marilyn Monroe crossed with Vivien Leigh's large expressive eyes. I have more of a cute, bubbly personality like Marilyn's but a darker look like Vivien's. And my favorite role be Vivien in Gone with the Wind of course!

    1. That's a great combination of legendary stars. I like the mix of personalities.

  2. My favorite would be Lucille Ball,because she is always getting into trouble and so am would be The long long trailer.

    1. Nobody could get into more hilarious troubles than Lucy.

  3. Wow! A steamy excerpt. Beautifully written. I'm going to have to buy this book. Well done, Mark.

    1. Jean,
      That's high praise coming from you. I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope you find the book to your liking.

  4. My favorite would be Lucille Ball,because she is always getting into trouble and so am would be The long long trailer.

    1. There was only one Lucy. She certainly knew how to play to the audience and use her natural comedic talents.

  5. Queen Latifa, I loved her in Last Holiday. She is Big and Beautiful and funny

    1. The Queen did an excellent job in that role, living life to the fullest. She looked right at home in all those cooking scenes.

  6. Probably Sandra Bullock--I like to think I'm as gracefully clumsy as she is (besides, she went to my high school). M. S.

    1. One of my favorite Bullock movies is "Miss Congeniality". I think the graceful clumsiness is a great description of her.

  7. Reese Whiterspoon I would say she can be very funny and yet very serious when the time arises

    1. Reese can certainly cover both the serious and the comic roles and bring those talents to the surface as needed. A great choice.

  8. Well...I'm probably like Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday--sassy, great banter, independent, fast talker and fast mover.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    1. That's an amazing combination of talents. Rosalind Russell had it all. I remember that movie well. I'm going to have to look up some of her other films.

  9. I would also say Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama because I'm a city girl but a country girl at heart. I also have blonde hair and blue eyes and I'm pretty short too.
    leighannecrisp @ yahoo dot com

    1. I think there's something special about a girl who can feel comfortable wherever she may be, from the bright lights of New York City or L.A. to the moonlight and stars of a rural setting. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a short stature can be quite a combination.

  10. This is going to sound corny, but I relate to Sandy from Grease, at first I'm very shy and reserved, but after a out because the leather pants are coming out ;)


    1. Any girl who can still bring out the leather pants is aces in my book!

  11. So tough! I think I most associate with Kathy Griffin. She is a snarky redhead who loves gossip, just like me!

    BTW Vanishing Act looks awesome!


  12. I never realized that Jamie Richmond shares some of the same qualities as Kathy Griffin. Thanks for the comment about Vanishing Act.