Tink...tink...tink...anyone out there? Hi! I'm Barbara Donlon Bradley - Author - editor and slightly crazy - ask anyone in my family. I hope to use this blog to talk about writing, editing and whatever pops in my head. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Meet My Latest Guest Ryan Jo Summers! @RyanJoSummers


I want to welcome Ryan Jo Summers! First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

It is called Upon the Tide. This was started many years ago when I lived across the road from a marina and worked third shift. Consequently, I spent long hours in the early mornings and afternoons watching the boats and ferries come and go. It was a great time and full of many good memories. As you can probably guess, I love boats and the water. Out of all that came the origins of Upon the Tide.

Most of the action of this book takes place aboard boats, with a heroine who had one previous, terrible boating experience. She is not a happy camper! However, the locale is the Caribbean! And she’s with a sexy hunk who used to be a detective. Too bad someone’s out to kill them, right?

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

This is a tough one. Until now, I never realized I haven’t focus on the villains because I’m really drawing a blank on any villain beyond the baddies in my books. And they are certainly not my faves. The only villain I can think of elsewhere is Cruella de Ville from ‘101 Dalmatians’ and I really kind of just hated her. So I guess I don’t have a villain I ever cared about.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Now this is easier! I adore all my heroes. Most are working class guys, hearts of gold, quiet and sort of shy. Oh, and handsome too. (That always helps) It would be hard to pick one because they are all special and dear in their own way. Interestingly, I’m falling in love with a four year old girl named Ruthie from my current work-in-progress. I tend to use kids as filler, secondary characters. However, Ruthie is such a livewire, she is taking over the scenes and pages with her energy, sass and sparkle. I was not expecting her to have such personality, but I am having fun watching her go. I just wind her up with a sentence or two and off she runs, full throttle!

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

The genre is romance, the subgenres stretch from time travel, paranormal, shape shifting, mystery, Christian, and sweet. Many are blended mixes of any of the above. I also have written a young Adult/ New Adult and a women’s fiction novel. Why? Well, they say to write what you like. My first book I just wrote without even thinking of genre. It had the stuff in it I liked to read. Ditto for the next ones. It started that way as a youngster. I worked up to YA, as a teen, not knowing that was a genre. I simply liked S.E. Hinton style of books. Then I discovered Harlequin, Silhouette, etc. … and started writing what I liked in their imprints. It was my first publisher who labeled it romance and to be honest, I was kind of surprised to say I was a romance writer. Still am, actually.

4.) What are you working on now?

 A Christian romance with Ruthie, who is taking over. Then I want to rewrite an older time travel romance. I’m also in the research stages of another book, which will be set in the Golden Age of piracy. I am on the fence about making it a time travel as well. I think it would be a cool plot that way, but two time travels at once?? Humm, I already can’t remember the current date now as it is.  Two eras, and two locations and I won’t ever know when it is. Oh, and I’m plugging away on edits for my Christian romance coming out in November.

5.) What got you to start writing?

Age ten, family situation that rocked my world. I grabbed pencils and paper and wrote it out and drew illustrations. I didn’t know that I was writing, I was simply trying to cope. I always loved to read since my earliest memories. That situation was the catalyst to figure out to put pen to paper and opened my imagination. It grew from there.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Oh my gosh, everywhere! Anywhere! Songs, pictures and simple comments can open a whole new vein of thought for me. Entire stories have been written from one picture or one chance event. Multiple scenes can certainly be written by a line in a song or any of the above. I keep a file of headlines and newspaper/ magazine pictures that spark something, waiting to turn them into a story. My friends know to be careful what they say to me—it might become part of a book.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I am adopted, though I have known both sets of parents. I have never had any sense of smell—good or bad scents. I tend to become very passionate about issues I care about. Sometimes I get too involved, so that I have gotten into trouble. I prefer trucks and Jeeps over cars and have an insatiable sweet tooth.  I have over fifty houseplants. I make my own suet and hummingbird nectar for the wild birds and I cook my parrot’s breakfast from scratch each week. And I ask questions about everything.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I can paint and write poetry. I am great at dealing with fractious animals. (by-product of working as a veterinary technician for many years) I have a super green thumb and my cats challenge it constantly. I like getting discounted dead plants from home centers and bring them back to life. The challenge isn’t reviving the plants, it’s keeping the cats from chewing on them. I am also quite crafty with needlepoint, floral design and such.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

As a child, I was shy, awkward and had low self-esteem. I was quiet and reserved. My mother had an elderly friend who allegedly wrote stories. (I could never find any in print or on line) She saw something in me and took an interest in the kid everyone else tended to overlook. One day my mother mentioned I liked books and sometimes wrote a little something. Her friend studied me quietly, thoughtfully and finally told me I could be an author. In my mind, authors were highly regarded, intelligent, esteemed, and elite individuals. To be one of ‘them’ was an honor and distinction. And this woman, one of the people who had consistently seen value in me, told me I could become one of ‘them’. That simple comment--so thoughtfully spoken—raised my self-worth in ways I could not describe. And now, many years later, I am one of ‘them’—an author.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about? 

Believe it or not, I am coming up blank on this question. I’d love to talk to some departed loved ones, but they are only famous to me.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

There is no 1 song. Some encapsulate a snapshot of time, for example Jo Dee Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California” embodies a short period in 2004 when I left Michigan. It was literally ‘Toss a dart at the map and see where it lands’. I ended up in North Carolina. I see a bit of myself in “Desperado” by The Eagles/ Clint Black. I also see parts of my life in “Riser” by Dierks Bentley and “Moments” by Emerson Drive in darker periods. I resorted to asking friends and co-workers, since they see me at my best and worst. Answers range from “Doctor Dolittle” and “Old MacDonald had a Farm”, owning to my love of animals and houseful of assorted, beloved pets (aka fur/feather -kids), a Bonnie Raitt song, “I Will Not be Broken”, and a song by Superchick called “Stand in the Rain”. (Admittedly I had to go listen to the last two on YouTube and was pretty flattered when I did)

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

Another tough one. It’s a toss-up between cat, dog or horse. Cats are agile, graceful, and small enough to get into interesting places and hardy enough to take care of themselves. The perfect blend of beauty, independence, playfulness and ultimate laziness. Yet dogs are great. They are well suited to their function, whether they are working dogs, toy dogs or whatever. I have a collie and think the world of him. Dogs are the best combination of loyalty and protection, function and form and most are lovely to look at. I am a fan of big, hairy working dogs. Oh but horses! I love horses. Powerful, loyal. Smart. To be able to run like the wind, and still be gentle enough to work with the smallest, frailest humans and strong enough to pull or carry the heaviest loads. A unique mix of strength and gentleness. What a decision! And birds are awesome too, especially the parrots.





  
EXCERPT:

Actually, it seemed kind of simple to her. The bad guys chasing them were being eliminated. Once they were all gone, she and Kade could return to their previous lives. Personally, the reasoning of why the great chase across the Caribbean didn’t mean as much to her as just ending it.
However, as much as she knew she had to return to work and home, a part of her whispered it had been nice just being with Kade on his boat. Nice enough, that whisper nudged, to want to continue it.
Nonsense, she told the nudging whisper, pushing aside a strand of hair picked up on the breeze. Sure, it had not been all bad, but she still had responsibilities back home. Coming here had been a vacation only. Not a romance. Besides, she had no room in her life for romance. Regardless how pleasurable time with Kade was.
Gibberish, her mind whispered back, almost laughing at her.      Huffing irritably, she stomped back to the galley to fix breakfast. Yanking sausage out of the fridge, she slapped it on the cutting board and slashed away at it with a knife.

Links:
WEBSITE: www.ryanjosummers.com   

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Welcomemy Latest Guest Christina Hoag @ChristinaHoag

I want to welcome Christina Hoag. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

First off, thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Barbara, and giving me this space. I’m a novelist and journalist. I’ve been a reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald, and was a foreign correspondent in Latin America for nearly a decade. Now I work freelance so I have more time to devote to my fiction. I’m passionate about reading and writing, and have been my whole life. I’m a member of International Thriller Writers and I’m a volunteer creative writing mentor to at risk girls with an organization called WriteGirl.

Tell us about your latest release.

It’s a YA romantic thriller from Fire and Ice YA titled Girl on the Brink. It’s the story of a girl, Chloe, who gets involved with the wrong guy—haven’t we all done that at some point in our lives?—and this leads to some pretty drastic consequences for Chloe. But Chloe is smart and a survivor. She conquers her fear, summons her strength and not only survives but thrives. Ultimately, it’s a novel about the journey of girl power.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

I always wish Arthur Conan Doyle had done more with Moriarty, the foil to Sherlock Holmes. He’s a baddie of Holmes’ own intellectual level, which is a setup for some great plots.  In general, I find criminal masterminds who use their superior intellect for villainous purposes the most interesting antagonists.  

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I have to say it is Magdaleno, the protagonist in my literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld Skin of Tattoos, which is also being released this month by Martin Brown Publishing. Mags struggles to do the right thing and leave the gang, but his pride and ego get in the way. He’s just so humanly flawed.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I write character-driven thrillers. I love crime fiction, delving into the seamy side of life and what drives people in that world, but a lot of work in that genre is very formulaic, which gets boring after a while. I like to see how extraordinary events, which often happen in the context of crime, affect character so that’s what I write.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’ve got two novels both in the final stages. One is called The Revolutionaries, and it’s a literary political thriller based on the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela, where I was living at the time and working as a freelance journalist. The other is called Angels Lust. It’s a detective mystery set in Los Angeles.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I won a prize for “writing interesting stories” when I was six years old so I guess writing was always there. It came out as soon as I literally learned how to put pen to paper. I discovered journalism in high school so I knew that’s what I wanted to do as a career. I’ve written fiction on and off my whole life.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Like any writer, I draw on my own experience and what I see around me. Working as a journalist for many years has deeply influenced my fiction. As a reporter, you have an entrée into many subcultures, slices of life and people that normally you would not have access to. I’m also a passionate traveler. I’ve visited over 60 countries so international themes really call to me.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I didn’t come to the United States until I was 13 years old. I lived in six other countries growing up: New Zealand, where I was born, Fiji, England, Sweden, Nigeria and Australia.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I love languages. I speak Spanish fluently, a decent French and a smidgen of Italian. I always wanted to learn more languages. I’m fascinated how language reflects culture, but it takes a lot of practice to keep them up.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

“Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill said that, and it’s so true. Early on in my creative endeavors, I gave up on myself too easily. It took some maturity to realize you have to keep going even in the face of an onslaught of rejection.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I think it would be William Shakespeare. I’d love to ask him about his creative process, his philosophy of life, try to figure out the source of that marvelous wisdom.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

A tough one. I think I’ll go with Van Halen’s “Jump,” because I believe in not letting fear hold you back from taking leaps into the unknown in life–I’ve taken many. Plus, I’m a huge seventies big-hair rock fan.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?


I’d come back as a scarlet macaw. They are majestic birds with such resplendent colors. It always wowed me when I spotted them soaring wild and free over the jungle canopy in Latin America. The romantic in me also loves the fact that they mate for life.





EXCERPT:


The carnival sets up for two weeks every summer in a field outside town. Everyone goes. It’s something to vary Indian Valley’s monotonous diet of bowling, the single-screen movie theatre, miniature golf, and hanging out at the Dairy Cream. 
Kieran grabs my hand as we stroll into the fair. It’s a riot of dazzling lights, whirling rides and thumping music. I scan the crowd, hunting for Morgan and Jade, who I spot waiting for funnel cakes.
“Hey, there are my friends.” I wave frantically at them with my free hand as I tug Kieran with the other. Morgan sees me, points me out to Jade and they both look my way.
Kieran yanks my hand in the opposite direction. “We’ll catch up with them later.”
“I want you to meet them. I told them all about you.”
“I just want to play my favorite game for you first.”
I can’t refuse. I let myself be pulled and make an apologetic face at them. Morgan’s expression hardens. She says something to Jade. The crowd swarms between us, and I lose sight of them.
Kieran steers me to a shooting-at-moving-ducks game and grabs a rifle. He’s a good shot and soon wins a white teddy bear with a red satin heart sewn on its chest. He hands it to me.
“For you.”
“Thank you. It’s adorable.” I proudly tuck it under my arm.
“Just like you. Hungry?”
“Starving.”
“Me, too.”
We make for the food concessions. “Carnival hot dogs are the best,” Kieran says. “The pizza and hamburgers blow.”
“Totally,” I say as we line up.
We buy hot dogs slathered with relish—and root beer, of course—and sit at a picnic table. Kieran straddles the bench, patting the seat in front of him. I sit astride like him. He inches closer so our knees touch.
“Open wide,” he orders, looking at my mouth.
I obey. He feeds one end of the hot dog to me, then leans in and bites the other end. I crack up and almost choke.
“Don’t laugh,” which comes out something like “doan waf” through Kieran’s mouthful of hot dog.
No hands, he chews, swallows and takes another bite. I do the same. We manage to eat the hot dog, and at the end, our lips touch. Kieran presses mine into a kiss.
“So that’s why you like carnival hot dogs,” I say when we break apart. “To steal kisses.”
“Hey, I told you they were the best. Hold on, you have mustard on your face.” He swoops in and licks the side of my mouth.
I wipe off his wetness. “Ew, Kieran!”
“Mmmm, salty.”
I giggle. He swoops in again and licks all around my mouth and lips. His tongue tickles, and I laugh as I shake my head, sucking in my lips, trying to get him off me as I crack up harder, which only encourages him. He slurps my cheeks and chin, and I try to recoil out of his reach, but he pulls me to him. Finally, he backs off and dabs my face with a napkin as I recover my breath.
“You’re worse than a puppy,” I say.
“Ruff, ruff.” He pants and holds up his hands like paws, then jumps to his feet, holding out his palm. “Come on. Time for rides.”
We run like it’s an emergency.
“Cup of tea, Madam?” Kieran points to the tea cups, then pushes open the just-closing gate and leaps in a cup.
We spin madly in the tea cups, chase, block and slam each other in the bumper cars, cling to each other in the haunted house. We finish with a ride on the Ferris wheel.
It’s getting late, and the crowd has swelled with rowdy revelers who obviously made a pitstop at a bar before the carnival.
“Let’s go,” Kieran says, after a guy, drunk or stoned, stumbles in front of us.
“I really wanted you to meet my friends.”
“We’ve got plenty of time for that. It gets nasty this time of night, a lot of fights.”
“Okay.” I give a last three-sixty turn in case Jade and Morgan appear. Kieran’s right. Cliques of older guys and girls hang around the perimeter, smoking and drinking from paper bags.
We swing our clasped hands as we walk to the parking lot. I wish the night would never end. When we get in the truck, he blasts the air conditioning and rolls down the windows. We pull out into the street, and as the AC chills, I close my window. Using his control, Kieran buzzes it down again.
“The AC’s on,” I say.
“I know, but doesn’t it feel great? To feel cold air and warm air at the same time?”
He accelerates. Bathtub-temperature air whooshes along the side of my body, while my chest is cooled by the AC. The combination feels luxurious.
“You’re right. It does feel great!”
He grins. “Told ya.”
“My mom would kill me for doing this.”
“That’s why you’re hanging with me, not with her.”
He snakes an arm over and slides off the elastic holding my ponytail. I shake my hair loose and let the wind whip it.
“That’s it, sweetpea, be free.”

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Please Welcome My Latest Guest Wayne Zurl!

I want to welcome Wayne Zurl. First, I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi, folks. My name is Wayne Zurl. I grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years, I served as a section commander supervising investigators. I graduated from SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. I left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with my wife, Barbara.

Twenty-seven (27) of my Sam Jenkins novelette mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books.

My full-length novels are: A New Prospect, A Leprechaun’s Lament, Heroes & Lovers, Pigeon River Blues, and most recently, A Touch of Morning Calm.

A new novel, A Can of Worms, is scheduled for release late in 2016. Another, Honor Among Thieves, is on tap for 2017.

I’ve won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award.

For more information on my Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Tell us about your latest release.

         
A Touch of Morning Calm hit the sales shelves on July 12, 2016. The quick description is: Sam Jenkins vs Korean organized crime, but that’s too simplistic. With four murders in sleepy little Prospect, Tennessee, complexities jump over the moon. Here’s what appears on the book jacket:
           
Chief Sam Jenkins runs headlong into Tennessee’s faction of Korean organized crime when a mobster tries to shake down two former call girls attempting to establish a legitimate business. Soon, bodies begin piling up—all with a Korean connection—in Sam’s town of Prospect and nearby Knoxville.

           
Sorting truth from fiction calls for more than Sam and his officers can handle, so he turns to the women in his life for assistance. His wife, Kate, Sergeant Bettye Lambert and TV news anchor, Rachel Williamson contribute significantly in clearing the convoluted homicides.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?  

Jolie Blon’s Bounce is one of James Lee Burke’s best books. James Lee Burke is one of my favorite writers, and the antagonist of the book, the despicable Legion Guidry, might qualify as the nastiest villain in literature. Burke writes descriptions like few authors can. He tells us that Legion is in his mid-seventies, but looks twenty years younger and is as lean and fit as an athletic forty-year-old.  Guidry, a former plantation overseer, causes Burke’s hero, Cajun Detective Dave Robicheaux, major problems and even gives the veteran cop a good beating. But Legion isn’t just physically daunting. He’s also a master of psychological warfare—not only causing physical damage, but more than capable of inflicting mental anguish to his victims. Three quarters of the way through the book, you wonder if Satan isn’t walking the turf of south Louisiana.


2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I can’t name Sam Jenkins, the main character in all my books and stories because too many people say Sam is a lot like me. He and I share many similarities, one of them being an inflated ego, but even I couldn’t go that far. So, I unequivocally say that Sergeant Bettye Lambert is my favorite. She’s a composite of a few people I knew or worked with. Bettye was never destined to be as important as she has become, but she seems to hold a lot of influence over me and throughout all the stories, she’s taken on a very strong second fiddle role. She’s actually more than that. Bettye is not only Sam’s administrative officer and occasional partner on the road, but she’s almost his “handler.” She’s more politically correct than Sam. He’s often impatient. She provides a soothing quality—She’s half workplace spouse and half psychotherapist. Any boss would be happy to have a few Bettyes on his team.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
           
I’ve had seven novels and twenty-seven novelettes published—all in the mystery / police procedural genre. I worked as a cop in New York for twenty years. Any officer from a crowded, busy area leaves the job with a great many “war stories” under his hat. When I decided to write fiction, I thought of the old author’s maxim: Write what you know.  I took a retired New York detective and made him a police chief in rural east Tennessee, where I now live. I’ve covered my bases. I know criminal investigations and the Smoky Mountain region.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m about thirty-five thousand words into a novel I call A Bleak Prospect. It centers on the search for a serial killer the press calls The Riverside Strangler. When the investigation is complete, many lives will be drastically changed—for good guys and bad guys.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I started writing non-fiction that coincided with a volunteer job I took at a Tennessee state park shortly after we retired from New York. My basic responsibility was to write publicity for the park’s living history program. That blossomed into twenty-six magazine articles about colonial American history and then a spot with a magazine where I had a semi-regular column on the fiction of James Fenimore Cooper. After ten years of that, I just couldn’t dream up anything new and exciting to say about the 18th century French and Indian War. So, I handed the torch to someone else. But, I needed a creative outlet and stacking manuscripts in a closet made more sense than finding a place to store oil paintings or model airplanes. I decided to try my hand at fiction.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I tell everyone that I have a better memory than an imagination. Remember what I said about tucking away twenty years of cop stories? Most of what I write is based on one or more cases I investigated, supervised, or just knew a lot about. I embellish them, because contrary to what Hollywood might lead us to believe, police work isn’t always a thrill a minute. I fictionalize them with a little of the added conflict and tension readers like so much, and to paraphrase Jack Webb’s weekly disclaimer on “Dragnet,” I change the names to protect the guilty—and to keep me out of civil court.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
                       
Many years ago, while working as a uniformed cop, minding my own business, looking for criminals, I ended up delivering three babies, one at a time, on separate occasions…and five cats, all at once.

8.) Do you have any special talents?
                       
Besides writing the best cop fiction since Joe Wambaugh and being terribly modest, I believe I was born with the ability to be a very good shooter. In the Army, I qualified with more weapons than most people have ever seen, and I won two Olympic gold medals for police combat shooting.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
                       
I met veteran, award winning author Richard Peck when he dedicated the young adult wing of our county library. I had just about finished my first novel, A New Prospect, and was attempting to peddle it to agents. Not having the best of luck getting representation, I was feeling the pangs of rejection. A mutual friend, a retired New York librarian, told Peck about my book, which she had read. After a friendly pep talk, Richard told me, “In publishing, you don’t have to be good, you have to be marketable.” That advice made me feel better and has kept me from taking the business too seriously.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
           
George MacDonald Fraser wrote a series of historical fiction subtitled The Flashman Papers. Each book told of the adventures of Harry Flashman, from his days as a young British Army officer in the First Afghan War of 1839 through the early 20th Century when, as a retired brigadier, Sir Harry was still getting into mischief all over the world.  Fraser describes Flashman as a bully, poltroon, braggart and insatiable lecher. All those good qualities aside, Old Flashy had an uncanny ability of running across all the famous personalities in the world, from George Armstrong Custer to the Emperor Franz Joseph…and possibly having an affair with their wives. He had been captured by enemies often enough to qualify for frequent hostage points, but like a feral cat, Flashman always landed on his feet and came out of the stickiest situations smelling like a French bimbo. I think he could entertain me for years. He’d talk, I’d listen.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?
                       
Just using the title and not taking the lyrics literally, I’d say The Beach Boys’ old song, “I Get Around.”  I’ve travelled to a lot of exotic places and have no intention of stopping. I mentioned my career as a cop, but I also spent more than my share of time as a full-time and reserve soldier. I’ve seen and done a few interesting things and met lots of interesting people.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?
                       

Since this would be in a new and different life where I’d be starting things from scratch, I’d like to be a Scottish terrier. We had one for seventeen years. She was my best friend—someone I considered one of the most loyal and toughest individuals I’d ever met—a great role model. And in public places, she attracted more good-looking women than a hundred credit cards towed behind a brand new Corvette.



Blurb:

Long before there was much ado about the division of North and South Korea at the 38th parallel, that land was known to the rest of the world as Koryeo.

In those ancient days, a dynasty existed in Koryeo called Chosun. To those people, the loose English translation of Koryeo meant The Land of Morning Calm.

If you’ve ever been to the Korean countryside, you know the phrase is appropriate. The same can be said for the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.

But not all the time.


Excerpt:

Chapter One

For the last two years, I’ve spent nearly one third of my life with Sergeant Bettye Lambert, my administrative officer and occasional partner. We get along famously—most of the time.

At my age, you’d expect I’d know how to deal with women, but experience shows I’m not as smart as I think. If I inherited the ability to handle the opposite sex efficiently, I would have taken a different job—like a hairdresser. But apparently in that area I’m hopeless. So I remain a cop.

The main telephone rang on Bettye’s desk. If the caller wanted me, she would buzz my phone and forward the call. Nothing happened. Moments later, she stood in my office doorway, looking a little miffed.

I could always tell when things weren’t going her way. She cocked her left hip to the side and rested a hand there. I thought she looked attractive. With her right hand, she leaned on the doorjamb and scowled at me.

At least she isn’t holding a gun.

“It’s your friend—that cheap blonde,” she said.

“Who?”

Bettye shook her head, and her blonde ponytail swung back and forth. “You know who.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t. Who are you talking about?”

“Well, you seemed to get along with her just fine. It was me she didn’t like.”

“Huh?” I remained in the dark.

“You damn well know who I’m talkin’ about, Sam Jenkins. That blonde we met on the Cecil Lovejoy case—that one from Chicago.”

“Ah-ha.” A light in my brain switched on.

“Yes, ah-ha. Now pick up your damn phone.”

Bettye gets away with saying things like that because we both know how important she is to my little police department. And hearing a note of jealousy in her voice boosts my ego.

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” I said. “Just why are you angry?”

“Lord have mercy, you’re pathetic.”

I tried a smile. “That may be true, but you’re still hopelessly in love with me.”

“Not after today, darlin’. I said answer the phone. That one’s waitin’ for ya.” She turned and walked away.

Sergeant Lambert made reference to a woman named Veronica Keeble. Two years ago, after a local man, one Cecil Lovejoy, was murdered in Prospect, Bettye and I interviewed Mrs. Keeble. Sort of a suspect at the time, Veronica was thirty-five-years-old, blonde and absolutely gorgeous. Did I mention she was an ex-hooker?

I answered my phone, curious to learn what ‘that one’ had to say.

“Hello, this is Chief Jenkins.”

“Well, hello there. It’s been a long time.” She sounded friendly.

“Yes, it sure has. How are you?”

“I’m fine, thanks. Were you the police chief when we first met, or have you been promoted from detective?”

I remembered the time I interviewed her. On a warm July day, we walked down the street where she lived, and I listened to the intimate details of her earlier life.

“Yeah, I was the chief back then. We only have thirteen cops here, so I get to play detective at times. I’d have to sweep the floors, too, if the mayor caught me not looking busy.”

She laughed briefly, something a little husky and a whole lot sexy. “I see. You must have a tough boss.”

I thought about Bettye. “Sometimes I wonder who the boss is around here. What can I do for you, Mrs. Keeble?”

 “The last time we spoke, I thought we agreed on Sam and Roni.” Her voice sounded soft and inviting.

Another memory—before we parted company, she asked my first name, shook my hand and left me gazing into the most incredibly blue eyes on the planet.

“We did. Okay, Roni, how can I help you?” I wondered what I might be getting into.

“Did you ever find out who killed that awful man?”

“That’s a long story—sort of.”

She called me to learn the outcome of a two-year-old case?

“You’ll have to tell me some time.”

“Sure, but first tell me why you called. I want to know if I should be flattered because you remember me or act totally professional.”

“Wow, how do I answer that?”

“Try the direct approach. Remember, I’m a civil servant. You pay my salary. I, madam, am at your disposal.”

She used that soft and inviting sound again. “That opens up all kinds of possibilities.”

The woman really had a way with words. I thought I’d play along. I wasn’t busy.

“But,” she said, “I guess I should tell you why I called before I forget.”

“Yes, ma’am. It’s your dime.”

“Well, I have a friend who just opened a business in Prospect. I think she may need police assistance.”

“Really? Why didn’t she call?”

“I told her you and I had already met. I know it’s been a while, but I still remember how nice you were. You listened to my story, and you weren’t judgmental like someone else might have been. I thought you were okay for a cop. I told her I’d call and see if you would help her.”

“Okay for a cop, but not so hot for a plumber or delivery man?”

“Oh, stop, you’re just looking for compliments.”

“Maybe. I could be suffering from self-esteem problems.” I allowed a few seconds for her to enjoy my self-deprecating humor. “If she’s in some kind of trouble and it’s a police matter, of course I’ll help. But I’m sure you understand I have to hear her story first.”

“I knew you’d do it.”

Roni Keeble didn’t say, ‘Yipee,’ but I could envision her smiling. I still have a good memory. Did I mention the girl was gorgeous?

“Will you have lunch with us? I’ll introduce you, and Sunny will explain everything.”

“Having lunch with a complainant and her friend isn’t the usual way a policeman starts an investigation.”

“Lunch would be nice though, wouldn’t it?”

This is how a cop gets into trouble.

Links: 

Author website:  http://www.waynezurlbooks.net 

Friday, August 12, 2016

A quck update

I'm going to be quick but I wanted to apologize to you guys as well as my missed guest this past Saturday. I had family come into town and the blog just slipped my mind. Then my mom had a car accident and everything went on the back burner. I'm happy to day she is fine, but it did effect this week.

But I'm back and will have a new guest tomorrow...

I'm working out the new date for this past Saturday's missed blog.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Welcome My Latest Guest Lynda Bailey! @AuthorLyndaB

I want to welcome Lynda Bailey. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Barbara! I have no doubt I was born a storyteller. I remember telling my first “story” in kindergarten when I informed my teacher, Mrs. Downing, that my mom had just had a baby boy. She hadn’t, of course, and while I got thoroughly admonished for my “storytelling,” I wasn’t deterred from what would become a lifelong passion. From making up tales as a kid which centered around my favorite TV shows to today, I love telling stories! Stories with handsome guys and spunky gals, that always…always end with a happily-ever-after.

Tell us about your latest release.

On a Knife’s Edge is a romantic suspense set in the small, fictional town of Stardust, Nevada. It’s a story of lost love and where the line between trust and treason is razor thin…

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Ooh…favorite villain…I’d hafta say Snape from Harry Potter, because he ended up NOT being the bad guy, but the most heroic character in the series.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

That’s like asking someone to pick their favorite child – which is easy for me as I've only got one son. But favorite character…no can do. They’re ALL my favorites, especially when they behave. 

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

On a Knife’s Edge is my first forage into romantic suspense and I've also written a western historical erotic romance, Wildflower. Everything else is contemporary, erotic romance. I like writing contemporary because I don’t care for doing the research or world-building necessary for historicals or paranormals. And the erotic part is because I like that too. *wink*

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m plotting out Mended Trust, which is the second in my Trustworthy Texas Trilogy.

5.) What got you to start writing?

As I said before I've always been a storyteller, but I didn’t start putting the stories on paper didn’t until I was in my 30’s. I think the characters in my head finally got tired of being locked up and busted down the walls!

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Pretty much anywhere. I've been inspired by a female auto mechanic, reality TV shows and the disabled man living down the street. Once you open yourself up to the possible, there’s a never-ending stream of ideas.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

That I was once a certified welder.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

Does drinking wine count?

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

To never give up. Hard to do, especially when the rejection letters, lousy sales and bad reviews come your way. But I realize now that storytelling/writing is in my blood. To stop, I think I’d hafta be dead.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

Alan Rickman who played Snape in the Harry Potter movies. I don’t think I’d talk about anything. I’d just listen to him…

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

The Beat Goes On

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

At first I wanted to say a wolf or polar bear, but I think in reality I’d want to come back as a service dog. They bring such joy to their owners, are so vital to their owners’ lives…and I like that.




Blurb:

She was once his sweet salvation…
Lynch Callan has been a dead man walking most of his life—nothing out of the ordinary for a member of the 5th Street biker gang. There was a brief period, though, when she made him believe he could be more. That he could be worthy of her, and her love. To protect her, and keep their relationship from being discovered, he went to prison. Except now the Streeters are in danger. But in order to save his crew, he must first betray them. If caught, he’ll end up dead for sure. It’ll be the mother of all balancing acts—especially with her in the picture. But Lynch will do whatever is necessary to protect the people he loves.

He was once her deepest desire…
Shasta Albright doesn’t break the rules. Not anymore. As an unruly teenager, she defied her family at every turn…even secretly befriending, then dating, then falling in love with a bad boy Streeter. Finally her recklessness caught up with her—with lasting and even dire consequences. Now she leads a pristine existence, always staying within the lines and keeping her secrets hidden. That is until he gets released from prison. Can Shasta hold her perfect world together, or will everything get hurled into chaos?

With young girls going missing, the sleepy town of Stardust, Nevada becomes an unlikely epicenter for an illicit slave trade—with Shasta and Lynch caught in the middle. Amidst the rising body count, they fight to keep their loved ones—and each other—safe. A single slipup could have deadly repercussions. It’s an untenable and treacherous position. Much like walking On a Knife’s Edge…


Excerpt: 

A loud thump from the bedrooms jolted Shasta’s heart. She hastened to her feet. Adjusting her sweaty hold on Newman’s gun, she tiptoed toward the unlit hallway. Slow, steady footsteps approached.

“Agent Newman?”

No answer. But the footfalls grew nearer.

She retreated as an indistinguishable figure gradually walked forward. She knew it was a man, but she also realized it wasn’t Agent Newman. This man was taller and not as broad in the shoulders.

The first thing she saw were his shoes. Even in the weak illumination, she could tell they were expensive, with a polished shine. Next came slacks with crisp, tight creases. Newman wore a disheveled suit.

“Agent…Newman?” She hated that her voice quaked.

“No…not Agent Newman.”

Shasta recoiled at the familiar baritone voice.

Links:



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Writing Down the Bones: Ten Things You Should Know about Editors Part 2 @barbbradley

Here's the second installment of Ten Things You Need to Know about Editors (Whether You're Published or Not) Written by Paula Ekyelhof. I know, I know, I should have posed this a while ago. Sorry it took so long.
 As usual I'm going to try to put them in my own words.

6.) Editors care about their authors and there books. Now this is written for the brick and mortar houses where the editor can push your book for you. In the electronic world your book is edited by your editor from their home. There is no fighting for shelf space so each book is treated equally.

7.) This is your book not the editors and we want to keep it that way. It's not our job to rewrite your book the way we would do it but the way we think you should do it.

8.) We want your book to sell as much as you do. Understand that your editor, cover artist, anyone involved in your book gets royalties just like you do. If it doesn't sell we don't get paid.

9.) We can each you a lot. A good editor can help you sharpen your writing. We catch those things that you can't see notice patterns you might not.No matter how seasoned you are always eep an open mind and be willing to learn.

10.) As an editor I'm always hoping your book is the next great book. The one that takes readers by storm. The one that you can't put down. The one that makes me forget to edit because I'm so caught up in the story I forget to do it.

Publishing is hard of the author as well as the editor. It can be harsh, and a bit cruel but we're all an optimistic bunch.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Welcome My Latest Guest! Jannie Lund @jannielund

I want to welcome Jannie Lund! First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi, Barbara. Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog.

I’m from Denmark, and I’ve been fortunate enough to publish my work in English and Danish since 2008. When I’m not writing—and it does happen from time to time—I love reading, cooking, and exploring history in books and out in the real world with my camera and a notebook. I’m very creative, which mainly comes out in crochet, various paper arts, and needle felting.

Tell us about your latest release.

I’m releasing my Morello Cove series this year. The first book, Vintage Dreams, was released in February, the second one, Dreams of Home, will be out in August or September, while the third and last (for now anyway), Dreaming With You, is set to be released at the end of the year. In Vintage Dreams, the scene of Morello Cove is set, and two very stubborn people come to terms with the fact that they’re meant to be together when Scott comes to town with one goal—taking away the dream Danielle’s worked so hard to come true. Sparks fly! In Dreams of Home, a wounded soul is healed with the love of a good woman.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

Jaime Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire. I know. He’s horrible, truly horrible. And I probably only liked him at first because he’s played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in the TV-series. I love the vulnerability portrayed, though. It slips through the cracks from time to time, and to be able to write a character with so many despicable actions, yet make him seem vulnerable, is amazing. George R. R. Martin does that so well.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

In the unpublished Madigan River series I’m currently writing, one of the Madigan brothers, Julian, has captured my heart completely. He’s an angry, broken young man, who desperately needs some love. I also have a real weakness for Jake in my Morello Coves series. If you’ve read Vintage Dreams, you’ll know him already, and in the third book he’ll get his chance to shine for real. 

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

I write contemporary romance, mainly because that’s what I read. Initially, it was the dream of writing historical fiction that made me start taking my writing seriously, but I have a healthy dose of respect for writing historical, as I have a background in history and am afraid of writing against sources without intending to. I will follow the dream one day, though.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m working on a new series, currently battling the beginning of book three. It’s tentatively titled Madison River and features the dashing Madison brothers and their troubles with siblinghood, romance, and getting along in general.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I think there’s a basic need in humans to tell stories. As a child, I stuttered a lot and had a difficult time getting the words to come out of my mouth. So to tell my stories, I wrote them down. I never stopped.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere. A cliché, I know, but it’s true. I see something, hear something, feel something, and then I twist it. Ask “what if?” a lot, and out comes an idea. When an idea for a book, a scene, or even just a line of dialogue suddenly pops up unexpectedly, it’s the most exhilarating feeling.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

That I’m Danish might surprise some. I’ve experienced it a lot, and it’s as big a compliment every time. 

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I’d like to think I have a talent for juggling writing in two different languages at the same time.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

Before I wrote my first novel-length manuscript, I read a university level book about the craft of writing fiction. I felt so smart afterward. Then I discovered that I could apply none of it to writing what I wanted. I like good advice, but what’s more important is that you find your own way and what works for you. No two authors work exactly the same way, and perfecting your own method is your life’s work. The most important piece of advice I’ve ever received is to never stop writing though. If you do, what’s the point?

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

James Joyce. We’d have a couple of pints and discuss Dublin, my home away from home.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

I honestly can’t think of a specific one. I tend to jump from genre to genre depending on what I’m writing, and while I listen to a lot of music, most of the time I have no idea which bands or artists I’m listening to.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

Oh dear. It always makes me unpopular when I say it, but I genuinely dislike animals. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fly, a puppy, or an elephant—I just don’t like them. I’m also allergic to the furry ones. But I guess if I had to choose one, I’d say a mountain goat. Imagine hopping around from rock to rock in the Pyrenees. I think I’d like that.




                                    VINATGE DREAMS Excerpt
Chapter One

Danielle fussed with the delicate, cream colored lace and took a step back to let her critical eyes take in the dress she’d been up half the night finishing. Not that there’d been any rush to get it done, but whenever one of the dresses she created started to take form, she felt a burning need to see it complete and on display at the boutique. Adding the turquoise and mother of pearl necklace completed the vision, and she took another step back. A smile bloomed on her face and satisfaction spread in her body. The dress looked exactly like she’d envisioned when she’d first put pen to paper, and that exact moment was her favorite in the whole process.
“Fleur. Come look at how awesome we are.”
Danielle’s best friend, business partner, and sister in all but blood came out from the back a moment later. She looked in a bit of a daze, which meant Danielle had interrupted her work. She almost felt bad, but then she looked back at the perfect vision of romance and dreams her dress and Fleur’s jewelry made. Fleur would forgive her the interruption.
“What?” Fleur was usually the picture of gentleness and patience, but she became mama bear when someone got between her and her work.
“Look,” Danielle said.
Fleur looked, and Danielle watched the sun rise after a stormy night on her friend’s face. The annoyance gave way to awe and pleasure. “Wow. We did good, Dani.”
“We did better than good, honey. We did amazing.” Danielle slung her arm around Fleur’s shoulders and kissed her cheek.
Danielle and Fleur had been fourteen the first time they’d created something together. Danielle had altered a thrift store dress with her grandmother’s old sewing machine and a few yards of lace, and Fleur had made a necklace for it out of lace scraps and pearl beads. They’d been prouder than peacocks, and from that moment their future had been decided. They had worked hard to learn and to save money, and the result was Annata, the boutique they’d opened on the boardwalk of their hometown of Morello Cove in Monterey Bay. Initially, they’d discussed if it was the right location to sell pricey vintage dresses and handmade jewelry that matched, but they had decided against moving the operation to the city. A wise decision, it had turned out. Women traveled far for the right outfit, and after two years Annata was a definitive success.
“It looks like a dream, doesn’t it? A romantic dream full of moonlight and dancing without music.” Fleur sighed happily.
Danielle squeezed her shoulder. “I’d have said that it’s a piece of art, but your description sounds better. What are you working on this morning?”
“The black garnet pieces for the burgundy satin dress. And the sunrise this morning inspired me so much that I sketched two different wedding sets. Not sure why I see them as wedding sets, but I do. I’ll show you later.”
“I can’t wait.” Danielle looked at her watch. “All right, go hide in your cave. We open in ten minutes, and Susan and Trish will be here any minute.”
“All right. Call me of you need me.”
Danielle nodded, knowing she wouldn’t. There would have to be a code red crisis of epic proportions before she called Fleur out to assist with the customers. Fleur hated it, preferring to hide in her little workshop in the back. She wasn’t even comfortable coming out to say hello to customers who wanted to meet the woman behind the stunning jewelry they bought. Fleur tolerated it, but only barely. Danielle spent as much time with the customers as she did making her dresses. She’d trained Susan and Trish, their two employees, and they were equally at ease with the customers as they were carrying out Danielle’s strict orders stitching hems or beading skirts. They were absolute gems.
When the two arrived a few moments later, Danielle spent a few minutes going over the plans for the day with them. Weekday mornings were usually pretty slow, so she sent both Susan and Trish out back. Trish was helping her with a wedding dress that had a train with an unbearable amount of glass beads, each one stitched on by hand. Danielle couldn’t wait to see it finished. Fleur had created a diadem that resembled a crown of light when its gems sparkled, and Danielle almost envied the yet unknown bride who would wear it.
Susan was asked to deal with the fabrics that had come in earlier that morning, so Danielle had the front of the boutique to herself. This meant that she fussed, corrected a lace collar here, an earring there, and made sure that every dress and every piece of jewelry shone in its own right.
The bell above the door jingling put a smile to her face. As much as she loved creating, finding the right body for her own and Fleur’s creations was exciting, too. However, when she looked up, the body in the door opening was not ever going to fit into one of her dresses, Tall, dark, and handsome came to mind, although that did not do the man justice. Tall, yes. Dark, yes. Handsome, no. More than handsome. Sexy. Devastatingly so. The short, black hair and the icy blue eyes made a stunning combination. The black slacks and white shirt was not enough to hide the muscles beneath, and when he smiled at her, a dimple emerged on the left side of his mouth. She fought the urge to sigh dreamily like Fleur so often did in the presence of real beauty.
Danielle, puzzled at the quivering sensation the stranger invoked in her, pulled herself together and smiled a welcome. If this guy was considerate enough to buy his wife or girlfriend a handmade dress and handmade jewelry, he was pretty much perfect in her opinion. And he hadn’t even opened his mouth yet.

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