Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year!

"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year." Ralph Waldo Emerson
#NewYear #Hope #Love 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Excerpt From Death Southern Style

Our last group blog of the year is to write a short story, flash fiction, or present an excerpt from one of your books.
My original plan was to write a short story. Then the holidays crept up and suddenly it’s time to post and I haven’t written anything, at least not a short story for this post. I have been writing on Death Southern Style and it’s almost finished, and I have the cover now, which I will reveal shortly.
So, I decided I’d share an excerpt from Death Southern Style.

After Julie paid the taxi she stood on the street and stared at the small sign tacked over the door of the old wooden house, Chez Voodoo.
She had come here with her mother often and was comfortable with voodoo. She knew it always focused on the positive. It had never been frightening. She was sure voodoo had nothing to do with her mother’s death, but the doll in her hotel room upset her. Other than trying to scare her away, what could it possibly mean? Priestess Ava might be able to help her.
She walked through the store and the door into the church. A tall black woman wearing a long white dress with a white apron and a white scarf tied around her head, turned around when Julie Ann entered the room.
“Julie Ann Dupré, child, welcome.” She hurried across and wrapped her arms around Julie Ann. “I am so sorry to hear about your mother.”
“Thank you.” Julie Ann returned the hug and felt the energy flow from Priestess Ava. She soaked it in before she finally pulled back. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
“Your mother’s death? Of course, although I’m not sure how I can help. Shall we go and sit in the courtyard?”
“That would be nice.” Julie murmured. She liked it out there. Riots of red, orange, yellow, purple and coral colors filled the flower beds, attracting butterflies, birds and bees. Street noises never entered the area. It was an area of serenity and peace. And it always felt cool, despite the temperature.
“I found this in my hotel room this morning.” Julie Ann handed the voodoo doll to Ava.
Ava regarded it carefully before she touched it.
“This was in your hotel room?”
Julie Ann nodded.
“How did it get there?”
“I don’t know. The door and the window were both locked. When I touched it, I could see a group, not one person, but several and all very blurry.”
“I see. This is a voodoo doll, but not one of mine. Someone could have bought it from any of the local shops. It’s one made for tourists and then they added the blood. It’s a warning and meant to scare you.”
“It does scare me. I guess if I left all this alone, accepted the police report and went back to New York maybe I’d be safe.”
“That’s possible. It could be that’s what they hoped you would do when you got this.If you do leave New Orleans the people doing this might feel less threatened.”
“I can’t. For mom’s sake, I can’t let this be swept under the rug. I need answers and a motive. Besides, if the motive has something to do with her past or maybe about me, how can I be sure I’m safe even in New York? Do you know anything about my past?”
“No, Perrine never discussed it. It was obvious you were adopted but she never shared any information about your parents or where you came from. You are going to stay in New Orleans?”
“Yes, I’m staying at home. I’m hoping I might pick up something there or Perrine might talk to me.”
“You must be very careful. Many things in life don’t make sense. Stay open minded; listen to your spirits – Perrine may talk to you or send someone else.”
“I’ll try to be patient and careful. I hope someone will talk to me. When did you see Perrine last?”
“Actually, it was the day before she died. She dropped by for tea.”
“What did you talk about?”
“You, of course. She was so excited that you were coming home. She said she had a surprise for you.
“What was it?” Julie asked eagerly.
“I didn’t ask. I’m sure you’ll probably find out. Maybe she’d bought you a gift?”
“There was nothing in the house – unless that was what was stolen.”
“Ask some of her friends, maybe they know.”
“I will. Thank you.”
“Have you made any plans for the funeral yet?”
“No, I haven’t talked to her friends yet. Savannah mentioned Charlie wants to do it up in style and have an old-fashioned funeral with a band and a parade from the church to the cemetery.”
“That sounds wonderful. Perrine deserves it and the neighborhood will get a chance to mourn her in style. Good for Charlie.”
“I need to talk to him. Would you speak?”
“I’d be honored. Let me know when and where. Now I’m going to give you a special packet of mine. I want you to keep it on you at all times. It is to protect you against unknown threats and danger.” Ava slipped into the church and came back a few minutes later with a small ball wrapped in cotton muslin tied tightly at the top.
She held it over Julie Ann’s palm and mumbled a few words before she handed it to her. “Now put it in your pocket and keep it there. Keep it on you at all times, day or night. Promise me.”
“I will.” Julie Ann obeyed and stuffed it in her pocket. “Thanks, Ava. I don’t know that I need any protection, but I’ll be careful.”
 “You take care now.” Ava gave Julie Ann a hug and watched her go.
Maybe I should have made the potion stronger. There’s an aura around her that says she’s going to have to face some life-threatening challenges.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt. Now please check out these other authors and see what they have chosen to do for you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Check Out The Fourth Victim #MFRWHooks

EXCERPT From The Fourth Victim by Beverley Bateman

Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?

#MFRWhooks  #Mystery #Romance #Christmas #Read

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Targeted by Beverley Bateman #MFRWhooks

Targeted by Beverley Bateman #MFRWhooks

After and eleven year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and is forced to return to a town she only remembers with unhappiness, a man to whom she was briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.

Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since he first met her. They were married but a few weeks later she ran away, without an explanation. He still hasn't figured out why. Now she's coming back. Does she still love him? Can he rekindle the romance and also prevent her from being killed.  

Janna doesn't want Kye's help in anyway, yet he always seems to be there when she's in trouble. Can they work together to find a killer, save the Native burial ground and home of the spirits, and find romance again?
#Western #Mystery #Romance #Christmas  

Friday, November 22, 2019

Odd Characters in a Novel

Now this is an interesting topic. What is the oddest character you have ever dreamed up, and how did they fit into a story?

First, I had to figure out what made a character odd? Their appearance, their occupation, their hobby, did they come from space? I write contemporary but with a touch of paranormal. My WIP has a dog that may have a paranormal element. My Hawkins Ranch series has a grove of trees where the spirits of Native Americans reside and talk to the owners of the ranch. I decided on Lillian Abernathy from A Cruise to Remember. She’s a widow in her sixties with Alzheimer’s and a touch of kleptomania. She wants to repeat a cruise she and her deceased husband had taken, to bring back memories, while she still can. She’s takes Hallie, the heroine with amnesia, on the cruise as her companion. They travel through the Caribbean where they are considered potential jewel thieves.

Lillian is a strong secondary companion who helps the story progress with both the plot development and the growth and development of the heroine. She plays matchmaker, and also brings a little of her own romance into the story.       
I’m looking forward to reading about other authors odd characters. Join me in checking them out.
Rhobin L Courtright www.rhobincourtright.com

I’d also love to hear from people about the oddest character they’ve read about.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

M.S. Spencer and Orion's Foot

Ms. Spencer has published thirteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
M.S.: I write cozy murder mystery, romantic suspense, and some action/adventure/romance. By “cozy” I do not mean my heroine runs a bakery or keeps a cat or lives in the English countryside. It refers to an amateur sleuth who must deal with a puzzle, for example, a corpse in a locked room. I love creating a complicated path to the solution with lots of red herrings and twists and turns.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
M.S.: I always wanted to be a writer. I think if you’re as voracious a reader as I was, you eventually find yourself needing to make that leap into creating your own story, putting your own words on the paper.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
M.S.: Often when I’m surfing the internet I’ll come across an intriguing or crazy item & it triggers a story line. I learned of the “Ghost Hotel” that way. The Pit & the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel, takes place on Longboat Key, Florida, where in fact there stood the hulk of an unfinished Ritz-Carlton for decades. Begun by John Ringling of circus fame, it languished from 1926 to 1964. So…what would you find at a ghost hotel? Anyone?
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
M.S.: Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes. He’s both adorable and horrible, and his imagination soars higher and wider than anyone in the world. I love Pogo too, of course.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
M.S.: I have been a widow for 10 years now, and although I’ve tried various methods of finding a new fella, I have been unsuccessful. So, rather than choose some celebrity or writer or professor, the man I’d most like to meet is the one of my dreams.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
M.S.: Well, I used to go exploring—find a nature trail or historic site. Florida is chock full of fascinating places. I’d like to go to Weeki Wachee Springs and see the mermaids, or to Tarpon Springs to see the sponge divers. Then eat a lovely, looong Greek lunch. But I’d probably seize the day by sitting at my laptop and writing.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
M.S.: I’m working on a story now set in Maine—in the same town as The Penhallow Train Incident. I am not much into series, but I love the denizens of Penhallow and Amity Landing so much I had to let them live on in a new story.
The working title is Mrs. Spinney’s Secret. The story opens with Cassidy Jane Beauvoir, proprietor of Mindful Books and chairman of the Board of Overseers of Amity Landing, confronted with a Hollywood cabal that wants to make a movie in her tiny village. Her objections are overridden by the townspeople, and her initial misgivings must vie with a growing attraction to the film’s director Jasper MacEwan. Unfortunately, both the movie and their romance are hindered by a series of incidents—some fatal, some simply painful. The two must set aside both their differences and their romance to search for answers not only to the mystery, but to the whereabouts of a long lost hoard of English gold.

Monsters and mystery lurk deep in the Amazon—a tale of passion and obsession.
Orion—along with Ursa Major and Ursa Minor—is one of the most recognizable constellations in the sky. Most people zero in on the three stars that make up his belt, but the brightest star in the constellation is Rigel—his left knee or foot.
Orion was the son of Poseidon, who gave him the power to walk on water. He was a great hunter. In the excerpt below, Petra tells Emory why she wishes on Orion’s foot, and he in turn warns her to be careful of him.
Oddly enough, I came up with the title for Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, & Romance in the Amazon, separately from the actual inspiration for the book. I was sitting outside on a beautiful night and saw Orion—I’m sorry to say one of the few constellations I can identify. I thought, what a neat title for a book. There you have it.

Petra Steele is wallowing in self-pity after being dumped at the altar, when her brother Nick invites her to come to the Peruvian Amazon. Before she even sets her suitcase down, she's confronted with a murder victim. In a research station peopled with a quirky assortment of scientists, she is drawn to Emory Andrews, a gruff, big man with a secret past. That is, until his beautiful ex-wife shows up. More murders, more secrets, more mysteries ensue, all in the deeply romantic, sizzling jungle.

Excerpt from Orion’s Foot
After supper, she sought the hammock room,  hoping to see the capybaras again, but the lawn was  empty. For once, the sky was clear, and she wandered  out and down to the dock to enjoy the stars. Ah, there’s  Orion. Usually people chose Venus or Polaris, but Petra  always wished on Orion’s left foot. Nick had once asked her why. “Because it’s his foot that takes the first  stride across space.”
 “So what does that have to do with your wishes?”
 “Whenever I’m faced with a scary decision, Orion  gives me the courage to take the first step.”
 Nick had laughed at her. 
 As she closed her eyes and pondered her request, a  rustle sounded behind her. “Don’t fall in.”
Petra sprang forward and nearly did fall in, but a strong hand caught her around her waist and pulled her back. She felt warm breath in her ear. “Emory!”
He let go. “What are you doing anyway? You had one leg hovering over the water.”
“I guess the stars distracted me.” She glanced at him shyly. “I was wishing on Orion. Or rather, on his foot.” She pointed at the star twinkling below the famous belt.
“Why Orion?”
No need to let on how weird I am just yet. “It’s…uh…the only constellation I recognize?”
“It’s probably the only constellation most people recognize.” He looked down at her. “Okay, do you have a foot fetish, or what? Why wish on the foot?”
Just because Nick made fun of me doesn’t mean Emory will. “It brings me luck.”
“Like a rabbit’s foot, only better?”
She didn’t answer. The thing that had been simmering in the back of her mind for the last two days, obscured by the chaos of events, had made itself known. She knew what she wanted to wish for.
“Petra? Did you hear my question?”
Petra lowered her eyes to Emory. “I don’t know about better—but it serves the same function. See, everyone zeroes in on Orion’s belt, or his dog, or his manly physique, but his left foot—Rigel—is actually the brightest star in the constellation.”
He inspected the night sky. “True. And?”
“Well, it reminds me that when you have to take that first step into the unknown you…um…put your best foot forward. I look at Orion striding across the cosmos, and he helps me believe I can meet any challenge.”
Emory was silent for a minute. Petra was about to take her leave when he said, “Did you know that Orion claimed he was the greatest hunter of all time? Gaia sent a scorpion to kill him.”
“Huh. Who is Gaia?”
“Gaia means Earth—she’s the goddess the Greeks called the mother of all life—the primordial deity. The cool New Age kids all worship her. Don’t tell me you aren’t into crystals and yoga?”
“No. So why did Gaia want to kill Orion?”
“Because, to prove his prowess, he announced he was going to hunt down and kill all the animals in the world. Since Gaia is the guardian of every living thing, you might say his threat kinda ruffled her feathers.”
“I’ll bet. So she decided to kill him before he massacred her subjects. Did she succeed?”
“No. Another god—I forget his name—gave Orion the antidote. That’s why you never see both Orion and Scorpio in the sky at the same time.”
“So,” he said softly, “Orion is hardly the hero you want to set your heart on. All the stories of him involve power, lust, and murder.”

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Christmas with Barbara White Daille

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about those subjects, too!
Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed "The End" to her first novel many years later...in the eighth grade. Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:  https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.

Thanks to Beverley for inviting me back to the blog!
As we’re approaching the winter holidays, I’m sharing a bit about One Week to Win Her Boss. The book is a sweet romance set in Snowflake Valley, which—as you’ll see below—is a tiny tourist town dedicated to celebrating Christmas.

Book Blurb from One Week to Win Her Boss:
Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It's a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she's the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…
A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude. 
Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she's looking for.  

From the book: 
Amber stared down at her coffee. “I was sorry you had to back out at the last minute. You would have made a great Santa yourself.” 
“Santa? Me?” Michael laughed. “Bah, humbug.”
His mocking tone surprised her. “You are a Scrooge, aren’t you? That’s so sad. Christmas is my favorite holiday.”
“Good thing for you, since there’s no getting away from it around here.”
She smiled wryly. “I can’t argue with that. Not when I live and work in a town called Snowflake Valley. As Mayor Corrigan would tell you”—she attempted to mimic his deep voice—“‘three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year, we cater to tourists celebrating the season.’ But you have to admit Christmas is a magical time. And I’m glad that magic brought Santa and Miss Elf their happy-ever-after.” The fact that Miss Elf was her sister made the good news even more special.
When he frowned, obviously puzzled, she smiled. “I forgot. You wouldn’t have heard the news yet. Lyssa and Nick are engaged.”
Michael snorted a laugh.
“What’s so funny?”
“Just reacting to the idea of Nick getting married.”
“Because you never thought he’d find the right girl?”
“No. Because I thought he was smart enough to know marriage isn’t a winning proposition.”
Her heart thumped. She set her mug on the tray and sat back again, tucking her suddenly cold hands beneath the edge of the afghan.
Yes, she wanted to be independent and in control as a single mom…but she didn’t want to be a single mom forever. She’d realized that truth the day she had met Michael. And even after last night’s conversation and this morning’s warnings to herself, she hadn’t given up on him.
Until this minute.
Until his one flat statement shattered all her hopes and dreams.
Where were Callie and Lyssa to save their little sister now? She could see them shaking their heads in disbelief at hearing this news. She could hear them, too.
Isn’t that just like poor Amber to mess things up?
Even as a four-year-old, she was always the mommy when she played house.
And now she’s crushing on a man who probably runs at the first mention of marriage.
And they would be right. Michael’s conviction was a chilling reminder she couldn’t trust her instincts about men.
Still, couldn’t she expect just one tiny Christmas miracle?

Find One Week to Win Her Boss (sale-priced at 99 cents through November 18th):
Entangled:  http://bit.ly/owep2l85mN - includes links to various booksellers
Amazon:  http://bit.ly/ow2l9Detp   

Find Barbara and her books:
Website  https://www.barbarawhitedaille.com