Chelsea Fine | Release Day for RIGHT KIND OF WRONG
Author Guest / March 3, 2015

It’s release day for the paperback edition of Chelsea Fine’s RIGHT KIND OF WRONG, and we’re celebrating with a tease… Excerpt from RIGHT KIND OF WRONG Opening my car door, I slide into the driver’s seat, turn to put the key in the ignition and— “Ahh!” Jumping back, I thwack my open palm against the gigantic body of pure muscle seated in the passenger seat. “Dammit, Jack! You scared me!” “Good morning.” He grins. “What are you doing in my car?” I snap, throwing him some serious stink eye. “I’m going with you to Louisiana.” He nods to a large duffle bag in the backseat. I blink. “Uh, no you’re not.” “Uh, yes I am.” “Like hell.” He crinkles his brow. “I’ve never understood that phrase. But okay. I’ll go with you ‘like hell,’ whatever that means.” “Get out of my car.” I point to the door. “Oh, Jenna.” He clucks his tongue. “This will be good for both of us. Listen.” He casually leans against the passenger window and pierces me with his gray eyes. “For reasons beyond my control, I need to go back home. And for reasons beyond your control, so do you. And since our ‘homes’…

Fran Stewart | How to Write a Ghost
Author Guest / March 3, 2015

I’ve written elsewhere about the first time I ever saw a ghost, but the ghosts I used as inspiration for Dirk, the 14th-century Scotsman who is—somehow—attached to a shawl Peggy Winn buys while visiting Scotland, appeared to my sight in the 1980s. It was my first visit to London. I wandered the streets alone, map in hand, soaking up atmosphere, imagination, history, and myth, and enjoying the unusually mild weather that particular January. Naturally, I went to the Tower of London. The oldest part of that imposing structure, as I’m sure you know, is the White Tower, now set up as a museum for armory. I wandered only briefly through the various floors; I’m not much of an aficionado where old weaponry is concerned, and I admit to be slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number of items in each display. One of the circular staircases in one corner of the White Tower is designated as the “up” staircase for tourists. After you’ve seen the myriad breastplates and spears and helmets, it’s time to head to a different corner of the building for the “down” staircase. This traffic flow pattern makes a good deal of sense, because there’s no way groups…

Samantha Chase | Planning the Perfect Romance
Author Guest / March 3, 2015

In my newest romance RETURN TO ME, Selena’s love of event planning could really be put to the test by her love for James. She’s a list maker, a planner, but James has a way of catching her off-guard and messing up her best laid plans throughout the story! But in a perfect world, if she could sit down at her desk and plan out how to win her man back, she’d have to really get creative. She’s already seen him and knows that she wants him back. He seems resistant – almost hostile – but she’s not willing to admit defeat. Her time is limited so she knows she’s going to have to act fast. Step One: Invite James out for a late afternoon coffee date that could easily lead to dinner. Step Two: Invite him back to hotel for an after-dinner drink. Being that you’re visiting from out of town, the hotel is still considered neutral territory. Have a dessert tray waiting in the room – along with a variety of beverages ranging from coffee to champagne. Step Three: Music. Something soft and light and something preferably that would remind him of the time when they used to…

Tonya Burrows | Trail of the Plot Bunny
Author Guest / March 2, 2015

Ever wonder where a writer gets story ideas? Short answer: Everywhere. Long answer: More of everywhere. For this post, I thought it’d be fun to give you a peek into the randomness that goes on in my mind. Be prepared to be amazed.  Or confounded. Horrified. Pick your adjective, any adjective. So here we go. My thoughts as I ate dinner last night: Ugh, dieting is hard. And expensive. No wonder rich people are usually skinny. They can afford to buy all fancy organic stuff. And they probably pay nutritionists to slap their hands when they try to eat ice cream. That would kind of suck. I like ice cream. I wonder if a nutritionist would slap my hand for these sweet potato fries. Probably. But do I care? Nope. Not at all. Take that celebrity nutritionists. Ha. Ha. Ha. Hey, do those nutritionists also go grocery shopping for the celebrities? Or do celebrities go pick up their own milk and bread like everyone else? I didn’t see any celebs in the grocery store when I was in L.A. Buuuut it was like, ten o’clock at night and nobody but me goes grocery shopping that late. That’s why I go….

Laurie Cass | Weird Writer Habits
Author Guest / March 2, 2015

There are probably as many weird writer habits as there are writers. Well, more than that, really, because I know I have more than one weird habit and though I’m willing to bet everyone else does, too, we don’t have time to go into all of them, interesting as that might be. But we can make an effort, yes? This particular author’s weirdnesses start with sitting in the car with my laptop to write because that’s the only place where I won’t be interrupted. And then there are the times I stare off into space with a completely blank look on my face because what’s going on inside my head is a lot more real than what’s going on in front of me. My long suffering husband has grown so accustomed to this look that he can diagnose it in half a second. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for this to happen when we’re out for dinner with friends. I’ll see and hear things going on around me but they don’t sink into my brain because my brain is suddenly busy with working out a plotting problem. Someone will ask me, “Are you okay? You look a little funny,” and my…

Leslie Budewitz | Rural or Urban: The Two Lives of a Cozy Setting
Author Guest / March 2, 2015

For most readers, the term “cozy mystery”—the light-hearted side of the genre—evokes a rural image. That’s certainly true of my Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries, set in Jewel Bay, Montana—a lakeside resort community on the road to Glacier National Park that calls itself “the food lovers’ village.” Fictional, like many cozy towns, but pieced together from towns and villages across the continent. In my new Spice Shop Mysteries, debuting this week with ASSAULT AND PEPPER, I decided to explore the urban cozy. To me, the core of a cozy mystery is the community. Murder disrupts the social order of the community. The amateur sleuth investigates because she has a personal stake in the crime and in making sure the right people are brought to justice. She may think law enforcement officers are on the wrong track, or her role in village life may give her insight and information they lack. The professionals’ job is to restore the external order by making an arrest and prosecuting. Hers is to restore internal order within the community. The sleuth often runs a key local business—she may be the librarian or bookseller, the baker or café owner. She may be a native or a newcomer….

Susanna Ives | Recycling Characters
Author Guest / March 2, 2015

Isabella St. Vincent and Lord Randall are the warring heroine and hero of WICKED, MY LOVE. Their story chronicles a wild road trip as the two try to catch an errant bank partner who has sold them false stock. Years ago, the essence of Isabella and Randall characters existed in a very different story that never got off the ground. Isabella was still an orphaned, rather awkward, young woman with a strong mind. Randall was a society golden boy and political orator. Their chemistry lit up the page. Unfortunately the plot of the original story was as tangled and dense as kudzu. So after months of consideration, I decided to drop the story. For the next few years, the characters existed in my mind, story-less and yearning for their happy ending. I felt that as their creator, I had let them down. So when I had a chance to pitch some stories ideas to my editor, I wrote a quick blurb about a smart, but socially awkward female banker and an emotionally adept and handsome political orator. Then I made them both shareholders in the bank. Instead of having the two bump heads over their differences, as I had in…

M.L. Buchman | Forming A Military Family
Author Guest / March 2, 2015

There are unique challenges faced by our Armed Forces that I have done my best as a civilian to understand. And the results of years of research were not what I would expect. For whatever reason an individual joins the military—and the reasons are as manifold as the number of individuals who serve—those who make it a career begin to form a commonality of why they continue. From the outside I had thought that the bravery to enter battle must be among the most difficult of steps. But it was not. Nor was that bravery subsumed by “It’s an order, so the choice is out of our hands.” The constant theme I’ve heard as I’ve talked to soldiers or read their memoirs is that the task itself is outside of “them.” The task comes from the command structure and, after a sort of pro forma-required grumbling, is accepted as what must come next. What sends the soldier, especially the career soldier, ahead into danger time and time again is that is what the team is doing. “Mark, Connie, and Tim are going. Why would I think of staying behind?” The military team supersedes “family.” It becomes far closer than family….

Lindsay McKenna | The Director’s Cut of TAKING FIRE is Available Now
Author Guest / March 1, 2015

TAKING FIRE and ON FIRE feature a story of US Navy SEAL, Mike Tarik, who is an American citizen, but 1/2 Saudi and 1/2 American, through his mother. His father is a world renown cardiac surgeon. Dr. Bedir Tarik met his wife, Annie, over in Saudi Arabia where she was an American school teacher. Bedir, who is Sufi, believes firmly that love is the only way to peace and harmony in the world. He falls in love with Annie, and they marry in Riyadh. Later, she gets pregnant with Mike and he is born in San Diego, California. Bedir takes his young son over to Saudi Arabia for three weeks every year. He has a charity in Riyadh, and he and Mike take a pickup and distribute clothes, food and money to the poor at the fringes of that city, as well as to many others. He teaches his son generosity, giving back and being grateful for what he has. Mike grows up wanting to become a Navy SEAL. Bedir has already shown him his family’s lineage and tells his warrior son that he has the genes of his warrior great-grandfather. Mike’s view on it is that he wants to…

Lindsay McKenna | TAKING FIRE Director’s Cut: ON FIRE
Author Guest / March 1, 2015

This is a story of US Navy SEAL, Mike Tarik, who is an American citizen, but 1/2 Saudi and 1/2 American, through his mother.  His father is a world renown cardiac surgeon.  Dr. Bedir Tarik met his wife, Annie, over in Saudi Arabia where she was an American school teacher.  Bedir, who is Sufi, believes firmly that love is the only way to peace and harmony in the world.  He falls in love with Annie, and they marry in Riyadh.  Later, she gets pregnant with Mike and he is born in San Diego, California. Bedir takes his young son over to Saudi Arabia for three weeks every year.  He has a charity in Riyadh, and he and Mike take a pickup and distribute clothes, food and money to the poor at the fringes of that city, as well as to  many others.  He teaches his son generosity, giving back and being grateful for what he has. Mike grows up wanting to become a Navy SEAL.  Bedir has already shown him his family’s lineage and tells his warrior son that he has the genes of his warrior great-grandfather.  Mike’s view on it is that he wants to help the poor and…