Fast & Furious, But So Enjoyable

It’s been one wild and crazy last couple of months. I think I may have missed November completely. LOL I did manage to get around 35,000 words on NaNoWriMo, so I pretty darn happy about that. ;) And Thanksgiving sure was enjoyable. Lots of food, great company and laughs to go around. My favorite dish will always be the sweet potato pie my sister-in-law makes. Yummy! I’m the only one in my immediate family that eats it, so I only get to savor that sweetness at Thanksgiving and occasionally at Christmas time too. Can you say leftovers? LOL

I’d like to take this time to spotlight a wonderful book by a good friend of mine. “Spider’s Dance” by Will Graham is a must have for suspense/thriller readers. Shoot, even if this is not your favorite genre, you’ll be hooked and swept away by this engaging storyline. Scroll down to get a sneak peek and find the buy links!

Dance Nook 

BLURB:

“Amazing writing! [Your] craft is fabulous, the characters leap off the page, [and your] pacing is spot-on!” – Deborah Coonts, author of the “Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas Adventure” Series.

EXCERPT: At that precise moment, there was a noise like a thunderclap, but much closer, much more intimate. The floor under my feet swayed and trembled. I made a grab for the edge of my desk to steady myself, missed shamefully, and fell to the floor with all the grace of an elephant on roller skates.

The windows shook in their frame and I heard Inspector O’Brien tumble to the floor with a thud.

Things steadied out, and I pushed myself to my feet. I took two long steps to the door. I could see from the corner of my eye Inspector O’Brien was on her feet and moving.

People were streaming fairly calmly to the stairwell doors as the fire alarms blared, but after the morning’s events it wouldn’t take much to start a full scale panic.

I went around the corner and saw plumes of black smoke coming from the server room. The smoke had an acrid tang to it, filling my nose and throat, making me want to choke and cough; all the plastic components in there had been melted, most likely. There was a distinct odor of ozone, of fried electrical circuits, and Halon from the fire system.

The police officers still around were keeping order, getting people out the doors and down the stairs as rapidly as possible. I turned around and saw Inspector O’Brien checking offices, making sure they were empty. I paused and waited for her to catch up.

“You should leave,” she said to me as she slammed a door shut.

“And miss all this?” The expression on her face told me I was only amusing myself.

I was used to that.

Without another word, I took one side while she took the other. We verified no one had been left behind, closing each door when we were done. Plaster dust floated in the air, but the smoke seemed to have stopped.

We worked our way down the hall, reaching the glass doors being held open by two policemen. I started toward them when something caught my eye. I changed direction and took four steps to the server room.

I heard her call out, “Do NOT go in there!” I told myself she was talking to someone else.

I stood in the doorway, trying to see through the dark clouds in the air. In the sparks coming from a couple of the machines, I saw a hand. It wasn’t moving.

I turned and beckoned. “Someone’s in here!” I yelled as I went in.

She got there just as I reached the hand. It was attached to an arm. The arm was attached to a body. Fanning my hands to dispel the crap in the air, I knelt down.

Ian Harris looked like he was asleep.

He wasn’t.

BIO: “Will Graham” is the pseudonym of a professional investigator specializing in computer forensics and electronic evidence exclusively.

His musical tastes pretty much stopped with The Rat Pack, and he still reads Leslie Charteris, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Dame Agatha Christie, and Ellery Queen.

LINKS: AMAZON: http://tinyurl.com/spidersdancegraham

BARNES & NOBLE: http://tinyurl.com/DanceBN

REVIEWS: Thrilling…AND funny!

By Raymond Benson

 

Will Graham has written a remarkably entertaining story, due mainly to the protagonist’s sense of humor. There are laugh-out-loud moments throughout, and these do not take away from the mystery or suspense. Unique characters, an original hero (we don’t get that too often), and an up to the minute topical plot carries SPIDER’S DANCE to the bank.

 

Everybody needs a little romance–and a transition

In August, my husband of 30 years surprised me.  He’s this Type A, Rock of Gibraltar personality who’d been at the same job for 25 years.  He’d been talking retirement and I’d been slightly panicking.  Having a husband home all the time would take some getting used to.

He talked about April 2013, and that gave me some time to prepare.  In my heart of hearts, I didn’t think he’d actually do it.   Although he’s been at the same job for 25 years, we’re still relatively young and this economy had us both worried.

But the main reason I didn’t want him home all the time was a selfish one. I’m a writer.  During daylight hours, the house is mine.

Most writers don’t sit in a chair, where inspiration flows into their fingertips.  When I want to brainstorm, or I get stuck, I jump up from the chair, pick up the phone, and call someone like blog partner Cynthia D’Alba.  I literally take up the first floor of my house to do this.  I walk out of my office, into the den, walk through the kitchen, into the living room then traverse that same area again and again until I get a plot point figured out.

That’s such a freeing process for me.  And that process didn’t include walking out of my office, to find a man on the couch with the television blaring, wondering, what in the heck is she doing?

Even so, I had plenty of time to prepare, right?  He’d said April 2013.  My budget-minded husband studied his Excel spreadsheets with a specific dollar amount in mind and he was like the proverbial racehorse winding down for the homestretch.

Wrong.  I forgot to calculate into all his preparedness the amount of stress he was under.  In August, when I was at RWA National, he out-and-out quit his job.  The stress he’d just released fell onto my shoulders in a big, thick thud!

There’s a happily ever after to this story—he’s well-respected at work and his bosses wouldn’t accept his resignation.  They offered him a sabbatical and a new position when he returns in January.  It’s also given us a chance to layout some guidelines for when both of us are home full time.  I explained my crazy little writing process and he laughed. The last place he planned to be after 25 years was sitting on a couch and watching TV.

He obviously meant it.  So far, he’s gone to Arizona to hike the Grand Canyon, climbed Pikes Peak, he went elk hunting with buddies; every morning he gets up and either runs or bicycles for a good part of the day.

In a week, after hiring a house sitter, we’re heading to Fort Worth to see our son and his new wife, and then to Las Cruces for a couple of weeks.

I think I might actually be sad when he has to go back to work in January.  I’m blessed I guess to have a man who appreciates that I take up a lot of room as a writer😉 And I admit it’s been rather fun having him home as he’s not underfoot all the time.  Guess along with everybody needing a little romance—everybody now and then needs a transition.

What do you think?  Ever reached a point where you’ve said enough is enough?

Happy Friday, all.

Better Than Chocolate!

Today I have a little treat for you–a guest review from my sister, Sandy Smith! This is her first so, please be kind.

New York Times  bestselling author Sheila Roberts’s upcoming book BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE  goes on sale on October 1st!

Few women know romance, and chocolate, like Sheila and with BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, she’s concocted a story (sprinkled with a few chocolate recipes!) that have you dreaming of  everything from milk to dark.

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they’re about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of  Icicle Falls, Washington. Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, is determined to save it and comes up with the idea to  host a chocolate festival! But fate seems to be conspiring  against Samantha, and her mother’s attempts to help aren’t helping. To make matters worse, the future of the company is in the hands of her  archenemy, bank manager Blake Preston. Samantha is pretty sure Blake couldn’t care less about Sweet Dreams, but he’s determined to prove to  her that there’s something even better  than chocolate.

Sandy’s Thoughts:

I fell in love with Icicle Falls.  It is a place I would love to visit, mostly for the townspeople who know how to stick together.  Growing up in small town Arkansas, it’s something I can relate to.  The main character had many admirable qualities, especially her never-quit attitude.  The multiple dreams in the story were a little different. Overall, I would describe it as a sweet story, played out much like a Lifetime movie.

 

For more On Sheila, check out her PAGES HERE

Better Than Chocolate is now available from

Amazon | B&N | Kindle | Nook |

Simple Gifts

On Friday, Gwen’s post brought up the subject of gifts.  I’d been contemplating a post on special gifts, and this just seemed like the perfect time for it.

My husband and I were traveling in our motorhome a few years ago, and spent a couple of days in Branson, Missouri. We wandered in and out of the various shops, just killing time and not really interested in buying anything.  And then we came to a dulcimer shop.  When I walked in, the sweet-yet-somewhat-plaintive sound of a dulcimer being played stopped me in my tracks.  The shopkeeper was playing, and I could have stayed and listened to him all afternoon.  The music spoke to me in some ethereal way.  It was the sound of my Kentucky roots and my Scots-Irish heritage.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the dulcimer, it’s an Appalachian instrument with a drone string that makes a sound reminiscent of a bagpipe. Seeing he had a fan, the shop owner broke into his salesman spiel, which resulted in my buying a dulcimer kit for my dad.  Dad likes to fiddle around (:-) with stringed instruments, and this one would make good use of his woodworking shop.

Fast forward to Christmas of that year.  My husband had retired, but I was still working.  He had created quite a nice woodworking shop of his own to piddle around in our barn.  Now, my husband is one of those amazing men who can do pretty much anything he puts his mind to, so I shouldn’t have been so shocked when he presented me with this unwrapped box.

Image My first reaction was What am I going to do with a pool cue–we don’t have a pool table?

“Why is Dad giving you a shotgun?” my daughter asked.

Then I opened the box.

ImageAnd there it was–the most beautiful instrument I’d ever seen.  Built, stained, embellished, polished, and strung by the hands of my beloved hero.  He also built the box out of a single block of walnut, cut by one of our friends.

Here’s another look:

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What does one say when presented with such a gift?  Words are inadequate.

But I started teaching myself to play and taking lessons from CDs.  I’m not great, but the yearning is there.  When I retired and we wintered that year at The Great Outdoors Resort in Florida, I was amazed to find an active dulcimer group of which I’m now a proud member.

One of the first tunes every dulcimer player learns is an old Shaker tune called Simple Gifts.  My husband’s gift was in no way simple, but the message was.  It simply says “I love you” every time I pick up my treasure.

And my hearts sings out loud to that melody.

NEWS

I know it seems lately that my life revolves around a wee one, and that’s not far from the truth, but things are moving right along in my career too. As a fortuitous coincidence, though I planned this blog weeks ago, it coincides with this in RT magazine. : ) Yes! I just signed a three—and option on fourth—book deal with Carina Press.

This is my first full length novel and the story of my heart, the one that wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it down and then convinced me writing was part of who I am. It’s been interesting rewriting it. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt my writing has matured…I tended to lean toward purple back then. ; )

Publication date for the first, Journey to Awakening, is January of 2013. With each of the other books publishing at 6 month intervals. For those of you in the know, that means every spare minute I have is spent in front of the computer screen…and there just doesn’t seem to be enough of them. See? Back to baby. I should write a NF book called Deadlines and Diapers.

So if I’m a little bit more spacey or invisible, you see I have some very good reasons. Forgive me until December…when I plaster you with shameless self promotion. : )

The Real Werewives of Vampire County – Anthology

The Real Werewives of Vampire County – Anthology
* I received a copy of this book from Kensington in exchange for an honest review*

“Where Darkness Lives” by Alexandra Ivy – No one’s more surprised than Sophia when she’s struck by an unfamiliar maternal urge to move near her daughters. But instead of being greeted by a welcome committee, she’s targeted by kidnappers…and saddled with a gorgeous bodyguard on a mission to protect – and seduce…

Sophia is an alpha female that is used to taking care of herself. She is the owner of a local bar and has recently bought a house to be close to her daughters. When her life is threatened, alpha werewolf Luc steps in as a bodyguard to find out who is trying to hurt her.

Sophia is a strong character that knows what she wants but is willing to accept help when she needs it. She hasn’t had an easy life and has a hard time trusting people, Luc is no different. She is devastated when she finds out his secret. Luc has avoided relationships and finding his mate but there is something about Sophia that calls to him.

Overall this was a strong story in this anthology. The ending was a surprise that I enjoyed. I would definitely pick up other books by this author.

“Murder on Mysteria Lane” by Angie Fox – When a werewolf trophy wife is found dead in Vampire County, Heather McPhee goes undercover to investigate. Heather’s never been a mascara-and-manicures sort of girl, but she’s willing to learn. Especially with sexy vampire detective Lucien Mead posing as her husband…

Heather McPhee is the pack investigator and her expertise is needed in suburbia to help solve the murder of a werewolf. She has a unique ability that with a touch, people have to tell the truth. Lucien hopes to use her talent to help solve the murder while convincing Heather to give him a chance. Sunny’s murder turns out to be more complicated than they ever imagined.

I loved seeing Heather when she first showed up in suburbia, she was too funny. She obviously didn’t fit in with their fancy ways and needed help to blend in. Throughout the story we see her transformation not only physically but mentally as well.

Although this was a short story, it definitely didn’t lack on the drama, intrigue and adventure. It kept me guessing until the very end. I love Angie’s books and this was no exception.

“What’s Yours is Mine” by Jess Haines – Still Waters is like many other exclusive gated communities – except that it’s home to one of the largest werewolf packs in the state. But Tiffany Winters isn’t frightened of her big, bad new neighbours. In fact, she intends to take her place among the pack…

The pack is looking to expand their pack and their new neighbor Tiffany looks like she will be the perfect addition.  They just have to convince their leader to sign off on it.  Tiffany isn’t what she seems and Vera is the only one that sees through her.  Can Tiffany persuade the other’s that she is perfect for the pack?

The women of the Diamond Fangs are smart women that have it all, beautiful houses, sexy husbands and all the money they could possibly want.  Their pack numbers have decreased and they are always looking for the perfect candidate that is willing to sign the Notice of Mutual Consent.

Tiffany is their new neighbor and she seems to fit right in with the women but there is something about her that isn’t right.  Tiffany was a fun character; she has a history with weres that she is trying to hide from the women.  She isn’t proud of the things she did in the name of love and wants to change her life.  She is smart and conniving and knows how to get what she wants, I loved that about her.   The ending was fabulous.

“Werewolves in Chic Clothing” by Tami Dane – Ever since Christine Price moved in with her fiance, Jonathan, and his twelve-year-old son, she’s worked hard to fit in with a cadre of local women whose lives seem picture-perfect. Except no one in Jon’s upscale neighbourhood is quite who they appear to be. Least of all Jon…

Christine has left her life to move in with her finance Jonathan.  He has given her everything she could possible want, including her own studio in the basement.  Strange things begin happening around the house and the neighbors try and convince Christine that there was more to the death of Jonathan’s first wife than meets the eye.

Christine doesn’t know what to make out of the neighbors.  They start showing up before she gets moved in good and they all want to be her friends.  They suspect that Jonathan’s first wife was murdered and try to convince her to investigate it.  Things are not what they seem and there is more to the story than even they realize.

After things start happening to Christine she begins to question her decision to move in with Jonathan.   In the end though she trusts her instincts and everything comes out.

Overall this was a great set of short stories that blend well with each other.  I would definitely read other books by these authors and give The Real Werewives of Vampire County 4 Flaming Hearts.  

Warning: This post contains Naughty Tomato pictures.

Image

I did warn you.

I have a black thumb. Dr. Stevens, however, is a masterful gardener (hold on a second…I think I’m seeing a new hero’s career in my imagination…) His tomato patch this year has been unusually fertile. UNUSUALLY fertile.

This is not the first tomato-with-a-penis I’ve harvested this summer. Oh, no! See?

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Lest you think we’ve found some mutant breed breeding in our garden–this little fellow was on a totally different plant!

Not only are we growing phallic fruits, but we are overrun with the regular kind. I pick three or four huge bowls full of tomatoes each day. I’ve been blending them up in my super-duper-take-your-arm-off-if-you’re-not-paying-attention blender and freezing the puree in zip-lock baggies. I’ve been serving my family spaghetti (with homemade tomato sauce) chili (full of tomatoes), and BLTs every meal for weeks. And we haven’t even reached peak harvest yet.

I’ve taken to hauling bags of tomatoes with me wherever I go. I’ve become That Woman–the one who shoves her bag of excess produce at you with a manic smile, so that you’re afraid to tell her you’ve got a garden of your own. I take extra trips to the library, the bank and the post office just to hand my favorite tellers tomatoes. Every teacher at my sons’ school has gotten their fair share.

And still the suckers keep growing.

Frankly, the teenie-weenies worry me. I’ve seen LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. I peer through my bedroom window in the middle of the night, staring down at that tomato patch. Did that vine twitch, or was it just a trick of the moonlight?

Maybe I should stop eating them, after all.

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