Tag Archives: Mystery and Suspense

A #booksale plus a #newrelease by Julie Howard

My Wild Rose Press sistah, Julie Howard, is having a busy week. She’s having a 99cent book sale on one of her fabulous mysteries, and also has a brand new release out in the book reading world. She stopped by recently to chat about her “happy place” in life.

Julie….

Choosing my happy place

Okay, this is going to sound terrible. I’ll say it anyway. My happy place is dark and dreadful, filled with people who lie and cheat, and do almost anything – including murder. Only on paper though, and only fictional people. In real life, I’m terribly nice, with a wonderful family and a small dog at my side. I’m a good driver, say please and thank you, and visit my parents often. But when I sit down at my computer, my imagination takes off and my fingers obey.

I love writing a good mystery and they don’t necessarily all include murder. For me, the puzzle is what’s important. I’m a crossword puzzle fan and also enjoy “seek-and-find” games where you have to discover pictures hidden in plain sight. In crosswords, coming up with a word is easy, but that’s only the first step. There’s a strategy in where you lay down a word –trapping a competitor into making the wrong move can make the difference in win or lose. Oh, the satisfaction when they fall for it! Similarly, in those seek-and-find games, I love how an item can be so very obvious, but the artist has drawn the scene in such a manner that my eyes can’t at first recognize it for what it is.

Creating a mystery is comparable. I must lay clues, but not so obvious or difficult the reader gets bored or frustrated after the first few chapters. The motivation and strategy of a criminal must be evident but not too much so. There must be the perfect challenge.

There are other elements I enjoy in a mystery too. The characters are paramount. I do tend to care about all the “people” I create, especially my heroines. By the very nature of the genre, they fall into danger and I work my very hardest to save them. The women I write about feel like real people to me – with flaws, hopes, fears and strengths. I enjoy developing their strengths as a story progresses – and if my heroine is in a series, I develop her character’s depths more through each book. Like real people, my heroines must fight their own internal battles along with story’s villains. Often, my characters save themselves.

My latest release, coming December 4, finishes the story of Meredith Lowe, an abused woman who fantasizes about killing her husband. The first book, Crime and Paradise, is on sale this week for 99 cents. The latest book, Wild Crime, explores her past as she seeks to unveil a family mystery, and stumbles across a possible murder. Through all three books is a slow-burning romance.

Mystery, murder, romance? Yes, this is my happy place.

 

Blurb for Crime and Paradise:

Meredith has been uprooted to the middle of nowhere with two kids and an abusive husband. After she fantasizes about ways to kill him, he ends up dead. Despite all the evidence pointing to her, Meredith finds an unlikely supporter and friend in the county sheriff. Together, they uncover some ugly truths about her husband and this small, isolated town.

Can Meredith make this place a new home for her family, or will the real secret behind her husband’s death send her away for good?

Buy links for Crime and Paradise (now 99 cents for a limited time)

Amazon // Apple // B&N 

 

 

Blurb for Wild Crime:

“I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer.”

Those three repeated words discovered in an old letter propel Meredith Lowe in a cross-country pursuit to unveil her mother’s murky past. Danger stalks Meredith back to Hay City, Idaho as she peels apart the mystery: who is her father, and did her mother kill him? In finding the answer, will a growing love slip through her fingers?

Past merges with the present as the story races to its stunning conclusion.

 

Excerpt:

Her hair fell below her waist, ripped free of its ties and weighed down by the warm, lashing rain. The sky-blue dress, so carefully chosen for this night and tried on so many times in her bedroom, was ruined. One strap had torn from her shoulder and dangled down her back. Mud splattered the hem. Sweet Cantaloupe lipstick, a lovely coral that heightened the green in her eyes, was smeared like a bruise on one cheek. She ran.

The high school gym behind her, decorated in crepe paper and curtains, vibrated with electric guitars and teen-aged hormones. Couples gyrated on the dance floor and then disappeared into dark corners. It was late and the Spring Dance was in full throttle. No one would miss her for hours.

Before her, trees dripped moss, barely visible in the darkness. She envisioned the moss brushing her shoulders, low branches snagging in her hair, the possibility of snakes both at her feet and above; this made her hesitate. It would take one scream, one gasp, and he would find her.

Buy links for Wild Crime:

Amazon //iBooks //B&N 

Author bio:

Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. She is a member of the Idaho Writers Guild, editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and founder of the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write. Learn more at juliemhoward.com.

Social media links:

Website // Facebook // Goodreads // Twitter 

 

 

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#GoddessFishBlogtour TRAIL OF SECRETS by Nora Leduc

 

Today is the last day of my NHRWA sistah’s GODDESS FISH BLOG TOUR and I’m so thrilled she’s spending it with me!!!

Nora LeDuc has a brand new mystery out titled TRAIL OF SECRETS and it’s a goodie. The reviews coming in have all agreed this may be Nora’s best work yet – and I’m thrilled for her!

BLURB:

 

Who killed the vivacious, Emily McGuire and laid out her body at the water tower? Orderly, rule-follower Mia McGuire is the least likely person to answer this question. Mia’s life has taken a downward spiral with her sister Emily’s murder, the breakup with her boyfriend, and losing her editing position. But when the homicide investigation crawls, Mia can’t stand by doing nothing. She hires the problematic Lucas Davis to help her find the truth.

After suffering trauma from a shooting on the job,  Lucas Davis resigns from the local force. Once known as a daredevil in his small Florida town, he has become an embarrassment to his dad, the police chief. When Mia offers him investigative work, he quickly accepts the job to prove he still possesses the skills and guts to solve the case. Together, these two unlikely sleuths form an intimate bond and are determined to beat the odds. They set out to bring a terrifying killer to justice before he targets them next.

Excerpt:

She shaded her eyes and stepped out of the glare. Her gaze fell on a form lying by the wire mesh fence. Was that a person? Was someone hurt or drunk? Mia shuddered inwardly but crept forward and stopped a few feet from the shape.

Zsa Zsa scampered to her side.

Dread worked its way up Mia’s throat. It was a motionless woman on her back, parallel to the base of Gram’s monstrosity. She was dressed in a dark dress. Black sandals revealed blue toenails. One arm lay outstretched with her fingers curled upward as though beckoning Mia to her. The polish decorating her manicured nails matched the shade on her toes. Long raven-colored hair covered her face from her forehead to her chin.

Zsa Zsa whimpered by Mia’s feet. She scooped up her pet and swallowed the lump of fear increasing with each step closer to the person. Had the woman fallen? Passed out?

The sweet fragrance of a perfume drifted toward her and stirred a forgotten memory. The familiar soft voice asked, “What else would a southern Florida girl wear but orange blossoms? It’s the cool new scent.”

Emily? A sliver of dread formed near Mia’s heart. No, it couldn’t be. Her sister’s hair was pink. But she often changed the color. Mia didn’t have to wait for the truth. The breeze lifted the strands upward from the woman’s face.

Mia’s legs wobbled. A rash of red points blotted her skin, and scratches crisscrossed her neck. Her lips were frozen in an “oh” of shock. Open, bloodshot eyes stared at Mia. Emily!

Tears blurred her vision. She clutched at a last hope. “Emily, is that you?”

The wind picked up and spun a foul sickly sweet odor around her, drowning the other scent. Mia coughed and stumbled backward. Only one certainty floated through her confusion. Her younger sister was dead.

Buy link: Amazon

A little about Nora:

Nora grew up in rural New England where she currently lives with her family. She enjoys visiting and spending time with her friends, the Winettes, in Florida, where she continues to write. Trail of Secrets is her sixteenth book. Her next story is already in progress.

She also contributes to the Romance Gems’ Blog every month.

Amazon // Goodreads // Facebook // Website //

 

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:

Nora LeDuc will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here NORA LEDUC

** My review of TRAIL OF SECRETS

 

 

 

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I bet you didn’t know…..

Great teaser title, right?! Hee Hee

So here’s what you didn’t know about me: Before I wrote romantic fiction, I wrote more…morbid…stuff. I had a slew of short stories published in the suspense genre. You can see them listed if you scroll down to the FICTION part of my Publications page.

Any hoo. Let’s move to the present.

I recently re-energized a short story I’d written almost 2o years ago and submitted it to Long and Short Reviews. They have a short story submissions page, so I entered the re-tooled story to their contest a few weeks. And guess what? I won!!!

THE HOUSE ON CRIMSON STREET is a creepy ( to me, anyway) story of an elderly lady who rents out rooms. And since I like cooking so much, there’s an underlying cooking theme threaded throughout the story. It’s fairly short, so if you want to take a few minutes and read it, here’s the link: THOCS

And, because this is L&SR and they never do anything NOT well, they also made a cover for the story:
Can I tell you how in love I am with this depiction of the house?? It’s beyond perfect.

So, if you want to get a glimpse into the less romantic, more unsavory part of my brain, this is a good place to start.

Just sayin’ ~Peg

And when I’m not writing scary stuff, you can find me writing romance here :

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

 

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An interview with #Author Julie Howard

You all know I lovelovelove when one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs comes for a visit and today I’ve got a treat for you and me: new-to-me-sistah-and-author, Julie Howard. 

Julie was so gracious to sit down with me and be interviewed and I couldn’t wait to share it with you all. She has a new book out titled, CRIME TIMES TWO and she’s giving us a little sneak peek at it today as well. So sit back and get to know this fab writer of mysteries, thrillers, and  romantic suspense. And stick around because she has a special sumthin’ sumthin’ she ‘s offering exclusively here!

 

Julie, the Author:

What drives you to write?

I’m a sucker for a good story, whether it’s true or not. I loved working as a journalist because I met so many interesting people and had a great time telling their stories. Now that I spend my time making up stories, it’s even more fun.

What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why?

Mystery, suspense and even a paranormal mystery recently. I love the thrill of the chase and a little danger along the way.

What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why?

I love historical fiction because those stories take me places and to times I’ve never experienced. My particular favorites are those set in countries with vastly different cultures. I not only want to learn about places, but also about different types of people.

What’s your writing schedule? Do you write everyday?

Every. Single. Day. If I don’t, I feel like I forgot to put pants on for the day.

Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table?

My office most often is a café somewhere nearby where people come and go and there’s a pleasant buzz of conversation around me. For some reason, none of that is distracting. But I can write just about anywhere. I keep a notebook with me at all times.

Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel-vision?

I like total quiet when I read, but not when I write. This probably comes from working in a newsroom for so many years. They’re noisy places, with TVs on and people talking and arguing. That’s my normal.

Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not?

I’ve tried listening to music but I’ve discovered it influences my writing. Other writers I know always having music playing when they write, with the type of music matching the mood and scene. Just doesn’t work for me.

How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP?

When we first moved from California to Idaho, I was struck by the remote places people chose to live. The story for my Wild Crime series came immediately: what would happen if a woman didn’t want to move to such a remote location? What if her husband didn’t want her around anymore? What if she believed her only escape plan was to kill him?

Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why?

For mystery/suspense, I think plot has to come first. I start with the murder – the hows and whys – and go from there. The romance comes from the characters as they react to the plot and, of course, each other.

What 3 words describe you, the writer?

Structured, obsessed, happy.

Julie, the Gal 

Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing!

Hmm…unusual. I don’t know how unusual this is, but I started kindergarten when I was three years old. I was already reading so my parents thought I should get started on math and the rest of it too.

Who was your first love and what age were you?

Chuckie Hutchins in the third grade. He was SO not interested.

If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and….

I think any day when my kids were little – maybe three and four. I loved it when they were that age and every day was so fresh and exciting. Hey, that would mean I’d be in my twenties again too!

Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando?

Definitely boxers.

If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be?

I suppose the hair dryer could go away. I’d just cut my hair a little shorter. It would save so much more time in the morning.

What three words describe you, the person?

Soft-spoken, determined, patient

If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be?

I wouldn’t dare sing in public. Trust me, not a good idea.

If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it be, why, and what would you do together?

The kids from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I would love to climb through a wardrobe with them and emerge into a fantasy world.

 

I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:

I love the Actor’s Studio too!

Favorite sound – Leaves rustling in the autumn

Least favorite sound – Someone leaning on their horn in traffic

Best song ever written – Itsy bitsy spider. Always got a giggle out of my kids when they were little.

Favorite actor and actress – Ralph Fiennes and Maggie Smith

Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? ( It can be anyone living or dead) Eleanor Roosevelt, but how could I live up to such a strong woman? She was before her time in standing up for women’s rights and basic human rights.

What turns you on? The simple kindnesses people offer to one another

What turns you off? Casual cruelty

Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “It’s bigger than you think.”

What’s your version of a perfect day?

I wake early and watch the sun rise with my first cup of coffee.

 

 “Crime Times Two”

When divorce is out of the question, can murder be forgiven?

Meredith knows three things: First, the man in the library begged her to help him. Second, he was afraid of his wife. Third, now he’s dead

While the evidence first points to a natural death, Meredith is certain there’s more to discover. People are tight-lipped in this small mountain village, and the man’s wife isn’t talking either. Then a second death occurs, with remarkable similarities. It’s time to talk about murder.

As a slow-burning relationship heats up in her own life, Meredith struggles with concepts of love and hate, belief and suspicion, and absolution and guilt. Nothing is clear cut…

She must decide: Is guilt, like evil, something you can choose to believe in?

Excerpt 

Jowls quivered under the man’s weak chin, and Meredith noted the stained and frayed shirt of someone who spent a lot of time alone in dark rooms, sending out a better version of himself into the virtual world. His eyes were anxious and beseeching at her as though she should have a clear understanding of him and his life.

Somehow, over the past hour and a half they’d been sitting next to each other – him playing video games and sharing his life story and her ignoring him the best she could – she had become his confessor and friend.

Meredith gave him what she hoped was an impartial-though-quasi-friendly smile. She reached for her purse and papers and rose from her chair. “Well. Nice talking with you.”

The man was lost in his own train of thought and seemed only slightly aware that Meredith was leaving.

He shook his head, morose.

“To make a long story short,” he summed up, “I think my wife is trying to kill me.”

Buy Links:

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // B&N // Kobo //

And as a special treat,  Book 1 in the Wild Crime series, Crime and Paradise, is on sale for one more day (through Oct. 18) for 99 cents.

Amazon

 

A little more about Julie:

Julie Howard is the author of Wild Crime, a mystery/suspense series. The series follows Meredith Lowe, a young abused woman figuring out her life after her husband moves them to an isolated valley in Idaho. After he is murdered, all the evidence points to her. Then she finds all is not as it seems in this small Idaho town.
The author is a former journalist and editor for a number of publications, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal and The Sacramento Bee. She manages the Boise chapter of Shut Up & Write, is editor of the Potato Soup Journal, and has written a number of short stories.

You can find Julie here:

Website // Facebook // Goodreads // Amazon

DRAWING! Julie Howard is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one winner. To enter, comment on this post and then give her Facebook page a Like. I’ll announce the winner on my Facebook page on Monday, Oct. 22. https://www.facebook.com/juliemhowardauthor

Peggy here: Julie, I can’t thank you enough for stopping by and letting me, and everyone else, know a little about you and your books. They sound wonderful and intriguing….as do you!

 

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Talking with #author M.S. Spencer; #newRelease #TWRP

Today I’ve got fellow Wild Rose Press sistah, M.S. Spencer visiting me. She has a new release out today, titled LAPSES OF MEMORY and she’s giving you a little glimpse into how the story came about.  So, sit back and prepare to delve into the mind of a writer when inspiration hits!  Here’s: M.S…..

Thanks so much for having me, Peggy. I’d like to talk a little about the genesis of my new romantic suspense, Lapses of Memory.

Usually, a story starts with a kernel of memory, or an anecdote, or even an image flashing across the inside of your eyes. Lots of things can trigger it—a news headline or a paragraph tucked away in the obituaries, a throw-away line from a conversation, or even a publisher’s idea. In the case of my new release, Lapses of Memory, it was the latter. A former publisher tossed out the idea of a series based on “love in the air.” Unfortunately, the high-pitched squeal I emitted sounded enough like “yes” to commit me to the project.

Now, rather than starting with a plot of my own devising, I had to come up with one related to someone else’s theme. Here’s the part where an image flashing across your brain comes in. Sitting quietly in what I euphemistically call my lotus position, I mulled. “Planes,” I said to myself. “Love in the air…snakes on a plane (nah, overdone)…old planes…my first trip on a plane…” Eureka (or aha, whichever you prefer)! I saw before me an enormous, bulbous silver bird with EASTERN written in red across the side. I’d recently seen it at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and remembered because seeing it there made me feel old, since the plane was, in fact, the very first plane I’d flown on at age four. A Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, one of the first to make the transatlantic voyage a regular event, it allowed—with its sleeping berths and formal dining—for luxurious air travel in the 1950s.

My heroine, Sydney, would take that plane. And so would the hero Elian. Everything was going swimmingly, until I realized that, this being a contemporary romance, Sydney and Elian would be too young in 1958 to fall in love. So I was forced to make them suffer through an intermittent romance as they (and airplane design) matured.

 

LAPSES OF MEMORY

Blurb

Sydney Bellek first meets Elian Davies in the 1950s on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser when she is five and he is seven. They run into each other every few years after that, but while he knows from the start that she is his true love, she does not. Later, as rival journalists, they vie for scoops on international crises from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese civil war. The handsome and intrepid Elian beats her out at every turn, even while keeping his love for her secret.
Only after years of separation does she finally realize they are meant to be together, but this time, in a twist of fate, it is Elian whose memory of her is gone. Will he remember her before she loses heart or will their new love be enough to replace the old one?

Excerpt 

Sydney pulled out her crossword puzzle, mints, pen, glasses, embroidery, and tissues and set them on the other seat before stealthily slipping the miniature bottle of Jack Daniels into the magazine pocket. She checked her ticket once again. They’d be in Rome tomorrow morning and from there the flight to Beirut should be less than five hours. As she searched for her seat belt, a husky voice behind her ear said, “Excuse me. I believe I have the window seat?”

The scent of licorice filled her nostrils. She looked up into a pair of deep indigo eyes, half-obscured by a tangle of hair the color of cordovan. He used his angular chin, cloaked in reddish brown stubble, to indicate his seat. She looked him up and down without moving and pronounced, “Elian Davies.”

He drew back, an expression of mock surprise on his face. “Sydney Bellek? Could it be you after all these years? My, how you’ve aged…I mean matured.”

Whatever joy she’d felt at seeing him faded. “You.”

He scooted around her knees, grabbed her stuff, dropped it in her lap, and sat down. “Me.”

She opened her crossword puzzle and pretended to work on it. He pointed a tanned finger at a spot on the page. “Eleven down is Oslo.”

“Duh.”

The stewardess came by. “Please buckle your seat belt, sir. We’ll be taking off in five minutes.”

“Oh, Miss…” He peered at her name plate. “Petula? What a lovely old-fashioned name!” He beamed at her. “Would you mind bringing me a glass of ice before we begin to taxi?”

The stewardess opened her mouth, then opened her eyes wide. “Why, you’re Elian Davies, the famous photojournalist, aren’t you?”

“At your service, Petula.” He bent in a graceful half bow.

“Right away, sir. I’ll be back in a jiffy.” She tore down the aisle, knocking into passengers’ elbows and knees along the way. Holding a glass high, she ran back like a bartender in a Bastille Day race, and proudly plunked it and a packet of peanuts on Elian’s knee.

When she’d gone, he took a furtive look around and pulled a miniature bottle from his pocket. Sydney’s annoyance dissolved in giggles. “You too?” She pulled her own small whiskey out.

“Oh good, we’ll share this first one, shall we?”

She couldn’t say no, and besides, sipping kept her busy. Elian. She’d spent the last four years trying to hate him. It should have been easy. His reputation as an ace reporter and first-class scoop jockey had only grown since Tehran. Too many of her colleagues told stories of him racing across the tarmac just ahead of them to catch the final words of an escaping dictator, or jumping into a helicopter for a one-on-one interview with said dictator upon his triumphant return. Along with his derring-do came the even more infamous reputation as an inveterate ladies’ man, which the recent episode with Petula only confirmed.

She studied his left hand as it popped a peanut in his mouth—steady, strong, tanned. It looked familiar. Oh yes, I watched it unbutton my blouse in a supply room in Tehran. She turned away to hide the blush. When her cheeks had sufficiently cooled, she turned back only to have him glance away quickly.

Staring out the window, he inquired in a casual voice, “So how’s your boyfriend holding up while you’re off on these wasted efforts to follow in my footsteps?”

Her momentary affection melted away. Old Blue-Pencil Davies at it again. Prick. “They’re all moping of course, poor babies. And yours?”

“Me? I don’t hold with leading women on.”

“That’s not what your adoring public thinks.”

He swung around on her, the customary smirk on his lips gone. “They’re wrong, Sydney.”

The remark—and his deadly serious face—threw her. To cover her confusion, she sipped her drink. After a minute, he turned back to the window. As she watched his shoulders gradually relax, she reviewed the stories about him. From what she’d heard, women who crossed paths with him considered a one-night stand the standard reward. Could he be telling the truth? Just then Petula passed, slowing as she neared their row and heaving a soulful sigh. Sydney remembered the lovelorn look on her secretary’s face. He may not lead women on, but he sure draws them in.

Buy Links:

Wild Rose Press // iTunes // Amazon // B&N // Kobo // Bookstrand 

About the Author

Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. 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.

Contacts

Blog // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterst // Google+ // LinkedIn 

M.S.’s calendar of events can be found here:

Romance Books 4 Us: http://romancebooks4us.com/Romance%20Author%20M.%20S.%20Spencer.html OR

http://bit.ly/1d6ehza

 

 

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