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Meet Flo Fitzpatrick

 

Ivy Truitt came up with this after reading my bio, “first question that came to mind was, ‘after all those early writing attempts why did you major in dance & theatre?’”  So here’s the way-too-long answer.

Dance, theatre, reading and writing have been my life for literally as long as I can remember. I was an Army brat and my first memories all take place in a chateau in Orleans, France from age three, which is when I apparently fell off the living room coffee table while dancing. I don’t actually remember that incident.  But various members of my family took great delight in later years telling me about my lack of grace. Which could account for one reason I never had the desire to be a stripper.  “Table-tumbling phobia.”

Back to France (Ahhh, that sounds like a plan! Where’s the passport?)  When I wasn’t dancing on tables I was sitting on a parent’s lap with my twin brothers on either side as mom or dad read.  Eventually the twins (who are four years older) were the ones reading and before long – so was I.  Then came very bad printing and my first short story (and I do mean short) written somewhere between age four and five, which landed squarely in the horror genre a la Edgar Allan Poe.  It was called “The Bug on the Wall.” Family legend notes that it consisted of these sentences: “There was a bug.  It was on the wall.”

Fast forward (mercifully) to Ft. Stewart, Georgia – age six and my first “real” dance classes. Ballet and tap at the Officers’ Club on the base. I have no idea where I found the adult-sized pointe shoes but I wore them everywhere except class since I was too young and they didn’t fit.  I loved my classes. I wanted to be a ballerina.  I wore a tiara and performed a song and dance in kindergarten to the tune of “Fairy Belle” – a performance also firmly ensconced in family legend and never forgotten.  I still have the foil tiara. (Every time I tried to get rid of it the blasted thing would turn up at Christmas.  My brothers have a wicked sense of humor.)

I didn’t have the chance to have formal dance training again until I was 15.  I learned dances watching American Bandstand and any ballet performances on the TV. My dad taught me ballroom. Christmas was great because there was always a version of The Nutcracker on and I Sugar-Plum-Fairy-ed my little toes out- in the living room.  My mom and I would stay up late at night watching Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire , Cyd Charisse and Gwen Verdon movies. My first starring acting role was playing Girl Scout founder Julia Ward Howe for my local Brownie troop. I was eight.  And I was hooked. My writing – also at eight – took the form of my first attempt at a novel. It was called “The Skinner Family Goes to Ireland.”   I had this great plot. The Skinner Family was going to visit their Aunt Donna in Ireland on her potato farm and splash around in her swimming pool.  Beyond that I wasn’t sure. (I was a “pantser” even then.)  I wrote three chapters before my brothers pointed out that I was getting the Skinners to Ireland via a train from New York.  To this day I insist I was simply ahead of my time. I’m certain that within the next 100 years there WILL be a sub-Atlantic train connecting New York and Dublin.

I was a voracious reader from the moment I realized that words on a page meant more than squiggles.  When I was ten I fell in love with the Trixie Belden series and my next attempt at a novel was in that style. “The Mystery of the Old Greenhouse.”  I actually finished this one but it vanished at some point in my life and was –sadly – never published. At the same time I was writing about dead bodies in plant-growing facilities I was entertaining my piano teaching, Sister Mary Margaret , but not with my prowess on the keyboards. (I stunk.) Nope. I would march into the little studio on Mondays after a weekend of watching movies and perform entire scenes with song and dance from West Side Story or Damn Yankees.

My dancing in my junior high years took the form of teaching my buddies, conducting classes on the latest hot moves during recess. High school meant after-football games dances in the gym.

The Angelique romance novels made a huge impact on me in high school (and I still recommend them to any lover of history and romance and swashbuckling action.)   I used to write what I guess would now be called fan fiction, time-traveling Angelique and her true love, the Count Joffrey de Peyrac, forward to have great adventures with all my heroes from TV and the movies.  I’d write these during boring classes and pass them over to one of my friends.  (Bless the woman- she KEPT them and gave them to me a few years ago when I was crazy enough to be teaching dance and theatre back at my old high school.)  As for dance ?  At age 15 I told a friend that I wanted to be a choreographer. His comment was “Don’t you think you should take some dance lessons?”  So I did.  I also sang in the Glee Club and ended up doing choreography for Glee Club shows.  Kept my writing going by becoming Features editor on the school newspaper.  And drove my parents crazy by telling them I was going to go to New York to dance after I graduated.

Mom and Pop had other ideas. College.  So I gave up my dreams of dancing (so I thought) decided I’d become an historical novelist. And began my college career with a double major in English and History.  Then the Drama department mysteriously made its way into my life. I started out taking the ONLY dance course offered at the university at the time, which was labeled stage movement but was really modern dance. (Now known as “contemporary”).  I loved it.  I loved my professor. She loved me.  Second semester (they only offered two) I became her “demonstrator” and signed up for Theatre History and one acting class. That did it. Switched my major to theatre and later transferred to a different college as a dance major.  My writing consisted of lots of poems. Hey. College – brokenhearted at least once a week. Lots of poems.  I did sneak in a few articles in an “underground” newspaper and took an awesome Creative Writing class where I wrote a few short stories, but really didn’t have much time for anything other than learning pirouettes in dance and monologues in theatre.  I was the darling of the music school when I took voice and jumped at the chance to do a recital piece (something the music majors dreaded –which I’ve never understood. A chance to sing for a crowd?  Go for it!)

After I graduated I headed to New York. Spent most of my adult life shuttling between Manhattan and various cities in Texas performing, teaching and choreographing.  Then in 1998 I broke the fool out of my foot.  Not dancing.  Foot got caught in a hole and the rest of me didn’t. I was in a boot cast for about six weeks and it was just too hard to get around the city. At the same time this happened the branch of the library closest to me closed so I joined a couple of book clubs and got mounds of books mailed to me. Many of the books included a little insert ad about Long Ridge Writers Group, which offered a one-to-one correspondence class. I was skeptical but read up on them and discovered that they were not only legit but had some stature as a writing school. I took the test and was accepted.  Ended up with Donald R. Gordon as my mentor who was honestly brilliant and wonderful as a teacher. The first short story I sold (to True Love Magazine) came out his “class.”

Once the boot was off I continued my theatrical career but this time I kept on writing.  I wrote a musical version of A Christmas Carol for a children’s theatre group in Texas. I wrote short stories for True Love Magazine and articles for Dancing USA and a fun piece about my dad for the West Point Academy alumni magazine.  At some point I decided the time had come for bigger things. I’d been toying with the idea of writing a play inspired by ‘ghostly’ incident that had occurred when I was teaching at that children’s theatre (and that’s another entire blog!)  but I decided to turn that into a book. Ghost of a Chance was born  – and amazingly was published in 2004.  I’d moved to New Jersey by that time and I really credit the New Jersey Romance Writers with help in diving into the ‘business’ side of writing as well as hosting cool workshops and awesome conferences and being home to some of the nicest and most talented writers around.

I’m still writing. My third “Abby Fouchet” mystery came out in June and was very recently offered a contract for a book in Harlequin’s Heartwarming line.  I recently moved to Alabama to be near family and plan to find for a part time gig teaching dance or acting and hopefully meeting a partner or accompanist for a little cabaret singing.

Meantime, until something pops up as far as dance is concerned, I’m back where I started. The living room. Just not on top of tables.

Visit Flo    Flo on Amazon     Facebook          Twitter

IMMORTALLY EVER AFTER Monster Mash series by Angie Fox with giveaway and a freebie

You write mystery/romances with a paranormal twist. Tell us about your latest series.

Sure. The Monster MASH series takes place in a paranormal M*A*S*H camp and in the dusty, desert battlefields of Limbo. The gods are at war. If the armies are evenly matched, they’ll kill each other, which is bad enough. If one side gets the upper hand, it triggers earthquakes, tsunamis, disasters of biblical proportions on Earth.

There’s no end in sight, until a special ops commander discovers a paranormal M*A*S*H surgeon with a one-of-a-kind power that can turn the tide. Then it’s a race against time as armies collide and the gods – seeing the threat to their dominion over life and death – broker a deal that could send every mortal straight to hell.   

Did any particular event inspire the plot?

It wasn’t an event, as much as a desire to step out on a ledge and write something different. I loved the idea of a race against time in order to thwart the gods. And if I wanted to play amateur psychologist, I’d say this book is my statement against the seemingly insurmountable forces that seek to control our own daily lives. It’s about people who stand up, despite the odds, and take that control back. Plus, these books are simply fun to write. It was a great challenge to construct a new world that is starker than ours, yet holds many of the same challenges.

IMMORTALLY EVER AFTER definitely has your trademark humor. How natural is it for you to write “funny”? Is it ever a challenge to rein it in for the more serious parts?

One of the challenges – and the great joys – of writing the MASH series was balancing the humor with the stark tragedy of war. Petraand her colleagues at the MASH 3063rd have been drafted until the end of the war, which is bad for Petra but even worse for people like her vampire roommate, Marius. They’re living in this quirky, ad-hock camp, trying to make the best of it while they work long hours in the OR, putting soldiers back together – knowing that they’re probably going to see them again and again – if they’re lucky.

The underlying tragedy brings the oddball personalities in the camp together. They develop ways to keep their sanity and to create the kind of relationships that offer a port in the storm. That’s where a lot of the humor comes from.

How many books are you planning?
This is a trilogy and all of the books are out now. Immortally Yours is the first. That one was nominated for an RWA RITA award. The second book is Immortally Embraced. The third and final book, Immortally Ever After just released.

Sounds like an intriguing and exciting trilogy doesn’t it?  Angie is generously offering one (1) commenter a signed print copy of their choice from her Demon Slayer series or her new MASH series!  Do you have a favorite paranormal creature?  Mythical gods, lycans, vamps, selkies, ghosts or something else?  Share it & be entered in Angie’s giveaway.  Giveaway ends @12am est 9-18-13 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good Luck!

As an extra added bonus the 1st in Angie’s Demon Slayer series, THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER, is currently FREE at Amazon.  

Straight-laced preschool teacher, Lizzie Brown, never lies, never cusses, and doesn’t really care much for surprises. When her long lost Grandma Gertie shows up on her doorstep on a neon pink Harley Davidson wearing a “Kiss My Asphalt” t-shirt and hauling a carpet bag full of Smuckers jars filled with road kill magic, Lizzie doesn’t think her life could get any stranger. That is, until her hyper-active terrier starts talking and an ancient demon decides to kill her from his perch on the back of her toilet.

Lizzie learns she’s a demon slayer, fated to square off with the devil’s top minion in, oh about two weeks. Sadly, she’s untrained, unfit and under attack. Grandma’s gang of seventy-something biker witches promises to whip Lizzie into shape in no time, as long as she joins them out on the road. But Lizzie wants nothing to do with all this craziness. She simply wants her normal life back. When she accidentally botches the spell meant to protect her, she only has one choice – trust the utterly delicious but secretive man who claims to be her protector.

Dimitri Kallinikos has had enough. Cursed by a demon centuries ago, his formerly prominent clan has dwindled down to himself and his younger twin sisters, both of whom are now in the coma that precedes certain death. To break the curse, he must kill the demon behind it. Dimitri needs a slayer. At long last, he’s found Lizzie. But how do you talk a girl you’ve never met into going straight to Hell? Lie (and hope she forgives you). Dimitri decides to pass himself off as Lizzie’s fated protector in order to gain her trust and guide her towards this crucial mission. But will his choice to deceive her cost them their lives, or simply their hearts?


New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox writes funny, high-octane mystery/romances about biker witches, demon slayers and things that go bump in the night.

Visit Angie     Facebook       Twitter       Amazon      B&N       Kobo

OUT FOR BLOOD Cover Reveal and eARC giveaway

National Revealer’s Clark Kelly carved out his killer career as Hollywood’s most-feared gossip columnist by exploiting mankind’s most ancient vulnerability:

“Everyone’s got a secret . . . and someone’s dying to tell it!”

Clark never reveals his to-die-for secret!

NEWS FLASH:

Dude’s a vampire!

CUE SCARY MUSIC . . . our undead gossip guru flies the night skies to spy on Hollywood’s hottest stars—then inks about their bedroom kinks! Imagine our studly, urbane journalist jotting notes as he hovers outside Scarlett Johansson’s bedroom window, or peeks into Tom Cruise’s “bachelor pad.”

Star secrets . . .?

This vampire BITES!

And what’s sexier than vampires, ladies? Just ask smokin’ hot starlet/tabloid terror TayLo Logan—this Wild Child gets crazy with bad boy Clark because his bite makes her blood boil!

Then it’s LIGHTS . . . CAMERA . . .  ACTION! . . . but not in a good way: Vampire Boy and Tabloid Train Wreck TayLo unwittingly end up stars of a sizzling sex tape—destined for worldwide display on the notorious vampire fan sex site, FANGBANGING.COM.

Still, the duo’s beyond-the-grave love story simmers away as Clark rips the lid off a murder cover-up—then discovers a murderous plot against TayLo!

DANGER! Can Clark stop a stalker who wants to drain his lover dry? Or wreak revenge on Tinseltown billion-heiress Roma Kane for her poisonous plot to paralyze TayLo—and her career? Can he foil a murder cabal so evil it feeds stars’ pets to coyotes?

AND THEN . . . talk about the plot thickening! Roma’s billionaire granddaddy, mogul Montague Kane, taking a breather from the nymphet “nannies” paid to play his naughty high-chair games, springs a backstab surprise—buying out Clark’s beloved National Revealer.

Suddenly, “deadline” takes on a whole new meaning

Triggered by vengeful fury, Clark goes “rogue vampire!”

Evil is punished . . . and the sun shines once more when he creates a Hollywood happy ending that makes everyone (undeads included) a STAR!

Hold the front page! Because Clark Kelly’s . . .

Out For Blood! 

She recoiled, screamed again as my hand snaked over her shoulder from behind, clamping her mouth, muzzling the shriek. My fangs grazed her neck delicately, barely piercing the skin.

My hot breath soothing in her ear as I whispered, “Just a tiny sting, baby . . . easy now! Okay, all done . . . just relax.”

Her eyes popped in a terrified stare. Suddenly, I was standing face-to-face with her again. She shuddered, swayed. I steadied her.

“Easy, girlfriend!”

Jesus! How did you . . .”

Her eyes focused, watching my tongue flick hypnotically back and forth across my teeth as I tested her blood. I sighed.

No question: Positive.

She flinched as I touched the tiny pinpricks I’d left on her neck, then showed her the crimson droplets on my fingertips. “Blood never lies, my sweet. You have tooted primo sniffy in the past hour. Not a lot, to be sure, but it’s a fresh trace. La Coca.”

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Dubbed “a one-man media conglomerate” by New Yorker magazine, Mike Walker became Tokyo’s youngest-ever foreign correspondent.

After launching his iconic gossip column, The National Enquirer’s #1 feature, and his show on CBS radio nationwide, Walker became weekly co-anchor on TV’s Geraldo and guested on such top shows like Nightline. After writing and hosting two successful MGM-TV specials, he created the daily series, National Enquirer TV!

Mike became the only reporter ever to write two bestsellers on one story when his books on the O.J. Simpson trial hit #1 and #5 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Dubbed “The King of Gossip” by Publisher’s Weekly, he played his weekly “Gossip Game” on The Howard Stern Show for a record 16 years.

He’s lectured at distinguished journalism schools at Columbia University and UC Berkeley; and received a prestigious invitation to become a Fellow of Ireland’s legendary Trinity College, Dublin.

TWCS Book Page         TWCS Author Page            Facebook            Twitter           Gossip

Why I wrote The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box with Valerie Coleman

I wrote the bestselling novel, The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box, to empower women with proven relationship advice while enjoying an entertaining cast of characters.

My father taught me about the mechanics of sex, but not the emotional component. In the fourth grade, I knew all about fallopian tubes, uterus, vas deferens, etc. I was a geeky, nerdy, bookworm through high school and into college. This introverted homebody didn’t go to football games, socialize or participate in any other non-academic endeavor except track. My situation was so bad that I created an acronym for GEEK: Getting Experience Education and Knowledge.

Because of my shyness and lack of preparation, I made gobs of mistakes with men. I didn’t have a clue as to how men thought or why men did what they did. With a background in engineering, I was dumber than a bag of rocks when it came to dating and relationships.

Like most women, when I had a man issue, I talked with my girlfriends, sister and mother. Albeit they had a genuine concern for my well-being, the relationship advice was muddled with emotions, past experiences and a limited, skewed perspective on the ways of men. After repeatedly choosing wrong men, years of heartache and an overabundance of frustration, I finally attracted a great guy. We have been married now for eighteen years. But here’s the deal: I did not know what I did differently to win his heart.

I wanted to understand what actions led me down the aisle of blissful matrimony while many of my girlfriends were still in distress over unrequited love. So as I conducted a self-assessment, I researched and studied men for years. I got the inside scoop on man-cave, barber-shop, locker-room conversations women aren’t normally privy to and developed the top three things every woman must know about men.

I’ll share one nugget of critical relationship advice: men are hunters by nature. And since the day of hunting and killing prey to feed the family are long gone, men use sports, combat and pursuit of the goody box as substitutes. Each of the four types (packs) of hunters uses specific techniques in the quest for the goody box. Like shape-shifters, men morph between packs depending upon maturity, motive and the response of the woman.

Contrary to popular belief, not all men are dogs. Oftentimes, women spend so much time with the wrong type of goody box hunter that Mr. Right-for-You is overlooked. Why? Because of the inability to differentiate between the packs and the devices used to detect, attack, capture and devour the goody box.

I advise my clients that you cannot get mad about the infestation of fleas, when you continue to shop at the dog pound. If you are tired of being his toy—chewed up, buried and then dug up when he wants to “play” again—then you have to do things differently.

Compiling my journey and research findings, I penned The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box to answer what your father didn’t tell you and your mother didn’t know. The novel is my contribution to help women become man whisperers by offering sound, unbiased relationship advice from men.

The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box – What your father didn’t tell you and your mother didn’t know.

Successful. Beautiful. Intelligent. Yet a satisfying relationship eludes Debra Hampton. At thirty-five years old, she can’t figure out why her philosophy on men—and what they want from women—isn’t working. She’s trapped in a cycle of shattered relationships, until a friend refers her to a relationship guru. After some resistance, Debra finds refuge in his counsel as he helps her navigate through the storms of rejection and failed love. Once he reveals the error of her ways, will Debra master the forbidden secrets to attract her soul mate or continue to keep love at bay?

“A brilliant writer. I love her work. The characters are so real, so rich and fleshed out so well. You hit the nail on the head with these women. Can I have the rights to the movie?”

Mother Love, TV and radio host of The Mother Love Show

Visit TheGoodyBoxBook.com.

Valerie J. Lewis Coleman has helped women find relational fulfillment by identifying the four types of male hunters, avoiding seventy percent of men who only want the goody box and winning the heart of Mr. Right-For-You. She explains how she overcame struggles and offers proven techniques to help you get off the crazy cycle of relational demise in her novel The Forbidden Secrets of the Goody Box! Visit TheGoodyBoxBook.com for the sequel, prequel and upcoming events!

The bestselling author of Blended Families An Anthology, Valerie has helped thousands of families navigate the challenges of child support, visitation, discipline and more. With over twenty years of experience in family and relationships, she has given advice on varying issues including baby-momma drama, defiant children and disapproving in-laws. On her journey to assist others with building strong families, she shares her testimony and provides practical tools to help you stop the stepfamily madness in your home!

www.wnlbooktours.com/valerie-l-coleman

Building a backstory with Michelle Cary

As an author, it’s my job to be able to not only tell the story you see on the pages, but also be able to tell the story of my character’s lives to this point.  That means I must figure out their backstory.  What was the hero and heroine’s lives like before their story starts.  How did they grow up?  Were they poor?  Rich?  Did they have some life altering event, and if they did how did it affect their lives.  Is the event relevant to the current story?  Should it be mentioned?

Sometimes building a backstory isn’t as easy as one might think.  It’s easy to get into a rut using the same cliché storylines.  Alcoholic or abusive mother/father.  The loss of parents.  A broken heart caused by former boyfriend/girlfriend cheating.  You get the idea.

These are all legitimate backstories as they happen every day in real life, but they aren’t the only backstories that exist in real life.  I’ll be honest.  I’ve never really given backstory too much thought until a recent trip back to my hometown to visit family.

Now mind you, I grew up in a small town (8900 people now and shrinking) where everyone knows everyone and the job opportunities mostly consist of the three ‘F’s’   Farming.  Factories.  Fast Food.  So while we were there visiting with my nearly 80 year old grandmother, she was filling us in on all the local gossip.  How a local pilot (who coincidentally died in a single engine plane crash while we were there) had been harassed over the course of the last year, by a local politician over the hanger he leased at the airport.

She filled us in on the sixteen year old autistic boy who killed his abusive, alcoholic mother in self-defense and was facing a 16 year prison sentence (he ended up getting 8 years and with good behavior and time served he’ll end up serving 2 more years), despite the obvious and very public history of the psychotic, abusive mother and the witnesses who were willing to testify in defense of the boy.

Then there was the owner of the local ambulance service who scammed the city out of a million dollar loan and the owner of the only concrete company in town has been banned from bidding on state contracts because he refused to bring his concrete up to spect.  (Better to take undeserved money and kill someone with faulty concrete than to run a legitimate business?)

She went into detail on the stories from the beginning bringing us up to present events.  When I asked how she knew so much detailed information on all these incidents, she proceeded to show me a new newspaper she receives that dishes the dirt on city politicians and business owners.  The paper was designed as a way to try and keep elected officials honest.  Instead, all it’s managed to do is provide fodder for gossip and resentment in the town.

It also opened my eyes to something I already knew but never really thought about, until now.  That while every situation…every event has a backstory, it’s much deeper and more complicated than what we as authors might convey on the pages of our stories.  Are we as authors doing an injustice to our characters and readers by not spending more time on backstories?  Providing a giant information dump in the first few pages of the story certainly won’t garner us many readers.  So as an author, how do you decide how much detail to include and where to place it in the story?

I also realized one other important factor.  Real life is not only sometimes stranger than fiction, but is a breeding ground of ideas for stories and backstories.  After all, the only difference between fiction and real life (at least in these cases above), is that at the end of a fictional story the mystery is solved, the criminals are caught and the hero and heroine get their Happy Ever After.

Unfortunately for the pilot’s family, not only will there not be a HEA in their future, with the amount of corruption that takes place in my hometown they’ll probably never really know the truth as to what happened to their loved one. So I asked that you all keep the family (who I’m not going to name) in your thoughts and prayers.  I’m sure they could use them.  And the next time you hear a story on the news, take a moment to consider what the backstory you don’t hear about, might be.

Oh and a quick thank you to Manic Readers for allowing me on their blog today.

Content with her life as Ultimate Extreme Wrestling Vixen. Lexi Blackwell isn’t looking for love.  Considered a legacy in the business because of her legendary father, she’d well respected and liked by many.  She has only one focus and that’s her career. Years ago she fell in love with a fellow UEW supers star only to suffer a lot more than just a broken heart.  Unable to completely cover from the hurt, Lexi swore never to travel down that path again.

Professional wrestler Logan Lanier is a rising star in the company. He’s spent years working to reach the top and excels at everything he does.  Once in the big leagues Logan quickly realizes just how lonely the existence can be.  Feeling a connection with Lexi, he sets his sights and his heart on the pretty little vixen.  He knows she’s been burned before and is determined to do whatever it takes to prove that not all men (or wrestlers) are created equal.

Can Logan win her trust and ultimately her love, or will the cruel hand of fate strike again?

AVAILABLE  TODAY @ Loose-id

Check out Michelle’s Facebook page and website for information on her books, contests and much more.

TRUST ME and giveaway with Joan Callahan

 

Beth Carter is a psychologist to many and a single mother to four unruly boys. Patients might almost be manageable, but her boys aren’t. While the household lurches inevitably from one catastrophe to another, Beth finds herself barely managing to hold onto the vital threads of sanity whilst leading her often complex patients through their own remarkable journeys.

Beth finds it to be a lonely venture, leading her to look for love—but in all the wrong places.

 

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Joan Callahan is a clinical psychologist practicing in Melbourne, Australia. She commenced her career teaching English and history at the prestigious Melbourne High School and later retrained in the field of psychology. Joan set up her own private practice and has a heavy forensic caseload, while providing consultancies to commerce, industry, and government. She also enjoys several mediation contracts. She particularly likes working with anxiety disorders, couples, and the full spectrum of psychological disorders.

Joan is the divorced mother of three boys, has three brothers, and three grandsons—not to mention that she taught only boys at Melbourne High School. By her sheer survival as teacher, mother, and psychologist, she considers herself something of an expert on boys. Joan loves her job, going to the gym, making bread, (boring, boring, boring. Next it will be romantic fireside chats and long walks on the beach at sunset!), socializing widely, and travelling around the world as often as she can with the love of her life. Her vast travels around the USA have provided fodder for the third book in this series as the inimitable Carter clan enjoy the wilds of Yeehaw Junction.

Life remains wonderfully hectic. Any similarity between Joan’s life and Beth’s is not purely coincidental.  Beth’s patients are pure fiction; her dogs are not. Her boys? Close!

Joan st The Writers Coffeeshp       Goodreads         Facebook          Amazon


NOAH'S RAINY DAY with Sandra Brannan and giveaway

Thank you, Sandra, for taking the time to visit with Manic Readers.

For those who aren’t familiar with your Liv Bergen series can you please give a brief synopsis of IN THE BELLY OF JONAH,LOT’S RETURN TO SODOM, AND WIDOW’S MIGHT, the first three?

From many generations of miners, Liv Bergen manages one of the family-owned mines in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  When one of her employees is discovered gutted like a fish on the banks of a reservoir, Liv Bergen is launched into the world of investigations with IN THE BELLY OF JONAH, a fast paced suspense,  in a race against time, where the killer is performing macabre murders so that life will imitate art.  In LOT’S RETURN TO SODOM, Liv fights to find justice for her brother who is wrongly accused of his fiancé’s murder while dodging the unwelcome attentions of a motorcycle gang leader’s attentions during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  In WIDOW’S MIGHT, a killer’s motivation leads him to attempt murder of an eighty year old woman who’s in hospice dying of cancer, a woman who has lost everyone she loves and refuses to lose her battle to the man who wants it all.  I enjoy showcasing the power of every day heroes to overcome the evil that lurks in all our neighborhoods.  

Did you ever imagine you’d be a writer?  How did you come to create Liv and her world?

I suppose we all fancied ourselves writers when we were kids stapling all those scrap papers together and scribbling out brilliant prose in between Scooby Doo and the Brady Bunch, but it wasn’t until a high school English teacher pulled my nose out of my mathematics books long enough to award me a creative writing scholarship that I thought of anything besides getting an engineering degree with an MBA.  If a teacher hadn’t seen it in me, I certainly would have never even tried.  But the guilt of spending that $500 cash scholarship on Industrial Engineering proved too much as I aged and I decided consciously to create a strong protagonist who was both smart and feminine and subconsciously created  (as one reviewer described) the accidental love child of Jack Reacher and Kinsey Milhone.  

I love Kinsey Milhone..:)  Why did you make Liv a miner?

I wrote ten novels before I was published and my first books bore no resemblance to my life or what I knew.   And the best advice is most assuredly write what you know because only when I wrote Liv as a miner did the character become more authentic, since that’s the world from which I was born.  I come from a long line of happy miners, limestone mining the generational family business I continue to love and where I work every day.  

Can you sum up Liv and her world in twenty words or less?

Liv Bergen is the only fictional character worthy of making a monogamous man out of Travis McGee and winning the heart of Jack Reacher.   Great question, by the way.  My goal was most definitely to span generations of interest while remaining a character everyone felt was a true friend, someone to share a beer with.   What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming response by women describing themselves when I first asked what Liv Bergen looked like, since I left her vague in the first book.  That was the best compliment fans gave me. 

Why the biblical nod in your titles?  Was it an intentional theme?

I had always heard the publishers never kept the author’s titles, so I really didn’t expect them to keep mine.  But they did.  Having been through nine years of Catholic school, I swear the scariest stories I was ever told was by a nun in third grade.  Those bible stories were freaking scary!  So I decided to take those stories and give them a modern day twist, not to be preachy or to drag in the religious elements, but to highlight the strength and tragedy of those tales.  For example, IN THE BELLY OF JONAH has Liv Bergen trapped in the belly of Jonah’s world for three days just as Jonah was trapped in the whale for three days and the reference to the belly is quite appropriate since chapter one has the center being cut out of Liv’s employee.  If you don’t know the bible stories that I’m referencing, it really has no bearing on how much you will enjoy the plotting or pacing of the story.  But if you do, it adds a more complex layer to what I was intending to highlight or use from those scary stories in the twisted modern version.  

Your covers are stark and uniquely creepy.  I’ve heard from many authors that they have little or no input in their covers but there’s an interesting story behind yours.  Can you share it here with all the Manic Readers, please?

Fascinating to me how book covers are designed.  For me, the cover reveal is the most exciting aspect of the writing journey since it becomes the tangible appearance of the imagined story in my head.  I remember the woman at the publishing house who designed my first cover telling me that all she does is read the first chapter, maybe the last or a few pages of the last chapter, to design the cover.  Throughout the long process that is book production, the only aspect we were behind on schedule for the first book was cover design.  When she finally sent me some design choices to offer feedback, she apologized for being late, telling me she started reading and couldn’t put the book down.  And when she did, she couldn’t get over the first chapter, it was so creepy.  I asked her which cover was her favorite and she chose the one that is IN THE BELLY OF JONAH, which won the best book cover of 2010 from Southwest Print magazine. 

You have an uncommon way of including your readers in your writing process.  Can you tell us about your process, please?

I love my fans and they have been so good to me, sending me fan mail, inviting me to book clubs, blogging about my books, and providing reviews that I decided to include them in the process of writing.  Every year I choose a book club to be my beta-readers before I turn my manuscript into my publisher, much to the chagrin of my editor, of course.  Because the manuscript is in its most raw format, the book clubs get to add their input, improve the story or pacing or even characters before it ever gets turned in to the publisher and they get to see a year later how different the end product of the book becomes.  For me, I get the most benefit out of the process since I learn what my fans love about the series and what they need or want to have happen.  It’s humbling that an entire book club is willing to read all my books and critique my newest manuscript to help me get better as a writer.  The level of detail and work the book clubs put in to my stories is mind-boggling.  I love it!!   For NOAH’S RAINY DAY, I had nearly four-dozen book clubs request to be my beta-readers.  Humbling, indeed.  And all I can do for them is recognize their efforts in the Acknowledgement section of my books and send them an autographed copy.  I definitely get the best end of that deal! 

You come from a large family, can you tell us a bit about what that’s like?  Has that helped you as a writer, hindered you, or hasn’t mattered a whit?

I love my family!  I have six sisters and two brothers who I consider my best friends.  But if they were in the room, I’d blame my creepy, quirky mind on them locking me in a basement or hanging me from a tree branch (but it wouldn’t be true).  We grew up in the woods next to the quarry, so my family’s idea of fun was encircling a skunk to see if we could catch it or jumping from the highest rock piles in the quarry (before MSHA rules).  And when Mom and Dad weren’t looking, danger was our playmate for sure.  It’s a wonder we all lived and no surprise we’ve all moved back to our hometown in the Black Hills from all over the world to be reunited as a family as we’ve grown older.  

The strange part about my writing the Liv Bergen Mystery Series is that Liv only had two siblings when I first turned the stories into the publisher.  After they met me, they asked to share more of me in the stories, so I gave Liv eight siblings, just like me, and it has been F-U-N making them into colorful characters whose good traits are most certainly my siblings’ and whose bad traits are totally fictional (I did mention I was 7th of 9 kids, didn’t I?  Which means I most certainly will get the mess beat out of me if I made these ‘fictional’ characters any other way, right?) 

I read that your family has many talented “right brained” thinkers while you’re left brained.  You didn’t even tell them you’d secured a book contract.  I think writing a successful mystery series is pretty flipping talented and creative. J  How do you feel about it now?

I am SO ‘left brained’ it isn’t even funny.  I love math, maps, atlases, spreadsheets, matrices, compasses, topos, algebra, computer programming… I am a permanent resident of geek city.  When I die, my siblings will probably put ‘I <3 nerds!’ on my headstone.  I have siblings who are so creative, so talented, that I feel really challenged with my right lobe. Artists, musicians, poets, dancers, master gardeners, opera singers, brew masters, bakers… you name it.  Me?  I never considered myself all that right-brained.  Truly.  About the only creative outlet I had was telling ghost stories around the campfire or creating a new trap to catch the latest animal.  Before I had kids, what I loved to do was convert my house every year into a haunted mansion for my nieces and nephews.  I guess it was then I found a passion for scaring the mess out of those I love, which is a natural transition to writing suspenseful mystery thrillers for fans, right?   

Can you tell us about Liv’s first professional case and most recent release, NOAH’S RAINY DAY?

Home from Quantico as a new FBI Special Agent, Liv is a bit rusty with handling Beulah, her man trailing bloodhound, yet Streeter needs her expertise immediately to track a missing child from Denver International Airport who was traveling alone during the holidays.   Holidays are tough enough when having to work and being away from family, but when Liv is searching for a five-year-old boy in mounds of strewn garbage, her holiday cheer evaporates completely.  Emptiness turns to horror when Liv’s nephew Noah, a twelve year old with severe cerebral palsy, also falls prey to the man at the epicenter of evil in Noah’s rainiest day ever.      

Are you able to give us any hints about what’s next?

Wouldn’t you start questioning your choices in careers if your family members seemed to get mixed up in every one of the cases you were investigating?  After NOAH’S RAINY DAY, Liv questions her choice of leaving the family business to become an FBI agent because of the dangers. Streeter tries to convince her that her FBI work doesn’t always endanger her family by showing her how she can help her family with a cold case.  Her niece who was killed and kidnapped seven years earlier.  WRATH TO THE WICKED will be the fifth in the Liv Bergen Mystery Series.

Does your muse require anything special to visit?  Music? Silence? Chocolate?

Time.  Blocks of time.  

Have you ever considered trying your hand at another genre?

Thrillers, suspense, and mystery come naturally to me as a writer because those are the books I most enjoy reading.  I can’t imagine being very good at any other genre, although I love reading Young Adult or fun children’s books.   

Are you a reader?  If so do you have any favorites?  Current reads?

Since I started publishing in 2010, I find the only downside is I don’t have as much time to read.  I read a lot of books as a judge for associations or to endorse, but very little time to read as comfort food for my mind.  What’s on my nightstand now is the last two Lee Child books, Michael Connelly, Meg Gardiner, Dan Brown, James Rollins, Gayle Lynds, Harlan Coben, Sue Grafton, Lisa Lutz, Janet Evanovich, anything James Patterson (which is my mac and cheese books).  I like finding new authors and enjoy reading exciting new stories, like by Reavis Wortham or J. M. LeDuc, yet I never tire of my favorites.  

Can you describe your perfect day?

My perfect day starts when I wake up rested, get a good work out, a hot shower, and a few minutes on my prayer bench, then enjoy a cup of coffee with my husband as we watch the animals and birds come to life with the sunrise.  When I know where each of my kids are, that they’re happy and healthy, and that they have the freedom to choose how to be productive for that day, I am in a great place.  

Is there anything else you’d like to let us know?

Let me hijack your book club!!  Love to visit your clubs in person when I can, but also happy to call in telephonically, via FaceTime or Skype.  Book clubs have been very good to me, so I’ve been sending a crime scene kit as a thank you to the book clubs who choose to invite me.  Let me know at sandra@sandrabrannan.com.  And please know how grateful I am to wonderful websites like Manic Readers for giving all us authors a forum to meet fans.  So thankful.

That’s so sweet of you, Sandra. Thank you…I love helping writers and readers connect. 🙂  I’ve enjoyed your visit very much.

Thanks to Sami at JKS Communications we have a digital copy of NOAH’S RAINY DAY for one lucky reader.  How do you like your heroines, conventional or a bit off beat & preferring to march to their inner drummer?  Giveaway ends @ 12am est Sept.10th with winner announced shortly thereafter.  Don’t forget Sandra’s invite to all those bookclubs out there! 

Now, freshly returned from training at Quantico, FBI agent Liv Bergen is thrown into her first professional case. Working side by side with veteran agent Streeter Pierce, enigmatic agent and lover Jack Linwood, and her bloodhound Beulah, Liv must race to find five-year-old Max—last seen at the Denver International Airport—before this Christmastime abduction turns deadly.

Meanwhile Noah, housebound, becomes wrapped up in identifying the young face he sees watching him from his neighbor’s bedroom window, but he can neither describe nor inscribe what he knows.   And his investigation may lead to Noah paying the ultimate price in fulfilling his dream.

Noah’s Rainy Day (the fourth novel in Brannan’s mystery series) combines classic Liv Bergen irreverence and brainpower with an unflinching look at the darkest of human motivations, all while a whirlpool of increasingly terrifying events threatens to engulf Liv and Noah both in one final rainy day

Visit Sandra         Facebook        Twitter        Goodreads          Amazon             B&N        IndieBound

 

My take on IN THE BELLY OF JONAH     lLOT’S RETURN TO SODOM       WIDOW’S MIGHT    & NOAH’S RAINY DAY

When aNew York millionaire businessman and an L.A. supermodel’s son goes missing during a plane change at Denver International Airport on Christmas Eve,still wet-behind-the-ears Liv Bergen is called in to work the kidnapping.  Once again Liv becomes personally involved in the case via her family.  Will the FBI find Max and affect a Christmas miracle for the families involved?   I confess to being a little leery before starting NOAH’S RAINY DAY.  It involves a kidnapped child and the involvement of another in solving the case.  Some people’s no go zone is animals, mine is children.  Thankfully Ms. Brannan never entered my zone.

NOAH’S RAINY DAY differs from the previous books in the Liv Bergen series in some crucial ways. Instead of segueing from Widow’s Might to NOAH’S RAINY DAY there’s a lapse of the months Liv spent at Quantico.   

Liv’s relationship with Jack Linwood seems to have proceeded beyond the occasional date.  She’s selling her house in Fort Collins while searching for an apartment in Denver.  In the meantime she’s bunking with her sister Frances and her family. Some major Liv life happenings occurring off stage this time.

There are some developments surrounding Jack that have piqued my curiosity and he drops a bomb or two on Liv.  There’s also a small reveal about Streeter’s wife, Paula.  Slowly but surely details regarding both men are coming out and making them more complete, more interesting.  Liv’s family is also being introduced, a few more in each book.  I have to wonder if Liv will ever work on a case that doesn’t involve a family member or a connection to them in some shape, form, or fashion.

More of the agents Liv, Jack, and Streeter work with are also introduced giving us a better idea of the dynamics and flow in that quarter. 

There are still several POV’s but Liv isn’t the star.  Noah, her 12 yr old nephew with cerebral palsy, steals the book and the case  from Liv. Noah and his sister, Emma, have created their own method of communication the adults haven’t/can’t master(ed) and she speaks for him when others aren’t “getting him”.  Their love and caring is evident.  Ms. Brannan does a marvelous job of bringing Noah’s reality to life, to be so intelligent and have your body refuse to co-operate.  Noah’s chapters reveal a child wise beyond his years while still childlike in many ways. His concern for others, often putting them and their needs above his own, is beyond the abilities of some adults yet so much a part of who he is.  It’s easy to see why, despite his condition, Noah’s family considers him such a blessing.  Noah is flat out amazing and just steals your heart.

Max, the kidnapped boy, represents that magical time of innocence for me.  His gleeful contagious laughter, easy happiness, and childish delight in the world around him is so bright and enchanting.  You can’t help but love both boys.  

Between Noah and Max Liv definitely takes a backseat this time out.  The children are the focus and with Beulah(the bloodhound), the heroes of NOAH’S RAINY DAY.

Taut and compact with events occurring over a suspense filled two day period it’s really hard not to devour in one sitting.  Can’t help but wonder what Liv and her kin are going to be up to next time we meet.  Whatever it is NOAH’S RAINY DAY is gonna be one heck of a hard act to follow.

45 stars

HIGHLAND SOLUTION and giveaway by Ceci Giltenan

Romance Novels and the Teenage Relatives

When I read the email offering me a publishing contract for Highland Solution, I was very pleased. OK, I was more than pleased; I might have jumped and squealed like a game show contestant. Of course I told my family first. They all knew that it was a medieval Highland romance, however, the younger members of my family, my children and my nieces and nephews, weren’t really familiar with the genre. I explained that historical romances are obviously set in the past and generally focus on the relationship that builds between the hero and heroine. Frequently the characters face challenges or evil forces that threaten to tear them apart, but these are overcome in the end and “they all live happily ever after.” It is a little like a fairytale for an adult.

I was rather proud of my succinct description. Then my twenty-year-old son Liam asked “Is there sex in it?”

“Well yes, some. But the sex is appropriate to the story.”

“So it is like that 50 Shades book? Mommy porn?”

“NO! It is sooo not mommy porn. ‘That 50 Shades book’ is classified as erotic romance. Highland Solution isn’t anything like that.”

But this got me to thinking. Would it bother me if my children and the other young adults in my family read Highland Solution? Not really, but I decided I would leave it up to them. If they were comfortable and asked me for a copy, I would give them one.

Several months later my 19 year-old nephew did ask for a copy. “Are you sure?” I asked. “It doesn’t really seem like your kind of book.”

“Yes I’m sure, Aunt Ceci. I read all kinds of books.”

I explained that it was still being edited, but I did need feedback about something and if he wanted to read it and give me that feedback, I would appreciate it. Several months later and I asked him if he had finished it.

“No Aunt Ceci, I didn’t read it. Liam told me it’s a sex book and I just couldn’t read it knowing you wrote it.”

“IT IS NOT A SEX BOOK AND I AM GOING TO KILL LIAM IF HE IS TELLING EVERYONE THAT! Good Lord, I absolutely know every single one of you watch Game of Thrones and Orange is the New Black. There is way more sex in both of those.”

“Yeah, but you didn’t write those.”

True enough. However, he agreed that if the most explicit scenes were modified he could read it. So with some minor edits I created a “sanitized” version. He still hasn’t read it. However, the effort wasn’t wasted. My 18-year-old daughter, who rarely reads any novels, asked to read the “sanitized” version and loved the story. “Are there other novels like this out there?”

“Oh my sweet girl, only thousands.”

I gave her some of my favorites and she has enjoyed reading them, “But I still like yours best mommy.”

Ceci is giving away a digital copy of HIGHLAND SOLUTION to one (1) lucky commenter.  Do you have a favorite Scottish fella, real or fictional?  Do tell & be entered in Ceci’s giveaway!   Giveaway ends @12am est 9-6-13 with winner announced shortly thereafter.

Visit Ceci

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HEAR THE WIND BLOW, LOVE by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy with giveaway

Maude Whitney has a problem.  Not only is she a widowed single mother raising her son alone on a farm in the rugged Ozark Mountains in late 1918, she’s all too aware she married the wrong Whitney brother.  She wed Jamie but her heart always belonged to Harry although she failed to realize it until it was too late.  Jamie marched off to war but like many other soldiers, he won’t be coming home, his life given for his country.  Maude has trouble mourning him, however, because after the news of his death, Granpa Whitney died and Granny moved to town.  Harry, who’d been sharing the family farmhouse, moved to the old pioneer cabin so gossiping tongues wouldn’t wag but Maude misses and needs him.

Maude’s the heroine of my brand new historical romance release Hear The Wind Blow, Love.  It’s out today from Rebel Ink Press and is my 18th full length novel to date with Rebel Ink.  Readers who enjoy my previous historical novels including Guy’s Angel, In The Shadow of War, and Dust Bowl Dreams should like this one too.

To make everything more fun, I’ll be giving away an eBook copy of my new release – to enter, just leave your name and email with a comment! Tell me why you’d like to read this novel or your favorite historical era or anything. 

When the Armistice ends the Great War in November 1918, the end comes too late to save Maude Whitney’s husband, Jamie.  But Maude realizes her heart still belongs to Harry, her brother-in-law who courted her first.  He’s been her rock in Jamie’s absence while they shared quarters with the grandparents who raised the brothers. But Granpa died and Granny moved to town so when Maude invites him to move back under the same roof, it’s sure to be a scandal in the rural Ozarks.   

Before gossiping tongues can spread the news, the Spanish influenza wreaks havoc in the area.  It brings death close to home for Maude and Harry.  As they fall deeper in love and plan to wed, their troubles are just beginning.  Old feuds erupt and the day after Christmas, Harry’s hauled into custody and accused of a murder he didn’t commit.  Harry must prove his innocence and survive a serious bout of flu or there’s no happy ending for the star-crossed couple.   

 

“I’ll do right by you,” he said, his voice earnest with feeling. “I won’t take advantage.”

She might like it if he did, but Maude understood.  He respected her. “I know,” she replied softly. “I’m glad you’re home, Harry.”

Unseen, unspoken, a powerful emotion surged between them and resonated, almost strong enough to touch.  All the affection Maude held for Harry welled up and she struggled to contain it.  They’d lived in one household for a long time and managed.  Whatever happened now, she wouldn’t force.  He released her hand but his fingers paused to stroke her cheek in a brief caress.  “Looks like the fire needs feeding,” he said.  He rose and stirred the embers, then added another log.  The flames danced and their light illuminated Harry as he knelt before the hearth.

I love him, in every way a woman loves a man.  She’d never stopped and all she felt surpassed anything she’d felt for Jamie.  Maude mourned his passing, but she knew now how much more she’d grieve if it’d been Harry, not his brother who died inFrance.  Some of the strain of recent weeks lifted and a little bubble of happiness expanded within.  Harry’s presence tempered the bone numbing loneliness and offered comfort.

Anything else would be welcome and if it came, she’d know joy, deep and abiding.

Hear The Wind Blow, Love is now available at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks B&N, and other online retailers.

You can find me:

From Sweet to Heat: The Romance of Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy       Facebook         A Page In The Life           Amazon        LinkedIn       Goodreads     TRR/Manic    Twitter: leeannwriter

 

 

Mary Hughes’ BEAUTY BITES with Kindle or Nook giveaway

 

Beauty Bites (Biting Love Book 6)

Beauty is skin deep…but the beast goes all the way.

When top Minneapolis ad man Ric Holiday is asked to design a campaign for a quaint little town, his first reaction is absolutely not. Meiers Corners is too near Chicago, home of the vampire who turned him as an orphaned boy.
Then the city sends an angel-faced med student with a body made for sin to plead their case. Synnove Byornsson is the ray of sunshine Ric hasn’t felt since he was human.
Armed with determination and a micro miniskirt, Synnove is prepared to crash Holiday’s penthouse cocktail party—and to dislike him on sight. But Mr. All-Style-No-Substance turns out to have a deadly smile, a barely restrained, feral strength, and piercing blue eyes that look at her—not at her cleavage.
Unfortunately Synnove has competition in the form of a sly temptress with a counterproposal. For the first time in her life, Synnove must cash in her genetic lottery ticket and fire back with some sizzle of her own—or her beloved Meiers Corners could become the new Sin City.
Warning: Contains a doctor with a bod for sin, an ad exec with a chip on his shoulder, sarcasm, sex, and a cabin full of annoying friends. Secrets are revealed. One heart-stopping, horrific moment leads to the ultimate of happily-ever-afters.
It was all fun and games until the gun hit my skull.
Thud. A bright pain cracked in my brain, telling me the mountainous hostage-taker had brought his own weapon to bear.
Almost immediately something heavy plowed into us, spinning me away from the gun. I staggered to a stop.
My sight cleared to Ric, wrestling the mountain.
The big goon seized Ric with one arm, hugging him close like he was going to give him noogies. But the gun in his noogie hand made reality more chilling.
Ric shimmered, and suddenly the mountain was holding a cloud of mist.
Vampire fighting technique? I cheered before it occurred to me to wonder why Ric hadn’t used it before and why the shadowman helping us hadn’t used it at all.
The edge of Ric’s mist caught a stray beam of sunlight. It instantly combusted—poof. My elation turned to horror.
Ric snapped back into being like a rubber band. His cheek was seared open, exposing red muscle surrounded by blackened, bubbling skin. But he lost no time raising his bound hands, swinging, and whacked the bad guy’s head with fists like a mallet.
The mountain swayed but didn’t go down. Ric spun, once, twice, winding up his whole body behind it, and whacked him again.
Still the guy didn’t go down. My heart tripped double time. The mountain swept his gun toward Ric.
I leaped at them. Went oof when I hit the shadow’s arm, stuck out like a bar. I folded over it like a cheap towel and staggered back.
Ric slid into the rifle.
The mountainous goon opened fire as Ric knocked the gun to the side—the side where the ogre-like head hostage-taker stood.
Ogre Face ducked and covered. A spray of bullets rat-a-tat-tatted a line where his head had been.
Ric chopped his forearms across the mountain’s right wrist. The mountain howled, both arms flying up in defense, right hand dangling with a protruding lump at the wrist presenting as broken. The gun fell to hang from its clip. The mountain groped for it with his left hand.
Ric grabbed the big man’s balls.
The guy shrieked. Ric wrenched. The mountain dropped, curling on the floor like a shrimp. Apparently Ric also had a grip like a nut crusher.
“Stop!”
I whipped around. Ogre Face pointed his gun at my head. He rasped, “You’re dead.”
Terror burned that instant into my head like a snapshot. I stood facing the ogre. About ten feet separated us. Behind me was the hostage-lined bank of windows, the shadowman already running toward them. A few feet to my right, the mountain goon curled on the floor, Ric breathing deeply over him.
Both Ric and I were too far away to stop the ogre from shooting.
“Down!” The shadowman pushed hostages to the floor, starting with the ones in Ogre Face’s direct line of fire. Well, if you didn’t count me.
Ric leaped.
My knees started to bend.
Ogre Face pulled the trigger.
Ric wouldn’t hit him in time, even though he’d leaped before the ogre pulled the trigger.
The gun went off.

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I’ve worked as everything from a cleaning temp to project manager for global clients. Currently I’m an author, musician, and computer consultant. I live in the United States Midwest with a basement full of spare computer parts and several musical instruments including my husband’s romantic cello and my flute for playing bird parts in orchestra…ask me to tell you that story sometime 🙂
Hugs!
Mary

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