Thursday, February 26, 2015

On Conversations: #author JoAnne Myers

Please join me in welcoming author, and painter, JoAnne Myers to Conversations today! JoAnne is here to talk about her mystery novel, Murder Most Foul! So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! Plus, she's offered to share with us her insights into writing mysteries. Thank you JoAnne!

Lisa ~
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Hello and thank you for having me today. I will be awarding two lucky people who comment each a paperback or PDF of their choice of one of my books. The choices are: Murder Most Foul, Wicked Intentions, Twisted Love, The Crime of the Century, Flagitious, Loves, Myths, and Monsters, or Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between.

Author Note:  Murder Most Foul is in the process of being transformed into a screenplay, so that I may offer it to production companies.


Writing Mystery - by JoAnne Myers 

    Before writing a word, take some time to jot down key story points. As you're writing, the story will want to take on a life of its own. Having a handy reference of key points will help keep your story on track and you from pulling your hair out. A list of key points is also helpful when outlining the story plot. You may very well find that the story begins to unfold as you're writing down the key points. If this happens...let it! Write down any ideas or details that come to you, they'll come in handy later.
Some key points to consider are; what is the mystery? This is the underlying theme to the entire story so be as in-depth as possible (has there been a murder or a theft or a kidnapping? If so, how and where was it committed?).
    Hunt for the culprit. Every good story has at least one antagonist, but what steps must the hero or heroine take to find him/her? How will the villain evade the hero? How is the mystery solved? In mystery writing there are a lot of twists and turns. Write down your initial thoughts for plot twists, red herrings to throw the readers off the trail of the true villain, and of course the final stages of how the good guy will prevail...or does he? You need to decide whether or not the hero or the villain wins in the end. Many hero’s die trying to solve their case. Many are involved in physical altercations with other characters. You must decide how many altercations, the number of characters involved, and what weapons if any are used. It is not a good idea to only engage your characters with fist fighting. Throw in some knives, chains, falling from windows, or my favorite, a poisoning, and other nasty assaults.
    Every great story has well rounded characters. We read fiction because we want to be entertained and develop a connection with the characters. Outlining items such as personality traits, physical features, and quirks can help bring your characters to life; a speech impediment, or limp, or a nervous twitch.
    For the Protagonist, decide the name, age, where does he/she live, does he/she have a family or pets, what is their driving goal for taking on this particular case? Is the hero a police officer, a person sworn to honesty, pride, and valor. Or is the good guy a private detective being paid to find a certain someone. Or your main character could be a parent or sibling searching for a missing loved one.
    For the Antagonist, decide the name, age, where does he/she live, is there an underlying reason for being the antagonist? Perhaps this person is a career criminal. On the other hand, maybe he/she is a good person that suffered an unjust and turned to crime out of bitterness and despair.
    Then you have your support characters, who are the color of the story. They provide depth to the story whether good or bad. A support character could be as simple as a loud mouth hot dog vendor standing on a street corner or as in-depth as the villain's partner in crime. In writing a mystery story, support characters can take on a life of their own with the reader, so make them interesting. Just because they are labeled support characters does not mean they are any less important than the main characters.
    Next is the location of the story. When and where is the story set? These two key elements are what bring your story to life. Mystery story writing is a broad genre and could be set in any time period and in any place. When working with actual locations it is a good idea to do research on the location first. Readers want to feel as though they are there with the characters, so being able to accurately describe a location is vital. Time periods are no exception. If the story is set in 1940's New Orleans, the reader will want to see their surroundings, not just be told the story is taking place in a speakeasy or church. Be descriptive!
    A mystery story is not a story without a solid well thought out plot. Some things to consider when developing the story plot: What is the driving force of the mystery? To solve a murder, or rescue a kidnap victim? What does the villain do to thwart the hero? Does the villain get his goons on the hero? Is the hero being set up by the villain and now he is being hunted by police. What other obstacles get in the way of solving the mystery?
    One of the most important elements of writing a mystery story is suspense. Giving away too much too soon will bore the reader. It is best if the suspense is sprinkled throughout the story; bring the mystery to light within the first few chapters, then as the story progresses add a clue here and there without revealing the outcome until the final chapter. Do not be afraid to add a "red herring" or false clue, within the stories context. Readers love nothing better than to think they have everything figured out only to find in the end they were mistaken the entire time.
    The final few chapters of the story should hold the climax of the conflict and resolution between the hero and villain, including how all of the clues scattered throughout the story cumulatively solves the mystery. A good conclusion gives the reader a sense of closure in finding out how the hero solved the mystery. Remember that not all mysteries have to be completely solved or have a "happy" ending. If you are writing a series of stories, the villain may get away at the end of story #1 with the hero using clues from story #1 to track down the villain in story #2. In mystery story writing, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

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MURDER MOST FOUL

When two dismembered torsos wash up on the banks of the local river in the small industrial town of Pleasant Valley, residents are horrified. Between contradicting statements, police ineptitude, lust, lies, manipulation, incest, the motorcycle gang The Devil’s Disciples, crooked cops, and a botched crime scene, everyone becomes a suspect.

The young beautiful Jackie Reeves, a registered nurse, believes the killer is a man from her past. She contacts the dangerously handsome FBI Agent Walker Harmon. An arrest is made, but Harmon and Jackie believe an innocent man is being railroaded by local cops. How far will these lover’s go to solve this heinous crime before anymore killings. Determined to find the truth, Agent Harmon and Jackie are forced to run a gauntlet of deep trouble and turmoil, which marks them for death.




Excerpt from Murder Most Foul by JoAnne Myers

Setting:  Inside the office of Police Chief Malcolm Barstow

Undaunted and short on patience, the agent stared at the fat jerk sitting before him gleefully puffing on a cigar, most likely homegrown in Detroit, Michigan, not Cuba. “I attend the Kingdom Hall on occasion,” he said.

 “Well most of us like Malloy. He's helped rid this town of criminals. He was a volunteer firefighter, and his wife cooks for the annual policeman's ball. Hell, Malloy even coached volleyball for the kids when he wuz younger. Now a person who does that ain't all bad,” the chief declared.

Barstow's sudden burst of energy to safeguard his fishy friend, picqued Harmon's interest. What had Malloy done? He decided he wasn't leaving until he had the full, sordid story.
“So you and Malloy are pals, and he did something he couldn't get out of, and you tried to salvage his job, but the big shots said, ‘No!' Is that how it went?” Harmon asked.
“Yeah, Malloy did somethin’ real stupid.”

“I'm listening,” Harmon replied.

“The rumors of Malloy allowin' his friends and family members to snoop through the cornfield, and photograph the area after the victims were removed, was true. Everyone is curious about this crime. Nothin' this big ever happened in this town before, and the pictures were for souvenirs, you know. Then after the limbs were removed, he brought in a back hoe, and tore up the whole damned crime scene, involving Thomas.” The chief growled in disgust.

“Yeah, that was stupid,” Harmon said. “So Malloy's unethical conduct was the reason the disciplinary board was in session?”

“Yep, they made their decision this mornin',” the chief said. “He's out. There was nothin' I could do for him.”

“You'd think a cop with over twenty years’ experience would demonstrate better reasoning then destroy evidence. Unless he's covering his own tracks,” Harmon said realizing what he was implying. “Do you believe Malloy committed the murders?”

“Now, I didn't say that. A lot of officers were on this case, so a lot of mistakes happened. We never dealt with this type crime before. Many might have made the same mistakes Malloy did.”

Dismissing the chief's excuses for Malloy's incompetence, Harmon demanded an answer. He was tired of being duped by the local cops and wanted the truth, and wanted it now. Standing and placing both palms on the chief's shiny desk, the agent looked the chief square in his squinty brown eyes and said, “Cough it up, Chief! There's more to it then that. If there were numerous mistakes made by officers other then Malloy, why was he the only one kicked off the force? Now spit it out! What the hell did Malloy do?”

“All right, all right!” the chief whined, “Malloy screwed the dead girl three weeks before she was killed–and got caught!”

The Agent was speechless. Walking to the window overlooking Main Street, he stared vacantly. Hadn't one of our witnesses suggested something like that? But–with the crisp wind howling, the citizens dining in the local cafés, others window shopping for Christmas or starting their shift at the town's businesses–this seems unreal. How can such a seemingly sweet country town be so full of bad apples, savage murders, police misconduct and corruption, evidence tampering? This town is certainly no Mayberry, thought Harmon.



I have been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of my life. Besides having several novels under my belt, I canvas paint.

When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, I spend time with relatives, and volunteer my time within the community. I am a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, Savvy Authors, Coffee Time Romance, Paranormal Romance Guild, True Romance Studios, National Writers Association, the Hocking Hill's Arts and Craftsmen Association, The Hocking County Historical Society and Museum, and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. I believe in family values and following your dreams.


My original canvas paintings, can be found at: booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com

Other books by JoAnne:
"WICKED INTENTIONS" a paranormal/mystery anthology
"LOVES', MYTHS' AND MONSTERS'," a fantasy anthology
"THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY," a biography true-crime
“POEMS ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN”
"TWISTED LOVE," a true-crime anthology
“FLAGITIOUS,”  a crime/mystery anthology

Contact JoAnne:
Email: joannemyers@frontier.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/joannemyers
Facebook Author Page: http://facebook.com/authorpage.joannemyers
Website: Books and Paintings by JoAnne
http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com/

JoAnne’s Blogs:
Jo Anne’s Postings: https://joannemyers.wordpress.com/
Jo Anne’s Blog: http://joannemyers.blogspot.com/
Books and Paintings by JoAnne Blog: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com/page2
JoAnne’s WordPress Blog:
http://joannemyerswordpressblog.wordpress.com/



Monday, February 23, 2015

On Conversations: #bestselling #author Debra Salonen

Please join me in welcoming bestselling author, Debra Salonen to Conversations today! Debra is here to talk about her new Big Sky Mavericks novel, Montana Maverick! To celebrate, she'll pick one commenter to win a $5 Amazon gift card. All you have to do is answer her question found in her very informative and entertaining guest post. Thank you Debra!

Lisa ~
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Support your local tropes
by Debra Salonen

A year ago I'd never heard the word: tropes.

At RWA in July, the word was everywhere. There were walking/talking tropes posing for pictures. (Mostly sexy cowboys.)
 

So, please, just what is a trope?

According to Merriam-Webster:
 

trope
noun \ˈtrōp\: a word, phrase, or image used in a new and different way in order to create an artistic effect
Uh....huh. It's all clear as mud now. Thanks.

So, let's try the Urban Dictionary:

"Despite the erroneous definitions already published here, TROPE on the interwebs really refers to an often overused plot device. It can also be described as another variation on the same theme. TV shows, movies, comics, games, anime', & books are full of tropes & many rabid fan-sites now name & track said tropes with a self-explanatory title for each one."
 

Of course. Why didn't I think of that?

The tropes I was seeing at conference wore cowboy boots, but I've also heard people talking about the sexy, single billionaire trope, ('cause there are so many of them walking around), the lonely, misunderstood beta hero trope, the friends-to-lovers trope, the second-chance-at-love trope...you get the picture.

Perhaps the reason I'm oblivious to tropes is that I can't go into a book planning to create a trope-worthy performance. At one point in Montana Maverick (my new release), I was aware of not wanting this plot to hinge on a second-chance-at-love story angle because this was a "trope" I'd used in the first book of the series. But I knew my hero and heroine were acquainted. They even admired each other from opposite sides of the bargaining table. The media tried to squeeze them into a trope: enemies-to-lovers or opposites-attract, but that wasn't them. They were real people with real lives; they supported causes that were important to them. Their causes were oppositional. This may have kept them from acting on any attraction they felt toward each other back in the day, but it's not enough to keep them apart now--other obstacles play that role.

Is there a trope for that? Maybe...Adults-Behaving-Normally? Why do I think that will never catch on as a trope? But, hopefully, my readers will understand and appreciate that some characters don't need a trope to be memorable.
 

MONTANA MAVERICK is releasing today. New release price is just 99¢ for a short time. To celebrate, I'll pick one commenter to send a $5 Amazon gift card. Do you have an opinion on tropes? Do they exist, or do they, as one commenter suggested, "...exist only in the eye of the publicist." ;-)

May the tropes be with you,

Deb

MONTANA MAVERICK
Big Sky Mavericks Book 4

Be careful what you wish for-

Meg Zabrinski, successful scientist, well-known environmental advocate, and tenured professor is as independent as they come in Montana. She doesn’t need a man in her life, but she does want to have a baby. She retreats to her isolated mountain cabin to write and ponder her future when Henry Firestone–an old rival and former secret crush from her distant past–drops out of the sky on Christmas Eve with three young children and a baby. Meg doesn’t believe in cosmic signs, but even she realizes she’d be crazy not to consider all her options.

The sparks that have always smoldered between them ignite a mutual passion, but when Henry Firestone makes it clear he’s done having children, Meg is forced to accept that falling in love with Henry and his ready-made family would require her to abandon her dream.  Can this “Lone Wolf” assimilate into a new pack, or is this Big Sky Maverick meant to be alone?





Find Debra Salonen: Amazon / Facebook / Twitter / Website / Blog

Winner of Romantic Times Reviewer's Career Achievement "Series Storyteller of the Year" award in 2006, Debra Salonen's 26 titles for Harlequin Publishing have sold more than 2.3 million copies, worldwide.

A six-time nominee for RT's Best Superromance of the Year award, UNTIL HE MET RACHEL (May 2010), took home that honor with Debra's most unlikely hero and never-say-die heroine.

Montana comes alive with bold heroes and modern heroines in Debra's Big Sky Mavericks series from Tule Publishing (check them out on Goodreads):
 

MONTANA COWGIRL - "Cowgirl, you can go home--and love--again."
MONTANA COWBOY - "He's nobody's cowboy until his new neighbor rocks his world."
MONTANA DARLING - "Her land. His tent. And this is Montana, where property disputes can lead to a range war...or love."
MONTANA MAVERICK - "A lone wolf PhD rescues a rancher--and gains a life."
HER FOREVER GIFT (a FREE holiday novella) - "The system failed him, but she never would."


Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Conversations: #author Darlene Gardner

Please join me in welcoming multi-talented author Darlene Gardner to Conversations today! Darlene is here to talk about her paranormal mystery serial for young adults on up, Dead Ringers: Volumes 1-3! So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! And right now, the boxed set is FREE! Totally FREE. No cost. At all. Plus, Darlene has a great post to share with us about being cursed by a psychic! Thank you Darlene!

Lisa ~
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Cursed by a Psychic - by Darlene Gardner

I was once cursed by a psychic. A really cranky psychic. She flung negative energy my way, wishing me enduring unhappiness.

My offense? I agreed to give a co-worker my opinion about whether she was legit before he agreed to write a feature story about her. At the time, we both worked for a daily newspaper in South Carolina.

I walked into the psychic’s dark, incense-filled room at one of the happiest times of my life. I was in love, living in beautiful Charleston and had just notched a playoff win for an adult-league tennis team. I was even still sweating lightly and dressed in my tennis clothes.

The psychic told me I was deeply troubled. She said the only way things would turn around was if she lit candles for me. And, oh yeah. The candle lighting would cost another $100.

I didn’t pay to have flames burn away my troubles, and my co-worker didn’t write the story. When she found out why I had entered her psychic lair, she became livid and put a curse on me.

I didn’t shake in my tennis shoes. I didn’t beg her to reconsider. I didn’t even lose any sleep.

Because the curse thrilled me, probably because authors are wired different than other people. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything, is fodder for a book.

I wasn’t even writing fiction full time yet, but I knew that some day I’d write a book where I’d call upon that experience. And now I have. Psychics play prominently in Dead Ringers, my paranormal mystery serial. One psychic even gives readings.

A slew of other mysterious things are going on in Dead Ringers, not the least of which is body switching. But the memory of the psychic who issued that long-ago curse is what spurred me to write the book. Speaking of the curse, you’re probably wondering if it worked.

Uh, no. Not unless curses kick in after more than twenty years of a happy life.

If you want to help me keep fighting the curse, download a copy of the first Dead Ringers boxed set. Dead Ringers: Volumes 1-3 is FREE wherever eBooks are sold.

I can't imagine the psychic would want you to read it.

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DEAD RINGERS: Volumes 1-3

A paranormal mystery serial for young adults on up. All nine 25,000-word volumes now available individually and in boxed sets!

Dead Ringers 1: ILLUSION
Jade Greene's memories of the two days she went missing are slowly returning, but they involve a blinding headache and an evil clown with a syringe. Not exactly the stuff of sanity.

Dead Ringers 2: INVERTIGO
Max Harper insists Jade's best chance to find out why she remembers so little of her abduction is to team up with him. But can she trust him?

Dead Ringers 3: THE SPIDER
Someone in Midway Beach isn't who they seem and unless Jade and Max can figure out what's going on, they could become the next victims.



Excerpt from Dead Ringers: Volumes 1-3 by Darlene Gardner

CHAPTER ONE
Four months ago

When the police find me, I’m stumbling out of a deserted carnival. The place is boarded up for the season, awaiting the fresh swarms of tourists who descend on Midway Beach every summer like Alfred Hitchcock’s birds.

I trip on a crack in the pavement and pitch forward onto my knees. The sound of laughter resonates in my ears and the back of my head throbs. I reach up to touch my skull, half-expecting my hand to come away bloody, but the wound’s nothing more than a bump.

The dizzying spin of police lights and the accompanying thud of footsteps against the frosty ground intensify my headache. I wrap my arms around myself to try to stop my shivers. It may be North Carolina, but even southern beach towns feel the chill in February.

“You’re not supposed to be here.” A flashlight shines in my eyes before angling back to the ground as the cop bends down to put a hand on my shoulder. The voice is much softer as he takes in my state. “Are you all right?”

It’s a fight to force the words past my chattering teeth. “H-h-how did I get here?”

Another beam of light hits me in the face as a second, shorter cop jogs up behind the first. “Hey, Wainwright? Isn’t that the Greene girl?”

Why would a Midway Beach cop know who I am? The answer slowly penetrates my fuzzy brain. My stepfather’s a felon now, and these must be the two cops who came to the house asking questions about him. The surge of anger is preferable to the headache, but only barely.

“Yeah, it is,” Wainwright says. He’s so ripped he looks like he’s wearing a muscle suit. He loops a strong arm under my shoulder and helps me to my feet. The ground spins, but he doesn’t let me fall. “Your name’s Jade, right? What are you doing here, Jade?”

“I was walking to Becky’s house.” I’d set out for my best friend’s house at dusk, but judging by the darkness shrouding our surroundings it seems much later than that now. “And then I was here.”

A terrible realization sweeps over me. I’m missing time. It’s the sort of thing that happens in movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. For all I know, there’s a pod Jade hiding in the carnival, waiting to invade our peaceful little town.

“What happened to me? Where have I been?” I ask the cops.

Wainwright peers over my head at his partner. “We better take her to the hospital. Looks like she has a whopper of a concussion.”

At the hospital, I discover things are worse than I thought. Much worse.

I haven’t just lost hours. I’ve been gone for days.



Darlene Gardner no longer spends her days waiting for an athlete to say something interesting. Nope. Now she makes up her own quotes and torments people. Fictional people. Promise.

Although leaving her life as a newspaper sports and feature writer behind for love and romance worked out pretty well, she's veering off in a haunting new direction with the Dead Ringers eBook serial, landing at a seaside carnival where evil lurks and nothing is as it seems.

Darlene has more than thirty books in print, from single-title romantic comedies to emotionally charged family dramas. Updated editions of her romcoms, as well as a couple romantic mysteries, are available for the eBook market.

 
Connect with Darlene:
Website -- www.darlenegardner.com
Facebook -- https://www.facebook.com/DarleneGardnerBook
Twitter -- @DarleneGardner
Goodreads -- https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/29623.Darlene_Gardner



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On Conversations: #interview with #AAMBookclub #author M. Skye

Please welcome contemporary romance author M. Skye to Conversations today. She's here to talk about her new novel, Circle of Deception. So, check out the cover, blurb, and excerpt below. And don't forget to check out her interview too, and get to know M. Skye!

Lisa ~
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Circle of Deception

Megan Marie Cardoza, is a twenty- six-year-old Media CEO with a less than impressive personal life. When Meg’s best friend Emily returns to town, she, and Meg’s siblings shake things to the core prompting Meg to reveal her true feelings for her ex Alex, and give in to her needs she has been suppressing for six long years. After a steamy reconciliation between her and Alex, things seem to be falling back into place, until the past comes back to slap them in the face at their engagement party no less. With the arrival of Meg’s parents and the continued interference by Alex’s father, who hates Meg, secrets much deeper than they ever expected float to the surface threatening to rip Meg and Alex apart for good, with fatal results for some. When everything she thought she knew is in question, Meg must decide if the secrets are big enough to walk away for good.



Excerpt from CIRCLE OF DECEPTION by M. Skye

Surprises and Ambushes 

“One last glance,” Meg said to herself, as she looked over her appearance in the mirror.

“Come on here sis,” Gio said, winking at her. “You look smoking hot.”

“You don’t think it’s too much?”

“You look great, stop worrying,” he grabbed her hand.

One reassuring look from Gio, and the nervousness in her bright hazel eyes dissolved and was replaced with a brilliant smile. She wasn’t sure why she was anxious, but the way everyone had been acting since they left the store told her that something was going on. Maybe a blind date or something, she thought. With her hand latched to Gio’s, she walked the stairs.

She was dressed in her red dress, looking radiant. Gio always had a way of shattering her nerves and then building her up with killer confidence. The fact that he was painfully honest let her know that he meant what he said about her appearance. When they made it to the front room, Emily was sitting, waiting for them in a beautiful black halter-top dress looking simply amazing.

“You look stunning,” Emily looked over Meg’s appearance.

Meg’s hair was now in deep spirals and pinned into a loose up-do that accented her dress and jewelry. The smile she shot Emily after the compliment put her conflicted heart at ease as she thought about the details of the evening that they left out.

“You dolls ready?” Gio asked, extending his arms out to both women.

“We sure are,” Meg smiled brightly. “Where are we eating tonight?” Meg asked,

once they headed to the restaurant. “La Bella,” Gio answered quickly.

“I love that place, they have the best truffles.” “We knew you would,” he replied and chuckled.

“Are Lele and Maddie already there?” Emily asked knowingly.

“Yes, they have arrived,” Gio supplied, winking at her through the rearview mirror.

When Meg saw the looks exchanged between Gio and Emily, her suspicions were confirmed. “You guys know you’re not fooling me.”

“What are you talking about?” Gio asked innocently.

“I know you’re setting me up.”

“Why on earth would you think such a thing?” Emily asked, feigning shock.

“The clothes for one.”

“Oh honey, you really did need new clothes, date or not,” Gio said quickly.

“Giovanni Ivan Valenzio, you know I can smell bullshit a mile away, now tell me what you’re up to.”

“Oh, okay you got me, I have Brad Pitt waiting for you at the restaurant,” he said, and began to laugh hysterically.

“You know you can be such a cunt,” she flashed him a grin.

“And you can be such a pain in the ass,” he said. “We are just going to enjoy each other.”

Emily, who was just watching the exchange, smiled when she saw Gio’s game face. Only he could go blow for blow with Meg and keep up pretenses. She had to admit, he had nerves of steel.

When they pulled up at the restaurant, the valet opened the doors for the women, and Gio quickly tossed him the keys. Once out of the car, Gio again extended his arms to the girls and led them inside.

“Do you have reservations?” the hostess asked as they approached the front podium.

“We should already have a party waiting for us under the name of Hanover,” Emily replied and began to look around.

“Hanover, which Hanover?” Meg asked warily. “Your sister and Matthew of course,”  Gio

interrupted before Emily could answer.

Without being fully convinced, Meg just accepted his answer and walked towards the dining area after the hostess. When they arrived at the table, she noticed Aiden there and got a bad feeling about the evening.

All the thoughts running through her mind disappeared when she saw the warm, inviting   smile of her long-lost friend. Sure she had been around Matthew, because he was married to her sister, but seeing the smile from Aiden gave her a sense of reassurance. She thought after the breakup with Alex, he might not see her as a friend anymore.

They greeted everyone and quickly took their seats. Emily gladly took a seat next to Aiden, and Gio next to Maddie and her boyfriend, Sean. With everyone else seated, this left Meg sitting next to an empty chair on the end. Seeing all of her old friends and family in one place made her feel good, but it also made her think about Alex and the way it ended between them. She couldn’t believe how wrong she had been about him.

While Meg engaged in conversation with Aiden and Emily, Gio took the opportunity to ask Maddie about Alex’s whereabouts. “Where is he?”

“He stepped off for an important call, he should be back shortly.”

“Does he know she is here?”

“Not a clue,” she replied and smiled.

Meg found herself staring at Aiden while engaged in conversation. He looked so much like Alex it wasn’t funny. While he was still talking, she drifted off looking over at the empty seat, secretly wishing that Alex was sitting beside her. Despite what happened between them, she still thought about him all the time. She wasn’t sure she would ever stop. When Aiden noticed her looking at the chair, he stopped talking and smiled back at Emily.

“I guess we were right, she does miss him.” “What about him, do you think he misses her?”

He smiled at her question. “Can you keep a secret?”

“Yes. Now tell me,” she insisted.

“He still has the ring,” Aiden said gleefully. “Oh my god!” Emily screamed, drawing the attention of everyone at the table. They were all so distracted by Emily’s outburst that no one noticed Alex heading in their direction.

“Hey, I’m going to run to the ladies room,” Meg said to Aiden and Emily and began to get out of her seat.

When she stood, she bumped into a waiter standing behind her and sent the tray he was holding flying out of his hand. When she began to tumble over, she felt a set of strong arms grab her waist and pull her close. The loud crash startled everyone at the table, but was forgotten when they saw who was holding Meg’s back against his chest.

“I’m so sorry sir,” Meg said to the waiter, before turning around to thank the man who kept her from falling.

“It’s fine. I should have been more careful. I’m just glad I wasn’t carrying anything on the tray.”

When Meg saw the group staring at her with amused expressions, she suddenly remembered the strong set of arms clasped tightly around her waist. When she shifted her weight, he slowly released her from his grasp and she felt a surprising sense of deprivation. Even though she hadn’t seen his face, something about this polite stranger felt familiar. As she slowly turned to face him, she heard several loud gasps from the table of onlookers. When she discovered the identity of her rescuer, she felt her knees go weak, and he reached for her once more.

“Hello, Angel Face,” he said sweetly, while holding her up.

“Alex…” she gasped quietly, still in shock.




Interview with M. Skye

How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I’ve been writing since middle school, mostly poems and short stories. I only recently started to dabble in full-length novels. I love to read, so I was sitting reading a book from one of my favorite authors, and I thought, hey, I can do this. Two months later, I had Circle of Deception, and I’ve been writing ever since.

What’s the story behind the title of your book?


The title lets you know right off that the book will be full of secrets and dramatic events. I wanted to sell the belief that at some point, every character in the book has a secret to be told. Some are insignificant, and some are too large to contain, thus making the whole circle of friends deceptive to a certain extent.

How do you get to know your characters?


My characters and I are one in the same in some ways. The all display some semblance of my snappy personality, but they also have the ability to make you fall in love with their sincerity. I’m a big fan of evolution so you will see growth in my characters as the books go on. Even the most unfortunate of characters have their turning points.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people? Who?


In a way, the characters are like many of my friends and family all wrapped up in one. For instance, the main characters, Meg and Alex, are strong, stubborn, and passionate much like a couple I’ve known for quite a while. Their love gets them through some pretty dark times in the book.
 
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.


There were so many to choose from, but I would have to say, the scene towards the end where Bianca comes clean about everything past, present, and her plans for the future. In that scene, we get to see how deep Alex and Meg’s connection really is, and how selfless they both are when It comes to protecting their daughter. It gives you so much to smile about in a time of tragedy.

Who are your favorite authors?


I love Eric Jerome Dickey & Brenda Jackson

What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?


I hate unresolved storylines and predictability. With each of my projects, you can expect a dramatic twist, and if it is not resolved then, you can believe there will be a sequel.


Do you have a routine for writing?


My routine is a bit unorthodox. I work crazy hours, and when I get off of work, it’s like I get a second wind. When I get home, I toss in my headphones with a nice R&B playlist and write until I fall asleep. I have been averaging a chapter every two days or so.

Where’s home for you? 


The beautiful state of Texas, Dallas, to be Exact. I love it here, wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!
 
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?


Oh goodness, I’m sleeping! No, really, I’m spending time with my husband and family or either at work. My life is hectic sometimes, but I love it!

What are you working on now?


I have been writing a new book every other month. I finished the sequel to Circle of Deception, and a new series called Mixing business and pleasure, the first book of that one is published as well. Like Circle of Deception, it has all the drama and steamy encounters you can stand with an exciting plot and main characters with very strong personalities. I have tons of projects in the works that I’m very excited about.


Writing has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager, but I’ve only recently gotten into doing it in a professional sense. As a writer, I tend to throw so much of my quirky personality into my characters. My stories are all fictional, of course, but every story has some parts of things that have actually happened in my life. I love to test the waters in my writing. Whether it’s the crazy things they say or the racy romantic encounters, I like to push it to the edge to leave my readers wanting more. In my books or my projects, as I like to call them, I like to show a strong sense of family and togetherness, for the most part. I just throw in what I can to make it interesting and unforgettable.


Find the author:
Website: http://www.iammskye.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IamMSkye
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iammskye?ref=hl
Instagram: http://instagram.com/i_am_mskye/
Email: topics@piknflameexp.com

Monday, February 16, 2015

On Conversations: #author JoAnne Myers

Please join me in welcoming author, and painter, JoAnne Myers to Conversations today! JoAnne is here to talk about her novel Flagitious, a four crime/mystery anthology! So be sure and check out the cover, blurb and excerpt below! Plus, she has a great post for us titled, NEVER GIVE UP. Thank you JoAnne!

Lisa ~
__________________________________________

Hello and thank you for having me today. I will be awarding two lucky people who comment each a paperback or PDF of their choice of one of my books. The choices are: Murder Most Foul, Wicked Intentions, Twisted Love, The Crime of the Century, Flagitious, Loves, Myths, and Monsters, or Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between.

Never Give Up - by JoAnne Myers 

For as long as I can remember, I have had an artistic flare-whether that be for writing, painting, sewing or drawing. I recall as a child how much I enjoyed drawing. The writing came later. My seventh grade English teacher was Mrs. Henderson-a young mother and wife. She gave us a writing assignment and after gifting me with an A+ told me I should consider writing as a career. She meant as a journalist. I did not take her advise and become a journalist (one of my many misgivings). My mind went toward other things as many young girls dream of-a husband, home, and family of my own. I put my love for writing and painting on hold for years.  I unfortunately married a man who like my mother never encouraged me to be artistic. It was not until my children were grown and I no longer had a husband, that I went back to my first love-art.  I got a late start, but always encouraged my children and others to partake of artistic endeavors.  I now have six books under contract with two publishing houses. So my words to you all, is that no matter what road you choose, never forget your passion, and always keep it close to heart.  Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from enjoying your natural talents.  You might need to put art on a temporary hold, but never ever give up. 
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FLAGITIOUS
A Four Crime/Mystery Anthology

“Too Solve His Mother’s Murder” 

After his Air Force career was interrupted by his mother’s untimely murder, Steven Moore, returned home. Met with a cold reception of lies, secrets, and threats, he is determined too find Wanda’s killer, even at the cost of his own life.  Was Wanda a victim of the legendary Hatchet Man? Was this loving and devoted mother killed because of her shady past, or for her inheritance?  Between finding the truth and falling in love, Steven stops at nothing, too solve his mother’s murder.

“The Other Couple’s Child”

Charlotte had it all. A loving and devoted husband. Supportive family and friends, and a house full of beautiful children. Everything was perfect for this Super Mom, until a medical procedure turns her life upside down, and spirals into a child abduction case. Time is running out. Will police arrive in time to save Charlotte and the other couple’s child?

“3381 Market Street”

Katherine Sims, a young widow working for a brokerage firm in a small southeastern town, is tired of the excuses concerning Charlie’s absence. She knows something terrible must have happened to her favorite nephew with the sad blue-eyes. After exposing the killer, Katherine’s life is turned upside down and she finds herself fighting for her life. Filled with maniacal suspects, a Satanic Cult, and danger around each corner, this story depicts one woman’s courage too avenge a child’s murder, while finding unexpected love.

“The Tarot Card Murders”

New Detective, and ex-navel man, twenty-six-year-old Nick Difozzio, returns to his small county determined too abolish crime. Not until death knocked on his door, did he know the face of evil. Will the decorated veteran destroy the Lycanthropes, or will he succumb to their murderess desires and become one of them? He took an oath too protect, honor, and uphold the law, but can he defy the lust, riches, and power offered, or are the ‘dark forces’ stronger than his will?



Excerpt from “3381 Market Street” by JoAnne Myers


Hearing the verdict, prisoner Jessie Ellis went berserk. Whipping out a pistol previously concealed under the defense table by a friend.
The small sand-haired man with dark eyes, jumped to his feet. Firing two warning shots into the ceiling of the century-old building, with his free hand, Ellis seized his defense attorney, Yolanda Stamen, for a human shield.
"AHHHHH!" a woman screamed from the gallery, and fainted.
"Get back! I ain't goin' to no prison," the thirty-eight-year-old father of eight shouted, pressing his weapon tightly to his attorney's head. "I'll kill her . . . right here and now . . . I mean it."
        Immediately, the courtroom went wild. Jurors and spectators alike ran from the gun-wielding, just-convicted baby killer.       
Ignoring her pleas, Jessie shoved his hostage ahead of him down the hallway. In the lobby, again surrounded by officers, Jessie shouted, "You bastards! I'm not kiddin'." He waved his gun at the mob. "I'll blow this bitch away. I want that cop car and I want it now."
Shaking his head, the tall slender green-eyed prosecutor said, "Jessie, you'll never get away with it. You have no escape. Don't make them kill you. Hand over your gun." Despite Greg Langdon's brave words, his shaking outstretched hand revealed his inner fears.
       Ignoring every warning and still clutching his attorney, Jessie slid his way through to the front door. Once outside, he found more lawmen waiting, guns fixed.

4.5* Review for “Flagitious” a crime/mystery anthology
"Interesting stories and I have to say I read this book in one hour. I would definitely say Flagitious is filled with suspense, intrigue and violent situations that will keep readers guessing until they turn the last page." ~Fran from Manic Reader, January 16, 2015



I have been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of my life. Besides having several novels under my belt, I canvas paint.

When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, I spend time with relatives, and volunteer my time within the community. I am a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, Savvy Authors, Coffee Time Romance, Paranormal Romance Guild, True Romance Studios, National Writers Association, the Hocking Hill's Arts and Craftsmen Association, The Hocking County Historical Society and Museum, and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. I believe in family values and following your dreams.


My original canvas paintings, can be found at: booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com

Other books by JoAnne:
"WICKED INTENTIONS" a paranormal/mystery anthology
"LOVES', MYTHS' AND MONSTERS'," a fantasy anthology
"THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY," a biography true-crime
“POEMS ABOUT LIFE, LOVE, AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN”
"TWISTED LOVE," a true-crime anthology
“FLAGITIOUS,”  a crime/mystery anthology

Contact JoAnne:
Email: joannemyers@frontier.com
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/joannemyers
Facebook Author Page: http://facebook.com/authorpage.joannemyers
Website: Books and Paintings by JoAnne
http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com/

JoAnne’s Blogs:
Jo Anne’s Postings: https://joannemyers.wordpress.com/
Jo Anne’s Blog: http://joannemyers.blogspot.com/
Books and Paintings by JoAnne Blog: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com/page2
JoAnne’s WordPress Blog:
http://joannemyerswordpressblog.wordpress.com/



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