Sunday, August 26, 2012

Welcome, Mel Favreaux

1: Thank you so much for being here, Mel Favreaux

First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?
I started writing when I was thirteen. It was short stories for friends in school for their unrequited crushes. It was fun and it kind of jumpstarted to full length novels from there.

2: What inspired you to write?
When I wrote those stories for my friends in school, it was the excitement I saw in their eyes when I had a new story. What put it over the top into full length novels was when I read a book by one of my favorite authors and I was so angry when I finished it, I knew I could write something better, (Mind you I was thirteen and I really disliked that particular book but still love the author.) I’ve been writing ever since.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?
I love being able to make people feel. Cry or laugh. It’s an amazing feeling to know you’ve caused those emotions with just words.
The worst part for me is when I hit a total block when I’ve plugged away at a story for a month or so and things are moving smoothly and then WHAM! there’s the wall. Sometimes I have to move completely away from the story for a while, even years before I can go back and work my way around the block.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?
I love to read. I read nearly everything and I have two children with highly active imaginations and a terror for a kitten. So I’m either hiding somewhere from my kids or the kitten, or I wait until all three have gone to bed to veg with a new book.

5: Which authors do you like to read?
I love nearly all genres so my favorite authors are spread out.
The classics: Shakespeare and Dickens. I love to read horror because I don’t scare easily, King, Koontz, and Saul. Mysteries: Patterson and Sanford. Paranormal: Kenyon, Love, Briggs, Loveland…there are quite a few and I haven’t even so much as dented my bookcases here.

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?
I have a very dark sense of humor that many people don’t get. If you can get past the awkward humor, I’m not really too bad of a person.

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.
Valor of a Woman can currently be found at

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Stay true to yourself and what you feel and never be afraid to write outside your “normal” style. You just might be surprised with what you come up with. Valor of a Woman was that surprise for me.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
In this particular story, there is one character that is loosely based on someone I know. It’s the first name and a rough description of my mother. In a series I am working on I used a friend’s name and her description and the character has taken on a life of her own…but that’s a story for another time and hopefully when the series finally makes its way out.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?
My ideas come from everywhere. Literally one word from someone can give me the tingles for a new story. What inspired me to write Valor? I had been going through hardcore critiques of my Paranormal Romance series and I was tired of all the rules being thrown at me. So I sat down and wrote a story that broke every one of them.

11: What are you currently working on?
I have currently gone back to my paranormal romance series. After that? Who knows, I write a little of everything it just depends on what strikes me at the moment.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I love to talk…a lot. Though I claim to be antisocial, I find myself carrying on conversations with absolute strangers for the fun of it. I never know where my next idea will come from and lots of them have come from random conversations.

Contest: To win a copy of my book go to: rafflecopter

Jaren's arms circled her waist. Kimra's body tingled when his lips found a most sensitive place. "Keep that up, and we'll start the day the very same way it ended," she whispered as Jaren's mouth trailed up her neck. The gentle kiss caused quivers.
 "Good morning."
"It's sure enough starting off as one," she said with a grin, pulling back to look in his eyes.
Grinning, he tucked some hair behind her ears. "I'd hoped it would."
Kimra raised her brows seeing the honesty in his eyes. "Jaren, I only have a few—"
"I know, just a few days of vacation. Would…" He swallowed tightly and took a deep breath. "Would you spend the rest of them with me and Mac?"
Her heart thundered in her chest. Truth be known, she had nothing better to do. Aside from a deep-sea diving trip…she could put that off for a bit longer. The thought of spending nearly two weeks with him and his giant of a dog was incredibly far more appealing.
"I think…I—I think I'd like that very much," she said after a few moments of silence.
The heart-melting smile spread across his face again. Kimra's tummy fluttered with the struggle to push back the dark thoughts tying to sneak in and ruin these few moments of happiness.
For the next twelve days, she was going to fool herself into believing the happiness of the present without letting reality get in the way. She could do this. Jaren and Mac could help chase away the sadness and pain she'd have to deal with once her vacation ended. They were what she was searching for; a way to forget and make new memories.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Romantic Suspense

 Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have expected my life to change so much just by accomplishing my dream. If someone would have told me a year ago, even two weeks ago, that my life would become so complicated, I would have laughed at them. Seriously.  Maybe I should start from the beginning. My goal in life was to become a topnotch journalist. I loved writing. Always had. Ever since I can remember that’s all I ever wanted to be. Suddenly, the goal was at hand. Within reach. I got it. My first big byline! I beat out all the other reporters at the scene, and the paper printed my story. MINE!
I was ecstatic. So… there I was drinking a cup of coffee and reading my story, relishing the moment. My headline! GEORGIE PORGIE PUDDING AND DIE by me, Susan Weston. Word for word just the way I’d written it. Not one word changed.
I’d been first on the murder scene the night before. Got there before the cops, so I got a pretty good look at the body. Turned out to be a guy I knew from the neighborhood. Pretty gruesome, too. Not a sight I’m likely to forget.
So like I said, I was drinking my coffee and reading my story and Okay, gloating a little bit. It made me feel good that for once my story got printed and not those other guys. This was it. I knew it. My big chance. Things were going to change now. No more fluff pieces for me. Nope, now the boss would have to assign me to some good stories.
That's when everything went haywire. The phone rang. Nothing unusual in that. My phone often rings, although not that early in the morning. Of course I answered. 
The voice on the other end sent goosebumps up my arm, down my spine, and chills down to my toes. It still does. Just thinking about it.
I could hardly hear the caller. His raspy voice faded out, and I only caught a couple of words. Something about liking my story and strawberries. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I figured it was a crank call. Reporters got them all the time. But something about that call bothered me. Nagged at me.
My life hasn’t been the same since. To find out what happened, you’re going to have to read my book, Ring Around the Rosy available from Amazon.

Susan propped the News Gazette on the counter and focused on the headline. ‘Georgie Porgie, Pudding and Die’ by Susan Weston, it blared at her. Her headline. Her story. She’d done it. Finally got her headline. She drummed her hands on the counter and did a little dance step. She swore if her grin got any wider her face would crack. .”Susan Weston, journalist!” she shouted. God, she wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
The phone rang, startling her. “Who the heck is calling at this hour? “ She grabbed the phone. “Hello.” Bella rubbed against her legs, waiting to be fed. “Hello?” Susan grabbed the box of kitty food, filled the bowl, and set it on the floor.
“Hello,” she repeated, ready to hang up if no one answered this time.
The evil, raspy voice on the other end sent goose-bumps up her spine. “Who is this?” she whispered.
The voice mumbled something she could barely hear.
“Strawberries? What are you talking about?”
“Just for you,” the garbled voice continued.
“I can’t hear you. Who is this?” What kind of sick joke is this?
She caught the words, “loved your headline,” more garbled words, and “Watch for Jack be nimble.” Then the phone line went dead.
Susan grabbed the counter to steady herself. Her hand trembled, and she stared at the phone. She dropped the receiver back into its cradle as if it was on fire. But she couldn’t stop the trembling. Her stomach churned. Nausea filled her throat. What was wrong with her? Just someone playing a sick joke. This wasn’t her first crank call, why react like this? Maybe because none of the others had sounded like this.
He said he liked her story. That shouldn’t bother her. Something about that voice, so harsh, so evil. It gnawed at her. The hair prickled on the back of her neck. Something about it seemed familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it.
After pouring a cup of coffee, she read the story under the headline aloud, trying to keep her mind off the phone call. “Police are investigating the death of thirty-one year old George Lucas, whose body was found last night in Lagoon Park near his west side home.” The sound of her shaky voice surprised her.
What was the matter with her?  “Get a grip, girl.”
Must be the effect of seeing the lifeless body. The way George Lucas’s eyes stared into space. What was he thinking when he looked into his killer’s eyes? The distant street lamp didn’t help. It cast an eerie shadow on the victim. His face frozen in terror, lips parted in a silent scream, and his head tilted to one side as if it was too heavy for his neck. The way one hand clutched at his throat and the other gripped the note, fingers frozen around it, sent icy chills through her, even now. She shuddered.
Thank God there wasn’t any blood, since the image would forever be embedded in her mind. Susan rubbed her arms to warm them.
Picking up the paper, she continued to read. “The coroner will determine the cause of death, but early reports indicate that Mr. Lucas was strangled. Lipstick was smeared across the victim’s mouth, and he clasped the nursery rhyme, ‘Georgie Porgie,’ in his hand. The teen who discovered the body reported seeing a man carrying a bag and wearing a gray shirt running from the park moments before. Police have no suspects at this time.”
Bella brushed against her legs, jumped on the counter, and snuggled against her.
Susan’s heart pounded. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. So much for the thrill of seeing her name on the front page. The image of the body filled her mind. Her hands trembled while she held the paper and reread the headline with her name below it. It was exactly as she had written it — not one word changed, short and to the point.
George Lucas lived in her neighborhood. She’d seen him a few times in Meliti’s Market talking to old Mrs. Meliti. Although they never spoke, they had nodded and smiled hello. Nice-looking guy, about her age. What a shock seeing him dead. Another shiver shook her body. Seeing a dead body was bad enough, but knowing the victim threw her for a loop. Made it personal.
Arriving only a few minutes before the police showed up and ordered her to leave, not that they had to tell her twice, she had viewed the crime scene and then skedaddled lickety-split. She knew enough about crime scenes to maintain a distance, knew if she got too close, she’d compromise the scene, maybe even leave trace evidence of herself behind. She didn’t need that. But she’d been close enough to read that paper in his hand, a nursery rhyme. She’d seen every gory detail.
The nursery rhyme letters, cut out from newspapers and magazines, and bowl of chocolate pudding and the strawberry pie that had been dumped on the victim’s head would stay in her memory for a long time. Of course, the police requested that information not be printed.
Requested, hell. Demanded was more like it, but Susan understood. Those were facts only the killer knew, and it prevented crank confessions. Couldn’t give the public too much information. After waiting behind the crime scene tape long enough to hear the possible cause of death, she hurried home to write her story before the deadline.
Susan walked around the kitchen. To sweeten the deal, her colleagues hadn’t shown up until well after they’d taped off the crime scene, hadn’t seen what she’d seen. So Ernie printed her story. Her first big byline!   Even that cocky reporter, Dan Hill, hadn’t beat her out this time.
Staring at the large headline, she sipped her coffee. The words from the phone call rambled around in her mind.
“Strawberries. The voice on the phone said something about strawberries. Strawberry Pie dumped over the victim’s head.” Her voice cracked at the memory.
Only the killer knew about the pie. Her body shook. Had she been talking to the killer? What else had the caller said? Jack be nimble. Another nursery rhyme.
Grabbing the counter to steady herself, she repeated part of the nursery rhyme “Jack be nimble…”
Her mind raced. She pushed away from the counter and paced the kitchen, trying to remember the rest of the rhyme.
“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jumped over the candlestick. That’s it!”
What the heck did it mean? Was he going to kill again? Was there a serial killer out there?
She grabbed the phone and dialed the police department. Maybe it was nothing, but she needed to report it. Something didn’t sit right.

Welcome, Elizabeth Delisi

My Pet Peeves

It’s always fun to get to know people by asking them lots of questions. It seems the most popular questions are: What is your favorite book? Your favorite movie? Food? Color? Song? Actor?
I thought it would be fun to do something a little different: tell you my pet peeves, and invite you to post yours! Everybody likes to complain, right? So here are my top ten pet peeves.
Pet Peeve #1:  People who say “try and,” as in “I’m going to try and finish shopping soon.” People, people, people. Although many make this mistake, the grammatically correct usage is “try to,” not “try and.” This bothers me more than most other grammatical errors, though I’m not sure why. I’m going to try TO not let it bother me.
Pet Peeve #2: People who pronounce the word “nuclear” as “nuke-yoo-lur.” It makes my teeth hurt just to hear it, like fingernails on a blackboard. Repeat after me: Nu-clee-er. Nu-clee-er. Everybody got it? Good! My teeth thank you.
Pet Peeve #3: Drivers who don’t know how to merge. Correct method of merging: Check out the traffic coming on your left. Find a space you can fit into. Adjust your speed to merge smoothly into that space, allowing the cars ahead of and behind your chosen space to continue smoothly, without them having to speed up or slow down. Incorrect method of merging: Barge into the ongoing lane, making the other guy swerve, speed up or slow down to let you in. ‘Nuff said.
Pet Peeve #4: Commercials on TV. Okay, some of them are funny, and they’re necessary to pay for the programs we all love, I guess. But there are more and more of them per hour, reducing the time we get to actually watch what we want to see. Liz’s scientific proof: watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” from 1987 on Netflix while walking on the treadmill yields 45 minutes of show, whereas watching the latest episode of “General Hospital” online only gives me 38 minutes. So we’ve jumped from 15 minutes/hour of commercials to 22 minutes/hour over the past 25 years. Yuck.
Pet Peeve #5: Tracking numbers given to you when ordering merchandise online. Don’t get me wrong, I’d LIKE to know where my package is and when it’ll arrive. But much of the time, the tracking number doesn’t get into the “system” until the package has already been deposited on my doorstep. So, what good is that?
Pet Peeve #6: People who let their pets run free. Unless you live on a huge estate or have your yard fenced, it’s irresponsible, not to mention dangerous, to let your animals run loose. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals and will do my best to befriend any dog or cat that appears in my yard. But I don’t appreciate other people’s pets chasing the birds at my birdfeeder, relieving themselves on my lawn, or growling at my grandchildren. If you want a pet, you should be willing to take proper care of it, including not letting it run wild.
Pet Peeve #7: Phone scams. I’m on the “do not call” list, but that only stops legitimate companies from calling, not the phony ones. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve answered the phone only to hear a recording of a lovely-sounding woman saying, “Hello, this is Rachel at Cardholder Services.” While the call may appear legitimate and may seem to come from Florida or Texas or Oklahoma on Caller ID, it’s actually a scam originating overseas. According to my phone company, they have no jurisdiction in those foreign companies, so they can’t shut them down. So now, when the phone rings and I hear, “Hello, this is Rachel at…” I yell “No, it’s not!” and hang up. At least it relieves a little of the frustration.
Pet Peeve #8: ABC cancelling two of my soaps, “All My Children” and “One Life to Live.” I’ve watched them every Monday through Friday for at least 30 years, and they were a valuable part of my life. How many other shows can boast that kind of long-running record? Thank goodness “General Hospital” is still on (all 38 minutes of it), as I’ve watched that one for nearly 45 years. (Yeah, since I was a kid.) Here’s hoping GH stays put.
Pet Peeve #9: People who converse loudly on their cell phones in public places, including grocery stores, banks, churches, restaurants, and heaven forbid, even in bathrooms. Just because a cell phone allows you to converse anywhere doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Have some consideration for those around you, who don’t want to hear the details of your date, your new dress, or your latest video game score.
Pet Peeve #10: People who like to grouse and complain and tell you all their pet peeves!
Okay, I’ve gotten a few things off my chest. So tell me, what are YOUR pet peeves?

November 10, 1980
Harry Larson turned into the rough dirt clearing surrounding the old Cheyenne water tower. He drove in a wide, slow arc, facing the car in the direction he’d come. He wanted to be ready to leave in a hurry.
The headlights shone through the rust-covered legs of the tower, casting an eerie shadow like a huge, misshapen spider waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting victim.
He turned off the lights and killed the engine. Darkness enveloped him. There was no moon tonight.
As he waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness, he strained to hear a noise. The roar or a motor, perhaps, or the crunch of tires. But there was nothing; not a sound.
At last he was able to discern vague objects: the silent water tower humped above him; the withered stalks of a November cornfield on one side of the tower; the nameless, leaning tombstones of an ancient cemetery on the other.
Then he saw something familiar in the far corner of the lot. A bulky shape, boxy and squat. It was a car. How long had it been sitting there? He hadn’t noticed it when he pulled into the cemetery or when he’d backed into the spot where his car now sat.
Harry squinted, trying to see better. He thought he could make out a dark figure sitting on the hood. His heart thumped in his chest.
He chuckled nervously, running his hands through his thinning brown hair. His errand was serious, no doubt of that; but he was letting the overgrown cemetery influence him too much. Next, he’d have the figure flapping a monstrous set of bat wings and flying off into the night. Ridiculous.
He opened the car door. The cold North Dakota wind rushed in and surrounded him. He got out and slammed the door, trying to retain some of the heat. His eyes never leaving the still figure, he walked away from his car, his cocoon of safety, into the overgrown back corner of the lot.
He felt the figure watching him as he approached, waiting for him to come close.
Harry was within fifteen feet now. Twelve. Ten. He could still turn and walk away—run, if he had to. He didn’t have to go through with it. If he didn’t say anything, no one else would ever find out.
He thought of Janet. Sweet wife. What would she think of him if she knew? Would she want him to close his eyes, to pretend he didn’t see what was happening right under his nose? Would she put personal safety above integrity?
Then, there was Laura. When she grew up, would she be ashamed to discover that her daddy had been a coward?
Harry squared his shoulders. He’d do what he’d set out to do. He would stop the thing before anyone got hurt.
He stopped in front of the car where the figure remained on the hood. Having decided his course, Harry plunged in. “I know what you’ve been up to. I know all about it. Did you really think I wouldn’t find out? You didn’t cover your tracks very well.”
The figure grimaced. “You have more intelligence than I gave you credit for, I admit.”
“You can’t believe you’ll get away with it. If I found out, then other people will, too. Sooner or later, you’ll be stopped.”
“I don’t think so.” The voice was thick with conceit. “I have, as the saying goes, friends in high places.”
“Do you think they’ll go out on a limb for you? Jeopardize themselves, their careers and reputations, to protect you?”
“Yes. They have to. They’re in no position to do otherwise. I have certain…information about them. Information that could be very embarrassing, to say the least, if it were to come out.”
“I see.” Harry rubbed his hands together in the frigid night air, stalling for time. “That still leaves me. You can’t possibly have anything incriminating on me, and I don’t intend to back down.”
There was a short silence. “We’re both reasonable people,” the figure said at last. “I can make it worth your while to keep this quiet. Think of all the things you could do for your family with a large ‘bonus.’ You’ll find I’m very generous with my friends.”
Harry waved his hand. “No deal. You can’t buy my silence.”
The dark figure clenched its fists, raising them to chest level. “Then, you give me no choice. You can’t stop me.”
“Oh, can’t I?” Harry shook his head in disgust. “When you asked me this afternoon to meet you here, I hoped you’d had a change of heart, and I was willing to support you. I would have stood by you all the way. Obviously, I was wrong. I’ve been a fool.”
He turned away and started back toward his own car. The night air was crisp in his nostrils; a light snow was beginning to fall. Though disappointed at the outcome, he felt shaky with relief that the ordeal was over.
He heard a sudden, furtive noise behind him. Harry jumped, started to turn. Before he could see the source of the sound, face his foe, he felt a crushing blow on the back of his head. A million hot sparks exploded behind his eyes as he sank down toward the frozen ground.
For a moment, Harry lay motionless. The quiet night air was full of unwonted sound: heavy footsteps; muffled rustling; the jingle of keys. The car door slammed and tires spun. Above it all, he heard his once pounding heartbeat slowing as his body relaxed. The last thing he saw was the car’s red tail lights fading into the distance. And then eternal blackness overcame him.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Welcome, Michelle Pickett

Thank you, Roseanne, for inviting me to spend some time with you on your blog.  I'm so excited to be here. When you asked me to do a guest post I panicked.  My mind went blank, and I couldn't think of a thing to write about—odd for an author.  So I hope you don't mind that I brought along Les. She's just getting over her traumatic experience with the Cruor Imbibo, but she's graciously agreed to talk a little about her ordeal.
Hey, Les, how are you today?
I'm good, thanks.  Nothing has tried to kill me, so it's a good day.
Speaking of things trying to kill you…
The Imbibo, right. I'm really not supposed to talk about their existence.  It's a closely guarded secret.  One that's been kept for thousands of years.
How have they been able to stay under the radar that long?
(Arches an eyebrow) By eliminating anyone who stumbles across them.  If they think you know anything about them you are enemy number one.  And once you've made their hit list there's generally only one way off—through the obituaries.
Hmm, maybe we should change the subject then.  Tell us about the team that was assigned to protect you.  How was it living with six guys?
There was more drama in that house than daytime television. Men like to say women are drama queens, but we aren't anything compared to a bunch of guys.  And messy, you wouldn't believe how bad six guys can smell up a house!
I'll take your word for it.  Of the six guys, there is one you're particularly fond of.
            Hmm, yes, Miller.  What an idiot he can be.
Wow, that doesn't sound like love at first sight!
Oh, it was love at first sight.  Then he opened his mouth and ruined it. Talk about attitude.  That guy has one the size of Montana.
Do you think there's any way we could convince Miller to join us?
            I doubt it. He's working.
Another mission for the Concilium?
            I suppose so. I really wouldn't know.
Oh? A sore subject?
Well, like the Imbibo, I'm not supposed to talk about Miller or his team. The Concilium was very explicit on that.
The Concilium? Why do they care?
It's not just the secret of the Imbibo they are protecting, but of their organization, as well.  I know too much. I've already said more than I should have as it is. (Squirms in her seat)
What happens if the Concilium finds out you've been talking about them?
The Imbibo will be back.  And this time, well, I won't walk away.  I have to go.  Thank you, Roseanne, for having me.  I wish I could tell you more about the Imbibo, people should be warned.
Well, I guess we'll have to read about the Imbibo to get more information.  Concilium, Les's story, was released by MuseItUp Publishing on July 27th.  It details her struggles with the Imbibo and her rollercoaster relationship with the unbelievably gorgeous, but nearly intolerable, Miller.
Of course, after her warnings, I guess we read the story at our own risk. We definitely don't want the Imbibo or the Concilium finding out!

Saturday morning I woke up screaming from the gruesome nightmares. Sweating and shaking, I stumbled into the bathroom, splashed cold water on my face, and brushed my teeth before pulling on my favorite U of M sweatshirt and heading into the kitchen for some cereal.
“There’s nothing like the taste of Cocoa Puffs after brushing your teeth,” I said absently, wandering outside to eat.
I looked around…and dropped my bowl. It shattered into a hundred shards of glass at my feet.
Pools of dark blood were splashed throughout the deck and back yard. Blood was splayed across the trees and wildflowers, turning my beautiful yard into something out of a horror movie, something out of my nightmare.
I screamed at the sound of my name; I hadn’t seen him when I walked outside. I stumbled over to the chair next to where Miller stood with his hip leaning casually against the deck railing, arms crossed over his chest.
“What happened?” I whispered.
“You cut your foot,” he commented. “Come on, you need to get that cleaned. Where are your bandages?”
I looked down at my foot bleeding on the wood planks. My blood swirled on top of the blood dried there.
“Come on, Leslee.” He pulled me from the chair and pushed me gently toward the door, carefully avoiding the shattered bowl and Cocoa Puffs scattered across the deck.
“Hey, Les, where’s your garden hose?” Brooks called from the yard. “I’ll clean up a little,” he said, like it was something he did every day. Maybe it was.
“The garage,” I mumbled as Miller guided me through the back door and into the kitchen.
“In the bathroom,” I answered. Looking down, I saw blood pooling around my foot on the kitchen floor. “Sorry, I’m making a mess.”
“It’s not my floor.” He picked me up and walked down the hall looking for the bathroom, drops of blood falling on my carpet as we went. “Which door?”
“Second on the left,” I managed to answer.
I was flung over his shoulder as he strode calmly through my house like he belonged there. It wasn’t like the romantic scenes in sappy movies where a man carefully carries a woman while gazing lovingly into her eyes. No. It was more like a caveman movie when the hairy, stinky caveman flops the woman over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. That’s what I was—the sack of potatoes. But Miller wasn’t a hairy, stinky caveman. Far from it.

Concilium is available from:  MuseItUp Publishing  
and  Amazon

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