Thursday, April 18, 2019

Suspense with a Demonic Twist

What could be more fun than finding a new suspense author? 

Finding one with a new angle, something that is not only different but one that quickly grabs the reader's attention and makes one want to start turning the pages as quickly as one can read. That was how I felt when I saw the blurb for the newest suspense fantasy book by Karilyn Bentley. She is today's guest in My Writing Corner. 

Karilyn is a Colorado author who says that it was her love of reading stories and a preference for sitting in front of a computer at home instead of sitting in a cube at an office that drove her to begin writing her own works. Now she writes a combination of books that blend fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny. What an awesome combination! And it works. 

Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, two crazy dogs, aka The Kraken and Sir Barks-A-Lot, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish. 

Her latest book is Devil Forget Me and if that title doesn't immediately grab your attention, as it certainly did mine, then just check out the blurb about the story: 

What appears to be a simple crime, unmasks a chilling deception... 

Gin Crawford, the world's newest demon huntress, kills two minions who are breaking into a financial adviser's office. But what she thinks of as another night in the life of a demon huntress leads to a cover-up of epic proportions. A demon haunts her employer, the Agency, and only she can stop it.

Aidan Smythe, her guardian mage and lover, along with her brother T, and the healer Eloise, join her search in discovering the demon's identity. A search thwarted by a powerful spell.

Breaking the spell requires her to join forces with Zagan, the demon of deceit, the demon who marked her as his. But working together comes with a price. One Gin is not sure she can pay.

Want more? Here's an excerpt:

     She chuckles as I sip my beer. “Not nothing. I am trying to discover the identity of the demon at the Agency.” She frowns. “It’s not going well. I know I know who the demon is, but every time I think of its identity”—her hands move in a poof motion—“it vanishes.”

     “Yeah, I have the same problem.”

     A memory pops into my mind. Two memories, actually. The first was of last night’s fight with Rahab. How the demon said he only had one demon left to kill in order to rule Hell. Mammon, the demon of greed. The second memory was from last week when Smythe and I went to the Agency. We ran into Chuck Tweedy, the Big Boss of the Agency, and my justitia couldn’t stop chanting “greedy.” I assumed the bracelet got its words mixed up, exchanging Tweedy for greedy. But what if there was a connection?

     A dull pain hammers my head. I rub my brow. What was I thinking? We were talking about the Agency demon. Who could it be?

     “You do have the same problem.” Eloise touches my leg, and the headache disappears. “That’s what happened to me.”

     “How did you know?” Eloise was blind, although I swear at times she sees fine. “I could feel your pain.” Her brow furrows. “Like a spell had been thrown at you that caused the headache. I wonder if the same thing happens when I get a headache from thinking on the demon’s identity.”

     “Wait. You mean whenever I think about who the demon is, my thoughts trigger a spell? What does the spell do?”

If you want to continue reading, you'll have to buy the book!  Here are the buy links:

Barnes & Noble:

And if you would like to learn more about Karilyn and her books, here how to find her online:


Thank you, Karilyn, for being my guest and for introducing us to your fascinating fantasy world! Any comments or questions for Karilyn?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Finding New Suspense

The search for a new author to read or a new book series often takes me to many different locations. I'm just  back from a trip to British Columbia for the Left Coast Crime writers/readers' convention where I had the opportunity to meet many new authors and say hello to some of my favorite writers from around the country and Canada.

But this week's guest in My Writing Corner is an author who comes from a closer location--Pennsylvania. C. Becker earned a B.S. degree in Medical Technology and MT (ASCP) certification. She has worked in clinical settings analyzing body fluids and testing drugs of abuse. As an author, C. Becker has published  multiple stories in various genres.  

Her latest book is Finding Euphoria from The Wild Rose Press, and today she joins us to  tell us about it:  

Six years ago, the idea of writing a novel percolated in my head. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had a mystery/suspense story to tell and I wanted to tell it. As I wrote, I researched, and as I researched, ideas formed in my mind. Thus the Euphoria trilogy evolved. The series centers around Bixa aparra, a shrub that originated in the Amazon and was smuggled into the U.S. in the late 70s. Current day, the shrub is nearly extinct because of the deforestation of the rainforest. Each book uses this shrub in its plot. 
The first book Finding Euphoria centers on Hailey Langley, a mother who put her baby up for adoption. Seventeen years later, the adoptive father contacts Hailey when her now teenage son falls into a coma after trying an illicit drug—you guessed it—a drug called Euphoria, formed from the bark and leaf of the shrub. 
That sounds like a book readers will enjoy. How about a blurb?
Hailey Langley refuses to be a victim and has moved on from her traumatic past. But her marriage problems worsen when a deadly illicit drug threatens to draw her into the life she left behind.
Mark Langley has allowed his job to interfere with his marriage but he never suspected the secrets in Hailey's past might hold the key to solving both of his current investigations.
Together, they must unravel the mystery of the drug called Euphoria and find a way to save not only their marriage but countless lives before it's too late. 
The second book focuses on the mind-altering chemical harvested from the root of the Bixa appara, and the third book focuses on the shrub's flowers. As I plotted out the science, I structured the books so that each title reflected Hailey's emotional state. The fun (and hard) part was sprinkling the clues of the second and third books into the first novel. The Euporhia trilogy is not your ordinary romance. Life is never a bed of roses and this is especially true for Hailey. In each adventure, she runs from her emotions and struggles to hold her family together. The reader who follows the trilogy will see that Hailey's a fighter and pushes on, growing mentally stronger as she fights to keep her family together. 
Thank you for giving us a look at your books. Let's get an excerpt from Finding Euphoria:
            He turned the bottle around in his hand and set it on the end table. “Don’t put me in this position. You know what would happen. Grace is his mother. She’s the one who needs to stay with him.”
Regret tugged at her heart. “I wouldn’t take any time away from her.”
Parker groaned. “Just you being there would make her feel uncomfortable.”
“You know why.”
“But I’ve stayed away for seventeen years,” she whispered.
“That was the adoption arrangement.”
She bit her lip. “I can’t stay away any longer.”
“You agreed to those terms in the contract. You terminated all parental rights.” Parker stood and paced to the kitchen.
“But it’s not fair!” She put down her water and began wringing her hands.
Straightening his arms, he leaned against the bar. “Hailey, please don’t start. I know how you feel…”
“You couldn’t possibly know how I feel. I need to see him.” She fought to control the bitterness in her voice.
She rose, knocking over the water bottle. “He’s my son!”
“Not anymore, he isn’t.”
The rebuke stung. “He’ll always be my son!”
“When you gave him up, you promised to keep your distance.”
“I have.”
            The reminder lanced her heart. "You're being unfair. He's dying."
             He slammed his fist on the bar. "Don't say that. He can't die." Parker pushed himself up and stomped near the window, raising his hands to rest on top of his head as he faced the curtain.
            A muscle twitched in her hand. Her knees buckled. She sat on the edge of the couch, wringing her hands. "I was young. I couldn't give Justin the life he deserved. I"m not asking to take him back. I only want to see him."
            Rubbing his jaw, he walked back to the couch and sat. The hard lines on his face softened.
           “The adoption papers were clear. No contact.” He placed his hands on top of hers and stilled them. “If the decision was mine, I would allow it, but Grace would lose it if she found out you’re Justin’s biological mother.”
                  Her hands squeezed into tight fists. The urge was unbearable. “I wouldn’t tell her.”
                  Parker ran a hand through his hair. “Argh! Don’t you understand? She’d take one look at your face and know the truth. Don’t forget, you’re the one who wanted us to protect him.”
                  She stood. “Well, you did a hell of a fine job, didn’t you? You divorced Grace and deserted him. Parenting takes sacrifice, Parker. You were too busy changing careers, and now he’s messed up with drugs. How did that protect him?”
                  Standing, he reached for her.
                  “No. You stay away from me.” She extended her hands and backed up a step. “Justin’s dying! Dying, Parker! And I don’t know him…You won’t let me see my own son.”
                   He wrapped his arms around her.
                   She pushed him, pummeling her fists against his chest with all her strength.
                   He silently took his beating.

Thank you for that excerpt. Here are the buy links:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Celebrating Writers and Writing

From the first time I discovered writing conventions, they have been one of my favorite ways to spend a few days. My first was in 1982, the Romance Writers of America Conference, being held that year in Long Beach, California, aboard the fabulous Queen Mary. It was a small convention--only a couple hundred writers--but it hooked me on their value for life.

Where else can a writer commiserate with so many others about how their characters won't speak to them or how to make settings come alive? Where else can you sit down with several other writers and work on a plot problem and come up with some fantastic fictional answers while hanging out in the bar? Where else can you meet editors and hear directly from them what sort of books they are looking to buy? Or pitch your work directly to editors?

I joined RWA after that Long Beach convention and made the conference my vacation the next couple of years. I even sent in several proposals. Alas, I didn't get a contract out of that convention, but every conference I attended after that made me a better writer and kept me in touch with the audience of readers. Years later it was another convention in southern California--RWA in Anaheim--that got me back into the writing realm. This time I did get a publisher!

I've continued going to various writing conventions ever since, from RWA to Emerald Cities in Washington, to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers in Colorado. But perhaps my favorite convention of them all is Left Coast Crime. What I love about this gathering of writers and would-be authors is the various panel discussions featuring mystery, suspense and thriller writers. This isn't a teaching convention like RWA, but more of a fan convention. Still the learning possibilities are endless. Where else can one hear directly from so many fine writers about how they craft their mystery novels or work on characters or voice?

Last week I had the opportunity to not only attend the latest LCC, but to participate in a wonderful panel discussion with best- selling author Lee Goldberg, who writes the Heist series with Janet Evanovich. Just to hear him talk about his writing process and take questions from him that made me think about my own writing process was worth the time and cost of going. Spending time in the gorgeous city of Vancouver, BC, was a bonus!

The entire event was inspirational as well. So many writers spoke of how they brought their characters and their settings to life. But they also spoke about their connection and "contracts" with the reader. It's important to forge that connection with a reader so that it becomes a bond that keeps the reader coming back for more. Best selling author William Deverill talked about how authors need to develop their voice because it's not just the words readers remember when they close the book, it's the voice of the author. Readers may not identify it as such, but it is the author's voice that remains with the reader and drives them to look for more books from that writer.

Mystery author Terry Shames said good authors are sure-handed about what they are putting on the written page. Danny Gardner put it more directly. "If it isn't on the page, it's not on the stage."

The panelists also said that writers shouldn't expect to find their voice immediately, but they need to keep searching for it and it will eventually emerge.  They also cautioned about forcing yourself to write something you don't want to write. "Write what you want," Danny Gardner said. "And don't be afraid to shoot for the moon."

Good advice for writers at any stage of their career.  It's also the sort of advice that only can come from one author to another, which is why conventions like Left Coast Crime keep me coming back. Having the opportunity to talk writing with others who have struggled with their characters and their works not only helps our writing, it keeps us going.

And those stories keep the readers coming back for more!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

A Spirited Visit to Deerbourne Inn

As I've noted in the past I love to read books that are part of a series. Get me hooked on one, and I'm reading to go through every one of the other books I can find. That has been the case when I started reading the Deerbourne Inn Series from The Wild Rose Press. Every story has hooked me to keep on reading. Today's guest in My Writing Corner is another author from that series, and that is part of what I've loved about reading the books. Because each one is written by a different author each has  a unique touch in a familiar setting that makes the reading even more fun.

Today's guest is author, Julie Howard, a former journalist and editor who has  covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. Let's let her tell us about her experience as an author in the series.
Last summer, I was given an amazing opportunity to be part of a group of authors writing for the Deerbourne Inn series, published by The Wild Rose Press. I have two mysteries currently out with this publisher and knew this series would be a winner – and it is!

First, an explanation on how this series works. Authors are given some guidelines. All stories take place in the same fictional town of Willow Springs, Vermont. Their characters are a mix of set townspeople and new people who visit the Deerbourne Inn. From there, the world is pretty much wide open. Stories range from romance to paranormal to historical, and also travel in time. Well over a dozen books are in the works, and my Spirited Quest story will be number five. You don’t need to read them in order; each book stands alone as a complete story. I call my story “sweet, short and spooky.” There’s a sweet price of $2.99, all books are novellas, and mine includes a blithe spirit who flits along the historical floorboards of the inn.

This is my first novella and first paranormal mystery too. I found it such a joy to write this story and love my ghost and the connection she forges with one of my main characters. I’ve now started a paranormal series and hope to pitch it to my publisher later this year. Fingers crossed!
Let's hear more about Spirited Quest:

She’s chasing a ghost, but who is chasing her?
Paige Norman believes in a tangible, explainable world. When her ghost-hunting niece comes for a visit, she tries not to scoff. But someone, or something, is stirring up trouble at the Deerbourne Inn and her niece, Jillian, is at the center of the mystery.

Paige is certain the handsome Aussie photographer is behind the unexplained disturbances, and she warns her niece to stay clear. Meanwhile, Jillian gets to know the otherworldly Lady of the Deerbourne, who foretells an encounter with "two men." Then the pranks turn dangerous. Has her niece attracted a stalker or has she conjured an evil presence? Can the culprit be the man who has captured her heart? 

Let's get an excerpt!

He nodded a friendly greeting to her, his gaze grazing past to include others on the porch. “G’day, ma’am. G’day all.”
An Australian. Her heart skipped a beat. Oh, to be twenty-five, even thirty-five, again. His gaze settled on her niece, and as always happened to men where this girl was concerned, his jaw slackened, then tightened.
Next to her, Jillian grew still, lifting wide blue eyes to the newcomer. The moment passed. He was through the front door and into the lobby, and the door closed behind him.
“You’re in for some nice company this week,” Paige commented with a smile.
A frown flickered across her niece’s face. “I’ve seen him before.”
“You’ve met?”
“Not exactly. He appeared to me in a dream.” Jillian’s blue eyes were troubled as she gazed at the Inn’s front door. She lifted one hand and rubbed the back of her head, then gave a shiver. “There was blood and I was afraid.” 
If you want to read other the other books in the Deerbourne Inn series, here they are:

By Reservation Only – Book 1 by Barbara Edwards
Hope’s Dream by Peggy Jaeger
Freedom’s Path by Linda Carroll-Bradd
Lyrical Embrace by Amber Daulton (release date: Feb. 11)

More will come out through the rest of the year.

And here is how to get Spirited Quest:

Buy Links:
The Wild Rose Press:

And here is how to reach Julie or get more information about her books:

Thank you, Julie, for giving us another visit to Deerbourne Inn!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Racing into Spring with a New Romance

Looking for new romances to read and enjoy is one of my great pleasures -- other than writing my own stories. Finding a new author to read is even better, because that means hours of enjoyable reading and great new characters to get to know and love.
Today's guest in My Writing Corner is one of those new authors I've just started to read.  Leslie Scott says she spends most days attempting to wrangle the voices in her head and often wishes she could clone herself so that their stories get told faster. She says she loves words, romance, and characters that feel like family.  She says she spends almost all of her free time with her own family; including a boisterous eleven-year-old she is homeschooling and an assorted cast of rescue pets. She tells us she is living her dream with her soul mate and best friend in the northern part of Alabama.  

Her latest book, Hot Lap, was just released this month.
Starting a new life isn't easy when the skeletons locked in her closet are the notorious town drunk for a father and a haunted past. But, Hadley Morgan isn't one to shy away from second chances or giving them either.

When a young, single father wrapped up in an octane fueled package takes particular interest in her, she begins to dream. But well-known drag racer Aiden Casey is also her boss, making her hesitate to grab at her chance at happiness.

Will her secrets shatter their chance at love or will his past come back to destroy both of them?
Want to know more?  I do! Let's get an excerpt to get to know these characters better:  
         “Wow.” The word tumbled from my lips before my body had time to register how damn good he looked.
          Aiden wore his dark hair tied at the base of his neck. His sharp cheekbones were model perfect. The dimple in his cheek when wide, sculpted lips curved in a smile, sent me into a spiral of va-va-voom.
I stood there, dumbstruck.
“I thought since I’d asked you to wear a dress, I should return the favor.” He wore a crisp white shirt, unbuttoned at the collar with the sleeves rolled up on his forearms, and clean, faded jeans with a pair of black Vans. So handsome, he took my breath away.
“I never pegged you for a skater.” I stepped out of the door, my strappy sandals clicking with each footfall.
His laugh came as easy as the fingers that wrapped around my hand. “A guy can’t give away all his secrets.”
“Really? You can skateboard?” I’d never seen him do anything other than drive.
“Yeah. Vic, too.” Pleasant surprise was becoming an old friend where Aiden was concerned. He fell with ease into the rhythm of conversation. With Aiden, things that should have been awkward—weren’t.
“We didn’t always drive. Except for maybe Jordan. Old Man always let him drive around in that old truck.”
They all referred to Jordan’s grandfather as “Old Man,” even Aiden’s sisters. Jordan had restored the old Chevy truck and made it like new again.
“You loved him.” The affection for Jordan’s grandfather written plainly on Aiden’s face.
“Jordan or his grandfather?” He lifted a shoulder. “Both, I guess. Jordan is my brother, from different parents. The Old Man was just…awesome.”
“I think it’s nice.” If I searched the recesses of my mind, I could almost grasp the familial bond. Then poof, another light in my life snuffed out far too soon. Each time I was with Aiden, I trudged up things long since buried.
Yet, being with him made me happier than I could ever remember.
“Now, close your eyes.” The rumbling timbre of his voice lulled me into doing just that.
If you would like to read on, here are the buy links:

And if you would like to know more about Leslie and her books, here is her contact information:
Youtube Playlists:
Thank you, Leslie, for racing into our book corner with your latest release!  Any comments or questions for Leslie?