Friday, 31 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from: Perilous Shadows

Perilous Shadows: (Historical Romantic Thriller, late-1940s --- Sweet romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully)

Pioneer newspaperwoman Kiera Devane is on a mission to prove a woman can do a man's job, as she hunts a young coed's killer? Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye lost one love to a murderous fiend and his pulse races as he tries to protect Kiera from herself as much as from this killer.

Kiera was doted upon by loving parent, but they were killed when she was a girl and she was shipped off to live with a socialite aunt who had little time for her. In her aunt's house, she learned life could be cold and cruel. As a result, she grew up to be an independent and demanding professional woman.

Argus Nye, still bereft from the loss of his first love, can't understand why this female reporter is mesmerizing him. As she takes chances with her life trying to catch a killer, he's determined to protect her.


Chapter One

Sanctuary Point
South Shore of Long Island, NY
Late August, 1947, early afternoon

It shouldn't be this hard to come up with something. Argus Nye sat in his chair and stared blankly through the doorway of his miniscule office into WSAN's empty hallway. He scratched his head and a sandy brown lock tinged with gray fell into his face. His hunt for a good local news story had come up empty, making him antsy. This wouldn't do. After all, he had to live up to his rep as the Scottish Scoop Sniffer.

With one swift movement of his legs, he shoved his chair away from the desk and it hit the back wall. The old wooden chair's wheels squeaked. One day he'd have to bring in a can of oil. The radio station sure wasn't going to get him a new chair. He stretched, rubbed his eyes, and stood.

He didn't want to center the broadcast around last night's auto fatality on the Southern State Parkway. An hour of that would get dry fast, if he could even stretch it to an hour. He could. He'd done it before.

His stomach growled. Might've been a good idea to have had more than coffee for breakfast. With a movement practiced over time, he jutted a hip out and his thigh skimmed the corner of his desk. Then he propelled himself through the narrow doorway. The leather bottoms of his wingtips clapped against the linoleum flooring all the way to the tiny kitchenette.

The aroma of fresh coffee enticing him, he marched toward the two-burner stove, where Jim Heaney stood. "Any coffee left?" Last thing he needed.

His boss had one hand on the chipped Formica countertop. The other held a black and white speckled enamel coffee pot. "Argus, you gave me a start. I was lost in thought." The large man put the pot down on the stove. "Grab a cup and help yourself." He opened the small refrigerator's door, and took out a bottle of milk.
"Not much left here."

"Go ahead. I take mine black with a wee drop o' sugar." Argus deadpanned and poured, tossed two heaping spoons of sugar into the dark liquid, and stirred.

Jim rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I think I knew that." The big man paced back and forth and took a swig.

"Something got you down?" Argus sipped, grimaced, and stirred in another spoon of sugar.

"Thanks for asking. I'm not sure I did the right thing bringing that coed from Adelphi Women's College in for the summer intern position."

"Clarissa? She's a perky little lassie." All pink frilly blouses and swirly skirts. "Now what's got you thinking it was wrong taking her on?"

"She has these big plans... aspirations of someday writing a gossip column, even having a radio show featuring celebrities with a few society pieces thrown in the mix."

Lars Kronen, a thin man with a large Adam's apple and bony hands, walked in, picked up the coffee pot, and shook it. "Empty. This always happens 'cause my farm report's after most folks' lunch, so the coffee's gone. I'll ask Anna to make another pot."

Argus took another swallow. "Clarissa's sure at the right college to make society contacts so she can move into a gossip show."

Lars banged the pot on the stove. "Women don't belong in radio."

Argus took another sip. "When Kiera Devane subbed for me last fall, the lass did a fine professional job. Come to think of it, didn't she also attend Adelphi College?"

"I hear that Devane woman would stab her grandmother for a story." Lars grunted, turned on his heel, and left.

"At least Kiera had some credible news experience behind her when she subbed for you. This girl has no such thing, but she's full of big ideas for herself." Jim ran his hand over a head of thick graying hair.

Argus laughed. "That's why Clarrisa's here in the summer intern position, to get experience. She'll sharpen pencils, go out for sandwiches, help Anna with little things. What kind of trouble can she get into?"

"I just don't want her parents blaming me for turning her into a Kiera Devane."

Argus chuckled. "Little chance of that, laddie. This one's all fluffy and cute, while by all accounts Kiera's ferocious and..."

Screams coming from the reception area pierced the air.

"It's Anna." Argus ran down the hallway with Jim on his heels.

As they raced past Lars' office, the farm reporter poked his long face out, Adam's apple bobbing. "Is that Anna? What's going on?"

Another shriek.

Argus pumped his arms to pick up his pace.

Author Bio:

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. BURNING HEARTS is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, the third in the series released in July, 2012. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning).

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista

Nike's latest release is: Perilous Shadows, Book 3 in the Sanctuary Point Series. You can find Nike's book here:

Desert Breeze Publishing. Links:


Barnes and Noble/Nook.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Author Spotlight - My Former Life as a Pet Rescuer by Nike Chillemi

In the early 1990s I felt a great burden for stray animals. Particularly pets who had been abandoned and thrown away by their owners. Almost immediately, through some church friends, I ran into a young woman who also had this burden on her heart. This was the confirmation I needed. The two of us began rescuing.

My new friend was great at adoption. She'd put signs up and sit at her phone talking to prospective adoptive pet owners. I set up a mini-shelter in my basement. I had a four foot square pen for an extremely large dog, or two smaller dogs that got along together. I had two large cages for small dogs or cats, and one small cage for a cat or kittens.

We did a lot of praying and a lot of chasing after animals in parks and alley-ways. But mostly other people found the pets and having heard of us, phoned asking if we had space for one more. Sadly, often we did not.

We did meet some resistance from "church folk" who admonished us that we should be rescuing unborn babies, not animals. Or at the very least work for the adoption of children. I recall telling one woman, "If we all do what God asks us to do, when He asks us to do it, it will all get done."

After about five riotous years with the cutest, funniest, most charming pets, my pet rescue friend's husband got ill and lost time from work and we had to stop. I later became a foster mom to two gorgeous sisters who eventually went back to their father. About a year after that my husband and I adopted three half-sisters who had been raised from infancy in foster care.

The photos included here are of the animals my husband and I kept…the less social ones, less adoptable ones. Of course people in the community who love animals have long memories and I still get calls to take in pets. Maybe that's why I presently have a house full of animals. We've even rescued baby squirrels fallen out of trees, kept them in a ferret cage, and released them back into the wilds of New York City.

Author Bio:
Nike Chillemi lives with her husband and very bright and beautiful high-school-age daughter in a borough of New York City on a protected wetland, not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Nike has to be near the ocean, which she loves. Nike's husband is a senior social worker supervisor at one of the "krazierst" NYC public hospitals substance abuse programs. If she needs info for her stories on the effects of a particular drug, she goes to him. She's met him after work at the hospital enough times to have personally seen drug crazed individuals brought in to the ER. This is all fodder for her stories.

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista

Nike's latest release is: Perilous Shadows, Book 3 in the Sanctuary Point Series. You can find Nike's book here:

Desert Breeze Publishing. Links:


Barnes and Noble/Nook.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Author Spotlight - The Right Balance When Writing A Whodunit By Nike Chillemi

I like a lot of action in my whodunits. Maybe that's why I loved THE LINCOLN LAWYER, the book and the movie. Well, truth be told, I went totally ga-ga for Matthew McConaughey. Then again, perhaps that's a discussion best saved for another time.
To satisfy my reading tastes a whodunit must have suspense, romance, action, and a dash of humor…in that order. Of course when the fellas write a mystery story they often whip up more action than romance. Some male mystery writers eliminate the romance all together. Those stories work and I enjoy reading them. But I'm a lady mystery writer and romance is part of what I do.

Since we're talking whodunits, suspense is the main element in the plotline and will have the greatest word count. The theory of mystery writing I subscribe to starts out with a dead body. The story opens with a crime scene which in real life is often chaotic. EMS, various law enforcement personnel, and sometimes the press are all doing their jobs at the same time. To depict this type of atmosphere accurately, the writer must maintain a high level of suspense from page one. To do that the pace must be kept up. The hunt for a killer has begun. Write in short spurts. Create snappy dialog. The trick is not to reveal too much, but just enough to keep the reader turning pages.

To my mind, once the suspense is taut and fast paced what is needed is romance to balance it out. I'll often write the romance scenes in prose that are more fluid than the staccato rhythm of my suspense and action scenes. However with strict adherence to my character's voice. My favorite murder mystery characters are uber-flawed. I like to create protagonists who desperately need love in their lives, but that's the last thing they want because they've been so badly hurt. Kiera Devane, pioneer newspaper woman and heroine in my historical psychological whodunit, PERILOUS SHADOWS, is just like that. Only love can heal her tortured soul, but she's afraid to let anyone get close to her. Of course all that changes when she meets ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye.

Next in the mix comes action. Many of us who write in the crime fiction genre do not tote a semi-automatic weapon or know how to engage in combat style martial arts. However, we'd best write as if we do. The writer has to do his/her homework. What is the proper police procedure for the situation your protagonist is in? Make sure to accurately describe a roundhouse kick and know what type of ammunition your heroine should be using in her Glock. At the murder scene or when facing down the bad guys is not the time to give the protagonist prolonged internal dialog or to have him/her wax philosophical. Your main characters are human and infallible. They don't have to win every fight. Still they can't be so badly injured that it would be unrealistic for them to carry on the investigation. I like to beat up my main characters. In my debut novel BURNING HEARTS, I pretty badly beat up Harley Davidson riding, WWII war-hero Lorne Kincade. I'm not sexist about this in the least. So, in GOODBYE NOEL, I beat up heroine Katrina Lenart. My main characters are in a struggle: right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, they are trying to avenge the murder of an innocent victim. As a Christian perhaps that's why I'm drawn to this genre.

I find humor is a great way to relieve tension. It can also slow down romance when needed. In real life detectives indulge in witty and even snarky banter to break tension. Some detectives and other law enforcement personnel in the story should do this as well, for the same reason.

Purchase Links:


Barnes and Noble/Nook.

Desert Breeze Publishing.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Nike Chillemi

Steph: PERILOUS SHADOWS is book three in your Sanctuary Point series. It's slightly different than the first two. Tell us about that.

Nike: PERILOUS SHADOWS has a strong psychological theme. It's a whodunit plus romance, but this one gets into the psychology of the two main characters quite deeply, and also several of the subordinate characters. I took time in this story to delve into the interior lives of the characters and to show how their pasts impact the story. Several characters have something to hide in this story.

Steph: Your first two stories featured strong-minded, independent heroines. Do you follow suit in PERILOUS SHADOWS with Kiera Devane.

Nike: I'm chuckling to myself because Kiera Devane is feisty as all get out. As a pioneer woman newspaper reporter in the late 1940s, she's fighting her way to the top in a man career. She's headstrong, and isn't afraid to take on any of her male colleagues. She's tough as nails, but her feminine side shows through in her flair for fashion. She very carefully puts her "look" together. And she's always checking to see if the seams in her hose are straight.

Steph: You've been supportive of American Christian Fiction Authors (ACFA), a new group begun by Shawna Williams, an author here at Desert Breeze Publishing. Tell us about that.

Nike: Well I think you can never have too many writers groups. The industry is huge. Groups spring up to address needs. Shawna set up American Christian Fiction Authors (ACFA) as a place for Christian authors who kind of felt they were square pegs trying to fit into a round CBA hole. They might be writing steamy novels, or Christian horror, etc. It's my understanding that ACFA is not trying to compete with any other Christian fiction organization, but rather is there for authors who might not have found a good fit in another organization. I definitely support that. There's room for everyone.

Steph: You are the Chair of the Grace Awards and you've stated that the awards is going to expand. Tell us about that.

Nike: Well for one thing, the Grace Awards has publicly endorsed American Christian Fiction Authors and is going to function as a sister organization to ACFA. Grace Awards will soon have a Goodreads group and the Grace Awards Facebook group is getting more active. The latest thing to be added to the Grace Awards Facebook Group is a prayer chain. Anyone (writers, readers, editors, etc.) can go there and ask for prayer. I believe in cross pollinating, or cross promoting. I'm hoping those who belong to the Grace Facebook page will also join the Grace Goodreads group. I'd like to see both Grace Awards groups become active and grow. If anyone is interested in the Grace Awards Facebook group, here's the link.!/groups/228634957153779/

Steph: Getting back to PERILOUS SHADOWS, tell us something about the story.

Nike: Let me give a summation of the story.

Historical Romantic Thriller, late-1940s ~ Sweet romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully

Pioneer newspaperwoman Kiera Devane is on a mission to prove a woman can do a man's job, as she hunts a young coed's killer? Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye lost one love to a murderous fiend and his pulse races as he tries to protect Kiera from herself as much as from this killer.

Kiera was doted upon by loving parent, but they were killed when she was a girl and she was shipped off to live with a socialite aunt who had little time for her. In her aunt's house, she learned life could be cold and cruel. As a result, she grew up to be an independent and demanding professional woman.

Argus Nye, still bereft from the loss of his first love, can't understand why this female reporter is mesmerizing him. As she takes chances with her life trying to catch a killer, he's determined to protect her.

Purchase Links:


Barnes and Noble/Nook.

Desert Breeze Publishing.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Things I Tell Myself Not To Do by Nike Chillemi

Stop carping! There, I've said it. I'm tired of hearing authors gripe about all their publisher is not doing for them. Hey, it's tough out there and unless I'm pulling down a six figure advance with Random House, I'm probably not going to get everything I'd like from my publisher. Actually, I'd like a limo sent to my door to take me everywhere I want to go. Now that's pure fiction…in the fantasy genre.

Revise, rewrite, tweek, and make it better. Listen to my critique group, listen to my best friend who read the work in progress, listen to my editor. But once the book has been released, let it go. Stop rewriting in my head and get on to the next project.
Take the work seriously, but don't take myself too seriously. I've come a long way since I wrote my first serious whodunit over six years ago. I keep the manuscript around just for a good laugh, it's that bad. I can see that my writing has improved and is improving…and hopefully that will keep on going that way.

Don't stop counting my blessings. There are any number of writers who would willingly change places with me. I really do believe in the American dream. With enough hard work, over time (and that's so key because it doesn't happen overnight) even I can be a great success. That doesn't mean I'll be on the New York Times Best Seller List. But it does mean that if I keep at it, keep honing my craft, and keep up with smart marketing I will garner a reader following.

Don't ever take my readers for granted. They don't have to shell out the bucks to buy my novels. I'm very aware of that and appreciative of them. Don't sell them short. They're smart people. Don't write down to them. Don't give them pabulum. Treat readers with the respect they deserve.

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista

Nike's latest release is: Perilous Shadows, Book 3 in the Sanctuary Point Series. You can find Nike's book here:

Desert Breeze Publishing. Links:


Barnes and Noble/Nook.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from Animal Instinct

Thanks so much for supporting Lynette and Tami during their week in the spotlight. Leave a comment today, Saturday, Sunday on this excerpt post and don't forget to include your email. I'll pick one lucky winner at random on Monday to receive a PDF copy of their novel, "Animal Instinct."

Enjoy the Excerpt!
Moderator Steph


Sean tried to shrug away the tension gathering in his shoulders and the back of his neck. He'd seen the clinic on his way home yesterday, and he didn't know where any other vets were located. He prayed someone would be there, and they could take his dog. The sting the poor boy got during their morning run was swelling around his eye and his breathing seemed more shallow than just a minute before. As a first responder, he knew the signs of anaphylactic shock, and he was terrified. He shifted King's weight and kept on jogging, a slower jog with the extra hundred pounds, but he didn't want to waste any time. He was close, just another half a block. "Hold on, King, I'll get you some help." He shouldered his way through the door. He barely took in the prim ladies with their lap dogs on leashes. He only had eyes for the person behind the counter who could get him some help.

"Doctor Al's office, Carol speaking. How can we help you and your pet today?"

She wasn't talking to him. She was answering the phone. He rested King, all sprawling, hairy, panting, wheezing dog, right on the counter in front of her.
His swollen eye was on her side of the counter. She couldn't miss it.

"Just a moment, I have an emergency," she said to the caller. "I'm putting you on hold."

The woman was quick and competent. She called over her shoulder, "Doctor Al, we have an emergency in Exam One." Then she turned to Sean as she opened the door to the side of the counter. "Follow me." She opened another door into an exam room, grabbing what he recognized as the new epi pen on her way through. He carefully placed King on the table in front of them. "I will get you some paperwork in a minute. Do I have permission to treat your dog?" He nodded and she put the needle against King's neck and pressed the life-saving drug into his system just as Doctor Al came into the room.

King was already breathing easier.

Sean's whole body relaxed in relief. "Thank you, thank you." He pressed the hand of the lady from the front desk; the motherly one who had acted so quickly
"You're welcome. Doctor Al will look at your dog now. Stop by here before you leave."

Doctor Al was a woman. That was the first thing that registered. She was petite, with very small but competent hands examining King's body. "Carol has given your dog a dose of an antihistamine to quiet what appears to be an allergic reaction." She flicked her gaze to him. "How long ago did this bite or sting happen?"


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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Tami & Lynette talk about the animal helpers in Animal Instinct

In the Time After Time Saga every hero and heroine has an animal helper. They aren't always the same book to book so I won't give away the future.

In Animal Instinct the helper to the woman of the Heartmark is Slainte' (pronounced slawn cha - and sometimes shortened to Cha Cha.) Slainte' is a Gaelic toast to health - and the real cat she was named for, which belongs to Lynette Endicott, needed all the health she could get when we rescued her.

The helper to the hero in Animal Instinct is his German shepherd K9 partner on the police force. He is named for the German Shepherd given to my family when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. Unfortunately no one knew how to train him or had the time, so the generous breeder who gave him to us took him back. Now that I am an adult dog owner I know that walking him and being consistent with his training would have given us a fabulous dog, but it was not to be.

Here are a few photos of the real life Slainte'. She is a feisty little thing who keeps the other cat and dog in line in a very intentional way. Notice her eyes are usually golden, not green. Tami Dee, the co-author on Animal Instinct, and Lynette recently discovered that both have rescued calico cats, although Tami's is much older. Their markings are very similar.

She is the only animal that Lynette's daughter's very lively beagle/bassett mix respects. She is smaller than the other cat but twice as feisty.

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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Lynette & Tami talk about what drew them to write the Time After Time Series together

For a couple of people who met in an on-line critique group, Tami Dee and Lynette Endicott have some odd things in common, including:

· No sons born into our immediate families - daughters only

· Both have cockatiels (a recent discovery). Lynette's showed up on my back patio one day, starving but mostly healthy.

· Both have adopted calico cats - and except for the age difference they even look a lot alike.

· Both live in the Central valley in California (which we didn't know when we "met" on line)

· Both enjoy writing romance, including some speculative elements (like time travel)

· Both have a moral aversion to paranormal elements in our books due to personal faith

· Both like our books steamy but not explicit and want the sex within the bounds of marriage

· Each has helped the other out in the writing journey

And now we can add - we are writing a series of books together! Sometimes people ask how that happened. Great question - and like many blessings in life it just...happened.

Lynette had the idea of a series of generational books, where the heroine in each faces the same enemy in her own way. It was pretty nebulous at first. And Tami is one of the people she runs ideas by.

The only one excited about the concepts at first! And as the structure of the books unfolded each contributed elements and had ideas for books, and so it became natural to write them together.


The whole experience has been on line! While we have met, very briefly, twice, most of our connection has been email. . (One meeting was to hand off a manuscript in the days before we emailed them, and the other was at the Pleasanton Scottish games where you were doing some research. I regret now that we didn't take a photo together! On our book tour!) So each of us has taken the lead on half the books, and we have gone back and forth in email to tweak and fill out the family stories until we have something that I think is fun, exciting, interesting - and I hope the readers will, too.

People have been asking what it is like to work together on these books. It is very motivating. When one knows the other is waiting she gets to the work a little faster, and when one is stuck on a plot point she has someone to talk to about it besides my husband.

The most amazing thing about this journey is that they think so much alike!
They didn't alternate chapters, like some people assume. Each is taking the lead on three of the series of six that we've set out. The first, Animal Instinct (AI), where Lynette led and Tami contributed humor and sizzle, is out this week. They are well along in the second, Survival Instinct (SI) where Tami led and have completed the first draft.

The first book released August 21. Here are our links - and Tami also has an ap for Android or iPhone.

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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Tami and Lynette introduce the Time After Time Series

The Time After Time Saga is a series of six books (at least that is how many the authors can see right now) set in different time periods as they track the women of the Heartmark and their conflict with the ancient enemy of their family, who travels through time to find them. Tami and Lynette came up with the ideas in on-line brainstorming, and have written the first two entirely through email correspondence.The plan is fun and inspiring for both. Each will take the lead for half the stories. What do we mean by take the lead? Simply put, Lynette writes one book, is responsible for all the hard stuff, writing the first draft, story line, editing, formatting, etc. Once completed, she e-mails the draft to Tami and she gets to go in and play. Then Tami writes the next book and Lynette gets to play! We sincerely hope you enjoy reading this ongoing series as much as we are enjoying writing it! Here is what you have to look forward to:

Animal Instinct, August 2012 (Lynette)
Survival Instinct, April 2013 (Tami )
Pioneer Instinct, December 2013 (Lynette)
Protective Instinct, August 2014 (Tami)
Maternal Instinct, April 2015 (Lynette )
Primal Instinct, December 2015 (Tami )


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Monday, 20 August 2012

Author Spolight - Q&A with Tami Dee and Lynette Endicott

STEPH: I don't know much about Animal Instinct. What's it about?

Lynette: Dr. Allison Green is one of a long line of women in her family who bear the Heartmark - a heart-shaped birthmark that draws out a time-traveling enemy to deny their happiness. She is a veterinarian whose growing love with detective Sean Barnett is threatened by this ancient enemy.

Tami: It is about two people meeting, falling in love, and while doing so having to survive not only Allison's ancestral memories, but coming to grips with the fact that she is a part of her family's amazing legend and legacy simply by bearing the Heartmark on her body. Sean and Alison must face, and conquer, a time traveling enemy who is determined to rob them of their new found love.

STEPH: Where did you find the inspiration for the story?

Lynette: I was thinking about how fun it would be to track a family's romances through time. I am the genealogist in our family, on both sides, and in the third published in this series will actually take much of the story from one of my husband's ancestors from the 1890s from Ireland to Wyoming.

Tami: Lynette e mailed me with the outline, asked if I wanted to share this adventure with her, and I jumped at the chance.

Lynette Endicott

STEPH: Did you have to do to a lot of research?

Lynette: This will be a series of six books and each one is written in a different time period, so yes, there is research. I did live in the 1970s so the time period of Animal Instinct wasn't hard, but I knew nothing about veterinarian medicine in that time.

Tami: Yes, lots.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

Lynette: Oooo - I love our cover. Gwen Phifer did a fabulous job of capturing the mystery and sometimes pain of carrying the Heartmark. She also gives us a glimpse of the passion beneath the surface of our very modest veterinarian once she finds the man of her life.

Tami: The cover highlights the 'mood' of the story. As the story is driven by ancestral memories it gives readers a glimpse of mystery and intrigue. As both Lynette and I take the lead in three books each, our wonderful cover artist, Gwen Phiter, went above and beyond her job by coming up with a way to show which of us leads in each book without compromising the integrity of the series covers. As Lynette took the lead in Animal Instinct, her name is listed first. The next book in the series I take the lead in, and my name will be listed first and so on.

Tami Dee

STEPH: Dr. Allison Green is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?

Lynette: She is a bright, capable doctor who cares a great deal about her patients and her community. At the same time she doesn't always see the evil in people, and that is a weakness when it comes to recognizing the enemy.

Tami: I have to agree with Lynette's assessment. Allison is warm and kind, and much too trusting. But as the story moves forward, she learns to be more cautious, without losing her internal sense of goodness.

STEPH: What does the hero, Detective Sean Barnett, find appealing about the heroine?

Lynette: She is sexy but innocent, bright but not jaded by the evil in the world, strong when she needs to be - and before the book is over she definitely needs to be strong to help him survive.

Tami: He recognizes her as an intelligent woman, sees the good within her heart, and definitely benefits from her bravery and all-consuming love for him and her single minded determination to not let anyone hurt him.

STEPH: What genre is Animal Instinct and what do you like about writing this genre?

Lynette: Romantic Fiction with some speculative elements. I have always loved the romance - and to set it against a generational saga and the classic good vs. evil in a romance context was fun. Because there are speculative elements we can play a little with how the animals help and communicate, how the enemy is thrown through time to the next situation, and how ancestral memories help the story along.

Tami: Although this is a six book series, and Animal Instinct is the first to be released, this story is by no means the first book in the series. Our series concept ~ our editor gifted us with a remarkable amount of trust by allowing us to do this ~ is a bit different than readers expect with series books. None of the books are being written, or released, in a chronological order. The stories and their release order are basically driven by Meredith, the time traveling enemy. Once she has had her chance to destroy the Heartmark women's true love, whether she succeeds or fails, she is thrust through time-- sometimes landing in the future, sometimes in the past within a span of eight hundred years or so. Each story in this series can stand alone, with the ancestral memories tying them together and giving small peeks into the other books. It will not really matter what order the books are read in, the reader will come away with a sense of completion.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, what were the last 3 books you downloaded on to it?

Lynette: I have an iPad and the last three books I've read were all DBP books - finished Janus last night (and now can't wait for the next one. Gail Delaney leaves us in great suspense.) Before that A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery which also has my mouth watering for the sequel by Kris Tualla who has a marvelous touch with the main character's capabilities, and his deafness as a characteristic not a tragedy. I am now starting Noah's Ark, a prequel to a set of stories by Vijaya Schartz. I love cats, and big cats have been featured on the covers of the other books in this series.

Tami: I have a Kindle. Last three books were My Brave Highlander by Vonda Sinclair, Everglades by Petie McCarty, and The Abduction of Julia by Karen Hawkins.

STEPH: Tell us a little about the town/state you live?

Lynette: We both live in the San Joaquin Valley in California - even though we didn't know that when we "met" in an on-line critique group. I live in Fresno, which is right in the middle of California both North to South and East to West. When the air is clear, which is unfortunately not often, you can see the Sierra mountains and we are 45 miles from the south gate of Yosemite.

Tami: I live in Stockton. Some may recall The Big Valley TV show (1965 western) which was set in Stockton. Haha, things have changed quite a bit from when Miss Barbara Stanwyck who played widowed matriarch Victoria Barkley held down her homestead. But I have to say, when I was a little girl, Stockton was mostly orchards and rural areas. It's grown a lot, and recently had the misfortune of being listed on AOL headline news as one of the ten most dangerous places in the United States to live. :/

10. Fun question: Did you watch the Olympics? If so, what did you find fun to watch?

Lynette: My daughter was a competitive swimmer through high school, and breast was her stroke, so the women's breast stroke was my favorite. Of course all the drama around the men's swimming was interesting but the quiet triumph of Rebecca Soni taking the gold in the 200 breast was my favorite moment.

Tami: Olympics? Was that on already? Guess I should get my nose out of books and check out the TV once in a while. hahah

LINKS include:
Buy link at Desert Breeze Publishing:

First of the Time after Time Saga with Tami Dee
Video trailer:

Friday, 17 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "Whispering Cypress"

Thanks so much for supporting BJ during her week in the spotlight. Leave a comment along with your email today, tomorrow and Sunday here on the excerpt post and you'll be entered to win a copy of one of BJ's novels: Southerin Supersitions or Last Resort, winner's choice. Enjoy this excerpt.

Moderator Steph


Spring gasped and jerked Dakota's leash. "Down girl. Be a good girl."

The figure of a young woman rolled on the ground, knees doubled up to her chest. Spring held out a hand. "Here, let me help you."

The slender woman reached out a hand, and Spring pulled it. When she was on her feet, her breath came in jerks, and she sputtered, "I'm Logan, Logan Riskway. Sorry to meet you like this."

"What are you doing sneaking around in the dark?"

"Trying to find Hackett, Hackett Woods. I'm going to have his baby, and we need to talk."

"I'd say you do." Spring eyed the rail of a woman. She wasn't showing. "Follow me, and I'll walk you to his cabin."

"Nice of you." Logan studied Dakota. "That's a huge dog."

"She's a good old girl, but very protective of me." Logan paced beside Spring on the side away from Dakota and kept her eyes glued on the shepherd as she lumbered down the dark path.

As they approached Hackett's cabin, Spring noticed the outline of his form still sitting on the swing. He gazed up at the snap of twigs and crunch of leaves. Then, he jumped to his feet and strode to them. "I found a visitor for you in the woods." She turned to leave, but he grabbed her wrist.

"Don't go." Even in the dark she knew his eyes pleaded. She could feel their pull.
"I'd be a third wheel. You two need to talk this thing through." She turned on her heel and pulled Dakota's leash. "Let's go, girl." The German shepherd bounded down the path pulling her mistress behind her, and she let her have free rein. She couldn't get away fast enough.

Dear God, help us both through this.


The heart-shaped flower bed blazed with red and white impatiens. Birds sang. Rabbits played in the front of her cabin. It could have been paradise on earth, if only there were no Logan in the picture. She knelt on her knees and yanked weeds with gusto. If only it were so easy to pull Logan out of Hackett's life and throw her away like one of these weeds. With each blade of grass she tore out of the flower bed, Spring felt a rip in her own heart. How could he be so careless? What had happened between those two last night? Dear God, I need your strength to get through this.

Just as she thought the pieces were falling back into place, her heart was ripped asunder once again. The sun smiled down, filtered through the treetops, and gently warmed her skin in the early-morning dampness of the woods. Footsteps crunched on the white-shelled path, and she jerked her head up to find Hackett barreling down the trail. He stood over her and offered a hand to help her to her feet. She yanked off a gardening glove and reached her palm upward. He took it, and her skin felt the warmth of his. A rush ran through her body, and she trembled and hoped he didn't notice.


Whispering Cypress Book Trailer Whispering Cypress at Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.

Find me on the Web Pages:!/barbara.robinson.773 Facebook Page!/AuthorBJRobinson Author Page Author Page Author Page

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Author Spotlight - A Woman's Walden by BJ Robinson

Cannot a woman have her very own Walden, as Henry David Thoreau did? I found mine in the country with a river for my back door. Nature abounded my dwelling on three sides, and a gravel road sent a dusty greeting when travelers passed. Surrounded with a view of the woodlands, I enjoyed making use of the river and the woods for other purposes besides hunting or fishing. God allowed me the A-frame cabin to grant my heart's desire for a season of my life.

I have never been rich moneywise, but I have had my treasure's worth of sunny hours and summer days "spent lavishly,” as Thoreau said, splashing and swimming in the muddy waters of rivers. Time spent between writing, with a view of the pines and oaks, or swimming or sunning on the banks of the river. I usually used my own private little island, which was leftover from many floods.

As a college student, I remember stealing an evening in the sun and lavishly spending it by a pond in the woods. What a way to do homework! As reflections of the pond rippled in the sun, I'd reflect about my life and allow my thoughts to run wild and free. I made use of that pond in my own way. Viewing the peaceful, calm water relaxed me, and I felt like a bird out of a cage as I enjoyed my freedom from being cooped up in a classroom. The pond, woods, and river were my links to nature. Sometimes a writer needs solitude.

Today, I still love to sit and reflect upon water as I write. God's granted me one of my heart's desires by allowing me to enjoy nature at my back door once again. There's nothing like being able to come home and relax and get back to nature in my own yard. I can sit in the new swing my husband bought and listen to birds sing to me, as I watch redbirds and squirrels play. The sweet peace of nature is a free and simple gift from God, a treasure that many don't discover.

My feathered friends, two Florida Sandhill Cranes visit me . A flock of small white egrets delicately tiptoe through the canal between water lily pads and search for food. Doves eat droppings from the bird feeder. Blackbirds join the others. A Sandhill airplane takes off like a great eagle, as wings flap in the wind. And, a redbird lights atop the wishing well and makes the bucket holding a yellow garden mum swing.

In the early morning, my two visitors may be seen wading down the canal. Birds sing the prettiest melodies and are the best nature-made choir. Their tunes bring in the morning and shut down the night. From dawn to dusk, I can enjoy the free gift of nature from God in sweet peace and harmony. He has truly given me a writer's paradise, a sanctuary, where my surroundings are beautified by His creative hand. My heart's desire, an inspiring place from which to write has been granted in my own yard. Thank you, God, for truly blessing me.

Dr. Dr. Rita Garcia says of B. J. Robinson's Whispering Cypress, "Spring, follows the rocky terrain of her chosen path, and reawakens a love of nature in the hearts and minds of the readers. B. J. Robinson really knows how to weave a great story. Her novels are the perfect read for a bright summer day or curled up next to a warm fire on a blistery day.

Valerie Strawmier says, "A campground you'll want to return to again and again with those characters. Author B. J. Robinson has a way of immediately drawing you to the characters. She writes great stories that draw readers in quickly, constantly throws in twists and turns, and doesn't let go."

Whispering Cypress Book Trailer Whispering Cypress at Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.

Find me on the Web Pages:!/barbara.robinson.773 Facebook Page!/AuthorBJRobinson Author Page Author Page Author Page

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Author Spotlight - BJ Robinson talks about the setting for Whispering Cypress

This summer we stayed at The Blue Dolphin Inn and Cottages in Grand Isle, Louisiana. It's nothing fancy on the inside, but the outside more than made up for it. I loved the view from the back deck and the beautiful beach. The oldest son made coffee before dawn, and we woke to Folgers in our cup. It felt so good to wake to the smell of coffee brewing. We grabbed our cups of caffeine and sat out on the back deck to watch the sun rise. It was still dark when we first went outside, and the lights across the water were beautiful Hubby enjoyed surf fishing. I tend to use my summer vacations as research for novel writing, so I'm sure this experience will end up in a novel one day.

If you've read any of my novels, you should have noticed the theme of appreciation for nature and God's creativity. I'm also a pet and dog lover. The only thing I missed this vacation was my two girls who had to stay behind in a kennel. Honi is our golden retriever, and she'd never stayed away from us since we brought her home last summer as a puppy. Sunflower usually travels with us and goes wherever we go. She's a well-traveled dog and has even been to Hollywood, California, and the Grand Canyon. The worse part of my vacation was being separated from them for two weeks. The best part was getting to see family, the Grand Isle beach behind the Blue Dolphin, and the homecoming and reunion with Sunflower and Honi. If you love animals and nature, you'll enjoy my books. I'm a nature lover and an animal lover, so nature and animals always find a way into my novels.

Sunflower is a character in my debut novel, Last Resort. Dakota, a German shepherd we enjoyed for years, is a character in Whispering Cypress. It's Honi's turn next. I hope my readers enjoy reading my books as much as I had fun writing them. I try to take you on an adventurous journey to another world.

Dr. Dr. Rita Garcia says of B. J. Robinson's Whispering Cypress, "Spring, follows the rocky terrain of her chosen path, and reawakens a love of nature in the hearts and minds of the readers. B. J. Robinson really knows how to weave a great story. Her novels are the perfect read for a bright summer day or curled up next to a warm fire on a blistery day.

Valerie Strawmier says, "A campground you'll want to return to again and again with those characters. Author B. J. Robinson has a way of immediately drawing you to the characters. She writes great stories that draw readers in quickly, constantly throws in twists and turns, and doesn't let go."

Whispering Cypress Book Trailer Whispering Cypress at Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.

Find me on the Web Pages:!/barbara.robinson.773 Facebook Page!/AuthorBJRobinson Author Page Author Page Author Page

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Write, Critique, and Learn by BJ Robinson

I sat in a college classroom at Southeastern Louisiana University in 1988 when an errand runner delivered a long, slim envelope. “Barbara, this is for you,” my journalism teacher said as he looked in my direction and motioned me to his desk.
I tore open the beginning of my writing dream and found a check for $25 and a letter congratulating me because my short story won first prize and was being published in Gambit, the university’s literary magazine. My heart jumped for joy because I felt my passion and love for writing was finally vindicated. Surely if my writing could win first prize in fiction-writing competition, I could find a publisher, but it wasn’t that easy.

I believed I could have a career doing what I loved. I finished college with journalism articles published in the campus newspaper and other poems, articles, and short stories published in local newspapers. I planned to become a teacher and follow in one of my favorite teacher’s footsteps. In the third grade, the principal’s wife, also my teacher, submitted my pet dog story to the local newspaper, and it was published. One day I hoped I could bring students the joy I felt and carry on her tradition.

My first college essay about an April flood was published in another local newspaper. I felt like a writer. One dream I had was to someday become a published Chicken Soup author. I’m still striving, but I haven’t given up. One of my creative-writing students beat me to it and that was almost as good.

The journey to publication of a novel has been a long, hope-filled one. I took my first-prize winning short story and developed it into my published novel today, Southern Superstitions. Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. in California published it January 15, 2012, but they weren’t the first ones I tried. After turning the short story into a novel, I submitted it to a traditional Christian publishing house.

A couple of months later, my eager heart pounded as I realized the envelope I pulled from the mailbox was from them. I ripped it open and jumped for joy once again as my eyes scanned phrases like eloquently written, bright with vivid dialogue, beautiful, strong, believable characters. I wasn’t just a daydreaming egg. A big-name Christian publisher’s editor liked my novel, but it wasn’t long before my eyes fell upon the last line. As I read that after careful consideration the publisher decided not to take on the novel since they felt it didn’t fit with their list of other titles, my hopes sunk. Another rejection letter. Yet, it was the best one I’d ever received. I thought about the writer who’d written it. What eloquent prose. Such a great way to let someone down. She was a writer, one who’d ripped my world apart with one line. Yet, she gave me hope to carry on at the same time. I submitted the same manuscript to another publishing house and another editor phoned me. With eager anticipation, I thought surely this was it. I’d paid my dues. Little did I know at the time, I hadn’t even started, or as Mom would say what I’d done wasn’t a drop in the bucket compared to what I still needed to accomplish. He loved the manuscript, but once again, he couldn’t sway the review board.

Tears trickled from the corners of my eyes, and I wiped them away with the back of my hand. Once home, I stuffed the letter and the manuscript into a file cabinet and forgot about it for years. They say let your writing set. I did.

My dream was to become a published Christian author, so one day I yanked it out and rewrote, edited, and layered after years of honing my skills and craft by joining a critique group and taking various writing classes. I developed enough confidence to submit the manuscript again, but not without more tears first.

I’d entered the novel in a contest. Unlike my short story, it didn’t win, but I had success in a different way and published over a dozen devotionals. I wish I could say I ended up published by a traditional Christian publisher, but life isn’t a fairytale.

When it didn’t win the contest, I changed the title and did a bit more tweaking and editing. The eBook market boomed so I thought why not. This time I hadn’t wasted paper or stamps. I’d submitted by email. There was no slim envelope to tear apart. I opened an email from Gail R. Delaney, Editor-in-Chief of Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. and read, Thank you very much for your submission. You sent this just under the wire, as I closed submissions today until at least July. Right now, our schedule for 2011 is full, but I am interested in the novel.

Soon another email arrived. She wanted to move up the publishing date. I go by B. J. Robinson as a writer, and I’m a multi-published, award-winning writer with two novels under my belt and another one, Whispering Cypress releases August 11. In October. One Rainy Summer, my first YA novel releases. I’m an avid reader and a passionate writer. When I’m not working on my own work-in-progress (WIP), I’m reading another author’s book and reviewing it on my blog.

Through writing, I’ve met and shared stories with people from all over the United States, Canada, and many other parts of the world. The greatest reward of all is when I find something I have written has touched another human being, or has helped them. I am a published author who knows the feeling, the joy, and the reward of receiving this gift from God. My advice to you is to keep writing if your heart is in it and don’t give up. The eBook revolution has thrown doors wide open. Many people are discovering the joy of eBook reading. I’ve had many compliments and heart-felt responses, and some people keep asking when my other novels are being released.
Writing is what I do because it's a part of me, and I thank God for the gift and the ability. A writer’s life can be bumpy and varied like rollercoasters. On top of the world one moment, down in the valley the next, hoping to emerge on top of the hill again. It’s an adventure, one I wouldn’t miss for the world. I still write, and I can’t stop. Rejection after rejection from traditional publishers poured in, and I couldn’t figure out why until I joined a critique group and took writing classes. I found out about the “gatekeepers” and how you have to have an agent to get your foot in the door with the big-name traditional publishers. They’re as hard to snag as a publisher, so I kept taking classes to hone my skills and craft until eBooks opened the door and a California publisher gave me a chance, threw the door wide open, and said, “Come on in.”

B. J. Robinson writes from Florida, where she lives with her husband, golden retriever, Honi, and golden cocker spaniel, Sunflower, a character in Last Resort, her debut Christian romantic suspense. She’s blessed with sons, daughters, grandchildren, and faith. Southern Superstitions released January 15, 2012, and Whispering Cypress released August 15. When she's not writing, she's reading and reviewing books on her blog. Visit B. J. at

Dr. Dr. Rita Garcia says of B. J. Robinson's Whispering Cypress, "Spring, follows the rocky terrain of her chosen path, and reawakens a love of nature in the hearts and minds of the readers. B. J. Robinson really knows how to weave a great story. Her novels are the perfect read for a bright summer day or curled up next to a warm fire on a blistery day.

Valerie Strawmier says, "A campground you'll want to return to again and again with those characters. Author B. J. Robinson has a way of immediately drawing you to the characters. She writes great stories that draw readers in quickly, constantly throws in twists and turns, and doesn't let go."

Whispering Cypress Book Trailer Whispering Cypress at Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.

Find me on the Web Pages:!/barbara.robinson.773 Facebook Page!/AuthorBJRobinson Author Page Author Page Author Page

Monday, 13 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with BJ Robinson

STEPH: I don't know much about Whispering Cypress. What's it about?

BJ: Here's a blurb:

You'll never have peace here. Leave the past where it belongs, or it will ruin you.
Spring Showers stared at the cutout newspaper letters pasted on a sheet of typing paper. Her heart pounded harder than any nail gun, and she placed her hand over her chest as if to still it. Nothing about the rundown campground prepared her for such a threat. Who could possibly care if she restored it?

After a decade of no contact, she purchases the campground a man from her past dreams of owning and hires him to repair and remodel the cabins. She still has feelings for him, and the sparks are still there -- smoldering like embers from a left-over campfire. A male friend from the city visits and trouble brews. A girl is attacked. Hackett is arrested. Did authorities arrest the right man? The girl is pregnant -- who is the father?

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

BJ: Whispering Cypress took about six months to write. Once I started it, I kept plugging away a little at a time.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

BJ: The type of research I did for this novel was vacation travel in Tennessee, the fun type. I lived in Louisiana and know camp-ground settings, and I traveled and visited in Mississippi. Those are the three settings in the novel.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

BJ: The cover is my favorite out of my other novels because it makes you want to go there, as readers have said. I've had awesome compliments on it. It reflects the story within because the main character, Spring, buys a campground, and the cabins must be remodeled. She hires a former beau, Hackett, to restore them. The action takes place at the campground setting. A young girl is attacked across the river from Whispering Cypress Campground, Spring and Hackett live on the campground, and the ending of the novel takes place there.

STEPH: Spring is the heroine. What are her strengths?

BJ: Spring is compassionate, caring, determined, and loving. Weakness? Too trusting of others outward appearances.

STEPH: What does Hackett find appealing about her?

BJ: They went to high school together a decade earlier and dated. He feels she understands him, and he's comfortable with her, because he knows she knows him. He's attracted to her physical looks, but it goes deeper. The two of them have so much in common. They both fell in love with Whispering Cypress Campground, and they both wanted to make it their home, but Spring beat him to it, which causes conflict in the beginning of the story. Both love the river, camping, the serene setting, trees, and the beach. He is attracted to her love of nature, and he begins to figure out what he can do to win her heart back.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

BJ: The novel has more than one theme, and I like to allow my readers to discover them for themselves, but one theme is all life is precious and that one is spelled out in the book trailer. It's the main theme. Another is family is precious. These are two main takeaways of the novel.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

BJ: Life, childhood memories, vacation memories, my family, and my pets, but most of all God and His creative inspiration found in nature. He is the greatest artist of all time and paints the most beautiful, inspiring canvases for the world to see. I love to see heavenly blue sky merge with the ocean or a river surrounded with trees, where you see nothing but water, trees, and sky. I've enjoyed campfires and have been inspired by the glowing embers. I've sat on a green, grassy riverbank and found inspiration to write. This summer we vacationed in Grand Isle, Louisiana, and I loved it. I would've loved to have had more time to sit in a chair on the beach and write. Of course, the time flew by and there wasn't enough of it. I penned my first-prize winning short story with pen and a notebook sitting by a river.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

BJ: I have a Nook, but I got the free Kindle download for my PC, and I have an ipad I use for most of my reading.

STEPH: Fun question: What's your favorite summer fruit?

BJ: I have more than one. I love peaches, but I have to say strawberries if I have to pick an absolute favorite. I've written two novels set on strawberry farms: Last Resort and Southern Superstitions. I grew up around Louisiana strawberries, not Georgia peaches, but I love those peaches as well. I picked strawberries as a young girl to earn extra spending money, and I packed them as a young mother and brought my babies to the packing shed with me. I love strawberries with sugar, sugar and cream, and in strawberry shortcake. Strawberry is my favorite jam and jelly.


Whispering Cypress Book Trailer Whispering Cypress at Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.

Find me on the Web Pages:!/barbara.robinson.773 Facebook Page!/AuthorBJRobinson Author Page Author Page Author Page

Friday, 10 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from Serial Games

Thanks so much for supporting Tori during her week in the spotlight. Leave a comment on today's excerpt post along with your email today, Saturday and Sunday and I'll pick a winner randomly to receive a PDF copy of Tori's novel, "Serial Games." Enjoy the excerpt!

Moderator Steph


If it isn't a game, then why do you say you're losing?

The words of FBI Profiler and Special Agent Margaret Weston's mother echoed in her head. The previous evening, they had another heart-to-heart phone call. All of them ended the same: you are not in competition with your sister.

Maggie shoved the thought from her head. She needed to concentrate on work. She could win at work. Maggie pulled the daily paper from underneath a pile of notes for a case due to the Richmond office. The headline caught her eye.

Suspect in Gruesome Murder of Four Surrenders

Maggie bit her lip as she unfolded the paper to continue reading. For the last week, a small community in western Virginia had been held hostage over the discovery of four bodies found in the backyard of an ex-cop. The officer married four times; after two to five years of marital bliss, he would report his wife missing and move on to the next.

Maggie shuddered. The suspect reminded her of the profile she completed on another monster; a man obsessed with women who possessed certain features. Nine women went missing from his hometown and were never heard from again.


Maggie's fingers shook as she refolded the newspaper. She could only imagine the suffering those women endured at his hands; their worst nightmares realized. Maggie whispered a silent prayer of thanks. Everyday Burrows remained off the streets was a day the people of Culpeper, Virginia would be grateful for. Maggie expelled a breath of relief. Each day offered her an opportunity to identify and catch the bad guys... Maggie lived for it.

A knock at her office door drew her attention. Her colleague, Special Agent Douglas Fairbanks, peeked his head in, a noted look of concern crossed his features. "Maggie, you have a visitor."

She waved her hand for Doug to enter. She didn't expect the agent from the Richmond office until tomorrow. She gathered the loose papers on her desk into a couple of piles, careful not to cover her notes for their case. Maggie glanced up and ceased her organizing. She slowly rose from her chair, her eyes focused on the man behind Agent Fairbanks.

"This is Deputy US Marshal Brandon Worth." Doug stepped aside and allowed Maggie a full view of her visitor.

A dark-haired, square-jawed man about six-feet tall and all muscle confidently entered the room. Maggie let out a restrained breath taking in his stonewashed jeans, tucked-in collared shirt, and dark brown blazer. His pale eyes grew larger when they met hers, but by the time he crossed the room to meet her, they were unreadable.
Maggie walked around to the front of her desk. "This is Agent Margaret Weston. But everyone calls her Maggie." Doug continued. The man extended his hand during the greeting.

"Marshal." Her hand fitted to his and an onslaught of heat surged up her arm. His firm grip and million-dollar smile nearly put Maggie in a trance. "Please have a seat." She pulled her hand from his and gestured toward two chairs angled in front of her desk. Maggie laid both her palms on the sides of her skirt and took her time walking back around to her seat. The last thing she wanted to do was trip over the corner of her desk.

"Sorry to drop in unannounced." A deep rich voice filled the room.

Maggie decided it matched him perfectly. She shook the thought from her mind, shocked she found it there in the first place. "Thanks again, Doug," she called before he softly closed her office door behind him. "On the contrary, Marshal. How may I help you?"

His eyes sparkled and he smiled slowly. "First off, call me Brandon."

Maggie nodded, unsure if she could be informal with him so soon.

"Second, I need your help."

Maggie furrowed her brows. Did her boss forget to leave her a note about another case? Maggie worked a full load with profile write-ups needed by several regional offices. "You're in need of a profiler for a prisoner?"

Brandon's eyes shadowed over. He placed his elbows on the armrests, interlacing his fingers in front of him. "Something like that. Do you recall a John Michael Burrows?"
Maggie's eyes widened. "Funny you should mention his name. I was just reading an article in the paper reminding me of him."

John Michael Burrows made her career, with barely ten years on the job. The FBI's DC profiling division accepted Maggie's transfer request a couple of years ago and almost as soon as she stepped into the office, her supervisor introduced her to her first assignment -- Burrows. At first, police couldn't identify a suspect in a series of unsolved female disappearances in Culpeper County. A persistent investigation linked the victims to each other, the common denominator being their unidentified suspect. Maggie finally broke the case with the discovery of someone they all had in common. That someone was Burrows.

"I'm not going to lie. This office is because of Burrows." She casually waved a hand around. Brandon turned his head to get a 180-degree view.

"It's very nice." He grinned. She detected a note of amusement in his voice. "Your reputation precedes you."

Maggie dipped her head, embarrassed. The spacious office boasted an open floor plan with locked file cabinets on the far wall opposite her desk. She completed 10,000 steps a day just walking from one end to the other multiple times. Yet, she did enjoy the floor to ceiling windows showcasing a great view of the downtown DC area.
Maggie inhaled deeply, hesitant to dwell on the compliment. The FBI awarded her a special accommodation with the capture of Burrows. She held the honor of being the first African-American female profiler to ever identify and capture a serial killer. In the Virginia judicial system, the Burrows case set a precedent; Maggie provided expert testimony pivotal to Burrows receiving the death penalty for the murders of nine women, whose bodies were never found. Maggie signed the final draft of Burrows' investigative report over a year ago with no real test of her performance as a profiler since. No case had reached that level of difficulty.

"Really, Marshal..." Maggie wanted to dispel the perception.

"Brandon." He urged.

Maggie cleared her throat. "I was just doing my job, and I'm glad the case is over." Maggie swallowed to relieve her dry throat. The headline of the newspaper article flashed in her mind. The ex-cop and Burrows were too similar; the need... no, the desire to kill women.

Brandon cleared his throat. "Um, not quite..."

Maggie's breath caught, her chest tightening. Not over? Brandon's hands gripped the sides of his chair. US Marshals handle the transfer of prisoners and the apprehension of fugitives ...

"Don't say it." Maggie breathed.

"He's escaped."

Maggie's eyes fluttered trying to comprehend the news. She looked away. Escaped? The greatest danger to women in the history of central Virginia back on the streets? The Burrows' case received the highest media coverage due to the threat to public safety, a title not held by any perpetrator since the DC sniper. Her breathing became more labored as the news sunk in. "How did this happen?"

From childhood, K. Victoria Chase enjoyed writing stories and plays and reading Christian romance. She received degrees in Criminal Justice and Diplomacy and worked as a federal law enforcement officer for several years before deciding to try her hand at writing a complete novel. Serial Games (Virginia Justice Book One) is the third completed work and the first published by Desert Breeze Publishing. Book two of the series, Marked by the Mob, will be released in November 2012. She has recently signed with Astraea Press for the first in her Santiago Brothers series, Rafael. Until she can make writing a full-time venture, K. Victoria Chase continues to work in the field of counterterrorism, identifying potential terrorists that threaten the United States and the world. She currently resides in Leesburg, VA and writes both clean and Christian interracial romance.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Reviews by K. Victoria Chase

I previously published this post on my own blog but I've added two additional tips based on a twitter follower's suggestion.


My first book is out and reviews are now coming in. As an author, you should expect not only the good reviews, but the bad ones. Some people are not going to like your book; no question about it. If you request reviews from readers who post them to blogs or review sites, you run the risk of receiving those low-starred ratings for all the world to see. A scary feeling.

What to do?

Keep a few things in mind.

1. Take a deep breath. You wrote a book! That is an accomplishment.

2. Not everyone will like your book. You can't please everyone. Their opinions are subjective.

3. A bad review doesn't mean sales will cease.

4. Remember the GREAT reviews you've received. Thank you, fans!!!

5. Read the review objectively and try to glean some takeaways (if you want). If there are any, they may aid your writing. If there aren't any, return to number 4.

6. Most importantly: DO NOT RESPOND TO THE REVIEWER. You will incur a backlash that will be hard to get past. The Amazon forums are filled with consumers eager to voice their concerns and your name may end up on the Badly Behaving Authors thread. You are the face of your product. Don't let your attitude ruin your ability to promote.

Have you read the ratings for the best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey? The kindle edition for book one has amassed about 3300 five-star ratings and 2400 one-star ratings, and some of those one-star reviews are brutal--right up front for all to see. Yet, the book is still selling.

Need more convincing? Read here and here.

Extra Tip #1: Don't visit the reviewer's page. Visiting the website will increase the visibility of that website (and subsequently your negative review) on the web.

Extra Tip #2: Don't link to the reviewer's page. We all love to link to another website that features us. Why link to a bad review? Do you want a potential reader's first impression of your work to be an unflattering review?

Finally, someone other than your mother--thanks Mom!--WILL love your book.

Question: Have you received a bad review? How did you handle it and was food involved? ;-)


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Connecting with Readers

As a newbie author, it can be difficult to find and connect with potential readers. One reason why I started blogging the other year was to create what is known in the social media/marketing world as a ‘platform’. A platform is basically my brand impacting a (significant) number of targeted people.

I write interracial romance that is either clean or Christian. This is a VERY specific niche that I hope will someday catch fire. Not everyone wants to read a steamy story, or even read one all the time; sometimes something clean--still with a bit of edge--will satisfy a romance craving. I’ve been blogging my journey to publication and my observations in the publishing world affecting my niche market.

This is one way I’ve connected with readers. However, there are several ways a person can use social media to connect. Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads are all places I hang out from time to time.

Isn’t that time-consuming?

Yes, and sometimes I really struggle with what 140 characters I should put out. But part of marketing and building a platform is connecting--building relationships--with others in the most accessible medium: the Internet.

If I could write full-time, I’d have more time to devote to social media. Right now, working a full-time job and then coming home in the evenings to write, with a sprinkling of social media time in between it all is exhausting, but loads of fun. I’ve met some great people through my blog and other outlets and I’ve connected with readers who have enjoyed my book--and I’m enjoying theirs.

So let’s connect! Below are my links. I hope to see you online. :-)


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Author Spotlight - PIcturing the Characters by K. Victoria Chase

I first dreamed of the romance writer’s life watching the movie, Romancing the Stone. I loved Joan Wilder. I loved her beautiful apartment lit with candles and a crackling fire, the life of just typing out a story that could make you cry on a laptop typewriter, and I envied her romantic adventure. That’s how I like to picture my life except for the full-time job, minus the crackling fire (I don’t have a fireplace), and no Jack T. Colton. It’s neat Joan pictured herself the heroine in her novels--I do the exact same thing.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t send a picture of myself with my cover art sheet, lol. So, I sent actress Dana Davis as the heroine Maggie Weston.

And for the hero...

Perfect for my US Marshal, Chris Hemsworth is so yummy...

A reader saw the post on my blog where I introduced Hemsworth as Marshal Brandon Worth AFTER she began reading Serial Games and it changed the image she had in her head, so here are the protagonists BEFORE you read the story--if you get a chance.

Do you have an actor/actress in mind for your protagonists? What about antagonists? Do you picture yourself as the hero/heroine?


Monday, 6 August 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with K. Victoria Chase

STEPH: I don't know much about "Serial Games." What's it about?

K VICTORIA: Serial Games is the story of an insecure FBI Profiler, Maggie Weston, who learns her most difficult case, John Michael Burrows (they always have three names-lol), has escaped custody and US Marshal Brandon Worth needs her help in tracking him. Brandon comes on scene with issues of his own, namely trusting his heart after it was destroyed only a few years prior. Both must learn to rely on each other to catch a serial killer who has a personal agenda of his own.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

K VICTORIA: It only took me about a month to write this novel. I wanted to see if I could finish one in thirty days. I technically did, over a two-month period, taking a break for Thanksgiving.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

K. VICTORIA: I'm a former federal law enforcement officer, so the nuances of investigation are not new to me. I did, however, research tracking so I'd have the terminology right (such as grid patterns), and also read the histories of a few serial killers to help craft the psychology of my hero and the method of killing.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

K. VICTORIA: The woman is the FBI profiler and the Marshal badge points to the hero who is a US Marshal. I've actually had to explain this more often than not because everyone thinks the woman is the US Marshal. Symbols on the cover can be tricky, and finding an FBI badge is too. Since I write interracial romance, it is important to me to have that featured on the cover. It doesn't mean other ethnicities won't be able to relate to the characters, but it also celebrates variety--not the cookie-cutter hero/heroine.

STEPH: Maggie is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

K VICTORIA: Maggie is a compassionate and patient (to a point) person. I think these are her strengths. She connects well with everyone because of those soft feminine qualities. However, she lacks self-confidence. She always feels she has to prove herself because she's the baby of the family and the last to accomplish what her family feels are important milestones in a person's life, such as marriage and family.

STEPH: What does Brandon find appealing about her?

K VICTORIA: That she is completely different from Emily; and I can't say who Emily is because that will spoil part of the plot. She's the type of woman he wouldn't normally be attracted too--delicate, with a quiet strength--and she makes him want to be in love.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

K VICTORIA: The theme is trust God even you don’t know His plan.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

K VICTORIA: Everywhere! A kiss, a movie, a song. Anything evoking some type of emotion in me is where I get the ideas for my stories. My next release (from Astraea Press), Rafael, was inspired by a song, Impossible, where the woman falls for a man she shouldn't, and the heroine in Rafael doesn't want to fall for, well, Rafael.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

K. VICTORIA: I have a second generation Kindle. I love it! I find I read books faster on the kindle probably because I'm constantly pressing that button--and want to press.

STEPH: Fun question: What are your favorite summer fruits?

K. VICTORIA: Strawberries and peaches. I pick strawberries almost every year in Pungo Virginia.

STEPH: Fess - share with Tori and I - what's your favorite summer food.