Category Archives: thriller

EGO – Everyone’s Got One

I’ve often wondered at what point A-list celebrities become jaded to their success. Recognizable folks from any walk of life are at risk but since the world (especially Americans and Brits) obsess over the antics of the rich and famous, it must happen more quickly with those prominent, newsworthy folks. However,  even photogenic “beautiful” people have flaws.

Authors are a different lot for the most part, perhaps because we hide behind our characters. I seldom see that nose-in-the-air snootiness with a well-known author. Oh, there’s a few, don’t get me wrong. I won’t name names but every aspiring or mid-list writer knows who they are. Unapproachable. Kiss-my-ring, peon attitude. “I’d be happy to speak at your event but I must have Evian water and no red M&M’s at my table” type requests. “Certainly I will be a keynote speaker but keep those autograph hounds away from me.” Sadly, I’ve even met some of those ego driven folks at chapter meetings for various author organizations.

Sad, isn’t it? My parents stressed that I should never forget my roots – which came from an archaic middle class, hard working, respect your elders, have pride in your work, look at those less fortunate and say “for the grace of God, there goes I” type upbringing. That being said, today’s world requires caution when dealing with the public because the values I was raised with got thrown out with the bathwater.

Old habits die hard. I’m a writer. A good writer but not the best or most recognized writer. I’m not sure I would even classify myself as mid-list. I love spinning a good yarn and am flabbergasted when others seem to like it, too.

Today I received a 5 star review for one of my older books. A book I considered irrelevant to today’s market. It’s not graphically sexy. My characters are not as contemporary as those written by my peers. It’s kinda hokey, I guess, but back when romantic suspense was popular, it did okay. I like it. In fact, it’s one of my favorites. A nice blend of things I love like strong men, sassy women, Native American culture, and a bad ass (IMHO) villain. I actually thought about taking this book off my availability list. But now, because of one kind and expressive person who cared enough to leave a short review saying they liked it, I will keep Red Hot and Dangerous active in hopes someone else might find respite form the craziness between its pages.

Thank you to all my reviewers. Remember, most authors are an insecure lot. It makes us feel good when you enjoy our hard work that probably took months, or even years to release. Writing a novel is like giving birth to a child. We carry it inside us for ages, allowing it to grow and nurture. When our manuscript finally takes its first breath as a published work, we are proud.

If you don’t like it, there’s no reason to be cruel. Just let us know what you think would have made it better. The majority of us want to know. Believe it or not, we listen – and also realize it’s impossible to please everyone. But as writers, we’re probably still going to try.

 

Tucson Festival of Books and Other News

On March 11th and 12th, an amazing annual event takes place on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson – The Tuscon Festival of Books. This star-studded gathering (as far as authors go) offers something for everyone in nearly every age group.

This year, I’m excited to participate as both a signing author and a volunteer. On Saturday, I’ll be in the Author Pavilion from 12:15 to 2:15, then presenting a short “Tent Talk” at 3, discussing research and writing on the road. Sunday will be my volunteer day to assist other presenting authors with their programs.

sandfordWhen not “on the clock”, be assured I will peruse campus grounds and attend workshops by some of my favorite writers such as John Sandford (be still my beating heart) and “Longmire” creator and author, Craig Johnson accompanied by series star, A. Martinez.

I promise to post lots of photos and regale you with my adventures after the event. Be sure to check my Instagram and Facebook pages for the most up-to-date news. If you are attending, be sure to download the free “app” to help navigate the festival and events.

During the week of March 19th, I’ll be attending Escapee’s Escapade, also taking place in Tucson. For those not familiar with RVing, Escapees is a membership club of fellowship, activities and learning. This year, I’ll be conducting a workshop entitled, “Gold, Ghosts and Gravel Roads” where I hope to entertain with my adventures and teach from experience about how to enhance the RVing experience. The presentation will be loosely based on my research for ROAD TALES, Myth, Lore and Curiosities From America’s Back Roads. It will also include a few stories from the upcoming Volume Two.

The hubmeister and I decided to workamp at Ruby’s Inn outside of Bryce Canyon, Utah for the summer months. It’s a win-win since we planned to visit the area anyway. Now we can explore Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Monument Valley and so much more while keeping a centrally located base camp, and earn a buck or two along the way. We’ll only work part time and have the same off days.

roadkillthumbAnd now for my big FAIL…I played entirely too much the past few months and didn’t finish my second book in th e Dead Men series, Dead Men Can’t Dance. By the time I took a breath and realized time had passed me by, I needed to focus on my upcoming author appearances. I hope to release Book Two by April.

One more piece of exciting news, I’m working on an episodic thriller, Road Kill. It’s gritty, not light and fun like my Dead Men books so I hope readers won’t ding me too hard for changing genres. It’s a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Episode One will release in mid March. There should be four to five episodes to reach the conclusion, and then I may combine them into a single title. Hope you like serial killers!

Welcome Back, Jack – Gritty, Gutsy, Good!

jack bannerREVIEW:

Welcome Back, Jack starts as a slow moving police procedural that subtly wraps around you like a constrictor, keeping you snug and comfortable with the story and characters. . . until it starts to squeeze. By then it’s too late because you’re morbidly fascinated by this psychological thriller bordering on a horror novel.   You can’t put the damn book down.

I admit, my love affair with Welcome Back, Jack did not start on the first page . . . or even the first chapter. While I usually enjoy attention to details, I felt the story stalled a bit as author Sweeny set the stage. Granted, there is a gruesome murder with graphic descriptions of the mutilated bodies. No one is going to sleep walk through that! But the initial investigation and introduction to the many characters seemed to take a long time and did not reel me in as quickly as I like.

However, once you get past the slough, this is an intriguing tale with some darned good twists. The story starts off like a gumshoe detective novel but soon gets in your head and stays there until the final page. Jack is a gruff detective who smokes too many cigarettes and keeps his emotions under lock and key. His wife, Mary might be the only one who truly understands him since she hails from a family of cops, but even that is debatable at times. As the investigation unfolds, clues reveal something even more terrifying – the killer is tied to Jack’s own biological parent’s murders from years earlier.  Things go from murky to dark, spiraling to a conclusion that will leave you breathless.

Fans of police procedural, crime or horror/thriller novels will want to put Welcome Back, Jack on their must read list, as well as anyone who likes dark psychological whodunits. It’s a good read.

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ROMANTIC ROAD – A Thrilling Whodunit by Acclaimed Author, Blair McDowell

Romantic Road

Blair McDowell

Genre: Romantic ThrillerRomRoadCover

Publisher: Wild Rose Press

Pages: 290

Cover: Diana Carlile

Amazon      Barnes & Noble

Book Description:

When Lacy Telchev buries her husband, she finds herself in treacherous waters. Igor, much older than Lacy, had secrets. Suddenly, Lacy is being chased across Europe by men who believe she can lead them to those secrets.

Evading her pursuers with the aid of a chance acquaintance, the handsome and mysterious Max Petersen, Lacy travels across Germany, Austria and Hungary, to a shattering discovery in Budapest. Along the way, she meets three women from Igor’s past.

As Igor’s story unfolds through them, Lacy is less and less certain who her husband really was. Who can Lacy trust? Will she survive to find out?

REVIEW:

Romantic Road has something to please everyone, beginning with top notch writing. Blair McDowell has penned another riveting tale chock full of danger, suspense, romance and mystery. I’m quite sure the book grew tentacles and wrapped around me because I found it impossible to look up until I’d turned the final page. I confess, I was a willing prisoner.

The fast paced plot takes readers on a superb journey, beginning in New York and extending through several European countries. It’s obvious the author is well traveled because of her attention to detail. Rather than use a heavy hand with descriptive prose, however, Ms. McDowell delicately layers enticing tidbits of local flavor that blend seamlessly into the story.

I loved the heroine’s character arc. Her growth and development were expertly crafted, making Lacy Telchev believable but more importantly, likable.

Romantic Road is a story with twists and turns, several subplots, and a great unraveling of the mystery behind Lacy’s husband. Add it to your reading list, then READ it! This novel is too good to remain unopened.

Excerpt:

“Where is it? Just tell us where it is and you won’t get hurt.” The taller man loomed over her, his face expressionless, a mask.

“Where is what? What are you talking about? Who are you?” Lacy began to be annoyed. That was better than being scared. “Can I see your badges again?”

The second man stared hard at her though dead-looking flat grey eyes. “Mrs. Telchev,” he said, his voice low and menacing, “we mean you no harm. But you must tell us where he hid his manuscript.”

They knew her name? Icy tentacles of fear slipped down Lacy’s back. She shook her head. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

At that moment the red and white lights of a state police vehicle rounded the curve coming toward them. Seeing the blocked road it stopped. Two uniformed officers got out and approached the two parked cars.

“You’re blocking the road. What’s the trouble here?”

The taller man spoke.  “No trouble, Officer. Sorry about the way we’re parked. I’ll move the car immediately. The lady was pulled over here and we just stopped to see if she needed help.”

He flipped open his wallet and showed the officers the same ID he’d shown Lacy.

It seemed to mean something to the policemen.

Lacy opened her mouth to say something and then thought better of it. What could she tell the police? These men wanted a manuscript from her but she didn’t know where it was? Or what it was about? Or even if it existed. That it involved her dead husband? No. She wouldn’t say anything. Not until she knew more.

BlairAbout the Author:

Blair McDowell wrote her first short story when she was eleven and hasn’t stopped writing since. After many years producing non-fiction professional books in her field, Blair decided to exercise her rich imagination and write fiction; novels of mystery and romance set in places she knows and loves, peopled with characters drawn from her experiences in those locales.

 

Want An OMG Moment? Read “The Frailty of Things” by Tamsen Schultz

REVIEW:

I love good Romantic Suspense so discovering a new author AND series is like experiencing Christmas morning all over again! THE FRAILTY OF THINGS is Book 4 in the Windsor Series by Tamsen Schultz. I’ll be honest – until recently I’d not read anything by this remarkable writer but I certainly plan on amending this oversight .

THE FRAILTY OF THINGS is an intriguing story but more than romance and more than suspense. It’s a riveting tale riddled with mystery and intrigue, spiced with witty dialogue and boasting an incredible cast of supporting characters. The main characters ain’t so bad, either. Kit Forrester is an internationally acclaimed author who has some trust issues and a few dark secrets in her past. When Kit unintentionally falls on the bad side of some war criminals, her brother’s partner, Garret Cantona, steps in to offer protection and ends up losing a bit of his heart in the process.

Sounds like a typical formula for romantic suspense . . . but it’s not. THE FRAILTY OF THINGS is a notch above  genre offerings with well developed strong characters, a superb plot and intelligent action. I was concerned about starting the series with Book 4 and not knowing the back story but Ms. Schultz aptly layers in just enough past history to bring new readers up to par without bogging down the action packed thriller. That being said, I’m still eager to catch up with the rest of A Windsor Series. If the first three books are as good as this one, and I’m told they are, I will be a lifetime fan of Tamsen Schultz.

This is easily a novel I can recommend to readers of mystery, suspense or action thrillers. You won’t be disappointed.

frailty banner

The Frailty of Things

By Tamsen Schultz

Genre: Romantic Suspense

296 pages

 Amazon   Barnes&Noble

Book Blurb:TFOT Final Cover

Independence. Kit Forrester is a woman who wears her independence like armor. Despite keeping secrets and hiding her past, she’s built a life she loves and is accountable to no one. Until, that is, one of the world’s most wanted war criminals sets his sights on her and she must weigh the risk to one against the chance of justice and closure for many—a decision Kit couldn’t make on her own even if she wanted to.

Certainty. As a man who makes his living in the shadows of governments and wars, certainty isn’t a part of Garret Cantona’s vocabulary, and he’s just fine with that. But when Kit walks into his life, he realizes he’s never before been so sure about anything or anyone. Suddenly, he finds he’s looking at the world, his world, in a different light. And now that he is, he’s determined to protect it, and her, in whatever ways he can.

Frailty. No one knows better than Kit and Garret that an appreciation for what is, or what was, or what might be, can be born from the uncertainty and fragility of life. But when a hunt for a killer leaves Garret no choice but to throw Kit back into her broken and damaged past, even his unshakable faith in what they have together might not be enough to keep it from shattering into a million pieces.

About the Author:

cover picTamsen Schultz is the author of several romantic suspense novels and American Kin (a short story published in Line Zero Magazine). In addition to being a writer, she has a background in the field of international conflict resolution, has co-founded a non-profit, and currently works in corporate America. Like most lawyers, she spends a disproportionate amount of time thinking (and writing) about what it might be like to do something else. She lives in Northern California in a house full of males including her husband, two sons, four cats, a dog, and a gender-neutral, but well-stocked, wine rack.

Start Your New Year With A Good Book – American Specter by R. Prioleau

American Specter Banner 851 x 315

American Specter

Rasheedah Prioleau     

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

Date of Publication: Feb, 2014

ISBN: 978-0692226582

ASIN: B00IOWGVZY

Number of pages: 248

Word Count: 72,000

Cover Artist: Roger Raymond

Book Description:cover2

FBI Agent Audra Wheeler has been haunted for the last thirteen years by a paranormal attack that left her sister, Kendra, in a coma. Mentored by FBI Assistant Director Jonathan Cordero to investigate crimes committed by specters, Audra believes she is on the trail of a ‘serial killer’ specter with a MO very similar to her sister’s attacker.

The investigation takes her to a small town of Specter, Georgia; a haven for ghosts who exist among the living.

Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/i6m6vTxw-Yg

Available at Amazon

Review: 

American Specter is an interesting tale offering a twist to the “ghost story” theme. It’s an eclectic blend of Criminal Minds, Supernatural and Men in Black, and features great characters with a fun supporting cast.

In a nutshell, Audra Wheeler is a special agent trained to hunt “specters” – ghosts who reside among the living. Most are nice and don’t upset their living counterparts but one has developed a rather nasty habit of strangling women. Audra arrives in Specter, Georgia to investigate yet another murder by the ethereal serial killer, only to run into the one man she can’t resist . . . Ethan Cole, now Sheriff of Specter.

The story progresses with the investigation and a few unique elements like the latest victim returning as a specter to help solve her own murder. Since the girl was strangled by an unseen entity, she can’t identify her assailant but she does offer up some other clues.

I have to say, American Specter surprised me by the way it subtly reached out and grabbed my attention . . . and held it. This is a clever, well told story. I didn’t expect such an enjoyable read since I found the Prologue boring, more like the author was reciting facts. If she’d breathed a little more life into those few pages, I could easily rate this with five stars. Telling should never be an option to showing. I only bring this up because someone might not give this book a chance if they judge it on the Prologue.

American Specter is a fun, quirky read for anyone who enjoys crime novels, suspense thrillers, paranormal thrillers and likes their stories sprinkled with romance. You won’t go wrong starting your new year off with a good book . . . like American Specter.

Excerpt:

AUDRA DANCES WITH ETHAN

“So, was it as good as you remembered?”

Yolanda didn’t waste any time getting into the thick of Audra’s personal life once they were seated at the bar in Bishop’s. Audra remembered to turn off her specter shield on the way in. Yolanda had changed into a charming sundress and boots that instantly made her look as if she belonged in the late-night hotspot of Specter.

“No comment,” Audra said as Ashley, the specter waitress, placed a glass of red wine in front of her.

“Long day, Agent Wheeler?” she asked with genuine concern.

“Long summer.”

“I’m so sorry about this ugly business here,” Ashley said. “I hope you’re able to find out who’s responsible.”

“Thanks, Ashley. Me too,” Audra said, and the specter phased out.

Audra shed her usual suit jacket and draped it across her lap before lifting the drink to her lips and taking a sip.

“How is the city?”

“Doing just fine without you,” Yolanda said with a huff. “We don’t need you to call and check-in. So what if my marriage has finally ended in crashing flames and my mother thinks that I’m the worst daughter, like, ever.”

“Finally gave Billy the heave-ho?”

“I gave him the heave. He already had his own hoe.” Yolanda snorted.

“Sorry,” Audra said and perked up as a great song came on. “I have not heard this song in a million years.”

Audra spun around on her barstool as she tried to remember the last time she’d heard it. Her eyes fell to the far corner of the room onto the ancient jukebox that Ethan hovered over. Her breath caught as she remembered lying on the floor of Ethan’s New York apartment, tangled with him in his Egyptian cotton sheets.

“Be careful, your heart’s on your sleeve, Agent Wheeler,” Yolanda commented.

Ethan strode across the floor towards her, the look in his eyes unmistakable, just as a mature specter phased into his path. Audra found the sight somewhat amusing as Ethan couldn’t find a way to politely sidestep her. He finally gave in when dodging her was not an option, and Audra watched as he spun his lighter than air partner around the floor. She watched the way his body moved, enjoying its smooth and nearly fluid gestures.

Before the music stopped, an older gentleman specter tapped Ethan on the shoulder and took over. Audra watched the romantic sparks fly between the ghosts as they lit up the dance floor. Audra eyed Ethan as he walked to the end of the dance floor and motioned for Audra to join him. She took a deep breath and looked at Yolanda.

“Go on. My magic works better when I’m alone anyway,” she said. Audra downed the contents of her wineglass, left her jacket on the stool, and walked over to the current sheriff of Specter. He pulled her into his arms and she felt as if she were floating. Placing her right hand on his left shoulder and her left hand in his right, she rested her head against his chest and allowed herself to get swept up in the moment.

“I found Abigail’s sister,” Ethan said.

Audra looked up. “Where is she?”

Photo on 3-4-13 at 2.17 PMAbout the Author:

Rasheedah Prioleau is a southern African American writer with an eclectic range of writing and ghostwriting credits. After a few years in the corporate world she started over from the bottom as an unpaid intern for a literary manager and never looked back.

“I love to write because there are no limits. All it takes is a finite space of time and I can create a story from infinite possibilities.”

Writers who have influenced her include: Judy Bloom, Jude Deveraux, V.C. Andrews, Octavia Butler, Stephanie Meyer, Charlaine Harris, Joss Whedon, William Nicholson, Shonda Rhimes, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Mike Kelley, and J.J. Abrams… just to name a few.

Website: www.rasheedahprioleau

Twitter: @prioleaura

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rasheedah.prioleau