Tag Archive | mystery

Christine Amsden and The Cassie Scot Mystery Series

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How I met Cassie

Cassie came to me, I didn’t go to her.

I finished The Immortality Virus late in the fall of 2008, and though I took pride in my second novel, I felt worn out (creatively). When the new year came, bringing with it the opportunity for all kinds of writerly resolutions, I decided I needed to take the year off. I would read, blog, journal, but otherwise give my muse time to heal.

I didn’t make it a year. It turns out, I really am a writer. Writers write. We can’t not write. Taking the pressure off my muse did turn out to have been a great idea, but putting a time frame on it was a bit naive.

Cassie came to me in mid-February, as I played on the floor with me (then) 9-month-old daughter. I won’t go so far as to say she popped into my head fully formed, but it was close. I sat bolt upright, my eyes probably doing that cartoon bulge, as a light bulb appeared over my head.

What if… What if the hero of a fantasy story was the only one in it without magic?

I wrote the first line of the story as soon as my daughter went down for a nap. It read: “My parents think the longer the name, the more powerful the sorcerer, so they named me Nicolas Merlin Apollonius Roger Scot. You can call me Nick.”

Okay, so it needed work. It didn’t take me long to realize I wanted a female heroine. Nicolas (who does not go by Nick and might set you on fire if you tried) became the oldest of Cassie’s siblings.

After that, Cassie told me new things about herself every day. I had a rough draft by the end of June.

About Cassie ScotParanormal Detective

Cover_CassieScot1Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.

Excerpt

At random, I picked up a bottle of perfume from the top shelf and read: “Induces powerful lust. Spray on your intended and make sure you are the first person they see. Lasts about an hour.”

The thing you have to understand about any magic is that there are good ways to use it, and bad ways to use it. The concept of black magic is a hotly debated topic among sorcerers. Even death, in self defense, is a shade of gray. As I stood there, reading the functions of the various love potions, I thought of all the innocent and harmful ways they could be used. A couple in a committed relationship might have a lot of fun with a spray of lust. On the other hand, using it on an unwilling victim…

I shuddered as I replaced the bottle and accidentally knocked one of the neighboring bottles of perfume to the ground. It shattered, splashing perfume all over my open-toed sandals.

“Crap.”

“What happened?” Evan asked, his voice hard and alert. I could hear him moving closer.

“Stop! I don’t want to see you right now.”

“Which potion was that?” Evan asked, still in that hard-edged voice of command.

I pointed to the row of similar bottles on the top shelf. “Lust.”

One of the little bottles floated away from the shelf, but I did not turn around to see what Evan was doing with it. Instead, I started looking through my purse for a pack of tissues to clean the mess off my feet.

“Cassie, I have some bad news for you.”

“Worse, you mean?”

“This potion doesn’t take affect until you actually look at someone. Your hour starts then.”

About Cassie Scot: Secrets and Lies

Cover_SecretsAndLiesCassie Scot, still stinging from her parents’ betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn’t letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them.

To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness.

Excerpt

The door opened with a jingle, and something in the air told me my day had just gone from bad to worse.

“Edward,” Victor said, as if greeting an old friend.

I faced my former father for the first time since he had announced his intention to disown me. He looked just as he always had, with straight dark hair, brown eyes, a long, angular face, and a wide, curving mouth – curving downward into a frown, that is.

If Victor was the last person I had expected to see in the diner that morning, then my former father was the last person I wanted to see. Even now, with Victor explaining my part in his unusual scheme for revenge, I didn’t want my former father nearby. I didn’t want his help. I only hoped Nicolas and Juliana hadn’t broken their promise and told him about the life debt, or I would never hear the end of it.

The air crackled with visible tension. Sparks of shimmering red fire danced around my father’s head. Behind the counter, Mrs. Meyers twisted her hands together anxiously, as if afraid her diner might burn down. Her fears were not unjustified.

I stepped boldly between them, facing my father. “What are you doing here?”

“We need to talk,” he said.

“I have nothing to say to you. You disowned me, remember?”

The color seemed to drain from his face as he stared past me, at his oldest enemy.

Victor raised his water glass in a mock toast. “I’ve known for some time. If it makes you feel any worse, so does everyone else in town who hasn’t been asleep for a week. Or at least, they guess.”

“I don’t care what you think you know. Stay away from my daughter.” With that, he grabbed my arm with a hand hot enough to leave a reddened imprint on my skin, and dragged me through the kitchen to the employee room at the back. Only then did he release my injured forearm.

About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAward-winning author Christine Amsden has written stories since she was eight, always with a touch of the strange or unusual. She became a “serious” writer in 2003, after attending a boot camp with Orson Scott Card. She finished Touch of Fate shortly afterward, then penned The Immortality Virus, which won two awards. Expect many more titles by this up-and-coming author.

 Contacts 

Website • Blog • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads • Google+

Olivia Mayfield: The Inheritance

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THE INHERITANCE

By

Olivia Mayfield

About The Inheritance

Maggie Willings knew that returning home for her estranged grandfather’s funeral would not be easy, but she never expected the reading of his will to be the most difficult part. The four people named in the will—Maggie, her brother Robert, her ex-boyfriend Andrew, and her grandfather’s far-too-young girlfriend Bethany—are given a challenge: find out the truth about what happened to Maggie’s younger sister Cassandra, who vanished over eight years ago, and win the entirety of the estate.

Maggie is thrown by the strange request, reluctant to drag up painful memories of her sister’s disappearance, and bothered by her lingering attraction to Andrew, who wants to team up to solve the mystery. But there are ten million dollars on the line and Maggie has no idea where to start—or who she’ll be able to trust.

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Excerpt

MEDIA KIT 1_inheritance_FinalWhat had her grandfather been thinking? She couldn’t believe he had picked the four of them, four childhood friends and siblings whose lives had splintered so far apart. He was a shrewd man, a calculated risk-taker. And he knew each of them would have a stake in solving Cassandra’s…disappearance. Kidnapping. Murder. Or whatever it was that had happened to her eight years ago.

Obviously, Maggie and her brother had the personal angle in the case, since Cassandra was their younger sister. Both Bethany and Andrew had been close to the family when they were teens, so the two of them would likely know as much about the case as anyone else. Upon chewing these facts over, Grandpa’s reasoning made sense to Maggie, but that knowledge didn’t ease her turmoil.

Her gaze met Andrew’s. He accepted her scrutiny and matched it with a bold, open look of his own. His hand was steady, his face smooth. He’d obviously grown adept over the years at disguising his emotions; she could read nothing on him.

Would he accept the challenge for the money?

Or did he have something else to gain here?

About the Author

MEDIA KIT Rhonda_0279LGOlivia Mayfield has been an unabashed fan of romance since she was a young teen, secretly devouring her mom’s Harlequins. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, as well as a Master’s degree in English, and lives with her family in Ohio. In her free time, she loves reading, shopping, wearing absurdly high-heeled boots, cheesecake, singing karaoke, and harassing her friends.

Contacts

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Interview With Author Sam Cheever and Threads of Yesterday, plus a peek at a new story!

Today my guest is Sam Cheever, who’s here to talk about herself, her writing life, and her book, Threads of Yesterday.

Welcome to Susana’s Morning Room, Sam!

IMG_7837What inspired you to start writing?

It was definitely self-defense. I had thousands of stories inside my head bashing about in an attempt to escape. It was either let them out or suffer brain damage. Some who know me would say I definitely waited too long…but I did eventually make a deal with the stories. I let them out in a controlled fashion and they stopped bashing around in my head. Although I still get the occasional masher that needs to be managed.

How long have you been writing?

I can remember writing my first poetry in high school and having the teacher read it to the class because he thought it was really good. Looking back on it now I realize how dark and angst-filled those first writing attempts were. I shudder at all that angst now. I’ve graduated to more physical writing since then. I’m really more of a blow ‘em up and smack ‘em around type of writer. It’s so much more satisfying than just sitting around fretting about something.

What advice would you give writers just starting out?

Just sit down and do the hardest thing…write. Write snippets of stories that pop into your head. Write about things that happen to you. Write whatever you care about most. Don’t try to write for a specific market if you don’t have a passion for that market. Writing is hard enough without forcing yourself into a niche you aren’t really comfortable with. Your readers will know if you don’t care about the story. And they won’t care about it either.

Start creating an online presence for yourself early, well before the first book comes out. Always be yourself. Don’t try to manufacture a persona you think will appeal. People will know if you’re not being genuine. Ultimately people buy from people they like. It won’t matter how talented you are if you treat people badly.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Occasionally I do. When it happens I take my dogs for a walk and let my mind rest for a while. That almost always works. The other thing I do is that I always have 2 or 3 WIPs going at a time, generally of different genres. That way if I get stuck on one, I move to a different story for a while, until inspiration hits again.

What comes first, the plot or the characters?

Definitely the plot. Once I know what I want to write about I’ll figure out what types of characters will maximize the fun and interest for that storyline. Although I write character-driven stories, I believe in a strong, unique plot. A story with no plot bores me, both as a reader and a writer.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Threads of Yesterday is Book 2 of a brand new cozy, paranormal mystery series. This type of story is a bit different for me as a writer, though I’ve long been a fan of the genre as a reader. The fun thing about this series is that the mysteries are based on events that happened decades or even a century earlier. Each story starts with the set-up for the mystery from the past, and then moves to present day in Yesterday’s Antiques store, where owner and amateur sleuth, Anna Yesterday discovers the mystery and sets out to solve it. The other aspect of these mysteries that makes them a lot of fun is the supporting cast of small town characters. From the geeky librarian, to the sexy ex-cop, to the wise-cracking autistic teen neighbor, these characters add interest, confusion, and fun to every storyline.

Are you working on something at present you would like to tell us about?

I’m currently trying to complete a light paranormal story that keeps getting put on the back burner because of more pressing deadlines. I’m determined to get this fun story finished so I can find the perfect home for it. Here’s a little taste from my WIP, tentatively entitled Probationary Angel:

Arele Montgomery knew two important things about Heaven. First, it was a damned judgmental place. And second, there were far too many rules.

Which was how she found herself in her current predicament.

Well the rules…and that stupid old woman who wasn’t an old woman.

How was she supposed to know the old woman wasn’t what she’d seemed? How in Heaven did they expect her to know that the gnarly, bent old creature shuffling toward the curb that day was really a bank robber in disguise?

It was true, she’d been a bit put off by the way the woman had cursed and swung a cane at her head when she’d tried to take her arm. But she’d been a full-fledged angel then, with a long, pearly stick up her ass, so she hadn’t reacted in anger. She’d smiled and reached for the woman’s arm again.

That was when the old crone had swung a large, black bag at her head and spoken to her in a voice that sounded like a hairy Italian mobster’s. “Back off, bitch!”

Arele had been too busy dodging the bag to notice when the money started flying out of it. Of course, it was much too good an opportunity for the Dark One to resist. And he’d thrown a burst of wind into the mix. Sending all that cash across the street and everywhere.

People had gone nuts, screaming, clawing, and trampling each other to get to the cash.

To make things worse, the police had been tracking the robber and were just a hair away from nabbing him. But, because of her interference, he’d gotten away. Arele still insisted that part wasn’t her fault. The parchment from legal never made it into her cloud box that morning, so she hadn’t known about the sting operation. If she had she might never have approached the robber in the first place.

As people trampled each other, her fellow guardians flitting here and there trying to protect the small and delicate, Arele just stood there, blinking. Not sure what to do. “Did I do that?” She’d murmured over and over again.

In the distance, over the roar and screech of the mass of greedy, grasping people around her, Arele could hear the Serpent laughing.

She’d been the devil’s unwilling dupe. Not her finest hour.

And now she was on probation. She’d been called to the office of Mrs. Durtz, Queen drone of Angel Resources. An angel whose pearly stick was so long it stuck up from her head and down to her feet.

She was like a cranky wart hog on a carousel ride.

The woman sat behind her white desk, gently fluttering her pristine, white wings…just because she could…and looked down a long, straight nose at Arele, her narrow lips twisted with disdain. “You broke rule number twelve thousand four hundred sixty five point six.”

Arele bit her lip and grimaced, a single, sparkling tear sliding down her pale cheek. “Which rule is that one?”

Looking smug and superior, Mrs. Durtz gave Arele a sad smile, as if pitying her for her sublime ignorance. “The ‘First create no harm’ rule of course.”

Arele frowned, “Isn’t that the physician’s oath?”

Mrs. Durtz, considering humans mere dust beneath her pristine, white feet, glowered at Arele. “Where do you think they got it? You don’t think humans are bright enough to come up with that one on their own do you?” She sneered at Arele for a moment and then looked down at her desk, reading the terse, black script from a proclamation on her desk. “Arele Montgomery, on this day, November 10th, 2013, you are on official probation.”

Arele’s wings disappeared with a pop. She opened her mouth to argue, but Mrs. Durtz held a flawless, white sheet of paper in front of her. It was filled with text, in micro font, of legalese jargon. “Sign here.”

A whimsical little pen with wings appeared in Arele’s left hand. She stared at it for a moment, until Mrs. Durtz made an ominous throat clearing sound, and then she signed her name at the bottom of the sheet. As she signed, a tear dropped onto the page and blurred the tiny, accusatory words on the paper.

Mrs. Durtz sniffed in disgust at this show of emotion.

As the pen slid off the page on the back end of the last letter of Arele’s name, the world around her started to spin and whirl. When it cleared she was standing on the sidewalk, very close to the site of the disaster, under a large tree in the shade.

She was dressed like a human woman of twenty-three.

No wings. No unearthly glow.

A kickin’ pair of leather boots hugged her slim calves. At least she was dressed well for her foray into Hell.

She still clutched the pen with wings in her left hand. As she stared at it, numb with fear and indecision, something fluttered down from the tree, bounced off her shiny white-gold head, and landed on her boots.

For expenses. Mrs. Durtz’ disembodied voice whispered past.

It was a hundred dollar bill.

Even Arele knew that wouldn’t go far in the human world of 2013. “Gee thanks,” she murmured crankily. Because now that she’d lost her wings she could be cranky.

You’re welcome, responded Mrs. Durtz.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Janet Evanovich, I love the fun, slightly frantic nature of her Stephanie Plum books. I also love JD Robb’s Eve Dallas stories. Both writers pace their books well and both are very talented in the creation of their secondary characters and the interrelationships between them. I’ve also been strongly influenced by Kresley Cole’s paranormal books. I LOVE her Valkyries and her stories keep me interested from beginning to end.

What is your work schedule like when writing?

My days are packed full. Every minute accounted for. I get up around 5:00 am and go through my emails, responding to any that need a response and addressing anything that comes out of those communications. Once that’s done I’ll usually write any blog posts or interviews I’ve committed to in the near future. Then I’ll take a break to have breakfast and take care of all my critters. Once my chores are done I’ll sit down and start working. I try to write 1k to 3k on each of 2 to 3 WIPs each day. When I get stuck or tired of writing on one story I move to another. I generally try to write a chapter a week on each of my WIPs. That seems to be a pretty manageable goal for me.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I’m doing it! I always wanted to be an author and I’m very lucky to be doing what I love.

What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?

Favorite? Either cake or potato chips. Least favorite? Hmm, probably liver. #:0) Though I haven’t had any since I was a kid and my mom made me eat it. Blech!

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I do a very loose plot and then pants the heck out of it. LOL I try to organize my stories into an outline but it never lasts. So I do it in sections. I’ll come up with a loose plot for the first five chapters and then regroup and figure out where I want to go for the next five. The end is usually pretty self-evident by then. I actually prefer pantsing my stories because I think they’re more interesting that way. In fact, I recently did a blog post on that very subject. You can read it HERE if you’d like.

What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

I have 13 dogs. All in the house, many on the bed at night. LOL I’m a crazy lady. The bed thing can get a bit dicey. Here’s a fun blog post I did on that subject if you want a good laugh. How NOT to Negotiate with your Dog for Bed Space!

Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?

I think Kresley Cole is an extremely talented paranormal writer. As mentioned above, she keeps me interested from beginning to end of her stories. She also writes great characters. For romantic suspense, I love Josh Lanyon’s work. Josh writes tight plots with wonderful prose and characters that feel genuine.

What would we find under your bed?

Doghair tumbleweeds. #:0)

Do you write in multiple genres or just one? If just one, do you ever consider straying outside your genre?

I write M/F romantic suspense/mystery and paranormal/fantasy. I also write M/M romantic suspense and paranormal as Declan Sands. In addition, I love historical and steampunk so I’ll probably try my hand at those too someday.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I’m interested in writing true history stories for grade school kids, to get them interested in the history of America. We’re only as strong as our knowledge of our history and kids today are sadly lacking in both knowledge and interest. Ignorance condemns us to keep making the same mistakes over and over. I think history can be made fun if it’s presented in an adventure story and seen through the eyes of people kids can relate to. That’s a pet future project for me. I don’t know if I’ll get to it next year, but I hope I’ll get to it soon.

About Threads of Yesterday

threadsofyesterday2_fullsizeA deadly secret is tangled up in Yesterday’s Threads, and Anna is racing the clock to get it unraveled.

In 1859, Elisabeth Margaret Nelson travelled to Crocker, Indiana to meet her new husband and start a new life. Her family never saw her again. The story of her death and a heartbroken husband who grieves his entire life is a sad tale for sure. But is it true?

When Anna Yesterday receives some vintage dresses from the local museum, she’s excited about highlighting them at Crocker’s annual Apple Blossom Festival. But someone wants the dresses back, and they’ll apparently stop at nothing to get them—leaving a trail of murder and destruction in their wake.

As Anna and Pratt work to uncover the deadly intrigue behind the vintage dresses, interference of another kind is working its way to the surface. All too soon, Anna and Pratt find themselves neck deep in trouble from more than one dimension—and wondering which will get them first!

http://www.samcheever.com/threadsofyesterday.html

About the Author

Award winning author of more than 40 works of fiction, Sam Cheever mixes in a little fun, a little adventure, and a little real-life spice to create her sexy fantasy and romantic suspense stories. In her real life, Sam lives on a hobby farm in Indiana with 13 dogs, 2 horses, and one husband. She writes books she likes to read and reads books she wishes she’d written. Her books are fast-paced and fun-loving. Not one of them will solve a single world problem, but you definitely won’t be bored while reading them!

To find out more about Sam and her work, please pay her a visit at any one of the following online hot spots:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | About.Me

Excerpt

Yesterday, 1859

Elisabeth Margaret Nelson shifted the curtain back and looked out the stagecoach window. Over the last few hours the flat, brown land had grown gradually greener, and had turned to rolling hills. She dropped the curtain and sat back as another wave of stomach wrens assaulted her.

What had she done? Had she made a terrible mistake? She’d walked to the end of a plank and stepped right off…that’s what she’d done. Lissie wrung her hands and looked around at the other passengers. The older man in the opposite seat, beside the window, had been staring at her from the first moment, his dark eyes speculative.

He had to wonder what a young woman was doing travelling alone, without a companion.

Lissie had begun to wonder that too. She clutched her reticule closer under that questioning gaze and gave him a small, uncertain smile.

“Do you have family waiting for you in Crocker, Miss?”

Did she have family waiting for her?

“Yes. My hu…” Lissie swallowed hard, still not believing it was true. “My husband is waiting for me.” He’d gone ahead to prepare a place for them to live. Or so that was what he’d told her. Deep down Lissie doubted a man as handsome and vibrant as Felix Bickershaw could love a girl as ugly as she.

Lissie frowned, glancing down at the overstuffed reticule in her hands. She felt the man’s eyes on her again and discreetly shoved the velvet indispensable under her cloak. They’d all told her he only wanted her dowry. Lissie had believed it was true. Though Felix looked down at her with softness in his pretty, blue eyes, there was a certain coldness waiting just beyond that look, a negligence of her regard, which convinced her he didn’t so much love her person as what it could get him in life.

Lissie didn’t care. An ugly heiress with no prospect of finding love, she’d settled instead for one-sided infatuation with a handsome man who could at least give her the appearance of a storybook life.

Lissie was sure she would eventually win him over to an abiding affection at the very least.

The stagecoach dipped dangerously and Lissie pitched forward, catching herself on the window frame before she landed in the lap of the cantankerous matron across from her. It was obvious from the woman’s stern gaze that she thought Lissie a trollop of the worst order because she traveled unaccompanied.

Lissie told herself she didn’t care. In just hours she’d see her beloved Felix and all would be well in her world.

Sometime later Lissie woke from a doze to the sound of shouting and the clanging of pans. She shoved the curtain aside and eagerly took in her first view of Crocker, Indiana. The sweet smell of countryside had been replaced by the moldering stench of animal dung, overlaid by the yeasty smell of spirits and the spicy tang of something cooking over a fire.

Lissie’s mouth watered and she covered her stomach with a hand as it rumbled unhappily. The muddy street was filled with men on horses and fast-moving carriages. The wooden walkways that lined the log and stone buildings on either side of the street were busy too. Lissie’s gaze took in the women dressed in fine clothing, carrying parasols against a burning afternoon sun and excitement seared through her.

She’d never been in a real town before. Maybe some of the beautiful, well-dressed women watching the stagecoach rumble through town would be her friends. That would be lovely.

If only they wouldn’t judge her for her plainness. Surely the cache of jewels she carried in her reticule, and the equally sparkling visage of her handsome husband would win her some friends.

For the first time in her very young life, Elisabeth Margaret Nelson realized she liked her chances for a happy future. It was a heady feeling indeed.