In case you missed the show, here’s the podcast. Listen in for some GREAT advice for new authors!
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in the north of Ireland, Belfast.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I suppose it was as happy as most Catholic girls in that day and age raised in the North midst poverty and religious bigotry, with no future except marrying an unemployed drunkard and push out ten to twelve babes. When I was young my parents were murdered when a faction of the Ulster Volunteer Force bombed a local pub because they served Catholics. Thereafter I was sent to live with my grandparents in Tuam, a cathedral city in the western part of the Irish Republic. As I was a handful, they sent me to the local convent in hopes the nuns would teach me a skill in what was known as the Magdalene Laundries. The Tuam facility was recently in the news after the remains of many young women and infants, were discovered.
Where do you live now?
I’ve been in Cape Brendan, a small tourist town on the eastern most edge of Lake Ontario where it bleeds into the Saint Lawrence River for the past several years. We are known for two things: ship building and Caper Madness, a month long celebration of all things Halloween.
What do you do for a living?
I am a retired social worker. At the height of my career I was Director of Crime Victim Services in Syracuse New York.
Is there something you’d rather be doing?
To supplement my rather meager retirement checks, I model for an agency, La Vrai Beaute, which is known for its older and large size models. Come winter, when the Cape is often as cold as Mother Superior’s heart, I wouldn’t mind spending a few weeks in places where it rarely falls below 80 degrees, showing off fabulous clothes by talented designers.
What’s going on in your life right now?
I am harboring a woman and her children waiting for a judge to decide on permanent custody of these delightful kids. The husband and father . . . is less than upstanding shall I say. His attorney, a posturing, skeeving git if there ever was one, is arse deep in illegal machinations, making sure his client wins his children back. If the judge is having a bad hair day or is pre-menstrual and rules against the woman, it will be my job to immediately get her to a safe place. If this man, the husband I mean, is granted custody, he will kill her and the children, or worse.
Is there someone special in your life?
Nicholas Forrester came to Cape Brendan to assist Henri Pierpont, his elderly uncle, in the coordination of Caper Madness. After Hank’s health takes a swan dive, he asked me to assist Nick with managing the events. Nick is having a significant amount of difficulty adjusting to me as well as the quirks and foibles of the Capers as the locals call themselves.
How did you two meet?
In the Emergency Room, while waiting for word on Henri’s condition. Nick knows me, though we never met, with relation to an unfortunate event from our pasts. I felt I was doing my job as the head of a victim advocacy agency, but Nick blames me for his best friend losing his position on the police force and eventual suicide. Things were rather tense, especially after Henri asked me to assist Nick on Caper Madness and “make him proud”. I couldn’t say no but Nick made my life miserable until we came to a resolution.
What’s his family like?
His uncle, the coordinator of Caper Madness, is Nick’s only living relative. Henry and his deceased wife Genny cared for Nick and his sister after their parents took off for better pickings. This was many years ago; Nick adores Henry and feels guilty for not spending quality time with Henry and Genny while she was still alive. Neither of us had it easy growing up.
What’s keeping you two apart?
He is a retired police officer who now works for the skeeving git attorney as chief investigator. While he is here in Cape Brendan, assisting with Caper Madness, he is also keeping close watch out for the woman and her children who, unbeknownst to him, are hiding in my house. Nick’s boss is convinced they will attempt to flee to Canada via the Cape Brendan ferry which traverses the River several times a day. My mission, should it come to that, is to get them to safety no matter the cost.
What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?
I suppose I could turn them over to the skeeving git and her sexual predator husband. That will never happen. Also, I’m not certain I want another relationship. Around here I’m known as the Black Mamba primarily for the four husbands and fiancés I’ve buried either shortly before or right after the weddings. I’m not what they’d call a safe bet. Plus, I can’t imagine any man in his right mind who would want me after learning my background.
Any last comments?
Caper Madness is the first in a series of stories set in Cape Brendan. Characters from previous novels of mine will come back to life and create new lives for themselves on The River.
Blurb P.I. Nick Forrester comes to Cape Brendan ostensibly to assist with Caper Madness, a month long celebration of everything Halloween. In reality he is tracking a woman on the run. Within days he is confronted by Annunciata Doyle, a vivid reminder of a pain-filled past.
After retreating to Cape Brendan in defeat and humiliation, Nunie Doyle’s only hope was to make the best of forced retirement. There, in this quaint tourist town on the shores of Lake Ontario, she earned the love and respect of new friends and neighbors—and put her talent for helping women to good use.
With the mutual goal of making Caper Madness the best ever, Nick and Nunie fight tooth and nail on the personal level, each discovering a new side to the other, sides that make them consider making drastic changes for the rest of their lives.
This attraction: complete madness—or sheer magic?
Hank let out a holler just before a huge toothy grin spanned the borders of his gaunt cheeks. “Top o’ the marnin’ to ye, Missus!” he cackled to someone exiting the front door of the stone cottage next door.
Taking the concrete steps to the sidewalk in two lithe moves, a woman in a slinky dress the color of ripe tomatoes glanced their way and responded in a distinct Irish brogue.
“And the ass end of the day to ye, Mistur Pierpont.”
Intrigued by rich tone of her voice, Nick craned his neck and found one of the witches from yesterday’s parade—minus the droopy velvet hat—passing within steps of Hank’s porch. A bulging garment bag hung over one arm; she looked headed in the direction of the pier at the end of Vincentian Lane. Damned if right then a wind didn’t jump up off the lake and mold the filmy length of scarlet against each curve of her body. Long black hair—and there seemed to be a good ten pounds of it—flowed over her shoulders, caressing her body like a lover as she marched toward Dingle Pier. As his heart bumped into a trip hammer beat, Nick reminded himself to breathe.
“Ferget yer broom, Missus?” Hank called out to her retreating back.
“In the repair shop,” she replied over one shoulder, winging that glorious onyx hair away from lips painted to match her dress. “Gettin’ fitted with a couple of those fancy turbo boosters, it is.”
Hank chuckled, then went back to his coffee. “Turbo boosters. That Nunie Doyle; sure is a pistol.”
An invisible fist reached down to grab Nick’s gut in a vise. As recognition flared, long buried rage took a slow crawling path up his spine.
Writing under the names Kat Henry Doran and Veronica Lynch, author Kathy Cottrell uses her experience as a nurse, victim advocate and insurance investigator for background in many of her award winning novels and novellas. Her stories are set in her favorite places to visit: the Catskill and Adirondack Mountains as well as the Saint Lawrence River in the historic Thousand Islands region of Upstate and Northern New York State. When not writing, or chasing grandchildren, Kathy spends her time designing and making tote bags and aprons to custom order.
Someone is trying to kill Lynne Tremaine. After her father sentences two members of The Briscoe Boys gang to death, Judge Tremaine feels he has no choice but to send Lynne to Denver City along the Oregon Trail to live with her Uncle George…against her will. For Lynne, the only thing worse than being sent away to the wild west is making the journey with the handsome, arrogant, wicked man her uncle has hired to escort her. Especially when the anger she feels toward him begins to turn to something hotter.
Cade Lawson is determined to prove himself to his employer, George Tremaine, after letting him down months earlier. But what he thought would be his second chance may, in fact, be a harsh punishment for his past mistakes. Lynne is headstrong, fiery, and determined to show him she is fearless. She is also beautiful and tempting, and when Cade sees just how afraid she really is underneath her brave act, he may be in danger of losing his heart to her forever. When her would-be killer attacks, it’s all he can do to keep Lynne safe.
He swore to protect her, but who will protect him from her?
PLEASE BE ADVISED – Steam Level: Hot
Sign up for Merry Farmer’s newsletter to get the scoop on future Hot on the Trail books and get superfan-only news, exclusives, and giveaways!
Merry Farmer is an award-winning author of historical romance. She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats and enough story ideas to keep her writing until she’s 132. Her second novel, The Faithful Heart, was a 2102 RONE Award finalist and her unpublished futuristic novel A Man’s World won first place in the Novel: Character category at the 2013 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. She is out to prove that you can make a living as a self-published author and to help others to do the same.
What made you decide to be an author?
I’ve wanted to be an author since I discovered Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven around the age of seven or eight. I devoured the series and then went on to read the Famous Five series and many, many more of her books. I used to spend hours penning stories and tying the pages together to make my own library. I wish I had kept a few now!
Becoming a writer was always a dream until my youngest daughter started school and then I had a ‘now or never moment.’ Eighteen months later, The Wild Rose Press published my first novel, “Searching For Sophie.”
What do you like best about being a writer?
First and foremost, is that I get to stay at home and do what I love all day! As far as the writing process, my favourite part is when I have the first draft written and can then dive back in to make the original story better. Love that part
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing Contemporary and Victorian romance?
I am often asked how I prepare to write my Victorian novels compared to my contemporary work – there is very little difference because romance is all about the emotion of the story and its characters. Love, hate, joy, sadness, greed and empathy would have been felt in just the same way in the 19th century as they would today. The same is true for how my personal experiences work in my writing. Rather than using real events, I use the emotions of how I felt during certain circumstances and hopefully it relates well onto the page. The only real-life experience I’ve used in my writing was being rescued by helicopter from a holiday camp during the 2010 French floods (A Man Like Him).
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book–as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with?
Ooh, I LOVE when that happens! It hasn’t happened with an entire book, but I would say it happens with at least two or three chapters in every book. For The Temptation of Laura, one of the ‘dictated chapters’ was chapter 6…
You’ve written fifteen novels and two novellas and are working on your sixteenth novel. What’s your favorite time management tip? Demanding “me time” – that’s it in a nutshell. If you want to be successful at anything, you have to make the time. Family, friends, the housework etc will all take as much time as you give them so sometimes (no matter how hard), you have to say no. If you want to be an author, you need to act like one and write. Trust me, your beloved family and friends won’t hate you for it, they’ll love you…as for the housework? Who cares?
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer?
I am a plotter…to an extent. I start each book with the hero and heroine’s goals, motivations and conflicts and then write a short paragraph for each chapter. From those chapters, I write a three to four page synopsis. Once I have done that, I have a good feel for the book I want to write and the dive straight in. I write the first draft from start to finish without looking back. Usually the pantser in me sways from the original synopsis, but that’s okay!
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be?
See my time management tip above!
Do you listen to music when you write? Do you have a theme song for this book? What music did you go back to over and over as you wrote it, or as you write, in general?
As a rule, I never listen to music because I need absolute silence to work – the only story I used music to ground me in the time I was writing about was Transatlantic Loving (novella with The Wild Rose Press). Gotta love the 80s!
Laura Robinson has always been dazzled by the glamour of the stage. But perhaps acting and selling one’s favors are not so different—for Laura must feign pleasure with the men she beds to survive. Now, with her only friend at death’s door and a ruthless pimp at her heels, escaping her occupation seems impossible. Hoping to attract a gentleman, she attends the theater. Yet the man Laura captivates is no customer, but a rising star and playwright…
Adam Lacey has been driven to distraction since the moment he saw Laura. She is his ideal leading lady come to irresistible life—and so much more. Certain they can make the perfect team on and off stage, he is determined to win her heart—and discover her story. But that is precisely what Laura fears. And she has no idea that Adam harbors shameful secrets of his own. Will the truth free them to love—or destroy all their dreams…?
How about an excerpt from The Temptation of Laura?
What was she doing inside Adam Lacey’s house, sitting upright and rigid upon a settee she could never afford? Laura crossed and re-crossed her ankles as she glanced around his drawing room. His home was masculine, bare of trinket or flower, but compared to her and Bette’s place, it screamed of achievement. He’d left her to go upstairs and change out of his wet clothes. She glanced at the wall clock. The ten minutes she’d been alone could’ve been an hour.
She needed to leave. Get out of there.
Standing, she stepped toward the door just as it swung open and Adam entered. Her breath caught. The man was ridiculously handsome. His dark blond hair was darker than usual, after his unplanned swim, and his face scrubbed clean. Her gaze drifted, of its own accord, to the smattering of chest hair just visible at the vee of his open-necked shirt. The man was unfairly relaxed. Laura inhaled. Handsome—stupidly, stupidly handsome.
He halted, his smile dissolving. “You’re leaving?”
He moved to touch her, seemed to think better of it and dropped his hand to his side. Their eyes locked and silence descended. Her heart beat fast with the knowledge she would’ve given the world to stay there. Eye to eye; toe to toe with a man who fascinated and intrigued her.
She stepped back. It was too dangerous. The atmosphere between them too potent. Her attraction to him kicked and punched at her heart. It was strong enough to make her want to kiss him, touch him and bring that dazzling smile to the surface over and over. For little more than another breath, she would risk everything to run her fingers over his biceps and up to the plane of his wide shoulders…
Laura blinked as her mouth drained dry. What had she been thinking by coming here? She hadn’t been thinking. In that moment when he asked her to accompany him back to his home––nothing but desire had whipped through her. Nothing but interest had leapt in her veins and obliterated her common sense. The fervor and lust in his eyes bespoke of a man who clearly had an agenda entirely different to hers.
Laura blinked and looked past him to the door. “I have a friend. She’s sick. She needs me and the medicine I bought before I came upon you at the park.” She brushed past him, through the door and into the hallway. “I shouldn’t have come here. I’m sorry.”
Ignoring him, she hurried toward the closed front door. She had to get out of there. If she looked at him again, she’d falter. Her rationale already hung on a hair’s breadth. His footsteps sounded at lightning speed behind her and when she clasped the door handle, his hand closed over hers. She stared at their joined hands and her body heated.
“Laura. Please. I need to talk to you.”
Swallowing hard, she forced herself to meet his gaze. His dark brown eyes shone with a pleading she hadn’t expected. How was she supposed to refuse? He was the first man in forever to make her heart pick up speed and flourish her hope for something more. She slowly pulled her hand from beneath his.
About the Author Rachel lives in South West England, just a short drive from the famous Georgian City of Bath. She is married with two teenage daughters who keep her busy when she isn’t writing. A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association, Rachel writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance and Victorian romance for eKensington/Lyrical.
When she isn’t working she likes to read, knit, watch too much TV or walk the beautiful English countryside with her beloved black Lab, Max.
Thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.
Our Little Secrets is the first book in Merry Farmer‘s highly acclaimed, historical Montana Romance series. In Our Little Secrets, she writes about the sins, secrets, and the impossibility of keeping them apart…or quiet.
“…a story that has you begging for more and has you searching for answers from the first page….The past haunts the present as two people try to move into the future. A quick marriage with no questions asked. A budding and growing love. And a past that refuses to stay under wraps. A great story that will keep you wanting to know more. With depth characters and a story line that is unique in its own but has all the strength to pull you in and not let you up for air.” - lilgracielue, Amazon reviewer
Michael West swore he would never fall in love again. So when the beautiful and wily Charlotte steps off the train looking for a new life he jumps at the business opportunity she presents. Engaged forty-five minutes after meeting, married the next day, Michael thinks he’s found everything a respectable man should have. Except that Michael is as far from respectable as they come. They agreed not to ask questions about each other’s pasts, but when the past seeps into their present Michael suspects his passionate new wife is not who she says she is. Too bad he’s already fallen in love with her.
Charlotte Baldwin has a secret. She fled Philadelphia to escape the sins of her past but someone is following her. What better way to hide than by marrying Michael West, Cold Springs, Montana’s enigmatic shopkeeper? A new name, a new life, and a passionate husband is exactly what she needs to leave her sins behind. But when it comes to keeping secrets Charlotte may have met her match in Michael. When a connection neither of them expects catches up with them, the shocking revelation means Charlotte may have run right into the arms of her enemy.
No sin stays a secret forever….
My Review: Secrets within Secrets!
When I first began reading Merry Farmer’s OUR LITTLE SECRETS, I was immediately engaged by her main characters, Charlotte Baldwin and Michael West. A young woman on the run from a mysterious past, Charlotte heads west, away from Philadelphia and someone who has been following her from St. Louis. She arrives in Cold Springs, Montana, amidst a bevy of husband-hunting painted ladies and does her best to divest herself of their bawdy company.
Michael, the owner of the general store in Cold Springs, is at the train station to receive a shipment of goods for his emporium. To his amusement, Charlotte mistakes him for a porter. Enchanted by the dark haired beauty, Michael decides to show her the town. Before long, the woman who wants a new life and was not in search of a husband and the man who had no desire to marry are wedded in a civil ceremony in a business deal where each promised not to ask questions about the other’s pasts.
Charlotte is introduced to the beauty of lovemaking and Michael is astonished at her virginity and her delight at her “wifely duties.” Soon they are making love in the bed, on the sofa, on the stairs, anywhere they can grab a moment and each other. Neither ever expected their business deal to turn into a love affair. They are happy, have friends in the community, and the business is doing well.
Little by little, however, suspicion enters into the relationship, along with some bad dealings from their past. Ugly rumors abound and their relationship hits the rocks. Just as it seems things can’t get worse, a dreadful person from their past arrives in town and delivers demands and ultimatums.
No spoilers from me! This book has action, adventure, romance, betrayals, and secrets within secrets. I very much enjoyed this Western romance. Mary Farmer’s attention to detail in the sounds and smells of the era and the small town setting put me into the story. Her characters are three-dimensional and flawed in ways that were endearing. Her plot took me for a fun filled ride with enough twists and turns to keep me flipping the pages late at night. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 Shiny Sheriff Stars.
Merry Farmer is an award-winning author of Historical Romance and what she likes to call “Sci-Fi for Women.” She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats and enough story ideas to keep her writing until she’s 132. Her second novel, The Faithful Heart, was a 2102 RONE Award finalist and her unpublished futuristic novel A Man’s World won first place in the Novel: Character category at the 2013 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. She is out to prove that you can make a living as a self-published author and to help others to do the same.
We are giving away books and swag. All you have to do is follow the directions! Have fun and happy reading!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Stranded in Paris, Nikki Sommers is desperate for a job, willing to sweep the floors of a local bakery. But Gérard Beauvais knows where Nikki needs to be – not in the bakery, but in his bed. Offering her a job as his personal assistant, Gérard introduces Nikki to the workings of international business, along with the romance and beauty of Paris. Nikki falls under Gérard’s magnetic spell, only to get a nasty surprise when she discovers she is merely a pawn in an international scandal involving her own sister. Her heart is torn between family and a love she had only fantasized about. Will she win Gérard’s heart or only be his Mistress for Hire?
He entered the pâtisserie like a conquering warrior, indecisive patrons falling aside in the wake of his determination to reach the pastry case. His nostrils flared as he inhaled the essence of the bakery. Nikki shrank back from the power emanating from him as clearly as the smell of freshly baked bread rippled from the ovens in back.
Her grandmother’s letter crumpled in her hand. She thrust it into the pocket of her jacket.
The proprietress pushed through the other gray-haired clerks to wait on the man. “Bonjour, Gérard. What can I get for you today?”
To Nikki, the air in the bakery stood still as the massive man swept his chestnut mane off his forehead and his eyes scanned the wide display case full of sweet delicacies.
“Un petit macaron de mangue, s’il vous plaît.”
One small mango macaroon? How could such a large man limit himself to one bite?
“How are we to stay in business with customers ordering one macaron at a time?” she scolded him teasingly as one would a child.
He smiled slowly, his face softening as he looked at her. “Madame, you would make me fat.” He patted his exceptionally trim middle.
“Hmpf.” Madame shook her head and began to fill a large white cardboard box with pastries. Before she could close it, he thrust out his meaty hand, gesturing for the macaron.
Nikki pushed her glasses up her nose, watching as he popped the red-and-orange-tinted cookie into his mouth. He closed his eyes, his face tilted toward the heavens, and his hands clenched the lapels of his black wool coat.
His groans and sighs filled the small room. Nikki’s body flushed as she imagined him groaning like that over a woman—over her. She pushed her glasses up again and wiped the perspiration off her upper lip, watching his tongue move under his lips, over his teeth. She couldn’t look away. She felt the pleasure as he felt it. The barely-there crunch of crust, the smooth interior, the silk of mango cream across his tongue. His tongue that would slide across hers when he kissed her. Sucking wet kisses that would consume her.
His eyes opened, a smoky blue-gray, targeting her, his stare pinning her to the wall. Could he see her lust—exposed as clearly as if she were naked before him? Nikki held his hot gaze, desire shimmering between them, then broke the contact, staring down unseeing toward the glass case. Her gut clenched and her heart pounded. By the time she looked up, his broad back blocked the light from the door. Not thinking, she stepped after him, only to be caught up short by the swirling gray fog. He had disappeared, taking her fantasies with him.
Gérard Beauvais adjusted his scarf against the chill wind, rustling dry leaves through the dark cobblestone alley and cursed his morning flight of fancy. As he strode away, he ran his hand down his face, blowing out a sigh. His reaction to the blonde had startled him—an instant attraction that made him forget the sensations in his mouth and feel other longings. He’d forced himself to turn away and not be tempted. He had enough aggravation in his life. But something about her niggled at his brain. Her high cheekbones, the tilt of her head.
He stopped short, the string of the pastry box cutting into his fingers. Of course! She had to be Jessica’s sister! The younger one supposedly still in the States. Once he realized it, the family resemblance was obvious, although he had never reacted to Jessica in such a physical way. Cursing his weakness, he tamped it down, his mind rolling over other complications.
Had she come to demand ransom for the files Jessica held hostage? Gérard turned to confront the conniving bitch, tossing the pastries into the nearest trashcan. He would shake her until the answers rattled out of her head.
Rounding the corner, he halted, seeing Tante Emmaline and the blonde in the window. Emmaline patted the younger woman while she wiped her tears with a tissue. Crocodile tears. Jessica only had to pull that trick on him once to see he was immune. Emmaline certainly had a softer heart than he as she pulled the woman further into the bakery, probably to fill the thief’s belly with sweets while listening to some preposterous sob story.
Gérard’s eyes narrowed as he stepped back into the warmth of the bakery.
Lon Devlin enters the room, one giant hurricane of a man. The torrential downpour outside soaked his clothes and plastered his ink-black hair to his face. Not a bad thing, though. His black shirt molds to his chiseled, rock solid body.
He greets me with a quiet “hello” as he walks confidently into my tiny office. I watch in fascination as he somehow folds his giant frame into the interview chair across the little table. Outside the rain batters at the windows, the thunder rocks the building and lightning streaks outside in the dark night.
Maybe I shouldn’t have suggested meeting him at night during a storm. But… it was the only way he’d agree to show up.
His gaze sent my prepared speech to la-la land. No one had eyes like that, did they? They looked green, then grey, then blue in the dim lighting—flickering dark orbs contrasting with his pale, almost translucent skin tone.
Get a hold of yourself, Margaret, you’re an award winning journalist.
After, clearing my throat, twice, I lean forward, not quite managing to make eye contact. “Lon Devlin, thank you for meeting me today, er, tonight.”
Lon nods and shifts in his seat.
“Are you ready?”
He nods again before casting his storm gaze about the room.
I set my recorder on the table between us. “So, Lon. We don’t know very much about you. Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?”
A bark of laughter rumbles with the storm outside.
I wait. Surely, he’ll answer with more than a laugh.
“My childhood was interesting.” His deep voice fills the room. “My…father…wasn’t the type to express emotions, good or bad, but I had a lot of brothers, so time passed quickly when we played.”
The seconds hand of my office clock grows louder and louder.
“Okay. Well, what about now? Where do you live and what do you do for a living?”
Lightning flashes outside, casting Lon’s face in a different light. His face appears more angular, and otherworldly.
I lean forward, but after the room dims, the moment is gone, shattered. Am I seeing things?
Lon’s full lips quirk and he leans back in his chair. “I live on the coast, near Lobster Cove. I’m a weather insurance salesman.”
His tone might be dry and matter-of-fact, but his gaze swirls like the ocean, daring me to question him further.
“Is there anything you’d rather be doing?” I ask.
My clock keeps ticking.
I continue. “What’s going on in your life right now?”
He hesitates and shifts in his seat again.
“Is there someone special in your life?” I press.
Lon glances away, content to stare out the window at the quieting storm and let silence answer for him.
“Lon?” I don’t plan to let him off so easily.
“I heard you. Yes, and no.”
“What do you mean by that?” I ask.
“I’ve met a woman, someone special, someone I want in my life.”
“But, I’m not sure it will work out.”
“Why? What’s keeping the two of you apart?”
Lon’s shoulder sag as he releases a sigh. “I kept a secret from her.”
“That’s it? Surely, she can forgive you?”
He turns his swirling gaze on me full force. My breathing hitches, my heart stops, and my brain cylinders stops firing.
“It’s a pretty big secret,” he says.
“Do you think it will work out?”
“She’s the anchor to my soul.” He purses his full lips and looks outside again. “I hope so.”
“Can you tell—”
“I’m sorry Margaret, I must go. Thank you for this opportunity.”
“Wha?” I stutter. By the time I can form a simple sentence and spring to my feet, Lon has made it out the door. It swings shut and an audible click signals the exclamation point of his departure.
I race after Lon and yank the door open. And stare down the storm-stricken street, with no Lon in sight.
Coming Soon from the Wild Rose Press
Blurb: After her fiancé dumps her and her beloved Aunt Jenny goes missing, Willa Eklund travels to Lobster Cove with a broken heart to search for Jenny while running her bookstore. When a mysterious man visits the Shucker’s Booktique on a stormy night drenched in rain and covered in mud, Willa’s heart melts under his stormy gaze. She wants Lon and the answers he may have, but he also has a secret. Can Willa trust him?
Lon Devlin is a Tempest, a water sprite who can only take a human form during stormy nights. He rides the waves, lives by the tides, and nothing can hold him down, not even a beautiful woman. When he visits his mortal friend, he discovers she’s missing and her intriguing niece has taken her place. He wants Willa, but he also wants answers. What happened to Jenny?
Thump! Thump! Thump!
No! She gasped. It couldn’t be. The banging on the front door of the booktique had to be a figment of her imagination. She couldn’t will Lon into existence. Why would he come back? Especially if he was involved. Unless…cold ice prickled up her spine…unless he needed to eliminate her to take care of loose ends.
No. Crazy thoughts, Willa. He could’ve taken care of her the night before. No, her heart hammered against her chest for a different reason. But it didn’t matter. The knocking on the door wouldn’t, couldn’t be him.
Thump! Thump! Thump!
Could it? She clutched her hot mug in both hands and turned toward the doorway leading to the bookstore. From the kitchen in the back room, she had a clear view through the store to the front door, but not who stood on the other side.
“Willa!” Lon growled. “Wake up and let me in!”
Willa gasped and almost dropped her cup. The tea sloshed around and some spilled over her hands. It burned, but she didn’t move. She couldn’t breathe. Somehow the air got trapped inside her throat. Why was he here? What did he want?
Oh God, let it be me!
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/j.c.mckenzie.author
Twitter Page: www.twitter.com/JC_McKenzie
Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
Dreams allow us as dreamers to walk through window into our subconscious. Whether pleasant wish-fulfilling dreams or nightmares, they have always fascinated me. I love seeing how our imaginations can transform the events of our days, our hopes, or fears to create dreams. For my new book, The Doctor’s Dreams, I collected a set of my dreams and set them in a family drama, where a brother finds a secret dream diary of his sister’s, the doctor Marsha.
After she has mysteriously gone missing on her way home from work and all company her brother Frank has is her little dog, who is not much comfort, he discovers a hand written book of dreams. If you found someone’s dream diary, would you read it? Frank takes the plunge and finds himself in a surprisingly dark world of nightmares. Marsha’s surreal dreams touch on her work as a doctor, the deaths of her patients, and her past clinical research work. As a picture of her inner life comes into focus through the lens of dreams, Marsha’s brother becomes convinced that both their lives need to change.
Have you or someone you know ever been out of work? In the second tale in my new book, After the Layoff, I turn the tables on a profession that’s usually thought of as quite stable, science. The central character is a workaholic chemist who loses her job. A person who is usually in control of her experiments, and her life, she finds herself drifting and nearly drowning in the new experience.
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
Edgar Allan Poe
On New Year’s Eve, the Brooklyn apartment where Frank waited for his sister was silent as a cemetery. Sitting alone, Frank listened to the above-ground trains pass at longer and longer intervals. Each time another train shook the walls, the sound grated along the nerves in his body and Marsha’s absence disturbed him all over again. He wanted to report her as a missing person but it hadn’t been 24 hours since he last saw her—and so he thought he couldn’t.
He asked himself, who would believe that an adult coming home late from work, tonight of all nights, was something to worry about? Surely no one but him. He would have to be patient. Frank felt vaguely frustrated. Patience was not one of his virtues.
Marsha’s old Pomeranian, Sasha, slept near the doorway—dead to the world. When Marsha got back from work late from the hospital other nights, Frank forced himself to walk the little dog around the block. Sasha would rush along the narrow city sidewalks with him, pulling hard on the leash because she much preferred her walks to be with Marsha. Tonight he’d already walked Sasha twice. She was worn out. He watched her long black fur rise and fall with her quiet breathing. Her paws twitched. She seemed happy, he thought. He wondered what dogs thought they ran to or from in their dreams. What desires of Sasha’s had not yet been fulfilled? Did she have conflicts she needed to work out in dreams? What fears surfaced during sleep?
The little dog’s paws stilled. Her mouth curled back framing a low growl. A nightmare, Frank thought.
Who really knows what another dreams? The dream world is the last wilderness, vast and unknowable.
Frank had expected his sister to get back from work by about six. By seven-thirty he started to worry in earnest. He ate. He cleaned the kitchen to pass the time, wiping a sponge along the sink and over the electric stove top. He ate again. He moved the special things he’d bought for the evening around in the refrigerator; the sparkling wine, the raspberries, and the cheese. He would have to wait.
Imagining the terrible things that might happen to a woman on the subway from the F to the M line, from Manhattan to Brooklyn on a drinking holiday like New Year’s Eve, Frank checked the news online repeatedly. No concerning events were reported in his area; no train accidents or delays, no murders. Marsha didn’t look like a potential victim. Nothing external distinguished her. She didn’t dress any differently than anyone else there, mostly in gray or black like any ordinary person. She had no conspicuous habits. But still. Bad things can happen to any kind of person; ordinary or extraordinary, rich or poor, good or bad. Crime, like disease and death, does not really discriminate. The unpredictable things like these were the ones Frank was most afraid of, with a deep and irrational fear.
He stalked through the library room of the small apartment removing and replacing favorite books, killing time as the last moments of the year ticked by. Not in the mood for making ambitious personal resolutions, he flipped through the bizarre short stories of Franz Kafka. He took out a classic collection of old German poetry. On edge, Frank was unable to settle on anything. He didn’t know what he felt like reading. Nothing at all, really. And as New Year’s Eve wore on, instead of anticipating midnight with an appropriate emotion, like light-hearted happiness, he became more and more darkly agitated.
He asked himself what would explain Marsha’s absence. What was she doing?
To find out more about J.J.Brown’s books, visit her author website.
My Review of The Doctor’s Dreams: Five Snap, Crackle and Pops out of Five
In an era when almost nothing is private and no topic taboo, JJ Brown reaches into the recesses of our psyches and pulls out the forbidden. Dreams are personal, a clandestine journey in our deepest REM sleep into the darkest reaches of our minds. Some dreams are rehashing of a days events, some are prophetic, and some reveal our greatest fear: death.
In these novellas, the theme of death is explored from two perspectives. The Doctor’s Dreams investigates our fears of physical death and dying. On New Year’s Eve, in the hours between the death of an old year and the birth of a new one, a brother who lives with his sister worries that she has disappeared and may even be dead. He finds her dream journal and to pass the time, he types up her dreams. As he reads and types, he sees a side of his sister he has not known that well, her fear of death, and, more importantly her feelings of impotence in the face of the death of her patients. Does he find solace or concern in these writings? Will she return or be found dead in an alley? He types through the night, waiting, worrying, and watching the door.
In After the Layoff, the author examines our fears of the death of our professional selves. In an era when many of us define ourselves by our work, losing a job is a form of death. Not only does her main character, a chemist, lose her employment, but also the lifestyle that comes with it. Questions ricochet in her mind. What will become of me? How will I survive? Will I be homeless? Would my family be better off if I were dead? As a reader and a workaholic, in many ways, I found the After the Layoff to be more disturbing than The Doctor’s Dreams.
I commend the author for tackling terrifying topics and for bringing them to the surface for examination by thoughtful and fearless readers. I give this book five snap, crackle and pops out of five.
1. Where are you from? Did you have a happy childhood?
I was born in Flagstaff, Arizona but was raised in Scottsdale. My birth parents were killed in an airplane crash when I was an infant. I was on the plane and the only survivor. My adoptive parents, Arlo and Sarah Dahl, gave me a healthy, happy childhood.
2. Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Is there something you’d rather be doing?
I still live in Scottsdale and own the Lacy Latte, a coffee café that also serves my drink of choice, chai tea. I love my café and wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. Before my husband died, three years ago, I was a pharmacist. But I needed a change and the café was perfect for me.
3. What’s going on in your life right now?
My dad died a few years ago and my mother just passed away. My daughter, August, found a chest with some things from my birth parents. August owns an art gallery in Tucson. In the chest are some sketches that are signed M/KM. With her encouragement, I’m going to Flagstaff to discover the artist.
4. Is there someone special in your life?
I haven’t had anyone in my life since my husband died, but there’s a certain sheriff that attracts me.
5. How did you meet? What’s his/her family like?
Chance Meadowlark came to my rescue the first night I arrived in Flagstaff. I keep running into him, which I don’t mind at all. I didn’t know he was a sheriff at first. In fact, he seemed rather mysterious, even dangerous. He’s been widowed for eight years and has a daughter in college.
6. What’s keeping you two apart?
It’s obvious he’s not over his wife, even though he has a casual girlfriend. He’s also very protective, and I really don’t need his protection. There’s something about all of that I can’t quite figure out. He has secrets in his past.
7. What one thing could you do that would make you feel like the relationship will work out?
I’m about ready to give in and be satisfied with the kind of casual relationship he’s used to. I mean I want to. It’s not like me, but I’m seriously considering it. Maybe I can break him out of the shell he’s built around himself.
8. Any last comments?
I don’t want to issue any spoilers, but the web of murder I discover surrounding my birth parents is all tangled up in Chance’s life too. The danger I’m faced with is real, but in order to discover the truth about my parents, I can’t hold back.
The Wild Rose Press
Lacy Dahl never questioned her past until the deaths of her adoptive parents and her husband. A husband who wasn’t what he seemed. Her research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life.
Sheriff Chance Meadowlark is still haunted by the murder of his wife and the revenge he unleashed in the name of justice. When he meets Lacy he is determined not to become involved, but their pasts may make that impossible. As they move closer to the truth, saving Lacy may be his only salvation.
Lacy begins to think the present is more important than her past…until Chance’s connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love. Will the truth destroy Lacy and Chance or will it be the answer that frees them?
Momentarily struck dumb by his eye color, she stared back. Why hadn’t she noticed until now? Although not as light as hers or her father’s, the professor’s eyes were a startling green shade.
His hand nudged her arm. “Lacy?”
She jumped. “Oh, yes.” She slipped the tissue from the half-carved wolf. Another glance at his eyes and goose bumps riddled her arms.
He lifted the wood close to his face, using both hands as if handling a delicate hummingbird. His thumb traced the neck of the creature to the juncture of where it emerged from the wood. When he brought the piece to his nose, closing his eyes and breathing deeply, Lacy wanted to turn away from the oddly erotic gesture.
He swallowed, opened his eyes and set the wolf back on the tissue. His attention shifted to the photograph of the chest. He touched the photo, a smile on his lips. “Where is the chest?”
The chest. Like he knew it, had seen it before. “I’m having it sent. You’ve seen it before?”
He didn’t move, stared out the window as if deep in thought. “I’d like to show you something, Lacy.”
“All right.” She waited, watching his profile.
He turned and stared into her face a moment. “You’re so very lovely. A creation full of life and passion, surpassing any art form.”
His hypnotic voice floated on the classical strains drifting from the living room. She couldn’t speak. Didn’t know what to say. She’d been lifted upon a pedestal of admiration. With any other man, she might consider his words a means to a sexual end. The professor’s intentions, however, were crystal. He admired her like a work of art.
About the Author:
Brenda spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love. The rest of her time is spent tending vegetables on the small family farm she shares with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. Together, they’ve embraced an age-old lifestyle that has been mostly lost in the United States – multiple generations living under one roof, who share the workload, follow their individual dreams and reap the benefits of combined talents.
Although she didn’t start out to write romance, she’s found all good stories involve complicated human relationships. She’s also found no matter a person’s age, a new discovery is right around every corner. Whether humorous or serious, straight contemporary or suspense, all her books revolve around those two facts.
Author links, webpages, fan pages, and book trailers.
Visit Brenda at http://www.brendawhiteside.com/
Or on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaWhitesideAuthor
She blogs on the 9th and 24th of every month at http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com/
She blogs about writing and prairie life at http://brendawhiteside.blogspot.com/