Sometimes the Past Should Stay There by Carolyn Arnold – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carolyn Arnold will be awarding  $25 PayPal to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Sometimes the past should stay there…
During the time I was working on Violated, I went through a hard time on a personal level. If any of you reading this have a pet, you know that they are so much more than that. They are family. Well, my female beagle, Chelsea, was in a fight for her life. When I first took her to the vet, I had just expected them to say she had a bug or an infection and that a dose of medication would have her feeling well. But that wasn’t to be the case. In fact, the vet didn’t even know what was wrong with her, at first. It took blood testing to show the underlying cause of her health issues and the prognosis didn’t look good. Yet, she was only five and a half years old. We weren’t ready to lose her; she was family. And there was a spark of hope…

For two weeks, we were at the vet’s almost every day getting her fluids. She fought courageously, even bounced back, but, unfortunately, not to her full health, and then had a quick decline. Sadly, the time came and we had to say good-bye to her. Needless to say with her passing, I went through the what-ifs and if-onlys and they weighed heavily on me for some time. And this was even knowing—from a logical standpoint—that we had done everything possible.

But as I went back to my manuscript, I reflected on the quote that I had chosen. Now, please know, that I’ve never chosen a quote for my books before, but I was moved to do so with Violated, and that was before I knew Chelsea was unwell.
Here is the quote:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” —Søren Kierkegaard

Wow! There would be no advantage to revisiting the past. Nothing could change the outcome and the fact that I couldn’t bring her back. And really, that’s the premise behind my latest release: we can’t do anything about past choices, they are behind us, all we can do is move forward. This isn’t to say that the what-ifs and if-onlys won’t wash over us at times, but we don’t need to let them drown us. And it doesn’t mean that the pain or heartbreak will completely disappear, but hopefully we will realize we can choose to release some of this.

Regarding the loss of Chelsea, I’m still working through my grief, and there are times I can still cry over her (like now, while writing this post), but I am full of gratitude for the time I had with her. And she gave me and my husband everything she had, she spent her entire life with us, and how could we ever ask for more than that? She was a sweet, caring beagle who will never be forgotten. She’s why Violated is dedicated “To Chelsea.”

Sometimes the past should stay there…

The murder is one of the most heinous Brandon Fisher has ever seen, but that’s not why it has his and his colleagues’ attention. The FBI’s interested because the prime suspect is one of their own, Paige Dawson.

But Paige didn’t go to Valencia, California to kill anyone. She had set out on “vacation”—her new lover in tow—only to confront the man who had raped her friend twenty-some years ago. While the hands of the law are tied, she wants him to face the fact that he destroyed a young woman’s life and know that, as an FBI agent, she’ll be watching his every move. But instead of accomplishing her goal, she wound up in the back of a police cruiser.

Now Paige must face off with a hard-nosed detective determined to stick a murder charge to a fed. But with the trained eyes of the FBI on the case, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the evidence lends itself to a serial killing, not an isolated incident. And as long as the local authorities are focused on Paige, the real murderer is still out there, possibly waiting to strike again…

Enjoy an excerpt:

Paige blinked the tears from her eyes. It couldn’t be. She wiped her wet eyes, her gaze not leaving the necklace in her hand. The chain was a common style, but the heart pendant and the letter N…

Still, it didn’t mean this one had been Natasha’s…

Paige swallowed. But she remembered when Natasha had realized she’d lost it. She had dropped on the end of the hotel bed as if all the weight of the world were piled on her shoulders. It was the morning after the rape.

Tears now fell freely down Paige’s cheeks. There was no doubt in her mind that the necklace she now held had been Natasha’s.

Paige cried as the past washed over her and continued to do so until rage replaced her sadness.

Somehow, she would make this son of a bitch pay for what he had done. She was past the point of keeping within the shades of the law and would circumvent legal means if that’s what it took to hold him responsible.

She clasped the necklace around her neck. Had Ferris kept it as some sort of sick notch in his bedpost? If so, that showed a psychology to him that confirmed he was a repeat offender. And if that was his mentality, prison wouldn’t have rehabilitated him, and that meant there were likely date-rape drugs here to prove it.

She stormed from the bedroom and toward the bathroom.

Beyond the point of caring anymore if she left her fingerprints behind, she emptied the contents of the medicine cabinet, and his toiletries now filled the sink.


She rushed back to his bedroom and tore it apart. The drugs were here somewhere. A man like Ferris wouldn’t stop raping…

Several minutes passed as she searched, and when she was finished, his bedroom looked like a tornado had struck. But still no pills.

Maybe she was being ridiculous, hoping to find something where there was nothing. And even if she found the drugs, what did she hope to accomplish? While possession of date-rape drugs was illegal, her means of getting them would make them inadmissible in any court. But she couldn’t stop. All she could see was her friend’s body in that casket—the way her face, even in death, showed her tortured existence.

She hurried downstairs to the kitchen. There was no way she was stopping now.

She searched each cupboard and drawer, pulling out items and rooting to the back. She had one place left to look, and as she opened it, she saw that it was a catchall drawer. Stuffed with anything and everything from a meat thermometer, to sandwich bags, to tin foil, to… She pulled out a sleeve of pills. She flipped them and read the stamp on the silver backing. Allergy pills.

She continued working through the contents of the drawer until she reached the last item. It was an Aleve bottle. That was an inconvenient place to keep a pain reliever… She opened it and looked inside. It was only the medication. She was still holding the bottle in her hand when she recalled the one on the counter. She exchanged one for the other, not about to give up. Just because the bottle was labeled one way… She twisted the lid.

Police sirens wailed somewhere nearby, and she paused. Her instinct told her to leave this alone and get out of his house immediately. But it was too late, the whooping sirens were on top of her now, and then the patio door slid open on the other side of the dining room. Two police officers entered the house, guns drawn.

“Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department! Put your hands on your head!”

“What’s—” The strength drained from her legs, and her head spun. She was under arrest?

Oh God. That woman must have called the police.

“I said, put your hands on your head!” the same officer shouted.

Another officer went around behind her, stripped her of her gun, passed it off to the second officer, and proceeded to cuff her. “You have the right to remain silent—”

“This isn’t what it looks like.”

“It looks like you’re ransacking the house of a dead man.”

A dead man?

“I’m an FBI agent. I can explain—”

“You can do that down at the station.”

About the Author:

CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international best-selling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.™

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that doesn’t keep her from dreaming big. And on par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives in a city near Toronto with her husband and beagle. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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  1. James Robert says:

    Stopping by to say hello and also thanking you for the giveaway

  2. Thanks for hosting!

  3. Mai T. says:

    What do you think makes a good story?

    • I would say a good story is a balance of amazing characters–ones you feel like you could pinch and have them scream (or slap you)–and a riveting plot. Both aspects engage the reader and keep the pages turning.

      I also think it speaks to a good story when the reader is still thinking about the book after they’ve finished reading it.

  4. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and, if so, how do you overcome it?

    • I believe that “writer’s block” can be a crutch if a writer lets themselves use it. I don’t believe in it per se, but life circumstances (inc. stress) can curb creativity. What’s worked for me in the past is just stepping away, getting my mind off the story. This allows any stress to dissipate and for the free-flow of creativity to return.

      When I was thinking about writing the novel, which is now ASSASSINATION OF A DIGNITARY, it wasn’t coming together the way my books normally do. I stepped back and when I did the character “came to me” and said essentially they weren’t talking to me because I had them pegged all wrong. See, I thought the main character Raymond was an innocent, but it turned out he was a former mafia hit man. Stepping back allowed this “message” to come through. Then the creativity flowed.

  5. Thank you for hosting VIOLATED. I had a nice time reflecting when I wrote the guest post.

  6. Rita Wray says:

    The story sounds very intriguing.

  7. Victoria says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing the excerpt 🙂

  8. Nikolina says:

    The book sounds very intriguing, looking forward to reading it!

  9. Ree Dee says:

    I enjoyed the entire post. Thank you for sharing!


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