The Story of Getting Published by Peggy Jaeger – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Peggy Jaeger will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Story of Getting Published

Three years ago I was going through the worst menopause Mother Nature ever bestowed upon a female. I was the human definition of a hot mess with too much time on my hands. My only child was grown and gone; my husband still worked full time; perpetual and soul-sucking hot flashes kept me up nights and my brain—like a rabid energizer bunny—never shut down. There’s only so much housekeeping, shopping and cooking a person can do in a day. My floors sparkled, the checkout people at the market knew me by first name, my cabinets were organized as if Martha Stewart had arranged them, and my husband gained five pounds from all the new recipes I tried. I’d always liked to read, but starting and finishing a book in a day was a little much, even for me. I needed something to motivate me to get out of bed and showered every morning and to fill those daylight hours productively.

One March midnight, with a snowstorm blustering outside my New England home, I was sitting in the living room with the air-conditioner turned to high and blowing directly at my hormonally-charged, naked and perspiration-dripping body, when I started writing down a story that’d been swimming around in my brain for a while. I’d always wanted to write the great American romance novel but never had the time. I’d had a tiny bit of success over the years writing freelance pieces about everything from health care (I’m a Master Degreed Registered Nurse), to motherhood and child-rearing, but writing a romance novel had always been my dream since I’d read my first Nora Roberts book.

Three months later I had 350 pages. The day I typed The End is a moment I will never forget. The fact it occurred at 2:25 in the morning and I was sweating like a working farm animal might have some bearing on that.

Now what? I had a story I loved but wasn’t sure it was any good, had any merit, or even if it was coherent. Were my characters likable? Believable? Was the plot interesting or as dull as my brain before morning caffeine? Since none of my friends were romance readers I knew they couldn’t be depended upon to give me valuable feedback because they’d all be loyal and tell me it was wonderful even if it stank. So I decided to enter a romance writing contest. I knew romance contests offered critiques on the entered work and that’s what I wanted – someone connected to the industry to tell me I was either on the right track, or to get the hell off the train because I had no talent.

So I submitted the first three chapters as instructed.

I’d never entered a contest for anything before. I wasn’t that kid who ripped off the back of a comic book and entered a giveaway promotion for a soon-to-be-released-must-have-toy. I didn’t clip the Sunday ads begging the reader to enter for a chance to win free samples. Heck, I didn’t even buy lotto tickets when the prize was half a gazillion dollars. Entering a contest was something I’d never considered because I just didn’t believe in luck. To me, the real definition of luck is when opportunity meets preparation, so blindly entering a contest to win a prize wasn’t on my radar. Entering this writing contest though, where I’d actually prepared something for someone to judge, was a totally different incentive for me.

I knew – knew – I didn’t have a chance at winning. But, I wasn’t entering to win. I was totally invested in the notion my writing would be judged and when I’d get a critique and score back, I’d know if the direction I was moving in was worthwhile. I told myself if the work truly was horrible, at least the critique would show me the areas to address. The added benefit of submitting the chapters, I soon realized, was the people judging me didn’t know me from Adam – or in my case – Eve. Criticism, I’ve found, is much easier to take when you don’t know the person who is critiquing you.

An amazing thing happened: I won my category. And not only that, my judge was the publisher of The Wild Rose Press. She contacted me and told me she’d enjoyed what I’d written and asked if I’d submit the entire manuscript to one of their editors. Would I? Damn straight I would.

So I did. Again, I had no preconceived notions of anything stupendous happening. Just the fact she’d asked to see more than the three chapters she’d read was encouraging. I assumed the editor would email me, saying, “Thanks for letting me read this, but it’s not for us,” and that would be that.

But it wasn’t. She liked it too, so the Wild Rose Press contracted to publish it. At fifty-four years old I had a dream come true. A true middle-aged Cinderella moment. To say my life changed forever in the instant I won that contest category would be an understatement. To have a publisher truly like what I’d written and like it enough to take a chance on an unknown, menopausal, sleep-deprived empty nester fifty-four year old bottled blonde with crow’s feet and a muffin top, was not only a dream come true, but a modern day miracle.

My first book was published in March 2015 with 8 more since, and one due out in 2018. I will never regret entering that contest. It opened doors I don’t know would have ever opened for me otherwise. If I hadn’t made the decision to take a chance and submit my story, I think my life would still be the same, unfulfilled, overworked, sweaty, hormonal one it had been.

I’m still sweating and hormonal, but I’m also a Published Author.

Life is so much better now– hot flashes and all.

Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance . . .
Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .

With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love . . .

About the Author

A woman stood next to the vehicle, a cell phone at her ear, her back to him. Tall, maybe as tall as him, and slender, her back tapered down to a miniscule waist, her legs clad in tight, faded jeans. When she turned Ky almost stopped midstride, the questions he intended to grill her with jumping out of his head. His breath caught as he simply stared at the loveliest woman he’d ever seen.

Hair the color of midnight, straight as a board, fell to just below her shoulders, blowing back from her face in the gentle afternoon breeze. Blunt, chopped bangs, fringed a pair of large, bright blue eyes. Plump, coral colored lips moved as she spoke into the phone and for a brief, hot second, Ky wondered if they’d taste as delicious as they looked.

Her gaze stayed on him as she spoke.

“I’ve gotta go,” she said into the phone. “Yeah. I’ll call when I’m done. Love you, too.”

“Miss Laine?”

She tucked the phone into her back pocket.

“I’m Special Agent Pappandreos. I need to speak with you about what you saw.”

“Special Agent?” Those delicate brows furrowed under her bangs. “Like, FBI?”

Jesus, where does a woman get a voice like that? Whiskey laced with honey and rolled into one smooth pitch.

About the Author:Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

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Publishing and Patience by Laurie Gardiner – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

PUBLISHING AND PATIENCE

There are no words to describe the feeling a writer has when they write the words “The End.” Relief, joy, pride certainly, but also a tiny kernel of doubt and fear for what is still to come.

The best advice I took was to set my manuscript aside for a while. I was too close to it, and needed that separation in order to go back to it later with a clear mind and fresh perspective. While it sat, I researched. For a month, I spent hours each day reading every article, blog, and book I could find about revising, editing, and publishing. I kept my options open by researching traditional, indie, and self-publishing. To be traditionally published had always been my dream, but I knew how tough it is as a new author to break in to the industry.

Finally, I revised, and revised, and revised. I read the manuscript over and over, focusing on one issue each time, deleting, cutting and pasting, adding words where necessary. During this process, I discovered that I love ripping words apart and putting them back together, like a giant word puzzle. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to make good words better.

When I could revise no more, I set the MS aside again to gain distance before the editing stage. Now, the possibility of publication loomed so near, I could almost let myself believe it might happen. For the next few weeks, I researched traditional publishing in depth. I attended nearby publishing workshops with well-known authors and literary agents, arming myself with their knowledge and experience.

During this time, I discovered query letters; a good one will hook an agent or publisher, and motivate them to ask for more. Again, research was key in learning all I could about writing an engaging query. I wrote and rewrote my query, but still I struggled with it. Finally, I signed up for a query workshop with a literary agent who would spend the last hour of the class critiquing queries. Armed with a newfound confidence, and a query full of red ink, I went home and rewrote it.

Now that my query was honed and ready, I set to the task of editing and polishing my manuscript. Much like revising, each pass focused on an issue: one for dialogue, one for grammar, another for punctuation, etc. The final step was proofreading. When Tranquility was as polished as I could make it, I was ready to submit.

Again, research is key when searching for agents and publishers. Not only do you want to be sure those you submit to are legit, but also that they are looking for what you are offering. Submitting your YA fantasy to an agent who does not accept YA is a waste of your time and theirs. The best way to ensure they are a good fit, and at the same time protect yourself, is to take your time and research each one carefully.

It is too easy, in the euphoria of finishing a novel, or any written work, to rush the process. I get it, you’re excited and proud, and you want everyone to read it. But when you rush into publishing, whether self or traditional, without knowing exactly what you are doing, mistakes will happen. I’ve seen too many writers who don’t understand how publishing works, get sucked in by vanity presses who tell you they love your work and make all kinds of promises. Thousands of dollars later, the writer finally learns the hard way what they should have known all along; you never pay to publish.

In the same way, writers often rush into self-publishing, so eager to put their work out into the world, that they skip important steps. If you can’t afford an editor, wait a few months and save for it. Even better, set aside money each month while you are writing so that, by the time you are ready to publish, you can afford professional editing. If you are not good at cover design, hire someone to do it. Do your research. Learn all you can about self-publishing and marketing. Publishing a book that is not ready to be published will only hurt you in the long run.

It took me eight months to find a publisher. Eight months of researching each agent and publisher I submitted to, of tailoring each query to fit the submission. For months, I waited. With each email response, my heart skipped a beat. With each rejection, it sank. My patience paid off. I received two offers and six months later, my dream of becoming a published author came true.

From the time I sat down to sketch out the plot, to the date of publication, the whole process took nearly three years. Writing a book requires hard work, dedication, and patience. Research and learn. Arm yourself with knowledge. Take the time to do it right. In the end, it will pay off.

From Scout Media comes A Haunting of Words—the third volume in an ongoing short story anthology series featuring authors from all over the world.

In this installation, the reader will experience a multi-genre journey beyond traditional haunts; from comedy, to drama, fantasy, romance, and horror, these stories put eclectic spins on the every-day ghost tale. Whether you are running from the ghost of a vengeful mother, falling in love with an apparition, touring with a deceased famous musician, saving a newborn from a possessed crib, or having a specter cat as a sidekick, these stories of hauntings and apparitions will warm your heart, send shivers down your spine, and tickle your funny bone.

Whether to be enlightened, entertained, or momentarily caught up in another world, these selections convey the true spirit of the short story.

About the Author of Thief: Laurie Gardiner’s publications include short stories “Til Death Do Us Part,” which placed first in the Cambridge Writers’ Collective contest, “Retribution,” selected for publication in Scout Media’s 2016 anthology, A Journey of Words, and “Thief” included in the third “of Words” anthology, A Haunting of Words. Over the years, her poetry has also been published in various anthologies.

Her debut novel, Tranquility, published in 2015, by Escargot Books and Music, was inspired by her work as a personal support worker specializing in dementia care.

In 2015, she graduated with honors from Conestoga College’s Creative Writing program. She’s a Canadian, an avid reader, a yogi, and a Gemini. She grew up on a farm in remote northern Ontario and now lives near Toronto with her husband and cat.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook

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A Model Engagement by Charlotte O’Shay – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charlotte O’Shay will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.


Lacey Reed jumps at the chance for independence with a career in the big city. But her naivety and ambition blind her to the lure of a blackmailer. With her savings gone, she has nowhere to turn when she literally runs into financier Connor Devlin.

Though dazzled by Lace y, Connor sees the desperation she tries to hide. His gut tells him to help, and he hires her as his fake fiancée. Now Lacey has a job, and Connor has put a bandage on a family crisis.

When the blackmailer ups the ante, Lacey resolves to face him down—no matter what the consequences. Does that mean Lacey will lose the only man who’s ever seen who she truly is?

Enjoy an Excerpt

What Part of No Don’t You Understand?

Lacey Lee Reed was at the type of event, which for years had been, if not her life’s blood, then at least her meal ticket. Anyone who knew her, or thought they did, would say she was in her element—smack dab in the middle of a society party with every A-lister in New York in attendance.

But she couldn’t breathe.

The combination of exotic perfumes and expensive colognes in the warm room hit her harder than the kick of a mule. She swayed on her five-inch heels.

Focus, Lacey. You will not have a panic attack in the middle of your best friend’s wedding.

She pasted on a smile as she scanned the sparkling sea of Prada, Gucci and Dior visible over his head, scoping out her escape.

She inhaled again, slower this time, then eased out a steady, candle-extinguishing breath. Ridiculous to feel trapped. Another focused breath. She wasn’t alone. Not by a long shot.

She was in the middle of the most enormous ballroom the Pierre Hotel possessed at one of the splashiest New York City weddings in decades. The VIP crowd was nothing new, nothing she couldn’t handle.

It was individual people that creeped her out.

The old Lacey would have told this SOB staring straight into her cleavage where to go. Politely and with every bit of the charm her mama taught her. But that was the old Lacey. Current day Lacey’s head was spinning, just like it had that one time when they were thirteen and she and Mandy snuck a cigarette out by Mandy’s grandparents’ barn. That memory put a genuine smile on her lips.

Against her every instinct she extended her hand.

“It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Calloway.” The manners drummed into her through generations of Reed grandmas meant she remembered his name, met his lascivious eyes, and continued to smile even as she yanked her chilled hand from his too-familiar grip.

Their three-minute conversation had gone two and half minutes too long. Lacey had learned, at long last, to trust her intuition, and she needed to be gone.

Now.

About the Author: NYC girl Charlotte O’Shay was born into a big family and married into another big family.

The drama! The noise! The inspiration!

Negotiating skills honed at the dinner table led her to a career in the law. After four beautiful children joined the crowded family tree, Charlotte gladly traded her legal career to write about happily ever afters set in and around NYC.

When Charlotte isn’t reading or writing steamy contemporaries featuring heroines in crisis and swoony heroes, she’s on the hunt for that perfect pair of sunglasses. She loves to hear from readers.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

The City of Dreams series are all standalone books linked by the wedding that takes place in The Marriage Ultimatum.

Book 1, The Marriage Ultimatum ~ Sabrina & Vlad
Book 2, A Model Engagement ~ Lacey & Connor
Book 3, An Illicit Affair ~ Honey & Jake

Buy the book at The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by Karin Rita Gastreich – Guest Blog and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Karin Rita Gastreich will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How to Handle Negative Criticism

Every novel we write is a labor of love. So, it’s upsetting to receive negative criticism. Yet this is an inevitable part of the writer’s journey; no matter how stellar your book is, there will always be someone out there who doesn’t like it. Here are five strategies for managing negative feedback when it comes your way:

1. Make sure your work is the best it can be.

Many readers who complain have something legitimate to complain about. The market – especially the self-publishing market – is flooded with mediocre novels. Even I get angry after paying for a bad novel. Unfortunately, many readers vent their anger through scathing reviews.

If you don’t want to experience readers’ rage, do everything in your power to give them a great reading experience. For first time novelists, this means finding a legitimate press that provides rock-solid editing support. (Small press is a great place to start, but do your research before signing a contract!) If you’ve worked with a publishing house and are ready to strike out on your own, secure the support of a competent, professional editor. Doing these things will not make you immune to negative criticism, but it will reduce the risk of attacks by rabid readers.

2. Remember your story is not for everyone.

Even the best novels garner occasional 1-star or 2-star reviews. When your turn comes, stop! Before you read the comments, take a deep breath. Remember that not all critical reviews are negative reviews.

There are many reasons a reader might not like a story, most of which have nothing to do with the quality of the writing. Sometimes readers were simply looking for a different kind of novel than the one you wrote. I’ve run into this in my own work, when some readers were caught off guard by the dark and violent tones of my second novel, Sword of Shadows. As an author, I respect the fact that some of my readers may have a low tolerance for violence. (Ironically, I do too!) But I also must respect my characters and the story they want to tell. If the characters lead me to dark places, it’s my responsibility to follow. In being true to my craft, I occasionally upset a reader, and that’s okay. The more authentic a story is, the more likely it will touch a raw nerve somewhere along the way.

3. File away reader’s suggestions for later use.

I’ve found that poor reviews generally have little to offer me as a writer, because most of them fall in the category just mentioned: readers who don’t like a novel because it wasn’t the type of story they were looking for. But once in a great while, critical reviews have given me good ideas. For example, when I prepared the second editions of Eolyn and Sword of Shadows, I made some changes in response to reader reviews of previous editions. I am very grateful to those readers who took the time to detail the issues they saw in the earlier versions, as this helped me improve my craft.

4. Vent with friends.

The worst kind of negative review is the mindless rant. In some cases, it seems as if the reviewer hasn’t even read the novel. For example, I had one review complain about the “lascivious sex” in my first novel, Eolyn. The odd thing is, Eolyn has no sex scenes! Reviewers like this one are not interested in insightful analysis; they simply relish attacking someone through an anonymous platform. In other words, they are cyber bullies.

There are three things you should do when you run into a cyber bully review. First, ignore the reviewer (see step five below).
Second, report the review. Amazon, Goodreads, and other on-line reviewing platforms have guidelines that reviewers must adhere to. They are not always good at listening to authors who point out violators, but you should report every cyberbully you run into nonetheless.

Third, vent with friends. Sharing your frustration helps you gain some perspective on the situation and your work. Remember your path as an author does not depend on the opinion of one low-life who had nothing better to do with their time than write a nasty, dishonest review. Turn away from that negativity and reconnect to the people who appreciate your work. They will always lead you to a better place.

5. Never engage with a negative reviewer.

In every single case discussed above, and especially in the last one, you should never engage directly with someone who has written a negative review. In the case of reviewers who wanted a different kind of story and/or put forward some honest criticism, it is your job as an author to respect their opinion and let it be. Remember: When you published your novel, you surrender control over it. That novel belongs to your readers now, as does the discussion of its faults and merits.

In the case of cyber bully reviewers, nothing good can come of interacting with them. Do not give them fuel for their fire. Ignoring them will douse their flame, and allow you to turn your energy to more productive and creative endeavors.

Those are some of my strategies for dealing with negative reviews. How about you? Have you had experience with negative criticism? What are your thoughts on reviews and how to manage them?

Betrayed by her own prodigy, Eolyn stands accused of treason. As power-hungry nobles dismantle her life’s work and honor, the desperate queen forges a risky alliance with the ruthless and cunning Mage Corey. Determined to defend her son’s claim to the throne of the Mage King, Eolyn prepares for her last and greatest battle, this time against her own sisters in magic.

Across the Furma River, Taesara of Roenfyn is drawn out of seclusion and into an ever-more vicious game of intrigue and war. Subject to the schemes of a shrewd uncle and the mysterious ambitions of the wizards of Galia, Taesara struggles to assert her own destiny, even as she takes up arms to defend her daughter’s inheritance.

In the climactic finale to The Silver Web trilogy, threads of love, honor, betrayal, and vengeance culminate in a violent conflict between powerful women, opposed to each other yet destined to shatter a thousand-year cycle of war.

“An enticing and elegant series finale, filled with magic and turmoil.” -KIRKUS REVIEWS>

Enjoy an Excerpt

Taesara stiffened as Penamor took her chin in his fingers and subjected her to cold inspection. After a moment, his frown deepened and he shook his head. “Only the Sisters of the Poor could take a woman at the height of her flower and turn her into a dried-up weed.”

Taesara bristled. “There is no place for vanity within these walls.”

“Apparently not. They’ve made you skinny and sallow. Though it is nothing, I’ll wager, that a bit of sun and some proper food cannot remedy. What are these rags they dress you in?”

She stepped away, clenching her jaw. “This is all I need. All anyone needs, to live at peace in this world.”

Penamor snorted. “Indeed.”

“Why are you here?”

“I’ve come to fetch you home.”

“This is my home.”

“This was your temporary refuge. A foul place, but one of your choosing. We were generous enough to let you stay, first your father and then I, as we put the outside world in order. Now it is time for you to return.”

“I am not going back.”

“Oh, but I think you will.” Penamor spoke with an odd tone, at once menacing and full of promise. “War is at hand, and you will be the one to lead it.”

Taesara forced a laugh. “You know I will have no part of it. Eliasara would die at their hands if we so much as—”

“They do not have Eliasara,” he said. “We do.”

Shadows flashed through Taesara’s vision. She stumbled and caught hold of the back of a chair. A chasm opened inside her heart, swallowing the vines and trees with which she had concealed her love and pain during all these years. The bitter anguish of the day she was separated from Eliasara returned full force.

“Where is she? Where is my daughter?”

About the Author: Karin Rita Gastreich writes stories of ordinary women and the extraordinary paths they choose. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is part of the biology faculty at Avila University. An ecologist by vocation, Karin has wandered forests and wildlands all her life. Her pastimes include camping, hiking, music, and flamenco dance. In addition to THE SILVER WEB trilogy, Karin has published short stories in World Jumping, Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, and 69 Flavors of Paranoia. She is a recipient of the Spring 2011 Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency.

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Buy EOLYN, Book One of THE SILVER WEB at Amazon.
Buy SWORD OF SHADOWS, Book Two of THE SILVER WEB at Amazon.
Buy DAUGHTER OF AITHNE, Book Three of THE SILVER WEB at Amazon.

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Hide and Seek by Desiree Holt – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions to celebrate today’s release of Hide and Seek. Desiree will be awarding a Kindle Fire 7 with Alexa to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Anything can happen when you let your guard down . . .

After receiving a violent threat on the heels of her father’s disappearance from the town of Arrowhead Bay, Devon Cole fears for her life—until Vigilance, a local private security agency, steps in to shield her from danger. Although she isn’t usually quick to surrender her freedom, she has no problem stripping her defenses for her new sexy bodyguard . . .

Tortured by the painful memory of lost love, Logan Malik is determined not to fall for a client again. So when he’s tasked with watching over Devon day and night, he’s focused on doing his job. Day is no problem, but as tensions rise at night, nothing can protect them from giving in to unbridled passion . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Your father is missing.”

Devon Cole tightened her grip on her cell phone and tried to make sense of what Sheridan March had just told her, as fear swept through her. Maybe she hadn’t heard right.

“What do you mean, missing?”

“The Coast Guard found the Princess Devon drifting five miles off shore early this morning,” the Arrowhead Bay Chief of Police explained. “But there’s no sign of him anywhere. And no clue to anything in the house. We went through every inch of it. The alarm was fried, probably needs to be replaced, but otherwise the place was clean as a whistle.”

Devon clutched the phone. “Was there anything on the boat? Something he might have had with him that could give us a clue?”

“Nada.”

“Where’s the boat now. Would the Coast Guard hold onto it?”

“In its slip at the Bayside Marina. After the Guard went over every inch of it they had one of the men on the cutter bring it back in and berth it. I have the keys.”

Dev0n swallowed to ease the tightness in her throat. “When was the last time anyone saw him?”

About the Author: Desiree Holt is the world’s oldest living published author of erotic and spicy romance. A graduate of the University of Michigan with double majors in English and History, her earlier careers include agent and manager in the music industry, public television, associate vice president of university advancement, public relations, and economic development.

She is three times a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award (and a winner in 2014), a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as twice a CAPA Award winner for best BDSM book of the year, a USA Today Bestselling author and winner of the Holt Medallion for Excellence in Romance Literature.

She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times, The Huffington Post and numerous other national and international publications. She is also the Authors After Dark 2014 Author of the Year.

“Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.” (Romance Junkies)

Website | Blog | Facebook Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Google | Linked In

Buy the book at Amazon.

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Shadow of a Thief by Norman Green – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Norman Green will be awarding an e-copy of Sick Like That & The Last Gig by Norman Green to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Combining his pitch perfect voice for the characters who live in New York’s underbelly with a compelling new protagonist, Norm Green’s Shadow of a Thief grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go

In a previous life, Saul Fowler was a thief-for-hire with an impressive client list, including the US government. When he seeks shelter from his addictions up on the coast of Maine, his past come back to haunt him in the form of his estranged stepfather, Reverend McClendon. “Someone killed my daughter,” says the rev. “Find out who did it Saul, I know you can help me. Please?” None of this would be Saul’s problem, except that the girl might be his half-sister.

Back in NYC, a place he never thought he’d see again, Saul delves deep under the surface of the dead girl’s life. Before long he finds himself contending with gangs, pimps, prostitutes, the NYPD, and just maybe, the fifth fundamental universal force. Finding the truth will either change his life forever, or end it.

Gritty and unputdownable, this is perfect for fans of James Lee Burke and Robert Crais.

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The safest time to walk lower Manhattan’s Avenue D, in Corey Jackson’s opinion, was early in the morning. Early in the morning, chances were, the ghouls who ruled the projects at night would be passed out somewhere, not roaming around looking for entertainment the way they were now. Half an hour to midnight, Avenue D, a white kid from South Carolina with his African girlfriend, even the cops would tell you that you were asking for it, and for no good reason. But at the tender age of twenty-three Corey already knew enough about women to know that there were some arguments you weren’t gonna win. “Babe,” he said. “Babe, where the hell are we going?”

“This way,” she said, and she kept on walking.

Corey could not wait to get back to Batesburg.

Two more semesters, that’s what he kept telling himself, two more semesters and he would be a real teacher, with the degree to prove it, and that would allow him to move out of the purgatory otherwise known as New York City. A degree would give him a leg up, a toehold in the middle class, a degree and a job teaching high school science and he just might be the first of the Batesburg Jacksons not to live in a trailer since the damn things were invented… It sounded like a good plan, it had always sounded good and sometimes you had to take a shot, but you never knew when you were gonna hit a pothole somewhere. You never knew when you were gonna wind up walking down a sidewalk in a neighborhood where you and everybody else knew you didn’t belong.

About the Author: Norman Green reports this about himself: “I have always been careful, as Mark Twain advised, not to let schooling interfere with my education. Too careful, maybe. I have been, at various times, a truck driver, a construction worker, a project engineer, a factory rep, and a plant engineer, but never, until now, a writer.” He lives in Emerson, New Jersey, with his wife, and is hard at work on his second novel.

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Deadspeak 2 by Ruth Bainbridge – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly chosen commenter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

DEADSPEAK2. The chilling new entry in the Deadspeak Mystery Series

Things look different when you’re dead.

It’s Halloween and a group of teens throw a party at Harbinger Falls’ most celebrated haunted estate. It’s all fun and games until a session with a Ouija board guides the partygoers to the body of a young girl hidden in the attic.

Detective Kimberly Trent is assigned the case and quickly discovers that all is not as it seems. First, there’s the connection between the death and a string of petnappings terrorizing the neighborhood. Then there’s the suicide note that only leaves more questions than answers. A visit from Kimberly’s ghostly friend Griff Lindon sheds an unwelcome light. It seems she’s had a run in with the newly deceased who tells her she’s been murdered.

This is the second in The Deadspeak Mysteries. The entries are meant to be read in sequential order and do not standalone. In each book, you’ll find a new murder for Kimberly Trent to solve. You’ll also find the continuing search for who murdered Kim’s sister Elizabeth. Each book will take you closer and closer to finding out the identity of The Hex Killer, the serial killer who ended Elizabeth’s short life. It will also bring you to the heart of the evil that’s come back to life to wreak revenge.

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“No, you can’t come over to explain! I know what I saw!”

Mia Chaukes, the pleasant girl with the quiet demeanor, was shouting. It was unusual for the sixteen-year-old to raise her voice or be this upset, but she wasn’t backing down. She couldn’t. Not after what she’d witnessed.

It went against everything she believed in.

Her eyes traveled the length of the pink walls. It had been her favorite color when she was younger and always put her in a good mood, but would it still work today?

She sought comfort from the color—and from the shelves lined with the vestiges of her past. Unicorns, teddy bears, and other stuffed toys were there with sunny smiles and arms outstretched for a hug, but they only served as a reminder that things had changed and would never be the same.

“Don’t you dare tell me that!” she blasted as more desperation came through the receiver … desperation and elaborate excuses.

Anything but the truth.

She wouldn’t be lied to … not anymore.

“Don’t you dare tell me I’m imagining things! I’ll hang up … I mean it!”

What would have happened if she hadn’t taken that way home? Or if she’d left earlier or later? Endless possibilities, one worse than the other, shot through her mind, each making her sick to her stomach. But before the nausea disappeared, an equally disturbing question rose to the surface.

What did happen?

About the Author: Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury, and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

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A Simple Wish by Charlotte Hubbard – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Charlotte Hubbard will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Making rugs for the Simple Gifts store has taught Loretta Riehl that an unassuming pattern can reveal surprising depth. People, too, have a way of defying first impressions. Drew Detweiler came to Willow Ridge under a cloud, but the handsome craftsman has gained the community’s respect for his upholstery skills and commitment to making amends for his mistakes. As her new brother-in-law’s twin, he’s joining the family for dinners and Sunday visits, and Loretta can’t deny enjoying his attentions.

If only her dat were willing to let a little joy into his life. Cornelius Riehl grows sterner with each day, and Drew suspects there’s more to his moods than missing Loretta’s late mamm. Hoping to fulfill Loretta’s wish to live in a peaceful, happy home again, Drew sets out to learn the truth. It’s a journey that will bring to light painful realities—but also the chance to forge a new, honest, and loving future together…

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Ordinarily, the shaded front porch was the coolest place to spend a July afternoon, but the sweat trickling down Loretta Riehl’s back had nothing to do with Missouri’s heat and humidity. Will Gingerich, her former fiancé, sat on the other end of the porch swing from her, and his back-and-forth motion was becoming so quick and jerky that she could barely guide her toothbrush needle through the loose knots of the rag rug she was making.

“The biggest mistake I ever made was to let your dat end our engagement, Loretta,” Will said urgently. “I should’ve stood my ground. I should’ve believed that our love was strong enough to withstand my losing the farm to my brothers.”

Loretta swallowed hard, fearful of where this conversation was leading. She’d been devastated when Dat had come between her and Will a couple of years ago, but she’d accepted it as her father’s will—which was second only to God’s will. “Who among us has ever stood up to Dat and won?” she asked in a tight voice. Her hands were trembling as she drew the strip of sage green fabric through the next rug knot with her needle. “I cried my eyes out and pleaded with him again and again, but he was convinced you weren’t gut enough—that you could never provide me a home.”

“He was wrong!” Will declared. “I should’ve insisted that you and I could live at your place—back when we were in Rosewood—the way a lot of newlyweds do until they have the money for a home of their own.”

Loretta stifled a sigh. Why was Will thinking this way, when they both knew they would’ve been miserable living under Dat’s roof after Mamm had died? Even with her sisters, Edith and Rosalyn, to support them, their marriage would’ve gotten off to a rocky start.

About the Author: Charlotte Hubbard is the acclaimed author of Amish romance and fiction that evokes simpler times and draws upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi. Faith and family, farming, and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle—and the foundation of all her novels. A deacon, dedicated church musician and choir member, she loves to travel, read, try new recipes, and crochet. A longtime Missourian, Charlotte now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with her husband and their border collie, Vera.

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Of the Divine by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes will be awarding a limited edition print copy of the book *U.S. only* to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Please welcome the author to our blog!

Thanks for having me. I’ve spent the last few days of this blog tour talking about myself, and I expect to do so for much of the rest of the month. For today, I want to take a break and talk about someone else who is absolutely essential for a novel’s survival: the reader.

Publishing is an exhausting process full of exhilaration and heartache. When you ask most authors what advice they would give an aspiring writer, they say something like, “Write what you love,” or “don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t worth it.” When you ask what advice they would give an aspiring published writer, they say, “Grow a thick skin.” Publishing means taking a work of your heart and soul and putting it before the world, where it will inevitably be criticized, scrutinized, and torn apart. It is the job of your editor to tell you everything that is wrong with your baby in excruciating detail– and your editor is on your side. Then the reviews come in, and the Twitter threads. No matter how good a writer you are, you can’t please everyone, so inevitably something negative hits you.

Top that off with the fact that most published writers make very little money on this extraordinarily time-consuming career, and it’s easy to wonder, Why do you do it? Why not just keep that story to yourself, or print copies at Office Max to hand to your friends and relatives if you want to share it around?

The answer is: the readers.

At conventions and signings and readings, readers often approach my table cautiously, as if they’re wary of bothering me. They act embarrassed and apologize as they hand over a shabby first edition of In the Forests of the Night, my debut novel, and explain they’ve read it a hundred times and it inspired them to start writing. Or it’s a copy of Midnight Predator, and a story about how it inspired them to escape from or finally start to process an abusive relationship, or Wolfcry, and a coming out story where they explain that this was the first book where they encountered a gay protagonist, and how much it means to them because of it.

Just like the advice given to the aspiring writer, I write first because I love to do so. I have stories inside me and they want to come out. I first published because I was fourteen and didn’t know what I was getting into.

I keep publishing now, despite working more than full time and having a million other tugs on my time and energy, for you, my readers. For those of you who write to me, Tweet at me, talk to me in person. You are never a bother, never an inconvenience. You are my inspiration.

 

Henna is one of the most powerful sorcerers in the Order of Napthol, and her runes ’s runes tell her that the future of Kavet is balanced on the edge of the knife. The treaties between Kavet and the dragon-like race known as the Osei have become intolerable. The time has come for the royal house to magically challenge Osei dominion. Prince Verte, Henna’ lover, is to serve as the nexus for the powerful but dangerous spell, with Naples–an untested young sorcerer from the Order of Napthol–a volatile but critical support to its creation.

Amid these plans, Dahlia Indathrone’s arrival in the city shouldn’t matter. She has no magic and no royal lineage, and yet, Henna immediately knows Dahlia is important. She just can’t see why.

As their lives intertwine, the four will learn that they are pawns in a larger game, one played by the forces of the Abyss and of the Numen—the infernal and the divine.

A game no mortal can ever hope to win.

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The ocean that covered most of the Numen’s first level was clear and sweet. It lapped against diamond sand where tiny long-legged birds spread wings the color of honey as they raced back and forth, plucking drifting seeds from the air. The Numini—those perfect, beautiful sentinels who ruled the divine realm by might and decree—watched the birds’ antics with gentle amusement.

One Numini looked past the white sands and crystal waters below to a realm where the ocean was cold and tasted of salt, where verdant green cascaded across rich earth, and where the mortal creatures lived.

Soon, she thought. She was one of the three arbiters who ruled the Numen, second only to the high justice of her kind.

“I am concerned about the Abyssi,” remarked one of her brothers, a lesser judge. “We have worked for generations to nurture these lines of power, and now they could all be—”

“Have faith,” she assured him. “Abyssi scrabble at the mortal realm like dogs at a closed door. They always have. They lack the wisdom or discipline to do more than that.”

“But do the mortals have the wisdom to keep the door closed?” he challenged.

“Faith,” the arbiter said again. This time it was a clear chastisement.

She knew their children in the mortal world were defenseless. Humans had minds barely capable of comprehending their own existence, and as a consequence lived short and brutal lives. They needed their divine guardians to guide and nurture them. The Abyssi—vicious, mindless beasts of the infernal realm—could fight for sovereignty all they wanted. In the end, it wouldn’t matter.

In the mortal realm, all things served the divine.

About the Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel, In the Forests of the Night, when she was 13 years old. Other books in the Den of Shadows series are Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator, all ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults. She has also published the five-volume series The Kiesha’ra: Hawksong, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List Selection; Snakecharm; Falcondance; Wolfcry; and Wyvernhail.

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Ties That Bind by Carolyn Arnold – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carolyn will be awarding a paperback copy of In the Line of Duty valid in US, Canada and UK to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice. Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & Order, CSI, Blue Bloods, Rizzoli & Isles, Women’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning: Ties That Bind, Justified, Sacrifice, Found Innocent, Just Cause, Deadly Impulse, In the Line of Duty, Life Sentence (Bonus Prequel).

BLURB for Ties That Bind:

The hunt for a serial killer begins…

Detective Madison Knight concluded the case of a strangled woman an isolated incident. But when another woman’s body is found in a park killed with the same brand of neckties, she realizes they’re dealing with something more serious.

Despite mounting pressure from the sergeant and the chief to close the case even if it means putting an innocent man behind bars, and a partner who is more interested in saving his marriage than stopping a potential serial killer, Madison may have to go it alone if the murderer is going to be stopped.

Enjoy an Excerpt from chapter 1 of Ties That Bind (Detective Madison Knight series)

SOMEONE DIED EVERY DAY. Detective Madison Knight was left to make sense of it.

She ducked under the yellow tape and surveyed the scene. The white, two-story house would be deemed average any other day, but today the dead body inside made it a place of interest to the Stiles PD and the curious onlookers who gathered in small clusters on the sidewalk.

She’d never before seen the officer who was securing the perimeter, but she knew his type. The way he stood there—his back straight, one hand resting on his holster, the other gripping a clipboard—he was an eager recruit.

He held up a hand as she approached. “This is a closed crime scene.”

She unclipped her badge from the waist of her pants and held it up in front of him. He studied it as if it were counterfeit. She usually respected those who took their jobs seriously but not when she was functioning on little sleep and the humidity level topped ninety-five percent at ten thirty in the morning.

“Detective K-N-I—”

Her name died on her lips as Sergeant Winston stepped out of the house. She would have groaned audibly if he weren’t closing the distance between them so quickly. She preferred her boss behind his desk.

Winston gestured toward the young officer to let him know she was permitted to be on the scene. The officer glared at her before leaving his post. She envied the fact that he could walk away while she was left to speak with the sarge.

“It’s about time you got here.” Winston fished a handkerchief out of a pocket and wiped at his receding hairline. The extra few inches of exposed forehead could have served as a solar panel. “I was just about to assign the lead to Grant.”

Terry Grant was her on-the-job partner of five years and three years younger than her thirty-four. She’d be damned if Terry was put in charge of this case.

“Where have you been?” Winston asked.

She jacked a thumb in the rookie’s direction. “Who’s the new guy?”

“Don’t change the subject, Knight.”

She needed to offer some sort of explanation for being late. “Well, boss, you know me. Up all night slinging back shooters.”

“Don’t get smart with me.”

She flashed him a cocky smile and pulled out a Hershey’s bar from one of her front pants pocket. The chocolate had already softened from the heat. Not that it mattered. She took a bite.

Heaven.

“What are you doing here, anyway?” she asked with her mouth partially full.

“The call came in, I was nearby, and thought someone should respond.” His leg caught the tape as he tried to step over it to the sidewalk and he hopped on the other leg to adjust his balance. He continued speaking as if he hadn’t noticed. “The body’s upstairs, main bedroom. She was strangled.” He pointed the tip of a key toward her. “Keep me updated.” He pressed a button on his key fob and the department-issued SUV’s lights flashed. “I’ll be waiting for your call.”

As if he needed to say that. Sometimes she wondered if he valued talking more than taking action.

She took a deep breath. She could feel the young officer watching her, and she flicked a glance at him, now that the sergeant was gone. What was his problem? She took another bite of her candy bar.

“Too bad you showed. I think I was about to get the lead.”

Madison turned toward her partner’s voice. Terry was padding across the lawn toward her.

“I’d have to be the one dead for that to happen.” She smiled as she brushed past him.

“You look like crap.”

Her smile faded. She stopped walking and turned around. Every one of his blond hairs were in place, making her self-conscious of her short, wake-up-and-wear-it cut. His cheeks held a healthy glow, too, no doubt from his two-mile morning run. She hated people who could do mornings.

“What did you get? Two hours of sleep?” Terry asked.

“Three, but who’s counting?” She took another large bite of the chocolate. It was almost a slurp with how fast the bar was melting.

“You were up reviewing evidence from the last case again, weren’t you?”

She wasn’t inclined to answer.

“You can’t change the past.”

She wasn’t hungry anymore and wrapped up what was left of the chocolate. “Let’s focus on this case.”

“Fine, if that’s how it’s going be. Victim’s name is Laura Saunders. She’s thirty-two. Single. Officer Higgins was the first on scene.”

Higgins? She hadn’t seen him since she arrived, but had been her training officer. He still worked in that capacity for new recruits. Advancing in the ranks wasn’t important to him. He was happy making a difference where he was stationed.

Terry continued. “Call came in from the vic’s employer, Southwest Welding Products, where she worked as the receptionist.”

“What would make the employer call?”

“She didn’t show for her shift at eight. They tried reaching her first, but when they didn’t get an answer, they sent a security officer over to her house. He found the door ajar and called downtown. Higgins was here by eight forty-five.”

“Who was—”

“The security officer?”

“Yeah.” Apparently they finished each other’s sentences now.

“Terrence Owens. And don’t worry. We took a formal statement and let him go. Background showed nothing, not even a speeding ticket. We can function when you’re not here.”

She cocked her head to the side.

“He also testifies to the fact that he never stepped one foot in the place.” Terry laughed. “He said he’s watched enough cop dramas to know that it would contaminate the crime scene. You get all these people watching those stupid TV shows, and they think they can solve a murder.”

“So is Owens the one who made the formal call downtown, then?” Madison asked.

“Actually, procedure for them is to route everything through the company administration. A Sandra Butler made the call. She’s the office manager.”

“So an employee is even half an hour late for work and they send someone to your house?”

“She said it’s part of their safety policy.”

“At least they’re a group of people inclined to think positively.” She rolled her eyes. Sweat droplets ran down her back. Gross. She moved toward the house.

The young officer scurried over. He shoved his clipboard under his arm and tucked his pen behind his ear. He pointed toward the chocolate bar still in her hand. “You can’t take that in there.”

She glanced down. Chocolate oozed from a corner of the wrapper. He was right. She handed the package to him, and he took it with two pinched fingers.

She patted his shoulder. “Good job.”

He walked away with the bar dangling from his hand, mumbling something indiscernible.

“You can be so wicked sometimes,” Terry said.

“Why, thank you.” She was tempted to take a mini bow but resisted the urge.

“It wasn’t a compliment. And since when do you eat chocolate for breakfast?”

“Oh shut up.” She punched him in the shoulder. He smirked and rubbed his arm. Same old sideshow. She headed into the house with him on her heels.

“The stairs are to the right,” Terry said.

“Holy crap, it’s freezing in here.” The sweat on her skin chilled her. It was a refreshing welcome.

“Yep, a hundred and one outside, sixty inside.”

When she was two steps from the top of the staircase, Terry said, “And just a heads-up—this is not your typical strangulation.”

“Come on, Terry. You’ve seen one, you’ve—” She stopped abruptly when she reached the bedroom doorway. Terry was right.

About the Author: CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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