Sunday, April 29, 2012

No Authorsday Author Today

If you are an author looking for blogs to guest on, contact me at: chrisreddingauthor at yahoo dot com Please only apply if you can keep to a requested deadline. cmr

Body Language

Because of its spontaneity, body language is hard to fake. If the clues don’t match, we are suspicious. Also, because it is spontaneous, it is more likely to reflect underlying feelings. The reaction is more likely to be off the cuff and true to his thoughts or emotions. Verbal communication is open to manipulation. Non-verbal communication is not. “Body language is your primary mod of communication, primary in the evolutionary history of the human species, and primary in your life.” The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Body Language. Body language is more basic than the spoken work. Animals are great at reading body language. I’m not exactly a calm person and when I pick up one of our rabbits, I need to chill before I do it. Our female responds well to my husband because he’s naturally a steadier person. A few weeks after my father died, I was still kind of bumping into walls. I thought I was fine, but my dog was glued to my side. He knew I wasn’t right when I refused to admit it. The human body is able to function well on autopilot. Think back to this morning. Do you really remember brushing your teeth? You know you did, but do you REALLY know you did? Body language is part of that autopilot, other wise it would be stilted. Non-verbal communication encompasses all parts of your body. Your eyes are the primary way you receive body language cues and usually the primary way you send it. You invite someone to communicate by making eye contact. I know this because EVERYONE talks to me at the grocery store. I make eye contact without really meaning to. If they eye contact is longer than a second, the two people begin to make a connection. Immediacy behaviors, like prolonged eye contact, singal availability. Eye contact is powerful that way. Besides the obvious body language there are also more subtle versions. Your pupils dilate because of lack of light, but also for things you find attractive. The reverse is also true. Our pupils constrict when we see something we don’t like. We react to that on an unconscious level. Eye contact controls interaction. If you don’t make eye contact, you don’t send out an invite for someone to interact with you. One symptom of Asperger’s is not making eye contact. It isn’t because they don’t want to interact, they just don’t think about it. They don’t need you to make eye contact for them to interact with you. Excerpt from: Layering: Not Just for Cakes being offer at in May. Chris Redding’s latest is Incendiary, out in print in March, already available in all electronic formats. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, one dog and three rabbits. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. When she isn’t writing, she works part time for her local hospital. You can find her on the web:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Getting Intimate With Your Character

I once read that while riding a train, the character of Harry Potter waltzed in fully formed into the mind of J. K. Rowling. I wish the same thing would happen to me. Don't get me wrong, it’s not that I'm envious of Rowling's career. Well, maybe just a little. The old adage that “experts make it look easy” can very well be applied here. Wait, scratch that last sentence. We writers shall not rely on clichés. For my suspense short story, The Assassin's Mistress, I used a character that I put together with a process not unlike the one used so effectively by Doctor Frankenstein. Robert I. Prescott is an assassin; you can see I took his initials—R.I.P.—from classic gravestones. Say, wasn't the good old Dr. Frankenstein accused of savaging graves?
But that's not all. Robert's love interest is named Chantal, which means “stone or boulder” in old French. Oh, yes. There's a pattern there! How much do you know your own characters? A lot? Good, because we should. Of course, even if we know the name and circumstances of how our thirty-year-old lady lost her virginity all those many moons ago, that does not mean we have to write it into the story. Back to Robert and his killing habit. To make him believable to readers, I chose some relevant elements of his personality. The little bits that like strokes on a canvas can form a big picture of a character: His preferred weapon, his signature drink, and the ponytail he fashions from of his flaming red hair. They all contribute a small part to tell the story. Chantal, on the other hand, caused me some trouble because she spoke French, and I don't. I had to rely on Google, and a friend. Then there was her infatuation with aromatic candles while making love. I've heard some authors who claim their characters take over their stories so much they feel like they’re taking dictation. Good for them. For me, having characters do what I write them to do is as painful as a hangover mixed with a toothache on the second day of a flu virus. As a contributor for The Big Thrill e-zine, I recently interviewed an author who has a stunning total of five separate book series. Of course, an obligatory question was how the heck she keeps them clear in her mind. Her simple response shook me as writer. She basically said, “Well, do you confuse your friends?” Now, to say “yes” to that question could pretty much get you an appointment to be tested for Alzheimer. No, I don’t confuse my friends. My characters are like my friend, thus I should not mix them up. They have to become real in my mind. Treat your characters with the respect they deserve. Get intimate with them, but same as you wouldn't reveal all about your friends, pick only the traits that best serve your story; preferably not the ones you grin while typing them. The Assassin’s Mistress: A random encounter leads to deception, love and murder. While vacationing at a ski resort, professional hitman Robert Prescott meets a strange and beautiful woman. They discover passion and embark into a dangerous game hiding their relationship from her powerful husband. Then a further twist of fate makes Robert’s occupation collide with his new found love. Get your copy of The Assassin’s Mistress in Amazon. Some praise for The Assassin’s Mistress: “He enjoyed his Gold Label scotch served neat ... and his victims dead. "Take my hand if you want to live!" J. H. Bográn’s well-crafted crime thriller takes you where you'd never want to go. Highly recommended for a chilling few moments of your reading life.” ~ Bonnie Turner, author of Face the Winter Naked “José Bográn’s short story THE ASSASSIN'S MISTRESS is an unusual, gripping and surprisingly fun ride on a killer roller coaster.” ~ Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of The Bro-Magnet
About J. H. Bográn J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator. Links: Website: Facebook: Twitter: @JHBogran Buy link:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Authorsday Fran Grote

1. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants? I definitely write by the seat of my pants. I’ll start a book or story with the scene that inspires me, which is almost never the first scene. Whenever other scenes or even scraps of dialogue occur to me, I’ll write them down too, whether or not they’re out of order. My only rule is to never ignore inspiration. I’ve had to pull the car over to scribble down notes, and some of my greatest frustrations have been trying to figure out what it was I scrawled on the back of a napkin or somebody’s business card or whatever piece of paper was handy at the moment. Once I start to see the shape of a story, though, I will keep a running outline of what I think the eventual structure will be. When I finish my first draft it’s very much a mosaic – lots of lovely pieces that need to be fit together to make a whole. So I’ll print each piece on a separate sheet of paper and then storyboard. Using my running outline, I’ll start laying the sheets out on a table or the floor. Then I’ll move things around until the sequence flows in a way that makes the most sense to me. 2. What drew you to the subject of Fire in the Henhouse?
I have a background in psychology, and I’ve always been fascinated by people whose behavior is right on the edge of acceptable. I also really love how so much of what ends up being important in our lives starts out as coincidence. That’s how I got started writing Fire In The Henhouse. I do a lot of travel for my day job. A few years ago, I was on a three week trip to China and ran out of things to read. I was pretty homesick and lonely, so I decided to make up a story for myself about the kind of hometown where I’d like to live, a place full of snarky, funny characters with bad habits. I love reading dialogue, so the early version of Fire In The Henhouse was a light-hearted story about this town full of people giving each other a hard time and getting all tangled up in each other’s lives. Then, just as I was finishing up what I thought was my first draft there was an incident at my son’s school where an awful tragedy was very narrowly averted. That made me think hard about how people deal with the unexpected when it tears into their lives, and how much someone can bear when they have the support of friends. That all got worked into the eventual book. 3. What was the best writing advice someone gave you? “Butts in seats.” In other words, if you want to be a writer you have to make yourself sit down and invest the time in writing. Going to readings, taking classes, workshopping – those are all valuable ways to improve your craft. But if you don’t sit down every day and write something, you’re never going to achieve your goal. My rule is that I must write for half an hour each day. Sometimes even that isa tough commitment to keep, especially when you’re not “feeling the muse”. But once you get started you sometimes find yourself on a roll and by the time you’re done you’ve got a few pages of new material. Make your writing a discipline. Think of yourself as a weightlifter of words and ideas. If you don’t stay in practice your writing is going to get flabby, and a little bit of writing every day will do better for you than several hours plastered to your computer followed by days of silence. The second best piece of advice I got was from the same person --- “kill your darlings.” That means no matter how wonderful a phrase or even a whole scene is, if it doesn’t progress your story or it’s not in the voice of your characters, it has to go. 4. What was the worst? Did you know it at the time? My book is 474 pages long. When experienced writers and workshop leaders heard that they were horrified. The common wisdom, I was told, is a first novel should only be about 90,000 words, so I should divide the book into two books and sell it as a series. I finally gave in and divided it. Shortly after I did, an executive editor at a major New York publishing house asked to see it. I sent her the “first half”. She kept it for several months before rejecting it, saying it just didn’t feel complete somehow. I then sent it to a book doctor who said pretty much the same thing, that it felt like the resolution was missing. That’s when I finally realized that you need to present your story in the way that’s right for it, no matter how different that may be from what’s considered standard. 5. If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be? With life being so busy, what does a book have to offer you to make it worth your while to read it? And how can you tell which books will offer you what you’re looking for? I know, that’s two questions. My characters didn’t get their habit of bending the rules from nowhere… 6. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know? Shortly after I turned forty I developed a life-threatening tumor. Forty didn’t seem all that young to me until I suddenly realized that might be as far as I was going to get. I was desperate to figure out what was wrong with me, but I had the kind of medical insurance that seemed good until I needed it. It took nearly a year to get approval to see the appropriate specialist. By that time the tumor had caused serious multi-system damage. I had to have disfiguring surgery and then go on massive doses of steroids. I went into the hospital an energetic, vibrant professional and mother of four, and came out deformed, disabled and dependent on others for everything from tying my shoes to remembering my phone number. I had lost most of my memories of the years preceding my illness. Because I refused to settle for anything less than full recovery, most people who know me have no idea my family and I went through this. I will always grieve for the years of my kids’ childhood that are lost to me, and the years I spent feeling like Quasimodo. But this illness taught me to be grateful and unafraid of any challenge. My kids were young when this happened, and though this has left its scars on them too, they have grown up with the grace, humor and courage you can only get from being a survivor. 7. Describe your book. Fire In The Henhouse is set in a small town full of the kind of funny people who take themselves way too seriously. They’re all very eager to poke into each other’s business, completely unaware that they have some pretty funny habits of their own. Maggie Rifkin, a recent widow with a teenage son, moves into town, telling herself she doesn’t want to get involved. But nobody is about to let her stay on the sidelines. The reader gets so deep into the life in town that when the unexpected happens you’ve got to see how it turns out. I’ve had readers tell me they stayed up way too late two or three nights in a row because they had to see how things end. (And if some of the settings in the book remind you of Doylestown, that just might not be a coincidence.) 8. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing? I focus hard on creating characters the reader would want to know in real life. My characters aren’t always nice, but they’re always people you’d want to have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with so you can hear what kind of zany adventure they’re planning next. And I use humor. Lots of humor. I like to make people laugh out loud. I also love to drop clues so that the reader has those wonderful “Aha!” moments when they see how things fit together. 9. What do you consider your weakness and what strategies do you use to overcome it? I have a tendency to over-write. I put too much on the page, and have to constantly remind myself to trust the reader’s imagination, to only give enough description and detail to get the picture started, leaving the reader fill in the blanks. My process for managing this is to take my first draft and go through it, eliminating everything that’s repetitive or redundant. Once that’s done, I go through a second time and eliminate anything that can be inferred from something else. And then I do one more pass and speed up the flow of the story, making sure I’m not taking too long building up tension before events happen. After I think it’s finally ready, I give the draft to some friends to read – not other writers, just friends who are serious readers and who won’t be afraid to tell me the truth. And then I listen to their concerns and rewrite again. 10. What three things would you want with you on a desert island? A computer with internet access, a very long power cord and Richard Branson’s American Express Gold Card (which he hasn’t noticed is missing). “Clever banter and a flair for over-the-top scenarios…a debut novel brewing with tension, lightened by warm humor.” – Publishers Weekly Set in the fictional town of Dooleysburg, PA Fire In The Henhouse turns an unflinching eye on the little insanities of people who believe they are in charge. Local celebrities include a cross-dressing car dealer who doubles as the town mascot and a police chief who had to get his own juvenile record expunged. When widowed Maggie Rifkin returns here with her fourteen-year-old son and her New York attitude, she only wants to leave her past behind. But there is no such thing as anonymity in this quirky town, and when sudden tragedy strikes the thread of destruction might well unravel all the way back to Maggie’s childhood secret. Grote creates a memorable cast of flawed characters who mire themselves in hilarious situations. But the outrageous fun illuminates a landscape that contains struggle, transition and finally, proof that life can be both flawed and full of love at the same time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ExcerpTuesday: Jeremy Burns

That was part of the beauty of the whole operation: they didn’t exist. Not as individuals, not as an organization. They were naught but shadows glimpsed from the corner of one’s eye, ghosts that existed solely in dreamscapes. Dead men begetting more dead men.
Someday, the truth would come out, but not today. Not with the Cold War, as some were starting to call the tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, escalating as it was. Just days earlier, the Soviets had launched a man-made satellite into space, broadcasting its ominous beeping as it traced a terrifying line across the night sky. No, the secret he guarded could not be revealed in this day. But by the same token, it would no longer be guarded by his hand. His story, his secret, a secret that even his superiors would kill for, was in a safe place, even if its caretaker was unaware of its importance and potential implications for the nation, for the world. All of his loose ends in this life were tied up. All of them save one. Roger gripped the cable in his hands, drawing the noose tight around his neck like a businessman tying his tie in the morning before going off to work. He was already dead, he told himself. He was just finishing what the Division had already done to him. What he had done to so many others in the name of freedom.
He took a deep breath, raised his eyes skyward in a last-minute plea for redemption, and, gripping the cable around his neck with both hands, stepped from the girder into nothingness. Three seconds and thirty-two feet later, the cord drew tight around his neck, lacerating the skin and muscle but leaving the head attached to its body. The eyes rolled back as the head lolled forward. A left shoe plummeting to the dark waters below, the body danced its brief fandango, a lifeless marionette held aloft by one fatal string. On display for the city to see, a man six years dead was just growing cold. The Division had claimed its latest victim. One of its own. Author Bio: A n avid reader since the age of three, Jeremy Burns was devouring novels by the time other children his age were still learning their ABCs. Blessed (and, at times, cursed) with a decidedly active imagination and an insatiable curiosity for nearly everything, Jeremy made learning and storytelling two of his chief passions. After earning his degree in History from Florida State University, Jeremy accepted a position teaching literature, creative writing, political science, and philosophy at an international school in Dubai. Like the characters in his books, Jeremy is an intrepid explorer whose own adventures have taken him from Mayan ruins in the Yucatan to the pyramids of Egypt, from medieval castles across Europe to the jungles of Bangladesh, and beyond. To date, Jeremy has traveled to more than twenty countries across four continents, seeking adventure, discovery, and ideas for future novels. When not exploring a new corner of the globe, Jeremy lives in Florida, where he is working on his next thrilling novel.
Blurb: Graduate students Jonathan and Michael Rickner, sons of eminent archeologist Sir William Rickner, are no strangers to historical secrets and archeological adventures. But when Michael is discovered dead in his Washington, D.C. apartment, Jon refuses to believe the official ruling of suicide. Digging deeper into his brother’s work, he discovers evidence that Michael was murdered to keep his dissertation research buried. Joined by Michael’s fiancée Mara Ellison, Jon travels to New York where he uncovers the threads of a deadly Depression-era conspiracy – one entangling the Hoover Administration, the Rockefellers, and the rise of Nazi Germany – and the elite cadre of assassins that still guard its unspeakable secret. Finding themselves in the crosshairs of the same men who killed Michael, Jon and Mara must navigate a complex web of historical cover-ups and modern-day subterfuge, outwitting and outrunning their all-powerful pursuers as they race through a labyrinthine treasure hunt through the monuments and museums of Manhattan to discover the last secret of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., before their enemies can bury the truth – and them – forever. Links: Jeremy on Facebook: Jeremy's Website: Amazon: Barnes And Noble: Publisher:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Authorsday: Dennis Collins

1.How long have you been writing?
Back in the early 70's I belonged to a boat racing club and I complained at one of our meetings that our newsletter was boring. The editor told me to submit a story if I wanted to liven things up. Hmmm. I wrote a story about a colorful character who helped me in my early racing days. Somehow my story wound up on the desk of the president of the American Power Boat Association and he submitted it (in my name) to Propeller Magazine. They published it as a feature article. I didn't know a thing about it until a copy of the magazine found its way to my mailbox. So I guess that was my debut, my first publishing credit.

2. Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Most of my books have begun with just a tiny germ of an idea. "The Unreal McCoy" began with an obituary that I read in a newspaper. "Turn Left at September" was born because I had a great line and I needed a story to put it in. "The First Domino" was inspired by the of a legacy left by my uncle in the second world war but not discovered until 2009. "Nightmare" is the product of a wrong turn made during research for one of my earlier novels. My process is usually to just begin writing and see where it goes. When I reach a certain point, usually around 40,000 words, my writing pace picks up because I want to see how the story will end. Some people call it "Stream of consciousness."

3. What was the best writing advice someone gave you?
Just do it. Sit down and begin writing. Let your imagination run wild. You're the only person who will need to see your failures and you can proudly share your successes. As Loren Estleman puts it, "Sometimes you're just writing for the wastebasket."

4. What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
I am a story teller, pure and simple. I've made up tales as long as I can remember. When we were kids we had almost nightly bonfires on the beach and I loved scaring everyone with my stories about monsters that came up from the swamps at night. I was the only boy and there were five girls.

5. How many rejections have you received?
I want to say thousands. My query letters were very sterile, by-the-book type letters. I was warned not to deviate from the standard formula. I received rejection after rejection without anyone reading even one word of my manuscript. Out of sheer frustration I sent out five query letters beginning with the sentence, "The worst thing about instant gratification is that it takes too long." Four of those agents asked to see the manuscript and I sold the book.

6.What was the hardest scene to write?
I've been told that I need more romance in my stories. Maybe it was eight years under the influence of nuns followed by four years of Jesuit Priests but I'm just not comfortable writing about male/female relationships. When I have to write a love scene, the only thing I seem to be able to do is take to a higher plateau and describe the emotion and the heartache. I leave the physical part to the reader's imagination.

7. Tell me one thing about yourself that very few people know.
My background is not in literature. I'm an engineer who spent well over thirty years in the automotive industry. My only formal training in writing was a freshmen level creative writing course that I took back in the 60's. It's difficult to sell your work without credentials. I usually try to sell myself as a world adventurer... first civilian skydiver in the state of Michigan, active shipwreck SCUBA diver, in the record books as an inboard (automotive powered) hydroplane racer, motorcycle racer, etc.

8.What authors do you admire?
I've been influenced by many but none more than Ernest Hemingway. His ability to say so much and evoke such emotion using simple everyday language is amazing. He once wrote a short story in six words. "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn." I also admire Herman Wouk for his knack for making the reader feel as if he's part of the story. Mario Puzo manipulated millions of readers into sympathetic feelings for a cold blooded murderer in The Godfather. Herman Melville invited me into Moby Dick with his opening statement, "Call me Ishmael." There are lots of great writers out there.

9.What do you do when you're not writing?
I live in a resort area on the shore of Lake Huron at the very tip of Michigan's Thumb. In the summer I spend a lot of time on the beach soaking up the sun. When it gets too warm I run back to the house and pull on a pair of jeans, boots, and a tank top and then jump on my big Harley and ride a couple hundred miles, always looking for a new ice cream stand. . It's a rough life but I survive. On rainy days and in the winter, I write mystery novels.

10.What drew you to the subject of "Nightmare?"
As I said in an earlier question, I took a wrong turn while researching something and wound up on a web page that talked about shark attacks. As I read along I found an article about Bull Sharks and how they have a unique gland that stores and re-circulates salt and they thrive quite nicely in fresh water. They are also the most likely species to attack humans.
I live in a resort community and my local town (population 970) host the biggest Jimmy Buffett festival in the world. It's a ten day festival called "Cheesburger" and the local population swells to over 150,000 during that time. The town has an enormous bathing beach that attracts thousands of people during that time.
So now I have a setting where hundreds of people are out swimming in the lake at any given moment of the day. All I need is some lunatic a couple miles down the shore who has managed to transplant a bunch of hungry bull sharks and has built an underwater cage so that he can tow them over to the bathing beach and then open the gate. Go get 'em, fishy.

11. One more please??? What's your favorite word?
I write a lot of dialog and I always look for a place where I can say, "Tooken."

Dennis Collins

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sconed for Murder?

by Evelyn David

Actually it's Zoned for Murder, but we're going to talk about scones too!

You are what you eat. We've heard that phrase a million times, and it was only in writing this blog that we discovered that while we associate it with the back to the farm, organic food movement of the 1960s, its roots are from Anthelme Brillat-Savarin who wrote in 1826: "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es." [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].

So we're not sure what it tells you about Maggie Brooks, intrepid reporter and reluctant sleuth, that she eats haggis, a Scottish delicacy that involves the stomach, liver, and heart of a sheep, mixed with some oats. Hmmmm. Chris said we could add a recipe to our blog, but we've decided to pass on Haggis. It's a delicacy that Maggie likes, but neither half of Evelyn David chooses to indulge.

But it does give you a clue about the lead character of our new mystery, Zoned for Murder. She's adventuresome, despite the fact that her life has taken an unexpected, difficult turn. She's not afraid to tackle something new, even if she needs to find the self-confidence she once had when she lived in Scotland and indulged in the country's famous dish. She's smart, sexy, and determined, although she's just rediscovering those aspects of herself.

Here's a quick synopsis: Former Newsweek reporter Maggie Brooks has two kids, a dead husband, a mortgage to pay, and a lot of competition when she tries to get back into the shrinking newspaper business. Landing a job with a local paper, she's bored to tears covering bake sales and Little League games. But when a developer tries to build an outlet mall in a neighboring town, what starts out as potentially a great clip for her resume, suddenly turns dangerous and ugly. Someone will do anything to block the mall's construction. Dirty money, nasty politics, and shady land deals abound as Maggie pursues the scoop that might jumpstart her career. When murder is added to the mix, she realizes that meeting her deadline might be the last thing she ever does. Read Maggie's byline as she rebuilds her career, dips her toes into a shark-filled dating pool, and investigates a small New York town Zoned for Murder.

Haggis isn't our cup of tea, but to go with a new mystery and some afternoon brew, why not try some strawberry scones, courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa. They're yummy and easy to make.

Strawberry Scones

4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
3/4 cup small-diced dried strawberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, add them to the dough, and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch plain or fluted cutter, and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.



Win a Free Copy - Leave a comment on this blog for a chance to win a free download of Zoned for Murder from Smashwords (all e-book formats are available there). One winner will be picked at random. Be sure to leave a contact email in your comment or drop us an email at so we know how to send you the 100% off coupon code for the download.

The author of Murder Off the Books, Murder Takes the Cake, Riley Come Home, Moonlighting at the Mall and The Brianna Sullivan Mysteries e-book series, Evelyn David is the pseudonym for Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett.

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The author of Murder Off the Books, Murder Takes the Cake, Riley Come Home, Moonlighting at the Mall and The Brianna Sullivan Mysteries e-book series, Evelyn David is the pseudonym for Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett.

I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries
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Murder Off the Books
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Zoned for Murder
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ExcerpTuesday: Marilyn Meredith

Excerpt from No Bells.

GORDON BUTLER AWOKE to the blues’ riff that signaled a call coming in
from his girlfriend, Benay Weiss. He squinted at his digital clock. 5:15 a.m.

Tuesday, his day off.

Yawning, he flipped open the phone. Before he could say anything, Benay
sobbed, “Geri is missing.”

He sat up. “What?”

“My best friend, Geri Rowe. She disappeared.”

“How do you know?”

Benay sounded near hysterics. “Her husband just called to find out if she
might be here with me. She isn’t.”

“Did they have a fight?”

“He just said she didn’t come home last night.”

Gordon switched into police mode. “You two are so close. Did she say
anything about marital problems?”

“Nothing new. Gordon, I’m so scared for her.”

“Has her husband reported her missing?”

“I don’t think so. He was going to call her relatives next to see if they’d heard
from her.”

“He should make a report. Nothing will be done until she’s gone for 24
hours. They’ll want to make sure she didn’t just leave on her own.”

“She wouldn’t have done that without telling me. Gordon, we share
everything. We’ve been friends since high school. I was her maid-of-honor at
her wedding.”

“Do you want me to come over?”

She didn’t answer for a long while. “No. Philip said he’d call me back in a
little while.”

“I’ve got the day off. I could spend it with you.”

“No. I have to work. I’m so worried about Geri, she’s all I can think about.
I’ll call you if I hear anything from her.”

Gordon knew if something bad had happened to Benay’s friend, he’d hear
about it first. “Chances are she’s okay.”

“I hope so.” She hung up.

* * *
Saturday morning, Officer Gordon Butler approached the scene of his first
call of the day, a body found by teens in the nearly dry stream bed running
along the rocky bluff that gave the beach town its name

Parking his blue-and-white police car, Gordon climbed out. He surveyed
the area, trying to find the young people who’d called in their gruesome find.
A forest of native oaks, junipers as well as tall eucalyptus and clusters of
evergreen shrubs blocked the view of the place where the body reportedly
had been discovered. The strong scent of the eucalyptus overpowered the
saltiness of the ocean drifting in on a slight breeze. He inhaled deeply and
detected the sweet, sickening odor of decaying flesh.

No Bells Blurb:

Officer Gordon Butler has finally found the love he’s been seeking for a long time, but there’s one big problem, she’s the major suspect in a murder case.


F.M. Meredith, also known as Marilyn Meredith, is the author of over thirty published novels—and a few that will never see print. Her latest in the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series, from Oak Tree Press, is No Bells. F. M. (Marilyn) is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves as the program chair for the Public Safety Writers of America’s writing conference. She’s been an instructor at many writing conferences.


CONTEST: The person who comments on the most blogs on my tour will win three books in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series: No Sanctuary, An Axe to Grind, and Angel Lost. Be sure to leave your email too, so I can contact you if you’re the winner.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Want To See Some Cows?

By Susan C. Muller

“Want to go with me to see some Jersey cows?” my friend Delma asked.
I had to think about that for a moment. “Don’t we have enough cows in Texas? Why do we have to go all the way to New Jersey?”
Turns out Jersey was the type of cow, and they were in La Grange, Texas, on a dairy farm. Delma was in charge of planning an outing for the Prime Timers group at her church and she needed twenty riders to get the free county bus. She only had nineteen signed up. And I thought it was my charming personality.

“They’ll even let you milk one if you want to,” she assured me.
How could I pass up an offer like that? Milking a cow wasn’t on my bucket list, but I’ll try anything once.
The bus was due to leave at 9:00 o’clock, and I arrived at 8:40. The bus was already full. Prime Timers don’t like to wait ‘till the last minute; anything could happen. Luckily, Delma had saved me a seat. And paid my $5.75 admission fee. Wow, the day was starting out right.
It’s a two hour bus ride from Houston to La Grange and, believe me, Delma and I can talk that long with no problem. I hadn’t seen her in almost two days.
An hour out of Houston, we began to see bluebonnets. At first just a few were sprinkled along the roadside. Soon they carpeted every available space. They were so beautiful that for a few minutes, Delma and I forgot to talk.
When we arrived at the dairy farm, the wind almost knocked some of the Prime Timers over. High wind and big, heavily sprayed Texas hair are not a pretty combination. But there stood Belle, the symbol of Blue Bell Ice Cream.
I don’t know if you have Blue Bell where you live, but if not, you might want to consider moving.
All of Belle’s descendants have bell in their name, and the cow I milked was Belladonna. It wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined. One squeeze and here came a stream of warm milk. Jerseys have a high butterfat content to their milk and on this farm, all of their product went straight to Blue Bell.
The farm is family owned and operated and one of the daughters asked if we had any questions. I raised my hand. “What happens to the cows when they get too old to produce?” A fair question for a group of older citizens.
I was assured that no cow is ever slaughtered. “They’re put out to pasture to live out their days.”

I didn’t see any fields of elderly cows munching their lives away, but the farm had a lot of acreage, and the old gals might have been behind the tree line. That’s what I choose to believe, anyway.
My novel, The Secrets on Forest Bend, is set in Houston, but my hero is a cop, not a cowboy. Delma asked me if I could use this experience in my next novel. I promised her I would. I don’t know how yet, but if I bothered to do it, you can be sure I’m going to use it.
What about you? Are you always up for a new adventure, or do you prefer the comforts of home?
The Secrets on Forest Bend is available from:, Amazon, Barnes & Noble.
Follow Susan at
No cows were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Good day, all! So happy to be here again (and thrilled Ms. Redding allows such events to reoccur, lol ;))

A little about me: Joanna Aislinn loves reading but writing messed with the pleasure part of her passion; she can rarely get through a story without her internal editor interrupting the flow. These days she’s crafting new stories and learning all she can about promo, social media and building her brand while finding time to work a day job, manage a home and raise two boys, a husband and two cats! Fran Fine and tennis help keep her sane.

Here’s where you can find me on the web: my website and blog; Facebook and Twitter.

The other morning, hubby I were hanging out in the kitchen. It was one of those fresh, sunny spring days, the kind that really brings to light how bright my kitchen is. Hubby was in a good mood—think we both were—and I noticed how his backlit green eyes really popped against the backdrop.

And it occurred to me how much I enjoy and love him these days. Or, as he would say, I was “peaking.”

Got me to thinking: We’re married seventeen years this upcoming April 29. Hard to believe sometimes, but yep, that’s what it is. Most of the time, things are pretty even keel. Like others (I’m sure) we get our up days and down days; days we like each other and days we wonder, “What were we thinking?” (Hubby says we weren’t. ;))Fortunately, the percentage of the latter tends to outweigh the former.

I thought a little more. Last year, right around this time, some ‘stuff’ that had been building hit its climax. Hindsight may be 20/20, but until you’re far enough away from a situation to actually have that perspective (and maybe to even see how ‘stuff’ was a set-up or segue to a greater good), surviving ‘stuff’ is a choice one makes. Sometimes one does so a day at a time; sometimes an hour at time or whatever it is those involved can handle.

We’ve gotten through other ‘stuff’ too—again, via a conscious choice to do so. We’ve drawn lines in the sand and made up our minds to agree to disagree on certain subjects. We’ve learned to joke about topics that were very hot a few years ago (not that we agree on them either and probably never will).

But we have chosen to accept each other the best we can for exactly who we are. (And learning, over the past nineteen years—we dated about eighteen months before marrying—that we’re kind of polar opposites but can OPT to make this work between us. And those lovely moments I peak? Those are the payoff for hanging tough through the times that feel tougher.

Brings me to the topic of commitment and writing. (Feel free to substitute whatever you like in place of the underlined word. Sometimes I’ll fill in the blank with exercise, day job, kids—almost anything applies.) Rather than get into a long-drawn out discussion on that I’ll simply direct you to my posts (The Big C—Parts One and Two).

These days, I feel as though I’m going through ‘stuff’ with my writing. There are so many changes in the writing world; so many opportunities, yet so much to do and a gazillion possibilities. I suppose, like the opener to Charles Dickens’ classic, A Tale of Two Cities, it is “the best of times (and…) the worst of times.” Time itself is always an issue and, lately so is my focus. (It kinda sucks. There. “I said it; yes I did,” as syndicated radio host and author Michael Baisden is wont to say.) Story issues. Confidence (or lack of it). Things I’ve yet to learn and others I know I should be putting in motion. Fear of failure. Fear of success.

I hang in there, though, just like I have with my marriage. When I think about it, any (and almost every) relationship I’m part of is like that, right? Same with my writing. Time to make some conscious choices, beginning with a detailed plan of action, a few self-imposed deadlines, etc. If that current work-in-progress (wip) just isn’t working, maybe it’s time to turn my energies to another wip or begin a new one altogether. I’ve taken steps back to learn parts of the craft where I feel weak. I’ve reached out for help from fellow writers. (Now I’ve got to take the plunge and accept some of the offers— What?! Expose that disaster of a document I call ‘scratch pad’? Let people see how truly convoluted my grey matter is, lol? Nah. I’ll take fingernails being dragged down the chalkboard for $200, Mr. Trebec.”)

Then I remember one last thing, something the inspiring Ms. Jody Hedlund alluded to in a recent post at her blog. She talked about my unique writer’s journey and the pace I may be meant to keep. How I translate that to apply to me: I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be (in God’s plan for me, or so I choose to think). If that’s the case, then all I need to do is hang in a little longer, keep taking steps in positive directions and, like these days with hubby, enjoy peaking during a much-welcomed moment of payoff.

So what are your thoughts on these topics? What gets you through the stuff of life and what payoffs have you been blessed to experience? Are you following the pace that’s right for you? Do you feel as though you’re where you’re meant to be at this very moment in time?

Thanks so much to Chris for hosting me today. If you like what you’ve read here, won’t you please take a moment and click a share button? Bet there is someone out there whose life you touch by doing so! And before you go, consider browsing through the many enticing titles the lovely Ms. Redding has available. For all you know, your next read is here!

Have a great day all!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

ExcerpTuesday: Blonde Demolition

She glanced at Trey.
He raised a dark eyebrow. "You used to know when I was near."
"Been a long time since I've had to watch my back."
His long slender fingers spread across his chest. "That hurt."
"Truth does."
Cal looked her way from the beer tent, his brows knit. The carnies didn't often stop to talk to the firefighters. Cal moved his big frame in front of her as if she needed protection.
She noted that he looked tired. Maybe she shouldn't bring up her idea about finding her parents today. It could wait until the fair was over.
His pace was slow but steady as he moved toward her. He tugged Mark, the new guy, along with him.
The idea always amused her when they circled the wagons around her. It was sweet how they protected her.
They had no clue she could defend herself armed or unarmed. That information didn't go along with her trust fund reputation. No need to enlighten them.
Trey's words brought her back. "Have you thought about it?"
"I didn't come up with an answer." She wouldn't be rushed. She would decide this in her own damn time. Not on someone else's schedule.
"Better soon."
"You better move on, Trey."
He glanced back at the firefighters who walked his way. A sardonic grin creased his face. "Well, well."
"Leave, Trey. I don't want to see anyone hurt."
"Me or them?"
He walked past her as if she didn't exist.

You just can't hide from the past...

Mallory Sage lives in a small, idyllic town where nothing ever happens. Just the kind of life she has always wanted. No one, not even her fellow volunteer firefighters, knows about her past life as an agent for Homeland Security.

Former partner and lover, Trey McCrane, comes back into Mallory's life. He believes they made a great team once, and that they can do so again. Besides, they don't have much choice. Paul Stanley, a twisted killer and their old nemesis, is back.

Framed for a bombing and drawn together by necessity, Mallory and Trey go on the run and must learn to trust each other again―if they hope to survive. But Mallory has been hiding another secret, one that could destroy their relationship. And time is running out.

Amazon in print:

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Editing Process is Much Like Sticking a Pencil in Your Eye

by Harlow Coban

I had no idea the editing process would be so excruciatingly painful. Don’t get me wrong, I knew there’d be revisions, but I was unprepared for the magnitude of the revisions.

When my copyeditor returned my manuscript to me, she had deleted some 8,000 words from a 33,000 word novella. So like any normal person, I contemplated suicide in various and sundry ways:
1. Jump off the roof.
2. Crash through the gates of Area 51 going 100 mph and snap pictures.
3. Lie down in an aisle at a crowded movie theatre and yell, “Fire!”
4. Light a match while pumping gas.
5. Be a guest star on the original Star Trek, wear a red shirt, and go on an away mission with Captain Kirk.
6. Be an actor in one of the Scream movies and investigate every noise I hear.
7. Hold up a gun shop.
In all seriousness, I cried for 24 hours, sought comfort in my favorite foods (spaghetti, garlic bread, and chocolate cake), and started two-fisted drinking. In my stupor, I had an epiphany: I’d get a second opinion and if the second copyeditor agreed with the first, I’d make the revisions.
Well, the second copyeditor agreed with the first and even took it a step further. She asked me to search and destroy all instances where I used “was” and change the tense on all the “ing” words. This was (yes, I used “was”) a ridiculously tedious exercise. I promised God if I got through it, I’d be more mindful of my use of these words.
The editing process is painful, but my book is much, much better because of it.

Sure, I’d take another pencil in the eye if it meant I’d turn out better quality work.

Blurb Life in Death: When a girl that social worker Kari Marchant places in foster care is brutally murdered, she’s compelled to learn why. Her quest for the truth pits her against friends and coworkers. As Kari works to solve the horrific plot, more people die. She’s been targeted for death and she doesn’t even know it. How far should she go to learn the truth—even if it threatens her life?

When homicide detective Rance Nicolet meets Kari, his attraction to her is powerful—and the feeling is mutual. But things between them go terribly wrong when Kari’s old lover is found murdered with a letter from her in his pocket. The evidence against Kari is damning. Rance’s personal and professional lives collide. Does he blindly believe the woman he’s falling in love with or follow the evidence no matter where it leads?

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author Harlow Coban was born in Kansas City, MO, but grew up in Denver, CO. She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year old twins.

She shares a birthday with the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. In keeping with his legacy, she is currently working on taking over the world. Harlow’s positive attitude and fresh take on life are her tools and conquest is certain.

She spends her free time writing, dancing, traveling and defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins’ driving.

Her debut novel, LIFE IN DEATH (February 2012), is a murder mystery which pulls from real-life situations from her own family history. She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers.

In keeping with her commitment to improving the lives of children, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in her home state of North Carolina.

She loves to connect with her readers and can be found on Twitter (@HarlowCoban), Facebook (!/pages/Harlow-Coban/174596219285270), Goodreads ( and her website (



The authors will be giving away one prize at every stop which may include (but isn’t limited to):

Amazon Gift Cards
Book Lover Note Cards
Kindle Cover
Book Tote
Hunger Games Trilogy

Additionally, she’ll be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to the host whose stop has the most comments (excluding the author’s and the host’s).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Authorsday: Amy Corwin

1. What drew you to the subject of (A Rose Before Dying)?
Several things drew me to write the book. I love the old Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt mysteries and wanted to evoke that same feeling of a mystery and romance. While I was mulling over ideas, I expanded my garden with Old Garden Roses. I grew fascinated with the history of roses and the difficulties experts have identifying the various hybrids (how many medium pink roses are there? Lots.) So I thought, what would happen if a murderer sent roses to an inquiry agent as a warning, seeking to taunt the agent about his inability to identify the murderer or save the victim? If the agent could figure out the name of the rose, he might have a chance at stopping the killer, but roses have a variety of names so how would he know which one was correct?

I did a lot of research for the book and enjoyed it immensely.

2. Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?
Yes. I got terribly frustrated many times because I knew what I wanted to find, but had trouble locating it. The Internet has helped a lot, but some of my earlier books were written before there was so much available. It was very difficult to find out details about law enforcement in the 19th century, particularly because our local library is very tiny and it would takes weeks to get a book transferred to it.

Now, though, there is so much online that it has become a lot easier. My biggest challenge is the find the time to actually read the material available, understand it, and then make sure my books are as accurate as I can make them.

3. What was the name of the first novel you wrote? Did you try to publish it?
“The Red Shoe.” It was a mystery (I love mysteries) but it was really, really terrible. Talk about a sagging middle! I remember when I was writing it that I kept wondering what I should do in the middle, and it shows. That’s when I learned about plotting and developing a story.

That book will never, ever see the light of day, but it was a terrific learning experience. In fact, it was such a great learning experience that I wrote four more just like it before I wrote the one that ultimately sold (Smuggled Rose).
4. What do you know now that you are published that you didn’t know pre-published that you wish you knew?
This is going to sound silly, but the long years of effort to improve my writing and get published pretty well shredded and then destroyed what remained of my self-confidence. In some ways, it’s not quite so brutal, now, but it’s still a hostile work environment in the sense that getting the help you need from editors and beta readers means dealing with a lot of criticism. It can be heartbreaking. Unfortunately, it’s the harshest criticism that is often the most helpful and that is what makes it so difficult.

These days, I just try to keep my ego out of the mix and look on negative comments as identification of potential improvements that I can make. Emphasis on “can make.” Because one of the hardest things is that feeling that you don’t know if you’re good enough to correct the problem. You just can’t let yourself think like way, although it can be difficult when you get entire swaths of negative comments from critique partners, etc.

Frankly, the best advice is: Stiff upper lip and keep on moving forward. 

5. How many rejections have you received?
Hundreds. And I never got those “nice rejections” that authors talk about. I got those form rejections on half-sheets of paper, all addressed to: Dear Author. I felt really sorry for “Author”. Whoever she is.

6. What’s your favorite quote?
“Rules? There ain’t no rules around here, we’re trying to accomplish something!” by Thomas Edison. I think rules often stand in the way. Oh, I’m not saying that you don’t have to understand the rules, I’m saying that if you understand the rules and then break them for a specific reason, well… I’m good with that.

7. What authors do you admire?
Hundreds, but the list includes: Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, H.H. Munro, and P.G. Wodehouse.

8. What place that you haven’t visited would you like to go?
My dream trip would be to go to Antarctica to see the wildlife. My husband and I are both bird watchers (birders) and I’ve always wanted to see the penguins as well as the other wildlife in that region. I’m one of those odd people who prefer cold to heat, so it sounds like the perfect vacation to me. The Galapagos are another place I’d like to visit, for similar reasons.

9. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
My husband and I often talk about taking university classes when we retire, with the first one being marine biology. There is so much to learn about this planet and its inhabitants that I’d need four or five lifetimes to do, see, and learn everything I’m interested in. My curiosity is far-ranging and includes: archeology, ornithology, botany, history, medicine, forensics, and a lot of other topics. Each one would take a full lifetime of devotion to even learn a fraction of it. Right now, I work with computers and even though I’ve been in the field for over 30 years, I still feel like there’s more to learn than I will ever have time to handle. I’m fascinated by gadgets, too, and wish I could get to more conferences. There’s just so much out there!

10. What was the hardest scene to write?
The hardest scenes for me to write are always those with conflicts, particularly emotional, but even physical fights are difficult. I want everyone to be happy. I can’t stand fights either in real life or in fiction, so they are incredibly difficult to write. Unfortunately, if there’s no conflict in a book, there’s no story.

Author Bio:
Amy Corwin is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and recently joined Mystery Writers of America. She has been writing for the last ten years and writes Regencies, Regency mysteries, and contemporary mysteries. To be truthful, most of her books include a bit of murder and mayhem since she discovered that killing off at least one character is a highly effective way to make the remaining ones toe the plot line.

Join her and discover that every good mystery has a touch of romance.

Book Blurb:

Only Sir Edward had the motive and the opportunity.
Charles Vance, the Earl of Castlemoor, is convinced his uncle, Sir Edward, is innocent and agrees to work with the renowned head of the Second Sons Inquiry Agency to flush out the murderer. But the investigation soon reveals more reasons why Sir Edward may be responsible and even the inquiry agent warns Charles not to let family loyalty stand in the way of the truth. Unfortunately, his actions put friends and family alike at risk, and he has no choice but to pursue the investigation, regardless of the costs.

Here is the link to the Kindle edition:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In Too Deep

“In too deep…”

The new video trailer for THE TRAZ was just uploaded to YouTube, complete with the brilliant new cover. One phrase in the trailer struck me the moment I read it: “Now she is in too deep and may never get out…”
This phrase captures the essence of the story. It is the message I was trying to relay to at-risk youngsters during my presentations about making good decisions.

Getting in too deep and never being able to get out…is the horrible part of gang life and…of addictions. It becomes an especially devastating scenario when the person getting in too deep is someone too young to understand. Someone with their whole life ahead of them. Someone with potential to change the world for the better. Someone who started off with a warm heart and clear eyes. Someone who is hurting, perhaps—vulnerable to adults who prey on the weak.
Studies have shown the human brain doesn’t fully develop physically until the age of 25. Before that time, people have difficulty perceiving the results of their decisions, actions, attitudes, and behaviours.
Katrina, the 13-year old protagonist of THE TRAZ, is brilliant. Her father was a cop and had warned her about gangs. She knew what gangs did. She knew the dangers. However, she was unable to appreciate what that would mean to her, personally, should she decide to get involved with The Traz biker gang.
“Now, she is in too deep…”

There is no safe way to leave any criminal gang, especially one as powerful as THE TRAZ. Once she becomes a witness to gang activities, no matter how subtle her actual involvement, there is no way the gang will let her just walk away. She becomes a danger to the bikers should she be anywhere except under their direct control.
It is the same scenario with addictions…once one reaches the point where one can admit to the addiction, it may be too late to escape its hold. When I started smoking in my early 20’s, I promised myself that I’d quit when I got married, when I got pregnant, when I had the baby, when I turned 40, when I became a grandma… I was quickly in too deep…
This is the message I want to relay to youngsters and adults alike (even those of us over the age of 25 sometimes stumble)—just don’t do it in the first place. Just don’t. Don’t ruin your life. Don’t think you are smarter than the gang, the drug, the alcohol, the nicotine, the slot machine. Don’t think your next dose, roll, ride, drink, smoke will be your last and then you’ll be able to just walk away free. It’s not that easy. At all.
It might be just one bad decision and then… you’re in too deep, and may never get out.
THE TRAZ now on Amazon in a school edition. eBook, and print. Paperback also available on Barnes & Noble

Eileen Schuh is also the author of SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT, a SciFi novella. THE TRAZ is the first book in her BackTracker Series. The sequel will be released later this year.
Schuh invites you to visit her website or blog and join her on facebook, her facebook author page, or Twitter.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ExcerpTuesday: Melodie Campbell

From Chapter 39

Where the heck was I?

An interior stone wall stood directly in front of me. Light filtered in through a long narrow window meant for defense by bow and arrow.

So this was a fortress?

I squeezed my eyes and recalled the last thing I could—wishing for the nearest warm bed. I guess this was it.

Holy hell, the bracelet! I had rubbed the stone and it had thrown me into the very position I had asked for.

A strange sound came from somewhere close by. I shot up to sitting position and looked to my right.

"Yikes!" I said, scrambling to get out of the bed. "Who are you?"

A man lay on the bed beside me, and what a man. He was very tall, with white-blond hair to the shoulders, and his cheekbones were unusually high. His facial hair was confined to a mustache and goatee. There were lines on his face. I put his age around forty.

When he sat up, I saw that his eyes were a pale gray, very light, and his skin was pale. His teeth were good and he seemed quite clean. He was smiling the sort of smile a greedy child has on Christmas morning.

"A gift from Odin," he said, his eyes widening. "Bless the Gods, I will give sacrifice to their honor today." His accent was thick and foreign.

I grabbed for my dress, which was at the end of the bed. How in blazes had that come off in the night?

"Oh no." I groaned. "Not you too." Bloody hell, I couldn't go anywhere in this world without an armed escort.

"How did you come to be here?" he asked.

If he didn't know the answer then we couldn't have…

"You are a gift. Which of the Gods should I thank?"

A gift? Oh Crikey. How could I answer that one?

"Um…I think there might be some mistake here. Wrong bed. You know, that sort of thing." It sounded lame even to me, but the truth was even more unbelievable.

The man snorted. "The Gods don't make mistakes! You are a sweet gift for a lonely warrior. Bless the Gods. Who sent you? Freya or Sjofn?"

I swallowed hard. "What we have here is a classic misunderstanding. The Gods made a mistake. I simply got sent to the wrong bed. Sorry. Wasn't my fault. Honest."

He frowned. "You were meant for another? I don't believe it. They would
take you back if t'were the case. Go then! Leave me now if the Gods command it."

Apparently, they didn't.


“Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?”
When Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, she doesn’t count on being kidnapped – not once, but twice, dammit. Unwanted husbands keep piling up. Not only that, she has eighteen year old Kendra to watch out for and a war to prevent. Good thing she can back through the wall when she needs to…or can she?

“Hot and Hilarious!” Midwest Book Review

Melodie Campbell got her start as a comedy writer, so it’s no surprise that editors have called her work ‘wacky’ and ‘laugh out loud funny’. She has over 200 publications, and has received six awards for fiction. Melodie is a finalist for the 2012 Derringer award and is the General Manager of Crime Writers of Canada.

Buy link:
Follow Melodie’s comic blog at