#Excerpt – #FindingHunter – #MegaSale – #AlertTheMedia

Still having fun sharing excerpts–something I seldom do on The Write Stuff. (At least not from my own books, though I do intend to get my #ExcerptWeek series for guest posters going again before long.) Today, I’m sharing one of the lighter scenes from Finding Hunter that I hope will make you chuckle. To say Hunter Painter has issues would be an understatement, but he’s a kind and gentle soul through and through, in spite of the things life throws his way. Happy reading!

Finding Hunter takes a look at the devastating effects of a family torn apart by a horrific tragedy, pitting brother against brother, and focusing on battling PTSD with the redemptive power of unwavering love and support.


HUNTER GROANED, PULLING his feather pillow over his head not only to block out the world, but just in case he started shouting in frustration.

What the hell happened? What the bloody hell just happened? Everything was fine. It was going better than I ever thought it would, and then suddenly it all went crazy. She kissed me! Why the hell did she kiss me? How the hell was I supposed to resist that?

The memory of that kiss rocketed into him so hot and fast, it scorched a path through his soul. Never in his life had a kiss transported him that way. He could still feel her mouth under his, sweet and yielding, and burning like fire. The raspberry scent of her hair lingered on his hands, and he would never, ever forget the taste of her skin. Every nerve ending in his body felt burned raw from the experience—so sensitive, the slightest breeze sliding over it would cause unbearable pain.

But somewhere in his torment, he also remembered how she had responded to him, moaning into that kiss, and whispering his name over and over as they clung to each other. She wanted him, too, a concept that had never once seemed a possibility in all the years he had loved her.

Doesn’t make it any better, does it, you stupid fool? Still never gonna happen. You don’t belong with Willow Greene, and nothing’s going to change that. All you’re doing here is torturing yourself.

He swore into his pillow. “’Take a chance,’ Gunn said. ‘Call her up,’ Gunn said. I’m gonna find that bastard and pound him to death with one of his own cameras!”

That image distracted him from his woes for about thirty seconds, and then he slid even deeper into the hole of misery he’d dug for himself.

Never gonna leave this room again. Can’t be trusted to go out into the real world and behave like a person with a single, functioning brain cell. Just gonna have my meals delivered right here, and Dad can walk Biscuit. I’ll tell him I’m sick—and keep telling him that for the rest of my life.

A sudden rap on the bedroom door interrupted his maudlin thoughts. “Hunter? Are you awake?”

“Yeah, Dad. You can come in.”

His father stuck his head in the door. “Sorry to bother you, son, but … well … there’s a young lady down here says she wants to talk to you.”

Horrified, Hunter bolted upright. “What? What’re you talking about?”

“I’m talking about this pretty little thing at the front door, says she has to talk to you. Real long hair, sweet smile, named … um …”

Hunter smacked his head. “Willow.”

His dad nodded. “That’s it. You wanna come down?”

“No! Did you already tell her I’m here?”

“Well, sure. Should I be lying to young ladies who are looking for you?”

“Yes! I mean, no, not generally. Just this one.”

“You do something to her, Hunter?”

“No, of course not. Well, not like you mean. It’s just … aw, it’s complicated, Dad. Can you just tell her I wasn’t up here, or I’m asleep, or I’m sick, or I’ve gone to China? Something? I’m not coming down there!”

His dad gave him a disapproving look. “Okay. Have it your way, but no, I’m not gonna lie to this little gal. I’m just gonna go tell her you don’t want to see her.”

Flinging himself back down on the bed, Hunter growled in frustration. “Fine. If that’s what you want to do, do it. I’m still not coming down.” He clamped the pillow back over his face, and refused to say anything else.

His dad sighed, closed the door a little too hard, and stomped down the stairs.

Two minutes later, Hunter heard a tap, and the sound of the door opening again.

This time, he didn’t bother to lift the pillow. “Did she go away?”

“No, I didn’t go away, Hunter. And I’m not going to.”

Once again, Hunter bolted to a sitting position. He dropped his pillow and stared at Willow, mouth agape. “Willow! You can’t just walk into my room. It’s … you … this isn’t …”

“Oh stop, Hunter. I’m here. And you and I are going to talk.”

Available on Amazon for only $.99 thru Valentine’s Day!
Download  Finding Hunter HERE

Hope you enjoyed this excerpt from the second Riverbend novel!  Thanks so much for reading and helping me get the word out!

#GuestDayTuesday – Jagged Feathers by Jan Sikes – @jansikes3 #WhiteRuneSeries #NewRelease


Please help me welcome my friend and fellow author Jan Sikes to The Write Stuff this morning. Jan has a brand new book out, which I can’t wait to read, but I’ll let her tell you about it. Take it away, Jan!

Thank you, Marcia, for inviting me to your blog site today to talk about my new book, JAGGED FEATHERS! I appreciate your generosity.

I love including animals in my stories and especially in this one. Vann Noble needed a reason to keep living. So when a dog showed up on his front porch badly injured, it gave him a purpose.

His VA counselors had told him, “If you can’t find a reason to live, then find a reason not to die.” Those words came back to him when the dog appeared in desperate need of his help.


Champion jumped onto the bed and whimpered, then licked his hand. The part German Shepherd, part Border Collie, had an extraordinary sense of empathy.

Vann switched on the table lamp and scratched behind the dog’s ear with a shaky hand. “I’ll be okay, boy.” Champion rewarded him with a sloppy wet kiss on the cheek. They were two of a kind. Champion’s missing right ear and scars that ran deep along the right side of his body bore an uncanny resemblance to the ones Vann carried on the left side of his body. 

A loaded 9mm Glock on his nightstand reflected in the low lamplight. One bullet would end this relentless nightmare. Just one.

If you can’t find a reason to live, then find a reason not to die. The VA counselor’s words echoed.

Champion nuzzled his hand with a wet nose. He let out a low whine and blinked sad brown eyes.

“Looks like you’re that reason, ol’ boy.” He owed it to Champion to stick around. The dog had shown up on his front porch, starving and wounded. He gave Vann a much-needed purpose.


Have you ever had an animal show up needing your help? Did it make you feel like you were chosen for the job? Throughout this story, Champion stays loyal and true to Vann, then instantly adopts Nakina, and takes on the role of her guardian. I fell in love with him from the start.

Book Trailer Link HERE 


Vann Noble did his duty. He served his country and returned a shell of a man, wounded inside and out. With a missing limb and battling PTSD, he seeks healing in an isolated cabin outside a small Texas town with a stray dog that sees beyond his master’s scars. If only the white rune’s magic can bring a happily ever after to a man as broken as Vann.  

On the run from hired killers and struggling to make sense of her unexplained deadly mission, Nakina Bird seeks refuge in Vann’s cabin. She has secrets. Secrets that can get them all killed.

A ticking clock and long odds of living or dying, create jarring risks.

Will these two not only survive, but find an unexpected love along the way? Or, will evil forces win and destroy them both?

Buy Jagged Feathers at the Universal Purchase Link HERE


 Reach Jan on Social Media Here:





Don’t Forget: $.99 Sale on All #Riverbend Books – Last Six Days!

… to download your copies today! All three Riverbend books are still on sale for the ridiculously low price of $.99, so don’t miss out!

“Swamp Ghosts is an intriguing mystery filled with monsters, both on two legs, and four–or none at all.” – 5 Star Review

“Gut-Wrenching, Heartbreaking, and Soul-Warming!” – 5 Star Review

“Marcia Meara keeps the twists coming in this book! You think you have the story line figured out and BAM!!! A wonderful read!!!!!” – 5 Star Review

So there you have it, folks! Hope you’ll take advantage of this sale today, before they’re all gone. Oh, wait.  That’s right. These are eBooks. They’ll be around a long, long time–but NOT at this price!  😁 So run, don’t walk, right on over to Amazon and download your copies today! 

#OnSale #Promo – Entire Riverbend Series – $1.99 each

Good Morning, Everyone! Hope your Christmas was Merry & Bright! Today, I’m offering a Happy New Year special, in the hopes that something fun will get the new year off to a great start. If you haven’t checked out my Riverbend series, now’s the time! Each book will be on sale for the (ready?) “low, low, LOW” price of $1.99 from today through December 31. Riverbend is a fictional small town in central Florida where anything can happen. And does. Unlike my mountain series, there’s nothing paranormal going on here because the folks who live in Riverbend are weird enough all by themselves. 😀 Hope you’ll check it out.  Happy Reading!

SWAMP GHOSTS: Riverbend Book 1


Wildlife photographer Gunnar Wolfe looked like the kind of guy every man wanted to be and every woman just plain wanted, and the St. Johns River of central Florida drew him like a magnet. EcoTour boat owner Maggie Devlin knew all the river’s secrets, including the deadliest ones found in the swamps. But neither Maggie nor Gunn was prepared for the danger that would come after them on two legs.

On a quest to make history photographing the rarest birds of them all, Gunnar hires the fiery, no-nonsense Maggie to canoe him into the most remote wetland areas in the state. He was unprepared for how much he would enjoy both the trips and Maggie’s company. He soon realizes he wants more than she’s able to give, but before he can win her over, they make a grisly discovery that changes everything, and turns the quiet little town of Riverbend upside down. A serial killer is on the prowl among them.

FINDING HUNTER: Riverbend Book 2


Before, I never thought about taking a life. Not once.
Now, the thought fills my mind day and night, and
I wonder how I’ll hide that terrible need,
As an old car swings to the shoulder,
And stops.

~ Traveling Man ~

Hunter Painter’s darkest fears have shaped his offbeat personality since he was a child, crippling him in ways invisible to those unable to see past his quiet exterior. In a sleepy Florida town known for its eccentric inhabitants, he’s always been a mystery to most.

Only one person sees beyond Hunter’s quirky facade. Willow Greene, the new age herbalist who owns the local candle and potpourri shop, has secretly loved him since they were in high school. When, sixteen years later, she discovers Hunter has loved her just as long, Willow hopes her dreams are finally coming true.

Willow soon learns that Hunter fears happiness at her side isn’t in the cards for him. With her natural optimism and courage, she almost convinces him he’s wrong—that they can really have that life together they both long for—but even Willow can’t stop what Hunter knows is coming.

One by one, his worst nightmares become reality, culminating in an unthinkable tragedy, which devastates everyone it touches. Willow’s battle begins in earnest as Hunter is plunged into a bleak, guilt-ridden despair, threatening to destroy not only their love, but Hunter, himself.

Finding Hunter is the story of a lost man’s desperate struggle to make his way home again, and one woman’s unshakeable faith in him and the power of their love.

THAT DARKEST PLACE: Riverbend Book 3


“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.

And there you have my last sale of the year. Hope you’ve found a new book or two that appeals to you. Thanks so much for being such a lovely group of followers. You’ve made my life richer throughout good years and not-so-good ones, and I appreciate every single one of you! Here’s to a much better year ahead!


#ShareAReviewDay Tuesday – Finding Hunter by Marcia Meara

I hope you’ll indulge me this afternoon, folks. I decided I was overdue in sharing one of my own reviews, so I’ve chosen a great one for my 2nd Riverbend novel, Finding Hunter. Hunter, the youngest of the Painter brothers, has a very special place in my heart. Hope you enjoy reading this one, and will pass it along where you can. Thanks!



I was looking forward to this book because I enjoyed the first one in the series so much. And now I’m eager to read book three. Marcia Meara has found her groove in the complex-character/Florida-fiction niche.

I love character-driven fiction, and this is the epitome of a character-driven piece. Hunter Painter puts a smile on your face and a tear in your eye from the first page. His story arc had me an emotional wreck, so you can imagine what he and Willow went through. And Willow… so strong, so understanding, so amazing. She is a force to be reckoned with.

These characters and the supporting cast kept me on the edge of my seat. This book depicts the horrors of PTSD from not just the person plagued by it, but also from the POV of the family and friends who so often feel helpless and are relegated to watching their loved one suffer. Meara explored this condition thoroughly and without restraint. It was an eye-opening and heart-wrenching take on the topic.

As I said, I really enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to read the next installment.

Continue reading

Living With (or Without) Our Characters @KassandraLamb #FabulousFridayGuestBlogger

FFGB Graphic

I’m thrilled to be doing my first guest post here on The Write Stuff. Thank you, Marcia, for rolling out the red carpet!!

The second most common question we writers tend to hear is how do we come up with our characters. (The first one being where do we get our story ideas.)

Like the story ideas, our characters come from several different sources. Some are loosely based on people we know. Some are loosely based on ourselves (the protagonist of my Kate Huntington stories is definitely my alter ego; the person I wish I was).

450px-sunset_024591 Sunset at Assos by Nevit Dilmen

How I visualize Kate Huntington (maybe without the flowers) ~ photo is “Sunset at Assos” by Nevit Dilmen ~ Used with his permission ~ I love his photography!

And sometimes a character who was only supposed to have a bit part gets their teeth around that bit and takes off running. One such character is the tough female cop who’s assigned as police protection when someone is trying to kill Kate in Book 1 of that series. This cop wasn’t even supposed to talk much except in the scene where she is first introduced.

Officer Rose Hernandez is short but solidly built (Kate refers to her as “compact”) and she can arch an eyebrow at a forty-five degree angle in the most expressive way. By the end of Book 1, she has rebelled against her incompetent superior – and me – and has gone rogue, helping Kate and her friends find the killer on their own. And by Book 3 she’s a central character in the series.

Still other characters are total figments of our imaginations, perhaps a conglomeration of some interesting-sounding personality traits–someone whom we wish we knew. I have a few of those scattered throughout my books. I’m fond of feisty women, but I don’t meet enough of them in real life. (Note: feisty is tough but with a big mouth and a sense of humor – maybe it’s just as well that there aren’t too many of them *cough* us *cough* running around in real life 😉 )

The main character in my new series is such a woman, although she would probably refer to herself as snarky rather than feisty. She’s a thirty-something divorcee who trains service dogs for combat veterans with PTSD.


I had so much fun writing the first book in this new series. Bringing this character to life was a blast. And now that I’ve breathed life into her, I wonder where she will take me. Because I am quite sure she does not plan to do as she’s told!

But now that I have two series going, I’m having a very interesting experience with my characters. While I’ve been focused on my new heroine, Marcia Banks, Kate and her friends have been whispering in my ear, “What about us?” One of them (most often Kate) will nudge me at some odd moment, with a cool idea for some plot twist in the next, as yet unwritten, Kate Huntington mystery.

So this will be my life for the foreseeable future, caught between two worlds…oh wait, it’s three worlds – Kate’s world and Marcia’s world and my real-life world (which I do try to visit now and again).

When I’m writing Kate’s stories, Marcia will be making snarky remarks about my neglect of her, and when I’m telling Marcia’s tales of mishap and mayhem, Kate will be nudging my elbow and Rose will be arching her eyebrow at me.

And then there is the role that our readers play in our characters’ lives. For without readers, our characters’ life force would fade away. Every time a reader picks up one of our books, they breathe new energy into the people who live inside that book.

And if we’ve done our jobs well, the characters will live on in the reader’s mind for a while after the last page of the book is turned. And the reader will be wondering what Kate or Marcia is up to now…

Authors, how do you experience your characters? Do they haunt you if you’re too slow about writing the next chapter in their stories?

As readers, what characters have lived on in your minds for days after finishing a book?

I’m so excited about this new series that I’m inviting everybody to a Facebook party to celebrate! Please click HERE to say you’re coming and put the date on your calendar, Tuesday, April 12, 2-8 pm, EDT.

Kass_Marcia_Buddy FINAL BANNER

Here’s the blurb and links for the new book:

To Kill A Labrador, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery

Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) likes to think of herself as a normal person, even though she has a rather abnormal vocation. She trains service dogs for combat veterans with PTSD. And when the ex-Marine owner of her first trainee is accused of murdering his wife, she gets sucked into an even more abnormal avocation–amateur sleuth.

Called in to dog-sit the Labrador service dog, Buddy, she’s outraged that his veteran owner is being presumed guilty until proven innocent. With Buddy’s help, she tries to uncover the real killer. Even after the hunky local sheriff politely tells her to butt out, Marcia keeps poking around. Until the killer finally pokes back.

Just $1.99 during the Pre-Order period. Available on:


P.S. To connect with me, check out my website, email me at lambkassandra3@gmail.com, or come “like” me over at Facebook (Or feel free to send me a friend request)

#ExcerptWeek To Kill A Labrador by Kassandra Lamb

Thank you, Marcia, for letting me join you all here on The Write Stuff. I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled on this wonderful blog before now.

Hi, Everyone. *waving from Florida* My name is Kassandra Lamb and I’m the author of a successful mystery series, the Kate Huntington mysteries. And now I’m launching a new series of cozy mysteries.

I’m so excited to share a little bit of the first book, about a young woman (whose first name is also Marcia) who trains service dogs for veterans with PTSD. Wait, I’ll let her introduce herself:

ToKillALabrador FINAL

I’m a normal person. Granted I have a somewhat abnormal vocation. I train service animals for PTSD sufferers–mostly combat veterans.

But other than that, I’m just a small-town, thirty-something divorcee.

My name is Marcia Banks–pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha. Okay, okay, so I don’t have a totally normal name.

I live in central Florida, on the outskirts of the Ocala National Forest, in a little town called Mayfair, population 258 (and a half. Agnes Baker’s pregnant. Again.)

Mayfair sprang up in the 1960s, in response to the transitory success of the Mayfair Alligator Farm (rumor has it that old Mr. Mayfair poached the gators from the Forest). Billboards plastered along the newly minted I-75 corridor drew in vacationing families to witness the wonders of gator wrestling and to buy fake alligator skin handbags and belts. Sadly, the farm went under in the mid-seventies, when Walt Disney plopped his amusement park down next to another sleepy Florida hamlet–Orlando.

Mayfair was virtually a ghost town when I moved here two years ago, shortly after the demise of my brief but disastrous marriage to a concert violinist in the Baltimore Symphony.

It’s a great place to train service animals because everybody knows everybody. It didn’t take long for the residents to learn the rules. The main one being to never, ever pet the dogs I’m training unless I say it’s okay.

The exception is my Black Lab-Rottie mix, Buddy, if he’s the only dog I’m walking at the time.

He was my first trainee, and how he came back into my possession was the beginning of my not-so-normal avocation–unwilling amateur sleuth.

One sunny day last winter, I received the most shocking phone call of my life. It even beat out the anonymous one three years ago informing me that my husband was having an affair with a cello player.

The caller said she was with the Collinsville Sheriff’s Department and wanted to know if I had trained a service dog named Buddy.

My mind scrambled for a reason why someone from a sheriff’s department would be asking me that. Had Buddy bit someone?

“Where exactly is Collinsville?” I asked, stalling for time.

“Off 33, near Polk City.”

“In Florida?” More stalling.

“Yes, ma’am, not far from Lakeland.” Her tone said she was losing patience with me. “Are you the Marcia Banks who trained Buddy?” She mispronounced my first name, of course.

I couldn’t figure out how to get around admitting it, since I had signed off on his training certificate. “Uh, yes.”

“Could ya come get the dog as soon as possible?”

“Why? What’s happened to his owner?” Jimmy Garrett was an Iraqi veteran who’d had a close encounter with an IED. As a result, he’d come home with a prosthesis where his right leg used to be and some pretty disabling nightmares, among other PTSD symptoms.

“He’s been arrested, ma’am.”

“What about his wife?”

A long pause. “That’s why he’s been arrested. He’s bein’ held on suspicion of murder.”

“Of his wife?” My voice rose, ending on a squeak.

“Yes, ma’am.”

The book is available for pre-order now and will be released on April 10, 2016 (Psst! It’s just $1.99 during the pre-order period; it goes up to $3.99 once it’s released.)