Just a quick reminder that Swamp Ghosts, the first book of my Riverbend series, is now available in audio format!
Just a quick reminder that Swamp Ghosts, the first book of my Riverbend series, is now available in audio format!
No one else has a scheduled excerpt for this morning, so I thought it would be a good chance for me to share something a bit different with you guys. Two short scenes from my latest novel, That Darkest Place. While it is very difficult to find scenes from this book that don’t contain spoilers, I managed to include a funny one (probably my favorite little moment in the whole book, because, for the town’s premiere ladies’ man, Forrest Painter is amazingly inept when it concerns love), and a more serious one, as Jackson makes a decision guaranteed to upset his younger brother. Thanks for reading, and I hope the first one makes you smile, and the second one makes you curious.
Scene from CH 26, Already in Jeopardy, edited slightly to remove spoilers, and containing some mild profanity. Jackson Painter, his middle brother, Forrest, and their respective love interests are seated around the kitchen table, ready to clean up a pretty bad mess caused by the latest disaster to befall Jackson. The previous evening, Jackson had given Forrest a very stern talking to about Forrest’s fear of proposing to Bailey Hunt. Jackson had flatly ordered Forrest to go straight to Bailey’s house, get down on one knee, ask the question, and not to come home again until he’d done so. But Jackson has just noticed that Bailey is not wearing the ring Forrest has had in his pocket for two weeks. This is what follows, told from Forrest’s point of view.
Rising, Jackson spoke to Mel and Bailey. “If you two will excuse us a minute, I have something I need to show Forrest. Help yourself to breakfast and more coffee, Bailey. There’s enough for all of us.”
Jackson crunched his way down the hall to his bedroom, not glancing back even once. With a sigh of dread, Forrest followed, but as soon as he reached Jackson’s room, he knew it would have been safer if he’d stayed where he was.
His brother’s arms were crossed over his chest, brows drawn so close together, they had essentially become a monobrow. His whisper was harsh. “I can’t help noticing there’s no ring on Bailey’s finger, Forrest. Care to tell me why that is? Because I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t be here right now if she’d turned you down.”
Forrest’s tongue felt glued to the roof of his mouth. “Well, umm ….”
“Well what? You didn’t ask her?”
He shook his head. “No, but—”
“Don’t give me ‘but.’ Didn’t you get what I was telling you last night?”
“Yes. I did get it, Jackson. I might be a damn chicken, but I’m not totally stupid! And I was gonna ask her, but—”
“There you go again.”
Jackson scrubbed his hand over his face, and Forrest knew he’d disappointed him. He hated how that felt, especially when it really wasn’t his fault.
“Listen. I was gonna ask her as soon as I got to her house, but—I mean, then—we , ah, well, we kinda got distracted.”
“She twisted your arm again, I guess?”
“Sort of. It was more like we were both twistin’ each other’s arms, and before you know it, we were in bed again. I figured I’d ask her right afterward, except there wasn’t one.”
“Wasn’t one what? An after? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means we were hornier than we were hungry. We never left her bed, and after the third or fourth time, we fell asleep.”
Jackson’s eyebrows leapt for the ceiling, and his mouth dropped open. “Third or fourth, Forrest? Fourth?”
Sure he was on safer ground now, Forrest nodded. “Well, yeah. You know how it is, right?”
Mouth still agape, Jackson finally shook his head. “No, I don’t know how that is. I’m pretty sure I’d remember an evening like that, no matter how long ago it was. Four times, that’s what you’re saying?”
“Yeah, I think so. I mean, who counts? But the point is, you don’t stop in the middle of something like that, even to propose. I figured I’d do it later. And then we fell asleep. And then you called. And then, well … you know the rest. But I’m gonna ask her. I thought hard about what you said, and you were right. I can’t afford not to go for it, not if this is what I really want, and it is.”
He had no idea why Jackson was still staring at him, but after a long moment, his brother’s expression changed from stunned and skeptical, to affectionately amazed, and as Jackson turned to go back to the kitchen, Forrest heard him mutter, “Son of a bitch. Four!”
Scene 2 from CH 26, Already in Jeopardy. This one takes place after Jackson and Forrest have returned to the kitchen able.
Jackson had hoped to talk to Forrest alone first, but no postponing this decision now. He dropped into his seat, dug out a breakfast sandwich, and popped the lid off one of the cups of coffee, aware that three sets of eyes watched his every move. Taking a long swallow of the now-cool coffee, he nodded at Bailey. “That’s my plan. Forrest, I hate to do this to you, but I don’t have a choice, here. I’m moving out.”
Forrest exploded out of his chair. “No! You don’t have to do that, Jackson.”
“You know I do. Please don’t make this any harder than it already is.”
Forrest sank back down.
“Me being here at night is dangerous. That beautiful big truck out there is a neon sign, advertising to the whole town that I’m home. It’s putting a bullseye on this apartment, on me, and worst of all, on you.”
His voice dropped an octave. “I can’t be the reason anyone else dies, Forrest. Please tell me you understand that?”
Struggling with the obvious truth, his brother’s protests slowed. Stricken and miserable, he grudgingly gave in. “It’s not fair. We’re just gettin’ our lives back to normal again, and now you’re leavin’? I hate this.”
“I’m not leaving. But I’m not going to sleep here every night and let a crazy idiot take potshots at us. What’s next? Molotov cocktails? Pipe bombs? I can’t do this, Forrest. I don’t want to die at this guy’s hands, and I damn well don’t want anyone else to, either.”
“What are you plannin’ to do, then?”
“Still working on that, but I figure I can stay at different motels for a while, at least. Maybe down in DeBary or Sanford. Give the police a chance to see if they can catch this ass. It doesn’t have to be forever. Surely he’ll slip up somewhere.”
Frustration close to boiling over, Forrest glared at the table. Bailey reached for his hand, the love in her eyes, obvious. “Forrest, he’s right. If Jackson can’t be found, he can’t be attacked. And that’s safer for both of you.”
Unconvinced, Forrest scowled. “Be damned if I want my brother livin’ out of a suitcase at a cheap motel, because some lunatic is determined to hurt him. It’s not right!”
Jackson laid a hand on his brother’s arm. “No, it’s not right. It’s not fair to either of us. But for now, let’s be careful. We’ll hope for answers soon, so they can put this guy away.”
Mel cleared her throat. “Excuse me? Could I suggest something? I might have a possible solution.”
Marcia Meara, Author
This is me with my son’s dog, Happy. There are umpteen bios of me around this site, so I’m not going to repeat any of them here. Let’s cut to the chase. I wrote my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, at the age of 69, without a clue as to what I was doing. Four years and five more novels later, I’m 73, and I still don’t have a clue. And not just about writing, either. But I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had in my life, and I plan to keep on going until I fall face down on the keyboard, or forget what words are, whichever comes first. Be afraid, World. Be very afraid.
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Still trying to catch up after so many interruptions this fall, so not back on my normal posting schedule. Since we have no guest blogger today, I thought maybe I’d just share an excerpt from my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, available on Amazon for the permanently low price of $.99.
“Wake-Robin Ridge, where ghosts walk,
ancient legends abound, and things still go bump in the night.”
A slow, cold mile later, he could see the faintest hint of dawn through the trees just ahead, and knew he was approaching the clearing. The trick was to get close enough to see without being seen. He found a spot behind some thick but low-growing bushes. It was a perfect place to hunker down and wait. In the gray light of early morning, he pulled out his favorite filleting knife and a small whetstone, spat on the stone, and began to slide the knife back and forth across the surface. Falling into a rhythm, eyes half closed, he continued to hone the knife, metal caressing stone again and again. His excitement rose as he thought about the damage the razor-sharp edge was going to do, slicing deep into tender flesh, and releasing spray after spray of coppery-scented blood into the air. He smiled, already hearing the terrified pleading and the screams that would follow.
The soft noise of blade on stone kept him company as time passed. At last, morning broke in full, and spilled pink and gold daylight into the world, but his thoughts were not on the beauty of the new day opening in front of him. Instead, his hatred morphed into a cold fury as he thought about the full extent of the treachery committed against him, and the bloody revenge he planned to extract.
Lloyd crouched low in the bushes, peering at the little cabin in the clearing. This is what she chose to do with his money? Hide out on a deserted hillside in a stinkin’ little wooden shack that looked like it should have belonged to the Beverly Hillbillies, before they struck it rich? God, he could kill the bitch. “Oh, that’s right,” he said. “I’m going to.”
Download Your Copy Today!
Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1
Day 2 of my A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2 Kindle countdown. You can still download Rabbit’s story for $.99 until 11:00 AM, EDT, after which it goes up $1.00. (Still a great price, since it’s regularly $4.99). Bottom line, grab it today, before 11:00 AM, if possible, to get the best savings.
While you’re there, grab Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1, the first book in the series, for the permanent $.99 price. Such a deal! 😀
Among the many new things I’ve learned since I started writing three years ago, nothing has been more of a surprise than the idea of reader expectations. As an avid reader of 3 to 4 books a week for most of my adult life, my own expectations were simple. I wanted good writing, fantastic characters I was totally invested in, and solid, believable plots, even in fantasy. That was about it.
In today’s world, the relationship between readers and writers seems to be expanding. Writers no longer lock themselves in tiny rooms, sweating blood while they aim to produce literary masterpieces that will live beyond them for centuries. Well, maybe a few still do. But mostly, it seems like writers today are forever asking themselves what it is that readers want. This week. And then trying to write a book that fills that need, even if it’s not the story they really want to be telling. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing, but it is one way many are going about the process.
I have to say, I don’t think a lot about what’s trendy in fiction. I know I probably should, but my brain doesn’t work that way. I have a hundred stories in my head, waiting to get out, and those are the ones I want to tell. Some of them have current subjects woven into them, and some don’t. Most do have age-old themes threaded through them, and those are the things I want to focus on, no matter what the tale is outwardly about, or what’s popular in the industry today. I do my best to make my stories entertaining, but I don’t spend a lot of time wondering if the topic of the book I’m writing is going to be a hot one in the months ahead.
However, having said all of that, I also want to SELL my books. In fact, for me, this is not a paying hobby, as I’ve heard it described. It is an honest attempt to tell good stories and be compensated with a small but steady income every month. I don’t expect to get rich. I do hope to augment my husband’s retirement income, in a few more years. So, I write the stories I want to tell in the best way I can, and I look for ways to get them in front of the right audience. Once there, I expect them to stand on their own merit, or fall by the wayside. But getting them there–in front of people who might enjoy my writing style and subject matter–is the hardest part of this whole endeavor, if you ask me. Continue reading
I’m the curator of the blog for my indie press and we periodically do a book review post. This time I got a plug in for Marcia’s delightful Wake Robin-Ridge series.
What We’ve Been Reading Lately
by Kassandra Lamb (on behalf of the whole misterio gang)
Time for another round of book reviews from some of our misterio press authors. Most writers don’t get to read nearly as much as they’d like to, because so much time is taken up with their writing. So when we discover a really good book, it’s an extra special treat!
Kirsten Weiss ~ The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)
Supermodel Lulu Landry takes a swan dive off her balcony. Is it suicide or murder? Down-on-his-luck PI Cormoran Strike has been hired to find out.
The Cuckoo’s Calling, this first-in-the-series mystery novel by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowlings, is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long while.
Read more… (including my review of Marcia’s books)
Since we got such a rush of excerpts at the end of last week, I extended it for another one, but now it’s gone quiet again. You know what THAT means, doncha? You’ll be getting more of MINE, again. 😀 Starting with this one from Swamp Ghosts, which hasn’t been feeling the love around around here, and demanded that I give it equal time. Maggie Devlin and Gunnar Wolfe have just met, when Gunn hired Maggie to canoe him into some remote waterways to photograph rare birds. Turns out, Gunn knows nothing about canoes or boats at all. Hence, the early morning lesson before their first foray into the black waters of the St. Johns. And did I mention, prickly Maggie doesn’t much care for the big guy. So far. 🙂 Enjoy!
SUNDAY MORNING ARRIVED looking like a picture out of a travel brochure. A buttery yellow sun beamed down from a cloudless swath of blue sky, and the trees along the river were that jewel-like shade of green you only see in early summer. I watched Gunn as he surveyed the boat launch. “You sure you don’t want to do a dry run on land first?”
“Maggie, I’d feel silly standing over there under a tree, getting in and out of the canoe, instead of just launching it here, like anyone else. I’m sure I can do this.”
“Okay, Thor. Your funeral,” I muttered.
Gunn’s eyes widened. “Excuse me? Thor? Did you just call me Thor?”
I looked up from the cooler I was arranging in the stern of the canoe in order to offset his weight in the front. “Oh, please don’t tell me I’m the only one to ever call you that.”
He was put out. More so than I expected, though to be honest, I had been trying to get a rise out of him. His perpetual good humor was getting on my nerves this early in the morning.
“Actually, you are.” Now he had a definite scowl on his face.
“You’re kidding, right? I mean, look at you.”
He was growing redder, and his smile was ancient history, now. Hmmm. This was a different, and unexpected, side to Gunnar Wolfe.
“I beg your pardon? Look at me? What are you talking about?”
“Gunn, for Pete’s sake. You look just like the guy. You know? The guy from the Avenger movies?”
His mouth dropped open in astonishment, as though such a thought had never crossed his mind. “I don’t look like that guy!”
“Yes, you do. Exactly.”
“I do not!”
“Oh my God, Maggie. Just because we are both blond . . .”
“And … big … doesn’t mean we look alike!”
He stomped back to the truck to get our floating seat cushions and paddles, muttering to himself every step of the way. Damn. I may have been trying to needle him a bit, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so successful.
We carried the canoe down to the area designated for launching smaller craft, and I pushed it nose first into the water, leaving the stern on the sand. I could tell he was still annoyed with me, but I figured it would be best to just ignore it.
“Watch how I do this.” I stepped into the canoe. “You have to be sure your feet are in the dead center, one right behind the other. You want to bend at the waist and hold onto the gunwaling—this aluminum edge around the top of the canoe—with each hand. Then you carefully walk forward bent like this, but remember to keep holding on for balance. Step over each thwart—these braces here—then step over the bow seat, and sit down. Once you’re sitting, I’ll push the canoe out, and we’ll talk about paddling. Remember, don’t let go of the gunwaling while you’re walking. Oh, and be careful to keep your feet centered directly over the keel. That’s this indentation right here that runs down the middle of the canoe.”
I straightened up, turning to get out and realized Gunn had that look on his face. You know … the one guys get when they are staring at your butt and don’t think you will catch them? But then you do, and they get this stupid, wide-eyed look of fake innocence that makes you want to smack them with a two by four? Yeah. That look. Continue reading
Something a bit different this Sunday. A bit late, too, but who’s counting, right? Any of you who follow this feature regularly know that I find inspiration in a lot of different places, and today is no different. My good friend and cover designer, Nicki Forde, sent me a picture of her fiancé taken on their recent vacation to Rhode Island. Tired from a wonderful day of exploring New England sights and sounds, she caught Mark reading a book she’d brought along on the trip. MY book, to be precise. My Romantic Suspense book, Finding Hunter, which is Book 2 of my Riverbend series.
I was delighted to see the photo. I must say, Mark looks pretty involved, and it made me stop and think. I tend to consider my target audience women, and mostly over 30. Maybe even over 40. Which is fine by me, because they are a wonderful audience to write for. However, I have noticed more men showing up at local events, and asking questions about my books. Seeing this photo brought it home that there are men out there who read a broader spectrum of books than I might have expected.
Obviously, there are books that draw more male readers than others will, but I’m now much more aware that my writing should also appeal to those guys who enjoy some romance with their action books. I don’t intend to forget that going forward. Write as if the whole world is reading your words. They just might be!
Color me INSPIRED!
Off for an afternoon on the fabulous St. Johns River with a group of folks from a local book club. I really love doing all of these events here in central Florida, but a river cruise has got to be right at the top of the list. What could be more fun than a relaxing ride on the St. Johns, watching the birds and gators and manatees? Sharing it with fellow book lovers, that’s what!
You guys have a great weekend, and tomorrow, I’ll be letting you know what’s in store for the weeks ahead. Write on!
You guys with books to promote should really take advantage of #ExcerptWeek, you know. But as long as it’s this slow, I’m going to fill in with excerpts of my own, so be forewarned. This is the first scene of Chapter 2 in my latest book, Finding Hunter, which is Book 2 of the Riverbend series. Hunter Painter is a quirky, shy man, who carries a lot of secrets close to his heart. Some of them are tragic, and some pertain to how he feels about Willow Greene. Namely, that he’s loved her since high school, and never had the nerve to tell her, or anyone else, before confessing to his best friend. He has just hung up the phone and realizes he’s agreed to lunch at her house. Blind panic is all he feels. (And in this book, there is a poem at the start of each chapter that relates to the prologue, and hints at a mystery to come.) Enjoy!
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,
~ Traveling Man ~
8:15PM Friday, December 28, 2012
“OH, MY GOD, Biscuit. What have I done?” Hunter Painter flung himself backward on his bed, and stared at the ceiling in shock. His dog immediately took this dramatic event as an excuse to leap onto the bed and begin administering first aid. This mostly consisted of lots of very warm, very wet licks to Hunter’s face.
“Stop, Bisk! If you’re staying up here, lie down and be still.”
The smooth-haired collie lowered himself, head on paws, concerned eyes watching every move Hunter made, in case more attention was needed. But it seemed the drama was over, except for some muttering and grumbling.
Hunter scratched his tan and white companion behind the ears as he replayed the phone conversation in his mind. He had only intended to test the waters, just wanting to see if he could handle a one-on-one conversation with Willow and not turn into a gibbering idiot. Like a moon-drunk fool, he had confessed to Gunnar Wolfe that he had been in love with Willow since the eleventh grade, and Gunn had urged him to call her. After a week of long, hard thought—and fortified by three cold beers—he had decided he would.
Of course, he had only meant to thank her for inviting him and his brothers to Gunn’s wedding. Just that. “Hi, great party, thanks, goodbye.”
He figured that would be enough for a start. When had he lost control?
“Soon as she said hello, that’s when,” he muttered. “Never, ever thought she’d ask me over. How in God’s name will I handle that? Can’t be in the same room with her, even in a crowd, without breaking out in a cold sweat. Don’t know if I can do this, Biscuit. Can’t just waltz into her home, tour her garden, and have lunch with her, like we’ve been hanging out together for years. She screws up my brain, you know. Years and years gone by, and still—one smile from her and everything in my head short-circuits.” Continue reading
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