The #MysteryNovember Book Tour Day 12 – Simon Cornish @unforgivingmuse

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With tour bus rider Simon Cornish, I’m all caught up again! This bus is loaded with interesting authors and good books to read. Learn more about Simon at the link below, and please, do remember to share. We ARE “Writers Helping Writers,” after all. Thanks so much, and enjoy!

The #MysteryNovember Book Tour Day 12 – Simon Cornish @unforgivingmuse

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The #MysteryNovember Book Tour Day 10 – Georgia Rose @GeorgiaRoseBook #TuesdayBookBlog

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Had to get off the bus for a day or two, but I’m back on now, and I see three new passengers. The first is author Georgia Rose. To learn more about Georgia and her books, check the link below. As always, don’t forget to share everywhere you can. It makes a big difference! Thanks!

The #MysteryNovember Book Tour Day 10 – Georgia Rose @GeorgiaRoseBook #TuesdayBookBlog

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#RomancingSeptember Day 30

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This last interview of the series features…moi! I am so tickled that I got to join this list of romance writers, and talk about my first romantic suspense novel, Wake-Robin Ridge. Many thanks to both Rosie Amber, and Stephanie Hurt, for putting this event together, and for inviting me to take part. I do hope you’ll go read the interviews, and please share both of them (and this post, as well) everywhere you can. I’ll be very appreciative of that, believe me. 🙂 Thanks, and happy reading.

Rosie Amber: #RomancingSeptember Day 30 with Marcia Meara
Stephanie Hurt: #RomancingSepte4mber Day 30 with Marcia Meara

(NOTE: There are a couple of small formatting errors in the longer interview, probably because my submission was set up a bit differently than most, letting my characters do a bit of the talking for me, and thus, making it trickier to cut and paste. This is not Rosie Amber’s fault, and all of the interview made it, so it’s all good.)

 

#Excerpt Week Finding Hunter CH 8

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A shorter one this time…a scene from CH 8, from Hunter’s POV, and giving you a bit more insight into who Hunter Painter really is. Another of his secrets, exposed. 🙂 Poor Hunter. He’s so befuddled.

******

I duck, climbing in, nod my thanks, but don’t speak.
He talks enough for both of us. My head hurts.
I yell at him, see his shocked face.
He stops, pushes me out, drives away fast.
Walking again.
~ Traveling Man ~

~~~
Chapter 8

You Write
~~~

Saturday, January 19, 2013

 HUNTER WATCHED WILLOW stroll through her herb garden, basket over her arm, and small, sharp scissors in hand. The weather had been mild this winter, and there were plenty of hardy herbs still green and fragrant. She gathered bunches to hang in the kitchen, and the snip-snip sound followed her as she moved along each row.

Sitting at a white wrought iron table in the shade of a young laurel oak, legs stretched out in front of him, Hunter’s sharp eyes missed very little. Admiring Willow’s graceful movements had been a pastime of his since the first day she came into his life, an activity as familiar as breathing in those days. Today, it brought a perspective that was new—and completely unanticipated.

Today, she was his, as he was hers. Today, his heart was at peace, even if only temporarily, and the constant, unfulfilled longing from years ago was gone. She loved him, which made everything different, and he refused to let anything steal this moment from him.

His gaze lingered on the silky blue fabric of her skirt, blowing around her slim legs, and the pale gleam of her unbound hair, cascading down her back. Words tumbled through his mind, and that familiar need to commit them to paper took over.

With his small, spiral notebook and pen in hand, Hunter wrote, spilling his thoughts onto each narrow blue line, still as in love with the process as he had been as a young child. Then, as now, random marks turned into letters in front of his eyes, and letters into words. Words became sentences, then thought, then pure emotion. His pen flew across the paper, capturing every image and feeling, so he could revisit them later, at will.

Hunter Painter loved to write. It helped convince him he wasn’t simply taking up space on this planet, and it was as much a part of him as his gray eyes and brown hair. When he was lost in the process, the rest of the world disappeared, which is why he didn’t realize Willow had finished her herb gathering, and stood behind him, reading over his shoulder. Oblivious, he scribbled on, trying to capture each word before it got away.

When she laid her palm on his shoulder, he shot straight up, pen flying from his hand, and spiral notebook dropping to the ground. “Geeze, Willow! Didn’t know you were there!”

He scrambled around, retrieving pen and notebook, hoping she hadn’t had a chance to see what he was doing, but one glance at her expression told him he’d been caught. Running wouldn’t help. He’d tried that. She would follow.

Willow took a seat at the tiny table, the basket of herbs by her feet. “You write.” Amazement was in her voice and shone from her eyes. “Poems.”

Cheeks burning, he eased back into his chair, uncertain how to respond. “Yeah … I guess I do.”

“You guess? You write, Hunter. Why are you so embarrassed? What I read was wonderful.”

He stammered, face flushing redder. “I never … show anyone. It’s just … something I do.”

“For how long?”

“Always. Long’s I can remember.”

“You’ve been writing as long as you can remember, and no one knows about it? No one has read any of it?”

Hunter sank lower in his chair, groaning inside. She wasn’t going to let this go. “No. Never.”

“Why on earth not?”

He shrugged, face still hot. “Never showed it to anybody.”

Brow slightly furrowed, she uttered a noncommittal sound. “Hmm.”

“What’s ‘hmm’ mean?”

She rose, picked up her basket, and beckoned to him. “Let’s go inside. I’ll fix us some lunch.”

Left alone, he had little choice but to follow her, muttering under his breath the entire way. “Done it again. Never showed anybody a word I’ve written for thirty years, and somehow, after only a few weeks, Willow knows all about it. How does this keep happening?”

#FindingHunter Available in Print Format Now!

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Woohoo! Finding Hunter is now available in print as well as Kindle format. Here’s the blurb from amazon:

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.

Soon, Willow 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.

*

Hope some of you will check it out here:

Finding Hunter

#ExcerptWeek – Finding Hunter Chapter 4

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Pulling out all the stops as we head into the weekend. Decided to share an entire chapter! We last saw Hunter racing for home, leaving a shocked and miserable Willow behind, after a shared kiss in the garden that rocked her world. Willow, probably my strongest female character to date, is not going to settle for something like that, without an explanation. This is what ensues. (Note: Hunter does have reasons for his deep-seated fear of starting a relationship with Willow. But his resistance is giving way.)
***********

Bounced awake, I hold my head against the constant pain.
An arm reaches across me, opens the door.
Sorry, he says, wrinkling his nose.
You gotta get out now …
Go bathe.
~ Traveling Man ~

~~~
Chapter 4
I’ve Gone to China
~~~

Saturday, December 29, 2012

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. Continue reading

#FindingHunter Excerpt 4

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Lest you think Finding Hunter is all sweetness and light, and mere romantic fluff, let me assure you that it’s not. Not that I don’t love romantic fluff, myself, and read plenty of it. But in this case, it’s not what I’ve written. At least, not completely. Bad things are heading for Hunter & Willow, no matter how hard Willow tries to convince Hunter otherwise. To demonstrate what I mean, here is the Prologue, featuring the man who’s the source of the little snippets I’ve been sharing with you, from the beginning of each Chapter. Aahhh…the Traveling Man. He’s on his way. 😯
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FINDING HUNTER PROLOGUE

Dawn, August 1, 2013

EVERYTHING WAS PAIN. Everything he felt, everything he remembered. Pain, and pain, and pain. His dreams echoed with sounds of agony, screams ricocheting through his head. Pain—and blood. Rivers of blood. Scarlet, coppery-scented puddles spreading in front of him.

He woke on his knees, vomiting in the grass. Afterward, he crawled back onto the park bench, mouth sour, and head throbbing. Shivering, he tried to push the dreams away, but they weren’t ready to let him go.

He had done something bad. That was the problem. Worse than bad—something unthinkable. This crime was the root of all his dreams, and if only he could remember, he’d know what he needed to do next. But every time he tried to get it straight in his head, the screams would start again, followed by that God-awful, unrelenting pain.

As the day woke up around him, he huddled on the bench, with the smell of rotgut whiskey on his breath, and sledgehammers pounding inside his skull. He scrubbed at his eyes, as if that would wipe away the images of all that blood, and make the last echoes of those tortured screams disappear. It didn’t work.

There had to be a way to make it all end. When it came to him, he was surprised at the simplicity of the solution. Something—someone—needed to die. Fight fire with fire, blood with blood, pain with pain. Oh, yes. That was the answer.

Shuffling to his unsteady feet, he stumbled through the morning mist. He had no idea where he was—not even which state he was in, let alone the name of this little town—but he heard the unmistakable whoosh of cars speeding down a highway. In five minutes, he stood by the edge of the southbound lane, holding out his thumb. Instinct told him the direction to travel, and desperation kept him upright, as he waited for the ride that would take him where he needed to go.

His plan was simple. If death would bring an end to this pain, then someone was going to die.
****

Finding Hunter is now available for download on Amazon. Print version coming soon.

#FindingHunter Excerpt 3

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Promised the second part of today’s excerpt, and here it is. A bit later in Chapter 3, still at Willow’s house, but after lunch, this time from Willow’s POV. She’s on just as many pins and needles as Hunter is. 🙂 Enjoy!

*************

How could I ever have thought I cared a fig for Evan Ashe, or anyone else? No one has ever made me feel the way Hunter Painter does. Every single day of my life has been lost in sleep-walking, waiting, waiting, waiting.

She shoved that thought away. “Would you like to see the herb garden first?”

“There’s more?”

“Of course,” she said, with a self-conscious laugh. “I never can seem to do things by halves. I’ve made several garden areas, and then there’s a path through the trees, down to a little stream. What would you like to see?”

“Everything. Show me everything.”

She studied his face to be sure he really meant it. He looked serious. “Okay, let’s start over there.” Pointing to the side yard, she headed to her favorite bed.

Following traditional design, Willow had laid out her main herb garden as a large rectangle, with narrow brick paths that separated it into sections for each herb. Miniature purple coneflowers, her favorite butterfly plant, made a colorful, sweet-scented border around the entire garden. They strolled through the paths, sipping their iced tea, while Willow explained a bit about the uses of each plant. Hunter followed along, nodding, and making the occasional comment, as though he was truly interested.

I have no idea what I’m even saying. I can’t believe this could possibly interest him. Here we are, Hunter Painter and I, after all these years. Walking around my garden, and I don’t even know what I’m saying. God, if he stands any closer to me, I’m going to do something stupid, like touch him. Continue reading

#FindingHunter Excerpt #2

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Thought I’d share a bit more of the romantic part of #FindingHunter with a scene from Chapter 3. First, the Chapter 3 snippet from the top of the page, then a moment from Hunter’s POV, as he has lunch with Willow Greene, something he’s terrified to be doing. (Hunter has issues. 😀 ) Later, I’ll share another scene from Chapter 3, from Willow’s POV, which that will include their first kiss. Hope you’ll enjoy this bit, and THAT one.  😉

CH 3 Snippet/Poem

Which way, he asks, face all sharp angles and bright teeth
Under a straw hat, and above his bib overalls.
South, I mumble, climbing into the car.
South toward death—but I don’t say
That part.
~ Traveling Man ~

Excerpt

His thoughts were tangled around each other in his head, and his mouth betrayed him, as usual. “Never have grown up, have you?”  He saw the hurt in her eyes immediately.                                 

“Why would you think that, Hunter?”

“Oh, God, I’m sorry, Willow. That didn’t come out like I meant it.”

“It sounded clear to me. You think I’m still a silly teenage girl, full of frivolous ideas.”

“No.” He gave a determined shake of his head. “Don’t think that at all. What I think is that the rest of us grew up … grew weary … grew complacent. We bent to the way of the world, beaten down, or just too tired or unhappy to care anymore. Some of us grew old by thirty. None of that happened to you. You grew up without letting the world kill who you are. Life may have touched you—or even hurt you—but it hasn’t changed you.”

Now she was staring at him, and he felt his face burn. “That’s what I meant,” he mumbled, studying the green and white checked tablecloth. “Just didn’t get it all out.”

“Oh. Well, then … thank you. I think? I mean, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?”

He raised his eyes to hers. “A very good thing. Nice to see.”

They finished up lunch, Hunter still feeling like a clumsy bumpkin, but doing his best not to spoil the mood again. Chatting more easily, they covered mutual friends, the challenges of taking care of an older home, and anything else Willow thought of. Hunter just went along for the ride, letting her pick topics that made her happy. He didn’t really care what the subject was, as long as he could sit there watching her hands fly and her eyes shine.

She’s the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen. It’s like talking to a being who’s made of pure joy. Gunn may not be able to see how she sparkles, but I do. She’s magic, all right. None of us are good enough for her, especially not a bumble-mouthed country nobody like me.

**

Finding Hunter available for download on Amazon.  Print book coming soon.