People often ask how I come up with ideas for my novels. Sometimes it just seems to pop into my head. In my latest release, THE PERFECT MURDER, once I had told Chase and Brandon Garrett’s story, there was no doubt I would be writing Reese’s story.
Much of the story was determined by the previous novels, THE CONSPIRACY, and THE ULIMATE BETRAYAL. Reese, the middle brother, is CEO of Garrett Resources, a billion-dollar oil and gas corporation owned by the Garrett family. I knew him well by the time I started his story, the last book in the Maximum Security Series.
In THE PERFECT MURDER, Reese is a man with a past who is determined to retain his hard-earned reputation by avoiding an affair with the beautiful woman who works for him, a valued and trusted employee.
When McKenzie Haines is accused of murder, Reese is forced to make a choice—one that could destroy his career or get him killed. It’s a fast-paced, high-stakes action adventure as well as a love story between two smart, determined people who refuse to give up no matter the odds.
I hope you’ll watch for THE PERFECT MURDER and that you enjoy.
Till next time, happy reading and all best wishes,
New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin. More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, was released in paperback December 29th. The final 2 books in her Maximum Security series will be release in June, COME MIDNIGHT, a short story on June 1st, and THE PERFECT MURDER, a novel in hardcover on June 22nd.
Last Day of July
Seconds after the chopper lifted off the pad, Reese felt the odd vibration. Along with the pilot and co-pilot and five members of the crew, the Eurocopter EC135 was headed for the Poseidon offshore drilling platform.
For a moment, the ride leveled out and Reese relaxed against his seat. As CEO of Garrett Resources, the billion-dollar oil and gas company he owned with his brothers, he was always searching for the right investment to expand company holdings, the reason he was flying out to the platform.
For months he’d been working with Sea Titan Drilling, the owner of the offshore rig, to complete the five-hundred-million-dollar purchase, an extremely good value when the average price of a similar rig was around six-fifty.
The vibration returned and with it came a grinding noise that put Reese on alert. The men in the cabin began to glance back and forth and shift nervously in their seats. A sharp jolt, then the chopper seemed to fall out of the sky. It climbed again, began to dip and sway, dropped then climbed as the pilot fought for control.
The pilot’s deep voice rumbled through the headset. “We’ve got a problem. I don’t want you to panic, but we need to find a place to set down.”
There was definitely a problem, Reese thought, as the vibration continued to worsen. The chopper was out of control and the whole cabin was shaking as if it would break apart any minute. His pulse was hammering, his adrenalin pumping.
Along with the men in the crew who rode back and forth from the rig every few weeks, he stared out the window toward the ground. They were no longer above the heliport. Clearly the pilot was looking for an open space big enough to handle the thirty-six-foot blade span. All Reese could see were the rooftops of warehouses and metal commercial buildings.
The chopper kept shaking. The crew was grim-faced but resigned. The pilot did something to take the pitch out of the rotors and the chopper started falling.
“No need to worry,” the pilot said. “We’ll auto-rotate down. I’ve done it a dozen times.”
Auto rotate down. Reese knew the concept, the technique helicopter pilots used to land when the engine failed. The trick was to find a safe place to hit the ground.
Both engines went silent. The blades were flat now, the wind whistling through them, tying his stomach into a knot.
“Brace for impact,” the pilot said. Below them, Reese spotted an open flat slab of asphalt in the yard of a small trucking firm–the only possible landing site anywhere around. Trouble was it didn’t look wide enough to handle the blades.
At the last second, the pilot flared the helicopter in an effort to slow the descent, then the ground rushed up and the chopper hit with a jolt that wracked Reese’s whole body.
For an instant, he thought they were going to make it. Then one of the spinning rotor blades hit the corner of a building and tore free. The Plexiglas bubble shattered as the long metal blades exploded into a hundred deadly pieces, careening like knives through the air, slicing into buildings and the cabin of the helicopter.
Reese didn’t feel the impact. One moment he was conscious, then the world suddenly went black.
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BEST eBOOK SUSPENSE/THRILLER – New Apple Book Awards
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The Mourning Dove Mysteries series includes:
3. A LIGHT TO KILL BY (coming August 3–preorder available)
Emory Rome is back in DEATH OPENS A WINDOW, Book 2 of the Mourning Dove Mysteries and the follow-up to the international bestseller MURDER ON THE LAKE OF FIRE.
As he struggles with the consequences of his last case, Emory must unravel the inexplicable death of a federal employee in a Knoxville high-rise. But while the reticent investigator is mired in a deep pool of suspects – from an old mountain witch to the powerful Tennessee Valley Authority – he misses a greater danger creeping from the shadows. The man in the ski mask returns to reveal himself, and the shocking crime of someone close is unearthed.
Award-winning mystery author Mikel J. Wilson draws on his Southern roots for the international bestselling Mourning Dove Mysteries, a series of novels featuring bizarre murders in the Smoky Mountains region of Tennessee. Wilson adheres to a “no guns or knives” policy for the instigating murders in the series.
At thirty-two stories, the Godfrey Tower jutted from the Knoxville skyline like a shark fin in the Tennessee River. Unseen through the frameless exterior walls of silvery, reflective glass, a young woman on the twenty-ninth floor sat with a phone held to her ear, pretending to be on a business call as she stared out the floor-to-ceiling window behind her desk. While her colleagues busied themselves on phones or computers at the dozens of cubicles throughout the large, open office space, Angie was not contributing to the organization’s productivity.
If she had looked down and across the street, the attractive brunette would’ve seen the unremarkable roof of the area’s next-tallest building fourteen floors below her. Instead she focused on the unobstructed view of downtown and the hazy, snow-peaked mountains beyond. She imagined herself hiking below the snowline with her new lumbersexual boyfriend and lying with him on a blanket before a tantric campfire. Angie could almost hear the crackling wood, until she realized the sound was coming from behind her.
She turned her chair around to see her boss tapping her desk with his pen. The hoary goat of a man stared her down, his pinched eyes straining to scold her through spotted glasses. “You’re having a rather one-sided conversation.”
Angie held up a silencing finger to her boss and made up something to say to her imaginary caller. “Thank you so much for your feedback, Mr. Watkins. We always appreciate hearing about good customer service, and I’ll be sure to pass along your kudos. Okay. Take care now.” She hung up the phone and greeted her boss with a smile. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t hear what you said.” She mimed a talking mouth with her hand. “He was talking my ear off.”
Mr. Ramsey, however, did not return her smile. In fact, a look of horror sprinted across his face as something behind her snatched his attention. Before Angie could turn around to see what it was, she heard a great shattering, followed by the pelting of glass on her back and right cheek.
A dark-haired man in a brown suit flew through the window headfirst and thudded faceup onto the floor beside her. The impact against the man’s back shoved the air from his lungs. He gurgled as he struggled to regain his breath – although no one could hear it over the screams of Angie and several of her co-workers. Shards of glass protruded from his head and neck, one at the base of an erratic fountain of blood that sprang from his carotid artery.
Angie, now shocked into silence, tore her eyes from the dying man and toward the broken window through which she had daydreamed just a moment earlier. Oblivious to the blood trickling from the small cuts on her own face, she took a step toward the large hole the man’s body had punched into the glass wall. She poked her head outside and looked all around.
Her boss grabbed her and pulled her away from the precarious opening. “Angie, what are you doing? It’s not safe!”
The young woman turned a confused face to him. “Where did he come from?”
Over the years, I’ve found one of the best ways to make your story believable is to use real places to locate the action and real names of restaurants and streets. Actually going there, of course, is the best way to make that happen.
In my new novella, COME MIDNIGHT, Breanna Winters, seated on an airliner next to a good-looking man in an expensive suit, finds herself kidnapped by Honduran terrorists. She doesn’t expect Derek Stiles, a corporate executive, to put his life at risk by volunteering to go along when Bree is dragged from the plane and marched into the jungle.
Unfortunately, I have never been to the jungle in Honduras or any jungle for that matter, aside from a brief visit to a tropical rain forest in Brazil and a stop in Belize.
So for this story, I didn’t go to Honduras, but I did do extensive research, and it wasn’t the first time. Beginning with with an old historical, SAVANNAH HEAT, set in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and more recently, THE CONSPIRACY, which travels from the Caribbean to Columbia, I’ve learned a lot about life in the jungle—and it is far from easy.
In the novella, the good news is Derek Stiles is a former Navy fighter pilot with extensive survival training who has spent time in the jungle before. Still, it’s soon clear they’ll need to depend on each other if they’re going to survive.
Till next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat
New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.
The sound of a baby’s high-pitched, incessant crying put his teeth on edge. Derek Stiles forced himself to relax as he settled back in his wide business class seat. The airplane engines hummed outside the window, dulling the noise a little, but the crying only grew louder.
Derek silently cursed. His trip to Colombia had already gotten off to a rocky start when a meeting in the Houston office of Garrett Resources, where he worked as VP of Mergers and Acquisitions, ran overtime and he’d missed his non-stop flight. Now he’d be landing in El Salvador, laying over a couple of hours before changing planes and continuing on to Bogota, not getting to his hotel until well after dark.
He pulled out his laptop and set it on the fold-down table in front of him. He usually worked on a flight. He always had plenty to do, but he’d been staying up late every night so he also needed some sleep. It was important to be at the top of his game first thing in the morning.
The baby’s cries grew louder and his nerves revved up. He hadn’t really noticed the woman sitting in the seat beside him until she stood up and turned toward mother and child in the row behind him.
She jangled her car keys over the back of the seat and smiled. “Look, baby. Look at these. I bet you’d like to play with these, wouldn’t you?” The baby’s crying slowed, turned to whimpers, then sniffles, then stopped altogether. Glancing over his shoulder, Derek watched a little girl bundled in pink, maybe a year old, reach up for the car keys.
“I never thought of that,” the mother said, sounding desperate and making him feel guilty. He didn’t have kids but he could imagine how tough it would be to take a child on an international flight.
The mom, a black-haired woman in her mid-twenties, took out her own set of keys and held them up, but the baby ignored them, fascinated by the glittering heart on the end of the other keychain dangling in front of her.
“I hate to ask you this,” the mother said, “but is it all right if Sophie plays with your keys for a while?”
“Absolutely,” his seatmate said. She was pretty, he realized, with long blond hair and big blue eyes. A little above average height, slender but curvy in all the right places. “Once we’re in the air,” she continued, “if you want me to hold her, give you a little break, I’d be happy to.”
The mother’s smile held relief mixed with gratitude. “I might just take you up on that. My name is Carmen, by the way.”
“Breanna.” Her smile went even brighter and Derek felt an unexpected kick. He was usually able to leave his libido behind when he was away on business.
“You have a darling baby,” Breanna said.
Carmen smiled. “Thank you.”
The flight attendant urged Breanna to sit back down so the flight could get underway, and the engines roared, preparing for take-off.
“So I guess you’re a mom,” Derek heard himself saying, though he made it a habit not to talk on a flight. He always had too much to do.
Breanna shifted toward him. “I’d love to have children someday, but I’m not a mother yet. I work with kids so I know a few tricks.”
“What kind of work do you do?”
“I’m with a non-profit called Shelter the Children. Abrego Los Ninos in Spanish. We support an orphanage in a little village outside San Salvador. That’s where I’m headed.”
He smiled and held out a hand. “Derek Stiles. I know your name is Breanna.”
“Yes. Everyone just calls me Bree.”
They were an hour out of San Salvador International Airport when Derek noticed a commotion at the rear of the cabin.
Then the curtain behind the business class section jerked open and a lean, black-haired man stood in the aisle. Derek’s blood ran cold when he noticed the assault rifle strapped across the intruder’s chest.
Date Published: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Ink & Magick
As a ward of the Lacklands, Robyn Loxley has lived a privileged life. Even now, in 1942, when another war ravages the world and people on the home front must do without, her adopted family is not affected by the rations and shortages.
That’s not to say she hasn’t been affected by the war personally. As Robyn hits yet another roadblock in her quest to see her best friend Will, trapped in a Japanese-American concentration camp, she stumbles onto the people of Sherwood.
With dark truths revealed about the Lacklands and what really goes on in Midshire, Robyn must answer what justice means to her and what she’s willing to do to exact it.
Robyn and the merry band get an update in this dieselpunk sci-fi adventure.
“The Treason of Robyn Hood has suspense, drama, humor, romance, and action, all jam-packed in a tightly paced novel full of intrigue…I enjoyed it immensely and will highly recommend it to fans of fantasy and adventure. “
“Connoisseurs of urban fantasy and offbeat romance will find this novel both a fun and fulfilling read. The clever characterizations and skillful melding of fantasy, adventure, and romance put a spotlight on sisterly devotion, oddball alliances, social conscience, and the human ability to rise above broken hearts and broken lives. “
—The US Review of Books
D. Lieber has a wanderlust that would make a butterfly envious. When she isn’t planning her next physical adventure, she’s recklessly jumping from one fictional world to another. Her love of reading led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.
Beyond her skeptic and slightly pessimistic mind, Lieber wants to believe. She has been many places—from Canada to England, France to Italy, Germany to Russia—believing that a better world comes from putting a face on “other.” She is a romantic idealist at heart, always fighting to keep her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.
Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John) and cats (Yin and Nox).
Identifying your writing problems is a real struggle. On one hand, you don’t know what you don’t know. And on the other, it’s hard to face our mistakes on the best of days.
But we all want to get better right? We want our manuscripts to be the best they can be.
So, let’s talk about the first problem. Clearing your vision as to what you don’t know is there. There are a few ways, I’ve found that help me.
1. Read. A lot. They always say you shouldn’t compare your work to someone else’s, and I can agree with that to some extent. But you’re going to. It’s just how our brains work. Reading other people’s writing can help you recognize things that work and don’t work in your view. And when you go back to read your own stuff, you’re bound to pick up on some of your shortcomings as well.
2. Give yourself some lead time. This one is hard in today’s publishing industry. Writers are told to produce, produce, produce. Publish, publish, publish. But I’ve found that leaving my finished first draft to sit for a few months does wonders for the end product. When I come back to it, I have fresh eyes. And that makes a world of difference.
3. Get help. This one is also important. Sometimes we are truly blind to our own problems, and we need other people to give us feedback. So, get some betas, hire an editor, read reviews if you have to. But listening to what others have to say can really help me see where I’m falling short.
On to the second: facing your shortcomings. If I’m being honest, this is the most painful. You’ve put a lot of work into this creation. And you’d fight to the death before letting someone tear it to pieces. But if you want to get better, you have to listen. Let’s break it down.
1. Ask someone you can trust. The most important quality in a beta reader or critique partner is that they are trustworthy. You need to be absolutely sure that you believe that they are pulling your work apart because they want it to be better. Because if you can’t trust them on that level, they could just be being a jerk.
2. Make sure they’re honest. It’s also important to find someone who isn’t going to sugar coat things for you. If you want to get better, you need to have a beta who is more worried about making your work better than sparing your feelings.
3. Self-reflect and breathe. It’s going to hurt, a lot, to hear everything you did was “wrong.” You thought it was perfect. And now your work has been torn apart and your heart along with it. Your first instinct is going to be either to give up or push away everything you just heard. Resist that urge. I know it feels overwhelming, but you literally just wrote an entire book. Refining that book is not as difficult as the thing you already did. As to pushing the truth away, well you asked for the help. And these people took time out of their busy lives to offer it. It’s only courteous for you to see if there’s something valuable in what they told you.
And finally, and potentially most importantly, throw out everything I just said. The truth is, there are ways to make your story better. Of course, there are. But the person you need to please most is you. The whole world can tell you you’re wrong. Your betas laughed, your editor cringed, the reviewers railed. But if you know in your heart that you made the right choices, if you did all the above steps and still came out thinking this was the way to go, then do it. It’s your work. It’s your name. You’ll get “better” at your own pace.
Today we have a guest post from Rachel Hailey. Rachel was born and raised in the South. She’s all about that nerd life and in between writing she’s dedicated herself to raising the next generation of nerds. If she’s not online or staring at a book she can usually be found at the local game store rolling dice, shuffling cards, or planning her next cosplay.
Her childhood was most prominently shaped by the works of R.L. Stine, Stephen King, Anne Rice and the Brothers Grimm.
I’ve been in love with monsters since I was a little and got angry when Belle turned the Beast into a boring old prince. As I grew older and more obsessed with fairy tales, I found two genres that truly spoke to my black heart. Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.
These powerhouses rose to popularity fast during the late ’90s, and early 2000s. Those years exploded with amazing stories of dazzling monsters. Jim Butcher and Laurell K. Hamilton were among the first and are still synonymous with Urban Fantasy. But around the time Anita was toying with the notion of staking Jean-Claude, Sherrilyn McQueen (Kenyon) introduced us to Acheron and his band of tortured but scorching hot daimon slayers. While Harry rides an undead dino, J.R. Ward first showed us the wicked streets of Caldwell where the Black Dagger Brotherhood protects their race against the Lessening Society.
Anyone who has read a good Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy will agree that there is magic in the ink. But what is the difference between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy? Both include the same elements: mystery, action, adventure, supernatural, and yes, sexy times.
So what are the differences?
All four of these series feature creatures that don’t just lurk in the shadows – they’re at home in the dark. The stories bleed tension, and the only thing higher than the number of pages are the body counts.
With so many similarities, it’s the technical details that define which side of the aisle a book gets shelved.
One of the easiest difference to spot is Point of View. Black Dagger Brotherhood and other Paranormal Romance stories are usually told in third-person, giving readers the full experience by switching perspectives among many characters. Urban Fantasy authors, such as Hamilton and Butcher, rely on first-person, fully immersing readers in the heads and hearts of their protagonists.
As Paranormal Romance series unfolds, they often maintain this same energy with each book centering on a new couple, while in Urban Fantasy a single protagonist continues to shine center stage, no matter how many books follow.
The next difference can be a little tricky to identify. Paranormal Romance are more character-driven. It’s the emotions, the development of the characters, and their relationships that keep us turning pages. The relationships are the main focus. The tension comes from the need to see a couple (or more!) handle their issues and find their happily ever after.
Urban Fantasy, on the other hand, are plot-driven. Investigating the murder, solving the case, saving the world are the defining moments for these tales. That’s not to say relationships aren’t important in Urban Fantasy. Usually, they provide much-needed motivation for the protagonist to get off their ass and do their job or save the world, pushing them to be better, stronger, harder.
This brings us to my next point. Sex. The pages of Paranormal Romance blister fingers and leave readers dry-mouthed, but so too can Urban Fantasy. Usually, the scenes are shorter, less descriptive. The relationships form slowly over books and culminate in a scene that begins scorching and ends with a closed door. (Damn you doors.)
But these rules are often shattered with impunity which continues to leave readers a little confused. Anita arguably has more sex in one book than the entire cast of the Dark Hunter universe, and it’s twice as graphic. There’s also the matter of POV. Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series is told in first person and focuses on the same characters through all seven (wonderful) books. The Night Huntress series is also heavily plot-centric but undeniably falls into the realm of Paranormal Romance.
So what is the difference?
I’ve heard Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy referred to as cousins, but I disagree. I think they’re much closer than that, and deciding where they are listed comes down to opinion.
There’s an ugly side to this – The great disdain the Romance genres garner even within the publishing community. (Which makes no sense as it is the highest-grossing genre. Don’t believe me? Google is free.) Often this contempt leaves agents and authors slapping Fantasy on a book instead of Romance to appeal to a wider audience.
It starts with the cover. They replace the image of the muscled hero with a detailed, gritty image of the heroine holding a blade as she scowls fiercely into the night. I was told recently this was because Urban Fantasy readers are so much choosier about art. But are they really, or is this just another stereotype rooted in the belief that romance readers and authors are somehow less than?
In the end, it doesn’t matter where a book is shelved, or whether the cover has a half-naked man. Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance stories speak to some of the darkest corners of the human soul. Whether you read for the action or the action, remember, genres are labels, and like all labels, they can help or hinder. Don’t be afraid to cross the aisle and reach for a new author. What you find may surprise you.
Travel back through time with Carynn Cinnamon as she embraces romance, witchery, mystery, and joyMore info →
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