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Author Laura Drake releases The Road to Me

March 24, 2022 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , ,

Laura Drake is a New York and self-published and author of Women’s Fiction and Romance. Her debut, The Sweet Spot, was a double-finalist, then won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award. She’s since published 12 more books. She is a founding member of Women’s Fiction Writers Assn, Writers in the Storm blog.

Laura is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Author Laura Drake is a woman of many talents. In addition to being a wife, grandmother and motorcycle chick who loves to flyfish, she’s my friend. Her books reach in and grab your heart and soul. Let’s see what Laura has to say about her latest book and her love of writing.

Jann: How important is the setting, themes, plot in your stories?

Laura: VERY! I’m writing Women’s Fiction now, so themes really resonate there. I’m so not a plotter, but so far, I’ve managed to bumble through. Settings – especially important in my Western Romances.

Jann: Congratulation on the April 19, 2022, release of your Women’s Fiction book, The Road to Me. I love the tag—Trouble with the Curve meets Peace, Love and Misunderstanding. Did you have this tag when developing the book or did it come to mind after?

Laura: After – and it’s the first book I’ve had a tag for!

Jann: Tell us about your characters, Jacqueline Oliver and her grandmother, Nellie, and their story. What major conflicts do they need to work through?

Laura: Oh my gosh, so many. See, Jacqueline was raised by her barely functioning alcoholic mother. Her grandmother would sail in, shower them with love and gifts, and then sail out, a few days later. Jacqueline thinks it’s because her grandmother didn’t care…but she’s wrong.

Jann: You were introduced to the rodeo world and Pro Bull Riding. You sold your Sweet on a Cowboy series after several years of submitting to agents and editors and finally to Grand Central(Forever). I remember how excited you were to receive a three-book contract. And to top it off, the first book in the series, The Sweet Spot, won the 2014 Romance Writers of America RITA for Best First Book. What a thrill it must have been for you. Tell us about the book and your experience winning the award.

Laura: The agony of defeat – until the thrill of victory! I was rejected 417 times over the course of 3 books (but who counted?). I was so desperate, because I knew this book was special. It wasn’t until an editor came to town, and I think it was YOU that asked me to pick her up at the airport and bring her to a scheduled dinner. She was stuck with me on the Orange Crush for TWO HOURS. Eventually, she asked what I wrote, and I pitched her my book. She asked me to send the beginning to her. I reached in the back seat and handed it to her (hey, I said desperate, right?) She was a bit surprised but promised that she’d read it on the plane home. Sure enough, Monday, she contacted me and said, ‘The first thing we need to do is get you an agent.’ Yeah, like I hadn’t thought of that…

I was stunned when my name was called…my agent and I just screamed for it seemed like minutes. Nora Roberts presented it to me (squee!) and whispered in my ear, ‘This is the best RITA.’ I sure wasn’t arguing! One of the best memories of my life.

Jann: Did winning the award advance your writing career?

Laura: You know, I was shocked. I was sure it would be the start that would launch my career. So after, I contacted my editor and said, ‘Okay, now how do we take advantage of this for marketing?’ She told me that the award mattered to authors, but didn’t mean anything to readers. Wow. But sadly, she was right.

Jann: You have published five more western romances and four small town romances. Your first Women’s Fiction, Days Made of Glass, published in November, 2015. Would you tell us about the history of this book?

Laura: I self-published it, because though all the editors who read it loved it, they said that there wasn’t enough of an audience for a Western WF. They were right – but I didn’t care. It’s the book I wrote for my sister, who I lost at 32 to cancer. Nothing in the book is autobiographical, but the sisters’ relationship ours. Many readers have told me that it’s their favorite of all my books, and it has the highest star rating. That’s all I care – that it touched them.

Jann: What do you want readers to come away with after they read your books?

Laura: ALL the feels. Laugh, cry, and everything in-between.

Jann: Love the picture on your website for The Road to Me. Is it a road somewhere on Route 66? It reminds me of California Highway 395 on the way to Mammoth Lakes. 

Laura: It’s not 395 (I so love that road), but somewhere in Arizona, I think.

Jann: What are you working on now? Can you tell us about your next project?

Laura: I just turned in my next Women’s Fiction to my editor. Tentatively titled, Amazing Gracie, it’s about a woman soldier returning from Afghanistan with heavy guilt. She takes her nine-year-old sister on a road trip to save her from the mother’s boyfriend, but her sister ends up saving her.

Jann: I know you love road trips on your motorcycle and fishing? Do you have any adventures planned this year?

Laura: Always! I’m lucky to now live within 15 miles of two lakes and a river and am fishing at least once a week (weather allowing). We’re planning on several motorcycle trips this year.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Laura: My daily word count goal is 500. Yeah, not much, I know, but I work until they’re good words. I write every day, so they add up. It takes me 7 months to write a romance, 9 to write a Women’s Fiction.

Jann: Are there any words of inspiration on your computer, in your office or in your mind when you write?

Laura: I have a chunk of fossilized dinosaur poop on my desk. It reminds me that anything I’m worried about today won’t matter in a million years. And, not to write crap.

 Jann: Do you have a website, blog, twitter where fans might read more about you and your books?

Laura: I have a Facebook group that is full of snark, wisdom and interaction—come join us! It’s Laura Drake’s Peace, Love & Books. Twitter & Instagram – @lauradrakebooks  and my website is Laura Drake Books

I love doing Author Q&A’s and doing one with a good friend is great. Thanks Laura for giving our readers a peak into your writing, books and life. Good luck on the release of The Road to Me!!

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A Paris video memory from my student days in France that made it into ‘The Resistance Girl’ by Jina Bacarr

August 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Paris novels, Writing tagged as , , , , , , ,
Ah, I love Paris!!
 
So much so I just finished my second WW2 Paris novel… more coming up soon including a cover! 
 
But first… about that memory…
 
My heroine Sylvie Martone loved staying in Marly-le-Roi outside Paris with the man in her life…
 
Here is a memory of mine when I stayed there… yes, that’s me in that wild purple dress.
 
The Resistance Girl Paris 1943
Could a moment of courage change her life?
 
It’s the story of French cinema star Sylvie Martone and her amazing journey from 1920s-1940s and how she defied the Gestapo to save lives…
 
Kindle, Prime and KU:
 

What favorite memories have made it into your stories and books? Let me know!

Bonus video:

 

 




UPDATED: 
The WW 2 letter that inspired HER LOST LOVE (CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN): re: Veronica Jorge’s wonderful comment about my story! Thanks, Veronica!
 
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Story Ideas by Kat Martin

June 24, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts tagged as , , , , ,

Story Ideas

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,

Kat 

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.

Excerpt

The Perfect Murder

Chapter One

Galveston, Texas
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.

The Perfect Murder

Book 4 in the Maximum Security Series

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Other Books in the Maximum Security Series

(Click on the cover for more information. Hover on the cover for buy links.)

WAIT UNTIL DARK

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WAIT UNTIL DARK

SHADOWS AT DAWN

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SHADOWS AT DAWN

COME MIDNIGHT

Buy now!
COME MIDNIGHT

THE CONSPIRACY

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THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

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THE DECEPTION

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

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THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

THE PERFECT MURDER

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THE PERFECT MURDER

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Making Your Story Believable by Kat Martin

May 29, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , ,

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.

I hope you will give COME MIDNIGHT a try and that you will look for Derek again in my full-length novel, THE PERFECT MURDER, out June 22nd, the last book in my Maximum Security Series

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.


Excerpt

Come Midnight

Kat Martin

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.


Pre-order Come Midnight

COME MIDNIGHT
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Linda O. Johnston Featured Author

April 1, 2021 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , , ,
What Did I Miss? | Linda O. Johnston | A Slice of Orange

Linda O. Johnston enjoys writing, romance, puzzles, and dogs.

A former lawyer, Linda  is now a full-time writer and has published 52 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels. More than twenty-five of them are romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense and Harlequin Nocturne. Her latest release is Colton First Responder for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.

She has also written several mystery series including. The Kendra Ballantyne Pet-Sitter Mysteries, which was a spin-off of the Pet Rescue Mysteries and  The Superstition Mysteries. Pets, especially dogs, frequently show up in Linda’s novels

She is currently writing a lot of books for Harlequin. Three new Harlequin Romantic Suspense books will soon be released. The first up is Her Undercover Refuge in July 2021.

In addition to blogging for A Slice of Orange on the 6th of every month, Linda blogs at Killer Hobbies, Killer Characters, the Midnight Ink authors blog, and Writerspace.

Linda enjoys hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.LindaOJohnston.com or friend her on Facebook.


A Few of Linda’s Many Books

BAD TO THE BONE

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BAD TO THE BONE

BEAR WITNESS

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BEAR WITNESS
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)

COVERT ALLIANCE

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COVERT ALLIANCE

FOR A GOOD PAWS

Buy now!
FOR A GOOD PAWS

GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

Buy now!
GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

Buy now!
HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

PICK AND CHEWS

Buy now!
PICK AND CHEWS

PROTECTOR WOLF

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PROTECTOR WOLF

SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

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SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

TO CATCH A TREAT

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TO CATCH A TREAT

TRAINED TO PROTECT

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TRAINED TO PROTECT
UNDERCOVERING COLTON’S FAMILY SECRETS

UNLUCKY CHARMS

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UNLUCKY CHARMS

VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

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VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

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