Wednesday, August 26, 2015

RP Dahlke - A Dead Red Miracle is featured in the HBS Author's Spotlight Showcase

The Showcase is a special feature of the Author's Spotlight. It is designed to highlight Spotlight author's NEW releases and their soon to be released novels.

The HBS Author's Spotlight SHOWCASES R.P. Dahlke's New Book: A DEAD RED MIRACLE.

Mystery Author R.P. Dahlke is the author of the Lalla Bains mystery series.


#5 in the Dead Red Mystery Series

Author: R.P. Dahlke


Thinking to jump start their careers as private investigators in Wishbone, Arizona, cousins Lalla and Pearlie Bains buy into it with a local P.I. But their nifty plan starts circling the drain when his unscrupulous business practices end in his untimely death and they discover that he's been siphoning clients from their partnership.

With only a week before the state puts pulls the business license Lalla and Pearlie will have to corral a wall-climbing Apache ninja, pacify their former boss's greedy ex-wives and nail a killer. Sure Lalla and Pearlie are in a really tight spot, but all they need is a miracle or two.


Chapter One:

With summer monsoons gusting wind and rain on my head, I opted for our cranky elevator to the second floor, backed through the wedged open door to 202A, Ron Barbour Investigations, and laid the box of printer paper on the nearest desk.

Shaking water from my windbreaker, I tossed it over the skeleton hanging on its stand in the corner.

The skeleton was a prop meant to help us ascertain where the knife, bullet, or hammer could strike. Another one of Ron's jokes since cousin Pearlie and I had yet to see a murder case come through the door. We worked for divorce attorneys, and insurance companies who needed proof against those people who made scamming a career choice.

Pearlie was hunched over a styrofoam head on her desk. I flopped into the vacant chair next to her desk. "Studying wound entries again?"

She looked up, boredom dulling her normally bright blue contact enhanced eyes. "Huh?"

"Never mind. Where's Ron?"

She went back to examining the head. "Ron who?"

"Ron Barbour, our fearless leader?"

She glanced at her watch. "He said he was going to see about drumming up some business. But since it's almost noon, he's probably cozied up to a beer."

"You should be grateful," I said. "It could be worse, you know."

Pearlie snorted. "Yeah. He could be trying for a threesome again."

I was thinking more of the times he came reeling through the door, slamming into furniture and reeking of whiskey. Ron was not a happy drunk, and since surly, belligerent and argumentative was not something we enjoyed with our workday, Pearlie and I tended not to question his daily routine.

She held up the styrofoam head for my inspection. "What do you think?"

"That depends. What is it?"

"A cap. Rather stylish, don't you think? I made it out of paper clips."

"Looks more like a contraption for torture. Don't you have anything to do?"

She grunted something that sounded like an expletive.

Technically, Pearlie and I owned the business, but because the State of Arizona required at least three years of documented experience in either state, federal police or military police, or as interns to a licensed P.I., we chose door number three. But getting anyone to accept us as interns was harder than we thought. We were over thirty, we had none of the aforementioned experience, and we were blonde. That last strike was incredibly sexist and so very annoying, but we soon realized that the best way to crack this nut was to buy into an established business. That's when Pearlie found Ron Barbour's ad in a P.I. magazine.

Our first phone call ended with Ron hanging up on Pearlie. At her second call and before he hung up on her again, he asked which of his friends put her up to this nonsense. At her third and final phone call, he reluctantly agreed to meet with us. Pearlie, never one to be fooled by a sales job done to impress, had done her homework. She knew what his business was worth and how much we should pay for it. A checkbook, a contract, and a pen nudged the grin off Ron Barbour's face.

Pearlie's airtight contract gave Ron one half of his asking price at signing, splitting expenses and profit during our time as interns, and at the end of the contract, he would write up letters of recommendation on our behalf as private investigators to the State Licensing Board and he would retire to go fishing.

We got the nominal title of Associate printed on our business cards, but not on the door or in ads. We did the grunt work, wrote up and initialed reports, and with Ron's signature, an invoice went to the client and checks came in made out to Ron Barbour Investigations. There was no mention of his silent partners, Pearlie or Lalla Bains, but since we were now a Limited Liability Corporation, there were now three signatures at the bank. Ron remained as titular big cheese, Pearlie became the company accountant handling all bank transactions, deposits, expenses, and taxes, and I did what I always wanted to do, work all day, every day as an investigator.

But before the ink was dry, Ron showed us in his own inimitable way that he regretted selling out to a couple of dumb blondes.

When Pearlie asked what we should do for desks, Ron leered and waggled his eyebrows. "Babe, as long as I have a face, you have a place to sit."

Actually, Babe became our unofficial titles. But when Pearlie and I started calling him dickhead in front of his clients, he called a truce.

That lasted for a month until he stopped bathing, shaving, or changing clothes. By this time, we were on to his antics and simply cranked up the A/C.

Next, he proposed a three-way at his place after work. Pearlie and I burst out laughing, then laughed again as his face turned beet red with humiliation. When he shouted and stamped his foot in fury at our insubordination, we pointed and laughed at his silly behavior. When he turned on his heel and stomped out of the office, we collapsed onto our chairs, gleefully giggling, and high-fiving each other in triumph.

In revenge, he had us doing every dirty, disgusting dumpster dive, all-night surveillance, and every boring fact-finding mission he could throw at us. In the process, we learned how to squeeze free information out of public records, credit bureaus, title searches, and social media. Tightwad that he was, we had to buy our own digital cameras and long distant lenses. He did let us use the beater Fords he kept for surveillance, but only if we bought our own gas. He also taught us how to mark a cheating spouse's tire at a no-tell-motel so we could come back the next morning, photo the mark on the tire, time and date it to show that the car hadn't moved all night.

And he never, ever, quit reminding us that under no circumstances were we to tell anyone of our partnership. If the clients found out he was retiring anytime soon, he'd said, they'd desert like rats fleeing the plague.

Oddly, this year's business was sliding faster than a monkey on a stripper's pole. One insurance company moved its local office out of state, another decided to accept a cheaper offer, and yet another simply went out of business. Ron seemed to spend a lot of his lunches looking for more work, and I smelled a rat. Maybe now was a good time to bring my suspicions to Pearlie.

"Last week," I said, "I presented a report to one of our clients and he asked who he should make the check out to."

"You're tired of having checks made out to Ron Barbour Investigations? Me too."

"Pearlie, I'm beginning to think…"

"You think buying this guy's business wasn't such a good idea? You read my mind. And to think, only a few months ago, the phone was ringing off the hook."

"Yes," I said. "Odd that Ron's client list is drying up right when we're less than a month away from giving him his final twenty-thousand dollar check and getting our letter of recommendation to the state."

Pearlie blinked. Was she beginning to see the light?

"I was at the court this morning. A woman was arrested for shooting her husband looked promising. She got bail, but her brother elbowed me aside and announced he'd hired a man for the job. I don't know how she could accept a man when it was obvious the case needed me."

"Us," I said, reminding her that we were partners. I wasn't about to let her forget, since this deal was her idea.

"Yeah, us, but I'm easy to talk to, you know."

"Because you're short?" Now I was teasing. The difference in our heights always got a rise out of her.

"I think it's because I'm not a threat to women," she sniffed, "on account of being a normal-sized female."

Got to hand it to her, she never missed a chance to remind me that I’m the beanpole. I'm tall and blonde, and she's short, plump, and blonde; at least she is when she makes it to her hair appointments on time.

Pearlie looked around the room as if seeing it for the first time. "Maybe Ron was right, maybe women P.I.'s don't do as well as men."

This was new. Of the two of us, Pearlie hung onto the dream of having our own P.I. firm with the clenched jaw of a pit bull. "You are depressed. You'll feel better after lunch," I said, knowing Pearlie could be easily distracted by food.

She smiled, pushed out of her fake leather executive chair and grabbed her purse. "I hope you're buying; I'm almost broke."

When it came to money, Pearlie Mae Bains would be the last person to be truly broke. Still, she hated the thought that her bank account had dipped below the water line with no prospects of a refill. Someone was going to have to hit Ron's list of old clients or we were going to be starting our new business with two dollars in our account.

"Of course I'm buying," I said, opening the door.

Pearlie's face lit up and I gathered that there was either a pizza delivery or a good looking man standing on the other side.

He wasn't wearing UPS brown or holding a pizza box, so maybe this was a potential client.

He was about five-nine, early twenties, with coppery muscled skin and the distinctive epicanthic fold of a Native American.

I smiled and motioned him inside.

With only a nod to acknowledge the two of us, he strode into the office taking in the shabby furniture, the dim overhead fluorescent lighting and the ancient file cabinets behind the WWII issue metal desk. "Where's Mr. Barbour?" he demanded.

"Pearl Mae Bains," she said, pumping his hand. "And this is Lalla Bains. We're Ron Barbour's associates. How can we help you?"

The young man pulled his hand out of hers and said, "If you don't mind, I'll take it up with Ron."

The kid wasn't exactly rude, but he sure was single minded.

Pearlie had that perplexed look. The one that meant that her clever mind had snagged on a thought. I could only hope it was the same one I'd been considering. I waited, studying a corner of the office while she worked it through to its ugly conclusion.

Her blue eyes darkened and her mouth went tight. Yep. She's seeing it now. Here was a real, live paying client, standing right in front of us. Just not one we knew about.

"I'm sorry," she said, her sweet sounding words belying the tight line of her mouth. "He retired and we bought his business."

The young man's eyes widened. "Retired! But he just called me."

"He called you today?" she asked, fluttering lashes that could cut glass. "He must've forgotten, on account of being in a hurry to leave. But we have all his files. If you'll just give me your name, Mister…?"

He shoved his hands in his pockets and glared at Pearlie. "Sorry, but I'm not talking to a couple of associates."

Pearlie lifted her chin and pulled herself up to her full five-foot three inches. "Well then I'm sorry for you, buster, 'cause if you want that information, you're gonna have to talk to us."

He shuffled from one foot to the other, and said, "I was training in the mountains and didn't get his message until today. He said he had a name and I have his check," he said, waving the check at us. "I called him back but it went to voice mail. If you're his associates, how come you didn't answer the phone?"

Pearlie and I looked at each other. Ron was giving out his cell phone for new business? We were going to have to talk to him about this.

Seeing Pearlie's hair trigger temper was about to let go, I pushed in front of her. "If you couldn't reach him, it's because you were calling his cell, not the office. He handed over the keys, and said he was going fishing."

"Did he say where?" the kid asked, desperation causing his voice to raise an octave.

"Sorry, no," Pearlie replied. "But like I told you, we own the business and we're certainly capable of handling your case."

"This is just wrong. Why would he call and then run off like that? A name?all I need is a name."

I thought it more likely that Ron Barbour had found a gullible client. Seeing that the kid was waffling, she tried nudging again. "You can help by telling us the case name, or your name."

We held our breath, waiting to see if he would bite.

The kid, however, wasn't interested in our explanations. "You tell him he'd better call me or the deal's off!"

And before Pearlie could make a grab for the check, he turned on his heel and left, the door slamming shut behind him.

"That went well," I said. "Lunch?"

"That lazy, good fer nothin', lyin'… that sleaze bag Ron." Pearlie's face was flushed and there were tears in her eyes. "He's been hidin' cases from us!"

"The thought had crossed my mind." I was tempted to say I-told-you-so, but if I waited, Dad, Caleb, and Aunt Mae would do it for me.

Pearlie wiped away a tear, and tossing her purse on the desk, went to the file cabinet. "I'm going to look for this guy's files."

"Pearlie," I said, laying a gentle hand on her shoulder. "I know it's hard to take, but if Ron's been siphoning off clients, he's got the file with him."

Pearlie rounded on me. "Then let's saddle up and go find that polecat."

She was right. It was time for a showdown with Ron. "As long as you promise to leave your Pearlie special in the car!" I called after her as she clattered down the wet metal stairs.

"Sure," she said. "Who needs a gun when I can strangle him with my bare hands!"

A nondescript beige sedan sat in her parking spot.

"What's this?" I asked.

"Tight-ass Ron wouldn't let me borrow one of his precious surveillance vehicles while Gypsy gets her oil changed, so I had to rent a car."

Pearlie saw her move to Arizona as an opportunity to tour around her adopted state. But since most of our work was in Tucson, the miles she would've spent touring in her nice new Jeep Grand Cherokee were racked up in miles on the job, and it was beginning to show.

"Get in," Pearlie said, through clenched teeth.

I got into the rental car and sniffed. "Is it just me, or does this car smell like cat piss?"

Instead of answering, she turned on the radio and started flipping channels. "Why is it that all we get is Country Western or Mexican stations?"

"In case you haven't noticed," I said, "Sierra Vista is spitting distance from the Mexican border. So, let me guess-the local agency heard about your reputation for breaking rental cars?"

"Now you're just picking on me."

"Admit it. Your track record has caught up with you."

"Fresno was not my fault. You were there. It was a hit and run."

"If the perp had stuck around, you might've had a case."

Pearlie gave me a satisfied nod. "That's one less killer the feds have to worry about. He's just lucky my aim was off that day or he'd be pushing up daisies instead of sitting in prison."

"I'm sure he thanks you in his prayers."

"Ha-ha. As for rental car companies, I'm sick and tired of them. Soon's I get some money, I'm going to buy me a nice big truck."

"You have the Jeep."

"I don't want to get it messed up," she said.

I laughed. "Of course not. Sure you don't want a Hummer? They can take a beating."

"They cost a fortune. Besides, we have to keep a low profile. Ron always says a vehicle common to the area, something neutral, like a white or grey sedan."

"You're going to have to stop talking about Ron Barbour or I'm going to vomit on your cat-piss smelling seat covers."

"I know," she said, her voice going soft. "He's a rotten bastard, but he does have some redeeming qualities."

"You mean besides stealing our clients? If he's stealing clients, he might as well skip out on writing that letter of recommendation to the state for us."

"Ohmygod. I think I must be depressed or sumpin'."

More than likely, she was hungry again, but food was going to have to wait. I did not envy Ron when my cousin finally got him by the throat.

Author Genre: Mystery, Romance, Humor

Website: R.P. Dahlke
Blog: eNovel Authors At Work
Twitter: @rpdahlke
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Post with Profile + Interview: HBS Author's Spotlight

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description: I sort of fell into the job of running a crop-dusting business when my dad decided he'd rather go on a cruise than take another season of lazy pilots, missing flaggers, testy farmers and horrific hours. After two years at the helm, I handed him back the keys and fled to a city without any of the above. And no, I was never a crop-duster.

My Lalla Bains series is about a tall, blond and beautiful ex-model turned crop-duster who, to quote Lalla Bains, has "been married so many times they oughta revoke my license." Lalla is no Danielle Steele character & she's not afraid of chipping her manicure. Scratch that, the girl doesn't have time for a manicure what with herding a bunch of recalcitrant pilots and juggling work orders just to keep her father's flagging business alive.Note: Beginning with A Dead Red Alibi, Lalla and her family will reside in South East Arizona where she will divide her time between a fledgling P.I. business with cousin, Pearlie Bains, and volunteering as a team member with Cochise County Search and Rescue.

My romantic sailing Mystery Trilogy start with A Dangerous Harbor, and continues with Hurricane Hole. Both now up on Kindle and if you liked my Lalla Bains series, I know you'll love this book: More romance, more suspense, an exotic location with nastier bad guys and a bald parrot!

Author's Book List
A DEAD RED ALIBI - The Dead Red Mystery Series Book 4
A successful, but reclusive young artist with a secret life.
A wannabe lawman and his dotty gun-toting granddad.
An abandoned mine pit, a curious dad and the local police chief found with him.
When Lalla and her dad take a trip to Arizona to inspect her new property, Dad disappears. But when Lalla enlists the help of a local tracker she's relieved to find him unharmed, but in the bottom of a mine pit.

Unfortunately, he's got company--a local police chief, and it looks like he's been murdered. Then too, a young woman artist living nearby has also been murdered. What're the chances that these two murders are going to be related? Well, if you're Lalla Bains, you don't guess, you start looking for the killer!

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The Dead Red Mystery Series - Boxed Set
Over 198- 5 STAR reviews total for this humorous mystery series--A Dead Red Cadillac, A Dead Red Heart, and A Dead Red Oleander

Here's what reviewers are saying:
A Dead Red Cadillac:
"A Dead Red Cadillac may be Dahlke’s first published work, but it doesn’t read that way; the author is assured in her storytelling, crafting a witty, breezy, and thoroughly-entertaining lark peppered with interesting characters in a unique setting... and even tossing in some (much-appreciated) surprising twists along the way Wise-cracking detectives--from the rank amateurs who somehow stumble into the practice of investigating, to the licensed professionals with their fancy gizmos and snazzy Yellow Pages listings--are a dime a dozen in mystery novels... but a wise-cracking, ex-fashion-model, crop-dusting sleuth? That puts a quirky new spin on the genre, in R.P. Dahlke’s peppy debut, A Dead Red Cadillac".

KittyGlam (Diana)

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Hurricane Hole - #2 in Pilgrim's Progress-A Romantic Sailing Mystery Trilogy
While anxiously awaiting confirmation on the renewal of her TV contract, Leila Hunter Standiford, opts for a sail on the boat she and her sister co -own in Mexico. But when she impetuously invites a family friend, and fugitive from justice, Gabe Alexander, as crew, she has no idea of the trouble that will follow. Now, at the end of her vacation in Puerto Felice, all she wants is to get Gabe off her boat.

Then a beautiful vintage Alden sails into the anchorage, and though she admires the boat, and the handsome captain, she doesn't realize the lovely yacht will soon burn to the water line, or that a dead body will be found below, or that the captain, who may or may not be the killer, might also be the man of her dreams.

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A Dead Red Oleander - The Lalla Bains mystery series
"The main protagonists and all the supporting characters, have larger than life personalities, which lend themselves to some great dialogue exchanges and some pretty strange and esoteric action scenes. In preparation for the couple's forthcoming nuptuals, Lalla's relatives have arrived in California, from Texas and now the fun really starts!!"

When a late in the season emergency forces Lalla Bains to accept a greenhorn ag pilot for her dad's cropdusting business, she sighs in relief . After all, he comes highly recommended, his physical is spotless, and with a name like Dewey Treat, what could possibly go wrong?

Then her quirky relatives arrive from Texas and things go south in a hurry: Dewey Treat drops dead, his tearful widow claims he was murdered, clobbers Sherriff Caleb Stone with his own gun, and makes a run for it. Lalla, convinced the widow is innocent, sets out to prove it--against the express wishes of fiancé Caleb Stone.

Feds, local law, suspicious ag-pilots, nutso relatives, and her daddy's new sidekick, Bruce the goat, make life a living hell for Lalla. Will her nosey nature solve the crime and save the day? Or put them all in mortal danger?

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A DANGEROUS HARBOR - Pilgrim's Progress
"This is an engaging, well-written mystery with characters that took up residence in my imagination; moving in with all their baggage and quirks. I found them incredibly difficult to dislodge even several days after I had finished reading the book. I loved the setting; the beauty of the waters and the lovely hillsides existing alongside the abject poverty and ugliness of the slummy, sleazy habitats of those less fortunate. The day to day uncertainly of life is realistically portrayed in an area where powerful drug cartels operate from shadowy positions in almost all levels of government..." LauriJ's Reviews for Night Owl Reviews Reviewer Top Pick

"Take a San Francisco police officer who is on leave for shooting a man who threatened her sister, send her on a sailing trip into Mexican waters where she finds the body of a murdered teenage girl, and you've got the mix for an intriguing mystery. Add an irresistible Mexican-Italian man who happens to be the lead investigator on the case and the romance begins to sizzle. I loved the vivid descriptions of this coastal Mexican town, and the methodic way in which officer Katy Hunter helps with the investigation. A satisfying ending in which all the threads come together into a neatly plotted book." - Connie Shelton, author of the best-selling Charlie Parker mysteries and the new Samantha Sweet mysteries

Here's the set-up:
Bleary-eyed and sleep deprived after a long overnighter into Mexico, solo sailor and SFPD police detective, Katrina Hunter, thinks the mermaid twenty yards behind her thirty-two foot Westsail is nothing more than a sailor's hallucination But everything she knows about floaters convinces her to turn her boat around for another look.

Now, alone and isolated in the Mexican port's police station for six hours she's convinced that reporting a floater to authorities was a mistake. Even the arrival of a handsome, if somewhat dour, Mexican/Italian investigator does nothing to dispel her growing anxiety that she's about to be charged with the murder.

Chief Inspector, Raul Vignaroli, is as surprised by the attractive solo-sailor as he is to find that she's a respected member of the San Francisco police force, and after some well-placed phone calls he's sure that he's found the perfect partner to help him solve a murder, if not the cure for his broken heart. Released, she's free to go. But leaving the police station hits a snag when two policemen march in, dragging a listless prisoner between them. But before Katy can dodge them for the exit, the prisoner raises his head and a startling pair of aquamarine eyes meet hers.

He straightens his back, wincing at the angle of his cuffed wrists. "What the... Whisper?"

Suddenly, the sound of the ceiling fan is terribly loud. Blood pounds in her ears, her mouth goes dry, her palms are damp and her feet are nailed to the floor. In a knee jerk reaction, she hisses, "Don't call me that!"

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A DEAD RED HEART - The Lalla Bains Series
When a lovesick, homeless veteran litters her vintage red caddy with paper snowflakes, Lalla Bains, Aero Ag pilot figures it's time for a showdown. Unfortunately, someone else has the same idea leaving Lalla with a dying man at her feet, and only his strange last words, "The more there is, the less you see," as a clue to his killer.

Compounding her life her tightwad, widowed father becomes a born-again ladies man, a disreputable competitor tries to push her out of business, and last but not least, her antennae twitches that the sultry redhead in Modesto's police department may be vying for Sheriff Caleb Stone's affections.

It soon becomes crystal clear that the police are totally off base on this murder investigation and someone else is going to have to suit up to solve this case. Someone who is just exasperating, pushy, and tenacious enough to get the job done--and that person will be none other than:Ms. Lalla Bains.

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Barnes and Noble

"I've been married so many times, they should revoke my license," says NY model, and reluctant pilot Lalla Bains.

Running her dad's Crop-Dusting business in Modesto, California she's hoping to dodge the inevitable fortieth birthday party. But when her trophy red '58 Cadillac is found tail-fins up in a nearby lake, the police ask why a widowed piano teacher, who couldn't possibly see beyond the hood ornament, was found strapped in the driver's seat.

Reeling from an interrogation with local homicide, Lalla is determined to extricate herself as a suspect in this strange murder case. Unfortunately, drug running pilots, a cross-dressing convict, a crazy Chihuahua, and the dead woman's hunky nephew throw enough road blocks to keep Lalla neck deep in an investigation that links her family to a twenty-year old murder only she can solve.

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Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
eBook Author’s Corner
Mystery Reader’s Circle

Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Denise Moncrief - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Denise Moncrief. She is a Romantic Suspense author of the Colorado series, the Haunted Hearts Series and the Crisis Series.

Author Genre: Romance, Mystery & Thrillers

Website: Denise Moncrief - Suspense, She Writes
Author's Blog: Suspense, She Writes
Twitter: @dmoncrief0131
E-Mail: denisemoncriefbooks(at)gmail(dot)com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
Denise is a Southern girl. She has lived in Louisiana all her life, and yes, she has a drawl. She has a wonderful husband and two incredible children, who not only endure her writing moods, but also encourage her to indulge her writing passion. Besides writing romantic suspense, she enjoys traveling, reading, and scrapbooking.

Accounting is a skill she learned to earn a little money to support her writing habit. She wrote he first story when she was a teen, seventeen handwritten pages on school-ruled paper and an obvious rip-off of the last romance novel she read. She's been writing off and on ever since, and with more than a few full-length manuscripts already completed, she has no desire to slow down.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: SHAW’S LANDING. Rumor has it that you have another book on the horizon called CHELSEA LANE. Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Shaw’s Landing and Chelsea Lane are books three and four in the Haunted Hearts series. Shaw’s Landing released in July 2015, and I plan to release Chelsea Lane in late October or early November 2015. My original concept was a five-book series set in Arkansas, but I’ve enjoyed writing this series of books so much, and I’ve gotten such positive response from readers that I am continuing the series. The second set of five books will be set along the River Road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and will release throughout 2016.

Here’s the book description for Chelsea Lane:

Searching for a reason to go on living…

All her life, Chelsea has suffered feelings of worthlessness from being abandoned—time after time—causing a huge pile of hurt to reside in the deeper recesses of her heart. When James Standridge kidnaps her, he gives her a new name and a new reason to exist. The will to survive keeps her going from one day to the next until his death changes everything.

Fearing freedom after living so long in the shadows…

After years of being a missing person, Chelsea is suddenly free to reclaim her lost identity, but she doesn’t know where to start rebuilding her interrupted life. Hovering around the fringes of her former existence seems easier than facing the dangers of becoming Cherish Duncan again.

Finding that hope happens when you least expect it…

When Chelsea begs him to help her, Jordan Clark can’t resist being Chelsea’s knight in shining armor. After all, he feels deeply the need to make up for the mistakes he’s made in the past. Living with Chelsea in the house she shared with James Standridge ignites more than the promise of romance. Jordan’s presence energizes restless spirits who would prefer their secrets remain buried for eternity.

Can love conquer fear and free the ghosts haunting the house on Chelsea Lane?

Here’s just a little snippet to tease readers from Chapter One:

Kristie glared at Chelsea through the opening above her. The woman’s long hair fell around her anxious face. For a moment, it seemed as if Chelsea was nothing more than a frightened little girl. She raised a finger to her teeth and began to chew on the nail.

A white light appeared behind Chelsea, glowing around her.

“Dig,” Chelsea shouted again and the light dissipated.

Kristie flinched and picked up the shovel. Before she drove the tool into the dirt at her feet, she fired her warning shots at Chelsea. “You could have helped us, but you didn’t. Don’t pretend any longer that you’re one of us. You’re not. You’re just like them.”

Chelsea’s face hardened, her jaw setting into a rigid line, her eyes narrowing into two slits. “I’ll never be like them.” She knelt and watched Kristie through the opening. “Start digging further back in the basement. There’s already someone buried where you’re standing.”

Kristie gasped and jumped back a couple of feet.

“Right there is good. You better get started.”

Kristie forced the shovel into the soil. She paused and stared up at Chelsea one more time before she went back to her chore. “Sharona is going to haunt you for the rest of your life. Until the day you die a miserable death. Yeah, even after you die, she’s going to haunt you. And if she doesn’t…I will.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

For a while, I really concentrated on building my Twitter following. I followed anyone who had similar interests as well as asking contestants in giveaways and contests to follow me. It took time and a lot of patience to build up a following. What I’ve found is that most of my connections on Twitter are doing the same thing I am: promoting their work. There are so many automated tweets on my feed that it’s hard to find a real time human being to interact with on Twitter. It didn’t used to be that way. When I first opened my Twitter account, I made several Internet friends that are still my Internet friends today, and I met them by socially interacting on Twitter.

Despite recent changes in Facebook policies, I’ve discovered that Facebook is a much better platform for social interaction with authors and readers than Twitter. I built my following on Facebook much the same way as I did on Twitter with one exception: I promoted my Author page. Since the change to Facebook’s policy about posting to news feeds, I wouldn’t recommend paid promotions on Facebook to gain new followers any longer.

I’m not sure how much developing a following on either platform has driven sales. My primary focus on Facebook is less on book promotion and more on social interaction. I’ve found that readers love to interact with the real person behind the name on the cover of a book, and I love getting feedback from my readers.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

What a great question! I have asked my readers to search for pictures that would work for the cover of an upcoming release. That was so much fun because the people that responded really seemed to enjoy it and sent me some great cover ideas.

In the past, I’ve had varying amounts of input on book covers depending on my publisher. I’ve worked with three different publishers, and they all have differing processes for cover art submission, everything from asking for a lot of input to not asking for any input at all.

Self-publishing is a whole different process. I have a terrific cover artist, Keri Neal. She conceived the cover for Laurel Heights and has carried the theme forward with the rest of the books in the series. She brilliantly interpreted my vision for both the series and the branding. I don’t know what I would do without her!

Sometimes Keri finds the basic picture for the cover and sometimes I do. We really work well as a team. I am involved in the process, but usually all I have to do is give Keri a vague idea of what I want, mention the elements I’d like to see, and she creates stunning covers. So far, I think the cover for my upcoming release The Memory Catcher is my favorite.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a collection called Dangerous Encounters, Thirteen Romantic Suspense Novels just released. What was the main objective of bundling your works with other romance authors? How did you put something like that together?

I have to confess this was my first experience with a bundled set, and I would not have known how to put the set together. Fellow author Chantel Rhondeau took the lead on Dangerous Encounters and did a magnificent job. It’s a process: Gathering a group of compatible authors in the same genre. Organizing the funding and submission of promotions. Agreeing on cover design and book order. Engaging a service to format the book. Then promoting it. It took all of us doing our part to make it work.

It’s really difficult for a new, or even an established, author to get his or her book in front of readers. The idea behind bundled sets is exposing readers to multiple authors. Maybe one of my readers will purchase the set because she’s familiar with my work and then she will discover she really enjoys one of the other authors in the set. Authors are generally supportive of one another, and this is a fun way to cross promote each other.

What writer support groups do you belong to? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

As a self-published writer, I need association with other independent authors. I belong to several groups on Facebook that were specifically organized for the cross promotion and support of authors in a specific genre. What I love about these groups is the freedom to discuss issues and concerns in the publishing world in a closed, non-public setting. These groups are where I learn about trends in marketing and publishing. They are also a safe place to vent when I’m frustrated and ask questions when I’m unsure of what to do. Writing can be a lonely profession, but with these associations, I feel connected with other writers.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

My Beta readers receive free copies of my books, and occasionally I will offer a signed paperback as a prize in a contest. If I’m involved in an author group event where all the authors are giving away eBooks, I will offer an eBook as a prize. I have used a read and review program through a web based advertising site to solicit reviews and offered free copies in exchange for an honest review. Other than that, I don’t give away free copies.

When I was first published, I gave away books as a way of introducing myself to readers, but it’s been my experience that giving away books for free rarely results in increased sales or posted reviews. I suspect that a lot of free books sit on Kindles or Nooks unopened. As a reader, if I purchase one book and download another book for free, I’m going to read the one I purchased first. Yes, I want my book in front of as many readers as possible, but being a published author is also a business with associated publishing costs, so at this point in time, giving away books for free doesn’t get my books in front of truly interested readers and costs me more than it is worth.

How do you start your book launch process for a new book? Give a brief outline of the steps you go through to get your book to market. What methods were the most successful?

Recently, I’ve been placing my books on pre-sale for 4 to 6 weeks before official release. During the pre-sale period, I do a cover reveal and begin soft promotion on Facebook and Twitter. My main marketing focus is a Facebook event, usually on the day of release, followed by a blog tour or book release blitz. Ahead of the official cover reveal, I give my newsletter readers a sneak peek of both the cover and the first chapter of the book.

What methods were most successful? This is a great question and one that authors think about a lot. We are always looking for new and better ways to get our work in front of new readers. What strategy works? I think it’s still a mystery. My Haunted Hearts series is selling very well, but I’m still not sure which piece of my promotion strategy launched it into best-seller status. I believe the series sells well because it is a series, and the first book got its initial boost from an ad with a major advertising site.

You have written a short story called Ghost in the Garden with a link to your newsletter subscription page. What is the objective for your newsletter? Do you build a list of readers? Do you see a carryover to the sales of your novels?

My goal in offering a newsletter is to first allow my readers to get acquainted with me as a person and not just as a name on the cover of a book. Along with giving updates on upcoming releases and tidbits about projects in process, I give sneak peeks that are exclusively for subscribers. I also try to put a little bit of myself into each newsletter, something relatable to the reader. For instance, in my last newsletter I talked a bit about my recent trip to Florida.

Does providing a newsletter generate sales? I’m not sure how many, if any. However, quite a few of my subscribers are devoted fans that have bought copies of my books as soon as they were available and have given me valuable feedback. Would those readers buy my books anyway if I didn’t offer a newsletter? I don’t know. I do know that I appreciate the fans that I have, and I want somehow to reach out to them to let them know I appreciate them. A newsletter seems the best way to do this.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

Oh, wow! That is a complicated question and one that every author struggles with. I used to submit to every review blog I could find, but the process was a lot of work for very little benefit. So many authors are submitting for the same spots that it’s difficult to stand out from the pack. Usually, I rely on my reading audience, but an incredibly small percentage of purchases result in reviews, and what authors crave more than anything is feedback—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Recently, I discovered several ad sites, such as Choosey Bookworm, that have begun read and review programs where readers sign up for the program and authors submit their books for review. This seems a safe and easy way to connect with potential readers and reviewers for a minimal fee. Relying on a read and review coordinator to connect my book with reviewers frees up my time to do what I love most…write.

Author's Book List
The Memory Catcher
When someone touches Naomi Fuller, she catches visions of dark memories that fill the other person’s soul with regret, fear, or shame. Living with other people’s guilt leaves little room in her psyche for her own history. She recalls seemingly unconnected events, but did those horrible incidents happen yesterday, last week, or six years ago?

Naomi believes someone is messing with her mind, so she turns to Sidney Ashe for help untangling her distorted timeline, but the more she leans on him, the more she questions his motives. Can she distance herself from Ashe when her heart is hopelessly falling for him?

As Naomi struggles to understand how her emerging memories mesh with the guilty memories of everyone around her and things become clearer, she fears there is a killer in Clallam County who would do anything to stop her from remembering.

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Shaw's Landing - Haunted Hearts Series Book 4
Tired of keeping secrets that could get her killed…

As long as Courtney lived with Jared Crenshaw, she was able to keep his secrets and stay alive, but now that he’s dead, what she knows could get her killed. Hiding from the good guys can be just as dangerous as running from the bad guys.

Protected by a man who seems too good to be true…

Just when she thinks she has nowhere left to run, an investigator with the Arkansas State Police helps her find a new place to hide. Shaw Bennett seems to be everything Jared wasn’t, but can she trust him? He is, after all, just another cop.

Her life threatened by the father she never knew…

Shaw’s Landing seems a great place to disappear for a while until the night terrors begin. Are the visions she sees her imagination, the product of her increasing fear, or something more sinister? Has the curse of Haskins blood followed her?

Can the promise of love overcome the ghosts of the past at Shaw’s Landing?

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Ashley Ridge - Haunted Hearts Series Book 3
Trapped in an affair with a blackmailer...

After Ashley Rivers is involved in a hit and run accident, she picks up the pieces of her life and tries to move on, but the tragedy ruins her friendship with the two people most important to her. To fill the void, she falls into a psychologically abusive relationship with a sociopath.

Estranged from the man she has always loved...
Giving up her place in the North Arkansas Paranormal Society isn’t easy for Ashley. She longs to go back to the old ghost hunting days with her partners, Josh and Gray, but the hurt Josh inflicted on her is hard to forget. Distancing herself from him is even harder.

Entangled in a dark web of murder and revenge...
When a mysterious death on Ashley Ridge stirs up old haunting rumors, Lead Crime Scene Investigator with the Hill County Sheriff’s Office, Josh McCord, pulls Ashley into the investigation. Investigating the haunting draws Josh and Ashley together, but Josh fears Ashley will crush his heart again.

Can two wounded hearts repair the damage done by the past and find love on Ashley Ridge?

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Cross Examination
No longer able to tolerate her husband Scott’s abuse, Tamara Slay packs up her daughter, Gabby, and moves to Louisiana, hoping a new life and a new identity will give her a fresh start. An unexpected phone call from a Sheriff’s deputy in Florida shatters her sense of security. Scott hides a much darker secret than abusing his wife. Above all else, she must protect Gabby from Scott.

Lt. Martin Beck of the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating the death of Brandy Fuller for years. Sidetracked for a while by his wife’s murder, Beck finally reopens the cold Fuller case and discovers a thin lead. The new evidence takes him to Louisiana to meet the estranged wife of his primary suspect. Together, Beck and Tamara conclude that Scott not only murdered Brandy Fuller, but seven other women on the Florida Gulf coast.

As Beck dives deeper into the investigation, he draws closer to Tamara. Passions ignite as the one woman who wants Scott dead the most allies with the one man who wants Scott dead the most. Can Beck protect Tamara and Gabby from Scott and stop a serial killer from killing again?

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Victoria House - Haunted Hearts Series Book 2
Haunted by a dark mystery in her family’s past... When Tori Downing takes possession of the abandoned Hamilton estate on the longest peninsula on Lake Jefferson, Arkansas, she avoids revealing her connection to the ill-fated Hamilton family. Is the glowing image that shimmers in the second floor window of Victoria House the ghost of Victoria Hamilton? Can Tori handle moving into a house with paranormal activity...again?

Tormented by a scandal she thought she’d left behind...
Until she leaves her career at the Arkansas State Crime Lab behind, she never even considers moving to Lake Jefferson, but the fallout from scandal gives Tori a very good reason to escape to Hill County and refurbish and restore the old family mansion. She settles into her new life...until the old accusations from her past start resurfacing.

Attracted to a man haunted by secrets of his own...
Drawn together to solve the murder of Jared Crenshaw, Tori and Lt. Grayson of the Hill County Sheriff’s Department dive into a tangled web of jealousy, deceit, and revenge as they attempt to solve both crimes, Jared’s death and the mysterious death years ago of Victoria Hamilton. Grayson’s past keeps interfering with his present, causing turmoil in both his professional life and his personal life. Can their love survive revealing the truth—from both the past and present—surrounding the tragedies at Victoria House?

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Twin Rivers - Colorado series Book 3
Country music star, Summer Jackson, left fame and fortune behind in Las Vegas one fateful night--the night an anonymous stranger checked her into rehab--the same night her partner Houston Pierce was murdered. Living out of the spotlight as Johanna Caldwell should be easier, except her fractured heart and her infamous past won't allow her any rest.

When Johanna arrives at Twin Rivers looking for a job, Austin Pierce remembers her as Summer Jackson, the woman he's always blamed for causing his brother's death. Pierce hires the woman who calls herself Johanna, but her presence rekindles his feelings of resentment toward the woman he knew as Summer Jackson.

Will a new threat expose their secrets and endanger their future before they have a chance to forgive each other and build a new life together?

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Laurel Heights - Haunted Hearts Series Book 1
Book One of an exciting new series filled with paranormal activity, delicious romance, and plenty of suspense.

A dark cloud of deceit hovers over her family tree...

Left an estate by an aunt she’s never met, Laurel Standridge takes possession of Laurel Heights, hoping it will be the safe haven she needs to recuperate from her ill-fated relationship with Rand Peterson. Secrets long buried rise to the surface when her cousin James is murdered and dumped on the highway just outside the gates of Laurel Heights.

Her past trails her to the mountains of Arkansas...

Caught in an obligation Chase Peterson feels he cannot ignore, he agrees to help his brother Rand take back the property he believes Laurel stole from him, but Chase remains at Laurel Heights after he discovers Laurel took nothing of Rand’s away with her except nightmares, fading bruises, and a broken rib.

Unexplained disturbances shatter her hopes of a normal life...

Are the strange bumps, thumps, and bangs reverberating through the night caused by the murderer of Laurel’s cousin James, someone Rand has sent to exact his revenge, or a disturbed soul existing in another dimension, trying to communicate with the living? Drawn together by the intrigue surrounding Laurel Heights, Chase and Laurel become hopelessly entangled in a relationship that goes deeper than mere physical attraction. Can their love survive the haunting of Laurel Heights?

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Crisis of Serenity - Crisis Series Book 2
Tess Copeland lives a quiet life in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Thanks to the government’s witness protection program, she enjoys the freedom of never having to glance over her shoulder to see if someone is following her. Life has become safe, serene...and boring. Her heart longs for something more than just existing...until a ghost from her past shatters her serenity.

Once upon a time, Tess was caught between the FBI and the men the feds were trying to take down. Jake Coleman is the U.S. Marshal who extracted her from the jam she was in with the FBI, a man she could have fallen for...hard...if she had let herself. It’s been a year since she last saw Jake, and in all the months that have passed, he’s never tried to find her. The longer he keeps his distance, the more she wonders why his absence hurts so much.

When a stranger comes to town searching for her, all of Tess’ old fears are resurrected. Asking Jake for help with her current crisis might lure him into a dangerous trap involving murder, kidnapping, and revenge. When Jake and Tess come face-to-face with the past, they will have to use all their wits to survive.

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Purgatory - Colorado series
Five years ago, a tragic accident robbed Chris Smith of a normal life. Left with only a jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and bits of memory—smells, sounds, and fleeting feelings—she copes with the loss of her identity. Amnesia has made her life a living purgatory…until she meets Steve West.

Steve’s construction company is remodeling the ski lifts in Purgatory, Colorado. However looking at Chris is seeing the face of his deceased wife. Now the truths he’d been forced to believe have him searching for answers.

Murder, deception and missing ransom money. Can Steve protect Chris…and prove she’s the wife he never believed dead before the killer tries again?

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The End
Sometimes the end is only the beginning.

Almost a year after her husband dies, Ellie Marston opens the file for Tab’s last manuscript, a thriller so compelling it reads like a true story. His manuscript needs an ending, so Ellie writes the obvious conclusion. The same morning she types The End, her career as an assistant district attorney falls apart. Accused of throwing the high profile Patterson case, she resigns in disgrace. The only friend she has left in the criminal justice system is Det. Paul Santiago, a man she has worked closely with on numerous cases. While she was married to Tab, she squashed her growing feelings for Paul, determined to make her deteriorating marriage work, but circumstances after Tab’s death bring Ellie and Paul together.

Ellie’s paranoia increases as she becomes convinced Patterson is harassing her, certain that someone is searching her belongings for any hidden evidence she might have that would reopen his case. It becomes clear there was a conspiracy to release Patterson. She seeks help from her former co-worker, Presley Sinclair, but soon discovers Presley is deeply involved in the subsequent cover up. Worse yet, Tab’s affair with Presley drew him into the twisted conspiracy as well.

Together Paul and Ellie attempt to uncover the conspiracy in the District Attorney’s office, the set up that forced her to resign. The key to the mystery is hidden in the pages of Tab’s manuscript. Once Paul and Ellie come to the correct conclusion—Tab’s manuscript is a true story and Ellie’s added ending is the only logical outcome—Ellie attempts to reveal Patterson’s hidden partner in the District Attorney’s office, but the co-conspirator she uncovers is not whom she suspects. Danger swirls around her as she steps further and further into the conspirator’s trap.

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An Impostor in Town - Colorado series Book 1
Peyton Chandler has done everything to protect her son Jake from the evil men who would destroy her by destroying him. For years, she has allowed another woman to raise her son, kept herself apart from him, and hidden behind her dead sister's identity, never allowing herself to get close to anyone--not even Sheriff Brian Parker, the one man whose love and respect she craves. When Brian receives a note claiming there's an impostor in town, he doesn't know where to start his investigation. Peyton fears she will lose the man she loves if he discovers she's not the woman she claims to be.

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Deceptions of the Heart
Surviving as Jennifer Cristobal isn't easy for Rhonda Prentiss. Three years ago, a sudden, fatal trauma stripped Rhonda of her middle-class, stay-at-home-mom existence. A brand new shock prompts Rhonda's essence to invade Jennifer's soul, suppressing the other woman's memories and replacing them with her own. When Jennifer's heart transplant surgeon, Dr. Crane, can't--or won't--help her understand her unusual body-swapping dilemma, she turns to the only man she can trust. But can she fully trust Jennifer's husband, Anson? Rhonda's memory proves faulty--and sugarcoated. Multiple threats from her past shake her fragile hold on mental stability. If one of her enemies succeeds, he will kill Rhonda's soul...or Jennifer's body...or both.

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Crisis of Identity
Tess Copeland is an operator. Her motto? Necessity is the mother of a good a con. When Hurricane Irving slams into the Texas Gulf coast, Tess seizes the opportunity to escape her past by hijacking a dead woman’s life, but Shelby Coleman’s was the wrong identity to steal. And the cop that trails her? He’s a U.S. Marshall with the Fugitive Task Force for the northern district of Illinois. Tess left Chicago because the criminal justice system gave her no choice. Now she’s on the run from ghosts of misdeeds past—both hers and Shelby’s.

Enter Trevor Smith, a pseudo-cowboy from Houston, Texas, with good looks, a quick tongue, and testosterone poisoning. Will Tess succumb to his questionable charms and become his damsel in distress? She doesn’t have to faint at his feet—she’s capable of handling just about anything. But will she choose to let Trevor be the man? When Tess kidnaps her niece, her life changes. She must make some hard decisions. Does she trust the lawman that promises her redemption, or does she trust the cowboy that promises her nothing but himself?

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