Sunday, March 15, 2015

Coffee is Murder, A Moment of Appreciation #SampleSunday

Excerpt from COFFEE IS MURDER, coming out May 27th.

Chapter 1
A Moment of Appreciation

FOR SARA, COFFEE WAS ONE of life’s greatest—and simplest—pleasures. Every time she took a draw of freshly brewed java, her eyelids automatically lowered in appreciation of the robust flavor. Somehow, when drinking it, life seemed less complicated, or maybe it was just how it coated the palate and calmed her nerves despite what some scientific studies might say.
She was in her home office, seated behind her desk, staring at the blinking cursor on her monitor, but it wasn’t because she had writer’s block. Her wrists needed a break. Better yet, she needed to indulge in this cup.
Leaning back in her chair, she swiveled from side to side and closed her eyes, savoring the aroma of the dark beans. While they were ground at the time she pressed the button, the only way to get it any fresher was picking the beans off the plants in Brazil. With their money, she supposed it was an option.
She let herself get caught up with the thought. It might not be a bad idea. As her daydreaming grew in scale, she laughed. She wasn’t going to board a plane to South America for a cup of coffee, even though it might be the best she’d ever had. She wasn’t that obsessed—was she?
Sean knocked, but entered without awaiting a reply. He held on to a glass of orange juice and she admired his self-restraint. For some reason, his body required only one coffee a day when he first woke up. Otherwise, he moved on to juice or water. 
If Sean had his way, Sara would drink only one, but coffee was a habit she wasn’t willing to break. Maybe she was an addict, although, that word carried such a negative connotation. She wasn’t an alcoholic simply because she enjoyed an evening beverage, so her coffee indulgence shouldn’t be considered an addiction. Even her thoughts betrayed her. Indulgence.
“Good morning, darling.” Sean kissed her forehead and then her lips. “I hope I’m not interrupting.” He glanced at the screen. “I guess I’m not.”
She smirked at him, realizing only a chapter number was showing. “I’m just taking a small break. I can’t always be typing, you know. I’m not a machine.”
“The way you’ve been holed up in here lately, I’m starting to wonder.”
She pouted. “Are you feeling lonely?”
“A little bit like a writer’s widower actually.”
“Well, let me make it up to you.” She stood, cupped his face with her hands, and kissed his mouth.
When they parted, any pleasure she derived from the coffee had diluted. It was replaced by the need to hold her husband.
“Hmm. Not bad,” he said.
“Excuse me?”
“You have coffee breath. I have orange juice breath. Still, the kiss, not bad.”
She narrowed her eyes and was about to say something when the phone on her desk rang.
Sean answered. “Hello…yes, Helen…all right, make the appointment for two hours from now.”
As she listened to her husband speak, she had a good idea what this was about. There was a job.

COFFEE IS MURDER is available for pre-order from:
Amazon UK:
Barnes & Noble:

COFFEE IS MURDER officially releases May 27th.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Everyone Has a Story—Here’s Mine, Part 2

Last week I started to share my writing journey with you. It’s one that seems to inspire others, as well as myself. What took place in my life confirmed that I was meant to be an author. If you’re an author, you will have your own story, I have no doubt. But, here is the rest of mine. (If you didn’t catch Part 1, you can find it here.)

Back in 2006, the economy was strong, and I was young and determined to find happiness with my employment. I wasn’t looking for a career, I was simply looking for a place where I’d be happy and my mind would be challenged. That year, I left a company I had worked at for seven years because I wanted a change. I ended up working at three different places in three months—and all the moves were my doing!

What can I say? I knew what I wanted and I hadn’t found it yet. Through all of this, my sweet husband supported my decisions. He says he never had any doubt in my abilities. That’s probably a good reason I’ve kept him around so long. (Nineteen years in 2015.) Other elements could have created stress too. We just bought a new car and moved into our first house.

Titles up until the end of 2014.
Anyway, with this third job move, not only did my salary go up significantly from where I had started off, but, more importantly, it was the job that reunited me with writing. That’s right. After thirteen years, oh, and a move across the province, writing was brought back into my life.

It’s here where the Goosebumps start for me. I believe that things happen for a reason. I always have. Well, with all this job hunting, interviewing, and changes, the Universe delivered back to me my purpose in life.

This is how it transpired. Ironically, this job wasn’t to last long. It was a larger company and they were restructuring. This resulted in my department being transferred to their Toronto office. That meant I was going to be out of a job. But it didn’t happen overnight. It carried over at least a month, maybe longer. We all knew it was coming, but didn’t know when. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had to go through this, but it’s not a nice position to be in. For me, it was meant to be. (What’s meant to happen…)

It was during this time that a co-worker emailed me. Now, keep in mind none of us were motivated. We anticipated the proverbial ax chopping us at any time.

Her email said, “Tell me a story.”

I just want to point out here, again, that I hadn’t written anything in about thirteen years. The concept of writing a full-length novel lingered in the back of my mind, but no real thought was given to it.

So how did I respond to her email? Truth is, I don’t even remember questioning why she asked. It seemed as natural as if she asked me how I was doing.

I fired back a few paragraphs that came to me.

She emailed back requesting more.

I provided her more.

We continued this for a while, going back and forth, her requesting more and me obliging. I was having fun with this and she told me I had to finish what I started.

And, there you go. From a series of events, synchronicity, destiny, whatever you want to call it, I was reunited with my love for writing. This book, known to my readers as LIFE SENTENCE, that I had started in email became my first full-length novel.

Since that day when a co-worker asked me, “Tell me a story,” I’ve never looked back.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Everyone Has a Story—Here’s Mine, Part 1

A common question I’m asked as an author is, “when did you start writing?” Every time I get to answer this question, I fall in love all over again…not that I ever really fell out of love. Some people might tell you that they loved books from the time they could read, that they were writing stories in crayon, that writing is what defines their entire life up until this point. Well, my story is a little different. It’s a unique one that usually sends spikes of energy through me and those I’m telling it to.

It didn’t necessarily start off that exciting, but how I became reunited with writing after being away from it for thirteen years, is my story alone to tell. So here goes.

My story starts off much like other authors. I did start writing when I was young, but it wasn’t with crayons. It was on a typewriter and then on a computer. I was a teenager at the time and in love with the dramatics involved with young romance. Maybe it was a reflection of all the tangled emotions that were whirling through my system? I’m not sure, but I found it so enjoyable. I wrote romance novellas that were full of heartache and suspense. I even have some of these kicking around on three inch floppies. (If you don’t know what these are, I’m feeling old right now…and I oblige, picture attached.)

Anyway, I’d insist everyone in my family read what wrote and if they refused? Well, no problem. I read it to them. You could say I was hard-headed, tenacious. But it was clear that I had a message I wanted to share. Primarily, I wanted to entertain. I also knew I wanted to write a full-length novel.

This love moved me to write into Harlequin for their submission guidelines as a teen. I still remember grabbing the envelope and hunkering down in the basement to read the contents. My parents never even knew I had written to them.

But it wasn’t my time yet. I don’t even remember exactly why I was deterred. Maybe it was because of the story length required. Maybe it was self-doubt or a realization of my limited life experience.

From there, I also remember writing poetry. For those of you who read it or write it, you know it’s an emotional journey. You really have to feel everything you put on the page. I used it as a means to purge my teenage upsets.

But then, I stopped writing. I don’t even remember exactly when or why it happened.

What I do know is, approximately thirteen years later, writing re-entered my life.

Please visit my blog next week to read more about my story.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Winner is Announced!

To celebrate my upcoming release, I held a contest to name the McKinleys' private investigation firm. I'm proud to announce the winner as Elaine for her suggestion of Pay it Forward Inc. PI Firm. Elaine will receive a $50 Visa Gift Card and a signed paperback of COFFEE IS MURDER. Congratulations, Elaine! 

COFFEE IS MURDER releases May 27th, but is available for pre-order from the following eRetailers:

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Pre-order Now Available - Coffee is Murder

Announcing my upcoming release! Coffee is Murder releases on May 27th, but is available for pre-order now.

Book Description:

A cup a day won’t kill you, but a few might.

Their first case as private investigators have Sean, Sara, and Jimmy neck-deep in coffee beans trying to find a killer. With their client certain that her mother was poisoned through her coffee of the month club, it has them setting out to Williamsburg, Virginia. But instead of approaching matters from the traditional standpoint, Sean and Sara brew a robust plot and stir Jimmy into the blend, all to get close to their top suspect and grind out the truth.

Going undercover at Tasty Beans, the coffee company, the three of them work to expose the culprit before anyone else dies.

Available from:
Amazon UK:
Barnes & Noble:

Send to Kindle