Sunday, December 21, 2014

Terry Fears for Madison Knight's Life #SampleSunday #mystery

Here's a brief excerpt from Just Cause (A Madison Knight Novel):

From Chapter Two:

Lights flashing, Terry tore through the city to Madison’s apartment building. He tried her intercom button and imagined her answering. He hoped that he had fabricated nothing into something. But there was no answer.

He pushed random buttons until he got someone. It was an elderly lady, based on her fragile voice.

“Who’s there?”

“Stiles PD. I need access to the building.”

“No way, creep. I know what you want. You have a granny fetish, you sick bastard. Go away or I’ll call the police.”

Terry rolled his eyes, tried another button, and received a more favorable reply. The door buzzed and unlocked for him. He was in.

He pounded on Madison’s apartment door loud enough it could have roused the dead.

The last two words replayed in his head. The dead. What if something happened to Madison and he was too late?

He fell back against the door. The moment he made contact with it, he had his answer.
How could he have been so blind?

It took him thirty minutes to reach the harbor when it should have taken at least forty-five. He saw her Mazda across the street and his heart sank.

He parked the department-issued sedan a block away and hoofed it to her car. He confirmed the plates and called it in. He would need backup.

You can download Just Cause (A Madison Knight Novel) from the following retailers:

Amazon –  http://ow.ly/GeYLh
Amazon UK – http://ow.ly/GeYKf
Barnes & Noble – http://ow.ly/GeYJ1
iTunes – http://ow.ly/GeYHD

Curious about the overview for Just Cause? Here it is:

A cold case pits Madison against the Russian Mafia, but things take a swift turn when the unthinkable happens--a new threat arises and has Madison hunting down an unknown killer.
While trying to make sense of the clues, bodies are piling up, and the brass is hungry for explanations. In addition, Madison must balance all of this while nursing an injury, talking out her emotions with a therapist--a bureaucratic necessity--answering to an eager journalist, and facing an internal affairs investigation.
As the answers come together, Madison narrows in on a possible link between the Russian Mafia and someone within the Stiles PD.
Will she have the courage to confront the person she believes is playing both sides, even though they hold a position of great power?
Things are about to be shaken up, and, for Madison, that means she just might have to let go of the past to embrace her future.


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

For the Love of Dogs – Why I Wrote The Defenseless

These are my babies, Max and Chelsea. They are beagles and brother and sister.
I’ve loved dogs for as long as I can I remember. It’s safe to say I loved them all my life. In fact, my love for animals extends to cats, horses, cows, pigs, and really there is no end to this list. I love most furry creatures (except for spiders, though, which are my one fear).
You might have caught that I included pigs on my list. Well, here’s a story I don’t share with everyone…or at least I hadn’t until now. But when I was a little girl—it would have been before the age of six—my mother found me in the sty playing with the pigs. Of course, she freaked out, so she told me. It can be dangerous mucking around with huge sows, but me, all I remember is stomping in the mud and talking to them. What can I say? I guess I’ve always seen animals as an extension of the human family.
This love for animals came part-and-parcel with me my entire life, up to and including this point. I remember dogs being a part of it from the beginning. My first dog was Heidi. I was very young when she was a part of my family, but I remember she had sandy-colored hair—and lots of it.
When my parents moved from the farm to a large town, and some years had passed…I was a teenager at this point and they put a proposal in front of my younger sister and myself. The choices were take a trip to Disney World or get a dog. Well, hello, even as young people, both of us saw this one as an easy decision. We had been to Disney World already, and well, a dog? Of course it won!
So we ended up getting a Lhasa apso/Shih Tzu mix. He was black and white and we named him Checkers. I made him someone else’s pet in The Defenseless. I actually do include my dogs’ names in my books, but that could be another post.
Getting back to The Defenseless, though, and my deep-seated disgust for animal abuse and those who inflict this. In reflecting on this, I believe it goes back to my formative years growing up on the farm. If you’ve ever lived in the country, you’ve likely heard of cats being dropped off on the side of the road. This happened in the area we lived in on numerous occasions. I remember specifically an instance when we found three kittens. They were in bad shape and despite our efforts to help them, we were too late. I remember being very upset over losing them.
I do believe it was then that the seed for hating animal abuse was planted. To take something so precious, a life that looks to us for love, for food, for companionship, who loves us unconditionally, and hurt any of these creatures? This turns my stomach and can ratchet up my anger faster than most anything.
When I hear of animal abuse in the news, it has the ability to make me temporarily lose my sense of right and wrong. I still remember, years ago, hearing about a man who dragged his dog behind his truck. It took my thoughts to a dark place and made me wonder if I were capable of extracting the same treatment on the man. Like I said, nothing much can get me angrier.
It’s pulling from this real-life report and how it made me feel, that brought The Defenseless to life. The killer, who aptly named himself The Advocate stands as the animals’ voice. He brings attention to what they had suffered at the hands of the Offenders, of the men charged with animal abuse. He outworks on them what they had inflicted upon their dogs. And, yes, I do include repayment in the form of one man being dragged behind a truck.
I also worked with a woman who helped run an animal shelter in her past. She told me how abusers would slip right through the cracks of justice due to a technicality. And really, is there justice for abused animals when their abusers can get levied with some minor charges, a monetary fine, and are free to get another animal within a few years?
I utilized some of her experience in The Defenseless, again drawing from real life. Combining all the elements above, this novel is a close one to my heart. I stand strong in the defense of animals—of course this side of the law. But as I’ve grown spiritually, and as a strong believer in the Law of Attraction (LOA), I also recognize the importance of not fighting what I don’t want.
As Mother Teresa once said, “I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.”
When it comes to stopping animal abuse, the same principle applies. Instead of placing the focus on hating it, we need to be for animals having a safe and loving home environment. We need to educate people on how to best care for animals and let them know what commitment is required to care for their needs, help people make an informed decision before they adopt a pet. We must focus on the sweet animals who need our love and care. We must focus on the success stories. Of course, this doesn't mean we shut our eyes to the problem that exists either.
As Wayne Dyer mentioned in his one book, “You’ll See It When You Believe It,” every living creature makes up the universe. The universe, he broke down to mean “one song.” Just as a song comes together by each contributing member, instrument and singer, so too, we all have a role on this beautiful planet. Animals are included in this. Without them, well, life on this planet would be vastly different, and if I may say so, depressing, if not impossible.
With my novel, The Defenseless, I believe it has the ability to touch people who love animals and to make a difference. It calls attention to this ugly stain that, sadly, marks most communities. While there may not be a serial killer out there exacting revenge, it makes one wonder at what point this might happen. It awakens us to the possibility that we can’t close our eyes to animal abuse, or look the other way. What happens to them, affects us.

Within a day of the book being released, I received emails from a woman who heads up an animal shelter in Texas. She said, and I pulled a quote from an email: "You already helped....I plan to get a copy of that book to every politician in our town. Me talking won't carry as much weight as your book. I just want them to know that when we tell them something is needed we don't mean tomorrow or a year from now. Getting the council to understand that lives are at stake will help greatly!"

This is the type of difference I hope to make with this book. I hope people realize how serious the matter is. I also hope that its readers are pulled in and they get caught up in the investigation.

The Defenseless is available in eBook and Print.
Kobo 

And why not donate to your local animal shelter this holiday season?

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Excerpt of #newrelease The Defenseless

The following excerpt is from my newest release, The Defenseless.

Chapter 1
Current day
December 15th, 6 a.m. 
Denver, Colorado 

The plane touched down at Denver International Airport just after six in the morning. I was happy to have the tumultuous flight over with, and thought it should have been canceled, but apparently those responsible for that sort of thing had cleared take-off. 

Flying typically didn’t bother me, but high winds and various temperature pockets had buffeted the plane, rocking it almost like a ship at sea, only we were thirty thousand feet in the air. Land never looked so good.

Zachery slapped me on the back and had me lurching forward from the momentum. “We made it, Pending.”

Months into my probationary period but still not clear of it—something I was reminded of all the time by his beloved nickname.

Jack brushed past, leading the three of us through the airport, no doubt driven by the undying urge for a cigarette. Paige hung back, and when I turned, she pushed a rogue strand of hair from her eyes and dipped to the left as she shifted the position of her suitcase strap on her right shoulder.

We were called to Colorado because some old-timer detective by the name of Mack McClellan was certain the area had a serial killer. He believed it strongly enough we were convinced as well.

The label serial killer no longer fazed me, and it only took a few horrid cases to rub off its shock value. 

Regular people, who didn’t have to hunt down murderers, lived life as if they were merely characters fabricated for entertainment purposes. The dark truth was, conservatively, there were an estimated thirty-five to fifty serial killers in the United States at any given time. 

The local FBI office was to provide us with transportation, but it was the local detective who insisted on meeting us at the airport and bringing us up to speed. 

Stepping out of the warm cocoon of the airport into the brisk winter air of Denver stole my breath. It had me wanting to retreat back inside for the warm, blowing vents.

For recreational purposes, Denver would be an ideal location to spend the Christmas season, with its mountain slopes and deep snow. Even facing the search for a killer, I’d rather be here, miles away from home, than facing the emptiness of the house on Christmas day. 

This would be the first year without Deb. The only thing that could make it better was reconciliation, but we were beyond that point. Truth be told, I wasn’t even sure if I’d take her back. The divorce was already filed, and knowing my penchant for attracting negative events, it would be official in time for the holiday. It didn’t matter though. I had found a way to move forward in my life—at least I told myself that. Maybe I was burying my feelings, but I preferred to think I healed faster than most.

“Hey, there they are.”

A man pushed off the hood of a Crown Vic, the cup in his hand steaming in the cold air. At full height, he was all of five eight. His hair was sparse, and reminded me of a Chia Pet just starting to grow, but what he did have was a dark blond. He wore a thigh-length wool parka, zipped up shy of his collar by about six inches. It revealed a white collared shirt and a blue tie with white dots. I wondered if he dressed this way all the time or only when the FBI was in town.

He put his cup on the car roof and came toward us with another man who wore a fur-lined leather jacket paired with blue jeans, which appeared stiff due to the mountain air.

It had me wondering which scenario was more uncomfortable, frozen stiff jeans, or breezy dress pants. I experienced the latter and questioned the wardrobe I had brought, wondering if I’d be warm enough.

Curse winter and all that’s white.

“Gentleman, I’m Mack McClellan.” The man in the parka extended his hand, first to Jack. He must have sensed his authority despite the lit cigarette.

Jack took a quick inhale and blew a stream of white pollution out the side of his mouth as he shook the man’s hand. “Supervisory Special Agent Jack Harper, and this is my team.” Jack left us to introduce ourselves.

McClellan’s gaze settled on me, and I surmised what he was thinking—I was the young guy on the team, the inexperienced one he’d have to watch.

He gestured to the man with him. “This is Detective Ronnie Hogan. He’s also with Denver PD. We’re not partners, but he’s of the same mind. There’s a serial at play here.”

Hogan bobbed his head forward as a greeting, but made no effort to extend a hand. His eyes were brown and hard to read. He had etched crease lines in his brow, but he also had smile lines, so there was some promise there. Not that we witnessed the expression. 

McClellan grinned with a warmth that touched his eyes, giving me the impression he was used to Hogan’s aloofness. “Glad to see you made it all right. It’s quite the weather we’re having these days. How was your flight?”

Jack took another drag on his cigarette. “Over now.”

His retort killed the expression on the detective’s face. “A man who is all business, I see. So, the dead body. You know the name and details.”

Another pull on the cigarette, and Jack flicked the glowing butt to the ground and extinguished it with the twist of a shoe.

“We know what the file says, but we like to go over everything in person.” Paige smiled at the detectives, no doubt trying to compensate for Jack’s crass behavior.

“Well, let us fill you in on the way to where the body was found. My, it’s mighty cold out here.” He rubbed his hands together and grabbed his cup before going around to the driver’s side. “For everyone to be more comfortable, two of you can come with me, and the other two can go with Hogan.”

McClellan seemed like an open book—what you saw was what you got. With Hogan, there was something about him, whether it was his skepticism or what, I wasn’t sure. A quality that should repel actually made me want to get to know him.

“I’ll go with Hogan.” Paige and I spoke at the same time. 

Our eyes connected. In the past this symmetry in thought would have elicited a smile from both of us. These days our relationship was more complicated.

Paige stepped back and sought Jack’s direction. “I’ll go with whomever you want me to.”

“It’s fine. You guys go with Hogan. We’ll all catch up at the crime scene.”

She went past me and held out her hand to Hogan. “I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced.”

Hogan stared at her extended hand and, eventually, conceded to a handshake. The greeting was over quick.

As he was getting into the driver’s seat, I whispered in Paige’s ear. “He’s not really the touchy-feely kind, is he?”

I received a glare in response.

You can download your copy from the following retailers: 

Amazon UK - http://ow.ly/FIYK3 
Barnes & Noble - http://ow.ly/FIWHq 
iTunes - http://ow.ly/FIYI8  


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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Animal Abusers Repaid in The Defenseless #newrelease

There is one thing that has the potential for turning me into a raging lunatic and that's animal abuse. I'm typically a loving and peaceful person, but when I hear news of someone working out harm against an animal, something inside of me snaps. It is this deep-seated hatred of these situations that inspired me to write The Defenseless

I thought what if I took an ordinary-type of guy and made him become so obsessed with these cases that he took revenge on behalf of the animals. What if he became the Advocate for the victims who have no voice? What if he took his vigilante justice to the point of murder? What if he adjusted his means of torture and murder to what his victims had inflicted upon the animals they abused?

In this thriller/police procedural, FBI Agent Brandon Fisher and the rest of the team head to Colorado to stop this serial killer. All the while, they question who is on the side of justice--them or the man they're after.

If that's not enough, Brandon's divorce is about to be final and probably will be by Christmas. And here he is thousands of miles from home--with Paige. Will they be willing to risk all they've worked for to pursue their forbidden relationship?

All these factors--and more--make up the plot line for The Defenseless. I hope it keeps you guessing the identity of the killer right up until the very end.

If you download The Defenseless, or have already secured a pre-order copy, thank you.

Amazon UK - http://ow.ly/FIYK3


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas is Here!

Okay, well, maybe not Christmas the holiday, but it's the official release day for Christmas is Murder

Here's the overview in case you missed it:

Albany’s the perfect image of a winter wonderland, and Sean and Sara’s friend Jimmy is going to be Santa Claus for the upcoming Christmas parade. The trees and decorations have been selected and the gifts have been purchased. The season has truly cast its magical spell--until Sean and Sara’s neighbors die in a horrible house fire.

While the fire department ruled holiday-related hazards as the cause, Sara suspects there’s more to it. Her determination to find the truth has her and Sean toeing the line between what’s legal and what’s not.

As they sort out fact from fiction, the McKinleys make the final decision about whether or not they should open a private investigation firm.

Christmas is Murder is a touching--and comical--seasonal drama. Stoke the fire and top up that glass of eggnog.

And here's where you can pick up your copy:

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Christmas Movies #12DaysofChristmasisMurder

#12DaysofChristmasisMurder

Here are some of the best holiday movies of all time.

It's a Wonderful Life
Miracle on 34th Street
Home Alone
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
A Christmas Story
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Frosty the Snowman
A Christmas Carol
The Santa Clause
Love Actually
White Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Will you be watching any of the titles this year? What is your favorite holiday movie?

Christmas is Murder releases December 4th, but is available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.


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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Fresh Excerpt from Christmas is Murder #12DaysofChristmasisMurder

#12DaysofChristmasisMurder
Excerpt from Christmas is Murder, Chapter 2

“Sara.” Sean became motionless, and speechless, when his eyes fell on what was before them.

“The Wilsons?” She took one step, but Sean held her arm.

“You can’t go in there, darling.” The desperation in his eyes said it all—it wasn’t safe or practical.

“Excuse me. We’re going to have to ask you leave.” A uniformed man approached them. The label on his hat read Chief.

“Are they okay? Was anybody hurt?”

A voice came over his radio and indicated the blaze was coming under control.

The chief nodded to Sara and gestured for them to move back.

For some reason, even though he answered in the affirmative, with a nod, she sensed it had more to do with directing them to the side than denoting good news.

“Who are you two?”

“I’m—” Her voice was shaky and Sean took over.

“We’re the McKinleys, from next door. Sean and Sara.”

“What caused the fire?” Sara asked.

“This time of year we get a lot of calls.” He gestured to the Christmas lights that dangled from the Wilsons’ eaves like eerie shadows, carrying haunting memories of happier times.

“The Wilsons, are they—”

Plumes of smoke exited the front window. The firemen kept spraying.

The chief’s crease lines took on sharp edges. His mouth fell into a straight line. “I’m sorry to say this, but they didn’t make it.”

“Oh, darling.” Sara turned toward Sean and he held her tight.

“What happened?” Sean asked.

“They were both found in the living room. They were rushed away immediately, but the call came en route to the hospital. For what it matters, I don’t think they suffered. I think they were asleep on the couch when the fire started and died from smoke inhalation.” 

Even though her back was to the man, Sara sensed his heart was broken over the situation. She imagined his gaze on her.

“Well, you don’t need all the details.” His gravelly voice confirmed her suspicion.

“I assume there will be an investigation into the cause of the fire,” Sean said.

Sara straightened and turned to face the chief, her shoulder remained tucked under Sean’s armpit, their torsos as close as possible with their bulky winter coats.

“It’s standard protocol.”

“Did they have any family? People—”

“Mrs. McKinley, arrangements for the notification is being made as we speak.”

“We just met them this afternoon.” The statement fell as a guilty confession, remorse over not knowing them underscored every word.

“They have a daughter who lives in town.”

“Please, what is her name?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you that.”

Sean tightened his hold on Sara. “We understand, Chief—I’m sorry, what is your name?”

“Harold Fox.”

“We got it,” a voice called over the radio.

The men, who were spraying the front, turned the water off and lowered the hose. The smell of fire clung to the air. The snowfall that had earlier cast a magical spell had taken on the weight of loss and sadness.

Christmas is Murder releases December 4th, but is available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo



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