All posts by Pat Amsden

Mimi Barbour is a friend of mine and fellow author, both from the local VIRA (Vancouver Island Romance Authors) and Author’s Bill Board. She’s also a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who’s sold over 500,000 copies of her books world-wide.

These include her five romance series: The Vicarage Bench/ time travel at it’s best, Angels with Attitudes / angels love romance, Vegas / fast-paced plotting, Elvis / make a song a book and her newest, Undercover FBI / with sizzling conflicts and lots of humor.

Mimi’s been heard to say: “I’m an author who loves to read uplifting stories about romance. Add in some time travel, or maybe an angel, or even a little romantic suspense and it makes the story more fascinating because of the incredible possibilities.”

Special Agent Kandace

Powerful, thrilling and character-driven, this romantic suspense is a real page-turner.

Special Agent indeed, Kandice Warner is everyone’s best friend. Talk about a Barbie doll! This female might have the same pretty-girl looks but even though she has a tender heart, she also has the resilience needed for a very successful FBI Hostage Negotiator.

Feelings of inadequacy constantly force her to prove that she’s tough, and she demonstrates her courage when dealing with a murderous bank robber and a desperate jumper. But her tender heart can get her in trouble and she needs to grow a thicker skin. Almost impossible when her obstinate new boss, for reasons of his own, interferes in everything she does.

Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division in Washington, Dan Black is as hard as they come. With the grit of a street youth stiffening his resolve, he’s worked his way up through the ranks, his personal space shields as strong as ever. Until he sees the sweetest things on two legs! A girl from his past. The one he’s never been able to forget. Working undercover in the Seattle bureau, he tries to protect his childhood fantasy but she refuses to stay put or take orders. Faced with a woman like that, what’s a mere man to do?

Enter the Giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7996b6c5305/?

 

<a href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7996b6c5305/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”7996b6c5305″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”" id=”rcwidget_82kr4m2k”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

<script src=”https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js”></script>

 

Add the book to your Goodreads Shelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29630852-special-agent-kandice

 

Buy the book:

Book 4: Special Agent Kandice *Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1qqzeCm *Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/1RJR36l *Amazon CA:  http://amzn.to/1RJRjCr *Amazon AU:  http://bit.ly/1RJRayB

Alive by Jennifer St. Giles


kaylee's justice

 Please join me in welcoming Jennifer St. Giles to my blog today. I love her writing and can’t wait to read her latest release, Kaylee’s Justice.

 

Let me start by giving a huge thank you to Pat for reaching out and sharing her blog with me today. I am grateful. And to all of the readers out there, you are the wind beneath an author’s wings. Thank you for enabling our stories to take flight. 

Last night, after a rough week at work, I saw a post on Facebook that made me laugh because it so reminded me of perspective. The post—If I woke up and nothing hurt I would think I was dead. So by default, at times hurt can be a good thing. It means I’m alive. It also brought to mind my new release, Kaylee’s Justice, Exposed Series, Case File 1, feeling “Alive” somehow became a theme that underlined the battle between good and evil in the story.

True Crime writer, Eva St. Claire, is blessed/cursed with a psychic gift, as is her sister, Iris, and her brother Devin. These gifts compel them to fight the many faces of evil in the world even though the battle has always led their ancestors to a tragic end. To protect themselves, they keep their gifts a secret from almost everyone, especially the authorities. Eva is driven to do all that she can as quickly as she can in hopes that her work will save others from falling into a killer’s trap. Everyone matters in her book.

 FBI Agent Adam Frasier thinks psychics are lowlife shysters. They took advantage of his mother and played a part in her downward spiral into mental illness. He is haunted by a tragic past and the one person he blames more than anyone else is himself. He doesn’t deserve the good in life. He spends his life on the ragged edge of duty.

 We all suffer injuries along life’s journey. Both Eva and Adam have been beat up by the past. They’re hurt and to escape their pain they both have zeroed in on relentless pace to stop evil, excluding almost everything else in life. Neither of them are truly living. When they are forced together to stop a serial killer, something unexpected happens. Each makes the other “feel alive.” That feeling isn’t something either of them can walk away from. So on this first case that they solve together, their cat and mouse chase begins with a dance to a real song titled Alive, by a fantastic real-life band, the Aaron Hendra Project. It is a song that I loved at first note a few years ago and can’t forget. You can check them out here http://www.aaronhendra.com

My question to you today is what or who in your life makes you “feel alive”? Post here. I will be giving away two digital editions of Kaylee’s Justice to two lucky winners.

I invite you to liven up your day and come join the fun at my Facebook release party for Kaylee’s Justice on 4/4 from 6 to8 pm. There will be prizes and free books. https://www.facebook.com/events/999905823396892/

Buy Link for Kaylee’s Justice http://www.amazon.com/Kaylees-Justice-Case-File-Exposed-ebook/dp/B01C25AFTG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459687535&sr=8-1&keywords=kaylee%27s+justice

You can get free books by singing up for my newsletter at jenniferstgiles.com

Happy Reading Jennifer St. Giles/Jennifer Saints/ J L Saint

 

Soul Mates Cover

Introducing Soul Mates, #4 in the cozy mystery series, Death By Chocolate


Love, romance and happily ever after. Isn’t that what we all want? The question is how far will someone go to get it? What happens when someone takes advantage? One of Maxine’s best friends, Tanya, has decided to open a dating service, Soul Mates, and Maxine wants nothing but the best for her. But when an accident nearly kills one of the guests at a wine and truffle mixer there are some serious questions left unanswered. Luckily Maxine is there to support her friend and help Detective Patrick Shannon as he digs deeper into some of the guests backgrounds and intentions. Sometimes her help is unwanted – but that’s never stopped her before. 

With all this going on will anyone find their happily ever after? Will Maxine and a certain detective?

Excerpt

Chapter One

“They’re all good catches,” Tanya said lightly as she stopped to talk briefly to Maxine. Maxine just looked at her. She’d been more than a little doubtful when Tanya had mentioned her latest venture.

A ‘boutique’ dating service she’d called it. “Anyone can go on Plenty of Fish or Craig’s’ List. But sometimes you get what you pay for.” What Victoria needed was a more exclusive dating service. Run by someone who really cared.

“Moi,” Tanya had said, smiling.

Maxine hadn’t had the heart to point out that she had no experience as a business owner. Or, perhaps more to the point, was still grieving the loss of her last boyfriend.

Instead, as an opening present Maxine agreed to cater a wine and chocolate mixer. Tanya had chosen to hold it in one of the new condominiums in the newly built, Harbor Lights.

The luxe condo was filled with dozens of Victoria’s singles all dressed in their best, trying to look nonchalant as they mingled, wine glasses in hand. High atop Victoria’s inner harbor the view was breath taking, but most of those gathered together tonight weren’t stopping to admire it. They were there to meet someone – that special someone to be exact.

Perhaps living in a city that drew visitors from all over the world for it’s spectacular scenery, gardens, world class shopping, historic buildings and some of the best museums in Canada, made them immune to the beauty of the inner harbor. Perhaps when you’re trying to find a romantic partner to spend the rest of your life with a skyline of twinkling lights from buildings around the harbor didn’t interest you.

Dressed in suits and cocktail dresses most were trying desperately to pretend they were here, not out of a sense of desperation, but for a lark.

“After all, it’s not as if I can’t get a date,” Marla trilled. “But who wants to go to a bar?” The owner of a designer discount store and an attractive woman in her early thirties she appeared to be appraising each man, trying to find the diamond in a pile of rubble.

Any troubles Tanya had in letting Zak go, of dwelling on what might have been were carefully masked tonight as she flitted from group to group making sure everything was going smoothly.

Maxine should have been thrilled for her. And she was, she really was. She was just a little worried.

Detective Patrick Shannon had expressed his doubts as well.“A dating service,” he’d said, open disdain in his voice. “Is she trying to find every fraudster or con man out there?”

“That’s a little harsh isn’t it?” Maxine said, on the defensive for Tanya. They were getting ready to practice some of the self-defense moves she’d been working on. For some reason he thought she needed them. Maybe because she’d been involved in solving a few mysteries and people tended to get nasty when they thought you were onto them.

He’d sighed heavily as he looked at her with those gorgeous blue eyes. “You know I’d be as happy as anyone if I thought Tanya had found her calling. But this – has disaster written all over it.”

His words had given her the fuel to attack him full on with a series of kicks that would have taken out a lesser man.

Instead he’d blocked a couple and then caught her, pulling her down and pinning her with his arms. As she looked up at him she’d found her heart beating not with the adrenaline rush of someone cornered by a killer or crook. No, her heart beat with the knowledge this man desired her as much, and maybe more, as she did him.

Their eyes locked and her arms wrapped up around his neck welcoming the touch of his lips on hers, of the heat spreading through her as his lips claimed hers, of skillful fingers searching her body, exploring every inch of her.

Self-defense lesson over.

Which didn’t mean he’d changed his mind about Tanya’s latest venture.  “It’s not exactly as if she’s got a great track record herself here.”

“That’s why she wants to do this,” she’d said deftly filling chocolate truffle shells with different flavors of truffle. “She’s decided to take the money Zak left to do something that will not only help her but benefit everyone she works with.”

He raised a questioning eyebrow as he reached for a truffle. “Mother Teresa I get, Gandhi – but how does a dating service come into this?”

She gave him a slight swat. “I’ve got enough to do without having you eat all the truffles as I make them.” She placed a plate of deformed truffles before him taking the sting out of her words. “Here. They taste as good but they’re not good enough to serve.”

“Tanya has decided what the world needs is more love. And by opening a dating service she’ll be helping men and women find their own true love.”

“And this is different from other dating services how?”

“She offers individualized attention. And she picks ‘premium’ men and women to represent.”

“OK, so she’s probably not going to pair the local beauty queen with a beer bellied guy who works at Walmart but how does she know they’re what they say they are?”

“She screens them,” Maxine said triumphantly. “Each member goes through an hour long initial screening. If she accepts them they pay anything from a onetime fee of $1000.00 to upwards of ten to get her professional help and expert advice.”

Patricks’ eyes bugged out at Maxine’s words. “Up to ten thousand dollars?”

“Some of her clients are rich,” Maxine said airily. “This is an investment in their future. After all if a business man or company is looking for a key person for their company they’ll spend thousands in an executive search. What could be more important than finding the perfect person to share their life with?”

He looked at her. “And Tanya is qualified to do this – why?”

“She’s my friend,” Maxine said hotly. “And as she says she’s got a lot of experience dating.”

“It’s the relationship thing that she seems to have a problem with,” he said dryly.

“It’s not her fault Zak was killed,” Maxine said, her voice developing a slight frost. “Besides she’s working with a couple of psychologists and relationship experts.”

“So how does this translate into dozens and dozens of truffles,” he’d said with a frown looking at the trays of chocolate truffles spread before them waiting to be ferried down into a waiting van by Heath and Marcus.

“My opening present. I agreed to cater a wine and truffle mixer for Soul Mates.” Since Maxine was the owner and operator of Au Chocolat it made sense.

Patrick shook his head. “I hope she doesn’t expect miracles.”

“It’s going to be huge success,” Maxine said. At least if she had anything to do with it. Tanya was overdue for some luck. “Grandma Ellie’s behind her.”

“Grandma Ellie probably talked her into it,” Patrick grumbled as he picked up a tray of truffles to take down stairs.

“Bite your tongue,” Maxine said sharply. “This was not Grandma Ellie’s idea.”

“Ah hah,” Patrick said with a grin. “You’re not feeling all that confident either, are you?”

“OK, I’ll admit it wouldn’t have been my first choice of business for her.” She gave him a warning look, stopping an, ‘I told you so in its tracks’. “But since she made the decision I’m doing everything I can to support her.”

And from what she could see since they’d arrived, her confidence had been well placed. There seemed to be an abundance of both men and women mingling together with none of the awkwardness of a high school dance.

“Good job,” she told Tanya as she stopped to talk to her for a moment.

“You really think so,” Tanya said anxiously. “I wanted something around Valentine’s Day that would take the pressure off and let them get comfortable with mixing in a social situation.”

“So they talk to each other and that’s it?”

“For tonight,” Tanya said hastily. “They each have numbers.  If they’re interested in getting to know someone further they ask for a number chip which they hand into me or one of my Heart Match Attractors,” she said gesturing in the direction of one of them.

Maxine noticed they were wearing the same, classic style of cocktail dress as Tanya herself, with a discreet pin containing their name. While both attractive, they didn’t hold a candle to Tanya’s blonde good looks.

Except for the man. Dressed in a well cut suit he was – gorgeous. The suit didn’t reveal anything too much but the classic cut managed to bring out his tanned good looks. Dark brown hair framed a face, classically handsome with green eyes, flecked with copper.

“Holy hotness,” Maxine said as she got her first real look at him. “Where did you find him?”

Tanya laughed. “Down girl. Believe it or not in the universities’ MBA program. All ready for someone to take him under their wing and groom him. But you’ve got a boyfriend. Or is Patrick an off again?”

Maxine smiled. Detective Patrick Shannon was indeed in the more than friends category at present. Which put her firmly off the market at least until they figured out how serious the relationship was.

“So what do your assistants do?”

“They help me work with some of my clients.” She pointed over to a girl who looked to be no more than twenty who was looking out at the water, as if in a world of her own.

“Katey McAllister. Twenty-two, one boyfriend – very bad break-up. Her mom’s concerned about her. So she talked her into signing up with us.” She gave a small hand signal to Mr. Gorgeous and he gave her a slight nod before picking up a glass of wine from a passing server and heading over into Katey McAllister’s direction.

For some unknown reason Maxine felt uneasy. Everything sounded good. This was exactly the type of reason people signed up with dating services. To find someone. And yet…

“Patrick’s worried about you. He says dating services are a con man’s dream.” A detective with the Victoria PD Patrick had seen enough to know not everyone was as honest and upfront as one would hope. And some had a very dark side indeed.

“That’s perfect,” Tanya said airily. “We do a background check on all our clients before we take them on but if he sees something suspicious he can give me a head’s up and I’ll be even more careful.”

Maxine had to be happy with that. She spotted Grandma Ellie in a small knot of people talking and laughing, looking as if she were having the time of her life. Which, knowing Grandma Ellie, she probably was.

“I know Grandma Ellie was on-board with this project but she looks more like a client here than-“

“That’s because she is,” Tanya said excitedly. “We don’t have an age limit for our clients.” She scrunched her nose up. “Mind you I did warn her there weren’t a lot of clients in her age range. You know what she said?”

“Tell me,” Maxine said with a touch of resignation.

“She might as well be the first. As people of her generation became aware of us they’d be signing up. You’re never too old for love,” Tanya said putting air quotes around the words, “I hope I have her attitude when I’m older.”

Maxine rolled her eyes. Grandma Ellie dated more than she had when she was single. She should’ve expected this. A striking woman in her early seventies she’d help raise Maxine and when Maxine’s grandfather had died Grandma Ellie had been devastated. But after a year or so she’d started dating again.

“Life is for the living,” she’d proclaimed more than once. It was an attitude that had served her well. But if anyone hurt her they’d have Maxine to deal with. Not only was she close with her Grandma Ellie. She lived in a small apartment in the bottom half of Grandma Ellie’s house. It was an arrangement that suited them both.

A scream shattered the night. Maxine’s heart shot into her throat and she nearly dropped  her drink while Tanya’s head swiveled around in the direction of the scream.

“Dear God, what was that?”

Talk stopped as everyone stood suspended in silence, in time, waiting.

“Somebody call an ambulance….”

Tanya started towards the screaming followed closely by Maxine and Detective Shannon. The screams came from the direction of the balcony window, increasing in volume and terror as they got closer. The guests crowded in close to the window talking, but parted to allow them through.

“She didn’t seem upset when she went out.”

“Maybe it’s a gag.”

Maxine felt bile rising in her throat. This was no gag.

The source of the screams was immediately apparent.

A woman hung over the balcony while a man clung desperately to her leg. Even as he tried to pull her up his grip on her loosened and she slipped a couple more inches towards death.

Maxine’s heart beat with a heavy drumming feeling in her chest as she stood there, immobilized. Thankfully Detective Shannon was not. He moved towards the railing, removing his belt as he went.

“The police have been called, they’ll be here any minute,” Tanya was saying as she approached the pair.

“I’m going to lose her,” the man gasped, terror on his face.

And then Patrick was by his side. “Hold on.” He leaned over the balcony. Way over and Maxine felt her heart in her throat.

He was a trained professional she reminded herself. He knew what he was doing. He was a trained professional. He was… oh dam. Did he have to lean so far over? Her heart hammered in her chest as she held her breath.

He was using his belt to wrap it around the women’s leg, telling her it was going to be alright. Maxine bit her knuckle to stop herself from crying out, from saying something she shouldn’t.

“It’s going to be OK,” he was telling the woman, speaking in a calm and reassuring voice. “We’ve got you. You’re going to be fine.”

He glanced at the man opposite him who was sweating bullets and looked terrified. “Take a couple of deep breaths.”

The other man looked at him, relief mixing with the terror. Maxine could see him visibly relaxing as the sound of sirens approaching filled the air.

“You OK now,” Patrick said nodding at the man.

He nodded briefly.

“On the count of three we’re going to pull her up.”

The man looked terrified.

“We may not be able to get her up but I think if we work together we could.”

“And if we don’t -”

“We’ve got her. We just wait until we get more back-up.”

“OK,” he said, seeming to calm down.

“One, two, three,” Patrick counted. “Ready?”

“Ready,” the man said.

Together they hoisted the woman up as everyone watched, not daring to breathe.  Her hands grabbed desperately at air, at the smooth railing with no purchase afforded and finally at Detective Patrick Shannon, eyes terrified, breath coming in gasps as he righted her, with the help of the other man.

“911 has been called,” he said, not unkindly. “And your friend…”

“No,” she shook her head wildly, the word sharply punctuating the air. “Not him. I barely know him.”

The man stood in front of the assembled mass. An attractive man in his late twenties to early thirties he was wearing a suit that showed a body in good shape, sandy brown hair and a face that was both pleasant and at the same time completely forgettable.

Maxine felt a surge of sympathy for him, for both of them.

“It’s true,” he said apologetically. “I stepped outside for a moment to have a cigarette.”

“You don’t have to apologize,” Patrick said, crisply. “Who knows how this would have ended if you hadn’t been here?”

Strangely the woman seemed to be putting as much distance between herself and her rescuer as possible so that Patrick ended up sandwiched between them. Maxine couldn’t help thinking it was odd behavior even as Tanya moved forward.

“And we’re so glad you were. Along with Detective Shannon.” She nodded at both of them smiling. From somewhere she’d found a blanket and she wrapped it around the young womans’ shoulders leading her to a nearby sofa.

“Sophia, that is your name isn’t it?” Tanya said, not unkindly, “we’re going to get the paramedics to check you out and make sure you’re OK. And the police will want to find out what happened.”

She shook her head. “The railing looks fine, how did you – never mind, I shouldn’t be asking,” she said shaking her head. “I’m just, we’re all are so glad you’re alive.”

Soul Mates Cover

 

Available on Amazon.com

Second Chances and Sisters

Marsha West

Marsha West is a friend of mine from the Romantic Suspense Sisters of Suspense blog and a fellow member of RWA and the Kiss of Death. She’s also a former elementary school principal which I find fascinating. Part of this is because all I wanted to do in school was escape. When people said, ‘you should be a teacher,’ I looked at them as if they’d grown two heads.

So I asked her what that was like. I still don’t feel I have the full picture since I’ve known some other teachers and principals and they can usually tell some pretty good stories. But in case you’ve ever wondered what you’re missing…

1. How has being an elementary school principal influenced your writing?

The frustration of the job made me search for an escape. Writing became that just as reading had been. Toward the end of my time as an administrator, I found myself working seven days a week, yes, Sunday, too. I couldn’t get the work done any other way. No balance in that kind of life and the stress was probably going to kill me had I stayed. Retiring allowed me the time to really jump into what I didn’t realize would be a new career.

2.  What would you  say to anyone wanting to be a writer?

 Read a lot in your genre. Write. Take on-line classes and attend conferences. Write. Get a couple of critique partners. Write. Grow a thick skin for the rejection from your CPs, contest judges, agents, editors, and publishers. Write. And write some more. I won’t tell you that you have to write every single day because I don’t. But that is the advice you’ll get most often. Everyone has to find their own way, develop their own process. There’s no right or wrong. You just have to find what works for you. And you do that by writing. There’s no more supportive group of folks than romance writers.

3. What makes you the Sister Of Second Chances and how does that influence your work?

Personally, I’ve lived lots of different lives and gotten lots of second chances. I think that has influenced my writing. When “they” tell you to look to see what your theme is, I realized that I wrote about second chances. People who had loved and lost and didn’t think love would be a part of their lives again. So when we had to come up with a name for SOS, that seemed a natural choice.

4. What would you like to do other than writing if talent/skill didn’t matter?

I’d be a singer/actress on TV, in movies, and on the stage. That’s what I always wanted to do, but I was too shy to go for it. My advice to folks is always to go for whatever you want. You might make it. If you don’t try, you know you won’t get there. I’ve been blessed to do lots of cool things in my life, but still, there is that small part of me that wonders… SECOND ACT, Book 1 of the Second Chances Series, has a theatre setting. I hope to bring out another book this year, not a part of the series, that has a theatre setting. It’s a fun world.

Act of Trust 500x750

Today she’s giving us a taste of her new book, Act of Trust, part of her Second Chances Series . This is the blurb:

A widow since 9/11 and a mother of a grown daughter, Kate Thompson wants to keep her and her daughter safe, but the inheritance of land in Maine pushes her out of her comfort zone in Texas and into the arms of a Maine lawyer.

Maine lawyer and environmentalist, Jim Donovan wants to protect Aunt Liddy’s land and keep it from falling into the hands of the developers, but first he has to convince Kate Thompson she should hold on to the family land when she doesn’t even want to go look at it. However, he’s unprepared for the attraction each feels for the other, but denies exists.

Will they be able to settle the land deal before anyone else is killed or they break each other’s hearts?

And from a lady who clearly knows less is often more a short, very short,

Excerpt (Really more of a snippet)

Mildred stopped and nailed Kate with a beady-eyed stare. “You do plan to turn over the Thompson land to the Conservancy Trust, don’t you?”

 “I don’t know yet, Mildred. My daughter’s coming to visit, and then we’ll decide together what we want to do with the land. It’s possible she’ll want to keep it in the family. Be a nice place for her to get away from the hectic-ness of New York City.” 

 “Liddy would be pleased with either the Trust or you keeping it in the family, but she’ll haunt you if you sell to Holland.” 

 Kate leaned away. The venom in the woman’s tone made Kate’s heart rate trip up and her hands grow sweaty. Mildred completely believed her statement, enough to cause Kate nightmares.  

 “She’s giving every option plenty of consideration,” Jim jumped in. Was he afraid Mildred’s hard sell would reverse Kate’s leaning in his direction? 

 “I’ve had my say. Good night to you both.” 

 I don’t know about you, but that certainly leaves me wanting more. If  you want more details click on the book for the Amazon buy link or the links below:

Amazon print http://amzn.to/1KrBwEK

KOBO   http://bit.ly/1SxFweL

Apple iTunes http://apple.co/1QoeJjA

B & N http://bit.ly/1PO4pgb

To learn more about Marsha drop over to her website, http://www.marsharwest.com/

It was great fun having you here today Marsha. I always enjoy your blogs over on our #RSSOS blog.

It’s A Party!

 

Party hats

And you don’t want to miss out! I’ll be at the FB launch of Black Cat Blues by friend and fellow author, Jo-Ann Carson. With about nineteen of our author friends we’ll be celebrating the launch. There’ll be everything from a $50.00  Amazon GC for the door prize, lot of free books, including from yours truly, and prizes.  Come on over – you won’t regret it! I’ll be hosting from 2:20 – 2:40 as well as dropping in and out over the afternoon!

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/1744639742426522/1762357390654757/