It is a true pleasure to introduce you today to a good friend and critique partner, Reggi Allder.
As an author of and romantic suspense and contemporary novels, there’s nothing better than tales of love lost and then found or stories of heroes and heroines who discover love but wonder if they’ll live long enough to enjoy it.
My main characters cope with longings, secrets, lies and betrayals. They control their panic and manage their passion as each fight to discover a hidden strength. It’s a strain for them to remain motivated as the world offers temptations and puts them in untenable situations. Can they survive multiple ordeals and carry on to reach their goals and find true love?
I’ve lived in small towns and big cities and have enjoyed both as each is special in its own way. In my latest contemporary, I’ve created Sierra Creek a small town with big love. I’m now planning a series of novels that take place in the town.
I studied screen writing and creative writing at UCLA, and I’m a past chapter president of Romance Writers of America and current RWA member. I have a great husband, two nice kids and three frisky dogs, though one is not a lively now that he is older.
Besides my family, I love books, movies, puppies, chocolate, apple pie and long walks but not necessarily in that order. : )
Hi Jacquie, thank you for inviting me to be a guest on your blog and for the thought provoking questions. I had to smile when I read the one about the best date ever. Before I married I had some awful dates, some were in the right place i.e. a wonderful restaurant with a panoramic view of the city but with the wrong guy. Some were in the wrong place and with the wrong guy. Then I went out with a friend, someone I’d known since high school, but we hadn’t dated. Everything clicked. I don’t even remember where we went that night, but we talked until dawn and I knew he was the one. We’ve been together ever since.
What do you write?
I write romantic suspense and contemporary books about love in a small town.
Do your characters talk to you?
Yes. My heroine Kelly from Shattered Rules was originally called Helen. I wrote much of the book with her named that. But my character was having none of it. She told me it was an old fashioned name. It was not right for a college student. She wanted a more modern name. So she became Kelly and it works for her. My apologies to anyone named Helen. I still like it. 🙂
What is your writing process?
I’m a pantser too. I tried to plot when I first started writing and had my first bout of writer’s block. Making lists and outlines and plotting every scene is a great idea but it just didn’t work for me. I stopped plotting and the writer’s block disappeared. Now I let ideas percolate. Feelings and plot twists come to me as I write. I do have a general idea of where to story will end up. Often I know the end of the book before I have a beginning. I don’t work backward, but when I begin the first chapter, even though I don’t have all the characters and the plot turns, I know how the book will end. Not knowing all the details until I write them makes it is an adventure for me as well for the characters.
How do you approach starting a new book?
When I am writing my work in progress, ideas for other books often come to mind. It may be an idea or a character’s name or even a place. While writing Money Power and Poison I thought about a city gal, a rodeo cowboy, and high school crushes. That became Her Country Heart, coming soon.
Though I may never use them all, I keep a file and write down ideas and then come back to them when I’m ready to start a new book. And there are times when a minor character from a current book asks to have their own book.: )
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
I love mystery and suspense because it takes me from the day to day to an exciting place where danger is around any corner. I especially like it when romance is added to the plot. It increases the tension that is already heightened by the danger.
What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax? Going for walks with my dogs is very relaxing. The dogs are patient and sit in my office with me when I write so I feel obligated to take them out, though it is sometimes hard to leave the computer. I know it’s good for me too. I usually bring my camera; I studied photography in college and enjoy takings candid photos of life as it passes by. Walking clears my mind and I often come back with new ideas.
Do you like chocolate or chips?
Lol, I like both. I’m sure my chef from Money Power and Poison could come up with something yummy that uses chocolate and chips. Ha ha.
Thanks again for having me, Jacquie.
Best, Reggi Allder
Money Power and Poison Can love survive against the odds? Five star review: “A mystery novel thrill ride. Fast-paced, plot-driven conflicts and characters that you can’t tear yourself away lift it from an ordinary story to a darn good read.”
Money Power and Poison
In the midnight gloom of a residential street in Carmel, California, business owner Kathryn Carlyle watched the city’s dim lights from the back seat of a speeding police car. She gasped for air as dread tightened her throat. This can’t be happening to me.
The catering van she drove to billionaire software developer Conner Harrison’s birthday party had been impounded by the police as evidence. She rubbed her throbbing temples to release the pain accumulated there.
Two blocks from her beachfront condo, she snatched a breath of air. “Please stop. I have to get out.”
The middle-aged officer guided the patrol car to the curb. “We’re not finished with you. Go, but don’t leave town.”
He’d probably been waiting all night to use that cliché. Don’t leave town. She almost laughed, except nothing funny had happened tonight.
She exited the car and inhaled the sea breeze as it rustled her hair. It was such a welcome change from the stifling atmosphere that contaminated the police station where she’d spent the last few hours. How long before the man came back to arrest her?
Relieved to be in her safe neighborhood, she took a deeper breath, kicked off her black leather pumps and sat on a driftwood log overlooking the serene bay.
She swallowed as nausea swirled in her stomach. The fact that she hadn’t eaten since breakfast didn’t help. Always nervous before an event, she’d planned to eat after Mr. Harrison’s party. Now he hovered near death. The thought of eating brought bile to the back of her throat. Why did the authorities think she’d poisoned a man she’d only met once?
A nightmare had snared her and was holding her in its grip. When Mr. Harrison died the charge against her would be murder in the first degree.
As the realization crept through her, she tensed. Two deep breaths calmed her, but didn’t stop the headache forming over her right eye.
True she’d had the opportunity to poison him, but no motive. She only met him because he’d asked her to cater his birthday party. With his death there was nothing to gain and a lot to lose, her reputation, her business, her life.
In the morning the police would sort out the truth of her innocence. Still, adrenaline caused her heart to race. She rubbed her temples and tried not to think anymore.
A gust of wind circled her. She shivered and folded her arms in front of her. Damn. Her suit jacket was still in the patrol car.
She stood, brushed the sand from the back of her skirt, and picked up her high heels and shoulder bag. Time to go home, sleep was doubtful, but at least she’d put up her sore feet.
Leaves crunched somewhere in the shadows of the nearby trees, she squinted into the darkness but didn’t see anyone. Even so, fear gripped her.
She forced her swollen feet back into her pumps and walked quickly up the dimly lit street. The click of her heels echoed in the quiet night air. The desire to flee from an unknown danger increased the speed of her footsteps.
With the exception of a black truck parked at the curb, the street was empty. The pickup’s engine revved. The cab light came on and cast an eerie glow on the driver’s face. He smiled at her.
As she thought about waving to let him know the headlights were off, the vehicle drove straight at her. It jumped the curb, sideswiped her, and sent her flying.
With a thud, she landed on the muddy front lawn of a neighboring condominium. The sound of the engine faded as the vehicle disappeared.
She lay motionless on the ground. Cold mud oozed into the fabric of her skirt. A twinge jabbed her and terror banged against her rib cage.
Overriding the sense of shock was her need to get home where she’d be safe. She grabbed the strap of her purse and attempted to stand. Pain shot through her hip and down her leg. She fell back into the mud.
A man dressed in black came out of the darkness and stood over her. Before she could cry out, he bent down and covered her mouth with his huge hand.
“Don’t scream. You’ll wake the whole neighborhood. I’m not going to hurt you.” He helped her stand.
The streetlight lit his face and a lock of coffee brown hair fell over his furrowed brow. Five o’clock shadow covered his jaw and his full lips formed a grim line. Compassion shone in his obsidian eyes. It was incongruous to his hardened expression. He reminded her of someone, but she couldn’t think of a name.
“Your uncle sent me,” he said in a deep voice.
“You were at the police station.” She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.
“Yeah. Thought I could talk to you. They wouldn’t allow it. Can you stand by yourself?”
“I think so.” A spasm shot into her leg and her knees buckled. She grabbed him and reluctantly leaned on his lanky but muscular body for support.
“I’ll call 911.” He held her to him.
“Don’t phone them.”
“The police need to know about this. Use my cell.”
“No. I can’t handle it. Not tonight. I’m cold. I’m muddy. I just want to go home.”
“Can you walk?”
“Yeah,” she said, hoping she could. The first step sent pain racing through her. She gasped.
With one hand he steadied her. With the other, he yanked a smart phone from his pocket. “What’s your address?”
“330 Sea View Avenue, number three.”
He punched in 911. “There’s been an accident. A woman’s hurt. I need an ambulance sent to 330 Sea View Avenue number three ASAP.”
After he pocketed his phone, he carefully scooped her up in his arms. “Let’s get you home.”
Never one to ask for help, this time she had to admit she needed it and balanced herself by putting her arm around his neck. His body heat warmed her as her cheek rested against his solid chest. Odd how protected she felt, almost as if this stranger were an old friend.
You tube: Money Power and Poison and Shattered Rules
Great excerpt, Reggi. I agree, that’s the exciting part of writing, not knowing what’s coming up around the corner. It’s like extreme reading, lol. A new sport maybe? 🙂 Reggi loves to to connect with her readers. What’s your favorite type of romance?