Saturday Satisfaction #amwriting #gardening


I Finished the Damn Book!

May was such a messed up month for me, I was getting seriously worried whether I could finish the book I had up on pre-order in time to fulfill my obligations.

It came down to the wire, but I got it done and feel good about the outcome 🙂

Now I can breathe again, and with views like these in my backyard- relax.

Virtually Gone Releases JUne 12 on all your favorite retail sites!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085PQTV69

International: https://books2read.com/VirtuallyGone

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/virtually-gone-a-mended-souls-novel-high-tech-crime-solvers-book-6-by-jacquie-biggar

Add to your TBR List: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52329219-virtually-gone

Exclusive Excerpt

Matt sat next to a middle-aged university security guard and stared at the video playing out on a desktop computer screen. It was brain-numbing work, but he held onto the hope one of these recordings carried a usable ID of their suspect. Investigators had gone over footage taken from the general area of Gina’s attack, but at the time, they hadn’t realized they were dealing with a serial offender. With the new information received, he and Connor were going back over the evidence with a fine-tooth comb.

The timestamp on the top right of the screen said it was eight pm, shortly before Gina’s final class for the night had ended. She’d told them her routine was to take a path cutting across campus in order to arrive in time to catch the transit bus she needed to get home. There were safer routes, such as the bus lane outside the security building, but at that time of the evening she would need to make several transfers, which made her nervous. It was sadly ironic her careful choices ended up placing her in the crosshairs of a criminal.

After her shock today, Connor had offered to drive Gina home and wait until someone could come over and be with her, so she wasn’t alone. Every time Matt thought about the photo and frightening message she’d received; it made his blood boil.

The cops can’t save you, sweet Gina. See you soon.

No wonder the girl was scared; the bastard was stalking her.

While Connor had interviewed each of the individuals outside on the grassy rotunda with them, he’d snapped pictures to go over later. Their tech guy, Bob, had come up empty at tracing the number to where the photo originated, but they’d expected that. The perp hadn’t made many mistakes to this point, he wasn’t going to hand himself over on a silver platter. But he’d given them another clue—Bob had explained even burner phones came with a unique serial number, and given time, he could find out whether their suspect had used the phone to browse the web, make calls, or even if he carried another ‘regular’ phone with him. Phones constantly communicate with cell phone towers, whether in use or not, and therefore left a digital footprint that could be traced back to the distributor.

“Wait. What’s that?” Matt straightened and strained to see the grainy figure moving in and out of the shadows on the video. “Back it up a bit, will you?”

The guard paused the footage and rolled it back a few seconds before hitting play again. This time, they focused their attention on the hunched form in dark clothing, head covered by the hood of his jacket.

“Does it seem as if he’s waiting for someone to you?”

The guard shrugged. “Maybe he’s got a buddy.”

Or maybe he was waiting for Gina.


Thanks for reading. Enjoy your Saturday, everyone!

A Letter From Home- #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


February 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes a sugar report. Use its original meaning of a letter from a sweetheart to a soldier, or invent a new use for it. Go where the prompt leads!

Follow along or join in at Charli Mills’ Carrot Ranch- here

Unashamed tears roll down my face, words on scented paper imprinted on my mind.

Darling Ken,

I think about you every day, but never more than now.

He’s beautiful, my darling. A full head of hair, nut-brown like yours. Ten perfect fingers and toes, and a smile that fills my heart.

The nurse says gas, but we know better. He’s thinking of the day you’ll come home and take us into your loving arms.

I pray it’s soon.

Love you always and all ways,

Sara

Three long months ago, my baby wrote me a love letter- I’m a father.

A Parent’s Nightmare- #FlashFictionChallenge #amwriting


This week’s challenge courtesy of Charli Mills Carrot Ranch:

January 16, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a protest story. It can be about a protest, or you can investigate the word and expand the idea. Who is protesting, where, and why? Go where the prompt leads!

I decided to take mine in a more personal direction. This is from a WIP- hope you enjoy my interpretation of PROTEST.


“There’s no easy way to say this—” Matt met the growing horror in Mrs. Carter’s eyes, his heart hurting, “your daughter was murdered last night on the Galloping Goose Trail. We believe she was on her way home at the time.”

The poised woman who’d met them at the door disappeared in a swelling tide of despair. She vigorously shook her head. “No, you’ve made a mistake. Emily was home last night. I brought her home from school myself. It’s not possible.”

“How do you know it’s our child?” Carter asked, his voice gruff. “It could be anyone.”

Keeping up the Traditions #holidays #family


Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

The quote above is particularly apt as the years go by.

When I was a child, Christmas meant decorating the tree we went into the forest to collect. My mom would pack up a lunch and bundle us in warm winter coats, mitts and toques, and then away we would go, my dad driving us deep into the woods where the very best trees were hidden.

We’d traipse through deep snow, broken only by Dad’s footprints, until we found the perfect tree. Not too big, not too small, even branches and a crown made for an angel.

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

A few days later, we could finally decorate. Lights first, then garland, tinsel, and ornaments- some we made and some passed down through the family. Then Dad would add the tree topper and our living room was transformed into a magical place!

Years later, when I married and had my own family, we switched to an artificial tree for the holidays. They’re convenient; you don’t need to fight with the lights, and it’s better for the environment.

But, the magic was gone.

Other traditions took its place- family breakfast Christmas morning before the exchange of gifts. Afternoons spent outdoor skating or tobogganing while the turkey cooked. The passage of time marked by those who joined the festivities, and family members we’d lost.

Then my grandson was born.

Christmas is made for children. The wonder on their precious faces fills our hearts with love and joy. They remind us of the magic of our youth and the importance of family.

My grandson

Then, my daughter was given the opportunity to gain her masters degree, but it was across the country and suddenly Christmas was down to DH, Mom and I.

I’m not complaining, many people spend the holidays all alone, but I have to admit I’m floundering.

We went to look at lights last night, DH and I, (Mom stayed home) and it was nice- quiet, but nice.

It’s so different looking at lights without snow on the ground and freezing cold air in your lungs! lol

What do you do to allay depression during the holidays?

I’m trying, really, I am!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas

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Series or Standalones- Does it Matter? #amwriting #Romance


Series or Standalones

That was the question posed by a member of The Story Empire earlier last week. You can read his full thoughts here– well worth your time.

I’ve read many great standalone books, (Cinderella anyone?) but have to admit I enjoy stories set in a series much more. There’s a deeper connection to a) the characters, and b) location- though either of those can, and often do, change throughout the course of a series.

From NY Book Editors:

Writing a book series can be incredibly challenging (that’s the bad news), but it’s also one of the best ways to develop a loyal fan base (that’s the good news).

NY BOOK EDITORS-2016

The books can follow one or two main characters through a variety of adventures- such as J.D. Robb’s In Death series or the Harry Potter franchise.

They can also be set around a location and the citizens within- Susan Mallery’s Fools Gold series or J.R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Some follow a progression of events and are best read in order, while others are self-contained stories within the series and can easily be read out of order.

Whichever style you prefer, series seem to be growing in popularity, some are even twenty books long and counting!, and readers can’t get enough.

I’m currently working on the third story in my Gambling Hearts series, My Girl. The series follows the lives, and loves, of three siblings born and raised on a Texas hill country ranch.

This is Aaron’s story:

Sometimes, the right decision isn’t the easiest one to make

Trish Sylvester knows her family and when they accept a week long stay at a rustic dude ranch, she is concerned- especially since it’s at her ex’s home.

Aaron is overjoyed at the opening of his family’s guest ranch, until he learns their first guest is his ex-girlfriend, her parents–and a fiancé.

And that isn’t the only surprise.

Excerpt

“I met your fiancé,” he said, his voice ripe with challenge. The outdoors clung to her skin, sun and flowers combining to intoxicate him more than the whiskey.

She lifted her chin, eyes narrowing. “What did you say to him, Aaron? I’d hoped we could all act like adults while we’re here.”

Aaron laughed, his hands doing the job his heart urged him to do, forcing her to come up against his chest with a soft oomph. “Darlin’, I’m definitely a man, make no mistake.” He leaned down and brushed her lips, setting up a warning through his chest. He was playing with fire, and if he wasn’t careful, there was little doubt who was going to get burned. Again.

“Aaron, stop this,” she murmured, though her lips parted on a sigh. “We can’t…”

He lifted his head and stared at her upturned face. “Can’t what, Trish? You invited yourself onto my territory and brought reinforcements. I want to know why.”

She moved out of his arms. He pretended not to feel the loss.

“We needed a break from the city,” she said. “Surely, you can understand that? Your sister sent an email to me highlighting the new business venture—congrats, by the way—and I thought it would be fun to come and check it out. End of story.”

He eyed her nervously tucking her hair behind her ear and knew she was bluffing. The question remained; why?


Box Set News

We have a new box set releasing August 30th!

Sweet and Sassy Baby Love 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KHEMW5

Add to your TBR list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47873355-sweet-and-sassy-baby-love

Recommend us on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/sweet-and-sassy-baby-love-by-suzanne-jenkins-and-jen-talty

Nine NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors offer stories of men and women who go to great lengths for the children they love.

A scent of innocence, that touch of softness, an angelic nap, and deep belly laughs. Babies and toddlers bring great joy, love, humor, and even conflict into our lives. But first, we need a passionate encounter, a romance that transcends time.

How do you feel about series or standalone stories? Let’s talk about it.

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A short Teaser from my upcoming #WomensFic #WIPWednesday


Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

I’ve had heroes on my mind lately.

From Dictionairy.com:

noun, plural he·roes; for 5 also he·ros.

a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character: He became a local hero when he saved the drowning child.

a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal: My older sister is my hero. Entrepreneurs are our modern heroes.

the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.

Classical Mythology.

  1. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
  2. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
  3. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In my novels I try to create men/women who have many of the qualities above, along with vulnerabilities that create empathy in my readers.

It’s a fine balance to tread.

To me strength comes as much from inside a person as physicality. You have to be courageous to do the jobs they do. But more than that, is their Achilles’ heel, for want of a better name. What is their weakness? The thing that makes these strong warriors weak in the knees?

I like to think it’s compassion. Love of fellow man. Gentleness and mercy.

This week’s teaser comes from a women’s fiction novel I’m working on about two estranged sisters and the path to forgiveness and understanding.


Many evenings she and Susan would sit at his feet and listen enthralled, as he regaled them with tales of pirates and princesses, mischievous elves and buried treasure. As with every good fairytale, a dashing hero would arrive just in time to save the day. It was probably then, listening to stories at her father’s knee, that Holly began to dream of her own hero. He’d need to be strong enough to slay dragons. Charming and kind, yet able to make her laugh. Handsome and gentle; a father as perfect as her own. A good kisser; that’s as far as her nine-year-old mind would go at the time. And above all else, someone she could talk to, share ideas with.
Even then, she’d known the value of a true friend.
The rattle of a key in the front door lock jerked her back to the moment. Self-conscious, she dropped her hand from where it had been resting and turned to greet her parents.
Except it wasn’t her mother and father.
Susan hesitated on the threshold, their gazes fusing across the distance. A cold draft knifed its way between them filled with ugly words and betrayals.

© Jacquie Biggar 2019

What does a hero mean to you? Let’s talk about it!

Teaser Time #WIPWednesday #amwriting


WIP Wednesday

I enjoyed the new Wednesday theme Staci Troilo and Joan Hall came up with for sharing either a teaser or something relevant from our WIP- check them out in the links above.

I thought I’d give it a whirl and share a short teaser from my upcoming contemporary romance, My Girl. This will be the third book in the Gambling Hearts series. If you’ve read Hold ‘Em or Crazy Little Thing Called Love you’ll be happy to know this is Aaron’s story.

Photo by Alexandria Baldridge on Pexels.com



Plans for the upcoming Harvest Ball moved along at a steady pace, with Sophia in her element. Aaron did his best to stay out of the way, but his sister knew all his hideouts and eventually tracked him down in the horse barn.
“There you are, I was beginning to think you were avoiding me,” she said, entering Dickens’ stall. “I need help.”
Aaron finished filing his horse’s back hoof before patting the smooth flank. He looked at Sophia over the broad back. “I knew it couldn’t last,” he sighed. “Okay, what do you need?”
She huffed out an exasperated breath. “Don’t sound so excited. I’m doing this for the ranch, you know.”
He did know. Unfortunately, it didn’t make having their home overrun by strangers any more palatable. In all fairness, Sophia had gone over and above on the website and the hacienda. He was no tech guru but even he would pay the astronomical prices to stay as their guest. Her sales pitch was nothing short of genius.
But she looked tired.
If only the agricultural firm he’d shown his ideas to would call back with a contract—none of this would be necessary. He ducked under Dickens’ neck and came up next to his sister. “Shouldn’t you be taking it easy?”
She patted her growing baby bump and smiled. “You sound like Tony. I’m fine. It’s just there’s a hundred and one things to get done and only a few days left before the big event. This ball will give us the free advertising we need to get the guest ranch off the ground. I’ve invited some of my old contacts from New York and Trish promised to put the word out, too. She’s been great, Aaron. I would have been lost without her.”
The mention of Trish sent the now familiar fluttery feeling to his stomach. He’d spent the last few days rehashing that kiss by the fountain; the near-desperation in his voice when he’d begged her to come away with him. Her negative reaction.
He was an idiot to keep bashing his heart against the stone wall of Trish’s soul.

My Girl- Jacquie Biggar

Aaron is the middle child in a family of strong, independant siblings and he’s had trouble getting his voice heard. I come from a family of three siblings as well, and though I’m the oldest (and therefore, the boss :)) I can see now, with the wisdom of time, how hard it was for my brother to show his individuality.

Has anyone else noticed this within their families? Let’s talk about it!

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#FreebieFriday #BeachRead Edition


Summer Reading

I don’t know about you, but I find it extremely hard to concentrate on my writing in the summer. I’d much sooner be outside, in the garden, or lounging under the cherry tree reading all the amazing books on my TBR pile (which is ready to run away and hide, it’s so tall! lol).

I have deadlines I have to meet, but maybe, just maybe, they can wait another day or two. 🙂

How about you? Do you find summer distracting?

Here’s this week’s freebie links- enjoy!

A woman and child in danger teaches Nick life is worth living.

ALL SHE WANTS IS TO LIVE HER LIFE 

Abused, Sara Sheridan finds the courage to escape her husband. She has no interest in getting mixed up with another alpha, attitude-laden male. Especially with her ex hot on her trail. 

ALL HE CRAVES IS PEACE AND QUIET 

Marine, Nick Kelley prefers solitude, away from the memories haunting him. So what is it about his reticent neighbor and her child that tempts him to give it up? 

UNTIL LOVE GETS IN THE WAY 

Nick and Sara’s growing attraction  leads them down a dangerous path as her ex-husband closes in on the new life she’s made for her daughter and threatens to blow it all apart. 

Excerpt

“How did you find me?” Sara fell back as Tom pushed his way inside, followed closely by Sam, and then she caught sight of Fiona being led in by two other men. Her friend was cuffed, arms pulled taut behind her back. Her mouth, covered by a bright red handkerchief tied so tight it cut into her whitened cheeks, highlighted an obscene bruise. Her eyes, one of them black and blue, filled with tears, begging Sara to forgive her.

“GPS, my dear, you’ve heard of that I presume? I traced you from your own phone, that wasn’t very smart of you. So, this is where you’ve been hiding.” He waved the others into the room, locking the door behind them. “What, no kiss for your Husband? You do recall you have one of those, don’t you?”

He looked the same, so tall and handsome standing there in his perfectly pressed suit and tie, not a hair out of place. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. It was so obvious to her now. The narrow, cold eyes, the supercilious attitude, the rigid stance, the not-so-well-hidden-anger, had he always been that way? She didn’t like to think so. How could she have been so wrong about him? He’d pulled the wool over her eyes from the beginning.

Free Today!

Let the authors of Summer Heat tempt you with some mouth-watering recipes. Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Pistachios, Decadent French Toast, Marinated Steak, Devil’s Food Cake, Beer-Steamed Mussels, Baked Apple with Custard Sauce, White Chocolate Cherry Scones. These are just a few of the wonderful dishes you’ll find in this unique cookbook. Each is linked to a novella in Summer Heat, a collection of sixteen sexy romances by New York Times, USA Today and other Bestselling Authors. The food is great, and each recipe will whet your appetite for one of the stories in the boxed set by giving you insights into the life of the author’s hero and/or heroine. So enjoy the fabulous food along with the outstanding prose from a seasoned group of authors.

Book Bites offers samples for 9 romance novels and novellas. We hope you will find them not only delicious but also arousing an irresistible craving for more.

So, you ask, what is this boxed set all about?
At no other point is passion put to the test as in dire times of war. From the American Civil War to WWII, from Vietnam to the War in Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf, the stories in this boxed set summon the strength of true lovers. 
Written by bestselling, award-winning, and USA Today authors, the novels and novellas in this collection tell of overcoming loss, injuries, and separation, to celebrate the victory of love. 
If you like Military Romance, Wounded Warrior Romance, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, or Romantic Suspense, this anthology invites you to triumph over the worst of conditions and find the courage to bring forth the best in us.

The Authors’ Billboard is proud to publish Book Bites 9. Enjoy a sampling —the first chapter or two — of a scintillating peek into the contemporary romances from award winning and NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors from two of our boxed sets: Unforgettable Heroes and Sweet and Sassy.

Can’t figure out which flavor you’d like tonight? Maybe these will fire up your appetite. After all, your Kindle isn’t completely full, right?

These seventeen teasers are for lovers of romance stories of all heat levels. They are available in their complete versions in: UNFORGETTABLE HEROES and SWEET AND SASSY

My Secret Addiction #Inspiration #Writing


Once a Gambler…

I have a confession to make- I love gambling on the horse races. I blame it on my grandma’s cousins, Betty and Mike. They introduced me to the thrill of racing as a young girl and I’ve been hooked ever since!

🙂

There’s just something about those beautiful, high-spirited animals prancing onto the track and lining up at the gate that makes my heart go pitty-pat 

Nowadays, I get my enjoyment from watching the races on TV- with the Triple Crown as the best.

In the United States, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a title awarded to a three-year-old Thoroughbred horse who wins the Kentucky DerbyPreakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The three races were inaugurated in different years, the last being the Kentucky Derby in 1875. These races are now run annually in May and early June of each year. The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950 but awarded to all previous winners as well as those after 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner.

HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/TRIPLE_CROWN_OF_THOROUGHBRED_RACING_(UNITED_STATES)

Last year, in 2018, I was lucky enough to watch Justify take the crown!

Justify is only the second horse to win the American Triple Crown with an undefeated record, following Seattle Slew. Justify is descended from Seattle SlewSecretariatCount FleetWar AdmiralOmaha, and Gallant Fox, all of whom also won the American Triple Crown. He is also a descendant of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. Of the 13 American Triple Crown winners, Justify is the first who did not race as a two-year-old.

HTTPS://EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/JUSTIFY_(HORSE)

Is it any wonder I love the sport?

I decided to write a mystery set around the Kentucky Derby and added a twist by setting it in the 50’s.

Here’s a short excerpt from The Lady Said No

Gus followed the stiff-necked manservant to the door of the den, though his emotions were tugging him back to Rebecca like a starved man to a banquet.

He couldn’t believe how beautiful she’d become. She’d always been pretty, but now there was an added maturity to her features that suited her face. The tomboy figure he fondly remembered had become hills and valleys he ached to explore. They’d been best friends, then lovers, then enemies. It’d been his fault, that was the worst of it. He’d let his drive for a career ruin the only good thing in his life. He could tell himself he’d done his part. After getting his degree and returning to Bourbonville he had tried to find her. But she was right, he hadn’t tried hard enough.

Their relationship had already been floundering; it had seemed easier to let it die a natural death. He regretted that now. One glimpse of her had brought back all the old feelings. Memories of happier times.

Ernest reached for the door knob and was stopped by the officer on guard.

“Sorry, only trained personnel are allowed.”

Ernest glared at him. “I’ve worked in this household for years; I believe I am trained.”

The sergeant exchanged a helpless glance with Gus. “I’m sorry, sir. Those are the rules.”

Gus stepped between the two men before a full-scale war broke out. “It’s okay, sergeant.” He flipped open his badge. “I’m Detective Grant. The…” He waved a hand toward the butler.

Ernest lowered his brows. “Manservant.”

Gus nodded. “Manservant, was just showing me the way to the crime scene.”

The officer checked his badge, then reached back to open the door. The stench of death was immediate, a toxic mix of human waste impossible to forget. Gus turned his head to draw one last clean breath and met Rebecca’s anxious gaze.

That look gave him pause.

Why was she worried? Just how well did Rebecca know the owner of Balmoral?

“Coming, Detective?” The sergeant’s voice interrupted his musings. Gus shrugged off his misgivings and followed the man into the room, sliding past the grim-faced Ernest.

Nancy knelt by the victim, her hands covered with white gloves and booties on her feet. She glanced up when he walked in and pointed at his shoes. Gus dug through his coat pockets until he found his booties, put them on, nodded to the sergeant, and made his way over to her side.

“It’s a bad one,” she said, turning attention to her preliminary findings. “Single shot to the temple, through and through. Near as I can tell, time of death was sometime between midnight and three a.m., no sign of defensive wounds.” She stopped and gazed at him with world-weary eyes. “Who would do this, Augustus?”

Gus observed the brain matter splattered on the leather tufted chair and rich, red Aubusson carpet and his stomach churned. His first thought was crime of passion. There had been some effort made to set the scene up as a suicide. The gun rested in the victim’s open hand, finger wrapped around the trigger. A cut crystal tumbler lay on its side nearby, a stain wetting the carpet. Gus touched the wet spot and sniffed, rubbing the tips of his fingers—bourbon. The good kind. Not something a man bent on ending his own life would let go to waste.

“I’m not sure, Nancy, but I do know the brass will be all over this one, so take your time, okay? We don’t want to miss anything.”

She huffed out an indignant breath. “You telling me how to do my job, now?”

He held up a hand to halt her blistering tongue. “The Jorgensons are big news, that’s all I’m saying. Don’t they have a horse in the Derby this year?”

The sergeant, who had remained by the door, and watched their exchange with interest, piped up. “Forever Humble. Lots of money riding on that colt.” His face became animated. “You ever see him race, Detective? He’s some kind of fast. Likes to run the outside track. Gives me a heart attack every time.”

Gus smiled. “You a betting man…?”

“Fish, sir. Everyone calls me Fish.”

Nancy chuckled and the young man’s neck turned brick red.

“I’m not a gambler, no sir, but I admit I like to spend a Saturday now and then down at the track. It’s some exciting. You ever been, Mr. Grant?”

Gus shook his head. “No, can’t say as I have. Not that fond of horses, though I guess that’s the wrong thing to say in this house.” He admired the landscape watercolor on the wall, rolling hills with a herd of wild horses barreling straight at him, eyes crazy and manes flying as though they were about to burst the confines of paint and canvas.

“Augustus, there’s something you need to see.” Nancy’s voice was muffled as she stretched, shapely butt in the air, to reach something under the leather chair. She grunted and tugged until a bronze sculpture came into view. When she stood it on the carpet, he saw it was about twelve inches in height, a warrior on a horse, raised arm carrying a spear.

“There’s blood and hair fragments,” she said, turning it carefully to inspect the evidence. “I can’t be sure until I get it to the lab, but this looks like a match to our vic.”

Well, that explained why there were no defensive wounds. The poor sop probably didn’t know what hit him. Gus looked around until he found the suspiciously empty spot on the desk. He gave a wide berth to the corpse, conscious of Nancy’s critical gaze. The desk was one of those massive claw-foot affairs, mahogany maybe, rich and elegant instead of simply functional. He pulled a linen handkerchief out of his pocket and checked the drawers. An assortment of papers greeted him, some on household expenses, most on Jorgenson’s passion—thoroughbreds. Nothing that looked like a cause for murder.

Gus was about to replace the documents when a slip of yellowed paper lodged in the back of the drawer caught his eye. He reached in, using the hankie, and retrieved the handwritten note.

Do what I told you to do, or the truth will destroy you

The threat inherent on the scrap of paper chilled his blood. There was trouble brewing in the Jorgenson household, and Gus was afraid Rebecca was somehow involved.

This story is part of the upcoming boxset, Unforgettable Power- Love and Intrigue, releasing May 5th!

Seven suspenseful page-turners will captivate you with breathtaking stories and intriguing characters you’ll find positively unputdownable! If you enjoy heart-stopping, engaging novels, then you must read UNFORGETTABLE POWER – Love and Intrigue.

Pre-order your copy today!

https://amzn.to/2UJtMy4

International- http://books2read.com/UnforgettablePower

Recommend on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/unforgettable-power-love-and-intrigue-by-mimi-barbour-and-jacquie-biggar

Spinning Tires #WritersLife #amwriting


Spinning My Tires

Lately it feels as though my writing has come to a standstill and I’m just spinning tires without going anywhere.

We were talking about this at my local critique group meeting and I realized- thankfully- that at least I’m not alone with this dilemma.

Some call it writer’s block or writer’s slump, maybe winter doldrums, but whatever you name it, it can lead to depression and feelings of anxiety. I know I’ve been questioning why I put myself through this lately.

But, this is the thing… If you’re a writer, you write. It’s almost as important as breathing, so I’ve decided to search the internet for some inspirational quotes to help me (and you) feel better.

Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.

Wolfgang Puck
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Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

Benjamin Franklin
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Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

E.L. Doctorow
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You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

Ray Bradbury
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Today, I’m celebrating a landmark birthday and rather than allowing myself to dwell on getting older, or the fact my pen seems to have temporarily run dry, I’m going to concentrate on the positives- I have my health, a supportive family, fantastic writing friends, and it’s spring- anything is possible!

Newsletter Goodies

If you like deals and steals, check out my newsletter here: https://app.mailerlite.com/g7j1r2/

The #Blogging World is Alive and Well #Reading


Blogging is alive and well.

I’m surprised by how many writers feel they’re wasting time by building connections within the writing community. Where do they think book reviewers hang out?

As a reader, I’ve found many fantastic new reads thanks to the reviews I’ve read on blogging sites.

As an author, I follow blogs like Writers in the Storm and Story Empire to learn my craft. I’ve also learned the blogging community is open and friendly- always happy to welcome newcomers into their midst.

It’s a good way to build SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, too! By commenting on other blogs, you’ll soon find your own stats will grow, along with your connections, so… win-win 🙂

A good way to do this is to make use of the WordPress Reader- you can find this on the top left of your website.

 

 

You can choose the posts you follow or do a search for those you’re interested in. I even follow the local news stations from there!

 

 

One of the best benefits to blogging are the friends you can make from all over the world. I’ve met people from South Africa, Sicily, England, France, the U.S and Canada. And the amazing thing is- we all love books!

One such friend recently read my new release, Skating on Thin Ice, and posted an amazing review. Here it is- in part from Staci Troilo’s awesome blog:

When a romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) set in the hockey world (one of my favorite past times) was released by one of my favorite authors (Jacquie Biggar), I had to bump it in the queue. And like Letang’s slapshot through a goalie’s five-hole, I blazed through it. Here are my thoughts:


★★★★★ She Shoots and Scores!

Jacquie Biggar has done it again. I have yet another new book boyfriend—Mac Wanowski, captain of the Victoria WarHawks hockey team.

Mac is the perfect guy—a body that won’t quit, a quick wit to match, intelligent, chivalrous, and just damaged enough to tug your heartstrings without wanting to bash him over the head for his stupidity. (Well, not too often, anyway.)

Sam is his perfect match—strong, smart, quick-tempered, sassy, big-hearted. And she has a past with true heartache and a present with secrets that make her just a little mysterious.

If they gave a Stanley Cup to authors, Biggar would deserve one for this story.

⛸🏒⛸

Blurb:

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

Amazon Purchase Link

⛸🏒⛸

As you can see, the blogging community is a valuable resource. One you, as a writer, cannot afford to ignore!

 

You can also read Skating on Thin Ice in an upcoming anthology published by authors from The Authors’ Billboard- A Night She’ll Remember

Available March 31st!

Lives change as passions flare when nine USA Today Bestselling Authors share tales of intrigue, hints of suspense and new romance guaranteed to keep you reading.

Second chances, broken engagements, accidents, misled information and opposites attract are just some of what you’ll find within the passion-filled pages of A Night She’ll Remember.

 

Be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.

 

Skating on Thin Ice by @jacqbiggar #RomanticSuspense #NewRelease


Skating on Thin Ice is Here!

This project began as a contemporary opposites attract romance, but it soon took on a life of its own and morphed into a fast-paced suspense instead!

Blurb

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

International: http://books2read.com/SkatingonThinIce

Add to your reading list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43293227-skating-on-thin-ice

Recommend on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/skating-on-thin-ice-the-men-of-warhawks-book-1-by-jacquie-biggar

Exclusive Excerpt

Sam lay on the ground at Mac’s back, mewling cries of terror crawling up her throat and blocking any possible clues of their assailant’s location. Someone was freaking shooting at them. Who got up in the morning and decided, I’m going to shoot someone today. Couldn’t he tell they weren’t deer or moose or whatever the hell he was aiming at?

Shaking, she ran trembling fingers over Mac’s torso, praying like she’d never prayed before that he hadn’t been hit. “I’m sorry I knocked you over,” she sobbed. “Please, M… Mac, talk to me. I’m so sc… scared.”

“Shh,” he snarled, throwing a hard glance over his shoulder. His gaze narrowed. “Are you hit?”

Shocked into silence, she dabbed her brow and lowered her hand to stare blankly at the reddish-brown streak staining the threads of her white mitt. “I….” She swallowed hard. “It’s a scratch, I’m fine.” They had bigger problems at the moment.

He considered her for a moment, then gave a short nod. “Probably some dumbass hunter. We’ll stay low for a bit, see if he moves on.” He turned his attention to the trees, searching out the monster in their midst.

Sam ducked her head to make a smaller target. Her cheek brushed the sandpaper-like surface of the snow and she inhaled the crushed pine needles under their bodies. Her mind filled with images of her family; Dad teaching them to fly fish, Kevin racing his tricycle to keep up to her and her friends, Mom encouraging her to go after her dreams. She covered her mouth to hold back the sobs. Would she ever see them again?

When she’d seen that gun pointed their way, her heart stopped. One second, she’d been contemplating the best place to hit Mac with her snowball and the next she’d seen that hunter and instinct had taken over. If he’d been shot… well, he wasn’t. If they got out of this in one piece, she was calling Uncle Thomas to pick them up. A mountain cabin was no place to be during hunting season—unless your name was Davy Crockett.

“I think he’s gone. We should be safe now.” Mac rolled onto his back and winced.

Contrite, Sam laid a hand on his broad chest. “Did I hurt you? I’m sorry.”

He turned his head to meet her gaze. “Who taught you to tackle like that, an old boyfriend?”

She smiled. “My brother, actually. He went to college on a football scholarship.”

“Ahh. Remind me to thank him sometime.” He closed his hand over hers and squeezed. “You’re quite the woman, Samantha Walters.”

Sam melted under the warmth of his regard. “Maybe you can meet him after we get off this mountain.”

He stiffened. “I’m not going anywhere.”

She sat up, oblivious to danger. “Are you nuts? You can’t be serious. What if something happens and you’re up here all by yourself? Who’s going to help you then, you big oaf?” Frustrated, she rose and dusted off her pants, keeping an eye out for any movement in the forest around them.

Maybe because of the gunshots, or maybe it was due to their little squabble, but the cheerful chirping chickadees and raucous squawks of jays had been replaced by an eerie silence. The shadows had lengthened since they’d started out just after lunch, and now stretched long, dark fingers through the broad branches of towering hemlock and fir trees. It all served to reinforce Sam’s decision; she was going back to the city where she belonged—with or without Mr. Tough Guy Wanowski.

“Can you get up on your own?” she asked, reaching for the discarded crutches. When she turned back, it was to see Mac, powerful arms braced, balancing his weight on the palms of his hands. In the next instant, he pushed upward, as smooth as a puma’s pounce, and landed on his feet with barely a wince.

Show off. Still fuming, Sam tossed him his crutches and clumped toward the cabin, wishing she could ditch the awkward snowshoes and sprint to safety. They walked in silence for about ten paces before Mac had to ruin it.

“Are you always this tempestuous?”

The dulcet tone of his voice scraped on her last nerve. “Aren’t you the least concerned? That hunter had a scope, he had to see us.” She stomped her foot, sending a puff of snow into the air.

“I know,” he said, so quietly she stopped to hear him better. He met her gaze and shrugged. “It’s not the first time.”

Celebrating a Milestone- Realizing a Dream #Romance #Writer #eNovAaW


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Celebrating a Milestone

Five years ago, I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and do something about it. You see, I’d recently moved away from home and was lost and lonely.

But, I had a dream.

One I’d carried in the back of my mind for years. I wanted to write a book. Deciding the genre was the easy part. Romance. I was an avid reader of romance novels. They took me to faraway places, fed my spirit and thrilled my heart.

Yep, romance it was.

Okay, now what?

I had a computer that I used for my bookkeeping, but had no idea how to use it as a writing tool. I needed to learn though, my lefty handwriting was atrocious- that wouldn’t work.

I searched online and found RWA® Romance Writers of America, a group of thousands geared toward helping authors better their craft. I also managed to find a local writing group and gathered up the courage to go to one of their meetings where I immediately felt at home. I joined both and began to take classes to learn the art.

It took time (I’m still a work-in-progress) but finally, FINALLY I published my first book in September of 2014.

Pride.

I could barely contain the excitement blooming in my chest to see a book with MY name on it for sale. But then came the realization. People were going to read it. My heart and soul on those pages and they were all out there– I felt sick.

The reviews trickled in, some good, some not so much, but the addiction was born. I loved to write!

This week I’m celebrating that momentous moment by sharing my first book with you- free!

Jan 11-15

Click the picture to go to Amazon

Excerpt

Nick jogged through the early morning streets, Jake trotting by his side, enjoying the peace and quiet before the town woke for the day. Little songbirds greeted him as he passed a cedar hedge on his way to the park. The air was fresh and cool at this hour. He was glad his strength had returned, his breathing even and stride long. It’d been an uphill battle. For a while after the ambush he’d shut down. Closed everyone out. He wished now he’d made it his business to keep in touch with all his old teammates. The faint sounds of a dog’s bark had Nick looking down at Jake, loping alongside. He’d healed up well, and only flinched at sudden loud noises these days. His hip had taken the brunt of the damage. When the explosion had thrown them, Nick worried he’d need to put him down, but he’d pulled through. Tough mutt.

After his run, he would head over to Sara’s and have a look at those files, see what they were looking at here. Nick had a bad feeling that Tommy boy was into some heavy shit. They needed to solve that first, before there could be a chance for him and Sara.

A sudden sharp pain stabbed him behind the eyes, causing him to falter. Jake whined, sensing his distress. Squinting through slit eyes he spotted a nearby bench, and slumped onto the seat. He pushed a shaky hand through his hair, and then using his thumb and middle finger squeezed in towards his nose, relieving the pressure. “It’s okay, boy. I’m fine. Let’s just take a little break, hmm.” The doctor had explained in excruciating detail while he lay in that hospital in Germany, how lucky he was. The explosion had hit him and sent him flying right up against the stone wall of a nearby house. Shrapnel had gouged a deep line on his forehead, right above his old bullet wound. A centimeter farther to the left and it would have been lights out, of the forever kind. Unfortunately, it’d taken his short-term memory away from him. He’d been told it would come back in dribbles, or one big slam––or maybe not ever. Nice. It angered him that he couldn’t break through the fog to discover the truth of what happened to him and his team. There was something there he could feel it.

He supposed he should be grateful he could remember his childhood, though those memories he could have lived without. Years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of his old man had sent him down nothing but a path of trouble during his high school years. Alcohol, substance abuse, vagrancy, you name it he tried it. His motto had been if you’re not living on the edge, you’re just taking up space.

Then he’d met Kendra in one of the few classes he’d decided to show up for and they’d fallen in love. She’d been the only child of lawyer parents, sweet and innocent. The odds had gone against him when they’d had unprotected sex on a hot summer’s night. She’d gotten pregnant. At least he’d done the right thing and proposed. And though her parents of course hated him, they agreed the marriage should take place. Maybe if they’d stopped it, or if he’d just walked away, Kendra and his son would still be alive today.

They’d been too young, and in the end, it tore them apart. He couldn’t even recall what the fight had been about––no doubt his lack of a ‘respectable’ job. He’d been working at a local garage at the time––all he did remember was getting up to answer the door, only to see two uniforms on the other side. Devastated, blaming himself, he spent the next couple of months shit-faced drunk. Coming out of an alcohol-induced daze one day he saw a poster for enlisting in the marines. Not caring much whether he lived or died at that point, he’d signed up. They sent him to Lackland Airforce Base in San Antonio, where he met Jake. They’d been inseparable ever since.

The searing pressure eased enough for him to open his eyes. Jake sat with his head cocked to the side, his ears laid back in commiseration. Nick nudged him with his knee and gave his sides a good hard rub, Jake groaning his thanks. “Okay, big guy, what do you say to finishing our run?” He’d learned a long time ago that pushing through the pain was often the best medicine.

He had that in common with Sara. She’d gone through both a physical and a mental trauma that would have crushed most. She was doing great, but he bet a violation like that was something from which no woman ever fully recovered.

It humbled him that she had trusted him enough to allow him to make love to her last night. Nick would never hurt a hair on her head, but there was no real way for her to be sure of that. He hoped and prayed no one would ever crush her again, and swore to do everything in his power to make sure of that, starting with Sheridan. If those files contained half of what Sara had intimated they did, he’d need some help. Checking to make sure no one was around, he pulled his cell out of his sweats and made the call.

“Hey, Chief, how are you? It’s Nick, Nickolaus Kelley. Long time, sir, too long. Shit, I’ve missed the team. How’s the whizz kid?” A big grin split his face as he listened to Frank describing Jared’s latest and greatest.

“No kidding, trust Martin to take the term, Land of opportunity, to a whole new level, right?” He laughed. Man, it was good to talk to the chief again. Why did people always let the important ones in their lives fall to the wayside, while they went about the business of life?

He could well believe Jared had almost shut down the strip; the man was scary good with electronics. “I understand that you’re out of the loop these days, sir, but I was hoping I could ask you, and Jared if he’s still with you, for a helping hand. I have a situation here and could really use your input.”

Relief coursed through his veins at the quick response to his plea. “I’ll tell you all about it when you arrive. Tomorrow then, and thanks—Frank.”

January’s Featured Blogger: Jacquie Biggar




I’m thrilled to be interviewed on artist and friend, Rob Goldstein’s wonderful #blog!

Art by Rob Goldstein

Jacquie Biggar has a wonderful gift for writing hot and extremely likable military men!

Jacqui Nelson

This month’s featured blogger is Jacquie Biggar

. Jacquie is a writer of romantic suspense novels.  She writes tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women.  Jacquie lives on Vancouver Island with her husband.

When did you start writing?

I wrote a few short stories in middle school that were well received by my teachers and fostered my dream of making it a career one day.

Unfortunately, I set it aside for many years while working and raising a family. I didn’t get serious about writing until 2012. I signed up to Romance Writers of America, took numerous classes to learn my craft and joined a couple of critique groups. One year later, I published my first suspense novel, Tidal Falls.

Did you always have a gift for writing hot guys?

Lol, I don’t know…

View original post 2,218 more words

Something a Little Personal #Goals #Inspiration #FamilyFirst


Time to Make a Change

Do you ever look back and wish there were things you could change? I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another.

2018 is a blur for me. I was caught up in the write more/ write faster hampster wheel and took the things that are the most important for granted. I wrote and published six books and participated in twelve box sets and book bites.

I’m so proud of these accomplishments, but they came at a steep cost.

Time.

Time to spend with those important in my life. My daughter and grandson, who moved across the country in August. My husband, who works nights and therefore has limited daylight hours awake. My mom, who lives next door. My cat and dog, who would appreciate a little one-on-one time. My overflowing Kindle, filled with stories I’ve yet to read. My garden, that got by mostly by luck and little care last year. My family back home, who I rarely call. My friends, whose lives I’ve lost touch with.

A couple of months ago, I lost a relationship with an online book promoter who I’d considered a friend. Her reasoning: I hadn’t remained in contact with her. This hurt more than probably warranted, but it also served as a wakeup call.

Time is a precious commodity for all of us. We can’t afford to waste it, even if we are chasing our dreams. The cost may be more than you want to pay. One of my critique partners lost her husband not long ago. A friend lost her husband and her father this year, while another had a stroke on Boxing Day. These are all signs telling me life is precious, don’t waste a single moment.

I’m making 2019 my year to slow down.

I’m going to spend less time worrying and more with enjoying life and what a true blessing it is.

Instead of a resolution, I’ve picked a word to live up to: BREATHE

Do you have a word to inspire change?

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New Releases and Giveaways too!! ☕❄☕🎉 #Reading #Romance #AuthorsHelpingAuthors


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Photo by Eftodii Aurelia on Pexels.com

 

One Month Until Christmas!

I happened to glance at the calendar today and almost had a heart attack; Christmas will be here before I know it!
I’m so ill-prepared this year. Normally, I begin shopping as early as June (I know :)) but I hate trying to come up with ideas at the last minute. There’s nothing worse than spending hard-earned cash on a gift you just know is going to end up in a corner or under a bed somewhere, right?
I considered going the gift card route- easy, safe- but my daughter would probably disown me, lol.
So this is what I’m going to do:
Tell me your best gift ideas ( not too expensive- struggling writer here! ) and I’ll choose three of the best to receive $10 Amazon gift cards, winner determined in next month’s holiday update post.
Good luck!

PS. Follow me on Bookbub and see which books I recommend!

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Unforgettable Thrills

It’s Release week!
Get captivated by Unforgettable Thrills, a bundled set of saucy, mind-blowing suspense stories of Passion and Power that will stoke your desire, build a hunger for thrills, and then feed you with a banquet of romantic delights you hope will never end. Our strong, savvy heroines conquer overwhelming odds with their ingenuity and skills – their protective heroes bringing pleasure beyond expectations. This unsurpassable mix by NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors will have you cheering alongside them as they triumph over life’s challenges.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JMHB9ZW

International: http://books2read.com/UnforgettableThrills

 

 

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A Holiday Romance Novella

Mistletoe Inn- Available December 3, 2018

One of my favorite childhood books was about a lonely man trapped in a beast’s body who meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman, but feels unworthy of her heart.
Of course, this is the story of Beauty and The Beast, a classic that has been retold many times over the years.
Mistletoe Inn is my version of this tale, I hope you’ll enjoy this sweet and heartwarming story.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HY69RPL

International link: http://books2read.com/MistletoeInn

TBR List- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42204464-mistletoe-inn

 

 

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On Sale Today!
Silver Bells

Will a Christmas wish give a lonely author a family?

Mystery writer, Joel Carpenter, has no time for romance. He has a deadline to meet, and too many skeletons in his closet to trust the slightly spinny artist renting his house.

Christy Taylor has her hands full dealing with an ailing business and a diabetic daughter, she doesn’t need the temptation that is her landlord, Joel Carpenter.

Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants most?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N58D23M

http://books2read.com/Silver-Bells

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31345617-silver-bells

 

GIVEAWAYS

Find a Comfy Spot and Fall in Love with these Great Books and enter our giveaways!

RomanceByFirelightGiveaway

November 05-25
ROMANCE BY FIRELIGHT GIVEAWAY

Enter for Your Chance to Win Nov 5-25!!
https://bookwrapt.com/romance-by-firelight-giveaway/

Whether staring up at the stars or lounging on a soft, furry rug in front of a hearth, nothing is more romantic than snuggle-time beside a roaring fire. Join us for a celebratory giveaway of the season. You could win a Kindle Fire, ebook prize pack, or Amazon gift card!

https://bookwrapt.com/romance-firelight-book-fair/
Enjoy every minute of fall’s romantic days and nights with our page full of discount books. Over 40 titles, every one of them 2.99 or less, plus don’t miss out on the FREE Shortie Download and bonus giveaway!

 

AB_contest Generic contest string and pine boughs

November 01-30
Authors’ Billboard November Contest

2 X $10 Amazon Gift Card Special Giveaways
Plus…The Billionaire Werewolf’s Princess by Michelle Hauf
The Lake House Secret by Debra Burroughs
3 free box collections the winners can choose from the Authors Billboard Books!

Enter Here

 

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Love Audio Books?

Start Listening Today

Haven’t joined the latest craze yet? Join here and get a free book!- https://www.audible.com/pd/B0799XFY23/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-106676&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_106676_rh_us

And check out my other #audiobooks here: https://www.audible.com/author/Jacquie-Biggar/B00MSIJQBG

 

 

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Review Team

Are you an avid reader? Would you like to be a member of my Reader Team? You would get advance copies of each book before it is released, with a chance to be first to leave a review.
There’s still room!
Email me at the address below with the topic – Reader Team.
Reader Team

 

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Sharing is Caring

Here’s a sample of new releases and deals from my friends. Just click a cover to learn more, enjoy!

On Sale Today!
Just .99 Pennies!

 

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Whispers of Winter: A Limited Edition Collection of Winter Romances
Winter may be rolling in, but that doesn’t mean your days and nights must be cold.

 

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The Pam of Babylon Boxed Set: A Contemporary Romance Series
At last, the bestselling series starter collection! Contains the first five full-length novels plus two additional stories!

 

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New Release
Tales From the Irish Garden by Sally Cronin
The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

 

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New Release
Atonement in Bloom by Teagan Geneviene
“Atonement in Bloom” continues the urban fantasy from the point where “Atonement, Tennessee” ended.

 

See you next month!

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October #ShortStory Challenge and #CoverReveal #mgtab


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Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

 

I thought I’d try my hand at a short story challenge!

This challenge comes to you via Didi Oviatt’s lovely blog. Pay her a visit, she’d love to hear from you 🙂

Didi’s challenge:

For the month of October, I challenge you writers out there to take the characters from your WIP and plug them into frightening scene with the theme of “bump in the night”. Have fun with it, as it IS a practice writing challenge, meant to polish your skills and introduce your characters in a fun way, apart from their original plot.

 

This is from Skating on Thin Ice, the story of an injured hockey player and the therapist he doesn’t want. Or does he? 🙂

Now seems like a good time for a cover reveal!

 

Skating on thin ice 5x8 FINAL

 

Who goes there?

Sam jerked awake, gasping. Her heart beat an urgent fight or flight warning, hands clenching the down duvet into a hard ball around her neck. She lay there for a moment, trying to hear over the raspiness of her own breathing. Nothing. The house was silent except for that silly cuckoo clock ticking off the endless minutes of the night.

She never slept well in strange places anyway, and today had been particularly stressful. Mac, The Hammer, Wanowski wasn’t making her job easy. He’d made it more than clear what he thought of therapists. Too bad he didn’t have a choice, the team managers called the shots- whether he liked it or not.

There it was again.

An eerie moan accompanied by a scratch, scratch, bam. Scratch, scratch, bam.

If Wanowski thought he was going to get rid of her that easily, he better think again. Sam rolled out of bed and grabbed the first defensive thing she could find, the hard cover book she’d borrowed from the den earlier.

The door creaked like an old woman’s knees, instantly ending any element of surprise she might have had. The hall was dark, quiet. Too quiet.

“Hel… hello?” she asked, her voice little more than a squeak. The book remained clenched to her chest, ready for… who knows what. She wished she hadn’t skipped those self-defense classes her best friend, Grace, had taken.

Mo-a-a-an.

The hair stood up and tried to run off her neck. Why hadn’t she just stayed in her warm, cozy bed hiding under the pillows like any other scaredy-cat would do?

Sam swallowed hard and stepped into the hall. “Not… not funny, Mac.” A set of glowing green eyes, halfway up the wall, turned her way. Sam screamed.

“What the hell?” Mac hollered from his room upstairs.

Not Mac then. 

The clunk of crutches on hard wood floors heralded her host’s arrival. The lights flicked on and Sam got an eyeful of rumpled, annoyed man glaring at her from the head of the staircase. Boxers never looked so good. The random thought warmed her cheeks.

“Do you make a habit of freaking out in the middle of the night? Doc? Because, I gotta tell you, it sucks.”

Embarrassed, she dropped the weapon/book to her side, noticed his narrowed gaze on her chest, and brought it up again. Right, her nightshirt was soft and comfortable, but white, and threadbare in spots.

Sam pointed down the hall. “Something was staring at me out of the wall,” she accused as though it was his fault.

“Ookay.” He looked at her like she was crazy before slowly, carefully making his way down the stairs on that bum knee. She’d feel bad if she didn’t get the feeling he was mocking her.

Mac stopped by the elegant sofa table cleared of everything except for a silver filigree picture frame. He straightened it on the table, his fingers almost caressing.

“Who is that?” Sam asked. She remembered seeing a younger, softer version of Wanowski, a beautiful woman smiling into his eyes, and a little boy in a stroller. His family, maybe? Where were they then?

Mac ignored her to bend at the waist, his broad back glinting under the brass and glass ceiling light. When he rose a big, black cat rested over one muscular forearm.

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“I think I found your ghost,” he murmured.

Sam smiled. “He’s gorgeous. Yours?” She moved hesitantly toward them. “Is he friendly?” She’d been bitten by a neighbor’s cat as a child and had never quite recovered from the experience.

Mac nodded, fondling the dark, silky-looking ears. “It’s a she. Cleo. And yes, she’s a pussycat.”

Sam giggled. The man was attractive when he wasn’t being a jerk. “When I heard those bumps in the night I wasn’t expecting a harmless feline. Or a badass hockey player to come to my rescue.”

His lips tilted in an almost smile. “How do you know the cat is harmless?”

Sam shrugged, her own lips flirting with a smile. She noticed he didn’t argue with his description. Badass, indeed. This was going to be an interesting two weeks.

Celebrate your love of Romantic Suspense novels with @BookSweeps and enter to win more than 40+ – PLUS receive a collection of FREE reads!📚 #books #amreading


Today, I have a fun surprise I’d like to share with you.

 

BIGGAR-Romantic-Suspense-Oct-18

 

I’ve teamed up with 40+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of Romantic Suspense novels to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

 

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE reads just for entering? 😁

 

You can win my novel Tempted by Mr. Wrong, plus books from authors like Ann Major, Christie Craig, and Jacki Delecki.

 

Enter the giveaway by clicking here 👉 http://bit.ly/romsuspense-oct18

 

JacquieMr.Wrong

Here’s an excerpt from Tempted by Mr. Wrong

Tammy-Jo Hawthorne limped down the side of the highway, broken shoe in hand, and cursed everything from the gravel cutting into her bare foot, to the drizzling rain making her mascara run. But most of all, she cursed fate for ever introducing her to her no-good, dirty, rotten scumbag of an ex-husband—Timothy Hawthorne the third, and don’t you forget it.

Her cheeks flamed again even as goosebumps of embarrassed anger chased themselves over her flesh. They’d escorted her out; she still couldn’t believe it. Not one person had stood to defend her either. Ten years she’d belonged to that stupid high-falutin club, and no one had supported her in her time of need. Well, screw them.

A semi-trailer flew past, and a sheet of water drenched her to the bone.

“Ooh.” She raised her shoe in the air and shook it at the fading taillights. “Thanks for nothing.”

Disheartened, she dropped her Louboutin in the grass, careful to keep it off the scratchy gravel, and wrung out the hem of her shirt. Tim had a lot to answer for; not least of which was the fact her Jaguar had been towed away while she’d been inside the country club. It was becoming clear that this had been a well-choreographed plan on his part. He’d thought of everything too. When she’d tried to call for a cab, she found her phone had been cut off. She’d stomped over to a nearby gas station to use the payphone, and found her bank and credit cards had been cancelled as well. He’d taken her love and stomped it beneath his wingtips and now he wanted her pride too.

Well, he couldn’t have it, damn him.

If she had to walk the entire twenty miles to home, she would.

And then she was going to sue that bastard for every red cent he owned.

The traffic snaked by in a never-ending ribbon of color, the noise a match to the static in her head. She thought about doing like she’d seen on television and lift her thumb to catch a ride, but fear held her back. Those were the same shows where the unlucky traveler was never seen again. She didn’t plan on giving her soon-to-be ex that easy of an out.

The rain was falling harder now, coating everything in sight with a silvery glow. If she wasn’t so cold—a combination of nerves and early spring weather—it would be pretty. Okay, maybe that was a stretch. There was nothing remotely pretty about being stranded in the middle of nowheresville thanks to the man you’d promised to love and honor until death did you part. The last of which was looking tempting right now.

If only she knew a hitman.

A throaty engine gearing down set her heart to leap-frogging in her chest—he’d changed his mind and returned her car. She swung around, a relieved smile tipping her scowl upside down, but instead of her beautiful silver Jag, a black-as-sin Mustang idled behind her in the parking lane, its driving lights blinding her with their brightness.

Now her heart pounded for an entirely different reason. She glanced into the ditch, but the forest seemed impossibly far away and the traffic never even hesitated, unaware and uncaring that her life could be in danger.

T.J. shaded her eyes, but she couldn’t see the driver. She clutched her handbag. It wasn’t much, but the soft lambskin purse held the keys to her house and her car—once she got it back—her identification, all the odds and ends a woman deemed necessary, and the proof that her husband was the reason she was in this predicament. She wouldn’t give it up without a fight.

She picked up the only weapon at her disposal, her shoe, and inched backward, dismayed when the car stalked after her. Panic overrode decorum and she turned to run, but the ditch was slippery with the mud and rain and she lost her footing, careening down the steep embankment with a little screech. She landed hard on her butt and sat there for a minute, stunned. How the mighty had fallen. The Hawthorne couple were the envy of Magnolia, South Carolina. Everyone wanted to be them, have the same kind of loving relationship they had. What a joke.

And it was all on her.

A car door opened and a few ominous seconds later, T.J. heard footsteps on the gravel meridian. Even through the rain and early evening light, her white shirt practically glowed a neon here I am signal to anyone looking. And of course, someone was. She hunched over, doing her best to become one with the mud, and prayed like she’d never prayed before. Not hard, since she’d never followed any religious beliefs, but she promised anyone who was listening that she’d change. Just don’t let her die.

“Tammy-Jo Hawthorne?” scary stranger dude called down the hill, his voice filled with amused aggravation.

What did he have to be aggravated about? She was the one sitting in a cold, wet ditch while a stalker… well, stalked her.

“Go away,” she yelled, fed up with men and life in general. She swiped at a clump of ooey-gooey crap clinging to her leg below the silk pencil skirt she’d no doubt have to throw in the trash after this episode. Just one more reason to shoot Tim.

“I was at the club today,” he said, and the sympathy in his voice made her squirm. “I heard about your car, thought you could use a lift.”

She threw back her head and let the rain wash over her face. The humiliations just kept coming. The moment he’d mentioned the club she’d known who her dubious savior was; her evil step-brother.

Jason McIntyre.

 

Good luck and enjoy!

 

 

She wants a temporary fake romance… Coming Home to You by @MKStelmack #Romance #amreading @HarlequinBooks @PrismBookTours



On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Coming Home to You (A True North Hero #3)Coming Home to You
(A True North Hero #3)
By M. K. Stelmack
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
October 2nd 2018 by Harlequin Heartwarming

She wants a temporary fake romance

Can he make it real…and forever?

Driving across the country in an RV with her terminally ill godmother was not Daphne Merlotte’s idea. Nor was crashing the RV into a small-town coffee shop, nearly hitting local good guy Mel Greene. Now Daphne will do anything to keep her godmother from continuing the trip–even asking Mel to be her fake boyfriend. But there’s nothing fake about Mel’s intentions–he wants a real romance!

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Romance with All the Feels

 

COMING HOME TO YOU, is another story that delivers a huge emotional punch. So says my editor, and I trust her explicitly. It’s why romance readers choose this genre, right? Everyone thinks they are just love stories, but we know they are stories that plow through the entire field of emotions, unearthing the metaphorical dirt on our hero and heroine.

Along the way, I rake over your emotions too, dear reader. It’s a weird sort of masochistic-sadistic relationship in which you knowingly embark on an emotional rollercoaster designed by me to elicit as much fear, excitement, joy and triumph as possible so that when you glide to the finish, shaking with relief, you immediately shout out, “Again!”

I’ve decided that four emotions always arise in romances: whatever makes you cry, whatever makes you laugh, whatever makes you makes you want the story not to end, whatever makes you want it to end.

I’ll explain using COMING HOME TO YOU and my previous stories.

 

  1. Whatever Makes You Cry

 

I received the highest compliment from my editor about COMING HOME TO YOU, when she reported in a margin note: I’m BAWLING here. Then, in our next round of edits, she confided that she cried again in the exact same spot, even though she knew what was coming.

I won’t tell you where she grabbed for her box of tissues, but I can tell you that this scene was key to figuring out what made my hero, Mel, tick. Writers call it the wound—the childhood trauma or early horror that shapes their adult beliefs. Until they face up to how it has atrophied or destroyed their relationships, they can’t move forward.

I’ve written a few stories that have caused the words to suddenly blur for my readers. I’ve read a whole lot more that set off my waterworks.  Haven’t we all? Sometimes, you know why. It’s a story about a bully or the loss of a parent or a fire that destroys memories. You’re crying for your hero or heroine, but you’re also crying for yourself because on some level it speaks to your deepest fear, desire or sorrow.

 

  1. Whatever Makes You Laugh

 

Humor is tricky. One can burst into laughter, while another thinks it’s the height of cruelty. The safest kind of humor evokes a gentle smile and then sails on. I must admit that I’m no good at that. I love zingers, comebacks or the slow, self-deprecating boomerang remark that makes the reader laugh and then suck it back as they realize its impact on their poor hero or heroine. Back in my first book in the series, A ROOF OVER THEIR HEAD, a naked boy jumps into my hero’s truck. There is the usual comical fallout from that as he tries to simultaneously ignore and address the boy’s state, but underneath all that is the very real societal concern of a naked child alone with a strange male in this day and age of ‘blame now, justify later’.

My favorite kind of humor unrolls over an entire scene, the ever-complicating scenario that drags in more characters and plays out natural consequences to their hilarious end. I had loads of fun writing a scene in COMING HOME TO YOU where Mel tries to teach Daphne how to drive.

 

  1. Whatever Makes You Want to Read More

 

Yes, that’s the suspenseful, exciting, ‘will-they-or-won’t they’ range of emotions. It could be the car chase, the meet-up, the clash between hero and villain, the race to find the missing child, the full-on argument between two characters who’ve been dying to lay a tongue-lashing on each other. BUILDING A FAMILY, the second in my series, has all of the above with the biggest rise from my readers coming from scenes where it’s a regular mud-slinging fest of words.

 

  1. Whatever Makes You Want it to End

 

Hopefully it’s not bad writing! I mean here that cringe-y set of emotions: shame, embarrassment, acute anxiety. You know the feeling when your favorite character is about to do something incredibly stupid because they feel compelled to do it, something you know will have an undesirable outcome. How many of you out there are like me, have had to physically leave a room during a movie at those excruciating moments? What, only me? I admit that my daughter has had to order me back into the room to watch the scene play out. If I’m watching alone, then I desensitize myself by watching just a few seconds at a time or pacing while I look away and listen to the audio. Yes, I know. I need therapy. In COMING HOME TO YOU, Daphne first meets Mel, while in a diaphanous, over-the-top nightgown. Sorry, Daphne.

 

Can you relate to these feelings? What other emotions would you suggest? Do you have go-to books that evoke these emotions for you?

 

 

Other Books in the Series

 

About the Author

M. K. Stelmack writes contemporary romances set in Spirit Lake which is closely based on the small town in Alberta, Canada, where she lives with pets who outnumber the humans three to one, and where dust bunnies run unchecked. She aims to tell stories that don’t shy away from the tough questions but still leave readers feeling uplifted. She is the author of two previous Harlequin Heartwarming titles, A Roof Over Their Heads and Building a Family. She loves hearing from readers. Find her at her website or on Facebook

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Tour Schedule

October 1st:
Launch
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Nicole’s Book Musings
Book by Book
October 2nd:
Reading Is My SuperPower
underneath the covers
Rockin’ Book Reviews
October 3rd:
E-Romance News
My Devotional Thoughts
Heidi Reads…
October 4th:
Handcrafted Reviews
Remembrancy
It’s All About the Romance
October 5th:
Hearts & Scribbles
Christy’s Cozy Corners
Teatime and Books
Book Lover in Florida
October 6th:
Grand Finale

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive ebooks of A Roof Over Their Heads and Building a Family plus a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card
Open internationally
Ends October 10th

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#Writing like a Beast #Romance #mgtab


dont wish for it work for it calligraphy
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

Have you ever been up against a deadline and the words won’t come? Yep, welcome to my world.

 

I have a holiday novella due by the end of September and it’s kicking my butt. Some people thrive under stress- I’m NOT one of them, lol.

I’ve been staring my climatic moment in the eye for weeks now and it just won’t cooperate. My vision for this story is a sort of cross between Beauty and the Beast (not the Disney® version but the 1987-1990 television series) with a sensitive, lonely ‘Beast’ and the beautiful kind-hearted woman who draws him out of his shell.

 

 

And the Hallmark® Christmas movie, The Mistletoe Inn featuring an aspiring writer 🙂 who signs up for a writing retreat after being dumped by her novelist boyfriend.

 

 

 

 

 

I took these two concepts and came up with my hero, Noah Kincaid, a scarred, lonely man (though he thinks he’s fine) in need of a new publicity partner after the recent death of his aunt, and the young and pretty single mother who takes the job.

Molly McCarty is used to tough challenges. Divorced and raising a five-year-old boy is no easy task, especially when she’s surrounded by her ex’s friends and family who all want to help get them back together again.

Desperate for some breathing room, Molly searches the web for opportunities and comes across the position of innkeeper in Christmas, Michigan. Her curiosity about the town named after a famous holiday leads her down a road filled with possibilities.

If only she can break through her partner’s tough shell.

 

 

celebration christmas christmas balls christmas decoration
Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

Here’s a short exclusive excerpt

Molly hurried to keep up as Leo wove in and out of the evergreens on display, the air tinted with the scent of pine and balsam. His childish laughter warmed her heart. He’d was unhappy leaving Alberta and his family behind. She couldn’t blame him, she’d been feeling down herself. Ever since her divorce from Jason, she’d been coasting, searching for… well, she wasn’t really sure. She just knew it wasn’t in Edmonton. That was her past, Christmas was her future.

Or, so she hoped.

“Leo, where are you?” she called, half laughing, half worried. The fairy lights strung in graceful arcs across the large gazebo-type structure were pretty, but they didn’t make finding a little boy in a dark jacket easy. Nearby couples glanced in her direction, then joined in the search. It wasn’t that big an area, but there were a lot of hiding places a mischievous little boy might discover.

“I’ve got him.” Noah strode out from between two thick conifers with Leo in his arms. He looked like an outdoor magazine model with his lived-in face and burly shoulders. Molly heard the appreciative sighs from the women around her and her heart stuttered. He really was a handsome man.

She thanked the searchers and shook her head as Noah reached her side. “He was there one minute and then he was gone. You seem to be making a habit out of coming to our rescue.”

He gazed at her with those dark eyes, his hair ruffled by the chilly breeze, and she had the strongest urge to reach up and kiss those uncompromising lips. He’d probably think she was crazy. She’d have to be to try, he hadn’t given any sign of a mutual attraction, and besides, they barely knew each other.

“He was just chasing after a puppy. I’m sure he’s sorry he worried you.” He nodded to Leo. “Better apologize to your mother, now.”

Leo looked at her, excitement sparkling in his eyes. “Mommy, you gotta come see. The puppy is so cute. He’s as white as snow and has blue eyes. Can I have him, Mommy. Please.” He kicked his booted feet, narrowly missing Noah’s groin. Noah winced and set him down.

Molly gave him an apologetic glance, then crouched beside her son. “Honey, you need to calm down. First, Noah is right. You should say sorry for disappearing the way you did. That’s a dangerous thing to do, and I don’t expect you to do it again. Capisce?”

Chastened, Leo scuffed his feet in the snow. “Capease.”

 

 

I’m close. I just have to rip out their hearts so I can hand them back again.

Easy, right?

You can pre-order the boxset below. I promise I’ll get it done!

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25 Holiday Stories Movies You Love!

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Sprinkle a little Christmas magic into your life with 25 ALL-NEW, never before released romances. Each title – exclusive to this set – is inspired by a favorite holiday movie, spun into a fantastic love story by a NY Times, USA Today, and/or award-winning, bestselling author and delivered to you in this wonderful collection full of cheer for the coming season.

 

 

 

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