Tag Archive for: new book

Stiletto Heels, a Witch and a Deadly Dinner–TK Thorne

   Writer, humanist,
          dog-mom, horse servant and cat-slave,
       Lover of solitude
          and the company of good friends,
        New places, new ideas
           and old wisdom.

I love the idea of vicariously wearing stiletto
heels because that is the only way that will ever happen!  What Rose Brighton discovers, however, is
they might very well be good for something else.

Rose is a police officer who discovers she’s a
witch of House of Rose. She’s received an invitation to dinner from a
devastatingly handsome man, a warlock of another House of Iron. All she knows
is that someone from his House has been trying to kill her and wipe out her

So, of course, she goes—

The Club (pronounced with emphasis on “The”) is a private
dinner club atop Red Mountain overlooking the city. Very posh. I wear my black
dress and a pair of heels I bought, which are killing me. How do women walk in
these things? I let the valet park the car, because I don’t think I could make
it all the way across the parking lot.
In spite of the fact that she is dead, I can hear Aunt Alice
in my head protesting how dangerous it is to meet Jason Blackwell anywhere. I
wonder if any of my family members were prone to do dangerous or impulsive
things. If so, I inherited it, and it’s not my fault, right? Besides, I’ve got
to have info, and I’m not going to get any sitting on my butt.
So, for the sake of gaining intelligence about House of
Iron, which I know nothing about, I am practically standing on my toes trying
not to fall on my face. My sympathies to the Chinese girls whose feet were
bound in ancient times to keep them small for the aesthetic taste of Chinese
men. Thinking about that horrid practice makes me angry. Why am I torturing
myself on these stilts for the pleasure of men?
By the time I make it to the private dining room, I’m
Ciao, Rose!”
Jason Blackwell greets me, rising from his chair at a table by the expansive
window. “You are beautiful even when you look ready to eat the first person in
your path.”
“I look like that?”
“It’s the shoes.”
“Ah.” He pulls out my chair, and I sit . . . gratefully.
A bottle of wine chills in a bowl on a small stand by the
table. I’ve seen setups like this in movies, but this is way out of my comfort
zone. Jason gestures at the wine. “I took the liberty of ordering. It’s a fine
year. Would you like to try it?”
He lifts a finger and a waiter I didn’t even see glides to
our table and opens the bottle, pouring a small amount in Jason’s glass. It
would be nice to have a touch of James Bond sophistication with wine at this
point, but I can see it’s a French white from the label, and that’s about the
extent of my wine knowledge. Fortunately, Jason seems at home with the
requirements and takes a sip, savoring it on his tongue for a moment before
nodding assent at the waiter, who pours my glass first, then his. I watch all
this with fascination, and because I am afraid to look at my date. He almost
hurts the eyes.
Suddenly Becca’s voice is in my head: Oh my God, Rose. Does he have a brother?
That breaks the spell and I smile. Thank you, Becca.
“So, has anyone tried to kill you lately?” Jason asks,
turning his attention to me.
I laugh and chastise myself for being so easily charmed.
This man, I remind myself, may have lived a lot longer than I, despite his
youthful looks.
“Actually, I have managed to outwit a sniper since we last
saw each other.”
His face, which I am now watching carefully, hardens. “I didn’t
know that. He missed, I assume.”
“How do you know it was a ‘he’?”
Now it is his turn to laugh. “Be easy, detective. I do not
know that. It was a chauvinistic guess.”
The waiter sets down a basket that smells heavenly. Jason
folds back the white linen to reveal the warm breads inside. “You must try an
orange roll, house specialty.”
I bite into it and close my eyes. After I swallow, my tongue
finds the bits of crystalized sugar on my lips.
Jason clears his throat. “I’m not sure if I wish to eat or simply
watch you eat.”
I open my eyes, my earlobes burning, and snatch at the menu.
I order fish, and he orders lamb. Appropriate. I feel like a
lamb stalked by a wolf and wonder if I used enough deodorant to last through
Jason’s gaze drifts to the huge window that looks down into
the valley. “It is a beautiful view, isn’t it?” Below us, the lights gleam like
multicolored gems.
“It is.”
“Sometimes,” Jason says, “when I cannot sleep, I look down
on this from my bedroom window.”
Warning bells ding in my head. This personal revelation is a
bit of intimacy meant to make himself appear more human, a little bait thrown
out to gain my sympathy.
 I can play the game
as long as I know there is a hook beneath the bait . . . right?
“You have trouble sleeping?” I ask.
“More often than I’d like.”
I wonder what his
nightmares are about.
I take another swallow of wine and decide it is time to stop
flitting around. “I have a question.”
He arches a brow.
“Who is trying to kill me?” I ask.
For a swiftly passing moment, his face tightens. Anger? Then
the lines smooth and he considers me.
“I do not know.”
“You have no idea?”
Was there the slightest hesitation before that answer? He
takes my hand and lightly rubs a thumb down the inside of my wrist. My pulse
jumps. ‘Jump’ is the wrong word, more like catapults.
. . . I take a deep swallow of wine and feel it burning into
my chest. “Are we going to have an honest discussion?”
His mouth crooks again. “That would be novel.”
“Answer the question,” I demand.
“Yes. Yes, we are going to have an honest discussion.” He is
amused again, which is irritating.
“You know more about who might have tried to kill me than
you are telling me.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I’m a detective, remember?”
“I think you are prejudiced against the House of Iron.”
He leans back. “I honestly don’t know. At times I’ve thought
it could be someone in my House, but I’ve no proof of any kind. Most of my
youth was spent in Italy where my father had a villa and a mistress. After his
death, I remained there. It is still my primary residence.”
“So who comes to mind when you think that?”
“Let us not play this game. I have no knowledge that my
family is involved. If I ever have, I will tell you. I find I have a desire to
keep you alive.
 Frutti proibiti sono i più dolci.”
“Which means?”
“Forbidden fruit is the sweetest.”
My ears burn again. “Is that a promise, Mr. Blackwell?”
“It is a promise.” He smiles. “Enough of that. Now, let’s
talk about you.”
My defenses rear up. “What about me?”
“I take it you are not a social butterfly.”
“Was it the shoes thing?”
He laughs. “In part. You are intriguing, Miss Brighton,
though forbidden fruit.”
I sip my own wine. “Forbidden? In what way?”
“House of Iron and House of Rose never . . . intermingle.”
“Really? Why is that?”
“Let us call it a strong cultural tradition. Both Houses must
marry outsiders.”
His reaction makes me suspect this prohibition is more along
the lines of prejudice, and my jaw tightens. “Them” and “us” exist even among
the witches and warlocks.
. . .Our food comes at that moment. It is beautifully
presented, with a small sprig of cilantro and a lemon wedge cut artfully in a
spiral design, and I realize I’m starving. While he talks, I eat, feeling his
eyes on me again. I want to believe he had nothing to do with my family’s
murder. I can’t explain why. I just do. Maybe because his eyes are so blue.
When our plates are whisked away, I excuse myself from the
table to powder my nose and wobble my way down the hall. “If I ever try to wear
heels again, just shoot me,” I mumble aloud.
A platinum-haired lady exiting the women’s restroom gives me
an odd glance. I smile and point to my ear. She sniffs in disapproval of the
concept of people talking on invisible phones in public and walks on with her
nose in the air.
Once inside, the first thing I do is kick off the shoes, sit
on the toilet seat and rub my arches. I linger just long enough to give my feet
a reprieve, wash my hands, and reapply lip gloss. Lipstick requires far too
much aim and control. My hair is curling wildly from the moisture outside, but there’s
not much I can do about that. I wash my hands and dry them in the curls, a
temporary taming technique. Reluctantly, I slip the heels back on.
In the hall, a girl with freckled skin and bony elbows steps
carefully around the corner, balancing a tray of glasses. Unbeckoned, a surge
of living-green sweeps into me. The girl freezes, and a shadow girl steps ahead
of her, slightly out of focus, moving in my direction. I am seeing the future,
moments from now.
A portly shadow man exits the men’s room, which is next to
the women’s room where I stand, and bumps into the girl, spilling her tray. He
turns on her, angry and wobbly, probably drunk. I can’t hear anything he says
to her, but it isn’t necessary. The slump of her shoulders reflects his abuse.
The whole thing fades, and the girl in my universe or time-line resumes walking
toward me.
Without thinking about it, I step to the men’s room and lean
against the door. Someone on the other side pushes to get out, but I set my
weight into it.
“What the hell?” he slurs from inside.
When the waitress is safely past, I move away from the door,
and it bursts open. The man staggers out like carbonated foam pent up in a can.
At that moment, the headache that seems associated with seeing into the future
hits me, and I just happen to step on his foot with my heel. “Oh, I am so
sorry,” I say and leave him cursing and limping in a circle.
These shoes might be good for something, after all.

Click HERE to preorder on Amazon
Click HERE to preorder on BarnesandNoble.com

A retired police captain, T.K. has written two award-winning historical novels, NOAH’S WIFE and ANGELS AT THE GATE, filling in the untold backstories of extraordinary, yet unnamed women—the wives of Noah and Lot—in two of the world’s most famous sagas. The New York Post’s “Books You Should Be Reading” list featured her first non-fiction book, LAST CHANCE FOR JUSTICE, which details the investigators’ behind-the-scenes stories of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing case. Coming in November: HOUSE OF ROSE, the first of a trilogy in the paranormal-crime genre. 

She loves traveling and speaking about her books and life lessons. T.K. writes at her mountaintop home near Birmingham, Alabama, often with two dogs and a cat vying for her lap. More info at TKThorne.com. Join her private newsletter email list and receive a two free short stories at “TK’s Korner.

Something Different in a New Book

by Linda Rodriguez

I don’t do many promotional posts, so I
hope you’ll bear with this one. I have a new book coming November
30th, something different from my poetry or novels. For many years,
I’ve taught writing workshops and classes in person and online. A
number of people across the nation have asked that I write books on
the topics of my classes because they don’t live close enough to take
one and are not in the national organization for which I teach my
online classes (to members only). Next month, my first writing book,
Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, will be published by
Scapegoat Press, and it’s available for pre-orders now (though I
notice only the trade paperback is up right now—it will be 
available in ebook, as well).

I’m excited by this new type of book
baby. We are planning a whole series of these writing books—next
year one on revising the novel. It’s been a very different process
from writing either poetry or fiction. Here’s the lovely write-up the
publisher has done for the book.

In Plotting the Character-Driven
, Linda Rodriguez turns her sought-after writing course on
using depth of character as a springboard to a strong plot into a
book designed to help the aspiring writer who wants to tell a story
made compelling by the truth and complexity of its characters. She
provides examples of actual documents she has used in creating her
own award-winning books to demonstrate the methods she teaches.

Great plot springs from character and
the motivations each character has for taking or not taking action.
How do you use character as the
springboard to a strong plot that draws its complexity from the
motivations of its characters?

What are the hidden fears and desires
of each major character, what happens when these are frustrated, and
how do they intersect and confl ict with one another?

What are the secrets this character is
hiding even from him/herself? What will this character tell you about
her/himself if given the chance?

Through asking these kinds of questions
of your characters, you will learn to create an exciting and
complex plot, building from the
integrity of the characters you create.

Praise for Linda
Rodriguez’s novels

“Cherokee heritage and the often very
painful legacy of secrets have long been hallmarks of this excellent
series. They are present in great detail here in this complex and
multilayered novel.” —Kevin R. Tipple

“This suspenseful and sensitive tale
of small town secrets is captivating from page one. An absolute
page-turner!” —Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Mary
Higgins Clark award-winning author

“Engrossing” —Library Journal
“Her latest not only fulfi lls its predecessor’s promise but
also furthers Skeet’s story in ways that will have readers eager
for her next case.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Rodriguez’s energetic storytelling
and attention to character prove she is an author who should have a
bright future.” —Oline H. Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

“Fans of Nevada Barr and Sara
Paretsky will relish Linda Rodriguez’s stellar debut. Her sleuth,
Skeet Bannion, is a keeper.” —Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York
Times bestselling author of One Was a Soldier

Praise for Linda’s
“Plotting the Character-Driven Novel” Workshop

“Thank you for a wonderful class that
was perfect. The lessons were invaluable.” –Nancy R.

“I learned so much and have some
great new tools for plotting.” –Holly T.

“I now have an arsenal of tools to
tackle that MS.” –Susan B.

“The exercises you gave us provided
me with lots of tools to help with plot and character.” –Nancy E.

“Your exercises really helped! I had
thought I knew my main character pretty well before, but now I know
her so much better. It’s no longer so daunting a task to work on
the book!” –Betty P.

“You have given me so much to help me
write this first book.” – Mary B.

“Your workshop was very inspirational
and helpful. Now, if you could just show up at my house every morning
and make me sit down to write, that would be great!” –Cheryl J.
LINDA RODRIGUEZ’s first novel, Every
Last Secret
, won the St. Martin’s/ Malice Domestic Best First
Traditional Mystery Novel Competition. Her novel, Every Broken
, was a Las Comadres National Latino Book Club selection,
took 2nd place in the International Latino Book Awards, and was a
finalist for the Premio Aztlán Literary Award. Her third novel,
Every Hidden Fear, was a Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, a
selection of Las Comadres National Latino Book Club, and received a
2014 ArtsKC Fund Inspiration Award. Her fourth Skeet Bannion novel,
Every Family Doubt, will be published in June 2017. Visit her
Web site at http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com


By: Joelle Charbonneau

Get out the noise makers and the party hats.  Shove down the nerves and the feelings of
inadequacy and party like there is no tomorrow. 
(Okay the nerves and inadequacy part is all me, but hey!  It needed to be said.)  Last Tuesday, I celebrated a new book.  SKATING ON THE EDGE hit shelves on October
second.   And to top off the celebration,
the paperback edition of SKATING AROUND THE LAW came out on Monday, which made
the first week of October pretty special in my house!
A new book is a funny thing. 
All of us writer types peck away at our keyboards hoping that someone
will think what we have written is interesting enough to read.  We agonize over plot, character development
and each word choice, turn the book in to our editors, rework it and then wait
for it to hit shelves.  During that wait,
we do what writers do—we write something new. 
So by the time the new book comes out, we’ve moved onto something else.
For me, that process is always odd because while I love the book
that has just come out, I’ve often written the next installment in the lives of
those characters.  I know where they are going, but I have to remember that my readers
don’t. I know if Pop has had his heart broken (or more likely if he’s broken someone’s heart) or if Rebecca has made a choice that changes what she
wants out of her life.  But I have to
block that out and remember that those things haven’t technically happened yet
and that readers are just discovering the choices they have made in this story.
And I LOVE this story. 
SKATING ON THE EDGE is my favorite of the Rebecca Robbins novels thus
far.  I guess as writers we’re all
supposed to love the most recent book, and perhaps we always do, but I really
think this is the best of the books.  I
love the choices my characters make to move their lives forward and the derby
girls who are so full of life and loyalty and fun.  They are wonderful characters to write and
infuse the story with excitement.  And,
of course, Lionel and Sean continue to make Rebecca’s life interesting.  Lionel can’t help but want her to stay in
town and fall in love with him and Sean…well, you’ll see.
In order to celebrate the release of both SKATING ON THE
EDGE and the paperback of SKATING AROUND THE LAW, I am happy to give away one
copy of each to a commenter.  Please
leave your name and e-mail address so I can get a hold of you!  I will draw the winning names on Friday evening, so you have lots of time to stuff the ballot box.

Dear Gentle Reader

I am but a hopeful author with a new book that will appear in the marketplace eighteen days yon.

I realize you may not know me from Adam, and we’re not likely related (although my ancestors did sow ample seeds across the Middle West so if you reside amidst the corn and wheat, we may be distant kin). It’s highly probable you could bypass my name on Ye Olde Bookshelf, skipping straight from Queen Anna Maxted to Sir Alexander McCall Smith. But if you pause because you admire the comely cover of Little Black Dress—and perhaps even read a page—I would be in your debt.

Though I am no fledging scribe, each new book feels akin to a new child. After all, when I toil, I shut myself up in the tower like Rapunzel. When hard at work, I barely remember to let down my long hair so Prince Edward can send up a basket with bread and water so I won’t starve. Meanwhile, the rooms below get thick with dust, the weeds grow tall, and Prince Edward wonders, “Will I ever see my fair maiden again? Is she lost to me?”
As much as I can’t wait to finish scripting THE END and send off my tome to my publisher (tied to the talons of my falcon, Leonard), it gives me jitters just the same. I know that once I let loose those words, a crew of magical elves will descend upon them. Some of them are wizards in worlds called Marketing and Publicity. Others do mystical things in a land called Production. You must have a special passkey to enter any of those, or so I’m told.
Oft’times I’m tempted to remain in my tower forever. It’s a cozy spot, to be sure, and I spend so much time in a made-up world where I have some control that the forest beyond seems truly scary. There be dragons with fiery breath and claws that may tear my words apart. There be angry townsfolk with pitchforks who may oppose the language used to tell my tales. There be trolls who scrawl messages on the sides of the bridges, telling weary travelers: BEWERE OF THIS BUK. IT BE AWFUL.
Despite my misgivings, I will descend from my tower when my opus is launched. It is both my duty and my curse. So, be kind, Gentle Reader. Know that I have done my best to spin a tale that entertains you and your kinfolk. Believe that I have dripped sweat from my brow and drained emotion from my heart to compose a yarn that pleases you. And if I fail, I fear I will have to try again.
For those who have bestowed kind words upon my works, I am forever in your debt.  Should I ever have a pig to spare, it will be yours (and the apple in its mouth as well).
As Ever,
Susan McBride 

I’ve Got the My-New-Book’s-Out-in-Two-Months Jitters

by Susan McBride

Yeah, it starts early.  Like, long before your book hits the shelves in any brick-and-mortar stores.  When it’s available for pre-order online, only usually your cover art’s not even up yet and there’s no description.  Just your title and your name, and a lonely box that says, “Cover Unavailable.”

Even if you’ve got another book to write that’s supposed to be keeping you busy, you’re thinking about it.  You can’t help it. People keep sending you things, like copy edits, galleys to proof, and other stuff involved in the production process that always requires your immediate attention.  Although you try to put it out of your head, they won’t let you.  It’s like pine needles from your Christmas tree.  You think you’ve got them all swept up and yet, when you vacuum in July, there they are. 

You can run but you can’t hide.  You can fight, but it’s a lost cause.  You can pull yourself up by your bootstraps, shake off the dust, and get right back up on that horse…well, you know what I’m getting at. It’s called the My-New-Book’s-Coming-Out-Jitters. And there are obvious symptoms, and I’ll describe a few in case you think you’ve got jitter fever coming on.

For starters, you can’t help looking at your online numbers.  I know, I know.  You’ve told yourself you wouldn’t do that any more.  But it’s a new book, one you’ve poured your heart into.  Surely someone’s ordered it by now?  So you take a peek, certain you’ll be amazed by the digits.  And, yes…yes, you definitely are.  Because isn’t it not a good thing to be at one million?  Should you call your mom and ask her to order?  Should you pretend you didn’t see?

Then there are the bad dreams.  Nightmares to be specific.  You’re at a writer’s conference and one of your best friends approaches, telling you she’s talked with your publisher and your new book only has a 2% sell-through.  That, for sure, is a very bad thing.  You wake up in a cold sweat, gasping for breath.  Then you look at the calendar and realize the book hasn’t come out yet.  You’re safe.  For now.

You start Googling, looking for early reviews.  Only you keep coming across ad copy for the book that isn’t your favorite.  It’s everywhere.  Along with your old bio that you wrote specifically for the last book that had to do with things this new book has nothing to do with.  Do you:  (a) panic and whine to anyone who will listen (always my first choice); (b) suck it up and ignore it; or, (c) stop spending so much time online looking at stuff that makes you crazy and FOCUS ON THE BOOK THAT’S DUE IN A FEW MONTHS.  Hmm, now that’s a tough choice.

I’m not sure this disease appears in any medical textbook or if it’s acknowledged by the CDC.  Still, it exists.  And the most frightening thing about it:  there’s no cure.  None that I’m aware of anyway. Sure, some authors say a couple drinks ease the pain. But as Maggie knows, I’m no drinker. Others suggest a long vacation, but I’ve got two deadlines this year.  So that’s a no-go.  A lobotomy could be the answer only, yeah, I think I’d miss those two deadlines for sure if I went that route.

Did I mention that Little Black Dress is out two months from today?  (Well, it’s officially a September 1 book, but it releases on August 23.)  So I expect my jitter fever to go sky high in the ensuing weeks.  You might want to keep your distance.  I’ve heard it’s not catching but you can never be too sure.