I’ve decided to go naked!

Some days it does seem as if the universe is out to get you.  Am I the only one who feels this way? The rights to Lost Cause reverted to me over the weekend and I was all set for a week of organizing marketing.  I wanted to get the word out on the internet and reintroduce Daisy to the world with a bang rather than a whimper…but it all went horribly horribly wrong. The internet and all its friends decided to hate me.

My home internet connection started playing up last week. The weather was a bit stormy and so I figured it would sort itself out. It didn’t. My youngest son called on the home phone, yes we still have a landline, and all became clear. Once again we were being shafted by our phone provider. We could barely hear our kid’s plea for a monetary injection into his empty bank account over the static on the line. Static on the line kills our internet connection. Our telephone company assured us the problem was fixed the last time it happened. Hubby called Telstra and they told us there is nothing wrong with the line it must be our phone. We unplugged the phone. The internet still drops out but not as often. Hubby calls again and they tell us to keep a diary of when we get the static. At this point I begin to wonder why we have a phone at all. The only calls we get are from people trying to sell us stuff we don’t want and charities begging for funds, the youngest son fits into the second category. So I did some research and discover we can get naked internet. No phone line. No phone bill and no bloody static.

So, the internet will be fixed. Life goes on, or does it? Remember Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP? My lovely netbook runs on XP. or

should that be, did run on XP because it’s running on nothing now!  Ever since they stopped the support my netbook has been getting more errors, glitches, funny fits, blue screens of death, stupid pop up messages from Microsoft than any sane person can deal with. Enough was enough so I set off and bought a shiny new HP netbook with Windows 8…which I don’t hate…yet.  All is well with the world. Back to plan A and marketing my book.

Friday morning I arrived at work. The sun was shining the birds were singing and my nose was running like a tap. By lunchtime I could barely

speak for sneezing and I was sent home in disgrace before I infested the whole office. The cold hubby had been harboring all week had found a new host. My plans to get out and get busy marketing on Saturday disappeared under a mountain of tissues, a gallon of soothing drinks and enough medication to keep the local pharmacist living the life of luxury for a few more weeks at least. Sunday I did rally enough to log onto Amazon and hit the big shiny PUBLISH button that now sees Lost Cause back up for sale. Daisy limped back into the market place and skulks somewhere near the bottom of the list. Things can only get better!

Does a Mystery Require a Murder

My guest today is Karen McCullough and she is asking the question Does a Mystery Require a Murder?

Take it away, Karen!

 

It seems everyone assumes that a mystery novel plot always centers around a murder (or more than one). I understand why. Murder is the ultimate crime, the worst crime a human being can commit, depriving another person of their life. It’s as close to a black and white issue as human interactions come. Pretty much everyone agrees it’s a heinous action, no matter how nasty or despicable the victim was, no matter how much, as they say in some parts of this country, he needed killin’. It creates the very highest stakes for both the murderer and the detective.

But does a mystery have to involve murder? There are plenty of other awful crimes – kidnapping, blackmail, extortion, fraud, etc. – to create intriguing storylines.  I’ve read some books that used those, but surprisingly few and usually they’re later entries in a series. It seems it’s become an accepted and expected part of the mystery novel, particularly for cozies, that there has to be a body.

I decry the trend. First because it’s just too limiting. Who said every mystery has to have a body, and why can’t you build a great mystery around a juicy case of industrial espionage or a particularly creative burglary? Those might not have the huge visceral impact of a murder, but they can still generate high stakes for the participants.

The need for a murder creates some real problems for the author of series mysteries with amateur detectives. How do you maintain some degree of credibility when your shop owner or museum curator keeps tripping over dead bodies every few weeks or months? We all know that if anyone in real life kept finding murder victims, the police would start taking a really close look at them.

I’ve been asking myself that question often, since over the last year, I’ve re-released in ebook form two of my early romantic mystery novels originally published by Avalon. A third will be coming later this year. All three are genuine mystery novels, but there isn’t a dead body anywhere in any of them. The Night Prowlers features threats and an assault. Programmed for Danger centers around threats to a corporate computer system. In my forthcoming Christmas novel, larceny is the order of the day.

Each of them has a central mystery confounding my protagonists, situations that threaten the livelihoods and quality of life of my heroes, if not their very lives. Each book builds suspense as danger mounts, each has resolutions that reveal the guilty party behind the crimes. I like to think they’re all intriguing mysteries, without resorting to murder.

Programmed_for_Danger_200

Programmed for Danger blurb:

Computer programming isn’t usually a dangerous occupation, but Andrea Kingston finds herself fighting for both her love and her life when she’s hired to solve Ferverill-West Company’s computer problems.

Karen McCullough’s wide-ranging imagination makes her incapable of sticking to one genre for her storytelling. As a result, she’s the author of more than a dozen published novels and novellas, which span the mystery, fantasy, paranormal, and romantic suspense genres. A former computer programmer who made a career change into being an editor with an international trade publishing company for many years, she now runs her own web design business to support her writing habit. Awards she’s won include an Eppie Award for fantasy; three other Eppie finals; Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards, and an Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years.

 

Website: http://www.kmccullough.com

Blog: http://www.kmccullough/kblog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenMcCulloughAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kgmccullough

 

Cover Reveal – Lost & Found

I have been having all sorts of horrible internet issues, hence my tardy blogging, but it seems to be all fixed now…fingers crossed.

Now I can finally reveal the cover for Book 2 in the Daisy Dunlop Mystery series. Lost & Found.

Lost&Found_02

Another brilliant job by the lovely Sotia Lazu!

Where did my book go?

Have you noticed that Lost Cause has gone astray? No one needs to panic, just yet. The book is getting a make-over.

LostCause_fDaisy has a shiny new cover and will be getting a new blurb. When the book is ready to be republished in a couple of weeks it will be repositioned in the market place. Apparently I did learn something in my marketing course. Although I’m not sure I know what it means.

One thing I have learnt is to listen to those who have more experience and know far more about a subject than you do. So when the mystery writing community tell you that your book looks like a romance and smells like a romance you need to sit up and take notice. Lost Cause is a funny mystery but not romance. Fingers crossed the reboot will work and I can find the right audience. Nothing gives me more joy than hearing that my book made someone laugh and entertained them, if only for a few hours.

 

Time Marches On – Judy Alter

Time marches on—or does it? In my first Kelly O’Connell Mystery, Skeleton in a Dead Space, Kelly O’Connell is the single mother of two daughters ages four and seven. (This tells you a bit about the writing process—my granddaughters, models for those girls, are now twelve and fourteen.) Kelly is in her early thirties.

The man who has been my lifelong writing coach ever since I went to graduate school asked one day if I intended to let the characters age in the series or would they always stay the same. It was something I hadn’t thought about it, but it seemed to me that, like most of us, the characters  would age and move on.

By the end of the second novel, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Mike Shandy, the police officer Kelly found attractive in the first book, has moved in with Kelly and the girls, over her mother’s disapproving looks. Kelly wasn’t ready for a relationship in the first book, but by the second she as—those of us who have been divorced will recognize these feelings. By the third book, Trouble in a Big Box, Kelly and Mike are married, and he has adopted the girls.

In Deception in Strange Places, the fifth novel that launched in late July, Maggie is thirteen and Em is ten or eleven (it’s hard to keep track—but I have trouble keeping track of the real girls too).

Two issues concerned me as I wrote. The first was the aging of the family. One of the things we want is for our characters to grow and learn from their experiences, so it seemed natural to me to let them age as I told the stories. And I think and hope that Kelly has grown throughout the series—more cautious, more mindful of her circumstances and her responsibilities to her daughters, less prone to impulse. The girls are gradually growing into their roles as pre-teens and teens, with all the angst that sometimes brings to mothers. As the mother of two now-grown daughters that was easy for me—and it will become more evident in the next book. Mike has grown and adjusted to fatherhood—less likely to lay down an arbitrary law and more likely to listen and negotiate, more understanding of the girls’ needs.

My other concern was that if you follow the stereotype, most cozy heroines are single and, often, their love life or lack of it is a mess. Sometimes I want to shake some sense into a heroine I’m reading about. There are exceptions of course—Nick and Nora James come immediately to mind. Right now I’m reading the latest of Nancy Martin’s mysteries involving the Blackbird sisters. After years…and several books…of courtship, Nora has married her love, Michael, with all his mob connections, and they are happily expecting their first child.
And there are always the ecstatically happing Darlings of Carolyn Hart’s Death on Demand bookstore series, Thea and Paul of Susan Schreyer’s Thea Campbell Mysteries.

But the classic cozy heroine is single with a tangled love life. Think of Kinsey Milhone of Sue Grafton’s alphabet books, Ollie, the chef in Julie Hyzy’s White House Series or Grace in her Manor House Mysteriesouse—both are single with troubled love lives. The heroine of Tracy Weber’s Downward Dog yoga mysteries or Claire Cosi of Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mysteries also come to mind. I wondered if I was treading dangerous ground by letting Kelly and Mike marry and settle into domesticity.

Many heroines, single or married, have an antagonist/friendly relationship with a police officer. In Kelly’s case, it’s up close and personal because Mike is a police officer, determined that Kelly stay out of police business and let him do his job. She counters she would if the police would do what they’re supposed to—and she always has advice for them. It makes for an interesting marriage and occasionally the sparks fly. But I think it works. You read the books and tell me.

 

DECEPTION-JALTER-mdDeception in Strange Places – #5 Kelly O’Connell Mysteries

A woman desperately seeking her biological mother, a televangelist determined to thwart that search, a hired hit man, and in the midst of it all, a reclusive diva who wears Chinese silk gowns and collects antique Chinese porcelain. No one is telling the whole truth, and Kelly doesn’t know who to trust. She has gotten herself involved in a dangerous emotional tangle this time, and Mike doesn’t tell her to back off this time, even when events take them from Fort Worth to San Antonio.

 

 

 

 

IMG_4654 - Version 3 (2)About Judy Alter

An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of five books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, and Deception in Strange Places. She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café and Murder at the Tremont House. Coming in October 2015 is The Perfect Coed, the first Oak Grove Mystery.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Judy is retired as director of TCU Press and the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her Bordoodle, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas.

 

Time to take control

I Tweeted earlier that I have had enough and I’m taking control…but of what?

There are a number of areas of my life that need some attention. My diet. I yoyo diet and hover within the same 6 kilos but I am determined to stop this and diet properly. Exercise. I joined a gym and never went. I used to run and have been back at it since I recovered from a knee injury and a muscle strain but I am not dedicated enough. Starting Saturday, no laughing from up the back, I will be running 3 to 4 times a week even if it is cold and wet and miserable.

And finally my writing career. I’ve left all the hard decisions to other people for way too long. I was firmly in the camp that you weren’t a real author unless you were with a publisher but times change. Sometimes you need to realise you were wrong and take control.

And control is what I plan to have with my next book, Lost & Found. I am going to launch myself on the world as an indie author. This doesn’t mean the editing will suffer because I have an editor.  A few years ago the idea of taking on the publishing of my own book would have had me hyperventilating…but I am excited. The future is in my own hands. I will rise or fall based on my abilities and my decisions and you can watch it here in glorious technicolour. Oh, and Mum, I plan to make it an ebook and a real book so you can put a copy on your bookshelf.

Amber Foxx – Guest Blogger

Today my guest is Amber Foxx. I’m so excited to host her because I am a big fan of her books. I’m not a believer of the paranormal but I am a huge believer in her ability to weave a magical plot and invent characters that make you never want the story to end.

The Mae Martin psychic mystery series

Paranormal fiction for people who don’t like paranormal fiction.

And for those who do.

No murder, just mystery.

This series blends elements of several genres—literary fiction, paranormal, suspense, and even romance, as well as mystery. In The Outlaw Women, the free short story that’s a prequel the series, there’s precognition and a psychic connection, but no mystery to solve. The Calling has been reviewed as literary fiction, or realistic fiction with paranormal elements, and as mystery in the sense of finding out secrets, but not a whodunit. Shaman’s Blues gets closer to a conventional mystery. There are missing people, and a puzzling death in the past, but still no violence. The real mystery in this book is a person, Jamie Ellerbee, in a twist on romance that turns most of the elements of that genre upside down. The third book, Snake Face, coming out in the fall, gets close to being a suspense novel. Different things are asked of the protagonist of the series, Mae Martin, as she develops as a person, and as a psychic and healer, so the books reflect the progress of her life. Some periods of life are more romantic, other more suspenseful, others full of family difficulties and personal growth, and there’s often something going on that we don’t understand—a mystery, but if we’re lucky, not a murder.

http://amberfoxxmysteries.wordpress.com

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

He was hiding in the darkest corner he could find, and I doubted he would ever find his way out. The featureless landscape of a cement-floored cinderblock building had to be as confusing to him as the desert might be to a lost human.  The previous evening I’d been out at the edge of town where the desert begins, looking for members of his species and didn’t see any, so I considered myself lucky in this close encounter, but the creature, not as fortunate. He was trying so hard to hide in that tiny bit of shadow I couldn’t tell if he was a very dark brown, or black. His whole body and legs were evenly furred in the same shade of smooth velvet. I say “he” because he was a long way from his burrow and had spurs below his knees, the identifying mark of a male—even though this tarantula was in the ladies’ room.

I always start my desert trail runs in Elephant Butte State Park at a convenient location, where there’s a rest room, preferring not to have to dodge behind a cactus later.  My unexpected company demanded a decision. Delay my run and try to rescue him? He was so scared of me I couldn’t figure out how to do it.  He jerked a few legs and moved closer to the corner, and then held perfectly still while I was in the room with him. I imagined all he wanted was to get back in his burrow until he needed to come out to hunt a scorpion for dinner or look for a female, but he was utterly lost.

Male tarantulas come out when it rains. They pick up the females’ pheromones on the moist air. The previous night we’d had what the Navajos call a female rain, long and soft and steady, almost all night. That could make a courting tarantula stay out too late. Refuge in the rest room must have seemed like a good idea at the time. A roof, darkness. And then half a day passed and the shelter got hotter and brighter, with only this one safe-looking space, near a grated vent too small for him to crawl through.  I ran a trail that looped past the ranger station and stopped in and reported the situation. The young woman seemed receptive, but four and half miles later I came back to the ladies’ room to check on my poor fellow, and he’d gone further into the corner. I returned to the ranger station on my way out and got a different woman, who said she would get someone who was out on “the restroom run” to take care of it. They were used to removing the creatures as part of the job. No one laughed at me, said ick, or wanted to kill him.  Mating season apparently has led quite a few of the big spiders into places they couldn’t find a way out of.

How many bad decisions seem like a good idea at the time? Escape of all sorts tends to be like that, whether physical or psychological. Like my tarantula, all we want to do is find love (okay, they just copulate and run off before they get eaten, but I’m taking liberties) and keep from harm, but the refuge may prove to be a different kind of trap.

In Shaman’s Blues, Mae questions one of Jamie’s many unwise choices, and he assures her that it “seemed like a good idea at the time.” He makes a lot of mistakes, but hates having to be rescued from the results. Mae’s maternal urges to help him create some of the conflict between them. Except when he needs her to remove a spider. Then he’ll take any help offered.

She’s not around when his arachnophobia leads to disaster in the next book, Snake Face. Although my characters are not based on me, Mae does share my fondness for crawly critters, a thread starting in the prequel short story The Outlaw Women. (I enjoy keeping subtle threads running from one story to the next, and tugging on them later.) Mae teaches her stepdaughters to share her love of spiders and bugs, which contributes, indirectly and accidentally, to Jamie’s trapped and terrifying situation.

As I write this, the evening after the tarantula rescue, a wild and stormy male rain has slowed down to a steady female rain and there’s a rainbow over Turtleback Mountain, draped over the turtle formation’s neck like he’s wearing a sheer scarf. I wonder if some eager male tarantula up at Elephant Butte will stay out all night, and then scurry for shelter somewhere dark and cool. This worked last time—didn’t it?

I like to imagine how my characters would react in some peculiar circumstances I find myself in, like meeting a lost and frightened tarantula. Mae would try to rescue it herself. Jamie would say a few choice words and run, but he’d feel compassion for it, too. When it comes to desperate decisions that don’t work out, he’d understand.

outlaw1+copy

The Outlaw Women

Folk healer and seer Rhoda-Sue Outlaw Jackson knows her time on earth is running out when she hears the voice of her late husband telling her she has only but so many heartbeats left. She’s had a troubled relationship with her daughter, and has little hope of passing on her extraordinary gifts, either to this difficult daughter or to her granddaughter. With the final hour around the corner, she brings her family together for one more try. Can she leave the world at peace with them, as well as with her legacy?

This prequel to the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series introduces Mae at age ten, as seen through the eyes of her grandmother.

The Outlaw Women

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-outlaw-women

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KY9PMCI

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-outlaw-women-amber-foxx/1119730777?ean=9781497780880&itm=1&usri=9781497780880

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id888526228

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/3877dca2-6467-468c-9851-2e20c99de572

 

book1ebookThe Calling

 The first Mae Martin Psychic Mystery

Obeying her mother’s warning, Mae Martin-Ridley has spent years hiding her gift of “the sight.” When concern for a missing hunter compels her to use it again, her peaceful life in a small Southern town begins to fall apart. New friends who accept her unusual talents push her to explore them further, but as she does, she discovers the shadow side of her visions— access to secrets she could regret uncovering.

Gift or curse? When an extraordinary ability intrudes on an ordinary life, ready or not, everything changes.

The Calling

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-calling-amber-foxx/1117552975?ean=2940149023905&itm=1&usri=2940149023905

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-calling-43

https://www.createspace.com/4552565

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id773262388

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA8TB3G

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/55c6f609-392d-4cff-8f4a-d0f430c16a4b

book2+ebookShaman’s Blues

 The second Mae Martin psychic mystery

 On the eve of her move to New Mexico psychic and healer Mae Martin gets a double-edged going-away gift: beautiful music by a man who’s gone missing, and a request to find him. In her new home town, she quickly runs afoul of a questionable psychic who runs a health food restaurant. When Mae confronts her, the woman disappears—either to Santa Fe, or into another dimension. Now Mae has two missing persons on her hands. Finding them may prove easier than learning the truth about either or getting one of them, once found, to go away again.

Shaman’s Blues

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IJMZP60

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shamans-blues-amber-foxx/1118734882?ean=2940148159964&itm=1&usri=2940148159964

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id825130042

https://www.createspace.com/4690402

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/shaman-s-blues

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/dbc457be-12d2-49e5-af41-273dfa35bf51

 

image001Snake Face

The third Mae Martin Psychic Mystery

Trying to revive his career, singer Jamie Ellerbee is on his first tour. Mae Martin is venturing into her first relationship since her divorce. Bad judgment and worse luck force Jamie to ask for Mae’s psychic aid. His unrequited love for her makes it an awkward request, but she can’t refuse to help a friend. The more she looks into the problem, the more frightening it becomes and the wider its web expands—not only into Jamie’s past, but also a bad-boy celebrity’s private life, and even her new boyfriend’s history.

 

 

 

 

Do You Expect Certain Things to Happen in Genre Fiction?

Today I’m excited to have author Polly Iyer as my guest. Take it away, Polly!

Polly and Maddie BCThough publishing is changing, there have always been certain “requirements” of a particular genre of fiction. In romances, the hero and heroine ride off together into the sunset, otherwise called the HEA or Happy Ever After. If the book doesn’t meet that criterion, it is no longer considered a romance. Now, Romance Writers of America has a mystery sub-genre in their contests called Romantic Elements that releases the author from the hard and fast HEA. Sometimes a couple needs time to develop their relationship because relationships can be complicated. (See my book Hooked.)

Many readers don’t like graphic romance scenes mixed in with their mystery and suspense novels, even if they’re classified as romantic suspense. I always have at least one romantic scene in my books and some language that fits with the characters and the situations, so after a bunch of negative comments in reviews, I’ve attached a disclaimer to all my book blurbs that a reader will find both. Enough with lowering my book rankings because I’ve written a sex scene and have a cuss word or two.

Mysteries have a crime, usually a murder, and the sleuth, who’s either an amateur or a professional, must find the killer by the end of the book. Exceptions take place in a series—think Sherlock Holmes’s ongoing nemesis, Professor Moriarty, or Kyle Craig/The Mastermind, in a bunch of James Patterson’s Alex Cross books. Jeff Lindsay and Chelsea Cain have popular books with main characters who are serial killers who get away with their crimes.

The plots of thrillers are usually a race against time, and the hero or heroine has to thwart the evildoer’s plan to destroy or control the world or to kill a bunch of people. Ian Fleming’s books, Goldfinger and Doctor No are two examples. Frederick Forsyth, and just about any book by Robert Ludlum are others.

So what if these things that classify a particular genre don’t happen? What if the evildoer’s plan isn’t thwarted at the end of a thriller and there’s semi-destruction? What if the villain succeeds in crashing the economy? What if a murderer gets away? What if the hero of a series isn’t a hero this time?

Backlash FinalWhile writing Backlash, the third book in my Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, I decided I didn’t want to do what the reader expected: put Diana in mortal danger so that the hero could swoop down and rescue her. Don’t get me wrong, she is put in danger, twice—sorry, predictable—but that’s not the crux of the story. This time the hero is in danger. Very serious danger that could affect his career―he’s a New Orleans police lieutenant―his relationship with Diana, his life. Though he’s a big part of the book, he’s effectively taken out of her part of the story, unable to help her, unable to help himself.

I gave great thought about deviating from the expected, but there’s nothing more irritating than reading the same book by different authors over and over again because they adhere to formula.

Diana’s life is put in danger, and she doesn’t do anything “to stupid to live” to wind up under the villain’s control. (I’ve been guilty of writing one scene like that in another book. Once is enough.) She is neither Wonder Woman nor Lara Croft. She’s five-two and weighs a hundred pounds soaking wet, and the bad guy is a tough cop (that’s not a spoiler, by the way). There is no hero to help extricate her from the bad guy’s clutches. Brute force won’t work, so whatever happens has to be realistic, believable, and, hopefully, clever.

Writers need to take chances with their storylines, need to do the unexpected. It might not always work, readers might be disappointed, but writing outside the box is definitely worth a try.

Readers and writers, what do you think?

You can find out more about Polly, and her books, at her website, pollyiyer.com

 

A New Way to Play Pool

Daisy Dunlop and Solomon might be colleagues in my novel Lost Cause – A Daisy Dunlop Mystery but they have a history that means they’re definitely not friends. I thought it would be fun to show you the reason why.

 

Daisy reached across the table for an empty pint glass and squealed when a large hand grabbed her left butt cheek. She spun around and glared at the group of burly men stood behind her. One of them grinned, flashing a gold tooth. His leather clad biker mates chuckled. Just because the skimpy top the publican insisted she wore had July Fever Hot & Wet emblazoned across it didn’t mean she was a contestant in the annual wet t-shirt competition or there for the male customers entertainment.

She stepped closer to the man. “Do you want to leave the pub?”

His grin got wider. “Are you asking me to go outside with you?”

“Are you asking for a punch on the nose?”

A hard body pressed against Daisy’s back. Whiskey scented breath teased the curls that had escaped from her French braid as a warm Irish brogue broke into the conversation. “The lady asked you a question. Now if you’re not wanting a punch on the nose I suggest you go and drink somewhere else.”

Bike dude stood taller and crossed his hairy arms over his large chest. “Are you her keeper or something?”

“I am that.”

Daisy turned her head and glared at her husband Paul’s best mate, Solomon. “You’re not my keeper.”

“I think you’ll find I am.”

“Says who?”

“Paul.”

“I don’t need a keeper.”

“All evidence to the contrary.”

Daisy shoved her butt against Solomon in an attempt to get him to back off. “I’ve got everything under control. We’ll talk about this later.”

“We’ll be talking about it now. Go and get your things.”

“I’m working.”

“You’re done.”

Biker dude grabbed Daisy’s arm and tugged her into his embrace. “The lady wants to stay so she can stay.”

Solomon growled and Daisy ducked as he threw a punch at biker dude’s chin. She heard the crunch of fist on bone as she scrambled out of the middle of the fray.

The man who had started it all pulled free of the writhing, punching, mass of testosterone fueled humanity and lunged for Daisy. She wrapped her fingers around a pool cue and swung it at the man’s privates. The wood connected with a sickening crunch and the man sunk to his knees with his mouth open, tears streaming from his eyes, and his hands clutching his family jewels.

“I’ll be taking that.”

Daisy spun around and came face to face with a Policeman. She let go of the cue and it clattered to the floor.  “Are you here to arrest them?”

“We’re here to arrest everyone and we might as well start with you.”

“Me?” So much for Solomon being her keeper. She glared in his direction. He shoved one of the bikers off him and got to his feet.

“I guess you’ll be staying home from now on then.”

“You guess wrong.”

The policeman tugged her toward the door. “This way, Miss.”

Solomon followed them, another policeman dogged his steps. “Do I have to chain you to the kitchen sink to keep you out of trouble?”

Daisy glared at him. “You wouldn’t dare.”

Solomon chuckled. “Try me, darlin’.”

 

Bosses from heaven & hell

Today my guest is Loralie Hall.

 

First of all, thank you so much to Janet for hosting me today. I really love what you’ve done with your site, Janet, and it’s great to be here!

Over the many years (well, not *that* many) I’ve had a wide assortment of jobs, and that means all manner of bosses. Some were incredible, and really made the job worthwhile, others were rarely there at all. And unfortunately, those who made life miserable are the ones who stuck in my head the longest.

But like in a lot of unpleasant situations, it’s hard to know what the other person is going through outside of work if you only see them during work. So even with the less-than-pleasant memories, I still owe every manager I’ve worked for something.

Ronnie, the main character in Uriel’s Fall, is struggling with a nasty boss of her own. I’m lucky none of mine ever had angelic powers. She’s not so fortunate…

 

urielsfall_V2

 Excerpt

“Demon.” My boss sounded far too cheerful for my sanity.

I paused my queue and whirled in the chair to face him. “What can I do for you?” I didn’t care that exhaustion and sarcasm leaked into my question. He’d never for a moment tried to hide his animosity for me.

His smile sent sparks under my skin, making every one of my fingers itch. I tried to be subtle about wiggling them to work out the excess energy.

“You’re on your own, starting Monday,” he said. “You’ve learned enough, Ari needs to focus on her own work.”

That wasn’t so bad. So why wasn’t the crawling inside subsiding? “Is that all?”

His smirk grew, showing teeth. “She’s not going to be there to cover your ass anymore.” His tone was quiet and threatening, lined with heavy smugness. “I give you a week, before you crumble and have to beg someone else to pull some strings for you.”

I couldn’t rise to the taunt. There was no reason to fight back. He was a bitter, sad angel with bitter, sad dreams. The itching in my hands grew, calling to a recent memory I couldn’t quite make solid. “I appreciate your input.”

He leaned closer, voice low. “We both know you screwed your way into this job. That will only take you so far.”

My palms clenched, but not into fists. Oh, swell. They were curving around two grips about to appear in my hands. The sensation was identical to when I’d pulled the swords on Michael that morning. I was seconds from letting it happen again, and this time I didn’t know if I could—or even wanted to—stop Metatron from striking.

Really?

The enthusiasm attached to the single word was enough for me to grasp the last threads of my exhausted reason and mute the urge to decapitate Howard in the middle of the Ubiquity offices. I spoke through clenched teeth. “You’re probably right, but it ought to be enough to get me off work ten minutes early on a Friday.”

 

Blurb

What’s a corporate demon to do, when the voice in her head is devouring her sanity from the inside out, and the hosts of heaven and hell would rather see her destroyed than surrender a power no one should possess?

Ronnie has the job any entry-level angel or demon would sell their soul for—she’s a retrieval analyst for the largest search engine in the world. Ubiquity is a joint initiative between heaven and hell. Because what better way to track all of humanity’s secrets, both good and bad, than direct access to their web browsing habits?

She might appreciate the position a little more if a) she could remember anything about her life before she started working at Ubiquity, b) the damned voice in her head would just shut up already, and c) her boss weren’t a complete control freak.

As she searches for solutions to the first two issues, and hopes the third will work itself out in performance reviews, she uncovers more petty backstabbing than an episode of Real Housewives, and a conspiracy as old as Lucifer’s descent from heaven.

Now Ronnie’s struggling to keep her sanity and job, while stopping the voice in her head from stealing her life. She almost misses the boredom of retrieval analysis at Ubiquity.

 

Uriel’s Fall is on sale for just $.99 until August 8, so get it while it’s discounted!

 

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About Loralie Hall

LoralieHallLoralie Hall is a full time corporate geek and a fuller time writer. Her spouse is her muse and their cats are very much their children. When they’re not spending way too much time gaming, they’re making the world more good by vanquishing one fictional evil at a time.