Monday, August 13, 2018

Fear #OpenBook



What is your biggest fear? What random and innocuous thing makes your skin crawl?

"I don't like spiders and snakes..."

But that isn't true. While I'm not a big fan of spiders, If they stay outside, I leave them be. There are some snakes that I avoid when possible, but there are others that I find absolutely beautiful. Have you ever seen a black racer sparkling in the sunlight? They almost look deep blue in color.

And while I'm no entomologist, I like some bugs. Not your everyday standard cockroach, housefly or mosquito, but give me a dragonfly any day. (I've been known to rescue dragonflies that got inside buildings and take them back outside.) I love the variety pf colors and the way the sun makes them sparkle. I'm fascinated by the way they move through the air with what seems like no effort.



Maybe you've noticed I'm a very visual person from the above descriptions. Which leans nicely into my biggest fear.

Well, maybe not my biggest but the one I'm willing to admit to. I worry about going blind.

Sure, it wouldn't be the end of the world. But all my hobbies, my profession and my writing are based on being able to see. There are plenty of audio books out there, so at least I'd be able to feed my love of reading. But to not be able to observe this wonderful world in all its glories and beauty and pitfalls - I'd have a hard time adapting.

To never see another sunrise or sunset. To never stand and the top of a mountain and marvel at the world stretched out below. To never watch an old couple hold hands as they slowly make their way down the sidewalk.

To never write another book or story or poem. Sure, there's speech to text technology, but I'd have to learn to use it. And sometimes the visual presentation of words helps to trigger the writing process for me.

And I can't imagine having to 'visualize' what a person looks like from the sound of the voice. Or the way they feel. Or what color their hair is. In fact, I don't know how I'd handle never seeing reds, greens yellows and more again. At least I'd have the memory of colors in my darkness.

And that's my biggest fear. What's yours? While you think about it, I'm going to go check the other authors.


August 13, 2018

What is your biggest fear? What random and innocuous thing makes your skin crawl?

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Favorite Villain #OpenBook Blog Hop





Who is your favorite antagonist/bad guy/villain in your books and why? What makes him/her tick?

Spoiler Alert! If you haven't read my books, this is your chance to turn back before I tell you who dunit. 

If you've followed this blog for very long, you know I'm a pantser. That means I don't fully plot out my books before I write them. I may have a general idea of the story line, but details often change as I write. That includes my villains. Someone once said that if they didn't know who the bad guy was by the end of the first chapter, I was doing it wrong. I strongly disagree.

Take my first book, Wolves' Pawn. I knew from the moment I first met him that Elder Choate was the bad guy of the story. I didn't understand his motivation at first, but that developed as the story did. He was a man driven by the belief that the old pack structure was the best and he failed to realize that modern ways would influence changes even to his tightly controlled world. His idea of what was right didn't match up with the beliefs of Dot, my protagonist.

I tried to build  him with more than depth than a single motivation. He'd been spurned by the woman who he'd chosen to be his wife. I never did figure out what caused the rivalry between the Choate pack and the Fairwood pack, one that had gone on for years. I suspect it was more than just a territory issue. One of these days I'll figure it out.

SPOILER ALERT!

What I didn't expect was for Elder Henry Fairwood, the hero's father, to end up as an antagonist. I'd written him as a good guy for most of the book. When he revealed his true colors near the end of the book, I was crushed. But when I thought about it, it made sense.It was true to his time and upbringing. The fact that he surprised me meant it would surprise the readers as well, and I see that as a good thing.

But he ranks second in my list of favorites. I'd say my favorite is Annabelle LeRoix from the Baron's Cufflinks, the third book in the Oak Grove Mysteries. I wrote her as an uneasy ally in Harmony's quest to solve her current mystery. She was one of the good guys who, on the surface, sometimes acted like a bad guy. In fact, she was hired to help track down the bad  guy.

Then I got to the end of the book and she revealed her true colors. And none of them were good. The whole acting as a bad guy wasn't acting at all. Luckily, Harmony was up to handling the news. So was I, and this time it didn't make me sad. I didn't even have to go back and change anything in the story to make it work.

Annabelle was fun to write because she was so deeply flawed and she was good at hiding it. She was motivated by the classics-greed, power and love. A deeply flawed definition of love, in my opinion, but it fit her personality.


I'd love to hear about your favorite villain in the comments. In the meantime, let's check out what the other authors are willing to reveal about their bad guys.

August 6, 2018

Who is your favorite antagonist/bad guy/villain in your books and why? What makes him/her tick?

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

#MysteryExchange Cathy Perkins





I know it's August, but the #MysteryExchange isn't over. This week I'm pleased to present Cathy Perkins and her Holly Price books.


A Different Point of View

By Cathy Perkins


When I was young, if you’d asked me for the last place I’d expect—or want—to live, my answer would’ve been, “In a small town.” Small towns seemed to be cultural wastelands, populated by gossiping neighbors who were all related to each other. And out west? That option never entered my Southern soul.

Fast forward a few years and dangle the right job opportunity at the right time and—you got it in one—we moved to a small town in eastern Washington state. We quickly discovered most of those myths about small towns were simply…myths.

As we settled into our new hometown, I debated whether my novels should make a similar cross-country leap. My South Carolina based mysteries featured a law enforcement protagonist. To get appropriate operational procedures, along with cop attitudes and humor, I drew from a circle of friends at various levels of local, state and federal law enforcement. Curious about procedures in our new town, I participated in the Citizen’s Police Academy and discovered most of the same policies and philosophies I’d encountered back east. (I also learned more than I ever wanted to know about making meth. Nasty nasty stuff.)

Volunteering for the Sexual Assault Center as a hospital victim’s advocate provided an intimate view of law enforcement. Other than one cocky, testosterone-laden patrol officer and another older guy I wanted to strangle (except that would be assault and I really had no interest in going to jail), I found the officers professional, well educated and well trained. Nobody’s perfect, but I appreciated what these men and women did on a daily basis.

And those inevitable slow days in a small town? Well, let’s just say the day my in-law’s moving van got stuck at the entrance to the retirement village (blocking traffic on the main road—another relative term), all four patrol cars PLUS the sergeant showed up. Once they finished laughing, they helped a retired mechanic (who was in heaven being the expert, by the way) do something to a suspension part and un-stuck it. For some strange reason, the chief of police was not amused when I relayed this story at a party… So far, I’ve refrained from using this tidbit in a book.

With only five patrol officers on duty during a shift (and fewer than this in the even smaller nearby towns) reciprocal agreements were a must. Neighboring cities, counties, even Washington State Patrol was a welcome addition when suspects took to the highways to escape. I made use of this mutual support during Holly Price’s carjacking in So About the Money (Book 1 in the series). In addition to the local officers, county deputies and state patrol officers joined the chase to catch the villains in that scene. On a broader scale, I’ve used the involvement of outside agencies—the DEA, for example, in In It For The Money—to work with—and against—the local law enforcement agencies.

I’d better back up a second. For this series, along with changing locations from South Carolina’s cities to a small town in eastern Washington, I switched from a multiple (hero, heroine, villain) point of view approach and a law enforcement main character, to a single, civilian character. Whew! Talk about stretching and growing as an author. Everything that happened in the story had to come through that one character’s experiences and reactions. (And no cheating with, “Well, Laurie, as you know, this thing you should already know about happened, but let me give you the complete backstory.”) Action and body language became as important as dialogue for revealing character—but that’s a different discussion.

Rather than having my new protagonist act as a private investigator or a journalist working the crime beat, I made my heroine an accountant. Curious, bright and loyal to friends and family (hmm, she’s much better at crime solving than my dog) she made a terrific character to “follow the money.” Of course, when you poke at villains, they have a tendency to poke back, harder. It was fun to write the scenes where Holly bumped up against law enforcement and filter the scene through her impressions—her point of view—rather than another cop’s.

My new law enforcement friends did insist I get the details right. Even if they produced giant eye-rolls from my heroine.

So About the Money romps through eastern Washington with its rivers, wineries, Native American casinos, and assorted farm animals. Add in some wicked fun chemistry between the CPA amateur sleuth and a local detective and Holly Price better solve the case before the next dead body found beside the river is hers.



In It For The Money continues Holly’s adventures:

Holly Price traded professional goals for personal plans when she agreed to leave her high-flying position with the Seattle Mergers and Acquisition team and take over the family accounting practice. Reunited with JC Dimitrak, her former fiancĂ©, she’s already questioning whether she’s ready to flip her condo for marriage and a house in the ‘burbs.

When her cousin Tate needs investors for his innovative car suspension, Holly works her business matchmaking skills and connects him with a client. The Rockcrawler showcasing the new part crashes at its debut event, however, and the driver dies. Framed for the sabotage, Tate turns to Holly when the local cops—including JC—are ready to haul him to jail. Holly soon finds her cousin and client embroiled in multiple criminal schemes. She’s drawn into the investigation, a position that threatens her life, her family and her increasingly shaky relationship with JC.



Links





Thanks for letting me visit today, PJ! I invite your readers to head over to my blog and read your #mysteryexchange post about the story behind The Marquesa's Necklace, The Oak Grove Mysteries, Book 1. https://cperkinswrites.com/2018/07/paranormal-transformation/


Author Bio

An award-winning author of financial mysteries, Cathy Perkins writes twisting dark suspense and light amateur sleuth stories.  When not writing, she battles with the beavers over the pond height or heads out on another travel adventure. She lives in Washington with her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd. Learn more at her website, http://cperkinswrites.com.




Monday, July 30, 2018

Favorite Furniture #OpenBook Blog Hop



July 30, 2018
Tell us about your favorite piece of furniture. Does it have a story behind it?

It's a simple rocking chair. Plain wood, no fancy carvings, with a few dents and bruises. Right now, I don't even own any cushions to soften the seat. I'm not sure I'd call in my favorite piece of furniture, but it's close.

But it has a story. You see, this is the chair my parents bought for me when I got pregnant for the first time. I won't tell you how many years ago that was. That was pre-internet shopping, and I think it was ordered from Sear, Roebuck and Company through their catalog.  Or possibly Montgomery Wards. I'll wait while you young ones go google that. I lived over 1000 miles from them, and that was the best way to get it to me.

There was a lot of rocking done in the chair after my daughter was born. The little dog we had at the time liked it, too. You can't see it in the picture, but there's a spot on the back rocker where he ate the wood away while he was teething. I've never tried to fix it.

When we moved even farther west, the chair made the trip with us. When my son was born, it was there to rock him, too. (Although he preferred our couch when he was tiny. I think he liked the feel of the rough fabric.)

Eventually, we made the move back from the west coast to the east coast. And yes, the chair moved with us. It didn't get sat in as much as the kids grew up, but I had no desire to get rid of it. Eventually, we made the move from Florida back to Wyoming and to my dismay, the chair didn't fit in the moving truck. So it stayed in Florida with my daughter, with the plan that she'd ship it to me when she could. But that didn't happen for ten years.

There came a time when she left Florida and came to live with us. The chair came with her. Now she's elsewhere with her husband and two children, but the chair stayed with me. I don't use it very often, but it's a good, solid chair that will likely outlast me.

Do you have a favorite piece of furniture? Feel free to share in the comments.




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Thursday, July 26, 2018

#MysteryExchange Avery Daniels & The Romance of Resorts

And the #MysteryExchange goes on! This week it's Avery Daniels and her Resort to Murder series.




The Romance of Resorts by Avery Daniels



I’m Avery Daniels, author of the Resort to Murder mystery series. My amateur sleuth, Julienne, works in a luxury resort and the plan is to have each book based in or around a resort. In my researching of resorts, the romantic appeal is apparent whether you are single, dating, or hitched.
Many, or most, of you have seen an episode of a reality show about finding love. Whether it’s the Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Average Joe, Joe Millionaire, or the Cougar the courtship is done in luxury locations and homes. There is something about being in a resort style setting that sparks romance. Many have even suggested that the reality shows create this illusion because of the locations that won’t hold up to normal life after the show.
I found many people talking about how romantic a resort is mention how they feel totally away from the ordinary and focused on each other. The top romantic resorts make that sense of a couple’s getaway a priority in the staff. Otherwise the setting varies based on the couple’s taste.
Are you into beaches with water activities, then you might like an indoor/outdoor villa complete with private infinity pool, private sand beach, champagne picnic for two, private excursions on the resort’s yacht, and torch or candle lit sea-side dinner under the stars.
Maybe you enjoy traveling Europe, then you might swoon over canopy beds with a sunken hot-tub before a large fireplace, walking around a medieval town with historic ruins, touring centuries old olive groves and vineyards, strolling ancient forests criss-crossed by walking paths where you come across deer and pheasant. There are even a few historic manor houses or castles turned into luxury accommodations to immerse yourself in history.
Maybe a mountain oasis is more your speed with horseback riding around a lake, bicycling around mountain towns, skiing or snowboarding, hay rides, canoeing, swimming, and hiking. If you’re really adventurous you can white water raft, try some hot springs (even some clothing optional ones), spa and massage treatments, outdoor hottubs, and enjoy hot chocoloate and s’mores around communal fire pits. Or maybe order room service to enjoy with a sunken hot-tub before a large fireplace in your room. There are even luxury tent-cabins (called Glamping for glamour camping) that still have resort level amenities.
Then there is the safari resort experience to really get away from the ordinary. Wildlife viewing with excursions and day trips to wildlife preserves and learning about the native cultures are the draw for these resorts. Or maybe the theme park resort is more your style so you can play and be a kid again with all the adult luxuries.
There are many types that can even have a combination of the classifications in one resort. Here is a quick listing of the types or classifications of resorts around the world to consider: Beach Resorts, Golf Resorts, Island Resorts, Luxury Resorts, Lake, Mountain, Ski, Spa, Pet-Friendly, Theme Park, Historical, Dude Ranch, Singles, Couples, Adult-Only, Family, Eco-Tourism, Clothing-Optional, Casino and All Inclusive Resorts. Often times one resort will fall into a few categories.
Whatever your style, there is a resort to help you with your inner romantic. Even as a single person, I love the romance of resorts. Sometimes it is the beauty around the resorts that nurture a romantic mindset.
What would be the elements of your romantic getaway?
Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.     

Iced:
     Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.
     Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

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Nailed:
     Julienne is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will.
     Julienne LaMere gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains.  What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard.
     In addition to attending the conference, dodging a smitten teen boy, and seeking clues among the gossiping - and increasingly tense - guests, her best friend’s heart has warmed to an unlikely man and may get broken.  As if her mind isn’t already fully occupied, Julienne and her new boyfriend Mason are skiing down troubled slopes in their relationship.  Will Julienne put the scant clues together and unveil the culprit before a murderer gets away?

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