Sunday, August 31, 2014

The two winners of a copy of "When the Past Haunts You"


We had two copies of L.C. Hayden's Harry Bronson mystery, When the Past Haunts You, to give away.

The winners are:

Susan Oleksiw

Author of the Anita Ray Mystery Series (For the Love of Pavarti, May 2014, Five Star)

and

Dean K. Miller

Author of And Then I Smiled: Reflections on a Life Not Yet Complete (Hot Chocolate Press, February2014)

Congratulations to Susan and Dean!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm a Fan of L.C. Hayden's Harry Bronson

When I found out L.C. Hayden's 4th Harry Bronson mystery, When the Past Haunts You, was about to be published in mass market paperback by the wonderful Harlequin Worldwide Mystery online book club, I asked L.C. if she would like to give away a copy or two and let me promote the book on my blog. I hadn't yet read When the Past Haunts You, so, of course, my first job was to read.....and that took awhile because I was between the two cataract surgeries when I received the copies. If you keep up with my blog, you'll understand why I had to take my time.

Now, however, I can tell you that When the Past Haunts You is a darned good read, and I love the Harry Bronson character just as much as I loved him in the first book of the series, Why Casey Had to Die.

In this fourth book of the series, retired Dallas police detective Harry Bronson has been ignoring distress calls from his estranged sister Lorraine who lives near Pittsburgh. When he finally decides to make the trip and find out what Lorraine's problem is, he's a heartbeat too late. Lorraine is gunned down before his eyes. 

Now Lorraine is dead and Harry feels obligated to find out why his sister wanted to talk to him, why she was murdered, and who did it. With the help of his former Dallas police partner Mike Hoover and a couple of Pennsylvania law enforcement officials who don't mind looking the other way while Harry and Mike skirt the law and nearly get themselves killed, Harry manages to escape the clutches of an evil female assassin and solve the mystery.

Why do I like Harry so much? This statement from Detective Mike Hoover sums it up:

Mike exhaled audibly. "Damn it, Bronson. Why do you have to be so logical about what I should do and so damn stupid about what you're doing?"
Harry is trying to play cupid between Mike and Mike's ex-wife Ellen who loves him but can't deal with being a cop's wife.....and Harry will do anything to protect his friends, his wife, and his daughters, but will take exceptional risks himself. He goes rogue, often because he can't deal with all the political, hierarchical, and criminal obstacles put in his path. It's all in the name of justice and making right overcome wrong. I like Harry.

I contacted L.C. and asked her to respond to a couple of questions:


1. L.C., when you wrote your first Harry Bronson mystery, why did you choose a police detective forced into retirement instead of going for a straight police procedural with an active duty detective?

In the sort-of fourth Harry Bronson book, What Others Know, Bronson, an active homicide detective in Dallas, is vacationing in Las Vegas and gets involved in a case that forces him to break several rules. As a result, he is given the opportunity to either quit or be fired. Unfortunately, this takes place off-stage and in the fifth, but in reality the first real Harry Bronson book in the series, Why Casey Had to Die, he's already retired and hating it.

The reason for the first vs. the fifth Bronson series number is that when I wrote the first four Bronson books, he's not the main character. He simply helps the main character solve the case. Readers/fans kept emailing me begging me to give Bronson an entire book. Why Casey Had to Die then became the first full Bronson adventure; When Death Intervenes became the second, and When the Past Haunts You became the third. More to come!

Besides, it's important to let folks out there know that retirement isn't the end of the world, but the beginning of a new experience--which is what Bronson is learning.

2. What would you like to tell readers about this and other series you're working on and/or any standalones you have planned?

I've just introduced a new series, the Aimee Brent Series. The first book, ILL Conceived, was released last year. I'm now putting the final touches for the second one in the series, Vengeance in My Heart. Aimee, a reporter in the S. Lake Tahoe area, travels all over to cover her stories and especially solve the problem introduced in the ILL Conceived.

In addition, I am currently writing a standalone, Secrets of the Tunnels. When I first started this book, I planned for it to be a standalone, but it's beginning to look like it might have to be a series, or at least have a second book.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can find out lots more about L.C. Hayden and her novels at her website and on her amazon.com author page. She can also be found on Facebook.

You can buy a paperback copy of When the Past Haunts You at Harlequin Worldwide Mystery as long as the supply lasts. It was released in August, so you might want to act quickly to secure a copy.

Meanwhile, we're giving away two paperbacks to readers from the U.S. or Canada right here on the blog, but you must leave a comment on this post by midnight Mountain Time Saturday, August 30th. The winners will be selected using random.org and announced here on Sunday.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Attacking the Jungles, Both Outside and In

When I posted that I was finally getting back in the groove, I didn't realize what had been going on while I sat around waiting for my eyes to start working again.

My four garden boxes turned into jungles of weeds, overgrown giant marigolds going to seed, unharvested and wasted green beans that now look big enough to feed the squirrels...if only they liked green beans as much as they like the seed in my bird feeder, and depleted tomato plants whose remaining small green tomatoes will probably not ever turn red. Fried green tomatoes, anyone?

The kale and Swiss Chard survived and are still producing new tender leaves. I found them as I pulled off all the holy (or is that holely) giant outside leaves that had been ravaged by nasty little chomping beasties. There are a few beets in there somewhere, if only I can find them. And I still have delicious little carrots to harvest a few at a time and eat as snacks. And cabbages. I have four cabbages that looked pretty beat up on the outside, but turned out to be compact and sweet inside. I love cabbage. One of my favorites is to fry shredded cabbage with chopped green pepper and a couple handfuls of smoked sausage pieces. Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but I use a little bacon grease to fry the cabbage for extra flavor.

The house and my office look worse than the garden. Being one who will use any excuse to avoid housework, the only things that got done were those my sweet cleaning gal takes care of for me in her 90 minutes visit every other week.

And worst of all, my novel in progress hasn't progressed very far.

And my blog has been so neglected I'm embarrassed.

The only real writing-related things I took care of were most of my duties as co-editor of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers blog and a couple of tasks need to promote Dead Wrong, my suspense novel that will be released November 19th by Five Star/Cengage.

Getting back in the groove wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but I'm making progress.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sarah Sullivan's Post at the Writing Bug is for Those Addicted to Writing (Sort of)

I had to pass this one on. Sarah's post at Northern Colorado Writers blog The Writing Bug is funny, even though it felt as if she was talking about (making fun of) me.  (Just substitute "cat" for "dog" in the appropriate places).

Not Writing 101:  How to Overcome Your Writing Compulsion
Not Writing 101: How to Overcome Your Writing Compulsion - See more at: http://www.writingbugncw.com/2014/08/not-writing-101-how-to-overcome-your.html#sthash.U5Eg8jk2.dpuf
Not Writing 101: How to Overcome Your Writing Compulsion - See more at: http://www.writingbugncw.com/2014/08/not-writing-101-how-to-overcome-your.html#sthash.U5Eg8jk2.dpuf

I'm already a master at most of these techniques, even while I insist I write because I need to, want to, and can't not do it. As I get back into my current masterpiece-to-be (well, okay, not exactly a masterpiece, but a good idea nevertheless), I need to keep Sarah's post in mind.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Getting Back in the Groove

Boy, getting my eyes fixed was more of an ordeal than I expected. The two cataract surgeries were fine with no hitches, but that two weeks in between when my eyes weren't working together was even more torture than the problems I had leading up to surgery.

Now at least I can see distance with no glasses and close up with drugstore specs until all the healing is done and I can get new handy dandy reading glasses.

What have I learned during my vision problems?

1. Not being able to write is torture.

2. Not being able to read is even more frustrating than not being able to write.

3. Sitting around whining, "I'm bored," is even less attractive in adults than it is in kids (and not well-received by other adults--spouses, for instance).

4. Being bored demonstrates a lack of creativity and an inability to relax and enjoy the moment.

5. Sitting in an easy chair and listening to music with eyes closed is a wonderful activity....at least it was once I learned to relax.

One of the things I tried was listening to audiobooks. Software called Overdrive allows me to check book out from the library and listen to them through my laptop.

I'm not accustomed to listening to audiobooks, so I found that I often dozed off or let my mind wander and had to backtrack, sometimes a whole chapter. I listened to Insurgent, but am convinced I would have enjoyed the print version a lot more--I liked Divergent, the first book in the trilogy which I'd read before the eye problems started.

I also started listening to one of my favorite author's earlier novels and couldn't get past the way he described every single character's appearance, including what they were wearing, when they first came into a scene. Now I'll have to look at his more recent books to see if he finally gave up that pace-destroying practice. If not, then it's something I didn't notice when reading print versions.

I doubt I'll go back to audiobooks as long as I have the choice of reading print books instead.

So, now I'm trying to get back in the writing/reading/blogging/book promotion groove. And I'll be attending the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference Sept. 5-7. And the Northern Colorado Writers Retreat at the end of October.

Time to get busy.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sure was easy to select the winner of The Enlisted Men's Club

There was only one entry, so I didn't even need random.org to help select:

Kenneth Harmon

(author of the soon-to-be-released

The Amazing Mr. Howard)

as the winner of a copy of

The Enlisted Men's Club 

by Gary Reilly.

Congratulations, Ken

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Enlisted Men's Club by Gary Reilly

I'm a big fan of Gary Reilly's Asphalt Warrior series which I've mentioned on this blog many times. The Denver cab driver, Murph, is my hero--a business world dropout and wanna-be author who drives a cab and has two rules for living. One....he wants to make a minimum amount of money each day to sustain his bare bones lifestyle. Two....he vows never to get involved in the lives of his passengers. None of that goes according to plan, of course, but Murph keeps trying and occasionally dusts off one of his many manuscripts with the intention of actually doing something with it.

I love these books, and am very happy to know there are more to be published in the series even though author Gary Reilly is no longer alive to hear the applause of his many fans.

Because of the Asphalt Warrior series, I was very excited to learn about the publication of a different kind of novel produced by Gary when he was alive. Based on some of Reilly's experiences in the Army during the Vietnam War, this trilogy begins with The Enlisted Men's Club and Private Palmer's holding pattern at The Presidio army base in San Francisco. He's waiting for orders to go overseas, most likely to Vietnam.

The pacing is slow and deliberate. At first I felt I was reading too much detail, too much day to day routine, too much moving of Private Palmer from here to there and back again. I was learning too little about what Private Palmer was thinking.

It didn't take very long, however, to realize what Reilly was doing as he put together these chapters. My tension level began to rise as I read more and more. The waiting was almost unbearable. I wanted a drink every time Private Palmer headed for a bar. I began to understand why I couldn't access Private Palmer's thoughts.

He didn't want to think. He made sure his life was filled with the small routines and thought-killing activities that he needed to carry on from day to day.

To think would be to fear. To think would mean facing the inevitable. To think would bring on an anxiety so intense an ordinary man might not be able to survive the waiting.

And in truth, some didn't.

The Enlisted Men's Club is disturbing in the way psychological suspense is. It's scary. I'm not going to put any spoilers here. I want you to read the novel for yourself. And I will read the second book in the trilogy as soon as it's published.

Thanks to Mark Stevens, one of Gary Reilly's friends who have made the publication of these novels possible.

I purchased The Enlisted Men's Club and will give away this gently-read copy to one U.S. or Canada resident who leaves a comment on this post by midnight Mountain Time Saturday, August 16th.