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Hi, friends! Today I am so happy to have award-winning author Anne Patrick visiting Romance Novels@reginaandrewsblog! Anne will be sharing a blurb and an excerpt of “Trespasses”, her exciting new release from Desert Breeze Publishing. Thank you so much, Anne, and best of luck with your newest book. Given all the wonderful books you’ve written, I know “Trespasses” will be absolutely fabulous. Let’s get started!

BLURB:

When the skeletal remains of three young women are discovered on the vacation estate of a U.S. Senator, the local sheriff enlists the help of Special Agent Gabe Sullivan and a local forensic sketch artist, to help him solve the murders. A profiler for fourteen years, Gabe knows his skills are useless until they discover the identity of the victims. That’s where the beautiful and talented Mackayla Kensington comes in.

Mackayla knows all too well the heartache of not knowing the fate of a loved one. The brutal murder of her own daughter is the driving force behind her determination to bring closure to families missing loved ones. Using her artistry skills, Mackayla works frantically to put faces to the skulls so that their identities can be revealed and the killer can be caught. When the killer realizes how good she is it appears she may be the next to die.

EXCERPT: 

Gabe scanned the departing passengers, wishing he’d thought to bring a sign or something with her name scribbled on it. The only description he had was she’s around five-eight, slender, very pretty, with long brown hair.

“Agent Landry,” a woman’s voice called out.

He turned to his left and saw a woman, or at least what he thought was a woman, approach him. She wore hiking boots, blue jeans, gray sweatshirt, and a backwards baseball cap. On her back, she toted a backpack almost as big as she was. She looked like she’d been trekking across the Himalayas. “They switched gates on us at the last minute.” She offered her hand, along with a beautiful smile. “Mackayla Kensington. It’s nice to meet you.”

“How’d you know who I was?”

“I phoned Adam from the plane. He told me a federal agent would be meeting me, and you G-men all look alike.”

“Do you have luggage?”

“I’m wearing it. I figured you wouldn’t be leaving without me so I saved you a trip to baggage.”

“Thanks. Appreciate it.”

The trip from the airport to the parking lot was filled with polite conversation, mostly consisting of how much cooler it was compared to El Salvador. Arriving at his rental car, a gray Crown Victoria, he helped her off with her backpack. As heavy as it was, he wondered if she had taken along her whole wardrobe. “Do you want to pick up something to eat on the way to the lab, or do you need to get some sleep first?” he asked, slipping the pack into the trunk.

“I slept on the plane, and I’m not hungry.”

Relieved of the pack, she was a lot smaller in appearance. A few inches shorter than him, he guessed she couldn’t weigh much more than one-thirty. She was still wearing the backwards baseball cap, her brown hair neatly braided, draped loosely over her left shoulder. She looked to be in her mid to late thirties, somewhat older than he’d expected.

“You’ve only been a forensic sketch artist for six years?” he asked as he maneuvered his way onto the interstate.

“Yes. I was an art teacher previous. Seventh and eighth graders. I like this job better, the skulls don’t talk back.”

Gabe smiled at her. He liked her sense of humor. “So how long before you can get started?”

“I can get started tonight if you have the forensic data and Forrester left me his notes.”

He liked her enthusiasm too. “Are you sure you’re up to it?”

“The sooner we get started the sooner we can get these women home to their families.”

“And the murderer behind bars,” he added.

Buy Links:

Publisher – http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-227/Wounded-Heros-Book-One/Detail.bok

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Woubded-Heroes-Book-Two-ebook/dp/B008257TYK/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_t_1

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wounded-heros-book-two-anne-patrick/1110724657?ean=2940014408400

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Today I am so happy and thrilled to have author Tina Pinson visiting! I can’t wait to hear about her new book, “When Shadows Fall,” Book One in her brand-new “Shadows” Series, presented by Desert Breeze Publishing.

Regina, first, let me say thank you for inviting me to your page and making me so very welcome.

RA: As an author what makes a book great in your eyes?

A great book, a truly great book, catches a reader’s interest and imagination then carries them into the story. So far, one can almost feel themselves in the storyline. A great book, takes one on a journey, transporting them to new worlds, new realms, with characters they learn to love and sometimes hate. A great book stands the test of time and criticism.

RA: Tell us a little about what you’re working on.
I am, of course, editing to get the next installments of the Shadow Series ready for print. Shadowed Dreams is slated for release in Nov. So I am also praying readers fall in love with my characters and story in When Shadows Fall. I am also working on a sequel to Touched By Mercy, a take on Taming of the Shrew called, Tamed By Mercy and another little story, a speculative fiction, Demon Chronicles. I have a few other stories to work on, but that’s where my energies have been vested as of late.

RA: What is the hardest scene you had to write in this piece?
Death scenes can be tough, emotionally draining, but I also had an attack scene to write and those can be hard.

RA: Let’s talk about the book you’d like to promote today. How did you come with the title and where can we find it?

When Shadows Fall, the first in the Shadow Series, was actually the full title, but the book was nearly a 900 pages sooo, had to cut it down. But the whole idea behind the name has to do with the shadows that come into our lives and how we walk through them. The opening poem from the stories heroine, Rebekah, hopefully says a lot about the meaning behind the name.

Life is a mixture of joy and sorrows. Where darkness and light mingle to cast shadows upon your soul. These shadows, often fleeting, touch us far deeper than their hazy essence ever deemed possible.

Some bring a happiness that shelters one in peace like the calm after a storm. Others bring a distinct source of pain. Pain that envelopes the spirit in a fog. It holds you and drags you on a seemingly endless downward spiral of hopelessness and despair, oft times, wrought and nourished in your own mind.
There’s the shadow of a smile, the cooling shadow of clouds on a hot summer day; the shadow of tree limbs dancing on walls in the moonlight. The long shadow of a man cast across a barren land, carried on the wings of a prayer — like a dream he means to possess.
There’s the shadow of memories, some dear, some not soon enough forgotten. The shadow of sorrow and the shadow of death, boring your heart and mind — lingering long after the soul has been seared.
There’s the shadow of a kiss, and the shadow of a hand across a weary brow. Whatever they are, in whatever form, know that shadows will come, and fall where they may. However they touch you, it is my prayer that you will have a hand to hold, and a hand to guide, When the Shadows Fall.


RA: What was the first reaction when you got a glimpse of your cover art?
It was very pleased, my cover artist, Caina Fuller, really listened to my vision and brought it to life on the page.

Please give us a blurb and excerpt.

Blurb:

As the Civil War rages, Rebekah fights to keep her world intact. But loss and sorrow has seeped into her heart and mind. She sets her sights on Oregon, praying this new Eden will allow her a place of peace and a place to put her life, and that of her son’s, back together again. She travels to Independence, Missouri ready to take the train west, but is denied the opportunity to join the train because she is woman alone. Matthew battles his way through one fight after another, all the while thinking of Rebekah. The woman who holds his heart. He longs to help her west, but fears his biggest battle lies ahead of him. Will Rebekah open up her heart to him and allow him to be the one to hold her When the Shadows Fall?

Excerpt:
Matthew’s voice was soft, and appealing. Too appealing. His closeness, and the warmth radiating from his body, caused her heart to thrum. Rebekah decided to go in.
Robert had been gone and thought dead for over a year. How easy it would be to fall into Matthew’s arms. Let him comfort her like he’d done when she was a girl. They seemed like such strong arms. But she wasn’t a child anymore. She was a married woman with a child and a sick husband who needed her.
Her first love could be nothing more than a precious memory. Her heart grew heavy. She turned and was about to take her leave when Matthew asked about Robert. “If you’d rather not talk about it, I’ll understand. I only wanted you to know if you need anything, I’m here for you. I’ll help in any way I can.”
“That’s very kind. Things are okay for now. Besides, I couldn’t expect you to help the enemy.” She stood still, afraid to face him. Afraid of the concern he’d show.
“Rebekah, if you love him, and he cares for you, he’s no enemy of mine.” His reply was tender. He caught her shoulders, turned her to face him. “I mean that with all my heart.”
Rebekah nodded. He meant it. Her eyes misted. Her tears were building. If she fell into his arms, it was wrong to even think it, but… would he hold her close? Or had time changed everything? Still, she wasn’t his to hold anymore. In reality she never had been, though she wanted to be. Did he wish it were different? She wished they could go back, but they couldn’t. She had to accept that she would never be his, and be grateful for the chance to see him again.
“I should go. Can I walk you to the house?”
Raising her head, she found his gaze in the moonlight. “You go on. It’s such a lovely evening I think I’d like to stay longer. I’ll look for you tomorrow.”
“Goodnight then.” Her heart lurched as she considered him leaving. She wondered when he’d have to say goodbye. Perhaps for forever.
“Goodnight,” she whispered as she watched him cross the yard to his horse and swing his tall body effortlessly into the saddle.
“Goodnight,” he called again. She waved, and watched him disappear into the darkness — melding with the shadows on the road. Then she went to the bottom of the oak, and kneeling, tenderly brushed the ground where her old friend lay.

RA: Now the fun stuff; Do you have any guilty pleasures?
Oh my goodness, I have so many and if you found out about them I’d really feel guilty. LOL  Sometimes I like to get up and sit down with a cup of hot tea flavored with cream and honey, and watch the world go by. Sometimes I like to stay in bed and veg and might not get dressed til afternoon. Hot baths are nice and so are chocolate covered donuts, my hips especially thank me for those and pretty much any chocolate covered dessert out there.

RA: Name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.

I like to garden. If I could stop killing off some of my plants I might like it more. I can veggies and preserves. I like to sing and draw.

RA: If you didn’t have to worry about counting calories or fat, what’s the first food you’d reach for?

Hmm. The first? Well, I love homemade biscuits slathered with butter and honey. I love cheesecake and lemon tortes. And of course chocolate.

RA: Since you write romance, fess up. Have you ever read the “Grande Dames” of the genre like Jane Austen, Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steel, Nora Roberts? What do you really think of their books?

I have read the “Grande Dames”. And must say they have their formulas down. So much so, I can pretty much tell you how it will turn out and that begins to take the thrill of story away for me. As for Jane Austen, though, I’ve only started to read her works.

RA: If someone read any of your work, what book would you recommend they start with and why?

Wow! Well, I would like to say the first one in print. But my first one in print was self-pubbed and riddled with errors. But the story was still good. I did go on to redo that after I’d learned a bit more. So, I’d have to say read any one of my books, I’m growing in my craft with each one. I hope. When Shadows Fall is the first book I ever finished. So it is very dear to me. I love the characters and want people to do the same. I hope they fall in love with the story.

RA: Thanks for spending a bit of time with me, and all of us at Romance Novels @ReginaAndrews’ Blog, Tina! Best wishes for continued success.

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And here’s a brief biography of Tina, plus all her links and contacts.

 

Biography, Links and Contacts
Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of thirty plus years, Danny. They are blessed to have three sons, and five grandchildren with one on the way.


Tina started her first novel in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories.

In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched By Mercy were published through Desert Breeze Publishers.


When Shadows Fall, Shadowed Dreams, and To Catch a Shadow, the first three installments of the Shadow Series about the Civil War and the Oregon Trail, will be available through Desert Breeze May 2012, November 2012 and June 2012 respectively.

My website —
http://www.tinapinson.com/
Twitter:@Tina_Pinson
Facebook– http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=754617103

Purchase my books at:

Desert Breeze Bookstore.
When Shadows Fall http://tinyurl.com/d93p77a
Touched By Mercy – http://ning.it/9OJZ5r <http://ning.it/9OJZ5r>
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/we4ul

Amazon:
Touched By Mercy http://tiny.cc/k5tgw
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/doc8w
When Shadows Fall

Barnes & Noble
Touched By Mercy— http://tinyurl.com/7ztzjno
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/oh767
When Shadows Fall

Christian Books Distributors
Touched By Mercy – http://tinyurl.com/72p4pml
In the Manor of the Ghost http://tiny.cc/4u5h9
When Shadows Fall

Thank you again, Tina! Now, let’s hear from everyone out there.


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  1. Barbara,  would you please give us an excerpt?

Prayer versus Southern superstitions when a woman’s husband mysteriously disappears in the swamp on a deer-hunting trip. As steamy as the hot, thick, sticky heat ofLouisiana, this page-turner will keep readers in suspense, as the author spins a tale of love, loss, superstition, pain, heartache, and faith in God. Reviewer Kathy Boswell says, “Very good! She never gives up hope that Andy will return to her someday. She puts it all in God’s hands like she’s done every crisis in her life. She knows He will take care of this for her.” God and the power of prayer versus Southern superstitions. Through belief, faith, hard work, the power of prayer, and God’s help, this powerful, moving story is a thought-provoking Christian romantic suspense about a young couple who fall in love, but have to change her mother’s mind in more ways than one, if their relationship is to survive. Can Andy convince June there’s more to their relationship than friends? Will he win the approval of Mrs. Myrtle, her mother, and can love survive strawberry season and an April flood? Will June be able to give Andy a child? A Southern story of love and faith.

Excerpt:

Rod joined the search party to help investigate his dad’s disappearance. It’d disbanded at nightfall and picked up the search again at daybreak, but they’d found no sign of his dad. Rod guided a canoe deep into the marshes and swamps. He’d hunted with his father many times in these wetlands so he knew where to check. No word or sign of his father made the cold, Christmas season stab like an ice pick, and his heart ached for his mother, left alone.

He slid the canoe through a wall of cypress trees, deeper and deeper into the heart of the swamp. He figured his father headed for the hills. White cranes flew from the cypress limbs. The canoe hit a cypress knee, and Rod gently eased it around a few more. The way they stuck out of the shallow water, like protruding nubs, they reminded him of his grandmother’s warning finger wagging in his face. They could tear a hole in the bottom of a boat. Thank God my boat survived

the lick. Maybe that’s what happened to Dad.

 

Finally, after twelve hours of searching, Rod spotted his dad’s pirogue on the side of the hill, where they’d hunted the previous year. He tied his canoe to a tree limb. “Dad!” He raced to the dome tent and unzipped the door. “Dad?” The tent looked as if his dad made camp, but hadn’t yet used it. The sleeping bag was still rolled up in a corner. The butt of his dad’s 30-30 stuck out from under a sleeping bag. The supplies were still there. Outside, there was no sign of a campfire. It looked as though he never got to hunt. There was no sign of him. Where was he?

Rod picked up the rifle and carried it back to his canoe. He left the other items in case his dad returned looking for them.

They searched until dark. Rod dreaded giving his mother the disappointing news. She’d worry even more, because the pirogue was in perfect condition and so was the tent. No leaking pirogue kept him from coming home. The campsite looked peaceful and serene, not like anything bad had happened, but still there was no sign of his father.

Mom’s on pins and needles, yet she clings to her faith and trust in God. I hear her

faithfully pray for Dad’s safe return. Maybe she won’t fall apart when she hears the news but oh,how I dread having to tell her.

 

To obtain a Kindle copy:

http://www.amazon.com/Southern-Superstitions-ebook/dp/B006X8GAWA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327008085&sr=1-2

Book trailer:

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-249/Southern-Superstition-BJ-Robinson/Detail.bok

Publisher’s link where you may purchase a PDF file to read on your laptop or computer, or an ePub file.

B. J. Robinson is a multi-published, award-winning author of two Christian romantic suspense novels, Southern Superstitions and Last Resort. She makes her home in Florida with her husband and pets, blessed with children, grandchildren, and faith. She’s an avid reader and passionate writer. Visit her at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com.Visit her author page at http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/BJRobinson/Page.bok.

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What a great, trend-setting week! Today I am so happy to visit with author Barbara Robinson! Welcome, Barbara!

What prompted you to write your most recent book?

My most recent published book is SOUTHERN SUPERSTITIONS. Mother’s mixture of raising me on Bible verses and Southern superstitions prompted me to write it, but my most recent novel is WHISPERING CYPRESS, which will release in August. I wanted to write something different and didn’t write about strawberries this time. LAST RESORT and SOUTHERN SUPERSTITIONS both have strawberries. All novels are set in the South. The main reason I wanted to write my most recently published book was to illustrate that faith and trust in God are more important than being addicted to horoscopes. God’s on His throne, and He’s in control. I also wanted to write about the South where I grew up. Spring and strawberry season are my favorite time of the year. In Louisiana, spring is strawberry season and vice versa. I spent many glorious spring days in a packing shed with the sun smiling down, the sweet smell of berries tempting me to eat instead of pack, and my youngest son in a baby swing or walker. I wanted readers to experience the hard work of strawberry farmers and enjoy a novel with the delicious fruit.

2. Tell us please about the hero, the heroine and the conflict J

 Andy and June have more than one conflict. First, Andy has to convince June to consider him more than a friend and a big-brother type. Then, there’s Mrs. Myrtle with her wagging finger always telling June she can do better for herself than a common strawberry inspector. To top it all off, Mrs. Myrtle is stuck on Southern superstitions and worries about black cats when they cross her path. She also has a few other superstitions you may not have heard before. Can Andy win her over and convince her he’ll be the son she never had? Will June be able to give Andy a child? The main conflict comes when Andy does a disappearing act while deer hunting during Christmas season. Yes, Andy and June have many obstacles to overcome, if their love is to bloom and survive.

3. Favorite line from the book?   Favorite sentences: It was faith in God that would bring her husband home. Even a lucky penny or dime declared, “In God we trust.”

4.  Congratulations! You have many books to your credit. What are your current plans?

I plan to try my hand at a YA novel which will release in October. It will be my first in that genre.  It’s a story of old love and new. Hope falls for the boy next door, while Granny rekindles a relationship with a man her family didn’t approve of years ago.

4.  Give us a version of a typical day for you.

 I’m up early each morning, work or not, morning person that I am. A normal day off affords me writing time, and I brew a pot of French vanilla Dunkin Donut coffee and start my writing day, which I call French vanilla coffee and writing time. I savor the coffee as much as my blessed writing time. They go so well together. I’ll work at my computer until the sun rises and then enjoy sitting out on my new back deck hubby recently built. I can’t wait until spring break to do just that. I enjoy writing in a spiral notebook while outdoors, as I enjoy watching my two dogs frolic, squirrels play, listen to birds sing, and enjoy the beauty of flowers blooming and trees turning green. I write page after page while savoring my time outside until the sun climbs high and it gets too hot. Then, I go inside and key my writing into the computer, adding to it, layering, correcting, and editing as I go. After I finish my spiral-bound writing, I keyboard directly at the computer. If it’s too cold outside or too hot, I keyboard directly at the computer, but I still love the feel of the pen in my hand and watching those notebook pages fill. I write the morning away, have some lunch and check Facebook while I eat, then I write again. I usually call it quits by early evening, but I’ll have added a great deal of material to my novel with my uninterrupted writing time. I treasure such days. I don’t feel like I’m working because I love writing.

 

5.  Please give us a glimpse of your current writing space and then a vision of your dream space.

 

My current writing space indoors consists of an L-shaped oak desk with a Dell desktop with a 20 inch monitor. Three windows overlook my backyard. I keep the blinds open so I can enjoy nature even while indoors. My current outside writing space consists of a table with an umbrella on the wooden back deck overlooking the backyard. My dream writing space would include a gorgeous lake with azaleas and other blooming flowers. I have the azaleas, but not the lake. A woman can dream, can’t she? Henry David Thoreau had his cabin in the woods, and I once dreamt of having one, too, with that lake.

 

6.  Other than writing, what are some fun things you love to do?

I love to travel, visit zoos, and theme parks. I live in vacation land near all the theme parks. I’ve ridden all the roller coasters except the newest one. I’ve parasailed and zip lined. I love the water. Oh, and I really adore Tennesseeand a mountain-top cabin, especially in the fall of the year when all the leaves are turning. I used to bowl on a league. And, I can’t forget Key West, a mini HawaiiI wrote about in Last Resort and Southern Superstitions. I love visiting with my family, but I only get to see them during the summer. I love my quiet, peaceful morning time with God when I don’t have to work. Remember, I don’t consider writing work, though it is hard work. I love it too much. I’m an avid reader, so if I’m not working on my own WIP, I’m reading someone else’s good book. I also have a blog at http://barbarajrobinson.blogspot.com where I review books.

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Today we continue our series with authors Nike Chillemi and Barbara Robinson.Here’s an excerpt from Nike’s book. Enjoy!

Chapter One

Long Island, NY

Late December, 1946

 

Katrina Lenart nodded toward a break in the leafless maples and snow-covered pines lining Hill Street then pointed with her black cable knit glove. A fat blue jay sat on the tip of a pine branch and quirked his head at her, almost mocking. The sun, more the color of wheat than yellow, floated in the pale, cloudless, winter sky, surrendering little heat.

“It might seem like we’re almost there to you, but we still have to climb that hill.” It wasn’t high, but steep, as if a pitiless hand had gouged earth from its side. She turned her head back and squinted against the glare off the snow, adjusting her black velvet earmuffs, stitched into a floret on one side, all the rage since the war.

“Said just like a female.” Willie Brogna grinned, pulling the toboggan behind him, his rubber boots stomping deep impressions in the fresh fallen snow. Pivoting, he gave her a wide smile. “I know you’re just being nice, helping me try out my favorite Christmas present. With my sister on her honeymoon and all, I don’t have anyone to be my guinea pig.” He resumed his climb, out-pacing her, and chuckled under his breath.

Determined to put her best friend’s teenage brother in his place, Katrina lengthened her strides and arrived at the top of the incline breathing hard. “People often comment on how nice I am… and courteous. Willing to help those in need.” She tossed off a teasing smile.

The tall, lanky teen snorted then tugged on his hand-knit gloves, securing them, and flexed his fingers.

Shading her eyes with a glove, she gazed south, unable to see the village of Sanctuary Point or the Great South Bay through the trees. Though she knew icy wind whipped them both.

The weather forecast said a storm was headed their way. Directly below, the ground dropped away into an empty lot. Beyond that, Hill Street and the tiny Bauer cottage.

“Are you ready? I’ll steer and you take the rumble seat.” Willie knelt and positioned the toboggan for the first run down the steep hill. “Don’t forget to hang on tight, I’m gonna let ‘er rip, if that won’t bruise the dignity of Memorial’s most promising nurse.”

Katrina gave him a playful smack on the arm. “How you do go on. Just watch out for that huge bump down there.”

“Aw, that’s not even a blip on the radar.”

She hunkered down behind him and clasped her arms around his waist. The toboggan sped down the hill, her hair airborne behind her. Icy snow crystals flew into her face. They hit the bump and went aloft. “Willieee,” she shrieked.

They landed so hard her teeth clattered.

When they came to a stop, Willie jumped off. “While we were in the air, I saw something near Mrs. Bauer’s cottage. Does she have a pet? A cat, maybe? It looked like a hurt animal… something bloody.”

He trotted across the street. “It’s not in the yard. It’s away from the house. Closer and to the side of the road.” He hastened down Hill Street, slipping and sliding, to the edge of the Bauer property.

Katrina hurried down the sloping street after him, her arms stretched out for balance. If this were his idea of a practical joke, she’d let him have it.

Willie bent over the object. Rising, he twisted toward her. “Well, it’s not an animal. It’s a piece of soiled cloth.”

Rushing to his side, she tried to catch her breath. “That’s blood on a kitchen towel. Not a lot, but sufficient to warrant concern.” Please, Lord, let everything be all right in the Bauer house.

“Do you suppose Mrs. Bauer cut herself out here? But why would she come all the way out here with a kitchen towel?”

“We’d better check on her.” Katrina raced back up the hill after Willie along the length of the lot, as fast as she could. She slipped but regained her footing on the Bauer’s icy walk. When she reached the stoop, she panted in short painful gasps.

Willie hurdled the two steps and came to a stop on the miniscule porch. The front door stood ajar.

Uneasiness halted her winded, ungraceful gait. She forced herself to follow until she stood before the door and called out, “Mrs. Bauer, hello.”

Willie nudged the door and shouted. “Mrs. Bauer, are you in there?”

She peered between the door and its frame into dimness. “Mrs. Bauer… Noel, it’s Katrina, your neighbor.”

“This is getting us nowhere.” Willie gave the door a shove.

The living room was chilly and silent — something definitely not right. Mrs. Bauer wouldn’t leave the door open on such a cold day, not even a crack. Katrina eased in. “Hello, anyone home?” She stepped around the couch and froze.

Noel Bauer lay on her living room floor, in front of a decorated Christmas tree. Blood pooled beneath her head.

“Oh, my Lord.” Katrina rushed to the woman and knelt, applying two fingers to her neck.

“Willie, she has no pulse.”

“I mean, I know you’re a nurse, but are you sure?”

“She’s dead.” Katrina’s voice shook in her throat. “She’s not breathing and her body temperature isn’t warm.”

“The telephone lines come up here, so I’ll bet she has a phone. We’d better call the police.

This is awful.” His eyes darted around the room. “There… in the kitchen.”

Katrina took a deep breath and calmed herself. How strange and brutal life could be.

Yesterday, gay and carefree, she stood as maid-of-honor in Willie’s sister’s wedding. Today she’d found Noel Bauer’s corpse.

She hurried to the phone, dialed the village operator, and asked to be connected to the police station. After relaying the information to young Officer Classen, whose mother worked with her at the hospital, she sank onto a chair at the table and held her head in her hands. There was something peculiar about the position of Noel Bauer’s body Katrina couldn’t put her finger on, as if she were reaching for something.

Cries of an infant came from the bedroom down the hallway.

*****

Standing by the Christmas tree, Katrina rocked the baby wrapped in a pink blanket. She took a small green and white glass ornament from the top of the tree and dangled it before the tiny face. “Look how pretty. Your mommy made such a lovely tree for you.” Her eyes misted, and her gaze slid to the lifeless form on the floor. The house reflected the woman’s efforts to turn a meager cottage into a comfortable home with touches of handcrafted style and elegance. On the wall above an aging sofa, a needlepoint wall hanging in a simple frame depicted two swans floating on a lily pond that could well have hung in a fine gallery.

“Detective Daltry’s here.” Willie turned from the window and hurried to open the door.

Ian Daltry entered with rookie-officer Robert Classen at his heels. The detective removed his brown fedora freeing a riot of salt and pepper hair. He nodded toward Katrina. “Miss Lenart, you phoned the station?”

“Yes, Willie and I found Mrs. Bauer.” She glanced at the teen, who stood by the front window, a stricken look on his face, and her heart went out to the boy. Her gaze shifted to the detective and then down to the body. “She’s gone.”

Detective Daltry placed his hat on the coffee table and bent over the still form. The blood on the floor, dark and thick, gave off a metallic smell. Straightening, he looked at Katrina, his lips in a tight line. “You’re right. She’s dead. I’d guess a couple of hours.”

Katrina took a halting step toward the body, but the detective put up a staying hand to stop her. She cleared her throat. “Severe trauma to the head. She couldn’t survive a wound like that.”

He nodded. “That’s my take on it. I’ll phone the medical examiner.”

Willie pointed. “Phone’s in the kitchen.”

Katrina took a quick step forward. “Is it murder?”

The detective pivoted, and the intensity of his eyes pierced her soul. “I really can’t say, Miss. It’s very early in the investigation.” He turned on his heel, crossed the living room, and disappeared.

Katrina followed stiff legged part way across the room. She felt cold, and it wasn’t just because the door had been open. She wanted to do something, but didn’t know what. It wasn’t illness that had killed Noel Bauer, and it wasn’t accidental death. What else could it be but murder? She shuddered. How awful for Mrs. Bauer and this poor dear baby.

Officer Classen stepped forward and blocked her path. “You can’t go into the kitchen.”

She stopped in her tracks, stroked the infant’s soft hair, and held her closer. “I had no idea

Mrs. Bauer had a new baby. She closed the house in early spring last year and was gone over six months. She’s been back only about three.” Since then, she’d been reclusive, but why?

The baby grabbed for the ornament and cooed.

Katrina lifted the glass bulb away from the tiny hand and returned it to the tree. “Oh no, you don’t. You’re a quick little lady, aren’t you? Yes you are.” She made an exaggerated smiling face and shook her head. “Such an energetic little thing, you are.”

The baby started fussing.

“And now your mood has changed. Are you cold, sweetheart?” Katrina pulled the blanket tight around the infant, rubbed her tiny hands, and blew warm breath on them.

“I’d like to throw a log on the fire for the baby, but can’t touch anything until we complete our investigation.” The young officer shifted from foot to foot.

“I understand. Still, can’t you make an exception for the baby?”

“No, if we disturb things we might be destroying the fingerprints of the killer.”

“I see. I think she’s cranky more than cold, though it is chilly in here.”

Detective Daltry emerged from the kitchen and advanced toward her. He touched the pink blanket. “A girl.” A tremor ran through his fingers, and he dropped his hand to his side.

“Isn’t she pretty?” Katrina stroked the infant’s face. When she glanced up, she thought she saw pain flicker in the detective’s eyes, and then it was gone.

“Her mother was lovely. By all accounts a cultured lady. Such a shame.” Officer Classen stood over the body with a camera. “Detective, do you want me to start taking photographs?”

He cleared his throat. “Yes, begin with the body and work out to the periphery of the room. Don’t spare the film.”

The child gurgled, squirmed, and kicked her legs against the coverlet wrapped tight around her.” Aren’t you a feisty one?” Katrina kissed the baby’s little fist. “You’re going to be fine. Somehow, I’ll make sure. I promise.”

The detective rocked back on his heels and raked his hand through his hair, mangling it.

He cast a quick glance at the hearth. “With the fire nearly out and the door opening and closing, perhaps the child shouldn’t be here. I can phone my neighbor. She watches my daughter when

I’m working. I’m sure she’d look after the little one until we figure out what to do with her.”

The baby made a face and fidgeted, her knees pumping.

“No. That’s not necessary.” Katrina held the baby tighter, her need to protect this infant growing by the second. “I live down the street, and I’m a maternity nurse. If you consent, I’ll take her home. I’m sure my mother will agree to mind her while I’m working at the hospital.”

A huge wail came from the tiny mouth.

“Maybe she’s hungry.” Willie took two quick steps. “Let me see if there’s milk in the kitchen.”

The detective shook his head. “Sorry, off limits. You can’t touch or remove anything. We haven’t done a walk-through yet, and they’ll want to brush for fingerprints.”

Katrina placed the baby on her shoulder and rubbed her back in a circular motion. “This child can’t drink bottled milk. I’m sure her mother nursed her, most do. We’ll have to make formula from evaporated milk.” What did men know about babies?

“Won’t you need a baby bottle?” Willie plunked both hands on his hips.

“Yes, or fashion something similar. I need to get this baby home where Momma can help me.” Katrina bounced the fussing infant in her arms and checked the seat of the diaper. “She’s dry and didn’t leave us a present in her pants.”

Detective Daltry moved to Katrina’s side and stroked the baby’s back. “Officer Classen can drive you home.” He turned toward the rookie cop. “Wait up on the photos and take this young woman and the child down the hill. On your way back, stop on the wrong side of the street by the Bower property. Get that cone out of the trunk and mark the spot. I’m calling the troopers station to see if they can get any tire impressions near where we picked up the bloody towel.”

“If Lorne Kincade was finished with trooper training, we’d get that done right quick.” The young officer opened the door and held it for Katrina.

“You bet you would.” Willie tried for a grin, but only one side of his lips lifted. “Thing is, he won’t even start the training until he and my sister get back from their honeymoon.”

Katrina rocked the baby whose face had turned bright pink. “Heavens to Betsy, let’s not rush the newlyweds home in our talk.” She tried for a smile and managed a small one.

The detective pivoted toward the window. “Mr. Brogna… Willie, I’d like you to stay. I have questions for you. Miss Lenart, I’ll question you later.”

The infant emitted a piercing cry.

Katrina hurried toward the door. “Our house is the first one on the right side.”

8.     purchase links, website, blog, etc.

Amazon (Kindle). http://www.amazon.com/Sanctuary-Point-Book-Two-ebook/dp/B006LTHI1I/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331251144&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble (Nook). http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sanctuary-point-book-two-nike-chillemi/1107966847?ean=2940013874657&itm=1&usri=goodbye+noel

Desert Breeze Publishing. http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/NikeChillemi/Page.bok

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Hello everyone and welcome to this first post of featuring two wonderfully talented authors! This week we will be chatting with & getting to know Nike Chillemi and Barbara Robinson.

Welcome, Nike and Barbara! I am so thrilled and happy that you both are visiting this week, thank you both so much!!

Image  Image

Barbara                                           Nike

These two wonderful authors and fab women have agreed to visit here throughout this week, talking about their writngs, lives, future plans and anything else we might venture upon as we get to know them better. My thanks to them for being blog pioneers!

Let’s start alphabetically with Nike and some fun questions with her about her life, her perspective and her writing.

Nike, thank you so much for visiting! I have a few questions.

1. What prompted you to write your most recent book?

I wanted to continue the series in a way that the community in the fictitiousvillageofSanctuaryPoint flows from one novel to the next. Katrina Lenart and Detective Ian Daltry were secondary characters in my first novel  and I thought they’d be perfect for each other in the second novel. And so, GOODBYE NOEL was born.

2. Tell us please about the hero, the heroine and the conflict.

Ah, the conflict. Well, that’s just it. I knew the sparks would fly if I put Katrina and Ian together. First of all, she’s accepted she’s going to be a career girl and not get married, so she’s not that comfortable with what she’s feeling toward him. He’s a widower with a four year old daughter and he’s a bit older than Katrina. He thinks he’s practically gone bonkers with the attraction he’s having toward such a lively young woman. So, it’s a set up where they’re going to be attracted and fight it. Then the village police chief gives Ian an order to carry out that riles Katrina, and she’s got quite a temper.

3. Favorite line from the book?

Chapter 5, scene 1:   Katrina wanted to throw Detective Daltry into a snow bank.

4.  Congratulations! You have many books to your credit. What are your current plans?

I just turned in the completed manuscript for book number three to Gail (editor in chief at Desert Breeze), PERILOUS SHADOWS. Of course, there’s still more to do on it. I’ve got to go through the editing process, and a cover has to be created. I’m very excited about it. I’ll give you a taste of what it’s about…

Pioneer newspaperwoman Kiera Devane is on a mission to prove a woman can do a man’s job, as she hunts a young coed’s killer? Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye lost one love to a murderous fiend and his heart aches as he tries to protect Kiera from herself as much as from this killer.

4.  Give us an idea of what a typical day is like for you.

I get up, throw on a pair of baggy sweats or knit pants and drive my 14 year old daughter to school. Then I come home and our malti-poo Sophie is waiting to be walked. When that’s done I make a cup of tea and kiss hubby goodbye as he rushes off to work. I try to select a Bible verse and have time for personal worship. I wish I could say I’m always faithful in that, but I’m getting better at it. My church sends out daily Bible readings and a short lesson via email and I’ve signed up for them. After that I start checking writing related email, send a chapter to my critique group so they can write with red ink all over it. See if anyone has sent me a chapter of their work to critique. And of course there’s marketing, marketing, marketing for GOODBYE NOEL. It seems the marketing never stops. LOL

 5.  What’s your current writing space like and what does your dream space look like?

My current writing space is a small computer desk shoved into the corner of a room. It’s cramped. I’d love to have an office in a beach house in Florida (when we retire). I’d like to step out of my office’s French doors and onto a wide veranda where I’d sit in a comfy chair each morning, drink my tea, and listen to the rumble of the surf. Then I could invite Barbara over and she might bring her wonderful strawberry shortcake. Yum.

6.  Other than writing, what are some fun things you love to do?

I was a foodie for years. And I still love to cook. But my husband and I are approaching a time when we might be considered to be more, ah, hem, seasoned. We don’t have much in the way of major health issues and we’d like to keep it that way. I’ve changed the way I cook. I’ve started increasing the number of food items that God has made…more natural and organic ingredients. I also try to cook low fat. I think of food more as fuel, but being a former foodie…and also always short of time…it has to be feasting on fast, frugal fuel. I also shop for bargains.

Thank you, Nike!

COMING UP TOMORROW: AN EXCERPT FROM NIKE!

WEDNESDAY: A VISIT WITH BARBARA!

THURSDAY: BARBARA’S EXCERPT!

FRIDAY: Cross-Questioning from the Authors and Reader’s Questions!

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S&S: Desert Breeze author Regina Andrews turned right on I-95 and landed in our neck of the woods.  Today we’re talking books and baseball.  Welcome, Regina. What prompted you to write Sterling Lakes Book #3, Praise of the Heart?

What a wonderful question.  This book has to do with dealing with the truth in life, whether it is by looking in the mirror, listening to the doctor’s report or finally allowing the love of God to shine in your heart. I wrote this book as part of the Sterling Lakes series. This one takes the series from the levels of the previous two books and turns it completely personal with the themes the characters have to address.

S&S: The hero, Cliff “Clean-up” Markham, plays for the Tampa Bay Stingrays. Do you have a favorite team?

Oh yes. Baltimore Orioles! Long story: RI girl, Red Sox fan forever. Remember going over the AL Standings with my father every night before it was AL East and West: Baltimore, Boston, Detroit…Baltimore, Detroit, Boston…Well, flash-forward to a broken-hearted world of Sox fans in’86 who never recovered (if you don’t know, just trust me!). Always loved the Orioles for their spirit and visited Baltimore lots as I grew up. Well, seems to me they always held pure and true! I love their spirit.

S&S:  Favorite line from the book?   ”Take a stand, find the truth and expose it, don’t run from it. That gives us all hope, Laura. You have done a wonderful thing today.”  (Great question, I am so happy that you asked this! ) [We didn’t pay her to say this!]

S&S: Congratulations! You have six more Sterling Lakes books contracted through July 2014 with Desert Breeze.  Are the books a progressive series featuring the same characters? What a joy the Sterling Lakes Series is! Yes, really for the most part. By that I mean the series is definitely a progressive series thematically, and that’s why this third book of the nine attempted to propel the story arc out a bit further – the series also has recurring characters from Sterling Lakes, as well as featuring a few choice newcomers. Most of all, I am writing these so that a reader can jump into the series any time and become acquainted with Sterling Lakes and the good folks associated with this wonderful town. Hopefully, then, they would be inspired to read another one. (Could I just add the neighboring town, Clark’s Falls, was inspired by Central Falls, RI, home of Academy-Award nominee Viola Davis )

S&S: Give us a Reader’s Digest version of a typical day for you.

Another great question! [Again, no pay, but lots of praise!] Up, to work at my day job as a copy manager at a national jewelry retailer, gym and home, write. Yikes!

S&S:  With six more books in the queue, when do you sleep? Describe your current writing space (dust bunnies and all); then give us your dream space.

My laptop holds a place of honor! It’s in a cozy corner by a sunny window on a spindly table.

My dream space? A octagonal-shaped library/study with sliding hidden doors, book shelves like Henry Higgins, a real desk (mahogany) with drawers and a printer, plus a leather love seat over in the corner overlooking the view out to the ocean and a wet bar with a mind-reading expresso-maker lol. Thanks for that fantasy moment!

S&S: Fantasy is a good thing, right? LOVED Henry Higgins’ library! Other than writing, what’s a fun thing you love to do? Love to sing, love to sun (lol) and love to mini-golf – not that I’m any good!

S&S: Hmmm, we love to sing, we love the sun, and we love to mini-golf (and we’re not that good).  You must be one of our “other” sisters!  Before you go, would you please give us a short excerpt?

With pleasure!  Excerpt from Chapter One:

As he viewed the scene in the St. Luke’s Vacation Bible School picnic area, Cliff ‘Clean-Up’ Markham adjusted the brim of his baseball cap and said a silent prayer of thanksgiving.

You brought me back here to Sterling Lakes, Lord, safe and sound again after another year and for that I give You thanks.

He eyed the group of somber children sitting dutifully on the benches. Not all of them are as fortunate as I am. I’ll never forget the gifts You gave me, and I will always praise You for them. But, come on, we’ve got to liven this place up. They need spirit. Your spirit, Lord. Help me impart the joy of your spirit to them. Amen.

Bounding across the lush, green lawn on the long legs that had been his ticket to a career as a major league baseball outfielder, Cliff cried, “Play ball!”

Every head turned his way, and soon the lawn was a kaleidoscope of color and motion as the youngsters flew across the grass to him.

J.B. Norwood, head of the St. Luke’s Vacation Bible School, exclaimed, “It’s Cliff! It’s Cliff! He’s back! Hi there, Clean-Up!”

“Clean-Up!” A laughing group of children reached him, swarming him before any adults.

“There you are, Russell. Jeremy, whoa, you got tall. Hey, Margaret, how’ve you been? Say, Bucky, what’s up?”

“They call me Billy now,” the boy replied, kicking the ground.

“Right. Good to know.”

Cliff reviewed the sea of faces before him — some familiar to him and some new from last year’s session. In each one he read hope, youth, goodness… and a desperate need for direction and connection.

Then he saw her. Standing by the edge of the grass. Tall, wearing a blue dress. A vision like something from the pages of a magazine.

He smiled, and she walked towards him. Her long, dark hair swayed gracefully with her every rhythmical step. She was in her early twenties, he guessed. She smiled, and Cliff felt the ground shudder under him.

Beaming, she opened her arms and said, “Children, give Mr. Markham some room to breathe, okay? Why don’t we go sit together under the apple tree?”

“Miss Laurie, he’s here to play, not sit around,” came an instant protest

“Russell, you have a good point. Let’s let our star attraction decide.” She tilted her head to one side and with a mischievous half-smile, fixed her gaze on Cliff.

Not many times in his twenty-six years had Cliff Markham been stopped short. Life to him was a big game — fun, baseball, travel, women. Good times seemed to flow his way with his natural charm and ease.

Until now. The challenge radiating from those dark brown eyes stopped him in his tracks, and right away he knew he was in big trouble.

He took a few steps towards her and held out his hand. “We haven’t been properly introduced, Miss Laurie. I’m Cliff Markham. From Sterling Lakes. I play baseball with Tampa Bay Stingrays these days.” He shrugged.

——-

Okay and let me say thank you again so much for inviting me to visit today! What a great time and I wish you both the best in your writings.

S&S:  Hey, thank you! It was wicked fun! Next time we’ll try mini-golf, okay?  We’re so glad you came!

 

For more information on Regina, please check out the following links:

Regina’s Desert Breeze Author’s Page (with links to all her books):

http://bit.ly/Aw27ku

Barnes &Noble: Sterling Lakes Book Three: http://bit.ly/ypLxGI

Amazon: Sterling Lakes Book Three: http://amzn.to/x9LdqX

Blog: regina Andrews.wordpress.com: http://bit.ly/FNY0oj

Website: http://reginaandrews.com/

Treble Hearts Books link to “The Perfect Proposal” http://bit.ly/lAPP21

Awe-Struck Publishing link to “In Good Faith”  http://bit.ly/pLV5w

Twitter: regina_eileen

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/yTXSJy

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