Author Speed Dating – A.J. Norris

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: A.J. Norris

 

 

 

 

15 Questions

1. Which ALICE IN WONDERLAND character would best describe you when you’re writing on deadline?

“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!”  The white rabbit.

I normally don’t write on deadline, but I’m currently writing a Christmas story with a deadline. I feel like I’m scurrying around, even though I have plenty of time.

2. Have you ever based a character, at least in part, on a real person you knew, and was that person able to see himself/herself in your story?

Um…yes and man, I hope not. 

3. Hot rockers over 50: Lenny Kravitz, Bruce Springsteen or Bono?

I’d say Lenny Kravitz because he doesn’t look 50.

4. What is “dressed up” for you: a designer dress and stiletto heels or clean yoga pants, a sweatshirt and tennis shoes without holes?

I’m a jeans and T-shirt gal. I do own dresses and heels, but I try to avoid wearing them for the most part. “Dressing up” takes me out of my comfort zone, but so does wearing sweat pants.

5. What was the most unusual comment you’ve ever received in a fan mail letter or a review?

I don’t know if this would be considered unusual, but I got a random request for an autograph from someone in another country. I was so flattered that I sent off a couple signed posters of my book covers right away.

6. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

I immediately write that new idea down. I have an app called Evernote that I use to store story ideas.

7. If you could invite three of your favorite authors over for a summer barbecue, who would be chowing down on hamburgers and brats (or veggie burgers) in your backyard?

J.R. Ward: I love her, and she’s the reason I started writing.

Stephen King: I don’t necessarily subscribe to his writing methods, but he’s so creative, and I can imagine he would be very interesting to talk to.

Gena Showalter: Love her, nuff said.

8. How old were you when you had the first inkling you might be a writer, and what gave you that hint?

When I was about 37, I was wanting to deal with some old baggage that kept creeping up on me. So, I decided to write a fictionalized story of some things that happened to me. The book was more of what could’ve been if I’d made different choices. The experience wound up being cathartic, and I’ve been writing ever since.

9. Do you ban all pets from your house, tolerate them for your family’s sake or are you a pet lover, typing with a dog, cat and maybe a bird sitting on your lap right now? And if you are a pet lover, list your brood.

I’ve loved dogs for as long as I remember. I’ve never considered myself a cat person, even though my husband and I have had a couple of cats in the past. We now have two Yorkie mixes named Reese and Rollo. They are often snoozing in my office when I write.

10. If you could write a novel containing any generally “off-limits” element, what would we find in your story?

I want to write a horror romance, even though I can’t watch horror films. LOL. Is there such a thing?

11. Name a hero or heroine from one of your books you loved a little more than all the others. (Yes, it’s like picking a favorite child.)

I love Harry Hunter from TATTOO KILLER, Book 1 of the Tattoo Crimes series. He was the hero of that book although not the romantic hero. Harry is a 55-year-old, two-fisted coffee drinker and a grumpy but loveable police detective. I loved him so much I wrote book two in that series, INKED KILLER, about him. (Note: INKED KILLER releases in October 2017.)

12. Name the most unique vacation you ever took, and what was your favorite thing about it?

Yikes! I don’t vacation much. So, any vacation is unique for the simple fact that I took a vacation. I recently went to Orlando for the RWA national conference and brought my husband and son along, and I enjoyed traveling with them. It was also my son’s first trip to Disney, and he was so excited. I loved that I could give him this trip.

13. What book are you reading right now, and what is the best book you’ve read in a long time?

At this moment, I’m not reading anything. I also work full-time and have many writing projects I want to finish before the end of the year. This leaves very little time for anything else, and my family comes before reading.

14. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

They all gave me trouble. Sometimes the characters don’t want to do what I tell them to do. I’m a pantser for the most part. However, whenever I get to about the 20k – 30k word mark, I tend to hit a wall. Although I never start writing a story unless I know the ending.

What helps me make to the end is plotting out the climax of the story and working backward.

15. What has been your scariest moment as an author?

Release days are always the scariest moments. You never know if readers will connect with your characters or give you a bad review.

***

 

 

 

Tattoo Killer

By A.J. Norris

 

The expression on his face melted her insides. His eyes burned for her. She swallowed hard. That crooked smile of his made an appearance. The tiny bathroom grew larger and suddenly he seemed so far away. An easy fix. She removed her shirt and stepped closer to him, then slid her jeans down her thighs. Now it was his turn to undress. Luckily for her, he was only wearing gray plaid flannel pajama bottoms.

He gripped the waistband and ripped them down his legs.

 

***

TATTOO KILLER, Book 1 in the Tattoo Crimes series and an October 2016 release from Limitless Publishing LLC, may be purchased through these retailers: Amazon US, Amazon Canada and Amazon UK.

Bonus:

TATTOO KILLER is also part of a boxed set, MY SECURITY: PROTECTION AT ITS FINEST, from Limitless, featuring stories from seven romantic-suspense authors.

***

About A.J.

A.J. Norris is a romantic suspense and paranormal romance novelist. She began writing as a way to dim down the voices inside her head. She enjoys being able to get inside someone else’s head, even a fictional one, and see what they see. Watching how her characters deal with difficult situations or squirm with the uncomfortable ones make the hard work of writing all worth it.

She is a movie buff, especially book adaptations, loves watching her son play baseball and communing with other writers. She lives with her family who are extremely tolerant (at least most of the time) of all her late nights behind the computer.

Stay in contact with A.J. through her website, www.ajnorrisauthor.com, and on Facebook and Twitter.

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Author Speed Dating – Terri Reed

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

 

This week’s guest: Terri Reed

15 Questions

1. Picture yourself inside an airplane with the door open and a parachute on your back. Would you shout “whoo-hoo” and leap out or hold on for dear life and beg the pilot to land? Or is this question moot because you would be waving up at the plane from solid ground?

If I knew the parachute would really open, I’d be jumping with my eyes closed.

2. Name a character from one of your novels that is most like you. Now name one least like you. Explain why?

Claire from my second book, A SHELTERING LOVE, is most like me. She is earnest and a bit naïve. My heroine from the book THE COWBOY TARGET, Jackie, is tough and brave and bold. I’m not.

3. What is your favorite writer’s “uniform”, and how much do you love that you get to pick it out?

Most days I wear loose fitting yoga pants and a short-sleeve loose fitting top. I can’t stand anything binding.

4. Would you consider yourself an exercise fanatic, a couch potato or somewhere in the middle? And when you do get out to exercise, what is your favorite way to sweat?

I love to exercise, but I don’t make enough time for it. When I do exercise, I love to dance, go for hikes, and do Pilates and Barre3.

5. How many books have you written and in which genres and sub-genres?

I’ve written 40+ books. Christian romance and romantic suspense novels and few sweet romances.

6. In 10 words or less, give your best advice to aspiring authors.

Keep learning your craft, never take criticism personally and be persistent.

7. Name a talent you have that your readers might not know about?

Not sure I have any.

8. What are the steps you take when you start writing a new book? Character sketches? Extensive research? Fly by the seat of your pants and figure it all out later?

I’m a heavy plotter, and forms are my BFF’s.

9. From the over-30-action-hero-hotties list: Will Smith or Chris Evans?

That’s a hard decision, they are both hotties. I will watch any movie with either actor and would love to meet them.

10. If you had it all to do over again, what would you do differently in your writing career?

I would listen to my college professor who encouraged me to pursue writing.

 11. If you could have dinner with one living celebrity or world leader, who would it be, and what would be on the menu?

Queen Elizabeth—salad, fish and veggies and cake.

 12. Preference for a great evening with your significant other: dinner out and possibly dancing or takeout and your control of the remote for Netflix?

My preference would be dinner out and dancing. I love to dance.

13. Do you have a book that you been dreaming of writing for years, and what has kept you from writing it?

I have several but deadlines keep me from writing for myself.

14.Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

There are so many author friends who’ve made a huge impact with their support and encouragement.

15. If we imagine that a reader has lived on a desert island and missed the opportunity to read one of your books, which title do you recommend that she order as soon as she returns to civilization?

 A SHELTERING LOVE.

 ***

 

 

 

Guardian

By Terri Reed

 

 

When they were within shouting distance of the rocks, Leo noticed fishing poles and a tackle box. This must have been where Alicia and her son had been when they’d seen the killer.

Alicia pointed upstream and yelled, “He came from that direction and stopped about three hundred and sixty feet straight out from here.” She gestured to the rocks beneath her feet.

“That’s helpful and gives us a place to start.” Leo stared, admiring the pretty lady. Her hair lifted slightly in the wind that had kicked up. Sunlight reflected in her piercing blue eyes. “You and the officers can head back to the station.” He didn’t want her here to see the body when they found the victim.

Alicia shook her head. “I want to make sure she’s found. Someone has to stand up for her.”

Respecting her decision, he saluted her then turned to Craig. “You heard the lady.”

Craig slowly turned the boat toward the middle of the river. True stood on the bow, his head up, gaze alert. Leo tuned into the dog’s nuances the farther away from shore they traveled. He documented the time and distance from land on the notepad he carried. They circled the area where Alicia had pointed. True showed no signs of alerting.

“Head downstream,” Leo instructed Craig.

Since the body hadn’t been weighted down, it most likely had been swept along by the river’s current.  Craig zigzagged the boat from one shore to the other, moving farther and farther away from the spot. Leo wondered if maybe the suspect had come back and removed the woman’s body. Frustration curled in his stomach.

Then True shifted. He licked his lips and shuffled his paws, clear signs he was picking up a scent. Leo’s pulse jumped. The dog’s tail went down as he craned his neck, dipping his nose toward the water. He pivoted, and then leaned over the starboard side. Keeping his snout at the surface of the water, True walked the length of the boat and stepped easily over the bench seat.

Anticipation revving through him, Leo gestured for Craig to make a slow turn. True retraced his steps, barking an alert. He scratched and nipped at the water. Knowing the animal had scent glands in the roof of his mouth, Leo interpreted these actions as the sign this was the spot.

“Good boy.” Leo grasped True’s life vest to keep the dog from jumping in.

Leo nodded at Craig, who shut off the motor, then strapped on a buoyance compensator, his mask and oxygen tank. The man sat on the side of the boat and fell backward into the water. True barked and lunged for the water. Leo continued to hold him back.

“No, boy,” Leo said adjusting his grip on True. “We’re staying here.”

Leo and True both watched the surface of the river. Leo pulled on latex gloves in anticipation of handling the body and prepared the large, waterproof plastic body bag. His gaze darted back to the shore, where Alicia stood sentinel on the rocks, flanked by the two officers.

She held her head up and her shoulders back like a fierce warrior. She was tall and so very appealing. He admired her commitment to being a voice for the victim. Most people would want to bail the second they could. Not Alicia. He liked that about her.

 

***

GUARDIAN, an April 2017 released from Harlequin Love Inspired and Book 1 in the Classified K-9 Unit continuity series, may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

 

About Terri

Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top 25, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 and featured in USA Today, Christian Fiction Magazine and Romantic Times Magazine and finaled in RWA’s RITA contest, National Reader’s Choice Award contest, ACFW’s The Carol Award contest. Contact Terri at www.terrireed.com or P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97224, and find her on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Carla Cassidy

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match. 

This week’s guest: Carla Cassidy

 

 

15 Questions

1. Picture yourself at an amusement park. Are you the rider on the tallest roller coaster, clamoring for speed; the only adult on the spinning ride with the kids, begging for it to stop; or the bench-sitter, holding the coats and waving?

I wouldn’t be at the amusement park at all. These days I get my need for speed satisfied by sitting up too fast in bed. I get a dizzying high trying to remember why I’m in the room I’m in.  And those coats? I’d be wearing all of them because I’m cold all the time!

2. Name an author whose work you read and still think “I’m not worthy”?

Almost every book I read has some element that makes me think that.  For relationships, it’s Nora Roberts. For psychological thrillers, it’s Lisa Gardner, and for heart-pounding suspense, I enjoy Linda Castillo. I also love Dean Koontz, and that’s just to name a few.

3. What was genre of the first piece you can remember writing, and how old were you when you penned this masterpiece?

I was about eight or nine when I discovered Mille the Model comic books. It wasn’t long before I was writing my own adventures for the beautiful New York girl!

4. Are you traditionally published, self-published or a “hybrid” author, and why did you choose that path?

I guess I’m a hybrid author only because I wrote a book that didn’t fit into my publisher’s guidelines and decided to put it up myself. Going forward, I believe I’m going to enjoy being a hybrid author.

5. Which Star Wars character best describes your personality in regular life? What about on deadline?

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never seen a Star Wars movie. I can say I’m fairly driven on and off a deadline.

6. Was there ever a time before or after you were published that you considered quitting? If so, how did you convince yourself to try one more time?

I had been writing short stories and poetry and getting enough rejections to wallpaper a room. I finally decided I’d had enough. I packed up my typewriter (yes, it was that long ago) and took it to the basement. Two days later I got a check in the mail for selling a poem. It was like a sign from God. I shouldn’t give up! That $8.00 check had me rushing back downstairs to get the typewriter. I was meant to be a writer!  

7. Celebrities aging beautifully: Mark Harmon or Sean Connery?

Mark Harmon – be still my heart!

8. Since all writers are readers, name your favorite hero or heroine from a book you’ve read. Has he or she had an impact in how you write the characters in your own books?

I can’t answer this. Through the years I’ve read so many books and met so many wonderful characters, it’s impossible for me to pick one.

9. Who was the first person – besides your mom and dad – who told you that you could write?

Definitely it was my husband.  He encouraged me every step of the way to becoming a published author.

10. Do you own at least one purse (or twenty) from a well-known fashion designer, or are you more the bag-to-carry-my-junk-in type?

Don’t own any designer purses, I’m definitely a bag-to-carry-my-junk type.

11. Do you belong to a critique group, and how has that membership affected your writing?

I don’t belong to a critique group anymore, but I do belong to Mid-American Romance Authors and love the members who are so supportive and fun!

12. What are some of the activities you were participating in when you came up with an idea for a book? (Note: Keep it clean.)

Activities? What’s that?  In the shower is where a lot of my book ideas pop into my head.

13. Music: Pink or Taylor Swift?

Neither. Just give me good old rock and roll!

14. Do you write the synopsis before or after you write the manuscript?

Usually before, but there have been several books that I’ve written first and then written the synopsis afterward.

15. What is your biggest dream for your writing career? The New York Times bestseller list? A movie deal? Your own island in the Caribbean? All of the above?

I don’t care about an island, but I would like to hit the New York Times bestseller list again, and I’d definitely love to land a movie deal.     

 

***

 

 

 

 

 

Killer Cowboy

By Carla Cassidy

 

 

Dillon didn’t plan it, but before he knew it, Cassie was in his arms. As she raised her face he captured her lips with his. She tasted of chocolate and raspberry and white-hot desire, and her body was invitingly warm against his.

She curled into him as if wanting to get as close as possible. He stroked his hand through her springy, soft hair and deepened the kiss.

He finally tore his mouth from hers and peered down at her. “Was that just another mistake?” she asked as she raised a finger to her lower lip.

“Probably,” he replied. “There’s something about you that makes me want more, but I’m not looking for love right now in my life.”

She tilted her head slightly, her gaze curious. “I’m not sure what I’m looking for, either. But then what are we doing?”

“I don’t know,” he confessed.

 

Be sure to check out the next book in this exciting miniseries: Cowboys of Holiday Ranch – where sun, earth and hard work turn men into rugged cowboys…and irresistible heroes!

 

***

 

KILLER COWBOY, a June release from the Harlequin Romantic Suspense line and part of the Cowboys of Holiday Ranch series, may be purchased through these and other retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and Harlequin.

 

***

About Carla

Carla Cassidy is an award-winning,  New York Times bestselling author of over 150 books.  She loves Mexican food, reality television and writing stories to thrill and chill readers. Stay in touch with Carla through her website, www.carlacassidybooks.com, or through Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

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Author Speed Dating – Melinda Leigh

Author Speed Dating(1)

I love discovering new authors, so I wanted my blog to be a place where readers and my author pals could come together. Only we like to do this Speed-Dating style. Check out a new author and her work here every Wednesday, and if the spark is there, you’ll have a match.

This week’s guest: Melinda Leigh

 

Author Melinda Leigh

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

 

 

15 Questions

1. If you were to make an appearance at Comic-Con, which Superhero costume would you be rocking?

Wonder Woman!

2. At which time of day are you more productive as a writer, mornings or nights, and is caffeine a friend or foe?

Morning and coffee is my BFF.

3. George Clooney or Bradley Cooper?

Matt Damon.

4. What is your biggest dream as an author?

I’m already blessed with achieving more than I ever imagined. I support my family doing something I love. It doesn’t get any better than that.

5. Name a movie you’ve watched countless times but one you’ll still tune in to whenever it’s on cable.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

6. How many books have you published and in how many genres and sub-genres?

12 novels, 4 novellas, and 1 short story, all romantic suspense titles.

7. Love It or List It or Modern Family?

Modern Family.

8. What is your favorite way to celebrate after you receive a new book contract or get a great review?

I don’t celebrate either of those things. They’re just business. BUT when I finish a book, I usually take a couple of days off from writing and clean my office. It gets a little chaotic in there during the final few weeks. I like to start each new project with a clean desk.

9. What is your best advice for new writers?

Keep improving your craft. I see too many new authors rush into self-publishing before their book is ready. I rewrote She Can Run four times before I got an agent, and it went through another solid revision before she sold it.

10. Extra-large French fries or a perfect square of dark chocolate?

Chocolate, but I can’t stop at one square.

11. Which of your books gave you the most trouble, and what helped you make it to “the end”?

Frankly, they’re all difficult. Contracts, deadlines, and self-discipline get me to the end. There are no other options. Writing is my job. The bills need to be paid, and I have two kids in college. I don’t make money on unfinished manuscripts.

12. Do you have a music playlist for writing? If so, list some of your go-to artists.

I often use music to help me get in the right mood for a scene. I listen to everything from The Black Keys and Coldplay and to John Legend and Bruno Mars. It all depends on the emotion/tone I’m trying to set.

13. Virginia Woolf or Maya Angelou?

Maya Angelou.

14. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a book and a new idea pops into your head?

That would depend if the idea pertains to the current book or a different one. If it’s for the current work-in-process, I stop to evaluate it. Can’t pass up on a better plot twist! If the idea is for a new book, I write it down in detail and get back to work. I keep notes in my phone for just this reason.

15. Were there other authors who helped you along the way on your writer’s journey, and how did they make a difference for you?

Writing is a solitary vocation. Authors need peeps. I have so many I can’t possibly list them all, but two besties I turn to for motivation and support on an almost daily basis are Kendra Elliot and Rayna Vause.

***

 

MidnightObsession-21526-CV-FT-c2r3

 

 

Midnight Obsession

By Melinda Leigh

 

 

 

There wasn’t anyone around to hear her scream.

Her knees wobbled as she climbed out of the van. The cold punched through her coat and shook her to the marrow.

He handed her a flask. “Drink.”

Taking it, she tilted it to her lips and sipped. Whiskey burned a fiery path through the center of her body but didn’t manage to warm her.

“I have a script for you to read.”

Great. He wanted to role-play in the middle of an Arctic front. What was up with him? Her creep meter kept waving back and forth between He’s OK and He’s going to kill me.

“Can’t I read this inside the van?” She shivered, her teeth clacking like castanets.

“No. It has to be here. But I promise it won’t take long. Afterward, I’ll make sure you get home.”

She took the sheet of paper. The wind kicked up, fluttering the corners of the page. Cold tears blurred her vision. The man shined a flashlight on the page.

“Read it,” he demanded in a voice that sparked a hot prick of renewed fear in the pit of her belly.

This was wrong. All wrong. Without lifting her head, she surveyed the area again, but the piles of dirt all around the site blocked the view. There was no one around. She was on her own.

Her gaze dropped to the page. The three short, strange sentences sealed her fate.

This was it then. The end, and she’d meet it alone and cold. Made perfect sense. That was how she’d spent most of her life.

Her voice trembled. “I see my master in paradise. He calls to me. Take me to him.”

His next moves were smooth and sure. He stepped around her. One hand grabbed her hair and pulled her head back, exposing her throat. Her scalp stung. A flash of metal shone in the corner of her eye. She knew what it was and what was about to happen.

Her instincts told her to run, but resignation and terror held her feet in place, like hands gripping her ankles. Panic raced through her veins, her heart beating so fast and hard it felt as if it would crack through her ribs, burst from her body, and fly away. Tears slid down her cheeks.

The slice was mercifully quick. She barely felt the cut of the blade or the gush of her blood onto the white snow at her feet. The liquid flooded her body with warmth.

But with every beat of her pulse, her heart squeezed more life from her body. Every beat of her heart brought her closer to death. Weaker. More distant. Distress slid away as her body drained.

She fell to her knees. Dropping to the ground behind her, he grasped her shoulders. He pulled her back to his chest, supporting her against his body. His hand stroked her hair away from her face, his touch loving.

Reverent.

As her vision dimmed, she sagged sideways. He cradled her in his arms. Leaning over her, he pressed his forehead to her temple and whispered, “You are home.”

***

MIDNIGHT OBSESSION, a January 2017 release from Montlake Romance, may be purchased from these retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million.

***

About Melinda

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A life-long lover of books, she started writing as a way to preserve her sanity while raising her kids. Over the next few years, she learned a few things about writing a book. The process was much more fun than analyzing financial statements, and she decided to turn her hobby into a career. Melinda’s debut novel, SHE CAN RUN, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. She is a RITA® Award Finalist and has earned three Daphne du Maurier Award nominations, two Silver Falchion Awards, and two Golden Leaf Awards. Melinda’s eighteen romantic suspense titles have sold 2.5 million copies.

Melinda holds a 2nd degree belt in Kenpo Karate. She’s dabbled in Arnis stick fighting, studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and taught women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house in the suburbs with her husband, two kids, a couple of shelter dogs and two rescue cats who clearly run the show. With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination. Find out more about Melinda by visiting melindaleigh.com, and stay in touch through Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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