3 Compelling Ways to Show Her You Love Her

Serena Jones, the heroine of my newest series, seems to attract male interest without effort, but she’s pretty much oblivious to it. So what’s a guy to do?

Valentine's Weather

Well…I’ve compiled a list for the men in her life, and readers of my blog, to help us all out.

See if you agree with them, then after you read A Fool and His Monet, you can see how the men in Serena’s life rank. And…

then pop over to this page to register your vote for your favourite man.

Because let’s face it, there are lots of people in our lives we can love, but how many of those relationships can we make last forever?

Heart Envelope

Okay, so here’s my test:

 

  • Does he respect her?

 

Respect her opinions, her choices, her values?

 

  • Does he protect her?

 

Both physically and emotionally. Does he run on the outside closest to traffic while out for a jog? See her to the door after an evening out? Guard his words to not crush her? Stand up for her against the harsh words of others, whether she is present or not? Take her side, not her mother’s, or worse, his mother’s?

 

  • Does he make sacrifices for her?

 

Give up a golf game or night with the guys so he can attend that event that is so important to her. Is she more important to him than his career? More important than his friends? More important than his family? More important than living where and how he’s always dreamed of living?

Your Turn: Any other questions we should add to the list?

Why Art Crime?

With only 3 weeks until A Fool and His Monet releases (2 weeks for the Ebook release), I thought it would be a great time to share with you some of the inspiration behind the Serena Jones Mysteries series, which tracks the exploits of art crime agent Serena Jones.

Art thieves aren’t as cultured and clever as shows like the Thomas Crown Affair and White Collar would have us believe. But when they succeed in making off with millions of dollars worth of fine art in a daring or brazen escapade, their thefts do make for sensational news stories.

Gardner Museum Courtyard 1
Central courtyard of the Gardner Museum during my visit last year

The arguably most famous is the 25+ year old, unsolved case of the Gardner Museum theft. In the wee hours of Mar 18th 1990 (while Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were beginning to wind down), two thieves disguised as police officers entered the museum, tied up the guards and proceeded to steal 13 very different works of art. Considering the specific pieces stolen, some have speculated that it was a theft to order. Others, such as Robert K. Wittman, founder of the FBI’s art crime team, believe the men were merely incompetent. Art that hot is impossible to sell. The buyer could never display it.

Yet, the museum remains optimistic that the stolen art will yet be recovered. Until then the empty frames from which priceless paintings such as Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee remain hanging on the walls as haunting reminders of the collective heritage stolen from all of us that night.

Screenshot 2016-02-08 09.18.50

To aid in their recovery, the museum is offering a $5 million reward for their recovery. Click the image above to link to their virtual tour of the theft and pieces stolen. Maybe you have a clue to where one of these pieces could be now and don’t even realize it!

As I began communicating with the FBI during my research for this series, one person suggested I write a mystery to solve this case. Maybe it would help the FBI solve it, she said.

Wouldn’t it make an intriguing story for a fiction writer to elicit the help of her readers in recovering priceless paintings and solving a 25+ year old crime?  😀

Your Turn: What do you think? Have any theories?

Always Watching by Lynette Eason

I’m super excited about my friend (and super popular romantic suspense author) Lynette Eason’s new series Elite Guardians.

Book 1, Always Watching, releases Feb 2nd, although it’s already available for digital download.

And…for Goodreads members in the US or Canada, you still have time to enter the Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to snag one of five copies. The giveaway ends Feb 2nd, so don’t delay!

The Elite Guardian series is about female bodyguards and their clients who can’t stay out of trouble.

Always Watching

In Always Watching, when it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians to protect his son. But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap.

Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him–including Olivia. But in her mind, even more dangerous than the threats to her life is the hold her handsome client has on her heart.

Colleen Coble, author of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge and the Hope Beach series says: “This is one of the best romantic suspense novels I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended!”

1602 Lynette headshotLynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice, the Deadly Reunions, and the Hidden Identity series. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in South Carolina. Learn more at www.lynetteeason.com.

And a Goodreads Giveaway for…

A Fool and His Monet begins Mon. Feb 1st

 

 

5 Good Things About Getting Sick

I don’t know anyone who actually likes getting sick. Well, except as an excuse to miss skip school. But…there are other upsides. And I had a chance to think of a few this past week:

sick child

1) It gives you a guilt-free reason to ignore your to-do list.

2) It’s much easier to eat less. So…that’ll shrink that Christmas-goodies-stretched tummy a little. Which…with a little self-control post illness might help you lose a few extra pounds. Hey, I can dream.

3) It’s an opportunity to get more rest. Yeah, okay depending on the illness, more sleep may be wishful thinking, but all that laying down with your eyes closed has to add up against the sleep deficit somehow, right? Just don’t moan so loudly.

4) It gives your family a chance to demonstrate how much they love you.

5) It makes you better appreciate the days you’re healthy.

Hope you enjoy a healthy weekend and new week!

For those of you who can access the Hallmark Channel, tonight (Jan 23rd) at 9 pm EST, Unleashing Darcy will premiere. It’s based on a book by fellow LI author Teri Wilson, who of course based the story on Pride and Prejudice! I’ll be looking for it on youtube in a few days since we don’t have cable.  😉 You can check out the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT0o_k54Y6M

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Would You Rather with Jessica R. Patch & Giveaway

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I’m delighted to have author Jessica R. Patch and the hero and heroine from her debut Love Inspired Suspense, Fatal Reunion, with me today. I’ve had the privilege of being a guest on Jessica’s blog a few times, answering her “Would you rather” questions on behalf of myself and my characters, so I’m thrilled to now be able to turn the tables on her and ask the questions of her!

To orient us, here’s the back cover blurb for Fatal Reunion:

Fatal ReunionWRONGLY ACCUSED

When her beloved grandmother is almost killed during a home invasion, Piper Kennedy isn’t surprised that she’s a suspect—especially since Luke Ransom is on the case. The handsome detective she once loved thinks she knows more than she’s telling about the attack. And given her crooked past and the heartbreaking way she’d been forced to betray Luke years ago, Piper understands why he doesn’t trust her. But when attempts are made on her life, Luke insists on keeping her safe and finding out who wants her dead. And Piper and Luke soon realize a remorseless criminal will do anything to keep them from the truth…or an unexpected second shot at a future.

Piper is such a cool name! And let me just add: I had the chance to read this book last week. Two things that made it particularly interesting for me were Piper’s unique occupation–she’s a karate expert and dojo owner, a skill that comes in handy a few times in the story  😉 –and Jessica managed to add twists I didn’t see coming, which is always a fun surprise!

Okay, on to my questions for Jess and her characters:

Would you rather have loved and lost or never have loved at all?

Luke: That’s tough because I have loved and lost. I guess loved and lost because I can’t imagine not ever loving Piper.

Piper: I’d say love and lost since I never really experienced romantic love before Luke. Just people who said they loved me but only wanted to manipulate me.

Jessica: Loved and lost. I think everyone needs to experience love. And heartbreak can be healed.

Agreed. 😉

Would you rather change the past or be able to see into the future?

Luke: Well, asking me that today I’m saying change the past so I could have done things differently concerning Piper. Had you asked me that before Piper came back into my life, I’d say see the future—I’d want to know if I was ever going to fall in love again. Not that I believe I ever could have.

Piper: Luke, you are so sweet, but I know you’re buttering me up for a puppy. Okay, now to answer the question. I don’t want to know the future. But there are so many things in my past I would love to have done differently. For one thing, not getting involved with Chaz Michaels and his crew.

Jessica: I’m with Piper. I don’t want to know the future, unless I can change something bad that might happen to one of my children. But I would like to change a few mistakes I’ve made.

Ooh, do tell… 😛 

Would you rather get stuck in a broken elevator or stuck on a broken ski lift?

Luke: Ski lift. I want to snuggle with my honey under a blanket….and with our puppy. wink wink

Piper: LOL! Elevator. With a puppy we’re only watching for one day. Then when you have no way to clean up the mess, you’re reminded of why I said I didn’t want pets. (Luke: You’re harsh.)

Jessica: Definitely an elevator because I hate the cold and heights. Although, if I happened to get stuck with Luke, Piper, and a puppy…scrunches nose

Hmm, I’m with Luke, although a squirming puppy up there could make it a tad dicey!

Here’s more about Jessica:

JessicaRPatchJessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her watching way too much Netflix with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Her novel, Fatal Reunion, releases with Love Inspired Suspense in January, 2016. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

Links:

Get Patched In! Jessica’s newsletter subscribers get first looks at book covers and excerpts as well as receive notifications of new book releases and other cool news. Sign up at www.jessicarpatch.com

Join in the conversation on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jessicarpatch

and Twitter! https://twitter.com/jessicarpatch

Check out Jessica’s Pinterest story board where you can meet the cast of Fatal Reunion and peruse some of the scenes set in the book. https://www.pinterest.com/jessicarpatch/fatal-reunion/

Your Turn: Answer one of the questions I posed to Jessica and her characters for a chance to win a copy of her book. (winner will be randomly drawn from comments  made before midnight EST Jan 9, 2016

Have a Blessed Christmas

Wishing you and yours a joyous, peaceful and blessed Christmas celebration with family and friends.

Nativity

Today on the More to Life Magazine blog,

I’m sharing St. Nicholas traditions.

Port Aster Secrets by Sandra Orchard

And if you or a loved one gets an Ereader, tablet or iPad this Christmas, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to download Deadly Devotion for FREE from online retailers. The offer and discounts on books 2&3 extend through January.

Join Me…

Hi Everyone,

I returned late last night from a research trip to the beautiful Martha’s Vineyard and I’m sharing pictures and tidbits about it on the Craftie Ladies Blog today. Hope you’ll stop by.

MV Quansoo

The winner of Permanent Vacancy by Katy Lee is Patti Gelner. Patti if you don’t see my email in your inbox, requesting your snail mail address, please contact me through the website. Thank you so much to all who participated!

A Sure Thing and A Christmas Cookie Recipe

I’m delighted to welcome back one of my favourite romantic suspense authors, Katy Lee, who has an intriguing new book coming out. Promise Preorder

Isn’t that dog adorable?!

Okay, take it away, Katy!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you brought your sweet tooth. Tis the season to be covered in flour and chocolate as I stand among the tastiest holiday treats from my generation’s past. My kitchen has been turned into a cookie factory made from my too-numerous-to-count recipe cards that I really should rewrite sometime. However, there is just something about an old, yellowed index card with batter stains dripped on it from previous years that tells me the holidays are here.

SAMSUNG

My gift to you today is my tasty and colorful Church Window recipe, so stay tuned for that. They not only taste yummy, but they brighten up your plate and stand out from all those tan and brown cookies. But before I pass it along, and as yummy and colorful as they are, I have to admit there is something to be said for those tan and brown cookies.

They are a sure thing.

My favorite cookie of all time is the basic homemade chocolate chip. You can’t go wrong, and when you are trying to be “good” by only taking two cookies from the table of assorted treats, you know you’ll be happy with your choice.

I like to equate a chocolate chip cookie to a favorite author. Time is limited. Money is limited. You have to be selective in your purchase, and at the bookstore with so many books to choose from, I still will grab a book by an author I know and trust. They’re the sure thing…just like that light and crispy, warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie.

The chocolate chip cookie has been branded in our minds, homes and culture since 1930 when the owner of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts ran out of baker’s chocolate and substituted broken up pieces of a Nestle bar. She created a mixture all her own, and voilà, the cookie was found.

But only because the baker tried something new and proved there are lots more new favorites out there to be found.

So, this season I encourage you to try a new cookie recipe, and maybe even try a new author. You never know, you might find a new sure thing.

Now here’s that recipe I promised you:

Church Window Cookies

Melt 1 stick of butter/margarine and a 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler

Once melted, remove from heat and add colored marshmallows and chopped walnuts. Mix up until chocolate covers everything.

On your counter have ready aluminum foil with coconut sprinkled in the middle. Pour marshmallows onto the coconut and form into a log. Roll to spread coconut evenly around whole log.

Wrap log up in foil and freeze. When it hardens, unroll foil and slice into ½ inch cookies.

SAMSUNG

Bonus: Make a bunch to keep in the freezer for when you need to make a dessert for a bake sale or an impromptu visitor. People will wonder where you find the time!

Sandra here again, first with a tip: keep that foil log away from the dog. That’ll be too tempting to resist!  😉 

Permanent VacancyKaty, thanks so much for sharing this recipe. Now… Christmas will come early for one lucky participant. Katy’s giving away a copy of her June release Permanent Vacancy (US residents only). 

Here’s the question we’d like you to answer to enter:

Your Turn: What authors and cookies are your sure things?

 

And be sure to check out Katy’s newest novel: 

Silent Night Pursuit

RACE AGAINST TIME

Lacey Phillips believes Captain Wade Spencer knows something about her brother’s mysterious death. So she throws caution to the wind and tracks him down on Christmas Eve looking for answers. Wade tries to turn her away—until bullets start to fly. He doesn’t want to take the stubborn beauty on his life-or-death mission to find out the truth about how Wade’s past may have cost her brother his life. But with killers lurking everywhere, he has to protect her—especially when she breaches the walls around his heart. Can Wade and his faithful service dog keep Lacey alive long enough to figure out who’s targeting them?

 

katy_lee_rita_photoKaty Lee is the author of six published novels. She writes suspenseful romances that thrill and inspire. She believes all of her stories should stir and satisfy readers—from the edge of their seats. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She enjoys traveling the side-roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways. A homeschooling mom of three competitive swimmers, Katy often writes from the stands while cheering them on. Her 2014 book, Grave Danger, received the highest honor in romance: a RITA® nomination in the Romantic Suspense category, as well as a nod for the Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery and suspense.

Visit Katy at: www.KatyLeeBooks.com

 

Breaking News…

book-deadly-devotion

Deadly Devotion, book 1 in my Port Aster Secrets mystery series, is currently free as an Ebook at online retailers:

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1bxYfCN

Nook: http://bit.ly/16nmsaJ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1SxxxeI

iBooks: http://apple.co/1MX0KxW

 

Join me on the More to Life Magazine’s blog for “Five Tips on Staying Healthy This Holiday Season”.

 

A Writer’s Christmas List

Well, it’s that time of year again when the family is asking for Christmas gift ideas. So…I thought I’d help out all of you out there with writers in your lives.

1) Chocolate 

This really shouldn’t need further explanation. It both consoles and re-energizes overtaxed brain cells.

chocolate

2) A Pet

Another no-brainer. Walking the dog is a great time to dream up the next scene in a book. Not to mention an excuse to leave the desk. After all, too much sitting is not good for one’s health. The bonus is a pet gives a writer something to post on Facebook.  😉

Fairy+Bella

3) Post-it Notes

Go for the multicolour stacks. There’s no better way to procrastinate writing, ur work at solving a plot problem, then jotting down summaries of every scene you’ve already written and of those you plan to write, in a different colour for different points of view, and moving them around on a story board until they work the way they’re supposed to.

Storyboard
as you can see, I’m in dire need of more post-it notes!

4) Chocolate

The importance of this essential nutrient to a writer’s creativity cannot be underestimated.

5) Research Trips

Writers are always told to write what they know, so…let them see, hear, smell, touch, and taste the adventure. Yes, that’s the car from Back to the Future. What can I say? My honey bunny spares no expense to ensure I get the details right, by going to the source…whether it happened 200 years ago or 200 years in the future. 😉

back to the future

Or a nice card works too! 

Happy shopping!

 

Introducing Rising Darkness by Nancy Mehl

RT Book Reviews calls Nancy Mehl‘s newest release “Romantic suspense at its best, with an engaging plot that’s not overpowering. Mehl is an amazing author who writes believable stories, knows what fans expect and does not disappoint.”

 Rising Darkness And who could resist that cool cover?

It was Nancy’s covers that first drew me to her books, when my publisher asked me to provide examples of the type of covers I’d like for my Port Aster Secrets series. At the time, Nancy had another series out with similar type covers, depicting the hero or heroine at the top of the page and a scene at the bottom.

I love them! And I was happy that my publisher did to and produced something similar.  😀

But back to this cool book. I asked Nancy if there was anything unique or unusual about it and this is what she had to say:

“Yes, there is! My main character, Sophie Wittenbauer, actually appeared in a different series–UNBREAKABLE, book two in my Road to Kingdom series. I always felt her story was left hanging, and I wanted to bring her full cycle. My editors allowed me to move her into this new series and give her new life!”

That is so fun!

Gathering Shadows and Deadly Echoes are the first two books in this Finding Sanctuary series. But don’t worry, each book is a standalone romantic suspense.

Here’s the Back Cover Blurb for Rising Darkness:

Sophie Wittenbauer left her strict Mennonite hometown under a cloud of shame and regret. After a rough childhood, her teenage poor choices harmed others, leaving her with no choice but to change her life. Her entry-level writing job at a newspaper puts her in the right place at the right time to overhear office gossip about a prisoner who has information on a decades-old unsolved crime. While the other reporters write off the tip as the ravings of an angry criminal, Sophie can’t ignore it because she knows the name of this prisoner from her old life.

Upon learning from the man that one of the other suspects is hiding out in the Missouri town of Sanctuary, she takes on a false identity to investigate and meets the young pastor of a local church–the very man she’d loved as a troubled teenager. As she gets closer to finding the suspect, will the truth of her own past come out before she discovers the identity of the criminal–or the very person she’s seeking puts a fatal stop to her investigation?

Are you intrigued?

All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul.

“I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

Nancy MehlLearn more about Nancy and her 20 books at: www.nancymehl.com.

She is also part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com

And on Facebook