99¢ Sale on A Fool and His Monet

If you haven’t started reading my Serena Jones Mysteries yet, here is your chance to for less than a buck! 

Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art–one that’s surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She’s joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother’s pleas to do something safer–like get married–Serena’s learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.

When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather’s murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.

Here’s what others are saying about A Fool and His Monet: 

an enthralling whodunit, replete with action, suspense, danger and a lot of humor. And there’s a hint of a real romance developing. Serena is a terrific lead series character.” ~Mysterious Reviews

“This intriguing look into the world of art theft from the perspective of an FBI agent, will keep readers guessing the twists and turns as to the identify and motive of the thief.” ~ RT Book Reviews

“Orchard debuts a lighthearted mystery series. Her quirky characters are laugh-out-loud funny and reminiscent of the protagonists in ­Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum stories. Readers looking for a humorous mystery with a dash of romance may find it here.” ~ Library Journal Review

But don’t wait. The 99¢ sale ends Feb 28th 

Find it at your favourite Ebook retailer for all popular Ereaders: 

Kindle          Kobo           Nook                iBook

 

Laugh out loud and…develop your vocabulary!

And if you love the book, you can revisit the characters in: 

 

 

Begin Reading Another Day Another Dali…

It’s official…Another Day Another Dali, the second book in my Serena Jones Mysteries is now available. 

Here is an excerpt from the opening chapter to whet your appetite: 

 

I tore my gaze from the porch that wrapped around the drug dealer’s house and cringed at the number on my phone’s call display.

Mom said there’d be days like this.

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Tanner, still decked out in his SWAT gear, peered over my shoulder as the phone vibrated insistently in my hand. “Good thing you’re a field-hardened FBI agent, so you don’t let little old ladies scare the pants off you.”

I sent him a silencing glare. Ignoring his grin, I turned away from the rest of the team traipsing in and out of the building, and clicked Connect. “Hi, Nana,” I said, injecting fake cheerfulness into my voice. “What’s up?”

“I need you to come see me.”

“You nee—are you okay?” My heart stuttered. If anything happened to Nana . . .

“Of course I’m okay. Stop stammering, girl.”

Tanner, still hovering close enough to hear her strident tones, snickered.

I placed a muffling hand over the phone.

“Excuse me, sir,” I said sweetly. “Don’t you have a forgery to bubble-wrap?” 292908_anotherdayanotherdaliorchard_romtimes_160x600wb

“Forgery?” His stunned look was so comical I forgave myself for rushing to a verdict before my usual careful perusal. Not that I was in any serious doubt about this particular painting.

“Really?” he said, broad shoulders slumping. When I arrived on scene, he boasted they’d turned up art so hot it was still smoking.

“Yup. Fake.” I, too, felt a pang of genuine regret that the “Renoir” hanging in the drug dealer’s den wasn’t the one on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

But I’d left Nana hanging.

Straightening my shoulders, I put the phone back to my ear. “Sorry, Nana. Um, I have to be at the youth drop-in center by seven to teach the art class, so . . .” I glanced at my watch and cast about for a workable solution, but there just wasn’t enough time. “I’m afraid—”

“Never mind,” she interrupted. “Obviously, you’re at work.” Where you shouldn’t be taking personal calls, her tone implied. “Call me when you get home.”

“Okay,” I said to dead air.

Annoyed at myself for the guilty feeling I couldn’t stop from churning my stomach, I turned to study the front of the house once more. Something was niggling at my brain.

“Um . . . Tanner,” I said, hesitating.

“Yeah?”

“There’s something . . .” I squinted against the dropping September sun, mentally reviewing the interior.

He grinned. “Stop stammering, girl. Spit it out.”

“Ha, ha.” Wait . . . “Oh, that’s got to be it!” I stuffed my phone in my pocket and headed back inside.

Tanner followed me. “What’s it?”

I stopped at the door to the den and glanced at the window three feet from the side wall.

“Serena? What’s going on?” Tanner pressed, trailing me to the next doorway, this one into a bedroom.

“The window is three feet from the wall, just like in the other room.”

“So?”

“Where’s the attic hatch?”

“Mason checked the attic.”

“Humor me.”

“Don’t I always?” Tanner said. “I’m a funny guy.”

“Uh-huh.” He actually had the quickest wit of any guy I knew, even if he did run to cheesy puns sometimes.

Not that I’d admit that to him.

“Over here.” He steered me toward a stepladder set up near the back door. “But there’s nothing up there but insulation and mice.”

“Mice, huh? Are you trying to scare me out of looking?” I started climbing, and Tanner moved in to hold the ladder steady.

I pushed open the hatch and stuck my head into the attic.

“See?” Tanner said.

“Yes, I do.” I stepped down a couple of ladder rungs and flashed him a grin. “A false wall six to eight feet in from the back of the house.”

Tanner squeezed past me and beamed his flashlight around the vacant space. “Unbelievable. Mason should’ve caught that.”

“The wall’s covered in cobwebs and dust. It wouldn’t have registered unless you were looking for it.”

Tanner muttered something I couldn’t make out, but having been on the receiving end of his displeasure during my FBI training—granted, always earned—I didn’t envy poor Mason.

Tanner hoisted himself into the attic, then balance-beamed his way across a joist to the wall and examined every inch of it. “I don’t see any way to access what’s behind it.” He shone the light over the attic’s insulation-covered floor and then the shoe impressions he’d left in the dust on the joist. “It doesn’t look like anyone else has been up here recently. There must be another ceiling access panel.” He climbed back down, eyeing me with interest. “How’d you know to look for a secret room?”

I shrugged evasively.

Tanner followed me back to the room where the fake Renoir had been found and swept his flashlight beam over every inch of the ceiling. “There’s no other way up there that I can see.”

I maneuvered around the agent photographing evidence. The wall between this room and the next was decorated in wood panels and elaborate moldings that looked uncomfortably familiar. I ran my fingers along the moldings.

Tanner studied me. “What are you doing?”

“Looking for a secret panel.”

“Uh-huh. And you seem to know exactly what you’re doing here, Nancy Drew, because . . . ?”

I expelled a breath. “There was one at my grandfather’s house, okay?”

“Your grandfather? The one who was murdered?”

“Yes.” I blew away a strand of long, blond hair that had escaped my ponytail. “Maybe you could be helpful instead of giving me the third degree?”

“Sorry.” Tanner beamed his flashlight over the section of paneling I was running my hands over.

My fingertips made contact with the pressure sensor I’d been seeking and my breath caught. “Tanner, I’ve found—”

“Wait!”

Primed to open it, I tossed a frown over my shoulder. “Are you really going to pull the SWAT-clears-every-room-first rule on this one?”

“No, I thought I’d rock-paper-scissors you for the privilege.” He motioned me to get out of his way.

My finger still on the sensor, I sidestepped two feet so he’d have a clear view as I pulled back the panel. “You ready? I’ll slide it open and you can call the all-clear.” I slid it three-quarters of an inch and froze. “Uh-oh.”

Tanner cursed. “Please tell me you’re messing with me.”

I gulped. “You don’t hear that ticking?”

He crouched down and shone his flashlight through the gap I’d opened. “Blast, Serena, don’t move a muscle.”

Yeah, got that.

“Blast!”

“Tanner, could you stop using that word?”

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Hooked?  🙂

Ask for it at your local bookstore or click here for more buying options: http://sandraorchard.com/books/another-day-another-dali/afoolandhismonet

If you missed the first book, A Fool and His Monet, I recommend reading it first, but each novel is truly a standalone, so not reading it won’t inhibit you from following book 2 in any way.

Tomorrow, October 19th, I am being interviewed at Emilie Hendryx’s blog and will be offering a paperback copy of Another Day Another Dali to one lucky commenter. Hope you’ll stop by and tell a friend.

 

In other News:

All my Love Inspired Suspense titles are on sale for only $1.99 for kindle at Amazon until October 25th

Find them here: http://amzn.to/2dj8gpA

loveinspiredsuspensebooks

Goodreads Giveaway for Another Day Another Dali

Yes, I’m back! And ecstatic to have all my grandsons safely at home in time to celebrate my youngest daughter’s wedding next weekend.  🙂

So…if you’re reading between the lines, yup, life is still crazy busy around here.  😉

sandra_orchard_baby
This little guy was born almost 12 weeks early at 1 lb 14 oz!

But ooohhh so good!

Another Day Another Dali, the second instalment in my Serena Jones Mysteries series, releases October 18th

another-day-another-dali_pre-order_-oct-18

And to celebrate, my publisher is sponsoring a Goodreads Giveaway of 5 copies open to members in the US and Canada, so…

If you’re part of the Goodreads book club, hop on over and enter by clicking here.

I’d love it if you’d help me spread the word too. This giveaway has already been going on for a couple of weeks and I only just clued into it!

Here is a twitter blurb that I think will work for those on twitter (ducking head, because I’m not on it): Love #mysteries? Check out Sandra Orchard’s #Goodreads #Giveaway #AnotherDayAnotherDali @RevellBooks bit.ly/GR-ADAD

With everything going on in our family these past few months, marketing hasn’t exactly been on my radar. But thank you once again to all of you who have been praying for my grandsons these past few months. We couldn’t be happier with how they are both thriving.

Have a great week!

 

Desperate Measures is Almost Here!

Have you been enjoying the Port Aster Secrets series?

Port Aster Secrets by Sandra OrchardIf so, you have only one more month to wait to read the final installment.

But…if per chance, you haven’t checked out this series yet, you now have the opportunity to try the first award-winning book, Deadly Devotion, for FREE in Ebook format from now until the end of summer.

Check it out at your favorite retailer and please, tell your friends!

Your Turn:  For those who’ve been following the series, how do you hope it will end? (Shh, if you can tell me without any spoilers for those who haven’t started)  😉

 

Reading & Writing Romantic Suspense

HQN Quiz RS

For the next two weeks, Harlequin is hosting a Romantic Suspense Event.

And starting at 12:01 PM EST today, if you hop over to their Facebook page, you can take their quiz to find out which series is your perfect read for a chance to win a full year’s subscription!
Of course, I hope you’ll choose the series I write for:
Love Inspired Suspense.
LIS Books Collage

Then join us next week at the Love Inspired Suspense forum at Harlequin.com for a variety of discussions:

      Mon will be the continuity and favorite dogs/hero dogs.
Wed will be characters you’d like to see/character name suggestions.
      Fri will be suspenseful settings/settings you’d like to see.
[I’ll add links here once their live]
OR…

IF YOU HAVE A HANKERING TO WRITE ROMANTIC SUSPENSE

Read on…
First of all, if you aspire to write a romantic suspense, it’s important to understand that it is not simply a romance with a suspense thread. Romantic suspense readers want both a satisfying romance, and a suspense plot that is complicated enough that she won’t easily figure it out or, worse, become annoyed with your characters when they don’t.

So make it your goal to write a novel that is 100% suspense AND 100% romance–two strands of a rope inseparably intertwined throughout the story.

My editors want the danger to be evident from the start, ideally from the first line, or paragraph, definitely before the end of the first page.

For Love Inspired Suspense, both the hero and heroine need to be introduced and connected to the suspense within the first chapter. In single title romantic suspense, depending on chapter lengths, you might introduce the heroine and suspense plot in the first chapter, the hero and his connection in the second, each with clear goals, and bring them together in the third, perhaps clashing over opposing goals or opposing means of reaching the same goal.

I personally prefer to see both the hero and heroine introduced, and if possible to meet, in the first chapter. But either way, jumping right into the suspense is key. If you spend the beginning writing set-up or only writing about the romance, you will lose your reader before the suspense starts.

Although not essential, I also personally like to keep the bad guy a mystery to both my reader and my hero and heroine. That means, I tend not to include scenes in the villain’s pov (point of view)  unless they are anonymous or ambiguous and invite more questions than they answer. To me, keeping the villain a mystery adds more interest and tension to the plot, since the reader will only see things unfold from the hero and heroine’s viewpoint, and therefore share their emotional reactions to what’s happening on the page. Moreover, it keeps the romantic tension center stage, instead of detouring to a few pages where the hero and heroine might not even be on the page.

What is essential, however, is that the heroine be in jeopardy throughout the novel, and that both the hero and heroine have a stake in the outcome.

Let me repeat that another way.

The suspense plot shouldn’t simply be something the hero and heroine stumble into, which thereby puts them in danger, until they find a way out. It shouldn’t be a situation with which they have no personal connection other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Not that that can’t make a compelling story. My Daphne DuMaurier Award winning manuscript was a compelling read to the readers, agents and editors who gave it high scores. However, publishers turned it down precisely because the hero and heroine had no personal stake in the outcome of the jeopardy they’d happened into…well, besides getting out alive.  😀

There was tons of romance. There was lots of suspense of the “oh, no, what’s going to happen next?” variety, and the two were tightly intertwined. But aside from survival, the outcome of the suspense plot had no personal consequences to either of them.

Do you understand the difference?

Another important thing to keep in mind as you devise your suspense plot is to play fair with your reader. You can’t pull a convenient explanation or twist out of the blue; you have to set it up first.

Details are the key to setting up suspense and having fun with the reader. As a writer you leave all kinds of toys on the floor in a scene, use them.

But keep in mind that you can’t slow down for many home and apple pie romance scenes or deep spiritual introspection or discussions in the middle of a fast-paced suspense. They’re fine in a straight romance. But need to be utilized sparingly in romantic suspense.

Lastly, don’t wrap up your suspense too early and leave the reader with only the romance to support the end of the book. Or vice versa.

Remember the image of the rope. Romantic suspense readers want both romance and suspense all the way through the novel. And… inspy readers want to also see a satisfying spiritual growth or realization in the characters.

Being forced together via the suspense plot, forges a positive change in the hero’s and heroine’s characters; growth that must take place before the romance can culminate in a happy ending.

Read that last paragraph again.

It is the bare bones blueprint of how the essential elements of a romantic suspense are inextricably connected.

Your Turn: I hope this brief overview has provided a better grasp of areas of your story that might need some attention. Feel free to ask questions. I’ll be happy to try to answer them.

A Fabulous Love Inspired Giveaway!

Check out

Soul Inspirationz New Releases page for

November in category fiction, and…

Enter to win a copy of one of 12 different books, including

Identity Withheld by Sandra Orchard 😉

 

Nov New Releases Giveaway

Contest entries close 
Wednesday October 29 NZDT.

Evolution of a Novel – Part 5 – Connecting Books

Later this week, Perilous Waters will appear on bookstore shelves as I dig into writing the story of the hero’s cousin–paramedic Sherri Steele.

stretcher

I enjoy reading novels that revisit families or townsfolk or characters I’ve “met” in previous books so  I like to plot such connected books for my readers.

In the case of Perilous Waters, and my next two books, the connection is a family one (with apologies to those who were hoping for another Alaska setting 😉  ).

Pic of Brothers & Sisters

The fun of being a writer is that I can create whatever connections I want. The trick is to figure out what they are before the first book goes to print! Or at least not contradict anything that was introduced in the first book without an intriguing explanation.

lifering
used by permission, photographer Laurie Benner

I decided that due to a tragedy in the Steeles’ extended family, my future hero and heroine grew up wanting to work in jobs that would enable them to save lives. So…

Perilous Waters’ Sam Steele is an FBI agent. His brother, Jake Steele, the hero of Identity Withheld, is a firefighter and widower of a young son. The reader gets to know him well in PW and will hopefully look forward to reading his story when it releases in November. But when I started writing my cruise ship story, I had no idea how I might connect a third book, until…

baby

My hero was checking the online news of home, while aboard ship, and caught an article about his paramedic cousin delivering a baby. That’s when I knew I’d found the heroine of the third book. I even managed to bring her onto the page in person at the end of the book and give her a larger secondary character role in Identity Withheld.

I hope you’ll enjoy meeting the heroic members of the Steele family as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them.

Your Turn: Do you enjoy revisiting the lives of characters from previous books?

middle image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Evolution of a Novel – Part 2 – Perilous Waters – What didn’t make the book

Perilous Waters is set aboard an Alaskan Cruise inspired by the cruise my husband and I took in 2012. It was our first ever and there was SO much to see, experience and discover.

So much that could be wickedly twisted into spine-tingling suspense situations

or passed off as red herrings

or that would provide rich backdrops and tapestries to the story.

Far too much to use in one short novel!

Is that man REALLY just taking a photo of his companion?!
Is that man REALLY just taking a photo of his companion?!

I wove in as many tidbits as I could–tidbits you’ll discover when you have the opportunity to read the book–but in the meantime, here are a few of the details that didn’t make it into the book.

-There are almost as many staff members as passengers on the cruise ship, from dozens of different countries. We enjoyed fascinating discussions with several of them, providing a window onto much different worlds than our own. Many dream of one day being able to immigrate to North America. You can imagine, I’m sure, how my mind played with the idea of using that in a suspense story.

villain

-We took part in a behind-the-scenes tour of the ship that included everything from massive kitchens and walk-in freezers to the engine room to the helm to a visit behind and beneath the stage in the theater. I saw tons and tons of places for fictional people to slip into and cause mischief or be kidnapped and hidden away or to sabotage and cause havoc. Hee, hee, hee.

-Then there was the spa. Ah, massages, massive showers twenty times bigger than the telephone- booth-sized one in the cabin, and every kind of salon or spa treatment you can imagine, including one or two, if you’re anything like me, that you don’t have a clue what they are. It seemed like the perfect spot for a nasty villain to catch an unsuspecting heroine unaware.

-On our ship, we were introduced to the “most traveled passengers” aboard. From Phoenix, Arizona and well into their retirement years, the couple had sailed with the cruise line for a whopping 946 days. A couple like that could help a detective out quite a bit, don’t you think? Although somehow, they seemed more like the perfect characters for a cozier mystery. 

-At various points during the cruise, forest rangers or special speakers/comedians etc came aboard to do a presentation or show. Many embark and disembark at ports, but the forest rangers of Glacier Bay came along side our ship in their own boat to climb aboard from the water. I snapped a few photos, my mind whirring with ideas of how I could use that little opportunity in the novel. Sadly, I never got the chance. 

forest_rangers-boat

Or should I say, happily for the heroine, I never got the chance? 😉

I hope this small window into “possibilities” has given you an enjoyable glimpse into the myriad of choices I faced as I plotted this novel. If you’d like to see a few more photos of our Alaskan cruise, you can find them under the book’s bonus features.

Your Turn: What is the scariest thing you could imagine facing on a cruise ship? (Aside from an iceberg  😉 )

P.S. I mentioned this last week, but for any who might not have seen that post…

Perilous Waters is available now directly from Harlequin in print or Epub, with free shipping to first time customers or on minimum orders, and… receive an additional 10% off their already discounted price with coupon code: SB14SL3 There’s also two Love Inspired Suspense giveaways happening this month at the Suspense Zone, including Perilous Waters, you can check them out here: http://www.thesuspensezone.com/contests/current-contests/ 

The Evolution of a Book – Perilous Waters – Part 1 – Milestones

I recently celebrated a birthday…

Yes, the glow of the candles was so bright that the camera didn’t know where to focus, but in my defense, my son’s candles were on there, too!  Blowing out birthday candles

Any how, forget the candles already…the celebration got me thinking about my April release, Perilous Waters.

Stay with me. There is a connection!!

Although a number of elements in the story had been rattling around in my head for some time—namely the setting of a cruise ship, a plot involving stolen art, and an FBI hero—the plot came together during the Alaskan cruise my husband and I took to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me that “family” became a key theme of the story. Or that the celebration of important milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays, would cause the hero and heroine, Sam and Jennifer, to reassess the importance of “family” in their lives.

After all, birthdays and anniversaries are a natural time to pause and reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re headed and possibly how you’d like to change in the year ahead.

Perilous Waters Not that Jennifer and Sam had ANY time to pause with someone trying to kill her, but you know what I mean. 😉

They each boarded the ship purportedly to celebrate an important milestone. For Jennifer, she was there to celebrate her 25th birthday with her twin sister, a birthday which also marked the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. For at 25, they would finally gain control of the family art gallery bequeathed to them by their parents who’d died tragically when the girls were still teens.

In reality, Jennifer agreed to the cruise in order to get her sister away from the art gallery and the influence of the curator, who has also been their guardian and the estate’s trustee, in hopes of convincing her to agree to sell.

Sam, on the other hand, is purportedly there with his parents, his brother and young nephew to celebrate his parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. He booked and paid for the trip for every last one of them. But in reality, he’s there to spy on, and ultimately arrest, Jennifer and Cassandra Robbins, his prime suspects in an art smuggling case.

He naturally invites Jennifer to spend time with him and his family, and for a woman who hasn’t enjoyed “family times” for many, many years, the allure is irresistible. 

This was a scenario I could easily relate to.

Although I didn’t lose my parents at a young age, it sometimes felt that way. I was the youngest child by four years so by the time I was twelve, family vacations and evenings playing games together became a distant memory. cockatiel playing chessI well remember how I fell in love as much with the idyllic-seeming family camaraderie of a couple of the guys I dated in my teens as the guys themselves.

Of course, Sam, being the God-fearing, honorable guy he is, feels terrible about how fond Jennifer grows of his family. Not that his emotions remain untouched.

ContemplativeNot by a long shot. 😉

By seeing his family through her eyes, his appreciation for what he has, and what he’s been missing out on by choosing to live and work thousands of miles away from his family, begins to grow.

But…I can’t give any more away. You’ll have to read the book to see how he digs himself out of that hole.

Your Turn: What are some of the ways you have celebrated important milestones?

 

Giveaway & Specials News: Perilous Waters is available now directly from Harlequin in print or Epub, with free shipping to first time customers or on minimum orders, and… receive an additional 10% off their already discounted price with coupon code: SB14SL3

There’s also two Love Inspired Suspense giveaways happening this month at the Suspense Zone, including Perilous Waters, you can check them out here: http://www.thesuspensezone.com/contests/current-contests/ 

 

Ask Me Your Writing Questions

Today, I’m cheating and letting you plot my blog!

I’ve been writing novels for ten years, have written 10 complete manuscripts, rewritten some of those so extensively that they could scarcely be called the same book, have 5 books traditionally published (4 category romantic suspense, 1 trade book mystery) and have 5 more books contracted.

So… I’ve learned some stuff about writing (particularly writing romantic suspense and mysteries for the Christian market).

Empower

And… I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have (if I can) about getting started or where do you go from here or just because you’re curious.

Your Turn: The floor is yours. Ask away.

Fatal InheritanceAlso this week:

Click here to visit me at Elaine Stock’s blog for an interview and giveaway op for my latest Love Inspired Suspense, Fatal Inheritance. (or one of my earlier LIS books if you already have the newest 😉 )

 

Empower image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net