Wednesday, January 28, 2015

There, They’re, Their

My husband and I were having a discussion the other day when he was trying to spell a word with a silent letter in it. We actually have this discussion every time he comes across a word with a silent letter, or the case of homonyms: there/they’re/their; see/sea.

He started his life speaking Dutch and didn’t start learning English until he entered first grade, at which time all his report cards requested English be spoken at home. His biggest complaint is the English language has silent letters and words that sound the same but are spelled different and mean different things. He contends, in Dutch, the word is spelled exactly as it is said and there aren’t words that are said the same but spelled differently.

He asks every time he comes across these spelling dilemmas why can’t all languages be as simple as the Dutch.

Myself, I think English makes sense. But then I didn't start out speaking a different language. You learn how to spell the word as you would use it.

There is a hair in my food.
They’re talking about it in the kitchen.
Do you think their boss will give me a break on the bill?

Using the different forms of a word makes sense to me. But I spend my days reading and writing the English language and have always loved the quirkiness of it. There are times when I have to repeat the saying. “I before E except after C.” And then there is the exception- friend. And for every rule in spelling there is the exception.

Since I’ve not studied the Dutch language, I’m not sure if his notions are true or not, but I know a lot of youngsters in school who probably wish the same thing.

Are there other languages that the words are spelled exactly as they sound?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Double Duplicity by Paty Jager

Double Duplicity

by Paty Jager

Giveaway ends February 20, 2015.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, January 19, 2015

Northern California Murders by Michele Drier

Amy Hobbes is a newspaper editor in the mid-sized Northern California town of Monroe.
She came there for all the wrong reasons and stayed because she had no place else to go.

Now settled, maybe, she works with her police reporter, Clarice Stamms, to discover not who did it, but WHY they did it.

Amy was a police reporter years before for a large Southern California daily newspaper and in her new role as Managing Editor, misses the adrenaline of a breaking news story—particularly if it involves a dead body.
As traditional mysteries, the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries don’t have violence (except those dead guys!) or a lot of sex (well, there is Phillipe in San Francisco) but do have intricate plots that feature Northern California as a silent character
The first book, Edited for Death (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review) is set in the Sierra Nevada foothills, in the fabled small towns of the Gold Rush. Bodies pop up in an historic hotel in Marshalltown, once a thriving hub for miners heading into the hills in search of wealth.

A contemporary source of wealth, California’s wine industry finds Amy and Clarice wondering why vineyard workers—Spanish speakers who migrate with the crops up and down the Central Valley— are turning up dead under the grape vines in Labeled for Death.

Water—who owns it and who wants it—is a constant discussion in California, with the rain-drenched north pitted against the desert south and this might be enough to break the state in half. In Delta for Death, Clarice is looking for reasons why two construction workers have been murdered in the nearly Delta, the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers that empties into San Francisco Bay.

Using setting as a character and a moving force means that the murders, and Amy and Clarice’s hunt for answers, has a physical and historical matrix that becomes part of the plot. People choose to live where they do in California, because the lure of the Gold Rush...the belief that wealth is just over the horizon in the a motivating factor even today.

As a fifth-generation Californian, I’m continually fascinated with the reasons that people came to (and continue to come to) California. In the Amy Hobbes books I explore how the search for riches has helped shape the state...and why some people are willing to die while searching.

Edited for Death

Amy Hobbes never expected to solve anything tougher than a crossword puzzle. When she left her job as a journalist in Southern California, she planned to give the adrenaline a rest, but her next job, managing editor of a local newspaper, delivers some surprises. After a respected Senator and World War II hero dies and two more people turn up dead, the news heats up. Both victims had ties to a hotel owned by the Senator's family. With the help of reporter pal Clarice and the new man in her life, Phil, Amy uncovers a number of shadowy figures, including a Holocaust survivor who's spent sixty years tracking down Nazi loot. It's a complex and dangerous puzzle, but Amy can't walk away until she solves it.

Clarice is a rangy blond, a few pounds overweight and perennially on a diet. She lounges against my office doorway, and I ask if she wants to grab lunch.
“Now?” she asks back.
“Sure. I thought it might be nice to get out of the office for a bit. You are planning to eat?”
“Let’s walk. How about the Greek place?”
I had taken a little more care this morning, twisting my brown, shoulder-length hair into a clip and doing blush, eyeliner and mascara. My size eight brown linen slacks, cream-colored silk shirt and blazer are really too warm for a walk today, but the outfit gives me a scooch more confidence to deal with Clarice. I’m not intimidated—exactly—it’s just that she can back me down with her brashness, and today I need her.
As soon as we sit, I start talking. My agenda is a discussion of the small mountain towns. Really, just Marshalltown. I know what I want. I want some in-depth coverage of the senator’s life to go with the research I’m planning. But I also see a chance to get more features into the paper.
“No,” Clarice says through her mouthful of falafel. “That’s just too far away.  There’s plenty of stuff here. We’re already short staffed.”
“Come on, I’m going to ask each reporter to do one more story a month. That’s not going to break anyone,” I say around the straw in my mouth.
“I don’t think I’m gonna like this.” Clarice has a death-grip on a slice of lemon. “We’re having lunch because you want to start with me, right?”
I can’t fault her ability to read between the lines. 

Labeled for Death

Vineyards around Monroe are being harvested, the ripe grape bunches sliced off the vines and trucked to wineries, where they’ll be crushed to make some of California’s finest wines. Amy Hobbes, managing editor of the Monroe Press has other stories in mind, until Clarice Stamms, her cops reporter blows in with news about another harvest, two bodies tucked up under the vines. The field workers were stabbed and their throats sliced. Are they just victims of a worker’s anger?
When the town’s most popular and well-known hooker turns up at the vineyard’s labor camp, sliced and stabbed as well, Amy and Clarice are on the hunt again, the adrenaline tingling down their nerve endings.
Who’s the killer stalking the vineyards and why?

When she calls, it’s bad. The trailer tipped off an elevated freeway connector ramp. The truck itself fell onto the freeway lanes below, smashing two cars while most of its load of grapes spilled out on the ramp. Both roads are closed and the CHP is already on the scene, trying to direct traffic into a makeshift lane they’ve opened on the shoulder.
“I know they’ve called for a Medi-Vac helicopter. They’ll have to shut down all northbound lanes to land it.” Clarice’s voice is excited. She knows this will be a page one story.
“How many injured?”
“It looks like two injured and maybe one dead.” Her voice drops a little. “The cars smushed by the truck are pretty bad.”
“OK, Luis’s on his way. Are you somewhere you can get out?”
I hear her sigh. “Yep, I parked on the shoulder of the freeway. Once it’s opened, I can drive down to the next ramp and loop back. I’ll look for Luis. It’s going to be a while.”
Now it’s my turn to sigh. “I’ll tell Sandy to hold page one. Get back as soon as you can, but take care.”
Truck accidents are inevitable here. With the Central Valley producing the lion’s share of agricultural products in the U.S., trucks haul most of the year—livestock, chickens, fruits and vegetables, cotton. Late summer and fall is when the traffic peaks with tomatoes, peaches and grapes in our part of the valley. There’s always some squished fruit on the freeways, baking into the asphalt until the rains start and turn it into a slick mush again.
I’m particularly concerned about this one and Clarice. She’s always ready to go but a couple of years ago she went out to cover a truck that slammed into an abutment of an overcrossing. It was a single vehicle accident. The truck caught fire. Gas that spilled across the freeway caught fire. The responders couldn’t get to the trucker.
Clarice listened to his screams until they stopped.
She’s told me she still hears the screams when she gets to a truck accident.
And sometimes at night.

You can find the books here: Edited for Death, 
 Labeled for Death, and Barnes and Nobles in both paperback and e-format. 
Delta for Death will be published in March 2015.

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.
SNAP: All That Jazz, Book Eight of The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, was published June 30, 2014The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles paranormal romance series include SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, DANUBE: A Tale of Murder, SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Night and SNAP: All That Jazz.  SNAP: I, Vampire, Book Nine in the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles is scheduled for publication early 2015.
She also writes the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries, Edited for Death and Labeled for Death. A third book, Delta for Death, is coming in 2015.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Roaring 20's Romance

Martini Club 4 – The 1920s

Amanda McCabe, Alicia Dean, Kathy L Wheeler and Krysta Scott have a unique friendship. Yes, they are all romance writers, and at different stages in their writing careers. But every Friday night, schedules permitting, they meet at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma where they chitchat, plan retreats to get away and for just a general get away. Over a period of time the idea to create a series of stories where the Martini Lounge would serve as a backdrop—well, as writers, that was inevitable. So here we are with our first go at it. Welcome to 1920s New York City where four young women run away from England excited to make their own way in a new world.

All four stories are now available for the pre-order price of **$0.99** until February 26, 2015, the official release.

Rebellious: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s
Amanda McCabe

Blurb: Can an aristocratic lady melt the cold heart of a Russian gangster? 

Lady Jessica Hatton fled her high-society London debutante life for one of investigative journalism in New York—only to be relegated to the fashion pages. Searching for a juicy story leads her to Club 501, the city's most glamorous speakeasy—and its handsome, mysterious owner, Frank Markov. But his past of war and revolution puts their hearts—and their lives—in danger... 

Excerpt: “Do you smell that, Meggie?” Jessica Hatton cried as she leaned into the cold, salt spray wind, her t-strap shoes perched on the lowest rung of the ship's railing.  She'd lost her hat, and the short strands of her hair blew into her eyes, but she didn't care.  England was far behind them.  They had escaped.
          “It smells like freedom!” she shouted, and threw up her arms.  It felt like she could fly all the way to America.
          “I only smell old fish,” Meggie said.  “Now come down from there, Jess.  If you tumble into the drink, it will all be over before it even starts.”
          Jessica laughed and shook her head, but she did climb down.  She spun around to see Meggie stretched out on one of the deck chairs, the glossy mink collar of her coat drawn close around her.
          The sky was grey and dismal-looking, the water not as glassy-smooth as when they slid past Ireland yesterday and headed out to open sea.  Several of the passengers had retreated to their cabins, but Jessica couldn't stand staying inside.  Not when there was so much to be seen.
          “It smells like fish and freedom,” Jessica insisted.  “But we can go in now.  Maybe Charlotte and Eliza will want to play some cards or mah-jong.”
          “Finally,” Meggie grumbled as she swung her feet down to the damp deck.  But her smile was broad.  Jessica knew Meggie was loving it all just as much as she was.
Bio: Amanda McCabe wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen--a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject...)
She's never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOK Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion.  She lives in Oklahoma with a menagerie of two cats, a Pug, and a very bossy miniature Poodle, along with far too many books. 
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network--even though she doesn't cook. 

Ruined: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s
Alicia Dean

Blurb: She vowed she’d be no man’s doxy, but fate had other plans... 

After the Earl of Goodwin attempts to force himself on her, housemaid Eliza Gilbert flees England for New York, hoping to build a better life. But the land of opportunity proves as harsh as the London docks, and she finds herself in a situation more dreadful than the one she escaped. 

Former boxer, Vince “The Fist” Taggart dreams of marrying, having a family, and living a quiet, peaceful life. But when a girl he's known since childhood disappears, he heads to New York in search of her and meets Eliza, a woman with a less than honorable reputation. Inexplicably captivated, Vince can’t force himself to stay away, especially when he learns Eliza is the key to finding his missing friend. 

Excerpt: Eliza lifted her gaze, then looked away when she met his eyes. They were just too…striking, too blue. “I’m afraid you’ll have to speak to Oscar. He handles all my transactions.” She could never have a normal outing with a man. A lump of regret rose in her throat. She turned and started up the stairs.
Vince caught up to her in a few steps and grabbed her arm, taking the bag from her at the same time. “That was a lousy thing to say.”
She opened her mouth to accuse him of going around Oscar so he didn’t have to pay. But that was ridiculous. He hadn’t taken what he’d paid for the first time. She lifted a hand and rubbed her forehead. His attention confused her. What was his angle? He didn’t want sex. Did he think she was hiding something about Cynthia and if he spent time with her he could draw it out? “What do you want from me?”
“A picnic.”

Bio: Alicia Dean lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.
Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley, MLB, NFL (she usually works in a mention of one or all three into her stories) and watching her favorite televisions shows like Vampire Diaries, Justified, Sons of Anarchy, Haven, The Mindy Project, and Dexter (even though it has sadly ended, she will forever be a fan). Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Sharon Sala, Jordan Dane, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

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Reckless: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s
Kathy L Wheeler

Blurb: Lady Margaret turned Lady Bootlegger… 

Singer Margaret (Meggie) Montley needs money…fast. Her friend is in a dire situation with nowhere to turn. While Meggie is on the brink of stardom, it’s not soon enough to save her friend. 

Harry Dempsey is out to avenge the deaths of his father and brother at the hands of a ruthless gangster. But trouble spirals out of control when Meggie Montley shows up the night he meets his nemesis to settle the score. Saving the impetuous woman from a crime lord might be easier than saving her from her own reckless behavior. 

Excerpt: Meggie launched herself from her hiding place and threw her arms about Harry’s neck. Locked in his muscular embrace, she rested her chin on his shoulder. His arms tightened around her. “Oh, Harry. I came as fast as I could. Just as we’d planned.” The words, she’d intended to carry, came out breathless.
“Fast, huh?” The whisper was against her ear where no one else could hear, raised goose prickles over her entire body. “Guess I’ll have to do something about that.” He lifted his head. “What are you doing with my girl, Joe?”
Joey’s hands flew into the air, indicating his surrender. “Sorry, Dempsey. Had no idea she was anyone’s quiff—”
Meggie’s cheeks burned, and she stiffened at the insult. Harry’s one arm gripped her closer. The other shot up, jerking her body like a rag doll. She couldn’t see Harry’s face with her own now buried in his neck, but she felt the corded muscles contract.  

Bio: Kathy L Wheeler (also known as Kae Elle Wheeler) writes both Contemporary and Historical Romance. She was born in Presque Isle, Maine.  How she ended up in Texas, then Oklahoma is as much a mystery to her as anyone. She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma with a BA in Management Information Systems and a minor in Vocal Music.
She is published through The Wild Rose Press. She loves to travel.  Ports of call include a three week stint in Europe covering Madrid, Barcelona, Avignon, Paris, Koln, Amsterdam and London.  Other exciting places she’s visited are Grand Cayman, Puerta Vallerta, Mexico, Vancouver, Canada, and roaming from one romance writing conference to another nationwide.  You may have met her in Seattle, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, New York or Atlanta.  She is a member of the Oklahoma RWA Chapter, Dara, and The Beau Monde. Kathy lives with her musically talented husband in Edmond, Oklahoma. They have one grown daughter and one bossy cat, Carly!
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Runaway: Martini Club 4 Series – The 1920s
Krysta Scott

Blurb: Can she prove her innocence before more than her dreams are destroyed? 

After escaping an arranged marriage, Lady Charlotte Leighton lands on a new shore, determined to realize her dream of opening her own bakery. But her plans are shattered when her former fiancĂ© follows her to New York. Now, she finds herself in a fight for her freedom. 

Haunted by a string of failures, Detective Felix Noble is determined to solve his latest case. But his efforts to find a murderer are jeopardized by a forbidden attraction to his number one suspect. While he’s certain Charlotte Leighton is keeping secrets, instinct tells him she’s not the murderess he first believed. 

Excerpt: Long thin fingers curled around a glass and lifted it from the tray. Charli followed the direction of the drink. Derrick Chaunce, or as the local duffs referred to him, “Slick”, grinned, exposing yellowed teeth.
“You … You…” Her throat closed. The rest of her diatribe wouldn’t budge.
He winked. His thin hair slicked back in the latest fashion exaggerated the gaunt cheekbones and sunken eyes, tinging him with an unhealthy, dilapidated look. He gulped the whiskey. A bit of the amber liquid escaped through the gap in his teeth and down his chin. Her stomach lurched.
“Thank you, sweet cakes. Put it on my tab.” He skulked off.
Charli whirled around. How did the bounder get past Tiny? Ira fumed about customers who ran up a high tab without reconciling at the end of the night. Now she would have to explain yet another charge added to Slick’s mounting debt. She sighed and rolled her eyes to the heavens. The customer was always right. Even when they were wrong.

Bio: Krysta Scott is a family law attorney in her false life. After years of writing and winning contests, she is now taking the plunge into publishing. A fan of sci-fi and dark stories surrounding people in crisis, she also enjoys way too much TV including Vampire Diaries, Breaking Bad, and Sherlock. Runaway is her breakout story.

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