Flotsam & Jetsam

What set Ellie off anyway? A thought intruded. No, couldn’t be. He checked her profile. Nah. But his mouth formed a hopeful smile, and he leaned back, humming his favorite tune. Flotsam & Jetsam

The dashing Frenchman or the handsome handyman? Who will she choose? For the Love of a Spy

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Birthday Giveaway

In honor of my son's 30th birthday, I'm giving away a copy of my third mystery romance, Losers Keepers to a reader with an interesting birthday story. Since I dedicated Losers Keepers to him and his sister, I thought it was only appropriate.
Here's the blurb:

Dagne Lonegan, aka Dear Philomena, advice dispenser extraordinaire, hoped that spending a year on the Eastern Shore island of  Chincoteague to write her novel would clear her sinuses, if not her heart, of any feelings for Jack Andrews, erstwhile lover and long-time jerk.  It’s just her luck that her first week on the island she’s in the right place at the right time to be involved with a murder.  Only she doesn’t know it.  Unfortunately, the murderer doesn’t know she doesn’t know.  Strange and dangerous things begin happening to her, interfering with her new romance with Tom Ellis, the handsome manager of the National Wildlife Refuge.  Complications ensue when her Jack arrives to take charge of the murder investigation.

Will Dagne stick with the tall, cool glass of a Ranger or fall back into the arms of her first tempestuous passion?

Zanna Mackenzie is Our Guest Today

Welcome to Tale Spinner, Zanna Mackenzie. We’re looking forward to hearing about the two new releases in your fabulous series, Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency.

I’m happy to oblige, and thanks for having me. Book One in the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency series is:

And The Earth Moved (Amber Reed CCIA Mystery Book One)
 Romantic comedy meets celebrity murder mystery...
One minute you're at work making up horoscopes for the local paper, the next you're teaming up with a sexy secret agent called Charlie and trying to help solve a case for the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency....

Amber’s making up the horoscopes for the local paper and wishing for some excitement in her life when she gets a phone call offering her just that. It could change her life forever and plunge her into a world where she’s quickly (and scarily) out of her depth.

The call? Heartthrob actor Ennis McKarthy, her old boyfriend, begs her for a favour. His brother Joel has been found is dead in very suspicious circumstances.

Desperate to keep the story out of the newspapers and solve the mystery of his brother’s death as fast as possible, Ennis called in the specialists in the shape of the CCIA. The Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency has just the man for the job – their top agent Charlie Huxton. Stalked by journalists and paparazzi, Ennis doesn’t trust a stranger to handle the case on his own and keep quiet about what he might discover, so he pleads with Amber to shadow Charlie throughout the investigation.

Much to Amber’s surprise Charlie eventually agrees, leaving her wondering why. What’s he up to?

Charlie and Amber delve into Joel’s death and soon have their hands full with questioning potential suspects and the victim’s irate ex-girlfriend. Then they discover they’re battling something far more dangerous than they could ever have expected…and it’s not just their growing attraction for each other.

Maybe Amber’s life is about to get too exciting…

Buy Links:

Excerpt (G):
“What kind of excitement are Gemini’s going to have this week?” I ponder, tapping my fingers against the keyboard.
I’m a third of the way through making up the horoscopes for this week’s local paper. Aries are going to get news of a fantastic job opportunity. Capricorns will receive some kind of windfall. But what about Gemini? I always like to give my Madam Zamber horoscope column an upbeat feel – after all, nobody reads their star signs to get depressed right?
My fingers hover over the computer keys as I debate on Gemini’s fate. I’m a Gemini so this one better be especially good; it’s been a rough week.
My phone, nestled somewhere in the depths of my bag, starts playing a chart tune at full volume. When I eventually find it I check the caller display and see Ennis’ name.
Ennis and I haven’t spoken for a while but I know he came home last week after he’d finished working on his latest movie, he sent me a text. He probably wants to meet for a coffee and a catch up. It’s strange; to me Ennis is, well, just Ennis. I don’t think of him as a heartthrob actor, just my ex, my university boyfriend, who I meet up with for a chat whenever he’s in Palstone.
Time for a little break from the horoscopes. I hit the answer button.
“Hi, how’s things?” I ask, leaning back in my chair.
There’s nothing but silence on the other end of the line.
“Ennis?” I sit up, instantly concerned. “Are you there? Is something wrong?”
His voice is so quiet I can barely hear him. “Joel’s dead,” he says.
“What?” I shout, leaping to my feet and earning myself a look of curiosity from the other two members of staff at The Palstone Courier.  I lower my voice. “How? What happened?”
“We don’t know yet,” he replies, his voice heavy with emotion. “But the police are saying he died in suspicious circumstances.”
I gulp. “You mean murder?”
“Look, Amber can you please come over?” Ennis says. “Now? Please? I need to ask you a huge favour.”
I grab my jacket and bag. “On my way.”
Sounds fabulous and very intriguing. Could you tell us about Book Two in the series?


Precious (Amber Reed CCIA Mystery Book Two)

When celebrities need a crime solving quickly and discreetly they call in the specialists, the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency, otherwise known as the CCIA…

Who would want to murder former pop star Flynn Garrison?

That’s exactly what Amber Reed, the Celebrity Crimes Investigation Agency’s newest recruit, needs to find out.

She’s desperate to get to work on her first assignment and prove she’s up to the job but there’s a lot at stake… and it’s not only her new career that’s on the line.

Is mixing business and pleasure ever a good idea? Will her relationship with fellow CCIA agent Charlie survive the challenge of the two of them working together?

And then there’s agent extraordinaire Martha, a man-eating six-foot blonde goddess, also assigned to this murder investigation, who clearly has designs on Charlie.

Trying to uncover who killed Flynn and why whisks Amber from glamorous red carpet film premiere, to learning Scottish dancing at a Highland party in a grand country house—and the distinct possibility of becoming the murderer’s next victim.

Can Amber solve the case and still keep her relationship with Charlie on track?

Book Links:
Sounds like another winner. Could you tell us a little about yourself, Zanna?

I live on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border with my husband, four dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever- expanding library of books waiting to be read.

Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is my ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, I can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel I’m working on. I love it when the characters in my novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot!

Where can readers reach you?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I'm Featured Author at Easy Chair Bookshop

Catch me all week at Easy Chair Bookshop, where I’m the featured author. I talk about both my pre-writing life and my work. You can enjoy a delightful excerpt from my latest romantic suspense, Whirlwind Romance, and tastes of my other books. I’ll be playing February 13-20 here: http://www.easychairbookshop.com/

Monday, February 9, 2015

Welcome Carolyn Ridder Aspenson and Uncharted Territory

#1 AMAZON bestselling author Carolyn Ridder Aspenson brings back Angela, Fran, and Mel for another paranormal cozy mystery adventure full of the same hilariously snarky banter and heart-tugging reconnections found in Unfinished Business and Unbreakable Bonds.

Uncharted Territory, Angela Panther Novel Book 3 is currently available for pre-order on Amazon. The book can be read as a stand-alone cozy mystery but is third in The Angela Panther Series.

Just when psychic medium Angela Panther thinks she's got her gift figured out, the universe smacks her in the head with a curve ball, or three.

When an unidentified fourteen-year-old boy takes a dive off an interstate overpass, Detective Aaron Banner asks Angela to find out what really happened, and to whom. Only, the boy’s spirit has other plans for her—help another lost soul and forget about him.

But Angela's never been good at taking orders.

With the help of her dead-but-not-gone mother, Fran, and her best friend, Mel, who’s now newly single and on the prowl, Angela sets out to discover the truth about both the jumper and the girl he wants to help.

And boy, is she out of her league.

Armed with little more than their double lattes and a tiny pink bottle of wannabe pepper spray, Angela and Mel must venture far out of their comfort zone to solve two mysteries.  But will it be enough to protect them from the dark side of Atlanta and its gun-toting teens and child abductors, so they can help the dead to finally rest in peace?

As a special treat, here’s a hefty bite of the first chapter of Uncharted Territory.

Psychic mediums don't like hospitals. For us, hospitals are like shopping malls on Black Friday—overcrowded with people on a mission. Only in the hospital the people are dead. Since I'd grown to appreciate and accept my psychic gift I'd learned to despise hospitals. Forget the white, sterile walls, the incessant beeping of machines, or even the bland colored scrubs too big or too small on everyone who wore them, and a total fashion mistake if you asked me. None of that mattered to me because I was too focused on dodging the dead. It wasn't that I didn't want to help them. There were just so many one psychic medium could handle.
In recent months word about my gift made its rounds in the in-between—the place between our world and the afterlife, and I'd become a popular gal on the hospital circuit. The dead needed my help and flooded the hospital halls, vying for my attention by hovering near, and asking me questions.
"Are you her?"
"Is this Heaven?"
"The dog ate my life insurance policy two months before I died."
"The money for my funeral is in my sock drawer, inside the brown socks with the blue whales on them. I hate those socks, tell Marge to burn them but only after she gets the money."
"I need to get a message to my husband."
"Tell them not to bury me in the pink dress. I always hated that damn pink dress."
Frankly, it could be a real pain in the butt, but mostly it was just overwhelming and depressing. Yep, I hated hospitals. So when Detective Aaron Banner asked me to meet him at the front entrance to Powers Ferry Medical Center I hesitated, but since I'm a glutton for punishment and had unofficially signed on to help him when he needed me, I did it anyway.
I stood outside the front entrance, slowly pulling air in through my nose and blowing it out through my mouth. It's what I did after a good, hard run to slow my heart rate, and it was good for calming my nerves, too. And I needed to be calm for when the sudden onslaught of spirits begging for help bombarded me on the other side of the hospital doors.
Aaron kept a watchful, detective's eye on me as I went through the motions of my calming routine. He stayed back knowing not to interfere for fear of messing up my juju. He'd become familiar with my quirks and me over the few months we'd worked together and knew the drill well. Plus, I think it creeped him out a little, watching me imitate a woman in labor. When I finished I nodded, my signal to him that I was as calm and prepared as I could get. I wasn't actually calm, but I wasn't going to have an anxiety attack, either.
Brow furrowed, Aaron stood on the mat, holding the electronic door open for me. "Thanks for coming."
"Wouldn't miss it for the world." I patted him on the shoulder. "Seriously, I hope I can help."
We walked inside together, and in a flash the smell of bleach cleaner engulfed my nasal passages. I rubbed my nose, hoping to stop the scent from sticking. "Yuck."
"I hate the bleach," Aaron said. "It actually burns my eyes. If I could walk around with them closed, I would."
"Me too, but for a totally different reason."
The dead were everywhere. Hovering beside me, floating above me, and following behind me were spirits in all shapes and sizes, of all races, both genders and a plethora of ages. The hall buzzed with energy, so much so I couldn't tell what was what. I became dizzy and stopped, leaning against the main desk to gather my composure.
"You okay?" Aaron's face showed genuine concern.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I bent toward his ear. "This place is full of spirits."
His head rotated from one side to the other. "If you say so."
I straightened my arms out in front of me and clasped my hands together, stretching out my shoulder blades. "I'm fine. Let's get this over with."
We continued walking toward the elevators as a spirit hovering to my left jabbered incessantly in my ear.
"She needs the keys. Tell her they're in the basement on my workbench, under the Playboy magazine. The one with the twins in the centerfold. She'll never forgive me if she doesn't find the keys, and boy she'll be mad when she sees the magazine. I've hidden them down there for years because she never goes down there. Please, can you tell her?"
"Where is she?"
Aaron slanted his head to the right, but didn't speak.
The spirit pointed to a gray-haired woman sitting alone on the bench across from the entrance.
I held my index finger up to Aaron. "Gimme a sec, okay?"
He nodded.
The spirit and I walked over to the woman. It seemed like she was staring right through me, her eyes not focused on anything in particular. I crouched down in front of her, my eyes meeting hers. "Hi, my name is Angela. I'm supposed to tell you that…" I glanced at the spirit. "What's your name?"
"Harvey. I'm her husband."
"Got it."
I turned back to the woman. She still had the lost expression on her face. "Harvey wanted me to tell you that you'll find the keys on his workbench in the basement, under the Playboy magazine with the twins in the centerfold."
That got her attention. "My Harvey? What keys?"
I peered up at Harvey, who hovered upright. "What are the keys for?"
"The safe. It's got my life insurance policy and some money in it. Tell her I'm sorry about the Playboy."
"Harvey said the keys are to the safe and there's money and a life insurance policy in there for you."
The woman was dazed, and I didn't know if what I'd said sunk in. "Are you alone? Can I call someone for you?"
"I see him, you know. That's him, right there." She pointed to Harvey.
I glanced at Harvey, who shrugged.
I'd never experienced anyone other than a child see a spirit with me, so I wasn't sure what to say. "Oh, well…"
The woman's eyes widened and her mouth opened, but before she could speak, her head dropped forward.
"Mary," Harvey said. "Is that you?"
Harvey's wife's spirit hovered next to his.
"Well, crap." I flipped around and yelled to Aaron, "I think this woman just died, get a doctor!"
A nurse at the desk heard me and ran over. Three other nurses followed and within seconds I was pushed aside while they worked on Mary.
"It's not gonna work," I told Aaron. "She's already gone."
I nodded. "She and her husband just shimmered away."
"Jesus. You okay?"
I shook my shoulders. "I'm fine. Let's go."
We headed to the elevator again, followed by spirits and yet another one begged for my attention.
I grabbed Aaron's shoulders. "Gimme a sec, and work with me on this, okay?"
He wrinkled his nose. "Are you going to do that thing you do?"
I nodded. "You ready?"
He tipped his head down. "Ready."
I dropped my hands and focused on Aaron's face. "Okay, here's how this works. I'm here to help this guy." I pointed to Aaron's chest. "You know, the living one. All of you other people are dead, in case you didn't already know that."
Aaron tweaked his head to the left, and groaned. I ignored him.
"If you didn't, well, now you do." I pointed to the ceiling. "See that light up there?"
"What light?" a man in a hospital gown tied in the front, said. He was probably going to need some help, at least with the proper way to wear the gown because he was naked underneath it and I got a shot of something I had no desire to see.
"That's a bright light, ain't it?" another spirit asked. "Where'd that come from?"
A male spirit in a beat-up leather jacket and ripped jeans spoke. "That light's got nothing for me. I'm stayin' here."
That one stared me straight in the eye and then shimmered away. I shuddered, thinking he might be one to stay away from.
"But I didn't get to see the end of my show," a little old lady in a red robe and fuzzy green slippers said. "I don't know who killed the girl. I can't leave until I find out who killed the girl." She was distraught. I felt for her, and that's why I always read the end of a book first. In case I died, at least I'd die knowing how the book ended.
"Oh, look at that," another white-gowned man said. "That's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
I tilted my head toward the ceiling, and Aaron's face followed mine. I saw nothing but the ceiling and if I had to guess, I'd say that's all Aaron saw, too. "Yeah, that's what I'm told. If you see that light, go to it. You'll find your family and friends there."
The corners of his eyes crinkled and he shimmered away. At least one of them got the message.
"Will Skipper be there?" A little girl's voice peeped out from the crowd.
I flung my body around at the sound of her precious voice. A teeny little girl in a red nightgown with Sesame Street characters on it pushed her way to the front of the group. Her hair was an adorable mess of not red, more like orange curls falling to her shoulders. She had ocean blue eyes so big that small animals could swim in them. She was such a beautiful child, but the sadness on her face and tremor in her voice made my heart hurt. "I'm scared to go there, but if Skipper is there, I could try and be brave."
Oblivious to the living nearby, I bent down to the little girl, and put my face close to hers. She'd been crying, her eyes pools of ocean blue water. Her slightly transparent lip trembled. "Honey, is Skipper your dog? Did your dog go to Heaven?"
She shook her head. "He's my grandpa. He went to Heaven when I was this many." She held up three fingers.
I swallowed back the lump in my throat. "How many are you now?"
One more finger popped up. "This many."
I placed my hand on my heart. The kids were tough. "Yes baby, Skipper will be there. I bet he's waiting for you right now, too." I believed in Heaven, and because I also believed in God, I figured there was a Hell, too. I just didn't think Grandpas and Grandmas went there. Unless they were serial killers, and I was pretty sure this little girl's Skipper wasn't. "I promise you, if you go to that light, you will be happy and safe and nothing will ever hurt you again."
Her lips trembled harder. "You promise?"
I crossed my heart with my finger. "I promise."
"Okay." The little girl lifted her eyes upward and said, "You're nice," and then she shimmered away. 

Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
Book 1 in the Angela Panther Novel series, Unfinished Business is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Unfinished-Business-Angela-Panther-Book-ebook/dp/B00JCEXDPY/

Feel free to contact Carolyn:

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Craving eZine February Issue is Here!

Catch the latest issue of Cravings e-zine--award-winning magazine of Secret Cravings Publishing. While there, check out my definition of Love and five fast facts about me (including one that will surprise you!) There are pictures, prizes, and sneak peeks at some of the latest SCP releases. Here's the link:

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Teaser--Lapses of Memory

Every Tuesday Secret Cravings authors share a teaser on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/256038187798868/) Today's teaser is from Lapses of Memory.
How many years, how many adventures, how many goodbyes, before she recognizes her true love?

Excerpt (R):

Their eyes locked. “Sydney?”
“Kiss me.”
She floated toward him, fetching up against his chest, where she rested, bumping gently. Her head rose like a helium-filled balloon, her lips drawn inexorably toward his. She hesitated, suddenly afraid. What if this is real?
“It is real, Sydney. It’s always been real. You just refuse to recognize it. Or me.” His hands went to either side of her face.
The wall crumbled. Tears falling, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. They stood swaying, holding on only by mouth, only breaking apart to allow a frenzy of kisses to rain on each other. Hand between her breasts, Elian bent Sydney back and gently pushed her onto the gurney. He kissed her throat and planted kisses down her sternum as he unbuttoned the safari blouse. Motionless, she concentrated on the burning spots where his lips had touched her skin. When he reached her belly button he undid the zipper and continued on.
She writhed on the bed, hoping, hoping he wouldn’t stop. Her pussy dribbled, soaking the silk panties. She said not a word. He tugged at the pants, letting them drop on the floor and buried his face in her vagina. She felt the orgasm approaching, a fast train on a slow track, and pushed his face away. “Come to me.”
He lifted his head to look at her face, his own muddied with desire. In one swift movement, he tore his jeans off and threw them aside. He climbed up on the gurney. As in her long ago dream, his cock pulsed red, beating against her belly. With one hand he spread her thighs and let his penis run up along the inner flesh and deep into her. The gurney began to roll but neither of them paid any attention. He pressed into her, a steadily accelerating motion, reaching ever closer to her heart. She closed with him, so near her nipples grazed his chest, her knees touched behind his back.
They rolled back and forth, a symbiotic wave crashing against the shore, until she whispered, “Elian, we’re there…oh….Elian.” Her clitoris trembled and gave in, just as the gurney hit the wall with a crash. They heard a shout.