Sunday, July 31, 2016

Two-Day Freebie!

Here's your FREE copy of 
the Dreamland Series
August 1-2 ONLY

Here's part of Chapter 1 to get your started!

Five miles from the exit she’d taken off the interstate, Trixie Collier Blake slowed her Jeep Cherokee for a closer view of the salmon pink stucco structure set some five or six yards from the narrow road. Flashing blue lights illuminated a sign with faded letters spelling out Moonlight Tattoo Parlor, prop. Rudy James.

She mulled the name. The Rudy James she’d known in high school would own a tattoo parlor. The class clown, he mostly inhabited the principal’s office where Trixie’s mother Lucy worked as the school secretary. She could picture him—long, lanky, a thatch of spiked carrot-colored hair, pale and freckled, a perpetual smile crinkling the corners of his light blue eyes. Oh, yeah, she could see Rudy James running a place like she’d just passed, although she might have wished something better for a popular classmate.

Forcing her attention back to the road, she considered that according to the sign just before the exit, twelve miles remained between her and the place where she’d been born and lived until just past her fourth birthday. Though no particular bad memory lurked around her hometown, she’d felt weighed down almost since leaving North Carolina two days earlier.

“It’s just an empty building,” Lucy complained. “Daddy’s lawyer can handle the sale without you going all that way. I don’t know why he left it to you anyway. He didn’t even leave your brother a half-interest in it, which seems wrong to me. So just sell it. It’s money in your pocket, and you can use it now that you’re starting over.”

The remark rankled Trixie, but it was useless to argue with Lucy. She couldn’t remember ever getting her own point across to her mother, at least not without paying a high price. Lucy could sull like an old possum forever. Even though her parents’ divorce when she was four had affected Trixie only minimally, she knew as she grew older that her father was better off alone—or at least not married to Lucy. Clark had been a good father to Trixie and her older brother Bill, even with the almost prohibitive distance between Little Rock and New York City.

So why am I on my way to Dreamland when I’m going to end up selling the Quimby Building anyway? I barely remember the town, and I sure don’t know anyone there. I didn’t even know Grandfather since Mother never took us back to see him, and he never came to see us. Of course, Bill said it was because he and Mother had that huge fight just before we left. I never knew what that was about. I never asked, so I guess I didn’t want to know.

She hadn’t known what it was about, but she’d heard the fight. Part of it anyway, and one word had stuck in her mind. Later she’d seen it scrawled on a bathroom stall in a store in Little Rock when they’d gone there to shop. Daddy had told her, when she spelled it out for him, that nice little girls didn’t say words such words, and she should forget it. She’d heard another word she’d looked up in a dictionary at school the next day. It had something to do with somebody born without a father, but she and Bill had one, so she didn’t really understand why Grandfather Quimby was yelling at her mother. Something told her not to ask Daddy about it either.

That almost forgotten long-ago day played out in her mind as she entered the city limits before she realized the highway had run out smack in the middle of town. The courthouse loomed a dull gray in the dusk, and the dark bulk of two dozen other buildings stood like silent sentinels around the square. Only the lighted signs of the Lloyd House Hotel and the Twilight Bar and Grill suggested some possibility of life.

Trixie parked at the curb and entered the hotel through a glass and brass revolving door. Above her, crystal drops from half a dozen chandeliers shimmered as if awaiting some momentous event. Behind the semi-circular wooden desk, a man stood with his back to her, only turning around when she said, “Excuse me.”

“May I help you?”

“I’d like a room, please.”

“Certainly. How long will you be staying?”

“I’m not sure.”

The clerk glanced at her, then back at the register he’d just moved across the desk. “I’ll need to see some identification.”

She laid her driver’s license and credit card on the desk and signed the register Beatrice Collier Blake. The clerk glanced at her signature, ran her credit card, but then seemed to hesitate before he took a key from one of the boxes on the back wall.

Trixie smoothed her curly-cropped ginger-red hair.  “Is there any place I can get something to eat?”

“Our coffee shop is closed for the day, but you can go across the street to the Twilight.”

“A bar?”

“It’s not exactly a bar, and it’s very popular with the locals.”

“There’s nothing else?”

“Not unless you want to drive out toward the bypass.”

“Oh, well, I guess I don’t.”

“We don’t have a bellboy in the evenings, but there’s a luggage trolley by the elevator.”

Trixie nodded. “No problem.”

Somewhere far away a telephone rang, and the man disappeared through a door in the back wall.

Find the complete chapter on my website

I'm visiting Luana Erlich today to talk about why I write romantic suspense.  Luana is the best-selling author of the 
Titus Ray 'thriller' series. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Mitch in the Middle

   My amazing Macy. She beat a congenital heart condition which doctors warned would kill her before she was a year old. In the end, one stormy night on a rain-slick highway, I killed her instead. She was my life, my best friend, my hero. From the night it happened, I’ve always believed I should be dead, and maybe I am.
My name is Mitch Langley, and I’m an attorney specializing in real estate law. It wasn’t easy growing up with a father like Guy who had his hands in every dirty little pie that came along. I didn’t like him, but the night he told my mother he was glad she was dying of cancer, I started to hate him. He remarried when I was thirteen, but that didn’t last long. I still have a relationship with my former stepmother and stepsister though.
   I also keep in touch with Macy’s parents. Linc and Rose never blamed me for the accident. They said Macy had thirty happy years, a lot of them because of me. But I blame myself and always will.
   When Rudy James introduced me to an old high school classmate, I couldn’t believe I actually felt some interest in her. Trixie Blake is cute and feisty, but she’s also still grieving the loss of her husband in an aircraft accident. Ned was career Air Force. Like me, Trixie doesn’t even have a child to help keep the memories alive.
   Trixie needed a friend who’d been there-done that, and I have. So we’ve gotten to be a regular at Rudy’s place, the Twilight Bar and Grill. And I’ve gotten sucked into the on-going drama between my father and her over her refusal to sell the Quimby Building and move on. I don’t like to see anybody bullied, and she’s getting more than her share right now and doesn’t deserve it.
Dreamland used to be a nice little town, and some people think it still is. After I lost Macy, I didn’t care where I lived. One place was as good as another. But I’m beginning to wonder if this town isn’t worth salvaging. Rudy and some others want to try, and now Trixie’s dug in her heels, too.
   The Drummond sisters, who rent the downstairs of Trixie’s building swear Al Capone still haunts the upstairs—which is just where Trixie wants to put in a tea room and boutique. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’ll admit there’s a lot going on I can’t explain. The police chief, Doug Everton, seems to have it in for Trixie and keeps telling her to get out of town. I’m beginning to wonder if that might be the best idea, at least for right now.

   But Trixie says she’s not going anywhere. So when she asked me about buying a gun and applying for a concealed carry license in Arkansas, I helped her do both. Against my better judgment, you understand, but I did it.
   I don’t know what’s going to happen next—but I’m betting it won’t be good.

FREE at Amazon August 1-2

Book 1 of The Dreamland Series

Visit my website for more information! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Not even murder is going to make her move on. . .

Trixie's alone. . .and vulnerable.

It’s all Ned’s fault. He died, and he shouldn’t have. I get so mad at him sometimes for leaving me alone. Twenty-eight is too young to have the moniker ‘widow’ hung on you. I don’t even have his child to keep his memory alive.

Does Al Capone live upstairs?

So when I found out about the building my grandfather left me in Dreamland, I thought, What the heck? and drove back to my hometown to check it out. I never saw John Quimby Lloyd again after my mother took my older brother and me away when she divorced my father. I was only five, so my memories of Dreamland were pretty sketchy, too. But back I went, and all you-know-what broke loose.

It was nice to find two old high school classmates living there—Rudy James and Delores Jefferson James. Rudy was the class clown and everybody’s pal. Delores lived with her widowed mother and younger brother Danny who has Down syndrome. But when Rudy decided to settle down in Dreamland, he brought the whole family along.
Rudy introduced me to Mitch Langley, an attorney, who married his high school sweetheart and then lost her in a car accident. He blames himself because he was driving. Rudy also made sure I met Candace King, the town’s self-appointed historian. She was married to Mitch’s father for a while, which makes her Mitch’s ex-stepmother. It’s sort of a tangled mess. And, it turns out Guy Langley is having an affair with my mother Lucy! A mess indeed.
Mitch isn't sure about Trixie...
My grandfather’s lawyer tried to convince me to sell the building, take the money, and run with it. Currently, two sisters, Miss Stella and Miss Letha Drummond, lease the first floor for their dress shop. They're feisty older ladies, and it seems a shame to displace them. But the whole town is being turned upside down by some shadowy development company that’s trying to buy up the whole downtown square for unknown reasons.  And, oh, yes, Guy Langley has his hand in that, too.
Miss Stella and Miss Letha are convinced the ghost of Al Capone haunts the Quimby Building because they smell cigar smoke coming from the unused upstairs. According to Candace, Al and my great-grandfather were pretty tight back in the day. There was even a gambling casino on the second floor and a place for Al to park himself overnight on the third floor.
Al’s ghost may be the figment of the Drummond sisters’ imaginations, but the threats I’m getting are real—and scary. All the police chief does, when I report them, is glare at me and tell me to get out of town. I don’t think so. I’m not going to be scared off, and the building has possibilities.
Dreamland is a nice town—or was until outside people weaseled their way in. Some people believe it’s still a good place to live: Rudy, Mitch, Candace, Mayor Ellard, Miss Hetty Green, the Drummonds—and now I’m beginning to believe it. I’ve decided to stay around and open a tea room and gift shop on the second floor, so move over, Al.
As for Guy and my mother, Chief Doug Everton, and anyone else  who thinks they can push me out…think again. Not even murder is going to make me move on. At least, as long as I’m not the one who gets murdered!

FREE at Amazon August 1-2

Book 1 of The Dreamland Series
Visit my website for more information.  


Sunday, July 24, 2016

FREE is good!

FREE READ coming to Amazon August 1-2

Lethal Legacy in Dreamland (book 1 in the Dreamland Series)

a romantic suspense that will keep you wondering what’s around the corner--
or at the top of the stairs!

What’s the ghost of Al Capone doing in tiny Dreamland, Arkansas? Trixie Blake’s not sure she wants to find out.
She barely remembers her hometown. The grandfather who left her a building on the antiquated town square is an even vaguer memory. But newly-widowed and at loose ends, Trixie treks to Dreamland to see what's what. It takes less than twenty-four hours to find out about a shadowy development company's plans to take over most of downtown for some vague new business. That is, if they can persuade the three hold-outs to throw in the towel and move on. When Trixie decides to become number four in the coalition of stay-puts, her precarious situation deteriorates rapidly.
She faces a series of threats which the police chief won’t take seriously. Can she trust attorney Mitch Langley, whose father Guy is accepted as being behind the downtown takeover? Will Danny Jefferson, a young man who doesn’t let his Down syndrome define him, be able to lend her some of his courage and determination? Or will Trixie follow her gut instincts to get the heck out of Dodge before it’s too late?
When she digs in her heels and announces plans to turn the second floor of her inherited vintage building into a tea room and gift shop, it’s a recipe for disaster, which includes murder. But Trixie’s not backing off. In the process, she finds the beginning of healing for her broken heart--and also some unsettling information about her own identity.

TUESDAY:  Meet Trixie Blake right here at The Word Place

The end of the story is only the beginning. Follow Trixie and company through two more books, Desperate Deception in Dreamland and Ghostly Gambit in Dreamland, also available at Amazon.

Look for it here!

As a special bonus, I’ll be lowering the price of the two sequels in the following weeks,
so watch for the announcement!