Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This Book Will Really Caw Out To You ~ EAT CROW AND DIE!

Stepping into the spotlight today--Maris Soule! Take it away, Maris!

Thanks for giving me a chance to talk about Eat Crow and Die, my third book in the P.J. Benson Mysteries series. Back in 1999, when I started writing about an almost-30-year-old woman named P.J. Benson who had just inherited her grandfather’s farm and decided to open her home-based accounting business in the rural area of Zenith, Michigan, I had no idea I was writing a series.

It took me several years and several rewrites to pull that book, The Crows, together. (My writing time was interrupted by my son and then daughter deciding to get married, my husband buying a boat, our decision to sell our house near Climax and buy and move into a house in Kalamazoo, and flights back and forth to California to care for my aging father.) I’ll always remember the day I sold The Crows. My father died the same day I received the email saying Five Star Mysteries wanted to publish the book. That was the best news I received that day.

Readers liked The Crows and asked when the next P.J. Benson Mystery would be out. That was when I started working on As the Crow Flies. As soon as I finished that book, I knew I needed at least one more in the series. Consciously or subconsciously, I’d left too many unanswered questions: Was P.J. pregnant, would she and Sheriff’s Detective Wade Kingsley become more than lovers, and would Wade see his son again?

Eat Crow and Die starts the same day As the Crow Flies ends. Wade is on his boat for a final fishing trip with his six-year-old son before Wade’s ex and her new husband move to California. P.J. is at home trying to convince herself she doesn’t have morning sickness. That’s when she learns that Wade’s boat blew up on Lake Michigan, and that Wade and his son were pulled from the water, but not the ex and new husband. What’s more, Wade has a concussion and doesn’t remember anything from the time everyone boarded his boat until he was rescued.

With the ex and new husband dead, Wade becomes the prime suspect, and P.J. knows she must figure out who actually planted the bomb on the boat and why. I believe readers will find ample suspects and motives, and I hope they also enjoy the antics of P.J.’s 8-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback. (I miss my Rhodesian Ridgeback. We were owned by him for twelve and a half years.)

Blurb ~

P.J. Benson knows Sheriff’s Detective Wade Kingsley wouldn’t blow up his own boat to kill his ex-wife and her new husband, Michael Brewster. Sure, Wade wasn’t happy that his ex was taking their six-year-old son, Jason, to live in California, but Wade and Jason were also onboard the boat when it blew up. Wade would never have endangered his son that way. Nevertheless, the investigating detectives consider Wade their prime suspect, and Wade’s ex in-laws loudly accuse him and threaten to file for custody of Jason.

Under the circumstances, P.J. is certain this isn’t the right time to tell Wade she’s pregnant, but bouts of morning sickness give her away. Wade is upset by the news. P.J. wonders if it’s because he’s afraid he’ll be put in prison for a double homicide he didn’t commit, or if he’s afraid the new baby will cause P.J. to become schizophrenic, as was the case with her mother. Even P.J. is worried about that. Although Wade doesn’t want her playing detective, P.J. soon discovers that Michael Brewster wasn’t as great a guy as everyone thought. But did anyone hate the man enough to kill him?

Excerpt ~

As I headed for the room number Ginny had given me, I thought back over the four months I’ve known Wade. The first time I saw him, he reminded me of Nicolas Cage and Tom Cruise wrapped up in one man. He certainly didn’t look like a homicide detective. Back then he thought I’d murdered someone. That or I was crazy, like my mother. We've had a couple more misunderstandings since then, but for the most part we’ve gotten along quite well—in bed and out. On the other hand, there are times when he can be stubborn, irritating, and unreasonable. As I neared his room, it sounded like he was being all three.

“I’m fine,” he bellowed. “I do not need to be in bed.”

“Until the doctor releases you,” a feminine voice said, “you need to stay put.”

“Damn the doctor. I told them downstairs I need to get back to South Haven.”

“Are you giving the nurse a bad time?” I asked as I entered the room.

Wade made a grunting sound as he looked my way. “They’re treating me as if I’m sick. I hit my head, that’s all.”

The poor nurse looked at me and shook her head. “He’s supposed to rest.”

“Be a good boy, Wade. Do as she says. Put your legs back up on the bed and rest.”

He glared at me—at both the nurse and me—but he put his legs back up on the mattress and allowed her to pull a sheet up to his waist. He didn’t lay back, so I asked, “Can he have the bed cranked up, so he can be in a seated position?”

“If it will keep him in bed, I guess so.”

She didn’t make a move, and neither did Wade, so I stepped closer and pushed the button that raised the back so Wade could be in a fully seated position. “That better?” I asked.

He grumbled, but gave a slight nod, then winced.

He had a four-inch square bandage on his forehead, and I could see some discoloration along the side of his face, but it wasn’t until he went to lean back against the pillow behind him and grimaced that I knew it wasn’t just his forehead that had been injured.

“If you need anything, press that button,” the nurse said, indicating the red one on the corded remote.

Wade grunted, and she quickly left. I’m sure she was glad to leave him to me. He clearly wasn’t in a good mood.

“You seen Jason?”

“I just left him. He’s with Ginny.”

“He’s okay?”

“He seems fine. They’re waiting for the results on a couple of tests, then, Ginny said, she’ll bring him by your room.”

“That or I’ll pick him up as I leave.”

“I don’t think they want you leaving today.”

Again the glare. “I’m fine. I hit my head, that’s all.”

“Uh-huh. And how many stitches?” I asked, pointing at the bandage on his forehead.

“I don’t know.” He gave me a crooked smile. “Maybe fifteen.”

“And the back of your head?”

“I have a little goose-egg, that’s all.”

I reached behind his head, but I’d barely touched his scalp before he let out a yelp. From what I could feel, his “little goose-egg” was more like an ostrich egg. “How did you hit both the back and the front of your head?”

“I don’t know.” He let out a deep sigh. “I don’t remember anything from the time Linda and that arrogant bastard she married finally arrived at the boat with Jason until I found myself on a stretcher, being lifted into a helicopter.” He narrowed his eyes. “I don’t even remember that very well. It wasn’t until they poked my head with a needle that I really started focusing on what was happening.”

“You don’t remember taking the boat out on Lake Michigan?”

He started to shake his head, but immediately stopped. “Not a thing.”

The pupils of his eyes were dilated, and since Wade doesn’t do drugs, and it was fairly light in the room, I figured the doctors were right, he did have a concussion. I’d heard how people who had concussions often couldn’t remember what happened before or even after the accident. Some lost entire days. Sometimes the memories came back; sometimes they never did.

“I do remember Linda said they didn’t want to fish,” Wade grumbled. “Here she insists she wants to go on this fishing trip with Jason and me, that both she and Brewster want to go along, and then as soon as she arrives—an hour late, at that—she starts making a fuss about going fishing. I’d even brought fishing poles for the two of them.”

“But they did go out on the boat with you? With you and Jason?”

“They must have.” Wade looked out beyond the end of the bed, and I could tell he was trying to remember.

“Do you have any idea where you and Jason were when the boat blew up?”

“No.” Wade looked back at me. “You haven’t heard anything about Linda?”


“So they’re not here, not in the hospital?”

“I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think so.”

From his expression, I knew what Wade was thinking. If Linda and her husband were on the boat and had been thrown to safety, Linda would be with Jason now. The woman had become paranoid since telling Wade that she and her new husband were moving to California and taking Jason with them. She was sure Wade was going to do something to stop her.

“If she was on the boat . . .” I started to say, but didn’t finish. The thought of what might have happened to Linda—to both Wade’s ex and her new husband—caused my stomach to lurch.

Author Bio ~

Writer, teacher, artist, wife, mother, dog trainer, horse rider, boater. Maris Soule can list an array of occupations and avocations. Even as a writer her 29 published books span a variety of genres and subgenres, ranging from short stories to romances, romantic suspense, and mystery. A two-time RITA finalist, Soule has placed in and won several writing contests. Born and raised in California, Soule and her husband now spend their summers in Michigan and their winters in Florida.

You can find Maris at:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page

You can by EAT CROW AND DIE at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Google Books

Giveaway ~

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Monday, July 6, 2015

~ The Distractions of A FRIENDLY ENGAGEMENT ~

Guest blogging today ~ the incredible Christine Warner! Welcome back, Christine, and take it away!

The Best Laid Plan

Okay, I so admit it. There are times when I’m on a writing blitz and nothing can pull me away from the laptop. I’m on a roll and the words are flowing and everything falls into place.

I love days like those. I wish I had more.

Then there are the days that I plan to write, have the characters and story circling around in my head with a million and one ideas, but when I sit down with fingers on the keyboard, I keep allowing myself to get dragged away from the screen. I can’t focus no matter how many times I bribe myself with a reward if I just add some words to the word count.

I use silly excuses that either have me jumping up and away from my laptop (only for a minute, I promise I’ll be right back…lol), or ones that keep me in my chair in front of the screen, but surfing social media sites instead of concentrating on my WIP.

Here are my Top 10 excuses. The ones I seem to let myself use when I have time to write, but don’t get anything done.
My Golden Retriever, Libby, keeps tossing her ball on my keyboard, coaxing me to go play ball outside. (Though she loves it, and I love her, she doesn’t need me playing ball with her every hour on the hour)
I wonder if there’s a science project growing in the fridge? Hmm, I better go clean it. (This is a popular excuse on Monday since the house is calm from a busy weekend and I have no clue what the guys used the fridge for…sometimes I find scary things in there…lol)
Laundry, I’m sure I can scrounge up a load and I should really stay on top of it before it gets out of hand.
I think I’ll cook something amazing for dinner…complete with carrot cake made from scratch. Yes, I’m going to do it. I better make out a list and head to the grocery store.
What? I haven’t talked to my sister in almost 12 hours. Time to give her a call.
Wonder what’s happening on facebook?
Am I missing any awesome tweets on Twitter?
I should write my blog for next week and get it out of the way.
Emails might be piling up, I should sort through them and check out any new blog posts, new twitter friends, posts on facebook.
I think I saw a Hershey’s candy bar with almonds in the fridge when I was cleaning it out. I should take a sweet break. (yes, I put them in the fridge, I love em that way:))

Whew…I did manage to get all three books in the Friends First series completed and to my editor. That’s an achievement, even though I did have days that were a little more challenging than others…thanks to some of the things I mentioned above. I’m so excited about A Friendly Engagements release and can’t wait for the other two books in the series to come out. YAY!!

What about you? What are some of the excuses you come up with so you don’t have to get the job at hand completed?

And now, let's learn a little bit more about the book she finally did sit down and write...

Blurb ~ 

What's a little engagement between friends?
Omar Esterly is married to his job. But when Omar sets his sights on a potential, family-oriented client, his confirmed bachelorhood becomes a problem. Fortunately, his friend and employee, Devi Boss, has the perfect plan...

Okay, so it wasn't exactly Devi's plan to become her friend's fake fiancée. Lies aren't her style. However, Omar offers her a big, beautiful raise - enough to track down the missing father she's never known - and Devi reluctantly agrees to the whole engagement hoax...

This was supposed to be a no-strings-attached win-win for both Devi and Omar, but when they cross the line between friendship and...well, something more, Devi realizes she's made a huge mistake that just might cost her both job and friend - falling for her fiancé.

I love how Christine put in the little twist in the end of the blurb! She sent me three excerpts, which were all excellent, but I chose this one for you...

Excerpt ~ 

He checked his watch. “Lunch will be over if you…”

The bathroom door squeaked slightly as it opened, and he turned. His heart galloped, then went into a full-blown stampede.

Devi walked across the room. Although her hair fell down past her chest in two loosely gathered pigtails, they bounced with each step. So shiny, he wanted to reach out and touch the fullness, grab a handful, and smell. Hell, he wanted to slide her hair from the two flower clips and tangle his fingers through the silky-looking waves. She chose that moment to spin in a circle.

“What do you think? Too old school?”


“The suit. I bought it on a fifties replica website online. I like the style, but I know most people don’t swim in suits like this. It’s a swimdress actually. Don’t you love the cute black and white polka dots? I adore polka dots. And how it gathers at the waist, and the sweetheart neckline, how cool…”

Her words were lost to him. All his focus centered on the rays of sunlight illuminating her face as her mouth moved, each word forming on glossy red lips but never quite reaching his ears. The way her eyelashes fluttered over her cheeks as she inspected her suit, tugging at the waistline and running her fingers along the edge of material that nestled against the swell of her breasts.

And then there were her legs. Where the hell did she get legs like that? Long, toned, and tanned the perfect shade of light brown. They looked smooth, and his fingers ached to reach out and touch them.

What the hell? He’d seen her legs thousands of times when she wore a dress—the mainstay of her wardrobe— even caught glimpses of her upper thigh from time to time, but to see the entire package…

Holy shit! She spun around again.

“O, I want your opinion.”

Damn. Her legs were incredible, but her ass. That suit did amazing things to her ass. He couldn’t stop staring, and when she turned back around to face him he craned his neck to try to follow the view.

Love it! Now, more about Christine...

Author Bio ~ 

Christine Warner is living her dream in Michigan along with her husband, three children, one laptop and a much loved assortment of furry friends.

Besides laughing and a good round of humor, Christine enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, writing but no arithmitic. A confessed people watcher, she finds inspiration for her stories in everyday activities. She loves to read and write about strong heroes and determined, sometimes sassy, heroines.

A girl gone wild, at least where social media is concerned, Christine enjoys meeting other avid readers and writers on Facebook, Twitter and her website.

You can find Christine at:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter | Street Team | Amazon Author Page


Giveaway ~ 

$15 Amazon Gift Card (International Winner) or
Spiderman DVD, Popcorn, Slippers, and Mug (Continental US Winner)

Why Spiderman you ask? Well it has to do with one of the character's fantasies ~ you'll just have to read it to find out!

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