Interview with author Anna James


What inspired your latest book?

The idea of what would happen if something in your past, something you’d do just about anything to keep secret, was exposed. What impact would it have on your life, on the lives of your family? Friends?

What is your typical day like?

I get up in the morning and get the coffe going, let the dog out, feed the dog, consume copious amounts of caffeine, take the dog for a walk, go to work. In the evenings there’s dinner, another dog walk and then its time for writing!

How much time do you spend promoting your books?  What works best for you?

Not as much time as I should and more time than I’d like to! When I have print books out I do book signings but that doesn’t work as well for ebooks. Sometimes I do personal appearances and speak to book clubs about my book or on the topic of writing. I haven’t found any one venue that works particularly well – yet. But I’ll keep at it.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

As of today, I have only published with small press publishers. I may consider selfpublishing in the future.


Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

My stories are about conquering life’s trials and my ideas generally come from brainstorming with other writer friends on the topic.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

I’d say do your homework and make sure to hire quality people to edit, create covers, etc. There’s a lot that’s involved in the process and you need to make sure to get it right.

Do you have critique partners?

Yes, we have a group of 5 of us. Since we all write something different it works out well.

What is your favorite dessert/food?

Just about anything chocolate!

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

I don’t usually create characters based on people I know, at least not on a conscious level. I’m more likely to use assorted personality traits from many people to create one character.

Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park?

Definitely not a walk in the park, but not fraught with peril either. I’ve been rejected, too many times to count at this stage of the game, but I don’t give up.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.

A secret she must keep… A man she can’t resist.

Do you have a view in your writing space?  What does your space look like? 

I don’t have a dedicated space. If I need complete solitude I take my portable desk into my bedroom and lock the door. So far it has worked for me.

Tell us about your hero.  Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Max is a hard worker (he built his own business from the ground up). He gives back to those who have helped him and he comes to Nicole’s rescue (the heroine) not once but twice. His weakness is he doesn’t trust women (Wait until you find out why! Max also has a little secret he’d like to keep hidden).

Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Nicole has a strong sense of family and would do just about anything for her sisters. Her weakness is she always chooses the wrong type of man to get involved with. Most of the time she ends up with a broken heart but one man, in particular, cost her much more.

What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

Romantic suspense, contemporary, historical, and sci-fi to name just a few.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?

I write contemporary romance with elements of suspense, but I like reading a variety of romance genres. Why? Because there are a LOT of great stories out there and I don’t like to limit myself to anyone kind.

How far do you plan ahead?

In terms of my writing, I’ve written one novel,  have another novella in The Forever Yours trilogy planned for this year and I want to finish my other WIP before the end of the year as well.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?

Believe in yourself and never, ever give up on your dream.

What did you want to be when you were a child?  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t even remember what I wanted to be. It changed so many times, but I can tell you a writer was not one of the careers I’d imagined for myself as a child or even as a new adult. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I even considered it.

Do you or have you belonged to a writing organization?  Which one?  Have they helped you with your writing?  How?

I belong to the following writing organizations:

  • The Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America (CTRWA)
  • Charter Oak Romance Writers (CORW)
  • RWA Contemporary Romance Writers

Have they helped – you betcha! These are some of the most supportive, inspiring people I have ever met and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today as a writer without them. How have they helped? Mentoring programs, critique groups, words of advice, and inspiring guest speakers at the monthly meetings, just to name a few.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book. 

It’s filled with passion and romance, mystery and suspense! Here’s a little snippet to whet your appetite:


Passion ignites between Nicole Bradford and Max Paradis the moment they lay eyes on each other, but despite the sizzling attraction and Max’s to-die-for-kisses, Nicole is reluctant to get involved. She’s been burned by love before.

Carlo had been her ideal mate but the dream became a nightmare when his drug smuggling past was revealed.

Now all Nicole wants is to get on with her life and keep the secret she’s been hiding for the last six years.

Still, how can she resist the handsome and sexy Max when he’s everything she’s ever wanted in a man? And what will she do when Carlo returns and threatens to expose her ugly past?

Nicole will have to trust Max with the truth if she wants to win his love and get Carlo out of her life for good. If she doesn’t Carlo could destroy everything that matters most to her.



Describe the genre of this particular title, and is this the only genre you write in? 

This is a contemporary romance with elements of mystery and suspense. I’d say I write contemporary romance with verying elements of suspense / intrigue / mystery.









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Lawyers and Romance

Interview with debut author STACY HOFF

How far do you plan ahead?

I don’t plan ahead—I’m a complete “pantser” (somebody who writes “by the seat of their pants”). I am trying to learn more on how to use a storyboard or detailed outline to help me plan my stories out.  In the past, using any kind of structured method was muse-icide, making my creative spark shrivel up and skulk away.

But there’s always hope.  CTRWA (Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America) recently held a special event I attended, with NYT best-selling author Cherry Adair as the speaker. Cherry gave a pretty good pitch for overcoming storyboard fears. When I write my next book, I’m going to try plotting with storyboards again, remembering to breathe deeply as the ugly empty boxes stare me down.

What did you want to be when you were a child?  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

What I wanted to be as a child  is what I wound up being – an author. I remember writing stories back in elementary school. I hid these early drafts in a desk, too shy and insecure to share them with anyone else.

In my early teens, I mustered up enough courage to tell my family I wanted to be a writer. My family prides themselves on being pragmatic, so I wasn’t surprised when they told me to go back to the “profession pond” and reel in a weightier fish.

Being good in English, my family encouraged me during my college years to go to law school. I did that, and have been an attorney for almost twenty years. I have no regrets, since I probably did wind up with more financial stability, and I am able to manage my time well enough to still write creatively.

It is a heck of a balancing act, though. Especially since the needs of my family (husband, plus two boys) has to come first.  I do feel like the quintessential juggler. If a writing career doesn’t pan out for me, I can always take up a circus gig.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in, or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?

Some of my favorite authors are in my genre (full-length, single-title, contemporary romance), such as Kristan Higgins, Laura Moore, and Rachel Gibson.  As an added bonus prize, it is true that reading books in one’s own genre makes for better writing.

That said, however, I don’t always read contemporary romance. Some days, I’ve got a hankering for paranormal books instead. I’m a big fan of Chloe Neill’s “Some Girls Bite” series, always waiting for the next book to come out. I have also read all of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series.

My taste is even more full-blown – I am a big fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, and these books really blur established genre lines. (Watching the Outlander saga play out on Stars is too much fun. Somebody bring popcorn, please!)

Do you, or have you, belonged to a writing organization?  Which one?  Have they helped you with your writing?  How?

I am a proud member of the Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America (CTRWA). I went to their classes for about seven years before I finally mastered their techniques enough to get my books published. Without their classes and support, it wouldn’t have happened.

My other writing support system is a Yahoo group loop with other Soul Mate Publishing authors. Any questions any of us have, we throw on the loop for people to chime in and lend a hand.

What is your favorite dessert/food?

Butter pecan ice cream. Excellent, but deadly for one’s hips. In any case, I do like to infuse a little bit of myself into my characters, so I make butter pecan ice cream one of my heroine’s favorite foods, too.

Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
Stephanie Lang’s successful career as a television producer can’t give her everything she wants out of life.  Her personal goals of writing a romance novel, and finding true love, languish.  Emotionally scarred by her fiancé’s affair with her cousin, she doesn’t have the confidence to go after either goal again. At least she has professional confidence to fall back on; she is ready to produce the company’s next hit show.  But when her boss reveals what the show is about, a survival documentary starring a sexy, modern version of Crocodile Dundee, Stephanie’s life is turned upside down.  Colin Brandt, billed as “The Evergladiator,” will tackle Florida’s Everglades with just his bare hands and a knife.  Stephanie, instantly attracted to handsome, rugged, enigmatic Colin, worries he will not survive his twelve day odyssey.  If he does, he’ll win a million dollars. If he fails, his beloved family’s farm will go into foreclosure. Can Colin conquer the Everglades?  And can he conquer her heart?

Do you have any other books coming out?

Yes, I recently signed a contract with Soul Mate Publishing for a second book, DIARY OF A YOUNG LAWYER. It is (of course) a single title, full-length, contemporary romance. I don’t have a release date yet, so I’ll have to sit and stew in my excitement for a while.


Thanks so much, Marian, for having me on your blog! I’m very grateful for the opportunity to reach out to your readers.


Meet the author: 

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I liked this one…

I liked this one and thought I’d share. Remember writing prompts are used to write not to edit or re-write

7/13/14- Scribbler’s Ink Daily Prompt:
She/he knew for certain the key to solving the riddle was to learn why the antiques dealer needed to leave town..

Studying the body, Detective Lois Blakely wondered what the antiques dealer had that someone wanted more. Plane tickets clutched in his hands, a suitcase by the door told her he was skipping town. Find the motive, find her killer.


Turning toward her partner Detective Joe Jones she watched him bag the broken metal statue stained with the man’s blood. A smile crossed her lips when she thought, must be the murder weapon. Because she knew normally nothing played that obvious, but in this case she’d bet a whole dollar on the statue being the murder weapon.

Joe continued to walk around the shop looking into cases trying to determine if something had been moved around or if something had been removed. The last case he happened upon on, he saw a big gapping space on the middle shelf which called out to him.

“Whatever was in this case is missing?” He turned to the front of the store where Lois had the store’s clerk wait out of sight of the body. “Do you know what was in this case?”

“It was a seventeen century jeweled necklace. It was a stunning piece. The necklace was under lock and key with a special alarm attached to the piece. If it was moved a milli-inch the alarm would have sounded.”

“What was so special about a necklace?” Joe asked. Lois just shook her head.



“It was a very old piece worth a half a million dollars. The necklace was loaded with emeralds, sapphires and rubies with diamonds surrounding it. It was rumored to be Marie Antoinette’s.”

“So it was a piece of history.”

“Yes, but more. The jewels alone today are worth over a quarter of a million dollars. The piece as a collector’s item can garner at auction much more than the half million, depending on the bidders and the collectors. There was a lot of interest in it. In fact, a very nasty man was here last week telling Irving that the piece was not going to auction. That he would sell it to him and him alone,  if he knew what was good for him.”

“How far back do the security tapes go?” Lois asked.

“I think we rotate them each week. There are four weeks in the safe in Irving’s office.” The clerk pointed to the back of the shop.

Lois walked in back and found the safe the clerk spoke about. The problem, it was open and the contents were gone, including all the security tapes. Inspecting the safe, she scratched her head. It didn’t look forced open, someone had the combination. But she’d have to wait on the CSI’s to confirm her suspicions. Walking back out front she approached the clerk.

“Miss Wilson please follow me to the back office, and don’t touch anything.” Lois nodded at Joe to follow them. “It’s Candy isn’t it.” The clerk nodded.

Once in the office she offered Wilson a seat. “Who has the combination to the safe?” Lois stared into her eyes.

“Mr… I mean Irving and his wife.”

“You don’t have the combination?” Joe asked.

“No…no, Irving’s wife insisted that no one but them have it? She was adamant about it. She said it had something to do with keeping the insurance costs down.”

A bell out front rang, Lois looked up at Joe. He left the office to see who had entered the store. He stopped dead in his tracks as he watched the woman escorted to him by an officer. Wrapped in a mink coat, diamonds dripping off her ears, neck and hands he figured he was about to meet the Mrs.

“Detective Jones, this is Mrs. Schwartz. Rena Schwartz” Joe nodded, excused the officer and took Mrs. Schwartz into the office and rejoined Lois and Candy. The women’s reaction to each other was comical. Candy’s eyes dropped to her hands. Mrs. Schwartz stared holes into her, and turned to Lois.

“Where’s my husband? The officer wouldn’t tell me anything.”

“I’m sorry to inform you that your husband was murdered this evening. Do you know where he was going?”


“He had a plane ticket in his hand.”

“A single plane ticket?”

“Yes.” Lois gauged Rena’s reaction to the news.

“He did have a buying trip planned. I didn’t think he was leaving until tomorrow though.”

The woman thought quick on her feet. Lois had to give her that. “You’re not sure?”

“I was staying at my sister’s she’s not well.”

“Hmmm. Mrs. Schwartz, who has access to the safe?”

“Irving and I. Why?” It was then that her eyes tracked over to the safe. “Who opened it?”

“Ah, a question for the ages,” Lois said, scratching her head. “Excuse us for a second ladies.”

Joe and Lois left the room, but didn’t go far. She smiled when she heard the hurried whispers. “I think the ladies did in the old man. Why don’t you get the information on the insurance for both the store and contents. Also look into the amount of his life insurance. I’ll go back in and continue to question them. Then we’ll take them in and question them alone. I think the clerk is the weak link here.”


Joe nodded, pulling his cellphone out as he walked away. Lois gave the women a couple of more minutes to string out their nerves before she re-entered the office. They didn’t disappoint. Sweat poured down the clerk’s neck, her eyes roaming the room, not settling on any particular object. The wife was the cool one, thumbing through her cellphone. Lois found it interesting that she never asked to see her husband. An angle to play, she thought.

“Mrs. Schwartz, do you want to see your husband?”

“Dead?” she swayed grabbed the desk.

“Yes, I’ll need you to identify him. I must warn you, it’s quite messy out there. Someone hit him hard.”

It did Lois’ heart good to see the woman turn green. The clerk whimpered. Lois figured they were in it together. Now all she had to do is figure out who actually killed him and who was an accessory to murder. She made a decision on the stop.

“I’ll need the both of you to come into the station for more questioning.”

“Why we didn’t do anything,” the clerk screamed.

“Standard procedure. Let me read you your rights to keep everything clean here. It’s for your own protection,” Lois said. They both paled.

“I didn’t do anything, it was her.” Candy pointed to Mrs. Schwartz.

Well, that was easy, Lois thought. She’d have figured it would have taken an hour to break the clerk.


Back at the station Lois found out the clerk was boinking poor Irving. Mrs. Schwartz had an ironclad pre-nup. So according to Candy she figured if they killed him she’d get everything.

Lois smirked. It was the standard ‘wronged wife’ killing. It had to be money or sex. In this case, it was both.

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Do Writing Prompts Help?

Writing prompt groups are fun and useful. I belong to one on Facebook called Scribblers Ink. Each day the creator of the group Roberta Lerman posts a short sentence or paragraph and invites you to create a story. It’s amazing the different stories members create from the same prompt.


For me, I like to start my day with the prompt. I know there’s no pressure and no deadline. You work the prompts you like, ignore the ones that don’t speak to you. Today’s spoke to my and got my imagination going first thing. That’s always a plus in my opinion. I’ll post the it below this post. The best thing about prompts–you write without care of editing or rewrites. Talk about freedom.


What these prompts also do for me–they put story ideas in my head. Will ever create a novel from of these? Maybe. Why maybe? I do have several saved and someday they might start talking to me again. If they do, I’ll write the characters full stories. For now the prompts motivate me to write.


Do you belong to a writing prompt group? Scribblers Ink welcomes all writers of all levels to join in. Look for them on Facebook.


7/5/14- Daily Prompt:

The real excitement began the day after when… AND here’s my post:


The real excitement began the day of after the storm. The area flooded and none of us were allowed back into our homes. Stuck at the local high school, I met neighbors I never knew existed. One in particular caught my eye, as well as every other woman over the age of sixteen and under eighty. A tall drink of water they used to say and it applied very well to him. At six two his rangy body really didn’t do it for me until he stripped off his shirt to help set up the place. OMG! Muscles bulging, and a six pack I could build a house on had me changing my mind. It was difficult not to stare, but somehow I found the strength and set up my little corner to wait out the storm that didn’t seem to want to go away. All the women goggle-I wasn’t having any of that. Ready to snug in for the night a shadow crossed over  my face. Cupping my hands over my eyes, I looked up.

“Excuse me, is this spot taken?”

I stammered like a little girl. My lady parts singing, but I couldn’t get a word out of my mouth. The brain did not engage. So I shook my head no.

“Thanks.” He lay out his bedroll and sat down. From under my eyelashes I watch him tug off his boots. I hoped his pants were next. They weren’t.


“My names Ash Bolten .” He extended a hand.

I his in mine. Large, strong hands gently held mine. His eyes mesmerized me. I couldn’t break away. It took me a few minutes to understand he was waiting on my name.



“I’m Storm.”

“Seriously?” He smiled, his eyes crinkled and my heart ripped wide open. His face, a work of art even before the smile, was a master piece with it.

“I was born on a night like tonight, so my parents thought it was fitting.”

“And have you lived up to your name?” He teased, still holding my hand. Fire continued to flow through me, around me. Good thing it was dark or he’d see the flush I felt working itself up my neck.

Oh, how very clever was he. “Yes,” I whispered.

“Nice to meet you, Storm. Pleasant dreams.” And with that he tucked himself in between his sleeping bag and rolled on his side facing me. In minutes, I heard his breathing even out.

Glad he could sleep. He left me wanting, excited and confused. Why did he pick this corner to sleep?

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Creating a Writing Life Newsletter

permission to reprint: Patricia Chaffee


Creating a Writing Life News

June 2014

Greetings on this soon to be summer day! I hope your writing is going well and that the flowers and lush green grass, scents of lilac and warm breezes are filling your senses with inspiration for your writing life.

I’ve been busy fielding calls for the Creating a Writing Life Retreat scheduled for June 21. If you registered early, good for you as it’s filled ! We’ve got an eclectic mix of backgrounds, genres and experiences all coming together for that event. It should be an enriching and hopefully inspiring day. I look forward to our guest speakers, Marian Lanouette and Gerri Brousseau.

Because I had so many inquiries after it filled up, I’ve started a waiting list for a possible second retreat date on Saturday, July 26 which would also be held at Mercy Center. If you wanted to attend in June but couldn’t make the date, maybe July works for you. Let me know soon, if July 26 would be of interest as I’m holding off booking it unless I know there are enough folks to generate some exciting discussion about our writing life.

Pathfinder: a guide for the widow(ers) journey,  is getting ready to launch July 1st!  It is so exciting to be a part of such a meaningful endeavor.  The publication will be a valuable resource for those who have experienced the loss of a spouse or partner and others as well I imagine. If you know of anyone in that situation who might have an interesting story to share, forward this newsletter to them or zip me an email. I’m always ready to listen to a good story. And you know, everyone has a story. It’s true. We all have a story. I learned this in my years as a reporter. And writing a good story is all about how we listen, both to ourselves, our muse and others. Happy writing.

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
-Maya AngelouCheck out Maya Angelou in this You Tube video where she recites And Still I Rise. I’m moved each time I hear it….Enjoy !       

Athor/photographer/ activist Jan Phillips created a video called You Are Worth the Time. It’s about honoring our call to embrace the creative spirit within us. This photo, taken at the Brewster General Store on Cape Cod, made me think of her inspiring video. Check out this short, 7 minute celebration of the creative life at, or buy it on her website She is really amazing!

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”
-Maya AngelouCheck out Maya Angelou in this You Tube video where she recites And Still I Rise. I’m moved each time I hear it….Enjoy !       



Copyright © 2014 Patricia Ann Chaffee, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in Creating a Writing LIfe.

Our mailing address is:

Patricia Ann Chaffee

310 Boston Post Road

Unit # 57

Waterford, CT 06385

In Writing Alone, Writing Together, Judy Reeves writes, “In writing groups, we come together for community and connection. We may believe it has everything to do with the writing: to make it better, to learn the craft, or even the need for a place to show up with completed work, using the group as a de facto disciplinarian. And all this may be true.
But ultimately we  join writing groups  because we are looking for safety and freedom – the freedom to be who we are without pretensions  or alibis, and the feeling of being safe in expressing who we are. It is through  our search for our own kind that we find a home for our heart. Within our writing community we connect with others  of our own tribe, which opens us to ignite our spirit.”

This image is Grace Farrell, of the Carolina Fiber and Fiction Center in Rhode Island. She facilitates Tuesdays at Ten, a writing group that if you are lucky enough to get in…will help you to grow as a writer (and as a human bean) in many ways. The group starts up again in September. For more information visit, or email Grace at


If interested in a July 26 Retreat

Creating a Writing Life Retreat
at Mercy Center, email me

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Agatha Nominated Author Liz Mugavero Joins me today

I’m excited to host Agatha Nominee (Kneading to Die) Liz Mugavero to the blog today. If you haven’t read Liz’s work, you’re missing out on some wonderful mysteries.



Welcome, Liz.

So glad to have you visiting today. Let’s get started.

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?

I love to people watch, and I’m fascinated by the way we humans think, talk and act. I’m always listening to random conversations when I’m out and thinking how to turn them into a story, or stealing traits or habits from people around me for my characters. I don’t take people in their entirety, change their names and plop them in my books, but I do infuse parts of many people into my characters. People know it, too – a friend got me one of those T-shirts last Christmas that says “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel.”

Was your road to publication fraught with peril or a walk in the park?

I started writing seriously in grad school. After I graduated, I began writing mysteries in earnest. I wrote, edited, pitched, polished and got a lot of rejections. I attended conferences – my favorite is Crime Bake – and made great friends and contacts. I learned a ton, and I kept writing. But probably the most important thing I did (aside from honing my craft) was to join Sisters in Crime, and the Sisters in Crime New England chapter. Besides the benefits of belonging to a group of like-minded writers, the networking was invaluable – and in my case, resulted in a contract.

In 2011, agent John Talbot contacted then-president of SinCNE, Sheila Connolly, looking for writers interested in developing cozy proposals. Sheila put the offer out to the entire membership, and I was among the group that answered. After speaking with John in October, I wrote a proposal. By December, it had sold and I was off and running with the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries. So I wouldn’t say my road was either fraught with peril or a walk in the park, but the stars definitely aligned when they were supposed to.


Give us an elevator pitch for your book.

Stan Connor’s Pawsitively Organic pet food business is taking off – she’s even catering doggie parties. That’s what she’s doing at the local dairy farm during Halloween season – but the party is derailed when the farmer’s dead body is discovered in his haunted corn maze and Stan finds herself once again mixed up in murder.


Tell us about your heroine.  Give us one of her strengths and one of her weaknesses.

Stan Connor is a recovering corporate girl who was eliminated from her job and saw the light. Instead of jumping right back into the rat race, she pulled up stakes and moved to a small town with her Maine coon cat, Nutty and her severance package. A saver and savvy investor, Stan doesn’t need to worry about working just yet, and decides to settle into her new town and meet her neighbors. Well, we all know how that turns out – there’s no downtime when you have a murder to solve!

Stan’s young – 35 – and  not used to being fully in charge of her own life. She’s used to being “owned” by her career, and at first she isn’t sure how to handle it. But she learns quickly how to make her life her own.

One of Stan’s most obvious strengths is her love for animals. She does everything for Nutty, who she rescued from outside after he was hit by a car. She cooks for him because of his irritable bowel syndrome, and this leads her to her new career making organic, all-natural healthy treats for the pets in her new town.

Her weakness? She’s still in that corporate-thinking mindset, which means that she’s always on guard, doesn’t often trust people and is emotionally careful – sometimes too much so. Perhaps the handsome Irish pub owner, Jake McGee, will change all that for her….


What genres are you drawn to as a reader?

Along with cozies, of which I read many, I love dark and creepy. Dennis Lehane has been my favorite author since the first Patrick and Angie book. I love John Connolly, Tana French, R.J. Ellory, Harlan Coben, Lisa Gardner, Lee Child…you get the idea. Too many to list!

What did you want to be when you were a child?  Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I always knew I’d be a writer. I was a reader before I could even read – my mother would read me books every morning, early, before the day began. I remember being so disappointed when everyone had to start their day and the reading stopped. Later, I would re-type my favorite books on our old typewriter. I wrote bad poems, short stories and even outlined a soap opera before I was 13. I still have an essay I wrote – no idea what grade – about what my adult life would look like, and I wrote about being a best-selling author with people lined up waiting for me to sign their books. So I’ll just keep visualizing, intending and working toward a successful career. I think I’m on the right track!



Emmalee bolted out of the gate and raced to the corn maze behind the vampire, Stan on her heels. Stan hoped Em knew her way around the maze, otherwise they’d be running through it like beheaded chickens. She’d been lost in a corn maze once and it hadn’t been pretty. Then again, she was quite directionally impaired.

Yellow, coarse cornstalks slapped at her as she hurried after Em, heart pounding, wondering what in the world was happening and wishing she had sneakers on instead of her glittery gold flats. Then again, she had planned on hosting a bunch of dogs on the patio, not running willy-nilly through a corn maze. The vampire led them through a series of twists and turns, slowing when they came into a straightaway.

Stan could already see a crowd of costumed people gathered up ahead. Heading away from the scene was a short, skinny girl dressed like an evil nymph clutching the hand of a boy with a fake ax through his head. They were both crying as they fled, which sent a stab of dread through Stan’s belly. She’d been hoping to find Hal with a broken bone or something, after tripping and falling over one of the cornstalks. But why would people be fleeing from the scene crying? Stan thought of Danny Hoffman with his chain saw and hoped he hadn’t been part of an accident.

They finally reached the crowd at what appeared to be the top of the witch’s pointy hat within the maze design. They were at the end of the field. Emmalee elbowed her way through the crowd of kids. A girl wearing the bottom half of a werewolf costume sobbed. A boy with Dracula fangs had his arm around her shoulder. Stan could see his fingers, white with tension, digging into her arm.

Then Stan heard another noise–a wailing sound, starting out low in volume, then reaching a disturbing crescendo. Emmalee had reached the front of the crowd, and whatever she saw was not good.

Stan moved forward to stand behind her, peering around Emmalee’s shoulder. In the growing darkness, she could just make out a figure behind the short, wire fence containing the corn, face up, upper half immersed in a mud puddle left over from the weekend rain. She moved closer to get a better view.

And wished she hadn’t. A menacing hook-shaped weapon protruded from Hal Hoffman’s chest, a dark stain covering most of his upper body, discoloring his blue and green flannel shirt. His eyes were open. Empty.

For a second, she thought maybe this was the farmer’s idea of a bad joke. A staged murder in the corn maze for full Halloween effect. She waited for Hal to jump up, laughing, and pull the rubber prop out of his chest. Chide them all for falling for it.

But he didn’t. 

Stan felt the contents of her stomach shift and had to turn away. She wondered how long it would take to erase the image of all that blood from her mind. 

Emmalee snatched a flashlight from someone and pressed up against the green wire fence, shining the light square on the figure. Her screams grew louder, momentarily silencing the other sounds of the young kids who had first witnessed this scene. She moved forward, one hand on the low fence, ready to vault it.

Stan reached for her hand in the darkness, partly for support and partly to hold her back. “No,” she said quietly.

“But we have to help him,” Emmalee protested, her voice high, childlike. She yanked her hand away from Stan, but pounding feet and shouting froze her in her tracks as her son, the chain-saw-wielding Danny, crashed through the corn leaving broken stalks and scattered cobwebs in his wake.

“Where’s my dad?” the boy demanded, his voice dangerously shaky.

“Danny–” Stan stepped to the side, blocking his way. He shoved at her until his mother, finally realizing he was there, grabbed him and hugged him tight, forcing herself into some kind of composure. Her head barely grazed his chin.

“Danny, you can’t be here.” She locked desperate eyes with Stan over her son’s shoulder. “We need to get help.”

“We’ll get help. Did anyone call nine-one-one?” Stan called out, focusing on the vampire girl standing off to the side.

The girl shook her head, eyes wide as saucers as she watched Stan, clearly hoping for direction. Stan pulled her phone out of her back pocket. Noticed her hand was shaking. Great. Another call to Trooper Pasquale about a dead body.

Because Hal Hoffman was clearly beyond help.


Liz Mugavero

Author of the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, from Kensington Books

Kneading to Die, 2013 Agatha nominee

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Reflection Re-Launch

The Perfect Blend of Romance and Suspense


I love writing and reading romantic suspense because not only does the suspense provide instant tension in a story, I love the push-pull-tug-of-war of romance.

Will the hero and heroine get together?

Will they overcome the conflict and live happily ever after?

In my debut romantic suspense, REFLECTION ( A Whitney Steel Novel ), my heroine, reporter Whitney Steel is investigating an alleged human cloning project when she meets up with the hero, undercover FBI Agent Blake Neely, who is searching for his own answers. Everything from this point on focuses on Blake and Whitney discovering whether or not the villain has produced the world’s first cloned human.

The relationship between the hero and heroine evolves because of the suspense.

So what is the perfect blend of romance and suspense? In my opiniona kick-ass heroine, a hot FBI agent, sizzling romance, murder, and lots and lots of mayhem!



Florida investigative reporter, Whitney Steel, has lived in the shadow of her legendary father long enough. To prove herself she needs to find the “Big” story.
She found it. Now it may kill her.

After receiving a lead pointing to the world’s first cloned human, now a small child, Whitney vows to unravel the truth. However, sifting through the facts proves to have dangerous results, including death threats and murder. When she’s nearly killed, but is saved by undercover FBI Special Agent, Blake Neely, he refuses to let her get in the way of his own objective
at least not right away.
Caught in a lethal game between a billionaire obsessed with genetic perfection, his hit man’s thirst for retribution, and a Colombian drug lord fresh out of prison determined to make Blake pay for his twin brother’s death over a decade ago…
Can they save an innocent child before it’s too late?
Faced with tough choices, with deadly consequences for many
Whitney soon realizes that sometimes a story becomes more than just a story.


Barnes & Noble:


Reflection is a deeply emotional romantic suspense that starts bold and holds you captive to the very end.” —New York Times Bestseller, Dianna Love

“Action packed from page one…an impressively laid out passionate thrill ride!”InD’Tale Magazine (

“I was looking forward to reading about Whitney and Blake. I anticipated a Booth and Bones relationship (from the Bones TV Series) and I wasn’t wrong…this book is definitely worth reading.”Quality Reads UK Book Club


About the Author


Kim Cresswell resides in Ontario, Canada. Trained as a legal assistant, Kim has been a story-teller all her life but took many detours including; working in legal and adult education before returning to her first love, writing.

Her debut romantic suspense, REFLECTION, has won numerous awards: RomCon’s 2014 Readers’ Crown Finalist (Romantic Suspense),  InD’tale Magazine 2014 Rone Award Finalist (Suspense/Thriller), UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) “Gotcha!” Romantic Suspense Winner (2004) and an Honourable Mention in Calgary’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) The Writer’s Voice (2006).

LETHAL JOURNEY was a finalist in RomCon’s 2014 Readers’ Crown and From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest (2003).

Her action-packed suspense and thrillers have been highly praised by reviewers and readers. As one reviewer said, “Buckle up, Hang on tight!”

Kim recently entered the true crime writing arena. Real Life Evil – A True Crime Quickie (two short stories) was published in January 2014. You can read her latest true crime stories in Serial Killer Quarterly, a new quarterly e-magazine published by Grinning Man Press.

Amazon Author Page:



Twitter:  @kimcresswell


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Cover Reveal!

I’m excited to reveal the Cover for the print version of

Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery

Do you prefer print books or E-books?

The Back Cover

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Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery will be out in print by Memorial Day. Woo hoo!

And what a way to celebrate. I just discovered this review on Amazon. Wow! Thank you Edith from Nurnberg. 4.0 out of 5 stars More than a mystery, May 4, 2013

Edith (Nürnberg, Deutschland) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Burn in Hell, A Jake Carrington Mystery (A Jake Carrington Mystery Series) (Kindle Edition)
Burn in Hell had me hooked from the start though I haven’t read the first book in the series. Kyra, a gambling addict on the verge of ruining her life, takes the spot light. Despite her flaws or because of them, the reader simply has to root for her. She’s an engaging character showing how a slot machine can cause addictive excitement until it’s time to pay the debt.If only she wasn’t falling for a cop at the same time, she might be able to cope with the situation. It just gets worse when Jake Carrington has to take over a missing person case, which leads to the man who thinks he owns Kyra now because she couldn’t pay up.

Unlike Jake, the reader knows early on what dangers Kyra is facing. Burn in Hell is not your average Whodunnit, but a suspense mystery with human drama at its core. The real question is if and how the guilty victim can survive and get out of the mess she’s landed herself in.

Jake too is a very convincing character torn between two women, but he’d never let Kyra down if only she trusted him. There’s no black and white in this book. Marian Lanouette weaves an intricate and intriguing yarn.

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