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Friday, February 27, 2015

She's on the hunt for a con man and ends up on the trail of a killer . . .

She'll do whatever it takes to get justice . . .
FRIDAY'S FANTASTIC FIND is the historical western romance UNDER A TEXAS STAR by ALISON BRUCE.
AMAZON KINDLE US: http://www.amazon.com/Under-a-Texas-Star-ebook/dp/B00501H6YM
Disguised as a boy, Marly joins a handsome Texas Ranger in the hunt for a con man and they must bring the fugitive to justice before giving up the masquerade and giving in to their passion.
When Marly Landers is fooled by con man Charlie Meese, she's determined to bring him to justice--even if it means dressing up as a boy and setting off across the plains to find him.
Texas Ranger Jase Strachan is also after Meese, for crimes committed in Texas. He joins forces with the young boy in a journey that takes them to Fortuna, where a murder interrupts their mission. Jase is duty bound to find the killer, no matter the cost.
Marly carries out her own investigation and comes to the aid of Amabelle Egan, the sister of one of the suspects. But appearances are deceiving, and Marly is mistaken for Amabelle’s suitor, making her a target for the killer. Not to mention, Charlie Meese is still out there.
Under the Texas stars, Marly and Jase are drawn together by circumstances beyond their control, yet fate plots to tear them apart. Will Marly finally get her man?
A rollicking adventure of romance and True Grit... This is an historical Western romance in a style that reminds me of Hemingway. Although the descriptions are colorful and accurate, there are no wasted words here as the characters are developed through dialogue and action. The old West comes to life! Highly recommended. Goodreads
Good old-fashioned historic western romance with a kick!
Alison Bruce does an excellent job on setting the scenes and customs of the old west. History, characterizations, and the long ride of the heroes of the story are convincing for the time. There is lots of action and gun-play as they work together on a case in Fortuna. ... If you're looking for a dish of the old west with a dash of romance and humor minus the raunch dressing, this book is for you. Goodreads
"Alison Bruce captures the Old West in a delightful, if improbable, mix of romance, cultures and characters with UNDER A TEXAS STAR" Goodreads - Areletta Dawdy (4 stars)
"I cannot describe to yall how much I loved this book." Heather (5 stars)
"An endearing story of betrayal and love . . . " Amazon UK T. Tibbenham
Copywriter and editor since 1992, Alison Bruce has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher and web designer. She currently manages publications for Crime Writers Canada and is the author of UNDER A TEXAS STAR and DEADLY LEGACY.
Alison writes genre fiction. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations and to learn from adversity.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Silver Linings

In the silver linings department, the winter wallop we've had on Canada's east coast this year has led to a health recovery breakthrough for me.

The snow you can see on our roof was from several storms back. A few weeks ago, we had a snow, rain and flash freeze event coupled with high winds. That left us with about a foot of snow on the roof which included about four inches of ice, and no turbine vent, as it had blown off entirely, leaving an uncovered opening in the roof with more snow on the way.

We had roofing people spend several hours breaking up the ice and shoveling the snow off of the house, with some of it landing on our back deck. We were thrilled with the job they did, and did not ask them to clear the deck as they'd worked incredibly hard all day, while keeping our front entrance completely clear.

However, with my husband recovering from having his appendix removed last month, and my mom dealing with hip issues, there was only me to clear the ice chunks and snow from the back deck before more rain would have put the integrity of the deck at risk.

You may recall that I'm in recovery myself from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and a straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back exposure from 2013. I've spent all of last year learning how to listen to my body when it sends out signals that it needs to rest, after spending a lifetime ignoring them in order to get things done.

For example, these days it often takes me three tries to empty and then refill the dishwasher, as lifting the dishes and putting them in the cupboard triggers intense fatigue and causes my body pain to spike. By spreading the event into manageable pieces, I can get the job done without making myself pay for it later.

When it came to the ice and snow on the back deck, however, there was a time frame problem. The deck had to be cleared in two days. I set aside my new 'listen-to-my-body-signals' approach and used my old 'blinders-on' thing. I pushed way past my pain and fatigue levels and got the deck cleared of the heavy ice.

Of course, this worked up quite a sweat. For someone like me, whose body harbors trapped chemical toxins in a misguided attempt to protect me from exposure to them, this has resulted in a spontaneous detoxing event.

Strangely enough, I've been scheduled to receive sauna detox treatments next month at the specialized clinic dealing with my chemical sensitivities. I wasn't strong enough to start them before.

The fact that my body began to detox on its own is a fabulous, wonderous sign.

We are by no means finished with winter Down East, and most people will look back on February of 2015 as a long, long, hard month.

As for me, it has unlocked a new path of healing. For that, I will look back at this year with profound gratitude.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Who Would My Dream Cast Be?

From the writing desk of Christine Mazurk 

Who would my dream cast be if one of my books was made into a movie?

That's an interesting, yet unfair question, because I think my readers should SEE each character based on the descriptions I use to paint a picture. Let's face it, we all imagine what characters look like when we read. I wouldn't want to rob my readers of their unique vision for each character.

Now, I hope that if I describe the hero as having thick, chestnut hair and dark green eyes, they don't envision Christina Aguilera. Hmm... Male. Thick dark hair. Forest green eyes. Yeah, not Christina! LOL. Just having a little fun with you.

I'll let you in on a secret though. I always have an inspiring picture of the lead male on my desk while I write. For example, when I wrote Passion's Race, I had a picture of Pierce Brosnan as 007 gazing at me from the left side of my computer. We all know Pierce has 'piercing' blue eyes, but I changed them to green, a color that better suited Nick Madison and his personality.

I watched every movie Mr. Brosnan ever starred in--The Thomas Crown Affair, more than a dozen times--to glean some of his mannerisms, facial expressions, as well as the inflections of his voice. I used some of these to describe Nick, although Nick managed to express some of his own very unique quirks.

For Mystical Connections, it was a gorgeous picture of Kevin Bacon, wearing an electric blue tee shirt on the cover of Breathe magazine. It was breathtaking, because the entire background was white. The only color; his eyes exactly matching the shirt and the title of the magazine! If you read about Aidan Scott, he's a far cry from Mr. Bacon, but he might possess a few of his idiosyncrasies. (I wish I could find the picture to share, sigh!)

Do I do the same for the lead woman? No. For some reason, they show up in my head, a made-up version of many females I know and see. At times, I utilize a hair style, or a facial expression, but most of my female characters know who they are and present themselves with confidence. I don't question them, trust me.  

Some of my favorite side characters leap off the page. Uri, the blocky German, in Passion's Race. He has such a fun personality, but he's a sweetheart and a gentleman  too. Lars, the blond-haired Elvis. Mike Dawson, Nick's best friend. (His story is next.) And Anya from Mystical Connections, who is currently standing in the corner of my office impatiently tapping her foot for me to start her story!

I have a world of awesome characters delving into the depth of relationships, health and

inspiration, and sometimes questioning Universal happenings. I love what I do!

I'd love to hear who YOU think should be the dream cast for any of my books? Feel free to leave a comment with who you envision as one or more of my characters...

Until next week. Hugs - Christine                

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

He returns to his home town to right a wrong, but he's not prepared to meet his long lost love . . .

Tuesday's REVOLVING BOOK is the contemporary romance HEARTS OF CLOVER by USA TODAY best-selling author DANIELLE STEWART and IT'S FREE! :) 
At nineteen, Devin Sutton lost his first love, his freedom, and his hope. Years later, the only thing he has on his mind this holiday season is finally settling the score back in Clover, North Carolina. 
That is, until the girl he thought he’d lost forever crosses his path. Rebecca Farrus is supposed to be off living the life of her dreams, not tending bar in some dive. 
When faced with the choice, will Devin decide to celebrate what he’s finally found or keep seeking retribution for everything he lost? 


You really can't have it all, or so Devin Sutton is finding out fast. Returning to Clover was all part of his plan to exact revenge on the town that robbed him of nearly a decade of his life. Unfortunately, things quickly begin to crumble when he's forced to choose between rekindling an old love or destroying the town. Walking the fine line between both might just end up leaving him with nothing.  With his heart full of vengeance is there any room for love? 
AUTHOR BIO: I currently live in Charlotte, North Carolina with my husband and four year old son. I work hard to perfect the ability to write in a noisy house and create story lines while folding laundry.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanielleStewart
website: http://authordaniellestewart.com/
twitter: @dstewartauthor
instagram dstewartauthor

Monday, February 23, 2015

Guest Post - Melodie Campbell

Irreverent art by Alison Bruce
The Makings of a Literary Slut
(In which we explain how an otherwise mild-mannered crime writer defected on her first novel)

By Melodie Campbell

A funny thing happened on the way to the mystery novel…it became a fantasy!

I was supposed to be writing a classic mystery, not a comic time travel like Rowena Through the Wall.  How did that happen?

For twenty years, I had been known as a writer of short mystery and suspense.  With over 30 short story publications and 5 awards for mystery fiction, my first novel had to be a mystery.  Everyone said so.  I started three of them.  Two weren’t bad.  But somehow I could never get up the energy to complete them.  Instead, I was tempted by the ‘lure of the virgin project’, usually a short story.

Then a strange thing happened.  I was sitting at my desk one day, totally overwhelmed with work and family and parental caregiving, and thought, if I could walk through that wall over there into another world, I would.  Rowena had her start that night.  If I couldn’t walk through that wall, dammit, she could! 

What I needed was to escape, not ‘plan’.  Mystery novels have a lot of planning to them.  I had enough of that at my day job.  Why not just start writing something that is a total escape to write? 

For a mystery writer, this is akin to walking off the job.  For the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada, it feels like treason!  Write 80,000 words of comic fantasy? 

The surprising thing is how easily it came.  Finally I figured it out, and the discovery shocked me:  I was writing the kind of novel I wished someone else would write, so that I could read it.  A no-holds-barred adventure story…sexy, funny, and a wild ride of fantasy. 

I waited for the reaction.  It was strong and varied. One review said: “I’ve never read anything like it before, and I love it!”  I said, “Are you married?”

“Melodie, you are a Literary Slut,” said another.  Believe it or not, he wasn’t referring to smutty writing in my novel (although, as they say, some like it hot, and Rowena Through the Wall would probably score a humidex rating.)  No, this fellow was referring to my tendency to write in several genres – and sometimes several genres at once.

The title stuck.  “Literary Slut” is what I am and what, I bet, secretly a lot of you are as well.

So…what’s a Literary Slut to do?  Cross those classification lines, I say!  I call this book comic fantasy.  The romance market calls it paranormal suspense.  Under fantasy, it is classed sword and sorcery.  In our mystery world, it would be labeled romantic suspense.  And then – out of the blue – Amazon decides to call it Time Travel, and I get notification that it cracked the top 100 bestseller list for Time Travel Romance.  Then number 1.  Author is thrilled, yet totally baffled, as she had been promoting it under an entirely different sub-genre. 

Alas poor Rowena.  She is destined to reside in classification purgatory, along with her author.  Which is not unexpected for a Literary Slut.

“Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?”

Melodie Campbell is the author of seven books, four of which are crime. (Still sleeping around in different genres.) She is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada and teaches novel writing. For a sample of of what she teaches, check out:
Building Atmosphere! (A sample of what you get when you take my writing classes)

Find Melodie and her books at: