Review Excerpts

Friday, September 15, 2017

Seductive Suspect - Release Day!

Today's the day! Seductive Suspect is now officially out and available, which means you can jump right in and find out who the killer is. (Because I know you've been dying to know.) Here's the blurb and an excerpt, all fancy and edited and everything, plus the buy links at the bottom. Happy reading!


When Veronica Campbell agrees to take her sister’s place at a murder mystery weekend getaway, she has no idea what’s in store. The events at the mountaintop lodge get off to a good start, especially when she meets Adam, the handsome man staying in the room next door. By the end of the first night, however, the role-playing games take a dark turn when one of the participants is killed for real.

Violent storms and sabotaged cars trap the guests at the lodge with no escape. Frightened and surrounded by strangers, she not only has to stay on guard against the danger that lurks in every corner, but fight the attraction to her sexy neighbor.

One by one, the murderer picks off each guest as the storm rages around them. The number of suspects grows smaller, and soon, the moment of truth arrives. Can she trust Adam, or has she wound up in the arms of a killer? 


Mr. Steele lay face down beside the pool table. A small, dark hole marred the back of his blazer. As we all gaped at him, a dark red puddle slowly seeped out from beneath his body. Several feet away from his head, a gun rested on the floor.

Victor hurried over, nudging people aside until he saw what had captivated our attention. Shock and concern washed over his face. “Oh my….” Regaining his composure, he cleared his throat and straightened. “My dear guests, in light of recent occurrences, I think it would be best if you all retired to your rooms for the night.”

“Now?” Big Guy shook his head. “The party’s just getting started!”

“Please.” Victor stepped back and gestured toward the door. “The storm may cause us to lose power again, and, due to these other…unexpected circumstances, you need to return to your rooms. Now.”

His tone left no room for argument. We shuffled out of the library into the foyer in one huddled clump. As we moved up the staircase, murmurs rumbled around me about how the mystery portion of our weekend had started amidst speculation about what clues we’d receive the following day. I agreed with those who admired how realistic the murder scene appeared and the perfect coordination with the thunderstorm’s effects. Whoever had outlined and orchestrated our little story, they’d done a good job of surprising us and piquing our interest.

On the landing, we parted ways, and I headed toward my room.

Colonel Mandrake guided me to my door, his hand at the small of my back. “I very much enjoyed meeting you tonight, Miss Harrington.” He smiled at me. “Sleep well.”

I said my good nights and slipped inside my room, cheeks warm. The evening had been pleasant, even fun, though shorter than predicted, like Big Guy had complained. At least I’d had a good time, and I anticipated the rest of my stay at the lodge.

While I undressed and prepared for bed, I contemplated the evening’s events and tried to piece together some clues. Nothing in the characters’ backgrounds stood out to me yet, and efforts to remember who stood where when the lights went out fell short. “I’m sure we’ll learn more in the morning,” I mumbled, climbing into bed.

After setting the alarm clock so I’d have time to shower before breakfast, I switched off the lamp on the nightstand. With a lengthy yawn, I snuggled under the covers, tired from the day of travel and subsequent activities. I waited to drift off to sleep, but something tugged at the back of my mind.

For some reason, I kept thinking about Victor’s expression when he first saw Mr. Steele lying on the floor. 

Buy Links:

Barnes & Noble
Google Play

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cover Reveal - Winter's Siren, by Krystal Jane Ruin

Longtime writing buddy Krystal Jane Ruin has a new book coming out in November, and today's her cover reveal day! Let's pull the curtain back and take a peek!

Cover by Najla Qamber Designs

Winter's Siren will be released on November 1, 2017. Now that we're done admiring that fantastic cover, let's read the blurb:

For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.

His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.

As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.

But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.

(a dark reimagining of Swan Lake)

If you'd like to read the first chapter, you can do so right here. More information is also already available at Goodreads. Here's the full cover, front and back:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cover Reveal - Seductive Suspect

We had a couple hiccups along the way, but the cover for Seductive Suspect is finally ready for the world to see! If this doesn't scream "sexy mystery", I don't know what does. I mean, really.

Though we haven't solidified an official release date yet, the book goes up for pre-order at the end of this week, so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

So Much For Relaxing During the Summer

First off, I just got the mock-up for the Seductive Suspect cover, and as always, it's fantastic. It's not completely finished, so I can't share it yet, but I can't wait until it's ready!

That exciting email with the cover stuff might just motivate me to write soon. So far this summer has been CRAZY, and I haven't had time to start a new book. The short version is we have a major construction/renovation project going on at the Landen house, and as such, we've been bouncing between both sets of parents' houses and the Cape house (because if you can't go home, you might as well be someplace with a private beach at the end of the street). I've been hesitant to even start something because I know how little time I'll have, especially with squeezing in some day job work around everything else, but my writing fingers are starting to get a little antsy. I will have some time this weekend, so we'll see what happens then!

Watch this space for the official cover reveal!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Off to a Good Start...Or a Terrible Start...Okay, Some Kind of Start

I'm never one to pass up jumping on a good bandwagon. Writing/blogging buddies Krystal and Michelle recently made great posts about going back to their old writing projects and critiquing their opening lines. They were a ton of fun to read, and I also never shy away from self-deprecating humor, so I figured I'd have a go at it!

The vast majority of my early writings were Phantasy Star fanfic. Actually, those were the only stories I ever finished. I'll start as far back as I can find, and I'll also toss in some more recent ones, because why not? Some aren't too bad, some are, and there's one in particular that, due to a proofreading fail, is dumpster fire-levels of awful. Onwards!


My first fanfic ever. I think I was around 12 or 13 years old:

I see trees, I see sand, I see ice. And I see hell.

Okay, not too bad. Like lots of games and sci-fi in general, Phantasy Star made use of the Single-Biome Planet, hence the first line. I suppose my career as a writer didn't get off to a terrible start.


Another fanfic. I'm pretty sure I was 16:

The sun shone brightly over the sands of the desert. Because of the planet's irregular orbit around the sun, there was no actual night - daylight was a constant on in this barren world. The majority the population was in bed sleeping, having adjusted to the consistent sunlight long ago. But deep in the mountains, far from the sunlight, someone was awake.

First off, that's not how science works, Thea. Next year you'll take astronomy in high school and learn more about planets and orbits and such. (And then many years later, you'll enlist the help of a friend to teach you even more about orbits to set up the concept of a book.) Also, I'm so glad it's specified that the sun shone brightly, as opposed to all those dimly-shining suns.


Here it is, the laughably bad one I promised. Also fanfic. I think I was 17 or 18?

The light of the two moons cast a dim light over the small village. While the outside temperature was not unbearably hot, the villagers kept all their windows open to take advantage of the sporadic cool breeze.

ARRRRRRRRRRRRGHHsdghoijasengeiwsdf. How did I not catch the two instances of "light" in the VERY FIRST LINE OF THE STORY?!?!?! And the kicker is, this was actually one of my best fanfics. It's held up over time. It's poignant and heartbreaking. It took a new spin on a topic that had been written about before. BUT OH MY GOD, THAT FIRST LINE.

In the immortal words of Blanche Devereaux, "God, I wish I was dead." Even 15ish years later.


At some point, a long writing break happened while I was off doing other life stuff. Let's see how I re-entered the writing world with one more fanfic example:

Alys shielded her eyes from the sun. In the distance, she could make out the silhouettes of the tents at the edge of the native Motavian village of Molcum. “Finally,” she muttered to herself as she approached the outskirts of the small village.

Maybe not the most attention-grabbiest thing ever, but it works. That was late 2010, and I'd say my style hasn't changed drastically since then (based off this example, anyway).


Now let's see what I actually got published. Here's the opening of Searching the Skies, my first published book (written in 2011):

Geneva Greyson removed one of her twin daggers from the throat of her enemy and watched him fall to the ground, wondering yet again what could have possibly possessed her people to land on this planet centuries ago. Ophari was a cold, desolate world with little to offer in the ways of food, minerals, or technology, as the Opharians were not nearly as advanced as the humans who had stumbled upon them. Had it been up to her, she would have passed over the near-barren rock without a second look. Her ancestors, however, had thought differently; they had sought to colonize it and add the small planet to their ever-growing empire.

Not too shabby. Definitely screams "this is sci-fi!" from the get go. Funnily enough, very little information in this opening paragraph is actually relevant to the rest of the book.


Elysium remains one of my favorites; let's see how it holds up under the magnifying glass (written in 2014):

Janie stood in my living room, one hand holding a bag of food from the local Chinese take-out place and the other planted firmly on her hip. She fixed me with a stern glare. “You shouldn’t leave your door unlocked."

Well, we learned a lot about Janie in a few lines. Too bad she's not a main character.


I might be getting too full of myself. Let's look at Flight of the Dragon Queen (written in 2014-2015):

“Hey, Caleb. How’s it going?”
I glanced toward the entrance of the cubicle. Ricky, my closest acquaintance at the office, leaned against the edge of the flimsy wall. “Hey,” I greeted him in return. “I’m all right, can’t complain."

SNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE. It's a good thing this book has dragons and magic and shit, because something has to make up for this opening. If I recall correctly, even the editor had some qualms about the whole prologue, but sometimes you just need to quickly establish the parameters of the story and then get to the good stuff.


Might as well end on a high note with Out of Orbit (written mostly in 2015):

“Captain Hale, are you okay?”
Jasmine winced as she scrambled to her feet, trying to ignore the pain radiating from where her back had slammed into the floor. “I’m fine, I’m fine.” A quick glance around the spaceship’s deck indicated she hadn’t been the only one knocked off balance by the blast. Concern flitted through her mind, but tending to injuries wasn’t her responsibility or priority. “Keep firing!”

This is one of the few times I was really happy with an entire introduction/first chapter. When discussing this post with another writing friend, I also realized that OoO is probably the only time when I really felt I wrote a good opening, ending to the main story, AND ending to the epilogue. Yay.


I just sent in another round of edits for Seductive Suspect. The whole opening chapter is quite long and a lot happens, but the first couple lines/paragraphs probably fall somewhere in the middle between awesome and Blanche Devereaux both in quality and level of excitement. I can live with that!