Forward Motion is Everything

Well, it’s done. My publisher has officially closed their doors. In the ever-changing world of book selling, Samhain and its owner, Crissy Brashear, went out with dignity—doing their best by their authors and employees under difficult circumstances.

But where does this leave me, you ask? With the announcement last year of a slowdown and eventual closure, I’ve had time to prepare. I’ve already begun to re-release STILL LIFE–book 1 in the Randi Lassiter series as an ebook on retail sites with print to follow. Final line edits were recently completed on THE DARK SIDE (book 2) and I’m prepping it now for launch. The hang up is, without a publisher, it’s all on me. And boy, this Indie publishing thing is a heck of a lot of work!

Fans will also be happy to know that I’m also working on the first book in a new suspense series featuring special agent, Becca Howell, with the department of justice (from Still Life) and outlining book 3 in the Randi Lassiter Series. See, forward motion is everything.

For your entertainment, here are the cover and blurb for THE DARK SIDE.

  Enjoy!

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Coming Soon!

 

With the woman who tried to murder her finally behind bars, Randi Lassiter is wondering how much longer she must suffer the effects of the post-traumatic stress disorder that have plagued her for nearly a year. Just as she and her cop boyfriend, Jon Bricksen, settle into the routine of a happy couple, someone in town is murdered and the news threatens to send her down the rabbit hole again.

What Randi needs now is a P. I. case to focus on. When the only distraction available comes waltzing into her office, Randi embraces the opportunity like the lone life preserver on the Titanic. Too bad the client is her ex-husband, Stuart, who is looking for his missing new wife.

Randi’s decision to help the man she has sworn to loathe for all eternity is so out of character that Jon questions not only her judgment, but her mental health as well. When he worries that she has lost her last marble, Randi begins to keep secrets from him. The kind of secrets that could break a relationship.

When Stuart is suddenly arrested for murder, Randi stubbornly stands by her ex-man. As she attempts the impossible by proving him innocent, Jon is doing his best to find him guilty.

Pitted against one another, the couple’s love is tested. Can their relationship survive as a conspiracy of secrets place them in danger?

Click to read an excerpt

Can hanging out with cops improve your writing?

This past August, writers from around the globe descended on Green Bay Wisconsin like cops diving for an open box of donuts. In fact, they came in droves from as far away as Thailand and Germany to meet with law enforcement specialists at The Writers’ Police Academy. Their collective goal? To get the writing right. After all, when it comes to the technical stuff, the goal is to gain a level of authenticity that the reader doesn’t ever have to question. Readers expect a bit realism and accuracy when it comes to the details. They want the story to be believable. And, writers want to deliver it. For instance, the earlier cliche about cops and donuts is far from the truth. These days, law enforcement officials strive to stay in top-notch condition, not only to do their job well but to carry around an addition twenty pounds of gear (vest and duty belt).

The Writers’ Police Academy provided an experience like no other. Where 14054949_10207526999108692_295445966679904031_nelse can a wordsmith learn how to evaluate blood spatter or explore the use of explosives and IED’s. Or field strip and shoot a long gun, study a death scene, and learn the proper time to Mirandize a suspect?

As a debut author who is all about improving my writing, I’ve found the fine points of police procedure, legalese, forensics, and psychopathy are sometimes hard to get right. Research from behind the laptop only goes so far and it’s those little tidbits that make the story dynamic.

Based on what I learned at the academy I’ll admit mistakes were made in my first book. Hopefully, none that the average citizen would note. And yet, my goal will always be to get the minutiae right. Not only is it out of respect for those who do the job but I want fans to experience an adventure that reflects real life. This writer thing I’ve got a passion for is going to last awhile and I owe it to readers to improve where I can.

This event was law enforcement 101 on steroids.

The WPA’s wicked intense schedule is a one-stop shop that provides interactive, hands-on, professional instruction. And, much like Disneyworld, the offerings are so vast that it’s impossible to do everything in a single visit. I’m talking 42 classes offered over a 2-day period-Yikes! With all the group presentations, classes, guest speakers, and networking, my head was spinning by the end (good thing I took notes). The jam-packed days continued into the night with drone demos, traffic stops, and arrest protocol. I was particularly impressed with how patient and determined instructors were to ensure we left with a clear understanding of each subject. No question went unanswered.

Police procedure and crime scene investigation expert, author and consultant, Lee Lofland (of the Graveyard Shift Blog), is the driving force behind the academy. He and his team put together one heck of a training adventure. Here’s a look at just a few things I experienced that weekend.

Special Ops show and tell of equipment, gear, and vehicles:  S.W.A.T.,  bomb squad, emergency response and rescue, K-9 cops.

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And, a few of the classes I participated in:

-Oneida Tribal Police and Native Gangs: This class was a gold mine of information on various gangs not only in Wisconsin but across the U.S.

-Examination of stereotypical motives for mass/serial murders and the psychological nuances behind specific cases. This was taught by renown author, instructor of forensic psychology, and lover of all things dark–Dr. Katherine Ramsland.

-Police basics – learning the walk and talk – a crash course in cop lingo. Taught by Robin Burcell,  a former cop, hostage negotiator, and an FBI-trained forensic artist turned author.

-Private Investigation: Or, how to be a dick for fun and profit. Great for my amateur sleuth protagonist.

20160813_121656-Force on Force clearing of a building: When is deadly force necessary?  This class was a real eye-opener for me. I learned how officers are trained using reality-based tactical scenarios to evaluate and determine if deadly force is necessary. Gone are the days when trainees shoot at pop-up targets during training and then hesitate when confronted with the same shoot/don’t shoot scenario with a live person. An instant is all it takes to be right or wrong. I learned how this cutting-edge training better prepares officers for dangerous situations.

(Here I am with instructor Randy Clifton. Former Special Agent for the DEA and FBI Academy Instructor.)


As if the classes weren’t enough, one exciting part of the weekend were the surprise events that were planned for us.

When we arrived on campus Friday morning we witnessed a fatal head-on collision involving a drunk driver (simulated). This incident felt very real. Officials wore microphones so that we writers could hear the exchange as emergency personnel arrived and dealt with the events in real time. Responding officers evaluated the intoxicated driver, issuing a field sobriety test and subsequent arrest. Emergency medical personnel triaged the injured and extricated (using the jaws of life) a victim for medical transport on the Flight for Life helicopter.

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(Impressive acting by the guy in the orange shorts! He played dead as the entire scenario unfolded.)


We were in class early Saturday morning drinking coffee and covering terrorist statistics. For instance, Worldwide terrorist attacks in 2015 numbered 391. That number jumped dramatically to 759 in the first six months of 2016!  All of a sudden, we were under attack (simulated). Terrorists had come onto campus and staff was dealing with multiple stabbings while performing a lock-down in the lecture hall to keep us all safe. We all knew this was one of the WPA surprise simulations, but still. Not only did we get to hear staff in the room but critical responders as they made their way to us.

A lot was happening at once and it was tough to take notes with our hands on our heads. (I did manage to sneak a few photos with my cell). We were required to keep our hands on our heads until our non-involvement was established by officers. Afterward, instructors covered protocol for the response.

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Lee Goldberg shared insights into his writer’s journey and words of wisdom on how to use or not use what we learned at the WPA.

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Lee Goldberg and Tami Hoag receive recognition at the Saturday night banquet.

To top off the weekend (I know, you’re wondering how it could possibly get any better), Tami Hoag spoke about her panster writing process and how, often, she doesn’t know the ending until she’s there. She sports a tattoo that keeps her centered and has a love of mixed martial arts (and yes, she can lay you flat with one punch). She also shares a passion to the details right and attended classes that weekend. See, a writer never stops working on the craft.

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The Writers’ Police Academy was an all around adventure I look forward to attending again and again. Thanks WPA for keeping it real!

The Writers’ Police Academy sign up is February 19th. Don’t miss out!

Writing: Not for the faint of heart

Some followers have probably been wondering where in the heck I’ve been lately. Well, life sometimes gets in the way. I’ve had some personal things come up at home this summer, I’ve been busy at my day job, and between hubby and I, we were gone/committed to events every weekend for nearly 3 months. That’s a lot of traveling. Packing and unpacking, laundry, and scheduling of dog sitters. It was fun but exhausting.

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I’ve also been in re-write limbo. That mysterious place where an author takes a finished novel, something that took months if not years to complete, and then must reconstruct it to make it better, stronger. And yes, much of this was done in a car. Thankfully, I’m one of those lucky people who can read in a moving vehicle and not puke.

frustrated-writer

 

Writing a novel is hard enough, but systematically dismantling your baby, scrambling it about, and then assembling the bits and pieces into a decent product is rough. And, not for the faint of heart.

 

THE DARK SIDE, book two in the Randi Lassiter Series, is now finished and waiting for a second pass of editing. I just got the first draft of the cover art and I love it. With any luck at all, I can feed the two or three fans I have a preview of the book next month.

It’s been just over a year since the release of my debut novel and boy howdy, have I learned a lot. It has been an adventure of highs and lows. Some scream worthy, others no more than a moments distraction. From learning how to write a series (didn’t see that coming) to putting together an author platform that I actually (okay, sometimes) use, to educating myself on Indie publishing, it has been a thrilling rollercoaster ride.

Don’t get me wrong, tough as it is, I’m living the dream. I have one book published and a second on the verge of release. What have I got to complain about?

Well, perhaps it’s that I can sit and write for five hours straight and it feels like it has only been five minutes. That I go to bed frustrated, swearing I’ll never write another word again and then race to my laptop the next morning with ideas that just can’t wait to get out.

Or, that I’m obsessed with fixing _________________ (pick one: plot problems, insubordinate timelines, a random comma usage disorder (okay…that’s not a real thing), rogue red-herrings, exposition diarrhea, and dialog that digs in it’s heels, insisting on appearing stilted instead of casual), and poor daily word counts.

And, don’t even get me started on writer’s block!

Writing a book is difficult.

Considering how hard it is to string just two words together some days, its miraculous that I’ve managed to group 90,000 into an order that makes some quirky sense.

Soon I will begin a new novel. This is the first in the Becca Howell series. Becca is a special agent with the DCI (Division of Criminal Investigation) with the Department of Justice (a branch of the FBI) in the Madison office. She’s a grittier character than the protagonist in the first series and I’m looking forward to fleshing her out on the page.

I’ve also updated this blog site to  include some fun/random tidbits. There’s a section called Dead Darlings where I’ll post reader worthy snippets that dropped to the cutting room floor. Also, a section on Research where I hope to share some fascinating stuff I run across when working background on my writing. Research is one of my favorite things and so much of what I learn never makes it in the story, darn it. I hope you find it interesting.

Tell me, what kind of things do you enjoy reading about on other blogs/web pages?

 

Meet the author, Austen fan, and Avenger geek: Melanie Stanford

 

Melanie

Hi Melanie, tell us a little about yourself.

Tardis

Here you go!

I’m first a mother, second a writer, sometimes dancing, always daydreaming. I read too much and play music too loud. I’d also like my very own TARDIS… but only to go back in time, not into the future.   

 

 

What do you think people would be the most surprised to learn about you?

If you know me online then this might not be a surprise, but most people who know me in real life are surprised when they find out I’m into “nerdy” stuff. 

(Do you think Melanie wears that mask when she writes? )

The family's Avenger Figurines

The Stanford Family Avenger Figurine Collection

I collect dragons, Marvel action figures, fandom t-shirts, and recently went to my first ever comic book convention (I totally dressed up, too). I don’t know why this surprises people, but there you go.

 

reading in sun

What do you enjoy most in your free time?

Reading, obviously. And being in the sunshine. Wait, reading in the sunshine.

 

 

Other than a computer, what modern convenience could you never live without?

Definitely flushable toilets. 

This                                                                                              Not this!

Flickr

Flickr

Flickr

Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every author has a process—what works for them when they write. What does your writing process look like from first scribbles to finished manuscript?

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Melanie’s successful author workspace.

I used to be a full-on pantser, but I’ve started plotting a bit first. Usually just notes about the characters, and I’ll try to make beats of the plot. After that, I like to write every day for at least a couple of hours, usually right after lunch. It usually only takes me a couple of months to write the book, then I revise, send to critique partners, then revise again, send to beta readers, then revise again. I definitely spend more time revising than on the first draft. 

 

What is your all time favorite book and why?

Ahh, don’t make me pick! Can I choose the entire Harry Potter series? I would like to live in Harry Potterthat world. In fact, I’m still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts. I don’t think their owls fly to Canada though.

 

 

 

Project research, love it or hate it?

Ugh, research. My problem is, as soon as I get a book idea, I want to dive in with the writing. I don’t like putting that off to research first.

So that’s a no, then.             Is there a specific author who inspires you?

There are so many authors I read and think, man I wish I could write like that. I’m always inspired by the ones who had to work really hard to get published- I love to hear those stories. Specifically, though, the author who gave me the inspiration to actually finish a manuscript was Stephenie Meyer. I wanted to be a writer long before her books ever came out but I remember reading Twilight and thinking, I can do this.

 

What has been the most exciting aspect to releasing your first novel? Melanie launch

Holding the actual book in my hands for the first time. Don’t tell anyone, but I hugged it a lot when no one was looking.

Awww. I know that feeling. Tell the truth…you still hug it every now and again.

 

 

Moving on.   What has been the most detrimental?

I assumed when I published my first book that my journey would only go forward from here. Lately, I’ve learned otherwise, but there’s nothing to do but roll with it.

 

What other projects are you working on?  IMG_1003

Melanie! I said projects, not propositions.

 

I have another classical retelling, this one of Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH, that I will shortly be finding a new home for. I’m also querying a Young Adult Mystery, and writing another adult romance/retelling. 

How did you come up with the title for your l book?

I did a synonym search on the word “persuasion.” When SWAY came up it just clicked. Even though there are quite a few other books titled SWAY, I knew I had to use it. 

How long did it take you to write SWAY?

About two-three months for the first draft. Lots more time after for revisions. 

Tell us a little about the book.

SWAY is a modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION,  but if you don’t know that book, basically it’s a second-chance romance. My two main characters were engaged right out of high school but she breaks it off because of family pressure, and because she’s scared. The book starts eight years later when they’re suddenly back in each other’s lives. Awkwardness and angst ensue.    

It’s been fun getting to know more about you, Melanie. Thanks for the interview!

Here’s the official blurb for SWAY:

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Ava Elliot never thought she’d become a couch surfer. But with a freshly minted—and worthless—degree from Julliard, and her dad squandering the family fortune, what choice does she have?

Living with her old high school friends, though, has its own drawbacks. Especially when her ex-fiancé Eric Wentworth drops back into her life. Eight years ago, she was too young, too scared of being poor, and too scared of her dad’s disapproval. Dumping him was a big mistake.

In the most ironic of role reversals, Eric is rolling in musical success, and Ava’s starting at the bottom to build her career. Worse, every song Eric sings is an arrow aimed straight for her regrets.

One encounter, one song too many, and Ava can’t go on like this. It’s time to tell Eric the truth, and make a choice. Finally let go of the past, or risk her heart for a second chance with her first love. If he can forgive her…and she can forgive herself. 

You can find Melanie on her website: melaniestanfordbooks.com and on Twitter @MelMStanford or on Facebook here. She also blogs over at the YA-NA Sisterhood and Austen Variations.

How does she do it?

I’m excited to welcome the talented and multi-published author Lauren Smith to my blog today. A prolific writer, Lauren has 15 romance novels/novellas in several sub-genres including Regency era historical, paranormal, gothic, and contemporary adult.

Lauren Smith

I love a good mystery. But,  when I look at Lauren’s bio, book list, accolades and awards, then factor in that she is a lawyer by day, I can’t figure out how she does it all.

Let’s get to know her better and find out.

 

 

What do you think people would be the most surprised to learn about you?

Probably that I’m a virgin, given that I write really steamy romance novels.

That is a shocker! I’ve read some of your novels and I blush just thinking about certain parts of them. (fans face)   It takes talent and practice (writing, I mean) to pen a well done sex scene. Some authors won’t even go there. You’re young and beautiful. So no one is going to believe you’ve never participated on some level of (ahem) extracurricular activity. That said, it’s all the more impressive that you write those intimate scenes so well without the…um…er…full Monty experience.  Kudos, girlfriend!

We know you are a lady lawyer and committed writer. But, what do you enjoy most in your free time?

I love to do photography, walk my dogs, run, draw and watch movies and hang with my friends.

Here is some of Lauren’s art and photography. She’s got an eye for detail.

Lauren’s fur babies.     DSC_0006

Any other passions?

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I adore Audie Murphy and have nearly all his movies and his official biography signed by the author that was a limited print run. *grins. He’s the coolest. Here’s a photo of two riders from the Audie Murphy Days celebration in Texas. 

 

 

Lauren's men

 

Here’s a photo I found of Lauren with what looks to be a group of Audie wannabes.  Looks like great research to me!

 

Other than a computer, what modern convenience could you never live without?

My smart phone. The Audible Audiobook app is essential to my existence!

I’ll have to try that one. Every author has a process—what works for them when they write. What does your writing process look like from first scribbles to finished manuscript?

Lauren page2

 

I write chronologically from start to finish on a book in a Five Star brand five-subject Notebook.  

 

What is your all-time favorite book.

Via Amazon

Via Amazon

Gone with the wind

Via Amazon

 

Man, I can’t believe I have to pick….it’s a tie. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and The Host by Stephanie Meyer.

 

How about project research, love it or hate it?

Love to buy books for topics, but not so good at following up on reading them! Hahah.

Is there a specific author who inspires you?

Probably Christina Dodd and Marie Force are a tie. They really are amazing writers who have been successful over years of hard work. They’ve taught me to be true to the craft but that it’s okay to want to be successful about it.

You write in various genres, which is your favorite to write?

That’s a tough question. I’d probably say Gothic, even though I only had one book so far written in that genre. It’s just my natural writing voice to make things a little spooky and haunted.

Which is your favorite to read?

Definitely gothic, or classic styled but sexy vampire romances.

Is there a genre you haven’t written but are thinking about trying?

I’d love to write highland romances but the accuracy and accents scare me right now and I would only want to write a good book so I haven’t worked up the courage yet to try.

How long did it take you to write your first book?    Your latest book?

My first book took about 4 months while I was in college. My latest book took about 4 months as well.

And, all in longhand. I’m still impressed!  As a multi-published author, do you have any words of advice for aspiring writers?

Keep writing and view your writing like a business. I see a lot of newer authors who don’t study the market and see what sells. You want to have an original voice but you don’t want to write a book that’s too complicated or fails to register with readers. It’s always important to know what readers like because half the joy of writing is giving readers something they would share.

What projects are you working on?

I’m currently working on a Regency historical and a contemporary new adult!

Tell us a little about a recent release, Climax: Her British Stepbrother.

It’s the 3rd part in my 3 part Serial. All 3  books (Forbidden, Seduction, and Climax) are 99 cents. The story is about Kat, an American college Freshman who moves to England and falls for a handsome, seductive graduate student named Tristan Kingsley. To her shock, she discovers that he’s going to the Earl of Pembroke someday and what’s more, his mother and her father, both who have been divorced from their spouses for years had suddenly met and started dating. Kat and Tristan will soon become step-siblings. I wanted to write a stepbrother story but have them meet and fall in love before their parents start dating.

Forbidden: Book 1 in Her British Stepbrother Series

He’s her first. He’s her everything. He’s her . . . stepbrother.

Kat has always been a good girl. She studies hard and never stays out too late. But when sitting in a pub on her birthday, she realizes she’s a nineteen-year-old virgin who’s never really lived. And she wants tonight to be the night that changes.

Then she sees him walk in. He’s tall, dark, handsome, and straight out of her deepest fantasies. His voice makes her knees feel weak, and when he smiles, she imagines him doing wicked things to her in bed. From the look in his eyes, she knows he’s imagining it too. So when he asks if he can walk her home, she hears herself whisper yes . . .

Catch up with Lauren:

Amazon Bestselling Author Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets, a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and Semi-Finalist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

To get alerts for her latest releases sign up for Lauren’s newsletter visit her at www.laurensmithbooks.com                 or          The League of Rogues

Interview with debut author CJ Warrant

Today I welcome fellow debut author CJ Warrant to my blog.

CJ Warrant

CJ is an Award Winning Author for dark romantic suspense and thrillers that pulls at your heart, makes you shiver, and hope for a happy ending. A lover of coffee, baking and family, but not in that order–She’s a wife, a loving mother of three and a cosmetologist by trade. Drawing her experiences from her Korean Italian heritage and growing up as an Army brat, her stories stir in dark plots with addictive flawed characters you will fall in love with.
Visit CJ at www.cjwarrant.com

 

What do you think people would be the most surprised to learn about you?

My nationality. People look at me and assume I’m a certain heritage but in fact I’m far from what they think. I’m half Italian and half Korean, which are equal influences in my life. So when you first meet me, I’m generally quiet, but once you get to know me you can’t shut me up.

What do you enjoy most in your free time?

Being with my family. Especially nowadays, since my kids are growing up so fast and moving out the house. I treasure them and the time we have.

Other than a computer, what modern convenience could you never live without?

My cell phone. Not only does it link to social media but also my family. It’s the central hub of all incoming information for both personal and professional.

Every author has a process—what works for them when they write. What does your writing process look like from first scribbles to finished manuscript?

Wow, if you had asked me that a few years ago, I’d say I was all over the place with my writing process. I’m a total pantser, through and through. However, while writing Forgetting Jane, I realized I needed some plotting to keep my story in line.

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Perhaps the start of CJ’s new novel?

So, when I get a spark of an idea—which can come from anything I see, hear, or even dream and that idea usually forms into movie playing in my head. Upon that, I start writing a chapter or two of a scene. In that scene, my main characters emerge. However, sometimes, it’s a character that comes forth before the storyline. After developing my characters, that is when I begin writing my first draft. Once done, I usually go three to four rounds of edits, with a full rewrite and my critique partners going through the manuscript twice.

What is your all time favorite book and why?

This is a tough question, because I have several. I’ve always been a sucker for a love story with grittier plots. I want a book with characters that have major flaws and then find redemption. But one story has always stood out of my mind since I was a kid. It was the first book I fell in love with. The book made me cry and care for the characters deeply. It was, The Pigman by Paul Zindel. It’s far from what I read now, but it’s a great story.

Goodreads

Goodreads: Paul Zindel

Pigman

Via Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project research, love it or hate it?

I love doing research. It helps me dig deeper into my characters, plot and/or the places where the dirty deeds had taken place. The more I know, the better my story is.

Is there a specific author who inspires you?

I could say numerous well known authors have inspired me, like for example Sherrilyn Kenyon. She is one of my favorites to read, but I feel that the ones who truly inspire me the most are the writers who aren’t published yet. They keep writing and pushing along to get their stories out there. Their perseverance and diligence are what I feel inspires me; not to quit and keep striving for what I want. Just like them.

You write in various genres, which is your favorite to write?

I tend to lean toward my darker side, so I would have to say romantic thrillers.

Which is your favorite to read?

It would have to depend on my mood at the time. But if I have to choose, then it would be Paranormal romance. It so outside the realm of reality, and that’s what draws me.

Is there a genre you haven’t written but are thinking about trying?

Erotica. Just to see if I can write it.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

My first book—which by the way will never see the light of day… it me over four years to finish it with the heavy push from my wonderful husband.

Your latest book?

It took me eight months.

Like my debut novel, yours is set in Wisconsin. Tell us a little about FORGETTING JANE

Forgetting Jane is set in a small rural town in Wisconsin in current times. Some of the scenes in the novel were derived from my experiences I had when I was kid, living on a farm(which was haunted by a female ghost—no joke) for a year, and the closest town was ten miles away.

The story is about a woman found in the outskirts of town near a lake. Jane was horrifically beaten and had lost her memory. Her memory holds the key to who tried to kill her, and links her to a ghost, who haunts her until the killer’s secrets are revealed. What secrets? That’s what Chief Elias McAvoy’s intends to find out.

Small towns have buried secrets, and those secrets are about to be unearthed. With each step closer to getting Jane’s memory back, so is the truth about the killer. During the chaos of this investigation, Elias and Jane’s attraction grows and it can’t be denied.

And I do have to give a shout out to my secondary character, Harold and his hunting dog Traitor, a black Labrador. They are the ones who helped sparked this story.

What other projects are you working on?

I have three projects right now. My first project I’m currently editing is an erotic thriller called Mirror Image, which starts in Las Vegas and ends in Denver.

In my second project, I’m finishing up book one in a romantic suspense series based out of Chicago, which my lead female character, Jazz knows how to kick some a**.

And my third project is outlining a second romantic suspense series based out of Tennessee. Characters, towns and events—good and bad. A road trip will be required for this series.

CJ's book

Excerpt:

The small town of Beaver Creek, Wisconsin has never seen a horrific act of violence before. So when two hunters find a woman beaten and partially buried, but alive, recovering alcoholic Chief Elias McAvoy has to find who’s behind the attempted murder. After Jane Doe wakes up from a coma, Elias discovers she has amnesia, which makes the case nearly impossible to solve.

Jane wants to remember the horrid crime that put her near death’s door, but the only thing she can envision is the girl in the yellow dress that repeatedly visits her. Seeing ghosts is the least of her worries, however. Between the severe headaches and nightmares, the only person keeping her sane is Elias. His desperate touch gives her the strength to learn more about herself and him, as well the girl who haunts her. She unwittingly captures Elias’s heart while the killer is bent on reclaiming her for his deadly game.

Elias and Jane search for answers and find more than lost memories. When another body is discovered, Elias uncovers a killing spree that spans forty years that connect to the girl in the yellow dress. With evidence pointing to a local, the killer quickly closes in, recapturing Jane to finish what he started. As Jane’s life hangs in the balance, Elias’s sobriety is tested as he realizes he can’t live without her. It will take strength and perseverance to save the woman he loves before the killer does.

Forgetting Jane releases June 29th, but it’s available to pre-order now!

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Please join CJ and several other authors on June 29th from 3 – 10pm for her FORGETTING JANE Launch Party on Facebook.  CJ will start us out and I’ll be there at 3:30! It promises to be loads of fun with lots of giveaways!