Only Jill Barlow’s grown children remain. Her husband and father, caught in his fight to keep casino gambling out of Texas, are murdered. She’ll do whatever it takes to ensure her kids’ safety. Jill flees from the gambling syndicate that will kill again for the damning evidence she possesses.
Excerpt: Vermont Escape
Jill Barlow reached for her make-up kit and brushed against the one thing she’d been doing her damnedest to avoid. Her heart rate tripped into overtime.
The package she received days after her dad was murdered. One month ago, but she couldn’t face opening a reminder of the nightmare.
Pictures of her vigorous father mixed with recent images of his closed casket. Nausea hit. Again. Damn. Why would someone blow off her father’s head? She didn’t stay to find out. She ran.
She’d pushed herself on a four-day trip from Texas to Vermont. Emotionally and physically exhausted, all she wanted to do was unpack her pajamas and climb into bed. Habit required she clean and moisturize her face. Habit provided comfort when life was chaotic. Habit could get her through the worst. Or not.
In the Woodstock Inn suite, her hand trembled when she removed the package and dropped it onto the bed where it lay on the white coverlet like a scorpion.
Hands propped on her knees, she leaned over, drew in needed oxygen. A minute passed, and then she straightened. “Okay, open this. Every time you’ve come across the thing, you implode, morphing into a quivering mass of mush.”
Marsha, who loves to travel, lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. They’ve raised two daughters who’ve presented them with three delightful grandchildren. She admits to being at the beck and call of two dogs, who run her home. She’s currently editing her latest work in progress.
Jillian: How often to you get lost in a story?
Marsha: Not nearly as often as before I became a writer when I’d read one to two books a week. That’s while I was teaching and looking after my mother. Now I read during TV commercials in the evening. Not the most satisfying way for sure. Going on vacation is fun because, besides the enjoyment of the new location, I get longer chunks of time to read.
Jillian: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Marsha: I read Dana Girls Mysteries when I was in elementary school, just inhaled them. It was like Nancy Drew but with twin girls. As an only child, I liked reading about the sisters. Probably the book that made the most impression on me was GONE WITH THE WIND. One night in eighth grade, I stayed up to the wee hours to finish it and then sobbed uncontrollably at the ending. LOL Set me up to always want a Happily Ever After.
|Rocky coastline in Maine.|
Marsha: I love the sound of the ocean waves. We go to sleep every night listening to those sounds on a CD. Now my preference is to be somewhere with the windows open and going to sleep listening to the real thing.
Jillian: What was the first story you remember writing?
Marsha: In 8th grade I wrote a play set during the Civil War and based on a real person, a Confederate hero nick-named the Gray Ghost. I don’t remember much about it, but there was danger and romance. (Always romance and danger. Never one without the other. )
Even when I began writing the first book, I wrote the first scene in the form of a play. I finished the scene and thought, “Hmmm. This doesn’t look much like a novel.” 145,000 words later, I stopped. It’s that book of my heart that keeps the dust bunnies company under the bed.
Jillian: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
Marsha: Two things. One is that my stories have heroes and heroines who are older. So far, they are 40-55. They may have grown or teenage kids and most have older parents. Real love isn’t restricted to young people. The second thing I’d like fans to know that I hope they enjoy the story of Jill and Jerrod, and that I’d love to hear from them.
Jillian: What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
Marsha: When I began writing, I didn’t understand craft or the business. I just thought I’d write the book and “poof” someone would love my story and publish it. Even in this day of indie-publishing and with the abundance of small e-presses, this is a tough business. VERMONT ESCAPE is my first published book. I came very close to quitting a couple of years ago when I was president of my local RWA chapter. Despite finalling in a couple of contests, I’d hit a number of walls, and I began to think maybe this wasn’t going to happen for me. When I first saw the book in my publisher’s bookstore, at B & N, and Amazon, it was like the Fourth of July with all the fireworks going off! I’m proud I stuck with the process. I’m proud I was willing to do the work to learn the lessons I needed. It took me longer than some to get published and less time than others. It’s a journey. I’m glad I’ve gotten to this point in that journey and look forward to what else I have to learn on my travels to the next stop along the way.
Jillian: What color would you make the sky if it wasn’t going to be blue anymore and why?
Marsha: I’d make the sky turquoise, because it’s my favorite color. Makes me feel good.
Jillian: What would you say is your most interesting quirk?
Marsha: I’m not sure it’s the most interesting quirk, but it drives my family nuts. I talk out loud. To myself. Whether anyone else is around or not. Quite a few years ago, I trained to get certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Some of you may be familiar with the personality inventory. I learned that my preference is to process information out loud. What I say at the beginning is not as important as what I say at the end as I work my way through a problem situation. It’s made for interesting confusions with my DH and the kids before I and they realized I do this.
How to Contact Marsha:
Website: http://www.marsharwest.com/category/blogfor Thoughts on Thursday and Tuesday Author Chats
Marsha's got a question for commenters: After years of wearing suits and heels, I’ve found my favorite clothes to wear now are jeans, a t-shirt, and sandals. What clothes are you most comfortable in?
Marsha is giving away two small lavender sachets to two lucky commenters. In Vermont Escape, the heroine, Jill, buys a crystal store that has the same lovely scent! If you wish to be included in the drawing for the sachet, please leave your e-mail contact information along with your comment. And good luck!
***Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.