Saturday, December 16, 2017

More from Protector Jack...

an excerpt from

“Here,” Jack stepped around her, “let me go first. Those cypress trees are sturdy, but rough on your hands.”
“Are your boots slick on this loose rock?”
“Everything’s slick when the rocks are rolling under your feet. Don’t worry. I got you.” He dug his heels into the ground and followed his lead.
One almost slip and both her hands were quickly on his shoulders. She left one and a second later had both touching him again. He tapped her hands to keep them there.
It took about five harrowing minutes, but they found a way to the rock embankment. With both his feet on rocky ground, he turned to help her with the last one foot drop. Hands at her waist, her hands on his shoulders, he lifted and they stood there…waiting.
Did he feel the anticipation spark as her lips passed his? It sure felt like he did. His heart was beating just a little faster when her palms slide down his chest. Yeah, she couldn’t help herself.
There was an attraction. She could fight it and say they shouldn’t move forward because of the obvious reasons. Or she could ignore the professional side of her brain and admit there was a connection. A connection that was getting stronger with each look and definitely each touch.
He dropped his hands like she was on fire giving her even more of a reason to believe he was thinking the same thoughts.
“West takes us Red Hawke Road. There are five or six houses that may or may not be occupied. Some are right on the creek, others aren’t.”
“And to the east?” She splashed into the cold water and faced that direction.
 “I believe that’s our best option to lose men chasing us. There aren’t too many homes before it turns into the Halifax Ranch. Lots of acreage once we get there. Old Indian caves, bluffs, the Blanco River. There’s a small dam and road that might throw them off, too.”
“You already made up your mind which way we’re going.”
“Pretty much.”
“Thanks for being considerate about it though.”
Jack made her feel included. She had no idea if it was deliberate in order to confuse her or if he was genuine. Scratch that. He was the genuine article. There was no talking herself out of that impression.
Under the bluff, darkness was steadily moving in. She stepped into the middle of the shallow creek, careful not to slip and drench herself, but there was nothing to see. No lights from nearby houses. No light pollution from a nearby town.
They really were in the middle of nowhere.
A good place to analyze and organize.
“You’re shivering. Ready to go up? There are some electric blankets or I could start a fire.”
“Dinner in front of the fire? Will there be a movie, too?”
“Only if you like a DVD they have. I didn’t pay much attention to those when I was here before.”
They started back up the incline. Jack led the way, holding her hand, steadying her when the rubber boots slipped. Back next to the deck, he stepped up, then lifted her with both hands.
There it was again.
A spark. A moment of anticipation.
If they’d been on a date, she would have stood on her tiptoes until he kissed her. She might have even leaned in and kissed him first. But they weren’t on a date. They were hiding out in the Texas Hill Country. And while she debated with herself about what to do, he let her go and practically ran the length of the porch.
“I’ll grab the food,” he shot over his shoulder.
There might be a million and one questions about who was after her and why. But one thing was abundantly clear. Ranger Jack MacKinnon was an honest man and dangerously attractive. She already respected him and trusted his judgement.
Getting involved would be easy. So how distracting would it be trying not to?

 Some of the house...

There's another set of window/doors to the right, floor to ceiling glass the entire length of the room.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, December 15, 2017

More White Hat Heroes

Slate Thompson became a Texas Ranger in order to uphold justice and make the world better one case at a time. ion only because his instincts were correct. It doesn’t make things easier when questions occur regarding a closed case about to go to trial. Slate’s gut tells him to go against orders and fly solo to find the evidence he needs before presenting his concerns to his superiors. How could research get him into trouble?

Vivian Watts has been desperate for a year. Her brother is being tried for murder and no one will help them. Vivian and her brother are the only ones who believe he is innocent. A good investigator might obtain the proof needed to free him, but she had no money to hire one after giving up everything to be near her brother. Then Ranger Slate Thompson knocked on her door with a question setting them on the path of the real killer. A killer who didn’t want to be found and was willing to kill again.

Helping clear Vivian’s brother will put his career at risk. But Slate didn’t become a Texas Ranger for job security…he wants to do the right thing. Keeping Vivian alive and obtaining justice for an innocent man is definitely the right thing to do…no matter what the cost. 

"RANGER PROTECTOR is a solidly plotted suspense, very quick-paced, with appealing characters, and with just my kind of romance; this is a most excellent book!" ~MD, Goodreads Review
~ ~
A fun fact of inspiration about Ranger Protector
JUST OVER A year ago I went on a writers retreat with three friends. We stayed close to Wimberley, Texas in a secluded house (very limited internet) with only one neighbor. And yes...the idea of a scene developed. Who wouldn't be inspired by this...

Ranger Protector is the first of the Company B series and hits shelves Tuesday. Ranger Defender releases mid-January. Ranger Guardian releases in July and Ranger Warrior in August.

You can check out Ranger Protector at your favorite

What's your favorite source for inspiration? 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Meet Chandler County Author Traci Wooden-Carlisle

I’m so excited to introduce you all to Traci Wooden-Carlisle, who's here today to tell you about her new Chandler County series book Missing Us. It’s been a joy for me to get to know Traci as part of the Chandler County authors group. Each week since the end of October, a brand new story in the CC series has been released—and they’re all delightful. Traci’s book Missing Us (the sixth of eight) is no exception. You can see a list of the others below.

Traci Wooden-Carlisle began writing poetry and short stories as soon as she was able to form words on paper. She used that as a way to creating worlds, as well as, to communicate with God. A native of Los Angeles, California, she grew up attending United Methodist Church under the leadership of a pastor whose heart was for youth. Once she finished college at she found herself at a loss. She felt caught in the transition between childhood and adulthood. She surrounded herself with saints and volunteered her services as a graphic artist. Through the early-morning prayer, all night Friday prayer and 3-day shut-ins she started on her journey toward her most desired gift, an intimate relationship with God. 
Today, Mrs. Wooden-Carlisle lives in San Diego with her husband, David Carlisle. When she isn’t writing she teaches fitness classes and runs a jewelry and craft business.

Dr. Atherton Nathan, Terry, never imagined that the pact he made four decades ago would cost him what he treasured most – his family. Though he survived the slow disintegration of his marriage, he held fast to the hope that he could win back the only woman he ever loved.
His youngest daughter now has a life and love he has always wanted for her and their relationship has healed enough for her to allow him to give her away during her wedding.  He hopes the weeks he will spend in Chandler County to ensure her transition from her life and career in Chicago to Chandlerville before the nuptials will be enough to convince his wife…ex-wife of his love for her and hers for him.
Reina Fellows Nathan can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Her youngest daughter’s life is out of danger and Shauna is carving out her own path towards happiness. All Reina has to do is get through the weeks it will take to help her daughter plan her wedding and avoid her ex-husband. He nearly destroyed her once and despite some of the changes he’s recently made she dare not trust her heart to him.
Each day brings new challenges that work against her resolve to remain unaffected by her ex- husband’s attempts to court her again, but secrets, lies and a long-held pact that comes to light may make it impossible for a true reconciliation.


Reina was pulled from her thoughts by the ringing of the phone. She let it ring, slightly shaken by her thoughts. She was sure one of the others would get it. She was straightening her paperwork when Meredith’s voice came over the conference line.
“Reina, you have a call on line 2. It’s your husband?” Meredith’s voice rose at the end making what could have been a statement, a question. Terry had a way of doing that to people.
“Thank you, Meredith.” She responded before pressing the button that would open the line to her ex-husband.
“Reina.” His mellow voice reached through the line and caressed her senses.
“Terry.” She said trying to infuse as much coolness as possible into her tone.
“I need to see you.” No greeting. No small talk, no beating around the bush.
“No.” She hung up the phone.



LIZ: What was your favorite book as a child?
TRACI: Island of the Blue Dolphins. It was otherworldly to me. The imagery and detail truly allowed me to feel like I was there, and my second-grade teacher was a great reader.

LIZ: How did you come up with the idea for Missing Us? 
TRACI: I thought about the story for this book near the beginning of my first book in the Chandler County Series MissingDestiny. Dr. Atherton ‘Terry’ Nathan is the father of Dr. Shauna Nathan, the main character of Missing Destiny.  I knew he was a piece of work, but I needed to see if he was redeemable.

LIZ: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
TRACI: Creating jewelry is very therapeutic so I’ve made it a business. I am a freelance graphic artist and do personal fitness training.

LIZ: If you described your book in three words, which would you choose?
TRACI: Emotional, Inspiring, romantic

LIZ: If you could have dinner with any three book characters, who would you choose and why?
TRACI: Boy, that would be a dinner to remember. Sometimes it’s like they are with me because they whisper in my ear if it takes me too long to get back to them. Does that happen to you?
In my book ‘My Beauty for Your Ashes’ there is Dominy, a gentleman who is kind of like the comic relief, but he really just tells it like it is in an obvious and slightly sarcastic way. I would normally want to dine with Paige, the main female character of that series, but she is going through some things right now and wouldn’t be much fun. Then there is Maddison from both Missing Destiny and Missing Us. She is Shauna’s co-worker and best friend, who is a fashionable, lively, unapologetic piece of work. I would probably pick her brain on fashion because I don’t have much when it comes to clothing and sit back to watch her interact with Dominy.
The third would be Ryan Grambling who is referred to in Missing Destiny and makes an appearance in Missing Us. He is dreamy, you know, the strong silent type. I would sit back and watch him for a moment and see how he got along with Maddison (who he may have a thing for) and Dominy. Then I would play 20-Questions with him because I really want to get to know him better.
LIZ: I just want to add that this was the best answer ever to this question! I do have my characters start bugging me if I don’t pay attention to them—but I love how there are exact questions you have in mind for your characters!

LIZ: If your house was on fire and you only had time to save three objects, what would you save?
TRACI: My bible, my laptop, and purse with my phone in it.

LIZ: You’ve been granted one superpower for one week. Which power would you choose, and what would you do with it?
TRACI: If it is for one week, I would like to be able to see in the future one month ahead and hope that I’m not going die in that time. I would like to have fun giving and making things easier for those I love through this power. I don’t want to see my death.
LIZ: Couldn’t agree more. The idea of seeing my own death gives me the shivers.

LIZ: Write us a haiku about your book or one of your characters!
He wants his wife back.
She’s content where she is now. 
Who will win this time?

LIZ: Time for a mini blitz!
a) Favorite color? Song? Movie?
b) Summer or winter?
c) Morning or night?
d) Rain or shine?
e) Sweet or salty?
TRACI: a) In winter, blue. In summer, green. Today, James Taylor’s version of ‘Up On the Roof’. 2009 version of Pride and Prejudice
b) winter
c) Night
d) Shine
e) Salty

LIZ: Do you have any favorite authors? How did they influence your writing?
TRACI: Dee Henderson is one of my favorite authors because she delivers the message of God in her books in a subtle yet poignant way.
LIZ: Where is your favorite place to write?
TRACI: Bedroom

LIZ: What’s on your bucket list for this year?
TRACI: Taking my parents on a train ride up to Vancouver, BC and a cruise back from Vancouver to Los Angeles

LIZ HAS GOTTA ASK: What’s the most personal thing you’ve ever put in one of your books?
TRACI: Though ‘My Beauty for Your Ashes’ was fiction the main character and I shared some very tumultuous moments in our lives. We also share the fact that our relationship with Jesus has helped us let go of the anger and unforgiveness so we could be healthier in mind, body and spirit.

How many books in a series is a good number for you?
I am offering the e-copy of both Missing Destiny and Missing Us to one commenter. (It’s more entertaining to read Missing Us after you’ve read Missing Destiny.)


My next release will be early 2018. It is a First Street Church KW book titled Loves Bittersweet Beginning. I will also be releasing My Garment of Praise for Your Spirit of Heaviness, the third book in my Promise to Zion Series.






Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Regan Walker's Best of the Regency with Becca St. John

Regan here with the Best of the Regency. My guest today is Becca St. John, author of eight books including three Medievals. Her Regencies are romance mysteries with a touch of Gothic. She considered writing a tool, not a toy, until a stay in a haunted hotel and a bookcase full of dog-eared romances changed her mind. Hooked, Becca read old romances, new romances, both sexy and sweet, until her own tales begged to be written.

Living in Florida, Becca divides her time between dreaming up stories, diving deep into history, kayaking, and swimming. Her husband gives her the space she needs by fishing in the mangroves and waterways, or watching football (the English sort) with his British buddies. Becca and her hubby break the routine with adventure travel; though, at heart, Becca is a homebody believing there is no greater playground than inside the mind.

Today she shares with us how her characters took over. And she is offering a giveaway... her book Summerton, so comment and leave your email! 
Lost in the storytelling: How characters take charge
by Becca St. John

My dirty little secret? Lord Stephen’s Lady by Janette Radcliffe, also known as Janet Louise Roberts, turned me into a Regency junky. Yes, I know, all good Regency authors adore Jane Austin, and I do, but Lord Stephen was the first straight-out romance I ever read. Since that first reading, I have craved the wit, the intrigue and, of course, the intricacies of Regency society.

What I hadn’t expected was the similarity between getting lost in reading a Regency and writing one. As you read, you immerse yourself in another world, solely designed by the author. On the other side of that, one would expect the author dutifully sets about to flush out a story with characters behaving exactly as the author pre-determined in an outline.

Except, characters are dreadfully stubborn. The cheeky devils have wills of their own.
They lure authors down difficult, unanticipated, paths, until the storyteller is as lost in the story as any reader could be. Worse, the characters are always right! It’s humbling.

Lady Eleanor played me like the proverbial fiddle. Stately, imperturbable, she entered the first draft of my Regency romance, Summerton, as a very minor character. With succinct remarks and pithy barbs, she nudged the young couple beyond their differences. What luck! I’d unearthed an elderly aunt with a delightful penchant for matchmaking. She needed to stay in the story.

A quarter of the way into the book, the romance took another unexpected turn: Lady Summerton’s abigail is murdered in her lady’s stead.  Lord Summerton is determined to protect his wife. Lady Summerton is just as determined to defend him. As the take their stances, neither wholly trusting the other, Lady Eleanor unearths the killer.
Apparently, she’d been solving crimes for decades. Nobody bothered to tell me this when I set out to write the book.  Characters are sneaky like that. But Lady Eleanor made her point.  She transformed a minor character into a series. A simple Regency romance, Summerton, took on mystery overtones with a female sleuth and created  Summerton - Lady Eleanor Mysteries book 1.

If you haven’t met this formidable woman, think Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie in mid-nineteenth century England. At least, the first two books take place in England. After that the series changes course and … Oh, dear … another twist in the path.

It came about in a short scene in The Gatehouse, book 2 in the series. It’s after dinner in a grand home. The ladies have left the men to their port. French doors are open to the terrace outside. Chandeliers, crystals glittering, illuminate the table, aided by candles in ornate candelabras.
The atmosphere is casual, smoke curling in the air, men leaning back in their chairs having discussed, in this instance, murder.  One gentleman leans over to Lord Bentwood, and asks a question that sets the dominoes toppling.

“What were you speaking to Lady Eleanor about?”

It turns out Lord Bentwood, a character in The Gatehouse, had invited Lady Eleanor on a trip to the Far East. He’s just learned his sister is there and has gone missing. He hoped Lady Eleanor would help him find her. During the exchange we learn that Bentwood loves his wife but believes she has always loved another man. A man she would have married if Bentwood hadn’t interfered. 

In one short scene, without plan, which would pose a problem later, book 3 was born.
Knowing nothing of the “Far East” I headed there, for three months’ worth of research. Total immersion in a world of temples, dynasties and, better yet, historical intrigue. Lower wives murdering those of a higher order, concubines drawing danger by earning too much attention and the ever-faithful eunuchs willing to do anything for the women they protect.

Back home, with piles of notes and even more ideas, that problem mentioned above? It re-emerged. This is 1816. The telegraph hadn’t come into use, the telephone not yet imagined. There were no steamboats or railroads to quicken travel. The missive Lord Bentwood received about his missing sister would have taken a good six months to reach him. Double that time for this trio, Lady Eleanor and Lord and Lady Bentwood, to reach the Far East. The story is unbelievable. Or is it?

This is where the author takes charge, dictates and molds the story to make it work. But let’s not spoil the chance to get lost in the reading. The Journey – Lady Eleanor Mysteries book 3 will be released in the summer of 2018.  There you can find out why Lady Eleanor was willing, even eager, to take such a long arduous journey, how much danger lurks aboard a ship and what the trio will do to sort it out, and experience both the best, and the worst, of Lord and Lady Bentwood.  

From there, the series will carry on with love knotted in impossible tangles, more exotic ports, strange lands and intriguing customs. At some point, Lady Eleanor will find her new home, far from the early days in England.

In the meantime, get acquainted with Lady Eleanor in the first two books of the series; Summerton and The Gatehouse.

Ta for now. I’m off diving into another story, sailing the high seas amid murder, and unrequited love. No telling where this will lead … 

Becca has a question for you: 
The first Regency romance I read was Lord Stephen’s Lady by Janette Radcliffe. What was yours? Let me know for the chance to win a copy of Summerton.

He married for money, she wed by force. Neither considered love part of the bargain.

On the brink of losing everything, the Duke of Summerton marries heiress Caroline Howlett, but at what cost? She wants neither his crumbling estate nor his title, and what is he, as a man, without them? Before he can resolve this dilemma, something more dangerous than doubt threatens their marriage.

When Caroline said she’d rather be dead than married to the duke, she hadn’t meant it literally. Forced into marriage by her guardian, Caroline doesn’t give a fig for the idle life of the aristocracy. She wants to run her father’s enterprises, and she will, once dead bodies stop getting in the way.

Aided by Summerton's widowed aunt, amateur sleuth Lady Eleanor, the duke and his reluctant bride scramble to discover just who is trying to kill them.

Buy on Amazon.

Keep up with Becca on her Website, Facebook, Twitter.