Personal Ghosts

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(Angela’s note: Readers, originally Bernita was scheduled to have her “day” on Tuesday, but when I read this post, I thought it was only fitting that this post be featured on Memorial Day here in the States. Read on and you’ll see why. And yes, Bernita, I see now. Thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with us. )

When Angela James phoned one lonely afternoon to offer a contract for DARK AND DISORDERLY and to tell me that “the Acquisition Team loved it,” in a fine display of professional decorum, I cried all over her.

This is why:

2009 had been a black and bitter year for me. My husband died. I do not think I have to say he was beloved. He had been gravely ill for months, but until the quiet horror of that morning, I thought–we all thought, the children and I–that he had won, with grace and valor, yet one more battle.

For months I could not write. I avoided the internet and my blog, and the dear friends who posted there ready and willing to offer support. Writing–with all its joy and hope–belonged to Before, and I was frozen in After. The completed manuscript of the novel sat on my hard drive like a ghost in the machine gathering electronic dust, until I saw one aimless, empty day the announcement about Carina Press.

I hauled up the file, decided the novel wasn’t so bad after all, revised and tweaked and twiddled, and sent it off to Carina at the winter solstice. And I sent it off in some sort of dim and symbolic hope that the black night of the past year might give way to something new and bright.

DARK AND DISORDERLY, the adventures of Lillie St. Claire, will be released the week of June 28.

He would have been so pleased and proud.

Angela, so now you know why I was excessively fervent in my gratitude. A gratitude that extends to all the wonderful Carina staff and to my editor, Michael A Banks ( yes, the Michael A. Banks, internet guru and historian) aka Editor Guy, and to one of the most vital people of all–considering my hyphen-habit–proofreader Ms. Langone.

And speaking of husbands, mine always referred to Lilliie’s husband Nathan, as “that bastard!”

Here’s the blurb:

I was standing there naked when a dead man sauntered into my bathroom.

Lillie St. Claire is a Talent, one of the rare few who can permanently dispatch the spirits of the dead that walk the earth. Her skills are in demand in a haunted country, where a plague of ghosts is becoming a civic nuisance.

Those skills bring her into conflict with frightened citizens who view Talents as near-demons. Her husband has come to see her as a Freak; so when Nathan dies after a car crash, she is relieved to be free of his increasingly vicious presence. Lillie expects to be haunted by Nathan’s ghost, but not to become Suspect # 1 for her husband’s murder and reanimation.

But what is most surprising of all is the growing attraction between her and psi-crime detective John Thresher. He thinks that Lillie killed Nathan–and Nathan must agree, because his zombie is seeking revenge. Now she and Thresher must work together to solve her husband’s murder–before his corpse kills her…

A Libra and left-handed, Bernita is drawn naturally to the sinister side of justice. She lives now in an old house in the Thousand Islands with  a German shepherd, a “mostly” corgi and ten thousand books. She spends her time writing, tending her herb and flower gardens, and negotiating with the dead.

Bernita would be delighted if you visited her at An Innocent A-Blog; http://bernitaharris.blogspot.com/
**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

Meet Lillie St. Claire

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Dark and Disorderly: The Adventures of Lillie St. Claire. A paranormal suspense novel.

It began with the ghosts–but it didn’t end there.

Ghosts appear more and more frequently until the sheer number of apparitions across the country constitutes an epidemic. Specters show up on streets and highways and drivers careen over sidewalks and into ditches. Spirits invade homes, businesses and public buildings and drive down property values. These shades represent more than a disorderly nuisance, for some of them are dark and malignant. The public becomes truly and literally spooked.

The town council of Waredale, ignoring equally the pronouncements by assorted experts from portentous psychologists to hysterical World-Enders, decides the proliferation of ghosts within their municipality is basically a property standards issue, and the solution to the problem a form of by-law control, like barking dogs, parking meters and garbage. To this end, they hire a paranormal consultant and ghost-buster.

Meet Lillie St. Claire.

Lillie is one of a new and rare breed of exorcist capable of eliminating ghosts by simple touch. Some people call Lillie a Talent. Some call her the Freak. Her job brings her into regular conflict with both pro-spirit and anti-specter factions and with those citizens who view Talents as one step removed from demons of the dark. Lillie understands these hostilities but she just wants to do her job. It’s the only thing she feels she’s good at—her only value. Lillie also assists the local police department. She can find where the bodies are buried.

Meet Sergeant John Thresher, the big, ugly, psi-crime detective who heads up the recent federal task force on paranormal crime. Other, more threatening paranormal entities have begun to appear. He’d like to recruit Lillie; instead he believes she’s suspect # 1 in her husband’s murder and he’d like to get his hands on her for that. Actually, he’d just like to get his hands on her…but it’s also clear that someone or some thing wants Lillie dead.

“A very nice mouth, on a face like a bag of hammers and jaws like angle irons. Not that he was ugly, exactly, just—rugged—and as impassive and unrelenting as a granite outcrop. I was permanently inoculated against pretty boys, however, so I liked his face. The man was another matter.”

Meet the Nathan-zombie.

“Nathan, it must be Nathan, all torn clothing, rotting flesh and blind malice, all teeth and rictus. A day out of the cold ground and colder coffin hadn’t improved him any.”

Meet Dumbarton, the Black Dog of legend.

“The forms, vague and ephemeral, danced and dispersed when a dark shape outlined by a thin nimbus of fire leaped among them. Dumbarton chasing wraiths again, off gallivanting on a spectral hunt for spectral prey…He tended to treat them like squirrels.”

Incidentally, a Black Dog is associated with my husband’s family, but that’s a story for another time.

Meet Ted Dempster, the by-law control officer. He and Lillie share an office.

“Ted proved an active help, since he was a town native and knew all the local gossip. When one has not grown up in a place, the buildings can appear as a two-dimensional and false-fronted landscape, the people like the pop-up characters in a child’s story book, without history or context. Ted filled me in on area history, connections and people. Especially people. Ted, it seemed, was related to most of them…And he hoped some day I’d get to exorcise his mother-in-law. He said her mean, sparly eyes were sure to haunt him dead as living.””

Meet the bean-sidhe, the Weeper, the Woman-of-the-Fords:

“A small woman in a forest green track suit and a stone-gray windbreaker sleeve-tied around her shoulders like a cloak stood filling the washer next to mine. Ornate, carved combs swept back her hair, brick-red, from a delicate ageless face. Her ears, contrary to popular description were not pointed. She had no aura as such, she was pure shimmer.”

And, of course, there are ghosts…

**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

Addicted to semi-colons

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Hello out there:

I’d like to tell you a bit about Scene Stealer’s journey to publication with Carina Press and my battle with semi-colons.

Some people go for champagne but as Cole Porter wrote, “Mere alcohol doesn’t thrill me at all.” Ditto for drugs and that other craving that celebrities and politicians often apologize for. But with the writing of Scene Stealer, I learned that I too am addicted. I have a hard time staying away from semi-colons. Those little  ;;;  creep in everywhere. They took over so completely that I sometimes didn’t realize they were there. Although my leading character, Augusta Weidenmaier, is a retired schoolteacher, the lady was much too busy trying to find Kevin Corcoran-the nine year old spokeschild for “Cowboy Bob’s Big Bad Burger”-to help.

To the rescue came my editor (I tend to be possessive,) Laura Anne Gilman, who straightened me out. Now whenever I feel the need for a semi-colon, I think: is this enticing bit of punctuation really necessary? What would Laura Anne say? It’s hard but, somehow I manage to lift the finger that strikes the semi-colon from the keyboard and focus on other things. I concentrate on America, the flag and Scene Stealer, my book, my cozy. Laura Anne, a full-time writer as well as editor has been at my cyberspace side since the beginning. Her first advice was to “keep breathing nice even steady breaths, and don’t hyperventilate.” I did have a supply of paper bags handy – just in case – but, thanks to Laura Anne, they weren’t needed.

Towards the end of rewrites and editing, I received a note from Aideen Chung asking me to fill out the Art Fact Sheet with information about Scene Stealer. I love the cover that Aideen did for Scene Stealer and feel she caught my cozy’s mood perfectly. Take a look and  * DON’T FORGET: 1 digital copy of Scene Stealer will be given away to a Blog commentator, a twitter commentator and a Facebook commentator.

If you’d like to know more about Scene Stealer (and me.)

Please log on to:    www.elisewarner.com

www.twitter.com/elisewarner

My blog www.elisewarner.wordpress.com

www.FaceBook.com/elisewarnerb

**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

Scene Stealer

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Hello: I’m Elise Warner, the author of Scene Stealer and it’s my pleasure to introduce you to a few of my favorite people. The men and women who live in the pages of my book have taken over but I’m still enormously fond of them. First, I’d like you to meet Miss Augusta Weidenmaier, a retired schoolteacher and an indomitable woman who understands children and is determined to find Kevin Corcoran. Kevin is the kidnapped nine-year old spokesperson for Cowboy Bob’s Big, Bad Burger. Kevin’s agent is Abner T. Bean (Abner is a sweet man, too sweet to be an agent.)
Then, there’s my villain. I’ve become rather fond of my villain. His name is Lawrence Dunn and he is a faded Shakespearean actor who believes he is America’s answer to Laurence Olivier.
I mustn’t forget Lieutenant Brown, the police officer in charge of this fast food caper who not only has to find Kevin and his kidnapper, he has to put up with Miss Weidenmaier’s interference. The action takes place in New York City from Greenwich Village to Lincoln Center. Central Park to a television studio where a talk show host named Norman Bottoms will say anything to reach an audience that’s bigger than Letterman’s, Leno’s or Oprah’s.
I hope you enjoy reading Scene Stealer as much as I enjoyed writing it with the help of my associates – Miss Weidenmaier, Kevin Corcoran, Lawrence Dunn and their friends and adversaries.
1 digital copy will be given away to a commentator.

What’s in a name?

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Hi again. Just in case you’re wondering, I’ve never been a reporter but I have worked for newspapers and with reporters. In fact, I worked for one of the local newspapers in Whitehorse, the Yukon city featured in On Her Trail. I took liberties with physical location of the office, along with its name and oh, just about everything else, but one thing I didn’t take liberties with: my belief that reporters can be dogged and fearless, and willing to risk almost anything to get the truth out.

People always seem curious about by name: Marcelle Dubé. Yes, I am French-Canadian. (I used to say I was half-French, until a boyfriend-du-jour said, “Yeah, the bottom half.” ::sigh:: ) It might interest you to know that there is a famous Québec playwright by the name of Marcel Dubé (male) and a well-known Québec painter also named Marcelle Dubé (female). What can I say? It’s all in the name!

All for now. I’ve enjoyed blogging (my first experience!) and hope you’ve enjoyed it, too. Come visit me at www.marcelledube.com, or on Facebook and Twitter. It’s been nice getting to know you!

Giveaways:

1 digital copy of the author’s book will be given away to a blog commenter, a twitter commenter and a Facebook commenter (for a total of 3 copies). Nothing is required of you for this, though you are welcome to mention it in your blog posts.

Rivals For Love by Eve Vaughn

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Hayden Sinclair has it all: a job she loves, supportive friends and a drop-dead gorgeous boyfriend. She should be happy—and she should say yes when Luc proposes marriage. But one thing stands in her way: Sawyer Underwood, her impossibly sexy ex, who disappeared almost a year ago.

When Sawyer returns, he has one goal in mind: to win Hayden back, and away from his long-hated rival, Luc. Sawyer’s willing to do anything it takes, and he’ll use all his powers of persuasion to convince Hayden that he’s the man for her—especially in the bedroom. But Luc’s not willing to give Hayden up without a fight!

As the two men battle for Hayden’s affections, she is torn between them. If only they could reach a compromise—then maybe she wouldn’t have to choose…

Excerpt:

Luc reached across the table and grasped her hand. “Look at me, Hayden.” Despite the softly spoken words there was no doubt in her mind it was a command. He could be autocratic when he wanted to.

With a sigh she raised her lids to meet his stony gaze.

“It’s him, isn’t it? You’re still not over him, are you?”

Hayden didn’t bother insulting his intelligence by pretending she didn’t know what he was talking about. “That was nearly a year ago. I’m with you now.”

“That isn’t what I asked. You still think about him, don’t you?”

“Why are you bringing this up?”

“Because I think I have a right to know what I’m up against if I’m to win you heart, body and soul.”

There was so much passion in his voice and touch, her insides churned out of control. Something just felt right being here with him like this, yet she couldn’t bring herself to say the words. More than anything she wanted to tell him that he already had her heart, but the words remained stuck in her throat.

He narrowed his eyes. “Say something, dammit.”

She touched her stomach as it tightened in knots. Her heart pounded a tattoo within her chest. Hayden opened her mouth, then closed it again, stalling to find the right thing to say without further exacerbating the situation. “I don’t know what you want me to tell you. I’m happy when I’m with you, and I think we feel right together.”

One brow flew up. “I sense a ‘but’ in there somewhere.”

“There is no but. That’s it.”

His lips tightened to a thin white line, and his nostrils flared. “I see.” Luc released her hand and signaled to their server who must have been hovering nearby because he appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

“Yes, Mr. Montgomery?”

“I’d like the check, please.”

“Right away, sir.” The server bowed his head in acknowledgment before hurrying off.

A half smile tugged the corner of Hayden’s lips. It was amusing to see how people scurried to do Luc’s bidding. Not very long ago she wouldn’t have thought about stepping foot in a restaurant like Mirabella’s, where there were no prices on the menu. It was far too expensive a place to afford on her salary. She especially never envisioned being on the arm of Lucien Montgomery-Lambert III, one of the most eligible bachelors in D.C. But he’d chosen her. She was never sure what it was about her that had caught his eye, but he’d pursued her with a relentlessness that took her breath away.

It wasn’t that she suffered from low self-esteem, but men like Luc usually dated women from their own backgrounds and race who had more money than sense, or at the very least looked like supermodels. She was a social worker who’d been told on several occasions that she was cute—never beautiful, except by Luc and her ex.

She flinched for a moment as her ex-lover crossed her mind. She was happy with Luc, so why did Sawyer still invade her thoughts?

“You’re doing it again.” The low timbre in his voice brought her head up. His eyes darkened as he shot her a narrow-eyed glare.

She lowered her head, shame eating at her. The night was officially ruined. “Maybe I should take a rain check on that coffee.”

His mouth thinned briefly but he didn’t say anything else as he helped Hayden out of her chair. The car ride back to her place was silent and tense. She wanted to say something to assure him he was the one she wanted to be with. Something told her he wouldn’t be in the mood to listen.

Expecting him to drop her off in front of her house, she was surprised when he parked his car in her extra parking space and shut off the engine.

She moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. “You’re coming in?”

The muscle in his jaw flexed. “I think we need to get a few things out in the open, don’t you?”

Her heart plummeted. Maybe he planned on breaking up with her. He didn’t say anything to indicate one way or the other and frankly, it frightened her a bit. She’d never seen him this way: calm on the surface but simmering with fury beneath it. And what was worse, there probably wasn’t a thing she could say to soothe him.

As she attempted to unlock her front door, her fingers trembling , Luc took the keys from her and completed the task in smooth, fluid motions. He placed his hand on the small of her back and gently guided her inside.

The door had barely been closed and locked before he turned and took her by the forearm with more force than she was used to. “I know I came in to talk, but I’m not really sure words will do when action is probably best.”

Hayden didn’t get the opportunity to ask him what the hell he was going on about before he yanked her against him to cover her mouth in a bruising kiss.

Luc always had a bit of a rough edge whenever they made love, which she secretly enjoyed but felt embarrassed to admit. This time, however, was different. He seemed hell-bent on possessing her as if to teach her a lesson of some sort. She should have fought the brutal possession he’d taken of her mouth but instead, Hayden found herself melting into him.

**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

My inspiration and a little about me

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In my opinion, I’m not that exciting, but I do get to do some pretty exciting stuff from time to time, like when detonated a bomb that was going to blow up Independence Hall. (Okay, that never happened, but I have a pretty vivid imagination)
So here are some of my favorite and least favorite things.

Favorite Things:
1. Laying in bed with my husband just when we wake up and there’s no where to go, nothing to do and we can lay there for as long as we like.

2. Glee. I LIVE FOR THIS SHOW!

3. Writing. If I didn’t write, I’d drive my self crazy, well, crazier than I already am.

4. Pizza (not the healthiest food in the world, but probably the best thing invented since the wheel)

5. 80’s Music. I am the self-declared 80’s queen, I’m very hard to stump in the 80’s music category.

Least Favorite Things

1. Liver. Ewwwww

2. Beer.

3. Men in thong. Why?

4. Clowns. They freak me out.

**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

She’s no innocent

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I’ve always been one of those people with and extremely short attention span. It’s probably why I could never pay attention in school, that and most of my teachers made Ben Stein seem pretty darn exciting. Since I was grounded for two thirds of my childhood without television privileges, I turned to books. And usually toward the end of my confinements, the books ran out and I was stuck with a notebook and a pen. I found it was the one thing besides reading that I could do for hours on end.

As I got older, I found the stash of my mother’s Harlequin romance books (she liked the presents and Desire series) I devoured every single one I could get my hands on. This began my love for the romance genre. That’s when I decided to stop writing kids stories and try my hand at romance. I really don’t know what happened to my earlier work, although I hope most of it is sitting in a landfill somewhere.

When I became serious about writing, I researched the kinds of books that I was interested in writing  and discovered digital publishing. What I liked about the ebook market was that it took chances on genres and niches that weren’t necessarily mainstream. I was fortunate enough to find mentors who guided me through the process and teach me to hone my craft. So it was exciting when I was offered my first contract. Its a feeling I’ll never forget.

Six years later, its all come full circle. When I found out that Harlequin was launching their own digital publishing imprint and that Angela James was heading it up, I knew I had to submit something. I kept my fingers crossed and viola! Of course it wasn’t some instantaneous thing, but nonetheless, when I received my acceptance I was very excited. It’s always so exciting starting with a different pub and working with people who already have a reputation and your respect.

The first person I told was my mother who had been reading Harlequin books since before I was born. She had purchased an ereader when I put my first ebook came out and now she’s can’t wait until my first Carina release to download onto her reader.

People ask,  aren’t you embarrassed that your mother reads your stuff, because my work is on the more erotic end of the spectrum. And my answer to that is, “My mom has three kids. She’s no innocent.”

**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

Fatal Affair Excerpt

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On the morning of the most important vote of Senator John O’Connor’s career he is late—again. His best friend and chief of staff, Nick Cappuano sets off to O’Connor’s apartment expecting to roust him from bed and hoping he is alone. But what Nick finds is that O’Connor, the handsome, amiable Senator from Virginia, has been brutally murdered, and Nick’s world comes crashing down around him. Complicating the disaster, the detective assigned to the case is none other than Sam Holland, Nick’s one-night stand from six years earlier, the woman who broke his heart and haunts his dreams. With six years worth of unfinished business hanging between them and more than a few scores to settle personally and professionally, Nick and Sam set out to find the senator’s killer while trying—and failing—to resist the overwhelming attraction between them that seems to have only grown over the years.

It soon becomes clear that the Senator’s past holds secrets that not only led to his death but now endanger Nick and Sam as well. Working together to find a killer and to rediscover the love they thought they lost long ago, they must put the past behind them and build a future that offers a world of new opportunities for both of them—including an offer from the Virginia Democrats for Nick to finish the last year of John’s term.

And now for a never-before-seen excerpt from Fatal Affair!

“Do you want some help cleaning up?” Sam asked Nick when they were alone.

“That’s all right. I can do it.”

He stood and extended a hand to help her up.

Sam took his hand, but when she tried to let go, he tightened his grip.

Startled, she looked up at him.

“I’m sorry I dragged you over here for nothing.”

“It wasn’t nothing—” Her words got stuck in her throat when he ran a finger over her cheek. His touch was so light she would have missed it if she hadn’t been staring at him.

“You’re tired.”

She shrugged, her heart slamming around in her chest. “I haven’t been sleeping too well lately.”

“I read all the coverage of what happened. It wasn’t your fault, Sam.”

“Tell that to Quentin Johnson. It wasn’t his fault, either.”

“His father should’ve put his son’s safety ahead of saving his crack stash.”

“I was counting on the fact that he would. I should’ve known better. How someone could put their child in that kind of danger… I’ll just never understand it.”

“I’m sorry it happened to you. It broke my heart to read about it.”

Sam found it hard to look away. “I, um…I should go.”

“Before you do, there’s just one thing I really need to know.”

“What?” she whispered.

He released her hand, cupped her face and tilted it to receive his kiss.

As his lips moved softly over hers, Sam summoned every ounce of fortitude she possessed and broke the kiss. “I can’t, Nick. Not during the investigation.” But oh how she wanted to keep kissing him!

“I was dying to know if it would be like I remembered.”

Her eyes closed against the onslaught of emotions. “And was it?”

“Even better,” he said, going back for more.

“Wait. Nick. Wait.” She kept her hand on his chest to stop him from getting any closer. “We can’t do this. Not now. Not when I’m in the middle of a homicide investigation that involves you.”

“I didn’t do it.” He reached up to release the clip that held her hair and combed his fingers through the length as it tumbled free.

Unnerved by the intimate gesture, she stepped back from him. “I know you didn’t, but you’re still involved. I’ve got enough problems right now without adding an inappropriate fling with a witness to the list.”

“Is that what it would be?” His eyes were hot, intense and possibly furious as he stared at her. “An inappropriate fling?”

“No,” she said softly. “Which is another reason why it’s not a good idea to start something now.”

He moved closer to her. “It’s already started, Sam. It started six years ago, and we never got to finish it. This time, I intend to finish it. Maybe not right now, but eventually. I was a fool to let you slip through my fingers the first time. I won’t make that mistake again.”

Startled by his intensity, Sam took another step back. “I appreciate the warning, but it might be one of those things that’s better left unfinished. We both have a lot going on—”

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said, handing her the hair clip.

Sam felt his eyes on her back as she went to the door and let herself out. All the way home, her lips burned from the heat of his kiss.

Fatal Affair, June 21, from Carina Press!

**reminder: Commenting on an author’s blog entry/entries for the day will enter you to win a digital copy of their Carina Press title. One winner daily. Commenting on any of the Countdown entries will enter you into the big giveaway for a Carina Press promo prize pack. One winner at end of Countdown.**

Oh Yes, I Can!

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“You can’t write a romance series that features the same couple in every book. You just can’t.” I love the word “can’t.” I really do. Telling me I can’t do something is like dangling a red blanket in front of a bull. It just makes me want to scream CAN SO at the top of my lungs. But rather than getting mad after everyone and her sister told me I couldn’t do it, I decided to get even. I wrote FATAL AFFAIR, intending for it to launch a series featuring Washington, D.C. Police Lieutenant Sam Holland and her love interest, U.S. Senator Nick Cappuano. I worked hard in FATAL AFFAIR to surround Sam and Nick with a rich cast of supporting characters, and I put them in a city that will provide endless sources of story and conflict for my fearless duo as well as their friends and family.

I wrote that book, I loved that book, and my agent loved it, too. Knowing the series idea would be a tough sell to romanceland, I decided to start book 2 just to make sure I could get this plan to work the way I thought it would. (Another no-no in the writing world: starting book 2 before you sell book 1. Did someone say, “can’t”? Hmmm, thought so.) We put FATAL AFFAIR out on submission and guess what we were told? You just can’t write a romance series featuring the same couple in every book. You can’t. Ouch. I mean, I knew it, but I still hoped someone might be willing to take a teeny tiny risk that maybe, just maybe, I COULD write a series featuring the same couple in every book. That maybe, just maybe, rabid romance readers would connect with this couple and want more, more, more! That maybe, just maybe, as a rabid romance reader myself, I knew what it took to make this work.

Meanwhile, back at book 2, I was finding it downright difficult to keep up the conflict in the relationship of my newly in love couple. You know that stage—the rose-color glasses phase when everything is hunky dory? Well, of course I couldn’t let them be TOO happy, now could I? I was 50,000 words into FATAL JUSTICE and being challenged like I’d never been challenged before when I got the official word that FATAL AFFAIR hadn’t sold. What’s a girl to do?  Well, scream and yell and punch a few things (not people, don’t worry, although I did give my kids a heads up that it was a good day to steer clear of Mom :-). After the hissy fit subsided, my mulish Irish pride kicked in, and I set out to finish that second book.

After a significant amount of bone marrow and brain matter was donated to the cause, I finished with a scene that is probably my all-time favorite in any of my books. It took me a full year to write FATAL JUSTICE—four times longer than it took to write FATAL AFFAIR—and I finished with tears on my face because before I even wrote the words “THE END,” this book I loved with my all my heart was dead on arrival. No one would ever see it. A year later, I sold FATAL AFFAIR to Carina, which opened its doors promising to blow the lid off the publishing world. And last week, on the fifth anniversary of the day I wrote “THE END” for the very first time in my life, Carina bought FATAL JUSTICE—eighteen months after the DOA day. Guess what? OH YES, I CAN!

I couldn’t be more delighted to have found a home for these two books, and hopefully more to come in this series. I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with editors who can see the potential and possibilities for Sam, Nick, and their cast of supporting characters (yes, I’m talking to you, Angela James and Jessica Schulte!). I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with the savvy, professional, incredibly author-centric group behind Carina as well as the Harlequin team supporting this effort. Every aspect of my association with Carina has been a delight. And how about that cover? Whoa! They gave me everything I asked for and then some!

So what’s FATAL AFFAIR all about? Come back later today to read a brief synopsis as well as a never-before-seen excerpt. And when someone tells you that you can’t do something? Do it anyway. You just never know where it will lead you.

FATAL AFFAIR is Marie’s first romantic suspense. Book 2 in the Fatal Series, FATAL JUSTICE, is coming soon from Carina Press. Since 1996, Marie has been the communications director for a national organization similar to the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of RWA’s New England, From the Heart, Beau Monde and Published Author Special Interest Chapters. While her husband was in the Navy, Marie lived in Spain, Maryland and Florida, and is now settled in her home state of Rhode Island. She is the mother of two children and a feisty dog named Brandy. Find her on her website, on her blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. Marie loves to hear from readers. Contact her at marie@marieforce.com.

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