Thursday, October 5, 2017

Close to Louisville, KY - Stop by and say hi at the fabulous Imadjinn Book Fair & Expo


Love books and looking for something fun to do this weekend?  Stop by the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Louisville, Kentucky.  I'll be there and would love to meet fans and make new friends.  



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The 13th Victim - #TuesdayTease

It's been a long time since I had two books coming out back to back.  The 13th Victim is now in the hands of the final editors and should be available by late October or early November.  The beginning and I hope not the end of a new series starring Andi Carter, an investigative reporter, and Shamus O'Conner, her apprentice.  The relationship between Andi and Shamus was a true joy to write, and no it isn't a romantic relationship.  Here's a little teaser to wet your appetite. As any author knows, this may change slightly after the final edits and proofreads.





PROLOGUE

“Tell me what I want to know and I won’t hurt you again.”
Andi Carter stared into the deep green eyes of Richard Thomas as she tried to collect enough saliva to swallow.  Pain had dulled her senses, and her throat was raw from screaming. She wasn’t sure she could speak, or if she did somehow manage to utter a few words if they would be coherent.  “I don’t…I don’t know what you want…to know,” she whispered.
Thomas sighed as he followed her gaze to the door leading out of the basement. “Still think Jerry is going to barge through that door and save you, Andi? He isn't, you know. In fact, dear old Jerry is the reason you're here. He's the one who told me what you were up to.”
A burning river of rage flowed through her, much like the sensation from the whiskey he kept feeding her, but instead of dulling her senses it cleared her mind.  He's going to kill me anyway. “Jerry Palano is a good cop. Scum like you would never understand that. If he told you anything it was because he was your partner and he trusted you.”
Even white teeth flashed, but the green of his eyes darkened. “That's my Andi, spirited and loyal to the end. Would you like a drink?” He reached for the bottle of whiskey on the table. “If you spill it, you know it’s going to hurt.” He inserted the tip of the bottle between her lips. “Drink up now, like a good girl. Then we’ll talk some more.”
Andi tilted her head back, guzzling the alcohol. Tears ran freely down her face as a tiny stream of alcohol dripped from her chin onto the raw blistered flesh of her legs. The pain was excruciating and she struggled not to scream as she continued to drink, praying for oblivion.   
Only when the bottle was empty did Thomas pull it away and pick up the scalpel. “Tell me what I want to know and I won’t hurt you again.”
“Gambini!  Gambini was running young girls. I was going to expose him.” Her words began to slur, and came from a long way off.  “Please.  Please just kill me.”
Thomas began to laugh, his roar filling the damp, musty room. “I can't believe that crap actually works.” He leaned in close, his breath hot on her cheek as he whispered, “I'm not going to kill you, Andi, but you're going to wish I had.”
His threat seeped through the alcohol induced fog as bile rose in her throat. A tiny pinpoint of satisfaction surged through her as she opened her mouth and spewed vomit on both of them.
“Son of a bitch.” Thomas leapt up, knocking over his chair. “You'll pay for that, Carter.”
Andi tried to smile, but the acidity of the vomit had reignited the pain from her cuts and burns. She began to tremble, her breath coming in short gasps as she watched his hands clench and unclench. Three days as his captive had convinced her of one thing—Thomas was crazy. His moods swung from euphoric enjoyment of torturing her physically and mentally to angry depression and occasionally to apologetic sympathy for having caused her pain. I don't really want to die.
Thomas pushed the table bearing his torture instruments into her view and lit the blowtorch. “You shouldn't have done that, Andi. I was going to let you go.”
“Please don't, Richard. I told you what you wanted to know. You promised you wouldn't hurt me again.” She struggled against the ropes binding her arms and legs.
He studied her, tilting his head to the side. “I did, didn't I?” His lips puckered as he turned off the torch. “Perhaps I'll give you some time to think about your apology.” He leaned in close, staring directly into her eyes. “Your punishment will depend on just how well you can beg.”
Sobs shook her body as she watched him leave, the heavy steel door slamming behind him. The alcohol had dulled the pain in her body, but not the emotional devastation of realizing Jerry wasn't going to save her. He betrayed me.
Time passed as she drifted in and out of consciousness until a scraping noise at the door jerked her wide awake. The door slowly swung open and Stuart Gambini peered inside.
“Jesus.” He crossed the room and knelt in front of her grabbing the scalpel on the table and quickly cutting the ropes around her wrists and ankles. “I'm gonna get you out of here. Can you walk?”
“Why? You’re just going to kill me anyway. Do it here.” Andi croaked out. Her mind was still fuzzy, but she was pretty sure Gambini was the reason she was here.
Gambini frowned, took off his jacket and lifted her from the chair. “We can talk about that later. Here, wrap this around you. Patrick is waiting for us at the top of the stairs.” He slipped her arms through the sleeves and pulled the coat up around her shoulders.
“How did you find me?” Andi leaned against him, taking a step toward the door, a small trail of blood dripping from her swollen feet.
“I've had my girls watching Thomas. This is the only place he kept coming back to.” Stuart placed an arm around her and half lifted, half dragged her toward the door. “We don't have a lot of time.”
Placing her right foot on the first step Andi took a deep breath as she raised her left foot and placed it on the second step. “Where are you taking me?”
“Put your arm around my neck.” Stuart tightened his hold around her waist, placed an arm under her legs and picked her up. “We'll hide you at the boarding house for the time being.”
Andi leaned into him and placed her head on his shoulder. “I need to call the Tribune. I was on a case and they must be going crazy wondering what happened to me.”
“You're old news. They gave up on finding you after the first three weeks.”
“Three weeks? I've only been missing three days.”
Stuart grunted as he took the last step. “Honey, you've been missing for over a month.”

Darkness closed in around her. A month? What the hell did Thomas do to me before he tortured me?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sneak Peek! #SundaySample

As promised, here's a sneak peek at the Prologue and Chapter 1 of Innocent Blood.  Enjoy your Sunday, and happy reading!


Amazon Pre-Order













PROLOGUE

Loki Redmond woke to the sound of a door softly closing. She tossed off the covers and made her way to the window, welcoming the reprieve from her dark, disturbing dreams. At least it wasn’t a vision.
Her brother Jules stood outlined in the moonlight, his fists clenched at his sides. A well of sadness opened up inside her at the sight of him standing there with his head bowed. If her dreams were dark and disturbing, his would be a thousand times worse.
Loki rummaged through her chest and donned shorts and a T-shirt. It was already warm, and the day ahead promised to be blistering. Since they were both awake, they might as well talk about what was bothering them. She tiptoed down the hall, through the kitchen, and out the back door. If he woke, Jake would demand to know what was bothering her, and she didn’t honestly know. Her dreams were most likely the product of her grandfather’s call for help with an issue on the reservation. He’d reminded her of her duty to her people.
Her people. Strange that Grandfather should put it that way. He’d constantly criticized her and her brothers and shouted more than once that they weren’t true Choctaw. He’d belittled their mother right up until the day of her death. Loki shook off the emotions churning in her gut. Grandfather was an old man now, and hating him would only hurt her.
“Hey.” She approached Jules slowly, aware that at times he walked in his sleep. “Bad dreams?”
Jules picked up a rock and threw it into the trees that surrounded the back of the property. “Horrible.”
“Want to talk about it?”
He shook his head. “I’m sorry I woke you.”
Placing an arm around his waist, she stood with him, just watching the beauty of the early morning breeze gently swaying the trees. “You didn’t wake me, but even if you did, I’m glad. My dreams weren’t very pleasant, either.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t go to the reservation today. After the way they treated us, you don’t owe them anything.”
Loki sighed and dropped her arm. “Is that what’s bothering you?”
“No.”
Frustration overwhelmed her. For years Jules hadn’t said a word, trapped in his own mind with a horror he didn’t know how to express. All that had changed last year when she’d brought Jake to Grandpa Zachery’s farm to heal after his wife’s murder. What was supposed to be a vacation turned into a fight for their life against a madman and his mother, but for Jules it had been a miracle of sorts. They’d managed to save Grace, a thirteen-year-old who had been kidnapped and abused by the serial killers, and her month-old baby, Hope. And Grace had helped Jules heal. The two of them shared a bond that few people would ever understand. “I can’t help you, Jules, if you won’t talk to me.”
“Talking won’t change it, Loki. You and I both know that.”
“No, but sometimes it helps to share things.”
“Why do we call this the Redmond Farm?”
Loki chuckled. “Because Grandpa loved our mother so much that when she married our father, he changed the name of the farm. Sometimes I think he did it just to piss off Grandfather Redmond.”
“There’s something evil about Grandfather Redmond, Loki. Don’t trust him.”
“I didn’t before, and I’m not going to now.” She studied Jules’s face, looking for clues about what was truly behind his pain. “If there’s something you know about what’s going on at the reservation, you should tell me.”
“Have you ever known something was wrong but you didn’t know what it was or how to stop it?”
Loki dropped to the ground, hugged her knees to her chest, and patted the spot beside her. “You know how my visions work. I get images or feelings, and it’s always after something horrible has happened. I can never stop it.”
Jules finally sat beside her. “Some of the spirits are angry. Some are very sad. They say innocent blood has been shed, and the blood of more innocents will be shed in the coming days.”
“Have you talked to Grace about this?”
“She feels the same thing. I think she knows more, but she’s not ready to share it yet.”
“Do you know when this is supposed to happen?”
“Today.”
Loki shuddered. She and Dadron were leaving for the reservation first thing this morning. The sun began to rise, but it did nothing to dispel the chill sinking into her bones and encompassing her. “Does this have anything to do with Grandfather?”
 Jules stood, brushed off his jeans, and walked toward the forest. His voice was sad and filled with pain. “No, but you should tell Jake you love him before you leave.”




CHAPTER ONE


The early morning sun blazed down on the small ravine as Jake Savior knelt beside Jules Redmond and studied the ground. In a few more hours the heat would be unbearable. “Anything at all?” Jake asked.
“Nothing.” Jules stood and wiped the sweat from his brow. “A child couldn’t have gone into that brush pile without leaving some trace.”
Jake removed his neckerchief and wiped his face. “So I guess it was a spirit or ghost or whatever it is you guys see that the rest of us don’t.”
“Loki doesn’t see spirits.”
“Well, she certainly saw something, and it’s happened three times now.” Jake started the slow climb to the road. It had been a long shot, bringing Jules here, but Jake felt helpless when it came to the things Loki experienced. This one had upset her more than usual.
“Maybe it was a vision.” Jules followed close on Jake’s heels.
 “Water or beer?” Jake lifted the hatch on the Highlander and pulled out the cooler. “Is it always this hot here in April? It’s not even eight o’clock yet.”
“Water. It’s too early for beer.” Jules took the bottle, splashed half of it on his face, and drank the rest. “The winter was strangely cold, and no, it isn’t normally this hot in April. Doesn’t bode well for the summer months.”
Jake popped the top on a can of beer and took a long drink, his eyes scanning the terrain. “There aren’t any houses anywhere near here in either direction. If this is a vision of something destined to happen in the future, where would a child come from?”
Jules shrugged and grabbed another bottle of water. “Loki’s visions usually come after something has already happened.” He pointed at the ravine. “But there are no spirits here. We could have Grace search the computer databases and see if there were any car wrecks where a family was injured or died and a young girl survived and ran away. ”
“Sounds like a plan.” Jake slammed the hatch. “It’s too hot to stay out here any longer, and I’m hungry. You want to drive?”
The young boy’s face lit up. “Really?”
Jake tossed him the keys. “You’ve got your permit, and you have to learn sometime.” He held up the beer and grinned. “And I’ve been drinking before breakfast.”
Jules adjusted the seat and mirrors, waited for Jake to buckle up, and started the car. “So what exactly did Loki see?”
“A young girl, maybe five or six years old, running across the road. Loki thinks she was Choctaw, but she can’t be sure.”
“And you didn’t see her?”
“Nope. The first time she screamed stop, I almost flipped the car in the ditch. Loki ran after her, but she disappeared into that cluster of brush we just searched.”
“And is it always the same time of day?” Jules’s eyes locked on the road in front of him.
“I never really thought about it, but yeah, it was close to the same time all three evenings. Dark enough to have the lights on but not totally dark,” Jake said.
Jake leaned back in the seat and closed his eyes. In the past year, he’d accepted Loki’s visions, as well as the fact that Jules and Grace saw things no one else could. For Loki, the visions were simply part of her Choctaw heritage. Grace’s ability was brought on by trauma and loneliness during the years she was held captive by a madman and his crazy mother. Jules’s abilities were probably a combination of his Choctaw heritage and trauma. Jake had learned firsthand what trauma and grief could do to the human psyche. His friends’ abilities might be preferable to the insanity that had seized him after his wife’s murder. His heart still ached for Cara at times, but with Loki’s love, he was healing a little more each day and building a new life in Mississippi.
“Have you heard from Loki and Dadron?”
“She called to say they had arrived. I don’t expect to hear anything else until later. Cell service out there isn’t the best in the world. She said she’d call if they were staying overnight.” Jake shot a glance at Loki’s younger brother. Worry lines wrinkled Jules’s forehead, replacing the earlier gleeful face, and he gripped the wheel tightly. “Something bothering you, Jules?”
“Grace says the spirits are restless, and something terrible is about to happen. She doesn’t know what, but it has something to do with innocent blood.”
“And you think that has something to do with what’s going on on the reservation, or the kid Loki keeps seeing?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so, but there are those in the tribe who love and respect Loki, and those who hate and fear her.” Jules’s voice faltered for a moment. “The hate is because of me.”
“She only promised to listen to what her grandfather had to say. Besides, Dadron is with her. He’s not going to let anything happen to her.”
“I still don’t think she should have gone there.” Jules turned in to the driveway leading to the farm. “This is not her fight, and she doesn’t owe Grandfather anything.” He parked in front of the house, turned off the motor, and handed the keys to Jake. “Thank you. Tell Grace not to set a place for me.”
“Where are you going?” Jake exited the vehicle quickly, but Jules was already disappearing into the forest behind the house.
The door to the farmhouse opened, and Grace came out on the landing. “Let him go, Jake.”
“Any idea where he’s headed?”
“He built a sweat lodge yesterday. He’s gone there to fast and pray for those who are about to die.”
~ ~ ~

Loki Redmond grabbed the door handle and held on tight as the vehicle hit a pothole. “With all the money pouring in from the casinos, can’t they do something about this section?”
Tim “Bearclaw” Whitefeather jerked the wheel to avoid another hole. “Politics.”
Loki glanced in the rearview mirror, meeting Dadron’s angry gaze. She understood his anger as they passed another section of clapboard houses, the yards littered with empty liquor bottles and piles of trash. They’d left the more prominent sections of the reservation over an hour ago and were now traveling through the parts hidden from tourists. She also understood Tim’s comment about politics. Even here, miles from what was referred to as civilization, the rich got richer and the poor continued to suffer. 
Tim pulled into a section of trees and parked. “The basin is about a half mile through the forest. We’ll walk from here.”
Loki motioned for Dadron to hang back as she rushed to catch up with Tim. “Why did Grandfather want to meet out here?”
“You’ll have to ask him.”
Grabbing Tim’s arm, she turned him to face her. “I’m asking you. You haven’t said ten words to us since we got here. We were friends once. And you know how Grandfather feels about us. Please, tell me what this is about.”
“Nalusa Falaya.”
“You can’t be serious.” Loki laughed and shook her head. “Nalusa Falaya is a myth. Like the boogeyman, something made up by parents to keep the children inside after dark.”
“We have two missing hunters, Loki.”
“That doesn’t mean anything. If they’re unfamiliar with the area, they probably just got lost out here.”
“We found the third hunter.”
Dadron joined them. “Dead or alive?”
Tim’s jaw set in a hard line, and his eyes darkened. “Mostly dead. We’re wasting time, and your Grandfather doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”
Loki hung back to walk with Dadron. She really didn’t care what her grandfather liked or didn’t like. Tim had been her cousin Harry’s best friend all through childhood. They’d gone through the police academy together, and Tim had joined the tribal police when Harry had moved to Corpus Christi and joined the police department there. Living on the reservation kept some of the old myths and culture alive, but no one believed in Nalusa Falaya. “What do you think he means by ‘mostly dead’?”
“Grandfather asked you to bring Jules with you, didn’t he?” Dadron asked.

“Maybe.” Loki watched Tim’s back as he stalked away from them. Grandfather hadn’t asked her to bring Jules, he’d demanded she bring Jules. He’d wanted all three of them here. “Don’t worry, Dadron. It will be a cold day in hell before they get their hands on Jules again.”

Saturday, September 30, 2017

NEW! Now Available For Pre-Order - Innocent Blood!

The analogy of authoring a book and having a baby has always made me laugh, but in reality it is somewhat similar.  Months of planning, plotting, getting to know your characters and finally you're ready to introduce your "new baby" to the world.  And you're worried.  What if people don't like it?  Should I have rewritten that one paragraph?  Did I leave any unanswered questions?  OMG! Did Tuesday follow Monday?

Welcome my new baby to the world! Now available for pre-order on Amazon.


Loki swore she'd never return to the reservation, but two missing hunters and an ancient Choctaw myth send her and Dadron on a dangerous trek through the wilderness.

Meanwhile Jake Savior accepts a case to investigate the killings of fellow officers by a Choctaw police officer.

Are the cases connected?

They only thing they're sure of is innocent blood has been shed, and more will be shed in the days to come.


I often wonder how my characters feel about the parts I give them to play, so I decided I'd ask them just a little bit about how they felt about Innocent Blood.

Loki:  If it weren't for the situation I would have loved the alone with Dadron.  But if he calls me momma one more time I'm going to kill him.

Dadron: I love the wilderness. Loki needs to open her eyes and see that Jules and I are grown up.  She doesn't need to protect us anymore. And she did forget our birthday.  And not just any birthday, our twenty first birthday.

Manjael:  The Redmonds are a strange lot. They save the lives of those they should kill.

Jake:  Seriously, do I have to get shot or almost killed in every book?

Harry: You guys really messed up my vacation.  No fishing, no hunting, no beer.

What ARC Reviewers are saying!

Sue Kitt McQuaide: OMW, Linda Prather delivers outstanding novels EVERY time, I have never been disappointed and Innocent Blood was no exception..... just brilliant!!!!

Susan Wallace: Wow. Absolutely fantastic read with brilliant characters. I love loki. I do hope there is more to come. Highly recommended 5*. Must read.

Julie Simon: What a fantastic book!

Kathi Defranc: Absolutely wonderful story incorporating family ties,love,and desire for riches to the extent of hurting 'loved' ones to keep going.

Kayli: Innocent Blood was truly an amazing read. I couldn't put it down as I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next. 

Read full reviews on Goodreads


Stop by tomorrow for a sneak peek at the prologue and Chapter 1.

Have a lovely evening.



Saturday, August 5, 2017

Double Jeopardy Blog Tour Book Review


One of the great things about social media is it gives us a chance to sort of meet authors that otherwise we'd never have the opportunity to get to know. M. A. Comley actually introduced me to British writing and British authors, and I moved from there to many British TV police shows. Luther will always be one of my favorite, heart breaking shows to remember. Much like the stories told in movies and television, Mel's books are never one-dimensional. There isn't just a murder, investigation, arrest and end to the book. We get a chance to know the main character, the supporting characters, the families, loves and hates of all those involved, and we get to ride along during the investigation.  I'm thrilled and honored to be a part of this blog tour and share my review of Double Jeopardy.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY

Successful entrepreneur, Ross Spalding, has everything to live for; a thriving business, a stunning new home, and a high society wedding to his beautiful fiancee to look forward to in the coming months. That is, until his life comes to an abrupt, gruesome end.  DI Hero Nelson and his team need to dig deep to find the reasons behind someone wanting Ross Spalding dead.  As more people connected to Ross also die, some in suspicious circumstances, the suspect list grows beyond all expectations, until a major clue presents itself and spins the investigation off in a totally new direction.  However, Hero's personal life is also dealt a major blow when his parents are faced with a life or death situation.  He is forced to put his personal problems aside when the murderers are revealed and Hero is faced with a tight deadline in which to apprehend them.

MY REVIEW

Double Jeopardy is the fourth book in the Hero series, but like all Ms. Comley's books can be read as a stand alone. You're not left hanging at the end waiting for months or sometimes years to find out what really happened.  I would recommend you read the other Hero books, but it isn't necessary to read those to thoroughly enjoy this one.

I haven't been as big a Hero fan as I am a DI Lorne Warner fan from the Justice series and DI Sally Parker from the Parker series. Perhaps I'm just prone to female leads, but I do love Hero. I quickly became engrossed in his personal and family life, and it was easy for me to feel his pain and heartbreak during certain situations. Double Jeopardy gave me a chance to really get to know Hero better. To meet his wife, mother, father, twin sister and share the love and the pain. I would recommend you keep a box of Kleenex handy when reading this one. I won't share more on that, because with all good books it's difficult to write a great review without giving away spoilers, and as a reader who enjoys finding those things out myself I try to never include spoilers in my reviews.

One of the things I've loved and hated the most with British TV and British authors is they don't sugar coat life. Crime is ugly, and it's vicious, and not all situations have a happy ending. All of this comes across in every book written by Mel, many of them reading like true crime. Double Jeopardy captured my attention in the very first scene, and I read it in two sittings, both on the same day, as I simply couldn't put it down until I knew who and why.  As with true crime, Mel not only gives you great detectives, teams and families, you also get a chance to know the victims. All characters are well fleshed out, giving you the opportunity to love or hate them. I liked Ross Spalding, but felt in the beginning he might be just a little too good to be true. Was he?  You'll have to read the book to find out. I'm not telling.

I originally thought I knew who and why, but that theory was blown out of the water just a few chapters in and I'm left devouring the pages see to what happens next. So don't get cocky like I sometimes do and think ah, ha, I know who did it. The odds are, that just like me, you're going to be wrong. 


I loved being a part of the well thought out, and documented investigation mixed with Hero's personal family struggles, and would rate this another sensational crime/police procedural. I gave it 5 stars, and highly recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR




New York times, USA Today, Amazon Top 20 bestselling author, iBooks top 5 bestselling and #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble. I am a British author who moved to France in 2002, and that's when I turned my hobby into a career. I'm fortunate to be represented by a top New York agent.


I share my home with two crazy dogs that like nothing better than to drag their masterful leader (that's me) around the village.

http://melcomley.blogspot.com 
http://melcomleyromances.blogspot.com

Don't Forget To Check Out The Rest Of The Tour


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Meet The Authors - Lexington Legendary Book Bash


Saturday - July 8, 2017
Hilton Lexington Suites - Ballroom
245 Lexington Green Circle
Lexington, Kentucky
10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Lots of fun, prizes, meet and greet the authors and pick up some copies of your favorites books autographed by your favorite authors.

I'll be at table 5 if you love mystery/suspense/crime thrillers and legal thrillers.  Stop by and say hi. Something for everyone in all genres, including children's books.






















Monday, May 1, 2017

Cold Case Review - A definite 5* read


















Bosses can sometimes be the pits, don't you think? Expecting the impossible. That's how I felt when Sally Parker was handed a ten year old cold case--and given only a few days to solve it, while continuing to work the regular cases that came in. I had to wonder for just a moment if he wanted her to fail. Her team was also shocked, but willing and able to jump in and give it their best.

One of the most wonderful things about reading Cold Case was the feeling you were there for a ride-a-long with the team. A superb police procedural.

Anyone connected to the judicial system or law enforcement will grasp immediately the issues related to trying to reconstruct a ten year old murder case. Witnesses forget things, suspects have disappeared, but even worse you have to step on the toes of your fellow officers who originally investigated the crime. Uncovering the mistakes of a fellow officer leads to another dilemma--do you let it go, or turn them in? Sally is faced with all these questions and more.

Another wonderful thing about reading Cold Case was the true life addition of scenes involving Sally and her team's real life issues. These brief glimpses into the everyday problems of working and living, and having someone target you for revenge, add a special touch to both the characters and the plot. There's nothing one-dimensional about this book.  A complex plot with well-developed characters that pulls you in from the very first page, and doesn't let go until the last word.

Although I tagged this early as a police procedural, I would also have to add the tag thriller due to several very suspenseful moments, and mystery as the ending will both surprise and shock you. Everything a great mystery should do.

Highly recommended to fans of mystery, thriller, suspense and police procedural--as well as fans of true crime, as it truly reads like true crime.  Another excellent addition the the Sally Parker Series. Haven't read any of the earlier books?  Check out Wrong Place and No Hiding Place. You won't be disappointed.








Sunday, March 26, 2017

#SundaySample - WIP - Carter

Ever had one of those characters that just gets inside your head demanding a voice?  Well, Andi Carter has really made herself a nuisance lately, especially since I'm working hard on another WIP.  I find her rude, crude and somewhat socially unacceptable, but as her story unfolds I'm beginning to understand where that attitude comes from.  Have a lovely weekend!


CHAPTER ONE

“Carter!”
“The master summons you, lassie. You’d best be hopping to it.”
“Screw you, Irish.” Andi Carter stubbed out the cigarette she’d just lit, sighed and glanced at the editor’s office. I’m not changing one damn word of that article. She stood, smoothed out the wrinkles of her pants, rolled down her shirt sleeves and picked up her jacket.
Shamus O’Conner glanced at her and grinned broadly. “About that offer to screw me, Andi.”
Andi leaned across his desk, placing her hands firmly in front of her, her face only inches from his and whispered, “When hell freezes over….lad.” She waited a second or two for his witty, and usually stupid comeback, but he swallowed hard and looked away from her.
“I was only kidding. Give a lad a break, will you. Today’s me birthday, and I just turned twenty-one. Legal at the pubs now.” He picked up a folder and held it out to her. “Don’t forget your file.”
Andi took the manila folder and studied the curly red hair and freckled face of her newest apprentice. She actually loved his Irish accent, and she had a feeling if asked he’d take a bullet for her. That was the problem, he was just a kid.  “Well, Happy Birthday, Irish, but if you want to live to see twenty-two you’ll tone down that sense of humor, and grow a pair.”
 She glanced longingly at the crumpled cigarette before stalking toward Matt Sinclair’s closed door. All she’d ever wanted to do was be a top-notch investigative reporter with a major newspaper, or television station. So how the hell did I wind up thirty five years old, and still at this shitty hole in the wall?
The answer to that question carried quite a sting—legs too short, hair too stringy and teeth not white enough. Even if she fixed her hair, and whitened her teeth, she’d still look somewhat like a blind dog in a meat market in those short, contoured dresses and high heels. So what if she took a little creative licensure with her articles. She called a spade a spade, and an ass an ass. Sinclair should appreciate that, the readers certainly did. Her articles have increased the circulation of the Daily Drudge by fifty percent in the last six months. Taking a deep breath Andi expelled it and opened the door. “You wanted to see me?”
“Close the door, Carter.” Sinclair glared at her from behind his hundred year old tattered oak desk. “And take a seat.”
Andi pulled up a chair near the desk, and sat down, immediately leaning back, crossing her legs and folding her arms over her chest. She’d studied body language and she’d be damn if she’d let his icy glare intimidate her. “So, what’s up?”
“What’s up!” Sinclair tossed the paperwork he’d been reading across the desk. “You can’t call the mayor’s wife a lush, dressed like a floozy. That’s what’s up.”
Andi felt the twitch and bit down on her bottom lip to keep from laughing. She’d never wanted to cover the mayor’s political dinner, and had told Sinclair as much.  What she really wanted was something she could sink her teeth into. Something cold, dark and dangerous. “I call it like I see it. That’s why your reader’s love me.”
Sinclair ran a hand over his eyes, sighed and lowered his voice. “Change it, Andi. Comment on her dress, her hair, her makeup. Be creative and give the readers something out of Vogue. As much as we don’t like politics, we have to live with them. The mayor is a powerful man.” He waved a trembling hand at the article. “I can’t print that.”
 The trembling hand and the fact he’d used her first name was a dead giveaway of just how scared he was she’d pack up and walk out before she’d change an article. And I would if I had any other options, but I need this stinking job. “All right, on one condition.”
Sinclair eyed her suspiciously. “What kind of condition? We’re barely making ends meet. I can’t afford to pay you more.”
Andi uncrossed her legs, placed her hands on her knees and leaned forward. “No more political dinners. A ten year old could cover those things. I’ve been listening to the police scanners and I want to cover crime. You agree to that and I’ll change the article.”
“We don’t have a crime section.” Sinclair frowned, avoiding looking at her as he shuffled files on his desk. “What makes you think our readers would even want to read that?”
Andi walked to his trash can and pulled out a paper. “Because ninety percent of the people in this God forsaken city are buying the Tribune. “ She tossed the paper on his desk and grinned. “Even you.” She tapped the front page, a huge article on the influx of drugs and prostitution. “They’re not buying it for the celebrity posts, they’re buying it for this. If you want to make money, then you’ll start competing. And you need an online site. You’re missing out on a lot of sales simply because you’re cheap. It takes money to make money.”  
 Sinclair’s lips puckered, pulling the wrinkles tighter as he tapped a pen against the desk. “You got a story?”
A surge of excitement rushed through her. “Not yet, but the stories are out there. All I have to do is hit the pavement.”
Sinclair was nodding thoughtfully and she knew he was comparing the cost of ink and paper to the giddy idea of increased circulation and money in his pocket. “All right. We’ll try it for one week. If sales don’t improve, you go back to covering local events. If they improve we’ll look into the online site.”
Andi grinned picked up her file and the article. “I’ll have this back to you in five.”
Shamus was watching for her, a concerned look on his face. I guess he figures if I got fired he’d be out of a job too. Andi dropped the article on his desk. “Take out the lush and floozy part and write something flowery.”
“The hell you say, there’s nothing flowery about the wench. If it weren’t for all the liquor in her blood she could be called the ice queen.”
“Come on, Irish, you can think of something I’m sure. Get it back to Sinclair in five, and I’ll buy your first legal drink. We’ve got work to do before morning.”
 “Now you’re talking.” Shamus grabbed the article and turned on his computer.  In minutes his fingers were tapping away at the keys. “How this? The lovely Divina Morgan shined in regal form as she toasted her husband’s supporters with exuberance, dressed in a form fitting piece of pure magic.”
Andi laughed, shook her head and stuffed a note pad in her purse. “It sucks, but Sinclair will love it. Print it, give it to him and grab your jacket.”
He was back in seconds pulling on his coat. “Are you really taking me to a pub?”
“O’Reillys, down on Fifteenth.”
Shamus frowned. “Isn’t that where all the Garda hang out?”
 “Yep, and that’s where the best stories are.” Andi strolled out in front of him. “Listen, Irish,  you need to get your language right. It’s bars in America, and we call them cops or the police.”
He moved ahead of her to open the door. “My name’s not Irish, it’s Shamus O’Conner.”
Andi brushed past him. “A broken nose would ruin that pretty face of yours, so if you want to hang out with me, learn the language.”



Website: http://lindasprather.com

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Friday, March 24, 2017

An 8 year old future bestselling author. Caitlynn's Story!

She follows in her father's footsteps with her love of stories and words. Although she made me tag it Caitlynn's and Granny's Story, it is mostly her words and her imagination, I just did part of the typing.  Writing with my granddaughter was so much fun, and I hope to encourage her to expand her writing ability and love of words to express what she's feeling, as well as weaving fantastic fiction to entertain.

My little 8 year old author to be:






CAITLYNN’S AND GRANNY’S STORY

(FAIRY TALE)

Once upon a time there were two princesses, and one prince, and one queen and one king.  The family wanted to go on vacation so they decided where to go.  Princess Caitlynn wanted to go to Lake Reba.  Princess Maya wanted to go to Cave Run.  And Prince Chaz wanted to go to Monkey Joes. 
Queen Granny and King Papa said, we can only choose one, and we would like to go to Florida and see the ocean.
So since Granny and Papa were the king and queen we went to Florida.  We stayed for a while, rented a huge motel with a big swimming pool.  It had a beautiful chandelier in the foyer, and Princess Caitlynn like to stand on the beautiful balcony and watch the sea gulls fly by.
When it was nighttime they started heading home.  And when they got home their most valuable items had been stolen.  Princess Caitlynn cried, "oh, no, we forgot to lock the doors!"
Princess Maya said, “I hope they didn’t steal my pokemon cards.” 
Prince Chaz ran up the stairs and screamed.  “AHHHHHHHHHHHH……………they took my kindle!”
Queen Granny went to the bedroom and checked on her jewelry and the crown was gone.  “What do I do?  I can’t be a queen without my crown,” Granny said.
Princess Caitlynn and Princess Maya and Prince Chaz all gathered in the game room.  “We have to find Granny’s crown,” Prince Chaz said.
“We have to call the police,” Princess Caitlynn said.
Princess Maya had a strange look on her face. Her face was red with fury. “I’m gonna find out who did this, and I’m gonna sick my dragon on them and have him burn off their face.”
“Uh, Maya, that’s kind of mean, isn’t it?” Princess Caitlynn said.  “We should just let them stay chained in the dungeon with only three beans a day.”
Prince Chaz looked from one girl to the other. “Really?  You guys are MEAN!”
“Well, what would you do?” Princess Caitlynn asked.
Prince Chaz placed his finger on his chin in a thoughtful pose.  “I think we should look for clues and follow the trail of footprints and find the thief. Then we can call the police and have them arrested.”
“We’d best hurry before they turn the crown in for money.” Princess Caitlynn said.
The three separated and started to look for clues.  Princess Caitlynn searched in the kitchen.  Someone had eaten all the chocolate chip cookies and there was a trail of crumbs leading from the kitchen to the back door.  She followed the crumbs into the castle garden.
Meanwhile, Princess Maya was searching in the parents’ bedroom.  She found a jewel from the crown and cookie crumbs. She followed the trail into the hallway and out into the castle garden.
Prince Chaz searched the king’s weapon room and he found a hat that did not belong to the king.  It had feathers on it, and there was a trail of feathers leading into the castle garden.
“We all came to the same place!” They cried in unison. 
“This must be how he got away.” Prince Chaz said.
But then they all saw the crumbs, jewels and feathers leading out of the garden into the dark forest.
“We’re not allowed to go there.” Princess Caitlynn said.
“Come on,” Princess Maya said, “we need to find the crown. Otherwise it won’t be good. And Granny won’t be queen anymore and we won’t be princesses and a prince.”
Prince Chaz pulled his wooden knife from his belt.  “I’ll protect you. Let’s go.”
Princess Caitlynn giggled. “You are so silly. Let’s take Tad Cooper with us.”
“Great idea.” Princess Maya said.
The three entered the dark forest followed by a somewhat reluctant baby dragon. “It sure is dark in here.” Prince Chaz said.
“Tad Cooper can light it up for us,” Princess Maya said. “Breathe fire, Tad!”
“No, no, no, no!” Princess Caitlynn cried. “The forest will catch on fire and we’ll all burn to death.”
Princess Maya wrapped her arm around Tad Cooper’s neck. “Just a tiny spurt, Tad Cooper, so we can see the trail.”
The tiny dragon sputtered a small flame like a torch.  They could see the entire path in front of them and they continued following the trail of feathers, jewels, and crumbs. Then the trail led to this huge house that was a 1976 house and very spooky.  And it had shattered windows and looked like it needed a tune up, and needed lots of repairs and the door opened all by itself and went CREEEEEAAAKK!
 “Lets go in.” Princess Maya whispered.
 “You first.” Prince Chaz whispered back.
“But you have the knife” Princess Caitlynn whispered.
 Then finally Chaz went in first.  When they went inside they where shaking and they where really scared.  They heard a voice “The crown is finally mine.”
Their eyes got huge as they gasped “AHH!”
The thief opened the door. “Who’s there?” He walked into the room and grinned with an evil sneer. “Oh, it’s the three castle brats.” He reached out and grabbed Princess Maya by the arm. “You’ll bring quite a nice ransom.”
“Let go of her!” Princess Caitlynn screamed.
Prince Chaz held out his knife, his hands shaking. “Unhand her, or I will run you through with my knife.”
The thief laughed. “You’re just kids, you can’t hurt me.”
Tad Cooper flapped his wings and made a big gust of air.
Suddenly the thief’s face turned white.  He let Princess Maya go, and she hit him in the stomach and then kicked him in the shin. “Worthless piece of junk.” she said.
The thief held out the crown and a bag of goodies he had stolen from the castle to Princess Caitlynn. “Here you go.  I was just kidding. You kids should run along home now.”
The three backed out of the house and down the steps, and right into Prince Charles and twenty castle guards. “Daddy,” said Princess Caitlynn, “I’m so glad to see you.”
Princess Maya grinned. “We got back Granny’s crown and all the things the thief stole.”
Prince Charles pulled all three in for a huge hug and patted Tad Cooper on the head.  “You did good. Now I want you all to go back to the castle while we take this guy to jail.”
Prince Chaz, Princess Caitlynn and Princess Maya rushed back to the castle and gave Queen Granny her crown. They helped her glue the jewels back on the crown and Queen Granny was so happy she made them more chocolate chip cookies, and chicken and dumplings.

THE END




Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Forgotten - Meet the Characters - Robert

Working in the criminal justice system in the USA I've had the opportunity to see different types of scenarios of crime that made me cringe inside. A huge fan of shows like Criminal Minds I would often find myself looking at the evidence, studying the victims and the perpetrators looking for an explanation. I also do that with my characters. Delving into their dark minds, looking for that one glimmer of something good, or simply some explanation for their crimes. 
   
There were times as Robert’s character developed when I wondered if there was good somewhere deep inside him.  Perhaps a redeeming quality that made him worth saving.  As time went on, I realized that some minds are damaged beyond our understanding. Things have just become too twisted and warped.  Although I occasionally felt sympathy for Robert, I found no redeeming qualities to exploit.

Robert is a handsome young man, with a charming smile, dark eyes, and the heart of a crazed killer. He feels no sympathy for his mother’s victims, nor for his own perverted pleasures. He would most likely be diagnosed as criminally insane. There are moments of lucid thought when you’ll almost feel he’s about to change.  Don’t get taken in by his charm.  Raised by his insane mother, his crime spree started at the tender age of ten, but his madness started long before that—along with his hatred of dogs and animals. 

Some fascinating passages from Robert’s mind:

The Indian had looked at him long and hard, but it wasn’t as though she was looking at him. Instead she was looking through him, seeing inside him. Way down deep to the part of him no one knew and no one saw. I should have killed her and the dog.

Suffering doesn’t always mean dead. The dog had suffered too, but it was still breathing, still snarling and growling. What if the girl lived?

   He’d learned early to keep his urges in check by working with the old and feeble. There was something cathartic about watching them slowly waste away, their eyes constantly searching the hallways in hopes of a visit from a relative, or a friendly face. They were the real forgotten. Put out to pasture to rot from the inside out.

Love a twisted killer? Then you'll thoroughly enjoy Robert.



Available on all Amazon sites. Grab your copy now! The Forgotten