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Auf’d Now Available!

The second book in The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries, Auf’d, is finally here! Here’s the scoop onaufd_final Belinda’s second (mis)adventure:

Lending a hand to a charity fashion show sounded like such fun. Now if only Belinda’s idea of a good time included a smothered designer and trouble with Bennett.

While Belinda balances opening a business and a house reno,
haute couture Portside-style lands her in one hot mess of runway intrigue and man drama.

It seems not everyone at this show is what they claim to be –
or even who.

You can buy Auf’d now as an ebook at Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. It’ll be available on iBookstore and other retailers in the weeks to come. And I’m releasing a paperback edition later this summer.

Thanks to everyone for the support and feedback on the series so far! I hope you enjoy the second installment. ūüôā More to come soon!

#SampleSunday Snippet from Cliffhanger

As a preview of Cliffhanger, the first book in The Belinda & Bennett Mysteries, I’m posting part of thecliffhanger_med first chapter. To see more and purchase, visit Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords!

~ * ~

Belinda could have turned left to go directly to the house, but she charged straight through the four-way stop. At the top of the road, before it dipped down and curved inland again, she could just make out the ocean between the blades of wheat-like sea grasses bowing toward her. Pure joy swelled in her chest and she pressed down on the accelerator.

Belinda skidded into the beach parking lot and flung open the door, her face hit by the sea breeze still clinging to winter. She jogged toward the water’s edge, jumping around on one bare foot, giggling as she nearly collapsed onto the sand wrenching her other shoe off. My, how that white, gravelly stuff was tougher to walk through than she remembered!

Belinda stopped at the water’s edge, the sand itself sending chills up her legs. But she had to do it. She had to dip her feet in the water just once. She secured her blonde hair in an elastic, taking a deep breath of salt air – and, ooh yeah, seaweed. Yuck. Belinda stood on the water mark and waited for the next surge. She closed her eyes as it rushed toward her, bunching up and suppressing a squeal as the Atlantic said hello.

“Hello!” she said back with her arms opened wide, but she dashed back to the safe zone before it could reply.

Shivering and wet and sand covered, Belinda leaned against the craggy rocks creating a natural barrier between the town beach and the rest of it. Belinda gazed out at the horizon, the silhouette of a sailboat moving along it. It had been too long since Kyle sailed. He always shot her down when she suggested it, but she would do her yearly thing and say something anyway. Her feet dried and Belinda finally trudged back to her car, brushing sand off of her feet in the parking lot. Kyle was supposed to leave work early to meet her, so it was time to go home.

She backtracked, cruising along until a familiar house peeked out from a gap in the conical topiary fence. Belinda slowed down, rounding the corner of the driveway, and passed through the open gate and down the brick drive. She parked next to her brother’s Jeep and dashed into the house.

“Kyle!” Belinda’s voice echoed in the foyer and she headed straight for the open glass door across the hall. She found him lazing in a wood lounger on the back deck with a beer, alt rock blaring out of his earbuds. “Kyle!” Belinda stepped around his legs, arching her eyebrows and waving.

Kyle jumped, ripping the buds out. “Hey, you’re early.” When his brown eyes lit up, she was practically looking into her own. The one clear sign of their twin-ness from her perspective.

“Actually, I’m late. I detoured to the beach for a minute.” Belinda grinned and they bear hugged after he stood up. “Is there anything to eat?” Kyle just offered a lopsided grin. “I’ll take that as a no.”

“I would have stocked up, but I figured-”

“You figured you would just wait and let me do it.”

“No, I was going to say I figured you’d want to get your own stuff.”

“And?”

“And that you would get some other things while you were there.”

Belinda put her hands on her hips. “Am I going to regret living with you?”

“Probably.” Kyle grabbed her shoulders and spun her around. “But look at that view, eh?”

Belinda meandered off the low-lying porch and toward the edge of the property where it dropped off into the sea. It was more protected than other parts of Portside where the houses were right on the open ocean. But the wind and the currents below still tasted wild. Kyle was right. Putting up with him again was worth that view everyday.

“All right,” she said, turning around, “I can do this. But you will help me with the housework, or I’m going to tell Mom that you killed her tomatoes and we’ll see just how fast they get back from Europe.”

“Total accident.”

“You ran over them with your dirt bike.”

“Accident.”

“Dirt bike. In the yard, destroying their finely tuned grass and tomato plants.”

Kyle hugged his chest. “They are not going to come back from Europe early for that.”

“No, but they might do something drastic like kick you out.”

“Hey, if I go, so do you.” He pointed at her nose. “I have some pretty sick stories I could tell them about you too.”

“From when? High school? Ancient history.”

“New York. Art gallery. Not so ancient.”

Belinda rolled her eyes to the blue sky, squinting in the light. “Fine. I will forget about the tomato ‘accident.’ For now.” Kyle grinned. “But don’t get comfortable. I was an adult for the whole New York thing.”

“And I was an adult for the whole running over the tomato plants thing.”

Belinda looked back out at the water. Kyle picked up on what was coming next and rolled his eyes. “Bels, don’t-”

“It’s great weather for sailing today. In fact, I saw someone out on their boat at the beach.”

Kyle sighed.

“What?”

“You know what. I don’t want to. Not anymore.”

Belinda’s eyes grew sad. “Mark would hate that you’ve given it up. He would absolutely hate it.”

“Well, he’s not here to care, is he?”

Belinda pursed her lips. From the flare of gold in his eyes, that was all she should say on that subject right then. “So what do we do for dinner then?”

Kyle loosened up. “We could crash Victoria’s.”

“We are not crashing Victoria’s.” Belinda thought about the other options and scrunched her nose. “Well, maybe this once. I’ll call and see if she minds a couple of extra diners.”

“I’m used to you being home already.”

Belinda wrinkled her nose, working up a retort, when someone called her from the front of the house. She turned to see a young man waving from the entrance. “Oh, no,” she mumbled.

Kyle grinned as a tall kid with bright blue eyes smiled broadly and came out to the backyard. “Belinda,” he said cheerfully, “you’re home! I’d heard talk but…you’re actually here.” His face beamed.

“Hi, Jarrett.” Belinda shifted awkwardly. She gripped Kyle’s shirt as he started to walk away, but he pulled free, making smoochy faces at her behind Jarrett’s back. Once Kyle was out of earshot, Jarrett stuffed his hands into his pockets and moved in closer. Belinda took a step back, glancing behind her to be sure of the cliff.

“I’m eighteen now,” he said.

Belinda blinked. “Oh, well, congratulations. Eighteen…it’s a good year.” For some people, she imagined.

Jarrett laughed nervously, pulling on his earlobe. “You said to, you know, try again when I was eighteen. So here I am.”

Belinda’s mouth fell open, but no sound came out.

“You wanna go get a coffee or something?”

Oh, dear, Belinda thought. Really? She just got into Portside and it was already looking like time to leave. “I just got-”

“It doesn’t have to be right now. Tomorrow, when you’re settled in and all.”

“It’s not that. I…I’m here to work. I’m overseeing our house renovation and I’ve got other plans-”

“You’re busy; I get it. But coffee, Belinda? I know you like coffee.” He flashed a smile, his blue eyes sparkling. She had to admit he was cute, and if she were his age or vice versa, well, maybe.

Belinda shook her head. “Of course I do, but Jarrett-”

“What?” His eyes narrowed ever so slightly.

Belinda wanted to just run into the house and lock the doors. Why wouldn’t he just move on already? “Maybe when you’re twenty-one.”

“Last time you said when I was eighteen.”

“Well, twenty-one is the new eighteen.”

“Belinda-”

“Jarrett, we’ve been over this. Several times. And my opinion that you are too young for me has not changed.” Belinda hooked her thumbs in her back pockets, trying to figure out how to end the conversation. “There are lots of girls your age.” There. That should pacify him.

“They’re all silly.”

Or not. And he was starting to whine.

“They’re not all silly. You just need to keep a wary eye open. Besides, you’re headed off to college. You’ll meet more girls there.”

“I wouldn’t have to if you would just go out with me.”

Belinda sighed, not mentally prepared for a debate.

“We get along.” Jarrett put his hands out toward her pleadingly. “We have great conversations. I don’t see what the problem is.”

“I know you don’t, but please try and see this from my perspective. You’re a smart guy, you can surely imagine.”

Jarrett didn’t look to Belinda like he was trying that hard, but his sour face slowly reverted back to a smile. “I don’t have that great of an imagination.”

Belinda crossed her arms. “I beg to differ.”

“Anyway,” Jarrett inched closer, “my band is practicing this Saturday afternoon. You should come. You like alt rock, right?”

How did he do that? After that whole conversation, he just glossed over it like nothing happened. No matter how mean she acted, he kept coming back for more.

“We’re not that bad either. We’ve been practicing really hard. Even played at a few parties.” Jarrett rocked on his heels.

“That’s terrific, Jarrett. But I…” Why did he refuse to be reasonable? And why did she have such a hard time telling him to get lost? “I’ll see.” Belinda slumped over.

Jarrett grinned. “You won’t be sorry.”

Oh, yes, I will, Belinda thought.

~ * ~

If you like what you’ve read so far, go to Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords to read on!

Cliffhanger Hits Virtual Shelves & It’s Free Until Nov. 28!

So now that I need to be surgically separated from my computer, the first book in The Belinda and Bennett Mystery Series¬†is finally available as an ebook! I’ve been so excited about this series and anxious to share. I got the idea last winter and it came together so perfectly. I’m madly in¬†love with my characters and I¬†hope you’ll love them too.

Here’s a short blurb to give you a preview of what to expect in Cliffhanger:

Making her grand re-entry into Portside, Rhode Island, Belinda Kittridge expected fun, sun, and sugar cookies.

Instead, she gets one jilted lover braced for round two, an old rival on the hunt, and the murder of a former classmate and friend. Even worse, Belinda must return to the events surrounding a tragic sailing accident to set things right.

But new possibilities emerge in the form of security expert Bennett Tate. Between her connections and his know-how, they’re bound to catch the killer – and kick the skeletons out of the closet for good.

You can download Cliffhanger for free via Smashwords until November 28.

1. Visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/257416

2. Go to checkout and enter code XV92Z

3. Choose your favorite format for popular e-readers (Kindle, Nook) and devices (iPad). PDF and RTF formats are also available.

4. Start reading!

This is an open giveaway, so feel free to share this link and coupon code on your blog and Twitter or just pass it on to fellow readers.

You can also buy Cliffhanger at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

So that’s all for this post. More to come soon!

Happy reading!

Personality & Books

It’s amazing to me how a book can speak to you just like a human being. Open up to the first page (or tap to it) and a well-written novel is a lot like a conversation. Any good book instantly gets you talking back – asking questions, picturing the characters and setting, struggling to complete the puzzle. More incredible is that each book has a unique way of speaking to you. Just like each person you meet.

I’ve been thinking a lot about voice and writing¬†as I’ve read lately, amazed and delighted by how it changes the experience, even if every book you read is in the same genre. When I read The Daily Post writing challenge a couple of weeks ago, I got inspired to talk about it. I’ve realized that voice is one of the main things that can draw me into a book. It changes from writer to writer, but even from book to book.

There are writers whose voice is instantaneously recognizable. In the realm of classic authors, Charles Dickens comes to mind right away. There’s something about the rambling that tips me off. Because I’ve been obsessed with Percy Jackson recently, I’m going to say Rick Riordan for modern-day authors. Each series may have a slightly different tone, but it’s all Riordan’s voice.

And how cool is that when you think about it? It’s like your favorite bands. You know their music in the first few notes without even knowing a particular song. Books can bear the same fingerprint.

Just look at different authors in your collection. Mine includes Suzanne Collins, James Dashner, Jane Austen, Y.S. Lee, Diana Wynne Jones, John Grisham, J.R.R. Tolkien, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Mark Twain. They may share similarities due to genre or time period, but they’re still different.

Some authors have a loud,¬†punchy¬†vibe to their writing (Riordan, Twain), while others are on the quieter side (Austen, Dashner). Christie and Sayers, both queen bees of the mystery world, two completely different voices (and approaches to mystery writing, I might add!). You wouldn’t think you could take the same set of words in the same language and wind up with so many alternatives, but there you have it.

I find voice to be one of the most compelling aspects of good writing, old or new. And when you think about it, it’s really just the writer peeking out at you between the lines.

Under the Sea Giveaway Hop

Well, I didn’t intend to do another one so soon, but I saw the theme and couldn’t resist! As part of the Under the Sea Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Musings of ALMYBNENR, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Dead Locked, which features underwater archaeology and pirate lore!

Imogen Bell dishes publicity for a team of explorers, and she just can’t resist a good pirate tale.

So when her boss is murdered, Imogen dares to defy her anti-lore boyfriend and joins forces with his nemesis in a hunt to find treasure worth killing for.

If she doesn’t want to end up in Davy Jones’ Locker, Imogen must trust the clues of a dead man and crack open a centuries-old mystery before her opponent does it first.

RULES

This contest is international. It runs from September 14-20, 2012. One winner will be chosen using random.org and mentioned right here on my blog. The winner will be gifted a copy of Dead Locked from either Amazon (the US store), B&N, or Smashwords. There is no mandatory entry, but you can earn extra entries (listed below)!

Extra Entries

+2 if you join my email newsletter

+2 if you follow my blog

+2 if you follow me on Twitter

+2 if you share this post/giveaway

Win more books and other prizes in the hop by visiting I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Musings of ALMYBNENR!

This contest is now closed.

Feed Your Reader Ebook Giveaway Hop!

Win one of my mystery books from August 23-29¬†as a part of the Feed Your Reader Ebook Giveaway Hop hosted by the blogs I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Books: A True Story. It’s your choice! Choose between Dead Locked, The Jester’s Apprentice, and Biohazard. (Click on the links or see descriptions in the sidebar to learn more about each of them.)

Now for The Rules:

This contest is international. There is no mandatory entry, but you can earn extra entries (listed below). You have a choice to win a copy of Dead Locked, The Jester’s Apprentice, or Biohazard. The winner will be gifted a copy from either Amazon (the US store), Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords (includes multiple e-reader formats and PDF). The winner will be mentioned on this blog. Contest ends August¬†29, 2012, at 11:59EST.

Earn extra entries:

Join my email newsletter (+2)

Follow my blog (+2)

Follow me on Twitter (+2)

Share this post/giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. (+2)

Click here to enter to win the tons of other ebook giveaways in this hop! Plus, you can enter to win a Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet!

Happy reading!

This contest is now closed.

Get 50% Off All My Books All Month!

Every year, Smashwords holds a site-wide promotion they call the summer/winter sale (because some of us are in summer and some of us are in winter). So until July 31, 2012, all of my books are half off at Smashwords!

If you want to add to your summer reading list without spending a fortune, just use the code provided on each book’s page to get your discount:

Biohazard (now $1.50)

The Jester’s Apprentice (now $2)

Dead Locked (now $2)

You can download all of my books in whatever digital format you prefer, including PDF. And be sure to check out books by other authors participating in the sale!

Happy reading!