Man-Made Snow is Murder

I’m pleased to have Shannon Baker here today.  She’s the author of the Nora Abbott Mystery series, fast-paced murder mysteries which center around environmental issues and the Hopi Indians.  From the Colorado Rockies to the Nebraska Sandhills, the peaks of Flagstaff and the deserts of Tucson, landscapes play an important role in her books. Shannon worked for The Grand Canyon Trust, a hotbed of environmentalists who, usually, don’t resort to murder.  

Here’s the interview I did with Shannon at Malice Domestic:

Diana Belchase:  Shannon, congratulations on being nominated for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Tainted Mountain and your new book, Broken Trust!  Can you tell me how you came to write them?

Shannon Baker:  When I moved to Flagstaff in 2006, there was a huge controversy raging about man-made snow on the San Francisco Peaks. Those peaks are sacred to 12 tribes and feature in their creation stories. I started researching the Hopi and was fascinated by this tiny, ancient, mystical culture. They believe they hold responsibility for the balance of the whole world. After learning much about the tribe and its history, I’m not going to dispute that claim. How could I not write about it?

Diana: It’s an incredible theme for a series.  Your newest book takes place in Boulder.  Did you always intend it that way? unnamed-2

Shannon: I didn’t intend for this to be a series but when Midnight Ink offered me the option, I jumped at it. Because I love Boulder Colorado, and coincidentally moved back there, I decided to take Nora to Boulder. Broken Trust involves some weird science coupled with bizarre conspiracy theories. I researched Tesla technology, the HAARP facility in Alaska and scary information about using weather as a weapon of mass destruction. It was fun to mash all this up and bring in the Hopi spirituality. Poor Nora has to catch up on her science quickly if she’s going to save the day.

 

Diana: Your books are definitely character-driven, though.  It’s not all science. 

Shannon: I also loved bringing in the beauty and strangeness that is Boulder. I had a blast creating the characters that populate Broken Trust, as well as bringing back Nora’s mother, Abigail, and exploring their evolving relationship.

Diana: Well, here are blurbs from the two books because I know our readers will love reading them.  

And one lucky commenter, who answers the question “What elements must a mystery have to get you to start reading?” will win a copy of Shannon’s book Broken Trust!

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Broken Trust:

Hoping for a new beginning, Nora Abbott takes a job at Loving Earth Trust in Boulder, Colorado. But the trust is rife with deceit and corruption and the body count is climbing. With the help of her mother and a Hopi kachina that technically doesn’t exist, Nora races to stop a deadly plot to decimate one of the planet’s greatest natural resources.

 

unnamed-1Tainted Mountain:

A young ski area owner in Flagstaff, AZ is determined to use man-made snow, an energy tycoon has his own reasons for promoting it, enviros and tribes may use any means to stop it. But the spirits of the mountain just might have the last say.

THE BODYGUARD Winners!

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Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of my newest book, THE BODYGUARD.
And now, the TWO winners of print copies of THE BODYGUARD are…rolynnanderson and Kim H. Please check out our “Contact Us” page to claim your prize!

Join us again on Tuesday for an exciting new post by Diana Belchase!

And if you want to see my other books, please check out http://www.LenaDiaz.com! Below are some covers for your viewing pleasure.

Cover Tennessee Takedown - Lena Diaz


HeKillsMeHeKillsMeNot High Res Cover

Cover Undercover Twin - Lena DiazExplosiveAttractionsml
Cover-The Marshal's Witness - Lena DiazCover-AshesAshesTheyAllFallDead-highrez

SimonSaysDie High Res Cover

Lena Diaz presents: THE BODYGUARD

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My newest book, THE BODYGUARD (rated 4 1/2 Stars in RT Magazine), is one of the most difficult books I’ve written so far. This book touches on a very sensitive subject, spousal abuse. I say “touches”, because other than the very first scene, there isn’t any abuse “on page”. That was a deliberate choice on my part because I didn’t want the story to be about the abuse. The story is about the aftermath and how a woman transforms from victim to victor and learns to rely on herself. She learns that she doesn’t need a man to feel whole and she can take care of herself. But once she has become the person she was always meant to be, she is then able to let love into her life and plan a future with the one man who treated her with respect all along – the bodyguard who saved her life.

I’d like to thank my fellow author, Rachel Grant, for giving me some critical information about this delicate subject. Rachel used to work a hotline for victims of abuse. The information she gave me was crucial and really helped me to understand how the heroine in the story would feel and react in various situations. Rachel also provided information on The National Domestic Violence Hotline, which I put in the dedication of the book. That dedication appears below:

This book is dedicated to abused women everywhere. It’s not your fault. It’s NEVER your fault that someone else chooses to hurt you. You deserve a life without fear. Please, don’t wait until it’s too late. For information or help, visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline at www.thehotline.org. (The website has a quick escape option in case your abuser monitors your Internet activity). Or call 1-800-799-SAFE(7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

This book isn’t a treatise on domestic abuse. That’s just one element in this poignant love-story with action-packed scenes of the hero and heroine running from an unknown killer. But if someone in an abusive relationship picks up this book, I hope they read the dedication, and draw strength from the story…maybe enough strength to make that all important phone call that could possibly save their life.

Below is the back cover copy for THE BODYGUARD. (Print edition available 4/15; Ebook edition available 5/1.)

SHE HAD NO ONE TO FIGHT FOR HER—UNTIL ONE POWERFUL BODYGUARD REFUSED TO LEAVE HER SIDE

Her perfect marriage was a sham and Caroline Ashton had the physical and emotional wounds to prove it. With nothing left to lose, Caroline is ready to walk away—and hires Luke Dawson as her personal bodyguard. But before he can do more than secure her a safe house, Caroline stumbles upon the body of the man she’d fought day and night to escape. Now, as Caroline is confronted with fears beyond anything she ever imagined, Luke is the only man she can trust. Putting her life in someone else’s hands isn’t easy, but Caroline knows survival never is. Besides, Luke’s proven himself to be a worthy protector—one who’ll stop at nothing to see she never suffers again….

Lena Diaz

And here’s the excerpt from Chapter One:


The monster sat across the breakfast table from Caroline, looking deceptively handsome in a dove-gray, thousand-dollar suit that emphasized his broad shoulders and the bulging muscles in his upper arms. The tanned hand that flicked the page on his electronic tablet was elegant, strong, with perfectly groomed nails.

They should have been talons.

Talons would have warned people who didn’t know Richard Ashton III that those hands were lethal, especially when they were clasped into fists.

He skimmed through the latest stock-market figures, then looked pointedly at the untouched food on Caroline’s plate.

In spite of the worry that had kept her awake most of the night, the worry that had nausea churning in her stomach this morning, she picked up her fork and took a bite of egg the cook had prepared exactly to Richard’s specifications. She dabbed her napkin on the corners of her mouth as he’d taught her, before training her face into the carefully blank expression she’d learned was the safest.

His brows lowered. “You’re getting too thin, Caroline. That displeases me.”

She stilled, her fingers curling against her thigh.

“I…I…I’m sorry, Richard.”

Calm down. He hates it when you stutter.

She fought back the fear that so often jumbled her words. “I’ll eat everything on my plate. I promise.” She took another bite of egg.

Tiny lines of disapproval tightened around his eyes.

Her stomach clenched. What had she done? She raced through a mental checklist. Her hair was neat and curled to drape over one shoulder in the style he preferred. She’d painstakingly applied the makeup he’d selected for her, natural looking but polished. She held her napkin in her left hand in her lap, her fork in her right, no elbows on the table. What had she missed?

“Don’t look so alarmed,” he chided her. He cocked his head, his eyes narrowing. “Or have you done something that requires further instruction?”

“No, no, no, I’ve been good. I don’t…n-need another l-lesson.”

Stop it, calm down.

“Don’t stutter, Caroline. It’s unbecoming of an Ashton to stutter. Tell me, why aren’t you eating enough?”

Her hands went clammy with sweat and shook so badly she almost dropped her fork. Desperation had her scooping another forkful of eggs into her mouth. As she chewed, she smiled across the table at him, trying to placate him.

He shook his head. “You’re being rude. I asked you a question, and now your mouth is full. You’re making me wait for an answer.”

Stupid, stupid, stupid. She should have answered him first and then taken a bite. She swallowed hard, forcing the lump of eggs down her tight throat without taking the time to chew.

“I’m so sorry,” she rushed to assure him. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I w-wanted you to be proud that I was obeying, that I was eating.” She wiped her moist hands on her pants.

“I’m still waiting for an answer.”

She blinked. What was the question? What was it? She couldn’t remember. He’d said something about her being too thin, and then he’d said—

“I asked why you aren’t eating enough.” His voice was clipped, harsh.

“I’m s-sorry. I guess I’m just…tired. Not hungry.”

One of his elegant brows arched. “And why, exactly, are you tired?”

She grasped for an excuse, anything but the truth—that she’d lain awake most of the night, going over her plans, trying to build her courage.

“I…I don’t know. Perhaps I worked too hard in the garden yesterday. I am a bit sore.”

The slight reddening of his face had the blood draining from hers, leaving her cold and full of dread. He would take her comment about being sore as an accusation against him, a complaint. Because, as he frequently reminded her, it was always her fault when he was forced to teach her a lesson, her fault he had to punish her.

“You’ve worked in the garden plenty of times without being sore.” His voice lashed out at her like a whip. “I’m more inclined to believe you’re complaining that you forced me to teach you a lesson yesterday.”

She dropped her gaze, her pulse slamming in her ears. A whimper bubbled up inside her, but she couldn’t let it escape. Crying was undignified. Ashtons did not cry.

“Look at me when I’m speaking to you,” he demanded.

“Please,” she whispered, trying to appeal to the man he used to be, the man that must surely still be there, somewhere, hidden deep inside, the man she’d loved once, so very long ago. “Please, Richard. It was a…poor choice of words. I’m sorry.”

He plopped his napkin on the table and stood. “Yes, it certainly was, a very poor choice.” He stalked to her chair.

She shrank back, and hated herself for it.


 

GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the release of THE BODYGUARD, I’m giving away TWO print copies. Leave a comment for a chance to win and then check back on Thursday. Note: If Non-USA address, book will be mailed directly from The Book Depository (unsigned).

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Starbucks Gift Card Winner!

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Congratulations to Mona Kekstadt! You’re the winner of a $15 Starbucks gift card from Laura Griffin.

Please email Laura with your mailing address and she will send your prize: laura@lauragriffin.com.

TheBodyguard

Be sure to join us next week to talk sexy bodyguards with Lena Diaz and celebrate her new release, THE BODYGUARD. Enjoy your weekend!

Laura Griffin’s Hardcover Debut: Far Gone

fargoneOne of my favorite authors, Laura Griffin, has a new book out next week, and this one’s special because it’s her first hardcover release. Congrats, Laura!

FAR GONE is another fabulous addition to her quickly expanding oeuvre. A sexy, stoic FBI agent, and prickly, kick-ass cop, and a homegrown terrorist make for an explosive read that will keep you up long past bedtime.

Laura was gracious enough to stop by K&T to talk about FAR GONE, and give away a Starbucks gift card for one lucky commenter. (The caffeine is for the morning after you stay up all night reading. ;-) )

Your new book FAR GONE is a bit of a departure from your Tracers series. How is it different?

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit Kiss & Thrill!

FAR GONE is my first hardcover book, so I’m very excited about that. I spent a lot of time planning this story before I wrote a word, really trying to get my heroine down. Andrea Finch is a detective with the Austin Police Department who is on leave from her job after a shooting incident when she gets an S.O.S. call from her younger brother in West Texas. Andrea suspects her brother has gotten himself mixed up in a really bad situation and goes out there to investigate.

Did you do any special research for this story?

I love book research! While getting ready to write this one, I went on a police ride-along here in Austin. I love this city (my hometown), but I wanted to see it through a cop’s eyes.

Another big help for me was visiting the LAPD training academy with the suspense writers’ chapter of Romance Writers of America. [GH: That tour was awesome.] Touring their facilities and learning all about their rigorous training was really useful when I sat down to write this book. Also, I got to meet a number of women on the job, who helped me get a sense of what it’s like to be a woman in the male-dominated field of law enforcement.

LauraGriffinCopy 2014 (2)This book isn’t an official part of your Tracers series. Do you plan to write any more Tracers book?

Absolutely! I love writing the Tracers series. And readers will recognize a few familiar faces from the series in FAR GONE. I couldn’t resist bringing some of my favorite Tracers in to help with the forensic aspects of the story.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on the new Tracers book, this one featuring Derek Vaughn and Elizabeth LeBlanc, who first met in the book SCORCHED. I don’t have a title yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

[I loved Elizabeth in this book. I'm excited to read her and Derek's story.]

Also, I’m excited to be writing a new addition to my Moreno & Hart mystery series with Allison Brennan. The book is called HIT & RUN and it features the female PI duo Scarlet Moreno and Krista Hart. Allison and I have had fun collaborating on this series.

Ooh, more Moreno & Hart. Yay! Anything else you’d like to tell readers?

I hope you’ll enjoy FAR GONE! And I would love to see some of you at the RT Convention in New Orleans this May, or the RWA Convention in San Antonio, where I’ll be signing books.

Can’t wait to see you in San Antonio!

GIVEAWAY! To celebrate the release of FAR GONE Laura is giving away a $15 Starbucks card. Leave a comment for a chance to win and then check back on Thursday.

 

WINNERS OF 2014 RITA® BOOKS!

toastCongratulations again to the 4 romantic suspense RITA® nominees! We really enjoyed having this chance to meet you individually. And thanks for submitting your first lines, smoking-hot covers and back cover blurbs. We wish you all the best of luck on Awards Night!

And now announcing this week’s lucky winners!

JUSTICE FOR SARA by Erica Spindler goes to: JULIE O

THE KILLING GAME (DIGITAL COPY) by Toni Anderson goes to: CARMEN PACHECO

OFF THE EDGE by Carolyn Crane goes to: DIANE SALLANS

THRILL RIDE by Julie Ann Walker (2 signed copies) go to: DOMINIQUE BROTHERS and ELLEN CULVERWELL

WINNERS: Please click on the CONTACT US link above, and let us know where the nominees can send your books. Remember, you have 10 days to respond and this giveaway is only eligible to readers in the Continental US. (Sorry everyone else!) :(

Thank you to ALL the many, many commenters who stopped by this week! It was so exciting hosting the 4 RITA® RS nominees and we appreciate you joining us.

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Be sure to check in next week when we host Laura Griffin and learn about her upcoming release–her hardcover debut–FAR GONE!

2014 RITA® nominee Julie Ann Walker

Welcome 2014 RITA® romantic suspense nominee Julie Ann Walker!

Her nominated novel is: THRILL RIDE

HER FIRST LINE IS: “They say he’s gone rogue.” 

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HE’S GONE ROGUE

Ex-navy SEAL Rock Babineaux is as Cajun as they come—spicy, sexy, and more than a bit wicked. But would he actually betray his country? Even his best friends on the special-ops Black Knights team aren’t sure they can trust him. Now the target of a massive manhunt, Rock knows the only way to protect the team—especially his partner, Vanessa—is to run…

SHE WON’T BACK DOWN

Rock might think he can outmaneuver them all, but he hasn’t counted on how stubborn Vanessa Cordero can be. And she refuses to cut him loose. Sure, her partner has his secrets, but there’s no one in the world she’d rather have by her side in a tight spot. Which is good because she and Rock are about to get very tight…

Julie Ann WalkerJulie Ann Walker is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

For more information on Julie Ann Walker: (just go to our Nov 7th blog; she guest-hosted!)

Website: http://www.julieannwalker.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jawalkerauthor

Julie Ann is generously giving away 2 signed copies of THRILL RIDE to 2 lucky commenters.

Check back tomorrow to see if you won!

2014 RITA® nominee: Carolyn Crane

Welcome 2014 RITA® romantic suspense nominee Carolyn Crane!

Her nominated novel is: OFF THE EDGE

HER FIRST LINE: Laney Lancaster avoided the restaurant host’s patient gaze, trying to think what to say, hyper-aware that he was waiting, one hand on the back of the chair she was to sit in.

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SHE MAY BE HIS WORST ENEMY…

For deadly secret agent Peter Macmillan, language is a weapon—one he uses to hunt criminals, destroy plots, and charm enemies. Seducing information out of a beautiful singer in a Bangkok hotel should be easy…except this particular singer has the power to destroy his cool façade, and with it, his last defense against a dark past.

HE MAY BE HER ONLY HOPE…

He tricked her. He helped himself to her body and her secrets. He has enemies everywhere. Laney Lancaster should hate Peter, but when she discovers him shirtless, sweaty, and chained up in the hotel’s dungeon, all she can think about is freeing him. Because she knows what it’s like to be trapped and alone. And she could use a dangerous friend.

They might be wrong for each other, but the instant they join forces, Laney and Peter are plunged into an odyssey of hot sex and dark danger. To survive, they must trust each other with their lives—and their hearts.

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After spending her youth thoroughly obsessed with Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy and convinced that her suburban neighborhood was awash in dangerous secrets, Carolyn Crane grew up to write romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of adventure and love; she also writes erotic romance about bank robbers as Annika Martin. Her books have been published by Random House and Samhain, and she indie publishes, too. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two cats and works a straight job as a freelance marketing writer. During rare moments when she’s not at her computer, she can be found reading in bed, running, or helping animals.

For more information on Carolyn Crane:

Website http://authorcarolyncrane.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CarolynCrane

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynCrane

Newsletter: http://carolynjeanjackson.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=f2412c16d838ecf6c1fe740a1&id=fc81556a81

Carolyn is generously giving away a digital or print copy of OFF THE EDGE to one of our commenters.

Check back on Friday to see if you won! 

 

 

 

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