Reckless Harvest Excerpt

God, I know that guy on my book cover is just a mockup, but he makes for some pretty delicious eye candy!  😉

OK, as promised, a short excerpt from Reckless Harvest.  Short and long synopses are posted below but here is the setup for this scene:

Our heroine and “Finder”,  Lydia Surreault, has reluctantly assented to a last case,  helping a brash millionaire, Sean Berwick, solve a mystery at a fabulous but decaying villa on the French Riviera.  He has emphasized that time is of the essence, but even though Lydia throws herself into her work, both are constantly distracted by an undeniable, erotically charged attraction.  In this scene, Sean convinces Lydia to shirk her responsibility for the afternoon and take a ‘relaxing’ swim in the azure ocean:

“No, no, no,” Sean countered. “I’m afraid you’ll have to cancel poor Jacques today.”  He leaned across the table, hovering over her and she leaned back languidly in his office chair, reveling in the aroma of his freshly-shaven face.  Her heart was thudding again and underneath the desk, her thighs spread just a bit as her body made an unconscious bid to welcome him.

“So sorry. My employer expects quick results. I don’t want to disappoint him.” Her voice took on a sultriness that caught Sean by surprise. He wanted her this very instant.

“Never mind what he told you to do…do what he tells you.”

“You don’t know my boss. He can be very difficult if he doesn’t get what he wants. He rants and raves.”

“How right you are.  What he wants is for you to join him this afternoon for a swim in the ocean.”

“Sounds dangerous.”

“The ocean is always full of dangers and delights in equal measure.  Especially with a chilled bottle of Veuve Cliquot.”

“You didn’t mention the champagne. In that case of course I’ll change my plans.”

“Don’t forget to forget your swimsuit.”

“Oh, I will…I mean…I won’t. I think.”

He was leaning forward now and she slowly rose from her seat to meet him.

“Ahem…” It was the rasping voice of Jules, the foreman.  “You asked me to tell you when we’re ready to put the bar back into place. It’s ready to go.”

“I detect a conspiracy to keep me from kissing you,” Sean whispered, standing.

“We’d better keep our rendezvous a secret then…prying eyes and everything.”

“Can you keep a secret?”

“Until my first glass of champagne. That usually loosens my tongue.”

“Then I shall bring two bottles.”

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Cover Art!

Finally, it has arrived…and there are NO Spelling errors! 😉  The cover for my first romance novel!  Have a look, tell me what you think! 

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So, the stone is rolling down hill and picking up speed, there’s no going back now, can’t un-ring a bell… Hey…those clichés are great, I just made them up.  I posted the short synopsis for Reckless Harvest a few days ago, here is the longer version to whet some appetites.  Will post a highly titillating excerpt tomorrow! 

 

Cowgirl Meets Cote d’Azur…

 Part detective, part treasure hunter, Lydia Surreault has achieved astounding success finding things for people…everything from forgotten paintings to her most recent and highest of high profile discoveries… the long lost Porsche that Steve McQueen drove in the movie “24 Hours at Le Mans.” It’s a coup that landed her one-person agency, ‘Finders’ on the front page of the New York Times, into a prominence she neither sought nor expected. Lying in the bathtub, reading the account of her exploits, she is intrigued by a quote from a billionaire client: “Lydia Surreault can find anything for anyone at any time.”  Except for a man, she quips to herself.

 

Weary of her adopted home in the Big Apple and the ‘good life’ that goes along with it, Lydia is preparing to renounce the travel, the upscale restaurants, the VIP crowd, the fancy parties and insider invitations…and unfortunately, an increasingly long list of Metrosexual suitors.  Lydia cringes as yet another text message coldly illuminates the screen of her Iphone. ‘Hey, if you’re in town let me know, we could hang out…’ She restrains herself from replying, ‘shave your trendy-two-day beard and grow a pair first.’  As she throws the phone aside, Lydia decides to take a step she’s been considering for some time…to turn her back on The City and return to her roots, the Montana ranch where she was born and raised in the still rugged West, where people are real, not digital, where she can find some peace of mind…and just possibly, a man who will ignite the long dormant, but smoldering passion deep within her. 

Yet even as Lydia prepares to bid farewell to New York, she has a chance meeting with Sean Berwick, a mysterious and extraordinary European vintner who mesmerizes her with his unstudied charm, razor sharp wit and, yes, his undeniable prowess. Heavily reliant on his finely honed intuition, Sean is a man who flows with the situation, seizes opportunities and trusts his decisions. In an instant Lydia’s plans are thrown into turmoil as he convinces her to return with him to the south of France, to the Cote d’Azur, to solve a century old mystery surrounding his prized possession, a fabled seaside Villa tarnished by a wicked curse.  Against her better judgment, Lydia agrees to take on ‘one last case’ only to be thrust into a world of glamour and excess; a region best described by W. Sommerset Maugham as, “a sunny place for shady people.” As hard as she tries to maintain a professional veneer, Lydia is captivated, both by the lifestyle of the French Riviera and the taciturn patrician, Sean. But he proves to be a mystery wrapped in an enigma, sometimes engaging and playful, more often, distant and harsh, a man who has earned millions through his magic and sensitive abilities as a vintner and millions more as a hard-nosed, unforgiving businessman. A man whose temper and impatience strike fear into devious employees…and yet shows exceeding grace, kindness and generosity to those who earn his trust and favor. Lydia is unsure which side she falls upon. But as she sets about the task of unraveling a century old riddle, her unfailing intuition and nose for minutiae uncover a series of secrets that will severely test her loyalty to Sean and in the end, jeopardize the very people she has come to know and love.  

 

 

My Secret Mentor Has Also Passed Away

Well this is truly a horrible blow. Just yesterday I was musing about the late Elmore Leonard…now I learn that “Jacqueline Kirby” has also taken her seat among the Angels. ‘Jake’ was the brainchild of author Barbara Mertz who passed away earlier this month, quietly and with little fanfare.  She wrote under the pseudonyms Barbara Michaels and Elizabeth Peters and it is the latter’s books that I became engrossed with as a youngster.

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Her heroine,  Jacqueline, (Jake) was a wealthy, independent, gorgeous librarian/romance novelist whose unique talent for research always led her into peculiar mysteries.  Take away the librarian part and that description pretty much sums up Lydia Surreault, the protagonist in my upcoming bestseller (a bit of hubris never hurts!)  Reckless Harvest.

I loved the author’s clever wit but it was her dialog that I believe influenced me most.  These examples are stolen from her website:

  • “…do you know why the detective doesn’t tell until the last chapter? So he won’t make a fool of himself in case he’s wrong.” Jacqueline –The Murders of Richard III, p. 174
  • “The real reason Holmes never told Watson what he was thinking is because he didn’t have the solution figured out yet.” Jacqueline –Die for Love, p. 161

Her books are full of dialog like that…sexy, bitchy, smart, seductive. But always with a distinctly feminine flair.  Here’s one more:

“You don’t sound like a librarian,” she said.  “I’m on vacation.” Jacqueline laughed. -The Seventh Sinner, p. 34.

I didn’t dip into Mertz’s other characters but have learned now that she lived an extraordinary life, earning a doctorate in archaeology at age 23 and traveling the world with her children and husband, an Egyptologist. Her life permeated her fiction and we are poorer with her passing.  One more quote to bring this melancholy to a close:

“Heaven, Jacqueline thought, is a place where you can smoke and not get lung cancer.” – Naked Once More  

I hope Barbara Mertz is lying back on a cloud right now, enjoying a cigarette and watching the smoke thread lazily through the universe.

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http://www.mpmbooks.com

Writing Tips From Elmore Leonard

That sage advice… ‘Try to leave out the parts that people skip.’  – If only it was that easy, though the late Elmore Leonard made it seem so. He’s the only author that comes close to Nora Roberts in filling up my bookshelves and for one reason above all others:  The way he wrote his female characters. They were gritty and resilient and intelligent, had been around the block a few times, were always the wrong side of 30 and remained attractive in so many ways. His most accessible heroines are Karen Flores in Get Shorty –

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And Karen Sisco, the federal marshall in Out of Sight –

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As usual, Jezebel reveals the secret to Leonard’s extraordinary way of depicting female characters. She includes a money quote from the author in an interview with the Detroit News, and I’m unashamedly stealing part of it:

“I think of them as a person and go from there. Sometimes female characters start out as the wife or girlfriend, but then I realize, “No, she’s the book,” and she becomes a main character. I surrender the book to her. A few years ago, my researcher gave me this photo: a female marshal in front of Miami’s courthouse—this Colombian drug trial. It was her and another marshal, and she was just standing there with a shotgun, hip cocked and angled, holding it half up. And I thought, She’s a knockout. And she’s a book.”

The Jezebel post is entitled, ‘Elmore Leonard Was Great To Women’  and it is well worth the read…  http://jezebel.com/elmore-leonard-was-great-to-women-1171729784

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Reckless ;-)

OK, it’s off to BookBaby!

My first novel, a romantic mystery entitled “Reckless Harvest”.  Here is the short synopsis, please envision the accompanying photographs as you read it. My hero is a dead ringer for Daniel Craig! (thump, thump, thump!)

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RECKLESS HARVEST (C)

Synopsis

Cowgirl Meets Cote d’Azur…

Part detective, part treasure hunter, Lydia Surreault has achieved astounding success finding things for people…everything from forgotten paintings to her most recent and highest of high profile discoveries… the long lost Porsche that Steve McQueen drove in the movie “24 Hours at Le Mans.” It’s a coup that has put her one-person agency, ‘Finders’ on the front page of the New York Times, vaulting her into a prominence she neither sought nor desired.

For Lydia has had it with her adopted home in the Big Apple and the ‘good life’ that goes along with it…the travel, the upscale restaurants, the VIP crowd, the fancy parties and insider invitations…and unfortunately, an increasingly long list of Metrosexual suitors.  Lydia cringes as yet another text message coldly illuminates the screen of her I-Phone. ‘Hey, if you’re in town let me know, we could hang out…’ She restrains herself from replying, ‘shave your trendy-two-day beard and grow a pair first.’  She’s decided to turn her back on it all and return to her roots, the Montana ranch where she was born and raised, perhaps in the still rugged West, she can find a man who will ignite the smoldering, but long dormant passion within her.

Yet even as Lydia prepares to bid farewell to New York, she has a chance meeting with Sean Berwick, a mysterious and extraordinary European blue blood. Heavily reliant on his finely honed intuition, Sean is a man who flows with the situation, seizes opportunities and trusts his decisions.  And in an instant he throws Lydia’s life and future plans into disarray, persuading her to return with him to the Cote d’Azur to solve a century old mystery surrounding a fabled seaside Villa.  Against her better judgment, Lydia agrees to take on ‘one last case’ only to be thrust into a world of glamour and excess best summed up by W. Sommerset Maugham as, “a sunny place for shady people.” And even as Lydia falls for the taciturn patrician, Sean, and the paradise of southern France, her unfailing intuition and nose for minutiae uncover a series of secrets that will severely test her loyalty to Sean and in the end, jeopardize the very people she has come to know and love.

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Before There Was Spotify…

Still waiting for my EBook cover artwork to be finished, whiling away a SLC summer evening at the Rio Grande Cafe…killer salsa but the real drawing card is the playlist: 

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What’s scary is, I know all the B-SIDES!  C’mon, let’s play a game. Which songs are the following lyrics cherry picked from:

“I’m goin’ to Montana just to throw the hoolihan…”

or:

“Sad to say, I’m on my way…won’t be back for many a day…”

No googling, leave your answers as comments and perhaps I can wrangle a gratis copy of my book for the romance lovers among you! August 31st target date! 

 

Fabio Spotter

Picking up a friend at SLC airport the other day and who did I see?

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Now THAT is a special welcome home.   I’ve purchased a lot of romance novels over the years but not once have I brought one home with Mr. sPECtacular on the cover, which is kind of like jogging through a downpour without getting wet.  But I DID come across a fabulously, wickedly funny ‘best of Fabio’ blog post courtesy the Red Pen of Doom. FTA:

“He does possess a manly chest, and a chiseled chin, and it is wrong to say that he has a mullet, because his hair is like Samson, longer and stronger than a mere trailer park Camaro cut.”

Enjoy the whole post here, along with some eye candy!

http://tinyurl.com/oywzhhr