The Write Time & Place!











{December 13, 2009}   O.K,. so it’s been a while…

Yeah, it’s been a while since I was last here with anything personal.  Thanksgiving and Christmas have kept me fairly busy, but mostly I was away on family emergencies.

My older sister, Shelley, nearly died from the H1N1.  She spent some time in ICU on a ventilator struggling for her life.  That was 2 weeks ago.  She’s home, but still dealing with health issues, which I pray end very soon so that she is well for Christmas.  She’s got a new grandson, and I want her to be healthy so she can experience this first Christmas with him.

Having her survive is a miracle, and I am eternally thankful for answered prayers and a healing touch from God.

Yesterday, my younger sister and her girls–and their friends–came for a visit.  We spent the day doing the Christmas baking.  Several hundred cookies later, we collapsed exhausted all around the living room to watch a holiday movie.  I love having family at my home.  It’s just such a blessing to be surrounded by people you love, knowing they love you back!

I’ve been scouring the ‘net for items I’ve missed regarding my work…reviews and such…which I’ll be posting throughout the week.

Another year has come and practically gone.  2010 will be here before we know it.  I’m hopeful for fresh beginnings on some works I have in progress.  I’m trying to get book one in a new series revised and completed and submitted to a publisher.  I have a couple short fiction pieces I want to submit to Eternal Press, too.  I keep saying I’m waiting for things to slow down, but I can’t wait on that…need to embrace the new year with gusto!

Happy Sunday!



{September 30, 2009}   Honor Thy Neighbor: Snippets!

As promised, I’m posting various snippets from my new release, Honor Thy Neighbor. Honor Thy Neighbor is a mystery/crime novel that also falls into the romance genre due to the fantastic relationship between the two main characters: Ashlynn and Sean Myerson. Enjoy the snippets, and leave me a comment or two telling me which were your favorites! Thanks! … ~Valerie

Mystery Snippet #1:

Walking down the sidewalk and into the alley, she spied Eliza’s car in its usual spot. As she made her way around the car to the back door, a startled scream parted her lips. She found Eliza prostrate on the ground between the car and the shop’s rear door—the petal pink dress she wore saturated with her own blood.

Romance Snippet #1:

Ashlynn sat up, the sheet falling from her shoulders to reveal her naked torso, healthy and toned. “We haven’t made love yet.”

Sean turned, his eyes drinking in the view she willingly gave him. His body reacted. Her auburn tresses—unkempt by sleep’s beautician—poured over her shoulder, barely covering the firm swell of flesh. Her passion always turned her sultry blue eyes a subtle shade of navy.

Mystery Snippet #2:

“Alex spotted someone in the yard at the front of Leo’s house,” Nancy said to Sean. “He lost sight when the figure went around the side of the house.”

“Call the station. Get a car up there now,” Sean ordered. “They’re supposed to be patrolling the neighborhood, so it won’t take long to get a response. Dispatch will log your calls as anonymous tips. There won’t be any trails leading back to this house.”

Romance Snippet #2:

Sean searched her eyes, seeing nothing but love and desire there. His mouth met hers. He needed more from her, had to have more from her. Releasing the front clasp, he parted the soft silkiness of her bra, her breasts poured out and into his waiting hands. He tasted her, every bare inch of her breasts. The cool rainwater blended with her natural taste, inciting him to seek more from her.

His mouth moved along her neck, over her shoulders and again on her breasts before returning to her mouth.

Mystery Snippet #3:

Sean lowered his voice. “Is there a safe place behind the bar for my weapon?”

Leo showed his first sign of uneasiness. “There’s an old cash drawer beneath the bar. We stopped using it when we got the computerized registers. No one even remembers it’s there. Will that do?”

“As long as it’s accessible.” Sean glanced around. “Anyone besides you know what I’m really doing here?”

The older man paused, searching Sean’s eyes. “No one suspects a thing. Frank put out the word he wanted to hire a new bartender. Everyone knew.”

“What happened to the last bartender?”

“Someone murdered him.”

Romance Snippet #3:

“Nancy and Alex will be here in an hour. Are you getting up, or shall I conduct the strategy session in our bedroom?”

Tossing the sheet away from her, she stood and stretched. As she moved past him she whispered, “You may have won the round, but your eyes tell me you lost the bout.”

Catching her around the waist, he brought her naked body flush against him “I’d say you’re lethal.”

Mystery Snippet #4:

Nancy handed Cain the plastic bag containing the letter. “Sean wants it taken to Forensics.”

“When did he get this?”

“Sometime this morning. Leo found it when he opened the restaurant. Sean said it refers to a boy who’s been seeing Leo’s daughter. Apparently, he’s not in high school. He has his own agenda.”

“Where’s the girl now?”

Romance Snippet #4:

“Where are we?” she finally asked.

“I don’t know. I think we’re in a basement or under a porch. I don’t know.”

“How long have we been here?”

“I don’t know that, either. They drugged me after I put you in the car. I can’t be sure of the day, either.”

A small laugh parted her lips. “You are a well of information. What time is it?”

“Nighttime.”

“Looks like you got one right,” she mused.

“I do my best.”



My apologies. I promised a new Cover Corner for Tuesday, but I was feeling severely under the weather Monday and Tuesday and never got the opportunity to post the spotlight. Check back next Tuesday. I promise it’ll be here!

However, as I promised for today, here’s the blurb for Honor Thy Neighbor:

When mystery writer Ashlynn Myerson’s suspicions about her neighbors begin to mount, her homicide captain husband, Sean, warns her to just steer clear of them. He knows his wife has keen observation skills and a strong interest in becoming a police officer, but Sean’s knee deep in an investigation that thrusts him into an undercover assignment when one of his detectives is shot and left for dead. It’s not until Ashlynn steps on the wrong toes and is abducted that Sean sees the clue she left for him. He realizes her suspicions of their neighbors and his case are intricately woven together.

The effects of the investigation are far reaching, and the losses could be greater than either Sean or Ashlynn ever thought possible. But Sean will do anything within his power to get his wife back unharmed.

And here’s a brief excerpt:

Sean walked into the restaurant, looked at the faces of the wait staff preparing the restaurant for opening, searching for one face in particular. He grinned, heading toward an older man sitting at a booth, its table littered with papers.

“Can I help you?” the man asked without looking up.

“I’m looking for Mr. Ciarra.”

“You’ve found him. Have a seat.”

Sean sat down opposite Leo and his pile of bills. “I’m Sean Taylor, the new bartender.”

Leo sat silent a moment. “The last business decision Frank made turned out to be his deciding to hire a new bartender.” He offered his hand. “Welcome aboard.”

Sean released his hand. “Thanks for the job.”

Leo nodded. “Your shift is from ten until seven each day. We’re closed Sundays and Mondays—those are your days off. Otherwise, we open at eleven o’clock daily. Be certain the bar is stocked and ready to go. You’ll be responsible for the bar’s inventory. If you need supplies, I must have a list on Tuesdays before we open. Your tips are your own. What you report is your business.” He spied Sean’s wedding ring. “Good, you’re married. You won’t be hitting on the customers, but that is not to say you can’t charm a few of them. Any questions?”

Sean lowered his voice. “Is there a safe place behind the bar for my weapon?”

Leo showed his first sign of uneasiness. “There’s an old cash drawer beneath the bar. We stopped using it when we got the computerized registers. No one even remembers it’s there. Will that do?”

“As long as it’s accessible.” Sean glanced around. “Anyone besides you know what I’m really doing here?”

The older man paused, searching Sean’s eyes. “No one suspects a thing. Frank put out the word he wanted to hire a new bartender. Everyone knew.”

“What happened to the last bartender?”

“Someone murdered him,” Leo replied, fear in his voice. “Frank was the bartender. He said the place needed a fresher, younger face back there so he set about finding a replacement. I don’t think death figured into his plans for himself, if you know what I mean.”

Sean sat quiet a moment, not wanting to intrude on Leo’s thoughts. Finally, he excused himself. “I’d better get behind the bar and familiarize myself with the place.”

Leo stopped him. “Who’d you catch prowling around my place last night?”

“Some reporter claiming to be looking for her lost kitten.”

“Angelica Behrens?”

Sean nodded.

Leo shook his head in disgust. “She lives one street over. She doesn’t even own a cat.” He met Sean’s eyes. “You better get to work.”

* * * *

For some reason, the amount of alcohol consumed by the lunch crowd surprised Sean. He had no idea people drank so early in the day—or so excessively. While wiping down the bar after the last rush of people, he looked up to see Angelica Behrens seated alone at the other end of the bar. He recognized her from the photograph Cain sent to Nancy’s cell phone the night before.

“What can I get for you?” he asked, pulling her searching eyes to him.

Her hazel eyes made a lengthy appraisal of his six-foot-four-inch, muscled frame, and her red, glossy lips curled into an appreciative smile. “Let’s start with your phone number,” she replied in her practiced, ribbon-smooth voice. “Then we’ll move on down to the measurements of your chest and biceps, and any other measurements you think might interest me.” Again, her eyes moved over him before finally meeting up with his. “I’m Angelica Behrens, reporter.” She smiled. “Always after a good story as well as a good time. Your bed or mine?”

Sean brought his left hand up to rest on the black matte finish of the bar in front of her then extended his right hand. “I’m Sean. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Behrens.”

She pulled her eyes from his wedding band as his fingers locked around hers. “Is that for real or for show?”

He released her hand. “Real. As in really happily married. Newlywed in fact.”

She frowned. “Too bad. It could’ve been fun—for both of us. I’ll have a scotch, neat.”

Sean poured her scotch then watched while she downed it quickly.

She released her breath slowly, meeting his eyes—hers watering slightly. “One of the many traits I inherited from my father,” Angelica stated sharply.

“Your dad a newspaper man?”

She nodded. “A connoisseur of good scotch and fine writing. I’m the son he never had. He taught me how to write—and how to hold my liquor.” Angelica slid her glass across the bar top. “I’ll have another.”

Sean poured the scotch. “You must be off duty.”

“A reporter is never off duty.” Again, the scotch disappeared. “Care to join me? After a few of these, you’ll forget all about the little woman you have at home. I could teach you a few things you never knew you needed to know. It could work out to the wife’s favor. What do you say?”

He grinned, needing to let her down without insult or injury to her brazen ego. “I’m on duty as well.”

Angelica shrugged, her infatuation with Sean fleeting as her reporter persona took over. “You around when the cop caught the bullet meant for Leo?”

Shrugging, Sean replied, “This is my first day here.”

Her hazel eyes penetrated his. “Leo’s hiring new people in the middle of this mess?”

“Actually, Frank hired me.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Not at all. He hired me before he died.”

“And Leo kept Frank’s word for him. I wonder if Leo has his partner’s guts as well.”

“Meaning what?”

“Meaning how long before Leo closes the doors because he’s too scared he’ll join Frank? Leo is the brains of this business. Frank, the brawn—the willful bouncer. You could say Frank had all the courage Leo needed.” She paused, a smile on her glossy lips. “Frank was quite the man with the ladies as well. I know that first hand.” Again, her eyes met Sean’s. “Don’t suppose I could talk you into taking over where Frank left off?”

Sean grinned. He liked her tenacity. “My wife would not approve.”

Angelica shook her head. “A bit of a prude, is she?”

“Let’s just say she expects me to keep our wedding vows. Can I get you anything else?”

Her hazel eyes darted over the empty booths. “Where is Leo today?”

“Is he expecting you?”

She graced him with a wry smile. “He should be. I’m here every day for refueling. I missed out that afternoon the cop bought it. Traffic jam over on Euclid tied me up for over twenty minutes. Didn’t get to see anything but the cop on the floor by the time I arrived.” She motioned with her head toward the end of the bar where she found Sean when she arrived. “Down there. In a crimson pool of his own blood. Never saw Leo quite so pale. He looked as if it was his blood on the floor. Trying to convince himself that the gunman hadn’t been looking for him. I’m surprised he’s allowed to be open this soon. I’m just as surprised he had the guts to open up this morning.”

Sean listened to her cold version of Matt’s shooting wondering how a person detaches so icily from such events. His cop’s intuition told him he could get information from her if he went about it in the right way. “How did you get in here?”

“What?”

“The day of the shooting. How did you get past the police line?”

Angelica smiled, obviously pleased with his curiosity. “I rode the coattails of some woman cop. A detective with the homicide department. No one ever saw me go inside.”

“Did you write about what you saw?”

The reporter watched him closely, suspicion in her hazel eyes. “Are you from another planet? Don’t you read the newspapers? Of course, I wrote about it.” She paused long enough to give him an obvious once-over. “You a cop? Someone they planted to cover Leo?”

Sean kept his cool, deciding to be amused with the leap she’d just taken. “Now, I have to ask what planet you’re from. You must have a very strong imagination to make that stretch,” he replied, giving her a grin that he hoped would chase her mind in another direction. “I’ve only been in town two days. My wife and I moved here from Canada. The only newspapers I’ve seen are the pages used to pack glassware.”

Angelica frowned. “Sounds too mundane for me,” she said, bored with him. She set a ten on the bar. “Keep the change. Buy yourself a copy of the Chronicle.” With that, she considered him no further, walking away from the bar.

Okay…I never really know how much of an excerpt to post, but hopefully this is enough to spark an interest in the book! I’ll perhaps post another excerpt later when the release date is close. If you’d like to pre-order Honor Thy Neighbor you can do so by clicking the link: PreOrder Here!

If you liked the cover and would like to see more of Jinger’s work, please visit the following link: Jinger Heaston

Jinger is such a talented individual, I’m sure you’ll see plenty of excellent covers, and maybe you’ll check out a book or two, too!

Until next time…take care and happy reading!

Valerie



{July 7, 2009}   Today’s THE day!

Yep, today’s *the* day! Eternal Press releases Her Last, my crime/mystery short fiction piece about a murder committed in a local park. No witnesses. No evidence. No leads. How will the cops solve this one? Is it the work of a serial killer thought to be behind bars? Or is someone even more sinister out there? Follow Inspector Chet Gavin and forensics expert Olivia Corfont as they work diligently at unraveling this mystery.

I and the other authors of new releases are attending the EP Launch Party at the EP Readers’ Forum. Come join us. There’s sure to be contests, excerpts, and loads of fun! See ya there!

When the body of a beloved schoolteacher is found in a local park, is it a random homicide—or the work of a serial killer thought to be behind bars?

EXCERPT:

“Carla Jamison. Thirty-five. Schoolteacher. Married. Husband’s out of town.”

Inspector Chet Gavin looked up from the female body slumped over the picnic table. His eyes met those of Detective Peter Jannings. “Has he been notified?”

“We’re working on it.”

“Who found her?”

“Ten-year-old boy. He was meeting some friends here at the park when he thought she looked funny. He says he tried to wake her. That’s when he realized she was dead.”

“Tough thing for a kid.”

“She was his teacher.”

“Any reason to suspect he had anything to do with her death?”

Jannings shook his head. “The kid’s not doing too well. We separated him and his two buddies. Questioned them and though their answers match, there’re enough differences to know they weren’t rehearsing a story to give the cops. I think he just had the unfortunate luck to come upon her after she died.”

Gavin shook his head, then turned and studied the child where he sat talking with a female officer. “Someone needs to get his parents down here.”

“Already on that. They’re on their way.”

“What else have you got?”

Jannings shrugged, then flipped through his notepad. “Not much, Inspector. This time of day, the park’s pretty deserted. Most people are at the county fair this week.”

“No witnesses?”

“No. A man walking his dog said he was here at roughly eleven o’clock. She was sitting here eating a sandwich.”

“Her last.”



et cetera