10-21 Sarah Raplee – Author of “Blindsight” Psychic Agents Series, Book One

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mischief Makers

By Courtney Pierce

Tricksters are a hoot to incorporate into a story. They add comic relief and sparkle to any situation. In my books they take the form of animals, mainly dogs and cats.

Anamorphizing critters (loading them with human-like emotions) makes them lightning rods for anger, sadness, and subtle humor in a scene. Tension is alleviated or escalated without being obvious. How can you not love a huge standard poodle with a police report stuffed in his mouth, like Popeye’s spinach? That’s exactly what happens in the final book of the Dushane Sisters Trilogy, Indigo Legacy, due out in early 2018. Actually, there are two conspiring poodles, named Pogo and Beauregard, that happen to be certified therapy dogs to aging mobsters in prison. Add to them a grumpy Himalayan cat named Freesia, and you have a combustible mix. The cat observes the scene and passes high-and-mighty judgement like a scolding parent.

You get the picture.

Animals hold court in the background, like Alfred Hitchcock’s McGuffin strategy. Behind the human love story, they keep the plot moving forward with swift punctuation and reminders of why readers were invited to the party. If my characters stray from their mission, the animals move in to keep the story on course.

Over the three books of the trilogy, my little tricksters have their own character arcs, too. They mature and become more complex as my humans do. From adoption to certification, these therapy-dog characters transform from out-of-hand to quite sophisticated. Their powers of sympathy, protection, and emotional connection add layers and depth to the plot.

Animal characters are no easy task for a writer. While on the surface they may seem simplistic and naive, they’re quite complicated to put into print. They require all the same character development as humans do, but without the ability to speak. Personalities are shown with a glance, a stance, or a dance. And, of course, that fourth element comes into play . . . touch. 

I don’t even own a standard poodle or a Himalayan cat, but I found myself physically drawn to them over the three years of writing the trilogy. If I saw a majestic standard poodle being walked down the street, I made a swift approach. I couldn’t resist a ruffle of their fuzzy heads. The texture of their tight curls made for fun description. I’d look into their pouty eyes to spot that emotion and conspiring thought.  Long-haired cats required my lap and a comb of my fingers through their fur. Then I’d go home and write it into the story.

I sobbed buckets when I finished the draft of Indigo Legacy. I didn’t want to let the characters go. These trickster animals became so real to me, like members of my family. After I publish this last book of the Dushane Sisters Trilogy, I have another series in process. This one will have a touch of paranormal, humor, and of course an animal. Rudy the Jack Russell terrier will be my trickster to the protagonist, a clairvoyant woman. But Rudy will be one step ahead.

Let the games begin again.

Photo: Loma Smith
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her new family. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. 

Check out all of Courtney's books at:
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com

The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.

New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in summer, 2017.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Hi, I’m Sarah Raplee, author of BLINDSIGHT (Psychic Agents Series Book 1).

Psychic Agents Series Blurb:
Over the last hundred years, the number of people with psychic gifts in the general populace, world-wide, continues to increase. The Special Psychic Agents of the FBI’s Global Resources Subdivision are a law enforcement resource hidden deep in the Bureau’s International Operations Division. These men and women are charged with using their powerful psychic Talents in support of FBI operations and foreign law enforcement organizations upon request. These unsung heroes routinely lay their lives—and their hearts—on the line in pursuit of justice for all.

As Matt Buchman said in his post last Saturday, writing a romantic thriller is a balancing act. The thriller storyline and the romance storyline must be so interwoven that one cannot stand without the other.

In the case of paranormal romantic thrillers like BLINDSIGHT, the paranormal elements must be integral to both storylines and to the main characters’ goals, motivations and conflicts. For me, writing one of these edge-of-your-seat stories was a whole lot of fun!

I took a world-building class, a class about weaving together the various elements of a story and a class on researching and writing diverse characters. The characters in this series reflect the richness of our diverse American culture.

Digging into subjects as wide-ranging as bear vaults, hypothermia, invisibility cloaks, and world history was fun. Brainstorming secondary characters, twists and turns in the plot and a doozie of a mid-point reversal was off-the-charts awesome. During revisions, discovering theme was a revelation. Somehow I’d written it in without knowing!

I'd have to say the most difficult thing for me to get right was pacing. Thillers are mostly fast-paced, but this romance needed quieter moments spaced in as well. 

 When psychic FBI Agent Hector Guerrero’s family was kidnapped and murdered, he swore to stop the slave trade in psychics. Undercover for three years in the Mendoza Drug Cartel, he’s zeroing in on a hidden prison camp in Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Nothing will stop him from taking down the Cartel.

Blind wedding singer Melisenda Sepulveda can’t keep from projecting her emotional energy onto others through touch. Meli’s nomadic life performing throughout the Pacific Northwest allows her to avoid physical and emotional intimacy. But now the veterinarian insists her only family, her elderly Guide Dog Freddy, must stop traveling. Desperate to pay for a career change so she can work from home and keep her beloved companion, Meli accepts a risky gig at a drug lord’s wilderness wedding.

When the Cartel targets Meli for kidnapping, Hector loses his focus. When Meli blows his cover, she loses Hector’s trust. When Meli rescues Hector from a torture chamber, Hector might well lose his battered heart.

Glancing around to make sure no one was watching, the agent poured his champagne into his neighbor’s empty glass. He couldn’t take a chance on dulling his thought processes.
Being Hector was like wearing an ill-fitting-but-familiar old suit that pinched in a couple of places, but not so badly he couldn’t ignore the discomfort most of the time. He had to be at the top of his game, one-hundred per cent in character to survive long enough to bring down the Mendoza Cartel.
The murmur of the crowd muted. Casting a glance over his shoulder, Hector spotted Killingsworth staring through the open French doors beside the musician’s dais like a lion spotting a threat—or prey. The back of the agent’s neck prickled.
Turning in his seat for a better look, he made out a shadowy female figure wearing a long gown. Why was Killingsworth so interested in her?
A swirl of iridescent fabric the color of sagebrush in springtime accompanied a dainty, green-slippered foot into the soft circle of light spilling from the ballroom. Conversation near the doorway hushed. Every male in the room homed in on the woman who left the shadows, a woman like no other the agent had encountered in the underworld of the Cartel.
Coppery curls spilled over the curve of one shoulder in a long, loose ponytail. In the warm glow of the chandeliers, rhinestones shimmered in her burnished hair and winked from the frames of her mysterious dark glasses. Her demure, floor-length gown failed to conceal her curves or the sweet, girl-next-door sexiness she exuded.
For the first time in nearly four years, desire unfolded in the agent’s belly.
In the world of the Cartel, women survived and sometimes thrived using a combination of cold cunning and artifice. They grew cynical and hard, or worn-down and resigned. Yet everything about this young woman sang the siren song of wholesome, soul-deep beauty. Even the crowded ballroom’s air smelled fresher with her in the room.
She hesitated, brushing back an errant curl with a small hand covered in sage-green lace. Beneath the twinkle of her dark glasses her wide mouth curved into a smile full of promise.
One of the blue-suited mariachis descended the dais steps and spoke softly to her. She nodded. Tucking one of her hands into the crook of his arm he led her to the little stage. He murmured something into her ear and she smiled. They ascended the three steps and crossed to the middle of the small, raised stage. The mariachi guided her gloved hand to a microphone stand.
Hector’s heart bucked like a wild burro. ¡Mierda! The woman was blind.

©Copyright 2017 Sarah Raplee

Thank you for reading my post. ~ Sarah Raplee

Friday, October 20, 2017

Tis The Season for Trick or Treatin' #scifi #romance

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. October may traditionally be the time of year for youngsters to trick and treat, but this year I spotted something in a charity shop window and decided to treat myself. It's not anything fancy or worth a lot of money, but it caught my eye. It's only resin made to look like bronze and probably not by anyone famous in the sculpture world - I still think it's pretty. Um, since this blog doesn't have an age restriction I've kept the images above waist height as, yes, they're both naked (you should have heard my eldest's chorus of 'eww!').

To me, this figurine kind of sums up my hero/heroine relationships in my stories. They're not kissing. They're just holding each other. Supporting each other. And just lately I've needed a lot of that in the real world too. This year has thrown a lot of unfun things at myself and my family, and it's only been holding onto each other and giving support that I think we've made it through. For me, a real treat will be to get through the rest of this year without any more scares or dramas! Although that's exactly what I'll keep doing to my poor characters...

But as this is the season for trick or treat, I do have a little treat for you as well. For the whole of October, all my short stories are now just $0.99. Click on the book cover for the retail links.

And despite everything and even though I thought this might be the first year since my debut that I wouldn't have a new release...I have a new release! The title is oddly appropriate considering.

Love can come when it’s least expected... 

When an injured alien crashes on her planet, Soraya follows her instinct to repair and restore it despite the challenge of their differing physiology. But as she gets closer to her patient and he recovers, Soraya confronts a whole new form of existence...and a desire that could destroy her completely. 

Yoran chose exile in order to release the woman he thought his soulmate from a marriage contract she had no wish to fulfill, and almost paid for it with his life. Now he finds himself drawn to his alien savior. But how can he ask her to give up the only existence she knows when he’s already suffered the consequences of such a sacrifice himself? 

£1.99 for a limited time - please click HERE to be taken to all the retail links.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

It's October... Let's get the creep on

I write primarily romance/suspense. The suspense always is killing .... in a really gruesome way. Sorry, that's just what I write. So every October, I look for new and different ways to get 'creepy' - in a totally NON-creepy way.

This October for Wine Wednesday I'm trying a new wine with a 'creepy' name and reading a 'scary' book. This week's....

I'm also a big fan of fog...and we have some awesome foggy days here....

Now don't you wonder where the dead body is in those pictures?

Actually, I'm such a big fan of Halloween, I wrote a book about Halloween...sex...and murder :-)

Knock Knock…. Answer if you dare.

New to Kanna, Florida, Lila Maxwell attends All Treats, a Halloween speed dating event in the hopes of meeting Prince Charming but instead one Halloween ghoul after another appears at her door until Cowboy Bill.

Jax Carlson has spent the last year focusing all of his attention on starting his own business. Hiring Lila Maxell over the Internet as his project manager was the completing task. Set to open for business in three days, Jax plans on spending a couple of days on his boat relaxing. However, his friend Erik has a different idea – a speed dating Halloween party.

Jax has spent the night plotting the best revenge possible for Erik until Lila opens the door. The woman dressed in the pale lavender Harem costume ignites a fire that Jax thought was impossible without the aid of his formulated dating list.

After a night of mind blowing sex, Lila sneaks out before they exchange real names believing it was no more than a one-night stand.

When Lila reports to work she learns Cowboy Bill is actually Jax Carlson. She thinks keeping her hormones in check while convincing Jax that love doesn't follow a formula is complication enough until she learns the participants of the All Treats speed dating event are being killed.

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the month...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trick or Treat...oh my feet!

October is here! Do you know what that means? Yup. Time to get the Dr. Scholl's out! LOL

As a kid, I couldn't wait for "that day". Actually, those "days". Where I grew up, Trick-or-Treating was a two day event.

Seriously! Two whole days of dressing up and getting free candy! WHIPEEE

While I reveled in the glory of all that sugar, and probably helped finance my dentist's new house, as an adult, I realize now why my parents groaned and tried to bribe us kids to stay home at least one night--at least until we were older and could go out alone. (Yes. I admit I Trick-or-Treated until I was 16. Full blown costume and all!)

Although my kids only get one night a year to dress up like the little demons, goblins, and princesses they are, and beg for candy, I too, like my parents, now groan at the idea of Trick-or-Treating. And every year I ask myself (as of turning 30 or so), when did walking become such a darn chore? I'll tell you when...when I started sitting behind a computer full time for work and play.

Yup. Writer butt is a cold hard fact of life. But it doesn't only affect your buttocks! It takes a toll on your whole body...especially your feet!

Whether it's age, or lack of exercise for the other 364 days a year...whatever reason, I have decided this year I would combat my writer butt and feet with some good ol' regular candy-free walking of my own.

As of last month, I have made it a point to walk a little bit each day, rain or shine. King Alfred makes the perfect companion as I strut around the farm, and keeps me entertained with his hopping and playing that I forget I am outside for a while. I do this in hopes that come Halloween night, I'm not crying by the fifth block and praying my kids score enough candy to call it a night. This year, I am determined to outlast the kids!

So what is the point of this post, Isha?

Isha's feet hurt because she sits on her butt all day?
Writer butt is for real. #buttcushionsaremygod
Isha is encouraging people to be active to save their feet in the future.
Isha really just wants to last longer Trick-or-Treating to steal all the kids' extra chocolate...

Or all the above?

Yes, all the above!

Tell me, am I the only parent who has or does experience this? Share your Halloween experiences as an adult below in the comments! And stay tuned until next month for an update on my hopefully extended round of using my kids to beg for candy! Wait...I mean, taking my kids Trick-or-Treating...


While I normally dabble in time travel romance, I do have a paranormal Halloween short, too!
Check out Once Upon a Haunt!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Trick or Treat - About Your Favorite #Halloween Candy by Kristin Wallace

So, we are just a couple weeks away from Halloween. As a kid I loved getting dressed up to go trick or treating. The best part of the night was sorting through the collected “treats” to find the best candy when we got home. I thought it might be fun to do some research on Halloween candy and find out what the most popular treats are.

First...did you know Americans spend about $2.5 billion (that’s right billion) on candy during Halloween? 

Companies and news organizations love to do polls, so of course someone did a poll about favorite Halloween candy…by state. Somehow, candy corn ranked #1 in 5 states. Not sure what’s wrong with those people.

And here is a list of the Top 25 most popular Halloween treats, according to The Daily Meal.

25. Whoppers – Malted milk balls. Not a fan.

24. Toblerone – Originally from Switzerland, but it’s caught on in the US.

23. Smarties – Colored sugar basically, with a hint of tartness. Are these the same as Sweet Tarts?

22. Air Heads – Developed in 1986. It’s soft, chewy & sour.

21. Sour Patch Kids – People love sour candy that turns sweet apparently.

20. Jolly Ranchers – Colorful, full of flavor, a little sour & sweet.

19. Swedish Fish – I have honestly never even heard of these.

18. Candy Corn – The National Confectioners Association claims 35 million pounds of this stuff is produced every year. Mostly I think they sit around in the candy bowl until everything else is gone so you HAVE to eat them.

17. Hershey’s Kisses – Did you know a machine wraps 1,300 kisses in foil per minute?

16. Dove Chocolate Bars – I go for the Dark Chocolate ones, bite-sized are the best.

15. Twix – Cookie, caramel and chocolate together, and it all works.

14. Almond Joy – Why? Why ruin good chocolate with coconut?

13. Butterfinger – I feel like I’m going to crack a tooth trying to eat these.

12. Milky Way – They say this was named after a malted milk shake (not the galaxy).

11. Hershey’s Cookies N’ Cream – I don’t understand the point of white chocolate at all.

10. 3 Musketeers – Did you know there were originally three flavors: strawberry, vanilla & chocolate? That’s where the “3” in the name comes from. In 1945, they started selling only the chocolate version.

9. Skittles – Strangest commercials ever, but they are pretty tasty.

8. Twix 4 To Go – How did Twix get on this list twice? Seems like cheating.

7. Starburst – Chewy, fruity, delicious addiction.

6. Twizzlers – I’ll eat them if I have to, but I won’t enjoy it.

5. Kit Kat Bar – You can’t eat one without singing the commercial.

4. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar – This is like America’s chocolate bar. It’s been made in Hershey, Pennsylvania since 1900.

3. Snickers – This candy debuted in 1930. Best known these days for the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” commercials featuring actors like Betty White.

2. M&Ms – The real question for you is…plain or peanut?

1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups - YES…chocolate, peanut butter, deliciousness!

So, what is your favorite Halloween candy? Which did you love to find in your trick o’ treat bag? Which do you try to steal from your kids’ stash?

Kristin Wallace is the USA Today Best Selling Author of inspirational and contemporary romance, and women’s fiction filled with “Love, Laughter and a Leap of Faith”. She is the author of two best selling series, Shellwater Key Tales (sweet contemporary romance) and Covington Falls Chronicles (inspirational romance). Her latest book will release November 7th. Pre-order LOVING YOU AT CHRISTMAS, an all new holiday story and the final book in the Shellwater Key Tales series.