Friday, July 29, 2016


CITY SUSPENSE Vs. ISLAND SUSPENSE

                                 

Hi all,

As this is my first blog on Not Your Usual Suspects, let me introduce myself. I’m Laura Carter (*waves*) and I write sexy romantic suspense novels. My debut series, Vengeful Love, follows Scarlett Heath, a high-flying London lawyer, as she pitches to work for devastatingly attractive billionaire, Gregory Ryans. She wins the work, only to find out that the takeover Gregory is about to embark on is hostile. Cue a dark and twisted thriller, underpinning a passionate romance that sees Scarlett and Gregory mingling with high society in the glossy skyscrapers of London and Dubai.


I started writing Vengeful Love as a business lawyer living and working in the heart of London. It seemed like the perfect setting for an erotic, white-collar thriller. I had the backdrop of glitz and glamour—champagne, cocktails, sky views, limousines and black tie dinners—mixed with the ominous streets of the city. My hangouts looked something like this…

(View from the Shard, London)

Here’s the thing, six weeks ago, I changed my life by moving to a small island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. And as I sat down to my laptop in my new surroundings for the first time, I thought, Oh Crap! What have I done?

I went from dry martinis and the hustle and bustle of the city, to bottled beer and a sleepy, small-town beach life. My new style…

(Sunset British Virgin Islands)

Don’t get me wrong, the serenity of the island is wonderful. Being able to read and write in a hammock is pretty great. But I write CITY suspense novels. How am I supposed to make a beautiful sandy beach grave and threatening? I thought.

I worried about this for a couple of weeks, no kidding! Then I had that ‘lightbulb’ moment we all know so well. It came one day as I was driving past the island’s prison. It’s kind of idyllic for a prisoner—a low security compound with a garden and, from what I hear, pretty relaxed rules, with an outstanding view out to sea. I mean, this place would make the Count of Monte Cristo giddy!

So, I started wondering, what could a person possibly do to wind up in prison on this peaceful rock? And a few things dawned on me…we’re in the middle of the sea, accessible from all angles by boats and private planes…in other words, perfect for trafficking people and drugs—erm, hello gang crime and cartels! Then I thought, if you’re on the run, this is actually the PERFECT place to hide. It’s so small it barely gets a spot on the world map! And, given the fine waters for sailing, the low taxes and little regulation compared to, say, London or Manhattan, this is a billionaire’s paradise! Put all of that together and you get dark and (potentially) glamorous with no rules (*excited dance*).

It took some time and it was unexpected, but I started to see the small-town, island setting as having endless possibilities for crime and suspense novels. As an author, I think it is incredibly important to be able to draw inspiration from just about anything, to conjure a story from nothing. It’s what makes us a quirky (?) breed of species and, in my opinion, what makes our job one of the best in the world.

So, I ask you, authors, what is the most unexpected source of inspiration you have had? And to you, readers, do you prefer the backdrop of the dark and dangerous city, or the unsuspecting, kind of eerie, sleepy town?


If you’re interested in the Amazon bestselling Vengeful Love series you can check it out here:

Amazon US: amzn.to/1Tle3O3

Amazon UK: amzn.to/1M2lfqT
Barnes & Noble: bit.ly/1pd17Nm
GooglePlay: bit.ly/1RceZxQ


Come hang out with me:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lauracarterauthor 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/lcarterauthor 
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lauracarterauthor 
Website: www.lauracarterauthor.com 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How (Not) to Interview a Black Ops Soldier








I recently sat down with "Bolt Action" Mary, the heroine of my latest romantic suspense, ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT Black Ops: Automatik #2, to talk to her about such things as her journey through the military and her plans now that she's back in the civilian world. The conversation was very interesting, as was sitting across from such a skilled covert soldier as Mary. I'd love to show you what we talked about, but I'd agreed to let her get first approval of the interview and the following are her notes:


































As you can see, Mary can be quite private and the last thing I'd want to do is go against her wishes. Luckily, the hero of ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT, former SEAL and current Automatik teammate Ben Jackson agreed to answer these same questions for her, and with her consent:

Q: What was your path into the military like?
A: Mary ran out of asses to kick while still in high school, so she had to join the Army in order to show those boys how it was really done. I’d advise you not to dig much deeper than that, unless you want a long ride in a dark van to a remote location.

Q: Was it difficult being a woman in the special forces?
A: It was probably more difficult for the cowboys in special forces to be outshot by a woman. I’m sure she had to prove herself, but there’s nothing I haven’t seen her excel at. Hotwire a car? Bang. Shadow ops? She’ll create a scenario so good you’ll believe you grew up in the same small town as her.

Q: Do you have a fitness routine now that you’ve retired from the military?
A: The woman makes yoga look deadly.

Q: Did you find that being a soldier made you choose between your emotions and your skills on the battlefield?
A: She’s one of the best shadow operators I’ve ever worked with, and she’s brave enough to bare her soul, too. That’s how I fell in love with her.

Q: What’s the one thing people don’t know about you?
A: If people don’t know it, she wants it that way.

Q: What are your plans to keep busy in civilian life? Any chance you’ll get bored?
A: We’re working in private security. Mostly pro bono. And there’s never a dull moment.

Q: Who are you wearing?
A: She has a five inch blackened dagger in her boot and at least three other weapons you’ll never know about.

Many thanks to Ben for answering these questions and giving us insight into Mary. You can learn more about both of them and how they went from teammates to lovers in ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Going Free

To Be Free or Not to Be Free? That is the question. What is the answer?

I see it all the time. Lots of books going free every day. I can see how it can help sales, but aside from Carina Press making Dangerous Race free with the release of Living Dangerously (Adrenaline Highs #4), I've never had any other books go free.

Until now.

Yep. I'm happy to announce that for 3 days this week, A Little Danger will be free for the first time. This was one of my favorite stories to write since the main characters have both worked hard to get to a place in life where very little scares them.... With the exception of their feelings for each other.

Okay, more on them later.

What I'd like to know is your feelings on going free. The general consensus seems to be that free works. I have to admit, sometimes I wonder about it though. In a perfect world, everyone downloads the book and falls in love with the storytelling then decides to buy all the other books in the series or all the backlist. I know I've certainly done it. But I wonder if there's a saturation point with free? That the more free books out there, the less people will buy. (Horrors)

And of course there are many authors with "perma-free" first books in a series. Maybe one day I'll get a point where I can do that, but I'm not there yet. One day, I hope to have so many books that it won't matter if I give away the first one in a series on a permanent basis, but right now I can't really wrap my brain around it.

What do you think? Does "free" work in the long run?

Here's the cover (one of my favorites) and the blurb for my upcoming freebie, A Little Danger:


Some killers never die.

Elena Fraser is on her way to the airport to catch a flight to New York for the premiere of her daughter’s movie. Before limo driver Bill “Fido” Fidelo can make it to the freeway, a 7.1 earthquake collapses the overpass above and traps them. With nothing but time between frightening temblors, Elena and Bill learn more about each other, including the fact they’ve lusted after each other for years.

Understanding they might not survive, Elena and Bill look to one another for solace and companionship. Bill tries to convince Elena that their seven-year age difference means nothing to him, and Elena soon realizes that life is too short to put off living.

The passion they discover is enough to torch the limo they’re trapped in, but can rescuers save them in time, or will a final aftershock bury them before they have a chance to build a life together? 

****

I loved Elena and Bill. They were so cute together even during a horrific natural disaster. Since I don't have a link ready today, you can click on this: A Little Danger  and find all the places the book is free. Grab one for yourself anytime between Wednesday, July 27 - 29. And happy reading!

Dee J.



Friday, July 22, 2016

BLENDING TWO WORLDS INTO ONE BOOK

BLENDING TWO WORLDS INTO ONE BOOK – by Kathy Ivan

I was asked by Susan Stoker to participate in her Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World launch. When somebody as hugely popular as Susan personally asked you to write a romantic suspense with paranormal elements?  I wasn't about to say no.  J 

For anybody not familiar with Kindle Worlds, it is an Amazon exclusive type of fan fiction, where an author (or anybody who wants to write) uses characters from the Worlds' creator (in my case Susan Stoker's Special Forces) and incorporates them into their story. 

Well, it's not as easy as you think, especially if you're bringing somebody else's characters into YOUR world.  But that's exactly what I did with Saving Sarah.  I wrote a novella using several characters from her Navy SEALs, and brought them down to New Orleans—where my New Orleans Connection Series takes place. 

My characters remain front and center in the book—which is exactly the way I wanted—but I didn't relegate Susan Stoker's characters to the back burner, either.  My hope is that it is a seamless blending of the two.  So far, readers haven't complained. 

Saving Sarah is the result of this mashup, and I absolutely love this book. It has a curvy, spunky heroine and a sexy ex-SEAL hero!



AMAZON LINK:  http://amzn.to/29WMMA8  

Here's the blurb:
Haunted by memories of war and strangely prophetic dreams, Gaston "Ranger" Boudreau spends his time alone in the Louisiana bayou he calls home. When fellow SEAL, Matthew "Wolf" Steel calls in a favor, Ranger can't refuse—a Boudreau always pays his debts.

Writer Sarah Sloane is in New Orleans on a mission, to find her missing sister. Unsure what she'll uncover, she needs somebody who knows the city—but more, she needs a bodyguard who can keep her safe. One sexy former Navy SEAL might be just the person for the job.

As Ranger's dreams evolve, the dangerous search for Sarah's sister becomes a race against the clock. Can they find her before it's too late, or will their quest cost more than one life?

NOTE: This is an amazon.com exclusive, and is only available on their site.
AMAZON LINK:  http://amzn.to/29WMMA8  
There are also a lot of great authors participating in launching this Kindle World.  Check out their books too.  I'm sure you'll find a whole bunch of them that you'll want to one-click. 
Aaron’s Honor, Lindsay Cross: http://amzn.to/2avS2K4 
Awakening Aubrey, Shauna Allen: http://amzn.to/2aaboFE
Cowboy D-Force,  Elle James:  http://amzn.to/2a1DgMR
Finding Ayva, Elle Christensen: http://amzn.to/2a1DX8Y
Freeing Falcon, Leigh Carman: http://amzn.to/29OxA6k
Marking Mariah:  Liz Crowe:  http://amzn.to/2avSgAQ
Protecting Beauty, MJ Nightingalehttp://amzn.to/2avSWWJ
Protecting Love, Maryann Jordan http://amzn.to/2avSCHB
Protecting Maddie, Desiree Holt: http://amzn.to/2a1E30b
Protecting New York, Lainey Reese:http://amzn.to/29W4twP
Redemption for Avery, Jordan Dane:  http://amzn.to/2avTxHQ
Redemption for Misty, Anne Conley: http://amzn.to/29W52qo
Rescuing Pandora, Kori David:  http://amzn.to/2avTZWR
 Happy Reading!

Kathy




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A MUSEUM OF ONE'S OWN!!!!!


 A MUSEUM OF ONE’S OWN!!!

 

Have you heard? The American Writers Museum is scheduled to launch on March 17, 2017, at 810 North Michigan Avenue, in the heart of downtown Chicago.

 
A writers’ museum!  How great is that?

 
Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Stead Family Foundation, the 12,000 square feet space, which has been leased for ten years, will feature American authors from the past as well as contemporary writers.

 
Designer and founder, Andrew Anway, of Amaze Design, states the museum will offer “a clear and accessible offering to visitors, giving them multiple ways to explore American authors and their works . . . the museum’s goal is not to be a library, reading room or book store.”  Okay, then what will it be?

 
It will be high-tech, digitally focused, with massive touch screen monitors.  In the Writers Hall Room, for example, visitors will be able to select different regions and cities throughout the country to learn life stories of their favorite great writers.

 
Also, info will constantly be updated to give new writers a chance to shine.  In addition to displays dedicated to classic authors, there will be sections showcasing children’s literature, westerns, mysteries (mysteries!) and other literary genre.

 
I hadn’t heard of this endeavor until recently, and I’m thrilled with this news.  So if you’ve known of it, please forgive me for not curbing my enthusiasm.

 
For more detail than I can give here, do click on this link: http://americanwritersmuseum.org/

 
See you in Chicago!

 

Jean Harrington is the author of the Florida Book Award winning Murders by Design Series.  Her books are available at Amazon for download.