A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Trouble in the Fourth Estate

Finally! It's the end of the week. You know we're giving away a stack of ebooks (possibly a couple of print books too) to one lucky commentator? Well, today's the last day to comment for your chance to win. See this post for details.

Check back on Monday and see if you start your week as a winner!
(A BOOK winner. You're already clearly a winner--because you follow Not Your Usual Suspects.)

So. I used to work in TV-land. Plenty of characters to study. Tons of stories to tell. But just between you & me, that place made me crazy. I invented Maddy O'Hara as therapy. She helped me work through my unresolved issues.

And Sheriff Curzon was the reward for all my hard work.

Read more about me at

a little excerpt from In Plain View:

At first, all I saw was her face and her fear. The white of the young woman’s skin reflected light where her dark clothes disappeared into the shadow. Bits of contrast jumped out at me. She was wearing a hat, an Amish bonnet to be exact, but she had a cell phone pressed to her ear.

“What the hell?” a man’s voice rose behind me.

I admit, I jumped. The branches I’d been holding snapped back into place. Ainsley jumped too, but he kept the camera up and running.

“I thought I said no cameras.”

“The officer told us to stay back, but no one said anything about cameras.” I smiled. Behind me, there was absolute silence in the bush. “I’m Maddy O’Hara, WWST.”

Had to be the boss. He was the only guy on scene in a suit. Dark hair with a thread or two of silver. Good sharp bones. He’d be a dream to photograph monochrome, except you’d lose the eye color—the pale green of a cloudy agate.

“Gimme that camera,” he said to Ainsley, ignoring me in the extreme.

“Sorry,” I pressed. “I didn’t get your name.”

“Curzon. Sheriff Curzon.”

Boy, I hadn’t cheesed-off a local public servant this fast in years. Good to know I hadn’t lost my touch.

Ainsley shot me a panicked look.

I soothed the kid with a snicker. “You don’t have to give the man anything.”

While I was busy being amused at the sheriff’s bravado, Curzon grabbed Ainsley’s camera, scanned the side and plucked the memory card right out of its slot.

“I said, no cameras.” Curzon looked at the 35mm hanging from my neck.

I wrapped a hand around my Nikon and dared him to try.

He jabbed the black rectangle of digital recording at me like a pointed finger. “Give me that memory card or I will arrest you. You’ll tell your story to the judge—tomorrow morning.”

It felt like being clocked upside the head. Six months ago, I’d have gone to jail for my card with no hesitation. Couldn't do that now, with a little girl waiting at home for me. My fingers opened the camera and handed him the memory card. The fact that I had a roll of exposed 35mm tucked in my pocket made it slightly easier. “Heard there might be a story here, Sheriff.”

"I don’t think so, Ms. O’Hara. Suicide is sad, but nothing important enough to rate television news.”

“Just doing my job here, Sheriff. Fourth estate. Performing a public service, you know?”

His gaze dropped, taking in my leather pants. “Same thing they used to say about prostitution.”

I had to smile. Maybe I was overdressed for fieldwork. Compared to the girl in the bushes, I was definitely Saturday night on Rush Street. But no way did Sheriff Curzon, in his fine suit, hold to an Amish dress code standard.

He was trying to annoy me.

Oh, yes. There was definitely a story here.


Toni Anderson said...

Love this!!

Anonymous said...

Hooked again. LOL.

Jane said...

I'm intrigued. I imagine you have tons of stories from your TV career.

MaureenAMiller said...

Great excerpt. This whole week has been so much fun. It's been like a buffet of romantic suspense!

Rita said...

Zowie! Great excerpt.
I agree with Maureen. This week has been fun.
Let's do it again.

Marcelle Dubé said...

I loved In Plain View!

Dee J. said...

Another great excerpt!!
And my pile gets higher!

Shirley Wells said...

I loved In Plain View. It was one of my first Carina buys.

Stevie Carroll said...

Definitely intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Wow Looks like fun

Clare London said...

Oooh, *definitely* a story here :D. And one - luckily - I can get to read!

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