Easter – so much more than a word

Easter.

Six letters.

Two syllables.

A simple sounding word with a nice visual balance.

A word tasked with conveying entire stories, and where a picture is often worth a thousand words, some words are worth a thousand pictures.

In our complex world filled with assorted and often dissimilar beliefs, Easter conjures up an amazing collection of emotions along with those pictures. 

Joy, love, excitement, anticipation and sorrow, are among the many, and just as dissimilar as a crucifix, white gloves, and a bible, are to chocolate bunnies, colored eggs, and vacations at fancy theme parks.

In celebration of Diversity,  the Sisters of Suspense Authors are sharing little bits of their Easters with all of us.


From Joanne Guidoccio:


From Kathryn Jane:

Easter means Spring to me. A time when the trees sprout new leaves, and daffodils push up through the ground to share their smiling faces with the world. Everything outdoors is new, and fresh, and holds the promise of warmer weather to come.DSCN7733 (2)


From Vicki Batman:

The world coming alive in the Spring.


From Sharon Wray:

“I hope you all have a Happy Easter.”


From Marsha R. West:

Eggs! A highlight of my memories of celebrating Easter when I was a child. My dad was an expert egg decorator. They were beautiful. Afterwards my mother turned the eggs into awesome egg salad. When we had daughters, I tried to do the same thing. Not sure I was successful, but it was fun. Now we have two granddaughters (and one grandson), and the Easter egg hunting tradition continues, but with plastic eggs. This year they will b filled with pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Better for you than all that sugar.


From Jeannie Hall:

Pastel eggs and yellow ribbons

Pigtails, smiles, hidden treasure

Laughter on cherubic faces,

While sunshine, warm and gentle

Lights the way.


From Marian Lanlouette:

These girls and I have been friends since birth. I call them my cradle to the grave friends.




 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about EASTER #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about EASTER for a great start to the week.


Sarah brushed back a stray hair. “Elizabeth I’s map makers added hidden messages to her maps, like those Easter eggs programmers hide in computer games. I call it seventeenth-century leverage.”

 Sharon Wray


I turned off the radio and popped my back up CD, Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” in the player. I sounded just like the birds singing the chirpy parts. “Do, do, dada, dada, do do.” I was a “tweetie.”

Vicki Batman


The fragrance of Easter lilies wafting on a fresh breeze and the sounds of birds engaged in spirited song greeted AJ and Quin to the canyon.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


“We’ll do it differently at Easter,” Mama said, deep in thought. She was probably planning the entire meal and thinking of hosting everyone here.

Joanne Guidoccio


“Maybe by Easter I’ll have an answer for you.”

Kathryn Jane


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Time

Well, maybe not where you live, but spring has arrived in North Central Texas. Even before the green stuff sprang from the ground and tree branches, the birds declared it spring. In the morning walking Charley, it’s like hearing a symphony orchestra with all the different birds singing a separate part. And the birds have been carrying on this way for weeks now.

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Our temps still drop occasionally at night into the 40s, but days are routinely hitting the 70s and yes even the low 80s. I almost hesitate to share this with those of you packed under multiple feet of snow from multiple nor-easters. I hope your power is back on. However, you will be the ones smiling this summer when you’re enjoying mid 70s and 80s while we will be sweltering in 105 plus and for as many as 40 days or more in a row at that!

29196692_10210728339155537_7864813871846916096_nD'Ann Burrow Snow Pic from D’Ann Burrow from the 3rd Nor’easter.

It recently came to my attention when I was looking through my books for the word “spring” for one of our Sisterhood of Suspense Sunday Hot Lines that I don’t set novels in the spring time. The stories in my books take place in the fall mostly or the winter or summer. Well, my second published book, TRUTH BE TOLD ends during the spring, but only because I couldn’t tie up the story. Spring wasn’t a main part of the book. Winter was. The majority of the story takes place during the two weeks of the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.

Truth Be Told 300dpi

Then I began to wonder, why don’t I set a story in the spring. I really hate summer, and yet I’ve had several books set in the summer. What is it about a Texas spring that makes me steer away?

I don’t know the answer to that exactly. I suspect it has something to do with tornadoes and severe weather that attacks our part of the country during the spring. It seems to me I need to take that fear, because it really is a fear, of those storms and put it into the next book I write. Well, the next one after Book 4 of The Second Chances Series, which I’m working on now and should come out late fall. That’s a plan. 🙂

I’m curious, is the time of year an important piece of your books? Is there one season you favor over others? Many, many years ago, I read a romantic suspense book (Sadly, I don’t remember title or author.), and the winter weather was an actual character in this book. The author did a superb job making the reader experience the cold temperatures, and the biting wind. I’ve always remembered that book. And yes, I should turn our spring storms into a character in a book.  Love to hear from you.

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines about SPRING #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about SPRING for a great start to the week.


I guess I’m comfortable where I am. I have the ranch, and new foals every spring to keep me busy.”

Kathryn Jane


“This is beautiful, Brett. You must spend lots of time out here in the spring and fall. Love the fountain.”

Marsha West


Rafe emerged from Leavenworth as if it’d been Spring Break. Because he didn’t act like a man who’d been imprisoned for years.

 Sharon Wray


My imaginings took me to Trixie’s delicate hand brushing across the blue sky, creating a large banner decorated resplendently with a glittery rainbow, playful butterflies, and springtime flowers dancing in the breeze. Gag me with a spoon.

Vicki Batman


The cherry trees lining Main Street were laden with buds, the delicate pink flowers set to open within the next couple of weeks—hopefully, in time for the wedding—and birds sang from the branches.

Jacquie  Biggar


In his peripheral vision he saw flames spring from the arms of his coat. The angry dragon was making a final attempt at catching its escaping prey

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


Her eyes grew misty and a smile played on her lips. “On one beautiful spring day, a gorgeous Greek chef sauntered into my office and sat across from me.”

Joanne Guidoccio


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Much of Yourself is in Your Characters?

 

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My first book started as a journal of my experiences as a new EMT working on an ambulance. I wasn’t sure at first what I was going to do with those stories but I felt the need to save them. In a few years I went from EMT to Paramedic and the number of interesting experiences multiplied. I worked closely with a number of fire departments and worked in a firehouse for five years. During that time I became familiar with and close to many different firefighters, ER staff and co-workers who added color to the events. We celebrated our common successes and I was pained when one of them was sick or injured. The worst case, as you may expect, was when we would lose one, and that happened more than it should have. So, on it went through my career as it expanded to Paramedic Supervisor, Clinical Coordinator, ER tech and federal disaster worker. I’m not sure when it happened, but one day it occurred to me that these incidents and these people I cared so much about could be fictionalized in a novel. I realized I had an avid interest in letting readers know who these firefighter-paramedics really were and how the stresses of their work affected them. So, AJ Donovan was born along with his crew of colorful characters at Station 19 in Cedar Grove, California.

Sam Helo

Mitch, the Captain, is kind and patient even with guys like AJ who are trying at times. Mitch’s best friend, Barney, is the engineer. Barney is an old Southern boy who shares his experience and advice with younger firefighters. Kevin is a young Irish-born EMT-firefighter who is short in stature but large in passion. Then there is slovenly Craig, the epitome of laziness. His favorite game is pushing AJ’s buttons. Chris is AJ’s partner and best friend. Divorced and a father of two, Chris only wants peace and love in his life but keeping AJ out of trouble is a challenge. Then there’s AJ, a product of a Native American mother and a Scot/Irish father. His mother died suddenly when we was three then he was led to believe his father had abandoned him. He left the reservation at 18 to find his way to California where he became the best rescue technician the department had ever seen. He’s great at his job, but his personal life is a hot mess. All his relationships fail because he’s so emotionally unavailable. A third firefighter-paramedic joins the team. Quin is young, fit and naturally beautiful but her focus is to be accepted as a woman, a firefighter and a paramedic in a man’s world. Her crew is put on notice that her first rule is “no dating co-workers”. It doesn’t stop AJ or even Chris, from falling for her.

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Quin quickly impresses all of them with her confidence, talent and empathetic nature, especially Chris and AJ. Strong friendships are formed. The more she gets to know AJ, the more she discovers his issues: low self-esteem, a case of closet claustrophobia, undiagnosed PTSD and anger issues to name a few. After her first few weeks of employment a life-threatening incident puts AJ in the hospital. Quin not only saves him from a near drowning but stays by his side during a subsequent bout of pneumonia. That opens a door to trust that changes both their lives. Subsequent books follow their careers as AJ goes to medical school to become an ER doc and Quin climbs the ladder in the fire department. Later, AJ is introduced to disaster medicine and their first disaster deployment was, well, a disaster.

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So, where do I come in? As the story followed its natural course, I began to realize how much of their lives paralleled mine. That was intentional in terms of their career experiences, but not so much in their personal traits. Quin honestly cares about the guys she works with. She took intensive training in critical incident stress management after her own experience left her with PTSD. Enough said on that. AJ prefers to eat whole foods and doesn’t eat sweets. Quin wears men’s style boxer briefs at work and will stay up at night feeding chicken soup to a sick partner. Chris is the kind of guy who never quits loving even after the relationship is gone. The state of people in a disaster situation tears AJ’s heart out. He’s an empath. Captain Mitch believes the team is what’s most important and discipline should come with respect. Kevin is as loyal as they come and there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for those he considers friends. AJ is his role model. Barney is the elder, the wise, and cares deeply about the young ones. Craig is an ass. I guess we all have that side of us. So, how many of these traits are mine? I’m not telling, but all of them to some degree. Oh, I’m Scottish with a bit of Irish and was raised by a Native American.

My writing is contemporary and based on real people. Would these parallels be the same for someone who writes paranormal? What do you have in common with a vampire or dragon? I’ll bet if you dig deep enough you’ll find yourself in there somewhere. Is this a natural habit for all writers? I’d love to hear your take on this. Think about it. You might surprise yourself.

 

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Every Deep Desire was Born . . . and Now It’s Time to Let Go

It’s been almost a week since EVERY DEEP DESIRE entered the world, and I’m back at work revising book 2 in the Deadly Force series, ONE DARK WISH and writing book 3.  And I’m exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that  comes after having a baby or moving to another country (both of which I’ve done). It’s not just a lack of sleep kind of tired, but an emotional withdrawal. After so many wonderful notes, emails, tweets, etc., I feel this intense need to crawl into bed and hide under the covers.

I wrote for a long time (14 years) before seeing my book on a bookshelf in a store, and I thought I understood all that would mean. But I’ve realized in the last week that the writing and getting published–while hard–isn’t the hardest part. The hardest part is letting go.

This book is no longer mine. This book now belongs to the world. This book now belongs to the reader. And how the reader interprets the characters, and brings the world of this series into their mind and heart, is an intensely personal experience. An experience that allows no room for the author.

And somehow my heart missed the message. Yet, as a long-time reader and librarian, it makes perfect sense. The story was only mine while I was crafting it, and now it’s yours to interpret as you wish.

That’s the incredible thing about the imagination: I write something and someone else feels something. Yet, while I can control (somewhat) what I write, I can’t control how anyone else feels. And, as an author, that’s hard. I want everyone to feel sad during the “sad scenes” and happy at the end, but that’s not my job. Nor should it be. My job as the author is to present the story with all of its beauty and warts (because there are always warts) and let you, the reader, do with it what you will.

Which means it’s time for me to take a deep breath, take a long walk, and hope that you enjoy this story as much as I loved writing it.

So now I’d like to introduce the Deadly Force series: Where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines redeem Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

The series is about a team of ex-Special Forces soldiers, accused of vicious war crimes, who are desperate to prove their innocence and find their enemies before they attack again. As these men struggle to rebuild their lives and redeem their honor, it’s the women they love who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.

EVERY DEEP DESIRE , the first book in the series, is a contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet that takes place in Savannah, GA. The story answers the question of what kind of marriage the lovers would’ve had if they’d won their happy ending.

My main characters, Rafe and Juliet, were married young until Rafe abandoned Juliet and deserted his Green Beret unit to work for a secretive army known as the Fianna. Now, eight years later, he’s been released from prison and needs to win Juliet’s trust if he’s to save everyone he loves. He knows she’ll never forgive him—or love him again—but he’ll do everything in his power to protect her.

After eight years away, Rafe returns and Juliet learns that Rafe went AWOL and abandoned her to work for the Fianna—a mysterious group of assassins who trace their lineage back to pagan Ireland. Now, one of Rafe’s old enemies wants something hidden on Juliet’s land or bad things will happen.

Except Rafe has been gone a long time and Juliet, who’s rebuilt her life, has no interest in having her heart broken again. No matter that he’s returned a fully-grown, sexy man who still loves her. What she doesn’t realize is that if she helps him, and if they succeed, they won’t just save those they love—they’ll be separated forever.

Thank you for taking this journey with me, and hopefully sticking with me as I continue. There will be fumbles and missteps, but also love and laughter. Which pretty much describes all of our lives! 


Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines retell Shakespeare’s greatest love stories.

Her debut book EVERY DEEP DESIRE, a sexy, action-packed retelling of Romeo and Juliet, is about an ex-Green Beret determined to regain his honor, his freedom, and his wife.

It’s available on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound

Adding it to your Goodreads TBR list is also always appreciated!

You can find Sharon on:

Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads |  Bookbub | Amazon 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about BETRAYAL #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about BETRAYAL for a great start to the week.


“Your mom’s still in shock. She has to process what happened twenty years ago, and she has to deal with the betrayal and death of a man she once liked.”

Joanne Guidoccio


He’s an incredibly kind man, who understands loss and betrayal.

Kathryn Jane


“I’d like to trust you, Brett, but I’ve been betrayed before and now again by Franklin. I’m not depending on anyone again.”

Marsha West


The room smelled like vomit, bleach, and mold. It reeked of betrayal.

 “Sharon Wray


I did see myself in him. I saw the young man I was the day I left the reservation – angry, confused, alone; feeling betrayed by those who should have protected me – those who should have loved me.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines about a VILLAIN/ENEMY #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines about a VILLAIN/ENEMY for a great start to the week.


Fire, the enemy he’d outwitted and destroyed so many times before was as close to winning the battle for his life as it ever was.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


Thinking back, I recall one frenemy period that lasted six months.

Joanne Guidoccio


The enemy had been here. Rollins’s vile presence stained the stale air.

Kathryn Jane


“Unless you tell us something different, you’re going to be charged with murder. Joe had a lot of enemies, but he also had many friends in the justice system. Believe me, they won’t show you any mercy.”

S.A.Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)


“So, the bad guy,” she finger-quoted. “That sounds melodramatic, but I don’t have another name for him. He’s threatened Bailey directly.”

Marsha West


“Although Romeo is my enemy, Juliet is his great love. She won’t be defiled in words or deed.”

 “Sharon Wray


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idea → Sticky Idea → Premise

By Joanne Guidoccio

Writers  can find inspiration almost anywhere, and they don’t have to go too far to find those ideas. Checking Twitter or Facebook feeds, reading a daily newspaper, watching a television program, visiting an art gallery, eavesdropping on conversations…

Which ideas work best?

Sticky ideas…those ideas that simply won’t go away.

Once that idea takes root, it’s like a song that you can’t get out of your head. You wake up thinking about it, dream about it, and fantasize about it. You can even imagine the A-list actors who will star in the screenplay based on your novel. You may seek validation from family and friends: “Don’t you think that would make a great novel?” Unfortunately, too many ideas remain fantasies and don’t make it to the next step: transforming an idea into a premise.

What is a premise?

A premise is an idea fleshed out with details. You should be able to state this premise in two to three sentences while answering the questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Here is one of my examples:

During my cancer journey, I read two to three cozy mysteries a week. I enjoyed these well-plotted novels in the tradition of Agatha Christie and Murder She Wrote. The crimes takes place “off stage” and very few graphic details are provided. That is, the novels contain little violence, sex, or coarse language. The majority of the cozies I read were based in the United States and England.

Halfway through chemotherapy, I started imagining a cozy based in Ontario. That was the original idea, and it wouldn’t leave me. But it wasn’t enough to start writing the novel. I continued reading cozies and let the idea percolate. Slowly, I added details about the protagonist and setting: A50something woman. Italian Canadian background. Mathematics teacher. Lottery winner. Based in Sudbury. Four dead blondes.

I came up with the following premise: What if a teacher wins a $19 million lottery and returns to her hometown of Sudbury, only to find herself the primary suspect in the murders of four blondes. Can she prove her innocence and solve this case before it’s too late?

Once I had the premise in place, I started writing A Season for Killing Blondes.

In June 2015, The Wild Rose Press released A Season for Killing Blondes.

Last month, the cozy was included in Murder & Mayhem,  a boxed set featuring over 1200 pages of reading pleasure from six  Wild Rose Press authors: J L Wilson, Misty Simon, Michelle Witvliet, Vicki Batman, Cindy Davis, and Joanne Guidoccio.

Buy Links

Amazon (Canada) | Amazon (US) | The Wild Rose Press

excerpt from A Season for Killing Blondes…

Carlo had removed his suit jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his light blue dress shirt. His tie lay on the desk. The rumpled look suited him to a tee. And his large black-rimmed glasses accentuated those unforgettable blue eyes. Bluer than blue. Sky blue. Cornflower blue. Robin’s egg blue. Years ago, Adele Martino and I had come up with thirty-seven descriptions of Carlo Fantin’s eyes when Mrs. Gillespie assigned one of her Monday morning English composition exercises. As I tried to recall the other thirty-three, I realized that Carlo was speaking to me.

“…he’ll be taking notes as well.”

Darn! Another officer in the room, and I had missed his name and more importantly, his title. Was he a detective or a constable? I’m sure Sofia would know. In the meantime, I better stop daydreaming and start listening. I nodded in the direction of the beefy officer. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Expertly trimmed moustache. A big bear of a man who reminded me of Magnum P.I.

Carlo cleared his throat. He was ready to get down to business. Police business. “It appears that Carrie Ann was your first client. You haven’t opened this office for business yet. How did that happen?”

My heart raced as I spoke. “After Sofia and my mother left…I’m not certain about the time…um…I…I heard a knock at the front window. I looked up and saw Carrie Ann. Hadn’t seen her in ages.” I paused and then added, “Still wearing the same pageboy hair style and that blonde color—”

Carlo waved his hand. “Stick to the facts, please.”

I felt myself reddening as those piercing blue eyes bored right through me. “Oh, sorry. Um, I let Carrie Ann in.”

“And?” Carlo said when I hesitated.

I shrugged. “We just talked for a while, then, uh…” I closed my eyes and tried to recall the conversation. But nothing concrete came to mind, only Carrie Ann’s infectious laugh and bubbly compliments about the decorating scheme. When I opened my eyes, the other officer offered me a water bottle. I thanked him and gulped down half the contents.

“You scheduled her for a session tomorrow morning,” Carlo said as he held up my appointment book. “Carrie Ann is…was considered one of the best interior designers in town. Why would she need counseling from you?” His dark brows drew together in a suspicious frown. “Were you planning to tell her to give it up?”

Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

Website | Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Pinterest