Nancy Weeks shares The Eyewitness

My blog has been lonely. Fortunately, Nancy Weeks dropped by to give me a little company and to share her newest romantic suspense The Eyewitness. Be sure to read all the way to the end for a special giveaway.

Welcome, Nancy. How have you been?

Lola, I’m so thrilled to back on your blog to talk about my new release, The Eyewitness. This story will forever hold a special place in my heart. I use to slip into a great story to relieve the stress of my daily life. This time around, writing The Eyewitness had that effect. It got me through a rough year and kept me sane. But that’s so 2016. My health is almost back on track and I have this wonderful story to share with the world.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Besides living my own happy-ever-after for the last thirty-five years with the best man I know, I’m a mother to two grown kids, and I can’t be a prouder mom. Now that they are off on their own—for the most part, I write romantic suspense.

What makes a book a romantic suspense?

I weave a suspenseful and gripping element through the romance in my novels. The suspenseful element is not the driving force of the story. The romance between my heroine and hero, their internal conflict, the reason they can’t be together is what drives the story. Tossing a sniper into the mix, evil-out-of-control drone or nasty cyber criminal at my characters while they are working through their issues, and seeking a much deserved happy-ever-after is fun, okay, super-fantastic fun. [Insert loud  MUWHAHAHA laugh here].

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

The Eyewitness is the first book in a new series. I decided to keep my characters in the same world as the Shadow series for one reason– it’s so hard letting go of my sexy, amazing McNeil brothers, and maybe one of them will find time to pop into this new series.

I dipped my toe into the world of forensic science in this story and took my ‘inspiration’ from a page out of the tragic sniper attacks in Maryland in 2002, The Beltway Snipers. My villains—the way all three series are connected—copy-cat on that event. Here is a short blurb:

Fans of TV’s Blue Bloods will love this dynamic new suspense series.

Maryland PD forensic scientist Emersyn D’Azzo has an explosive past with her father’s younger, sexy partner, Detective Alec Pearce. Then an ill-timed kiss destroys the thin line of trust between her and her dad, just before tragedy strikes and someone guns down her father.

The fatal bullet turns out to be tied to the ongoing spree of random sniper kills across the state, but Emersyn knows this wasn’t a random act of violence and is determined to find the killer.

To do so, she’ll need to rely on help from Alec, whom she doesn’t quite trust but just can’t resist. When they discover a connection to a decades-old disappearance of a college student, their investigation takes a deadly twist. Can they learn to trust each other with their hearts to save their lives?

What made you want to write?

Like most writers, I have had stories of new worlds, fascinating people, heroes, heroines, and bad guys running through my head my whole life. What I didn’t understand until just recently is that’s not really normal. Normal people keep to-do list, grocery list, kids’ schedule in their heads. And they don’t sit in restaurants or museums and plot romantic suspense stories about the people around them.

How do you balance writing and life?

Balancing my writing time with my normal life can be difficult, but not as difficult as it would have been had I tried to do this when my kids were home 24/7. I’m very blessed in that I can write every day and I DO. I sometimes have to pull myself away from the laptop and re-enter the real world. I gave all of myself to my family when they needed me. Now, my time has become very valuable and I spend it learning to be a better writer.

What are your future writing goals?

My most immediate future goal is to finish the series. Once the D’Azzo series, [Emersyn, Tessa and Nathan] is in the world, I want to try writing something a little calmer.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Just write. That’s the biggest hurdle. Seek out workshops and conferences in your genre where you can really develop your craft. The publishing world isn’t always a nice place. Rejection is real, hard to deal with, but part of the dream. Don’t allow it to stop you in your tracks. When you are ready to jump into the pool, feel free to seek me out. I’ll hold your hand through it like so many authors held mine. Here is what I had taped to my laptop. Improve. Develop a thick skin. Write through it all.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Yes, and I promise to make this short. I have launched a new closed Facebook page for readers who would like to have a more personal relationship with me. It’s called Nancy’s Corner. Please stop by and check it out. I would love to have you. Enter as guest, leave as friends.

Care to share an excerpt?

Excerpt for The Eyewitness. Enjoy!

Emersyn opened the driver’s door then faced Alec. He moved in close, the back of his finger brushing away the moisture on her cheeks. She didn’t pull away when his hand rested on her waist. “I’m sorry, Alec. I thought clearing my father’s office would help.”

“You don’t owe me an apology. I get why you came here, and it is me who should apologize. I took my mood out on you.”

He tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Emersyn ached to press her hand over his and feel his heat on her face. But at the same time, a new sense of self-preservation prickled across her skin. Who could she trust? Her own mother had warned her that she really didn’t know the man in front of her.

Fear had a way of distorting reality. Her world had become so damn confusing she couldn’t find balance. She slipped her hand into her pocket and fingered the flash drive. The small piece of plastic could be nothing—or it could be everything.

“Em, where did you go?”

She faked a smile. “Just thinking about work. I keep expecting an email from security requesting my badge.”

He drew her close, wrapping his arms around her, his warmth calming her immediately. She couldn’t pull away. She needed this—something else she couldn’t understand.

He finally dropped his arms and took a step back. “I know Angela McCain well. Regardless of how she feels about you right now, she will get to the bottom of what happened yesterday.”

“I keep running the events through my head. The fire had to come from inside the walls, but there was no burning smell.”

“The fire marshal and CI team are on scene. This wasn’t a lab accident, and they aren’t treating it as one.”

“Why haven’t they questioned me?”

“I’m sure they will at some point.” He lifted her chin. “Something else is wrong. I see it in your eyes. What else happened?”

“Nothing.”

“You are a terrible liar.” He let her go, resting his arm on the roof of her car. If he was trying to make her feel trapped, it worked.

“From my house to here, what could have possibly happened?”

“What do I have to do to get you to trust me, Em?”

The annoyance in his voice set her back up. “I’m not getting into this with you in the parking lot.”

“Answer my damn question.”

And they were right back where they always seemed to fall, at each other’s throats. She tossed her shoulder bag into the front seat. Hell, if it was a fight he wanted, then maybe a good bitch-slap was what she needed to clear her head. “For starters, you can stop pissing me off with things like this.” Emersyn knocked his arm off her car so she could drop into the seat. He blocked the door when she tried to close it.

“How, Em? I walk into a room, and your blood starts to boil.”

She couldn’t get the shields up fast enough. “You could at least pretend you don’t despise me, maybe treat me once in a while like you treat Tessa.”

He knelt and reached for her hand. “I don’t despise you.”

“Now who is lying?”

*****

Where to find Nancy C. Weeks

If you want to know more about Nancy, go ahead a stalk her on her social media sites below. She would especially love it if you would join her Newsletter and Nancy’s Corner, a site she created for a more personal relationship between her and her readers.

Nancy C. Weeks Website

Nancy C. Weeks Newsletter

Facebook For Readers NANCY’S CORNER

Facebook Author Page

Twitter: @NancyCWeeks

Amazon

Goodreads

Pinterest

BUY LINKS TO THE EYEWITNESS

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble

GIVEAWAY

My simple pleasure is sipping my favorite coffee while reading a great book. I’m passing that on to you. Answer the question below for a chance to win a digital book from my backlist—including The Eyewitness, and winner’s choice of a $5 Starbucks or Teavana tea gift card. Hint hint—read the excerpt.

What is my hero’s favorite name for my heroine?

 

Hugs to all,

Nancy C. Weeks

First Friday Five Lessons from #RWA16

Last month I attended the Romance Writers of America annual conference. Since embarking on my writing career, this is the third time I have been able to attend. The 2016 conference marked my first visit to beautiful San Diego, CA. I wish I could go more often, both to San Diego and to the conference. In the meantime, here are five lessons I learned.

  1. Romance authors are wonderful people. We are smart, funny, hard-working, determined, curious, gracious and generous.

    Fantastic keynote speaker Beverly Jenkins

    Fantastic keynote speaker Beverly Jenkins

  2. Always wear comfortable shoes, especially when volunteering as I did during the Readers for Life Literacy Signing. You never know when you will need to race through the building to lend a hand to one of those wonderful authors.

    Helping at Readers for Life: with author Camille Di Maio

    Helping at Readers for Life: with author Camille Di Maio

  3. Be ready with the one line elevator pitch ANYTIME. I am on cloud 9 that my dream publishing house requested a full manuscript based on a one minute interaction.
  4. Small mental shifts in how one approaches the business of writing can be powerful. Damon Suede and Heidi Cullinan shared ways to make promotion a more playful rather than dreaded part of of being an author. When Mary Burton quipped “It’s not concrete, folks, it’s words,” I found the idea liberating.
  5. Last, but not least, I learned I once again picked up too much amazing swag and too many books. This is small sample. RWA16swagThe books are in another room. I can’t keep it all. Over the next few months, I’ll draw names from my newsletter subscribers and send out some goodies. I even have a few things that I can ship overseas. If you aren’t subscribed, sign up here.

First Friday 5 lessons of #Motherhood

Being a parent has taught me myriad lessons. For one thing, I learned I needed to apologize to my mother as in this post from the past. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are five other lessons motherhood has taught me.

  1. Humility. Kids are terrific at pointing out all your flaws. If I misspeak, I will be corrected. If I come home after a work-out or a long bike ride, my kiddos will point out how bad I stink. If dinner is not delicious and merely okay, I will know. Forget tough to please reviewers, my harshest critics are tied to my daily life.
  2. The mundane can be amazing. I never thought much about drawers until my daughter was 3 months old and I laid her on the bathmat while I got ready for the day. I pulled open the drawer to get out my hair brush. The action was nothing to me until I noticed how big her eyes grew. She had never seen a drawer in motion before and her little mind was blown. Since then, I’ve tried to be more appreciative of small moments. Wonder is a state of mind.
  3. Bananas are tasty. I did not eat them until I had to set a good example to my children.
  4. Listen and ask questions before giving advice. Respect what they have to say, and they will respect what you have to teach them, unless it is a mispronunciation in which case, see #1.
  5. Nothing beats a snuggle and a book. At the end of a long day, I love to sit with each child and talk books. At first, I read picture books, then we moved on to new challenges. My son and I read the classics. He decides if the language is too tricky for him to read half or not. We stop and talk about ideas, word meaning and make predictions. Sometimes my daughter listens in. More often she and I snuggle and she tells me about what she is reading at the moment. Because it’s a comforting ritual for all of us, we turn to it when not feeling well or simply having a rough day. Of course, if you read this, chances are high you are already a book lover and know exactly what I mean.

Presents or Gifts? Choose your #ChristmasTreats

christmas treats buttonWhat are our favorite Christmas Treats? Books, of course! Stop by each blog for a chance to win fabulous books & gifties for the Holidays!  

As part of the Christmas Treats giveaway hop, I’m giving away an ebook copy of Tidings of Love: 7 Holiday Romance Novellas, which contains my Winter Fairy, AND a $5 gift card to Starbucks so you can treat yourself to a yummy coffee drink.

As the end of the year giving season grips so many of us in its clutches, I’m often struck by the absurdity of the Christmas morning ritual of ripping off piles of shiny wrapping paper to unearth items I bought for myself a month ago. Since reaching adulthood, I tend to get a lot more presents rather than gifts. What is the difference you ask? I’ve given this a lot of thought. Probably too much thought for the relative weight of the issues, but here goes.

A present is presented to you. The giver gives you something you requested. They spent the money to buy a specific item on your list. Or maybe, they wrote you a check or gave you the cash to buy the item for yourself for the express purpose of having something to unwrap on Christmas morning. There is not much thought behind a ritual presentation of an item you want, but a present shows the giver listened.

A gift is an item given from the giver’s heart. It is unexpected but thoughtful. The gift can be big or small, useful or not, but it expresses the relationship between the giver and the recipient.

I love giving gifts, but find it hard this time of year when I am under the obligation to shop and buy specific items for so many people. I spend a lot of time buying presents, but I try to include a few gifts as well. I shop for gifts year round, or more to the point, gifts shop for me. I can be purchasing the most banal household items and something will catch my eye. It could be a goofy paper napkin pattern or a sale on a flavored coffee that a dear friend loves. A gift something that will bring joy to a recipient, which in turn gives joy to the giver.

Books make terrific gifts and terrific presents. There are loads of books and other goodies up for grabs in the Christmas Treats hop. Enter my rafflecopter here to be entered for the ebook and giftcard and be sure to visit all the authors through the linky-list.


a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

First Friday Five: Great Books for Middle School Readers

I’ve invited a special guest to share some of her favorite books for Middle School and Teen readers. Four of the Five are series specially selected by one of the loveliest young ladies I know. Without further ado, my twelve-year-old daughter is here to share her recommended reads for Middle Schoolers.  As with last week’s bonus post, “Great Books for Elementary Schoolers,” I’m including buy links to Amazon and Barnes&Noble for your gift-giving convenience, but don’t overlook other sources too. I make no money on any of these sales. My daughter and I want to help you find great reads for tweens and teens in your life.

  1. The Unwanteds by Lisa Mcmann, fantasy series- This is a great series for anyone creative or magic-loving. It is a struggle as two brothers face the real world and its challenges.  Amazon  and  Barnes&Noble 
  2. Warriors series by Erin Hunter- This series tells the story of house cats struggling to survive in the wild from their point of view. Leaves the reader thinking, “is that what my cat does?” Amazon and Barnes&Noble  
  3. Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull- What would it be like to live in a world of dragons, danger, and magic? Read to find out. Amazon and Barnes&Noble 
  4. Wings of fire series by Tui T. Sutherland- A war has been raging in a land for many years. This is the story of five dragonlets and how their actions affect their world. Available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble Box sets are great for voracious readers.
  5. The Candymakers – from  Wendy Mass- the story of four young kids in a candy factory trying to make the best new candy of the year. Each have their own secrets and story to share. There are five parts. Amazon and Barnes&Noble

There are multiple other books that did not make it onto this list. My daughter hopes that if one liked these recommendations, you’ll might explore other books and series by the author. Erin Hunter and Brandon Mull have multiple series she recommends. Erin Hunter also writes the Seekers and Survivors series. Brandon Mull also writes The Five Kingdoms, Beyonders, and The Candy Shop War Series. Sequel series to Fablehaven and The Unwanteds are coming out soon.

Quick – now that she’s out of the room, if you have any recommendations, please list them in the comments. I can hardly keep up with all her reading and as a parent, that’s a wonderful problem to have.

Laughing Vixen #Giveaway

Spring is here and it’s time for a big giveaway from Laughing Vixen Lounge. 11 shops have come together to create one amazing Prize Pack ($280+) full of Jewelry, Perfume, Clothing, Vintage and much more! Many of the shops offer items perfect for any book lover along with lots of other unique, handcrafted and custom designs.

The Fabulous Spring Giveaway is open worldwide. 1 winner will win the Prize Pack. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below. Please visit the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog and the Main Giveaway Post HERE to see the full prize list, participating shops and daily features during the giveaway.

Since Summer is right around the corner the giveaway theme is Vacation Memories. Each of our participating shops, and many of our blog sponsors, will be sharing some of their favorite vacation photos with you.

Giveaway runs May 4th – 18th. Laughing Vixen Lounge is responsible for all giveaway details. See full details HERE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t forget, to enter the Summer of Love giveaway  The grand prize winner will get books all summer long.
sol-Teaser
WOW! That’s a lot of free stuff!

First Friday – Five Fab Giveaways

May isn’t simply a month for pollen and mothers. This year, there seems to be a lot of goodies up for grabs so I’m highlighting giveaways! Get your virtual entries ready and good luck.  In all cases, click the picture to get more details and enter.

1. Summer of Love – I’m one of many authors participating. Three grand prize winners will receive a paper  book a week all summer long. The contest runs through May 15th.

sol-Teaser

2. Get Clean with the Summer of Love – this one is mine and also runs through May 15th. I have fabulous Gray Duck Soap and double dip those entries. Signing up for my newsletter (and completing the other contest form) gives additional entries to both the soap and the Summer of Love.

giveawayGrayducksoap4soaps

 

3. Thinking of newsletters, one bar of Gray Duck Soap will go to a random subscriber to my newsletter. You’ll have to be subscribed and open the email to find out the winner.

4. I’m not the only one with giveaways. Irene Preston, Rebecca Royce and 5 other contributors to “Romancing Austin” put together a giveaway for a $75 Amazon Gift card.  Click the pic for details.

 

5.  And last, but certainly not least, Kristina Knight is part of the Shades of Desire bundle releasing June 1st. To celebrate, the authors have a giveaway for a Kindle Fire.

shadesofdesire

 

So there you have it – a whole bunch of terrific giveaways to make your May special. Good Luck!

 

 

Summer of Love

Love to read romance? I’m thrilled to share the “Summer of Love” contest.

Who are we and what is this? We’re a group of romance writers who want to share our love of romance! We came up with the idea to give away one print romance a week for the entire summer to three lucky winners. That’s 16 books for each Grand Prize winner—an entire summer’s worth of love and passion. But that’s not all! We’re also giving away packages of 5 print books to at least two lucky winners!  You can enter the contest and find all the details at the main website.  http://summeroflovebooks.com/

But that is not all! I have a concurrent Rafflecopter (April  1-May 15th) to decide which lucky duck will get a $5 Amazon gift card and which lucky duck will get to enjoy two bars of handcrafted Gray Duck Soap. Made in Minnesota (or the land of 10,000 duck ponds), these soaps smell even better than they look, and that’s saying something!  I see you doing math – yes, there are four bars.

Grayducksoap4soapsFrom left to right

Lilac Way (strong scent)

Rainbow (Nag Champa—medium oriental-type scent)

Margarita (with salt on top, lime-light scent)

Minneapolis Magnolia (strong scent)

In addition to the Rafflecopter, one newsletter subscriber will get a soap and the last? I’ll give it away somehow.

p.s. – sorry to say for fans who live elsewhere,  the soaps are open to legal U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older. The gift card is open to everyone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spotlight on: Something to Treasure by Christy Newton

Something to Treasure Cover New-002I so enjoyed book one of Christy Newton’s Stolen Hearts series, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more about Book Two.  I hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt as much as I did.
Murder, jealousy and treasure…
WhenCammie Adams, determined novice PI, gets an urgent call from her ex, she is compelled to take his case. Miles, a luxury hotel owner and an upstanding citizen of Upton Hills, finds one of the maids dead. He turns toCammie for help to keep his beloved hotel from being tarnished. With her partner and boyfriend, Simon, she takes on a case that might just be their last. Her ex’s hotel is an eighty-year-old building that has secrets of its own.Can they catch the murderer to save the hotel and her ex’s reputation or will the case take a turn that will leave them lost forever?

Excerpt:
 
Simon looked at her and brushed the wet hair over that was clinging to her face. His hazel eyes stared deep into hers. “When I thought even for one second that I could lose you, I didn’t like it.”
She smiled at him. “You weren’t even worried about that hunk of gold.”
This brought back the fun loving guy she knew. “Thanks for reminding me that he got away with the gold.” He smirked.
“He won’t get away with this. My father will find us and we’ll get it back,” she said, looking out to the never ending water.
Simon scooped up a handful of sand and let the grains slowly slip out of his fingers, reminding her of an hourglass. “I don’t want to alarm you, but how will your father find us? He’s on his honeymoon and doesn’t even know we’re missing.”
“I have faith.” She wrapped her arms around him and kissed his cheek. “Besides there’s no one I’d rather be missing on a deserted island with.”
He touched the tip of her nose. “I’ve had some experience with living in the wild. We’ll survive.” She knew he was referring to the month he had spent camping out in the South African jungle. If he could survive in a jungle, an island with white sandy beaches and palm trees should be no problem.
“I know.”
Simon looked around. “We need to gather some wood for a fire before dark.”
She followed him along the edge of the trees to help him find some drift wood to burn. They gathered wood, small dried leaves and sticks, then carried it all back to the beach.
“Are your clothes still wet?” Simon asked.
“A little.”
Simon took off his shirt and pants. “We should take off our clothes and lay them in the sun so they can dry before nightfall.”
She stripped down to her bra and panties. At least if she only had one set of underwear they were high quality. She giggled. “I feel like we’re Adam and Eve.”
Simon smiled. “Does that mean you are going to tempt me with your forbidden fruit?”
She laughed and playfully slapped his arm.
“I’ll get a fire started. If you want you can grab as many of those fallen palm branches as you can. We’ll sleep on those tonight.”
“Okay.” She went over and started gathering the branches. By the time she got as many as she could carry, Simon had started a small fire. She was relieved to see the flame. They would be in total darkness as soon as the sun went down.
“I’m going to get more sticks for a bed. See if you can find any sharp shells and shells that could be used to drink out of.”
She walked barefoot on the hot, gritty sand. At least their clothes would be dry soon. The night air would get chilly. Someone had to find them. A couple of days on a deserted island with Simon would not be so bad, like a vacation really. If it turned into weeks or months that terrified her.
There were lots of broken shells. She took what looked to be the strongest and sharpest. Finding some that could be used as a cup was not as easy. Each time she picked up what she thought was a whole shell, once pulled out of the sand, proved to be another broken one. She continued to look, until her back hurt from bending over so much. Finally, she found two that were good enough to use as small cups. If only they had water or even better, sweet tea.
She looked down at a crab crawling along the sand. “Simon, I think I found some food!”
“Seafood, good job.” He picked up the crab and took it over to the fire. As their food cooked, they put on their dry clothes.
“I found some coconut trees. I need to climb up to get some. We need something to drink until we can find fresh water in the morning.”
She was nervous as she watched him scale the tree. She would not know how to help him or survive if he got hurt. He told her to look out, so she moved over. Three coconuts fell to the ground. Simon climbed back down like a monkey. He beat them open with a sharp rock he had found. As the sun set they ate cooked crab and drank coconut milk. Not bad.
Simon had managed to build them a temporary shelter for the night. Some sticks and leaves would at least keep them from sleeping on the ground. She snuggled up to Simon as the cool breeze blew. He protectively wrapped his arms around her. She felt tired and dirty.
“Are you okay, sweetheart?”
“Yes,” she lied.
Purchase Links:

 

 

Does size matter?

Some romance writing friends and I recently tackled the question, does size matter?

Get your mind out of the gutter – we were discussing books and  reading preferences.  I consider myself an equal opportunity reader.  Shorter books help me feel more productive as a reader and fit easier in my purse.  I tend to buy more short works as ebooks.

I prefer a paper book for longer works. For one thing, I can flip back pages easier if I’ve lost track of the narrative thread. When a book takes me over 8 days to read, this can happen. Also, I can use post it flags to mark passages I love, maps or casts of characters.

There is a real artistry in both forms. As much as I love Stephen King and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, well written short novels loom large in my mind.  James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Jennifer Johnston’s haunting and hard to find Fool’s Sanctuary, and anything Ray Bradbury. I could go on, but I won’t. Short books have taught me the value of brevity.

What do you prefer reading? Why? Any suggestions?