Release Day–Framed to Death

Framed to Death CoverIt’s here…release day for Framed to Death. I hate picking a favorite (and I probably say this with every book) but I have to say this cover and the story is one of my favorites. It wasn’t the easiest one to write, to be honest it gave me huge fits at times, but it holds a special place in my heart. My character grew a lot from the ending of Embellished to Framed. I loved writing this journey for her and having her take on an issue causing havoc in her community.

I’ll be making some guest appearances around the world wide web, and I’ll also be at Malice Domestic this weekend. Please stop by and say hi at my stops to enter into a giveaway.

Here’s my schedule:

April 25 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW

April 26 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

April 27T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

April 28The Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW

April 29Tea and A Book – REVIEW, INTERVIEW

April 303 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too ! – SPOTLIGHT

May 1Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

May 2LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

May 2Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

May 3Musings and Ramblings – GUEST POST

May 4A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

And now a little introduction about Framed to Death:

Eden has turned into a hotspot of crime, and Faith finds herself smack dab in the middle of the flare-up. When a favor for a friend links Faith to the synthetic marijuana problem invading her town, no good deed goes unpunished becomes the title of her life. The town accuses the police of favoritism toward her, putting a strain between Faith and Ted, and a new officer is determined to prove Faith’s guilt.

When the criminal is outed, Faith’s relief is short-lived. A fire takes out the store—along with the suspected dealer—and she’s now number one on an officer’s suspect list. Faith sets out to prove her own innocence, and her digging sparks the truth to life. Instead of the truth setting the town free, Faith finds out it might destroy Eden, the friends she holds dear, and smother out her own life.

Buy Links:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

iBooks

Kobo

 

SRP Heroine Interview: Emma Cassidy from Pushed to the Limit

pushed to the limit large banner640The Self-Rescue Princess is thrilled to have Emma Cassidy stopping by to chat with us today. Thanks for coming, Emma. I’ll go ahead and get started with my questions as I know you’re quite a busy woman.

PUSHED TO THE LIMITPlease tell us a little bit about what is currently going on in your life?

Hi, great to be here! I’m an event planner, and I’ve recently had to move back to my home town and start from scratch after my career went down the tubes in New York (through no fault of mine). In this business word of mouth is everything, so I wasn’t too happy when Faye Seymour, the town’s reigning gossip queen, spread some nasty rumors about me that resulted in me losing a valuable client. I wasn’t her only victim. Faye enjoyed digging up secrets, spreading malicious gossip, and making people’s lives miserable. But then someone finally snapped and pushed the old woman down the stairs. I happened to stumble upon her, and she accused me of trying to kill her before passing out! Fortunately, when she came around, she didn’t remember what she’d said. But now I have to find out who the real culprit is before she regains her ‘memory’ and starts accusing me again. Only problem is, Faye has made a lot of enemies.

What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?

I don’t want to be falsely accused. Plus, I’m convinced someone tried to kill Faye, and as much as she exasperates me, I wouldn’t like her to be bumped off.

Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?

No, never in my wildest dreams! It’s ironic that I lived in New York for years and never had a problem with crime, yet now that I’m back in my sleepy hometown I’m seeing potential murderers everywhere!

Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?

That would have to be Owen Fletcher, my high school boyfriend. Once upon a time we were inseparable, but we each had very different visions of our future, so we broke up just before graduation. Now, I’m back, and I have to confess I’ve entertained the odd daydream about getting back together with Owen, but so far he hasn’t given me any signs of encouragement. Owen is a deputy with the sheriff’s department, and he hates my amateur sleuthing with a passion. He thinks I’m too reckless for my own good, but I don’t agree.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I think my strengths are resilience and self-reliance. Losing a business and a boyfriend at the same time has taught me how to recover from setbacks.

My weaknesses? Sometimes I can’t say no to people, like Faye, for example. Even though she lost me an important client and treats me with little respect, I’ve agreed to look after her pet parrot while she’s in hospital.

Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.

It means knowing that I am responsible for myself, and that no one owes me anything. It also means I recognize when something is too big for me to handle and that I’m not too proud to ask for help.

What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?

I’d like to quote Eleanor Roosevelt: No one came make you feel inferior without your consent.

What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?

I’m lucky to have my family and friends around me.

If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?

Let It Be, by the Beatles.

Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat? 

Well, funny you should ask that! I don’t plan to dabble, but it seems like I’ve found myself embroiled in another murder mystery. I can’t give too much away because I’m still assembling the suspects, but hopefully all will be revealed soon.

 

Excerpt from Lost Then Found

Lost Then Found is the first book in my New Beginnings series. In this story skip-tracer Renee Stratford-Knight’s life plan changed upon her sister’s murder. Instead of using her skills to find people, Renee opened New Beginnings a firm specializing in “vanishing” abused women. Now her ex-husband – and former business partner – Jonas Knight reenters her life asking about her most vulnerable client.

Jonas knows his ex-wife helped embezzler Gina Howard elude the authorities and intends to bring the young woman to justice. When Renee is threatened, Jonas grows suspicious of his client’s reason for finding his niece.

In order to uncover the secret a teenager girl disappeared to keep, and a killer wants silenced, Jonas and Renee must struggle through distrust and the pain of their pasts to work together to save the life of teenage girl – and their own

LostThenFoundCoverArt72dpiExcerpt:

Renee Stratford-Knight pressed all six of the floor buttons but slipped out at the second floor, using the stairs to continue to the third floor. Even though her mind screamed run, she refused to abandon protocol and skip the arriving home routine. Enter the apartment staged as her home. Collect the mail. Check voice messages. Cook something. Run the water.

Failure to play the game put the women she helped in jeopardy. The world needed to believe office manager Renee Stratford-Knight lived in the building. That appearance allowed Renee Knight, guardian of abused women and children, to continue her calling of vanishing the hopeless to give them a new start in life. Keeping her true self off the grid was important to ensure the whereabouts of the women she relocated remained private.

What did Jonas want? Aged emotions bubbled in her chest, a mixture of sadness and anger. Small pricks of pain wormed in her heart and threatened to bury themselves again. One decision eighteen months ago ended their marriage.

A sharp, heated feeling pushed at her chest as she walked up the last few steps and stopped at the third floor landing. Vanquish it, Lord. She placed her hands on the bar and rested her forehead on the metal door, fighting the hot tears building in her eyes. Bitterness and vengeance were once favored friends, and she no longer wanted those vice-filled emotions.

Renee had wearied of it and turned her life back over to God. She knew the anger in her heart killed her emotionally, as surely as Samuel Thorn had killed her sister Melody. With God’s strength and grace, she claimed victory over the horror dictating her life. When painful events defined a person’s existence, they became nothing more than the pain they carried. Good lost. Evil won.

Melody’s beautiful heart-shaped face and twinkling brown eyes flashed into her mind. A smile stretched her mouth, a gift. Before, remembering her younger sister brought Renee to her knees in grief and guilt.

Renee straightened and dried her tears. She pushed open the door and moved forward as it slammed against the wall. Why had Jonas shown up tonight? His skip tracing business focused on locating people for those seeking self-righteous vengeance. Justice, not mercy, prevailed in Jonas’ world. Was he once again trying to track down Priscilla Thorn for the tabloids?

Running her hands along the wooden door of the apartment, Renee checked for any mars to indicate someone tried to break in. Nothing. She slipped her key into the lock, twisted it, and opened it inch by inch. She listened for any sounds, took in a deep breath and tried to detect any unusual scents. Nothing.

Six months after Melody’s death, a news reporter decided to play paparazzi and dredged up the worst night of Renee’s life to splash it back onto the pages with an added twist. That time they wanted to focus on the woman who raised the murderer and not the woman who witnessed her sister’s murder. A print reporter hired Knight and Knight skip tracing firm to track down the anguished and terrified Priscilla Thorn.

Renee begged Jonas to turn down the job. The way her faith-filled parents had handled their grief encouraged Renee to release the need for retaliation and stop self-destructing her life and marriage. Jonas ignored her concerns and took the case. Renee took matters into her own hands and interfered in the case, helping the woman escape from the media and severing the last thread of trust between her and Jonas.

Renee stepped inside, closed the door, and secured it behind her. Bending down, she picked up a magazine, catalogs, and credit card bills delivered to the apartment. She flipped through them, plucked out the photography magazine, and tossed the bills and catalogs onto the dining room table.

For a few minutes, Renee puttered around the apartment to give it the lived in feel. She fried up a piece of fish and fries, a smell that lingered for days. A good choice in case the situation with Jonas caused her to stay away for a while.

Renee took her dinner into the bedroom and turned on the computer. Time to prove or disprove her ex-husband’s motive. Renee opened up a search engine and typed in Priscilla’s name, steeling herself for the renewed grief looking into the past caused. She scanned the entries. Nothing new. Renee typed in Samuel Thorn and hit enter.

Local Surgeon Kills Wife. Like always, the headline took her breath away. Her gaze settled on the second article, Samuel Thorn Pleads Guilty. The caption not quite stating the whole truth of the plea. Samuel claimed Melody started the argument and struck him first. When the jury’s faces expressed their disgust at the defense tactic, Samuel and his attorney changed up their argument and laid the burden of guilt on Jonas.

The accusation changed him. The confident, even-tempered, resilient man turned vengeful, cynical, and downhearted, turning away from her when she needed the strength and security of her husband.

Renee scanned the last few entries and checked the dates. Over the last few months, Samuel remained quiet instead of issuing another statement on how circumstances beyond his control caused him to kill his wife. With the murderer remaining silent, did the media hire Jonas to track down the mother?

She dumped the history on the computer then powered down the machine. Grabbing the dirty dishes, Renee made her way to the kitchen and washed them. She needed to head home before Alex started worrying and decided to storm the apartment building. Her younger brother had a hair-trigger anxiety complex when it came to her. The last time his actions almost caused a neighbor to call the police.

Renee locked the apartment up tight and took the stairs. Gripping the rail, she plodded down the steps, each step draining energy. The eventual battle with Jonas weighed down her spirit. She didn’t want to relive the painful moments of her life.

She stepped onto the ground floor, tugged open the door leading to the back parking lot and walked outside. A cold breeze played along her skin, drifting against her unprotected neck. The impulsive summer haircut she chose that winter over the hairdresser’s recommendations no longer symbolized independence to her but teenage rebellion.

She tugged up the small collar of her leather coat. “Showed him, didn’t I.”

Hands clapped. Renee halted under the dim lights of the outside doors. Her heart rate accelerated as she looked around the darkening area. Parked in the lot were three cars and a van. She swallowed hard and stared at the windows of the van, trying to make out any figures. Placing her hand into her front pocket, she pressed her thumb onto the keypad of her cell phone. She sent out a heads-up message to her brother.

Jonas stepped into the light, a sarcastic smile stretching across his face. Better to face a known enemy than an unknown one. She typed another message to her brother. False read. Lord, let that work to keep Alex at home rather than charging to the rescue.

“Your skills at deception have gotten better.” Jonas loomed over her.

“I learned from the best.” Regret tugged at her conscience as the words left her mouth. She pushed it away. If she allowed Jonas to get the upper hand, then she offered an opportunity for his words to steal away her confidence.

She tilted her head back and locked onto his storm-cloud gray eyes, standing in place even though her neck muscles ached. She promised herself not to ever allow a man to make her feel powerless. The streetlights allowed her to see her reflection in his eyes. As he studied her face, his gaze softened. He reached out, fingers lingering by her cheek.

The air between them crackled. A shiver raced through Renee and she fought the instinct to lean those few inches toward his touch. They were divorced. They no longer meant anything to each other. She drew back but not before awareness crept into his gaze. He knew. He sensed it.

Time to end the silent duel, and leave. Now. She held in a frustrated sigh as she asked the question Jonas silently demanded. “What do you want?”

“Gina Howard’s location.”

Renee kept her expression neutral even as her pulse hammered away, and sweat trickled down her back. Jonas hunted for her most vulnerable client. Why? She kept the question locked inside and asked another. “Who?”

“Gina Howard. The teenager who stole half-a-million dollars from her uncle. Where did you hide her?”

So, that’s what Eric Howard told people about his niece’s disappearance. “I have no idea where Gina is.”

Not quite a lie but not quite the truth. Renee and her team created a new identity for the abused and terrified young woman. Glory Thorn, not Gina Howard, existed.

“Yes, you do, Renee. You realize that hiding a fugitive is against the law.”

She tilted her head and smiled at him. “I know that. But it’s no concern to me since I’m not hiding a criminal.”

The muscle in his jaw twitched. Nothing irritated Jonas more than someone running a game on him. He’d take the challenge and battle for the win no matter the cost. Like he did with Samuel.

Renee swallowed hard and tried to block out the horrific night from so long … and also so soon ago. She crossed her arms and kept her gaze focused on his forehead. “Do you have a picture of this Gina Howard so I can keep an eye out for her? Since you’re accusing me of a crime, I’d like to see a copy of the police report.”

Jonas stepped closer. “The authorities are going to find out you helped her, Renee. Tell me where she is, and we can avoid the whole police business.”

“I don’t have any information for you.”

Jonas laughed. The deep rumble, once a delight, now caused her jaw to clench. “Still the same. Your choice of words always gave you away.” With each word, his tone dropped down until a smooth whisper rolled over her. “Renee, I came here to help you. Soon the authorities will breathe down that pretty neck of yours.”

Breath clogged her throat. Renee and her team at New Beginnings hid the abused and broken from those bent on destroying them. She didn’t want the authorities — or Jonas — prying into her business. Too many lives were at stake.

Headlights washed over them. Renee punched in the code to the back door and opened it, motioning for Jonas to go inside. “It’s Alex. Go. Please.”

He nodded and stepped into the building. “We’ll finish this discussion later.”

Renee’s heart accelerated. Was that a threat or a promise?

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

peace love stopOctober is domestic violence awareness month. I’ve never talked about this issue on my blog, but with everything going on in our world today, I thought it was time. Domestic violence is usually seen as between spouses, but it encompasses—sadly—a lot more. Not only is it between parents and child, but at times between siblings. I grew up where the bullying occurred in my home. I was called names, labeled the nothing in the family, mocked because I had a stuttering problem. It used to hurt that my oldest brother acted like he didn’t know me when we were at school. He was a year older than me so we usually attended the same schools. People were shocked when they found out he had a sister going to the same school because he never told anyone.  When I was in the tenth grade, and he was in the eleventh, we shared the lunch period and yet I ate alone every day. That year, we also had the same first period class and my mother had him moved out of the class the next day for fear I’d embarrass him. In time, I came to realize that they had unwittingly done me a huge favor. School was a time where I could just be without worrying if I was doing or saying something wrong. I liked blending into the background and not being noticed by anyone. It gave me eight hours a day (I hated summer) where I was safe from the bullying of my siblings, and being abused by my parents.

This is a part of my life I’ve always tried to live past, and try hard not to let it control my life. One of my biggest fears now is being defined by the abuse I suffered as a child—what my father did to me—rather than what I do in life. I realized that the lack of a loving family when I was growing up is why I’m drawn to creating them in my fiction, and was the driving force of the New Beginning Series. This romantic suspense series follows a group of skip-tracers who dedicate their lives to relocating abused women who need a new start in life. These women and men face danger as they keep their clients — and their own hearts — safe. http://www.christinafreeburn.com/#!newbegin/c1yzj

I’ve been in the position of having to save myself because those responsible not only refused to do so, but were the very reason I was in danger. They had built and placed me in the tower I was desperate to escape from. But I did. Not an easy task when you’re really still just a kid, but a necessary one. I learned at a young age that I had to fight my own battles or else let the dragon burn me.

For many, there is no prince (the reason for my blog’s name). No knight in shining armor … actually not even a knight in tarnished armor willing or able to go to battle.  Some women will have to defend their own honor.  Slay their own dragons. Find a way out of the tower through their own strength. The self-rescuing princess isn’t doomed to a life of unhappiness if a man doesn’t save her because she’ll save herself. One day, she’ll find her prodigal prince, or help that knight shine up his armor.  But if she doesn’t find her match, she’ll still live a life to be proud of and admired.

This month, I’ll share some excerpts for my novels and those of a fellow writer, Teresa Watson, and will include links to resources. I pray that no one needs them, but the sad reality is someone out there will.

SRP Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

the nightingaleThe Nightingale features two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac, who live in France during the start for World War II. Isabelle is 18, fiercely headstrong and also independent to a fault. Isabelle has compassion for all and a strong sense of justice. From the start, Isabelle was what I’d call a self-rescuing princess because she was not content–nor wanted–to hide behind anyone. She knew what was happening in her country was wrong and would hurt many people before it was over…if it was ever over. Isabelle had no problem risking her life to save others and struggled to keep her opinions in check, only doing so when she knew her outspokenness might harm her sister and niece. Isabelle was larger than life in way. A totally selfless person who put the good of mankind before any thoughts of preserving her own life. She knew her actions placed her life at risk and did so with abandon.

I related more to Vianne as she was a woman who was desperate to keep herself and child alive, even when it meant following rules she longed to break. She had a quieter of being self-rescuing princess, doing all she could to keep her child feed, healthy, and as protected as she could from the devastation in France. Vianne didn’t feel she had the right to take a stand when her child might suffer the consequences for her decisions. Vianne struggled with her conscience and doing what was needed to survive instead of what her heart and spirit screamed needed to be done. My heart went out to her. Vianne believed herself to be weak and cowardly when compared to her sister. While her sister made bold, brave choices, Vianne also made those same decisions but in a different way. Vianne, like her sister, had a cause deep in her heart and when faced with the choice of looking the other or getting involved, she pushed down her fears and acted. 

I know I related to Vianne more because I felt her situation was one I’d most likely might find myself in one day. Not so much having to save someone in a dire, wartime situation, but more of an action that is smaller and local, not something huge and grand. I think those are the situation that everyone finds themselves in during their lifetime, and it’s these times our character is tested and challenged, making us change how we define ourselves. Everyone has had a strong and brave moment, and will again. Many times we don’t see ourselves that way because our actions aren’t grand. But it doesn’t take a grand, in-the-world’s-face action to help someone or to save them…sometimes it’s stepping up to help when it’s needed or simple telling others to stop.

The SRP Search: Dependent By Brenda Corey Dunner

Reading has always been a love and how I learned, experienced different worlds, and came to understand view points different from my own. Lately, I’ve put myself into a “reading box”, turning to the same types/genres of stories. I need to stretch myself more and experience something different…especially new and new to-me authors. This feeling of wanting something new along with the comfortable is that a big change is coming up in my life and I’m nervous. Scared. My youngest graduates high school next year and plans on going away for college. My middle child who’s been attending a local community college will also be leaving for a 4 year university next fall. My husband and I will be empty-nesters. That’s a huge change itself, but it will also be the first time that it’s just us…husband and wife.

When I graduated from high school, I joined the US Army and was stationed in Germany. I met my husband there and we got married overseas. A few weeks after we were married, Desert Shield (later turned into Desert Storm) happened. He was deployed to Saudi, and we section was to follow a few days later. Before I left, I discovered I was pregnant so remained in Germany. He returned home about three months before our daughter was born. The majority of our marriage has been us and children.

During this next year (school year), I want to step outside of my reading comfort world. Not that I will stop reading my favorites (mysteries), I just want to “live” through some new experiences in my books while I start navigating the ones in my real life.

I was drawn to the book Dependent when I heard about it on a board because I felt a kinship to the heroine. Ellen is also at a point where her life is starting over. Everything she knows is being changed and she has no say in the matter. She has to work through her heartbreak in a world than the one she was lived in. Below is the blurb that grabbed my attention and heart.

dependentDEPENDENT by Brenda Corey Dunne: When 45-year-old Ellen Michaels loses her husband to a tragic military accident, she is left in a world of gray. For 25 years her life has been dictated by the ubiquitous They—the military establishment that has included her like chattel with John’s worldly goods—his Dependents, Furniture, and Effects. They—who have stolen her hopes, her dreams and her innocence, and now in mere months will take away the roof over her head. Ellen is left with nothing to hold on to but memories and guilt and an awful secret that has held her in its grip since she was 19. John’s untimely death takes away her anchor, and now, without the military, there is no one to tell her where to go, what to do—no one to dictate who she is. Dependent deals with issues ever-present in today’s service families—early marriage, frequent long absences, the culture of rank, and post traumatic stress, as well as harassment and abuse of power by higher-ranking officials. It presents a raw and realistic view of life for the lives of the invisible support behind the uniform.

 

SRP Review: The Victorian Scoundrel by Stephanie Burkhart

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve done a Self Rescue Princess heroine review. I’ve been so caught up in writing, and learning (reading how-to books), that I’ve allowed fiction reading to take a distant back seat. No more, I say. No more. I miss my pleasure reading … especially getting to know new ‘self-rescuing princess’ heroines.

After a long time of not taking time to read a book just for enjoyment, I started Victorian Scoundrel by Stephanie Burkhart (a fellow Desert Breeze author).

Alice Windsor. Princess of York, was born in present day and travels back to 1857 with her cousin to keep an eye on him. She’s a little suspicious of what he is up to and we come to find out her hunch was right. Alice has a very understanding and protective nature. She is a young woman who won’t stand by and allow those she cares about make bad decisions and wait for them to suffer the consequences … even if helping means stepping in and risking getting in trouble herself.

I loved that Alice remained true to her beliefs, but also respected the time she was in. Alice would get a little annoyed by some people’s behavior but  instead of getting angry, she reminded herself it was the custom and way of the time period she entered.

This is the type of self-rescuing princess I strive to be, one who stands up for herself without being disrespectful to others. And also one who is able to recognize when a situation is more about the customs rather than it being a personal insult or attack. I can’t wait for the second book in this series and spend some more time with Alice (and Edmund her trouble-seeking cousin).

NOTE: Just wanted to let readers know that this book does have some steam (heat)  to it.