Books · Writing

Release Day – Designed to Death

great escape tour banner DESIGNED TO DEATH small180Designed to Death officially releases today. I always get anxious and a little scattered when a new book comes out. This is the time when I’m trying to balance home, writing and marketing. I’m always making sure I spend time on these areas but when a new book comes out, it’s almost like a new baby where I want to just look at it and show “the baby” off to everyone.

Today also starts my blog tour with Great Escapes Book Tours (Lori is fabulous!). I talk about writing, reading, crafting, and about my new release the second book in the Faith Hunter Scrap This Mystery Series.

The stops on my tour:

September 10Chloe Gets A Clue Review, Interview & Giveaway
September 11A Blue Million Books Interview
September 12Mommasez… Review, Guest Post & Giveaway
September 13StoreyBook Reviews Review & Giveaway
September 15Cozy Up With Kathy Interview
September 16Mochas, Mysteries and More Guest Post
September 17Queen of All She Reads Review, Guest Post & Giveaway
September 18Books Are Life – Vita Libri Review & Giveaway
September 19Brooke Blogs Review & Guest Post
September 20rantin’ ravin’ and reading Review & Guest Post

I’ll also be making a couple of stops during this month:

September 16 – Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers

September 24-  Dru’s Book Musing

Craft · Disney Layouts · Scrapbooking · Vacations

Meeting Jack Sparrow at Castaway Cay

Here is one of my favorite pages, and not just because of the Jack Sparrow lookalike standing by me–I mean by me and my husband. At the Heavenly Scrapbook Retreat, they were doing a challenge using a kit a Bo Bunny line. I usually steer clear of challenges as I intimidated by it.

When I went to put a ticket into a prize basket up front, I noticed there was one kit left for the challenge. The kit looked like it was more for Fourth of July pages, and as I was doing Disney Cruise felt it wouldn’t work for me even if I wanted to try. I returned to my table where my table mate –and new friend Cyndie– encouraged me to give it a go. See, I realized the colors of the kit would work with the Jack Sparrow page. Wouldn’t it be cool to use something not pirate for the pages, something a little out of the box. And wasn’t it even more out of the box for me to compete in a challenge. Since I write about scrapbooking and book two of my series (Designed to Death) deals with designs and contests, I should give it a try.

So I did. I am so happy I stepped out of my comfort zone. I’m usually a linear, simple scrapper. But as the challenge was to showcase the product, I arranged and rearranged some of the embellishments and paper on the page until I got just the look I wanted. I also discovered I do like layering on embellishments, I just never gave myself the opportunity to give it a try.

Here it is my challenge page: Running into Jack Sparrow at Castaway CayBorder layering

This last picture is a close up of the border I made. I used Kiwi Lane Design templates (love them) to make the three pieces of the border. Actually one of the “waves” was a discard piece from another layout I made using pieces from the challenge kit. I noticed it fit great on this layout. To create more dimension and some shadows,  I used pop dots to lift the piece of the second and third layer of the borders.

Books · Excerpt · West Virginia · Writing

Release Day: Safe and Sound

Today is the release day for Safe and Sound, book 3 in the New Beginning Series. The plot for this book actually came to me midway through book two, Led Astray, and resulted in having to go back and make sure these two storylines blended together. Safe and Sound isn’t a ‘part 2’ to Led Astray, but actions in Led Astray is what ‘started’ the story for Safe and Sound. I like how the plotlines feed off each other. I’m also excited about this book because it’s my Christmas setting story. I always wanted to write one and using a holiday setting worked for this story. It’s not exactly a Christmas story but the holidays gave it the mood I wanted.


Four years prior, Hannah Stratford got lost during a blizzard and the mountain claimed her, leaving her husband Connor Stratford grief-stricken and filled with guilt. When a woman’s body was discovered after an explosion, Connor learned her death wasn’t accidental but a probable murder. Now, one of the men responsible for Hannah’s death is hunting down another woman. To keep the young woman safe and draw the murderer to him, Connor offers her safety and shelter in his home. When the woman claims to be his wife Hannah, Connor finds his past and present pulled apart. Is this woman who she claims she is…or is she running a scam with the man who murdered his wife?


Katrina fled down the small hallway leading to the back door. She slammed her hand onto the bar and the door shot open. Run. Don’t look back. The pace of the words matched her heartbeat and she sprinted down the sidewalk.

Footfalls sounded behind her.

She pushed past people. Knocked into a young mother.

“What’s your problem, lady?”

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Katrina ran. She couldn’t waste her breaths on words. She had a few precious moments, one last time to outrun the past coming back to claim her. She scanned the area for a place to hide or seek help.

Across the street was an alley leading to the fire station. Safety. Katrina surged forward. A horn blared. Brakes squealed. She pivoted away from the car and leapt onto the sidewalk.

A twinge in her ankle sent her reeling forward. She grasped onto a parking meter and regained her balance. Ignoring the pain in her foot, she pounded down the sidewalk and made it to the opening of the alley.

Darkness surrounded her. She fought the instinct to stop instead of plunging into the damp, musty pathway. She was too close to change plans now. This was her one way to freedom and hope. A hand bit into her shoulder. She screamed and twisted. Her injured foot slid on something slick. The man tightened his grasp. He lifted her and pushed her against the building.

“You made this so easy.” He pressed into her back, his body holding her against the brick.

Katrina stomped on his foot and jabbed her elbow into his stomach. He sucked in a breath but the pressure against her didn’t decrease. A hand inched down her stomach and rested at the waistband of her jeans.

“How should I make this look? An assault? Robbery gone bad.” He twisted her arm behind her back. “Let’s just go with dumping you in the middle of nowhere. Don’t have to worry about anyone looking for you. You’re already dead.”


My Scrapbooking Mystery has a Cover!

I’m so excited. Nothing makes a book feel so real to me than seeing the cover art. Even though I wrote The End a while ago, and have since done one edit on Cropped to Death, nothing brings out the excitement and says ‘book is coming out soon’ quite like seeing the cover for the first time.

I love the cover of Cropped to Death. It says mystery, scrapbooking, and fun. All that I believe the book contains and is about. I’ve been very fortunate that the covers artists who have designed covers for my books have been wonderful. (Henery Press, Desert Breeze Publishing, and Stephanie Mooney who I hired for my self-published book)

And, I know it’s not easy to get the right look for an author. Most of us have a picture in our mind of what that story looks like but it’s hard to get the picture in our head to translate to others. Putting tens of thousands of words into one picture is not an easy task. Dying for Redemption (which I republished myself) was a cover created solely based on the information I gave the artist. Even though I wrote the book, edited, and rewrote before I republished, there were times I wasn’t sure what it’s ‘face’ would be. It took me a while to find a cover artist to contact because first I had to narrow down the right style. There were also a few times I wanted to write ‘I don’t know’ when asked about what I liked to see on cover.

Actually, I had this moment of panic with all my covers. There is something intimidating about describing the image for a book. It’s kind of like asking what does a writer’s dream look like. It’s quite real but yet not quite tangible. Yet, each cover artists I’ve worked with has done that, and sometimes even showed me the perfect picture that I hadn’t even imagined for my story.

Books · West Virginia · Writing

I’m in Love … Cover Reveal for Led Astray.

Led Astray is complete. Done. The final copy edit was turned in last Sunday. Even as I breathed a sigh of relief, a little regret filled my heart. I was glad to have a book done. Thrilled to have one less project on my plate so I could focus solely on writing the next book. But, it’s a little sad that I no longer need to spend time with this couple. I’m sure Danita and Riley will have brief appearances in other books in the series, but it’s not quite the same thing. After spending months with them, I feel like I’m saying good-bye to friends I won’t see for a long time.

While I might not see them for a while, I do know something that I will see–The Cover. It’s also an anxious time for me. I’m on pins and needles, obsessively checking my email, to see what the cover designer (for me that’s the super-talented Jenifer Ranieri) will come up with. What will Led Astray look like through someone else’s eyes? Will it invoke the mood I’m going for? Will it say romantic suspense? Will it be love at first sight?

This is the how Led Astray ‘sounds’:

Answering a client’s distress call, skip-tracer Danita Ballinger finds herself battling a mining company executive strong-arming a small rural town and also Pastor Riley Coole who’s determined to show her the error of her ways. When violence invades the town, Riley and Danita must become a united front for the people relying on them for protection.

And this is how Led Astray looks:



I am thrilled! I must answer yes to all of my questions. This image speaks to me in so many different ways. It says everything I wanted it to and so much more. I hope readers are captured and intrigued by the cover also.

Books · Contests · Writing

Celebrating Romance Isn’t Just for February


February is usually known as the month for romance but that is no longer the case as The Romance Reviews is celebrating their 1st Anniversary Party this month. All during The Romance Reviews will be having author chats, games and prizes at their Anniversary Party Room. (link provided)

 Over 300 authors, including me, will be participating in this event. In taking a look at the author list, I see that pretty much every sub-genre and heat level of romance is represented. Something for every reader.

If you have time, stop by and register to attend. Week 1 of the event starts today March 1, 12:00 am EST and ends March 7, 11:59pm EST. Winners for Week 1 will be announced on March 8. If you’d like to see a list of the weekly and major monthly prizes offered, please go to the Contest Prize List page. (link provided)


Books · Contests · Writing

Lost Then Found Giveaway to Celebrate 1st Year

To celebrate my 1 year anniversary with Desert Breeze Publishing, I’m hosting a giveaway of Lost Then Found, the book that inspired the name of my blog.  Leave a comment to enter for a chance to win When I was first trying to get my inspirational romantic suspense published, I ran into a little issue with my heroine. I started to reconsider how I wrote heroines, until a friend gave me the best advice. Her words of wisdom was I should create my characters the way they were in my heart and then find a publisher that published those types of story. I talked about my journey into writing romantic suspense in my first blog post.

January 5, 2011 was when I received an email from Gail Delaney saying she’d like to offer a contract not only on the first book in the New Beginnings Series, Lost Then Found, but also for the rest of the series– a total of 5 books. Led Astray, book 2, is off for editing and scheduled for release May 1, 2012. Today, I’m working on book three, Safe and Sound, in the New Beginning Series. It’s amazing.

Since I’m writing Book 3, I decided to giveaway 3 books to celebrate: 1 PDF copy, 1 Kindle Copy (I’ll gift directly from Amazon), 1 Nook copy (I’ll gift directly from Barnes and Noble). To enter, leave a comment on this post with your email address and let me know which copy you’d like to win. Please feel free to share this giveaway. Entries will be accepted until Monday, January 9 at 11:59 pm. Winners will be notified no later than January 11 (adding a couple of days in case  internet issues happen due to winter weather). 

Blurb: Skip-tracer Renee Stratford-Knight’s life is becoming stable again. Eighteen months prior, the murder of her sister and the soon-to-follow collapse of her marriage left her reeling. She made it through those dark days with the help of family, embracing faith and starting her own skip-tracing business, New Beginnings, which specializes in relocating abused women. Now, her ex-husband — and former business partner — Jonas Knight shows up asking about her most vulnerable client.

Jonas knows his ex-wife helped embezzler Gina Howard elude the authorities and plans 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 secrets their clients hold, Jonas and Renee must struggle through distrust and the pain of their pasts to work together to save the life of a teenage girl — and their own.


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.”

Books · West Virginia · Writing

Lost then Found – Release Day

November 1st has arrived and that means it’s release day for book one in my inspirational series New Beginnings. Lost Then Found is published by Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc., a wonderful press specializing in romance books in a variety of sub-genres. This is my first romantic suspense book and I’m so excited that it out in the world to be read by others.

Skip-tracer Renee Stratford-Knight’s life is becoming stable again. Eighteen months prior, the murder of her sister and the soon-to-follow collapse of her marriage left her reeling. She made it through those dark days with the help of family, embracing faith and starting her own skip-tracing business, New Beginnings, which specializes in relocating abused women. Now, her ex-husband — and former business partner — Jonas Knight shows up asking about her most vulnerable client.

Jonas knows his ex-wife helped embezzler Gina Howard elude the authorities and plans 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 secrets their clients hold, Jonas and Renee must struggle through distrust and the pain of their pasts to work together to save the life of a teenage girl — and their own.

Lost Then Found can be purchased direct from Desert Breeze at their bookstore, Amazon and also Barnes and Noble.

Books · Writing

Dying For Redemption – Release Date Set

Courage won out so I’m setting a public release date for my paranormal mystery. This is a big step for me, a self-rescuing princess kind of decision. I’ve debated about redoing this book since it went out of print in 2006 and always convinced myself for one reason or another to just let this book go and write others. I have written other books (an inspirational romantic suspense will be released next month with Desert Breeze Publishing) and decided to move forward and not back, but the urge to give this story another chance grew louder and louder last year. 

In my heart and mind, I realized the greatest risk wasn’t in self-publishing the book and not succeeding … failing … but in continuing to allow others, who judged and shunned me as a person because of the book’s setting, the ‘right’ to determine the types of story I was allowed to tell. Even now, as I’m taking ‘one last look’, I feel the nerves wanting to take over. That voice asking if I’m really, really sure this is what I want to do. If this is really the correct decision.  What if–  The only solution was to take a stand. Pick a date. What ifs will always be there but I won’t let them rule.

My official announcement.

To be released October 5, 2011.

Two bullets in the back give PI Callous Demar an address change to Limbo, and life after death takes on a whole new meaning. Not wanting to indulge in his forced early retirement, Callous opens shop to help the recently murdered.

 When a dame walks into his office, he thinks solving her murder will be a piece of cake, as his two prime suspects are the butler and the husband. He soon discovers the case is far more complicated than he suspected.

 Callous finds his carefree attitude further challenged when he must also find the killer of his grandniece, whose murder might be tied to his own.

Books · Writing

Regina Andrews – Light of the Heart

 Today, visiting The Self-Rescue Princess is author Regina Andrews and her heroine Cascade Preston. Regina is one of the terrific authors at Desert Breeze Publishing. Light of the Heart is the first book in the Sterling Lakes Series.
Below is a small snippet of a scene that to me helps showcase Cascade’s strength by her willingness to face and challenge her own long-held rule born from a dark and painful childhood — never returning to Sterling Lakes.

“Cascade’s designing the stained-glass windows for the project, Father. She’s originally from Sterling lakes.”

Turning to Dan, Cascade saw him give an eager smile. What was he thinking?

“How wonderful,” Father Greene blessed himself. “So good of you, Cascade, to give back so generously to the town that you called home.”

“It’s my pleasure, Father.” Cascade answered. Did I just agree to do the windows?

“Oh bless you, my dear. Bless you.” Father Greene checked his pocket watch. “It’s been so nice to chat with you wonderful folks. I have confessors waiting now.” Turning on his heel, he bustled off through the shadows to the door.

“What were you thinking, Dan? I haven’t agreed to do the windows. Now that nice priest is going to be all disappointed and flustered when he finds out,” Cascade whispered.

“He might not be,” Dan answered.

“I’m infuriated. You weren’t asleep at all. Were you really saying prayers?” Cascade asked as they walked down the aisle.

Dan nodded. “Were you?”

“Oh yes,” she answered. “Without a doubt. Lots of special prayers. Now there’s one more special intention on this list — me getting out of helping Father Greene.” She turned to face him. “You look like you’re going to laugh!”

“Well, it’s just that…” Dan’s eyes seemed to twinkle as he looked at her. It turned Cascade’s knees to jelly.

“Let’s change the subject.” She cleared her throat and gripped the edge of the pew to steady herself. “Before we go, I wanted to tell you that my parents were the first couple married in this church.”

Dan’s eyebrows shot upwards. “Quite a distinction.”

“They started out with lots of hopes and dreams for a bright future, I’m sure. Life takes some funny turns.” She sighed. “Look, I’ve been thinking, Dan, of how stubborn I’ve been about not working in Sterling Lakes. I’ve been holding on to that way of thinking for years now. It really hasn’t made me any happier in the long run, to think like that. Just kept me tied to this town in a negative way. I think the fight is over. I want my life to be filled with light and beauty and color. And love. God’s love.”

She blinked away the tears that filled her eyes. “You were right. Abby was trying to do me a favor, and I think she did. It’s through forgiveness that we are set free. Maybe it’s time for me to forgive what happened in the past. At least I can start, and this might be a good first step. Plus, I would never in a million years disappoint that nice priest. Father Greene has enough to worry about without me adding to it. So if it’s at all possible, could I do the windows here?”