Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Smidgen of Bookishness

I wasn’t sure what to title this post since I have a smidgen of this and that to cover and it all relates to books.

Hopefully this has caught your attention. First I want to say a special

thanks to Kathleen at From Cop to Mom and the Words in Between for presenting Thoughts in Progress with The Versatile Blogger Award. I’m honored to receive the award from her. Kathleen has a great blog and if you haven’t stopped by, please do so. She has years of experience in law enforcement and shares her knowledge of police work and true crime. Thanks again Kathleen.

This award came with some rules. I’m to share 7things about myself and pass the award onto 15 other bloggers. I’ll make the 7 things short: 1) I’m cold natured. 2) I’m a natural blonde who loves blonde jokes (and can understand them). 3) Coffee with a touch of sugar is my favorite drink. 4) I enjoy listening to and watching the water but don’t care anything about going in. 5) I’m terrified of mice/rats/gophers. 6) The only instrument I can play to any degree is an Native American flute. 7) My lunch on Fridays usually is a Chocolate Mocha and Brownie from Starbucks. As to passing the award on, there are some many bloggers I’d like to include I’ll just leave it open to all who visit with no strings attached,

Now I have another review of an audio book. This time it was an abridged version. There are probably some detailed information that I missed, but story-wise I don’t think I did.

9th JUDGEMENT by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

The Women’s Murder Club continues in the latest release from authors James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. San Francisco
Homicide Detective Lindsay Boxer and her partner, Rich Conklin, have been called to a double murder in a parking deck. The victims are a mother and her child. A cryptic anagram “WCF” has been left on the windshield in the victim’s lipstick.

Before they get very far into the case, they are pulled off to work on a high profile murder. The murder is reported to have been committed during a burglary by a cat burglar dubbed “Hello Kitty.” Hello Kitty targets wealthy residents hosting parties and makes off with their jewelry. During Hello Kitty’s last heist at the home of renowned actor Marcus Dowling, his wife was murdered when her jewelry was stolen. However, Hello Kitty and the reader/listener know Dowling killed his own wife after Hello Kitty escaped. Boxer and Conklin have their doubts about Dowling’s story from the beginning.

Meanwhile, the Lipstick Killer strikes again and again killing mothers and their children and always leaves a cryptic anagram. Readers/listeners find out who Hello Kitty is, as well as the Lipstick Killer and how their lives cross.

Readers/listeners are taken on an action-packed ride going from one crime scene to the next. The audio also includes sound effects that places the listener in the middle of the action.

Though I started listening to the audio with thoughts of the Women’s Murder Club television series in my mind, I quickly adjusted. Patterson and Paetro will keep your pulse racing with this tantalizing thriller. Though there is no secret as to who the murderer is, there are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing how it will end.

9th Judgement by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, Hachette Audio, @2010, ISBN: 9781607881797, Audio, 5 Disc Abridged

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the Hachette Audio Group in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

I also want to give a quick update on the authors that will be visiting the first part of July. While other bloggers are updating and changing their blog designs, I’m running behind just updating the widgets I have on the side for information. Maybe I’ll get some changed before the holiday and the rest after.

Here’s are some of the authors that will be guest blogging:
Cricket McRae - Thursday, July 1
Mary Wine - Friday, July 2
Eileen Dreyer - Saturday, July 3
Amanda Scott - Monday, July 5
Claire Cook - Wednesday, July 7
Jackie Lee Miles - Friday, July 9

Thanks to all for dropping by. I hope I’ve peaked your interest in reading something new. Have a wonderful Wednesday and remember, a smile is contagious. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review and a Book

There has been some discussion in the blogsphere lately concerning whether listening to an audio book should be counted as a book you’ve read.

Kerrie at MYSTERIES in PARADISE held a poll and the results were “count” the audio as “reading” as long as it is unabridged. Interesting post, be sure to check it out.

I haven’t been counting the books I’ve read, but I consider an audio book as read when I’ve finished listening to it. I understand the plot the same as if I had read it. Audio books are great for road trips and the daily commute to work, as well as when doing yard work. In fact, my first introduction to Stuart Woods was listening to SANTA FE RULES while re-doing my rose garden one year.

I mention this because today I’m doing my first review of an audio book - DELIVER US FROM EVIL by David Baldacci, unabridged and read by Ron McLarty. Following the review I have one more book giveaway to announce.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL by David Baldacci

The story follows three different sets of characters. Author David Baldacci weaves the tale to bring all three together for an explosive and heart-pounding ride.

The listener is introduced to a clandestine group who track down

war criminals and take justice into their own hands. The group is headed by the Professor, but Regina “Reggie” Campion is the lead heroine. She’s a British femme fatale. The group’s next target is Fedir Kuchin, a Ukrainian who served the Soviets as a mass murderer.

At the same time, Shaw is an enigmatic agent who works for an American agency that is also very clandestine. The only difference is Shaw’s group doesn’t enforce their own justice but bring the criminals to face the law.

Shaw’s next assignment is to apprehend a Canadian businessman, Evan Waller, who is known to traffic in young girls. However, Waller has expanded his crimes to include trading in nuclear weapons with Islamic fundamentalist.

Meanwhile, Waller plans a vacation to Provence while dealing with internal problems in his organization. Waller is also hiding a deep, dark secret about his past.

When Shaw and Reggie met, they are both working undercover and are both in Provence. They are attracted to each other and don’t know they are both after the same man for different reasons.

A series of events causes Shaw’s assignment to be cancelled, but he can’t leave Reggie. To go into more details would give away a lot of spoilers about this action-packed thriller. There are twists and turns in every direction.

The details of Fedir Kuchin’s past are graphic but realistic of the torture so many suffered at the hands of the Soviets. The author brings history to life when Kuchin is faced with his past deeds.

Just when you think you can take a breath, a new surprise is in store. By the end of the audio I thought the justice I wanted had arrived and the ending would be a given. However, Baldacci had other plans.

Even though the unabridged version contains 12 discs, the story isn’t long or drawn out, but moves quickly and smooth as the three groups collide in a dramatic conclusion.

Deliver Us From Evil by David Baldacci, Hachette Audio, @2010, ISBN: 9781600249648, Audio, 12 Disc

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the Hachette Audio Group in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
Thanks to Anna and the folks at the Hachette Book Group, I have five copies of THE IMPOSTOR’S DAUGHTER (ISBN: 9780316033060) by Laurie Sandell to giveaway.

This 272-page paperback is a graphic memoir and not a comic book

for children. Though presented with very insightful art, the themes are adult in nature. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book: “Laurie Sandell grew up in awe (and sometimes in terror) of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her dad, trying on several outsized personalities (Tokyo stripper, lesbian seductress, Ambien addict). Later, she lucks into the perfect job--interviewing celebrities for a top women's magazine. Growing up with her extraordinary father has given Laurie a knack for relating to the stars. But while researching an article on her dad's life, she makes an astonishing discovery: he's not the man he says he is--not even close. Now, Laurie begins to puzzle together three decades of lies and the splintered person that resulted from them--herself.”

The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office boxes can be accepted. Just e-mail me ( with “Win Impostor‘s Daughter” in the subject line. Be sure to include your name and mailing address in the body of the e-mail. Just so you know, I don’t share this information with anyone or use it in any other way. The deadline for the giveaway is Tuesday, July 27.

Tomorrow I hope to have another review, a thanks for a blog award and updates on coming authors. Make the next person you meet wonder what you’re up to date, smile.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Wolf Next Door by Lydia Dare

Author Lydia Dare has done it again with her third installment in the Westfield Werewolf trilogy entitled THE WOLF NEXT DOOR.

Can you image your brothers selecting a husband for you just because you’re 19 and have said no to a number of suitors who proposed marriage.

That’s the predicament Prisca “Prissy” Hawthorne finds herself in. Her five brothers have decided to trick their neighbor and long-time friend, Lord William “Will” Westfield, into marriage with Prisca.

Will is the middle brother of the three Westfield Lycans. He, like his brothers, has a reputation as a chaser of light skirts. He has pursued women in his attempt to forget Prissy, who he’s loved since his youth. Meanwhile, Prissy has no desire to marry anyone when her heart has always belonged to Will.

Will and Prissy have a long standing love-hate relationship that neither want to express truthfully to the other or themselves. But unbeknownst to the Hawthorne brothers, Will already has plans to claim Prissy for himself before a stranger has a chance to charm her.

Lydia Dare gives readers insight into the inner emotions of both Prissy and Will. Their feelings of self-doubt, along with their hopes bring them to life. Their trip to the altar and the marriage bed are quite comical. The sparring of the two will keep you spellbound.

THE WOLF NEXT DOOR is a stand alone book. Will’s two brothers and their wives are a major part of the story but first-time readers won’t be at a loss having not read their stories. However, after meeting Simon and Lily, and Ben and Elspbeth, first-time readers will want to know their stories as well.

The introduction of a rouge Lycan - Dashiel Thorpe, the Earl of Brimsworth - adds a new wrinkle to the story. THE WOLF NEXT DOOR features suspense, romance, paranormal events, and adventure with bits of humor well placed throughout.

Lydia Dare has created characters who will pull at your heart strings. These are characters you will want to visit again and again. From the Hawthorne brothers’ first scheming minutes to the surprising twist at the end, you’ll be enthralled with the journey Will and Prissy take to find what they both have always wanted.

Even though this is the end of the trilogy, Lydia Dare has more surprises for readers with a hint of THE TAMING OF THE WOLF at the end of the book. 

Lydia Dare blogs at Casablanca Authors and her website is

The Wolf Next Door by Lydia Dare, Sourcebooks Casablanca, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-4022-3696-9, Paperback, 416 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Changing Horses Mid-Stream

I’ve heard various versions about “changing horses in mid-stream” all of my life. And, for the life of me, as I’m writing this (last night) I can’t remember if the saying says you can or can’t change horses mid-stream. Maybe someone can set me straight today.

As you’ve guessed, this is another post that really has nothing to do with the title other than I’ve changed the direction/theme (or horse) for today’s post. If you read yesterday’s post, you were expecting a book review today. I fully intended to have one about a really good (no don’t tell now) book I read. But, when I went to write the review, the words just wouldn’t fall in place like I wanted them to. (BTW, the horse in the photo looks a lot like my first horse, but it's not him just a photo I found online.)

I didn’t want to do the book an injustice so I decided to mull over what I wanted to say another few hours. I will have the review tomorrow plus I have at least two other reviews planned for the next few days as well. I also realized that I probably shouldn’t write a blog post late at night after taking medicine for a headache. I leave things out of the post. I forgot to pass the Awesome Award onto other bloggers and to thank Anna and the folks at Hachette for the great books and audios I have to giveaway. Sorry.

 I received another wonderful award yesterday from Jemi of Just Jemi. This is the Versatile Award. I do hope I keep this blog versatile and offer a vast array of information to those who stop by. Thanks Jemi for this neat award. If you haven’t dropped by Just Jemi, please do so. Jemi is a teacher in Canada. You can tell from her writing and the projects she does with her students that she is a terrific teacher. I know I would have loved to have had teachers like her when I was in school. I think she makes it fun and educational for her students. Thanks Jemi for the award and the great work you do with students.

Since this is a no pressure award and I forgot to pass the award yesterday, I’d like to pass both or either award to all visitors. Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate it.

Now I’ve still got some audio books to giveaway thanks to Anna and the Hachette Audio Books. Here are the guidelines. I have three copies of each of these audios. To enter the giveaway, just send me an e-mail ( with “Win and the book title” in the subject line and include your name and mailing address in the body of the e-mail. You must send an e-mail for each giveaway you wish to enter. The contest is open to only residents of the U.S. and Canada and no post office box addresses can be accepted. The deadline to enter these giveaways is 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20.

ROBERT LUDLUM’S™ THE BOURNE OBJECTIVE (ISBN:9781607882268) by Eric Van Lustbader and read by Scott

Sowers. This fiction audio is unabridged and is the final novel in a special 3-book story arc in Robert Ludlum's bestselling series written by New York Times bestselling author Eric Van Lustbader.

After Bourne is ambushed and nearly killed while in Indonesia, he fakes his death to take on a new identity and mission- to find out who is trying to assassinate him. In the process, Bourne begins to question who he really is and what he would become if he no longer carried the Bourne identity. Across the globe, an American passenger airliner is shot down over Egypt-apparently by an Iranian missile-leaving the world wondering if it was an accident or an act of aggression. A massive global team lead by Soraya Moore is assembled to investigate the attack before the situation escalates. When Bourne's search for his would-be assassin intersects with Soraya's search for the group behind the airplane bombing, Bourne is thrust into a race to prevent a new world war. But it may already be too late.

Listen to an excerpt.
Start reading online.

THE BROOM OF THE SYSTEM (ISBN:9781607883883) by David
Foster Wallace and read by Robert Petkoff. This fiction audio is unabridged. The "dazzling, exhilarating" (San Francisco Chronicle) debut novel from the bestselling author of Infinite Jest, available for the first time as an audiobook.

At the center of The Broom of the System is the betwitching (and also bewildered) heroine, Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman. The year is 1990 and the place is a slightly altered Cleveland, Ohio, which sits on the edge of a suburban wasteland-the Great Ohio Desert. Lenore works as a switchboard attendant at a publishing firm, and in addition to her mind-numbing job, she has a few other problems. Her great-grandmother, a one-time student of Wittgenstein, has disappeared with twenty-five other inmates of the Shaker Heights Nursing Home. Her beau (and boss), editor-in-chief Rick Vigorous, is insanely jealous. And her cockatiel, Vlad the Impaler, has suddenly started spouting a mixture of psychobabble, Auden, and the King James Bible, which may propel him to stardom on a Christian fundamentalist television program.

Listen to an excerpt.

DELIVERING HAPPINESS (ISBN:9781607882305) by Tony Hsieh and read by the author. This business and economics audio is unabridged.

The hip, iconoclastic CEO of Zappos shows how a different kind of corporate culture can make a huge difference in achieving remarkable results — by actually creating a company culture that values happiness — and then delivers on it.

Listen to an excerpt.
Start reading online.
Watch a video.

HITCH 22 (ISBN:9781607882329) by Christopher Hitchens and read by the author. This biography and autobiography audio is unabridged.

The life story of one of the most admired and controversial public intellectuals of our time, in his own voice.

Listen to an excerpt.
Start reading online.

WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU’LL KNOW I’M DEAD (ISBN:9781607889687) by Jerry Weintraub with Rich Cohen and
read by the author. This biography and autobiography audio is unabridged.

Maverick movie producer Jerry Weintraub's hilarious, autobiographical account of what  it takes to make it to the top, in life and business: a de facto primer in the  Art of Persuasion

Listen to an excerpt.
Start reading online.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. May today be a fun day to spend as you wish.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vegetable Soup

What has vegetable soup got to do with writing? In this case, absolutely nothing. It was just the phrase that came to mind when I started thinking about what I was going to include in this post.

Vegetable soup is made up of a little of this and a little of that. Well, that’s what this post is today. I’m thanking a fellow blogger for an award, listing winners of several book giveaways as well as the gift certificate, and posting two new books and three new audio giveaways.

First, I’d like to say thanks to Stephanie at Hatshepsut: The Writing of a Novel for presenting me with the A is for Awesome Blog Award recently. Stephanie has an awesome blog herself. She is

obsessed with Hatshepsut, but teaches high school history in Alaska. How cool is that? If you haven’t checked out her blog, be sure to drop by. You won’t be disappointed. Thanks Stephanie.

Next up is book giveaway winners. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone who entered the giveaways.
* Christy H. of Utah and Julia H. of Minnesota won the two-book set (WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE DYING and WHY DID YOU DIE IN THE PARK) by Patricia Batta.
* Ann B. of Virginia and Maria D. of Missouri won the two copies of STRANGE NEIGHBOR by Ashlyn Chase.
* Sharon B. of New Mexico and Jemi of Just Jemi won the two copies of I LOVE THIS BAR by Carolyn Brown.
* Cheryl M. of Ontario, G. M. of Texas, Julia H. of New Mexico, Joyce S. of Texas and Crystal of Crystal Clear Proofing won DESIRES ME by Robin DeHart.
* Carol M. of Pennsylvania, Cindy W. of Indiana, Karen K. of Pennsylvania, Marjorie R. of Ontario, and Kay of My Random Acts of Reading won ALIBI by Teri Woods.
* Cheryl K. of Illinois, Tracey B. of Alabama, and Ann of Cozy in Texas won THE SECRETS OF NEWBERRY by Victor McGlothin.
* Lisa G. of Massachusetts, Margie T. of Minnesota, and Ingrid of The Conscious Cat won THE CASTAWAYS by Elin Hilderbrand.
* Eleanor H. of Pennsylvania, Sharon B. of New Mexico, and Keith T. of Michigan won OIL by Tom Bower.

Now for the big giveaway - the $60 gift certificate from Before I do the drum roll and announce the winner I just want to say this was one of the best giveaways and the hardest that I’ve done. It was the best because of all the phrase those entering submitted. If you haven’t read all the finished sentences, be sure to read all the comments. They are great and I’ve thought about compiling them together into a story.

It was the hardest contest because I wanted everyone to win. The winner was not selected from what was submitted. That was just a way to let me know those commenting did want to enter. I used the RANDOM.ORG to select the winner and once I put the information in, pushing the button to get a winner was hard. Like I said, I wanted everyone to win. But there could be only one and the winner is -- drum roll now --- VR from VR Barkowski  I notified VR of her win earlier this week and she was kind enough to keep it secret until now. Thanks again to everyone who enter and congratulations VR. Maybe in the future we can do something like this again.

Time for new book giveaways. I’m only posting five today, but I do have five more audio books to giveaways, as well as another book. But since this post is already quite lengthy, I’ll post the remaining new giveaways the first of next week. Tomorrow I hope to have a book review to share with you.

Now the giveaways and the guidelines. I have three copies of each of these books/audios. To enter the giveaway, just send me an e-mail ( with “Win and the book title” in the subject line and include your name and mailing address in the body of the e-mail. You must send an e-mail for each giveaway you wish to enter. The contest is open to only residents of the U.S. and Canada and no post office box addresses can be accepted. The deadline to enter these giveaways is 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 13.

QUEEN PIN (ISBN: 9780446542883) by Jemeker Thompson-

Hairston, David Ritz, and Geoff Martin. This 224 page hardcover is listed as a biography and autobiography. Here’s a brief blurb: “Jemeker Thompson-Hairston paid a heavy price for her involvement in the drug game. Learning from her sources of a federal investigation, Jemeker went on the run. It was love for her young son that brought her back to Los Angeles, even though she knew she would be arrested. A subsequent 12-year sentence would cost her not only her legitimate business and the fortune she'd amassed through the drug trade, but the most precious thing of all: time with her child. But not all was lost. Fortunately, while Thompson-Hairston was serving out her sentence, one pivotal moment helped her turn her life around, setting her on a path to help and inspire others like her.”

MORE CHURCH FOLK (ISBN: 9780446577762) by Michele Andrea Bowmen. This 320-page hardcover is listed as fiction and

will be published July 28. Here’s a brief blurb: “It is now 1986, and the preachers of the Gospel United Church are preparing for their much-anticipated Triennial General Conference. The last time readers encountered the good Rev. Theophilus Simmons, he was a newlywed and the pastor of a modest-sized congregation in Memphis. Now he's the father of three and running a congregation in St. Louis. His best friend, Rev. Eddie Tate, is now with a fast growing church in Chicago, but he is getting real frustrated with the way things are run in the Gospel United Church.”

#1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille delivers THE

LION, (ISBN: 9781607882206) the much-anticipated sequel to THE LION’S GAME. This fiction audio is unabridged. Here’s a brief blurb: “John Corey, former NYPD Homicide detective and special agent for the Anti-Terrorist Task Force, is back. And, unfortunately for Corey, so is Asad Khalil, the notorious Libyan terrorist
otherwise known as "The Lion." Last we heard from him, Khalil had claimed to be defecting to the US only to unleash the most horrific reign of terrorism ever to occur on American soil. While Corey and his partner, FBI agent Kate Mayfield, chased him across the country, Khalil methodically eliminated his victims one by one and then disappeared without a trace.

Now, years later, Khalil has returned to America to make good on his threats and take care of unfinished business. "The Lion" is a killing machine once again loose in America with a mission of revenge, and John Corey will stop at nothing to achieve his own goal — to find and kill Khalil."

Listen to an excerpt.
Start reading the story online.

PRIVATE (ISBN: 9781607884484) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro and read by Peter Herman. This fiction, suspense and thriller audio is unabridged. Here’s a brief blurb: “PRIVATE, the world's most powerful investigation firm, takes on three twisted, almost unsolvable, crimes. James Patterson's most electrifying series yet.

Former Marine and CIA agent Jack Morgan inherits his father's renowned security and detective business--along with a case load that tests him to the breaking point. Getting to the bottom of an NFL gambling scandal and an unsolved LAPD investigation into 18 school girl slayings would be enough. On top of all that, Morgan takes on solving the horrific murder of his best friend's wife.

As Morgan fights the urge to exact brutal revenge on that killer, he has to navigate a workplace imbroglio that could blow the roof off his elite agency. And it's an especially explosive situation . . . because the love affair is his own."

Listen to an excerpt.
Start reading the story online.

BACKSEAT SAINTS (ISBN: 9781607882220) by Joshilyn Jackson
and read by the author. This fiction audio is unabridged. New York Times bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson returns with a gripping new novel, in trademark Jackson style, that follows one woman's struggle to evade certain death at the hands of her abusive husband, all the while uncovering the family secrets that have held her captive.

Joshilyn Jackson, a native of the Deep South, has worked as an actor and an award-winning teacher, and is now a writer and a mother of two. She is the author of GODS IN ALABAMA; BETWEEN, GEORGIA; and THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING. Joshilyn lives with her husband and children outside of Atlanta. Visit her at
Listen to an excerpt.
Start reading the story online.
The Six Degrees of Backseat Saints

Thanks for stopping by today. Hope the weather shines on you pleasantly and lends itself to a wonderful day of living. Till tomorrow, be safe, be happy and enjoy reading (or writing).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dee Davis, Guest Blogging

Please join me in welcoming award-winning author Dee Davis on a return visit to Thoughts in Progress as the special guest blogger here today.

Dee is currently touring the blogsphere with her latest book, DANGEROUS DESIRES, the next installment in her A-Tac Series.

Thanks to Dee, Anna and the folks at the Hachette Book Group I have five copies of DANGEROUS DESIRES to giveaway. Please see the giveaway guidelines at the end of this post.

Dee has stopped by today to explain how she goes about doing research for her series and to tell us if she tries to keep it realistic?

Doing research for a series can be daunting at times. Especially when you’re trying to maintain accuracy across a number of books. Although it’s important to get the big things right. And often you spend most of your time researching these.

It’s also important to nail the little things. If a heroine makes fun of umbrella drinks in the first book—she’d better not be caught with a Mai Tai in book six. And if the hero has a problem with all things technical—we’d better not see him hacking into a computer without a lot of complaining.  

If a character has a mustache or a scar in book two, he’d better still have it in book three unless there’s an explanation as to why. Readers remember. Sometimes authors don’t. Which is why for series we often create story bibles. Notes that remind us of the details of our characters’ lives. 

For bigger issues, research can come from anywhere. I typically tend to do it as I go along – unless I need to do advance research for a particular part of the plot. For instance when I wrote Enigma, the heroine was an expert in bombs working with the ATF and I wanted to be sure I had at least of basic understanding of how her job would work, as well as rudimentary knowledge about the bombs the antagonist was going to use in the book. To do that I started with basic information about working for the ATF and then moved up into more specifics as I began to explore different kinds of bombs.  

For Dancing in the Dark, I read Mind Hunter, an excellent book about the inner workings of serial killers. For Chain Reaction, I read about the poisonous frogs of South America in an effort to understand how the venom could potentially (and only in my imagination) be used as a weapon of mass destruction. That research actually lead me to deciding to set Dangerous Desires in Colombia. And so for my newest book, I read a lot about the Colombian jungles and the specific area of the Andes that I chose for the book’s setting. 

As I mentioned earlier, I also do a lot of research as I go along. As the story develops I may come up with a scenario that I think will take me to the next plot point. But I need to be certain that it’s at least plausible. I talked with experts in climbing to assure that the climbing scene in Dark Deceptions was reasonable. I’ve talked with prison employees about what bus one would take when being released from Rikers Island, linguists to make sure my use of Gaelic in my two Scottish books was correct, and even secured permission to use excerpts from websites about the real life places I used in A Match Made on Madison.

So is everything I write realistic? No. It’s fiction. And as a writer, I’m allowed to stretch the truth. Move a building. Invent a city. Even a weapon. But I always try to make certain that it’s at least plausible. And in some cases, like with Desperate Desires, I work hard to make certain that the setting, even one I’m not completely familiar with, is believable.  

One of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten on a book was that the reader believed I was from Atlanta, where Dark of the Night was set. I’ve never lived there – I just did my homework. And that’s what research is all about.

So do you tend to notice inaccuracies in a book? Or does it just wash on by?

Dee, thanks so much for stopping by today and explaining about your research. Keeping the details from one book to the next is important. As a reader I know I’ve read a series where one of the main character’s name was changed from book one to book two and later an occupation was changed for another character. Guess it happens.

For more information on Dee check out her website at and she also blogs at The Whine Sisters.

Here’s a brief synopsis of DANGEROUS DESIRES: “As the extractions expert for A-Tac, an elite CIA black ops unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college, Drake Flynn knows how to survive behind enemy lines. But he's about to meet one adversary he can't subdue . . . or resist. A RACE FOR SURVIVAL Stranded in the Colombian jungle after a mission goes bad, Drake has only one objective: evade the mercenaries hot on his trail and deliver "the package" to U.S. officials. But "the package" has a mind of her own, and she has no intention of trading one set of captors for another. Madeline Reynard is beautiful, headstrong, and hell-bent on escape after years as a crime lord's pawn. She'll risk everything for freedom, even if it means deceiving the dark, handsome operative who now holds her life in his hands. Drake has been burned too many times to let a woman manipulate him, especially a secretive one like Madeline. Even so, they cannot deny the attraction between them. Now as enemy forces close in, Drake and Madeline must trust each other with their lives-or face certain death.”

Now for the giveaway guidelines: I have five copies of DANGEROUS DESIRES to giveaway. To enter the giveaway send me an e-mail ( with “Win Dangerous” in the subject line and be sure to include your name and address in the body of the e-mail. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. The giveaway ends at 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, July 15.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Guest Blogger, Sherry Shumard

Please join me in welcoming author Sherry Shumard as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress on a stop during her virtual blog tour.

Sherry is the author of HEARTBROKEN PROMISES 2. She stop by today to answer some questions about her writing and tell us about her latest book.

Tell us a little about your book and where readers can purchase the book?

My novel Heartbroken Promises 2 is set on an island called Jake’s Island. Jake Lee Jamison owns the whole island and the main character, named Vicky Wainright, is now related to him since her sister Miranda recently married him. He is so gorgeous with dark hair, a dark mustache, a muscular build, and baby blue eyes. Vicky decides to move to the island to be close to her sister. She quickly finds herself in a lot of trouble, though.

Her heart is torn between Jordan who is Jake’s brother and Noah. Jordan is also gorgeous like his brother and Noah is just a nerdy guy with light brown hair that touches his shoulders, brown eyes, and a small frame. He is 5 foot 4 inches tall. To complicate matters further, Vicky is kidnapped while babysitting Jordan’s son Derrick. She talks to her kidnapper Emily who is Noah’s sister and tries to talk her into letting her go. That doesn’t work. Emily has a gun on her and tells her that she will be back later and then will decide her fate. She gets rescued by Noah and suspicions arise that he may have been in on the kidnapping.

The search continues for Derrick as Jordan hires a private detective to track down Emily and his son. In the meantime, Jordan proposes to Vicky on the beach and she rejects his proposal because she is pregnant and doesn’t think the timing is right.

Who will she choose? Noah, Jordan, or neither one? Will she keep

the baby? The book Heartbroken Promises 2 is available on the following websites to purchase:
Tell us about yourself? 

My name is Sherry D. Shumard and I live in Illinois. I’m married with 3 children and 2 pets. I grew up reading mystery stories like Nancy Drew, etc. I was bored and loved to fill my time reading tons of books. When I got older I started reading Harlequin romance novels and dreamed of someday writing romance and mystery novels. My dream has come true since I’ve combined mystery and romance in the published Heartbroken Promises series that I’ve created. 

Where do you get your inspiration for your story and your characters? 

My inspiration came from when I was sixteen years old and I ran away from home with a one-way ticket to Jekyll Island. I’ve experienced a rough life when I was growing up and I wanted to escape to an exotic island. I never made it to Jekyll Island. That will be another book that I’m writing. When I write my characters I visualize how they will react to situations on the island and try to make the story suspenseful with a plot twist thrown in here and there. I love writing this series because in the first novel the main character is me and I try to visualize myself in that character and in that story she found the man of her dreams. She ran away from her terrible life. She walked in on her boyfriend cheating on her and ended up losing their baby to a miscarriage because of getting upset and being heartbroken. She found a new life and happiness with Jake on Jake’s Island.

In Heartbroken Promises 2 the main character is named after my real sister Vicky who died of pneumonia at the age of five months old. I never had a sister when I was growing up and try to make it seem like a real relationship through my characters Miranda and Vicky. I like having a villainous character named Emily to try to stir things up on the island. The suspense of Noah possibly being in on the kidnapping keeps readers guessing.

In my third novel there’s going to be a plot twist as I add another villainous character to the mix. The question is: Is it one of the characters already in the series or a new one? I will decide as I write more on my third novel….   

Sherry, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. Your stories sound very intriguing. Best of luck with your writing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Guest Blogger, Ann Summerville

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Ann Summerville as the special guest blogger here today at Thoughts in Progress.

Ann is also a fellow blogger and can be found at her blog, Cozy in Texas. She is the author of A GRACEFUL DEATH and is here to answer a few questions about her writing. In addition, Ann will be giving away a copy of A GRACEFUL DEATH to one lucky visitors who comments on her post between now and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

First a little background on Ann, she spent her childhood and early twenties in England before moving to California. Her short stories have been published in the Lutheran Digest, Long Story Short, The Shine Journal, Doorknobs & Bodypaint, Trinity Writer’s Workshop newsletters and also their collection of Christmas stories. A GRACEFUL DEATH was her first cozy mystery. She now lives in Texas with two dogs and an elusive cat.

Ann, when did you first start writing?

I remember winning first place in an elementary school writing competition and continued writing short stories, but it has only been the past few years that I have undertaken writing novels.

Is the Cornish town in A GRACEFUL DEATH fictitious?

I lived in Cornwall, on the southwest coast of England, for a number of years and combined several villages to make up the town. I would say that St. Agnes  is the closest comparison to Lowenna, the village in the book. Lowenna means joy in Cornish.

What are your goals when writing a novel?

To entertain and explore the complexities of relationships. Although my books all have a mystery element, the undercurrent brings out personalities and how people react to each other eventually forming a family of sorts.

How did you learn the craft of writing?

Each day I learn something new. The biggest influence was joining a writing group and attending writing conferences and workshops. I love reading and if I find a book I like, I study it, write a synopsis, and sometimes an outline to visualize the layout of the plot. My favorite book at the moment is Empire Falls by Richard Russo . I can see why it’s a Pulitzer price winner.

Will A GRACEFUL DEATH be part of a series?

My last book, STORMS & SECRETS, was located in Texas, but I loved the characters in A GRACEFUL DEATH and am currently working on a second book called “HIGH TIDE.”

What is your advice to new writers?

Enjoy the journey and in the words of Jeffery Deaver  “Review rejection as a speed bump, not a brick wall.”

Ann, thanks so much for guest blogging here today. Viewing rejection as a speed bump sounds like some very good advice.

For more information about Ann, be sure to check out her website

Here’s a brief synopsis of A GRACEFUL DEATH: "
Giovanna Matthews has an acceptable life in London with her own flat, a good job, and recent engagement to the son of a Scottish landowner.  But not long after her engagement to Alan, news of Aunt Grace’s death hits Giovanna like a red double decker bus.  Ignoring Alan’s pleas to stay, she bundles her dog and suitcase into a rusty Volkswagen and drives to Aunt Grace’s cottage on the Cornish coast where Giovanna had spent childhood summers with her cousin.  Putting her aunt’s affairs in order is further complicated when Giovanna discovers the local constabulary has its own view on Aunt Grace’s demise - A view that Giovanna vows to challenge.  Unless she can discover how her aunt died and find her missing cousin quickly, she stands to lose both her inheritance and Alan."

Ann will be dropping back by during the day to answer any questions you might have and to respond to your comments. Plus, remember to leave a comment in order to enter the giveaway.