blog post, cozy mystery, Crime Thrillers, Dark Mystery, From the Editor's Desk, Murder Mystery, mystery, Mystery Authors, Mystery Novels, romantic suspense, suspense thrillers

The Mystery of Mystery Writers at 2017 Bouchercon

Crime and mystery lovers will be flocking to Toronto next week for  Bouchercon 2017, the biggest mystery authors convention happening October 12-14, 2017. With that in mind, I spoke with Alison Bruce, the new Executive Director of  Crime Writers of Canada (CWC)  to see what wonderful events they have planned for Bouchercon, about her new role as ED of the CWC and her much anticipated second book in her Men in Uniform Series.

LB: Can you tell us a little about CWC and what the association does on behalf of crime and mystery writers?

AB: CWC is a national non-profit organization for Canadian mystery and crime writers, associated professionals, and others with a serious interest in Canadian crime writing. Our mission is to promote Canadian crime writing and to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers with readers, reviewers, librarians, booksellers, and media.

Our most important means of fulfilling our mission is our website: Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) . Through the website, readers around the world can find out about our member authors, their books, and their events, as well as what CWC as a whole is doing as an organization and within the larger community.

Through our free monthly public newsletter Crime Beat, subscribers access Author Events and Cool Canadian Crime – our catalogue of our members’ published books, updated quarterly –  which are also available directly through the website, and  they can get updates on our Arthur Ellis Awards as well as what CWC is doing at events like Word on the Street and Bouchercon.

For authors interested in what we do, I suggest checking out Member Benefits because the list is too long to include here.

LB:How has the CWC evolved as an organization and what does that mean for you and your new role as Executive Director?

AB: One of the strengths of CWC has been its ability and willingness to adapt. My new role as Executive Director is a great example of this. My predecessors played to their strengths and so will I. One of my strengths has been my past involvement with most aspects of the organization. As well as being the Publications Manager, I was the Arthur Ellis Awards Administrator and the ED’s deputy.

Now Ted Griffith is taking on the Arthur Ellis Awards mantle and I have a very able and personable Assistant Executive Director who will be sharing the administrative load so I can continue to be hands on in the publications and website development. We are already discovering where our skills complement each other and I am looking forward to us teaming up for the benefit of CWC.

LB: How did you first become involved with the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC)?

AB: This is one of my favorite CWC stories. It was just after my dad died and for the first time in years, I was able to get to Word on the Street in Toronto. At the time I had an urban fantasy and a mystery novel making the rounds of the publishers so I was on the lookout for professional organizations that I could join. I knew about the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and found them first, but they didn’t take unpublished authors. A couple of tables over, I discovered Crime Writers of Canada. Not only did they welcome associate members, they had a new category in their awards for unpublished first novels. I joined on the spot.

That year I was longlisted for the Unhanged Arthur Award, I got involved as a volunteer on the board and later went on to become the Publications Manager.

LB: Bouchercon 2017 is taking place October 12-14 in Toronto, can you tell us a little about the event?

AB: Bouchercon is run by the World Mystery Convention, a non-profit, all-volunteer organization. It is named in honor of Anthony Boucher, mystery fiction critic, editor, and author. It is held in a different North American city every year and this year is it being held in Toronto.

It is huge! There will be around 1600 people attending, including fans of crime fiction, along with published authors, aspiring writers, librarians, large and small publishers, editors, agents, and booksellers. There will be panels and special events, exhibitions and a dealers room, and CWC will be part of the excitement.

I’m excited. It’s my first Bouchercon and I’ll be in the thick of things.

LB: How will CWC be participating in this event?

AB: On Friday night, CWC will be hosting a crime-themed pub quiz. All day Saturday we’ll be sponsoring the Refreshment Room. We’ll also have a CWC table outside the dealer’s room where we will be able to sign up new members, and getting those who don’t want to join us but would like our free monthly newsletter CRIME BEAT. Each venue is a great opportunity to get our authors and readers together.

With the impressive list of panels, tours, and authors, what are you most looking forward to at Bouchercon 2017?

I’m going to be relaxed about the panels. There’s so much to choose from and I will be mostly there to work so I reckon I’ll play it by ear. Who knows who I’ll be meeting for coffee?

In addition to being the Executive Director of CWC, you are also an accomplished mystery author. Your book “A Bodyguard to Remember”, the first title in the Men in Uniform Series featured the unforgettable heroine Prudence Hartley. Will readers get the chance to see Pru again?

There is a book two or my publisher would kill me. Book 2 of Men in Uniform will see Pru Hartley getting thrown into the deep end of trouble because of a house guest her ex-husband foists on her. My working title is “Something the Ex Dragged In.”

What other work do you have coming out now?

I have a new book coming out soon. It’s a novel I wrote before Men in Uniform and then forgot about for a while. I’m hoping it will be out in time for Bouchercon so I can read from it at “20 on 20” (twenty minutes with an author every twenty minutes).

I know you have a lot going on with your new role and getting ready for Bouchercon but in the midst of all the chaos what is your guilty pleasure? I am assuming its loads of coffee!

I don’t feel the least bit guilty about drinking coffee. That would be like a car feeling guilty for needing gas. My guilty pleasure is having a treat with my coffee.
******

Now that is something I can also relate to! For anyone interested in attending Bouchercon 2017, the event details and links are below.

When: October 12-15th 2017

Where:  Sheraton Centre in Toronto, Canada

Registration Link: http://bouchercon2017.com/registration/

Website: http://bouchercon2017.com/

Alison Bruce Bio

Alison Bruce writes history, mystery, and suspense.  Her books combine clever mysteries, well-researched backgrounds and a touch of romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, sense of humor and the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations. Four of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.

Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, and web designer. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada.

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter @alisonebruce

Ludvica Boota is currently in the publishing program at Ryerson University and is an intern at Lachesis Publishing Inc. Prior to her studies, she worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Her most adventurous experience was working for the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin Ireland, where she was employed as a project officer but was never asked to deliver a baby. Ludvica holds an MBA from the University of Victoria and a B.Com from Carleton University.

When she’s not daydreaming about her next travel adventure, and perhaps her own HEA, she is usually immersed in a romance novel.

Connect with Ludvica on Facebook  / Instagram / Twitter  / LinkenIn

amreading, BOOK OF THE WEEK, Lachesis authors, romantic suspense

Book of the Week: A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce #amreading #romance #suspense

She's a single mom with 2Our BOOK OF THE WEEK is  A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce – a romantic suspense with a light touch. 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR E-BOOK COPY (ALL VERSIONS AVAILABLE).

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Prudence Hartley has the usual single mom problems: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, and don’t forget about dinner.

But Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly, a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody. Pru has so many questions spinning through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are the spies after her? Oh, and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?

EXCERPT:

Maybe he was just doing his job, but Sergeant Merrick was my hero. He coordinated the paramedics, police, ambulance attendants, and an intrepid reporter who came running when three ambulances, an EMT truck from the fire department and half a dozen police cruisers congregated at the hotel. More importantly, at least to me, he calmed Hope and Boone, assuring them that their mother was fine, even if she was sitting with her head between her knees, holding a bloody towel. He got them clear of the chaos and made sure they got safely to their father’s with a police escort.

“I’ll have a uniformed officer stay with them overnight.” he assured.

Once they were away, Merrick signalled the next set of ambulance attendants to help me onto a stretcher.

“We meet again.”

I focussed on the speaker. It took me a moment, but I connected the dots. He checked on us the night before.

“Bob,” he said, in case I forgot.

I nodded. “I remember.”

“It looks like you were wrong,” he said as he helped me onto the stretcher. “Bullet wounds are catching.”

Flashing his badge, Merrick managed to get to us shortly after we arrived at the hospital. He made sure Zeke and I were kept together and stayed with us, even after repeatedly being told by the attending nurses to leave. Then, when we were alone, Merrick asked the big question. “What happened?”

I knew what he was really asking.

“Why didn’t I hide in the bathroom with Hope and Boone? You think I didn’t lock the door properly, but I put the security bar on and everything. I called you as soon as I could. What took you so long?”

I took a dive off the edge of rationality into the deep end of guilt and second-guessing. I burst into tears. I hate it when that happens.

“Give her a break, Sarge,” said Zeke, raising himself up on his good elbow. “She saved my life.”

Merrick, who had taken my outburst calmly, raised an eyebrow.

“Well,” Zeke temporised, “she intended to save my life. She couldn’t know that I had moved out of the line of fire.” He tried to sit up. “I know, I never should have been in his line of fire in the first place . . . probably should stick to the backroom stuff . . .”

In the midst of my sobbing and Zeke’s self-flagellation, Merrick told us to calm down.

Big mistake. That might have worked on Zeke. Don’t know. Wasn’t paying attention. For me, it was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. All my fear and guilt transformed into anger directed at him. I grabbed him by the shirt-front and pulled myself up with the strength that comes with hysteria.

“I’m not a cop. I’m a mother,” I shouted, hopping bare footed onto the cold floor. “I didn’t hide with my children because I figured that whoever it was, they were looking for me. If they found me, they wouldn’t go looking for my kids too. I didn’t know if you’d get there in time to stop Hope and Boone from becoming hostages and I wasn’t going to risk it. I wasn’t going to risk Zeke dying either and I would have done the same for you.”

I spoke in a rush, losing volume and air as I went, losing momentum as I realized the attention I was drawing. Not one of my shining moments.

I started to collapse. I tried to steady myself using my handhold on Merrick’s shirt. He grabbed my shoulders to brace me. He didn’t lose his cool for an instant.

“Call a nurse,” he told Zeke. “She’s bleeding.”

I gave a choke of laughter. There were at least two nurses, an orderly, and three men in uniform ranged behind Merrick.

My vision got blurry. I blinked to clear it, refocused, and noticed that Merrick was wearing red and green plaid pyjamas. I let go of his top and smoothed out the soft material.

“Flannel,” I said, and passed out.

Like what you’ve read so far? You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazonBarnes and Noblekobo, and iBooks.

ABOUT ALISON BRUCE:

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. In addition to writing, she is the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and part-time tech guru to the technology-impaired.

Alison writes mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations and to learn from adversity–traits she hopes to pass on to her children, Kate and Sam.

You can connect with Alison Bruce on her website and on facebook and twitter.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing. You can also purchase your copy at amazonBarnes and Noblekobo, and iBooks.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

Beta Readers, blog post, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Mystery Authors, Mystery Novels, Police Procedurals, suspense, suspense thriller, suspense thrillers

Unravelling the Mystery of Beta Readers: by Alison Bruce #amwriting #mystery #betareaders #critquegroups

DEADLY DAMES POSTCARD 3Romantic suspense author Alison Bruce is a member of a dynamic critique group of very talented mystery authors. She and her group got together recently for a yummy potluck lunch. Among the topics discussed were the following: the making of a good murder, what makes a great sleuth, Original Oreos versus Double Stuffed and of course – the importance of beta readers. We’ll focus on the Beta Readers discussion today – and let the Deadly Dames battle over the Oreos.

These are the authors: Alison Bruce, Melodie Campbell, Catherine Astolfo, Janet BolinJoan O’Callaghan, Nancy O’Neill . . .

These are their stories . . .

Deadly Dames FB Banner3What makes a good beta-reader?

Alison Bruce:

Finding beta readers is a bit like matchmaking. It’s not just how good they are, but whether they like the kind of things you write. There’s no point asking thriller readers to beta read your cozy, no matter how mad their editorial skills are. If they don’t know and love your genre, they won’t be able to see if you go off the reservation. Knowledge of the publishing market also helps. For that reason, we often turn to other authors.  The first person I turn to is Nancy.

Nancy O’Neill:

A good beta reader is one who catches inconsistencies, oddities, and spelling/grammar mistakes.

A good beta reader questions things that are puzzling or unclear, or that disagree with something the author had written earlier in the same work.

A good beta reader identifies loose ends that need to be tied up.

A good beta reader provides suggestions to correct/clarify the problems they find. (These suggestions the author can use or disregard)

The beta reader has a fresh set of eyes that see more clearly than the author, who has read the same work so many times through the many rewrites that he/she can’t often see problems or errors anymore.

As a reader, there is nothing more jarring than finding a mistake in a published work. It immediately jolts you out of the story and destroys any momentum the author has built up. Often it is difficult to regain that momentum and sink back into the story. Beta readers help to find and eliminate anything that would impede a smooth and enjoyable experience for the reader!

Janet Bolin:

I made the mistake of reading what Nancy wrote–and I think she covers nearly everything. Maybe I can add this: A good beta reader can be objective and can combine honesty and tact. “They” say not to use friends and relatives, but if they can be objective, then I think it works very well. However, that can be a very big if…

Catherine Astolfo:

My beta readers are honest, yet encouraging. They all have a sense of story, plot, character and setting so they can give me both general and specific feedback. They comb for as many spelling, grammar and typo errors as they can. They also pick out any inconsistencies: the character would never say/do that! or that guy’s eyes were blue in Chapter 1 and brown in Chapter 2 or the plot wanders too much. They’ll do their own research to make sure squirrels really are awake to chatter in the winter.

Joan O’Callaghan:

I don’t have a lot of experience with beta readers. However – that being said – I think a good beta reader is someone who can put themselves into the mindset of your average reader (if there is such a thing as an average reader) and can sense what will appeal to that reader and what will derail them from pleasant immersion in the story.  AND – be able to articulate those things in a way that makes sense to the author.

How important are beta readers to you?

Catherine Astolfo:

My beta readers are essential to my writing. They nudge me along, correct my route, pick up my characters from the side of the road, and generally drive all of us to our destination. Without them, I’d have a lot of errors both in the text and in the story lines. Without them, my books would have been offal.

Alison Bruce:

One of my beta readers kept me from making a factual error that would have, if my reader knew anything about pharmacology, made my books seem like a mess of intestines too.

Janet Bolin:

Most of my critique partners and I have critiqued chapters as we write them. It can be a long process, but we can prevent one another from writing an entire manuscript based on veering in totally the wrong direction in the first chapter. The first person to read my entire manuscripts all at once was Faith Black Ross, my editor at Berkley Prime Crime. She made excellent suggestions.

 Joan O’Callaghan:

As writers, we are perhaps too close to our own work and have our own “darlings”.  We need a reality check from someone who is perhaps more objective.

Melodie Campbell,

For me, a beta reader goes way beyond proofing.  He/she comments on the structure of your story.  Does it work?  Should things be moved?  What’s missing?

I have a specific example re Rowena and the Viking Warlord, a humorous medieval time-travel fantasy.  Two of my four beta readers told me that the first half of the book was getting Game-of-Thrones grim.  They suggested I move one of the humorous parts forward, to break up the extreme tension.  I followed their advice, and am happy to say that the book is much better for it.  Tension escalates, and then is diffused by the humor, to give the reader some needed relief.  Then tension rises again to make the climax even more gripping.  I wouldn’t have made that excellent change, without feedback from my beta readers.

Astolfo-CathyCatherine Astolfo

Award-winning author of short stories, novels, novellas, and screenplays. Best known for her Emily Taylor mystery novels and her new Kira Callahan mystery novellas.

www.facebook.com/cathy.astolfo

twitter.com/cathyastolfo

www.catherineastolfo.com

Bolin-JanetJanet Bolin

Janet Bolin writes the Threadville Mystery Series–machine embroidery, murder, and mayhem in a village of sewing, quilting, yarn, and other crafty shops. Threadville Mysteries have been nominated for Agatha and Bony Blithe Awards.

www.facebook.com/Janet.Bolin.Author

threadvillemysteries.com

Bruce-AlisonAlison Bruce

Author of mystery, suspense and historical western romance novels. Three of Alison’s novels have been finalists for genre awards, including the Lou Allin Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novella.

www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books

twitter.com/alisonebruce

www.alisonbruce.ca

Campbell-MelodieMelodie Campbell

The Toronto Sun called her Canada’s “Queen of Comedy.” Melodie Campbell has over 200 publications including 40 short stories and ten novels. She has won The Derringer, The Arthur Ellis, and eight other awards for crime fiction.

www.facebook.com/MelodieCampbellAuthor

twitter.com/melodiecampbell

www.melodiecampbell.com

O'Callaghan-JoanJoan O’Callaghan

Joan has had an active career in freelance writing, with over 30 educational publications to her credit.  Her short stories have been published in anthologies and online magazines.  In 2014, her flash fiction story, “Torch Song for Two Voices” won the Polar Expressions Publishing contest.

www.facebook.com/joan.ocallaghan

joanocallaghan.blogspot.ca

 

O'Neill-NancyNancy O’Neill

Nancy is a prolific reader of many genres but especially crime fiction (in all its sub-genres). Since she is also a retired teacher and many-time judge of literary contests, Nancy is practically a professional-grade beta-reader.

www.facebook.com/nancy.oneill.50

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.

 

 

authors, blog post, Lachesis Blog, Light Romantic Suspense, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, romantic suspense, suspense thriller, suspense thrillers

DEAL OF THE WEEK: A BODYGUARD TO REMEMBER by Alison Bruce #suspense #amreading #.99cents

A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison BruceOur DEAL OF THE WEEK is  A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce – a romantic suspense with a light touch. GET IT HERE FOR .99 CENTS! THIS WEEK ONLY!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR E-BOOK COPY (ALL VERSIONS AVAILABLE).

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Prudence Hartley has the usual single mom problems: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, and don’t forget about dinner.

But Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly, a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody. Pru has so many questions spinning through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are the spies after her? Oh, and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?

EXCERPT:

Maybe he was just doing his job, but Sergeant Merrick was my hero. He coordinated the paramedics, police, ambulance attendants, and an intrepid reporter who came running when three ambulances, an EMT truck from the fire department and half a dozen police cruisers congregated at the hotel. More importantly, at least to me, he calmed Hope and Boone, assuring them that their mother was fine, even if she was sitting with her head between her knees, holding a bloody towel. He got them clear of the chaos and made sure they got safely to their father’s with a police escort.

“I’ll have a uniformed officer stay with them overnight.” he assured.

Once they were away, Merrick signalled the next set of ambulance attendants to help me onto a stretcher.

“We meet again.”

I focussed on the speaker. It took me a moment, but I connected the dots. He checked on us the night before.

“Bob,” he said, in case I forgot.

I nodded. “I remember.”

“It looks like you were wrong,” he said as he helped me onto the stretcher. “Bullet wounds are catching.”

Flashing his badge, Merrick managed to get to us shortly after we arrived at the hospital. He made sure Zeke and I were kept together and stayed with us, even after repeatedly being told by the attending nurses to leave. Then, when we were alone, Merrick asked the big question. “What happened?”

I knew what he was really asking.

“Why didn’t I hide in the bathroom with Hope and Boone? You think I didn’t lock the door properly, but I put the security bar on and everything. I called you as soon as I could. What took you so long?”

I took a dive off the edge of rationality into the deep end of guilt and second-guessing. I burst into tears. I hate it when that happens.

“Give her a break, Sarge,” said Zeke, raising himself up on his good elbow. “She saved my life.”

Merrick, who had taken my outburst calmly, raised an eyebrow.

“Well,” Zeke temporised, “she intended to save my life. She couldn’t know that I had moved out of the line of fire.” He tried to sit up. “I know, I never should have been in his line of fire in the first place . . . probably should stick to the backroom stuff . . .”

In the midst of my sobbing and Zeke’s self-flagellation, Merrick told us to calm down.

Big mistake. That might have worked on Zeke. Don’t know. Wasn’t paying attention. For me, it was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. All my fear and guilt transformed into anger directed at him. I grabbed him by the shirt-front and pulled myself up with the strength that comes with hysteria.

“I’m not a cop. I’m a mother,” I shouted, hopping bare footed onto the cold floor. “I didn’t hide with my children because I figured that whoever it was, they were looking for me. If they found me, they wouldn’t go looking for my kids too. I didn’t know if you’d get there in time to stop Hope and Boone from becoming hostages and I wasn’t going to risk it. I wasn’t going to risk Zeke dying either and I would have done the same for you.”

I spoke in a rush, losing volume and air as I went, losing momentum as I realized the attention I was drawing. Not one of my shining moments.

I started to collapse. I tried to steady myself using my handhold on Merrick’s shirt. He grabbed my shoulders to brace me. He didn’t lose his cool for an instant.

“Call a nurse,” he told Zeke. “She’s bleeding.”

I gave a choke of laughter. There were at least two nurses, an orderly, and three men in uniform ranged behind Merrick.

My vision got blurry. I blinked to clear it, refocused, and noticed that Merrick was wearing red and green plaid pyjamas. I let go of his top and smoothed out the soft material.

“Flannel,” I said, and passed out.

Like what you’ve read so far? You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

ABOUT ALISON BRUCE:

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. In addition to writing, she is the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and part-time tech guru to the technology-impaired.

Alison writes mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations and to learn from adversity–traits she hopes to pass on to her children, Kate and Sam.

You can connect with Alison Bruce on her website and on facebook and twitter.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 CENTS. THIS WEEK ONLY. You can also purchase your copy at amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

amreading, amwriting, blog post, book reviews, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Legal Thrillers, Marketing and Promotion, mystery, Publishing industry, romantic comedy, suspense, suspense thriller, suspense thrillers

Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce (Reviewed by Jacqui Morrison)

Elegant spy portrait

From its very first line: It started with a dead body on my living room floor, a Bodyguard to Remember, by Alison Bruce will have you hooked.

The novel is fast paced and the excitement continues until the very end. Prudence Hartley arrives home to find a body in her living room. Her first instinct is to protect her children and her second is to call the police.

Her home becomes a crime scene with all that that entails. The RCMO gets involved because of the identity of the dead man. Stoic Sergeant Merrick quickly becomes a friend to our heroine, Pru, and maybe (hopefully) something more.

The novel, a first in a series, is set in Guelph, Ontario, a small city, which makes the crime and the story all the more interesting.

The dead man hid something either on Pru or in her home, that could get her killed. Because of the nature of the crime, she is immediately under police protection, along with her kids. Slowly but surely an attraction kindles between Pru and Merrick. The back and forth romantic tension between them is an wonderful thread that runs throughout this thoroughly enjoyable book.

The main character Prudence or Pru as she’s often referred to, is a single mom and Alison Bruce has captured that “single mom” spirit beautifully. Children come first no matter what, in this thriller. Pru is a writer and editor. There is an interesting sub-plot where art becomes reality as Pru’s science fiction book is published and she embarks on a promotional book tour while trying to lure the killer out into the open.

Pru has the wit of Kinsey Millhone from the Sue Grafton novels, but through the eyes of a mom. Her humour is quick and often references Star Trek, which is hilarious. I thoroughly enjoyed Pru’s ability to compare everyone she meets to a Star Trek character.

A Bodyguard to Remember is the perfect book for a holiday on the beach. It’s quick-paced fun and it keeps you guessing until the very end.

You can connect with Alison Bruce on her website and on facebook and twitter.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 CENTS. THIS WEEK ONLY. You can also purchase your copy at amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

amreading, blog post, book reviews, Crime Thrillers, Dark Mystery, Lachesis Blog, Legal Thrillers, mystery, Police Procedurals, suspense, suspense thriller, suspense thrillers

Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: The Vigilante by Jacqui Morrison (Reviewed by Alison Bruce)

THE-VIGILANTE-COVERIf the long-running Law & Order franchise ever spins off to Canada, The Vigilante would make a great template. Jacqui Morrison’s book has the right balance of police and legal procedural with a good helping of character development and social commentary thrown in.

On the police side, we have Lynette Winton, her colleagues at work and her mother at home.

A rookie detective, Lynette is determined to prove herself. At first, however, Lynette seems to be a study in what not to do. When we find out her family situation, it’s easier to understand her behaviour. She lives with her loving, but passive aggressive mother, who is so secretive about Lynette’s biological father that any child would become obsessed with discovering the truth.

Lynette might be wrong about how she finds the truth, but find it she does. She arrests the suspect dismissed by her senior colleagues, while saving the life of the next intended victim.

On the legal side, we have defense lawyer Maxine Swayman.

Maxine is Lynette’s opposite in more than the court case even to having a loving and supportive father. She is confident, charming, and has a sexy surgeon for a boyfriend. One thing both women share is determination. In this case, Maxine is determined that the accused, Wanda Chambers, gets the help she desperately needs.

imgresIt’s on the legal side of the story that Morrison really shines. It’s no surprise that the author’s community work has given her experience with social justice and court procedures. My one disappointment is that she failed to mention the robes that barristers wear in Superior Court. Also, unlike the U.S. (and civil cases in Canada) the defendant is customarily addressed as “the accused.” Those, and many more details that Morrison does touch on, highlight the differences we’d see in Law & Order CA as opposed to the US and UK varieties.

The guest star is, of course, the accused. There is no doubt that Wanda Chambers is guilty, the real question is whether the troubled woman will end up inside a prison or a hospital. And which one is justice? Through Lynette and Maxine, Morrison argues both sides of the case.

Since this is the first of a series, the personal story arcs have only just begun to unfold. The Vigilante’s case, on the other hand, is settled more than satisfactorily. ~ Alison Bruce (suspense author)

kaitlyn-wolfe-crown-attorney-500x724Jacqui Morrison is a crime thriller author. Her suspense thrillers include Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney and The Vigilante. You can purchase both books at Lachesis Publishing. But that’s not where it begins and ends with Jacqui. You see, Jacqui works with victims and witnesses of crimes. Her passion for working in the law started at at a young age, when she was inspired by a character in a popular TV show . . . 

You can get The Vigilante. on amazon, barnes and noble, koboYou can also purchase Kaitlyn Wolfe: Crown Attorney on amazon

Connect with author Jacqui Morrison online on her web site and on facebook and twitter.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our Lachesis Publishing facebook page.

 

 

blog post, Deal of the Week, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc., Light Romantic Suspense, romantic suspense

DEAL OF THE WEEK: A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce (light romantic suspense)

A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison BruceOur DEAL OF THE WEEK is  A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce – a romantic suspense with a light touch. GET IT HERE FOR .99 CENTS! THIS WEEK ONLY!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR E-BOOK COPY (ALL VERSIONS AVAILABLE).

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Prudence Hartley has the usual single mom problems: getting her kids to school on time; juggling a gazillion errands while trying to get a full day’s work done; oh, and don’t forget about dinner.

But Pru’s problems become a tad more complicated and a lot more dangerous when she finds a dead man in her house. Or a dead spy to be exact. Suddenly, a federal agent named David Merrick shows up and whisks her and her kids into protective custody. Pru has so many questions spinning through her brain she doesn’t know where to begin. How is she going to keep her kids safe? What was the dead spy looking for in her house? Why are the spies after her? Oh, and there’s one more question . . . just a pesky, minor thing. Why does Merrick have to be so damn sexy and protective?

EXCERPT:

Maybe he was just doing his job, but Sergeant Merrick was my hero. He coordinated the paramedics, police, ambulance attendants, and an intrepid reporter who came running when three ambulances, an EMT truck from the fire department and half a dozen police cruisers congregated at the hotel. More importantly, at least to me, he calmed Hope and Boone, assuring them that their mother was fine, even if she was sitting with her head between her knees, holding a bloody towel. He got them clear of the chaos and made sure they got safely to their father’s with a police escort.

“I’ll have a uniformed officer stay with them overnight.” he assured.

Once they were away, Merrick signalled the next set of ambulance attendants to help me onto a stretcher.

“We meet again.”

I focussed on the speaker. It took me a moment, but I connected the dots. He checked on us the night before.

“Bob,” he said, in case I forgot.

I nodded. “I remember.”

“It looks like you were wrong,” he said as he helped me onto the stretcher. “Bullet wounds are catching.”

Flashing his badge, Merrick managed to get to us shortly after we arrived at the hospital. He made sure Zeke and I were kept together and stayed with us, even after repeatedly being told by the attending nurses to leave. Then, when we were alone, Merrick asked the big question. “What happened?”

I knew what he was really asking.

“Why didn’t I hide in the bathroom with Hope and Boone? You think I didn’t lock the door properly, but I put the security bar on and everything. I called you as soon as I could. What took you so long?”

I took a dive off the edge of rationality into the deep end of guilt and second-guessing. I burst into tears. I hate it when that happens.

“Give her a break, Sarge,” said Zeke, raising himself up on his good elbow. “She saved my life.”

Merrick, who had taken my outburst calmly, raised an eyebrow.

“Well,” Zeke temporised, “she intended to save my life. She couldn’t know that I had moved out of the line of fire.” He tried to sit up. “I know, I never should have been in his line of fire in the first place . . . probably should stick to the backroom stuff . . .”

In the midst of my sobbing and Zeke’s self-flagellation, Merrick told us to calm down.

Big mistake. That might have worked on Zeke. Don’t know. Wasn’t paying attention. For me, it was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. All my fear and guilt transformed into anger directed at him. I grabbed him by the shirt-front and pulled myself up with the strength that comes with hysteria.

“I’m not a cop. I’m a mother,” I shouted, hopping bare footed onto the cold floor. “I didn’t hide with my children because I figured that whoever it was, they were looking for me. If they found me, they wouldn’t go looking for my kids too. I didn’t know if you’d get there in time to stop Hope and Boone from becoming hostages and I wasn’t going to risk it. I wasn’t going to risk Zeke dying either and I would have done the same for you.”

I spoke in a rush, losing volume and air as I went, losing momentum as I realized the attention I was drawing. Not one of my shining moments.

I started to collapse. I tried to steady myself using my handhold on Merrick’s shirt. He grabbed my shoulders to brace me. He didn’t lose his cool for an instant.

“Call a nurse,” he told Zeke. “She’s bleeding.”

I gave a choke of laughter. There were at least two nurses, an orderly, and three men in uniform ranged behind Merrick.

My vision got blurry. I blinked to clear it, refocused, and noticed that Merrick was wearing red and green plaid pyjamas. I let go of his top and smoothed out the soft material.

“Flannel,” I said, and passed out.

Like what you’ve read so far? You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

ABOUT ALISON BRUCE:

Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. In addition to writing, she is the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and part-time tech guru to the technology-impaired.

Alison writes mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, the ability to adapt (sooner or later) to new situations and to learn from adversity–traits she hopes to pass on to her children, Kate and Sam.

You can connect with Alison Bruce on her website and on facebook and twitter.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing FOR ONLY .99 CENTS. THIS WEEK ONLY. You can also purchase your copy at amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

contemporary romance, Food & Drink, Free e-book, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Question of the Week, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, romantic suspense

Question of the Week: What is your favourite coffee/tea drink?

promiseThis week we’ve been spotlighting romance author Alison Bruce, who can be classified as a “coffee addict”. There. I said it. LOL. So our question of the week is all about that. What is your favourite coffee (or tea) beverage? Leave a comment here or on our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook and you could win a free c-book of A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison Bruce

 

A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison BruceAlison Bruce is the author of  A Bodyguard to Remember, a romantic suspense with a light touch. This is Book 1 in the Men in Uniform Series for Lachesis Publishing.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

You can connect with Alison on her website and on facebook and twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

 

 

blog post, Food & Drink, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Lachesis Publishing Inc., romance fiction, romance novels, romantic suspense, writing craft

Top Five Reasons Why Writers Love Coffee Shops by Alison Bruce (romantic suspense author)

A Bodyguard to Remember (my light romantic suspense) opens with a dead body in the Pru Hartley’s (the heroine) living room, but it started in a café. Most of my stories do. Without further ado – here are my top five reasons why writers love to work in coffee shops.

Image: http://www.creativitypost.com/
Image: http://www.creativitypost.com/

1. You’re alone while not being alone:

The problem with being a writer is that it’s a mostly solitary occupation (if you don’t count the characters haunting you). I work part-time as a crossing guard, which brings me into contact with lots of people, a handful of dogs and a murder of crows. (There’s a paranormal suspense in there somewhere, I just know it.) Other than that, all my work revolves around my computer.

I don’t mind working on my own, but sometimes I want to do it with people around. That’s when I take myself to a coffee shop. Pru does that too. When you read the scene in her local Starbucks, the people she interacts with are based on people I’ve met or observed in one of my habitual hangouts.

You could come up with the next Friends!  (image NBC Universal)
You could come up with the next Friends! (image NBC Universal)

2. Inspiration for book characters:

There’s the real estate agent who used to be a client until she took over her own newsletter production. She always remembers me because I brought her my parents when they were looking to move to Guelph to be near the grandchildren. She breezes through, picking up her coffee of choice on her way to the office and always asks about my kids.

I have a silent war going with one fellow. It’s a polite battle for getting the table by the one electrical outlet. (Newer places make sure there are plenty to go around.) Neither of us knows what the other is working on, but he always looks so serious and I know he wonders why I suddenly laugh out loud from time to time.

MUSWELL HILL, PLANET ORGANIC STORE, NOW A POLICE CONTACT POINT WHERE THE PUBLIC CAN MEET OFFICERS AND REPORT CRIMES. TWO OFFICERS PASSED TWO HOURS IN THE COFFEE SHOP, AWAITING PUBLIC INTEREST WHILE DRINKING TEA.  THEY HAD A TABLE OF LEAFLETS READY FOR DISTRIBUTION. 11-2-2015 PIC BY IAN MCILGORM pcsos-national.co.uk
MUSWELL HILL, PLANET ORGANIC STORE, NOW A POLICE CONTACT POINT WHERE THE PUBLIC CAN MEET OFFICERS AND REPORT CRIMES.
TWO OFFICERS PASSED TWO HOURS IN THE COFFEE SHOP, AWAITING PUBLIC INTEREST WHILE DRINKING TEA. THEY HAD A TABLE OF LEAFLETS READY FOR DISTRIBUTION.
11-2-2015 PIC BY IAN MCILGORM pcsos-national.co.uk

3. Research:

Hanging out in a coffee house is also good for research. Donuts may be the stereotypical food of cops, but it’s really the coffee they’re after. I’ve met police officers in Tim Horton’s of course, but if you want to hit someone up for information, nothing beats the camaraderie of waiting in line for your espresso-based fix. (Brewed coffee is just too quick to serve.)

4. You have your own assistants to get you coffee – the baristas:

Not that long ago, my Americano would be ready before I

Image: Starbucks.com
Image: Starbucks.com

got to the counter. That’s how well the staff knew me. It’s trickier now because my old baristas are now managers at other locations. The upside, besides talking to police officers if they’re there, is I can switch up my drinks without feeling bad.

Image: Starbucks.com
Image: Starbucks.com

5. The coffee of course:

Different coffee beverages work for different tasks. For instance, if I’m on a deadline, it’s got to be black coffee… either an Americano or a Redeye. If I need to bribe my inner muse, a caramel macchiato (no whip but don’t hold the sauce) does the job. I can set up, sit back and watch people while looking like I’m really working. But I am working. I might never know what that guy at the next table does for a living, but my speculations may wind up in a story someday.

A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison BruceAlison is the author of  A Bodyguard to Remember, a romantic suspense with a light touch. This is Book 1 in the Men in Uniform Series for Lachesis Publishing.

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

You can connect with Alison on her website and on facebook and twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.

blog post, Book Covers, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, Q and A Tuesday, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, romantic suspense, So you want to be a bestselling author?, Social Media, work routine, writing craft, writing inspiration

Q and A Tuesday: Round 2 with Alison Bruce (light romantic suspense author)

alices-adventures-in-wonderland-978144727999001-1Round 2 with Alison Bruce. Alison is the author of  A Bodyguard to Remember, a romantic suspense with a light touch. This is Book 1 in the Men in Uniform Series for Lachesis Publishing.

 

What was your favourite book as a child and why?

Don’t make me chose one book. I can’t do it. I loved listening to my dad read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and I still have the edition he used. I also have a colour-illustrated edition, an annotated edition, and a book of art by the various Alice illustrators. The first art I bought with my own money was a poster of a Rackham illustration. The second piece was a Rackham illustration from Wind in the Willows, another favourite of mine that my father read me as a child.

Eloise at the Plaza (print)
Eloise at the Plaza (print)

I loved and still love the Eloise books by Kay Thompson. My first copy of Eloise and Christmas, complete with shredded binding and crayon annotations, is still on my shelf along with the special edition of Eloise that is sold at the Plaza Hotel, NYC. In 1993, I dragged my friends into Plaza to see the place Eloise lived. Her portrait is just outside the Palm Court, where Eloise and Nanny take tea.

I could go on and on . . . but I’ll save something for a future interviews, perhaps involving my introduction to mysteries through Freddy the Pig.

Who was your favourite teacher growing up and why?

You really ask tough questions. I should say Miss Steven in Grade 2 because she saved me the academic harm done by my Grade 1 teacher. I can’t say I really appreciated her at the time, however.

fantastic_fox_000I will always have a soft spot for the exchange teacher from New Zealand I had in Grade 5. He introduced me to Paddington Bear, Roald Dahl and Finn Family Moomintroll. Unfortunately, I was having chronic ear problems at the time and I kept being taken out of school all the time RIGHT WHEN THE BOOKS WERE ENDING. Worse, none of these books were readily available in Canada at the time. It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I finally was able to buy and read the books myself.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? Why?

At first I didn’t really think in terms of being a writer. I loved telling stories, so I was a storyteller. I still think of myself that way. I started writing down my stories when I was twelve. I haven’t stopped since.

Who in the writing/publishing world do you admire and why?

4-janet-evanovich-22-millionI admire different people for different reasons. For instance, I respect Janet Evanovich’s professionalism as an author. I’ve read her How I Write and listened to her interviews on her audio books. When I was sticking my courage to the sticking place, to butcher Shakespeare, I found her practical advice helped me put my work out in the market place.

treasure_mountain_9780553276893Reading the author introductions to Louis L’Amour’s books inspired me to put myself out there in a different way. That man had a rich and varied life, but he didn’t rely on his own experiences along. He talked to old men who had lived in the west when it was wild. He read old letters, journals and newspapers to make sure that what he wrote about was authentic. Thanks to him, I reached out to women veterans from World War II in order to have primary accounts for my undergraduate thesis. Now, I take every opportunity to talk to police officers, soldiers, and other men and women in uniform.

Tell us about your daily writing routine – what do you typically do every day?

I’m not a routine sort of person. I usually find it easier to get out of bed and start working on days when I don’t have to. My day jobs are . . . let’s just say scheduling my day can get a bit problematic. Leave us say that I write when I can (often in the wee hours).

spicy!
spicy!

What is your favourite snack or guilty pleasure food that you (may or may not 😉 indulge in when writing?

Coffee is a must. Otherwise I’m a creature of whim. Sometimes I crave salty foods. Then Jalapeno Popper chips are my downfall. Sometimes I NEED chocolate. I really do. Only Cadbury or Lindt chocolate will do. (Sorry Godiva lovers. I find it too sweet.) More often than not, I turn to cheese, crackers and olives.

What does “writing voice” mean to you? Describe your own writing voice.

To me writing voice is similar to a musical voice or artist’s brush. When painting is being authenticated, you can test the paints and canvas and degree of aging scientifically, but someone who really knows their business can also spot a fake because the brush stroke isn’t right. A really good forger may be able to imitate the artist’s technique, but they’ll know the difference even if the examining expert doesn’t. The same thing goes for music. I’m terrible at remembering names, but I can identify a Mozart or Beethoven piece. I’m pretty good at Chopin, Carol King and Beatles.

ghMy writing voice has been influenced by the authors I emulate. They are the masters I learned from, just as artists followed in the footsteps of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, (better known as Donatello). In my case, the team would be Georgette Heyer, Donald Jack, Janet Evanovich and Terry Pratchett (none of which have been used as the names of hero turtles). But my voice is my own.

What do you want to accomplish in the next five years in your writing career?

Is this a test? Honestly, this is a hard question for me to answer. The best I can say is every year I want to get better and better and have more and more fans. I’m all about the adoration. 😉

What are three important things that a writer needs to do to promote himself/herself?

You have to have a well-established social media platform. It doesn’t have to be all-inclusive. Better to do a few really well than try to do all of them and spread yourself too thin.

You have to leave your ego at the door. Your balloon is going to get popped from time to time. Then someone will come along and you’ll be lifted up again. But you have to do some lifting too. It’s not all about you . . . or me. Someone else might need a lift, and you’ll be glad you provided it.

A Bodyguard to Remember by Alison BruceDon’t get discouraged. I did that once and kept my writing to myself for a couple of decades. Admittedly, those decades were also filled with university, jobs, travel and relationships. Not a total loss.

Ice cream or popsicles?

Ice cream! Hmm . . . I wonder if we have any left for dessert?

You can get your copy of  A Bodyguard to Remember at Lachesis Publishing as well as amazon, Barnes and Noble, kobo, and iBooks.

You can connect with Alison on her website and on facebook and twitter.

Like our Lachesis Publishing page on facebook.
Follow Lachesis Publishing us on twitter.