Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Three Weeks Until..


Three weeks. Twenty-one days. Tick tock.

Sorry for posting late. Blogger is having major issues, so don't frustrate yourself trying to comment right now. The fact you stopped by really makes my day. (Yes, I can see the stats)

Time is flying by, and darn, it's so busy and exciting around my house. Three weeks until In The Presence of Evil releases, I'm gearing up for a blog tour, and I'll be heading to New York for the National RWA conference where I'll be signing my books on Wednesday night. And, I'll be part of a panel discussing the Road To Novel Completion on Thursday morning. If you're coming to the conference, I hope you catch me and say hi.

(Okay, BLOGGER WON'T load video, but it is posted below in week five. Please take a peek. Or jump over to my website.)

Now, you've watched the video. When this Blogger problem is fixed, let me know what you think of my attempt to work in film production? And if you'd like to read a few excerpts check out the past two weeks. I'll be back with more next week.

Have a wonderful, safe holiday weekend. Take the time to honor the men and women who died for our freedoms by remembering them.

Thanks for stopping by. AJ

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Who Will Die In Four Weeks?


Only four weeks until IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL releases. Time is zipping by.

Last week I told you this story was based on a true experience. It was, really? The Russian Mafia actually somehow attached wire transfers exiting from our companies account if which I was in charge. The FBI was all over the situation. I can't give you more details. You understand.

Now for excerpt number # 2: Cole turns on his charm for the first time since his return and realizes his feeling for Gina are still very real. I hope you enjoy.

“I always wondered what your bedroom looked like,” Cole said.

Gina’s breasts tightened under the thin fabric of the scrubs. As much as she didn’t want to be affected by him, she couldn’t help her reaction. Her cheeks warmed under his hooded gaze. They were years older. Well beyond the legal age of consent, but she was not going to go there again. He left her once, and he would again.

“Well, now you know.” Gina pushed away from the sink, making Cole back up. Her fists curled but not because she was angry. She was so tempted to touch him in ways he wouldn’t soon forget. Quickly, she slipped by him.

“Yup. Now, I know,” Cole said after her.

Gina stalked through her bedroom and out into the hall.

Cole nearly dropped to his knees watching the sway of her hips under her scrubs. He shouldn’t be thinking about helping her out of them, but damn it, he was a man, and his Gina had grown into one beautiful woman.

He rushed after her and caught her hand at the top of the stairs. “Wait.”

She sighed loudly as she turned. “What now? You’ve checked the entire house. There is no one here except the two of us.”

“You’re exhausted.”

“You’re sharp.”

Cole frowned. He deserved that. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe there was no one after Gina. He’d just searched her house and gave her heart failure several times. He wanted to make it up to her.

She darted her eyes briefly to the floor before meeting his gaze. “I’m sorry.”

“Forget it. I deserved it.”

She didn’t pull her hand away. He brushed the soft skin under his fingers.

“No. You don’t.” Gina shook her head. Her hair shimmered under the overhead light. “You’re only trying to help me. You did help tonight. Why, Cole? Why did you lie to Chief Dean? You weren’t there. You don’t know if I killed David or not?”

“You’re right. I don’t know.”

Her eyes widened into oval pools of amber honey. She yanked her hand from his and paced the length of the small landing. “Why are you here?”

“Because I have a feeling whoever killed David might want to harm you. I just want to make sure you’re safe.”

“Why? You don’t owe me anything.”

“Because protecting is what I do. And the local cops aren’t going to do it. If anything, I think they’re looking at you for the murder.”

She sunk onto the hard backed chair at the end of the hallway and sulked forward, holding her head in her hands. Her long hair fell forward and covered her knees. She looked smaller in the almost fetal position. Helpless.

Cole wanted to gather her in his arms, but he wasn’t sure she’d allow it.

He walked over and nudged her arm. “What you need right now is a hot bath and something to eat.”

“I’m really not hungry.”

“Well, I am.” He grabbed her arms and pulled her from the chair. His strong man approach slipped away at the sight of the tears glistening on her cheeks. Cole fought the urge to pull her closer. The reason would be to comfort her, let her know she was safe, but feeling her soft body against his could be downright dangerous.

His hands moved down her arms to her hands. Small and soft, he squeezed them gently. “You take a bath, and I’ll go downstairs and brew a pot of coffee and make us something to eat.”

“I don’t want anything.”

“Go. No arguing.” He twirled her on her heel and sent her off in the direction of her bedroom.

She stopped at the door. Her long fingers held the frame. “Cole.”

“Don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m not. I just wanted to say thank you.” Her smile was faint, but as small as it was, her smile had brought a warmth to his heart he hadn’t felt in a longtime.

“No problem, Gina.”

She shut the door behind her.

Cole heard the lock click. She hadn’t secured the door because of him. Gina was scared.

While he was here, she had no reason to be.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Who Will Get Killed In Five Weeks?


As promised, I'm back with an excerpt of my new release, 'IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL', which releases when? That's right. June 15, 2011 from the Wild Rose Press. I'm so happy you've been following me. If you haven't peeked at the trailer, please below look to the post Who Will Get Killed In Six Weeks.

If you read that blog you also know 'IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL' is based one of my actual experiences. You know, I still shiver thinking about the moment I learn the Russian Mafia was watching me.

Now the excerpt. It's from chapter three and is the moment our hero marine Cole Hanson returns to Mountian Pine to face the woman who stills holds his heart but betrayed him in the past. Rusty is their common friend. I hope you enjoy.

Rusty’s gaze shifted beyond Cole’s shoulder and an uneasy feeling crept up his back.
He turned. A beautiful woman walked toward them.

“I thought you had to get back to the hardware store, Rusty.” Her gaze locked with Cole’s, and she stopped cold.

Cole’s heartbeat echoed in his ears like the sharp, piercing, rapid fire that had ended his career. Those eyes. He remembered them whenever loneliness slipped past his guard and grabbed him by the throat. “Gina?”

A slight, hesitant smile formed on her face.

Rusty went up on his toes. “Look who’s here.”

“Son-of-a-bitch,” Gina said.

She took the words right out of his mouth. Cole took in every inch of her, starting at the leather boots she wore which added a few inches to her five-foot-five height, and worked his way up. Gina had changed. She wasn’t the lanky sixteen year-old girl he remembered. She had the curves of a woman.

Her rust-colored dress brought out the red highlights in her mass of long curls. Curls he knew coiled tighter when wet after a late afternoon skinny-dip in Harvey’s Lake.

Gina crossed the short distance between them, holding his stare until she looked at Rusty. “You didn’t tell me Cole was coming.”

His name carried a quiver.

“I wanted to surprise you.” It was evident Rusty was enjoying the scene. The guy was practically hoppin’ in place.

“Well, you did that.”

Cole saw the rise of her breasts with an intake of air. Then, with the stark determination he remembered she met his gaze head on.

“So what brings you back to Mountain Pine? I know small town is not your lifestyle of choice.”

“That’s true. Rusty invited me for the holidays.”

Gina’s dark lashes did little to hide a flash of the storm seething inside her, and he wondered why she thought she had the right to be angry.

“Is that how you greet an old friend? Go ahead, hug the guy.” Rusty grabbed her elbow and urged her closer.

“Right.” She took a step and stuck out her hand. “It’s been a long time.”

From behind, Rusty gave her a swift nudge, and Gina fell against him.

Cole stiffened and fought to keep his breathing normal. At one time, they’d been friends. Close friends. First-time lovers.

“I’m going to kill him.”

Her warm whisper tickled Cole’s cheek. His eyes drifted shut as he leaned into her, wrapping her in his arms. Her hair smelled the same as it did years ago, like a summer field of wildflowers. Her body fit perfectly against his, just as it always had, and he felt the years slip away.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Remembering Why I Am


Our first steps were probably hard to take. Remember that moment. We clung to a stable element. We looked out into a world where thousands of new adventures waited for us. Our hearts fluttered with exhilaration like a Hummingbird’s wings. Our knees trembled. We hesitated. Our feet felt like they weigh more than our entire bodies.

A quest as old as mankind called again. We drew a breath and let go of the safe haven. The first shaky step made us hesitate, but we didn’t stop. We sat our jaws, focused and took another—more stable this time. With each step our confidence grew and showed in our smiles. We started our journey. We made one of our dreams come true and we’ve been working at others ever since.

Whatever your dream has been, remember one of the people who played a huge part in encouraging you to step on the path.

My mom is my best friend, and today I'll take a few minutes, or hours, to let her know I appreciated her.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. (((HUGS))


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Friday Friend Cynthia Justlin

Today, I welcome my fellow Ruby-Slippered sister, Cynthia Justlin who just published her novel 'HER OWN BEST ENEMY'. I'm in the middle of reading this story and it is very good. Please welcome her as she shares what she learned about writing romantic suspense from watching 'Romanicng The Stone'.

I write action adventure romantic suspense. A dangerous quest, insurmountable obstacles, lots of gunfire, explosions, and overwhelming raging hormones. It’s my thing, and has been ever since I first watched ‘Romancing the Stone’. I recently had the fun of catching it again on AMC. So I bring you my Romancing the Stone words of wisdom:

Everything I wanted to know about writing Romantic Suspense I learned from “Romancing the Stone”:

10. The shinier the treasure, the better. Who wasn’t enamored of El Corazon? I would’ve tromped through jungles and done battle with snakes to get my hands on that shiny, ginormous emerald too.

9. When in doubt, throw in some crocodiles. Seriously, without the crocodiles, Joan and Jack never would’ve made it out of Colombia alive.

8. A villain with a private army, is a man with a lot of guns. Even if he doesn’t have very good aim. Just how many rounds of ammo did Colonel Zolo’s men go through? And yet, Jack and Joan manage to come out with barely a scratch every time.

7. It always pays to have a drug lord in your pocket who reads romance novels. “Joan Wilder? The Joan Wilder?” I admit, that’s my favorite line. And the way Juan helps them escape is just priceless. And very, very handy.

6. Danger unleashes the feisty heroine hidden inside those old lady clothes. One of my favorite parts of this movie is the way Joan is transformed from this lonely, repressed woman to this fiery, adventurous creature. You can see it in the way her hair starts out in a severe bun, but is loose and luxurious by the end.

5. Only a real hero can pull off an all white outfit. Okay, so I really don’t find Michael Douglas at all sexy in this movie, but the white get-up he wears during their ‘dinner date’ cracks me up every time.

4. Dancing is a sure-fire way for the hero to get into the heroine’s panties. I don’t know how well this one works in real life, but make a hero and heroine do the samba, and they’ll be tearing up the sheets in no time.

3. A cocky hero is never altruistic. Jack couldn’t wait to get his hands on the map and that treasure. If you really want to see the sparks fly, give your hero an ulterior motive.

2. Pit your characters against each other and give them tough choices. I love when Jack and Joan end up on opposite sides of the river (she with the map, he with the emerald). You just have to keep watching to find out whether Jack’s going to take the emerald and skip town, or make good on his promise to Joan.

1. Not every story needs a sequel. Know when to stop. Can we say ‘Jewel of the Nile’ anyone? *shudder*

What movie has inspired your writing? Or, if you aren't a writer, what movie never gets old for you?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Who Will Die In Six Weeks?


I woke up this morning and realized it's only six weeks until 'IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL' is released by the Wild Rose Press on June 15, 2011. Like 'EVIL'S WITNESS', the idea for this story is based on an actual experience. Imagine my surprise and fear when I learned I was this close (holding my fingers up a fraction of an inch apart)to Russina Mafia connections. Seriously, I was nervous, but at the same time I was already plotting out this story.

Over the next weeks, I'm going to tell you a little more about the story and share excerpts. I hope you'll stop by and check them out. And, on June 15, 2011, I'm going to throw a cyber party here. You're invited and so our your friends, so please spread the word. I'll have plenty of cyber-bubbly and chocolate. I'll also be giving away prizes to those who comment. More about that later, as June 15, 2011 gets closer. Now let me share the blurb for 'IN THE PRESENCE OF EVIL' and my new trailer. I hope you enjoy.


Senior loan officer GINA RIZZO becomes a pawn between two predators rivaling for the head of a Russian mafia family. One wants her gone. The other wants her alive. When Gina is framed for the murder of her boss by a mafia hit-man, her only hope to stay out of jail is to accept the help of the man who broke her heart years ago. Staring death down is easier for Marine Cole Hanson than facing the woman who stole his soul and then betrayed him. However, when Cole sees Gina in handcuffs, old feelings flare and even though he doesn’t trust her with his heart, he willingly steps up as her alibi. Gina’s life is threatened and staying alive while hunting down a murder becomes their objective. Can they learn to trust each other again? And if they do, will their rekindled love be their demise?