Thursday, August 25, 2016

"Quiz Show" by Duncan Whitehead

NEW RELEASE and REVIEW
Quiz Show:
A Dark Comedy
by Duncan Whitehead


Quiz Show is the latest short story by bestselling and award-winning author Duncan Whitehead. It's ON SALE for only $0.99 to 26 August. You can read my review below.
For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club and my blog post on The Reluctant Jesus.

Description
A retired FBI serial killer hunter who solved every case but one. A flawless record apart from the elusive killer who got away. No clues, no motive, no logical connection between the victims. Until now.

Excerpt
Click below to read an excerpt.


Praise for the Book
"This is a refreshingly blunt soliloquy about the author's most baffling whodunnit of his career. What a fascinating and great read!" ~ Donna Templeton
"A good short story about a retired FBI agent and the one case he never closed. A short fun read. Check it out." ~ D. Keller
"Very short story. This is not your typical all the answers at the end 'mystery'. If you need closure this is not the story for you. I did enjoy the story and was shocked when it just ended." ~ Mary Rhonda Marquez
"Totally different type of book for me. Enjoyed it very much first time for this author as well. Found it entertaining." ~ Jackie
"A retired investigator is bothered by the serial killer he wasn't able to catch. He could not figure out what these victims had in common or why they were selected to be killed. This story was keeping my interest right up until it suddenly ended in a cliffhanger." ~ Judy A. Ptacek

My Review


By Lynda Dickson
On retiring from the Serial Killer Unit of the FBI, our narrator finds himself at a loose end. But he's got that one cold case that still haunts him. They have fingerprints and even a description, but what is the killer's motive behind these seemingly unrelated murders?
The narrator has a great conversational tone that makes us feel like he is speaking directly to us, and he provides just enough interesting details about his job to keep us wanting more. This is a clever story that highlights the power of serendipity. And it just goes to show that it's not about the result, it's all about the thrill of the chase.

About the Author
Award Winning Writer, Duncan Whitehead, was born in England and is the author of the best-selling and award-winning The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club trilogy. The series, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness in the real life Savannah neighborhood in which he once lived is a humorous mystery, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists.
He has also written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for a variety of websites both in the US and the UK.
He has written further novels: a comedy set in Manhattan, The Reluctant Jesus, published in April 2014 and republished in July 2015, and several short stories.
Duncan is well known for his charity work, kindness to animals, children and old people; and, of course, his short-lived bullfighting career and his hideous hunchback.
In February 2045, he invented time travel and now spends much of his time in either the future (where he has won the lottery an astonishing 117 times) and the present day.

Freebies
Sign up for the author's newsletter to get three FREE short stories.


Links

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Beyond Your Touch" by Pat Esden

NEW RELEASE and GUEST POST
Beyond Your Touch
(Dark Heart Book 2)
by Pat Esden


Beyond Your Touch, the second book in the Dark Heart series by Pat Esden, will be released on 30 August but is currently available for pre-order. Also available: A Hold on Me (read my blog post).


This book tour is brought to you by Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
She wants more than he can promise.
His desires could lead to betrayal.
But without each other, neither can survive the dangers ahead.
Annie Freemont knows this isn’t the right time to get involved with a man like Chase. After years of distrust, she’s finally drawing close to her estranged family, and he’s an employee on their estate in Maine. Though she never intended to stay on the estate for long, her father’s illness and the mysteries surrounding her family made leaving impossible. And now with the newfound hope of rescuing her long-missing mother, Annie’s determined to be involved with the family’s plans one way or another.
If only she could keep her mind off Chase and focus on the impending rescue. But there’s something about the enigmatic Chase that she can’t resist. And she’s not the only woman. Annie fears a seductive stranger who is key to safely freeing her mother is also obsessed with him. As plans transform into action and time for a treacherous journey into a strange world draws near, every move Annie makes will test the one bond she’s trusted with her secrets, her desires - and her heart.


Praise for the Book
"Mystery meets sizzling romance in the second book of the Dark Heart series. For those who enjoyed the first book, this one is a definite must-read." ~ Rebecca
"Esden's writing is strong. Annie is a relatable young woman contending with love, jealousy, and an inherent drive to save her mother. The tension really picks up as the book continues. This is a book to blaze through in a day or two. I found the mystery and adventure aspects to be stronger than the romance, but all of the elements blend well for a solid, fast read." ~ Beth Cato
"I found Beyond Your Touch to be a wonderfully satisfying sequel to A Hold on You, which I also read and enjoyed. I very much enjoyed the main character, Annie. She is strong, intelligently written, and relatable - with a realistic amount of insecurity regarding her all-encompassing first love." ~ Debbie Causevic
"The creativity the author weaves is quite magical. The djinn realm, the carpets, secret passageways with mixed messages, fun stuff and vividly drawn." ~ K.L. Hallam
"I thoroughly enjoyed each paragraph of this book. After reading the first book I could hardly wait until I got my hands on this one and I was not disappointed. In fact, I enjoyed it even more than the first one because it took me to other realms with the ease necessary to make me a believer." ~ Ruby Rice



Guest Post by the Author
Using Your Senses to Get into the Writing Zone
Hi, my name is Pat Esden. I’m delighted to have been invited to chat about using your sense to get into the writing zone. I’m the author of The Dark Heart series from Kensington Books. A Hold on Me, book one in the series, is currently available. Book two, Beyond Your Touch, is going to be released on 30 August.
It’s so much easier to write when you’re in the creative zone. But it can take time to tune out real life and get lost in the flow of ideas and words. This is particularly true when returning to a project you haven’t worked on recently or when switching from one manuscript to another.
One way to get into the zone more quickly is by stimulating your senses. A lot of writers use music to tune out the real world and get back to their story. Creating separate playlists for each novel is a great way to get your brain not only stimulated, but also focused on the right project. Here’s the Spotify playlist I created for Beyond Your Touch (Dark Heart Book 2).



Some people prefer to write in silence and actually find auditory stimulation distracting. I’m somewhat this way. I love music when drafting, but not when revising. My brain responds much better to scents. In fact, I pick candles and incense with different fragrances for each of my manuscripts. Burning them quickly puts me into the flow. Designated scents make it easy for me to shifts from one project to another. I also use fresh flowers. Their smell not only puts me in a creative mood, but their colors appeal to my visual sense.
If you tend to respond to visual stimulation, then you might want to try creating Pinterest boards for your manuscripts or even for specific types of moods you write about: one for romance, another for battle scenes, anger ... When I’m having a hard time getting into the zone, I often spend a few minutes cruising through the Pinterest boards that I created for the project I want to work on. It works even better if you listen to a project’s playlist while looking at the corresponding boards. Here’s a link to my Beyond Your Touch Pinterest board that matches the Spotify playlist.




Another trick for using visual stimulation to get you into the flow is to change the font you’re using. This quick technique combined with changing the font size often can get the creative juices flowing.
Taste is perhaps the easiest way to get into a creative mood. But don’t drink the same beverage or consume the same snack all the time. Consciously choose one or two foods or drinks to represent each project and don’t consume them when writing other things. Perhaps one novel is iced mint tea and for another you choose dried apricots or licorice. Find things with a distinctive flavor that occurs in the project or reminds you of it in some way. Not only will this help when you sit down at your desk, but your brain will begin the shift while you’re pouring the tea into a special cup or laying out the snack on a specific plate.
Some people respond well to tactile stimulation. I know, you’re wondering how the heck can that be done while typing or holding a pen? Our sense of touch occurs all over our bodies. For some people the act of wearing a hat, mitts, or a costume that "feels" like the story can stimulate creativity. Some writers might find slipping on a silk robe to write a romantic scene uncomfortable, but for others it would be the perfect way to get in the zone.
Most writers get the best result from a combination of sensory stimulation. Experiment. Discover what works for you. You might just be surprised how much writing time you gain and how much frustration you avoid by consciously adding sensory stimulation to your writing routine.
Now it’s your turn. Which of these techniques to you use? Have you tried tailoring them for specific projects?

About the Author
Pat Esden is an antique-dealing florist by trade. She’s also a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and the League of Vermont Writers. Her short stories have appeared in a number of publications, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle literary magazine, and George H. Scither’s anthology Cat Tales.
Her new adult paranormal novel, A Hold on Me (Dark Heart Book 1) is available from Kensington Books. Beyond Your Touch (Dark Heart Book 2) will be released 30 August.

Links

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"Angelboy Volume 2: Cain" by N. M. Beguesse

REVIEW and EXCERPT
Angelboy Volume 2:
Cain
by N. M. Beguesse


Cain is the second volume in the Angelboy grahic novel series by N. M. Beguesse. The author stops by today to share an excerpt. You can also read my review. Also available: Angelboy: Volume 1 (read my blog post).


Description
On his journey back home, Cyrus - an angel who fell from heaven - gets involved in an intriguing adventure he could have never imagined! He comes across an inmate escaped from the insane asylum, but some things are not as they appear on the surface. Who is the real villain - The salaryman whose soul suddenly took a diabolical turn? Or the corrupt mayor pulling the strings behind the scenes? What ensues is a chase across the city pitting two childhood friends against one another.
Note: suitable for older teens (ages 16+).

Excerpt

Praise for the Book
"This book was absolutely exceptional! It is rated for 16 and up though so there are definitely mature themes and scenes, but I feel like these only add on to the book rather than just be there for shock value."
"Good book. Local author."
"The art is 5 out of 5, hands-down."
"It's absolutely fantastic!"
"The panelling is great and the psychology is intense."
"It's awesome!"
"It's wonderful purely from the art aspect alone, but the story itself is great as well."

My Review


By Lynda Dickson
In the first volume, Cyrus is shot dead and becomes an angel. Now, as he continues on his journey home, Cyrus encounters Lee, who has escaped from a lunatic asylum. And Lee can see Cyrus! When Lee seeks revenge on his nemesis, Cyrus tags along in an attempt to save Lee's soul.
In this volume, Cyrus discovers his talent and perhaps the reason why he was put on Earth as an angel. There is a lot of action and your eyes will be dancing all over the pages trying to keep up! The illustrations are dark, emotional, and full of detail. However, it does get a bit confusing at times, swapping between scenes and points-of-view. As implied in the title, there are parallels with the story of Eve and Cain and Abel. But in the fight between good and evil, the villain is not always who you think he is. Once again, there are underlying themes of tolerance and forgiveness.
I look forward to Cyrus's next adventure.
Warnings: mental illness, violence, coarse language.

About the Author
By day, I'm a normal girl who codes. On the evenings and weekends, I become the writer, artist publisher of Angelboy. When I come home from work in the evenings, I can't wait to create something - whether I'm drawing, writing, painting, or just dreaming, I just can't wait to do it! I love the story and the process so much, my emotions just keeps spilling out my work. I'm serious!
I have a BS in Computer Science from the University of Florida and a Master's in Sequential Art at SCAD. I currently live in Savannah, Georgia.

Links

Monday, August 22, 2016

"Voices in the Wind" by Judy Bruce

INTERVIEW and REVIEW
Voices in the Wind
(Wind Series Book 1)
by Judy Bruce


This is the second in a special series on author Judy Bruce. Today we feature Voices in the Wind, the first book in the Wind Series. You can read an excerpt from the book, as well as my review and an interview with the author. Also available: Alone in the Wind and Cries in the Wind.



For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Death Steppe: A World War II Novel.

Description
The story is set in western Nebraska in the American Midwest. A young attorney accepts a job at her imperious father’s law firm, which forces her to confront tragedies old and new, and leads her into a harrowing fight for survival and the transformation that brings forgiveness and a new perspective.
Along the way, the heroine, Megan, must deal with a crooked attorney, a tornado, lots of root beer, a blond stud, voices in the wind, heartbreak, a lunatic with a shotgun, delicious pastries, isolation, and lies.
This rugged High Plains land of Megan’s hometown is the desolate, windblown, harsh land of the pioneer, American Indian, and cowboy. Even in adulthood, it stirs a strange yearning in Megan, as she deals with the pressures of a law firm and a new love, as well as her attempts to unravel the haunting mystery surrounding her mother. Meanwhile, a disturbed neighbor seeks vengeance against Megan and her friend, driving them into the darkness of the rough land in a test of her wits, fortitude, and resourcefulness. Ultimately, her greatest challenge is to forgive.

Excerpt
Chapter 1
I wasn’t ready to go home. I needed more time to think about the decision that would set the course of my life. Yet I was forced to go now, for the funeral was tomorrow. So I let my Camry take me onto Interstate 80, out of the trees and green, rolling hills of Omaha, westward into the flat dullness of the Great Plains. Cornfields rolled by. Should I take a position at my father’s law firm? Wheat. He’d been prepping me for years—maybe my whole life. Grain silos. Or should I accept the job offer in Omaha I’d received only yesterday? Soybeans. A job in my dinky hometown of Dexter, in the middle of nowhere, meant leaving David behind. Center pivot irrigation. But Uncle Bill and that big ole house I loved were west—just about as far west as you could go in Nebraska. Black Angus. I received the Omaha offer because of all that I already knew, all that my father had taught me. Scrub brush. Did I owe him? Did I belong there? Buffalo grass. Was I brave enough to deal with all that haunted me—the voices in the wind?
When the Rocky Mountains punched through the land in the west eons ago, it thrust the land to the east upward, creating the High Plains. My anxiety rose with the elevation. The commerce of the region changed from grain-reaping to hoof-bearing—I was getting close to home. What should I do? Dealing with my father was a must. And I needed to find out why my recent search yielded no official record of my mother’s death. My stomach cart wheeled.
I looped off the interstate southward onto Highway 51, proceeding past the ditches of green weeds and crunchy brown grass interspersed with purple prairie clover, white aster, and pink smartweed. Bluffs, the big chunks of land left after a bazillion years of wind and water, rose out of the ground on both sides of the roadway. Harney Street, located a half mile north of town, came much too quickly. And my father, Frank Docket, was much too eager to see me. He must have timed my trip, including my stop for a sandwich at a truck stop in Grand Island, then left work early.
I stopped my car in the double driveway of my home, a stately red-brick two-story with white trim, black shutters, and three attic dormers, and gazed at my father and my uncle who had joined him on the front steps. Juxtaposed, they created an amusing impression—Uncle Bill, age fifty-four, was the robust rancher, weather-hardened and built solid, with a Husker cap covering a thick head of brown-gray hair; next to him stood the equally tall but thin man of fifty-seven years, with the paunch of an office worker and receding brown hair, grayed at the temples, in a white shirt with his navy tie still tight against his neck, bearing a disruption of the face that was meant to be taken as a smile. Uncle Bill greeted me with a bear hug and a big grin. My father thanked me for coming home on short notice then patted my shoulder once as I ascended the front steps into the house. Uncle Bill followed me up the main staircase and plopped my suitcase and garment bag down on my denim comforter.
A strange, fleeting thought struck me—how different would my personality, my life be if Uncle Bill was my father?
“Megan, this has hit your dad real hard,” he said. “Not that he would ever talk about what he’s feeling. Be nice, okay?”
“C’mon, give me some credit.”
“Well, get unpacked and come down. I’m glad you’re here, Shortstuff.”
Of course I would be kind. Neither of us possessed cranky dispositions, apart from those two days last summer when our air conditioner died. Even then, we were fine once the new unit was installed. But my father possessed a distinct personality. As an attorney, he was so many things—respected, formidable, reserved, prudent, immutable, and successful. But as a father he disappointed me with his inadequate, unresponsive, grave, imperious demeanor. We rarely argued, but when we did, Uncle Bill made an effort to get a ringside seat. My uncle always said I could go toe-to-toe with his brother like nobody he ever met—including himself. I think he enjoyed watching his big brother get taken down a few notches.
The key was to never get drawn into an impulsive spat. When I knew we had a confrontation coming, I thought out my attack and planned my counterattack to the points he would raise. After my boyfriend moved in with me in my Omaha apartment, my father said he wouldn’t “subsidize a slacker.” My ready response was a check refunding part of my allowance for rent. I countered his bishop with my bishop, his queen with my queen. The result was usually a draw, though I was smart enough to remember his deft moves, his choice words, and his good advice. The dispute often ended with both of us promising “to think about it.” But now, as I sat on the edge of my bed, I knew I wasn’t ready for all that lay ahead.
I roused myself by checking my texts and phone messages. I left a quick message for David to let him know I’d arrived. Then I located a cleansing cloth in my bag to wipe the travel from my face. After I brushed my teeth, I descended the main staircase to find my father waiting with a large glass of foamy root beer.
“You got the good stuff,” I said after I took a long draw.
“You bet. Beulah says to come by when you can. Now come sit down.”
I followed my father into the family room. As if on cue, we both stopped then moved together to the window to marvel at the sudden dark clouds. The panhandle had been baking—unusually high temperatures and twenty-seven days without rain had everyone worrying about a drought. Together we looked over to Bill who was grilling steaks on the patio as he watched the sky. The plate stacked with corn on the cob made me wonder if I’d brought floss. My father’s voice broke the silence.
“I put new carpet in your office.”
I turned to my father. His eyes were softened and his face was slackened with expectation. I knew what he hoped I’d say.
“Father, I just can’t think about that tonight. What time is the visitation?”
“Seven to nine.”
“So, had he been sick?”
“No. It just happened.”
I’d heard my father give cogent closing arguments worthy of Atticus Finch, but I would need to ask Uncle Bill for the details regarding the brain aneurysm. For a moment, I thought he was ready to say more, but he turned back to the window. Why was he so closed off with me?
“How’s Mrs. Whitfield?”
“Not good.”
Then we heard the rain. At first, the sparse drops just dislodged the dust from the windows in streaks, but then it came down with a whoosh. I ran into the mud room to help Uncle Bill. Before I dashed out into the rain, I stopped my father from following me.
“You’ll need to take that suit to the cleaners. You should stay in.”
I ran out onto the brick patio, certain my father wouldn’t follow after I’d raised such a sensible point. Ever since I had arrived, he’d looked at me with big basset hound eyes—a man most people would liken to a Doberman pinscher. Would he play the good old family dog—obedient, patient, and hopeful—until I said yes?
At supper, we laughed at the moist steaks and the wet corn then became somber for the two hours at the funeral home. Were those soft eyes for me or for the loss of his good friend and law firm partner? I went to bed listening to the rain and wondering about my father.
***
I awoke early the next morning, my mind and body still on Central Standard Time. With my destination clear in my mind, I donned my watch and tied my brown hair into a pony tail. While I was eating a bowl of Life, Patty White Horse arrived. Patty was our Jane-of-all-trades—our housekeeper, cook, grocery-shopper, counselor, and confidante. At age forty-one, she no longer shot baskets with me, but had remained staunchly loyal to my family for the past thirteen years. Tall and knock-kneed, she was three-quarters Oglala Lakota Sioux, yet an “Apple” as she called herself—red on the outside, white on the inside. She’d spent the first half of her life denying her heritage, the last half embracing it, and the past ten years trying to forget the marriage my father and uncle helped her escape. My father drew up the divorce decree and Uncle Bill pounded her husband after Patty came to work with a black eye. The townspeople considered my uncle a genial man and a good storyteller, but he had a wicked right hook that made me proud.
“Hey, Megan! Glad to see ya. Whatcha doin’ up so early?” Patty said as we embraced.
“Ah, just antsy, I guess.”
“Congrats on passing the bar exam. Your dad says they’re tough.”
“Somehow I managed it.” I loaded my bowl and spoon in the dishwasher.
“You’re gonna be a good lawyer just like your dad.”
I smiled at her then looked out the window.
“Well, I know you, so it’s no surprise where you’re headed. I won’t keep you.”
“Yeah, we’ll talk later.”
“Might be much later. I volunteered to help over at the church with the funeral luncheon.”
I headed out to the plush green lawn my father worked hard to maintain. With one step, I went from dense green fescue to brown scrub grass, still damp from the night’s rain. The south wind pushed at my back, urging me onward as it whipped around the house. I continued north onto the dense patches of the gray-green curly leaves of the buffalo grass. Once the main source of food for the great herds of bison from the frontier days, the hardy tufts still provided forage for white-tailed deer, rabbits, and prairie dogs. This was the rugged land I loved—too full of ravines, gullies, rocky hillcrests, and scrub brush for cattle, vehicles, or people, as my father always contended. But I knew every crag, cranny, and crevice in every hill, butte, and bluff within miles. Along with our concrete basketball court beyond our green ash, this had served as my playground since I was a toddler.
As my feet took me onward, I thought about Patty’s compliment. I did want to be a good lawyer. The law was important—you determined the facts then you applied the law. Humans had always tried to make sense of the chaos of our world. God gave us meaning, laws gave us order. So people like my father, and soon me, sought to make right what accidents, criminals, and human weaknesses tore apart. Laws made justice on earth possible. Laws were rational, I was rational.
And yet.
As a toddler, I had been frightened by the jagged shadows the ditches and rocky mounds cast at twilight, though nothing scared me more than the wind. Ever in fear of blowing away, I stayed close to the house. Later when I ventured into the rough land, I imagined I heard sounds in the wind—a cry like that of a woman and moan like that of a child, one trapped in a barrel or a closet. As the voices weren’t threatening, I grew up listening, waiting, wondering about what I heard. In time, I dismissed the sounds as imaginary. I decided the child’s voice was mine because it seemed to age as I did; later, the deepening of the voice confused me. The woman’s voice was surely my longing for a mother. Never did I tell anyone about the sounds that didn’t exist. Only on this land did I hear the voices—no other place was so forceful, so haunting.
After I crested a hill I had nicknamed Rufus, a voice stopped me so abruptly that I stumbled to my knees. This was a new voice, a woman’s voice, calm and steady and powerful. I looked around for someone who could be speaking, but saw no one. I jumped to my feet and ran back toward the house in a panic. I stopped when I heard another voice, that of a young man, the one I’d heard since childhood. This utterance—never did the voices make words—seemed as if it came from inside a well. I staggered forward only to be halted by the sound of woman’s voice that always accompanied the young man’s.
Nope. I hadn’t heard anything. Yet the memory of the new voice kept me walking at a quickened pace. I checked my watch and was shocked that my brief walk actually took an hour. My mind had traveled farther than my legs. Questions swirled around in my head, but I needed to set them aside and prepare for the funeral.
The next few hours passed slowly. I decided to forgo the pink goo Uncle Bill plopped on his plate in the buffet line of the church’s social hall. Instead, I opted for a limp salad with a dollop of French dressing to go with my sandwich of cheap wheat bread, turkey, and a large slathering of mustard, the strong kind they serve at roadside burger joints. I took a glass of iced tea from Glenda Purvis, my former second grade teacher, now retired and sporting recently permed hair tinged with lavender. I sat down with my uncle, while my father stood erect, just behind the shell-shocked Kathy Whitfield and her sons, Zach and Zane, as they greeted the funeral guests entering the hall. 
Although I needed to talk to my father about Zach, his inadequate junior associate, I felt bad that his father had died. That must feel terrible. I lost my mother when I was three years old, so I didn’t remember her. She existed only in a few photos buried in a dresser drawer. The yearning to know her haunted me always.
Needing to think, I roamed the hallway outside the Sunday school classrooms. This trip home was different, but how? Did my sadness feel stronger? Was there something I needed to understand? No, discover. Wait, why did I think that? Was something hidden? The response to my longing had always been passive—was I now to act? 
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"Having grown up in Nebraska, I found the settings realistic and the characters fascinating. The plot grabs you and keeps you wanting to turn the next page and not put it down. The ending surprises the reader ... Can't wait for her next book!" ~ MP on urglassesgirl
"Voices in the Wind will intrigue readers everywhere. I loved Judy Bruce's way of showing us what happened and how it happened. The story drags readers in from the beginning and won't let go until the read it all. This is the first novel in the Wind Series by Judy Bruce and I loved it. I can't wait to read what happens next inside of her second novel, Alone in the Wind." ~ Danielle Urban
"I love all the details in the book. I could not put it down." ~ Carla Kelman
"A story of loss, heartache, and ultimately forgiveness, Voices In The Wind is a great book for fans of human drama and hauntingly beautiful landscapes." ~ Johanna Bouchard
"Overall, this is a beautiful story of the resilience of the human spirit and its ability to forgive those who hurt us most. I can’t wait to read the next in the series." ~ N. N. Light

My Review


By Lynda Dickson
At its heart, this is the story of three families - the Dockets, the Wilsons, and the Eldritches - bound together by tragedy. Megan Docket returns home to Dexter, Nebraska, for the funeral of her father's law partner, and she decides to stay and work in her father's law firm. She encounters numerous obstacles along the way, as well as romance and a family secret even greater than she imagined. Through it all, she hears voices in the wind that sweeps over her father's land. And, as her housekeeper Patty says, Megan "feels things". Even the Lakota Indians dub her "The Woman Who Feels". 
Voices in the Wind is a mixture of romance, mystery, paranormal, historical, literary, family saga, and even thriller. The story is full of the minutiae of daily life, and the author shows a comprehensive knowledge of legal proceedings, medical conditions, computer security, and even funeral arrangements. There are a lot of characters and a lot of details, and it's difficult to know whether every storyline is relevant to the story as a whole, or just a minor subplot. The landscape itself is also a character - or even several characters - in its own right, with parts of the land even having been given names (e.g., Rufus, Miss Gulch, Big Leo) by Megan and Derek when they were children.
Even though this is the first in a series, this story is complete - no cliffhanger here. I'm interested to see what the rest of the series holds.

Interview with the Author (originally featured on the author's blog)
What inspired you to write this book?
On my way from my home in Omaha to a family vacation in the Rocky Mountains, we stopped in western Nebraska for a break. This area of the High Plains, with its ruggedness and relentless wind stirred something inside me. Yes, the Rockies are spectacular, but this feeling of yearning and eeriness stuck with me. I don’t think I can describe how my mind then jumped to the creation of the characters and story. Like my protagonist, Megan, I’m a law school graduate. Spoiler: I’ve never killed anyone. And thankfully, I don’t find trouble like Megan does. I’ll never write a memoir – I’m much too boring.
Do you plan on writing more books (with these characters) (on this topic)?
This is the first book in a series set in the Nebraska panhandle. For now, I plan on 8 books in the series.
Where is your favorite place to write books?
I write in my home office, but I know that many of my ideas will come while I’m on the exercise bike or in the shower or during supper, so I keep paper stashed in every room of the house. It’s these collected ideas that make up the bulk of my books. Inspiration can strike at any time - I try to be ready for it.
Did you outline this book first? Or just start writing?
Oh, I always write and outline and separate my notes according to a three-part structure. I know that I will veer from the outline and the story will sometimes take its own direction, and I go with that, but the outline helps me to get where I need to end up. An outline also helps to remind me where I’m going, so writer’s block is not a problem for me.
What was your favorite scene or chapter to write and why?
There’s a life and death chase in the darkness across the rough land that was great fun to write. If anything, writing should be fun and exciting.
What was the biggest challenge in bringing this book to publication?
My first draft didn’t work, so I set it aside and went on to other writing. Then one day, a few years later, I knew just how to fix it. So I rewrote it. I found an agent, but she retired due to health matters. So I found a small publisher on my own.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Oh, my writing is always better when a have a big mug of Starbucks Double Chocolate hot chocolate next to me. It has 3 grams of dietary fiber! And the cocoa beans are "ethically sourced". I have no idea what that means, but it sounds good.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’m a law school graduate; I was working as an attorney-negotiator for an auto insurance co. when I needed to stop working full-time and stay home to tend to my profoundly autistic son. I was working part-time as consultant when it occurred to me that I ought to write down some of the stories I always had floating around in my introverted, middle-child noggin. So I came to writing late in life (I was forty).
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Aside from family activities, if I’m not writing a first draft, I’m developing my next story or revising the last one and dreaming of writing the next one.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Study your craft - structure, characterization, plot, etc. And learn grammar! Agents and publishers expect it (if you know grammar, then you’ll be more successful at finding fun and creative ways to destroy it). There’s a whole industry out there to help you develop storytelling. I’ve found Writers Digest to be a great tool.
Also, feed the storyteller inside you. I don’t like to read other writers when I’m writing, but movies can stir ideas. And don’t limit yourself to one area - explore comedy, war, Japanese anime, classic Hollywood, action, foreign, anything, even if it isn’t your area of storytelling.
Revise! Then revise again and again. Even if I don’t change anything major, there’s always stuff to smooth out, tweak, polish, whatever you want to call it. Make sure it’s perfect before you submit it to agents or publishers.

About the Author
Judy Bruce is a novelist and screenwriter. In addition to her acclaimed novel, Death Steppe: A World War II Novel, three stories have been published from her Wind Series: Voices in the Wind, Alone in the Wind, and Cries in the Wind. Her novel, Fire in the Wind, will be published in the fall of 2016 by Merriam Press. Judy maintains a website and a blog. She is a wife, mother, and sister residing in Omaha, Nebraska, and a Creighton University law school graduate. Her autistic son keeps her in touch with her quirky side.


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