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I Have a Shipping Problem

DontGiveUpShipI’m figuring out something about myself that probably I am the last to know. I have a shipping problem. I get totally hung up in the lives of fictional characters- especially ones I can build a ship for. The only thing I obsess over that has no ship (for me) is Supernatural and if you’ve seen the cast on this show, you can see how it floats without one. I mean. I just can’t. Oh, and The Walking Dead because Daryl.  **flail**

Mostly all the books, movies, shows that I fan out on are the one where I see a potential romance. Don’t get me wrong, relationships in general are my second favorite, which brings us back to Supernatural with the best-most-complicated character dynamics Ever. And TWD. But those are a different emotional experience. They’re a whole different set of feels. Potential romance is my drug. Chemistry between characters keeps me up at night. Especially when they have no idea what they’re doing to one another and the audience anytime the share a scene. I love it. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love it.

This is why I love fanfic. I get to explore all the scenarios of my ships with others in need. It’s fabulous. It’s my Disneyland. My personal Firefly voyage. *swoons* So, almost a year ago, I wrote my first fanfic – I’m a shameless lurker over there. The writing is different that the industry and I didn’t want to look like a poser by jumping in and doing everything wrong, but my Olicity was nearly killing me to death, so I gave it a try. In lieu of NaNoWriMo, I wrote an Arrow/Olicity fanfic and it was a total blast. Plus, a wonderful break from deadlines and rejection because, as you know, fanfic readers are lovely, encouraging people who remind me why I bother writing anything-ever in this hatey world of meaners. So, it was really good for me. I plan to do it again this November because when I read there was an Olicity KISS and the producers/directors- whoever CUT it? I died inside. So, my head is swimming in Olicity. Again. Still. Always. I should also address my Bellarke needs (The 100) and possibly some Haven problems and my love for Boyd and Ava. IDK. I guess November will be a busy month.

I don’t get to write off-deadline often, so I will make the most of it. Meanwhile, I thought I’d post the link to that old Olicity fanfic and share the opening chapter here. I’d like to rewrite this…but it was my first fanfic, so there’s something sentimental about that first time. I’m going to leave it alone.

A Green Tie Between Friends <– link to the story

Chapter one

Oliver trailed his fingertips over the tie, knotted at his collar and partially concealed by his sleek black jacket. He fastened the final button and left his office on a thank you mission.

Oliver smiled at the secretary outside his door. “Hold my calls, please.”

“Yes, Mr. Queen.”

Shiny elevator doors opened as he approached the hall’s end. Perfect timing. Since opening the poorly wrapped box on his desk, the idea of waiting on anything had seemed impossible. He crossed the threshold and examined the reflection before him, though Oliver normally averted his eyes where mirrors were concerned. The small white scars on his chin, neck and forehead went unnoticed by most, but to him they glowed above the crisp white collar of his dress shirt, reminding him of the days he spent on the island. He found the soft material at his throat and adjusted his new tie with calloused fingers and admiration. A simple gift. No reason, really, for the impact to be so great, especially since it wasn’t his birthday. A knot of emotion lodged in his throat. He wasn’t someone in need of gifts.

Oliver stuffed his hands casually into his pants’ pockets, seeking the little note. He ran his fingertips over the folded piece of Queen Consolidated memo paper, remembering the words “Happy Birthday” were scratched across the stationary lines and a tiny scripted F stood beneath. Surely, Felicity knew it wasn’t his birthday. Felicity knew everything. What she didn’t know, she could uncover with a few strategic keystrokes. She was brilliant. Beautiful. And surprisingly unpredictable.

A short intake of breath froze his limbs and stunted his thoughts. The reflection before him smiled. Oliver relaxed his shoulders. He was smiling.

“Have a good day, Mr. Queen.” Several passengers behind him slid past as the elevator doors opened on a new floor.

Oliver lifted a palm in acknowledgement, not needing to force the congenial smile he wore to work every day. Instead, he worked to control the silly look on his face. He clasped his hands behind his back and waited. Two more floors. His gaze found the tie’s reflection once more in the mirrored doors. Green. Of course. An inside joke. A perfect gift. He worked his lips back to an appropriate expression before people wondered if he suffered brain damage while he was away.

As the doors parted again, Oliver stifled the urge to jump out. Instead, he waited a beat before entering the hallway marked IT Services. The door he sought was open. Felicity’s chair was empty. His smile fell.

“You looking for Felicity?” A voice behind him asked.

Oliver whirled around. “Yes. Is she in today?”

The fair skinned kid stopped short, paling further. “Mr. Queen. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know that was you.” He balanced a tray of coffees on a pizza box. “It’s lunchtime, so I thought, you know, she gets asked to lunch a lot, so….”

Oliver stretched his arm before him, revealing the time on his oversized, overpriced watch. “Lunch time.” He shook his head, unsure if the confoundment came from the fact it was already lunchtime, or that Felicity had numerous lunch suitors. His jaw twitched. The idea Felicity had a social life surprised him, though it shouldn’t. She had to do something when she left Queen Consolidated and wasn’t manning the lair under Verdant. He turned back for the elevator. Something tightened the muscles in his shoulders. Did he care that she had lunch dates? No. What about date-dates? He pressed the button for the elevator and glared at his reflection. No. Of course not. Oliver rubbed his forehead as the doors opened, and he stepped onboard.

Alone in the elevator, he scrutinized his reflection. Why did she give him a birthday gift two months after his birthday? Who were all these lunch dates? Why didn’t he know she had lunch dates? Where did they eat lunch? In the company cafeteria or at local restaurants?

The doors opened, startling Oliver.

Diggle stepped onboard. “Hey, I was on my way up to see if you want to get some lunch. Where’re you headed?”

Oliver glanced overhead at the floor number. He’d stepped on board at the IT floor and failed to press a button, riding the elevator to the ground level instead of to his office as he’d planned. What was wrong with him today? He shook his head as if to dislodge the confusion.

“Well?” Diggle pressed.

“Sure.” Oliver smiled. “Lunch sounds nice.”

Diggle held the door for Oliver to exit. “Nice tie.” He chuckled, clearly amused at the reference to Oliver’s nighttime escapades.

“Thanks, it was a birthday gift.”

The men crossed the busy lobby of Queen Consolidated. A brilliant autumn day waited for them. Sunlight shone off the rain dampened streets. Fallen leaves speckled the sidewalks in every conceivable shade and hue of fall.

Diggle stopped at the corner. “Should I get the car or do you want to walk somewhere?”

A familiar laugh floated on the breeze to Oliver’s ears. “Did you hear that? I think I heard Felicity.”

Diggle turned, scanning the open plaza. “There. Looks like she’s already eaten. Maybe we can invite her tomorrow.”

By the time Diggle had spoken, Oliver had already noted the close proximity of her lunch companion and several ways to remove him physically. The pair sat on a low wall near the building, drinking gourmet coffees and sharing fries from a paper basket. Their bodies angled in on one another as they spoke. Their knees nearly touched.

Oliver turned to Diggle. “Who’s that with her?” Whoever he was, Oliver didn’t like him. He was too old for her. Too plain. Too… Oliver looked at the couple again. No. Not a couple. Just two people having lunch. The man was probably harmless. In fact, it was nice Felicity had friends at the office. She kept his secrets at night. She should be happy during the day. Even if that meant having lunch, seated too closely, with this…guy. Felicity’s laughter drew his eyes back to her. Wide red lips smiled around the rim of her coffee cup. Tendrils of steam rose into the air above her nose. Strands of long blond hair blew across her forehead in the wind. She was happy. He should leave her to her lunch.

Diggle crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t know him. He looks harmless enough to me. Why? Do you think he’s up to something?”

Absolutely. Oliver pursed his lips. Not his business. Felicity was a big girl. She had an uncanny ability to see people for who and what they were, and he trusted her judgment. She wasn’t some gullible child. He didn’t need to worry about her. Except that he did. Strange. His protective instinct must’ve carried over from Thea and his mother to Felicity. Though he also worried about Laurel, but they’d dated. He and Felicity were definitely not dating. He ran a heavy hand through his hair and kneaded the back of his neck. Motivations, like emotions, were far too complex for explanation, which was why he did his best to avoid these kinds of thoughts. Yet, there he stood sifting through his illogical compulsions on a street corner.

“Oliver?” Diggle stepped into his view. “Do you want the car or are we walking?”

“Just a minute. Do you mind if we….Can I just…” Oliver cleared his throat and organized his thoughts. He swallowed once, rolled his shoulders back and did his best to clear his expression of the nonsense muddling his brain. “How about we get burgers? If you get the car, I’ll meet you back here.”

Oliver’s feet were moving before the final word left his lips.

“Felicity.” He stopped before her suitor and extended a hand. “Oliver Queen.”

The man dusted his palms together and stood, unshaken by Oliver’s name. “Frank Maloney.”

Oliver forced a tight smile. “Nice to meet you.” Not at all.

Frank smiled back without speaking. His eyes trailed over Oliver, unimpressed. Oliver returned the gesture.

Felicity popped onto her feet. Her hands flitted in the air, finding nowhere to land. “Hi. Uh, yes, hello, Mr. Queen. Is there something you need?” Thin sculpted eyebrows rose beneath her glasses.

A black pencil skirt hugged her slender figure as a fresh gust of wind began. The silk of her blouse clung to the curves of her chest. She adjusted her glasses. A nervous habit Oliver picked up on the first time they’d met.

He turned his shoulder to Frank, focusing his full attention on Felicity’s bright blue eyes. It took effort to pull his gaze from the effects of wind on her fair skin. The goose bumps forming over her exposed collarbone gave him ideas he wasn’t sure how to deal with. No doubt the same ideas on Frank’s mind. Oliver shot a look over his shoulder to check his theory. Frank watched Oliver through narrowed eyes. Interesting.

In the distance behind Felicity, Diggle slid the car against the curb. Oliver waved. His time was up. He touched the knot of his tie. “I wanted to stop by and thank you. I was pleasantly surprised when I returned to my desk today. Job well done, Miss Smoak.”

Felicity’s gaze darted from Oliver to Frank and back. She nodded quickly. Her eyes wide with what appeared to be a mix of panic and humor. Oliver’s heartbeat picked up at the thought he shared a secret with Felicity Smoak. She might have plenty of lunch dates, but he doubted they got very late birthday gifts from her without warning, though filled with meaning. His lips strained against a smile. He couldn’t afford the slip. Frank struck him as the kind of guy waiting for dirt on the boss, and while Oliver had plenty of dirt to dig up, he’d never let any of it settle on Felicity.

Oliver took a wide step backward, realizing he’d encroached on her personal space. She was magnetic, or perhaps like a fire, warm and bright when everything else lately was cold and unrelenting. His lips tipped on one side. That analogy made Oliver a moth. He’d thought of himself as many things, but never a moth.

A simple green tie had befuddled him. He’d better leave before his ridiculous thoughts manifested into embarrassing actions. Who knew what he’d do. Laugh? Flick Frank on the nose?

Oliver lowered his voice to the usual well-composed tenor and nodded a goodbye. “I’ll leave you to finish your lunch, Miss Smoak. Thank you again. Nice meeting you, Fred.”

Oliver strode toward the waiting car, satisfaction burning in his chest. Whatever was wrong with him today, he’d enjoyed the shocked look on Felicity’s face. He’d hear about it later at the lair, no doubt. In fact, he’d look forward to that. As for Fred… Oliver smiled.

Frank called from the growing distance behind him. “The name’s Frank.”

Oliver dropped into the backseat of the town car and smiled wider still. “Whatever.”


That’s it. My first time for all to see ;) Anyone else writing fanfic? Lurking over it? Thinking about it? Share your links here so we can all do the *feet pounding* *silent clapping* together, please.

A Sneak Peek: Murder in Real Time

So, book three in The Patience Price Mysteries is officially up on NetGalley! For some reason, the cover art isn’t there, but I have it and I’m sharing it with you. Know what else I’m sharing? Chapter One. Take a look. If you smile and want more, jump over to NetGalley and request your early review copy today. If you want lots more, pick up book one or two(Murder by the Seaside or Murder Comes Ashore) anywhere e-books are sold, or hey! ask at your local library. (I am a library geek. *throws up rock signs*) Okay. Enough enough. Here it is. What I do…

Art by Harlequin Enterprises

Art by Harlequin Enterprises

Chapter One

My phone vibrated on the Tasty Cream table between a dish with four French fries and a bowl that once contained the world’s greatest hot fudge brownie sundae. I glanced away from the bowl and placed a paper napkin over the chocolate carnage to cover my shame.

“Covering that bowl won’t erase the fifty thousand calories you ate. You know that, right?” My best friend, Claire, smiled and sucked on the straw of her chocolate malt, unaffected by the damage we’d done to our waistlines by ordering half the Tasty Cream menu.

“It wasn’t fifty thousand calories.” My guilty gaze swept over the napkin barely concealing the enormous bowl. “It was maybe a day’s worth of calories. I can skip eating tomorrow and it will be like this never happened.” Lies. Skipping meals wasn’t in my repertoire of practiced disciplines.

“Mmm-hmm.” Claire shook her cup and poked the straw in and out of the lid. “Or,” she smiled wider, “you could train with me. We can rock and run together.”

I rolled my eyes and rubbed my tummy. “I can’t run a marathon, even if there is live music.”

My phone buzzed again and I flicked it with my fingertips.

“The Virginia Beach Rock ’n’ Roll Mini is a mini marathon. It’s right there in the name. Only three-point-one miles. You could run that far without breaking a sweat.” She made a sad face. “It’s no fun alone. Please?”

“Stop making that face. I swear, when you’re sad a little fairy dies somewhere. It’s not natural.” This time I lifted my phone when it buzzed. Telling Claire no was tougher than keeping my internal promise to only eat half the sundae. I read the text display and scrolled through the few messages I’d ignored during dinner.

“Sebastian?” she asked.

“Adrian.” I smiled, though I shouldn’t have. Adrian had been my one true love, until he left me for college. I plotted my revenge for a decade and then moved home when the FBI downsized me in July. Guess who’d also moved home? Yep. Adrian. We sorted things out after I saved his well-toned heinie from a murder charge and again after he saved mine from a crazy lunatic. Somehow, the saving and the sorting left things…complicated. In some ways it had been easier when I wanted to shove an ice cream in his nose and be done with him. Now, I alternated between wanting to squeeze his middle or squeeze his neck. I shifted in my seat. “He probably has another crazy plan to garner votes.”

I needed to make peace with my waffling emotional attachment to my ex. The flipflopping was exhausting, plus he was the town’s homegrown golden boy and running for mayor. We were going to be sharing our little three-by-seven-mile island for the foreseeable future.

Most of the locals had watched Adrian and I grow up together and some still pined for us to reconcile.

“Adrian runs three point one miles before breakfast.” Claire sighed. “I’ve seen him. It’s nice to watch.”

“So, ask Adrian to run with you.” I sipped the tepid water in my glass, regretting my over-indulgence more by the minute. I blamed the Tasty Cream’s inviting old-time soda shop ambience. The minute I treaded over black-and-white checkered tiles and pulled up a little red cushioned chair, anything was possible. Except eating only half my sundae.

“Uh-uh. Adrian’s your man.” She held a palm up between us. “I don’t care what you say. You loved him once and that means I can say hi to him and we can have fun together, in your presence, but I’m not running a marathon with that man, mini or otherwise, if you aren’t there. It’s not cool.”

I loved her so much.

“Besides, I need time to talk to you.” Claire’s long dark bangs fell over her eyes and she pushed them away without making eye contact.

“About what?” My phone buzzed in my hand.

“Answer the poor man. You know how excited he gets about things. What’s going on now?” She crossed and uncrossed her legs, shifting in her chair.

“He says he has a surprise for me.”

Claire clucked her tongue.

“It’s not that.”

“What?” Her large brown eyes widened in faux innocence. “I didn’t say anything.”

I pulled a few dollars from my purse and placed them on the table. “I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not that.”

“You can’t know what he has for sure. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you knew.”

I followed Claire to the register to pay the bill. Her sea-green pedal pushers were amazing with black platform heels and a black silk blouse. I’d break my neck in anything higher than a three-inch heel, but Claire could outrun me in stilettos. It had happened more than once in Macy’s. With heels, she was average height. Without them, she was stretching for five foot two. Her posture, confidence and general disposition screamed runway model. All those cotillions her parents forced her through gave her a taste for self-respect and fashion. The rest was lost in translation. Like the part where they thought she’d settle down and start a family. Claire had the crazy idea it wasn’t 1955 anymore.

That reminded me. “Do you have plans to see the SWAT guy again next weekend?” She’d waited months for a member of the FBI’s SWAT team to ask her out. They turned up at my birthday party together last weekend, but she hadn’t mentioned him since.

She shook her head before I finished the question.

I handed the teen at the register my bill and some cash but fixed my attention on Claire. “Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?”

She shrugged. “That’s part of it.”

“I love talking about guys with you. Why on earth would you try to make me run three miles for that? Meanie.”

Claire huffed while I stuffed the change from my bill into my wallet. “It’s a mini marathon. Three miles, not thirty, and it’s at the beach.”

“I live on an island. I see the beach every day.” Chincoteague, Virginia, was a delightful costal town adjoined to the mainland by a bridge, the harbor and the sky. The bridge seemed to attach us to the world but, in all honesty, Chincoteague was its own planet. We had a long history of traditions and customs. Some were quaint, and some were odd by mainland standards, but Chincoteague was the epitome of small-town living. Peaceful. Beautiful. Islanders were family. Granted, every family had its quirks, especially one with twelve hundred people.

“Come on. Virginia Beach.” She threw her arms wide and held the door with one hip as I passed. “They play live music. There will be tons of people there. It’ll be like college all over again.”

“I’m too old for college.”

“Speak for yourself.” She stopped short and sighed. “You’re right. Never mind. It was dumb.”

I touched her elbow. “It’s not dumb. I just ate a gallon of ice cream. I should be begging you to make me run a marathon. Look,” I lifted my shirt. “I had to unbutton my pants.”

She laughed. “Put your shirt down before someone takes a picture.”

A flash illuminated the evening.

I blinked through the dots floating in my vision. A man speed walked away from us, wearing a navy-colored windbreaker and khakis.

“Who was that?” Claire asked. “I think he really took our picture. Unless he was shooting the Tasty Cream.”

I turned to examine the ice cream parlor behind us. Its cone-shaped roof interrupted the beautiful island sky. The sun set earlier since fall had arrived and though it was barely past dinnertime, deep hues of smoky gray and violet above us suggested the hour was much later. A few stars shone in the distance over the water. I rubbed my eyes and turned in a circle, seeking some other item of interest a tourist might photograph. A family pressed open the Tasty Cream door and a heavenly mixture of sweet and salty scents drifted on the air to meet me. Fries and ice cream rolled in my tummy. A tummy now captured on film, popped button and all.

“If I find him, I’m demanding he delete that picture.” I stepped off the curb and crossed the street to my apartment, with Claire at my side.

“Tell me about the SWAT guy. Wyatt. What happened with him after you left my birthday party?”

Claire sighed but didn’t answer.

I rented the only available space on the island when I moved home during the summer. Thanks to Adrian and a silly rumor about the house being haunted, no one ever wanted to live there. The owner hadn’t rented the space in a decade. Not the upstairs apartment I now called home, and not the downstairs unit, which had housed numerous failed businesses over the years. Now I lived in the apartment for next-to-nothing rent and Adrian owned the building. He used the downstairs for his campaign studio. Lucky me, living upstairs from temptation.

Except, I wasn’t tempted. Not really. Not normally. Possibilities for a future with Adrian had dissolved long before our reunion this summer. Destiny had already dropped six-foot-sexy, Special Agent Sebastian Clark into my life. Sebastian, my personal hero. When Adrian was accused of murder this summer, I’d called Sebastian for advice. These days, I also called Sebastian my boyfriend. I adored him. In fact, I expected to see him soon. He rented a room by the month at Island Comforts, the local bed-and-breakfast, but spent more nights at work or my place than at the B&B.

My tummy gurgled.

Claire looked at me. “You better hope that picture doesn’t end up in the paper tomorrow.”

I shook off her comment. Weirder things had happened to me since moving home. “You’re dodging my question. What happened with the SWAT guy and what do you want to talk to me about?”

“I need your advice.” She braced her palm on the exterior railing to my apartment and began climbing the wooden stairs. “Not as my best friend, but as, you know, the other thing.”

Before the FBI downsized me from my human resources position, I’d finished my counseling degree and planned to work with agents under stress or those who had discharged their firearm or been injured in the line of duty, etc. It was a good plan. The FBI paid big money to contractors for those services. I thought hiring me would save the bureau a ton of money. They thought firing me would too. So, I moved home to chase my dream and open a private practice, which proved more complicated than one would think. Small towns. Nosy neighbors. Those sorts of things weren’t always a counselor’s friend.

“You want me to counsel you?” I worked to keep my voice flat. Any inflection on my part might be misinterpreted by her, and our friendship would take the hit. I slid my key into the lock, opened the door and motioned her inside.

“A little.”

“Finally!” Adrian rushed from my kitchen to meet us at the door. “I texted you four times. I was ready to come and get you. What were you doing over there for two hours, anyway? Never mind. I don’t care.” His stormy blue eyes were wild with pleasure. “I have a surprise.”

“You mentioned that.” I normally complained when he let himself in through the secret staircase hidden in the wall of my bedroom closet, but clearly this wasn’t the time. I hadn’t seen him so excited since he won the state spelling bee in third grade and got a new Nintendo with all the games.

“Sit down.” He motioned us to the couch.

“Is he okay?” Claire whispered. “He looks a little crazed.”

Adrian stood before us, rubbing his palms together. A sudden frown replaced his eager expression. “Where’s Sebastian?”

“He had a deposition with internal affairs.” Claire still worked with Sebastian at the FBI in Norfolk.

I envied that sometimes.

“What’s going on?” A deep tenor sent tingles over my spine, and my cheeks ached with a sudden smile. Sebastian stood in my open doorway with flowers and a bottle of champagne.

Adrian’s jaw fell an inch before he recovered some of his enthusiasm. “I have something to tell you guys.”

“It’s a surprise,” Claire added.

Sebastian widened his stance. As a general rule, special agents didn’t love surprises. “Go on.”

Adrian cleared his throat, evidently thrown by Sebastian’s entrance and gifts.

“Fine. I rented my home through Halloween night and it’s all very hush-hush. I can’t give you all the particulars yet, but details are coming, I promise.”

“And?” Sebastian leveled his gaze on Adrian, who rolled his shoulders back.

“And I hoped I could stay here.”

“With me?” My voice hitched on the second word.


“No.” Sebastian moved inside and shut the door. He got a vase from under the sink and put the flowers in water.

Adrian gawked at me, waving his palms as if I could change Sebastian’s mind. His panic compelled me to intervene, though I wasn’t sure whose side I was on yet. I took a few deep breaths. Was the air thinner in the upstairs apartment? Getting in the middle of these two always made it hard to breathe.
I stood and faced the kitchen. “Um, well, let’s think this through.”

Sebastian turned narrowed eyes on me. I shook my head at Adrian. He motioned wildly again. I stood back up and stepped toward the kitchen. Sebastian glared from Adrian to me.

Claire giggled. The sound snapped me back to reality. This was my apartment. I decided who stayed here, not Sebastian. I anchored both palms over my hips and turned on Sebastian. Adrian took my seat on the couch and nudged Claire with his elbow.

“I don’t see why he can’t stay here. Is there a reason you have a problem with that?” I cocked a hip for good measure.

Sebastian looked past me to the couch, his expression blank.

I moved forward until the toes of my goddess sandals bumped Sebastian’s shiny dress shoes. “Fine, then it’s agreed. Adrian stays here. You can stay here, too.”

The corner of Sebastian’s mouth pulled down. “What if only I stay here with you and Adrian stays in my room at Island Comforts?”

Oh. Yeah. That was better. My moment’s pause was enough to settle it. Sebastian tossed his key over my head.

“Sweet.” Adrian jumped up and headed for the door.

“Hey,” I turned to Adrian. “What was the secret you texted four times to tell me about?”

“I told you all I can.”

“You didn’t tell me anything.”

He flashed his politician smile. “That’s because it’s a secret.”

Adrian disappeared and Sebastian popped the cork on his champagne. “I’m glad that’s settled. Tonight we celebrate.”

“What are we celebrating?”

Claire sashayed across the floor and leaned over the little island in my kitchen. “I take it the deposition went well?”

Sebastian slid a glass to Claire. “Internal affairs closed my case. I was cleared of all culpability. The board determined I’d followed every protocol on the operation and justice prevailed again.”

“Congratulations.” She lifted the glass in a toast motion and sipped.

Relief flooded through me. “What about Jimmy the Judge?”

Jimmy the Judge was the mob boss who wanted Sebastian dead. Sebastian had worked undercover for eight months in Jimmy’s operation, infiltrating his crew and leading a bust that resulted in the death of five members of Jimmy’s crime family. Jimmy somehow turned to vapor and slipped between Sebastian’s fingers in the kerfuffle. Sebastian had moved onto the island to hide while he hunted Jimmy, and Jimmy hunted him. I got an ulcer.

“We have fresh intel suggesting Jimmy’s in Vegas. I’m headed there in a few days to follow up on a couple decent leads.”

I tipped my head and tossed back the alcohol. I didn’t want to think of Sebastian chasing Jimmy, but I didn’t want to open my mouth and ruin his good news either.

Claire set down her glass. “Well, congratulations, Sebastian. Thank you, Patience, for a lovely dinner. Now, I’m heading home. It’s a long drive, and I have to get up early. I’ll leave you two to celebrate.” She winked.

“Hey, how’d it go with the marshmallow from SWAT?” Sebastian asked.

Claire screwed her mouth into a knot. “It’s funny you call him that because he was kind of like talking to a marshmallow.”

I scrunched my brows together. “I thought when you called people marshmallows it meant they were soft and weak.”

“I don’t know about that,” Claire said. “He was all muscle. Unfortunately, his head was one big muscle too. Hard as a rock.” She wrapped her knuckles against the side of her head.

I pushed my bottom lip into a pout. “Bummer.”

“Yeah, but it’s okay. Can we talk later?” She lifted a brow.


Sebastian lifted my glass with his and followed us onto the stoop outside my door. He sat. I walked Claire to her car, enjoying the cool night air.

We reached the sidewalk as the Sheriff Fargas climbed out of his car. “Evening, Patience.” He took off his hat when he saw Claire. “Miss Claire.”

Claire blushed on cue, accentuating her flawless mocha latte complexion, and lowered her long curly lashes. “Sheriff Fargas.”

Those two had started flirting a few weeks ago and it still confused me.

“I was on my way to the Tasty Cream for dinner,” he said. “Would you like to join me?”

“I don’t know.” Claire looked at me. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Make an excuse for her? Encourage her?

“Your phone’s ringing,” Sebastian called to me.

At the same moment, Sheriff Fargas pulled his phone from his pocket. “Fargas.” His eyes shut for two quick beats before turning to Sebastian. The set of his jaw and rigidity in his stance was grim when he returned the phone to his pocket.

Sebastian waved my phone in the air. “It’s still buzzing.”

“Mine?” I called up the steps.

“Yeah. Double-oh-seven.” Sebastian read the display.

“That’s Adrian,” Claire interjected.

Sebastian answered my phone.

“I’m afraid I need a rain check.” Fargas touched Claire’s hand lightly and turned for his car.

Sebastian bounded down the steps two at a time, keys in hand.

“What’s going on?” Claire demanded as Fargas tore away from the curb in his cruiser.

“Adrian found two dead bodies in my bed.”

Murder in Real Time, The Patience Price Mysteries, book 3

With the chaos of summer tourists and fall birders out of town, counselor Patience Price is looking forward to the quiet life she remembers. She longs for some peace. And an apple fritter. But the calm is cut short when a reality show sets up camp to film a special about ghosts on her little island. Now fans, reporters and crew have flocked to sleepy Chincoteague. Who knew ghost hunters had an entourage?

When two cast members are killed in a room at the local B&B—a room usually occupied by Patience’s FBI agent boyfriend, Sebastian—she finds herself on the case. Sebastian doesn’t want Patience ruffling any feathers but, as always, she can’t help herself.

Patience promises to let Sebastian handle the investigation—he is FBI, after all—but after a drive-by shooting, her wicked curiosity gets the best of her. And with the TV show forging ahead with filming, the list of suspects (and the line of food trucks) only grows. But has the shooter already flown the coop? And how do you find a killer when you don’t know who the target is?



It’s HERE!!! Cover Reveal: Ascension by A.S. Fenichel

I love-love-love a cover reveal. I do. I’m a sucker for all the gorgeous images gracing books today. So, when the lovely, talented AS Fenichel mentioned her cover real today, I jumped in and begged to be a part of it. This is exciting stuff! She and I share an upcoming book birthday and I have her gorgeous cover right here! Now, are you ready for the pretty???

**** 3****

**** 2 ****

***** 1 *****





The Demon Hunters, #1

When demons threaten London, Lady Belinda answers the call. 

Lord Gabriel Thurston returns home from war to find his fiancée is not the sweet young girl he left behind. She’s grown into a mysterious woman who guards her dark secrets well. When he sees her sneaking away from a ball, he’s convinced it’s for a lover’s rendezvous. Following her to London’s slums, Gabriel watches in horror as his fiancée ruthlessly slays a man.

Lady Belinda Carlisle’s only concern was her dress for the next ball—until demons nearly killed her and changed everything. A lady by day, and a demon hunter by night, she knows where her duty lies. Ending her betrothal is the best way to protect Gabriel from death by a demon’s hand. 

Gabriel soon realizes, like him, Belinda has been fighting for her country. He joins in the fight, determined to show her that their love can endure, stronger than ever. 


Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance

Publisher: Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing

Date of Publication: October 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61650-559-2

Number of pages: 330 Est.

Word Count: 86,500

Thanks, AS, for letting me be a part of your reveal! I can’t wait for October!

About the Author:

ASFENICHELA.S. Fenichel gave up a successful career in New York City to follow her husband to Texas and pursue her lifelong dream of being a professional writer. She’s never looked back.

A.S. adores writing stories filled with love, passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good measure. Books have always been her perfect escape and she still relishes diving into one and staying up all night to finish a good story.

Multi-published in erotic paranormal, contemporary and historical romance, A.S. is the author of the Mayan Destiny series, Christmas Bliss and many more. With several books currently contracted to multiple publishers, A.S. will be bringing you her brand of romance for many years to come.

Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now lives in the East Texas with her real life hero, her wonderful husband. When not reading or writing she enjoys cooking, travel, history, and puttering in her garden.

Find AS Fenichel online:




Time For A Change

I started blogging about four years ago, possibly five, I lost count. A lot changes in five years. <– insanely massive understatement. Anyway, I think it’s time I change my blog. I’ve been considering this for months, maybe more than a year.  I’m not sure, but a very long time. When I started Musings from the Slush Pile, I was a new writer navigating a strange new land of buzz words and advice traps. I worked full time trying to figure out which way was up and how to get through the rabbit hole. The process made me insane and I needed to vent. It made sense to blog about my writing journey, my pitfalls and my successes. (More pitfalls than successes). I shared everything I learned with other writers through blogging. It was perfect. For a while. Over time, I wrote less about the writing process and more about my books, promotion, personal process etc. The whole thing became very awkward and forced because I set it up to be about writing, but I don’t always have an amazing epiphany on writing. Sometimes I just had a good hair day, but I couldn’t write about that. It was a writing blog. And soon, I blogged less. I dreaded it. I hated fitting into the mold I created so long ago because I’m not a newbie writer anymore. I’m in that awkward class picture stage where I have front teeth missing and a mullet. I’ve shared and reshared “tips and tricks” for staying out of the slush. I’ve got nothing else to add. I’m cashed. And here we are. At the end.

So, what will I write about? Uh, everything. All the things. And stuff.

*Nods* Things and Stuff. Things I like. Things I loathe. What I’m watching. Who I’m shipping. I think it will be fun to talk about other things for a while. Girl stuff. Geek stuff. Book stuff. Maybe I’ll retitle the blog Things and Stuff. I don’t know. We’ll see.

So, that’s it for today. It’s a farewell post. An end-of-an-era post. An historic…. just kidding.

See you later.

Maybe we can talk about my television obsession. I seriously have a problem. I need an intervention.

Writer Wednesday Welcomes: Bethany Masone Harar!!!

Why Every Good Writer Should Have an Unpublished Manuscript

I won’t mince words.  I think every author should have an unpublished manuscript hidden away.  It might be stashed in your closet.  It might be hidden under the bed.  It could even be in an envelope next to your computer because you don’t have the heart to destroy it.  (I may speak from personal experience on this last one)

But regardless of its location, it needs to exist.

Why?  Because writing manuscripts which will never be published is the equivalent of job training for authors.

Think about it.  Every job requires training, and becoming an author is no exception.  Educators have to complete student teaching, where other teachers, administrators and supervisors evaluate them.  Military recruits experience boot camp, where officers push them to the brink physically and mentally.

Many (if not most) authors, however, start off on their own, without any experience and without anyone to guide them.

Unpublished manuscripts are important for our “training” because they teach us how to craft a story.  They help us learn the importance of organizing character development.  We realize how hard it is to stick with a writing schedule, and how difficult it can be when our minds go blank.  We look back at our manuscripts a month, and then two months, and then four months after they are finished and wonder what the hell we were thinking when our main character decided to do something stupid, like trust an obviously evil character who lured them to a white van by offering them a puppy.

We must, in a sense, train ourselves.   This is hard, however, because very few people actually want to push themselves to the brink.  We don’t want put the finishing touches on that lesson plan, or do those extra three push-ups.  We don’t want to go through the stumbling blocks alone, learning the hard way, discovering and accepting our mistakes without anyone there to validate our worthiness when we complete the arduous task at hand.

But we must, if we want to be experts at our craft.  And I’ll even go so far as to say we should do this a minimum of two times if we want to be good at our jobs.

I have two unpublished manuscripts lurking in my basement, and I’m proud to admit it.  And the best part of having an unpublished manuscript is that when we have worked on developing our craft, and spent time learning the trade, there is always the possibility that those embarrassing manuscripts can emerge from the envelope beside the computer desk and become something better.

**Comment for your chance to win a print copy of Voices of the Sea by Bethany Masone Harar **

BethanyCoverVoices of the Sea by Bethany Masone Harar

The Sirens of Pacific Grove are being exterminated, and seventeen-year-old Lora is their next target.

Loralei Reines may look like a normal teenager, but her voice can enchant and hypnotize men. Like the other Sirens in her clan, however, she keeps her true identity a secret to protect their species.  But now, the Sons of Orpheus, a vicious cult fated to kill all Sirens on Earth, have found them.

 Lora is determined to gain control of her powers over the ocean in order to use them as a weapon and a tool to help her clan, but she feels her skills are developing too slowly. Her only chance seems to lie with a human boy named Ryan. When he’s near her, Lora’s abilities strengthen. She knows she shouldn’t be with him because he is human; yet, she can’t resist her attraction to him, or the surge in her powers, whenever they’re together.

The Sirens of Pacific Grove are running out of time. If Lora can’t unlock the power to defeat the Sons of Orpheus, she, along with everyone she loves, will be annihilated.


beth signing 9About Bethany

Bethany Masone Harar graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has enjoyed teaching high school English ever since. As a teacher, Bethany is able to connect with the very audience for whom she writes, and this connection gives her insight into their interests. As a writer, she wants to make her readers gasp out loud, sigh with longing and identify with her characters. Bethany also enjoys posting on her blog,, is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and is an avid follower of literary-driven social media. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two beautiful children, and her miniature poodle, Annie.

Find Bethany Online:                

Bethany Harar’s website:

Bethany Harar’s blog:

Twitter: @bethhararwrites

Join the tour! You can find Bethany dazzling the web all month long on her WoW! Blog tour. Stop by and check her  out again. She’s a blast and you can find her here:

July 28

The Muffin

Interview + Giveaway

July 30

Musings from the Slushpile

Post: Why Every Writer should have an unpublished Manuscript OR Why Sirens are Misunderstood

Review + Giveaway

July 31

Book Talk

Author showcase (you don’t have to do anything for this one)

August 1



August 5

Chapter by Chapter

Post:  Top Favs


August 6

Writer with Dogs

Post: dog themed

August 7

Escaping Reality within Pages

Post: Balancing Family and Work

Giveaway + Review

August  12

Me and Reading

Post: Why Dreams are so Important


August  14

Words by Webb

Interview: I do an interview called 5Ws (who, what, where, when, why –five questions) Would you be interested in that?


August 19

The Lit Ladies

Interview: Do  you want me to ask if they can get you the questions before your trip or just wait?

Giveaway + Review

August 21

All Things Girl

Post:  Life Doesn’t End at 35


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