Archive for December, 2012

Naughty New Year Blog Hop!

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Okay, so this isn’t really a blog post about anything naughty. But it is a blog in the chain of wonderful blogs that could lead you to winning a Kindle Fire HD “7, a free paperback or an ebook. So make sure you participate in the Naughty New Year Blog Hop by clicking the banner above. The blog hop runs from December 28 to December 30 with a live chat and Grand Prize winner selected December 30 at 7pm Eastern.

Anyhoo, by now you know writers are strange creatures. And we don’t actually exist. I’m pretty certain we’re only a myth. Back when I did paper book signings (I rarely do them now), people would see the table with “author signing” on it and piles of paperback books. They’d come up to my table, gawk at me and ask, “You’re a writer?” I’d smile and say cheerfully that I am. Readers don’t always know what to make of us mythical creatures, so here are some freaky facts about me.

Freaky Factoids about Agnew:

I’m an Honorary Army Mountain Ranger (I’d tell you how I got it, but then I’d have to kill ya.)

I grew up with German Shepherds. Lots of them. Most of them were trained for police work, including attack and finding illegal drugs like heroine. Now I have a precocious but loving Mini Schnauzer.

My dad was a cop for twenty-nine years.

I’m distantly related to Vincent Price.

I’ve traced my ancestry back to the 1400’s in France and the 1500’s in England, but I’m also Welsh, Scottish and Irish.

I lived in England for three years.

My favorite snack in the whole world is popcorn.

I’m an amateur archaeologist, archer, paranormal investigator, and a Reiki Master.

Now that I’ve enlightened you with those fascinating and not so fascinating things about me, what are some freaky factoids about you? And don’t forget to click on the banner above to enter the blog hop!

 

A Very Happy Holiday!

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Hey all, I wanted to wish you, my friends, family and readers a most wonderful holiday, no matter what that holiday might be. 🙂 I hope that Santa brings you everything you wish for and that you’re surrounded by happiness, love and peace. I’ll be back later this week. Don’t forget the great blog hop that starts on December 28. Remember, you could win books or you could win the grand prize of a Kindle Fire HD. 🙂

To all a good night.

Asylum III: Shadows Fall

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Hey all, I know many of you haven’t had a chance to pick up Asylum III: Shadows Fall…you’re reading the first two books. Here’s an excerpt from the book to get you intrigued and ready to read!

* * *

Shadows Fall (Book three in the Asylum Trilogy)

Evil is spreading beyond previous boundaries, beyond the horrors of the past. Only one man and one woman can stop it.

Melissa Allan realizes something is wrong one windy, violent day. People are getting their just deserts. Karma is piling on the punishment, even for small offenses or misunderstandings hardly worth a blink. Melissa, owner of the only new age store in Simple, realizes that the air is disturbed, and that the former asylum on the mountain has something to do with strange happenings around town. Sensitive to the paranormal, she helps those in Simple who feel the need for advice beyond the conventional. Forces in town who want things to stay the same are against her, and she knows it.

Ex-marine Roarke O’Bannion hasn’t seen a freak out like this since he was in war. A search for his missing mother brings him to Tranquil View Condominiums for answers. He’s not interested in the paranormal and thinks people who believe in it just need more medication. He thinks Melissa fed his mother’s belief in ghosts, and he plans on giving her a piece of his mind. Instead he finds a woman who challenges everything he’s believed in, and makes him burn with desire.

When Melissa is in danger, he discovers he’ll do anything to save her, and together they’ll battle the unseen until midnight comes or the evil seething inside Tranquil View consumes them all.

* *

Colorado winds shrieked down the mountains with icy teeth. Melissa was happy for the fresh, cold breeze against her face. At an altitude of nine thousand feet, Simple usually had plenty of snow in the winter. A warm spell had melted snow last week, and although things were damp, a visitor would never know they’d had six inches of the white stuff.

Today the sun was bright and people had begun to emerge for work. Still, traffic was light and it seemed … quiet. She looked both ways before crossing at the pedestrian crosswalk, but a car screamed around down the street, engine roaring.

“Look out!”

She heard the deep male voice as she half lunged, half ran back to the sidewalk. She tripped and landed on her butt. The white-haired man driving the black Cadillac didn’t stop, but glared at her as if she’d made a stupid error. As the car rushed away, she realized that no one along the sidewalk even took notice of her near miss. A man walked her way from across the street, movements swift and economical. Mr. Tall and Hot Motorcycle Man carried the two books and take out coffee. He tossed the coffee container in the trash; maybe he’d already gulped his morning caffeine.

“Hey, you all right?” His voice matched the rest of him–deep and smooth and sexy as sin.

Somewhat embarrassed and angry that the car had almost plowed over her, she pulled herself off the sidewalk and back to her feet.

Motorcycle Man jogged across the intersection, muscular body moving with the grace and stamina of a predator. His hair shone almost blue-black, its thickness inviting her to touch. This close, she could smell his leather jacket and sandalwood musk aftershave. Stubble lined his jaw, giving him a rough and raw appearance. A scar across his cheek close to his nose caught her interest. Put long hair on him and the appropriate attire, and he’d make a damned good pirate. He was pure man. Big. Intimidating. A stirring low in her belly reminded her she hadn’t been in the presence of such a handsome man in a long, long time. When had she last reacted so intensely to a man?

A county sheriff’s car, lights flashing and sirens blaring, hauled ass down the street in front of them.

“What is going on around here?” she asked out loud.

“Armageddon,” Motorcycle Man said, his voice a low rumble. He cupped her elbow. His ocean-clear blue eyes peered into hers. “Are you hurt?”

She found her voice and managed a half smile. “I might have bruised my rear and my ego, but that’s all.”

“Sure you’re okay?”

She brushed off her gloved hands, glad they’d protected her. Her right wrist twinged, and she gasped. “Ouch.”

He frowned. “What’s wrong?”

“My right wrist. I just twisted it a bit.” Heat filled her face. Stuff like this embarrassed the hell out of her. “It’s nothing.”

He hefted the two books under his armpit to free his hands. “Let me see.”

“Are you a doctor?”

He cupped her hand and wrist gently. “No. Some med training in the Marines.” He examined her wrist. “Does that hurt?”

“No. It’s just a little sore. It’s not—ouch!”

“Uh-huh. I think you should get this x-rayed to make certain. You could have a hairline fracture and not know it.”

She winced. “Really?”

“Yup.”

“I didn’t hear the guy coming and I’d looked both ways.”

“Bastard was at least twenty over the speed limit.” His voice held contempt.

“Not exactly unusual on this street for people to speed.” She stepped out of his grip. Something flickered in his eyes–a curiosity and sensual awareness that made her tingle. Now that she was this close she could see he wasn’t as young as she’d first thought. Maybe her age of thirty-five. “I’m Melissa Allan.”

“Roarke O’Bannion.”

“Ida Lakes told me who you are,” she blurted.

He frowned again. It was amazing how his glower could make him seem utterly dangerous in a second. “Ida Lakes?”

“Older woman who lives in my apartment building. She knows everything that goes on here.” She shrugged. “Well, I’d better get to work. Thanks again.”

“Here …” He took her upper arm gently in his grip as they took the few steps to the crosswalk. “I have to go back across the street myself. Let me walk with you.”

“I’m not an invalid.” She grinned, not wanting her words to sound harsh.

“’Course not.”

Cars stopped for them on both sides at the crosswalk, but Melissa glanced this way and that several times out of sheer paranoia. When they reached the other side, another gust of wind blasted down the street with arctic intensity.

“Thanks again,” she said.

He nodded. “You need someone to drive you to the hospital to get that checked out?”

“I’ll get it looked at later.”

“I advise against waiting.”

She grinned. “You’re persistent.”

His eyes darkened. “Doesn’t pay to ignore an injury.”

She kept walking, only a few steps more to her shop. “This isn’t war.”

“Are you sure?” he asked with a smile.

She reached for the door and caught her breath as pain shot through her wrist. O’Bannion followed her inside. The bell on the door rang, and pleasant-faced Henrietta Pike looked up from her work at the counter.

“Hey, girl.” Henrietta’s rounded face made it hard to tell how old she was—maybe fifty. “Good morning. What is going on out there? Sounds like a war.” She glanced past Melissa.

“I think it is,” Melissa said. “Weird morning.”

“The war was her almost getting run over. She needs to got to the hospital and get an x-ray,” O’Bannion said.

Henrietta came around the counter, her plump, short frame dressed in jeans and a thick fuscia turtleneck. Her short blonde hair was tossed here and there as if she’d been out in the wind. “What happened? Are you all right?”

Melissa rolled her gaze to the ceiling. “It’s no big deal.”

“Oh.” Henrietta smiled as she saw the books in O’Bannion’s left hand. “Aren’t those books from our shop?”

O’Bannion held the books up and that’s when Melissa saw the titles. One was a book on developing psychic ability and the other was on ghosts. Mr. Hunk’s face turned to granite as he looked around the shop. “Yeah. I need to talk with you about them.”

“Of course.” Henrietta said, always the pleasant sort. She looked at Melissa. “But what happened out there?” Henrietta poked until Melissa explained about the driver almost running her over. Henrietta’s pretty blue eyes rounded with distress. “You could have been killed.”

Melissa didn’t really want to think much about that. Instead she undid her jacket and moved around the counter. “I’ve got too much work to do today to worry about a few bruises.”

O’Bannion put the books on the counter with a thump. “Wait. You work here?”

“I’m the owner,” Melissa said, wary of the sharpness in his tone. “Henrietta works for me.”

He crossed his arms. “Really. Then it’s you I want to talk to.”

The edge in his voice reminded her to keep her cool. She drew a deep breath and erected an inner vision of white light around herself. She didn’t get many irritated customers in this store.

Determined to provide customer service, she asked with a smile, “What can I do for you Mr. O’Bannion?”

He tapped the two hard-covered books with his index finger. “You sold my mother these books.”

Puzzled by the irritation coming off him in waves, she shored up her patience. “Are they defective? We had a shipment of those come in some time back with broken spines. I’m happy to refund her money.”

“They’re defective all right.” His smooth-as-sin voice took on a roughness. “My mother has serious mental issues and doesn’t need someone filling her head with this crap.”

All I Want For Christmas

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Hey everyone,

I wanted to make sure you all knew that one of my older novels, All I Want For Christmas, is out there if you’re looking for a love story full of Christmas and also full of the challenges of romance and family. You can find All I Want For Christmas at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Hope you enjoy it!

Ready to win a Kindle Fire???

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Thought that would get your attention!

I’ve joined with a wonderful group of authors all ready to help you win a Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire HD “7! How? Well, stop by this blog on December 28 and find out. You could also win a paperback from one of the authors and maybe even ebooks. It all culminates in a live chat December 30 at 7pm Eastern. The blog is called the Naughty New Year Blog Hop.

Keep checking back, and as I get more details I’ll post here, on Facebook and Twitter!

 

Goodreads Contest Concluded! :)

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Hey everyone, just a quick flyby to let you know that two winners were picked by Goodreads for a copy of Before The Dawn. There were over 1,000 entries. Wow! Thank you so much to everyone who entered. 🙂 Well, it is the crazy season, so I’m mega busy today. But I plan to sneak in some down time which includes some reading of my own. The TBR pile on my Kindle app is getting so loaded down. Read, read, read!

As for Goodreads GIveaways I will be doing more next year so stay tuned.

Goodreads Contest: Before The Dawn

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Hey all, there’s only a little time left before the Goodreads giveaway is over! You can find it right here: Before The Dawn Goodreads Giveaway

Hurry! I’m giving away two copies. Contest ends December 8, 2012.

 

 

Asylum II: Shadows Rise

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Hey there! As always, good to have you here. Below is an excerpt from Asylum II: Shadows Rise. Hope you enjoy it!

(Paranormal Historical Romance)

1918, Simple, Colorado

A time of war, disease and supernatural threat tests the fabric of one woman and one man…

Annabelle Dorrenti is ravaged by her experiences in World War I, her body marked by wounds, and her psyche damaged by guilt. To save herself, she becomes a nurse at the asylum and discovers the haunting is just beginning. Perhaps she’s imagining the shadows that flicker nearby, waiting. A creeping dread presses in upon her, and she sees signs everywhere that something just isn’t right at the asylum. She doesn’t want to admit it anymore than she wants to acknowledge her building attraction to a handsome soldier as broken as she is. A man who blames her for his sister’s death.

Army Captain Cade Hale suffers from shell shock and the terrible fear that the dead haunt his every step. He knows that danger terrorizes the earth, but he also feels Tranquil View could cure him of addiction and grief over his sister’s death. He’s determined to lay the blame for her death where it belongs, directly at Annabelle Dorrenti’s feet. Drawn down to his soul to Annabelle, he hates their attraction and struggles against it. Yet he knows the asylum harbors evil, and his fear for Annabelle demands he protect her, no matter what the risk, no matter what she’s done in the past. When evil and illness manifest, Cade and Annabelle step up to challenge a horror far more insidious than insanity.

**

That night Annabelle dreamed. She stared into blackness. Not the absence of light, not darkness, but the pit of a cold hell. Her breath seized as she took a step forward. She couldn’t tell if the door yawned open; blackness swallowed everything in its jaws. She couldn’t breath knowing if she took one more step forward, the basement would claim her and never let her go.

Bolting upright, Annabelle sucked in labored breaths. She couldn’t see a thing except for a thin strip of light under her door. She listened, waiting. She felt that someone lurked outside. How she knew she could be certain. She threw back the covers and turned on her lamp. She inhaled slowly and deeply. Annabelle slipped her feet into her slippers and left the bed. Unlocking the door came easy, but opening it was harder. She threw it open to confront whomever–whatever–lurked outside.

Cade leaned against the far wall. He peered at her, his eyes haunted by darkness and curiosity. Her breath caught. She stepped out far enough to glance down the hallway. No one but him occupied the area. Two lights at either end of the corridor assured shadows would be revealed as humans and not horrors. Yet the dimness added to their mystery rather than banished them. His dark gaze traveled over her, and missed nothing in between. She felt that searing attention all the way to her toes. Annabelle realized she hadn’t put on a robe. He wore his day clothes.

“You shouldn’t be here.”‘ Another thought battered her. “Why are you here?”

“Because I’m walking off a bad dream.”

“That can’t be the only reason you’re here.”

“No. I’ll admit it isn’t. I wanted to apologize for trying so hard to get you to share your bad dreams when I haven’t shared mine.” He didn’t move, his lopsided smile filled with equal quantities of insolence and amusement.

Skepticism led her to cross her arms and say, “You needed to come here to tell me this? In the middle of the night?”

His low, husky laugh made her breath catch. “This ward is full of bad dreams. It’s thick here.”

“Thick?”

“I know you don’t believe in ghosts Annabelle.”

She hadn’t given him permission to use her first name, but it sounded wonderful in his rich tones. Annabelle leaned against the door jam. “No.”

“You’re practical. A woman with her mind on a goal. Her heart set on fixing every broken soldier.”

Disconcerted, she said, “It’s my job.”

He shook his head. “Oh, no. It’s far more than your job. It’s your obsession.”

Floored by his insight, she rallied against his probing accuracy. “Obsessions are for the weak.”

He snorted. “Really.” He took one step forward. Then another. “Do you think a sculptor is obsessed? Or an author? Do you think an artist paints because he’s mad?”

Not understanding exactly where he planned to go with this, but compelled to continue the conversation, she said, “Depends entirely on the artist.”

“Obsession can be the one thing that keeps that artist going when all else fails.”

Drawn to his words and to the resonance it made within her, she watched with a strange fascination of her own as his chest rose and fell. “Are you … are you an artist?”

He smiled, but it wasn’t humor that created the curve of his mouth. “Before the war I painted. Now I can’t paint a damned thing.”

“Oh.” For a second it was all she could think to say as she ruminated on what he’d revealed. “Your inspiration is gone?”

He took a slow and deliberate step toward her. “My inspiration is to paint things no decent human wants to see. No one wants a painting like mine hanging in the dining room in their house.”

She swallowed hard, her breath coming shorter. This conversation reminded her of a dream she’d once had. She hadn’t been able to run in the dream, feet stuck to the ground while a trench had crumbled around her. She’d had no control, and didn’t know which way to go.

“What do you paint?” she asked.

“I used to paint sunsets. Landscapes mostly.” This time his smile was genuine. “And sometimes a beautiful woman.”

“I never would have guessed.”

“That I’d paint beautiful women?”

“That you’d paint at all.”

“Because I don’t fit your idea of an artist?”

She decided to admit her own prejudice. “No.”

“Hmm. Then you’ve got a lot to learn about people, don’t you?”

“Don’t insult my intelligence, Captain Hale.” She made a disgusted sounded. “I know more about people than I want to.”

“Is that why you’re working in a mad house? When you left the war, why did you come to a place as dark as an asylum? Were you trying to work off the guilt in your soul?”

Oh, God. Yes. Yes, she wanted to. And to escape. If only she could escape guilt. If only.

“Do you have nightmares at night?” he asked before she could respond to his question.

“Everyone does once in a while.”

He shook his head. “No. Not everyone has these nightmares. Not the ones you had while you were in France. Not the ones you still have.”

She swallowed hard as a panic rose within. Corralling her fear and the memories, was a full time job. She shoved back the sweaty fear that threatened, and replaced it with defiance. “You are far off the point. None of this explains why I should believe in ghosts, and why you’re here where you shouldn’t be.”

“I was drawn here. Drawn to where you are. I don’t want to be here, but I can’t seem to stay away from you.”

A tingle of apprehension threaded its way into her thoughts. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t call for help.”

“Because you’re curious. You have a hell of a lot going for you. Except for your refusal to believe in ghosts. You aren’t the type of woman given to wild fancies.”

“Why did you ask me if I believe in ghosts then?”

“Because I think this place is haunted. I hoped you’d be open enough to confirm it for me. I wanted the truth from a relatively sane individual.”

She stood straighter and barked a soft laugh. She glanced down the hallway, still half expecting to see a nurse or patient coming toward them. “Then if you believe that, you belong here.”

“Never said I didn’t.” He uncrossed his arms, but he looked no less powerful. “I checked myself in here, remember?”

“Believing in ghosts is poppycock.” She had to say it once again, in case he didn’t understand how adamant she was. “And you wouldn’t have come to this particular asylum if I hadn’t been here.”

“Who you trying to convince, Dorrenti? Me or you?”

His switch to her last name made her feel like one of his soldiers, and it also angered her into action. She took one step forward. “Perhaps you should continue to address me as Nurse Dorrenti.”

She’d half expected humor–a glint in his eye. Instead she saw guarded respect. This man meant what he said and said what he meant. Cade’s gaze caught hers, and she sucked in a breath. Within the fire of his eyes, she found an inner heat that hadn’t existed within her before in quite this way. Men in the war, those she’d encountered both wounded and well, had rarely stirred her senses, her anger, or her sensual needs. He did all three with disturbing ease. The knowledge frightened her. He burned with a fire she didn’t understand and feared. Yet excitement smoldered low, igniting a yearning.

He took a step forward and then another until he stood far too close–no more than six inches away. She gasped and one hand went to the door jam, clasping the wood. “What are you doing?”

Slowly his fingers tilted her chin upward. Her eyelids fluttered, almost closed. He leaned in and his cheek was close to hers as he drew in a breath. Cade’s scent teased her nose, a soft musk and delicious masculinity she thought of only as his. Heat off his body touched her flimsily clad body as he eased nearer.

“Answer my question,” she barely whispered the words. “What are you doing?”

“Making sure you’re real.”

“Is that laudanum speaking?”

“Perhaps.”