#FreebieFriday for Chemical Attraction

My publisher at 48fourteen is running a Giveaway TODAY ONLY (6/7/19)

How Exciting!

Chemical Attraction is FREE on Amazon.

 

TODAY’s the ONLY Day!

1) Grab your FREE copy of CHEMICAL ATTRACTION!

2) Read. Enjoy. Write a Review.

Thank you.

“…the Perfect Mix of Mystery, Suspense & Romance…”

In this gripping stand-alone novel, Dr. Madeline Pierce, a dedicated scientist working in nanotechnology, has pain in her heart from an abusive relationship. She hides in her research. His charisma masking his loneliness, FBI Agent Joe Roberts searches for an instant chemistry with his soulmate, the one person who will love him for his faults not in spite of them.

When Madeline discovers discrepancies at her medical research facility, the FBI sends Joe as a courtesy.  Joe and Madeline soon realize they have bigger issues to deal with other than their Chemical Attraction.

In the nearby farming town, animals violently attack the residents. Someone is experimenting outside the laboratory. Are human test subjects next? With the help of Joe’s sister Eva, a physician assistant at the local hospital, and her husband Chief Matt Connor, Joe and Madeline hunt for this new bio-weapon before the death toll rises.

 

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History of a Weirdo

Many refer to me as a weirdo, a dork, and a nerd. After years of introspection, I’ve learned to embrace it and take it as a compliment on my creativity.

The History of a Weirdo:

In second grade, I wrote the short story, “Miss Pat’s Salad.” When Pat makes a salad then accidentally drops it on the floor, her family reacts in different ways. This start to my writing career won the coveted place on the center of our refrigerator door.

After three weeks, my younger sister Tricia’s Chartreuse and Tangerine drawing of a cow knocked my story out of the spotlight. Seriously, who could compete with that? A few weeks later, I upended the Crayola cow with my short story, “The Card Family” about the King and Queen of Clubs, who introduce the newest addition to their family.

It was on. Trish won many more times. Deservedly so. She had colored between the lines. My younger brothers, James and Jefrey, added their kiddy crafts of Thanksgiving hand turkeys and macaroni art to the mix; and the competition became fierce.

With a few fridge awards under my belt, I expanded my genius to writing, directing, and producing our basement plays with my siblings. The most talked about play in the neighborhood was The Bionic Family starring our shaggy mutt, Arfie, as the bionic dog. If YouTube was around back then, we would have been a sensation … or mortified beyond belief.

As a tall, gangly, band geek, my creativity took a backseat in junior high and high school. Fitting in and avoiding embarrassment took precedence. Neither worked out, but it gave me cringe-worthy material for later stories.

In college, I met my now husband, Kraig, who inspired my world. He encouraged my writing even if it was research term papers. Later, I dabbled with fiction and focused on our children. With them grown, I took on the creative writing challenge once more.

And Ta-Da! Here I am!

Again I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new.  My newest WIP is  a historical fiction story based on my father’s letters during the Korean War.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again for stopping by.

Meet Joe Roberts

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the people in The Chemical Attraction Series. Joe Roberts, Eva O’Sullivan, and Taylor Valentine are siblings by choice. They’ve told me their story, and I wrote about their amazing journey. These interviews take place just after their adventure in Chemical Reaction. [trivial spoilers/no plot spoilers]

His charisma hiding his loneliness, Joe Roberts is searching for an instant chemistry with his soulmate, the one person who will love him for his faults not in spite of them.

In Their Rigid Rules, Joe meets his future boss and then in The Kindred Code, he sets his career with the FBI in motion. In Chemical Attraction, he and Madeline fall in love during that dangerous case. In Chemical Reaction, they struggle to make it work while apart. Today, Joe answers a few questions for the fans of the series.

 

CHRISTINA: How’d you know Madeline was your one?

JOE: When I read her case file, her brilliance intrigued me. Then, I saw her jogging down the street next to her Aunt Sylvia’s B & B and knew. Our kiss on the dance floor confirmed it for me, but getting her on board took a while.

CHRISTINA: Madeline’s a genius research scientist and you need to be right. Do you find her intimidating?

JOE: I grew up where I had to take charge. I was on my own and had to be right to survive. With Madeline, I love the challenge of raising myself up intellectually. Her intelligence is sexy.

CHRISTINA: Is there any correlation between Madeline and Taylor’s favorite scent of lilacs? Did that scent attract you to Madeline?

JOE: Wait. What? I, um, uh, I never thought about that. I’m not comfortable discussing it. Next question, please.

CHRISTINA: Okay, we’ll move on. How’s your relationship with Stuart now?

JOE: We’re good. He and Matt treat me like a little brother although they don’t pick on me as much as Eva does. I let her to make her feel superior. Don’t tell her I said that.

CHRISTINA: You and Sylvia have a flirty relationship. How’d that start?

JOE: Years ago, in The Kindred Code, I met Sylvia and Herbert Folkert when Director Bingaman and I stayed at their B & B. She asked me if I was single.  Apparently, she planned to set me up with Madeline way back then. I flirted back amused by her playful banter. The next day, Herbert gave me an inspiring piece of advice that I still hold on to. I’ll share it with Madeline later.

CHRISTINA: When did you get rid of your tank of a car and buy the Ford Taurus?

JOE: My eighty-eight Lincoln Continental sat at the Director’s cabin for most of the winter and wouldn’t start, so he had to have it towed. Before I answer about my Taurus, what did the Director say about it? I, uh, didn’t actually buy it. It’s revealed in The Kindred Code though.

CHRISTINA: How would you characterize your relationship with your boss?

JOE: Director Bingaman took a chance on me in Their Rigid Rules. I’m grateful for that. At the office, we stay professional. At family gatherings, Peter is my mentor and fills the father role with Eva and Taylor, too.

CHRISTINA: Thanks for joining me today and giving the fans insight into your life. Read more about Joe’s backstory in Their Rigid Rules and The Kindred Code. Then follow up with Joe and Madeline’s romance in Chemical Attraction and Chemical Reaction.

 

Meet Eva O’Sullivan

Taking-the-town

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know the people in The Chemical Attraction Series. Eva O’Sullivan, Taylor Valentine, and Joe Roberts are siblings by choice. They’ve told me their story, and I wrote about their amazing journey. These interviews take place just after their adventure in Chemical Reaction. [trivial spoilers/no plot spoilers]

Eva O’Sullivan Connor, a petite Irish spitfire with auburn spiral curls, has big opinions, and you know them whether you want to or not. Masking her vulnerability, she wears her willfulness like armor. Eva grew up in a single parent household and met Joe and Taylor in grade school. They quickly became inseparable. Eva has a fierce love for her family and believes families are bound by love not blood. Today, she answers a few questions for the fans of the Series.

CHRISTINA: Taylor and Joe have said, “If Eva has an opinion on a subject, you knows it whether you want to or not.” Does that description bother you?

EVA: No, it’s true and it’s not a bad thing. I like that way I am. Joe and Taylor tease me about my bossiness, but it’s never mean. We have our strengths and weaknesses. Family balances them. How boring would it be if we were all the same?

CHRISTINA: You made quite an impression with David and Matt at your first meeting in Their Rigid Rules. How’d you feel about them?

EVA: What’s not to love? David was adorable. He’s smart with a good heart just like his father. And, well, my first thought about Matt was “Wow, now this is a man.” He wasn’t a guy or a college boy. This handsome rugged man has embraced the responsibilities to his son and his profession. Seriously, Matt was shot in the line of duty saving an officer’s life. How much more manly can you get? They included me in their family. I can’t imagine a better feeling for your soul than that.

CHRISTINA: Throughout the series, you’ve fixed the meals when the family gathers. Have you always been a great cook?

EVA: I learned to cook from Matt’s mom. I have a thick homemade cookbook with all her delicious recipes. We didn’t get off to a great start. In fact, Gail hated me.

CHRISTINA: What happened that made her dislike you so much?

EVA: Oh boy, well, I visited Matt at his house for our first weekend together without David, who stayed at a friend’s house. Naked in his bed, I waited for Matt to come home from work. Well, Gail walked in first. She called me a harlot. The weekend deteriorated from there. Everything I did caused a stir in the town. It’s a big part of The Kindred Code.

CHRISTINA: You love messing with your brother, Joe. You’ve called him out for his player ways and embarrassed him in front of the other agents in Chemical Attraction, and then you pranked him during your phone call with Madeline in Chemical Reaction. Has he ever gotten you back for those shenanigans?

EVA: Not yet. He tries, but I’m always a step ahead of him. Taylor and I tease him so his anger doesn’t take over. Madeline’s the perfect balance for him. For a long time, Joe didn’t think he was worthy of someone special. I hope Madeline will continue to appreciate how great he is. Oh, uh, don’t tell him I said that. He doesn’t need a bigger head.

CHRISTINA: Thanks for sharing your insights. I love how dedicated you are to your family. Read more about the chemistry of Eva and Matt’s first meeting in Their Rigid Rules. Then follow up with their touching romance in The Kindred Code.

 

Siblings by Choice

Mark your calendars for the release of The Kindred Code on Wednesday, July 19th. In the meantime, enjoy the excerpt between Joe and Eva, who are siblings by choice. They tease, harass, deflect, and know each other so well…

Excerpt from The Kindred Code

“Joey, focus! You missed the street,” Eva said.

Joe backtracked and finally found Matt’s house, a plain, well-kept country blue ranch with a two-car attached garage and a chain link fence in back half buried in the snow. In the neatly shoveled driveway, Matt’s old Bronco had also been cleared. Joe stopped beside it then blew out a breath in relief, glad to be done with the long drive on the slippery back roads.

“Crap,” Eva said, searching through her brown leather purse. “He gave me a key and I forgot it.”

“Damn it, Eva. I’m not going back,” he replied, flexing his fingers to ease the ache from his tight grip of the steering wheel. “Maybe he has one hidden somewhere.”

She laughed. “Here,” she said, holding it out for him. “You’re the one who needs to lighten up.”

He ripped it from her hand. She continued to laugh as he walked around the car to help her out. She handed him her purse and mittens then struggled to stand on her own, despite the walking boot cast on her right foot. Stubborn as always. With a sigh, he filled his arms with her crutches and suitcase from the back seat.

Taking the crutches, she started hopping toward the front door. Matt had shoveled the walkway bare, too, and rock salt covered every cement surface. Matt was definitely a responsible guy. Joe chuckled as he followed her.

Eva held out her hand for the key. “Just drop my purse and suitcase inside then you can leave,” she said, unlocking the door.

“No way. What kind of brother would I be if I didn’t look around and make sure he’s not some psycho?” he asked.

Inside, Eva turned and glared at him. “He’s a cop and a wonderful father who owns his own home.”

“You do need to lighten up. I was kidding, except for the snooping part.”

In the living room, Joe set her suitcase, purse, and mangled mittens beside the worn yet comfortable looking sofa. Under one end table, he spotted a wicker basket with yarn and a partially crocheted blanket.

“How domestic do you want to be with this guy? Crocheting? Really?” Joe said with a chuckle.

“Aren’t you going to be late?” Eva replied.

“Nope. I’ve got time.” He walked toward the kitchen on the right.

The plain white kitchen had enough room for a square wooden table and four chairs. David’s school paintings on the refrigerator added the only color to the room. To annoy Eva, Joe opened a cupboard above the bare countertop.

“Joe, stop,” she said, leaning on the back of one of the chairs.

“Do you really want to get tied down with a kid?”

Opening the fridge, he found it overflowing with Tupperware containers. He pulled out the closest, lifting the lid to see what was inside. His mouth watered at the macaroni salad. He quickly found a spoon in the drawer. After taking a huge bite, he moaned and held out a spoonful for Eva.

“This is so good,” he mumbled with another mouthful.

“I think his mom made it. His parents live across the street.” She hopped to the lid on the counter and held it out for him to cover the bowl. Instead, he walked around the table, making her hop after him.

“Sounds like Everybody Loves Raymond,” he said, before taking another bite.

“Have you talked to Taylor today?”

“No,” he replied, taking the lid she thrust in his face. “She’s not my problem anymore.” He shoved the container with its lid back into the refrigerator.

“Not your problem? She’s your family.”

“You know what I mean. She’s with Stuart now.” Leaving the kitchen, he headed down the hallway and glanced in David’s dinosaur-themed bedroom. In the guest room next to David’s, six boxes of toys and books rested on the bed beside two police uniforms lying across an ironing board.

“Do you want to talk about her?” she asked at his heels to keep him from snooping too thoroughly.

“This place is void of a female touch. Are you gonna decorate right away or wait until you’re living here?”

“Peter’s going to make you wear a suit everyday with the FBI.”

“Not if I can help it,” he replied.

Before Joe could add another retort, he and Eva heard a bang then a rattling from the basement. Joe whispered for Eva to go into the bathroom and lock the door. Rolling her eyes, she shook her head while Joe opened the basement door. The rattling vibrated the steps as Joe carefully descended. Eva hopped down behind him.

Beside neatly packed boxes on metal shelves that lined the perimeter of the small clean basement, an old furnace shook. At closer inspection, Joe found a large wrench sitting on the water heater and a slight dent in the furnace beside it. He banged the wrench into the dent and the rattling stopped. The heat popped on.

Joe grinned. “Owning a home is easy. I’m a pro already.”

Eva snorted and hopped back up the stairs huffing as she went. When his cell rang, Joe checked the caller ID. He let Taylor’s call go to his voicemail. Eva watched him.

“You need to work through your feelings for her,” Eva said.

“And, on that note, I’m out of here.” She was right, but he wouldn’t openly admit it.

Using her crutch, Eva poked him in the back, stopping him. “I love you, Joey.”

“Stay out of trouble,” he replied, giving her a hug, “although nothing ever happens in these farming towns.”

 

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THE KINDRED CODE: Did you know?

Some writers say they put bits of themselves into their stories. I, too, have incorporated parts of my life in my writing. I call it — Therapy. These are a few of my bits and pieces that sparked my series. (You may sense a Back in My Day theme as you read them.)

DID YOU KNOW I spoke with an Afghan war veteran about his experiences? He helped bring authenticity to Stuart’s PTSD flashback scene. I’ve known my son’s friend since they were in middle school together. He’s grown into a caring responsible young man. Caleb, thank you for your service. I’m proud of you.

DID YOU KNOW I modeled the tiny spunky nun in this story after Sister Maxine Magee from The Sisters of St. Joseph? I knew her through Nazareth College and our church. She sang “Ava Maria” at my wedding. She recently passed away. I’ll miss the little gal with a big voice and heart to match.

DID YOU KNOW I named Linda Lou’s bar, after my mom? She’s not fond of her middle name. Now, it’s out there in the book world. (Take that, Mom, for grounding me when I was fourteen.) In another book, I name a Great Lakes cruise ship after my dad. I though the USS Hershall Floyd has a certain ring to it. (I’m hilarious!)

 

MARK your calendars for the release of The Kindred Code on Wednesday, July 19th.

ADD The Kindred Code to GOODREADS 

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THEIR RIGID RULES: Did you know?

Some writers say they put bits of themselves into their stories. I, too, have incorporated parts of my life in my writing. I call it — Therapy. These are a few of my bits and pieces that sparked my series. (You may sense a Back in My Day theme as you read them.)

DID YOU KNOW Taylor and Eva’s dorm room isn’t set up like the dorms at Western Michigan University? Instead, it’s akin to the dorms at Nazareth College in Kalamazoo where I attended college. At my small college, two buildings had four floors each. The men were on only one of the floors since the campus first became coed in 1971. Shout out! Go Moles! (Yes, that was our mascot.)

DID YOU KNOW Holly’s Bistro on Westnage Avenue in Kalamazoo was a real place? Stuart takes Taylor to Holly’s on their first official date. My now husband Kraig and I had dinner there often while dating. Sadly, the romantic restaurant isn’t there anymore.

DID YOU KNOW Matt Connor’s son, David, started out as such a minor role that I used my son David’s name? I wanted a strong name, and my son’s was right there. Now, David Connor has become an integral character in the Series. I don’t regret naming him after my son, however, my David may receive flack for it. (Sorry/Not sorry, Son.)

Mark your calendars for the re-release of Their Rigid Rules on Wednesday, July 19th.

OR better yet, sign up for my newsletter and get a reminder:

CHRISTINA’S NEWSLETTER 

(Signing up automatically enters you into the drawings for all my giveaways.)

Character Interview with Samantha Randall from The Trucker’s Cat

TruckersCatFrontCover1500x2400

Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Samantha Randall from The Trucker’s Cat. With an emerald green eye and a cobalt blue one, this vibrant young woman has the agility of a cat. Today, she gives us a bit of her background.

CHRISTINA: Thanks for joining me, Samantha. Let’s start with your family. Tell us about them.

SAMANTHA: Well, my mother divorced my dad when I was ten and then married Russian Ambassador Dmitri Demas. For now, I live with them at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. My father was a U.S. Army General, who advised the President. He passed away two years ago. I miss him, but I’d like to think he’s watching over me. His best friend, Bear, is like my uncle. He’s big and burly. Over the years, I’ve picked up many of his bad habits and mannerisms. He tells it like it is, and I try to emulate that.

CHRISTINA: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Have you achieved the goal?

SAMANTHA: I wanted to be a ballerina. I had an opportunity to audition for Julliard once, but a broken leg at my father’s funeral prevented it. Right now, I teach dance to grade schoolers at the local elementary. Someday, I’d like to own a dance studio.

CHRISTINA: It’s a silly question, but what would we find under your bed?

SAMANTHA: Nothing, not even dust bunnies. My mother’s a stickler for cleanliness. To avoid her wrath, I keep my room tidy. I don’t spend much time there though. I’m usually dancing in the embassy’s ballroom.

CHRISTINA: Do you have any pet peeves?

SAMANTHA: Oh yes, and it’s a doozy. I’m disgusted when people display torn and ratty American flags. I confront those culprits every chance I get. It’s a disgrace, and I think it disrespects all the men and women, who serve under it. My Uncle Bear would say, “That burns my butt.” I agree wholeheartedly.

CHRISTINA: Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying

SAMANTHA: Some men think there’s a choice between right and wrong. Great men know there is none. My father gave a famous speech at a military function and that quote was part of it. I’ve taken those simple words to heart. It’s pushing me to make some difficult decisions.

CHRISTINA: Like what?

SAMANTHA: Well, I uncovered vital information that affects our national security and I need to get trek cross-country to give it to the right person although I’m not sure who he is yet, but I’ll find him no matter the cost to me.

CHRISTINA: Be careful and good luck.

Don’t miss out on this patriotic adventure.

AMAZON

GOODREADS

The Trucker’s Cat Blurb

“Some men think there’s a choice between right and wrong. Great men know there is none.”

~General Steven Randall

In The Trucker’s Cat, Samantha Randall and Major Logan McCormick believe in a common value that takes on extraordinary meaning.

At the Russian Embassy where she lives with her mother and stepfather, Samantha uncovers a plot to assassinate the President. Her father’s famous speech urges her to act. She treks cross-country to warn the driver that his cargo has the proof, but she finds herself stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Driving a truck on a special military assignment, Logan sees no choice and rescues Sam from a bloated lecher. Against protocol, he gives the wildcat a ride. With Russian soldiers searching for Logan’s cargo and another team chasing Samantha, they quickly realize they must work together. Making sacrifices for the greater good, they will do what’s necessary to prevent the unthinkable.

History with a Twist

Griswold Auditorium side view

It’s no secret that The Chemical Attraction Series is based on Allegan, Michigan. That’s three books and a fourth to be published later this year. Although my husband and I have only lived here for four years, I’ve worked here for over twenty and claim it as my hometown.

So when the city manager with ten years of notes on the history of Allegan asked if I’d write a story using it, I was thrilled … and honored. Then I thought, holy moly, how was I going to do that? Where do I start? Well, Google has become my new best friend.

I found a great article by Dave Hood about creative nonfiction history, which “presents facts and cause and effects but also adds narrative including storytelling, dialogue, setting, and character development.”

At first, I thought the genre I’d write in would be creative historical nonfiction, but now I think it’s still fiction, specifically historical fiction. This genre, in which the story is made up, is set in the past and borrows characteristics of the time period, basically fictional characters in documented situations and/or fictional characters in fictional situations but in the context of a real historical period. BINGO!

In my Series, I’ve used real places in Allegan (aka Allenton) and fictional people. In this next story, main characters will still be fiction even though I’m using the real history of Allegan.

My plan is to create people to observe and participate on the periphery of the town’s history but still have lives and adventures of their own. How boring would this story be if they didn’t? I love the idea of connecting this story with my series, so I’m going to use Matt Connor’s family tree since his family has lived in the town since it became a town. (Okay, I just made up that last part, but see, I’ve already gotten the creative juices flowing.)

With the basic ideas set, my next step is to outline Allegan’s history focusing on major events peppering in a few minor ones. I’ve gotten off to a great start with notes from the city manager, Allegan: Images of America by Nancy J Ingalsbee and Carol B. Garofalo, and Allegan’s History by Joe Armstrong and John Pahl.

Then, I’ll outline my people and plot. I have a feeling I’ll be camping out at the Allegan District Library for the summer. What do you think? Is this the best way to take on this huge undertaking? Please, comments are appreciated. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Inset picture is the Griswold Auditorium (aka the Hartford Auditorium from the Series)