Friday, March 22, 2019

Steve's Journal After the Dissident Artist Case

This is just for fun, for my McRoll fan friends.

Steve's Journal after the Dissident Artist Case

Had to call one of Joe’s contacts in Nicaragua today for a case we were working on. I met him once, back on a SEAL mission. Nice guy, dedicated to the job. He didn’t ask a lot of questions, just contacted his people.
While we were waiting for confirmation on the intel I needed, he mentioned that he’d heard Cath had broken up a Libyan arms deal and had won some serious respect from her superiors. I was surprised to hear her name come up, but not that she was in Libya. Part of me wanted to be there with her. I know she doesn’t need my protection, but I think I’ll always want to make sure she's safe. I kept it casual on the phone, told the guy that was good to hear. I really wanted to ask questions, though, to know more about what the mission was and if there had been any casualties. Had she been injured at all? Where was she now? But if I asked I knew the answers wouldn’t be good enough and I’d want to contact her and see for myself. I can’t do that. Not right now. So I hung up and tried to focus on my case, using the intel I'd gotten to find the dissident and bring her in. I feel bad I was a little short with Jerry when he was trying to load the link we'd gotten, but it wasn’t about him. It was about wanting to be in my office, tracking down Cath to talk to her. Listen to her laugh. Make sure she was good. I got it together, though, and stayed late arranging asylum for the Nicaraguan woman and her grandma. If I couldn’t make sure Cath was safe, I’d make sure I’d do what I could for someone who needed my help. Okay, yeah, I took out my phone a thousand times and thought hard about getting in touch, but in the end I never dialed. As soon as I could I took an extra long swim, pounding the surf until I was tired enough to lock away any worries I have for Cath into the corner of my mind. It took a lot longer than usual.

I’d never tell anyone, but when I need to feel close to her, I put on my blue shirt. It was one of her favorites of mine to wear and sometimes I think I can even smell her shampoo scent on my collar.

I miss her. 

Bestselling Romantic Suspense Sale!

Have you read my bestselling romantic suspense novel, The Capture yet? It was a Whitney Award finalist for Best Suspense and it's on sale today for only .99 cents! Get your copy here

Thursday, March 21, 2019

In the Non-Fiction Corner: The Five Legends

In the Non-Fiction Corner With Lauren 

The Five Legends by the Anasazi Foundation is a quick read packed full of many powerful insights. The interest in Native American studies is growing as many people explore their own family history or try to preserve the culture of this group of people. I know that my own family is proud of our Native American history, so I absolutely loved reading this book that helped share a few legends and stories that are actually very applicable to our world today.

The book begins with two brothers who are at odds with each other and cannot get along. As one brother becomes leader of the tribe, the other gets upset and takes a group of followers to live on the other side of the canyon. The two groups become hateful towards each other, except for the boys’ mother, whose dying wish is to see her son again. The first son goes to the other side of the canyon to bring back his brother to see his mom one last time. When he arrives, the brothers become trapped inside the canyon, lost, still bitter toward one another, and their only help is a strange old man who loves to tell stories. Their journey home can teach us all how to heal divided hearts and change ourselves without trying to change others.

The entire book was beautiful and extremely well-written, but my favorite part was when the brothers’ new friend is talking about how a community or family is much stronger when we focus on the WE rather than the ME. We may not want to change because we feel like we are not in the wrong and that the other person will never change. However, the only person we have control of is ourselves, and as we give those around us a different ME to react to, they may want to change for themselves. I loved that this book gives real advice through beautiful legends that can truly make our lives happier as we think less often of ourselves and see what we can do to help others.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Drawing on 30 years of helping families, this profound fable by the Anasazi Foundation illustrates the true anguish of conflict and explains how we can end war within ourselves, within our families, and even between nations.

Created in 1988 by renowned wilderness pioneers Larry D. Olsen and Ezekiel C. Sanchez (a Totonac Indian whose native name is Good Buffalo Eagle), the Anasazi Foundation invites young people, through a primitive living experience, to effect a change of heart. For over thirty years, their teachings have helped families begin anew and walk in harmony in the wilderness of the world.

Inspired by their wisdom, this book tells the story of two brothers whose warring hearts threaten to destroy their lives and their community. Trapped in a canyon, the two brothers are rescued by a mysterious old man who perceives their need for peace. He offers to guide them home -- inviting them to open their hearts toward a New Beginning. When they agree, he teaches them the five legends of peace. And as they walk forward, they learn that we are free to create peace in our own lives--and how to do it. This discovery saves not only the brothers but ultimately their people. This poetic narrative offers us all a hopeful way out of the canyons of war, leaving behind the warring within.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway!

I was interested to read debut author's Paige Edwards' new romantic suspense Catherine's Intrigue because the back copy looked, well, intriguing! And the story lived up to the title!

We are introduced to Catherine Pressley-Coombes when she travels to England and is looking for one of her ancestors. Her brother lets her drive his sports car and she isn't used to the driving rules in England and accidentally ends up in a ditch. A nice farmer comes along and tows them out, but he turns out to be the heir to an earldom and very attracted to Catherine. She feels a connection, too, but there are conspiracies afoot as someone does not want Catherine to find her ancestor and will do anything to stop her. Can Catherine and Nick work together to uncover secrets long buried and take a chance on love?

I really enjoyed the way the author used authentic British terms and, being a Canadian myself, saw many familiar ones. Like a little bit of home in a book! Our heroine, Catherine, is strong, yet vulnerable, and is always trying to do the right thing. I liked her realistic interactions with her brother and how she was knowledgable, yet humble. She was easy to relate to and readers will cheer for her to get her happy ending. Nick was a dreamy hero, who had just the right balance of charm and integrity. He's got a lot on his plate, combined with his position in the nobility and community, but he handles it well, most of the time. He is flawed, but a sweet and swoonworthy hero.

The secondary cast was drawn well, even the villains, which adds depth to the plot and ramps up the suspense. This is an LDS romance and the religious practices are featured prominently in the story. There were a lot of POVs and characters to keep straight, but I thought the author handled a complicated suspense plot and realistically intertwined it with the romance. I will definitely be looking for more from this author.

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

To fulfill her mother's last request, twenty-four-year-old historic design specialist Catherine Pressley-Coombes travels to England in order to investigate an elusive family line. Armed with an illegible diary, she is determined to discover the identity of her mysterious ancestress. Distracted by an Elizabethan manor and unused to British country roads, Catherine runs her car into a ditch. Luckily, Nick Davidson, a handsome, hard-working local rides in on his tractor to save the day. As the down-to-earth manager of his family's estate, Nick also happens to be one of England's most eligible aristocrats.

Nick is certainly not the kind of man Catherine would fall for a man dogged by media and rumor. So why does she find the English lord so irresistible? Even though she can't overlook their differing values and beliefs, as she and Nick spend time together, their attraction deepens. While she battles through romantic turmoil, Catherine is beleaguered with far more sinister concerns: a series of unexplainable misfortunes that are not mere accidents. With her heart on the line, Catherine discovers her life is in jeopardy, and she has no idea who the perpetrator is but she has a growing suspicion that the danger might be connected to whatever secrets lie hidden in her ancestor's diary.

Blog Tour Schedule:

*March 18th:,,,,

*March 19th:,,,

*March 20th:,,,

*March 21st:,,,

*March 22nd:,,,

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Sarah Eden Historical Romance Sale! Don't Miss This One!

I loved Sarah Eden's Hope Springs series and I was definitely Team Tavish. Love Remains is Tavish's story and it is on sale today for only $1.99! If you love historical romance, you'll want to pick this one up! (You can see my review of it here) You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll want to go back and read all the good parts again.

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

For nearly a year, Tavish O’Connor has carried the crushing weight of his family’s future on his shoulders. He has taken on the care of his youngest brother, Finbarr, who lost his eyesight in a terrible accident. But the lad needs more than Tavish can provide. Finbarr needs hope.

Cecily Attwater specializes in hope. As a tutor to the newly blind, she has dedicated her life to helping others overcome the obstacles she herself has conquered. Her new assignment in a remote corner of Wyoming proves trickier than usual: Finbarr refuses to learn. To make matters worse, his family—and the other Irish townspeople—are less than thrilled to discover an Englishwoman in their haven.

Cecily’s only hope lies in securing the cooperation of her pupil’s brother, Tavish, who happens to be her harshest critic and quite possibly the most frustrating man she’s ever known.

For Finbarr’s sake, Tavish and Cecily forge an uneasy alliance that, as the weeks pass, tiptoes toward something deeper than either dares admit or face, and toward a future they know to be impossible. There can be no hope of a happy outcome for an Irish man and an English woman amongst a people reeling from violence and centuries of hatred between their two homelands.

Other Books in the Hope Springs Series:

Longing for Home
Hope Springs
My Dearest Love

Monday, March 18, 2019

Hawaii Five-0 Recap & Review: The One With a Lot of Talking & A Shirt Thief

I got a little behind for the last few Hawaii Five-0 reviews, so I'm hoping to catch up this week. Honestly, you didn't miss much. This one was a bit on the boring side for me.

This one starts out with Junior helping his dad repair that deck. (It's a pretty small deck, but they've been working on it for a really long time.) The dad is listening to some musical theater and reminiscing about how he joined chorus to meet Junior's mom. *yawn* The dad then finds his daughter's old bracelet beneath a board and just shoves it in his pocket. Junior gets a call and has to leave. (Please let this episode get better.)

Steve and Junior arrive at the crime scene of a window washer who fell to his death. Duke gives them the rundown that the dead window washer's (DWW) rigging was cut and all he had in his pocket was a set of keys. Tani finds out the company that was on the guy's shirt is a fake. They stand around speculating that maybe he saw something he shouldn't have or maybe someone had a beef and made it look like an accident. Just what was the guy doing up there? (And why is an elite task force taking this case? Poor incompetent HPD)

Back at the Chatting Table the keys in the DWW's hand matched the keys to a van parked nearby registered to James Cooper. James is a corporate consultant based out of Miami, who hasn't been there for a year and doesn't have a local address. Grover says he's been to Boston, Atlanta, London and Costa Rica recently, but maybe since he's a consultant he's meeting with clients or you know, casing places for a robbery. Steve tells Junior to check the tenants of the building to see who would be obvious targets and to ask HPD robbery if there have been any high end burglaries.

Tani calls and she's on the roof of the building where DWW fell. Jerry has a crime scene modeling drone and since the roof is made of white membrane, they can distinguish footprints. Oh, and there's fresh shell casings up there, too, from two different guns. They 3-D map the roof and lift off the maintenance man footprints and match the victim's. Looks like DWW was on the roof when two shooters open fire so he runs to his rig and goes over the edge, but the attackers cut the rig line. Then the team sees a smaller, probably female, set of prints. She got away using the fire escape so they have a witness to the crime that they need to find before the killers get to her, too.

Back at the M.E. office, we get the rundown on DWW. He had a non-fatal bullet wound to his shoulder and end stage bladder cancer. Also, his fingerprints were burned off with acid. Ew. Jump back to the Chatting Table, where Jerry has cloned the garage door clicker in DWW's glove box and narrowed the search area to a half mile radius. Tunior and Jerry are going to help HPD with the canvass. (Seriously can we blow something up? Have a chase scene? Anything but more talking.)

Adam calls Grover and he needs help with a body. Good. (Maybe his case can be more exciting than the DWW!) But no. It's just a shirtless man who has been strangled to death. He's still got his slacks and shoes on, but his wallet is gone. Grover randomly finds a bamboo button near the body so they go to an aloha shirt shop where the owner tells them it came off a vintage 1950s royal Hawaiian shirt worth a couple grand. So, to amp up the excitement, they're going to wait and see if the perp shows up at the store to try and unload it. (If you drink caffeinated beverages, go get one right now to get you through the rest of the ep.)

Tunior are driving around pointing the clicker at different garages. Since Junior is quiet, Tani starts asking him what's wrong. Junior tells her about finding his sister's bracelet that she lost when she was ten and how his dad never cried after she died. Tani is all, wow, someone who shares your DNA doesn't want to share his feelings? Then they sort of awkwardly laugh. But then they find out that  Pua found the right garage and they head over there. He's been guarding it since the female might still be in there. Tunior moves in and set off a paintball booby trap. (It's probably the most exciting thing that happens this episode.) They find a bunch of painting supplies, stencils, exacto knives and art. DWW was a graffiti artist. So they call in Hirsch who identifies DWW from a panda motif. He is none other than the anonymous, and yet legendary, street artist Brickz. Tunior doesn't know who that is, but it's one of the top street artists in the world (who is apparently rich. Who knew there was money in that?) and it's even more awesome because no one knows who he is except his art dealer Sterling Jacobs. Back at the Chatting Table AGAIN we get the rundown on Brickz pieces that started appearing in Honolulu, but as soon as they went up, they got defaced with horrible sayings like Haole Go Home. Hirsch tells them that crossing out someone's work is basically a death threat, so if they find out who defaced the art, they'll find the killer. So, Hirsch goes with Tani and he uses the stencils from the warehouse to make a Brickz piece and watch it after Hirsch puts the image on his Instagram.  (Is watching paint dry the symbolism for this ep?)

Back to the stolen shirt story. A guy comes in with the shirt wanting to know how much he can get for it and Grover shows him his badge and says 30 to life. The ShirtThief immediately caves and says the ShirtlessGuy was already dead when he stole his clothing. Apparently, they were both at a poker game and ShirtlessGuy won twenty grand and was bragging about how much his shirt was worth before he headed home. ShirtThief went out the back and found Shirtless Guy dead, his roll already gone, so ShirtThief decided to just take what he could get. Yuck.

Jerry is trying to get past the encryption and Junior finds some pictures that could help identify the mysterious female.

Tani and Hirsch are waiting for the defacers and Hirsch is droning on about how he's not talented, he's just a good forger who wasn't happy no matter how many people he fooled, he was just a phony. Now that he cleans up crime scenes, though, he can look at himself in the mirror every day. Two goofy guys come along and start spray painting the graffiti. Tani sends HPD in, but as usual, they can't catch a cold, so Tani has to run one guy down and clothesline him, while Hirsch whacks the other one with a baton. Tani questions them and they said they got paid really well to deface the Brickz art with paint that washes off. Oh, and the guy who paid them was Sterling Jacobs. Good old Sterling knows his client is going to die soon, and that the art will skyrocket after his death, so he's taking them off the market. Maybe Brickz found out about it and things got heated and Sterling killed his client. Steve and Tani head over to Sterling's rental house (yay, a Steve in the field scene!) Unfortunately, Sterling is dead and has been gruesomely tortured with burns and torn out fingernails. The killers were obviously after Brickz' identity.

They finally get an ID on the female who was on the roof with DWW. She's a Nicaraguan national wanted for terrorism named Teresa Estrada. Jerry is able to break into the encryption on the computer using a homemade fingerprint from the keyboard and they all stand around the Chatting Table AGAIN and watch a video of Teresa talking about her son being kidnapped from his dorm and murdered for his political views. Good old Brickz wanted the world to hear Teresa's story, so they were making a documentary about her since she's a dissident artist who makes street art in Nicaragua to protest the government and carry on the fight of her son. She's made some powerful enemies, including Arturo Grenara, a top official in the Nicaraguan Directorate of Intelligence Affairs who wants to be president. It looks like Brickz went to Costa Rica, right next door to Nicaragua, and smuggled her out of the country, so Grenara had to send a team out to Hawaii to track her down. Tani asks why the strike team didn't just take Teresa out on the roof, but Steve thinks Grenara wants to bring her in alive to discredit and diminish her with a show trial, or a long slow death in a dark cell. They still have a chance to intercept her before they take her off Oahu, so Steve calls on Joe White's agency friend down in Nicaragua.

Adam and Grover go to the poker game, show their badges and flash ShirtlessGuy's picture. His name was Earl Whittaker, and he cheated on his taxes, always bragged about not claiming his winnings and wasn't faithful to his ex-wife or girlfriend. (Get some toothpicks in case you need to prop your eyelids open.)

The CIA intercepted a live video signal transmitting from Oahu to Directorate of Intelligence offices and it's the remote interrogation of Teresa! The strike team knew every cop on the island was after Teresa so they decided to play it safe, get her confession now, and then kill her. Teresa's talking about her guilt and crimes in a coerced testimony with guns pointed at her head. Tani notices some art on the wall behind her, Hirsch identifies it as a prominent local artist's work, and they find out who bought that piece and head over to the house. We get to see and hear the short gunfight during Teresa's questioning and Tani leading her away. Grenara asks who are you and Steve leans down into the camera and says, Five-0, case dismissed. Burn!

Grover and Adam go to Earl's ex-wife's house. Looks like she received a text around her ex's time of death and bribed the dealer of the poker game to let her know if Earl started winning big. She says she was home last night, but they want to talk to her boyfriend. She says she hasn't seen him, (she's a terrible liar) and the idiot boyfriend loudly breaks a window in the back and Adam catches and cuffs him.

Hirsch meets Tani at shrimp truck, though it's not a date. Tani tells him Teresa is getting asylum along with her grandma. Oh and Brickz left a chunk of money to start a foundation for dissident artists and Tani put Hirsch's name in as someone who could run it. Hirsch is surprised, but Tani gives him a pep talk that he can do this. Hirsch says that if this isn't a date can we plan one for tomorrow?  *groan*

We end back at Junior's dad's house. Dad is in his little girl's old room staring at the bracelet and remembering how happy she was when he gave it to her. Her voice echoes saying Love you so much daddy. Dad has been drinking and is emotional and crying when Junior comes in and helps him to his bedroom. Junior tenderly takes off dad's prosthetic leg and tells him "I got you, Dad." Dad cries on Junior's shoulder and they hug. Sad!

Not a lot of action in this one and a lot of talking. But a good end scene and Steve did appear in tac gear. What did you think? Did you watch?

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Have You Entered to Win $100?

$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

It’s time for another $100 Giveaway!! Just think how many books you could buy with $100! Or maybe you need a new Kindle! Or maybe you want to try Kindle Unlimited! Or maybe you want to buy a gift for someone! Or maybe you just need an extra $100! I’m excited to bring you another $100 giveaway sponsored by an AWESOME group of authors who write clean romance. Who do you recognize on this sponsor list? Which authors are new to you?

Giveaway Details

One winner will be awarded $100 in Paypal Cash or a $100 Amazon Gift Code! The winning entry will be verified! Make sure you actually subscribe and confirm your entries so you don’t get disqualified. If you already subscribe to an author’s newsletter you can, of course, claim the entry! Ends 4/10/19
Enter the $100 Giveaway via the rafflecopter.