Author Spotlight: Judith Lucci, Part Deux

 

Today I welcome Judith Lucci back to Reade and Write. You may remember reading about her on this blog last December when she was promoting The Case of the Dead Dowager (you can read the interview here if you’d like).  Judith is back today to promote the release of The Crescent City Chronicles, her boxed set of three Alexandra Destephano medical thrillers.

And there’s great news…wait for it…the boxed set is only 99¢!

This is not a drill, folks.

99¢ for three fast-paced thrillers set in the Big Easy. I bought mine before I wrote this post and I can’t wait to dig into them.

Here’s a letter that Judith asked me to post for today’s blog:

Hi Everyone, I’m Judith Lucci and I write medical thrillers and crime. I’m a nurse with a doctoral degree and I have seen hundreds of patients, saved lots of lives, taught thousands of nurses and written and researched a bunch of stuff. I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I love my family, painting, writing and all things DOG. I have five of them and they run my life and my home. I think my greatest strength as an author is using my medical knowledge to create unique ways to develop plots and kill people. Anyway, I’m here today, as Amy knows, because I need to sell 6,000 books to make the USA Today Best Sellers List.

I have created a boxed set of my first three medical thrillers, Crescent City Chronicles, Alexandra Destephano Novels Books 1-3 and it’s currently available right now for .99. It’s available EVERYWHERE at http://bit.ly/CCCPreRelease.

Here’s the blurb:  Exciting, dramatic hospital stories set in the Big Easy featuring Virginia -born nurse-attorney Alexandra Destephano, a New Orleans Police Commander and Alex’s former husband, a famous surgeon and a world-renown psychiatrist.  Books feature romantic suspense, malpractice, elements of the supernatural, political intrigue and the work of a grisly serial killer.  Anyway, once again here’s the link: http://bit.ly/CCCPreRelease.

Take care and have a fun, safe summer.

Judith

So let’s help Judith make that bestsellers list, shall we? Good luck, Judith!

Until next week,

Amy

 

 

 

 

My First Short Story

Photo courtesy of estableman, pixabay

Maybe you remember a while back when I said I wanted to learn to write short stories. I announced back then that my goal was to write a short story by July 1, 2017.

Well, I’ve written one and I’m sharing it with you today because I’d like to know what you think. Honest opinions, okay? If you don’t like it, tell me why. If you do, tell me why. If you want to send me a private message on Facebook to share your opinion rather than put it in the comments, I welcome that.

Here goes.

Twist of Fate

            As far as Lorna was concerned, the blame for this whole situation could be laid squarely at Jack’s feet.

Hadn’t she given him the best years of her life? Hadn’t she stretched dollars and food while he was in school? Hadn’t she deprived herself of new clothes, new shoes, and even decent haircuts so he could follow his dream of becoming a doctor? Hadn’t she put up with his miserable mother for three decades?

Hadn’t she raised their two kids to be successful and independent? Wasn’t their home, now that Jack was a prosperous and well-known plastic surgeon, the envy of all the neighbors? It was all her.

And how did he thank her for all those thankless years? With divorce papers. With the stinging words “irreconcilable differences.” Was he kidding?

Of course he was. There were no irreconcilable differences. How could they have differences when they barely spoke anymore? Jack, never home, always “working” or so he said, Lorna always lunching with one or another of the moms from the gym, every night at some community or social club meeting.

The kids knew before Lorna did. Why did he have to tell them first? When she called Lily to declare her disbelief, her shock, Lily had merely said that she had seen this coming for years. Sure, she felt bad, but it was her opinion that Lorna should pick herself up, move forward, and never look back.

And Brian said basically the same thing. “Mom, I would think you’d be glad. Now you can have your own life.”

“But I have my own life!” she had wailed. “And I like it just the way it is!”

“You like not talking to Dad?” Brian asked. “You like living with someone who’s no more than an absent roommate?”

“Yes,” Lorna insisted. “This lifestyle suits me. Now I’m going to have to get a job. What can I do? I can’t do anything.”

“You’re a good cook,” Lily had said. “Open your own catering business.”

“Great idea. Who’s going to give me the money to start it up?” Lorna asked.

She could practically see her daughter shrugging through the phone. She may have raised those kids to be successful, but they were sorely lacking in empathy, Lorna thought.

“You can do lots of things,” Brian had said. “Open your own decorating business.”

“And how am I going to find money to rent a space and fill it with products for people to buy?” Lorna asked.

“I don’t know. It was just a thought.”

Lorna called up Sheri, one of her friends from the gym. “What am I going to do?”

“I had a friend once who got divorced and she put herself through college after that and now she owns a software company,” Sheri said.

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” Lorna asked.

“I was just trying to say that things may look bad now, but it’ll all work out for the best. You’ll see.”

Lorna had not received the proper amount of sympathy from either of her kids or Sheri. She poured herself a drink and waited for Jack to come home. They needed to talk.

She waited. She poured another drink. Still Jack didn’t come home.

Lily called as Lorna was pouring her third drink. “Mom, you’re drunk.”

“I am not.” Lorna was slurring her words.

“Mom, you’re going to be embarrassed when Dad comes home.”

“Why did you call?” Lorna asked coldly.

“To tell you that I can’t come up this weekend. I have to work.” Yes, indeed, they were successful kids.

“That’s okay. I might not be here,” Lorna replied.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know yet. Maybe I’ll come to see you.”

“That would be fine. Just don’t expect me to be home very much.”

Lorna had just been teasing, sort of. She knew Lily didn’t want her there, and she frankly didn’t want to visit Lily. Or Brian. Brian’s kids were miserable.

Jack finally got home around eleven. Lorna stumbled to the front door, greeting him with a scornful, slurred “Whereveyabin?”

Jack fixed her with a look of disgust. “Out. You’re drunk.”

“’syourfault.”

“No it’s not. It’s no one’s fault. I’ll be in the guest room.”

Lorna reached out and tried to grab his arm, but ended up spinning around dizzily and landing on her knees in front of him. He reached for her arm and hoisted her to her feet. “Lorna, go to bed. You’re going to hurt yourself.”

She sneered at him. “No I’m not. Don’t touch me.”

He dropped her arm like a live grenade and stalked toward the first-floor guest room. Lorna could hear him lock the door from the inside.

There had to be someone else—she just knew it. Probably one of the pert young nurses who worked with Jack. Or one of the divorced recipients of a new set of boobs or a new nose. Or a waitress from one of the places he went for lunch. The more Lorna thought about it, the more her insides churned with rage, humiliation, and the fear of being alone.

Jack moved out the following week. “For the time being,” he told Lorna, “you’ll have access to the checking account, but only for household expenses. I’ll be keeping an eye on it,” he warned. Lorna fumed. You good-for-nothing jackass.

She called Sheri again. “I’m sorry, Lorn, I can’t talk right now. I’m getting ready to go out. Can we get together for coffee in a couple days?”

Lorna hung up after telling Sheri she thought she had plans. She barked a harsh laugh. What plans could I possibly have? Then she thought of something to do.

She was going to follow Jack and find out who this other woman was.

Jack had given her his new address in case she needed to find him, but he had asked her not to use it otherwise. Who cares? she thought. She drove to the address and found a swanky high-rise. She parked just down the leafy street where she could see anyone who pulled out of the parking garage. Just perfect for the divorced doctor who has everything, she sneered to herself. It probably has a pool where he can ogle his new flame’s surgically enhanced body while everyone else stares, mouths agape.

Knowing his work schedule so well, she wasn’t surprised when he pulled out of the garage in his shiny BMW and turned in the direction of the hospital. She followed him at a discreet distance and waited while he ran into his favorite coffee shop for his morning libation. He didn’t take the direct route to work, but instead made his way to an old neighborhood made of old money. The houses were close together but surrounded by wrought-iron gates over which riotous flowering shrubs tumbled. The houses were all three stories or more, just like the brownstones in New York City or in London’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Jack pulled into a narrow alley behind one block of houses and Lorna had no choice but to park on the street near the end of the alley. She didn’t know if he would turn left or right, so she waited quite a distance from the alley. It wasn’t long before the BMW turned right out of the alley and Lorna sped up to see better. Sure enough, there were two people in the car now.

When Jack got to the hospital, he pulled into the lot across the street, the one specially reserved for doctors, and got out. His companion got out and Lorna gasped. She felt like she had been punched in the gut. She knew the other person—it was Doctor Moss, a cardiologist. She watched in dismay as Jack kissed Doctor Moss and they entered the hospital through separate doors.

She took the long way home. Everything had changed. She hadn’t expected another doctor.

Especially not Eric Moss.

photo courtesy of WerbeFabrik, pixabay

Thanks for reading.

Until next time,

Amy

And Now for Some BSP: Blatant Self-Promotion

My latest release, The House on Candlewick Lane, is on sale for 99¢ and I’m trying to spread the word far and wide. If you’ve read the book, thank you very much. If you’ve read the book and left a review, you are awesome.

And if you haven’t read the book, this is your chance!!

Here’s a quick summary of the novel:

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh—a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.

Doesn’t that sound like something you want to read TODAY?!

Here’s the Amazon link if you’re interested: http://amzn.to/2ruijTR

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2kJMNLO

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2s3VUKO

Google: http://bit.ly/2kV6JNQ

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2rkeD7M

Thank you! If you’re inclined to share this post, I would be most grateful!

Until next week,

Amy

Author Spotlight: Linda Berry

Today’s guest author is Linda Berry, whose new book, Pretty Corpse, was recently released. It’s getting fantastic reviews on Amazon and I’m honored to have Linda here today to talk about the book. The subject matter of the story is a little out of my comfort zone, but in Linda’s capable hands I think I’m going to enjoy it. I invite you to share your comments at the end of the post, but please note that Linda is very busy this week with promotion and other activities and may not be able to respond right away.

Tell us about Pretty Corpse.

The year is 1999. A serial rapist is targeting teen girls in San Francisco. While on patrol, Officer Lauren Starkley discovers one of the victims, and she’s shocked to find out the girl is a close friend of her daughter. The case instantly becomes intensely personal. Because she isn’t a detective, Lauren is restricted from investigating, but she does so nonetheless on her own time. Lauren has an uncanny ability to find obscure clues and link them together. Her relentless pursuit of the rapist draws her deeper into his world. He in turn, starts getting closer to Lauren and her daughter. Lauren needs to lure him out of hiding, fast, before her daughter becomes his next victim.

Your novels are filled with an interesting mix of characters. Tell us about that. 

My stories reflect the range of characters each of us knows in real life. We all have people we admire, people who threaten us or are just plain loony. I like to keep readers alert and surprised by creating several interrelated stories that and ebb and flow through the main story. We are all multi-dimensional, and have many stories happening simultaneously in our lives, and sometimes conflict erupts on many fronts. I like to get into those emotional tsunamis and explore a person’s breaking point, and how they deal with the challenge. Complex characters that are bitterly wounded or pathologically twisted are interesting to me. I like to contrast the most vile and repugnant aspects of human nature to the most heroic and noble, and throw some quirky characters in for good measure.

How did you research this police thriller?

To write authentically, I do extensive research. That doesn’t mean I let my fingers do the walking. I have to give a big thank you to the police officers at Mission Station in San Francisco in 2001, when I wrote this first draft. My research for Pretty Corpse came in the form of dozens of ride-alongs I did with various female patrol officers. I chose the night shift when the city was rife with criminal activity, and I got to see these courageous women in action. Several of my characters were inspired by the female cops I came to know, and also by the captain of the station, who gave generously of his time to help me authenticate my writing. Many of the side stories in Pretty Corpse are based on actual events relayed to me by police officers from Mission Station. 

Where do you write?

I write in a sunny office in my home overlooking a canal and peaceful wooded area. I live in Central Oregon, a resort town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains.

You were an award-winning copywriter and art director for twenty-five years, and worked part of that time for the film industry. How did that experience shape your decision to become a novelist?

I had the privilege of collaborating with talented writers and some of the best editors in the business. I love books and have been an avid reader my entire life. I wrote novels as a passionate hobby. In fact, my three novels released this year by Winter Goose Publishing are the result of my efforts spanning a decade. Now that I’m retired, I write every day. It’s so much easier to produce good work when you can keep your train of thought moving forward, and are not constantly interrupted. 

What do you love most about your work?

I love the creative process itself—the challenge of developing and constructing plots that continually surprise the reader and hold them in a state of suspense. Writing is both a passion and a compulsion—a truly satisfying form of escape. My reward comes when a reader tells me they couldn’t put my book down and they talk about my characters as though they’re real people. Then I know I did my job well.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness comes to me in many forms. Appreciation of life itself is the foundation of happiness. I find this planet miraculous, from subatomic matter to the galaxies in space. I enjoy the beauty of ecosystems, how so many forms of life—plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects—the smallest creature to the largest, are dependent on each other for survival. My idea of perfect happiness is living on a healthy planet where people live together in peace and are trusted guardians of nature.

What is your greatest fear?

Being impoverished, homeless, or mentally or physically impaired and dependent on others. I did undergo some terrible threats to my health six years ago. I had a bout of debilitating pain for about 8 months, which diminished my ability to enjoy life. I’m now completely recovered, and feel I’ve been given a second chance at life. The experience sharpened my awareness of how fragile life is, how it can be taken away in an instant, and how one might be forced to languish in pain for a period of time. It heightened my appreciation for the quality of life I have now, for every precious moment I’m healthy and independent.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of patience. Sometimes I get caught up in the everyday demands of life, and the illusion that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.  I have to remind myself at times to live in the moment, address what is happening right in front of me, and listen to people, even when I feel I’m short on time. Giving another human being a few minutes of conversation can make a huge difference in that person’s life. Kindness goes a long way.

Who in your profession do you most admire?

I read everything, and admire countless writers, from journalists to screen writers to poets to authors. I especially love mysteries, and I read an average of two books a week. If the writing is solid, and the story is well-constructed, I’ll read it regardless of genre.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Disconnecting from the world. Getting out in nature with my husband and our dog in our motorhome. I love being on a lazy schedule and disconnecting from social media, where the only decision I have to make is when to eat and what hikes to take. I can write in uninterrupted peace for hours at a time, surrounded by nature, sometimes listening to the gentle patter of rain, watching water drip off leaves. I love going to national parks, off season. We went to Bryce and Zion and Arches and the Grand Canyon two years ago. Last year we went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and this year we may be going to Yosemite.

On what occasion would you lie?

I don’t tell big extravagant lies, but I do tell baby lies frequently, mostly when complimenting people. For example: “no, your ass doesn’t look big in those jeans” or “you look marvelous” when in actuality, you look hungover, and you have stains on your shirt.

What do you dislike most in your work?

When I hit a brick wall and I have to stop writing, sometimes for days, while I process my story and play out different scenarios in my head. I never force the creative process. What generally helps me break through the logjam is reading. I’ll bury my nose in a good book, and before long, ideas start percolating to the surface. I also have a muse, my nail goddess, who’s held captive doing my mani/pedi for 2 hours, and I bounce ideas off her. She has a creative mind and has been a wonderful contributor to my stories for years.

When and where were you happiest in your work?

This current period in my life is the happiest. Now that I’m retired, I have the luxury of writing every day. I wake up eager to get to work. I take my coffee up to my sunny office and dig in. I believe I’m at my most happiest when my husband and I are traveling and we’re parked in a beautiful wilderness area and the peace of the place seeps into my bones. I can write with no interruption.

If you could, what would you change about myself?

I would take twenty years of physical wear and tear off my body. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I would change nothing. If I had to lose twenty years of life experience to be in a younger body, I would say no. I’m more at peace with myself at this stage of life than I have ever been.

What is your greatest achievement in work?

Having three novels completed and coming out this year, 2017. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment to see the culmination of years of work and endless rewrites in a physical book. Hidden Part One and Pretty Corpse are out, and Hidden Part Two comes out in September. I’m expecting my fourth mystery, Quiet Scream, to be out in December or January.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My friendliness, and my sense of humor. I have always had a keen interest in people and I’m a good observer, passionately interested in humans and the world around me. I’m an optimist at heart, and I’ve been blessed with a jolly spirit. I enjoy socializing but the greater part of my waking life is spent in solitude, writing, reading, and doing projects.

What is your most inspirational location in your city?

I like to get out on the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. We have a beautiful river, the Deschutes, that meanders through town and its character changes every foot of the way. There are many meadows, sagebrush flats, waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Cascade Range. The look of a wild river, the various sounds of water rushing, falling, cascading over boulders, is invigorating and soothing. Hiking clears my head of thoughts and worries and puts me in a state of peacefulness.

What is your best advice for beginning writers?

Write about something you love and then your passion will come out in your words. Write often, everyday, if possible. Read, read, read. I read one or two books a week, and I also watch movies and TV productions that tell good stories. I take notes. I have volumes of notes, and refer to them daily.

 

Watch Linda’s Youtube trailers:

Hidden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-bNoFgaD9U&t=7s

Pretty Corpse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/linda.berry.94617 

Website: www.lindaberry.net

Twitter:@LindaBerry7272

Contact: lindaberrywriter@gmail.com

Best of luck with the new book, Linda!

Until next time,

Amy

How valued Readers can become valued Reviewers!!

Susan Toy nails it in this quick post about writing reviews. If you read a book, the best thing you can do is to tell people about it. And if you’re shy, email the author and tell him or her personally…it really is that easy.

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

If you have read Island in the Clouds or One Woman’s Island or That Last Summer (or all three!) and enjoyed reading them – but you haven’t yet posted any reviews online, I would appreciate you doing so now, on Goodreads, Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, your library’s website, or your own blog. I’m hoping to build up awareness for my writing in general to create a solid fan base in place to do the heavy-lifting of informing and, hopefully, exciting different and new-to-me readers about any future publications. If you have already posted something to do with me or my writing on your own blog I have likely added that link to this page, this page, or this one. If your interview or review are not listed there, please let me know so I can include you.

Now, I know some readers are shy and don’t want their…

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