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Tuesday Teaser Excerpt from new book!

Here we are in May and you know what that means? The number two book in the Shannon Wallace Mystery series is about to bust out of here! That’s right. and I am going to give you a special sneak peek into the book but first…

The new TITLE!!!!!!

Yew to a Kill

Isn’t that snazzy?  I know, right? It’s a cool little twist to “View to A Kill” and I did it to match 

Disk of Death 

which is a twist on “Kiss of Death”.

Okay, so now that you are in the know, here is a bit of Yew to a Kill

Yew to a Kill by Kim Smith copyright 2016

I carried a deep respect for professional men and Jason Scott ranked right up there. His asking to hire Video Angels for his business did nothing but raise him in my estimation. He sat in my sparsely furnished office in his ill-fitting tan suit, his blond hair stringy and disheveled. He looked more like a worn-out beach bum than a funeral home director—the kind of bum who has seen too much sunburn and had too much sand kicked in his face.

Of course, these days he was a local businessman and member of the Chamber of Commerce, and he could afford to look any way he wanted to unlike in years gone by when appearance really mattered and only the best sufficed. His youthful good looks had smoothed his way into the inner circle of South Lake’s elite, the inner circle his wife was born into. Right now, I didn’t care if he’d married his way in or was dipped in the clique. I just wanted his money.

We sat silently, legs crossed, listening to the quiet of the second floor of Video Angel’s building. I gazed at the picture on the wall behind his head—a depiction of Guinevere and Lancelot that Dwayne Brown, my partner, had bought for my office when I’d said I wanted to make it interesting and visual. Of course, movie posters came to my mind since we were in the video production business, but obviously “interesting and visual” means different things to different people. Dwayne is about as different as they come.

“Do you think you can do it, Shannon?” Jason asked.

“Sure. No problem. You have any special requests?”

“Yeah. Don’t screw it up. Make sure you get something I can take to the cops.”

I stared.

His face turned red, and he dropped his gaze

“Sure. You want evidence of illegal activity. I get it,” I told him.

“The cops think it’s kids.”

“And you don’t think it’s kids?” I asked.

“Hell, no. Kids wouldn’t spend this much time tearing up crap. They don’t plan out their crimes like this.”

I didn’t tell him I disagreed, but I did. Strongly. My aunts had a neighbor whose kid, Jimmy, was a mastermind of getting into trouble.

“So all you need is surveillance on the cemetery grounds for a possible shot of anyone stealing or upsetting stuff?”

“You heard about what they did?” Anger flashed across his face.

“Heard a little gossip. Someone said gangs, someone else said devil-worshippers. Guess since we’re surrounded by churches in this town that’s to be expected.”

He lifted his hand and rubbed his chin. “Gangs? Good grief. It ain’t gangs or kids, either, I’m telling you.”

“Well, who do you think it is?”

“Got no idea. Almost think someone’s out to get me.”

“Who’s mad at you?”

He shook his head and shrugged but made no effort to answer.

“Okay. We’ll get out there and take shots of anything that moves.”

He slumped in relief and pulled out his wallet. “How much?”

“Three hundred.”

He pulled out three bills and laid them on the desk. “If they go to jail and I get to prosecute the creeps, I’ll double it.”

I gave him my most appreciative professional smile and shook his hand as he rose to leave. At that moment, Dwayne came through the front door to the offices, jangling the doorbell, and making a terrible racket. We joined him in the front lobby area. There wasn’t much in there aside from a reception desk and a table with magazines on it.

“Jason Scott,” Dwayne greeted him, shaking hands. “How’s the funeral biz?”

“Dead, man. Real dead.”

They both laughed, and Jason made his way out.

Dwayne gave me a raised eyebrow. “What’s up? You doing some pre-arranging?”

I walked back to my desk and waved the cash at him. “Nope. We got a job.”

A toothy white flash slashed across his ebony face. “Let’s see. Jason wants us to video a seminar on how to make a body look good, right?”

“Nope. Surveillance. On his cemetery.” I strolled to the oak corner cabinet, removed my faux-leather tote bag, and turned to see what reaction he’d give.

“Why do I always feel like Ethel on I Love Lucy at times like this?” he asked, grin giving way to that familiar raised eyebrow. I shrugged and headed for the door. “Maybe because Lucy and I are both redheads?”

He laughed. “You got red highlights, girl. But, nope, that ain’t it. Besides, I think Lucy got her hair did. I mean done-did. You know what I’m saying?”

A twitch started in my cheek. It was going to be a long night. “Dee, while you’re deciphering dye-jobs, let’s go get some footage at Jason’s cemetery and earn our keep.”

He muttered. “Die, or d-y-e?”

  Who’s excited to read more about Shannon and the gang? Because I’m excited:)

Also, don’t forget: you can get the first book in the series !

Here’s the link-just click on the image.

Another also, you can sign up for my newsletter here on my site over on the sidebar. My subscribers will get an inside look at my writing process, more teasers, and great giveaways. The Zanies already KNEW the title of this book because they got it first! 

Okay, I think that will be all for now. Leave me comments below.

Cover reveal coming soon!

Happy Spring Cleaning!

Happy May Day! What do you traditionally do to celebrate the passing off of winter and the welcoming warmth of summer? I know some people do all that in April when the official start to spring is, but really? It’s usually still cold in April and some folks still get snow! So…I am celebrating spring in May. I have a spring in my step haha.
spring
So, here to celebrate the newness around us…let’s get organized.

Spring cleaning

You know you want to freshen up that office and get it whipped into shape. A lot of us start new projects with the changing seasons, so here for you are some great products to get you started on the organizing journey.

These are affiliate links, so I do make a few pennies if you buy any of them, but let me just say, THANK you! Click on each of the items pictured to take you to their place.

And… isn’t this a handy little gadget? You can get your tape and other necessities all put into one spot. NO more hunting for the scissors!

spring

And how about this? Very pretty coordinating items for the desk by Laura Ashley!

spring

Oh, and by the way, you TOTALLY need a new chair. That old one? Yeah, the one that has your butt imprint? Ditch it and get a new one — these are LESS than $100 bucks!

spring

Ever wish you had something more sturdy than that old paperclip? Check these out!

spring

You can never have too many Post-it notes, right? And here in a variety of great colors, in one bundle, is a link for you to get all your heart desires.

spring

Well, now that you have gotten all the supplies you need to buy for your newly organized, clean office…how about sitting down and getting some writing done? I have just the think for you … a WRITING MOTIVATOR!

Try using this in a story or book: *thanks very much for the list from @youarecarrying on Twitter…go out and follow them!*

a cloth sample, a wet overcoat, a side table, food, a lariat (no, you left it with your coat), a Doberman pinscher.

Poll: What keeps you from success?

reviews

We have been talking about ideas and what makes a successful one. And what to do with them once you have cornered one. Here are a few questions to help you with idea creation and hopefully give you success, when you are out of ideas.

Success questions

  • What’s good in your life right now? Write about that.
  • Are you successful in your relationship? What did you do right? Someone else might want to know
  • Do you love the city you live in? Why? Tell someone who might want to move there

And that is just a sampling of topics to get the ball rolling. If you want some great fiction ideas, turn what you are thinking about into a fictional character’s life.

  • What is bad in this person’s life? What would make it worse?
  • Are they single but don’t want to be? How will they look for a partner?
  • Is the city they live in full of danger and suspense? Write from that angle

I keep hearing people say that they have trouble coming up with SUCCESSFUL ideas. We never know what will be successful until we take action on it.

and then decide if it will be something that can stand the test of time.

A few other ways to start your idea flow… do this either for yourself, for a non-fic, or for fiction.

Idea Flow

1. Give your character (or yourself) a personality test. Find out WHO and WHAT they are about.
2. Find out what skills they have(you have). When you know what they like to do, you can write about them and what they do more efficiently.
3. Do an interview with your character (or yourself). Pretend you are a reporter trying to get into their head.

You never know what will get your ideas running like a faucet.

Here is a short poll to see what you think are the reasons you cannot find success with your ideas.

What holds you back from success?

View Results

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Book I have been reading and you should get

Sometimes an author has to post about the great books they have been reading. I am doing that today. I love, love, love these books and the authors who produced them. They have been on my podcast – which you can go to here in order to get more in depth about the books and the authors – and by way of transparency, they are not paying me in any way, shape, form, or fashion to say these things.

These are truly great books, and I hope you will check them out.

THE CHARM BRACELET by Viola Shipman

Blurb: Through an heirloom charm bracelet, three women will rediscover the importance of family and a passion for living as each charm changes their lives.

On her birthday each year, Lolly’s mother gave her a charm, along with the advice that there is nothing more important than keeping family memories alive, and so Lolly’s charm bracelet would be a constant reminder of that love.

Now seventy and starting to forget things, Lolly knows time is running out to reconnect with a daughter and granddaughter whose lives have become too busy for Lolly or her family stories.

But when Arden, Lolly’s daughter, receives an unexpected phone call about her mother, she and granddaughter Lauren rush home. Over the course of their visit, Lolly reveals the story behind each charm on her bracelet, and one by one the family stories help Lolly, Arden, and Lauren reconnect in a way that brings each woman closer to finding joy, love, and faith.

Click on the cover to go to Amazon and get your copy!

My thoughts:
This book had me spellbound from the first chapter. It is one of those books that you cannot put down until the last page. I will forever be touched by the magic between the pages of this one and I have already been referring all my friends and family to it. I hope you will get this one for your beach read. It is simply divine!

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HOME IS A FIRE by Jordan Nasser

Blurb: Most people would look at Derek and say he’d made it in life. A fun job, a handsome boyfriend, and an exciting life in New York City. But one night, staring at his reflection in the window of the subway as it barrels down Lexington Avenue, Derek realizes he’s fooling himself—and everyone else, too.

Derek gets off the train and goes home. Only not home to his tiny Manhattan apartment, but home to Tennessee—which is definitely not NYC.

Home to his family—and to all the other people he knows, or thinks he knows, and who think they know him.

Home to football games, and dive bars, and high school buddies who have known him forever.

Home to old situations…and to new possibilities.

At turns lighthearted, poignant, and surprising, Home Is a Fire is a delightful read for anyone who believes that whoever said “You can’t go home again” was mistaken. It’s just not exactly how you pictured it.

CLICK THE COVER TO GET YOUR COPY!

My thoughts:
This book was my first read by Jordan Nasser and it is his first book. But it was great. He took a character home and showed us how home can be painful when you haven’t really looked at it from the outside, but sometimes home is just what you need, no matter what. The romance that he developed through the book was touching and well-done. The book only made me want more so I got the sequel.

READ ON!

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THE FIRE WENT WILD by Jordan Nasser

Blurb: Now he’s settled into the slower pace of small-town living, enjoying colorful Tennessee culture with his family and friends. Best of all, a blossoming romance has him happier than he’s been in a long time—and it’s safe to say things couldn’t possibly be much better.

But after Derek and Luke decide to go public with their relationship, their romantic spark ignites plenty of drama within their community—and when a jealous ex joins forces with a disapproving family member, it’s not long before their positions at Parkville High School are put on the line.

Facing the destruction of their personal and professional lives, the happy couple must rally a few close friends for support if they hope to make it out of the rumor mill unscathed.

A witty romance combining Southern culture and small-town life, The Fire Went Wild is the much-anticipated sequel to Home Is a Fire.

CLICK BELOW TO GET YOURS ON AMAZON

My thoughts:
I usually do not like sequels as a general rule because the first book always sets the pace and some authors have trouble keeping it going. Not this one. Not this author. This book was SOOOOO well done, it amazed me and kept me reading day after day. I loved the way Jordan put in twists and turns about everyone in the town and in the family. You don’t know what is going to happen until the very end.

So there you have it, folks. Great reads all. Go get ’em!

Successful idea tips

Aren’t we all doing the same thing? Don’t we all want to be successful as businesses? Don’t we all think about cultivation of our ideas, and dream about the one that will be “the one” that brings us the success we need to make a static lifestyle real?

successful

Yes. And honestly, there is room for all of us and more. We just need to be motivated and keep on dreaming.
Get this book for motivation tips! Find successful ideas here.

successful

If you’re just starting your online business as a writer, and you only have ideas to keep you going, don’t lose heart. This post is for you!

Here are items to keep your idea generation going:

BUILD A LIST OF IDEAS

1. Tuck a small notebook into your pocket, or get an app on your phone that will enable you to write down ideas as they occur. DO NOT say, “Oh I will remember that” and plan on writing it down later. Later, you will not remember it. Believe me, I have lost a LOT of ideas this way.
2. Write down EVERYTHING that comes to mind in the way of an idea for business. You never know what can be developed into a positive plan later. Nobody will ask to see this list, so write down everything no matter how trivial or unrelated to your current situation.
3. Be bold about it, no matter what. Even if you are certain you do not know HOW to do this thing that comes to mind, write it down anyway, because when it gets right down to it – someone somewhere knows how and you may be able to hire them.

Negativity is not your friend

I have just wrapped on shooting the Wizard of Oz for a school we shoot for on a pretty regular basis. I woke up this morning singing the “IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN” song. I love how the Scarecrow was not afraid of anything (except matches) and he would even face that in order to get what he wanted. We should all realize that being successful is only a trip to Oz away.

Like this movie? RENT it here! WATCH IMMEDIATELY!

How to be successful

We should pursue our heart’s desire no matter what. Don’t let negative thinking stop you from achieving your dreams. Your ideas are just as valid as anyone’s, so don’t throw them aside and say, “oh but someone else has already done that”. It doesn’t matter if someone else has written a book on _______________ – that only means that the idea is not new, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea or one that will sell a book.

Next time, I hope to talk a bit more about ideas and what sells and what doesn’t and how you can decipher the difference.