Friday, June 28, 2013

Need a break from the heat? Get 5-star #crime novel THE DEVIL OF LIGHT #free thru June 30!

For two days only, straight to you from Amazon ebook sites worldwide, grab a copy of THE DEVIL OF LIGHT, the first Cass Elliot crime novel for free! At zero cost to you, this ★★★★★ rated Texas crime novel is a great deal, satisfaction guaranteed or your $0.00 purchase price back!

Sale ends June 30, so grab your copy before they're gone! (Click on the book cover below to visit

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Romantic-Suspense SPLIT DECISIONS by Bestselling Author Carmen DeSousa is Now Available!

I am so pleased to share with you my friend Carmen DeSousa's new release,  Split Decisions, along with a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card!

Split Decisions is a follow-up novel to the romantic-suspense bestseller She Belongs to Me. While you do not have to read the first book to enjoy the second, we believe you should have the option, so click here to avoid spoilers.

If you’re still here, read on for a first peek at Split Decisions and a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Book Description:

Sometimes you want something so badly you are willing to abandon everything you’ve ever known—including yourself.

Eighteen years ago, Jaynee Monroe married the man of her dreams, became the mother of four, and fulfilled her career goals. About to turn forty, she senses something is missing from her idyllic life. While Googling her name in an attempt to find herself, she unearths something so impossible, she contemplates her own sanity. Seeking answers, she embarks on a journey to discover the truth, only to end up abducted by a deranged stranger who insists on calling her Caycee.

Caycee took the road less traveled. Rejecting a marriage proposal from the only decent man she ever knew, she ventures to California to become famous. Eighteen years later, success has left her alone and miserable. Attempting to locate her lost love on Facebook, she discovers his infatuation with her. Not only does his presumed-dead wife have Caycee’s uncommon middle name, it appears he has photo-shopped her face over hers.

Never could Caycee and Jaynee have imagined decisions they made years earlier would threaten not only their lives but also their loved ones. Caycee must now reunite with the southern gent she dismissed eighteen years ago and convince him to accompany her to New York to locate his wife, the most important person in both their lives.

Download Split Decisions here:

Now all you have to do to register to win the $10 Amazon Gift Card is share this page via Raffle Copter. Contest ends 7/1/13 at 12:00 a.m. EST and you can share daily if you want. Good luck!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cardboard Dragsters - A Cure For The Creativity Blahs

Do you ever get stuck in a creativity slump? Suffer from the soul sucking 'blah' of everyday life-dom? Sometimes a change of scenery helps, but it's hard to find time for a trip to the beach or a few days hiking in the mountains. Never fear - there's a faster fix. An easier fix. Even a cheaper fix. It involves a box and / or a mud pie. (No, not the fancy-schmancy kind - an original mud pie.)

While my husband and I are childless, I have been blessed with nieces and nephews and friends who let me consider their children to be family. Maybe it's because I come and go with these kids, I'm not around them full time, but I'm always amazed at how far and wide their imaginations roam. Get a kid talking about who or what they want to be when they grow up, or the game they're playing, or the bike they're riding, and you'll be astonished at what they can imagine.

Those of you who have kids surely recognize that children are the most creative beings on the planet. Spending some time with a kid in full-blown imagination mode is all you need to refresh your creativity and your soul. And get this: they'll do all the work.

Don't believe me? Go find an empty box - preferably one large enough to hold a kid, like a refrigerator or oven box - and put it in some kid accessible spot. It won't be long before somebody has climbed in and is on their way to Mars; defending a fort in the desert against savage Indians; at Sea World, swimming with dolphins; or racing down a drag strip, tires smoking, engine screaming.

Think I'm nuts? Climb in the box and ask what's going down. Better yet, pull on a helmet and space suit. I'll bet there's room in the ship for that trip to Mars, but make no mistake - the kid is the captain, you're just the first mate. Get ready to take orders.

No boxes? Got water and some dirt? Pull on your play clothes and host a mud pie party. 

(I love cardboard boxes, but who can resist imaginary food? It has zero calories, no cholesterol, and is good for your skin, eyes, heart, overall well-being, and it makes you smarter and better looking. Hey, if it's imaginary, it can be as great as we want, right?)

Mud pies are easy to make and come in a variety of flavors - ask any kid for the recipe. No fancy invitations are required to a mud pie party. Tell one kid in the vicinity and you've told them all. You might be surprised at who turns up. Bakers, shop keepers, kings, queens, elves, trolls, hungry cowboys, space adventurers, famous actresses, singers, even the occasional imaginary farting mouse. (Yes, that happened and fed into a scene in my second novel, AVENGERS OF BLOOD.)

Adults are nothing more than grown-up kids. That child-like wonder with the world is still there, inside you. But its sharp edges get worn down with the day-to-dayness of life, the weight of responsibilities, the exhaustion of routine. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember how to set it free.

When you're feeling those burdens, that 'blah', sit down for a nice slice of mud pie or take a ride in a cardboard dragster. No kids? No worry. Eat that mud pie alone. I won't tell if you won't.


photo credit: Jonno Witts via photopin cc
photo credit: toner via photopin cc
photo credit: Vivatier via photopin cc
photo credit: nubobo via photopin cc

Friday, June 14, 2013

San Antonio's Most Enigmatic Tourist Attraction-Davy Crockett's Tomb by @HawkeyeOnAir

I'm pleased to share with you a guest post by fellow Texas mystery writer Mark Louis Rybczyk, author of newly released The Travis Club. If you live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, you might better recognize Mark as the longtime morning radio host Hawkeye, on radio station 96.3 KSCS. Mark and his his partner Terry Dorsey have the city's longest running FM morning show. They've won numerous awards including the Billboard Magazine's and the Academy of Country Music Air Personalities of the Year.

Mark also hosts "Travel With Hawkeye" a multi platform travel and entertainment company with features on radio, TV and podcasts. You can catch Mark weekly on the CW Network's Eye Opener program.

So settle in and learn a little about the story behind The Travis Club. Take it away, Mark!


The oldest active cathedral in the US, San Antonio's San Fernando Cathedral

In my book, The Travis Club, I tell the story of a young writer who discovers that the contents of Davy Crockett's tomb in San Antonio's oldest cathedral are not what they seem. He quickly realizes, there will be consequences for his discovery.

One of the most frequent questions I'm asked, "Is Davy Crockett's tomb really in the back of San Fernando Cathedral?"

Yes. And no.

The Tomb at the back of San Fernando Cathedral

Yes, there is a tomb in the back of San Fernando Cathedral. And the tomb does state that it is the final resting place of Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, Jim Bowie and the other defenders of the Alamo. But there is more to the story than meets the eye.

The outside of the tomb has photos of Travis, Crockett and Bowie.

This stone lays adjacent to the tomb.

First we must point out that San Fernando Cathedral opened in 1728, 48 years before the birth of the United States and over 100 years before the Battle of the Alamo. But you may have noticed on the stone above, that the bodies were laid to rest in 1938, 100 years after the battle. That is our first clue that something is amiss.

The controversy about the tomb starts in 1888, when Colonel Juan Segiun wrote a letter stating that he took the remains of the Alamo defenders and buried them beneath the altar at the cathedral. Most people dismissed the letter until nearly 50 years later, when on July 28 1936, workmen digging a foundation for a new altar, discovered charred human remains.

Excitement in San Antonio grew as church officials realized the importance of their discovery. The remains were exhumed with a variety of witnesses on hand, including writer Frederick C. Chabot, Mayor C. K. Quinn, Postmaster D. J. Quill, Adina DeZavala, daughter of Lorenzo DeZavala and Mrs. Leita Small, caretaker of the Alamo.

The remains were placed on public display for a year, then entombed on May 11, 1938. To quell rumors surrounding the findings, the diocese published a now rare book entitled The Truth About The Burial of the Remains of the Alamo Heroes.

Most historians doubt that the remains of Crockett, Travis, Bowie are buried in the tomb. First of all, Santa Anna ordered the cremation of all bodies left at the Alamo. Most likely Mexican and Texan soldiers were burned and buried together.

Secondly, Seguin did not return to the Alamo until after the Battle of San Jacinto, almost a month later. There is an argument that the remains are those of Alamo defenders, but it would be a bit presumptuous to assume they are the actual remains of Davy Crockett.

In my fictional work, The Travis Club, a young writer discovers for the first time, the real story behind the tomb and the consequences behind his discovery.


Thanks so much, Mark, for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by and tell us a little about The Travis Club!

You can pick up a copy of The Travis Club on, Barnes &, and on the iTunes Bookstore. Find Mark out in cyber space at:

twitter: @HawkeyeOnAir


LinkedIn: Mark Louis Rybczyk

website: The Travis Club

blog: Metroplexing


Monday, June 10, 2013

Love Is In The - Oh, Wait, It's Under The English Channel...

So, here we are in June on our 13th anniversary, sweltering under the Texas sun, and my husband Martyn and I have recently had the chance to reminisce about how we met. At the time, it all seemed perfectly normal, but looking back, I guess it was a little strange.

Me, a Texan, him, an Englishman. Both of us in France. Or, rather, under the English Channel.

Fourteen years after we met and I'm still so glad he offered to buy me that cup of coffee. A lot has changed since that fateful Sunday in March 1999 - I joined Martyn in England for seven years and then we decided to escape the corporate life and pursue our loves, writing for me and jazz for him. Somehow, we ended up on a ranch in East Texas, taking care of a herd of Black Angus cattle and a donkey, with two books published and a successful music career underway.

Many thanks to Gary Borders for taking the time to interview us and tell our story, and to Piney Woods Live Magazine for running the article back in February 2013 (click here or on the pages below to read the article). Stop by the Piney Woods Live website to catch up on all things art in East Texas. You'll meet up and coming musicians, painters, seamstresses, poets, sculptors, writers, etc.

Surprised at the thought of creative rednecks? Then visit the website to discover what you're missing!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

BERNIE the Movie: A Lesson in the Value of Reality

It really is a nice town
Have you seen the movie Bernie yet? It's about the cold-blooded murder in Carthage, Texas of a little old lady that lots of folks despised, by a man lots of folks still love.

It shocked East Texas, not only for the crime itself, but for the number of people who wanted Bernie to go free. The director tells you smack dab at the beginning of the movie that this is

A True Story

Not 'based on a true story', not 'inspired by true events', but

A True Story

Did the writers, producers, directors, and actors get it right?

This is my neck of the woods. And although I wasn't here when all the badness went down, I can tell you that folks around here say 'yes'. Absolutely. And brilliantly, eerily so.


The movie stars some big names.

Jack Black plays gentle soul Bernie Tiede, a successful mortician who sings in the Methodist choir, volunteers with the college theater group, and befriends the meanest widow in town, Marjorie Nugent. (Bernie has a beautiful voice (he really does), and Jack Black did a fabulous job of singing in the movie.)

Based on comments from those that knew Nugent, Shirley MacLaine nails her emotionally distant attitudes and behaviors.

Matthew McConaughey plays Danny Buck Davidson, Panola County's District Attorney, then and now. The only criticism I've heard about McConaughey's portrayal is that he's too good looking to be a fair representation of Danny Buck. (Sorry Mr. Davidson, but it is what it is.)

*Spoiler alert* The plot is simple: rich old man dies, Bernie befriends wealthy widow, she gives him power of attorney over her assets, he spends on her behalf, she drives him crazy, he kills her and stuffs her body in the freezer under the Marie Callender pot pies, and then continues spending her money and pretending that she's alive but unavailable. Her body is found about nine months later, Bernie gives a tearful confession, but nobody (except Danny Buck) wants Bernie to go to jail. *Spoiler over*

Definitely watch the movie for the story - it's good entertainment. But more importantly, watch it for the people.

The best bar-b-q around
There's a zoo-like quality to Bernie, as if you're standing outside a cage, bag of snacks in hand, goggling the foreign beasts within and wondering if it's safe to toss them a nut. Rightly so. Because these are real Texans. Not the fake kind like those on "Dallas" or "Dynasty". Real live Texans, in their natural habitat.

This is where I went to high school, where my family is from, and where I live now. These are my people, I love them, and they're the basis for the characters in my crime novels. So, to answer a few questions you may have after watching Bernie:

  • Yes, we really talk like that.

  • Yes, we really look like that. (Well, I can't speak for the folks on the jury in San Augustine, but I've heard the movie portrays them accurately.)

  • Our hair is really that big and yes, some of us wear that much make-up.

  • Yes, Bernie's trial was moved to San Augustine because Danny Buck worried that people in Panola County liked Bernie too much to convict him.

  • Yes, church is that important.

  • Funerals are also that important.

  • East Texas kind of looks like that, but some of the movie was filmed in the Hill Country, down near Austin.

  • Yes, some local people wanted Bernie to get away with killing Marjorie Nugent, and were vocal about it. And yes, some dear little old ladies marched down to the jail and demanded to post bail for Bernie.

  • Quite a few locals would still like to see Bernie released from prison. (He's eligible for parole in 2027, when he's 69 years old.)

For viewers, this movie is great entertainment. For authors, it's solid gold. Body language? Attitudes? Speech patterns? Appearances? Fantastic plot? It's all here. 

I love writing, letting imaginary people make stuff up and have their way with a plot. But in the case of Bernie Tiede, Marjorie Nugent, and the good folks of Carthage, TX, truth really is stranger than fiction. Bernie is a reminder that as weird as you think you can create it, reality can only be weirder.

So, have you seen Bernie? What did you think? 

(For more on the Bernie situation, see this post:
How Do We Know When Justice is Served?)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Outlines Make Me Shudder, but I'm Still June's Featured Author at C.J. Peterson Writes!

I've recently had the pleasure of hanging out with Christian writer C.J. Peterson over at her blog, C.J. Peterson Writes. If you haven't met C.J., catch up with her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter (@authoress_cj). She's a great friend and you'll love getting to know her!

So grab a cup of coffee and head over to C.J.'s blog for a quick interview with yours truly (click here)!

While you're there, check out C.J.'s newest release, STRENGTH FROM WITHIN, available now at Amazon and other fine ebook retailers.