Today, I'm very pleased to introduce a debut author, RWA chapter co-member and lovely friend, Reggi Allder. She's pleasantly surprised us all by recently publishing her wonderful debut book called "Money, Power and Poison". I read her work and left a review which you can see here.
Hi Mimi, I’m very happy to be here. Thank you for asking me.
As you know my book Money Power and Poison is now available on Amazon. I’m pretty excited. It’s a page turning, romantic suspense that take place in a California beach community. But be careful what you wish for. When my heroine realizes her dream, she’s thrown into the world of the rich and ruthless and surrounded by a web of lies, betrayals and danger.
I’m married and have two kids. The youngest is at university. My husband is a great guy who’s supportive of my writing full time. I have two dogs, a pure bred poodle and a rescued mutt. They stay in my office with me while I write. They’re patient, though there are times when they give me that we-need-a-walk look and won’t take no for an answer, probably a good thing for me. I’m a film buff and an avid reader. I can’t resist a good mystery, mixed with a passionate love story. Themes of redemption and second chances are favorites of mine. I’m drawn to wounded heroes and bad boys. I’d love to hear from readers telling me their favorite heroes from either a book or a movie. I’m making a list to be put up later.
What inspired your latest suspense?
Unrest around the world triggered the inspiration for my second suspense Shattered Rules. When I saw a report about the turmoil, I thought what if a woman was innocently involved simply because she was naïve? There’s romance, conflict, intrigue and a theme of redemption, not to mention a gorgeous FBI agent. Shattered Rules will be available on Amazon soon.
What is your writing routine like?
My schedule starts early. I get up, dress and go straight into my office. I’m usually in the office between seven and eight in the morning. I’m lucky because my husband brings me coffee so I don’t even have to go downstairs. These days I even keep that schedule on the weekend if my book is on a roll. I work until late afternoon. Occasionally I work after dinner.
Tell me about your current WIP or series.
I have two WIPs, a romantic suspense sequel to Money Power and Poison and another contemporary that follows the lives and events of people in a small town in the California foothills. It’s the second book in my Sierra Creek Series and follows characters from in Her Country Heart.
Are you a plotter or a pantser and have you ever experienced writer’s block?
I’m a pantser. I tried to plot when I first started writing and I had my first bout of writer’s block. Making lists and outlines and plotting every scene is a great idea but it just didn’t work for me. I was lucky to find that out early. I stopped plotting and the writer’s block disappeared. Now I let ideas percolate. Feelings and plot twists come to me as I write. I do have a general idea of where to story will end up. Often I know the end of the book before I have a beginning. I don’t work backward. But when I begin the first chapter, even though I don’t have all the characters and the plot turns, I know how the book will end.
Tell me about your characters.
As an author of and romantic suspense and contemporary novels, I love nothing better than tales of love lost and then found or stories of heroes and heroine who discover love but wonder if they’ll live long enough to enjoy it. My main characters cope with longings, secrets, lies and betrayals. They control their panic and manage their passion as each fight to discover a hidden strength. It’s a strain for them to remain motivated as the world offers temptations and puts them in untenable situations. Can they survive multiple ordeals and carry on to reach their goals and find true love?
In the contemporary novels my heroes and heroines search for love while struggling with the trials of day to day living, including the demands of family, finances and employment.Here are links to my website and to my book on Amazon:
Blurb: Money Power and Poison When a billionaire is murdered, a woman fights to stay alive long enough to prove she’s innocent. An obsessed killer has plans to make her his next victim. A mystery from the past and lies from the present could help a reporter make sense of it all before it’s too late and the woman dies.
In idyllic Carmel California, billionaire software developer Conner Harrison is poisoned at his fiftieth birthday party. Young business woman, Kathryn Carlyle is about to be charged with his murder. Why would the police think she’d murder a man she only met once? And why is someone trying to kill her? Out of her depth, she wants someone on her side.
Alpha male, TV reporter Holt Rand needs a scoop to revive his career. The exclusive on Harrison’s murder will put him back on top of the ratings game. Nothing and no one will stop him from getting to the truth. But when he meets Kathryn his life is changed forever.
In the midnight gloom of a residential street in Carmel, California, business owner Kathryn Carlyle watched the city’s dim lights from the back seat of a speeding police car. She gasped for air as dread tightened her throat. This can’t be happening to me.
The catering van she drove to billionaire software developer Conner Harrison’s birthday party had been impounded by the police as evidence. She rubbed her throbbing temples to release the pain accumulated there.
Two blocks from her beachfront condo, she snatched a breath of air. “Please stop. I have to get out.”
The middle-aged officer guided the patrol car to the curb. “We’re not finished with you. Go, but don’t leave town.”
He’d probably been waiting all night to use that cliché. Don’t leave town. She almost laughed, except nothing funny had happened tonight.
She exited the car and inhaled the sea breeze as it rustled her hair. It was such a welcome change from the stifling atmosphere that contaminated the police station where she’d spent the last few hours. How long before the man came back to arrest her?
Relieved to be in her safe neighborhood, she took a deeper breath, kicked off her black leather pumps and sat on a driftwood log overlooking the serene bay.
She swallowed as nausea swirled in her stomach. The fact that she hadn't eaten since breakfast didn’t help. Always nervous before an event, she’d planned to eat after Mr. Harrison’s party. Now he hovered near death. The thought of eating brought bile to the back of her throat. Why did the authorities think she poisoned a man she’d only met once?
A nightmare had snared her and was holding her in its grip. When Mr. Harrison died the charge against her would be murder in the first degree.
As the realization crept through her, she tensed. Two deep breaths calmed her, but didn't stop the headache forming over her right eye.
True she’d had the opportunity to poison him, but no motive. She only met him because he’d asked her to cater his birthday party. With his death, there was nothing to gain and a lot to lose, her reputation, her business, her life.
In the morning the police would sort out the truth of her innocence. Still, adrenaline caused her heart to race. She rubbed her temples and tried not to think anymore.
A gust of wind circled her. She shivered and folded her arms in front of her. Damn. Her suit jacket was still in the patrol car.
She stood and brushed the sand from the back of her skirt and picked up her high heels and shoulder bag. Time to go home, sleep was doubtful, still at least she’d put up her sore feet.
Leaves crunched somewhere in the shadows of the nearby trees, she squinted into the darkness but didn’t see anyone. Even so, fear gripped her.
She forced her swollen feet back into her pumps and walked quickly up the dimly lit street. The click of her heels echoed in the quiet night air. The desire to flee from an unknown danger increased the speed of her footsteps.
With the exception of a black truck parked at the curb, the street was empty. The pickup’s engine revved. The cab light came on and cast an eerie glow on the driver’s face. He smiled at her.
As she thought about waving to let him know the headlights were off, the vehicle drove straight at her. It jumped the curb, sideswiped her, sending her flying.
With a thud, she landed on the muddy front lawn of a neighboring condominium. The sound of the engine faded as the vehicle disappeared.
She lay motionless on the ground. Cold mud oozed into the fabric of her skirt. A twinge jabbed her and terror banged against her rib cage.
Overriding the sense of shock was her need to get home where she’d be safe. She grabbed the strap of her purse and attempted to stand. Pain shot through her hip and down her leg. She fell back into the mud.
A man dressed in black came out of the darkness and stood over her. Before she could cry out, he bent down and covered her mouth with his huge hand.
"Don't scream. You'll wake the whole neighborhood. I’m not going to hurt you." He helped her stand.
The streetlight lit his face and a lock of coffee brown hair fell over his furrowed brow. Five o'clock shadow covered his jaw and his full lips formed a grim line. Compassion shone in his obsidian eyes. It was incongruous to his hardened expression. He reminded her of someone, but she couldn’t think of a name.
"Your uncle sent me,” he said in a deep voice.
"You were at the police station.” She pushed a strand of hair from her face.
"Yeah. Thought I could talk to you. They wouldn’t allow it. Can you stand by yourself?"
"I think so." A spasm shot in her leg and her knees buckled. She grabbed him and reluctantly leaned on his lanky body for support.
“I'll call 911." He held her to him.
"Don’t phone them.”
“The police need to know about this. Use my cell."
"No. I can’t handle it. Not tonight. I'm cold. I’m muddy. I just want to go home.”
"Can you walk?"
"Yeah," she said, hoping she could. The first step sent pain racing through her. She gasped.
With one hand he steadied her. With the other, he yanked a smart phone from his pocket. ”What’s your address?”
“330 Sea View Avenue, number three.”
He punched in 911. "There's been an accident. A woman’s hurt. I need an ambulance sent to 330 Sea View Avenue number three ASAP."
After he pocketed his phone, he carefully scooped her up in his arms. “Let’s get you home.”
Never one to ask for help, this time she had to admit she needed it and balanced herself by putting her arm around his neck. His body heat warmed her as her cheek rested against his solid chest. Odd how protected she felt, almost as if this stranger were an old friend.
Now book - to be released soon.
Workaholic FBI agent Brick Larson loves his job. He doesn’t need personal relationships. He’s been burned too many times. The last thing he wants is to get involved with the younger sister of his ex-fiancé. But to defend the United States that’s exactly what he’ll do.
Kelly Shaw secretly loved Brick when she was a teenager and would have trusted him with her life then. But that was years ago. Neither are the same people they used to be. Can she trust him with her current secret?
Mimi thanks again for having me.