Monday Musings: A year of writing, mothering, traveling, and learning lessons

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Emily Kimelman’s year behind and the year ahead

Twenty sixteen was one heck of a year for me…and a lot of people. I spent January and February in a haze of mommy-hood, barely sleeping but doing lots of cuddling with my newborn daughter and husband—man that was cozy.

Never a family to just chillax, we traveled to Mexico and Texas escaping the freezing temperatures of New York. I also was preparing for the launch of my Sydney Rye Kindle World which went live on March 17, 2016 with the help of seven amazing authors.

It was a ton of work, super fun and totally exhilarating; I’m very proud that the world of Sydney Rye is now available for anyone to pen a story in—I know I have a ton of fun with her and Blue. My readers have really enjoyed the new novellas and so have I!

In April, my family moved onto an airstream (we seriously can not just chillax!). We headed to Cape Cod, and I started working on The Girl With The Gun, the eighth book in my Sydney Rye Series. It was the first book I dictated entirely—a practice I started toward the end of my pregnancy due to my body’s straight-up refusal to be stuck at a desk. Turns out a giant baby bump is bad for your back. Lol.

Since dictation is so much better for my body, I was determined to continue the practice, even though I no longer had the same physical restrictions. My dream of walking on the beach and speaking my stories aloud came true. I used Dragon Dictate to transcribe and it worked out great… except that I didn’t update the rest of my process to accommodate my dictation.

See, I’ve always written my first drafts straight through—don’t look back! is my motto. I fix everything in editing later. But, when I went back to look at my transcription they made no sense—here’s an example of a sentence:

It only the martyr Troy Campbell enter.

So, yeah, I had to listen to all the recording as I edited—which, um, slowed me down … a lot. So, lesson learned! Now, I always go through my transcriptions right after I speak them. I can usually remember what the heck I was trying to say and have it all make sense 🙂

I finished the first draft of The Girl with the Gun at the end of May and in June Toby Neal and I started co-authoring our Scorch Romance Thriller Series. The first book was done in thirteen days! And it sucked! Lol. Seriously though, it was terrible. We almost gave up. But instead we pushed on and now, as I write this, we’ve completed four of the books and are hard at work on the fifth and sixth with a launch schedule that starts at the end of January 2017.
We are both super excited about this series. It’s some of the best work we’ve ever done. Romance Thriller is a new genre for both of us and we’ve found a voice together that we think is pretty much impossible to put down *rubs hands together gleefully*. Seriously, if you’re a fan of the genre I dare you to start this series without finishing it. In fact, I double dog dare you.

I’m ending the year in my airstream with my husband and daughter. We were in Texas in December and reached California as 2017 dawned. I’m looking forward to a year of adventure, romance and writing.

May you all have a happy, healthy, loving holiday season and new year!

Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling Sydney Rye Series featuring a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Find out more about her on Emily’s BestSelling Reads Author page.

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Focus Friday: Jet – Stealth

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By Scott Bury

JetWBottomImage“Be ready to leave everything behind.”

Maya had never seen eyes so blue before. She could not ascribe any other logic behind her actions as she retrieved her handbag, took two prepaid credit cards from it and slipped them into her pants pocket, opposite the gun.

When the plane stopped and the doors opened, controlled chaos took over. The passengers all stood and clamored to get off even before the ground crew could bring up the stairs.

Maya saw two heavily-armed policemen wearing riot gear take up positions outside the door. At the bottom of the stairs, three pairs of paramedics waited, holding three stretchers. Ambulances waited with their rear doors gaping open and their lights flashing.

The pilot stepped out from the flight deck, hands up to signal the passengers to sit down. “Let the paramedics take care of the injured, first,” he yelled above the din, but it was useless. Finally, he picked up the co-pilot’s pistol and brandished it. That convinced the passengers to settle, if not stop talking.

The young blond man crouched in the aisle beside Maya. “When the passengers start to get off, stay in the middle until we see a chance to slip away.”

Maya looked once more into those blue eyes, and at the blood splatters on his shirt. “I have a better idea,” she said. He pushed him hard, and when he fell to the deck, she got down on her knees beside him and put her mouth on his.

“What are you doing?” he whispered.

“Giving a wounded passenger mouth to mouth resuscitation,” she said, then pinched his nose, sealed his mouth with hers and blew in as hard as she could. She gave him the required three breaths, paused and listened to him breathe, then three more, paused, and three again. Then she straddled his body, put her hands on top of his chest and pumped up and down, administering CPR.

The door finally opened and the two riot cops stepped in, guns sweeping the cabin before one of the cops dropped to a knee and put his fingers to the dead co-pilot’s throat. He shook his head and the other cop gestured to call the paramedics in.

Two entered, went past the co-pilot’s body to the gunman’s bloody corpse. After ensuring he was dead, they loaded the body carelessly onto their stretcher and hustled it out of the way.

Two more paramedics rushed up to where Maya was breathing into the blond man’s mouth again. “We’ll take him now, miss,” said one in Spanish.

“Please, save my husband,” she pleaded.

She let them push her to one side and was gratified to see the young man act convincingly limp as the paramedics loaded him onto their stretcher. She held his hand as they rushed down the stairs and climbed into an ambulance. Maya got in the back with them and even squeezed the breathing bottle into his nose and mouth as the ambulance’s siren began to wail.

About Jet – Stealth

Once Mossad’s deadliest assassin, Jet is headed for a new, quiet life in a tropical paradise. But when a mysterious, handsome agent with no tradecraft but with brilliant blue eyes asks for her help to secure a new stealth weapon, she finds she just can’t say no.

This addition to the JET Kindle World combines breakneck pacing and non-stop action with wry humor. based on the characters and world created by bestselling author Russell Blake.

Find it on Amazon.

About the author

Pic-ScottBuryScott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa, Canada. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia, includingMacworld, the Financial Post, Applied Arts and others.

He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.

Visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

 

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Focus Friday: Torn Roots

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A new Lei Crime Kindle World novella

TornRootsMidResBy Scott Bury

This week’s Focus Friday features an book that’s coming out at the end of the month through Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program.

The Lei Crime series is the creation of BestSelling Reads member Toby Neal. Earlier this year, it became a Kindle World, where other authors can publish books and stories featuring Toby’s characters, settings and world. Eight novellas and stories appeared in April in the Lei Crime world, and another set is coming this month, including titles from BestSelling Reads members Scott Bury and Christine Nolfi.

Torn Roots will be out on July 31. Set in Maui, it features Toby Neal’s police detective Pono Kaihale and FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott, as well as new characters created by author Scott Bury.

Sam knew where the tracks would lead as soon as he saw them—straight to the pillar of smoke rising above the jungle. He judged it to be about a mile uphill, coming from somewhere under Maui’s rain forest canopy. 

He jogged along the path the ATV had torn through the jungle, over shredded grass where wide tires had ripped into the reddish-black soil. The path dodged a boulder on the slope, then doubled back to avoid a steep dip. Sam ducked under a low branch, took three long strides between dense, thorny shrubs and regained the ATV tracks on the other side of the dip.  

His sling-bow, axe and shovel bounced against the backs of his thighs with every long stride. He hit the FPS radio button clipped to his shirt collar. “Fire response,” he said. “I’m heading toward the source, about a mile off the Hana Highway, uphill, a mile west of Ohe’o Gulch.” 

He jumped over a thick log. He could smell the smoke now. “We need a water bomber, and a crew, stat.” He didn’t know whether the Haleakala Forest Ranger Service used “stat,” but he figured they’d get the message. 

Birds, some brown, some bright red-and-grey, whipped past him. He felt heat but wasn’t sure whether it came from the fire or the sun. He could see orange and red flickering ahead, and thick, black smoke rolling upward. He ducked under another branch and then saw the fire. 

He heard it, too, a deep roar punctuated with snaps, like a hungry beast gorging on its prey. He heard a whining hiss, as well, the sound of water boiling out of live wood, but for a second he imagined it was the rain forest crying in pain. 

Smoke stung his eyes. He ran across the slope so that he was upwind of the fire, but little breeze penetrated the canopy and the smoke was still thick. Sam pulled the bandana down from on top of his head to cover his nose and mouth.  

Flames raged up the bole of a koa tree. Its long leaves steamed and smoked. At the base, shrubs burned bright orange and red, billowing dark gray smoke. A small clearing amidst a stand of tall koas was filled with roiling smoke. Anger hotter than the flames shot through Sam. Someone made a campfire here last night, prohibited in the park, and hadn’t put it out properly.  

He pulled his axe from the loop in his backpack and stepped to a low olomea bush a couple of yards from the fire. He hated to do it, but he had to make a firebreak, and this was one of the few places he could start to make a difference by himself.  

Two strokes from the axe took the bush off its roots, and he picked it up and threw it away from the fire, under the forest canopy. Then he started attacking other bushes and smaller trees, clearing a path of flammable material. He hit the button on his radio again as he put away the axe and took out his shovel. “Really could use some help up here making a firebreak,” he said, and then coughed.

About Torn Roots

Hawaii is known for volcanoes and sandy beaches. Beauty and danger reign.

After breaking a case of murdered poachers in Maui’s national park, Detective Pono Kaihale accepts a short-term position as Acting Lieutenant in Hana on the island’s rain-forest coast. He is looking forward to redirecting lost hikers and moderating mild lovers’ spats and enjoying the natural beauty of the southeast coast. But by his second week on the job, Pono finds trouble here comes in unexpected forms.

Environmentalists, property developers, protesters, arsonists, kidnappers, and a rogue Homeland Security agent converge on his new post, Pono feels like the eye of a brewing storm. And when a new FBI agent gets involved, Pono realizes the stakes are much higher than a quiet period in his career.

Lives will be lost if he doesn’t solve this mystery quickly.

About the author

Pic-ScottBuryScott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa, Canada. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia, including Macworld, the Ottawa Citizen, the Financial Post, Marketing, Canadian Printer, Applied Arts, PEM, Workplace, Advanced Manufacturing and others.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He holds a BA from Carleton University’s School of Journalism. He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot.

Read his full bio on his BestSelling Reads Author page.

And visit his:

And follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

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Focus Friday: Warrior Dog

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A Keiki Mystery by Emily Kimelman

From the Kindle World of Toby Neal’s Lei Crimes

 

WarriorDog

 

Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise. Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop, but often the cases she works activate wounds and complications from her tangled family history. Lei is affected deeply by her cases even as she solves them with persistence, obsession, and intuition. She falls in love with Michael Stevens, the charismatic detective she works with, and they make a life solving crime in contemporary Hawaii with all its beauty and deadliness.

Warrior Dog is a continuation of Toby Neal’s Lei Crimes series, featuring Lei Texeira’s faithful hound Keiki.

The sound of the rooster’s crow penetrated Keiki’s sleep. Her left ear twitched to better follow the bird’s call as she sighed contentedly. The smell of her owners, Lei and Michael, brought her peace and happiness while at the same time reminding the Rottweiler of her responsibilities. The rooster crowed again and Keiki raised her large, square head from the blanket, glancing toward the window.

As she expected it was still dark out. Keiki looked up the bed at Lei, her first master, and her favorite human in this whole wide world. Just the sight of her, the gentle rise and fall of her breath, the splay of her wild hair across the pillow, made Keiki glad to belong to her. The new life inside of Lei, its fast little heartbeat and occasional movements were exciting to Keiki. She’d always wanted a big pack. Michael, one arm thrown over Lei, was the first addition and he was wonderful. Michael was strong, big, and brave; traits Keiki admired and shared with her second master.

Both Lei and Michael were in law enforcement, police officers, detectives. And while Keiki had never worked in a professional environment she’d been trained to guard from a very young age. Lei adopted her when she was a year old and since then Keiki had worked tirelessly to keep Lei safe.

Keiki climbed quietly off the bed, not wanting to wake the resting couple, but needing to check on the newest member of their pack. As she moved slowly out of the bedroom and down the hall she heard the cries of the Mynah birds in the fruit trees that spotted the yard.

The door to Kiet’s room was slightly ajar. Keiki nosed it open further, breathing in deeply, loving the scents that lingered around the baby. The sweet sour milk, the powder, the poop. Her eyes fluttered at the cacophony of smells. Her heart filled with the joy of having one so young and tender to care for.

Descended from the Drover Dogs of Rome, Keiki was physically strong, her chest broad, mind stable. Her ancestors had followed men into war, helping herd their animals, keeping their flocks protected as battle waged. Later, they’d been used as butcher dogs, pulling carts into town, wearing pouches for money around their necks. For hundreds of years her kind had been trusted with great responsibility. As Keiki sat in front of Kiet’s crib, looking through the bars at the young, beautiful creature contained within, she felt that of all the Rottweilers to ever live, her purpose–to protect this child, this family–was by far the most important ever assigned to any of them.

Keiki always came into the room before Kiet woke, wanting him to know that while she slept at the feet of his parents, he was always on her mind. That he was never alone when she was near. And while Keiki understood that life was not eternal, and that Kiet would live long after she’d joined her ancestors in the pools of time, she also knew that while Keiki breathed and her heart beat, Kiet would be safe.

About the book

One pack. One dog. One enemy. One mission: protect the family.

Descended from the Drover Dogs of Rome, Keiki has quite a legacy to live up to. The Rottweiler ancestors followed men into war, helped heard animals, and protected flocks from predators. All these tasks took great skill to bear the responsibility.

In the modern world, Keiki’s role remains much the same. She must protect Lei and her family. They are her pack and in need of her protection.

But what can she do when the enemy is fire? How will Keiki save her family from this raging, uncontrollable beast?

Warrior Dog is one of the Lei Crime Kindle World, an Amazon initiative where writer develop stories within the established World of Lei Crime characters.

About the author

Emily (author photo)Emily Kimelman is the author of the best selling Sydney Rye Series, which features a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend, Blue. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don’t mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Emily splits her time between the Hudson Valley and traveling the world with her husband and dog, Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Milhone), researching exciting locations for the Sydney Rye Series. You can follow along on their adventures through Instagram, Facebook, and on Emily’s blog.

Visit Emily’s

And follow her on Twitter @ejkimelman

 

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Toby Neal’s World

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Toby Neal’s Kindle World launched this week with eight new novellas in the Lei Crime series—including one by new BestSelling Reads member and one by a former member.

Kindle Worlds are a wonderful new place on the Amazon site where any writer can develop stories within an established World. Included are TV shows, graphic novels/comics, and of course, popular book series.

The Lei Crime Kindle World fan fiction site is LIVE today, April 7!

Warrior DogWarrior Dog (Flavor: Action/Animal Star), by Emily Kimelman (parallel to Fire Beach)

Even a warrior dog fears some enemies.

From the unique perspective of Keiki, Lei and Stevens’s faithful guardian Rottweiler, Keiki’s role remains the same at it has been for centuries. She must protect Lei and her family. They are her pack and in need of her protection. But what can she do when the enemy is fire? How will Keiki save her family from this raging, uncontrollable beast, and those who start it?

 

Shell Keper

The Shell Keeper (Flavor: Sweet, Inspirational) byChristine Nolfi (Prequel to Blood Orchids)

In South Carolina, magic is as plentiful as sweet tea.

Thanks to her aunt’s unwanted generosity, policewoman Lei Texeira has embarked on a vacation—of the supernatural sort. What Lei discovers about the sorcery of belief, and the love promised to her future will begin to heal wounds she’s carried for far too long.

 

 

A Snake in ParadiseA Snake in Paradise, by (Flavor: Suspense) Eden Baylee(a parallel to Blood Orchids)

Lainey Lee has always dreamed of going to Hawaii. It should have been her honeymoon trip, only it never happened. Now, in a poetic twist of fate, she is making the journey twenty-seven years later—following a messy divorce. Once on the Big Island, Lainey discovers paradise, but white sand beaches and blue skies are not all Hawaii has to offer. She soon meets Julian, a mysterious stranger ten years her junior. They share an instant connection. Lainey is eager to shed the fears that trapped her in a loveless marriage, but is Julian a tempting distraction, a new beginning, or a snake in paradise?

 

Hidden PoppiesHidden Poppies (Flavor: Mystery & GLBT Themes), byM.L. Doyle (a parallel to Stolen in Paradise)

Nothing about this kidnapping makes sense. An army colonel’s daughter isn’t a typical target, and a full week goes by before the demand for ransom is delivered. FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott knows that if the circumstances are unusual, they’re also unpredictable. Unpredictable means dangerous. Agent Scott’s partner, Special Agent Ken Yamada, has difficulty focusing on the puzzling case. His long career has forced him to make sacrifices–especially in his personal life. When the young girl’s abduction brings him face to face with one of those sacrifices, Major Chuck Mathews, Yamada begins to question his choices.

 

Never AgainNever Again (Flavor: Suspense)by Julie C. Gilbert (Prequel to Blood Orchids)

Jealousy can kill. When college junior Alana Adams catches her boyfriend passionately kissing another woman, she promptly dumps Nathan and turns to her best friend, Michael, for advice and emotional support. At first, Nathan apologizes and showers Alana with gifts in an effort to win her back. He tries to get her to see they belong together, but when his efforts fail, he concludes the real problem in their relationship must be her best friend. As Alana’s rejection further sinks in, Nathan realizes there’s only one solution to their problem: kill Michael Stevens.

 

Fireweed TrailFireweed Trail (Flavor: Suspense/YA), by Craig Hansen(Prequel to Blood Orchids)

Hiking has never been so deadly. Troubled teen Leilani Texeira is on the edge of self-destruction. As a last-ditch effort to reach her, Auntie sends her to the Fireweed Trail program, a wilderness therapy hike down the Oregon Coast Trail. Things go well until a fellow hiker turns up dead. Damaged and fragile, Lei is pushed into one of the most harrowing adventures in her young life. Miles from civilization and help, she only has her own strength and determination to save herself from of a killer’s wrath.. Instead of hiking, she’s running for her life.

 

Saddle RoadSaddle Road  (Flavor: Mystery/Suspense) by J.L. Oakley(parallel to Fire Beach)

Just another bad day for some poor soul. A body shows up in Maui’s Kahului Harbor. It looks like just another bad day for some poor soul in paradise, until Detective Lei Texeira and Lieutenant Michael Stevens identify the victim as a well-respected veteran from Washington State. Soon, they find themselves in the middle of a charity scam where someone’s skimming money meant for returning veterans with PTSD. The clues lead Lei, and Stevens to an exotic animal hunting club on the Big Island where they encounter the killer on the high lava deserts of Saddle Road.

 

Half Moon GirlsHalf Moon Girls (Flavor: Mystery/Suspense)by Corinne O’Flynn (parallel to Torch Ginger)

Even paradise has a dark side…

When Detective Leilani Texeira begins investigating a murder on Kaua`i, she’s struck by one thing: the victim looks like her. As Lei battles dark memories stirred up by the likeness, a friend calls, worried that her daughter didn’t come home last night. Lei soon discovers that the dead girl and the missing girl were friends and last seen together the previous day. There’s nothing good to come for girls tattooed with a mysterious half moon.

Toby promises that more novellas will add to the Lei Crime Kindle World in the coming months.

Visit her site and leave a comment to enter a draw to win the Lei Crime Kindle World novella of your choice. Winners will be picked by Tuesday, April 14.

Toby encourages writers who want a new and interesting challenge, to let her know on her blog.

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