Spotlight: Deadly Fantasies Blog Tour & Giveaway, Kelly Miller

Kelly Miller, author of Dead Like Me, has stopped by today to introduce her new and sizzling mystery, Deadly Fantasies

One lucky winner will win one signed, print copy of each book in the Detective Kate Springer series!


Deadly Fantasies 

A ringing phone at 1:17 am is never a good thing, but Homicide Detective Kate Springer doesn’t have the luxury of ignoring the call. On the other end of the line, a confessor admits to murdering her husband. Dr. Nina Grace needs help, and Kate knows it’s time to repay a debt. No matter the consequences, Kate must fight to keep the investigation from solely focusing on her friend.
Jonathan Grace controls the people in his life like he does his business—with a chokehold. His insatiable appetite for living life on the edge leads him to a club where he’s encouraged to act out his darkest desires. But what happens when one man’s fantasy becomes another’s nightmare?
Did Dr. Nina Grace kill her husband or did Jonathan’s secret life lead to his death? Detective Springer knows that no matter what her friend admitted, she couldn’t be capable of the horrific torture and murder of her husband. But will Kate’s blind loyalty be her downfall? 
Deadly Fantasies Excerpt
Chapter 1
     The evening flooded back like snapshots in a memory book. Hotel. Celebration. Drinks. Skin. Lots of skin. I grabbed my ringing phone with one hand and moved the bedside alarm clock closer with the other. The numbers burned 1:17 am, mocking my now awakened state.
     After three years as a homicide detective, a call this late, or early depending on your point of view, could only mean one thing—a dead body. It was just a matter of time. Tampa hadn’t had a murder victim laid at its doorstep in four days.
     A voice next to me grumbled, begging me to make the ringing noise stop. 
     “Detective Springer,” I croaked into the phone.
     Nothing but dead air. 
     Great, crank call. I twisted sideways, getting ready to switch on the nearby lamp, but stopped midair when a whimper, childlike yet aged with the sound of regret, broke free from the phone’s speaker. “Kate? Kate?” 
     I knew that voice. But from where? The cobwebs from too much partying cluttered my mind. The crackling of bad reception filled the airways.
      “Kate, I think I killed my husband.”
     Dr. Nina Grace. Finally attaching a name to the confessor, I asked, “What? What do you mean—” I stopped midsentence, knowing any more words would be wasted. Our call had been disconnected.
     I grabbed my clothing scattered around the room and began dressing. “Last night was wonderful,” I said, leaning over Jeffrey, “but I gotta go. Keep sleeping, I’ll call later.” He was so out of it, I doubted he’d even remember me leaving. Hell, we’d been asleep for less than two hours. 
     Jeffrey turned away from me, rolling over onto his side. He pulled the covers up tight underneath his chin and mumbled, “That’s okay. My wife’s not expecting me home tonight.”
     What! Bastard told me he’d separated from his wife six months earlier. Said he’d filed for divorce three weeks ago. I should have known better than to trust a lawyer. Should’ve stopped by the courthouse and looked up the records myself. Unfortunately, the sort of justice he deserved called for more time than I had at the moment. And the right power tools. I had to get to Dr. Grace. She saved my life last year. Now it was time to return the favor.

Kelly Miller lives in Tampa, Florida where her novel is set. She’s married, has three children, and a black Labrador named Gracie. Kelly is a proud member of the Florida Writers Association. 

Deadly Fantasies is the second book in the Detective Kate Springer series. The first book, Dead Like Me, won second place in the best mystery category of the 2011 FWA Royal Palm Literary Awards competition. It was also named a semi-finalist in the mystery category of The Kindle Book Review’s 2013 Best Indie Books Awards competition. 
Twitter: @MillerMystery  https://twitter.com/MillerMystery 

Win One Signed Copy of Each Detective Kate Springer novel!!!

This rafflecopter is a giveaway to one person for two signed paperback copies of each title in the Detective Kate Springer series, “Dead Like Me” and “Deadly Fantasies.”

Guest Post: Jan Krause Greene, I Call Myself Earth Girl

Today I’m turning over my blog to Jan Krause Greene, author of I Call Myself Earth Girl. You can get to know a little more about Jan and her work through her own words (and I can kick back with a marguerita and the cabana boy for the day… but anyway…) Onto Jan Krause Greene!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to this Morning…


A funny thing happened to me last night. Funny as in strange or unexpected. Not “funny ha-ha” as my dad used to say.

So, there I was in bed, having woken up for, at least, the third time – snow plow, late night text (almost as bad as the late night pocket-dial that I seem to frequently be the victim of) and my husband’s trip to the bathroom. 

My first thought when I wake up in the middle of the night is always the same warning to myself, “Don’t think about anything. Keep your mind blank or you will never get back to sleep.” If only I could heed that warning….

So, there I was working hard at not thinking. The only problem is that when I work hard at something – no matter what it is, even relaxing – I end up wide awake. Last night was no different, except that I was wide awake and really angry.

I could literally feel the anger in my forehead, but I couldn’t quite figure out what I was angry about. It wasn’t the text, or the snowplow, or the trip to the bathroom. So, what did I do? I started thinking about why I was so angry.

Given the dark of night and the freedom of knowing that no one would ever know my thoughts, I came up with tons of reasons to be angry. Most of them, I must hasten to add, didn’t really make that much sense to me in the morning. 

But there they were…all the real and imagined injustices in my life added to all the real injustice in the world, added to the fact that I never really wanted to be short with wide hips, added to the fact that I hate having sleep apnea and wearing a stupid mouthpiece to bed every night (more on that some other time – the mouthpiece really does work and I am usually grateful for it), added to the fact that it was now 2:00 a.m. and I was going to be tired in the morning.

I was filled with anger and I hated myself for it. Not because I am such a good and kind person and I knew the anger was mostly about feeling sorry for myself. Equally, not because some of the anger was justified and righteous and I was mad at myself for not expressing it to those who deserved to hear it.

No, I was mad at myself because the anger was keeping me awake and making me worry about being tired in the morning. Even that worry infuriated me! I used to pull all-nighters frequently in college in order to finish a paper, or to study, or just because I was having too much fun to go to bed. As a mother of five kids close in age, I went for years, lots of years, without a full night’s sleep and I didn’t think much about it. So why was I so frantically worried about getting enough sleep?

And the crazy answer is because I have finally reached a point in my life where some days are totally mine. I cherish these days when I really am not obligated to do anything for anyone. This was to be one of those days. I am a writer and I never feel like I have enough time to write.

It could be a good writing day or a day devoted to all the social media promotion that I feel compelled to do. In other words, it had the potential to be a day that was moving my goals forward. I don’t have enough of these days and I didn’t want to blow this one.

But this very desire to use this day productively was getting in the way of my sleep. As I tossed and turned and fretted and fumed, I kept thinking, “How did I get this way? Why can’t I fall asleep? Why can’t I turn off my brain? I hate feeling this way?”

And then something shifted. I decided to think about love. Not romantic love, but the other, bigger, broader kind of love – love of life, love of nature, love of the universe. Yes, I do have a sort of love affair with the universe – all that space with stars and planets and energy and possibility that somehow brings people and ideas together and fuses their energy into something new. 

As I thought about love I began to feel gratitude. At first, it wasn’t gratitude for anything specific, but eventually the generalized gratitude for life itself transformed into gratitude for specific things, and individual people. 

Within minutes, I had a feeling that I have not had since my book was picked up by a publisher more than a year ago. I felt peace. Most particularly, I felt peace about the book and its potential readers. They would like it, or they wouldn’t. It would sell a lot, or it would sell a little. It would be praised or criticized, but the people who would appreciate it would somehow find it. The message that I hope to spread would be heard by those who will respond to it. 

It doesn’t have to be a bestseller. I don’t have to make a lot of money from it. It can simply exist. I can let it go out into the world without me. I can focus on the next thing I write, instead of trying so hard to promote this one book. I can let it do its own thing. There will be some people who are moved by it, maybe even changed by it. There will be others who never even hear of it. But that is okay.

I think that part of why it took me so long to gain this perspective is that I have always sort of moved to the top of whatever I do. Not that I have done anything so spectacular. I haven’t. But in my own little sphere, I always achieved whatever my goal was. So I felt like my book should naturally become a New York Times bestseller. 

No matter that I am completely unknown and never wrote a book before. No matter that the beginning of the book has some scenes that disturb some readers. No matter that I know nothing about how to actually market and promote it. It was just supposed to be a bestseller simply because I want it to be one.

In a way that I can’t really explain, a sleepless, angry night brought me insight and peace of mind. Sure, I hope people want to read my book. But I no longer need them to.

So, to the snowplow driver, the late night texter, and my husband…thanks for waking me up! I needed that sleepless night. 

I Call Myself Earth Girl

All Gloria ever wanted was a normal life. Instead she is having recurring dreams about Earth Girl, who recounts the story of her abduction and rape. When Gloria discovers that she is pregnant, despite her husband’s long absence, she begins to question her sanity. Could she really be carrying Earth Girl’s baby? Can she save her marriage while unraveling the mystery that ties her to the past and future and to a love that endures beyond time?

What if you were about to become a grandmother for the first time and you discovered you were pregnant? What if you believed you conceived this child in a dream? What if you tried to end the pregnancy and failed? 
Gloria Geist’s world is turned completely upside down when she discovers she is pregnant and she knows her husband can not be the baby’s father. Her recurring dreams about a young girl who calls herself Earth Girl initiate a quest for understanding that leads her to question the nature of time and the possibility of reincarnation.
As she is exposed to mystic wisdom through the voice in her dreams, she learns, not only about herself, but also the many facets of family love and acceptance. Her journey of self-discovery ultimately connects her to the future in a way she could never have imagined. 

Jan Krause Greene has considered herself a writer since her 4th-grade teacher sent her off to the 3rd grade classroom to read her composition on the life of a penny. This same trip across the hall is probably why she became a teacher, which in turn may be the reason she did not write her first novel until she was in her 60s, or maybe it was the 5 kids.  Now retired, her writing examines life’s big questions from the perspective of characters both young and old, struggling to understand their place in a complex world. 
She describes herself as a writer, activist and lover of the earth. She is currently working on the sequel to her first novel and is also writing a non-fiction book about a man who suffered traumatic brain injury during a hit and run accident.

New In Your Face! Horror King John F.D. Taff

Hello, boys and ghouls… Children of the night… New, in your face today, is Horror King John F. D. Taff. John is someone I can say I personally know and have also read his work. It left me with tingles and had me pulling the covers up close to my chin, worrying about the things lurking in the shadows near my bed. Grab your flashlight, teddy bear, and hunker down because John F. D. Taff will spook your to your roots and leave you shivering for more…
Twitter: @johnfdtaff
John F.D. Taff has more than 70 stories in publication in markets such as Cemetery Dance, Deathrealm, One Buck Horror and Big Pulp.  He’s also been published in anthologies such as Hot Blood: Fear the Fever, Hot Blood: Seeds of Fear, Shock Rock II, Best New Vampire Tales, Best New Werewolf Tales and Horror for Good.  Recent sales have been to Dark Visions Vol. 1, Ominous Realities, Postscripts to Darkness, Shades of Blue & Gray, Edge of Sundown, and Beware the Dark.  Taff’s first collection of short stories, Little Deaths, has been well reviewed, made it to the HWA’s Stoker Reading List and managed to crack the Top 100 Paid Kindle at Amazon.  Two stories from Little Deaths were chosen as honorable mentions by Ellen Datlow in her Best Horror of the Year, Vol. 5. His latest novel, The Bell Witch, is out now, and a thriller, Kill/Off, will be out this fall, both from Books of the Dead Press. Follow him online at johnfdtaff.com and on Twitter @johnfdtaff.

Little Deaths is a collection of 19 weird, horrific short stories, some reprinted, some new. Made it to the HWA’s Stoker Award Recommended Reading List. No. 1 Bestseller at Amazon in Horror/Short Stories.  Named No. 1 horror collection of 2012 by HorrorTalk and Top Five Horror Books of 2012 by AndyErupts.

The Bell Witch is an historical novel recounting America’s most famous ghost story. Set in the early 19th century, The Bell Witch tells the tale of the Bell family and the enigmatic spirit that came to haunt–and punish–them. “A classic ghost story full of creepy sounds, scary nights, and top-notch dialogue. Fans of great ghost stories now have cause for celebration,” Gabino Iglesias, HorrorTalk.com. “An American Haunting meets Casper. Kept me entertained the whole time!” Ann Hale, Pop-Break.com 


Kill/Off asks the question “Would you kill someone if you knew you could get away with it?”  A shadowy group blackmails ordinary people into becoming assassins…but to what purpose?  “Kill/Off is a tightly written, dark descent into the world of the contract killer. I haven’t been sucked into the mind of a murderer so convincingly since Theodore Sturgeon’s Some of Your Blood. John F.D. Taff hits this one out of the park,” Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Dead City.  “John F.D. Taff is an artist telling stories with bullets. His crisp, staccato style targets a reader in its crosshairs obliterating any chance of escape. Kill/Off is an exciting, dark adventure that will make your heart race and palms sweat hoping it is merely fiction.” 

~ Joe Schwartz, author of The Games Men Play.

Gracen Miller – Rockin the Heart Release Giveaway!!

Author Gracen Miller is offering a GIVEAWAY in honor of her newly released novel, Rockin the Heart!
Here’s a little more about the smokin’ new tale…
If music nourishes the soul…
Loved by millions, but shunned by blood, Heath “Fang” Fangor has led his band, Hot Wired, to the top while others have fallen by the wayside. He devoted his life to music, and from that devotion harvested a new family—his band mates and fans.
A man can desire nothing else…or can he?
Living in the shadow of her brother’s fame sucks! Sam Collins is desperate to have what she wants—a simple and uncomplicated life. She’s no stranger to scandals and how they work. Now that she’s inadvertently dragged Fang into the center of her latest gossip, could the scandal she created in her quest for freedom have gone too far?
Amid stardom the heart stages a new melody…
Fang has more fame and fortune than he will ever need, but none of that matters if he can’t have the woman of his dreams. Years have been wasted waiting for the right moment to approach the woman his heart desires above all others. There’s just one major problem…she’s his best friend’s sister. To have her, he will have to risk it all.
One that might be responsible for Rockin the Heart!
Giveaway!!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/424b4964/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chapter One
Heath was a rock star god. The tight lines fanning outward from his silver eyes classified him as a pissed off rock star god.
“Wanna tell me what you did this time to get the platinum treatment?” He indicated the jail cell, while ramming his fingers through his shaggy, jet-black hair.
Preferring to shrink into the shadows and avoid a confrontation with him, Sam took a deep breath and rose from the bench. She stepped away from the metal seat to draw closer to the bars dividing them.
She’d expected her brother, Jason—Jase—to ride to her rescue. Like always. Her foundation. Predictable. Dependable. Rattled by her sibling’s abandonment, she ogled the skull on Heath’s shirt, mortification overwhelming her.
If Heath was Jase’s replacement, then he’d been serious when he said ‘don’t call me the next time you’re arrested.’ She’d assumed he yelled that in anger. She was surprised he’d bothered to offer aid at all.
Gut hollow at her brother’s desertion, she cleared the ache out of her throat and asked, “Can’t you just bail me out and we’ll forget this ever happened?”
Knowing he wouldn’t go for that suggestion, Sam swallowed hard and shuffled her feet. Disappointing Jase was one thing, but letting Heath down was an entirely different matter. She’d crushed on the man since her tenth birthday when he’d given her a heart-shaped jewelry box. Didn’t matter he’d been too old for her at a mature fourteen. That infatuation hadn’t waned with age either, but only grown stronger. Not that he showed her a stitch of interest. To him, she was nothing more complicated than a kid sister.
His digits curled around one of the bars. The tattoo lettering on his left knuckles fit his current disposition—ired. On the other hand the letters H-O-T-W graced his knuckles. If read together, they spelled out the name of his band: Hot Wired.
“Not this time, Samantha.”
She cringed. The only time he broke out her full name was when he was upset or disappointed with her.
“You been drinking?”
“You know I haven’t.” Just shy of twenty-one, in her world getting liquor wasn’t an issue. Neither was alcohol her preferred drug of choice.
“Drugs?”
She rolled her eyes, the question too stupid to warrant a response.
“This type of publicity is bad news for the band.” She’d heard that one before. None of her recklessness damaged Hot Wired’s career. Not that she sought to hinder their mega stardom. She wasn’t that selfish, she just struggled with controlling her impulses on occasion.
Therapy failed to help. Yelling spawned further rebellion.
Living under the umbrella of the band’s fame grew tiresome. Her life should be her own, to live however she pleased. Weary of the media hounding her, she craved going back to a time when nobody knew her name. A normal life like when she’d been a kid.
She’d grown up on daydreams of the band making it to the big times. They won the lottery of recording deals, while Sam discovered stardom came at a high price. Along with that knowledge came the freebie of all lessons…fantasies were often better than reality. The last time she’d visited the mall without a trail of vipers eager to report her purchases she’d been fifteen.
Sheesh!
Was it too much to ask to have a date the world didn’t scrutinize? Even the loss of her virginity made headline news. That act should’ve come with the expectation of privacy. Thanks to the tabloids, Jase almost burst a blood vessel over that exploitation.
Once she’d picked her nose in public on purpose because a rag-reporter stalked her. Scratched her butt on another occasion. Gave them something to write. Those were the photographs and articles that gave her incentive to laugh.
“The only reason they’re not pressing charges is because of Jase.”
“Thanks for the reminder.” Along with it came the reminder that her brother sent Heath instead of coming himself.
Despite the news-hounds, she got out of a lot of shit thanks to her brother’s identity. This incident would be all over the rags and Internet before morning.
‘Hot Wired’s drummer’s sister is at it again!’ They’d go on to paint her wild and immoral comportment.
Have at it you fucks. Can’t hurt me any more than you already have, but what about the band?
Distance from Hot Wired would aid all of them. She’d get her peace of mind back, and they’d be devoid of the rebel-rouser in their group.
She’d mentioned changing her last name and moving back to their Southern roots in the small Alabama town where she’d been born. Jase had gone bat-shit crazy at the suggestion and went on and on about how their parents would be rolling over in their grave at her abandoning the family name.
The name-change idea had been discarded. Swept under the rug like a dust bunny never to be spoken of again.
Torn between two worlds, Sam was suffocating. Living with someone she couldn’t have in a world where she didn’t belong.
She sank back down onto the bench and lay down on the uncomfortable metal, staring at the ceiling. “Go away, Heath. I’m not in the mood for a lecture.”
A sigh came from him, followed by a long pause. She anticipated he’d argue, but she focused on the water spot marring the tiled ceiling and prepared herself to fight back.
The sound of his retreating boots hitting concrete echoed in the room. His exit surprised her, but relieved her too. Faced with his disappointment, she vowed again she’d terminate her criminal behavior.
She settled the backside of her wrist against her forehead. She made that promise to herself often and botched the good intentions each time.
After a moment, a new set of footsteps approached the cell. Even with her eyes closed she determined the intruder wasn’t Heath. In a room full of guests, she could identify his gait. Heath’s solid steps and long stride made for a unique swagger that bespoke his self-confidence. Celebrated his rocker status. Watching him walk compared to admiring art. Ogling his ass as he strode away…eye-gasms.
This individual’s fast-paced walk reminded her of the peppered rounds of gunfire. She waited for the person to speak. The clink of metal striking metal and locks disengaging snagged her attention. She turned her head. The thirty-something deputy swung the cell-door open. “You’re free to go, Ms. Collins.”
Sam rolled off the bench and grinned at the officer as she sidled past him. She’d bragged as they booked her that they wouldn’t hold her long and the charges wouldn’t stick.
In the lobby, Heath waited for her with his hands shoved in his jeans pocket. His shaggy-butchered hair shadowed his eyes, doing a good job of hiding his expression, but the hard line of his jaw indicated he’d married his irritation. Lectures were sure to come.
Looking at him, no one would guess he rocked the panties off chicks worldwide. With his long-sleeved, pull-over black shirt, sporting a white skull, his snug well-worn jeans and scuffed boots, he appeared as average as any hard American worker.
That’s what I need to warm my cold bed. Average. Not my brother’s best friend and rock star god.
There was nothing average about Heath Fangor—Fang to his band mates and the world. Neither would he seduce her. Not even as a one-time gig. The man and his fucked up principals…or maybe they were herfucked up principals because she couldn’t say for sure if she’d enter into a one-night-stand with him if he begged for one. She wanted more, and a one-nighter would be difficult to live with.
“Thanks for the bail out, Fang.” She breezed past him with all intention of snubbing him, but he caught her arm. He held on tight, giving her a warning glare when she tried to jerk free.
“Don’t be ungrateful, brat.” He towed her toward the elevator.
“Thanks for the autograph, Fang!” She glanced back at the deputy who’d released her from the cell. He waved a piece of paper at them, grinning ear-to-ear.
Heath shoved her into the lift. The moment the doors shut, he slammed his palms down on either side of her head. Sam sucked in a breath, her eyes frozen on his sexy-ass mouth. The bottom lip was slightly puffier than the top, nice and pink, and wet. He’d probably licked them, which explained the sheen. She had naughty fantasies with them as the star of the show navigating her body. The damage she suspected they could accomplish created a slippery situation in her panties.
A slight tilt of his lips before he said, “Eyes on mine.”
She refocused and locked onto his silver gaze. The accusations she saw there struck her like a blow to the gut. Looking away would be easier, but Heath had a way of holding her to a higher level with just a penetrating stare. His expectations were tall, and she despised him for having such grand aspirations for her.
“What’s gotten into you? Base diving—”
“That was fun. You should try it.”
“—bar brawls, knifing chicks in Miami—”
“Hey! I was found innocent of that allegation!”
Elevating his eyebrows, he called her statement a lie without uttering a word.
“—and now you’re adding grand theft auto to your long list of offenses.”
 Available Now!!!

 

BIO:
Gracen is a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a “normal” person in southern society.  When not writing, she’s a full-time basketball/football/guitar mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband. She’s addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels, movies, Alabama football and coffee…addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She’s convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and blending coffee and writing together generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs. To learn more about Gracen and her writing or to leave her a comment, visit her at the following sites:

Twitter: @GracenMiller

Resolutions Be Damned

New Year’s. And those damned resolutions.

A new year. The first day in what is supposed to be a promising opportunity to change your ways, do something positive with yourself or your life, really buckle down and focus on what is important to you.

We all make them – resolutions. Even when we promise ourselves we won’t. Even when we think we’re too non-conformist to cave to such antiquated notions. I’m no exception. I looked at things I wanted to improve. One such things was my writing.

What did I do? I made a list. Basically, a resolution to work on my writing by following that list daily (or at least 4 days a week). I started this in December, not wating to put off for tomorrow what one can do for today… yaddah, yaddah, yaddah.

What do you think has happened by January 1st?

I’ve failed already.
I couldn’t follow my own list, for a week.
Why couldn’t I follow it?
Why indeed? Probably because I’m lazy. But mostly because the mindset behind resolutions is wrong. We focus on things we want to be, instead of on the things we are.
I am a writer. I have been for ages. But lately I haven’t been acting like one. I’ve done nothing but lip service to the fact. Rather than say I’m going to work on writing more, I should be saying, “If I don’t write, I can no longer call myself a writer.” I, basically, need to nut up or shut up at this point.
It’s one thing to go through a dry spell, or take some time off to recuperate or a much needed vacation, or because you have something that absolutely keeps you from writing. It’s another thing to just be lazy and still claim the title.
So this is my New Year’s resolution: Resolutions be damned! It’s time to nut up or shut up. It’s time to be a writer, to be healthy, to just be. I won’t try. I will do or not, and I will forever hang up my crown as “writer” if I don’t.
I mean, it’s nothing big, right? Only like ripping my still beating heart from my chest.