Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'm back........:)

Good morning friends! First of all, let me apologize for having disappeared the way I did the last few months. Many of you have written to inquire, so I would like to reassure everyone that: 1)I haven't been kidnapped by UFOs, 2)I didn't run off to a tropical island (hmmm.....this one doesn't sound too bad...), and 3)I'm still alive, kicking and ready to write until my fingertips hurt. So, what happened to me, you might ask...? The last three months I have been completely absorbed into (obsessed about is actually a little closer to reality) a murder case currently unfolding in Italy. I have spent days and many nights talking to people, watching foreign TV shows and reading newspaper articles; while the case is still not resolved, I continue to follow it because it will be the meat and potatoes of a new novel I expect to release close to the holiday season. So, unless the doom-sayers are right and we won't see the light of day on December 22, 2012, expect to see a new novel, Shadows of a Tuscan Moon, right around that time. Since we brought up the subject of novels, I have a couple more announcements to make. First of all, there IS a sequel to The Book of Obeah. I know some of you have been waiting to see what other sort of trouble Melody Bennet will get herself into, so I hope you will be happy to know The Rosaries, volume two of the Crossroads series, will likely be ready by the end of summer 2012. But, since I am fully aware that the doggone days of summer are around the corner, and many of you enjoy reading while relaxing at the beach or by poolside, I have a surprise for you: Killer in Sight, my new psychological thriller, will be released within the next few weeks. I hope you will enjoy the story, tell your friends about it, and leave me some insight in the form of a review. Okay....I think I ran out of news, so I am going to wish you a good day and I look forward to talking to you more often once again. I miss my blogging days and I am ready to jump back in. Before I leave, I am going to post the short synopsis of Killer in Sight along with the first chapter, just to give you a taste of what's to come and find you ready for the upcoming birth. Take care, and happy reading! Killer in Sight -- Synopsis Tracey Newman is a young and beautiful professional who relocated to North Carolina from St. Louis, Missouri, for a job as a physician assistant. When her body is found in the woods of a park in Raleigh, NC, her case is assigned to Lieutenant Tom Lackey, a veteran detective from the Raleigh Police Department. With the help of Kathy Spencer, his longtime girlfriend, and his partner, Gene Parker, a grouchy but kind-hearted detective, Tom Lackey unravels a mystery laden with psychosis and unexpected revelations. While Tom is busy following the multiple clues pouring in from different directions, Kathy gets to work to prove her own theory: The last image viewed by the dying person can be lifted from the eyes of the victim to identify the murderer. Using her background in photography and her passion for iridology, Kathy enlists the help of Dr. Greer, the medical examiner, who allows her to take shots of Tracey’s eyes. Her findings are puzzling but they are soon supported by Alexis Howard, the dead girl’s ten-year-old half-sister who volunteers valuable information she claims was delivered to her by her imaginary friend Lily. As the investigation unfolds, Tom discovers that many people have a reason to want Tracey Newman dead. Could the killer be her best friend Shannon, or maybe one of Tracey’s ex-boyfriends? Or could it be Donald Russet, the married hospital administrator she had an affair with? Or could it even be Mary Townsend, Shannon’s violent lesbian lover who saw Tracey as a threat to her relationship? With multiple suspects floating up to the surface and skeletons yanked out of unlikely closets, Tom must rely on his methodical expertise and on Kathy’s insight to find the killer before tragedy strikes again. Chapter one Tracey Newman held her breath, afraid the man could hear her. He was close now—she couldn’t see him in the darkness of the stuffy room, but she could somehow detect his presence nearby. She closed her eyes, as if trying to delete this moment from her reality, and her nostrils picked up a pungent smell, but she couldn’t decide what it was or where it came from. It was a strange, earthy scent—a mixture of mildew and something else—slightly offset by the fragrance of honeysuckle that filtered in through the open door. Tracey shivered even though the temperature in the room was hot and the air was still, and she wanted to wrap her arms around herself in a gesture of comfort, but was too afraid to move. Where is he? Has he left? Her mind raced back to the last few days, and she thought of her family. Her mother had celebrated a birthday the previous weekend, and Tracey planned to fly home to St. Louis a week from today to surprise the whole family, especially her half-sister Alexis. It was hard for a physician assistant to get time off, and she had to sweet-talk the supervising doctor into allowing her to take five days of vacation. Now she wasn’t sure her travel plans were going to work out after all. This was so surreal! She quietly opened and closed her fists just to feel movement, to know that she wasn’t trapped in a nightmare. Unfortunately, she was awake and not at all sure she would still be breathing even a few minutes from now. The thought of dying made her head spin and her stomach tighten. Her ears were buzzing, and for a moment she thought she was going to faint. She could hear the sound of water dripping in the distance, but couldn’t determine if it was coming from inside the cabin or outside. It wasn’t raining when she came in, but the weather in North Carolina was crazy this time of year, and anything could be expected. March had left with a bang—violent storms and widespread power outages had dominated the greater part of the month—and April was already blistering hot, with temperatures that were a bit uncharacteristic so early in the season but quite welcome after the unusually cold winter. Rain was often elusive in this part of the country, and it usually showed up either on weekends when she and her friend Shannon planned to go kayaking, or when she washed her car. A creaking sound exploded in the silence of the room, and Tracey’s heart jumped to her throat. He was getting closer, she just knew it…what could she do now? She could remain hidden and hope he would not find her, or she could try to escape outside again. Maybe she would run into someone else out there, and she would be safe. “I know you are in here, Tracey. It’s not nice to hide.” Tracey did not respond, and swallowed hard to smother the deep scream which threatened to rise from her stomach. She could taste the salty, silent tears that ran unchecked down her face and over her lips. “You are just making this harder for yourself, Tracey. I promise it will be fast. You will barely feel a thing.” The man’s voice was sickeningly condescending and fatherly, and Tracey was so distraught and confused that she almost considered his words for a moment; but as she glimpsed reflected light from the blade of a knife, something else came over her. A primal scream erupted from her pounding chest and ripped through her throat, as she ran past the man toward the door. He lunged to grab her and slid on the floor, the knife landing with a metallic clunk on the wooden surface. Tracey ran outside, unsure of where to go. She had jogged through these woods dozens of times, but now the trees appeared to connect together, forming a black wall that spread out in all directions. It was barely dusk when she ran into the unlocked cabin looking for a place to hide, after she noticed she was being followed, and now it was pitch dark—how long had she been in there? Her mother had warned her often about jogging alone, but Tracey always brushed off her mother’s worried comments with a smile, believing in her heart that she could take care of herself. Maybe she should have listened. She could hear the man’s steps crunching leaves in his path, and his breathing was labored. Tracey wanted to turn around to see if he was behind her, but she couldn’t risk stopping. The eerie silk of a spider web touched her forehead, but even though she was terrified of spiders, she kept running blindly through the dense forest. The path was gone, and all the trees looked alike; menacing hands seemed to be reaching out in the night, to capture her and deliver her to the man who was after her. An owl hooted frighteningly nearby, as if to signal the man of her whereabouts, and Tracey tripped on a root poking from the ground but didn’t fall. Suddenly, she heard her name being called, and the voice was a familiar one…someone else was in the woods, someone who knew her! She thrust herself toward the voice, knowing her assailant was only steps behind and safety was near. She could feel branches scraping her ankles as she ran, but she was numb to pain. “Tracey! Where are you?” She could see a shadow in the woods, running toward her with a flashlight. She wasn’t at all certain who the person was, but she was happy someone else was there. Oh yes, thank you, God! Please watch over me. I’m coming… Tracey ran faster, nearly throwing herself into the arms of the person who had come to rescue her. Her body shook with deep sobs as she looked up, and her eyes registered surprise when she saw who it was. It didn’t matter. She tried to formulate words to convey what was happening. “He is coming after me! I don’t know why he is doing this! He has a knife!” Her voice was so shrill she almost couldn’t recognize it as being her own. “It’s going to be okay, Tracey. I’m here now, and I will take care of things.” Tracey nodded, and turned toward the man who was quickly approaching. He stopped and spoke, and his voice echoed in the stillness of the woods. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let her get away. I screwed up.” Tracey shook her head, struggling to grasp what was happening, but when she turned to look at her rescuer, her eyes locked with the cold mouth of a revolver pointed at her. Words jammed in her throat, and her legs almost collapsed beneath her. “I’m sorry, Tracey. I didn’t want to be the one to do this, but you leave me no choice. Goodbye, Sweetheart.” Before Tracey could speak a word, even to ask why, the gun went off, and she fell into a heap on a bed of leaves. Before she died, she looked at the two people who were standing there—waiting for her to take her last breath—knowing she would never see anyone else again. Their features were photographed by her fading eyes, but sadly, nobody would ever see them.