Are you writing a series?

Are you writing a series? That’s great because after readers finish a good book, they look forward to more from you.  I’d like to share my tips.

Are you writing books in a series- (3)

Each book in a series must be a stand-alone.  There can be an open-ended question, and I deliver the answer in the next book. Some authors who write a series have a mystery arching over the entire series that is answered in the final book. 

If your series involves one character or a couple, write a happily for now ending rather than a happily ever after.  My method is to change up the hero and heroine by writing a series with male cousins.  This ensures some consistency across the series because the heroes are ex-military, honorable and courageous.  As a writer of a series you need to keep track of the family tree, physical attributes, and locations.  Consider using an Excel spreadsheet to maintain details.  In my case I need to know ages of the characters and stomping grounds of their childhoods.

Consider what is logical.   You’ve created a certain community and premise and must keep actions plausible.  The technology your characters use reflects the world they live in.  Their dialect must be consistent. Are they middle class or are they millionaires?

Have fun with your book series.

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Do you enjoy books with an underlying theme?

Characters in my books have jobs that matter to them. In Unholy Alliance the lawyer hero, Grady Donahue Fletcher, appeals cases of the poor and wrongly accused.  In this romantic thriller he is a tough, formidable protagonist who believes an advanced society should not be comfortable with the way a country punishes crime.  In the book Grady Fletcher represents a different marginalized person, a mobsters daughter accused of murder.

What about all the people in prison who don’t have enough money to hire top defense attorneys?

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The US locks up too many people for too long, and often treats them poorly. I’m glad to see improvement which comes from the Koch brothers, the American Civil Liberties Union, and others in between. Here is an eye-popping fact: the US makes up 5% of the world’s population but houses 25% of the prison population.  Harsh sentences are handed out for non-violent drug crime sentences. The Black population is hit the hardest.  See data below:

Race, ethnicity % of US population % of U.S. incarcerated population
White (non-Hispanic) 64 39
Hispanic 16 19
Black 13 40

Wordsmith– a new take on swearwords

A character is backed into a corner and wants to swear.  Some readers are offended by curses and swearwords.  Here is how I decided to bypass the language censor in my work-in-progress, Unholy Alliance.  Admittedly my hero in Deadly Alliance spewed fuck and damn a few times.

Fletch (Grady Fletcher) my hero in Unholy Alliance is a lawyer.  He’s an alpha, and I don’t want to dilute his dialogue, but his job and environment leads me to invent swearwords.  Asshole becomes wormhole or asshat.  Fletch and Finn are cousins, and here is an example from Unholy Alliance:

“You’re up against organized crime,” Finn said. “Sucks when you realize how small and defenseless you are.”

“Wormhole.”  Ah, the ties that bind. “Will you pretty please give up your contact at the FBI?” Fletch gripped the arms of his chair until his knuckles ached.

“You are one lucky asshat,” Finn gloated. “I’ll phone Gary Guhleman, tell him you’ll be in touch. You’ll like him.  He’s an amped up hound dog. Hang up. I’ll text you his number.”

Try this– look up insults from other cultures and periods.  Change them to suit your story.  An ancient Roman said, “You curly-headed onion.”  Modern Chinese use the insult, “You turtle egg.”  Don’t forget body parts. “May you face-plant on goose poop.”

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Spotlight on Deadly Alliance by Kathleen Rowland

Deadly Alliance is on a special discount of 0.99 over Leap Year weekend!  Deadly_Alliance_by_Kathleen_Rowland-100

Thank you for visiting here today. The description of Deadly Alliance, romantic suspense is below:

Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, walked on the wild side in Iraq, but now he lives in the shadows. After his evasive partner, Les, was shot in a random drive-by, Finn discovers cash is siphoned monthly. He fights to keep his investment company afloat. When the late partner’s girlfriend, Amy Kintyre, applies for his bookkeeping job, Finn suspects she knows about his company drain and hires her.

Amy needs a nine-to-five with free evenings and weekends to get her fashion design business back on track. She unearths Les’ s secret bank account and alerts Finn. Freezing of the money laundering account sets off havoc within an Irish gang. Amy witnesses a gang fight between a brutal ISIS fundraising organization and the Irish. Desperate to escape a stalker’s crosshairs, she seeks refuge with Finn. As danger heats up, sparks fly hotter.

Let’s interview the hero of Deadly Alliance, Finbar Donahue.

  1. What do your friends call you?  Finn. My full name is Finbar Michael Donahue.
  2. What’s your job?  I own my own investment company, but who’s the chickenshit stealing money from me? My goal is to find the thief.
  3. What is your schooling?  B.A. in finance, former Army Ranger. That was when I targeted a known enemy. Believe me, it’s harder now.

I’ve got a few questions for the heroine, Amy Kintyre.

  1. What’s your dream job? I want to get my sportswear design business back on track. A buyer phoned me, and I have an opportunity to present my line. I need a nine-to-five with evenings and weekends off to sew.
  2. Is that why you applied for Finbar Donahue’s bookkeeping position? Yes. Probably is that I found a mysterious bank account belonging to my late boyfriend, Les. He and Finn were partners.
  3. Would you enjoy working for Finn? No. He’s too arrogant, but there aren’t many job openings in Lake Arrowhead.

Here’s the bar scene with the Swiss Army Knife:

Finn Donahue’s break at Burlie’s Jazz Club was about to end. Familiar lyrics from the sultry tune floated through his mind long after the saxophonist stopped playing. Hold on like leaves and fall to what is left. Like the song, Autumn Leaves, he spiraled downward, failed to identify the chicken shit stealing his company’s cash. For three damn years, ten percent of the monthly deposits were sucked into a mysterious thief’s cash cow.

The crowd wandered out. Time for him to return to gloom and doom. He pressed a hand over his throbbing forehead with enough force to leave marks. Had the thief hired a colleague? The colleague was not a car-stealing, knee-smashing, fire-setting knucklehead.  His mouth went dry at the fuck’s covert method and zest for cheating him. He’d question his snake of a partner, Les Kelly, if he weren’t already dead.

Across the room, a female patron gathered her belongings. As her ankle boots tapped toward him, a pair of shapely legs came into view.

His head snapped up. Amy Kintyre, the late Les’s girlfriend, in the running for his bookkeeping job, spotted him.

“Finn.” She swerved his way. “What a coincidence!” This chick lacked a pick-me-up line.

“Hello, Amy.” He didn’t offer her a seat.

She tilted her head to one side, studying the expression on his face. “Are we still on for nine?” She spoke with an annoying squeak.

“We are.” He watched her lips form a tight smile as she fumbled with her little purse. Turning away, she headed for the pink-windowed door to the ladies’ room.

His stomach did a quick, discomforting twist at the thought of working with Les’s former girlfriend. As time went on, karma between the partners slipped. Les held back. Enigmatic people had motive to protect inconsistencies. He assumed Amy hid a few. He sighed and gazed blankly around the club.

Pendant lights offered a fuzzy softness except for the bar. Behind it, opaque glass shelves were lit with violet light. The warm personality of the owner gave the establishment a comfortable feel. Burlie was closing up. With more oil to burn at his office, he stood to cross the mosaic tile dance floor.

The front door opened. “Sorry, we’re closed.” Holding a broom, Burlie swept behind the bar.

Finn stepped closer. Drunken merrymakers, they were not. His heart hammered like it was stuck in overdrive.

“We offer protection.” Speaking with a Spanish accent, the shortest of the trio dressed like the others, and donned the ISIS-style  black ski mask.

“I have protection.” Burlie’s big mouth nailed his coffin.

A second thug grabbed the bartender’s hand and pulled out clippers. “You’ll change your mind, one finger at a time.”

“I just paid the Irish.” Panic burrowed into Burlie’s high-pitched cry. He thrashed his arms as he tried to pull his hand back.

“Us you pay.” His utterance with the object in the first position identified him as an Arab speaker.  Light glinted off shiny metal.  The thug pulled a combat knife, grabbed Burlie’s arms, spun him, put the blade to his neck. Finn dialed 911 and then shouted, “Finn Donahue here. Gang trouble. Burlie’s Jazz Club.”  To grab their attention even more, he heaved in a breath and released a long whistle. His distraction worked.

Burlie broke from the hold, and Finn thanked God for the curious.

“Where are you?” Heavy boots pounded toward him.

Finn’s phone vibrated, but he killed the call and darted into the first door he saw, the one with the frosted pink window. He spotted Amy at the sink and pointed his index finger up.

He took off his coat and wrapped it around his fist. After rapping on the glass, he wound up and threw a hard punch through the window. Glass splintered as he connected with the thug’s nose. Prepared to jump aside, he opened the door.

Amy followed and jumped over the guy spread on the floor, holding a hand over his bleeding nose.

He struggled to stand. Finn patted him down, took his gun, and pointed it at him. After the guy stood, Finn walked him to a chair. “Don’t move.”

“I’ll phone the police.” A high-pitched squeal came from the back of her throat. “Never mind. Police are here.”

From the street, the blue light of a cop car radiated across the club’s interior like a strobe. Uniforms burst through the door.

The first officer made radio contact with homicide, and the second, much younger, rushed to the nearest thug and pulled out flex-cuffs.

“Stand over there, Amy.” Finn motioned toward a corner.

She rolled her eyes and dashed toward Burlie who wrestled with the Arab and tried to keep him from moving toward the young rookie. Amy pulled an item from her purse. A Swiss army knife? Out came a miniature cork screw.

The rookie cop turned the Arab around to be handcuffed and leaned him against a wall. The thug used the hard surface as leverage to throw himself against him.

Finn saw it coming. A switchblade sprung from the Arab’s sleeve. In a split second, he drove it into the cop’s shoulder, but Amy stabbed him in the back with the wine opener.

The Arab spun and pulled a knife from his jeans’ pocket. Amy dodged, but he thrust it into a cop’s gut before running.

Finn waited for an opening and shot him in the hip.

 Howling about uncivilized barbarians, he dropped.

Up from his chair, the loser with the broken nose swung his fists, raining blows and a kick to the nuts which Finn deflected.

“Don’t make me shoot you.” Finn stunned him with a chop to the neck, caught him in a headlock. With a gun at his back, he marched him forward.

Amy broke into the center of the room and turned around, taking in the menacing scene. The girl-next-door had street smarts, competency with the corkscrew, and fearless determination.

He walked over and touched her weapon-holding hand. “You didn’t have pocket-knife experience on your resume.” It didn’t make her invincible. Nor did it mean he should hire her.

 

You can find Kathleen Rowland in many places:

http://www.kathleenrowland.com/

https://twitter.com/rowlandkathleen

https://kathleenrowland.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.rowland.50

Another Excerpt— Amy’s first day working for Finn

Hours later, Finn straightened his spine as he listened to his new bookkeeper order Rosenberg around with the authority of an Army lieutenant. She spoke with confidence from her chair and waited for answers with intensity. Somehow she came across larger than her delicate self.

“Brad,” his pretty war buddy said, “I’ll need your password to access activity-to-date.” Her attitude wasn’t for show. Her curiosity propelled her to the depths of the drain. Heaven help those who lurked there.

“Sure thing.” Brad blew out a breath and scribbled his password on a sticky note. Handing it to her, he bent to her level.

She said, “I apologize for causing chaos.”

“No apology necessary.” Brad asked, “What are you working on?”

Jumping in, Finn said, “Comparisons, Rosenberg, that’s what she’s working on.” Unholy as she’d undoubtedly turn out to be, at the moment they were forged in combat. “Give her your full support.”

“Absolutely. Consider me your scaffold,” Rosenberg said, accepting his fate. “Excuse me, won’t you? I’m running payroll.”

Finn liked his head accountant. He was solid. Dependable. Not creative, but his easy-going manner was soothing. “Payroll. You’re a masochist.”

Amy smiled, and her crystal-green gaze sought his. She found his comment amusing. Her professional attire included a gray satin blouse tucked into a herringbone skirt. When she moved, her layered, dark-blonde hair settled into a sleek flip over her shoulders.

Amy’s bending and reaching, as she took control of her four-by-four cubicle, was damn compelling. She found a rhythm with a handy notepad beside her computer. Using Brad’s password, she turned sideways to open files. Attractive summed up her symmetrical profile and creamy complexion.

For a long while, getting hot and heavy had not been on his mind. Her envelope gave him concrete evidence to bring to the sheriff and eased his tension. As she brushed tresses off her face, he wanted to nibble on her ear.

Amy packed her lithe frame with succulent curves. He enjoyed observing her ample bust which required high-performance support. He’d like to see those globes running free. He’d never considered her as dating material. Timing was off. When she started dating Les, he was hooking up with Miss California. Now it was too late. She worked for him. Hands off. Finn liked women—lots of women, all women, in all shapes and sizes and ethnicities as long as they met the enthusiasm requirement. He hadn’t tested this, but she was off-limits for another reason. He didn’t intend to put her through another relationship leading to nowhere.

Finn kept things loose. A woman in his bed but not in his life was what he often said. There hadn’t been that either. Why was he picturing her naked in his bed?

 

Release day for Deadly Alliance!

Deadly Alliance, a romantic suspense, is first a love story about Amy Kintyre, an ordinary woman who just wants a 9-to-5 job so that she can get her sportswear design business back on track.  In the village of Lake Arrowhead, California, there aren’t many jobs available, and she applies at her late boyfriend’s company.  His partner, Finn Donahue, wanted to kill the slime if he weren’t already dead.  Finn is missing cash and hires Amy, thinking she know something about it. Below are snippets from three reviewers.

Marisa Slusarcyk, Goodreads says, “Deadly Alliance touches on a lot of hot topics in the world right now and the author creates an intricately wonderful story that covers many genres. It has gangs and fights, faked deaths and so much more. A great book all around.”

Teresa Jensen, Netgalley says, “Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, is figuring out why his company is missing cash monthly.  This began after his former partner, Les, was shot in a drive-by shooting but has now passed away.  Amy Kintyre, Les’s caretaker, applies for a job with Finn.  She uncovers a secret bank account belonging to Les, and risks her new employment opportunity when she brings it to Finn’s attention… add in a mob, domestic terrorism, Les’s death by mistaken identity… the book really heats up.  Rowland ties everything into a nice bow…great plot to follow and great romance.”

Meg Heenan, Netgalley says, “Such a good romance, I thoroughly enjoyed Deadly Alliance.”

www.tirpub.com/DeadlyAlliance

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Will Amy end up back behind the wheel of a taxi? Deadly Alliance excerpt

Deadly Alliance is still available for the preorder bonus price of $0.99.  Excerpt from Chapter One:

“You know I love your sportswear designs, right?”

“I’m glad you do.” Amy Kintyre sat opposite a buyer, none other than Kira Radner, at a coffee shop in Lake Arrowhead, California. This sudden opportunity to re-launch her sportswear designs gave rise to the jitters, and Amy clutched her hands under the table.

Kira pressed her face forward, Amy’s sketches drawn on figures in action poses. With the portfolio spread between them, she flipped it sideways to examine the fabric swatches stapled along the sidebar. Their earthy tones blended with the marred wooden table.

Amy stilled the chatty urge.

“You know your presentation is in two weeks.” Kira was giving her the green light with Recreational Sportswear, Incorporated.

“I appreciate this, Kira.” To get her business back on track, she needed blocks of time to sew mockups. Amy inhaled the spicy aroma of the raw cedar wood. The under-construction décor of wide, timber planks on the walls made her think of her new self.   Crazy how thirty felt like seventeen when embracing life and freeing her artistic side.

“Then I beg you,” Kira said, “please, please, please have your product samples ready. Deadline is the first Monday of November.”

“Got it.” Fear over the tight time frame tasted sour in her throat, but this break called like no other.

Kira leaned forward. “Impressive functionality with the shorts. Who would have thought this pocket holds a Swiss Army Knife!” The buyer’s fingertips traced the pick-stitch hem, made with thread matching the fabric, appearing invisible. “Nice detail.”

Amy’s only mock-up kept their face-to-face meeting running like the hum of the fluorescent lights above.

“Oooo,” Kira said and raised both her eyebrows. “Classic nostalgia with a twist. A pocket knife for hikers!”

“Useful, I think.” The bright light flickered over associates who’d worked together in the past, but Amy didn’t share the difficulty of making the deadline. Her breathing shortened, and panic carved a hole in her chest.

Kira rested her chin on her open palm. “If RSI accepts your spring line, I’ve got a manufacturer in Los Angeles. So, I’ll handle production, okay?”

“It’s a deal.” Amy trusted she would do right by her. If Kira benefited by handling the step, she had another reason to bring Amy’s brand to completion.

“Great, Amy. Gotta bounce. Glad our evening meeting worked.” Kira, a Los Angelino up for the weekend, viewed Thursday as the new Friday.

“Your timing fit my schedule.” Amy’s taxi driving shift had ended ten minutes before meet time. Driving a cab gave her flexibility, ideal for taking care of her near-comatose ex-boyfriend. Her dedication ended with his death, but stagnation set in. After Kira’s phone call, Amy’s backbone solidified.

“Coming?” Kira gathered Amy’s portfolio and slid it into her valise.

The bell on the café door jingled, and Amy looked up. A suited man wearing a fedora low on his face stormed in.

About to stand up, Kira braced a hand on the table, but Amy grabbed her sleeve and yanked. “Don’t look up.” She placed a finger over her lips.

Kira whispered, “I take it the dude’s not fueling a cookie binge.”

To Amy’s left, the man’s briefcase lowered to the floor next to the counter. She recognized the distinctive signature clasp of the Irish Claddagh.

“Excuse me,” he said to the owner. “I lost the sheath for my knife. Know what I mean?”

The manager pushed a stack of bills forward.

“He’s an Irish mobster.” Kira spoke in a hushed tone. “This can’t be. Pacific waterfront, yes. Never here.”

Amy cringed. A few years before, her boyfriend had been shot in a Los Angeles drive-by. Was their high-end community no longer spared?

The mobster was counting the money.

The muscle in Kira’s jaw flinched. “This is as good a time as any.” In another second the buyer flew out the door without blowing her usual kiss.

The man in the fedora folded his arms over his chest as though he was king of the world.

Everything hinged on Amy’s ability to be nearly invisible. Looking down,  squeezing her eyes shut, she froze.  The bell rang.  Air escaped her lungs.

Out the window, the mobster steamed around the corner in the neon haze.

Amy collected her keys and belongings, took a deep breath, and headed to the counter.

The owner tallied up the bill and then grumbled about Mafia protection. “I don’t make waves. If I did, I’d drown.” His face contorted in agony.

Amy stared at his wary expression. Her mood shifted from empathy to anger. His passiveness churned in her stomach. “Sir, it’s a terrible threat. That’s the truth.”

“Miss, do you know what truth is?”

“I’m listening.”

“It’s what a guy believes. If I want to be friends, I ask what he believes. He tells me, and I say, ‘Ain’t it the truth?’”

“You can’t protest the mobster’s truth?”

“I foresaw a beating. A whacking would follow.” He shook his head.

“Oppressive.” Out the door to the empty street, she searched over her shoulder. Her knowledge of the area was absolute, but at this late hour she gritted her teeth at the thought of walking two blocks to her taxi. She froze with indecisiveness. Muted laughter and conversation came from the building next door. Instead of going home, she headed into Burlie’s Jazz Club for a glass of wine.

Inside, she waved to Burlie who was as friendly as her granddad with a talent for learning names. He waved back. “Here for the usual, Amy?”

“Sure am, Burlie.”

She made her way deeper into the club, passed couples, and found a solitary spot on the edge of a couch. With work to do, she willed the sax man, back on stage, to immerse her in a state of bluesy creativity.

Soon a waiter delivered a sparkling Cabernet. Between sips, she focused on her hiking shorts design and ripped a page from the back of her sketch book. It wasn’t long before blips of excitement added to the wine’s buzz.

As she hummed to the jazzy beat, she made a to-do list ending with the file with various size patterns. After a half-hour of regrouping and rethinking, Amy stopped tapping her foot. Kira Radner took a chance on her, but to turn this chance into a reality, she needed evenings and weekends to make the deadline.

Last Sunday while pouring over Craigslist classifieds, she’d zeroed in on Finbar Donahue’s bookkeeping ad. After her inquiry, his head accountant sent her a message. She still favored the toe she stubbed after her in-box pinged.

Thanks to what happened, the call from Kira, she needed Finn’s job. Her mind raced to her third interview for his nine-to-five. Tomorrow morning, if all went well, she’d land the regular-hours job, tailor made for her time frame. She ran a hand through her hair, picturing the arrogant know-it-all with a never-ending string of women hanging on his arm.

Handsome wasn’t the word to describe Finn, her late, ex-boyfriend’s partner. She’d been around Finbar Donahue enough to know he looked at his world as if he were the Almighty himself. The former Army Ranger made her way too nervous. She tensed up to such an extent, her voice broke.

Romance wasn’t part of this equation. Her dream to launch herself, stitch by stitch, came down to landing the job. On a mission, her goal was simple. She closed her eyes and prayed tomorrow she’d nail it.  Otherwise…

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Get an adrenalin rush with Amy– excerpt from Deadly Alliance

Tirgearr Publishing has Deadly Alliance up at a bonus pre-order price of $0.99. Here is the conference room scene. With a sudden need to use the facilities, Amy headed toward the bathrooms. After the ruckus outside Burlie’s ladies’ room, she expected to make an uneventful visit.

Amy entered the bathroom and faced a door opposite, the entrance to the Harp Hotel on the Lake. No wonder this bathroom was elegant. Waffle towels and an assortment of fragrance mists, lotions, and a milk-glass, soap pump sat on a green-marble counter next to a vintage-looking faucet. If she weren’t in a hurry, she’d spray herself with the cologne in the shamrock container.

There were two large stalls, and she peeked under the shiny white doors to make sure she wouldn’t intrude upon someone. After making sure it was empty, she headed in and hung her little handbag on a hook. About to use the toilet, she heard muffled voices. Wasn’t she alone?

Glancing upward, she spotted a vent. The voices came from a room in the hotel. Did she hear strong words? She stepped onto the toilet seat and stood on tiptoes, straining to raise herself even higher. As she peered through the vent, she realized she was looking over a balcony and onto a large conference room. This bathroom, on the second level of the parking structure, was level with the hotel’s mezzanine.

About twenty feet below, the marble floor gleamed up at her, but the scene was far from friendly business. A half-dozen men wore turbans and black, body armor with the Takbir insignia embroidered on them. The symbol, hard to ignore this year, was white Arabic writing on their rolling-sand motif flag and displayed with every hostage crisis. Flowing robes extended half-way below their shins.

The robed men surrounded four men seated with their hands on a round table. These men were held captive, she was certain. The two facing her wearing Claddagh rings on their third fingers had visited Les. The rings married them, molded them into a brotherhood. Whether they wore suits or the Levis they’d worn on their visit, they bound together by a code of violence and silence. For years the Waterfront Roached remained an impenetrable and unstoppable force. Until now.

The Irish Mafioso appearance was as easy to recognize as the Takbir terrorists. In her hometown of Long Beach, the Waterfront Roaches went about their business in match-match suits. The Irish Kings of Cocaine ruled the warehouse district. After scrutinizing the backs of the other two suits, one wore a fedora identical to the Irish mobster at the coffee shop. Next she zeroed in on the other man with slicked back, silver hair who’d visited Les at their condo. Was  an Islamic gang taking over the Irish mob’s territory?

Fearing they’d see her, she cringed, but the thugs were far below. Concentrating, she tried to make out what was happening down there. She looked through the vent. They were talking again.

One of the robes said, “We are defenders of the Prophet. You failed our leader, Rourke.” Speaking with unaccented English meant he was a recruit.

Where had she heard the name Rourke?

She concentrated on the leader in his white tunic. He jerked to a halt in front of Rourke and pulled his black bandanna down to speak. His accent was Middle Eastern, and his face contorted with anger.

“Let me impress upon you,” came rough words from Rourke, “we can both win.”

“You are not our brother,” the robed leader barked. “This is our territory now. Pledge your finances to us.”

“Wait! Hold on!” stammered a young, suited man facing her direction.

Hold onto what? When Amy watched the leader gesture toward his guard, she feared something bad was about to happen.

The guard raised his arms in the air. Coming from under his robe, light reflected on a long sword. He wrapped both hands around it and whipped it through the air. Like lightning, his arms and body made a complete circle.

Amy gasped at the sword, aimed for the seated guy’s neck.

Rourke whipped out a blade at thigh level and threw it, striking the robed man in the shoulder.

His sword thudded onto the floor, but his man brought out a pistol. With Rourke in its cross-hairs, the gun discharged and ripped through Rourke’s shoulder and out the other side.

Another robed man picked up the sword and swung it upward, but a suited man shot him twice in the chest. He crashed to the floor. A puddle of blood reddened his robe and seeped outward.

In all her years, nothing prepared her for this horror. She shivered from fright but steadied herself against the stall wall. She froze as seconds passed but told herself to serve justice.

Take photos! Pulling out her iPhone, she touched the camera-button, took photos from various angles, and thanked God for the soft click-click-click.

Again, she glanced through the vent. Running his hand through his blood-spattered white hair, Rourke stumbled. Irish companions supported him through the room’s double doors.

The robed leader looked up in her direction. She ducked. A second later, she snapped two more photos of the gruesome scene. Enough evidence. Time to scram. Leaping off the toilet, she darted out the door to the parking structure. Cold air brushed her skin.

She charged down the ramp. Around and around, she sped with all her might. She took a quick glance over her shoulder. A shadow from a careening SUV. Light blue. She dove behind a parked car. As the SUV passed, the windows rolled down. The barrel of a rifle appeared. Tires squealed. The SUV zoomed off.

Crouching motionless for a full minute, her heart thumped from the close call. She willed herself to get out of there. She sprinted through the exit. Coming onto the street, she spotted the open door of the Arrowbear Cafe.  Did she leave her purse behind on that little hook?

 

Deadly Alliance is available for pre-order at 99 cents

Some alliances have dangerous consequences.  Deadly Alliance at Amazon US and Deadly Alliance at Amazon UK.  Friends, I researched ISIS for a long time before creating underpinnings for Amy and Finn’s story.  I hope you enjoy this book.

Deadly_Alliance_by_Kathleen_Rowland-200Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, walked on the wild side in Iraq, but now he lives in the shadows. After his evasive partner, Les, was shot in a random drive-by, Finn discovers cash is siphoned monthly. He fights to keep his investment company afloat. When the late partner’s girlfriend, Amy Kintyre, applies for his bookkeeping job, Finn suspects she knows about his company drain and hires her.

Amy needs a nine-to-five with free evenings and weekends to get her fashion design business back on track. She unearths Les’ s secret bank account and alerts Finn. Freezing of the money laundering account sets off havoc within an Irish gang. Amy witnesses a gang fight between a brutal ISIS fundraising organization and the Irish. Desperate to escape a stalker’s crosshairs, she seeks refuge with Finn. As danger heats up, sparks fly hotter.

Les is alive. After cheating the Irish mob, he became their target. Mistaken identity took the life of his disabled twin brother. Now Les makes another deal—trading Amy and stolen drugs for their forgiveness. Stakes are high as Finn tracks assassins across the San Bernardino Mountains. If he gets her back, can he trust her?

Excerpt
The front door opened. “Sorry, we’re closed.” Holding a broom, Burlie swept behind the bar.

Finn stepped closer. Drunken merrymakers, they were not. His heart hammered like it was stuck in overdrive.

“We offer protection.” Speaking with a Spanish accent, the shortest of the trio dressed like the others, donned the ISIS-style full face black mask.

“I have protection.” Burlie’s big mouth nailed his coffin.

A second thug grabbed the bartender’s hand and pulled out clippers. “You’ll change your mind, one finger at a time.”

“I just paid the Irish.” Panic burrowed into Burlie’s high-pitched cry. He thrashed his arms as he tried to pull his hand back.

“Us you pay”. His utterance with the object in the first position identified him as an Arab speaker. Light glinted off shiny metal. The thug pulled a combat knife, grabbed Burlie’s arms, spun him, put the blade to his neck. Finn dialed 911 and then shouted, “Finn Donahue here. Gang trouble. Burlie’s Jazz Club,” To grab their attention even more, he heaved in a breath and released a long whistle. His distraction worked.

Burlie broke from the hold, and Finn thanked God for the curious.

“Where are you?” Heavy boots pounded toward him.

Finn’s phone vibrated, but he killed the call and darted into the first door he saw, the one with the frosted pink window. He spotted Amy at the sink and pointed his index finger up.

He took off his coat and wrapped it around his fist. After rapping on the glass, he wound up and threw a hard punch through the window. Glass splintered as he connected with the thug’s nose. Prepared to jump aside, he opened the door.

Amy followed and jumped over the guy spread on the floor, holding a hand over his bleeding nose.

He struggled to stand. Finn patted him down, took his gun, and pointed it at him. After the guy stood, Finn walked him to a chair. “Don’t move.”

“I’ll phone the police.” A high-pitched squeal came from the back of her throat. “Never mind. Police are here.”

From the street, the blue light of a cop car radiated across the club’s interior like a strobe. Uniforms burst through the door.

The first officer made radio contact with homicide, and the second, much younger, rushed to the nearest thug and pulled out flex-cuffs.

“Stand over there, Amy.” Finn motioned toward a corner.

She rolled her eyes and dashed toward Burlie who wrestled with the Arab and tried to keep him from moving toward the young rookie. Amy pulled an item from her purse. A Swiss army knife? Out came a miniature cork screw.

The rookie cop turned the Arab around to be handcuffed and leaned him against a wall. The thug used the hard surface as leverage to throw himself against him.

Finn saw it coming. A switchblade.

 

Wordsmith– I also write books

Are you challenged with writing a back cover blurb for your book? After completing my second round of edits for Deadly Alliance, a romantic suspense contracted with Tirgearr Publishing,  I am re-writing my blurb. My headlines for my heroine and hero make a promise. What do they want?

“At a glance” paragraphs have the look of fast pace.  My voice emulates suspense and emotion. The snapshot of my story needs a powerful rhythm to convince readers to buy my book. Can you snap your fingers as your read it?  My focus is on what Deadly Alliance is about, not on what happens. It’s a love story with a background of ISIS domestic terrorism combined with regular gangs. I stir up human emotion and sizzle.  Will he get there in time to save her?

Will readers want to read the first section and then reach for their wallets?  Here is my blurb for Deadly Alliance:

AMY KINTYRE does whatever it takes to support others, including the caretaking of her comatose ex-boyfriend, Les.  After his death, she emerges with a dream to relaunch her sportswear design business. A bookkeeping position fits her need for a nine-to-five, and she seeks employment with Les’s rugged, opinionated former partner.

FIN DONAHUE is dying to know who steals money from his company.  The former army ranger rocketed to fame after a stint in Iraq, but now fights to stay afloat.  After the shooting of his shady partner, Les, cash is syphoned at a regular rate.   When Amy Kintyre applies for his job, Fin suspects she knows about the company drain and hires her.

Amy unearths Les’s secret bank account, used for Irish gang money laundering, and shares it with Fin.  After Amy witnesses a sword fight between a fundraising arm of ISIS and the Irish Waterfront Roaches, she plunges into their crosshairs. Fin offers refuge.  Sparks fly between them as danger escalates.

Les is alive.  Cheating the Irish Roaches drove them to shoot him, but mistaken identity allows him to wheel and deal with domestic terrorists.  Backed into a corner, he must trade Amy for their forgiveness.  Stakes are high.  Will he get there in time?

AmyKintyreFinDonahue

Lake ArrowheadISIS photo