Genre: Romantic Suspense
Date of Publication: October 28, 2014
Number of pages: 384
Christmas, Tennessee, is a town where no one locks their doors and the worst crime is a stolen bicycle. Until the night blood is found... but there's no body.
Police Chief Tucker Ambrose hopes it's just a prank, but his years as a cop in Chicago tell him different. Then a body is discovered in the middle of the woods, staged with a bible, a crucifix, and a rosary... and Tucker knows something dark and sinister has arrived in his town.
Miranda Harley knows exactly what's going on. In fact, she's been tracking this serial killer, hoping to gather enough evidence to convict him. Trouble is, no one will believe her, not even the sexy police chief whose heated gazes promise nights of sin. But when Miranda falls into the crosshairs of a psychopath, Tucker must put aside his doubts and race to stop the killer from striking again.
Miranda swallowed, all the warmth he’d given her before now chilled solid again. “Ch—chief?”
He stared at the phone as he pushed buttons. “Yeah. Small police department, but it’s mine.”
“I thought you were in realty.”
She struggled to wrap her brain around this new development. She didn’t like police. At all. Her Superman had just turned into Lex Luther.
“When I bought the property, it came with the cottages. Might as well earn some extra on the side, right? Excuse me, I have to make this call. You know your way to the place?”
She nodded, unable to say more.
He lifted the phone to his ear. “It’s Tuck. What’s the emergency?”
Miranda toyed with her cobbler, trying to give him as much privacy as the booth allowed. Maybe she should try one more time to find an empty room somewhere else.
She sighed. She’d already done that search weeks ago before settling on the cottage. She’d have to sleep in her car or in another nearby town. If she hadn’t just filled out the agreement, either option would be more pleasant, but she had no choice. She couldn’t afford to lose that down payment.
She was stuck with the badge as her landlord.
“Send Andy... “ he was saying. “How long ago? I’m on my way. No need. I remember where it is.” He disconnected. “Peggy Jo, can I get a to-go box for my cobbler? Duty calls.” “Sure thing, Chief.”
“Is everything all right?” Miranda asked.
“Yeah it’s probably nothing, but I still need to check it out.” He pulled a card from his pocket and jotted a number on the back. “That’s my cell number. You can catch me at my office most days. If you need anything... like company for another meal, give me a call. I don’t usually have to eat and run like this.”
“It’s fine.” She took the card and slipped it into her purse. No way in hell was she calling that number unless her plumbing became an issue.
The cottage’s plumbing. Not hers.
Peggy Jo appeared with Tucker’s to-go box and two checks. Before she could protest, he paid both bills and rushed into the snow flurries outside.
Both women turned to watch Tucker disappear inside a large white truck. “You’re one lucky lady.” Miranda shifted her gaze to Peggy Jo. “What makes you say that?”
“The chief doesn’t smile like that at all the pretty tourists. Or buy them dinner. And he never shares his cornbread. Must mean he likes you.”
When she was alone again, Miranda pulled Tucker’s card from her purse. She couldn’t afford to let anything get in the way of why she was here. Not even two extremely charming dimples.
With a sigh, she left the card on the table and slid out of the booth, slipping her duffle bag over her shoulder as she went. She unlocked the Rover’s driver door and was about to climb inside. Glancing over her shoulder, the table she’d shared with Tucker was in clear view.
“You are a damned fool,” she cursed herself rushing back inside to snatch the card off the table before the busboy could toss it in the trash.
A damned fool indeed.
Today, we welcome CJ Kyle to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give a big Geeky welcome!
I love nothing more than a Geeky welcome, so thank you!
Let's start with some writer specific questions before moving into the fun stuff. That way everyone can really get to know the person behind the writer. We will finish things off with a round of Think Fast. Ready for the interrogation to begin?
My palms are sweaty in anticipation. Fire away!
1. Is your writing style more plotter or pantser?
I always start off with the best of intentions to plot. Some general idea of the main thought that inspired the story, ready to put it in strict outline form… and then, it all goes out the window and I just type.
My brain goes from looking like this:
(neither of those are my actual office. I’m too embarrassed to post those!)
Occasionally, I’ll leave notes for what needs to happen next or what needs to be added in previous pages to make what I’m writing make sense. I recommend this method for no one. It means hundreds of pages deleted at the end, nonsense that doesn’t belong anymore. Lots of wasted time. But it’s the only way I know.
2. When is your favorite time/place to write? Do you write structured or patchworked?
Definitely structured. I love the idea of writing the scene that most thrills me when it comes, but I never end up pasting it in and end up rewriting it anyway so now I just leave notes for myself. As for the time of day, I used to be a night owl. I’d write till my kids woke up to go to school in the morning, then crawl into bed with a writing hangover. But these days, I get more done before 2:00 while the house is silent and the kids are at work or school.
3. How do you deal with Writer's Block?
Writer’s block, for me, is just a twitch in the brain telling me I’m stagnating on the story. Losing interest. I welcome it (and hate it) because I know if I’m growing bored writing, the reader will be just as bored reading. So it’s the kick in the pants I need to make things interesting again. A new character. A new twist. I tend to just type until something strikes me (in a separate file so the muck doesn’t go into the manuscript) or meditate on it before bed. Surprisingly, 90% of the time, the fix is in my head when I wake up in the morning. When it’s not, I just rinse and repeat the process.
4. How involved are you with Social Media and self-promotion?
Sadly, I’m not huge on social media. I enjoy Facebook, but Twitter confuses me.
I just can’t ever think of anything worth saying! People are so clever with their 140 characters and all I can come up with was the loathed “eating beans for lunch” quip that everyone hates. I do have a twitter account, but I’m more of a quiet observer unless someone tweets me directly. I do love that! Or sends a note on Facebook. In those cases, I’m definitely active in responding to readers. I’ve only written three fan letters to authors who moved me. The only one who answered back was Julie Garwood. The other two never even acknowledged my oohs and ahhs. I don’t want to be like that. I’d rather be like Garwood. I know what it can mean to hear back, even a simple thank you. Oh, and I am active on Pinterest and Instagram! Those are just plain fun. (www.pinterest.com/hdw1977 is where I play the most often, but of course, I have one here also http://www.pinterest.com/cjkylebooks/ . That one just isn’t as active yet.) I see you didn't share your Instagram link. Challenge accepted. :)
5. What one thing do you wish someone had told you before you started writing?
Oh! Love this question because I have an answer ready! I wish so much that someone had warned me that, just because I have a file of 100 ideas, doesn’t guarantee the passion for writing remains constant. I’ve been at this for years, and I keep waiting for the passion I felt writing the first book to come back. It hasn’t. Instead, it’s a different sort of love for the craft that I have now. It’s not full of fervor and it’s not for the faint hearted. It’s for the person who has to write to sleep well at night, because doing anything else just doesn’t make sense. That’s how it is for me. Nora Roberts once said, “I hate writing, but I love having written.” That’s probably a paraphrase, but it’s truth! I force myself to sit and write, but am always so glad that I did. That first passion is like a first date with a guy you like. It’s hot and eager and exciting. Writing now is more like my 20-year marriage. It’s full of ups and downs, fights with my own brain and the make up sex is great.
6.Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
I have 20 lbs that I haven’t been able to make budge no matter how well I eat. That’s another thing I wish someone had told me. All the time spent sitting at the computer writing means a spreading booty and widening hips.
7. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love animals. Sitting with one of my six pets or volunteering at farm sanctuaries. I also love to read about nutrition, take Jeep rides with my husband, and walk. I could walk 10 miles a day if I had time and Florida’s weather wasn’t so unpredictable. It's always nice to meet a fellow Floridian. I feel ya about the weather changes!
8. How did you choose the genres you write in?
I don’t. Honestly, the story is what it is. I have ideas for suspense, paranormal, historical, women’s fiction, fantasy, yada yada. I write as they come to me and know the struggle that will come with not settling into one place on the bookshelf. But trying to twist an idea to make it fit into a genre that sells or that I’m currently published in feels false to me. So I just let them be what the are.
9. Is there any particular author or book that has influenced you or your writing?
In this genre, not really. In general, absolutely. But the list is lengthy. Every single woman or man I’ve met at RWA conferences, published or unpublished, inspire me. They either remind me of why I do this, or of what I need to do better. Or, in a couple of cases, they remind me of what not to do, how not to treat your readers. Influence can be negative and positive. I’ve had my share of both. That said, no one has ever gotten me more excited about writing than J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and Julie Garwood have. When I need a boost of inspiration, those are the three I usually go back to.
10.What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The best compliment is easy. In a book I’ve never published… the first book I ever completed, in fact, I submitted a scene to my critique group at the time and one of them told me that Julie Garwood couldn’t have written a better sex scene. That rocked my world. As for criticism… Reviews don’t phase me one way or another, usually. But I did read one for my first published book that was highly negative. That was okay. To each their own. But what had really hurt was that it had come from another author. I don’t believe in that. I know the blood, sweat and tears that go into writing a book, and the triumph that comes with selling it and getting it published. Regardless of my thoughts on a particular book, I really try not to say anything negative about another writer’s book. I’ve broken that rule once or twice, I admit, but I really do try not to do it as a rule.
1. What was the last movie/concert/show that you saw?
My aunt bought me tickets to take my daughter and her friend to see Gavin Degraw, who I am utterly obsessed with, at Universal Studios this year. I was on the verge of tears the entire time, and really tried not to be jealous when my daughter and her friend actually got to meet him an hour before the concert in a freak run in at the park while I was holding our seats by the stage! Tell me she got you an autograph at least?
2. What was the name of the last book you read?
I just finished listening to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and loved it!
3. Tell us 2 positive and 2 negative character traits you possess.
Positive: I’m very creative and very determined.
Negative: I’m anal and obsessive, and really, really stubborn.
4. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, fictional or real, who would it be and why?
See picture>>>> Gavin Degraw. I know, I should say a president or some saint, but I’m superficial. What can I say? On a more serious note, J.K. Rowling. I’d just sit in silence and let her talk all night and fill my brain with her brilliance. Oh, and the backstories and deleted scenes and future stories. Oh, just imagine!
5. What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Almond milk, spinach, Louisiana hot sauce, beans, Veganaise, and some Cabernet Sauvignon. Boring, but there it is.
1. Elvis or Sinatra? Sinatra
2. Meat or Veggies? Veggies!
3. Italian or Chinese? Chinese
4. Summer or Winter? Winter
5. Coffee or Tea? Tea
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
This was so much fun! Sweaty palms and all. All I can say to readers is, if you pick up Silent Night, please drop me a note to let me know what you think, good or bad, and I will respond (firstname.lastname@example.org)! Also, please leave reviews. Not just for Silent Night but for all books you read. Good or bad, they help the author (though good is always appreciated).
To writers, I just say this: Keep at it. If you want to sell more than you want to watch the latest episode of FILL IN YOUR FAVORITE TV SHOW HERE, you will. People who sell books are people who never quit trying to, and sadly the world is filled with writers who quit trying. It only takes one yes, no matter how many no’s are thrown at you.
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