Guest Author: Vicki Batman




Welcome Vicki Batman!

 
 

Present Time... *shaking* package

Has your special someone ever given you the best gift ever? Mine has. A couple of times. For one Christmas, he gave me a Valentine’s trip to Paris and a Walther. For a big anniversary, he gave me diamond earrings, a gold and diamond bangle bracelet, and a Mediterranean cruise. Sometimes, he picks up my favorite chocolate or a little thing that caught his eye when traveling.


Other gifts are important to me, too. I still have the crayon-decorated mugs my boys gave me for Mother’s Day. Lovely handbags from friends. At age two, my youngest gave me a dandelion because he thought it pretty.

In my romantic comedy mystery, Temporarily Employed, my hero, Detective Allan Charles Wellborn, knows heroine, Hattie Cooks very well; so well he knows how much she loves chocolate, especially large bags of peanut M&Ms. Here’s what he does:

I picked up the sack and untied the balloon which she took from me. Then, very cautiously, I opened the bag and took a peek. Thank God, no bombs. Crammed inside was a one-pounder package of peanut M&Ms, my favorite chocolate. Buried underneath, I found a white note card, decorated with a festive, pink heart. I extracted the card and unfolded it with care.

“Hurry up!” she said. “Who’s it from?”
“Hold your horses. I don’t want any more surprises.”
The card read:
Hattie, I’m sorry things were difficult for
you yesterday. I would like to try pizza again.
Call me. I hope the chocolate’s “restorative
and curative powers” will help me.
—Allan

Jenny took the note card and scanned it. “Thoughtful.”
“Yep.”
“Nice.”
“That’s what everyone says.”
“Goin’ to call?”
I grinned. Chocolate and a dinner invite were the ultimate combination. I’d come to the conclusion A. Wellborn was a pretty decent guy and found I’d suffered no serious—only dramatic—side effects from being with him.

What is your most favorite gift ever?



Temporarily Employed, romantic comedy cozy mystery
Release Date: October 17, 2014
Author: Vicki Batman
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Word Count: 75,000 words


New Job. New Love. And Murder
Hattie Cook's dream job is down the toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job at Buy Rite Insurance Company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced. The last thing she wants is to clash with By-the-Book Detective Wellborn, no matter how much he makes her heart pound.

Detective Allan Charles Wellborn has secretly adored Hattie all his life. When the police determine there's more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, he steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves.

Can the killer be found before Hattie's time is up?
Short Blurb: New job. New love. And murder. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities, Hattie Cooks takes a temporary job at Buy Rite insurance company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced.

Excerpt:
“Yuck.”
Pretty much covered the whole freakin’ day. 
A blinding red-white, red-white strobe, reflected in my brand new Wrangler’s rearview mirror, seized my attention. The police. I tossed my hands skyward, ready to surrender. I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Like I'd commented this a.m. to my roommate, Jenny, “Today, anything’s possible.”
My Bad Day checklist included:
- Crappy job interview, one which might have provided desperately needed         income.
- Wore gut-busting panty hose on a hot day which had now worked past my         waist         and strangled my diaphragm.
- A barely blowing air conditioner indicated something had malfunctioned in         my new, fun car.
I stole another glance in the mirror, and with great reluctance, flipped the right turn indicator. My vehicle coasted to a stop on the shoulder of Boston Avenue in my hometown of Sommerville, a nice suburb located between two large cities. Four lanes of cars and trucks zipped by as I sat there where every single one of my family, friends, friends’ friends, and their friends—including Rat Fink Suzanne—would see a police vehicle positioned right behind mine. Gleefully, drivers would chant the “Ha-ha, got you, not me” ditty.
How embarrassing.
After killing the engine, I flopped back in the seat. Shooting the morons the finger was an idea. Nah. I'm too exhausted to care.
A litany of:  "No, not hiring." "Just filled the position." "You're over qualified." "You're under qualified…" tornadoed through my head. Coupled with the intense job search through various outlets like the internet and completing numerous online employment applications, no wonder my body had been depleted of all life force.
Not even a breeze blew to take the edge off the unbearable summertime heat. Tangled wild trees and dry scrubby bushes banked the roadside. The grass had taken on a scorched look. Rolling down the driver’s window, I surveyed my surroundings. Nothing great. Nothing new. 
I stole a glance in the side mirror at the policeman who strode purposefully along the shoulder. The gravel crunched under his boots. He looked huge, probably because his uniform, which appeared to be bulked with a bullet-proof vest, made him resemble a buffed-up superhero in size. Exceedingly intimidating.
Sigh. When things went wrong, they were really wrong.


Author bio:
Like some of her characters, award-winning author, Vicki Batman has worked a wide variety of jobs including lifeguard, ride attendant at an amusement park; a hardware store, department store, book store, antique store clerk; administrative assistant in an international real estate firm; and a general “do anything gal” at a financial services firm--the list is endless.

Writing for several years, she has completed three manuscripts, written essays, and sold many short stories to TRUE LOVE, TRUE ROMANCE, TRUE CONFESSIONS, NOBLE ROMANCE PUBLISHING, LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS, MUSEITUP PUBLISHING, and THE WILD ROSE PRESS. She is a member of RWA and several writing groups and chapters. In 2004, she joined DARA and has served in many capacities, including 2009 President. DARA awarded her the Robin Teer Memorial Service Award in 2010.
Most days begin with her hands set to the keyboard and thinking "What if??"


Links for Vicki Batman
Find Vicki at:


Buy links for Temporarily Employed






Guest Author - Natalie Wright - EMILY'S HOUSE


I'm excited to welcome Natalie Wright back to my cyber-home today! Natalie and I have cross-promoted for each other several times, and it's always so rewarding to work with a fellow author!

Natalie's here to talk about her book EMILY'S HEART, book 3 in her Akasha Chronicles series. This series of books is set in a dangerous and frightening Apocalyptic America, and yet... there is love even in the middle of the apocalypse!

Here's what Natalie has to say about EMILY'S HEART:

“Amidst chaos and ruin, can love blossom in Emily's Heart?" 

That was the story question I had as I began writing Emily's Heart. What a challenge! On the one hand, I had to create a believable Apocalyptic world in contemporary America. On the other hand, I had to write a love story. It's hard for a character to feel romantic when a simple trip to the grocery store can result in death! 

When developing my Apocalyptic World, sadly the real-world daily news provided plenty of inspiration. Some of my “Apocalyptic World” chapters are pulled from bits and pieces of news stories I had read. My goal was to create a world that felt so real to readers that they'd put the book down, go outside and worry that they were going to be taken by the “Dark Mob.” Good people gone bad and bad people gone worse. 

Yet amidst all of the muggings, robberies, kidnapping and killings, I had to find a way for Emily's love story to emerge. Sometimes hard times can bring people closer.

Check out the trailer for EMILY'S HEART:




Take a look at TWO amazing excerpts... and check back TOMORROW for a third excerpt!


Excerpt 1: This excerpt is the introduction to the book and is my first published original poem J I think it sets the stage for how things are looking in the first part of the book.

Welcome to the Apocalypse

You shut the door
and dare not look.
You hide from the shadow
that lurks there.

Galloping wildly
in the crevasses of your mind,
it takes up residence
in your grey matter,
content to live
amongst your fears.

Did you see it there,
skulking behind the door?
Did you feel it stalk as
you step into the obsidian night?

Try as you might
to resist its call,
it pulls at you,
both night and day,
like the tide
eating the shore.

Your hope,
like grains of sand.
Pulled inexorably
into the dark sea.

Excerpt 2:

We had a few minutes until class – or longer if our prof never showed up. We were shootin’ the shit about sports when I felt my phone, tucked inside my bag, wedged between the pages of my notebook, vibrate.
I dug the phone out and checked the caller ID. ‘Gabriella Hoffman.’ I didn’t know any Gabriella. But Hoffman. Could it be?
“You going to answer that?” Tristan asked.
“I’m not sure who it is.”
“They can’t beat you up over the phone, man. Answer it.”
I hesitated another second, but when it rang again, I hit the answer button.
“Hello?”
“Jake?”
“Yeah. Who’s this?”
“It’s Greta.”
Silence.
“Greta Hoffman.”
Hearing that name was like a punch in my gut. I was suddenly clammy, and my stomach seized into a knot.
“Jake, are you there?”
I tried to respond, to tell her ‘yeah, I’m here’, but my mouth was full of cotton. I hadn’t seen Greta for almost a year. The last time I saw her, she was walking down that hill in the cemetery, going her way, and I went mine. None of what happened was Greta’s fault, but she’d been there. She was a part of the nightmare I’d tried so hard to forget. When I heard her voice, it was like a rush of horrific images flooded my mind. It made me want to puke out my French toast.
“Jake?”
I finally managed to squeak out, “I’m here.”
“Phew, I thought you’d fainted or something for a minute there. I’m glad you picked up. I need to talk to you.”
“Why? You haven’t ever needed to talk to me, Greta. Not BA, and not for the past year.”
“I think it’s pretty obvious why.”
“No. No, it’s not obvious.”
“Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there’s a friggin’ Apocalypse going on out there. That’s why.”
“Yeah, I noticed.” I touched my still-sore ribs, all the reminder I needed. I doubted perfect, pretty, rich and mighty Greta Hoffman had a set of broken bones or bruises to match mine.
“Well? Don’t you want to do something about it?”
“I’m pretty busy trying to stay alive. Besides, why are you calling me? I’d suggest you contact the redhead with the magic arm bracelet.”
“I have talked to her.”
She had talked to Emily? Greta Hoffman had voluntarily talked to Emily Adams? That was even more improbable than the God of Dark Energy taking over our planet. It made me instantly nervous.
“And?”
“And she has agreed to join with me to recruit people to fight the Dark Energy followers.”
Silence.
“Jake? You still there?”
“Yup. Let me get this straight. You and the witch want to create some little band of light knights or something?”
“Ooh, I like that. Light Knights! Or maybe Lucent Knights. What do you think?”
“I think you’re nuts.”
I looked over at Tristan and mimed a ‘she’s crazy’ motion with my hand around my head. He smiled at me and went back to whatever it was he was doing with his phone.
“Why am I nuts for wanting to fight back?”
“Haven’t you noticed that you can’t fight against this darkness? Oh, you probably haven’t noticed anything. Your daddy probably has a driver take you to school and pick you up and shelter you from all the shit going down.”
“How dare you! You don’t know anything about what I’ve gone through. I was there, or have you forgotten that?”
“I’ve tried to forget it all, but so far haven’t been able to expunge you and her and the whole damned circus from my mind. Well, Miss Hoffman, because you were there, you’ll remember that Ciardha single-handedly took down a Goddess with nearly infinite power. So I’m thinking you, me and the redheaded witch don’t stand much of a chance.”
“So you’ve given up? I always thought you were a nerd, but I never thought you were a loser.”
“Loser. That the best you can come up with?”
That one did sort of sting, though. Was Greta right? Had I become a loser?
“Childish.”
“Whatever. Look, class is getting ready to start, so I’ve gotta go. So fabulous catching up with you Miss Hoffman. Take care of yourself.”
“Jake – wait! Don’t hang up yet.”
Desperation in her voice. Interesting.
“What, Greta?”
“Before you say no, just come meet with me. One time. Meet with me and hear me out, then you can say no and good-bye and never have to see me or talk to me again. I swear if you meet with me one time and say no, I’ll never hound you again.”
“And if I don’t meet with you?”
“I’ll be like wet toilet paper stuck to your shoe.”
Lovely thought. I knew Greta. She was totally capable of being wet toilet paper stuck to my shoe.
“Okay, fine. I’ll see you. Once.”
“Great. You name the time and place.”
“My last class is over at 3:00, and I have to be at work by six. So meet me here, Wheaton Community College, room 21-A at 3:15. I don’t have much time, so don’t be late.”
“I’ll be there.”
I pushed the red ‘End Call’ button with relief that it was over. For now.
“What was that all about?” Tristan asked.
“Old business.”
He raised his eyebrows at me. “You need my help?”
“Nah, not yet anyway.”
“You need me, holler.”
“Thanks, man,” I said. He put his hand out, and we fist bumped.
It was just a meeting with Greta. I was pretty sure I could handle that. I’d meet with her, tell her to hit the pavement, then get back to my routine of avoiding human contact like it was the plague, ’cause it pretty much was.




Author Bio:

Natalie is the author of The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult paranormal fantasy trilogy. When not writing, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Wattpadding or eating chocolate, Natalie nurtures her young daughter, plays with her two young cats, and feeds her dog too many treats.

Natalie enjoys walking in the high desert, snorkeling in warm waters, travel, and excellent food shared with family and friends. She was raised an Ohio farm girl, now lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams of living in a big city high rise.

Natalie enjoys chatting with readers, so stop by and say hi:




#NewRelease ASHER'S MARK #NewAdult #Romance



RELEASE DAY!


I’m so excited to announce to the world that ASHER’S MARK is now available for immediate download at all major online retailers… Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, & Smashwords! You can also order the print version from either Amazon or B&N.

ASHER’S MARK, a New Adult Contemporary Romance, is the story of Asher & Grace, who fell in love in high school, but were separated by circumstances and differeing life paths. Two years later, a family tragedy brings them back together, and they find that their love is as strong as ever. But a lot happened in the two years they were apart, and crossing that divide won’t be easy.

I LOVE these characters. They are so close to my heart. I hope you’ll take a chance on Asher Howell and Grace Ballard, and find out for yourself that love that begins young can indeed be true and lasting!

Happy reading & writing!