Are You a Gambler? #Inspiration #amwriting #mgtab

Once a Gambler…

I have a confession to make- I love gambling on the horse races. I blame it on my grandma’s cousins, Betty and Mike. They introduced me to the thrill of racing as a young girl and I’ve been hooked ever since!

There’s just something about those beautiful, high-spirited animals prancing onto the track and lining up at the gate that makes my heart go pitty-pat 🙂

Nowadays, I get my enjoyment from watching the races on TV- with the Triple Crown as the best.

From Wikipedia

In the United States, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a title awarded to a three-year-old Thoroughbred horse who wins the Kentucky DerbyPreakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The three races were inaugurated in different years, the last being the Kentucky Derby in 1875. These races are now run annually in May and early June of each year. The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950 but awarded to all previous winners as well as those after 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_Crown_of_Thoroughbred_Racing_(United_States)

Last year, in 2018, I was lucky enough to watch Justify take the crown!

Justify is only the second horse to win the American Triple Crown with an undefeated record, following Seattle Slew. Justify is descended from Seattle SlewSecretariatCount FleetWar AdmiralOmaha, and Gallant Fox, all of whom also won the American Triple Crown. He is also a descendant of English Triple Crown winner Nijinsky. Of the 13 American Triple Crown winners, Justify is the first who did not race as a two-year-old.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justify_(horse)

Is it any wonder I love the sport?

I decided to write a mystery set around the Kentucky Derby and added a twist by setting it in the 50’s.

Here’s a short excerpt from The Lady Said No

Gus followed the stiff-necked manservant to the door of the den, though his emotions were tugging him back to Rebecca like a starved man to a banquet.

He couldn’t believe how beautiful she’d become. She’d always been pretty, but now there was an added maturity to her features that suited her face. The tomboy figure he fondly remembered had become hills and valleys he ached to explore. They’d been best friends, then lovers, then enemies. It’d been his fault, that was the worst of it. He’d let his drive for a career ruin the only good thing in his life. He could tell himself he’d done his part. After getting his degree and returning to Bourbonville he had tried to find her. But she was right, he hadn’t tried hard enough.

Their relationship had already been floundering; it had seemed easier to let it die a natural death. He regretted that now. One glimpse of her had brought back all the old feelings. Memories of happier times.

Ernest reached for the door knob and was stopped by the officer on guard.

“Sorry, only trained personnel are allowed.”

Ernest glared at him. “I’ve worked in this household for years; I believe I am trained.”

The sergeant exchanged a helpless glance with Gus. “I’m sorry, sir. Those are the rules.”

Gus stepped between the two men before a full-scale war broke out. “It’s okay, sergeant.” He flipped open his badge. “I’m Detective Grant. The…” He waved a hand toward the butler.

Ernest lowered his brows. “Manservant.”

Gus nodded. “Manservant, was just showing me the way to the crime scene.”

The officer checked his badge, then reached back to open the door. The stench of death was immediate, a toxic mix of human waste impossible to forget. Gus turned his head to draw one last clean breath and met Rebecca’s anxious gaze.

That look gave him pause.

Why was she worried? Just how well did Rebecca know the owner of Balmoral?

“Coming, Detective?” The sergeant’s voice interrupted his musings. Gus shrugged off his misgivings and followed the man into the room, sliding past the grim-faced Ernest.

Nancy knelt by the victim, her hands covered with white gloves and booties on her feet. She glanced up when he walked in and pointed at his shoes. Gus dug through his coat pockets until he found his booties, put them on, nodded to the sergeant, and made his way over to her side.

“It’s a bad one,” she said, turning attention to her preliminary findings. “Single shot to the temple, through and through. Near as I can tell, time of death was sometime between midnight and three a.m., no sign of defensive wounds.” She stopped and gazed at him with world-weary eyes. “Who would do this, Augustus?”

Gus observed the brain matter splattered on the leather tufted chair and rich, red Aubusson carpet and his stomach churned. His first thought was crime of passion. There had been some effort made to set the scene up as a suicide. The gun rested in the victim’s open hand, finger wrapped around the trigger. A cut crystal tumbler lay on its side nearby, a stain wetting the carpet. Gus touched the wet spot and sniffed, rubbing the tips of his fingers—bourbon. The good kind. Not something a man bent on ending his own life would let go to waste.

“I’m not sure, Nancy, but I do know the brass will be all over this one, so take your time, okay? We don’t want to miss anything.”

She huffed out an indignant breath. “You telling me how to do my job, now?”

He held up a hand to halt her blistering tongue. “The Jorgensons are big news, that’s all I’m saying. Don’t they have a horse in the Derby this year?”

The sergeant, who had remained by the door, and watched their exchange with interest, piped up. “Forever Humble. Lots of money riding on that colt.” His face became animated. “You ever see him race, Detective? He’s some kind of fast. Likes to run the outside track. Gives me a heart attack every time.”

Gus smiled. “You a betting man…?”

“Fish, sir. Everyone calls me Fish.”

Nancy chuckled and the young man’s neck turned brick red.

“I’m not a gambler, no sir, but I admit I like to spend a Saturday now and then down at the track. It’s some exciting. You ever been, Mr. Grant?”

Gus shook his head. “No, can’t say as I have. Not that fond of horses, though I guess that’s the wrong thing to say in this house.” He admired the landscape watercolor on the wall, rolling hills with a herd of wild horses barreling straight at him, eyes crazy and manes flying as though they were about to burst the confines of paint and canvas.

“Augustus, there’s something you need to see.” Nancy’s voice was muffled as she stretched, shapely butt in the air, to reach something under the leather chair. She grunted and tugged until a bronze sculpture came into view. When she stood it on the carpet, he saw it was about twelve inches in height, a warrior on a horse, raised arm carrying a spear.

“There’s blood and hair fragments,” she said, turning it carefully to inspect the evidence. “I can’t be sure until I get it to the lab, but this looks like a match to our vic.”

Well, that explained why there were no defensive wounds. The poor sop probably didn’t know what hit him. Gus looked around until he found the suspiciously empty spot on the desk. He gave a wide berth to the corpse, conscious of Nancy’s critical gaze. The desk was one of those massive claw-foot affairs, mahogany maybe, rich and elegant instead of simply functional. He pulled a linen handkerchief out of his pocket and checked the drawers. An assortment of papers greeted him, some on household expenses, most on Jorgenson’s passion—thoroughbreds. Nothing that looked like a cause for murder.

Gus was about to replace the documents when a slip of yellowed paper lodged in the back of the drawer caught his eye. He reached in, using the hankie, and retrieved the handwritten note.

Do what I told you to do, or the truth will destroy you

The threat inherent on the scrap of paper chilled his blood. There was trouble brewing in the Jorgenson household, and Gus was afraid Rebecca was somehow involved.

This story is part of the upcoming boxset, Unforgettable Power- Love and Intrigue, releasing May 5th!

Seven suspenseful page-turners will captivate you with breathtaking stories and intriguing characters you’ll find positively unputdownable! If you enjoy heart-stopping, engaging novels, then you must read UNFORGETTABLE POWER – Love and Intrigue.

Pre-order your copy today!

https://amzn.to/2UJtMy4

International- http://books2read.com/UnforgettablePower

Recommend on Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/unforgettable-power-love-and-intrigue-by-mimi-barbour-and-jacquie-biggar

If you haven’t already, be sure to enter our monthly giveaway. We’re giving away gift cards and books!


Suffering From Infobesity? by @JoanReeves #mgtab

Infobesity is a word created by James Morris of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science.

Even though it’s a “made up” word, infobesity, the tendency to keep reading, visiting social media, and scanning the internet for more, more, and more information is a very real thing.

Infobesity is caused by FOMO, the Fear Of Missing OUT.

Life Informs Writing

I guess I’m talking about this today because I’ve been mostly away since the beginning of March. Currently, I’m using a hot spot created by my cell phone to write this post. I have one eye on the data meter to make sure I don’t go over my allotted gigabytes and the other eye on the laptop monitor screen.

I’ve been suffering from FOMO for almost 3 weeks. Yikes. It really is a real thing!

If you’re drowning in digital data? Scared by social media? Finding internet life a big time suck, and suffering from FOMO, just know you’re not alone.

Many internet users are overwhelmed by the never-ending flood of information—especially if you find yourself spending a lot of time on social media.

Multitasking online—swiftly going back and forth from one task to another and another—can cause a serious drop in your productivity. That’s called information fatigue syndrome. I definitely feel that sometimes.

What To Do

If you’re scared you’ll miss out on something essential to your life, you probably need to take command of the situation before it takes command of you.

1. Change to focusing on one thing at a time, rather than trying to multitask. You’ll accomplish more, and what you do will probably be correct than error-ridden.

2. Decide what’s important and refuse to look at information that doesn’t help you move forward with your goals.

3. Follow only those people and websites that support your goals, and make that your policy about subscribing to newsletters, blogs, etc.

4. If you need to do something important—like write a book or a job proposal—silence your cell phone alerts and notifications and do the same with any alerts and notifications on your computer.

5. Overcome the idea that you have to be wired in 24/7. Give your brain a break and disconnect every evening and on weekends. At least pick one day to be offline.

6. Read something that will sweep you away and relax you. Reading lowers blood pressure and is good for the brain in many ways.

Why not try one of my books or one of the many Authors Billboard collections? You can find my books at my Amazon Author Page. You can find the Author Billboard box sets on the main page.

One last thing, and it’s so important.

Please be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.

March is going to offer another Rafflecopter, so don’t miss out!

Post Script from Joan

Embrace your life and everyone in it. Never take the ones you love for granted.

 

Sign up for Joan’s Newsletter and be the first to know about New Books and Giveaways.

Visit Joan Online: Amazon Author Page | BookBub Author Page | Facebook Fan Page | Twitter | YouTube | Joan’s Website

The #Blogging World is Alive and Well @jacqbiggar #Reading

Blogging is alive and well.

I’m surprised by how many writers feel they’re wasting time by building connections within the writing community. Where do they think book reviewers hang out?

As a reader, I’ve found many fantastic new reads thanks to the reviews I’ve read on blogging sites.

As an author, I follow blogs like Writers in the Storm and Story Empire to learn my craft. I’ve also learned the blogging community is open and friendly- always happy to welcome newcomers into their midst.

It’s a good way to build SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website, too! By commenting on other blogs, you’ll soon find your own stats will grow, along with your connections, so… win-win 🙂

A good way to do this is to make use of the WordPress Reader- you can find this on the top left of your website.

You can choose the posts you follow or do a search for those you’re interested in. I even follow the local news stations from there!

 

 

One of the best benefits to blogging are the friends you can make from all over the world. I’ve met people from South Africa, Sicily, England, France, the U.S and Canada. And the amazing thing is- we all love books!

One such friend recently read my new release, Skating on Thin Ice, and posted an amazing review. Here it is- in part from Staci Troilo’s awesome blog:

When a romantic suspense (one of my favorite genres) set in the hockey world (one of my favorite past times) was released by one of my favorite authors (Jacquie Biggar), I had to bump it in the queue. And like Letang’s slapshot through a goalie’s five-hole, I blazed through it. Here are my thoughts:


★★★★★ She Shoots and Scores!

Jacquie Biggar has done it again. I have yet another new book boyfriend—Mac Wanowski, captain of the Victoria WarHawks hockey team.

Mac is the perfect guy—a body that won’t quit, a quick wit to match, intelligent, chivalrous, and just damaged enough to tug your heartstrings without wanting to bash him over the head for his stupidity. (Well, not too often, anyway.)

Sam is his perfect match—strong, smart, quick-tempered, sassy, big-hearted. And she has a past with true heartache and a present with secrets that make her just a little mysterious.

If they gave a Stanley Cup to authors, Biggar would deserve one for this story.

⛸🏒⛸

Blurb:

Sam Walters has made a deal with the devil.

In order to win a much-needed contract as physical therapist to one of the NHL’s leading hockey teams, Sam must delay the recovery of their sniper, Mac Wanowski. The trouble is, the more she gets to know the taciturn hockey player, the more she aches to help him.

Mac ‘The Hammer’ Wanowski chased the Stanley Cup dream for too many years. Last time he was close it had cost him his wife. As injuries continue to plague the team, Mac works to catch a killer and keep the woman he’s come to love from the hands of a madman.

Hockey can be a dangerous sport, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.

Amazon Purchase Link

⛸🏒⛸

As you can see, the blogging community is a valuable resource. One you, as a writer, cannot afford to ignore!

 

You can also read Skating on Thin Ice in an upcoming anthology published by authors from The Authors’ Billboard- A Night She’ll Remember

Available March 31st!

Lives change as passions flare when nine USA Today Bestselling Authors share tales of intrigue, hints of suspense and new romance guaranteed to keep you reading.

Second chances, broken engagements, accidents, misled information and opposites attract are just some of what you’ll find within the passion-filled pages of A Night She’ll Remember.

 

Be sure to check out our Authors’ Billboard Monthly Contests for free ebooks, gift cards, and paperbacks.

What kind of Trouble can Trouble solve?

Today is the book birthday for my very first Cozy Mystery: Trouble’s Wedding CaperI’m so excited to share with everyone this romantic mystery with a local Sheriff, Ethan, and a Treasure Hunter by the name Annabel who with the help of a great cat detective, solve the biggest bridal caper to hit Jupiter, Florida!

I started off writing a combination of Romantic Suspense and Contemporary romance. I later branded out into Paranormal and Fantasy romance. But it’s always been heavy on the romance, so when Laura Benedict introduced to me Carolyn Haines who invited me into the wonderful world of Trouble and Cozies, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

The first challenge I had was writing in a cat point-of-view, and not just any cat! I had to make sure how I wrote Trouble was in line with how every other author in the series wrote the black cat with mad detective skills who thinks he’s British. I thought it would be my hardest challenge.

What I think when it comes to writing is often not true. LOL Trouble came easier to me than I thought it, but writing in first person, that was very difficult. I have trouble with tenses to begin with, so writing in first person present tense and then shifting back to third person past tense made me nuts. It made my editor even nuttier! However, we muddled through that pretty well.

Suspense and mystery are very different beasts. When I write romantic suspense, I focus more on the romance than the suspense. The romance is driving the story. In a Cozy, I had to focus on the mystery, putting the romance in the background and that became very difficult, even though there is a big romantic component.

Writing to the cozy reader was also a challenge. I’m used to using colorful language in my romantic suspense novels, but really had to keep that from this novel. Now, not swearing isn’t all that hard, but what was a challenge was not using that as a character trait. It took a few rounds of editing to get all this just right.

And what I ended up with, I’m pretty darn pleased with. I think this is one of the best books I’ve ever written. I hope you’ll check it out!

I also participated in a couple of boxsets this month. Check them out!