Friday, November 11, 2011

Rachel Dahlrumple by Shea McMaster-Excerpt, Interview,Giveaway: Goddess Fish Tour Stop

Her husband's death is just the beginning of her marital woes. 

Rachel's humiliation over the discovery of her late husband's affairs turns to fear when one of his mistresses sends her a poisoned bouquet. But finding the source of the killer flowers is only one step on her path to solving the mystery her husband left behind. 

Deputy Dan Weston is with Rachel when the bouquet arrives, and he's at her side as she deals with so many of the secrets that come to light after her husband's death. Dan has carried a torch for Rachel since puberty and he's not going to let her dead husband's vindictive girlfriends or his psychotic mother come between them now. But that means finding out who is sending snakes and poisoned posies before one kills Rachel. 


I looked up and took in Dan’s expression. All teasing gone. Cop mode.

“I’m a simple person, Deputy Weston. Steady and calm. Boring. I don’t offend anyone, and no one gives me trouble. Unless you’re talking about Jose Delgado, who is three weeks late with the last book he checked out.”

“I don’t think Jose wrote this.” With a deepening scowl, he turned the card so I could read it through the clear plastic.

Black, block letters, innocuous enough, aside from the message. Ah, yes, the kicker.

Let him go. We want to be together. Start divorce proceedings. Or better yet, end your pitiful life. Your choice. For now.

Dan’s gaze was glued to my face, which first felt hot, then cold. My head swam and my breathing wheezed in and out, as ragged as my stuttering heartbeat.

That bastard. The low down, scheming, rotten, lying, slimy, vile, despicable…

“Care to revise your statement?”

A few quick blinks brought the deputy back into focus, though I could feel the airways in my lungs constricting.

“I know who’s going to die, and isn’t going to be me,” I whispered. “Chinese water torture is too good for him. Splinter those bamboo chopsticks and the minute he gets home, they’re going under his fingernails” I’d learned a few things from my father’s stories of ’Nam. And of course, by reading about the war. After all, I was a librarian. I’d read nearly every book on the shelves. Briefly, I considered doing a search on torture techniques.

The tanned face so near mine blanched. “Easy going, ma’am.”

Right. I wasn’t known for saying such things. I wasn’t known for saying much.

“Well?” I demanded. My fragile world had just vaporized before my eyes and it was far too soon to see what might be left. If anything. The only future visible looked like a rapidly expanding black hole.

Someone wanted me dead. But who? My husband? His girlfriend? Divorce loomed in front of me like a huge gaping maw. I wanted to wail, gnash my teeth, and obliterate something, anything. Of course, I was Rachel the Mouse, so I did my best to hide the violent urges building inside. Rachel the Meek never, ever, let loose with her most primitive emotions. She hid them deep, keeping a calm, submissive, accepting face turned toward the world at large.

“What would you do?”

For the first time I could remember in our long history, Dan looked directly, and very deeply, into my eyes. The sympathy, sincerity, and concern on his face hit me before his words did. Already overwhelmed from too many emotions boiling in my heart and head, I had no defense or response for his reply, or the way he ever so lightly caressed my cheek with the back of his fingers.

“Since I’m not the kind of idiot your husband is, Rachel, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to screw around on the most amazing woman anywhere. Were I the lucky one to have you, I wouldn’t leave you alone long enough for you to ever feel abandoned.”

Aside from the asthma and allergy thing, I was a healthy woman. I’d never, ever, once fainted in my life. But the shocks to my system that night hit too hard. A poisonous gift, a nasty note, knowledge I didn’t want of my husband’s cheating ways, and a gorgeous, younger man, telling me he considered me amazing… The zing I felt in my tummy from his touch did me in.

Black waves engulfing me, limbs losing strength, I slowly collapsed and Dan caught me at the last moment of consciousness. Like any nineteenth-century heiress worth her crumpets and tea, I fainted right into his arms.


A couple of things, I’d like to first thank Laurie for having me here today. The interview questions were fun to answer. I’d also like to acknowledge the great veterans of our country who gave us the freedom to write as our hearts direct. Happy Veteran’s Day!!

How did you start your writing career?
I remember this quite clearly. Back in 2004, we were living in Colorado. I was working full time as a Document Control Specialist and Tech Editor for a bunch of scientists. Our son was in 8th grade at a fabulous charter school, so when my husband got a job offer back in Alaska (where we met married and had our son) the two of us stayed behind while hubby went home to begin our transition back north. It was difficult being separated that way, but in many ways it was quite liberating. It was also lonely.
He’d been gone about six weeks and I was getting restless. It was the day before Halloween, a Friday. Half the company had taken the day off, and the remaining half partied in the lunchroom. Cubeville, where I worked on the second floor, was dead silent. So I liberated a steno book and started writing. At the end of the day, I took it home, typed what I’d written into the computer and kept going. My son had just discovered online gaming, so he was more than happy to sit at his computer and leave me alone. When not doing anything else, we spent the rest of that school year sitting back to back in the loft of the condo we’d moved into and did our thing.
I wrote through two heart procedures for a congenital form of heart disease, and the long horrible move. I wrote for a year solid then decided to check in with other writers to see how good I was (not). It kept me sane long enough to open myself up to really learning the craft. I’m still learning.

Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
Every critique partner and beta reader I’ve ever had has been wonderful inspiration, either because they offered effusive praise, or more often, because they didn’t.  I tell ya, some of those, er, um, women, yeah, women, can be very vocal about what they think does, or more commonly, what doesn’t work.
Every author I’ve read, romance or not, has taught me something. Mostly very good things, but the quality of the lessons depends on my frame of mind. I’m lucky to be surrounded by very positive and caring people. They may not always be gentle, but I know where their hearts are.
What was your first sale as an author?
My very first sale was with the now defunct Triskelion Publishing. They closed just six weeks after my book Six Foot Hero released. That book has been re-released and is available at Lyrical Press, where Rachel Dahlrumple is also published.
What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?
My husband is waiting for me to make him a kept man. My son would just as soon forget I write Romance. My mom is pretty pleased, some of my siblings are supportive, some are neutral, and one winces every time the subject comes up. I guess you could say they cover the spectrum. Not sure how Dad would have felt about it all. Guess I’ll have to catch up with him in the next life to find out.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

Yes, I have those evil wenches, the critique partners. Local and online. I also have a beta reader who’s been with me from those very first scribblings. I’m not sure I would have made it this far without her. She can be counted on to strike out extra uses of “that”, highlight repeated words, and offer sometimes sarcastic rejoinders. She’s also involved in every plot twist and alternately provides encouragement and butt-kicking as needed. We have a great symbiotic relationship built from many years of friendship.

Plotter or Pantser? Why?
Pantser trying to occasionally take a nod at plotting. I have plotted before and had great results. I’ve also had disastrous results. Depends entirely on the story and the characters. They’re the ones really in control.
Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it?
I have two pen names. The first, Shea McMaster, is a tribute to the Celtic portion of my roots. (Scots and Irish in addition to Swedish, English and German. I’m a Heinz 57 Mutt, Daughter of the American Revolution.) And for my more adventurous stories, Morgan Quinn O’Reilly is an anagram made up from my full name. I originally began using a pen name to save my son embarrassment. Also, my husband works in a highly professional career, so keeping our names separated is also considered prudent. Or it was when I started. Today it’s more habit.
Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?
The true answer here is: Both.  Some nights I work until the wee hours, going to bed after my husband leaves for work. Some nights I’m in bed early and up in the wee hours while he snoozes through his alarm. It all depends on my energy level and how much caffeine I’ve had that day. In my husband’s dream world I’d go to bed the same time with him each night and, while reading, scratch his back until he falls asleep. Used to be he hated me reading in bed, but he’s decided as long as he gets a back scratch out of it I can read all I want.  Something wrong with this picture??

What would we find under your bed?
Rolled up oriental rugs waiting for a bigger house to be put out. Small luggage, and whatever the dust bunnies have dragged under there. Did lift the mattress and clean under there last spring. It wasn’t pretty. *shudder* I think it left my son scarred for life.
Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
“Reality can destroy the dream, why shouldn’t the dream destroy reality.”  George Moore

I’ll be checking in all day, so if people have more questions, and I love the off-beat ones, post them in the comments!
Shea McMaster
Traditional Romance for Modern Women

A Novel of Romantic Suspense. 
Her husband's death is just the beginning of her marital woes.


Also Available From Shea

Comment for a chance to win.  A custom tote bag or mug will be given to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour --  follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chance of winning. The tour dates are shown below.


The softer, sweeter side of Morgan O’Reilly, Shea McMaster lives for traditional romance.

Born in New Orleans, raised in California, Shea/Morgan got moved to Alaska in 1977, where she attended high school before running back to California for college. Alas, once back home she met and fell in love with her own forever true hero, a born and raised Alaska man. Since then she’s had a love-hate relationship with America’s largest state.

With her one and only son half way through college, and mostly out of the house, Shea is fortunate to spend her days engaged in daydreaming and turning those dreams into romantic novels and novellas featuring damsels in distress rescued by their own brains and hunky heroes.

Email   |  Website  |  Morgan O'Reilly  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Buy Link:  Lyrical Press 

November 14: Good Family Reads
November 15: Sherry Gloag The Heart of Romance
November 15: REVIEW ONLY Reviews by Molly
November 16: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
November 17: Bookin' It Reviews
November 18: My Odd Little World



marybelle said...

We got it all today: a wonderful excerpt, great Q&A. I have just done my Spring clean & yes, the stuff of nightmares. I did not know about the different pen names. Now that I do - on my list. This is why blog tours are so great, each stop you learn more.


miki said...

great post, thanks you for the discovery


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting today!

Shea said...

Good morning, friends!! I am far from sunrise here, but I'm wide awake and excited for another tour stop. Many thanks to Laurie! Love the blog site. Lots to look at. And I really love that you put up the rest of the tour schedule! I have to keep going back to my blog to keep track.

An FYI, if you click on the Facebook link, I've posted pics/links to the tote and mug that will be given away at the end of the tour. Ignore the prices. Had to put in a price for the items to show, and I don't want anyone buying them, so the prices are astronomical on purpose. There are other items there for purchase, but not the prizes for the tour.

Looking forward to a great day :) Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

Laurie said...

Hi everyone!! Thanks for your comments. And Shea, it's wonderful you stopped in. Thank you!! I appreciate you letting us know where to find the prize images. That's great! They look very attractive. I updated my giveaway block info so a small image shows up here, as well for our readers. :)

LizbethSelvig said...

Hi Shea,
It's fun to follow you around on your tour -- even though I sometimes feel like I could write your bio, there's always something new. I really think it's time Number 1 child starts embracing his mom's talent and passing out copies of her books. Think how warm they could keep all those freezing cold Alaskan college students :-) He'd probably be the most popular guy on campus with the girls. We'll work on him. Thanks for the fun interview.

Shea said...

Laurie, the picture looks great! Thanks for putting them up.

Liz, Yeah, he needs to come to grips. LOL. Poor guy. Hubby is great about leaving bookmarks in the break room at work, and I handed out all I had while in Mexico. We're spreading the word, one reader at a time. What kiddo needs to realize is the more books I sell, the better his college allowance lol. Thanks for following me around on this tour. You're a nice bright spot in my day.

Anna L. Walls said...

Ooh nice - I'm left wondering how she discovered the flowers were poison.

Shea said...

Hmm, now that is a mystery, is it not, Anna?? hehehe

Helena said...

Very cool baby sister, very cool. I totally enjoy knowing that when I need a good book I can count on you.

Shea said...

Sheesh, my kid is grown and I'm still the baby ;) Thanks for stopping in! Still, family support is highly desirable. Makes up for the one who shudders at the mention of my books LOL.

J. H. said...

Way to go, Shea...great blog tour!
(Will's college allowance will be growing for sure! :o)

Molly said...

FANTASTIC interview! Loved this book so much! Molly(at)reviewsbymolly(dot)com