A girls’ getaway gone wrong. Madison Reynolds, best friend Genesis Baker, and young-at-heart Granny Bert are planning on a stress-free mini vacation, but a case of mistaken identity in the heart of Maryland’s spy territory leads directly to danger. A mix-up at the airport leaves Madison with the wrong luggage, and a last-minute change in accommodations lands them at The Columbia Inn at Peralynna. Designed as a CIA safe house, the inn has a fascinating history. The stories of espionage and agents are intriguing, but too incredible, they think, to be real. The Texans know nothing about secret codes and counterintelligence. They’ve never heard of The Lilac Code, or the illusive agent-for-hire known simply as Kalypso. How can they know the inn’s ties to the spy world will soon spin them into its web? Mystery and mayhem in Maryland. Book 7 of the award winning series.
My latest book, The Lilac Code, is set in a wonderful and unique home-turned-inn in Columbia, MD, smack in the middle of the Intel Community. The inn, patterned after a CIA safe house in Germany, has a fascinating history. We're talking spies, CIA operatives, the Cold War, the whole works. It's no wonder some of the stories spilled over into my own tale, which has a thread of espionage woven into it. Stay tuned for Part II, and find out how you can Crack the Lilac Code and stay at the inn for FREE.
WINNER 2016 Best Suspense Fiction—Association of Texas Authors and WINNER 2017 Best Audio Book—Association of Texas Authors. Named sole heir to her aunt's estate, Charity Gannon arrives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont hoping to find a link to her past. She's not looking for lost treasures; she is searching for a connection to the aunt she barely knew. What she finds is a thirty-something-year-old mystery. A sad, secluded cottage, all but hidden amid the vines. A man's suit of clothes, tainted with dried blood and a bullet hole. Four forgotten boxes stuffed into a large bag and buried in the far corners of the shed. These are not just any boxes. They are unopened and undelivered, left behind by the now-defunct Kingdom Parcel. All four are marked March 14, 1984, the very day her uncle, president and driver for the delivery service, was said to have committed suicide. The undelivered boxes haunt Charity. Hadn’t someone noticed them missing? Thinking it might be fun to surprise the recipients after all these years, Charity sets out to deliver the packages. Along the way, fate throws her into the sturdy arms of Tarn Danbury, a burly sugarmaker with eyes as beautiful as the mountain pond from which he was named and a voice as smooth and rich as the dark syrup he produces. The story behind one box is delightful. Another is heartbreaking….And one might very well be the death of her.
While in Vermont this week, I had the opportunity to meet Burr Morse, head of Morse Farms Sugarworks, just outside Montpelier. As a writer himself, we exchanged pleasantries, and I told him I had patterned the sugarworks in my book after their store. He was quite flattered and said 'you just made my day!' He asked for my card and said he would look me up. After a moment, he walked back over to me, after realizing he had already read Forgotten Boxes. He told me how much he enjoyed the book and how well-written it was. Now I was the one flattered! THAT made MY day! If you are ever in Montpelier, take the County Road up the side of the mountain and visit Morse Farms Sugarworks!
If you've never had maple cream before, you have no idea what you're missing! Some people call it maple butter, but no matter what you call it, it is delicious! I was fortunate to have a local Vermont sugarmaker, John Nugent, educate me on the process of making maple syrup and its many delicious forms. It is truly nature's goodness as its best!
Millions of boxes travel through our various delivery channels each and every day. Have you ever wondered if something as simple as a missed delivery, a lost and forgotten box, could change the course of your life forever? I have, and so has Charity Gannon. When she finds four unopened, undelivered boxes from March 14,1984, she sets out to return them to their rightful owners. Here's a glimpse of one such forgotten box.
A sweet love story is woven through the tale of the four forgotten boxes. Tarn Danbury is a burly Vermont sugarmaker. His deep voice is as rich and thick as the dark maple syrup he produces. Charity is immediately captivated by his 'Grade-A Very Dark' voice and his clear gray eyes. I owe a debt of gratitude to John Nugent for explaining the process of sugarmaking to me and for providing an amusing anecdote for me to share.
The idea for this book sprouted in my mind after seeing a lost box along the side of the highway. The cardboard box had obviously fallen by the wayside, its contents spilled out across the ground. I wondered about the box's intended destination...its owner...the repercussions, if any, of it not arriving. 'What ifs' swirled in my head. What if someone truly needed its contents? What if they come back and searched for it? What if they mourned its loss? What if one lost box changed someone's entire life?? And just like that, "Forgotten Boxes" was born.
Charity Gannon is surprised to learn she has inherited her estranged aunt's house in upstate Vermont. She arrives to find a secluded cottage, tucked into a bramble of trees, flowers, and secrets. Aunt Nell's possessions are still in the house, posing more questions than answers about a mysterious past. Why, for instance, is there an old and tattered man's shirt hanging in her widowed aunt's bedroom? More importantly, why does it sport a bullet hole and the spatter of dried blood?
Named 2018 Best Paranormal Fiction, Association of TX Authors, Nominee for 2018 RONE Award in Paranormal Long Fiction, Crowned Heart Recipient by InD’Tale Magazine “Becki Willis blends bits of history with bits of fancy, and weaves a tantalizing tale you won’t soon forget.” Reporter Gera Stapleton has a difficult choice to make: write the story of a lifetime, or save the legacy of a town—and a man—she has come to love. Assigned to an impossible story in Jerome, Arizona about a “ghost” named Mac, Gera knows it’s a fluff piece, at best, until a local man is murdered in the middle of town. When the townspeople blame Mac, she knows the killer is getting away with… well, murder. Seeing the opportunity for a cover-worthy piece, Gera sets out to find the real killer. In a town filled with curiosities, she befriends a lonely old woman, butts heads with an ornery sheriff, falls for a sexy hotel owner, and uncovers an amazing tale about greed, deception, and family honor. And when the killer targets her as the next victim, an unlikely savior comes to her rescue. Will she write the story that launches her career? Or will she honor a family’s legacy from the past? Smart dialogue, plenty of action, and a touch of the supernatural make this a must-read novel. You'll find yourself wondering Is it possible?Are there truly such things as tangible spirits, after all?
Do you ever feel like you're speaking to an empty audience? Wondering if what you do makes a difference? You go the extra mile, make the extra effort, but does anyone even notice? Are you speaking to an empty audience? Authors know this feeling, all too well. Just because we write it, doesn't mean someone reads it. We pour our heart and soul into our stories, but are we speaking to an empty audience? Sometimes it feels that way. But sometimes... sometimes something wonderful happens. A reader leaves you a five star review. A reader writes you a personal note, saying how much she/he enjoys your work. An award comes your way. And suddenly it doesn't matter if you have an audience of one or one thousand. Someone hears you. You're no longer speaking to an empty audience, and that makes everything you do worthwhile.
By some great stroke of luck, I have the pleasure of living my dream: I'm an author. Liability or asset, it requires a fearless leap of faith. A willingness to open myself up to criticism and ridicule, and those painful one-star reviews. And then moments like these come along, and I realize the leap (and the potentially painful landing) is worth it. Thank you, Association of Texas Authors and InD'Tale Magazine, for recognizing the fearless profession we call writing. I’m honored to be a Crowned Heart recipient from InD’Tale, a nominee for the RONE Award in Paranormal Long Fiction, and to accept the 2018 Best Paranormal Fiction Award from TX Authors. Thank you so much, and thank you to all you readers who’ve made my career possible!
After several strange incidents take place in her room, Gera is forced to confront hotel management. She meets Lucy for the first time and is stunned to discover the head of housekeeping blames "the children" for the mischievous deeds. Gera knows "the children" are ghosts from the past. Then again, Lucy believes she has tea every afternoon with Minerva Cody, Jake's grandmother who died eight years ago. Obviously, complaining will get her no where. She's caught in the Twilight Zone.
The Dove Hotel is as much a character in this book as Gera and Jake. Hear more in this interview with For Book Lovers Only Live Radio. https://goo.gl/ys5it1
After a blasting incident at the mines caused a ruptured gas line, eleven children died in their sleep while living at The Dove. Now their playful spirits roam the hotel and play harmless tricks on the guests. At night, the youngest of the ghosts have trouble sleeping, so the staff plays lullabies in the hallways to keep them from crying. In this excerpt, the speakers weren't working one night, so the ghost of Minerva Cody sang the babies to sleep.
The more Gera researches, the more inconsistencies -- and secrets-- she uncovers. None of it makes any sense. But one thing is clear: she is definitely in danger.
While researching for this story, I participated in two local ghost tours. Both tours—one of the hotel, one of the town—provided me with interesting tidbits, great local flavor, invaluable behind-the-scene insights, and a borrowed folk legend or two. (The hotel where I stayed was a hospital in its former life. Our suite was once the sanitorium, where patients sat on the balcony while bound to their chairs. Nothing creepy about that, right?)
Come along on our ghost tour of The Dove Hotel. I took a tour of the hotel where I stayed, and learned all sorts of neat --and eerie -- things!
This message is at the beginning of the book, to help readers better understand the story. There is a great deal of history and true facts woven into my tale. You can actually visit the landmarks mentioned -- and I know of at least one reader who did just that! I hope you'll be as intrigued with Jerome as I was. Enjoy the book!
When the tiny hamlet of Hannah, Texas goes up for auction, Hannah Duncan’s fun-loving uncle sees it as the perfect gift for her thirtieth birthday. After all, what’s more fun than a town bearing your own name? The ‘town’ isn’t much, but it resolves around the historic Spirits of Texas Inn. The old inn comes with a colorful past, the mystique of hidden treasure, and three surprise residents: true spirits of the past, who didn’t cross over as expected. To top it off, two fortune hunters arrive to search for the hidden treasure, and they don’t care who stands in their way. They’ll stoop to any means—including murder—to get their hands on the legendary stash of gold. Don’t miss out on the excitement, right from the beginning. Book your visit to Hannah, Texas today!
Have you ever received a gift you didn't quite know what to do with? Didn't want, in fact? Most often, there's no graceful way to refuse it. Hannah Duncan has that very problem, when her eccentric uncle buys her a TOWN for her thirtieth birthday!
Milking a cow takes a special talent. If not talent, at least rhythm. I was always afraid of hurting the cow, but the truth is, it requires a firm "squeeze and tug" rhythm to coax the milk out. In this excerpt, city-girl Hannah milks a cow for the first time and finds the experience oddly exhilarating! Until the cow turns and looks at her. "The proximity of those large brown eyes and the moist, black nose frightened her. When the cow gave a gentle moo and slurped her long tongue out, Hannah jerked away, almost upsetting the milk bucket in the process." Read the entire book for just .99. Who says a dollar can't buy happiness these days?
Hannah's uncle loves giving unique and surprising gifts. This one is the biggest surprise of all-- her own town! It comes with a historical but operational old Inn, a half dozen other buildings, a dedicated pair of caretakers, and, much to her dismay, a menagerie of farm animals. Hannah knows nothing about being an innkeeper. She knows even less about being a farmer. Like it or not, this city girl must learn to adjust.
We've all heard about them: a town for sale to the higher bidder. Log on to the internet, place your bid, and come away with the coveted prize. What you see may or may not be what you get. Usually these 'towns' are more a collection of old buildings and forgotten communities. Still, the thought of owning your own town has its appeal for some people. Hannah Duncan isn’t one of them, but like it or not, she’s the new owner of a small community in the Texas Hill Country. This is the most outrageous birthday gift her zany uncle has given her yet — the tiny hamlet of Hannah, Texas. Book your trip to Hannah today... pre-order now, for March 2 release.
Someone is stalking her. When the police won't help, rising culinary star Ashli Wilson hires a private investigator for protection. Hardened ex-cop Lange Sterling is a play-by-the-rules kind of guy who vows to keep her safe. Lange originally mistakes Ashli for a ditzy blonde, but nothing could be farther from the truth. This is one brave, smart, feisty Southern belle, and she's not about to back down just because of a stalker. Despite his jaded heart and his self-imposed rules to never get personally involved, Ashli has managed to find the chinch in his armor. Now her neighbor is murdered, and Lange fears Ashli could be next. He’ll go to any length to save her life. Even if it means losing what’s left of his heart in the process.
Do you ever take your surroundings for granted? I'm certainly guilty. I'm fortunate enough to live in the country, but so often I fail to appreciate its quiet beauty. When I make the time, I can sit on my front porch and overlook our own piece of paradise, which comes with a running creek, wildlife, and cattle. Yet all too often, I allow the clutter of my life to keep me from enjoying my surroundings....But what if I couldn't go outside and enjoy life's simple pleasures because it placed me in danger? What if I had a stalker and couldn't even sit outside on my porch because it was too risky? There's still time to read He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not for just .99. This week only, so hurry! (And please -- read it from your own favorite piece of paradise, the one you DON"T take for granted!)
Lange Sterling likes to play by the rules, and he has plenty of them…. Always be Prepared… Always Stay Focused… Never Get Personally Involved… Too bad none of his self-imposed rules apply in this case. From the moment he meets her, Lange is mesmerized by the petite blond who entrusts her life to him. Though her situation is questionable at best, he can’t deny her plea for help. As her stalker becomes more aggressive and a murder occurs, Lange knows it’s up to him to keep Ashli safe. He’ll go to any length to save her life, even if it means losing what’s left of his heart in the process…
People often ask me about my reading audience. As I learned with this, my very first book, I can't just assume my readers are female. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that many men love this book, as they often write and tell me. I think it's because it has a strong but vulnerable male lead and is written, in part, from his perspective. I think it goes to prove that all of us -- no matter what our age, sex, race, creed, profession or social status -- basically need and want the same thing: to love and to be loved.
A fan of classic old movies, Lange Sterling's favorite stars from the silver screen are blond and beautiful, just like Ashli Wilson. I, too, grew up loving Doris Day. (For years,I thought you danced and sang your way down the aisle when you got married.) Who is your favorite star?
As a history buff, I am fascinated with old houses, particularly the magnificent plantation-style Greek Revival homes of the deep South. The first time I visited Richmond, VA, I knew I wanted to include that architect in a book. Welcome to Daisy House. Please, step right in.
Madison Reynolds can’t wait for Christmas this year. Rebuilding her life as a single mom hasn’t been easy, but after a challenging twelve months, she’s excited about the holidays. Visions of the perfect Christmas dance in her head. The tinsel begins to tangle when someone targets the community for a series of ‘Christmas Crimes.’ Torn between solving the rash of burglaries and shutting down a gambling ring, Police Chief Brash deCordova does the only thing he can: he hires In a Pinch to help with the investigation. Finding the common link between cases is like finding the bad bulb on a string of lights. Every lead is a short circuit. The frustration mounts when Madison and the Angel Tree with fall victim to the crimes. Only the worst kind of Grinch steals from needy children! Brash has plans of his own for the perfect Christmas. With the help of a new jewelry store, he thinks he’s found just the right gift for Madison, until the Grinch strikes again. This wasn’t the surprise he had in mind. Ready or not, Christmas is on its way, and time is running out to create the holiday of their dreams. As the house fills with unexpected guests, Madison and the twins honor favorite traditions from the past while creating a few new ones of their own. Who has time for being kidnapped by men in Santa suits and bad beards? This is one Christmas that no one in The Sisters will ever forget!
Like Maddy, I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for us all. BIG THINGS are happening in The Sisters, so TUNE IN in to find out more. Merry Christmas, and happy New Year!
All this week, you can purchase a bit of Christmas cheer (and hopefully a few moments of sanity while you sneak away to read it) for just .99. Merry Christmas, my friends!
In this excerpt, Vanessa Hutchins shares her Black Friday shopping strategy that leaves Madison speechless -- and not in a good way. Hoping to score a special price on shoe inserts, the savvy (and somewhat shady) shopper devised a plan. If you're a Black Friday shopper, be on the lookout for Vanessa or others like her. And check behind those displays -- you never know what you might find! Happy Thanksgiving!
Like most families, we have several favorite traditions that are integral to the holiday season. But traditions aren't always one-size fits all. As families grow, even the most revered and time-honored traditions sometimes must stretch and change. In this excerpt, Madison and her teenage twins are trying to come up with a new tradition, a symbolic ‘restart’ for their new lives here in The Sisters. What about your family? Do you have a favorite tradition? Share it on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/theSisters.texas/ or on Twitter, @beckiwillis15. Happy holidays!
What's your Christmas-lighting style? Do you illuminate every eave/tree/bush/blade of grass, or simply put a lighted star in the yard? Do you use the new-fangled LED projector lights, or the old fashioned C9 bulbs? White, or multi? Is your lawn art blow-up style, or wooden cutouts? There are so many wonderful options these days! No matter if your style is elegant or extravagant, understated or over-the-top, it's always fun to say those three words for the first time of the season, "Light 'er up!"
Another special thing about living in a small town? It's where 'everybody knows your name'. And there's nothing better than a Santa who knows all the children in town and can greet them by name. Magical! Christmas in The Sisters debuts TODAY. Grab your copy now. As an added treat, for those new to the series, Books 1-3 are FREE, today only, just to get you started!
When the twins want to start a new tradition and do something special for their friends and neighbors, they come up with the idea of the 'Cookie Campaign.' The e-book comes out Nov. 1, the paperback is available NOW, and this weekend, you can read Book 5, Genny's Ballad, https://www.amazon.com/Gennys-Ballad-Sisters-Texas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B06Y5DV38Q for just .99!
A favorite character in the series is Granny Bert, Madison's spirited elderly grandmother. Readers of all ages tell me how much they enjoy the old gal, and how she reminds them of their own relative. She is full of energy, witty sayings, sage advice, and plenty of sass. In this excerpt, she's jealous because a local woman publicly flirted with her beau, Sticker Pierce. As she and Madison collect contributions for the Angel Tree, Granny Bert suddenly wants to sit this merchant out, immediately putting Madison on alert. No doubt, her grandmother is up to her antics again!
If your tree is like ours, it bears little resemblance to the coordinated masterpieces shown in store windows and magazines. Ours is so much BETTER, because it showcases our life as a family! Memories hang from every branch. I'd love to hear about your favorite ornament. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And join us on our blog tour for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card. I know it's a bit early, but .... Merry Christmas, everyone! (Book comes out Nov. 1.) http://silver-dagger-scriptorium.weebly.com/sdsxx-tours/christmas-in-the-sisters-release-tour-and-giveaway
I may poke a bit of fun at some of the over-the-top Christmas traditions depicted in the book, but the truth is... I love Christmas! My house is almost as bad as Vanessa Hutchins'. It helps that I've owned a gift shop for twenty years. My husband loves to go to market with me to buy for the season. In fact, if I let him, he would buy WAY too much! (The best thing of all? If we can't sell it, we get to keep it!) Share your favorite Christmas tradition with me on social media. I love hearing how other people celebrate the holidays!
Someone is targeting the citizens of Juliet and Naomi, Texas. This unknown Grinch is stealing gifts from beneath people's trees, out of parked vehicles... even from cars driving down a lonely stretch of highway. No one is safe, not even the community Angel Tree. Now it's up to Brash to find the culprits, but can he do it before the holiday is ruined? He'll have to hire Maddy and In a Pinch to help sort this one out. Don't get your tinsel in a tangle... pre-order your copy today!
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