Congratulations Kelli Zimmerman, Pat Dodge, and Lisa Wells!
I appreciate everyone's comments and the interaction during this week of blog posts about the Writing of DEATH CACHE and I hope you enjoy the book.
I am thrilled to announce the winners of a digital copy of DEATH CACHE, which is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Congratulations Kelli Zimmerman, Pat Dodge, and Lisa Wells!
I appreciate everyone's comments and the interaction during this week of blog posts about the Writing of DEATH CACHE and I hope you enjoy the book.
Please join us for a Facebook Event for DEATH CACHE's Release on December 2nd between 6pm- 10pm eastern standard time. Lots of fun and many chances to win unique giveaways to be had.
In no way did I plan to have this blog post land on Thanksgiving. It's fate or destiny, or whatever you want to call it. Either way, it's freaking cool.
The characters of DEATH CACHE are hungry most of the time. I made it really hard for them throughout this story. They are forced to live off the forest, and thanks to Tern, they will survive until help arrives that is if a killer doesn't do them in first.
Tern is very knowledgeable in what is safe to eat thanks to her grandmother Coho who taught her from the time she was a little girl. Tern is able to pull together meals from the oddest of things. Including puffball mushrooms or 'wolf farts'.
Like Tern, I had a grandmother who took me hiking and pointed out what plants were safe and what to stay away from. I could get you only so far with that information, not near what Tern can do.
I suggest that if you are going to eat plants in the wild that you do your homework. Most of the plants in Alaska are like everything else in the state, deadly. I highly recommend this book one as it has a lot of colored photographs and is easy to navigate.
Here is a scene where Tern takes 'wolf farts' and cooks them for dinner.
After collecting enough greens to supplement their meal, she headed back toward the clearing and Gage.
He looked skeptical at what she’d picked from nature’s pantry, but the wild puffball mushrooms would be delicious.
"Don’t be so cynical," she said. "If we don’t find more food, you’ll be thankful for what I can pick in the forest."
"Any of this going to kill us?" He motioned to the puffball mushrooms, which when dried out and stepped on made a puff of dust that seemed anything but appetizing. Young kids had fun hunting them out and stomping on them since they were like a nature fart. But these were picked while they were still moist and young.
"I could poison you with my knowledge," she couldn’t help interjecting. Let him be a little worried. "I guess you’ll just have to trust that I won’t."
He let the trust comment go. "How’d you learn all this? I thought you studied marketing and business
"Not everything is learned in school. My grandmother taught me. She, in turn, was taught by her mother, who was taught by her mother. The knowledge has been passed down through the women in my family for thousands of years," she said with pride. Pride of her heritage, her race, and the long line of strong women she’d come from.
"I had no idea."
"There’s a lot about me you don’t know." He would have had to stick around in order to find out.
Tomorrow is the official release day for DEATH CACHE and I will be announcing the winners of three digital copies of DEATH CACHE. There will also be more chances to win great stuff on DEATH CACHE's Release Party on Monday. You can join in the fun here!
So on this Thanksgiving Day in America, where most of us will be eating ourselves into a coma, I'd like to hear what is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
This story has a limited cast. There are only two women throughout DEATH CACHE. Tern, our heroine, and Nadia Hanson the best friend. Just like in Alaska the ratio of men to women is about 7 to 1.
Nadia is your typical sidekick. She funny, somewhat bumbling, always there for you when you need her, and sometimes when you don't. In a roundabout way. she introduced Gage to Tern as she suggested Gage check out Tern's shop when he was looking for a gift for his mother. Nadia and Gage both work for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where Nadia is a math professor. She has a head for figures and a body to match.
A lover of romance novels, Nadia is always hoping her knight will appear and sweep off her feet and since Tern is no longer with Lucky, Nadia is hoping to hook up with him as this following scene shows.
"Sweetie, you need to find out what happened between the two of you." Nadia ignored Tern's scoff. "And now you have some time alone. You should thank me."
"No way." Tern folded her arms over her chest as if that would help protect her heart. "If he couldn’t tell me then, I don’t want to hear it now."
"Yes, you do. It’s been eating you up inside." Nadia cocked a hip. "Ever think that maybe this is fate?"
"Fate isn’t this sick."
"Oh, I don’t know. It paired me with Lucky." A smile she tried to hide gave her away.
"As if that wasn’t who you wanted to be with anyway."
She shrugged. "He’s the most fun of the bunch. There’s an unfair ratio of men to women, and since they’ve all had a taste of you, it’s up to me to protect myself from being passed around." Nadia laughed at Tern's expression. "Come on, get over it, and let’s have some fun. Think of the havoc you can cause Gage. Get back at him for his mistreatment of you."
"Hey, you wouldn’t mind if Lucky and I hooked up, would you?"
"Uh…" Nadia and Lucky? He’d break her heart. "Be careful, Nadia. He isn’t the kind of man who sticks around."
"My favorite. Use ‘em and abuse ‘em." Nadia gave a sly smile. "Time for the games to begin."
Only two days until DEATH CACHE is available. Three lucky commenters will win a digital copy of DEATH CACHE on Black Friday. I'd love to hear some of your favorite things about your best friend?
Here are the Men of DEATH CACHE. All of them are Tern's former lovers and one of them could be a killer. I'll let Tern introduce them as she does in the opening scene with the men standing in an airplane hanger like a reception line from Hell.
Addison "Mac" MacFearson greeted her with a crushing bear hug and a kiss on her cheek. A rugged Alaskan Bush guide with a ‘No Crybabies Allowed’ attitude, he’d been her first love, and still held a special part of her heart. He’d called a halt to their relationship as he was two decades older than her twenty-eight years. He hadn’t wanted another family, and she really wanted children, but they had remained good friends through it all.
She hadn’t seen him in a few months and cheerfully returned his hug. He released her, held her at arm’s reach, and cocked a knowing smile. "You’re in for a trial here, sweetcakes."
Yeah, she’d gotten that idea the moment she’d seen the stud reunion.
Robert Coate was next. He solemnly nodded his head. "Tern," he greeted. His steady gaze had the power to nick her heart. She’d broken his and the guilt of it still weighed heavily on her.
A business owner of a sporting goods store just down the street from her own shop, The Arctic Tern, Robert had made the most sense in her husband search. He was involved in the community, regularly attended church, loved dogs, and was a single parent in need of a mother for his beautiful six-year-old daughter, Chloe, who Tern adored.
He was about as close to Mr. Good Enough as she’d found, but an inner voice kept whispering she wouldn’t be happy settling. And to be honest, she didn’t want to be known as Mrs. Tern Coate.
Lucky Leroy Morgan winked at her. His come-hither smile and surfer good looks, tempted Tern to sidle a little closer.
Man, he’d been fun.
"I thought you were in Peru climbing the Andes," she said, staying just out of reach. A lot of good that did her, as he took a step forward and swung her around in a tight clench.
"I was until this little adventure presented itself. Damn, but it’s good to see you." He followed the swing with a dip and planted a searing kiss on her lips. When he’d righted her, she was dizzy, flushed, and half tempted to follow up on that kiss. But she knew better. Lucky was a gambler, not only with his money but his life.
* Those of you who have read DREAMWEAVER already know that DEATH CACHE will change Lucky's life forever.
There you have it. The Men of DEATH CACHE.
They are a fun, wild bunch and being stuck with them, along with Gage--the man Tern is currently in love with--will test her in ways she never thought possible.
Tomorrow you will met Nadia Hanson, Tern's best friend.
Until then, please leave a comment to be entered to win one of three digital copies to be given away on Black Friday.
I'd like to hear what you would do if you walked into a room and all the men you've dated where present conversing over drinks.
Would you tuck tale and run, or brazen it out?
Gage Fallon is a complicated man. A geophysicist, he works for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, specializing in studying the Northern Lights. He's very intelligent, a believer of science and things he can touch, and doesn't trust his emotions. He took one look at Tern, while shopping for a gift for his mother, and fell for her hard. So hard that it scared him. He did the unthinkable, and ran, disappearing without a word.
That is all I can say about that now so I don't give too much away. I'll just add that he had good reasons to leave like he did, but getting Tern to understand them won't be so easy.
Gage is very enterprising and handy to have along on this geocaching competition turned fight for their lives. He has a take charge attitude, looks outside the box for solutions, and isn't above listening and depending on a woman in a sticky situation. Like most men, he does have a few hang-ups that get him into a lot more trouble with our heroine.
Tern and Gage together are explosive. I never knew what they were going to say and do when writing them. When you read page 50 you'll understand what I mean.
Here is a snippet of a scene that happens after page 50.
"Let go of me." She waited until he released her. "Gage, get this clear, you don’t have any rights to me. If I want to wash, I’m going to wash. If I want to sleep with every man here, that’s what I’m going to do."
"Try it." Gage stepped closer, his chest brushing hers. She sucked in a startled breath, but didn’t step back. "You make one sexual move toward any one of them and you’ll wish you hadn’t."
"You left, throwing away any rights you had toward me." Her voice broke and the pain in her eyes had him wanting to hold her, beg her forgiveness for what he’d done six months ago and how he’d treated her today. But he couldn’t.
She was right. She was no longer his to lay claim to. And when she found out why he’d left, she’d look at him with contempt as well as with the pain he’d caused her. "Tern—"
"Leave. Me. Alone."
"I can’t." He hardened his jaw. "Not until the threat has been neutralized."
"If you don’t give me some space, I’ll be the biggest threat you’ve ever come across."
Only a few more posts to go and then I will be announcing the names of the winners for three digital copies of DEATH CACHE. The winners will announced Friday.
For fun, what are some enterprising things your partner (or the partner you long for) does that just melts your insides? I'll start.
My wild man knows his way around my computer, and when he cleans her up, gets her all updated, or saves her from the brink, I turn all mushy inside.
Now, it's your turn.
I usually start with the hero because I love the men I write about. I am as much in love with my hero of this book as I am with my others, but this post must start with the heroine of DEATH CACHE as this story is all about her.
Those of you who have already read SHIVER and DREAMWEAVER have met Tern Maiski. For the rest of you, she is a shop owner of the Arctic Tern in Fairbanks, Alaska with a stylish love for clothes, an appreciation for art, and an adventurous spirit that never seems satisfied. She loves her friends and family and would do anything for those she loves. Yet, love is the one thing that has eluded her, though not for trying. As you find out with the opening line of DEATH CACHE, Tern has given falling in love the old college try and then some. She's been very successful in business, but not so much with the affairs of the heart.
Now she's participating in a game with not only one of her old flames but four. Every man she has very been with are competing against her. They say, "Pride cometh before the fall." Tern will be tested more than she ever thought possible, and her heart is the least of her worries.
Here is the opening scene of DEATH CACHE, which sums up her situation perfectly.
"Oh my God, I’ve slept with everyone here." Tern Maiski’s gaze swept the airplane hangar with mounting dread. Good heavens, she sounded like a slut. All four of her exes stood next to the Cessna outfitted like they were headed on the same geocaching trek competition she was.
"Except you refused to put out for me when I wanted to experiment in college." Nadia Hanson, best friend extraordinaire, came to a stop
next to her.
See, she wasn’t that sexually promiscuous. Four men in twenty-eight years didn’t make her easy. Besides she’d bet ‘easy’ would be the last word these men would use to describe her.
Nadia gave a slow whistle at the impressive line-up of testosterone. "Damn, girl. Remind me again why you let these guys go."
All eyes turned their direction. The men stood in a row like a reception line from hell.
Tern tightened her hold on the strap of her backpack. She’d only let two of them go. One had moved her to the friend pile and the other had broken her heart. She had no problem meeting each of the men’s stares. Except Gage Fallon’s. The bastard had walked out on her without a word six months ago. Just up and disappeared. Not an email or lousy text message to explain the hard dumping he’d given her. This was the first time she’d seen him since their last night together when they’d loved each other into a coma. She wanted to devour him with her eyes, and rail at him for making her worry so much. If she hadn’t called and pestered his boss, who’d reassured her that no foul play had befallen him, she would still be worrying and wondering what had happened to him. Obviously he was fine.
"I should tuck tail and run right now," Tern murmured.
Have you ever been in a situation when your former or present relationships met? I'll start. I ran into a former boyfriend who I'd broken up with since he wanted to get married, and I thought myself way too you for marriage. The problem was, I had to introduce him to the man I was with, my husband. It had only been about a year since we'd broke up. Yeah, a bit uncomfortable. Now, if you're brave enough, tell me yours.
Remember to comment to be entered to win one of three digital copies of DEATH CACHE to be given away on Black Friday.
For DEATH CACHE we are traveling to Nowhere. Nowhere Lake on the edge of the Arctic Circle. No civilization, no supplies, just six people in a race to stay alive.
I added all the things I love and fear when I'm camping in Alaska's wilderness. My characters will have to band together in order to survive the elements, the landscape, the wildlife, and a killer.
They will be tested.
Here's a scene as Tern (who you will remember being Raven's sister in SHIVER) and the others are dropped off at Nowhere Lake. The picture of on the cover is exactly how I picture this forbidding place.
The floatplane dipped, beginning its descent. Tern caught a view out the windows and anticipation replaced the foreboding that brewed in her thoughts. A glacier-fed lake glistened like an expensive jewel below them. Iced mountain tops, perfectly frosted by Mother Nature, crowded around the lake as though hoping to pick up any secrets it might whisper of time and space. Spruce trees in the darkest blues to greens to blacks competed for room among the birch trees. A clearing revealed a nest of small cabins along the south bank of the lake, directly opposite the glacier that receded above the valley.
The DeHavilland skimmed the placid waters of the lake on a perfect landing, drifting right up to the sandy beach near the cabins. Hugh powered down the Beaver and silence pressed in.
"Welcome to Nowhere Lake." Hugh rolled up his hip waders and stepped out onto the plane’s float. He hopped onto the bank and secured the plane to a birch tree before wading into the water. One by one, they climbed out onto the floats and jumped to shore. Hugh unloaded their packs, tossing them the short distance. Tern seized hers just as it would have smacked her in the face. As it was, she stumbled backward.
Hugh waded to shore, pulled an envelope from his back pocket, and handed it to Nadia. "Here you go. Instructions are in there on the rules of the game. I’ll be back in a week to pick you up." He wasted no time untying the plane, turning it around, and hopping aboard.
They watched, standing in a line, as Hugh took off. Tern wondered if they were all thinking the same thing.
Just where the hell were they, and what would they do if he didn’t come back?
If you have been following me on facebook, twitter, and here on the blog, you know that I have camped and lived in very remote places. I would love to hear the most remote place you have ever camped or traveled to.
A week from today on Black Friday, DEATH CACHE will be released! For the next week, I will be blogging about the writing of DEATH CACHE and giving away three digital copies to three lucky commentators.
The Premise of DEATH CACHE was difficult, probably the most difficult of all my books. I had an idea for a thriller with a group of people lost in the Alaskan wilderness while being hunted by a degraded killer. But how did I realistically get them all there? And to make things worse, I wanted them all to have some sort of relationship with my heroine. I owe the answer to this problem to Kristin Morgan, a fellow bookseller for Barnes & Noble where I worked at the time of writing DEATH CACHE. Kristin was heavy into the sport of geocaching. I had never heard of geocaching before, so she took me by the hand and introduced me to it. Thank you, Kristin!
Geocaching is a high-tech, treasure hunt using a handheld GPS to aid in finding hidden caches. These caches can be filled with treasures, money, instructions, or simple trinkets. The sky's the limit on what can be found. When I researched further, I found that there are extreme geocache competitions set up all over the world. This was it! The winning idea to get all my characters together, competing against each other, and unknowingly entering into a game of cat and mouse where if you lose, you die.
For more information on geocaching check out this site: http://www.geocaching.com/
She shouldn't have played…
Gallery owner Tern Maiski has always had a way with men, but the one she gave her heart to disappeared without a word. Now he's competing alongside her and four others in a high-tech treasure hunt, and her pride isn't the only thing on the line. So is her life.
He doesn't play by the rules…
Geophysicist Gage Fallon's relationship with Tern has been cataclysmic from the beginning. He cared too much, too fast and their passion threatened to consume him. Now he's back on firmer ground and competing in a game that will risk more than his heart.
Once their group is dropped off in a remote area near the Arctic Circle, it quickly becomes clear that instead of hunting for treasure, they're the ones being hunted. And the killer is dead serious about caching them in.
Leave a comment to be entered to win one of three digital copies of DEATH CACHE available on Black Friday. Believe me, this book is killer!
Death Cache will be out on Black Friday, ten days from today! Here's a little something to tide you over.
1. Always Carry Duct Tape
2. Never Lie About Your Weight
If anything, pad the actual number when flying in a bush plane, praying the pilot figures the weight distribution correctly in favor of staying in the air.
3. Bear Spray
A Wild Man is savvy enough to carry bear spray when hiking in the wilds, or just checking the mailbox. He never knows when he'll come upon a bear. This special brand of pepper spray is a heavier concoction than what is intended for your average stalker. And he never forgets to spray downwind after that one time he didn't.
4. Always Carry a Gun
Carrying a gun in Alaska pretty much goes without saying, but its good advice to repeat anyway. The noise from firing a gun works to scare off bears and other animals that might want to eat you, which there are actually a lot, and signal for help—we'll learn more about this in DEATH CACHE. My heroes never leave home without one.
5. Throw Rocks
Best bear deterrent I have personally found is to throw rocks at them. They don't like it, and usually run off. This is a last resort kind of thing, and surprisingly has scared off bears that had gotten used to us firing guns, horns, banging pots, and screaming. Though being close enough to throw rocks at bears is not a position I ever like being in. Hmm…this needs to go into a book.
6. Get Naked!
Body heat saves lives! Here are a few facts about how to recognize if you or someone you are with is becoming hypothermic.
Shivering (this is actually a good sign that the body is still trying to warm itself. When shivering stops, things become critical). Lack of coordination. Slurred speech. Confusion and poor decision making. Tired, lack of
concern, loss of consciousness, weak pulse, and shallow breathing.
Hypothermia is one of the highest causes of death in the Alaskan wilderness. A lot of people aren't aware they are hypothermic because the symptoms are often gradual. They become confused and not aware of what is happening and then it's too late.
So if your wild man tells you to get naked, don't fight it. Sharing body heat will most likely save your life.
7.Head for the Trees
When being charged by a moose, run for the trees, the thicker the better. They can't navigate with speed around trunks, giving you a chance to get away. Note: don't do what Eva did in MOOSED-UP when she was being chased. Climbing trees that have their roots in permafrost, is never a good idea.
8. Stud Up!
Winter is coming. Get studs on those tires now before an ice storm catches you unprepared. A good studded tire helps you grip on slippery surfaces. Don't want you sliding out of control.
9.For the Love of Onions, Wear Layers!
Fairbanks, Alaska is known for having some of the most extreme temperatures variances in the world. I've seen summers that reached 100 degrees and one winter were the temps plummeted to -75 below zero. A bone-chilling, nostril-freezing week of hell.
Hell isn't hot people. It's cold, so cold it burns.
While fishing on the Bering Sea this summer, we had an afternoon where we were sunburned, drenched with rain, pelted with sleet, and blown off the water with wind that kicked up to hurricane forces.
So do not leave your shelter without plenty of layers. One thing you can count on, Alaska is unpredictable.
10. Take the Toilet Seat Inside
Men, it's not enough to make sure the toilet seat is down, it needs to be warm too. If you are living wild enough to not have running water, but a glorified outhouse, have a mobile toilet seat that you bring inside the heated cabin. That way, your woman doesn't have an icy seat when she needs to make a nature call. It's the little things that keep your woman happy and keeps you living the wild life.