Tag Archives: romantic suspense

Alana Woods interviews CAROLYN ARNOLD, author of Assassination of a Dignitary

Carolyn Arnold is the author of four series and several novels so she has obviously been writing for a while. However, I’m new to her work, having just read and reviewed one of her standalone novels, ASSASSINATION OF A DIGNITARY. Apart from liking the story I was impressed with the level of detail that had me wondering how she knows so much about the criminal mind and weaponry. So I decided to ask her!

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Carolyn Arnold

Assassination of a dignitary

Alana: Carolyn, welcome. Before we get into the nitty gritty of your writing would you tell us something about yourself. For a start, American or Canadian? I ask that because your website gives little away, saying only that you grew up in a small town and now call Toronto home.

Carolyn: I’m Canadian, eh. But let me tell you a little more. I was born in Picton, Ontario and live in Southwestern Ontario. I’m a city woman with the heart of a country girl. If given the choice between a nice hotel and camping, the choice would always be the former. But there’s also got to be time in life to just walk around barefoot outside, dip my toes into the water, and stroll through the woods.

Alana: Full or part time writer? If part-time what else occupies you?

Carolyn: Thanks to my amazing readers I became a full-time author the summer of 2014. There’s been no looking back. I realize every day how I’m truly living the dream and am full of gratitude.

Alana: That’s definitely the dream! How many books have you written, counting those within the series?

Carolyn: That it certainly is. It’s getting to the point that I’m losing count, but I’ve written nearly thirty books.

Alana: You’re an internationally best-selling author. What’s the criteria? Do you have to sell a specific number of books in certain countries?

Carolyn: To proclaim myself an international best-selling author I’ve reached within the top 100 of my genres on Amazon in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. I’ve also hit best-selling ranks on Apple iBooks and Barnes & Noble.

Alana: That’s one hell of an achievement! How many had you written before you hit the big time? Was it a case of being an overnight sensation or a gradual climb? Was it a particular series that swung it for you?

Carolyn: Wow, those are great questions. I published my first book, TIES THAT BIND, in May 2011. The movement at first was very slow. No one really knew who Carolyn Arnold was at all. By the fall of that year, sales picked up and continued to do so. Winter of 2011, I published two more books. But Ties that Bind was already working its way up the best-selling lists on Amazon.com. The book hit the top 5 in Police Procedurals on Amazon.com by the spring of 2012. I was moving thousands of copies a month.

Ties that bind

Also key to my continued success is writing series. Readers love it when they can become attached to the characters, knowing there will be more stories with them.

Alana: Does your background, where you grew up, what you’re familiar with, make it into your books in any way?

Carolyn: Absolutely. I don’t see how it would be possible to keep those things out, and I believe it’s those elements that make it so readers resonate with certain authors. There are definitely deeper meanings embedded in my books and this comes from me as I’m a deep person.

Alana: Okay, that has definitely got to be explained. What do you mean by ‘deep’?

Carolyn: Oh, I like to give thought to the more universal questions about life—the whys, the why nots, and the what ifs. Some people don’t ask themselves these questions or look within, but I think it’s important for us to all spend some time by ourselves in silence, journaling, and just Being.

Alana: Do all of your books fall into the police procedurals category or do you also write in other genres?

Carolyn: The genre I’m primarily known for is police procedurals. Two of my four series fall into that category. I also write a cozy mystery series and I just published a debut novel in the action-adventure genre this past November. Even with the latter, there is a police investigation going on.

Alana: You use the tag ‘POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™’ on your website. How did you receive that endorsement?

Carolyn Arnold website banner

Carolyn: Last April I attended a conference in Toronto with some powerful speakers on the roster. This included Raymond Aaron, Jack Canfield, and Loral Langemeier. A lot of the event was about branding. I came home and gave the matter a lot of thought. What made me stand out from other authors in my genre? What could I boast about specifically?

It came to me that I’d received many e-mails over the years from readers either currently serving in, or retired from, law enforcement. The feedback contained a common theme: I provided entertainment and accuracy. It was said that I got everything right from procedure to the interaction between my detectives and agents.

Thinking on this led me to my trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Alana: Would you tell us in a few words what each of the series is about?

Carolyn: Brandon Fisher FBI Series: New FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher hunts serial killers on a team with the Behavioral Analysis Unit.

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Detective Madison Knight Series: A blend of Eve Dallas and Olivia Benson, Madison Knight is a feisty, chocolate-loving detective who will not let anyone—or anything—stop her from finding justice for murder victims.

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McKinley Mysteries: Romance. Humor. Murder. Whether a case takes the McKinleys undercover, off the books, or around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things … And they’ll be romancing it up along the way.

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Matthew Connor Adventure Series: Action-adventure books for the mystery lover. In this series, modern-day archeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor travels the globe with his two closest friends to unearth treasure and discover legends the world has all but forgotten. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.

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Alana: Now for the question I promised to ask in my introduction. How do you seem to know so much about the criminal world and weaponry?

Carolyn: I have contacts who work, or who have worked, with law enforcement. If I have any questions concerning procedure or forensics I reach out to them.

Alana: And finally, can you say what you’re currently working on?

Carolyn: Currently I’m working on the final stages of edits with one manuscript while prepping another for a development edit with a professional. The fifth book in the Brandon Fisher FBI series, VIOLATED, is due out April 28th and is currently available for pre-order.


Alana: Carolyn, thank you for being my guest today.

Carolyn: Thank you for having me.

Carolyn’s bio: Carolyn Arnold is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

Carolyn’s links:   Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Amazon

Take this link to my review of Assassination of a dignitary

You’re invited! Come see my fab new website!

You’re invited to check out my fab new website! 

I love new things, don’t you?  I actually love fab old things too, but this one is new and I’m really pleased with it.  Proud, too, of the accomplishment.

So I want to share it with absolutely everyone.

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The prompt was a problem with the blog sharing capabilities of my old website. That raised it’s very annoying head just two weeks before I was due to renew my website registration for another year or two.

It was obviously a sign from above to move on.  So I did.  To WordPress.  Boy, was that ever a steep learning curve!

Incredibly annoyingly—at least in the short term—was the fact that I was unable to transfer my existing data.  I therefore had to start from scratch.

That turned out to be a good thing because it made me analyse what my old site had offered and whether I wanted to replicate it.

I decided I didn’t.

I thought about what I, as a reader, like to see on author pages.

Information about their books, yes, but also information about them.  I like to know something about the lives of the authors I read.  Not nosy stuff, definitely not.  But where they live, what interests them and what they occasionally get up to.

 And here’s the result.

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I’ve completely overhauled my book pages to include the story behind the story and location pics.  I’ve also gone the extra mile and chosen the Australian actors I’d love to play my lead characters if the books were to be made into movies.  Come check them out.  Here are a few. imbroglio stars | automaton stars

There are character interviews too.

So come visit.  Tell me what you think.  Like a few pages.  Subscribe to my site and two blogs.  The invitation includes it all!!

Oh, and turn on your sound.

Cheers from me
Alana Woods Author

Alana Woods interviews: FALGUNI KOTHARI, author of Bootie and the Beast

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My guest author today is Indian-born, New York-residing FALGUNI KOTHARI. As I say in my review of BOOTIE AND THE BEAST, I was given a copy as a gift and because of that felt honour-bound to read it. Fortunately, I could report that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a bit off my beaten track in relation to culture and character backgrounds so one of the enjoyments for me was peeking into something new. Let me introduce Falguni and let her tell us about herself and her novels.

falguni kothari 516KB

Alana: Falguni, welcome, I’ve been looking forward to chatting. You call yourself a hybrid author. What do you mean by that?

Falguni: Hi Alana, thanks for having me on your blog and giving BOOTIE AND THE BEAST a lovely review. I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it.

I call myself a hybrid author for several reasons. One, because I am traditionally published with my first two books, but am going indie this November with the launch of my mythic fantasy series. Hybrid also because I write in several genres: romance, women’s fiction, fantasy and am trying my hand at romantic suspense next. I guess jumping genres would be more schizophrenic than hybrid, but that’s how I write. That’s how the stories come to me. Though, all of my stories have the common threads of South Asia and romance in them.

Alana: Before we get on to your books I want to ask about your dancing. I studied classical ballet as a child but you’re a Latin and Ballroom silver medalist as well as being a semi-professional Indian Classical dancer. Wow, is all I can say! You’re just going to have to give us a bit of background: how you chose the three types and why, and what you mean by semi-professional. Are they in your past or do you continue to practice them?

Falguni: I’ve always danced, and I think I always will. I love dancing as a form of entertainment as well as exercise. I learned Kathak, a classical dance from North India, through my childhood years, and as part of my dance class/study/experience I took part in elaborate stage musicals and international dance competitions with some success. But I never took up dancing professionally—as in paid performances or teaching. The ballroom and Latin dance is a fairly recent development, and I am still learning the craft. Though I seem to be good enough to win medals and accolades at amateur Dancesport competitions. ☺ I say that if I must get off my butt, I might as well dance.

Caption: Falguni didn’t have any Kathak dance photos but gave me these depicting moments in Latin and ballroom performances

Alana: You are Mumbai born and bred but now call New York home. Did you move there with your family as a child or with your husband after you married? Was there a particular reason for the move and are you living there permanently?

Falguni: My husband’s job brought us to New York around fifteen years ago. I’m not sure if we’ll be here permanently. I hope we retire in India.

Alana: Do you return to Mumbai at all? Do you miss it?

Falguni: I have lots of family in India still, and visit there quite regularly. My ties are strong.

Caption:  Falguni’s residence building in Mumbai overlooks a small woodland and peacocks come visiting every day

Alana: What do you like about New York?

Falguni: I like the pace of New York. Not so different from Mumbai. Both are fast, busy, sleepless cities. Crowded and frenetic. And then I like the differences between my two homes too—the whiteness of New York with the snow, seasons and people against the colorful heat of Mumbai.

Alana: Let’s move to your books. BOOTIE AND THE BEAST was published with Harlequin Mills & Boon and your first novel, IT’S YOUR MOVE, WORD FREAK was with a New Delhi publisher, Rupa & Co. But you say you’re publishing your next book as an indie author. What’s the reason for that?

Falguni: Oh, there are so many reasons for going indie, but the foremost one is time. Traditional publishing is a long process. It could take up to two years for your story to transition from manuscript to book, and that is if you’re lucky. I began to lose patience waiting for agents to get back to me with sensible publishing offers. And I became impatient with the lack of control a regular traditionally published author has. I figured as I’m still a newbie author (my career just starting) that I should experiment with alternate publishing paths now rather than later. Honestly, I got swept up by the whole indie revolution going on in the world.

Alana: It’s very hard not to be swept up by it, given that it makes publication accessible to everyone. How about tantalising my readers with a bit of BOOTIE and WORD FREAK story lines.

Falguni: Let’s start with IT’S YOUR MOVE, WORDFREAK. The book is about two people who connect online through a Scrabble game site, and after several months of competitive wordplay decide to take their ‘game’ offline. Aryan and Alisha go on a blind date and their online attraction explodes into a sexy, wordy and wordly affair.

In BOOTIE AND THE BEAST, two secondary characters from WORDFREAK find their happily-ever-after. Beauty Mathur is an Indian supermodel and a magnet for trouble. Krish Menon, aka the Beast, is a monstrously broody Indian ex-pat living in Dallas, Texas. He is Diya’s (Beauty’s) best friend’s brother (Alisha from WORDFREAK) and also Diya’s childhood crush and ex-fiancé. So when party princess Diya gets in trouble with her boss and needs a place to hide for a bit, Krish steps in out of loyalty and not a small amount of guilt, and offers her his home—or rather, the house he’s house-sitting for some friends. And proximity leads to intense friction and ultimately the fruition of their unrequited feelings for each other.

Huh, describing the gist of WORDFREAK and the BOOTIE has just reminded me how much fun these stories were to write … and read.

Bootie & the beast its your move

Alana: And the new book you’re gearing up to release in early November—will there be a finite number of books in the series or are you envisaging it to be ongoing?

Falguni: There will be seven books in the series. There may be a couple of spin-off novellas or novels about secondary characters, but the main series has a definite end to it. Slow in coming … but definite.

Alana: Would you give us a sneak peak into what it’s about?

Falguni: May I cheat and give you the blurb?

Alana: By all means.

Falguni: ‘On a muggy October morning, as Lord Karna peruses the Times of India on his iPad in his uber-protected Mumbai abode, he hardly expects an unannounced visit from the Gods, much less the cataclysmic tidings they bring him. By noon, Karna is saddled with the task of honing six delinquent godlings into demon hunters like himself—divine warriors duty-bound to rid the Human Realm of all evil asuras or demons. He is further flabbergasted to learn that one of the six is his own hitherto unknown offspring and—Holy Hell—inadvertently sired on a woman he loathes. Frankly, what can one expect in the dark Age of Kali?

In the days that follow, past and present paramours, secrets and mysteries pervade demi-god Karna’s supernatural world and even his tech-savvy sidekick, Eklavya, cannot make sense of it. Until, a centuries-old nemesis reappears with his vicious minions and vengeful intentions to destroy everything under Karna’s protection, especially his powerless human child.

Torn between his heavenly duties and earthy desires, can Lord Karna vanquish the Stone Demon this time around? Or will his flesh and blood—his own child—pay the ultimate price?

Soul warrior

Alana: Whew, I can see why seven books are needed. It’s a hell of a tale! Is THE AGE OF KALI what you will be concentrating on for the foreseeable future or are you planning to intersperse the series with other books?

Falguni: I have a women’s fiction story ready, which will come out sometime in April or May of 2016. I am a quarter of my way through a romantic suspense and will finish that before I spend the next several years finishing the AGE OF KALI series. I may need to write something different in between, just so things don’t get monotonous. Like I mentioned before—I’m a schizophrenic author. ☺

Alana: Have you decided whether to go traditional or indie with their publishing?

Falguni: With MY LAST LOVE STORY (the title of my women’s fiction story) I am definitely going indie. I have some interest from a couple of publishers for the romantic suspense, but no concrete offer until I finish the manuscript. So, we’ll see what happens with that.

Alana: Falguni, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thanks so much and I wish you much success with THE AGE OF KALI.

Falguni: Likewise, Alana. I have enjoyed answering your questions. Thank you for having me.

Falguni’s links:  Website   |   Amazon Author Page

Falguni on   Twitter   |   Facebook   |   Goodreads


Take this link to my review of BOOTIE AND THE BEAST

Alana Woods interviews RP DAHLKE, author of The Dead Red mystery series

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My guest today is Rebecca Dahlke, better known as RP Dahlke to her fans. I’ve just read the 4th book in her DEAD RED mystery series and it might be true to say that with the series Rebecca took to heart the advice given to many authors starting out, and that is to write what you know. I say that because the first three books at least centre on the crop dusting business and, like her heroine Lalla Bains, Rebecca worked in it herself.

RP Dahlke author pic

Alana: Welcome Rebecca. First of all, do you prefer Rebecca or RP?

Rebecca: Rebecca is just fine!

Alana: You grew up in Modesto, California, but escaped to the city after running your father’s crop-dusting business for two years. Whereabouts is home nowadays? Any particular reason you chose it?

Rebecca: We were leaving our sailboat in Mexico every summer, going back to the states to annoy our adult children, which can be very entertaining if you count how much fun it is to leave the towels on their bathroom floor and stand in front of an open fridge and ask, “What’s for dinner?”

Alana: Wow, you’re game. We’ve never been brave enough to push those boundaries!

Rebecca: Well, hijinks of that sort only go so far, so we figured it was time to buy a summer home, something close enough to drive to and from the Mexican Marina where we kept our boat. Of course, when my husband suggested a condo or apartment, I suggested he get realistic! I’d gotten used to wide open spaces, so we compromised on 4 acres and a nice house south of Tucson. The scenic shot is a picture of our back yard.

RP Dahlke's backyard

Alana: That’s some back yard! My husband John and I owned a 46ft catamaran for a few years and I pretended to be a sailor but never got out of the sheltered waters of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. Tell us a bit about your experience. What was or is your craft, how long have you been sailing and where? Have you retired from the sea or do you still sail?

Rebecca: We’re from the bay area of San Francisco, California. We both learned to sail on this bay—which really was a lot of fun, if you don’t mind dodging freighters barreling down on you at warp speed. We started with a 27ft water ballasted trailerable boat, then upsized to a Hylas 47. Interesting that you had a catamaran as we tried out a few with charters, and even considered purchasing one before opting to stick with the mono-hull. A 46 ft. cat is like a 65 ft. monohull, and a dream to sail, or so I’ve heard.

Yacht--Paloma Blanca

Alana: We sold some years ago, but our memories are of the fun we had. I understand you wrote your mystery sailing trilogy while sailing. I can imagine it would have been very conducive to getting the creative juices flowing. I haven’t read it, so would you tell us a bit about it? Does it follow a principal character?

Rebecca: The two books in my sailing trilogy are based around one small 32 ft Westsail and two sisters who inherited it from their father. They both learned to sail it on the San Francisco bay and loved it.

Alana: So you were writing from experience again.

Rebecca: I was, and am. In the first book, A DANGEROUS HARBOR, Katrina Hunter is a S.F. police detective on leave after shooting her sister’s stalker. She single hands the boat to Mexico only to find a floater, an old flame with a secret that could undo her career, a bald parrot and the man who could either become the love of her life or her undoing.

Alana: And the second?

Rebecca: The second book, HURRICANE HOLE, features the sister, Leila Hunter Standiford, queen of daytime drama. When she admires a beautiful vintage Alden and its handsome captain she doesn’t realize that the boat will soon burn to the water line, or that a dead body will be found below, or that the captain has been targeted as the sacrificial diver.

Alana: Lalla Bains, the heroine of the DEAD RED series, is very likeable. I dropped in on her in the 4th book in the series and at some point I’m going to have to go back and read about her earlier exploits. She reminded me of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, although she’s most definitely her own person. I imagine I’m not the first person to make favourable comparisons.

Rebecca: I’ve been absolutely floored that so many readers have commented that this series reminds them of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series! I write what I like to read and, of course, Janet Evanovich is the queen of humorous mysteries.

Alana: I have to admit to becoming a bit tired of Stephanie by the time the books got to double figures.

Rebecca: Well, I can tell you there a lot of really entertaining authors who can also tickle the funny bone while writing a really good mystery. Try Heather Haven or Cindy Sample, or AJ Lape or Kaye George. Want to get all of these authors, myself included in a boxed set? Get WHAT’S SO FUNNY ABOUT MURDER? and enjoy seven complete humorous novels for only 99 cents.

What's so funny

Alana: Thanks, I’ve just taken you up on that☺. About time I found myself some more authors in the genre. But getting back to you, do you have more stories in either or both of the series planned?

Rebecca: I’m writing #5 in the DEAD RED mystery series. This one is titled A DEAD RED MIRACLE and it’s again based in Wishbone, Arizona. I’m so enjoying writing about this area. Did you know that South East Arizona is where Geronimo and Cochise lived? These two Chirachauhua Apache Indians were famous for side-stepping American efforts to corral them, or their people.

(Alana: A DEAD RED MIRACLE has since been published and I’ve included the link here.)


Alana: Cowboys and Indians was one of the favourite games when I was growing up. I remember the girls always had to be the Indians and the cowboys always had to win. Things would be different if kids played it nowadays I think! But again, let’s get back to you. You produce a newsletter too, I’ve heard.

Rebecca: I do, three times a week and they feature the best in mystery/suspense and thrillers with DIRT CHEAP MYSTERY READS.

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Alana: Are there new books envisaged for the future that take you away from the two current series and perhaps into a new genre?

Rebecca: oh, boy—that’s a loaded question. I so want to write a book that I’ve had in my head for several years, but the DEAD RED series is starting to pick up more and more readers, so much so that I can’t see how to stop writing the next and the next just to indulge my fantasy of something completely different.

Alana: Well, I look forward to reading it when you do. Rebecca, thank you so much for talking with me.

Rebecca: It has been my pleasure! Thank you for having me!

RP DAHLKE’S links:  website   |   DIRTCHEAPMYSTERYREADS   |   Amazon
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Take this link to my review of A DEAD RED ALIBI