Muse Wednesday: Lori Armstrong

This Muse Wednesday’s guest author is mystery author Lori Armstrong. Lori is a fellow panelist of mine for the upcoming Bouchercon in Cleveland. Our panel – Murder, Mayhem,and the Mattress Mambo is scheduled for Friday, October 4th at 4:00 PM (EST). If you’re in Cleveland, come see her, me, Heather Graham, Jordan Dane, and CJ Lyons talk about all things romantic and sexy in suspense/mystery/thrillers.

When asked who influenced her to write in the genre she writes, she came up with the following essay. I was happy to see old friends in Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew.

Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew – Lori Armstrong

Two questions I get asked more than any other, as far as writing, are:

  • Where do I get my ideas?
  • Who are most influential authors/books?

The first question usually receives a smart-ass response—I buy them in bulk at Costco. The second response is a no brainer—Laura Ingalls Wilder and Nancy Drew.

Like most authors, my love of reading led to my love of writing. I can’t recall the first book I read on my own, but I remember the giddy sense of…WOW, I can read anything! And I loved going to the library and loading up on as many books as I could carry—which a suspect now was all they’d allow us to check out.

I’m a native South Dakotan, 4th generation on both sides of my family. Third graders in South Dakota in history class, spend most the year reading about how immigrants came to settle in this part of the country. One of the assignments was to read a Laura Ingalls Wilder book because it chronicled the trials and tribulations of a family finding a place in this new land, through the eyes of a child, about the same age we were. I started with the first book, “Little House in the Big Woods” and was hooked. I devoured all the books in the series and decided I’d been born in the wrong century. I wanted to be a pioneer. Laura Ingalls was resourceful, a hard worker, devoted to her family, sometimes mischievous but she exhibited that can do attitude we South Dakotans are so proud of to this day. For a number of years I’d go back and re-read the series until I got too old…oddly enough, when my daughters were old enough to read the books, I didn’t re-read them because I didn’t want to taint that childhood experience of discovery.

After I finished all the “Little House” books, I was perusing the school library, when I came across a set of books bound in pink. I’ll admit to being somewhat of a girly-girl from a young age, so I picked one up. The main character was a teenage girl who had her own car, cool friends, great clothes, a college boyfriend…and had adventures galore in her smallish hometown. Once again I was smitten.  I had another character to admire and aspire to be like—I just knew I’d grow up solving crimes. Nancy Drew was clever, kind, curious, and loyal. I tore through those books and actually convinced my mother to buy me the ones the library didn’t have. Yes, I still have those books, and like the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, I haven’t gone back and re-read them.

It might sound odd—sharing the author/books that have most influenced my writing, and then saying I haven’t re-read them since childhood. Yet, I’ve talked to other writers and other parents who have revisited those childhood favorites and because their perspective has changed, they find things in the books they never noticed that changed how they felt about the book. I’d hate for that to happen to me, so I keep the memories of the book alive by remembering how much I loved them and how they shaped what I wanted to write.

Besides, given my reading choices, I was pretty much predestined to write a PI series set in South Dakota, don’t you think?

Bio:

Lori G. Armstrong left the firearms industry in 2000. Her first mystery novel, BLOOD TIES, published in 2005, was nominated in 2006 for a Shamus Award for Best First Novel by the Private Eye Writers of America. The second book in the Julie Collins mystery series, HALLOWED GROUND, released Nov. 2006, was nominated for a 2007 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original, a Daphne du Maurier Award and won the 2007 WILLA Cather Literary Award for Best Original Softcover Fiction. SHALLOW GRAVE, released in Nov. 2007, was nominated for a 2008 High Plains Book Award, a Daphne du Maurier Award and was a finalist for the 2008 WILLA Cather Literary Award. The fourth book, SNOW BLIND, released in Oct. 2008, won the 2009 Shamus Award, from the Private Eye Writers of America, for Best Paperback Original. Lori is a proud fourth generation South Dakotan and lives in Rapid City with her family.

Great Romantic Suspense Beach Reads

Welcome to the Love’s A Beach blog hop from the folks at JustRomanceMe.  If this is your first time on the blog tour bus, you’re in for a treat.  If you’re a regular welcome back!

If you started here, you might want to go back and begin HERE. That way you will take the blog tour bus from the beginning, won’t miss any of the great blogs, and then have the chance to enter for FREE to win great prizes provided by the participating authors including a Nook with Glowlight loaded with books. Oh, and winners will be announced at Gem Sivad’s place on Sunday, August 19th at 7 pm (EST), during a live chat with many of the authors and fellow hoppers.

Oh, and if you read all the way to the end — there is a chance to win a FREE book on this blog, also!

What do I like to read in the summer? What books would I take to the beach? My favorite genre to escape it all — and let’s face it when you’re at the beach, you want to escape your usual 24/7 life — is the romantic suspense/thriller/mystery genre.

And it just so happens, I will be moderating a panel of some of the bestselling romantic suspense/thriller/mystery authors this October 4-7, in Cleveland, Ohio during Bouchercon. Our panel is titled the “I Used to Love Her, But I Had to Kill Her” panel, named after a song from Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Guns ‘N Roses.  The subtitle of the panel is “Murder, Mayhem, and the Mattress Mambo.”  Heather Graham, Jordan Dane, CJ Lyons, Lori Armstrong, and myself will be discussing how sex plays a role in suspense/thrillers/mystery books.

Here are some sneak peeks into what this panel is all about– and  I’m sure, like me, you’ll find the perfect book for that lazy day on the beach — or wherever you go to escape every  day life.

From bestselling author, Heather Graham, comes the third and final book of her Krewe of Hunters Trilogy (publication date 8/28/2012).

Blurb:

  Philadelphia mansion plays host to uninvited death

1777: In the throes of the Revolutionary War, Landon Mansion is commandeered by British Lord “Butcher” Bedford. He stabs Lucy Tarleton-who spurned his king and his love-leaving her to die in her father’s arms.

Now: After the day’s final tour, docent Allison Leigh makes her rounds while locking up…and finds a colleague slumped over Bedford’s desk, impaled on his own replica bayonet.

Resident ghosts may be the stock-in-trade of stately Philadelphia homes, but Allison-a noted historian-is indignant at the prospect of “ghost hunters” investigating this apparent murder.

Agent Tyler Montague knows his hauntings and his history. But while Allison is skeptical of the newcomer, a second mysterious murder occurs. Has “Butcher” Bedford resurfaced? Or is there another malevolent force at work in Landon Mansion? Wary, yet deeply attracted, Allison has to trust in Tyler and work with him to discover just what uninvited guest-dead or alive-has taken over the house.Or their lives could become history!

For more on the Krewe of Hunters Trilogy and all the other fabulous books Heather has authored, visit Heather Graham’s website.

From bestselling author, Jordan Dane, comes the third book in her Sweet Justice series, The Echoes of Violence (pub date 9/2010).

Blurb:

The Echo of Violence The man she’d trust with her heart could sabotage everything…

When terrorists attack a Haitian missionary school, brutally killing their hostages and posting videos of the senseless murders online, time is running out. Sentinels’ agent Alexa Marlowe is forced into an unlikely alliance with a relentless mercenary. But he is no stranger.

Jackson Kinkaid witnessed the raid, and only he can track the killers to their mountain stronghold. Guarding a dark secret, rumored to sell his services to the highest bidder, Jackson is not the same man Alexa once knew. And although he can lead her to the terrorist leader she’s been ordered to take alive, how can she be sure he won’t sabotage her mission to save the one person who got him through the worst nightmare of his life?

For more books from Jordan visit her website.

From bestselling author CJ Lyons comes the print re-release of her best-selling e-book with new material, Blind Faith (July 31, 2012).

Blurb:

When her husband and son are murdered, she thought she’d lost it all. But for Sarah Durandt the nightmare is just beginning…

Sarah has just witnessed the execution of the man who confessed to killing her husband and son, among others. She leaves with no closure as the killer has refused her repeated requests to reveal the site of her family’s graves. Sarah returns home to her small town of Hopewell in the Adirondacks Mountains and vows to search until she finds Sam and Josh.

Her hunt leads her to a trail of lies and unearths a new killer. In a race to save everything she holds dear, Sarah is forced to place her faith in the man who betrayed her…her husband.

Note: This new edition contains material not found in the original e-version which hit #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list!

Want to see more from CJ Lyons? Visit her website.

From bestselling author Lori Armstrong comes the second book in her Mercy Gunderson mystery series, Mercy Kill (pub date 1/2011 ).

Blurb:

Former Black Ops Army sniper, Mercy Gunderson isn’t adjusting well to the laid-back rhythm of civilian life on her family’s ranch in South Dakota. To fill her time, Mercy accepts a temporary bartending gig at a local watering hole. Yet her attempts to settle in back home are tested when Titan Oil, a Canadian company proposing to run an underground pipeline through Eagle River County, sends Jason Hawley, Mercy’s former Army buddy to the area to convince ranchers to get behind the project.

While local business owners support the pipeline, Hawley’s presence riles the landowners and Mercy is torn. After ugly threats and multiple altercations escalate tensions in the county, Mercy discovers Hawley’s brutally mutilated body in the bar parking lot. When it appears Sheriff Dawson cares more about campaigning for re-election than investigating the case, Mercy vows to find Jason Hawley’s killer—even if she has to run against Dawson for sheriff to ensure justice is served.

But Mercy soon learns her former military pal had plenty of secrets. Her search for the truth brings unwanted exposure to the county’s dark side and risks deadly repercussions for the entire community.

Visit Lori’s Website.

And finally we come to my most recent top seller, Cold Day in Hell, Book 2 in the Security Specialists International series.


Blurb:

Calista Meyers is a world-famous, soon-to-be-ex-supermodel. After arriving for a fashion shoot in Cartagena, Colombia, she realizes her agent has misled her about the nature of her last modeling assignment.

Paramilitary leader Jaime Cruz paid her slimy agent a lot of money to get Callie to his part of the world. Cruz has threatened to kidnap and kill her younger brothers if she attempts to leave the country.

What’s a Marine brat to do? Callie calls on her childhood friend Keely Walsh-Maddox and Keely’s husband Ren, the owner of Security Specialists International, to help her.

SSI sends operative Risto Smith to rescue Callie. The former Marine has had a thing for the model ever since he’d first seen her picture on a magazine cover. But he knows he isn’t nearly good enough for a lady like her. She’s an assignment and can be nothing else.

Callie knows Risto is just the man for her and decides to use the close quarters of their escape from Colombia to convince the stubborn male. When Risto leaves her in Panama and disappears, Callie is upset but not defeated. But after two months passes with no word from Risto and with her enemy Cruz in the US and back on her trail, Callie once again turns to Risto for protection.

This time, it would be a cold day in hell before Callie allows Risto to turn his back on their love.

To find out more about my books?  Check out the book pages on this blog or go to my website.
Thanks for visiting my little piece of the blog tour — please comment and share your favorite romantic suspense/thriller/mystery, and I will award one person a FREE download of Cold Day in Hell!
Have a book-filled rest of the summer! — Monette