Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Guest Author Day with Valerie J. Clarizio

To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out? 
Currently, I’m working on the third novella in the Nick Spinelli Mystery series.  Additionally, I’m working on a contemporary romance novel set in Chicago, and plotting the second novel for the Upper Peninsula series which was introduced in Taken by Surprise (mentioned below). 

Earlier this summer, I contracted with Whiskey Creek Press for two novels which are both scheduled for release in 2014.
Unforeseen Obsessions (Romantic Suspense): Alex lost her Police Officer husband to a cop-killer in the line of duty, and she’s vowed to see the murderer brought to justice.  But she can’t do it alone, and turns to Peter DeBaker, her late husband’s best friend and co-worker.  Peter sets out to find the killer, while trying to protect himself and Alex, who appears to be next on the murderer’s list.

Taken by Surprise (Contemporary Romance with suspense elements): Clare’s journey begins when she finally has her fill of Sean’s cheating ways.  On impulse she chucks her well-to-do Milwaukee City life and moves into her grandparent’s old homestead in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan.  The quiet small town of Iron City is just what she needs to get her life in order.  However, disaster seems to follow her.  Her now ex-fiancé is not about to let her go on her terms, and finds his way to the U.P. setting up roadblocks wherever he can. Additionally, her involvement with a public figure, aka town player, lands her in a world of trouble with his ring of female admirers sending her on a dangerously chaotic adventure.  Through all the mayhem, Clare finds she was stronger than she’d thought.

Do you have any guilty pleasures? 
Dark chocolate and Miller Lite.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
I’ve been contemplating moving to a cabin in Montana and becoming a recluse so I can write more.  My husband says he would like to move with me.  I’m guessing that’s a good thing but then I wouldn’t be a recluse, would I?

Where do you find the inspirations for your stories? 
I work at City Hall and there isn’t a day that goes by that some sort of crazy event doesn’t occur that isn’t work embellishing. 

If you could collaborate with one author who would it be?  
I would like to collaborate with J.A. Konrath.  He seems to have a twisted mind like mine.

When you begin your stories, do you go with the flow, or go with an outline? 
My characters control me.  I do very little plotting.  I know what I want the story to be about, and how I want it to finish, but somewhere in between my characters let me know how it is going to be.

How do you like to relax after a day of writing? 
I would love to know what it is like to relax after a day of writing.  I hold a full-time and part-time job in addition to writing, so my writing usually takes place from 5:30 to 7:00 in the morning before I go to my daytime job.  Every now and then I get a day of writing on the weekends, and I like to celebrate this event by relaxing with a glass of wine or a delicious bottle of Miller Lite.

If a movie or TV production company chose to produce your books into a series of shows or movies, who would your ideal cast be? 
I would cast Anson Mount as Spinelli and Molly Quinn as Shannon.

What is one fun fact about you that readers don't know? 
I grew up with three brothers who consider themselves avid hunters.  To date, I’ve shot a larger buck than two of them but for some reason they don’t like to talk about it.

Craving Vengeance, A Nick Spinelli Mystery (novella #2 in the series)
Available at Amazon / Melange Books

Nick Spinelli's normal life as a homicide detective has been catapulted into a whirlwind of chaotic holiday adventures ever since he met the beautiful Shannon O'Hara.

Nick had hoped to spend his first Valentine's Day with Shannon in a traditional manner, starting with a nice dinner out on the town and then perhaps a long warm adventurous night in her arms. His plans quickly change when cupid is found murdered in a back alley. The investigation becomes more and more inconceivable, as Spinelli discovers that Shannon is linked to the victim. When another cupid turns up dead, and it is discovered that Shannon knows him as well, Spinelli is motivated to go undercover as a singing valentine dressed as cupid, complete with wings and a quiver of arrows. How many other cupids are at risk? Is Spinelli on the killer's list as well? The stress ignited by the day's events causes sparks to fly between Spinelli and Shannon as he struggles to piece it all together and stop the string of slayings.

Spinelli’s eyes popped open. He stared into the face of an angel. Was he still sleeping? How was it he had lured this beautiful creature into his life just a little over two months ago? He resisted the urge to run his fingers over her soft, milky white skin. She looked so peaceful when she slept. He would never be bored watching her sleep. Her slow even breaths mesmerized him. Was he dreaming? He almost went so far as to pinch his arm.
Shannon stirred and flipped over. Her shiny red hair spread out over her pillow like wildfire. He didn’t need the nearby streetlight peaking through the window blinds to notice her fiery hair, but it certainly helped to illuminate its zest. Spinelli reached over and skimmed his hand over her soft hair. Silky strands sifted through his fingers sending an electrical current rippling throughout his body. He debated waking her, taking her again. He nearly chuckled at the thought. When they’d first met, they couldn’t stand to be with one another, now they couldn’t stand to be apart. Cupid’s arrow struck him, hard and fast, out of nowhere. He was done, toast.
His cell phone vibrated on the nightstand. He reached over her to grab it before it woke her. Too late. Her beautiful emerald eyes fluttered open. He stared into the sea of green looking back at him, nearly forgetting about the call.
Her full ruby red lips stretched into a soft smile. “Nick, your phone is vibrating.”
His ears focused on the sweet sound of his name rolling off her tongue. No one ever called him by his first name. Everyone called him Spinelli or Detective, even Shannon did when they first met. But at some
point over the past couple of months, she had started calling him by his first name. It nearly drove him insane every time she said it. His heart raced. He should take her again.
“Nick,” she whispered, knocking him out of his reverie.
“Your phone is still humming.”
“Oh, yeah.”
He grabbed his phone from the nightstand. The time in the upper right-hand corner read 4:00 a.m. Captain Jackson’s face flashed across the screen. He tapped the screen and held the phone to his ear. “Spinelli here.”
“Rise and shine, Spinelli. We got one for you, down on Water Street. Male, late 20’s, cause of death not obvious. I’ve already texted you the address. The officers on the scene are cordoning off the premises.”
Though he wasn’t a morning person, not even close, a rush of adrenaline crashed through him like a tidal wave. This is what he lived for, catching killers. He sprang out of bed as Jackson’s words trailed off. “I’m on it,” Spinelli rasped before he disconnected the call.
He retrieved his contact list and tapped Detective Walker’s profile. Walker answered with a growl. Spinelli gave him the details; then he did the same with Detective Marsh.
Spinelli slid into a pair of jeans and pulled a long sleeved navy polo shirt over his head. He grabbed his Beretta 9mm from his nightstand and secured it in his holster before he slung the chain connected to his gold detective badge over his head.
He’d nearly leaped through the bedroom door before he remembered Shannon still lay in his bed, entwined in his comforter. He’d rather it be that she were intertwined with him. He spun on his heel and in two long, quick steps was at her bedside.
Her bright green gaze fixed on him. An amused look covered her face. He knelt down beside the bed. “I gotta go.”
“I gathered that.”
“So I’ll pick you up at your place tonight at 7:00?” he asked, confirming their dinner date.
Spinelli arched a brow. “No?”
Shannon rubbed her eyes. “I mean yes to dinner, but can we push it back to 8:00? I know that’s getting late, but I’m scheduled to do the singing valentines for the church fundraiser from 4:00 until 7:00.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll change the dinner reservation.”
He leaned forward and brushed his lips lightly across hers. He knew he had to keep it light or he wouldn’t be able to leave.
She didn’t play fair. She reached up, wrapped her arms around his neck, and pulled him to her. He let her, he was weak. His mind was mush.
He responded to her demand for more and deepened the kiss. His tongue passed through her lips. She tasted sweet. How did she always taste so sweet? His heart pounded in his chest.
Suddenly, Captain Jackson’s words from moments ago echoed in his head. We got one for you, down on Water Street. Male, late 20’s, cause of death not obvious. Christ, he’d nearly forgotten he had a dead body to attend to.
He pried his lips from Shannon’s, nearly needing the help of a mechanic with a crowbar.
He rose to his feet, willing his knees to support him. She always left him weak-kneed, and she probably didn’t have a clue. “I’ll see you tonight. I have a special Valentine’s evening planned for us.”

Valerie Clarizio lives in beautiful Door County Wisconsin with her husband and one very spoiled cat. She loves to read, write, and spend time at her cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She's lived her life surrounded by men, three brothers, a husband, and a male Siamese cat who required his own instruction manual. Keeping up with all the men in her life has turned her into a successful hunter and fisherwoman.

Valerie is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. She was a finalist in the 2011 Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Novellas Need Love, Too! Contest.
Where to find Valerie:

Twitter: @VClarizio

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