Friday, October 3, 2014

First Friday with the Crew: Take a Virtual Stroll in our World(s).

This First Friday with the Crew, 
come along on a virtual street tour of locations featured in our novels.

G. Jillian Stone

The Dog and Duck Public House, a favorite Special 
Branch (Scotland Yard) watering hole.

Sometimes I like to walk the streets of London with my characters. Especially when  I'm feeling like I need to soak up a bit of foggy atmosphere. I often walk in Green Park, along the Embankment to Whitehall and Scotland Yard. In the evenings I might even pop into the Dog and Duck for a pint.   

Before I start a new manuscript I do a fairly extensive mapping of my protagonist's world. 

No. 10 Lyall Street, Belgravia. Residence of Detective Kennedy. 

And I'm fortunate that much of what was Victorian London in the late 1880s––the Lyceum Theatre, Leadenhall Market,  Savile Row–– all survive, even flourish to this day. I'm often delighted to find just the right home for my characters tucked away on some quiet London street.

 Zeno (Zak) Kennedy, hero of AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY,  lives in this comfortable town house several blocks west of Belgrave Square. 

As the story goes, Zak used an inheritance from his uncle to buy the manse and had it converted into two flats. He resides in No. 10 and lets No. 11 to the attractive young widow, Cassandra St. Cloud. In the screen shot above you will easily find the doors to both residences, and if you look carefully, there is an archway which is the former Lyall Street mews entrance.
Top right: What is left of Scotland Yard today. Bottom right: An early engraving of Great Scotland Yard. 

I often take a virtual stroll down narrow alleys and obscure yards searching for a safe house for one of Scotland Yard's undercover agents, or a villain's lair hidden beneath St. Katharine Docks.

Want to take a walk in my world? For more on the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard or my historical paranormal Phaeton Black series, visit my Amazon Author page. 

Detective Flynn Rhys is mad, bad and dangerous to know. 

Codename: Dragon, coming in Spring 2015.

E.E. Burke

A Dangerous Passion, coming this November, is the latest in my series Steam! Romance and Rails

This suspenseful historical romance that pits an ambitious railroad chief against his rival's daughter, takes place in Parsons, Kansas--located in the southeastern corner of the state, close to the Oklahoma border which at that time was Indian Territory. 

Henry Stevens, the hero, is based on the actual general manager of the Katy Railroad. His clever exploits and fierce drive to build the railroad in spite of impossible odds make him a fascinating character. Lucy finds he's a dangerous man to be crossed, but impossible to resist.

Parsons, early 1870s
It was a wild frontier in those days, as my adventure seeking heroine, Lucy Forbes, soon finds out. (Yes, those are covered wagons in the middle of town--a frequent sight those days.) 

Parsons was headquarters for the Katy Railroad. Over the years they had numerous depots. No pictures exist of the first and second depot. Here's the third, built in the late 1880's and later destroyed by fire. All those hot cinders spewed from steam locomotives can be dangerous.
Parsons 3rd Depot
Parsons is also close to a site where the Bender family murdered at least nine people over a period stretching from 1871 through early 1873. 

Drawing of Bender house

They lived in a house/inn that served travelers near the rail line. Kate Bender told fortunes. 

Unwary visitors were lured in, fed dinner, then bashed in the back of the head and buried in the basement or field out back. Residents report seeing the old man plowing at midnight. Chilling, isn't it? This grisly crime is woven into my story, as are other historical events in local and railroad history. For more info about my new book and more images, check out my Website or my Pinterest page.

Alexa Bourne

Earlier this week I received a new book contract! I'm so excited because it's set in my favorite place, Scotland. When I write about characters wandering through the moors or the streets in Scottish cities, my heart just fills with peace. Chasing Gold is a contemporary romantic adventure story set in the Scottish Highlands. The main characters, Americans Grace and Simon, are searching for a family heirloom but for totally different reasons. They spend a majority of the book traipsing through the gorgeous scenery as they learn to work together. How can you NOT be drawn into this scenery? if this wasn't good enough, my next book, Wake Me, releases October 17th! This book is a romantic suspense with a paranormal element. It's the first book in a new series with all the books set in Austin, TX. If you look closely on the bottom of the cover you'll see the Austin skyline!



Kathleen Baldwin
The ruins of Corfe Castle look very like the ruins where the 
hero kisses the heroine of my traditional Regency,  

Lord St. Evert despises pretension of any kind. He cannot abide the self-important airs put on by some members of the Ton and takes pleasure in making a mockery of Brummell’s fashion strictures. Conceited frauds! Hadn’t his grandfather’s snobbery made his mother’s life a misery? All the more maddening to discover that the one woman who captures his interest is the biggest pretender of all. He vows to teach Miss Elizabeth Hampton a lesson she won’t soon forget.

Vicki Batman

Temporarily Employed

New Job. New Love. And Murder. Hattie Cook's dream job is down the toilet and her new SUV violated. Desperate for cash to cover the basic necessities of rent and food, she takes a temporary job at Buy Rite Insurance Company where she uncovers an embezzling scam tied to the death of a former employee--the very one she replaced. The last thing she wants is to clash with By-the-Book Detective Wellborn, no matter how much he makes her heart pound.
Detective Allan Charles Wellborn has secretly adored Hattie all his life. When the police determine there's more to the death of a former Buy Rite employee, he steps in to lead the investigation. Overly dedicated, always perfect, he puts his job first, even if doing so ultimately hurts the one he loves.
Can the killer be found before Hattie's time is up?

Sommerville’s premiere department store, Tucker's, had recruited me for the job I'd truly desired. Steadily, I'd fishtailed my way up the food chain to become the menswear assistant buyer. The bonus of being the only woman in the men's division meant I received an enormous portion of flattering male attention, too. 

I'd loved my job. I'd held the everlasting wish to continue my retail career with Tuckers. I'd visited our sister stores in nearby smaller towns to arrange merchandise and consult with the staff. At the Men's Wear Show, I'd purchased new inventory. Did relevant paperwork. Pride and accomplishment consumed me when an order went from paper to merchandise to display.

The mall where my heroine loves to shop.
However, when I'd fallen victim to department reorganization during a slight economic downturn, my bubble had burst. Translated—I was let go.

Today, I'd taken the initiative and implemented Plan A—interviewing with Tuckers’ closest competitor on the off-chance something was available. I'd borne sky-high hopes for the meeting, only to find they weren’t hiring either. My heart broke with disappointment. I didn’t want a trip to the Europe or a million dollars. I wanted a plain ol’ job, doing what I'd done before.

Now, I had to shift to Plan B.  

Earlier, over lunch at Muy Bueno with Maggie, a Funsister friend who'd worked with me when we were teenagers at Amazing Adventureland, the local theme park, posed, “Why not try temporary jobs?”

I'd never considered working as a temp. I'd quirked my eyebrows upwards. “Temporary?”

“Sure." She'd beefed the idea with enthusiasm.  "That way, if you don’t like the job, you don’t have to go back. And you can continue to look for buying jobs until the right opportunity opens up.” 

Maggie was right. Temporary jobs would pay the rent and provide cash for food—and chocolate—until I'd found the position I truly desired.

Preorder links for Temporarily Employed: Amazon     The Wild Rose Press

Angi Morgan
a Bodyguards in Heels novella

I also do extensive location research. Most of mine require a drive across Texas...or for my new Bodyguards in Heels series, just a drive around Dallas. 
~ ~ ~
Hallie Barton's hearing voices in her head. She's always had a strong intuition when it came to what a perp was about to do. She never imagined it was a 6th sense. ESP? Who believed in that? Her Grammy for one...and then there would be all her cousins...

Hallie relocates to Dallas, gets her PI license and her Grammy sets up shop, inviting all her cousins to participate. As each one joins the fun, their 6th sense gets stronger. But none of them realize their Grammy has an ulterior motive...finding the right match for them all.
~ ~ ~
I know Dallas pretty well. Most of the time I have a general idea of where something should be located. I grew up here and I'm not afraid of traffic. Since my third love is photography (2nd are my Labs, 1st is my writing--the family is on a different scale). I love taking pictures. I have a slide show of my research photos rotating constantly while I write to inspire me. 

Here's Grammy's house, where the cousins will all start out together. It's a big house and Grammy's money is paying the bills of Bodyguards in Heels, their agency so they don't mind living there for a while.  And even though this shop looks like a Christmas store (because it is)...this is where I picture the office.

You can find location shots on A Picture A Day and my Facebook page. I hope you'll friend me and drop me a line. Check out my Birthday Bash Oct 9th on Facebook. < #AMsBdayBash > Join the party early for special #flash #giveaways. 

Lara Lacombe
Coming in December!

My first three books are set in Washington, D.C., a city I'm familiar with because I lived in that area for about 5 years while I was in grad school.  I fell in love with D.C., and even though I haven't made it back since I graduated, my memories of buildings and locations are as fresh as ever.

My third book takes place in the middle of winter, when a snowstorm blankets the city.  Unfortunately, the pictures I found don't have snow, so you'll just have to use your imagination to fill in! :)

The heroine of this book is Jillian, an ER doctor who has been kidnapped by Alex, an undercover FBI agent.  He's being framed by a bad guy in the Bureau, and he's trying to prove his innocence.  At one point in the book, Jillian walks into Ben's Chili Bowl to set up a meeting between Alex and his friend.

Ben's is a D.C. institution (with great food!) and it's a few blocks away from the Civil War Memorial, where Alex and his friend actually meet.

This story takes place all over the city, so be sure to check it out!  LETHAL LIES is up for pre-order now!

Amazon Kindle | Print
Barnes & Noble Nook | Print
Books-A-Million eBook | Print

Lizbeth Selvig
Avon Impulse

 My heroine, Rio Montoya, from "Beauty and the Brit" grew up in one of the toughest areas in Minneapolis, MN - known as The Phillips Neighborhood.  It's near a major thoroughfare and stretch of businesses, Lake Street, that runs through several gang zones--Latino, Black and Asian. She's made a home in a tough area. 

Here are shots of Rio's neighborhood--her house (before the fire) is the cute little tan and brown one in the top picture, but don't let the peacefulness fool you; this  street isn't for wimps.
Two street shots below are of W. Lake Street in Minneapolis. There are some bustling businesses, and restaurants for every ethnicity. 
You can also see one of the grills where Rio has worked (above). It might look safe, but you really don't want to stroll this street alone at night.  
Rio might think she's tied to the city, but her dream is to go out west and find some wide open spaces. Before she gets that far, however, she takes a little detour--to the small outstate Minnesota town of Kennison Falls. Here's a Google Earth shot of the area surrounding KF -- you can see the town in the corner and the landscape that's as different from Minneapolis as it can get.
And once she's there, her environment is also unlike anything she's ever been used to. While this isn't a street shot--it's a taste of one of her favorite spots on David Pitts-Matherson's farm:  the barn.

And, Kennison Falls is also home to Dewey Mitchell's Gas 'n' Garage - check out his restored station (left). You'll get to read Dewey's story in my soon-to-be-released 
"Good Guys Wear Black" -- coming out on October 14th. 

Buried Agendas
coming in November, 2014

 While we're waiting for my newest release, I thought I'd share some scenes in BETRAYED.  In Betrayed, my heroine, Kinsey Masters, runs in a popular running spot called the Highland Canal in Denver. (I use several authentic places in BETRAYED.) Unfortunately, my antagonist discovers where she runs and uses Kinsey to take his revenge on my hero, Detective Nate Paxton. I actually visited the place where Kinsey jogs with her black Labrador, Cordie. I wanted to take pictures of the place so I could wrap my writer's brain around the locale. What do you think? How's this for a suspenseful scene?

It's difficult to pinpoint where Kinsey might actually live (we do write fiction, after all.)  But I believe her place might look something like this . . .

Heck, if Kinsey doesn't want to live there, I do! 
Happy Reading!

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Monday on GLIAS: Regina Kyle
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or @GetLostInAStory  #GetLostStories

QUESTION FOR TODAY: How much detail do you like in the books you read?


  1. This virtual tour was fun to do and read about. Thanks everyone for sharing!

  2. I love looking at these pictures, and seeing how authors envision/detail their stories. Happy Friday, everyone!

  3. Q: How much detail do I like to read in books? A: Enough to draw me into the world of the characters. Endless description of setting is as boring as too much backstory. I like to sprinkle in the details without the reader being aware that I'm doing it. I want my reader to be immersed in the story––transported to another world.

  4. This was fun! I love looking at where all of your stories take place. Makes them feel so real.
    Lovely idea. Thanks for setting it up Jill.

  5. I love seeing where my GLIAS pals are with their writing! And I totally agree with you Jill. I need just enough detail to draw me in. My imagination does the rest.

  6. Love! I could get books with this! <3<3

  7. I had so much fun looking at all the pictures! I'm a detail person. I love lots of detail (don't throw tomatoes) -- a throwback to the old LaVyrle Spencer type novels. But, I know it's an art to give just the right amount to make things vivid and real. These screen shots are wonderful!

  8. enough so that the book makes sense, but not so much it becomes boring

  9. I enjoy learning about the period the story is set in, as well as the location, and any details that provide a lush backdrop for the story.

    1. I Always try to make the location a part of the the story couldn't take place anywhere but there.

    2. I try to paint the picture so that the reader can see the setting in case she never gets a chance to visit. And maybe, after reading, she'll start to make plans to visit!

  10. I really enjoyed this virtual tour. When I'm reading a book I do like details so I can fully imagine the setting as I'm reading.

    Marcy Shuler

    1. Hey Marcy !
      If I don't include enough details, you can always check out my Pintrest Board for the story, my facebook page or my blog. I always have lots of research pictures there.

  11. I loved the virtual tour, it's really fun to see places that appear in your stories.

  12. Get lost in a story? Heck, I could get lost in this blog. It is fantastic. I loved seeing the settings. Although my books are set in real places - Florida Keys and greater Miami area - Catherine Swope lives in a fictional town. My Pinterest page has a binder for each book with setting, rooms, etc. I need to create a world for my characters.

    1. I also pin my research. Each of my books has a Pintrest Board to follow. I can spend hours on Pintrest (when I shouldn't).

  13. QUESTION FOR TODAY: How much detail do you like in the books you read?
    Answer: i like enough that i get a good visual but not so much that it interferes with the actual story line. sometimes there is so much detail that it pulls you out of the story. :)

    tammy ramey

  14. What a great article—a photographic glimpse into the fictional worlds of all these wonderful books. I love when authors use details to give a sense of place to their stories so I can travel inside the pages of books. Thanks for sharing.