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Spotlight: Deadly Alliance by Kathleen Rowland

Check out this romantic suspense novel by fellow Tirgearr author Kathleen Rowland!

deadly_alliance_by_kathleen_rowland-200Finbar Donahue, former Army Ranger, walked on the wild side in Iraq, but now he lives in the shadows. After his evasive partner, Les, was shot in a random drive-by, Finn discovers cash is siphoned monthly. He fights to keep his investment company afloat. When the late partner’s girlfriend, Amy Kintyre, applies for his bookkeeping job, Finn suspects she knows about his company drain and hires her.

Amy needs a nine-to-five with free evenings and weekends to get her fashion design business back on track. She unearths Les’ s secret bank account and alerts Finn. Freezing of the money laundering account sets off havoc within an Irish gang. Amy witnesses a gang fight between a brutal ISIS fundraising organization and the Irish. Desperate to escape a stalker’s crosshairs, she seeks refuge with Finn. As danger heats up, sparks fly hotter.


Chapter One

“You know I love your sportswear designs, right?”

“I’m glad you do.” Amy Kintyre sat opposite a buyer, none other than Kira Radner, at a coffee shop in Lake Arrowhead, California. This sudden opportunity to re-launch her sportswear designs gave rise to the jitters, and Amy clutched her hands under the table.

Kira pressed her face forward, Amy’s sketches drawn on figures in action poses. With the portfolio spread between them, she flipped it sideways to examine the fabric swatches stapled along the sidebar. Their earthy tones blended with the marred wooden table.

Amy stilled the chatty urge.

“You know your presentation is in two weeks.” Kira was giving her the green light with Recreational Sportswear, Incorporated.

“I appreciate this, Kira.” To get her business back on track, she needed blocks of time to sew mockups. Amy inhaled the spicy aroma of the raw cedar wood. The under-construction décor of wide, timber planks on the walls made her think of her new self. Crazy how thirty felt like seventeen when embracing life and freeing her artistic side.

“Then I beg you,” Kira said, “please, please, please have your product samples ready. Deadline is the first Monday of November.”

“Got it.” Fear over the tight time frame tasted sour in her throat, but this break called like no other.

Kira leaned forward. “Impressive functionality with the shorts. Who would have thought this pocket holds a Swiss Army Knife!” The buyer’s fingertips traced the pick-stitch hem, made with thread matching the fabric, appearing invisible. “Nice detail.”

Amy’s only mock-up kept their face-to-face meeting running like the hum of the fluorescent lights above.

“Oooo,” Kira said and raised both her eyebrows. “Classic nostalgia with a twist. A pocket knife for hikers!”

“Useful, I think.” The bright light flickered over associates who’d worked together in the past, but Amy didn’t share the difficulty of making the deadline. Her breathing shortened, and panic carved a hole in her chest.

“Gotta bounce,” Kira said. “Get to work.”

“I will.” She pulled out a notebook and jotted down a to-do list ending with the file with various size patterns. After a half-hour of regrouping and rethinking, she stopped tapping her pen. Kira Radner took a chance on her, but to turn this chance into a reality, she needed evenings and weekends to make the deadline.

Last Sunday while pouring over Craigslist classifieds, she’d zeroed in on Finbar Donahue’s bookkeeping ad. After her inquiry, his head accountant sent her a message. She still favored the toe she stubbed after her in-box pinged.

Thanks to what happened, the call from Kira, she needed Finn’s job. Her mind raced to her third interview for his nine-to-five. Tomorrow morning, if all went well, she’d land the regular-hours job, tailor made for her time frame. She ran a hand through her hair, picturing the arrogant know-it-all with a never-ending string of women hanging on his arm.

Handsome wasn’t the word to describe Finn, her late, ex-boyfriend’s partner. She’d been around Finbar Donahue enough to know he looked at his world as if he were the Almighty himself. The former Army Ranger made her way too nervous. She tensed up to such an extent, her voice broke.

Romance wasn’t part of this equation. Her dream to launch herself, stitch by stitch, came down to landing the job. On a mission, her goal was simple. She closed her eyes and prayed tomorrow she’d nail it.

Buy It: www.tirpub.com/DeadlyAlliance

[ File # csp7850808, License # 1386192 ] Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php) (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / Elenathewise
[ File # csp7850808, License # 1386192 ]
Licensed through http://www.canstockphoto.com in accordance with the End User License Agreement (http://www.canstockphoto.com/legal.php)
(c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / Elenathewise
How about romantic travel to Lake Arrowhead, California, where Deadly Alliance takes place? Fall colors mix with evergreens around this pristine mountain lake. Bring a picnic basket and rent a pontoon!

Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts. Lily’s Pad and the Intervenus Series: A Brand New Address and Betrayal at Crater’s Edge are sweet. Deadly Alliance and her work-in-progress, Unholy Alliance, are contracted with Tirgearr Publishing and written for adults.

Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels. She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji. Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.

Kathleen exists happily with her witty CPA husband, Gerry, in their 70’s poolside retreat in Southern California where she adores time spent with visiting grandchildren, dogs, one bunny, and noisy neighbors. While proud of their five children who’ve flown the coop, she appreciates the luxury of time to write. If you’d enjoy news, sign up for Kathleen’s newsletter at http://www.kathleenrowland.com/

Find Kathleen online at these sites as well:

Me In 3

So I guess the latest thing going around social media is to pick three fictional characters that you feel represent you. Well, here are mine:

macgyver-pilot-cbs methos_at_joes img_0394










On the left there is MacGyver. The original, not this remake thing. “Mac” was one of my nicknames in high school because I watched MacGyver and was good at physics. In the middle is Methos from the television series Highlander. That was my college nickname: Methos. Relatively quiet and mild-mannered but mean when cornered, I guess. Finally we have Sherlock Holmes. I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes stories, watching the Jeremy Brett series, and (as many of you who frequent the blog know), Young Sherlock Holmes is my all-time favorite movie. My best friend and I would play Sherlock Holmes often, and I do know how to read people. I just never know how to behave around them. Because empathy is difficult for me, I tend to go into an analytical mode instead. Makes me come off as cold sometimes. But I’m the person my friends seek out when they need an honest opinion or a new way of looking at something.

“People don’t come to me for sympathy, John. They come to me to solve problems. I don’t have to be nice about it so long as I get the job done.”

WIP Wednesday

I’m reluctant to give away any more of The Great Divide, which is the sequel to Manifesting Destiny. So I’ll post a bit more of my Regency romance Brynnde here instead. It’s a dinner scene. Brynnde is visiting Lowlea, home of her friend Violet Crabbage. They’ve sent to the Darleys to see if Julia and Eleanor can also visit. Brynnde had been engaged to Julia and Eleanor’s older brother Garrick and is now ostensibly recovering from a broken heart when that engagement was forced to end due to some questionable behavior on the part of their other brother Graeme. In truth, Garrick was only doing Brynnde a favor by asking her to marry him and so though Brynnde is disappointed she is not heartbroken. What I particularly enjoy in this scene is Sir Everret’s attempts to eat his dinner.

“Oh!” yelped Lady Crabbage then, causing everyone at the table to jump. Sir Everret’s gravy went flying, but his wife took no notice. “The Darley girls have written you, Violet. I meant to give you the letter earlier but then you each were resting. Remind me, and I’ll give it you after dinner.” She wriggled in her seat like a giddy schoolgirl or, Brynnde thought, perhaps more like a fat hen settling on her eggs. The napkin returned to Brynnde’s mouth.

Again, Lady Crabbage took it as a sign. “Should I not have mentioned them? Of course I shouldn’t have! Oh, Brynnde, do please forgive me! I should have given Violet the letter in private. They are assuredly the last people you want to hear about, the last name you want to hear uttered—”

“It’s all right, Mama,” Violet said. “Brynnde and Julia and Eleanor have no ill feelings between them.”

“Actually,” Brynnde added, “I miss them terribly. We’d become very good friends.”

Lady Crabbage changed direction without misstep. “And so of course you’re so sad to hear their names spoken aloud! I am sorry, my dear, really I am. I’ve only added to your sorrow.”

“I’ve invited them to visit,” Violet went on. Brynnde marveled at her friend’s patience but supposed it came from a lifetime of practice.

“It would very much delight me to see them,” said Brynnde, “if it doesn’t trouble you too much to have them.” She imitated Tessa’s wide-eyed, plaintive look, the one that Papa could not resist.

“Of course not!” crowed Lady Crabbage, and this time Sir Everret’s knife went wide. He sighed and persevered, not allowing his wife nor his meat to best him, for which Brynnde silently applauded him.

Bookshelf 1:1

Today I’m going to start a new feature on this blog that will go through my office bookshelves one by one. I have four bookcases in my office. Three of them have 5 shelves each and another is more a cabinet with some stuff crammed in it, so I’ll do that one last.

Today we’re doing Bookcase 1, Shelf 1 (hence the 1:1). Here is what I have on that shelf:

fullsizerender-7City of Masks by Daniel Hecht
Land of Echoes by Daniel Hecht
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch
One Day by David Nicholls
In the Woods by Tana French
The Likeness by Tana French
Ruined by Paula Morris
The Raising by Laura Kasichke
Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger (signed)
Death: At Death’s Door by Jill Thompson
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Truth About Stone Hollow by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Seventh Princess by Nick Sullivan
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
Anthology of Children’s Literature (3rd Ed.)

I know some of you are gnashing your teeth and wondering where the other Rick Riordan and Harry Potter books are. Well, most have been appropriated by my 10-year-old son. I let him have the paperbacks. I should probably just forfeit these hardbacks as well and make room on the shelf for the rest of the Tana French (Dublin Murder Squad) and Ben Aaronovitch (Peter Grant series) books. I do own all the Tana French in hardback; they’re stacked on various other of my shelves. I have the first Ben Aaronovitch books on my Kindle but hope to get hard copies one day. A book has to be pretty special these days for me to want to own a physical copy, but the Peter Grant books definitely make the cut.

Then again, I’m not sure why Ruined and The Raising are on this shelf. Not that I didn’t enjoy them; I’m just not sure how they earned pride-of-place in my limited space.

I’ll admit something else. I loved City of Masks but never did read Land of Echoes. I received In the Woods from a publicity firm and loved it, so they sent me The Likeness too, and I’ve been hooked on Tana French ever since. Interred with Their Bones was a Christmas gift, and a librarian friend who is also godmother to my daughter gave me the Anthology of Children’s Literature. And Zilpha Keatley Snyder was a cornerstone of my childhood; I’d still love to get a copy of The Velvet Room. The Seventh Princess was a book I bought at a school book fair when I was very young; it’s falling apart because I read it so often, and now I’ve also read it to my own daughter.

You can see from the photo that my bookshelves also are home to my various collectibles. That blue painted glass is actually an heirloom, one of the few things to survive my great-grandmother’s family’s move from Europe. There used to be two—matching—but my Aunt Toni broke one. The glass is hand painted and more than 100 years old. God help me if we have a big quake…

WHY Should You Subscribe to My Newsletter?

The sign-up is over there on the right, under my author photo. But why should you bother? I’ll tell you. Besides getting news first (before it’s posted here), you’ll receive content that won’t be posted anywhere else. Writing tips. Newsletter-only flash fiction. And periodic chances to win goodies.

I put out my newsletter roughly once a month, and I promise never to spam you or share your email address. And you can always unsubscribe. Give it a shot? xoxo

Where’s My Brick?

Comparison, they say, is the thief of joy. Still, one can’t help being compared, even when actively avoiding it.

I was thinking about Emerson College, where I got my M.A. They send out a lot of emails and post a lot of Facebook stuff, so maybe I wasn’t so much thinking about Emerson as having it forcibly brought to mind. Emerson has a long list of impressive alumni, so I guess it’s no wonder they don’t much care about anything I’ve done since leaving. But it hurts a little to be overlooked like that. And I figure I’m overlooked by them because I’m simply not worth the attention when compared to the rest.

So then I asked myself why I don’t feel slighted by UT. They’ve never recognized me or my work either. But they’re so much bigger, you know, and then I also don’t get constant emails from them about how great all their alumni are. So I don’t feel like I’m being left out of anything.

If and when I make “real” money as a writer, I’ll have one of those little plaques put on a bench or the back of a chair in an auditorium somewhere. Or maybe I’ll buy one of those bricks and have my name carved in it so people can literally walk all over me, but I can feel good about it.

Yes, I’m being snarky. And I’m [half] joking. This post isn’t meant to signal contempt for either Emerson or UT; it’s a study of my own motivations and psyche. WHY do I crave recognition? Part of it is the system I grew up with—the drive for gold stars and good grades. When you get out into the real world, there aren’t stars and grades any more, and if you don’t work in a hierarchy there aren’t promotions and job titles either. So you seek validation elsewhere. Something, anything to prove you’re on the right track, that someone is noticing, that it isn’t all for naught. Book sales are nice and all, but what I really want is to be mentioned in a newsletter.

TBT: Seladion & Amaurodios

I’ve always wanted to write a graphic novel. In particular, a graphic novel in the manga style. I can picture my main characters so easily, but despite all my efforts (I even took classes in college), I cannot draw. And I’m not connected enough to find an illustrator. I fear Sel & Am will always be a fever dream of mine.

Seladion and Amaurodios (Sel & Am for short) are extracts from my days in parageography. I developed a world called AElit, and it had an involved theology and its own language as well. Sel & Am are Ninatat—akin to angels. Heaven in this world is called Argyros, and it’s made all of silver. So are Ninatat; the supreme god Tithendion carved them from the silver of Argyros, and then his son Durandios, responsible for all living things, gave them breath and life. But Seladion is vain and has contempt for life, so Durandios kicked him out of Argyros to go live in the world below. And Amaurodios—Durandios’ favorite—loves Seladion and begged Durandios to be allowed to go with him. So, much as it broke Durandios’ heart, he released Amaurodios into the world, too.

The Adventures of Sel & Am, as I think of them, are just that—their adventures in the world. They start in mythical AElit but then spread across time and the world. Eventually Seladion begins working for Durandios’ twin sister Telamenos as an agent (and angel) of death. Amaurodios can’t stomach that but also refuses to leave Sel’s side, so . . . Seladion will never love him. Sel only really loves himself. But Amaurodios keeps trying to save Sel all the same. He believes if Sel could learn to love, they might both be able to return to Argyros.

If you’re familiar with Anne Rice’s vampires, you could say that Sel = Lestat and Am = Louis. Seladion is still fair after his fall from grace, but Amaurodios was singed on the way down and now has black hair and wings. In AElitian lore, Seladion is associated with the full moon and Amaurodios with the new moon and/or eclipses.

I’d like to get back to writing their stories. Even without the pictures, I think they’d be good ones. Another project to add to my list! Below is the story of the downfall of Seladion and Amaurodios. Enjoy!

The burst of darkness disoriented him. Argyros was a bright place of shining silver and constant light that bounced off every surface to create a gray-white sky that never faded. But here, suddenly, was the nothingness that existed outside the sacred space.

He’d never been outside before.

The blue orb of the world floated below him. He was familiar with Durandios’ work, with the life on the planet, although he’d never before had any use for the animals that inhabited it. Well, he determined, he wouldn’t have use for them now either. They were the whole reason he was in trouble to begin with.

Just as he’d become accustomed to the chilling darkness, he felt the light and heat begin to increase rapidly. He gritted his teeth and prepared for what was sure to be a hard landing.


Long after the others had lost interest and turned away, gone back to their duties, Amaurodios still stood at the edge of Argyros.

“I don’t know what you’re hoping to see,” a voice behind him said.

Amaurodios didn’t even have to turn around to know who it was; he threw himself on his knees so quickly his forehead smacked hard against the slick silver ground. But because it was Argyros, there was no pain.

“Get up, Am,” said Durandios.

Am scrambled to his feet, flailing to keep his balance on the slippery foundation. It didn’t help that he seemed to be the one Ninata that lacked any kind of natural grace.

Keeping his head bowed so that the masses of his long, silver-white hair curtained his face, Amaurodios turned towards the Enduring. Durandios was the one colorful creature in all of Argyros, a flower in a crystal room. He wore a white cloak that was held on his left shoulder with a vivid red jewel, giving everything around him a rosy tint. He had skin the color of the human creatures he had given life to on the world below them, the world that Seladion now also occupied.

“Are you crying?” The question was not soft-spoken, but neither was it a rebuke. Perhaps surprise was the force behind the words.

Amaurodios looked up in confusion. “Crying?” he echoed.

But Durandios was nodding. “You are.” His expression was grim. “That kind of emotion cannot be tolerated in Argyros.”

Am still wasn’t entirely sure what Durandios meant, but he understood emotion. The Ninatat had access to a limited number of them. Love and joy were favorites, along with compassion and mercy. But Seladion had been cast out for harboring the kinds of feelings unsuitable in a Ninata. And now. . .

Another new emotion lit Amaurodios’ eyes. Fear. “Are you going to . . . ?”

Durandios shook his head. “No.” He sighed. “I wish you never had to know heartbreak, Am. Most of the others,” he gestured towards the center of Argyros, where the Ninatat spent their days praising Tithendion and Durandios and where a select few served special purposes, such as taking messages to the people of the world below, “will never know such a feeling. They will love forever without that love being taken from them. I wish it could be that way for you.”

Amaurodios knew that Durandios was incapable of lying. So he asked the question. “He can’t ever come back, can he?”

“He was tainted, Am. He was imperfect, flawed in some way.” Durandios’ green eyes darkened a shade, and he frowned. Such an unlovely sight on a god. The stone that clasped his cloak became the red-purple color of dark wine.

“Not was,” Amaurodios whispered. “You could fix him, couldn’t you?”

“You think I didn’t want to? Of course I did! I do! But that’s not for me to do. Tithendion made him; I only gave him breath.”

Amaurodios looked over his shoulder, out at the darkness beyond Argyros. A whole vast universe existed out there, none of it seemingly safe for orphaned Ninatat. “I want to go too.”

Without looking, Am sensed the complete stillness in the god that stood before him, a dangerous tension. There was a long exhalation of the precious breath Durandios provided to all living things.

“Amaurodios, look at me.”

Am slowly turned his head. Durandios could not kill him, it was not in his nature, but Amaurodios was frightened all the same.

Durandios placed his hands on Amaurodios’ shoulders and looked the Ninata in the eye.

“You haven’t thought this through,” the god said carefully.

“I want to be with Seladion. He needs me! He won’t know how to cope, being down there—”

Durandios chuckled. “Seladion has never needed anyone, and you know it. And how is it that you think you’ll be able to cope? No, Am, you’re much better off here. I promise you, the pain of his leaving won’t last forever.” He turned to go.

“I’m flawed too, aren’t I, now?” Amaurodios called as a parting shot.

Durandios whirled around as the Vital Spark began to darken to near black. “Amaurodios, do not test me.”

“But you said that this—this—whatever it is I’m feeling, it can’t be tolerated in Argyros.”

“You’ll get over it and everything will be fine,” Durandios replied tightly.

A couple of yards away, other Ninatat had begun to gather. It was no secret that Amaurodios was Durandios’ favorite, even if the god was not free to show such preference. The only being that seemed not to know this was Amaurodios.

“I don’t want to feel this way; I don’t like it,” Am said rather childishly.

“I know.” Durandios started towards the Ninata. “But it will pass.”

Amaurodios shook his head. “I don’t think it will.”

“It seems that way now, but—Am, what are you doing?”

The Ninata had turned back toward the wall of Argyros and was now exploring it with his long, thin hands, testing it for weakness. He pushed at it, willing it to break, but it was elastic, moving always to enclose him.

In three steps Durandios had reached him and pulled him back. “What are you doing?” he asked again, giving Am a shake. The watching Ninatat gasped softly; it sounded like a flock of pigeons cooing.

“Let me out!”


As the hand on his shoulder tightened, Amaurodios slumped in defeat. “Please,” he said, “let me go.”

The grip on him relaxed, and suddenly all he knew was darkness.

WIP Wednesday

At the moment, I’m hard at work on the sequel to Manifesting Destiny, the working title of which is The Great Divide. If you haven’t read Manifesting Destiny, the following piece from my WIP might not make much sense to you. The short explanation is that Diodoric and Marcus share the same body. Eventually, Diodoric will take over and Marcus will fade. Marcus is Cee’s best friend and she’s keen to keep him from disappearing. But she’s also drawn to Marcus’s alter ego . . .

“Hekaterine is right. You aren’t in love,” Cee said. “You don’t even know me.”

“Of course I do. I know everything Marcus knows and more.”

Cee shook her head. “That’s not the same. You know about me, maybe, but you don’t really know me.”

The self-confidence fell from Diodoric’s face, transforming his expression into one of sadness and disappointment. For a moment he looked so like Marcus on those rare occasions when he gave a wrong answer in class that Cee rocked where she stood. She wanted to throw her arms around him, console him, but she stopped herself.

“I want to know you,” Diodoric said. “But you keep sending me away.”

“Because the longer you’re here, the less there will be of Marcus!” cried Cee. “Eventually there won’t be enough of him left to come back!”

Diodoric nodded thoughtfully, brow furrowed as though to ponder the problem. Then he looked at Cee from the corners of his eyes and asked, “But you do like me? A little?”

Cee’s earlier sympathy for him fled in a fresh desire to wring his long, skinny neck.

September 11th

This is actually my dad’s birthday. Until 15 years ago, there was nothing particular about having a birthday on 9-11. But now it feels awkward for my dad, a veteran, to “celebrate” on such a day.

Fifteen years ago, I was living in Boston. My personal 9-11 story is here; no reason to type it again. Five years ago, I happened to be in New York City on the 10th anniversary. That was surreal.

I don’t have much of anything to add. But it continues to feel important to acknowledge this day in some way. Despite all our ensuing precautions, I don’t think any of us feel much safer. In fact, I think I recently read that Americans feel more afraid now than ever. At the same time, however, I’ve noticed the memorials and such have dwindled. Not that we should wallow, because that wouldn’t be healthy either. I think it’s natural in some respects to move on. The farther we get away from a point in time . . . It’s strange to think at some point there will be more people in the world who weren’t alive, or at least can’t remember 9-11-01 than there will be who do. “Primary sources” we’re called in schoolbooks. Kids will be assigned to ask us questions about where we were and what we remember. Huh.

Well, happy birthday to my dad all the same.