Redux (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Please enjoy a completely free e-copy of The First Wife – an introduction to my work if you’ve never read me. An extra copy if you have! Follow the link at the bottom of this post, or over in the Breaking News Sidebar to get your free copy!

In celebration of my new series, What Happened In Comfort Cove, Harlequin is giving away free copies of this 2010 Bestseller. Due to response, they have extended the download deadline!!

Some instructions:

A message from Harlequin Books – If you do not have ePub software on your Computer, tablet or phone, you will have to download it to view this free copy of The First Wife. (Software Links also accessible directly from Harlequin Book’s Website)

For your Computer:
Download…
Adobe Digital Editions

For other Electronic Devices:
(Android, BlackBerry, iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) or Windows 7 Phone)
Download…
Overdrive

Follow the prompt for the correct installation of your software.

Software and Book are completely Free.

NOW…To Get Your Free Book:

Just click on the book below
Click ADD TO CART
Click VIEW CART
Click NEXT STEP
LOGIN or Complete guest registration,
ENTER Coupon Code: 1FREE1STWIFE0812
Download to your device!

Please feel free to pass this link on to all of your family and friends. The giveaway is completely free to everyone!

 

The Party and Other News (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Other news first…We have a tentative 2011 date for the second annual Tara Taylor Quinn’s Charity Skate to raise money for the fight against domestic abuse!!  Sunday, October 23, 2011!!  Skaters will start at 7:30 am.  Award Ceremony will take place following the race.  You don’t have to skate to join in the fun.  Volunteers are needed the day of the race.  As we learned this year, spectators give skaters adrenalin.  And donations to the cause work  just as well whether you’re skating or not!   

It Happened on Maple Street blog tour plans are in motion.  Tim and I will be blogging together and based on how much fun we manage to make out of very little, I’m guessing it’s going to be an entertaining ride!  (The schedule will be announced here, and also posted on www.tarataylorquinn.com.) 

On New Year’s Eve, Tim and I were stuck on the road between Phoenix and Ohio.  We’d been snowed in in New Mexico due to a closed freeway for two days after having been routed off the highway by state patrol.  We couldn’t afford to take New Year’s Eve off from driving, but we did agree to find a place to stop by ten that night so we’d be off the road before the serious partiers were out trying to get home.  Our goal was Missouri and we pulled off at the first exit with hotels after crossing the Missouri state line.  We checked into a room in a high end budget hotel.  Toasted the new year in our room and then caught a free shuttle to a huge casino that was about three miles away.  We’d had no plans to be there, had had no idea where we’d end up – but there we were, partying with a million other people, caught up in the wave of excitement. 

There weren’t a lot of machines open.  I saw a nickel machine that looked different.  We put in our little bit of money.  And tried to figure out the betting.  Tim and I play penny machines.  We know the ropes.  Had just had a fabulous thirteen hour day with my mother at one of our favorite little places in Arizona a few days before.  But neither of us could figure out how to bet on this nickel machine.  It was all electronic and choices didn’t show.  I pushed a button, thinking that it would give us line bet options.  It didn’t.  It took ten dollars of our money.  I gulped.  And almost got mad.  How dare it take my riches like that???  We had another hour to go before midnight!  I managed to watch the reels.  I wasn’t sure what they were doing either.  I won something.  And then it was over.  No bells or whistles or fanfare.   Just ten dollars of our money gone.  Except that when we looked at our credits, ten dollars wasn’t gone.  One-hundred dollars had arrived.  Like I said, we always manage to walk into fun!

I promised pictures of The Chapman File Blog Tour Party and will leave you with a few of them today.  Just a note though, while the skaters signed waivers for their photos to be used publically, the party attendees did not.  I had to choose pictures accordingly:

Free Books!

Tara Speaks (Note On-Line Party on the Screen!)

Drawing Name for the Kobo Reader!

Days End with Personal Trainer, Penny Wright. We're TIRED!!!

Romantic Times Magazine! (With the beautiful Courtney who gave up hours and hours of her vacation to help Tim and I!)

They’re Here! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

I’m posting late today because…I was waiting for photos.  THE photos.  For those of you who were on The Chapman File International Blog Tour with us, thank you, thank you, thank you.  Today’s blog is for you – pictures from the skate you all helped to support.  I want to thank Syd and Shaun McDaniel for all of their help behind the scenes and Courtney VanGarderen and LeeAnne Williams for hours of prep work.  Registration and road crew, thank you!  I also want to thank Penny Wright, personal trainer and co-founder of the Predator’s Speed Skate Club.  She is one of those people that make the world a better place and I am so glad I know her.  I’d also like to thank Michelle Gaylor, a member of the Predator’s nationally acclaimed speed skate club, for all of her help with registration and web site presence.  They’ve both agreed to help again next year as we host the 2011 Tara Taylor Quinn Charity Skate to raise money for the fight against domestic abuse.

Next week here at Storybroads we’ll have The Chapman File International Blog Tour wrap up, including pictures from the party; news of the 2011 Tara Taylor Quinn Charity Skate; AND we’ll be bringing you details on The Maple Street Blog Tour that begins shortly!!!  We already have a host of great prizes to give away on The Maple Street Blog Tour so stay tuned!

For today, pictures!  Enjoy!

The First Annual Tara Taylor Quinn Charity Skate:

Tim and ttq with Sandra Ramos just before starting time!

Tim and ttq in the middle, holding their own!

Drafting is the way to win...

Closing in on The Finish Line!

Our youngest skater, Emily Torrez, takes a first!

Skate Producer, Penny Wright, and Tim give ttq her second place!

ttq's cousin, LeeAnne Williams, who traveled the farthest and skated the hardest!

Tim takes a medal in his age division!! First place, Michael Damento. Second place, Tom Wett. Third Place, Phillip Day.

The over sixty age division (except ttq). First, Dennis Stewart; Second, Dave Beeson; Third, Ted Kilponen; Fourth, Daryl Blowers; Fifth, Karl Weinrich; Sixth, Jim Wilson; Seventh, Lew White.

Top Three Women Skaters - all divisions! First overall, Simona Garbarino. Second overall, Florence Wilson. Third overall, Michelle Gaylor!!

The Professionals!

Three of the Hearty Road Volunteers after their work was done. From left to right, Phyllis Pawloski, Barb McGee, Penny Gumser.

We’re Thankful for You (Tara Taylor Quinn and Kelly Chapman)

I had to give a talk this weekend at the Scottsdale Public Library in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I’d been asked to speak about maintaining a life sustaining writing career.  I came up with six B’s – you now, be disciplined, be reliable, etc.  The last one – and the one that I spent the most time on, was Be Grateful.  It had nothing to do with Thanksgiving.  (Frankly, I’m so busy with this tour and trying to get a book done by November 30th, that I woke up this morning and was shocked to realize that today is Thanksgiving Eve.)  My speech had to do with a way of life.  And so, I think, does Thanksgiving.  Yeah, I’m a bit saddened by the fact that the holiday crept up on me and I haven’t made any preparations.  And yet, Thanksgiving always seemed like such a superfluous holiday to me because I don’t need a day to remind me to be grateful. 

Gratitude really has been a key factor in sustaining my career.  I am grateful for every single contract I am offered.  I am grateful every single time my editor takes her time to write me a revision letter so that my book will be better.  As I write this, it sounds sappy and ‘yada yada’ but it’s so true.  I have the strength to handle the stresses of the job, the insecurities and inequitable contract clauses and bad reviews because  I love what I do and I am so incredibly grateful that I am able to spend my life doing what I love. 

I have no idea why I have such a strong sense of gratitude.  Maybe it’s something my mother did.  Or maybe losing my brother at a young age taught me to be grateful for every moment I have.  Maybe it’s just my personality, the spirit within me that knows something I don’t know, but I go through my days being thankful for things around me.  I’m grateful for my two babies – here in the office with me.  Every single day, when I leave to have lunch with Tim, I tell my babies that I’ll be back and that I love them.  I want them to know how much I appreciate them.  And on days when I forget, I actually go back in the house and tell them.  They might not understand the words – but they know that I’m not taking them for granted.  That I’m thinking about them.

And as I was lying in bed this morning thinking about all of this, it occurred to me that while I am incredibly grateful for every single one of you who have been with me on this three month, seventy-five stop blog tour, I haven’t really said so.  We’ve got another twenty or so blogs to go – and I hope you’ll stick around, or join us if you’re new to the tour – but today I want to stop and just say Thank You.  I feel horrible that I make a point of letting my dogs know I’m not taking them for granted, and I haven’t let you all know how much it means to me to have you all here with me.  We’ve become a unit here at Storybroads, and on tour, and I am so grateful to be having this experience.  It’s unlike anything I could have imagined.  To be out, almost every day, meeting up with my friends.  And to speak about real issues, to discuss hard topics and share in the real business of living life.  I think about you all when we aren’t blogging.

I’m also so thankful for the people in my physical life.  For my family – most particularly my mother and aunt and cousin who taught me about ‘big girl panties.’  (Which means quit whining, be a big girl, stiff upper lip, and go get it done.  Or, maybe in a little softer translation – you can do it.)  For a young woman in my family who has been popping in for random visits over the past few months.  For friends, for Patricia Potter who took me in and nurtured my spirit when I thought my rope was ending.  With her loyal friendship she showed me that I had a few feet left in that piece of twine I was hanging on to.  I’m thankful for a new friend I made this year – a woman who is practical and intelligent and who has the courage to live open heartedly in a scary world – and who gave me back a piece of past.  And for friends who see the messy stuff in my life and still take time out of their busy schedules to support my tired soul…

I’m thankful for my little girl who’s not so little anymore.  She’s twenty-five and a prosecuting attorney.  I don’t have her permission to post a picture of her, but I have a million of them in my mind that I could share with you all if I had a year to write about them and enough blogging space to fill volumes.  She’s of my heart.  Of my soul.  She and I spent the first twenty-one years of her life connected at the hip and I am grateful for every single second of that time.  I remember her sixth birthday.  I was so happy with her, spending my life raising her, and the birthdays were flying by so fast.  I started to panic about her eighteenth birthday.  About her not needing me anymore.  She’d go on and have a life and what would I do?  I called someone.  And I was told that life has a way of preparing women for the empty nest.  I’m still waiting for that preparation to lite upon me.  But even with all of the pain of letting go, I am still grateful for every single second of those twenty-one years. 

And, of course, what will come as no surprise to anyone who’s read me for any length of time at all – the person I am most grateful for, the spirit with whom I am most completely connected, is my husband, Tim.  The other morning I woke up early and sat there and watched him sleep.  I’m so busy and my mind is in so many places as I finish a book and write blogs and plan the party for you all on December 4th, and work with the skate producer to make certain that we have proper road closure permits and barricades and insurance, and worry about the success of The Chapman Files and facilitate media efforts with publicists from two different publishing houses and…there he is.  Lying right next to me.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  My mind cleared and I just sat there, watching him.  Thinking about him.  And when he woke up, and saw me staring at him, I told him how thankful I was to have him there.  Sometimes, riding in the car with him, I see his hands on the steering wheel and I am filled with gratitude that his hands are on my steering wheel.  I waited a long long time to be this man’s wife and tomorrow, as we celebrate Thanksgiving with three different meals at three different houses (one of them being ours – yes, we’re having family here in the morning and we don’t even have milk in the refrigerator yet, let alone any other meal preparations) the one thing that is keeping me sane and grounded and knowing that the day will be good is that I will be by his side the entire day.

I hope each of you have something that fills you to the brim with gratitude.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  And THANK YOU!

This post is brought to you as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. Please join us in our fight against domestic abuse. We’re hosting a charity skate/walkathon on December 4th in Phoenix, Arizona. If you can join us, we’d love to have you. Tim and ttq are skating and we’re going to have a blast. If you aren’t going to be in the area, you can still sponsor us. Please. In our downed economy domestic abuse has risen and the monies to help have dwindled. To register for the skate, or to donate any amount to the cause, click here: http://www.predatorspeed.org/, or go to http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/ and click donate.

There’s an item from our new book, The Third Secret, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: You always find them in bars. Send all guesses to staff@tarataylorquinn.com. To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/. Guess as many times as you’d like!

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at http://www.eharlequin.com/! We’re giving away a KOBO e-reader and many other cool prizes! All you have to do to be entered to win is leave comments on the tour!

E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available at amzn.to/bmJzp4.

Next tour stop: Friday, November 26, 2010. Book Lovers: http://www.bookloversinc.com/. We hope to see you back here! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.

For weekly blog tour dates, visit http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/. Or to have the weekly schedule sent directly to your email, send request to staff@tarataylorquinn.com.

The Weekend (Tara Taylor Quinn)

I’ve been doing a bit of this lately.  I’m not complaining.  I love signing books – I love having books to sign.  And having people who want them, who own them and want me to sign them.  And at the same time, it’s hard.  Extremely hard.  I’m just not an extrovert.  I tell me I should be.  I go through all the self talk, eliminating dangers, instilling strength, eradicating false fears – and I’m still not an extrovert.  I like people.  I love people.  I need people.  I’m just…not an extrovert.  I do better with people one at a time.  One on one.  I’ll just say it right out.  Being out, among groups of people, exhausts me.

I think it’s because I can’t be with people and not be ‘with’ them.  I care about every single person.  I see them as individuals.  Just as I see every single character I write as an individual. Even those that I don’t relate to, those with whom I have nothing in common – I still care.  I see every single stranger as an embodiment of  life, completely filled with wants and needs, desires and dreams and hurts.  And I care about that.  These are the only things in life that truly matter, as far as I’m concerned.  Because they are the only things we take with us when we leave this earth- the heart experiences.  They are what I write about.  What I think about.  What I see when I meet people.  I see their heart experiences – not in some other worldly psychic way, it’s just what I hone in on.  Is she happy, worried, nervous?  Does she have a chip on her shoulder?  Or a mean look in her eye?  Is she hurting?  Trying hard?  Afraid?  I see the person, not the image or the clothes or the body type.  What does this person want – in a deeper sense?  What makes this person happy?  I don’t do it on purpose.  It just happens.  It’s how I see the world.  How I’ve always seen the world.   And when I have many heart experiences to take in at once, I get exhausted.  When someone is exuding negative vibes – they’re angry or irritable or rude – I get exhausted twice as quickly.  Not that many people approach me at a booksigning with angry vibes.

This past weekend I was at a reader’s conference.  I started the morning in the author’s lounge – a place where readers can visit to speak to visiting authors.  Each author was assigned specific times to be in the lounge so readers would know when to visit.  I moved on from there to a panel with three other romantic suspense authors.  Our room was filled to capacity with readers – they were even lining the back wall.  And the questions they asked were thoughtful, deep, and…hard!  It was a great session.  The hour flew by.  And then it was time for lunch.  I was assigned a table and any readers who wanted to have lunch with me could come sit at my table.  People raced into the room.  Had I known that was going to happen, I’d have worried that no one would race for my table.  I found out it happened when they did race for my table.  I was startled.  Adjusted.  And had a great time.  I met some great women and got to spend time getting to know better some women I already knew.  Women who knew my body of work.  And a woman who raced to sit next to me who’d never read me before.  She’d heard me speak.

And after that was a booksigning.  Barnes & Noble came in and set up a mini bookstore withbooks from most of the visiting authors.  We were assigned back to our lunch tables and sat and waited in case any readers bought our books and wanted them signed.  I had Tim withme so I was fine to sit there and talk withhim.  I love talking withhim.  I’m good in any room if I can sit and talk withhim.  Doesn’t really matter much what’s going on around me if he’s right there.  I didn’t spend much of the following two hours talking to Tim.  I met some wonderful women and signed a lot of books.  The Chapman Files are a hit.  And I can hardly believe it.  Readers brought copies of my books from their bookshelves as well.  Summer brought me the most books to sign.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time withher.  She’s a reader through and through.  She loves books.  She loves reading.  To the point that she takes it personally if authors disappoint her.  And I did.  In a huge way.  She read a book of mine, The Night We Met.  She loved the story.  Took it upon herself, was engrossed.  And then the hero did a horrible thing.  He had an affair.  Summer couldn’t figure out why I’d done that – had him have an affair.  I’d let her down.  Ruined the read.  She had to get rid of the book she was so upset by the whole thing.  I told her about that book – it was based on my parent’s lives.  The characters were fiction, but the big events that happened, the deathof a child, the affair, they were all completely true.  I was telling their love story – withthe flaws – and with a love that was truly strong enough to overcome the flaws.  A love that saw them through to my father’s deathbed.  That scene is in the book, too.  Thankfully Summer forgave me.  She had a bag of my books for me to sign.  She knew all of the stories, all of the characters, and talked to me about them all.  It was like finding a new friend who already knew all of my best friends.  We had all of those people in common.

And after the booksigning, I was supposed to attend a masquerade ball.  Learning the Texas two step withTim.  I didn’t.  I was just too drained.  Too emotionally and mentally exhausted to put on my black leather and guns and go shoot ‘em up.  I talked Tim into packing up instead.  We had a fourteen hour drive ahead of us and I wanted to get on the road.  I probably should have gone to the ball.  We ended up in a brand name hotel off the side of the highway someplace in Oklahoma.  This particular unit (and calling it that is kind) must have been a privately owned franchise.  After we paid for our room we discovered that there was no elevator.  We were not on the first floor.  The carpets were stained.  The walls were thin.  I spent the night listening to male voices down below that obviously belonged to bodies with too much alcohol flowing through them.  In between their bursts of stupidity I got to listen to some guy snore next door.  Not a steady, rhythmic comforting snore, but gasping, loud destructive bursts of anger.  When he was awake or in some other state that allowed blessed peace from his noise pollution, I got to try to count the number of cars on the train that passed about twenty feet from our window on tracks we hadn’t seen when we’d checked in in the dark of the night.  I was reminded of an old ‘I Love Lucy’ episode where Fred and Ethel and Ricky and Lucy were on a road trip and sharing a room because it was the last one available and a train kept rumbling so close it rocked the place and made them all  fall out of bed.

Tim managed to sleep through the show.  I discovered, as we started the next day, what exhausted really felt like. 

This next weekend we’re in Phoenix.  Home sweet home.  Booksigning Friday night.  Speaking on Saturday.  Booksigning on Sunday.  Family and friends who want to do lunch and drinks and dinner.  I’m not skipping out on anything.  And I’m not staying in a hotel, either!

This post is brought to you as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. Please join us in our fight against domestic abuse. We’re hosting a charity skate/walkathon on December 4th in Phoenix, Arizona. If you can join us, we’d love to have you. Tim and ttq are skating and we’re going to have a blast. If you aren’t going to be in the area, you can still sponsor us. Please. In our downed economy domestic abuse has risen and the monies to help have dwindled. To register for the skate, or to donate any amount to the cause, click here: http://www.predatorspeed.org/, or go to http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/ and click donate.

There’s an item from our new book, The Third Secret, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: In The Third Secret, it’s a catalyst for Rick. Send all guesses to staff@tarataylorquinn.com. To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/. Guess as many times as you’d like!

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at http://www.eharlequin.com/! We’re giving away a KOBO e-reader and many other cool prizes! All you have to do to be entered to win is leave comments on the tour!

E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available at amzn.to/bmJzp4.

Next tour stop: Thursday, November 18, 2010.The Book Binge: http://thebookbinge.com. We hope to see you back here! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.
For weekly blog tour dates, visit http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/. Or to have the weekly schedule sent directly to your email, send request to staff@tarataylorquinn.com.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT NUMBER ONE (Tara Taylor Quinn and Kelly Chapman)

Before I begin there are two quick pieces of business…Please note that we have a Sunday blog this weekend.  We are visiting a very special site, Type M For Murder, http://typem4murder.blogspot.com/ and hope that all of you can join us.

Secondly, we already have correct guesses for this months blog tour mystery prize (see below for clue)!  One of our correct guessers has been kind enough to help me out with clues and Kelly and I wish to thank you-who-knows-who-you are!!!

And now for the BIG NEWS!!!

It’s been official for almost a week, but I wanted to wait until I was here, at home at Storybroads, before spreading the news.  All of our efforts with the blog tour are paying off in ways I didn’t dare hope.  People are stepping forward to join our forces and we’re going to be able to help Sandra Ramos and Strengthen Our Sisters in a bigger way.

Announcing:

THE CHAPMAN FILE BOOK LAUNCH AND CHARITY SKATE!!

10K In-line Skate

5K Walk

December 4th, 2010

8:30am

Tumbleweed Park, Chander Arizona

Registration:  $20

To Register go to www.predatorspeed.org

Awards for the 10K skate will be Top Three.

 

I am very very thankful for the introduction of another generous and giving and caring person into my life.  Penny Wright, BS, CPT, personal trainer, pilates coach, professional speed skater and founder of the nationally acclaimed Predator Speed Skate Club is co-producing this event, which really translates as, she’s producing the event.  Penny knows everything I don’t know and is working tirelessly and with great enthusiasm to make this skate possible so that we can raise some substantial money for SOS.  Penny is doing so much, from flier creation to meeting with city officials.  She’s measured off the course and is tending to the million little details that I wouldn’t have known existed.  The Predator Speed Skate team has joined our fight as well.  Michelle Gaylor is doing web design and setting up on-line registration.

The city of Chandler, Arizona has given their formal approval, and their support to our cause!  Including a firetruck for our event!

Tim and I and Kelly are all three going to be skating in the event.  (Kelly’s in a bit of a trauma about it as you’ll understand after you read The Fourth Victim, but she’s going to skate.  She’s determined.)  And hopefully we’ll be skating in Penny’s next speed skate event as well.  That’s in March!

For those who can’t skate, a 5K walk starts at 9:15, giving enough time for the speed skaters to vacate the course.

And if you can’t join us, but would like to be a part of the event there are two ways you can do so.  First, you can go to the registration page www.predatorspeed.org  and click on the donate button.  That will take you to the skate fundraising Paypal page.  You can donate any amount you choose.  All proceeds are going straight from Paypal to Strengthen Our Sisters.

The second way you can join in is to attend the…

GALA PARTY!!!

December 4th, 2010

1:00pm

Burton Barr Central Library Auditorium

Phoenix, Arizona

AND AT

www.eharlequin.com

You can attend either in person OR On-Line!!!

Be a part of this great gathering to support the fight against domestic abuse.

There will be:

200 free autographed copies of The First Wife

Door prizes

Drawings for Blog Tour prizes including a KOBO E-Reader!!

Entertainment

AND

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Sandra Ramos will be joining us!!

Sandra is flying out from New Jersey to share this very special day with us.

You will hear from Sandra, in her own words, her own voice, just how much your support means to her and to the fight against domestic abuse.

Thank you to everyone who is on this tour with us.  Your energy and your support has helped to feed the response we’re getting from all over the country.  The city of Phoenix is hosting this party for us – they’re supporting us – in large part because of the response of each one of you who have joined in this great and difficult effort.

Today, as I look back over the past weeks, and look forward to the next six weeks, I thank God that I am a woman.

And that, as women, we reach out and take care of each other.

We are the nurturers.

This post is brought to you as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. Over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, expert witness psychologist, Kelly Chapman and I are going to be asking for help.  We’re raising money for Strengthen Our Sisters, the US’s first battered women’s shelter.  If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse. Go to http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/and click the donate button to go directly to a secure Paypal site. Or just comment here to show your support.

There’s an item from our new book, The Second Lie, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: People are sometimes really scary before they use it.  Send all guesses to staff@tarataylorquinn.com. To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/. Guess as many times as you’d like!

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at http://www.eharlequin.com/! Tour prize winners will be announced!

Next blog tour stop: SUNDAY, October 17th, 2010 on Type M For Murder , http://typem4murder.blogspot.com/. We hope to see you there! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.

For weekly blog tour dates, visit http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/. Or to have the weekly schedule sent directly to your email, send request to staff@tarataylorquinn.com.

For all our blog readers today, Tara has a special link below that will give you a printable coupon for $1.00 off the purchase of her latest book, The Second Lie

http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/The%20Second%20Lie%20Coupon.pdf

 

 

Different People Different Lives (Kelly Chapman)

This is a long and winding road.  I ended up joining ttq and Tim at their cabin in Michigan this weekend and was in the back seat of the car when ttq got out and stood on this road.  It’s a memory from her childhood – she told me about sitting in the third seat of her family’s station wagon, eating a chocolate ice cream cone – a single scoop of chocolate on a cake cone – and imagining all of the lives that were hidden in these woods.  This was her ‘dark road’ and every night when her father would take them out for ice cream (a twenty minute drive there and back) and to look for deer, ttq would insist on going down this long and winding road.  They never saw any deer there.  The woods are too dense.  But the things she imagined there made the drive worth begging to go.  And the family endured her part of the trip.  Every single night.  This road is on the other side of the hill that edges the family property.

I heard ttq’s story, and I heard my own, as well.  Guess I’m more of a story teller then I realized.  Not that I have any desire or intention to write, mind you, I just have to say it like I see it.  My story went right along with some other things Tim and ttqshared with me.  Tim had heard all the memories.  He could tell them right alongside ttq.  Had quite a few of his own.  They’ve spent a lot of time together up in these woods.  I found it all fascinating.  And so utterly different from anything I’d seen or known.  Life in the woods creates a culture that I feel compelled to explore. 

Take a look at this…This is another road.  Equally long.  Not quite as winding.  This is the road that you turn off of onto the family property.  What’s interesting to me about this road – beyond the fact that it’s just off of King’s Highway which looks just like this – is the set of trees off to the left.  You can’t see them as well here, in the detail in which I studied them, but they are several stories tall.  They’re evergreen trees.  They serve as a fence, of sorts, blocking most of the view of the property behind them.  They were planted in a very pristine, organized fashion.  The trees are perfectly lined.  They were planted by the man who owned the property.  He lived there – alone – it seems, for his entire adult life.  He lived there alone from the time of ttq’s earliest memory.  She met him several times.  Tim was lucky enough to see him, too.  The old man was a genius.   ttq remembers that he had his doctorate degree, but she couldn’t remember his field of study.  That’s not something I’d forget.  He had a beard that hung down his chest, and scraggly longish hair.  He drove a tractor, though I saw an old truck parked in his yard.  Mostly he walked.  In his younger days he walked from Alaska to Argentina.  To prove a point.  Something about the environment.  Turns out the man was an environmentalist.  And yet, he made his living by logging.  He cut down trees from the hills behind ttq’s property – not that you’d know that.  The woods are so dense all around there, I’d never have believed anyone made a living from logging there if I hadn’t seen a lot of the cut wood.  One time when ttq was young, she got lost in the hills.  The old man was up there on his tractor and found her and her friend and brought them home.  He knew ttq’s grandfather.  Appeared to be quite fond of him.  He loved books.  Apparently his house was filled with them.  I wanted to see inside his house in the worst way.  I saw the outside.

This was my first glimpse of it, from inside the car.  The grass – that’s what ttq called it, seriously it was like wheat – was so tall all I could see was the roof of the house.  So I got out.  That long row of trees I just showed you is to the right, facing this picture.  It ends right where this makeshift gate begins.  It’s only through this gate that you get a glipse of the house.  Standing on the back door frame of the car, I got a better look.  ttq had seen it all before.  All of her life.  She stayed in the car.  And waited for my reaction.  I knew why she’d brought me here.  She wanted my opinion.  My professional opinion.  This view does not in any way depict the scene I saw with any effectiveness, however, it gives you an idea of what I’m about to explain.  This second picture is the home.  It’s two story.  But I couldn’t tell you if it was a log cabin or a brick (I’m sure not) or vinyl sided.  I have no idea what color the house is – or was.  It has a porch that winds around it.  And completely covering the porch, from floor to ceiling, are the fruits of this man’s lifetime of labor.  Piles and piles and piles of cut logs.  Pristinely stacked.  And completely cutting off the inside of the house from the outside world.  ttq just found out the man had died.  He’d been close to ninety years old, she thought.  She had a soft spot for him.  And she wanted me to look at the way he’d lived his life and explain it to her.  She wanted me to tell her that the man wasn’t insane.

I couldn’t do that, of course.  I have no idea about the man’s mental state.  But I suspect that he was not insane at all.  He was different, to be sure.  Interesting, absolutely.  I’d give much to have been able to meet him, to have conversation with him as ttq did.  I suspect this man was more sane that a lot of us.  He saw the world.  He understood things.  And he made choices based on what he understood.  He lived true to himself, not true to a society that did not conform to his understanding.  I looked at this house.  I connected with this man I’d never have a chance to meet.  And I admired him.  I couldn’t help myself.

ttq asked me, again, if the man’s way of life was proof of his insanity.  To which I replied with an unequivocal shake of the head.  And this is what I told her – something I wish more of my clients could understand.  When considering the human condition, there is no such thing as normal.  I see people in my office, day after day, yearning for, striving for, this sense of being normal.  I hear judgments, from spouses and family members and loved ones, all pointing to this thing called normal.  If so and so could only be a little more normal.  Normal people don’t do these things.  As though, the speaker is right – normal – and the recipient of the disdain has something wrong with him or her.  I don’t like the mindset.  At all.  It pigeon holes individuals and in my opinion, it is the individual who is the most healthy.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not purporting bucking the system in some big way just to be different.  Or living so on the edge that one lives outside the law or the decencies of society.  We all have to conform to an extent to live within societal walls.  (Or, like this old man, we can choose to be different and keep ourselves outside of societal walls, but still within the laws of the land.)  We all, as co-inhabitants of the earth, have to be aware of those around us, and their rights and needs as well.  I am not purporting selfishness.  But what I am saying, what I tried so hard to impart to ttq, is that being different is healthy.  We are not clones.  We are individuals.  And yet, as a people, we try so hard to fit in, to keep up, to have what others have, to judge ourselves, our feelings and actions by others, that we lose ourselves and most chances of ever being truly happy.  Most of my clients are unhappy.  (That’s kind of given, considering my field.)  But a good majority of them don’t need to be unhappy.  A good majority of them are unhappy because they’ve made choices for their lives that were conformist choices, not true choices.

Here’s what I told ttq, before I sat back and shut up.  Just like her ‘dark road’, life is a long and winding road with things going on all the time, right there under our noses, that we can’t see.  The road winds differently for every single one of us.  Normal does not exist.   Normal is simply an average of our differences.  People who strive for normal spend their lives striving for that which does not exist.  That’s the story I see when I look at those pictures.

And now, because ttq is resting her hand today (she’ll tell you about that Friday) I get to be the one to give today’s news.  We have a winner of the September mystery prize!!  The prize was a year’s subscription to Good Housekeeping.  (We couldn’t find Twenty Something, go figure.)  You just had to guess magazine.  And the winner is…DARLA!!! 

Jump on board for the October mystery prize.  It’s even bigger and better.  It’s an item from my friend Sam’s book, The Second Lie.  We already have guesses!

I also want to ask you to visit yesterday’s blog, if you haven’t already done so.  We were at http://simplyali.blogspot.com/, Simply Ali.  And Ally has challenged all readers of the blog.  For every comment made by Friday, October 8th, (one per person) she will donate $1 to Strengthen our Sisters.  Please, please go comment!!!

This post is brought to you as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. Over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, ttq and I are going to be asking for help. If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse. If you’d like to help, click here to go directly to a secure paypal sight:  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CS7Y8MVX6U6LC   Or just comment here to show your support.

There’s an item from our new book, The Second Lie, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: Some of them are electric.  Send all guesses to staff@tarataylorquinn.com. To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at www.tarataylorquinn.com. Guess as many times as you’d like!

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at www.eharlequin.com! We’re giving away a KOBO e-reader and many other cool prizes! All you have to do to be entered to win is leave comments on the tour!  

E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available for pre-order at amzn.to/bmJzp4.    

Next tour stop: Thursday, October, 7,  2010. Super Authors, http://community.eharlequin.com/content/what-0. We hope to see you there! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.    

For weekly blog tour dates, visit www.tarataylorquinn.com. Or to have the weekly schedule sent directly to your email, send request to staff@tarataylorquinn.com.

The Time Has Come (Tara Taylor Quinn & Kelly Chapman)

Kelly and I are sitting here together, reflecting over the past months, the past weeks and days, and wondering where our lives are going.  We’ll be together forever – I know that.  But will the stories she gives me be written, or just in my mind, lingering there.  It’s  a wait and see game at this point.  Wait and see how well the public likes Kelly.  Or my writing of Kelly’s stories. 

I saw an old re-run of Newhart last night.  Remember the Bed & Breakfast in Vermont?  Dick (Bob Newhart) and his wife run the place, but Dick’s really a writer of How To books.  And has his own, mildly successful talk show, Vermont Today.  In last night’s episode Dick, who’s written umpteen books in fifteen years, decides that his publisher doesn’t appreciate him enough and to teach them a lesson, determines that he’s going to publish with someone else under a pen name.  He sends his latest manuscript out to all of the major publishers, expecting to have his pick of offers.  What he gets is his pick of painful rejections.  He determines that he’s going to re-write the book.  He slaves over revisions, and then wonders why he ever thought he could write a book.  He gives up.  Becomes a shark pool player for four days.  And then his lovely wife JoAnna, convinces him that he’s a great writer and the Dick she knows wouldn’t give up.  Dick hits the streets of New York and finally gets someone to actually read his work.  And he gets the purchase offer which he accepts.  While Tim, bless him, laughed his way through the episode, I felt every single twinge of pain that Dick felt.  Kelly was there, commiserating with me.  It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve written, or sold, you’re only as good as your next book.  Kelly just shook her head at me.  Guess who’s going to be having a ‘session’ as soon as she’s done writing this???

And this is it, my next book.  Our next book.  And that’s part of the problem.  It’s not just me out here, now.  It’s not just one book.  The Chapman Files have a life of their own.   And they’re far reaching.  They encompass Kelly’s life.  If the book doesn’t do well, the series suffers.  So here we are.  Friday, just two days from now, is the official release date of the first MIRA in The Chapman Files Series, The Second Lie.  We made it through The First Wife.  All early indications are cause for celebration.  And will the excitement cross over to the MIRA audience?  I can write the books.  I can research and plot and polish.  But I can’t buy them all up myself.  I can’t read millions of copies of them on my own.  We need your help! 

We have a little help for you, too, though.  For a printable coupon for 1$ off The Second Lie, click here:  http://www.tarataylorquinn.com/The%20Second%20Lie%20Coupon.pdf.

Today is also the last day of clues for this month’s mystery prize giveaway.  We’ll be drawing names from the correct guessers on Monday and will be announcing the prize and the winner right here on Storybroads next week.  October’s mystery prize game, an item from The Second Lie, begins on Friday with two clues!

And now, because I really can’t afford to spend the day in counseling and I can see the look on Kelly’s face, I’m going to move quickly on to something else, entirely non-book related.  And that would be fleas.  There, I admitted the horrible truth.  My precious companions had them.  Really really bad.  Bad enough to need the vet, where we found out there’s an infestation in our part of the world.  We’ve had record high heat and I guess the fleas bred like crazy.  (Unlike human beings who seem to do that sort of thing on cold winter nights!)  The babies kept me up two nights in a row.  They were miserable and biting and scratching.  Tay can’t sleep unless she’s pushed up against me and so all night long I was being jiggled against.  And Jerry would jump up on the bed and then get down.  And then up and then down again.  I didn’t think they had fleas.  In the first place, we’re clean and bugs seems dirty to me.  And in the second place, we’ve been treating both babies all summer.  They have a big back yard with lots of plants and trees and a fish pond so…you know…there might be other…not so clean…creatures…out there.  We’ve been giving them the thirty day treatments since May.  So I knew they didn’t have fleas.  Tim thought it was skin allergy.  He wondered if maybe they got into something in the yard.  Jerry eats red berries off a tree.  He stands on his hind legs and picks them.  Maybe he knocked some off for Tay, too.

Nope.  They had fleas.  The stuff we were sold in May was ineffective.  They’d had them long enough to be infested.  I feel absolutely horrible.  I can’t imagine how miserable I’d feel having bugs crawl on me for weeks and then to have the people who say they love me not do a darn thing about it…

Well, I did something about it yesterday.  I had to turn over my ineffective product to the vet who studied ingredients and found something that we could give Jerry and Tay to kill the fleas, but not kill them.  And then I had to wash every rug, every piece of bedding in the house, every afghan and blanket.  Tim vacuumed every inch of the house, including the basement (it’s carpeted.)  We had to take our little ones out to the car – Kelly sat with them – and then treat the entire house, after which we had to vacate for two hours.  During that time I scratched incessantly.  The dogs – and me.  Kelly says it’s the shadow side to the imagination that allows me to pen tales good enough to publish.  I KNOW I felt those bugs crawling on me.  Never saw one on me, but they were there.  I’m sure of it.  Just writing this made them come back again, just to prove my point.  (Or maybe Kelly’s –  she just blurted that out.)  I’m itchy all over.

But I don’t think there are any live bugs anywhere in the vicinity of our home.  We spread the word pretty voraciously.  And have brushed and combed and rebrushed the babies.  Jerry stood there and wagged his tail the ENTIRE time we brushed him.  He knew we were helping him.  And he was grateful.  That boy is truly a joy to be around.  Tay tolerated the brush and comb until I got to her head - the fleas had been particularly fond of it.  She squirmed and fought me when I tried to help.  And when Daddy took over, she sat quietly and let him make it all better.  She’ll only let him hold her in airports, too.  He’s clearly a good daddy.

Okay, I did it.  I focused on something besides the books.  Whew.  Hopefully that just gained me writing time over another personal session with Ms. Chapman.  (I have two books due in November!)  But I do want to tell you all – we had a special blog yesterday that wasn’t scheduled in time to get in last week’s post or on the schedule that we send out.  Some of you made it there from the website – which is being updated daily right now – but for those who didn’t get there, if you can, please please pay a visit.  We had a very special guest yesterday.  The blog is up at Reader’s Entertainment Television.  http://readersentertainment.blogspot.com/2010/09/guest-blogger-tara-taylor-quinn-from.html.

Our next tour stop is on Friday, October 1, and to celebrate the official release of The Second Lie we have TWO stops and will be giving away free books – and mystery prize clues – at both places!  Mira Authors:  http://community.eharlequin.com/content/celebration.  Novelist’s Inc:   http://www.ninc.com/blog/index.php.   We hope to see you there! The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win! Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for prize drawings to be awarded at the party on December 4th.

And for our closing business:  Over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, expert witness psychologist, Kelly Chapman and I are going to be asking for help. If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse. Since February of this year, the United States’ first battered women’s shelter, Strengthen Our Sisters is down $400,000.00 in donations. Some of the staff members are working without pay as they struggle to pay mortgages on ten houses filled to capacity and keep their women and children housed and safe. If you’d like to help, click here to go directly to a secure paypal site: http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=VR7WPWDHR6KFS.

There’s an item from, The First Wife, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: It has page numbers. Send all guesses to staff@tarataylorquinn.com. To see previous clues visit blog sites listed at www.tarataylorquinn.com. We have correct guesses!!! Keep them coming!

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th at www.eharlequin.com! Tour prize winners will be announced!

E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available for pre-order at http://www.amzn.to/bmJzp4.

For weekly blog tour dates, visit www.tarataylorquinn.com. Or to have the weekly schedule sent directly to your email, send request to staff@tarataylorquinn.com.

A Stop By Home (Tara Taylor Quinn & Kelly Chapman)

Kelly and I are home here at Storybroads today.  We’re loving our Chapman File International Blog Tour, thus far, and it’s still so good to be home, even though it’s only for a few hours.  If you were with us on Monday, you heard Over the Rainbow playing in the background of our guest world.  And I agree with Dorothy, “There’s no place like home.”

Of course, that depends on what constitutes home.  Kelly and I talked about this for a while the other day – preparing for today’s stop.  Logically, prosaically, home is the place where you live.  If you’re an adult, it’s the place you probably pay for – either in rent or mortgage or at least, property taxes.  It’s the place where you store your stuff.  Where you get to arrange the furniture and fill the cupboards.  The place where you do your laundry.  Where you keep your pet if you have one.  It’s the address on your billing statements.

Or is it?  For Kelly and I, I’m finding, nothing is ever that simple.  We just can’t leave things on the surface.  Not even stopping in at home!  Because, what about the people who travel and are ‘home’ only on weekends?  Technically, they don’t ‘live’ there.  They live on the road.  And many adults live with someone else and don’t pay the mortgage or the rent or the property taxes.  Even if they share expenses, they usually don’t pay for an investment in which they have no part of the equity.  A lot of people store their stuff in storage units.  Which is why there are so many of them around this country.  If you’re renting, and the place is furnished, you don’t always get to rearrange, and if you’re renting a room from someone to live in, you don’t get to rearrange furniture or fill cupboards.  And, as Kelly pointed out, in some marriages the husband has absolutely no say in how the furniture is arranged or in what is in the cupboards (quite happily, she ascertains) so would that then, by our above definition mean that he’s not at home?  What if he’s a kept man?  Or, as Kelly pointed out, a house husband?  He doesn’t pay the bills.  And his wife does the cooking and shopping and he cleans and takes care of the kids and…

Can you see why Kelly and I spend so much time talking?  There’s no limit to alleys and byways along our path.

I told Kelly my old definition of home.  Home was where my clothes were.  Problem was, I wasn’t sleeping there.  My name was on the deed and the mortgage.  My clothes and a lot of my things were there.  I was staying someplace else.  I’d have told Kelly more, but she got that look in her eye, the compassionate one that makes you feel like you’re going to fall apart, so I did what I do very very well.  I segued.  But I told her about flying home from business trips in those days, and hearing the pilot come on as we’re getting ready to land and welcoming us to our location.  He’d say if you’re visiting, have fun, if you live here, welcome home.  And I’d look around me at the people who were home.  Who were eager to get home.  And I’d collect my things and leave the plane and be glad to be back in the city that I loved more than any other city on earth.  And I told Kelly about the prayer I prayed every single night in those days.  I wanted to sleep where my clothes were.  That was it.  Short and simple.  In my mind, if I was sleeping where my clothes were I would be home.

I grew up.  And I learned that sleeping where your clothes were did not make a home.  Sleeping where your clothes are brings a sense of belonging, maybe.  It brings a sense of organization, certainly.  And I guess if home were merely another word for house, if home were only a building, then I was home.  I didn’t feel any more eager to get off the plane and get to that building than I had before my clothes were where I was sleeping.

For some, who’ve lived in the same area their whole lives, home is there.  Always has been.  Always will be.  But what about those of us who’ve moved around?  Who didn’t grow up all in one place, but lived for long periods of time in several places?  Where is our home?  Where we were born?  Is that where we’re from?  What if we can’t even remember living in that town because we were so young when we moved away?  What about those of us who grew up in different neighborhoods in big cities, where three streets away was a completely different culture because it crossed a highway?

Kelly had the answer, of course.  Such a seemingly blase, trite phrase that it’s even a cliche.  Home is where the heart is, she told me.  I couldn’t just accept that.  Because…does that mean that my home is at my daughter’s condo?  My heart is most definitely there.  All tied up inside of the successful young woman I gave birth to and raised.  I can bet she’d be none too thrilled to have me show up for dinner with my suitcase full of clothes and my computer under my arm and announce that I was home.

My mother might be a little more pleased to host the above experience, but not really.  She has her own space.  Her own way of doing things.  She lives alone with her four legged family member and yet there is no doubt that the place where her clothes are is her home.  When she lands in town, she can’t wait to get off the plane and get to that place.  Get home.  She calls me, first thing, and I don’t here, ‘I made it.’  Or ‘I’m back.’  Every single time, without fail, what I hear when I pick up her ring is ‘I’m home.’  And there is such peace in her voice when she says the words, such relief, that I can’t help but be happy for her even though I miss her so much.

As you’d expect, I pointed all of this out to Kelly.  And you’d probably expect the reaction I got, too.  She just sat there serenely.  Smiling at me through that look she has that’s a mixture of tenderness and knowing and…nothing.  She just sat.  Pinning me with that look that carries way more punch than daggers, and waited.  And, as I’ve always done with her, I allowed my mind to travel further along her path.  Home is where the heart is.  And I knew what she was telling me.  I knew that I had a home.  Not in the building in which I currently live – the building I co-own and pay for and arrange furniture in and buy food for and do laundry in and sleep in with my clothes hanging in the closet.  Nor is home my beloved Phoenix.  Or the cemetery where my loved ones lay with the  fisher boy I left there, a replica of the one at our pond that is pictured here.  Although, for many, all of those things, in their own lives ARE home.

Home is where the heart is.  Which means that home is as individual as each of us are.  Home is where our individual hearts tell us home is.  And no matter what the world tells us, or what laws tells us, or what logic tells us, or what family and friends tell us, home can only be where our hearts tell us it is.  Home is a state of heart.  Not a physical residence.  When I said that out loud, Kelly nodded.  And then, because she does have a tendency to push if she thinks someone needs to be pushed, she asked me where my home is.  I thought about sequing again, but I didn’t seem to have the energy.  Or maybe, I didn’t have the need.  I thought of all of the places pictured above and knew that each of them were part of my home.  Storybroads.  And my beloved Arizona.  The cemetery in Michigan and the pond Tim and  I dug together.  As is my daughter’s condo and my mother’s house.  I feel a sense of home in each place.  But there is only one place where I am at my own home.  Every single time I am there:

With Tim.

Kelly’s putting the rest of you on the spot now.  (Please!!  Take some of the heat off from me!  I’m living with this woman and while I love her dearly, she is EXHAUSTING!)  Kelly is asking you, What is Home to You?

For those of you just joining us, I need to tell you that over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, Kelly  and I are going to be asking for help.  If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse.  Since February of this year, the United States’ first battered women’s shelter, Strengthen Our Sisters is down $400,000.00 in donations.  Some of the staff members are working without pay as they struggle to pay mortgages on ten houses filled to capacity and keep their women and children housed and safe.  If you’d like to help,  click here to go directly to a secure paypal sight.  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=VR7WPWDHR6KFS.

There’s an item from our new book, The First Wife, hidden on the tour with us.  Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it!  Today’s clue: Numbers are associated with it.  Send all guesses to staff@tarataylorquinn.comTo see previous clues visit blog sites listed at www.tarataylorquinn.com.

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th!  Tour prize winners will be announced!

E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available for pre-order at http://amzn.to/bmJzp4.

Next tour stop: Thursday, September 2, 2010.  Chapter’s Books Community http://community.indigo.ca/posts/Tara-Taylor-Quinn/user-452412/current.html.  We hope to see you there!  The more blogs you visit with us, the more chances you have to win!  Every time you comment your name is dropped in the bag for the prize drawings.

For weekly blog tour dates, visit www.tarataylorquinn.com.  Or to have the weekly schedule sent directly to your email, send request to staff@tarataylorquinn.com.

Stop Three (Kelly Chapman)

So this is Storybroads.  ttq has talked about you all so much.  The Broads.  And Broadies.  You all are pretty dear to her heart, did you know that?  Nice place you all have here.  Lots of writing implements, that’s always good.  I have to tell you right off, I’m a perennial note taker.  I just seem to think better when I’m writing things down.  And I have a warning, too.  I chew on my writing implements.  So there you have it. 

ttq asked me if I’d share some of the pictures we took over the weekend – if you were with us yesterday you’ll know that we had an unexpected vacation day that was completely out of our control.  I heard ttq telling Tim – one great guy but I’ll need a whole day to tell you all the things I’ve learned about him – that Books, Movies, & Reviews, Oh My!, our missed stop, has, after apologizing profusely, asked that we re-schedule for next Monday.  I’m good with that.  I was looking forward to visiting the place.  I’ve seen pictures and it looks cool.  Right, back to pictures.  I’ll be sharing some of them as we go along, today.

ttq also suggested that I introduce myself, tell you all a little bit about me.  I prefer to get to know you all.  Listening is what I do best.

But after two years of living with this woman – she calls herself ttq, small case mind you.  (There’s a message in that.  She just hasn’t gotten it yet.) – anyway, I digress.  After two years of living with her, living through her, I owe her.  She’s been a great sport, letting me set up camp in her mind, taking over thoughts that she might have put to good use elsewhere, interrupting her sleep, her play time, and pretty much any other time.  It’s not that I’m selfish.  It’s that I had some people to help – out there.  I’ve got files filled with stories that, if shared, can help so many people.  If nothing else, some aspects of my cases will entertain, and down time is imperative to healthy living.

I digress again.  I’m avoiding talking about myself.  I’m just not good at it.  And yeah, yeah, I know, yesterday at stop two, where were we?  Oh yeah, the MIRA authors site.  Kind of a lonely place, if you ask me.  Yesterday ttq told you what I said about avoidance.  (Maybe I was a little hard on her but only because I know she can take it.  And wants it.  I’ve never met a woman who tried harder to be the best she could be.)  ttq has issues with avoidance, but then, so do I.  I have issues with chewing on fresh pencils, too.  I’m aware.  And someday, if I have the time, I might do something about both issues.  In the meantime, I have a confession to make.

There’s another place I interrupted ttq’s life - more than interrupted, I messed it up.  It was one of those things that I didn’t foresee.  I would never, ever have done anything to hurt her.  Or make life difficult for her.  That’s not what I’m about.  But she skates.  You know, in-line skating.  At first, I just hung out in her mind while she sailed through the air, but I just couldn’t seem to stay in my place.  (I do have difficulty with that.  I have a tendency to go to whatever situation I think I can help.)  ttq didn’t need any help skating, so that’s why this…action…of mine was such a surprise.  I took over ttq’s skating life.  I started talking to her the entire time she was on the bike path.  Giving her bits and pieces of cases.  Dropping names.  And dates.  It was there that I first told her about the guy I suspected was a pedophile.  I introduced her to Maggie, there, too.  Ah, Maggie.  I can’t wait for you all to meet her.  She’s in The Second Lie.  I sure love that kid.

I told ttq all about Jane Hamilton, too, when she was out trying to get some R&R on her wheels.  Which was okay, really.  She’d needed to know and the answers lessened her stress which was part of the goal of skating.  Jane’s an impressive woman.  A self possessed, successful woman who had the courage to look honestly and deeply at herself.  And to face what she saw.  She’s The First Wife.  And then there’s Erin.  But we’ll talk about Erin later.  ttq called her file The Third Secret and I miss her.  A lot.

Still not getting to the letting you know about me, part, here.  I’m not much of a writer.  Which is why I confiscated ttq in the first place.  My gosh, that woman can write.  If you guys could see even half of what she goes through to bring you the stories that take over her brain without really even giving her a say about the process…While everyone else is sleeping, she sits alone in the quiet of the night with her hands on the keyboard and lets us talk.  She spends all day there, too, alone in that office, fingers on the keys, and gives herself over as the amazing conduit she is.

Back to me…I robbed ttq of her peace on the skate path.  I stole skating from her.  She was able to go so deep while she skated, to get answers, revelations, to truly connectwith authenticity and I…well I guess I just couldn’t resist.  That’s where I live – in the deepest recesses.  Of other people’s minds.  It’s one thing to have access to your own mind that way, but when you spend your life inside other people’s most sacred, intimate thoughts, inside the psyches that drive them, well, you have to be always aware.  So careful.  You don’t get to have a bad day when you’re delving into the mind of someone else.  And skating…it allowed me to erase all of life’s distractions and get to the root of living, of life.  To get the insights I needed to be able to help my clients.  So I told ttq I’m a skater.  And I took over the skating.  And I made a huge mistake.  And…I can’t really say much more about that.  ttq called the whole thing The Fourth Victim.  That’s me, The Fourth Victim.

So, enough about me.  Other than, I forgot, ttq suggested, when we talked about this stop on the tour over the weekend, that I tell you things like the fact that I’m addicted to diet coke.  But what I want to tell you is that she is, too.  She drinks the stuff from first thing in the morning until she goes to bed at night.  Sometimes she switches to caffeine free.  And, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but, hey, I’ve been living with this woman for two years, I know her secrets.  Sometimes, late in the evening, she slips a splash of rum in with the diet coke.  Bacardi rum.  And when I say a splash, I mean just a splash.  You can barely taste the stuff.  Which is a good thing.  I can’t stand the taste of it.  For me, one glass of wine, and a hot soak, is a dream evening.

Here I am, true to form, doing what I think is best, not what my dear friend, ttq, asked me to do.  She did a great job telling you all about me in The Chapman Files.   I don’t need to do that.  I thought you all should get to know the woman whose books you enjoy.  She really tries hard.  And that means everything in my book.  I have another little secret to share.  We made a stop – with Tim, of course – at their cabin in the woods this past weekend.  She dresses really different there.  Like, no fashion at all.  She still does her hair and make up though.  I gotta tell you, this woman does that hair and make up just to sit alone with me and the furry family members every day.  We celebrated something this weekend.  I’ll let you all figure out what that was.  It’s one ttq secret I’ll keep my mouth shut about.

If you’re still wondering who got older, I’ll give you a clue.  Tim made the cake.  And hey, what’d I tell you about that diet coke addiction?  See the cans there?  She’s a two fisted drinker.

Whoops, I gotta get this published before she gets back and sees what I just did.  (She’s off re-filling our diet cokes.  We both like lots of ice.)  Before I go, I want to remind you all that over the next three months, as we celebrate The Chapman Files, ttq and I are going to be asking for help.  If you can, join us in our fight against Domestic Abuse.  Since February of this year, Strengthen Our Sisters is down $400,000.00 in donations.  Some of the staff members are working without pay as they struggle to pay mortgages and keep their women and children housed and safe.  If you’d like to help, to donate to Strengthen Our Sisters securely through PayPal, click here:  https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=VR7WPWDHR6KFS.

And back to our tour!!!  There’s an item from ttq’s new book, The First Wife, hidden on the tour with us.  Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it!  Today’s clue: A lot of people have a lot of them.

Don’t miss The Chapman File tour party on December 4th!  Tour prize winners will be announced!

Next tour stop:  Thursday, August 26, 2010.  Novelist’s Inc.  http://www.ninc.com/blog/index.php  I hope to see you there!  The more blogs you visit with me, the more chances you have to win!

For weekly blog tour dates, visit www.tarataylorquinn.com

AND…Free Book Thursday!!!  (I’m proclaiming it that, ttq won’t mind.)  Tomorrow, a copy of The First Wife will be given away to one lucky commenter!