And welcome Melanie Snitker's latest novel Finding Peace, Book One in the Love's Compass series.
Melanie is part of the CIR group on Facebook, bringing some 18 000 authors who choose to write CLEAN fiction in pretty much every genre out there.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce Melanie, and to share with you her new book. The cover is AMAZING, I simply love it.
So here we go...
Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. Jilted by his fiancée for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.
Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.
When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.
Will the past get in the way of their future?
So what did you think about that? Pretty good blurb to draw you into the already irresistible book cover.
Time for an EXCERPT, so read on...
Laurie Blake fumbled to fasten the buttons on her jacket. When she was finished, she plunged her stiff hands into the welcome warmth of the pockets. It was January in north Texas and cold weather was to be expected. But these exceptionally low temperatures almost made her want to dig out her gloves. Almost.
Each breath turned into a puff of fog that preceded her down the street. She chose her steps carefully to avoid the uneven sections of pavement.
Walking the two buildings between Daisy Belle’s Diner and the apartment above her photography studio, she was glad she chose a small bowl of vegetable beef soup for dinner. It would help keep her warm until she got home.
The evening sky bore hints of orange as the sun readied for bed. Perfect timing. She hated to be out after dark.
The neighborhood wasn’t in the best part of town. And that was an understatement. Most of the buildings were in dire need of a fresh coat of paint and the storefront for Capturing the Moment Photography was no exception. She was thankful that at least her building didn’t sport any of the paint tags many of the others did.
Her eyes flitted to her dusty-looking Honda Accord before turning towards the door of her place. Something snagged her attention and her head whipped back around, eyes quickly honing in on the trunk. It wasn’t latched. Thinking little of it, she went to shut it completely and that’s when she noticed that the passenger side window had been broken.
A groan came from her throat as she stood and stared at the damage. Tears gathered in her eyes.
This was fantastic. Just what she needed – to pay for repairs to her car. Because there was nothing else to use her limited funds on.
Shoulders slumped, Laurie unlocked the door to her studio, turned the lights on, and stepped inside. She pulled a cheap cell phone out of her pocket and dialed the police station. After reporting the damage, she was told to expect an officer to stop by.
Many of the portraits on the walls of her studio smiled at her. However, not even the photo of the cherub-faced baby sitting in a flower pot could lighten her mood.
By the time a truck pulled up in front of her place almost an hour later, the tears had disappeared. She stopped her swift pacing and looked past the reflection of herself in the window as an exceptionally tall man got out of a black truck.
She stepped out into the cold air, leaving her jacket hanging on a chair inside. Arms crossed in front of her, she watched as the man approached her. He wore the two-toned blue Kitner Police Department uniform which included a heavy coat. At over six feet tall, he was the definition of confidence.
He gave her a nod. “Hello, Ma’am. I was told that a car had been broken into. Was it you who made that call?”
“Yes, it was.”
He looked like he was expecting her to say something else. She raised an eyebrow at him.
The officer cleared his throat and reached for a small notebook in one of his coat pockets. He pulled it out along with a pen and flipped open to a blank page.
“I’m Officer Chandler. Can I have your name?”
“Is it your car that has been damaged?”
She gave him her contact information and answered a few other questions before he motioned to the car.
“Laurie, I would like you to show me the damage and make a list of anything that might be missing from your car.”
“Nothing was stolen.”
“You already went through everything?” His brown eyes looked surprised and she realized that they were the exact same shade as the close-cropped hair on his head.
“I don’t keep anything in my car. I know what part of town I live in.”
Officer Chandler’s eyes went to her crossed arms. She had been rubbing them to keep warm and stopped immediately under his gaze.
“You should go inside and get a coat. This could take a few minutes.”
Laurie’s arms dropped to her sides and she pierced Kentucky with a glare. She turned on a heel and went inside the studio behind her. He followed at a distance and stopped just inside.
He watched her shrug on a dark green jacket. Hair hung to the middle of her back, the ringlets tangled together in a mess of copper red.
He stared at her eyes. They were so green, they reminded him of jade.
“My jacket’s on. Let’s go.”
He moved out of her way as her shoulder brushed his chest. He raised an eyebrow. If she was this frigid with the guy who was here to help, then it was a good thing the person who broke into her car was long gone. Kentucky might have been called in to investigate a homicide instead.
Black boots that looked tiny compared to his own carried her around the car to the passenger side. She gestured to the broken window and buried her hands in her pockets.
Kentucky reached for a small camera in his coat and took a few photos before pulling on the handle. The car door yielded with a creak and he leaned inside.
His gaze swept over the faded seat covers, the stained floorboards, and landed on the dash.
“That’s odd, the stereo is still here. It’s usually the first thing they take.” He stood up again. Laurie was watching him. “If you had nothing stashed in the car, what was the point?”
She shrugged. “They checked the trunk, too. It’s an old car. Probably wasn’t worth their time.”
“Maybe.” He examined the trunk and made a few more notes. “At this point, all you can do is make a claim with your insurance company to get the window repaired.”
At his words, a look of defeat crossed her face.
“What is it?”
“I have liability only.”
He gave her a nod. He remembered when Capturing the Moments Photography had opened up about six months ago. He had even commented to his partner about how the area of town was an unusual place for a business like that. Looking at Laurie’s car, he assumed she was here because it was all she could afford.
He rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “We will investigate this. If we can find the guy who did it, we’ll let you know. I’m sorry there’s not much else I can do.”
The light from the studio reflected in her eyes. The frown on her face softened as she kicked one of the car’s tires with the toe of a boot.
His eyes were drawn to her mouth as she worried her lower lip with her teeth.
“Do you have any trash bags?”
Her brows came together. “What?”
“If you have a trash bag and some packing tape, I’ll help you cover up that window.”
Her pretty eyes opened wide and she blinked at him as if she were seeing him for the first time.
“Um. Yeah. I do.”
Without another word, she disappeared into her studio. As he waited for her to return, Kentucky wondered about Laurie Blake. Her emotions seemed measured and she certainly was a woman of few words. But he had seen vulnerability – even if it was only for a moment.
She came back with the materials he needed. Together, they sealed off the broken window. When they were finished, he nodded towards her place. “It’s getting colder out here and you have to be half frozen. You should go in for the night. I’ll file all of this first thing in the morning.”
He half expected her to argue with him. Instead, she took the tape back from him and jabbed a thumb at her car. “Thanks for the help.”
“You’re welcome.” He withdrew a card from his wallet and handed it to her. “If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me.”
Their fingers brushed as she plucked the card from his hand. The warmth he felt at the touch surprised him.
Without looking at the card, she slipped it into her jacket pocket. She walked to the door and turned slightly towards him again.
The light lit her face and he admired the smattering of freckles across her nose. “I’m sorry this happened to you.”
She shrugged her shoulders, copper curls falling forward to frame her delicate face. “It is what it is.”
Now...shall we learn a little about our author?
Let's give a warm welcome to Melanie D. Snitker!
Melanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing fiction for as long as she can remember. She started out writing episodes of cartoon shows that she wanted to see as a child and her love of writing grew from there.
She and her husband live in Texas with their two children, who keep their lives full of adventure, and two dogs, who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics.
In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crochet, baking, archery, camping and hanging out with family and friends.
Before we post the author and buy links, how about an interview! Yes, Melanie was a good sport and was able to answer all these questions, just for you.
Could you share a little about yourself and what led you to become a writer?
I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I wrote episodes of Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers, using images from coloring books to illustrate my stories. I went from that to writing scripts for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine Episodes. I even sent one or two in, though nothing came of it. lol I've gone through periods of my life where I’ve done little to no writing, but it’s always been something I've loved to do. Now you have peaked my curiosity! I would love to read one of your Star Trek scripts. Yes, I have no problem admitting my love for Star Trek.
Do you write full time? How much of your life is set aside for writing?
I do not write full time. I'm a stay-at-home-mom to our two children – 9 and 4 – and we homeschool as well. So my days are pretty busy. When I'm working on a book, I try to take five days a week and dedicate an hour or two to writing in the evening. When I officially finish a book, I take a month to clear my mind and focus on something besides writing. I admire your ability to schedule in time to write. I know that with 2 kids, homeschooling all that life can throw at us, if I would take an hour or two to write, I might not get around to writing before midnight LOL. Good for you!
Could you tell us a little about your novel?
Sure! Finding Peace is the first novel in a series I've called Love’s Compass. At this point, I'm planning three books in the series. Each of the books will be based around one of the siblings in the Chandler family. Finding Peace is Tuck’s story. He is a police officer in their little town and he’s dedicated in his mission to keep the citizens safe.
When Laurie Blake’s car is vandalized and later finds a burglar in her photography studio, Tuck is determined to catch the culprit and bring peace back to her life.
His fiancée some years ago canceled their engagement. Ever since then, he’s held women at arm’s length. Now that he’s working so closely with Laurie, he’s struggling with the past and how it’s going to affect his future. I had the pleasure of being a beta-reader for book one, and I am looking forward to reading the finished product!
What inspired the name you chose for the series?
One of the minor characters, Grams, has a locket shaped like a heart. It has a raised compass on the front. Her late husband gave it to her when he left for Korea many years ago and told her that love was a compass and no matter how far apart two people might be, love has a way of bringing them back together again. I liked that so much, I decided to name the series Love’s Compass and carry that idea through all of the books in different ways. Now I bet all of our readers would like to know if this compass does exist!
What is the message behind the story? Was it something you specifically wrote a story around or did it develop as your characters came to life?
I had some ideas of what I wanted in this story, but it just kind of developed as the characters came to life. I actually got over halfway through, decided I wanted a different feel to the story, and went back to rewrite the first half again. I was really happy with the outcome after that. I wanted to show that we all need direction and peace in our lives – no matter what we’re going through. How true.
Do you work from an outline or just go with the flow? If you use an outline, how detailed is it?
I usually just go with the flow, but I think I do create more work for myself that way. Halfway through the book, I sat down and made an outline so I could really study my characters. This helped me to see where I wanted to go with the story and I rewrote the first half again. I’ll be attempting to outline a bit more for future books. While I was a student of The Institute of Children's Literature, I had to outline my stories...and boy did I hate that. Now, as I am writing another novel, I find myself thinking I should outline...and I will lol.
What is the time span in your novel, weeks, months, years? How much research went into it?
This particular book takes place over about a month and a half. It begins just after the first of the year and continues into February. I wrote about an area of the country I’m very familiar with and I didn't need to do a lot of research for this particular title.
How do you handle marketing? Do you have a plan, a publicist, or just take one day at a time?
I’m still learning a lot about the marketing aspect of being an author. I feel like I have a better handle on it with this book than I did with my first. But I already have things I’m planning on doing differently with the next one. I put together a tentative plan and take it one day at a time after that. I’m hoping to be more organized with each book. I think the most important thing is to pace yourself, because it can become overwhelming and it's important to keep on top of things. (I say this as I struggle to regain control after having Savannah.)
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Never give up! I hear people say that you have to write every day if you want to be an author and that’s not true. Write when you can and don't get discouraged if that’s less often than other times in your life. Keep a journal. There is a season for everything in our lives. I know that I went through many years where I wanted to write and it just didn't mesh with what was going on in my life at that time. I wrote when I could and I'm so glad I didn't give up! Very sound advice. Thank you.
Could you tell us what you're working on now?
I'm starting the outline for the second book in the Love’s Compass series. This will be Lexi’s story and I'm excited to start writing it in the next week or two. I have many aspects of the story planned in my head and will be working on an outline next week. I really hope my readers will enjoy getting to know Lexi as much as they do her younger brother, Tuck. I am looking forward to your next book.
Melanie, thank you for taking the time to stop by and talk about your newly released novel, Finding Peace. Now if any of our readers want to purchase a copy or ask Melanie a question about her book, you can find all the necessary links below.
Finding Peace is available on Kindle and in paperback