You've found the home on the net for romance writer, LaVerne Clark. Thanks for visiting! :)

I write suspense and light fantasy/paranormal set in the beautiful country of New Zealand. A land of myths and magic, Aotearoa (Maori for Long White Cloud) has always been a storytelling nation and it is my pleasure to share mine with you.

Make yourself your drink of choice, stay a while and feel free to leave comments. I love to meet new friends.

Heartpounding suspense and fantasy Downunder

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Jewel - Rachel Lynne

Please help me welcome and congratulate author Rachel Lynne
on her debut novella Ring of Lies!

A café owner and an ex-cop must unravel the mystery surrounding a hot blue diamond in order to stop a cold blooded killer.
After a childhood lived on the road with a free-spirited aunt, all café owner Ivy Michaels wants is a normal and uneventful life, but when her aunt is found floating in the Savannah River, Ivy inherits an heirloom blue diamond and a killer bent on keeping the past buried. Dom Riordan is an ex-cop obsessed with finding his mother's killer. A chance meeting, and a glimpse of evidence he's been seeking, convinces him that Ivy Michaels is the key to solving the crime. Dom devises a plan to date Ivy and ferret out the truth but he didn't count on losing his heart. As a ruthless killer closes in on Ivy, Dom will risk everything to keep her safe.

Thank you for inviting me to your blog, LaVerne. I keep thinking, I never would have heard about the Jewel of the Night submission call if I hadn’t visited The Wild Rose Press’ website in December of 2009 to purchase my friend Amber Shelley’s first book. That click of the mouse sent my life in an entirely new direction; surreal!

I started writing in March of 2009 and had been working on the same paranormal Regency for ten months when I decided to write a story for the Jewel of the Night line. I had a heroine, a setting, and a vague notion of a crime involving a blue diamond but the deadline for submission to The Wild Rose Press was March 31, 2010; and I had never finished a manuscript before! To say panic was setting in would be a vast understatement.

With three months to finish and edit a novel I sat down to write, only to find I had no idea where to take my story after the first chapter. All I can say is, thank God for my critique group! I submitted my first chapter and, as luck would have it, my pages fell into the hands of Riley Quinn, another writer who happened to be working on a Jewel of the Night submission. She sent my pages back with a note asking if I’d like to work together. I jumped at her offer. She too was having trouble with her story’s direction so we chatted in an online chat room, asking each other questions about our characters and playing “what if” with our plots. I wrote what became Ring of Lies, in less than eight weeks. Without Riley, I never would have nailed down a cohesive plot and knowing she was expecting my completed chapters every week for critique pushed me to complete the story.

The decision to write for the Jewel of the Night line also sent my writing career in a new direction. Up to that point, I had intended to write paranormal Regency novels. Writing for the romantic suspense genre never entered my mind. Looking back at my choice of reading material however, writing stories with a strong element of suspense should have been a natural choice. My favorite romance author is Jayne Ann Krentz. I love her contemporary romantic suspense novels and the Regencies she writes as Amanda Quick and, if I’m not reading one of Ms. Krentz’ novels I’m likely to be curled up with a cozy mystery by Dorothy Cannell, Carolyn G. Hart, or Diane Mott Davidson.

The works of these great authors has definitely influenced my writing; and caused me a bit of consternation! While working on my new website, my designer directed me to several websites she’d designed for other authors of romantic suspense and that’s when I realized I didn’t fit the current romantic suspense mold! They were all beautiful sites but the tone they conveyed was what I think of as ‘action movie’ suspense; law enforcement themes with lots of guns and explosions. Ring of Lies and the other novels I’m working on, are filled with quirky characters going about their normal lives until something happens that shoves them out of their comfort zones and into a world filled with danger and intrigue. Because of this “hybrid” approach, I have taken to calling my writing style ‘cozy romantic suspense’.

Though I didn’t start with the intention, Ring of Lies incorporates many elements of a cozy mystery; a quirky heroine thrown into the role of amateur sleuth, an odd-ball best friend, and a cantankerous cat. My heroine, Ivy Michaels is a chef on the verge of opening her own café. All is right with her world until, days before the grand opening of the Cosmic Café, her aunt is found dead in the Savannah River. Poor Ivy, it’s all downhill from there! But, in my defense, I’d like to point out that had I not plunged Ivy’s life into chaos she would never have met the man of her dreams, Dom Riordan. See? I’m not a completely heartless puppet master!

Writing Ring of Lies was a lot of fun. The basic premise of a woman inheriting a blue diamond from an aunt came from the fact that I have a blue diamond and … yep, it belonged to my aunt. Oh! Since Ivy’s Aunt Fey is a bit, umm let’s be charitable and say eccentric, I should stress that she bears no resemblance to my aunt!

I have to say that working with The Wild Rose Press was also a great experience. Lori, my editor, was a tremendous help and her suggestions during the editing process really helped me tighten Ring of Lies’ story line. The other authors in the “Rose Garden” have also made my first venture into the publishing world a smooth and pleasant journey. Everyone is so supportive and eager to help; makes this only child feel like she’s suddenly gained hundreds of sisters!

I really can’t thank you enough for giving me this opportunity, LaVerne! I’d also like to thank all of your readers by offering a free copy of Ring of Lies. I’ll pick a winner from all those who leave a comment.
On my website Ivy shares some of her Cosmic Café recipes while I showcase the myriad of things in Savannah that inspire my writing, so please visit, I’d love to hear from readers!

“I’m so sorry to keep you waiting. I’m Ivy Michaels …”
The air rushed from his lungs as if he’d been sucker punched. His heart raced and he gasped for breath as he stared, transfixed by the large blue diamond glittering on her finger.
“Mr. Riordan? Are you okay?” Her eyes were wide and filled with concern. He’d been right, he noted absently, her eyes were blue; as vivid a blue as the damn ring on her finger.
He met her eyes and nodded while his mind raced. He needed a moment alone. He needed time to think, to get control and figure out what the hell was going on. “Could I,” he cleared his throat and tried again. “Could I get a glass of water?”
“Of course! I’ll be right back!” She ran across the room and disappeared through the swinging kitchen door.
He took a deep breath and struggled to control the violent emotions roaring through him. He’d know that ring anywhere. It was etched into his memory, burned into his retinas. The damn thing even haunted his dreams. He’d searched for it; spent the better part of his two years as a detective trying to find even a hint of its whereabouts and now, the thing just turned up, out of the blue and on the finger of James Brogan’s mistress. It couldn’t be a coincidence. Dominic Riordan was nobody’s fool and he didn’t believe in coincidence, fate, or dumb luck.


  1. Hi Rachel!

    The story sounds great and I LOVE romantic suspense. Everything appeals to me about this story from the setting, to the characters to the Blue Diamond, fabulous!

    I wish you all the luck in the world in sales - congrats!

    Rachel x

  2. Thanks Rachel! Now that I've settled into the idea of writing it, I'm loving romantic suspense too. I see new story ideas everywhere ... umm, that kind of sounds like I hang out with a questionable crowd! :)

  3. Although I liked the excerpt from your novel--very much, in fact--I was especially moved by how you came to write it. Your stars were certainly in proper alignment. Much success, dear. Wishing you great sales!!

  4. Congrats! had to come by and say I'm wishing you many sales and a great first experience in being published!

  5. Mega congrats Rachel! I'm so excited for you and love your story of how this book came to be. I remember the night we brainstormed in the chat room to help you find Ivy's cafe name. Fun times! Many sales to you hon. Many more wonderful sales to follow!

    Now- I really need this book! And who knows, maybe Ivy can teach you to make cookies the right way. ;)

  6. Rachel, congratulations!! I love your characters. Ivy and Dom sound like they have quite an adventure. Can't wait to read this book!!

  7. Thank you ladies!
    @ Vonnie, I hadn't stopped to think about it until I wrote this post ... you're right, their must have been a cosmic alignment that fateful day I clicked my mouse button!

    Hi Hales, thank you so much for all your help!

    Calisa, after my Snickerdoodle Saga I'm almost afraid to mention the fact that I used to be a caterer! It was fun brianstorming that day; I would be soooo lost without all of you Roses :), XOXOXO

    Thanks Jill, I hope you like Ivy and Dom! I have to say my favorite characters to write ended up being Tina and Sergeant Pepper (I'm smiling just thinking about them!) ... let me know what you think ;).

  8. This couldn't have happened to a better person. I was lucky enough to help critique and it's a great book!

  9. Loved the excerpt! I know this one is going to catch on like gang-busters. Congratulations Rachel. Best of luck with RING OF LIES.


  10. So exciting to hear how your story was born Rachel. I'm so excited for you to reach this happy day. COngratulations.

  11. Oh my, Rachel! I may never be able to walk by the Savannah River again without wondering if a body will wash up! I love your approach to mystery - the cozy romantic suspense sounds wonderful. Congratulations again on publishing your first novel. Can't wait to see what else you pull out of that magic pen of yours!

  12. Hey Tracey! I was lucky enough to critique all of your Civil War Brides and they're great too!

    Maeve, Glad you liked the excerpt-I'm sure hoping Ring of Lies takes off!

    Jeannene, Glad you liked the behind the scenes look :)

    Jessica, LOL, let's hope nothing washes up except seaweed! I hope everyone else in reader land thinks cozy romantic suspense sounds wonderful :), and I'll let you in on a semi-secret: the next thing to fall from my "magic pen" is Tina's story-she's the best friend in Ring of Lies and, boy, what a character she is!

  13. Congrats, Rachel! Loved the excerpt! The premise of the story is intriguing. I'd love to read more!