I'm pleased to report HEARTS AND DAGGERS is now available on Amazon in Kindle format. Along with one of the included novellas, I wrote the introduction for this book. I present it here for your reading pleasure.
Two years ago Amy Alessio approached Margot Justes and me with a unique idea for a writing project. She suggested we each compose a story that not only highlighted our own protagonists, but also included the main characters of the other two writers. The end result would be a three-novella romantic suspense book based on the theme of Valentine's Day.
Amy's novella would feature Alana O'Neill, bookkeeper for an antiques store called Attic Treasures and the protagonist in several of Amy's short stories. Margot's tale would revolve around Rebecca Standish, a Chicago art gallery owner who first appeared in the anthology Heat of the Moment. As for me, I'd write about Caroline Rhodes, the star player in my 'Rhodes to Murder' mystery series.
Alana O'Neill. Rebecca Standish. Caroline Rhodes. Each leading lady would have a chance to shine on her own while also appearing in a minor role in the other novellas.
Margot and I were undeniably intrigued by Amy's plan. The problem was, we were each involved in other projects at the time. Margot was working on her second mystery novel, A Hotel in Bath. I was concentrating on short story writing, editing for other authors, and promoting my own mystery series. As for Amy, she was busy co-authoring a book while also building her resume as a public speaker at libraries across the state. And at the time, all three of us were also working in careers other than writing. Where were we to find time for such an ambitious project as a three-novella romantic suspense book?
Like many 'best laid plans of mice and men', Amy's suggestion languished in writers' purgatory for almost a year. But when struck by a good idea, Ms. Alessio is not a woman easily denied. Early in 2010, she rallied her troops--those troops being Margot and me--into action with a battle plan for success. We responded as desired: we wrote and revised, wrote and revised, until at last we had stories fit for inclusion in Hearts and Daggers.
So now we present those stories for your reading pleasure. Amy's Blast From the Past has newlywed Alana O'Neill up to her ears in trouble when a murder occurs during a Valentine's Day party at Attic Treasures. Margot's A Fire Within deals with broken hearts, some of which can be mended and some of which never find peace again. And my Valentine offering, Framed, finds Caroline Rhodes falling for a handsome gambler who might be more than just a thief of hearts.
Mystery? Yes. Suspense? Definitely. Romance? All you could want. So go ahead and take a chance on us. We think you'll enjoy reading this book as much as we enjoyed writing it.
(And, BTW, have a happy Valentine's Day!)
Mary V. Welk, author of the 'Rhodes to Murder' mystery series