Dead Spaces cover art

Be careful what you dig for…

A forensic surgeon in the New Orleans Coroner’s Office—and part of her dad’s Baker’s Dozen—Hannah Baker thought she knew where to dig, how and what to slice, and when to walk away.

But when her big brother gets her involved in the exhumation of a couple of old coffins, she realizes the past can’t be ignored. Not when its been simmering up a big pile of trouble for longer than Hannah’s born days.

Only New Orleans could produce a “Baked” gumbo of the mob, shadowy figures from the past, annoying figures from the present, murders, attempted murders, and a really cute detective who is technically off limits on account of he’s her big brother’s partner.

Good thing NOPD Detective Logan Ferris doesn’t know the meaning of “off limits,” cuz once more the Big Easy is getting mighty uneasy.

Excerpt:

Be careful what you dig for….

He looked away for several minutes, sighed, then looked at her again. “What do you want to do about it?”

Her lips twisted a bit. “I want to go back to this morning and have a do-over that doesn’t involve an exhumation. There’s a lesson in here about being careful what you wish for.”

He chuckled and she sent him an inquiring look.

“You were wishing for an exhumation?”

She half grinned. “Maybe.” She rubbed her face, then sighed. “I delve into bodies, not…secrets.” Really, really old secrets. How could they still matter now? They wouldn’t if Nell—

“You can let sleeping rings lie. If Guido didn’t smell your secret?”

“If he did, what can he do about it?” She couldn’t stop the chill running down her back, though.

“He’s a bad guy. He can do what he wants. And he will if he thinks you know something he will try to find out what it is.”

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“I won’t tell him.” Her chin came up, then drifted down. She hated it, but she asked it. There was no one else to ask. And she trusted him, which surprised her, but didn’t dismay. Which was also a surprise. “What do you think I should do?”

“Maybe it’s time for the secrets to come out. All of them. Had a mentor that used to tell me that only the truth makes you free.”

“We don’t know—besides, I’m a forensic pathologist, not a detective.”

“Well, isn’t this your lucky day. I’m a detective.”

She fought back the relief. “This isn’t your problem.”

“Well, maybe I’m willing to make it my problem, if you’ll call me Logan, and answer one question.”

Her lips twitched. “And what’s the question, Logan?” She could like this guy. A lot. Too much? She hoped not.

He leaned close, a slow smile turning up a sudden heat in his eyes, and igniting a quiver in her mid-section that her brain tried to discount…

“Is the age difference going to be a problem?”

Her eyes widened. Her heart sped up. It got hard to breathe. “With what?”

“This.”

The arm along the back of the bench slid down to her shoulders and tightened, bringing her in close. His eyes open, he moved in, holding her gaze as he very deliberately and with intent pressed his mouth to hers. At first the pressure was light, but her lips parted involuntarily, surprised by the sweetness flowing from his touch—sweetness with a little fire in its core—and he increased the pressure. Not too much. Didn’t want to go up in flames in the park. In the summer. Her head tilted, her lids sliding down. His grip tightened then. That was nice, too. Maybe more than nice. Might have made her head spin a bit.

Then gently, slowly, he dialed it back, bringing them back to earth. And the bench. No thump though. His arm was still around her.

“Well?” he asked, his voice husky.

She cleared her throat. “No, the age difference won’t be a problem.”

The way the kiss had curled her toes and scrambled her brain? Yeah, that was a problem.

COLLAPSE

Behind the Book: The (mostly) True Story behind the writing of Dead Spaces. 

Not long after finishing my second or third book (I forget), I started a tradition of interviewing myself about the process of writing my latest book. It's the story behind the story that only I know--and only I can coax out of myself. And I’m probably the only one who cares. lol

It’s a little weird, but it helps me capture the things about the story that I'm sure I'll remember forever, but forget when I start the next book. So, without further fanfare, here is the Interview:

Me: So. [looks around] I’m not sure where to start. I’m going to go check on the laundry and hopefully I’ll come back with a question.

Myself: Um, okay.

[elevator music}

Me: Okay, I’m back.

Myself: Seriously, you did laundry? We hate laundry.

Me: [pause] I got us a Diet Dr. Pepper, too.

Myself: Well, all right then, let’s do this.

Me: Okay, we’re doing this.

Myself: You still don’t have a question for me, do you?

Me: My brain is still a little hammered from editing Dead Spaces. It’s been intense, writing it, editing it and working on Sucker Punch. 

Myself: I know. I was there, too.

Me: I know. I was just…okay, I have a question. Let’s do some math? Ho many books, novels, have you written?

Myself: You know, you’re evil, right? Math. I can do that. It’s just adding. [more elevator music] Sixteen. This is number sixteen.

Me: You wrote Relatively Risky over two years ago, then followed up with “Family Treed,” a very short story. So what took you so long to get another book out in your Big Uneasy series?

Myself: Bitter much? Jeez, okay, let’s see, I published Relatively Risky, and then basically my publisher closed and Life Happened. A lot. I mean, like a LOT. I became a grandma. (AWESOME) More Life Happened. More happening a LOT. I wrote Core Punch. Yeah, more life happened. But—this year, despite the flu, two colds and Life, I upped my production 75% (did you see that? Math.)

Me: Let’s move on to your creative process. You hadn’t actually planned to write about Alex’s sister, Hannah in this book?

Myself: When I finished Relatively Risky, I’d actually planned to feature Sarah, Nell’s roommate, in Dead Spaces. So in a way, it’s good that Life Happened. While it was happening. Hannah strolled into my head, looked around and said, “This book should be about me. I’m a forensic surgeon and you have these two coffins? Just saying…”

Me: Hannah’s job also proved to be a bit challenging, didn’t it?

Myself: Very. For one thing, the New Orleans Coroner’s Center isn’t that easy to research. They don’t even have a website. And for another, Relatively Risky wasn’t a CSI show. It was a humorous suspenseful “ hat the heck is going on” story. I wanted Dead Spaces to continue that theme. There’s no talk of blood splatter and very little about times of death. Just more “what the—?” with a little romance thrown in, because I love happy endings. Or happy beginnings.

Me: Did you wrap up all the story lines you launched in Relatively Risky? 

Myself: No. I wanted to. And I did wrap up a lot of stuff. I’m hoping to possibly write some shorter something-or-other to tie of some of the shorter plots that didn’t get solved, but honestly, I never really know what I’m going to do until I do it.

Me: It does make our job interesting. So, other than the big pile of “I have no clue,” what else is coming up?

Myself: Sucker Punch, my spin-off of The Big Uneasy and Project Enterprise (Big Uneasy) should release in July. I have an actual first draft of that. It’s at the beta reader and should go into editing before the end of the month. I’ll be doing that “Behind the Book” interview next.

Me: You’ve got some outside projects, too?

Myself: Yup. Not going to say too much yet, but I am working on some stuff with other people that I’m very excited about. In the meantime, if you haven’t signed up for my new releases newsletter, why not? If you’ve read THIS far, you must be a little curious! lol

Myself: I only send it when I have release news, so you won’t be annoyed with my blatherings (to get those, check out my blog. grin)

Me: And that ends this blathering. Stay tuned for more Behind the Book interviews as we finish new books or check out the index to read more of them. Behind the Book blatherings, I mean. Not blog blatherings.

Myself: Okay, step away from the keyboard…

 

Dead Spaces
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