Category Archives: Secrets and Lies

Patrick’s Territorial Cat

Where do writers get their ideas? If you’ve read Secrets and Lies, you met Patrick’s cat. (Although, as he says, it’s hard to think of something that independent as his.)

The cat appears in chapter 6. Carol and Patrick are in his living room. It’s her first time there, and she chose to sit in the rocking chair:

As Patrick pulled his cell from his pocket, a slender Siamese cat paraded into the room and positioned itself in front of the rocking chair like a guard. Its stare turned Carol’s admiration to unease.

“Patrick?”

He looked up, and the question on his face turned to resignation as he saw the cat. He set the phone on the table in front of him. “I know, Isis. It’s all right. Go find something else to do.”

Carol risked another glance. The cat’s blue eyes glowed, irises narrowed in the equivalent of a scowl. A low rumble vibrated its throat. Carol shivered. “Patrick?”

Muttering a curse, he pushed up from his chair. The cat swivelled one ear in his direction and crouched to spring. The unblinking blue eyes targeted Carol’s face. The rumbling growl deepened to a snarl.

Carol bolted from the rocker. She caught at the door frame to steady herself, her feet sliding on the hardwood floor. She checked for pursuit, but the cat was sitting straight and tall in the rocking chair, staring at her.

[Later, in the safety of another room, Patrick explains:]

“Isis considers humans to be lower life forms, with the exception of my wife. She and Rita had a special bond, and she is somewhat… protective. That rocker was Rita’s favourite chair. I usually put it away before I have guests.” [Excerpt from chapter 6 of Secrets and Lies, by Janet Sketchley]

I’ve been accused of being a “dog person” because of this cat, and let me say I love cats and I don’t intend this one to represent the greater feline population. On the other hand, I have a hearty respect for the attitude with which a self-respecting and indignant cat can fill a room…

Why would I name the cat Isis? That’s an Egyptian goddess, as well as a violent Islamic organization. I knew the cat’s name before I knew about the terrorists, and although they made me think a bit, I decided to keep it.

Patrick’s wife, Rita, likely named the cat after the Egyptian goddess, but for me the name was prompted by an episode of the original Star Trek series. “Assignment, Earth” featured a human raised on another planet, and a beautiful alien woman who shape-shifted into a black cat (named Isis). Attitude and territory were two traits she radiated.

My fictional Isis is Siamese, because of the elegance and nobility they possess. (In fairness, the only two Siamese cats I’ve met have been very affectionate.)

Her territorial aggression? It’s a nod to my childhood pet, a black cat named Willie, who was nowhere that hostile — but he did claim ownership of one of the living room chairs, and if a visitor sat in it, Willie would sit in the middle of the room and stare hard enough to make the visitor uncomfortable.

Photo of a black cat

Willie (Yes, we lived in black and white in those days)

New Release and Giveaways

Secrets and Lies released Nov. 5, and a huge thank you to everyone who bought a copy or spread the word. Because of you, the novel hit a few of Amazon’s “hot new release” lists, which helped more people find it.

Two giveaways are happening now:

Print copies are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble (for Halifax-area readers: Miracles Christian Store will also be carrying them). Canadians, Amazon.ca says the book “usually ships in 1-3 months” — when ordered, a copy will be printed in the US, shipped to the Canadian distribution site, and then sent to the customer. I don’t suspect it’ll really take even one month. They just want you to know it’s not sitting in their warehouse ready to go.

Tomorrow (Nov. 8) is my local book launch, thanks to UPS’s super-fast delivery of my books. (I’d originally set the launch for the end of the month, to allow time for shipping and for delays at customs.) If you’re in the Halifax area, stop and say hello, and maybe grab a cookie or two. We’ll have a brief reading, some door prizes, snacks, and oh yes, books for sale!

Secrets & Lies Book Launch 2pm, Nov. 3, 2014 at Regal Road Baptist Church, Dartmouth, NS, Canada

tags: giveaway, Secrets and Lies, Redemption’s Edge, romantic suspense, Christian fiction, book reviews, giveaway, book launch, Janet Sketchley,

Secrets and Lies: preorder special

Secrets and Lies ebook preorder sale price 99 cents until Nov. 5, 2014

 

I’m very excited to announce that Secrets and Lies is available to pre-order in ebook format. Print copies are in the works, too. Click the image or click the following link to visit the Secrets and Lies book page, complete with more information (including a sample chapter) and purchase links. If you’re planning to read it as an ebook, grab it now for 99 cents (slightly higher outside the US).

Meet Patrick Stairs

At 35 years of age, Patrick Stairs has a good life, carefully built. He has a rewarding and prestigious position as a senior investment consultant, and office gossip pegs him as the VP’s replacement within the next year.

He works long hours, plays racquetball at his club three times a week, and is a regular at business and social functions. A man with many acquaintances, but no close friends.

Patrick’s been walking empty for three years now, since his wife, Rita, lost their fight with the brain tumour. He tried every kind of treatment, to save her. When the expenses grew too extreme, Patrick began handling certain discreet deliveries. Amazing, how many executives in the city spice up their lives with drugs.

Now the boss – Lear – has tagged him with a new assignment. Carol Daniels. Pretty. Blond. With no idea Lear has her in his sights. She’ll know soon enough. Patrick pities anyone who had to deal with the drug lord. Including himself.

It’s not a hard assignment. Take a few meals at the café where Carol works, feed information back to Lear. She’s attractive enough. Patrick can feign interest for the time it takes to gain her trust.

Success could mean release from Lear’s clutches. Or so the drug lord promised. But the only promises Lear keeps are threats.

"Curse Lear and his string pulling. Someday the drug lord would get what was coming. Patrick just hoped he'd be there to see it."

Meet Joey Hill

Joey Hill is an ordinary-looking guy with a wispy moustache and a wide smile. He jokes that people expect him to be bigger, to fit his nose.

Joey was a popular radio personality on Canada’s West Coast until a very public disgrace cost him his job, his relationships and his freedom. He’d tell you the one good thing about losing everything is that he found Jesus. Or Jesus found him.

Now he’s starting over in a new city, hosting a late-night all-request oldies radio show. And lucky to have a job in the field he loves. The hours are terrible, the pay is worse.

Next to the music, his callers are the best part of the job. Mostly they chat about sports scores, movies, singers and songs. But something about the faceless contact with a friendly voice lets some of the regulars open up to him. That’s when Joey feels they cross the divide from acquaintances to friends—even if he’d never recognize them on the sidewalk.

Those calls are where he tries to make a difference, by his words or with a listening ear, and with a little prayer after he says goodbye.

He’s never felt driven to actually meet a radio friend before, but there’s this one woman, Carol. Joey can’t get her out of his mind. From the little she’s shared, he knows there’s a lot of pain in her past.

She sounds like she could use a friend. Carol’s very private, though, almost paranoid. She’d never agree to meet him in person.

When an opportunity to meet her drops into Joey’s lap, he takes it. Just to be a friend. Until he figures out how to do life as a man of faith, he doesn’t dare complicate it with a relationship. The protective surge he gets when he’s talking to her? Friends are protective. That’s all it is. Really.

Ron stretched out his palm for the car keys. "Do yourself a favour, Joe, don't do anything stupid." Joey snorted. "That's my new motto for life."

Meet Paul Daniels

Keeping secrets? Just a few.

Paul Daniels is sixteen years old and living a double life. If his mother knew he was playing in a band, she’d freak. So she won’t find out.

Paul needs the music like he needs to breathe. It’s something he inherited from his father. The only plus about Mom dragging him half-way across the country to start a new life is the chance to take guitar lessons from Mr. Morelli. Paul works after school at the music store to pay for lessons. And he’s in a new band with some friends.

It’s hard fitting school work into his schedule, so Paul asked one of the class brains to help with his math. Bonus for him, she’s kind of cute. But he wouldn’t dare try adding a relationship into his jam-packed life.

He could never make it with Tara-Lynn anyway. He’s hiding too much. She’d be sympathetic about how his younger brother died of a drug overdose, but the anonymous caller who’s threatening his mom would scare her away. If that didn’t do it, hearing about his convict uncle would.

Is a sixteen-year-old even allowed to exchange letters with a dangerous offender? But Paul wants to know if his Uncle Harry has really changed. Now it sounds like Mom may have to write to the man, and Harry knows about the band. It all comes down to whether a convicted killer can keep a secret.

Sex and drugs and rock-n-roll--playing in a band is the least dangerous of the three. It's all Paul Daniels needs, but if his mom finds out, he's toast.

Meet Carol Daniels

If you’ve read Heaven’s Prey, you may remember that Harry Silver has a sister, Carol Silver Daniels. Secrets and Lies is Carol’s story, and it takes place chronologically between the final chapter of Heaven’s Prey and the epilogue.

Heaven’s Prey is psychological suspense, and pretty intense in places. Secrets and Lies has a lighter tone, and it’s romantic suspense. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

With Secrets and Lies releasing next month, I want to introduce some of my fictional friends. So… meet Carol Daniels.

Carol is a 30-something single mom, starting over in Toronto after an anonymous creep threatened her son, Paul. She didn’t tell Paul that’s why they left Calgary—why she dyed her dark hair honey ash and cut it short, why she started wearing glasses with non-corrective lenses. Why she’s so “controlling,” to use her son’s word for it.

Paul is sixteen and pushing the limits she sets. He’s a good kid, does well enough in school, but she can’t stop worrying that he’ll end up like his father: a loser musician who loved the spotlight—and the female fans—more than he loved his wife and sons.

I say “sons” because Carol and Skip had two, both from teen pregnancy. Carol would tell you life got easier once Skip died in a car wreck, but losing her other son nearly killed her. Keith was only twelve when he died of a drug overdose. If she hadn’t still had Paul to care for, and Keith’s dog, she’d never have kept her sanity.

No wonder a threat on Paul’s life sent her fleeing half-way across the country.

Why would someone threaten an innocent teen? Technically, the guy threatened them both, but he did suggest that her son was an easier target. As for why? Carol’s estranged brother is a dangerous offender: Harry Silver. You may have read about him in Heaven’s Prey. Harry’s enemies can’t touch him directly, but his family are walking around unprotected.

That’s what the note said, and that’s why Carol and Paul relocated with no forwarding address.

These days Carol works at the Sticky Fingers Café, baking desserts and waiting tables. She’s trying to keep anonymous in this new city, and outside of work she hasn’t met many people. Is it sad that speed dial #1 on her phone is the late-night deejay on the local oldies station? And #2 is a friend in Calgary?

Carol loves to bake, especially with chocolate. When the nightmares wake her, she’ll often whip up a pan of brownies or a batch of cookies. She’ll make herself a cup of tea—peppermint is her favourite—and ask for a Billy Joel song on the all-request oldies show. The deejay, Joey, is easy to talk to. And he doesn’t know who—or where—she is, so she’s safe.

What else do I need to tell you about Carol? She’s not as safe as she thinks she is. What’s coming is more than she can handle on her own. And she won’t pray for help, not after what happened the last time she tried prayer.

Carol quote

You can meet Carol, Paul, Joey and a few others this November in Secrets and Lies, Redemption’s Edge Book 2.

 

My Fiction: Update

I’ve been busy lately with final edits and formatting for Secrets and Lies, Redemption’s Edge book 2, which will release November 1. Soon I’ll be able to share the cover art with you… I can’t wait to see it. Christina Fuselli, who designed the cover of Heaven’s Prey, is on the job, so I know it’ll be great.

cover art: Heaven's Prey by Janet SketchleySpeaking of Heaven’s Prey, I’m giving away a copy over at Everyone’s Story (ends Oct. 3). Just pop over and leave a comment to be entered to win. I encourage you to stop by anyway and check out my guest post. It’s the story of my writing dream, and how God brought it back to life. Click to read: Making Daydreams Real.

If you’ve wanted to read Heaven’s Prey before the next novel comes out, time’s growing short. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet and don’t win one through Everyone’s Story, a few public libraries have copies. It’s also available in multiple ebook formats, and Amazon is processing the revised print version now. See my Heaven’s Prey book page for links.

Back to Secrets and Lies: Each Friday in October, I’ll introduce you to a character from the novel, with a special surprise for the final Friday in the month. This novel’s less intense than Heaven’s Prey, and it’s romantic suspense.

Carol Daniels, Heroine

If you called Carol a hero, she’d laugh. One of her friends calls her a survivor, and she’s not even sure how to take that. Sure, she’s taken a lot of pain and she’s still standing, but for how much longer?

Carol’s a single mom, starting over in Toronto after some anonymous creep threatened her son, Paul. She didn’t tell Paul that’s why they left Calgary—why she dyed her dark hair honey ash and cut it short, why she started wearing glasses with non-corrective lenses. Why she’s so “controlling,” to use his word for it.

Paul is sixteen and pushing the limits she sets. He’s a good kid, does well enough in school, but she can’t stop worrying that he’ll end up like his father: a loser musician who loved the spotlight—and the female fans—more than he loved his wife and sons.

I say “sons” because Carol and Skip had two, after she miscarried a daughter as a teen. Carol would tell you life got easier once Skip died in a car wreck, but losing her other son nearly killed her. Keith was only twelve when he died of a drug overdose. If she hadn’t still had Paul to care for, and Keith’s dog, she’d never have kept her sanity.

No wonder a threat on Paul’s life sent her fleeing half-way across the country.

Why would someone threaten an innocent teen? Technically, the guy threatened them both, but he did suggest that her son was an easier target. As for why? Carol has a brother who’s a dangerous offender: Harry Silver. You may have read about him in Heaven’s Prey. Harry’s enemies can’t touch him directly, but his family are walking around unprotected.

That’s what the note said, and that’s why Carol and Paul relocated with no forwarding address.

These days Carol works at the Sticky Fingers Café, baking desserts and waiting tables. She’s trying to keep anonymous in this new city, and outside of work she hasn’t met many people. Is it sad that speed dial #1 on her phone is the late-night deejay on the local oldies station? And #2 is a friend in Calgary?

Carol loves to bake, especially with chocolate. When the nightmares wake her, she’ll often whip up a pan of brownies or a batch of cookies. She’ll make herself a cup of tea—peppermint is her favourite—and ask for a Billy Joel song on the all-request oldies show. The deejay, Joey, is easy to talk to. And he doesn’t know who—or where—she is, so she’s safe.

What else do I need to tell you about Carol? She’s not as safe as she thinks she is. What’s coming is more than she can handle on her own. And she’s determined not to pray for help, not after what happened the last time she tried prayer.

Blog hop for writers

You can meet Carol, Paul, Joey and a few others this November in Secrets and Lies, Redemption’s Edge Book 2.

Today’s introduction is part of Ruth Snyder‘s biweekly writers’ blog hop series, the assignment being “a character sketch of your hero.” To see the other posts in this thread, click on the blog hop image.