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Monday, September 2, 2019

Guest Post with Author Kat Martin

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.

Creating a Page Turner

“I couldn’t put it down! Those words are some of the most satisfying comments an author can receive. Nothing pleases me more than a note from someone grumbling about staying up late to finish one of my books.

It’s music to my ears.

There are lots of ways to earn those precious words. Writing a fast-paced novel is one of them. It is certainly my goal every time I start a new book.

My latest, THE DECEPTION, was no different. I knew I would be writing Hawk Maddox’s story. Hawk had been on my mind since he first appeared in a previous novel, BEYOND DANGER. I knew what he was like--strong, determined, tough as boot leather, and at six-foot-four, two-hundred-twenty pounds, a total beefcake hunk.

He was also a bounty hunter, which made him an interesting character with an interesting job. I always try to find the hero’s perfect match and Kate Gallagher was just right for Hawk. Tall, blonde, and curvy, she loved country music and drinking tequila at the Sagebrush Saloon.

But that was her secret side. She also owned her own business consulting firm so she was smart and hard-working.

I like to read books that draw me in and won’t let go, books I can’t wait to pick up again to find out what’s going to happen next.

There are lots of ways to do it. Pairing down description makes the story move faster--or as Elmore Leonard once said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.”

A Hollywood movie trick is to jump right into the scene. Leave out the, “Hello, how are you?” “I’m fine, how are you?” and just start talking.

I try to use hooks at the beginning and end of chapter, though some authors end a chapter in the middle of the action to keep you turning the pages.

I’ve found I do a lot of characterization by showing how the hero, heroine, and sub characters react in a situation, rather than telling about their past. For instance, I don’t mention what the heroine did in high school unless it’s important to how she’ll solve the problem she’s facing.

These are a few of my techniques, though every author has his own style and there is nothing wrong with any of them as long as they work.

In THE DECEPTION, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she learns her sister has been murdered. Determined to find Chrissy’s killer, Kate hires lethal bounty hunter, Hawk Maddox. Working together, they follow a trail of clues that lead them deep into the city’s underbelly. Though Hawk warns Kate of the danger, nothing he says can convince Kate to walk away.

I hope you’ll watch for THE DECEPTION and that you find it a fast-paced, high-action page-turner. Until next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat

When missing turns to murdered, one woman's search for answers will take her to a place she never wanted to go…

After searching for her sister for two long years, Kate Gallagher is devastated when she’s called to the morgue to identify Chrissy’s body, the runaway teen the victim of a brutal attack. Guilt and grief send Kate into a tailspin. She failed Chrissy once…she won’t do it again. Even if finding her sister’s killer means following a lethal bounty hunter into the heart of darkness, placing both their lives in danger.

Working at Maximum Security has taken Jason Maddox down some dangerous paths, but never for a client he’s so drawn to, or for a case so monstrous. As clues lead them deeper into the city’s underbelly, connections to human trafficking draw them closer and closer to peril, but even Jase’s warnings can’t convince Kate to walk away. As the deadly operation puts a target on their backs, they’ll have to decide what matters most: the truth…or their lives.

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Check out the Maximum Security series:

Kate stepped out of the elevator onto the tenth floor and made her way down the corridor to her apartment. Her face felt warm and her insides still quivered. One kiss? It was impossible.

She walked into the living room and firmly closed the door, blew out a shaky breath. She didn't trust herself when it came to Hawk Maddox. She had never been this physically attracted to a man before.

Kate sighed as she headed for her home office. If she could turn back time, she would stay as far away from Maximum Security as she could get. She didn't need a man in her life. She didn't need the complication. Particularly not a man who drew her the way Jason Maddox did.

That attraction had been the cause of her first mistake--seducing him at the Sagebrush Saloon. It had seemed so safe at the time. A one-time hookup with a hot-bodied guy who made her stomach curl with a single kiss. And those amazing blue eyes. She shook her head. Why not? Other women did that kind of thing.

Now she was working with him, exposed to all that hot masculinity on a daily basis till they found Chrissy's killer.

Another sigh slipped out as she sat down at her computer to do a little more research. She could handle it. She was a grown woman. Besides, she really had no choice.

As the screen lit up, her cell phone rang. Kate dug it out of her purse, checked but didn't recognize the number. "Kathryn Gallagher."

"Katie...sweetheart, it's your father."

Her stomach instantly knotted. She could see him in her mind, a tall, slender man with silver threads in his dark hair.

"It's good to hear your voice," he said.

Her fingers tightened around the phone. She hadn't seen her father since her parents' divorce. He'd phoned while the police searched for Chrissy, but her sister had left a note so there was no doubt she had runaway. He had called again when her mother got sick. She had only heard from him twice since her mom had died.

"Hello, Dad."

"I should have called you when I first heard the news, but I...I just couldn't."

His words and the quiver in his voice surprised her. Maybe he actually did care about his daughter, at least a little.

"What do you want, Dad?"

"I know you and Chrissy weren't close, but she was still your sister. I want to know if you're okay."

Her eyes burned. A lump formed in her throat. "No, Dad, I'm not okay. Chrissy's dead. She was murdered and the police have no idea who killed her. So no, I'm not okay."

"I'm sorry, sweetheart, I truly am. I wasn't a good father to you or your sister. I regret that. I want to make it up to you. I'm coming to the funeral. I just need to know where and when."

"They haven't...they haven't released Chrissy's body yet."

Seconds passed. "I assume you're making the arrangements. You're handling the funeral?"

God, she hadn't even thought about it. She was too consumed with finding Chrissy's killer.

She took a deep breath. "I'll be taking care of it, yes." And now that he'd asked, she realized she wanted Chrissy to be buried next to their mother. The spot had already been paid for, meant to be used by her dad--which was never going to happen now. "I'd like her to have the place next to Mom."

"Yes, of course. I should have thought of that myself. Are you...are you going to be all right?"

"I've always been able to take care of myself, Dad. I'll be fine."

"All right, then. Just call and let me know what day the service is going to be held and I'll be there."

"You don't need to do that. Rockdale is a long way from New York."

"I want to see you, sweetheart. It's been far too long."

"You're married, Dad. You have a family. I'm all that's left of your old life." The lump returned to her throat. "I understand, I really do."

"Katie, listen to me."

"I've got to go, Dad. I'll email the date and time." She hung up before he could say anything more. Fresh tears threatened. She told herself to compartmentalize. She had learned to do that over the years, separate the parts of life that needed to be dealt with now from the painful parts that could be dealt with later. At the moment, she needed to compartmentalize the loss of her sister, separate the Chrissy of the past from the woman who had lived on the streets and been brutally murdered, Tina Galen.

She could do it, she told herself. Just like with Maddox. She didn't really have any choice.


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