I'm very excited to welcome the talented Vicki Taylor - whose latest novel OUT FOR JUSTICE I'm currently reading and enjoying enormously - to my blog today.
Vicki M. Taylor is an award-winning author who writes dramatic fiction with strong, unforgettable, real women characters involved in real life situations.
She attacks the hard issues and brings them to the forefront with a deftness that outshines most other authors. Her ability to sink her teeth into these headline issues and pull the reader into the story makes her one of the best authors of this new century.
No issue is too controversial for Vicki. Murder, teenage suicide, domestic violence and more, you'll find Vicki M. Taylor's stories not only give you the harsh realities of the character's life but she wraps you up in their private emotional lives as well - daring you to not care, not feel, not read.
She lives in Florida with her husband, their American Eskimo dog, and Sun Conure parrot.
So without any further ado, welcome to my blog Vicki.
Hello Lynette, thank you for having me as your guest blogger for Wednesday’s Writer. I’m excited to be here and share my novel OUT FOR JUSTICE and a bit about myself.
I like to put my guests under the spotlight with just a few probing questions to help everyone get to know you better so let's start with this one: What inspired you to write your first novel and did you always know your genre would be romance?
My first novel, FOREVER UNTIL WE MEET, was a romance that had a unique story that I felt needed to be told. I didn’t set out in my head to write a romance, it just ended up that way. Very much like all my novels. The stories tell themselves, in whatever genre it happens to be in. I just love being a conduit for my stories.
Fascinating. I've noticed that myself. Sometimes stories seem to evolve independently from the writer - which can be a little scary at times! I see you describe your work as dramatic and controversial – about real women and real life. Does this reflect what you like to read yourself? Do you find fictional heroines in general to be realistic or over-glamorized?
In general, I love to read. And I read just about every genre and type of story. I enjoy romance, suspense, horror, science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, you name it, I’ve probably read something in that genre. My library is quite extensive. As far as fictional heroines, I tend to enjoy stories more if the female protagonist is strong willed, confident and realistic. If I find the character to be more of a “Barbie doll” or unrealistic, I probably won’t finish the story.
It's true, stronger heroines are far more readable - and what most female readers demand these days. From my reading so far, I'd say your latest heroine, Karen, fits that description. But I wonder if any part of yourself has ever crept into the heroines of any of your novels?
I think my heroines are independent of me. You see, they create themselves. I don’t have much of a part in their evolution. They come to me with their stories and I write them down.
And I'm sure you do full justice to each one. What is the most desirable characteristic you’ve bestowed on one of your characters and is this something you would secretly yearn in yourself?
I love that my characters are so self sufficient and confident. I would love to have those abilities. They are extroverts and I’m an introvert. I would love to have more of their qualities.
Hmm, I wonder if they might therefore be described as your alter-egos? Maybe we can pursue that idea another time, but for now we must move on. Do you think you’ll always write women’s fiction or do you have desires to experiment and if so, in what way?
As I’ve said earlier, I write whatever story comes my way. And, yes, some of them are outside of the women’s fiction genre. I enjoy spreading my writing wings and challenging myself to write in whatever genre the story ends up. I’ve written paranormal, science fiction/fantasy, mystery, and others. I think I’ll just write the best stories I know how, regardless of genre.
That's all any reader can possibly ask for :)
Here is the blurb for OUT FOR JUSTICE, which I'm currently reading and loving - but no spoilers from me!
Rookie Detective Karen Sykes is out to prove she is good at her job, finding justice for a darkness in her past through law enforcement. She gets her first chance to shine with a case that hits a little too close to home. Like her younger sister, a four-year-old boy, has been brutally murdered. The case pairs her with Mike Connelly, an attractive crime scene technician, and sparks fly between the two of them. Mike resists the attraction and only adds more emotional conflict to the case.
PROLOGUEThe boy knew he shouldn’t wander too far away from the campsite, but it was too tempting. Not a baby anymore, but a big boy of four years old, he fought the urge, but in the end, curiosity won out. He followed the large white bird as it ambled and picked its way up the beach. The sleek curved line of its long white neck silhouetted in the sky.
The voices of his mother and sisters grew fainter in the wind as it whipped along the shore. Small waves crashed into the sandy beach strewn with broken shells and seaweed.
He left his shoes next to the pile of shells he’d collected for his mom. He tried hard to remember to pick them up on his way back because he knew his mom would be upset if he lost them. Never had he seen such a big bird on the ground before; he would follow for a little while longer.
Careful where he placed his little bare feet, the boy skipped along to keep up with the bird. Ignoring him, it appeared more intent on finding bugs to eat and unconcerned with the antics of one small boy.
The sun was setting and the shadows were long. Bird and shadow mingled together.
The boy had no trouble keeping up, until a quick movement in the small brush near the trees caught his eye. Another animal. Smaller. Quick footed. The boy knew the name of this animal. Squirrel. The bird forgotten like an abandoned, used toy, the boy ventured closer to the chattering brown squirrel.
The light from the setting sun didn’t reach far into the trees. The boy’s sun kissed skin shivered in the cooler shade, a small breeze making its way through the tall branches, whistling noises among the tops of the trees. With only his short bib overalls, and no shirt, he wasn’t dressed for a trek through the woods. Branches from the low-lying brush and kudzu vines grabbed at his skin and scratched his arms and back.
A small voice in his head told him he’d better turn back and return to the campsite. At the same time, he heard louder voices just beyond a large rock covered with green vines. The voices sounded interesting. The squirrel forgotten, he moved a little closer. There, he could see who was talking.
He stepped on a stick that broke beneath his foot. The sharp end punctured his tender skin and he cried out in pain.
The voices stopped.
Suddenly realizing he had gone too far, the boy turned only to find himself tangled and confused in the kudzu vines and low branches. He shivered again. This time not from the coolness of the woods.
Long forgotten, the big white bird ambled its way down the beach, toward tastier prospects and away from the humans.
And here is just a brief excerpt from Chapter One
to whet your appetites further:It had been a slow morning at the Warehouse, the loosely affectionate term the detectives gave to the large county building that housed their offices along with the rest of the Hillsborough County Sheriff department, and they didn’t want to waste any of the good weather that temporarily graced them.
Throughout her thirty-odd years, she’d led a competitive life. Girls against boys. Karen against everyone else. Karen dribbled the ball, looked up at the basket, then back down to the ball. She set her feet and bent her knees. She held her breath, ready to push off with her arms.
“Sykes, Anderson. Get in here.”
Karen hissed a sigh. “Damn, I had it too.” She wiped at the sweat rolling down the side of her temple. She didn’t like leaving anything half finished. Even if it was a friendly game of basketball.
Sam walked over and patted her on the shoulder as they headed into the office. “Good game.”
“You too, Sam.”
Lieutenant Santiago waited for them in the main room. “I need you to check out a new case. Over in the Hamilton Davis Park Campground.”
Back inside, the air-conditioned air felt cold and refreshing. “Sure, no problem, Lieutenant.” Karen accepted the folder the lieutenant held out. She grabbed her dark blue blazer from the back of a chair and shrugged into it.
“Hey, wait a minute,” the lieutenant said.
“Yeah?” Sam hesitated then turned around while Karen stood expectantly.
“It’s a kid.”
Eyes widened, Karen’s throat tightened. She swallowed hard to work past the lump that suddenly developed. This was it. She’d waited more than two years for this moment. Her first homicide case. Already, their lightheartedness on the basketball court faded into a distant memory. Real life had a way of crowding in and changing moods.
“Shit.” Sam swore. “All right. Thanks for the heads up, Lieutenant.”
Karen could feel Lieutenant Santiago’s eyes watching her as she headed out the door. He probably thought Sam competent enough to handle the case. But what did he think about her? She was tough. She had to be, growing up with parents that barely recognized her existence. It wasn’t their fault. The blame lay with her and what happened a long time ago. She lived with the guilt for more than twenty-five years. The guilt kept her company and almost felt like a familiar, comfortable sweater on a chilly night.
Following Sam out of the Warehouse to the parking lot, Karen knew he would help her along with her first homicide case. She couldn’t have a better teacher than Sam. She’d been told that plenty of times from the other detectives. She trusted his judgment. If he figured she was ready then damn it, she’d show everyone how ready she could be.
You can find out more about Vicki by clicking on any of the following links:
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