Thursday, August 20, 2015

Virtual Tour & #Giveaway for The Frailty of Things by Tamsen Schultz

Welcome to my stop on the Virtual Tour, presented by Goddess Fish Promotions, for The Frailty of Things by Tamsen Schultz.  Please leave a comment or question for Tamsen to let her know you stopped by.  You can enter her tour wide giveaway, for a $30 Amazon/B&N GC, by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You an also follow all of the stops on her tour by clicking on the banner above.  The more stops you visit, the better your chances of winning.  My review will be posted separately tomorrow.  

Where Writers Get Their Inspiration by Tamsen Schultz

Summer is winding down, although, as I write, the daily temperature is supposed to hit 104 degrees. That said, it seems like every day one friend or another is posting a picture to Facebook of their child’s first day back to school. My boys don’t head back for another three (yes, three) long weeks, but still, I’m in the mind to do a little reminiscing. 

People often ask writers where we get our ideas. It’s a strange question for me to answer because ideas are all around us all the time—kind of like good and evil or love and hate. The ideas are there, it’s just whether I choose to see them, and then cultivate them, that is the question. I know, that probably sounds strange and so to demonstrate what I mean I thought it might be fun to take walk down the memory lane of my summer and, like a docent to the scary place that is an author’s mind, point out all the ideas that come from what is, to most people, just everyday life.

My summer really kicked off with my son’s 8th grade graduation. He went to a small private school—the kind of place where everyone knows everyone. During the ceremony, each student and many of the teachers, administrators, and board members each gave a small speech. The truth is, the ceremony took place outside, but ultimately, it’s the perfect set up for a “closed door” murder. The microphone could have been wired to electrocute someone, there could have been a nut placed in a “nut free” muffin made available after the ceremony, a tree limb could have “fallen” on someone, or a drink poisoned. In the kind of setting we were in, the possibilities of how a crime might be committed may be limited but as a writer, the ideas of why and who, which are far more interesting, are almost endless. So there, dear reader, is exhibit number one.

After a few weeks at home, we headed to the Pacific Northwest for a several days to visit some friends before the boys went to camp (and I’m not even going to touch on any of the things that can happen at summer camp) and my husband and I headed back East—exhibit number two. We started our time back East staying with some friends who live at the end of a mile long dirt road on 160 acres. In reality, it’s stunning—quiet, lush and green this time of year, and safe. But really, I don’t think I need to elaborate much when I boil it down to this: four adults staying where no one would be able to hear them if something happened. Now, unlike the graduation ceremony, developing this kind of story would probably focus more on the crime itself (or the criminal) rather than the “who” or the “why” since it’s unlikely that if the point of the crime was to target a specific person for a specific reason that a criminal would choose such a remote location. No, a location like that requires a criminal who just simply likes being a criminal.

For exhibit number three, we leave our friends safely in Massachusetts and move on to the Hudson Valley, an area filled with all sorts of small towns and hamlets. As a writer, I love small towns—there is something about the idea of quiet, quaint beauty hiding something dark. It’s a natural tension that plays on the fears of most readers—what’s really going on behind those doors. It’s like sticking your hand into a closet that you know is safe, but still wondering if you’ll find something you shouldn’t. It’s likely my mind is more active when I’m in this area—all my books are set in the fictional town of Windsor, New York which is loosely inspired by a small town called Chatham in the Valley—and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So while we were in the Hudson Valley, just down the road from where we stayed, an old house (actually a house that had been part of the underground railway) was being restored and turned into a bed and breakfast. What about finding bones when tearing up the foundation? Or worse, new bones mixed with old? There are also endless miles of back country roads, roads where car “accidents” could happen and no one would be the wiser. And centuries old cemeteries—why not mix the old and the new and have a body show up in one? For a writer like me, there are just so many options (thankfully) to explore in this history-rich, rural area.

But alas, my time out East couldn’t last forever and so a few weeks ago, I returned home to my own small town in northern California where we encounter exhibit number four. While I was away, a wildfire swept through the area and our community evacuated. Everyone was fine and, thanks to the fabulous CalFire, no homes were lost, but more than one story has been written that involves using an unexpected situation (i.e. a fire) as a way to cover a real crime. It’s almost too common, but if well done, it’s an excellent strategy.

We’ll end our tour of a mystery writer’s mind with one last exhibit. Just last week we went fig picking at a local bed and breakfast—they have a fig grove with way too many figs that all come in at once and so they offer to let folks come and pick them. While we were there, the facility was getting ready for a wedding but we took a little tour. The original three room farmhouse is still on the property and has been turned into a kind of small cigar lounge and bar. The floors and walls are rough-hewn wood, dried from over a hundred of California’s hot, dry summers and a few of the windows are missing. Charmingly though, dozens of dried bridle bouquets hang from the exposed rafters. It’s lovely, and would be a fun place to kick back with your friends after a long wedding reception, but as a writer, what really caught my attention was all the old farm equipment they had hanging on the walls. Dozens of old implements used to cut, harvest, and sow the land were displayed. It’s likely these were all found on the property and really reflect a way of life for the original farmers, but to a writer, I felt like I was at a thrift store for murder weapons—all those unusual blades, hooks, and axes had my imagination going (even though no one else in the group seemed to share the same appreciation).

So there you have it. Or rather, I shouldn’t say “it” since that implies there is only one way writers get ideas when the truth is, the ways in which we get ideas are about as endless as the ideas themselves. Like love and hate and good and evil, ideas are everywhere around us all the time. Although, I will say that ideas for blogs seem to be lacking in my world so I hope this was at least a little bit of an interesting glimpse into the mind of a writer!   
The Frailty of Things
By Tamsen Schultz
A Windsor Series Novel, Book 5

Publisher:  Booktrope
Release Date:  January 14, 2015
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Format:  Print/eBook
Length:  298 Pages
ISBN: 978-1620154328

About the book: 

Independence. Kit Forrester is a woman who wears her independence like armor. Despite keeping secrets and hiding her past, she’s built a life she loves and is accountable to no one. Until, that is, one of the world’s most wanted war criminals sets his sights on her and she must weigh the risk to one against the chance of justice and closure for many—a decision Kit couldn't make on her own even if she wanted to.

Certainty. As a man who makes his living in the shadows of governments and wars, certainty isn’t a part of Garret Cantona’s vocabulary, and he’s just fine with that. But when Kit walks into his life, he realizes he’s never before been so sure about anything or anyone. Suddenly, he finds he’s looking at the world, his world, in a different light. And now that he is, he’s determined to protect it, and her, in whatever ways he can.

Frailty. No one knows better than Kit and Garret that an appreciation for what is, or what was, or what might be, can be born from the uncertainty and fragility of life. But when a hunt for a killer leaves Garret no choice but to throw Kit back into her broken and damaged past, even his unshakable faith in what they have together might not be enough to keep it from shattering into a million pieces.


“Tell me,” Kit said. “And you have five minutes to decide because after that, I’m going to bed. And after that, you’ll be leaving.”

Doubt flickered across Caleb’s face. He didn’t believe her. Fine.

She rose from her seat and headed toward the sink.

“You don’t want to know, Kit,” Caleb said.

She turned back and didn’t bother to bite back the harsh laugh that escaped her. “I don’t want to know? How could you possibly know what I want or don’t want, Caleb? Do you have any idea what my life was like after you left? Do you have any idea what I know and what I’ve seen? Oh, I know you think you have the corner on life’s horrors, Caleb, but you need to get over that. Now, either tell me why you want to know or get out and leave me alone.”

She saw doubt flicker across his face and mentally she started counting down from ten. If he didn’t speak by the time she reached zero, she was done.

“It’s about Dad,” he said. Finally.

If he had expected to shock her, he fell far short. She let out another not-so-nice laugh. “Dad?” she said.

He gave a hesitant nod.

“Just what is it you think you can’t tell me about our father, Caleb?”

She paused and spared a glance at Garret who was standing, arms crossed, watching them.

“Do you honestly think anything you have to tell me about our father is going to shock me?”

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Tamsen Schultz is the author of several romantic suspense novels and American Kin (a short story published in Line Zero Magazine). In addition to being a writer, she has a background in the field of international conflict resolution, has co-founded a non-profit, and currently works in corporate America. Like most lawyers, she spends a disproportionate amount of time thinking (and writing) about what it might be like to do something else. She lives in Northern California in a house full of males including her husband, two sons, four cats, a dog, and a gender-neutral, but well-stocked, wine rack.

Author Twitter: @tamsenschultz
Author Website:

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  1. Replies
    1. Thank you and I hope you enjoy it!

  2. I really enjoyed the glimpse into your mind, Tamsen! Thank you for sharing and your book sounds amazing!

    1. Thank you Betty! When I think about some of the things that go through my mind, I'm usually glad mind reading (of others) isn't a skill I have :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thank you for hosting me today!

  5. I enjoyed the guest post, thank you.

  6. Thanks for this enthralling feature and great giveaway. A creative and intriguing novel which I would enjoy greatly. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. Thanks for joining me on the blog tour and the tour of my mind. If you do pick up "The Frailty of Things," I hope you enjoy it!

  7. Very interesting post about where ideas come from, and an intriguing story excerpt. Added to m TBR.

    1. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the book if you pick it up....there are no farm-tool murders, but maybe next time :)

  8. Great post! Thanks for sharing the excerpt :)

  9. Loved reading this ... thank you. I'm adding this series to my TBR list!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Peggy and glad you enjoyed the read!

  10. sounds like an interesting read. I love this genre and am adding to my wish list.

    1. Thank you, Pam and I hope you enjoy it!

  11. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like such an interesting and intriguing read!

  12. Do you write every day? Do you have a word goal for each day you write?