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Excerpt, Giveaway and Author Interview ~ Devious Minds by Colleen Helme

Title: Devious Minds (A Shelby Nichols Adventure Series #8)

Author: Colleen Helme 

Book Description: 

It’s been almost a year since a near-fatal gunshot wound left Shelby Nichols with the ability to read minds. In that time she’s faced one problem after another. She’s been shot at, framed for murder, and targeted by a serial killer, just to name a few. Now she’s trying to help her lawyer husband win a murder trial that will enable him to become a partner in his law firm. Sounds easy, right? But nothing ever goes as planned when it comes to Shelby Nichols.

When special agent, Blake Beauchaine, shows up to collect a debt from Shelby, things get even more complicated, and Shelby is soon on her way to Paris. A routine meeting with a rogue agent reveals a sinister plot, putting Shelby into the cross-hairs of a known terrorist. Even worse, she doesn’t speak French, so it seems her mind-reading abilities won’t help her this time.

Things go from bad to downright dangerous for Shelby, especially since her usual guardians, Uncle Joey, and his hit-man, Ramos, are back in the states. Lost and on her own in the streets of Paris, can Shelby escape the cold-blooded killer in time to stop his devious plans, or will this be the end of the line for Shelby Nichols?

Available for purchase at

 

Excerpt

 

My mouth watered at the thought of chocolate, and I eagerly followed him into another maze of buildings and cobbled streets. We passed a few outdoor cafés before Blake stopped at the one he wanted. We sat outside, even though it wasn’t real warm, and ordered lunch. My order of a buckwheat galette filled with ham, cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms seemed to melt in my mouth.

After finishing up and, after a quick restroom break, we left for the chocolate store. On the way, we passed the real, honest-to-goodness, Louis Vuitton shop. I swallowed and glanced inside at all those expensive and non-knock-off handbags. Blake slowed down and studied me. He was thinking I had that glazed look of a woman just about to spend more money on a purse than it was worth.

That settled me down some, and I snapped my mouth shut. Letting out a breath, I caught up with him. He shook his head at me, and I only looked back once before we continued on. Several twists and turns later, we came upon another shop with a sign above it that read “Henri Le Roux Chocolatier et Caramélier.”

I understood the chocolatier part pretty fast and eagerly stepped inside. All the chocolates were displayed behind the glass case just like jewelry in a jewelry store, and I took my time looking at them all. A young woman came out to help us, and Blake spoke to her in French, so I didn’t know what they said. She got out a box and wrapped it up, then handed it to him.

“For you madam?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I admitted.

“What do you like?”

“Chocolate covered marshmallows,” I replied.

“Ah… I have just the thing.” She left and came back with a circular shaped plastic container with lots of square chocolates inside. “These are chocolate outside, and inside is a tender cocoa marshmallow heart. You will love it.”

“Oh, thank you… uh… merci beaucoup… très bien!”

“De rien,” she said with a smile.

While Blake paid for the chocolates, I couldn’t wait to try a piece and opened the container. I pulled out a square and carefully placed it on my tongue, then closed my mouth around it. As the chocolate flavor burst along my taste buds, I tried not to moan, but I did anyway. Next came the sweet marshmallow center, which sort of melted in my mouth. It was the most perfect chocolate-covered marshmallow I’d ever tasted in my life.

“Come on, Shelby.” Blake steered me out of the shop and checked his watch. “We have just enough time to see the Eiffel Tower, but we’ll have to take the metro. There’s a station this way.”

I followed him in a daze. I didn’t know if it was the jet lag finally catching up, or the excitement of being in Paris, or all of that chocolatey goodness. I only knew that if magic existed, this was how it felt. We came to a stairway with a railing around it and a metro sign posted above. Several kiosks lined the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Blake inserted his credit card into a kiosk and tapped on the screen until several tickets came out. He handed me half of them.

“Keep these for later.”

 

Author Interview

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always loved to write, but it wasn’t until I took a novel-writing class that I began to believe I could actually write a book. I had lots of stories floating around in my head, and I was excited to put them down on paper. The class gave me the tools I needed to accomplish that, and got me started on my journey.

2. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

If I’m not writing the book, I’m thinking about it, so I spend a lot of time in my head before I ever write the scene. During the writing process if an idea isn’t working out, I get out my legal pad and write down anything I can think of that could happen next, no matter how silly it might seem. This has gotten me out of a lot of tricky situations, and made for some interesting developments. However, I’m always excited when I just keep writing and amazing things happen that I never planned on. Things like that keep me enthusiastic about my writing process.

3. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Mostly from everyday life, or a story I’ve heard. In writing the Shelby Nichols Adventure series, my idea came from hearing about a robbery at the grocery store. I wondered what I would have done if I’d been there and the first book in the series, CARROTS, was born. In my latest release, DEVIOUS MINDS, I actually went to Paris and used many of my experiences there in the book. It was a dream come true for me!

4. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

How hard it is! I never realized how much effort and determination it takes to be disciplined enough to keep at it. On the other hand, it’s so exciting when things come together, and I laugh and cry with my characters. I think the most surprising thing I’ve found, is how real these characters are to me. They’re like my friends. How crazy is that?

5. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I have the best fans ever! Their encouragement and enthusiasm about the series is what keeps me writing. I have become good friends with several people that I never would have met otherwise and they have enriched my life. One of my favorite reviews includes the following:

Here’s the evolution: I have actually caught myself wondering what Shelby is up to now – will she go to Paris? What does Bates have in mind for her? Will she end up a Karate-kicking-soccer-mom-turned spy? Who can read minds? And then I catch myself, because I realize I am thinking of Shelby like a FRIEND, A LIVING BREATHING one, not like a character in a book. We’ve come a long way, baby.”

And this one:

I don’t know if Devious Minds is even better than the other Shelby Nichols books, or if it is because I just finished reading it, but that book is fabulous! When I am reading, I am so drawn into the book that the world fades away. I just spent several days in Paris!!!”

6. What do you think makes a good story?

Creating an emotional connection with the reader so that they actually care about your characters and have a vested interest in what happens to them.

7. What books have most influenced your life?

I’ve always had a great love of reading, so I’d have to say the books that have most influenced my life are those that opened my mind to different points of view. Tuck Everlasting is definitely one. Others like the Shannara series and the Chronicles of Narnia have sparked my imagination. One of my favorites was Sabriel by Garth Nix. Books are amazing because they can take us places we would never visit otherwise. Who’d want to miss out on that?

8. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I’m a fan of the Lexi Carmichael series by Julie Moffat and the Mary O’Reilly series by Terri Reid. In fantasy I’ll read anything by Sharon Shinn and I loved the SF/Fantasy Vatta books by Elizabeth Moon. I just finished Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram, and I really enjoyed it.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes! Do all you can to learn the craft. That is so important! Then don’t be afraid to re-write, even if you’ve spent hours on a scene. If it’s not working you have to believe you can do better and all is not lost.

10. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes. Thank you so much for your reviews and your support of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series! Honestly, you keep me writing these adventures, and I’m so grateful for your enthusiasm and encouragement. I’ve already started the next book. I don’t know where it will take Shelby yet, but I will do my best to make it an adventure you will love and enjoy!

Thanks for hosting me today!

The Shelby Nichols Adventure Series
Series Trailer

 

About The Author

 

As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble… I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.

You can find Colleen at
               
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