Tag Archives: Wendy Byrne

A day in the life of Izzy Lewis by Wendy Byrne

Since we last chatted last October, I’ve morphed from Isabella to Izzy. Gone is the woman who obsessed about everything from having perfect hair to the latest and best designer fashions. Now, I’m more comfortable having my hair in a ponytail and wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt. After coming face to face with a murderer and surviving, I figured it was time to stop sweating the small stuff.

As proof I’m a new woman, I’ve embraced my gift as an artist and learned to love painting once again. Rather than the stuck up social climbers I’d been hanging with in Manhattan, my BFFs are a group of women called the Qs who are in their 70s and 80s. I’m seeing a guy that I like a whole lot, and he isn’t a scum sucking, dirt bag. Win/win. I worry less and enjoy more. . .well. . .except for my penchant for discovering dead bodies.

I lived in Manhattan my whole life where there’s all manner of criminal activities 24/7. But I’ve reached a whole different level of mayhem now. If I didn’t know better I’d swear dead bodies and Iowa go hand in hand—at least for me—since nobody else seems to have this problem. I’ve lived here eight months and just stumbled across my second dead body.

What if I told you it got worse? My ex-husband appeared out of the blue, talking shade and sucking me into his mess. As the saying goes, I’ve got bigger fish to fry than him. The Qs and I are on a mission to find a killer while trying to keep our investigative efforts on the down low and avoiding my ex like the plague.

It started innocently enough. We’d just pulled into Winterset, Iowa where I’m the artistic director of a quilt show. The Qs were anxious to check out the inside while I went to the loading dock to organize the latest arrival of quilts. Needless to say, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d planned:

Curious, I eased toward the back of the truck to see if there was some kind of display structure to help me organize. I figured while the workers were still MIA, I could get a lot done without their help.

I located some rolling display racks behind one of the boxes, complete with padded hangers. Sifting through the array of quilts I’d found in the first few boxes, I hung them up one by one, not bothering to sort yet. But I’d already run out of display rack space.

There had to be more racks somewhere amongst all these boxes. I shifted some of the smaller boxes around until I spotted a large box against the back of the truck. Since the box was too heavy and cumbersome to move, I ripped open a corner, peered inside, and spotted what looked like a blue moving blanket.

It looked promising, but I needed a closer look. I hoisted myself onto the top and looked inside with my trusty cell phone flashlight app. The sides started to buckle from my weight, and the box bulged at the bottom as the load shifted. I started to tumble and grabbed on to the corner of the box. The box ripped open, sending me sprawling to the bottom of the truck.

A blue blanket landed with a thump next to me. A shot of reddish fur peeked out the top, causing a girlish squeal to erupt from me. Since the fur didn’t move, I assumed the rodent was dead. But that didn’t make it less creepy.

I scrambled to a standing position, but just as I was about to walk away and wait for the manly types to deal with a dead animal, I spotted what looked like a pair of stilettos sticking out of the other side of the quilt. Scenes of déjà vu poked behind my eyeballs.

Do not faint.


You can read more about Izzy in Double Trouble in Iowa, the second book in the “Izzy Lewis” mystery series, coming September 5, 2017.

Amateur sleuth and artist Izzy Lewis’ life is getting more complicated by the moment. First, she has to deal with an ex-husband she thought she’d left in the rearview mirror. Then, she happens to discover a dead body while unpacking for a local quilt show. Now, the suspect in the murder is asking for her help in proving his innocence. Talk about a troublesome trifecta!

Despite the fact the accused is an ex-con, Izzy believes in his innocence and suspects the local detective is railroading the guy for personal reasons. With the help of the Qs—her Jessica Fletcher–wannabe band of seniors—Izzy sets out to uncover the truth. But with her budding relationship with her hot new neighbor on thin ice and a hyper-vigilant detective watching her every move, Izzy finds herself treading a thin line between sleuth and suspect. Can she catch a small-town murderer. . .or will Izzy be the victim of double trouble in Iowa?

Pre-Order Link

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Wendy is a USA TODAY bestselling author who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband. She loves to take long walks and think about plot twists and turns. Most days you can find her pounding away at her laptop spinning tales and inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy. She writes everything from cozy mysteries to romantic suspense all infused with a touch of humor and, of course, the happily ever after.

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life of Isabella Lewis by Wendy Byrne

nearly-dead-in-iowaOvernight my Manhattan lifestyle became a thing of the past when my marriage of four and a half years dissolved. Just like that, I was transported from rich socialite to nearly destitute. And then, like some kind of miracle or nightmare, depending on your perspective, my long lost father contacted me and gave me a destination for my homeless, near penniless, self.

Except dear old dad lived in Iowa. As a gal who hadn’t been farther west then the upper west side of Manhattan, I’m picturing a whole lot of cows and corn and not much else. Needless to say, I’m not thrilled.

Despite my reticence, I put on a happy face and travel to my father’s house, hoping for the best, but anticipating the worst. I’d like to say things got better once I got there, but they didn’t, especially when I stumbled over a dead body. Thankfully, it’s not my father, but it’s his BFF—with my father suspiciously MIA.

After that, returning to my old life seems like a great idea, except it can’t happen financially, physically or any other way. Besides the sheriff is making me stick around while he investigates to see if I had anything to do with what happened.

Luckily, I meet a group of ladies who are Murder She Wrote groupies and would like nothing better than to help me figure out who murdered my missing father’s BFF. For women in their 80s they’re a feisty bunch—even if they are obsessed with pepper spray and stun guns along with bingo and craps. Needless to say, I have my hands full keeping them out of trouble—and by association—me.

An excerpt from my story:

The place was dark as a cave and a little spooky. I could barely see a hand in front of my face as I walked inside. I rummaged through my purse to find my phone, but remembered I’d left it on the front passenger seat when I’d checked my email. Instead, I brushed my shoulder along the wall trying to feel my way to a light switch. I had a really bad feeling about this as what ifs tumbled through my brain.

“Hello. Anybody here?” The words came out in a shaky whisper.

A strobe light broadcasting bad idea followed by what are you thinking? throbbed inside my brain. It felt like I was in my own version of a horror movie where I might scream at the main character, “Don’t go down into the basement!” Of course the poor heroine always did, leading to all manner of bloody carnage. That was not going to be me. Yep. I definitely needed to reconsider this harebrained scheme or at least come back in the daylight hours where all those things that went bump in the night were no longer fueling my imagination.

That was the first brilliant thought I’d had since I’d stumbled inside. I could check on dear old Dad in the morning. With my mind made up, I headed toward the front door and picked up my pace.

Before I reached the safety of the front door, I tripped and went crashing to the floor. On my hands and knees and with my arms outstretched, I patted the floor and tried not to think about what I might not see, like mouse droppings and creepy crawly stuff.

I swiped a wide arch with my right hand and encountered something solid. It felt like. . .skin. I sucked in a breath. It had to be my imagination. But then I touched what felt like fingers. Then a torso.

And I let out a scream that might have knocked some plaster off the walls. And then I think I might have done something really girly and passed out.


Nearly Dead in Iowa is published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, October 2016.

Manhattan socialite Isabella “Izzy” Lewis is in desperate need of a fresh start. Ending up on the wrong side of a nasty divorce, jobless, and pretty much homeless, she’s hit rock bottom. So when the father she never knew asks her to visit him in Iowa, she figures she has nothing more to lose—until she arrives at his home and promptly stumbles (literally) over a dead body.

Now her missing father is murder suspect number one, and Izzy’s in the crosshairs of the local sheriff who’s convinced she’s somehow involved. After being reluctantly adopted by a local group of Jessica Fletcher wannabes, Izzy resolves to find her missing father and the killer. A job that proves harder than she thought as she juggles running down clues to the killer’s identity, her hot but suspicious new next door neighbor, keeping the sleuthing senior citizens out of trouble, and above all, going at least one day without being nearly dead in Iowa.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Wendy lives in the Chicago area. She has a Masters in Social Work and worked in the child welfare field for twelve years before she decided to pursue her dream of writing.

Between teaching college classes, trying to get her morbidly obese cat to slim down and tempering the will of her five-year-old granddaughter, who’s determined to become a witch when she turns six so she can fly on her broom to see the Eiffel Tower and put hexes on people–not necessarily in that order–somehow Wendy still manages to fit in writing. She spends the remainder of her days inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy.

She has written three books in the Hard Targets trilogy, Hard to Kill, Hard to Trust and Hard to Stop through Gemma Halliday Publishing. In addition, she has three contemporary romance novels through Entangled Publishing called The Millionaire’s Deception, Bad to the Bone, and The Millionaire’s Revenge (December 2016) plus three self-published novels, The Christmas Curse (novella), Accused and Alone (novella).

Connect with Wendy at wendybyrne.net, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Goodreads and on Pinterest.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of one of her books (see above). The giveaway ends November 12, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

A Day in the Life of Jillian Beckett by Wendy Byrne

AccusedI’m a mother, an artist, a recent divorcee, and my son’s in trouble. I’m not sure what I can do about it or even if I can help. But at the age of sixteen he might spend his life in jail. He’d gotten into trouble before, but I naively thought that was all behind me. Let me backtrack a bit and start at the beginning.

I divorced my husband, Archie Beckett, recently enough to feel the scars, but as each day passes the wounds become less painful. With Archie twelve years my senior, I was the classic trophy wife and he was the big time Hollywood director. At the time, my parents had just died in a horrific accident and the idea of being alone seemed too frightening to contemplate—and I was pregnant. I quickly learned the difference in our ages and lifestyles wasn’t a good recipe for a successful marriage. Add a child to that, along with a series of affairs on his part, and the marriage was over years before the divorce papers were signed.

After the divorce, I spirited Travis away to a remote home in the mountains. I needed to get him away from a group of friends that had sucked him into doing things I never thought he’d do and I needed to escape the Hollywood atmosphere that suited me about as well as a square peg in a round hole.

But that’s where it all began…in this idyllic place I’d found for myself and my son. A place where I thought both Travis and I could be safe and escape our past. And everything was going well. . .Travis had adjusted to the new laid back lifestyle, we’d reconnected as parent and child, and—more importantly for him at least—he’d been accepted into his peer group.

And then something happened beyond my comprehension. Travis is charged with murder. As a mother I know I will fight with my last breath until I find out the truth.

“This is insane. My son didn’t murder anyone. He couldn’t possibly have a gun. I don’t own one and he’s not old enough to buy one.” Her knees went weak. It took every ounce of willpower to remain standing. Something was very, very wrong.

The cop gave her one of those ‘that’s what parents always say’ looks and snatched the keys from Travis. The other cop came around to join him and they rifled through the vehicle, tossing out a soccer ball, a pair of football cleats, some DVDs, books and an old skateboard.

Jillian struggled to breathe. She couldn’t imagine Travis doing something violent, but she also couldn’t have imagined him getting involved with drugs and he had.

One worry at a time.

“We’d like to look through the house.”

“What for? You pulled in right behind him. It isn’t like he had time to hide a gun.”

“But he might have dropped it off earlier and then returned to the scene of the crime.”

“Are you crazy? We don’t own a gun. I don’t believe in them. And I told you Travis isn’t old enough to buy one.” She tempered the vehemence of her words as she recognized he could have purchased one illegally if he’d wanted to. By the time they’d left Los Angeles, he’d been hanging out with gangbangers and wannabes. Anything was possible.

She glanced at Travis. Immediately, her fear escalated. He looked guilty, confused, scared. While the motherly instinct to quiz him curled around her, caution took over. Based on the look on his face, he shouldn’t say a thing.

To ensure he didn’t, she held onto his hand and squeezed. Although it might be foolish in the long run, she authorized the officers to look through the house. At least she’d have a few moments alone with her son.

As soon as they marched through the open door, she drew him into a hug once again. “Travis, you need to tell me what happened.”

He shook his head. “Mom, I’m not sure. I can’t remember. But I. . .think. . .I might have done it.”

The earth suddenly opened up and swallowed her whole.


You can read more about Jillian in Accused, published by Two O’s Publishing

About the author
Wendy lives in the Chicago area. She has a Masters in Social Work and worked in the child welfare field for twelve years before she decided to pursue her dream of writing.

Between teaching college classes, trying to get her morbidly obese cat to slim down and tempering the will of her five-year-old granddaughter, who’s determined to become a witch when she turns six so she can fly on her broom to see the Eiffel Tower and put hexes on people–not necessarily in that order–somehow Wendy still manages to fit in writing. She spends the remainder of her days inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy.

She has written three books in the Hard Targets trilogy, Hard to Kill, Hard to Trust and Hard to Stop. In addition, she has a contemporary romance through Entangled Publishing called The Millionaire’s Deception, Bad to the Bone, a self-pubbed Christmas short story called The Christmas Curse and two interracial romances, Fractured and Mama Said.

Visit Wendy at www.wendybyrne.net, on Goodreads, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Amazon and on Facebook.

A Day in the Life of Sabrina Shaw by Wendy Byrne

Hard to KillI’m Sabrina Shaw and I lead an interesting life, never knowing where I’ll be sent or what I might be doing. I work for an organization called The Alliance that specializes in hostage negotiation and retrieval. People who work for The Alliance go where no one else wants to.

Truth is, my two older brothers and I were orphaned when our parents were murdered. My oldest brother, Max, tried to tough it out raising us himself. But at the age of twelve, that proved to be more than he could handle, especially when I got sick. He had no choice but to enlist some help. The man who took us in groomed us to be assassins. His name was Goren Petrovich. You might remember him from Play Nice by Gemma Halliday. A master at mind control and manipulation, he lured us in with the promise of safety, home-cooked meals, and a roof over our heads. It wasn’t until later we figured out his real agenda.

The three of us—Max, Jake and I—left the assassin life a long while ago. But that doesn’t mean I’ve turned soft. The job at The Alliance keeps me on my toes.

When I found out a young girl disappeared, and The Alliance refused the job, as they considered it a low-probability-of-success-assignment, I had to step in. I couldn’t let her parents down. I was the only hope they had for getting their daughter, Caitlyn, back. Through a whole lot of work and some lucky breaks, I was able to trace a connection for where to start my search. What I didn’t expect was to be kidnapped. But that was only the beginning of my journey to find Caitlyn.

I’ll admit I’ve been in some tough spots before, but being drugged, naked and chained up was a first even for me. How do I get out of what sounds like an impossible situation? Not going to say, but here’s a preview of my predicament from Hard To Kill:

Sabrina used her elbow to maneuver to a sitting position. Her muscles screamed in protest but she managed to right herself. As soon as she did, flashes of lights danced before her eyes and the room began to spin. She brought her head between her knees to keep from passing out.

Damn. Whatever they gave her, it was powerful. The effects, combined with lack of food or drink, lingered like a bad hangover with a getting-the-crap-kicked-out-of-you chaser. An almost overwhelming urge pulled at her to give up the fight and slump back to the floor. She fought against the impulse, knowing all too well the line between momentarily caving and capitulating was tenuous.

Hard To TrustMy brother Jake has his own story to tell in Hard to Trust. Jake’s assignment is guarding a CIA agent gone rogue, Tessa Graham. Let’s just say sparks fly and all manner of mayhem ensues. Here’s a short excerpt from Hard to Trust:

She rolled her eyes. “I can get out of this on my own, like I always do.” She pushed at his chest. “Back off, or I’ll scream.”

Her face was inches from Jake’s. His first unprofessional thought was that she was hot. His second thought corrected the first changing that descriptor to “breathtakingly beautiful.” He pressed himself to remember where a beautiful face had led in the past. And reinforced the idea she might very well be up to no good.

“And then what? The bad guys show some kind of fake badge and say they’re putting you under arrest, which we both know means they’re dropping you into the nearest landfill.”

Hard to StopYes, Jake’s in a heap of trouble. But that’s nothing compared to Max who has his hands full trying to ignore NYPD Detective Gianna Collini even while he suspects her brother of trying to kill him. Below is a short excerpt from Hard To Stop:

“Holy crap. This kid’s your brother?” Even though he said it as a question, there wasn’t one iota of doubt in his mind. That had to be the only explanation.

“That’s none of your concern, Mr. Shaw.” She had this take-charge thing honed to an art form.

But she’d met her match in him. He never backed down. Never. “It damn well is. How can you investigate this matter if your brother is the chief suspect?” His body nearly vibrated as thoughts tumbled around inside his head. His friend was dead because of him, and a detective related to the suspect was supposed to find the guilty party.

Not. On. His. Watch.

Series books—love them or hate them and why?  Leave comment below for a chance to win $10 Amazon gift card.


You can read more about Sabrina in Hard To Kill, the first book in the “Hard Target” romantic suspense trilogy, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. The next two book in the trilogy are Hard To Trust and Hard To Stop.

All three books in the Hard Targets Series are on sale for .99 each this weekend only! Click HERE for the links.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on September 4 for the chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Wendy lives in the Chicago area. She has a Masters in Social Work and worked in the child welfare field for twelve years before she decided to pursue her dream of writing.

Between teaching college classes, trying to get her morbidly obese cat to slim down and tempering the will of her five-year-old granddaughter, who’s determined to become a witch when she turns six so she can fly on her broom to see the Eiffel Tower and put hexes on people–not necessarily in that order–somehow Wendy still manages to fit in writing. She spends the remainder of her days inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy.

Visit Wendy at www.wendybyrne.net, on Twitter and on Facebook

A Glimpse into the Life of Max Shaw by Wendy Byrne

Hard to StopMy name is Max Shaw and somebody’s trying to kill me. Not that I’m surprised. As a former assassin, I made a lot of enemies over the ten years I was in the business and executed more kills than I can count. But my siblings, Jake and Sabrina, and I left that life nearly eight years ago. We immigrated from Europe to New York after I was nearly killed on our last assignment. Now I mess with people’s portfolios rather than their lives working as a trader on Wall Street.

More importantly, being a trader is respectable. It’s not like I could go around telling people I was assassin, even if it was what I’d been trained to do since I was twelve years old. I worked hard at reinventing myself in order to get some distance from my prior profession. I even opted out of joining The Alliance—a covert operation specializing in hostage negotiation and retrieval—even though my siblings work there. For me, working at a place like that was too close to what I’d been. I couldn’t take the risk that I’d fall back into being that person I no longer want to be.

Everything changed when my friend Damon is killed. Getting justice for him is my main objective, especially when I know he was killed because of me. Now I’m deep into the thick of it. Every time I turn around somebody is trying to kill me. It’s not fun getting sucked back into a life I didn’t want for myself. But it’s one of those kill or be killed kind of things.

I have no choice but to hunt down those who want me dead and eliminate them one by one. And hope I can fool that way-too-curious NYPD detective, Gianna Collini, who’s been trying to sniff out what I’ve been up to. The fact that her brother Mick might know more about who’s after me might get him killed as well. And when the kid disappears, it turns into open hunting season on me.


You can read more about Max and his siblings, Jake and Sabrina, in the Hard Target Series, through Gemma Halliday Publishing, beginning with Hard to Kill, the first in the series, followed by Hard to Trust and Hard to Stop.

About Hard To Stop

Wall Street aficionado Max Shaw is a wanted man. He hasn’t figured out how or why there’s a price on his head, but after the third attempt on his life, he realizes this isn’t going to go away any time soon. Forced as a teenager to work as a covert assassin, he’s no stranger to dangerous situations. But he thought he left that life behind him long ago.

To keep his former profession under wraps, Max is forced to team up with sexy Detective Gianna Collini. But can he trust her? Or does she have an agenda of her own? When the case becomes personal for them both, Max finds himself struggling to keep his past secret, his feelings for Gianna professional, and put his closet full of skeletons to rest once and for all…before a killer catches up to them both.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 p.m. eastern on April 3 for the chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. The giveaway is open to everyone. Winner will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected. Make sure to check your SPAM folder.

Meet the author
Born and raised in the Chicago area, Wendy worked in the field of social work for twelve years before deciding to WendyBconcentrate more on her writing. With several books already published and several more in the works, most days you can find her pounding away at her laptop spinning tales and inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy. You can find Wendy at: website, on Twitter and on Facebook