Sunday, June 30, 2013

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway for Deception (Southern Comfort #3) by Lisa Clark O'Neill

Welcome to my stop on Lisa Clark O'Neill's Virtual Book Tour for Deception, the third book in her Southern Comfort series.  Please leave a comment or question for Lisa below to let her know you stopped by.   You can enter her tour wide giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can follow the tour here.  

Just Because I Hear Voices in My Head, It Doesn't Mean I'm Crazy by Lisa Clark O’Neill

“So. You’re a novelist. That’s cool. Where do y ou get your ideas?”

This seemingly innocuous question is the one almost every writer dreads to hear. I’m sure every profession has its equivalent. The question which strikes fear into the heart of the questionee, because the only honest answer is…

I have no idea.

There. That’s the naked truth of the matter, and holds true for almost every writer to whom I’ve spoken. Some authors enjoy giving flip responses such as: “I get my ideas from a big box store in Oklahoma” or “Ebay” or “It’s a state secret.”

If I told you, I’d have to kill you.

In reality, most authors, even the most disciplined among us – you know the type with outlines and plot summaries and character development notecards from which they never, ever deviate (I do not fall into this category) – struggle to pinpoint exactly from where the genesis of their carefully outlined plot may have originated.

The ether, maybe.

Incidentally, people don’t quite seem to believe me when I tell them I’m not sure how I get my ideas. Like maybe I’m lying, or it really is some kind of secret which I have sworn (to the League of Sneaky Underhanded Fiction Writers, perhaps) never to reveal.

They’re often even more confused when I try to explain my writing process.

I am what other people refer to as a “by the seat of your pants” storyteller, or what I like to call a “Brick Wall Writer.” I make it up as I go. I get an idea – usually a specific image in my head – and I write until I can no longer write any more about that particular scene. In other words, until I hit the mental equivalent of a brick wall. Then I sit back, examine what I’ve written, and wonder: What happens next?

Sometimes I have no idea what happens next, and the blinking cursor on the screen becomes the snarky, taunting Eye of Writing Doom. When that happens, I usually just move out of the Eye’s line of vision, taking a walk or a drive or if there is no other possible way to avoid it, cleaning the house. Typically when I am engaged in one of those other activities, one of my characters will pop up on my mental screen, sort of wave to get my attention, and then start telling me what happens next. Occasionally they are so insistent that we move on with the story that they drag me out of bed at 4 am.

This doesn’t happen often, thank goodness. It’s pretty awkward to explain to friends and family the next day that you are grumpy because you spent the very early morning hours giving in to the demands of a domineering fictional human being.

People tend to look at you a little funny when you tell them that.

But wait, I’m the author – don’t I control what my characters think, say and do?

You would think so, wouldn’t you? But memorable, well-developed characters are far less often (at least in my experience) an author’s creation than they are beings – albeit fictitious – in their own right. They often have qualities that I didn’t anticipate when I conceived them. They behave in ways I hadn’t expected. They take the story in directions I had no idea it was going to go. It’s sort of like being on a road trip in which you are the driver, but someone else is in charge of the navigation. Sometimes you end up getting into bitter arguments as you struggle over which highway – or shortcut – is the best to take.

I know the next logical question will be: “If you don’t fully create your characters, then where do they come from?”

I don’t know.

Maybe they all hang out in a big box store in Oklahoma.

by Lisa Clark O'Neill
Southern Comfort, Book 3

Publisher: Lisa Clark O'Neill
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Romantic Suspense/ 
Length: 511 Pages

Buy Links:  Amazon │B&N 

Book Description:

Samantha Martin’s carefully reconstructed life is teetering on the edge of disaster. After surviving an abusive childhood, Sam is only months away from completing her hard-won college degree when she gets devastating news about her brother. Donnie, her protector and best friend, lies in a coma in a Charleston hospital.

Sam struggles with the question of who shot her beloved brother as well as the monumental expenses of his ongoing care, and in desperation seeks ready cash by agreeing to act as the “entertainment” for a local man’s bachelor party – where to her everlasting mortification, she encounters the one man who’d ever meant enough to her to break her heart.

Forensic artist Josh Harding recognizes the butterfly tattoo on the curvaceous hip of the wig-bedecked stripper. After all, he’d spent hours sketching her lovely figure while a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Now here she is, eight years later, and it becomes clear that Sam is in trouble. Seemingly unrelated threads weave into a pattern surrounding her and her brother. Exposing criminal enterprise among the upper echelon of local society and the shocking truth behind the city’s most famous murder, the unexpected connections that neither Josh nor Sam saw coming draw them both into a tangled web of love and Deception.

Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.


Sam’s mind whirled in confusion as she tried to make sense of what he was saying.  What exactly could Donnie have done considering he’d been in a coma for the past few months?   And the almost… fond way he was speaking to her was in direct conflict with his hold on her arm.  He was gripping her so tightly she’d no doubt have a bruise. But that was the least of her worries.  This guy was clearly psychotic.  Whether he was the man stalking her or not, he was certainly up to no good.  Sam opened her mouth to scream for help but it died in her throat when he squeezed her voice box. 

With the hand that had been gripping her arm he fumbled around in the pocket of the lab coat. 

Justin’s lab coat.

Oh, God.

Was his plan to hurt everyone she cared for in some way?

He eased his grip on her throat and she gulped in a breath of burning air. Just as she felt the prick of a syringe below her ear.

“One push,” he told her softly. “One push from my thumb and its lights out, Samantha.  A shame,” he continued in that conversational tone that was completely divorced from the current reality.  “I didn’t want to have to kill you.”

The tip of the needle pressed into the soft skin of her neck, and though he was obviously threatening her to keep her quiet, her throat was too bruised for her to do much more than squeak.  He dragged her backwards toward the edge of her brother’s bed, heading farther away from the doorway. Sam looked plaintively toward that opening hoping one of the nurses or orderlies would come in.

But given the noise still coming from the hall she figured she was on her own.

Clawing at the arm around her throat earned her a meaty fist upside her head, and after the stars had faded Sam tried to stop panicking long enough to think.  She’d been trained to defend herself, but at the moment that instruction seemed beyond her.  Her thoughts were such a jumble of raw emotions and nerves that it was hard to remember to breathe. 

Angling her head to the side as much as she could, Sam saw him messing with her brother’s IV.  This creep obviously intended to pump something into it that would do God knows what to her brother.  Rage bubbled up so hot and fast that her body stiffened of its own volition.  The man behind her sighed, tightening his grip around her throat.

“We can do this one of two ways,” he informed her equably, all trace of southern honey gone from his voice.  His accent sounded vaguely northern, harsher and more guttural than it’d been before. “I can hit you with the needle, put you in one of these beds and take you downstairs. Maybe leave you behind the hospital in an alley, make it look like a mugging gone bad. Or I can tap you on the head, take you out of here the same way, and then bring you along on a little trip to visit with my partner.  He has a real thing for sexy broads – gets him in a lot of trouble. I feel pretty sure he’d enjoy taking you out for a test spin or two before he decided how best to dispose of you.  Either way, you’re gonna die, but it’s up to you how painful we make it.  Fight me now and I’m inclined to introduce you to my pal.  Be quiet and behave like a good girl and I’ll make sure you and your brother don’t suffer.”

Oh, God.  He was going to kill them.  And he was threatening her with rape to make his job easier.  Whoever this man was, he had no idea what he was saying.

Because instead of making Sam quiescent, that particular threat made her blood burn hotter. 

But forcibly, exercising as much willpower as she possessed, she made herself tremble meekly and nod her head in terrified agreement.  The trembling part was accurate – there was enough adrenaline in her body to jumpstart a turbo jet – and the terrified part wasn’t far off. 

But meek and agreeable she was not.  Like she’d just sit back and let him blithely murder her and her brother?  She had way too much to live for and there was no way she’d sacrifice Donnie.  

About the Author:

One fine day in the not-too-distant past, Lisa Clark O’Neill left Wittenberg University with a BA in English, which she promptly neglected. After working as an interior designer, decorative artist, and Montessori art teacher (there may have been a BA in art as well,) she finally settled into the role of mother to two very fine children.

However, two years of doing the stay-at-home-mom brain cell melt drove her to pull out a pen and one of her old college notebooks.

That turned into six manuscripts.

Lisa spent subsequent years avoiding housework by burying her nose in just about every romance novel she could get her hands on, after completely falling in love with the genre. Her own work falls into the romantic suspense sub-genre, with strong comedic undertones.

Lisa currently lives in the Atlanta area with her family, her dog, her cat and her daughter’s pet rabbit. When she isn’t attempting to keep the rabbit from eating the woodwork, she’s hard at work on her next novel.

Connect with Lisa Clark O’Neill

My Review

A long time lover of romantic suspense, thrillers and mystery books, I could not wait to get my hands on Deception, the third book in the Southern Comfort series by Lisa Clark O’Neill.  Well written characters, smart dialogue, plenty of suspense, and a good mystery are all trademarks of Ms. O’Neill’s writing.  Adding spicy romance, Ms. Clark’s books always have me turning the pages to discover what she’s going to put her characters through next.

In need of money in a hurry, Samantha Martin agrees to act as the “entertainment” at a local man’s bachelor party.  Shocked and embarrassed when she runs into the only man she’s ever really cared for at the party, Samantha finds her carefully reconstructed life falling apart.  Now she not only has to worry about her older brother Donnie, in a coma at a local Charleston hospital, and his rising medical expenses, she’ll have to work at avoiding the only man who’s ever broken her heart. 

Recovering from a gunshot wound, Josh Harding recognizes the butterfly tattoo on the “dancer” at his friend’s bachelor party.  He’d spent hours sketching the model’s figure at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he studied to become a forensic artist.  Realizing Samantha’s in trouble, Josh is determined to get to the bottom of what’s going on in her life.  Especially when it becomes apparent that whatever put Donnie in the hospital is now posing a danger to Samantha’s life.  A life he intends to become a part of.

The scenes between Samantha and Josh are well written, entertaining and have plenty of emotional and sexual tension.  Ms. O’Neill does a really good job developing both characters and I found myself rooting for both of them from the very start.  I also enjoyed how Ms. O’Neill brought in characters from the previous two books and had them play a real part in this book.

The mystery behind who hurt Donnie, and why both he and Samantha are still in danger, is well developed and takes several interesting twists and turns.  Just when I thought I knew who the villain of the story was, something would happen and I would realize I was wrong.  It’s also clear Ms. O’Neill has done her research on police procedures and investigation techniques and also on forensic science. 

Will Samantha and Josh be able to keep Donnie safe while they try to discover what’s going on?  Will Samantha give in to her desires and give Josh a real chance at her heart?  You’ll have to read Deception to find out.  I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read the next book in this series, which will be about one of the secondary characters in this series. 

While a part of a series, this book can be read on its own.  If you haven’t read a book by Lisa Clark O’Neill - what are you waiting for?  I really can’t recommend her work highly enough.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour.  I did not receive any additional compensation for my review of the book.  It is simply my opinion of the reading material provided.

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  1. I'm behind on this series and I loved the first book. As an author myself, my characters just appear. Can't tell you the who, what, where and how, they just do. And no, I don't have to kill people.

    Great review, too.


  2. Thanks so much, Maria! Glad you enjoyed DECEPTION.