15 July, 2013

#SpecialFeature :: #GuestPost - The Gift : Part 2 by #Author Joyce T. Strand

Now Presenting:
*** SPECIAL FEATURE - July'13 ***

Publicist and part-time sleuth Jillian Hillcrest, created by Joyce T. Strand, solves murders that pop up at a small biotech company in Silicon Valley. When not sleuthing, Jillian spends time with her ex-husband Chad Bradbury, who entertains her with the ultimate goal of reversing their “ex” status.  In the following Part 2 of a two-part article, Jillian identifies a gift that Chad will only give to her if she can guess its identity. 

The Gift: Part 2

My ex-husband has challenged me to guess his non-occasion gift before he’ll give it to me. I know it has to be bigger than a breadbox and that it is something—or some things—to do, NOT located in San Francisco.  

I’m excited because I’m sure I’ve figured out Chad’s gift. We’re meeting at our favorite Italian restaurant. We enjoy eating out, and Chad always selects the best restaurants, knowing what I like. 

When I arrived, I spotted his Fedora first, and waved as we approached the entrance together. Tipping his hat, he opened the door. We were immediately smacked with the smells of sautéed garlic and, well, who cared what else? The waiter knew us, smiled at Chad’s hat, and led us to a table.  We ordered quickly, because I wanted to get on with getting my gift.

“OK, Hat Man, I know what the gift is.”

Fortunately, Chad’s Fedora was on the chair beside him, so he couldn’t push it askew as he so often did simultaneously arching his left eyebrow, “Oh, and what is it?”

Jillian clapped her hands together, “It’s a trip to Sonoma to go wine tasting. And we’re going to spend time at Brynn’s winery.”

Brynn was Jillian’s boss who owned a winery with a cottage in the Sonoma area. They spent time there for Jillian to recover following her ordeal in search of her missing reporter friend.

Chad smiled and shook his head. “Ehhhhh. Wrong. Although that sounds nice.”

“What?” Jillian was so sure she had guessed it.  “You’re lying. You changed it because I guessed.”

Chad laughed. “No I didn’t.”

“Then I get another clue.”

Chad thought for a few seconds, smiled, arched that damn eyebrow, and said, “I can smell the caramel corn cooking.”

“Caramel corn? Like at a Farmer’s Market or the county fair?”

“No. We’re not going to a county fair.”

“Then that counts as a guess, and I get another clue.” 

Chad nodded. “All right, here’s a clue that should help you.  We’ll be by a bay hearing sea lions bark and walking on a wharf.”

 Jillian has to guess location of special gift from Chad

Jillian had to think for only a few seconds before responding, “We’re going to Monterey Bay. Awesome.”

“I know we’ve been there before, but I wanted to take you some place a little special.”

Jillian was puzzled. She had wondered why Chad wanted to give her a surprise gift for no occasion.  “Why do you want to give me something special? What’s the occasion?”

Chad picked up his Fedora, placed it on his head at an angle, arched his eyebrow and said, “You’ll see, my darling, you’ll see.”

The mystery is solved! 

If you want to know what happens in Monterey—and help solve another Jillian Hillcrest mystery—check out FAIR DISCLOSURE, scheduled for release in November 2013.


Murder intrudes on PR Executive Jillian Hillcrest's routine as head communications executive at a small Silicon Valley biotechnology company. She is eagerly staying "on message" to inform investors, the media, and the community about her company and its products. First, she receives a peculiar package. Then, a homicide detective calls. Jillian soon discovers that solving a murder is more hazardous than writing press releases.

PR Executive Jillian Hillcrest is having lunch with a reporter colleague when a woman enters and begs him not to print anything she's told him because they will kill her if he does. A few days later, the reporter tells Jillian that the woman was killed in a car crash in his hometown. The police ruled her death an accident caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.
Although Jillian is busy promoting her Silicon Valley biotech company, the reporter draws her into an investigation of his hometown's police department, located in California north of the Napa-Sonoma wine region. Coincidentally, Jillian's neighbor Cynthia Anderson wonders about the untimely death of her policeman husband years earlier as part of the same police department. Meanwhile, Jillian's ex-husband hovers over her to reverse the "ex" status. Unfortunately, none of them anticipates the frightening events that follow.

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Ms.Strand has offered to giveaway 5 Paperback copies of Open Meetings! Don't worry, they can be read as stand-alones and so even if you have not read book one, you can have a go at this one. The Giveaway is open to the residents of US, Canada, UK, New Zealand or Australia.

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