Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Today's Special - - Tracy Solheim's Shot in the Dark


I'm happy to welcome Tracy Solheim back to The Romance Dish today. Tracy's newest novel, Shot in the Dark released last week and it's another fast-paced, action-packed, suspense-filled romance that's sure to keep readers flipping pages to find out what happens next. I loved the pairing of zoologist, Josslyn who hates guns, rebels against authority, and does whatever it takes to keep her beloved animals safe with by-the-book Secret Service agent, and expert marksman, Adam who has yet to meet a rule he doesn't follow. Add in a secret past encounter, sizzling chemistry, and the fact that they are in the cross hairs of an international poaching ring and you can be sure there will be plenty of fireworks ahead...both in and out of the bedroom. 

Connect with Tracy online at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bookbub, and Goodreads. Learn more about Tracy and her books at her website.


Shot in the Dark
by Tracy Solheim
Men of the Secret Service - Book 2
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Release Date: February 25, 2019


If there’s anything zoologist Josslyn Benoit abhors more than guns, it’s poachers. When an African “fact-finding” mission with a wildlife conservationist group goes horribly wrong and one of their members is shot, Josslyn and her team must flee for their lives. What’s worse? Josslyn must call in a favor from her older half-sister…the First Lady of the United States. She returns to D.C. to hunt down a major importer of illegal animal products and the last thing she needs on her tail is a gun-toting, testosterone-fueled hottie who’s too sexy for words and too bossy to tolerate.

After suffering an injury in the line of duty, Adam Lockett, commander of the Secret Service’s elite team of snipers, is sidelined on a boring protective detail—guarding the First Lady’s wild-child younger sister, who’s hell-bent on ditching her detail. He’s biding his time until he can return to the job he loves best, and no tree-hugging, animal saving smokey-eyed beauty is going to ruin his perfect protection record. But when Josslyn’s leads heat up, it’s her own skin on the line, and she’s become much more than a job for Adam. 

Can two opposites find happiness, or is it just a shot in the dark?






Who Says Fiction Can’t Be Factual?
by Tracy Solheim

              I’ve spent much of my adult life researching. Whether it was to earn an advanced degree or testify before Congress, I’ve done my fair share of sifting through archives, depositions, micro-fiche, and surfing the Internet. Just because I write fiction now, doesn’t mean I don’t want it to be “real.”

Case in point, my Men of the Secret Service series for Tule Publishing. The agents may be characters of my own imagination, but the weapons they carry, the equipment they use, the code names they utter, are all based on real-life accounts from actual agents. Best of all, the setting for the series is the White House, a place rich with its own history and a treasure trove of fun facts I can sprinkle throughout my books—especially when the plot seems to stall!

Let’s explore some of those fun facts, starting with the Secret Service. Most people aren’t aware that the agency was created following the Civil War to help sort out the influx of counterfeit money that arose during Reconstruction. It was only in 1901 after President McKinley was assassinated—the third US president to be killed while in office—that someone got the bright idea elected officials might need an extra bit of personal protection. Thus, the Secret Service we know today was born. But that doesn’t mean the agency isn’t still on the front lines sniffing out counterfeiters. They continue to lead federal law enforcement’s efforts in that area.

Getting a feel for the White House was easily my favorite
Children's Garden
aspect of the research for this series. The White House Museum has an interactive site where you can wander from room to room within the eighteen acres of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I had fun sending my characters to the historic rooms everyone sees in history books. But it was the obscure places no one knows about that lend a little something extra to the book, like the chocolate shop in RECIPE FOR DISASTER, or the Children’s Garden in SHOT IN THE DARK.


The third book in the series will feature a look at the First Lady’s offices and Camp David. The characters will also spend a hot minute in the White House Calligraphy office. Yep, they address all those invitations by hand! The three White House calligraphers are among 300 staff whose job it is to keep the executive mansion running on a day-to-day basis. And that gives me a deep well of characters to choose from in this series!

Liberty Ford
If you’ve read any of my books, you’ll know that I often include animals. In Recipe for Disaster, Otto the Belgian Malinois is a working Secret Service K-9 at the White House. Spoiler alert:  Yes, he does get injured in the line of duty, but he lives. No worries, dear reader. In fact, very few of the working K-9s are injured while working to protect the president. Only one Secret Service K-9 has died in the line of duty and that was an accident. The dog slipped off the edge of a six-story parking garage during a sweep for explosives. According to accounts I read while researching the dogs, the handlers and agents were devastated. The dog received a full law enforcement burial.

In Shot in the Dark, I put another dog in the White House, Fergus the Scottish terrier. There have been many pets—including a few famous Scottish terriers—who called the White House home. FDR’s terrier, Fala, was so popular, she was the subject of a short film. Miss Beazley, the terrier owned by First Lady Laura Bush, was the first pet to be adopted by a president. Bo and Sunny were scene stealers from the Obamas during photo shoots, while who could forget Nixon’s dog, Checkers or Liberty, Gerald Ford’s beautiful golden retriever.

Obama in Children's Garden
But dogs aren’t the only pets to roam the lawns of the executive mansion. There have been a few cats, too. Including the Clinton’s feline, Socks. Other pets included hamsters and parakeets, fish, and canaries. And don’t forget the horses. Many presidents brought their own trusted mounts to live with them. Horses made a home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue right up through the Kennedy administration when Vice President Johnson gifted a pony named Macaroni to Caroline Kennedy.

And there were a few exotic pets, too, including a one-legged rooster Teddy Roosevelt owned and a raccoon gifted to Calvin Coolidge that was supposed to be dinner, but who was spared and kept as a pet by the First Family. The Coolidge family ended up with a second raccoon before they left Washington, not to mention a pet bobcat named Smoky! Benjamin Harrison kept a pair of opossums while he was in office. Martin Van Buren wanted to keep a pair of tiger cubs gifted to him by the Sultan of Oman, but Congress quashed that idea, forcing the president to donate the animals to a zoo, instead.

Speaking of zoos, the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park has a few scenes in the Shot in the Dark. I’m grateful for the docents within the Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) who took the time to answer my many questions and show me around the Elephant Trails exhibit—including the poop pit! I truly am lucky to have this career. And yes, I do base my characters in places I’d love to research, because why not?



I have signed copies of both books in the Men of the Secret Service series (digital copies if the winner is international) for one randomly selected person. Just tell me below if you could get unlimited access, what famous place would you love to explore? 







30 comments:

  1. Sir Winston Churchill's war room would be fascinating and extremely interesting to explore.

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  2. The White House would me my pick. The history and secrets it holds would be fascinating. I love history. My favorite period is just after World War II. Everything changed and people were so excited. Your books sound perfect for me!!

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    1. I've taken the "public" White House tour but it really shows so little. I'd love to have unfettered access to the entire building. That would be so cool.

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    2. Trish, I've been in the press room of the White House but not before they've redone it. I'd love to catalog all the gifts and artwork.

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  3. The White House and Air Force One!

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    1. Oh, Air Force One would be fun.

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    2. They have one of the decommissioned Air Force One planes at the Air and Space annex in Reston,VA. I haven't been inside of it yet, but I'm dying to check it out.

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  4. Besides the White House, I would love to explore Buckingham Palace.

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  5. The White House would be really interesting (but not til at least February 2021), or Buckingham Palace.

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  6. The Smithsonian! It looks like it would be an awesome experience.

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    1. The Smithsonian museums are incredible but a "backstage" tour would be fascinating.

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    1. I've been to D.C. four times but have yet to visit the zoo. One of these days!

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  8. I honestly wouldn't say no to exploring many historical places - when ever I'm lucky enough to visit one, zi want to go all over especially the off limits places. Did you know that Pompeii has n open air workhouse/storehouse where they make casts of the famously preserved bodies? And it appears that they make replicas of the frescoes preserved on the walls? We discovered it while wandering around. It was locked up but we could see inside. SO cool!

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    1. I'm going to Pompeii next spring. I will have to check this out! Thanks, Glenda!

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    2. You're welcome, Tracy! We didn't take a tour but wandered all day on our own. It was so much fun! The entire trip was amazing! Enjoy your trip!

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  9. Maybe some of the sights in China--the site of the terracotta warriors at Xian, for instance! There are also a great many other historic places there I'd love to explore!

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    1. A few years ago, some of the Terracotta warriors were here in Atlanta. They were amazing to see in person!

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  10. I see that I am in good company wanting unfettered access to all of the Smithsonian. But a place that I would love to have that access to that would not be famous but has always piqued my curiosity, is a Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant kitchen.

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    1. Interesting! I've had Dim Sum in Hong Kong, but I've not been in a restaurant kitchen there!

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  11. Don't count me because I have the book--I helped name Fergus in a contest!

    I would love to explore a castle like Neuschwanstein.

    denise

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  12. I've been once, but I'd love to go back to Jerusalem. And, by granting me unlimited access, I am hoping you'd be ensuring my safety, as well! That's really what's stopped us from returning. All these incredible, historical and holy sights are surrounded by violence. Thanks for the post and giveaway.

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    1. Jerusalem is on my list, too! Thanks for stopping by the blog.

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    2. Totally agree, LSUReader--Israel is on my list too!

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