Texas Ranger Noah Morgan has his life together—with a great job and the girl of his dreams. Too bad it's all based on a lie. A single phone call threatens to bring it all crashing down. After an irate citizen complains shoddy workmanship has left him with a booby-trapped driveway, and the local sheriff's office is too busy to respond, Noah takes the call. The investigation of local scam artists uncovers a human trafficking ring. Noah fights to avoid being swept back into the sights of his murderous family—people he escaped at the age of seventeen.
Can he keep his past a secret or will his carefully crafted life come to a violent end?
“Crime scene?” Mr. Schmidt crumpled as if he’d been kicked in the solar plexus. Bewilderment flooded his features. For the first time since the rangers arrived, the man looked old. “My driveway is a crime scene?”
“I’m afraid so, sir,” Noah said, using the tone he reserved for scared kids, grieving family members and sagging old men who hadn’t tasted sweet tea in more than sixty years. “Hip implants, bits of bone and teeth are not normally used for road base. It looks like someone may have disposed of a body in your driveway.”
A sixth-generation Texan with Scottish roots, Glenda Thompson can 'bless your heart' with the best of them. As a former emergency medical technician married to a south Texas Lawman, she's used insider information from both their careers as inspiration to build her Broken world of Texas Rangers with hidden pasts and dark secrets. When she's not busy embarrassing her children or grandchildren by dancing in the middle of a country road during a rainstorm, she can be found huddled in her writing cave with her law enforcement technical adviser/husband working on another story in her Broken universe.
When does/did your book release in stores and online?
Broken Toys officially releases on December 16th. The digital version is available for pre-order on Amazon now. I do have some paperbacks available for purchase if anyone wants a signed copy.
What is the inspiration behind ‘Broken Toys?’
Okay, this may be a bit macabre but… a friend of Darlin’s owns a crematorium. The friend gave us a hip replacement implant that no one claimed. Darlin’ was examining it and one end comes to this sharp point. I had just come home from having a tire replaced on my truck. When I saw the point, I told Darlin’ that could do a ton of damage to a tire. About the same time, two calls came across his radio from dispatch—one for a missing child, the other for a complaint about Travelers scamming the elderly with roofing and driveway repairs. It just kind of clicked in my brain and Broken Toys was born.
Give me a brief synopsis that I can share with readers about the book.
Texas Ranger Noah Morgan has his life together—with a great job and the girl of his dreams. Too bad it's all based on a lie. A single phone call threatens to bring it all crashing down. After an irate citizen complains shoddy workmanship has left him with a booby-trapped driveway, and the local sheriff's office is too busy to respond, Noah takes the call. The investigation of local scam artists uncovers a human trafficking ring, Noah fights to avoid being swept back into the sights of his murderous family—people he escaped at the age of seventeen.
Can he keep his past a secret or will his carefully crafted life come to a violent end?
Now would be a good time to point out that Broken Toys is fiction. The characters, the county, all of it, come from my imagination and are not based on anything or anyone in Atascosa County.
What is your favorite part about ‘Broken Toys?’
The characters… they’ve been living inside my head for so long sometimes I forget they are not real people. They are the ones that have been tapping on the inside of my eyelids when I try to sleep nagging me to tell their stories. Several characters in Broken Toys will be getting their own books soon.
Is there a message you are trying to get across to readers in your book?
I have two messages in Broken Toys. The first is to bring awareness to human trafficking. It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. We need to be more observant of our surroundings. Keep an eye on our children, our friends, and family. Keep everyone safe. We need to trust our guts. Yes, that kid throwing a fit maybe just having a temper tantrum, but he or she might be in the process of being snatched as well. Teenagers make easy targets for “Romeos” who sweep them off their feet making them believe they are “in love.” If it doesn’t feel right to you, say something. Especially in today’s environment of everyone wearing masks. It’s so easy for a child to disappear in a split moment.
The second message is to be true to yourself. Own your identity. Be who you are meant to be. Don’t be afraid you have to pretend to be someone else to be loved. If you love yourself, others will love you, too.
Give me some background on you: hometown, family, husband/children, etc. Be careful what you ask for. I love to brag about my family. I’m a sixth-generation Texan with Scottish roots. My Grandma used to tell us the family came to Texas before there was a Texas.
I was born on Galveston Island and grew up near the coast. Summers were spent on the beach and shoes were worn only under protest.
Darlin’ (aka Constable Cregg Thompson) and I have been best friends for twenty years and married for eighteen. Between the two of us, we have three daughters, two sons, three sons-in-law, and two daughters-in-law. We also have eight grandchildren ranging from six to almost eighteen. I tell people all the time that our grandchildren are my reward for not strangling our children when they were teenagers.
Darlin’ and I currently live in Charlotte, Texas with three dogs and too many cats to count.
This is your first book, correct? What are you most excited about?
Yes, Broken Toys is my first published novel. I have a drawer full of partially-finished manuscripts so I would have to say I’m most excited that I finished it. LOL. For the majority of my life, I have had two goals. To see my art hanging in a gallery and to have a book traditionally published. I have now achieved both.
Do you have any advice for young/new writers?
Trust in yourself and just write the story. Don’t get too wrapped up in finding the perfect word in the first draft. As a matter of fact, I call my first draft the “vomit draft” because I just puke the words out on the page. The first draft is telling yourself the story. Don’t expect it to be perfect. Heck, don’t even expect it to be good. That’s what the next drafts are for. Just get it down on paper or on the screen. You can’t fix what you don’t write. And don't be afraid to ask for help. Find a mentor. Find a support/critique group. Writing is always portrayed as a lonely career, but it doesn't have to be. I've made some wonderful friends on my writing journey.
Tell me a little bit about the second book you are working on.
I’m actually working on three more books right now. I keep bouncing between them depending on my mood.
The first is a complete departure from Broken Toys. Wings Over Wylder is a historical romance set in the Wyoming Territory in 1879. Everyone knows the Wright Brothers flew the first aircraft south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. Except they didn’t. The first coil-powered aircraft was flown in Luckenbach, Tx on September 20, 1865 by schoolteacher Jacob Brodbeck. This historic flight left a lasting impression on Greta Ann Guenther who dreams of escaping through flight while she cares for her much younger, autistic brother and alcoholic father.
The other two, Broken Dreams and Broken Minds, are stories following secondary characters from Broken Toys through their own challenges and dark secrets.
Favorite Quote: Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. –Unknown
You said you achieved both of your goals to publish a book and have your art hanging in a gallery…tell me about your artwork?
I have been a photographer for as long as I can remember. My mom gave me my first camera when I was six. I love macro photography and recently have been teaching myself how to do photoshop composites. I had a photography studio in the Houston area for more years than I care to remember. I specialized in weddings, personality portraits, modeling portfolios, and aerial photography. My first "art" show was actually at the Longhorn Museum in Pleasanton when Ann Salas did her first FotoSeptiembre back in 2013.
How long have you been writing? What first got you started/inspired?
Wow! I have been a bookworm for as long as I can remember, longer actually. My dad used to tell a story of me scaring him when I was two. He walked into the living room and I was sitting in his recliner with my favorite book reading it aloud. He said he stood and watched and I was turning the pages at the correct spots. He thought he had a superbaby on his hands—until he realized I was holding the book upside down. I’ve always loved books. I think what encouraged me to actually write stories was a substitute teacher I had in elementary school. She read one of my assignments and wrote the most encouraging notes on it.
I recently found an old notebook that had short stories I had written when I was eleven. I had a few short stories published when I was in high school and more throughout my early adult years.
As I got older, and life got rougher, I used books to escape from a not-too-happy reality. It helped me through some rotten patches and I want to be able to give that escape to someone else. I’ve always been drawn to thrillers and mysteries in my reading. They always say write what you know so… I write thrillers and mysteries mostly and they are a bit dark in places, but I like to give my readers the light at the end of the tunnel endings.
Wings Over Wylder is a major departure for me because not only have I never written romance, Darlin’ says I think like a guy. He means it as a compliment but it makes me decidedly not romantic. I have to research and really work at it when I want to plan a romantic surprise for him.
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