Guest Post: Yolanda Renee

6:03 AM Elizabeth Seckman 29 Comments

Murder, Just Because Blog Tour
Heaven on Earth
Since the setting for my books is Alaska,
I wanted to share an excerpt from my memoir.

When I arrived, I was immediately in love. Not with the guy who was meeting my plane but with the state I was visiting for the first time. Alaska. I’d traveled from a small town built around the production of steel. I even worked as a receptionist for Follansbee Steel, in Follansbee, West Virginia. And this was my vacation, a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska. My first impression had me in awe. This was the most stunning place on Earth. Clear blue skies, hundreds of deep--green trees, miles, and miles of them, and mountains that flowed across the horizon like gentle giants in protective mode. I was dumbstruck, and most definitely, I was in love. I was home!
Why? Because I came from something so different, you most likely won’t believe my description. I lived and worked in Follansbee, but across the Ohio River is the city of Steubenville, Ohio, and upriver there’s the city of Weirton, West Virginia. An area of the country known as the dirtiest place on Earth at one time.
When all three cities had all their steel mills running at the same time, the pollution would literally choke you. The smell from the numerous chimneys would gag you as you drove by, so you prayed for a good wind when you had to venture close. But you could never really escape the poison. Sulfur gases belched and spewed their orange-colored mists over the valley and left homes and other structures covered in a variety of filthy, carroty hues and coal dust.
I escaped. I took the trip of a lifetime. And while the relationship with my host failed, I stayed and thrived. Away from the family that had abandoned me, I’d found a home!
I picked blackberries from an area where they grew wild, just on the outskirts of the wilderness. I sang, mostly off tune, to alert the bears I was there. My jams were delicious and great gifts.
We fished the creeks for salmon. We held a dinner party that quickly broke up after an attack by No-See-Ums--biting midges. The windows had screens, but those little bugs weren’t deterred. The next morning the blankets we’d hidden under, and the furniture in the cabin was covered with thousands of the black bastards. Dead, but they’d done their worst.
I hiked the Alaska Range, slept in a tent, and ate grayling caught from a mountain stream. I grew used to the “perfume” of Alaska (bug spray) and was seldom bothered by the mosquitoes that swarmed during a summer that hit temperatures in the nineties.
Winter came on fast, but I was still enthralled. “Heat” to keep the engine from freezing. Gathering with the neighbors around kerosene lanterns and playing cards during brownouts. Driving through a fog so thick with ice crystals, it looked like a fairy dust factory had blown up, were all part of that first year.
Yes, I stayed. It was the most adventurous of times, and even though later it became the worst of times, I still call Alaska “heaven on Earth.” My only regret in life is that I left.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for hosting me on your blog today. It was fun reminiscing.

Thank you, Yolanda! 
I've read the first book in the Detective Quaid Series and I can't wait to read the rest. I've already got them on my Kindle, now I just need some free reading time. You'd think with the social isolation, I'd have plenty of time, but since they closed colleges and sent workers home to work remotely, my house is filled with young men again and it's a busy, busy place. 

But if you're looking for a gripping read to distract you from the real-life chaos, grab Yolanda's books and lose yourself in the fictional world of murder and mystery. 

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Yolanda Renee’s MURDER, JUST BECAUSE Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering an awesome tour-wide international giveaway. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

by Yolanda  Renée
◊ Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
◊ Publisher: Yolanda Renee
◊ Series: Detective Quaid Mysteries
◊ Paperback: 291 pages
◊ Print & eBooks
◊ ISBN-10: 0985820632
◊ ISBN-13: 978-0985820633
◊ Contains explicit sex & graphic violence
"While this book does contain explicit sexual language and graphic violence, it could easily be taken from the daily headlines. The content is plausible and realistic as we look at the world around us. The events in the book are not overly done but give a pragmatic look at the terrifying actions killers can and sometimes do take."

It was a matter of beginner’s luck, but rookie detective Steven Quaid’s career and reputation as an elite investigator skyrocketed when he captured one of the most sadistic serial killers in Alaskan history: Stowy Jenkins, AKA the Snowman. But that was ten years ago.

And now…Jenkins is back. Escaped from prison and on the move, his bloodlust is stronger than ever, and his methods of torture are even more horrifying than before. As his bloody rampage continues and the number of mutilated bodies mounts, terrified Alaskans increasingly doubt Quaid’s ability to catch the killer again. The detective’s reputation is on the line, and he’s going to need a lot more than luck, because this time, Jenkins is driven by more than the thrill of a random kill.

This time, it’s more personal. He’s out for revenge…and his ultimate target is Quaid. In a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, Jenkins starts picking off the people in Quaid’s life…slowly, gradually tightening his circle of corpses and drawing ever closer to the most important person in Quaid’s life...his wife. Can Quaid do the impossible again? Can he outmaneuver the killer, or has the detective's luck finally run out?

Author Yolanda Renee
For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her in her own words.

At one time Alaska called to me, and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I’ve traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influences my writing.
Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two handsome sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

For more on Yolanda and her writing, you can connect with her here:
Blog    *     Facebook     *     Twitter     *     Pinterest    

Purchase Links:


This tour-wide giveaway is for a complete set of the Detective Quaid Mystery series books for one winner, paperback copies of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for five winners, and a Kindle copy of MURDER, JUST BECAUSE for 10 winners.

To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. If the widget doesn’t show up, just click HERE and you’ll be directed to the widget.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Yolanda on her week-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out. Do you enjoy watching a character grow from one story to the next?

a Rafflecopter giveaway Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay


  1. While I don't think I'd want to live there, I certainly would like to see it. Preferably at a time when those bugs aren't out!

    1. LOL, Alex, they are an interesting irritation in Heaven! LOL

    2. e used to get no see 'ums in Carolina Alex.

  2. Yolanda, you make Alaska sound inviting even to someone like me who is extremely cold natured.

    Elizabeth, thanks so much for being a part of Yolanda's tour and sharing this with your readers. I agree with you, Yolanda's books are very gripping to the point you might even catch yourself holding your breath during certain scenes.

    1. I know what you mean, but it is amazing. Thanks for coordinating all this!

  3. Hi Elizabeth, Hi Yolanda,

    You were truly in love with Alaska, and I can understand the love that you have for it. I feel the same way about Europe and especially about Germany, Italy, and Scotland. I feel like I have come home. When I first got here, I didn't visit the States for two years. I had always thought I would return back to the states after three or four years. So when I went home to visit my parents and the rest of my family, I was shocked to find out that I was homesick for Europe.
    My husband died in 2019 and many asked me if I was going back to the States I aid no. For me, this is home. Europe is home and I want to continue moving forward and not start moving backward.
    Thanks for sharing a part of yourself. It touched my heart because I could relate.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    1. Hi, Pat! I'm thrilled that you too have found the one place that fills your heart with joy. It's an amazing find and one I allowed to get away from me. But never say never. I will return, eventually. Thank you for following the tour! Your support means the world!

  4. Wow - makes me want to jump in my car and drive!!! I had a coworker from the Yukon and her descriptions made me want to visit there as well. Beautiful!

    1. LOL, Jemi, you live in a place as beautiful if not more so!

  5. Hi, Elizabeth! Thank you for hosting me today. It's a busy day today, but it'll be a fun one as folks discover the many stories around an Antique Vase, and my memories of Alaska fill my day. I do miss Alaska, but love the sunshine, the waves, and the long walks on the beach, now. I just hope that before long I can return and show it to my husband. Covid-19 has put all travel on hold, I hope, not for long. Thanks for being part of my book tour, and I relish the day you get to finish reading the stories!

  6. I've always wanted to visit Alaska. Glad you got to. Congrats on your book!

  7. Yup, I too have always wanted to go to Alaska. How many years were you there Yolanda.

    Good luck with your book.

  8. I would certainly partake of Alaska's perfume. LOL It must've been amazing to see so much untamed wilderness. I know I miss the vast open spaces of New Mexico and Oregon.

    1. Those vast open spaces are so lovely, not matter where you find them. I agree! But Alaska was everything to me. :)

  9. That perfume seems to get around lol plenty of bugs here too. I'd like to see it, but not sure I'd want to stay.

  10. Congrats. Alaska sounds wonderful.

  11. I loved my visit to Alaska 5-ish years ago. Unfortunately, there were a lot of fires there at the time, so I couldn't see Denali for the smoke and Fairbanks was clouded over with smoke, as well. Hoping to return another time!

    1. Fires, how awful. I do hope you get to make a return!

  12. It sounds like an amazing place. Makes me want to visit. Wishing you much success with sales.

    'Lo Elizabeth:)

    1. Thank you Sandra, right now The Snowman is doing well, hoping that translates for this book soon!

  13. We ALMOST made it to Alaska, but ended up cancelling the trip. Maybe one of these days. I'm glad you found a place that meant so much to you, Yolanda, but it might have been a case of "right place for the right time." The older you might not be able to tolerate the cold weather quite as well as the young you did. :) (I still hope you get to go back!)

    Nice post, ladies!

    1. That's my biggest worry, and more for my husband than me. LOL But yes, someday I'd like to take Terry on a tour of my favorite places. We'll see. If not in this life maybe the next. :)

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