Rachel Trautmiller Tells IC about Her Latest Novel, “Disconnect”

Several weeks ago I had the great pleasure to e-hang-out with Rachel Trautmiller during a Facebook Book party. I had so much fun getting to know her I finally decided to try one of her novels, Disconnect, the second in The Bening Files series. Um … what a great ride!!! Now I have to read the first one to find out all of what I’d missed.

I also thought I’d invite Rachel to IC so YOU could meet her too.

*****Please note: Our website is still recovering from illness this week, so for some crazy reason will not currently show images in the post. I will get these up for you ASAP, but for now, click on the links to see Rachel’s awesome cover art.

Hi Rachel.

Thanks for having me on Infinite Characters, today! I hope your readers are ready for a little murder and mayhem with a side of romance served on the wildest ride this side of the hemisphere. Secure your belongings and, please, keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times. I’m kidding—mostly.

No you’re not. <smile>

Here’s a little bit about me and/or my characters (I know that’s who you’re here for. It’s okay!).

We’ll get to your characters in a minute, Rachel. But first, let’s start with you. Tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Central Minnesota, on a farm. I’ve helped raise everything from cows to ostriches, corn to hay. I met the love of my life at the age of sixteen on a—wait for it—blind date. I like to think my friends were merely helping out a semi-shy girl and not the alternative. And if you’re thinking it was love at first sight, well, you’d be mostly right. Except for my initial thought that he and his friend might be serial killers (did I mention I write romantic suspense/thrillers and have a wildly active imagination?). Anyway, minus his military deployments, we’ve been pretty much inseparable since that time. We’ve travelled the United States and lived on both coasts. I much prefer the warmth of California to the nine-month sub-zero tundra of Minnesota.

Hey, my hubby and I met on a sorta-blind date, too. Except I didn’t think mine was a serial killer.

As a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?

Yes. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. And making up stories long before my fingers could form the squiggly looking words on paper. One summer, my backyard held a time portal to another universe. The key to that quantum leap was one piece of paper with a round picture of a clock and the earth. I think I was six or seven at the time. Who knows, maybe I’ll take a leap into the sci-fi/paranormal genre yet!

I’m sure you’d handle it well.

Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader feel as though they know you a little better.

I love writing. It’s a passion that can be a little consuming at times. I still work outside the home, however, so life can get a little hectic between that, family and work. I also have a toddler—a sweet, full of life little girl who can melt me with a smile and have me giggling over things I shouldn’t. I still grocery shop (hate it). When my husband isn’t manning the grill, I cook (hate that too!). There’s laundry (when will the fairy come and save me?). Add laughter, love and coming together in trying times. So, my day is like anyone else’s, only it’s mine and I wouldn’t trade it.

The fairy saves you when you sit at the keyboard and enter the fiction world, I would suspect. At least that’s what MY fairy does. Love that little sparkly girl!!!

How many books do you have published and where can they be found?

Two published books so far. You can find them on Amazon. Be prepared to stay up all night reading and wake a little bleary eyed. I’d apologize in advance, but you know that’s the kind of reading you love best anyway.

Here are the links:



Tell us about your latest book.

DISCONNECT is about choices and their impact on the world around us. The consequences that these decisions leave us with. And discovering when it isn’t between right and wrong, but living with the path you’ve taken—for better or worse. While it doesn’t have an in-your-face faith-based theme, it speaks of the deep love the heroine has for her friends and family. Shows the dedication she gives to her job. And there’s action that will leave your heart racing and your palms damp.

Who wouldn’t be a little freaked out with a conscienceless serial bomber who seems to know every dark secret? And even some you didn’t know about at all.


What are you working on right now?

AFTERMATH, Book 3 of The Bening Files.

Some family hurdles can’t be overcome. Forgiveness doesn’t come to all. And love is an agonizing reminder of loss. Can a seemingly unredeemable person find redemption in an unforgiving world?

Come find out in late 2015. Excerpt available at http://www.racheltrautmiller.com

Can’t wait!

How do you get to know your characters?

My characters are pretty much the boss here. They run around in the mayhem of my brain, flitting from broken scene to broken scene until a clear picture forms. Sometimes that takes minutes. And sometimes, I spend the entire first draft of my book discovering these little friends of mine. I’m a bit of a pantser (writing on the fly with very little outline) and I love a surprise just as much as the next guy. My characters have succeeded there—jumping out with little backstories I hadn’t anticipated. Proving why a side character I inserted is anything but. Making me feel sympathetic toward the villain. It’s a wild ride!

Sounds like loads of fun.

Do you put yourself into your main character, or do you find yourself borrowing from family or friends as your characters develop?

A little of both. I always try to put some small elements of myself into my heroine. Could be something as little as how I take my coffee. Something that helps me relate and connected with any character. In DISCONNECT, the heroine, Amanda Nettles, is a detective with enough sass to keep even the savviest person guessing. And she’s super good at provoking one determine FBI agent. She’s way better at quips and jokes than I am (the joy of rewrites!), but we definitely share the need for smart-mouthed comments. Watch out, world (insert hero stance)!


Is there any scene in your book that came from a real-life happening?

Sure, but since I write romantic suspense/thriller, it’s nothing interesting. In LINKED, the heroine from DISCONNECT (Amanda) sneaks into a hospital and poses as a Certified Nursing Assistant to garner information from a person-of-interest. She used to be a CNA. I used to be one and worked the Cardio floor, which is described in the scene. Other than small things like that, I’m one-hundred percent glad to say my life is NOT filled with murder and mayhem. I’ll take the romance part, though.

Amen to that!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? Maybe a writing tip for aspiring authors?

I’m not an expert, by any means. I’m still learning. However, my advice to aspiring authors is pretty simple. Just go for it. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. If you want it and can’t stand the thought of NOT writing, go out there and get it. There are tons of groups with loads of information out there. Join one. Join as many as you can stand without going crazy. Ask questions. And then HIT PUBLISH. Oh, and go write some more!

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

As always, I love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to check out my website at http://www.racheltrautmiller.com. If you sign up for my newsletter (don’t worry, I only send out mail when I’ve got a release coming out. So, no pesky messages every other second) you’ll receive The Bening Files novella, Obsession, as a free download.

Check me out on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/rachel.trautmiller

Follow me on Twitter @rtrautmiller or Pinterest http://www.pinterst.com/rtrautmiller


A conscienceless serial bomber has a game to play. The rules are simple. There are none.
Somebody knows Detective Amanda Nettles more than she cares to acknowledge. With one phone call, a faceless and genderless madman, proves he knows every dark secret Amanda has—even those she’s never uttered to a soul.
Two explosions have rocked downtown Charlotte and shaken its citizens. All the clues lead back to Amanda. With the FBI—namely Baker Jackson Robinson watching her every move, Amanda must figure out the why behind the madness, because this guy is coming after them. One-by-one. And he wants her to witness every detail.
Robinson’s life has never been simple. Prior to his sister’s comatose state, he preferred the chaos and the danger if it meant saving a life. Raising a pre-teen dependent on him, alone, means he needs to skirt around danger, aka—Amanda Nettles. The attractive and unavailable detective is trapped in play only their perpetrator understands. And he’s using those closest to Amanda as bait.
With each new event, Amanda must make a choice. Follow her heart, protect her friends and lose the life she’s built for herself or sit on the sidelines and watch someone else destroy it. The last thing she intends to do, is involve the one man who understands her, in a way no one has before. Because Robinson isn’t the type to walk away from a fight that matters. And she won’t stop looking for answers just because they aren’t readily available.
If only her feelings for the handsome Agent would disappear…
And his need for the Detective’s sassy comebacks, wasn’t so strong…
The clock wouldn’t be ticking. With innocent lives in the balance.

DISCONNECT Excerpt clip_image002 2015

Every muscle in Amanda’s body hummed with the aftershocks of a personal earthquake. Her left knee throbbed in angry protest as she threw her jeans over each leg. Dark spots swam before her eyes after she lifted her shirt over her head. She grabbed the rail of her bed and concentrated on breathing.

Robinson was right to think she might crack her head open in here alone. If the positions were reversed, she would have been just as hesitant to leave. However, the last thing she needed was either man rushing in to save the day with questions she couldn’t or wouldn’t answer.

As she pulled the bandage from her head, she could hear the hushed conversation of Eric and Robinson as if they’d moved away from her curtain. She jammed her feet into now scuffed shoes and peeked out of the opening. Both men stood near the nurse’s station ten feet from her makeshift room in the ER. Eric had both hands in the pockets of his black suit as he rocked back on his heels. Robinson leaned on a bent arm on the counter in front of him, his free hand running over his dark hair in frustration.

Eric shook his head to whatever Robinson had said. They both looked in the direction she now stood, Robinson’s crisp blue eyes lingering a moment longer than Eric’s, the intense flecks of green within them etched into her mind.

She stepped back from the curtain as if she were a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar before dinner. The erratic beat of her heart bounced through her veins, her cells holding tiny knifes all aimed at her brain.

Eric had appeared in the ER twenty minutes after McKenna called him, an unflapable air about him, as if seeing the wreck of today’s events in her eyes didn’t faze him.

Perhaps, it didn’t.

Robinson had known where she’d be, today. For sure, Beth. Maybe Eric, too. Anybody who would take out a portion of the city without remorse would surely make good on promises of retribution for broken confidences.

Anybody who knew things about her—things she hadn’t dared admit to herself, was dangerous. The cop in her knew silence never paid off. The witness almost always ended up dead anyway, voiding the idea that keeping secrets kept a person safe.

What was she supposed to do when all the people around her were either suspect or family?

Get out, now. Figure out the rest later.

Before she could talk herself out of it, she slid back the portion of her curtain opposite both men and stepped into the hallway. She didn’t spare a backward glance, but picked up her pace and maneuvered around the sea of people lining the hallways. A few nurses and a doctor buzzed from room to room, bed to bed, but nobody paid her any attention.

The image of the sparkling ring Eric had presented her, brought a tightness to her throat. A simple Princess cut diamond nestled in a channel setting, a glimmering beacon. To what?

I planned to wait until Christmas, but…

Didn’t it figure that Robinson would show up at that moment? Before she could hear any of Eric’s carefully prepared declarations. Would anything he said dispel the crushing anxiety that ring had conjured?

Heavy footsteps sounded behind her and had her quickening her pace. Each movement brought an increasing throb to her head. She reached the emergency room doors and exited.

Eric might not realize she’d disappeared for another ten minutes, but Robinson had a weird sixth sense about this type of thing. And if the reason he needed to borrow her hand anything to do with official FBI reasons, it wouldn’t be long before he tracked her down and cornered her.

She needed some answers of her own before that happened. Getting back to the Rainbow Cafe and retracing her steps was paramount to survival.

After that, she’d figure out where to stay and whom to trust from there.



Rachel lives in sunny California with her wonderful husband, adorable daughter, two unruly dogs, and a fat cat. She’s worked in the healthcare industry for over fifteen years and has loved the written word far longer. Football is one of her passions (SKOL VIKES!) and she considers August thru February to be a sacred holiday, where football rules all.
Spending time with her family, friends, reading and enjoying the outdoors are some her favorite hobbies. In the summer, you can find her by the pool, teaching her daughter to swim and enjoying her husband’s company.
Rachel is currently working on books 3 and 4 of The Bening Files, set for release in late 2015 and early 2016.

Categories: Author Interviews, Book Launch, Contemporary, Current Books, Fiction, Guest Author, Guest Blogs, Independent Publishing, Romance, Suspense | 6 Comments

Vanessa’s Character Picks March 26, 2015

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Counting Blessings Instead of Sheep

count blessings instead of sheep


I know most people my age have heard the song that admonishes us to count our blessings instead of sheep when we’re having a hard time getting to sleep.

Tossing and turning some nights plagues everyone, no matter what the age. Our head hits the pillow and our thoughts cut loose like a bunch of marathon runners. Did I pay the electricity bill? What should I get my husband for his birthday? I only wrote one chapter instead of two today. We simply can’t let go of the stressors of the day. And in the middle of the night, problems seem magnified and overwhelming. Internal thoughts hinder our sleep.

I looked up some techniques that psychologists suggest. One is imagine placing the thought on a leaf and tossing the leaf off in a stream, allowing it to float away. Another is don’t go to bed until really sleepy, and go to bed at the same time every night.

But I found a strategy that benefits me every time. When I’m tossing, I heed the words of the old song about counting blessings. I know that sounds really simple, but when we thank God for our blessings and acknowledge that all good things come from Him, we can’t help but become relaxed and drowsy. Too, some of those blessings may fill our dreams.

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Proverbs 10:6a “Blessings crown the head of the righteous.” That’s a promise I want to embrace. Count your blessings and give thanks to the Lord.

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Vanessa’s Character Picks March 17, 2015

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I Remembered You Oh God and I Groaned

I remembered You, O God and I groaned (Psalm 77:3, NIV)

This is the favorite verse of the main character, Samantha Hart, in my latest novel, One Among Men. She got this verse from me. It was my first favorite and the very first I’d ever memorized when I began studying the Good Book in my late twenties.

You may wonder why someone would love a verse about groaning at the memory of God. Isn’t that memory something we should sing about instead? Well, yes, but the idea I needed to be reminded of Him is most definitely groan worthy. And yet there was an author, like me, charged with penning the actual Words of God, who needed to do the same.

That gave me hope.

Hope that after having forgotten about Him for too many years, I could also be used by Him to do great things. Samantha Hart feels the same. You see, she’d abandoned God when her mother was murdered many years before, remembering Him only enough to rebel against the things she knew He’d wanted for her. She squandered her relationships only to come up feeling more empty than she’d been after her mother’s death. But God never left her. Much like he’d never left me. He worked in my life, behind the scenes, and would occasionally make His presence apparently clear … until one day, I remembered Him … and groaned.

It was a good groan. Much like the kind we communicate to the Holy Spirit who in turn translates them to the Father. He answers those groans, so I keep verbalizing them. He’s my Daddy after all. The One whose arms I fall into when things aren’t going my way. The One who holds me up when my knees want to buckle. The One who smiles and touches a kiss to my forehead when I need to feel loved. The One who pats me on the back and says, “You can do it” when I can’t imagine how.

I can do it with Him—that’s how.

So I keep remembering … and groaning.


One Among Men

OneAmongMenFinalFront--lowres fr LynnSamantha Hart is looking for godly purpose, like her missionary best friend, but is forced to take a job as the resident director of the all-male party dorm at the major state university where her prodigal past haunts her. She must avert the pitfalls of a woman in her position as well as the dangerous forces that threaten her life.
Chris Johnson, a rock guitarist, has come back to school as a music major, and finds himself in a business relationship with the ruthless supplier of an on-campus drug ring. He’s intrigued by the lady RD, while learning more about his musical gift and the God who gave it to him. Can he manage his two worlds without risking Samantha’s life?


Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an headshot1Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. She is the author of One Among Men, about a woman whose job requires she live with 500, hard-partying college guys, and At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD.

You can find Connie on the web at ConnieAlmony.com, and hosting the following blogs: InfiniteCharacters.com, IndieChristianFictionSearch.Blogspot.com, and LivingtheBodyofChrist.Blogspot.com.

You can also meet her on the following social media outlets:




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Vanessa’s Character Picks March 12, 2015

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