Saturday, October 25, 2014

Interview With Author Carole Brown

author Carole Brown
What made you decide to start writing?

I didn’t decide. I can’t remember a time I didn’t write. From grade school up, I’ve always loved writing. It’s so much a part of me, I can’t imagine life without it. In my own mind, I think: Carole, and the image:  “writer/author”  pops up.

I worked hard to support my husband throughout our sons’ younger years, but once grown, I knew it was MY time. I needed to pursue writing--not as a hobby any longer--but as a creative job. Thankfully, I’ve had the support of my husband and family.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Follow God’s leading. He really does know the direction we should take that will be the best and give us the most peace and happiness!
Pursue your dreams. I’m a big believer in this. I hate to see people working at jobs they dislike immensely (although I also understand it’s necessary sometimes).
Find YOUR writing journey and be true to it. Every writer has their own path to tread and that’s the one they should walk upon. My journey may not be yours, but it’s MINE.
Never give up. Enough said!
What does your writing schedule look like?

I never run out of ideas, so it’s usually pretty hectic. I always have more than one story going at a time and spend time alternating between them unless I’m on a deadline.

Now that I’m published, I find marketing takes a lot of my time (but I love it!), so have to be really disciplined to write. Unlike some writers, I find my best novel writing time is either late morning or afternoons.

By evening, my mind is too tired to novel-write, but I can work on extra writing activities: interviews, articles, or just spending time with my husband and family. I strive for at least 1000 words a day, but that doesn’t always happen.

Tell me about your latest release? What are the major themes?
For Tyrell Walker, God is in control. No matter what disappointments from your parents or from your own choices life hands you, if we wait and trust, God will direct our paths.
For Emma Jaine Rayner, patience and tolerance is a biggie. She is so impatient with her sisters’ choices and desires that she can be a little overbearing. If only they would listen! But God has an individual plan for each of us. Our choices for the other person may NOT be what God has planned.
Women shown in foreground, man and piano in background
Who is your favorite character in the story and why?

Since I love ALL the characters in this book, it’s hard to pick one. I’ll take a stab at it though.

Gertrude (Gertie to her friends) is an elderly, well dressed boarder in the Rayner Boarding home. She’s garrulous and smart and funny. Loyal to those she cares about but condescending to those she considers self-dramatists, she’s usually decked out in the best clothes and an overload of jewelry.

 Here’s a bit from With Music in Their Hearts, chapter 5:

            “I never get too friendly with strangers. But since you are going to be my neighbor—so to speak—you may call me Gertrude. Gertie to my friends, Reverend.”

“I’m Tyrell, ma’am.”

“Why haven’t you enlisted, Tyrell? A big, strong man like you.”

(Brusque and a little nosy.)

A little bit farther on:

Gertrude Hanover snorted, and in a voice calculated to reach its desired object, lashed out, “Shameless. Absolutely shameless, that one. She’s after anything in pants.”

“Nosy old witch.” Bette leaned forward to glare around Jerry, who separated her from Gertrude.

“Truth’s the truth, my dear.” Gertrude sniffed.

(A little intolerant of those individuals who constantly need drama.)

And one more example from a later Chapter:

The older lady’s eyes glittered, begging to be part of the excitement. “What decent girl is going to want him? I’d bet on another sleazy man. Want me to follow him?”
            “Absolutely not.” Tyrell gripped her hand. “Promise me, Miss Gertie, you won’t do anything foolish.”

“Of course not, Tyrell. Do you think I want to get killed?”

Tyrell’s blood chilled but he patted her hand.

“Now, listen, there’s more. Twice he’s come home in the middle of the day. Doesn’t stay long. Slips in, slips out. Doubt if anyone else in the house hears him.” She peered at him, and Tyrell was sure her tongue was in her cheek.

“What were you doing in Hank’s room a few days ago? Saw you opening his locked door, slick as a real burglar. Saved your bacon, didn’t I, calling Hank to hang a picture for me? Didn’t need him. Jonah Mason always does my handy work and does very well. But wanted to give you time to make your get-away. The movie characters always talk savvy, don’t they?”

So she had seen him entering Hank’s room. “Uh . . .”

            “Don’t answer. I’m sure you have your reasons. Never could abide Dawson. Emma Jaine should have more sense than to allow the likes of him into this house.” She sniffed. “Mark my words, she’ll rue the day she let him rent here.”

(Caring and helpful with those she cares about, eager to please within limits)

How do you like to spend your time when not writing?

First and foremost: family. Having two sons I love and now, three grandsons means family time is more important than ever. We’ve always spent a lot of time with our boys--reading, visiting and vacationing in interesting areas, devotional fun time, etc. That’s carrying on into our grandparent stage!

My husband and I enjoy traveling. Seeing and experiencing new areas and walks of life keeps life interesting and varied. We have a small hobby farm where we live quietly enjoying our hot tub, walks, garden pond, flowers, pets, a small vegetable garden and projects that go along with owning property.

How can readers contact you and/or learn more about you and your writing?

Here is my bio and contact information. I love to interact with old and new friends!

Brown not only has her award winning (RWA International Digital Awards Contest 2nd place in Inspirational, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel.

November, 2013, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies. Look for the second book, Bat Crazy, late winter.

Releasing November, 2014, is the first book in a new WWII romantic suspense series: With Music In Their Hearts. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:


I also am part of several other blogs:

Barn Door Book Loft:
With Music in Their Heart Blurb:
Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.  
He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.  
While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.
As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?
Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?
With Music in Their Heart releases November 2014! Check out my personal links to keep in touch for availability! Then look for it on Amazon. Book Launch is scheduled for November 10 on Facebook.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Interview and Book Giveaway with Elizabeth Ludwig.

Do you all ever pay attention to the books advertised at the end of a novel you're reading? I do, and I noticed an intriguing book titled No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig, the first of her Edge of Freedom series: one of the best crafted novels I've ever read. Since then, I've devoured the equally good follow-up, Dark Road Home.

It's my privilege to interview Elizabeth Ludwig. She'll be giving away a copy of the final installment of the series, Tide and Tempest. Rules are below.

Jeff Reynolds:  Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects, Elizabeth. I'd like to hear a little about you, such as how you became interested in writing.

Elizabeth Ludwig: 
Hi, Jeff! Thank you so much for having me on your blog. Believe it or not, I started writing in elementary school. I had a fifth grade teacher who really got into the creative writing stuff, and encouraged us to love it, too. I also LOVED to read, so I guess she thought it was a natural progression for me to also write. So when she learned of a contest for young authors, she pushed me to enter.

I told myself I was going to hate it, but as I got into the story, I found I really liked coming up with my own characters. I did spend most of my time daydreaming about books, after all. I guess that was the spark I needed, because I never forget what it was like to write and began seeking publication in 2001.

Well, I wish I could say success came immediately, right after I submitted my first manuscript. The truth is, I wrote for five years before I sold my first book, and I completed six full manuscripts, none of which will probably ever see the light of day.

JR:  Would you like to tell us about your Edge of Freedom series, and especially your latest release?

I’d love to! I am so excited for the release of Tide and Tempest, although to be honest, if everything had gone as I planned, this book would never have been written. You see, when I first proposed my idea to my publisher, I was only planning for a two book series. Later, I was asked if I could expand my idea. Of course I said yes, though at the time, I really wasn’t sure what the third book would be about. It wasn’t until I finished the first book, No Safe Harbor, that inspiration struck and I realized that everyone I’ve ever met has carried some kind of wound—either pain from a broken relationship, or grief, sometimes even loss.

When I sat down to write Tide and Tempest, I wanted to reach out to those who were hurting and offer some kind of hope. To do that, I had to reach into my own past, and touch on the pain and guilt I carried after the loss of my son. The grace I experienced through that traumatic time, the healing and restoration that God fulfilled in my life—that was the inspiration behind Tide and Tempest, and why I think the main character, Tillie McGrath, resonated so deeply with me.

JR:  I found the setting interesting -- while it takes place in New York a hundred years ago, it seems as concerned with Ireland as it does here. What was your inspiration for writing about this era, and how did you do the research?

You hit on a really crucial point of this series. It definitely required more research than anything I’ve published so far. Set in and around New York City with key scenes taking place on Ellis Island, I knew early on that I would need to conduct careful study on the more than twelve million immigrants who entered the United States through Ellis Island from 1892 to 1954. It wasn’t enough to know how they came, however. I wanted to figure out why, so beginning at the Ellis Island Foundation’s website, I began looking for letters, pictures, anything I could find that would give insight into the motivation behind so many peoples’ journey. This in turn led me to other sites, like and the National Park Service website, which were full of information regarding not only the history of the island, but of the people who passed through on their way to a new life in America.

Along with filling the story with facts about our nation’s history, the Edge of Freedom Series is about an Irish family and a man with dangerous political affiliations, so on top of all of the historical facts I could dig up about New York in 1897, I had to research Ireland and everything that was occurring during the same time period there. That meant learning what I could about the conflict in Ireland—its origins and history. Once again, I tackled the Internet, beginning with a simple Google search on “why Ireland is divided”. This led me to a number of sites, including and Remember those research papers your English teacher made you do in high school and college? Researching my book was a lot like that!

JR:  One question I regularly ask -- and I'm asking now -- is whether an author tends to be an outliner or a blank pager. Having read the first two books, however, I'm going to do something I've never done before and take a guess that you're an outliner, because of how well woven the stories are. Related -- was the outlining for the full series, or was it more one book at a time?

  LOL! Thank you, Jeff! Normally, I would say yes, I am very much an outliner. I always chart out a detailed timeline from start to finish. I also search for photos, locate maps, make drawings of certain settings, and collect samples of historical details that I can incorporate. Only when all of that is finished do feel equipped enough to begin writing. It makes for a lengthier process, but I’m always satisfied when I finish that I did my best to make the story accurate and exciting.

BUT…since I had originally planned for this to be a two book series, I really had to adjust my thinking, and my storyline! Strangely enough, that wasn’t difficult once I had a grasp on what Tillie’s story would be about. From there, I was very careful to plot all the storylines to make sure that everything stayed consistent. Also, it doesn’t hurt that I have fantastic editors and a patient critique group who helped me keep everything straight. My editor even gave me suggestions for deepening my storyline!

JR:  I would consider your books Historical Romantic Suspense. When you enter contests or promote your books, how do you market them? Historical Romance? Romantic Suspense? Or, since I haven't seen a Historical Suspense category, would you consider it more straight historical?

I guess it depends on the contest. If it’s a secular contest with an inspirational category, I usually enter there. Otherwise, I enter in the Historical Romance category, because most readers do not equate historicals with suspense. It’s not a perfect fit, because my stories always have a splash of mystery or a splattering of suspense, but I’d rather the reader felt like they got a little something extra than be put off by the fact that my books are historicals. I’m always afraid they’ll mark down if they think it’s in the wrong category.

On another note…I tried to write a straight historical romance once, and a third of the way through, I killed off one of the main characters. It’s like I have to put action on every page or it feels like there’s just not enough happening. Which, when I think about it, makes sense given that I live my life at 100mph and only slow down when I’m forced to go to sleep (see answer above). LOL!

But yes, I would so love to see a Historical Suspense category!!!

JR:  Since you've finished your series, what's next on the horizon? More historical, or maybe some contemporary? (Or perhaps Sci-Fi?)

  The Edge of Freedom series has been such a labor of love, I actually kinda hated seeing it end. As for the horizon, well…I’d love to do another Historical Suspense series. I’ve never considered Sci-Fi, but I’m honored that you think I could! LOL!

JR:  What else do you do besides writing? Any interesting hobbies? What do you do for fun?

Well, let’s see…aside from reading and writing, I love to ski and I have a ridiculous number of dogs. Someday, I’ll write a book about my life and call it Downhill Dachshunds: Keeping up with the Pack.

JR:  I love that title. Thank you for your time, and I can't wait to read Tide and Tempest. How can we keep up with your writing?

I have a website at and a blog at, but my favorite place to connect is still on Facebook. I hope you’ll stop by!

Jeff to the reader: It's time for the book giveaway! To enter the contest for a copy of Tide and Tempest, there are three easy steps:

  1. Leave a comment.
  2. Share your e-mail address -- it can be spelled out like AuntDotKahm(at)Ant(dot)com.
  3. If you were to write about a group of imigrants or refugees, which group would you write about, and what time era (including the present) would it be set in?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Christy Barritt: Desperate Measures

By K. L. Bridgewater

If I had to list my favorite suspense authors who I enjoy reading, Christy Barritt would fit on that list with Steven James, Terri Blackstock, Lynette Eason, Brandilyn Collins, Colleen Coble, Irene Hannon, DiAnn Mills, Janice Cantore, Kathy Herman, Dani Pettrey, and Dee Henderson are among the top ones. Anytime a new book comes out by these authors, I rush to the store and purchase it.
If you haven’t heard of any of these authors, I suggest going out and trying a book by them. Great writers! I study them and try to see how they write, so I can apply it to my personal writing.

Christy Barritt’s most popular Kindle series is called the “Squeaky Clean Mysteries,” beginning with Hazardous Duty. Currently, there are nine books in the series with a spin-off series featuring the protagonist, Gabby St. Claire’s, best friend, Sierra, appropriately titled “Sierra Files.”  Gabby is a crime scene clearner with hidden desires to actually be a crime scene investigator. Barritt, also, writes for the Love Inspired Suspense line for Harlequin where she has written eight suspense novels.

9780373446209Her latest book, Desperate Measures, came out in the beginning of September. The story features Samantha Rogers, a runaway mother, trying to escape her damaged past with her eight-year-old son Conner, and John Wagner, an ex-Coast Guard member, trying to fix up cottages on Smuggler’s Cove. One evening after Samantha was pretty roughed up by a big man in a grocery parking lot, she runs into John and tries to flee with her life and her son. Wagner offers her a place of solitude in exchange for a helping hand on his cottages.

The story thickens as someone breaks into her cabin, not once, but twice. Graffiti shines on the cabin’s wall. There are bullets flying. Chases through the woods. An abduction. To add to the drama, a hurricane or huge storm is brewing in the ocean, headed straight toward Smuggler’s Cove.

Even though the action is flying across every word of Barritt’s expertly crafted plot, the emotions explode like fireworks between Samantha and John. Both of them have been hurt and let down in the past with relationships, so they do not want to start anything new, but they are attracted to each other anyways. Even though Samantha is trying to save her and Conner’s life, she does not want anything to happen to John because she starts to allow him to creep into her heart.

Barritt’s characters are realistic and will grab you from the first page. As you ride the storm of the plot, you will become invested in the lives of Samantha, Conner, and John. As a reader, I prayed that John would protect Samantha and Conner from their past and allow Samantha to move on with no fear for her life anymore. Barritt does a good job at bringing out the flaws in her characters. They are not two-dimensional who have no emotions. Barritt explores their emotions to make the reader experience what the character feels. 

I hope you go out and buy this book or any of her books and enjoy them as much as I do.

Christy Barritt loves connecting with her fans. You can find her at:

You can purchase all her books at Amazon. Here is the link to her Author page:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

An Interview With Ronie Kendig

I'm a die hard 24 fan - I couldn't wait for the new Live Another Day series on Fox earlier this year. When it ended, however, I found myself in withdrawals. I wanted the action, the cliffhanger drama of waiting all week for the new episode, and that sense of satisfaction when the clock started ticking on a new hour. I was pretty disappointed. Until I picked up Operation Zulu.

I thought Ronie Kendig's new serialized novel concept sounded interesting. I wasn't prepared for the thrill ride that started with the first book. It was like reading a 24 episode. I found myself racing through lunch breaks, before bedtime, any time I could squeeze in a little bit of time to read. This is without doubt one of the best series I've read in a long time.
I was so excited when Ronie agreed to do an interview for Sleuths and Suspects! After you read it, head straight to Amazon and download the first installment of Operation Zulu for free. Just consider yourself warned - you won't stop with this one.

1. How did you come up with the idea for a serial novel? 

My publisher contacted my agent about having me partnering with them for a new venture—the serial novel. During a phone call with my editor, we evaluated series ideas I had to see how they’d fit within the unique framework of the serialized novel. She loved the concept for Zulu and chose that one.

2. How was writing Operation Zulu different from writing a traditional novel? 

Because of the original intent, to have one episode release every week for 3 months, the writing was much more demanding—I had to complete Zulu within three months, so it could go live. Though the publisher’s needs changed, I still had another contracted novel after Zulu due within a few months, so I had to race to the finish. I heavily plotted out Zulu, outlining each chapter with a synopsis. My overall synopsis for the whole series—which is the equivalent of two full-length novels—was about thirty-five pages long.

3. What influenced you write military fiction?

I grew up an Army brat and once my father got out, he worked as a civilian contractor, so I stayed around soldiers most of my young life. Then I married a soldier. My concept of a hero has always been defined with the military in mind, so it’s a natural segue into my fiction.

4. Who are your favorite authors? What writers have influenced you the most? 

My favorite author depends on the genre—in other words, I have a lot. For thrillers, it’s Robert Liparulo and James Rollins, along with a dose of Steven James. For fantasy, it’s Jim Rubart, Stephen Lawhead, Patrick Carr…and so on. As for writers who have influence me most, I’d have to say John Olson has had the biggest ipmact on me, but so have Jim Rubart (whom I call my “big brother”) and Tosca Lee, who have inspired and challenged me to write better, more passionately. 

5. Will we see more from the Zulu team in the future? Or another serial novel?

My publisher has not made a final decision on this, but if I were to guess—which is dangerous, I know—I’d probably say that another season isn’t going to happen. Many readers chose to wait for the whole serial to be release and some are waiting for the print version. Unfortunately, that affected sales numbers, and as a result, the “demand” wasn’t huge. At this point, I do not foresee me pursuing another serial novel. It was an incredible amount of work, and while digital sales are increasing, they are still a small percentage of print copies, and I’m a hard-copy kind of girl—gotta have that book in my hands!

Ronie Kendig is an bestselling, award-winning, author who grew up an Army brat. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she and her hunky hero husband have a full life with four children, a Maltese Menace, and a retired military working dog in Northern Virginia. She can be found at, on Facebook (, Twitter (@roniekendig), Goodreads (, and Pinterest (!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Interview With Author Amryn Cross

Interview With Author Amryn Cross

Please welcome Amryn Cross, author of the US Marshal's series of books. She has graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her debut novel, LEARNING TO DIE, and some personal questions about her as an author. 

In addition, she's giving away a copy of the ebook. All you have to do is comment, and leave your email address. You can spell it out if you prefer. For example: jane(underscore)doe(at)gmail(dot)com

Amryn Cross

Amryn Cross

Thank you so much for agreeing to join us on Sleuths and Suspects.

Where are you from?

I’ve lived in the Knoxville, TN area my entire life, and I wouldn't trade being a southern girl for anything. There’s something in the air around here, especially this time of year, that speaks to me. It’s where I learned, from an early age, to love God, SEC football, and sweet tea.

I hope to visit Tennessee someday. As a Texas girl, I understand the love of the south. Can you tell us your latest news?

I just released my debut novel, Learning to Die, from Desert Breeze Publishing. This book is near and dear to my heart because I’d never had a character speak to me quite as loudly as Kate James did in this book. It’s definitely a suspense novel, but it’s also Kate’s story, and I’m so excited to be able to share it.

Since I've had the privilege of being your critique partner, I love Kate, too. As soon as the book was released, I bought it and plan to start on it very soon. I'm so excited to read it. 
When did you first consider yourself a writer? 

This is a tough one to answer. Probably after I finished a draft of my first novel. Looking back on it now, I see all the problems with it, but it was the first thing I’d written with completely original characters that was of any substantial length. I tend to get bored with things easily, so when I disciplined myself enough to write a 100,000+ word manuscript, I knew I could do this. That’s when the hard work really began—learning the craft, researching new characters and locations, building a support community—but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I have to say, I love your writing style. Do you have a job other than writing? 

Very few people are fortunate enough to land their one dream job, while I’m blessed to have two. Writing has always been a dream for me—one I didn't take serious until the last five years—but I always planned on having a career outside of it. My day job is as a forensic scientist for a crime lab, and it really is just as cool as it sounds. Thank God he knew exactly what he was doing when he put me there.

Being a forensic scientist must help your writing, in addition to being an awesome job. Who do you credit with supporting you the most in your writing journey? 

There are so many people who've had a hand in this process that I couldn't list them all. However, my family has supported me since day one and made me laugh when I sorely needed it (when you come home from your job working criminal cases and write about murders and suspense, things can get a little dark). My mom and my sister have read everything I’ve written and provided valuable feedback and encouragement. I sat down with the two of them when I began to write Learning to Die, and we plotted out the whole thing at my parent’s kitchen table. They were tossing out ideas faster than I could write them down! And my dad, who really doesn't like to read, believed in me just as much. As far as I know, he’s never read my stories, but his support is just as precious because he believes in me anyway.

Sometimes, those non-readers can be our biggest cheerleaders. Any words of advice for novice writers? 

Keep writing. Seriously, it sounds obvious, but it really wasn't to me. I was so proud for having finished my first novel, I threw all my energy into editing, pitching, and querying that novel. Unfortunately, that didn't leave me much time for writing something new. When I gave myself permission to move on from that story, amazing things started to happen. The only way you’re going to grow and improve as a writer is to write. Learning to Die was the second novel I wrote, and the difference between it and the first is amazing. And when I read the two manuscripts I finished since then, I see even more improvement. Just know that you’re never going to be perfect, but always push to be a little better.

Great advice. The more we write, the better we become. Tell us a little bit about your debut novel. 

Learning to Die picks up with Miami criminalist Kate James who’s hiding a big secret from everyone around her, and it’s slowly killing her spirit. She’s been through something traumatic and never really dealt with it because she had no one to turn to. Instead of processing and grieving, she’s made some bad choices and has reached the point where she’s sure that even God couldn't love this person she’s become.

Back Cover Copy:
Graham Shepherd is a US Marshal who is keeping a secret or tow of his own--at least one of which involves Kate. He's on a mission to save her in every way possible, and she resents it more than a little. Not a great combination since Graham is the marshal in charge of escorting Kate back to her home town to testify in a high profile trial.

Kate and Graham have two separate missions, which don't exactly mesh. Graham just wants to her alive, but Kate will stop at nothing to get justice for her brother. They have to learn to trust each other while staying one step ahead of a man who may be closer than either of them realize.

Purchase Links:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dog Tags Giveaway (Author Heidi Glick)

Author Bio

Heidi Glick grew up in California but now calls Ohio home. Heidi taught science and edited science documents before becoming an author. She has a passion for writing books (suspense and nonfiction) from the perspective of a Christian worldview. When she's not busy discovering unique ways to wreak havoc upon the lives of her fictional characters, she spends quality time with her family. Her current project includes a co-authored devotional on infertility that is designed to bring hope and encouragement to others.

Dog Tags Blurb

When disabled ex-Marine Mark Graham reconnects with his best friend’s sister, he finds himself falling in love. But Beth Martindale’s presence is a constant reminder of events he’d rather forget. Mark wants to move forward, but the secrets surrounding her brother’s death as well as his own confinement to a wheelchair threaten to tear them apart. When a psychopath who calls himself The Knight fixates on Beth, Mark is determined to give her the protection he failed to give her brother on the battlefield, yet he discovers that a wheelchair isn’t the only impediment he has to keeping Beth safe. Will terror win or can Mark find the strength of mind and body to rescue Beth and find his own redemption?

To enter to win an autographed, paperback copy of Dog Tags:

Leave a comment for the author explaining your favorite fall activity, for example, I like to eat apple pie and ice cream!

Leave your email address (you may spell it out, for example, bobatdotcom).

The giveaway ends on September 29, 2014 and is open to U.S. residents only.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Interview and Book Giveaway With Wanda Dyson

by Jeff Reynolds

It's my pleasure to have one of my favorite authors and victims ... I mean interviewees, Wanda Dyson back for another interview. Since then she has released two new books, and we'll be giving away a copy of the winner's choice of those two titles, which Wanda will be telling you about. Like most authors, I really had to twist her arm to get her to talk about her latest projects. (And if you believe that, I'd sell you the oceanside property next door to us in Indianapolis.)

Besides her awesome suspense stories, she also has helped with an autobiography which ended up on Oprah. If you'd like to read the previous interview which includes that experience, here's the link:

Jeff Reynolds:  Welcome back to Sleuths and Suspects, Wanda. It's exciting to know you have two new books out this year, but any thing else new going on in your life you'd like to share?

Wanda Dyson: 
Well, it's been two years since I moved to North Carolina and purchased this house, and I'm STILL looking at white walls and trying to decide what color to paint. I would seriously like to get that done by the end of this year. That's the goal, anyway. In the meantime, the Lord has just been truly teaching me to rely on Him for everything. Since my husband died and writing doesn't bring in enough to pay all the bills each month, it's been a remarkable journey of watching Him provide each and every time. I'm slowly getting to the point of not stressing anymore about things. The Lord knows what I need and He's proving to me that He is the Lord that Provides, the Lord that Heals, the Lord that Saves, and the Lord that Loves.
JR:  When we bought our house, my wife picked out a color for our living room called Mr. Bluebird. Not just Bluebird, but Mr. Bluebird. But since this blog is about writing and not painting ...

Let me be a little atypical and start with the most recent release first. Hot off the press (probably an outdated expression in the era of e-books) is Retribution, the fourth installment of the Shefford Files. Could you give us a brief overview of the series and tell us about Retribution?

  Well, I guess we can still say that to some extent since I'm releasing my books for both e-book download and paperback.

The Shefford Files is about a famous crime psychic named Zoe Shefford who, in book 1, is called in on a child abduction case. She is caught between an athiest detective who doesn't believe in the supernatural and a Christian mother who does believe and won't allow Zoe on the case. In trying to defend her gifts as being from God, she begins to question everything she believes in. She convinces the cop the supernatural is very real and finds the Lord in the proecess.  Book 2 teams up Zoe and the detective, JJ Johnson once again, but now the attraction between them is something Zoe must resist since JJ still isn't a Christian. She tries to stay away from him, but when several co-ods are murdered, they have to work together in spite of their personal feelings and solve the case. Book 3 brings back FBI Agent Donnie Bevere from book 1, but now he needs their help in locating his missing wife. Together, the three bring down a rogue general and a foil a terrorist plot, and JJ finally gives his life to the Lord and asks Zoe to marry him.

And then the publisher closed the suspense division and in spite of their popularity, the Zoe and JJ books ended. Until now. I've had so many requests over the years for more of JJ and Zoe that I finally decided to bring them back.
Retribution finds JJ Johnson and the love of his life, Zoe Shefford, finally headed to the altar. Busy with wedding plans, when Zoe's instincts start raging that something bad is going to happen, she misreads it entirely, causing a fight with JJ that sends him off to Alaska to pick up a murder suspect. When the plane crashes in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness, Zoe realizes that she may have just made a deadly mistake. She teams up with FBI Special Agent Donnie Bevere to move heaven and hell to find JJ. Severely injured in the place crash, JJ realizes that between a raging blizzard, a hungry wolf, and no food, it will take a miracle to survive. But his life or death struggle to make it back to Zoe takes a deadly turn when he realizes the entire trip had been a well-planned trap and that the cop he's traveling with is a hired killer. Now, he must rely on the skills of a woman he put in handcuffs to keep him alive while praying that the woman he loves will find him in time.

JR:  That sounds very exciting. But I'm wondering if that's the first new book I need to start reading? Earlier this year saw the release of The Restoration. (Is this year sponsored by the letter R?) Would you like to tell us about this book?

WD: LOL... had I realized I'd be writing and releasing Retribution, I would released The Restoration under a different title, that's for sure. The Restoration was actually the first book I ever wrote. It was picked up for contract several times but never made it into print, so I figured why not go ahead and release it on my own. It's the story of a young woman who buys a home with the intention of fixing it up and living in it, only to discover the house has a unique history and there are some willing to kill to keep anyone from ever restoring the place. She and Max Trent, the contractor she hires, uncover a deadly plot that will force them to choose to trust God with their very lives to bring about His will, or take the easy way out. 

JR:  Wanda, while your two books starting with the same letter (first two letters, actually), I think that pales to another author (Pamela Meyers) having Love Will Find A Way and her contribution to the Love Finds You ...  series within a month or two. But I'm not interviewing Pamela this month, so let's get back to Wanda Dyson. You've written some series and some stand alone novels. Do you know when you start writing which it's going to be?

  I tend to write everything from page 1 with the idea of a it ending up as the first book in a series. Up until now, the publishers had the final say as to whether it went on to be a series or stayed a stand-alone. I've had many e-mails from fans who want more of The Prodigal Recovery Series and some who want to see more of Alexandria and Marcus (Judgment Day) but until I recover the rights from the publisher, I'm not free to write any more with those characters.

JR:  In an interview posted on this site a couple of weeks ago, author Sibella Giorello told my co-contributer Amanda Holland that art imitates life. I'll admit that watching the news can transform me into a conspiracy theorist. What are your words of advice in this world that can become a real life suspense novel at any time?

It sounds a bit cliche, but honestly, we have to trust the One who holds us in the palm of His hand and just rest in the assurance that He has and can keep us safe and sound. He can feed us in a food shortage like he did the Jews in the wildernerss, He can raise up an army of angels to fight for us like He did for Elijah. We tend sometimes, to see the world around us in one dimension and while there's a part of us that believes those Bible stories, there's a bigger part of us that stays one dimensional instead of truly trusting Him in every situation. We fret, we worry, we stockpile, we load our weapons and think about moving up into the mountains, away from it all, but He called us to bring HIM into every situation. When things turn ugly, He needs a people who will stand and say, "In the name of Jesus, I have what you need."

JR:  What's next on the agenda? You mentioned a historical suspense series last July -- any progress on that? Is there a sequel for The Restoration, or any chance for a new installment of Judgment Day (one of my favorite suspense novels ever)? And are the Shefford files officially closed?

  I've been asked to write the autobiography of a remarkable woman no one has ever heard of, but her life story will inspire thousands. Most people think that the Lord chooses extraordinary people like ministers and evangelists and missionaries to do extraordinary things, but this woman who could barely read and write because of deslexia, chose to believe at a young age that every word in the Bible was true. Over her lifetime, she raised people from the dead, led hundreds if not thousands to the Lord, and changed the life of everyone she met. She was just a simple farmer's wife but the Lord used her in powerful ways.

I haven't heard anything back from my agent about the historical series, so that's on a back burner for now. I want to see how
The Restoration sells. It's getting good reviews, so there's a strong possibility of a sequel. I did start one way back when, so I'd only have to go back and finish it up. Wouldn't take long. As for Judgment Day, I am trying to get the rights back to that so that I can do some more with Marcus and Alexandria. Keep your fingers crossed. And I don't think I'm closing the Shefford files just yet. I really do love those two and would like to see some more of them if the fans want more of them, as well. 

JR:  Thank you for your time, Wanda. Could you remind us about your websites for those who want to keep in touch with you?

  The website is for more information on any of my books, as well as updates for future releases, and they can always write me at or visit me at    And thanks for having me, Jeff. It's always a pleasure.

Jeff to reader: As I mentioned, we'll be giving away an e-book of either The Restoration or Retribution, the winner's choice. Four simple rules:

  1. Leave a comment. Obviously. We won't know you want to enter otherwise.
  2. Include your e-mail address. One entry in the previous giveaway I promoted disqualified themselves by not including their e-mail. Yes, you may get notifications, but us contributors don't have access to notify you. Of course, you can spell it out, like AuntDotKahm(at)Ant(dot)com.
  3. Which book would you prefer? 
  4. If you could write someone's autobiography, who would you want to work with and why?