Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Inspired Pen: DOWN & OUT: Desert Winds, Book One by Marcy Dyer

The Inspired Pen: DOWN & OUT: Desert Winds, Book One by Marcy Dyer:   Suspense, Romantic Suspense Going home again can be deadly. Suddenly jobless, enterprising Candace Downs returns to the parc...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Lynette Eason: No Place to Hide



By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

It's not every day you see your childhood friend and one-time crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name. But she's not the only one looking. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to save thousands of innocent lives.

My Review:

Lynette Eason is one of my favorite romantic suspense author. Every time she has another book coming out, either from Revell or Love Inspired Suspense, I purchase the book and devour the story within hours. I even met Lynette Eason once at a writing conference. Such a nice lady. So approachable. As for No Place to Hide, it fulfills my expectations for a top-notch ride of a chase with no end in sight.

As we all know, characters make or break a story. The characters of Jackie Sellers and Ian Lockwood grab my attention from the first scene where Jackie is breaking into Ian’s house. The story takes off with a car chase through town and keeps moving, tightening the noose around the character’s neck as they sink faster and faster, hoping for a resolution. Ian is an intelligent God-fearing man with a background in Tae Kwon Do, which he uses a lot to be Jackie’s knight-in-shining armor. As for Jackie, she doubts God because she believes he abandoned her. While there is not mention of any change for Ian, Jackie finally rests her trust in God. The discussion of God felt natural and not preachy. Just like the popular saying, “there are no atheists in a foxhole.” Jackie relies on God when she is in trouble and finally sees God’s hand in her life. The characters brought depth to such a spine-tingling problem.

Eason’s writing proves why she is still a best-selling suspense writer. She uses the correct amount of prose and dialogue to show the backstory and allows the readers to follow the flow of the high conflict moments without getting lost. The dialogue matches the personality of Ian and Jackie, allowing me to feel like I am sitting in the car or hotel room, running for my life. The unique setting of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade feels realistic and important to accomplishing the terrorist act on American soil. It is creative and well-researched. This story could be labeled a thriller because of the terrorism element, but I still enjoyed it.

A good story must have tension, and a romantic suspense must have two types of tension. Romance and external conflict. The conflict threatening Jackie and Ian’s life is a number of external events that allows Jackie to find solace in God. The story jumps right into a conflicting moment, propelling the rest of the story into action. The tension moves at a great pace just like I want a romantic suspense to do. It is a page-turner, and I could not put the book down. On the other hand, the romantic tension is not really the forefront of the story’s dilemma, which is how I like romantic suspense. As a reader, I knew Ian and Jackie had a past, and it is hinted at a couple of times, but it did not distract Ian and Jackie from running for their lives and using their vast knowledge to save themselves and others. Conflict, either romantic, internal, or external, is essential to any good story. 

As always, Eason’s No Place To Hide concludes another great series. This story is for any age. I would allow my ten-year-old niece to read this book. Nothing is really inappropriate or scary for her to imagine. I would recommend everything Eason writes to anyone who enjoys mysteries, thrillers, suspense, or romantic suspense. This book proves why she is at the top of her game.

Always thrilling, romantic suspense author Lynette Eason finished her Hidden Identity trilogy with a harrowing defeat against terrorism while sparking a renewed interest in first love and reminding the reader to lean on God through the difficulties life throws at us.

I received a complimentary copy of No Place to Hide from Revell Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own.

This post first appeared on The Christian Manifesto where I am the Assistant Editor and a Featured Reviewer.

Lynette Eason’s Writing Bio:

Lynette Eason is the best selling, award winning author of the Women of Justice Series, the Deadly Reunions series and the soon to be released Hidden Identity Series. She writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. She has won several awards including the 2013 Carol Award for WHEN A HEART STOPS in the Romantic Suspense category. Lynette teaches at writing conferences all over the country. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA).

Where to connect with Lynette Eason:
Lynette Eason
From Eason's Website "About Lynette" Section

Where to purchase No Place to Hide:
At your favorite local bookstore

What is your favorite part of Lynette Eason’s writing?

Monday, May 4, 2015

An Interview with Kelli Hughett


I'm excited to interview Kelli Hughett today about her debut novel, Red Zone. Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects, Kelli! What inspired you to start writing? 

People have been telling me to write fiction all my life.  I think that I finally thought about it seriously when I was the mom of three small children and needed an escape. I needed an outlet for my creative ideas that would still allow me to spend time staying home with my kids. Why not write a novel?

Tell us about your first book. 

Red Zone is my first romantic suspense novel. I like to say, “It’s romantic suspense with a side of football.” It’s got something for every reader: Medical suspense, murder, spicy romance, high-stakes gambling, and a twisting plot that will keep you up at night.
I write suspense and romance that won’t offend your soul.

What is the best part about writing and publishing your first book? 

The best part for me is the writing. I love it. It’s my biggest stress reliever. I can sit down to write and not move for five hours. I don’t even know what time it is when I’m really into a novel plot.

Publishing has been a dream come true. The day I signed the contract with Lighthouse was a very exciting day. Seeing the cover and finally getting that hard copy in the mail are all things I’ll remember all my life!

What was the worst or hardest part? 

The hardest part by far is marketing. I’m not writing as much as I would like to be and that’s not good for my overall attitude! (ask my family!) I spend a lot of time writing blog, Facebook, and Twitter posts.

Building a platform is hard!

I have learned a lot because my publisher is amazing at helping authors learn the ropes. They provide more support than most houses and I’m blessed to have Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas as a partner.
I know books don’t market themselves, but I sure wish they did!

What’s coming up next for you? 

Besides more marketing? (pooh) I’m working on a regency suspense set in England, another NFL suspense, and a suspense featuring an amputee who owns a hunting lodge.


Check out Red Zone on Amazon.com or Barnesandnoble.com
Twitter: @KelliHughett

Sunday, April 26, 2015

WarZone by Amryn Cross



By Marcy G. Dyer


Back Cover Copy

Cade Blackwell never came home from the war, at least not the same version of himself everyone remembers. He'd like nothing more than to be that man again...to be normal, but with physical and mental scars, it may not be possible. At least he thinks he wants normalcy until he meets Alexandria Holst--cold, blunt, and an absolutely brilliant detective. What begins as nothing but a chance meeting soon rips him from civilian life and thrusts both of them into a murder investigation that has the police baffled and Alex thrilled at the prospect of the puzzle. He shouldn't tempt death, not after nearly dying in Afghanistan, but he's never felt more alive than when he's running through the streets of Washington D.C. Sometimes toward danger, sometimes away from it, but always with her--a woman who both intrigues and frightens him. The shadows they chase may be nothing compared to the darkness in her head. Cade knows one thing for certain. If he's a soldier, Alex Holst is definitely a warzone.

My Review:

Cade Blackwell is trying to adjust to "normal" life outside of the war when he meets Alex Holst. The quirky woman is far from normal and she throws his life into turmoil. A turmoil he loves and fears. Together they race to solve a murder that has stumped the police department. 

While there is no romantic thread between Cade and Alex, they do have a respect for each other. 

The spiritual thread is faintly interwoven in the story, and I suspect it will increase in intensity in future Alex Holst books. It will fun to see how these characters develop over time.

Cade's character was very likable. I've known men like him. Trying to adjust to civilian life, but not quite knowing how. He's structured and honorable, but doesn't know what to do with himself. When he meets Alex, her quirky, blunt style draws him in even though he's not quite sure about her.

Alex's character is a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. She's engaging and intriguing in spite of her bluntness and lack of social skills. Alex's brilliant mind enjoys the puzzle of figuring out the solution to whatever crime she's solving.

The plot kept me turning page after page, and I would recommend this story to anyone who's a fan of suspense novels. Especially ones with unique, fun characters.

Author Bio:


A tomboy with southern belle roots, Amryn Cross was born and raised in Tennessee where she learned the importance of God, family, Southern hospitality, and football. She’s loved the written word from the time she was a child, convinced the squiggly lines on top of the Hostess cupcake really spelled out a secret message.

From an early age, she loved to write stories of heroines who entered a man’s world and excelled. Though she put writing on hold to pursue her love of science, the stories and characters she created were never far from her mind.

After obtaining degrees in biology, medical technology, and forensic DNA and serology, Amryn finally decided to attempt to marry her love of science and writing into something that would glorify God. Thus, her first completed novel, Breathing to Death– an inspirational romantic suspense–was born.

Working full-time as a forensic scientist, Amryn makes time for writing between spending time with friends and family and working in her church. She is also an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and My Book Therapy (MBT) and answers writers’ forensic questions at Jordyn Redwood’s Medical Edge blog.

Find Amryn at:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Interview with Nancy Jill Thames




Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.
Nancy Jill:  My dad was in the Air Force so we traveled and moved around a lot. I lived in places like Casablanca, Morocco, Valdosta, GA and Las Vegas, Nevada, which gave me a sense of adventure. I'm just an average housewife who loves to entertain, or used to. When the kids started to leave the nest, I decided to finish a book I'd started writing years ago, "Murder in Half Moon Bay" and do a series - just for kicks. I needed a creative outlet. I have a degree in music and love playing classical piano but one can't play piano all day! My faith in God has led me all my life and He's been so faithful. Traveling with my husband on his business trips gives me the ideas to base my books on.

Debbie: Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on.
Nancy Jill: Book 1 "Murder in Half Moon Bay" was written as a personal challenge to prove I could write a story like Agatha Christy or Donald Bain ("Murder She Wrote"). Once I saw I could actually do it I decided to write seven more stories centering around Jillian the feisty garden columnist, her clue sniffing Yorkie, and garden club friends. Now I'm on book 10! The books are stand alone, but I like readers to start with Book 1 to see how Jillian began her sleuthing career.

Debbie: Why did you choose this particular genre?
Nancy Jill: Romance bores me, I don't care much for fantasy, dystopian, or Sce-Fi and I love the ability to include fine art, afternoon tea and pet capers in my stories.

Debbie: What was your journey to publication like?
Nancy Jill: I blogged the first 12 chapters of "Murder in Half Moon Bay" as a lark, generated some interest with a Bay Area rag and decided to self-publish through CreateSpace. I stumbled upon Kindle eBooks and published there, made a ton of errors, got  bad reviews for writing about my faith without a disclaimer, which I immediately remedied, and started to sell books. Every article, post, or blog relating to becoming a successful author I devoured. But the best thing I did was to join writing groups in my area.

Debbie: What are a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
Nancy Jill: Loved "Snow Falling on Cedars," "The Poisonwood Bible," and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy. I'll read best sellers if they aren't too raunchy. I just finished a memoir by Jemima Pett called "White Water Landings."

Debbie: What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside?
Nancy Jill: Book 10 "Murder at the Empress Hotel" is set in the beautiful city of Victoria on Vancouver Island, where a bitter legal and political conflict over fishing rights and the love of one woman turns deadly with the murder of a young attorney. The mystery draws Jillian and Teddy into yet another adventure.

Debbie: What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Nancy Jill: Write a good book. Get lots of feedback. Write a few more books. Hire an awesome editor, proofer, and cover artist.

Debbie: Do you have any books or websites that helped you wit
h your writing that you could share with us?
Nancy Jill: I only read one book on writing "How to write a D... Good Mystery" by James Frey. I checked it out of the library after writing 12 chapters!

Debbie: Is there anything you'd like to tell us we haven't covered?
Nancy Jill: I like what J K Rowling said about writing - "I write what I like to read." It's a good reminder.

Debbie: Please let us know where we can find you on the web.
Nancy Jill: I'd love to: ...enter the world of Jillian Bradley and her Yorkie companion Teddy, where afternoon tea is served and murderers are brought to justice. Amazon Author Central: http://ow.ly/3xKFLw  Books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and Kobo.



 
 
by Deborah Malone
 
Deborah Malone's first novel Death in Dahlonega, finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer's category Five writing contest! Deborah was also nominated for 2011 and 2012 Georgia Author of the Year in Novel category. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, for the historic magazine "Georgia Backroads" since 2001. She has had many articles and photographs published, and her writing is featured in "Tales of the Rails," edited by Olin Jackson, as well as the "Christian Communicator." She is a member of the Georgia Writer's Association, Advanced Writers and Speaker's Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Persephone's Fugitive



Prepare to embark on a fast-paced adventure with Sara and Keegan in Persephone’s Fugitive, the second book in Dianna Benson’s Cayman Islands Trilogy. Once again, Benson has crafted a twist-filled story guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats. I highly recommend this book. 





Persephone’s Fugitive
Book Two
Cayman Islands Trilogy
By
 Dianna T. Benson

*** SPOILER ALERT *** Reading Persephone’s Fugitive (including the book blurb) before The Hidden Son (Book One in the Cayman Islands Trilogy) will ruin the ending of The Hidden Son. However, both books are standalones. 

When a routine 911 call turns deadly, Paramedic Sara Dyer finds herself held at gunpoint by Jason Keegan, an injured psych-ward patient charged with murder. The situation spirals out of Sara’s control when the confrontation becomes a tense standoff between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

As Keegan’s hostage, Sara fights to save them both before he blows them up. She realizes his warning to the Cayman police is no empty threat since he’d rather die than spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. Sara soon discovers Keegan is just as determined to survive as she is - provided he can escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever. As she struggles to trust in God’s protection, help from an atheist turns her struggle into a lure away from her faith.





Sunday, April 5, 2015

Interview with Dianna Benson

Recently, I interviewed Dianna T. Benson. 




Dianna T. Benson is the award-winning and international bestselling author of The Hidden Son and Final Trimester. Persephone’s Fugitive is her third release. An EMT and a HazMat and FEMA Operative since 2005, Dianna authentically implements her medical and rescue experience and knowledge into all her suspense novels. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children. www.diannatbenson.com

What made you want to become a writer?

I was in fifth grade the day President Reagan was shot. From that real event that day, I developed all sorts of fictional scenes and dialogue, something I did on a continual basis daily. When I asked friends and teachers what scenes and stories they created because of the attempted assassination, none of them had a clue what I was talking about. At that moment, I realized I was the only person I knew who did this sort of thing every day.

As time passed I recognized my zeal to write suspense novels, and like my respiratory system inhales and exhales, each day throughout the day my mind instinctively creates scenes and dialogue, always suspenseful in nature. Being an EMT, being a mom, and being blessed with this writer brain, the stories never stop flowing. Developing a good story, however, is where the real writing occurs. Fortunately, I love the arduous revision process, as it is where I take my shell of a story and make it worth reading (hopefully).

Tell me about your latest release.

Persephone’s Fugitive, Book Two in the Cayman Islands Trilogy 

When a routine 911 call turns deadly, Paramedic Sara Dyer finds herself held at gunpoint by Jason Keegan, an injured psych-ward patient charged with murder. The situation spirals out of Sara’s control when the confrontation becomes a tense standoff between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

As Keegan’s hostage, Sara fights to save them both before he blows them up. She realizes his warning to the Cayman police is no empty threat since he’d rather die than spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. Sara soon discovers Keegan is just as determined to survive as she is - provided he can escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever. As she struggles to trust in God’s protection, help from an atheist turns her struggle into a lure away from her faith. 

Your latest release is based on a true story. How can fans find out more about the true story on which the novel is based?

With HIPPA and other privacy laws, I’m unable to reveal the true story about that day during one of my EMS shifts. But I can share that on one of our calls that day, my partner and I were treating and transporting a handcuffed and injured psych-ward patient to the ED (Emergency Department), and per protocol, a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) was escorting him. I can thankfully report that no one was injured and the situation ended well and quickly—not the makings for good fiction; however, my writer brain visualized the possibilities in that situation and took off writing a fictional story, thus Persephone’s Fugitive was born.      

How many books have you written?

The Hidden Son (released 2013) is my fifth completed book—I signed with my first agent in 2007 with this book. Final Trimester (released 2014) is my sixth. Persephone’s Fugitive is my seventh. I’m currently writing my next book. Someday I may revise at least one of my first four completed books. I also started writing an Amish suspense trilogy and a western suspense trilogy, but neither the Amish nor western genres fit my writing voice.     

How can fans connect with you?

All my books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, etc. (anywhere books are sold).
I’m on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – all the links are on my website.
If interested in viewing the book trailer to Persephone’s Fugitive:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vyn2vxPh8zE


Thank you for featuring my newest release, Persephone’s Fugitive. I enjoyed my time here on Sleuths and Suspects.  





Persephone’s Fugitive
Book Two
Cayman Islands Trilogy
By
 Dianna T. Benson

*** SPOILER ALERT *** Reading Persephone’s Fugitive (including the book blurb) before The Hidden Son (Book One in the Cayman Islands Trilogy) will ruin the ending of The Hidden Son. However, both books are standalones. 

When a routine 911 call turns deadly, Paramedic Sara Dyer finds herself held at gunpoint by Jason Keegan, an injured psych-ward patient charged with murder. The situation spirals out of Sara’s control when the confrontation becomes a tense standoff between Keegan and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.
As Keegan’s hostage, Sara fights to save them both before he blows them up. She realizes his warning to the Cayman police is no empty threat since he’d rather die than spend the rest of his life in a prison cell. Sara soon discovers Keegan is just as determined to survive as she is - provided he can escape Grand Cayman and disappear forever. As she struggles to trust in God’s protection, help from an atheist turns her struggle into a lure away from her faith.

Hyperlinks for Persephone’s Fugitive









Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kelli Hughett: Red Zone



By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

There's nothing random about this murder.

When Marcy Farris comes face to face with a murder victim at a high school football game, she's plunged into a game no one wants to play. Despite police conclusions, she knows it wasn't a random murder. Could she be the next victim? To defeat her opponent, she'll have to tackle painful memories of her husband's suicide. He may have made one too many enemies before he died.

Struck down by an injury in his prime, former NFL linebacker, Jack Briggs, wonders if there's life after football. The game changes when he meets Marcy. She's his heart's number-one draft pick. Now, Jack's got to prove to Marcy they're on the same team.

There is no overtime in the game of murder. Marcy and Jack must discover the madman behind the murder before the killer has a chance to score the game-winning drive, and exact his revenge on Marcy.

My Review:

When there came a chance to receive a free book from a fellow writer on Amazon for my Kindle, I jumped on the chance and downloaded it. Many of my writers’ friends have been gushing about this book, so I could not wait to try it out for myself.

The characters of Marcy Farris and Jack Briggs tell the story of the murder and the trouble behind the injuries to the football players.Marcy Farris knew her husband, Peter, checked out of the marriage a long time ago, then she falls head over heels emotionally with Jack Briggs, the former football player, within minutes of meeting him for the first time. I was glad Hughett took a step back and allowed Marcy to realize where she has allowed her heart to go when Jack mentioned he won’t surrendered to God. It was Marcy’s redeeming quality. In a similar vein, Jack liked Marcy kids, but there was nothing to gush about. He hung out with Marcy’s kids all the time and made a difference in Marcy’s son. Jack was the character who changed the most, spiritually, throughout the entire novel.


 The romance and the suspense drew the readers into this widely popular genre. The romance part of this story was too rushed for my taste. Every time Marcy and Jack were together, they were kissing, and their internal dialogue showing their emotions was on full alert. They were acting like teenagers who just discovered their hormones for the first time. As for the suspense, the story had many twists and turns, but as a reader of the romantic suspense, mysteries, and suspense genre, I pay close attention to the behavior of the characters, so I figured out whom the bad guy was about thirty-five percent into the story. As for the story’s pace, it does open with the bad guy’s point of view and starts off at a nice clip, intermingling the romance, the mystery, and football. The middle of the story dragged especially all the events around Christmas. It felt too slow for me. Personally, I wish the suspense was more in-depth while the romance was sprinkled in the story.

The writing was good. Hughett stayed in the each individual point of view, not head hopping around the plot. We understand the explosive emotions from Marcy and Jack along with their struggles and hurts. There was an even amount of prose and dialogue with grammatically sound sentences. The settings were detailed enough that the reader could imagine there were in a car, a hotel room, or a stadium.

Overall, Kelli Hughett’s, Red Zone, invites the readers into a romance story with a suspense aspect, moving the football plot along. It was a sizzling romance with just enough suspense to satisfy suspense lovers.

Kelli Hughett’s Bio:

A good morning at my modern Colorado farmhouse begins with a cup of flavored coffee and a few minutes with my husband. Since our house overlooks a pond, we sit outside and watch nature's effect on the water and chat before we both dive in to our busy day. He's a minister and I spend my time home schooling our three kids and helping him with Church work.

That said, I don't spend my days writing, but I squeeze it in where I can. From my office window, I see barns, the Rocky Mountains, yards of farm fence and wide swathes of green grass surrounded by trees that are just starting to turn this fall. You'd imagine me writing Amish or Prairie Romance, right?!

Many people who know me well have asked me why I chose to write suspense. It is a little out-of-character for me, I suppose. I collect tea cups, read Austen and classics regularly, wear frilly dresses and dote on agricultural landscapes. My favorite book is Anne of Green Gables. So, why suspense?

I guess it taps an unseen part of my personality. What's more exciting than a murder mystery? Suspense is the spice of life, even if we aren't standing over dead bodies all day. It enhances marriages, gives authority to news and announcements, and makes our hearts beat fast. No book, no matter the genre, would be interesting without a little suspense!

And what story is complete without romance?

I hope you'll find my books entertaining without offending your soul. I hope you'll discover the magic of ordinary days and characters in extraordinary circumstances. Maybe you'll find yourself in one of my books. I know you'll find little pieces of me.

Kelli Hughett
Taken from Kelli's Amazon Author Page
Where to connect with Kelli:
Author’s Personal Website:  http://www.kellihughett.com/

Where to purchase her books:
Amazon
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

What is your favorite aspect of a romantic suspense that deals with a sport? Do you feel disconnected if you do not know anything about that sport?