Sunday, August 23, 2015

Interview with Hope Callaghan

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Deb: Tell us a little about yourself.
Hope:  I was born and raised in a small town in West Michigan. I lived there until early 2003 when I finally grew weary of the long, dreary winters. A job transfer to Central Florida came up and I was the first in line to apply for the job and leave the Mitten State.

I still live in Central Florida with my husband, my daughter, step-son and step-daughter. (All of the kids are currently in college!) When I'm not writing books, I love to read books, travel and take day trips to the beach.

Deb:  Tell us about your most recent book.
Hope:  I recently started a new cozy mystery series, Cruise Ship Cozy Mysteries and just published book number two, Port Side Peril.

Deb:  Whey did you choose this particular genre?
Hope:  I love the mystery genre, especially cozy mysteries! The setting for my most popular series, the Garden Girls, is in a small town, quite like the one I grew up in so I write about my own personal experiences, although all of the characters in my book are purely fictitious.

Deb:  What was your journey to publication like?
Hope:  I started writing non-fiction (travel books) and published my first book in 2013. I wrote several more and then switched to fiction in 2014, and haven't looked back since.

Deb:  What are a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
Hope:  One of my favorite authors is Cynthia Hickey. She cracks me up. Jogging is Bad for Your Health, is next on my list. I also like to read Amanda Tru's time travel series. The idea of time travel is fascinating.

Deb:  What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside?
Hope:  I'm working on book number seven in the Garden Girls Series, which should be published the first week in August.

Deb:  What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Hope:  Write fiction.  I waited two years to publish my first fiction piece and I regret not starting sooner. Start with a short story to "get your feet wet." Write in a series. Readers love to get to know the characters and if they care about the characters, they will want to read your books.

Deb:  Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?
Hope:  I highly recommend Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain. Although published in the early 80's this book has so much good information inside, it is worth the read. Some of the topics are a bit out dated but for the most part, it contains nuggets of pure gold for the writer.

Deb: Please let us know where we can find you on the web.

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Image result for deborah MaloneDeborah Malone has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, since 2001, for the historical magazine "Georgia Backroads." Her writing is featured in "Tales of the Rails" edited by Olin Jackson. She is a member of Georgia Writers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lillian Duncan: Deadly Communication

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

Improving communication skills is never easy. In this case, it could be murder!

Maven Morris is a speech-language pathologist on medical leave–or as she likes to put it: out to pasture. When she’s offered a lucrative position by one of the community’s most powerful men to help his traumatic-brain-injured daughter improve her communication skills, Maven discovers deadly secrets behind the iron gates of the mansion.

Now, she must find the courage to seek justice no matter who gets hurt–even if it’s her.

My Review:

I, personally, had never read anything by Lillian Duncan before, but when Pelican group offered all their e-books for free during Lent, I jumped on the chance and downloaded twenty books for free. I downloaded all of the books by Lillian Duncan because there covers drew me in. I was excited to jump into these suspense books.

The main character in Deadly Communications is Maven, an elder lady who is on medical leave from being a speech pathologist from the local school. While it is very common to make the lead heroine or hero in a mystery book young, Duncan goes against the norm and makes Maven more mature. I enjoyed that aspect of her character because she has more life experience, and right away, I trusted what Maven would say or do.

As for the faith in the book, Duncan does a good job at allowing Maven to wrestle with the idea of God. Duncan does not jump right in with the mature Maven, fully trusting God with her life. She has doubts and isn’t afraid to share those struggles with her friends. The tone isn’t preachy. It allowed me to question and empathizes with Maven. I believe all believers have been down the same track some time in their lives.

While all the conflict occurs in Ella’s head, I still wondered if the incident in the first chapter would make an appearance in the story. Did someone threaten Ella if she told what she saw? It kept me wondering, tugging me along for the entire book.

Duncan was a Speech Pathologist herself, so she used her area of experience to create a character in Maven. From the research and the skills Maven tried to get Ella to talk, it rang true with the character. Duncan introduced me to the inner workings of a speech pathologist without too much jargon. I followed along and wasn’t confused by the plot line. 

Overall, I will be trying more of Lillian Duncan's books as I find time to read them. 

Lillian Duncan
From Duncan's Amazon's Author Page
Lillian Duncan’s Writing Bio:

Lillian Duncan lives in Ohio with her husband, four parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that she's thinking about renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and....

Her website ( her books as Stories of Faith mingled with...murder and mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read--suspense with a touch of romance. Depending on her mood, some books have more romance than others.

She's been a Speech Pathologist for over thirty years. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God's Word.

Where to connect with Lillian Duncan:

Where to purchase Deadly Communication:

What is your opinion on a suspense novella?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

An Eye for an Eye by Irene Hannon

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I'm always on the look out for a new author to read. Because I write Cozy Mysteries that is what I tend to read. I'm so glad that a friend told me about Irene Hannon who writes Romantic Suspense. I started with "An Eye for an Eye" which is the second book in the Heroes of Quantico Series.

The main character, Mark Sanders, runs into former girlfriend, Emily Lawson. Literally minutes after the reunion Emily is shot. The questions is was she the target or FBI agent Mark Sanders? Either way Mark isn't about to leave Emily's side until the shooter is found. Keeping a close watch on Emily has stirred feelings he was unaware he still harbored for Emily.

You must read the book to find out if Mark can keep Emily safe and if they can rekindle a relationship that has been dormant for years. "An Eye for an Eye" will literally keep you turning the pages to find the answers. The first book in the series is "Against All Odds," starring Evan Cooper and the third book in the series, "In Harms Way," focusing on Mitch Bradley.  by Deborah Malone

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Back Cover: After an accidental shooting during a tense standoff, FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Nick Sanders is sent to St. Louis to work as a field agent and get his bearings while the bad press settles. Just weeks away from returning to Quantico, Mark has a chance encounter with his first love Emily Lawson. But their reunion is cut short by a sniper. Now Mark must find the shooter before he strikes again. But what is his motive - and who was the intended target? Can Mark put the pieces together, keep Emily safe and rekindle a relationship at the same time?
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Irene Hannon is the author of more than thirty novels, including the bestselling "Against All Odds." Her books have been honored with the coveted RITA Award from Romance Writers of America, the HOLT Medallion, and the Reviewer's Choice Award from Romantic Times Bookreviews Magazine. Irene and her husband make their home in Missouri. You can learn more about Irene at her website 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Janice Cantore: Drawing Fire

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

One case from her past defines homicide detective Abby Hart.

With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, Abby’s best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide. When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she’s anxious to talk to him about a cold case that’s personal to her—one Luke is interested in as well.

As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents’ lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible. The more they uncover, though, the more questions they have. Can Abby find peace without having all the answers?

My Review:

I have become a fan of Janice Cantore’s police procedural romantic suspense when I read Accused, the first book in her Pacific Coast Justice Series. I love how Janice Cantore uses her knowledge from working on the police force to create a realistic look into all the drama and struggles that occur for the men and women who serve our local communities. Drawing Fire gives readers a ride along for the hunt to bring justice to a cold case.

True to a romantic suspense, the story needs to start with an inciting incident and try to solve that mystery, which propels the story forward. The conflict starts in the first chapter, allowing Abby Hart and Luke Murphy’s world to collide as Abby is called to a home of a dead elder lady. The officers call this a case of the serial killer they nickname granny murder. Most romantic suspense stories wrap themselves in trying to solve the initial problem, but Cantore solves this murder pretty quickly and does not return, leaving the one suspect to take the fall for the murder without question.

The incident that drives Abby and Luke is the cold case of the Triple Seven murders. Abby is blinded by drive to seek justice and revenge for her parents’ death. Similarly, Luke is determined to hunt for a young runaway named Nadine who ran away from home because she is pregnant. As much as the inciting incident being solved so quickly bothered me, Cantore allows Nadine to get beaten up, but there is no mention of what happens to her pregnancy. Along the same lines, the first sixty percent of the story is back-story and catching the reader up on all the research that Luke and Abby have personally done on the Triple Seven Murders. It was slow going. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen, but it didn’t. Once Luke went on a run and got shot at, the story started to take off and moved like a suspense book, but it was about sixty-five percent in.

Cantore created Luke and Abby to be practically equal foils. While Luke is a private investigator, Abby Hart is a homicide investigator. Both of them have lost significant people in their early life. Both of them have had mentors who helped them settle in their final career choices. Cantore does a good job at showing the readers how Abby and Luke think, but I feel disconnected between how Abby and Luke actually feel. Cantore tells us how they feel, not show the readers. One of the favorite aspects of the book was the laid back romance. Abby is engaged to someone else, but she wonders about Luke. Luke can’t stop thinking about Abby. It was nice to see the guy falling for Abby, which breaks tradition because most books have the girl falling in love first. Even with the difficulties of the plot, I still like the characters of Abby and Luke.

Writing is what can make or break a story.  As for the dialogue, Cantore does allow words to flow naturally and reflect the attitude of Abby and Luke. The story world of Long Beach, California, is not described that well. It appears to be an afterthought for Cantore, not an important element to tie the reader to the story. Lastly, I never doubted Cantore’s expertise into the police world. Abby and the other officers treaded through this world naturally. I enjoyed this peek into the world of police work.

Drawing Fire has no questionable content that conservative readers of any age would question. The last thirty percent of the book would bring a great story to the romantic suspense genre. I just wished Cantore would weave in all the back-story while working hard to solve the cold case of her parents’ death while having complications to the serial killer and finding Nadine. Abby and Luke were never in any harm until the last third of the book. It was an original idea with using Abby as the victim and the investigator on the sly, but the story is not predictable. I had no idea who the actual bad guy was until Cantore revealed it at the last minute. If you can sludge through the first part of the book, the last part is more of Cantore’s style, which is evident in her other books. I truly enjoyed her first five books, but this one is not her usual writing style.

Overall, Janice Cantore’s Drawing Fire uses her vast knowledge in police work to bring three mysteries to the table with wounded characters on the path for justice but tells the story of leaving justice and revenge to God.

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

Janice Cantore’s Writing Bio:

Janice Cantore
Taken from Cantore's Amazon Author's Page
A retired Long Beach California police officer of 22 years (16 in uniform and 6 as a non-career officer), Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, patrol, administration, juvenile investigations and training. During the course of her career in uniform Janice found that faith was indispensable to every aspect of the job and published articles on faith at work, one for a quarterly newspaper called "Cop and Christ", and another for the monthly magazine "Today's Christian Woman".

With retirement Janice began to write longer pieces and several novels were born. Janice is excited and honored to now be a part of the Tyndale Publishing House family. Accused, the first installment in her new suspense offering, The Pacific Coast Justice Series, was released February 1, 2012 and kicked off a brand new chapter in her writing career. In addition to suspense and action, her books feature strong female leads. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep you engrossed and leave you inspired.

Where to connect with Janice:
Where to purchase Drawing Fire:
Your local Favorite bookstore

What aspect of police procedurals draw you into the story?