Tuesday, July 31, 2018

THE SUMMER OF SUSPENSE CONTEST!



HAPPY SUMMER!

Summer is for relaxing on the beach or next to the pool. Picnics, long car rides on your way to a great vacation. What can you do during those times? Why, read of course! The Suspense Sisters will give you a great group of books, including some awesome audio books. You can win Patricia Bradley's books, JUSTICE DELAYED and JUSTICE BURIED in audio! E.E. Kennedy is giving away an audio copy of her wonderful mystery, IRREGARDLESS OF MURDER! You'll also win all three of Nancy Mehl's Defenders of Justice series in audio. As you sit by the beach, you can listen to FATAL FROST, DARK DECEPTION, and BLIND BETRAYAL!

For those of you who like print books, there will be plenty of those too!


ALSO FOR YOUR SUMMER ENJOYMENT YOU CAN WIN:





$100.00 Amazon gift card for additional books! (Or whatever you want!)







A great Suspense Sisters tote bag!




 






An awesome towel for the beach or the pool!





And a personal CD player!







For your chance to win, enter below! (All images are representative of the prizes given. Actual prizes might be a little different. U.S. entries only, please.) a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Summertime and the Living is Easy....

Happy Summer, readers of Suspense Sisters!

Summer is my absolute favorite time of year. And although there are lawns to mow, gardens to weed, and extra laundry to wash, just about everyone has a shady spot to sit with a glass of lemonade and read. For me, it's my screened-in porch where I read, work, or simply watch the deer coming and going as the sun sets. When I know friends will be dropping by, I brew a batch of iced tea, mix up some lemonade and bake this luscious treat. Bake two and freeze one, so you'll be ready when neighbors arrive unannounced. Just remember to take it easy...after all, it's summer! And if you tell me about your favorite "cool" dessert, you'll be entered in a drawing for a Bath & Body Works gift & one of my books. USA only. Good luck, readers.   Mary Ellis


Fresh Lemon Sheet Cake


Cream together:

1 ½ cups white sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick)

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 

2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to creamed ingredients alternate with 1 cup milk.  Next add in the juice of ½ lemon and about 2 tsp lemon zest.  (Optional:  a few drops of lemon food coloring)  Fold in 2 well beaten eggs last. 
Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees – your oven temp may vary)
For approximately 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Hint:  This cake is great with lemon sherbet for a cool summertime treat or you can frost with a lemon butter frosting…

LEMON BUTTER FROSTING:

Cream 3 tbsp room temperature butter
Blend in 2 egg yolks
Stir in 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind (zest)
2 tbsp lemon juice

Leave me a comment about your favorite summertime dessert and you'll have a chance to win a Bath & Bodywork gift set, plus one of my mysteries. US only. And you must leave your email address.

Good luck! 

Friday, June 29, 2018

THE FACE BEHIND THE VOICE--A Voice Actor Speaks to Suspense Sisters

Interviewer: E.E. Kennedy

Recently, my publisher Sheaf House and I decided to launch out into the world of audio books. The first of my Miss Prentice mysteries, Irregardless of Murder, was just recently released in Amazon Audible and I'm about to introduce you to the very talented woman who recorded the entire book: Sheila Stasack.


     EEK: Sheila, we met through ACX, Amazon’s audio book service. Have you been doing this for very long?  

   SS: I’ve been doing books through ACX for about four years.  Prior to that, I have worked in voice-over for about 30 years.
    
   EEK: What kinds of books have you recorded? What genres are your favorites? 

   SS: I’ve done a variety of books:  mysteries, romance, how-to books (e.g. Puppy Training), and several books on yoga and spirituality.  I’ve been told my voice can be very soothing, so I enjoy doing books that require a gentle approach.  Then again, who doesn’t want to be part of a fun mystery?

    EEK: Do you have your own home studio or do you record elsewhere? 
    
    SS: I have a small home studio in what used to be my front closet.  It works very well for recording, but there is no ventilation, so I have to limit my recording time in the summer or record late at night when the weather is coolest.     

     EEK:You’re a very good actress. Do you have a background in drama? 
     
    SS: I have been involved in theater or performance since I was three.  I do theater and some TV.  I have a movie, Love in Kilnerry, in post-production right now which I hope will come out by the end of the year.  I also teach acting.  Right now I’m working with children, ages four to eleven.
   
    EEK: Where are you from? Are regional accents a challenge?

    SS: I’m originally from Chicago, then lived in Boston for several years, and now I’m a New Yorker.  I’ve always had a pretty good ear for regionalisms.  Also, I had an excellent teacher in high school who helped me lose my Chicago sound.

    EEK: In my book, Irregardless of Murder, you do all kinds of foreign accents, including Scottish and French. How did you learn to do accents so well? Do you speak French, for instance? 

    SS: I studied French in high school and since that time I’ve gained a cursory knowledge of several other languages.  I think it’s polite when you travel to be able to say please, thank you, and a few other things in the language of the country you are visiting.  It helps when you are adding an accent to a piece.  Also, you only want to add a suggestion of an accent in an audio book.  If you go too far, it will be hard to understand.

    EEK: Have you ever considered writing yourself? 

    SS: Several people have asked me why I don’t write my own material.  I don’t think I have anything to say that would add to the world conversation.  I am very happy to interpret the words of others.

    EE: Is this your main career or a sideline? 

SS: Theater, voiceover, audio books and TV would be the only thing I did if I had my way.  Like any of the arts, it rarely pays all the bills. I also teach acting, and have worked a little in real estate.

    EEK: Your voice is your instrument. Can you tell us ways that you take care of it?

    SS: About twelve years ago I lost my voice. I was in Russia doing The Seagull and I caught a cold. Not enough sleep, cold weather, and the stress of traveling in a foreign country did me in. I was on vocal rest for three weeks and it scared me. A voice actor with no voice? I try to get enough sleep, eat healthfully, and not get sick!  I also try to use my voice correctly, supporting it even when I’m cheering at a baseball game.  Lots and lots of water, too.

EEK: Can you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?

SS: I think the most surprising thing about me is how normal I am.  I have three grown sons and was a soccer mom for many years.  Now, I’m loving my time in New York as a single lady.  Two of my sons live nearby, so I’m still mom.

EE: Thanks so much, Sheila. It's been a pleasure to interview you!

***
Please comment below and leave your EMAIL ADDRESS to be in the drawing for an audio copy of Irregardless of Murder, read by Sheila. I can tell you, it's very entertaining! She even had me laughing at the jokes I wrote myself and shivering at the scary parts!




Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Behind the Scenes






Patricia Bradley here, along with my computer writing partner, who doesn't have a name. Maybe that's something we'll take care of here on this post.

Anyhoo, my partner and I were talking today, and it occurred to me that the Suspense Sisters readers might like to see what goes on behind the scenes.

Computer partner: Let’s talk romance.

Me: I’d rather not. How about suspense.

Computer: What? You don’t like writing romance?

Me: No—yes. I mean, it’s easier for me to write suspense. Romance is hard!

Computer Partner (rolling its eyes—it does that a lot): Come on, it’s not that hard. You already have your hero…and your heroine. All you have to do is keep them from getting together while they’re trying to make sure the antagonist doesn’t kill them.

Me: You make it sound so easy. I’m not sure how I’m going to keep them apart when they’re on the run together.

Computer Partner: But that’s a good thing. Now your readers will wonder if the hero gets the girl? Will he be able to overcome his fear of commitment in time to win her heart? Will the heroine trust the hero, especially after he breaks her heart? Besides, you have that really cool guy who’s also trying to win her heart.

Me: Well, yeah, and lately I actually like him better than the hero.

Computer partner: You're joking, right? He’s all wrong for her. Three weeks after she chooses him, and he's outta there. He's not husband material...yet. Maybe in our next book, though...

Me: Yeah, I know, but still...

Computer partner: No, you know as well as I do she’ll make the right choice. Besides, your hero is the one who will save her from the bad guy—you know, the villain. Tell me something, what's the difference between a villain and an antagonist, anyway?

Me: Do you know what time it is? It's almost eleven, and too late to get into that tonight.

Computer Partner: I bet our readers would like to know the answer to that one.

Me: Maybe I’ll write about antagonists and villains in my next post for the Suspense Sisters, and Computer Partner, you can hop over here next month and read it.

Computer Partner: I don't have to...unless you're planning on using a different computer to write it with. That's what this is all about, isn't it? You're breaking up with me. After all I've done for you!

Me, sighing: It's been a long day. I think I'll shut you down. Good-night...

Okay. I really do think Computer Partner needs a name. Leave a comment with your suggestions, and I'll enter you in a drawing for my latest book, Justice Betrayed!


Do you have a name for your computer? Help Patricia Bradley name hers! #bookgiveaway

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Hot Inspirational Suspense




Hot New Inspirational Suspense and Mystery

This week the Suspense Sisters is featuring Deadly Undertow by Christy Barritt!



The thrilling conclusion to the Lantern Beach Mystery series is finally here!

The current’s fatal pull is powerful, but so is one detective’s will to live.

When someone from Cassidy Livingston’s past shows up on Lantern Beach and warns her of impending peril, opposing currents collide, threatening to drag her under. Running would be easy. But leaving would break her heart.

Cassidy must decipher between the truth and lies, between reality and deception. Even more importantly, she must decide whom to trust and whom to fear. Her life depends on it. As danger rises and answers surface, everything Cassidy thought she knew is tested.

In order to survive, Cassidy must take drastic measures and end the battle against the ruthless gang DH-7 once and for all. But if her final mission fails, the consequences will be as deadly as the raging undertow.

You can purchase Deadly Undertow at Amazon for $.99!

Friday, June 22, 2018

WELCOME COZY DEBUT AUTHOR, VIVIEN CHIEN, ALONG WITH A GIVEAWAY!


Today, Suspense Sisters introduces a brand, new cozy author, Vivien Chien, with book one of the Noodle Shop Mysteries, Death by Dumpling. Please leave a comment for Vivien at the end of the interview for a chance to win a signed print copy of her book. 

But first, here's a little bit about Death by Dumpling: The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that helping wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband. Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead―after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy―to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out―it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.

ME: If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?  

VC: I am a lover of words, a gal who likes to laugh and be silly, a huge fan of doughnuts, and too long-winded to answer this question properly in just one sentence.

ME: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?

VC: In my spare time, if I’m not at the bookstore buying all the books I can fit in my arms, I’m playing video games. I love any game that has an intricate storyline and a good amount of action. I’m no stranger to third-person shooters or a good RPG (role-playing game). I’ve found them to be one of the most effective ways to decompress from writing and/or regular daily life. I’ve also recently found myself wildly enthralled with decorative planning. (If you have no idea what that is, have fun spiraling down that rabbit hole.) Becoming a published author definitely requires you to become organized and anyone that knows me can tell you that is most certainly not me. Decorative planning gives me a way to keep my life together and have some fun while doing it.

ME: What was your favorite book as a teen or child?

VC: Any time anyone asks me this question, I struggle with the answer because I have so many that I consider my “favorite.” But here are my top three that often compete for first place: 
1.      Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume - This book was such an influential piece of work to me growing up. It stuck with me and I still reference it today.
2.      Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - I LOVED this book and wished so many times that Willy Wonka was a real person.
3.      Claudia and Mean Janine (The Babysitters Club) by Ann M. Martin – This was the first time as a child that I read a book featuring an Asian-American character and I remember thinking I’d struck gold when I found it.

ME: What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?

VC: The first book I ever wrote was modeled after Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. I started constructing it when I was in my teens and I had no idea what I was doing. I kept attempting to finish it, but I still had much to learn about the writing process. Later, I attempted to write a chick-lit book that fell insanely flat and I pitched it without so much as a second thought. When I discovered my love for mystery, I knew I’d found my true path. There was no turning back at that point.
(However, that original vampire story still exists in a binder and has transformed many times. It’s now a paranormal mystery and I hope one day it will grace a bookstore shelf somewhere.)

ME: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

VC: The tough criticism I’ve received so far was from someone who said the humor in my first book felt both flat and forced. I think I took this comment to heart more than any others because I pride myself on the ability to relay my snarky humor through my writing. But like any criticism, you take it and use it to your advantage in the hopes it will make your writing better in the future.

On the flip side, the best compliment I’ve received was from a few Asian-American women who thanked me for writing the Noodle Shop series and creating an ethnic character they could relate to in the mystery genre. There are only a few us who have stories featuring Asian-American characters and I had no idea how little the number actually was. I’m proud to be one of the people to contribute to the demographic. My main goal when beginning Death by Dumpling was to write an enjoyable story with likable characters. I had no idea that Lana Lee would be someone people were searching for. That makes this series all the more special to me.

ME: Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?

VC: If I ever got the chance, I would love to write a historical. I have such an interest in two periods of history: 1920s America and any period of China’s Imperial dynasty timeline, with a specific interest in the Tang dynasty. Random, I know, but I find both of these times extremely fascinating and would love to explore them further through writing.

ME: If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?

VC: Even though I’ve been writing for several years, this is the start of my career. If I could go back, I would have started sooner. I spent a lot of time doubting my ability to write a readable book or the plausibility of becoming a published author. Putting yourself (and your creativity) out there for everyone to see is one of the hardest things to do.

ME: What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?

VC: This kind of falls in line with my answer to the question above. Believe in yourself, keep pushing. At times you may not feel like you’re good enough, but keep moving forward until you get where you want to be. I was told many times that this was not an achievable dream, but trust me when I say that is a false statement.

Here's a little about the author: Vivien Chien first started writing simple stories about adventures with her classmates when she was in elementary school. As she grew up, her love of books and the written word increased, leading to the attempt of her first novel at age 16. After many struggled beginnings and several different genres, she found her passion in the mystery world. When she’s not writing, she can be found frolicking in the bookstore or searching for her next bowl of noodles. She has a soft spot for doughnuts, a healthy love for coffee, and an extreme need to participate in random acts of crafting. She currently lives in Cleveland where she is hard at work on the next book in her Noodle Shop series and writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier.

Please leave Vivien a comment for a chance to win a copy of Death by Dumpling. Please note: You MUST leave your email address and US only.

Death by Dumpling is available on Amazon, B&N

And watch for Dim Sum of All Fears coming August 28th: 

Have a good week of reading!  Mary Ellis from 
                                  Suspense Sisters!