Friday, January 20, 2017

INTERVIEW WITH ELIZABETH GODDARD by Marji Laine

Inspiration for
Grayson "Gray" Wilde
I have so enjoyed getting to know Elizabeth Goddard over the last several years and am delighted to get to share with her about her life and her newest book, UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR!

Marji: Okay, can I just say that the guy on your cover bears a striking resemblance to Chris Hemsworth in the Thor movies? Lol! Did you have him in mind when you crafted this hero?
Elizabeth: Ha! No, I sent them the picture of someone else, a different actor. Unfortunately, I didn’t put the name on my art file so I can’t tell you who  it is. But I wanted the shaggy hair and I got it. I have always loved the landscape covers but after seeing a guy on my cover, I think I’ve changed my mind. LOL!

Marji: I'd feel the same way! How did this hero come about? Was he a minor character in another book? What has been his evolution from minor character to main character?
Elizabeth: The reader is introduced to Grayson “Gray” Wilde as minor character in the first Wilderness, Inc. book. They learn he’s a federal agent—a special agent with the FWS (Fish and Wildlife Services). Honestly, I wasn’t aware these special agents existed until I started researching. Gray made a quick appearance at the beginning of Targeted for Murder. He and his brother, Cooper Wilde, have some conflict, of course, but they’re also brothers and have each other’s back. Since he’s one of the Wilde siblings he needed his own story.

Marji: When you craft characters, do you develop a full psychological mark-up or maybe use bits and pieces of people you already know?
Elizabeth: I don’t develop a full anything when I start. It all happens as I write. In fact, I might start out with the basics of their background but then as I’m writing the story more pieces to the character’s story emerge and help me to create that dark moment near the end. I think it’s impossible to not draw from your life experiences and people you know.

Marji: Wow! I'm in awe of authors that can develop everything as they go along. I have to plan like crazy. Speaking of planning, how has Grayson Wilde avoided marriage so far? Surely women don’t avoid him, so why is he still available? And what is it about Gemma Rollins that intrigues him?
Elizabeth: He has significant trust issues after an experience with a woman he loved—so he avoids getting romantically involved. But Gemma gets under his skin because she shares a passion with Gray. She’s working to save God’s creatures from those who would abuse them. He ends up not only investigating a wildlife trafficking ring but serving as her protector and given their shared interests and proximity, how could he not fall in love?

Marji: Totally understandable. Is there a character in this story that we should look for in a coming book?
Elizabeth: False Security is book three and we are introduced to two new characters—Olivia Kendricks and Zachary Long—but we’ll also spend a lot of time with the Wilde siblings in that story. Alice Wilde gets her story in Wilderness Reunion, which is book four.

Marji: So tell more about WILDERNESS, INC? Is there a set number of books for this series, or could there be more built on when the current works in progress end?
Elizabeth: I just turned in the fourth and last book, Wilderness Reunion. Initially I had planned for six but the editors have decided to limit the number of books in a series to four now for the Love Inspired lines. Personally, I could keep writing stories set in the wilderness forever. But I’ll be moving on to a new series—just as soon as my editor approves my proposal and I hope she does!

Marji: It's so satisfying to read a series from beginning to end but sad, too. Still, how exciting to get to start something brand new and fresh! Hope to hear of your new series soon! Now about you, personally ... winter in the deep north. How does a Texas girl survive? I’m sitting here in a tee shirt and jeans with my back door open to the porch and my dog running around. The only thing slightly cold are my bare toes. I’m guessing that wouldn’t fly where you are?
Elizabeth: Not at all. In fact, we had an ice storm last night. There are three cars stuck right in front of my house on the country road. Yes, I’m a Texas girl but I really got my fill of those three months of blazing Texas sun in the summer, and I crave cold and snow. So I’d say that the Lord has answered my prayer to see snow and plenty of it! Lol!

Marji: Ha! I'll say. And do you still home school? I thought I remembered we had that in common, though I'm about to graduate my final pair.
Elizabeth: My oldest child is about to turn 25. Yes, I have home schooled my four children all these years, but they are in high school now and about to start college. I am more of a resource manager when it comes to their schooling.

Marji: Yes, I've noticed that with my own. What does your day look like and how do you balance life and writing?
Elizabeth: I think I have finally figured out how to juggle writing and life. I just pace myself. I have a calendar and I know how much I need to get done on any day. If I have time, I will do more, but I just hit my mark and then I’m good to do everything else I need to do regarding my life outside of writing.

Marji: You churned out 4 or 5 books last year, right? How in the world do you keep such a demanding pace?
Elizabeth: Yeah. I also write mysteries for Annie’s Mysteries, which is a write-for-hire publisher. I refer back to my previous answer—I pace myself. That said, there are still many times when I feel utterly overwhelmed and sometimes I start to hyperventilate. I always seem to take on too many projects, but then I just take a deep breath and put it all on the calendar. I compartmentalize and work on one thing at a time. Sometimes that means working on one project in the morning and another at night, but I try to avoid that if I can.

Marji: Okay, now you've just proved to me that you're Super-Author! What accompanies you as you write? Snacks, music, pets, drinks? How do they help or hinder?
Elizabeth: I have found as I age that silence is my best writing buddy. So writing in the mornings when the house is quietest works best for me. When my youngest son gets moving and demands my attention, then if I haven’t achieved my goal already, I might be in trouble. When the kids were young and there was much more chaos going on, I could sit in the middle of that and write—not so much anymore.

Marji: I can certainly appreciate that. I couldn't have even tried to write when my kids were little, but then the Lord knew what He was doing to delay that career in my case! Thanks so much for joining me today!

Readers, one of you can win UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR. Leave a comment with your email address (must have an email address!) and share your favorite thing about winter. One comment will be chosen at random on January 26 and that reader will be contacted for his or her choice of a Kindle or print version of the book!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Tea Time With Mystery Author Nancy Jill Thames—by Linda Kozar

Nancy Jill Thames is known as the "Queen of Afternoon Tea" with good reason. She's had tea at some wonderfully iconic places and so does the main character in her Jillian Bradley mystery series.
Enter the world of Jillian Bradley and her Yorkie companion Teddy, where afternoon tea is served and murderers are brought to justice.

Why do you write mysteries and how did you get started?

Creating a mystery is an enjoyable (for the most part) process that at the end gives others enjoyment as well. After reading most of Agatha Christie’s books, I wanted to try my hand at doing what she did. The opportunity came during a four-day stay at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay with my husband in meetings all day, and me with nothing but time on my hands.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

My wedding day. I felt on top of the world being with the man I loved. After 48 years, it still feels that way.

How has being published changed your life?

I think the only difference is now my life is in print, whereas before I simply lived.

What are you reading right now?

“The Big Four” by Agatha Christie.

What is your current work in progress?

“The Death of Amanda Corbin”

You travel extensively and incorporate locations in your mysteries. Tell us about some of the places you’ve traveled. Also, tell us about your most memorable experience.

The books include Half Moon Bay, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; Bay Area of California;
Pacific Beach near San Diego, California; London, England; Lake Placid, New York and
Victoria, British Columbia. The most memorable location was the setting for Book 9 - beautiful
Mirror Lake surrounded by the Adirondacks ablaze with fall color.

The ritual of tea is fascinating to me. What is your favorite place to have tea?

In my living room in front of the fire.

Best and worst parts of writing a mystery series?

Best part is constructing the plots. Worst part is making unforgettable characters. Readers seem
to love my heroine’s Yorkie Teddy best of all.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I enjoy playing the piano.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Distractions like a major move this last year, my husband retiring, and feathering a new nest. I’m
not settled unless my home is. Mornings are better for me to write. Since my husband and I are
together every morning, I plan to ignore my husband’s interruptions once his needs are met (a
question here, a comment there etc.) and resume writing. Is writing easier to you than marketing?
Marketing is actually easier for me because I love being on social media. Writing pulls brain
matter from my being which I consider work. Marketing involves social interaction which I find
fun.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Write because you have something to share. Be prepared to go the distance if you want to be
published. Consider self-publishing if you don’t care to wait or are bothered by rejection.

Tell us about the featured book, the one you’ll be giving away to one lucky reader! 

Murder at the Empress Hotel” takes place on Vancouver Island in the capital city of Victoria,
British Columbia. Once I had the setting, I did research on the area and found the interesting
history of the early settlers called First Nations people. I built the main characters, including the
victim, around their native culture. The story centers on the murder of a young lawyer over
fishing rights and the love of one woman. The fun part was basing the character of the priest on a
man I’d met at a friend’s home wedding.

Please write down the first paragraph of the book. 

Here is the prologue and first part of Chapter One.


PROLOGUE

   It was time to get away. Perhaps melancholy had set in due to not much excitement in my life beyond answering questions for my garden column.
   The only bright spot in my life was the little family living in the large Victorian I’d once occupied.
   After the tragic loss of my second husband, a change in my life was needed to help forget the past.
   I had reasoned Walter and Cecilia needed more room now that my godson D.J. had been born.
The perfect solution had been to give them the house, renovate the old worker’s cottage for myself, and live on the back of my property.
   The young couple had been my friends ever since that first homicide case in Half Moon Bay years ago. Since I had no children, they had become my family.
   I considered my yard again. Granted, flowers and shrubs were interesting, I suppose, but living in the Bay Area the weather rarely varied and could even be described as boring.
   Unlike other parts of the country with heavy snow and freezing temperatures, in Clover Hills, there were always gardening tasks. That’s okay for the younger generation, but as a senior working on a computer several hours a day, my back rebelled.
   I was actually ready to hire a gardener for the first time in my life! This caused a guilt trip to begin to sprout until I yanked it out of my emotional garden and settled for practicality.
   With my new yard team in place coming every other week to mow and trim, I could finally relax and travel.
   First on my bucket list was The Butchart Gardens near Victoria on Vancouver Island. This magic spot had been calling to me ever since I watched a fascinating documentary on their creation from an old quarry. Besides, I read they served lovely lunches and afternoon tea, my particular favorites.
   Hmm. I also had readers in British Columbia, as I recalled, so it might be worth a visit to help connect and boost readership. It would also be a perfect way to justify the cost of the trip. What’s not to like?
   A call one afternoon with an invitation from dear friends in Arizona that I’d helped in another homicide case cinched my plans.
   Before long, I was packed and ready to go with my beloved companion, Teddy, a four and a half pound Yorkshire terrier with a nose for adventure.

CHAPTER ONE
   My little Yorkie shivered as I held him close. Teddy had never been on the open water before. A few gentle strokes calmed him as our Black Ball ferry continued from Port Angeles to our destination, beautiful Vancouver Island.    
   This brave dog could survive the uncertainty. He’d been in far more stressful situations, notably the time we were separated in London a few years ago.
   The memory made me shudder. A few wrinkles were added to my face that day. It didn’t matter. As long as I maintained my ideal weight on my small frame, and friends continued to comment on not looking my 67 old years, I was content.

~*~

WANT TO WIN A FREE PRINT COPY OF
MURDER AT THE EMPRESS HOTEL?
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW.


How can readers find you on the Internet? The books are available on: Amazon * Barnes & Noble Online *Kobo *Smashwords

Readers can visit my website nancyjillthames.com to learn about my books and read the first story I ever wrote called “The Sacrifice.” There are also Queen of Afternoon Tea Celebrity Author Interviews which include joining us for tea and snacks. Recipes included! Other sites to follow include my Amazon Author Page, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads and Facebook. And for other Christian mystery authors be sure and check out cozymysterymagazine.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Hot New Inspy Suspense!



A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret. A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption. A corporate executive with nothing left to lose…

When a day trip out of Las Vegas with his wife takes a turn for the worse, Jack is sure that he has the ability to get them home. But he drove into something far beyond reason.Rescue comes in the form of a desert hermit, but hope fades as the couple comes to realize that the nomad has no intention of letting them leave. A chance encounter with a kidnapped runaway and her crazed abductor leads them all farther into the wilderness — and closer to the cold brutality that isolation brings.

At the edge of his sanity, Jack begins to learn that playing by another’s rules may be the only way to survive.

Monday, January 16, 2017

THIS WEEK ON THE SUSPENSE SISTERS!




We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways!

THIS WEEK:

Suspense Sister Marji Laine has another terrific review on our book page. Brittany McEuen reviews A SPY’S DEVOTION by Melanie Dickerson. Brittany says: “A Spy’s Devotion was a delightful novel! I really enjoy the Regency setting and love finding good, clean books placed in this time period. Add in the fact that this story had a suspenseful thread running through it and also was a Christian fiction novel - well all of these things made me a very happy reader.” You can read the rest of her review HERE.



On Tuesday, Suspense Sister Dana
Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.

 






Wednesday Suspense Sister Linda Kozar interviews author Nancy Jill Thames! She’s giving away a copy of her book,MURDER AT THE EMPRESS MOTEL!
 


A bitter legal and political conflict over fishing rights and the love of one woman turns deadly with the murder of a young attorney, drawing Jillian and Teddy into yet another exciting adventure.
 










Friday, we’re visiting with Suspense Sister Elizabeth Goddard! You could win a copy of her book, UNDERCOVER PROTECTOR!

Undercover at a tiger sanctuary, Special Agent Grayson Wilde’s convinced the owner must be involved in a wildlife trafficking ring—until someone tries to kill her. Now with Gemma Rollins’s life on the line, it’s clear that more than the wildcats need his help. Gemma’s determined to rebuild the tiger oasis she lost when her family died. But someone wants her out of the way, and she’s starting to wonder if her parents’ and uncle’s deaths were really accidental. Grayson says he’ll do anything to protect Gemma, but she can’t shake the feeling that her alluring new volunteer might not be all that he seems. With a vicious criminal closing in, though, she has to trust Grayson…because she won’t survive without him. 


That’s what’s happening this week on the Suspense Sisters. Don’t miss a single day. Sign up through email so you’ll get updates in the exciting world of inspirational suspense and mystery!


The Suspense Sisters! We love books!

Friday, January 13, 2017

RONIE KENIG: RAPID-FIRE FICTION


 




RONIE KENDIG: RAPID-FIRE FICTION

Interviewer: E.E. Kennedy
 
Ronie Kendig’s overarching slogan, “Rapid-Fire Fiction,” exactly captures the essence of her very impressive list of published books. Let’s learn more about this busy, home-schooling mother of four.

 
SS: Ronie, I just finished reading Dead Reckoning. Whew, what an exciting ride! You write in a much different genre from mine (cozy mystery) and I find the difference fascinating. What genre(s) have you chosen to write in, in your prolific career?

RK: I’m so glad you enjoyed Dead Reckoning! It was my debut release, which I've recently updated and re-released with over 14k new words! Predominantly (13 of 15 novels), I write in suspense/thriller, but I've also unleashed my passion recently for speculative fiction.

SS: You say in your short bio that you created characters as friends to keep you company when you were young. Did you write stories then, too? Can you tell us about them? Do they bear a resemblance to your present work?

RK: I laugh because my first stories were created with Barbies. ​My first stories bounced between historical and contemporary, but they all had some element of danger and adrenaline! However, I think writing paramilitary fiction over the last 10 years has really honed that skill. 

SS: In Dead Reckoning, you display an encyclopedic knowledge of the FBI, CIA, NSA, the military, espionage in general, torture techniques, and even scuba diving. How much is taken from experience and how much from research?

RK: For the record, I've never been tortured. LOL I have no been there, done that experience in these fields. My research has come through years of research and making contacts with the knowledge that enables me to deepen the believability and immerse my characters in the stories. ​

SS: What are some of your favorite sources for research?

​RL: People! I know that's probably not the answer you'd expected, but people who have hands-on experience are the best sources for research. I've been blessed to make many contacts over the years who can help, and if they can't, they know someone who can. 

SS: As the mother of four who home-schools, you must be very well-organized! How do you find time to write? Any tips for other mother/writers?

​RK: I've homeschooled for eighteen years, and every year is a challenge because it brings new highs and lows. The best tip I can give someone is this--you make time for what's important to you. My kids and their schooling is top priority, then writing. My life is insanely busy with two high schoolers and their extra-curricular activities, as well as family tae kwon do and survival in this insane world. But I write. Because it's important. 

SS: I find that my climax scenes actually take an emotional toll on me. Do you experience the same thing with your very exciting stories?

RK: Absolutely! In fact, I just told my editor that I was struggling because this book I'm working on (the last in a trilogy) is about my character battling/facing darkness...and it's weighting my emotional base. 

SS: As a Christian author, what are some ways you’ve found to incorporate your faith into your work? Can you give us some examples?

RK: It's very important to me that the faith of the characters (or non-faith) be organic to the story and what's happening. I'm not going to sprinkle it in just to have it, just as in my own life and daily living, I strive to be authentic in my faith, living by example as Matthew 5:16 states: 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. 

SS: Can you tell us something about yourself that might surprise your readers?

RK: I am a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do...yes, even at "my age." LOL​

SS: What is your latest work? Tell us about it.


RK: My most recent release is CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE (Tox Files #1), release by Bethany House Publishers. This is a new flavor for me in the thriller genre, combining my Rapid-Fire Fiction style with Dan Brown elements of artifacts and Jason Bourne type of action/intrigue. ​

SS: You have a very active presence on the Internet. Please tell us where we can find you.

​RK: I love to interact with my readers!! I am most active with Facebook, but can be found at many social media sites: ​       ​

www.roniekendig.com
     Facebook (www.facebook.com/rapidfirefiction)
     Twitter (@roniekendig)
     Goodreads (
www.goodreads.com/RonieK)
     Instagram (@kendigronie)
     Pinterest (
http://www.pinterest.com/roniek/)!

 Leave a comment with your email address below for a chance to win a copy of CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Escape the Winter Doldrums. Travel to Exotic Locations. Book Giveaway!


  

By Elizabeth Goddard 

I hope it’s okay for me to share with you here how much I love my job. Of course, I’m a wife and a mother first, but I have an honest to goodness work-from-home job writing novels! Yes, I earn a living writing books. Of course earning a living is relative to each person. I’m not making enough money to own three houses, one in Hawaii, or even two houses but you never know when things will change!

It’s taken me years to get to this point and I’m so grateful that I persisted. I give the credit and the glory to God for opening those doors, for planting those seeds and watering them, putting that dream inside of me.

So in my work as a writer, I get to dream about the next place I’d like to go and set my story there. It might be a place where I’ve traveled or lived ( like southwest Oregon for my new Wilderness, Inc. series, image to the right) or plan to take a research vacation.  But once I’m back in my writing chair, I can spend endless hours every day with my head in that exotic location on an adventure and, at least some of the time, running for my life—living vicariously through my characters, that is. In Undercover Protector I spent a lot of time with tigers--such big and beautiful creatures.

I mean, is that a cool job or what? And what’s even cooler about it is that you, the reader, can also enjoy this exotic location and experience the adventure of a lifetime and the adrenaline rush that comes with running for your life or some unseen danger or assailant—from the safety of your own home.

That’s the service I provide as a writer of escape fiction!

So if you’re looking for an escape this winter, grab an adventure romantic suspense novel. I can't promise my stories won't take you somewhere cold and snowy, but at least you'll be comfy and warm while you sip your favorite hot drink and read. 

Travel to some place exotic without packing your bags. Have an adventure from the pages of a good book!

I'm giving away a copy of Undercover Protector. To enter the drawing please leave a comment on the blog post with your contact information! 

Blessings!

Beth

P.S. Undercover Protector released this month. It's the second book in my new Wilderness, Inc. series. I hope you'll join me on this adventure. Oh, and if you'd like to find out as soon as a new book releases, follow me on Bookbub!

Article first appeared on Clean Reads Romance Cafe. Revised and reposted here.