Friday, November 17, 2017

WELCOME MYSTERY AUTHOR DONN TAYLOR TO SUSPENSE SISTERS

Today I have the honor of interview Donn Taylor, an exceptional man and an awesome author. I'll let the interview speak for itself. Donn has a new book out, Murder in Disguise. Please leave him a comment for a chance to win a signed print copy. (US readers only.)

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?  He never gets it completely right, but sometimes he comes close.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies? Not lately, I'm afraid. In earlier years it was pick-up basketball games and running 10Ks. After the wheels came off, it was walking the nearby woodland trails with Mildred. It's always been reading—a healthy mixture nonfiction on US foreign policy with contemporary fiction. Lately it's also been chatting with a few select people on Facebook messenger.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child? When my brother and I were in grammar school, our father read to us much of the Mark Twain canon. My favorite was and is Life on the Mississippi. I still remember the riverboat pilot's oaths: "Aig-suckin', sheep-stealin', one-eyed son of a stuffed monkey," etc.

Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers. 1. I was born two days before the planet Pluto was discovered. They would never have found it without me. Some astronomers now say Pluto is not a planet, but they're wrong. If it hadn't been a planet, I wouldn't have helped them discover it.
2. When Mildred and I were stationed in France, we rented a Piper Pacer from the Aero Club at Toule Rosiere AFB in France and flew it to Copenhagen for a vacation. She proved to be an excellent navigator. We watched a Danish-language movie, and for two hours we didn't understand anything but the shooting and kissing.
3. Mildred and I were married sixty-one years, seven months, and four days before the Lord promoted her to the heavenly choir.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not? When I retired from teaching, I first wrote poetry. For fiction, I began with suspense and published two novels in which I used my military and aviation experience. I took time out for a historical novel, Lightning on a Quiet Night, a nostalgia trip for Mildred and me back to our origins in Northeast Mississippi. Since then it's been mysteries. Why change? Mystery is a compatible genre, and setting these on college and university campuses built on my academic experience. It also gave the opportunity, in addition to just telling a story, to write about still-current problems in higher education.


What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Most of us catch a few darts on reviews because we're Christian. Those we just shrug off and keep writing. However one of my choices cuts both ways: The protagonist in my mysteries has musical hallucinations—a constant torrent of music flowing through his brain. Readers have appreciated the incongruity between what he is experiencing in the real world and what is going on in his brain. But for some readers this has been a complete turn-off, a distraction from the story. Once committed, though, I just have to put it out there and hope enough readers like it. So far, they pretty much have.




BIO: Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. Now retired from college teaching, he writes suspense and mystery fiction as well as literary poetry designed for the ordinary reader. He is a frequent speaker at writers' conferences and study groups. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction, poetry, and essays on ethics and U.S. foreign policy.

Here's a summary of Murder in Disguise:

Official verdict: Suicide. But why would that vigorous department chairman commit suicide? Did he kill himself to avoid disgrace from the impending exposure his rumored activities on the dark side? When visiting professor Preston Barclay questions his long-time friend's suicide, he receives threats. Press has enough problems already in proving his competence to students and faculty in the newly hostile environment of the state university. That task is made more difficult by the fact that the new department chairman and a gaggle of campus radicals do all they can to undermine him. And that sexy female siren assigned as his student assistant creates even more problems there and, worse yet, problems with Press's courtship of his colleague Mara Thorn.

Press's questions about the suicide don't find adequate answers, continuing rumors accuse his friend of disgraceful activities, and Mara's research reveals a wide range of criminal activity stretching from the community onto the campus itself. The more things don't add up, the more dangerous the threats against Press become, and the more determined Press becomes to clear his friend's name and find the truth about the alleged suicide. But can Press and Mara's stumbling efforts prevail against the well-organized and entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger…?


Don't forget to leave Donn a comment. Drawing in one week. Thanks, readers! Mary Ellis ~ Suspense Sisters

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Romantic Suspense Reviews by Elizabeth Goddard AND Giveaway!




Welcome! Elizabeth Goddard here. 


I'm giving away a copy of Texas Christmas Defender (US only)--my upcoming December
release! Be sure to comment and leave your contact information to enter the drawing.


I spend most of my days doing one of two things. Reading or writing. It’s a good thing I absolutely love both endeavors. Oh, yeah. . . and I make a little money at the writing. Not so much the reading. But it’s all related. Though I try to read widely (different genres and new authors) romantic suspense will always be my favorite genre. I’m so glad there are so many great RS authors to choose from, including the Suspense Sisters of course!


What’s better than edge-of-your-seat suspense, a puzzle to solve, and a good romance all wrapped into one package? Chocolate, you say? How about eating chocolate (a little, not a lot) while letting yourself get drawn into a great novel.


Admittedly, I do have chores. Laundry. Dinner. Laundry. Dishes. Laundry . . . but I can carve out a half hour every evening to read. Sometimes that expands to more than an hour, but I can read one or two books in a week that way. I guess I should also be completely forthcoming—I have teenagers who actually do a lot of the laundry. Maybe a few dishes too. But you know how it is—life throws a lot of stuff at us. Still, I find time to read. This was meant to encourage you that you can do the same.


I have some great recommendations for you. Let’s start with our Patricia Bradley’s Justice
Buried
. (Patricia is also a Suspense Sister)


Here’s the blurb:

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she's ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she's out of her league--and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart. 

Crackling with romantic tension and laced with intrigue, this suspenseful story from award-winning author Patricia Bradley will keep readers guessing--and looking over their shoulders.



I can’t say enough about this novel. Loved it from the get-go. Kelsey’s an interesting character. Anyone who can climb buildings, rocks, or mountains is courageous. Kelsey takes that courage with her into her security job and to find a killer. I also loved the artifacts and museum aspect to the story—that’s right up my alley. Enter hero Detective Brad Hollister and the romantic sparks fly. The pacing was great and I read this book in a short time. You’ll love it!


Next up is Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon.



Blurb:

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon captures readers with a mind-bending story that will have them doubling back to retrace their steps--and figure out what they missed!


Irene Hannon has a meticulous writing style and methodically lays the foundation for both the suspense and romantic plots while keeping a good, solid pace. The main female protagonist, Trish, is completely relatable and any of us could find ourselves in the same situation—caring for a sick parent and hoping we don’t make any mistakes. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story, and found it thoroughly entertaining.


Last but never least, Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris


Blurb:

During Garrett Addison's first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a
young girl. She's the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common--a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies--number six--Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn't have what it takes to be an agent. What he'll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him--or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki's sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.


Have you read the Nikki Boyd Files yet? I’ve read all three books (and loved them) leading up to this fourth and final book in the series. Lisa’s writing style is fast-paced in this novel that spans several years to uncover answers to the mystery that Nikki Boyd Files readers have been waiting for. This is an absolute must-read.

These fabulous authors (in addition to our own Suspense Sisters authors) provide us with countless hours of intense and satisfying reading.

Now, don't forget--I'm giving away a copy of Texas Christmas Defender to one lucky winner. Please leave a comment and include your contact information to enter the drawing!

Happy Reading!
Elizabeth Goddard





Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hot new inspy suspense...with cowboys!



Someone is dead set on stopping Shelby Arroyo from doing her job: assessing mineral rights in a mine in gold country. But after rancher Barrett Thorn rescues her from an attack, the handsome widowed cowboy seems to feel responsible for her. That is, until he discovers she's from the family that he'll never forgive for his wife's death. As the threats against Shelby escalate, cowboy honor and an unexpected attraction keep Barrett by her side, even at his own risk. And since Shelby won't back down, Barrett must protect the brave, loyal woman he has no business falling for…a woman someone wants to kill by Christmas. 

Monday, November 13, 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:



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










On Wednesday our own Elizabeth Goddard will review Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley and Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon! She’ll also be giving away a copy of her December release, TEXAS CHRISTMAS DEFENDER. 










Friday, we’re talking to Donn Taylor. Someone will win a copy of his new book, MURDER IN DISGUISE!  

Official verdict: Suicide. But why would that vigorous department chairman kill himself? To avoid disgrace? Those rumored ventures on the dark side? Some other secret life? Visiting professor Preston Barclay wonders. But his questions bring no answers, only anonymous threats. He has enough problems already, proving himself on a strange campus while radical faculty do all they can to undermine him. Worse yet, that sexy siren assigned as his assistant complicates his courtship of the beautiful Mara Thorn.

While Press keeps asking questions, Mara's research reveals a cancer of criminal activity that permeates the community and even the campus itself. The more Press questions, the more dangerous the threats against him become, and the more determined he grows to clear his friend's name.

But can Press and Mara's stumbling efforts prevail against the entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger…?

The Suspense Sisters! We love books!


Friday, November 10, 2017

An Interview and a Giveaway with Author Kassy Paris!







Today we welcome Author Kassy Paris! She's giving away a print copy of her new book, Murder In Maggie Valley (U.S. residents only.) Comment for a chance to win!

Tell us a little about yourself and your newest book.

I’m a retired elementary teacher and a bred and born Texan. In 1997, while I was still teaching, my best friend came to me with a book idea. She said God had told her we were to write books together. What she didn’t know was being published was my secret desire. I had never spoken that wish aloud even to her, and we’d been best friends since 1965.

We signed our first contract in 2001, and Her Home or Her Heart was released by Heartsong Presents in 2002. Our pen name is Kasandra Elaine, my first name and her middle name. White Rose Publishing, now an imprint of Pelican Books, released our next three books, a romantic suspense series set in North Texas. Our most recent release, Murder in Maggie Valley, was published by White Bird Publications in March 2017.

Murder in Maggie Valley is our first cozy mystery and is set in the real town of Maggie Valley, NC. Maggie Valley sits in the beautiful mountains of northwestern North Carolina. Elaine and I spent six vacations in the area, including one in a cabin community similar to the one we created in our book. The town is real, but the murder is strictly from our imaginations.



Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

For this book, Elaine and I reverted to our original modus operandi—double main characters. Edna and Klara Pidgeon are widowed sisters-in-law whose husbands were brothers and died in a plane crash a few years before the story. The Pidgeon sisters, who are in their mid-fifties, go to Maggie Valley on vacation to perfect a pastry recipe they named KEPS. Edna discovers one of their neighbors murdered. The game is on for Klara, who is determined the two of them will solve the murder with all the detective skills they’ve gleaned from the murder mysteries they’ve read and watched. The two of them run into a wall when they encounter the local sheriff who believes it is his job to solve murders.


What are you working on at the moment?

I’m writing a novella for a collection about bridesmaids who have to have the highest bid in order to win a place in a wedding. Also, I’m trying to summon up the courage to write the next Edna and Klara cozy installment, alone. My best friend and writing partner, Elaine, moved to heaven in May 2015 after we finished the rough draft to Murder in Maggie Valley.


What is the hardest thing about writing?

The hardest thing about writing is sticking with writing one story at a time. I’m an eclectic reader and find I want to write on multiple novels at once. The best thing about writing more than one book at a time is that I don’t get writer’s block. I switch to another idea and move on with that one for a while. Ah, but the bad thing about writing multiple stories at once is it takes longer to complete them.

What is the easiest thing about writing?

Coming up with the idea for a book is the easiest thing about writing—so many ideas, so little time.

Anything else you'd like to share.

Holding onto a dream is a lesson I’ve learned. After graduating from college with my teaching degree, it took eleven years to get hired as a teacher. I wanted to teach in the school district I lived in, but God had other plans. When I did get hired, in a district 45 miles from my home, I spent the next 20 years in the same building. I made some wonderful friends, and was privileged to touch the lives of over 440 awesome students.
So, remember dreams can only become reality if you do the work required. Read, study, write, rewrite, and analyze as you dream, and one day your dream will come true.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Camaraderie in a solitary life...and a free book drawing

There's an old joke that frequently surfaces at the big national writers' conferences such as RWA (Romance Writers of America)--where the writer attendees are "several thousand introverts trying to be extroverts for the entire conference."

Not all writers are introverts, of course, but writing is still a solitary existence.  Days, weeks, months at a keyboard.  While some writers can be productive with the sounds of children, music, and a TV in the background, others (like me!) need absolute silence or we are completely distracted. I started writing when our children were thirteen, eleven and four, so you can well imagine that things weren't ever very quiet at our house.  Eventually, after I was published, I would occasionally check into the Microtel hotel in town for a weekend of silence and concentration when a tight deadline was looming, and leave my husband to fend for himself with the kids.   :)

The kids are all grown and married now, the house is quieter, and I no longer go to the Microtel.  But the writing process is still solitary, so when I occasionally participate in a multi-author project, it's fun to enjoy that interaction with other writers.  Every year, for instance, a group of authors participates in the Sweet Christmas Kisses anthology---each writing her own, unrelated story with a Christmas theme.  Some of the stories are chaste sweet romance, some are inspirational, all are very different. This anthology is only in ebook form, which allows us unlimited pages.  A good thing, as it would be well over a thousand pages if in print!

There's been a wonderful surge in these e-book anthologies over the last four years or so--in all genres, with various holiday themes or even no seasonal connection at all.  They are often very inexpensive--often just 99 cents--and can be a wonderful opportunity for a reader to discover authors who will become favorites.  I have "discovered" some authors I enjoyed so much that I went on to purchase a lot of books in their backlist!

Have you ever purchased an anthology?  What did you think?  Did you find any new-to-you authors  you really enjoyed?

Everyone leaving a comment will be entered in a drawing for a free e-copy of  the 2017 Sweet Christmas Kisses 4 anthology.

Best wishes to you all, and good luck!

Roxanne Rustand