Friday, March 24, 2017

INTERVIEW WITH MARY ELLIS: "Building" Suspense!

Interviewer: E.E. Kennedy

                                                          
Mary Ellis in Savannah, the location of her newest release.

 
SS: You are quite prolific and have written in several genres. Is this most recent private eye mystery series a new departure for you?

ME: I started out by writing mysteries in the ABA world, so it’s not really a new genre. I’m so glad to be back to writing mysteries and romantic suspense, since they’re my favorite genre to read.

SS: In the book I just read, Magnolia Moonlight, you display knowledge of the Mississippi Gulf coast and its landmarks, police procedure, private detectives and their legal limitations, casino gambling, forensic accounting and a host of other subjects. Are you a gambling private eye/accountant from Mississippi in a secret life or do you really enjoy research?

ME: I LOVE research. It was sheer joy to interview a police captain in Natchez, interview casino management and casino hosts in Bay St. Louis, and travel up and down the Mississippi River. It also helps to have an accountant, a Chief of Police and a Fire Chief for friends.

SS: From one author to another, are you an outliner or a pantser? How does that work for you?

ME: I’m sort of both. I do start with character sketches and a skeletal outline of chapters to maintain the pace. But as I write each scene I let the characters take over the action. I’m often surprised with what I get.

SS: Do you have a favorite author(s) who inspires you?

ME: In addition to my sisters (and brother) in Suspense Sisters (who are all awesome!) I like mysteries by Patricia Bradley, A. H. Gabhart and romances by Johnnie Alexander.

SS: Suspense Sisters are Christian authors. How do you incorporate your faith into your work?

ME: My central characters are Christians who try to live by Christ’s teachings and the Ten Commandments. For instance, when forced to lie on the job, they are bothered by their actions. In the book I’m working on now, my central character is a fallen-away Christian who yearns for a closer relationship with God, and finally seeks advice.

SS: Everyone always asks, so we will, too: Where do you get your ideas?

ME: That’s an easy question to answer. I love to travel and most of my story ideas come from my trips. Once I get away from the comfort zone of home, plot twists come to mind. And I don’t always have to go far. Sometimes a drive to a county where I’ve never been will stimulate ideas.

SS: What are your other interests besides writing?

ME: Besides writing and travel, I love to swim, ride bikes with my husband, and work in my yard which is usually a mess, despite my good intentions.

SS: Just for fun: tell us something that your readers might be surprised to know about you!

ME: My husband and I built our house ourselves, including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, drywall hanging—almost everything. It took us 3 years before we could move in, and another 10 years to “finish.” We’ll never do that again!

SS: Tell us about your latest release. Where can we learn more about you and your books?

ME: My next release is Sunset in Old Savannah, which should be available at the end of March on-line and in stores April 1st. In Savannah, everyone has something to hide. Investigative partners and best friends Michael Preston and Elizabeth Kirby are hired by a wealthy socialite to do surveillance on her wayward husband. When the husband turns up dead, the socialite becomes the police’s chief suspect. Mike and Beth must follow the clues through the historic town with more secrets than branches of moss-draped oaks. The duo uncovers a hodgepodge of potential murderers, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne'er-do-well brother. As praise of their agency gets around, Mike and Beth must hire investigator Kaitlyn Webb to ease the workload. But will ghosts of Kate’s past threaten everyone's safety before a killer can be put behind bars? Although this is book 4 of a series, each story stands on its own and makes complete sense without going in order. Readers can see everything I’ve written at www.maryellis.net

READERS: Leave a comment below (with your email address!) and we'll put your name in the hat to possibly win a copy of Sunset in Old Savannah that Mary has kindly offered!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Published Writers Are Rich and Famous...Right?

There’s a wonderful line in The Muppet Movie. The Muppets have come to the big city looking for fame and fortune, and they encounter Orson Wells, playing a big-time producer. At the end of the scene, he tells his secretary to prepare the “standard rich and famous contract.” I guess that’s the kind of contract an author dreams about, but so far as I can tell, it only exists in the movies.

From the outside, being a writer seems exciting. At my first writer’s conference, I was awestruck by the published writers there. These were people whose names were household words—well, not in my household, but I was just getting started, so I could be excused for not knowing all of them. But surely they were celebrities in their hometowns. Most certainly they had to stop and give autographs in the grocery store or dry cleaners. And undoubtedly they lived in the lap of luxury. After all, they were published authors!

My first novel was published several years later. I’ll never forget the thrill of opening that box and seeing the cover with “Richard L. Mabry, MD” printed at the top. I listened carefully, but so far as I could tell, there were no cheering crowds outside my window, no marching bands in the street. I opened my Internet browser, but there was no headline about the book. What I did find, however were a bunch of emails about interviews and guest blog posts that I’d lined up to get the word out. No matter that there were no cheering crowds yet. Surely these would do the trick.

Now, fast-forward to the present. Recently I received the print copies of my self-published novella, Doctor’s Dilemma. That made three novellas and ten novels I have had published, but by this time reality had set in. I took a minute to thank God for having brought me this far in a second profession I never dreamed about. I showed the book to my wife, Kay, and gave her a personalized copy. I reviewed the blog interviews and guest posts I’d set up. And then I went about my business. I didn’t take the time to listen for cheering crowds and marching bands. I knew better than to expect any.

At church, a few people know I’m an author, and we talk a bit about it. I’m sometimes asked to sign a book. I’ve been asked to share a little about the publishing industry with various groups. But that’s about it for the famous part. And as for rich, well that’s not going to happen, either.

Do I mind that I never got that “standard rich and famous contract?” Not really. My words have been read by many more people than the population of the town where I grew up. If I’ve succeeded in my mission, when those readers turn the last page of my novel they find they’ve been left with a message—not a hard-sell of Christianity, because that’s just not my style, but rather a message that no matter how far we drift from God, we can always turn back to Him. I’ve been allowed to use the printed page as my pulpit. And that’s rich and famous enough for me.

Leave a comment, including your email address, for a chance at a $10 Amazon gift card. Winner will be chosen and announced in the Comments section the evening of March 26.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hot new suspense...on the shortlist for an Inspy Award!





In “Checkmate,” critically acclaimed novelist Steven James offers the final, chilling chapter in his bestselling series, The Bowers Files. 
 When a clandestine FBI facility is attacked, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into the vicious, ruthless story that a killer from his past is bent on telling the world. 
Clues lead to long forgotten secrets buried deep beneath uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, Bowers is caught up in trying to stop one of the most deadly attacks ever planned on American soil.
Smart, tense and full of mind-bending twists and turns, “Checkmate” explodes onto the scene, bringing The Bowers Files to a climactic and unforgettable conclusion.

Monday, March 20, 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 our review page, Iola Goulton reviews THE ILLUSIONIST'S APPRENTICE by Kristy Cambron. Iola says: “The Illusionist’s Apprentice was an excellent historical suspense/murder with a pleasing romantic subplot, and some fascinating insights into the world of magic and illusion. Recommended.” You can find her complete review HERE. 










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






On Wednesday Dr. Richard Mabry talks about fame and fortune for authors. He’ll be giving away a $10.00 Amazon gift card. (Maybe a little extra if you've bought his latest book.) 









Friday, we’re interviewing author and Suspense Sister, Mary Ellis. She’ll be giving away a copy of her newest book, SUNSET IN OLD SAVANNAH! 



When socialite Evelyn Doyle hires investigative partners and best friends Michael Preston and Elizabeth Kirby to do some routine
surveillance on her wayward husband, the detective duo find themselves embroiled in a mystery that leaves them in this beautiful, historic city longer than they had expected.



 Evelyn's husband turns up dead, leaving her as the police chief's prime target. The investigation reveals a hodgepodge of potential murderers, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne'er-do-well brother. It's up to Mike and Beth to follow the trail of secrets that reaches further than the branches of the moss-draped oaks of Savannah.



 As praise of the agency gets around town, business is growing for Price Investigations. When Mike and Beth hire Kaitlyn Webb, Savannah's newest transplant, their workload eases, but will the ghosts of her past threaten everyone's safety before a killer can be put behind bars? And can Mike and Beth find love as their friendship and faith are put to the test?



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, March 17, 2017

An interview and a giveaway with Lynette Eason!




We are so excited to welcome amazing author Lynette Eason today! Please enjoy her bio and the blurb for her newest book, Moving Target. Lynette has graciously offered to give away a copy of her book, Moving Target, to one lucky commentor! Let's meet Lynette!

Lynette Eason is the best-selling, award-winning author of almost forty books including the Women of Justice series, the Deadly Reunions series, the Hidden Identity Series and the currently releasing Elite Guardians 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 and 2016 Carol Award in the Romantic Suspense category. She also placed in the top ten (out of thousands of entries) in the James Patterson 2016 co-writer contest. Lynette teaches at writing conferences all over the country. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), Mystery Writers of America (MWA), International Thriller Writers (ITW), and Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of RWA as well as the Kiss of Death (KOD) chapter. Lynette can be found online at www.lynetteeason.com and www.facebook.com/lynette.eason and @lynetteeasonon Twitter.


Blurb for Moving Target:
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common--they're also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade's bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia's skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade's stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she's next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

Bestselling author and fan favorite Lynette Eason drops readers right into the action in this fast-paced new series with a unique twist. Readers will love these strong female characters who put it all on the line to save lives.


Here are some questions to help us know Lynette better:

1.  Of all your dozens of published works, which holds a special place in your heart and why? It’s always the one that is most recently DONE. LOL. Although, right now, I have to admit, I’m leaning toward Moving Target. I REALLY had a good time writing that.

2. What hobbies do you have outside of writing? WHAT? There are hobbies outside of writing???? Okay, okay, when I’m not writing, I’m usually reading. Or eating. (Notice I didn’t say cooking.)


3.  Where's the most amazing place you've ever been and why? Oooh, tough one. I’ve been A LOT of places. I would say, I loved Europe.  Paris, London, Prague, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Amsterdam, Brussels, and more. It’s hard to pick!

Thank you so much for being here, Lynette!




Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I CAN'T WRITE!!!!



Multi-published and Amazon and ECPA Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She had several historical romances release through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold close to a million copies of her works since 2013. She has taught a Continuing Education class at the 2015 American Christian Fiction Writers conference, several small ACFW chapters and RWA chapters. You can find her on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s best well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two Sulcata tortoises. She has eight grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. 


I CAN'T WRITE!!!!


My days have passed, my plans are shattered. Yet the desires of my heart 12 turn night into day;
in the face of the darkness light is near. Job 17: 11-12

Writing is a tough business. Someone once told me you can learn the craft of writing, but to be a storyteller is a gift from God.

So, you believe God has called you to write, yet that elusive contract has yet to appear. You’ve studied, attended conferences, sent out proposals, and received rejection after rejection. So many that you are contemplating papering your house with them and calling it quits to writing.

Let’s look at Job. He lost everything: family, wealth, home, friends. Yet, he still believes there is light to come out of the darkness. Most of us have never lost anything close to what Job lost.

I’ve come close to quitting many times, yet the desire to write would never leave me. All I could do was focus on the next word, the next line, the next story. I’ve asked God to remove the desire if it was not His plan for me. The desire never left. The Light continued to shine.

If God truly called you to write, then write. Let Him take care of who reads the words he’s given you. If God has called you to write, then write for Him. He may lead you to traditional publication, He may lead you to independently publishing your work, (which has been a huge success for me) or He may want you to write only for His eyes. But write! Let the light shine from the darkness.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a $10.00 gift card from Amazon! Don't forget to give us your contact information!

SUSPICIOUS MINDS

Susan Turner wants only to run her cozy bookstore, Turn A Page. That dream is disrupted with the return of the man who skipped
town ten years ago with her heart. Only, his return isn't as innocent and safe as he leads her to believe.

 Cade Aikin wants only to repair the damage he'd caused to Susan Turner and opens a mega bookstore, not realizing she'd opened her own store. He's taken aback by her open animosity and becomes fearful for her safety when two strangers in town appear a little too interested in Cade's life. He tries desperately to get Susan to forgive and listen...before it's too late.

 Can these two set aside their suspicions and regain a tender love?