Monday, September 21, 2020

THIS WEEK ON 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 Tuesd
ay MaryEllis will tell us What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery. 

On Wednesday Nanch Mehl will talk about how exciting being a Published Author must be, right? She'll be giving away a Kindle copy of Dead End, Book 3 in her Kaley Quinn Profiler series.



When a body is discovered in a field in Iowa, the police uncover fourteen additional corpses ranging from 20 years old to recent. The remains point to a serial killer with an MO the authorities have seen before--Ed Oliphant, a man who has been in prison for over 20 years . . . and is Special Agent Kaely Quinn's father. After several failed interview attempts to discover if Ed has been training someone to be a copycat killer, the police turn to Kaely in St. Louis.
Kaely promised herself she would never step foot in her hometown or set eyes on her father again. She's always refused to confront her past, but if she wants to prevent any more deaths, she must come face-to-face with the man she's hated for years.
As more bodies are discovered, Kaely races against time and her own personal turmoil to uncover the killer. Will this most personal case yet cost Kaely her identity and perhaps even her life?


On Friday, Patricia Bradley will follow up with more on the writing life! She will give away a copy of her latest book, Standoff, Natchez Trace Parkway Rangers, Book 1


The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It's the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it's being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers.

John's daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father's murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who's going to keep him safe when he realizes he's falling--hard--for the daughter of the man he failed to save?

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley introduces you to a new series set in the sultry South that will have you wiping your brow and looking over your shoulder.

BUY IT HERE
THE SUSPENSE SISTERS



We Love Books!





Friday, September 18, 2020

Autumn, switching gears, being inspired, plus a drawing for a free book .....Roxanne Rustand

Autumn is settling into the Midwest, with cooler days and chilly nights.  Jacket and sweater weather is what I look forward to during hot summer days!  

With some trees already starting to turn to their fall colors, it's my favorite time of the year for switching gears, too. Something about it--the beauty perhaps, or the anticipation of bringing out the flannel sheets and down comforters, just makes me feels inspired. Is it a remnant of looking forward to the first day of school when I was young?  So much has changed this year, with the uncertainties of Covid. How about you--do you look back at those days and remember that sense of new beginnings each fall?  

This year has has been tough for so many.  The awful news about the pandemic and the horrific weather disasters across the United States has had me in the doldrums.  Though it didn't make national news,  Iowa was hit with sustained 100-140 mph derecho winds--a forty-mile wide swath coming through our area-- that severely damaged or destroyed over 8,000 homes and flattened--destroyed--550,000  acres of corn crops.  

How about you--have you been in the path of the terrible forest fires out west? The hurricanes? Drought? I hope you are safe and well.

Despite it all, there's always hope for new beginnings.  

Being able to attend church online gives me a sense of peace. Reconnecting with old friends on long phone calls is uplifting. What about you--are you finding ways to deal with all that has been going on? Have you found yourself picking up old hobbies, reading more, starting something new?  

During this time spent isolating at home, my dear friend, Lyn Cote, has been spending a lot of time with me on the phone, coaching me on the world of indie (self)  publishing. I'd dabbled a bit before, but I love writing for Love Inspired and didn't keep up with the rapid evolution going on in the world of self-publishing. Thank goodness for Lyn's patience with me!  I now have six Christmas novellas coming out between October 8th and early December.

This is the first one, which is on preorder for 99 cents. Here are its Amazon link and another for the other major online booksellers, in case you'd like to read about it.

https://tinyurl.com/The-Mistletoe-Puppy-Rustand
UBL: https://books2read.com/u/mqrP7Z

Anyone who leaves a comment will be in a drawing for a free copy of The Mistletoe Puppy.

Best wishes to you all,

Roxanne Rustand

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

AN INTERVIEW WITH PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR AND AUTHOR, SALLY JO PITTS

BY PATRICIA BRADLEY


Today I'm excited to welcome Sally Jo Pitts to The Suspense S
isters! She is a licensed private investigator, and guess what? That's the type of story she writes! And she's giving away a copy of Autumn Vindication (US address only)!

Here's the back cover copy:

A private investigator and amateur sleuth make an unexpected autumn discovery.
Autumn Vindication
Private Investigator Robert Grey, a former state agent with a tarnished reputation, and his intern Jane Carson arrive in Pine Bluff, Alabama. Initially working a voter fraud case, they find themselves in the middle of a homicide and their client, the local sheriff, is the prime suspect.

Challenged with finding a murderer and grappling with career doubts of their own, the PIs are pitted against Robert’s nemesis.

With a man’s life at stake, can this unlikely duo find vindication while untangling the mysterious maze of suspects and motives hidden within the colored cloak of autumn?
                                                 ~
 Sally Jo, you’re a private detective in real life. How do that help you with your books.

Knowing the kinds of issues a private investigator is called on to work, and how to go about investigating and reporting a case helps me add realism to dialogue and scene situations. The voter fraud case featured in Autumn Vindication is based on a real case my husband and I worked in a north Florida county sheriff’s race.
                                              
                                               ~

Would you be willing to give a few tips on how PI’s work?

Sure.

These are tips I learned from my husband who was in law enforcement 35 years before opening his private investigations agency. He taught me and I worked for him. Initially, I was a teacher by day and PI by night for many years until I retired and became a PI full time.

Tip #1- Identify the issue and determine if what a person requests is appropriate for a PI rather than wasting a client’s money.

We might get a call to watch someone suspected of making harassing calls. This should be reported to police to take a report. It is not something to hire a PI for. We might receive a call wanting us to watch a spouse to prove they were unfaithful. If it was a divorce situation, then obtaining specifics needed by the attorney was advised rather than wasting the client’s money spending hours collecting data that was of no use.

Tip#2- For surveillance, we gathered not only photos and description of the subject but as much information as possible about the person’s likes, dislikes, habits, favorite places to eat, where they normally parked their car, etc.

Tip# 3- If surveillance, scout the area where subject is to be observed and plan strategy on how to carry it out. A person living on an isolated, deadend street presents a challenge!

                                             ~

Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.

I was campaign manager for my husband when he ran for sheriff. (I was a complete novice, checked out two books from the library on running a political campaign and he won in spite of me.)

I taught Success in Day-to-Day Living seminars with two other teacher friends when our children were still in elementary school. We learned that the time spent planning and teaching was keeping us from success in day-to-day living!

I am a licensed lie detection examiner.

                                             ~
What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?
I first wrote the Autumn Vindication mystery that just came out, as a husband and wife detective story eight years ago. (It has morphed into a younger single guy and girl coworkers team.) But I put it on the back burner to learn more about craft. I attended conferences, learned from My Book Therapy and Deep Thinkers with Susan May Warren. My first published books were romance and I’ve tried my hand at romantic suspense.

Deep Thinkers is where I met you! What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Tough Criticism- That my protagonists were too old. My team consisted of husband and wife who were in their 60s/70s.
Best Compliment- My romance books should be Hallmark movies.
    
                                             ~

What is the most important thing you’d like readers to take away from your books? 

Sally Jo: That everyone has a purpose.

                                             ~
 
Would you want to be a private detective? Leave a comment with your contact information to be entered in a drawing for Autumn Vindication!  


Here's Sally Jo's bio: 
Sally Jo Pitts has had a career in private investigation, high school guidance counseling, and taught in the field of marriage and family living for over twenty years. Now, she brings her experience in affairs of the heart to the fiction page. 
Writing what she likes to read—faith-based stories—her desire is to inspire and encourage the reader. She is the author of the Hamilton Harbor Legacy romance series and Autumn Vindication is book one in a four-book Seasons of Mystery series. Visit her at www.sallyjopitts.com.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

What's Hot in Inspirational Suspense by Mary Ellis

 Happy Tuesday, Readers! Wondering what's new in inspirational suspense and mystery? Michelle Shocklee has a brand-new suspense just release from Tyndale House. 


Here's a little about the story: Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena’s banker father has retreated into the bottle, her sister is married to a lazy charlatan and gambler, and Rena is an unemployed newspaper reporter. Eager for any writing job, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena.

As Frankie recounts her life as a slave, Rena is horrified to learn of all the older woman has endured—especially because Rena’s ancestors owned slaves. While Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. But will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming?

Monday, September 14, 2020

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 Mary Ellis will tell us What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery. 

Wednesday we’re interviewing private investigator turned author, Sally Jo Pitts. She’ll be giving away a copy of her book, AUTUMN VINDICATION.

A private investigator and amateur sleuth make an unexpected autumn discovery


Private Investigator Robert Grey, a former state agent with a tarnished reputation, and his intern Jane Carson arrive in Pine Bluff, Alabama. Initially working a voter fraud case, they find themselves in the middle of a homicide and their client, the local sheriff, is the prime suspect.

Challenged with finding a murderer and grappling with career doubts of their own, the PIs are pitted against Robert’s nemesis.

With a man’s life at stake, can this unlikely duo find vindication while untangling the mysterious maze of suspects and motives hidden within the colored cloak of autumn?

 Buy it here!

Friday, Suspense Sister Roxanne Rustand will write about how autumn means it’s time to switch gears. Summer is leaving and another season is upon us. She will be giving away a copy of her novella, THE MISTLETOE PUPPY!

Kate Larson works as a nurse at a clinic in Mistletoe Falls, a charming small town in northern Minnesota. She also established and manages the area’s only no-kill animal rescue, a cause dear to her warm and loving heart. After a series of romantic disappointments, she’s no longer interested in risking another. She has far more important things to focus on.

Brad Bailey is a former Minneapolis cop who recently moved north for his new job as a deputy. His wife died just before Christmas last year, and that grief is still too fresh to think about new relationships. He hopes Mistletoe Falls will be a place where Janie, his grieving six-year-old daughter, can grow up, and be part of a close-knit community. With few relatives left, he prays that this will happen.

Brad finds an abandoned golden retriever mix and her thirteen puppies, and brings them to the animal shelter, where he meets Kate, the pretty manager. Perhaps visiting the puppies will lift Janie’s spirits? Janie falls in love with the puppies and begs to adopt them all, but given the tiny rental cabin they’re in until Brad can find a home to buy, even one pup is impossible. There’s nothing else available, and the distant, surrounding towns would all mean a long commute. Mistletoe Falls is a perfect place to raise Janie, but will they need to move yet again?

Always ready to take in homeless or abused animals and to help anyone in need, Kate worries about Brad’s sad, motherless child, and invites them both for Thanksgiving dinner. Though neither has any interest in commitment, Kate and Brad’s friendship grows as she tries to help fill the void in Janie’s life. Can a litter of adorable puppies and a lonely little girl bring them together by Christmas?

Buy it here!


The Suspense Sisters

We love books!

 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Meet Cozy Mystery Author Stephanie Cole with a giveaway!


Today Suspense Sisters are proud to welcome cozy mystery author, Stephanie Cole, who has a new series, Tuscan Cooking School Mysteries. Book one, Al Dente's Inferno, was released in the spring from Berkley/Penguin Random House.

First the interview:

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say? I’m a friendly introvert, who loves the arts, enjoys smart and funny books, values kindness above all, and is grateful for the love of friends and family.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies? I audit Art History courses, take fiddle lessons, enjoy cooking classes, and practice meditation and yoga daily.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child? As a child, Nancy Drew and Winnie the Pooh, as a teen. . .REBECCA!

Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers. I am a closet egghead and weep in academic libraries; from a theater background, I took a term off from college and went to acting school in Manhattan; I am a hobbit and prefer to stay at home in the shire rather than go adventuring (my greatest adventures of my heart happen in art museums).

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not? Literary short stories. Still do them, although less frequently. It takes me quite a long time to “get it right” when a storyline matters enough to me to write it. Suspense imbues my short stories, so there’s that crossover with mystery novels. And as a reader, I love mystery novels that have literary qualities.

Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why? Not really. Although I might want to try writing about art. (Yes, really.)

If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be? I would have cut my losses much sooner and tried a different subgenre. I spent twenty plus years writing and trying to sell two female PI novels, and never getting anywhere. What I thought was admirable persistence seems now a bit like dimwitted stubbornness.

What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors? Have a downright honest conversation with yourself. There is a staggering number of people writing, publishing, striving, writing, not publishing, still striving. The competition is formidable. Ask yourself how badly you want to pursue it, given difficult odds.


Here's a little bit about Al Dente's Inferno:
When American chef Nell Valenti is hired to design a cooking school at the villa of renowned Chef Claudio Orlandini, she eagerly moves to Tuscany. But Nell gets more than she bargained for when she arrives. The villa is in shambles, Chef spends all his time on the bocce court, and local dignitaries have been invited to dinner the very next day. Bad enough the filmmaker who shows up to document the affair turns out to to be Nell's ex-boyfriend, but worse yet when he's discovered murdered later that evening. To top it off, Chef has disappeared. Can Nell save the Orlandini family, the villa, and her own job before the accusations of murder shut the school down for good -- before it's even opened?

Here's a little bit about Shelley Costa, writing as Stephanie Cole:

SHELLEY COSTA's work has been nominated for both the Edgar and Agatha Awards. Writing as Stephanie Cole, she is the author of the new Tuscan Cooking School Mystery Series (Berkley/Penguin Random House), which debuted in February with Al Dente's Inferno. Shelley wrote her dissertation on suspense, taught creative writing for many years at the Cleveland Institute of Art, enjoys violin lessons, yoga, plotting murder (pure fiction), and time with friends and family. www.shelleycosta.com. Her books are available on Amazon, IndieBound, and Barnes & Noble.

Buy the book Al Dente's Inferno here: https://www.amazon.com/Dentes-Inferno-Tuscan-Cooking-Mystery/dp/0593097793/ref=sr_1_1?crid=22TRQ7LLS0DRJ&dchild=1&keywords=al+dente%27s+inferno&qid=1598468392&sprefix=Al+Dente%27s+%2Caps%2C175&sr=8-1

Leave Stephanie a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Al Dente's Inferno. US and Canada only. You MUST leave an email address to win. Drawing in one week.