Tuesday, November 13, 2018

What's Hot In Suspense!

by Patricia Bradley

A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder
Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.

You can purchase Stratagem at: 

Amazon          B&N          CBD

Monday, November 12, 2018


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


On Tuesday Patricia Bradley will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.

Wednesday Mary Ellis’s article is titled: “It’s Not About Me.” She’s giving away a copy of a delightful cozy three-in-one titled, THE AMISH SWEET SHOP! 

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the busiest time of the year at Beechy’s Sweets, where the Amish gifts of love and faith are even sweeter than the home-made candy.

THE SWEETEST COURTSHIP National Bestselling Author Emma Miller

At age thirty-six, Jacob Beechy is a rarity—a master candy maker, and a bachelor. His mother, however, still hopes for grandchildren. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, she convinces Jacob he will need extra help in the shop and interviews a string of applicants—for his future wife . . . 

THE SWEETEST TRUTH National Bestselling Author Laura Bradford

Sadie Fischer has accepted that she will never marry. Her scars from a barn fire are a daily reminder of why. So when she receives mysterious gifts leading up to Valentine’s Day, including chocolate from Beechy’s, she’s bewildered—yet curious. Sadie may not think she’s pretty, but there’s a young man who sees only sweetness when he looks at her . . . 

NOTHING TASTES SO SWEET Award-Winning Author Mary Ellis

Pregnant and suddenly widowed, Hannah must give up the dreams she once had. But when she learns that her longtime English employer plans to sell his hardware store, she’s determined to buy it. She doesn’t realize that will mean following a clue from Beechy’s to clear a man’s name—and finding a partnership in work, faith, and love . . . 

Friday we're interviewing Jim O'Shea about his novel, THE RELUCTANT DISCIPLE! Stop by and leave a comment. You could win a copy of this great suspense novel!
Ryan Kates is a paranormal expert, TV host, and skeptic. He hosts News4th, a nationally popular cable show focused on UFOs, ghosts, and everything that goes bump in the night. Ryan is used to dealing with the weird and unexplainable, but when bizarre paranormal phenomena rock the planet he finds himself questioning his long-held views.

As these phenomena escalate, mass hysteria and political tensions begin to mount on a global scale. The world begins to spin out of control, and a former flame reenters Ryan’s life, bringing her family along for the ride. The pawns are moved into place, and Ryan must confront the ultimate evil on the world stage, culminating in a supernatural encounter far beyond his wildest dreams. 

The Reluctant Disciple establishes a credible connection between End Times biblical prophecy and our society’s fascination with the paranormal, taking readers on a thrill ride they won’t soon forget.
The Suspense Sisters 

                                         We love books!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Military K-9 Unit Christmas... give-away! Valerie Hansen and Laura Scott

We are doubly blessed today, by an interview with the two authors of the upcoming Love Inspired Suspense novel, MilitaryK-9 Unit Christmas. So, here we go! I hope you enjoy getting to know these wonderful authors.

And this time, there will be drawings for TWO winners of an e-copy of their book--so leave a comment, and you will be entered in the drawing!        Enjoy! Roxanne Rustand

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey as a writer?

Laura - I've been writing since I was a young teenager when I ran out of books that I liked to read. But my parents wanted me to have a "real" career, so they steered me toward nursing. I love being a nurse, but I still always had stories floating around in my head. Once my kids were older and I had a little more time, I decided to really focus on writing. I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America) and our local WisRWA Chapter (Wisconsin Romance Writers of America) and met so many people just like me! It was amazing and I was hooked. I'm so blessed to be able to write for Love Inspired Suspense.

Valerie --I think being a writer is in my genes. Whether I publish or not is a whole other question. Years ago, when I worked at an elementary school, I used to scribble my thoughts during boring meetings. Once, I turned in my rules notebook without remembering to remove my candid observances. Fortunately I hadn’t written anything derogatory!

2. If you could go back in time and do something differently in your writing career, what would it be?

Laura - Start earlier! Seriously, I don't regret being a nurse, but I also went back to get my Masters in Business as I was managing two big Intensive Care Units. I look back and wish I would have started writing more seriously even before I had kids. But other than that, I truly have no regrets. I believe this was God's plan for me, and I'm fine with that.

Valerie - I used to believe I should have begun sooner. Younger. But as time has passed I’ve realized that my books benefit from my seasoning. They’re not the same as what I would have written in my twenties or even my thirties

3. Tell us about your writing process.

Laura - Since I still work a full time day job and carry the health insurance for my family, I can only write on the weekends. I tend to write a full chapter on Saturday and on Sunday. Sometimes it doesn't always work, and I only get one chapter finished but I rarely go though a weekend without doing any writing. Somehow, I still manage to get about 3-4 books out per year.

Valerie -- Put butt in chair, type. That’s basically it. That, and a whole lot of thinking. Since I now go to contract on the strength of a proposal (synopsis and first 3 chapters) I don’t waste a lot of time on false starts. That said, I also don’t please my editors with every idea. L

4. What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?

Laura - I don't have a lot of spare time but always try to spend time with my family. I also try to work out about three times a week.

Valerie -- Pretty much being outdoors, away from the computer! I love to garden, weather permitting. And I usually accompany my three dogs on walks in the yard. The two labs are older and less flighty but the little poodle needs all the supervision I can give her.

5. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise your readers.

Laura - Hmm. This is a tough one. I guess it may surprise readers that I was a red belt in Tai Kwon Do. My kids were taking lessons and rather than watch, I decided to join in. I can break boards with a well placed kick!

Valerie – There isn’t a lot about me that’s a surprise to anyone who follows me on Facebook. J What you see is what you get. Humor is wonderfully healing and uplifting so you’ll rarely find me posting anything too serious. When I do, listen up. It’s meant from the bottom of my heart.

6. What three pieces of advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Laura - I'm not sure if I have three pieces of advice but first and foremost I would say never give up. I strongly believe that writing is 80% perseverance and 20% talent. Of course talent is very helpful but so many people start a book and never finish. Keep writing and if the first book doesn't sell, try another one. And another one. Never give up your dream.

Valerie-- Read what you love. Write what makes you excited and happy. Learn to take good advice while rejecting the bad. How do you tell? Study the market and listen to editors when they bother to communicate. As busy as they all are, any note from one is like gold.

7. You have a new book out right now, but what are you working on now, and when might that book be out?

Laura - I'm working on a Christmas book that will be out next year. That's how far ahead our editors plan. I have a Callahan Confidential Series that ends in Feb 2019 and this book I'm currently writing is a spin off from my Callahan Series. I'm really excited about this one...then again, I tend to be excited about every book I'm working on, LOL.

Valerie -- Here’s where it all gets interesting. And confusing. I had to start making notes in order to keep track. As for new, first time in print books, I have three scheduled already with a contract for five more, plus whatever continuity the editors decide is right for me.

Dec. 2018 - MILITARY K-9 UNIT CHRISTMAS novella, Christmas Escape
Feb. 2019 – FATAL THREAT, book #1 in my own series, “Emergency Responders”
Aug. 2019 – Untitled book #2, “Emergency Responders”
Sept. 2019 – TRAIL OF DANGER, NYPD K-9 Unit series, book #6

That’s the tip of the iceberg because I keep learning of combo reprints or Kindle releases in groups that so far have included --- Aug., Sept. Oct. of 2018 and Jan., Feb. of 2019. I have no doubt there will be more and I’m thrilled. I just hope my readers won’t get confused. The reprints all say that they were published before so it should be okay.

8. Can you tell us about what led you to write your new book? Tell us about your main characters, and the challenges they face in this story.

Laura - Valerie Hansen and I were two of eight authors asked to participate in the Military K-9 Unit miniseries. We were asked to write Christmas Novellas that were spin-off's from the main series. We had to coordinate to make sure that we didn't have too similar of story lines, so we did briefly discuss that over e-mail. And I hope the readers will agree that these two novellas are a great way to wrap up the series.

Valerie -- Okay. The K-9 continuities are editorial assignments. They look for authors who have experience, play well with others and don’t run with scissors. We’re all given an overview, then write the series – all at the same time, which makes it challenging. Boy, does it. By this time, however, those of us who participate regularly have formed lasting friendships with our fellow sufferers, I mean writers, and we help each other all we can. In the case of MILITARY K-9 UNIT CHRISTMAS we pulled secondary characters from the earlier books (mine was Bound by Duty) and used them for Christmas stories.

After that we were on our own. I chose a veterinarian and his tech who cared for K-9s in training. Then I introduced Stryker, a German shepherd who had been wounded in battle, and wove his rehabilitation story in with the heroine’s need to protect her motherless niece from a murderous father while being assisted by her hunky, widowed, commanding officer, the veterinarian. Yes, I know fraternizing is a no-no. J That’s part of the story.

About the authors...

Laura Scott is a nurse by day and an author by night! She grew up reading faith-based books by Grace Livingston Hill and always wanted to be a writer. Her pragmatic parents convinced her to be a nurse so she would always have a job. Laura has written over 50 books for Harlequin and has found her home writing suspense. Laura lives in Milwaukee Wisconsin with her husband of 33 years and has two grown children.

Laura Scott - USA Today Bestselling Author
To Love (McNally Series) 9/18
Battle Tested Military K-9 10/18
To Cherish (McNally Series) 11/18
Yuletide Target Military K-9 12/18
To Laugh (McNally Series) 1/19
Protecting His Secret Son 2/19Blind Trust 6/19

was thirty when she awoke to the presence of the Lord in her life and turned to Jesus. She now lives in a renovated farm house in the breathtakingly beautiful Ozark mountains of Arkansas and is privileged to share her personal faith by telling the stories of her heart for Love Inspired. 

Life doesn’t get much better than that!

USA Today bestselling author
Publisher's Weekly bestselling author

And here is their new release! December, 2018

Someone’s gunning for Senior Airman Jacey Burke and her trusty K-9, Gretta. But Staff Sergeant Sean Morris will do anything to keep her safe for Christmas.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Poison Pt 2 - Flora and Fauna

Welcome back, Suspense Sisters and Mystery Men, into the ring of fightwriting. Roll up your sleeves, pour a hot cup of coffee and lets...well... knock off some characters! Don't feel bad. We're serving the story.

This post is part three of a series on poisoning on my home blog at FightWrite.net. 

In my last post here on Suspense Sisters I covered various types of poison and their effects. For a quick primer of medical jargon associated with poisoning, just shoot this link. Or, just put your cursor on it and hit "enter." That might actually be better come to think of it. 

In this post, we are going to get a bit more creative with our poisoning. We are going looking at nefarious ways to use flora and fauna. Now, there's a ton of poisonous plants and animals out there. Books have been written on them. I couldn't cover them all, but here's a few. 

Poisonous Plants
Again, there's a ton of poisonous plants out there. This is just a small taste. (Don't taste these plants!)

Poinsettia - I have arranged all of these plants alphabetically because I hate when people don't arrange things alphabetically. What kind of monster makes you scroll through pages to find a thing that starts with, "A"? But, I digress. I'm putting this holiday flora up first because it is, in fact, the holiday season. Yes, already. But also, it's one that gets a bad wrap. (See what I did there? Holidays? Wrap?) Y'all, your cozy Christmas mystery cannot involve death by means of a poinsettia. Why? Because they just aren't that bad. According the WebMD, there's been no reported deaths by poinsettia poisoning. Worse case scenario your character will vomit but even then they will have had to purposely ingest the plant as it apparently tastes bad. It's not something that one would keep munching on by accident. Also, it's not even that poisonous to dogs or cats. So, whomp, whomp. However, holly berries are another story. (See below)

Belladonna - Also know as deadly nightshade, belladonna impacts the nervous system causing dry
mouth, enlarged pupils, blurred vision, fever, tachycardia, inability to urinate, sweating, hallucinations, spasms, seizures and coma. Both the berries and leaves are poisonous. It is purported that as few as two berries can kill a child and ten to twenty can kill an adult.

Castor Bean - see ricin

Holly Berry - While the stems and leaves of the holly bough aren't so bad, the berries can be poisonous especially to children. The poison contained in the berries is ilicin and it is dangerous to the digestive tract. As well, it can attack the nervous system and heart. According to Poison Control, symptoms of holly berry poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness and of course with those dehydration and drowsiness. Other sites read that, in large quantities, holly berry digestion can cause irregular heart beat and convulsions.

Oleander - I looked through dozens of sites including the CDC and couldn't find an exact time on how quickly oleander affects the body. However, I often saw that medical attention must be expedient and includes gastric lavage. All parts of the oleander plant are poisonous even the smoke resulting from its burning. Symptoms of oleander poisoning are sweating, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, unconsciousness, respiratory paralysis, and, finally, death.

Rosary Pea - Abrin is the poison in the rosary pea. Exposure can be the result of inhalation, ingestion
Rosary Pea
or contact with the skin or eyes. Death from abrin poisoning could occur thirty-six to seventy-two hours after exposure.
    Symptoms of inhalation include respiratory distress, fever, cough, nausea, heavy sweating and pulmonary edema. The build up of fluid in the lungs could cause cyanosis. Finally, low blood pressure and respiratory failure could occur.
   Symptoms of ingestion are vomiting, bloody diarrhea (is there a grosser two word phrase? mercy!), severe dehydration and low blood pressure. Other possible symptoms may include hallucinations, seizures, and blood in the urine. Within several days, failure of the liver, spleen, and kidneys may occur.

Water hemlock
Water Hemlock - Water hemlock is dangerous to ingest or even apply to the skin. All parts of the plant are considered dangerous and can cause death in under twenty minutes. It is said that Socrates was sentenced to death by means of drinking hemlock. Symptoms of water hemlock poisoning are drooling, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, sweating, dizziness, abdominal pain, weakness, delirium, diarrhea, convulsions, heart problems, kidney failure and coma.

Poisonous Snakes

   Y'all, snakes are weapons. If the setting of your manuscript is rural or an area known for snakes, make use of them! Here are a few of the most poisonous snakes and the effects of their venom. Treatment of all bites by poisonous snakes should include professional medical care. One should never put ice on a bite or apply a tourniquet to a bitten limb. Also, an incision should not be made to the wound as it could cause further injury. And, I might as well say it: don't try to suck out the venom! I mean, really?
   Here's a video on snake bites that just makes me happy.  I don't know why they called an ambulance. The awesomeness and raw confidence of that second guy should have been enough to make the snake venom leave the body out of respect!

     There's a ton of poisonous snakes out there. I couldn't possibly cover them all. I chose three biggies. I know I have readers from all over the world. Feel free to tell me what snake is an issue where you live. It will help other writers out on what snake is found where and how much of a problem it is. Oh, by the way, if you've heard baby snakes are more deadly because they can't control their venom, that is incorrect. They are less venomous according to this guy whom I believe because he has an Australian accent and is playing with a dangerous snake WHILE filming!!!!

Coral Snakes - The venom of the coral snake is one of most poisonous snake venoms in the world, second only to the black mamba. And, there is very little antivenin available to combat the effects of their bite. In fact, as of May 2017, the only producer of antivenin had stopped its production.
   The good news is that not many people die of coral snake bites. The fangs of the snake just aren't terribly efficient at piercing skin and don't stand a chance against a decent pair of leather shoes. The bad new is that inefficiency isn't the same as inability.
   If your character is bitten by a coral snake that character is in for some trouble and probably won't have a clue. Symptoms of a coral snake bite don't manifest for at least twelve to eighteen hours after the strike. Symptoms include muscle weakness, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, difficulty breathing, inability to move eyelids (who knew that was a thing!), blurred vision, decreased oxygen levels, paralysis and respiratory arrest.

Corn and Coral Snakes
Coral snakes look a lot like corn snakes. The latter, however, is harmless. There's a rhyme that helps you identify the poisonous from the harmless and refers to the snake's coloration. "Red on black won't hurt Jack. Red on yellow will kill a fellow!"

Death Adder - Despite being known as Australia's top ambush predatory, the death adder is actually a "sit and wait" kind of predator. If you leave it alone, it will return the favor. (I only know that by reading, not experience.)
   Legend has it that Cleopatra used a death adder to kill herself. If that's true, she sure chose a nasty
Death Adder
way to go. Death adder venom can cause a loss of voluntary muscle control which can result in respiratory failure. Other symptoms of death adder envenomation include abdominal pain, headache, drowsiness and inability to control eye movement.

Rattlesnake (eastern and western diamondback, Mohave, timber) - Rattlesnake venom kills by causing cells of the body to hemorrhage and also by suppressing the nervous system.  
Western Diamondback
 The effects of a rattlesnake bite begin quickly, within seconds of being bitten. Medical help should be reached within thirty minutes of being struck. If left untreated, effects of the venom will increase within a period of two to three days and result in organ failure and death. Symptoms of a rattlesnake bite include sweating, numbness in the face or limbs, lightheadedness, excessive salivation, weakness, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and difficulty breathing.

Well, that's it for our series on poison. What's the next round about? Well, that's up to you. Let me hear from you on "the Twitter" @carlahoch #fightwrite

For a chance to win an Amazon gift card, comment below with the name of a fictitious holiday book that doesn't exist but should!!! For example: Santa Claws: Night of the Jolly Werewolf.

Until the next round of FightWrite.net on Suspense Sisters, get blood on your pages!