Thursday, April 30, 2015

Q&A: Favorite Childhood Book

We asked each of us at Suspense Sisters about our favorite childhood books:

Camy Tang:
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey. It was the first fantasy book I'd read and it completely transported me to a different world. It's what spurred me to write my own book for the first time.



Cynthia Hickey:
My favorite book was The Black Stallion series. I love horses, always have. I even have a letter and picture from Walter Farley! In the fourth grade we were assigned to write our favorite author. Mine wrote back!


Nancy Mehl:
I've been asked this before, and it's almost impossible for me to answer. I read voraciously as a child. Too many books to pick just one. I do remember being really moved and impacted by Dickens. I think I connected with him because I'm a very character driven author. I believe I read every book he wrote before I was thirteen.


Elizabeth Goddard:
2001: A Space Odyssey. A strange book for a child, I know, but I loved it and it stayed with me for a lifetime, it seems. I had wanted to be an astronaut when I was young, and loved science fiction.


Dana Mentink:
Hands down, my favorite book was The Wizard of Oz. I was (and am!) in awe of L. Frank Baum's ability to create worlds full of incredible creatures, yet still preserve that cherished feeling of hom.






What was your favorite childhood book?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The peeping in my office...



Mama Jay tends to her four hungry babies.

I seem to have a bird theme invading my life lately. Dana Mentink here, and I'm excited to announce that my newest Love Inspired Suspense is out right now. It has got a bit of a bird theme running through it as the protagonist, wounded parole officer Mick Hudson, helps run a sanctuary for raptors. The heroine, Keeley Stevens, is a wildlife avian photographer. Here's the blurb below and a wee little bio.

Secret Refuge http://bitly.com/1LMRj12

HIS CHANCE AT REDEMPTION
Former parole officer Mick Hudson blames himself for the death of Keeley Stevens's sister. If he hadn't paroled a criminal, she might still be alive. When he hears that the suspected killer has been spotted in Keeley's hometown, he worries she might be the next victim. Keeley doesn't want to take help from the man who could have prevented her sister's death, but she has more than herself to worry about. She'll do anything it takes to protect her family. And Mick will risk his life to make sure that the past does not repeat itself.

Wings of Danger: The path to love is treacherous
 
Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and a two time ACFW Carol Award winner. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She is honored to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired, Harlequin Heartwarming, and Harvest House Publishers. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

So, since I've got a bird theme going on this two book series, it thrills me that from my seat in the garden where I penned these stories, I have lately been treated to the blessing of watching the kites start their new families. They are loud, big bodied white hawks which can hover (earning them the nickname of 'angel hawk'. In addition, there's a little nest of scrub jays in the tree just over my fence. What a pleasure to see these bird families grow and thrive from the seat in my "outdoor writing room!"

So what little birds are common to your area? What is your favorite bird to watch? Post your comment and I'll pick a winner on Sunday to receive a free copy (print or Kindle) of Secret Refuge and a little bird themed treat!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

TAKEN in Review


Amazon Book Description


Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She has enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator and former cop Matthew Dane to help her navigate her reentry into society, she quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn't mean her troubles are over. For one thing, her brother is the leading candidate in the race for Illinois governor, and news of her escape will create a media frenzy. For another, the ransom her family reportedly paid years earlier appears to have been a scam; no one knows what happened to the money. And then there's the fact that Shannon's escape involved faking her own death. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they'll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon's life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her--even if it means stirring up a hornet's nest of secrets.

See the full review HERE!

Friday, April 24, 2015

DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A ... By Cynthia Hickey

Snowman? Wait. Wrong story.

I thought I'd take you through the steps I take when coming up with a story idea.

1- A glimmer of an idea. Most likely came from overhearing something someone said or from one of the many times I disappear into my own world.

2 - Then, I look pictures of my hero and heroine. Aren't the ones I used for Collision Course pretty?

3 -  Then I give them names and come up with why are they involved in the crazy idea I came up with?

4. Then, I plump up the plot with bad guys, secondary characters, and a setting.

5. I try to have a title by this time, which in Collision Course was easy. After all, the heroine almost ran over and killed the hero.

6. Then, I set a word count for each day. I aim for 2,000 words a day.

By the end of a month, I have a 50,000 word book and I'm a happy writer.

I hope you enjoy this book. I will draw a winner by the end of Friday. If you don't win, please consider purchasing any of the Overcoming Evil books. Mistaken Assassin is #1, Collision Course is #6




Multi-published and Amazon 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 has several historical romances releasing in 2013, 2014, 2015 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold more than 300,000 copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazone blog and Suspense Sisters blog. Her and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com


Thursday, April 23, 2015

AN EXCERPT FROM COLLISION COURSE By Cynthia Hickey








Lacey swiped the tears away with the back of her hand. Night had fallen, obscuring her vision while the clouds released their burden of rain.
The road dipped and she hit the brakes. The car slid. Her foot pumped. The Jeep didn’t slow. Bright headlights behind her made seeing even more difficult. A horn blared. Her uncle was behind her.
She fought the steering wheel as a sharp turn sent her into a spin. She struggled to keep her Jeep on the slick road. Her windshield wipers tapped out a steady rhythm against the sleet pelting her window. She couldn’t see a thing. Why hadn’t she waited until daylight to head to the cabin? She could have taken refuge in a motel. Driving while fatigue coated your limb was never a good idea. Yet the sense of urgency wouldn’t leave her.
The vehicle spun like the tea cup ride at Disneyland. Lacey screamed and tightened her grip. Which way was she supposed to turn the wheel? She yanked to the right and slid. A truck loomed in front of her window. She screamed and wrestled harder with the wheel.
Screeching filled the night before she crashed through a wooden fence. The seatbelt dug into her neck and chest. She shoved the airbag out of her way, coughing after inhaling the white powder it released.
Several shoves with her shoulder against the crinkled door and Lacey fell in the mud outside her car. She squinted to make out the truck she’d scraped against. Headlights glimmered faintly through the night’s haze. How could she not have seen the lights?
With her hands slipping and dampness seeping through the knees of her jeans, she crawled to the other vehicle. As she got closer, she noticed the jack and flat tire next to it. Where was the driver?
She hadn’t hit him, had she? Please, God, no. She scrambled to her feet; her breath coming in gasping rasps. She glanced behind the wheel. No one sat slumped over on the front seat. Maybe the truck was abandoned. No, not with the lights left on.
Lacey gripped her hair with both hands, not caring if she smeared mud through the long strands. Something wasn’t right. She studied the discarded flat tire. A new one leaned against the fender. Her gaze slid to the road. If a person squatted here, and an out-of-control vehicle careened toward them … there! In the ditch. Lacey slid down the embankment and came to a stop beside a man.
Dark hair lay matted to his face from the rain. Several inches of water sloshed around him as the icy drizzle turned into a steady stream of rain from heaven. Lacey dropped to her knees and placed two fingers to his neck. A steady thump greeted her, dispelling some of her fear. How was she going to get him back to her Jeep?

A cry came from the cab of the truck, freezing Lacey more effectively than the winter rain. When the sound came again, she climbed back to the road and stumbled to the truck. She shoved the driver’s seat forward. Her knees sagged when she spotted the child in the backseat.

I hope you enjoy this small taste of the story

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

WHY I WROTE COLLISION COURSE By Cynthia Hickey

I love writing cozy mysteries and romantic suspense. I write other genres, too, but those are my favorites. Collision Course is book six in my Overcoming Evil series. I take modern day happenings and turn them into happy endings with a kick-butt heroine and a hunky hero. Now, my heroine might not start out tough.

In Collision Course, Lacey Baxter, was not the bravest person in the county. In fact, fueled more by revenge than a sense for justice, she might be considered more foolish than brave. She's more than happy to team up with handsome DEA agent, John Canyon. Except, she had no idea what seeking revenge would unravel. Still, when events came to a head, Lacey was a gal a man could count on.

Here is the back cover blurb for Collision Course:
Lacey Baxter knows her uncle killed her aunt and she is out to prove it! When she flees her home, she almost runs over and kills DEA agent John Canyon, who is out to get justice for his brother's death, while raising his orphaned niece.

When they discover they're after the same group of men, the two band together against overwhelming odds to bring down a corrupt men set on ruling their small town.

John and Lacey are on a collision course with evil and must rely on not only each other, but on God to safe a town and bring justice.

Has there ever been a time when you rushed ahead without thinking clearly?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

ABOUT CYNTHIA HICKEY

1. When did you discover your love for the written word? 
My mother said that, not having a Kindergarten close enough for me to attend as a child, that she taught me to read. I took to it easily and have always read above my level. Once I discovered the many worlds between the pages of a book, I was hooked.

2. When did you begin your writing career? I’ve made up stories for as long as I can remember, but it isn’t until a few years ago that I actually began to take the writing process seriously. My first novel, Fudge-Laced Felonies, was released through Barbour in 2007.

3. Tell us something that people may not know about you? I’ve been on television twice. Once on the backdrop of a weather report filmed on Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas and another time when a documentary was being filmed at the Pickle Plant where I worked.

4. Do you have a secret desire that may not ever come true? I’ve always thought it would be a blast to be in a movie. Not a walk on character, but an actual main character. An insane person would be fun.

5. Do you have a favorite book? The one book I own that has stood the test of time is Gone With the Wind and Little Women. I still love them.

6. A favorite author? I’d have to say that in today’s market, I love Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander characters are so rich, I feel as if I know them.

7. Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written? No, I can’t say that I do. I guess Fudge would be it if I had to pick, it being my first and all.

8. Any suggestions for pre-pubbed authors? Never, ever, give up. If you’re meant to be an author, you need to write as much as you need to breathe.

Leave a comment at least once this week for a chance to win a Kindle gift copy of Cynthia's latest book, Collision Course. Each comment throughout the week increases your chances of winning.




Multi-published and Amazon 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 has several historical romances releasing in 2013, 2014, 2015 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold more than 300,000 copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazone blog and Suspense Sisters blog. Her and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com
 

A PATH MADE PLAIN in Review!



I am a reader who enjoys a good


A Path Made Plain:Seasons in Pinecraft - Book 2 by Lynette Sowell

Back Cover Information:

Betsy Yoder lives with her great aunt in Sarasota’s Pinecraft neighborhood, far from her family in Ohio. Heartbroken by a man who left her—and the Order—to marry someone else, Betsy instead pours her time and energy into her bakery, offering the village of Pinecraft delicious desserts from her Amish heritage, and is content in her hard-working yet peaceful life.

Enter the formerly Amish Thaddeus Zook, a pastry chef who has moved to Pinecraft after working in restaurants among the Englisch. While Betsy nurses a hesitant heart, Thaddeus shows a similar hesitancy about rejoining an Amish community. Though neither can deny the attraction between them, Thaddeus is hiding a past that could threaten their future together. Betsy has lost one love already; dare she risk loving another who has adopted Englisch ways? Or will Thad listen to the call of the open road and move on again . . . without the love of his life?

See the whole review Here!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Giveaway by Cynthia Hickey

Update: Hahaha oops Cynthia gave me the wrong book to post. Here's the correct book for the giveaway!

Cynthia Hickey has a brand new book released, COLLISION COURSE! We'll be celebrating all this week, kicking off with a contest--two lucky winners will each get an ebook copy.

Here's the back cover blurb:

Lacey Baxter knows her uncle killed her aunt and she is out to prove it! When she flees her home, she almost runs over and kills DEA agent John Canyon, who is out to get justice for his brother's death, while raising his orphaned niece.

When they discover they're after the same group of men, the two band together against overwhelming odds to bring down a corrupt men set on ruling their small town.

John and Lacey are on a collision course with evil and must rely on not only each other, but on God to safe a town and bring justice.

Friday, April 17, 2015

WE HAVE A WINNER!


 


Congratulations to Kristie who won a copy of Colleen Coble's book, The Inn at Oceans' Edge! Happy reading, Kristie!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Too Stupid To Live Heroines by Camy/Camille

Hi guys! I recently had my Regency novella, The Spinster’s Christmas, edited by a professional macro-editor (Meredith Efken at The Fiction Fix-It Shop if you’re interested). I had been in a bad place self-confidence-wise when I wrote the book last year, and I knew it had problems but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what they were.

What was really funny was that Meredith pointed out something glaringly obvious to her that I had completely missed.

I really hate how the cheerleader in those horror movies does the dumbest things when there’s a psychopathic axe-murderer after her. My writer friends and I fondly call her the “Too Stupid To Live” heroine.

Because of my biology research background, I’m usually pretty logical and have avoided the TSTL heroine in my books, but when Meredith edited The Spinster’s Christmas, she found a part near the end where my heroine did exactly that. Like the cheerleader who runs into the empty house and up to the attic when the axe-murdered is after her, my heroine ran away from crowds of people and into the dark creepy woods when the villain was after her.

[Head smack]

Why didn’t I see that when I was writing the book?????

Luckily I was able to fix it, so the revised version of The Spinster’s Christmas will not have her doing such a completely idiotic thing.

As suspense writers, we really have to avoid the TSTL heroine because otherwise the reader tosses our books against the wall, but the fact remains that I am often too close to the story to see something right in front of my face.

Did you read about or see a movie with at TSTL heroine? Sometimes they’re funny and sometimes they’re tragic and sometimes they’re tragically funny.

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her romantic suspense, Gone Missing, releases May 2015 so pre-order it now. Also, her romantic suspense novella, Necessary Proof, is available for free. She is a staff worker for her church youth group, and leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she ponders frivolous things like knitting, running, dogs, and Asiana. Sign up for her newsletter to hear about new releases or sales on her backlist.

Monday, April 13, 2015

COLLEEEN COBLE - THE INN AT OCEAN'S EDGE






USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com and connect with her on Facebook


One of the very best things about the writing life is that you never arrive as an author. There is always something new to try. Before I started The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, I examined what suspense really is. It’s not just that something scary or bad is about to happen, but it’s that need to know what is going to happen next. So I decided to pull out the stops and try to have different layers of suspense in this new novel. Not just that Claire is the target of a killer, but to really up the personal stakes suspense with a secret that is driving everything else that happens in the novel.

I’m so excited to hear what readers think about my experiment. I’ll say this—it sure made it fun for me to write!

Here’s a little bit about the novel:

A vacation to Sunset Cove was her way of celebrating and thanking her parents. After all, Claire Dellamore's childhood was like a fairytale. But with the help of Luke Elwell, Claire discovers that fairytale was really an elaborate lie . . .

The minute she steps inside the grand Inn at Ocean's Edge, Claire Dellamare knows something terrible happened there. She feels it in her bones. Her ensuing panic attack causes a scene, upsetting her parents. Claire attempts to quiet her nerves with a walk on the beach, to no avail. She's at too great a distance to make out details, but she believes she witnesses a murder on a nearby cliff. When local police find no evidence of foul play, they quickly write off the "nervous" woman's testimony as less than credible.

But Luke Rocco, home on leave from the Coast Guard, has reason to believe Claire. Years ago when his mother went missing, Luke's father suspected she'd been murdered. He died never having convinced the police to investigate. So when an employee of the grand hotel doesn't show up for work, Luke steps in to help Claire track down the missing woman.
As Claire and Luke put together the pieces of a decades-old mystery, they discover that some family secrets refuse to stay buried. And some passions are worth killing for.

COLLEEN IS GIVING AWAY A COPY OF THE INN AT OCEAN'S EDGE! JUST LEAVE A COMMENT, ALONG WITH YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION! WE'LL PICK A WINNER ON FRIDAY! (U.S only please.)