Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri, with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored twenty-two books and just finished a new series for Bethany House Publishing. The first book in her Finding Sanctuary series, “Gathering Shadows” was released in May of 2014. The second book, “Deadly Echoes” became available in February. The third book, “Rising Darkness released in November. Now she’s writing a new series based on the U.S. Marshals. The first book, “Fatal Frost,” in her Defenders of Justice series, will release in November of 2016. She is also working on an Amish cozy mystery series for Guideposts. The first book, “Blessings in Disguise” was published in June, 2015. She will write at least three more in this series.
All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”
Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.
A WRITER'S PATH
I was forty-five when I began to wonder if I was called to write. I jumped in with both feet – until I realized the kind of dedication writing would take. I went to the Lord – laid out a fleece. I had to know for certain this was something God wanted me to do. I knew it would cost me something, and I needed to know that this was actually God’s will. He answered in a miraculous way, and I’ve never looked back. Truthfully, I’ve never thought about quitting or changing my mind. I am an author. It’s just who I am. But has the path always been smooth? No.
When I first started writing I wrote straight mystery. In my mind, I wanted to write for unsaved readers because it would give me a chance to share the Gospel. After three books sold to small publishers, an opportunity opened to write cozy mysteries for a large Christian publisher. I took that opportunity and it led to six novels. I thought I would spend my writing career writing cozies. I love them. But then…
The publisher closed their cozy line. I was out of a job. But then…
An editor with this same publisher asked me to turn a proposal for a cozy mystery into a proposal for a Mennonite-themed suspense novel. And I did. That led to three novels. But then…
Another publisher contacted me. They wanted me to write Mennonite-themed novels for them. And I did. Six novels. As time progressed I was able to add more and more suspense to my novels. And I enjoyed it! But then…
I gave the publisher a proposal for a suspense series that revolved around the U.S. Marshals’ Service. This theme was close to my heart. I love law enforcement, and this was something I really wanted to write. Something I was passionate about. And then…
They accepted it!
So in November FATAL FROST releases. And I’m excited.
This is how a mystery writer went to cozies, to Mennonite-themed suspense, to writing about law enforcement. It’s been a strange path. I’ve seen writers give up along their path because it takes twists and turns they didn’t expect. But if you trust God, eventually you’ll end up exactly where you want to be. God is good. By the way, I still get to write cozies for Guideposts. If I stay exactly where I am for the rest of my career, I will happy. But…
Wherever God leads I’ll follow. He knows the desires of my heart even better than I do. My prayer is that if you’re a writer and right now you’re somewhere that seems far away from where you want to be, hearing about my curvy and changing path will encourage you. God’s path may not always be straight – but it will get you to exactly the right place if you just keep believing!
Here’s a brief synopsis for FATAL FROST – and an excerpt. If you’ll leave a comment, along with your contact information, you could win a copy of FATAL FROST when it comes out in November! (U.S. only please.)
When the gang has reason to believe Mercy has possession of some highly sensitive and incriminating information, her boss assigns Mark St. Laurent--a Deputy U.S. Marshal and Mercy's ex-boyfriend--to get her out of town until they can guarantee her safety.
Initially unaware of the danger she's in and uncomfortable working with Mark, Mercy's frustration escalates when she discovers the extent her boss and Mark have been keeping her in the dark. It isn't until a freak ice storm hits, stranding them at a remote location and out of contact with the district office, that the full severity of their situation becomes clear. As the storm worsens, the forces of nature combine with a deadly enemy closing in to put their lives at imminent risk. Can they survive long enough for help to arrive--if help is even coming at all?
There was absolute silence in the van as they waited for the order to start the operation. Mercy clasped her AR-15 rifle against her vest. All LEOs had on their tactical gear. Underneath it, most of the cops wore uniforms. The marshals and the police detectives were dressed in street clothes. With their coats zipped up against the cold, the only way to tell the difference between the various law enforcement agencies represented were the words stamped on the back of their jackets. But tonight, departments, and even rank didn’t matter. They were one unit with one goal.
Mercy’s grip tightened on her rifle as the sound of the rain intensified. It was as if it were directly connected to the increased concentration surging through all the members of the unit. Seconds later, the commander yelled, “Go! Go! Go!”
The doors of the van burst open and everyone jumped out, intent on taking their assigned position. Mercy ran around to the back of the house, keeping as low to the ground as possible, thankful for the dark and the heavy showers. They were shields of protection until the residence was breached. She crouched down near the back door. Seeing another deputy take his place at the back of the yard, she signaled him with a wave of her hand to let him know she was in place. He signaled back. They were set. They both had to be ready to move quickly. If they had the right house, there would be runners. There were always runners.
Seconds later, she heard a shout. “Police! We have a warrant!” Several other voices echoed the same warning. Then came a loud bang, making it clear the front door had been broken down and everyone inside the house was now aware of the raid. Mercy pulled the flashlight out of her belt and trained it on the back door, her rifle held firmly with her other hand.
“He’s over there!”
Mercy swung her flashlight toward a lone figure running away from the house. He must have exited through a basement window. “Watch the door,” she yelled to the other deputy. She sprinted after the runner, identifying herself as a police officer and commanding him to stop. Even though she was actually with the marshals’ office, calling herself a cop made it simpler for everyone to understand, especially the perps.
It was obvious this guy wasn’t going to make it easy for either one of them. As she raced through an adjoining yard, a woman came out onto her back porch and began screaming obscenities at Mercy, ordering her to get off her property. Mercy swung her flashlight toward the woman and instructed her to get inside the house, but this seemed to incense her even more. Mercy had no choice but to ignore the irate resident and stay focused on the fleeing suspect. The icy rain not only made it hard to see, the ground was slick and Mercy slipped several times. Hopefully, the suspect was having the same problem. As she rounded the backyard, she saw someone in the alley. As she approached, the figure turned toward her. A street lamp revealed a gun in his hand.
Mercy dropped her flashlight and took her stance. She raised her rifle to firing position. “Put it down now,” she shouted. “Drop the gun, or I’ll fire.” She was close enough to see fear on the man’s face. She didn’t want to shoot him, but if he didn’t comply with her order, she might not have a choice. Instead of lowering his gun, he raised the barrel. In that instant, Mercy hesitated. For just a moment. That one second of uncertainty cost her. She felt the first bullet hit her vest. The second pierced her shoulder, and searing pain knocked the gun out of her hand, sending her to the ground. The shooter advanced slowly, the apprehension gone from his expression. It had been replaced with hate and victory. He pointed his gun at her, and Mercy prepared herself for the bullet that would end her life. She wanted to scream out that she was only twenty-six. Too young to die. But she knew the man with the gun wouldn’t care.
As expected, she heard the sound of a shot, but surprisingly the expression on the suspect’s face changed once again. This time he looked shocked. As he fell to the ground, Mercy heard Tally’s voice calling her name.
Then there was only darkness.