Friday, February 15, 2019

An Interview with debut author, Eric Landfried ~ Win a copy of his Solitary Man

Good morning, readers. Mary Ellis here. Today I have the pleasure of interviewing a fabulous new author, Eric Landfried.

First, the interview: If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?

I would say that feels like an extremely difficult task, but I’ll give it a try. There are good adjectives I could use to describe myself (creative, thoughtful, funny, loving) but plenty of bad ones as well (prideful, impatient, fearful, sinful). So instead of turning this into a glowing review of myself, I’ll say that I’m sinful, yet righteous, broken, yet being repaired, unlovable, yet loved beyond comparison, all thanks to the grace and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?

I tend to be a homebody, so most of my hobbies revolve around being able to stay home and be comfortable. I love sitting down with a really good book (currently splitting my time between Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe), or listening to great music (Josh Garrels, The Gray Havens, and Wovenhand are a few of my recent favorites). I’m also a movie buff and an avid baseball fan, so I don’t mind leaving the house for a movie theater or an exciting trip to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play. I guess I’m a bit of a foodie as well, since I love finding new and different restaurants in my work travels and then bringing my wife back for a date night.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child?

I’ve always been an avid reader. According to my dad, I was reading books before I even had the alphabet straightened out. The one book I remember most as a child was a picture book called We Were Tired of Living in a House by Liesel Moak Skorpen (The 1969 version with the original illustrations is much better than the update they did a few years ago. It’s out of print now, but you can buy a used copy on Amazon for only $75!). I loved the different houses the kids built and how they came to realize the best house was the one they already had. I also had a series of abridged, illustrated classics that I devoured: Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, James Fenimore Cooper, Jonathan Swift, Herman Melville, and many more. I loved them all so much that I’ve been revisiting them through the unabridged versions as an adult.

As a teen, I graduated to more adult reading, going through Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books and also reading horror from Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I loved the sci-fi stories of Alan Dean Foster, and I was also really into crime novels by Elmore Leonard and Charles Willeford. Koontz and Leonard were probably my favorites of these, and had the most impact and influence on me as a writer, although Foster’s dry sense of humor crops up now and then in my writing.

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

People who meet me now are usually surprised to hear that I spent the 90’s playing drums in a handful of punk and indie rock bands, especially since I have no piercings or tattoos to show for it. Now I put my drumming talents to use on occasion in my church’s worship band (Crossway Church in Keene, NH. Please visit if you’re in the area!).

As someone who can bang out an 85,000 word novel, you might be surprised that I’m not much of a talker. I’m quite the introvert and have been since I was a child. I sometimes struggle with conversations, and am, far more often than I’d like to be, the source of awkward silences. But I’m happy to say that God is working on me, and while it’s still a struggle sometimes, I’m much better than I used to be. I’m thankful for His sanctifying grace.

As I struggle to come up with a third thing about myself, I’m suddenly fearful that I’m actually very boring as a person. I once rode a baby elephant when I was a kid. Does that count? I even have a photo of it, with this guy with a giant, curly afro leading the elephant around while I clung to its back. It was late 70’s/early 80’s so that afro was pretty stylin’.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?

The first story I ever wrote (at the age of 13) was about a kid struggling with his parents’ divorce. It definitely fell into the category of semi-autobiographical as my parents split when I was just an infant. Since then, most of my writing has fallen into the thriller/suspense genre, but I’m of the mind that a good story is a good story, regardless of its genre, and all good stories deserve to be told. So I’m definitely open to a change in course, depending on the random ideas that pop into my head.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

While I was self-editing Solitary Man, I gave it to my friend Jerry, a pastoral assistant at my church at the time. He enjoyed the story, but pointed out numerous instances of latent error in the theology my character Jonathan preaches throughout the book. This was very humbling, especially since Jerry is actually around ten years younger than me. But I’m thankful for his critique, because it made Solitary Man a better book, and I had a chance to grow in my own knowledge and understanding of the Gospel. I’m so thankful for this faithful brother who is off now pastoring a church of his own in Ludlow, VT.

In all honesty, I think the best compliment was my publishing contract. After thirty years of writing, wondering with every rejection if I was actually just a talentless hack, I got my first “yes.” And now people I’ve never met are telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my writing. Validation and affirmation are healing balms to a writer’s soul.

Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?

As I said, I’ve dabbled in other genres, and some of the ideas currently fighting for space in my head are different from anything I’ve ever written before. I’m currently working on a sequel to Solitary Man, but once that’s done, I’ve got an idea for a science fiction comedy/satire that I’ve been mulling over for years. I think I finally understand it and know how to write it, so it might be next on my list. Of course there’s also a marital drama kicking around in my head, so that could be next as well. On top of all that, I’ve been talking with my best friend Chris about collaborating on a picture book, with me writing and him illustrating (follow his work on Instagram @thecmbutton! He’s amazing!). As to the why, I find once an idea cements itself into my imagination, I have to write it, or it will torment me until I do (like that sci-fi story has). Story ideas are often like toddlers, constantly begging for attention.

If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?

I’m turning 45 this year, but I’ve had the ability and talent to write for decades. If I could go back in time, I’d grab my 25 year old self and shake him, telling him, “Quit being lazy! Get yourself published! You have the ability, now do the work!” Procrastination is a career killer, especially for a writer.

What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?

Keep working, keep trying. If you have talent, you will eventually get your “yes.” Solitary Man received around 20 rejections before Ambassador International offered me a contract. Also, read good authors, both classic and modern. Immerse yourself in good writing, and eventually, you’ll find yourself becoming a better writer as a result. To end, I’ll borrow a quote from Galaxy Quest: “Never give up, never surrender!”

Tell us a little about the story, Solitary Man:
Ten years after a brutal war, cannibals and humans fight over the pieces of a hardscrabble existence. Former Navy SEAL Doyle has been prowling the broken remnants of a devastated America for years. Alone in an armored bus loaded with weapons and supplies, he’s grateful for his solitude. Being alone makes it easier to survive, as others can become a liability in the end of the world. But when a particularly brutal attack leaves Doyle in need of fuel and repair, he has no choice but to venture into the nearest settlement. 

Jonathan has been pastoring a small church of Christians in that same settlement, but when he meets Doyle he sees an opportunity to expand his ministry. Cannibals have kept everyone from traveling, but Doyle’s armored transport and weapons bring hope to his small band of followers. The two men strike up a mutually beneficial bargain, but neither of them realizes that this journey will change them in ways they could never have imagined.
As they search for other believers, they must battle cannibals, militant atheists, and a mysterious super soldier. Doyle’s unbelief and Jonathan’s faith will collide in this action-packed wasteland. Solitary Man is a gritty, action-packed post-apocalyptic story with a solid, Biblical worldview. 

And about you? Eric Landfried was thirteen years old when he realized he was a writer. Once 
he had this realization, he grabbed a spiral notebook and began filling it with all the stories bumping around in his head. He was young and inexperienced, and therefore terrible, but the ideas kept coming and he kept improving as a writer. As a shy and withdrawn kid living in West Virginia, writing became the best outlet to express himself, and he exploited it as much as he could. As an adult, he wrote less frequently, usually due to his procrastinating nature, but the ideas never went away. Many of them are still with him, waiting to be introduced to the world. “Solitary Man” is Eric’s debut novel ready for introduction. Eric now lives in New Hampshire with his wife Kristen and son Nathan. He is excited to begin a new chapter in his life that involves doing something he has always loved, and he is eternally grateful for this opportunity to share his thoughts and ideas with the world.

For a chance to win a copy of Solitary Man, please leave Eric a comment. World-wide.

To purchase Solitary Man, please click on this link: http://ambassador-international.com/books/solitary-man/

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Warm Valentine's Day wishes!



Best wishes to you all during this week of Valentine's Day. Just a couple more days to go!

I hope wherever you are, you are staying warm and dry! here in the Upper Midwest, we barely saw the snow melt from our snow storm last week, and we got hit again--eight inches of heavy, wet snow and then high winds yesterday.

While we might be getting just a tad tired of shoveling, the second photo down is of one of our mares enjoying the snow this morning, after being let out of the barn.


So you have anything fun planned for this week?  Leave a comment and you will be in a drawing for an e-copy of  Summer at Briar Lake....a little taste of the sunnier weather  that should be just a few months away!



We don't even try to go out to dinner on Valentine's Day--the restaurants are crowded and it's just nicer being at home snuggled up with our pups in front of the fireplace.  :)


Have a lovely week, and best wishes to you all!

Roxanne Rustand
























Click here to visit Roxanne's website!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

WHAT'S HOT IN INSPIRATIONAL SUSPENSE

Hi Suspense Sisters readers, Mary Ellis here. Here's what has just released in inspirational suspense from Barbour Publishing. The Coffee Club Mysteries ~ 6 Whodunits Are Brewing in Small Town Kansas by Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Elizabeth Ludwig, Dana Mentink, Candice Prentice and Janice Thompson.



Here's a bit about the anthology: Mysterious events are brewing in this Kansas coffee shop! Morgan finds a worker hanged. Evelyn discovers the body of a church meal organizer. Somebody's stalking Harper for her jade owl. Jeanine's charity event proceeds are missing. Jo sends a man into anaphylactic shock. And Penny finds a gun---in her beehive. Who's behind these unexplained occurrences? 448 pages, softcover from Barbour.

The Coffee Club Mysteries is available from Christianbook.com at this link:
https://www.christianbook.com/coffee-mysteries-whodunits-brewing-small-kansas/darlene-franklin/9781683228233/pd/228232?event=Fiction|1000643

Monday, February 11, 2019

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’ll hear from Suspense Sister Roxanne Rustand.  


On Friday we’ll interview author Eric Landfried about his book, SOLITARY MAN. Eric is giving away a copy of this unique book.

Ten years after a brutal war, cannibals and humans fight over the pieces of a hardscrabble existence.

Former Navy SEAL Doyle has been prowling the broken remnants of a devastated America for years. Alone in an armored bus loaded with weapons and supplies, he's grateful for his solitude. Being alone makes it easier to survive, as others can become a liability in the end of the world. But when a particularly brutal attack leaves Doyle in need of fuel and repair, he has no choice but to venture into the nearest settlement.

Jonathan has been pastoring a small church of Christians in that same settlement, but when he meets Doyle he sees an opportunity to expand his ministry. Cannibals have kept everyone from traveling, but Doyle's armored transport and weapons bring hope to his small band of followers. The two men strike up a mutually beneficial bargain, but neither of them realizes that this journey will change them in ways they could never have imagined.

As they search for other believers, they must battle cannibals, militant atheists, and a mysterious super soldier. Doyle's unbelief and Jonathan's faith will collide in this action-packed wasteland.

Solitary Man is a gritty, action-packed post-apocalyptic story with a solid, Biblical worldview.

 
The Suspense Sisters


We love books!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Interview with Elizabeth Goddard

by Patricia Bradley

Actually, we're interviewing Elizabeth Goddard's character, Willow Anderson, the heroine of her new Uncommon Justice Books. The first book in the series is Never Let Go

Me: Willow, it’s a new year. What do you wish someone had told you at the beginning of last year? 


Willow: That I needed to spend more time with my grandfather. Cherish him. Tell him and show him how
much I love him. Better yet, I need to prevent the events that led to tragedy. 


Me: You’ve followed in your grandfather’s footsteps. Do you think you’ve turned out the way he expected? 

Willow: He spent years training me to take over in his forensic genealogy business, so I hope I don’t let him down. But I honestly don’t think I have his gift to find clues and follow leads that others miss. That scares me because the last thing I want is to be less than what he hoped for.

Me: What’s the worst thing that happened in your life and what did you learn from it? 

Willow: My parents were killed when I was young and so my grandfather raised me. I still miss them and still wonder why they died. I learned that I need to trust God no matter what, and I’m still trying to do that.

Me: What do you believe about God? 
Willow: That He’s always with us, no matter what we’re going through. That He is my rock, and that He will never let go.

Me: Former FBI Agent Austin McKade is your ex-flame…what do regret most about your breakup? 
Willow: I wish I hadn’t let so many things come between us. Things that now seem so unimportant, so trivial. Look at the time we’ve wasted being apart.

Me: If you had a ‘snow’ day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do? 
Willow: Get lost in a historical novel.
Me, too! :-)

Me: Tell us a little bit about this book you’re starring in. 
Willow: Here’s the blurb:

As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth.

Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow's tender heart at risk.

In this fast-paced and emotional page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps the stakes high, the romantic tension sparking, and the outcome uncertain until the very end.


Me: What do you want the reader to take away? 

Willow: A happy sigh of satisfaction, and to know that God is with us.

Thank you so much for joining us today! Elizabeth is giving away a copy of Never Let Go to one lucky commenter. 

Just leave a comment below with your contact information and I'll draw a name next Friday and post it in the comments.
You can find the links to purchase Never Let Go at her website.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

FightWrite - Wounds by Firearms Pt 1


If the setting of your manuscript is the good ole U. S. of A. and it contains a violent crime with a weapon, statistically, that weapon will be a gun. That's why there's a whole chapter on guns as well as gun injuries in my book. Be on the lookout for it June, 2019 with Writer's Digest. 

According to Criminal Justice Information Services Division 2016 report, of the 15,070 murder weapons used in the United States, 11,004 were firearms. What that means for us as writers is that we need to be familiar both with firearms and what they do. (Choose these links for a review of handguns and rifles/shotguns.) 

In this first installment we are going to look at how to NOT handle a gun, some statistics regarding gun injuries and exactly how guns do damage. Hint: It's not just because the bullet makes a hole.

How to NOT Shoot a Gun (In good conscience, I have to include this.)



Guns by the Numbers
Where are our characters most likely to be shot? 
Well that depends on the circumstances of the shooting: assault versus unintentional. But, in both cases, I think the facts will surprise you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (yeesh, that's a mouthful) the area most likely to struck by a bullet is the legs and feet. 


(1)

Mode of transport to hospital (1):
Ambulance/EMS - 69%
Air Transport - 2
Private Vehicle - 13 
Walk-in/police - 6
Unknown (We all know it was a dragon) - 7

Medical outcome for firearm injuries in the U.S.(1):
ER visit, treatment and release - 31%
Hospitalization and release -  36%
Death - 33%

Fatal injuries by firearm(1): Men - 86%, Women - 14
Nonfatal injuries by firearm (1): Men - 90, Women - 10

Fatal injuries by age (1):
0-14 years   2.4%
15-24          42.7
25-34          27.4
35-44          12.1
45-54           8.0
55-64           3.9
65+              3.2

Approximate number of fatalities by firearm type (2):
handgun - 64%
not stated - 28
rifles - 4
shotguns - 3
other - 2

How Guns Do Damage

When a bullet enters the body, the energy that put it there dissipates and creates a cavity. That cavity stretches, distorts, and compresses the surrounding tissue. This is known as blast effect and the faster the bullet, the greater the blast effect; as well, the greater the bodily damage. If the bullet tumbles or oscillates within the body, the potential for damage increases even more.

Here's a video on exactly what a bullet does to tissue. Notice that even though the entry wound looks like a tidy hole, the skin expanded and contracted greatly with the initial impact. It's pretty shocking. There's also a bit about bullet proof vests.




Damage Done by Different Guns
One way to see the sort of damage a gun can do is to whack a watermelon. 




What if the bullet isn't fired from a gun. Is it still dangerous? For those of you looking for creative ways to kill with a bullet, this video is for you. (I love Hickok45 on YouTube. Fantastic resource and just a charming fella.)




In our next round on FightWrite.net we will look at the sort of wounds created by firearms. Until then, I leave you with a beautiful disarm by Victor Marx and the perfect disarm by Master Ken. OSS and get blood on your pages!






What questions do you have regarding bullet wounds? Comment below to be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card!




(1) ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4700838/
(2) statista.com/statistics/195325/murder-victims-in-the-us-by-weapon-used/



Tuesday, February 5, 2019

WHAT'S HOT IN INSPIRATIONAL SUSPENSE

Hi Suspense Sisters Readers, Mary Ellis here. Today our very own Suspense Sister, Elizabeth Goddard, releases Never Let Go, book one in More in Uncommon Justice Series from Revell.



Here's a bit about the story: As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth. Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow's tender heart at risk. In this fast-paced and emotional page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps the stakes high, the romantic tension sparking, and the outcome uncertain until the very end.

Never Let Go is available from Christian.book.com by clicking on this link:

https://www.christianbook.com/never-let-go-1/elizabeth-goddard/9780800729844/pd/729841?event=Fiction|1000643


Monday, February 4, 2019

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’ll hear from Carla Hoch! She’ll give us another interesting look into the world of writing realistic scenes for suspense and mystery novels. This time we’ll learn about Wounds by Firearms - Part one.

Carla is a professional fight scene editor, consultant and FightWriting teacher. We’re excited to announce that her book, FIGHT WRITE: HOW TO WRITE BELIEVABLE FIGHT SCENES, releases in June. Leave a comment and you could win a $10.00 Amazon gift card!

On Friday we’ll interview Willow Anderson. Willow is forensic genealogist featured in Elizabeth Goddard’s new release, NEVER LET GO: UNCOMMON JUSTICE BOOK ONE.  

As a forensic genealogist, Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from the hospital more than twenty years ago. The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up when someone makes an attempt on her life to keep her from discovering the truth.

Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers his help to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget. And even if it puts Willow's tender heart at risk.

In this fast-paced and emotional page-turner, bestselling author Elizabeth Goddard keeps the stakes high, the romantic tension sparking, and the outcome uncertain until the very end. 

Leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of NEVER LET GO!


The Suspense Sisters


We love books!

Friday, February 1, 2019

INTERVIEW WITH VERONICA HELEY


Veronica Heley celebrated the publication of her 82nd book in December 2018, having been in the business for over 40 years. She is currently writing two gentle crime series set in different areas of London and three short stories a year for the Methodist Recorder. She has also written children’s and resource books, a biography, and some historical fiction, along with many articles and reviews. She’s involved with her local church and community affairs, likes to break for coffee with friends and does the garden when she has time. You can learn more about Veronica by visiting her website.   

INTERVIEW WITH VERONICA HELEY
 

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
 

I’m a story-teller who writes about family crises and murders . . . in which the good always come out on top.
 

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?
 

I have cups of coffee with friends, I garden and I sing alto in a ladies’ choir.
 

What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
 

From fairy stories I moved straight on to Jane Austen.
 

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

I play Patience (Solitaire) with real cards, I always have two vases of real flowers in my living room, and I haven’t been to a hairdresser for fifty years.
 

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Is there something else you'd like to try someday? What is it?
 

I started in crime, switched to historical, did a stint of fourteen years writing children’s stories for the Christian market plus a biography of St Paul. I did the storyboards for some cartoons, and loads of reviews of books. Then came the text for three pop-up books, and at the turn of the century I was invited back into crime with a Christian background . . . and I’ve been there ever since. Oh, and I wrote a lot of short stories along the way. 

For years I lectured on How to Write. Every now and then I think I ought to put my notes into a book format. If my story-telling facility ever deserts me, then perhaps I will . . . but it doesn’t seem to have done so yet.
 
What’s the best writing advice you ever received?
 

The best advice I was given was to learn how to edit my own work. It took a while for me to do that but it’s paid off.  

Do you have any writing goals you haven’t met yet? What are they?
 

My next writing goal is to finish the umpteenth working through of my next book, get it delivered and accepted. After that . . . who knows? Once I thought it would be pleasant if my books were adopted for television, but I avoid swearing and explicit sex and cruelty. So no, that’s not likely to happen.
 

What are you working on now?
 

I’m working on the 20th Ellie Quicke mystery, which is probably going to be the last in that series. I’ve been living with Ellie for twenty years, and I feel she’s grown enough to do without me in future. What happens next? I haven’t the faintest idea. If God wants me to do another book about her, or someone in her family situation – or about Bea Abbot (the other series that I write about) then He’ll give me the idea for it. I leave all that to Him.
 

Tell us about your latest releases.
 

I have had two books published recently. One, from the Ellie Quicke series, came out last June with Severn House (September in USA). This was MURDER BY SUGGESTION which opens when
Ellie’s difficult daughter Diana turns up with suitcases in tow. Bunny Brewster has died of an overdose, and Diana’s husband, Evan, is convinced she is responsible for his friend’s death. Four other neglected, bored wives in their circle recently joked about ways to kill their husbands . . . and are also thrown out by their husbands . . . ending up on Ellie’s doorstep. Can Ellie work out who is responsible, and why?
 


Then at the end of the year Severn House brought out another Bea Abbot story, FALSE ACCOUNT. Wealthy Marcia Tredgold and her dowdy daughter Charlotte, visit Bea, asking for her to find replacement staff for them . . . but what Marcia really wants is to find out whokilled her two cats! A shocking event causes Bea to worry about Marcia’s own safety. Could the cats’ deaths be linked to other disturbing events? And whose account can be trusted in the web of secrets and lies which has been spun around the family?

 

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

The most important thing is that however diffident or assertive we may be; however rich or poor, however difficult our family circumstances, our Christian background help us to get through whatever life throws at us.
 

Leave a comment, along with your contact information, and you could win a copy of Veronica's book, MURDER BY SUGGESTION!