Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Things an Author Will Do

by Patricia Bradley

Have you ever thought about what a writer will do to research a story? I've done things like having someone tie my hands behind my back and leave so I could see how my heroine would get out of her predicament. It wasn't easy, but I managed to get loose. 


My next series is set in Natchez, a town I'd never visited, so off I went for a few days to scope it out. What a lovely town. And oh, the old houses are so beautiful. And the Natchez Trace, which begins in Natchez (or ends depending on which direction you're coming) is absolutely gorgeous!

Then there was the Sunday after Thanksgiving when I boarded a plane and flew over seventeen hours to Israel. It was an opportunity to research a book I want to set there about an archeologist who finds a rare book and is accused of stealing it when the book disappears.

Israel is a beautiful place and I thought I'd share a few photos with you.

The first photo is taken from En Gedi with the Dead Sea and Jordon in the distance. I floated in the Dead Sea...and took a salt bath. It was wonderful!



 This is the Jordan River where John the Baptist baptized. I always thought it was bigger than this. :-)





 When we left the baptismal site, I caught this photo of a camel. 



This was taken from Mount Tabor. The drive up was winding and narrow, but it was an amazing sight.


This photo was taken from the top of Megiddo. That's Mount Tabor in the distance.

 Megiddo was a very interesting place that is under excavation. So far, archeologists believe they've found Solomon's stables at the site.




From Megiddo, we drove to Poriya, where we had a wonderful dinner.




And then we saw this beautiful sunset. 



 We stayed at a hostel in Jaffa, a kibbutz near Qumram, an apartment in Tiberias where we walked up four flights of stairs, and then an apartment in Jerusalem close enough that we walked to the Old City every day.

It was a great trip and I would go back in a heartbeat! If you're an author, what place would you like to set a book? And if you're a reader, where would you like an author to set a book?


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

WHAT'S HOT IN INSPIRATIONAL SUSPENSE

Greetings, Suspense Sisters Readers. Mary Ellis here. Here's a brand new release from Charles Martin, Send Down the Rain, from Thomas Nelson.



From the New York Times bestselling author of The Mountain Between Us comes a new, spellbinding story of buried secrets, lost love, and the promise of second chances.

Allie is still recovering from the loss of her family’s beloved waterfront restaurant on Florida’s Gulf Coast when she loses her second husband to a terrifying highway accident. Devastated and losing hope, she shudders to contemplate the future—until a cherished person from her past returns.

Joseph has been adrift for many years, wounded in both body and spirit and unable to come to terms with the trauma of his Vietnam War experiences. Just as he resolves to abandon his search for peace and live alone at a remote cabin in the Carolina mountains, he discovers a mother and her two small children lost in the forest. A man of character and strength, he instinctively steps in to help them get back to their home in Florida. There he will return to his own hometown—and witness the accident that launches a bittersweet reunion with his childhood sweetheart, Allie.

When Joseph offers to help Allie rebuild her restaurant, it seems the flame may reignite—until a forty-five-year-old secret begins to emerge, threatening to destroy all hope for their second chance at love.

In Send Down the Rain, Charles Martin proves himself to be a storyteller of great wisdom and compassion who bears witness to the dreams we cherish, the struggles we face, and the strengths we must summon when life seems to threaten what we hold most dear.

You can order this book from Christianbook.com: https://www.christianbook.com/send-down-the-rain/charles-martin/9780718084783/pd/084783?event=Fiction|1000643

Monday, February 25, 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 Patricia Bradley. She’ll tell us about her recent trip to Israel!


On Friday we’ll share news about an exciting suspense anthology that features several of the Suspense Sisters! Here’s a little about it:  

Enjoy the best of Christian suspense in this sixteen book anthology by some of Christian Fiction's most popular mystery and suspense authors. Stories of suspense by Mary Alford, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Vannetta Chapman, Mary Ellis, Debby Giusti, Ruth Hartzler, Shaen Layle, Ruth Logan Herne, Loree Lough, Amy Lillard, Elizabeth Ludwig, Nancy Mehl, Serena Miller, Samantha Price, and Alana Terry. All for just .99 cents.

SUMMER OF SUSPENSE is now available for preorder at Apple and Barnes and Noble. This anthology collection will release on August 6th. After the release week, the book price will be $9.99, so don’t miss out on this amazing read for just .99.

Apple: https://apple.co/2EhNTJV

*On August 6th, SUMMER OF SUSPENSE will be available on Kindle. It will be .99 for the rest of that week before going up to $9.99!











The Suspense Sisters


We love books!

Friday, February 22, 2019

BOOK REVIEW ~ UNINTENDED TARGET

by Patricia Bradley

This week I'm reviewing Unintended Target by D. L. Wood.

Here's the back cover copy:
WINNER OF THE 2016 ILLUMINATION BOOK AWARDS GOLD MEDAL FOR CHRISTIAN EBOOK FICTION

Travel photojournalist Chloe McConnaughey thought she understood her brother Tate—a brilliant programmer willing to compromise anything to get ahead. She just didn’t know that included her. 

When Tate dies unexpectedly, Chloe copes by taking an assignment in the Caribbean where she meets Jack, a charming Manhattan escapee who almost has her believing life could turn around. But the illusion is shattered when a series of bizarre incidents leaves them framed for murder and running from killers convinced that Chloe is the key to questions Tate left behind. Suddenly Jack’s timely entrance into her life seems more than coincidental, but with nowhere else to turn, Chloe must trust this man who is not only charming, but also dangerous, and much better at evading capture than he should be. Strained to the breaking point by a life consistently marked by tragedy, Chloe fights a sense of hopelessness, confronting the age-old question: if it’s not all random—if God does exist—why would He allow bad things to happen to good people? 

Hunted from the tiny island of St. Gideon all the way to Miami, Chloe and Jack desperately search for the evidence that will prove their innocence and eliminate them as targets of the shadowy conspiracy that will stop at nothing to make its problems go away.

My take:
I had a hard time putting this book down. There are enough twists and turns to keep you glued to the page. Wood does a great job of blending suspense, romance, and God throughout the story. It's a book romantic suspense readers will enjoy. Readers who like a lot of action will be happy as well. Wood is never preachy and her relationship with Jack kept me wondering what was going to happen when she discovered his faults...and like all good writers, Wood wove his faults in nicely. :-) 

Leave a comment with your contact information and I'll enter you in a drawing for a digital copy of Unintended Target.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Say "YES" to Turtle Cheesecake!


Cheesecake. Not necessarily turtle. :)
by Elizabeth Goddard

I’m sure you’re familiar with this quote:

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”― John Lydgate

Recently I've participated in quite a few chats on Facebook. One question posed has to do with romantic suspense preferences. Do you as a reader prefer a romantic suspense novel with more romance? Or do you prefer to read more suspense?

Or do you prefer a good healthy dose of both romance and suspense?

Let’s face it, there are as many flavors of romantic suspense as there are beverages. And that’s a good thing.

When skimming through comments, I found preferences all over the map. I haven’t actually done the math, but let’s just say that preferences are split evenly three ways.

More suspense.

More romance.

Equal parts both.



I find these same types of comments in reviews of various romantic suspense titles—too much romance. Too much suspense. Or the combination is just right. (Reminds me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.)

What this means to writers is that we can’t please everyone! No matter what kind of story I write, some readers are going to love the mix while others not so much. That simply means that we’re all created differently and have varying perspectives.

Like morning coffee. Do you prefer sugar or cream or both? Or do you want your coffee black?

Your response might be you don’t drink coffee. You prefer tea! Ha!


Or let’s talk about dessert. Cheesecake, chocolate or caramel? If someone offers you a slice of turtle cheesecake (cheesecake swirled with chocolate, caramel and nuts) you’re not going to turn them down, are you? No. You’re going to enjoy the full experience that you can only get when these dessert-y favorites are layered together.

So what am I to do as a writer who writes romantic suspense? Should I second-guess my stories? Try to write more romance or more suspense? I’ve decided to keep doing what I do.

I start out with two very well-developed characters who inevitably are drawn to each other as the danger continues to increase. I have to trust that a well-written and deeply-layered story will trump the various preferences regarding romantic suspense.

And hope readers will say ‘YES’ to turtle cheesecake . . . or rather a deliciously-layered story.


Thanks for joining me!!

I love to connect with my readers! To keep updated on the latest in book news you can join me on my Author Facebook Page or Sign up for my Great Escapes Newsletter on my website! 

My latest release is NEVER LET GO.





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.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

WHAT'S HOT IN INSPIRATIONAL SUSPENSE

Greetings, Suspense Sisters Readers, Mary Ellis here. Here's a brand new release by Michelle Griep,
Ladies of Intrigue: 3 Tales of 19th-Century Romance with a Dash of Mystery


3 Page-Turners Under One Cover from Reader Favorite Michelle Griep!
Can truth and love prevail when no one is as they appear?
The Gentleman Smuggler’s Lady
Cornish Coast, 1815
When a prim and proper governess returns to England from abroad, she expects to comfort her dying father—not fall in love with a smuggler. Will Helen Fletcher keep Isaac Seaton’s unusual secret?

The Doctor’s Woman (A Carol Award Winner!)
Dakota Territory, 1862
Emmy Nelson, daughter of a missionary doctor, and Dr. James Clark, city doctor aspiring to teach, find themselves working side by side at Fort Snelling during the Dakota Uprising. That is when the real clash of ideals begins.

A House of Secrets
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1890
Ladies Aide Chairman, Amanda Carston resolves to clean up St. Paul’s ramshackle housing, starting with the worst of the worst: a "haunted" house that’s secretly owned by her beau—a home that’s his only means of helping brothel girls escape from the hands of the city’s most infamous madam.

You can get this book at Christianbook.com: https://www.christianbook.com/ladies-intrigue-tales-century-romance-mystery/michelle-griep/9781683228264/pd/228265?event=Fiction|1000643

And I almost forgot to announce my own new mystery released this month, Sweet Taste of Revenge, from Severn House Publishers! 


When a wealthy socialite, owner of the largest yacht manufacturer on the Gulf Coast, is found dead, PI Kate Weller is sent on assignment to investigate. Plenty of people would benefit from this socialite’s demise, including her daughter, Lainey. But Agnes Westin created plenty of enemies on her climb to the top, both socially and in business, many with a taste for revenge. When Kate arrives in the only town she could ever call home, Pensacola, she must face why she’s been on the run for years. As a child she witnessed the crime which sent her brother, Liam, to jail. Now someone wants to make sure her suppressed memories stay buried. Can she find Agnes Westin’s killer and clear her brother’s name before their hometown enemy silences them forever?


To order Sweet Taste of Revenge, Click on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Taste-Revenge-Marked-Retribution-ebook/dp/B07KXWTDNM/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3KL99MHJF9R0P&keywords=sweet+taste+of+revenge&qid=1550075433&s=gateway&sprefix=Sweet+Taste+of+Rev%2Caps%2C187&sr=8-1






Monday, February 18, 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.












On Wednesday, we'll hear from Elizabeth Goddard.












And on Friday, Patricia Bradley will give her thoughts on a book she's read recently and a digital giveaway of the book.

















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/