Friday, June 28, 2019

Meet Virginia Vaughn, author of Risky Return

by Patricia Bradley

Wednesday I featured Virginia Vaughn's newest Love Inspired Suspense on What's Hot in Inspirational Suspense and now I'm interviewing her on the Suspense Sisters.


I've known Virginia for...hmmm...at least five years and probably longer. Time just seems to get away from me.  Anyhoo, here's my interview...Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for Risky Return!


If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?  
It’s not hordering if its books. Sorry, I can’t help myself. I love everything about books—the touch, the smell, and especially the story waiting to open my imagination and draw me inside.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?
When I’m not writing, I can usually be found reading, of course! But I also enjoy movies and finding a good show to binge watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I’m also a fan of disco music—I even taught my 8 y/o nephew to shake shake shake his booty, lol—and I adore true crime podcasts. I’m definitely what you would call an inside girl, but I’m raising two rambunctious boys who love to swim so, these days, you can often find me at the pool when I’m not writing.  
What was your favorite book as a teen or child?
My teacher read the class Where the Red Fern Grows when I was in fourth grade and that book cemented my love for reading. I still remember the laughter and the tears that story evoked in me. So much so that I recently bought it to read to my nephews at night only to discover it's on the 10 y/o’s summer reading list.
Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.
  1. Murder runs in my family. Just kidding…but my family is always helpful when it comes to brainstorming plot holes in my stories. My mother once pointed out an interesting place I could dump a body and neither of us even blinked at having that conversation. We may, however, have frightened the neighbors and got put on some kind of community watch program.
  1. I have an ever expanding list of ways to kill you and I’m not afraid to use it…in my books, of course. Insert evil suspense writer laugh here. 
  1. I’ve been known to talk about how I’m going to murder a character and then quote scripture all in one conversation, a paradox my son finds hilarious.

How did you come to be a writer?
I had my first creative writing class in fourth grade. I wrote a story about a purple people eater and my teacher and classmates raved about it. On the swings at recess that day, I decided I wanted to be a writer. But it wasn’t until many, many years later that I looked around at all the books I loved and thought if those authors could write and publish their stories, so could I. It took a lot of years of learning the craft, along with a lot of determination and persistence, but it finally paid off.
What is the most important thing you’d like readers to take away from your books?
A few years back, I read a secular romantic suspense book and, having spent the previous years exclusively reading Christian works, something about it nagged at me. It wasn’t the language or the sex scenes, but the utter lack of hope that struck me about that story. The heroine was determined that if she could just reinvent herself or do this or that better then her life would matter and the hero would love her. All I could think was Girl, you need Jesus. If readers take away nothing else from my stories, I pray its that we don’t have to do this life alone. Our hope is found not in ourselves but in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I so agree about some of the general market's lack of hope in their books. What is the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?
The best advice I ever received is the same advice I always give to unpublished writers. Target a genre and READ, READ, READ in it before submitting.
 Thanks so much for visiting with us today. 
Back cover copy for  RISKY RETURN
“Stop investigating or you will die.”

A Covert Operatives story

Searching for a missing pregnant foster teen, Rebecca Mason stumbles across a human trafficking ring. Now with criminals determined to silence Rebecca, security specialist Collin Walsh appoints himself her protector. But how can the secret husband who once abandoned her to join the military regain her trust? Collin will do anything to make up for the past…but first he must ensure they survive.



Risky Return deals with human trafficking. Do you think books like this help inform the public about the dangers of this terrible crime? Leave a comment and I'll enter you in a drawing for a copy of Risky Return. (US addresses only for paper back. All other digital)

Award winning author Virginia Vaughan lives by the motto ‘It’s not hoarding if its books’. Always the kid with her nose stuck in a book, becoming a multi-published author of inspirational romantic suspense hasn’t stopped Virginia from continuing to grow her own collection of favorite reads. Her family has refused to help her move anymore because of the sheer number of boxes of books, but she’s no quitter. She’ll keep buying books and, the next time she moves, hire a moving van.

Oh! I almost forgot!! You can hop over to my blog and read my review of Risky Return and leave a comment, and I'll enter you in another drawing for Virginia's book! Click here!
If you love stories where romance intersects danger and faith, subscribe to Virginia’s email list at http://eepurl.com/dtFeVP  and be the first to know when a new story arrives.
Connect with Virginia:
Email Newsletter:   http://eepurl.com/dtFeVP

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

What's a COZY Mystery -- and A Chance To WIn One


Cozy Mysteries…What are those?

I’m a new member here at Suspense Sisters, so I would like to introduce myself and then talk about cozy mysteries. What defines cozy? And why should you read them?

First, I’m the author of the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series. It’s a cozy mystery series set in a small fictional town in North Mississippi; and has a multi-generational cast of characters who are a bit older than some of the cozy series out there.

Lily Gayle is fifty, and so is her best friend (and sidekick) Dixie. But there’s also Miss Edna who is eighty. She’s the town busybody who’s always wearing her ‘bird watching’ binoculars and never misses anything that goes on in town. In Book 3, I brought in Harley Ann. She’s Miss Edna’s great-niece and is in her mid-twenties. I love to create interaction between the women of different generations! And they get into some truly funny situations.

Here’s the cover of the first book in the series, Death of a Wolfman.


So, what defines cozy mysteries? They are a sub-genre of crime fiction with the most prevalent description being a mystery with all of the violence and gory happening “off stage”. Some cozy mysteries don’t involve a murder at all, they use theft as the mystery instead. Most are humorous and take place in a small town. All of them involve an amateur detective.

 In other words, in a cozy mystery, you don’t read anything about the actual death of the character or theft of the object. You come into the story when the body or theft is discovered and try to determine who did the murder or theft based on the clues in the story. And the amateur detective could be a next door neighbor or a family member who is not a law enforcement officer although many of the amateur detectives in cozy mysteries work with law enforcement officers.

The majority of cozy mysteries don’t involve any sex, out in the open or behind closed doors, although some do have a background romance building between characters. Cozies are considered clean reads. You may find a few mild cuss words scattered in some, but not all of them. They are family friendly humorous books that readers of all ages can enjoy.

If you enjoy the Hallmark Mystery channel, you’re enjoying cozy mysteries on the screen. One of my own favorites series was the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries based on the books written by Kerry Greenwood. That wasn’t a Hallmark Channel series, but it’s very, very good if you can find it on reruns. AND, they’re going to make a movie based on the series soon! Be on the lookout for it, if you enjoy 1920s shows.

Disclosure to potential readers/viewers, while this series is a cozy mystery series, it’s also a bit racier than most.

Many cozy mysteries have baking or cooking as a theme and Ruth Hartzler writes some excellent cozy mysteries utilizing the baking theme! Here’s the cover of one of her books.

Some cozy mysteries have paranormal elements as the theme rather than food. Leighann Dobbs writes a great paranormal series with a main character who sees ghosts.

Whatever your favorite kind of mystery, you can probably find a cozy mystery series that incorporates that element in it somewhere. Baking, cooking, animals, and lots, lots more!

This blog only begins to cover the themes contained within cozy mysteries. What’s your favorite theme in cozy mysteries and what books do you recommend?

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy Death of a Wolfman. Please leave your email address as well. The print copy will be for US residents only, eBook for outside the US. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday July 3rd.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

What's Hot in Inspirational Suspense?

by Patricia Bradley


Wondering what's HOT in Inspirational Suspense? Risky Return by Virginia Vaughn just released July 1!





“Stop investigating or you will die.”



A Covert Operatives story

Searching for a missing pregnant foster teen, Rebecca Mason stumbles across a human trafficking ring. Now with criminals determined to silence Rebecca, security specialist Collin Walsh appoints himself her protector. But how can the secret husband who once abandoned her to join the military regain her trust? Collin will do anything to make up for the past…but first, he must ensure they survive.

I'll be reviewing this fast-paced, edge of your seat book Friday!

You can buy Risky Return at Walmart and Target or at Amazon or B&N.

And one more thing ~ My fourth Cold Case novel, Justice Delivered is until June 30 for only $1.59 on CBD and Amazon. It's $1.99 for Nook!

Monday, June 24, 2019

This Week on 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 Patricia Bradley will tell us What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery. 

On Wednesday, we'll hear from Susan Boles author of Death at the Midnight Dragonfly. 

Here's the back cover copy:

On the fourth day of Christmas, In Mercy, Mississippi.... Four suspects lying, Three sleuths a sleuthing Two clues a hiding And a very, very dead body. It's the Christmas season in Mercy, Mississippi. But things are far from jolly. For Vlad Templeton, the sleepy little town where he spent his childhood provides the perfect place to conduct his state-funded sleep study. But when the local bank manager, who was participating in the study, is found dead on his doorstep, is it a set-up...or is Vlad somehow involved?



Then on Friday Patricia will be interviewing Virginia Vaughn about her latest Love Inspired Suspense release, Risky Return. 

“Stop investigating or you will die.”

A Covert Operatives story

Searching for a missing pregnant foster teen, Rebecca Mason stumbles across a human trafficking ring. Now with criminals determined to silence Rebecca, security specialist Collin Walsh appoints himself her protector. But how can the secret husband who once abandoned her to join the military regain her trust? Collin will do anything to make up for the past…but first he must ensure they survive.

Be sure to leave a comment on the blog Friday to be entered in a drawing for a copy of Risky Return!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Strands Of Truth Research

You ever have an idea that won't leave you alone? That happens a lot to novelists. I've been thinking about the background for my Strands of Truth novel for several years. It all started (like most of my books) with an out-of-the-box sort of newspaper article.

I love history, especially myths and legends. I grew up reading about Jason of the Argonauts and all the Roman and Greek mythology. Once upon a time I wanted to be a Latin teacher. LOL

The article talked about sea silk--an ancient art form that created a fabric out of the strands on a special kind of mollusk. When it was mentioned that Jason's cloak was rumored to be made of sea silk, I was hooked. The crew of the Nautilus in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea supposed wore "sea wool" which was another name for byssus, which is another name for sea silk. I was totally hooked!

I made a trip to the Chicago Field Museum to see this fabulous fabric in the flesh. While I couldn't touch it (it's very rare) it's said a large piece could be compressed into the palm of your hand. The existing examples are in a knitted, crocheted type fabric, but history talks about how China began importing "mermaid silk" in 25 A.D. and this type of cloth was said to be woven so fine a pair of gloves would fit into a walnut shell.

The mermaid reference brought to mind going to Weeki Wachee in Florida in the early seventies so that added to my idea for the story. And my daughter-in-law's experience with finding unknown relatives through DNA added the final crucial piece to the story.

Here is a little about the story which is available now for preorder!

Strands of Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her . . . or pull her under?

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

“Free-dive into a romantic suspense that will leave you breathless and craving for more.” --DiAnn Mills, bestselling author

"As always, Colleen Coble never disappoints. Strands of Truth is no exception. I was hooked from the first page. Trying to read this story slowly is impossible. Don't be surprised when you find yourself flipping the pages in a hurry to find out what happens next! This one is for your keeper shelf." --Lynette Eason, bestselling, award-winning author of the Blue Justice Series

“Colleen Coble's latest book, Strands of Truth, grips you on page one with a heart-pounding opening and doesn't let go until the last satisfying word. I love her skill in pulling the reader in with believable, likable characters, interesting locations, and a mystery just waiting to be untangled. Highly recommended.” --Carrie Stuart Parks, bestselling author of Formula of Deception

“Once again, Colleen Coble delivers an intriguing, suspenseful tale in Strands of Truth. The mystery and tension mount toward an explosive and satisfying finish. Well done.” --Creston Mapes, bestselling author

“Just when I think Colleen Coble’s stories can’t get any better, she proves me wrong. In Strands of Truth, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The characterization of Ridge and Harper and their relationship pulled me immediately into the story. Fast paced, with so many unexpected twists and turns, I read this book in one sitting. Coble has pushed the bar higher than I’d imagined. This book is one not to be missed.” --Robin Caroll, best-selling author of the Darkwater Inn series

“It’s in her blood! Colleen Coble once again shows her suspense prowess with a thriller as intricate and beautiful as a strand of DNA. Strands of Truth dives into an unusual profession involving mollusks and shell beds that weaves a unique, silky thread throughout the story. So fascinating I couldn’t stop reading!” --Ronie Kendig, bestselling author of The Tox Files


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Come Explore the Ever-Changing World of Christian Suspense With Me – Win a Copy of a Christian Suspense book!


Now, more than ever before, there is truly is something for every Christian suspense reader. I just wish there was more time in my day to explore all the amazing stories out there. I’m a member of Kindle Unlimited and my Kindle is filled with stories I can’t wait to read.

Today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Christian suspense sub-genres with you and ask you the question, how much violence is too much for Christian suspense?

First, let’s check out some favorites.

Amish stories are one of the fastest growing genres around. Amish Suspense combines the element of danger along with the beloved Amish setting and culture.

One of my favorite Amish Suspense authors is Marta Perry.


Murder in Plain Sight (Amish Suspense Book 1) is a slightly older story by Marta, but I truly enjoyed it.

Did you know our very own Nancy Mehl writes Amish/Mennonite Suspense? She does!




I loved Inescapable (Road to Kingdom Book #1) by Nancy Mehl. 

Love Inspired Suspense has some wonderful Amish suspense authors. One of my favorites is Debby Giusti.


 Amish Christmas Secrets (Amish Protectors) is a story I truly enjoyed. 

Do you like Cozy Mysteries? Me too! While this is a fairly new genre for me, I’m loving it. Here are a couple of stories I’ve read recently and enjoyed. 


Divine Intervention: A Divine Cozy Mystery (Divine Christian Cozy Mysteries Series Book 1) by Hope Callaghan.   


Previous Confections: An Amish Cupcake Cozy Mystery by Ruth Hartzler, (Don't you love this cat!).


 Samantha Price’s Amish Scarecrow Murders: Cozy Mystery (Ettie Smith Amish Mysteries Book 20 - check out the scarecrow!).

Do you like FBI stories? 






Nancy Mehl’s Mind Games (Kaely Quinn Profiler Book #1) is one that kept me turning pages. (Can you tell I’m a fan of Nancy’s?)

Do you lean more toward police stories?



Then check out Lynette Eason’s Oath of Honor (Blue Justice Book #1)

CIA spy thrillers are one of my favorite genres to write and read. I think I should have been a spy. 


 A must read in this genre is Two Days in Caracas: A Titus Ray Thriller by Luana Ehrlich.



Are Christian Conspiracy Thrillers your thing? 


Then take a look at Annabel Lee (Coffey & Hill Book #1) by Mike Nappa.

 And, though, I’ve just started reading Ted Dekker’s Rise of the Mystics (Beyond the Circle Book #2), I’m really enjoying it.  




But how much violence is too much for Christian readers? 

Recently, I read an article published by beliefnet.com that poses the question, what’s too violent for Christian readers? It is a Roundtable Discussion Featuring Mike Nappa, Ted Dekker, Lynette Eason, and Revell publisher Vicki Crumpton. The article is well worth reading. Click here to view

I know that I’ve only just begun to cover the sub-genres contained within Christian suspense, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on them. What’s your favorite Christian suspense sub-genre to read? How much is too much violence for you? What books do you recommend?

Leave me a comment for a chance to win a copy of your choice of the books mentioned above. Please leave your email address as well. The print copy will be for US residents only, eBook for outside the US. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday the 25th.

Blessings always!

Mary Alford


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

What's Hot in Inspirational Suspense?

by Patricia Bradley

Wondering what's HOT in Inspirational Suspense? Sara Davidson's Vigilant is now available!




She must choose between the man who represents the law and the one who may have taken it into his own hands. Neglected by her parents for most of her life, Nicole Hunter keeps everyone, especially men, at arms’ length. So when Attorney Gage Kelly walks into the diner where she is waiting tables one evening, she fights her attraction to him with everything she has. Gage and his brother Holden grew up in an abusive home, and Gage has baggage of his own. But the connection between him and Nicole is too strong to ignore, and Gage manages to convince them both that their relationship is worth the risk. Then children begin disappearing in the night. When Detective Daniel Grey starts to close in on the child snatcher, and enlists Nicole’s help, she faces her deepest fear. Everything and everyone she has clung to so tightly could be ripped from her, leaving her completely alone. Except for one.


You can purchase Vigilant at:

Amazon

B&N

Monday, June 17, 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 Pat Bradley will tell us What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery. 

Wednesday Mary Alford shares some of her favorite books! You could win your pick of some great novels. Be sure to check out her column. Here’s just one of the books she’s giving away. 

Police officer Isabelle St. John loves her crazy, loud, law-enforcement family. With three brothers and two sisters, she's never without someone to hang out with--or fight with. And she knows they'll be there for her when things get tough. Like when her partner is murdered and she barely escapes with her own life.

Determined to discover exactly what happened, Izzy's investigation
sends her headfirst into a criminal organization, possibly with cops on the payroll--including someone from her own family. With her dead partner's handsome homicide detective brother Ryan shadowing her every move, Izzy's head is spinning. How can she secure justice for her partner when doing so could mean sending someone she loves to prison? And how will she guard her heart when the man she's had a secret crush on for years won't leave her side?

With her signature fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action, Lynette Eason invites readers into a captivating new series where justice is a family affair.



Friday, we’ll hear from Colleen Coble. You can preorder her upcoming book, STRANDS OF TRUTH, here!

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

Strands of Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her . . . or pull her under?

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Suspense, romance, and generational secrets meld in this engrossing new novel from USA TODAY bestselling author Colleen Coble.

 
The Suspense Sisters


We love books!

Friday, June 14, 2019

BOOK RELEASE DAY!

Suspense Sister Carla Hoch's great new book, FIGHT WRITE, is now available! An awesome book for writers and readers alike.

Have you ever read a novel with an unbelievable fight scene? Injuries that didn't seem quite right? Give us an example and you could win an eBook copy of FIGHT WRITE  and a $10.00 Amazon gift card!

FIGHT WRITE by Carla Hoch

Whether a side-street skirmish or an all-out war, fight scenes bring action to the pages of every kind of fiction. But a poorly done or unbelievable fight scene can ruin a great book in an instant.  

In Fight Write you'll learn practical tips, terminology, and the science behind crafting realistic fight scenes for your fiction. Broken up into "Rounds," trained fighter and writer Carla Hoch guides you through the many factors you'll need to consider when developing battles and brawls.
  • In Round 1, you will consider how the Who, When, Where, and Why questions affect what type of fight scene you want to craft.
  • Round 2 delves into the human factors of biology (think fight or flight and adrenaline) and psychology (aggression and response to injuring or killing another person).
  • Round 3 explores different fighting styles that are appropriate for different situations: How would a character fight from a prone position versus being attacked in the street? What is the vocabulary used to describe these styles?
  • Round 4 considers weaponry and will guide you to select the best weapon for your characters, including nontraditional weapons of opportunity, while also thinking about the nitty-gritty details of using them.
  • In Round 5, you'll learn how to accurately describe realistic injuries sustained from the fights and certain weapons, and what kind of injuries will kill a character or render them unable to fight further.
By taking into account where your character is in the world, when in history the fight is happening, what the character's motivation for fighting is, and much more, you'll be able write fight scenes unique to your plot and characters, all while satisfying your reader's discerning eye.


You can order FIGHT WRITE here!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What I read on my summer vacation ~ Win a copy of a classic mystery!


by Mary Ellis


Authors are first and foremost readers. Most of use fit as much pleasure reading into a summer vacation as we possibly can. Away from of the daily word-count on our current manuscript and apart (more-or-less) from the demands of email and social media, I love crawling into a hammock, plopping into a beach chair, squeezing into an airplane seat or my favorite, curling up on a train with a good book. When I’m home I usually read the fast-paced suspense novels written by my friends, many of whom are fellow Suspense Sisters. But on vacation, I love to take along one of the classics. During my recent trip to the England, Spain and France, I chose Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. 
Miss Christie, who died in 1976, is the most widely published author of all time, out-sold only by the Holy Bible and Shakespeare. Her books have sold more than a billion copies in English and another billion in a hundred foreign languages. Miss Christie, dubbed the Queen of Mystery, created Miss Marple and the amusing, yet relentless Belgian investigator Hercule Poirot in a phenomenal twenty-nine book series. Here is a blurb of Death on the Nile: 

Beloved detective Hercule Poirot embarks on a journey to Egypt in one of Agatha Christie’s most famous mysteries, Death on the Nile. The tranquility of a cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything . . . until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: "I'd like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger." Yet in this exotic setting nothing is ever quite what it seems.


Leave me a comment about your favorite type of vacation read for a chance to win a brand new copy of Death on the Nile. Please leave your email address and sorry, US only. Happy reading this summer!


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

What's Hot In Inspirational Suspense

by Patricia Bradley


What's Hot In Inspirational Suspense

Wondering what's new in inspirational suspense and mystery? Kelly Irvin has a new book releasing today!

Gabriella has never forgiven her former fiancé, homicide detective Eli Cavazos, for breaking her heart. But she's determined to move on with her life, putting all of her energy into her restaurant. Then a man she's never met shows up at her door, a bullet in his chest and her brother's name on his lips. Gabby soon realizes this man is connected to a powerful ring of criminals who know far too much about her.
Against her better judgment, Gabby turns to Eli for help in finding her brother. When she receives a cryptic text from her brother's cell phone, she realizes she is in deep and may be dragging Eli down with her. With her brother nowhere to be found and pain from her past threatening to overwhelm her, Gabby wonders how she will make it through this unexpected quest unscathed-or alive.
You can purchase Over the Line at: