Tuesday, June 30, 2015


I've been on television twice! (the news and a documentary about pickles)

I quit the day job in May 2013 and now make a living as an author and small press owner.

I have seven children. (We're a your's, mine, and ours family).

I expect people to use a bit of common sense.

While I live in Arizona, I want to someday move back to Arkansas.

I pride myself on my sloppy handwriting (A high school civics teacher said those with sloppy handwriting thought faster than their hands could move)

If I were younger, I'd be a storm chaser or forensic investigator.

I knocked "getting a tattoo" off my bucket list recently.

I have more story ideas to write than I probably have years to live.

I LOVE my job.

Sometimes, when I'm writing a funny scene in a book, I laugh out loud then look around to see if anyone caught me. The same thing when writing a sad scene, except I cry.

I LOVE Jesus!

I don't cry easily.

While I found many things humorous, I don't often laugh out loud.

I don't have patience for stupidity.

I don't judge.

I'm harder on myself than anyone else could possibly be.

I think these points very random. :)

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. Cynthia is a board member for CAN (Christian Authors Network). 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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Book giveaway by Cynthia Hickey

To promote the 5th book in her Nosy Neighbor mystery series, Cynthia Hickey is giving away a copy of book 1! (US entrants only)

Stormi Nelson, best-selling romance author, moved into her huge Victorian house in the private community of Oak Meadows Estates. When her agent tells her that her characters are becoming too cardboard and that she needs to get out and mingle with people, she comes up with the idea of a Neighborhood Watch Program. The only problem is … she’s the only member. On her first night of patrol, she stumbles over a dead body, meets a hunky detective, who happens to be her neighbor and clearly frustrated with her, and her mother, sister, niece and nephew arrive to shake up Stormi’s peaceful life. As she is immersed ever deeper into the mystery surrounding a neighbor’s murder, she decides to change writing tactics and write a romantic mystery based on her experiences. What follows is a frolicking good time as Stormi finds herself the nosiest neighbor of them all. Can she find the killer before she becomes the next victim?

Thursday, June 25, 2015


JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and was followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, 2014). She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency (www.booksandsuch.biz).


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I live in a very small town northwest of Dallas, Texas, with three cats and with the rest of my family near by. My degree is in business and I was once a CPA, but I decided I needed to do something more creative with my life. If you get too creative in the accounting world, you eventually end up in court, so I decided to quit accounting and start writing. I still have a day job of course, but I’m very fortunate in that it allows me to work from home and on a very flexible schedule.

What do you do when you’re not writing? 

I enjoy quilting and cross stitching and absolutely adore NHL hockey. I love to read, though I never seem to have time to read as much as I would like to, and I love playing games that involve solving puzzles. I guess that’s why I ended up being a mystery writer!

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I have enjoyed reading the classic cozy mysteries most of my life (and I especially enjoy the TV and movie adaptations of them if they’re reasonably faithful), so I couldn’t help trying my hand at writing one. There’s something about the old English manor house, high society and dirty little secrets that always fascinates me. Once Drew Farthering, my upper-class amateur detective, tapped me on the shoulder and politely informed me that he would be taking over at that point, well, how could I stop at one?

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

I think the hardest one to swallow was when a family member told me that my writing wasn’t a “real job,” even though I have had ten books traditionally published and am contracted for five more.
I have two separate categories for the best ones.  My favorite of the ones that were meant to be complimentary was when someone wrote in a review that if Jessica Fletcher and Bertie Wooster had a love child, it would be Drew Farthering. (I still chuckle to myself over that one.) My favorite of the ones that were meant to be negative was when someone e-mailed me to tell me how awful my book was, that it was “just like one of those old black and white movies from the 1930s or one of those old adventure stories.”  Yes! Mission accomplished. (That one makes me smile, too.)

If you could go back in time and do something differently in your writing career, what would it be?

I would go back to the point right after my first three books were published, when my then-publisher decided to pass on a new series I had proposed to them. Instead of letting discouragement drive me away from writing for more than a decade, I would have picked myself up and proposed the series to another publisher. Or I would have made up a new proposal and offered that to other publishers. I certainly wouldn’t have wasted so much valuable writing time not writing.

From the tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his stylish cheviot trousers, he's the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered.

Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate.

With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he's learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be--not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer--and trying harder to impress Madeline--Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.

Leave a comment, along with your contact information, and you could win either RULES OF MURDER, DEATH BY THE BOOK, or MURDER AT THE MIKADO! (U.S only, please.)


Tuesday, June 23, 2015


This week at the Suspense Sisters review page:

As with any good thriller, 
there are loads of twists 
and turns in the plot, as 
well as a few red herrings 
and more than one 
unexpected twist.

Check out the entire review from our very own New Zealand reviewer, Iola Goulton!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Kerry Nietz is a refugee of the software industry. He spent more than a decade of his life flipping bits—first as one of the principal developers of the database product FoxPro for the now mythical Fox Software, and then as one of Bill Gates’s minions at Microsoft. He is a husband, a father, a technophile, and a movie buff. Amish Zombies from Space is his sixth novel.


Kerry, welcome to the Suspense Sisters! Tell us a little something about yourself we won’t learn from your bio.

The bio sums me up fairly well. One thing it doesn’t mention is that I’m a regular at the gym, and have been for many years now. It is a nice way to start the day—especially if you’re going to spend most of the rest of the day writing.

I also had a book make an appearance on The Tonight Show last year. That was pretty cool.

Your books have been described as Christian speculative fiction. Do you agree with this assessment? Can you explain what kind of books fit this genre? Any advice for unpublished authors interested in speculative fiction? 

That isn’t a bad description of the sort of books I write, though I never write thinking about the genre. I start with a story idea and a general theme. Plus, maybe the beginnings of a scene or two. The rest falls into place as it will.

I would define “Christian speculative fiction” as books that have science fiction, fantasy or supernatural elements (e.g. time travel, dragons, ghosts, spaceships, and even zombies) that are written from a Christian worldview. The worldview may be either explicit or implied. C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books are on the more explicit end of the spectrum, while Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is on the implied end.

The chief advice I’d give an unpublished author is not to give up his day job. Christian speculative fiction is a niche within a niche, and it may be awhile before he can make good money from it—if ever.

That said, the niche has tremendous crossover potential because mainstream readers love the speculative elements, and typically are okay with the faith elements, if they’re handled correctly. Don’t preach!

Your previous book, Amish Vampires in Space, wasn’t met with enthusiasm by everyone. Some readers of “bonnet books” were offended by the idea.  (We heard about it on the Suspense Sisters the first time we interviewed you!) Now you’ve released your new book, Amish Zombies from Space. What do you say to those who feel you’re attacking the Amish and their culture?

I was surprised by the negative response. (Though perhaps I shouldn’t have been. Call me naive.) To me, Amish Vampires in Space was an interesting mental exercise. Could I bring these three disparate ideas together and produce a coherent and believable story? That’s the way the speculative mind works, you see.

Unfortunately, some saw the cover and the title and assumed the worst—that I was attacking the Amish. Having authentic Amish characters was always part of my plan, though. It helps drive the plot and makes it seem plausible.

Those that have read the book generally agree that it is respectful treatment.

In your opinion, what kind of readers will enjoy Amish Zombies from Space?

Fans of the first book, of course. But beyond those readers, anyone who is open to stories with speculative elements. Though the word “Zombies” in the title suggests “Horror!” the book is primarily a science fiction book, as was Amish Vampires. There are horror elements, but the plot is more suspenseful than frightening.

It is also very light on gore, and there is no language or nudity. Okay, the animals are nude, but they’re pixelated as to not offend.

Let’s look ahead ten years. What do you see yourself doing? What kind of books do you hope you’ll be writing?

In ten years I’m hoping to have a bit more time to write. At present, I have three children under eleven who require a fair share of daddy’s time. (Though they require more of my wife.) I’m happy to share life with them now, of course—they keep me laughing. But in ten years they’ll probably be getting tired of me.

My speculative bent is ingrained, though. Always has been. Some of my favorite memories from childhood are of coming home from school to watch whatever speculative movie or show happened to be on. One of our local channels would often have whole weeks devoted to series like Planet of the Apes, or Godzilla. Plus, there was always Lost in Space and Batman to watch.

Consequently, I have a hard time seeing myself write anything else. I love to speculate.
Any last words for our readers?

Thanks for having me back again. I have seven books with my name on them now. Lots of speculative fun. I encourage your readers to check them all out. My website is www.nietz.com.

First, vampires in space. And now...zombies. Really?

Jebediah and the others are trying to get over the horrors they faced in deep space, and now this.

It's been five years, and the Amish colony on Miller's Resolve has finally gotten settled. Jeb and Sarah have a son. Elder Samuel is happy not being in charge. Darly has a private practice. And Greels is out of jail at last.

But when a mysterious ship from space arrives on Resolve, it unleashes a horde of undead that might spell the end of the survivors and their dreams of peace.

Will the specters of the past save them, or seal their fate?

Would you like to win a copy of Kerry's book? You can choose between AMISH VAMPIRES IN SPACE or AMISH ZOMBIES FROM SPACE! Just leave a comment, along with your contact information. (U.S. only please!)