Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Wondering what's new in inspirational suspense and mystery? Recently released is the anthology, Preacher's Bride Collection: Six Old Fashioned Romances Built on Faith and Love from Barbour Publishing. 

Here's a little bit about the stories: It Takes an Extra Special Woman to Be a Preacher’s Bride

Six men are dedicated to proclaiming God’s Word—and six women wonder if they’re cut out to support that calling. Being a helpmate to a pastor is no easy task. They must step out in a special kind of faith and love to become preachers’ brides. . . .

Remember Me by Kimberley Comeaux
North suffers an injury, loses his memory, and believes he is a Scottish pastor. Helen hopes he just might fall in love with her, if he isn’t bound by his social standings as a duke.

Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy by Kristy Dykes
Shirley feels like she’s never known anything of life beyond her little country church. She wants more out life. Then she meets Forrest Townsend, the new parson—who just might change her mind.

In Miss Bliss and the Bear by Darlene Franklin
Annie knits hats and mittens for soldiers. But chaplain Jeremiah Arnold isn’t sure he wants a woman hanging around the fort—even one as beautiful and well meaning as Miss Bliss. . . .

A Bride for the Preacher by Sally Laity
It’s Emma’s dream to doctor the needy, and she hopes there might be a place for her in new territory out west. She isn’t interested in marriage—until she nurses a certain preacher’s fever.

Renegade Husband by DiAnn Mills
Audra moves to frontier Colorado to marry the local pastor and is assured a life of adventure. She never realizes how much adventure until her stagecoach is robbed and her future husband seems to be the culprit. . . .

Silence of the Sage by Colleen L. Reece
Ever dutiful and just, Reverend Gideon Scott takes a bride in name only. But soon the reverend abandons both family and church in search of truth that will clear his tarnished name.

Click on the link to order a copy: 

Monday, April 29, 2019


We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways!


On Tuesday Mary Ellis will tell us What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery. 

Wednesday we have another visit from our very own fight expert, Carla Hoch! She’ll talk about the symptoms of PSTD. 

Be sure to visit Carla’s website. It was picked by Writer's Digest as one of the best 100 websites for writers! Also, you can preorder her book, FIGHT WRITE, here!

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.  

On Friday, Patricia Bradley will interview Cher Gatto, the author of SOMETHING I AM NOT.  And someone will win a $10 Amazon gift card! 

A father who never loved him…

A woman who stole his worth…

And a brother he couldn’t protect.

Where does someone run in the face of his deepest shame?

Billy McQueen works hard to keep his life together ... and concealed. At seventeen, he dreams of an escape from the barroom, his father’s manipulation, and the advances of his father’s girlfriend. However, on his eighteenth birthday, Billy is introduced to a younger brother he never knew he had. An eight-year-old who is barely capable of navigating the corrupt world of his father’s boxing club.

In order to secure his freedom, Billy must fight for it. To save his little brother who is next in line for the slave trade ... he must die for it.

SOMETHING I AM NOT is for anyone who has ever questioned who he is, why he is here, and whether the world would be a better place without him. 

You can order, SOMETHING I AM NOT, here.

The Suspense Sisters

We love books!

Friday, April 26, 2019


Ruth Hartzler is an internationally best-selling and award-winning author of Mysteries and Cozy Mysteries. Ruth started her career as an Amish romance author, and her Amish romancesare published by Harlequin. She is best known for her #1 best-selling 2015 series, Safe House, featuring a WITSEC agent hiding in the Amish community. Ruth is the recipient of several All-Star Awards (author and book).


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


I’d say, “Oh no! I’m not very good at describing myself in one sentence!”

I’d say I work too hard and need to send more time in the garden.

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

Sometimes it feels as though all I do is write. I love to garden, bake, and read. I know some might not consider those hobbies interesting, but I guess I do. My friends rescue dogs and cats, and I like to visit with them and help out.

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

I love horses. I can ride, but I prefer to hang out with my horsey pals, brushing their manes and having a little chat. I do not like washing the dishes, so I was excited to get my dishwasher. And I don’t like chocolate, even though I seem to eat it all the time.

I once drove an Amish buggy, and at a fast trot. It was around a farm, not out on the road. I was a bit scared at first, but it was a lot of fun.

I’ve always wanted to be able to sing, but I have a terrible voice. When my children were young, they cried when I sang.

I’m also bad at math, which is why there are more than three things.

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

I started out writing Amish Romance and now I write Cozy Mystery. I adore both genres. I am moving into the Thriller genre too with a novella in the upcoming anthology, Summer of Suspense. I’m blessed to be in the company of fifteen amazing authors in Summer of Suspense, which releases on August 6.

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

Starting a new career is a learning process. I would tell myself to relax a little more and trust that everything will work out for the best.

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

I absolutely love the cozy mysteries on Hallmark, so to have one of my books adapted for television, preferably by Hallmark, would be wonderful.

What are you working on now?

I’m having a lot of fun working on Confection is Good for the Soul, the third book in my new cozy mystery series, Amish Cupcake Cozy Mysteries. The main character in this series is Jane Delight, who left the Amish at the age of sixteen. On her fiftieth birthday, Jane discovers her husband is leaving her for a college student. Jane goes back to Pennsylvania to live above the cupcake store owned by her Amish twin sister. Jane’s roommates are feisty octogenarians who are not what they seem. There is also a naughty cat.

As I’m no spring chicken, I prefer to read books with older protagonists.

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

My childhood was strict and unpleasant, and I used to escape into books. I remember loving Narnia books, and I would like my readers to feel happy and at peace at the end of my books. Life brings storms, but the storms do pass, leaving a rainbow. As my father always quoted, “All things work together for good!”

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’d like to thank the Suspense Sisters for inviting me!

True Confections is Book 1 in the Amish Cupcake Cozy Mystery series

When her husband of thirty years runs off with a college student named Cherri, Jane Delight returns to Pennsylvania to work in her
Amish sister's cupcake store. Having lost everything in the divorce, Jane now finds herself sharing an apartment with two elderly ladies and their quirky cat.

But there is no time to despair. A man is murdered in the cupcake store, and now Jane and her sister, Rebecca, are the prime suspects. Enter brooding detective Damon McCloud, a Scot with a tragic past and a desire for justice.

Can Jane solve the murder, wrangle her new roommates, and stop herself from falling for the detective?

Or will she never get her new life on track?

Ruth is giving away a print copy of TRUE CONFECTIONS. (Anywhere in world - your choice of standard print or Large Print) and an ebook copy of True Confections (Amish Cupcake Cozy Mystery Book 1).*To enter leave a comment, along with contact information!


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

It's a Different World When It Comes to Plants….

As most of my readers know, I love traveling around the country for my fictional books. Whether my research takes me to big cities like Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans or Memphis, small towns like Natchez, Mississippi or Jesup, Georgia, or forgotten mountain hideaways like Balsam, North Carolina, I’m enchanted by the South. I love the slower pace, the slower speech patterns and the wonderful food. This past year I learned to love cheesy shrimp and grits, steamed oysters, and she-crab soup.

But since I’m a country girl who loves getting her hands dirty in my garden, I’m always intrigued by the plants which grow where the winters don’t get as cold and snowy as (northern) Ohio’s. Here are eight of my favorite plants that don’t grow where I live, plus the magnificent magnolia tree, which does grow here, but is far less common up north. (My photo is from one of my neighbor’s two magnolias in her front yard. Some people have all the luck!) All photos except the magnolia were taken on the coast of Georgia. (1-4 on left, 5-8 on right)

l) camellias – they were blooming everywhere in February! What a treat!!

2) saw palmetto – used often in landscape borders. According to one landscaper, it’s the berries that are being used in prostate research. Fan-shaped plant must have the “saw” teeth in order to have those berries.

3) palmetto palms – close to the ground, grows abundantly in all coastal natural areas

4) loblolly pine – aka, southern yellow pine. I saw huge forests of them in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South and North Carolina. For timber industry, it’s the most commercially important tree in Southeastern US.

5) yaupon holly – waxy leaves, red berries, grows wild in maritime forest, but the bush is a nice addition to yards too
(top right)

6) palm trees – I just learned some get coconuts, some don’t. Majestic trees, but don’t stand up well to hurricane force                                         winds.

7) live oaks – the tree which most of us Yankees associate      with the deep South. Cute little acorns. Keeps its leaves year-round, which means it’s always losing some year-round, so you’re never down raking or blowing leaves. And you
almost never see one without the ubiquitous Spanish moss.

8) bamboo – found tall, thick stands of this used as privacy fences everywhere. Much cheaper than chain-link!!

9) magnolia – quintessential “Southern” flower (but it does grow up north too.)  (on very bottom of post)

I know there are plenty of other southern plants that I didn’t include, but I saw these everywhere I went on St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island, Georgia. 

Tell me what plant or flower you love to see on vacation that doesn't grow where you live for a chance to win a copy of The Amish Sweet Shop. Please leave an email address. US and Canada only.

Happy Spring, Mary Ellis

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Wondering what's new in inspirational suspense and mystery? Recently Naomi Stephens released Shadow Among Sheaves from Shiloh Run and Barbour Publishing.

Here's a little bit about the story:
A charming allegory based on the Book of Ruth, set in 1857 India. In the midst of a bloody battle, India-born Rena marries British officer Edric. Following Edric's death, she accompanies his mother back to England, where Lord Baric is forced to choose---will he preserve his British reputation or yield to his attraction to Rena? 320 pages, softcover from Shiloh Run.

To purchase Shadow Among Sheaves, click on this link.

Monday, April 22, 2019


We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways!


On Tuesday Mary Ellis will tell us What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.

On Wednesday Mary talks about her favorite trees and plants that grow in the South.

On Friday Ruth Hartzler will be talking about her newest release, True Confections. (Amish Cupcake Cozy Mystery - Book 1) And she's giving away a copy to someone who comments! Be sure to leave your contact info when you comment.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Book Review ~ First Degree Murder (Lantern Beach P.D. Book 3) by Christy Barritt ~ Win an eBook copy!

Happy Good Friday everyone! Mary Alford here. I don’t know about you, but I have certain suspense authors that I read loyally because I know I’m going to get a great story that will keep me on the edge of my seat until the last page. Christy Barritt is one of those authors.

I recently had the opportunity to read Christy’s latest Lantern Beach P.D. book, First Degree Murder.

A mysterious cult. Skeletal remains. A past that seems determined to drag Chief Cassidy Chambers back into its ugly clutches. These are just a few of the things that make First Degree Murder a top-notch suspense thriller. 

When Chief Cassidy Chambers is called out to investigate the skeletal remains left along a deserted stretch of sand on the island of Lantern Beach, a text message sent from an unknown number has her wondering if the deadly life she thought she left behind has found her in this tranquil setting.

But with murders to solve, there’s little time to wonder. As Cassidy digs deeper, she soon learns the murders are somehow tied to a series of strange happenings around her community. Cassidy and her husband, Ty, discover the motive behind the murders may be connected to something from Cassidy’s past. And when the clues point Cassidy and Ty to the cult operating at Gilead's Cove and Anthony Gilead, the group’s enigmatic leader, Cassidy is convinced Gilead is linked to the murders…and so much more.

Twists and turns everywhere, the suspense alone kept me turning pages. There are heartwarming moments as we see the love and devotion Cassidy and Ty have for one another, and the secondary characters make this story shine. This is a great read and one I would definitely recommend.  

Here’s a little about the book:        
Threatening messages from an unknown source. Shallow graves with unidentified bodies. A friend facing impending peril.

Police Chief Cassidy Chambers longs for a break from the recent crimes plaguing Lantern Beach. She simply wants to enjoy her friends’ upcoming wedding, to prepare for the busy tourist season about to slam the island, and to gather all the dirt she can on the suspicious community that’s invaded the town.

But trouble explodes on the island, sending residents—including Cassidy—into a squall of uneasiness. Cassidy may have more than one enemy plotting her demise, and the collateral damage seems unthinkable.

As the temperature rises, so does the pressure to find answers. Someone is determined that Lantern Beach would be better off without their new police chief. And for Cassidy, one wrong move could mean certain death.

To purchase First Degree click here

About Christy:

USA Today has called Christy Barritt's books "scary, funny, passionate, and quirky."

A Publishers Weekly best-seller, Christy writes both mystery and romantic suspense novels that are clean with underlying messages of faith. Her books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, have been twice nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and have finaled for both a Carol Award and Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year.

She's married to her prince charming, a man who thinks she's hilarious--but only when she's not trying to be. Christy's a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who's known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado.

Christy currently splits her time between the Virginia suburbs and Hatteras Island, North Carolina. She has more than fifty books published with over one million copies sold.
For more information, visit her website: www.christybarritt.com.

Want a chance to win an eBook copy of this amazing story? Please leave a comment below along with your email address. Good luck! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Meet Colleen Coble

I can still remember the first story I ever wrote. It was in first grade and was about twin colts. My teacher praised my writing, and the seed was planted. Someday I would have a book in a library! Libraries are hallowed places to me, so that was my goal. That was it—just a single book in a library somewhere. This is me at that age.

The seed lay dormant through the early years of marriage and raising a family. We women often put our dreams aside to focus on our families, and that’s what I did. “Someday” I was going to write. I devoured books by the armloads from the library, and it bothered me to read the hopelessness in them that assumed there was no God. I wanted to write a story with hope in it—not preachy, but hopeful. But nothing came.

August 28, 1990 changed everything. The phone rang late that night with the news that the oldest  of my three younger brothers, Randy, had been killed by lightning in a freak farm accident. In the coming months, as I emerged from the storm of grief, I realized that if I was ever going to follow my dream, I needed to get started. I was approaching my fortieth birthday, and time was marching on. This is my brother, Randy. He was a year younger than me.

As part of the grieving process, my husband and I made a trip out to Wyoming to see where Randy had lived with his family for a few years. As I stood on the parade ground at Fort Laramie, the first idea took root and sprouted. The fire of grief and adversity had finally cracked open the seed that had lain dormant in my heart all those years.

I went home and started to write. It took a year to write that first book. I was sure there would be a bidding war! Not so much.  It took SIX years of rejections before the call came from Barbour that they were going to publish my first book, Where Leads the Heart. I screamed so loudly the cat hid under the bed and wouldn’t come out for hours. I called my pastor to tell him the news, but I got his answering machine. I cried and babbled out what was happening. When he listened to the message, he thought someone had died, and he didn’t know who to call back. True stories!

It was a lonely journey at that time too. I knew no other writers and talking about wanting to write a novel felt so presumptuous—I was just a farm girl from a small Indiana town. But I discovered when you have a dream, you need to pursue it. You never know what doors God will open for you. When you struggle to do something bigger than you, it strengthens and molds you. And here I am, twenty-nine years after blowing the dust off that dream. I have four million books in print and a host of books in libraries all over the world which constantly astonishes me. Until you try, you don’t know what God has in store for that dream He gave you.

And because of the loneliness of those early years (I’m a major extrovert) I’m especially delighted to be part of a group like Suspense Sisters. I love hearing from readers and encouraging other writers!

I look forward to getting to know all of you better! And to celebrate being part of Suspense Sisters, I'm giving away a $10 Amazon gift card! Make sure you post to be part of the drawing, and I will need your email.

Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author
CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Wondering what's new inspirational suspense and mystery? Last week Kimberley Woodhouse released The Golden Bride from Barbour Publishing.

Here's a little bit about The Golden Bride: Can Olivia survive the crime and Gold Rush fever of 1849...and the countless marriage proposals?A series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

The Daughters of the Mayflower series continues when Olivia Brighton finds herself widowed and working her brother’s restaurant in San Francisco during the height of the rush for gold. Even though she receives at least twenty marriage proposals a day, she will never marry a gold miner. Her brother’s friend Joseph Sawyer has gotten caught up in local politics and the plight of Chinese in forced labor. The more Joseph gets pulled into investigating crime in the city, the less Olivia sees of the compassionate man. And just when she thinks she could love again, a fire threatens to steal all hope.

More in the Daughters of the Mayflower series:
The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1620 Atlantic Ocean (February 2018)
The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo – set 1725 New Orleans (April 2018)
The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep – set 1760 during the French and Indian War (June 2018)
The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse – set 1774 Philadelphia (August 2018)รข·‹
The Cumberland Bride by Shannon McNear – set 1794 on the Wilderness Road (October 2018)
The Liberty Bride by MaryLu Tyndall – set 1814 Baltimore (December 2018)
The Alamo Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo - set 1836 Battle of the Alamo (February 2019)

Purchase the book here: