Friday, June 18, 2021

Bucket List Vacations

Today I will be giving away two copies of my book Undercover Mission. It is book three in the Alaska K-9 series. The book takes place on a cruise ship, so that meant I got to do all kinds of research about cruise ships. Some of them are so big and have so much going on you can stay on the ship and never run out of things to do. They have tons of places to eat, recreational and entertainment opportunities, and of course shopping. Some of the ships bring on board experts and tour guides to teach about the places the ship stops at. A large cruise ship is in many ways like a floating village. 

The research got me to thinking about what kind of vacations I would like to take in the future. Alaska was already on my bucket list but I think a cruise ship would make it even more fun. They have cruises that never go out into the deep ocean so you have a port of call almost everyday. 

I have other vacations in mind for my bucket list. A shack by the ocean with nothing but my journal and a stack of books to read. A trip to Ireland and Scotland. A walking tour of England. Costa Rica because it looks so beautiful and Belize because they speak English there. 

I also think about vacations a little closer to home. Not too far from where I live is a Christian camp up in the mountains. They rent out rooms for people wanting to do a private retreat during the off season. I used to camp with my late husband a lot when we were first married. Back then we slept in a tent on the ground. Now I know that I turn into a crab if I don't have a good night's sleep. But I still would love to have a van with a nice bed and a chance to build a fire and roast a hot dog. 

I can also say that I have already done much of my bucket list. From visiting most of the national parks in the west to Australia. 

Something about taking a vacations give fresh perspective and makes me appreciate home more. After a year of covid confinement, I think we all have a little wanderlust. How about you? What is on your bucket list for a vacation? What trip have you already taken?

Leave a comment below along with your email address for a chance to win a copy of Undercover Mission coming out this July.  


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

THE GIRL BEHIND THE RED ROPE - Review by A.D. Lawrence

I read my fair share of books, but it isn’t often a story sticks with me for very long, because my memory isn’t great. Maybe I should take Ginkgo Biloba for that, but hey, I’ll worry about it another day. That being said, The Girl Behind the Red Rope by Tedd and Rachelle Dekker left a deep impression, and I won’t soon forget it.

Without giving spoilers, I will say that the main character, Grace, grew up in a cult environment. Good deeds were done out of fear rather than love for the Lord, and even though the members of the compound were doing the right things, darkness hung heavy over the community. This story showed Grace’s inner struggle with the truth and what she’s been taught in a haunting allegory. It kind of reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village.

Honestly, I feel inadequate to review books. Some write beautiful reviews that are so heartfelt they bring a tear to my eye. My klunky reviews sound a lot like Lloyd Christmas when he says, “I like it a lot,” with a dopey grin, but I’ll give it my best shot. The spiritual theme of love vs. fear was a huge blessing. When life gets crazy it’s easy to forget and good to be reminded that God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear, and his perfect love casts fear away. On top of that, the emotions were very well-written, and I wondered up until the last chapter if things would really be okay by the last page. The ending was satisfying, since it wasn’t an over-the-top happily ever after. It was realistic and that’s my favorite kind of ending. If you haven’t read The Girl Behind the Red Rope yet, I’d recommend it!

Leave a comment below about fun plans you have for the summer for a chance to win an ebook copy of your very own.

The winner of Justice Undercover by Connie Queen is Rachel T.! I’ll get a Kindle copy headed your way.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Wondering what's new this week in inspirational suspense and mystery? Jaime Jo Wright recently released On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor from Bethany House.

Here's a little bit about the story:

In 1885, Adria arrives at Foxglove Manor to recover goods her father pirated. The sinister dwelling holds dark secrets that threaten her life. More than 130 years later, Kailey works at the senior home in the renovated mansion where she hears whispers of hidden treasure. Will she risk everything to banish past demons?

You can buy On the Cliffs of Foxglove Manor HERE

Have a great week of reading, lovers of inspirational suspense ~ Mary Ellis 

Monday, June 14, 2021


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’ll hear from A.D. Lawrence! Have you read her book, THE PURPLE NIGHTGOWN?

Step into True Colors -- a series of Historical Stories of Romance and True American Crime

Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed.

Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?

You can buy it here! 

Friday author Sharon Dunn who will be sharing her bucket list of dream vacations! She’ll also be giving away a copy of her upcoming release UNDERCOVER MISSION!

Trapped on a ship with a killer…can her K-9 partner sniff out the clues?

Undercover on a cruise ship with her K-9 dog, Alaska State Trooper Maya Rodriguez uses herself as bait to catch a murderer. And security officer David Garrison is the only person she can trust with the truth. But with a possible serial killer dead-set on taking out anyone who stands in the way, will Maya and David make it off the ship alive?

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Sharon Dunn

You can buy it here! 

The Suspense Sisters

We love books!


Friday, June 11, 2021

New book from Mary Ellis ~ leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy!


Authors are often asked, “Where did you get the idea for your new book series?” For me the answer is almost always: from travel. And the funny part is you never know when and where inspiration will hit.

Almost three years ago I was driving south on one of the major highways when hunger pangs grabbed my attention. Tired of fast food, my husband and I took the next exit in search of local cuisine. What we found was a bourbon distillery just outside of Lexington that served lunch on the patio. After truly delicious sandwiches, I talked the manager into giving me a peek behind-the-scenes. Although their normal bourbon tours had been suspended for the season, my enthusiasm for the product won over the bartender/tour guide’s heart and she gave me a thorough step-by-step explanation of how they make their bourbon. I even got to meet the Master Distiller and ask him a few questions, which is no small feat. And I was allowed to photograph areas normally off-limits to tourists. During the process, corn and rye are mixed with limestone well water, then malted (fermented) barley is added to begin new fermentation. The mash is distilled twice to create a smoother bourbon and aged in new oak barrels with annual taste-testing after the first two years. Once the master distiller decides it’s ready, the bourbon is filtered and bottled. What’s my secret for getting insider info? No secret—I was simply in the right place at the right time among distillers who love their craft.

That evening, while sipping my purchase in a hotel room, ideas for murder mysteries popped into my head. Who should be my central character to solve these heinous crimes? Where to find the body? Who wants to kill whom? And so the Bourbon Tour Murder series was born wherein a syndicated travel writer, who drinks nothing but wine from a box, becomes my reluctant sleuth. I had fun taking these tours and writing these books. (Although absolutely no murders took place during my tours.)

In the first of the series, One for the Road, my travel writer, Jill Curtis, becomes a suspect after she lands in the middle of a century-old family feud between bourbon makers. And in my current book, One Hundred Proof Murder, Jill hopes to land a job promotion, get better acquainted with her new detective boyfriend, and keep her relatives out of trouble. She’s not looking for a best friend, unless that friend’s father is a Louisville distiller. And she certainly doesn’t wish to involve herself in another murder. But you know how good intentions go…

So grab your beverage of choice, then pour yourself a shot of rivalry, romance and murder with One Hundred Proof Murder.  Available on Kindle now and in print 8-3-2021.

Book one, One for the Road, now $3.99 in Kindle!! One for the Road (A Bourbon Tour mystery Book 1) eBook: Ellis, Mary: Kindle Store

Leave me a comment regarding your favorite "tourist" destination for a chance to win a print copy of One Hundred Proof Murder. You must leave your email address to win. Drawing in one week. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Meet the authors of Dangerous Pursuits!

Happy Wednesday everyone! I’d like to introduce you all to the authors of the upcoming anthology, Dangerous Pursuits: 15 Stories From Today's Most Popular Mystery and Suspense Authors!

This collection is now up for preorder for only .99 cents at Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Kobo. Dangerous Pursuits releases October 15th

Each month I will be introducing several of the authors in the collection.

Today, I’d like you to meet, Shirlee McCoy, Cara Putman, and Sharee Stover. These ladies each have new books out this month and I will be giving away an e-book copy of one of these authors’ new releases to one person. 

New York Times best-selling author Shirlee McCoy loves books. She loves reading them. She loves writing them. She loves sharing them with family, friends, and total strangers on airplanes and in doctors' offices. It's no surprise that she loves being an author. Her first book was published in 2004. Since then, she's written more than 55 novels. Her books have appeared on the New York Times, Publisher's Weekly, and USA Today bestsellers lists. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and volunteering as a member of Chesapeake Search Dogs - a non-profit organization dedicated to finding the lost and missing and bringing closure to their families. A former teacher, she takes pleasure in helping others pursue their writing goals and enjoys sharing her knowledge with aspiring authors.

She enjoys hearing from readers and writers. You can email her at or catch up with her life and writing at

Shirlee’s new book is Evidence of Innocence.

Here's the blurb: 

She was wrongly accused…and now she’s searching for the dangerous truth.

Finally exonerated after fifteen years in prison, Kinsley Garrett’s determined to find her father’s true killer—even if it makes her a target. Staying alive means relying on police chief Marcus Bayne’s protection, but she won’t trust him…or anyone. Not after the way everyone turned on her following her arrest. But as Marcus risks everything to shield her, can Kinsley keep him from burrowing into her heart?


Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara Putman wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There she met Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, she shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara has been writing award-winning books with the count currently at 35 published and more in the works.

In addition to writing, Cara is a mom of four, attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all-around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband, and her kids. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School, and Purdue University's MBA program. You can learn more about Cara’s books at And if you'd like a copy of her legal suspense novella, Dying for Love, simply connect with Cara here:, and she’ll send you the link.

Cara’s new book, Trial By Fire, comes out on June 11th.

Here’s the blurb:

Her mother's house was first. Then her brother's. County prosecutor Tricia Jamison is sure she's next on the arsonist's list. But who is after her family? And why does every fire throw her in Noah Brust's path?

Noah can't forgive Tricia. Her failure to protect him on the stand the previous year meant his father's reputation was ruined. Yet every time the firefighter is near her, he's drawn to her again. The vulnerability she hides under her confident veneer surprises and moves him. Torn between Tricia's safety and his own bitterness, Noah belatedly remembers the first rule of firefighting: don't get burned.

Colorado native Sharee Stover lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and two ridiculously spoiled dogs. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to transform, ignite and restore. She writes Christian romantic suspense combining heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one. When she isn't writing, Sharee enjoys reading, crocheting, and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd. Visit her at

Sharee’s new book is entitled Cold Case Trail

Here's the blurb: 

Following the clues could be the last thing they do…

Temporarily working in the cold case division was supposed to mean less danger for state trooper Trey Jackson and his injured K-9 partner, Magnum—until they thwart an abduction. Now he must protect profiler Justine Stark, even as she blames him for her friend’s death ten years ago. Can he right past wrongs by finally solving the murder…and making sure Justine lives to find closure?

Be sure to comment with your email address to be included in the drawing. I will select one winner and announce their name next Wednesday, June 16th!

Crisp Days. Cold Nights. Dangerous Pursuits.

The chill of fall brings with it a hint of peril in Dangerous Pursuits, a clean and Christian suspense anthology featuring some of today’s most popular female authors.

Start your fall off right with 15 gripping tales of Clean and Christian suspense from today's most popular ladies of mystery and suspense. Join Mary Alford, Lisa Harris, Therese Heckenkamp, Cynthia Hickey, Gina Holder, Ronie Kendig, Dana R Lynn, Shirlee McCoy, Dana Mentink, J. Carol Nemeth, Cara Putman, Sharee Stover, Terri Reed, Alana Terry, Lenora Worth on a dangerous journey filled with mystery and suspense that will keep you turning pages until the very. Last. One.

Just .99 cents until October 12th.

Thank you all!

All the best...
Mary Alford 


Wondering what's new in inspirational suspense and mystery this week? Charles Martin releases The Letter Keeper, from the Murphy Shepherd series, today from Thomas Nelson in e-book and hardcover.


Here's a little bit about the story: Combining heart-wrenching emotion with edge-of-your-seat tension, Charles Martin explores the true power of sacrificial love. He shows up when all hope is lost. Murphy Shepherd has made a career of finding those no one else could—survivors of human trafficking. His life’s mission is helping others find freedom. Then the nightmare strikes too close to home. When his new wife, her daughter, and two other teenage girls are stolen, Murphy is left questioning all he has thought to be true. With more dead ends than leads, he has no idea how to find his loved ones. After everything is stripped away, love is what remains. Hope feels lost, but Murphy is willing to expend his last breath trying to bring them home.

"Very few contemporary novelists have found acclaim within mainstream and evangelical markets, but Charles Martin is among them. His latest novel is both a stand-alone story and a sequel to his highly-praised The Water Keeper. It hinges on the Scriptural message of forsaking the found in order to seek the lost, a theme Martin brings to poetic and brilliant life. A man broken by events beyond his control accepts the challenge to walk dark ways in order to bring the lost and helpless home, but he comes close to losing himself in the process. Despite the hardship and heartache, Martin’s story shines with the light of eternal hope." —Davis Bunn, writing for Christianity Today

You can buy The Letter Keeper HERE

Happy reading, lovers of inspirational suspense and mystery ~ Mary Ellis 

Monday, June 7, 2021


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 will be an exciting day! Over the next few months Mary Alford will begin introducing the authors of a fantastic anthology,

DANGEROUS PURSUITS! This month we’ll 
meet Shirlee McCoy, Sharee Stover, and Cara Putman. We’ll be giving away one book from each author to one winner! Here's just one of the books you could win!

TRIAL BY FIRE – Cara Putman

Her mother's house was first. Then her brother's. County prosecutor Tricia Jamison is sure she's next on the arsonist's list. But who is after her family? And why does every fire throw her in Noah Brust's path?

Noah can't forgive Tricia. Her failure to protect him on the stand the previous year meant his father's reputation was ruined. Yet every time the firefighter is near her, he's drawn to her again. The vulnerability she hides under her confident veneer surprises and moves him. Torn between Tricia's safety and his own bitterness, Noah belatedly remembers the first rule of firefighting: don't get burned.

You can buy it here

On Friday, we’ll here from Suspense Sister Mary Ellis. She’ll be talking about how she comes with ideas for her books. You could win a copy of her upcoming release, 100 PROOF MURDER!

Pour yourself a strong shot of rivalry, romance, and murder.

Travel writer Jill Curtis is in Louisville, Kentucky, on the next stop of her bourbon tour assignment, and is keen to explore the local distilleries with her videographer, Michael Erickson – especially since her new beau, Lieutenant Nick Harris, lives in the city.

But the night before Jill’s first tour at Parker’s Distillery, she is shocked to learn that the master distiller, William Scott, has died suddenly of a heart attack – and even more shocked when she discovers William’s daughter, Alexis, suspects foul play. Is there more to William’s death than meets the eye? Jill is soon drawn into a deadly blend of rivalry, jealously, and cold-blooded murder as she attempts to uncover the truth behind William's unexpected demise.

You can order a copy here! 

The Suspense Sisters

We love books!

Friday, June 4, 2021

A new release, a new puppy and distractions!


After a very cold spring, we are now launching into the 90's as of today.  Still, spring and the start of summer are always beautiful--a time of new beginnings. 

Our perennial flowers are blooming, the grass is lush and green. We may not have stunning mountains or a gorgeous rugged coastline here in the Midwest, but the soil is rich and everywhere you look, there seem to be a thousand shades of green. 

The scents of lilacs, Lily of the Valley, and new-mown grass fill me with joy.  The emergence of wood ticks and gnats, not so much! 

Speaking of new beginnings, have you ever received a completely unexpected gift? Folks who follow me on Facebook or my blog know I'm a passionate animal lover. I've had horses since first grade, and have rarely been without an assortment of rescue animals. When Elmo died, the sweetest border collie ever, my husband insisted that our golden retriever rescue Sage was all we needed as a house dog. He was adamant, but apparently, secret plans were afoot. 

When he surprised me with an eight-week-old golden puppy for Mother's Day this spring, I was both speechless and overjoyed! Little Doogan is such a sweetheart.  Still covered in plush puppy fur, he is adorable...but boy, has life changed. For the first couple weeks, he was like a new baby--without diapers--who could run through the house like an antelope.  Crate training has helped a lot, though the incessant, piercing barking while he plays with "grandpa" Sage is something else we need to address. If you have any ideas to curtail the barking, please let me know!

I'm very grateful for the new puppy and the work going on now to repair the exterior of our house, due to the damage from the derecho that hit Iowa last August. But I have to admit it's a bit distracting, so I haven't gotten a lot done...and I'm behind on my tasks than I want to think about! The moment I realize the puppy has gone quiet for a few moments, it's time to launch out of my chair and go check on him!

Still, I'd like to share that the first two books in my romantic suspense Northern Pines series are available now.  ONE MORE DANCE is at $.99 for a short time!  CLICK HERE for more information and buy links. 

Also, ONE MORE WISH came out in May. 
You can CLICK HERE for more information on it.

Leave a comment here, and you will be entered in a drawing for a free copy of ONE MORE DANCE!

Wishing you a wonderful summer,

Roxanne Rustand

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Reader Question--How Do You Choose a Character?

 by Patricia Bradley

I was talking to a reader recently (my daughter) and I asked if there were any questions she's ever wanted to ask me--related to my writing. Notice how narrow I made that question. 

She'd just finished Obsession and was curious about how I came up with my characters, particularly Sam and Emma. (She couldn't ask an easy question!) I stammered something but knew I had to do better, so here we go...

On rare occasions, a character will come to me full-blown. One such was in my very first published book, Shadows of the Past. I was sitting on my sofa; it was my quiet time and I was reading the devotion for the day when a dark-haired woman in her late twenties popped in my head. She whispered, "Someone is trying to kill me." And then she was gone.

Of course, I had to know why someone was trying to kill her, and that's where that character and that book came from. It wasn't that way with Emma and Sam, although the photo on the cover is exactly how I pictured Emma.

I had pitched a four-book series to my publisher and Obsession was the second book. I knew that a body would be found at Mount Locust, and that's all I knew. 

As I let the story noodle around in my head, a story began to form, usually because I kept asking, what if... What if Emma's brother had gone missing ten years earlier on the night a girl was murdered?  I already knew her name because she was in Standoff and I knew a little bit about her personality. 

What I didn't know was how stubborn she could be. And the reason is...she didn't tell me that when I was writing Standoff. She waited until I was in the middle of Obsession! 

Seriously, I can write charts about my characters, know what their wounds are and the lies they believe about themselves--the lies that keep them from living their dream life. But they don't reveal themselves to me until I start writing their story. I wish they did--it'd be a lot easier.

Sam was the same way. I knew he was hurt because Emma broke it off with him, but I didn't know how bad his relationship was with his dad until he told me about a third of the way through the story. I love those moments!

So, if you've ever wondered how a writer comes up with their characters, that's the way I do it. I can't begin a story until I know my hero, heroine, and villain's names. They simply won't develop.

Leave a comment with a question you've always wanted a writer to answer and I'll enter you in a drawing for Obsession! Be sure to leave your contact information.

Oh, and the Standoff e-book is on sale this week for $1.99! Check it out here! for the Kindle version. For all other sites, you can find the links on my webpage.

The Natchez Trace National Parkway stretches 444 miles from Nashville to Natchez, the oldest town on the Mississippi River. It's the perfect road for a relaxed pleasure drive. Unfortunately for park ranger Luke Fereday, lately it's being used to move drugs. Sent to Natchez to infiltrate the organization at the center of the drug ring, Luke arrives too late to a stakeout and discovers the body of his friend, park ranger John Danvers.

John's daughter Brooke is determined to investigate her father's murder, but things are more complicated than they first appear, and Brooke soon finds herself the target of a killer who will do anything to silence her. Luke will have his hands full keeping her safe. But who's going to keep him safe when he realizes he's falling--hard--for the daughter of the man he failed to save?

Tuesday, June 1, 2021


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 Patricia Bradley will be talking about how she chooses her characters. She’ll also be giving away a copy of her new release, OBSESSION!

Natchez Trace Ranger and historian Emma Winters hoped never to see Sam Ryker again after she broke off her engagement to him. But when shots are fired at her at a historical landmark just off the Natchez Trace, she's forced to work alongside Sam as the Natchez Trace law enforcement district ranger in the ensuing investigation. To complicate matters, Emma has acquired a delusional secret admirer who is determined to have her as his own. Sam is merely an obstruction, one which must be removed.

Sam knows that he has failed Emma in the past and he doesn't intend to let her down again. Especially since her life is on the line. As the threads of the investigation cross and tangle with their own personal history, Sam and Emma have a chance to discover the truth, not only about the victim but about what went wrong in their relationship.

Award-winning author Patricia Bradley will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck with this nail-biting tale of obsession, misunderstanding, and forgiveness.

You can order it here! 

On Friday, we’ll hear from author Roxanne Rustand.

Learn more about Roxanne and her books here! 


The Suspense Sisters


We love books!

What's Hot in Inspirational Suspense

Wondering what's new in inspirational suspense and mystery? Power Play, book #3 of Capital Intrigue series by Rachel Dylan, releases today from Bethany House.


Here's a little bit about the story:

When State Department attorney Vivian Steele witnesses two ambassadors collapse as if poisoned at a diplomatic dinner in Washington, DC, she is recruited to be a member of a joint FBI task force assigned to investigate. But she soon finds her by-the-book ways clashing with a special agent in the Diplomatic Security Service, Jacob Cruz. A former Navy SEAL and in charge of the event's security, Jacob takes the attack personally and is driven to act quickly, even ahead of the rules and regulations. 

As Viv starts to work her diplomatic sources, her past as a State Department lawyer comes back to haunt her, and secrets held tightly by the government thrust her into a web of danger. Afraid, Viv turns to the one man bent on protecting others. But can she accept Jacob's reckless ways as exactly what she needs to stay alive and to discover the truth behind the attacks?

You buy Power Play HERE

Happy reading, readers of inspirational suspense and mystery ~ Mary Ellis