Friday, May 30, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature- Bethany Macmanus- Mystery/Suspense Author





Today I welcome mystery/suspense author: 
Bethany Macmanus

Enter to win Bethany's book
Murdered Between Stalagmites

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.




I've had a wonderful time getting to know Bethany on FB. We've chatted and shared some amazing stories, some you can read below. We've become good friends. During one of our conversations I asked her to join us and share how God has led her on her writing journey. Here is what she wrote:



Gravitated to Things That Go Bump in the Night



It all began when my mother pulled me out of kindergarten halfway through the year and started homeschooling me. I'd simply gotten sick one too many times, and Goodness knows I got in too much trouble for talking to my little seatmate, Brian. (To this day, I'm too extroverted to spend much time sitting at my desk, though I love writing so!)

I would get my schoolwork done before lunch and then dive straight into a stack of library books. My love of the written word grew and grew with my English-teaching father there to encourage me all the more. I'd while away the hours penning poetry, mainly about cats, until fourth grade when my parents put me back into public school.

At the local elementary, I poured over my fiction. It was around this age I grew especially fond of Nancy Drew mysteries, and have now begun to collect them as a sentimental remembrance of what started me writing mystery/suspense.

In the fifth grade Gifted and Talented program, teachers encouraged the stretching of my imagination. I believe at this time I became convinced: God wanted me to be an author.

I began my first novel, Lily. It was in the same vein as Janette Oake, Bodie and Brock Thoene, and Gilbert Morris. At that time there wasn't a lot to choose from in Christian fiction. Now as I look back on the plot, I giggle at how little romance did for the plot. Lily was mostly centered on the mystery of what abuse had happened to the heroine as a child, which she thought normal. When told to the hero, red flags raised in his mind. By golly, that hero was going to press and search for the villain who did this to her!

After college, marriage, and an anticlimactic career as an RN, I had my first child and got back into my writing. It felt so good to be doing what God had called me to. Once more I began to pen a historical romance; this time instead of western prairies, the setting was sixteenth century Vienna, Austria.

Rachelle Gardner gave some VERY good advice for The Prisoner and the Heretic. She wrote me a long email teaching me where to go to improve my backstory-heavy beginning, among other heinous problems. But the most valuable thing she said was, I KNEW HOW TO WRITE! I think without those magic, blessed words, I may not have picked myself up or brushed myself off, and kept going.

I discovered that historical romance is NOT my genre.

At around this time, (advised by Brandilynn Collins) I joined ACFW and learned I should probably begin blogging. My first attempt was a short story fiction blog, where I would just take a character idea and a plot twist and run with it. One thousand words later, I would stop typing and read what I had, edit a bit, and post. My characters from Murdered Between Stalagmites were born this way. I also realized my true genre was suspense!

One contest finalist experience and one contest winning experience later, I realized my first publishable novel, Six Solitude Road, was a “tweener.” (Okay, that was what Chip MacGregor told me...) Though the Christian worldview was strong in my book, it also had some edgy elements considered too dark for the CBA (Christian market).


I decided to self publish, and move forward with another idea for a very Christian romantic suspense. I will hopefully be able to finish it and pitch it at this year's ACFW conference! Go hybrid writers! :)


Recently, a Facebook friend (raised Buddhist) picked up a copy of Murdered By Stalagmites. While reading it, she was touched by what the characters said in such a way, she felt I was someone who knew the Lord and would be willing to listen to some spiritual questions she had! She gave me a call and we talked for an hour about Jesus! SO AWESOME!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bethany lives in Houston with her husband, daughter and son. After practicing as an RN for five years, Bethany left the nursing field to pursue a fiction writing passion the Lord planted in her heart when she was a child. And as Nancy Drew mysteries were her guilty pleasure during those early years, so she naturally gravitates her pen toward the things that go bump in the night.

She draws many interesting and perplexing facts from her former career. These experiences come in handy when characters get themselves into serious scrapes, and also gives a psychological spin to many of her plots.
She’s allergic to milk, Sulfa drugs, and people who stop in the middle of intersections while driving.
2011 ACFW Genesis Finalist for Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Winner, 2013 RWA Daphne du Maurier award for Inspirational Romantic Suspense 
2013 ACFW local chapter vice president.

Want to learn more about Bethany?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Six Solitude Road
Her husband is the prime suspect in the kidnapping of one of her students.
Now she must prove him innocent.

One morning, Kate Marset discovers her seven year old student, Becca, is missing, and all evidence in her disappearance points to Kate’s husband, Clint. At the Christian school where Becca disappeared, Kate finds more than one lead the detectives have overlooked. Armed with a Colt .45 and an incriminating flash drive file, Kate struggles to prove Clint innocent in this kidnapping. All the while, her own daughter Janna slips away emotionally. Is something dark at work in the little girl’s life? Or is it just growing pains? The only way for Kate to find out is to dig into the layers of sin holding her town, her husband, and her own house captive.
(There is a book trailer under Case Files tab on my website: http://bethanymacmanus.com 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Murdered Between Stalagmites (cozy novella):
They thought they were going to be reality show stars.

What they got was murder.

When Jacob Mercer is trapped with seven strangers in a series of caves, he determines to seek out the mysterious predator responsible for the hoax which lured them there.
Then, one of the inhabitants is murdered the first night, and Jacob has to play detective.
Will he uncover the killer of Siren Song Caves? Or will the killer find a way out before anybody else?




To enter the contest for  
Bethany Macmanus's book: "Murdered Between Stalagmites":
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.

International Readers are also invited to enter to win a copy for your Kindle!!
US residents may choose between a Kindle copy or paper copy.

Winner announced on my facebook page.


Thank you, Bethany, for Joining us This Weekend!


We never know when our work will have am impact on someone's life. I'm so glad she took that call, aren't you?

Your turn: Did you have an unexpected opportunity to share your faith in Christ?  



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Review of Meant To Be Mine, $200 Visa Card Giveaway, & Facebook Party (6/10) with @BeckyWadeWriter!



Enter today's book give away from today's post. 
Simply leave a comment and become a follower 
OR subscriber.


"Daddy."

That one word spoken by a little girl melted the heart of the most famous bull rider on the rodeo circuit and had him sitting on the floor listening to princess stories. 

How quick can a man fall in love with his child? In a heartbeat. 


I liked the way Becky Wade's story, Meant to Be Mine portrays the deep love of a father for his daughter. His willingness to sacrifice time and money not only for her needs, but to draw this child who hadn't met him until age five into a loving father-daughter relationship warms the heart.

But little Addie's mom didn't feel the same. Since the morning after their impromptu wedding, Celia struggled with the hurt from his words. "The wedding was a mistake." he said. He loved the girl from back home. Duty bound to protect her daughter from the same hurt, Celia refused to let Ty participate in his daughter's life.

Unfortunately, life doesn't happen the way we want. Bills, a disabled car, and fear of lawyers softened her spirit to accept his help. 


I like Becky Wade's gift for writing playful banter. Ty works hard to woo the woman who has convinced herself never to trust him again. Celia loves watching Addie grow close to her father, and must admit she is still physically attracted to the man, but the protective walls she's built around her heart only serve to fuel Ty's playful spirit. I couldn't help but laugh out loud when reading these sections, then had to explain to my family what was funny.

I like Meant to Be Mine characters like Celia's Uncle Danny. Straight out of the sixties, surfer dude, junky van owner, laid back, and always there when needed. He is a lovable character who is willing to live near Celia to help take care of her and Addie.

Ty's family also wins the medal for superstar family. Their warm welcome of Celia and Addie into their lives was only a glimmer of how this family drops everything when a need arises.

A strong theme of forgiveness is threaded through this book. Blinded by hurt feelings, Celia doesn't see Ty's true intent to woo her until a great sacrifice is made. 

Meant to Be Mine portrays the need for forgiveness, the willingness of a great sacrifice to mend a broken relationship, and the love of a father for his child.

The one problem I had was the casino setting in the opening scenes. ...but this is a personal conviction.


I received this book in return for my honest opinion of the book.

1. If you would like to enter my contest here on my website to win a copy of Meant to Be Mine, leave a comment with your email address, AND become either a follower of this site or sign up to receive posts through email. Sorry, U.S. only.

AND.....


2. Becky Wade's latest novel, Meant to Be Mine, is a keeper! 

Celebrate with Becky by entering her "Dream Come True" $200 Visa cash card prize pack giveaway and RSVP for her June 10th Facebook party!

  meanttobe-400-click 
  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa cash card
  • Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 10th. Winner will be announced at the Meant to Be Mine Facebook author chat party on June 10th. Connect with Becky for a fun evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Becky will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.


So grab your copy of Meant to Be Mine and join Becky on the evening of June 10th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th


Monday, May 26, 2014

Selah-Memorial Day


Photo Courtesy
We often see the word Selah in the book of Psalms. The word Selah means: Take time to pause.

Let's pause to thank those who have represented our country in the military. Both those who gave their life or were injured in service and those who returned to their homes carrying the memories of their service. Let's also remember their families and pray for them.



There is one Psalm that uses the word Selah several times. 



                                                                                      Psalm 32

I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.


You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah


I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.


Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.


Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.


Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!



May the Lord grant you peace and bless your family. Happy Memorial Day!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Fabulous Friday Feature-Dianna Benson




Today I welcome an author who shares God's peace in Suspense stories: 
author Dianna Benson
Just announced- Dianna is the 2014 Selah winner!! Congratulations, Dianna!!

Enter to win 
Dianna's book
Final Trimester

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.


I was very happy when Dianna asked to join our Fabulous Friday Feature segment for a weekend. She is the one of only a few suspense novelists who has taught me I can read this genre and survive. (I have a secret. If you ask in the comment section, I’ll tell you.) Each of these authors has a sweet natured personality and love to joke in conversations. Why is that? I have no clue. I'm going to have to ask Dianna to shed light on that subject. You'll enjoy our chat today! I asked her to share with us how God has led her on her writing journey. Here is what she said:

A Thrilling Ride!
I started writing my first book in 1993. After completing five mainstream suspense novels, I signed with my first agent in 2007. Six agents offered me representation that spring; it was a difficult choice between them since all six are top-notch. In the fall of 2007, a film agent requested a screenplay of The Hidden Son after reading the book. In early 2009, just before I completed the script, the film agent suddenly retired due to health issues; I never pursued anything further with the script. 

Later in 2009, I received a four-book mainstream contract offer, but turned it down to focus on my family since my husband was just diagnosed with head and neck cancer. During his surgeries and radiation treatments, I took care of our young family of five and read Christian fiction for comfort and support. While reading, I recognized various elements within my own writing that would be an ideal fit for the inspirational suspense genre. So, I continued to read a ton of Christian fiction. Then I wrote my first inspirational suspense and loved writing it. 

In 2011, I won the Genesis in the mystery/suspense/thriller category.  In 2012, I signed with a new agent; within days I had a contract offer from B&H, a large traditional Christian publisher. That contract was pending for thirteen weeks due to the publishing house facing difficulties (less than a year later they permanently discontinued their fiction department). During those thirteen weeks, my new agent let go of all the other interest in my writing. At that point, I considered ending my writing career before it even really began. 

Since EMS is a part time career for me (too intense for full time), I applied to Penn State to earn my Masters in psychology to become a social worker in the field (not clinical) – Think: EMS without the medical aspects. I was accepted into the psychology program and decided to put my writing career on hold. But…due to my Genesis win, Ellechor Publishing House, a small traditional Christian publishing house, contacted me, requesting me to submit to them. Within days, they offered me a nine-book contract. 

In February 2014, I had an opportunity to write for a large traditional mainstream publishing house. I considered switching to mainstream since our two older children are college students and two of our three children want to attend medical school. The thought of putting three kids through college and two all the way through medical school daunted me and my husband, plus we’re still paying off medical bills from my husband’s cancer, our son’s four concussions, and our oldest daughter’s scoliosis surgery. 

Still, it didn’t feel right to leave the Christian genre, so I flipped open my Bible just randomly to whatever page it took me to (I often do this to see what God wants me to hear). I landed on Hebrews 13 and my eyes simply fell on Hebrews 13:5 – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  Sure I heard God speaking to me, but I was still struggling, so I turned to my daily Bible study lesson (Beth Moore study, Living Beyond Yourself, Exploring the Fruit of the Sprit). The first lesson of that day asked me to read Hebrews 13. Wow. Okay, yeah, I definitely heard God and trusted His words. No question, He wants me to write for Him. God uses all of us in various ways, and I feel He’s using my writing as one of His vessels for His word, His messages. I couldn’t be happier or more at peace.  

For details on what led me to start writing that first book in 1993, read my WRITING page on my website: www.diannatbenson.com


Final Trimester
Paramedic Jodi Duncan recognizes the work of a serial killer before the Myrtle Beach PD even suspects a connection between the deaths of two pregnant women. Despite the vast differences in the two cases, Jodi urges Detective Nate Quigley to think outside the box. After digging deep into the separate investigations, Nate finds no evidence to support a serial killer theory, and he warns Jodi to back off police business, which only fuels her passion for the cases.

When a third pregnant woman is murdered, Nate is named lead detective on the case and works to link the deaths in order to unmask and stop the serial murderer, a disturbed man who believes God and the devil battle inside his head to bend him according to their wills. As he fights both voices, his interest fixates on Jodi when he discovers her obsession with ending his rampage.

My releases are available wherever books are sold. Below are the links to Final Trimester at the three biggest booksellers:
Amazon.com


Dianna and her husband
Dianna Torscher Benson is a 2014 Selah Award Winner, a 2011 Genesis Winner, a 2011 Genesis double Semi-Finalist, a 2010 Daphne de Maurier Finalist, and a 2007 Golden Palm Finalist. In 2012, she signed a nine-book contract with Ellechor Publishing House. She’s the author of The Hidden Son, her debut novel.  Final Trimester is her second release.

After majoring in communications and a ten-year career as a travel agent, Dianna left the travel industry to earn her EMS degree. An EMT and a Haz-Mat and FEMA Operative since 2005, she loves the adrenaline rush of responding to medical emergencies and helping people in need. 

 

Dianna lives in North Carolina with her husband and their three children.
~
Want to connect with Dianna? Here's how:

~~
To enter the contest for an autographed copy of 
Dianna Benson's book: "Final Trimester":
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.

Sorry  US  only

Winner announced on my facebook page.


Thank you, Dianna, for Joining us This Weekend!
.
It seems God made sure Dianna had oodles of training to help her with suspense writing.Think of all the first hand sensory images she was able to include!

Do you like Christian fiction suspense novels?  Perhaps you could send a congratulations comment for her new Selah award for her 

Let us know or just say howdie doo. :) We love to chat here.

Bonus: In the introduction I posed a question: How is it that Christian suspense novelists have such a sweet spirit and love to joke in conversation. Dianna answered: For me, after years of raising three children and working in EMS and seeing the horror in life, I’ve found a way to laugh through the yucky stuff (sometimes it’s better than crying). Also, through the years I’ve realized life is just kindergarten – a short time for me to learn the basics before I move on to the real thing. The basics being: Be loving and kind to everyone, even when they aren’t to me, and to focus on my relationships with: 1) God 2) Others 3) Myself. That way of thinking gives me such inner peace and allows me to enjoy life with a smile and laughter.

Thank you, Dianna. What an insightful answer




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Is Your Golden Age



If you could live at anytime in history, what time would you choose?


I recently watched a movie where the main character wanted to live in Paris during the 1920's. At the stroke of midnight he was mysteriously transported to the 1920s. He, of course, saw all the mystique and awe of the sights, sounds, and people. It truly was all he had hoped.


Then he met a girl from the 20's who had the same thoughts but about the 1890's. One night as they walked the Parisian streets they were mysteriously transported to the 1890's. She, of course, saw all the mystique and was in awe with the sights, sounds, and people. It truly was all she had hoped. 

The main character heard two men from the 1890's talking about the wonder of the Renaissance and wishing they could have lived at that time. It was then that he realized we all wish to be in a different time and place. 

His revelation helped him realize the beauty of the year he originally lived in.

A great theme.

I also considered, though, that there was nothing wrong with dreaming of living in a different place or time. After all, our real home is not here, but in heaven. Perhaps when we think these thoughts we are infusing our conception of what heaven might be like. We see the good of the time or place we dream of.

So…today I invite you to have some fun.

Dream a bit…

If you could, for one day, be any place at any time, what would you pick?

I will start…
I must admit it would be very difficult to choose only one place. It would have to be a time when the world experienced peace. I wouldn't want to get killed in my special place. Let's see, I'd also like my hubby to be with me. It would have to be a sunny place, not too hot and not too cold. Perhaps a bit of adventure. Yes. Now I've picked the place. I'd like to go on an African safari trip.

Your turn. Where and when would you choose for your golden day?


Monday, May 19, 2014

The Pontoon and the Empty Heart







When we bought our current house, the previous owner didn't want to take the small pontoon paddle boat. She asked us to buy it. My husband didn't even blink before saying yes.






Winter moseyed by followed by the perfect summer to try out the pontoon. Hubby stepped on board and hopped back off before the boat sank. He pulled the boat back out of the water and hauled it back up to the shed.

Poor pontoon sat in the corner the rest of the summer and through the next winter before hubby gave it a second chance. He researched Internet sites, examined the information, and devised a theory. The inner tubes inside the pontoons needed air.

Hubby pulled the pontoon out of the shed and set it in the grass. He hauled the compressor out and filled the inner tubes with air. The pontoon was drug down to the lake and tested. 

Go figure. It didn't sink. 

Hubby grabbed his fishing pole and paddled out to the lake.

~~

There was a time when my heart was empty. I was no better than a sinking boat. Thank God He didn't give up on me and put me in a corner to sit out the summer and winter of my life. He didn't even have to research how to fix the problem. 

God knew from the start what my heart was missing. I needed Him. When I asked Jesus to be my Savior, my heart filled with His presence. No longer disabled, safe and secure, ready to sail though the winds of trials may toss me around.


 This post has been brought to you by the one word: Revive

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fabulous Friday-Nike Chillemi-Crime Stopping Mystery Author



Today I welcome an author who writes Crime Stopping Action Stories spiced with humor: 
Nike Chillemi

Enter to win Nike's book
Harmful Intent
Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.


Nike is the leader of my ACFW crit group. She keeps our gang of varied genre writers together with her godly spirit and love for helping other writers. While we've prayed for each other's needs, I was truly touched when reading her post for today. Nike has several books published and has just released her latest. When I heard the good news I asked her to visit with us and share how God had led her on her writing journey. Here is what she wrote:

When I Listened

I'm not one to say, "God told me to write this novel," still, I do feel it's been God nudging me to write fiction. I do get inspiration for my stories, seemingly out of nowhere. Of course, we know what this type of silent and sudden muse is all about. It's the Holy Spirit trying to get something across to us. So, while God does not dictate stories to me, no, not at all, He does impart ideas and themes, and if I'm listening, I use them. There have been times when something was given to me and I didn't write it down and later forgot it. Then I had to pray that I would get across what He wanted in spite of myself.

I've been a foster mom and the adoptive mom of three girls who came to us through an adoption agency specializing in the adoption of children who were in foster care. I have seen how early abuse and neglect damages children, and growing past that is hard, and becoming a fully functioning adult is hard. I'm committed now to writing a mystery "couples series." When the series is complete there will be four different couples who are my sleuths. Each couple will have more than one novel in which to tell the totality of their story. At least one member of each couple will have been damaged by something devastating in their childhood. It could be the heroine or the hero. It might be both. Whatever this damage is, will pop up at the most inconvenient times to stress and confound that character.

HARMFUL INTENT, a Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels/Dawson Hughes Novel, is the first in this series. Ronnie is a private investigator from Brooklyn (NYC) who finds herself in west Texas, and a suspect in her cheating husband's murder. On the spiritual front, she's a bit jaded, but she's also a seeker. She's just beginning to ask questions about the meaning of life. She's taking a look at Christianity for the first time. Dawson is a deputy sheriff from the hill country of Texas and is the one suspecting Ronnie of murder. He hails from a Christian background and has lost the faith he had as a child. This is something he struggles with throughout the story.

I wrap up the murder mystery in HARMFUL INTENT, but not the spiritual journey or the romance. Book two for Ronnie and Dawson will be DEADLY DESIGNS, where they join forces once again to find a missing child.

~~~

Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released in the spring of 2014 under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press. 

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN), and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers.

Want to connect with Nike? 
http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
You'll also discover some great crime stopping tips on her site.


~~~

HARMFUL INTENT :

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels' family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he's not so sure at first, he's on the meddling New York PI's side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Sweet, askance romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.

Purchase Link for Harmful Intent:  Amazon


To enter the contest for an eBook copy of 
Nike Chillemi's book: "Harmful Intent":
leave a comment (and email address)
AND become a follower of this site, 
OR sign up to receive posts by email
if you aren't already.

International Readers are also invited to enter!!

Winner announced on my facebook page.


Thank you, Nike, for Joining us This Weekend!


Nike's crime stopping series sure looks exciting. I've read this first book and wrote a review in my last post. Scroll down to Wednesday's post to read it. 

There is something exciting about whodunit stories. We try to guess the answers. Sometimes we are right. Usually we are wrong. Hah. Still we try again.

Your turn: Have you read mystery stories? If yes, what do you like about them?