Friday, November 24, 2017

INTERVIEW: SUSETTE WILLLIAMS, Author and eBook Impresario



Interviewed by: E.E. Kennedy

Interviewer's note: It was around the turn of this century and I had just started my writing journey when I happened to make the acquaintance of the very talented and generous author and eBook impresario, Susette Williams. Over the years, she has been so gracious in helping me navigate the treacherous waters of the publishing world. Currently, I'm honored to be included in her latest eBook anthology (see below) and other earlier ones. 
I treasure her friendship. 


1.       Susette, how long have you been writing? 
I began writing when our twins were only around ten months old. They’re twenty-one years old now. So… over twenty years. (I’m not as old as I look… Okay… I’m older.)

2.       When did you know you wanted to write/publish?
When I was in 7th grade, I began reading Harlequin romances. My mother read them. After reading around fifty of them in a year, I felt like I could write one. I never attempted to write romance until around sixteen years after that.

I did start writing poetry in 7th grade and in high school, I had a poem accepted for an anthology.

3. I know you’ve written a huge number of books. Tell us how many and in what genres? What are your favorites?

Honestly, I know a lot of authors who count how many books they’ve written. I’m not one of those authors. When I started writing, I wanted to have over a hundred books published in my lifetime. I know I’m not there, so I will keep on writing. J

I love writing humorous stories the most, no matter what genre. Most authors write in one or two genres, I love writing in various genres. I write everything from mystery, suspense, inspirational romance, historical western romance, and children’s books.

4.     Tell us about your children’s books. How did you find an illustrator?

I looked to see who the illustrators were on some other books I liked, and contacted the illustrators. One thing I have learned about illustrators is that they each have their own style of illustrating, just like authors have their own style of writing.

5.     You have a large family. How have you had time to write?

I think it is hard for most authors to get their families to understand that even though they’re working from home (to write) they are working! When my children were younger, it seemed easier to write with all the noise and activity. Now, I feel like I need more peace and quiet to focus.

For me, writing is like getting into the head of my characters. I see the story play out in my mind, and write it from there. I think that is why people say my dialogue is so realistic, because I am hearing their voices in my head.

I mainly write during the night now, while hopefully everyone else is sleeping. One of our twins likes to be up all night too, so when he is home, as long as were in different rooms, we don’t disturb each other. J

6.     How has your Christian faith impacted your writing?
I like to have a ‘light’ message or thought to give readers something to think about. Hopefully, my writing encourages people and makes them smile, or think.

7.     I consider you a computer genius. Where did you learn so much about E-publishing?
My husband is a computer genius, not me. E-publishing does take some computer knowledge, depending on how much of the publishing side of things you want to handle. Not all software programs are user-friendly. Photoshop is one example. If I hadn’t learned a couple minor things to help my husband with his work, I would have never have been inspired to learn more to create my own book covers.

I honestly hadn’t realized how much was involved with self-publishing until I offered to help a couple friends. Then I realized how much I really knew, and had learned over a relatively short period.

The best way to learn is to join online writing groups and read—learn from others mistakes, research what advice they give, and track your results to see what promotions work best for you. I always tell people that your friends and family are your network, not your market. Don’t hound people you know to ‘buy your book’ or you’ll find them turning and walking the other direction when they see you coming. A lot of people I go to church with don’t even know that I write! To me, the world is my audience and I want people to read my books because they want to, not because they feel compelled to. I love to entertain people and I’m thrilled when they enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy writing them. J

8.     How do you find the authors for your anthologies? 
I’m more prone to using authors I have critiqued with, so that I know the quality of their writing. I also try to give a few friends who are less established a chance to build a following, so I invite them into some collections. On a few occasions, I have used authors I am in Christian writing groups with that I haven’t read their work before.

9.     What did you wish you knew when you first started all this?
I wish I had completed more stories, instead of primarily doing proposals for traditional publishers. I feel like I lost a lot of time because of that. I’m thank that I did move toward self-publishing because I am in control, and I’ve found I can make a better living at it than writing for traditional publishers.

10.    Have you any advice for would-be writers?
Study, learn, revise your work, don’t be afraid to let others read your work, and don’t take criticism personally. You have to be willing to make your stories better. A lot of new authors are afraid of criticism. Learn from the feedback given and make your stories better. Eventually, you’ll learn the rules (grammar, storytelling, using the five senses in storytelling, etc.) and then you’ll only need to focus on editing what you’ve written.

11.     Tell us about your current project(s). Where can we learn more about them?

My newest release is a story in THE MYSTERY OF CHRISTMAS 2. You can find it here:


Amazon Author Page: http://ow.ly/URIY30gIeaP

Subscribe to my Newsletter: http://ow.ly/JHac30gIebO


Leave a comment below (WITH your email address) for a chance to win an eBook copy of THE MYSTERY OF CHRISTMAS 2! She's giving away 3!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Let's Talk Turkey—by Linda Kozar




The humble turkey is the subject of today's post. Not that turkeys have much to do with mystery novels, but there is a great deal of myth and mystery concerning these beautiful birds. Let us pay homage to these American icons by learning more about them—before we eat them tomorrow. It's only right.

DID YOU KNOW ?

  • That farm-raised, domesticated turkeys are descended from wild turkeys?
  • That turkeys have over twenty distinct vocalizations (one of which might be "HELP!)
  • That each turkey has a unique voice?
  • Turkeys are smart and highly social, even affectionate in a similar way to dogs? (This makes me sad).
  • That baby turkeys flock with their mother for a period of one year?
  • That wild turkeys can fly up to 55 mph for short distances. Since domestic turkeys were bred to be larger and weightier, they are unable to fly and roost in trees as wild turkeys do.
  • Male turkeys puff up their bodies and spread their feathers out like peacocks to attract a mate?
  • Turkeys can have anywhere from one to eight beards?
  • Male turkeys are larger than female turkeys and have more colorful feathers?
  • And speaking of feathers, turkeys have anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 feathers!
  • Wild turkeys sleep in trees where they can stay safe from predators?
  • Male turkeys make gobbling sounds, but females cluck and chirp?
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be America's national bird rather than the bald eagle?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

Leave a comment and you could win a $10.00 Amazon gift card! Be sure to give us your contact information!


Source Material
Source Material


Friday, November 17, 2017

WELCOME MYSTERY AUTHOR DONN TAYLOR TO SUSPENSE SISTERS

Today I have the honor of interview Donn Taylor, an exceptional man and an awesome author. I'll let the interview speak for itself. Donn has a new book out, Murder in Disguise. Please leave him a comment for a chance to win a signed print copy. (US readers only.)

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?  He never gets it completely right, but sometimes he comes close.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies? Not lately, I'm afraid. In earlier years it was pick-up basketball games and running 10Ks. After the wheels came off, it was walking the nearby woodland trails with Mildred. It's always been reading—a healthy mixture nonfiction on US foreign policy with contemporary fiction. Lately it's also been chatting with a few select people on Facebook messenger.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child? When my brother and I were in grammar school, our father read to us much of the Mark Twain canon. My favorite was and is Life on the Mississippi. I still remember the riverboat pilot's oaths: "Aig-suckin', sheep-stealin', one-eyed son of a stuffed monkey," etc.

Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers. 1. I was born two days before the planet Pluto was discovered. They would never have found it without me. Some astronomers now say Pluto is not a planet, but they're wrong. If it hadn't been a planet, I wouldn't have helped them discover it.
2. When Mildred and I were stationed in France, we rented a Piper Pacer from the Aero Club at Toule Rosiere AFB in France and flew it to Copenhagen for a vacation. She proved to be an excellent navigator. We watched a Danish-language movie, and for two hours we didn't understand anything but the shooting and kissing.
3. Mildred and I were married sixty-one years, seven months, and four days before the Lord promoted her to the heavenly choir.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not? When I retired from teaching, I first wrote poetry. For fiction, I began with suspense and published two novels in which I used my military and aviation experience. I took time out for a historical novel, Lightning on a Quiet Night, a nostalgia trip for Mildred and me back to our origins in Northeast Mississippi. Since then it's been mysteries. Why change? Mystery is a compatible genre, and setting these on college and university campuses built on my academic experience. It also gave the opportunity, in addition to just telling a story, to write about still-current problems in higher education.


What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? Most of us catch a few darts on reviews because we're Christian. Those we just shrug off and keep writing. However one of my choices cuts both ways: The protagonist in my mysteries has musical hallucinations—a constant torrent of music flowing through his brain. Readers have appreciated the incongruity between what he is experiencing in the real world and what is going on in his brain. But for some readers this has been a complete turn-off, a distraction from the story. Once committed, though, I just have to put it out there and hope enough readers like it. So far, they pretty much have.




BIO: Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD at The University of Texas and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. Now retired from college teaching, he writes suspense and mystery fiction as well as literary poetry designed for the ordinary reader. He is a frequent speaker at writers' conferences and study groups. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction, poetry, and essays on ethics and U.S. foreign policy.

Here's a summary of Murder in Disguise:

Official verdict: Suicide. But why would that vigorous department chairman commit suicide? Did he kill himself to avoid disgrace from the impending exposure his rumored activities on the dark side? When visiting professor Preston Barclay questions his long-time friend's suicide, he receives threats. Press has enough problems already in proving his competence to students and faculty in the newly hostile environment of the state university. That task is made more difficult by the fact that the new department chairman and a gaggle of campus radicals do all they can to undermine him. And that sexy female siren assigned as his student assistant creates even more problems there and, worse yet, problems with Press's courtship of his colleague Mara Thorn.

Press's questions about the suicide don't find adequate answers, continuing rumors accuse his friend of disgraceful activities, and Mara's research reveals a wide range of criminal activity stretching from the community onto the campus itself. The more things don't add up, the more dangerous the threats against Press become, and the more determined Press becomes to clear his friend's name and find the truth about the alleged suicide. But can Press and Mara's stumbling efforts prevail against the well-organized and entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger…?


Don't forget to leave Donn a comment. Drawing in one week. Thanks, readers! Mary Ellis ~ Suspense Sisters

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Romantic Suspense Reviews by Elizabeth Goddard AND Giveaway!




Welcome! Elizabeth Goddard here. 


I'm giving away a copy of Texas Christmas Defender (US only)--my upcoming December
release! Be sure to comment and leave your contact information to enter the drawing.


I spend most of my days doing one of two things. Reading or writing. It’s a good thing I absolutely love both endeavors. Oh, yeah. . . and I make a little money at the writing. Not so much the reading. But it’s all related. Though I try to read widely (different genres and new authors) romantic suspense will always be my favorite genre. I’m so glad there are so many great RS authors to choose from, including the Suspense Sisters of course!


What’s better than edge-of-your-seat suspense, a puzzle to solve, and a good romance all wrapped into one package? Chocolate, you say? How about eating chocolate (a little, not a lot) while letting yourself get drawn into a great novel.


Admittedly, I do have chores. Laundry. Dinner. Laundry. Dishes. Laundry . . . but I can carve out a half hour every evening to read. Sometimes that expands to more than an hour, but I can read one or two books in a week that way. I guess I should also be completely forthcoming—I have teenagers who actually do a lot of the laundry. Maybe a few dishes too. But you know how it is—life throws a lot of stuff at us. Still, I find time to read. This was meant to encourage you that you can do the same.


I have some great recommendations for you. Let’s start with our Patricia Bradley’s Justice
Buried
. (Patricia is also a Suspense Sister)


Here’s the blurb:

In an effort to get her security consulting business off the ground, Kelsey Allen has been spending a lot of time up in the air, rappelling down buildings and climbing through windows to show business owners their vulnerabilities to thieves. When she is hired to pose as a conservator at the Pink Palace Museum in order to test their security weaknesses after some artifacts go missing, she's ecstatic. But when her investigative focus turns from theft to murder, Kelsey knows she's out of her league--and possibly in the cross hairs. When blast-from-the-past Detective Brad Hollister is called in to investigate, Kelsey may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart. 

Crackling with romantic tension and laced with intrigue, this suspenseful story from award-winning author Patricia Bradley will keep readers guessing--and looking over their shoulders.



I can’t say enough about this novel. Loved it from the get-go. Kelsey’s an interesting character. Anyone who can climb buildings, rocks, or mountains is courageous. Kelsey takes that courage with her into her security job and to find a killer. I also loved the artifacts and museum aspect to the story—that’s right up my alley. Enter hero Detective Brad Hollister and the romantic sparks fly. The pacing was great and I read this book in a short time. You’ll love it!


Next up is Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon.



Blurb:

Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.

Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon captures readers with a mind-bending story that will have them doubling back to retrace their steps--and figure out what they missed!


Irene Hannon has a meticulous writing style and methodically lays the foundation for both the suspense and romantic plots while keeping a good, solid pace. The main female protagonist, Trish, is completely relatable and any of us could find ourselves in the same situation—caring for a sick parent and hoping we don’t make any mistakes. I enjoyed the twists and turns in the story, and found it thoroughly entertaining.


Last but never least, Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris


Blurb:

During Garrett Addison's first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a
young girl. She's the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common--a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies--number six--Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn't have what it takes to be an agent. What he'll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him--or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki's sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.


Have you read the Nikki Boyd Files yet? I’ve read all three books (and loved them) leading up to this fourth and final book in the series. Lisa’s writing style is fast-paced in this novel that spans several years to uncover answers to the mystery that Nikki Boyd Files readers have been waiting for. This is an absolute must-read.

These fabulous authors (in addition to our own Suspense Sisters authors) provide us with countless hours of intense and satisfying reading.

Now, don't forget--I'm giving away a copy of Texas Christmas Defender to one lucky winner. Please leave a comment and include your contact information to enter the drawing!

Happy Reading!
Elizabeth Goddard





Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hot new inspy suspense...with cowboys!



Someone is dead set on stopping Shelby Arroyo from doing her job: assessing mineral rights in a mine in gold country. But after rancher Barrett Thorn rescues her from an attack, the handsome widowed cowboy seems to feel responsible for her. That is, until he discovers she's from the family that he'll never forgive for his wife's death. As the threats against Shelby escalate, cowboy honor and an unexpected attraction keep Barrett by her side, even at his own risk. And since Shelby won't back down, Barrett must protect the brave, loyal woman he has no business falling for…a woman someone wants to kill by Christmas. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

THIS WEEK ON THE SUSPENSE SISTERS




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

THIS WEEK:



On Tuesday Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.










On Wednesday our own Elizabeth Goddard will review Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley and Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon! She’ll also be giving away a copy of her December release, TEXAS CHRISTMAS DEFENDER. 










Friday, we’re talking to Donn Taylor. Someone will win a copy of his new book, MURDER IN DISGUISE!  

Official verdict: Suicide. But why would that vigorous department chairman kill himself? To avoid disgrace? Those rumored ventures on the dark side? Some other secret life? Visiting professor Preston Barclay wonders. But his questions bring no answers, only anonymous threats. He has enough problems already, proving himself on a strange campus while radical faculty do all they can to undermine him. Worse yet, that sexy siren assigned as his assistant complicates his courtship of the beautiful Mara Thorn.

While Press keeps asking questions, Mara's research reveals a cancer of criminal activity that permeates the community and even the campus itself. The more Press questions, the more dangerous the threats against him become, and the more determined he grows to clear his friend's name.

But can Press and Mara's stumbling efforts prevail against the entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger…?

The Suspense Sisters! We love books!