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  When I think back to the Christmases of my childhood, I always smile at one particular memory. For as long as I can remember, our extended family would gather at the home of one of my aunts on Christmas Eve. We would enjoy a lavish potluck dinner with the host family providing the main course while everyone else brought side dishes and desserts.  Afterward, we would catch up on family news—coming babies, recent graduations or promotions and other milestones, small or grand. Before the families would separate to attend church services at their own particular denomination, the children would anxiously await the arrival of one special guest—Santa Claus. My uncle (who recently passed away) would dress up in full costume and arrive with great fanfare down the staircase. (He would leave his sleigh and reindeer on the roof.) Over his shoulder, he carried a velvet sack filled with wrapped gifts for all the good girls and boys from infants through college-aged. Since I was the youngest of my generation, I was the last child who still believed in Santa Claus after my cousins discovered the truth about the man-in-red.
            But my mother and aunts didn’t want anyone spoiling my fun, so they instructed everyone to keep quiet about who really wore the silken beard of white. Yours truly continued to believe the myth longer than average. However, someone at school or perhaps a neighborhood kid finally burst my bubble. Once I overcame my initial shock, I thought about how pleased the old folks were that I still believed. So I played along with the subterfuge for several more years, becoming wide-eyed with anticipation for the jolly man to arrive. My aunts would watch my reaction from the corner of their eyes, pleased that the deception continued for another year. Finally, when Santa arrived and presented a middle-schooler with her treasure, I had so say: “Hi, Uncle Louie. Thanks for the gift.”
             Everyone moaned, while my mother looked broken-hearted. But all good things must come to an end. Now that my dear mom and uncle are gone, I still remember the joy they preserved for me because of their love. And because of the unending love of the Father and the gift of His son…once again I have something to believe in. Merry Christmas! May God’s blessings rain down on you and your family during this special time of year.
              The latest in Mary Ellis’s Secrets of the South mysteries, Sunset in Old Savannah, will release in March and may be pre-booked now. sunset-in-old-savannah-3

ANNOUNCING THE SUSPENSE SISTERS’ CHRISTMAS CONTEST!

Would you like to win a Kindle Fire, $75.00 in Amazon gift cards, an iTunes gift card, candy and…lots of books?

f6bf6-magnolia2bmoonlightIncluding mine….Here’s your chance!
 
It’s easy to enter, just use the Rafflecopter box below. We’ll pick one grand prize winner the morning of December 24th. (U.S. only, please)
 
Watch for other posts in December as some of the Suspense Sisters share stories, Christmas memories, or even special Christmas recipes.
 
This contest is our way of thanking you for being a part of the Suspense Sisters, and wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In my blissful, pre-published days, I erroneously believed that once an author received the coveted “call” and turned in a complete manuscript, she could relax and put her feet up. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being published means honoring contracts in a timely fashion, along with a multitude of details. No longer was I squeezing time to “write a book” into my daily routine of tending home, family and day job. With each new release, the juggling act increases from three balls in the air, to four, five or even six.

Let’s take a look at how five projects could potentially demand your attention simultaneously:
First, there’s the book you’re currently writing and editing, according to your publisher’s expectations for word count, level of violence, etc.
Secondly, the book you recently submitted is by no means done. A plethora of add-ons must be finished before the book heads to the printer, such as developmental edits, line edits, back cover copy, book cover suggestions, and blurbs for catalogs and sales brochures.
Thirdly, if this was a series, chances are a book was recently released and requires promotion. Your title will either sink or swim during the first several months. An author must get the word out to readers through blog interviews, website and newsletter giveaways, and book signings, along with social media. Otherwise, with so many fine books releasing each year, how will potential readers find yours?
Fourthly, an author needs to research the next book she intends to write, and that often involves travel or at least long hours spent in the library. Not everything on the internet can be trusted for accuracy, so first-person travel, when possible, is especially helpful.
And finally, what happens when your current series draws to a close? If you don’t wish to be out of a job, you must devise an irresistible proposal that your publisher cannot turn down. Publishing houses consider projects well in advance, so authors need to think far down the line too. Considering all this stress, hard work and long hours, you might conclude that I’m complaining. Nothing would be farther from the truth. I love being an author and pray each night for God to make me a better juggler.  Happy reading!
Mary Ellis has written twelve best-selling novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is third of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before “retiring” to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. She enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog, and cat. Sunset in Old Savannah releases in early 2017. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or www.facebook.com/Mary-Ellis/Author
 
f6bf6-magnolia2bmoonlightPlease leave me a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Magnolia Moonlight!
Happy Reading!

THIS WEEK ON THE SUSPENSE SISTERS!

It’s another great week on the Suspense Sisters!

This week reviewer Beth Ann Ziarnik Reviews SARATOGA LETTERS by Elaine Marie Cooper. Beth Ann says: “When I first realized that Saratoga Letters was a two-part novel with two separate stories—one in the 1777 and the other in more modern times—I wondered how author Elaine Marie Cooper could pull it off successfully. A fan of her earlier novels, I should have known she was up to the challenge. The result is a riveting Christian historical romantic suspense.”

To see her complete review, go HERE.  

On Tuesday, Suspense Sister Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery!

On Wednesday we’ll hear from Suspense Sister Mary Ellis. She talks about time management for authors. (Boy, do I need this one!) She’s giving away a copy of her latest novel, MAGNOLIA MOONLIGHT!    Leave a copy on after the blog post for a chance to win. http://www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com/

 
Friday, Suspense Sister Cynthia Hickey will be interviewing

Gayle Gaymer Martin! Gayle will be giving away a print copy of her book, SECRETS WITHIN. (U.S. only.)

 

That’s what’s happening this week on the Suspense Sisters! Don’t miss a single day. Sign up through email so you’ll get updates in the exciting world of inspirational suspense and mystery!

The Suspense Sisters! We love books!
It’s another great week on the Suspense Sisters!

This week senior reviewer Marji Laine reviews TARGETED FOR MURDER by Elizabeth Goddard. Marji says: “As much as the suspense and romance kept me turning the pages, theaction in this book propelled me to keep reading. From the second page, the intensity grew with on life-threatening event after another. The attacks came on without allowing the characters or me to stop and rest, breathe. I found myself flipping the pages instead of turning them. Turning them just wasn’t fast enough!”

To see her complete review, go HERE
On Tuesday, Suspense Sister Dana Mentink will share What’s

Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery! 

On Wednesday we’ll hear from Suspense Sister Cynthia Hickey.  

Friday, Suspense Sister E.E. Kennedy will be interviewing oneof Suspense/Mystery’s top authors. Stay tuned for more information!

That’s what’s happening this week on the Suspense Sisters! Don’t miss a single day. Sign up through Email so you’ll get updates in the exciting world of inspirational suspense and mystery!
It’s another great week on the Suspense Sisters! Check out our REVIEW PAGE page for great reviews of books by today’s best suspense and mystery authors!
On Tuesday, Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery!
On Wednesday we’ll hear from Suspense Sister Nancy Mehl. Nancy’ post is titled: “How to Balance Life and Writing

Without Losing Your Mind!” She’ll be giving away a copy of her Amish cozy mystery, BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE, nominated for a 2016 Carol Award

Friday, Suspense Sister Mary Ellis will interview author Rachel McMillan. Rachel is giving away a copy of her book, THE BACHELOR GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER! 

magnolia moonlight 150 pixDon’t forget, readers, this is the release week for Magnolia Moonlight, which has already made CBD’s fiction best-seller list, top 20. Thank you to everyone who pre-booked a copy. It is still 7.99 at http://www.christianbook.com . It will release for electronic readers on August 1st. Also on August 1st, books one and two of series will be on sale in all e-formats. Midnight on the Mississippi  will be .99  and What Happened on Beale Street will be 2.99.

Don’t you just love a sale?? Have a great week.  Mary 

 

 

 

It’s another great week on the Suspense Sisters! ANNOUNCEMENT!
We’re excited to announce that two of our sisters have been honored with award nominations! Mary Ellis and Elizabeth Godard are both finalists for the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense!
This is quite a distinction, and we’re so proud of them! Congratulations, Sisters! 
From Marji: 

This week we’re reviewing SINS OF THE PAST, a collection ofromantic suspense novellas by award winning authors Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Lynette Eason. Here’s a brief description of each novella to whet your appetite!

Secrets and Lies. Danger That Will Never Go Away. Join Three Beloved Masters of Romantic Suspense for Novellas Where the Past Will Not Stay Buried.
Dee Henderson – “Missing”
A Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing from her retirement community. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two soon launch into a race against the clock when they realize something dark may lie at the heart of the disappearance.
Dani Pettrey – “Shadowed”
Adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young Alaskan fisherman nets the body of a Russian open water swimming competitor. Another swimmer, who’d been the dead woman’s roommate years ago, is pulled into the search for answers as it grows more and more clear that something sinister is at play.
Lynette Eason – “Blackout”
A young woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong finds herself at risk years later when the real culprit is up for parole. The loot taken that night has never been found and he believes she knows where it’s hidden–only her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety?
To read our complete review, go HERE.

On Tuesday, Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery!
On Wednesday we’ll hear from Dana again. She’ll be sharing her summer reading survey. She’ll also be giving away two of her newest releases, SEASIDE SECRETS and SIT, STAY, LOVE!

Friday, Suspense Sister Ellen Kennedy will be interviewing another top notch author in the mystery/ suspense genre. Watch us to find out who it will be!  That’s what’s happening this week on the Suspense Sisters! Don’t miss a single day. Sign up through email so you’ll get updates in the exciting world of inspirational suspense and mystery!