The research trip that was anything but….

Good morning, readers,

I recently returned home from a two-week trip where a condo had been booked in beautiful, historic Charleston. Only that nasty Hurricane Irma had other plans for us. My heart breaks for all the people living in the state of Florida, coastal areas of Georgia and South Carolina and the several Carribean islands severely impacted. For a week we stayed in the mountains of NC, waiting to see which way Irma would head. Then we headed to Memphis and a friend’s house in Kentucky. Yes, we were out money and a chance to put final touches on my next book, Night Falls on Charleston. But so many people lost their homes, possessions, and some even their lives.  They are the ones heavy on my mind and they will remain in my prayers for a long time.

The first thing I did when I returned home was to send a check to the American Red Cross. This country has experienced one disaster after another. Please remember the Red Cross and Salvation Army with whatever you can afford to give. Thanks!

On Friday, please drop by the Suspense Sisters blog where I will be interviewing Susan Page Davis. She’ll be giving away a copy of her book, THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR, or any of the earlier books in the current series. Kindle or paperback, but a signed paperback is for U.S. only.  Please leave your comment after the interview to be entered in a drawing.

The charming stone house next door is for sale! How could there be a downside to that?

As his wife Jennifer’s due date approaches, Captain Harvey Larson decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. The neighboring house seems ideal for Jennifer’s brother Jeff and his wife. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement? The men of the Priority Unit might be wasting their time, trying to prove one dead man killed another. Or is the murderer still alive, and ready to strike again? Join them on their latest case as they deliver Maine Justice.

Thanks, readers!  Mary 

This is what’s happening on Suspense Sisters this week




We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways! On Tuesday Dana Mentink will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.

Single mother Penny Potter has spent months in hiding to keep her toddler from his father, a rogue FBI agent turned fugitive. But he’s determined to flee the country with the child, and she can’t dodge him forever. When he corners Penny in the Montana wilderness and gets away with their son, she’s forced to trust his brother, handsome FBI K-9 agent Zeke Morrow. And Zeke must decide where his loyalty lies: with his sibling or the woman he wasn’t supposed to fall for. As the bullets fly and family ties are tested, Penny and Zeke will fight to save the boy who brought them together.
On Wednesday Suspense Sister Elizabeth Goddard reviews Rachel Dylan’s new book, DEADLY PROOF.
In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan is tapped as lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical because of a corporate cover-up related to its newest drug. After a whistleblower dies, Kate knows the stakes are much higher than her other lawsuits.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James is still haunted by mistakes made while serving overseas. Trying to forget the past, he is hired by Kate to look into the whistleblower’s allegations and soon suspects that the company may be engaging in a dangerous game for profit. He also soon finds himself falling for this passionate and earnest young lawyer. 

Determined not to make the same mistakes, he’s intent on keeping Kate safe, but as the case deepens, it appears someone is willing to risk everything–even murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

Friday, we hear from Elizabeth again! You could win a copy of her book, DOUBLE EXPOSURE! 

Epidemiologist Tara Blackburn is investigating an illness in an African village when she hears rapid gunfire and barely escapes with her life. What she witnesses terrify her and she flees home to the States to take refuge at a wolf sanctuary where no one will find her until she knows whom she can trust.

When Grant McCall arrives at the sanctuary to photograph the wolves, he knows Tara is wary. But he can’t reveal that he’s working undercover to learn who’s behind the carnage in Africa. An image surfaced that exposed the truth—The epidemiologist believed dead had survived, like a ghost image in a double exposure on film exposed to light.

The killers will stop at nothing to find the woman who witnessed their crimes. But even more deadly is the illness to which she was exposed.

The Suspense Sisters! We love books!

This week on 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 Suspense Sister E.E. Kennedy writes about “Agatha and Me!” Don’t miss this great post! She’s also giving away a copy of one of her great cozy mysteries. Your choice! 

Friday, the Suspense Sisters interview the incredible Patricia Bradley! She’s giving away a copy of her brand new book, JUSTICE BURIED!  
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.
Have a great week, readers! Mary Ellis, proud to be one of the Suspense Sisters! We love books!

Welcome to Home Thoughts, Vannetta Chapman.

Today, I have the singular pleasure of interviewing a great writer and personal friend, Vannetta Chapman. 

Vannetta has a new Amish mystery series. Book one ~ What the Bishop Needs is already out. Book 2 ~  The Bishop Needs an Alibi releases at the end of this month. 

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

VC: I’d say I’m an energetic country girl with a fierce love for good storytelling, friends and family, and the Lord.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies? They’re interesting to me! Let’s see—quilting, piano, hiking, gym rat, pets, music, gardening.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child?

No one seems to remember these. I loved reading all the Cherry Aimes books. She was a nurse—an amazing nurse. She did everything from surgical, to baby wards, to triage. I loved those books and devoured them all!

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

I don’t eat white foods, I have a phobia about driving over extremely tall bridges, and I teach English composition at my local community college.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?

I started writing romantic suspense when I first acquired my agent. We switched to Amish romance. From there I went to Amish mystery, then dystopian, and a few inspirational suspense. I still write all of them! Basically, I enjoy telling stories, and I’ll write whatever my editor asks me to write.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I was recently told not to write “episodic writing.” After publishing 20 books, I had no idea what my editor meant, so I emailed her back and asked her to explain. She kindly sent me a few articles, and now I understand it means you need constant tension/conflict in your story. Got it! Watch out for lots of tension and conflict in my future releases. 🙂

The best compliment was probably when I had turned in my dystopian series, and my editor kept texting me saying—

“How could you…”

“Oh. It’s okay.”

“It’s NOT okay. How could you…”

I loved that! It showed that she was really captivated by the story, and that’s the best compliment I can receive if I can transport a reader to another place.

Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why? Oh my. Hmmmm…I tried sci fi and couldn’t do it. I can READ sci fi, but I freeze up when I try to write it. I also don’t think I could write historical, though I greatly admire people who do. Other than that…I’m open to suggestions.

If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be? I would worry less. Honestly, I spent nights tossing over a poor PW review (that book won ACFW’s best mystery of 2012), worrying about contracts (they keep coming when it’s all said and done), fearing my career was over before it had begun (it’s not). So I would worry less, and trust the Lord more. An easy thing to say in hindsight.

What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors? Keep writing. Too many newbies give up too soon. The first book I had published by a major publisher was the 9th book I had written. Sometimes it takes a few to hit the “slot” publishers have open, and your craft improves as you write. So please…keep writing.

Here’s a blurb about Book 1 What the Bishop Saw: Somewhere in the Embers Lies the Truth. A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone—Amish and Englisch alike. When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he’s tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God’s leading.Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more? What the Bishop Saw is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God.

Remember, Book 2 of the Bishop Series, The Bishop Needs An Alibi, releases at the end of this month.

If you’re a fan of mysteries and the Amish, look for these two wherever fine books are sold. Available in both print and electronic versions. 

Thanks, Vannetta, for dropping by Home Thoughts. It’s always a pleasure to interview a friend.

~ Mary


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


On our review page, senior reviewer Iola Goulton reviews BENEATH COPPER FALLS by Colleen Coble. Iola says: 

“Recommended for thriller fans. Best read the day before your manicure appointment, not the day after.”   

You can find her complete review HERE.

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

On Wednesday Suspense Sister Roxanne Rustand will share something special with us.

Friday, we’ll visit with Roxanne again as we interview her about her new book, FALLING FOR THE RANCHER. You could win a copy of this great book! 

Darcy Leighton hopes to someday inherit the veterinarian practice she works for. Before she gets the chance, LoganMaxwell buys it and now she may even lose her job. She’ll do anything to convince Logan to let her stay on.  

The Suspense Sisters! We love books!

I’m trying to hit a major milestone on and I need your help.

Will you please join me?

I’m trying to reach 50 reviews each for my last three books, ie. Sunset in Old Savannah, Magnolia Moonlight, and What Happened on Beale Street on Fifty isn’t just a random number I’ve chosen, it’s the number of reviews required for Amazon to help people who’ve never heard of Secrets of the South Mysteries to find out about them! With fifty reviews, Amazon’s algorithms tell them to start promoting my books.

Here’s how you can help:
1. If you’ve read either Sunset in Old Savannah, Magnolia Moonlight or What Happened on Beale Street (or all three!) and haven’t yet posted a review, please take five minutes or less to do so. This isn’t your fifth-grade book report. No need for a five paragraph essay, unless you’d just like to. All that is required is to identify a number of stars from 0-5 and then a few sentences about what you enjoyed most.

2. When you see posts from me about my books, Like, Comment or Share them on Facebook. This will help spread the word to others!


I can’t thank you enough for helping me in this fashion. All I can say is is my next book in the series, set in Charleston, will be well worth the wait.

Thanks, readers! You are the best!  Mary 

Nominated For Cover of the Month

If you liked the cover of my book, Sunset in Old Savannah (Secrets of the South Mysteries Book 4), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on

Thanks so much!  Hope you’re having a lovely summer!  Mary Ellis