Ever read an interview of a fictional character?

Happy Monday, Readers,

ARM CoverWithout further ado, here’s the winner of Sandy Ardoin’s latest book, A Reluctant Melody. Dali Castillo….come on down. You’re the lucky winner! I will contact you privately to obtain your copy.

While asking for blog idea among my author pals, one of them suggested that I interview my heroine in my latest book. Just like she was a real person instead of an figment of my imagination. So here goes…an interview with Nicolette (Nicki) Price of Midnight on the Mississippi.

Nicolette Price, tell me the most interesting thing about you. I used to be quite a tomboy. I could swim farther, run faster, and jump higher than any boy in the neighborhood. Now that I’m a grown woman living in a sophisticated city, being a “crack shot with a squirrel rifle” doesn’t give me much of an edge with the competition.

What do you do for fun? I haven’t had much fun since childhood. I’ve worked since I was 15 to help pay the bills, and then to put myself through college. Now that I’ve landed my first real job, I would like a Saturday of watching reruns of Colombo in my pajamas with nothing but popcorn and ice cream to eat.

Midnight on the MississippiWhat do you put off doing because you dread it? I have put off dealing with my father’s death because I was too young and ill-equipped to do much else. Now I’m neither, so it’s high time I find out if someone else had a hand in his death.

What are you afraid of most in life? Swamps! I was stranded on an island in the swamp as a prank—snakes, gators, and plenty of bugs. Luckily, my best friend got wind of the plan and paddled out to rescue me.

What do you want out of life? I suppose I want what every woman wants—love and acceptance. I’ve never felt like I measured up to expectations, so it would be nice to find one other person who thinks I’m special.

Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read? I love to read biographies about famous fearless women—Madame Curie, Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt. If they can rise above humble upbringings or difficult circumstances and excel, why can’t I? I gain courage to do what I need to do when I read their stories.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I suppose it would be my hair. I like to wear it long, but it’s thick and curly and looks like a lion’s mane when the weather is humid. My complexion turns a tad green when I see women with silky, straight hair that stays where it’s supposed to all day long.

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet? No, I had a pet turtle but it died. Once I had a crow that used to follow me around the neighborhood, but it grew bored and flew away. My mother wouldn’t let me have a dog because our yard was too small. I hope to one day have an entire menagerie of pets.

If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why? I would go back to my childhood when my father was still alive. I’d tell him that “nobody is perfect” and that I loved him. He died never knowing how much he meant to me.

What Happened on Beale StreetPlease watch for Book 2 of the Secrets of the South Mysteries, What Happened on Beale Street, coming in late March. Have a great week, readers!  ~ Mary

When a writer needs inspiration…

 

2015-09-07 17.06.32

The Peabody Hotel

Write what you know…is a quote usually attributed to Mark Twain. Twain might have been a great American novelist, but his advice better suits authors of the 19th century. What are authors supposed to do in the 21st century when expected to produce two or three novels a year? As books become shorter and faster-paced, some writers are releasing books faster than that. If as a full-time professional writer you only write about subjects you’re familiar or experienced with, won’t you run out of story fodder? On a personal level, how many stories about a schoolteacher, living on the edge of Amish country, who loves gardening, animals and American history will readers tolerate? Perhaps more practical advice for this day and age would be: Write about what fascinates you, or perhaps the person you hope to one day become.

I have reached the stage when retirement isn’t a distant pipedream. As much as I love Ohio, winters have grown intolerable. My husband and I are determined to live three or four months of the year in the warmer and sunnier South. Recently we’ve combined our quest for inexpensive spots to “snowbird” with my new mystery series. The setting for my first story was easy…New Orleans, a city we visited while family lived in the area and many times since. After several stays in Cajun country I was playing the washboard with spoons and cooking gumbo from a roux. My second mystery, What Happened on Beale Street, allowed me to indulge my love of the blues while researching Memphis and the Mississippi delta where rice and cotton fields stretch to the horizon. For my current work in progress, I prowled the streets of Natchez, a charming town overlooking the mighty Mississippi where the police captain turned out to be the nicest person I ever interviewed. As we check out new places to live, I’m discovering wonderful spots for fictional dead bodies to wash ashore or characters to go missing.

What Happened on Beale StreetIf you’re looking for new story ideas, why not consider places you’ve always wanted to visit? Start with research at your local library and on the internet. Then create the characters of your dreams. Maybe you can give them the talents you always longed to have. Your enthusiasm will turn your story into a page-turner readers can’t put down. And just think…when you visit the area to tweak the details, your trip becomes a tax deductible expense. Sounds like a win-win situation, no?

What Happened on Beale Street , book 2 of Secrets of the South Mysteries, releases in late March in print and April 1st in electronic versions in bookstores and online everywhere.  Book one, Midnight on the Mississippi from Harvest House Publishers is available now.

My brand new mystery is shipping into warehouses

Happy Friday, readers,

Midnight on the MississippiThe weekend is almost upon us and I have exciting news to share. The very first of my Secrets of the South mysteries is shipping into warehouses as we speak. Midnight on the Mississippi was a labor of love for me and I’m thrilled with the final product from my publisher, Harvest House. I am often asked at library events, on email and via Facebook why have you changed to writing romantic suspense. The answer is simple…I must write the stories that intrigue me, and during my many trips to New Orleans, this is the story of my heart. Here’s some other common questions about Midnight on the Mississippi:

GE

St. Louis Cathedral

What can you tell us about the setting of this novel? The book is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, and also in the swamps and bayous out in Lafayette and Terrebonne Parishes, about two hours away. The French Quarter is an ancient portion of the city along the Mississippi River, rich in history and architecture of a variety of cultures and traditions. It practically drips with mystery and intrigue, making it the perfect setting for romantic suspense.

Who are the main characters, and what is at stake for them in this story?

Hunter Galen is a securities broker who suspects his business partner is embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship. After his partner turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life. Nicki Price is a newly-minted PI who intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder and establish herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen-Nowak Investments she butts heads with Hunter’s fiancée, Ashley Menard, who recognizes exactly what a threat Nicki is. As Hunter and Nicki encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and death threats, danger swirls around them like the mysterious dark water of the bayou.

Which of the characters surprised you the most in this story, and how so? Without giving away too much of the story, it was the murderer who surprised me the most. While writing the book, I had a completely different villain in mind! But by the time I reached the end, I devised a far more satisfying conclusion to my “whodunnit.” I hope readers will be as surprised as I was.

How did the writing of this story impact you as a person or as an author? I visited New Orleans about half a dozen times to research this book before Hurricane Katrina and about a half dozen times afterward. That horrendous storm in 2005 changed both the landscape and the lives of the residents forever. Each time I return to this beautiful area of the US, I’m reminded of how resilient, brave, and generous the human spirit can be.

I’ll be sharing more photos from my research trips down the line, but here’s a link to read the first chapter.

https://www.harvesthousepublishers.com/data/files/excerpts/9780736961691_exc.pdf

Midnight on the Mississippi is on pre-sale right now in trade paperback at a great price. Here’s the link: http://www.christianbook.com/1-midnight-on-the-mississippi/mary-ellis/9780736961691/pd/961690?event=Fiction

Electronic versions in all formats will be available on August 1st if not before.

I hope you enjoy the first chapter, readers, and have a spectacular summer weekend.  ~ Mary

Welcome Nancy Mehl~Win a copy of Deadly Echoes

Happy Tuesday, Readers….today Home Thoughts welcomes Nancy Mehl who has a new romantic suspense out that sounds wonderful! Tell us a little about Deadly Echoes:Deadly Echoes final cover

After a youth filled with tragedy and upheaval, Sarah Miller’s life is finally settled with all echoes of the past silent at last. She happily calls Sanctuary her home and spends her days teaching at the local school. Sarah’s joy at her recent reunion with her sister, Hannah, and meeting the niece she didn’t know she had is too soon interrupted when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed. As she learns more about Hannah’s death, the circumstances are eerily similar to their parents’ murder. Sarah enlists Paul’s help in digging deeper into the murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul’s concern encourages Sarah’s growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one person will do anything to hide–even if that means coming after the last remaining members of the Miller family.

 Nancy - Promotional Picture - smallHere’s a little about the author: Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri, with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored twenty books and just finished a new series for Bethany House Publishing. The first book in her Finding Sanctuary series, “Gathering Shadows” was released in May of 2014. The second book, “Deadly Echoes” became available in February. The third book, “Rising Darkness will release late in 2015. All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.” Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com. She is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Mehl-Fan-Page/124075957622557

What are you working on now: I’ve finished writing the third book in my Finding Sanctuary series and am awaiting editing notes from my publisher. Rising Darkness will be released in late 2015. I particularly love this book because it brings back a special character from a previous series. Sophie Wittenbauer, a teenager in my Road to Kingdom series, was a troubled girl searching for her identity. After the series ended, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d left Sophie’s story untold. I approached my wonderful editors at Bethany House, and they allowed me to move her from Kingdom, Kansas, to Sanctuary, Missouri. I hope my readers will enjoy finding out what happened to Sophie. I’ve also been writing cozy mysteries for Guideposts and am beginning my third book for them. Along with some other incredible authors, I’m working on a delightful Amish cozy mystery series that I am certain readers will love.

Where can readers buy Deadly Echoes? http://www.amazon.com/Deadly-Echoes-Finding-Sanctuary-Nancy/dp/0764211587/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422309503&sr=8-1&keywords=nancy+mehl+deadly+echoes&pebp=1422309503984&peasin=764211587

This sure sounds like my kind of book. Please leave Nancy a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Deadly Echoes. Drawing in one week. Stay warm, readers. ~ Mary

 

Welcome Heidi Glick to Home Thoughts-Win a copy of Dog Tags

Happy Monday morning, readers,

Today I am welcoming fellow Ohio author Heidi Glick to my blog. DogTags_h11265_680

Heidi has written an intriguing romantic suspense that is so my cup of tea! Here’s a short summary of Dog Tags: When disabled ex-Marine Mark Graham reconnects with his best friend’s sister, he finds himself falling in love. But Beth Martindale’s presence is a constant reminder of events he’d rather forget. Mark wants to move forward, but the secrets surrounding her brother’s death as well as his own confinement to a wheelchair threaten to tear them apart. When a psychopath who calls himself The Knight fixates on Beth, Mark is determined to give her the protection he failed to give her brother on the battlefield, yet he discovers that a wheelchair isn’t the only impediment he has to keeping Beth safe. Will terror win or can Mark find the strength of mind and body to rescue Beth and find his own redemption?

I asked Heidi a couple questions about Dog Tags:

What provided the inspiration for this story? I wanted a villain with certain weaknesses that might help lead to his demise, but at the same time, I wanted the villain to be able to capitalize on the weaknesses of the hero. Also, I wanted a strong female as my heroine. I used my husband as part of my inspiration for my hero. My husband is quite the history buff and can spout off trivia facts at random. Also, one of my dogs served as the inspiration for the dog in the novel. And like the heroine, I’m a free spirit.

What are you working on now? I’m working on a Dog Tags sequel, a romance novella, and a new suspense series.

Heidi Glick has a B.A. in biology, a minor in Bible from Cedarville University, and a passion for writing Christian fiction. She has over seven years of technical editing experience, a certificate in technical writing from Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, and is working towards her Master of English at Utah State University. Additionally, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and has written two articles for Intercom. When not working, Heidi spends time with her husband, son, and two dogs, Cocoa and Sparky. She attends Grace Chapel in Mason, Ohio. 
Please leave a comment for Heidi to congratulate her for her first published book. I will draw one luck winner next Monday to win a copy of Dog Tags.
Have a lovely week readers. The weather is great here in Ohio, and I hope it is where you are too.  Mary

Interview with fellow Ohio author, Lillian Duncan

Fellow Ohio author, Lillian Duncan, has a new book out from White Rose Publishing called Persued.

Lillian lives in a small town in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, four parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Whether as a speech-language pathologist, an educator, or as a writer, she believes in the power of words to change lives, especially God’s Word. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Akron University in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a Master’s degree from Kent State in Deaf Education. Most of her career was spent as a Speech Pathologist in a large metropolitan school district, but she now works part-time in the district she graduated from many, many years ago. She enjoys a
variety of activities, including traveling, camping, and bowling. She is active in her church where she serves as a sign language interpreter and teaches sign language classes. Lillian believes books can be entertaining without being trashy. She writes the types
of books she loves to read, suspense with a touch of romance. Along with writing novels, she writes devotions for ChristianDevotions.us. Previous novels include SHATTERED and IN A CORNER OF HER HEART.

  1. WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START WRITING? I know this is going to sound a bit strange, but I’ve always “made up”
    stories in my head when I was bored. Very detailed stories with characters and problems and happy endings. After two very specific events, it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Oh, these are the stories I should be writing down so
    I started writing that day and I haven’t stopped since.
  2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING AND DID YOU EVER FEEL LIKE GIVING UP? I started writing 16 years ago when I was 40. Yikes, that makes me so…never mind. And absolutely, I wanted to give up many, many times. And in fact, I did give up many times but I always started up again. I don’t know any writer who hasn’t felt that way. The uncertainty of becoming a published writer can be frustrating and overwhelming at times to say the least. But if being a writer is your  dream, you have to keep writing and waiting…and waiting…and…..
  3. HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU PUBLISHED? PURSUED is my fourth book to be published, but the first with White Rose Publishing.  But in many ways, I consider it to be my debut novel since it’s my first book with what is considered a
    “traditional” publisher.
  4. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR TITLE-PURSUED? The original title was Just An Old Country Boy but that didn’t sound very suspenseful so I changed it to Pursued. In the story, Reggie is being pursued by an unknown killer, by the hero, and by God, so it made sense to me as a title.
  5. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR HERO AND HEROINE?  My hero, Dylan, is a good old boy with a heart of gold who just wants to make life better for everyone around him. He’s sweet and kind, but in a very manly way!  Reggie can be a little difficult at times, but she has her reasons. You have to admire her for all she’s overcome in her life.
  6.  IS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR NOVEL? One of the messages I want people to get is to be open to learning from, developing relationships, and loving people who are different from ourselves. God made us different for a reason. And one of the reasons is it makes life a lot more interesting and fun! I am, of course, a bookworm and my husband is an outdoorsy sort of man who likes to fish and garden and do other things that gets his hands dirty. In many ways, we are very opposite of each other, but together we have a wonderful and fun marriage.
  7. WHAT IS YOUR NEXT PROJECT? I have another book coming out in the fall, DECEPTION. It’s full of intrique and
    action. Along with that I’m working on three other manuscripts in varying stages that will hopefully become books in the future including a sequel to PURSUED.
  8. THE HARDEST PART OF WRITING A BOOK?  I love writing and rewriting my book but…after about the eighth or ninth time, it’s gets a bit tiring.
  9. DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM WRITING THIS BOOK?  I actually learned a lot from this book. It was the
    first book I had critiqued with the large critique group from ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Critiquing is a very humbling process. In the beginning of the critiquing process, I thought the others didn’t know what they were talking about. By the middle, I thought I should give up writing forever. By the end, I knew I was a much better writer than I’d been at the beginning. And the proof is that this became my debut novel with a traditional publisher.
  10. HOW CAN READERS CONTACT YOU?  My website is:  www.lillianduncan.net

 

Meet a new author K. Dawn Byrd

I’d like you to meet a new author of inspirational romance, K. Dawn Byrd, who holds a masters degree in professional counseling from Liberty University. She believes this gives her better insight into the minds, feelings and emotions of individuals, which helps her to better understand her characters and develop them more fully. Her latest release, Queen of Hearts, a WWII romantic suspense, is available now and her second book, Killing Time, a contemporary romantic suspense, will release August 1. Both are from Desert Breeze Publishing.

K. Dawn Byrd is an avid blogger and gives away several books per week on her blog at www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com, most of which are signed by the authors. Her blog spotlights not only the books, but the authors also because we all want to know more about our favorite authors.

When not reading or writing, K. Dawn Byrd enjoys spending time with her husband of 14 years, walking their dogs beside a gorgeous lake near her home, and plotting the next story waiting to be told. 

About Queen of Hearts:  Daphne Dean is proud to be serving her country stateside during WWII as a reporter and an Office of Strategic Services operative. When the photograph she takes of the crowd at a murder scene places her on the mob’s hit list, she’s forced into hiding in a vacant mental asylum in the middle of nowhere with terrifying secrets of its own.

Daphne believed herself to still be in love with her ex-fiancée, Kenneth, until she spends several days locked away in the asylum with Vito, the mob boss’ son. Can she put the terrifying events that occurred there behind her and allow herself to pursue a relationship with Vito? Or, will she return to Kenneth who has turned his back on his country by becoming a draft dodger and a black market racketeer? One thing’s for sure, it won’t matter if she can’t escape the mental institution alive.

 ISBN978-1-936000-22-7

Book web address:  http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-70/Queen-of-Hearts/Detail.bok

Visit K. Dawn Byrd’s Blog: www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com