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The winner of Deadly Communications is...
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Looking Out the Window: Lillian Duncan Talks about Writing, Murder and Mayhem. Gives away a Copy of Deadly Communications.
A warm welcome to Lillian Duncan.
She'll give away an e-book of Deadly Communications. To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below.
Hi Lillian, you mentioned the town where you live to me. Tell me about it.
I live in a small town in Ohio. I mean small—we only have 1 traffic light. But I love living here. I grew up in the area, but moved to the big city of Cleveland for many years. Like Dorothy, I love being home again.
Yes, to use the cliché, there’s no place like home. Lots of people like to know what writers read. What is your favorite genre to read? To write?
The answer to both is Christian mystery and suspense with a little horror thrown in from time to time. I guess writing is sort of like eating. You are what you read, and for me that means I’m a suspense/mystery writer.
Tell us about your latest, Deadly Communications.
Deadly Communications features Maven Morris, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who gets a little too involved with her clients. Okay, a lot too involved. When a client she’s working with leaves abruptly, Maven is suspicious and she won’t rest until she finds her.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Deadly Communications is a novella so it didn’t take anywhere near as long as a full-length novel would. I would say I finished my first draft within a month. Then another month to revise and polish before I submitted it.
Tell me a bit about your main characters. Who did you have the most fun creating? Why?
I had a great time creating Maven Morris—a crime-fighting speech pathologist! In many ways, we are quite similar. I was a speech pathologist for more than 30 years! She’s short just like me, but not as short. She has Bell’s palsy, just like me. But we’re also different. I would never get myself into the trouble she gets herself into. I’m not very adventurous and would never get myself into that kind of situation!
What’s the setting for Deadly Communications?
It takes place in the city of Wooster, Ohio. Coincidently, it’s a city I’ve lived near most of my life. But, of course, the story is fictional and not based on reality!
How did you come up with the title for Deadly Communications?
How could that not be the title? When a speech-language pathologist (SLP) gets involved in a murder mystery, what else could you name it?
Is Deadly Communications the first book you published?
No, I’ve been blessed to have several books published in the past few years. My last release was Betrayed in January of this year. It was the second in my Sisters By Choice series. The third, Redemption, will be released in September.
Why did you write Deadly Communications?
Three things happened within a few days of each other to inspire Deadly Communications.
First, my brother asked why I didn’t write a story featuring a speech-language pathologist. To which my answer was that it would be difficult to come up with a suspense story and an SLP.
Secondly, a few days later I was talking with someone whose daughter had been involved in an accident and was now experiencing communication difficulties. Thirdly, as writers are prone to do, I was sitting daydreaming and had a vision of a young woman running through the woods and into ongoing traffic. That’s all it took! My writer mind took over from there and Deadly Communications was born.
So, then it sounds as if you were a speech-language pathologist. Tell us a little about that job.
I retired as an SLP from a large city school district in Ohio, then spent several more years working part-time in smaller, rural districts near where I live. Between the two jobs, I don’t think there is any type of child I haven’t worked with at least once.
I loved my job and still miss it. Mostly I miss the children, not the paper work involved. If it weren’t for serious health issues, I would still be working.
What do you want readers to take away from Deadly Communications?
Before the story starts Maven has experienced a series of life-changing events that have led to depression. Maven chooses to get out of bed and keep moving. It’s not easy when life throws us a curve ball or two. It may not seem fair, but how we react to those things will determine the quality of our future.
As the story moves forward we see Maven struggle with her spirituality as she faces some difficult circumstances in her life. I want readers to know they can do the same.
Was it difficult to write a character with communication problems?
Not at all. In fact, that was part of the fun of writing Deadly Communications. In the scenes where Maven is working with her client, all I had to do was close my eyes, imagine the interaction, then open my eyes, and write it.
Are you planning a sequel to Deadly Communications?
At this point, I have 3 novellas written featuring Maven, the crime-fighting speech pathologist. The second has been submitted to my publisher and I’m waiting to hear back. It’s titled Nowhere To Belong. It’s about a little boy found abandoned in a park that Maven ends up fostering. He refuses to communicate with anyone but Maven has her ways to get past that!
What is your writing process?
I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.
When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face, but anything goes after that. If I’m writing and start to feel bored—then I kill someone or blow something up. And that way it’s a surprise to me and to my readers.
Do you know who the bad guy is when you begin your story?
Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be and as the story comes to a conclusion, I’m surprised right along with my readers. Deadly Communications was no exception. I wasn’t sure who the culprit was until the very end. Maven and I suspected one person, but we were wrong!
Most people don’t think of murder mysteries and suspense novels as Christian Fiction. What do you say to them?
I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s okay, I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.
I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories and show characters experiencing the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions. My characters are usually on a spiritual journey as well—but some are further along than others.
Then what makes your stories Christian Fiction?
I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories in any way. My characters experience the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions.
My stories always have an element of faith in them. How that plays out depends on the individual plots of each specific story. My main characters are always on a spiritual journey, though some may be further along than others.
One more word about Christian Fiction, it has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Other than erotica, readers can find their favorite genre as Christian Fiction as well as mainstream fiction. There are Christian Fiction books out there for every book lover—historical; romance; regency; science fiction; even horror novels.
What are you working on now?
I have a devotional blog Power Up with God’s Word: Secrets For a Better Life at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com. I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors two years ago and so many of the devotions focus help others who are facing a crisis—physical or
The third book in The Sisters By Choice series (Redemption) will be released in September.
How can readers find you on the internet?
My website is www.lillianduncan.net and I have a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com My blog is TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com. I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at
About Deadly Communications
Improving communication skills is never easy. In this case, it could be murder!
Maven Morris is a speech-language pathologist on medical leave–or as she likes to put it: out to pasture.
When she’s offered a lucrative position by one of the community’s most powerful men to help his traumatic-brain-injured daughter improve her communication skills, Maven discovers deadly secrets behind the iron gates of the mansion.
Now, she must find the courage to seek justice no matter who gets hurt–even if it’s her.
Bio: Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.
Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband, two parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel she’s thinking of renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and….
As a speech pathologist in the public schools for over thirty years, she worked with students of all ages with a wide variety of conditions, but especially with deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives. especially God’s Word.
Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced mystery and suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian and her books, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-
duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Looking Out the Window: Best Selling Author Cynthia Hickey Tells Us Why She Became a Writer and Talks about Her New Books. Print Copy Give Away.
A Warm Welcome to Cynthia Hickey
Hi Cynthia, thanks for sharing the story behind your writing!
Cynthia will give away a print copy of In a Texas Ranger's Arms
WHY I BECAME A WRITER
Funny how this roller-coaster business can tug on someone until it’s either write or die. A bit dramatic, yes, but that’s how most writers feel.
I started reading at the young age of five and became hooked on words and stories. Being a shy child, I would make up stories to act out, but it wasn’t until Junior High and an English teacher assigned a writing project that I realized how much I loved putting the story to paper. I began writing short stories in which my younger brother was featured as the hero or I’d write a romance featuring me and whatever boy I had a crush on at the time.
When I turned fifteen, I wrote my first “real story” about terrorists taking over a high school. Funny how I have now seen that very plot made into a movie. I couldn’t be stopped after that first “book”. I kept writing, keeping my stories in a notebook, which I unfortunately lost when I married and moved out of state. Then, life happened and I didn’t take up writing again until the age of forty when my children were older and I had time to devote to it.
In 2007, I published my first cozy mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, with Barbour Publishing and haven’t slowed down since. Thirty-four books later, and several genres added to the mix, I have no intentions of stopping this crazy career any time soon. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.
About In A Texas Ranger's Arms
Katie Gamble is on the run. After her unscrupulous stepfather accuses her of being a thief, a horrified Katie hopes to hide out until she can prove otherwise. But slipping into obscurity in a small Texas town isn't so easy. Not with Texas Ranger Ward Alston on her tail.
Ward's used to getting his man—or woman. But he's not used to the accused being so resolute in her innocence or so beautifully appealing. As he uncovers the truth, Ward realizes this Harvey Girl isn't all she seems. Together, can they evade danger and obey the law of their own hearts?
About An Unconventional Lady
Annie Rollins longs for adventure. But her strict mother keeps her close to home, working as a Harvey Girl waitress. Until Dallas Baker shows up in town and takes the job Annie really wants—leading tours through the Grand Canyon. Annie's frustrated, but finds it impossible to ignore the handsome outdoorsman.
With her split skirts and modern hairdo, Annie challenges Dallas's old-fashioned notions of what makes a lady. To his surprise, he finds her delightful, until he learns she has no interest in settling down. Dallas is ready to win her heart, but is Annie willing to fall in love?
Multi-published and Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013 and 2014 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold more than 200,000 copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com
Friday, June 27, 2014
Looking In the Window: Celebrating the Re-launch of Stopped Cold at The Book Club Network. Come Over and Share the Wonderful Things about the Teens You Know. Fun and Prizes
The Praise for the Teen in Your Life Contest!
Do you know a teen who constantly makes good grades, works hard to earn extra money, is loyal to family and friends, volunteers to help others, is someone you and count on? The list could go on and on.
A gift will be given to the best entry, but everyone's a winner because the best prize is getting to share about the wonderful young people in your lives.
The rules are simple. Tell us how you know the teen and address the topic given.
Get your thinking caps on. Here’s the first topic: Tell us something or some great things about your teen.
Prize: A stitchable journal and an e-book of Stopped Cold.
Place: The Book Club Network. Be sure to leave your comments in the Discussion Forum at The Book Club Network. Just click the link here.
About Stopped Cold
Stopped Cold finished fourth in the 16th Annual Preditors and Editors Readers Poll and was a Grace Awards Finalist.
The theme - We don't have to be number one for God to love us.Things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina.
Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.
Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.
Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.
See you in the Discussion Forum in the Teen Room!
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Best Selling, Award Winning Author Nancy Mehl Tells Us about Her Newest Book, Gathering Shadows. Gives Away a Copy.
A Warm Welcome toNancy Mehl!
Nancy will give away a print copy of Gathering Shadows. To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below.
I’m a wife, mother, and about sixteen months ago, I became a grandmother. This was definitely one of the greatest blessings of my life! I live with my husband, Norman, in Festus, Missouri. We moved here from Wichita, Kansas, eight months ago so we could be near our kids and grandchild. Norman works with a wonderful agency that trains people with disabilities for jobs. I’m grateful to be a full-time writer. I’ve written eighteen books, two of which haven’t been released yet. They are all either mystery, suspense, or a combination of the two. Besides reading and spending time with my family, I like to relax with a few favorite TV shows. I also enjoy playing with our puggle, Watson. I’m very active on Facebook, and I work with several wonderful authors on a blog called the Suspense Sisters. (www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com)
Congratulations on becoming a grandmother. Many authors were avid readers as children? What about you? If so, what did you read?
I was a voracious reader. I read all the time, sometimes staying up all night with a flashlight under the covers. I read everything – no genre was uninteresting to me. Books included Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and some books that my mother grew up on, the Bobbsey Twins. By the time I was a teenager, I was into Edgar Allen Poe, and I read every book Charles Dickens ever wrote. I loved the way he created characters. Still do.
Some of my favorites too. About your writing, why do you do it?
Because my publisher would be perturbed if I didn’t? LOL! Actually, this is what I’m called to do. I’m not sure just what God has planned for the future, but right now I’m happy just doing what I know I’m supposed to do.
Tell us about your latest book.
Gathering Shadows is about a young woman named Wynter Evans, a television reporter who has had to overcome tragedy in her life. When she was a teenager, her brother, Ryan, was kidnapped. The authorities believed he was captured and murdered by a serial killer who had been abducting young boys in the same area. But Ryan’s body was never found, and although the killer bragged about his other crimes, he never admitted to taking Ryan. Through the years, Wynter has had dreams about Ryan. In these dreams, he was calling to her. Asking her to find him. Then one day, someone shows Wynter a picture of a Conservative Mennonite family that lives in a small Missouri town called Sanctuary. The boy in the picture looks remarkably like Ryan. Wynter goes to Sanctuary, claiming only to be interested in including the small town in a special she’s working on about unique places in Missouri. She finds the boy, but before she can confront him or the people who call themselves his parents, they disappear. Now, along with Sanctuary’s handsome young mayor, Wynter is desperately trying to find them before the boy is lost to her forever. Unfortunately, someone else seems determined to stop her. As she tries to keep herself and her friends safe, revelations from the past will force her to rethink everything she thinks she knows about her life.
This sounds like another great Nancy Mehl story. What inspired you to write this particular book?
Before I write a book I try to find a spiritual theme. I was thinking about people whose lives seem to be wrapped up in the past. In something painful that happened to them. In Gathering Shadows, my main character, Wynter Evans, has allowed her life to stop in a moment of time. Her choices now stem from something tragic that happened in her childhood. We all have an opportunity to do this. But living life by looking backward never works. I hope any reader who relates to Wynter will be encouraged to leave the past behind and focus on the great future God has for them.
In three words describe your style of writing.
How do you get to know your characters?
I actually let them evolve as I write. I believe in letting my characters become who they want to be. A lot of writers try to completely understand their characters before they start writing. I may know something about my main characters, but I don’t make them stay true to my preconceived ideas. Many times my plot will affect them in ways I couldn’t possibly see ahead of time.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I try to write early in the morning, and I keep at it until lunch. If I haven’t written everything I wanted to, I still have the afternoon. But I’m usually not as creative then so I try to use that time for interviews, promotion, and cleaning my office!
I’m blessed to have my own office. Right now we’re renting a two bedroom house, and my office is large. In Wichita my office was an upstairs room in our bungalow-styled house. Much smaller, but I loved it. I have to say I enjoy my office is Festus much more though. My windows face a forest area, and I am regularly treated to visits by rabbits, squirrels, birds and deer. In fact, as I answered these questions I watched a deer feeding in my back yard. It’s awesome, and I love it.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Yes, it does. If I can’t share something spiritual in my writing, I don’t want to write at all. A good story is vital, and it has its place, but in the end, what lasts is writing something that will touch a reader, reminding them that God adores them and has a wonderful plan for their life.
Do you put yourself in your books?
Absolutely. I have to understand characters to write about them. Some of my friends are able to point out certain characteristics and say, “Hey, that’s you!” Of course, this works for the negative aspects of my personality as well as my positive traits!
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Yes. Learn your craft. Study. Read. Don’t try to publish too early. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see out there. Getting editors to take you seriously once they’ve seen something that wasn’t very good is difficult. Take your time. Once you get accepted, things will move pretty fast. Also, learn the market. Trying to get a publisher to read something that doesn’t fit their interest is a waste of time.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Thank you for allowing me to be part of this great blog. I really appreciate it.
Aww, thank you. Having you is my pleasure.
Watch a video of Gathering Shadows
Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri, with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored eighteen books and is currently at work on a new series for Bethany House Publishing, as well as a new series for Guideposts. The first book in her Finding Sanctuary series, “Gathering Shadows” was released on May 6th.
Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com. She has a newsletter located at: www.nancymehl.blogspot.com, and is a part of another blog, The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.