On this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” I’m talking Luana Ehrlich, a USA Today bestselling author, as well as a freelance writer, minister’s wife, and former missionary to Costa Rica and Venezuela. She developed her passion for spy thrillers and mystery novels at an early age, but she didn’t begin writing her own mystery/suspense/thrillers until her husband retired from the ministry. Now, she writes from an undisclosed location, trying to avoid the torture of mundane housework, grocery shopping, and golf stories. However, she occasionally comes out of hiding to visit with her two grandsons or to enjoy a Starbucks caramel macchiato. She and her husband, James, are long‑time residents of Norman, Oklahoma.
“I think I write in first person in my male protagonist because when I was growing up, my dad would bring home books from the library mostly sci-fi fiction and mysteries,” Luana said. “They looked much more interesting to me than the Bobbsey Twins I’d finished reading. I asked if I could read some, and I was hooked on the genre from that moment on. The unique thing about my dad was that he never read a female author, … so most male authors write male characters. I think it never occurred to me when I started writing that I would ever write in anything but as a male protagonist and as in first person.”
Finally Forever by Karin Beery — Former competitive dancer Caroline Novak dreams of leaving the corporate world to work with special needs women at the Pathways nonprofit, but the organization can’t afford a fulltime director. All-American defensive end Ben Allen was on his way to the NFL when a knee injury sent him home and into the same office as Caroline, his best friend’s older sister. When Pathways participates in a Dancing with the Stars-inspired fundraiser, Caroline quickly volunteers, and Ben joins her as the local “star.” It doesn’t take long for Ben to realize it’s more than a dance competition, and Caroline is more than his best friend’s sister, but after two failed engagements, she’s hesitant to trust her heart with another man. When the NFL calls Ben, it looks like his dream might finally come true—but it could cost them the championship and Caroline her heart. (Contemporary Romance from Elk Lake Publishing)
Taylor’s Trek to Love by Elsie Davis — Escape to the Great Smoky Mountains…where fresh mountain air and love await! This is the fourth heartwarming Christian Inspirational Women’s Fiction Romance that will take you to the Great Smoky Mountains for a vacation getaway that will change the lives of Taylor and Andrew in ways they would have never expected! (Contemporary Romance from Sweet Romance Publishing)
A Mommy for Easter by Linda Goodnight — Back in his hometown after a decade, Jake Colter and his adorable toddler are a reminder of everything Rachel Hamby lost. And working on the same Easter committee with her ex-husband makes avoidance impossible. Throw in a small town’s matchmaking scheme and Jake’s sweet dog, and soon Rachel’s falling for the little girl…and her father. But will Rachel risk a second chance with the painful secret she’s keeping? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Birds Alive! by Jennifer Dodrill — Widow, mom blogger, and empty nester Peg forms the Empty Nesters Birding Group. On their first outing, a birder dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts from birdseed that should be peanut-free. Later, she finds another of her new birder friends wounded and dying. Peg recruits a fellow birder and her mother-in-law to help solve the crime. She teams up with the detective investigating the case, whose dimples draw her in a way she hasn’t experienced in years. (Cozy Mystery from Scrivenings Press)
Mardi Gras and Mayhem by Jann Franklin— Just a fun girls’ weekend in New Orleans during Mardi Gras…except for the murders. Chantilly Romero held an important place as a mover and a shaker within the New Orleans business world. But she had her secrets. Did she run an illegal high-stakes poker game out of her whiskey distillery? Had her bodyguard committed a few dastardly deeds, so Chantilly could profit? Did Chantilly’s husband die by his own hand, or did she help him along to the pearly gates? Regardless, the police never found proof of any wrong doing. Did someone take matters into their own hands? (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published from Rougarou Press)
A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin — Kit Barnes’ drinking ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. The most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past and the person he hurt the most. A pariah among her peers, Joanna is all too eager to sell her property and flee the rumors that she sent her late husband to an early grave. But she will let the gossips talk and the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she’ll allow Kit back into her life. When a blackmailer threatens to reveal her long-held secret, she must choose between trusting Kit or seeing her best friend trapped in an abusive marriage. (Historical Romance from Corner Room Books)
Protecting the Mountain Man’s Treasure by Misty M. Beller — Jude Coulter is far more comfortable in his family’s sapphire mine tucked in the Montana mountains than on the bustling streets of New York City, where he’s been sent to deliver a shipment of gems. His relief at boarding the train for the first leg of his journey home is short-lived when an accident renders him unconscious. Angela Larkin worked hard to earn this assignment for the Treasury—an undercover mission to determine the source of the sapphires brought each year for auction in the city. When an accident causes her target to lose his recent memory, Angela jumps at the opportunity to create the ideal ruse. Jude seems surprised to learn the two of them had married and were returning from a glorious wedding trip, but his severe head injury keeps him from protesting…for now. But the accident is far from the worst threat they face. When enemies close in, Angela and Jude must depend on each other to survive the treacherous journey home. (Historical Romance, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])
An Uncertain Road by Abbey Downey — When young widow Flora Montfort returns to America, she’s determined to use her training in auto racing to support herself and her French mother-in-law—even if female drivers are rare in 1905. When the owner of a successful sporting goods store hires her to drive in a ten-day race through New England, she jumps at the opportunity. Jensen Gable is not convinced that joining the team as the ride-along mechanic is worth the risk. After losing his best friend in a tragic racing accident, Jensen has vowed never to participate in the sport again. But a promise to protect his friend’s younger brother, also on the tour, outweighs his fear of the dangers. As they race through New England, Flora and Jensen find common ground that ignites their interest in each other, but doubts and old enemies come between them. As the race of a lifetime heats up, one question rises above all others…can their love find the road that leads to forever? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)
Relying on the Enemy by Danielle Grandinetti — All widowed mother Marian Ward wants is to provide for her girls. However, she faces the dead of winter with no income and dwindling resources. Then she overhears a nefarious conversation, putting her life and that of her children in immediate danger. Aiming to make amends to the Wards, Gilbert steps in when the threat to Marian escalates. It costs him dearly. Either lose his career or marry her and be tied to his past until death do them part. He leaves the decision to Marian, who will do anything to protect her girls, even marry the son of the man who ruined her family. How will their fledgling trust prove strong enough to fulfill their vows as winter tightens its grip and desperation stalks at the door? (Historical Romance from Hearth Spot Press)
To Marry an English Lord by Robin Lee Hatcher — Sebastian Whitcombe, Viscount Willowthorpe, comes to America to experience the great Wild West for himself before it disappears for good. The adventure comes with a convenient bonus—it postpones his father’s edict that he take a wife from the British aristocracy. Sebastian isn’t so much against marriage as he is an arranged marriage to the wrong woman. Jocelyn Overstreet hasn’t returned to her family’s eastern Idaho cattle ranch in six years. She’s far too busy managing the New York City offices of Overstreet Shipping. But when her older brother has a serious run-in with a bison, she returns to the ranch only to find the Overstreet home invaded by visitors from England, one of them a disturbingly handsome viscount who disarms her defenses at every turn. Sebastian’s future lies in England. New York City holds Jocelyn’s future. Amidst the clash of their worlds, Sebastian and Jocelyn find that the risk of love, against all odds, might just be a risk worth taking. (Historical Romance, Independently Published from RobinSong, Inc.)
Embers in the London Sky by Sarah Sundin — After fleeing the German invasion of the Netherlands, Aleida Martens searches for her missing child in London—which sets her on a collision course with BBC radio correspondent Hugh Collingwood. During the London Blitz, they will risk their lives to discover the truth—and find a connection closer than they imagined. (Historical Romance from Revell – A division of Baker Publishing Group)
A Day Ago by Luana Ehrlich — As he prepares to defend his client of murder charges, not only does Attorney Mylas Grey receive unexpected news about his future, he discovers he has feelings for a former female acquaintance and uncovers evidence that points to the real killer, someone who’s determined to put an end to Mylas’s future. However, Mylas has other plans. (Crime/Mystery, Independently Published)
8 Down by Kimberley Woodhouse — Investigator Carrie Kintz is new blood with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation in Anchorage. But with a serial killer on the loose, there’s no easing into the job. The only clues to stop this madman are the taunts he drops into crossword puzzles across the country–always in the same 8 DOWN position. Calling in security specialist Scott Patteson for his expertise seems like the right move–until Carrie realizes that he may be a dangerous distraction for her heart. With her faith fading in the face of horror and uncertainty and her career in danger of ending, this is no time for flirtation.But with a killer who is determined to prove that he’s smarter than everyone else, it may be impossible to fight both the madman and their feelings for each other . . . (Contemporary Thriller/Suspense from Kregel Publications)
Hidden Chance by Shawna Coleing — Hannah spent her childhood on the mission field in Burma, but witnessing the tragic murder of her father propelled her into a life dedicated to making a difference. A specialized military team is carrying out a mission in Burma to stop a militant group that has been wreaking havoc on local villages. After breaking into a school that has been the militia’s base of operations, they uncover an elaborate plan to exploit those most vulnerable. Robby, the specialized military team leader, determined to expose the truth, discovers a company based in America may be behind the chilling acts of savagery. Robby and Hannah must find common ground to save the lives of countless children and bring an end to the threat at their front door. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published [ACFW QIP])
Rebuilding Joy by Regina Rudd Merrick — Single mom Darcy Emerson Sloan has enough to do raising twins and running a restaurant. She’s doing fine on her own and doesn’t need the complications of a man in her life. But when her café turns into a crime scene, putting her and her children in danger, she begins to take interest in the handsome young FBI agent that comes on the scene. Contractor Del Reno is as even-keeled as they come, but even he has his limits. And Darcy Sloan has pushed him too far. Every time he tries to help, it backfires. But now that Darcy and her kids are in trouble, he has no choice but to come to her aid and to protect her. She’s just going to have to deal with it. Secret tunnels, organized crime, adorable children, and a wedding. (Romantic Suspense from Scrivenings Press)
Chasing the Horizon by Mary Connealy — Uncovering her tyrannical father’s malevolent plot to commit her to an asylum, Beth Rutledge fabricates a plan of her own. She will rescue her mother, who had already been sent to the asylum, and escape together on a wagon train heading west. Posing as sisters, Beth and her mother travel with the pioneers in hopes of making it to Idaho before the others start asking too many questions. Wagon-train scout Jake Holt senses the mysterious women in his caravan are running from something. When rumors begin to spread of Pinkerton agents searching relentlessly for wanted criminals who match the description of those on his wagon train, including Beth, she begins to open up to him, and he learns something more sinister is at hand. Can they risk trusting each other with their lives–and their hearts–when danger threatens their every step? (Western Romance from Bethany House)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
During this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense” podcast, you’ll hear from seven authors about their romantic suspense books available this month. Here’s the list of authors and books for February 2024, with the book’s release date if not available now.
On this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” I’m talking F.D. Adkins, a Christian fiction author and freelance writer. Her hope is to pass along the comfort that comes from having a personal relationship with Jesus while offering her readers a brief escape from life’s struggles through an action-packed story full of suspense, twists, turns, love, and a few laughs. In other words, her passion is sharing her faith through fiction.
Her Christian suspense novels include Truth in the Name, which placed third for first novel in the Selah Awards, and Truth in the Word. She has had freelance articles published in Focus on the Family and Faith on Every Corner magazines.
She has been married to the man of her dreams and her best friend for 25 years. She loves spending time with her family, reading, writing, and always enjoys a good cup of coffee. She also has a soft spot in her heart for all animals, especially dogs. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, Steve, their two children, Landon and Layna, and their dog, Lucy.
“It’s more about my journey and what God is calling me to do,” F.D. said. “I had been a stay-at-home mom, … both of my kids were teenagers, and I was beginning to feel like I was doing th same thing every day. … My first priority was to be there for them, but I kept having this weight on my heart that I wasn’t fulfilling God’s purpose for my life. But I never thought I had any talent and never thought of myself as a writer. I continued to pray about it and one morning I ahd an idea for a Christian fiction novel.”
Multi-published author Karen Kirst recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels? When Love Inspired closed their historical line, my editor allowed me to try my hand at suspense. I enjoyed including danger elements and villains in my historical books, so I felt comfortable with that aspect of suspense. Switching genres wasn’t easy, but I’m thankful I’ve had the chance to stretch myself as a writer.
What’s the hardest part about writing romantic suspense? Finding the balance between action/danger and building romance. One of my main goals in a suspense is to create a believable love story. It’s always a challenge due to the fast pace, but I aim for that every time.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels? I’m a native of East Tennessee, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so I naturally set my mounted police series here. My husband served in the US Marine Corps for nearly eight years, and we were stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. That’s where my military series is set.
As far as specific book locations, I like to choose interesting locations. Danger in the Deep takes place mostly in an aquarium. That was fun to research and write! I’ve had scenes in abandoned water parks, carnivals, boats, waterfront historical areas…
In my current release, Dangerous Ranch Threat, you’ll encounter harrowing scenes in an RV production warehouse, cemetery, beachfront park and more.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots? For the most part, I start with my characters and what sort of crime they’re involved in. Who’s being targeted? The hero, heroine or both? What’s driving the villain(s)? Sometimes I see a news article that sparks an idea. I read an article in People magazine about a childhood tragedy that led to the plot in Smoky Mountain Ambush. I can’t reveal specifics about that because it would spoil the surprise.
Which of your books is your favorite and why? I have two top favorites. Intensive Care Crisis because I love the special ops Marine hero, Julian Tan, who’s wounded physically and emotionally. He’s the sole survivor of a helicopter crash, and his nurse is the heroine. The plot and action came together seamlessly. It’s one of those books that wrote itself. Smoky Mountain Ambush is another favorite because it’s a boss/employee romance. I love the Christmas-crazy, lovable heroine Lindsey Snow and the aloof, scarred hero, Silver Williams.
About Karen Karen was born and raised in East Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains. A lifelong lover of books, it wasn’t until after college that she had the grand idea to write one herself. The pursuit of her dream would take longer than she first anticipated…years, in fact. In the fall of 2010, she got the happy news that Harlequin Love Inspired Historical wanted to publish her manuscript—a true blessing from God. Now she writes faith-based romantic suspense. When she’s not homeschooling her sons or taking care of her mischievous poodles, she’s spending time with friends and wondering if she should open her own tea room.
Dangerous Ranch Threat Peril on the ranch.
A serial killer on the loose.
An unknown enemy’s dead set on killing cattle rancher Cassie West—and she doesn’t know why. But when Cassie discovers several murder victims bear a striking resemblance to her, it’s clear that there’s a serial killer at large…and she’s the next target. She’ll have to rely on temporary ranch hand Luke McCoy to keep her safe. But can she and Luke expose the killer before they exact vengeance?