Multi-published author Kerry Johnson recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
What did you want to be as a child (and did that dream come true)? I love animals, so initially I wanted to be a veterinarian. But once I realized that involved blood, surgery and animals being scared of me, that didn’t stick. I had always loved books and reading, and I spent a great deal of my childhood in the Connecticut woods talking to myself. Making up characters and acting out as them. Creating dialogue in my mind, then pretending to be those characters. I remember feeling like a weirdo until my late teens, when I read about another author doing that…having conversations with her characters. Finally, it clicked that I just might be a writer. My degree is in English education, but I didn’t begin seriously writing stories until my early thirties, when my boys were past the toddler age. So yes, I’d say my dream of making up characters in stories came true.
What’s the hardest part of writing romantic suspense? The crime element tends to trip me up as I write the first draft. I don’t watch a lot of crime movies and shows, and making myself more familiar with law enforcement procedures and rules has been a must. I’m grateful for CPs (critique partners) and editors who have helped with that. I also don’t plot much (I’m more of a pantser, when authors just make it up as we go), and nailing down the villain’s motives can be tricky, too.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels? In my current series, I chose a location we visited a few years ago on a family vacation then fictionalized it. The tunnel in Tunnel Creek Ambush is based on Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel in Walhalla, S.C. My first book, Snowstorm Sabotage, took place in a ski resort after we visited one a couple years ago. When I go to a place and really connect to the physical environment, then my imagination goes into overdrive imagining a crime here, and the people involved in the crime. My next series will be set in a beautiful National Forest that we visit every summer (my husband’s family has a cottage there).
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels? In Tunnel Creek Ambush, one of the bad guys jumps from a second story window in the dark, trying to get away from my hero. Unfortunately for him, he lands on a sharp metal fence spire in the backyard garden area. The fence wins.
About Kerry Kerry Johnson has been conversing with fictional characters and devouring books since her childhood in the Connecticut woods. A long-time member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she’s a seven-time Genesis contest finalist and two-time winner. Kerry lives on the sunny, stormy west coast of Florida with her family, a lazy boxer and a temperamental sun conure, and way too many books. She loves Jesus, long walks, all creatures great and small, and iced chai tea. Her first book with Love Inspired Suspense, Snowstorm Sabotage, released September 2021. Tunnel Creek Ambush releases April 25, 2023.
Tunnel Creek Ambush Danger lurks in the shadows…and a police dog is keeping watch.
Officer Jasper Holt never thought he’d see his high school girlfriend, Kinsley Miller, again—much less become her protector. But when the wildlife biologist returns home for her aunt’s funeral, she’s attacked twice in a matter of hours. With his K-9 partner at his side, the single father will protect Kinsley with his life. But can they uncover the reason behind the assaults…before the next strike becomes the last?
A Heart to Redeem by Judith McNees — Chris Morgan is the black sheep of the family. He’s leaned into the title, finding as many ways as he can to distance himself from his perfect parents and siblings. When he receives shocking news that rocks his perception of his sinful lifestyle, he needs help. Fast. Brandi Blakely knows exactly what kind of person Chris is. When he comes to her begging for help, she agrees to marry him with one caveat. The marriage will have an expiration date. As the two work together to get custody of the little girl he has just learned about, lines blur, and hearts become involved. Brandi refuses to let Chris in and shatter her fragile heart. When tragedy strikes, can Chris hold onto the tenuous changes he’s made, and can Brandi let go of the ugly scars from her past to see herself as a new creation in Christ? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Hidden in her Heart by Milla Holt — Desperate to get away from her dysfunctional family and avoid the heartbreak of seeing Noah marry another woman, Eden left her hometown, dropped her infamous last name, and built a new life for herself. But when her little sister gets in trouble and pleads for Eden’s help, she doesn’t hesitate to go back. Six years after his fiancée dumped him at the altar, Noah has found fulfillment running the youth ministry in his father’s church. When a young man under his pastoral care gets a girl pregnant, Noah’s there to give guidance and support. He’s not prepared to run into the expectant mother’s sister, his former best friend Eden, who ghosted him years ago. Friendship deepens into attraction as Eden and Noah unite to protect the teen couple from Eden’s parents’ headline-seeking schemes. But twice-bitten Noah has thick walls around his heart, and Eden has forgotten how to trust. Will they miss their chance to build a life together? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
After the Shadows by Amanda Cabot — A brighter future awaits—if she can escape the shadows of the past. Emily Leland sheds no tears when her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, but what awaits her back home in Sweetwater Crossing is far from the welcome and comfort she expected. First she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances. Then the house where the handsome new schoolteacher, Craig Ferguson, and his son are supposed to board burns, leaving them homeless. When Emily proposes turning the family home into a boardinghouse, her sister is so incensed that she leaves town. Alone and broke, her family name sullied by controversy, Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father’s death—and to aid Craig, despite her fears of men. The widowed schoolmaster proves to be a devoted father, an innovative teacher, and an unexpected ally. As they work to uncover the truth, they just may find the key to unlock a future neither could have imagined. (Historical Romance from Revell) Beyond Wounded Hearts by Cynthia Roemer — They were North and South ~ Faithful and Faithless. After suffering disabling burns during the fall of Richmond, Adelaide Hanover awakens in a hospital alone and destitute, escalating her already stanch hatred for Yankees. When the Union soldier who freed her from the rubble begins paying her visits, she wants nothing to do with him … or his faith. Yet, his persistent kindness penetrates her resolve and forges a much-needed friendship. But after a dangerous man threatens Addie, she flees Richmond, intent on solving the mystery to her aunt’s dying wish before he does. Haunted by a tragic failure in his past, Corporal Luke Gallagher takes Adelaide’s plight on as his own. Though his strong beliefs collide with his growing feelings for her, he offers his family’s home as a place to convalesce. Adelaide’s initial rejection, followed by her sudden willingness to accept his benevolence, hints there’s more to the decision than a mere change of heart. When trouble follows her, endangering her safety, as well as his family’s, Luke must lay his life and his convictions on the line to save them. (Historical Romance, Scrivening’s Press) Confessions to a Stranger by Danielle Grandinetti — She’s lost her future. He’s sacrificed his. Now they have a chance to reclaim it—together. Wisconsin, 1930—While fleeing for her life, Adaleigh Sirland’s rescue of a child introduces her to a family who provides her safe harbor. When her identity comes under threat of exposure, she must choose between running once more or helping the man who teaches her to hope again. First mate David Martins is intrigued by the mysterious woman taken in by his grandmother, but she wrestles with a troubled past. When his estranged father is arrested for murder, can David put aside his own struggles in time to discern which secret threatens Adaleigh before it kills them both? Welcome to Crow’s Nest, where danger and romance meet at the water’s edge. (Historical Romance, Independently Published) Dreams of the Heart by Penny Zeller — Sometimes the hardest battles take place in the heart. Poverty and abuse at the hands of her drunkard father leaves Hannah Bane trapped and alone. Without hope, she prays for a miracle just on the off-chance God will hear her. Will the handsome new deputy, who seems to be watching her every move, be Hannah’s one chance to escape the only life she’s ever known? For as long as he can remember, John Mark Eliason has wanted to be a deputy sheriff. When a job opens in the nearby town of Poplar Springs, he eagerly accepts, but finds his greatest mission won’t be tracking down criminals and bringing justice to the ruthless Wyoming town, but saving a beautiful young woman he barely knows. Will an unexpected answer to a difficult situation show how love can endure—and even thrive—in an unconventional situation? Or will fear and uncertainty keep two hesitant hearts apart? (Historical Romance from Maplebrook Publishing) Maeve’s Pledge by Linda Shenton Matchett — Finally, out from under her father’s tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She’ll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she’s forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped? Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He’ll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia’s upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women’s suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe acts as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective. (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)
Mystery: Scream Blue Murder by Susan Page Davis — An old photo, a twister, and a friend being stalked…A tornado rips through town, and Campbell McBride and her dad take shelter. Afterward, they try to help others who were hard hit, and a body is discovered in the debris of a cottage near their friends’ home. Was the man dead before the twister struck? The owners of the ruined cottage hire True Blue Investigations to help identify the victim and find out how he got on their property. Meanwhile, among the volunteers, Campbell meets her mother’s old school friend, Jackie. It seems Jackie married her mom’s former boyfriend—and now she has eyes on Campbell’s widowed father. (Mystery from Scrivening’s Press)
Lost in Wonderland by Tabitha Bouldin — If you make a deal with evil, be prepared for the consequences. When a metal dragon kidnaps Alice, Hatter gathers the troops and charges off to rescue her. If only things were so uncomplicated. In the Ivory Kingdom, they find upheaval of the worst kind and all heading to civil war spearheaded by a man known as the Bandersnatch. Turmoil and the terror of fighting against a giant wolf, the Bandersnatch is bad enough, but when the Ivory Queen’s secrets are exposed, Hatter and Alice face off in a battle of wills and points of view. How can Alice trust a woman who deceived them? Why can’t Hatter see the bigger picture? If they don’t reconcile their differences, more could be at risk than the Ivory Kingdom. More questions than answers bombard them in their quest for truth and freedom for all. Who is stealing children? What dark secret overshadows the Ivory Kingdom? Can they avoid the Bandersnatch’s clutches? And most important of all, who can they trust? (Speculative Fiction from Celebrate Lit Publishing)
From Chaos by Karen Randau — When Kelsey is forced to flee from her ex-husband’s family with secrets she can’t risk revealing, she finds herself in a situation more dangerous than ever before. With no one else to turn to, Kelsey and her friend Greg must outwit their pursuers or risk becoming victims themselves. From Chaos is the second book in the Peach Blossom Romantic Suspense series, and it follows the riveting journey of two people with very different backgrounds and soul-crushing experiences. If they overcome the unbeatable odds they face together, they’ll come out of it stronger and more committed to each other. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic, Independently Published) Out of the Ashes by Melanie D. Snitker — He thought it was just a structure fire. As a firefighter, Bryce Keyes is no stranger when it comes to running into a burning building. What he didn’t expect was coming face-to-face with the woman he loved years ago. Getting her out safely is one thing, but when it looks like she was the arsonist’s target, Bryce realizes he can’t just let her walk away again. Especially not while her life is in danger. She’s desperate to escape. For Megan Bristow, returning to Destiny, Texas was about saying a final goodbye to a dysfunctional family and the memories she’s tried hard to bury. She planned to go in, help her mother tie up loose ends, and get out again. When someone makes an attempt on her life, Megan realizes those loose ends are only the beginning of a tangled web, and she’s been drawn right into the center of it. They’ll have to put the past behind them. Only by working together will they be able to figure out who’s hunting her and why – before it’s too late. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic, Independently Published) Under Fire by Lynn H. Blackburn — USSS Special Agent Zane Thacker has landed his dream assignment protecting the president of the United States. When the president plans a fundraiser at the exclusive estate of a political supporter in Raleigh, Zane is thrilled to be working again with Special Agent Tessa Reed, his best friend–and the woman he desperately wishes could be more. Though Tessa almost lost everything, she battled her demons and came out on the other side healthy and healed. But when her role as the liaison between the Raleigh office and the president’s protective detail wrenches her past back into the present, her greatest failure threatens to come to light. Zane refuses to let Tessa go through this alone. But can he stand by the woman he loves and protect the president from a mounting threat at the same time? Sparks fly as award-winning romantic suspense writer Lynn H. Blackburn closes out her Defend and Protect series with this explosive tale of secrets kept, lies exposed, and relationships restored. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Revell) Yosemite Firestorm by Tanya Stowe — A raging forest fire isn’t the only threat…When an act of arson claims the life of a hiker, Yosemite Park Ranger Livy Chatham is the only witness—putting her right into the path of determined criminals. Only rock climber Hayden Bryant can protect her from the killers destroying all evidence of their crimes. But can Livy and Hayden outrun the danger that’s as hot on their heels as the fires blazing through Yosemite? (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
A Divine Romance by Ifueko Ogbomo, The royal decree that couples this unlikely pair will make or break the history of an ancient empire. (Biblical Romance)
Brooke by Ronie Kendig, Prioritizing career over family cost Brooke Metcalfe Mulroney everything—her relationship with her siblings, her marriage, her children. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)
Multi-published author Elle E. Kay recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
Why did you start writing romantic suspense novels? One night I was sitting there on my computer and just started writing a story. Before I knew what was happening, I had the first 15,000 words of my debut novel. Before that I had written a non-fiction book, a guide to living with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and a children’s book.
When do you find time to write? I’m a binge-writer. I may go months without writing much and then write an entire novel in a few weeks. Writing is my full-time job, so I have time to devote to it, but I have trouble with a regimented daily word count. Instead, I focus on other aspects of my author business when I’m not writing including reading novels by authors. It’s great that I can consider that work.
How do you connect with your characters? Most of my characters have bits of me in them. For instance, Emily in Grave Pursuits is from the town where I grew up. Amanda, a character in my work-in-progress is a legal secretary, which was one of my first jobs. But I don’t stop with locations, employment or hobbies, I give them my insecurities, my past hurts, and my faith. A part of me ends up in most, if not all, of the characters I write.
What’s the weirdest way someone has died or been killed in your novels? In Shadowing Stella, a man dies in a mine shaft from carbon monoxide poisoning, and then there is a mine collapse that kills two more people.
How do you research ways to kill someone for your books? Experience. Just kidding. I’ve watched a lot of true crime shows and they help, but I always have to research details to make sure I get it right. One of these days someone is going to look at my internet history and see research on poisons, bombs, and how to get away with murder and they’re going to lock me away somewhere.
Where do you get the inspiration for your plots? Brainstorming. I’ll start with an initial idea that comes to me, and then I brainstorm to fill in the rest of the details. For example, for Grave Pursuits, I knew I wanted to write a story that revolved around boulder field. The initial working title was Buried by Boulder Field, so I took that premise and built characters around it. My current work-in-progress, Rattlesnake Roundup has a connection to the town of Noxen where they hold an annual Rattlesnake Roundup. I wanted to incorporate that event into the book, so I built a story around that.
About Elle E. Kay Elle E. Kay is a Christian romantic suspense author based in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, three dogs, and many farm animals. She loves watching the wildlife that frequent her property. Shadowing Stella was her debut novel and she completed the Endless Mountain Series with Implicating Claudia and Chasing Sofie.
Elle also writes contemporary and historical romances as part of the Lawkeeper series, including: Lawfully Held, Lawfully Defended, Lawfully Guarded, Lawfully Taken, Lawfully Given, Lawfully Promised, and Lawfully Vindicated. The Billionaire’s Reluctant Bride and The Bodyguard’s Fake Bride are her contributions to the Blushing Brides series. Elle’s third book in the Heroes of Freedom Ridge series, Inspired by the Hero, was released in October 2022. All 18 books in the series can be read for free on Kindle Unlimited.
Her latest book, Grave Pursuits, is the first in a romantic suspense series set in Pennsylvania state parks. Elle is also working on a romantic suspense novel with ties to the Rattlesnake Roundup in Noxen, Pennsylvania. Under the pen name Ellie Mae Kay, Elle writes children’s books.
Grave Pursuits Vanishing without a trace—the hunt for justice begins.
Join Emily Davis, a park ranger on a suspenseful and romantic journey in “Grave Pursuits.” When a hiker goes missing in the peaceful Hickory Run State Park, what starts as a routine search quickly turns into a desperate race against time as Emily discovers a skull and finds herself targeted by a dangerous serial killer.
With the case grabbing national attention, Emily turns to her high school sweetheart and seasoned detective, Wade Brunner, for help. Together, they embark on a thrilling adventure, putting their faith and love to the test as they navigate the sinister secrets lurking in the park.
You can also listen to Christian romantic suspense authors talk about their February releases on this podcast.
Amish Romance: Every Good Gift by Kelly S. Irvin — Maisy never expected that a Plain girl like her could have her heart stolen by an Englisch boy. But when her rumspringa ends and Maisy realizes she’s pregnant, the reality of their choices—and their differences—sets in. Maisy knows she will never leave her faith to marry her baby’s father. But she also knows the road to acceptance as an unwed mother in an Amish community will be long and hard. To protect her family from the scandal, she goes to live with her cousin in Haven, Kansas, where she will have some solitude to figure out what kind of future she might have. In Haven Maisy begins to find her way—thanks in no small part to Joshua Lapp, a Plain man who’s made it clear he isn’t bothered by her situation or ashamed to be seen with her, despite the bishop’s warnings. But Joshua has struggled with his faith ever since the death of his twin brother, leaving Maisy to wonder: How can two people who are so lost ever help each other discover Gott’s plans for their future? (Amish Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))
Contemporary Romance: Dial V for Valentine by Linda Shenton Matchett — Being part of the military is not just a job for Fergus Rafferty, it’s a calling. He’s worked his way up the ranks and doing what he loves best: flying Apache helicopters. The only thing that will make his life complete is marrying Celeste. After he transfers to a unit scheduled to deploy in three months, he’s thrilled at the idea of marrying before he leaves so they can start their new life. Except Celeste wants to wait until he returns. Can he convince her to wed before he leaves? Celeste Hardwicke has just opened her law practice when she finally accepts Fergus’s marriage proposal. Not to worry. She has plenty of time to set a date, then plan the wedding. Until she doesn’t. But a quickie wedding isn’t what she has in mind. Besides, why get married when the groom will ship out after the ceremony? When she stumbles on her great-grandmother’s diary from World War II, she discovers the two of them share the same predicament. At an impasse, Celeste and Fergus agree to call into WDES’s program No Errin’ for Love. Will DJ Erin Orberg’s advice solve their dilemma or create a bigger divide? One they’ll both regret. (Contemporary Romance from Shortwave Press) Love Delivered by Amy Anguish, et. al. — Romance at Register Five (Amy R Anguish) – Mack McDonald isn’t happy about the Grocerease app coming to his grocery store. But he’s committed to the sixty-day trial period, and braces himself to lose money. Kaitlyn Daniels loves how the Grocerease app helps her make ends meet so she can assist her mom, the reason she moved to small Sassafras, AR. Mack and Kaitlyn struggle to overcome differing opinions on the perks of the app. But if they don’t, it could keep them from something even better. Where Love is Planted (Sarah Anne Crouch) – Ivy Aaronson is surrounded by family at their flower shop in West Texas-just the way she likes it. But she’s given up hope on ever finding a man who understands her choices. When attorney Grant Keller orders flowers for his mother, Ivy wonders if maybe there are indeed some considerate men left in the world until she learns Grant’s relationship with his parents is less than ideal. How can Ivy ever find love when every man she meets puts career over family? Sweet Delivery (Heather Greer) – After winning Cake That!, Will Forrester thinks his Pastry Perfect baking dreams have come true. The sweetness fades when a chain bakery moves to town, and Will must adjust his plans to keep his customers. Hiring Erica Gerard is one of those changes. As they work together, Erica challenges Will and offers new ideas to improve the bakery. Soon, Erica and Will start bringing out the best in each other. But Erica harbors a secret, and if it’s discovered, Will might never be the same. The Mermaids, the Ex and USSS (Rachel Herod) – Braig Sanborn is the most loyal employee the United States Shipping Service has ever seen, which is why he agreed to transfer across the country with only a few weeks’ notice. Ella Morrison is so busy planning a friend’s wedding, she didn’t expect to fall for the carrier who delivers packages to her house. When they both find themselves in too deep, will they agree the relationship was doomed from the start? (Contemporary Romance from Scrivening’s Press) Muskoka Hearts by Carolyn Miller — Toni Wakefield may be a talented artist, but past choices means this single mother never feels the equal of those around her—especially her brother’s best friend, investment funds manager Matt. Matt long ago fell in love with his best friend’s younger sister, and try as he might, he just can’t fall out of it. And between his crazy working hours and the fact she’s now settled two hours away in beautiful Muskoka it seems they never have any time together. How can he persuade her to consider to give him a chance, when she’s sworn the only man she can care about is her baby boy? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Never Find Another You by Narelle Atkins — Hannah Gilbertson has deep roots in her small East Washington home town, including a lake named after her family. Sporty and hard-working, she loves running the rowing club and supporting the town’s water recreation tourism. She’s determined to avoid dating and becoming entangled in her mother’s matchmaking schemes, and she wants to prove to her successful father that she’s worthy of carrying on his legacy. Joel Manning left behind his life in Sydney, Australia, and a broken heart, to start over in Trinity Lakes. A tiler by trade, he’s embarking on a year-long working vacation adventure, and he’s not looking for love. The handsome Aussie captures Hannah’s interest when she hires him to do repair work at her rowing club. Joel is drawn to the beautiful American, and values spending time with her. Their shared faith and love for kayaking lays the foundation for their friendship to become something more. A shocking secret combined with family upheaval leads to more questions than answers, and threatens to push Joel and Hannah apart to faraway shores. Can their love overcome the miles between them? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
General Contemporary: Songs for a Sunday by Heather Norman Smith — Two sets of sisters, generations apart―can one big sister’s sacrifice teach the other about love and forgiveness? 1963: Twenty-year-old Annie dreams of managing the dance studio where she has trained since childhood and of marrying her high-society boyfriend. But when her younger sister with special needs gets pregnant, Annie is forced to set her dreams aside for the sake of family. Present Day: Missy Robbins has always lived in her younger sister’s shadow. When given the opportunity, Missy steps out of her comfort zone as stay-at-home mom of four to prove she’s as good a singer as Erica. Missy’s new pursuit puts her on a path to self-discovery and reclaiming her discarded faith. Until she discovers her grandmother has a sixty-year-old secret. Will Missy conceal Grandma Annie’s deception or will she be forced to reveal the hidden truth. (General Contemporary from Iron Stream Fiction)
Historical Romance: A Not So Persistent Suitor by Sandra Merville Hart — He’s fighting for his career…She’s bent on achieving her own goals…Will their love survive a second chance at happily ever after? Cora Welch dreams of a future teaching kindergarten, which is in its infancy, and marriage to Ben Findlay, her beau and her twin brother’s best friend. But she returns to college from summer break to learn of Ben’s unwise choices in pursuit of his career—choices that destroy her trust in the man she thought she knew and loved. Ben is working hard toward his dream to become the best reporter in the city. He’s no stranger to fighting for a goal against all odds, ever since he was orphaned at age thirteen. Even though Cora has captured his heart, he makes the mistake of escorting the boss’s daughter to a fancy banquet to further his career—with far-reaching repercussions. Now he’s hurt Cora and botched his career goals. Winning Cora’s trust again proves harder than Ben expects, especially as they both face struggles of their own. When events spiral out of their control, catapulting them into hardship and even danger, only God can restore their dreams—though the outcome may look far different than either of them planned. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)
Counterfeit Hope by Crystal Caudill — When Secret Service operative Andrew Darlington is brought in to support a US Marshal case involving counterfeiters in rural Indiana, he thinks it’s simply the next rung on his climb to the top of his career. But liars can only climb so high–and Andrew is keeping a dangerous secret he doesn’t ever want to get out. When he clashes with the criminal family that took over the town of Landkreis and killed the Marshal he was sent to assist, his past life is in danger of being exposed. Widow “Lightning Lu” Thorne has only one goal: escape the clutches of the Thorne family with her son. Her decision to be an informant and testify against the Thornes looked like the perfect answer. Until the Marshal ended up dead. Now the tether keeping her tied to her felonious family is tightening, and a forced marriage to someone else in the Thornes’ clutches threatens to kill any hope of escape. Andrew and Lu find themselves on the same team–unwillingly. They each believe the other to be the enemy to their future plans. And even if they could learn to work together, the secrets they hold could shatter all hopes and dreams. Despite the encouragement of the local preacher, they’re not even sure God can be trusted–much less other humans. Can either of them escape their past–and the family that is willing to kill their own when they smell betrayal? (Historical Romance from Kregel Publications) The Cairo Curse by Pepper D. Basham — Clue meets Indiana Jones with a fiction-loving twist only Grace Percy can provide. Newlyweds Lord and Lady Astley have already experienced their fair-share of suspense within their young marriage, but nothing quite prepares them for Egypt. As a gift to his bride, Frederick takes their honeymoon on a detour to the land of Pharaohs where Frederick’s cousins are involved in an archaeological expedition. But soon the trip turns more dangerous than even Grace with her fiction-loving mind could predict. From an assortment of untrustworthy adventure-seekers to a series of “suspicious deaths” to a newly discovered tomb with a murderous secret, Frederick and Grace must lean on each other to navigate their hazardous surroundings and even less predictable cast of characters. As the suspects mount in an antiquities’ heist of novel-worthy proportions, will Frederick and Grace’s attempts to solve the mystery lead to another death among the sands? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin — When the Germans march into Denmark, Baron Henrik Ahlefeldt exchanges his nobility for anonymity, assuming a new identity so he can secretly row messages for the Danish Resistance across the waters to Sweden. American physicist Dr. Else Jensen refuses to leave Copenhagen and abandon her research—her life’s dream—and makes a dangerous decision to print resistance newspapers. As Else hears rumors of the movement’s legendary Havmand—the merman—she also becomes intrigued by the mysterious and silent shipyard worker living in the same boardinghouse. Henrik makes every effort to conceal his noble upbringing, but he is torn between the façade he must maintain and the woman he is beginning to fall in love with. When the Occupation cracks down on the Danes, these two passionate people will discover if there is more power in speech . . . or in silence. (Historical Romance from Revell)
Thriller/Suspense: Death in High Places by Sara L. Jameson — An Interpol agent with a deadline he can’t miss. Urgent intel warns of terrorist cells planning coordinated attacks throughout Europe. Special Agent Jacob Coulter of Brussels Interpol is assigned to find the terrorist financiers supporting these groups and shut down their funding operations. An opera singer’s life and career hang in the balance. The Queen of the Night’s vocal pyrotechnics have launched many a soprano’s international career. But Riley Williams, Jacob’s fiancée, is terrified of heights, and her Antwerp Opera debut as the evil queen requires her to sing from a hydraulic lift forty feet above the orchestra pit. When newspapers cite Riley’s recent unmasking of an international terrorist plot and the lift malfunctions, Jacob suspects terrorist sabotage. (Thriller/Suspense from Scrivening’s Press)
Detecting Secrets by Sami A. Abrams — Tracking the scents of the missing might be the only way to save them. Partnered with her air-scent dog and Sheriff Dennis Monroe, marriage and family therapist Charlotte Bradley is desperate to put an end to a black-market baby smuggling ring in Anderson County. Who is kidnapping the pregnant girls she counsels and taking their babies? As Charlotte searches for answers, she and Dennis must dodge gunfire and deadly attacks. But the sinister agenda they uncover just might include her. (Thriller/Suspense from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Kill Shot by Angela L. Gold — After Rory Rydell invites the world to accept Jesus as Savior while levitating above her execution platform, she is the natural choice to serve as one of the co-presidents of the new nation created by God’s miraculous defeat of the United World Order. But then the Kingdom Advisory Council selects Dawson Fortis—her former jailer under the Order—to serve beside her as co-president. Will the two be able to put their complicated past behind them and serve the needs of the country? Or will the council meetings descend into endless arguments? Although crippled, the Order in the Eastern and Central zones has survived. The Order’s supreme commanders are hotter than a solar flare over their defeat in the Western zone. They see Rory and the new nation as a threat to their very existence … one that must be eliminated. Rory trusts God for protection, even though she understands she is a target and is acutely aware that many of God’s devoted followers have been martyred over the ages, even Jesus. But she has made her choice—serving God is the one thing important enough to risk her life for. The question is, what will it ultimately cost her? (Thriller/Suspense, Independently Published)
A Cry in the Dark by Jessica R. Patch — Led to an isolated Appalachian Mountain town by a trail of disturbing murders, FBI special agent Violet Rainwater’s determined to catch a serial killer with a twisted agenda. With locals refusing to reveal their secrets, Violet’s only ally is Detective John Orlando. But even John has an ulterior motive—he’s convinced this case is connected to his wife’s murder. As they dig deeper, Violet uncovers a link to her own unresolved past. For years she’s worked the cold case of her mother’s abduction, which had led to her birth. The need to look into the eyes of the sinful man who fathered her consumes Violet. Until she can, she’ll never have peace. Because she’s terrified she might be exactly like him. In this chilling novel, when the present collides with Violet’s mysterious past and John’s tragic loss, they must unravel the warped, sinuous connections before the killer strikes again. But solving the case might not be nearly as terrifying as the possibility that Violet’s finally found her roots… (Thriller/Suspense/Psychological from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Thriller/Suspense/Romance: Alaskan Avalanche Escape by Darlene L. Turner — After surviving a sudden avalanche, mountain survival expert Jayla Hoyt and her search-and-rescue K-9 discover that it was no accident—someone deliberately triggered the mountain explosion. To uncover the culprit, she’ll have to partner with Alaska park ranger Bryson Clarke, a man she doesn’t trust. But when the investigators become targets, can they capture the criminal mastermind…before they’re buried alive? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard — Police Chief Autumn Long is fighting to keep her job in the quiet Alaska town of Shadow Gap when an unexpected string of criminal activity leaves her with a wounded officer, unexplained murders, and even an attack on her own father. Despite her mistrust of outsiders, she turns to Grier Brenner, a newcomer who seems to have the skills and training Autumn needs to face this threat to her community. Grier is in Alaska for the same reason so many others are–to disappear–when Chief Long enlists his help. He emerges from the shadows and proves his mettle, but his presence in her life could be a deadly trap for them both. If his secret is exposed, all will be lost. And he’s not sure even Autumn could save him. As the stakes rise and the dangers increase, Autumn and Grier must rely on each other to extinguish the deadly threats. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Revell)
Courage in the Shadows by Robin Patchen — Ever since she and thirteen other models were kidnapped years before, Summer Lake has fought to ensure that she can protect herself. But when her job as a bodyguard brings her into contact with a man she believes masterminded her kidnapping, her first urge is to run, terrified of being taken again. Instead, she follows the stranger, determined to bring him to justice. Bodyguard Grant Wright fell in love with Summer the instant he saw her, a fierce protector standing in front of the other endangered young women he’d come to rescue. Years later, Summer still sees him as barely more than a coworker. Grant bides his time, sticking close in an effort to keep her safe and hoping she’ll eventually open her heart to him. When her life is threatened, he’s not about to allow her to fight her enemies alone. He’ll stay by her side whether she wants him or not. But Summer and Grant have an enemy whose global smuggling organization is so powerful, so pervasive, that it’ll be a miracle if either of them emerges from this battle alive. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance, Independently Published)
Every Flower of the Field by Sara Davison — Safe is the most dangerous feeling of all. For as long as she can remember, Rose Galway has been a captive, controlled by one man or another. To her, though, God is the one holding the keys, refusing to set her free despite the desperate pleas she has sent heavenward. Detective Laken Jones has known hardship too, including the daily trauma of racism. Still, nothing he has gone through compares to what Rose has endured. He wants nothing more than for her to experience hope and healing and maybe even happiness in her life. But first he has to find her. Laken is willing to risk everything to set Rose free. And to help her find her way to God. Even if that means letting go of her—and the future he envisions for the two of them—forever. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance, Independently Published)
Perilous Security Detail by Elizabeth Goddard — With threats on all sides…Secrets can prove deadly. Narrowly surviving an intentional hit-and-run, Sawyer Blackwood hires his unexpected rescuer to guard his niece. Bodyguard Everly Honor will do anything to protect a child, even if it means working with her ex. But, as attacks escalate, how can she accomplish her mission to keep them safe when Sawyer is keeping secrets from her…and she’s concealing the truth about her own past? (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Western Romance: Forged in Love by Mary Connealy — When sparks begin to fly, can a friendship cast in iron be shaped into something more? Mariah Stover is left for dead and with no memory when the Deadeye Gang robs the stagecoach she’s riding in, killing both her father and brother. As she takes over her father’s blacksmith shop and tries to move forward, she soon finds herself in jeopardy and wondering–does someone know she witnessed the robbery and is still alive? Handsome and polished Clint Roberts escaped to western Wyoming, leaving his painful memories behind. Hoping for a fresh start, he opens a diner where he creates fine dishes, but is met with harsh resistance from the townsfolk, who prefer to stick to their old ways. Clint and Mariah are drawn together by the trials they face in town, and Clint is determined to protect Mariah at all costs when danger descends upon her home. As threats pursue them from every side, will they survive to build a life forged in love?. (Western Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Multi-published author MaryAnn Diorio recently stopped by my blog to share some about her writing life.
When do you find time to write?
Great question! I learned early on in my writing career that I would not find time to write. I had to make time to write. With so many responsibilities and distractions assailing us, we have to carve out time to do what we are called to do and what we want to do.
The first step I took was to establish my priorities by asking myself these questions:
How important is writing to me?
Where does it fall on my priority scale?
What block of time would I give it in my daily schedule?
Since God called me to write for Him, writing is in my top five priorities. So, I make it a point to schedule writing time at least five, often six days, a week. I rest on Sundays. I believe that rest is just as important as work—perhaps more so.
In order to make writing a priority, I had to get rid of some other activities. Years ago, when I was struggling with finding time to do everything I thought I needed to do, I complained to the Lord. Well, instead of the sympathy I expected from Him, He gave me a loving reprimand, LOL! He said, “MaryAnn, you always have enough time to do what I have called you to do.”
His response got me thinking. Since what God says is always true, I was either disorganized or spending time doing some things He had not called me to do. In my case, it was the latter. I was involved in two church ministries to which God had not called me.
So, I resigned those ministries and spent that time writing.
I consider writing as my day job. I report for work at 9 am and work until 3 pm, with a break for lunch. I get dressed and put on makeup as though I am going to a job outside my home. This puts me in a professional mindset. I also have a home writing studio where my sole focus is writing.
How do you pick the location/setting of your romantic suspense novels?
I usually choose locations with which I am familiar. For example, Miracle in Milan takes place in Milan, Italy. A small part takes place in New York City and Texas. I have been to all three places, so I have a good idea of the atmosphere of all three.
I also sometimes choose a location to which I have not been but which I would like to visit and learn more about. When I choose this option, I do extensive research about the location before I start writing.
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with readers? I love my readers! And I love to connect with them. I am what I would call an introvert/extrovert. In other words, I love to be around people, but then I need to retreat and recharge my batteries by being alone with the Lord and with myself for a while.
But, when I’m with my readers, my attention is fully theirs. I connect with them primarily through social media, particularly Facebook. I have a private FB group called The Diorio Champions for my Reader Team and another private FB group called The Diorio Dynamos devoted specifically to my Street Team.
I also love to connect with readers through my newsletter which is a combination of personal news and writing news. My readers are like family to me. We laugh together, cry together, and pray together. I highly respect them and often ask for their advice and opinions on matters related to my writing. I have grown to love them deeply and feel their love in return. To me, they are truly the best team an author could ever want.
MaryAnn writes fiction from a small town in New Jersey where neighbors still make time to chat, kids still lick lollipops, and old married couples still hold hands. A Jersey girl at heart, MaryAnn loves Jersey diners, Jersey tomatoes, and the Jersey shore.
Miracle in Milan When a young, female auditor discovers convincing evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler, she must choose between ruining him or ruining herself.
Amy Torelli, chief auditor for New York City-based Enson Pharmaceuticals, is assigned to audit the books of Enson’s Italian branch in the enchanting city of Milan, Italy. Having made an inner vow never to trust a man again because of her father’s betrayal, Amy finds herself falling in love with Enson Italia’s American-born Vice President, Ted McMasters. Will Ted be the one to cause her to break her inner vow?
Ted is on the run. A run from rejection. From himself. From God. Having been wounded by a father who made him feel worthless, and having been dumped by the woman he wanted to marry, Ted is determined to keep all women at bay. But will Amy be the reason he changes his mind?