On this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” my guest is Traci Hunter Abramson, who was born in Arizona, where she lived until moving to Venezuela for a study-abroad program. After graduating from Brigham Young University, she worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, eventually resigning in order to raise her family. She credits the CIA with giving her a wealth of ideas as well as the skills needed to survive her children’s teenage years. She loves to travel and enjoys coaching her local high school swim team. She has written more than 30 best-selling novels and is a seven-time Whitney Award winner, including 2017 and 2019 Best Novel of the Year.
“I tend to write a lot of Navy SEALs, CIA type books, so basing them in DC, Virginia Beach, Virginia is often a favorite for me, but the characters being in the military or CIA are from everywhere,” Traci said. “So living in Virginia for so many years but being from the West is great. For example, if you’re talking about Virginia, one of the most common freeways is I-95, but if you’re in Utah, it’s the 15, with the in front of the number. Little things like that you wouldn’t know unless you’ve lived in different places.”
Listen to the podcast for more from our interview, plus an excerpt from Redemption.
On this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” I’m chatting with Sally Jo Pitts, who writes what she likes to read—faith-based stories of romance and mystery with an unusual twist. She brings a career as a private investigator, high school guidance counselor and teacher of family and consumer sciences to the fiction page. Her real-world experiences fuel her passion to share how faith can bring hope in the face of conflicts that she puts her characters through. Residing in north Florida with her spunky schnauzer, Gibbs, Sally Jo enjoys hot mochas, old movies, and writing scenes from scribbled notes that clutter her house.
“What I wanted to do as a career as a child was archeology,” Sally Jo says. “Writing also has got that concept of digging, you have to dig into your subject and your topic and your characters and what’s going happen. Archeology fascinated me, finding the tombs and treasures… and writing fits that whole concept of discovery because as a writer I do that daily.”
Listen to the podcast for more from our interview, plus an excerpt from Autumn Vindication.
On this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” I’m chatting with Melanie Jeschke, the author of The Oxford Chronicles, a historical romance series set in the Oxford of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, (Inklings, Intentions, Expectations, Evasions) and Jillian Dare a retelling of Jane Eyre. An honors’ graduate of UVA with a MA in English Literature from GMU, she is currently an adjunct professor of English. Melanie has studied at Oxford University and has traveled extensively in the United Kingdom, where she sets her stories. Melanie lives in beautiful Belmont Bay with her husband, Bill Jeschke, senior pastor of The King’s Chapel, and has nine children and a plethora of grandchildren.
“I was inspired by author Deborah White Smith, who did some updated versions or modern-day tellings of some Jane Austen books,” Melanie says. “I loved her books and I love Jane Austen, and thought, ‘I could do this’ with one of my favorite classics, Jane Eyre. … I love the whole gothic suspense thing that goes on in Jane Eyre and that could easily be reset to today.”
Listen to the podcast for more from our interview, plus an excerpt from Jillian Dare.
On this episode of “The Romantic Side of Suspense,” my guest is Mindy Steele. Raised in Kentucky timber country, Mindy has been writing since she could hold a crayon against the wall. Inspired by her rural surroundings, her books are peppered with humor, and sprinkled with grace, charming all the senses to make you laugh, cry, hold your breath, and root for the happy ever after ending. Mother of four, Mindy enjoys coffee indulgences, week end road trips, and researching her next book. Represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency, she has four novels releasing in 2021: To Catch A Hummingbird from Vinspire, An Amish Flower Farm with Hallmark Publishing, Christmas Grace with Entangled, and His Amish Wife’s Hidden Past with Harlequin’s Love Inspired imprint.
“I don’t write in crayon anymore but I do have a closet door with a map going up on the wall that some artist family members are building a mural of Miller’s Creek, which is where most of my books’ settings are just so I can keep track of the roads and who lives in what house,” Mindy says. “So they’re allowed to draw on the walls of my office for that.”
Listen to the podcast for more from our interview, plus an excerpt from His Amish Wife’s Hidden Past.
Perfectly Arranged by Liana George — Can Nicki risk letting go of her well-ordered life plans and embrace what God has perfectly arranged? (General Contemporary from Scrivenings Press LLC)
Tacos for Two by Bestsy St. Amant — Rory Perez, a food truck owner who can’t cook, is struggling to keep the business she inherited from her aunt out of the red–and an upcoming contest during Modest’s annual food truck festival seems the best way to do it. Then maybe Rory will have enough time to meet the man she’s been talking to via an anonymous online dating site. Complications arise when Rory’s chef gets mono and she realizes she has to cook after all. Then Jude discovers that his stiffest competition is the same woman he’s been falling for online the past month. Will these unlikely chefs sacrifice it all for the sake of love? Or will there only ever be tacos for one? (Contemporary Romance from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)
Riverbend Gap by Denise Hunter — She came in search of the family she’d always wanted—and found the kind of love she’d never dared to imagine. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (Thomas Nelson and Zondervan))
A Harvest Heart by Denise Weimer — Hope Richardson is good at just that—hoping. Problem is, she’s often disappointed—by fathers who die, boyfriends who ghost her, and lack of promotion at her event planning firm. It’s her twin sister, Faith, for whom things work out. When Faith’s fiancé lands an out-of-town job, Hope is called home to plan a wedding in the Georgia foothills … and jumpstart the tea room Faith was supposed to run with their mother. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
The Billionaire’s Secret by Meghann Whistler — He’s a billionaire hiding a devastating diagnosis. She’ll do whatever it takes to help her sick, matchmaking mom. A freak accident throws them together, but will his big secret tear them apart? Inspired by 2 Corinthians 12:9, The Billionaire’s Secret is a sweet inspirational romance with a swoony hero, LOTS of entertaining banter, and a strong Christian message. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Murder at the Empire by Cathe Swanson — They call him the Emperor. John Starek fills his theater with fine artwork and treasures. He’s particularly pleased to have one of the country’s first female organists – and he thinks Gayle Wells is the bee’s knees. Despite pressure from her social crusader mother, Gayle isn’t interested in changing the world. She just wants a car of her own – and a career playing the organ at the Empire movie palace would be especially ducky. Then the Empire’s treasures start disappearing and employees start dying. Are a few pieces of art really enough motive for the string of murders? Will Gayle be next? (Historical Mystery from Celebrate Lit Publishing)
To Stand in the Breach by Danielle Grandinetti — 1933, Wisconsin – Large animal veterinarian Katy Wells takes her patients’ welfare personally, so it’s no surprise when she stands up to angry farmers planning a milk strike or takes in an injured draft horse to save its life. But after a visitor from the past discovers her location and reveals a threat, she must choose between her work and her freedom, and whether to trust a man to keep her safe. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
The Petticoat Spy by Elva Cobb Martin — A feisty Southern belle and a blockade runner ignite romance, faith, and fireworks to save Charleston during the American Revolution. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)
A Family for Hazel by Linda Shenton Matchett — After the Civil War takes Hazel Markham’s father, and her mother dies of a broken heart, a friend of her parents hires Hazel as a companion. All is well until the woman’s lecherous son takes an interest in his mother’s assistant. When Hazel spurns his advances one too many times, the man frames her for theft, and she is fired. As a last resort she applies to be a mail-order bride, and to her dismay, her groom-to-be is a preacher. Will he believe her claims of innocence or reject her as unacceptable? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)
In Pieces by Rhonda Ortiz — Boston, 1793—Beautiful and artistic, the only daughter of a prominent merchant, Molly Chase cannot help but attract the notice of Federalist Boston—especially its men. But she carries a painful secret: her father committed suicide and she found his body. Now nightmares plague her day and night, addling her mind and rendering her senseless. Molly needs a home, a nurse, and time to grieve and to find new purpose in life. But when she moves in with her friends the Robbs, spiteful society gossips assume the worst. And when an imprudent decision leads to public scandal, Molly is tempted to take the easy way out: a marriage of convenience. In the wake of tragedy, these longtime friends discover a new intimacy. But slander, confusion, absence, and a wealthy, conniving bully stand between them. And with French spies on the loose, they not only have to rescue their reputations—they have to protect their lives. (Historical Romance from WhiteFire Publishing)
The Wrangler’s Woman by Davalynn Spencer — Corra Jameson doesn’t think of herself as a spinster and is content to spend quiet evenings with her books. Paper beaus, her sister calls them, teasing her about the stories Corra reads. But when a rugged widower asks her to come to his ranch for the summer to help him with his tomboy daughter, she sees opportunity to earn a side of beef for her sister’s family. Besides, she has nothing to lose in the arrangement. Except perhaps her heart. Re-released from the 2016 ECPA bestselling Barbour collection, The Cowboy’s Bride. (Historical Romance from Wilson Creek Publishing)
Christmas Tree Wars by Delores Topliff — Kris Lundquist, am ambitious New York City financial planner, comes home to Wisconsin for two weeks to help his Swedish-American Christmas tree grower dad meet a financial crisis. While there, he gets re-acquainted with Marcie Halvorsen, the idealistic forestry-major niece of their cranky Norwegian neighbor who is also home to solve a financial shortfall. Both enter contests to provide national Christmas tree to build their businesses and sales. Despite their relationship seeming as star-crossed as Romeo and Juliet’s, they fall in love and help their families and town rediscover the reason for the season. (Historical Romance from Scrivenings Press LLC)
A Heart for the Sailor by Terri Wangard — Working as a Winnie the Welder during World War II, Evelyn builds submarines. She’s good at her job, but men begrudge women taking jobs in heavy industry. She dreams of the day her sailor comes home and the life they’ll have, but does Jerry dream about her? When a typhoon threatens the US Fleet in the Pacific, Jerry and his shipmates aboard the Tabberer rush to the aid of their fellow sailors. The typhoon prompts a greater awareness of what he wants in life. First, though, they have to survive. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse — After being kidnapped as a child, heiress Emma Grace McMurray has seen firsthand the devastation that greed causes in the world, and she wants nothing to do with it. When she discovers her father has offered her up as a bargaining chip to expand his empire, she disappears into the night. Determined to stay hidden, even if it means always looking over her shoulder, she finds herself working as a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Hotel. When the son’s owner, Ray Watkins arrives at the hotel on business, he immediately admires Emma Grace, and though an attraction begins to form, she can’t let go of the deep-rooted fear that he’s just like every other wealthy man she’s known. When suspicious activity follows Emma Grace and Ray to the El Tovar, they are pulled into a mystery that stirs up their worst fears. And as shocking revelations come to light, they are left to question all they thought to be true. (Historical Romance from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)
Deadly Connection by Kathy Harris — After fending off a would-be abductor, 27-year-old singer-songwriter Hannah Cassidy hides behind a car in the half-empty parking lot behind Pancake Pantry in Nashville. From there, she watches in horror as her attacker grabs another woman and pushes her into a nearby car. Within seconds, the vehicle speeds away. TBI Special Agent Jake Matheson may have planned a quiet day off and a date with Shannon―the only name her online profile revealed―for an introductory lunch, but after pulling into a parking space on 21st Avenue South, he hears a scream. He races to the back of the building and finds a frightened young woman bent forward and gasping for breath. Thrown together by uncanny circumstances and driven by the whys and what-ifs of secrets yet to be revealed, Hannah and Jake set out to find the connection between them before it becomes deadly. (Romantic Suspense/Thriller from Iron Stream Fiction (an imprint of Iron Stream Media))
Yuletide Cold Case Cover-Up by Jessica R. Patch — The mystery of her sister’s death is about to reveal some deadly answers…When her sister’s remains are found just before Christmas, cold case agent Poppy Holliday is determined to solve the years-old murder—even if it turns the killer’s sights on her. But her investigation with her straitlaced partner, Rhett Wallace, is stirring up the town’s old memories—and bitter grudges. And this killer will do anything to keep secrets buried. (Romantic Suspense/Thriller from Love Inspired (Harlequin))
Traces of Virtue by Robin Patchen — From her deathbed, Carly Garcia’s mother asked Carly to look after left her stepfather and her sisters. Carly is doing everything in her power to keep that promise, but now she has a new life to protect, this one innocent and vulnerable. She visits her ex to tell him a truth he doesn’t deserve to know… and witnesses his murder. Now, Carly’s on the run from killers whose faces she never saw. Braden Reilly is building a career in Coventry, New Hampshire, happy to put the drama of his crime-ridden Boston neighborhood behind him. When a woman he’s spent years trying to forget shows up on his doorstep, his first instinct is to turn her away. But the bruises on her arms and the fear in her eyes have him offering her sanctuary. The story she tells him makes his blood curdle. Together, they must discover who’s behind a murder nobody believes occurred before the killers catch up to Carly and her unborn child. (Romantic Suspense/Thriller, Independently Published)
A Flicker of Light by Katie Powner — For generations, the Jensens have raised their families in the small Montana town of Moose Creek, where gossip spreads faster than the wind. Yet some secrets need to be told. When twenty-one-year-old Bea discovers she’s pregnant on the heels of her husband losing his job, she’s forced to admit she needs help and asks her dad for a place to stay. But past resentments keep her from telling him all that’s going on. Grandma June is good at spinning stories, but there’s one she’s never told. Now that her mind is starting to fade, her time to tell it is running out. But if she reveals the truth before her memories are gone forever, the Jensen family will never be the same. (Literary from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)
Memories, Murder and Small Town Money by KC Hart — When Katy Cross finds one of Skeeterville’s supposedly upstanding citizens dead in the dumpster behind the grocery store, she has to work hard to find the killer before any more of the town’s colorful citizens are harmed. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)
Book Title by Amanda G. Stevens — Unable for the last century to grow old or succumb to injury, Cady Schuster has lost a lot of people, some more recently than others. She’s trying to find new belonging in Harbor Vale, Michigan, among a welcoming little group of fellow ageless folk. Then she meets Paige, a mortal woman who needs a friend-and might need help.Paige’s husband rules their church with an authority unquestioned by his congregation. When Paige suddenly severs all communication, Cady determines to find her. Churchgoers warn her off, and the behavior of Paige’s husband proves a still bigger warning. Is this friend lost too, or can Cady help her? And how far should an ageless woman involve herself in the conflicts of mortals? (Speculative Fiction, Independently Published)
Ice Cold Blue by Susan Page Davis — Campbell McBride is now working for her father Bill as a private investigator in Murray, Kentucky. Xina Harrison wants them to find out what is going on with her aunt, Katherine Taylor. Katherine is a rich, reclusive author, and she has resisted letting Xina visit her for several years. Xina arrived unannounced, and Katherine was upset and didn’t want to let her in. When Xina did gain entry, she learned Katherine fired her longtime housekeeper. She noticed that a few family heirlooms previously on display have disappeared. (Thriller/Suspense from Scrivenings Press LLC)
Love on the Range by Mary Connealy — While his brothers and their new wives search for who shot him, Wyatt Hunt is temporarily bedridden and completely miserable. Somehow Molly Garner’s limited skills have made her the most qualified in their circle to care for Wyatt. But by the time he’s healed, she’s fed up with him and the whole ungrateful family. For even worse than his grumpiness were the few unguarded moments when he pulled at her heartstrings, and she has been long determined to never repeat her mother’s mistakes. But when another Pinkerton agent gets shot, they realize Hawkins isn’t the only danger. The Hunt brothers will have to band together to face all the troubles of life and love that suddenly surround them. (Western from Bethany House (Baker) Publishing)
Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Sweet Cranberries by Sherry Kyle, When a handsome electrician and other residents of the island step up to help with the festival, she must discern whether they really have her best interests at heart. (Contemporary Romance)
A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano, Is she dancing ever closer to the edge of her own tragic end? Or will the secrets that are about to come to light offer release from the past? (Historical Romance)
Lucinda’s Defender by Blossom Turner, Life hasn’t turned out at all like Lucinda expected, but neither is the depth of love one man has for her. (Historical Romance)