Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm so happy to welcome V. B. Tenery to Sleuths and Suspects this week. Her new book Dead Ringer will release on May 9. She graciously allowed me to ask a few questions.

Is Dead Ringer your first novel?
No, it’s the second one I’ve published. Works of Darkness , also a inspirational romantic suspense, was published March 27, 2014.

Is there a lesson to be learned from Dead Ringer?
The lesson I tried to impart is that there is something to be learned, even from bad experiences. God never misses an opportunity to teach us a lesson.

How much of V. B. Tenery is written into your novels?
Actually, very little. I think my person values are reflected in the main characters, but I’m very boring and my characters aren’t.

What are you working on now?
2014 is a busy year for me. After Dead Ringer, I have the sequel to Works of Darkness, titled Then There Were None coming out in August. After that I have another stand alone novel, The Watchman that will be released October 3, 2014. I’ve been so busy marketing I’ve found little time to write, but I have a WWII romantic suspense on the back burner.

What is your favorite genre to read and to write? Mystery/Suspense with a couch of romance.

Weaving spiritual elements seamlessly into a novel seems to be a gift. Have you mastered the technique and if so how?
I try to make the religious elements in my novels flow seamlessly. I’m a great admirer of Sibella Giorello’s Raleigh Harmon series. She handles faith and religious elements so well. It’s a talent I hope to develop.

What is your favorite all-time novel?
I actually have two, one fiction and one non-fiction. Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is good writing at its very best. Her characters are endearing and people you wish you knew. And Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place is the greatest example of living by faith I’ve ever read. I’ve read it numerous times and it still gives me chills to see what God did in the lives of the ten Boom family. Tradgic, of course, but it an inspiring example of being used for God’s glory. It should be required reading in every school.

What profession or job did you have before you became a writer?
I had a rewarding career as a middle management executive in the optical industry before taking retirement to write full time. I enjoyed it tremendously and met many wonderful people.

Any advice for new unpublished authors?
Don’t be in a big hurry. Learn the craft. Success as a writer takes time. Overnight success is like being struck by lightening, it rarely happens. Join critique groups and develop a thick skin, you’ll need it. Don’t let the work involved rob you of the joy of writing.

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Dead Ringer will be half-price on its release date, May 9, in eBook format only, and only on the PBG website.

Feel free to contact me at any of the links below:

FB Author Page:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Review of The Rising by Lynn Chandler Willis

A little boy is shown standing inside a hospital morgue

Recently, I read The Rising by Lynn Chandler Willis. This book is a finalist for the Grace Awards in the mystery/suspense/thriller category.

The story starts off with quite a rise as Detective Ellie Saunders receives a call from her superior that the her homicide victim, a little boy, is now very much alive and awake in the hospital morgue. As Ellie investigates the case involving the little boy, she is assigned to work with Jesse Alvarez, someone with whom she shares a romantic past. To complicate matters, as the story goes public, Ellie is barraged with painful reminders of a lost loved one and is forced to interact with her father, a retired minister, with whom she’s somewhat estranged.

This is a fast-paced novel that will keep you guessing. I only put the book down once, and that’s because I had to recharge my Kindle! The characters are imperfect, gritty, and real, not cookie cutter. Considering the book’s theme of resurrection and the fact that we just celebrated Easter, this is a timely read. This book should appeal to those who enjoy romantic suspense and thrillers.

*Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.

Author Bio:

Lynn Chandler-Willis has worked in the corporate world (hated it!), the television news business (fun job) and the newspaper industry (not a fan of the word "apparently" and phrase "according to"). She keeps coming back to fiction because she likes making stuff up and you just can't do that in the newspaper or television news business.

She was born, raised, and continues to live in the heart of North Carolina within walking distance to her kids and their spouses and her nine grandchildren. She shares her home, and heart, with Sam the cocker spaniel.

She is the author of the best-selling true crime book, Unholy Covenant. Her debut novel, The Rising (Pelican Book Group) was released in July 2013 and was recently named a finalist for the Grace Award. Chandler-Willis is the 2013 winner of the Minotaur Books/Private Eye Novel Writers of America Best First Private Eye Novel competition for her novel, Wink of an Eye. It will be released by Minotaur in Nov. 2014.

Lynn Chandler Willis

Book Blurb:

A little boy, beaten and left to die in an alley.  A cop with a personal life out of control. When their worlds collide, God intervenes. Detective Ellie Saunders's homicide investigation takes a dramatic turn when a young victim "wakes up" in the morgue. The child has no memory prior to his "rising" except walking with his father along a shiny road. Ellie likes dealing with facts. She'd rather leave all the God-talk to her father, a retired minister, and to her partner, Jesse, a former vice cop with an annoying habit of inserting himself into her life. But will the facts she follows puts Ellie's life in mortal danger? And will she finally allow God into her heart forever?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with D. A. Featherling

Interview Questions/Sleuths and Suspects Blog

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.
    Writing books has always been my dream. I’m blessed to be able to do that now, full-time, and decided to indie publish to be able to get my books out faster than the traditional route. As a result, I put my 5 –year-old home staging business on the back burner and started publishing and writing a little over a year ago. To date I have seven books on the market, in three different genres. Yes, I’m one of those multiple genres people. I call it my ‘fiction a la carte.’ Readers can choose their favorite from my menu of offerings.
  2. Tell us about your most recent book/or the book we are focusing on.
    My most recent book (Making Over Caro) is the last (Book 4) in a romantic comedy series (Second Time Around series). All of the books stand completely alone, the common thread is that one of the characters in the book is looking for love a second time around. Caro Arnold is a successful realtor who quickly becomes involved in trying to discourage an unwanted suitor from her past. It takes the help of her best friend, and a group called The Pink Flamingoes, to help her succeed. Lots of fun and laughter along the way.
  3. Why did you choose this particular genre?
    I love writing humor, and I like writing first person, so for me, romantic comedy was an obvious choice. Plus the humor has helped me (and others) through some tough times in life, so I like the fact it can offer some relief from the trying events we all go through.
  4. What was your journey to publication like?
    I’ve been writing since the late 90’s. I did all the usual things to get published for several years, then family illness and health issues intervened, and the writing went on the back burner. I later became a small business owner and that took up all my time. But in January 2013 I decided I was going to pursue my dream of publication, so I’ve been doing that ever since.
  5. What is a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
    I love Dee Henderson’s The O’Malley series. And Jan Karon’s Mitford series. So many talented authors out there. I do tend to mostly read mysteries/suspense…one reason why I also write mysteries, so my reading tends to focus in that direction. Right now, I’m reading “Accused” by Janice Cantore. Haven’t read her books before and am enjoying it.
  6. What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside it?
    As I said, I write in multiple genres…one of which is futuristic suspense. Book 1 of the Out of Time Series is entitled “Time Out” and is the story of a young woman who is accidentally transported into the future into the millennium. I’m getting ready to write Book 2, “Double Time,” which will advance the action in both the present time and future worlds as the millennium draws nearer its close and believers on earth are heading toward the Tribulation. My heroine is going to encounter bad guys both on earth and the future so she’ll have her hands full.
  7. What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
    Decide what’s important to you. How important is publication? Consider all your options for that – there are many these days. Then, don’t give up! Make yourself the best writer you can be. Produce the best work you can. There is so much information about writing out there today and so many resources, no writer can say they can’t get help in improving themselves. Be ruthless with yourself as well. Produce something you can be proud of.
  8. Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share with us?
    James Scott Bell has a couple of books out that are very useful. The Writer’s Digest series of “How To” books has some good titles in them as well. Look for books and/or websites that are written by people who have succeeded in their craft. You know what they did worked, so don’t settle for second best.
  9. Is there anything you’d like to tell us we haven’t covered?
    My motivation for writing is to imagine a book I’ve written in the hands of a reader, who, when finishing the book and closing the back cover, has a smile on his/her face. That’s success in my opinion and what I hope folks will find with my writing.
  10. Please let us know where we can find you on the web.
    My website is: and you can find my author page on Facebook at

Please leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a copy of one of D. A. Featherling's mysteries.  


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Interview and Book Giveaway with Suzanne Hartmann

by Jeff Reynolds

This is the second time I've had the privilege of interviewing Suzanne Hartmann on this blog, and we'll be giving away a copy of her latest book Conspiracy.  Rules are below, including how to get an extra entry into the drawing. Also, don't miss her telling about the details of the Facebook launch party for Conspiracy.

Congratulations to Heather Day Gilbert!

Jeff Reynolds:  Last time you were on, I asked about the inspiration for your story, but I neglected how you got started in writing. Do you feel it was more an interest you always had or a call?

Suzanne Hartmann:  
Actually, the two are intertwined. I mentioned in my previous interview that the stories which eventually became the first story in the Fast Track Thriller series began as scenes I created to entertain myself while sitting through my kids’ various activities. But the idea to craft them into a novel didn’t even enter my mind until a thought popped into my head while I was taking a walk. It came out of the blue, and it took several weeks of prayer to determine that it was a God-nudge not an early mid-life crisis. So I began researching NASCAR (since I wasn’t at fan at the time), and a couple of months later started writing. Since then, God has led me on an amazing journey full of doubts, anguish, inspiration, and joy. But He has faithfully encouraged me every step along the way

JR:  The second installment of your Fast Track Thrillers has just crossed the starting line. Could you tell us about the series and your new release?SH: Conspiracy picks up only a few months after the dramatic, surprise ending to Peril, and we rejoin Joanne Van der Haas, a top-secret agent with enhanced strength who works for the nation's most clandestine intelligence agency. Her boss is accused of selling government secrets, and she must choose which to trust: the man she's worked with for many years or the NSA’s evidence. When the heat turns up and a traitor threatens those she loves most, Joanne’s friend, NASCAR champion Stuart Jackson, is the only person she can trust to help her follow the trail of clues. Although untried in the intelligence field, Stuart is willing to face the danger in order to bring the truth to light and keep Joanne from being implicated.

JR:  I have the impression that you've dealt with several obstacles both on the writing track and off. What has it been like, and what lessons has God taught you through the false starts?

Yes, I have, Jeff, both the typical obstacles any new author must negotiate as well as medical issues, including a major surgery last year that led to another trip to the OR in the midst of the editing process for Conspiracy. The main thing I’ve learned from both types of obstacle is the need to keep my eyes on Jesus. When I put my focus on people, I will inevitably be disappointed. But when I lay my troubles at God’s feet, I can rest in the knowledge that He will meet all of my needs. Much easier said than done, but He continually shows His faithfulness when I look to Him as my provider.

JR:  In the previous interview, I asked you about your non-fiction book, Write This Way and you shared about filtering as it relates to POV. Any other interesting facts that might help writers here in their literary qualifying attempts?

Another stylistic error I address in Write This Way that I don’t see talked about much is the unnecessary use of small movements: turning, reaching, walking across the room, etc. Every action involves multiple smaller actions, but we don’t want to bore our readers with every single, tiny action required to accomplish something. For example, I could write, “James made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” That involves many steps, from reaching into the cabinet to pull out the jar, to spreading the jelly. But since readers are familiar with how make a PB&J, we don’t need to include every little step. In the same way, readers automatically fill in little actions like reaching out before touching someone, or walking across the room to answer the door, or turning towards the window before looking outside. So we can leave these small motions out when writing.

JR:  Speaking of writing, I found your characters captivating, including supporting ones like George. What helped you develop that good a pit crew to keep the story running?

 Thank you so much! I tried hard to create the type of characters readers want to get to know and read more about. The fact that you found them captivating thrills me more than you can know. The main thing I did to generate such characters is to make sure they were realistic. A huge factor in doing this is motivation. Whether for one of my protagonists or someone only in one scene, I continually asked myself, “How would this character respond?” “What would she do next?” and “What would make him do that?”

JR:  Again in the earlier interview, you mentioned getting writing ideas while driving your children around and how your daughter got interested in NASCAR. Could you tell us about your family? And have you ever made it to a NASCAR race?
SH:  My wonderful husband Steve and I celebrated twenty-five years of marriage this year, and we have three children: Andrew, David, and Rachel. We have homeschooled for sixteen years, and graduated both of the boys, so it’s just Rachel and I at home now.

I attended numerous NASCAR Nationwide and Truck Series races during the four years I volunteered with Midwest Raceway Ministries at Gateway International Raceway in the St. Louis area. It wasn’t until two years ago, however, that my husband and I attended our first Sprint Cup race at the Kansas Speedway. While we were there, we were blessed to be able to meet Jimmy Makar, the General Manager of Joe Gibbs Racing and the person who wrote the foreword for Peril, as well as Billie Mauldin, CEO of the Motor Racing Outreach, who handed out a hundred copies of Peril at the 2012 spring Bristol race. Both of these gentlemen realized even more than I did that my novel could be a powerful and unique outreach tool, and I am thankful that God led me to a connection with each of them.

JR:  I know that you're working on Revenge, the third leg of this series. Have you thought about what you'll do when your trilogy has crossed the checkered flag?

 Although I have been pondering the idea of a prequel, I have decided to move on when I finish Revenge and concentrate on two partially completed novels. One is also NASCAR-related, but it is a romantic suspense novel. The other—like the Fast Track Thrillers—has a twist of the unusual, but it is women’s fiction.

JR:  Thank you very much for your time. As I've mentioned before, I'm looking forward to reading Conspiracy. Any web pages you want to mention so your admiring fans can keep cheering you on?

 Thank you for hosting me on Sleuths & Suspects again, Jeff. Your readers can find out more about Peril and Conspiracy at my Fast Track Thrillers website at, and I invite all of your readers to the Facebook Release Party for Conspiracy on April 10 on my FB Author Page ( ) For more information about Write This Way: Take Your Writing to the Next Level, readers can visit my blog at, where they will find tons of advice about writing.

Jeff to the readers: 
Now is the time to enter the contest. Three simple steps.
  1. Leave a comment (that's not hard, is it?)
  2. Include your e-mail address so we can communicate with you -- you can spell it out like AuntDotKahm(at)Ant(dot)com
  3. Suzanne included NASCAR, a sport that she wasn't familiar with, in her story. If you were to include a sport or hobby in a book you wrote that you aren't familiar with but would love to research, what would it be?
Suzanne is offering an extra entry into the contest to anyone willing to allow her to add your e-mail address to her update list. (Don't worry about getting inundated -- it only comes out a few times a year.)

I will add yet one more bonus point to the first person who correctly guesses whose endorsement is on the front of Conspiracy. And key word is guess -- no fair peeking at the top. And the person who wrote it wouldn't be guessing.