Sunday, May 31, 2015

Interview with Beverly Nault

Deborah Malone

Debbie: Tell us a little about yourself.
Bev: My husband and I decided that when our children both got married last summer it would be a really good idea to sell our house and put everything in storage for a couple of months while we found a condo closer to his office. So we moved into our RV, a 36' Diesel pusher, and we're still there! Do we miss the yard work, pool maintenance and house cleaning? Nope! Because he's a pilot, and well, maybe because we really are, we call her "Flight Risk." LOL Seriously, I'm enjoying more time to write, and we are enjoying the freedom of being downsized. Now we plan trips, for now they're close to home, but after retirement we're thinking of Alaska, the Midwest, and the Florida Keys, but probably not all in the same month.

Debbie: Tell us about your most recent book.
Bev:  "The Kaleidoscope" s the most recent, and a new genre for me. My fans will notice this one is written by B K Nault, but it's still me. I wanted an easy way for people to distinguish between my previous "cozy small town" style, and the high concept, suspense-mystery-romance style I'm tackling now.

In "The Kaleidoscope," the main character is a computer forensics expert named Harold who finds himself the guardian of a mysterious kaleidoscope that shows people a glimpse into their future. When the book starts, he a bit of a loner and know-it-all, but the 'scope forces him to ally with a colorful bunch of people who help him both come out of his shell, and also figure out where the mysterious gizmo came from and what makes it work. There's a ring of bad guys, but that's all I'm going to say about them, they will reveal themselves soon enough.

Here's a piece of the action from "The Kaleidoscope."
While living downstairs in the structure that had been around since De Mille directed epics beneath the Hollywood sign, Walter had persevered through his own endless trials, which took longer because of his equipment - an outdated computer, laughable to programmers pecking and coding elsewhere in the world, and a temperamental Dremel he'd found in a second-hand shop years ago. If he'd toiled in a state-of-the-art laboratory, his invention might have been ready years earlier.
Forced into hiding and sacrificing everything precious to him, Walter had accomplished something the rest of the tech-world vigorously debated was impossible. He'd worked as quickly as his limited resources allowed, but he finally reached his goal.
Now the prototype awaited one final step, and it would be ready for the real-world testing. A few more tweaks and the soft launch of which he'd dreamed was within his grasp. He unwound the protective length of fabric from the metal tube and exhaled a breath of adoration and pride. He'd polished the creation until it glimmered in the rays probing down through the high window into his basement workroom-slash-bedroom. He sighted down the shaft. His masterpiece, his swan song, was almost ready for the world.
One more piece of the puzzle, and the technology anticipated, even feared, would be born. If he'd calculated correctly, and Walter was meticulous about calculations, the day's mail should contain the gem he'd saved and scraped for. Every tip, handout, or penny literally scraped from the gutter had gone into that jar, and last week he'd exchanged the sum for a cashier's check and placed the order. If this final trial didn't work, he'd lose everything he'd slaved over. His ideas were running out, his home was about to be razed, and what made the urgency even more crucial, he sensed "they" were about to discover his hiding place.
Flipping the wall calendar over his workbench, Walter circled a date two weeks hence. That would give him sufficient time to install the final part, to test. and make note of his achievement. Perhaps even enjoy it himself before he turned it over to the one who would carry it to the world, who could safely deliver the technology where it would do the most good. It was time to plan the handoff.
Debbie:  What was your journey to publication like?
Bev:  I worked as a technical writer, but always wanted to write creatively for the general market, so I took a year-long correspondence course, began attending conferences, workshops and critique groups, and reading everything I could get my hands on about writing novels and narrative non-fiction.
In March 2011, my first two general market books released in the same month and I called them my fraternal twins! Both "Lessons from the Mountain, What I Learned from Erin Walton," that I co-wrote with the actress Mary McDonough about her experience growing up as a child actor and "Fresh Start Summer," came out side by side. "Fresh Start Summer" launched The Seasons of Cherryvale series about a fictional small town, similar to the Mitford or Cedar Cove stories, and I went on to write five more books about Cherryvale. (Four seasons + two bonus holiday novellas = Bev's math)
Debbie:  What are a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
Bev:  So glad you asked! I'm reading Mary (Erin Walton) McDonough's first novel, "One Year," which ironically released this month, very close it its cousin, "The Kaleidoscope." I didn't help her with this one but I totally recommend it! She did a great job weaving together three women's lives in a small Virginia town. Hey, Mary, way to go!
Debbie:  What are you working on now and can you give us a little peek inside?
Bev:  My next project has the working title, "Misdirect," and it's another suspense-mystery-romance. The main character is a former CIA operative turned desk analyst who has to brush off her tradecraft skills and go back into the field. She finds herself riding camels in the Sahara desert to rescue her soon to be son-in-law who has been taken hostage. Again, more bad guys.
Here's a sample from "Misdirect."
Eve sighted down the barrel of her 9MM, raised to the height of an average man's heart. She took controlled breaths measured to match her own pulse. In. Out. Blood thrummed in her ears threatening to drown crucial communication. She sensed rather than saw the others in the hallway made dark by her advance team's removal of bulbs from Nixon-era fixtures. Shadows surrounded her with stealth movements. Bracing against the wall, Eve uttered, "Go."
A booted foot struck just below the knob with enough force to explode the doorframe. Dry rot splintered onto peeling linoleum and left a gaping hole into a black abyss. Before the rebounding door flew back someone blocked it and the team glided through. Backs together in simi-circle, their synchronicity so finely tuned, an infrared footprint would for decades confuse intelligence analysts as to the number of bodies at once. In silent choreography, they starburst, boots gliding silently, floating from room to room.
Debbie:  What advice would you give authors who are on their own journey to publication?
Bev:  Try new things, stretch yourself and be as creative as possible. There are a lot of "rules" about  what you should be doing as far as grammar, but what readers really want is a great page-turner. There are tons of ways to be published and to find an audience, and that's the fun part about being a writer these days. Find a group to meet with for honest feedback, and most of all, enjoy yourself!
Debbie:  Do you have any books or websites that have helped you with your writing that you could share?
Bev:  It's hard to narrow them down, but there are a few that spring to mind right away. I have subscribed to www.thepassivevoice for years and always find some article or information that I find helpful. Also, I read every blog post Kristen Lamb writes at We Are Not Alone. There are also some great podcasts for writers. Jack Cavanaugh's Let's Talk Novels is good for beginners, and Writing Excuses covers Fantasy and Sci-Fi, but they also do a great job discussing style and technique and how to give readers what they want.
Here's a list of books I highly recommend:
On Writing by Stephen King
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (screenwriting, but excellent on writing page-turning tension)
Writing the Breakout Novel, and The Fire in Fiction by Donald Mass
Any writing book by James Scott Bell. And read the classics and bestsellers. Read. Everything.
Debbie:  Is there anything you'd like to tell us we haven't covered?
Bev:  It's a terrific time to be a writer and a reader! The world of publishing is opening up to so many new and interesting niches, allowing new voices and stories to be told like never before. If you're a writer, go for it, and if you're a reader, have fun exploring new stories, maybe you'll discover a new writer no one's heard of yet. And please, everyone, be kind enough to share positive reviews on books you like on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Reviews are the new word of mouth and telling other "guess what kept me up into the wee hours reading!?" will do a lot to keep encouraging readers to buy and writers to continue penning good books.
And if you see a writer sitting behind a desk or table somewhere waiting to sign a copy or share a candy, don't be afraid to approach and ask about their book, we don't bite, I promise!
Debbie:  Please let us know where we can find you on the web.
Bev:  My blog, "Bev Said What?" is where I try to behave myself sometimes. The blog and all my titles are on my website, and my Facebook is Beverly Nault,author. Tweet me @bevnault.
Thanks for having me, it's been fun!
Thanks for stopping by Bev and giving us a little more insight into what an author goes through in writing. Not only is Bev a great writer, but she is also a great editor. She has edited all of my Trixie Montgomery Cozy Mystery Series. Now hop on over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and pick up a copy or two of Bev's books!
Deborah Malone's first novel Death in Dahlonega, finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer's Category Five writing contest! Deborah was also nominated for 2011 and 2012 Georgia Author of the Year in Novel category. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, for the historic magazine "Georgia Backroads," since 2001. She has had many articles and photographs published, and her writing is featured in "Tales of the Rails," edited by Olin Jackson, as well as the "Christian Communicator." She is a member of the Gerogia Writer's Association, Advanced Writer and Speaker's Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers. 



Sunday, May 10, 2015

Lynette Eason: No Place to Hide

By Kelly Bridgewater

Back Cover Copy:

It's not every day you see your childhood friend and one-time crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can't believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she's determined to find him and help him clear his name. But she's not the only one looking. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to save thousands of innocent lives.

My Review:

Lynette Eason is one of my favorite romantic suspense author. Every time she has another book coming out, either from Revell or Love Inspired Suspense, I purchase the book and devour the story within hours. I even met Lynette Eason once at a writing conference. Such a nice lady. So approachable. As for No Place to Hide, it fulfills my expectations for a top-notch ride of a chase with no end in sight.

As we all know, characters make or break a story. The characters of Jackie Sellers and Ian Lockwood grab my attention from the first scene where Jackie is breaking into Ian’s house. The story takes off with a car chase through town and keeps moving, tightening the noose around the character’s neck as they sink faster and faster, hoping for a resolution. Ian is an intelligent God-fearing man with a background in Tae Kwon Do, which he uses a lot to be Jackie’s knight-in-shining armor. As for Jackie, she doubts God because she believes he abandoned her. While there is not mention of any change for Ian, Jackie finally rests her trust in God. The discussion of God felt natural and not preachy. Just like the popular saying, “there are no atheists in a foxhole.” Jackie relies on God when she is in trouble and finally sees God’s hand in her life. The characters brought depth to such a spine-tingling problem.

Eason’s writing proves why she is still a best-selling suspense writer. She uses the correct amount of prose and dialogue to show the backstory and allows the readers to follow the flow of the high conflict moments without getting lost. The dialogue matches the personality of Ian and Jackie, allowing me to feel like I am sitting in the car or hotel room, running for my life. The unique setting of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade feels realistic and important to accomplishing the terrorist act on American soil. It is creative and well-researched. This story could be labeled a thriller because of the terrorism element, but I still enjoyed it.

A good story must have tension, and a romantic suspense must have two types of tension. Romance and external conflict. The conflict threatening Jackie and Ian’s life is a number of external events that allows Jackie to find solace in God. The story jumps right into a conflicting moment, propelling the rest of the story into action. The tension moves at a great pace just like I want a romantic suspense to do. It is a page-turner, and I could not put the book down. On the other hand, the romantic tension is not really the forefront of the story’s dilemma, which is how I like romantic suspense. As a reader, I knew Ian and Jackie had a past, and it is hinted at a couple of times, but it did not distract Ian and Jackie from running for their lives and using their vast knowledge to save themselves and others. Conflict, either romantic, internal, or external, is essential to any good story. 

As always, Eason’s No Place To Hide concludes another great series. This story is for any age. I would allow my ten-year-old niece to read this book. Nothing is really inappropriate or scary for her to imagine. I would recommend everything Eason writes to anyone who enjoys mysteries, thrillers, suspense, or romantic suspense. This book proves why she is at the top of her game.

Always thrilling, romantic suspense author Lynette Eason finished her Hidden Identity trilogy with a harrowing defeat against terrorism while sparking a renewed interest in first love and reminding the reader to lean on God through the difficulties life throws at us.

I received a complimentary copy of No Place to Hide from Revell Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own.

This post first appeared on The Christian Manifesto where I am the Assistant Editor and a Featured Reviewer.

Lynette Eason’s Writing Bio:

Lynette Eason is the best selling, award winning author of the Women of Justice Series, the Deadly Reunions series and the soon to be released Hidden Identity Series. She writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists. She has won several awards including the 2013 Carol Award for WHEN A HEART STOPS in the Romantic Suspense category. Lynette teaches at writing conferences all over the country. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA).

Where to connect with Lynette Eason:
Lynette Eason
From Eason's Website "About Lynette" Section

Where to purchase No Place to Hide:
At your favorite local bookstore

What is your favorite part of Lynette Eason’s writing?

Monday, May 4, 2015

An Interview with Kelli Hughett

I'm excited to interview Kelli Hughett today about her debut novel, Red Zone. Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects, Kelli! What inspired you to start writing? 

People have been telling me to write fiction all my life.  I think that I finally thought about it seriously when I was the mom of three small children and needed an escape. I needed an outlet for my creative ideas that would still allow me to spend time staying home with my kids. Why not write a novel?

Tell us about your first book. 

Red Zone is my first romantic suspense novel. I like to say, “It’s romantic suspense with a side of football.” It’s got something for every reader: Medical suspense, murder, spicy romance, high-stakes gambling, and a twisting plot that will keep you up at night.
I write suspense and romance that won’t offend your soul.

What is the best part about writing and publishing your first book? 

The best part for me is the writing. I love it. It’s my biggest stress reliever. I can sit down to write and not move for five hours. I don’t even know what time it is when I’m really into a novel plot.

Publishing has been a dream come true. The day I signed the contract with Lighthouse was a very exciting day. Seeing the cover and finally getting that hard copy in the mail are all things I’ll remember all my life!

What was the worst or hardest part? 

The hardest part by far is marketing. I’m not writing as much as I would like to be and that’s not good for my overall attitude! (ask my family!) I spend a lot of time writing blog, Facebook, and Twitter posts.

Building a platform is hard!

I have learned a lot because my publisher is amazing at helping authors learn the ropes. They provide more support than most houses and I’m blessed to have Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas as a partner.
I know books don’t market themselves, but I sure wish they did!

What’s coming up next for you? 

Besides more marketing? (pooh) I’m working on a regency suspense set in England, another NFL suspense, and a suspense featuring an amputee who owns a hunting lodge.

Check out Red Zone on or
Twitter: @KelliHughett