Friday, March 16, 2018

Today we welcome debut author, Sharee Stover, along with a giveaway!

Introducing a debut suspense author is always a pleasure on Suspense Sisters. Here's a bit of bio about Sharee Stover and her brand new book, Secret Past, from Love Inspired.

Colorado native Sharee Stover lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and two ridiculously spoiled dogs. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. Her Christian romantic suspense stories combine heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. Sharee is a two-time Daphne du Maurier finalist and the winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd.

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?  
I’m a devoted wife and mother passionate about Jesus with a serious writing obsession.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies?
I love to crochet but have to stick to things that are flat and don’t require any assembly since I can rarely make two things the same size. Granny square anything doesn’t work for me. Therefore, I stick to blankets. I love to read anything from historical to thriller and when I have time, enjoy paper crafts like cardmaking and scrapbooking.  

What was your favorite book as a teen or child?

Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Secret Garden. But I can distinctly remember devouring everything written by Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary.

Tell us three things about yourself that might surprise your readers.

I love Christian hard rock bands like Disciple, Thousand Foot Krutch and Skillet and enjoy attending their live concerts with my family.  

I am a two-time cornea transplant recipient and grateful every single day for my sight.

I love Korean food, especially kimchi.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?

I started out writing suspense and it morphed into romantic suspense. I never thought I’d write romance and some days, it still surprises me. I also wanted to write historical, but that book is collecting dust. Maybe I’ll go back to it sometime in the future. 

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism was being told an agent hated my heroine. I had to completely revamp the character. The best compliment was having a reader say she felt like she was watching TV because she could “see” the scenes in my book.

Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?

I’d love to try writing mysteries too. I think it’s especially challenging to keep the book going with the who-done-it to be seen.

If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?

I would have read every book on writing right away. I’ve learned a ton through conferences and reading craft books but much of it came after the fact.

What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors?

Don’t give up. There are days when I’d think I was the biggest fraud pretending to be a writer. If you’re writing, you are a writer with or without a published book.

Tell us about your debut release, Secret Past, which sounds like my cup of tea!
She’s not who she thinks she is...with gunmen at her doorstep, Katie Tribani learns her true identity. She’s been in witness protection since childhood, and now her crime-lord father has found her.  As bullets fly, US marshal Daniel Knight whisks her to safety—but not for long. Captured and held prisoner, only Katie can unearth her secret past…if she can survive long enough.

Readers: For a signed copy of Secret Past, please leave Sharee Stover a comment. You must leave your contact info in order to win. U.S. only please. ~  Mary Ellis from the Suspense Sisters

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


It’s my privilege to introduce my daughter-in-law, Shaen Layle (Mehl), to our followers. I’m sure those of you still looking to be published can relate to her struggle balancing family and writing time.

I recently asked her to work with me on some upcoming projects. Sometime next year, I expect to see our names together on some book covers. After that, I predict you’ll see her in print – without her mother-in-law to hold her back! LOL!

She is so talented but better yet, she is a very special person. A great wife, mother and daughter-in-law. I am so blessed to have her in my life. I think you’ll enjoy getting to know her.

Nancy Mehl 


When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I don't know that I can pinpoint an exact moment because like a lot
of writers, I loved words from an early age. When I was a kid, I

was enamored with books, making up stories, and creating characters. Most of the time I wrote on my own, but I do have a vivid memory of crafting an elaborate play based on the Clue board game one summer and then forcing my cousins to act it out for our relatives! (The cousins still speak to me, thankfully :) )

When I became I teen (and everyone started asking the million-dollar question- "what do you want to be when you grow up?"), I realized I just wanted to be around books. Reading them, writing them, thinking about them. And so I pursued that. I entered writing contests. I read voraciously. I collected particularly interesting phrases for poems in a little polka-dotted notebook. Inspired by Janette Oke's books, I wrote my first novel, a middle-grade historical, when I was twelve. And then finally, I got my Bachelor's in Creative Writing and my Masters in Library Science to ensure I would indeed always be surrounded by words :)

You have a very busy life. How does that affect your writing? How do you compensate?

Sometimes, I think being busy breeds productivity. In my twenties, before I married and had kids, I had tons of time to write, but I often didn't unless the mood struck me just right. It was only after having a family and the pace getting considerably more frantic that I realized, hey, if I want to make this writing dream happen, I have to create some time for it. That said, the time I'm able to create fluctuates from day to day, as nap schedules change and my kids enter new phases. I can almost always count on a bit of time, either before they wake up or during Quiet Time (when my oldest draws and my youngest naps) to work. I try to use car time to think through plots. My husband is also great to wrangle the kids into submission with waffles and cartoons on Saturday morning so I can get an uninterrupted block of time that way. It's nice to have that kind of support!

You and your husband (my son!) have started your own business. Tell us about that.

Last fall, my husband pursued his life-long dream of starting his own graphic design business, Danny Mehl Studio. He's also in the beginning stages of launching an e-book publishing company, which has already re-released several series by you, Nancy, that you've gotten the rights back to. I help him out with a lot of the administrative and organizational work for both businesses right now, and we have plans to seek out other authors soon and hopefully pool our knowledge of advertising, design, editing, social media, etc. to offer promotional services along with publishing.

What have you learned so far in your writing journey? The good, the bad and the ugly!

For me, I've learned that self-criticism and comparison are real creativity killers. I have to ask God to guard my heart and mind so that I stay open to creative possibilities and remain original, rather than just trying to copy someone else's style. I also have to fight perfectionism, which I'm sure a lot of writers deal with. It can be so tough to get the ink flowing sometimes! But eventually, we all just have to launch out there and realize that writing's nothing less than an extension of what we do every day in our real lives- put ourselves out there, in all our frailty and vulnerability, to impact the world in a positive way.

As far as your writing, where do you hope to be in five years? Ten?

I have always been a planner (sometimes to a fault!), so I'd love to give you a detailed timeline of where I see my life and career headed over the next decade. If I've learned anything as I've grown older, though, it's to keep working toward goals but only if I can hold them loosely. If I get so caught up in flowcharts and spreadsheets that I'm not listening to God's promptings in my life, then there's no point to my action. I've always felt writing was my calling, so I plan to pursue that to my fullest capability however God leads me.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I'd just like to thank you for having me on the Suspense Sisters today! I feel honored to be in this space in the company of some really great readers and writers.

Everyone who leaves her a comment will have a chance to win one of my books on Kindle. You can choose from my Ivy Towers series, my Curl Up and Dye series, or my newly released Harmony series. Be sure to mention the book you’d like along with your comment. And leave your contact information so I can let you know if you've won.  


Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Joel C. Rosenberg has a brand new mystery available now in hardcover from Tyndale House called The Kremlin Conspiracy.

In September of 1999, a series of apartment bombings in Moscow shocked the world. The Russian government immediately blames Chechen terrorists. Oleg Kraskin is a lawyer who is in love with the president's daughter. He has no idea how these bombings will alter the course of world events when he joins the First Family of Russia and the president's personal staff.

In September of 2001, there are attacks make on the Twin Towers and Pentagon in America. Marcus Ryker enlists in the marines and fights in Afghanistan to defend his country. He later joins the United States Secret Service and eventually is honored with the Presidential Protection Detail.

Russia's president is determined to restore his country to her former greatness by threatening nuclear war. Everything that Marcus has learned about protecting the U.S. president he must now use to take down the Russian president. When Marcus and Oleg cross paths, the course of history will never be the same. 

Monday, March 12, 2018



We’re planning another great week on the Suspense Sisters. Check out our posts, our interviews, and our awesome giveaways!


On Tuesday Mary Ellis will share What’s Hot in Inspirational Suspense and Mystery.

Wednesday, we’ll hear from Suspense Sister, Nancy Mehl. She’s interviewing her daughter-in-law, Shaen Layle, who is also a writer. Shaen will share what it’s like trying to write a book with two very active young children and a growing business she shares with her husband! You’ll enjoy her perspective. We’re calling this post: "Finding Publication Without Losing Your Mind!"

Please leave a comment for a chance to win a Kindle copy of one of Nancy’s cozy mysteries from her Ivy Towers’ series or her Curl Up and Dye series – or one of the books from her Harmony series: Simple Secrets, Simple Deceit, or Simple Choices.  

On Friday, we’re interviewing debut author Sharee Stover. She’s giving away a copy of her novel, SECRET PAST to someone who leaves a comment.


Her life is a lie

She’s not who she thinks she is

With gunmen at her doorstep, Katie Tribani learns her true identity. She’s been in witness protection since childhood, and now her crime-lord father has found her. As bullets fly, US marshal Daniel Knight whisks her to safety—but not for long. Captured and held prisoner, only Katie can unearth her secret past…if she can survive long enough.

The Suspense Sisters! We love books!

Friday, March 9, 2018


Interview with Romance/Suspense Author, Roseanna White
Interviewer: E.E. Kennedy
Roseanna and I are working together, along with several other authors, on a cozy mystery series for Guideposts Books. Roseanna has a great sense of humor and has been a treat to collaborate with. As you will see, she's not only written a "slew" of books (to quote Roseanna), but does a whole lot of other stuff besides.

SS 1: How long have you been writing, Roseanna?

Since I learned how to scribble words onto a page. =) I’ve known since first grade that this what I wanted to do with my life—at first I’d say, “I want to be a teacher/archaeologist/journalist and write novels,” but then eventually I realized that the changeable one wasn’t where my heart was—my heart was in that one that never changed. So I said heck with the rest of it and followed my passion. Thankfully, I was blessed to marry a man who encouraged me to do that and worked hard so I could chase my dreams.

SS 2: Tell us a little about your life? You homeschool your children? I’m in awe! How on earth do you manage to do that and be such a prolific writer? Any tips?

My trick is very simple: I neglect the housework, LOL. Seriously, I have a pretty strict schedule for myself, and I’m disciplined. I get up at 5:30 every morning and write before the kids get up. We start school at 9. Usually I can get most of my word count goal done either before we start school, or during our first break. But the kids are always priority #1. School comes first, then my writing. Though upon my awesome husband’s suggestion, now that they’re older and can do more independent work, I’ve been taking one day a week away from the house to just write. He also works from home and stays there to supervise the kiddos, who complete their schoolwork on their own that day. Then anything that required me, we make up for during the rest of the week.

SS 3: I see you’re currently working on the Shadows Over England series. Your books cover a variety of historic eras. Obviously, you’re a history buff! What era is your favorite?

I always say my favorite era is the one I’m currently writing in, LOL. Honestly, I just love history. I love learning what makes each era unique, and I can always find something to spark my interest and imagination. That said, I’ve really been enjoying writing in the Edwardian-WWI era for my novels with Bethany House. It’s an interesting time, with the traditions of old began to transform into the modern era, and I’ve loved exploring it!

SS 4: As a writer, I get this question all the time: Where do you get your ideas? Are there any particular sources you favor in your research?

Most of the time my ideas spring from history itself. As I’m researching, I’ll stumble across something that makes me go, “Ooooooohhhh, how fun!” and my imagination takes off. For research, I usually start by reading articles online, and once I know what subject I want to pursue, I find books to read next. I often begin with inter-library loans, then purchase the ones I know I’ll go back to. I’ve also found that YouTube can be a wonderful way to take a visual tour of places I’ve never been!

SS 5: I understand you have a hand in designing your book covers (which are gorgeous, by the way). How does that work?

I don’t design most of my own, actually. Bethany House has a fabulous in-house design team that’s done all my books with them. For those, all I do is give them a page detailing how the characters look, links to my Pinterest board with appropriate fashion and some inspirational photos, and then let them have at it. =) I’ve yet to be disappointed!

I do, however, design all the covers for WhiteFire Publishing, and I designed one of my own covers for Harvest House. I also do freelance design for clients of all genres ( For those, they fill out a questionnaire telling what they want, and I go on the hunt for stock photos that I can put together to deliver their vision to them.

I did just get to design a cover for myself recently, though, on a book that I got the rights back to and am re-releasing through WhiteFire. It was so much fun to find a new look for those characters! A Heart’s Revolution, set just after the Revolutionary War ended, will come out again on March 15 (previously called Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland). For that one, I first hunted down some appropriate gowns from the right era. Once I had one of those I liked, I then found a face that looked like Lark and put that head on the first body. Of course, then the hair needed work, so I chose yet a different model for her hair and put it with the others, LOL. Had to add a cloak, since the story’s set in the worst winter in Annapolis history, and a gorgeous photo of the State House in the background. I then found a Photoshop Action to add some snow, and there we have it!
SS 5: What is a relaxing day for you?

That would be a day I can stay at home with the family, no work. Maybe a movie and popcorn, maybe some reading time, or knitting time. Ahhh…

SS 6: As a Christian, how does your faith affect your work?

I consider writing my calling and ministry as well as my job, so for me, I can’t divorce writing from faith. It’s part of how I grow closer to the Lord—He always teaches me something new in each story I write—and I pray my books can help others grow closer to Him to.

SS 7: “Pantser” or “Outliner” or both?

A little bit of both. I always have a general synopsis to work from, so I know the basics of the story—but I discover a lot as I go and make changes to that synopsis accordingly. Usually by the time I’m halfway through the book, I know what I want the remainder to be like, so I can jot down scene notes to follow as I hammer it home.

SS 8: Just for fun, please share with us something that might surprise your readers.  

Hmm. Well, though I’ve been writing diligently so long and have wholeheartedly pursued publication since I graduated college, I have never in my life read an entire book about writing. My best friend loves these craft books and reads them frequently, but I just can’t get through one, LOL. I rely on said best friend to feed me anything really important or epiphanic and otherwise just write from my gut.

SS 9: Can you tell us about your college background? I understand that St. Johns College offers a classical education. I would think it equipped you well for the kind of writing you do.

Definitely! St. John’s is called the Great Books School—for four years, all we do is read. Classes are all conversation based and small—the largest has 16 students—and rather than study textbooks, we study the actual writing of the philosophers and scientists, etc. Rather than giving us tests, they make us write papers to demonstrate our understanding of a subject. So from the Ancient Greeks up through modern writers, I’ve learned philosophy, the history of math and science, physics, linguistics, comparative literature, and even music. Such a well-rounded education! I always say the best thing SJC teaches is actually how to think. How to evaluate, how to reason, how to ask probing questions that will get you to the heart of a matter, and how to learn anything else you want to learn. That has definitely proven useful as a writer! I can’t imagine who I’d be today if I hadn’t gone to St. John’s.

SS 10: If you weren’t a writer, what might you be?

A librarian. (I’m sorry, but a life not surrounded by books just doesn’t bear thinking about, LOL.)

SS 11: Please tell us about your current and future releases.
My latest book out is A Song Unheard, second in the Shadows Over England Series. Each book is set in the early days of Word War I, following a family of London thieves as they accept assignments from the mysterious Mr. V that send them off on adventures to steal items crucial to the war. In the first book, A Name Unknown, Rosemary had to obtain information proving a gentleman in Cornwall loyal to Germany. In A Song Unheard, violin prodigy Willa is sent to Wales to obtain a cypher key from a Belgian refugee whose father was a mathematician (this one just released in January). Next up will be An Hour Unspent, when the big brother of my family is sent to recruit a clockmaker working on something a little more dangerous than a pocket watch. Each story combines romance with suspense and a dose of fun history.

SS 12: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Roseanna. Please tell us, where can readers find you on the Internet?

Thanks so much for having me!


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