Thursday, July 28, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Sara Watterson

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Sara Watterson

LINDA: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your debut fantasy novel This Dreamer. I love biblical retellings! Why did you choose this particular Bible story, and how did you come up with your adaptation?

SARA: Thank you! And thanks for allowing me a space on your blog. The initial ideas for This Dreamer have been churning in my mind since 2011. I don’t remember the exact moment I landed on the story of Joseph, but I knew I wanted a biblical tie-in. After reading one of my favorite secular YA book series, I finally had an aha moment. In it, the author presents four fairytale retellings in four dystopian/sci-fi books. But the fairy stories are intertwined. The characters from one story carry over into the next fulfilling supporting roles in the following books. It’s a clever concept, and I thought, why can’t I do that with a few beloved Bible characters?

My series, The Chronicles of the Marked, begins with Joseph and the coat of many colors in the first book, Queen Esther will follow, and then Samson. The over-arching story tying them together represents heaven as well as Satan’s deception in the world and his eventual dismissal from God’s presence. My protagonist, Evie, is a part of this higher concept, layered over the retelling. It’s very much a Good vs. Evil story.

I also wanted to pen a message for my adopted daughter. I try to convey a message of purpose and belonging. One of my characters is in foster care, as she once was. He wrestles with the question, Why am I here if my birth mom didn’t want me?

LINDA: What is your writing process like, and how much research was necessary for this story?

SARA: Well, there are pantsers and plotters and then there are over plotters. That’s me! I LOVE the
Pixabay/Gidon Pico
outlining process, and I create incredibly detailed outlines before writing a single word of a novel. I read the Joseph story in Genesis many times and sketched a hero’s journey outline for it. Then I added my own characters and elements to mirror that. I also researched miracles and extraordinary powers in the Bible. Every powerful “Gift” in my story can be found in the Bible, with my own flair, of course: Strength, Water-Moving, Prophetic Dreams, etc.

LINDA: What is your favorite aspect of writing?

SARA: Coming up with the story idea and making all the pieces fit together. In other words, OUTLINING! Is that weird?

LINDA: Not at all, but I love to outline too, so I'm a bit biased! LOL. What do you do to prepare for writing? (e.g., do you listen to music, set up in a certain area, etc.)

SARA: I love to write either outside if the weather is nice or in a coffee shop. I don’t always remember, but I try to spend time in prayer before I get started. Then I grab some black coffee and get with it. When in a coffee shop, I often listen to instrumental music. Lately, my favorite has been The Greatest Showman soundtrack piano medley.

LINDA: You’re a teacher, a mom, a writer, and run a website. How do you juggle all your responsibilities?

SARA: It can be exhausting. And to be honest, I struggle to find time in the summer when my kids are home. But my kids are school age, and I only teach a few hours a day from August to May. During those months, I try to be disciplined and use my time wisely.

LINDA: What is one thing you wish you could do?

SARA: I wish I could pound out 2000+ words a day. Even when I have the time, I can’t stay focused for that long. After a few hours, I get restless and have to accept I’m done for the day.

LINDA: What is one piece of advice you’d like to offer to fledgling writers?

SARA: Stick to it! It takes hard work and may take a very long time, but it’s worth it to finally get your book baby out into the world. Pray before writing. Ask for God’s guidance, and he will help the words flow. And don’t wait until you’re about to launch your book to get serious about researching marking and social media. Start connecting with readers and other authors now. If I could go back, this is something I would do differently.

LINDA: What is your next project?

SARA: When I finish book two of my current series, I’ll be excited to jump back into another series I’ve kept on the back burner. I have a detailed outline (are you surprised?) and a 30,000-word start on a YA sci-fi/fantasy romance.

LINDA: Where can folks find you on the web?

SARA: You can find me on my website,, Instagram: @sarawattersonwrites, and Facebook: @sarawattersonwrites. I recently revamped the aesthetic of my website and Instagram. Check it out!

About This Dreamer:

Evie grows restless observing mortals from the safety of her desk in the Control Room. When a friend offers to smuggle her by portal into the human world, she jumps at the opportunity. Secretly, she also hopes to observe Adan, the human Dreamer. Only a glimpse, she promises herself.

But trouble awaits after her captivating adventure and delayed return. Not only did she take an unsanctioned trip to the ground, but now the boy, the Dreamer, is missing. Worse still, Evie’s director believes she is to blame.

Evidence places Adan in another sector, where Gifted humans are forbidden.

Donning a human body and wielding a golden blade, Evie’s orders are to travel to this uncharted territory, find Adan, and take care of the problem.

As she attempts to keep the human emotions at bay, she discovers this intriguing boy was smuggled here for a reason, and perhaps the culprit—the Deceiver—is a threat to them all.

This YA adventure is an enthralling mix of fantasy, mystery, and romance, a clean fantasy book for teens and tweens inspired by Joseph and his coat of many colors.

Purchase Link:

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Pike’s Peak

Traveling Tuesday: Pike’s Peak 

“Pike’s Peak or bust!”

The snow was still deep in the Rocky Mountains when word got out that gold could be found in the rocks and rivers of western Kansas and southwestern Nebraska Territories. Starting in mid-summer 1858 and lasting until just before the creation of Colorado Territory in February 1861, the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush (later known as the Colorado Gold Rush), brought more than 100,000 prospectors flooding across the continent to seek their fortune. Some came east from California where they’d landed ten years earlier, while others traveled west, and a small percentage even crossed an ocean in search of riches.

At 14,115 feet, Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and named for American explorer Zebulon Pike, who interestingly never made it to the summit. Even though the rush was named Pike’s Peak, in reality, the location centered eighty-five miles north of there. Reporters began to use the area as a reference because it was well-known and considered important at the time.

The “Fifty-Niners” (named after 1859, the peak year of the rush), coined the phrase “Pike’s Peak or Bust.” Painted on the side of covered wagon canvases and scrawled in letters home, the phrase became the mantra of many a prospector.

People were so intent on finding wealth, that some arrived in the late fall and early winter of 1858, then
Pixabay/Beverly Lussier
realized the error of their ways when there was no food or fuel to be had. During the initial years of the rush, most prospectors laid claims along the South Platte River in Clear Creek Canyon. By 1861, over 150,000 ounces of gold had been found with another 225,000 ounces in 1862, leading Congress to establish the Denver Mint. By 1865 production was 1.25 million ounces!

The population exploded, and Denver City and Boulder City developed into cities from mining camps. Some of the smaller camps such as Auraria and Saint Charles City were absorbed by larger camps and towns. Other mining camps became ghost towns, such as Central City, Black Hawk, and Idaho Springs.

The organization of Colorado Territory just before the Civil War had a major impact on Union control of the mineral-rich area of the Rocky Mountains. It was thought that statehood was imminent by war’s end, but the bill was vetoed by President Andrew Johnson in 1865. Colorado Territory would not become the State of Colorado for another twenty-one years.


About Gold Rush Bride Caroline

She thinks he’s high-handed and out for her gold. He thinks she’s difficult and money-hungry. Will they discover that love is the true treasure?

Scarred in a childhood accident, Caroline Vogel has yet to find a man willing to marry her, so she heads to the Pike’s Peak goldfields to pan enough ore to become a woman of means. When she and the handsome assistant trail boss hit it off, she begins to hope her future may not be spent alone. Then she catches wind of dark secrets from the man’s past, and she’s not sure what or who to believe.

Orphaned as a teenager, Oliver Llewellyn stole to survive, then used his skills for the army during the war. Nowadays, he applies his knowledge to catch dangerous thieves for the Pinkerton Agency, so guarding a young woman during a wagon train journey should be easy. But he didn’t count on the fact she’d angered a man bent on revenge. He also didn’t count on losing his heart.

Purchase Link:

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Anglea Shelton

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Anglea Shelton

Linda: Welcome! Congratulations on your new novella. The book is a prequel to your Collapse series. Why did you decide to write a prequel, and what was your inspiration for the plot?

Angela: Thank you for inviting me to share my story with you, Linda. My Collapse series is a post-apocalyptic story that begins after the big event has already occurred. I thought it would be interesting to go back and show how the world moved from being “normal” to collapsing. In the first book of the series there is a character, Lizzy, who is hyper-friendly, but the main protagonist wants nothing to do with her. She was a natural fit for the prequel to show how her life changed forever and why she was so desperate for a friend. 

LM: What sort of research did you have to do for this book? 

Angela: I’ve worked in healthcare my entire career. Though I’m an accountant, I’ve worked side-by-side with doctors and nurses and have seen how COVID has transformed our industry in so many ways. It seemed natural to take the current pandemic to the next level. My husband is an ex-paratrooper and a police officer, so I drew on his knowledge for some scenes in the first book. 

LM: How did you choose character names and occupations for your stories? 

Pixabay/Steve Buissinne
Angela: In the prequel, Lizzy’s mom is an accountant, which is an occupation I live every day, so it was easy to write about. I worked in construction when I was young, so making the protagonist’s father a construction worker also worked well. As far as selecting names, I researched names that were common in the year I assumed each character was born. It was rather funny to realize that I hadn’t been as random as I’d thought—I accidentally named three characters in my series by family names without realizing it. One, I ended up changing before publication but two didn’t get changed as I realized too late. 

LM: You have a full-time job, own a farm, and write stories. How do you balance all of your responsibilities? 

Angela: Balance in life is always something I strive for, but sometimes fall short of. For me, the key is to realize when I’ve gotten maxed out and need to take a break. Fortunately, I have two sisters who live within just a couple of hours’ drive. When I need a break, they’re very supportive in setting aside “girl time” for me. My alarm goes off at 4:00 a.m. so that I can get in some writing time before the rest of the world is ready to go. On the flip side, I try to be in bed by 9:00 each night. I guess I’ve truly bought into the old phrase that the early bird gets the worm. Only my worms are words. 

LM: What books are on your TBR pile? 

Angela:. I’m a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association as well as Word Weavers and participate in their critique groups. I don’t have nearly enough time to critique all the submissions out there but will often pick up a chapter here and there of other author’s work. Some of them have fantastic projects in the making and once they’re finished and have final titles, I can’t wait to read the published books. 

LM: What would you tell your younger writing self? 

Angela: My first year in college, I took an elective writing course. The professor tried to encourage me to change my major to writing. Though I enjoyed creating, I didn’t think of it as a viable career back then. If I could go back, I would have taken writing as a minor to accompany my accounting major. 

LM: What’s next for you? 

Angela: I’m writing my last book in the series now. Once that’s done, I’ve got another series forming in my brain that is a change from the post-apocalyptic genre. I can’t wait to get started on that new project. 

Linda: Where can folks connect with you? 

Angela: My website is the best place to connect with me. When you sign up for my newsletter, you have the option of receiving either my prequel novella, Downfall or the first book of the Collapse series, The Death of Friendship for FREE. It’s a risk-free way to try out my writing and see if you’d enjoy the series. I only send newsletters when I have something exciting to share or freebies to give away, so don’t worry that I’ll blow your inbox up with junk. And you can unsubscribe anytime you wish. 

About Downfall

The only thing anyone wants to talk about lately is the stupid virus that’s making people sick around the globe. But thirteen-year-old Lizzy Tilbrook has bigger things on her mind, like winning her class presidency. 

It’s the first stepping-stone in her plan to get into Yale. Then she’ll capture the title of Atlanta’s top lawyer. Lizzy doesn’t need friends to do that — she needs voters. She’ll do anything to win them over and take down her rival. The new pandemic is just a speed bump along the way. 

Or so she thinks. 

When the virus reactivates in individuals who’ve already had it, it snuffs out millions of lives within days. Insanity and chaos follow. Supply chains collapse, along with Lizzy’s plans. 

Soon there aren’t enough essential resources to go around. Violence erupts. 

With no place safe, priorities shift, and relationships become vital. Suddenly, being a lone wolf isn’t a sign of strength. It’s her greatest weakness. Lizzy must find allies or face the apocalypse alone. 

Downfall, prequel to the Collapse Series, an apocalyptic, young adult novel. Experience the beginning of the Collapse by Angela D. Shelton.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Wartime Wednesday: Jenny on the Job

Wartime Wednesday: Jenny on the Job

Many of the organizations we know today were created during World War II or as a result of The Great Depression. However, one organization, the United States Public Health Service, was established as a system of marine hospitals in 1798 – that’s right – nearly 150 years earlier.

One source I found indicated that as science began to understand the spread of disease, and how contagions worked, a means to control them and prevent infection was developed. Eventually, it was understood that the strategies would need buy-in from the general public to be successful. A variety of organizations and government agencies were created to implement the strategies, mostly at a municipal level. However, there was some “activity” at the state and federal levels.

During John Adams’ second presidency, Congress authorized the creation of hospitals for mariners
through the 1798 Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen. As the United States boundaries expanded, the number of marine hospitals increased. Over the years, several reorganizations occurred until the hospitals were consolidated into the Marine Hospital Service. A short time later, the Surgeon General’s office and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps were formed. In 1912, the PHSCC was renamed Public Health Services.

By 1943, PHS had eight divisions and came under the direct supervision of the Surgeon General who
understood that wartime conditions, both at home and in combat zones, can create the spread of disease. On the home front, one of the campaigns that was created to educate the public about safety and sanitation was titled “Jenny on the Job.” The series of eight posters featuring the blonde blue-eyed war industry worker was an immediate hit. Created by artist Kula Robbins (about whom I couldn’t find anything), the posters showed Jenny at work and home, lifting correctly, wearing the correct shoes, keeping clean, and having fun.

In six of the eight posters, Jenny is wearing her uniform, and all-in-one navy jumpsuit, unusual attire for a woman before the war. And in all the scenes, she’s smiling, of course. A theme that comes through (as it did in many advertisements and propaganda of the day) is that even though the women performed men’s jobs, they were to retain their femininity. Note how Jenny cautions women to “keep fresh as a daisy” and “get {their] beauty sleep.” A secondary theme is the idea of taking care of oneself in order to maintain one’s health (and ability to keep the war effort going).

The posters were displayed in the breakrooms and bathrooms of factories, shipyards, and transportation hubs – places where the women would be sure to see them.


About Love at First Flight

Can two people emerge from the clouds of past hurt to find a silver lining of love?

Evelyn Reid would rather fly than do anything else, so when war engulfs the U.S., she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. One of the program’s top pilots, she is tapped for pursuit plane training...the dream of a lifetime until she discovers the instructor is her ex-fiancĂ©, Jasper MacPherson.

Collecting enough points to rotate stateside, fighter pilot Jasper MacPherson is assigned to teach the WAFS how to fly the army way. Bad enough to be training women, but things take a turn for the worse when his former fiancée shows up as one of his students.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Jenny Fulton

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Jenny Fulton

Linda: Welcome! It’s great to chat with you, and I look forward to hearing about your book, A Princess’s Guide to the Alphabet. What was your inspiration for the story? 

Jenny: As a mother and an educator, I’ve read my share of alphabet books. Since my daughters have big imaginations and enjoy such fantasy creatures as unicorns, mermaids, and dragons, I thought it would be fun to write an ABC book that included those fantasy elements in a lighthearted, educational way. 

LM: You’ve traveled abroad and taught in multiple settings. How did you decide to focus on Native American culture in the book? 

Jenny: In short, because it’s part of who I am. I grew up in Kansas but am an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. My great-grandpa was a Navajo medicine man, and my Grandma (Lillian) Litfin was an interpreter at Torreon Navajo Mission near Cuba, NM. I loved the reservation lands from the moment I first saw them and have equally enjoyed getting to know the Navajo people. I’ve always proud of that part of my heritage and it has been a joy to include it now in the books I write. 

LM: How did you find your illustrator and what was it like to work with her? 

Jenny: The hybrid publisher I worked with on my first book, Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye, actually found the illustrator through work the young woman had submitted for other projects. Though I didn’t work as directly with her on the first book, I’ve been able to do so more on this second one, especially after I made the decision, for various reasons, to self-publish rather than continue with the publisher. Indra, my illustrator has been great to work with! We’re both still somewhat new to this publishing world, so it has been a learning process for both of us, but she does beautiful work, is honest in her business practices, and does well with balancing her creativity and vision with whatever suggestions/directions I offer. 

LM: What was your process for writing the book, and how long did it take? 

Jenny: This book went through several changes. I first wrote it in 2019 with a teacher giving a basic ‘A is for apple’ lesson and an imaginative girl picturing a wild fantasy-themed scenario. I submitted this version to agents, but though there were a couple who were initially interested, it wasn’t accepted anywhere. After I published Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye in 2021, I came back to this manuscript, decided to put the older sister in the teacher’s place and show the girls imagining and interacting with their different personalities. I wrote the current version in a morning but spent a few months running it by critique partners and editors, and self-published it this year in June. 

LM: What was your favorite childhood book and why? 

Jenny: Too many favorites! But since this is about my picture book, the two picture books I enjoyed and remember the most from my childhood are The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe. For both books, I loved the different ethnicities presented and the folktale, fanciful/magical feel they had. I also enjoyed the Cinderella-style lesson in Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters. 

LM: What one piece of advice would you give to fledgling writers? 

Jenny: Learn what you can about the art and mechanics of writing, but keep your own voice and write from your heart. 

Pixabay/Steve Haselden
LM: Can you tell us what writing projects are on your plate right now? 

Jenny: I have a Bible Study on 1 Corinthians that is in the publishing process with a traditional publisher, am working on my next picture book with the same characters, and on a Navajo mystery novel with another author. 

Linda: Where can folks connect with you? 



About A Princesses' Guide to the Alphabet 

A fantasy-themed Alphabet book. Two princess sisters engage in fantasy scenarios for each letter of the Alphabet. 

“D is for dancing dragons,” Lillian declared. 

Zoe drenched diamond duchesses. 

Filled with such fairy-tale favorites as dragons, elves, fairies, mermaids, and unicorns, this book provides an entertaining way to introduce the letters of the alphabet, identify their sounds, build vocabulary, and discuss other language arts skills. 

It is a well-known fact that not all princesses are the same. While Lillian is a gentle, daydreamy Navajo one, little sister Zoe is of the rough-n-tumble warrior variety. As the day progresses, their perspectives produce distance, conflict, and unity. 

Great for Educators! 

This book teaches children much more than the A-B-Cs. 

In addition to letter and sound recognition that includes multiple vowel sounds, this book can be used to teach:
  • Alliteration (Zoe magnetized moon mermaids.) 
  • Characters and Personalities (How are Lillian and Zoe different and alike?) 
  • Dialogue Tags and Punctuation (“A is for awkward aerial acrobats,” announced Lillian.) 
  • Grammar (nouns, verbs, and adjectives) 
  • Vocabulary (aerial, frolicked, quelled...) 
  • Active Voice: vs. Passive Voice (Zoe drenched... vs. “D is for…”) Go to to download free lesson plans.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Traveling Tuesday: Madison Square Garden

Traveling Tuesday: Madison Square Garden

Pixabay/Andrew Scozzari
In celebration of the second book birthday of Murder at Madison Square Garden, I'm re-running a post about this iconic New York landmark.

Growing up in New Jersey, I often traveled into New York City with my family and on school trips to sightsee and attend events. One of the venues, I often visited was Madison Square Garden and have many fond memories. While researching one of my books, I discovered that famed aviator Charles Lindbergh spoke at a rally at the Garden in 1941 and knew I had the kernel of an idea for another book. What I didn’t realize until I dug deeper is that there have actually been four Madison Square Gardens, and the one I visited is not the one where Lindbergh spoke.

Here’s a bit more about the famous facilities that bear the name:

The first Madison Square Garden was the former train depot of the New York and Harlem Railroad.
Owned by Commodore Vanderbilt, the building remained vacant from 1871 to 1874 when it was leased to P.T. Barnum. He renovated to create an open oval arena with benches and seats. Named Great Roman Hippodrome, the facility was used for Barnum’s circus performances as well as other events. Subsequent lessees used it for flower, dog, and beauty shows, temperance meetings, concerts, revivals, and boxing matches. After Vanderbilt’s death in 1879, his nephew took back control and renamed the building Madison Square Garden.

Ten years later, he sold to a syndicate that included J.P Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, and W.W. Astor who chose to demolish the building and have a new one designed by well-known architect Stanford White. With a minaret-like tower that rose thirty-two stories, the Garden was the city’s second-tallest building. The main hall had permanent seating for 8,000 people and floor capacity for thousands more. In addition, a “small” theatre held 1,200 and a concert hall 1,500. In addition, there was a restaurant and rooftop cabaret. Unfortunately, the cost to build was nearly three million dollars, and never provided the success and financial gain anticipated, so it was torn down in 1925.

The third Madison Square Garden, the one in which Lindbergh spoke, was located between 49th and 50th street on 8th Avenue, and not located on Madison Square. Construction costs are estimated at just under five million dollars, and the facility was constructed in just over eight months. Groundbreaking occurred on January 9, 1925. Seating was available on three levels with a capacity of 18,496 visitors. The facility hosted several noteworthy events:

Although the Garden never hosted a national political convention, a rally was held to support Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s bid for president in 1932. In 1936, he delivered his last campaign speech before the election there.

Five years later, in 1937, a Boycott Nazi Germany rally was held sponsored by the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee. New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia was one of the speakers.

In February 1939, the pro-Nazi organization German American Bund held a rally with 20,000 participants. The group was outlawed by the U.S. government by December 1941.

On May 23, 1941, Charles Lindbergh spoke at the America First Committee rally.

Nearly thirty years later, the building was demolished after the current Garden was constructed at One Worldwide Plaza.


About Murder at Madison Square Garden:

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare.

Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit?

Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Monday, July 11, 2022

Mystery Monday: Crime Writer Mabel Seeley

Mystery Monday: Crime Writer Mabel Seeley

I love to immerse myself in the books that would be read by my characters. It’s especially fun for me to sometimes find little-known authors or authors who were wildly popular at the time but have fallen into obscurity. Today’s author, Mabel Seeley, falls into the latter category.

Born Mabel Hodnefield in 1903, in Herman, Minnesota, a tiny hamlet nearly two hundred miles northwest of Minneapolis. Still small, the town boasted a population of 437 in the 2010 census. I can’t imagine how much smaller it must have been in the early part of the last century.

When she was seventeen, her family moved to St. Paul where she attended Mechanic Arts High School, then went on to graduate summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota. Her love of writing grew from exposure (and perhaps classes with) Mary Ellen Chase a scholar, educator, and author in her own right who was teaching there at the time.

Mabel married fellow UM student Kenneth Seeley in 1926, and they moved to Chicago where she got a job writing advertising copy for a department store (a background that would be the setting of her first book, The Listening House published in 1938). After her husband developed tuberculosis, they returned to Minnesota for his medical treatments. He recovered, but they divorced sometime later.

After WWII, she and her son moved to Colorado. An avid midwesterner, Mabel set all her books in
Minnesota. She delved deeply into her research for each book, going so far as to visit a North Shore lake at night time to capture an eerie feeling. She also ran through fields of tall, dry grass to see how grasshoppers respond when startled. For another book, she spent time in her uncle’s grain elevator to experience the wind whistling in the bins and to hear the talk of farmers. (Now, that’s research!)

Most readers, even devoted mystery readers, are unfamiliar with her work, but she was highly popular during her lifetime. Her books were highly praised in some of the most noteworthy publications of the day such as Saturday Review and The New Yorker. The Saturday Review of Literature named The Crying Sisters (1939) best mystery of the year, and The Chuckling Fingers won Mystery of the Year award in 1941. An early member of Mystery Writers of America, she served on the organization’s first Board of Directors.

Long before modern feminism, Mabel wrote female protagonists who were “smart, frank, and strong-willed.” The characters are typically middle class working such jobs as librarian, copywriter, and stenographer. The heroines are not private investigators, but rather women caught in unusual circumstances requiring them to fight to save those they love.

Unfortunately for readers, Mabel married attorney Henry Ross in 1956 and chose to stop writing, telling one reporter that she did so to devote more time to her marriage. She passed away on June 9, 1991.


About Murder at Madison Square Garden

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare.

Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit?

Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?

Purchase Link:

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Suzie Waltner

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Suzie Waltner

Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your upcoming release, Midnight Blue. Where did you get the inspiration for the plot? 

Suzie: One of the rules given for authors is “write what you know.” I live in the Nashville, TN, area, and what’s more known in Nashville than country music? So, while I wrote about a place I know extremely well, I did have to do some research on the music industry side of things. 

LM: You wrote several novels, then took a break before coming back to writing. How is your process different? The same? 

Suzie: My first novels were more hobby writing. At the time I first started writing, I didn’t know there were such things as writing groups, writing rules, critique groups, and marketing. I found those things after I’d written my first couple of books. Then I took a break from writing and spend a few years in the reader world as a book blogger. I got to know other readers, what they like in books, what they don’t like in books, and what helps connect them with authors. I’ve poured a lot of that information into my more recent writing and, even though I’m still not quite there yet, I am developing the habit of writing every day. Even if it’s just a page or two.

LM: Research is an important element in writing. What did you do to research for Midnight Blue and was there something you found you knew had to be included? 

Pixabay/Lisa Johnson
Suzie: I knew my main character was going to be the lead singer of a country music band, so I researched a lot of that. I worked for a company that published some music magazines that highlighted Christian bands when I first moved to Nashville, but that was over twenty years ago. With the popularity of streaming services today, a lot of what I once knew has changed and a lot of musicians have recording capabilities in their homes for their rough demos for their record labels.

LM: How did you develop your characters, and how did you decide on their names (Are you a Gone with the Wind fan?) 

Suzie: I am not a Gone with the Wind fan. In fact, I’ve not ever even watched the entire movie. I usually find my character names using a baby names book. I’ll browse until one seems to be the right fit. I have gotten halfway through a book a time or two and decided the name I was using for a character just wasn’t the right one, though. As far as developing characters, I love using character interview worksheets. I have one which is some basic information like appearance, likes and dislikes, family, etc. and another that dives into some more emotional and heart-deep issues of the characters. 

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? 

Suzie: Play the piano. I can pluck but getting both of my hands to work together just never clicked for me. 

LM: What was your favorite childhood book? 

Suzie: It was an obscure little book called Nobody’s Fault? by Patricia Hermes (I believe it’s out of print now). It was the first book I ever read that made me cry and tugged on my emotions. 

LM: What is one piece of advice you have for fledgling writers? 

Suzie: Connect with other writers. Authors are some of the most generous, encouraging people you will meet. They genuinely want you to succeed and willingly share the knowledge they’ve gained over their careers with others.

LM: What is your next project? 

Suzie: I’ve turned in the follow-up book to Midnight Blue to my publisher and am currently working on book three. There will be four books total in this series, and each one will feature members of the band readers will meet in Midnight Blue

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 



About Midnight Blue:

Can they find a way back to each other or was their love a one-hit wonder? 

A series of heartbreaking setbacks behind her, Scarlett Sykes is now focused on creating the best life possible for her daughter. One where innocence and joy is not colored by rejection or loss. While finances are tight and Scarlett’s job isn’t ideal for a single mother, her child will always know she’s loved. Especially since Harmony’s father wanted nothing to do with them. 

As lead singer and the face of a successful country band, Jake Turnquist’s closest friends depend on him, but life in the spotlight is quickly losing its appeal. At a party celebrating another accomplishment, he’s stunned to discover Scarlett assisting the caterer. Almost ten years have passed, but he’s never forgotten his first love. In the hours after a surprise revelation, Jake scrambles to orchestrate a way to spend time with Scarlett and Harmony—the family he’s always wanted but never knew he had. He once gave her up to pursue his music. What will he have to surrender to win her back?

Friday, July 1, 2022

Fiction Friday: New Releases!

July 2022 New Releases More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Contemporary Romance:

Leaving the Past Behind by Sandra Ardoin -- The joy Danni Barnett found in her job as a travel writer and photographer faded around the same time her husband walked out on her. When her late sister-in-law’s will brings the couple together to care for her children, Danni must face her fear of motherhood or lose a second chance with Brooks. Brooks Barnett’s life has spun out of his control. A crumbled marriage. A career on hold. The loss of his sister. Brooks determines to keep Danni at arm’s length, but it’s a daunting task when his niece and nephew love her as much as he does. How will Brooks protect two grieving children from more loss when he can’t even protect his heart from Danni’s pull? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Muskota Blue by Carolyn Miller -- For Sarah Maguire, spending the summer at Lake Muskoka was supposed to be about finding the courage to put back the pieces of her shattered life—not falling in love with the charming yet unsophisticated hockey player from next door. Daniel Walton may have been praying for Miss Right to appear, but Sarah’s ice princess act just cries Miss Wrong. Dan’s summer plans hadn’t included befriending a redhead with a sassy tongue and cute accent, but as Muskoka works its magic he soon discovers that underneath the frost and prickles is the funny, feisty, loving woman he’s waited all his life to meet. As their friendship deepens, Sarah comes to appreciate Dan’s patience and kindness yet struggles to let go of the past and embrace the future, while Dan, only too conscious of the personal history he wants to forget, questions the wisdom of pursuing a girl whose heart may never be wholly his – who may soon return to live on the opposite side of the world. Will past regrets lead to further heartbreak? Or can Sarah and Dan learn to leave the past in the past and embrace God’s promises for the future? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Seaside Proposal by Narelle Atkins -- Billie Radcliffe has a secret. And she isn't sharing it with anyone, including Zach Montford. Even though she feels an instant connection with the good-looking banker and youth leader, she's wary of rejection. Besides she's only in the close-knit beach community until she meets the one man who can fill in the blanks about her history. Zach hopes his temporary stint with the church will help him decide whether to go into full-time ministry. Though his career plans are uncertain, he's sure about his growing feelings for Billie. When a shocking revelation throws everything into question, Zach and Billie have a chance to put the past to rest … and walk into the future together. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

To Begin Again by Emily Conrad -- Michaela Vandehey’s reality show win transformed her from the girl whose own father ignored her into a pop singer loved by the masses. But fame has proven hard to keep. To bolster her floundering career, she heads to Wisconsin to snag a collaboration with the iconic rock band Awestruck. There, she meets bass guitarist Philip, a dad whose devotion challenges her skepticism about love and family. Whatever faith Philip Miller had died with his wife. Now, “Amazing Grace” is nothing but a lullaby to sing to his children in her memory. Thanks to Awestruck, he can provide privileged lives for his kids, but he has no intention of finding love again. If only he weren’t so drawn to Michaela. When he falls for her despite himself, Michaela learns the dark secret that threatens his family’s future. The grace they’ve heard so much about might grant them the fresh start they need, but to begin again, they’ll first have to sacrifice what they hold most dear. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

General Contemporary:

More Than Sparrows by Claire SpencerChristensen -- Kate is at a crossroads. A lapse in judgement has her clashing with management at Westbrook Community Justice Service, her offer to accommodate a client in her own home breaching department regulations. Not only does this infuriate her team leader, but it provides the clever, charismatic department psychologist, Dr Paul Leeuwin, yet another opportunity to heap scorn on her world view and rubbish her belief in God. The pressure increases when she dares to question a church leadership decision to fund an extension, seemingly ignoring needy families in the surrounding suburbs. Her concerns dismissed, she falls out with friends when she suggests the community could be better served if the money was spent on a parachurch organisation. In conflict at work and at odds with fellow believers, what is God trying to tell her? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Perfectly Placed by Liana George -- Six weeks after leaving China, Nicki Mayfield returns to complete two critical tasks: restore order at New Hope Orphanage and re-connect with the little girl who stole her heart. However, between a stubbornly stone walling supervisor, missing documents, and personal tragedy, Nicki faces challenges at every turn. Is she the best person to bring order – and longevity – to the place these children call home? Then, with the help of an unexpected ally, Nicki makes a life-altering decision that upends her well-planned life and the lives of those around her. Will she lose it all, or has she found the way to save what matters most? (General Contemporary, from Scrivenings Press)

Historical Romance:

Byway to Danger by Sandra Merville Hart -- Everyone in Richmond has secrets. Especially the spies. Meg Brooks, widow, didn't stop spying for the Union when her job at the Pinkerton National Detective Agency ended, especially now that she lives in the Confederate capital. Her job at the Yancey bakery provides many opportunities to discover vital information about the Confederacy to pass on to her Union contact. She prefers to work alone, yet the strong, silent baker earns her respect and tugs at her heart. Cade Yancey knows the beautiful widow is a spy when he hires her only because his fellow Unionist spies know of her activities. Meg sure didn't tell him. He's glad she knows how to keep her mouth shut, for he has hidden his dangerous activities from even his closest friends. The more his feelings for the courageous woman grow, the greater his determination to protect her by guarding his secrets. Her own investigations place her in enough peril. As danger escalates, Meg realizes her choice to work alone isn't a wise one. Can she trust Cade with details from her past not even her family knows? (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Inventions of the Heart by Mary Conneally -- Her heart seeks safety. But will trouble find her even here? After her sister's marriage, Michelle Stiles is left hiding at Two Harts Ranch with the handsome but stubborn Zane Hart. She's managed to stay one step ahead of her stepfather and his devious plans, but if he finds her, she will no longer be safe. Zane has problems of his own. Having discovered a gold mine on his property, he must figure out how to harvest it without kicking off a gold rush. Michelle, educated and trained to run her father's business, wants to manage all aspects of the mine, but Zane thinks for a person so smart she can have some misguided ideas. Running the mining operation will be a dangerous job, and he can't risk putting her in harm's way. But danger finds Michelle anyway when she's suddenly attacked. If they go to the sheriff, they'll reveal her location, but if they do nothing . . . their troubles have only just begun. (Historical Romance, from Bethany House)

Speculative/Science Fiction:

When Legends Rise by Daphne Self -- He is now one of them. Genetically altered... Designed to kill... Trained to eradicate...Until he became more. Juliet 7-A was the top elite assassin for the Global Federated Territories until an ambush deemed him unsalvageable. He was scheduled for decommission. His only recourse for survival is a new identity and his search for the one friend he had--a friend who deserted him. Those he once hunted will save him. Yet it comes with a price. A price that demands much of him. What happens when an assassin awakens? (Speculative Fiction from Ambassador International)


Sabotaged Mission by Tina Radcliffe -- When a failed mission leaves CIA operative MacKenzie “Mac” Sharp injured and her partner presumed dead, going off-grid is the only way to survive. But her old flame, CIA officer Gabe Denton, has tracked her down and led a well-connected enemy right to her door. Now with someone trying to frame and kill her, working with Gabe is the only way to clear her name…and stay alive. (Thriller/Suspense/Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)


The Sister’s Search by Susan Page Davis -- Molly Weaver and her widowed mother embark on an arduous journey at the end of the Civil War. They hope to join Molly’s brother Andrew on his ranch in Texas. When they arrive, Andrew is missing and squatters threaten the ranch. Can they trust Joe, the stranger who claims to be Andrew’s friend? Joe’s offer to help may be a godsend—or a snare. And who is the man claiming to be Molly’s father? If he’s telling the truth, Molly’s past is a sham, and she must learn where she really belongs. (Western from Scrivenings Press)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
Anchored at Mackinac by Carrie Fancett Pagels, Will hearts be broken when choices are made—or will all hoped-for wishes be fulfilled? (Historical Romance)

A Thousand Lies by Kathy Cassel, Will uncovering her true identity bring the closure and purpose Bailey seeks—or turn out to be the worst mistake of her life? (General Contemporary)

Ben in Trouble by Luana Ehrlich, Can Titus get them out of the mess they’re in, or will Ben salvage the operation and bring it to a successful conclusion? (Thriller/Suspense)

Close Encounters of the Mysterious Kind by Marissa Shrock, Bobbi Sue knows she can’t stay quiet, and the problem is, the person behind the murder is intent on her doing exactly that, no matter what it takes. (Mystery: Cozy)

Shadow of Honor by Ronnie Kendig, Faced with her true identity, Eija sees her purpose snap into focus, and she realizes the war Marco fears may be the very one he has been called to start.(Speculative Fiction)

Wages of Sin by Urcelia Teixeira, To find her future, she must embrace her past. (Thriller/Suspense)