Saturday, April 30, 2011


Everyone in Granite Falls tells Carrie Randall the same thing. Is it a threat, or a warning? Yet even if it endangers her fresh start, Carrie needs to know what secret the town's hiding. There's her troubled student and his disturbing drawings. His fiercely protective father, and the mysterious death of his mother. And Carrie definitely has to find out more about the bad reputation of her standoffish new landlord, Logan Bradley. She wants to trust him, but she's been fooled by charm before. Is the town wrong about him—or is she?

Friday, April 29, 2011

Rock City

My parents flew out to visit me in Tennessee last weekend. What I hoped would be a really relaxing time, turned out to be moving weekend. And if you've ever moved, you know it's anything but. After two days, we were finally (mostly) unpacked in the new house and ready for to enjoy a couple days of fun in Atlanta and Chattanooga, TN.

All along our drive the first day, we saw signs for something called Rock City, which I'd never heard of before. So on our trip back to Nashville, we stopped to see what all the signs were about. And it was incredible.

If you haven't heard of it, Rock City is a naturally formed rock formation that seems as thought it's laid out with streets and avenues, all atop Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga. There are several stops on Lookout Mountain (and we stopped at them all), but the natural beauty of Rock City took my breath away.

Of course they've added bridges and restaurants and gift shops over the years, but the wonder of it all is this amazingly beautiful display of God's creation.

So what does this all have to do with suspense novels? The whole time I was there, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if someone were chased between the often narrow crevices. Or what if someone tried to dispose of a body between giant rocks? Was someone blackmailing the owner or hiding out from a stalker behind the counter at the fudge shop?

At every turn of the trail, I was reminded how amazing nature is at giving me ideas for stories. But sometimes ... well, sometimes we just need a moment of peace with our families and our God. And nature is pretty amazing for that too.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to appreciate God's creation this weekend. Whether it displays his power in a thunderstorm or his beauty in a sunset, it's all a reflection of the Creator.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Getting Our Facts Right...

Recently, I received some really amazing feedback for one of my historicals A Promise Forged. How does this tie in to a suspense blog? Hang with me a minute and you'll see.

First, you need to know a little about the story, set in 1943:

When Kat Miller makes All-American Girls Professional Softball League, she struggles with long road trips, grueling practices, and the challenge of making time for God. Not only that, but older teammates are jealous of her success and an irritating reporter, Jack Raymond, has a knack for getting under Kat’s skin.

I received a package from my editor a few weeks ago. When I opened up this package, I was instantly intrigued by its contents, especially the black and white baseball card autographed to me and the autobiography with a photo of a female softball player on the cover. The card is about to get put in a shadowbox frame -- it's an amazing gift.

It also came with a letter: "...A friend gave me the book because she knew I had played in the All-American Girls' Professional Baseball League in 1954 for the Grand Rapids Chicks. As I read the book, it was like I was walking in Kat's shoes, reliving my life again.I am enclosing a book I wrote about my ball playing days, and a signed baseball card....Thank you for the great story!"

This type of feedback is a dream come true for a writer. It lets us know all our research paid off and we got the details right. How often have you read a book that's moving along and then the author gets one fact wrong. While you were going with the characters before, now you can't. The error (no matter how small) is a glaring problem. It makes you doubt everything else. 

So for a historical, I spend time in archives and talking to historians and people who lived it. For a suspense I talk to arson investigators, police detectives, etc. But as a writer, we have to get the details right. 

And when we do? Serendipity!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heart of Dixie Readers Luncheon

By Debby Giusti
The 14th Annual Heart of Dixie Readers Luncheon will be held on SAT, April 30th, in Huntsville, Alabama.  Love Inspired authors Missy Tippens, Debbie Kaufman and I are driving there on Friday and will stay downtown at the beautiful and plush Embassy Suites that adjoins the Von Braun Convention Center.  Dinner that night with the HOD chapter--all great folks who are so warm and welcoming.  It's always fun to see the gals from the Writing Playground as well as Kathy Bone, who does an outstanding job coordinating the luncheon.  So many other friends I've made over the last few years will be there.  Can't wait to catch up on what's been happening in their lives.

I shopped today for my author basket--a Nautilus tote with a military theme to celebrate the May release of THE OFFICER'S SECRET, the first book in my new Military Investigations Series.  The bag contains a beach towel, journal, photo album, cute Fourth of July keepsake box and patriotic centerpiece, dishtowels, a red, white and blue tablecloth and other goodies and books.  I'll be giving THE OFFICER'S SECRET to everyone who sits at my table as well as some other gifts, including chocolate, of course! 

This year, a familiar face and beloved author will be missing.  Beverly Barton, who helped start the chapter, passed away last week.  She was a lovely lady who exuded Southern charm and hospitality.  Although physically gone from our midst, I know her spirit will be with us throughout the day.

If you're near Huntsville, make your reservation for the readers luncheon.  Hope to see you there!

Wishing you abundant blessings!

Debby Giusti

THE OFFICER’S SECRET is available in regular paperback format as well as large print and e-book. Pre-order now. Contact Omega Book Center, 770-487-3977, to order THE OFFICER'S SECRET.  Sales will benefit Bridget O'Connell, an adorable 9-year-old, who needs a kidney transplant.

by Debby Giusti

In the middle of the night, Maggie Bennett finds her army officer
sister dead in her military housing. She’s devastated by the loss of
the estranged sibling with whom she was trying to reconnect. But as
U.S. Army criminal investigations agent Nate Patterson begins asking
questions about the officer’s suspicious death, Maggie can’t tell the
handsome man everything she knows. Except that her sister was
definitely murdered—for a secret Maggie can’t share. Then she walks
into the killer’s trap and has to trust Nate with the truth…and
her heart.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Carrie Underwood sings

Terri Reed here, hope everyone had a wonderful Easter and enjoyed our Easter story last week.
The other day someone shared with me this link to Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill singing How Great Thou Art. I thought I'd share with you in case you haven't seen it. It brought tears to my eyes. I love her voice. I love that God was praised in such a sweet and beautiful way.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Help! A Cop Dropped Into My Story!

Last weekend as part of the local Sisters in Crime writers' group, I co-taught a workshop at the Civic Center Library. The woman in charge teamed me up with a, gasp, cop. We did a workshop on how someone like me - Gilmore Girlish, teacher, mother, have another brownie - type person can possible write dark suspense. My partner, Isabella Maldonado, was a twenty year veteran of a special task force: think Angelina Jolie in Lora Croft. She - all Angelina Jolie professional, cop, mother - wants to soften the reality, be more creative. I definitely came out the winner of the tagteam because I learned so much from Bella.

One of the more interesting things she did was take my first suspense Pursuit of Justice and look at what I did well and what I didn't quite manage to get right. I'm going to post some of the examples. Look below.

1. Rosa should never have purchased this car. Statistics showed that red
cars were pulled over for speeding more often than any other color...

2. The afternoon sun bounced off his mirrored glasses, giving him a
peculiar insect sort of look.

3. He grabbed the radio from his belt and called a Code One

4. He flinched as a gun's report rendered him momentarily deaf.

5. He had her on the ground in two seconds flat and finished giving the
Miranda to the back of her head.

Three are misses; two are hits. Can you guess the misses and why?

Go ahead, comment. I'll tell you how you did this evening.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

From Us to You

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist -- final part by Barbara Phinney

Richard shoved Mrs. Candy out of the way and dove in. All the regrets in his past engulfed him like the cold water. He reached out his hands, still unable to see, and his hands found something warm.

He grabbed it and pushed himself to the surface.

He got a fist in the face for his effort.

It wasn’t Ellie! It was some swarthy man with crooked teeth and a single, ugly unibrow. Fortunately, the man’s punch had been slowed by the water. Ignoring him, Richard dove back under in search of Ellie. He broke the surface a moment later, hating that this try was fruitless.

The ugly Russian was swinging back his arm again. Then, from nowhere it seemed, a huge iron hook bashed the man in the face and caught him under the chin.

Richard looked up, amazed. Mrs. Candy was using the anchor as a man-hook and her fishing skills were top-notch. She’d knocked the Russian senseless, and hooked him, too! And now, with amazing strength Richard knew would have to be God-given, she was hauling the unconscious man into the boat.

Ellie! Tossing aside all other thoughts, he dove again, praying as he hadn’t prayed in a very long time. Easter was coming, and a deep, needy part of him knew what new life really meant.

Save her, Lord!

When his lungs could stand the strain no more, he broke the surface again. He was tiring fast, and grabbed the side of the boat to catch his breath.

Through fogginess, he noted that Mrs. Candy had tied up the Russian with the anchor rope, then reached forward to snag her purse. Suddenly, she let out a whoop and grabbed the steering wheel of the boat. Standing, with her purse neatly over her arm like the Queen on her walkabout, she hit the gas.

Richard could barely hang on to the side and she maneuvered the boat through the water. “Are you nuts? Stop the boat! Ellie’s down there!”

“No! Look!”

Richard twisted about, spying Ellie as she broke the surface of the water near the far shore. Shoving himself away, he swam with renewed strength toward her.

He caught Ellie just as she dipped below the water again. He tried to swim back, but found he could touch bottom. Encouraged, he pushed closer to the shore, until Ellie’s limp frame found the bottom, too.

She fell deeper into his arms.

“No! Ellie, you’re not going to die on me. Listen, look at me! I let you go five years ago because I was stupid, but I’m not going to let you go now. So stay with me, Ellie. I love you!”

She blinked up at him. A smile grew on her features and she banged her head on his chest.

Much later, still on shore, with the sun beating warmly on them, and the police on their way across the water, Ellie huddled closer. “Were you really going to let the egg and the spy go, all for me?”

“Absolutely. I let my work get between us before and I learned how stupid that was.”

“And I have realized that I was selfish to demand so much of you. God taught me that. Just in time for Easter, I’d say.”

“Do you still like chocolate?”

She looked up at him, perplexed by his question. “Of course.”

“Good, because I’m going to give you a much better Easter Egg Hunt than the one we’ve been on. Every Easter from now on, right after church. For the rest of our lives.”

“God, chocolate, and the man I love. Nothing could be better.”

Blessed Easter, all!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist -- Part Ten by Debby Giusti

Richard edged the boat closer and then jumped back into the water. Swimming with sure strokes, he neared the bubbling mass.

“Be careful,” Ellie warned. She worried her fingers and said a quick prayer for Richard’s safety.

Reaching out his hand, he grabbed the floating blob of…


A face surfaced.

“It’s Mrs. Candy,” Ellie screamed with relief.

Richard wrapped his arm around the woman’s limp body and swam toward the boat. With Ellie’s help, he lifted her onboard and climbed in after her.

Working quickly, Ellie pressed down on Mrs. Candy’s sternum. She sputtered water and gasped for air.

Her eyes blinked open. “The egg!” she moaned.

Ellie looked questioningly up at Richard and then back at the water-soaked woman. “Where is the egg?”

Grabbing the side of the boat, Mrs. Candy pulled herself up to a sitting position and stared at the choppy sea. “Marcus had it initially.”

“Who’s Marcus?” Ellie and Richard asked in unison.

“A Russian spy. He stole a flash drive containing U.S. secrets and hid it in a waterproof pouch inside the egg.”

“And J.J.?” Ellie pictured the dead man in the bunny suit.

“CIA. He convinced me to help him nab Marcus.”

Ellie shook her head in amazement. “I thought J.J. stole the egg.”

Mrs. Candy nodded. “Marcus planned the heist. He wanted to kill you and torch your shop.”

Ellie’s heart fluttered. “Oh my!”

“Luckily, J.J. got there first.”

Richard took Ellie’s hand. “Marcus was in a wetsuit, but he can’t stay hidden long.”

A wave washed against the boat. Mrs. Candy gasped. “Look.”

Ellie and Richard followed her gaze. A woman’s purse floated to the surface.

Mrs. Candy eye’s widened. “I secreted the egg inside my handbag.”

Another wave washed the bag closer. Ellie leaned over the side of the boat, hoping to snag the purse. Before her fingers wrapped around the leather strap, something grabbed her hand and yanked her into the water. She struggled to free herself, but in the blink of an eye, she was pulled under.

“Ellie!” Richard screamed.

Her last thoughts were of Richard's handsome face and how much she wanted to attend Easter services with him and spend the rest of the day wrapped in his arms.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist - Part 9 Cara Putman

Richard groaned as a swift kick connected with his stomach. He resisted the need to gulp in air, knowing the water would overwhelm him if he didn't break the surface.

He scissor-kicked away from the swimmer, surfaced long enough to suck in air, and then surface-dove after the man. The swimmer's strokes slowed, the effect of the high waves battering him. Richard slowly pulled closer, taking an angle to avoid getting kicked again. He had to get this person.

That explosion couldn't have been an accident.

No it seemed like a convenient way to hide another body. If it was that poor Mrs. Candy, Richard could only imagine what Ellie would do. She seemed to genuinely like the woman. And if she'd been so involved in the community, Richard would like to know why that changed when J.J. arrived. Made him think J.J. kept close tabs on his aunt. He tired to shake the cynical thought. didn't help that the nephew appeared to be the one who stole the egg. That stupid egg...each time he got close, a bizarre series of events like today's erupted.

Could the crazy thing be cursed?

He shook the thought off and stretched. One more stroke and he'd have whoever had jumped free of the exploding boat. Richard reached and almost grabbed the black fabric. Wait. Was that a wet suit? Then this had definitely been a premeditated swim!

A shrill scream pierced the air, and his grasp slipped from the swimmer in front of him. He turned his head and saw Ellie gesturing frantically to his right. That's where the swimmer was.

Richard turned back and saw a bubbling mass poke above the surface. The next thing he knew, the swimmer disappeared. He dove, but couldn't spot him in the murky water.

Ellie gunned the boat and brought it next to him. "What was that?"

Richard pulled himself onto the boat and lay on the deck a moment. "I don't know, but we'd better head after it."

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Great Easter Buny Heist - Part Eight by Lynette Eason

“Mrs. Candy!” Ellie screamed, horror flooding her to her soul. Even if the woman had stolen the egg, Ellie sure didn’t want to see her blown up. Richard helped her to her feet and Ellie watched the boat burn. She spun to Richard. “Was she on that boat?”
“I don’t know—“ his eyes narrowed and he stepped forward, moving closer to stare at the water. “Do you see that?”
“What?” Ellie strained to see what he was pointing at.
And then she saw it.
“Someone’s swimming to shore!”
Richard grabbed her hand. “Come on!”
Together, they raced to another boat. Richard held his ID in front of the man’s face. “Police. I need to use this boat. Do you mind?”
The guy stared for a brief moment.
“He’s getting away!” Ellie pointed. Sure enough the man was getting closer to the bank.
The crowd had gathered, gawking and pointing.
Sirens sounded.
The man jumped from his boat to the dock. “Take it.” He tossed the keys to Richard.
Richard snagged them from mid air and hopped into the boat. Ellie was right behind him.
Heart in her throat, she kept her eye on the man on the opposite shore. Dressed in black, he moved through the water like a skilled swimmer.
Richard cranked the boat and gunned the motor. Ellie slammed backward into the seat.
At the sound of the boat, the man in the water turned, saw the craft bearing down on him and moved faster.
Who was it? Did she know him?
Or was it a “her” with really short hair?
“Grab the wheel!” Richard shouted at her.
She gulped. Drive the boat? But he didn’t give her any choice. Now almost on top of the person who’d escaped from the exploding boat, Ellie moved over and grabbed the wheel. Then Richard threw himself from the side and on top of the fugitive.
“Richard!” She couldn’t see what was happening and did her best to keep the boat steady.
She cut the engine and darted to the side. The two figures went under.
And stayed there.
Terror choked her. “Richard!” Still no sign of him.
Had she lost him again? Only this time forever?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist, Part Seven, by Pamela Tracy

Richard had two choices. He could take out the man in the boat and save Mrs. Candy and maybe finally return the Russian egg. Or, he could hurry to Ellie.

His feet were halfway to Ellie before his mind fully registered he had a choice. Behind him, the rev of the boat’s engine got dimmer and dimmer.

“I can’t believe it,” Ellie sputtered, getting up before he reached her. “In every romantic novel, every romantic movie, whenever there’s a chase scene, the heroine trips right before the bad guy gets her.”

Richard looked behind her. “No bad guy.”

“I know. The bad guy was running away from us, not chasing us, and still, what did I do? Trip!”

“Well, there was the gunshot,” Richard said glumly. “That’s enough to make a person stumble.”

“Gunshot.” Ellie went pale. I thought the boat backfired.”

Richard shook his head and looked her over carefully. “I take it nothing is broken.”

“Only my pride.”

“Doesn’t the Bible say pride cometh before a fall’?”

“Actually,” Ellie said, “Proverbs says that pride goes before destruct-.”

She didn’t get the whole word out.

A deafening blast shook the airwaves.

Instinctively, Richard had Ellie’s head in the top of his hand and was pushing her to the ground, shielding her body with his. But, the debris from boat’s explosion didn’t make it to the docks. It rained back down on the water.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist--part Six by Hope White

As he headed for the docks, Richard struggled to focus on the case and not get distracted by the beautiful woman sitting beside him. When he first heard the 9-1-1 call, panic ripped through him at the thought she’d been hurt, or worse.

He thought he’d done a pretty good job of blocking the memory of Ellie from his mind and his heart. He was wrong. The moment he saw her it all came rushing back: memories of watching the sunrise with her at Hopper’s Cove Marina, sharing chocolate chip pancakes at Egg Harbor CafĂ©, and enjoying a romantic evening cruise around the harbor.

The sweet, floral scent of her hair drifted across the front seat, reminding him of a calmer time in his life, before he left to pursue more dangerous cases in the city. And now, being with her again, he found himself questioning that decision.

“Over there!” She pointed.

The cherry red Caddy was parked diagonally across two spaces in the marina lot, the driver’s door ajar, but no sign of Mrs. Candy. He placed his hand on Ellie’s shoulder and looked into her worried, green eyes.

“Stay here. Call 9-1-1.”

“No, you should wait for back-up."

“No time.” He reached for the door handle and she grabbed his arm. He turned to her and was captivated by that familiar expression, the way her nose crinkled when she worried about him.

“Be careful,” she said.

He couldn’t believe the concern he read in her eyes, even after what he’d done, abandoning her without a word of explanation. Regret tore through him and he lost all common sense, leaning forward to brush his lips against hers.

But there was no time for that, no time to rekindle the magic they’d shared.

He broke the kiss and flung open his door, racing to Mrs. Candy’s Caddy. A quick scan of the car’s interior revealed nothing.

The sound of a motor echoed from the dock. He glanced up and noticed a man tying off a boat, and a woman seated in back. Mrs. Candy? Richard rushed to investigate.

“Stop, police!”

The perp hopped into the boat.

“Richard!” Ellie called.

He glanced over his shoulder and saw Ellie racing towards him. He’d told her to stay in the car. Why hadn’t she listened?

A shot rang out. Richard dove behind a metal storage container, gripping his gun, ready to return fire.

Then he glanced at the parking lot and spotted Ellie on the ground.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist--part Five by Terri Reed

Richard placed his hands on her shoulders and looked deep into her eyes. “Are you sure it was Mrs. Candy?”
Ellie felt branded by his touch. Every nerve ending tingled. She grew dizzy staring into his unfathomable gray eyes. How could he still have this effect on her even after all this time? It just wasn’t right. She was over him. Her heart had healed and she’d built a life without him. She was doing just fine. Wasn’t she?
She swallowed and shook her head, not sure of anything. “It was her car. But I didn’t actually see her.”
“Come on, she may have been kidnapped!” Richard grabbed Ellie by the hand and pulled her toward the front door.
Stumbling behind him, she asked, “Where are we going?”
“We’ve got to follow that car! Keys?”
She tossed him the keys to her car and she slid into the passenger seat. Tires squealed as Mrs. Candy’s bright red Cadillac fishtailed around the corner at the end of the block and disappeared.
Richard gunned the engine and stomped on the gas. Ellie grabbed the dashboard and held on for dear life. She sent up a prayer of protection as Richard drove her little yellow VW bug like a professional street racer, whizzing through the normally quiet neighborhoods of Hopper’s Cove, eliciting startled glances from her friends and neighbors. She'd have some pretty explaining to do come Sunday morning at the Hopper's Cove Community Church.
“There!” Ellie pointed just as Mrs. Candy’s big caddy roared through the town square, barely missing Mr. Ambrose crossing the street, and headed toward the docks at the edge of town.
A horn blared. Richard slammed on the brakes. Ellie pitched forward as the car screeched to a halt inches from the smiling face of a cow painted on the side of a local dairy milk truck.
Richard slammed his palm on the steer wheeling. “We’ve lost them!”
The truck ambled out of the way.
“Go, go!” Ellie urged once the path was clear. “To the docks.”
Richard threw her a grin and hit the gas. “That’s my Ellie!”
She sucked in a breath. His? No, not his. Not now, not ever. So why did her heart leap just a little at the thought? Was there more to his returning to Hopper’s Cove than just a stolen egg?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist--Part 4 by Leann Harris

“Is that your thief?”

Ellie looked over his shoulder. “Yes.” The bunny head sat on the sofa and Ellie recognized the man’s face. “That’s Mrs. Candy’s nephew.”

“You knew him?”

“J.J. Hopper. Mrs. Candy introduced him to me last month. She said he was her sister’s boy, who’d come to town to recuperate from some operation he had. She never said what kind of operation, but—“

Richard looked at her. “But what, Ellie?”

It was hard to explain. “Well, Mrs. Candy was so helpful, working with all the different organizations in town, the women’s relief society, the knitting club, the garden society. She helped everywhere. But when J.J. got here, she started missing meetings, but she always had a good excuse. No one ever thought about it. We thought she was helping her nephew with his problem.”

“You stay here. I want to look through the house.” He left her beside the body.

“Uh, Richard, shouldn’t you call the local police?”

He looked over his shoulder and put his finger to his lips. He walked through the dining room and disappeared into the kitchen. Ellie looked down at poor J.J. Why he had robbed her? If Mrs. Candy wanted the egg back, Ellie would’ve sold it back to her. Why did her nephew want to steal it?

Suddenly, Ellie heard a noise from the kitchen. A gun went off, then something fell. Instantly, she ran toward the kitchen. “Richard,” she cried as she ran through the formal dining room. What sounded like the back door slamming made her veer into the table. When she regained her balance, she barreled into the kitchen.
Richard lay on the floor. She knelt by his side. “Richard, Richard.”

He moaned.

“Are you hurt?” That was a stupid question. Of course he was hurt. She tried to see if he was bleeding, but she couldn’t see any injuries. No blood. That was good.

Richard rolled to his side. “Only my pride.” He sat up. He looked at the bullet hole in the ceiling. “Someone hit me in the head as I walked into the room.”
They heard the roar of an engine. Ellie ran to the window and looked out. Mrs. Candy’s car raced out of the driveway.

“Did you see who it was?” Richard asked as he staggered to his feet.

Ellie didn’t know quite how to tell him. “I did.” She turned to face him.

“Well, who was it?”

“Mrs. Candy.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist-Part Three by Margaret Daley

Ellie pressed her hand to her throat and took a step back. "What's going on, Richard?"

"This particular Russian egg is worth several hundred thousand dollars and was stolen a year ago from a private collector in Chicago." Richard pocketed the photo of the Russian egg.

"Where you work?" Was he implying she was involved in the robbery of the egg?

"Yes. This is my only case I haven't been able to close. When I heard a Russian egg that fit the description of the one missing was in Hopper's Cove, I came as quickly as I could. So you see why I have an interest in where you got the egg."

"I only deal with people I know or reputable dealers. Mrs. Candy is a dear sweet old lady who would never sell me a stolen piece of property."

"Who is Mrs. Candy? I don't remember anyone with that name in Hopper's Cove."

"She moved here ten months ago. In the short time she has been here she's been so generous to the town. She is sponsoring a big Easter Egg Hunt in the park next Saturday."

"I need to meet her."

Ellie whirled around and strode to the counter and grabbed her purse. "I'll take you. I'll show you Mrs. Candy is a dear sweet lady who would never do anything wrong like steal. I wouldn't have Ellie Interesting Collectibles without her. She saved my shop six months ago when the bank was going to foreclose on me."

Ellie covered the distance to the entrance to the shop. Richard pulled the door open and let her go outside then exited and talked with the two officers from Hopper's Cove's police department before he joined Ellie in the parking lot next to the building. "Your car or mine?"

"Mine. I know where she lives."

He walked beside her toward her yellow VW convertible and reached around her to open the driver side door. Their arms brushed up against each other. She sucked in a deep breath at the contact. An electric current zapped through her. No, she would not fall for him again. He thought she was involved in a robbery somehow!

Four blocks from Cottontail Lane she parked in the driveway to Mrs. Sugar Candy's huge Victorian house. As they approached the porch, Ellie noticed the front door was opened a few inches.

"Stay out here. Something may be wrong." Richard drew his gun and inched the door open wider.

Ellie tapped her foot against the wooden planks of the porch for all of ten seconds, glanced around and headed into the house after Richard. She made her way into the living room and bumped into Richard standing a couple of feet inside the entrance. On the floor before him was a six-foot, lilac-colored Easter bunny, lying on the floor with a knife sticking out its chest.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist - PART TWO by Lisa Mondello

Ellie tried her best to draw air into her lungs. If the robbery hadn't been enough to level her, seeing Richard after all these years certainly was.

He hadn't changed much. There was a light peppering of gray in his dark hair and she wondered if it was just age or stress from his job as a detective in the city. He had to see more action there than anything they got here in Hopper's Cove.

"I'm okay," she finally said. She really wasn't. But she knew Richard. He'd bend over backwards to make sure she was okay and make a fuss if she were anything but okay. At least, he used to.

To her relief, he simply nodded. "Easter bunny?" He looked amused and she wasn't sure if he was trying to tease her or get the facts straight.

Folding her arms across her chest, she said, "Yes. Lilac colored suit and big floppy ears and all."

"Lilac...your favorite flower."

She cleared her throat. "Um, yeah. He took the money in the register and grabbed a few items on his way out the door."

"You know it was a man? How?"

She shrugged. "The bunny was tall. Taller than me."

"Gloves? Paws?" he asked, his lips stretching into a grin that was more handsome than she wanted to acknowledge.

Shaking her head, she added, "Mits."

A small chuckle escaped his lips.

"I don't know why you're finding this so funny. I've been robbed."

He sobered quickly. "But you're all right. That was my main concern when I heard the call. Anything you lost here can be replaced except you."

Funny how he said that so casually. "You had no problem replacing me five years ago."

He leveled her with his stare. "And I've been regretting it every day since."

Ellie felt paralyzed for the briefest moment. Richard had always been able to do that to her. But no more. She was older. She'd gotten over his leaving her five years ago.

Keeping her mind focused on the present, she said, "He was quick and I didn't put up a fight."

He lifted an eyebrow. "Was he armed?"

"He had a knife. But I don't think he intended to use it on me. He was quick to cut open the cabinet with my Russian eggs. He made quite a mess of them."

Richard studied the cabinet that had been opened. It would no longer close securely thanks to the knife jimmying the lock and breaking it. "We probably won’t get any prints but yours off this. How many did he take?"

"Just one. Where are the other officers?" she asked. She was certain there'd been two.

"Outside. He managed to get into the cash register, take the money and a priceless Russian egg easy enough with mits on?"

"I opened the register. I told you. He had a knife and I was scared. Although when he started to leave I tried to stop him."

"By tripping him."

"Well, yes. But it didn't work," she said, rubbing her elbow that was beginning to swell. "I ended up on the floor for my trouble."

"You know, it was strange," she added.


She shrugged, thinking back to the purposeful way the robber had rummaged through the cabinet. "It was as if he was looking for that one egg specifically. He didn't even take the prettiest ones. He just tossed those aside."

"He was," Richard said, studying the glass.

"What do you mean?"

He stood up straight and pulled out a notepad from his pocket and a picture, which he handed to her. "This is the Russian egg he took?"

A small gasp escaped her lips. "How did you know?"

Richard drew in a deep breath that stretched the fabric of his shirt against his broad shoulders. She recalled all too clearly how strong his arms were as he held her and a sudden longing to feel the safety of those arms overwhelmed Ellie.

But instead of reaching for her as he used to do, he handed her the blank notepad. "I'm going to need you to tell me exactly how you acquired that Russian egg. Don't leave any details out."

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Great Easter Bunny Heist—Part One—Lenora Worth
Ellie Cadberry’s hand shook as she dialed 911.
“Yes, I’ve just been robbed. By the Easter Bunny.”
“Good one, lady. Now I’m gonna hang-up so I can keep this line open for real crimes.”
“No, no!” Don’t hang-up! I own Ellie’s Interesting Collectibles and I’m telling you, I was robbed by someone dressed as an Easter Bunny.”
“Oh, goodness.” The dispatcher returned to professional mode and immediately verified the location of Ellie’s shop on Front Street. “We’re sending officers to the scene right now. Are you hurt?”
“Just my pride,” Ellie said, her shin throbbing. “I tried to trip him but he got away with all the money I had in the cash register and ... I think he might have taken some jewelry.”
“Officers on the way.” The dispatcher kept Ellie on the line.
“I hear the sirens,” Ellie said. “Thank you.”
She put down her cell and waited for the two uniformed policemen to hurry into the shop. This was Hopper’s Cove. Nobody ever got robbed in this bucolic mountain town. And why would someone dressed like an Easter bunny want to rob her shop anyway? Did the Easter Bunny need some of her prized Russian eggs instead of candy eggs?
She waited, ready to tell the officers exactly what had happened. But when Ellie glanced up and saw the man walking into her shop, her heart stopped. Where did the other two men go?
“Ellie,” he said, his gray eyes sweeping over her. “Sorry. I heard the call over the dispatch radio. Are you all right?”
Richard Dubois. What was this big city detective doing back here in Hopper’s Cove? And why had the man who’d broken her heart five years ago have to be the first one to respond to her call for help?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Pardon me, I've got to take this call

Howdy, all. Dana Mentink here and I…hang on. I’ve got a call coming in. Back in a flash.

Have you noticed the world has gone crazy over cell phones? I was in the grocery store today and a woman was firing ANGRY words into her cell phone loud enough for us all in the bread department to hear. One aisle over it was a gal reconnecting with a friend from the past. (They’re going to try to get together on Wednesday which is the friend’s only day off during the week.) Across the meat counter I was privy to a conversation between a lady and the woman who would be babysitting for her later in the day and the man in the pasta aisle? I wish him good luck on the rice dish he’s going to attempt tonight. It struck me that I was immersed in the worlds of four different people who I have never even been introduced to. Interesting, how this age of sharing has blurred the lines between our public and private personas.

Wouldn’t a snippet of a private conversation that wasn’t so private make for an interesting suspense story? Here’s the first line. Can you add the next one?

“Doesn’t matter,” the man spat into the phone, “I know what you did and I’m not going away. You’ll never be free of me.”

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Law and Order--UK

I am a fan of Law & Order. It was a great series. Of course the last couple of years I wasn't as eager to watch it. So, I was channel surfing and ran across BBC America and there was Law and Order-UK. Wow, what fun. The first time I watched it, it took me to about half-way through the program to understand what everyone was saying. It's training your ear.

It was neat to see how police and the court system works in the UK. Seeing the wigs--completely British--on the judges and prosecutors is fun to watch. (It would make me think twice about being a lawyer in England.)
Of course, after watching a couple of episodes, I recognized the scripts from the Law & Order first broadcast here. Still, it is fun. Have a look. It is on BBC America on Friday nights.
Leann Harris

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's like pulling a tractor trailer

I heard one that it's easy to pull a tractor trailer because there is so little friction. The hard part is getting it started.
Isn't that a reflection of our lives? It's hard to start to diet and exercise but once you're doing it and into a routine, it's much easier.
It's easy to clean your house. You just have to get up and do it.
Work on a Monday morning? Ug.
For me, this next book is like that. I've written a simple synopsis and know my opening scene, but it's hard to get it started.
Last night, I tried for the umpteenth time to start it, but it felt flat. I had to shove away from the computer, take an Advil for the headache that had plagued me all day, and go watch TV. I ended up staying up late and sleeping in, leaving me blah about starting it again.
I'm starting to depress myself.
How do all of you get yourselves moving? I just have to force myself, coaxing my mind with promises of a rest later.
And now, behind as I sit at my computer, that semi awaits. I gotta hit it head on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rain, rain go away

Terri Reed here, do you remember that saying, rain, rain go away, come again another day?
I sure wish the rain would go away but I don't want it back. At least not any time soon. I know it's wishful thinking. After all, I live in the Pacific Northwest where it rains more often than not. When I'm working on a book, I don't mind the rain because I'm at my computer. Though the rest of the time I sure could use a bit of sunshine.

And even though it's April, its still cold out which is perfect for hot, delicious soup.

My friend Andrea does a cooking blog inspired2cook and she posted a wonderful sounding soup recipe yesterday

I hope you enjoy the recipe and Andrea's site.

Coming in July
The Innocent Witness
Book 1 of the Protection Specialist

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog Talk Radio

Hi all, Lynette here.

I went to a conference March 18-19 and had a blast. I didn’t just teach, I got to sit in on some really interesting classes. In one of those classes, I learned about

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of this, but I’m doing my best to learn all about it. I plan to use it as a marketing tool for my books. As authors, we have to do our part to sell our books. Right now, I’m writing a short (10,000-15,000 word) story I plan to read “on the air”.

The story is a continuation of the characters lives from my Women of Justice series. As a reader myself, I’m often disappointed when the series I’ve been following for over a year comes to a close. During that time, I’ve come to chare about the characters and often would like to know what happens “after the series”.

So, I’m trying an experiment. I’m not exactly sure when I’ll finish this little snippet, but hope to have it done by the end of April and start airing it in May. If you’re interested, you can go to and sign up to get notices when the show will air. I plan to have a question and answer segment, contests, author interviews, and other fun and exciting things.

I would love for you to check out this great way to connect with some of your favorite authors. And I wanted to share this with my fellow craftie ladies. You might be interested in doing something along these lines. God Bless and have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Trail of Lies Interview

Today we're welcoming Daniel Book Riley, the hero of Trail of Lies by Margaret Daley a April 2011 release.

Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.

I'm a Texas Ranger in San Antonio in Company D. I am working on the murder of Captain Pike, our commanding officer who was murdered several months ago. Melora Hudson's husband was finally found a few weeks ago--dead. She may be our only lead to whom killed our captain because her husband is possibly connected to the group behind his murder.

2. So, during the book you met Melora Hudson. Tell us a bit about him/her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?

I came to interview Melora about her husband's murder. When I arrived at her house, she was fighting off a man who had broken into her place. She didn't want to say much to me which sent up a red flag. I wondered how much she knew about her husband's illegal activities.

Melora is an amazing woman. She is tough and has a lot of courage. She was determined to protect her daughter at all costs. When she told me what was going on--the threats against her and her daughter, I started falling in love with her. She didn't give her trust easily and she had to me.

3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?

I am strong physically and mentally but my dedication to my job has led to some problems with my teenage son. I have messed up that relationship.

4. What scares you?

Losing my son's love.

5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To be less driven.

6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?

My faith has been what has kept me going.

7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?

It has grown even stronger. Through all the danger involving Melora, my faith is what held me together.

8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.

Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7

The only way I can make it is to give the Lord my worries. I see so much evil in my job, I have to turn my concerns over to Him to survive.

9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?

Apple pie--the American dessert. My country is important to me. Keeping people safe has been what I've dedicated my life to.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


As the mother of a beautiful daughter and the wife of a wealthy entrepreneur, Melora Hudson seemed happy. No one knew about the secrets hidden behind closed doors—secrets Melora was forced to keep. Now, two years after her husband's disappearance, the truth may be exposed. His body has been found, and everyone has questions. Texas Ranger Daniel Boone Riley comes to find answers, and stays to protect the woman and child who win his heart. But the terror of Melora's past isn't over. Her late husband's old "associates" want her to carry his secrets to her grave.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Snow, Plants, Sunshine and...more Plants by Lisa Mondello

After seeing Ramona's beautiful Tulip pictures yesterday, I'm longing for spring. But Mother Nature is playing an April Fool's joke on us in New England. Again. Yes, it's snowing. And all those beautiful daffodil and crocus sprouts that have been poking out of the ground in my yard for the past week are now covered with snow. In fact, there are plants all over my yard that are just waiting for beautiful sunshine and warmth so they can grow, grow, grow. And it won't be a moment too soon for me!

Today I want to talk about plants of another kind. These are the plants we use when writing novels or those that are put into movies. You know the kind I'm talking about. When the camera shows a picture of a knife on the counter for a few seconds, you just know the hero or heroine is going to need to use that knife to defend themselves later in the movie.

Plants (some call it foreshadowing) in a story are important. They create connection from one point in the story to another. They also give credibility to the story and add to the suspense. For instance, early in the movie What Lies Beneath with Harrison Ford and Michelle Phieffer, we see one of them trying to use their cell phone because they're stuck at bridge, try to make a call on the cell phone and there is no signal. That's a plant. Later in the movie (when the suspense kicks in) this earlier plant is important because then Michelle Pheiffer's character is desperate to make a call for help. Where is she? At the bridge where there is no signal.

In movies, plants can be introduced with a quick visual. In novels, we must describe them and integrate them into the story seamlessly. You can't rely on a camera to silently capture the knife on the counter. Like in What Lies Beneath, the plants in novels must be integrated into the story so it seems natural. You really want the viewer/reader to say, "Don't go to the bridge! You won't be able to call for help!" And then of course, send them there, because let's face it, it's suspense and we want to be unable to sit in our seat. As much as we hate it, we want to see the trainwreck coming just so we can see the person on the tracks miraculously saved at the last second. (Okay, that trainwreck thing is kind of cliche but it still works!)

Plants don't have to be tangible things like a knife or no cell phone signal. And they don't have to be in just suspense stories. Plants play an important part of all stories! A plant can be a unique character action that seem like nothing until it suddenly shows itself as something important later in the story. For instance, in the movie Julie and Julia, we see Julia Child walking in the park with her husband and looking longingly at a baby carriage as it goes by. It's a natural thing for people to do. Babies bring out smiles. But for Julia, it's more than that and yet we don't really know it at that moment. But later on when Julia gets a letter from her sister telling her that she's pregnant, the moment in the park comes to life when Julia reacts by breaking down in tears. At that moment we realize that Julia, while happy for her sister, is upset because she can't have a baby herself. We see that emotional struggle. Without that initial plant, the impact of this scene wouldn't be as strong.

A great movie that had lots of plants and then revealed them all in the end was The Sixth Sense. What are your favorite plants in movies and books? Describe them here. Did you see it coming? Or were you blown away and left making the connection to everything afterward?

Until next time, many blessings!

Lisa Mondello

In a Doctor's Arms 3/11 Love Inspired Romance