How to Get Book Reviews with Joanna Penn

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY

 

 

 

Tiny people and a vintage TV set

 

 

 

How To Get Reviews For Your Book

 

 

 

 

 

How do you get reviews? Tell us in the comments.

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Advertisements

Join the Robin Hood Giveaway!

Robins Hood's Dawn Book Cover

 

 

Join the Robin Hood Giveaway!!

Simply like, comment on this post, or click to follow and automatically enter into a drawing for the FREE BOOK.

 

 

 

shock

 

 

Don’t miss this unique retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

 
England, 1154-1194:

  • A kingdom under assault.
  • A conspiracy born of anarchy.
  • A hero standing against tyranny.

 
Falsely convicted of a shocking crime, Robin Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, finds refuge in Sherwood Forest and becomes Robin Hood.

Leading a band of men against the injustices of a malevolent sheriff and his henchmen, Robin begins to unravel a web of treachery threatening the English royal family.

As shadowy forces gather to destroy the future of a nation, Robin faces deceit, betrayal, and the ravages of war as he defends his king, his country, his people, and the woman he loves from a conspiracy so diabolical, so unexpected, that the course of history hangs in the balance.

From the mists of an ancient woodland, to lavish royal courts teeming with intrigue, to the exotic shores of the Holy Land – Robin Hood leads the fight in a battle between good and evil, justice and tyranny, the future and the past.

Part one of an exciting three-part retelling of the Robin Hood legend!

Although the books in the trilogy are not stand-alone, they do not end in cliffhangers.

 

 

 

Today only deal Robin Hood

 

 

 

Like, comment, or click to follow and automatically enter a drawing for the FREE BOOK.

2018 Anticipated Reads with Sasha Alsberg

IT’S TELEVISION TUESDAY!

 

 

 

TV cartoon image big box

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY MOST ANTICIPATED 2018 READS

 

 

 

 

 

What are you anticipated reads of 2018? Tell us in the comments!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com

The New dates for Mystery Thriller Week are April 12-22nd 2018. Plan accordingly and join us for the fun!

Book Review: UNSUB by Meg Gardiner

Unsub

 

 

 

A riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to apprehend the serial murderer who destroyed her family and terrorized a city twenty years earlier.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An Unsub—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.

The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.

Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.

Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

 

 

 

 

My Review

 

A Damn good thriller!

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and definitely the best crime fiction. Absolutely amazing. A must read. Caitlin Hendrix, a narcotics detective joins an investigation to catch one of the nations worst serial killers that her father failed to catch. In fact, her father Mack Hendrix now a retired cop, tries to persuade to stop investigating since it ruined his life nearly driving him insane. 

I loved what Meg Gardiner has done with detective Caitlin Hendrix. She’s not necessarily an expert, but joins the homicide division due to her father’s connection to the case. Determined, focused, bold, not to mention brillant; she works with law enforcement to catch the UNSUB.

Meg Gardiner does a spectacular job creating the twisted M.O. of the serial killer, UNSUB. He was such a formidable opponent it made for a JUICY conflict. Meg crafts his motivations perfectly.

The suspense is so thick you can cut it with a steak knife. So if you like edge-of-your-seat thrillers, THIS IS IT. Look no further.

In the crowded arena of crime fictiob UNSUB is quite unique. Don’t miss it!!

 

 
Five golden stars isolated on white background

 

 

 

 

Pre-order the next book here: Into the Black Nowhere: An UNSUB Novel

 

 

Into the Black Nowhere

 

 

Release date is Jan. 30th 2018!

 

Inspired by real-life serial killer Ted Bundy, an exhilarating thriller in which FBI profiler Caitlin Hendrix faces off against a charming, merciless serial killer

In southern Texas, on Saturday nights, women are disappearing. One vanishes from a movie theater. Another is ripped from her car at a stoplight. Another vanishes from her home while checking on her baby. Rookie FBI agent Caitlin Hendrix, newly assigned to the FBI’s elite Behavioral Analysis Unit, fears that a serial killer is roaming the dark roads outside Austin.

Caitlin and the FBI’s serial crime unit discover the first victim’s body in the woods. She’s laid out in a bloodstained, white baby-doll nightgown. A second victim in a white nightie lies deeper in the forest’s darkness. Both bodies are surrounded by Polaroid photos, stuck in the earth like headstones. Each photo pictures a woman in a white negligee, wrists slashed, suicide-style–posed like Snow White awaiting her prince’s kiss.

To track the UNSUB, Caitlin must get inside his mind. How is he selecting these women? Working with a legendary FBI profiler, Caitlin searches for a homology–that elusive point where character and action come together. She profiles a confident, meticulous killer who convinces his victims to lower their guard until he can overpower and take them in plain sight. He then reduces them to objects in a twisted fantasy–dolls for him to possess, control, and ultimately destroy. Caitlin’s profile leads the FBI to focus on one man: a charismatic, successful professional who easily gains people’s trust. But with only circumstantial evidence linking him to the murders, the police allow him to escape. As Saturday night approaches, Caitlin and the FBI enter a desperate game of cat and mouse, racing to capture the cunning predator before he claims more victims.

 

 

I already have this title and can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

 

 

 

Hungry meat-eating man

 

 

 

 

 

Connect with Meg Gardiner

 

 

Meg Gardiner

 

 

Meg Gardiner is the author of thirteen thrillers. UNSUB, her latest novel, features homicide detective Caitlin Hendrix. Don Winslow says, “Like The Silence of the Lambs, this novel scared the hell out of me. I dare you to try putting it down.” The novel has been bought for development as a TV series by CBS.

Meg was born in Oklahoma and raised in Santa Barbara, California. A graduate of Stanford Law School, she practiced law in Los Angeles and taught writing at the University of California Santa Barbara. She’s also a three time Jeopardy! champion. Meg lives in Austin, Texas.

She’s the author of the Evan Delaney series and the Jo Beckett novels. China Lake won the 2009 Edgar award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Paperback Original. The Dirty Secrets Club won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Procedural Novel of 2008.

 

 

Amazon Twitter | FacebookGoodreadsWebsite

 

 

 

 

 

 

recommended vintage orange seal isolated on white

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be a stranger!

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

MTW Blog Cover Image by Eva

 

Books & Blurbs

Book mountain

 

 

 

There is no friend as loyal as a book.–Ernest Hemingway 

 

 

 

Hello! Were back to more books and blurbs this week, especially since I don’t have an interview scheduled. Hopefully author D.M. Pulley will be on board for one sometime soon. *Fingers crossed*

Ready?

 

 

 

The Unclaimed victim

 

 

 

In 1938, at the height of the Great Depression, a madman hunts his victims through the hobo jungles of Cleveland, terrorizing the city. Ethel Harding, a prostitute struggling to survive both the cold streets and the Torso Killer, takes refuge with a devout missionary sect—only to find that its righteous facade conceals the darkest of secrets.

Sixty years later, the police find the butchered body of Alfred Wiley in the woods. But before his daughter, Kris, can even identify the remains, things he never told her begin to surface one by one—a mysterious private eye who’d been tracking him, an eerie website devoted to the unsolved “Torso” murders, missing archives, stolen books, and an abandoned Bible factory harboring vagrants. The more she learns about her father’s obsession with the Torso Killer, the more Alfred’s death appears to be related, pulling Kris further into Cleveland’s hellish past.

Living decades apart, Ethel and Kris must unravel the truth behind the city’s most notorious serial killer…or die trying.

 

 

First Chapter Impression

This book begins with the gruesome discovery of body found in Lake Erie. Or, at least the remains of one. The victim’s daughter arrives to identify the “body” of her father. However, she’s stuck in a deep state of denial and disbelief that he’s actually gone.

The author does a great job of creating the scene and displaying the feelings of the victim’s daughter as she copes with a heinous crime. Right away I feel sympathy and captivated by the story’s beginning.

My inner story sense (and no I’m not Spider-Man) tells me D.M. Pulley is a good writer and I like her style.

 

 

 

 

Hellbent

 

 

 

Evan Smoak—government assassin gone rogue—returns in Hellbent, an engrossing, unputdownable thriller from Gregg Hurwitz, the latest in his #1 international bestselling Orphan X series.

Taken from a group home at age twelve, Evan Smoak was raised and trained as an off-the-books government assassin: Orphan X. After he broke with the Orphan Program, Evan disappeared and reinvented himself as the Nowhere Man, a man spoken about only in whispers and dedicated to helping the truly desperate.

But this time, the voice on the other end is Jack Johns, the man who raised and trained him, the only father Evan has ever known. Secret government forces are busy trying to scrub the remaining assets and traces of the Orphan Program and they have finally tracked down Jack. With little time remaining, Jack gives Evan his last assignment: find and protect his last protégé and recruit for the program.

But Evan isn’t the only one after this last Orphan—the new head of the Orphan Program, Van Sciver, is mustering all the assets at his disposal to take out both Evan (Orphan X) and the target he is trying to protect.

 

 

First Act Impression

I’m really enjoying this page-turning series!  Gregg Hurwitz is amazing. Evan Smoak finds himself in yet another impossible predicament, but he’s always up for the impossible.

The stakes are deeply personal as he discovers his mentor Jack Johns is attacked by Van Sciver’s group.  His mentor served as the only human connection Evan has ever known so you can imagine the struggle. But Evan is not only seeking revenge, he’s also heeding Jack’s last wish; protect the package. Only ‘the package’ isn’t what he envisioned.

 
Hellbent will be released Jan. 30th 2018 so pre-order now.

 

 

 

 

Kill Box

 

 

 

KILL BOX: Book Two in THE ZULU VIRUS CHRONICLES 

SOMETHING LETHAL HAS BEEN RELEASED ACROSS AMERICA. 

With their daring escape plan thwarted at the last possible moment, HOT ZONE’s motley band of survivors faces a worst-case scenario. Forced to take refuge near the epicenter of the bioweapons outbreak, deep inside in a city gone mad, THEIR TIME IS RUNNING OUT. 

Unable to slow or adequately contain the infected population, the government has triggered KILL BOX, a desperate and merciless contingency protocol.

Dr. Eugene Chang, Eric Larsen and the survivors following them, have less than twenty-four hours to escape the KILL BOX.

WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, complete strangers from different walks of life will be forced to join together to survive the LIVING NIGHTMARE that has been unleashed on their city—AND THEIR COUNTRY. 

This is their story.

WELCOME TO THE HOT ZONE!

 

Author Steve Konkoly is back in book two of the Zulu Virus Chronicles. Just released November 28! If you haven’t discovered Steve’s work yet you’re in for a treat. The first book was  awesome so I’m really looking forward to this one.

 

 

 

 

Cross

 

 

 

Alex Cross was a rising star in the Washington, DC, Police Department when an unknown shooter gunned down his wife, Maria, in front of him. The killer was never found, and the case turned cold, filed among the unsolved drive-bys in D.C.’s rough neighborhoods.

Years later, still haunted by his wife’s death, Cross is making a bold move in his life. Now a free agent from the police and the FBI, he’s set up practice as a psychologist once again. His life with Nana Mama, Damon, Jannie, and little Alex is finally getting in order. He even has a chance at a new love.

Then Cross’s former partner, John Sampson, calls in a favor. He is tracking a serial rapist in Georgetown, one whose brutal modus operandi recalls a case Sampson and Cross worked together years earlier. When the case reveals a connection to Maria’s death, Cross latches on for the most urgent and terrifying ride of his life.

From the man USA TODAY has called the “master of the genre,” CROSS is the high-velocity thriller James Patterson and Alex Cross’s fans have waited years to read – and the pinnacle of the bestselling detective series of the past two decades.

This novel was originally published under the title Cross. The movie tie-in editions are published under the title Alex Cross.

 

I just re-watched the movie adaption of the book and still loved it. Of course the book is quite different from the Hollywood version of events. Not sure why I decided to watch the movie before I read the book, but anyways. The book is awesome too! One thing I love about this one is antagonist. Having a formidable opponent makes the conflict ultra juicy. This psychopath killer murders his wife in his presence making the stakes ultra personal. Can’t wait to finish it!

 

 

 

Alex Cross Official Trailer #1 (2012) – James Patterson, Tyler Perry Movie HD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books on the radar

 

 

Radar image 1

 

 

 

 

Her Final Breath (The Tracy Crosswhite Series Book 2)

 

Her final breath

 

 

 

 

 

A Dress the Color of the Sky

 

 

A dress the color of the sky

 

 

 

 

 

The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors

 

 

The templars dan jones

 

 

 

 

White Ninja (The Nicholas Linnear Series Book 3)

 

 

White Ninja

 

 

 

 

The Vineyard of Liberty: 1787–1863 (The American Experiment)

 

 

The Vineyard of Liberty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

November’s Books & Blurbs

columns of books

 

 

 

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands. –Neil Gaiman

 

 

 

Welcome to another edition of books & blurbs!

 

This is an occasional post I’m doing to give a sneak peek about the books I’ve been reading and listening too recently. It really should be a weekly or bi-weekly post, but I haven’t got my act together quite yet. *Sigh*

 

Here’s some notable books from this month that has caught my eye. Ready? Here it goes!

 

 

The Kingfountain Series by Jeff Wheeler

 

The Queens Poisoner

 

 

King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life.

Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. But when new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor by proving his worth—through extraordinary means. And only one person can aid his desperate cause: a mysterious woman, dwelling in secrecy, who truly wields power over life, death, and destiny.

 

I’m thoroughly enjoying this series. The Queen’s Poisoner, book one of the series was utterly mesmerizing. I switched back and forth between reading and listening to the audiobook performed by the talented Kate Rudd. I’ll post the narrator performance on my other site at AudioSpy.  Currently reading/listening to the second book, The Thief’s Daughter and it’s just as good!

 

 

The Thiefs daughter

 

 

 

 

 

The Orphan X series by Gregg Hurwitz

 

 

Orphan X

 

 

 

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them.

But he’s no legend.

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.

Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan’s weakness—his work as The Nowhere Man—to find him and eliminate him. Grabbing the reader from the very first page, Orphan X is a masterful thriller, the first in Gregg Hurwitz’s electrifying new series featuring Evan Smoak.

 

Holy mackerel!! Reading this was literally like watching a movie unfold in my head. My first Gregg Hurwitz book didn’t disappoint one bit. The next book in the series is a short, Buy a Bullet and now I”m currently reading The Nowwhere Man.

 

 

 

 

Awesome red grunge round stamp isolated on white Background

 

 

 

 

 

Invisible by James Patterson & David Ellis

 

 

Invisible James Patterson

 

 

 

Everyone thinks Emmy Dockery is crazy. Obsessed with finding the link between hundreds of unsolved cases, Emmy has taken leave from her job as an FBI researcher. Now all she has are the newspaper clippings that wallpaper her bedroom, and her recurring nightmares of an all-consuming fire.

Not even Emmy’s ex-boyfriend, field agent Harrison “Books” Bookman, will believe her that hundreds of kidnappings, rapes, and murders are all connected. That is, until Emmy finds a piece of evidence he can’t afford to ignore. More murders are reported by the day–and they’re all inexplicable. No motives, no murder weapons, no suspects. Could one person really be responsible for these unthinkable crimes?

Invisible is James Patterson’s scariest, most chilling stand-alone thriller yet.

 

I found this to be a very creative book for crime fiction. An FBI analyst gets mixed up in a string of mysterious lethal fires which turn out to be the heinous work of a serial killer. Amazing! Really enjoyed the originality in this one. Quite different from the typical serial killer in crime fiction.

 

 

 

 

BOOKS ON THE RADAR

 

 

On the Radar dummies

 

 

 

The Lost City of the Monkey God

 

Lost city of the monkey god

 

 

 

 

The Other Slavery The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

 

The other slavery

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Byline

 

 

The good byline

 

 

 

 

 

The End Game

 

 

The end game

 

 

 

 

 

The Storm, Trackers #3

 

 

The Storm trackers 3

 

 

 

 

 

Twisted Truth (Rogue Justice #1)

 

 

Twisted truth

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll stop there, otherwise this list will go on forever. Go find a good book!!

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

 

 

 

Book Hoarders Reading Challenge

Hoarding Boxes Piled Up Word Collection Mess Trash

 

 

 

 

“When faced with a challenge, look for a way, not a way out.” -David L. Weatherford 

 

 

 

 

 

This post is dedicated to all the book lovers out there. You may or may not be a book hoarder because there’s a big difference between the two. I currently have 1,725 books on my “to be read” list and it’s still increasing at an alarming rate.  Yikes!

 

 

Are you a Book Hoarder? Does this sound like you? Read on….

 

 

  • First, it’s virtually impossible to resist a good book, especially if it’s on sale.
  • Second, having the painful realization that you can’t read every book.
  • The unread books on your shelf are piling up while you continue to add gobs more.
  • There’s that book or series that you can’t wait to read, but—-you never get around to it.
  • You’re always a sucker for free books, promos, or books on sale.
  • You have so many books you forgot the new ones you just added.
  • The ratio of books read to books added is way out of balance.
  • The books on your TBR list NEVER decreases but increases.

 

 

 

road to horizon

 

 

 

If this is you don’t despair! We need a change in our mindset, our strategy. For this I’d like to present to you a challenge. The #BookHoarders challenge. I have some ideas so tell me what you think.

 

 

  • For every book you buy or add to your TBR list you read two on your shelf.
  • Switch up your reading habits per week or month.
  • Read new books for one week, then read books on your shelf the next.
  • Use a reward system. For every 3 books on your TBR you read, treat yourself to a new one.
  • Do it pairs. Get a book buddy to keep you accountable! Challenge each other.
  • Join the Book Hoarders Bucket List Challenge on Goodreads for support!

 

 

 

 

Benefits / Würfel mit Symbole

 

 

 

  • You actually read the books you bought!
  • You’ll better yourself by reading more stories.
  • Decrease the amount of books on your shelves or TBR list.
  • Read more books, give more reviews and help authors succeed.
  • Gain a book buddy and enrich your experience with other book hoarders.
  • You’ll feel better!

 

 

What do you think?  Tell me in the comments!!

Share the hashtag #BookHoarders

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

MTW 2018 Banner 2

 

Author Mary Angela Introduces Passport to Murder

 

passport_murder_300

 

 

 

 

Death never takes a holiday, but it certainly can take away one. Will Professor Prather find out who killed her Parisian plans before the end of spring break?

 

 

 

 

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

 

About the Author

Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather academic mystery series, which has been called “enjoyable” and “clever” by Publishers Weekly. She is also an educator and has taught English and humanities at South Dakota’s public and private universities for over ten years. When Mary isn’t writing or teaching, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. For more information about Mary or the series, go to MaryAngelaBooks.com.

 

 

Book Blurb

Passport to Murder (Professor Prather Mystery #2)

 

Start with an unlucky number. Throw in a romantic location. Include a dashing Frenchman and an uncompromising professor. And you have all the ingredients for a passport to murder.

This semester, it seems that Professor Prather’s dreams are about to come true. Ever since she was a young girl, she’s imagined going to France, and her French colleague, André Duman, has finally made that trip possible. Over spring break, she and André are to lead a group of students and faculty to Paris to explore the City of Light. But before she can utter her first bonjour, a professor dies, and they are stuck in Minneapolis. She returns to Copper Bluff with an unstamped passport and a mystery to solve.
When André becomes the prime suspect, Emmeline puts her research skills to good use, determined to find out who really killed the professor and spoiled their spring break plans. With thirteen travelers assembled, the possibilities are varied and villainous. Luckily, her dear friend and sidekick, Lenny Jenkins, is close by. Together, they will sort through the conflicting clues even if it costs them time, trouble, or tenure.

 

 

 

passport-2642172_960_720

 

 

 

  1. What was your process for creating English professor Emmeline Prather?

I knew I wanted to set my series in a small college town in South Dakota, so I imagined a young professor relocating to the area. The landscape had to be a draw for my protagonist because the pay is definitely not. I like that she’s an outsider looking in. It heightens her awareness of the region.

 

 

 

 

teacher-359311_960_720

 

 

 

  1. What do you like about an amateur sleuth versus a professional one? 

I like that an amateur sleuth is not paid to solve crimes. It’s not her job, so she doesn’t have any police experience to help her. The amateur sleuth allows me, as a reader and a writer, to become intimately involved. I like to imagine what I would do in the same circumstances.

 

  1. What are some characteristics of Emmeline that help her solve crimes?

She is an excellent researcher, which helps her dig up information. She also has a degree in French literature, so she’s great at analyzing stories. Combined, these characteristics make her a tough sleuth to beat!

 

 

 

search-276746_960_720

 

 

 

 

  1. You affectionately call her “Em.” Describe your relationship to the protagonist. 

Em is so much fun, and I do think of her as Em as I’m writing. I enjoy writing her because she can be incredibly passionate when it comes to education, students, and crimes. Sometimes I get a chuckle out of her antics.

 

  1. What are the dynamics like between Emmeline and her sidekick Lenny Jenkins? 

There is a strong dynamic between Em and Lenny; they balance each other nicely. Em can take herself too seriously, and Lenny—doesn’t. They both challenge each other to see the world from another viewpoint, which is incredibly advantageous for crime fighting.

 

 

 

Fighting crime word cloud concept on grey background

 

 

 

  1. Describe some challenges writing Passport to Murder. 

Moving a group of thirteen characters was hard. I had to talk to the airport police in Minnesota and South Dakota. I also had to read about police procedures and what can and can’t be done when police investigate a suspicious death.

 

 

 

Distracted businessman distracted

 

 

 

  1. What did you learn while researching this book? 

I learned that the FBI has jurisdiction involving any crime committed in the air. I thought that was pretty interesting! I also learned that a plane can’t land on a full tank of gas.

 

 

 

Seriously, Just Ahead Green Road Sign Over Dramatic Sky, Clouds and Sunburst.

 

 

 

  1. Is it challenging writing a mystery? 

Yes, it is challenging, but that’s exactly what I like about the mystery genre. It works both sides of my brain. I spend lots of time making my characters and settings interesting, but I also spend an ample amount of time creating a clever and believable plot. All loose ends have to be tied up by the end of the novel. It takes great attention to detail.

 

 

 

to-reach-2697951_960_720

 

 

 

  1. Do you outline your novels? 

No, I don’t, but I do create a timeline and plot some events before writing them.

 

  1. Imagine yourself as Professor Emmeline.  Given the criminal circumstances, would you make the same choices as her? Why or why not?

That’s a tough one! I think I would. I might try to reveal the murderer in a less obvious way, but if I thought I could solve the crime, I would have to try, especially if it benefited my campus or friend.

 

 

 

choice-2692575_960_720

 

 

 

  1. Have you ever been to France? 

Yes, I have been to France and loved my time there. I would like to go back and spend the summer in a little French village. That’s my hobby: looking at vacation rentals in wine country. Maybe some day!

 

 

 

France-2308162_960_720

 

 

 

  1. What’s next for you?

I’m writing book three in the series, A Very Merry Murder. It’s a holiday mystery, so I’ve been spending most of my days dreaming about baking sugar cookies and eating fudge. Not a good omen for the impending holidays!

 

 

 

Connect with Mary Angela

 

© Julie Prairie Photography 2016

 

 

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Maryangelabooks.com

 

 

 

Thanks for ridin the train folks! Come back and see us. Peace out.

 

 

Peace out1273075_960_720

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

 

 

MTW 2018 Banner 2

The Caitlin Strong Series with Author Jon Land

Jon land image

 

 

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of the 38 novels, including seven titles in the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series: Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance, Strong Rain Falling (winner of the 2014 International Book Award and 2013 USA Best Book Award for Mystery-Suspense) and Strong Darkness (winner of the 2014 USA Books Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award for Thriller). Caitlin Strong returns this October in Strong Light of Day, to be followed by Darkness Rising, his sci-fi collaboration with Heather Graham coming from Forge in June of 2016. Jon is a 1979 graduate of Brown University, lives in Providence, Rhode Island and can be found on the Web at jonlandbooks.com or on Twitter @jondland.

 

 

 

 

Tell us about the decision to write a thriller with a female lead. 

Well, confession time here, starting this series was as much a marketing decision as a creative one. I owe the whole concept to the head of mass market sales for Tor/Forge Publishing going back about a decade. At a meeting where we were discussing trends in publishing, he raised the point that thrillers were the most popular genre and 70% of books were bought by women. Yet nobody at the table could name a single female thriller hero. Mystery, yes. But a female Jack Reacher? Uh-uh. So then and there I piped in with “What about a female Texas Ranger?” And in that moment Caitlin was born.

 

 

 

Beautiful woman warrior

 

 
What do you appreciate about the Texas Rangers?

So many things! First and foremost, they are the most famous and legendary lawmen in American history. The only frontier body out of the Old West to still be around today—and not just around, they’re still operating pretty much as they always have. They’re still gunfighters by reputation, even if they never have draw their weapon. They still command the same respect they always have and have built wondrously on the folklore of their forebears. All those great stories of the likes of Bill McDonald, Jack Hayes, Frank Hamer, Manuel “Lone Wolf” Gonzaulles, and so many more. You see so many male thriller heroes who are ex Special Forces, Navy SEALs, or something like that. Since women can’t service in active duty for special ops, making Caitlin Strong a Texas Ranger was the next best thing.

 

 

 

 

Special Ranger badge

 

 

 
Did you do any travel related research?

You can never do enough. I get to Texas twice a year and base scenes on where I visit. So you’ll see a lot of Midland in STRONG LIGHT OF DAY, a lot of Houston in STRONG COLD DEAD, and a ton of Austin in STRONG TO THE BONE which comes out December 5. I’m a whiz when it comes to Google searches and, another confession, I write about a ton of places in Texas that I’ve never been to.

 

 

Strong Cold Dead

 

 

 
What’s your process with research? Is there a method to the madness?



That’s a great question because it comes down to process. The method to my madness is not really having a method. I don’t outline and am very spontaneous in my writing, figuring if I don’t know what’s going to happen next, the reader can’t possibly know. So I don’t necessarily know what research I need to do before I start a book. I’ll actually do the bulk of it in the midst of the writing. If I need to know something as specific as the kind of tree you might find a body under in Laramie. Or what that tree smells like. Or what diner Caitlin might in when she visits this town or that. Attention to detail is crucial but the real trick is knowing how much not to say so the reader is left with the impression that I’ve been there, mostly because I don’t give them enough to figure out that I haven’t.

 

 

 

Process Definition Magnified Showing Result From Actions Or Functions

 

 
How do you view Caitlin Strong among all the characters you’ve created over the years?

Easily the best and most fun I’ve ever written. I have so much faith in all of them, meaning I let them do the heavy lifting when it comes to figuring out the plot—or, better stated, my characters are also my collaborators. The reason I can take the risk of being so spontaneous, of literally not knowing exactly where I’m going or how I’m going to get there, is because I trust my character can sketch out the roadmap for me. They write their own dialogue, they make their own decisions, they make their own mistakes. Some of the best scenes I’ve written in this series, I can’t even tell you where they came from.

 

 

 

street-map-2679271_960_720

 

 
What are the stakes and do they affect Caitlin personally?

As far as STRONG TO THE BONE goes, it’s the most personal of any book in the series because we learn for the first time that Caitlin was raped 18 years before when she was in college. The man was never caught. He just disappeared. And now he’s back, his DNA showing up in another victim of sexual assault. So Caitlin, all grown up and a Texas Ranger now, has a chance to slay her greatest dragon. Which brings us to the question of whether she really wants to, because she’s afraid catching him will strip her of the edge that defines who she is. As you can see, there are often aren’t easy answers in this series!

 

 

 

Strong to the Bone

 

 
Is it difficult writing a female lead?



Not really, because she’s so real to me, as are all of my characters. I’ve written serial killers and terrorists, when I’m not either of those. I’ve written Israelis, Palestinians, teenagers, along with blind, deaf and people suffering from other disabilities. And I’m none of those things either. Well, breaking news, you can add to that list the fat that I’m not a woman. Storytelling springs not from the conscious mind but from the imagination, where anything is possible. The key to being a great storyteller is to able to recapture the magic of role playing that children do. I think that’s why so many love books as a adults: because it makes them feel like kids again, the way I feel when I’m writing.

 

 

 

 

“Storytelling springs not from the conscious mind but from the imagination, where anything is possible.”–Jon Land

 

 

 
How have readers responded to her thus far?



Beyond anything I ever could have imagined. She doesn’t have the sales of the Jack Reacher books, but I honestly believe she compares very favorably to Lee Child’s iconic hero. The thing about those books, and the ones featuring Caitlin, is they’re both essentially modern day Westerns. The storytelling, at its heart, is very basic: Somebody good willing to do anything it takes to stop somebody bad from doing something really wrong. That’s the crucial element of this series and any great thriller, as well as why readers have responded to Caitlin as positively as they have: she isn’t just about solving crimes, she’s about preventing something much worse from happening. That’s what makes a true hero.

 

 

 

child plays superhero

 

 

 

Connect with Jon Land

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Amazon

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss Mystery Thriller Week 2018!

 

MTW 2018 Banner 2

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

www.mysterythrillerweek.com

Chatting Books and Writing with Author Deborah Raney

 

Deborah Raney

 

 

DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty years, thirty books, and numerous awards later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. She and husband, Ken, traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four grown children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Find out more about Deb’s newest release—Home at Last, the fifth and final novel in her award-winning Chicory Inn Novels series—at her website: www.deborahraney.com

 

 

Welcome sign

 

 

 

Looking back, who influenced you the most to read books?

First of all, my mother. Not only did she set a great example by being an avid reader herself, but we loved sharing books and talking about books, and even reading to each other—not just when I was a child, but even after I was grown and living away from home. In a roundabout way, my kids influenced me to read as well, because I always wanted to be aware of what they were reading in school or in their leisure time. And my husband gets a shout-out for never making me feel guilty while I was engrossed in a novel—even if it meant supper was late…or burned! :}

That sounds like a wonderful surrounding to be in! 



Kids Reading Books




Which books or characters had the most impact, and why?

The summer I turned twelve and read the entire Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was the year I knew I wanted to grow up to be a writer, so definitely her characters had a great impact on me. I also read Catherine Marshall’s novels, Christy and Julie around that same time and was deeply impacted by the messages of those books. Messages about being strong, living life in a way to make a difference in others’ lives, and holding tight to faith in God, even when it seemed He was silent.

 It’s amazing how much influence a simple story can have on an individual. 



Hand with marker writing: Words Have Power


If you could write one character into your life from your books who would it be?

Audrey Whitman, from my five Chicory Inn novels, would be an inspiring friend for me. She’s far more energetic and driven than I am, but I think she would inspire me (or already has!) to make the most of the gifts I’ve been given. So many of my characters are patterned after people I actually know (or are amalgamations of several people) that I feel in some ways my characters ARE “written into” my life!

 That’s so awesome 🙂





What’s your creative process for characters?

Being a very visual writer, I always have to have a photo of each character before they really begin to come to life. After that, I just sort of follow them through the story (I’m sure that sounds a little woo-woo to anyone who isn’t a writer) and see where they lead me, and how they grow and change through the story. Often, I get to the middle of a book and realize that the character I wrote in the first few chapters doesn’t resemble the character that has developed toward the end, so I spend some time rewriting him or her to match the “person” they’ve become in my novel. It’s rather a backwards way of doing things, but it works for me.

That’s a very interesting approach. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters. I’m still trying to figure out what my mine is. 



Process People in Gears Working Together Procedure Results



Did you read a lot when you were raising kids?

My husband and I are both avid readers and placed a high priority on story time and books when our kids were growing up. For instance, our rule was that toys and games had to be put away at bedtime, but as long as it didn’t interfere with homework or grades, you could read until midnight if you wanted. We read to each of our four kids from the time they were infants, and they’re all readers to varying degrees today.

 Oh, I love this. A book reading family! The emphasis on reading is very fascinating. 

 



Name some pet peeves, or things that bother you as a reader.

• It drives me nuts when the character on the cover of a novel doesn’t match the description inside.

• I don’t like it when two characters can’t stand each other through most of the book, and then fall into each other’s arms madly in love in the final chapter. Um…no.

• I prefer—as a reader and a writer—fewer speaker attributions (he said/she said). I’d rather SEE what the characters are doing and hear the tone in their words or actions than be told they said a line “quietly” or “angrily.”

 I love seeing the answer to this question. All are valid points worthy of remembrance. 

 


Crime scene




How do you determine what motivates a character?

As my story begins to unfold, I always have to ask myself what each character has to lose and to gain if the plot goes one way or another. Sometimes those questions aren’t answered until much later in the book, and again, I have to go back and rewrite to bolster my discovery about motivation. I always try to have a positive motivation (because it’s the right thing to do or because she/he loves someone and wants the best for them) along with negative motivation (because selfishly, doing the right thing will cost her/him or because pride keeps her/him from doing the right thing.)

 Great! This will help me determine more of my own character motivations, thank you.



petrol pump nozzle hold by hand with gasoline



Describe your intuitive approach to writing as opposed to outlining.

I’ve touched on this, but being an intuitive writer means that while others are still outlining and figuring out their plot, I’m barreling ahead with a story I don’t even know fully yet. So often that means I write myself into a corner and have to delete 2 chapters and start over. It’s frustrating, and yet it works for me. Those chapters I throw away likely didn’t take me any longer to write than the outline process took a plotting writer. It’s just the way my mind works best.

 I find that so interesting, probably because I’m more of an intuitive writer than a plotter. Perhaps somewhere in between.

 



Have you ever wept while reading?

Oh, my goodness! If a book doesn’t make me cry (or laugh or cheer or get angry) I’m not sure it’s worth reading! When I’m reading, I want to feel all the feels. And if I don’t feel them when I’m writing a book, I know my readers won’t feel them either. It’s usually in the rewrite process that I begin to be objective enough to read/edit my work and see things more clearly, more like my readers will. When I cry over my characters then, I know my readers probably will too. And that makes me happy! 🙂

 That’s wonderful. That’s what it’s all about it, right? Having that emotional response is key. 

 


Crying artsy



 

Name some of the best books you’ve read recently.

• The Memory of You by Catherine West

• Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

• To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

• The Village that Slept by Monique Peyrouton de Ladebat (translated from French)

 Thanks!




What’s next for you?

I’m writing a novel set in Winterset, Iowa, home of the covered bridges of Madison County. This will be the first all-new novel published by the small press my husband created to re-release about twenty of my backlist titles, formerly published by Howard/Simon & Schuster, WaterBrook Press/Random House, Steeple Hill/Harlequin, and Bethany House/Baker. That novel will release next spring about the same time my first book in a new three-book series for Gilead Publishers is due on my editor’s desk. That series, The Chandler Sisters Novels, opens with Reason to Breathe. After writing five books in my Chicory Inn Novels series, I’m excited to be playing with all new characters and settings.

 Wonderful. That sounds like great idea. Especially since you get to team up with your spouse.



A Nest of Sparrows

Because of the Rain

Insight


The Face of the Earth

Almost Forever


DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty years, thirty books, and numerous awards later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. She and husband, Ken, traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the friendly city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four grown children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Find out more about Deb’s newest release—Home at Last, the fifth and final novel in her award-winning Chicory Inn Novels series—at her website: www.deborahraney.com

 




CONNECT WITH DEBORAH RANEY

Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Website

 

 

 

1202568285fe4f0f0c5a61730153df99

 

 

 

Enjoy Mystery and Thrillers? Come join us for Mystery Thriller Week Feb. 12-22nd 2018. Check out more info:  About MTW

 

 

Author Sign up | Reader/Reviewer/Blogger Sign up

 

 

 

MTW 2018 Banner 2

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Thomas

@thewritingtrain

http://www.mysterythrillerweek.com