The Map Quilt by Lisa J Lickel ~ Intrigue and History

Map Quilt

THE MAP QUILT is a the second book in the Buried Treasure Mysteries series, a sequel to THE GOLD STANDARD. You don’t have to read the first novel, as this story is a stand alone…but if you’d like to, that would also be nice.

So, let’s find out what THE MAP QUILT is all about…


Just how high a price does a family secret command?

Death in rural Wisconsin is only the beginning to new chaos in Robertsville. What do a stolen piece of revolutionary agricultural equipment, a long-buried skeleton in the yard, and an old quilt with secrets have in common? Hart and Judy Wingate, who met in THE GOLD STANDARD, are back to solve the mystery of THE MAP QUILT. Hart’s new battery design could forever change the farm implement industry. But after the death of Hart’s most confrontational colleague in a fire that destroys Hart’s workshop, the battery is missing.

Throw in a guest speaker invited to Judy’s elementary classroom who insists she owns the land under Hart’s chief competitor’s corporate headquarters, and a police chief who’s making eyes at Hart’s widowed mother, it’s no wonder Hart is under a ton of pressure to make sure his adventurous pregnant wife stays safe while trying to preserve his company and his reputation.


I’ve gotten to know Lisa simply through slogging it out in the trenches in the Christian fiction publishing industry, and also through her participation as a judge in past years for the Grace Awards. Lisa is not a judge this year, but THE MAP QUILT is a finalist in the Grace Awards 2012 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category.

Nike: What motivated you to write THE MAP QUILT, the second in your acclaimed Buried Treasure cozy series? Do you tend to be a plotter or a pantster?

Lisa: Hi, Nike, thanks for having me a guest today. THE MAP QUILT, as you said, is the second book in a series. I was prompted to write the book by a number of elements, which just came together for me. We had purchased a farm in western central Wisconsin, where I first learned the story of the black farmers settlement and of Alga Shivers, who built the round barns. I’m a life-long quilter and historian, and stories of the Underground Railroad put the final tie in the batting, so to speak. For mysteries, a writer needs to be pretty careful to plot. I prefer to have an idea of where I’m going, at least chapter goals, and need to have a lot of research for planting the clues.

Nike: Why write a cozy and not a more gritty style mystery?

Lisa: The cozy, which I’d never heard of before, was because of Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents: Mysteries book club, and that was the style I had to adhere to for the club. I have written a slightly more gritty mystery, but still comic romance, MEOW MAYHEM, which came out in January. I’m a bit of an opportunist in that these were works for hire. There were supposed to be four books in the series, but I’m not sure if I’ll get to number four or not. The third book in the series, THE NEWSPAPER CODE, releases next month, and as you say, I love to write gritty. But these books were fun too.

Nike: Some readers just have to start off with book one of a series, so tell us a bit about THE LAST BEQUEST, first in the Buried Treasure series.

Lisa: THE LAST BEQUEST, or THE GOLD STANDARD, as some may find in dollar stores now across America with other books from the former mystery book club, is where we meet Judy Winters, an orphaned young lady just out on her own after being raised by her maiden aunt. Aunt Louise went home to the farm to take care of the place when her own father died, and when Louise met a very untimely death, Judy inherited the farm. Judy didn’t believe her aunt’s death was natural, or even accidental. As a public school teacher working on her masters degree, she was able to stay on the farm for the summer and investigate her aunt’s death. She meets the boy next door who helped Louise with chores, and whom she hopes very much had nothing to do with Louise’s death. There’s a bit of a take-off of Cinderella in there, as Judy keeps losing shoes. I wish I’d made more of an issue of following fairy tales with the others, though THE NEWSPAPER CODE is a bit of an Ugly Duckling theme.

Nike: You also write romance and women’s fiction. Do you find it easy or difficult to span genres?

Lisa: I should, but I don’t. There must be something wrong with me, I think, when I can write sweet, funny, quirky septuagenarian and an evil prison guard involved in murder in the same week. I still wish I was better at compartmentalizing in real life. Anyway, one of my favorite books is just out now, HEALING GRACE. It’s about a woman with the spiritual gift of healing; Grace ran away from God, only to discover He’s led her exactly in the direction He wanted to go to give her a second chance.


You can read more about THE MAP QUILT and a chapter at: (book page)

Lisa Lickel

Lisa Lickel lives with her husband in an old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain, collects dragons and enjoys travel. Her published novels include the Buried Treasure cozy mystery series, Meow Mayhem, the award-winning romance Meander Scar, the linked novella anthology A Summer in Oakville with best-selling author Shellie Neumeier, and the paranormal romance Healing Grace. She is a freelance feature writer for local news, writes short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin magazine and loves to encourage new authors. Lisa also is an avid book reviewer, a freelance editor, a writing mentor, a hostess at Clash of the, and enjoys blogging at and Find her at


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BURNING HEARTS Now Out In Paperback

BH, Paper Back

BURNING HEARTS is my first born so to speak…my debut novel. This classic whodunit with an endearing love story began its publishing journey as an ebook. It’s also been called a sweet historical romantic suspense novel. And I was thrilled to have it in electronic format and still am.

Now my wonderful publisher, Desert Breeze, has brought it out in paperback and I’m delighted.

BURNING HEARTS: (Historical Murder Mystery with Romance, mid-1940s)

—arson/murder, action, and romance

—Sweet romance, sophisticated themes presented tastefully

—Finaled in 2011 Grace Awards Romance/Historical Romance category

Can a sheltered young seamstress, disillusioned by the horrors of WWII, escape an arsonist/murderer who has killed her employer and mentor, while trying to decide if she can trust the dashing war hero who’s ridden into town on his Harley—who some say is the murderer?

Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. Many boys she grew up with had fallen in the WWII, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her most desperate need. A woman who is her close friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. After making an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Erica stands by as this man rushes into the inferno and carries her friend’s lifeless body out.

Lorne Kincade can’t out run his past on his Harley Davidson WLA, the civilian model of the motorcycle he rode in the war. He’s tried. He’s been a vagabond biker in the year since the war ended. His Uncle Ivar bequeathed him a ramshackle cottage in Sanctuary Point, on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY and now he’d like to hope for a future again, repair the miniscule place, and settle down. The only problem is, a young woman with hair the color of mink is starting to get under his skin and that’s the last thing he needs.



Chapter One

Long Island, New York

September 1946

Erica Brogna hurried down Hill Street, eager to sketch her new design, a forest green taffeta dress with a swirling skirt for a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary — her first significant assignment. She paused to inhale the salt scent on the ocean breeze, and her gaze lingered on a copse of red, rust, and gold maples near Ada’s house and dress shop.

She smiled, pulling her cardigan tight around her, and dropped the newspaper Poppa asked her to bring to her mentor and employer. She retrieved the paper and saw Bess Truman smiling as she entered Walter Reed Army Hospital. With the war over, the First Lady visited broken soldiers in long-term care. Erica slapped the paper closed before rage and depression overtook her. So many boys had not come home.

Chin jutted out, she smoothed the pleats of her skirt and marched toward Ada’s house.

She’d think on pleasant things and hand the paper over without a fuss as she did every morning.

Nothing would ruin this day.

She climbed Ada’s wooden front steps and opened the door.

Smoke filled the living room Ada had turned into a fabric shop. Erica waved a hand in front of tearing eyes. Gray vapors, like swirling fog, partially obscured bolts of fabric stacked against the opposite wall.

“Ada! Ada, answer me please.” Dropping the newspaper, Erica rushed toward the stairs, trampling Bess Truman’s image. “Ada can you hear me?”

Coughing, she grabbed on to the cutting table in the middle of the room, steadied herself, and reached for the phone — no dial tone. Perhaps the fire melted the line.

She yanked the collar of her blouse over her nose and mouth against the smoke. The stairs loomed before her, seeming as impossible to scale as Mount Everest. She lunged forward, gripping the baluster, and thrust herself up two steps. Since Ada wasn’t outside, she had to be upstairs.

As Erica climbed, the smoke thickened and swirled around her. It was darker with each step.

One hand clasped the rail and pulled, and she advanced a few more steps. Heat blasted against her skin from above, and soft crackling sounds drew her gaze to the upstairs landing.

Squinting into the smoke, she lost her grip on the banister, missed the next step, and fell backward tumbling to the bottom.

The back of her head smacked against the baluster, and wooziness followed sharp pain.

She tried to stand but couldn’t get her bearings.

Will triumphed over ability. She hoisted herself, ignoring the dull throb at the back of her skull. Her palms stung, the skin scraped off during her fall. She took a deep breath, and a coughing fit seized her. Shallow breaths were the better alternative.

Planting her penny loafer on the bottom step, Erica began her climb again, shaken but with new resolve. If she could reach the top of the stairs, she could also make it to Ada’s bedroom.

Halfway up, the scratches on her palms pulsated as the temperature rose. So did her knees — must’ve scraped those, too. The pungent smoke shrouding her darkened, and grit clung to her skin. She couldn’t see the banister or the top of the stairs and each breath took effort.

Poppa’s lectures on fire drills flashed into mind — stay low in a fire to get fresh air. She dropped to her knees and crawled, ignoring her pain. A sickening smell made her stomach lurch.

Inch by inch she crept, now three quarters of the way up. Hot, putrid air assaulted her windpipe, and she doubled over, her insides trembling.

Heaving herself forward, she maneuvered up one more step, but the smoke pushed back, choking her. She sobbed, knowing she couldn’t make it to Ada, and scrambled down, hoping she could find help.



“Right from the start, BURNING HEARTS captured my imagination and tweaked my curiosity. Nike Chillemi certainly knows how to set a scene and ignite excitement.” ~~ Athol Dickson, three time Christy Award winning author of LOST MISSION and THE OPPOSITE OF ART

“The action starts with Chapter One and keeps on going… I loved the way the hero rode in to the rescue on a bike instead of a white horse and turned out to be a true hero in more ways than one. If you’re looking for a clean romance, the couple is young and innocent, and the romance has the flavor of sweet, young love that it is.” ~~ Barbara Robinson, author of LAST RESORT, posted at Southern Christian Inspirational Blog

Burning Hearts is much more than what the title implies—romance. It is an arson murder story set in fictional Sanctuary Point, a village on Long Island, New York, during the post World War II era. Readers are swept into this 1940s period by well-researched descriptive prose as debut novelist Nike Chillemi weaves language, foods, businesses, clothes and vehicles to create a vivid step back into the past. This inspirational novel is a guaranteed page-turner…” ~~ Mark Young, Hook ’em and Book ’em Blog

“One of the things I most enjoyed about the story was the romance between Erica and Lorne. They were attracted to each other almost immediately, but were unwilling to act on it… enjoyed reading Burning Hearts. It is an inspirational story full of love and hope. Anyone who loves a good mystery paired with a sweet romance should certainly pick up a copy of Burning Hearts.” ~~ Long and Short Reviews




Readers Fav 5 Star

My Daughter Alyssa Attended NYC Showing of the Hollywood movie “King’s Faith”


Our family received an invitation to attend a New York City showing of the Hollywood made movie, KING’S FAITH. Due to busy schedules, only our teenage daughter Alyssa was able to go. [At the right she is with Lynn Whitfield, one of the stars of this Christian movie.]

This experience highlights our daughter’s personal experience and journey as a child adopted out of the foster care system through Your Gotta Believe, a very unique adoption agency. Alyssa has huge hopes and dreams that her father and I support. She has a lovely singing voice and thinks about a singing career. She also feels she could have a career in banquet management in the hotel industry.

Watching KING’S FAITH and meeting Miss Whitfield spurred her on with her hopes and dreams. Like the main character in the movie, Brendan King, a foster kid who grew up getting into trouble on the wrong side of the tracks, Alyssa was transplanted by her adoption into our white, middle class family along with her sisters Victoria and Delayne. Like Brendan’s story in the movie…all did not go so smoothly. There was a huge culture gap. We are still working things out, but Alyssa has made huge strides and she sees no reason why she can’t accomplish her goals. She told me today that she sees herself doing a lot of good things in this life.

Alyssa is home schooled by moi and she is now working on a school project on KING’S FAITH that will dove-tail for both her English and Social Science classes.

King's Faith

For information on the adoption of tweens and teens in the New York City metropolitan area contact You Gotta Believe adoption agency in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY. You Gotta Believe in the only adoption agency in the United States that limits adoptions to finding permanent parents for tweens and teens. 718-372-3003

You Gotta Believe on Facebook.

Mark Young Nails It Again with FATAL eMPULSE

FATAL eMPULSEMark Young is a name that comes up all the time in purpose-driven crime fiction. I’ve read his work and I’d put his heroes in the classical “warrior” archetype — self-controlled, possessing moral courage. Taking full responsibility for his actions in the mission. Demonstrating an ethical code of personal honor, noble restraint, and individual humility for his deeds. These qualities in Mark’s heroes intrigue me and make me want to keep reading.

So, I thought I’d get him over here and ask him a few questions about his writing and his new novel FATAL eMPULSE.

Nike: What about Gerrit O’Rourke intrigues you the most? Why did you create him?

Mark: Gerrit is a man of contrasts. His eidetic memory allows him to recall sensory as well as visual information, allowing him to master languages, laws of science, and the intricate rules of combat and survival, but he is a dismal failure in the area of personal relationships.

I created Gerrit with a set of unique abilities that he will need to face the future. Off the Grid, and its sequel, Fatal eMpulse, embark on a journey that will take us from now to the tribulation. We have all read biblical prophecies about end times, but how about the time between now and then. How do we get to a point where there are ten kings ruling the world, and the anti-christ desecrates the temple mount. What part does the U.S. have in this…if any. Gerrit and his crew of characters will have to struggle through all this as Gerrit is forced to consider his own faith, his own beliefs, in the contact of these perilous times. Gerrit—through each novel—must deal with the rise of new technology, the dynamics of world politics, and the clash of good and evil.

Nike: What impresses many readers is your talent for hiding who the villian is. In fact, you sometimes hide who several of the bad guys are until the end. Is this a talent you simply have, or do you have to plan and plot this out in your novels?

Mark: Thank you, Nike, but everything about writing comes hard for me, particularly when I struggle to orchestrate a dynamic, ahh-got-you moment. If a writer miscalculates, it’s like a comedian messing up the punch line—the story goes flat and dies. The reader becomes disappointed. So I kick it around in my head for a while, maybe even months at a time. An idea might pop up out of nowhere and I run with it. Other times, I’ll settle on an outcome and carefully go back through the novel—planting little hints like seeds—before the reader finally discover who the true villain might be. Now my next novel, Broken Allegiance (A Tom Kagan Novel), coming out this summer, has more villains than you can shake a stick at. Take your pick.


So, let’s find out a little bit about FATAL eMPULSE…

A presidential edict hurls Gerrit O’Rourke and his international team deep into the heart of the Mid East to prevent an aerial attack threatening to start another world war. To make matters worse, a traitor close to the president alerts others of Gerrit’s mission. Only days away from the attack, the team must stay alive long enough to complete their mission and thwart whoever is trying to orchestrate their deaths.

Racing from the blue waters of Florida’s Key West and California’s Lake Tahoe to the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, everything comes down to this—who will survive? Gerrit’s past again rises to create conflict between himself, his Mossad-trained partner Alena Shapiro, and a flame from the past—CIA agent Shakeela Vaziri. Beyond romance, beyond survival, Gerrit and his team must race against the clock as attack planes launch. Every second counts.


Off The Grid

Mark’s first novel in the series is OFF THE GRID. Readers can follow this main character from the moment he first appears on the page.


Mark Young

Mark Young is an American novelist. He worked as a police officer with the Santa Rosa Police Department in California for twenty-six years; an award-winning journalist; and a Vietnam combat veteran. He served with several law enforcement task force operations, including the presidential Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force targeting major drug traffickers, and the federal Organized Crime Task Force charged with identifying and prosecuting prison gang leaders. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family.

Mark Young: Arresting Fiction Blog

Hook’em & Book’em Blog