I’m super excited!!! It’s time to reveal the cover for DEADLY DESIGNS…
Book #2 in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series
The planned release date is October 4th, 2015.
Private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels teams up again with Lt. Deputy Dawson Hughes to find a geeky radio broadcaster’s missing wife and young daughter. They fear the woman and child were taken by Islamic terrorists as revenge against a pro-Israel guest host who subbed on the talk show for a week. The investigation takes Ronnie and Hughes to manicured estates, interviewing a snobbish A-List society crowd, as well as to the seamy, drug-riddled underbelly of the fashion world. All the while, the specter of international terrorism hovers.
Ronnie is furious at both Hughes and the broadcaster for waiting two days to start the search. She knows the longer it takes, the less chance there is of finding the child alive. Talk-show host Ed Barton has been hoping-against-hope his pot-smoking, model wife is on one of her esoteric experiences and has simply taken the child while she romps for a few days. He doesn’t want to consider the other, more dangerous possibility…that his radio program has angered some very dangerous people.
Hughes, recently promoted to lieutenant in the Taylor County, Texas Sheriff’s Department, is on leave on a special assignment with Authorized Operations (AO), a clandestine, quasi-government agency operating out of a sea-side mansion on Long Island, NY. The only thing is, many politicians and government big-wigs claim the organization doesn’t exist.
I’m so happy to have Renee Blare visit the blog today for an interview and to talk about TO SOAR ON EAGLE’S WINGS. I’m happy when an author uses a new approach or has a fresh perspective. So, I was intrigued to learn the hero of this mystery was a game warden.
The novel in a nut shell…
Spring’s in the air. While the sun shines in Timber Springs, snow falls on the Snowy Range, and trouble’s brewing in the meadows. The area’s new game warden, Steve Mitchell launches his first wildlife investigation of the season but the trouble follows him—straight to town.
Rachel Fitzgerald’s on Spring Break. Or at least she’s trying. Between paperwork, and harassing phone calls, she may as well have stayed in her classroom. So much for relaxation. A ‘chance’ meeting with her brother’s old roommate offers her weary soul a shred of hope, but she discovers love, like life, isn’t easy.
He talks with the wisdom of the Lord but rejects the future. She wants to soar with the eagles but walks alone. And trusting God proves to be more of a challenge than ever before…
Nike: To Soar on Eagle’s Wings centers on a game warden investigation. Tell us about that. Is this a mystery novel?
Renee: Steve Mitchell has recently moved to Timber Springs. He’s the area’s new game warden. During one of his routine sweeps in the mountains, he stumbles upon a lonely baby moose. But he finds more than he bargains for when he discovers the calf’s mama miles away, trapped in a muddy bog. Clues to her entrapment crisscross the snowy meadows, and he heads toward Timber Springs only to find the trouble has followed him home.
Like Beast of Stratton (my first book), To Soar on Eagle’s Wings is a romantic suspense with a blend of mystery. I write sweet romance, but the suspense keeps you turning the pages. Sprinkled within the book, the reader discovers—they may even be taken by surprise—an element of cryptic mystery and intrigue. I think there should always be a bit of revelation in a good tale.
Nike: I love your blogs tag line, “Rugged Christian Fiction.” How did you come up with that and what does it mean to you?
Renee: It comes from several sources actually—my writing, my home, my life. I’ll address them in order, I guess.
How is my writing rugged? I wouldn’t necessarily call my “writing” rugged, but the people, settings, or lives within them are. They or the topics aren’t polished or pretty. They’re real. I don’t use profanity, erotic, or crude connotations to show the rougher side of life, but I get the point across. You see it.
My home’s just as rugged…it’s Wyoming. Oh, we have running water and electricity, but there’s a reason I have a Subaru and Jeep. Let’s say it’s not because they’re cool or fun.
As for my life, I praise the Lord for every mountaintop and crevice on this rugged path. It hasn’t been easy. It could be much harder. I’ve been asked many times, “how can you do the things you do?” In other words, how can I accomplish everything I need to do in a day or week or month? Or overcome an obstacle and press on to the goal, given the challenges I may face at any given moment. Seizures, migraines, school, surgeries, work, writing, marketing, friendships, family, etc. The list goes on…and on. I only have one word for them. God.
Nike: Which authors have influenced you?
Renee: The biggest influence on my writing has been Rick Joyner. After I read his book, The Final Quest, I could never look at a book the same way again. That book did two things for me. Spiritual warfare was now real. A book became something more.
Other influences have been Lena Nelson Dooley, and many other ACFW writers…they’ve taught me more than I could ever repay.
Nike: Do you read exclusively in your own genre? Tell us who and what you enjoy reading.
Renee: Frank Peretti, Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins, Rick Joyner, Robin Cook, Arthur Hailey…I love to read suspense, mystery, and about spiritual warfare. Most of all, I love to see it. I can do that with these authors. Give me a good historical too, and I’m happy!
Nike: What motivates you? Not only in your writing, but in life?
Renee: Well, I have to say…faith and hope…in the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s what keeps me going even when I think I can’t take another step. And believe me, there are times I feel as if I can’t. Why do I write? To spread the truth of His message and offer hope to a dying world.
Nike: Where do you see yourself in five-years time?
Renee: That’s a hard question. Why? Because I don’t spend much time worrying about tomorrow. I have way too much on my plate today. I guess if I was to make a goal for five years down the road, it would be to have my series published. There are seven books planned. I have two written, one published, and one researched. I’ll start writing the third one soon. So…I have five more to write, four to research, and six more to publish in five years. What do you think?
Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and she’s been counting pills ever since. While writing is her first love, well, after the Lord and husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar. Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, Rugged Christian Fiction and her group blog, The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction.
The very talented writer Tammy Doherty and moi have been gal-pals almost since we met online (more years ago than we’d like to admit) in the Northeast Zone Group of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). One of the things we’ve always done is kick around questions and idea. So, we decided, for Valentine’s Day, we’d like to put our usual ramblings into a blog article about how much romance and grit is too much in crime fiction, and what’s going on in the Christian crime fic market.
Nike: I think in murder mysteries, thrillers, and romantic suspense getting the mix of romance and grit right is essential. In traditional murder mysteries, detective stories, and starker crime fiction, romance should be secondary to the mystery. The chase for the killer should be the main thing. When you get over into cozies, that’s a different thing, IMO. There can be a fair amount of romance, but of a gentle kind. In romantic suspense, the reader expects quite a bit of romance. I’m launching into a contemporary detective story series where the police procedure has to be right, and the investigation is the thing. Yet romance is there nudging its way in. HARMFUL INTENT, is the first in what I hope is a long “couples” series. Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, private investigator and Deputy Sheriff Dawson Hughes solve a murder in Abilene, Texas. In the second novel, happenstance brings Ronnie and Dawson to solve a missing child case on the east coast. Later books in the series will have a different couple’s detective team.
Tammy: I agree with you, Nike. In a traditional murder mystery or suspense thriller, the crime must control the spotlight. But even in those stories, interaction between characters is what makes the story enjoyable to read. With Romantic Suspense, the very definition of the genre demands more than just interaction. At least two main characters must become romantically involved. Often, the suspense plot is what draws them together yet this isn’t enough. For the “romance” part of the title to apply, the hero and heroine must not only be drawn to each other but there must also be a genuine attraction worthy of long-term involvement. In other words, they need to fall in love. My new romantic suspener, gives them a common challenge to overcome. Still, once the suspense plot is resolved if there isn’t real romance and love remaining, the title fails. Later books in this series will feature other residents of Naultag, MA, the setting for SHE’S MINE, characters who will find love while facing and overcoming suspenseful conflicts. The key is in the balance: too little suspense and it’s just plain romance; too suspense will turn away the romance reader. So how much is too much grittiness?
Nike: I’m so glad you brought up grittiness. I was just thinking about that. I like realistic mysteries and detective stories. There’s nothing more disheartening than to read a story where the author hasn’t got a clue about police procedure and everything is pristine. To my mind, if there’s a murder scene depicted, it doesn’t have to be gory, but there has to be some grit, or I won’t believe it. Cozy mysteries are a different animal, they should be light on grit. In my novels, I like to rough up my main characters. I did that in my historical mystery series to several of my heroes and heroines. In HARMFUL INTENT, Ronnie practically gets the stuffing knocked out of her by one of the villains. She and Dawson will get worked over in book two. My novels have lots of action, twists and turns, romance, and some humor. My intent is that they will clearly depict good vs. evil, and yet uplift. I do have some grit, but I don’t write noir. I’d like to think I write grit with grace.
Tammy: Grit with grace, I like that! I’ve been toying with a tag-line for my writing and what I’ve come up with so far is “suspense you can fall in love with” or “romance that keeps you in suspense.” I think the second one sums it up best. In romantic suspense, the grit needs to be there but cannot overshadow the romance. I like romantic suspense with believable police and EMS procedural aspects, but because it’s romance there’s some leeway for literary license. In SHE’S MINE, I did the research to make sure all my fire scenes are accurate for this region. For example, my characters call for an ambulance not “a bus” as they might in a NYC. Bad things happen to Caitlin and Sean in this novel, what gets them through it all is the romance. The story is lighter than a straight mystery novel without being unrealistic or “fluff.” I like the interplay between your main characters but they’re still keeping it on the professional side. My characters delve into the romance aspect right away with the suspense being one of the obstacles to their happily-ever-after.
What I’m finding very interesting is the increase of crime/mystery fiction in the Christian market, particularly with the rise of Indie publishing. How people juxtapose their faith with the grittiness of this world makes for wide-open storytelling possibilities.
Nike: That’s a great line and it describes your work: “romance that keeps you in suspense.” You write romantic suspense. The romance is major in your stories, no doubt about it, but so is the suspense. That line says it. I also couldn’t decide between two tag lines, so I kept them both. I use the short one mostly, but do pop the longer one out now and then: “literature that reads like pulp fiction” also “I like my bad guys really bad, and my good guys smarter and better.”
What I’m noticing is more Christian men writing and what they’re writing is crime fiction and action-adventure. These are the two genres I like to read. Mostly the male writers such as Mark Young (who had a career as a police officer) get the police procedure right, and then there’s J. Mark Bertrand’s outstanding Roland March detective series. There are also women who are getting details about fire arms and fight scenes right. I’m proud to say, I’m thought to be one of them. I’m a research fanatic. I spend hours researching firearms and other weapons, tactics for a fight scene, and police procedure out in the field. But I’m not the only female Christian author writing technically correct gritty scenes. Luana Erlich (who leans more toward espionage) does this, so does Virginia Tenery. Tammy, you do, and there are others as well.
Since you are my guest, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that your outstanding western suspense novel CELTIC CROSS is going FREE this weekend and will be FREE from then on in.
I’m dreaming of crime fiction novels that make me feel like Christmas. They might have horses dashing through snow and sleigh bells ringing, or chestnuts roasting, or angels on high. Or they might conjure up ye olde Yuletide feeling…that sitting before a roaring fire feeling.
GOLD FRANKINCENSE AND MURDER by Barbara Early
High school geometry teacher, Donna Russell likes her life well-ordered and logical, even if it is a tad solitary at times. But when a charming co-worker at the local food bank disappears just before Christmas, Donna is left with more questions than solutions.
After the missing man’s neighbor, muscle-bound EMT Sam Holton, volunteers as Donna’s crime-fighting sidekick, sparks fly between them. Donna wonders if Same can be trusted, or if he’s trying to throw an unknown into her calculations–and her life.
And when police recover a body from the icy Niagara River, Donna is faced with the most frustrating equation of all: can murder plus mayhem ever equal romance?
GOODBYE NOEL by Nike Chillemi
The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes head long out a window. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?
Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother’s flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she’s willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant’s best interests at heart, even the man she’s growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover at a cult as well as at a fancy ball.
Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he’s drawn to. Is there’s something he’s overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?
SEASON OF DANGER by Hannah Alexander
After sabotage strikes the Vance Rescue Mission, volunteer Sean Torrance tries to guarantee the mission a safe Christmas. But can Sean protect Tess Vance when the sabotage becomes poisonous — with Tess as the target?
MISTLETOE AND MAYHEM by Kate Kingsbury
At the Pennyfoot Hotel, Cecily Sinclair Baxter and her staff are hustling and bustling more than ever. Cecily’s dear friend Madeline arrives with her new baby and adds a kissing bough to the holiday decorations. But after a footman and a new maid are seen kissing under the bough and turn up dead, the staff is convinced a serial killer is spending the holidays at the Pennyfoot. And when Madeline’s baby disappears, Cecily has her hands full desperately trying to find the child. If she doesn’t catch the killer in time, everyone’s cheer will quickly turn to fear…