Acts of Malice by Nike Chillemi

Nike Chillemi is my Writer of the Day and is here today to talk about her latest book–Acts of Malice.

Nike writes classic murder mysteries/detective novels. It’s been said she writes literature that reads like pulp fiction. Plenty of action, a dash of grit, wry humor as her characters navigate through situations and relationships, and there’s as an uplifting message. There’s usually a national security/public safety underlying theme to her work. She likes her bad guys really bad, her good guys smarter and better. 

Tell us about Acts of Malice in a nut shell… A taut and compelling classic murder mystery with a national security underlying theme. Interpersonal relationships, greed, dry humor. Uplifting.

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Q: What is the key theme in the book?

A: In ACTS OF MALICE there are two murders. The story is driven by the murders, the search for the killers, and need for justice for the victims. The main characters are either trying to stay out of the crosshairs of the killers, trying to find the killers, or both. Closely related to this is the subtheme about the widows and families left behind, and how they mourn and struggle in the wake of these devastating, senseless murders And, there is a strong inspirational, Christian message. Still it’s the search for the killers and the desire for justice that pushes the story forward. That’s why I say that I write from a Christian World View, rather that saying I write Christian fiction, because what I actually write are classic murder mysteries. Many of the most important characters in my mystery novels happen to be Christians.

Q: Villains can be hard to write. How did you write yours?

A: I find most villains disturbing, even the ones I create. That’s why I don’t get into their mindset too much. I show them in social situations where they’ve got their public face on. Of course, I do give an inkling as to their devious interior being so that when it turns out at the end that they are the killer, it’s believable. I have put down and stopped reading thrillers by talented authors that delight and revel in the demonic mindset of the psychopathic killer. Of course, it almost goes without saying, I’d never write anything like that.

Q: What comes first, plot or characters?

A: The murder and its motive come first. Then the main characters drive the story and the plot forward as they hunt the killer(s) and/or try to stay out of harm’s way. It becomes a question of what would they do next to find the killer(s) and to survive the killer(s).

 

Back Cover Blurb:

Lavender Raines gets the ‘doorbell ring’ no wife ever wants to get. Her husband has been brutally murdered, and the FBI is more secretive than helpful. The problem is, his body was found in Caracas when she thought his business trip had taken him to New Orleans.

Mackenzie just opened a second beach resort-town restaurant, this one in Ribault Beach, Florida…but now the clandestine national security organization that from-time-to-time sends him on covert missions wants him to find Lavender’s husband’s killers.

Forces from within the “Deep State” have shaped circumstances that will alter the course of both their lives. Then a local man is murdered. Lavender and Mackey are polar opposites. He is emotionally shut down about his life, but protective of others. She is a pillar of strength in her family, but distrusting of Mackey and guarded around him. Can they find common ground amidst this treachery and turmoil?

 

Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Nike. How can my readers contact you?

Nike’s blog. https://nikechillemi.com/

Nike on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/nike.chillemi

Twitter: @NikeNChillemi

 

God Bless & Good Reading!

A Christmas Poem by Keith Summers

Keith Summers is a friend and a missionary in Japan. He’s lived in Japan for many, many years. When I saw his poem, I knew I wanted to share it with me readers so here it is:

 

Merry Christmas
When I wish someone “Merry Christmas”,
I don’t wish their trees to be bright,
Their presents piled high,
Their stockings filled to the top.

I wish them the awe the shepherds had,
When they heard the angels and saw the babe,
And the awe of the wisemen, led by the star,
When they, too, found the newborn King.

When I wish someone “Merry Christmas”,
I’m not wishing they get all they want,
That they escape the season’s hassles,
And avoid the humbug mood.

I wish them the joy of the Eternal King’s presence,
The warmth of the Everlasting Father,
The peace that passes all understanding,
The joy that fills to overflowing.

My “Merry Christmas” echoes my desire,
To pass on the greatest gift I’ve received,
This gift that John described in these words,
“For God so loved the world that He gave…”

Merry Christmas 2019

PS. The poem is Keith’s but the tree is mine!

God Bless & Good Reading and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

Hiding From Christmas by LoRee Peery

Hiding from Christmas

After her grandparents as forced to live apart through assisted living, and then die within nine days of each other, intrepid entrepreneur Calissa Ladd is devastated. She’s always wanted to experience the same lifelong love modeled by her grandparents, but her heart isn’t where it needs to be as she clings to the past for answers and then starts having vivid dreams of a long-ago time period.

Deferential banker Monte McQueen has loved Calissa since they were children, but he procrastinates making a commitment to her. He stands by as Calissa gets stuck in the past.

Calissa clings to the decrepit homestead that belonged to her family, searching and seeing visions into the past. Will she overcome her skewed beliefs and reclaim her relationship with the Lord as Monte pushes his love of Christmas on her? Or will she forfeit her happily-ever-after?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hiding-Christmas-Holiday-Time-travel-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B07YSY7W87/ref

A little about LoRee:

Nebraska country girl LoRee Peery writes fiction that hopefully appeals to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective, focusing on the romance. These include novels and novellas for women and men in the Contemporary, Romance, Historical, Time Travel, and Mystery/Suspense categories. She writes of redeeming grace with a sense of place. She is who she is by the grace of God: Christian, country girl, wife, mother, grandmother and great-, sister, friend, and author. Connect with LoRee through these links:

www.loreepeery.com,

https://twitter.com/LoreePeery

https://www.facebook.com/LoReePeery

Thanks for stopping by today, LoRee. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

 

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Clear As Ice by Penelope Marzec

CLEAR AS ICE by Penelope Marzec

When Ethan’s prayers for his mother’s life go unanswered, he abandons his faith, tossing it out with his mother’s Christmas ornaments. The loss of his hope leaves him empty and he begins to shy away from relationships, but when his dog Rufus, a rescue from a shelter, develops a fondness for a woman skating on the frozen lake behind his house, he’s annoyed. Not only does he resent her using his pond, he doesn’t understand her fear of dogs.

Haylie, once an Olympic figure skater, is afraid of more than just Ethan’s dog. She lives in constant fear due to threats from a stalker, but one day Ethan’s dog chases the danger away, so Haylie decides to try to lose her fear of dogs…But then the stalker’s plans expand to include revenge toward Ethan as well. If they are to remain safe and live to see a happily-ever-after, Haylie and Ethan must put aside differences and learn to trust each other. This Christmas season promises to be the most challenging and the most meaningful of their lives.

 

Now that you read a bit about the book, the question becomes–Who is Penelope Marzec? Let’s find out.

The author of CLEAR AS ICE, Penelope Marzec, grew up along the Jersey shore. She started reading romances at a young age and fell hopelessly in love with happy endings. Two of her inspirational romances won EPIC’s eBook Award and another was a finalist in that contest. Her paranormal, Irons in the Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award. Visit her website at http://www.penelopemarzec.com for more information.

Penelope’s favorite Christmas tradition is setting up the Nativity scene. When she was young, her family didn’t own a Nativity scene. Money was tight, since Penelope was one of four children, and so while her family always set up a Christmas tree and scraped together enough for some gifts, there never was a Nativity set.

When Penelope married, more responsibilities came along–like buying a house and having children. She wanted her very young daughters to understand the true meaning of Christmas. She knew a Nativity set would be helpful in that undertaking. While there were many lovely Nativity sets, most of them were very easy to break.

Then she found a set of large, plastic figurines. While the set did not have the delicate beauty of those more expensive sets, she knew it would stand up to the inquisitive hands of toddlers. Unfortunately, it didn’t come with a stable.

Penelope set about looking for housing for the Holy Family. She found it at a Christmas bazaar in a nearby church. Handmade by a local artisan, it just happened to be the right size.

The figurines stood the test of time with children who once decided to make our set a “living” Nativity scene by placing the guinea pigs inside and added Timothy hay so they would stay there. It didn’t work out well. The guinea pigs liked the hay but the figurines got in their way.

The figurines aged over time. Every now and then, they need a dab of paint when the original paint flakes off. After Thanksgiving, Penelope sets up the Nativity scene each year, adding a bit of dried grass since hay is far too large in scale. Though Penelope could buy a more fanciful set, she loves this one and it has become a wonderful tradition in the family.

Thanks, Penelope, for spending some time with my readers today.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

BOOK REVIEW: Crazy Creek Christmas by Lisa J. Lickel

I love Christmas! For many different reasons but one reason is because of all the great Christmas novellas that my publisher (Pelican Book Group) releases during their Christmas Extravaganza. This year is no exception. Today, I’m featuring Crazy Creek Christmas by Lisa J. Lickel.

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin author who loves books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Besides writing inspiring fiction, she also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at LisaLickel.com.

MY BOOK REVIEW:

I love reading Lisa’s books.

They always have great characters along with an interesting plot. This one is no exception. This is not your everyday ho-hum romance. First of all, it’s set in modern-day Wyoming on the Rocking J Ranch. I mean really–how cool is that? Mountains and cowboys and Christmas!

Leah needs a job and Rocking J Ranch needs a cook. It sounds like the perfect situation….until she arrives. Things are a little different than she expected. OK, a lot different and not in a good way. It seems that not everyone’s happy she’s there. But that’s OK with her, she’s tough. Being raised in foster homes will do that. And she really needs this job.

Noel is the absent owner of the ranch but shows up with the intention of sharing his plan to sell the ranch to a development group. And that means he’s not popular with anyone, including Leah.

I’m not going to give away the plot but I will tell you that there’s lots of twists and turns. That’s the great thing about reading Lisa J. Lickel’s books. You just never know what’s going to happen. Only that something will happen. Definitely put this book on your holiday reading list.

 

 

Crazy Creek Christmas By Lisa J Lickel

 

AMAZON LINK

Crazy Creek, Wyoming saves Leah Hanes’s life. Running on fumes and bald tires, she thanks heaven for Cookie and Jeanette Wimmer who send her to the Rocking J Ranch as a winter cook. Leah arrives to discover the ranch and the people need more than a cook.

Noel Johansen, heir of the Rocking J, happily left for the big city years ago. When he loses his family in a terrible accident, the best thing for everyone is to sell the place, ditch the memories, and move on. But his brother-in-law has other plans, and the beautiful new cook they’ve hired for the season threatens Noel’s desire to remain detached.

The ranch represents Noel’s future and selling it becomes more important than ever when one more tragedy leaves him with nothing. But memories can’t be bought and sold, nor can a broken conscience heal itself. Home, heart, and future are irrevocably tied in Crazy Creek.

 

Enjoy an Excerpt from CRAZY CREEK CHRISTMAS:

 

Noel pushed through the passage into his mother’s dining area.

“Did that woman get here yet? I don’t want to have to haul someone’s…”

It was Gil’s voice Noel heard, but definitely not Gil’s face across the big table. Noel amended his language and raised his arms to brace himself against the sides of the doorway.

“Ah…vehicle…out of the ditch.”

Cupcake was a liar.

The vision before him was not some hardened woman used to ranch life and the lonely, harsh conditions of a Wyoming winter.

Jeanette and Cupcake sent a woman several years younger than himself, younger even than his sister. How could she have experience cooking? Noel stared. She was very pretty in a pinched, inexperienced way, with dark blonde hair pulled back from her face in a loose ponytail. She seemed startled, maybe even confused. The opposite of Carolyn in every way.

The folder with the contract was on the table. To one side, Marty rested on the table. To the girl’s other side, Gil huddled in his wheelchair. He’d obviously slid downhill since coming home from rehab last month. It didn’t look as if he’d done anything to keep himself or the place up in the weeks since Noel brought him home. Marty had been sick, Noel knew, but a visiting nurse was supposed to check in on them.

Mom would never have allowed this. Jeanette should have known better. What had she been thinking? The situation had clearly gotten out of control.

“I wasn’t expecting you,” Gil said.

“Clearly.” Noel snapped himself upright and walked in. “What’s going on? The place looks like it’s falling apart. I only left a few weeks ago.”

Gil gave a sideways eye-roll toward the young lady. “What are you doing here?”

“Jeanette and Cupcake sent a message.” Noel hedged. “Where’s the nurse?”

“After the first two weeks I told her she didn’t have to come back,” Gil said.

The young lady turned her face from their 1 exchange. Noel set his hands on his hips. “Excuse me. You’re…you’re Lady…Laney…La-something?”

The woman raised a brow at Gil, who had turned red.

“This is Leah Hanes. Leah, meet my brother-in-law.”

Noel put his hands on the table and leaned 8 forward, trying to get a look at the contract. Gil pushed the papers inside the folder and closed it. “Your car wasn’t outside,” Noel said. “As you can see, the situation isn’t going to work out. Thank you for coming.”

“I signed a contract, Mr…Mr. Brother-in-law.” Leah’s voice was not that of a young, inexperienced or nervous girl.

It was Noel’s turn to raise his brow.

Marty finally lifted his head, snuffled, and stared Noel straight on. “She got nowhere else to go. You can’t kick a body out when winter’s comin’.”

 

And there you have it! This is a fun read to get you in the mood for Christmas. Thanks,  Lisa, for being my guest today.

 

God Bless & Good Reading!

 

 

 

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Sugar Cookies and Street Lamps by Susan M. Baganz

Susan M. Baganz is living her own happily-ever-after with her husband Benjamin. She chases after two Hobbits, and is a native of Wisconsin. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.  Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. Her favorite pastimes are lazy…spending time with her husband, snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.
You can learn more by following her blog http://www.susanbaganz.com, her Twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, http://www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz.

Noelle Starr hates her name and her Christmas Eve birthday. This year, as she works as an event coordinator for a huge Christmas gala, she is dealing with a handsome corporate assistant with big plans and effusive faith. Could she possibly make it through this season with her sanity intact?

Rudolph (Rudy) Cameron was named for his great-grandfather and grew up being teased for his unfortunate penchant for looking rosy-cheeked and nosed in the cold Wisconsin winters. That never did much to dampen his thrill of the season celebrating the birth of Christ. This year a certain woman was sweetening the process except she hates this time of year! Now if he could only get her to look past her own nose to see the real reason for the season.

 

Thanks, Susan, for stopping by. I hope you have a merry, merry Christmas.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

All I Want for Christmas is Johnny Rocker Dead!

All I Want for Christmas is Johnny Rocker Dead–how’s that for a great title for my latest Christmas novella. And if that wasn’t enough, look at the great cover my publisher created!

 

AMAZON BUY LINK

 

Between the title and the cover, it should tell readers one thing. This is going to be a fun story! And that’s exactly what it is.

Every year my publisher puts on a Christmas Extravaganza! I love that word—extravaganza. It’s fun to say. Anyway…what’s a Christmas Extravaganza? My publisher releases a group of novellas with a Christmas theme and for a certain time they’re only 99 cents! How’s that for an extravaganza?

Murder, Mayhem & Christmas? Really? On the surface, it may seem that murder and mayhem doesn’t necessarily go with Christmas, but I love weaving a Christmas story in with suspense and romance. I have several other Christmas stories available—The Christmas Stalking; The Christmas Angel Thief; No Home for the Holidays; and A Christmas Stolen.

Johnny Rocker considers himself a rock and roll god and therefore, he doesn’t need God. But as with all of us, God has a way of getting our attention when he wants it.

Maddie Cotton’s plan for Christmas are simple. She’s quitting her bodyguard job because it’s time for a change in her life. But one simple word changes those plans—Nineveh.

So exactly how does God get Johnny Rocker’s attention and what does Nineveh have to do with it? You’ll have to read the book to find out.I won’t tell you the plot but I will tell you that story is about how much God loves each of us—no matter what we’ve done.

And isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?

All I Want for Christmas is Johnny Rocker Dead releases on November 27th, but you can preorder it right now.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Merry Christmas to all!