TRAPPED-Baby Steps


As you know, TRAPPED is my latest romantic suspense novel—heavy on the suspense but enough romance to add to the enjoyment. Being Christian Fiction,  there’s also a spiritual message hidden in the pages of the story as well, and this one is no exception.

Angelina Matthews had the perfect life until the day she’s kidnapped and trapped in a basement with a mad man. Even though she’s rescued, she remains trapped by the memories she can’t forget. That’s true for so many of us. Even after the “bad situation” whatever that may be is resolved, we get stuck and can’t seem to move forward with our lives.

Instead, we’re angry and bitter or maybe sad and fearful or most likely a combination of all of those negative emotions.

In the story, her rescuer discovers that Angelina is indeed still trapped by her horrible experience. He’s had his own share of horrible as a Chicago policeman. Because of that, he reaches out to help Angeling.

One of the mantras in the story is “baby steps.” So often we think we have to go from a sitting position to a full-out run or we are a failure. It’s not true. Each baby step, we take will move us toward our ultimate goal–no matter what it is. It’s not important how fast we start but that we start. As the turtle and the hare found out–slow and steady wins the race!

One example from my own life is my weight loss journey. It took me a long, long time to lose 60 pounds. I’m still holding at the 50 pound mark. It wasn’t easy! Some weeks, I would only see a miniscule loss even though I followed the plan perfectly. But each of those miniscule losses eventually led to a pound and another pound and another

Each baby step we take toward our goal is a win. Every win brings us closer to our ultimate victory!

But TRAPPED isn’t a self-help book, it’s a suspense novel. That means there’s lots of twists and turns that will keep you guessing who the bad guy is until the very end!

Here’s the AMAZON LINK.

To celebrate the release of TRAPPED, I’m having a giveaway! Actually two different giveaways.

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card as well as a choice of one of my books (e-book only) through CelebrateLit. Click Here to enter that giveaway.

I’m also having a giveaway here on my own blog.  One person will win another $25 Amazon gift card and five lucky winners will win their choice of one of my e-books . To be entered all you need to do is leave a comment under any of the TRAPPED posts. Don’t know what to say as a comment, how about we do something fun–ask me a question and I’ll answer it or tell you it’s none of your business–just kidding–I hope!





My new book-SPLIT!-released this week. The book features the Minton family and their bowling center. I love the characters in this book. Yes, I know that I say that with every book I write.

I only say it because it’s true!



So bowling and a mystery? That’s definitely not the usual setting for a mystery or suspense story. Almost fifteen years ago, I got married. To a bowler! Now if you don’t have a close association with a bowler, you may not know what that means.

For me, it meant I started to bowling.

I am not a natural athlete–at all! And in fact when I started bowling on a league with my husband, my family found it quite amusing. Almost fifteen years later, I’m still not a good bowler. OK, I’m pretty bad! My average is pretty much the same as it was when I started.

But that’s the great thing about bowling. When you bowl on a league, they give you a handicap. Meaning I get extra points because I’m that bad, and that makes me more competitive with the good bowlers.

Originally (actually up until a few weeks ago) the story title was 7/10 Split. As I was making the final revisions, I came to understand that the main character’s (MACY) goal was to keep her family together–not SPLIT up.

By changing the title to SPLIT! I was able to describe the essence of the story in one word as well as use a bowling term! And that’s what I did! Here’s the blurb for the story:

Sometimes life is full of strikes; and sometimes all we get is a split—no matter how well we throw the ball.

After seventeen year-old Macy Minton’s parents died, she’s had only one goal—to keep her family together. Along with the family bowling center, she inherited the responsibility of caring for her two younger siblings.

Now seven years later everything is falling apart, especially her family.

Macy thinks life can’t get any worse, but she’s wrong.

As she struggles to keep the bowling alley from closing forever, one tragedy after another threatens to split her family permanently. Convinced someone is intent on destroying her family, she’s determined to stop them.

But first she has to find out who’s responsible.

So that’s the story behind the story of SPLIT!


What Makes A Hero?


Everyone love a hero, right? But what makes a hero? I’m sure there are many different ways to define or describe a hero, but I believe a hero is someone who puts themselves out for someone else without any expectation of getting a “reward” whatever it might be.



In Deception, Patti must unravel the disappearance of her twin sister, in spite of the fact that she feels her sister ruined her life. She chooses to do the right thing. That’s what makes a hero!




In Betrayed, Maria thinks her nightmare is over until her husband calls–her supposedly dead husband. Terrified for her daughter’s safety, she flees. Then she hears another child is missing. Thinking her “dead” husband could be responsible, she must make a choice to hide or to help. She chooses to do the right thing. That’s what make a hero!






In Redemption, Jamie puts her own life in danger to help a friend find her missing child in spite of the danger to herself. That’s what makes a hero!


In real life, we aren’t usually faced with these types of choices but…

We can choose to do the right thing when no one is looking.

We can choose to be kind in the face of another’s anger.

We can choose to do our best in whatever job we find ourselves.

That’s what makes a hero!

What about you–what do you think makes a hero?



Leave a comment

I’ve been writing for a lot of years. One thing I’ve noticed is a lot of the “rules” that make up good writing works for life as well! That’s what Writerly Wisdom is all about. This week:


One of the rules of writing is to keep the story moving forward. Back story is anything that’s happened to the characters before the story actually starts. Writers love back story. And, in fact, we need to know some of the characters defining moments to understand why the character reacts in a certain way in the present story.

But too much back story bogs things down.

Life is the same way. If we get too focused on our past, we aren’t moving forward. And moving forward is what we should be doing. The interesting this is that whether we’re focusing on the good or bad things in our past, it keeps us from moving forward.

For example:  The star high school quarterback who relieves his glory days over and over isn’t moving forward. He’s stuck in the past instead of living in the future.

Another: The victim in an abusive marriage relieves the horror over and over. And that makes her afraid to get involved with anyone else–ever again.

Neither of those situations are good. Just as a story should keep moving forward, so should we.

What’s stopping you from moving forward?



Heaven’s Prey Blog Chase


Heaven's Prey Blog Chase graphic

Heaven’s Prey is a novel of suspense and redemption, so let’s have some fun with a “blog chase.” Follow the trail between Oct. 31 and Nov. 7, 2013 for a chance to win a print copy of Heaven’s Prey.

You’re at the fifth stop in the chase. Welcome! You’ll need to visit each stop so you’ll know the answers for the quiz at the end … that’s how you enter the prize draw. To start at the beginning, click the arrow:

Arrow to the beginning of the blog chase

Back to the start

Let’s peek into the story world:

Dreams of a dying man haunted Ruth’s sleep, sound-tracked with wild, abandoned wails. Waking, she’d hear an echo in her mind: Somebody had better pray for him…

She didn’t tell Tony.

Tonight the man was drowning. The water turned to quicksand. To fire. Hands of flame clutched him. Another figure plunged into the inferno, but the man twisted free of his rescuer and sank into a red-hot river of magma. The wailing started again, a haunting lament, the worst yet.

Ruth jolted awake. Somebody’d better pray for him…

Tony’s gentle snores didn’t break rhythm. Holding her breath, Ruth eased out from under the covers and sneaked from the bedroom into the den.

She sank to her knees in front of the recliner and cradled her head in her arms. Hopelessness flooded her, sorrow, grief on a level she’d never experienced. Not for her parents’ deaths, her miscarriages, even Susan’s tragedy. Dimly, she realized she was crying.

Was this what God felt when He looked at a lost soul? At that fiend, Silver? Her lungs fought for breath against the weight of mourning. The dark room closed in on her like a collapsed mine shaft. Oh, God, if it means that much to you—if You want him that badly—

She drew a shaky breath and wiped her eyes on the satin sleeve of her pajamas. Another breath, slower this time, then she forced the words out in a whisper. “I will pray for Harry Silver, Father. Because You ask.”

Stepping out of the story …

Did you know? In December, 1917, the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, was devastated by the largest man-made explosion before Hiroshima. The Christmas tree the province sends to Boston each year is a gesture of thanks for that city’s help with the relief efforts. (Link: CBC’s Halifax Explosion site)

Eagle photo with prayer quote

arrow to next stop

Next stop on the blog chase

Heaven’s Prey releases November 1, 2013. Visit Choose NOW Publishing to read a sample chapter … just don’t forget to come back to the chase! Preorder links are on the Choose NOW site as well.

Heaven's Prey book blitz click here

Blood & Guts? Yuck!


I know!  It doesn’t make sense. I write suspense and mystery novels and yet I hate blood and guts type things, especially in movies and TV. I’ll cover my eyes during really gory parts. My husband laughs and asks how can I write suspense stories and still hide my eyes.

I often respond with “If I liked blood, I would have become a doctor!”

Now, I’m not a fainting type person when I see blood, but I’ve been known to gag a time or two during especially gory scenes.

Being squeamish doesn’t stop me from putting a little blood and guts in my scene if it’s necessary. But it’s not always necessary.

I think good suspense writing comes from putting the reader on the edge of their seat. My goal is to make them turn the page to see what’s going to happen next instead of turning off the light to go to sleep.  The way to do that is to create a story that makes them want to find out the ending rather than describing every horrific scene in graphic detail.

What’s your thoughts? Should suspense writers go for the shock value of blood and guts? Does a good suspense story have to be gory?

UNTIL NEXT TIME…God Bless & Good Reading!



Leave a comment

I hope you’re enjoying the story so far. Poor Chryssie–things just keep getting worse.


Chryssie jerked as the pencil dropped out of her hand. She shook her head in an effort to stay awake. The words on the test blurred. It had been more than twenty-four hours since she’d slept.

Her body was rebelling.

Her mind couldn’t focus.

She looked around. All the other students’ heads were down concentrating on the test. It had been a bad idea to come. It would have been better to go to the police. The university would have understood and let her take the test later after she’d slept, even though they’d said no make-ups.

She would have known that if she hadn’t been so panicked and so tired. Now, it was too late.  If she failed, it would be her own fault.

Looking down at the paper, she squinted. The words came into focus.

After triple-checking her answers, Chryssie walked up and laid the paper on her professor’s desk. Dr. Lasky looked up with a smile. “I’m sure I’ll be seeing you at graduation. You’ve been one of the best students I’ve had in years.”

“Thanks.” Chryssie smiled not bothering to explain that she wouldn’t be marching in the graduation. That took money—money that could be better spent to get her sister out of foster care.

As she made her way towards the door, a man and woman walked in. The woman held a piece of paper in her hand. As Chryssie passed them, her gaze dropped to the paper.

Her heart skipped a beat.

Her face decorated the paper—her driver’s license picture.

Lucky for her she had two different ID’s. Her college ID showed her as she looked right that moment. Her driver’s license picture showed the bartender Chryissie in full makeup and wig.

They didn’t give her a second glance. They weren’t looking for a mouse. Instead they walked up to the professor. “We’re from the police department….”

Chryssie wanted to hear what the next words were, but she knew that wasn’t a good idea. She had to get out of there. The police were looking for her—that wasn’t good. The police certainly had better things to do than hunt her down to return her purse or ID so why were they looking for her?

Once out of the classroom, she walked as fast as she could out of the building, not wanting to cause attention to herself. When she was out of the building, she didn’t dare look behind her.

She was sure the police were right behind her.

She had to get away from them. Not quite sure why since her plan was to go to the police station and tell them what she witnessed. But the fact they were looking for her scared Chryssie.

Too exhausted to think, she had to get some rest. Then she’d figure out what was going on. Her new plan was simple. To get her car and then find a quiet place to take a nap. After that, she’d come up with a strategy.

She hiked across the campus towards the Student Union. Not able to remember the last time she’d eaten, she was starving. After she got a bite to eat, then she’d find a cab.

After buying a hot and a soda, she walked out into the lounge. She plopped down on a sofa as she looked up at the big screen TV in the room. Chryssie the bartender’s picture was on the screen.

She almost dropped the soda, but managed not to. Nobody seemed to notice her picture was on the screen. She listened as the newswoman told the world that Chryssie was wanted for questioning in the murder of Marque Davis who was found dead in an alley last night.

Panic coursed through her veins. How did the police know she’d been there? Why did they want to talk to her about it? Her mind flashed to the man grabbing her hand and forcing it on the gun. In a moment of clarity she understood.

The police thought she’d shot that poor guy.

She had no idea what to do, but her boss would. Chuck was rich and smart. He wasn’t a simple bar owner. That was only one of many of his businesses. He would know what to do.

Keeping her head down, Chryssie walked out of the Student Union to the area where cabs waited for fares. She walked over to the first one and opened the door. “I need to go downtown.”

“Sure thing. Where downtown?”

“Down by the Maze.”

“Sounds good. Celebrating the end of the semester with a shopping trip, huh?”

Celebrating was the last thing on Chryssie’s mind. “Something like that.”

“Well, be careful. There was another murder not far from the Maze last night. Third one in less than two weeks. It’s a pity. I don’t know what this world’s coming to.”

“Yeah.” The last thing Chryssie wanted to do was to discuss the murder, but she didn’t want to be rude.

“Of course, I have a buddy that’s a cop. He says they have a good lead on this one.”

Her ears perked up. “Oh, really. What are they saying?”

“They’re looking for some woman bartender. According to my buddy, they’re pretty sure it’s her. Stupid woman left her purse at the scene.”

How could they think she’d killed that man? She hadn’t dropped her purse anywhere near the man at all. No wonder the guy had stopped chasing her. He had a better way to deal with the mess. Make them think she’d killed that poor guy. “Oh…well that’s good. I guess.”

He pulled up to the curb. “Here you go.”

After she paid him, she walked towards the Maze until she heard the cab pull away. Then she turned and retraced her steps from last night. Each step brought back the terror she’d felt when she was running for her life last night.

Breathing deeply, she fought back tears.

How was she going to get out of this mess? Chuck would know what to do. After she got her car, she’d go to the bar. She didn’t care if he got mad that she took a customer’s parking place or not.

She was pretty sure this counted as an emergency.

Until next time….GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

Experiment # 1!


OK-so I’m trying to make my blog more fun and interesting for people who love to read–especially those who love to read mystery and suspense novels. LIke my tagline says, I write…stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. So, here’s my first experiment. Just as in the golden days of radio, I’m going to share a story with my readers for FREE!.  One chapter at a time! How many chapters will it be? I have no idea.

It’s a new story and it’s not finished yet.  I’m what other writers call a seat of the pants writer. That means I don’t plot my story ahead of time. So, you’ll be reading the story as I write it.

Only one catch–if I don’t know people want to read the next installment, then there won’t be a next installment. So, if you want to read more of the story, be sure to leave a comment. What sort of comments? Whatever you want as long as it’s about the story! Let me know what you think of the characters, the story plot, or whatever you want.



chrysalisa pupa of a butterfly or a moth; a protecting covering; a sheltered state or stage of being or growth; usually enclosed in a cocoon or protective covering as it undergoes internal changes to become an adult—also known as metamorphosis.

That was a lot of pressure for one person to bear. She supposed her mother meant good when she’d named her Chrysalis. She’d meant it to be symbolic, of course. Her mother had never grown out of the infancy stage, but she wanted her daughter to undergo the transformation from worm to butterfly.

Sorry, Momma. Not happening—at least not yet.

Chryssie closed the dictionary.

Time to go to work.

Time for a metamorphosis of another type.

She slipped on the low-cut T-shirt. It made for better tips. Then came her jeans, tight but comfortable. She moved to the bathroom mirror, took off her glasses, and put in her contacts. First came the outrageous eyeshadow, complete with glitter. Then the bright red lipstick.

And finally to make the change complete, she tied her soft brown hair in a ponytail and pinned it up. She slipped on the jet black Elvira wig.

She supposed a good friend might recognize her but since she had none, it wasn’t a worry.

She walked through her one room apartment.

Apartment. An exaggeration, but it was affordable. That’s what counted. As always, she picked up the picture of the adorable four-year-old girl, kissed it, and whispered, “Good-night, my love. Pleasant dreams tonight and always.”


The music blared while a few patrons still gyrated on the dance floor. It had been a busy night, just the way she liked it. Time went faster and more money. She glanced toward her tip jar. Almost full and she’d emptied it earlier.

She smiled in spite of the ache in her feet. At least, she’d be able to pay the rent on time this month. With any luck, it would be the last month in the dump.

A tall tough looking guy walked into the bar.

She smiled and waved. “Hey Marv, is it that time already?” She glanced up at the clock.

Marv walked over to the bar. The man was a walking canvas for his tattoo art. A snake crawled up his left arm to his neck and around the back of his head. An American flag adorned the top of his right arm with a military tattoo of some sort below it. Then came the obligatory MOM. His forearm had a beautiful rendition of a cross. Not in sight at the moment, she knew his back and chest were covered as well. He’d shown her them once when it was a slow night at the bar.

“Last call.” Chryssie yelled over the blaring of the music. No one reacted. Her feet throbbed as she walked over to the sound system. Moans all around when the explosive music turned to silence.

She turned toward the customers with a tired smile. “Last call. Ten minutes and I’m locking y’all up in here.”

More moans.

“Oh, come on. Give us a break, sweetheart. I’ll make it worth your while.”

“It’s Saturday night.”

“Now it’s eight minutes and counting down.”

“You’re a tough one,” Marv laughed as he sat down on the bar stool. “Got any customers for me tonight, Chryssie?”

“Still at it, huh? Don’t you ever get tired of dealing with these drunks?”

“What about you? You’r e here more often than me.”

“Yeah, but I get paid for it. You don’t.”

“Just my little way of paying it forward.”

She pointed at one man sitting at the end of the bar. “He’s the only one tonight.” Reaching under the bar, she fished around and held up a set of keys.

Marv exchanged the keys for a business card. “Come to church on Sunday if you want. And don’t forget we have a free meal every day at noon, even Sunday.”

She pushed the card back toward him. “We’ve had this discussion before. I don’t do church.”

He patted her arm. “Used to be the same way until Jesus saved my life.”

“Yeah, yeah. I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve heard all that before. Jesus saves you and then you go to heaven.”

“That’s true, but that’s not what I mean. Jesus literally saved my life.”

“Do tell.”

Marv shrugged and the snake appeared to be slithering around his neck. “I promise to tell you the whole story when you come to church or the meal.”

She put a hand on her hip. “Is that a blackmail attempt, Marv?”

“Me?” He touched his burly chest with his finger. “I would never do such a thing. Hope to see you Sunday.” He walked over to the man at the end of the bar. “How about a free ride home, buddy?”

After Chryssie locked up, she walked down the dark alley.  She shivered—not from the cold. It was close to seventy degrees out. Why couldn’t her boss let the closers park in their lot? It wasn’t safe.

She quickened her pace.

“I’m not happy about this meeting?”

“Yea, man. I got it. But you want a favor from me so you got to pay me.”

Her feet slowed down. The two men hadn’t seen her yet—and she wanted it to stay that way.  She pressed against the wall. She’d have to wait until the men finished their business.

“I already paid you.”

“Yeah, man, but that was before.”

“Before what?”

“Before I knowed who wanted the favor, man.”

Her pulse raced and she was afraid to breathe. Whatever was happening, it wasn’t something she wanted to be part of. She pressed against the old brick wall, trying not to breathe in the fumes from the nearby dumpster.

“Knew. Knowed isn’t a word. You won’t get very far in this world if you don’t have a basic knowledge of English.”

“Whatever. It was just a mistake. I knew the right word.”

“Well, that makes two mistakes you’ve made today.”


“Yeah, the other mistake was trying to cheat me. We had a deal.”

A pause.

“Hey, man. You don’t need the gun. You don’t want to pay me anymore, fine by me. Not a problem. I’ll still do the…job. ”

Gun. A chill traveled the length of her spine. Every nerve screamed at her to run back to the bar, but her feet were frozen.

“Sorry, I don’t believe in second chances.”


A moan.

He’d shot the guy. She just knew it. Be quiet. Let him leave and then she’d help him.

Pop. Pop.

Or not.


A moment later, a shadow loomed large, and then he was in front of her. His eyes grew wide as their gazes locked. His arm moved upwards.

The gun.

Well that’s part one–what did you think of it? Want to read more? And yes, i admit it. I hope the story piques your interest enough to check out my other books.  You can visit my website at or checkout the online bookstores, such as or

Thanks, let me know if you want to read the next part of the story. Remember no comments–no second part of the story!

Until next time….God Bless & Good Reading!