Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas brings back cherished memories

Merry Christmas!

Christmas means different things to different people. For me, there's nothing like close friends and family all year, but I stop and cherish them all more around the Christmas season, I suppose. I am blessed in massive ways and I know it.

My husband of 45 years is awesome still. His mother left this world on July 4th and we miss her although today we all felt her presence as we prayed and dined together once again.

My two sons are wonderful role models for young people and they (along with their beautiful wives) have given me three precious grandsons.

The creme on the dessert? We all live within seven miles of each other.

I wish for all of you blessings a-plenty throughout 2013.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The treasure of friendship

During this time of year I always become melancholy. I miss my parents, my wonderful mother-in-law who died in July, and so many friends who crossed over far too soon.

But I have a world of treasures around me. So many of you who read this blog are cyber friends, some whom I've had the pleasure of meeting in person, some with whom I've done book business, and many I hope to meet one of these days.

During this time of giving thanks and gifts and eating too much, remember what a blessing you are.

Merry Christmas to One and All!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Next Big Thing

I promised to pass along a blog hop. This particular blog hop is making its way around the blogosphere. I was tagged by North Carolina writer, Karen Pullen to answer 10 questions. Then I get to tag some other writers. I decided to post about my new release. Here we go!

1. What is the title of your book?


2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I am blessed to have several lifelong friends and wanted to write a book about friendship and some of the crazy antics that we've been through.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Women's fiction

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I picture Kathy Bates as Mackie Sue Beanblossom and her sidekick, Daisy Marie Hazelhurst, would be Penny Marshall. Ed Harris would make a great Clayton Beanblossom.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript?

Lifelong friends encourage and protect each other no matter what!

6. Will your book be represented by an agency?

No agent.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

A year, perhaps? I started writing this book while I was completing final edits for Sin Creek, part of my Logan Hunter Mystery series. And I’m easily distracted by shiny things.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within the genre?

Mary Kay Andrews books and Mary Alice Monroe books.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Some of the best friends anyone could have. And also my fascination with the geese on our pond. I wanted to use the Lessons Learned from Geese as a guide.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Mackie Sue and Daisy Marie have turned sixty and hot flashes, weight gain and insecurity about aging dominate their conversations.  Daisy's malapropisms are hilarious and some of their misadventures are priceless.

Early reviews:

"...Whitfield has you laughing one moment and crying the next..."

"...touches the reader with its humanity."

"...Whitfield's best so far!"

The book is available in print and ebook. I'm proud that many folks are buying it to give to their BFF for Christmas. That really touches my heart. Have a meaningful Thanksgiving and don't forget to call your friends;-)

Now I’m passing the baton to some truly exceptional writers . . .
Greta James on Wednesday Nov 21, whose next big thing is a novel of linked short stories
Michele Berger on Tuesday Nov 20 whose next big thing is a zine she is co-authoring: ‘Chatmosphere’: The Arts and Cultural Buzz of Chatham County.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It looks like an early snow!

I don't know about you, but when a day is cold and raw like this one, I get in the mood to cook. I picked a recipe from Killer Recipes. It's  a recipe Judy Nichols submitted for the book. It has chocolate in it! Here it is:

Intense Cincinnati-Style Chili

(as featured in Caviar Dreams)



2 lbs lean ground beef
2 tsps crushed red pepper
4 small onions, chopped
1 qt water
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tbs vinegar
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground allspice
6 oz tomato paste
5 medium bay leaves
1 block unsweetened chocolate (yes, people in Cincinnati like chocolate in their chili)
4 tsp cumin

Add ground beef to water in a large pot and stir until beef separates to a fine texture. Add all other ingredients. Stir to blend. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer uncovered for about 3 hours. May cover for the last hour if desired consistency has been reached. For the classic Three Way, serve on spaghetti with shredded cheese. For a Four Way, add onions. If you're really brave for a Five Way, add the beans. And don't forget the hot sauce and oyster crackers.

Judy Nichols, author of Caviar Dreams

Check out Judy at
Want to order Killer Recipes to give during the holiday season? You can order them from,, or from my web site at
Stay warm!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Time for pound cake!

Two years ago I authored a unique cookbook titled Killer Recipes. I invited my author friends to send recipes they loved for the book and we'd give the book sales to charity (ACS). An overwhelming number of them sent as many as five recipes for the book. Each spring when Relay For Life comes around, I am able to donate over a thousand dollars for cancer research because of this book and the generosity of its contributors. During this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I will post some fabulous recipes. I hope you enjoy them. I begin with Vicki Lane's recipe, from her grandmother. I'm sure Vicki misses her this time of year.


Ba’s* Pound Cake


2 sticks butter
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 cups flour
5 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly (by hand or with an electric mixer). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add flour and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Put batter in well-greased tube pan. Put in cold oven, turn oven to 350 and bake one hour. (Note-- this is not a high-rising cake -- it's dense and delicious.) For a decadent treat, cut a slice, butter it, and run it under the broiler. (* Ba is Vicki’s grandmother.)

Vicki Lane, author of the Elizabeth Goodweather Mystery series:  In A Dark Season, Old Wounds, Art’s Blood, and Signs in the Blood


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dames Speak Out

I did a post on Dames of Dialogue about my bout with menopause and how I drew from that experience to write parts of Slightly Cracked, my first women's fiction. Quite a few ladies and one gentelman commented, some of them hilarious. I've provided a link to the post in case you're interested.

Thanks to Maggie Bishop, whom I met at the High Country Book Festival. See? You never know when opportunity will knock.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Aaron Paul Lazar on tour: For Keeps

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Even though I’ve never met Aaron in person, I feel pulled to him not only through his wonderful writing but his kind online nature. Not to mention those eyes, that smile. LOL. It is my pleasure to have Aaron stop by for a visit on his book tour. I truly hope that you’ll read more about him and read some of his works. Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases in the near future.
FOR KEEPS Synopsis:

When retired family doctor Sam Moore’s old girlfriend is murdered in a local hotel, the police suspect his involvement. The coroner, a former med school colleague whose husband is about to desert her, reveals that she had a crush on Sam in med school. When she is strangled the next day in her own morgue, Sam is once again in the hot seat.

Sam’s world falls apart when he returns home to find a family member killed in the laundry room, stabbed with his own garden shears. Rocketed into a world of denial and temporary insanity, Sam faces his worst fear, and is locked up in the very same psych ward he was in when his brother Bill died fifty years ago. Sam is determined to ask his long dead brother to help him. Billy, who communicates through a little green marble, has the ability to propel Sam through time and has helped Sam unwrap baffling mysteries in the past. 
Sam’s plan: to change time, and bring his loved one back to life.

"Aaron Paul Lazar's deft paranormal mystery starts off quietly and builds to a powerful finish. More than a thriller, FOR KEEPS is a heartfelt story of love and devotion, family ties and emotional crisis, loss and redemption. A winner!" -Michael Prescott, USA Today bestselling author of Final Sins

"Lazar does it again with Sam Moore's explosive return in FOR KEEPS, a story of sordid pasts, buried secrets, and ultimately, true love. This tale will break your heart—and then tenderly stitch it back together—all while you're biting your nails to the quick. Every book in the Moore Mysteries series just keeps getting better!”-Sonya Bateman, author of Master of None & Master and Apprentice
“The author’s gentle prose brings the scents of a summer garden to life, together with rippling shade of forest and cool clear waters of lake. Characters are vividly real and welcoming too, with pitch-perfect dialog around the dinner table, a wonderful grandfather dealing with a two-year-old’s tantrum, and the awkward embarrassment of past secrets becoming public knowledge.”-Sheila Deeth, author of FLOWER CHILD

"I was truly mesmerized by this book, and I can honestly say that I have never been so blown away by the ending of a novel.  I actually felt a painful wrench when I turned the last page of the book as if I was being physically torn away from the Moore family."-CindyTaylor, Allbooks Reviews

Links to purchase:

Kindle eBook (free Sept 15th, 16th, Oct 12, 13!!!!!):

TwilightTimes Books by Kindle bestselling author, Aaron Lazar:

DOUBLE FORTÉ (2012, author’s preferred edition)  

UPSTAGED (coming 2012 author’s preferred edition, eBook and print)  












SANCTUARY (coming in 2013)

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (AUG 2012)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Yes, I admit that I'm slightly cracked

It's such an exciting time with the recent release of Slightly Cracked, my first women's fiction and book signings and parties coming up soon. I thought I'd tell you my inspiration for this book. I went through menopause for seven years and wasn't allowed to take HRT because of my fibrocystic disease. It was a hellacious time to be in a career with people around me all the time and in high stress situations. Now that I'm semi-over that phase, I can look back and laugh about some of it. I thought it would be fun to have two women going through some of the same problems I had.

Slightly Cracked is mostly about lifelong friendship, though. I name a main character Daisy Marie after Rose Marie, one of my bffs since we were babies, born two weeks apart. We grew up together and when I wasn't at her house, she was at mine. What a treasure she still is! But I have to admit that we never did all the things in this book. Truly, we didn't, but it would have been unforgettable if we had.

Daisy Marie is an electrologist, who snatches the hair right off tender body parts. Mackie Sue Beanblossom, her bff, is a high school principal. Together they get into all kinds of hysterical situations. At least the ladies are hysterical. They often over-react.

In the book, both women become suspicious of their husbands, work out nearly every day at the gym or walk through the subdivision with gaggles of geese following close behind.  (A gosling had imprinted on Daisy several years earlier and that starts what becomes the goose parade of Old Dickeywood.) What starts out as the neighborhood joke eventually becomes a huge goose problem, with the critters eating up gardens and fertilizing front yards, driveways, and the subdivision road throughout.

When Daisy falls off her bicycle and has a concussion, things begin to spin out of control for both women. All kinds of unimaginable things happen but their friendship remains strong.

I hope you'll check out the book, now available in print and digital. On Monday, I am a guest on "Dames of Dialogue" with Maggie Bishop. Check out that blog post if you can, and please excuse my profanity in discussing hot flashes and dark hair in strange places. On Tuesday, I'm over at for "The Write Trail".

To celebrate the new release, several North Carolina stores are holding Girls Night Out events to showcase Slightly Cracked and give us another reason to drink wine and lattes. YAAAAH!
Come if you can. Events will be posted on my web site, under the events tab.

To purchase:

Want a free copy? Post comments here about a funny or hideous experience you had with menopause. I'll select a winner.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


YIPPEE! My first women's fiction, Slightly Cracked, has been released! I based the book on the lessons we learn from geese. It's about lifelong friendship between to Baby Boomers. Here's the press release:

Susan Whitfield, author of the Logan Hunter Mystery series, announces the  October 29th release of SLIGHTLY CRACKED, her first women’s fiction, set in Wayne County, North Carolina.

In SLIGHTLY CRACKED, Sugar Babe Beanblossom and best pal, Daisy Marie Hazelhurst, have been buddies since they were born two weeks to the day apart. Living near each other, they share happy and sad memories, outrageous antics and giggles, marital and health glitches. The only thing that threatens their lifelong friendship is the Old Dickeywood subdivision goose controversy.

When Daisy takes a nasty spill on her bike, Sugar Babe races to her side. After two trips to the ER, Daisy is diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and tests reveal an even more sinister affliction. As Daisy weakens, Sugar Babe embraces the realization that friends must encourage and protect one another through difficult circumstances, and …

 “Driving Miss Daisy” takes on a whole new meaning.

SLIGHTLY CRACKED by Susan Whitfield – October 11, 2012– Contemporary Women’s Fiction – Trade paperback -  ISBN 978-1478335017 - $13.99 – Page Count – 308 – eBook – ISBN 978-1-62345-288-9

Whitfield, who lives in Wayne County, also wrote Genesis Beach, Just North of Luck, Hell Swamp, and Sin Creek. She is currently writing the fifth book in the mystery series, titled Sticking Point. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of American, Sisters in Crime, Carolina Conspiracy, Coastal Carolina Crime Writers, and North Carolina Writers Network and NABBW.


Susan Whitfield – 919-734-8367   - Email:   

The eBook is not available yet. I'll keep you posted. A special thanks to all of you who read for me, offered suggestions, and supported me during the process. You're a great basket of good eggs!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Richard Brawer's Keiretus

Richard Brawer writes mystery, suspense and historical fiction novels. When not writing, he spends his time sailing, growing roses and studying history.  He has two married daughters and lives in New Jersey with his wife.
Welcome to the blog, Richard.
Thanks, Susan.

How has your environment affected your writing? 

My first three novels written between 1994 and 2001 and now incorporated in one volume titled “Murder at the Jersey Shore” are set at the North Jersey Coast between Sandy Hook and Asbury Park.  The stories are based on events that were reported in the local newspaper.

For example Secrets Can be Deadly is based on a story about a father who refused to take his child home from the hospital because the newborn was diagnosed with a brain impairment. I asked myself, “What if the baby was misdiagnosed?”

Diamonds are for Stealing, developed from a story about a robbery at a jewelry store where the owner pulled a gun and accidentally killed his wife while firing at the robber.  I asked myself, “Accident or planned murder?”

Murder on the Links, the third book in this series came from stories about stock market fraud and the mobsters that perpetrated the fraud.

The publisher of these books has gone out of business and I have reacquired the rights.  I put the three books together into one volume titled “Murder at the Jersey Shore” and placed it on Kindle for $2.99

My fourth mystery, Murder Goes Round and Round is also based on a Jersey Shore town that had fallen into decay.  With the demise of the town, the owner of a hand carved antique carousel worth a million dollars put the carousel up for auction.  The newspaper stores reported that many in town were upset that it was being sold.  My imagination again took over and I used the carousel as the motive for murder.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration?  Can you share some special places with us?

I only traveled once for inspiration.  Originally that travel was not for researching a novel. I was born in Paterson, NJ, the center of America’s silk industry in the early twentieth century.  My family moved to the Jersey shore when I was eleven.

When I read an article in the paper about an historian giving a lecture on the silk industry and a tour of Paterson’s historic silk district I was curious and went to the event.  As I listened a plot about a divided family formed in my mind.  I took a lot of notes, but not enough to truly understand the era.  So I did research by going back to Paterson and reading old newspaper stories.  I picked out the events I wanted to use in my story and created Silk Legacy.

Silk Legacy was the only time I traveled for research.  My last two books, Beyond Guilty, published in 2010, and my current book, Keiretsu, coming out the end of November , 2012 were researched on line.

Give a short synopsis of your most recently published book.         

Keiretus is set in Japan and the United States.  The plot again arose out of many newspaper articles about China’s growing military strength.

While the United States is focused on diffusing Iran’s and North Korea’s nuclear weapons’ programs, the ultra-nationalist CEOs of Japan’s eight largest Keiretsus (conglomerates) form a cabal to use some of the shuttered nuclear power plants to secretly enrich uranium to bomb grade and develop nuclear weapons as a deterrent to China and a clandestine PAC (political action committee) within the U.S. to donate heavily to congressmen and senators to thwart the expected U.S. cease and desist demands.

Since I knew very little about Japan I had to do extensive research.  The setting in the Japanese part of the book was the easiest to find as all I had to do was access travel websites about Tokyo.  And of course there were many stories about the tsunami that ravished Japan.  However, researching specific Japanese customs as well as how the people relate to each other so I could develop proper chracters was much more difficult.

For example the story takes place mostly in the summer.  I read about O-chugen, midsummer gift-giving, an extremely important period in Japan.  I read that how the gifts are wrapped expresses sincere thoughtfulness on the part of the giver.

Gifts are wrapped in special handmade white paper resembling dried abalone and the cord around the gift is made from starched, tightly wound rice paper that is painted or otherwise colored with Mylar or thin strands of silk called mizuhki.

The mizuhiki was developed in the Edo period by samurai and became more and more elaborate as one samurai tried to out-do another in his gift giving. Today gift givers have the muzuhki fashioned into animals such as cranes, frogs, fish, dragons and turtles.

Also, gifts as well as business cards must be presented with two hands.

A simple detail such as this adds authenticity to your story.  The point I am making is that with the internet you can get that authenticity without the traveling I had to do when I wrote Silk Legacy.

Do your characters take on a life of their own?  If so, which is your favorite?


Of course before you start to write you have to know who your charters will be―their looks, quirks, and their experiences in life that affect their personalities.  Without characters you have no book.


However, unlike some writers who outline their characters and their novels in great detail before they begin writing, I do not.  Of course I know the ending and write toward it, but I only think two or three chapters ahead when I write, and those chapter ideas are usually clips such as the scene where I “plan” to place the character.


As I write the story, new situations arise that move the character in a direction I hadn’t thought about.  The character’s reaction to those situations certainly gives the character a new “life”.


For example, one of my favorite characters is Sarah Bressler the protagonist’s wife in Silk Legacy.  This originally started out as a male oriented story.  However, as the story developed her character took on a much more important role as she battled her domineering husband.  As a result Sarah became an equal character in the story.  Some say they liked her as the lead character.


Here is the book jacket of Silk Legacy set between 1904 and 1913:  In early twentieth century Paterson, New Jersey, dashing twenty-nine year old Abraham Bressler charms naïve nineteen year old Sarah Singer into marriage by making her believe he feels the same way she does about the new calling of a modern woman.  He then turns around and gives her little more respect than he would a servant, demanding she stay home to care for “his” house and “his” children.


Feeling betrayed Sarah defies him and joins women's groups, actively participating in rallies for woman suffrage, child welfare and reproductive freedom.  For a while she succeeds in treading delicately between the demands of her husband and her desire to be an independent woman.  Her balancing act falters when a strike shuts down Paterson’s 300 silk mills.  With many friends working in the mills, Sarah is forced to choose sides in the battle between her Capitalist husband and his Socialist brother, a union leader who happens to be her best friend’s husband.


What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far?  What advice can you give new writers?


Create characters in CONFLICT with each other or with themselves.  Wondering how the characters resolve their conflicts keeps the reader turning the pages.


You see the conflicts in Silk Legacy.  In my Murder at the Jersey Shore trilogy with detective David Nance one reviewer wrote, “What really grabbed me, though, was watching the hero deal with his issues, eventually with a measure of success, while his girl friend dealt with ...him ...and her issues involving him.”


In Beyond Guilty the character is in conflict with herself.  She is responsible for her sister’s death and tries to overcome her quilt.


In my latest novel, Keiretsu, I have created many conflicts. Father vs Son

Husbands vs Wives; Mother-in-law vs Daughter-in-law; Brother vs Sister; Cousin vs Cousin


We all know how important promoting our work has become.  How do you get the word out both off and online?


I try to get reviews from mass market newspaper reviewers, but that is extremely difficult for an author published by an independent publisher.  I have been reviewed in my local paper, but I truly feel you have to be a best-selling author or know someone to get a review in a major newspaper, although I keep trying.

Since Keiretus is so unique I have sent advance review copies to a few major reviewers with a letter explaining how current the plot is, that the book is not self published and I enclose the independent publisher’s bio, but I’ll still be surprised if one of them does review it.

Thus I continue to promote my books through interviews on blogs such as yours.  Also, there are many interactive sites on the internet where you can join the discussions.  Like all advertising, repetition is the key.  Keep your name in front of readers by participating in those discussions.  Sooner or later people will say, let me try one of his books. 


Are your books available in print and ebook formats?  Where can folks learn more about your books and events?


My back list is available only on Kindle or any e-reader that can access Amazon books.

Murder at the Jersey Shore trilogy is $2.99 for the three book series; Murder Goes Round and Round is 99 cents, and Silk Legacy is $2.99.


Beyond Guilty is available wherever books are sold in print and ebook format.


Keiretsu coming out the end of November, 2012 will also be available wherever books are sold in print and ebook format.


If you are interested in the print versions of Beyond Guilty and Keiretsu, you can order them on line from sites like  However, as with most books published by independent publishers, bookstores will not stock these books, but they can order them for you.


Read book jackets, excerpts, reviews and more about Richard at:

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ferguson's Suicide Kings

Christopher J. Ferguson is an associate professor of forensic psychology at Texas A&M International University.  His interests in the criminal mind do much to inform his writing, which typically explores the dark side of human nature.  He has researched the effects of media on human behavior and his scholarly work has explored how society reacts, often irrationally, to new media.  He lives in Laredo, Texas with his wife and son. 

Welcome to the blog, Christopher.
Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?

Well, unintentionally a trip to Florence (Firenze) was the inspiration for this book.  I’d gone to Florence, by myself, for an academic conference.  I went by myself, and ended up feeling very homesick, missing my family.  Florence is a very beautiful city, but also a very dark and foreboding one.  Many of the buildings downtown are hundreds of years old and tend to be tall and looming, such that it’s easy to feel trapped.  In that environment and in the mood I found myself in I began to think, “This would be the perfect city to be murdered in…”

LOL. Give a short synop of Suicide Kings.

As a young woman in Florence, Diana Savrano’s life is a privileged one of elegant balls, handsome suitors and frivolity.  But the sudden death of her mother leaves her adrift and abandoned.  As she sobs over her mother's casket, another member of the procession reveals the awful truth: that before her last days, Diana's mother had joined a Luciferian cult.  Despite knowing little beyond her pampered world, Diana determines to unmask those responsible for her mother’s death.  But someone does not want such secrets revealed, and they are willing to send assassins to keep her silent.  Paranoia and loneliness set in as even her closest friends reveal hidden agendas.  Worst of all, the further she follows the intertwined threads, the closer they appear to lead to her own father. 

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

Haha, that’s an excellent question.  I most enjoy writing about women, which perhaps says something about me as a man.  I think, though, that I tend to put into women characters, both good and evil, facets of women I find most fascinating.  But there are probably some elements of my personality in there.  And of course my wife as well.  The lead character in Suicide Kings, Diana, is named after her. 

Do your characters take on a life of their own? If so, which is your favorite?

Absolutely.  I think entire books do, let alone characters.  After a bit of initial nudging and prodding, characters do begin to breathe all their own, the things they would do or not do in varying circumstances almost written by themselves.  But books are organic as well.  I usually start a book with a pretty good idea of where it will go, although most books will challenge that, head off in directions I never expected.  It’s good to keep your options open, to let the story develop naturally. 

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

The biggest challenge is simply finding the time, or perhaps better put, moments in which I have both time and energy.  I have a “day job” and a family, and so it can be tricky to find times to write.  I do a lot of writing at night, when everyone else is asleep.  Taking a quick nap when I get home from work helps me keep up some energy. 

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?

Persistence.  This is a tough biz.  Honing your craft, thinking up good stories, these are certainly a part of it.  But you’re still going to get rejected.  Learn not to be crushed by it and keep going.  A number of famous authors had to persist through years of rejection. 

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

I’m working on something now set in the Greek Dark Ages about a teenage girl who is ripped from her home and made into a slave soldier for a dark empire.  It’s a story about one girl against an entire world, learning to cope with very little resources and get vengeance on those who killed her family. 

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

You can come to my web-site at

Are your books available in print and ebook formats?

They are available in both from or Barnes and Noble. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Slightly Cracked update

Good morning, folks. I'm sorry I've been away from the post for so long. I finished Slightly Cracked, my first women's fiction and now we're doing "final" edits. The process takes time and we're running a little behind because of some miscommunication on where to send the mock-up while I was vacationing on the other side of the country. Now it seems that the release will be near the end of October.

Advance readers have given the book high marks, and I'm delighted that they're giggling and passing the word to get a copy once it makes its debut. The book chronicles the daily lives of lifelong pals, Mackie Sue aka Sugar Babe Beanblossom and Daisy Marie Hazelhurst. They deal with marital insecurities, health problems, work problems, and hot flashes along the journey.

Back blurb:
In Slightly Cracked, Sugar Babe Beanblossom and best pal, Daisy Marie Hazelhurst, have been buddies since they were born two weeks to the day apart. Living near each other, they share happy and sad memories, outrageous antics and giggles, marital and health glitches. The only thing that threatens their lifelong friendship is the Old Dickeywood subdivision goose controversy.
When Daisy takes a nasty spill on her bike, Sugar Babe races to her side. After two trips to the ER, Daisy is diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and tests reveal an even more sinister affliction. As Daisy weakens, Sugar Babe embraces the realization that friends must encourage and protect one another through difficult circumstances, and …

 “Driving Miss Daisy” takes on a whole new meaning.

This book is dedicated to those few true friends who hang in there with us through thick and thin and help weave us into better human beings.

Thanks for continuing to follow this blog. I'm ready to interview lots more authors, so stay tuned for some good reads during the fall and winter months, and get in touch if you're interested in guesting.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lissa Brown, a High Country Author

I had the pleasure of meeting author Lissa Brown at the first "High Country Festival of the Book" in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. I invited her over to tell us more about herself and her writing.

Lissa Brown tells folks in her new Appalachian Mountain home in NC that she got there as fast as she could. It only took 62 years to travel from her native New Jersey via the Washington, DC area. She’s a self-acknowledged seat-of-the-pants writer who retired after successful careers in teaching, marketing and public relations to do what she wants to do—write full time.
   A former columnist, media relations consultant for political campaigns, speech writer and anything else that paid the mortgage, she wrote a humorous memoir about her first 18 months in Appalachia and an award-winning YA novel. In between those two projects she contributed several essays to anthologies and volunteered in a local literacy project. She tries to play bluegrass banjo but admits she started about 50 years too late to be able to do it publicly without great embarrassment.
Welcome, Lissa.
Give a short synopsis of your most recently published book.      
Thanks, Susan.
   Family Secrets: Three Generations chronicles an extraordinary relationship between a granddaughter and her dead grandmother. With her grandmother as her mentor, young Ellen Brodsky survives the trials of a seriously dysfunctional family and the throes of dawning adolescence. The family maintains several secrets, but the one that provides redemption for three generations of women is kept by Grandma Hannah and revealed in a surprising manner at the end of the book.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters of the book?
That depends on who you ask. Family members claim to see more of me in the young girl than I believe is there. I’ve used a few incidents from my own life in the book. Because the family contains two parents and two children as mine did, and the setting is very like the place where I grew up in New Jersey, people have assumed incorrectly that this is a thinly veiled autobiography, which it definitely is not. The girl’s voice sounds like mine in ways that reflect life in a NJ city, but her character does not mimic mine. I’ve given up trying to convince some people that I’m not Ellen Brodsky. Like all readers, they see what they want to in the book.
Do your characters take on a life of their own? If so, which is your favorite?
Definitely. From the first chapter I was amazed how they pushed and pulled me to tell the story the way they wanted me to. It’s the most astonishing experience I’ve had in my writing life.
I’m partial to Grandma Hannah, a warm, wise woman who lived from 1890-1930 and is constantly baffled by the 1940s and 1950s when her granddaughter was growing up. I love her sense of humor and the unconditional love and wisdom she offers Ellen.
What challenges did you face while writing this book?
This was my first work of fiction. Since I’d only written non-fiction, it was difficult at first to let my imagination run free. I’d always been fact-based and cut my teeth on journalistic writing and I had a tough time believing it was okay to make things up. I’ve confessed to fellow fiction writers that I was dead wrong when I used to believe writing fiction was easy. It was the most difficult writing I’ve ever done and I felt completely inadequate until I received some great affirmation from other writers whose work I admire.
What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? Any advice for others?
I had a lot to learn about writing a novel and still do. I had to learn to trust myself to follow my characters and relinquish control of the story until I saw where they wanted to take me. I didn’t always give in, but I learned to compromise with them. Usually, they were right. There are so many rules about writing that trying to follow them all can be paralyzing. I’ve learned there is not going to be such a thing as perfection in my eyes or the eyes of readers.
My advice to others is to learn the rules and then figure out which ones you choose to break to get the result that pleases you. Get critiques from as many other writers as you can. They walk in your shoes and often see things you don’t.
 Tell us your goals for 2012 and beyond.
I’m finishing a second novel about a gay boy who is bullied by his father and others. I hope to publish it by the end of the year or at the beginning of 2013. I’m also working on a third novel that is entirely different from the first two, aimed at an adult market and exploring characters who focus on body images to the possible exclusion of deeper characteristics of people. When I need a break, I play with a series of humorous vignettes that I might compile into another humorous work reflecting what we really did as kids that we might not want children and grandchildren to know about while they’re young. I hope to develop a blog in the next six months if I can cope with the technology.
Where can folks learn more about your writing?
By the grace of divine intervention, I managed to develop a website,, and hope visitors will tell me if I’ve mastered the art of southern hospitality. Y’all come.

Folks, here's a buy link:


Monday, August 20, 2012

A unique recipe book, for sure!

When I started my blog in 2009, I didn’t want people to become nauseous over blatant promotion of my Logan Hunter Mystery series so I seldom posted anything at all. Soon other bloggers began to invite me over to their blogs for interviews about my Logan Hunter Mystery series. This pleased me, and I decided that I’d reciprocate.

I started interviewing a multitude of writers and other industry experts. For several months I was inundated with appreciative authors, and I absolutely loved doing it. I still interview authors but not 30 in thirty days as I did then. I also wanted to continue to find ways to promote other writers as much as they promote me. You know, scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

That’s the rationale behind the cookbook, KILLER RECIPES. I have a friend who writes cookbooks with a twist—something I never expected to do. However, the idea to compile recipes from mystery writers across the country and give them some free promotion would not go away, so I asked other writers if they’d submit recipes for a cookbook with proceeds going to cancer research, not into my own personal pocket. Over sixty writers signed up. 

Many writers who submitted recipes were either cancer survivors or have been profoundly touched by this horrible disease. I only wish I’d had enough room to tell each one’s story as well. My grandson, Caleb, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was only two-years-old. I am thrilled to say that Caleb is now 12-years-old and cancer-free, thanks to research and a team of incredible doctors. I dedicated this cookbook to him and all other victims of cancer. It is not, however, a low-fat cookbook, and even though the title sounds ominous, we’re just having a little fun. We renamed recipes to fit the murder mystery theme. For example my peanut brittle recipe is now “Brittle Bones”.

The purpose of KILLER RECIPES is to raise money for research and simultaneously give writers a little free promotion. Under each recipe I listed the contributing author, book titles, and web sites. We plan to sell these books wherever we do signings—fairs, festivals, Relay For Life events, wineries, you name it. Some folks are collaborating on signings in their part of the country and asking local book and gift shops to carry a few copies. Someone came up with the idea of serving a couple of recipes at signings. I haven’t done that yet, but I plan on it. Many are blogging and promoting it online and everywhere they can. Kudos to L&L Dreamspell for offering to publish the book and donating their percentage of sales to the cause.

The book is available online in print and at your favorite local stores. If they don’t have it in stock, they can order it for you. It’s also in ebook and Kindle format.  We’re hoping folks will buy plenty of copies of Killer Recipes to give as gifts and join our efforts to eradicate cancer.

KILLER RECIPES  print   ISBN 978-1-60318-350-5    $11.51

KILLER RECIPES ebook  ISBN 978-1-60318-351-2    $ 4.99

By the way, don’t forget to check out my other books at www.susanwhitfieldonline or look me up on Facebook:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Award-winner, Christy Tillery French visits

Award-winning, internationally published author and poet Christy Tillery French’s books cross several genres, including mystery, humorous fiction, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, action-adventure and Southern fiction. They include The Bodyguard series as well as several standalones. She is co-author of Whistling Woman, a Southern Appalachian faction she wrote with her sister Cyndi Hodges under the pseudonym CC Tillery. Christy was listed in the book 50 Great Writers You Should be Reading, 2010. She is a small business owner and presently reviews books for Midwest Book Review and Amazon Vine Voice. She serves on the Board of Directors of Tennessee Mountain Writers.  I had the pleasure of meeting Christy and her sister Cyndi a few weeks ago. I hope you enjoy this interview with Christy. I'm inviting Cyndi to come on the blog soon.

Welcome, Christy! Describe your writing in three words.

Action- adventure (does that count as one or two??), suspense and romance

How many books have you written?

So far, ten have been published. I’m presently working on two more: a post-apocolyptic action-adventure and the next in the Bodyguard series, The Bodyguard and Bridezilla.

Give a short synop of your most recently published book.

That would be Whistling Woman, the Southern/Appalachian faction (part fact, part fiction) I co-wrote with my sister Cyndi Hodges aka Caitlyn Hunter.

In the waning years of the 19th century, Bessie Daniels grows up in the small town of Hot Springs in western North Carolina. Secure in the love of her father, resistant to her mother’s desire that she be a proper Southern belle, Bessie is determined to forge her own way in life. Or, as her Cherokee great-grandmother Elisi puts it, to be a whistling woman. Do your characters take on a life of their own? If so, which is your favorite?

Whistling Woman is based on actual persons and centers around Bessie Daniels, my great-aunt who grew up in Hot Springs, NC during the late 1800s. Bessie was a psychic, healer and strong, independent woman who I think was born 100 years before her time. Although I only knew her as a small child, researching this book and listening to stories from my dad about Bessie and her family and the mountain people surrounding them helped my sister Cyndi and me to see her in a different light. Although we wove fictional characters around her, Bessie was clear to us from the start, as was the rest of her family. Cyndi and I felt we at times channeled her while writing, as it seemed she simply stepped into our minds and took over. Although we both have different voices, now when we read the book, we have trouble remembering who wrote what. Proof positive that Aunt Bessie was with us!

My favorite character is her papa, John Daniels, constable of Hot Springs. He was a man who loved his family and wanted the best for them although at times he and Bessie didn’t see eye-to-eye about these issues, especially when it came to Bessie’s choice of the man she wanted to marry.

Is it available in print and digital formats?

Yes, it’s available in all ebook formats, as a print hardback and paperback. It can be purchased online or at any brick-and-mortar store. If it’s not on the shelf, it will be in the store’s system for ordering.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

I think the greatest challenge dealt with vernacular, making sure words spoken during that time were correct. We use a lot more slang today than during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Also, Cyndi and I researched this book for 3 years, as we wanted the historical and regional facts to be correct. For this, we utilized many books and spent quite a few hours in the Marshall and Hot Springs Libraries and at the Courthouse in Marshall, NC. We feature a Cherokee figure (Bessie’s great-grandmother) and, through her, relay much information about the Cherokee culture, legends and medicine. That took extensive research. We also introduced a Melungeon character and this research was perhaps the most frustrating because they are a people unsure of their heritage although I read recently that DNA has provided that answer. But the way they were ostracized and poorly treated was quite interesting, although sad, and we wanted to emphasize that through this character.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give other writers?

Don’t self-sabotage. This is something I do regularly and I have to force myself to stop. Above all, don’t give up. I know too many talented authors who have done so and it’s sad. Keep learning, keep moving ahead, keep pushing yourself forward. It’s worth the journey.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Thorugh my website: I also have an author’s site at AuthorsDen:    

Thanks for the interview, Susan, and allowing me to share information about Whistling Woman and my books.

My pleasure, Christy. I hope to see you again soon.