Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Meet Wendy H. Jones, Author of Killer's Countdown

by Sidney W. Frost

Today we are pleased to interview Wendy H. Jones, author of Killer's Countdown. I met Wendy on the Internet when I was finishing up The Vengeance Squad Goes to England and looking for help making my English character more authentic.  Wendy was writing Killer's Countdown at the time. We have stayed in contact since then, promoting each other's books and working on a joint blog, Around the World of Inspired Fiction, with writers from Australia, Canada, Scotland, and the United States.

SWF: Tell the readers where you are from.

WHJ: I am from Dundee, which is the North East of Scotland. The City is famous for Jam, Jute and Journalism. The journalism is because we are the home of The Beano comic which brings the world, Desperate Dan, Dennis the Menace and Gnasher the Dog

SWF: Most authors I've met have held other jobs, either before starting to write seriously, or while writing. How about you?

WHJ: I was in both the Royal Navy and the British Army as a nurse. I have also worked in academia teaching both nursing and education.

SWF: Tell us a little about yourself.

WHJ: I write crime books which are set in Dundee. I have travelled the world with the services and returned to Dundee three years ago to write books. My first book, Killer's Countdown, was released in November 2014. It stars DI Shona McKenzie of what was then Tayside Police, but is now Police Scotland.

SWF: Can you tell us a little about Killer's Countdown without spoiling it for those who haven't read it yet?

WHJ: Shona has moved back to Dundee from Oxford. She was born in the city but moved away as a child when her father took up a post at the University in Oxford. This is her first big case since taking up the post heading up CID. Women are being murdered and Shona and her team are trying to solve the case whilst getting to know each other as a team.

SWF: As a reader, I liked the dual story lines and the way you handled it. How did you come up with the idea?

WHJ: I am not entirely sure why I thought about looking at it from both the killer's and the detective's viewpoint. The killer is such a large part of the storyline that it seemed natural to do it like this. I also wanted a book that was unique and would pull readers in to the story in a different way.

SWF: You've subtitled your book "Di Shona McKenzie Mysteries Book 1". When will book 2 be available?

WHJ: Book 2 will be released on 20th July 2015.

SWF: Is Di Shona McKenzie patterned after a real person?

WHJ: No she is completely made up and a figment of my very active imagination.

SWF: What inspired you to write this book?

WHJ: I am an avid reader and love crime and thriller books. I have always loved words and wrote when I could. Although I had never written a novel up until Killer's Countdown, I had been published in academic books and journals. I had an idea for a book and thought I would write it. The idea just grew and the story took shape so I kept going until I was finished.

SWF: Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?

WHJ: Not really. There is one major theme running through the book but I can't say too much here without giving too much away.

SWF: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

WHJ: Write all the time. Whatever you are doing, or wherever you are, write. Carry a notebook everywhere you go and jot things down as they come to you. Observe everything and listen to those around you. Follow your dream and never give up.

SWF: What hobbies do you have that don't pertain to books?

WHJ: Technology and travel, in no particular order. I have every technological gadget known to man and love computers. I also love travel and have visited nearly every continent in the world.

SWF: How can we learn more about you and your books?

Wendy H. Jones
WHJ: By clicking on the following links.

Monday, April 27, 2015

COTT: March Releases Clash

Welcome to our March release Clash!
Spring is coming, and we have some amazing backyard patio reads for you. Take a look at the compelling covers below and answer one question: Which one is a MUST for your to-be-read pile?

Go ahead and vote below. Be sure to check back for the winner on Thursday, April 30!
Follow the Amazon link below each book if you want to learn more or purchase a book. Don't we have some amazing titles this month?

And on with the clash!

The Tomb, a Novel of Martha

by Stephanie Landsem

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha, the ideal Jewish woman, but only she knows the price she's paid for her perfect reputation. You'll never see the story of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus the same way again.

Find it on amazon

Andrea and the Five Day Challenge

by Cindy K. Green

A Bible Study Challenge, a Prayer Journal, and Homecoming, the combination just might change her life.

Find it on Amazon

Nila's Hope

by Kathleen Friesen

She has survived years of abuse. Can an apprentice carpenter's faith overcome the danger now stalking her?

Find it on Amazon

Broken Silence

by Annslee Urban

SHE'S HIDING A DEADLY SECRET…and someone wants to make sure Amber Talbot never reveals it. The person charged with protecting her is police detective Patrick Wiley—the fiancĂ© she walked away from but never forgot and now he must save her from an unknown attacker from their past.

Find it on Amazon

The Hawk and the Dove

By Penelope Wilcock

A young girl learns the stories of a group of monks in fourteenth century Yorkshire. They lived six centuries ago, yet their struggles are our own—finding our niche; coping with failure; living with impossible people; and discovering that we are the impossible ones.

Find it on Amazon

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Monday, April 20, 2015

COTT brings you "Entrusted" by Julie Arduini, plus Olympia Winner!

Before we bring you our featured novel, Clash of the Titles wishes to congratulate Kelly Goshorn manuscript "A Love Restored" for taking home the crown during our Olympia Awards.
Congrats, Kelly!
The Olympia is COTT's annual contest for pre-published authors.
To learn more about the Olympia and Kelly Goshorn, please visit us at


If you enjoy a sweet romance in a quaint village, you’ll love Julie Arduini’s debut novel. She fills the town with delightful and insightful characters. The story has a good balance of humor, wisdom and love. Buy this book, wrap up in a warm blanket with a cup of team, and snuggle in for a great read.
                                                                    --Amazon customer

About the book:
Jenna Anderson, sassy city-girl from Youngstown, Ohio, plows–literally–into Adirondack village, Speculator Falls, with a busted GPS. She gets a warning from the sheriff but has ideas for the senior center to prove she belongs in town as their director. Town councilman Ben Regan is as broken as the flower box Jenna demolished. He’s grieving and wants to shut down the center before there’s too much change and heartbreak. They work on community projects and build a slow relationship, but the council needs to vote on the senior center’s future. Can Jenna show Ben both her and the center are worth trusting?


Special offer from the author, Julie Arduini!

Subscribe for free to the Julie Arduini newsletter and receive her novella, Match Made in Heaven plus monthly installments to the sequel, Crumbs and Embers. To subscribe, visit the left sidebar of http://juliearduini.com to complete the form and watch for activation. 

What COTT voters had to say:
--Julie Arduini I love this book & am beyond thrilled to hold your passion in my hands. I am happy to be able to vote for you, but as you know, you've already won!!
--Julie Arduii can't wait to read this book.
--Julie Arduini so excited to see what God does with your book!!
--Love the cover and the novel Entrusted by Julie Arduini.
--Congratulations on your novel Julie Arduini!!!
--Julie Arduini, the setting of your book and the language brings me back home.
--May God keep blessing your writing ministry for Him, Julie Arduini
--Julie Arduini, this sounds like my kind of story. I like the term, "the fir flies."
--Entrusted had it all. I thoroughly enjoyed it and encourage others to check it out. Good job Julie A.
--Julie Arduini has a heart of passion and the gift of penmanship!!! What a Blessing!!
--Love the cover Julie Arduini!!
--Julie Arduini is one of my favorite people-- including one of my favorite authors. Love her book "Entrusted"!
--Just so exciting to watch God work in your life Julie Arduini . Surrendering your writing to Him and Wow look what he does ...and he's not done ! ??
--Julie, I loved the book. Thank you!! Blessings, Jenn
--Can't wait to read more from Julie Arduini! I'm hooked on her Adirondack series, the characters, the setting, and Julie's good writing!

The author shares how Entrusted came about:

My writing includes surrender issues and in Entrusted, Ben and Jenna both struggle. Jenna wants to
belong and Ben’s afraid of loss. They have to surrender those things to their Heavenly Father and trust that He’s taking care of them. Book 2 and 3 also give a clue to the surrender journey with Entangled and Engaged.

The book came about after my first visit to the real village of Speculator in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY. As I walked the street and drank in the mountain air, the characters came alive. I’m excited to return to Speculator June 12 as I share my writing experience at the Lake Pleasant library. Then, starting June 25th I’m participating in an Entrusted book club in Youngstown where I plan to share exclusive footage of me visiting the places I used in Entrusted.


Enjoy this trailer for The Love Boat Bachelor by Jerusha Agen and Theresa Anderson!

Find more great new releases all year at Clash of the Titles!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Writing a Novel: When it all falls into place

By Sidney W. Frost

Read any good books lately?
Once again I am amazed by how a novel can grow and expand without my help. I started Sun City Murders, a work in process, with a detailed outline. I must admit I hadn't decided on the ending, but with a murder mystery, there are often a number of possible culprits to keep the reader wondering. In this case I was wondering, too. This week I had a breakthrough that will give the story more depth than I could have hoped for.

Even though I now know, I can't tell you how the story ends. But, I want to give you enough information to appreciate the breakthrough.

Liz, the bookmobile librarian, finds a patron dead and sets off to find the killer. Liz has been in all my bookmobile books, but this time she is the main character and the story is told from her viewpoint. If you've read the other books, you know she was the director of library services in Austin, nearing retirement age. In this book, Liz has married and is living on a farm in nearby Georgetown. Brian and Karen, whose bookmobile had been in all the books, have moved to California and left the bookmobile with Liz. She makes a deal with the city library to provide library service in Sun City, an age-restricted neighborhood for active people 55 or older. Michael, the bookmobile driver, is the only youngster in the book. He's Liz's grandson and she invited him on this adventure to help her with the computer which she refuses to learn.

There is a secondary story line involving a PTSD-driven veteran who is living in Sun City without a home. He served in Vietnam, and for four years after that, he worked behind the lines in Cambodia. He gets psychiatric care from the VA, but with little success.

Liz finds a baby blue Cadillac in the dead woman's garage. Last week I searched the Internet for a photo of a baby blue Cadillac and found a 1975 Cadillac Sedan DeVille to be perfect. Photos of setting locations, cars, and objects help me write more realistic descriptions. See: https://www.pinterest.com/sidneywfrost/images-for-bookmobile-book-5/ for photos.

In my writings last week, the homeless veteran steals the car and it reminds him of where he was in 1975. Without planning this ahead of time, I picked the perfect car. The Cambodian revolution was 1975-1979.

Here's another coincidence. My book club was reading a novel about the Cambodian revolution (In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel by Vaddey Ratner. In reading this book I found information that will help me in writing the book.

The final coincidence is reading "A Floating City of Refuge" in the April 2015, issue of Georgetown View, describing the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. My fictional veteran was there for the evacuation and he felt so close to the people he didn't want to leave.

I've heard other writers talk about how a novel takes on a life of its own at time. I think it's true. I've also had several strong secondary characters who had to be held back from upstaging the main character.

Isn't it fun to create a story? I can't wait to share this one with you.


Monday, April 13, 2015

COTT Announces Winner of 2015 Olympia!

by Michelle Massaro
Good morning, lovers of the written word! We have some big news to share today: The Olympia has a winner!


Please give a virtual hand to Kelly Goshorn!!

Kelly Goshorn is an aspiring novelist currently masquerading as a virtual assistant and a Target cashier who believes everybody needs a little more love and romance in their life. Ever since Laura Ingalls peered into Almanzo Wilder’s eyes and called him “Manly,” she has been a pushover for historical romances. Kelly weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers.  Kelly earned her B.A. in Social Studies Education from Messiah College and her M.Ed. in History Education from The Pennsylvania State University. She has been enjoying her own happily-ever- after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for nearly 25 years. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi. Kelly writes from her home near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Purcellville, Virginia.

Kelly's entry, A Love Restored, was chosen as winner based on the scoring by a panel of non-industry readers and then our panel of industry professionals*. Here's a bit about her story:

A Love Restored

She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of—until a promise from his past threatened their future.

Twenty-year old Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. She would rather read Jules Verne or teach Negro children to read and write than join the Women’s Benevolent Aid Society or practice her voice lessons. Her pert opinions and less than perfect figure kept many suitors away, and when Ruth Ann accepts a position teaching at the new Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer she is likely to receive. Should she risk life as a lonely spinster or reinvent herself to accept a proposal from a man who doesn’t love her?

Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Saunders reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor—a position that will garner the respect of other men. All he needs now is a woman to share his promising future. When Benjamin has a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, he is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality, but can he overcome a promise from his past to marry a woman other men would envy?

Sorry, readers, this book is not yet published! So we'll all have to wait and see where Kelly's publishing journey takes her and this manuscript. We at COTT hope to see this book in print one day soon.

Congratulations, Kelly!

In addition to a tour through COTT's Blog Alliance, Kelly will be receiving a beautiful plaque to commemorate her win and an internet radio interview with Cynthia Simmons!

A HUGE Thank-you to our reader panel and especially to
our *Final Round judges:

Karen Ball--Agent, Steve Laube Literary Agency
Becky Philpott-- Acquisitions Editor, Harper Collins
Becky Wade-- Award-winning Author

Monday, April 6, 2015

COTT: February Release Feature, plus FREE novella!

What a wonderful debut! It's a story of redemption and forgiveness and love. The author, Jessica R Patch, sucked me in on the first page. I couldn't put it down. I can't wait for her next book to be released. Wonderful writer. Highly recommended read, especially around Christmas time, but could be read anytime. It's that good.                                                                                              ~fan review

About the book:

A rowdy bar owner. A widowed pastor’s wife. And Christmas hope that brings them together.

After widower Eden Snow’s church almost burns to the ground, she’s compelled to find a temporary place to hold services and Christmas cantata practices.

Has-been hockey player, Knox Everhart, has a reputation for being fast on the ice and with women. Except Eden. She’s always been a fascinating mystery to him, which is why he agrees to let her use the back room of his bar—with one rule: No converting his customers.

But when Eden brings the church to the bar, it offers something the bottle can’t. Hope. And he finds himself falling in love with a woman and a Savior he feels unworthy to pursue.


What COTT voters had to say:
--Jessica's my favorite! She is an awesome writer and a firecracker of a person.
--Jessica, your book sounds so hopeful for a season built on hope! Just what we need in these times. I look forward to reading your book.
--I throughly enjoyed Jessica Patch's "Under the Mistletoe" so my vote is for that! Can't wait for more in the series :)
--Hope Under Mistletoe by Jessical Patch has an intriguing fresh premise.
--Hope Under Mistletoe was a wonderful book! I loved how the story dealt with people getting through their hardships with the help of God. And as I told Jessica..it had the perfect romantic ending...And they lived happily ever after!!
--inspiring way to spread the message of Christ.
I loved Hope Under the Mistletoe! Jessica R. Patch created an inviting town, swoonworthy characters and just enough spice for this inspirational romance!
--A church in a bar? Really? Gotta read it...
Don't miss the free novella Jessica is offering!

Sign up for Jessica’s newsletter, Patched In, and receive the second novella in this Seasons of HopeJust the Way You Are, for FREE until April 22nd! Sign up HERE.

Jessica hangs out on Facebook and Twitter so stop in and join the daily conversations. Also, don’t forget to stop by her Hope Under Mistletoe Pinterest board and meet the characters and take a peek at some of the scenes in the book!

About the free novella, Just the Way You Are:

When Pastor Gabe asks Audrey Gilbraith to use her mad florist skills to help him design a prayer garden, she’s all in, especially since it helps take her mind off the fact she’s about to lose her job and her apartment. But working closely with Gabe and not falling for him is complicated. She’s not pastor’s wife material, and she has the past to prove it.

Gabriel Brookson wants out of Audrey’s friend-zone, but when he pursues her romantically, he ruffles more than a few feathers in his congregation. How much is he willing to give up for this wonderful, quirky woman, and will Audrey accept him if he risks it all?

About the author: Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, watching way too much Netflix with her daughter, dominating her son at board games, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she'll probably never cook. Her debut novel with Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense will release in January 2016. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management

~Find more great new releases at Clash of the Titles.com!~