Monday, November 26, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just in Time for Thanksgiving

If you're like me, Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday. I love everything about it: the surrounding Fall beauty, the delicious smells of food cooking, and family and friends gathered around.

Once in that mindset, it wasn't much of a stretch to take all of the things I love and use them as the backdrop for a story. An Unexpected Blessing made its debut at The Wild Rose Press yesterday. It's a story about an ex-con, a single mom, and the small town gossip that stands in their way. It's also available in Kindle format at Amazon.


Single Mom Katy Roth thinks life can't get any worse. In the past six months she's been let go at work, had to move back home with her parents, and found out her ex is cutting his child support payment. As Thanksgiving approaches, she finds little to be thankful for in a life that is quickly spinning out of control.

Joe Mason is the town's bad boy. Literally. He's just returned from a four year stint in prison. He wants nothing more than to put the past behind him and get on with his life. He’s had a secret crush on Katy since grade school, but when Katy’s parents hire him to be their handyman, she’s less than thrilled to have him around.

But soon, through her young son’s eyes, Katy discovers the good in Joe. As their feelings for one another deepen, small town gossip and prejudice threaten to ruin everything. Will Joe’s past come between them, or will they be able to get beyond it and hold onto a love neither expected?


“Are you going to dance with me or not?”

“Yes, ma’am, I am.” He stood and offered his hand.

She slid hers into his warm grasp. As always, his touch caused a little shock in her heart. The weight of a hundred pairs of eyes followed them out onto the floor. The dirt was packed smooth, and a ring of hay bales marked the area. Her tummy quivered with a combination of nerves and anticipation.

He found an open spot, which wasn’t difficult with the other couples affording them a wide berth, and then curved his arm around her waist to draw her close. Her body fit perfectly against him. A shiver tingled through her. She rested her free hand on his shoulder.

His thigh brushed hers as he rhythmically shuffled his feet to the music. His gaze captured and held hers. The rest of the room faded as she stared into the warm, melted-chocolate brown of his eyes.

She didn’t care that people whispered. Snuck glances. Or outright gaped. All she cared about was swaying to a soft, slow beat. The quicker thud of her heart. Strong arms wrapped around her. And the desire to stay right where she was. Maybe forever.

I hope you'll enjoy reading Katy and Joe's story as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Debra St. John

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Next Big Thing

By: Susan Furlong Bolliger

The Next Big Thing is a blog chain in which participating authors answer ten questions about their current work in progress or upcoming publications. One of my favorite authors, B.K. Stevens tagged me in this ongoing blog chain. You can stop by the Untreed Reads Blog at and learn about her forthcoming story “No Good Deed” to be released in the anthology titled TO HELL IN A FAST CAR, edited by John L. French. You can also read more about B.K.’s writing and check out her other stories on her website at .

So, thank you B.K., for including me in your line-up of tagged authors. I’m happy to get the chance to talk a bit about my writing and one of my current projects, a cozy mystery novel titled MURDER FOR BID.

Here are my answers about my Next Big Thing:

What is the title of your work?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

My characters are always inspired by people I observe and it just so happens that the main character of this book, Pippi O’Brien, was inspired by a close friend.

What genre does your book fall under?

MURDER FOR BID is a cozy mystery with a bit of an edge.

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

The lead actress to portray the main character, Pippi, would have to be red-headed (or willing to go red) and able to pull off Pippi’s personality—adventurous, spunky and a bit quirky.punky, and a bit quirky.

George Clooney could definitely pinch-hit for Sean Panelli, Pippi’s main love interest. Or, maybe since Panelli is an Italian name, a modern day Sinatra or Valentino could be found. I’d be happy to act as the casting agent!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Dumpster-diving red-head leaves a lucrative but stressful job to start a new career refurbishing and selling other people’s junk … and solving mysteries.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m currently in submission with a couple of small/independent presses. So, keep your fingers, and toes, crossed for me.

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

MURDER FOR BID took six months to write and another three months to edit. I’ve already penned a sequel which took less time to plot. I feel connected to the characters and could easily see myself writing more books in the series.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Just combine the crafty ingenuity of Lois Winton’s Anastasia Pollack; the adventurous edge of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum; and the fun spirit of Sue Ann Jaffarian’s Odelia Grey. A crazy mash up; but one heck of a fun read!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Like I said earlier, a friend of mine inspired the main character of this story. She's one of those incredibly talented people that could pretty much pick and choose her career path, but has chosen to leave a lucrative marketing job to stay home with her children, much like my protagonist chooses to leave her over-the-top stressful job and pursue a simpler, slower-paced lifestyle. My friend is also someone that can take any old piece of trash she finds and turn it into something beautiful and useful. I swear she puts a new spin on the word “up-cycle” and … so does my main character, Pippi O’Brien. In fact, Pippi is almost as successful at reselling other people’s castoffs as she is at solving mysteries.

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

There’s something for everyone in MURDER FOR BID. The story line will please discriminating mystery readers, the characters will intrigue and the humor will bring a smile to your face. And, for those of you who are on a budget … well, you’ll definitely appreciate Pippi’s panache for turning trash into treasure.

Here’s some information about the talented writers I’ve invited to participate in The Next Big Thing blog chain.  Watch for their post next week—November 25th through December 2nd.

Terry Ambrose, author of PHOTO FINISH, a humorous mystery set in Hawaii, will be posting about his forthcoming publication on his blog, Mysteries with Character.

Derek Flynn, a talented writer, blogger and musician, will post about his latest musical release, DO YOU DREAM AT ALL? Be sure to stop by his blog, Rant with Occasional Music, and find out what it takes to write and produce a successful album.

Morgan Mandel, prolific writer of short and novel-length fiction, posted her Next Big Thing on the Make Mine Mystery blog. You can read about her intriguing new mystery FOREVER YOUNG: A BLESSING OR A CURSE at .

Denise Weeks, award-winning novelist of NICE WORK, will be posting on her blog at   Be sure to stop by and see what will be Denise’s Next Big Thing!

Susan writes from the Midwest where she lives with her husband and four children. Her articles and stories have appeared in national magazines such as Country magazine and Woman's World. To find out more about her work, visit