Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!


2 Comments

Snapshot #2

Yesterday was the beginning of my publisher’s annual We Love Our Readers Sale and Sweepstakes. The publishing company does a lot to bring this opportunity to you, but many of our authors contribute and sponsor the event as well. I want to share about two other of our sponsors – these two both write mystery/suspense!

Julie Cosgrove is an award-winning author of sixteen novels as well as short stories. She developed a passion for words at a young age. She began with word search puzzles. Then she solved the word games in the daily newspapers. She and her mother shared many fun hours playing Scrabble and Hang Man.

Then, another passion developed―whodunnits. She loved the Charlie Chan, Sherlock Holmes, and Hercule Poirot movies that played on Saturday afternoons on TV. Nancy Drew and the romantic mystery novels of the late Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt kept her eyes dancing over the pages through her school years.

Later in her adult life, her passion for Christ spurred her to write faith-based fiction and devotionals for several publications, which she has been doing since 2009. Her blog, Where Did You Find God Today?  now has readers in over fifty countries.

But her passion remains mystery, the cozier the better. Now, she has mysteries stacked up on her watchlist on Britbox and a long list of cozies on her e-reader’s to-be-read list. She loves to write them as well.

You can find all of her fiction and nonfiction books as well as her blog’s link on her website, www.juliebcosgrove.com.

Her completed “Relatively Seeking Mysteries” is on sale this week because We Love Our Readers! Click the image to find out more about these three friends that get into some deep, hot water when they innocently begin investigating their ancestries. Who would think that something as benign as looking back into history could be so terribly dangerous? Learn more about book 1, One Leaf Too Many, HERE!

Suspense author Dena Netherton has a three-book series as well. “The Hunted” series is an edge of your seat psychological suspense dealing with a stalking situation that was inspired by real issues from the past. Now based in Wyoming, Dena writes with a goal to give you stories that are compelling neough to keep you up all night.

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied music and theater in the Midwest and in Colorado and taught music for thirty-five years. In the 1970s, when Dena was just a teenager, her family took a road trip through the Pacific Northwest, ending with a stay in Anacortes, Washington, and a ferry ride through the San Juan Islands. She was captivated by the beauty of Washington’s west coast and vowed she’d one day move to the area. Forty years later, not only did God move her to the beautiful area, He inspired her with stories set there.

Dena’s prayer as a Christian author is that her stories inspire and encourage your faith. Her goal is to write stories compelling enough to keep you ‘up all night.’ Find Dena on her website: denanetherton.me.

Her series begins with Haven’s Flight.

How can you flee from an unseen enemy?

Haven Ellingsen enrolled in Life Ventures Therapy Camp in the Cascade Mountains to help her heal from horrible memories of her mother’s violent death at the hands of an armed robber. But now, a greater fear dogs her steps. The rustle of leaves or the snap of a twig could be nothing. Or it might signal the sinister presence of the stalker who won’t stop following her. It seems like a cruel trick from God to throw Haven into another dangerous situation only a year after her mom’s murder.

He hides near her tent and listens to the girl talk with the counselor. Mostly she talks about her father. She’s unhappy, and he can’t stand to listen and do nothing about it. He needs to rescue her. He needs to make sure she doesn’t ever go back to that man. His own father was the cause of his mother’s death. And Ruth’s. He can’t let that happen again. Not with this girl. When the time is right, he’ll take her away to his hidden cabin where she’ll be safe. And he will feel peace for the first time in years.

Can one month of survival training equip a girl to face all that the rugged wilderness and a madman can dish out?

All three books of the series are on sale this week. Click the image to reach the series page on Amazon HERE.

Don’t forget to also enter our sweepstakes. We’re giving away a free Kindle Fire, a selection of books for it, and a $50 Amazon gift card to boot! You’ll not want to miss out on this opportunity. Visit WriteIntegrity.com for the scoop!


Leave a comment

Snapshot #1!

Today begins our Write Integrity Press annual WE LOVE OUR READERS contest. Eleven different authors are bringing this contest to you and I want to highlight two of them today.

Jerusha Agen imagines danger around every corner, but knows God is there, too. So naturally, she writes suspense infused with the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ.

With a B.A. in English and a background in screenwriting, Jerusha is a speaker, writing instructor, and Fear Warrior who sounds the call to battle against fear in our everyday lives.

Jerusha loves to hang out with her big furry dogs and little furry cats. You’ll often find her sharing irresistibly adorable photos of them in her newsletter and on social media.

Get a free suspense story from Jerusha and find more of her thrilling, fear-fighting novels at www.JerushaAgen.com.

Jerusha’s Sister’s Redeemed series is about broken people finding their way with the help of God and others. Here’s a tidbit from her first book, THIS DANCE.

No love, no pain. No God, no games.

A tragedy three years ago destroyed Nye’s rise to the top of the dancing world as an upcoming tango star, and in the process destroyed her reason for living, too. She survived the pain and built a new life resembling nothing like the one she left behind, determined never to hurt again.

Nye’s emotional walls hold up perfectly until she meets a handsome lawyer and an elderly landowner. They seem harmless, but one awakens feelings she doesn’t want and the other makes her face the God she can’t forgive. Will these two men help Nye dance again?

Kristen Hogrefe is an award-winning author and life-long learner. An educator and mentor, she teaches English online and is an inspirational speaker for schools, churches, and podcasts.

Kristen and her husband live in Florida and enjoy sharing their lake home with family and friends.

Connect with her at KristenHogrefeParnell.com where she blogs under her married
name.

Kristen’s award-winning, young-adult speculative is a dystopian book with hope. That seems an oxymoron, but it works. And clearly others agree. Two of her three books won the coveted Selah Award for speculative fiction.

Here’s a little about book 1, THE REVISIONARY from her series “The Rogues:

A Revisionary rewrites the rules.
A Rogue breaks them.
Which one is she?

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy plans to earn a Dome seat and rewrite the Codex rules to rescue her exiled brother. Her journey demands answers from the past civilization, but uncovering the truth means breaking the rules she set out to rewrite.

Where will the world be in 2149? If citizens forget their past, they will be lost in an identity crisis. That’s exactly the state of the American Socialists United (ASU). This dystopian story opens in Cube 1519, a ghetto where the only use for obsolete cell phones is to throw them like rocks at mongrels. Portia and her father survive like many other citizens, with no electricity or technology and no expectation for a better life.

Written for young adults, THE REVISIONARY offers a suspenseful plot, flashbacks to America’s Revolutionary era, and a rediscovery of the founding values needed to rebuild Portia’s unraveling world. Blockbuster novels like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Giver popularized the dystopian YA genre. THE REVISIONARY builds a dystopia of a different kind—one that looks backward to find wisdom and moves forward to offer an underlying message of heritage and hope.

Both of these authors have new books out and coming out! You can learn more about them at their author pages. And be sure to enter our Sweepstakes at WriteIntegrity.com


1 Comment

Who Stole Cinderella’s Slipper?

Today is the fifth day of the release fun for the Ever After Mystery series. You can find the beginning of this mystery HERE on Cathe Swanson’s blog! I’m so excited as mine is the second book to be release, A Giant Murder. All the stories have their roots in a fairy tale. Can you guess mine?

The first release, The Last Gasp is available now HERE. Squee! The Last Gasp is based on Cinderella, so to celebrate that book release, all of the Ever After authors are doing a short blog hop – complete with a mini-mystery and prizes.

Someone has stolen Cinderella’s glass slipper.

Why Rebekah Jones thought it was me, I’ll never know. (Read her post about it HERE!) But I was sure shocked when an officer showed up at my door.

“You are Marji Laine?”

“Yes.” I peeked across the street where Mrs. Myers was pretending to water her plants with an empty pitcher. Ugh. Gossip central. I stepped outside and waved in her direction as if I hadn’t a care in the world.

The officer barely paused. “And you picked up and have in your possession a glass slipper belonging to Cinderella?”

Mrs. Myers shot me a suspicious look and went back inside her house. At least, if I did hear gossip, I would know where it came from. “Yes and no.”

“You did not pick up the slipper?” The short man lifted an eyebrow and pierced me with a suspicious gaze.

“I picked it up all right. I hate spiders.”

“Excuse me?” Obviously, I had lost him, but I had no idea how. Seemed perfectly clear to me.

“I was wearing sandals when I visted that mine. I didn’t want to take the chance that the creepy bug would skitter onto my toes.” And that little thing was speedy, too. “The glass slipper was just there on one of the displays at the little souvenir store. I picked it up and smushed that bug, quick as a wink.”

He looked at me like he was waiting for more.

I glanced back toward the Myers’s house just in time to see the blinds on one of her windows drop back into place.

“And.”

I let my head roll back and looked up at the ceiling of the porch. “I didn’t mean to take it. I didn’t even know it was in my bag. It had slipped down to the depths of my mammoth purse and I didn’t even uncover it until I got off the plane at DFW airport.”

“Then?”

“Well, I couldn’t take it all the way back. And I didn’t want to keep it. I might be willing to murder a wandering bug, but I’m no thief.” Of all the nerve. “Besides, if the thing got busted, I’d have felt horrible!”

“So?”

If I didn’t get this man out of here, my whole neighborhood would be spinning stories in no time. “I took it into the airport restaurant and left it next to a pile of menues. That’s all I know about it.”

The eyebrow rose again as he jotted something into his notepad. “Can anyone corroborate your story?”

I lifted my chin and raised an eyebrow at him for a change. “As a matter of fact, April Hayman can. She was seated next to the hostess stand where I put the slipper. I left it there, found my baggage, and zipped back home.” So there.

As you can see… I am not the guilty party.

Thankfully, the officer left and Mrs. Myers was robbed of her juicy, spreadable tidbit.

But apparently, some princess’s prom shoe is still missing. Maybe April knows something about it? You can find out what she has to say on her blog HERE, tomorrow!

Follow the clues each day to discover the culprit. And click THIS LINK to enter to win an Amazon gift card!


Leave a comment

What Makes a Mystery Good?

I’m so happy to have rejoined the Suspense Sisters group! Oh I missed being part of that little circle! My first article last month was about good mysteries. You can see it HERE!

Now you know I love a good mystery! But exactly what is it that makes a mystery good?

I’m convinced that it isn’t only one thing, but a combination of stellar qualities that makes a juicy mystery truly memorable. One that stands out in my mind right now is by Colleen Coble, Tidewater Inn. I won’t give you any spoilers, but when the main character is doing a video call (or something like that) with her best friend, the other woman is kidnapped while she looks on. And that’s just the start of the suspense.

I think I read that book about seven years ago and it still makes an impact. Now that’s a good mystery. And yes, I know it was technically a suspense, but the best suspense stories have a juicy mystery involved. (And I’ll put COUNTER POINT and BREAKING POINT in the category of suspense with mystery).

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll share some of my thoughts on what makes a great mystery, but you can get things rolling. A free copy of COUNTER POINT is up for grabs to one commenter answering this question: Name a mystery you recently read (or saw) and share what made it memorable.


2 Comments

Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Ever After Mysteries Coming Soon!

These mysteries have three of my favorite things in them:

  • A little history
  • A little mystery
  • And happily “Ever After.”

History – 1926 in Dallas, Texas to be exact. I had so much fun digging into stories of the early days of my hometown. I found surprises and a few characters, and I’ll share some of these in the days to come along with photos from almost 100 years ago.

Mystery – oh, yes! My heroine, Josephine Jacobs, and her mother run a boarding house for women on Haskell Avenue, right across from the original site of Ursaline Academy and just down from Ross Avenue, one of the most exclusive and expensive streets in Dallas. She also works in the kitchen of the Adolphus Hotel. When T.G. Taggert, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in town, ends up being murdered, Josie finds herself on the wrong side of the bars in the downtown jail. But she’s not only resourceful, she’s innocent and not afraid to involve herself in the misadventures of an open investigation.

As for the happily ever after – All of our Ever After Mysteries are loosely based on Fairy Tales. Yesterday, Chautona Havig shared about her take on Cinderella as a cigarello girl in THE LAST GASP. You can find her full article here:

My book, A GIANT MURDER, is based on the characters of Jack and the Beanstalk. Josephine Jacobs is named after the author of the most common version of the story, Joseph Jacobs. Within the story, you’ll meet TG (The Giant) Taggert, his son Jack, his own personal goose Chef Anton Ganderson, his golden songstress Harper Davis, and other characters. And any one of them could have murdered The Giant.

So here’s my beautiful cover by the talented artist Josh Markey!

Giveaway!

Someone is going to win an advanced copy of my book – even before it is available for purchase. Read on for the details.

A GIANT MURDER has been available for preorder for a while now, but the cover has looked like the one on the left. We’re releasing my final cover on Amazon today, Saturday February 13, and making a game of it. See the instructions below.

  • First, watch my Amazon Book Page for the cover to change from the place holder (the plain image above, on the left) to the full artwork.
  • Second, share the Amazon link with the new cover on your social media.
  • Third, send an email to CelebrateLit@celebratelit.com with your social media link.

The person whose email arrives first, provided they shared the new cover and the Amazon link on social media, wins!  It’s that simple.

And tomorrow, we’ll be revealing book three of our Ever After Mysteries by April Hayman. You’ll want to see her post right HERE and see if you can win her book, too!


Ever After Mysteries!

I’m so glad to be part of this author group! Our books are already on preorder and will be released before you know it, but in just one week, we will have official cover reveals! Yea!

I’m so excited about these covers! Artist, Joshua Markey, did a phenomenal job capturing 1920s era places, people, and events to perfectly express just a hint of the stories within the books. The Ever After Mysteries combine well and lesser-known fairy tales with mysteries that take place in the 1920s! Step into the pages of a whole new kind of fairy tale and go on an adventure to discover if it’s a happily-ever-after or a happily-NEVER-after at the end!

Here are the titles in random order. Can you figure out which title goes with which cover hint below? More hints coming soon!

SILENCING THE SIREN
MURDER AT THE EMPIRE
A GIANT MURDER
THE LAST GASP
THE LOST DUTCHMAN’S SECRET
SLASHED CANVAS
WHEN THE PILOT FALLS

Of course, these clues are too small to see the way they are, but click on them and open up the full-sized versions.

These second clues are each from the same book cover as the clues above them. So the blush one in the second column on this row connects with the black hint on the first row, right above it. Yes, the book is mine. Again, you can click on the first square and scroll through all of the hints.

Have you figured any of them out? Leave a comment for me with your thoughts. Another hint coming soon!


The Most Wonderful Time?

Can I just say, I’m sick of COVID? Can I get an amen?

I don’t know how Thanksgiving looked at your house, but mine looked extremely different from the way it usually does. My brother has tested positive for COVID, so there was no yearly trek out to East Texas. My mom needed to stay safe in her assisted living facility, so there was no interaction with our matriarch. With the disease on the rise, we decided against a large family party and missed seeing our newest cousin. And three members of my family are sick (including my precious daughter Sparkle), quarantining, and had to spend the holiday all alone. 

But God is good. In fact, the sickest member of my family (well, I’m claiming him) said that very thing to me the other night between coughs as I spoke to him on my daughter’s speakerphone. Instead of a large gathering, Sweet Hubby, Spunky, and I visited my son who begged to host. His downstairs is large and open, giving us all plenty of room to eat without facing one another and spread out to watch the football games. Precious redhead and her hubs drove in from Atlanta and stayed with my son, as well. The seven of us kept our masks on and the windows open, but still laughed, joked, talked. And we were grateful for the time we had together. Grateful for the Zoom call a few days later that collected ALL of our family, even those who at that point were recuperating. God is indeed good! 

Our typical crew for Sunday nights. Many of us usually chat on Saturday nights, too.

Adjusting my plans for Thanksgiving made me shed a few tears, especially missing Sparkle, but it was only a day. And we’ve already declared a secondary Thanksgiving Day in February. Maybe by then, my mom will get to join us! My brother has since tested negative and his minor symptoms have disappeared – YEA! Sparkle only had seasonal allergies, but rested well during the weekend to fight off anything that might attack. And I got to do a plexiglass meeting with my mom. She’s having such a great time in her new place – so many events and people that she interacts with all the time – there wasn’t even a reason to bring up the Thanksgiving plans that had to change.  

And God is good! Because even if in February we still can’t get together, God is good for planting His seed of love and hope in the hearts of all my family members! We’ll spend eternity having one Thanksgiving party after another. How cool is that?!

In the bleakest hours, His star shines in the east. His light comes into the world. Hope rises and abounds at the name of Jesus! Yes, this is the most wonderful time!

May your December be blessed! May your family stay safe! May your spirits stay up! May your glasses stay rosy! ~Philippians 4:8


It Takes a Leaf

Rosie probably thought I was bonkers!

I was walking my dog, Rosie, the other day.
Okay, okay, let me be completely honest about this.

My dog, Rosie, took me on a drag the other day.
Yes, that’s more like it.

Truth be told, I was a little down. I loved the crisp morning air, but I couldn’t get my mind off of all my hats.

These were some big, ‘ole, HAIRY hats, too. Hats like moving my precious mom out of the senior living center and away from the people who know her so well. Hats like working with people who aren’t always easy to work with. Even Christians sometimes can have a focus of “all about me” trying to grab as big a piece of pie as they can. Hats like loved ones being sick and others being exposed to COVID, the bleakness of remaining at home through the holidays, the disappointment of canceling our Thanksgiving celebration.

I could go on. These hats were HEA-VEEEE! So much so that as my dog dragged me down the street – she has no problem with hats! Romp is her favorite pace – I couldn’t even look up at the beautiful blue of the sky or see the brilliant red of one of the trees I passed.

But I did see a bright yellow leaf on the sidewalk. In fact, as a bit of a wind had come through during the night and emptied a tree in one of my neighbor’s yards, I saw a bunch of bright yellow leaves. Some brown ones too, and they rattled when I kicked at them.

And yes, I kicked them. I even made Rosie stop running and come back and forth through the leaves that covered the sidewalk, just so I could hear the leave scrape across the concrete as she walked through them. I kicked them and enjoyed the rattlely-clatter and then watched the light breeze make them drift down again.

Rosie thought I was bonkers. Maybe I was a little, but it lifted my spirits, lifted my chin, and lightened the load of all those hats.


Rose-Colored

The Lord has been urging me lately to focus on Philippians 4:8. As a reminder, here’s that verse, “. . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

scared ostrich burying its head in sand concept

It’s so easy, isn’t it, to do the exact opposite! There are so many false, dishonorable, wrong, polluted, ugly, deplorable, etc. things that surround us. It doesn’t take but thirty seconds of watching the news for my spirit to plummet.

So should I bury my head in the sand and ignore the bad things? I confess I did a little of that over the last several years. I refused to watch any news and would move away if people started talking about current events. Now I truly thought that this was the best way, but I was wrong.

By ignoring what was going on around me, I was left out, ignorant of the real events that were happening. Worse, my ignorance kept me from praying about things and people who needed it. And even more than that, without facing the difficulties that were going on, I wasn’t getting the chance to grow in my faith or get stronger.

It’s a balance. Jennifer Rothschild, in her Bible study, TAKE COURAGE, suggests a biblical wisdom approach. She urges that we must be aware of the harsh truth of our reality, but we don’t need to live in the mire of despair. The situations are real, “but they aren’t real estate.” We do need to accept the truth of our circumstances, but God gives us directions to be encouraged by His presence and keep moving forward.

“Moving forward” to me has become a challenge. I have a number of projects on my plate right now, but I can’t help feeling like having a place where some of those right, true, noble, lovely things can be shared would be an excellent thing itself. So I’m inspired, and somewhat nervous about it. I will be posting from time to time – as often as possible – to share those things from Philippians 4:8 upon which we are to dwell.

What are you keeping your mind on right now?


2 Comments

COVID 19 Day ??

Counter Point cover

Yep, I’ve lost count. I think we’re at maybe day 20 or 21 for our isolation, but keeping that count is more depressing than encouraging.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start counting something else. Beginning tomorrow, I’m going to start posting serial readings of my novel COUNTER POINT. Hopefully, we’ll reach the end of our quarantine before we reach the end of the book. If we don’t, you’ll deserve the ending of the book. But if we do, I’ll put the e-book on sale to celebrate the end of our quarantine! Yea!

Here’s a little about the book:

Someone is determined to finish a murdered hit man’s final assignment.

Her father’s gone. Her diner’s closing. Her car’s in the lake. Cat McPherson has nothing left to lose. Except her life. And a madman’s bent on taking that away.

Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart.

Keeping Cat safe from a fallen cartel leader might prove impossible for Ray, but after seeing his mission destroyed and several godly people killed, he knows better than to ignore the man’s threats. Cat’s resistance to his protection and the stirring of his long-denied feelings for her complicate his intentions, placing them both in a fight for their lives.

How can a small-town girl survive when ultimate power wants her dead?

So I’ll be counting up the chapters and scenes on that instead of the days of our spring of isolation. Join me here. Ask me questions or make comments. You can even share you experiences that might be like some of the things that go on in the book. (No spoilers if you’ve already read it though!☺)

Until tomorrow, and spread the word! I’d love to chat with y’all!