Shout out to Mystery Thriller Week

Mystery Thriller Week 2017

Hello everyone!

 Mystery Thriller Week 2017 (#MysteryThrillerWeek or #MTW) comes to an end today.

Below is the wonderful lineup I had for the event. Each author contributed guest posts and generated numerous support. I enjoyed working with everyone and can’t thank everyone enough for the great experience.

So, this post is for you; the viewers, the followers, and the authors who made it all possible. Special acknowledgement to the MTW team for organizing everything.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you! 


welcome MTW.jpg

Day 1 – Mystery

10AM – Kristina Stanley

12PM – Mahrie G. Reid

Day 2 – Cozy Mystery

8AM – Mary Angela

10AM – Hope Callaghan

12PM – Elizabeth Spann Craig

2PM – Jean Rabe

Day 3 – True Crime / Crime Fiction

8AM – Stephen Bentley

10AM – Daithi Kavanagh

12PM – L M Krier

2PM – Kimberly McGath

Day 4 – Thriller

8AM – Scott Bell

10AM – Sandra Block

12PM – D.M Barr

Day 5 – Romance

8AM – Vicki Batman

10AM – Zaheera Walker

12PM – Lily Black

2PM – Leslie Tentler

Day 6 – Paranormal

8AM – Stephen Morris

10AM – Brian McKinley

12PM – Scott Lerner

Day 7 – Writing

8AM – Rayne Hall

10AM – Anne Janzer

12PM – Kris Keppeler

2PM – Karen A. Wyle

4PM – Michael Smorenburg

Day 8 – Historical

8AM – Suzanne Adair

10AM – Maggi Andersen

12PM – Edwin Herbert

2PM – Assaph Mehr

4PM – Geoffrey Monmouth

Day 9 – Psychological

10AM – Rosa Fedele

10:30AM – Guest Review of Rose Fedele’s book The Red Door

12PM – Mary Ann D’Alto

2PM – Valerie Joan Connors

4PM – Sue Coletta

Day 10 – YA/Middle Grade

8AM – Jackie Amsden

10AM – Robbie Cheadle

12PM – Carrie Cross

2PM – Stephen C. Perkins

4PM – Shelley Pickens

6PM – Laura Wolfe

Missed the fun?

Click here to visit the main site for M.T.W and see what the other bloggers, reviewers, and authors have been up to!

Day 10: YA/Middle Grade; Laura Wolfe

Guest Post, Mystery Thriller Week 2017, Uncategorized

Meet Laura Wolfe.

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Laura Wolfe is a lover of animals and nature. When she is not writing, she can be found playing games with her highly-energetic kids, riding horses, growing vegetables in her garden, or spoiling her rescue dog. She lives in Michigan with her husband, son, and daughter. Laura’s YA mystery, Trail of Secrets (Dark Horse, Book 1), was named as a Finalist in the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards—First Novel category. Her second novel, Barn Shadows Dark Horse, Book 2) will be released March 14, 2017. Laura holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan and a JD from DePaul University. She is an active member of multiple writing groups, including Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the SCBWI. For more information on her upcoming books, please visit:

Social Media

Guest Post How Writers can Benefit from Journaling
On my recent birthday, my seven year- old daughter handed me a few tattered horse stickers, a sparkly pencil, and a blank notebook that she’d salvaged from her bottom desk drawer. I must have given her a confused look because she pointed to the notebook and told me it was for me to practice my writing. How cute! I thought as I hugged her and thanked her for the thoughtful present. It wasn’t until later that I realized what a powerful gift she had actually given me.
I kept that notebook next to my bed where it lay untouched for several days. Before falling asleep one night, I decided to open it and give journaling a try. At first, writing down my thoughts felt awkward and strange. Why did I need to write a note to myself about what I’d already experienced? What if someone read this? Why was my handwriting so horrible? By the third entry my handwriting was still illegible, but the words started flowing easier. Now, two months—and dozens of pages—later, I’m hooked on journaling. I’ve outlined some ways journaling can help writers below:
1. Journaling sparks creativity – Stream of consciousness writing—or writing without thinking—brings forth thoughts you didn’t know you had. Journaling has no rules! There’s something freeing about filling a page with ramblings meant only for yourself. A journal allows you to explore crazy ideas and exercise your expressive muscles without the worry of what others will think.
2. Journaling eases stress – Had a horrible day? There’s little worse for your health than keeping your emotions bottled up inside. Writing it down on paper can somehow contain the situation and make it seem manageable. You can even take it one step further and write a happy ending to your sad story. Now that’s my kind of plot twist!
3. Journaling eliminates writer’s block —Journaling documents snapshots of your life which may eventually become segments of your novel. Drawing a blank? Look out the window and describe the weather. Describe the room you’re sitting in. Write a letter to a friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Describe what you ate for lunch yesterday. You get the picture. The topics of journal entries don’t have to be life-changing. Revisit these seemingly mundane journal entries when you’ve reached a tough spot in your novel and see how they inspire you.
4. Journaling transforms your emotions into words – When drama does occur in your life be sure to record your feelings while they’re fresh. Journaling preserves the sensations you experienced during times of intense emotions. Chances are good that the characters in your novel will experience similar periods of love, hate, despair, elation, anger, contentment, etc. Pull details from your journal and incorporate them into your work-in-progress to bring truth and authenticity to your writing.
5. Journaling makes you more likely to achieve your goals – There is something about the written word that holds people accountable. Writing down a goal may prompt you to outline specific mini-steps for achieving that goal. Reading the words may cause you to visualize and feel your own success. Make sure to take time to write down—and occasionally revisit—your goals while journaling.
As it turns out, my seven year-old daughter somehow knew  that a blank notebook sitting at the bottom of her desk drawer was just what I needed to jolt me out of my writing slump. Journaling has benefited me in all of the above ways and I’m happy to have rediscovered this simple writing tool. Do you have a birthday approaching? Perhaps you should ask for a journal!

TOS Cover 2.jpgTrail of Secrets Back Cover Blurb:
Spending three weeks of her summer at the elite Foxwoode Riding Academy in northern Michigan should have been one of the happiest times of sixteen year-old Brynlei’s life. But from the moment Brynlei arrives at Foxwoode, she can’t shake the feeling she’s being watched. Then she hears the story of a girl who vanished on a trail ride four years earlier. While the other girls laugh over the story of the dead girl who haunts Foxwoode, Brynlei senses that the girl—or her ghost—may be lurking in the shadows.

Brynlei’s quest to reveal the truth interferes with her plan to keep her head down and win Foxwoode’s coveted Top Rider Award. To make things worse, someone discovers her search for answers and will go to any length to stop her. As Brynlei begins to unravel the facts surrounding the missing girl’s disappearance, she is faced with an impossible choice. Will she protect a valuable secret? Or save a life?
(Available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook formats)

Buy Links:
Amazon Buy Link:
B&N Buy Link:

Day 10: YA/Middle Grade; Shelley Pickens

Guest Post, Mystery Thriller Week 2017, Uncategorized

Meet Shelley Pickens.

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Shelley Pickens has always enjoyed languages and writing. At the University of South Carolina, her career path took a turn when a professor proclaimed her writing as inadequate and disorganized. After those words, Shelley decided to teach so she could support the development of young minds rather than demolish them. She majored in Spanish education and began her lifelong career as an educator.

After years of instructing high school students, she decided to utilize her firsthand knowledge of young adults and apply it to her passion for creative writing and the supernatural. Thus, “The Haunting of Secrets” was born. Her debut novel was published by Fire and Ice, an imprint of Melange books out of Minnesota, in July 2014 and soon became an Amazon five-star pick for readers. Her sequel, “The Haunting of Secrets: Unhinged” was released in April of 2015 and the third book in the series, “Unleashed”, was just released in September of this year.

While she continues her attempts to foster a love for learning with young minds at a large school in Atlanta, GA, her escape is writing her current work in progress, The Other Side of Tomorrow.  When she’s not in the classroom or on her laptop, Shelley escapes from reality with a complex thriller or science fiction series on television. She is also an avid fan of little league softball Hook up with Shelley at her website at or like her Facebook page for updates and quirky writing stories.

Author Links:


Guest Post – “Turning Darkness into Light through Writing”

I was drawn to the dark paranormal from a young age. Paranormal writing is something that I feel calls to you, from a deep, dark place. If you met me in real life, you would see a positive, happy go lucky girl with a heap of humor, sarcasm and bit of sass. My personality does come out in my books, but mostly it’s the darker parts of me that I hide from the world. In my books, the darkness contained within seeps out from the darkest parts of my soul. I feel like the darker side of paranormal calls to me so that I can expunge all the negative, horrible things I encounter in this world. It’s my escape, allowing me to be a better teacher, mother, and all around more positive person.

I write because the story takes hold of me and won’t let go until I create the story on paper. I always start with an idea, but I never do outlines since the story always tends to take on a life of its own. As I write, it’s my hope that my readers can feel the emotions I did when I wrote it, that they may escape just as I did into the world I created.

The darker side of human nature is something that interests many. It is such a foreign concept for those of us that lead normal lives. Our escape from normal isn’t always a cozy romance, but sometimes a story where good conquers evil. I hope that my readers can escape to a place where they want to find out how it all ends, answer the age old question asking, “Who done it?” The darkness enveloped within that mystery just deepens the suspense and experience I feel.

I love writing for YA genre because I teach young adults in high school. They are such fascinating, complex, sarcastic creatures that keep me on my toes every single day. We all were told ghost stories as children to keep us in check. Stories that captivate and awe, and contain horrors that few humans are capable of perpetrating. But, on the flip side of all that darkness, is the hero. The one and only person that possesses the ability to stop the evil lurking about, no matter how impossible it may seem. I believe it is that idea, that power that we crave in stories no matter what the genre – the power of the hero to change fate. So often in life, especially in teenage life, we feel powerless. We long to be more than we are; more than we were given in life. Reading stories about a hero facing and defeating the impossible, gives us hope. A hope that we are indeed in charge of our destinies. That our lives aren’t defined by our social status or intelligence, but by the size of our hearts and our fierce bravery to conquer despite all odds.

That is why I write, and why I share my heart and stories with others. We can never let the darkness win.

Book Link Info:

Buy links: The Haunting of Secrets
Print book:


Amazon UK:


Barnes and Noble:

Buy Links: Unhinged

Print book:


Amazon UK:


Barnes and Noble:


Buy Links: Unleashed

Print book:


Amazon UK:


Barnes and Noble:

Day 10: YA/Middle Grade; Stephen C. Perkins

Guest Post, Mystery Thriller Week 2017, Uncategorized

Meet Stephen C. Perkins.


In the creation of literary fiction is to be found an inherent irony; the truth!

Stephen Perkins is not only a novelist, but musician, singer, song writer, and intrepid adventurer, believing the only limits to the human imagination, perhaps the highest of all virtues, are merely self-imposed. Raging Falcon, an epic saga of terrorism, politics, romance, moral triumph and spiritual redemption, is his first novel, with a second, American Siren, yet another original epic tale warning of the pitfalls of celebrity and stardom, are both available on

Upon deciding to pursue a writing career, Perkins vowed he would not do so in the pursuit of mere commercial interests, but because he believed the art of storytelling is the remaking of myths, both new and old. An avid lover of classical art, literature and music, he also has a penchant for the consumption of fine coffees, especially cappuccino, which he finds helps stimulate the summoning of the muses. When not working on his third novel, Escape to Death, which shall soon be made available at and other fine online bookstores in all formats, he can be found assiduously researching new topics for his blog at, which features original many thought provoking posts dissecting the sinister nature of global politics and modern media, both mainstream and alternative.

Be the first to contact him now at to obtain exclusive material, including new blog posts and free sample chapters of his new novel Escape to Death!


The enduring popularity of mystery in the realm of popular literature shows no sign of abating. But, speculations abound as to why this is so. What important role do mystery stories play in our understanding of this ultra-modern age? Is there mystery perpetually stirring in the human breast, mixed with generous dollops of intrigue, perhaps even illicit sex, scurrilous vice, vicious violence and even vengeful murder? Indeed, is the concept of mystery the only mysticism left amidst the dizzying social and political complexities of our time, this technological juggernaut of the nascent 21st century?

In a world of omniscient surveillance and security, are there any mysterious frontiers left to be explored?

Throughout human history, mysteries have burned bonfire bright in the mind, the quest for answers to their seemingly impenetrable nature having sown myriad seeds in the imaginations fertile soil. Mystery, so it seems, plays not just an integral role in the creation of literature, but serves as the unshakable foundation for the world’s veritable hosts of religions and myths; the more intriguingly mysterious the doctrine, the greater the feats of its saints, the braver its intrepid heroes, the more tragic the death of its martyrs, thus greater in number the prospective adherents. Allowing one to broach educated theory, perhaps mystery is the very engine driving forth the human will to explore the unknown, to step beyond familiar boundaries, even, if only vicariously through the reading of popular literature. Speculating further still, perhaps one finds literary mysteries so inherently attractive because they provide lucid vistas, illuminating beacons into the dark corners of the human soul; those shadowy crevices of unspeakable character some sense of prevailing reticence never allows for self-introspection. Or is it fear, fear of the unknown that ironically drives forth curiosity in discovering those woeful beasts haunting the human heart? Could it be, endeavoring to read popular literature boldly daring to examine the darkest and most destitute aspects of human nature, allows for some variant of perverse wish fulfillment?

The answer would seem to be a resounding yes.

So, to, in becoming shocked and repelled by those darkest aspects of human nature manifested on the written page, one can strangely embrace those dreads, dreams, and nightmares lurking just beneath the fragile surface of human subconscious, and thereafter become the wiser, and better for it. We read mystery literature not only for entertainment value, but for the revelation of insights into what makes us unique as a human species. The best of popular mystery books creates memorable characters unveiling for us what we don’t, or can’t, see about ourselves, serving almost as therapeutic catharsis. Popular tastes, again and again, seek out literature placed in the mystery genre perhaps because there exists an inherent, almost intuitive sense, there awaits an epiphany hidden somewhere deep within its voluminous pages.

Within the meticulous architecture of well-drawn characters, within the details of sharply drawn stories, live the deepest revelations about ourselves, and our daily struggle to survive the pitfalls of an increasingly dangerous, and uncertain world.

Day 10: YA/Middle Grade; Carrie Cross

Guest Post, Mystery Thriller Week 2017, Uncategorized

Meet Carrie Cross.


*Partial bio taken from Carrie’s Amazon author page.

Carrie Cross is an avid reader who fell in love with books as a little girl after reading Goodnight Moon. She wrote her first “book” at age four: Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine. Carrie discovered her love of mysteries reading Nancy Drew books and The Happy Hollisters series, and after writing THE MYSTERY OF SHADOW HILLS, she continues to look for clues in unexpected places to this day.

Carrie Cross’s influences include Judy Blume, Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and Lee Child. In addition to writing Skylar Robbins mysteries and reading, Carrie loves to cook, hike at the beach, go boating, and travel.

Author Links:

Guest Post – Carrie Cross’s Advice to Aspiring Writers #7: Use Foreshadowing to Create Suspense

*Reposting permission given by Carrie Cross to use for MTW. Post originally posted on 11.14.16.

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“Foreshadowing is a literary device in which a writer gives an advance hint of what is to come later in the story.” (

What bigger goal can a writer have than to keep your readers turning those pages, desperate to find out what happens next? Foreshadowing is a technique that can help you accomplish this objective. Remember being a kid, reading a book that you absolutely couldn’t put down, and suddenly it was–bedtime? Did you hide under the covers, reading by flashlight, because you just knew something exciting was about to happen? That built-up anticipation was probably caused by the author’s superlative use of foreshadowing.

Foreshadowing can be accomplished subtly, by using a description of the setting for example, or overtly, via dialogue and first person narration. The following excerpts from Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills are used for illustration.

Using setting in foreshadowing:

Even though I was afraid, following a treasure map and investigating caves sounded so adventurous that at the stroke of midnight I found myself following Kat outside. Creaky wooden stairs led down the rocky hillside behind her house to their private beach. Sliding my hand along the rough rail, I hoped that the worst thing that would happen to me tonight would be getting a splinter in my palm.

Silver-gray clouds slid past the moon, casting huge shadows on the sand. All too soon we reached the end of the staircase and I smelled the stench of dead mussels clinging to rocks. A cold breeze kissed my cheek as if to wish me luck. Or to warn me.

Violent waves slammed ocean water against the sand. Each pounding crash sounded like a car accident. Pausing with my shoe still touching the last stair, I wondered if there was any way to talk Kat out of this. I figured that following her was better than getting lost on the beach in the dark, so I stumbled after her, scared to death.

Would the worst thing that happened to our heroine be getting a splinter in her palm? Probably not. The cold breeze seemed to be warning her of something. What? Something worse than the car accident that the crashing waves alluded to, or to getting lost on the beach in the dark?

Using dialogue in foreshadowing:

“My new friend was amazing. “What’s Wiccan?” I mouthed.

She looked around. No one was listening.

“Witchcraft.” She waited to see how I’d react, then continued. “I’ll sleep over Saturday night and introduce you.”

“OK. I’ll ask. Introduce me to what?”

Kat looked at me. “Everything Wiccan. I know all about it. And I’ll let you in.”

A nervous tingle shot down my spine. My brain was spinning. I decided to put my plan to escape from Malibu on hold for now.

An uninvited Saturday night sleep-over where Skylar gets introduced to witchcraft? Skylar was nervous and her brain was spinning. Surely something interesting would happen on Saturday night, wouldn’t it?

Using first person narration in foreshadowing:

Heading for Malibu on a sunny Saturday in June would normally have been a good thing. I could have spent the day bodysurfing with my BFF, Alexa, and playing games in the arcade on the Santa Monica pier. If I was totally lucky I might have shared a bumper car with Dustin Coles, the cutest boy going into Pacific Middle School. Alexa and I liked to lie in the sun and watch surfers ride the waves on Zuma beach. If there were pinball and corndogs ahead of me instead of what I was in for, I would have begged my dad for a ride down the coast. But today? Not so much.

If I’d gotten out of the car right then and spread out my beach towel, everything might have turned out fine. But my dad kept right on driving.

Apparently, everything didn’t turn out fine. ‘Tween readers who enjoy going to the beach, watching surfers, eating corndogs, or playing video games should already have an affinity with the protagonist. If she’d gotten out of the car right then, everything might have turned out fine. But her dad kept right on driving. What happened to her?

Foreshadowing helps to create suspense; so whatever your genre, hinting at exciting events to come will keep your readers intrigued, staying up later than intended, reading just one more chapter.

Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills is on sale now on Amazon, or message me for a personally autographed copy plus a FREE pair of kids binoculars using the contact form on my website. My second Skylar Robbins novel, The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels, will be available on Amazon on Read Tuesday, December 9th. More advice for aspiring writers can be found on my website.

Day 10: YA/Middle Grade; Robbie Cheadle

Guest Post, Mystery Thriller Week 2017, Uncategorized

Meet Robbie Cheadle.

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books.

Follow Robbie Cheadle at:
Facebook: @SirChocolateBooks
Twitter: @bakeandwrite

Guest Post – Why we wrote and published the Sir Chocolate book series

I was always a bookworm. I can remember paging through picture books as a very tiny girl and started reading at the age of four years old. The books that spring to mind when I think about my childhood are the Milly-Molly-Mandy series by Joyce Lancester Brisley, the My Naughty Little Sister series by Dorothy Edwards and the many books written by Enid Blyton. Both the Milly-Molly-Mandy series and the My Naughty Little Sister series depict the ordinary day to day life of children in a village setting with their neighbours, families, teachers, friends and siblings. Enid Blyton wrote adventures stories and imaginative tales about wishing chairs, elves, fairies and magic lands. Her stories are not realistic but they do promote core values of responsibility, family and friends. Remember when Joe, Beth and Fanny go to the Land of Magic Medicines to get their convalesing Mother a tonic to help her recover quickly and when the older sister in My Naughty Little Sister gets into trouble for letting her little sister get wet when she takes her fishing with a group of other children?

When I had my own children, 14 and 11 years ago, respectively, I intended for them to become readers and lovers of books. I read to them from a very early age, all the lovely books and stories that I had read to myself as a young girl and many other fables and tales of mythology and war that were “boys” books and which I had not read before myself. When my boys started school and learning how to read by themselves, I had to spend many hours listening to them read. I was slightly concerned about the nature of some of the books my boys were reading. We were also gifted many books by friends and family which were very different to the old-fashioned books from my own youth (which is not that long ago). Some of the modern stories were based on rather disturbing topics such as snooping on your neighbours, making horrible faces, chewing gum, tormenting siblings and wearing smelly and “grungy” clothing, a totally different sentiment from the books I knew and loved. As they have grown older, some of the books they read seemed to distain the concepts of hard-work, respect for teachers and authority figures, loyalty and kindness.

I try not to be narrow minded and I like a laugh as much as anyone else but I have discovered that my boys copy behaviour contained in books or movies without a single though for the consequences of their actions. I do not prevent my boys from reading any books. My view has always been that they must read what they want [and are able] to read but I have encouraged a large variety and mix of books ranging from classics to graphic novels to contemporary fiction and non-fiction. I want them to know and experience all sorts of ideas and viewpoints to give them a better ability to judge situations and circumstances and make sensible decisions.

I started writing initially with my son, Michael, to encourage him to practice writing as this fine motor skill did not come easily to him. Michael came up with the original concept of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet who live in a land where you can eat everything and who have lots of fun little adventures searching for ingredients for their chocolate creations and helping out friends in need. Michael’s stories naturally embodied the values my husband and I encouraged in our boys and made for delightful little tales full of friendship and fun. I re-wrote the books in rhyming verse and expanded the themes. I also included simple recipes that children could do under adult supervision.

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s gingerbread house 

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I think the Sir Chocolate books provide an opportunity for children to experience something different and unique and to exercise their imaginations so when the opportunity came along for me to publish our series I was pleased to do so. I hope that the children who read Sir Chocolate enjoy them and spend enjoyable time creating their own fondant people and creatures.

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Sir Chocolate books
There are currently two books available in the Sir Chocolate series, as follows:

Book 1.pngBook 1:

Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet live in Chocolate land where you can eat absolutely everything. Join them on a fantastic adventure to find the amazing strawberry cream berry and learn how to make some of their scrumptious recipes at the same time.

Book 2: Book 2.png

Sir Chocolate and the baby cookie monster story and cookbook

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet find a lost baby cookie monster. Join them on an adventure to return the baby to its mother and learn how to make some of their delicious recipes at the same time.

Book 3:

Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook – available March 2017
A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

You can purchase the Sir Chocolate books from:

Amazon:; and

OR ;


TSL Publications (

You can buy them in South Africa directly from the authors by emailing Robbie Cheadle at