Tag Archives: thriller

First Crime Novel Competition


deadline 12/17/2012; mystery/thriller; 60,000 words min.; $10,000 advance against royalties; details HERE:


Writer’s Digest Thriller Contest – Nov. 1 deadline


Deadline is Nov. 1, 2011; first prize is $1,000; $20 entry fee; details HERE:


Writer’s Digest THRILLER competition


deadline Sept. 15, 2011; prizes go up to $1,000 cash; $20 entry fee; 4,000 words max; details HERE:


FanStory’s horror/thriller short story contest


Recommends 2,000-3,500 words though max is 7,000; March 22, 2010 deadline; $100 gift card prize

Info and entry HERE: http://www.fanstory.com/contestdetails.jsp?id=2687&at=152

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Fleur Bradley, YA thriller writer


Author interview with Fleur Bradley

Dozens of Fleur Bradley’s mystery short stories have appeared online and in print, including the Deadly Dames anthology. She’s written a YA thriller her agent is now finding a home for in New York. It’s cold over there in winter, so let’s hope this happens soon.

Fleur also writes freelance, and lives in Colorado with her husband, two daughters and way too many pets.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

The Ground Crew, my YA thriller, is about David, who’s that guy with the bulls-eye on his back. The bully target. He just got grounded for Spring Break (for speeding in his cool new car), and has to sit out his punishment in the basement of a neighbor, since his dad has to work.

He gets to know his fellow groundees—The Ground Crew—and just as he’s making friends, someone is targeting The Ground Crew, making them pay for their sins. David has to figure out who’s out to get them, before it’s his turn.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I loved to read, and one day I thought: I can do this. So I wrote a novel, which really stunk. I mean, really, really bad.

But I caught the writing bug, and I read somewhere that short stories were a good practice. So for the next six years or so, I learned to write. I got some stories published, and eventually sunk my teeth back into novel writing. After a few more stinky novels, I wrote The Ground Crew.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I start with some coffee and email answering. Then from 9 until noon, I write on whatever work is in progress. The afternoon is for freelance work, teaching, blogging, etc. How boring, huh?

Unfortunately, boring is how the work gets done. Those hours when I work on a novel are fun, though. I get to travel in time, hunt for a bad guy, drive a car way too fast, and fall in love—all from my trusty computer chair and with a cat on my lap. Being a writer is such a sweet gig.

4. Describe your workspace.

I have a desk, bookcases full of papers and folders, a futon where my dog naps, and a window overlooking my yard. My desk is usually covered in papers, notes, and candy wrappers—I have a bit of a sweet tooth. Actually, make that a huge sweet tooth.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I love Jordan Sonnenblick’s Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie because of its awesome YA voice. Tedd Arnold’s Rat Life, Graham McNamee’s Acceleration, and Markus Zusak’s I Am The Messenger are perfect YA mysteries.

For those of you unfamiliar with YA, I recommend you read all of those—you’ll never want to leave the YA section of your bookstore again.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1. I was born in Holland and grew up there. When I’m really mad, I curse in Dutch.

2. My favorite food is French fries with mayonnaise, curry sauce and onions. It’s a Dutch thing.

3. I’ve been known to eat all of the leftover desserts at convention banquets, and not even be one bit embarrassed about it.

7. Favorite quote

Don’t really have one, because I’m not a fan of quotes. If you think hard enough, you can find profundity in a stop sign, fortune cookie fortunes, and Miley Cyrus lyrics (“It’s the climb,” anyone?).

If I live by anything though, it would be to roll with the punches. Live in the moment, and take whatever comes your way. It’s a good attitude to have, for writers especially, I think.

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part: getting lost in your imagination, hands down.

Worst part: the rejection. But I’ve learned to focus on the best part when the worst part is threatening to take me down.

9. Advice for other writers

Just write. It’s easy to get caught in the business, other people opinions, the self-doubt. In the end, even Stephen King writes his novels one word at a time.

Surround yourself with other writers, encouraging friends who will bring cookies when the rejections get to be too much. I am fortunate enough to have a crew of writer friends, and they’re priceless.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

After polishing it to a shine, I sent one of my first short stories to a mystery magazine that was being published at the time called Hardboiled. My story was rejected, but the editor, Gary Lovisi, wrote a nice note on the rejection letter.

About seven years later, a writer friend referred me to an invitation-only anthology that was coming out. My story was accepted, and the editor? Gary Lovisi.

Publishing is a small world, and you should never give up.

Where can people buy your book and learn more about you?

The Ground Crew is still trying to find a publisher, but you can find lots of links to my short stories on my website: www.fleurbradley.com

Also, come check out my blog YA Sleuth: http://yasleuth.blogspot.com/ I keep you posted on all things YA, including news, book reviews, and sometimes a picture of a polar bear and a pumpkin, just because. It’s fun, so come join me!

10 Questions for…Laura Hayden, author of 11 books!


Author interview with Laura Hayden

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest books is RED, WHITE AND BLUE, the second book in the “America the Beautiful” series from Tyndale House.  It’s a novel about the rise and possible fall of the first female President, told from the perspective of her campaign manager, later to become the White House Chief of Staff.   The first book asks, “How far would you go to become President?” and the second book asks, “How far would you go to STAY President?” 

2. How did you get started as a writer?

Like most writers, I started scribbling as a kid.  I was an early reader and literally ran out of kids books in the local library by age 10.  I switched to adult books and never looked back.  By thirteen, I was writing what we now affectionately call “fan fic” and short stories, but my school only really recognized poetry as creative writing so I was never labeled a writer in their eyes.  (I was a math and music geek, instead.)  I got a degree in engineering which meant I have no time for reading, much less writing.  A decade or so later, my military husband had a one year assignment in Washington DC and we had two small children.  There was no job opportunities for an engineer in town for eleven months and needing major child care.  So I stayed at home.  It didn’t take long for my imagination to demand more than a constant diet of Sesame Street  and the Disney Channel.  I turned back to writing.  I got serious about novel writing in 1990, finished my first book that year and finally sold it in 1993.   

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I try to write in the mornings and do edits in the afternoon.  Around this I work the rest of my life—my online bookstore  takes some time (Author, Author!  http://www.author-author.net) and I’m involved in several writers groups, president of one.  And then there’s the family obligations which includes my husband, a son off at college and four, count them, four dogs.    

4. Describe your workspace.

My workspace is a mess of books, dogs, more books, boxes of books, and lots of empty Caffeine Free Diet Coke cans.  It’s not a pretty sight.  But the dogs don’t mind as long as there is enough floor space for all of them to go to sleep.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

In my earlier years, I devoured books about writing.  Now I’m more interested in research books rather than instructional books.  But the books that helped me include THE WRITER’S JOURNEY by Chris Vogler,  TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT by Lawrence Block, GOAL MOTIVATION AND CONFLICT by Debra Dixon and WRITING THE FICTION SYNOPSIS by Pam McCutcheon.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’ve playing piano since I was six.  I’m decent at it because I can read music and play by ear.  I like to sing, too and can be valuable in a choir because I can sight read reliably well and have relative pitch.  (A step below perfect pitch)

I worked one summer in a coal mine as an engineer trainee while in college. There’s nothing like mentioning  my summer-long exposure to black lung to liven up a conversation.

I love television.  I mean REALLY love television.  I have two TiVos and a DVR on my computer so I don’t miss my favorite shows which this year includes Heroes, NCIS, Fringe, Top Gear, Torchwood, Doctor Who, Being Human,  Sanctuary, Stargate Universe, Castle, and more.  My guilty TV pleasure that I shouldn’t admit in any public forum are daytime TV court shows.  

7. Favorite quote

“No matter where you go, there you are. “ 
Dr. Buckaroo Banzai of the Banzai Institute.

(I’m absolutely gaga over this movie.  It is my favorite movie of all time and yes, I have all the t-shirts, patches and several of the posters)

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

Best part:  prose written while wearing pajamas is just as effective and good as prose written while wearing street clothes.

Worst part:  Answering stupid questions about my career. 

  • “No, I don’t need any help with the love scenes.  However, I am writing a murder scene…” 
  • “No, I don’t pay to have my books published.  They pay me.  No.  Really.  I understand that your brother-in-law paid someone to print his book, but I didn’t.”
  • “Thanks, but no thanks.  I don’t want to listen to your idea for a book, then do all the writing and split the profit 50-50 with you.” 

9. Advice for other writers

Learn about the industry from ALL aspects, not just that of the writer and a reader.  You also need to understand more about the agent’s role, publisher’s role and the bookseller’s role so that you can view the industry from all five perspectives.  This will help you have more reasonable expectations and make your efficient and effective when you seek publication.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

The very first project I sold was to a company that was producing original audio dramatic productions with multiple voices but only minor sound effects and music.  The company paid be a flat fee and bought all rights to the novella I wrote specifically for them so that they could have a free hand to edit it during production to change any cadences of the dialogue and so that the hooks fell at the places the tape turned, etc.  I wouldn’t have the right to review the edits since I no longer owned the work. 

One it was released, I was generally pleased with the production except for one big glaring error that had been edited into the work.  I was embarrassed that the editor had make it appear as if I had written the purple-prose description of the characters (“A cupid’s bow mouth…”) and that I had described her as wearing a turtleneck, then in the next sentence, commented on her modest décolletage. 

That was my first taste of publishing and a painful lesson to learn about work for hire projects.  I still do work for hire, but I chose them more carefully now.   

Where can people buy your books and learn more about you?

Visit me at http://suspense.net (Yes, I’ve had this website domain for over 10 years!) and you can purchase my books at http://www.author-author.net or any major bookstore–online or in person. 

Or visit my Facebook fan page

“Fear Drives My Writing” (“Dark End of the Spectrum” author Anthony S. Policastro)

Both of my novels, DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH, both mystery/thrillers, were written out of fear, universal fears that I believe all of us consider at one time or another.
DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM is about Dan Riker, a computer security expert whose family is kidnapped by digital terrorists who take over the power grid and cell phone network and hold the United States hostage. Dan is the only one with the know-how to stop them, but the hackers have his family and he must decide to save his family or save millions of people.

While I wrote this book the fear of losing my own family pervaded my thoughts and I wrapped a plot around this fear using the latest wireless technologies and a lot of imagination. I still have my family and the thought of losing them is unimaginable. This was the fuel for DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM.

Dan’s life is well planned, predicted and uneventful like most of our lives and I wanted to see how Dan would react when all of that is shattered in an instant when his family disappears.

Does Dan have the courage to save his family or will he just give up because he never had to face such insurmountable odds? Will he save millions of people whose lives are threatened by the terrorists or will he save his family? The book is not just about technology.

These are some of the questions I addressed in the book and when or if you read the book you may ask yourself these same questions and maybe better understand your own capabilities.

ABSENCE OF FAITH also addresses universal fears when residents in a highly religious small town have horrible near-death experiences and wake up with burnt skin.  They believe they went to hell and that God has abandoned them. Matters get worse when a local Satanic cult emerges and wins over many residents.

My fears of losing all hope and all faith in the face of a downturn in life is what spawned ABSENCE OF FAITH. Again, I was interested in how people would react if you stripped them of all hope and faith. Would they pick themselves up and continue their lives? What would they do when this great fear overtakes them.

These are the questions I address in ABSENCE OF FAITH.

Bestselling author and psychic Sylvia Browne writes in her book, Prophecy, that, “…our beliefs are the driving force behind our behavior, our opinions, our actions. Without faith, without our beliefs, we’re lost.”

I have always been interested in religion and why and how it has such a powerful hold on all of us and what would happen if it were taken away.

I not only wanted my books to entertain, but I also wanted them to inspire, educate and leave readers with something to think about after they put the book down for the last time. I wanted the books to be relevant to people’s lives today and some of the problems we all face in the journey of life. I hope my books are that and more.    

Both DARK END OF THE SPECTRUM and ABSENCE OF FAITH are available as paperbacks from Outer Banks Publishing Group, Amazon.com and as ebooks from Smashwords.com and the Amazon Kindle.
Both books will soon appear on Barnes and Noble’s new ebook site.

Visit my blogs for tips on writing, publishing, and books, WRITING IS ABOUT PUTTING YOURSELF TO WORDS and THE WRITER’S EDGE.

Interviews can be found at

The Lulu Blog
Ask Wendy – The Query Queen


10 QUESTIONS FOR…S.G. Kiner, author of the Susanna Sloane series


Author interview with S.G. KinerHongKongCoverKinerWebPic

I’m a full-time writer.  I was an executive in advertising and a former model.  I currently ghostwrite for securities attorneys and consults and testifies as an expert witness in securities arbitration hearings.  I have been published in numerous professional articles and journals.  I recently completed the sequel to The Hong Kong Connection.  I have two children and three grandchildren and live with my husband in Palm Beach, Florida.   

1. Tell us about your latest book.

“Political intrigue, suspense, romance, and a gutsy and beautiful protagonist create a well-crafted masterpiece of a novel in S.G. Kiner’s The Hong Kong Connection—A Susanna Sloane Novel.”

Susanna Sloane is a brilliant, beautiful and street-wise securities attorney.  A widow and grandmother of three, Sloane hasn’t lost her spunk or nerve, taking on the Chinese government, the big boys of Wall Street, U.S. government officials, the FBI, and the Russian mafia—some as foes and some as friends.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

When instructed to reduce the stress in my life after undergoing bypass surgery, I decided not to return to work full-time, but to write a novel.  My original concept was to fictionalize some of the more fascinating securities cases on which I have worked, but the characters took over. 

As a child I wrote short stories, but after college and law school, all I wrote was legal opinions.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

It depends on if a book is in edit.  If I’m composing, I like to be at my computer early, write all day (with the usual interruptions) and stop at five.  However, if I’m working with my editor, my time is usually governed by his schedule.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

Dresden after the firebombing is an apt description.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

I used to confine my pleasure reading to Ludlum, Forsythe, Fleming (I read all the Bond novels in sequence) and other writers of that genre.  As I got older I discovered Susan Isaacs and other female authors.  In 1996 I joined a literary club, and have been forced to expand my horizons to the classics, non-fiction, etc., and glad for it.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

I’ve been married to the same wonderful, supportive husband since the age of eighteen.  Besides being an avid reader, I’m a gourmet chef, an expert knitter, and the silliest grandmother (so they tell me).  I love classical music, opera, and Broadway.  My family was in the clothing business in New York (my home town) and I love to shop.

7. Favorite quote

The greatest test of courage on earth is the ability to bear defeat without losing heart – Robert Ingersoll

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The frustration of finding a publisher and the joy of being published!

9. Advice for other writers


10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

I had just written a graphic and steamy sex scene when my three adolescent grandchildren arrived.  Without realizing that it was still on the screen, I left my office to greet them, became involved with preparing lunch, only to discover all three at my desk – reading what was on the screen.

Where can people buy your book?

Amazon.com, B&N.com, : www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.htm

 Want to win a free book? S.G. Kiner gives away one book a week through a random drawing on Facebook.  This is the page:  http://tinyurl.com/SGKinerFB

10 QUESTIONS FOR romance/mystery/thriller author Rod Summitt


Author interview with Rod Summittsecuredownload

Rod Summitt is a retired former Junior High School social studies teacher and retail manager.  He first tried a hand writing in the seventies.  While still teaching, he co-authored a mystery novel with another teacher.  That novel received some interest from two different publishers, but was deemed to be of insufficient length to publish.  Rod and his co-author said on several occasions that someday they would dig it out and try to expand it.  However, Rod left teaching for a management position in the hardware/home center field, and his co-author passed away.  Still, every once in awhile, Rod would say to himself that someday he would give writing another try.

A few weeks after he retired, Rod decided that “someday” had come.  He dusted off the manuscript from the mid-seventies and rewrote it.  He revised and expanded it.  With the blessings of the family of his co-author, Reunion with a Killer was rewritten with some new characters and numerous new scenes added.

After finishing that project, Rod decided to dive into another idea that had been lurking in the back of his mind for some time.  He wanted to try his hand at a mystery/romance.  As he started the story, he thought that he would weave a romance into a mystery story.  However, as the project evolved and reached a conclusion, When Pasts Collide, according to Rod, ended up being a romance novel with some mystery woven in.  His wife is steadfast in her belief that Pasts is a mystery with a little romance within it.  He now divides his time between more traditional mysteries and mystery/romance stories.

Rod lives with his wife of forty plus years, Joyce, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He has three grown children and eight grandchildren.  He is an avid fan of professional football, baseball, and hockey.  He has been an enthusiastic reader and collector of mystery novels since his early teens.  His home library contains well over four hundred and fifty novels from a variety of authors including complete or nearly complete collections of Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Rex Stout, Emilie Loring, Margaret Truman, Dorothy Gilman, Sue Grafton, Catherine Coulter, Janet Evonovich, Jill Churchill, and Lilian Jackson Braun.

Rod spent his childhood in Muscatine, Iowa, and moved to Lafayette, Colorado at the start of high school.  After a hitch in the Navy, mostly at the Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor Hawaii, Rod returned to Colorado to attend college at Colorado State College (now University of Northern Colorado) in Greeley.  He has lived in Colorado Springs since graduation from college.

Rod also enjoys traveling around the United States whenever he can.  He combines being a tourist with research for his fiction writing.  He is the author of four novels: When Pasts Collide, Reunion with a Killer (with Richard Edgerton), The Nurse and the Deputy, Return to Paradise, and New Beginnings.  All of them have either been published or scheduled to be published by the Crystal Dreams division of Multi-Media Publications.  He is currently at work on two more.finalcover

1. Tell us about your latest book.

My latest book is The Nurse and The Deputy, a romance/suspense.

Summary: When nurse Diane Rodgers moved to the Tri-County Area of Eastern Colorado, she was not looking for a new romance.  She was only looking to escape the heartache of her broken relationship with Dr. William Stevenson.  Although she had lived her whole life in Chicago, she quickly adapted to the small town life in Tri-County.

Deputy Sheriff Shawn White met Diane in his official capacity on her first day in the area, but quickly decided he wanted to know her personally not professionally.  His early attempts to cultivate a relationship were carefully parried by Diane, but soon his persistence appeared to be paying off.  However, a misunderstanding drove a wedge between them.

When Diane found herself in a crises situation and in need of help from Shawn in his official capacity, they found that they must also confront their personal relationship head on.

 2. How did you get started as a writer?

I started writing seriously after I retired from retail management in 2004 although I had wanted to write for years.frontcover_j1

3. What’s a typical day like for you?

I couldn’t say that I have a typical day—my wife and I are both retired except for my writing and we kind of just take each day at a time—we try ti make it to the gym or take a long walk at least four days per week, sometimes more.  Some days I work hard at spoiing grandchildren.  I don’t write according to any schedule.  I mayon one day write for six or seven hours, and one day not at all.  Probably my average is two-three hours; three-four days per week.

4. Describe your workspace.

I have a corner desk, 6′ by 5′ wit my PC facing into the corner, an unabridged dictionary to my left a thesarus and other reference books to my right.  I have a card table for notes, other reference materials like an atlas.  The walls to my left and right contain numerous pictures of family and friends and special places.

5. Favorite books?

My favorite books–boy, that’s a hard one as I am a prolific reader–see bio–I’ll say The Promise, by Danielle Steel, McCullough’s bio John Adams (my hero), and Seven Days in May by Knebel & Bailey.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you:

Well, shortly after getting married, I lost my wedding ring playing football with a coconut in the surf in Hawaii (after several beers–OK maybe more than several); I proposed to my wife on our first date and then later that evening when introducing her to some friends, couldn’t remember her last name [I intended to change it anyway]; one time when I was teaching Jr. High, I stopped at the scene of a pile-up in a snow storm on my way home on Halloween dressed as Captain America to try to assist the policeman who was being overwhelmed with the situation — He yelled, “Get back in your car.  I have enough problems already!”

7. Favorite quote?

Easy—–“There is no sense in being stupid if you can’t show someone.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer?

Best thing about being a writer – You get to live in different worlds, the real world and the worlds you create.  I guess the worse thing is sthe frustrations you encounter trying to get published.

9. Advice to writers?

Never give up.  My second published novel, Reunion with a Killer, a mystery/suspense, was first co-written with a friend in 1973, but we were unable to get it published.  When I retired, I re-wrote some of it and started submitting it around with no success.  Finally, after my first novel, When Pasts Collide, a mystery/romance, was published, Reunion was accepted and was published in 2006, thirty-three years later.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.

Sort of goes with above. I had been sending Reunion to publishers for over a year and Pasts for about four months.  I had baskets of rejections.  One Tuesday I received a rejection for Reunion from Crystal Dreams Publishing, and the next day I recieved an acceptance from Crystal Dreams for Pasts.


B.  My books can be purchased direct from the publisher at www.crystaldreamspublishing.com or from Amazon, B&N.com or special ordered from any bookstore.  The last I knew, they were available in stock at Beth Anne’s Book Corner, and Barnes&Noble Citadel.  My website is www.rodsummitt.com