Showing posts with label #mystery/suspense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #mystery/suspense. Show all posts

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Alice K. Arenz Interview & Giveaway

Welcome, Alice K. Arenz to this Writing with God's Hope blog. I'm so excited to interview a past Carol award winner. Thanks to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) loop, I only recently "met" you, so I loved getting better acquainted. I read and reviewed your book. For those who might like to see my review, I added it to the bottom of this post.

Also, everyone be sure and scroll to the end because Alice is offering a fantastic giveaway offer, so don't miss out on that.

Where did you get the idea for your book?

I’ve always said that my ideas, inspiration, etc., come from God. Jenny is no different in that matter than anything else I’ve ever written—published or unpublished.  I was first “given” this title what seems a million years ago as it was back in high school. What triggered it? I’ve no idea. The title came into my head with the admonishment that I wasn’t to forget it—there was a story here that would come later.  I never forgot the title or that promise.


How did you find your publisher?

Short answer: I didn’t. Longer answer . . .


About six years ago, my original publisher went another direction, my health got really sketchy and I believed writing was in my past. Then, last year, a dear friend, Bonnie Engstrom, suggested I contact her publisher and I not only got a contract for three new books, but after getting my rights back from my initial publisher, my first three books were re-issued! So the advice is that if this is something you really want to do, feel God leading you to do, NEVER, EVER, GIVE UP!  God will find a way!

What an inspiring testimony. Thanks.
Are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?

My next project is a Women’s Fiction called A Question of Survival, a story about spousal abuse…and survival.  I was hoping to get this out by the beginning of August, but haven’t been feeling well enough to write like I’d wanted.


What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

Unfortunately, due to some health issues, I haven’t been able to concentrate on reading a book now for sometime—and because of hypersensitivity to sound, it also rules out audio books. When I began this recent foray back into writing, I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it. I can’t spend very long working, amazed if it goes beyond a half hour or so. But I’m trusting in God to see me through. If this is where He wants me, then I know He will give me the ability and strength to see it through.

I will sure begin praying for your health. Sorry, that it's been a rough time lately.
Tell us something about yourself, especially about your writing journey.

I’ve always had a very active imagination, but didn’t really write much down until I was twelve or so. A lot of years went by before I took writing seriously. I devoured Writer’s Digest Magazine, took a creative writing course at the local university, and sent “over the transom” queries to editors and agents. In the early 90s I landed a contract with a New York literary agency. Though it didn’t produce the hoped-for results, it taught me a lot about how much discipline and determination were vital necessities in the writing world. Years later I joined American Christian Fiction Writers, learned a lot from the group, and made some contacts that eventually earned me a contract with a small press.

In spite of a myriad of health issues—especially the hypersensitivity in my fingers and hands which makes typing a challenge, between 2008 and 2010, I managed to get three books written and published. Those books, The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (cozy mystery), The Case of the Mystified M.D. (cozy mystery), and Mirrored Image (classic romantic mystery/suspense), all finaled in ACFW’s Carol Awards, with The Case of the Mystified M.D. winning in 2010.

After a five year absence from the writing scene because of even more challenging health issues, I signed with a new publisher, Forget Me Not Romances, a division of Winged Publications, published my fourth novel, a classic romantic suspense, An American Gothic, re-issued the previous three with wonderful new covers and changes, AND had my fifth novel, Portrait of Jenny, published by Take Me Away Books, also a division of Winged Publications. Talk about feeling God’s blessing with this second chance!

How wonderful! I'll bet with your health problem, I could answer the question below.
Did you ever feel like giving up on your writing?  And how did you press through this?

Yes, often. But writing is a part of me, a part of who I am. Even during the darkest of times the hope of continuing this journey remained. So, how have I “pressed through?”  God. There is no other explanation.

That's the answer for everything, isn't it, Alice?
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Spending time with my children and grandchildren—which I’ll never get enough of!

What’s your favorite Scripture verse?

My favorite of favorites is John 3:16-17, probably because it is the first one I learned by heart when I was very young.  I also love Isaiah 42:16—“I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight.”  That one is over my computer desk and reminds me every day that God IS by my side.

Tell us about Portrait of Jenny

Not even a beautiful woman can save Richard Tanner from his past.
Following an explosive—and public—argument with his ex-girlfriend, artist Richard Tanner races into a rainstorm, gripped by a powerful migraine. He wanders to the gazebo in University Park, where he meets the beautiful and mysterious Jenny—a brief encounter that leaves an indelible impression on his mind—and in his paintings.
When Detective Jack Hargrave accuses Richard of the brutal assault on his ex, he finds himself confronting demons of a past he doesn’t remember. A time when little Richie Tanner walked into University Park whole, was beaten and left to die…a time that may hold the key to his future.

You can purchase the book at:

Portrait of Jenny is the newest book of 2010 ACFW Carol Award winning author, Alice K. Arenz. This follows last August’s release of An American Gothic, also a mystery/suspense.  
Cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (2009 Carol finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 Carol winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (2011 Carol finalist), have been re-released by Forget Me Not Romances.



Visit Arenz at her website

My review of Portrait of Jenny:
Arenz's knack for detail makes her book wordy but explanatory to ones of us seeking to understand the specifics of the crime. Portrait of Jenny is a complex and intriguing mystery. The author offers many red herrings for readers to chase and make their determination of whodunnit before the aggravating Detective Jack Hargrove learns the truth, or Richard Tanner gets killed.. Leaves you still thinking about the story.
Now, for the giveaway:

Win an e-book of Portrait of Jenny.
Post a comment below. Make sure you give your e-mail. We'll enter you into a contest. The winner will be announced on Sunday, August 14 after the midnight of the 13th deadline. So, don't delay. Leave your comment & e-mail now.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Visit with James R. Callan

One of my favorite authors, Jim Callan, released a new book, Over My Dead Body, this month. I'm so excited for him. In honor of this new venture, Jim agreed to write a post for Writing with God's Hope blog viewers. I know you'll enjoy this cute, homespun story.

Grandmother and the Red Blood Cells


I sat down to write this post on Mother’s Day, so naturally I thought of my mother. She was a very special person, as most mothers are. Her formal education didn’t extend beyond high school, but nevertheless she had the best diction of any person I have known. She believed that how a person spoke reflected who they were and she taught herself to speak beautifully, with no regional accent, no mispronounced words, no grammar goofs.  She developed a superior vocabulary through extensive reading. Without formal training, she became an accomplished librarian.

But, once, she exhibited one small flaw – to me, at least. She took the doctor’s word as gospel.

But another mother straightened things out.

Sometime in my early years, I became anemic . Who knows why at that particular moment I had less healthy red blood cells than usual. I certainly was now suffering from malnutrition.  In fact, I had none of the conditions one might associate with anemia.  But for whatever reason, some of my red blood cells had gone walkabout. 

The good doctor said my mother should feed me rice. There are many ways to fix rice, but mother came up with the least acceptable way.  She put it in front of me, I took one look and said, “Mush.”

And I refused to eat it.

As I had never refused to do things my mother asked, she was flummoxed.  She called the doctor, who said, don’t give him anything else. Just put it back in front of me at each meal until I got hungry enough to eat it.

I continued to refuse to eat that mush.

Maybe my white cells would also reduce, thus getting them in balance with the reds. Not a good idea, but then, I was only eight.

There were rumors, some of which persist even today, that my older sister smuggled bits of nourishment to me at night.  I don’t remember that – today.  But I do remember my grandmother.

Several days had past, and the same old bowl of mush rice, or rice mush, sat in front of me at each meal. But this day, my father’s mother was visiting. 

Near the end of the meal, with the mush still untouched, my grandmother asked what was going on. My mother explained the instructions from the doctor.

Nana was a small woman, always smiling and cheerful. But she could be forceful. She looked around the table and ordered everybody out of the room. She would take care of this. Everyone left and her smile left also. 

She took a small spoon of the rice and gave it to me. “Eat this.”

Nana only had sons, and I was her only grandson. So I was her favorite.  I knew she would make things okay. I took the spoonful of awful mush, and somehow managed to get it down without throwing up.

Then, Nana took the bowl of rice and dumped it in the trash. She called my mother in. “He’s eaten some rice. Now, let’s give this boy some dinner.” From there on, my diet returned to normal.

My red blood cells must have been encouraged. The next time the doctor checked, my blood was back to normal also.

Nana was so sweet everybody tried to please her.  Personally, I think the red blood cells decided they would please her also.

Jim's book isn't near so sweet.
A large corporation is taking land by eminent domain.  Syd Cranzler stands in its way, threatening a court battle. After a heated meeting with the corporation representative, Syd is found dead from an overdose of heart medication.  The police call it suicide. Case closed.
But Father Frank, Syd’s pastor, and Georgia Peitz, another member of the church, don’t believe Syd committed suicide and begin to look for clues of what really happened. Will this affect Georgia’s romantic interest in the lead detective?
When the priest is almost poisoned, they convince the police to investigate further. Immediately, Father Frank becomes the target of rumors and speculation he might have had something to do with Syd’s death.
The more clues Father Frank and Georgia uncover, the more danger they find themselves in. Can they find the real killer before they become victims?  

Wow, that sounds exciting, Jim. Love who-done-its. Where can we purchase a copy?

Amazon Author Page:
Over My Dead Body, is available at:

After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing.  He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years. He has had four non-fiction books published.  He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his sixth book releasing in 2015.
Twitter:   @jamesrcallan
FB:  James Callan
Thanks for visiting the Writing with God's Hope blog again. I always enjoy having you as my guest. I loved your story and am eager to read the new book.