Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fiona Quinn - An Author Interview at the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on USA TODAY Bestselling Author Fiona Quinn. She writes Suspense, Romance, and Mystery novels. Fiona is the author of The Elemental Witch Series, The Lynx Series, Strike Force Series, The Badge Bunny Booze Mystery Collection, and the Uncommon Enemies Series.

Author: Fiona Quinn

Author Genre: Suspense, Romance, Mystery

Website: Fiona Quinn
Author's Blog: Fiona Quinn
Twitter: @FionaQuinnBooks
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Amazon Author Profile

Author Description:
USA Today bestselling author, Fiona Quinn is rooted in the Old Dominion outside of D.C. with her husband and children. There, she pops chocolates, devours books, and taps continuously on her laptop.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your books: Reliance and Resistance. Do we have another novel from The Elemental Witch Series coming? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

New to this series is Thorn, releasing October 30th. This series includes strong women who work in various scientific fields. In Thorn, Dr. Alanna DuBois’s specialty runs counter to the needs of the US navy, throwing her into the path of our enemies. Politics, espionage, kidnapping, technology, scientific discovery, military, and a thread of romance make this novel a page turner for readers who like smart suspense.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

My writing is research based. With my very first book, Weakest Lynx, I was gathering my notes, and I thought about how much work I did to understand the materials--everything from technical texts, to interviews, to hands-on experiments that I tried in order to figure out how events actually felt and worked. I thought this material would be helpful to my fellow writers. To this end, I started the blog

How this connects to social media: I turned to Twitter to find professionals who lived the lives that I was developing for my characters. I interacted with them, asked questions, learned what was important to them, how they moved through their lives. As I was researching, I reached out to these professionals for specific information. For example, I met a toxicology pathologist who helped inform an element in my book In Too Deep.

On Facebook as well, I’ve developed friendships with people whose expertise is important to my writing. In this way, I can learn and grow as a writer and at the same time enjoy a broad range of interesting people. When the boys were stuck in the Thai cave, I was chatting about it with a military cave diver. She was explaining to me the peril that was involved and how few could attempt the rescue. It was fascinating.

I use Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook to share my articles and have found that those who enjoy the information on my blog also enjoy my books. Nothing could make me happier.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I do enjoy meeting readers in all kinds of venues. I particularly like to lecture about various topics that are technical in nature like fighting and weapons or applied psychology. My next speaking engagement is a private lecture. But those interested in chatting can certainly keep up with me and learn more on my website

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thank you, for that lovely compliment. I love my covers, and I owe them to the imagination of my book cover artist, Melody Simmons. She is always up on her research and has worked with me to create a cohesive brand as well as to make each series stand out as unique. Since we’ve been working together for years, Melody and I are in tune. My process will not be the same for someone she’s working with the first time, I’m sure. We chat about the book and the “feel.” I go through art with her to find the images I think are representative of what the reader will experience in my story. Then, she comes back with some basic ideas, we discuss them, and magically, I have a beautiful cover. I’m very grateful to have her talent as part of my team.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a collection called The Shadow Files and coming up soon, Death and Damages (11/27/2018) collection. What has been the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other authors? How did you put something like these together?

Also, you are a part of a novel 
collection called Love Under Fire (11/13/2018) with twenty other authors. What a great group of outstanding people. (Many have been interviewed on this blog). 

I have very much enjoyed being involved in bundles; though, it is a lot of work. The main reason I do it is to meet other authors, to talk shop with my colleagues, to have a common goal, to be part of something interesting. I have developed some lovely friendships this way. It’s also an opportunity for me to offer some of my work at a discounted price to my readers and for new readers to try out my style of writing to see if it’s something they enjoy. Since I am always working on my next book project as well as marketing my work, it’s hard for me to point specifically to increases in sales based on this one aspect. However, I have had many letters from readers telling me that they found their way to my work through the boxed set, and that’s always lovely.

As to how I’ve gotten involved: in all of the projects in which I’ve participated, colleagues, whose works I read and love, have reached out to me. Sometimes, I have to decline for timing’s sake or the genre just isn’t something I write comfortably. When I can, I like the challenge.

What is your primary genre? What has been your best marketing approach to this group?

My primary genre is suspense (often with a psychic twist). I developed the Iniquus World (Washington DC, modern-day, military subcontractor industry) in which I have five series; The Lynx Series, Uncommon Enemies, Strike Force, The Kate Hamilton Mysteries, and, with Love Under Fire, I launch the fifth an FBI series that starts with Cold Red.

As part of a challenge from a friend, I have a series that is in a dystopian world and includes witches. The Elemental Witch Series – Resistance and Reliance are the first two books in the ongoing series. They, like my other books, feature women with brilliant minds and deadly skills. And I enjoy the challenge of world building a time and a place that doesn’t exist.

And lastly, I write a series with a good friend, Tina Glasneck, just so we have a reason to get together and goof around. It’s been described by some of our fans as a sorbet to cleanse the palate between more intense reads. It’s the story of friendship, girl-talk, and murder. The Badge Bunny Booze Mysteries. Our fifth book just came out this month. If You See Kay Bang.

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I have a reader list. People who are interested can sign up on my website. In my newsletters, I try to share some of the things that I’m doing. For example, in my next newsletter I’ll talk about being a subject in a FLIR (night vision) drone search and rescue experiment. It was particularly interesting to me as I had just written a scene in Cold Red about using FLIR-equipped drones for search and rescue, and this gave me the opportunity to check my work.

People on my reader’s list have found their way to my via my blog or my fiction and also through some of the projects that I’ve worked on like Love Under Fire.

You have a great blog. You do a great job keeping readers informed, marketing your books and helping other writers gain exposure. What is your primary goal? And where in the world do you find the time to create great novels, take care of the social media and maintain your blog?

As I brought up my blog earlier, let me add this about ThrillWriting:

My blog is there for sharing and learning. There are so many interesting things and incredible people. Sometimes I’ll be writing away and forget a detail that one of the amazing specialists taught me. I can go back and look it up. It saves me a ton of time.

I like to write things correctly. I feel a civic obligation to do my best in this aspect. People can read fiction and think their author has done their homework, but when they try to mimic the activity, they get in a lot of trouble. I’ll give you an example. Some people have read that a few eyedrops like Visine in someone’s drink will give them gastrointestinal issues that will lead them to the bathroom for the evening. But this is not funny prank. Eyedrops do not give you gastric issues. They KILL you. A woman in Virginia recently admitted to killing her husband by putting eyedrops in his drinks. So that’s your warning – don’t assume your authors know what they’re talking about.

My books often put characters in life or death situations or difficult situations. I try to show what would actually happen. Who knows, some day it might help someone. In my latest book I talked someone through finding a stroke victim and how to use the acronym FAST (face, arm, speech, time.)

I think it’s helpful to have something in the back of your mind that you can pull forward. I was recently in Toronto. All of a sudden, the subway stopped. We were underground, and we lost electricity. It was hot, dark, spooky, and very claustrophobic. In my mind, I was asking myself what I knew about subways and escapes. What could have caused this? What would my reaction be if one of these things came about? I was planning for anything from a terrorist running into our car to a fire in the tunnel. I think if I just had the fear that something could happen and not a skillset to get me out of there, that I might have panicked.

As to your question about time. I’m a full-time writer, which means I do it all the time. From the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, I’m listening to people talk, watching their body language, reading the news and books, plotting and typing. It’s really just a way of life.

For me, being a writer is such an expansive thing. I get to go up to people and say, I’m a writer, and I have a question if you don’t mind. People have showed me everything from how to create a successful clandestine grave to how to steal a plane. It’s marvelous!

Can you supply us the book blurb for Cold Red? Most authors require a large time commitment just in writing and editing a new book. Was this your first book set a new book was required with a deadline? When will you publish Cold Red outside the Love Under Fire book set?

Cold Red – Undercover, under fire, under arrest, it’s hard to save a special agent’s life with your hands cuffed behind your back.

This book features a character Steve Finley who has shown up in various Iniquus novels. I know him and his backstory. I thought it was about time he be given a chance to redeem himself. I started this book December 2017 to make sure that I had time to get it through my writing process, and then my finishing process which includes handing it over to my beta readers (I always make sure to use readers who know and love the series and readers who have never read the series to make sure my books are both inclusive and can be read as standalones), the editor(s), cover art, and so forth.

I really had fun writing this book. The story for Cold Red came to me one day when I was up in the mountains training with a tactical man hunting team (searching for an armed person who didn’t want to be found) I had my rifle over my head, thigh deep in a freezing cold swamp, and I thought, “yup, I know just what to do with this experience.”

Thank you so much for your interest!

Author's Book List
Reliance - The Elemental Witch Series Book 2
Dystopia, greed, and witchcraft.

Sterling, a Metal Witch with the Resistance creates a strategy to save the Range from starvation. Her sharp mind, her courage and resourcefulness are all called upon to protect the mission.

To do this, Sterling engages in a daring robbery, teamed up with the enemy of her enemy. It can all go so very wrong. Luckily, Sterling has Ember and Piper with her to weave the magic they hope will bring them success.

In the end, Sterling's world is tilted as what she thought was the truth turns out to be a ruse and secrets are revealed.

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Resistance - The Elemental Witch Series Book 1
I am Ember Mc Graw, a student at the university, an Elemental Witch with an affinity for Fire, and a fighter in the Resistance.

My mother used to tell me that I had the ability to warm and nurture, or rage like an inferno, and she is right on both counts. When I was still very young, she sent me to the Isle of Haven to harness that heat and train in witchcraft.

Now, I’ve returned to the Range to put my skills to use in the fight against an oppressive Elite caste, trying to destroy us Witches.

Survival of the Witches means the survival of humanity. Each Witch burned in the balefires is one less Witch working to placate a wrathful Father Sky and Mother Earth.

My mission, in this moment, is to rescue Dr. Brighton and his formula. As we snatch him from the enemy, I trip, quite literally, across a bigger task. A stranger mystery. It is Athena herself who sends an owl to tell me to “save her.” Now, I have to figure out who that “her” is and why she needs saving.

As I follow the path laid out by the Fates, I fight fire with Fire. It is my destiny to be part of the Resistance. Until there is peace, our battle will blaze on.

Click to download Resistance and ignite the magic!

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Deadlock - Uncommon Enemies Book 3
He’ll risk it all to keep her safe.

Honey Honig is good at his job, infiltrating the most dangerous places on Earth and pulling the hostages away from their kidnappers. When the bad guys slips through Honey’s fingers, he hunts a lead to Tanzania.

There, Honey finds his way onto an African safari with Dr. Meg Finley, and into her bed. For him, this isn’t just a passing romance, though. Meg sparks something deep and binding in Honey’s heart.

Out in the bush, when her group of scientists is captured by terrorists, Honey and Meg find themselves swept up in a deadly game of politics and international crime. From the inside, can Honey and Meg save themselves? The others? It's one thing to be part of a rescue team, it's a whole other deal, to be on the wrong side of the metal bars.

Whatever else happens, Honey swears he’ll find a way to protect Meg, and get her home safe. Or he’ll die trying.

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Relic - Uncommon Enemies Book 2
Brian is ex-special forces, working for a security group that only hires the best of the best. His job is fueled by danger and adrenaline, and he loves every minute of it. At least he did up until this minute. When Sophia walks into their briefing room, Brian’s heart stops.

Sophia is the woman who spun his world and stole his heart then disappeared from his life.

Now, she needs protection. Sophia is fighting to safeguard Syrian relics from being stolen and sold into private collections by terrorists.

Her colleagues are being kidnapped and killed.

But the FBI doesn’t believe all is as it seems with Sophia. The Bureau thinks she's helping to sell conflict relics, funding terror, and putting America and her allies at risk.

This case will test Brian’s conviction, honor, and courage. Brian loves Sophia deeply, but which will win the war, his heart or his sense of duty? Click the button and join in the action adveture!

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Wasp - Uncommon Enemies Book 1
The enemy will stop at nothing to get to Zoe and the military secrets that could change everything. What Zoe knows is getting people killed. Is she next?

Gage is a hardened special forces operative with only one soft spot: Zoe. Her desperate screams echoing from inside her home switch his instincts from lover to guardian.

To keep America safe, to protect the love of his life, Gage is coming full throttle. Grab your copy and join the adventure!

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If You See Kay Lie - The Badge Bunny Booze Mystery Collection Book 4
The snarky, inappropriate and irreverent duo is back and this time with clowns on the loose!

BJ’s life is a three-ring circus. She’s juggling her jobs, her friends, and man-troubles, and then things get complicated.

Out on a morning walk with her dog, Twinkles, BJ stumbles over a dead body. Not quite what she expected before her first cup of coffee – or ever.

Then there’s the bullet dodging when not one, but two hot cops take their shot at a relationship with her, when they’re supposed to be investigating the crimes.

And if that weren’t enough balls to juggle, there are the clown attacks! ACK! This is no laughing matter!

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If You See Kay Freeze - The Badge Bunny Booze Mystery Collection Book 3
Snarky, inappropriate and irreverent!

What's an elf to do?

Darn that Nicky Stromboli! He’s the reason BJ has to get a job moonlighting as a winter elf. She swears that the glitter-tights that come with her costume were designed by the devil himself as a torture device.

Lucky for BJ, she's crowned the new Queen Wintergreen. Whoop! More money and no tights. But wearing a wedding dress infected with death-cooties might be more than she signed up for.

Join BJ, Kay, and Twinkles at Jamesburg’s very own Winter Wonderland, where anything can happen, even murder.

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If You See Kay Hide - The Badge Bunny Booze Mystery Collection Book 2
Snarky, inappropriate and irreverent!

Bobbi Jax, AKA BJ is a magnet for trouble. But this time it looks like things are turning themselves around. BJ hits the lottery when her dog, Twinkles, suddenly starts pooping glitter and jewels. It’s almost like BJ has her very own golden goose. Yup, life is turning from bar rags to riches.


If only BJ could ignore the odd set of characters that pranced into her life. A psychedelic-clothes wearing veteran named Marley, a too-many clothes wearing homeless woman named Duckie, a black-suited funeral director named Lurch (not really, but it seems to fit), and an old high school pal-in-need named Felicia, who wears rainboots to the bar.

And if that weren’t enough? Throw in some unicorns and Death Eaters. Why not?

Did I mention that Marley likes to light up?

No good deed goes unpunished in this romp through the St. Clemmons’ Cemetery. Word to the wise, if you see Kay, hide!

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If You See Kay Run - The Badge Bunny Booze Mystery Collection Book 1
turn on and has no problem acting on the temptations.

So, ladies, do you need a good giggle-snort? This light, sexy read will have you chuckling for sure. Filled with double-entendre, tongue-in-cheek, and adult humor, BJ's living her truth.

In If You See Kay, Run, Bobbi Jax, AKA BJ, reaches out to flick the cheek on the chick hiding in the bushes. Plastic. But oh so real looking. And creepy enough to interrupt her romp in nature with hot cop, Peter Harris. Creepy enough that BJ and her best friend, Kay decide to retrieve the discarded mannequin from the park that night, tie it to the roof of their car, and drive it back to the bar she manages. Creepy enough that it lights up social media like a beacon calling in the crazies. Who knew curiosity could put her in so much danger?

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Jack Be Quick - Strike Force Book 2
The prayer on her lips is JACK Be Quick.

It’s been months since ex-Navy SEAL Jack McCullen last saw his fiancée, Suz Molloy. He was on the other side of the world involved in a grueling black ops mission for Iniquus Corporation at the behest of the US government. Mission fail meant a special flight home, and an ambulance ride to the hospital where Suz should have been waiting for him.

When Jack rouses from his surgery to find Suz missing, he knows something is very wrong. Led by the psychic “knowings” of his Iniquus colleague, Lynx, Jack risks everything as he desperately tries to reach Suz in time to thwart the terrorists’ plot and save her.

This time, his mission is for more than love of country; it’s for the love of his life - his heart and soul. Click the button and join the action adventure!

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In Too Deep - Strike Force Book 1
Sometimes trust can get you killed.

Deep watched the newscaster play the video of Lacey fighting off the FBI agent and escaping from a murder scene the night before. Now, she's turning herself over to the police. What Deep’s practiced eye saw in the video was a highly-choreographed crime. But somehow Lacey had thwarted the professionals’ plans.

She is in imminent danger.

Enmeshed in a mystery that includes the FBI, the CIA, and a tangle of interconnected international crimes, Deep and Lacey work to discover who plays the good guy and who plays the bad guy in a gray world where right and wrong easily overlap.

Lives depend on them.

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Cuff Lynx - The Lynx Series Book 4
Lexi Sobado and her mentor Spyder McGraw work as a covert team to thwart the four-headed monster they’ve code named The Hydra. No one—not Lexi’s teammates, not her fiancé, Striker Rheas, not even Command itself—knows about their mission. They fear a mole lurks among them, but the truth may be even more sinister. In trying to protect the government, the US military might have created the weapon that ultimately destroys America.

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Chain Lynx - The Lynx Series Book 3
Found in the debris of the plane wreck barely alive, Lexi Sobado is finally home. But home does not mean safe. Someone powerful, connected, and willing to kill is after her.

Lexi Sobado, the young Iniquus puzzling prodigy, puts her expertise to the test as she faces a dark enemy, threatening not only her and Iniquus, but American defense and safety. Lives are on the line, can Lexi find the puppet master in time?

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Missing Lynx - The Lynx Series Book 2
Lexi Sobado, code named Lynx, is settling into a new job at Iniquus. The new position is satisfying: sort the random puzzles her team hands her to solve crimes, and, occasionally, support her team in the field - planting transmitters, sleight-of -hand, cracking a safe every once in a while, but nothing that would call for daring deeds of do or die. At least that's how her contract reads.

Sadly, Lexi's life does't ever follow her carefully laid plans. Spyder McGraw, Lexi's long-time family-friend and mentor, shows up in town, bringing more questions than answers. A new neighbor, Maria Rodriguez, moves into Lexi's neighborhood - their pasts dangerously linked together. And grief as Lexi mourns her late husband, Angel, tangles itself around her feelings for Striker Rheas. At work, at home, in her heart, Lexi can't seem to find the sense of peace and security that she craves.

In Missing Lynx, we follow Lexi as she tries to work her way to a better life. Just as Lexi seems to move in the right direction, she becomes a pawn in a deadly international game. Lexi's teammates scramble to find her before it's too late. Lexi is fighting for her life.

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Weakest Lynx - The Lynx Series Book 1
Where would you go if nowhere was safe?

A madman forces his way into Lexi's home. Her survival means she is the only one who can identify the stalker. Lexi becomes the critical witness who holds the key to stopping the murderer, terrifying Washington families.

Striker Rheas, an ex-Navy SEAL, and his team of expert operators are charged with protecting Lexi. The more time Striker spends on this security assignment, the more trouble he has maintaining the boundaries of professionalism. He knows Lexi is keeping secrets and protecting her is not going to be an easy task if he's missing vital information . . . and losing his heart to her.

With her psychic antennae tuned in, Lexi realizes that what she hides, what she reveals, and what she uncovers will need to find the perfect balance if she's going to save her own life and stop the killer. Time is running out.

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Cold Red
Fiona Quinn Excerpt for Code Red



When the flash bang blasted in the hallway, Anna dropped to her knees. Her cheek crushed into the dirty carpet where she sipped at a pocket of air not yet filled with acrid smoke. Her head seemed to swell and expand with the high-pitched whistle that followed the explosive’s concussion.

The FBI SWAT team swarmed simultaneously through the front and back doors. Dressed head to foot in black protective gear, these guys weren’t playing games. While the ringing in Anna’s ears muffled their directives, Anna knew if she did anything other than lay very still, they’d shoot her without a single question asked.

So, there she lay with her legs wide, fingers laced behind her head. She lay there and waited for her body to regain equilibrium, for the hard hands of the SWAT force to find her through the grey cloud of smoke.

The FBI were here doing their duty, cleaning up the riff-raff, scrubbing the world of conspirators, and home-grown terrorists, then they’d head back to the banality of their homes, a dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes in front of the TV. They’re just everyday guys doing their job, she told herself, trying to shift her brain toward rational thought, and away from her survival instincts.

A boot stomped down in front of Anna’s face. A knee pressed into her back. The weight of the rather sizable man pinned her, pressing the breath out of her body, leaving her oxygen deprived.

He has to do it this way. He doesn’t know I won’t fight.

Anna was expending a considerable amount of energy not fighting.

The man clapped his handcuffs around her left wrist before he swung her arm to bring it down to the small of Anna’s back. He twisted her right thumb and brought that hand down to match the other. Click-zip went the metal encircling Anna’s wrist. It was cold against her heated system. She had to work to make her body compliant when everything in her screamed that she should fight for her life.

Anna had known all along that she could be caught up in an FBI raid.
v She just didn’t expect it to be today.

But here it was.

The SWAT guy ran thorough hands over her body, searching for weapons. He pulled her phone from the cargo pocket on her pants and confiscated it. He snatched her knife from her waistband. They hefted Anna to her feet and walked her out to the street in front of the horrified neighbors. When they reached a non-descript car, SWAT guy turned her around and compared her face to the photo he pulled from under his chest plate. “Zelda Fitzgerald?” the guy asked, using Anna’s undercover name. “Zelda Fitzgerald?” the guy asked again.

Anna nodded.

He read her Miranda rights as he leaned down to clamp shackles around her ankles, then propped her beside the open door.

Her guard probably held her there in case she needed to vomit - a frequent side effect of being in a room with flash bang and having your limbic system lit up like the grand finale on the Fourth of July.

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From around the edges of every day existence lurks mystery, betrayal, greed, and death.

With every turn of the page, feel the heat of adrenaline as fear lights up the night. Fight alongside the tenacious heroes and heroines as they battle for survival. They'll put everything on the line to thwart the evil coming after them.

They want to trust in the power of love. But is it enough?


Judith Lucci - RUN for your life
Stephany Tullis - Blue Lady's MISSION UNDER FIRE
Fiona Quinn - Cold Red
Anna Celeste Burke - Lily's Homecoming Under Fire
Margaret A. Daly- Monsters in my Closet
Linda Watkins - The Witches of Storm Island, Book I: The Turning
Tamara Ferguson - Two Hearts Under Fire
Suzanne Jenkins - Running with Horses
Inge-Lise Goss - Diamonds and Lies
S.R. Mallery - Tender Enemies
Jinx Schwartz - Baja Get Away
Uvi Poznansky - Virtually Lace
Kathryn Knight - The Haunting of Hillwood Farm
Stephanie Queen - Ace Under Fire
Casi McLean - Reign Of Fire
Valerie J. Clarizio -The Code Enforcer
Chris Patchell - Deception Bay
Aaron Paul Lazar - The Asylum: A Carmen Garcia romantic suspense novel
Alyssa Richards - Chasing Secrets
K.M. Hodge - Summer of '78
Pamela Fagan Hutchins - Buckle Bunny

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iTunes Store

Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
Indie Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle

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