Category Archives: Mystery/Suspense

Welcome Elaina Lee

Join me in welcoming author Elaina Lee to Highlighted Author.

Welcome, Elaina.  Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Elaina Lee, romance writer.

Since given an assignment in the 6th grade to write a fantasy story, I knew writing was a passion I’d never be able to do without. From that moment on my imagination took flight. Over the years I’ve written everything from the Dark Ages to Science Fiction, all with romantic elements, of course ;-).

As a mother of two boys, a toddler and teenager, life is never boring in my house! When I’m not chasing after little legs I never knew could move so fast, or trying to keep my sanity as a boy migrates into a man, I write. I’m very fortunate to have met my remarkable husband who has supported and encouraged my dreams of being an author since the day we met.

I write just about everything. I’m working on a Southern Romantic Comedy right now and then I’ll start on the sequel to my romantic suspense, Written in Blood.

Thank you, Elaina.  Written In Blood sounds like a fantastic story.  Please share a excerpt with us.

Written In Blood

The familiar tink of ice against glass, low conversation, and sultry music greeted Lyndi as she pushed the swinging door open. The table she preferred was open. Easing her way toward the little table in the far left corner, Lyndi pulled her purse off her shoulder.

As she reached for the chair, the fine hairs on her skin prickled, and a chill slithered up her spine. She glanced over her shoulder. The room stilled. The alluring rhythm of the song playing echoed in her mind. Sandy brown eyes locked with hers, then, in a slow, almost sly motion, the man slid his gaze down the length of her body. Lyndi didn’t blush; she couldn’t seem to do anything more than stand motionless, wondering what a man like that was doing looking at a woman like her.

While she thought herself somewhat attractive, the man she stared at was wickedly delicious, beyond good looking. She figured if she stared any longer, she might diffuse into a puddle. Those eyes and that sinfully curved mouth held her in rapt attention. The glass he’d been holding found a place on the bar, and his tall, lithe frame rose from the stool. Lyndi gasped. He was walking her way!

Black hair framed his face and hung down just past his collar. Her fingers twitched at her side, gripped her purse tighter. What she wouldn’t give to find out if his hair was as soft as it looked under the pale lighting. With a quick shake of her head, she snapped out of her reverie. Coming here had been a mistake. Sin, like the man walking toward her, didn’t need another invitation to her front door.

Before she could change her mind, she turned away from him and headed toward the entrance. The door to freedom seemed much farther than she remembered. She reached out; her fingers touched smooth wood. A cool, fresh breeze brushed the flushed skin of her face, beckoning her. She didn’t make the night wait. She burst out onto the sidewalk, sucking in air to calm her raging pulse. What was wrong with her? For whatever reason, though, something about that man had told her to run and not look back.

Hair flitted across her face, and she pushed the stray locks away. Home was only fifteen minutes from here.

Shouldering her purse once again, she turned and started in the direction of her apartment building.

“Miss.” A deep, smooth voice sounded from behind her.

Lyndi froze. Did she really want to look? Biting her lower lip, she glanced over her shoulder. Mr. Wickedly

Handsome’s lips twitched in what she figured must have been his equivalent of a smile.

“Do we know each other?” she asked, turning to face him.

“Are you alone tonight?”

“Listen . . . I don’t know you, and I’m not going to answer that question, so have a good evening.”

When she tried to turn away, his hand caressed her upper arm. Gentle and confusing, the touch left her too mystified to protest when he stepped closer. Leaning down, he whispered against her mouth, “Trust me when I say, you know me.”

His warm breath brushed across her lips, sending a wave of heat to the pit of her stomach. Every muscle in her body wanted to move closer, wanted the distraction she knew that mouth could offer. But despite her earlier thoughts, losing herself in a man wasn’t something she could afford right now.

Steeling herself against the tingle of desire he created, Lyndi lifted her gaze to his shadowed eyes. “You’re wrong and must have mistaken me for someone else.”

A small smile curled along his lips; his fingers grazed along her jaw. Her breath caught in her throat, and she swallowed the whimper forming in her throat. “I know exactly who you are, Ms. Crisdean. You are unmistakable.”

“I don’t…”

“Let me kiss you,” he whispered, his mouth hovering over hers.

Her heart pounded in her chest. Sweat broke out over her palms. “Why?” she asked softly, her eyes searching his. “You’re sort of scaring me . . . how do you know who I am?”

He leaned closer. Wisps of black hair tickled her at her temples as the wind blew his locks toward her. “Our world is a small one. As for why I want to kiss you . . . well, I just do, so let me.”

She opened her mouth, to protest . . . to accept, and her mind reeled with his nearness and the absurdity of his command. However, the action turned out to be her mistake, for he took full advantage, his tongue sliding along hers, taking possession before she could catch a breath. Sweet rum, mixed with the syrupy flavor of coke, teased her mouth. His taste intoxicated her deeper than any alcoholic drink, made her crave more. Of their own accord, her hands fisted in the lapels of his leather jacket. The fabric squeaked in her grasp.

The hand gripping her arm tightened. His mouth slanted over hers, drawing her further into the haze rapidly filling her mind. Then he pulled away, steadying her as she teetered on the brink of an invisible cliff. Blinking in confusion, she made to step back, but he held fast. Those lips twitched again; sandy brown eyes twinkled. When she didn’t waver anymore, he released her with a wink.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, Ms. Crisdean.”

Before she could respond, he turned and walked away.

Get your copy of Written In Blood at Noble Romance or your favorite online bookstore.

You can find more Elaina at her websites:


Welcome Leanne Dyck

Join me in welcoming author Leanne Dyck to Highlighted Author. 


Hello, Leanne. Welcome to Highlighted Author. Let’s start with a little intro. Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in a tiny community in rural Manitoba. After trying to be a city girl I got real and now live on a tiny island off British Columbia’s west coast.

Though writing is a one person sport, I’m a team player. I’m a member of the Crime Writers of Canada, the Victoria Writers’ Society and the Mayne Island Writers Group. I’m continually amazed at how much critique partners, beta readers and editors can help me shape my writing.

When did you first discover your love of writing?

As a teenager I was very shy. Writing gave me a world to live in and control.

Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? What was it? Do you still have it? 

Honestly, I can’t remember not writing. For me, it’s like breathing or eating–I need to do it to live.

Early memories of my writing spring to mind. For example, the time my English teacher used my story as an example of fine writing. These experiences not only encouraged me to continue writing but also to share what I’ve written.

What is your schedule like when you write? Do you dedicate a certain amount of time to the craft, or do you write when your muse hits?

I maintain daily business hours–8 am to 3 pm. During this time I answer emails, research promotional opportunities, write a blog, and work on a manuscript. How much time is devoted to each task changes daily.

What are you working on now? 

Turning is a humourous young adult adventure novel (very) loosely based on my experiences as a volunteer in a government-run national youth group. I have dyslexia and learning to live and work in a group was a delightful challenge.

When can we expect to see another fantastic piece by you available on the market?

Oh, ‘fantastic’–love that word. : )

My projected manuscript completion date is the end of June, 2011. Then of course there’s that whole publishing thingy–which could take a year or more. I’m hoping I’ll have a new piece available by the end of this year or the beginning of 2012–keep your fingers crossed for me.

The Sweater Curse has received some very nice reviews. When did it release? And how does it feel to have others appreciate your work?

The Sweater Curse was released on January 10, 2011.

How does it feel when others appreciate my work? The pieces I write are like my babies. I hope that others will love them as much as I do. I hope…but there’s so much doubt. There’s no guarantee. I try to tell myself that I’m not my story. If my story is rejected, I’m not being rejected. But, you know, I put so much of myself in my stories. They are so close to me. So when they do receive positive reviews I’m on cloud nine. You can say that you are a writer, an author, but it is your readers that make you one.

To read those reviews, please visit:

Will you share an excerpt with us?

The Sweater Curse
From Chapter one…

The earliest impressions my mind retains are a patchwork of senses: the smell of bread baking, the wet tongue of a farm dog, and the crunch of autumn leaves. These memories are seductive. I could get lost in them.

I must focus on cold hard facts.

Place of brith: Blondous, Manitoba

Date of birth: April 14th, 1988

I was born into a world of big hair, padded shoulders, and disco. Freaky.

Two years after my birth, we entered a new decade, the 90’s. At twelve, we were in a new century–the twenty-first.

Dead at the age of twenty five.

To get your copy of The Sweater Curse visit any of these sites:

Decadent Publishing

Want more Leanne?  Visit her sites:


Welcome S.R. Claridge

Please join me in welcoming S.R. Claridge to Highlighted author.

First off, tell us a little about yourself, Susan.

I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, met my husband at the University of Missouri, Columbia where I got my BA in Psychology. We married shortly after graduation and moved to Los Angeles, then to Boulder, then to Kansas City and now we’re back in Colorado with our two kids and dog. On a less logistical and more personal note… I love Grey Goose martinis with bleu cheese olives, red wine and margaritas; and once-a-week Mexican food is a must. I believe in the power of prayer, the magic in forgiveness, the strength of love, that people can change and that anything good in me comes from God.

 Your writing talents span the spectrum. You’ve published poems, lyrics, short stories, and novels. If you had to choose, which would you say brings you the most joy to write?

 Definitely novels. Writing a novel is a challenge I love to tackle and find incredibly rewarding.

 No Easy Way has been awarded high marks in the reviews received. In your own words, what is No Easy Way about?

 No Easy Way is a story about marriage, faith and forgiveness, wrapped in suspenseful mystery. There’s mistaken identity, manipulation, murder and it all sort of points to this one simple truth… there is No Easy Way. I think what sets No Easy Way apart from every other mystery out there is that it has an underlying message of hope… and people are walking away feeling touched by the message. It’s been really neat to see this happen.

 What inspired this story?

 The story began several years ago as a non-fiction book about marriage, originally titled There’s A Spouse In My House. I finished the book and thought it was so boring I, the author, could barely stand to read it. From that book came the idea to take some of the foundational beliefs and write them into a fictional story. The characters came alive and it blossomed quickly into what became No Easy Way.

 Out of all your characters, which would you most like to have dinner with? And why?

 Private Investigator, Stephen Braznovich, and his assistant Ernie. I like the way their minds work together, and yet, their personalities are completely different. They’re intense and laid back at the same time… you have to read the book to truly understand it.

 What other works can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?

 I am currently working on book two and three of a mystery series called Just Call Me Angel. The first in this series is titled Tetterbaum’s Truth and it came out this week in Ebook and will be out next month in paperback.

Where can we find you?

My website:
My blog:
You can email me directly:
I am also on Facebook, Xanga and LinkedIn under Author S.R.Claridge and on Twitter: SRClaridgeWrite

No Easy Way
Remorse beat a deep ache into his chest. Lou Miller wasn’t a man who cried easily, but the tears flowed freely now. Turning onto the freeway, flashbacks of the past year flood his brain as he drove. He squinted and blinked to see through the tears, then wiped them with the back of his hand. What have I done? He thought. For sixty years he was a man of integrity, dependable and faithful. Sure, he’d made the usual bone-head choices as a teenager, told a few harmless white lies in his day, made some poor financial decisions as a young adult, but never anything close to this. What he did was just plain wrong and he knew it. He pondered how one moment of weakness could dismantle his entire ethical code, knowing all the while it wasn’t merely a moment of weakness that led him here, but two years of secret indiscretions. From the first night he succumbed to her, he had been trying to cover it up, to conceal what he’d done, and it changed him.
Why?” His wife, Madeline, demanded after learning of his affair.
I don’t know,” was the only truthful answer.
Madeline screamed, “She’s too young for you!” He knew she was right. Arianna was young enough to be his daughter and a part of him was repulsed by the age difference, but she made him feel youthful and alive. After that first night he couldn”t stop. He never planned to take her as a lover. He never planned for any of this to happen.
Slumping further into the driver’s seat, and deeper into the throes of regret, he let the steering wheel bear the weight of both arms. He felt demoralized. Letting Arianna go was the right thing to do but that awareness did little to ease his guilt. He knew the decision he made tonight would torture him the rest of his life.
Twisting the handle on the driver door, Lou rolled down the window and let the cool night air slap against his skin. Each mile marker passed slowly as the heaviness in his spirit bore down on him. He wondered if Madeline would leave him after forty years of marriage. He wondered if she was right about Arianna wanting him only for his money. He wondered if either woman would ever forgive him for the brokenness he caused. Not ready to face the certain reality of another brutal conversation at home, Lou veered off the freeway three exits early and drove along a two lane gravel road winding through the Kansas countryside. He knew these roads well, as many a night he drove them alone, stopping for a smoke. Tonight felt unusually dark. A deep orange moon sat overhead rendering little brightness below, as Lou pulled his olive green Oldsmobile to the side of the road and stepped out, letting the door creak closed behind him. He stood staring up at the night sky, unable to peel his eyes away. Ordinarily the moon brought a feeling of serenity and comfort, but tonight its eerie hue sent a shiver through him. Taking a deep breath, he inhaled the aroma of corn and the distinct odor of cow manure that had baked all day in the afternoon sun. He leaned against the car, pulled a cigar from his blazer pocket and lit it with a match. The smoke circled his head, and he squinted for a moment until it cleared. In the silence of his mind he prayed, forgive me, and closing his eyes, felt a momentary peace.
Lou had been too deep in his own thoughts to notice the black pick-up trailing behind him for several miles. The driver killed the lights half a mile from where Lou pulled over and sat quietly watching. Straining to see his silhouette in the moonlight, Lou’s cigar smoke gave proof of his precise location. The driver took a deep breath, gripped the wheel with white-knuckled rage and floored the gas. By the time Lou heard the sound of the engine and turned his stare in the direction of the truck, it was too late. The driver hit the lights, blinding him as the pick-up swerved toward him with the kind of precision only blind rage can empower. Lou’s muscles tensed and his eyes widened seconds before impact. The pick-up slammed against his body, smashing him between his driver door and the grill of the truck. He heard the sound of the collision, the crumbling of metal and breaking of glass, then his body went numb and dropped in a heap to the gravel. His right cheek slammed to the ground with gravel digging deeply into his skin. Somehow he managed to open his left eye, only to see the pick-up reverse, stop, and then barrel toward him again. Piercing pain shot down his spine, then darkness.
Throwing the truck into reverse a second time, the driver backed up, straightened the wheels and sped off, checking the rearview mirror only once to make sure there was no movement on the ground. All that could be seen was the tiny glowing ember of the cigar still clenched between the fingers of Lou’s left hand.
No Easy Way is available at: