My Year in Review – 2021!

Happy holiday season! I can’t believe we’re already halfway through December! This year has been a whirlwind – mostly in a good way. I will tell you more about my books and writing from the past twelve months at the end of this post, but first let’s spread some cheer.

My Favorite Reads of the Year

First up, my favorite reads of 2021! (Please note, some of these books were not necessarily published in 2021.) I had to check my Goodreads reading challenge to remember all the books I read, and (no surprise) most of them were psychological thrillers. So here were my 2021 reads that stood out from the rest:

  1. Local Woman Missing by Mary Kubica — I absolutely love everything Mary Kubica writes and this one was right there at the top in terms of my favorite books she’s written, and that many of her books are set in Chicago, where I used to live.
  2. Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier — OMG! I was not expecting to love this book so much or to find a new favorite author to follow. This one kept me turning the pages from start to finish.
  3. The Guest List by Lucy Foley — I love a good locked-room mystery, and this one transported me to a distant island wedding where the guests were isolated by a storm and everyone was a suspect!
  4. One by One by Ruth Ware — This was another great locked-room mystery featuring a work trip at a ski resort gone murderously wrong. I’ve seen lots of mixed reviews for this one, but I really enjoyed it!
  5. Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle — I’ll admit that I found this one in a little free library near my house, and I’m SO GLAD I picked it up. It was my first book by this author and I DID NOT see that twist coming! I look forward to reading more of her books in the coming year. (I will buy them this time.)
  6. Her First Mistake by Carey Baldwin — Double bonus for this one because it was written by one of my fellow Bookouture authors. It was so well-written and I never knew whether or not to trust the narrator, which is the thing I loved the most about it!

Thank You!

Now I’d like to give a shoutout to a couple of authors who have gone above and beyond in supporting my books in the last year. It wasn’t too long ago that I was an Indie author and I very clearly remember how difficult it could be to find a readership without the backing of a large publisher. Here are a couple of Indie authors to look out for:

Author D.G. Driver — This is a Nashville-based author who writes a little bit of everything, from picture books to YA, and beyond. I became acquainted with D.G. when we both had YA books published by the same small publisher back in 2015. Since then, she has supported several of my books by reading, reviewing, and recommending them to others. I enjoyed her YA mystery, Lost at Sea, as well as her Juniper Sawfeather YA fantasy series, which is great for young readers who enjoy reading fantasy and/or are concerned about environmental issues. Her most recent release is a musical romance called Songwriter Night. It’s an audiobook filled with songs–perfect for the broadway musical and/or country music lover! You can view all of her books on her website: www.dgdriver.com

Author Joan Hall — I have never met Joan Hall in person, but I’ve noticed that she is usually one of the first people to read and review my books as they come out. I so appreciate her early reviews (and she writes great ones!) Joan writes mysteries and romantic suspense. I hope a few more people discover her books through this post. Please check out her books on her website: www.joanhall.net

My 2021 Highlights

As for my own books, I had a productive year. Her Best Friend’s Lie was published by Bookouture in March and eventually reached the Top 50 on the US Amazon Kindle store! It was also recently named as a favorite read of 2021 by Nicki’s Life of Crime book blog! In November, We Live Next Door, my fourth novel with Bookouture, was published and reached Amazon’s Top 10 Kindle Bestseller in Psychological Fiction and reached the Top 100 in the Amazon UK Kindle store!

What’s coming in 2022? I have recently completed structural edits to my next psychological thriller, The Girl Before Me, coming from Bookouture in April 2022. I’m REALLY excited about this one, set in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, because it’s scary and has a killer twist that I hope readers won’t see coming.

I’d like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and a healthy and happy New Year! Thank you to everyone who has supported my books in some way this past year. I greatly appreciate it!

WE LIVE NEXT DOOR is HERE!

I feel like it’s been a long run-up to this one… Literally, months of revising, copy editing, polishing, proofreading, and watching with trepidation as the early reviews started rolling in. And now my newest psychological thriller, WE LIVE NEXT DOOR, is available on Amazon in Kindle, paperback, Kindle Unlimited, and Audible formats!

Publication Day was three days ago and I’m a little late getting this post out because it’s been a whirlwind. One of the highlights was this gorgeous and delicious cake I received from my editor and the team at Bookouture! The main character in my book dreams of opening a cake shop, so this was the PERFECT gift!

From the Back Cover

You think you know the people next door… What if they know you better?

I always dreamed of moving back home to Ridgeview Pines, with its white fences and sloping lawns. I wish it had happened under different circumstances, but now I’m here I feel safe and ready for a fresh start with my little family.

The first thing I do every morning is pick up my phone and check The Neighbor List—our local message board. Maybe the people next door know a little too much about where their neighbors are and what they’re doing, but it’s safer that way, isn’t it? And my husband—he wouldn’t dare sneak behind my back with so many eyes watching.

Just when I’m beginning to relax, a woman I’ve known since I was small is found dead on the white tiles of her bathroom floor. I watch messages of condolence flood my screen. No one else suspects a thing.

But I know that among all these friendly people, watching out for one another, someone knows more than they’re sharing. And I wonder—how far back do they remember, and who’s next?

An utterly gripping psychological thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door, The Woman in the Window and Behind Closed Doors.

Readers are loving We Live Next Door:

Wow, just holy wow. This was a brilliant read. Set aside plenty of time to read in without a workday. It had my head spinning on the guilty person… Just get it, you will not stop until your jaw drops.” NetGalley reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

WOW WOW WOWI absolutely loved this!” Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Great book!! Wow what a storyline! This book had suspense, intrigue, action, and whoa so many twists and turns!!” Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Had me gripped from the very first page and did not let go until the very last. Clear your schedule, because once you start this shocking and completely addictive thriller, you will not be able to stop.” Goodreads reviewer ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Thanks for celebrating Publication with me! If you enjoy reading dark and twisty psychological thrillers, I hope you’ll check out We Live Next Door!


Behind the Book

Curious about what inspired me to write We Live Next Door? It’s all here in this article Behind the Book published in Crimespree Magazine!

Title Change Announcement

My new release, originally titled The Lake House, now has a new title–Her Best Friend’s Lie. This change was made three weeks after its publication on March 17th, 2021, and, hopefully, will not confuse any readers. Everything else about the book remains exactly the same!

My publisher (Bookouture) gave me the title change news a few days ago after doing some market testing. While I was fine with the old title, I think the new title better encapsulates the story. It hints at secrets between friends, rather than just a house where people’s lives are in danger. While Her Best Friend’s Lie contains elements of horror (e.g. multiple murders), my novel is a psychological thriller at heart. I’m happy this new title conveys that message in a clear way in order to attract the most appropriate readers to my book. I hope you like the new title too!

How much does a book’s title influence your decision to read it? Have you ever been misled by a title? Tell me about it!

What a Review!

Every once in a while, a book blogger’s review of one of my books makes me jump for joy. I hope you don’t mind if I share this recent review by Nicki’s Life of Crime of The Lake House because this review made all of my pre-publication anxiety seem worth it! Click the link below to read the full review.

Nicki`s Life of Crime : BLOG TOUR,BOOK REVIEW – The Lake House by Laura Wolfe

Thanks for checking it out!

Has anyone ever gotten you out of a slump by writing a spectacular review? Tell me about it!

The Lake House is Here!

There are secrets beneath the surface

I’m taking a breath because my newest psychological thriller, The Lake House, was published yesterday by Bookouture! I’ve been wanting to write my own version of “locked room” mystery for some time now, and I’m happy to say I’ve now accomplished that goal with my story of a girls’ weekend gone murderously wrong. For anyone who is intrigued by the concept of false friendship or who enjoys reading dark, twisty, fast-paced murder mysteries, I hope you’ll check this one out. It makes a spine-tingling poolside or beach read!

One of the most stressful parts of publishing is waiting for the first reviews to come in. My publisher made my book available on Netgalley about six weeks before publication, so I was lucky enough to garner some early reviews. Here’s what some of those readers said about The Lake House

Finally, here’s a little blurb from the back cover:

You can always trust your closest friends. Can’t you?

This trip was a chance to reconnect away from our busy lives. The five of us used to be so close—going right back to our college days, when we shared a rickety house and all our favorite clothes, as well as every high and low of our lives—but that was then.

Now, the thought of three days in a small cabin far from anywhere, surrounded only by water and trees, with my four oldest friends makes my stomach sink and my hands sweat. Because if they knew what I’d done—the betrayals I’ve committed—they’d never forgive me. And neither would you.

The straight-A student, the sports star with a bright future ahead of her, the sheltered girl who blossomed away from her family and the hippie child who was going to save the world. Their lives have turned out so differently to how we pictured all those years ago. I try not to think about why.

But then danger strikes, and too late I discover I’m not the only one keeping secrets. And I wonder: who will go furthest to keep the truth hidden?

Gripping, addictive and totally unputdownable, The Lake House will have you reading late into the night. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the TrainThe Woman in the Window and Big Little Lies.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my new release. I hope your weekend getaways go much, much better than the one I’ve portrayed in my book!

Until next time, happy reading!

IT’S COVER REVEAL DAY!

Today, I’m thrilled to reveal the cover of my upcoming release, The Lake House (Bookouture, March 2021). I’m fully prepared for my invitations to weekend getaways with friends to drop off after this one…

From the Back Cover:

The worst part was we could have avoided the whole thing. Only a minor change here or there would have done the trick—a different decision made last week or twenty years ago. Instead, every choice had led to this terrifying place.

It was supposed to be the perfect vacation: five old friends together for the first time in years; a secluded cabin by a private lake; late nights, wine and laughter. No one, least of all Megan, looking forward to a break from her suburban routine, thought anything bad would happen.

But who has been keeping a secret?

Who has been hiding a lie for over twenty years?

And whose life is in danger?

Megan thought she knew everything about her friends. But things change in the woods. The truth gets twisted. Lies rise to the surface. Bonds start to break.

And someone is watching them…

Dark, compelling and totally unputdownable, The Lake House will have you wanting to sleep with the lights on. Perfect for fans of Ruth Ware, Shari Lapena and The Hunting Party.

Amazon: https://geni.us/B08THVTFMTCover

Apple: http://ow.ly/oGWQ50Deq7S

Kobo: http://ow.ly/GEaX50Deq4S

Google: http://ow.ly/n6Fw50Deqb0

Thanks for checking it out!

New Year, New Blog!

Resolutions

Happy 2021, everyone! With the new year, I’ve decided to give my blog a little refresher so it better reflects my writing and books. So, Sustainable Writer is now Suspense with A Twist blog. I hope to post more regularly this year and also spotlight a few more of my author friends who have books coming out in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre.

As a second resolution, I’ve gotten more active on BookBub plan to use that platform to recommend one or two books a month that I truly enjoyed. These will most likely be in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre as that’s the majority of what I read. I hope you’ll follow me on BookBub and get some great reading recommendations in the process!

Exciting News from the Past Month

Apart from the holidays, it has been such a busy few weeks. Here are some recent highlights from writing and publishing life:

  1. In December, TWO WIDOWS hit #34 on Amazon out of ALL KINDLE BOOKS and #1 in each of its categories! This was beyond my wildest dreams. I’m happy that it is continuing sell steadily so many months after publication.
  2. My newer release, SHE LIES ALONE, is off to a strong start and has reached its own milestone with already over 200 reviews on Amazon! (As an added bonus, most of them are positive!) I’m thrilled that SHE LIES ALONE reached the Amazon’s Top 100 in the very competitive Psychological Fiction and Psychological Thriller categories.
  3. My self-published suspense novel, TOP PRODUCER, survived the slush pile and was named to the Long List in the 2020 Clue Awards (the mystery/suspense division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards.) My book will now move onto the next round of judging and I’ll let you know in a month or two if it makes the shortlist.
  4. And finally, I’ve just completed final edits to my third book (recently re-titled, THE LAKE HOUSE) to be published by Bookouture in March 2021. I hope you’re not envisioning a posh, glass-walled mansion overlooking a bustling lake, because this lake house is a lot creepier and more remote, and (spoiler alert) not everyone makes it out alive! I can’t wait to share the cover and the back cover blurb with you in a future post!

That’s all I have for now… I’ve started outlining my next novel and will soon be busy writing. Thanks for hanging out with me for a few minutes. Until next time, happy writing and reading!

Jingle, Jingle! Paperback Giveaway!

I love December! To spread some holiday cheer, I’ve decided to do a paperback giveaway of my books, including my two new releases with Bookouture!  It’s happening NOW on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

The giveaway starts today (December 1st.) Five winners will be randomly selected and contacted on Wednesday, December 9th. Choose any one book (above) if you win and I’ll mail it to you. (You may learn more details about my books on my website LauraWolfeBooks.com)

Entering is easy. Just visit either my Instagram or Facebook page and leave a comment under the Paperback Giveaway post telling me the best suspense/mystery/thriller book you’ve read in recent times. That’s it! 

*Bonus:  Tag a friend who loves to read in your comment and you’ll earn an extra entry for yourself. 

Winners will be randomly selected on December 9th using Rafflecopter. Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S. (excluding Hawaii and Alaska.) 

Happy holidays and good luck!

Book Release Day! TWO WIDOWS!

One secret. Nowhere left to hide.

I’ve been waiting for this day for months and can’t believe it’s finally here! My suspense novel, TWO WIDOWS, has been published by Bookouture.

TWO WIDOWS will be on a blog tour through September 2nd on a wide variety of fabulous book review blogs. See the schedule above to check it out!

The eBook version is currently only $.99 from a wide variety of retailers:

The body of an unidentified woman has been found on a local beach in a small town. The police have no suspects.

Gloria is used to solitude. Widowed and still grieving her late husband, she spends her days with only her faded photographs for company. But when a young woman is murdered nearby, Gloria grows anxious. Living alone in an old farmhouse, surrounded by empty woods, there’s no one for miles who would hear her scream.

When freelance travel writer Beth arrives with her trailer to live on Gloria’s land, Gloria is relieved not to be alone. The police have no suspects in the murder and fearless Beth makes Gloria feel safe. Then Gloria discovers Beth is a widow too: the women become closer and begin to share their secrets.

But soon Gloria starts to wonder… what does she actually know about Beth? About what brought her to this isolated spot? About how her husband really died? Is it a coincidence that she’s arrived just as this small town has seen its first murder in decades?

Gloria thought that Beth had told her all her secrets. She was wrong.

An utterly compelling suspense novel that will have you hooked, Two Widows is a gripping thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, The Couple Next Door and The Woman in the Window.

Thanks for celebrating my book release with me! I hope you’ll check out TWO WIDOWS if you love reading dark and twisty suspense…

Escape to Writing

I’ve always used writing as a way to work through things that are bothering me–hypocrisy, rude people, the current state of the world, etc. With the onset of COVID-19, I’ve found writing has offered me another gift–escapism. No matter how claustrophobic or stir crazy I’ve become inside my house, I can sit down at my laptop and disappear into a COVID-free world for a few hours. Through my characters, I can attend summer camp, go to a concert, or cheer along with a raucous crowd at a sporting event. I’m not sure how my fellow writers of contemporary fiction are dealing with the pandemic in their stories, but my books do not mention it. My stories are set in the current day, but without COVID. I like it that way. For my mental health, I need it that way.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

One of my upcoming releases, She Lies Alone, is set in a large high school. I wrote the bulk of the book in 2019. As I’ve been going back and addressing revisions and copy edits, it is strange to read my descriptions of a COVID-free world where teens travel in packs and gather to eat lunch in a crowded cafeteria without a second thought. These revisions come exactly at the time I’m learning my kids will be attending their school 100% virtually in the fall. Reading my manuscript describing a pandemic-free world that is both near and distant is strange, but also refreshing. Oh, how naive I was! But how happy and carefree! It is wonderful to travel to that safe place, if only for a while. (Okay, maybe “safe” isn’t the correct word because I write mysteries and there is bound to be a murder, but you know what I mean.)

I’m finishing up a first draft of another novel involving a girls’ weekend gone murderously wrong. I’ve written the all 70,000+ words during the pandemic, but the pandemic doesn’t exist in my book. I’m not sure I could write about the pandemic while living through it. That would ruin the escape that writing brings to me.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Do you write contemporary fiction? Do you mention the pandemic in your stories? Tell me why or why not.

Until next time…