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!

Cover Reveal: WE LIVE NEXT DOOR

I apologize for not posting in a while. I’ve been busy with summer activities and writing novels! Today, I’m so excited to reveal the cover of my upcoming psychological thriller WE LIVE NEXT DOOR. It will be published by Bookouture on November 5th, 2021 and is available for pre-order now. I think the cover designers really nailed this one. I hope you like it as much as I do!

So without further delay…

From the back cover …

I never wanted to hurt her. But what she wrote… it changed everything.

The pretty, leafy suburb of Ridgeview Pines is everything Jessica Millstone had ever dreamed of. The white picket fences, the neatly manicured lawns, the matching little post-boxes with their tiny red flags, right at the front of everyone’s yards. It’s the perfect place for Jessica and Mark to raise their three-year-old daughter, Isabelle, the perfect place to be a family.

Even when a neighbor has a tragic accident. Even when Isabelle falls unexpectedly from her high-chair. Even when strange messages begin appearing on Jessica’s phone, most people think nothing bad can happen here.

Because in Ridgeview Pines, everyone’s watching each other. And it’s all being noted down on an app called ‘The Neighbor List’. Everyone uses it, and most of the time it makes them all feel safe, secure, protected.

But telling tales on your neighbors is also a way to make enemies… And it turns out that even in the safest suburb, there are people who’d kill to protect the secrets they are hiding behind their front doors…

A totally and utterly gripping psychological thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of The Mother-in-Law, The Woman in the Window and Big Little Lies.


For my fellow Midwesterners, this one is set in a fictional suburb of Detroit. I wonder what suburban secrets are lurking behind those windows.

Thanks for checking out my upcoming release!

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!

Cover Reveal – TWO WIDOWS

It’s Cover Reveal Day!

I’ve had an exciting week in writing. On Tuesday, I released my commercial fiction suspense novel, Top Producer. Today, I get to reveal the fabulous cover of Two Widows, my first suspense novel to be published with Bookouture this August!

So, without further ado…

TWO WIDOWS Cover

Two Widows releases August 27th from Bookouture, but is available for pre-order now on Amazon, iBooks, Google, and Kobo!

From the back cover –

I’d grown desperate for company since the discovery of the dead woman in town…

Gloria lives alone in an old farmhouse surrounded by empty land, miles from the nearest town in northern Michigan. Widowed and grieving her husband, mourning her broken relationship with her estranged son, lonely Gloria searches for answers in self-help books and has only faded photographs and stacks of unpaid bills for company. Her days all look the same.

Then the dead body of an unidentified young woman is found on the beach near Gloria’s house.

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.

A deeply compelling suspense novel that will have you hooked, this 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 checking it out!

I Finally Get to Drink this Bottle of Wine!

The Story of the Bottle

IMG_4946When we moved to our new house almost three years ago, my husband and I made a binge-shopping trip to our local big-box store to stock up on groceries and necessities. In my haste to fill our cart and get out of the crowded store, I accidentally tossed in a $40 bottle of wine. (Normally, I purchase bottles in the more reasonable $10-$15 price range.) I didn’t realize my mistake until we were at the checkout, but things were hectic so we went through with it. When I got home, I felt a little guilty about the extravagant mistake, so I made a deal with myself. I told myself I would save the “good” bottle to open when I got a book deal.

One of my long-time goals has been to have my novels traditionally published by a large publisher. I’ve documented some milestones along this journey, including signing with an agent, completing and revising multiple manuscripts. parting with said agent, looking for a new agent, submitting my manuscripts on my own, all while still writing and being a mom to two kids. Well, you might be able to guess where this story is going. While I was busy writing, revising, submitting, and resubmitting, that bottle of “good” wine sat in our wine fridge for almost three years…

Pass the Corkscrew, Please!

About two months ago, I submitted my manuscript for a psychological suspense novel called, The Space Between, to an editor in the UK. Three weeks later, she asked me to make a few changes and resubmit. I did. A week after that, she asked me what else I had. I sent her summaries of my other manuscripts, one of which she asked to read. A few days after that, I received an offer for a three-book deal from Bookouture (Hachette UK!) I’d been hoping for a two-book deal, so a three-book option was beyond my wildest dreams! This past Friday, we signed the contract.

I now have three novels of psychological suspense coming out with Bookouture, The Space Between (August 2020), Where She Lies (November 2020), and The Cabin on Crooked Lane (spring 2021).  The third one hasn’t been written yet (minor detail!), but I’m now feeling validated and extra motivated to get it done. (There is more information about each book on my website, including a fourth novel, Top Producer, which I’ll be releasing through my own imprint on May 26th, 2020.)

I keep pinching myself. I’m so happy to finally get my books out into the world. Over the last several months, I had lost hope of accomplishing my dreams. I was contemplating throwing in the towel on my writing career. I was depressed at all the wasted time and effort I’d invested in writing and publishing. I’m so glad I didn’t give up. And for all of you writers out there with a dream in your heart and the willingness to hone your craft, I hope you don’t give up either.

Because I can tell you one thing–a glass of wine never tasted so good!

 

 

Eco Author Spotlight – Jenny Roman

March Author Spotlight

I’m excited to spotlight this month’s ecologically aware author because we have so much in common. What are the odds I’d run into another person (on Twitter, of all places) who also loves writing, horses, and sustainability? Well, I did! Her name is Jenny Roman, she lives in the UK, and she writes short stories. Here’s more about her.

The Author

Jenny Roman HeadshotJenny Roman has written short stories and articles for a variety of magazines, and is the author of three short story collections. She has had stories published online and in anthologies, and she has readers around the world. Jenny has an MA in Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University. She has been short-listed or placed in a host of writing competitions, and has also acted as reader, short-lister and judge – so she knows what it feels like on both sides of the fence. She is a member of a Writers’ Group and strongly recommends this to anyone thinking of writing creatively. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her in the garden, walking the dogs, or mucking out the horses! Please visit her blog HERE.

The Interview

Hi, Jenny! Tell us about a character in your book who fights for the environment. What issue is of main concern to him/her?

My latest short story collection includes a story which was first published in a magazine in the UK. It’s about a girl called Leah who develops an interest in bees as a child. As she grows up, her mum starts to see it as an obsession, and worries about her, especially when Leah falls in love with a postgrad and they end up travelling and campaigning together about the plight of bees. Eventually, Leah goes on to build a university career based around her passion – a career which outlasts the love affair!

What eco-friendly habits or actions do you take in your own life?

We used to live in a rented house with a huge back garden, grew our own veg, kept hens, and tried to be as self-sufficient as possible. Any leftovers went to feed the hens, and any eggs we didn’t need we sold at our gate. The money from the eggs helped to pay for additional hens’ feed, or seeds for the veg garden. We’ve since moved to our own home, and our garden is too small for a veg plot, but we try to source our food from local producers and support our local shops etc. We’ve deliberately bought a small house – sufficient for the two of us – with a spare bedroom which doubles both as my writing room, and a place to put up friends when they come to stay. We aren’t minimalists, but we are attempting to live with fewer material possessions.

What sparked your love for nature and the outdoors?

As a child our garden backed onto a farmer’s fields, in which there were variously horses, cows or sheep. My parents were both keen gardeners, and I always loved playing outside. Our holidays were spent camping – usually staying in wild places such as Exmoor, the New Forest, or occasionally Scotland – beautiful landscapes for walking and spotting wildlife. I started learning to ride when I was about 10. I was desperate for a pony of my own, but my parents couldn’t afford it, so eventually I worked at the local riding school in return for rides, and then rode horses for other people. I was 28 before I was able to afford my first horse!

Is environmentalism the main theme of your writing, or do you write mainly in another genre?

Environmentalism itself isn’t a main theme of my writing. In my short stories, I generally write about domestic situations – the small details of life – so themes might include having less, or how people and relationships are of more importance than the accumulation of wealth and things. I firmly believe that lots of small changes make a big change. I personally hate waste (of money, effort, time, and the earth’s resources) so I think that comes across in my writing. Many of my stories are centered around love – though not necessarily in the romantic sense. They explore the way things can go wrong, or be misunderstood, or the way people behave badly because their nature conflicts with the situation they find themselves in. What I love about a collection of short stories is that they allow you to explore a range of different scenarios within one overarching theme.

Do you have any upcoming book releases you’d like to tell us about?

I’m currently working on a book of horse-themed short stories for grownups. I’m aiming them at those people who used to be avid readers of pony books when they were kids. Perhaps they no longer ride, perhaps ‘real life’ has got in the way of something which used to feel fundamental to them. I’m fascinated with exploring the way our response to a ‘grand passion’ changes as we grow older. I still love horses as an adult, but not in the same, all-consuming way I did as a kid. Now I have a job and a mortgage and a husband and the ‘grand passion’ has to fit in with all these other things. I kind of wish I still had that overwhelming feeling I did as a child, but your perspective changes as you get older and that’s what I hope these stories will explore.

Thanks, Jenny. Your upcoming horse stories for adults sound perfect for me and I can’t wait to check them out! In the meantime, find Jenny’s currently available books of short stories below.

The Books

Find Jenny’s books on Amazon by visiting her Amazon Author Page!

Until my next post, stay safe and healthy, everyone!

Writing in the Time of COVID-19

Change of Planspills on gray background

A week ago right now, I’d finished a full day of revisions on one of manuscripts and was attending my son’s first school volleyball game. Two days later, school had been canceled for the next three weeks, possibly longer, the aisles of my local grocery store had been cleared out in a rush of panic buying, and my kids were fighting over my computer. What a difference a week can make.

I realize I’m not the only one whose life has been set into a tailspin. This virus is affecting everyone, nobody more so than the people who are infected. Of course, my family and I are doing our part to “flatten the curve.” We’re staying inside, except to take long walks or play sports in the backyard. We’ve stopped getting together with friends. We’re working and schooling from home. Sadly, my husband and I had to our cancel our trip to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in New York City in May. That will have to wait.

The first two days with all four of us home felt long at times. I found it difficult to focus with a steady stream of interruptions and loud noises emanating from around the house. (I’m one of those people who can only write in complete silence.) But we’re slowly getting into a new routine. I’m claiming the morning hours as my writing time. My husband has set up his home office downstairs in the living room. My kids use their tablets to check emails from their teachers and use my computer in the afternoon.

Silver Linings

I have to admit, there have been a few silver linings to the quarantine. It’s nice to eat

landscape photo of pathway between green leaf trees

lunch with my family every day. I usually eat alone during the week, in between revising or writing chapters. My tri-weekly trips to the gym have been replaced with long, hikes in nature or around our neighborhood with my husband, kids, and dog. Thankfully, the weather has been sunny and spring-like. Another bonus–and I’ve heard other writers mention this too–the pages read of my YA mystery series on Kindle Unlimited are WAY up. I agree there’s no better way to pass the time than reading a book! Finally, is it just me, or are people being nicer to each other? I’ve noticed this at the grocery store and while out on walks and also online. People are smiling, saying hi, asking how I’m doing, and simply checking in. The sense of community has never felt stronger.

I hope everyone who reads this is staying safe and healthy. By all accounts, the worst may still be ahead of us, but we are all in this together. We will get through it, and I’ll be back to my silent days of writing in no time. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the gift of time with my family.

How are these difficult times affecting your writing or reading?

Eco Author Spotlight – D.G. Driver

February Eco Author Spotlight:  D.G. Driver

Welcome to the first monthly installment of my Eco Author Spotlight Series! Today, I’m interviewing Young Adult Fantasy author, D.G. Driver. Readers who believe in mermaids and are passionate about protecting our oceans from things like pollution and oil spills will want to check out her Juniper Sawfeather series, starting with Book One, Cry of the Sea.

Author Bio

donnadriverpic4152D. G. Driver is an optimist at heart, and that’s why she likes to write about young people making an impact on the world. You’ll find among her books a teen environmental activist, a young girl teaching people about autism acceptance and to stop bullying people with special needs, a princess who wants to be more than a prize for a prince, a boy who wins a girl’s heart by being genuine and chivalrous, and a girl who bravely searches for a friend lost along the shore of a dark lake. She is a multi-award winning author of books for teens and tweens. When Driver isn’t writing, she’s a teacher at an inclusive child development program in Nashville, TN. She might also take a break from writing once in a while to strut the stage in a local theater production. You’re guaranteed to find her belting out Broadway show tunes anytime she’s driving. Her website is:  www.DGDriver.com

The Interview

Tell us about a character in your book who fights for the environment. What issue is of main concern to him/her?

The main character of my contemporary fantasy YA series is Juniper Sawfeather. She’s a senior in high school and the daughter of well-known environmental activists. She has been raised with their intense priorities and values, although, like any teen, she is rebelling against them by wanting to pursue a career in Marine Biology as opposed to majoring in Environmental Studies like her mother. Her involvement with the causes her parents are fighting (oil spills, logging, and ocean pollution) put her in the settings where she ultimately discovers mythical creatures like mermaids and tree spirits and the fascinating history that connects them to each other and her American Indian heritage.

What eco-friendly habits or actions do you take in your own life?

I do try to limit my footprint by recycling and reusing. I make a conscious effort to use a refillable water bottle, for example, and limit single-use products. I am very conscious of my trash when I’m out in nature and often am the one on the beach picking up litter as I walk along during my vacations.

What sparked your love for nature/outdoors/wild animals, etc.?

I’m originally from Southern California, and I loved being outdoors as a kid. Long bike rides, and as I grew older long hikes. I lived where I was an hour from a mountain forest or an hour from the beach, and I loved it all. Now I’m landlocked in Tennessee, but I still like to be outside on my deck whenever possible or take a jaunt down to the Gulf on vacation. Spray all the perfumes you want, but nothing smells as good as real ocean spray on a beautiful sunny day.

Who is a real-life eco-warrior who you admire? Why?

About twenty years ago, I read the autobiography of Julia Butterfly Hill. She is a famous “tree hugger” who saved a redwood tree in northern by living in it for just shy of two years. Her story of survival and fortitude is impressive, and it inspired the plot of Whisper of the Woods, the second book in my series.

Do you have any new book releases you’d like to tell us about?

My most recent release is a YA sweet romance novel called All the Love You Write. It’s a story about a high school couple whose relationship is being both helped and hindered by two ghosts who shared a tragic love story of their own 50 years earlier.

The Books

Check out D.G. Driver’s Juniper Sawfeather series HERE.

juneboxset_1[4154] Cry[4153]

Thanks for getting to know D.G. Driver. Please stay tuned for a new Eco Author Spotlight every month! 

 

What is your Character’s Superpower?

boy child clouds kid

Have you ever noticed how truly memorable characters have a larger than life quality that makes them stand out from everyone around them? I’m talking about their superpowers. A superpower doesn’t have to refer to the ability to fly through the air or bend a steel beam in half (although if your MC can do that, that’s pretty cool!) A superpower can be something much less dramatic, yet still pack the same emotional punch. In all my novels, each one of my protagonists has a distinct personality trait that allows her to overcome the odds and enjoy a satisfying resolution to her story. Notably, the superpower is, often times, the exact same trait that makes her life difficult.

Brynlei, the nature-loving, horse riding protagonist of my Dark Horse series provides a perfect example. We learn early on that she is Highly Sensitive Person, meaning she processes stimuli from the world around her more intensely. She shies away from bright lights, cowers at loud noises, and smells every ingredient baked into her mother’s lemon cookies. At times, she doesn’t fit in with other girls her age. Her sensitivity isn’t all bad, though. It also provides her an advantageous connection to the horses she rides, lets her sense dishonest people, and even interact with the spirits of the dead. In the end, it is Brynlei’s sensitivity to the world around her that enables her to solve the mysteries she encounters each summer while attending Foxwoode Riding Academy.

Another example comes from Mara, the MC of my yet-unpublished suspense novel, Top Producer. Her superpower is her street smarts. Her street smarts got her out of her dead end consulting job and into her dream position as the assistant to one of Chicago’s top real estate agents. But it isn’t long before she realizes her mentor is a criminal and a murderer. Not surprisingly, it is Mara’s street smarts that also allow her to escape the invisible prison her rival has built around her.

One more example comes from Jane, the snarky high school chemistry teacher from my recently completed psychological suspense manuscript. Like many of us, Jane is concerned about the future of planet. Teaching is her superpower. She believes the material she teaches her students might one day spark them to clean up the plastic in the ocean, invent a method to combat global warming, or clone the last-surviving rhino.  Meanwhile, it is also her position as a high school teacher that gets her caught up in the murder of the new teacher in the classroom next door.

Characters in my novels have other superpowers–humor, loyalty, determination. This

IMG_4690(Edited)
My rescue dog, Milo.

exercise got me thinking…Do I have a superpower? I can tell you it’s definitely NOT cooking, making small talk, or volunteering for elementary school field trips. Mine is probably something closer to storytelling and empathy (especially for animals.) And, yes, those “superpowers” get me into trouble quite often, as evidenced by my hours spent on unpaid writing at the expense of most other things and my need to rescue cute puppy dogs.

What about your characters? What about you? Please share your superpowers!