Book Showcase: DANGEROUS GROUND by Susan Hunter

Dangerous Ground by Susan Hunter Banner



Dangerous Ground

by Susan Hunter

on Tour February 17, 2020 to March 20, 2020



Synopsis:


Dangerous Ground by Susan Hunter


A Murder Among Friends …

Everyone is anxious to connect with actor Ryan Malloy when he returns to town for his 15-year high school reunion. Everyone except crime writer Leah Nash. She doesn’t have many fond memories of Himmel High’s golden boy. But it turns out she’s not the only one who isn’t a fan. Before the weekend is over, Ryan Malloy is murdered.

The hard-headed but soft-hearted Leah is unwillingly drawn into investigating his death by the pleading of Ryan’s terminally ill mother. She soon discovers that Ryan’s self-absorbed journey through life trampled on the dreams of a number of people. His old girlfriend, his best friend, his own brother, a local businessman—there’s no shortage of suspects—or secrets. But the solution eludes Leah, until the past and the present collide in a dangerous confrontation that threatens one life and ends another.





Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 19, 2019
Number of Pages: 364
ISBN: 1698530994 (9781698530994)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries, Book 6
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads




Read an excerpt:




Chapter 1

I parked my bike just inside the cemetery gates. It took only a few steps down the tree-lined path for the heat and humidity of a mid-summer Wisconsin day to slide away into the cool dark shade. Overhead, the soft murmur of thousands of leaves stirring in the light breeze accompanied me as I walked slowly toward my sister’s grave. Both of my sisters are buried in the cemetery just a few miles outside of Himmel, Wisconsin. My father is as well. But today it was Annie I’d come to visit.

My heart beat a little faster as I neared the gravesite. I’m not afraid of the dead. It’s the memories they leave behind that haunt me. Quiet Annie with her soft voice and big blue eyes, too shy to join the other laughing, shouting kindergarteners at recess—but the first to run over to comfort a little boy struggling not to cry on the first day. Imaginative Annie, commandeering our wide front porch as a sailing ship for her and her cat, Mr. Peoples, to travel around the world. Kind-hearted Annie, sharing her Halloween candy with me when I’m forced to surrender my own treats as penalty for talking back. Sweet, brave, compassionate, eight-year-old Annie, who ran into a burning house to save Mr. Peoples twenty-two years ago, and never came back.

Over all the years since, people—my mother, my aunt, my therapist (yes, I went that route once), my best friend—have reassured me that her death wasn’t my fault, that I was just a child. But, I was older. I should have been watching over her. I should have seen her slipping back to the house after we’d all escaped. In my deep heart’s core, I can’t ever forget that.

Now and then, and always on her birthday, I go to the cemetery to see her. I know that she isn’t really there. But her grave is an anchoring spot for me. I catch her up on the good, the bad, and the ugly happenings in my life. She knows what hurts me, and she knows what frightens me—secrets I don’t share with anyone else. I tell her what our mother is up to, and how others she knew in life are doing. I say all the things to her that I would if she were still here. I try to make up for the fact that I’m alive, and she isn’t. But, of course, I never can.

When I’m talking to her at the cemetery, it feels as though she can really hear me. And I know that she answers. Not right there, at the grave, but later, in unexpected ways. Sometimes, I hear Annie speak to me through a chance remark a stranger makes, or a phrase that leaps out at me from a book, or a sudden flash of insight on a problem I’m wrestling with. I don’t share that belief with very many people. If I did, I might be forced to resign my membership in the Doubting Thomas Society, to which all good journalists should belong. But I can’t accept that those occurrences are just coincidental. I really can’t.

So, on the anniversary of her birth, once again I sat down on the bench in front of her grave and told her how sorry I was that she had died. That I hadn’t saved her. That I still missed her. And then I told her what was really going on in the seemingly successful life of Leah Nash, former small-town reporter, current true crime author, and soon-to-be business failure.

***

When I say I talk to Annie, I mean that literally. I have a one-sided, out-loud conversation with her, though only when I’m sure I’m alone. Some people already think I’m crazy. No need to give them additional proof. On this particular day, I had a serious problem weighing on my mind.

Not long before, I had made what seemed, at the time, like a brilliant decision. The Himmel Times Weekly, the paper where I’d started out in journalism, and where I’d found a home again after a self-inflicted career injury, was closing. I decided to buy it. I asked a wealthy, community-minded, local attorney, Miller Caldwell, to invest with me. And then I asked a lot of other people—reporters, an editor, stringers, office and sales staff—to work very hard, for very little money, in the hope that together we could keep the Himmel Times alive.

It was exhilarating at first. But it had become an increasing source of anxiety for me. Just as we were getting off the ground, Grantland County Online, a digital-only news site (and I use the term “news” loosely), had gotten a major infusion of capital and a new publisher. Now GO News, as it’s more commonly known, was kicking our butt.

“The scariest thing, Annie,” I said, “is that we’re barely keeping our heads above water, while GO News keeps getting bigger. They don’t have the expenses we do—no print edition, no delivery costs, and they don’t spend a lot of staff time fact-checking. Plus, they started Tea to GO. Did you know that the cool kids say, ‘spill the tea,’ when they mean ‘what’s the gossip?’

Tea to GO is full of ‘What married school official was seen in Milwaukee with a very attractive staff member last Thursday night? Did we say late, last Thursday night?’ That kind of garbage. It’s almost all blind items—the better to avoid lawsuits, my dear. But people are eating it up. Every time you go into the Elite Café, someone is trying to figure out who the latest gossip is about.”

I paused for a bit of a wallow in self-pity. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t tried to shake things up at the Times, to get us moving ahead, but so far nothing I’d done had made much difference.

“We have a good team. Miguel is much happier since he gave up the managing editor job. He really didn’t like bossing people. And Maggie McConnell is doing great in that spot. She’s got the instincts, the skills, and forty-five years in the news business behind her. If she could only spin straw out of gold, she’d be perfect. But since she can’t, we’re making do with a budget so lean it might as well be made out of turkey burger.

“I gave Allie Ross—you remember, I told you about her. She’s the high school kid we’ve been using as a stringer. Anyway, I gave her a part-time job for the summer in the office. She’s doing the routine stuff, obits and inside pages copy—weddings, anniversaries, club news. She’s got promise, but she’s only fifteen. Troy, the other reporter besides Miguel, is a little bit of a suck-up—and his news judgment isn’t quite there yet. Still, he’s a hard worker. The stringers are a pretty mixed bag.

“Now, here’s a twist I bet you didn’t see coming. I hired Mom to take April Nelson’s place as office manager. I know, I know, it’s a dicey move. But she’s smart, and efficient, and she gets the job done. Plus, she comes cheap. It’s been a little challenging, I admit. Remember when I used to get mad at her and say, ‘You’re not the boss of me!’ and she’d send me to my room?

“Well, now I’m the boss of her, only I don’t get to send her to her room. Yes, OK, I’m not supposed to be doing the day-to-day. That’s Maggie’s job. I understand that. But I can’t just hide away in my office and write my next book if the paper is falling apart two floors below me, can I?

“Everybody took a leap of faith when we reopened the Times, and everyone is putting everything they have into it. I can’t let them down. I have to find a way to keep us afloat. I just didn’t know it would be so hard, Annie.”

I paused for a breath before I wrapped things up.

“And then there’s Gabe. I don’t know. I like him as well—no, probably better than—anyone I’ve gone out with in a long time. He makes me laugh, and he’s really smart. And he likes strong women who speak their minds. In my experience, a lot of men don’t. So what’s the problem, right? Well, it’s not exactly a problem. It’s more that I’m afraid a problem might be coming. Lately, it feels like he’s pushing me a little, like for a commitment or something. Can’t we just enjoy each other? Can’t we just be without getting all serious, and defining things, and making plans? I don’t want to change things. That’s when things go bad, when you try to change them.”

I slumped back against the bench with a sigh. Usually, when I lay everything out to Annie, it makes the issues seem a little more manageable. This time it all still felt overwhelming.

Then, a voice spoke.

***

Fortunately for my mental health, it wasn’t Annie’s. I turned and looked behind me.

“Coop! How long have you been standing there?” I asked, trying to remember exactly what I’d said out loud. It’s not that Coop and I have major secrets. He’s my best friend, after all. Still, I don’t tell him everything I tell Annie.

“Long enough,” he said with a grin that didn’t offer me much comfort. I tried to move the conversation away from my chat with Annie, particularly the Gabe part.

“What are you doing here?”

“Your mom said you were here. I called your cell, but it didn’t go through.”

“Yeah. It’s a dead zone—pun totally intended—in the cemetery, except for the hill. What did you want?”

“Nothing. I brought something for Annie.”

I looked down at his right hand and saw that he carried a small pot of pink flowers. Pink was Annie’s favorite color. Tears sprang to my eyes. I quickly blinked them away.

“That’s so nice. Why?”

He shrugged. “I know what today is.”

I’m all about keeping my tough outer shell polished, but I was so touched, I couldn’t keep up the facade. “You’re a pretty great friend, you know that?”

He smiled, but he looked embarrassed, and tried to cover it by moving to put the flowers next to Annie’s headstone.

“Did you really come just to put flowers on Annie’s grave?”

“No, not just for Annie. I took some to Rebecca, too.” He was kneeling, positioning the flowers, with his back to me. I couldn’t see his expression.

“Oh.”

Rebecca had been Coop’s wife and my nemesis until she was killed last year. I wasn’t happy that Coop had lost someone he loved, but I couldn’t pretend I was sorry she was gone. She’d done everything she could to break up our twenty-year friendship and came close to succeeding. I couldn’t think of anything nice to say about her. So, I employed the Thumper rule, and didn’t say anything.

Coop apparently didn’t want to get into the subject of Rebecca either, because as he stood and turned to me, he said, “I’ll walk out with you. I’ve got my truck. We can throw your bike in the back and you can ride home with me.”

“Yes, please. I didn’t realize it was so hot. I just about sweated to death pedaling out here.”

“Yeah, I can see that,” he said, taking in my damp, bedraggled hair, slipping from its hair clip, and the beads of moisture coalescing into a river of sweat running down the side of my forehead. “You kind of look like you just took a shower.” He sniffed the air, “Except you don’t have that shower-fresh scent.”

“Shut up,” I said. “I’m a head-sweater from way back. Deal with it.” I smiled though, because there’s something very nice and very easy being with a person who really doesn’t care how you look—or in the present situation—smell.

We walked together in companionable silence, until I’d decided he hadn’t heard any of my one-sided conversation with Annie. That dream died in the next minute.

“So, what’s going on with you and Gabe? He’s a nice guy, Leah. You’re not getting ready to toss him overboard, too, are you?”

“No. Why would you say that? And what do you mean by ‘too’?”

“You really want to go there?” He cocked an eyebrow. It’s a not very funny running joke between Coop and my mother that I always find a reason to cut my romances short.

“No, I don’t. I thought you didn’t believe in illegal surveillance, and what do you call lurking around cemeteries where people are having a private conversation? It’s nothing. Really.”

He looked at me for a second, but all he said was, “OK.”

Our conversation was cut off as a tall woman in her fifties, her hair pulled back and hanging in a long, gray braid down her back, appeared and abruptly crossed the path in front of us.

“Hello, Marcy,” I said.

She looked up as though surprised we were there.

“Leah. Coop.” She nodded but didn’t stop to talk. We knew where she was going. To the top of the hill on which sat a small granite building that resembled an ancient Greek temple. The family mausoleum held Marcy’s grandparents, her own mother, and Marcy’s baby daughter, Robin. One day, it would hold Marcy, too.

We watched in silence as she reached the building, pulled a key out of her pocket, unlocked the door, and slipped inside, like a ghost gliding through a wall. It had been sixteen years since Marcy White’s baby had died, and she still came every week. People said she brought a different book each time and read it to Robin. They said it like it was something weird, or even crazy. Not me, though. I understood why she did it.

“You know what, Coop?” I asked, as we continued on down the path.

“What?”

“I’m calling bullshit on death.”

***



Excerpt from Dangerous Ground by Susan Hunter.  Copyright © 2019 by Susan Hunter. Reproduced with permission from Susan Hunter. All rights reserved.




Author Bio:


Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, looking for clues, stopping for a meal at the Elite Cafe, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.

Catch Up With Susan Hunter On:


LeahNashMysteries.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!


Tour Participants:



Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!






Enter To Win!!:



This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 17, 2020, and runs through March 21, 2020. Void where prohibited.


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Guest Post: Susan Hunter – DANGEROUS FLAWS



Good day, book people. I’m pleased to announce that today’s special guest is a return guest and none other than the award-winning journalist and author of the Leah Nash mystery series including the recently released Dangerous Flaws, Susan Hunter. Ms. Hunter will be discussing with us the importance of reaching out to authors with your feedback. Thank you, Ms. Hunter, for taking the time to return to the Book Diva’s Reads today and sharing your thoughts with us, it is greatly appreciated. 





Readers and Writers

For me, and I think for many authors, one of the most fun things about writing is reader engagement. That can come in the form of a review, a response to a blog post, or a comment on social media. Occasionally a reader will run through the discussion questions I put at the end of a book for use by book clubs and send me the answers to each one from his or her perspective. I love to learn those detailed reactions to a story. Actually, all of the outreach from readers is nice—OK, the occasional negative reviews that come with the territory aren’t “nice” exactly, though they are often food for thought. 


But my favorite connection with readers comes from the emails I receive. It’s a very kind gesture for a reader to take time out of a busy day to write a note that says something you did, gave them pleasure. 

Sometimes the notes I receive are gently instructive as in this one, “I think Coop and Leah should get together—but do what you feel you need to.” Sometimes they’re more direct, “I like the series, but you should kill Courtnee, I can’t stand her.” And occasionally, they read as though my mother had written them, “Loved everything about Dangerous Habits, the writing style, the characters & the ending that I did not expect.  We read all the big names, Kellerman, Patterson, Iles, Gerritsen etc., but you rate up there with the best.” Full disclosure, I keep that one in my “save” file and sometimes pull it out when I’ve read a one-star review that was a little brutal.

I feel especially fortunate to have forged a long-distance kinship with a few readers who share with me not only their reactions to my books, but also their favorites written by authors. Sometimes they recommend a good film version of a favorite book. I love it when they share their “a-ha!” moments, when what I’ve written strikes a chord of recognition for them—either because they share a character’s take on a situation, or because they see in one of the characters a resemblance to a friend or relative or work colleague. One reader in particular has been very helpful with her thoughts on character development and an email conversation with her actually gave me the idea for a clue to use in my most recent book Dangerous Flaws.

Perhaps I enjoy the email give and take so much because as a charter member of Introverts International, I’m not by nature a joiner of clubs or striker-up of conversations with strangers. I enjoy social interaction, but outside of public speaking where I don the mantle of a situational extrovert, I prefer one-to-one or small group get-togethers with friends and family. Email exchanges with readers have that nice personal connection I like—plus the added benefit of allowing me to expand my circle of acquaintances without leaving the comforts of my couch.

So, if you read a book that touches you in some way—makes you laugh, or cry, or think “yes, that’s exactly how I feel,”—go ahead and let the author know. Writing can be a lonely profession. Hearing from readers reminds both writer and reader that we’re all in this together. 



Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter Banner

Dangerous Flaws

by Susan Hunter

on Tour February 1 – March 31, 2019



Synopsis:


Dangerous Flaws by Susan Hunter

A chilling murder shocks a small Wisconsin town.

True crime writer Leah Nash is stunned when police investigating the murder of a beautiful young college professor focus on her ex-husband Nick. Leah has no illusions about her ex, but despite his flaws, she just can’t see him as a killer. Reluctantly, she agrees to help Nick’s attorney prove that he isn’t.

But Nick’s lies make it hard to find the truth, and when a damning piece of evidence surfaces, Leah plunges into doubt. Is she defending an innocent man or helping a murderer escape? She pushes on to find out, uncovering hidden motives and getting hit by twists she never saw coming. Leah’s own flaws impede her search for the truth. When she finds it, will it be too late to prevent a devastating confrontation?



Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: December 11th 2018
Number of Pages: 392
ASIN: B07KK2HM6M
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries, Book 5
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads




Author Bio:


Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, looking for clues, stopping for a meal at the Elite Cafe, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.


Catch Up With Ms. Hunter On:


leahnashmysteries.com, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!



Tour Participants:



Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!






ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on February 1, 2019 and runs through April 1, 2019. Void where prohibited.


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Guest Post: Susan Hunter – DANGEROUS PLACES



Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their weekend. I’m delighted to welcome back the award-winning journalist and author, Susan Hunter. Ms. Hunter has taken time out of her busy schedule to discuss with us the importance of characters and criticism from the author’s perspective.



A Matter of Character


I try to roll with the feedback if a reviewer doesn’t like some aspect of a book I’ve written—or even doesn’t like any aspects of any book I’ve written. To each his own, right? One reader’s can’t-put-down book can be another’s can’t-get-into-it.

However, I can feel quite protective when someone criticizes not the book as a whole, but a character in particular. That is especially true when the character under fire is my lead, Leah Nash. I will be the first to admit that Leah is not always even-tempered, or wise, or mature, or forgiving. She is prone to acting impulsively. She has a quick tongue and doesn’t always filter what she says. And she’s pretty bossy and hates to be wrong. Hmm, as I write this I can see where the critics are coming from. And yet… She is generous of heart, loyal to a fault, quick-thinking, self-aware, fearless and funny. I enjoy writing her because she is a sometimes contradictory combination of light and dark.

I love it when a reader connects with her and enjoys the mix of virtues and vices that make up Leah. And I feel bad for her when someone zeroes in on her imperfections and ignores her indomitable spirit. I love her for her flaws. But I’ve had to accept that some people don’t see her the way I do. A parallel for me in real life is when I have two friends who I like very much, who can’t stand each other. Some readers respond to Leah as I do, and some don’t. Just like some of my friends like each other, and some don’t.

Because the series is set, for the most part, in the small town of Himmel, Wisconsin, a recurring cast of characters pops in and out of the stories as foils and friends of Leah. Sometimes readers take a shine to a minor character and want to see more of her or him. The request I get most often is for “more Miguel, please.” Miguel Santos is a young reporter at the Himmel Times Weekly. He’s extroverted, optimistic, tolerant, good-looking and gay (in both the old-school and the modern sense of the word). No one has a bad time when Miguel is around. He’s a perfect counter-point to Leah’s more cynical outlook on life. And I’m happy to spend more time with him, myself. 

On the other hand, Courtnee Fensterman, the receptionist at the Himmel Times is a polarizing figure among my readers. She’s a pretty, vapid, self-centered receptionist in her early 20s, who is described this way:

   Self-confident without any basis, incompetent without any awareness, unencumbered by any sense of responsibility, she is perpetually aggrieved and slightly perplexed by job duties that pull her away from Tweeting, Tindering, and [Snap Chatting].

Readers either love her for her blissful state of self-absorption or hate her for it. I understand why some people urge me to kill her off. But despite her ditzy, self-involved ways, I do have a soft spot for her as one of my offspring. And she’s useful at times in furthering the plot.

One of the nice things about a series is that you can allow your characters to grow and change and that can be reflected, in part, by the way they interact with other characters. For example, Charlie Ross, a detective with the sheriff’s department, started out in a small role as an adversary of Leah’s. Eventually he became a friend. I leave it to readers to decide whether Charlie changed, or Leah did, or if they both grew a little in understanding.

To say that Leah has trust issues is putting it mildly, and given her life experiences, it’s not surprising. However, she has no reservations about trusting her best friend, a man she’s known since they were both 12 years old, growing up in Himmel. David Cooper, known to Leah and almost everyone else as Coop, is a lieutenant in the Himmel Police Department. They both enjoy the easy comfort and tolerance that long-term friendship can bring. Readers seem to enjoy Coop’s quiet intelligence, his dry sense of humor and his steady presence. In fact, I get frequent calls for their friendship to morph into romance, though to date both have chosen other romantic interests. And to be honest, I’m not sure if they will ever be more than very good friends. Then again, I’m not sure that they won’t be. 

I think that the characters a writer creates—even the not very nice ones—have a claim on the author’s affections. But, as is the case with parents, writers must send their characters out into the world to face whatever fate awaits them. 
Some readers will love them, some will hate them. But the worst response to a character isn’t hate, it’s indifference. Because attention, good or bad, is what all characters—and maybe all writers—crave.  






Synopsis:


Dangerous Places by Susan Hunter

When teenager Heather Young disappeared from the small town of Himmel, Wisconsin everyone believed her boyfriend had killed her—though her body was never found. Twenty years later, his little sister Sammy returns to town. She begs her old friend, true crime writer Leah Nash, to prove her brother Eric isn’t a murderer.

But Sammy has no new evidence, and her brother doesn’t want Leah’s help. Leah says no—but she can’t help feeling guilty about it. That feeling gets much worse when Sammy is killed in a suspicious car accident. That’s when the independent, irreverent, unstoppable Leah takes up her cause. Her investigation takes her to some dark and dangerous places, and the truth she finds has an unexpected and shattering impact on her own life.


Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 2016
Number of Pages: 348
ISBN: 1540356477 (ISBN13: 9781540356475)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries #3 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Google Play  | Goodreads 


Author Bio:


Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.


Catch Up With Susan Hunter On:

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card. The giveaway begins on June 4 and runs through June 17, 2018. Void where prohibited.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post: Susan Hunter – DANGEROUS MISTAKES

Dangerous Mistakes Tour Banner



Good day my bookish divas and divos. I’m always a little amazed when an author is willing to stop by and provide us with insight. Today I’m pleased to welcome award-winning journalist and author, Susan Hunter, who will be introducing us to the idea of writing genre mysteries and promotion. Without further adieu, I give you Ms. Hunter, author of the Leah Nash Mysteries series, including Dangerous Mistakes.



Who Do You Think You Are?


When I wrote the first book in the Leah Nash Mysteries series, I didn’t give much thought to what category of mystery it best fit. I just wanted readers to meet an interesting lead character, find her story intriguing, the characters around her engaging, and the mystery she solved worth the effort.

But I soon learned that promotion requires that books be defined. Is it a police procedural? A hardboiled detective novel? Softboiled? Thriller? Suspense? Cozy?  You have to check off the right box, use the right keywords to make sure the right readers find your book. 

There’s enough of the rebel in me to resent being forced to categorize and file my series into a tidy box. Like any parent, I feel my “baby” is unique and deserves the widest possible recognition. But feelings of pride and ownership aside, there’s also enough of the practical side in me to realize that readers and booksellers need a way to organize mountains of books into separate tidy stacks for ease of discovery.

Still, when a long-established writer of mysteries suggested to me that the category my series fit was cozy, I was surprised—and I’m chagrined to admit it now, a little insulted. I assumed, based on nothing more than quick glances at pun-laden titles and book covers featuring quilts, cats or cartoon illustrations, that the cozy genre consisted of light and fluffy quick reads, featuring sweet heroines and easy solutions. Somehow not quite a “real” mystery. My book, in contrast, had some very dark happenings, a heroine more prickly than cozy, and a truly disturbing crime. How could it possibly be cozy?

She soon schooled me on the most basic definition of a cozy: a story featuring an amateur sleuth, with minimal sex and violence, set in a small town with a recurring cast of characters. Check, check, and check again as far as my book went. She also suggested in the kindest terms, that I stop being such a genre snob. Clearly, I needed to do some reassessing.

I may hold them close, but my after my biases take a whack and fall down around me, I’m a fairly quick study. I learned from first-hand reading and a little research that cozies come in all shapes and sizes, from frothy reads that are more romance than mystery to extremely intricate puzzles that deftly handle some serious themes. And that I had been reading them for years. Yes, Agatha Christie, I’m looking at you.

The heroines can range in age from roughly 18 to 80—and occasionally the lead character is male rather than female. But no matter the gender, the amateur detective is typically competent, quick-thinking and courageous. And sometimes funny and prickly as well. 

So, I reconsidered my position, assumed the mantle of cozy mystery writer, and now happily select that as a top classification category for my series. My only regret is that for readers who still hold the condescending opinion I once had—that cozies are to mysteries as stevia is to sugar: a close approximation, but not the real thing—a whole genre of reading pleasure remains untouched.





Dangerous Mistakes

by Susan Hunter

on Tour May 7 – 18, 2018



Synopsis:


Dangerous Mistakes by Susan Hunter

A clever killer. A smart reporter. An unexpected twist.


Small-town reporter Leah Nash investigates a murder no one else believes happened—until a second death signals the killer’s first mistake. Nothing is as it seems, and the twisting trail she follows pits Leah against her police lieutenant best friend, her new boss, and even her mother. Still, the smart and smart-ass Leah can’t back down. If she’s right, she can save someone she loves. If she’s wrong, the next victim could be her.

Independent, intrepid and irrepressible Leah Nash can’t resist a good story, especially not one that ends in murder. Sharp dialogue, plots that move and storylines full of unexpected turns make this series a fan favorite.




Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Himmel River Press
Publication Date: November 2015
Number of Pages: 370
ISBN: 1519208588 (ISBN13: 9781519208583)
Series: Leah Nash Mysteries #2 (Each is a Stand Alone Mystery)

Click to check out Dangerous Mistakes on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Goodreads!!




Author Bio:


Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter is a charter member of Introverts International (which meets the 12th of Never at an undisclosed location). She has worked as a reporter and managing editor, during which time she received a first-place UPI award for investigative reporting and a Michigan Press Association first place award for enterprise/feature reporting.

Susan has also taught composition at the college level, written advertising copy, newsletters, press releases, speeches, web copy, academic papers, and memos. Lots and lots of memos. She lives in rural Michigan with her husband Gary, who is a man of action, not words.

During certain times of the day, she can be found wandering the mean streets of small-town Himmel, Wisconsin, dropping off a story lead at the Himmel Times Weekly, or meeting friends for a drink at McClain’s Bar and Grill.


Catch Up With Susan Hunter On:


leahnashmysteries.com, Goodreads, Twitter – @LeahNashMystery, & Facebook – leahnashmysteries!



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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Susan Hunter. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift card. The giveaway begins on May 7 and runs through May 20, 2018. Void where prohibited.


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