Thursday, December 01, 2011

SEASON OF DANGER - Hannah Alexander - Jill Elizabeth Nelson - Free Book

Welcome back, Cheryl (Hannah Alexander). How did your story for the collection come about?
I had heard from a family member of a friend about the growing homeless population in Hollywood, not only the down-and-outers who can’t hold a job due to drugs and alcohol abuse, but families who lost income because of job cuts and can’t pay their mortgages. Whole families sleep in cars. Children wander the streets. This is not only happening in Hollywood, but in the rest of the country, and the world. I wanted a hero and heroine who care dearly for those who have lost so much, and then for the suspense I thought it would be fascinating if someone decided to hurt the heroine by attacking the homeless. That’s how my story began.

Are these stories connected in some way? If so, how?
I don’t think Jill and I actually knew our novellas were going to be in the same anthology. The only connection our stories have is that they’re set at Christmastime and they’re Love Inspired Suspense stories with heroes and heroines who have a shared desire to help others.

What are you reading right now?
I’m actually reading the anthology! I seldom go back and read what I’ve written once the book is out, but this time I decided to do so. And this time there’s a bonus of another novella to follow!

How many other books have you had published?
I think twenty-three, but after awhile one tends to lose count, because one book was published twice-once with 100,000 words, the next with 60,000 words, so there was a lot of extra work done on that one. I also wrote an online short story and had six out-of-print books placed back in print, so I don’t count those.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection?
Since Jill and I didn’t have to collaborate, just write romantic suspense novellas set at Christmas, the biggest difficulty for me was keeping it short. 30,000 words is a whole lot less space for a story than 100,000 or even 60,000.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
It got us together online, which is fun.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Don’t look down your nose at those who aren’t as well off financially as you are. Someday you may be walking in their shoes. On the other hand, if you’re one of those who are struggling to make ends meet, or if you’ve failed to make ends meet, if you’ve done all you can to make it and you can’t, don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.

Please give us a peek into your story.
Tess has retreated from her career as a talent agent and returned to her family rescue mission to help out and to grieve the murder of her fiancé on the night she was planning to break the engagement. Sean Torrance has inherited the most popular radio station in the region, but despite his busy life and family wealth, he isn’t too busy to help out at the mission. He and Gerard, Tess’s brother, were cops together in Corpus Christi. He and Tess both have painful pasts that draw them together, but when someone starts poisoning the regulars at the mission, they’re both on the lookout for who might want to hurt them.

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
Make it credible. You’ll lose your readers if you don’t make your words, your characters and your story credible.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
I also twitter and Facebook from time to time.
Thanks so much for having me, Lena!

Now we're going to talk to Jill Elizabeth Nelson (no kin to me). Welcome, Jill. How did your story for the collection come about?
I was recruited by the publisher to write the counterpart to Hannah Alexander’s novella and was pleased and honored to do it. My adult girls inspired the story concept for Mistletoe Mayhem. They both have dogs and love their pets so much they are a part of the family. Imagining how my girls might feel if someone tried to hurt the animals provided the germ of an idea that grew into my novella, Mistletoe Mayhem, in the Christmas anthology, Season of Danger.

Are these stories connected in some way? If so, how?
Quite by chance both of our stories feature poisoning as a method of murder. After my mom read the book, she asked if we had collaborated on that element, but I had to confess the commonality was unplanned—at least by us. I’m a bit amazed by the striking similarity and how we each developed an entirely different plot around a shared murder weapon.

What are you reading right now?
 Read? Who has time to read! LOL. Just kidding. I do read, but my reading time is curtailed now that I’m writing the books that other people read. I used to devour half a dozen or more books in a month. Now I’m doing well to read one a month. I recently enjoyed James Rubart’s intriguing and unusual Rooms. Big thumbs up on his books for people who like a Godly supernatural twist to their stories. Another recent read that I relished (alliteration intended) was Race Against Time. I thoroughly enjoyed the Alaska setting, since I have a sister living there, and the writing team of Kimberley Woodhouse and her teenage daughter Kayla does an awesome job of telling a stirring and exciting story. I can hardly wait for the next book in the series.

How many other books have you had published?
Mistletoe Mayhem is my ninth published book. Four of those nine were full-length Love Inspired Romantic Suspense titles. I recently turned in the manuscript for another LI Romantic Suspense entitled Betrayal on the Border, where we join a former Army Ranger (the heroine) and a television news reporter (the hero) for a wild ride pitted against drug runners.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a collection?
I didn’t find anything difficult about the process. This has been one of my most enjoyable writing experiences. The writing team that goes by the pen name of Hannah Alexander is witty, wise, warm, and professional.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?
I’ve never written a novella before—well, other than the first book I penned—er, penciled—in the sixth grade. (I did finish the manuscript, which is a watershed moment in any writer’s life, but not a shred of those scribbled in notebooks yet exist, and the world is grateful.) Nor have I ever been given the opportunity to publish a story specifically targeted to a holiday. Teaming up with another writer on a fiction anthology was also a new experience for me, one that was pleasantly hassle-free. These firsts were awesome opportunities and more milestones on my path of life.

What did you want the reader to take away from your story?
Mistletoe Mayhem is about letting go of bitterness and learning to trust again. The heroine must surrender hurts and doubts in order to finally recognize and open her heart to the man the Lord has sent her. The villain fails to surrender his bitterness and anger and becomes a murderer in his twisted quest for “justice.”

Please give us a peek into your story.
A romance-shy veterinarian and a widowed health inspector hunt the killer who used mistletoe extract to poison pets and people in a Tennessee mountain town.

After being jilted by her fiancé, Kelly Granger buries her broken heart in her work as a veterinarian in her home town of Abbottsville, Tennessee, located in the Great Smoky Mountains. She and her assistant, Tim Hallock, battle to save community pets from a violent and mysterious illness. Is this sickness a danger to humans? Her question is answered when state health inspector Matt Bennett is sent to investigate local eating establishments—including Kelly’s sister’s restaurant—for the cause of poisoning among the patrons. Kelly refuses to believe that her sister served toxic mistletoe extract to her customers—yet mounting evidence points in that direction. Kelly puts herself in harm’s way, facing down a vicious dog and even more vicious people, to uncover a common denominator between the human and animal illnesses.

Matt has his hands full keeping up with the feisty Kelly, as well as proving himself worthy of her trust—and hopefully, her love. Unless she has her heart set on Tim. The question won’t matter if his investigation sends Kelly’s sister to jail. She’ll never have anything to do with him then. They need to uncover the truth. But will the answer cost them more than their romance? Will it cost them their lives?

What is the best piece of advice you received as an author?
A new writer receives a lot of advice, and there are many voices echoing in their ears (other than the characters in their heads). I would say there are two pieces of advice that go hand-in-hand. First and foremost, learn to write well. This is a growth process and doesn’t happen overnight. Nothing worthwhile does. It requires diligence and practice, practice, practice.

The other part of the equation for someone seriously seeking publication is to network in person and online with other writers, as well as editors and agents, through writers groups and conference attendance. I wouldn’t be published today without those elements added.

Where can my readers find you on the Internet?
My web site is recently updated and includes a contest page with an opportunity to win a signed copy of Season of Danger. I also give away books by other authors on my web site blog. Sign up for the RSS feed to receive notification when a new post is up.

I also have an author page on Facebook at, and readers can follow me on Twitter at

Thank you so much, Cheryl and Jill, for sharing your new book with us.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
Season of Danger: Silent Night, Deadly Night\Mistletoe Mayhem (Love Inspired Suspense)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Robyn said...

I so enjoy the LI Suspense line. This sounds like a wonderful double-story just in time for the holidays.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Jill said...

Thanks, Robyn. Glad you're a fan of the line. I enjoy writing for it. Hope you have the opportunity to read Season of Danger. :-)

Lorna Faith said...

I love suspense...sounds like a great book! Thanks for the great interviews Cheryl and Jill:) Love your books...would love to have a chance to win:)

Lorna from Alberta

lornafaith at gmail dot com

Katie G. said...

Please enter me! They both sound amazing! :) Im from NC. Can't wait to read them!

God bless!

Katie G.

scottsgal said...

I love stories set near Christmas time - thanks for the chance
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Bethany said...

Fun interviews! I would love a copy :) I'm in Ohio

wfnren said...

Thank you for these very good interviews and for hosting the giveaway. I live in FL.


Linda Kish said...

I would love to win a copy of this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Marianne said...

i have been looking for Hannah Alexander books - no new ones but this one with Jill. Would love to win.

marianne[dot}wanham[at]gmail[dot]com from Arizona

Aizess said...

The suspense genre is one of my favorites. These stories seem very interesting! Please enter me in the giveaway!

I live in New York

marybelle said...

SEASON OF DANGER is on my reading list. I love Christmas stories.

Merry said...

Jill is a favorite author so I can't pass up a chance to win one of her books. Season Of Danger sounds great.
Merry in TX

Judy said...

Really enjoyed the interview with Hannah and Jill. Both are new authors to me and I can't wait to read "Season of Danger". It would be so great to win a copy of this book.

Judy B from IN

Carol N Wong said...

I love suspense!!! I love sitting on the edge of my seat, waiting to find out what is next!

I live in Texas.


Nathanael Richmond said...

Looks interesting, I love suspense.
Enter me!
Nathanael Richmond
Blanch, NC.

gahome2mom said...

I enjoy Christmas time books. Thanks

Happy Holidays

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me I would love to win a copy of this book! It sounds like a great story! Thanks and God bless.
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Ingrid said...

Loved the Interviews, thank you, the Stories sound great, Please add me to your contest.

I live in S.Illinois


Cindy W. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy W. said...

I love the LI Suspense line of books and I love books with a Christmas theme so Season of Danger would be an awesome read for me. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W. from Indiana


rubynreba said...

Love to read this. I have a daughter named Jill Elizabeth so I know this will be good!
Beth from Iowa.

Anonymous said...

I love suspense novels. Please enter
me in your drawing. Thanks!

Dennie Richmond
Blanch, NC

Hannah Alexander said...

Yikes! Here I was agonizing over what to blog for today, and all these comments have been just waiting on this blog! I was thrilled to get to know Jill better through this "collaboration." We actually thought more about collaborating with promotion than with the writing. I think it's so neat we accidentally connected with the poison aspect. It just goes to show writing minds often think alike.

holdenj said...

Sounds like a great 'collaboration'! I really like suspense and enjoy holiday themes this time of year! Thanks!
Julie in MN

Hannah Alexander said...

Julie, I've always been a suspense lover. Of course, sometimes I scare myself when I'm alone at home at night, writing a frightening scene and the cats get all freaky. They're probably just picking up on my fear, but it all escalates until I have the butcher knife and am looking out the windows. Ah, life as a suspense writer is such fun!

Jill said...

Wow! Fun comments. Jazzed to hear from so many suspense fans. Cool that there is another Jill Elizabeth out there. Tell your daughter it's a good name, Beth. :-)

Abigail Richmond said...

Enter me!
Blanch, N.C.

Jo said...

I have read several of Hannah Alexander's books and really enjoyed them. Haven't read any of Jill's yet and have wanted to. Please enter me.

Jo from Southern Arizona

Kristie said...

I don't usually read collections but both of these stories sound good. I can't imagine being poisoned. What horrible suffering. Oh, I read Rooms by James Rubart and thought it was good too. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

Hannah Alexander said...

Kristie, there are so many fascinating ways to use poison, and so many kinds of poisons, that it's a fun way to play with suspense. But we don't talk about it when we're out eating. People get scared in the seats near us. LOL

apple blossom said...

love to win thanks

live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Deborah M said...

I haven't read any of Hannah's or Jill's books but would love to try them out. I really enjoy Love Inspired Suspense.
Debbie Malone
debbiejeanm at gmail dot com

Hannah Alexander said...

Oh, Deborah, I hope you get to read this anthology. I don't usually write shorter stories, either, but this one was so much fun!

Sarah said...

It looks interesting!!
Please enter me in the drawing.
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

Hannah Alexander said...

Sarah, I hope you get to read it!