Friday, 24 February 2012

Author Spotlight - Love Stories Wrapped in Mystery and an excerpt from "Goodbye Noel"

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Moderator Steph


Love Stories Wrapped in Mystery

By its very nature, writing Christian romance is a challenge. Traditional wisdom has it there are all kinds of unwritten and written rules outlining what can't go into the book. I usually disregard all of that.

And yet, I definitely want my story to fall squarely into the realm of Christian romance. To achieve that goal and still have a thrilling romance, I strive to write a love story rather than a romance. Does that make sense? I create a romance by writing a love story.

They say a romance must have a happy ever after ending. To me, a love story must go to the depths of the heart, to an everlasting love. A Christian love story must go to the marriage altar and beyond...all the way to heaven.

And since I write romantic thrillers, my aim is to write a love story that is central and intertwined with the mystery story. I've been told I did exactly that in GOODBYE NOEL, the second story in my Sanctuary Point series. Katrina Lenart and Detective Ian Daltry have such a deep love they have no secrets from each other. As the story progresses they bare their souls to each other in the most intimate manner, totally exposing themselves and their vulnerabilities. And of course, they have great desire for each other in every way.

So, what makes this novel a love story? Well you can have romance without love and love without romance, but what makes a story exciting is when you have them both. GOODBYE NOEL definitely has both.


The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes head long out a window. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?

Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother's flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she's willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant's best interests at heart, even the man she's growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover at a cult as well as at a fancy ball.

Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he's drawn to. Is there's something he's overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?


Chapt 5, scene 1
Long Island, New York
Late December, 1946

Katrina wanted to throw Detective Daltry into a snow bank. The nerve of him, barging into their house twice in two days, demanding she bundle the baby up and take him into the cold. How could that man not recall their harrowing, nighttime drive through the storm of the decade? She tossed her hair back over her shoulder, and with great difficulty held her tongue.

Momma apparently had no such reservations. "Detective, what you are doing is very wrong."

Katrina came up beside her mother, to show a united front. "This is outrageous." Her eyes narrowed and she crossed her arms over her chest. She hated the tone of her voice, but this baby wasn't a ping-pong ball to be batted back and forth as the detective moved forward with his murder case.

He ignored her and continued addressing her mother.

"I'm sorry, ma'am." He removed his fedora. "Chief Ferguson has already made the necessary phone calls and arrangements have been made. I must take Leslie Janos Bauer with me to the home of his aunt in Bay Shore. The chief would prefer your daughter come along in an official capacity as a nurse. It's up to her, but I have to take the baby."

Momma's face flushed beet-red, a sure sign she'd become enraged. "This is not good for him… this hustle from place to place."

"With all due respect, ma'am, a child belongs with his family, if at all possible." The detective took a step toward Katrina. "Now, will you please fetch the baby." It wasn't a request.

Katrina made sure she stood tall. "Yes, I'll get Leslie." She clenched her fists at her side and jutted her chin. "This is disgraceful.
You are using this infant to solve your murder case. Perhaps your own tragic life experience clouds your judgment?"

His mouth fell open and he took a step back.

"If you have it within your heart, give me one minute. I'll get him ready and get my coat and boots on." Without giving him a chance to reply, Katrina turned and stormed up the stairs.

Leslie lay sleeping in the baby-doll cradle Poppa had made for her when she was a little girl. Poppa had that kind of talent. He could make anything. In her heart she knew, he'd figured it would be her baby's bassinet. At least now, it had a real purpose.
She ran a finger over the hand carved leaves in the headboard.

"Milachku, time to wake up." She took the infant into her arms inhaling the smell of baby, sweeter than the most expensive imported perfume.

Leslie yawned and she snuggled her nose in the soft folds of skin between his head and shoulder, kissing his neck. He cooed, so safe in her arms.

She brought him to her heart, holding him, rocking him and spoke softly to her reflection in the mirror above her bureau. "Fat chance I'll ever walk down the aisle or have a family of my own with the man shortage since the war." Something deep in the core of her female-self rebelled, a throbbing turbulence, from which deep hunger erupted.

She stroked Leslie's cheek and made a funny face. The softness of his skin melted her heart.

He smiled at her and kicked.

"I'm so sorry. I promised I'd protect you and I can't." She forced a smile and made clucking noises.

He grabbed her hair and yanked.

"Ouch." She laughed, removing strands of her hair from his little fist.

A tear escaped and ran down the side of her cheek. "I can do this." She lifted her chin, sucked in a long breath, wrapped Leslie in a heavy quilt, and picked up his tote bag.

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista

Goodbye Noel (Desert Breeze) ~ Winter themed (1946/47)
---murder, mayhem, an orphaned infant, kidnap and romance. Can Katrina Lenart and Det. Ian Daltry catch a kller before he strikes again?

Burning Hearts (Desert Breeze) ~ Historical Romantic Thriller
---arson/murder and romance. Can Erica Brogna and Lorne Kincaid catch a wanton killer and thwart those who are trying to frame Lorne for the crime?


  1. Nike, I'm in total agreement with your sentiments that love stories are so much more than mere romance. Bravo, and beautifully stated. As a Christian "romance" writer, I follow the same "rules" that you do, but for me, that sometimes means to disregard them. Keep on writing your stories your way, for they are beautiful and most definitely God-given. Blessings to you, and "write" on!

  2. Well said, Nike! All the way to heaven.

  3. Nike, I agree you can have a great God-given Christian romance, a clean romance, one that tells a great story of love entwined with romance. I also love the mystery and suspense as I grew up reading every Nancy Drew mystery I could get my hands on. A story with romance is not enough for me. I want more, and I don't mean sex. I love a deep novel, multi-layered. I enjoyed Burning Hearts, and I can't wait to read Goodbye Noel. I have it download and will be reading it next on my list. Blessings, BJ

  4. Great Post, Nike! and so true. The depths of respect each of your characters has for each other is really part of the love story...and so romantic!

    I love both of your books and I think everyone who read Burning Hearts will know what they have in store with Goodbye Noel. Just as compelling!

  5. Joann, Thx for your kind words and insights. I will continue writing the way I'm called to write.

    Barbara, You're a doll. I loved LAST RESORT and have SOUTHERN SUPERSTITIONS on my TRL.

    Debra, I think that's really such an important part of my love stories. In BURNING HEARTS Erica and Lorne are not only head over heels in love, but they also like each other and respect each other deeply...they honor each other.

    In GOODBYE NOEL, in Katrina and Ian's love story they so don't want to keep secrets from each other. They want to be really, really close in all ways.

  6. Joann Durgin has one a copy of GOODBYE NOEL for the best comment of the week.

    Thx everyone for great comments.

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