Introducing new Love Inspired Suspense Author ~ Maggie K. Black

pic of author Maggie K. BlackI’m delighted to introduce you to Maggie K. Black, another Canadian author new to Love Inspired. Although I’ve never met Maggie, she actually lives only a couple of hours away from me! And we hope to change that not-meeting part very soon. 😉

Here’s what I’ve learned about her so far…

Tell us a little about yourself:

I moved around a lot when I was growing up. There was a lot of instability, and not a lot of access to good books. So I started trying to write my own. When I was in my late teens I decided to go into journalism, because I love meeting new people and telling stories. I’m really thankful for 15+ years I spent as a journalist, because of the people I got to know and the places I got to go. It gave me a lot to write about. I’ve always known in my gut that my deepest dream was to write novels, but it wasn’t until my daughters were born, that I finally took the time to really do it.

Tell us about your latest book. What inspired you to write this particular book?:

Book Jacker of Killer AssignmentKiller Assignment is about a journalist named Katie who is being pursued by ruthless kidnappers. Our hero is a war-zone engineer who’s running from his own past.

The whole concept actually started as a bit of a dare from my former coworker Paul. My writing work has taken me all over the world, and at the time I was with for a technical charity that works in the Middle East and Africa. Some of the engineers were sitting around talking about their most dangerous moments—kidnappings, robberies, stuff like that. (Truth be told, I probably put them up to it). One of them dared me to write a romance book where the hero was a dashing engineer who’d gone through all these things. … and wouldn’t you know, the idea stuck with me, so I did.

That’s where Mark comes from. Katie is based more on me, and on the struggles I’ve had feeling trapped in a situation which wasn’t quite right for me.

Her name comes from Taming of the Shrew actually, because while I deeply love Shakespeare I have always hated how that particular play strips the heroine of her strength and voice when she finds love. I’ve always been determined to create women who find love, healing, security and faith without ever losing their strength and determination. One of my favorite things about Killer Assignment is where we know Katie is headed at the end of the book. I’ve gotten more comments on that than on anything else in the book.

What are you working on right now?:

I’m very excited to announce my next book—DEADLINE—will be out in the summer of 2014 from Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense. Our journalist is a disgraced journalist who’s in a race against time to expose a ruthless serial killer. Our heroine is the killer’s intended target. But she’s carrying secrets of her own, and was warned by police not to trust her life to the handsome, daredevil reporter. It’s set on Manitoulin Island.

How do you get to know your characters?:

I actually assign each of my characters a theme song, which, for me, sums up how they’re feeling. Then I listen to that song when I’m trying to get into the character’s head.

Oh, wow, that’s cool. I just started doing that with the last book I wrote. Could you share an example?

For Mark that song is actually Africa by Toto.

“Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you.
There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do.”

Mark is willing to battle an entire army to protect Katie if that’s what it takes. In Killer Assignment the threat keeps escalating, until they’re alone against an entire group of armed kidnappers. In that moment Mark makes the one call he’d sworn to himself he’d never make, because it’s the only way he can think of to save Katie’s life.

That’s a pivotal moment in his story.

Do you put yourself into your main character, or do you find yourself borrowing from family or friends as your characters develop?

Usually each character I write is based on a handful of real people I know, including parts of myself. And I tend to know the characters so much better than ever appears in the book. I could write a whole book just on Ethan for example—I know him that well. Celia and Sunny as well.

(Oh, and while “Katie” came from Shakespeare, and both “Armor” and “Shield” came from the sense of closing yourself off from others for your own protection—“Randall” comes from the purple monster in Monsters Inc!)

Is there any scene in your book that came from a real-life happening?

The attempted kidnapping Katie survives at the beginning of the book is based on something terrifying that happened to me as a teenager.

For me, writing is one of the tools I’ve used to transform terrible memories into something awesome and life-giving. One of the things I particularly wanted to touch on in Deadline is how we can be held back from living the life God wants for us by traumatic things in our past, and how to get the help we need to move though them.


That is an awesome testimony to how you’ve done that yourself, Maggie.

What are your favorite themes to write about?

I am passionate about people figuring out who they were meant to be, and learning how to love and accept themselves. There’s nothing I love more than writing about people learning who God has designed them to be, and the absolute joy which can come from that. At the end of Killer Assignment, Mark and Katie haven’t just found love, they’ve find a new purpose and calling for their lives. That excites me.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?

Faith affects my whole life, and in turn my life affects my writing.

When I first started I was really held back by always questioning what God wanted me to write, as if God was on the loudspeaker and I was just the secretary taking down dictation.

More recently I’ve come to realize that God designed me to be a person who writes, and that when I write I am pouring myself into doing what I was made to do.

I now think of God more like a parent who hands us this amazing craft and paint box full of talents and gifts, and then actually has faith in us as we learn how to use them to create amazing things.

Do you have a favorite scripture? If so, why is it your favorite?

When I was writing Killer Assignment I had Psalm 139 running through my head—especially the line “Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me.” Today, the passage on my mind is from Matthew 12 and also Isaiah 42. In The Message, referring to Jesus, it says, “He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant, but he’ll steadily and firmly set things right.” I love that aspect of God.

Could you share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader to feel as though they know you a little better.

I have two amazing daughters, who are both in elementary school. Every morning, after I walk them to school, I walk my dog through the park to this little creek which runs behind my house. I try to pause on the bridge long enough to still all the nagging, negative voices in my head, and focus my heart on who I am, and who God has called me to be. Then I go home and plug into writing until it’s time to pick the girls up and be a mom again. At night, I usually try to go to Curves or Zumba right before bed. There’s something about dancing badly but happily with a group of other ladies at the end of the day which really energizes me!

Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?

I just got a new blog up at, and I’m on Facebook at

Readers can find Killer Assignment at Amazon and elsewhere. 

Your Turn: Has anything happened in your life that would make a great story?

My newsletter with this year’s Christmas romance mini-novella went out to subscribers yesterday. The link didn’t work so I sent a second email with one that did, and…I’ve since fixed the other so that both should work now. I’m sorry for any frustration that caused! If you’ve subscribed and don’t see the email in your inbox, please check your spam folder. And it’s not too late to receive the story. Click here to subscribe

Brainstorming a Book

By now you’ve probably figured out that I have a lot of fun doing research for my books. 


Yes, I let my children and their friends (whose faces have been smudged to protect the innocent 😉 ) believe I was taking them on a school trip to the fire station all those years ago, but really… in the far recesses of my mind, I must’ve known some day I’d write about a firefighter and want to know what it felt like to wear all that stuff!

And since I have so much fun brainstorming new books, I thought I’d let you in on the fun, too!

And…if your suggestion makes it into the book, you will be rewarded! 🙂

So here’s what I need:

1) A famous person, such as a celebrity, that resembles my hero Jake.

If you can give me a link to an image online, all the better. Jake is a firefighter who lives in a small town close to Seattle. He’s a widower with a four-year-old son, Tommy. Jake is tall and lanky. His brother Sam, looks like Mike Fisher (Carrie Underwood’s husband-to-be) and Jake looks nothing like him. Any suggestions? Update: I’m leaning toward Amber’s suggested Paul Walker, but still open to more suggestions.

2) A name for the community program he wants to start to help Single Parents get through the Christmas holidays (things such as men helping put out Christmas lights or bring in a Christmas tree for single moms or women baking for single dads–stereotypical, I know, but they do tend to be the areas that each struggle with). This was his wife’s brainchild and he wants to name it something that will honor her memory. Her name (at the moment) is Stacey. Although if another name lends to a better name for the program, I can change it. If you have additional suggestions for the program that would be great, too!  I’ve decided to play with a variation of Dianna’s suggestion in the comments for this one!

3) A Title for the story. The heroine is hiding out in Jake’s town (under witness protection). She was a kindergarten teacher and dog trainer, but now she works in a library. The threat of being found by the person she’ll be testifying against (kidnapper of a child) hangs over her head throughout the story. The story takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas in a small town called Stalwart. Update: I’m still collecting great title ideas! Thank you to those who emailed me additional suggestions.  😉

Your Turn: Let your creativity run wild! The more off-the-wall the suggestion, the more intriguing twists it sparks.




Review of Scorned Justice by Margaret Daley


I have enjoyed Margaret Daley’s books for years, and aspired to emulate them, so… you can imagine how thrilled I was to be asked to write an endorsement for Scorned Justice, the newest installment in The Men of the Texas Rangers series.

The book has now released from Abingdon Press, and if you enjoy romantic suspense, you won’t want to miss it.

Margaret Daley is a prolific writer who is probably best known for her many titles with Harlequin’s Love Inspired lines. But she is a master at romantic suspense. Scorned Justice  kept me glued to the page into the wee hours of the morning with its fast-paced action, wonderfully-developed characters and romance, and an explosive twist I didn’t see coming.

Romantic Times Magazine agrees, giving it 4 1/2 stars.

I asked Margaret why she wrote Scorned Justice, what theme prompted the story. Here’s what she had to say:

I wrote Scorned Justice because I wanted to explore what revenge does to a person. How far will a person go to get back at someone? How does that change the person? Why is it so hard to forgive someone who has wronged you? In the story the reader sees what revenge does to the person who exacts it as well as the person who is the object of the revenge.

Each novel in the series is a standalone story, so you won’t be left hanging at the end, or not know what’s going on if you haven’t read Saving Hope and Shattered Silence, but if you’re wondering, there is one more to come. Severed Trust releases in October.

Don’t you love those titles?

Here’s the book’s backcover blurb:

Texas Ranger Brody Calhoun is with his parents in west Texas when an unexpected attack injures the brother of Rebecca Morgan, Brody’s high school sweetheart. The local sheriff, a good friend, asks for Brody’s help. At first, it seems like an open-and-shut case.

As Brody digs deeper, he realizes the attack may be related to an organized crime trial Rebecca will be overseeing. With Rebecca’s help, he compiles evidence involving cattle rustling, bribery, and dirty payoffs that shatter the entire community and put Rebecca directly in the line of fire.

Brody expects to protect her. What he never expects is to fall for Rebecca all over again, or for a murder to throw the case wide open. Is Brody’s faith strong enough to withstand not only deep-rooted corruption and cattle rustling, but also love?

Your Turn: The link for the books in Margaret’s series is that all the heroes are Texas Rangers. What occupations would you like to see a hero or heroine have (or have enjoyed reading about) in a Christian romantic suspense?


Margaret Daley talks about Saving Hope

I’m pleased to welcome Margaret Daley to my blog today. I’ve been blessed by her mentorship.

She is a prolific, award-winning author of inspirational romance, historical romance and romantic suspense for Love Inspired, Summerside Press and Abingdon Press. She is currently the president of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Recently retired, she taught special needs teens for many years and volunteered with the special Olympics.

I invited her here today to tell us why she wrote Saving Hope. Scroll down to Monday’s post if you missed the introduction to this wonderful book.

Here’s why Margaret wrote Saving Hope

It is estimated that 293,000 American youths are at risk of becoming involved in sex trafficking. We aren’t talking about just 16-18 year olds but younger children, too. The average age is 12-13 years old.
The FBI says this problem is growing in the United States with pimps on social media sites to lure more youths. Most of these teens are runaways or throwaway kids, often children that have been abused or kicked out of their families. Some teens are targeted and kidnapped or their parents sell them to a trafficker. Anyway you look at it, these youths are trapped in a horrific situation with little means of getting out. They become victimized, not just girls but boys, too.
1. We need to recognize the problem.
Human trafficking exist in the United States, not just other parts of the world.
2. We need to see these youths as victims.
These are not criminals to be prosecuted and pass laws to protect our children against this situation and predators.
3. We need to train law enforcement to deal with these youths as victims.
We must give law enforcement the tools and resources to identify the children victimized and ways to connect them to a place that will help them. 
4. We need places to give these youths a refuge and a second chance.
We need safe havens–places like Children of the Night have (http://www.childrenof the
Organizations are beginning to see we need to do something. The Salvation Army is heavily involved in educating the public about the problem. There are organizations that are set up to offer help to children involved in child trafficking–ECPAT and Children of the Night. Also many churches are getting involved. If you suspect a child or situation, please report it to the Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline (open 24/7) at the toll free number 1-888-373-7888.

The above are the reasons I wrote Saving Hope. I taught high school students for twenty-seven years. I never wanted them to become a victim of a human trafficker. I wanted to do something about the problem, to warn them of what can happen if they aren’t careful, but at the same time give the reader an entertaining story that they will remember after they finish the book. I hope people become involved in Kate, Wyatt and Rose’s stories.

Your Turn: I really appreciate the opportunity to deepen my understanding about different people’s lives as an organic part of a story. What kind of topics in stories made a lasting impression on you? 

*You can read an excerpt from Saving Hope here:

*Saving Hope: Men of the Texas Rangers Book 1

This Story Could Save a Life

What boy-crazy young girl wouldn’t be flattered by the interest of a good-looking older “boy”?

Very few, and as Margaret Daley’s newest romantic suspense so deftly illustrates, sometimes the consequences are your worst nightmare.

Here’s the book’s back cover blurb: 

When a teenager goes missing from the Beacon of Hope School, Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan and school director Kate Winslow are forced into a dangerous struggle against a human trafficking organization. But the battle brings dire consequences as Wyatt’s daughter is terrorized and Kate is kidnapped. Now it’s personal, and Wyatt finds both his faith and investigative skills challenged as he fights to discover the mastermind behind the ring before evil destroys everyone he loves.

Saving Hope deals with the harsh reality of human trafficking in an informative and tasteful way that leaves you aching for the girls whose innocence is being stolen, without filling your mind with gritty images.

I’ve told my daughter that I want her to read the novel, and I’m recommending it to mothers of preteen and teen girls. Why?

Because Margaret has done a superb job of showing how innocently and easily a young girl can be lured into a trap.

Young men make quick cash, working for trafficking rings by seeking out girls at a mall, for example, and showing interest in them. As I asked in my opening, what boy-crazy, young teen isn’t going to be flattered?

We had exactly such a scenario make headlines here in Canada recently, because the father found out what was going on, sought out the house and pounded on the door, demanding they release his daughter. At the time, the daughter was embarrassed, unaware of the danger she was in. Her father was lucky he wasn’t shot.

Your Turn:  Wyatt Sheridan is having problems with his daughter. She wants more independence, but he isn’t ready to give it to her. How would you let a teenager become independent, but still safe?

Please join me again on Wednesday. I’ve invited Margaret to stop by and share why she wrote this story.