Friday, August 10, 2012

Mystery Ladies of Summer-Featuring Fabulous Female Mystery Novelists in July and August

Perilous Shadows 

          Nike Chillemi

Pioneer newspaperwoman Kiera Devane is on a mission to prove a woman can do a man's job, as she hunts a young coed's killer? Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye lost one love to a murderous fiend and his pulse races as he tries to protect Kiera from herself as much as from this killer.

Kiera was doted upon by loving parent, but they were killed when she was a girl and she was shipped off to live with a socialite aunt who had little time for her. In her aunt's house, she learned life could be cold and cruel. As a result, she grew up to be an independent and demanding professional woman.

Argus Nye, still bereft from the loss of his first love, can't understand why this female reporter is mesmerizing him. As she takes chances with her life trying to catch a killer, he's determined to protect her.

Interview with Nike:

1. You've led an American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) small critique group for a number of years. What have you learned from that experience?
I believe the way ACFW has set up their critique groups is genius. It's perhaps one of the best, if not the best large critique groups anywhere. I can't say enough about critique groups. In fact, I routinely urge authors to join a writers group of some kind where they can get feedback. This is especially true of newbie writers. Get into a group, submit your work. Get some other eyes on it. I've led an ACFW group for several years and it's one of the most rewarding things I've done. It's wonderful to see writers grow. It's fantastic when they query an agent about a work they've submitted to the group and the agent asks for a partial or the whole manuscript. I'm firmly committed to the critique group process. As a group leader, I try to encourage those in my group to find their voice and never let it go. Of course it goes without saying; no writer can take every suggestion made by the group. Nor should they. But if several members of the group make the same comment, it's something that ought to be looked at. It probably is a weakness in the work. I'm blessed with strong, serious writers in my group, and Virginia, you're one of them.

2. You're also active in several other groups. Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers is one. You've also been supportive of American Christian Fiction Authors, a new group begun by Shawna Williams. Tell us about that.

Well I think you can never have too many writers groups. The industry is huge. Groups spring up to address needs. Michelle Sutton began ECFL a few years back to encourage Christian writers who were penning what was then considered to be racy scenes. Now mind, these scenes were pale by general market standards and always involved a married couple. Still they rocked the Christian publishing world and writers who were creating these works needed a place to convene, set standards for themselves, etc. The big controversy now in Christian publishing is the use of "bad words." I believe ACFW recently gave a writing class on that subject. Shawna Williams set up American Christian Fiction Authors (ACFA) as a place for Christian authors who were square pegs trying to fit into a round CBA whole. They might be writing steamy novels, or Christian horror, etc. Right now the big controversy in Christian writing is the use of "bad language." I feel that I can use any word (or a modern variation) in my novels that's in the Bible. That's my standard.

Excerpt:  From Chapter 3

Argus walked Kiera out of the diner and took her elbow as her heels tapped down the cement steps. Her suit was austere, yet somehow she made it sizzle. He shifted his eyes away so as not to be caught staring, but not before taking a second look. "I'll walk you to your car."

"No, that's quite all right. I've been taking care of myself for a long time."

"Still, lass, I don't feel quite right."

"This is the Tastee Diner parking lot. It's well lit. What could happen?"

Argus rubbed his chin. "Oh all right, if you insist. I'll say good night here." He’d tried to be the gentleman, but she was skittish as a young filly.

"Trust me. I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself."

Fighting against an uneasy feeling in his gut, Argus walked to his car on the other side of the lot. Since Ada's death, he'd become overprotective toward women. Fishing in his pocket for his keys, he heard raised voices. One of them, Kiera's.

"Leave me alone. You cheated on me."

Argus dashed for Kiera's car, thinking he recognized the male voice, yet he couldn't quite place it.

"Give me another chance. You misunderstood. It meant nothing." Paul Gregorski, sportscaster at the station, had a hold of Kiera's arm.

A jolt like an electrical charge shot through Argus. "Let go of her if you know what's good for you."

Paul dropped the arm and turned to face Argus. "So, you bumped my show for your special report, and now you want my girl."

"My relationship with Miss Devane is purely professional." He would not allow the slightest insinuation.

Kiera squared her shoulders. "Look, Paul, I wish you well, but let's let bygones be bygones."

The sportscaster slanted his head toward Argus. "I don't want to discuss this in front of him."

"I'm not going anywhere unless Miss Devane asks me to leave."

Kiera pivoted away from them and pulled her car keys out of her purse. "I don't give a hoot what either of you do. I'm going home." She slid behind the wheel of the Pontiac, backed out of her spot, and gunned it out of the lot.

Argus watched her signal light flash a right. She made the turn and her taillights disappeared into the twilight. He laughed aloud.

Paul growled. "What's so funny?"

Argus shook his head and walked to his DeSoto, got in, and put the key in the ignition, but didn't turn it on. She'd never be mistaken for a Carmelite nun. Not in a million years. Blunt, not soft and feminine like his Ada had been. And where'd Kiera get that short Betty Boop hair-do? Not his style at all. No Sir. Where Ada was a sensitive and godly woman, this one was so hardboiled he couldn't imagine her on her knees praying. So, why was she so captivating?

Author Bio:

Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. BURNING HEARTS is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, the third in the series released in July, 2012. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning).

Purchase links:
Amazon (including Kindle).
Barnes and Noble (including Nook).


  1. You bring up some really worthwhile discussion points on both the helpfulness of critique groups and the need for a variety of groups to meet all writers' needs. I think it's great that more people are recognizing those needs and creating options. The internet is great for this. We're a diverse group, and it's no longer impossible to find a place that fits our individual niches. Great interview!

    1. I totally agree. Getting reliable feedback is essential to a writer’s growth. I’ve been fortunate to find some great critique partners. They are truly a blessing.

    2. Yes, great interview. As one writer who would prefer the world of writing inside my cave and staying there, I admire and respect the authors like Nike who actively promotes opportunities for both writers and readers to find Christian fiction that encourages and entertains in a wide variety. How small the Christian fiction world would be if we stuck to what it was twenty years ago. I loved the move to 'real' people in 'realistic' situations and now it's even 'unreal' (fantasy), yet the point is always to point readers to the grace and mercy of our Lord.

      All politics aside - Nike's Sancutary Point series is amazing!

  2. Thx ladies for your kind words. It's a pleasure to be here...among friends, I might add.

    I have a passion to help Christian writers who are slightly outside the box find readers. Sometimes the guidelines set down seem so stringent, and often arbitrary. There is a huge readership of Christians who can't connect to the more independent Christian writers. Many are only slightly outside the guidelines or don't have a publishing pedigree and so are ignored by Christian review sites. My passion is to create a community where Christians who are not reluctant to read ABA can find the more realistic Christian authors. Hope this all makes sense. I'm rambling a bit.