Posted in Authors

Author Fair at St. Stephens Church

Jan and Rick Mosebach at the St. Stephens raffle and information table.

The first church author fair at St. Stephens Lutheran Church in Hicksville took place on Saturday, May 12. It featured nine local authors, raffles, a church table with information and giveaways, and refreshments. The raffle prizes were donated by the authors. The money raised through the ticket sales were used as a fundraiser for the Hicksville Boys and Girls Club. Throughout the afternoon, each author spoke about their writing and autographed books at their table. The authors who participated wrote a variety of genres from mystery to romance to children’s books and poetry.

Rick Mosebach, Inreach/Outreach Director opening the fair.
Author Debbie De Louise at her table

Since I was the one who suggested an author fair for St. Stephens, I opened the program after Rick Mosebach, the director of Inreach/Outreach ministry, gave a few words about the church and their upcoming events. I introduced myself as a librarian at the Hicksville Public Library and the author of the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series and a recent standalone mystery. I read the blurbs to the first book of my series, A Stone’s Throw, and then the blurb and prologue of my new mystery, Reason to Die.

Author Michael Di Leo

Mike Di Leo spoke next and read an excerpt from his historical novel, Images of Broken Light, taking place in 1980 during the time of John Lennon’s murder.

Karen Harter

Karen Harter, a children’s author from Manhasset, spoke about the first book in her series, Jeremiah Strout and the Curse of the Golden Harp and shared some excerpts from the book before a short break that allowed the audience to chat with the authors, purchase autographed books, and have refreshments.

JoAnn Krapp

After the break, JoAnn Krapp, a School Library Media Specialist and children’s author, spoke about her writing and books.

Jeannie Moon

Jeannie Moon, a high school librarian, romance author, and member of the Romance Writers of America spoke about her books published by Penguin Random House and Tule Publishing and read an excerpt from them.

Russ Moran

Russ Moran was the last speaker before the second break. Russ, a member of the Long Island Authors Group along with a few other authors at the event including myself, spoke about his Time Magnet time travel series and other books. He mentioned how characters can become “real” to authors and develop their own identities.

Michael O’Keefe

After another short break, Mike O’Keefe, a retired NYPD detective, read excerpts from his crime novel, Shot to Pieces

Cliff Bleidner

The next presentation was given by Cliff Bleidner, Coordinator of the Performance Poets Association, who was fit into the program last minute after one of the authors cancelled due to an emergency. Cliff read some of his poetry to the audience and spoke about his writing. He encouraged audience members who had an interest in writing to not let their fears stop them.

Elaine Whitehouse

Last but not least, Elaine Whitehouse, a journalist and former editor of the Fire Island Tide and the Fire Island News who currently lives in Sayville, read an excerpt from her historical novel, Hart’s Tavern.

After the speakers, the raffle winners were announced. Each author who donated an autographed copy of their books drew a ticket. The largest prize was a gift basket of books donated by Meara Platt, an author who couldn’t attend the event. Janet Muller, the winner of that prize, also won a copy of my new mystery.

The fair raised $221 for the Hicksville Boys and Girls Club and was a nice opportunity for local authors to share their work with readers. St. Stephens hopes to make this an annual event.

Debbie De Louise with Janet Muller, winner of two raffle prizes at the fair.

 

Posted in A Stone's Throw, Authors, Books, Characters, Romantic Suspense

Romantic Suspense vs. Mystery

gothic I consider my upcoming book, “A Stone’s Throw,” a romantic suspense novel, but it contains a mystery, so why isn’t it classified as one? There are many types of mysteries. Most people are familiar with the Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie detective mysteries or, more currently, the crime solving amateur sleuths featured in Sue Grafton or Janet Evanovich’s books. “A Stone’s Throw” features two detectives, the nasty and arrogant, Ron Ramsay and the nice cop, Michael Faraday. Neither of them are very useful in solving the mystery but that is not why “A Stone’s Throw” is romantic suspense. Would you classify a Mary Higgins Clark novel as a mystery? What about a Nora Roberts book? Compare them to her JD Robb series  of books which are mysteries (but include romance, too).

The Romance Writer’s of America define romantic suspense as a subgenre or romance in which “suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.”

When I was a young girl in the 1970’s, my older brother gave me my favorite Christmas gift. It was the novel, “Winter People” by Phyllis Whitney. Once I read that book, I was hooked. I gobbled up everything Whitney wrote and then began reading similar authors – Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, and others. I was transported to faraway places. I fell in love along with the main character with the mysterious and attractive stranger who might or might not be a killer. These books, sometimes referred to as gothic novels, were very popular at the time. They were also a form of romantic suspense. Daphne Du Maurier was one of the master writers of this genre. All these authors were my teachers and mentors in writing because I was learning their style as I absorbed their words.

The Wikipedia defines romantic suspense as “a blend of romance and mystery.” According to the Wikipedia, “This blend of the romance and mystery was perfected by Mary Stewart, who wrote ten romantic suspense novels between 1955 and 1967. Stewart was one of the first to seamlessly combine the two genres, maintaining a full mystery while focusing on the courtship between two people. In her novels, the process of solving the mystery “helps to illuminate” the hero’s personality, helping the heroine to fall in love with him.”

As I matured, I progressed to other authors and sampled many genres. As a librarian, I had the advantage of access to a wide variety of reading material. However, I still had a preference for mysteries that featured a heroine thrust into danger who was saavy enough to save herself and find love in the process. I began reading Nora Roberts, Mary Higgins Clark, and others. I also realized that romantic suspense authors are not exclusively female and neither are the protagonists or main characters of these novels always women.  The prolific James Patterson writes novels that might be considered romantic suspense in addition to his mystery series.

So how would you define romantic suspense? Is it mystery or romance? It’s actually both and that’s why it’s such a popular form of writing and reading.