Sunday Dinner with the authors of Holiday Menace

Sunday Dinner

For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited the authors of Holiday Menace, a romantic suspense collection. Join Jerusha Agen, Mary Alford, Lori Altebaumer, Danielle Grandinetti, Sarah Hamaker, Kendall Hoxsey, Karen Kirst, Pat O’Brien, Hope Welborn, and Terri Weldon on a dangerous Christmastime journey of mystery, suspense, romance, and faith.

Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!

Can you tell us about the Holiday Menace collection?

Will Christmas be merry and bright? Lives are in danger when menacing pressures threaten to derail Christmas in this heart-pounding suspense—plus a little romance—collection of 10 brand-new novellas from some of the genre’s most popular Christian romantic suspense authors!

Here is more about each story …

Midnight Clear by Jerusha Agen

Her worst fear is another Christmas alone. Until she isn’t alone.

What does a day in the life of one of your characters look like?

A day in the life of Marion Ainsley is spent with furry animals. Dogs, to be specific. Lots of them. As the owner of the Forever Home shelter and rehabilitation center for dogs, Marion spends much of her time caring for all of her rescued residents. Marion is also a trainer who believes that pain-free, positive training can transform even abused and so-called un-adoptable dogs into companions for the right people. In between caring for the shelter dogs’ basic needs, Marion devotes time to train and work with all the dogs to help them heal and become highly adoptable. She also ends many of her days with trips into the nearby Twin Cities where she searches for homeless or lost dogs that she rescues and takes to Forever Home.

Jerusha Agen imagines danger around every corner but knows God is there, too. So naturally, she writes romantic suspense infused with the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. Find her online at jerushaagen.com/books.

Christmas in the Crosshairs by Mary Alford

This Christmas, Hailey Lansing is caught in the crosshairs of a deadly terrorist plot and must turn to the man who broke her heart to save her life. CIA Scorpion Team Officer Gray Beaumont never expected a second chance with Hailey, but he’ll risk everything to bring them through the threat to rebuild the love he once shattered.

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

Christmas in the Crosshairs starts out in Washington D.C., the hub of national security in my opinion.

The story opens when an unexpected snowstorm hits the city a few days before Christmas. I love the contrast between the pureness represented by the snow and the dangerous terrorist coming after Hailey and Gray.

Mary Alford loves to give her readers the unexpected. Find her online at MaryAlford.net.

Silenced Night by Lori Altebaumer

No one thinks of murder on Christmas Eve. Now Everleigh Greene has seen too much and someone wants to wish her a silenced night.

What does a day in the life of one of your characters look like?

A day in the life of Everleigh Greene looks about as orderly and structured as she can possibly make it. Having grown up under the care of an eccentric grandmother with a wandering soul. Everleigh loves the consistency of her accounting job. And at the end of the day she comes home to her quiet neighborhood where she frequently spends the evening watching baking shows while suppressing her real dream of owning a bakery. The murder next door disrupts both her love of baking, her quiet neighborhood, and since the suspect is the son of one of her firms largest clients, her job.

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

I chose a fictional town loosely based on the one I live in. I wanted to create the small town feel, but also needed some more city type services to be somewhat available.

Lori Altebaumer is an award winning author who specializes in writing romantic suspense set in Texas. Find her online at lorialtebaumer.com.

Escape with the Prodigal by Danielle Grandinetti

Only a Christmas miracle will save an unwed mother and the lumberjack protecting her. A holiday romance filled with danger, redemption, and sacrifice.

What does a day in the life of one of your characters look like?

On a normal day, working in a lumber camp work in northern Wisconsin means making the most of the daylight. Sawing/felling trees, leveraging them onto sleighs, and then using an ice-road to take them to the train.

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

At the point my story takes place (1930), the Wisconsin lumber industry has nearly disappeared with the trees, the economy is collapsing, and it all adds to the desperation that fuels the story’s danger.

What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?

I wish I could have delved more into the workings of a lumber camp, but with my characters needing to escape, they weren’t in camp all that long.

Danielle Grandinetti is an inspirational romance author fueled by tea and books, and the occasional nature walk. Find her online right here at daniellegrandinetti.com.

Christmas Cold Case by Sarah Hamaker

All she wants for Christmas is to solve the decades-old murder of her parents—and stay alive.

What does a day in the life of one of your characters look like?

My hero, David Keener, is a small-town lawyer, who might start his day helping an entrepreneur with setting up a business, update a will for a local apple orchard owner, or help a farmer plan his retirement. He would definitely stop by multiple times to get coffee from The Beanery, which roasts its own beans, and he’ll probably have lunch at the Pink Pig (especially on Tuesdays for the BBQ platter special). Then he’d check on a few of the town’s elderly residents before walking back to his house.

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

Twin Oaks, Virginia, a fictitious town in the Shenandoah Valley. I picked that area because it’s beautiful country and I wanted a small town nestled in the foothills of the mountains.

What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?

I touch on the continued tensions of old plantation families reconciling their ancestors’ past affiliation with slavery, still a point of contention in the South. I wanted to include more info about that but given the short word count of a novella, had to merely brush the surface.

An award-winning author of inspirational romantic suspense, Sarah Hamaker loves writing books “where the hero and heroine fall in love while running for their lives.” She’s an AWSA certified writer and speaker coach and podcaster of “The Romantic Side of Suspense.” Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, a first-grader foster child and three cats. Find her online at sarahhamakerfiction.com.

An Imminent Christmas Threat by Kendall Hoxsey

Claiming a family legacy is not for the faint of heart especially during the holidays.

What does a day in the life of one of your characters look like?

Doing winemaking tasks at the winery or viticulture tasks in the vineyard- Vineyards and winemaking are very cyclical tasks. It all depends upon the season!

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

Potter Valley, California- I wanted to write about another region in Northern California that also grows grapes but doesn’t have the same infamy as Napa Valley.

Kendall Hoxsey loves life in the magical Napa Valley with her husband, two children, two frenchies and extended family. As a fifth-generation grape grower, Kendall manages the family vineyards by day and tries to find time to write at night. Find her online at authorkendallhoxsey.com.

Smoky Mountain Rescue by Karen Kirst

Jasper’s brother is missing, and the one person who can identify his abductor is the very woman he promised to stay away from. Can Jasper and Natalie overcome their differences and bring Nick home for Christmas?

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I’m a native East Tennessean and love the Smoky Mountains.

Karen Kirst is the best selling author of more than 25 Christian romantic suspense and historical romance books. Find her online at karenkirst.com.

Deadly School Break by Pat O’Brien

An art teacher is drawn into a deadly trap with a man she once trusted.

What does a day in the life of one of your characters look like?

Owns F.A.S.T.–Full Armor Security Team (with K-9 officers) Works security for schools and private businesses; sometimes aids in undercover work with Brooklyn, N.Y. police departments.

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

Rush Creek, N.Y.–small town in upstate N.Y. Branch of an eastern European drug cartel & its leader have moved upstate from N.Y. city. I’ve lived in both areas, and as a teacher, I’ve seen the dangers of drugs and influence on young people.

What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?

Not research, but experience. A student of mine, after taking drugs and upon the loss of his mother to cancer, left my room, (middle school–8th gr,) walked to a nearby hotel and went up to the seventh floor. Somehow, he got the window open and jumped from the ledge, seven stories up.

Pat O’Brien loves the Lord and His gifts to bless others. Find her online at: hopeinspiredsuspense.blogspot.com.

Hidden by Hope Welborn

Trapped by a relentless Christmas snowstorm, an unknown threat shadows her every move. To survive, she must rely on the one man she swore never to trust again.

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

Hidden takes place in a fictional town called Gadden Valley, Georgia. It is an amalgam of the small towns of Northeast Georgia, where I grew up. My first series (as yet unpublished) takes place there, and I thought it would be fun to set this novella there as well. It’s the perfect location for the mountain cabin where my hero and heroine get trapped in a Christmas snowstorm.

Award-winning author Hope Welborn writes spine-tingling suspense, sprinkled with romance, and saturated with faith. Find her online at hopewelborn.com.

Murdered by Christmas by Terri Weldon

A serial killer has targeted Wynter Blakely and the only man who can protect her is her first love, Detective Max Holloway. Can they set aside the past long enough to keep Wynter from being Murdered by Christmas?

In what city is your story set and why did you choose to set your novella there?

The fictitious city of Forest Green Colorado. I decided to have the story take place in a city known for its winter sports. All the ski resorts in Colorado immediately popped into my mind. But I enjoy creating my own towns, so I came up with Forest Green.

Terri Weldon is a full-time writer who loves Jesus and volunteers as her church librarian so she can introduce people to Christian Fiction. Find her online at terriweldon.com.


The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Thank you for joining us today!

Holiday Menace releases on October 4 on Kindle and is on preorder sale for only 99 cents! Not only will the price go up on Release Day, the collection will just be available this Christmas season, so grab your copy now!

Over Sunday Dinner next week romance author Mary Pat Johns will be joining us. See you then!



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