Ooh-la-la, What a Catch Dimitri Is

by Nike N. Chillemi

Of course, you always hope your hero is super appealing. In COURTING DANGER, I got half way through writing the book and wanted Dimitri to marry my daughter. Oh, oh, then I had a very high bar to meet, or he did for the rest of the novel.

Former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin, has been recently hired as a profiler by the Pelican Beach, Florida police department. When a young woman’s body is found on the beach at the same time a Pentagon weapons designer (who had been visiting the beach city) goes missing, the FBI gets involved. The consummate professional, Dimitri believes by working with the FBI on this case that’s getting media attention, he can expand his small Behavioral Analysis Unit. Not only is he not interested in a relationship, he’s not impressed by the manipulative, yet chic female FBI agent.

However, there’s something very appealing about Katerina “Kat” Andruko, the rookie detective who has been assigned to the case. She’s delightful in an authentic way. The only problem is he found the young woman’s body, and Kat has him as her prime suspect in the murder.

sand-768783_1280As Kat gets to know him, she realizes there’s no way this highly ethical man could have committed murder. She’s perplexed and drawn in by his intellect, professionalism, and old-world charm. Her problem with him is he seems to have lost his childhood faith, and faith is central to her life. Still, she has to admit, he’s got gorgeous blue eyes.

They both share a Slavic heritage. They even share more than that. As children both spent years in a Slavic country. Dimitri was born in Russia and lived there at the fall of the Soviet Union. His father was murdered there, and his mother escaped with him to America. As an adult, he still speaks with a faint Russian accent. After her parents were killed by a drunk driver in northeastern Florida, Kat was shipped off to an aunt and uncle she didn’t know in Ukraine. She spent two of her teenage years there. She confesses to Dimitri that she could easily imagine him wearing a smoking jacket, reading Dostoyevsky in the original Russian. In fact, she was shocked to discover he’s a former Army Ranger. She can’t imagine him on a forced march. However, it’s his Army training that saves her when the killer sets his sights on her.

COURTING DANGER has been called a “cozy thriller.” The storyline is driven by Kat’s and Dimitri’s intense desire to find the killer. Intertwined is a love story.

Click to Tweet: When a young woman’s body is found on the beach at the same time a Pentagon weapons designer (who had been visiting the beach city) goes missing…Courting Danger by Nike N. Chillemi #CozyThriller #Suspense

Nike N. Chillemi writes contemporary detective and/or suspense novels with a touch of wry humor, and there’s often a national security twist to them. She likes her bad guys really bad, her good guys smarter and better, and a touch of the comedic. Her newest endeavor is COURTING DANGER.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMFUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.


Click to Purchase Courting Danger on Amazon



Yes, you are at Hello, Thursday Morning! I hope you’ve enjoyed my guest post from Nike Chillemi. As one of those who worked on the critiques for this book, I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy clean suspense/thrillers.

Thanks for dropping in! See you next week.

Flying Time

by Sandra Ardoin

As I look at my calendar, I can’t believe 2017 is almost three-quarters gone. Where did the days disappear to? The weeks? The months? Why must I look back at the first half of the year and wonder why I’m not further along in completing the plans I’ve had since January?

At the beginning of each year, for my writing, I create a business plan. I come up with numbers I would like to see by the end of December for website followers, newsletter subscribers, and social media connections. I ponder possible marketing promotions and, most importantly, writing projects I’d like to complete. My plan gives me direction—it provides a guide that keeps me from staring at the computer with “Duh?” running through my brain. It’s something to consult when I’ve finished one project and am ready to start a new one.

Still, it’s odd how I can sit at my desk in the morning to begin work, then get so absorbed in all the non-writing tasks to be done that I suddenly find my day is over. The next thing I know the weekend arrives and I’m lamenting all the word count I didn’t achieve during the past week.

Do you find yourself overwhelmed by your to-do list, too, or wishing the day had thirty-six or forty-eight hours? Maybe the week should come with ten days instead of seven?

I suspect, no matter what you do for a living, even if it’s being an all-important, stay-at-home mom, you’ve probably had seasons when you’ve grown impatient to accomplish something and found time slipping away for one reason or another. Little things break into our moments to steal those intentions and wreck our plans. Distractions rise up like sea monsters to swallow our minutes and hours.

Guess what. I have no magical answer to recapturing lost time. Sad, but true.

I only know it’s possible that those distractions, those time stealers, can be a call to slow down and focus on something other than myself and my to-do list. They can be a reminder to pay attention to my surroundings and those who inhabit my little world, like friends and family.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be working hard when someone pops into my office to talk. I want to ask, “Can’t this wait?” I don’t. Instead, I stop what I’m doing. That doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated and grumpy when my work is interrupted. I fight releasing a rude huff. But relationships are important. I never know how much longer I’ll be able to talk to that person. Because, as Proverbs 27:1 says, I don’t know “what a day may bring forth.”

Sometimes, distractions are a way to discover I’m on the wrong track. Maybe what I’m working on is the wrong project at the wrong time and adjustments must be made. That’s okay, as long as I don’t confuse being led to the right project with an inability to focus that carries me down to-do rabbit trails.

There are days when things crop up that I can’t ignore—like a recent emergency dental appointment. Ick! And, sometimes, distractions are just that—intrusions into what I need to accomplish.

I only know the days, the months, and the years rest in God’s control. So, the next time I think I’ve accomplished nothing when it comes to whittling down my to-do list, I need to remember I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, and God can take that “nothing” and turn it into something I’d never planned.

Are you the type who can roll with the punches, or are you like me and get clobbered by flying time?

(Click to Tweet) Distractions rise up like sea monsters to swallow our minutes and hours. #FlyingTime .@SandraArdoin

Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. She’s the author of the heartwarming novella, The Yuletide Angel and the award-winning novel, A Reluctant Melody. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out. Visit her at http://www.sandraardoin.comSubscribe to receive updates and specials.

Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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4 Hacks to Help Writers Deal with Distractions

Contributed by Kristen Hogrefe

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” I’ll never forget this advice from my former English professor. Her words applied so well both to life and writing projects—then and now.

After all, life is full of distractions. As I type, my kitten is batting my feet and demanding to be fed. This interruption leads me to life hack #1 for dealing with distractions.

Pluck the Low-Hanging Fruit.

Have you heard the low-hanging-fruit metaphor before? Some distractions are unavoidable. The trash needs to go out. The kitten needs to be fed. If you have a family, your must-do list is even longer than mine.

There are just some tasks we can’t avoid in a day. Many are great things that we love doing, and others are chores we must do with love.

Complete those tasks before sitting down to write. They are the “low-hanging fruit” you can check off your list, and unless you do, they will nag your brain and zap your creativity.

Put Time Limits on Social Media

Social media can be a black hole. One moment, we sign in to Facebook, and half an hour later, we haven’t even posted what we planned to say.

As writers, most of us can’t avoid social media. It’s how we connect with our friends, readers, and colleagues. However, if we try to write with our inbox open, we’re going to get nowhere. (If your phone pings every time you receive emails or messages, you’ll need to hide it, too.)

Here’s some rule-of-thumb advice:

  • Only log on to social media if you have a plan. Be prepared to post, give yourself a time limit to browse others’ posts, and then get off.
  • Don’t let social media control you. If you’re writing and remember something you need to do online, write it on a notepad or sticky note and get back to it later.

Practice Saying No

I once worked for a business where the motto was, “Yes, we can!” While that’s a great slogan for customer service, it’s a death wish if you want to be serious about your writing.

Saying no is hard for some of us, because we don’t like to disappoint people. However, we’ll do ourselves and others a disservice if we don’t learn to pick and choose our commitments.

Before saying yes to one more thing, ask yourself:

  • Does this choice line up with my goals?
  • Is this task the best use of my time?
  • Am I the right person for this commitment, or is someone else?

Believe it or not, saying no can be liberating and allows us to say yes to more meaningful commitments.

Put Your Hand to the Plow, and Don’t Look Back

Luke 9:57-62 recounts three people who talk about following Jesus. One makes an excuse about something he needs to do first, and Jesus warns the other two about checking their priorities.

Jesus tells the last one, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62 ESV).

Although this account primarily speaks to our need to follow the Lord, regardless of the cost, I think it also holds an application for how we steward the gifts and responsibilities God gives us.

If God has called us to write—and I believe He has—then every time we let distractions steal our focus, we’re “looking back.”

You’ve made the commitment to write. I have, too. When you have to decide how best to use your time, remember: the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Author Kristen Hogrefe

Kristen Hogrefe is an author of young adult fiction novels. She teaches language arts for Alpha Omega Academy and serves as a mentor for Word Weavers International. A lifelong Florida resident, she craves sunshine, preferably paired with coffee and a good book.

Her new release, The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press), is the first book in her YA dystopian trilogy The Rogues. It’s a dystopia of a different kind—one where characters look backward to find wisdom to move forward.

Look her up at www.KristenHogrefe.com where she challenges young adults and the young at heart to think truthfully and live daringly.

Twitter: @kjhogrefe
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristenhogrefe.author/ 
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kristen-Hogrefe/

The Revisionary

The Revisionary by Kristen Hogrefe

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she?

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in her quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might not be the real villain.

Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.