Meet Micah Bender from Crime Scene Witness by Dana R. Lynn

Meet Micah Bender from Crime Scene Witness by Dana R. Lynn

I’ve enjoyed several Love Inspired Suspense authors over the years (I’ve really only read a handful), but I’ve yet to read Dana’s books. That’s why I’m so excited to get to meet Micah Bender from Crime Scene Witness. Join me in finding out who he is, what the story is about, and what danger lurks in the shadows. First, about the story:

Crime Scene Witness by Dana R. Lynn

Finding a safe haven

is the only way to stay alive

When crime scene cleaner Lissa Page discovers a clue at a murder site, she’s attacked and becomes the killer’s new target. Now Deputy US Marshal Micah Bender must protect the single mother from becoming another victim. But with threats coming from every direction, Micah needs to hide Lissa—and the Amish community he left behind might be the answer to keeping his witness safe.

Purchase Links: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Now for our interview with Micah.

CC: Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?

MB: Good morning. My name is Micah. I’m the hero of this story, though sometimes I don’t feel too hero-like, and that’s the truth. I was Amish once, a long time ago, but I’m a Deputy US Marshal now. I don’t have time for romance or any of that emotional baggage. Only, I’m protecting this woman, Lissa, and her little girl. Cutest kid I ever saw. Lissa’s getting under my skin, too. But I know it can’t go anywhere. Being a marshal is my life. Protecting people. And trying to forgive myself for past failures.

CC: That is a hard place to be when a good woman walks into your life. So is that your biggest fear–falling in love?

MB: What I dread is the thought of someone I love paying for my mistakes. Twice in my life, I’ve failed to protect someone close to me. One of them died. The other was lost for more than 20 years. I figure if I keep my focus 100 percent on my job and don’t let myself get too close, I’ll see the danger before it strikes. And no one will suffer because of my failure.

CC: Oh honey, you can’t hold onto guilt like that. But I suppose that is something you are going to have to learn on your own. Who is your favorite person to deal with during the course of Crime Scene Witness?

MB: Little Shelby is a hoot. She’s about as adorable as a kid can get. And sassy. Like her mama. Except I’m keeping my distance from her mother. But Shelby? She sent me one smile, and I couldn’t resist her. If I were ever to have a daughter, well, no. That’s never going to happen. Forget I said anything.

CC: Kids do have a knack for worming their way into our hearts. So you’ve told us a little bit about Shelby, but what we all really want to know is who is this Lissa, and how would you describe her?

MB: Alyssa Page. Everyone calls her Lissa. She’s sweet and sassy. And brave. I know she’s scared. After all, she’s witnessed her best friend’s murder scene, has lost most of her family, and has sacrificed so much to be a good mother. On top of that, someone is out to kill her. But she’s not letting it break her spirit. I can’t help but admire her grit.

CC: She does sound like a special woman. You mentioned she’s lost most of her family, but what about you and your family? Do you enjoy family gatherings?

MB: This is complicated. Yeah, I enjoy family gatherings. I still feel awkward being a deputy marshal in an Amish home, but my parents never say anything to make me feel that way. They are just tickled to have me back in their lives. And the food! No one cooks like my Mamm. She’s amazing. I’m getting hungry thinking about it. Of course, there is still some sorrow. No one has seen my brother Isaiah in more than fifteen years. I keep praying. I know the others do, too. My parents don’t talk about him. It’s too painful.

CC: That is really hard to cope with. I suspect I know your answer to my next question. If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?

MB: It would be a tie. If I weren’t so broken, my first wish would be that I could allow myself to fall for someone like Lissa and have a family of my own. Of course, that’s not something I see happening anytime soon. My second wish would be to see my brother Isaiah again. Man, I miss him so much. I can’t even talk about him, the pain is too raw, even after all this time. We were close once.

CC: Broken family relationships can be so incredibly hard. I look forward to reading the story to find out if you get any closure and if maybe a family is in store for your future.

Readers, if you like quick and suspenseful reads, then you need to check out Crime Scene Witness, now available online and sometimes at Walmart.

About Dana R. Lynn:

Dana R. Lynn is a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author who believes in the power of God to touch people through stories. She met her husband at a wedding in Pennsylvania and told her parents she had met her future husband. Nineteen months later, they were married. Today, they live in rural Pennsylvania and are entering the world of empty nesters. She is a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing by day and writes stories of romance and danger at night. Dana is an avid reader, loves cats and thinks chocolate should be a food group. Readers can contact her or sign up to receive her monthly newsletter at

Connect with Dana: Website  |  Newsletter  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  BookBub

Readers, what Love Inspired stories have you read before?


Author Interview: Deb Kastner

Author Interview: Deb Kastner

The book world is full of interesting people, and authors tend to be their own breed. That’s why I enjoy author interviews. It gives me a chance to meet other authors who have characters and stories living in their heads and then introduce them to the readers who like to read about those stories and characters. This week I get the honor of introducing to you Love Inspired author, Deb Kastner.

Publishers Weekly Bestselling, award-winning author of over 50 novels and two million books in print, Deb Kastner enjoys writing contemporary inspirational and sweet western stories set in small communities, often including animals as major secondary characters. Deb lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband, her puppers Gabby and Sadie, and two mischievous bonded brothers, black tuxedo cats Hype and Dab. She recently went through what she terms her midlife crisis and adopted her very first ever real live horse whose name is sweet Moscato. She is blessed with three adult daughters and two grandchildren with #3 on the way. Her favorite hobby is spoiling her grandchildren, but she also enjoys reading, watching movies, listening to music (The Texas Tenors and The High Kings are her favs), singing in the church choir and exploring the Rocky Mountains on horseback.

You can connect with her through:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  BookBub  



Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Deb with rapid-fire.


CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

DK: Dark Chocolate for sure. The darker, the better.

CC: Print or E-book?

DK: Yes. I love books. All books. The smell of print books, the convenience of eBooks and being able to clean, declutter or play a computer game while I’m listening to an audiobook.

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

DK: Yes. I’ve been a dog person all my life and currently live with my elderly pit bull/shepherd mix Sadie, my beloved miniature schnauzer Gabriella Peaches (Gabby) and my granddaughter’s emotional support dog Oreo, who literally has the body of a Boston terrier and the small apple head of a chihuahua. Two years ago added a pair of bonded tuxedo cat brothers who keep the house lively. I also had a midlife crisis and adopted a wonderful horse named Moscato.

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

DK: Night owl for sure. I’m trying to back it up, but the truth is I go to bed at 2 AM and wake up at 10 in the morning.

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

DK: I live in Colorado, so I have to say Fall, when the colors change and it gets cooler.

Now for a couple of fun personal questions:

How can we pray for you?

DK: My husband had a double stroke six years ago and continues to fight its effects, which appear to be getting worse. My granddaughter has emotional needs which need to be met and I pray she feels God’s presence in her life. Right now she is really floundering. And for me, that I can be a caregiver for everyone and also the sole breadwinner.

CC: Oh, Deb! So many hugs. I’m a caregiver myself, and just caring for one person is a challenge, but you have SOOOO MUCH to handle. You can be guaranteed those prayers. May you feel God’s strength, peace, encouragement, and provision as you move through each day.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

DK: I cling to John 6:53-58. Jesus is the true bread Who feeds us and gives us drink. Without that I wouldn’t be able to continue fighting through life when the bad times come and rejoice through it all.

“Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats[s] my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” (NABRE)

CC: It is so comforting to have the reassurance from Him. Life as a caregiver is never dull or easy.

What are you reading right now?

DK: Psychological thrillers, as I can’t read contemporary Christian romances when I’m writing them.

CC: You sure dive right into the other spectrum! LOL But I completely understand not being able to read in the genre you write while writing your story.

What do you like to do when you aren’t reading or writing?

DK: I don’t get out to see my beautiful Arabian Moscato nearly as often as I’d like because he’s an hour and a half away at my sister’s farm. But whenever I can find an afternoon, I’m out there loving on him..

CC: There is just something peaceful and comforting about spending time with horses especially. I’m glad you get your time with him when you can.

What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey?

DK: Working through various family issues that always seem to pop up. I’d like to say I just shut my office door and write through them, but that doesn’t happen. I’m too much of a wife/Mom/Granny to ignore my family’s needs.

CC: Hugs. I so understand that. It really slows the writing process, but family is always the greater calling.

Let’s talk about your newest release, A Reason to Stay (Rocky Mountain Family #5) (K9 Companions #9).

Caring for a little boy… Brings him more than he ever imagined Tied down with family and work responsibilities, Sharpe Winslow has always wondered about the world outside his small Colorado town. When newcomer Emma Fitzpatrick finds herself unsure about caring for the brother she never knew about, Sharpe and his rescue pup, Baloo, step in and take the boy under their wing. Sharpe knows he shouldn’t get close to Emma or Aidan. But maybe they’ll give him a reason to stay…

Find all the available purchase links by visiting

CC: Who was the most challenging character to create?

DK: Sharpe was difficult because, like his name, he’s very edgy. It’s difficult to write a character who lives right on the edge without having him fall too far and be downright mean. I want readers to empathize with him and his inability to have the life he wants.

CC: That can definitely be a difficult balance to maintain, but those characters need to exist. We live with Sharpes in our lives, and it’s always good to see another side of them.

Which character was the most fun to create?

DK: As always, the service dogs in the stories win out. I enjoyed writing the boy Aidan and how therapy dog and Border collie, Baloo, changes his life.

CC: Dogs make such a difference in everyone’s lives, and therapy dogs provide such a needed service that cannot be fulfilled any other way.

How did this story affect you as you wrote it? Did God teach you anything through the writing?
DK: I have to admit I sometimes feel tied down by my responsibilities and feel as if God has given me too much, even though I cling to the verse that states God will never give me more than I can handle. I learned with Sharpe that maybe this is exactly where I’m supposed to be and I don’t have to “get away” in order to find joy and peace in my life.
CC: I have been recently working through a similar season in my caregiving life, so boy does that hit home for me. Again, lots of hugs!
Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot?

DK: I’ve actually made a logo with my miniature schnauzer Gabby front and center and my tag line “Dare to Dream.”

CC: That is so cute and appropriate for all the dog characters you have in your stories.

Thanks for getting to know Deb Kastner with me. Don’t forget to check out her book, A Reason to Stay, and answer the question below to let us know what would be YOUR mascot. 

Author Interview: Virginia Vaughan

Author Interview: Virginia Vaughan

I always enjoy introducing other authors to my readers, and today is no exception. Virginia is a new author to me, even though she’s published 16 books with Love Inspired. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome.

Virginia Vaughan is a multi-published author of inspirational romantic suspense. Blessed to come from a large, southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love of writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger. Her sixteenth novel with Love Inspired Suspense, TEXAS KILLER CONNECTION, is now available.

Connect with her through:

Website  |  Facebook   |  Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Newsletter


Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Virginia with rapid-fire.


CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

VV: Definitely Milk Chocolate.

CC: Print or E-book?

VV: I love the convenience of E-books but there is nothing like holding a real book in my hand.

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

VV: I love both cats and dogs, but I do have a soft spot for rescue dogs.

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

VV: Definitely a night owl. I do my best work late into the evening when the house is quiet.

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

VV: Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather, boots, and football season! .

Now for a couple of fun personal questions:

CC: What is your favorite Bible verse?

VV: My go-to verse is Jeremiah 29:11. In my darkest days, this verse gives me hope that God has something planned for my life that is better than anything I can see.

CC: Amen. And I love how that promise is given with the knowledge that the Israelites are getting ready to walk some pretty dark days.

CC: What are you reading right now?

VV:Right now, I’m re-reading Patricia Bradley’s Natchez Trace Park Rangers series since I’m working on my own story featuring a Natchez Trace Park Ranger.

CC: Oh that is fun. I try to read books with similar settings to mine while writing as well. 

CC: What do you like to do when you aren’t reading or writing?

VV: Lately, my free time has been spent babysitting my grandbaby, Izzy, when they need me and it is so hard to get back to work when all I want to do is love on her.

CC: Congratulations on the grandbaby!!! Baby snuggles are the best and definitely hard to break away from.

CC: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

VV: I write out of order as I’m writing. Sometimes, I can be working on a scene and not even know where in the story it takes place. After my first draft, I go back and put all the pieces together into a coherent story. It’s a crazy way to write but it works for me.

CC: That is a neat quirk that I only dip into when stumped. I can’t believe you can write an entire book that way! 

CC: What is your writing kryptonite?

VV: Time is my greatest obstacle. I’m raising kids, homeschooling, and a caregiver for my mom so I have to be intentional with protecting my writing time.

CC: I’m a caregiver too and that can definitely be a huge challenge, especially on top of raising kids.

CC: What does your writing schedule look like?

VV: I’m not a great multi-tasker so when I’m writing a story, I tend to focus on getting words down as fast as possible.

CC: I am so similar. I think you and I need to do a little more chatting after this is over.

Let’s talk about your release, Texas Killer Connection.

To catch a killer

they’ll need to find the evidence.

When the investigation into her look-alike cousin’s death stalls, former army intelligence officer Brooke Moore arrives in Texas searching for justice—and is thrust into the middle of a deadly conspiracy. Now she must turn to her cousin’s ex, FBI agent Colby Avery, for help. But with every clue leading them deeper into danger, they must uncover the truth…before they are buried with it.

CC: Which character was the most challenging to create?

VV: My hero, FBI Agent Colby Avery, was a difficult character to get to know. I’d gotten to know his siblings well in the previous books in the series, but Colby was always kind of stand-offish to me in the previous stories. So getting into his character in this book was almost like starting from scratch with a new character.

CC:Those silent stubborn types can really give us authors a run for our money to be sure!

What was some of your favorite research you discovered while preparing for this book?

VV: One of the scenes in TEXAS KILLER CONNECTION involved a bomb threat in a hospital. It was interesting learning about the different security codes facilities use to indicate trouble.

CC: My brother works in a children’s hospital and we had a discussion once about some of those topics. It really is fascinating how prepared they really are for such scenarios.

If you could be any of your characters, which one would it be?

VV: I loved my heroine, Brooke, and the way she was able to take care of herself. She’s strong, independent, and not afraid to take risks for those she cared about.

She sounds like an amazing heroine, and I can’t wait to get to know her more soon.

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

VV: As a huge superhero fan, I’ve thought about this question a lot. My superpower would be to be able to fly or transport myself from place to place at will. No more driving for me! LOL

CC: Oh I so feel you on that one! My second job is an unpaid chauffeur. LOL

Readers, you can purchase Virginia Vaughan’s books at Amazon or at Harlequin’s website.

Reader question:

If you could pick a superpower what would it be?

Last Chance Wife by Janette Foreman

Last Chance Wife by Janette Foreman

Last Chance Wife by Janette Foreman

I don’t know if you have heard the news, but Love Inspired is bringing back their Historical line for a limited time. I didn’t even know the line existed until after they’d already closed it, so with the announcement of the new line, I decided to read a dozen or so first chapters and pick out which story grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. Janette Foreman’s story was exactly that!

This was such a fun twist on mail-order brides and love letters. Winifred is a disgruntled mail-order bride ready to admit defeat and return home, however, first she must earn her way back home. Ewan begrudgingly puts an anonymous ad out for a mail-order bride–and his cut and dry expectations flare Winifred’s frustration with men to new heights. She picks up a pen and immediately writes to “Business Man” and signs it “Thoroughly Disgruntled,” never expecting to actually send the letter. Of course, it gets sent, and I have to say, I love the results.

Last Chance Wife is a story that will have you giggling, grinning, and turning the pages all night long.

Genre: Historical Romance, Mining Camp, 1878

Plot Overview:

Her Secret Suitor

When six-time mail-order bride Winifred Sattler is stranded in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, she’s grateful to find a temporary position at Mr. Ewan Burke’s business until she can return home. Ewan is handsome, but stuffy and serious—her complete opposite. Unlike her new anonymous correspondent, Mr. Businessman, who appreciates her bubbly optimism.

To keep his mining company afloat, Ewan can’t be distracted by Winifred’s vivacious beauty. He needs a no-nonsense wife. Someone like Miss Thoroughly Disgruntled, the only respondent to his recent ad with whom he truly connected. In person, Winifred and Ewan don’t get along, but in their letters they’re falling in love. Will they discover a perfect match in each other?

What I loved: I loved the letters the most! It was so fun seeing them interact in person and then through the written word. It truly made my heart swoon.

Favorite Character and Why: Although Ewan appears to be a stiff, stand-offish person on the outside, he proved to be a multi-layered hero who steals your breath with his generous heart.

Who would like this? I’d recommend it to anyone who loves sweet romances with heroes who are generous on the inside but appear rigid on the outside, and heroines who are independent and capable but not perfect.

Rating and Why: Five Stars. It was a fun, quick read with a unique twist on letter writing and mail-order brides.

PURCHASE LINKS     Barnes and Noble    Walmart

The Unlikely Wife by Debra Ullrick


The Unlikely Wife

by Debra Ullrick


Genre: Christian Historical Fiction, Idaho Territory, 1885

Overview of Plot:

Michael Bowen expected a refined lady when he agreed to marry Selina by proxy. Everything in her letters suggested she would be, but when Selina steps off the train, he realizes the woman he thought he loved was a fantasy. Dressed in trousers, poor grammar, and unable to read or write, Selina is far from the woman he pictured as his wife.

Michael is everything she dreamed of, but when she discovers her best friend Aimee lied in the letters she wrote for Selina, her hopes for a love-filled marriage dies. She isn’t willing to change who she is but neither is she willing to break her vows.

Together they must learn to accept one another for who they are and to find love runs deeper than fantasies.

Favorite Character and Why:

I loved Selina. She is a Kentucky girl (like me) and had some ways about her that just didn’t make sense to her new family out west. (I have family in Idaho, too, so I could relate.) The challenges she faces and the hopes she have resonate with every woman I know. Not to mention she was just plain funny.

What I liked:

I loved how this wasn’t your typical mail-order bride story, yet it was. Michael had to overcome prejudices and learn to love his wife instead of the fantasy woman he built up in his mind and Selina had to learn to be happy with who she was as a wife.

Who would like this:

Anyone who loves mail-order bride stories that are are fun, set in the West, or stories of husbands and wives learning to love each other.

Amazon blurb:

“The arrival of Michael Bowen’s bride, married sight unseen by proxy, sends the rancher reeling. With her trousers, cowboy hat and rifle, she looks like a female outlaw—not the genteel lady he corresponded with for months. He’s been hoodwinked into marriage with the wrong woman!

Selina Farleigh Bowen loved Michael’s letters, even if she couldn’t read them herself. A friend read them to her, and wrote her replies—but apparently that “friend” left things out, like Michael’s dream of a wife who was nothing like her. Selina won’t change who she is, not even for the man she loves. Yet time might show Michael the true value of his unlikely wife.”

Links for Purchase:     Barnes and Noble

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