Witness Protection Series #1, No Safe Place, releases on May 21. Stop by during that week for giveaways, free downloads of the first several chapters, and information about book 2 in this series, No True Justice, which should release in July.
Matt Mathison, a young man returning from the far country trying to regain his honor, and Randi Richards, a young woman with a heart broken by her parents’ rejection because of her newfound faith, each have what the other needs, but will the assassin who put them on his hit list allow them enough time to discover what they have in each other.
How much would you sacrifice to regain your honor?
No Safe Place, a supercharged, modern-day prodigal story with several new twists and a little romance. Book 1 in the Witness Protection Series releases May 21. Book 2, No True Justice, releases in July. I am busily working on that story.
No Safe Place is a clean, high-action, romantic-suspense novel with thriller-level stakes. It is currently available for pre-order and will be made available in Kindle and print formats on Amazon.
I’m hoping to have 50 or more reviews lined up and ready to post on release day. If you would like an ARC (advance review copy) to read and possibly review, let me know by sending me an email message: firstname.lastname@example.org Put “ARC, No Safe Place” in the subject line. Reviews are greatly appreciated but completely voluntary.
The ARCs are mostly eBooks but I do have a few printed ARCs. If you request an ARC, be sure to specify the format you need (Kindle, epub, PDF or print). Note: print copies are limited and I may not be able to accomodate everyone. Also note that, though the ARCs are very readable, they do have a few errors that haven’t yet been removed.
If you haven’t read book 1, Voice in the Wilderness, now is a good time to snag a copy. The Kindle version is currently on sale at Amazon for 99¢. The Kindle version of the prequel, Chasing Freedom, is also on sale for 99¢.
Currently, I have two other novels being evaluated by traditional publishers, an espionage thriller and a techno thriller. Unfortunately, I have no release dates, yet, for those two stories.
That’s all the news for now. But be sure to stop by during release week for giveaways of some books and a free download or two.
Thanks again for your interest in my writing!
H L Wegley
Dear Mr. Wegley,
I recently discovered your books and am just finishing the second witness protection book. And, as a therapist I feel compelled to write to you. While reading your books I see your characters trying to get another person to create a lifelong commitment in less than a few days of meeting them, I find that very unhealthy and unrealistic.
I get that your books are fast paced and the storylines create intense situations where emotions are heightened. Well, and your characters are in their early 20s. But, it’s just not realistic to expect that a person will make a lifelong commitment to someone after meeting them only a few days before, and it certainly isn’t wise.
For example, the exchange between Lex and Gemma, where she is accusing him of just wanting to use her for the article without making a commitment to her for the future. They’ve known each other, what, maybe 36 hours at this point?
In the relationship between Randi and Matt, she began talking about a commitment within 24 hours of meeting him. After spending two or three hours with him?
I have never written to an author before even though I’ve read plenty of unrealistic plots in my life. But I wonder, have you prayed about these plots? God wants us to be wise and make wise choices. Maybe in an extremely rare set of circumstances, someone could meet another person and marry them quickly and it works out. But not very often. I’ve been a therapist for 23 years and I see the damage of unhealthy and unrealistic expectations play out over and over and over and over.
Women are the target audience for your novels, correct? All I’m asking is that you pray for discernment and wisdom as you write these plots. There’s nothing wrong with romance. But, you know it takes a whole lot more than that for a relationship to be healthy and successful.
Do you think that God would think that trying to get a commitment out of someone after 24 hours is wise? How on earth could you know enough about a person to know that you could be equally yoked with them in two or three days?
Please, I certainly don’t mean to be offensive. Iron sharpens iron but not without friction and sparks. All I’m trying to do, as your sister in the Lord, is ask you to think about and pray about designing plots to encourage healthy and God honoring behaviors.
Thank you for your feedback on my novel, No Safe Place—on Christmas Eve no less ☺.
Just to let you know, this was only my third novel, written about 8 years ago. I knew I had difficulty writing from my heroine’s POV. I wanted her to sound wounded and alone, but not psychotic, so I contracted with an award-winning Christian author/editor who owned her own publishing company to have her read, evaluate, and make recommendations for the heroine’s words, behavior and the story itself. My editor got the message, as you said that, “trying to get a commitment out of someone after 24 hours isn’t wise.” Randi who was alone, hurt and vulnerable, obviously jumped the gun with Matt. She realized that and backed away. If I remember correctly, it was about 6 weeks later before they solidified a real relationship, and a couple of weeks after that, a marriage, which only occurred that quickly because the two were forced to decide if they would go into WITSEC together or alone and permanently separated.
I incorporated my editor’s valuable feedback into my next draft of No Safe Place. Then I submitted the story to 2 Christian literary agents and a Christian editor of a major publishing house. They all liked my writing but worried that the story wouldn’t sell because my hero, Matt, had been a drug user and dealer for a short time. That surprised me, and I didn’t see their point but realized the traditional publishing route was probably closed for that story. So, I shelved the story for 4 1/2 years then self-published it, first as a stand-alone, then as the main story in a collection.
Surprisingly, No Safe Place won an award and became my best-selling story, now pushing 20,000 copies sold. If I had the resources of a large publishing house behind me, it would have probably sold 50,000 copies by now. But with my tiny advertising budget, it anchored the Witness Protection Collection and remained on Amazon’s best-seller list in Christian Mystery & Suspense every day for over a year. Consequently, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from my readers about the story via social media and in more than 200 reviews. A few readers remarked on the short fuse of the romance, but many more seemed to understand that Randi’s premature pursuit of Matt was misguided and they accepted her reaction once she realized that.
Authors learn early on in their writing careers that characters are supposed to learn from their wounds and grow to do at the end what they could not do at the beginning of a story. And after all Matt and Randi went through together and observed in each other, a little over 2 months to a marriage seemed reasonable. Lex and Gemma had an early, deep discussion on what they believed about love and commitment. Often that doesn’t happen between dating couples for many months. After 2 1/2 months, my wife and I (married almost 55 years now) knew exactly where our relationship was headed, and we had no bad guys pursuing us. Once you know the true character of the other person, it’s much easier to know what path to take with the relationship. That needs to happen quickly in a fast-paced thriller, and the life-and-death circumstances often foster that and compress the time.
So, in conclusion, I hear what you’re saying and had already worked through those issues to my own satisfaction. As to the realism of short and unexpected “courtships,” my readers indicate that, in a story, it is more a matter of personal experience and taste than of morality or realism. And there is the larger issue that we haven’t even mentioned. When God is orchestrating something, and he has brought two people together for His own reasons … well, that is something the two people involved need to discern. But when they recognize His participation, everything changes.
One last thought. Fiction is an artifice. It’s not reality and it’s not literal. Authors are free to create an illusion of reality, and thus to convey their message, in a variety of ways. We all have our preferences about how that is done. The bottom line is, “Was the message conveyed and was the message received?” Sometimes we do it better with our stories than at other times.
Thanks again for your comments.
H. L. Wegley