Guest Post/Virtual Tour with Giveaway ~ San Francisco Nights by Greg Messel

Tick, Tick, Tick

When I finished an early draft of “San Francisco Nights” I made some adjustments to increase the suspense in the telling of the story.

Sometimes you’ll make a conscious decision—“Let’s don’t tell the readers this yet—let’s keep them guess a while longer.”

Conversely, sometimes the right decision is when to tell the reader a bit of information that will add to the anxiety they are hopefully feeling as the mystery unfolds. As a reader and a writer there is something exhilarating about knowing something the characters don’t realize yet.

The great director Alfred Hitchcock offers the perfect definition of what constitutes suspense.

“There is a distinct difference between "suspense" and "surprise," and yet many pictures continually confuse the two. I'll explain what I mean. 

We are now having a very innocent little chat. Let's suppose that there is a bomb underneath this table between us. Nothing happens, and then all of a sudden, "Boom!" There is an explosion. The public is surprised, but prior to this surprise, it has seen an absolutely ordinary scene, of no special consequence. Now, let us take a suspense situation. The bomb is underneath the table and the public knows it, probably because they have seen the anarchist place it there. The public is aware the bomb is going to explode at one o'clock and there is a clock in the decor. The public can see that it is a quarter to one. In these conditions, the same innocuous conversation becomes fascinating because the public is participating in the scene. The audience is longing to warn the characters on the screen: ‘You shouldn't be talking about such trivial matters. There is a bomb beneath you and it is about to explode!’"

When writing a book I always try to build in a “hook” at the end of the chapter that makes you want to read on.

Here’s an example of building suspense from “San Francisco Nights.”

My main female character is taking a shower after a taxing day.

Amelia was exhausted and had been craving a hot shower. 

She walked across her dark bedroom and turned on the bathroom light. Amelia untied the robe she was wearing and let it fall to the floor.  She turned on the shower, testing the temperature with her open palm. 

Amelia wanted a shower to relax and soothe her but she didn’t want to wash her hair just before bedtime. She pulled her hair up on her head and tied it in place with a ribbon. 

Just as she gingerly stepped over the edge of the tub and into the cascade of warm water, Amelia thought she heard a noise in the darkness of the bedroom. “Sam. Sam. Are you there?”

Amelia pulled back the shower curtain and peered into the blackness beyond the open bathroom door. She called to Sam a few times more without any response. 

Amelia took a deep breath and needed to relax. She faced the shower and closed her eyes letting the warm steamy water wash over her torso. She got her hands wet and vigorously rubbed her face. 

Her shoulders felt so tight and tense. She turned around so the hot water provided it’s soothing balm right between her shoulder blades. She opened her eyes and through the opaque shower curtain she noticed the bathroom door was closed. She cautiously peeked around the shower curtain. 

There was no one in the room but then she saw it. Reflected in the mirror was a figure dressed in black hiding in the corner of the bathroom.

What happens next? How can Amelia possibly escape? She’s so vulnerable and has no means to defend herself!

Hopefully there are enough of those types of moments to pull the reader on. One of the best compliments I can receive is “Once I started reading I couldn’t put it down.”

When I finished a later draft of “San Francisco Nights” it seemed there was something missing. Hmmm. But what?

I decided to bring back a character from an earlier book in the series—a ruthless hit man named Simon Blanco. He was doing hard prison time and blamed private eyes Sam and Amelia Slater for putting him away. Blanco escapes from prison and heads for San Francisco determined to get his revenge.

There are indications he’s made it back to the city so Sam and Amelia’s cop friend Vince Marino warns them to be extra cautious. That added a great element of suspense.

Any time Sam and Amelia are on a dark street, alone in a parking lot or coming out of a movie theatre at night, Simon Blanco could be lurking nearby waiting to strike.

Simon Blanco became the ticking time bomb that everyone is waiting to detonate. 

Series: Sam Slater Mystery Series (Book 7)
Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing (June 9, 2017)
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
ISBN-10: 1532301480
ISBN-13: 978-1532301483
Buy: Amazon, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository


The wife of a wealthy San Francisco shipping magnate leads a secret life but someone is threatening to expose her. Private eye Sam Slater and his wife and partner, Amelia, meet a mysterious woman in a large red hat during a train trip. The woman approaches him pleading for help because she‘s receiving anonymous notes quoting Bible verses which are becoming more and more ominous with each passing day. Her secrets have been discovered but by whom? What really happens behind closed doors in Room 505 in a swanky downtown hotel?

Sam is willing to take the case but Amelia warns that this woman is nothing but trouble. What does the woman really want? She’s been watching Sam for months and has a scheme to pull him into her world.

Find out in the latest Sam Slater Mystery “San Francisco Nights” set in the fall of 1959. It’s the seventh book in the series but is a heart pounding stand alone whodunit.

Greg Messel is giving away three of his books!!

Terms & Conditions:

By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter.

This giveaway ends midnight September 29.
Winner will be contacted via email on September 30.

Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg lives in Edmonds, Washington on Puget Sound with his wife Jean DeFond.

Greg has written ten novels. His latest is “San Francisco Nights” which is the seventh in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. “Shadows In The Fog,” “Fog City Strangler,” “San Francisco Secrets,” “Deadly Plunge” are sequels to the first book in the series “Last of the Seals.” His other three novels are “Sunbreaks,” “Expiation” and “The Illusion of Certainty.” For a more detailed summary of Greg’s novels go to

Greg is currently working on his eleventh novel “Dreams That Never Were” which is not part of the mystery series.

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Excerpt ~

The neon lights of the slumbering city gave the streets an eerie blue and purple glow in contrast to the dark store fronts. The three story brick office building was abandoned and the normally bustling street at the entrance to San Francisco’s Chinatown was quiet with only an occasional dark solitary figure walking by. The ancient black metal fire escapes seemed to cling to the facade of the building like an alien spider web.

The interior of the building was dark except in the private eye’s office on the top floor where a single desk lamp provided the only circle of illumination against the thick blackness of the night. The lamp provided just enough light to brighten the frosted glass on the door with the name “Amelia Slater” on it.

Amelia sat at her desk in the dimly lit office shuffling through some papers, but she was unnerved and having trouble concentrating.  She took a drag on her cigarette before placing it on the rim of the ash tray. The rising smoke appeared blue as it swirled lazily into the air.

She suddenly stopped, thinking she heard a sound. After intently listening for a few moments, Amelia concluded her imagination was playing tricks on her. She turned her attention back to the items on her desk but was interrupted again by a prolonged squeak of the outer office door opening.

Then Amelia heard the outer door softly closing, followed by the sound of quiet footsteps on the hardwood floor. The sound seemed to stop just outside the door to her office. 

Amelia could see the intruder’s silhouette through the frosted glass window. Her eyes were riveted on the door as the door knob to her office began to slowly turn.

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, August 1

First Chapter Reveal & Tour Kick Off at Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, August 2

Book Featured at Millsy Loves Books

Thursday, August 3

Interview at The Writer’s Life

Friday, August 4

Book Featured at Perfect at Midnight


Monday, August 7

Guest Blogging at Dear Reader, Love Author

Tuesday, August 8

Book Featured at Readaholic

Wednesday, August 9

Book Featured at I’m Shelf-ish

Thursday, August 10

Book Featured at My Book Launch


Monday, August 14

Book Featured at The Pulp and Mystery Shelf

Tuesday, August 15

Guest Blogging at Blogging Authors

Wednesday, August 16

Book Featured at Write and Take Flight

Thursday, August 17

Book Review at Books, Reviews, ETC.


Monday, August 21

Book Review at Books for Books

Tuesday, August 22

Book Featured at Book Cover Junkie

Thursday, August 24

Book Review & Guest Blogging at Bless Their Hearts Mom


Monday, August 28

Book Featured at Mello & June, It’s a Book Thang!

Thursday, August 31

Book Review at Rainy Day Reviews


Monday, September 4

Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Tuesday, September 5

Book Teaser at YouTube

Wednesday, September 6

Book Featured at T’s Stuff

Thursday, September 7

Book Featured at Readsalot


Monday, September 11

Book Review at Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’

Tuesday, September 12

Book Featured at Chill and Read

Wednesday, September 13

Interview at My Bookish Pleasures

Thursday, September 14

Interview at Nuttin’ But Books


Monday, September 18

Interview at Book Bloggin’ Princess

Tuesday, September 19

Book Featured at A Title Wave

Wednesday, September 20

Guest Blogging at The Book Connection

Friday, September 22

Book Featured at Books, Dreams, Life


Monday, September 25

Book Review at The World of the Blue Bells Chronicles

Tuesday, September 26

Book Review at Deal Sharing Aunt

Wednesday, September 27

Book Review at From the TBR Pile

Friday, September 29

Interview at Books Can Be Deadly








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  1. Dianne Casey says:

    I really liked the description of the book.  I wonder what secrets the woman in the red hat is hiding. Sounds like a page turner..

  2. Betty Curran says:

    I haven't read any of the previous books and I love finding new authors to follow. This sounds like a very interesting story line.

  3. Della Williamson says:

    A new author and read is always exciting. And the blurb's question beg to be answered. The books are on my TBR. I look forward to reading them

Leave a Reply to Della Williamson Cancel reply


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