Heather Woodhaven

Turning Coffee Into Stories

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Do You Have Suspensitis?


Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Miller, Free Range Stock

Do you ever open a new container of chicken broth (or other liquids) and find the seal broken and instantly assume someone poisoned it at the grocery store?  (Later your husband reveals he’d opened it first and decided not to use it after all—hence, it was still full.)


Or do you see a man at the store (who just happens to match the description of a villain in one of your books/movies) look at you intently and suddenly you need to memorize all the possible exits?As well as, maybe, put a knife and a cast iron skillet in your cart? You’ll decide against buying them at the checkout lane. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

No? Just me?

Well, do you sleep with a baseball bat after you’ve read a scary book? Or after you’ve watched a scary movie?

If you can relate to any of these scenarios, you can relate to the mindset of a suspense writer. At least, this suspense writer.

Hi. I’m Heather Woodhaven and I get frequent Suspensitis.

It’s probably why the ideas don’t stop flowing. It’s also probably why I’m addicted to books and movies and articles on the dangers of ________ (fill-in-the-blank). It’s how I wrote Calculated Risk, coming January 2015:


Can you relate?

I’d like to know: What are your favorite romantic suspense books, TV shows, or films?  And…how did they cause Suspensitis?  (If they did).


Sneak Peek from The Secret Life of Book Club

This January brings about a huge change for me. I’m debuting two novels in two different genres. Today, though, I’d like to introduce you to The Secret Life of Book Club. This story has all my favorite elements: comedy, romance, friendships, challenges, and new adventures. To better help you understand the premise I’m posting a small excerpt from the end of chapter one.  If you want to know more, the book blurb is on My Books page.

Happy Reading!

The Secret Life of Book Club Ebook Edged

Once drinks were ordered, they answered the preordained book club questions included at the back of the novel. Then they got to the real nitty-gritty: what they felt about the book. Not just liked or not liked, but what emotions the story made them experience.

Jeanine loved this part of book club but suspected Paula had a timer hidden somewhere, because ten minutes later—right on cue—she took a loud sip of her mocha. Paula’s black, pixie-cut hair fit her bold personality. “What are we reading next?”

“Well…I have an idea,” Jeanine offered.

They set down their coffee and smoothie cups (Anne, still nursing, was off caffeine). Jeanine took a deep breath, work once again invading her thoughts. She shook it aside. “The thing is…most of the books we read are about strong women leading ordinary lives before they start a quilting club or a margarita club or take a trip to some unusual locale. Maybe, just for once, instead of reading a book about women having these experiences and epiphanies maybe…we, uh, actually do it.”

Three blank faces stared back at her.

“You want to start a club?” Kate scrunched her nose and flipped back her blond hair. She pointed to the book in front of her. “We’re in a club.”

Paula held up a hand. “I get what Jeanine means, but there are two problems.” She held up her index finger. Her nails were trimmed and buffed but never long or polished. “First off, none of us is rich and able to pay for these amazing experiences. And secondly, no one here has been given a fatal prognosis. Right?”

Anne and Kate swiveled their attention toward Jeanine with an intensity of expression that took Jeanine off guard. “What? No, I’m not dying.”

Paula gave a curt nod. “Okay, so that’s settled. It’s not like we have nothing to lose. We all have time and money to lose.”

“Well, I don’t get it.” Anne hugged herself like she missed her babies. “What exactly are you asking us to do?”

“What about an A-to-Z challenge? We pick something for each letter—preferably something most of us have never done—and go try it.”

“Like?” Anne prodded.

Jeanine’s gaze drifted across the shop, searching for inspiration. A woman in the far corner wore a plum skirt with a sequined belt. “Like for ‘B,’ I might get us signed up to do an intro to belly dancing. You know, just for a night.”

Paula snorted. Kate giggled.

Anne smiled demurely but said nothing, as if she were holding on to a secret.

“What?” Jeanine prompted.

“It’s interesting.” Anne leaned forward on her elbows. “Are we supposed to imagine we’re living out one of these books we read? Maybe we have to learn more about each other each time we do one of those things, like the mom and the daughters did in the book, Winter Garden?”

Kate and Paula turned their shocked expressions toward Anne. “Seriously?” Kate asked. “Listen, I’m all for trying new things, but how would we find the time, let alone the money, to do that?”

“We took over two months to read Jane Eyre,” Anne replied. “We could meet weekly, on Monday nights or the occasional Saturday. And if we pool our creativity and contacts, I bet we wouldn’t have to spend that much.” She winked at Jeanine. “I’m game.”

“What would ‘A’ be?” Paula asked, her head titled and her arms folded across her chest like an umpire.

Jeanine leaned back in her chair and released her hair from her ponytail, hoping it would free the sudden pressure in her head. She hadn’t planned this far. “I guess if we are truly doing this as a group, everyone should have a say. Right?”

Kate placed her elbows on the table, leaned forward, and rested her chin on her hands as if waiting for everyone else to answer. Paula only showed her typical stern impassiveness, but Anne—her eyes twinkled.

Jeanine grinned. “Right. Who wants to go first?”

Available for pre-order on Amazon. Releases January 31, 2015.

Welcome to Writing Heather!

After writing as a freelance non-fiction writer for the past 15 years, my dream of writing fiction has become reality. It’s been an exciting year and I can’t wait to share it all with you.


Very soon.

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