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"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house." Matthew 5:14-15

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Welcome Susanne Dietze

I can't believe how quickly this month has flown by. You only have two more days to leave a comment for your chance to win this month's giveaway which features two of the author interviews from March. :) How cool is that?

Today I'd like to welcome Susanne Dieteze. What is your 'how I got published' story?

You know how Disney says dreams come true at their parks? Well, in my case, it really happened! I was on a Disney vacation in 2014 with my husband, kids, and parents when I got the call from my agent that I’d first sold a novella. At the time, we were in a noisy restaurant, so I had to take the call with me to a small vestibule outside the restroom.

Oh! I love it. How cool. How did you develop a 'love of story'?

I’ve always loved books, loved being read to as a child, and loved losing myself in a good story. I’ve enjoyed making up stories since I was young, too. My Barbie’s “plotlines” were a tad overdramatic.

LOL. I love the Barbie plotlines. :) What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?

My dearest hope is someone would finish the story feeling entertained and satisfied by a happily-ever-after ending—but also encouraged. God loves us, has a plan for our lives, and never abandons us, but sometimes we can’t see, feel, or even trust in His love because of our circumstances or difficulties. The characters might be fictional, but the challenges of life they experience resonate with our own, and I hope my stories communicate God’s unwavering affection and love to anyone in need of encouragement.

I know what you mean. Do you listen to music or snack while writing?

Yes to both. I always have a mug of tea or hot apple cider close by, as well as protein bars. As for music, sometimes I make playlists or pick one specific CD to go with each story. Whenever I sit down at the computer and turn on the music, the songs help draw me right back into the mood of the story.

 What a great idea. Tell us about your new book.

My novella, For a Song, is in Barbour Publishing’s The Cowboy’s Bride Collection, nine stories of love, challenge, and family on the open range.

Here’s the blurb for For a Song: Two songbirds, red and yellow—a straightforward order for an upstanding widowed rancher’s lonely daughter. But when a sister-act of saloon singers (a redhead and a blonde) arrives on the stagecoach expecting him to give them a job, his daughter changes her tune and starts singing not for a pet, but a pretty ginger-haired Mama.

Oh! This sounds like a lot of fun. :) What are you working on now?

I’m completing the manuscript for my first trade sale, My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho, which will release from Barbour Publishing in May of 2017. It’s a mail-order mix-up when a bride and groom marry the wrong people.

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others. A pastor’s wife and mom of two, she loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama and a plate of nachos. Susanne is the author of over half-dozen historical romances; her latest, For a Song, is in Barbour’s The Cowboy’s Bride Collection. You can visit her on her website, www.susannedietze.com.


Book Links:

Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win this month's giveaway.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Playing the Part by Jen Turano

Lucetta Plum is a well-known actress in New York City with a flock of admirers. Some require the care of her personal protector to keep them at bay. But when one fan becomes threatening, she is forced to flee the city. Her dear friend suggests they travel to her grandson's castle to seek protection.

Bram Haverstein isn't used to visitors, especially ones as beautiful as the actress he has held in high esteem for quite some time. While he's welcome to helping his grandmother and Lucetta, he has some secrets of his own which he doesn't want discovered.

Jen Turano does an incredible job of weaving this tale. She provides laughter along the way, as well as a down-right enjoyable story that will want the reader wanting more. I give it a 5 out of 5 for happily-ever-afters.

This book was provided for free by Bethany House Publishers - 2016.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Welcome Marilyn Turk. How did you develop a 'love of story'?

As I often say, I don’t create a story, I discover it. Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist finding an artifact from a lost civilization. To me, the story is already there, lying within the setting. So I love it when I’m writing the story and wonder if a particular situation could have happened during that time, and research shows that it did.

Another exciting thing I love about writing is finding myself writing a scene I didn’t expect, but I followed the characters and they surprised me. That’s happens because my characters have their own personalities and apparently, their own will. To a non-writer, that may sound strange, but I’ve heard many writers say the same thing. Sometimes, I’ve even said things to my husband like, “Guess what John did today?” He used to ask who John was. Now he knows I’m talking about a character in my book.

LOL. I love that and experience the same connectivity to my characters. :) Who are your favorite authors?

My favorite authors are Lynn Austin , Ann Tatlock, and Dan Walsh. I used to read a lot of John Grisham, but that was before I started reading Christian fiction.

Sounds like some good ones. :) How does faith play a part in your writing?

I truly believe God gives me the stories to write. I don’t think I create the story. I believe God lets me discover the story he’s telling me.

I love that thought! Tell us about your new book.

 The Gilded Curse is set in 1942, and is about young heiress Alexandra Smithfield who is the last surviving member of her family, and her visit to the family’s prestigious vacation cottage at the Jekyll Island Club with plans to sell it. She hasn’t been to the island since she was a child because after her father’s hunting accident there ten years before, her mother believed the island was cursed. Alexandra (Lexie) knows now that her mother suffered from mental illness, but after some mysterious happenings on the island, Lexie wonders if there was any truth to her mother’s fears. Club superintendent Russell Thompson knows the truth about Lexie’s family, but he’s sworn to secrecy. However, Russell finds himself attracted to Lexie and wants to protect her from whoever is threatening her safety and help her find out why. In the process, the two of them must dispel the curse.

Sound intriguing. What are you working on now?

I’ve written two and a half books in a four-book series. I’m in the process of editing the second one and writing the third one. Book One, Rebel Light, begins in 1865 at the beginning at the Civil War. The other three pick up after the war.

I love historical fiction. What is your passion as a writer?

I’m passionate about commitment. I feel obligated to write the stories God has given me. I’m also passionate about showing how my protagonist learns something important, a life-changing lesson by the end of the story.

I make sure my characters learn lessons along the way too. Many times God shows me something as well through the writing process. :) What is your most difficult writing challenge?

Time management and organization. I am usually involved in several projects at once, and have difficulty devoting enough time to my novels. I am easily distracted (by myself) and must restrain myself from going down rabbit trails, especially when I do research. Since I write historical fiction, research is important to the story, so there’s a balance necessary between research and writing.

I can relate. I can easily get side-tracked with bunny trails with research and also struggle with time management and organization. Is there a book you read that you had wished you'd written?

All three books in the Refiner’s Fire series by Lynn Austin. I love to read stories set during the Civil War, and these were great books.

It sounds like an intriguing series. Thank you for stopping by today for a visit, Marilyn.

Don't forget to leave a comment for this month's drawing. Next week Susanne Dietze will be here. You won't want to miss it.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Guest Blogger Jennifer Slattery



Today I'd like to welcome Jennifer Slattery as she gives us a behind the scenes look at her new book and what stirred her to write it. Welcome, Jennifer.

They say write what you know, and every time someone utters that phrase, authors worldwide cringe.

Having just released my first medical drama, I know the truth—and falsity—of that statement. The easiest novels to write, for sure, are those with elements we’re most familiar with. At least, for the first, and maybe second or third novel. But a writer’s life can only provide so much fodder, and honestly, if we wanted to stay close to reality, we wouldn’t be attracted to storyworld.

We’re creative, those who perpetually ask, “What if?” And we’re always looking for a story, preferably one that hasn’t been told by absolutely every writer on the planet.

So maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that the girl who practically passes out at the sight of a needle and literally cried—true story!—when her daughter received her first immunization said yes to writing a medical drama.

Had I known the incredible amount of research it would take to do so, however, I may have been tempted to repeat that cliché we writers absolutely hate. Standing on the other side, I’m glad I didn’t know, because Intertwined needed to be told, not just because organ donation is an incredibly important issue, but also because God used the novel to motivate my husband to donate a kidney. To a stranger.  (You can listen to the story behind the donation here: https://soundcloud.com/jenslattery/jennifer-slattery-and-husband-steve-slatterys-interview-on-fm-1007-the-fish)

Looking back, I can see God had been laying the groundwork for this story and the events surrounding it, long before my friend Ami Koelliker, a former organ procurement coordinator, suggested the topic. And He knew, though at first I balked, and flat out said no, that I’d give in, once His sweet, gentle spirit began prodding at my creativity.    


Intertwined:
Abandoned by her husband for another woman, Tammy Kuhn, an organ procurement coordinator often finds herself in tense and bitter moments. After an altercation with a doctor, she is fighting to keep her job and her sanity when one late night she encounters her old flame Nick. She walks right into his moment of facing an unthinkable tragedy. Because they both have learned to find eternal purposes in every event and encounter, it doesn’t take long to discover that their lives are intertwined but the ICU is no place for romance….or is it? Could this be where life begins again?

Buy it:


Friday, March 18, 2016

The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

Marie Carrington is on the run and in need of a safe haven. A stranger helps to pay her way across the ferry to Prince Edward Island. When he offers a job and a place to live she hesitantly accepts, at least for a short time.

Seth Sloane agreed to help his uncle with the renovation of the Red Door Inn before it opens. He's got nothing better to do since losing everything after a disastrous relationship.

Two damaged souls brought together by an old man to open a bed and breakfast in memory of his wife. Can they put aside their differences aside and complete the mission?


While this is a continuing saga, I give it a 4.5 out of 5 for happily-ever-afters.

This book was provided free for review by the author.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Welcome Susan Page Davis

Today is a special day as we get to sit down and talk with Susan Page Davis, and I'll also be celebrating my husband's 50th birthday. :)

Welcome, Susan! Tell us about your new book. I understand you wrote it with your son, Jim. How exciting.

1854—With the captain dead in Melbourne, Australia, Alice Packard thinks the worst has happened, until she learns the crew has deserted her husband’s ship in favor of the goldfields. Only one old man, Gypsy Deak, sticks by her, but Gypsy alone can’t raise a crew from the depleted population. In desperation, Alice turns to the only source of plentiful workers: the women of Melbourne. In a bold move, she and Gypsy empty a brothel, promising the escaped women a new life. Her all-woman (save one) crew put their backs and hearts into the voyage, but Alice finds training her sailors much harder than she expected. Her faith is tested to the limit. With a cargo to sell, angry brothel and tavern owners in pursuit, pirates to evade, and a mysterious stowaway, will the seafaring women of the Vera B. survive to tell the tale of this
daring adventure?

How fun to write a book together. :) How did you develop a 'love of story'?

I was the youngest of five children, and my older sisters read to me a lot. I learned to read very early. I believe it was because I memorized so many of the stories they read to me over and over, and then I started figuring out which sounds went with the words on the page. As soon as I learned to write, I was putting down the stories that ran through my head.

Being read to as a child seems to influence many writers. :) What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?

I hope they will find wholesome entertainment in my stories. I like the idea of taking the reader away to a different place and time, where they can relax and recharge. I also hope they will find something to think about concerning how to live this life. I often write about relationships and forgiveness.


Sounds like some great themes. What is your 'how I got published' story?

I began seriously writing fiction with the hope of being published in 1999. The first several books I completed have never been published. Meanwhile, I also started sending out short stories. In 2001, my first story sold to Woman’s World. That was followed by several more, as well as stories published in GRIT and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. From then on, my fiction was self-sustaining so far as paper, ink, and postage went. My first novel was accepted in 2003 and published the next year.

I know I've read your books and really enjoy them. :) Who are your favorite authors?

I like to read mysteries, and Dick Francis is one of my favorites there. I also enjoy historicals. Janice Holt Giles was an early favorite of mine. I just finished Julianna Deering’s new Dressed for Death, which combines mystery and a historical setting. In fact, there are not many genres I don’t like, and I read widely in both fiction and nonfiction.

It sounds like you are well read. What are you working on now?

My son Jim and I are working on the sequel to our first book, The Seafaring Women of the Vera B. I’m also writing a new western for Barbour Publishing. Look for My Heart Belongs in the Superstition Mountains next year.

Can't wait to see both of those. What is your most difficult writing challenge?

Time management is always a challenge for me. I usually rise early and spend the morning at my desk. If my schedule allows, I’m back there in the afternoon, either continuing to write books or working on the many writing-related tasks that fall my way nowadays.

Time management is my struggle too. Thanks for joining us today, Susan. Before you go, how can readers find you and your son?

Find us at:
Twitter: @SusanPageDavis

Buy Links:
Buy the paperback from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1LHmvoe
Kindle e-book: http://amzn.to/1SqaViY


Don't forget to leave a comment this month for your chance to win one of the books Susan is featured in. :)

Friday, March 11, 2016

What Makes a Town Unique?

I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a town unique? The town I live in has some interesting stories. This hotel pictured above changed its name during the Civil War when news reached town that southern troops were on their way. Before that it was known as the Union House.

Or could my town be unique because the founder's descendant was married to Benedict Arnold.

My town has many churches. I love these old original photos of my church.





What is special about the town you live in? Chime in for your chance to win the following:



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Welcome Deanna Klingel

Today I'd like to welcome Deanna Klingel as she tells us about her newest release and her life as a writer.

How did you develop a ' love of story'?

My mother read to me and my two younger brothers. She used different voices. We talked about what we were reading and built great anticipation over what might happen in the next chapter. My play, with dolls, paper dolls, and friends, was a story, with plots and drama, lots of dialogue. I didn't know it then, but I was creating stories.

Moms reading seems to be a common theme with writers developing a love of story. :)
What is your 'how I got published' story? 

My first books, Avery's Battlefield and Avery's Crossroad started out as one big book. It was with a book bundler in London who took it to the International Children's Book Fair in Bologna. There it was picked up by two large publishers in New York, one of which also wanted film rights. It was all very exciting. After the book went to NY with the agents several months went by. Finally when I heard from them they explained the publishers were asking for some specific changes, which the agents knew I wouldn't agree to, and they were trying to negotiate something softer. When they told me the changes were to make it "edgier," I knew the agents were right. My character is a 14 year-old Quaker farm boy, in 1861. I created him, I knew him, I'd lived with him for 5 years. I'd worked very hard to get all the historical trappings exactly right. I'm very easy and quick to make suggested edits, but this made no sense. It was a deal breaker. A few months later I attended a Christian Writers Conference. How that happened is a miracle story in itself! When one of the presenters assured her class we never had to compromise our values to get published, I thanked her later, explaining it was important for me to hear that. She wanted to hear my story. Then she said, "If you don't mind, I think I'd like to have a look at that." She was the acquisitions editor at BJU Press Journey Forth, who liked my clean, wholesome Quaker boy.


Wow! How exciting. :) How does faith play a part in your writing? 

My faith is who I am. It wouldn't be possible for me to write without it coming through. It informs my characters, inspires their choices, and infuses their surroundings. We write what we know, and I don't know life without faith. 

Amen. I echo your sentiments. :) Tell us about your new book. 

The new book, fresh off the press, is Blue-Eyed Doll, historical fiction, YA. This is based on a historical event in the United States in 1927. The story is set in San Francisco, 1926-1946. A missionary, Sidney Gulick, who spent most of his life in Japan with his mission of world peace, returned home dejected, knowing he'd failed; there would be no world peace. He decided world peace was up to the children! Children across the country responded and sent friendship dolls to Japan. Japan reciprocated sending Ambassador dolls to the U.S. My story is about a child whose life was shaped and molded into a life of service after being part of this program with an unusual doll wearing eye glasses. It was a fun story to research and write. I've very excited to be visiting some of the museums that house an Ambassador Doll. I'll be seeing new parts of the country!

That's fascinating. What are you working on now? 

I'm polishing McIntosh Summer. The Butts County Historical Society in GA, asked me to write a historical fiction for YA readers, about Chief William McIntosh. Butts County sits smack in the middle of Muscogee Creek Nation, and there wasn't a book for their schools. This was very interesting research and a bit slippery to write because the Muscogees even today are divided on whether McIntosh was a martyr and hero or a thief and a traitor. It's with a publisher and will be out probably by summer.

Sounds like you have a lot of fun researching your books. :) Is there a book you've read that you wished you'd written? 

Hotel at the Corner of Bitter And Sweet. I identify with the writing style similar in many ways, and I loved the story. 


Thanks for stopping by today, Deanna. Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered in this month's drawing for:

Tune in next week to learn more about author Susan Page Davis.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Story Behind The Crux of Honor



Today I'd like to welcome Paula Mowery as she shares the story behind The Crux of Honor.

The editor-in-chief at Prism Book Group put out a call to the authors through our private Facebook group for submissions to a series based on The Love Chapter. She printed out the passage and basically the different phrases were up for grabs as to be the theme for the story. I had my eye on one phrase but missed out on that one. I decided that I could come up with a story based on the section: “Love does not dishonor.”

God brought to mind my time living in Maryland near the Amish and their honorable ways. This is when my story started to take form. What if someone with Amish ties were to bring dishonor to the family? What if the supposed dishonor actually revealed long-concealed lies? 

My next thought was about an unexpected pregnancy being the ultimate dishonor in the story. I recalled my time as a devotional leader at our local Pregnancy Crisis Center. Conjuring bitter feelings to portray through my characters wasn’t difficult. When God afforded me the opportunity to serve at the pregnancy center, I was definitely conflicted. These girls had become pregnant, many by accident. As a young woman I struggled with infertility and harbored ill feelings toward those who found themselves in unexpected pregnancies. But as I got to know these women and heard their stories, I realized I was wrong. What I needed to show them was God’s unconditional love, available to all.

Thus, the reader will encounter some Amish parts as well as a precious Pregnancy Crisis Center ran by loving Christian women. There are also some medical conditions that reflect research into the Amish community. Of course a romance buds within the pages of the reunion/second chance type. 

My ultimate hope is that the reader will encounter an unconditional love available from God within the pages of this short romance.  


Bio:
Paula is a pastor’s wife, mom to a college student, author, acquiring editor, and speaker. No matter the hat she wears, she strives to honor God’s plan even if it means going out on a limb and leaving comfort zones. Reviewers have characterized her writing as “thundering with emotion.” Her book, Be The Blessing, won the 2014 Selah Award in the novella category. Paula enjoys reading and reviewing Christian fiction, writing Christian romance and devotionals, and helping other authors realize their dream of publication.  

You can follow Paula at www.facebook.com/pages/Paula-Mowery/175869562589187. Learn more about Paula at her blog at www.paulamowery.blogspot.com