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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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Three Weeks to Decide


In February of 2014, my debut novel, One Choice released. When the comments came in, readers wanted Princess Anaya’s story. (One Choice was about her brother, Prince Josiah.) I sat at my computer for months after that first release trying to write her story with no success. Anaya wouldn’t speak to me. I didn’t give up on writing her story, but I decided I needed to step back. And it worked. In late October 2014, I searched for her picture, which is my first step to start a new novel.

As I considered her story, I wondered what would happen if her first choice of the nobles her father, the king, approved of turned out to be a scoundrel. I didn’t realize how much of a cad her choice would be. It surprised me that he made it to the list of acceptable candidates, but really it only goes to show that some people can put on a mask of perfection and yet be someone completely different.

Second Choice begins when Anaya finds a note from her fiancĂ© telling her he can’t go through with the wedding. You’d think her first thought would be for the man who left her, but instead she wondered how her father would react to this unfortunate circumstance. Well, since the title of the book is Second Choice, we know she had to make a decision. And quickly. Three weeks to find a new groom. Could you do it?

Second Choice blurb:
Set to be married in less than a month, Princess Anaya Vallis’s intended runs away, leaving only a cryptic note behind. Her father insists the wedding go forth as planned with a new groom. She has days to make a second choice.

Titus Vasco is like a ship without a rudder, floating through life without purpose. Until she calls. He accepts her proposal without hesitation.

But wedded bliss does not come easily. Two virtual strangers brought together by unforeseen circumstances must learn to trust each other and God’s plan for their lives in order to achieve the happily-ever-after they both long for.

Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer—in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest four, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for two blogs.

Purchase Link:
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Author Links:
Twitter @GingerS219

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Welcome Kathleen Rouser

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming a dear friend of mine, Kathleen Rouser. It's great to have you here, Kathy.

How did you develop a 'love of story'?

That’s a hard question to answer in the sense that I don’t ever remember not loving stories. It seems like it’s always been ingrained in me. I remember how my mom would read books to me and taught me to love them. I couldn’t wait to be old enough to learn to read and memorized the picture book, My Own Little House, just so I could pretend read it to my mom . . . or anyone who would listen. Writing is hard work and what propels me to write is a desire to share stories of characters with depth.

Weren't you sneaky. :) When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?

When I was four I enjoyed imaginary play, looking at books, and having books read to me so much that I wanted to be a writer before I could even read. Funny, how when I found a paper I’d written in fourth grade about what I would be doing in the year 2000. Thirty years later I was a mom with three children and was a writer, exactly what I’d hoped for!

What a cool story. What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?

I pray that my characters will be examples of people whose lives are transformed by a redeeming Savior. I hope readers will come away knowing that Jesus is the One who heals, and forgives, that it’s never too late to start over with His help.

Amen. How does faith play a part in your writing?

I believe God is the One who has equipped me with creativity and a burning desire to tell stories. I ask the Lord for guidance, focus, and productivity for my writing as I am usually a slow, deliberate writer. My desire is to write stories that honor Him. I feel like it’s all in His hands.

Well said. Tell us about your new book.

Here’s the back cover blurb for Rumors and Promises, which takes place in 1900 in a small fictional town:

Sophie Biddle is an heiress on the run. Worse, she has a two-year-old child in tow, an illegitimate daughter she tries to pass off as her little sister. Believing herself abandoned by family and God, Sophie is caught off guard when she meets a kind, but meddling and handsome minister at the local mercantile. Despite her dire straits, Sophie wants only acceptance—not special treatment from the reverend or anyone else.

Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, Michigan, believing he has failed God and his former flock. He works harder than ever to forget his mistake, hoping to prove himself a pleasing servant to his new congregation and once again to God.

In spite of their attempts to stay romantically untangled, Sophie and Ian find themselves drawn closer through their mutual love of music and their love for the child, Caira. When rumors of her “scandalous” past surface, Ian must decide whether to stand by the lovely Sophie’s side, while Sophie must decide whether to confess the ruse she thought necessary. Will they accept God’s forgiveness and risk forging a future together? Or will they continue to go it alone?

Sounds exciting. I can't wait to read it. Do you listen to music or snack while writing?

I often listen to our local Christian radio station, Smile FM, which plays a lot of upbeat Christian music. Sometimes I’ve also been known to listen to movie scores to prod me on. I usually have a cup of coffee with cream, thank you very much, by my side, if not a homemade cafĂ© au lait with caramel syrup. If I’m on deadline, chocolate chips or Dove dark chocolate are frequent rescue foods. Not the most virtuous of snacks, but hey, think of all those antioxidants I’m getting!

LOL. You do what you have to do, right? :) Who are your favorite authors?

Jan Karon, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Louisa May Alcott, Francine Rivers, and Ann Tatlock to name a few. There are so many others I enjoy as well.

Those are some good ones. What are you working on now?

I’m working on a stand-alone sequel to Rumors and Promises, with the working title, A Good Medicine. Here’s the tag line: A widow and a pharmacist find remedies for what ails them most where they least expect it.

It also takes place in Stone Creek and involves a widow and a widower, who each have children. Maggie Galloway is a strong woman trying to decide how to steer her future. Thomas Harper, the new apothecary in town, is struggling with his brood of four children and starting his business in Stone Creek.

There’s a lot of humor, healing, and hope in this story as Maggie, Thomas, and their families clash and, yet, manage to find common ground.

I'll definitely be watching for that one. :) Thanks for stopping by today, Kathy.

Kathy has graciously offered to give away a copy of her new book so be sure to leave a comment.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Welcome Gail Pallotta

Special welcome to Gail Pallotta. She has graciously offered to give away a Kindle copy of her book, so be sure to leave a comment. You'll also be entered into my monthly drawing too. :)

Welcome Gail. When did you realize you wanted to become a writer?

I’ve enjoyed storytelling for as long as I can remember. My first published piece appeared in a grammar school newspaper a friend and I put out. However, I hadn’t considered writing seriously until I enrolled in the first creative writing class at the small college I attended. Even though my heart’s desire was to write fiction, in the class I discovered other options, such as working for a newspaper, magazine or radio station. I was hooked and have worked as an editor, copywriter and freelance article writer.

It sounds like you've had an interest in story for a while. How did that develop?

I grew up in a family that loves literature and storytelling. My Irish father and uncle, who lived nearby, would weave a yarn at the blink of an eye. Before I could read, my mother read to me. When I was ill with the measles and the mumps, my father read Aesop’s Fables to me. To make sure I understood the importance of reading, my grandmother, who lived in California, sent a subscription to a young people’s book club.

So you had encouragement from many in your life. :) Tell us about your new book.

Barely above Water tells the story of Suzie Morris, a young woman who’s suddenly stricken with a mysterious illness. Her boyfriend dumps her. She has no living family, and her physician can’t diagnose the malady. She turns to a renowned alternative doctor in Destin, Florida, and takes a job coaching a county-sponsored summer league swim team. She’s determined to turn the fun, sometimes comical, rag-tag bunch into winners. Her handsome boss renews her belief in love, but learns of her affliction and abruptly cuts romantic ties. Later he has regrets, but must overcome his fear of losing someone close then regain Suzie’s trust. She relies on her Christian faith as she faces the uncertainty of the disease, financial burdens without permanent employment and heartbreak in this contemporary romance. In the back of the book two experts answer questions about this mysterious malady.

Sounds intriguing. How does faith play a part in your writing?

People are motivated by what they believe, so at least one, sometimes more, of my characters are driven by or rely heavily on their faith. As in real life someone in the book might have doubts, or not have faith. However, to me faith is such an important, integral part of life, leaving it out would be like omitting something that sustains us, such as water or food.

Amen. What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?

I’d like them to come away satisfied because they’ve read a good book that entertained and inspired them. In the case of Barely above Water, I hope readers will also learn the facts about Chronic Lyme Disease, including the symptoms and where to find help.

Thank you for stopping by today, Gail.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Welcome Morgan Busse

Today I'd like to welcome author, Morgan Busse.

It's great to have you here, Morgan. How did you develop a love of story?

I’ve always loved stories for as long as I can remember. I read almost everything in our small town library and broke the record for the most books read when I was in elementary school. When I wasn’t reading, I was creating stories for my siblings and I to act out (they usually included a unicorn). And when I wasn’t “pretending” with my siblings, I was writing plays for my stuffed animals to perform for my family. I love stories!

So story has been a part of your life for quite a while. :) What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?

Hope. I’ve been through some dark times in my life and even struggled with suicide at one point. Because of that, I write about raw characters who struggle with darkness, both within themselves and in the world around them. However, there is always hope, even if it is just a tiny light. That light is Jesus, and I can’t imagine writing about anything else. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have a reason to live.

Amen. How does faith play a part in your writing?

I do not set out to write about themes of brokenness and redemption, they just appear in my story. Like I said above, I see and experience the darkness that we live in, and the darkness that pervades our world. There is a lot of fantasy out there that deals with these issues, but the hope they arrive at leaves me dissatisfied, or sometimes there is no hope. When I write, I want to share that there is hope, and there is light, and there is a reason to live because that is the hope I have personally found. My faith, consciously and subconsciously, seeps into my stories.

 I'm noticing a pattern of hope. :) Tell us about your new book.

Tainted comes out April 15th. Tainted is the first book in my steampunk series, The Soul Chronicles. Steampunk is a genre where the world setting is similar to the Victorian era or Wild West, but usually set in a different world with fantasy or science fiction elements and technology.

Here is the back blurb for Tainted:

What Happens When Your Soul Dies? Kat Bloodmayne is one of the first women chosen to attend the Tower Academy of Sciences. But she carries a secret: she can twist the natural laws of life. She has no idea where this ability came from, only that every time she loses control and unleashes this power, it kills a part of her soul. If she doesn't find a cure soon, her soul will die and she will become something else entirely.

After a devastating personal loss, Stephen Grey leaves the World City Police Force to become a bounty hunter. He believes in justice and will stop at nothing to ensure criminals are caught and locked up. However, when Kat Bloodmayne shows up in his office seeking his help, his world is turned upside down.

Together they search World City and beyond for a doctor who can cure Kat. But what they discover on the way goes beyond science and into the dark sphere of magic.

Sounds interesting. What is your most difficult writing challenge?

Rough drafts. I hate writing rough drafts. I stare at the screen and try and pull what little creative juices I have out and onto the keyboard. So I make myself write everyday. And since I’m a plotter, I know what I should be writing and where the story should be going. But I hate sitting in that chair and writing! It’s the edits and rewrites that I love because that’s when I get to polish the story into something beautiful. But I can’t do that unless I have the rough draft, so, you know, I have to write that first.

Now I'm the exact opposite. I love the first draft writing process. Not so crazy about the editing stage though. :) What are you working on now?

I am finishing up Awakened, the second book in the Soul Chronicles. After that, I have a couple projects in mind, including another steampunk novel and another fantasy series.

Sounds like you've been busy. One final question. What is your 'how I got published' story?

I started writing shortly after my daughter was born, mainly because I needed a creative outlet and my husband encouraged me to try. It was during a long trip to Seattle that I had this idea about a woman who when she touched someone could see inside their soul. When I arrived home, I started writing what would eventually be my debut novel, Daughter of Light.

I worked on Daughter of Light for six years, improving the story after each critique and after I learned something about writing. At the Mount Hermon Writing conference, I started pitching my epic fantasy. I had a lot of interest, but publishers and agents weren’t sure there was a market for that kind of book. I pitched to one last person: Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press.

Shortly after I arrived home my husband lost his job. It became apparent that I needed to go back to work fulltime to help my family. As a mother of four kids, I knew I could not juggle the needs of my kids, my job, and writing. Something had to go and I knew it had to be my writing. So with much crying, I handed my dream of being a writer to God and walked away from writing to start a fulltime job. A couple weeks later, I heard back from Marcher Lord Press: they wanted my book!
So after a crazy couple of months of writing during my lunch breaks and at night, my debut fantasy novel released: Daughter of Light. That book went on to final in the Christy and Carol Awards for speculative fiction. Since then, I have finished that series and am now preparing to release the first book in my steampunk series, Tainted. It’s been quite a journey!

Wow! What a God story. Thank you for sharing that with us today. Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win this month's giveaway.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Story Behind the Amish Firefighter

 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. Isaiah 43:2

Some time ago, I was surfing Pinterest, and I saw a picture of an Amish man with a team of firefighters, holding a fire hose and rushing toward a brush fire. That picture intrigued me, and I saved it to my Pinterest story board, The Amish Firefighter. (You can see it, here: https://www.pinterest.com/vernetlh/the-amish-firefighter/)

Then I ran across some articles written about Amish firefighters and paramedics. The Amish believe in giving back to their community and that is one way they are allowed to do so. Some of the girls even take EMT classes to work on ambulances or as first responders. Some Amish communities even have signs up, showing Amish men on scooters racing for the fire station or the scene of the fire. 

Wow, impressive!

 Sammy Miller, my hero in The Amish Firefighter, survived a fire in The Postcard. He had already started school to become an EMT and paramedic before the book starts due to an accident in Pennsylvania which killed his best friend, Ezra Weiss. The fire he was rescued from in The Postcard cemented his desire to help others and he became a volunteer fire fighter in Jamesport.

Abigail Stutzman has relocated to Jamesport due to her mother’s marriage to an Amish widower. She thought she was sent there to force her to break up with her boyfriend, who happened to be her step-father’s son. But the story behind her story was so much more volatile than she ever imagined.

When the book opens, Abigail is following a new friend into a barn to meet her boyfriend and some of his friends. But before she makes it back to where the men are, everyone runs out and Abigail is stunned to discover that someone there had set the barn on fire! She tries to think how to best proceed, let the animals out, then call for help? Call for help and start fighting the fire? Fight the fire and then proceed from there? But when running out of the barn she trips and falls over something and there she is discovered by Sammy who is returning from a late class and hears the family dog barking a warning.

An unknown girl. Alone. In a burning barn. What is a man to think?

Sammy went with the obvious. She was a firestarter. An arsonist. And he was going to have her pay.
The flames between Abigail and Sammy were just as dangerous as the fires that were set around the Amish community. And in Abigail’s words, “The spark between them is undeniable, but she could never trust her life—or her heart—to a man who thinks her guilty.”

I absolutely loved The Amish Firefighter, and writing this story. It was fun, exciting, and not at all predictable. Not only that, but both Abigail and Sammy go through the refiner’s fire, growing spiritually and in ways they never expected.

Pick up your copy of The Amish Firefighter. Available for preorder at your favorite retailer. 

 Thank you, Laura for sharing about your new book. For more information about Laura, be sure to check this out.

Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.

Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard,  and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter releasing in May 2016, followed by two more Amish books and a Christmas story releasing in Fall 2016, Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 respectively.

She has self-published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens.

Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer and blogs for Putting on the New and Seriously Write.

twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Back in the Saddle by Ruth Logan Herne

Colt Stafford returns home with his tail between his legs. After becoming penniless and failing at his career on Wall Street, he has no other choice but to go back to the one place he vowed never to return to, his father's home.

Angelina Morales seems to be more than just his father's housekeeper and cook. She'd hiding something, and he aims to discover it.

Troubles abound as Colt agrees to work with his younger brother to help during calving season on the ranch. Their father is ill and may not recover. Colt has no desire to stay any longer than necessary until he finds himself enjoying Angelina's company more and more.

I loved this modern version of the Prodigal Son that Ruth Logan Herne wove. She had me rooting for each of the characters and eagerly flipping pages to learn more of this delightful tale. I give a 4 out of 5 for happily-ever-afters.

This book was provided free for review by Multnomah Books - 2016.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Welcome Sherry Kyle!

 Here we are in a new month already. The calendar says spring has arrived, but the temperatures tell a different story. :)

Today I'd like to welcome Sherry Kyle. She writes for women and tweens. Can you tell us how you developed your love of story, Sherry?

I have always loved to read, but it wasn’t until I was a mom that I developed a love of story. When my children were small, I would take them to the public library and check out stacks of books. Although I enjoyed reading them, I found I had more fun creating stories of my own so I enrolled in writing courses. And as they say, the rest is history.

I imagine you created some fun stories for your children. :) How does faith play a part in your writing?

I wouldn’t be able to write faith-based books if I didn’t connect with God on a daily basis. Besides my quiet time, I pray before I write and ask God to help me put the words on the page. This helps me to rely on Him, get rid of the inner editor telling me my writing is no good, and allows the creativity to flow.

I know what you mean about the importance of bathing our writing in prayer...and our editing. :) What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?

I write sweet, heartwarming books for women and tween girls. I hope women connect with my novels and come away satisfied, and I pray girls connect with God in a deeper way.

That's wonderful. Tell us about your new book.

I have two new books for girls that released in the last two months. The Girl’s Guide to Life is an interactive book for tween girls about many topics girls think about, such as family, friends, boys, school, nutrition, fitness, faith, among many others. There are stories, activities, crafts, Bible verses, and fun quizzes to help girls navigate life and help them make good decisions. Love, Lexi: Letters to God is a fictionalized devotional for 10-14 year old girls. The book is in journal form and follows Lexi, a seventh grader and a middle child, as she seeks to put God first in her life. There are Bible verses, a short devotional, and place for girls to journal and write their own letters to God.

They sound like fun books for girls. What is your most difficult writing challenge?

My most difficult writing challenge is balancing writing with my family life. I have four kids between the ages of 16-23, with three of them living at home. I feel it’s a great privilege to do what I love and stay connected with my kids throughout the day, but it’s also hard to carve out solid writing time. I know it won’t be long until my kids leave the nest, and I’ll wish to be interrupted! :)

Treasure your time with your kids. That time slips by so quickly. I've been an empty nester for a few years now. Do you listen to music or snack while writing?

I like it quiet when I write so that I can hear the characters in my head. I try not to snack too much while I write, but I’m known to create my own trail mix (nuts, Honey Nut Cheerios, chocolate acai berries, and Cheez-It crackers). I do like to sip on tea or drink a SoBe water while at the computer.
Sounds good. :) What is your 'how I got published' story?

My first book is titled The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style, and was published after I sent it in as an unsolicited manuscript. I still remember getting the phone call and hearing the editor say, “We’d like to publish your manuscript!”

The book is part of a series of girl’s guides from different authors, and I’m so thankful I had the nerve to send it in. The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style went on to win a Gold Mom’s Choice Award and continues to resonate with tween girls—and their moms. :)

That's wonderful. :) If you'd like to connect more with Sherry, here is her information.

Sherry Kyle is the author of books for tween girls, including a Gold Mom’s Choice Award winner, and new releases The Girl’s Guide to Life and Love, Lexi: Letters to God. She also writes novels for women set along the coast of California where she makes her home with her college sweetheart and their four children. When she’s not writing, Sherry spends her time reading, having coffee with friends, and decorating her beach home. You can visit her at www.sherrykyle.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Don't forget that all comments this month will be entered into the drawing for Kissed by a Cowboy by Debra Clopton.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April is Here!

I can hardly believe it's April already. These past three months have zoomed by for me. I know this month will be as action packed as the prior ones.

Let's first start with some old business. The winner of the March giveaway is Kelly Goshorn. Congratulations, Kelly. I'll be contacting you.

I'm still finalizing the April calendar, but here's what I have so far.

April 6 - Interview with author Sherry Kyle
April 8 - Book review of Back in the Saddle
April 9 - Guest blogger Laura V. Hilton
April 13 - Interview with author Morgan Busse
April 20 - Interview with author Gail Pallotta
April 27 - Interview with author Kathy Rouser
April 30 - Guest blogger Ginger Solomon

All comments this month will be thrown into the hat for their chance to win Debra Clopton's new book, Kissed by a Cowboy.

Happy First day of April.