Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Donna Schlachter Talks About Her New Book In The Pony Express Romance Collection. Gives Away A Print Copy (U.S.)




A Warm Welcome to Donna Schlachter

Donna will give away a print copy of The Pony Express Romance Collection (U.S. Residents Only). To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.

Hi Donna, first, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Canadian by birth, an American by choice, and I consider myself more patriotic and more thankful for this country than many who were born here. When I was little, I would look at the map of North America, and wonder why my ancestors didn’t stay on the boat for another few months. Then again, when my ancestors came to Canada, there was no America. I am an accountant by training, and tend to be very linear. For that reason, although I’ve always wanted to take painting lessons, I’ve never tried because I’m sure I could paint cubes but not much else.

Lots of writers loved to read as children. How about you? If so, what did you read?

I was an avid reader. I once was so engrossed in a book I was reading on the school bus, I completely missed my stop and ended up at the bus depot about 20 miles from home. The driver had to call my mother who then came to pick me up. I also used to choose my books based on the most number of pages for the price. Scholastic Book Club was my favorite day, and my mother would give me a quarter, and I could usually get two 100-page books for that, plus a little left over for candy.

Why do you write?

I could go all spiritual on you and say because God called me to write. And that’s part of it. And I could go all intellectual on you and say because the stories are inside and they must come out. And that’s another huge part of my reason for writing. But recently, as I have looked back on what I write, I realize they share a common thread: stories of second chances. So I think that’s the reason I write. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, and should have been in prison or dead (that’s a tale for another day), and yet God has been so gracious and merciful in giving me second, and third, and fourth chances, that I want to share that grace and mercy with other broken people just like me who are seeking another opportunity to get it right.

Tell us about your latest book.

The Pony Express Romance Collection is my first traditionally published book, and it contains 9 novellas from different authors about the Pony Express. My particular story, Echoes of the Heart, is about a woman running from her past, and a man who thinks he has no future. Through a series of misunderstandings, they find themselves involved in intrigue and mystery, and must decide whether they will go forward together—or alone.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

 My good friend Mary Davis invited me to be part of this collection, and once I did the research, discovered I loved the Pony Express. I could bend your ear with about 3 hours of facts and information, but suffice it to say, I guess I wrote the story because I love the history and the romantic notion of the Pony Express.

What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?

I love the physical book itself—the cover art, the feel of the paper, the delightful old-fashioned look about it. The folks at Barbour Publishing did a fantastic job! I also love the sense of camaraderie that developed among the writers as we promoted the book. And I hope readers would be able to tell others that our history is accurate, our stories compelling, and our characters are just like them.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

I collect newspaper clippings, photos from magazines, snippets of information I overhear in coffee shops, internet news stories, and interesting stuff from museums and other historic displays. I like to ask “what if” about history, and I love watching videos. In short, from everywhere.

In three words describe your style of writing.

Constantly percolating and evolving

How do you get to know your characters?

Sometimes I spend the entire first chapter or two getting to know them, then I delete that and start where the story should start. Sometimes I already know them, because I’ve met them somewhere.

What themes do you write about?

Grace and mercy through second chances. I also like my stories to brighten the reader’s day, even if it’s a tough circumstance or topic.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?

I write almost every day for at least some part of the day. I have an office that I share with my husband in our home, and I also love to write at a local coffee shop. In fact, every Monday morning, and many times 1 or 2 afternoons a week, I’m at the coffee shop writing. I find the change of scenery helps me focus more on the writing and less on the laundry.

Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?

First of all, I am truly blessed to be a kept woman. I don’t have to work outside the home, and my husband is very supportive of my writing. That said, I try to compartmentalize the other things I do. I edit, ghostwrite, and publish for clients. I also proofread legal documents one day a week. I do some data entry for a company for about a half hour each morning. Bookkeeping, laundry, meals, etc. etc. all have their time and place. Hubby and I are also very active in an international ministry which takes time. So I use a calendar to keep it all straight, and a white board beside my desk that tells me the bigger tasks I have to do each day. Balance it? What’s that? If anybody can give me the answer to that question, I’d sure appreciate it. Although one thing I did this year is hire a virtual assistant to handle most of my social media.


More About The Pony Express Romance Collection
Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express.
Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials?

Buy The Pony Express Romance Collection on Amazon
and in Echoes of the Heart on Amazon

Bio:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. Donna recently taught the popular Don't Let Your Subplots Sink Your Story, an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers, and will teach another course in May 2018 on The Middle Muddle. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

Connect with Donna on

History Thru the Ages
Her website
Facebook
Twitter 


Monday, October 9, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Lillian Duncan Talks About Puzzle House, Her New Book. Shares A Link To Enter Her Giveaway





A Warm Welcome to Lillian Duncan 


To celebrate the release of Puzzle House, Lillian’s having a very special giveaway on her blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes. Leave a comment on one of her Puzzle House posts and you’re entered to win.


Hi Lillian, tell us a little about yourself.

My husband and I live in a small town in Ohio. I mean small—we only have 1 traffic light. I grew up in the area, but moved to the big city of Cleveland for many years. Like Dorothy, I love being home again.

What is your favorite genre to read? To write? 

Mostly I read and write Christian mystery and suspense with a little horror thrown in. Puzzle House is a complete departure from what I usually write. I would simply classify it as Christian Fiction, like the book War Room.

Tell us about Puzzle House. 

I call it the book I never wanted to write!

Really? Can you explain that?

Early on in the story, the main character (Rachel Summers) discovers she has brain tumors due to a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF 2).

Neuro…what?

That’s exactly what I said when I was diagnosed with NF 2 and bilateral brain tumors in 2012. Don’t gasp! The tumors are almost always non-cancerous but as I like to say that hasn’t stopped them from wreaking havoc on my health and my life.

And that is why I say Puzzle House is the book I never wanted to write. I would never have written it if I hadn’t developed the brain tumors. But I do have NF 2 and the brain tumors and Puzzle House is one of the good things that’s come from it.

What inspired you to write this novel in particular?

I wanted to show that even when you have a serious chronic illness, God can use you to help others.

What is Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2)?

It’s a rare genetic disease that allows tumors to grow anywhere there are nerves, but most people with NF2 develop brain tumors, which I did. The tumors affect both your hearing and your balance which can affect your health in significant ways. It’s been a difficult journey but God is good. There’s a lot I can’t do these days because of the brain tumors, but I can still write!

It's wonderful that you're writing. Tell us a bit about the main characters in your new book.

Rachel Summers was all about Rachel Summers until the day she crashed into a semi-truck. While in a coma she has a very special visitor that asks a very special question. Do you want to be healed or to be a healer? Her answer changes the course of her life as well as many others.

What’s the setting for Puzzle House

It starts out in the icy cold city of Cleveland, Ohio but moves on to the warmth of Georgia.

What do you want readers to take away from Puzzle House?

That God can and does still do miracles but the miracle we want isn’t always the miracle we need and God knows the difference.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to Puzzle House. It’s called The David Years and without giving too much of the plot of Puzzle House away, it follows one of the characters you meet in Puzzle House.




About Puzzle House

Life isn't a box of candy—it's a puzzle! Rachel Summers is all about Rachel Summers...until the day she crashes headlong into a semi-truck. As her life hangs in the balance, she has a visitor who asks a very simple question.Does she want to be healed or to be a healer?She makes her choice, but the journey doesn't go quite the way she expected. And so Rachel now runs The Puzzle House. Every guest is different and yet the same. They all come to the Puzzle House for one reason and one reason only—to be healed. Sometimes they receive their miracle, and sometimes they discover there's more than one kind of healing.Nia is a fifteen-year-old African-American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. And she's angry about that. Very angry. Against her wishes, Nia's aunt brings her to The Puzzle House.Together, Nia and Rachel will take a journey that will change both their lives.

Buy on Amazon

Bio:
Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, visit her websiteblogdevotional blogFacebook and Twitter  @LillianDuncan.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Catherine Castle Talks About Her New Romantic Comedy, A Groom For Mama




A Warm Welcome to Catherine Castle

Hi Catherine, Thanks for sharing a sweet devotional!



When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Pie

photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons


We’ve all experienced it—that thing or things that bring us down. Maybe it’s a health problem, the loss of a loved one, a broken heart, or disappointment at work or home. Whatever life-lemons you are handed it can be very hard to see the sweeter side of the problem.

There’s a lovely elderly lady in our church who has dementia. She’s at the stage where she knows she’s not remembering things. She can’t cook anymore because she can’t remember whether or not she’s added an ingredient, and most of the time she can’t remember the recipes she once knew by heart. We often eat supper with her after church and she sometimes can’t remember what she ordered. The ladies at the table watch out for her to make sure she gets the right drink and meal.

Dementia is one of the scariest diseases I know, yet Laurie (named changed to protect her) faces this disease smiling, joking about it even. The other day when I ran into her at the local diner, I asked her how she was. “Fine,” she said with a broad smile. Then she laughed and added, “If I was doing bad I wouldn’t remember it anyway. Might as well be fine.”

Lauri has been handed a big pile of lemons, pretty sour ones, yet somehow she’s found the recipe to make a sweet lemon pie from the awful thing that is happening to her. One of the ingredients she’s using to make her lemons more palatable is humor.

Science tells us that laughter is good for us. Not only does it trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers, laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Research has found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. Laughter can reduce stress hormones, lower your blood pressure, and even work your abs. If you’ve ever had a spell of uncontrollable laughter, the kind that puts you into tears, you know what I’m talking about.

The Bible also addresses the need for us to laugh and be happy, calling a merry heart “good medicine.”( Prov. 17:22 ) When Job’s friends came to cheer him up, they said, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.” (Job 8:21), indicating that God would cheer Job up once again and that He is with us even in the lowest parts of our lives. Psalm 118:24 even commands us to be happy, saying. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Sometimes it’s hard to see the joy in a bad situation, and a good laugh won’t cure all your ills. But if, like my friend Laurie, when you can see the humor in spite of the pain—make a lemon pie from the sour hand you’ve been dealt, you may be able to find the joy and contentment in whatever situation you find yourself in.

Psalms 16: 8-11 says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

So, the next time life hands you lemons, try making a sweet pie with it. Believe me, it will taste much better than the bitterness of sorrow or anger.

In my sweet romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama, Mama uses humor and a positive attitude to deal with her troubles. She also isn’t above playing the scheming Cupid in order to get her daughter married to the right man. A string of disastrous dates, a search for a cancer treatment, and a hunt for a bridegroom bring Allison dangerously close to the last man she ever wants to marry. Or does she?





About A Groom for Mama

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

Bio:

Catherine Castle loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she quilts and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place is in her garden. She’s a passionate gardener who won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award. Her most recent release, A Groom for Mama, is a sweet romantic comedy from Soul Mate Publishing.  Both books are available on Amazon.

Buy A Groom for Mama On Amazon

Connect with Catherine:

On her  website
blog 
Amazon page
Goodreads
twitter 
Facebook
Google+

Stitches Thru Time
SMP authors blog site


Monday, October 2, 2017

Looking Out The Window: American Christian Fiction Writers October New Releases








More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:


The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner -- Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier. (Contemporary Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)



A Waltz for Amber by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Amber, a struggling dance teacher, is desperate to make a success of her studio. The quickly approaching Christmas recital should help except for one problem—the high school music teacher scheduled the holiday program on the same night, causing a conflict for her students. Will she be able to sustain her business or will she lose everything in the pursuit of her dream? Chris is thrilled to be back in his hometown. However, his past won’t stay in the past, and the pretty dance instructor is a constant reminder of his failings. He wants to make up for his youthful mistake directed at her, but how? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



Secret Christmas Twins by Lee Tobin McClain -- Christmas came early for Erica Lindholm! Suddenly a mom to adorable twin baby boys and part owner of a snowy small-town Pennsylvania farm, Erica is living her dream. Until the boys' estranged uncle, Jason Stephanidis, comes home to celebrate the holidays. The handsome, brooding detective turns out to be a natural with the babies...and with Erica's wounded heart. But if Jason knew the truth about their identities, her picture-perfect life could melt away. Will Erica's secret cost her everything? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Fall Into Romance by Melanie D. Snitker Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town—its people—and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



A Texas Holiday Reunion by Shannon Taylor Vannatter -- With her foreman out of commission, Resa McCall needs horse trainer Colson Kincaid to run her family ranch through the holidays. But having the handsome single dad back in Bandera, Texas, is unsettling. Colson broke Resa's heart years ago, and she can't risk getting close again. Still, working with him and bonding with his sweet little girl is making the ranch feel merry and bright. Being at Resa's side stirs up emotions Colson thought were long gone. But he has a powerful secret that could keep them apart forever. Can Colson give Resa the one Christmas present that might finally bring them back together—the truth? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall -- Arson wasn't the only fire that ignited between them. Promises shattered. Lies spoken. She was arrested. He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family. Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all? (Contemporary Romance from Woodsmall Press)

General Contemporary (includes Women's Fiction):


Piper's Passion by Lee Carver -- Piper Jordan, an American reared in Brazil, had her pilot’s license before she could drive and her aviation maintenance certificate before her business degree. Pulled between two countries, two career paths, and separated parents, she strives to determine what is significant and what to do with her life.
Kyle Chamberlain, pilot with Outreach for Christ, wears a wedding ring that says he’s not ready to date again after Rosanna’s death. Wielding a wrench with the cutest pilot/mechanic he’s ever seen turns his head. But would a dynamic woman with her talents and eventual inheritance accept his missionary life in the Amazon? (Contemporary Women's Fiction, Independently Published)



Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon -- Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical:


Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano -- When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death. (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)



The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T Toney -- In 1925, a thirteen-year-old boy witnesses a crime—the murder of a family friend—and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy mobsters and corrupt police to save his family. (Historical from Write Integrity Press)

Historical Romance:

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander -- In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)



The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn -- Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


A Mountain Christmas Romance by Misty M. Beller -- Stripped of the family so important to his Viking heritage, Matthias Bjork is now on the hunt for his sister. Despite combing the entire Wyoming Territory, he hasn’t found any substantial leads regarding his sister’s whereabouts, but he has discovered a most unusual woman.
Opal Boyd has finally found the haven she’s longed for all her life, in a most unlikely place—working for a German couple in this remote Wyoming mountain town. She learned long ago that most men couldn’t be trusted, but when a mountain man stops in the boarding house where she works, he seems to have the respect and affection of the two people she’s learned to trust implicitly.
But when Matthias’ search for his sister takes an unexpected twist, Opal is forced to make a choice that will alter the course of her life—no matter which answer she chooses. When Matthias’ decisions land Opal in danger, what must he sacrifice to rescue her? (Historical Romance, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)



Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger -- Feisty Alda Lealand braves fifteen hundred miles with a pack string of mules—and the help of an unexpected cowboy--to save the family farm. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])



Playing by Heart by Carmela A. Martino -- Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent to a convent instead. Ironically, Emilia’s pious older sister, Maria, would gladly become a nun. But Father won’t allow it—her brilliant language skills are too important to his quest for noble status. Emilia’s only hope is to prove her musical talents are as indispensable as her sister’s skills. First, though, Emilia must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Before she can carry out her plan, though, Emilia's mother dies in childbirth. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside handsome violinist Antonio Bellini, the great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. The two begin as rivals, but Emilia gradually falls in love with him. (Historical Romance from Vinspire Publishing)

Historical Western:


Too Far Down by Mary Connealy -- A citified mine operator and a tough western cowgirl are the most unlikely couple of all as they team up to fight the outlaws that want the Cimarron Ranch. (Historical Western from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:


Dangerous Ground by Gayla K. Hiss -- Deputy Marshal Kate Phillips comes to the Great Smoky Mountains in search of answers concerning her uncle’s suspicious death, and finds herself in the middle of an ancient family feud and a land dispute with handsome first responder, David Jennings. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)



Christmas Captive by Liz Johnson -- On his cousin's Christmas cruise wedding, navy SEAL Jordan Somerton anticipated having the typical best man duties—not facing down criminals boarding the ship. But when the luxury liner is infiltrated by men determined to kidnap the flower girl, he's plunged into an unexpected mission. Maid of honor and DEA agent Amy Delgado hasn't forgiven Jordan for a misunderstanding in their pasts. But with her young niece targeted, she must draw on Jordan's skills as a protector. Signs point to an inside job. With a traitor in their midst, can they ensure that every passenger returns home safely for the holidays…even as they find love amid deepening danger? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:


Transfusion by Victoria Buck -- The world's first transhuman must save the world, or save the woman he loves. (Speculative from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Suspense:


Kill Zone by Rick Acker, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Braxton DeGarmo, Luana Ehrlich, Heather Day Gilbert, Heather I. James, Robert Liparulo, Jordyn Redwood, and Jan Thompson -- Espionage, hacking, police procedural, international crime and intrigue, covert action, spy, secret police, revenge, snipers...and so much more! Ten brand-new, never-before published novellas of suspense, intrigue, and thrills from ten bestselling Christian thriller authors, all packed into this one anthology. (Suspense from Georgia Press LLC)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Gay N. Lewis Talks About Her New Release, Mattie's Choice. Gives Away An E-book.




A Warm Welcome to Gay N. Lewis

Congratulations on your new release!

To enter to win  the e-book leave a comment and an email address below


About Mattie's Choice

It's 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse's abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife--the vivacious Ella--Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens. 

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.


Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

Buy Mattie's Choice in paperback on Amazon here

Buy the Kindle copy here



How much of this book is based on real life?

Almost the entire book. My mother-in-law lived during perilous times. Her sister-in-law, on the husband’s side, became her best friend. In 1925, women were supposed to be submissive, stay married, and if abuse occurred, society considered it to be their fault. My mother-in-law faced a controlling husband. She wasn’t allowed to see her family. The jealous husband prevented her from visiting her child in the hospital. Not only did this strong woman succeed as an amazing mother, but she also endured The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and other historical events of the day. This is not a biography, but it is inspired by a woman who did what I couldn’t do.

What makes this book special to you?

It has been on my heart for more than ten years. I’ve rewritten it many times. I’ve prayed over it so often that I believe the Lord is saying to me, “Enough already. I’ve heard you.”

Why is this a must read?

This book is historical, but contemporary women face controlling, abusive men. My prayer is that, through this book, they see the damages and consequences and get help. Help is available today, but it wasn't for Mattie in 1925.

What does your family think of your writing?

Oh my! What a question! My husband and daughters think all my books are wonderful. My husband’s siblings have mixed reactions about my latest, Mattie’s Choice. Admitting their mom lived with a man who abused her is painful. I’ve told them often that the book is not biographical, but that their mom inspired it. She was a strong woman who reared eleven successful children. Four entered the ministry. Some events in this book actually happened to her. Additional events occurred to others I know. A few I totally invented.

Any advice for women planning a wedding?

If you're considering marriage, learn as much as you can about the intended's family. Did he or she grow up with abuse? Ask questions. Who will manage money? Will there be a budget? Can we make decisions together? If there's a disagreement, are you, as a wife, willing to allow your husband to lead?

Where can we reach you?

Web site

Blog

Amazon author page

Facebook

 Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Winner of Cold Blooded


Wish we could give everyone a copy of Cold Blooded, but we drew a name, and the winner is...

Hats, horns...

Congratulations...

Janet!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Looking Out the Window: Anne Patrick Talks About Her New Thriller, Cold Blooded. Gives Away a Kindle Copy




A Warm Welcome to Anne Patrick


Anne will give away a Kindle copy of Cold Blooded. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.

Hi Anne, first, tell us a little about yourself.

I've written over a dozen stories of Romance, Mayhem, and Faith.  When I'm not working on my next novel I enjoy spending time with family and friends.  Formerly a native of Oklahoma, I now reside in Kansas.

Lots of writers loved to read as children. Did you? If so what did you read?

Oh yes.  I've been a mystery lover since I was a kid.  Mostly Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys.  As I grew older, my mother introduced me to Phyllis A. Whitney's books.  One of my favorites was 'The Mystery of the Haunted Pool' which won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Juvenile novel.

Why do you write?

I've always been a storyteller, even as a kid.  I'd dream up these wild adventures which a lot of times got me into trouble.  Finally, my mother convinced me to start writing the stories down instead of participating in them.  I didn't get grounded quite as much.

LOL. Tell us about your latest book.

Cold Blooded is a romantic suspense.  My heroine, Gwen Jamison, is a headstrong detective who is currently working a string of armed robberies.  When a clerk ends up getting murdered, Gwen is convinced the suspect has killed before and may be connected to an unsolved case from a few years ago.  Now she must race against the clock to find a sole witness to solve the case, all the while butting heads with her new lieutenant.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

The idea first came to mind a few years ago while reading a newspaper article.  That's where a lot of my ideas come from.

What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?

Gwen had a tough upbringing, which eventually destroyed what little faith she had.  During the course of this story, she must come to terms with her past and in the process learns that God never abandoned her.  He always placed people in her life to help her on her journey.  When something bad happens in our life and we have no one else to blame, we often blame God and fail to see the work He does in bringing about some good from every bad situation.

How do you get to know your characters?

Once I have a clear picture of who they are and what their goals and motivations are they sort of come alive in me.  They're with me constantly throughout the day and often in my dreams.  I know that sounds weird and maybe a little crazy but I don't know how else to explain it.  They more or less write the story.  I just listen and type.

What themes do you write about?

In all my books I like to include a little romance, mystery, and a faith element.  God has blessed me with this gift and I want to use it in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?

I've been fortunate in the past couple of years to be able to go part time in my day job, which allows me more writing time.  Afternoons and evenings is when I do most of my writing, leaving the weekends to spend with friends and family.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

Oh I'm a pantzer all the way.  Once my characters come alive I let them take over and tell me their story.  I of course have an idea of the plot and where it'll eventually take me but there are a lot of surprises along the way and that's what I love about being a pantzer.  It's like riding a roller coaster.  You never know what's over the hill or around the corner.  A lot of the times I don't know who the bad guy is until I'm almost to the end of the book.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?

Absolutely!  I think everyone struggles in their faith at one time or another.  I know I have.  I like to include this theme in a lot of my stories.  Like me, my characters aren't perfect.  Things happen in life that sometimes make it difficult to believe in the existence of a loving God.  I want my readers to know that no matter what dark valley you're traveling through, He is right beside you.  He will never, ever, forsake you!

What a great message to share. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

The best piece of advice I can offer to a new or budding author is to never give up.  There are a lot of ups and downs in the craft and there will be times you may want to throw in the towel, but don't.  Sooner or later the door will open for you and you'll find your groove.  Undoubtedly, the best book I've read about the craft is Stephen King's book 'On Writing.'  He may not be your cup of tea, but he offers some great advice.




More About Cold Blooded

Detective Gwen Jamison has the highest closure rate in her division, but when a string of armed robberies turn deadly she must race against the clock to find the sole witness that can end the carnage.  Standing in her way is a cold-blooded killer who she fears has murdered before. 

Lieutenant Ian McKean knew he would have his hands full when he took over leadership of the detectives unit. He wasn't prepared for the headstrong Detective Jamison, though, who quickly becomes a thorn in his side. 

If they can stop butting heads long enough they might realize they are more alike than either imagined.

Buy Cold Blooded on  Amazon

Anne loves to hear from readers. Visit her on her website
And on Facebook

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Laura V. Hilton Discusses Her Newest Book, Christmas Admirer, And The Story Behind It. Shares Glass Blowing Photos. Gives Away A Book.



A Warm Welcome to Laura Hilton

Laura will give away EITHER an ebook OR a print book (US only). Winner’s choice. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.

Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer

By Laura V. Hilton


Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.

But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.












It was fascinating.

And I got to thinking what if…

So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.

The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:

The Snow Globe
The Postcard
The Birdhouse
The Amish Firefighter
The Amish Wanderer
The Kissing Bridge  (part of Springs of Love collection)
The Christmas Admirer
Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection--November 2018)
Love by the Numbers (February 2018)

I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.

All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.




About The Christmas Admirer

Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but other than a lone summer filled with romantic buggy rides, marrying her remains an elusive dream. When his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, they left him as the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters and his grandparents. What woman wants to step into a ready-made family like his? Still, he leaves her monthly gifts from “A Secret Admirer,” hoping she’ll know that someone loves her, even though he isn’t free to step forward.

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, and hopes he’s her secret admirer, but now the clock is ticking. Susanna’s father is remarrying in January and his wife-to-be doesn’t want to leave her Amish community and family in Iowa. So when Susanna’s daed sells his glass-blowing business to his right-hand man, Benaiah, she’s left with three options: 1) Go with Daed to his new home with a new frau and step-kinner, 2) Flush out her mysterious secret admirer, or 3) Resign herself to life as an old maid. She doesn’t want to follow Daed where his new frau is leading him. And number three isn’t happening. Marrying Benaiah is her greatest desire—but he broke her heart, and now he treats her like a pesky younger sister. Can she make him see her as a woman, one who could stand by his side as he cares for his family?

As Christmas approaches, Susanna and her friends start making gingerbread houses for select members of the community. Susanna plans for hers to go to Benaiah’s family. But while her gingerbread may find a home—will her heart?

Bio: 

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

Learn more about Laura

On Amazon
At Lighthouse-Academy Blog
Laura's Blog
twitter: @Laura_V_Hilton
Facebook
Pinterest

Purchase Laura's books:

 On Amazon
CBD
Barnes and Noble
Deeper Shopping

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Looking Out The Window: American Christian Fiction Writers September New Releases






September 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:


Planting Hope by Brenda S. Anderson -- Jess Beaumont is trying to get her separated parents together again by restoring the family cabin gardens that helped them fall in love. Luke Harrison inherited his Gran’s candy store, but would rather have a Vice President position in his family’s land development business—a sure sign of his father’s approval. To get the promotion, he must acquire the land on both sides of his store within five months, including the Beaumont cabin. As Luke gets to know Jess, he realizes buying the Beaumont cabin and land will nip their blossoming romance in the bud. Even worse, it could end her parents’ marriage. But if he doesn’t succeed, he could be trading his corner office for the candy store counter…for good. Is their romance doomed? Or could the classic combination of chocolate and flowers solve everything? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



An Amish Christmas Love by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman -- Fall in love this Christmas to the gentle pace of Amish courtship. In Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman, six lonely hearts find healing in the Stoltzfus homestead basement while waiting out a Christmas Eve storm. In The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston, a group of young people and a forbidden house cat bring reminders of love and hope to a grieving widow at Christmas. In Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin, A young woman’s prayer for a Christmas proposal is delayed by the appearance of her potential groom’s first love, whom me met on his rumspringa. In Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid, an Englisch woman thinks she’s breaking into the house her aenti left to her, only to discover she’s trespassing upon an Amish widower and his young daughter, whose quiet way of life tempts her to stay. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)



Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson --Maggie Marovich lost her father to Hurricane Katrina, so she’s dedicated her life to meteorology and plans never to return to the Mississippi Coast or the ship pilot she once loved—until a family crisis sends her running headlong into a storm. (Contemporary, Independently Published)



The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton -- Susanna’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)



Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington by Annette Irby -- Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancé. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and accumulated debt. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue Mikaela if she ever returned to the island single. But what will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)



Returning Home by Toni Shiloh -- Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings. Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker. Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from? (Contemporary, Independently Published)




All This Time by Melissa Tagg -- Ten years ago, Bear McKinley gave up everything—his freedom and his reputation—for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him. Raegan Walker is happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago—and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)




Home All Along by Beth Wiseman -- Charlotte has made a home for herself in Amish Country with Daniel. But unforeseen events rock their fragile world and may move them even further away from the life they long for. Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and community help them become strong enough to build a life together? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

General Contemporary:


Mercy Triumphs by Jana Kelley -- Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God’s mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. (General from New Hope Publishers)



Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan -- Is it a midlife pregnancy or ... cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she’s sure but it isn’t easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins double wedding, the caterer cancelling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire s life is upside down. Meanwhile, shy Lacey Dawson faces the emotional effects of traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction, and rumors of gold in Chapel Springs have greedy investors clamoring to buy all the homes in town and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs ever be the same? (General from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

Historical:


A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott -- What would it have been like to be a woman, a Gentile, and someone onto whom the Holy Breath moved - to produce what became the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews in the Bible? (Historical from TSU Press [Trinity Southwest University])



Queen of Sheba by Jill Eileen Smith -- King Solomon meets his equal in the Queen of Sheba and does his best to give her everything she seeks to find, but will he be able to give her the deepest longing of her heart? (Historical from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)
Historical Romance:


These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart -- When life takes an unexpected turn, Francine Howard finds work in the mountains as a midwife where healing and love await her. (Historical Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)



12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep -- Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation and is promised a sum of five hundred pounds if she will remain a guest at Bleakly Manor for the duration of a twelve-day Christmas celebration. Then she learns Benjamin Lane, who left her at the altar, is also in attendance. Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whomever stole his honor. Torn between money, revenge, and love, will Clara and Ben last the full twelve days at Bleakly Manor and learn what matters most at Christmas? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Mystery:


When the Bishop Needs and Alibi by Vannetta Chapman -- Amish bishop Henry Lapp eagerly awaits the annual arrival of 20,000 sandhill cranes to the San Luis Valley of Colorado. But his visit to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge reveals more than just a miracle of God's creation. Hidden among the bulrushes and cattails is the deceased body of a young woman. As the local authorities attempt to unravel the mystery, Henry feels God's calling to use his extraordinary talent to aid in the investigation. His ability to draw from memory in photographic detail could help solve this puzzling case. Henry's closest friend, Emma Fisher, has always urged him to embrace his gift. As their relationship deepens, Henry realizes his involvement could put him and those he loves in the direct path of a killer, one who is willing to do anything to cover up a brutal crime, including framing the bishop. (Mystery from Harvest House)



The House Next Door by Susan Page Davis -- As Jennifer’s due date approaches, Harvey decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement? (Mystery, Independently Published)



Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel -- Detective Jasper Hollock thought he wanted nothing more than a real case. But when the man who raised him stands on the brink of suicide and mysterious incidents sabotage the factory, Jasper has 24 days to unravel the malicious plot and convince his employer that life is worth living. (Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:


Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley -- A security specialist is accused of murder and must clear her name or her career is over, but her investigation draws her into the path of a killer, and she finds herself fighting for her life. When a man from her past is called in to investigate, she may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)



Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty -- An innocent bike ride leads to a hostage situation, jeopardizing an undercover mission and two stubborn hearts. (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)



Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan -- A female attorney hires a former Army Ranger turned private investigator to help research an alleged pharmaceutical cover-up. As the case deepens, both hearts and lives become endangered. It appears someone is willing to risk everything--even murder--to keep the case from going to trial. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])



Uncharted Hope by Keely Brooke Keith --
Sophia Ashton must prove herself in her new job while researching the gray leaf medicine and dealing with her toxic family. (Romantic Suspense from Edenbrooke Press)

Thriller/Suspense:


Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig -- Perhaps the only person as skilled as Cole "Tox" Russell is Alec King, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago. Now he’s back, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier. Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])



Witness Protection by Carol Kinsey -- After four years in witness protection, Ty Westgate’s identity has been exposed - with the help of a struggling nurse, the ex-lawyer with a new faith must work to unravel the truth behind his adversaries before he’s silenced permanently. (Thriller/Suspense, Independently Published)





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