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Book Spotlight And Author Interview (+ Giveaway!) — In Black And White

7 Mar

About The Book

Book: In Black and White

Author: Maryann Diorio

Genre: New Adult

Release Date: November 1, 2019

In Black and WhiteA white woman. A black man. And their forbidden love.

Can endurance and faith sustain the love between a white woman and a black man, threatened by rejection, guilt, and racial injustice? Can love alone reconcile their starkly different worlds, lighting the way to a bright future together?

When graduate student, Tori Pendola, a white American woman, and Ghanaian exchange student, Jebuni Kalitsi, heir to his tribe’s chieftaincy, fall deeply in love, they must face not only their own inner demons of rejection and guilt, but also the demons of societal hatred bent on destroying their relationship. Will their love survive the cruel and bitter attacks against them, or will hatred and prejudice gain the upper hand?

In Black and White is a deeply moving story of the power of God’s love to restore all that is broken in our lives.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

About The Author

Mary Ann DiorioDr. MaryAnn Diorio is an award-winning author of compelling, page-turning fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. She is the author of the popular trilogy titled THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES, set in 19th-century Sicily. MaryAnn holds the PhD in French with a concentration in Comparative Literature. She is also a Certified Life Coach and a Licensed Minister. MaryAnn and her husband Dom, a retired ER physician, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the blessed parents of two wonderful adult daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn enjoys painting, playing the piano, and making up silly songs with her grandchildren. You can learn more about MaryAnn and her writing at https://www.maryanndiorio.com

 

More from MaryAnn

Greetings, awesome readers and friends!  It’s great to have you with me on this tour. I trust you’ll be blessed and have lots of fun.

We writers are a strange breed.  While we know what we are writing, we often don’t fully understand what we have written. Does that make sense? If not, let me explain.

Before I started writing In Black and White, I prayed. And I prayed hard. The idea for my story came to me back in the 1990s. Yes. You read that right! But it first came to me as a seed that the Lord planted in my heart. The seed would need time to grow, sprout, and blossom. So, back in the 90s, the Lord told me it wasn’t time to write my story yet.

So, I watered and waited as the seed began to do its thing. At the beginning of 2018, the Lord said, “It’s time.” And I instantly knew what He meant. It was time to start writing In Black and White.

So, in January of 2018, I started writing In Black and White. For almost two years, I wrote. The story took many twists and turns and was finally completed in August of 2019.

I mentioned earlier that we writers don’t often fully understand what we have written. What do I mean? I mean that often, for me, it is after I write the story that I recognize the theme of the story.

It’s like this: A seed doesn’t really understand what its Maker is doing. It just follows the plan. When I write, I don’t fully understand what Holy Spirit is doing. I just follow His lead.

Amazingly, the theme that I recognized in my latest novel is the same theme that appears in virtually all of my fiction. What is that theme? It’s forgiveness.

It seems as though the message of forgiveness is the spiritual trademark of my fiction. Why? Perhaps because I’ve had to do a lot of forgiving during my life—and a lot of asking for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is the reason Jesus came to earth. He died to forgive us. If we want to be like Him, we, too, need to forgive.

So, as you read my story, I pray that it will stir you to forgive anyone and everyone in your life who has hurt you in any way. And, if need be, I pray that my story will encourage you to ask forgiveness of those whom you have hurt.

Our heavenly Father is the Great Forgiver, May we become like Him by making forgiveness the theme of our lives.

With love and blessings,MaryAnn Diorio

 

Recipe for Italian Spaghetti and Meatballs from MaryAnn Diorio’s novel, In Black and White. This is my late Italian mother’s recipe, straight from Italy.

Enza’s Authentic Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

            MEATBALLS 

1 lb. ground meat (beef, veal, pork, turkey, or chicken, or a mixture of two or all three in any proportion)

1 large egg (not beaten)

1 small onion, chopped

1 medium clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped (preferably the flat Italian type, but the curly kind will do)

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (peppercorns ground in peppermill)

Salt to taste (Use 1/8 teaspoon for first time making this recipe and adjust, if needed, next time.)

1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon plain breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon milk (whole, 2% or fat-free)

 

  • Prepare a baking pan (or oven-proof dish) by coating it lightly with any kind of olive oil.
  • Set oven on “bake” and temperature at 350º.
  • Place all recipe ingredients in large bowl.
  • With clean hands, mix all ingredients together until blended.
  • Fill 1/2 cup measuring cup with blended meat mixture ragù.
  • Remove meat mixture from 1/2 cup and roll mixture gently between palms of hands until meatball is shaped.
  • Place meatballs on oil-coated baking pan.
  • Continue measuring meat mixture, shaping it into meatballs and placing meatballs on oil-coated baking pan. NOTE: BE SURE TO LEAVE SPACE AROUND EACH MEATBALL TO ENSURE EVEN COOKING.
  • Bake meatballs for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of meatball comes out clean.

 

NOTE: Any drippings left in pan may be used as basis for homemade pasta sauce (“ragù” or “gravy”). If so desired, cool drippings, place in freezer-proof container, label contents of container, and freeze.

SPAGHETTI

  • Cook pasta of choice according to package directions.
  • Serve with meatballs and your favorite spaghetti sauce.

ENJOY!!!

Q&A With MaryAnn Diorio

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Officially, I first became a writer at age 30.  Up to that point, I had studied and prepared for a career teaching foreign languages at the university level. Prior to that, I had not considered writing as a profession except for a fleeting thought about studying journalism when I was 15. But the instant I walked into my first French class, my heart was smitten with the language, and I went on to earn the PhD in French.

At age 30, I began to have an unusual desire to write.  As the desire intensified, I asked the Lord if this desire was from Him. Through a series of miraculous situations, He confirmed that it was. So, totally clueless, I stepped out in faith and began to write for newspapers and magazines. I did this for several years and then, in 1989, I published my first non-fiction book, You Were Made for Greatness. It is a book about the Christian’s true identity in Christ and the authority and power we have through Him and in Him.

As the years passed, I began to experience an increasing desire to write fiction. The Lord confirmed that He was moving me in this direction when He said to me, “Non-fiction transforms the mind, but fiction transforms the heart. The world needs a transformation of the heart.” So I have been writing fiction ever since.

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

No one I recall specifically encouraged me to pursue writing. But when I was a little girl, my Dad used to read to me from an old volume of poetry called The Oxford Book of English Verse. I remember being awestruck by the lilting rhythm of his voice as he read, the imaginative power of the words as he read them, and the joy with which he read them. I am certain that that experience influenced my desire to write. I wrote an article about my Dad titled “A Legacy of Words” that can be found at this link, for anyone who is interested in reading it:

http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2017/09/14/a-legacy-of-words/

Why did you choose the New Adult (NA) genre?

Ever since I first heard of NA, which requires that a heroine and hero be between the ages of 18 and 30, I was intrigued by the genre. This is the age when most of the most important decisions of life are made—like choosing a spouse, a college or trade, a career, etc. I wanted to depict characters facing not only these critically important decisions but facing them against a backdrop of other very serious problems. In the case of my novel, In Black and White, these serious problems include racism, prejudice, interracial relationships, stark cultural differences, and family and societal opposition.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Yes, many!  Anyone who proclaims the truth of the Gospel, whether through writing or any other venue, will face opposition from the enemy. The obstacles I faced included challenges with my hands and my eyes (both essential to a writer), major computer problems (crashes, loss of files, virus infiltrations, etc.).  But in all of these things, I was “more than a conqueror” through Christ Who loves us!  Praise His Holy Name!  

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

The recurring theme that seems to emerge as I write my stories is the theme of forgiveness.  What I would like my readers to take away from my novels is that forgiveness is essential to following Christ. It is essential to one’s salvation and to one’s physical and mental health.  I have been in healing ministry for many years, and in most cases of sickness, I find that the sick person is holding on to bitterness about a past hurt and has refused to forgive the person who hurt him. When that person forgives, healing begins.

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, March 3

Artistic Nobody, March 4 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 5

Older & Smarter?, March 6

By The Book, March 7 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, March 8

Inklings and notions, March 9

For the Love of Literature, March 10 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, March 11

Pause for Tales, March 12

All 4 and About Books, March 13 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 14

CarpeDiem, March 15

janicesbookreviews, March 16

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, MaryAnn is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click HERE to enter.

 

Author, Author! — Jocelyn Green

24 Feb

If you are a fan of historical fiction, then Jocelyn Green needs to be your go-to author. She consistently creates novels with complex characters and meticulously researched historical details. Her books have opened my eyes to the Civil War, the early settlement of Louisiana, and the conflict between British, American colonists, and Native Peoples in the 1700s. I cannot wait to read her latest book, Veiled in Smoke which is set during the Great Chicago Fire and is the first book in a series that explores Chicago history.

Thanks so much, Jocelyn, for sharing with us today about your writing journey.

 

 

 

Q&A with Jocelyn Green

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

The same was true for me. My first book was writing captions in my Bugs Bunny coloring book to make it an actual story. I don’t remember a time that I wasn’t writing. My first published books were nonfiction, though, mostly devotionals, before I started writing historical fiction.

Why do you write historical fiction?

History still matters today. We can learn so much from the people who lived before us, and how they shaped and were shaped by the events of their generations. Not only can we find inspiration from them, but also a much better perspective as we look at the world today. Unfortunately, so often, history is distilled into a list of dates and names — not interesting at all. The vehicle of historical fiction allows us to explore segments of the past through the lens of the people who lived it. We get to explore the full spectrum of the human condition through the novel. 

Personally, I love learning while being entertained with drama, and studies show that when we’re curious about something — such as what will happen to our heroine in the next chapter — we’re far more likely to remember surrounding details, such as the historical context. To me, that’s the icing on the cake. When readers care about characters and learn about history at the same time, I’m thrilled.

What types of research do you pursue?

All kinds! I use books, scholarly articles, YouTube videos, site visits, interviews with historians and museum curators, interviews with experts on any given topic in the novel. For Veiled in Smoke, aside from reading every book and article about the fire and its aftermath I could find, I toured Chicago with a guide who designed a tour based specifically on what I wanted to know and see before I started writing the novel.  On the same trip, I spent time in the Chicago Historical Society’s archives, reading primary source material such as letters, diaries, first person accounts of the fire, etc. Through the wonder of microfilm, I read newspapers published in Chicago during the weeks and months following the fire. An ongoing correspondence with CHS staff after I went home helped me fill in any blanks I had in my manuscript. 

Other than the historical research, I also consulted with an art professor, bookstore owner, psychologist specializing in work with combat veterans, surgeon, and physical therapist to help me get other details right in my characters’ personal journeys.

Tell us a little about what inspired Veiled in Smoke.

I’m always looking for settings that are rife with conflict and great change, regardless of the century. The Great Chicago Fire was an unprecedented disaster that made 100,000 people homeless overnight, which was a third of the city at the time. Writing about the resurrection of both the city and individuals and families after such an event allows me, as an author, to explore themes of resilience, community, and faith in powerful ways.

How long does it usually take to craft a book?

If we are including the time it takes to research before I start writing, I would say about 18 months until the very last proofing round.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing?

A typical writing day looks like me sitting down in my office and cranking out about two thousand words before calling it quits for the day. There is usually a small pot of tea on my desk, a mess of research materials, and one sleeping cat, who is good for moral support. I’m pretty structured in my writing schedule, but I also expect interruptions. I’ve learned to build in extra time to the schedule to allow for those. 

What are you working on next?

Veiled in Smoke is the first book of three in The Windy City Saga, so right now I’m working on the second book. I’m really excited about this series, because we get to watch a family grow through three generations, and see Chicago grow, too. Veiled in Smoke really is a family story, but it focuses more on Meg Townsend, one of the bookshop-owning sisters. Book 2 will be set in Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1893, and it’s the story of Meg’s sister Sylvie, who will be 43 years old when the story begins. Book 3 in the series will pick up with Meg’s adult daughter Olive in 1915, which is when the Eastland Disaster took place in the Chicago River. Each book explores a seminal part of Chicago’s history and how the Townsend family overcomes in the face of change and trials.

Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction, and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville.

Visit her at jocelyngreen.com.

Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago’s business district, they lose much more than just their store.

The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire–he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.

Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father’s innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

 

Spotlight And Author Interview (+ Giveaway!) — Childhood

20 Feb

About The Book

Book: Childhood

Author: Greg Schaffer

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: February 10, 2020

Katie lived a lonely childhood, her after school time filled with responsibilities to her father and special needs brother. Her chores prevented her from experiencing the carefree life her peers, including Joey, her neighbor and secret crush, lived. She began running to impress Joey, then discovered track as a possible way out of the small town of Nortonville, Tennessee. But as the promise of a college scholarship drew her closer to the escape she had dreamed about since childhood, she wondered why she didn’t feel better. What was missing?

Childhood is the novelette prequel to Fatherhood, a full-length novel about abortion from the father’s point of view.

Click here for your copy.

About The Author

Greg Schaffer has written several novels, beginning with Forgiveness (2014). Each conveys the message that hope is always available, even in the darkest of times. His other works of fiction include horse-humor and poetry anthologies. A northerner by birth and a southerner by choice, Greg resides with his wife and rescue dogs in Franklin, Tennessee.

More from Greg

My last novel Leaving Darkness was difficult to write. I felt called to showcase depression and how the trusting environment of Christian small groups can lead those lost in the darkness to the light of the life they are meant to live. The novel was a direct response to a God-calling to apply my skills as an author and my experience leading similar type groups to create a story that may serve to help some who feel hopelessly lost.

For the next novel, I waited for a similar calling. And waited. And waited. I tend to be impatient like most. I wanted to get back to the creative process.

I wound up waiting several months. God’s time, not mine.

Then it happened, through an article I read on the Internet about a man suing a clinic for aborting his child without his knowledge. The article delved into the father’s rights in the abortion decision.

Abortion from the father’s point of view. That was the calling.

Very early into the project, though, I realized I had unintentionally created a problem. If I told the story completely from the father’s point of view, the mother’s would be diminished, reduced to a two-dimensional interpretation as seen through the father’s eyes. I could solve that by including both points of view in the novel, but that wouldn’t work well for two reasons: first, there are plot elements that the mother knows that are best kept from the readers as part of establishing tension. Second, as noted before, the project calling is from the father’s point of view. I had to stay within that.

But how to deal with the problem?

That’s when Childhood was born (no pun intended). Childhood is a novelette from the mother’s point of view, following her growth as a person from fourth grade to her first year of college. Through Childhood, readers have the opportunity to understand the character as a protagonist who would then become the antagonist in the novel Fatherhood.

 

Q&A with Greg Schaffer

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I wrote my first novel in high school, though I never tried to publish it. It sits somewhere in my basement. Maybe one day I will revisit and revise it.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

I write when I can create opportunities in my schedule. As a small business owner, that can be quite a challenge.

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits)

From initial thoughts to final edits, approximately one year for an 80,000 word novel.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel.

My work in progress is Fatherhood, about abortion from the father’s point of view. The novelette Childhood introduces the main characters in Fatherhood and is told from the future mother’s point of view as she is growing up. Thus, we see her as a multidimensional person as opposed to solely through the main character’s eyes in Fatherhood. Fatherhood is inspired by a court case in involving a father suing the mother of his child for aborting without his knowledge and should be available late 2020 or early 2021.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

That there is always hope.

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 12

Older & Smarter?, February 13

Artistic Nobody, February 14 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, February 15

For Him and My Family, February 16

Through the Fire Blogs, February 17 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 17

deb’s Book Review, February 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 19

By The Book, February 20 (Author Interview)

Just the Write Escape, February 21

Mamma Loves Books, February 22

Lukewarm Tea, February 23 (Author Interview)

Spoken from the Heart, February 24

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Greg is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon Gift Card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click HERE to enter.

 

Author, Author! (+ Giveaway!) — Lori Benton

19 Feb

Lori Benton has been a go-to, must-read author for me for years! I read her first novel, Burning Sky, and was blown away. It continues to be my most recommended book for fans of historical fiction. Lori is sharing today a little about her writing journey and what she has up next. Thanks so much Lori!

 

Q&A with Lori Benton

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I’ve always been a writer, making up stories as a child. Really! I was in the third grade and already a voracious reader when my best friend said out of the blue, “I wrote a story.” She showed it to me, and I was instantly intrigued. Could I write a story? It was an epiphany. I wrote a story. And never really stopped. But one day I decided to get more serious about it (I was about 21 by this time) and see if I could write a novel and maybe (if I could figure out how one did so) get it published. That novel, which I did finish, wasn’t published. Nor the one I wrote after that. It was quite a few years later (22 years in fact) before my debut novel Burning Sky reached store shelves. 

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

My parents always supported and took an interest in whatever I was doing. My fifth grade teacher once made a comment on a book report I’d done that let me know she thought I wrote well. But honestly? I’ve been so driven by my artistic passions that no one needed to encourage me. I’ve always been a self-motivated, where-there’s-a-will-there’s-a-way sort of girl. 

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication? 

Yes. Small ones in the beginning. I began writing before there were home computers, Internet, and everything that makes learning to write, research, and the publishing business so easy these days. I also didn’t know any published writers. I just had a story idea and started writing it (on lined paper, with a ball point pen). My learning process was very slow because I lacked the resources available today. A big obstacle I faced later, at age 30 (still writing, still unpublished), was a cancer diagnosis. The treatment was straightforward and I was in remission within nine months, but I then spent several years unable to write because of chemo fog — which eventually cleared, thanks be to God. 

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc. 

I read dozens of books for each novel I write and spend hours online reading articles or chatting with folks who know about the things I want to put in my novels. I watch any historical documentaries I can find that cover the history, trade, or situation I’m writing about. I watch YouTube videos on things like how to raise a cabin, get dressed in the 18th century, cook food, and travel. Speaking of, I travel to the places my stories are set whenever I can, which isn’t often enough to suit me since I live 3000 miles away from them! But I grew up on the east coast so I have many memories to draw on and know what it’s like to walk through a humid forest in summer trying not to pick up ticks, or what a hardwood forest smells like in autumn. This spring I look forward to visiting historical areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

I thrive with routine, so I’m as structured as I can be. My ideal writing day starts at 9am (earlier if I can manage it) goes until lunchtime, then picks back up from 1-3 or 4pm. Sometimes my afternoon must be given over to getting life stuff done or to writing related tasks that aren’t actually novel writing. If I know I won’t have the house to myself especially during those morning hours (my best writing time), I’ll get up at 3am and work until the rest of the house is up and making noise, around 8am. That strategy keeps everyone happy.

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits)

No two books have required the same amount of time. Most of them take 18 months to two years simply to research and write, but I’m not working on just one book at a time now. I’m usually researching and developing one (or two!) while writing another and editing or promoting yet another. I have one very special case (my September 1, 2020 release) which has taken nearly twenty years from initial inspiration to final edits (which are still underway as I write this). 

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel?

The King’s Mercy was inspired by Paul’s letter to Philemon, in the New Testament. In this brief letter, Paul writes concerning another man he encountered while a prisoner in Rome, a runaway slave belonging to Philemon. This encounter changed the life of this slave, Onesimus. In the letter, which Onesimus is bearing back to his master, Paul describes this slave, once unprofitable to Philemon, as having become a fellow laborer and brother profitable to them both. Paul asks Philemon to receive back his runaway, as a personal favor to Paul, and forgive him. A few years ago it occurred to me that the situation these three men found themselves in might well translate to an eighteenth-century setting . . . and so The King’s Mercy was inspired. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

One thing I’ve discovered about celebrating the redemptive power of Jesus Christ in the form of story is that while I’ve had my conversation with the Lord about these characters and themes during the writing, after the book is published it becomes the reader’s turn. I pray that God will speak to each heart something unique. Whatever that is, I hope they turn that last page more in love with our merciful Jesus than when they began.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

My next book will release from Tyndale House this fall (Sept 1). It’s called Mountain Laurel, the first in the Kindred duology (a two-book series). Readers of The King’s Mercy might remember Mountain Laurel. They got to visit briefly with some of its characters in that book. Get ready to time travel forward from that glimpse into life at Mountain Laurel to the 1790s, when I’ll be showing you around the place and uncovering all the secrets it’s been holding for over fifty years.

Meanwhile, I’ll be writing its sequel.

Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring and photographing the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn; Christy nominee The Wood’s Edge; A Flight of Arrows; and Many Sparrows.

 

Giveaway!

Lori is very graciously giving away a copy of The King’s Mercy to one of my readers. Just leave a comment why you love historical fiction. A winner will be randomly selected on March 4. (Please note: US only.)

When captured rebel Scotsman Alex MacKinnon is granted the king’s mercy – exile to the Colony of North Carolina – he’s indentured to Englishman Edmund Carey as a blacksmith. Against his will Alex is drawn into the struggles of Carey’s slaves–and those of his stepdaughter, Joanna Carey. A mistress with a servant’s heart, Joanna is expected to wed her father’s overseer, Phineas Reeves, but finds herself drawn instead to the new blacksmith. As their unlikely relationship deepens, successive tragedies strike the Careys. When blame falls unfairly upon Alex he flees to the distant mountains where he encounters Reverend Pauling, itinerate preacher and friend of the Careys, now a prisoner of the Cherokees. Haunted by his abandoning of Joanna, Alex tries to settle into life with the Cherokees, until circumstances thwart yet another attempt to forge his freedom and he’s faced with the choice that’s long hounded him: continue down his rebellious path or embrace the faith of a man like Pauling, whose freedom in Christ no man can steal. But the price of such mercy is total surrender, and perhaps Alex’s very life.

 

 

 

Author, Author! (Plus Giveaway!) — Camille Eide

17 Feb

Please welcome Camille Eide to By The Book today. I first encountered this talented author when I read The Memoir of Johnny Devine — outstanding! I then was privileged to read Wings Like A Dove, another excellent novel. You cannot go wrong with either of these books. Camille has graciously shared her thoughts on her writing journey plus is offering a giveaway of an ebook of Wings Like A Dove to one of my readers! (Leave a comment, to enter.)

Thanks, so much Camille!

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

Age 7. I wrote and illustrated my first novel. It was about Snoopy. I don’t remember it, but am fairly certain it wasn’t a bestseller.

Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

Yes — my 8th grade English teacher loaned me books she thought I’d like and encouraged me to submit short stories for a school publication. She believed I could write and encouraged me to pursue it. Which I did some — skits and plays for church, an odd article here and there, but with life, work, raising kids — I had never taken myself seriously as a writer until my youngest was in high school. One day in 2007, a friend and I brainstormed a Christian romance. I mulled over a plot and decided to try writing a novel. Voila! Success! Not really! That burst of inspiration, in my blissful ignorance, was just the first step on a long journey of learning to write and publish fiction. That brainstormed story finaled in a contest and was eventually published 7 years later as Like There’s No Tomorrow.

Why did you choose the Historical genre?

I like and write both contemporary and historical fiction. For this story, I decided the social/cultural issues I wanted to explore needed the backdrop of an earlier era of American History. Oddly enough, when I first began researching and writing Anna’s story, immigration was not the hot topic that it has since become. But regardless the current climate on immigration, I think we will always benefit from conversation about grace and understanding.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Yes — my own blissful ignorance. Which I worked hard to overcome — and still do — by studying the craft and reading. And over the years, after attempting to contract with a major publishing house, my desire has changed. I am working with a small press whose community vision and goal I am behind 100%. 

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

ANYTHING I can get my hands on.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

I wish I had a disciplined writing schedule, as in produce fabulous words while the clock is ticking, but I never have been good at that. I work by day as a church office manager, and am grammy to 5, so I write in the stretches between, and mostly late into the night and weekends.

How long does it usually take to craft your books? (from outlines/first drafts to final edits) 

They have varied, but at least a year for a first draft, more for those that had to be shelved due to family needs. My first book went through the wringer for about 7 years before it was published. My 3rd (Johnny Devine) took less than a year to write and needed very little editing. But that was unusual, the idea for that story came to me clearly in a dream. Wings Like a Dove is my 4th and work on it started and stopped a few times, so I’ve lost track of how long it actually took to write. Book #5 is the same way.

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel.

Wings Like a Dove was inspired by a number of things: the desire to look at the “what if” question of a woman persecuted for being Jewish and pregnant, and a deeper desire to explore the problem of societal barriers and possible solutions. 

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

There is a love that never fails, and that grace, forgiveness, and compassion are powerful gifts we have at our disposal, both to give, and to receive.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

Yes! I’m resuming work on a contemporary romantic women’s fiction about a woman with a secret desperate to protect her son from her estranged twin, and a confidante no longer able to keep secrets. It’s a story about the ties that bind mothers, sisters, daughters and the power to face our deepest fears.

Camille Eide is the award-winning author of “more than a romance” inspirational fiction including The Memoir of Johnny Devine. Camille lives in the foothills of the Oregon Cascades with her husband and is blessed with three adult kids, five grandkids, and enjoys the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. She also loves the liberating truth, grace, and wisdom of God’s word, and hopes that her stories will stir your heart, encourage your faith, and cheer you on your journey. 

 

Giveaway!

One lucky winner will receive an ebook copy of Wings Like A Dove. To enter, just leave a comment. One winner will be randomly chosen on March 2. (Please note: US only.)

Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down?

In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, Anna is forced to leave home. She seeks refuge in a small Indiana town where anti-Semitism is becoming hard to ignore, and trying not to fall in love is becoming impossible.

With the Klan presence in town growing, and the danger to six orphan boys and their kind-hearted mentor increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep this family safe … and staying to fight beside them. 

It’s a tale of love, loyalty, and the power of grace. 

 

Book Spotlight And Author Interview: Indebted

28 Jan

About The Book

Book: Indebted

Author: Charmayne Hafen

Genre: Young Adult, Adventure, Mythology

Release Date: August 25, 2019

When the abandoned princess discovers a friend, some muscle, and a passion for swords, she also acquires the crucible by which she uncovers the mysterious key to unlock her grief and win true freedom. Or will her strength confound her future in the kingdom to which she rides?
At the mythical edge of the Berkshire Forests, Wren finds herself rattling around in an austere castle, abandoned by the King and Queen. King Belodawn seems to blame his daughter for the mysterious disappearance of his wife, and he avoids his daughter at all costs in favor of conquests requiring his person away from the kingdom. But, things are about to change; the princess has matured. Wren’s spirit refuses to remain the lost bird she became at age twelve. With the aid of the cook and the cook’s son, Wren discovers her unknown dexterity in sword fighting. With it, she believes a new community in which to live will open up but is this young girl prepared to encounter deceptive ghosts, angels, and demons in the maze of the forest to attain her aim?

Click here for your copy.

About The Author

Charmayne Hafen is a graduate of John Brown University and has her masters in counseling from the Denver Seminary. Her love of Celtic mythology in Christian themes inspired her to write her debut Young Adult novel, Indebted: The Berkshire Dragon. She is a fan of the author, Stephen Lawhead.

She has written several short stories for children, teens, and adults, as well as the fantasy trilogy being published in 2020 by Capture Books, called, The Land of Twilight. She is currently working on the development of her sequel to The Berkshire Dragon.
Charmayne has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and psychology as well as a Master of Arts degree in counseling. When she’s not writing, Charmayne is running counseling groups for adults and a therapeutic photography group for teens. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband John and her two chihuahuas, Pepe and Frida.

More from Charmayne

Hello, Readers, Educators, Book Reviewers and Celebrate Lit Bloggers!
Although I am new to a lot of social media, I have heard that your group is a fantastic resource to new authors. Being a little bit of an introvert, you might even call me reluctant or a slow starter, but I assure you that I can imagine strategies and battle in the heavenlies for readers’ minds with the best of ’em. I say, “Let’s go!”
Please feel free to connect with me on any social media platform, or to write to me directly. I have loved engaging with anyone who has read my book and has sent me a comment or question. Because Indebted was published, I was thrilled to be able to speak to a group of college students taking coursework in literature and writing at Texas Tech last year.
I love facilitating creative writing seminars especially speaking to authors about how to join a system of discipline and creativity to overcome writer’s block.
My hope, however, is to be able to engage more students in elementary school and junior high about the topics in my books because I write about the things facing young people with a certain perspective that the Lord sees them right where they are, that God actually cares deeply for them, and that He has answers for them. These answers include that Jesus paid the penalty for a kid’s lying, bullying, violence, disbelief, envy, and rebellion and that bringing them to back to God means that they get to be adopted into His kingdom as princes and princesses.
I hope that my books provide that suspension of disbelief needed for us all to see the possibility of walking in faith with others in traumatic times and to experience the wonders of God’s word to us.
Sincerely and Gratefully,
Charmayne

Author Q&A

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I have been writing since the age of 10, journaling about love and loss in my fourth-grade class. My mom and dad gave me a typewriter for Christmas that year and I went around pretending to be a reporter. I loved writing. I found that my writing was more clear and confident than when I spoke.

Why did you choose the fantasy genre?

I love to imagine what could be. This genre allows me to let my imagination run wild and free. I am fascinated by the mystical and mysterious.

What types of research do you pursue?

Books, on-site visits, etc. I primarily use historical or travel websites as well as on line encyclopedias. 

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

I’m so glad you asked this question because you gave me a way to discuss what I call the “Discipline Of Creativity,” the necessary steps to create a lifestyle of creativity. One of the points in my lecture is a discussion of the ritual I like to create before I write. This ritual includes five minutes of coloring before writing while listening, each time, to the same soundtrack. I continue to listen to the soundtrack while writing for 25 minutes. I sometimes write twice in one day but usually just 25 minutes a day. I write about one and a half books a year although this year I wrote two books in less than a year.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

I want my readers to come away with a sense of hope from the fact that we are never alone when we belong to Jesus Christ. I also hope they get the message that we need each other on this dysfunctional planet. 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, January 22

For The Love Of Literature, January 23

Just the Write Escape, January 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 25

Mamma Loves Books, January 26

Wishful Endings, January 26 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 27

By The Book, January 28 (Author Interview)

janicesbookreviews, January 29

Inklings and notions, January 30

A Baker’s Perspective, January 31 (Author Interview)

Seasons of Opportunities, February 1

Blogging With Carol, February 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, February 3

Artistic Nobody, February 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Charmayne is giving away the grand prize of a pillow made with one of the illustrations!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click HERE to enter.

 

Book Spotlight — More Than A Second Chance

27 Jan

About The Book

Book: More Than A Second Chance

Author: Lisa Renee

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: August 30, 2019

Does Cassie deserve another chance at love?

Cassie Chambers, a dedicated youth worker, is determined to rescue the troubled youth in the city of Perth, Australia.

Cassie has made mistakes but hasn’t allowed tragedy or divorce to stop her. She devotes every working hour at Youth Connect. But her own needs are neglected.

Chef Chris Evanson offers work experience to young men from Youth Connect. Cassie and Chris’s encounters become more than sassy bantering with a hint of attraction. Chris is a sincere romantic.

How will Chris respond when he finds out her secret? She must tell him before he falls in love. Will he believe she deserves more than a second chance?

To complicate matters, one of Youth Connect’s troubled teens needs rescuing. She’s pregnant and moves in with Cassie, bringing absolute chaos. Chris gains insight into what life with Cassie involves. Does he still want the total package? Is Chris her true soul mate?

Click here to get your copy.

About The Author

Lisa Renee is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Omega Writers, Australia. With an Australian theme, she wrote the Single Again series featuring More Than a Second Chance and Acres of Promise, to encourage women to heal past wounds and to dare trust again.

Lisa adores babies enough to have seven of her own. Recently, Lisa has taken up breeding Ragdoll cats instead of breeding humans.

The tribe lives in Australia, where Lisa and her husband enjoy their writing projects, public speaking, and are on the pastoral team at their church.

More from Lisa

What inspired you to start writing?

I’ve read many wonderful Christian novels of first-time love. Unfortunately, not all of us have experienced a strong lasting marriage. I’ve met many women who’ve had a husband turn away from their Christian faith and left the marriage. I want to encourage those women that God can restore what was lost with a faithful man.

My message is not to rush ahead of God’s timing. My characters are more cautious since they know life can throw unexpected blows. They learn to trust and open their hearts again, which takes time.

My first series tackles the central issue of divorce. More Than A Second Chance also addresses the challenges of infertility and grief. The story is wrapped around a new romance with plenty of humor and light-hearted moments to balance out the themes.

Blog Stops

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, January 17

For Him and My Family, January 18

Through the Fire Blogs, January 19

Susan K. Beatty, Author, January 20 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, January 21

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 22

janicesbookreviews, January 23

For the Love of Literature, January 24 (Author Interview)

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 24

Just the Write Escape, January 25

Inklings and notions, January 26

By The Book, January 27 (Spotlight)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 28

Simple Harvest Reads, January 29

Blossoms and Blessings, January 30 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lisa is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift voucher and free eBook of More Than A Second Chance!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click HERE to enter.