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Spotlight And Author Interview — Jane Doe

4 Jul

About The Book

Book:  Jane Doe

Author: Lillian Duncan

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Release Date: June 26, 2020

A Broken Body. A Broken Mind. What If She Wasn’t The Last Victim?Jane Doe

Raven Marks survives a brutal kidnapping but just barely. Along with a broken body, her mind is broken. She wants to put the past behind her, but nightmarish memories won’t let her . . . At first because she doesn’t have them, and then because she does.

Even though her fractured memory can’t recall every detail, she’s haunted by one thought: What if she wasn’t the last victim? Her search for answers leads her to the highest politicians in the land. Each reclaimed memory brings her closer to the truth — and to even more danger.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

 

About The Author

Lillian Duncan… turning faith into fiction.

Lillian lives in a small town in Ohio with her husband. She writes the types of books she loves to read. Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that demonstrate God’s love—and lots of action. OK, that’s two things.

She was a school speech pathologist for over 30 years but retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors due to Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), a rare genetic disease.

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word. To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit:www.lillianduncan.com.

 

More from Lillian

JANE DOE is my latest novel and it’s a doozy!

What’s the genre you ask? It’s suspense with lots of drama and action…but it also a political thriller…but it also has a lot of mystery components…but there’s the romance element as well… and let’s not forget the spiritual message! No matter what genre you classify it as, it’s one I think you’ll enjoy!

So how did JANE DOE come about?

I’d finished all my edits on a current book and was feeling very uninspired. I had no idea for my next story, so I went on FB and asked people to send me an idea for my next suspense novel. An old high school friend sent me the suggestion to write a story where the main character struggled with memory loss.

Mmmm… but the old amnesia plot has been done and it’s a big no-no that writing experts warn against. I took the challenge and wrote JANE DOE. It’s definitely not your typical amnesia plot, but the main character is haunted by her memories.

First, because she doesn’t have them and then because she does!

Raven Marks survives a brutal kidnapping but just barely. Along with a broken body, her mind is broken. Even though she can’t remember the details of her kidnapping, she’s haunted by the thought that someone else is being victimized by the kidnapper she can’t remember.

Her journey to discover the truth leads her to the highest politicians in the state and then the country. Each reclaimed memory brings her closer to the truth — and to even more danger.

I’m not going to give away the plot, but there’s plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading late into the night!

 

Q&A with Lillian Duncan

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

If that’s your definition of a writer, then I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I called it daydreaming, but it was much more than daydreaming. My daydreams were filled with characters who did all sorts of interesting things. But I didn’t actually start to put my stories on paper until I was forty. And even then, I didn’t feel like a “real writer.” It wasn’t until I got my first traditional contract that I started to feel that way.

Why did you choose the suspense genre?

Mystery and suspense are my favorite genres to read so it makes sense that I write them as well. But I’ve branched out in my writing to include women’s fiction, YA novels, and stories that I simply call Christian Stories.

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

For most of the 25 years I’ve been writing, I was very structured. I wrote every day but the amount of time varied. I’m not nearly as structured as I used to be for health reasons, but I still try to write every day — if only for a few minutes.

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

I was actually feeling very uninspired, so I went on FB and asked people to send me an idea for my next suspense novel. An old high school friend sent me the suggestion to write a story where the main character struggled with memory loss. I took the challenge and wrote JANE DOE.

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

Life isn’t always pretty or easy. I want my stories to reflect God’s goodness and power as my characters face difficult circumstances and challenges 

If we keep God at the center of our life, he promises to give us beauty for the ashes. I know this to be true in my own life. Since being diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors in 2012, God has strengthened me, kept me in peace and joy, and blessed me in so many ways.

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

I’m so excited about my new MESSENGER series. It’s a YA series, but really anyone who loves dystopian, futuristic type stories will enjoy it. The novella series follows Magdalena Denton as she struggles to learn about God in the godless country of NewAmerica where all religion has been banned, even saying the name of God is punishable by death. 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, July 1

Ashley’s Bookshelf, July 1

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 2

Just the Write Escape, July 3

By The Book, July 4 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, July 4

Inklings and notions, July 5

Betti Mace, July 6

Andrea Christenson, July 7 (Author Interview)

Hebrews 12 Endurance, July 7

For Him and My Family, July 8

Texas Book-aholic, July 9

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, July 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 11

For the Love of Literature, July 12 (Author Interview)

Bigreadersite, July 12

Artistic Nobody, July 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

deb’s Book Review, July 14

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Lillian 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 the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fd8f/jane-doe-celebration-tour-giveaway

Spotlight And Author Interview — Something I Am Not

4 Jul

About The Book

Book:  Something I am Not

Author: Cher Gatto

Genre: YA Fiction

Release Date: January 25, 2019

Something I am NotA father who never loved him…
A woman who stole his worth…
And a brother he couldn’t protect.

Where does someone run in the face of his deepest shame?

Billy McQueen works hard to keep his life together … and concealed. At seventeen, he dreams of an escape from the barroom, his father’s manipulation, and the advances of his father’s girlfriend. However, on his eighteenth birthday, Billy is introduced to a younger brother he never knew he had. An eight-year-old who is barely capable of navigating the corrupt world of his father’s boxing club.

Now, in order to secure his freedom, Billy must fight for it. But to save his little brother who is next in line for the slave trade … he must die for it.

SOMETHING I AM NOT, formerly titled Billy, won the ACFW Genesis Award for the Contemporary category. It was published by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas.

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About The Author

cher ghattoCher Gatto is a native to NJ and lives with her husband (pastor) and five teenagers. Their family spent 10 years in Mexico developing a horse ranch for kids (see more about the ranch below) and founded an addictions ministry (R-HUB) back in the states. Cher has a Master’s in Psychology and serves as president of the ACFW NY/NJ chapter. Cher’s debut novel won the Genesis Award in 2016 and the Christian Indie Award for Best YA in 2020. Her new novel, Regent, is scheduled to release this fall, and she has begun a sequel to Something I Am Not.

 

More from Cher

I never meant to be a writer. It’s something that happened to me when I wasn’t looking. Our family (my husband and I and our five children) lived in Mexico developing a horse ranch for kids, at-risk youth, and broken families in impoverished villages surrounding the ranch. Our co-workers ran a women’s shelter in the city, and we used the horses to love on the girls there. I say “women’s” shelter, but most were children (13, 14, 15 years old) trying to raise babies of their own. Many of the babies a result of abuse, rape, or incest. Some had been drawn out of trafficking. Their stories tragic and incomprehensible.

About a year after we got on the field, the shelter closed down for a dangerous breach in security. All the girls were sent back to where they came from. We could do nothing. Nothing at all, but watch them go. A few months later, I saw one of the girls at church escorted by her “father.” When our eyes met, the vacancy in hers shattered my heart. I will never forget it. And one day, while I was cleaning a horse corral, I had Billy’s story. Not the whole thing, but a piece of it.

I hid myself away whenever I could for months and wrote furiously. I had no idea how the story would unfold, or even what themes would develop. But three hundred and fifty pages later, I was done. I guess it was all in there, needing to come out. I thought I was writing a fiction novel, but Billy’s journey gave me the key to process and heal from things I saw around me but couldn’t change. Things that broke my heart.

I needed a different ending—a redemption. Billy’s story became an allegory on life. He lives under the wrong “father,” as an orphan, believing the fear and shame that those lies wield. But in finding the right Father, he finds where he truly belong. Billy’s story is about coming home. It’s his story, and it’s ours.

Something I Am Not was published by Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. It won the 2016 Genesis Award for the contemporary category and 2020 Christian Indie Award for best Young Adult fiction.

 

Q&A With Cher Gatto

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer? And what inspired your latest novel?

These two questions go hand-in-hand for me, and both came out of left field. The truth is I never meant to be a writer. It’s something that happened to me when I wasn’t looking. Our family (myself, husband and 5 kids) lived in Mexico for ten years developing a horse ranch for kids, at-risk youth, and broken families. Our co-workers ran a women’s shelter, and we used the horses to love on the women. I say women, but most were children (13, 14, 15 years old) trying to raise babies of their own. Many of the babies a result of abuse, rape, or incest. Some had been drawn out of trafficking. Their stories tragic and incomprehensible.

 About a year after we got on the field, the shelter closed down for a dangerous breach in security. All the girls were sent back to where they came from. We could do nothing. Nothing at all, but watch them go. A few months later, I saw one of the girls at church escorted by her “father.” When our eyes met, the vacancy in hers shattered my heart. I will never forget it. Then one day, while I was cleaning a horse corral, I had Billy’s story. Not the whole thing, but a piece of it. Just one distinct scene, actually. 

I hid myself away whenever I could for months and wrote furiously. I had no idea how the story would unfold, or even what themes would develop. In truth, I had no idea it connected to my life at all. Three hundred and fifty pages later, I was done. And I guess it was all in there, needing to come out. I realized later that Billy’s journey had given me the key to process and heal from things I saw around me but couldn’t change. Things that broke my heart.

 I needed a different ending — a redemption story. 

I thought I was done after that. One novel in me and that was it. But one turned into the next, and now I’m hooked.

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

When I wrote Billy’s story, I wrote it alone. In a back room at our ranch in Mexico. I never intended it to be for someone else’s eyes. I think that’s what gave me the freedom to just write. On one of my mom’s vacations to see us, she asked to read some. Reluctantly, I gave her the first chapter, then the next and the next. I couldn’t keep up with her ferocious appetite for the story until it was finished and she had read it all. That’s a mom for you, right?! But it gave me an ounce of courage to show my writing to the rest of the world. 

Why did you choose YA genre?

I never chose YA, it chose me I guess. My strongest reader group is still women over 40! But I am continually drawn to the heart of a young adult. The turmoil of that time in our lives. It’s passions, vulnerabilities, and constant upheaval. It’s a unique time that can be both formative and life-changing.  

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

My second novel, Regent, is in its final stages of editing. If you’re interested, my webpage has book trailers of both novels and their first chapters. For anyone interested in being on my Street Team for the upcoming launch of Regent, reach out to me. I’m always looking for Beta readers.

Although Something I Am Not is a stand-alone novel, my readers have asked for a sequel. A few weeks ago, I began that. It was like meeting an old friend. I slipped back into his skin with little effort and am enjoying this new journey of healing through Billy’s eyes. 

 

Blog Stops

By The Book, July 4 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 5

Book of Ruth Ann, July 6

Artistic Nobody, July 7 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, July 8

Wishful Endings, July 9 (Author Interview)

Rebecca Tews, July 9

Inklings and notions, July 10

For Him and My Family, July 11

For the Love of Literature, July 12 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, July 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 14

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, July 15 (Author Interview)

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, July 16

Just the Write Escape, July 17

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cher 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 the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fd98/something-i-am-not-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Spotlight And Author Interview: Practicing Muder

21 Jun

About The Book

Book:  Practicing Murder

Author: Erin Unger

Genre:  Christian Romantic Suspense

Release Date: March 2019

Graduate student Maddie Clare is never talking to her ex-boyfriend Joze Evans or God again. Broken from her past and Joze’s betrayal, she must go home for her Aunt Lonna’s funeral. But after a run-in with a stalker, who insists Maddie knows the secret that had Aunt Lonna investigating him, she’s afraid for her life and must accept Joze’s protection.

As the stalker draws closer, how will Maddie and Joze face the past and their love that never died? And will Maddie stay out of the stalker’s grip long enough to figure out what secret he possesses?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

About The Author

Erin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her grown children and a couple grandkids.

 

More from Erin

Books are powerful. Whole other worlds can unfold in a few well-stated sentences. There’s nothing like that feeling a reader gets when the perfect book is open on their lap and it pulls them in on the first page. It’s like a gift. Sometimes they make us rethink long held ideas. At times they mirror what we’re going through. And sometimes they remind us of areas in our lives we haven’t worked on.

But not every book is for every person. Sometimes it’s not the best seller that struck the right cord, or the book everyone’s reading, it’s the one you stumbled upon on a special or heard of from a friend. It’s a God-ordained tool to show us His ways and plans.

As Christian writers, the power to transform is even more in our hands. We have the ability to show how great our God is and how he works in the most unusual ways at times. We use our gift to do more than only entertain, we want to make Him more real to our readers. We want to show them how to grow and change as our characters do. And it’s amazing that we can use fiction to do so.

Next time you pick up a book, see if you can find the message hidden in the character’s struggles. Maybe God used a writer to put it there just for you to learn.

 

Q&A with Erin Unger

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

When I was in sixth grade, I wrote my first entire story for a contest our teacher wanted all the students to enter. That was the when I became a writer. But it did take many years after that for me to write for publication.

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

My biggest encourager from day one was my husband, and he’s the one that keeps pushing me to write when I get down about the writing world.

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

Researching is one of my favorite parts about writing. I’ve been to pretty much every place I’ve written about. I research the location every time through these visits. And I use the internet and GPS to help also. Books are an important resource as well. I like to compare writing styles and descriptive details in other authors’ works in the same genre.

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

When I write, I always work when my husband is at work. We’re too busy for me to write when he’s home. So if he works a fourteen hour day, then I write a good portion of that time myself. His schedule is not set, so every week is different for me.

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

Lisa Carter, writer of suspense and romance for Abingdon Press and Harlequin, inspired my latest novel. I had no intent to ever write Amish suspense, but once she started talking about it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. And God seemed to be tapping me on the shoulder about it, so I sat down and wrote a book in four weeks that was in that genre.

 

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 11

Wishful Endings, June 12 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 13

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 14

Inklings and notions, June 15

Blossoms and Blessings, June 16 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, June 16

Betti Mace, June 17

For Him and My Family, June 18

Blogging With Carol, June 19

Artistic Nobody, June 20 (Guest Review from Kelsey Barela)

By The Book, June 21 (Author Interview)

CarpeDiem, June 22

Simple Harvest Reads, June 23 (Guest Review from Joni)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 24

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Erin is giving away the grand prize of a $40 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fc71/practicing-murder-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Spotlight And Author Interview — Valley of Shadows by Candace West

16 Jun

Valley of Shadows FB Banner

About The Book

Book:  Valley of Shadows

Author: Candace West

Genre:  Christian Historical Fiction

Release Date: March 17, 2020

Final Final Final Valley of ShadowsForgiving is far from forgetting.

Lorena Steen gave up on love years ago. After arriving at Valley Creek to visit her daughters, she stumbles first thing into Earl, the husband who abandoned her.

As for Earl, facing Lorena while fighting his own demons tempts him to flee town. How can he rebuild a relationship with his daughters and cynical neighbors when guilt shadows every step?
While the storm brews between them, another storm descends on Valley Creek. Will a ghost town stand in its wake?

But then the townsfolk devise a plan. All they need is a former concert pianist and violinist. A wife and husband estranged.

Can Lorena and Earl set aside their feelings to rescue a community? Even though it sweeps them back through valleys best forgotten? Especially when a forbidden love claims his right to win Lorena’s heart?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

 

About the Author

Candace PoseyCandace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. When she was twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” In 2018, she published her debut novel Lane Steen. By weaving hope-filled, page-turning stories, Candace shares the Gospel and encourages her readers. She currently lives in her beloved Arkansas with her husband and their son along with two dogs and three cats.

 

 

 

More from Candace

Why I Wrote Valley of Shadows

Can a villain become a hero? When I ended my debut novel Lane Steen, I knew someday I had to discover if a kidnapper and alcoholic was worth saving. Could that same person save a town after tragedy strikes while wrestling with his own demons?

Earl Steen had a dark valley to cross.

With a destroyed reputation, Earl must prove in Valley of Shadows that God has not wasted His efforts on him. Also, Lorena, his estranged wife, has her own score to settle. How can she when the villain no longer exists?

Nothing tugs at my heart more than lost, unrequited love. My second book focuses on their lost relationship. Earl and Lorena had haunted one another long enough. Could God mend what Earl had shattered?

Sitting down to write, I returned to Valley Creek and uncovered places within Earl’s heart that I never knew existed. Lorena’s struggles became mine as she grappled with understanding and forgiving. The dark places of their past somehow had to merge with the light of a hopeful future.

Getting Earl and Lorena to rediscover their love was a journey fraught with tension, grief, frustration, and hope. Was it worth every rewrite, every long hour staring at my computer screen waiting for my characters’ next move?

You bet!

Q&A with Candace West

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

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved hearing stories and telling them. As a child, I was an avid reader, but I never wrote a story until I was twelve years old. We were on a trip to Colorado. To pass the time, I picked up my notebook and started writing a story about two orphans on a Kansas prairie (we were traveling through Kansas). I’ve been writing ever since. 

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

My mother is my greatest encourager, always pushing me to write the stories of my heart. Through the years, I’ve had close friends who have lovingly pushed and prodded me to publish my stories. I thank all of them because I wouldn’t have done it if they hadn’t believed in me. 

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

From start to finish, it takes almost a year to craft a story from first draft to release day. I admire and envy writers who can write 5,000 words or more a day. How do they do it? I’m a homeschooling mama. There are tons of chores and a big yard to mow. And that’s not counting the daily unexpected adventures of country living. Some days I’m thrilled if I write 250 words. I’ve learned one thing, though. Never stop writing and give yourself grace even if you don’t make your goal. 

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

In Valley of Shadows, I had to get to know Earl Steen better. In my first book, he was the villain, a character I loved to hate. Along the way, I started peeling away layers of his past. Why was Earl such an angry man? By the end of book one, I wanted Earl to become the hero of book two. Valley of Shadows is his story as well as Lorena’s, his estranged wife. 

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

I’m currently working on book three of the Valley Creek Redemption series. My story focuses on two side characters from book two, Ella and George. I’m excited to discover the journey they’re taking!

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, June 3

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 4

For the Love of Literature, June 5 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, June 6

Texas Book-aholic, June 7

Older & Smarter?, June 8

Betti Mace, June 9

Artistic Nobody, June 10 (Author Interview)

deb’s Book Review, June 10

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 11

Through the Fire Blogs, June 12

For Him and My Family, June 13

Blossoms and Blessings, June 14 (Author Interview)

Pause for Tales, June 15

By The Book, June 16 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Candace is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card, one signed paperback copy of Lane Steen and Valley of Shadows!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fc17/valley-of-shadows-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Spotlight And Author Interview — Relentless Love by Heather Greer

10 Jun

About The Book

Book:  Relentless Love

Author: Heather Greer

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Without passion, there is no love. Without love, is she even living? Relentless Love Cover

Living with limits protects a heart from hurt. After unexpectedly losing her husband, it’s a lesson Katie Blake has learned well. From moving in with her elderly father to staying at home with her son, Sammy, Katie’s life has been arranged to avoid further pain.

After three years, life feels stagnant. It’s time to carefully venture into the world once again. Sammy needs friends his age, and Katie needs a project to focus on.

As Sammy adjusts to preschool, Katie finds her perfect job. Her position even allows her to befriend Anna, a young mother who needs encouragement. Events also bring Nathan Phillips, a childhood friend, back into her life. Each successful step forward encourages Katie to continue opening her heart. By the time her friendship with Nathan begins to deepen, Katie is ready to pursue the relationship.

Nathan’s encouragement gives Katie strength to make tough decisions regarding her father’s care as his dementia progresses. But when Sammy is injured while in Nathan’s care, Katie knows she’s made a mistake. It won’t happen again. Abandoning their relationship in favor of safety is only the beginning. Katie has felt God calling her to help change Anna’s situation, but the risk is too great. God will have to find another way to help.

It takes a strange message from her father for Katie to understand God’s relentless love and desire for her life to reflect His love. But will Katie take the risk or continue limiting love in favor of a life without hurt?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

 

About The Author

Heather Greer is a pastor’s kid and pastor’s wife from southern Illinois. Though her nest is quickly approaching the empty stage, with three of her four children out on their own, she enjoys the times she gets to spend with all her children, husband, and grandson. Equal mix geek and romantic, you could as easily find Heather watching an episode of Doctor Who as the latest Hallmark movie. Of course, you may find her baking, reading, or crafting too!

Heather’s writing and teaching ministries revolve around a passion to see believers grow in their faith. Though God has used her most often with teens and adults, she has worked in ministries reaching all age groups through the years. It is Heather’s prayer for God to use what she writes in her books and on her blog to challenge and encourage readers in their faith walks.

 

 

More from Heather

Authors leave a bit of themselves on the pages of what they write. Whether it comes out in a name or character’s special interest or a faith lesson the author had to learn themselves before they could put in on paper, somewhere in what is written readers will find a hint of the author in the story. This glimpse into the author’s world add a feeling of authenticity to the story.

My family and friends will quickly recognize at least one of these windows into my world as they read Relentless Love. Though I didn’t intend it, my personal experiences with dementia and Alzheimer’s care are woven into the story. While the exact details are different, I was a full-time caregiver to my grandmother through the middle and late stages of her life with dementia. Dealing with the confusion, illogical thinking, obsessing, and paranoia that are portrayed in the story is part of everyday life for a caregiver.

In including Katie’s experience with her father’s deteriorating mental health, I pray others facing the same struggle find encouragement and strength. And because my time with my grandma was blessed with sweet memories, in spite of the struggles, I’d like to share a recipe she passed down to me in high school. I cannot make this cookie without thinking of the one who made it first and all the lessons she taught me about what it means to love God, our families, and others.

Lace Cookies  – from the kitchen of Sue Ellen Forby

Ingredients:

1 cup oats                                            3Tbs. flour

¼ tsp. salt                                            1 stick butter

1 cup sugar                                          1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. baking powder                         1 egg

Directions: Mix oats, salt, sugar, baking powder, and flour. Melt butter and pour over dry ingredients. Add vanilla and egg. Mix well. Refrigerate at least one hour, until set.

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into marble sized balls and place at least 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Edges of cookies will be golden brown. Remove from oven and carefully slide parchment from pan to let cookies cool completely before removing them from paper. These cookies puff during cooking but flatten out completely as they cool.

 

Q&A with Heather Greer

 

Why did you choose the contemporary Christian romance genre?

I didn’t set out to write in this genre. I love reading in the contemporary Christian romance genre, but I also enjoy historical romance, fantasy, and even a little suspense now and then. It was the story and Katie herself that determined the genre and even the setting of the story. As Katie and her story developed, the needed genre and setting were clear. 

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

There are easy to point to obstacles in my writing journey. I have four children. When I began pursuing writing seriously, they were younger and demanded more of my time. Currently, I work full-time outside the home. Writing and keeping up with all the extras that come with writing is more difficult when your most productive times are spent at another job. It means weekends and evenings are packed, and you have difficult choices to make about what you will and won’t commit to. But I want to be completely honest with you today. One of my biggest obstacles to overcome in writing is doubt or fear. Writing means putting yourself out there, and it includes feedback. We get feedback from critique partners, agents, publishers, and readers. That’s a scary thing when you’ve put part of yourself on the page. I have to keep reminding myself that if God has given me this way to minster to others, He is the one taking it where He wants it to go and will make the stories speak to whomever He needs it to speak to. 

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

It depends on the book. My first book took a while because I had to learn how to focus and get it done. From start to publication probably took a year and a half to two years. The second and third book had to go from idea to release in one year. An unrelated book I wrote after finishing this series only took a few months to finish, though I know before publication it will have to face more time being edited and perfected for print. 

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

Like all authors, I want my stories to entertain readers. I want them to feel like they’ve spent time with new friends. But I want my stories to be more than entertainment. No matter what I write, I want readers to leave the story feeling encouraged or challenged in their faith. Whether it’s something new about God’s love and living faith or a reminder about one of those things, I pray God uses the story to bless each reader.  

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

I have a couple works in progress I can talk about. One is a finished manuscript that I had a lot of fun writing. It is contemporary. But where this series dealt with the heavy stuff of life, this new one is lighthearted. It tells the story of a cupcake truck owner’s experience as a competitor on a televised baking competition.  

The second is one I recently started working on. It is a historical fiction set in the 1920s. This book will be one part of a series I’m working on with a couple friends of mine. Each of us is writing one novel in the series, and our stories are tied together with a beautiful stained glass window. I’m excited to see where the window and the stories end up. 

Blog Stops

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 2

Andrea Christenson, June 3 (Author Interview)

For the Love of Literature, June 4

Rebecca Tews, June 5

Batya’s Bits, June 6

My Devotional Thoughts, June 7 (Author Interview)

Writing from the Heart Land, June 7

For Him and My Family, June 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 9

By The Book, June 10 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 11

Quiet Quilter, June 12

Artistic Nobody, June 13 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Inklings and notions, June 14

deb’s Book Review, June 15

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Heather is giving away the grand prize of $30 Amazon gift card!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fccd/relentless-love-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Spotlight And Author Interview — Lilah by Caryl McAdoo

9 Jun

About The Book

Book:  Lilah

Author: Caryl McAdoo

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: May 3, 2020

How can death, betrayal, a rash proposal, and revenge lead to romance?

An abusive controller compels reluctant travelers westward. To flee her foul stepfather, Lilah proposes marriage to the wagon train scout, which only leaves Padraig thinking she’s a bit soft in the head. It’s 1855. Come join the journey along the Oregon Trail with Captain Cumby. Wagon Ho!

 

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

 

 

About The Author

Award-winning author Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and her best-selling novels — over fifty published — delight Christian readers around the world. The prolific writer also enjoys singing the new songs the Lord gives her — listen to a few at YouTube. Sharing four children and eighteen grandsugars with Ron, her high-school-sweetheart-husband of over fifty years, she lives in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas. The McAdoos wait expectantly for God to open the next door.

 

 

More from Caryl

Writing Lilah wasn’t as easy as some of the past stories because of dealing with such an evil man—her uncle then stepfather, forcing himself on her mother after Papa passed. But my young heroine’s courage, spunk, and daunting outspokenness had me grinning in no time.

Straight off the bat, the fifteen-year-old proposes to the first single man she runs into! It almost reminds me of my own romance, when on the second night of our life together (we’d had our first date the evening before) my husband Ron told me, “I know it doesn’t mean much now, but I love you.”

Later I learned he’d told his mother that same night that he’d met the girl he was going to marry. She didn’t share that until after we were an old married couple with two little boys.

We all have our own love stories, and I’d love to hear yours! This is the reason I so love writing romance! And historical romance is even better because I loved the way women were so honored back then. For the most part, they stayed home and reared their own children and worked hard as the helpmate of their husbands.

Plus, I love the research for the era of the novels and once written, a historical is never out of date! Contemporary romance will be outdated almost as soon as it’s written these days due to the technology. In my lifetime—the first twenty years of such is now considered as “history” by the publishing industry!—things have changed extraordinarily!

I don’t know if any generation has seen such advances as my own. My parents’ watched the first televisions, but that can’t begin to compare with computers in every home. I believe we truly are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation—a peculiar people who will show forth the praises of Him Who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord with me and be blessed!
This Texas author hopes readers will love Lilah as I always am, “Praying my story gives God glory!”

 

Q&A with Caryl McAdoo

 

Why did you choose historical Christian romance genre?

I never could choose one genre. I have contemporary Christian romance, Biblical fiction, and stories for mid-grade readers and for Young Adults, but by far historical Christian romance is my favorite genre and the one my readers love most.

My author’s motto or tagline is “Praying my story gives God glory!” History can be considered HIS-story and while I never appreciated history in school, it was Ron’s favorite subject (another thing that makes our writing collaboration so successful). We’ve been enjoying being romantic for over fifty-four years now, since we were sixteen. (married at eighteen) God is Love. 

It seems so right.

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

The agent, Mary Sue Seymour, told me to write the book on the way to DFW International Airport to catch her flight home. She’d flown in for a small writers’ conference in East Texas. That was the last Sunday of April, and we — my co-author husband and I — started writing it the next day. It took nine weeks to finish and send it to her. She sent a contract to represent us and sold it after a few edits in two months to Simon & Schuster!

They had eight different edits work on it and took almost two years, until March of 2014 to release it into the stores. I publish independently now and can’t imagine ever selling another title to a traditional publisher.

Now I can write a three hundred page story, get it edited and proofread (new eyes — NO author should ever try to be their own!), then formatted while working on the cover, and published at Amazon in two months if I’m in a hurry, not two years. That’s only ONE of the reasons I love being hybrid! 

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

It’s always different for each book. We took off and drove the Oregon / California Trail for research and also visited Washington on the Brazos in Central Texas to see where they voted to join the Union. We research what books came out that year for our characters to read or perhaps what plays were at the Theaters.

I like to study the vernacular of their slang then to include a little of that in the books. Ron researches about how wine barrels are made and how the pioneers fixed their broken wagon wheels! Then for BITTER HONEY, we researched vineyards and making wine and hunting alligators! 

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

Ron, my husband often gets up very early, before the chickens or the sun. After he prays about an hour, he plays spider solitaire then writes. I get up dependent on when I went to sleep—he never knows unless I’m still awake when he gets up which happens frequently. He lets me sleep until I wake up which this morning was a little after ten.

After a cup of coffee and a little bite to break my fast, I go over what he’s written, adding what I want as I go then I write ahead and he will go over mine and write ahead. That’s how we go. We usually write about an hour each and almost always write over a thousand words per day.

When we’re ridin’ in the car (Walmart is 45 minutes away in Paris, Texas), we’ll discuss the story and where we want it to go next, and never know when we start how it’s going to end. We write for discovery.

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

Coming June 9th is KENTUCKY BRIDE, book eight in the North & South: Civil War Brides Collection in which each state or territory that had any role in the war is highlighted for their most famous event in the order of each battle or incident.

There are thirty-seven books in all by seventeen authors. Reading the entire series in order will give a great overview of that terrible time in our country’s history.

Then in July, A NURSE FOR JACOB debuts. It’s in the Nursing the Heart Collection. 

And the title we’re writing now TEXAS TROUBLES is book five in the Cross Timbers Romance Family Saga AND also in the Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection!

 

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 6

For Him and My Family, June 7

deb’s Book Review, June 8

By The Book, June 9 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, June 10

Inklings and notions, June 11

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, June 12 (Author Interview)

Betti Mace, June 13

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 14

A Baker’s Perspective, June 15 (Author Interview)

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, June 16

Artistic Nobody, June 17 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

My Devotional Thoughts, June 18 (Author Interview)

Connie’s History Classroom, June 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Caryl 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 the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/fc1b/lilah-celebration-tour-giveaway

Author, Author! — Susie Finkbeiner

4 Jun

I am so excited to have Susie Finkbeiner on the blog today. I fell in love with young Pearl Spence in A Cup of Dust, and that experience started me on the road to reading everything that Susie writes. Susie’s books vividly bring to life the place and time in which they are set, but above all else tell stories that resonate with readers. Relatable characters find a way into a reader’s heart. Her newest book, Stories That Bind Us, is set in 1960s America, and promises a very timely read. I cannot wait to dig into it.

Susie shares with us today her writing journey and craft, and a sneak peek into what is up next. Thanks, Susie, for sharing.

Q&A with Susie Finkbeiner

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

I’ve been fortunate to have many people in my life who have encouraged my writing life. But this time, I’d really like to direct attention to the guy who has been my biggest supporter. When Jeff asked me to marry him he had no idea that I was going to end up writing for my career. Still, at every step (from seeking out agents to dealing with rejections to gaining a readership) he has been the one to prop me up. 

He never doubts that this is a way God chooses to use me. He always believes in my ability. He refuses to let me give up even on the most challenging days. 

He’s my very favorite reader and it means so much to me that I’m his favorite author.

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

Yes! There were many. I, like all other authors, had to experience rejection from agents and editors. I needed to learn to make time in the day to write. As a matter of fact, I wrote my first two novels while my kids were in between being toddlers and preschoolers. 

The beauty of those obstacles was that they prepared me for the pressures of life in publishing. The rejections built up my thick skin so I could handle less than glowing reviews. Getting back up after hearing another “no thanks” taught me to persevere on the more difficult days of writing. Building a habit of making time to write got me ready for working under a deadline.

It’s no doubt that those difficulties were hard to face, but I am so grateful for every one of them for building me into the writer I am today.

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

Years ago, when my first novel released a friend sent me a message to let me know what she thought about the book. She wrote four words that have come to mean so much to me. “It gave me hope.”

My greatest desire in my writing is that readers will reach the end of a story with a new found or refreshed sense of hope. Hope that even in the scariest times, God is our protector and provider. That when the pain is sharpest, hope that God is our healer, drawing near to the broken hearted. And that when the night seems darkest, hope that our Father is prepared to bring the dawn of a new day.

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

I’m currently working on a novel that revolves around the happenings at the end of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. The research for this story has been challenging, heartbreaking, and full of hope. I can’t wait for readers to meet the Miller Family in 2021. 

 

Susie Finkbeiner is a story junkie. Always has been and always will be. It seems it’s a congenital condition, one she’s quite fond of.

After decades of reading everything she could get her hands on (except for See the Eel, a book assigned to her while in first grade, a book she declared was unfit for her book-snob eyes), Susie realized that she wanted to write stories of her own. She began with epics about horses and kittens (but never, ever eels).

It takes years to grow a writer and after decades of work, Susie realized (with much gnashing of teeth and tears) that she was a novelist. In order to learn how to write novels, she read eclectically and adventurously (she may never swim with sharks, but the lady will jump into nearly any story). After reading the work of Lisa Samson, Patti Hill, and Bonnie Grove she realized that there was room for a writer like her in Christian fiction.

Her first novels Paint Chips (2013) and My Mother’s Chamomile (2014) have contemporary settings. While she loved those stories and especially the characters, Susie felt the pull toward historical fiction.

When she read Into the Free by Julie Cantrell she knew she wanted to write historical stories with a side of spunk, grit, and vulnerability. Susie is also greatly inspired by the work of Jocelyn Green, Rachel McMillan, and Tracy Groot.

A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (2015), Finkbeiner’s bestselling historical set in 1930s Oklahoma, has been compared to the work of John Steinbeck and Harper Lee (which flatters Susie’s socks off). Pearl’s story continues with A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (2017) and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (2018).

What does she have planned after that? More stories, of course. She’s a junkie. She couldn’t quit if she wanted to.

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at 40. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what’s next. She couldn’t have imagined what God had in mind. When her estranged sister is committed to a sanitarium, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a 5-year-old nephew she never knew she had.

In 1960s LaFontaine, Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.

Award-winning author Susie Finkbeiner offers fans a novel that invites us to rediscover the power of story to open the doors of our hearts.

 

Book Review, Author Interview, and Giveaway!! — A Mosaic of Wings

3 Jun

This is going to be some post! Not only am I reviewing A Mosaic of Wings, I have an interview with debut author, Kimberly Duffy. Plus a giveaway of a copy of the book thanks to my author friend Lindsey Brackett. (Have you read Lindsey’s novels, Still Waters and The Bridge Between? You need to!) So let’s get to it!

 

It’s 1885, and all Nora Shipley wants, now that she’s graduating from Cornell University as valedictorian of the entomology program, is to follow in her late father’s footsteps by getting her master’s degree and taking over the scientific journal he started. The only way to uphold her father’s legacy is to win a scholarship, so she joins a research expedition in Kodaikanal, India, to prove herself in the field.

India isn’t what she expects, though, and neither is the rival classmate who accompanies her, Owen Epps. As her preconceptions of India — and of Owen — fall away, she finds both far more captivating than she expected. Forced by the expedition leader to stay at camp and illustrate exotic butterflies the men of the team find without her, Nora befriends Sita, a young Indian girl who has been dedicated to a goddess against her will.

In this spellbinding new land, Nora is soon faced with impossible choices — between saving Sita and saving her career, and between what she’s always thought she wanted and the man she’s come to love.

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind. You can find Kimberly at www.kimberlyduffy.com.

 

My Impressions:

A debut novel? Really? You sure wouldn’t know it. A Mosaic of Wings is a beautifully crafted historical novel that hit all the right buttons with me — an historical setting that was new and exciting to experience, characters who are of the time, but not afraid to try to break free from restrictions, and a relevant story line linking the past with the present. This one is a highly recommended read.

A Mosaic of Wings whisked me away to a richly detailed place and time I have never before experienced in a book — India in the late 1800s. All my senses were engaged as I took in the sights, sounds, smells, and even tastes of this exotic setting. The characters were not the only ones to experience the wonder of that place. The novel follows Nora Shipley in her quest to prove herself as a scientist in a male dominated field. She is not perfect, but she is definitely a character to love. I loved how Duffy portrayed the obstacles that Nora faced, but I especially was impressed with contrast of Nora’s plight with those of women in India at the time. Like Nora, it is easy to get lost in our own situations when treated unfairly. Duffy not only opened Nora’s eyes, but mine as well. Nora grew in her understanding of self and others. Supporting characters were well-drawn with both flaws and virtues mixed together, making them very realistic. And the subject matter — entomology — was fascinating. I’ll never look at an insect in the same way again! Although I will probably still kill those I find offensive. 😉 Romance is a part of the story, but not the driving force — that was a big plus for me. Spiritual themes are woven naturally throughout the narrative. The book is never preachy, but does expose the hypocrisies of organized religion in the face of individual faith. There are parallels with today’s world that caused this reader to stop and ponder. With all its layers, this book is a great choice for book discussion groups.

There’s so much more to say about A Mosaic of Wings, but I will leave you with just one more thought. Read this book! I am excited to have discovered a new author and look forward to many more wonderful reading experiences.

Highly Recommended

Great for Book Clubs

Audience: adults

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Q&A with Kimberly Duffy

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

Kimberly: I wrote my first story at the age of eleven. It was about an inchworm. When I was twelve I wrote my first romance — about a girl who gets stuck in an elevator with her celebrity crush. And I really haven’t stopped writing since. Before I began writing, though, I loved stories and words and daydreams. 

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

My eleventh grade creative writing and journalism teacher was the first person to ever encourage me in my writing. I had written an autobiographical short romantic story about a trip to Ukraine and he suggested I expand on the story and turn it into a book. I didn’t, but I did thank him in the acknowledgements of A Mosaic of Wings. 

Why did you choose historical fiction? 

I’ve always loved historical fiction but I was initially scared to write it. The research necessary intimidated me and I wasn’t sure if I could do it properly. I took an online historical fiction course Anne Mateer was offering and it really helped me get over that mental hurdle. I don’t know that I’ll write anything else now. I really love exploring the human experience through the different cultural and historical perspectives of my characters. It’s super interesting to me that no matter where you live, or when you live, those desires and fears don’t really change all that much. There’s a kind of reassurance in realizing that there truly is nothing new under the sun. 

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

My biggest obstacle was one all writers who want to be published traditionally face and that is the fact that it’s a very competitive field. There are only so many spots and for each one there are an incredible number of people vying for it. And many of them are just as talented, just as experienced, just as hopeful. I always told my husband, though, that I would outwork anyone and eventually, I would write something someone would want. 

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

I always start with browsing Google. Then I buy a bunch of books. I’ll try to find an expert I can interview or speak with. I really love historical documents and research projects and there’s a series of books on the history of cities around the world — I got one on Kolkata that was so helpful for setting book two. I also love looking at 19th century photographs. That’s probably the thing I google most — 19th century saris or Poona or entomology laboratories. 

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

I’m a blend of both. I have four kids, homeschool, and care for my husband’s grandmother so I have to be. I try to write a little during the afternoon after schoolwork, but that isn’t always possible. Most of my books are written in the evenings and on weekends. I’m disciplined and don’t struggle with procrastination. My biggest problem is that I become hyper focused—especially during the plotting and drafting stages—and I forget about everything else in my life. Balance is hard. 

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

About six months, give or take a couple months. 

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

A Mosaic of Wings was inspired by my daughter, Grainne, who has wanted to be an entomologist since she was five. The late 19th century saw an explosion of women pursuing scientific careers and many of them made indelible marks on the world. 

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

I hope they see God’s grace, first and foremost. I always write very flawed characters because I think that’s the best way of demonstrating it. I hope they come away having been entertained, of course, but also having been encouraged and challenged. 

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

Yep. Book 2 releases winter of 2021. It’s set in 1887 Calcutta, India and Wiltshire, England. It’s about family and belonging and faith. I really love this story. It’s incredibly personal and I poured a lot of my own struggles with doubt and home into it. 

 

Thanks, Kimberly for sharing with my readers. You can also listen to an interview with Kimberly on the podcast, A Rough Draft Life, hosted by Kristi Ann Hunter and Lindsey Brackett.

 

Giveaway!!

My friend Lindsey Brackett has an extra copy of A Mosaic of Wings to give away to one of my readers. To enter to win, please leave a comment. A winner will be randomly selected on June 17. Please, US entrants only.

 

Book Spotlight And Author Interview — Heart of The Ajs

26 May

About The Book

Book:  Heart of the Ajs

Author: T.E. Bradford

Genre:  Fantasy / Sci-Fi blend

Release Date: September 16, 2019

She has magic she cannot use…

He has a secret she must uncover.

THE SIX WORLDS OF BAQA

ASFAR, first planet from the sun is a desert planet steeped in superstition and tradition. Nafisa el Faruz is the princess, defender of the sun and champion of her people. Hers is the most powerful magic—zaman, holder of time.

TRINITOS, third planet, is home to the sky gate and the wicked man who controls its use, the Ajs An’hlj. He is yunfah—a wind walker, one who can control the air itself. The only thing he covets more than control is power, and he has his sights set on Nafisa.

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

About The Author

Tracy Bradford is the author of the Divide Series, Six World Sagas, and International Bestseller: Kindled Legends – Written in the Stars.

When she’s not busy writing, she can be found taking a scenic drive with her family, snapping photos, or giving voices to her son’s stuffed animals. She reclines her feet in Upstate New York with her very own grumpy kitty, the husband God made just for her, and the son who is her forever best story.

 

More from Tracy

A large part of the plot for Heart of the Ajs stemmed from a conversation I had with my son. He’d asked me why he still had bad dreams, even after praying for God to take them away.

I searched for the words to explain why God doesn’t always say yes. Sometimes he says no. Or maybe. Or wait–which for me is the hardest answer of all. I thought of an example from when we’d been looking for a new house and didn’t get the one we’d been hoping for. We were so disappointed. But God had a better house in mind for us. We just didn’t know it yet. And at one point my job became very toxic, when after seven years of work I got pregnant and suddenly managers who’d promoted me several times were telling me I wasn’t cutting it. God had a better job in mind for me. I just didn’t know it yet.

I started to wonder if I could weave this truth into a story I’d been working on about a girl who didn’t feel her father or God were listening. She couldn’t see a way out, or understand how anything good could come from where she was.

Yet our precious Heavenly Father always has a plan. A perfect, incredible plan far beyond our wildest imaginings. One He is faithful to reveal with perfect timing.

Even if we may not know it yet.

 

Q&A With T. E. Bradford

 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time author, and also have a full-time job. Believe it or not, I think it affects my writing positively. Not only does it push me to finish pieces, it also provides and endless source of ideas and information I can use when building characters and worlds.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Heart of the Ajs is a mashup of Sci-Fi and Fantasy in all the best ways. Set on a desert planet with a middle-eastern feel, it pits strong-willed Nafisa not only against a dangerous and deadly man, but against her own doubts. It is, above all else, a story of faith — even in the face of uncertainty.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Book Two in my YA/Fantasy series is set to release soon. It’s called Child of Destiny, and is a stand-alone, but continues the story and characters introduced in Book One – Child of Prophecy. I’m also working on a new Dystopian about a cult-like group called The Congregation, who separate themselves to avoid contact with the “infected” and one young member named Evangeline, who stumbles onto a truth that will not only change all she’s ever known, but alter the future of an entire generation.

How do you find or make time to write?

Now that IS a good question. LOL  With a full-time job, a young son, and all the demands that accompany editing and selling your work, finding the time to actually write can be challenging. Thankfully I’ve always been a night owl. I use those precious hours after everyone else is in bed to find my quiet, happy place. I often look up to the ceiling and whisper to those sleeping above, “Up there it’s their time… but down here… down here is OUR time.” Any Goonies fans out there will understand (wink, wink).

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

Certainly, The Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. The idea of Aslan telling the children that he brought them to Narnia so that knowing him by one name for a little, they might know him better in their world is one that will always resonate with me. Or Contact, by Carl Sagan. Which contains one of the best messages about faith I’ve ever found. Oh, there are so many! How do you pick just one?!?

 

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, May 21

Artistic Nobody, May 22 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, May 23

Blossoms and Blessings, May 24 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, May 25

By The Book, May 26 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, May 27

For the Love of Literature, May 28 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, May 29

Wishful Endings, May 30 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, May 31

deb’s Book Review, June 1

A Baker’s Perspective, June 2 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, June 3

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, T.E. is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Amazon Gift Card, a signed copy of my book Child of Prophecy, a piece of raw onyx, and a genuine Jasper stone heart necklace!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/fa03/heart-of-the-ajs-celebration-tour-giveaway

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.