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Book Review And Author Interview — Burden of Proof

8 Oct

Reeling from a negotiation gone wrong, FBI Special Agent April Ramos is caught off guard when a frazzled young woman shoves a crying baby into her arms, then disappears. Worry for the child’s safety quickly turns to fear when a man claiming to be the girl’s father abducts them at gunpoint. April puts her hostage negotiation skills to use to learn more about who she’s dealing with: Jason Snyder, a fugitive accused of murder.

As Jason spins a tall tale about being framed for the killing of his business partner, April must sort through his claims to find the truth. A truth that becomes all the more evident after April overhears a conversation between Jason and the local sheriff and realizes something more sinister may be happening in their small town of Sweet Briar, Texas. But aligning herself with a known fugitive to uncover the burden of proof could cost April her job . . . or worse, her life and the lives of other innocent people.

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne du Maurier, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the following social media platforms or others listed at diannmills.com.

facebook.com/diannmills
twitter.com/diannmills
instagram.com/diannmillsauthor

My Impressions:

Burden of Proof, DiAnn Mills’ latest romantic suspense novel, begins with action and continues to give the reader a twisting reading ride throughout. A kidnappings lead an unjustly accused businessman and an FBI hostage negotiator to join forces to uncover the truth of corrupt officials in a small eastern Texas town. Likable characters, a puzzling mystery, and fast-paced plotting make this one a recommended read.

While I always love the suspenseful stories that Mills creates, with Burden of Proof being no exception, the characterization in this novel is its strongest element. Main characters April Ramos and Jason Snyder are believable in their reactions to the situation they find themselves in and interactions with each other. They make a great team in more ways than one. Secondary characters, both the good guys and bad, are interesting and add depth to the small town feel of the novel. There’s an FBI connection, but April and Jason often find themselves on their own in their quest for truth and justice. The two characters’ relationship develops amidst the car crashes, explosions, and danger that seems to lurk around every corner. As stated, April is a hostage negotiator, and I think Mills got that part of the story spot-on. There’s great insight into the dynamics of managing difficult situations and exploration of the motives and thinking of criminals and victims. The spiritual journeys of both Jason and April are intriguing as well, and I found they unfolded naturally. Jason must come to grips with the anger that has accompanied his life and April discovers relationship rather than religion.

For fans of romantic suspense, this novel is a must-read. I really liked Burden of Proof. It kept me guessing and turning the pages!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Q&A With DiAnn Mills 

 

1. What is the most rewarding part of being a writer?

Entertaining others with story. My goal is for the reader to slip into the shoes of the point of view character and live vicariously through the character. I love the entire process. It’s hard work but incredibly satisfying. 

2. What is the most challenging aspect of being a writer?

The same process as what rewards me about being a writer. Each book must be stronger, deeper than the previous one. Characters must be more unique with a credible inner world that touches readers emotionally. Plot is drawn from the character’s fears and weaknesses. Dialogue has the ability to share conflict while the setting works against the character’s goals. 

3. Why romantic suspense?

We live in a scary and unpredictable world. Most of us don’t want to dwell on the real danger and the violence that exists, and I want to show trained men and women who are dedicated to preventing and stopping crime. Those characters want to find someone to love too, and romantic suspense allows me to create both. 

4. What is a little-known fact about you?

I’m a very private person when not teaching and speaking, an introvert who thrives on alone time. Those who view me at conferences see a friendly woman (I hope) but once home I’m exhausted and it takes a few days to recover.  

5. How many words do you write a day? 

Depends on my goal for the book. When I receive a contract, I back up two to three months from when the book is due then divide the number of days in which I’ll be home writing, excluding holidays, vacations, weekends, and conference. Next I take the number of words in the manuscript and divide it by the writing days. Always write more than the goal amount and it’s approximately 1750 to 2500 words.

6. What is your favorite dessert?

Anything apple. Has to be warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a cup of freshly brewed hot coffee.

7. Do you read when you write?

Yes. How can I compete if I don’t know what’s selling, specifically bestsellers. Other writers challenge me with their techniques, characterization, and plot twists to make my stories stronger. 

8. What is your least favorite food?

Red meat, potatoes, white rice, white bread

9. What is one thing quirky about you?

What isn’t? LOL  I’d say that I can’t wear a watch, too much electricity in my body. I’ve been known to de-magnetize room keys at hotels. Guess I’m electrifying. 

10.  What’s one thing you would like to impart to your readers about your books and being an author?

Writing isn’t for the faint-hearted. A writer must be disciplined, able to work alone, accept constructive criticism, edit and edit again, hustle like it was up to him/her while relying on God as the Boss, and have a solid relationship with God. Then repeat.

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Top 10 Tuesday — Authors I’d Love to Meet

2 Oct

When I started this book blogging gig 9 years ago, I had no idea the great fun it would be. Never did I imagine that I would get to meet favorite authors in person! Can you say fangirl? I have had the pleasure of hosting author meet and greets, attending book events, and interviewing authors, many face to face. So when That Artsy Reader Girl challenged us to list the authors we would love to meet, I already had a list ready. I’ll get to meet some sooner than later — my book club is traveling to meet Lindsey P. Brackett, author of Still Waters, later in the month, and I am finally getting the chance to attend the Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat next spring. Woo hoo!

Make sure to check out That Artsy Reader Girl to discover which authors other bloggers dream of meeting.

 

10 Top Authors I Want to Meet

(all info is taken from the authors’ websites or Goodreads)

Karen Barnett

Fueled by a passion for research and learning, and a secret desire to travel in time, author Karen Barnettcreates historical romances that draw readers deep into a story. She’s fascinated that even though human history is constantly changing, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The point where those two facts collide forms the basis for her writing–finding those moments when an ordinary person brushes up against the eternal.

A graduate of Valparaiso University and Oregon State University, Barnett’s debut novel, Mistaken, was released in 2013 and earned her the Oregon Christian Writers “Writer of Promise” award and a Cascade Award for best historical fiction. She also won the coveted “Writer of the Year” title from the prestigious Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in 2016.

Karen spent several years working in outdoor education as a park ranger and naturalist for Mount Rainier National Park and Oregon’s Silver Falls State Park before becoming a stay-at-home mom and professional writer. She spends her free time hiking, taking photographs, dragging her kids through dusty history museums, and decorating crazy birthday cakes.

Karen lives in western Oregon with her husband, two teenagers, and three mischievous dachshunds.

To connect with Karen follow her on Facebook (KarenBarnettAuthor) and Twitter(KarenMBarnett).

Lynn H. Blackburn

I started writing in 2009 and my first book, Covert Justice, was published by Love Inspired Suspense in 2015. Hidden Legacy followed in 2017, and Beneath the Surface, the first book in my Dive Team Investigations series with Revell hits stores in March of 2018. The remaining books in that series will follow in November of 2018 and July of 2019. And hopefully a new series will come after that!

I write romantic suspense for a couple of reasons.

  1. I love romance. Happily ever romance where no matter how hard things have been, two hearts find each other and will cherish each other forever. I believe the reason romance is so popular is because our hearts were made for the Truest Love. No human relationship can ever compare to the eternal and all-consuming love God has for us, but I’m so glad we get to enjoy a little bit of heaven on earth with another person who has committed to stay with us no matter what.
  2. I love suspense. Not because I’m tough, but because I’m a huge chicken! In my books, I can be so much braver than I really am. I can be tough and defeat the bad guys and run into burning buildings. And my characters can wrestle with so many big questions — why God allows bad things to happen and how we can trust Him when it seems like He’s dropped the ball.

When I’m not writing, I lead a crazy busy life! I was born in Hendersonville, North Carolina and still claim the Blue Ridge Mountains as home. But I found my way to Clemson University for engineering school and married my college sweetheart, Brian, as soon as I graduated. We’ve been married for twenty years, have three children—Emma, James, and Drew—and live in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina.

Our daughter, Emma, has Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome and for a lot of years I considered myself to be a “therapy” mom. Having a child with a disability rocked our world, but God was both patient and faithful as we wrestled with our new reality. Being Emma’s mom has changed me in ways I never could have imagined and many things God has taught me about himself find their way into my books. Emma is a joy and a challenge — just like any other teenage girl! She loves her school, her friends, her books, and her electronic devices.

I adore having boys. They are so loud and so fun! James is our deep thinker and sports lover. He regularly asks questions I can’t answer and can tell us football scores from three years ago. We’re pretty sure he’ll make a great lawyer or a sports commentator! Drew is our youngest. He’s our comedian and our warrior child. He keeps us laughing and keeps me praying that God will use him as a champion for truth and justice.

After the boys came along, no one was more surprised (or reluctant) than me to find that God was leading us to homeschool them. I still have no idea how that happened, but I love it and count it a privilege to have them at home with me during this season.

As a family, we’re active in our church, love to read, spend time outdoors, hang out with our extended families, workout at our CrossFit box and cheer for Clemson — Go Tigers!

Lindsey P. Brackett

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own great works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has also published articles and short stories in varying publications. In 2015, she joined Splickety Publishing Group as Editor of Web Content, and in 2017 she migrated over to Firefly Southern Fiction as a general editor. Her popular column, Just Write Life, appears bi-weekly for The Northeast Georgian and weekly in The Elberton Star.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first southern fiction novel, Still Waters, a four-star Romantic Times review being called a “brilliant debut”.

She makes her home at the foothills of Appalachia with her husband and their four rowdy children. They lose library books, brew strong coffee, and quit homeschool.

Contact her on social media or email: lindsbrac@gmail.com.

She’d much rather talk to you than wash the dishes.

Rachel Dylan

Rachel Dylan writes legal thrillers and legal romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. She enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. Rachel writes the Atlanta Justice Series which features strong, female attorneys in Atlanta. Deadly Proof, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series, is a CBA bestseller, a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, a Holt Medallion Finalist, and an FHL Reader’s Choice Award Finalist. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids – two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. She is represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.  You can find Rachel at http://www.racheldylan.com.

Susie Finkbeiner

Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the bestselling author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl (Kregel, 2015), A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression, and A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era (Kregel, 2017).

Her next two novels will release in 2019 and 2020 with Revell Publishing.

She is also the author of My Mother’s Chamomile (WhiteFire, 2014) and Paint Chips (WhiteFire, 2013).

Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.

Jody Hedlund

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and finalist for the Christy Awards, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Dani Pettrey

A consummate world traveler: Africa, South America, Australia—been there, done that.

A die-hard thrill seeker: heli-skiing, cave diving, storm kayaking—if it’s extreme, she’s there.

A bullet-dodging, high-speed-car-chasing, treasure-hunting adventurer.

An antiquities theft investigator, FBI agent, archaeologist, forensic anthropologist, and a detective who tracks down justice for a living.

Okay, not really, but her characters are. And, that’s why she loves the passion God has placed in her for telling stories.

In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, former homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, son-in-law, and 2 super adorable grandsons.

Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.

And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

Jill Eileen Smith

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and the Loves of King Solomon series. Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times.

When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Catherine West

Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children and one beautiful granddaughter. Catherine is the winner of the 2015 Grace Award (Bridge of Faith) and the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award (The Things We Knew). Catherine loves to connect with her readers and can be reached at Catherine@catherinejwest.com

 

Jaime Jo Wright

If I were to summarize my life in three words, my instinct is to say: “I love coffee”, and leave it at that. But, I realize that is rather shallow and a tad obsessive. So, summarizing who Jaime Jo Wright is can be a challenge.

I love life. I always have. God has blessed me, even in severe trials, such as the loss of three of my babies. He has never failed, never given up, never gone easy on me, and always disciplined me with a loving hand. (and trust me, when you have my personality which pushes boundaries and considers rules to be negotiable, you need discipline). Our ship was joined by a little Tinkerbell in 2009. Our CoCo has tamed the pirate exponentially better than I ever could. Peter Pan came along in 2012 and whisked me away to Neverland where we refuse to grow up and make mischief on a daily basis.

 

Guest Post — Richard L. Mabry M.D., author of Guarded Prognosis

20 Jul

I am pleased to welcome Richard L. Mabry, M.D. to the blog today. Dr. Mabry is my go-to author for medical suspense. His latest book, Guarded Prognosis, just released a few days ago. Make sure to check it out (it is FREE for those of you with Kindle Unlimited!). Thanks Dr. Mabry for sharing with my readers today.

BLIND TO OUR FAULTS

How many times have we seen something, either in real life or fiction, that causes us to say, “How could they not have seen that coming?” At times this occurs in books, TV, or the movies in order to advance the plot. When that happens, it requires a bit of “suspension of disbelief” but we accept that as necessary. On the other hand, in real life wouldn’t the individual involved have seen what’s going to happen? Not necessarily. Why? Because there are times and circumstances when we’re subject to a common failing — we tend to go ahead with “what always works,” blind to our faults in the matter.

Unfortunately, none of us — including authors — are immune to this problem. Writers who have been involved in critiquing manuscripts submitted at conferences and contests are familiar with novels that fail to meet standards. Almost without exception, these have gained glowing praises from the author’s friends and family, but that is unfortunately often based more on the amazement that “So-and-so wrote a novel” than on the merits of the book. None of us likes for someone to critique our work, but in my view constructive criticism from someone who’s familiar with the basics of writing is much more valuable than praise based on personality.

Let me give an example from my own writing. I don’t participate in a structured critique group. It’s not that I don’t recognize their worth, but for my personality and method of writing it works better for me to depend on the opinion of my first reader —my wife. I have described her before as both my biggest supporter and most severe critic, and I have learned to listen to what she says. Thus far, our marriage has survived. I showed her a completed copy of my most recent novel, and after reading fewer than a dozen pages she informed me that it didn’t really capture her interest. Then she made some suggestions that would improve the novel but require lots of work on my part. After pouting for a few days (chocolate may have been involved in my recovery process), I sat down and began to completely rewrite the novel, taking into account her suggestions. 

Apparently, what she recommended worked, and I’ve received numerous compliments on the revised novel from authors and informed readers. This has happened more than once with me. Why? Because, like many other authors, I was blind to my faults. I thought I could skate through by just throwing words onto the page. I wanted to rest on my laurels.

Guarded Prognosis is my twelfth published novel. Along with my non-fiction book that got all this started —The Tender Scar — and four novellas, that’s seventeen books (in addition to eight medical texts) that bear my name. When I tried to put this novel together, I’d frankly grown complacent. I was like a professional athlete who felt that he can win simply by showing up. But most of us are familiar with the maxim that any team can beat any other on any given day. The same applies to authors. We’re only as good as our current book, and the only way we can be certain it’s the best we can do is through evaluation by others who are knowledgeable in the field.

Whether it’s writing, teaching, managing a company, repairing an air conditioner, or any one of a thousand other occupations, we have to do one thing to reach and stay at the top of our profession. We have to constantly improve ourselves and our work product. We’ve never “arrived.” The day we think we have reached that point is the day when the consumer will let us know we haven’t. 

Have you suffered the consequences of being blind to your own faults? Did you find yourself resting on past accomplishments? How did you correct that (assuming you did)? What have you done lately to continue improving? 

*     *     *

Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, now writing “medical suspense with heart.” His previously published novels have garnered critical acclaim and been recognized by programs including the ACFW’s Carol Award, the Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year and its Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and the Selah Award. Guarded Prognosis is his twelfth published novel.

Book Review + Author Interview — Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

26 Jul

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the orphans’ eyes. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translate, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

My Impressions:

Healing Love can be categorized as a contemporary romance since it has a love story that develops throughout the book. But its message is so much more than that. If anything it tells the story of a young woman who falls in love with God’s people. Inspired by a mission trip the author’s family participated in, this dual setting novel (California and El Salvador) explores the desperate needs of people and our response to it. I really liked this one, and if you have a heart for missions and love a happily-ever-after ending, you will too!

Brooke Endress is two years out of grad school and pursuing her dream of working in broadcast journalism. Reluctantly she agrees to accompany her teenaged sister on a mission trip to El Salvador. As Brooke is confronted with the realities of the desperate life of poverty in that country, her whole perspective is turned upside down. Translator Ubaldo Calla has his worldview challenged as well when discovers that the beautiful North American is not the spoiled woman he thought, but deeply caring with a love for his home country.

The contrast between American life and the crippling poverty of El Salvador is uncovered in Healing Love. This novel brought the struggle of survival to life for this reader. Slattery doesn’t shy away from sharing the problems of El Salvador — poverty, child labor, sexual abuse, poor education. The missions team that Brooke accompanies makes an impression, but it is really long term action that is required to truly make a difference. I really liked the spiritual growth that Brooke and Ubaldo undergo as they heal relationships and touch lives.

Full of heart, faith, and love, Healing Love is a great story. It is one that will leave you thinking long after the last page is turned. It is an especially good choice for a book club or missions group.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE. (It’s free for Kindle Unlimited!)

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Author, speaker, and ministry leader Jennifer Slattery writes for Crosswalk.com and is the managing and acquiring editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She believes fiction has the power to transform lives and change the culture. Healing Love is her sixth novel, and it was birthed during a trip she and her family took to El Salvador that opened her eyes to the reality of generational poverty and sparked a love for orphans and all who’ve experienced loss.

Her deepest passion is to help women experience God’s love and discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she travels with her team to various churches to speak to women and help them experience the love and freedom only Christ can offer. When not writing, editing, or speaking, you’ll likely find her chatting with her friends or husband in a quiet, cozy coffeehouse. Visit her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her and her Wholly Loved team at WhollyLoved.com.

Q&A with Jennifer Slattery

When did you begin to write?

I’ve been writing in one fashion or another since I learned to hold a pencil. I wrote my first story (or at least, the first one I remember) when I was in maybe fourth or fifth grade for a young author’s contest. I remember being selected from my class, though I can’t remember what I was selected for! Maybe to have my story included in a publication?

For years, I wrote poems, which is interesting because now I stink at poetry, though I do often write song lyrics for my stories. (Music can be such a powerful way to connect with God and soak in truth!). I never really pursued publication or even thought about what that might look like until about a decade ago when I began to sense a clear call from God. I felt God was telling me not only was I to write, and write for Him, but this was to be my predominant focus.

After a bit of resisting (for numerous reasons all related to pride and fear), I surrendered, plunked myself in front of my computer, and penned what later became Breaking Free (my fourth and so far, most popular, release).

What led you to write Healing Love?

The idea for this story came while on a plane ride leaving El Salvador, a country I was initially nervous to visit but quickly became reluctant to leave. Our family joined our church (at the time) for a weeklong mission trip, during which we served at an orphanage for girls who had been sexually abused. It was an incredibly emotional and eye-opening experience.

I left with a broken heart and a large pile of letters the girls had written to me before we left. Those letters remain in the top drawer of my bedside table to this day and serve as a reminder of God’s call to love — however and whenever I can.

On the plane ride back, tears pricking my eyes, letters in my lap, I processed all I’d experienced and saw during my week. All God had shown me, not just about the El Salvador people and the sweet orphans I had so quickly fallen in love with, but about His heart. And almost instantly, a story idea took hold.

The next six months or so were incredibly painful as I researched what life was really like for countless families in El Salvador, many of whom have no choice but to work long hours in the hot sun, many of whom are forced to have their children as young as seven and eight working beside them. Many others who live on trash heaps, scavenging for food. Others still who, desperate to survive, sell their children into sex trafficking. Women and children who’ve sold themselves.

One of the downfalls of having a writer’s brain is that everything in my mind plays out in vivid detail. Add to that the fact that I have a bit of OCD, and my brain can get stuck on replay mode, in this case, a replay that utterly broke me.

One afternoon, I went for a walk, trying not to think about all I learned and the precious children our family had encountered — trying not to see their faces as they flashed through my mind — I started to pray. I don’t remember what I said, except that I asked God why He was allowing me to see such heartache and pain, such suffering.

And as if in response, a gentle yet clear thought arose: This is what He sees daily, only more so. Not only does He see the pain, but He hears their constant, desperate cries as they beg for aid.

Aid that, most often, comes through you and I.

In what ways can you relate to Brooke, the heroine in Healing Love?

Oh, my word! In many, and not always the best of ways. I’ve already admitted I have a bit of OCD. In other words, I like to control my world and everything in it. As with Brooke, this comes out strongest when I feel out of control — threatened, vulnerable. Fearful. When instead I should be turning to God in surrender — because that’s when I find strength and peace. But I’m learning, as is Brooke.

In what ways can you relate to Ubaldo, the hero?

Sweet Ubaldo. He means well, and he’s done and is doing a lot of good. I love that he’s driven by his integrity and a genuine love for others. But he can get so focused on doing what he believes to be right that he can in fact hurt others and push them away. I can do that, also. My stubborn, passionate side can become too passionate, working against me and whatever God is calling me to do. Finding the balance between love and truth, passion and grace, can be hard. But again, I’m learning.

Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your story and your heart!

 

Book Spotlight + Author Interview (And A Giveaway!) — My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island by Carrie Fancett Pagels

11 Jul

 

Series: My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island
Genre: Adult, Christian, Fiction, Historical, Romance
Publisher: Barbour
Publication date: July 1

Journey now to Mackinac Island where . . . . A Tangled Gilded Age Love Story Unfolds. Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel. While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders — including Maude — and he digs deep for his story. But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARBOURB&N | CBD | BOOK DEPOSITORYTARGET

ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper.” Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at http://www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.

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OVERCOMING WITH GOD | 
COLONIAL QUILLS

 

 

Do you have any funny stories from fans meeting you for the first time?

I don’t think funny stories but I have been so blessed by the readers I’ve met, especially last year in Shepherd Michigan when Joyce Noyes brought her absolutely adorable granddaughters with her!

What did your writing process for My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island look like?

Ohmygoodnessgraciousmeohmy! This was like having a problem child who needed a lot of therapy and rehab!

What type of research did you do for My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island? Did you do any traveling for this research?

I actually lived on and worked on the island as a teenager and grew up in the area. And I’ve been there often visiting. One of my close friends has family from the island and she inspired that aspect of the story. We specifically stayed at both the Grand Hotel for research and at the Windermere, which is the inspiration for my heroine’s inn.

What inspired the idea for My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island?

I wondered what an independent miss, brought up by the strong women of the island, would do if her father resisted her becoming a business manager/inn manager which is her birthright but is at a time when young women were sheltered.

What do you want readers to take away from reading My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island?

The only inheritance you need to concern yourself with is that of being a child of the living God.

Do you have any advice you would give to other potential authors?

Don’t give up if you have a manuscript that is giving you fits, not if the Lord tells you to keep working on it. Hire the best freelance editors that you can and pray! This problem child became an RT Book Reviews Top Pick for July PTL!

 

 

Grand Prize Giveaway – Kindle Fire + Mackinac Gift Pack Set: postcards from Mackinac Island, bookmarks, hand-made earrings, winner’s choice of a signed paperback of this novel (or an upcoming release or other book if you already have read My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island), and a Mackinac Island mug.
Enter the giveaway HERE.

Author, Author! (+ Giveaway!) — Amber Lynn Perry

27 Jun

I am pleased to welcome to the blog, author Amber Lynn Perry. Her latest book is So Pure A Heart, an historical romance novel set during the American Revolutionary War. Be sure to check it out!

 

Who or what inspired you to become an author?

Oh! That’s a great question! It was Deeanne Gist who first told me I should write. I’m not even sure if she remembers mentioning anything to me, but after she said it I thought, “Hey! Why not??”

When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?  Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?

Actually, being an author never really came to mind, though I did first start writing—just for fun—in middle school. That was when the idea for So Fair a Lady began!

Who are some of your favorite authors?  Do these authors inspire your own writing?

Some of my favorite authors are Laura Frantz, and Tamara Leigh. Their stories, their prose, the depth of their characters—everything about their writing inspires me to be better.

What inspired the idea for the Daughters in His Kingdom Series? What inspired the idea for So Pure a Heart?

I first got the idea for the series when I was young — I’ve been obsessed with the American Revolution since middle school, and I thought how exciting it would be to bring the era to life. I hope that readers will be inspired by the courage and perseverance of the early Americans. Before writing So Pure a Heart, I did a lot of studying on spying during the Revolution and was so astonished and awed-inspired by the incredible things that regular citizens did for the cause that I just knew I needed to write about them . . . while including a good bit of romance, too, of course. 😉

What do you want readers to take away from reading So Pure a Heart?

Oh, my . . . well, I know that every reader reads a book a little differently, even though they are reading the same words — but overall, I do hope people will (like I mentioned before) be inspired by the sacrifices people made for freedom.

When you are not writing, what other “caps” do you wear and what hobbies do you enjoy?

Fun!! I love talking about writing, but I love this question, too — life is full of exciting things! I love to teach — I do homeschool with my girls and I also teach songs to the children in my church group. 

 

A Pacific Northwest native, Amber Lynn Perry lives in Washington state with her husband and two daughters. She studied humanities at Portland State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree focused on art history. As a homeschooling mom, Amber spends much of her time teaching everything from Shakespeare to science.
When she isn’t crafting with her kids, making dinner or driving to dance classes, Amber is either reading or writing about her favorite time in American history. The Revolutionary era has captured her imagination from the time she was in middle school. Through her books, Amber hopes to not only give readers a glimpse into the past, but to instill in them a lasting love of liberty.

 

June 26–Remembrancy,  Heidi Reads…
June 27–Paulette’s Papers
June 28– Reading Is My SuperPower, Katie’s Clean Book Collection
June 29–Joy of Reading, Faithfully Bookish
June 30–Red Headed Book Lady, Singing Librarian Books
July 1–Book by Book, Getting Your Read On

 

Giveaway!

Enter the giveaway HERE.

Top 10 Tuesday — Authors Dad Will Love

13 Jun

Father’s Day is only a few days away. Have you picked out a tie or socks for your favorite dad yet? Don’t do it! Get them something they will really love! The authors I am featuring today have already been dad-approved. My husband and many of the husbands of the gals in my book club have read the books below — and loved them! You won’t have a problem with things that don’t fit or having to return that nose-hair trimmer that doesn’t work. (EWW!) Seriously, these guys know how to write a book that will keep dad turning the pages and thanking you for the great gift you gave him this year. Not convinced, then head over to The Broke And The Bookish for other bloggers’ recommendations based on dads.

 

 

Top Authors For Dad!

 

J. Mark Bertrand

J. Mark Bertrand is the author of the crime novels Back on Murder, Pattern of Wounds, and Nothing to Hide, featuring Houston homicide detective Roland March. The Weekly Standard dubbed him “a major crime-fiction talent.” He has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston and lives with his wife Laurie in South Dakota.

Find out more online at http://www.jmarkbertrand.com.

 

 

Mark Mynheir

Mark Mynheir is a former Marine who’s worked in law enforcement over twenty-eight-years. In his career, Mark has served as a patrol officer, an undercover narcotics agent, a S.W.A.T. Team member, and a homicide detective.

Mark has parlayed his police experiences into a successful speaking and writing career. He has written articles for Focus on the Family’s Breakaway magazine, Lookout magazine, and Christian Fictiononline and is also the author of five novels: Rolling Thunder, From the Belly of the Dragon, The Void, The Corruptible, and the Christy nominated The Night Watchman. Mark has also co-written two books with Max Lucado — Pocket Prayers for Dads and Pocket Prayers for Military Life.

He and his family currently live in central Florida. You can visit Mark’s website at http://www.copwriter.com or on his Facebook page.

 

Randy Singer

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned nine legal thrillers, including his award-winning debut novel Directed Verdict. In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing — part lawyer, part pastor. He also teaches classes in advocacy and ethics at Regent Law School and serves on the school’s Board of Visitors. He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two grown children. Visit his Web site at http://www.randysinger.net.

 

Robert Whitlow

Robert Whitlow grew up in north Georgia. He graduated magna cum laude from Furman University with a BA in history in 1976 and received his JD with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1979. A practicing attorney, he is a partner in a Charlotte, NC law firm. He and his wife Kathy have four children and three grandchildren.

Robert began writing in 1996. His novels are set in the South and include both legal suspense and interesting characterization. It is his desire to write stories that reveal some of the ways God interacts with people in realistic scenerios.

You can find Robert Whitlow at his website, robertwhitlow.com.