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A Season to Dance Scavenger Hunt! — September 11-24

10 Sep

About The Book

Book: A Season to Dance

Author: Patricia Beal

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: May 6, 2017

Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.

Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.

Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?

About The Author

Patricia writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. She is a Genesis Award semi-finalist, First Impressions finalist, and the author of A Season to Dance and Desert Willow (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, 2017 and 2020). She writes from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Visit her at http://www.patriciabeal.com for more.

More from Patricia Beal

When I wrote the first line of my first novel in January of 2011, I wanted to get published because I was desperate to feel important.

I finished writing A Season to Dance that fall and hired coach Gloria Kempton via Writer’s Digest to look at the whole thing and tell me if it was any good.

She saw potential in the story of a small-town professional ballerina with big dreams, but explained I needed a clearer quest, more telling details, better scene structure, and better balance between sequels and dramatic scenes. I joined Gloria’s critique group and spent a year rewriting.

During that year, my husband got orders to move the family from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Germany, and he deployed for the sixth time soon after we settled on a lovely mountaintop in Idar-Oberstein.

When I finished rewriting, Gloria said the novel looked good and had everything a novel was supposed to have. But… “Something’s still missing. I don’t know what it is. We’ve covered it all.”

So of course I did what any writer desperate for validation would do. I told my coach that surely nothing was missing and that it was time to query. I hired a service to blast queries everywhere for me. I know… Shame on me… But God used that.

God’s Plan — Phase One

One query ended up with Mrs. Joyce Hart, of Hartline Literary. The novel wasn’t Christian—I wasn’t a Christian. She shouldn’t have received my query. But she did. She sent me a note saying she liked the storyline but that in Christian novels the protagonist couldn’t live with her love interest without being married. She was very kind and said that if she was missing the point and if the novel was indeed Christian that I should resubmit explaining the living together piece.

When I read it I laughed and rolled my eyes. I started typing a condescending reply. Something about Christian fairy tale brains and me living in the real world, but I decided not to send it.

Days passed. A week passed. A month passed. And all I did was collect rejections. I became bitter. Bitterly sad at first. Then bitterly discouraged. And then bitterly ugly. I’d never been ugly before. Not like that.

See, up to that point, I’d believed that there was some kind of “god” and that somewhere, somehow, being good was right and that it paid off. But with the disappointments of the publishing journey those beliefs became a joke to me. I stood in the middle of my empty German kitchen—husband deployed, kids at school, my first dog had just died. And I looked at that inbox full of rejections and stated to whomever or whatever was out there: “God is dead.”

Mercy. Surely I said that to the “god” of my imagination, and not to the real God—God as He reveals Himself in the Bible. But I know that He was in that kitchen with me. And phase two of His plan was about to start.

Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

God’s Plan — Phase Two

As I lost all restraint and became the worst version of myself, God removed me from my green German mountaintop.

After less than eighteen months in Germany, we were sent back to America, to the Chihuahuan Desert in West Texas. To a place called Fort Bliss—a place from which you can see a Mexican mountain with the words: “Cd. Juárez. La Biblia es la verdad. Leela.” That translates to “City of Juárez. The Bible is the truth. Read it.” Gotta love it. God is good.

During the first six months back in America, I went to two secular writers’ conferences and met more rejection. My lack of restraint and my selfishness didn’t really make me happy. I wanted to go to therapy. I wanted a job. I still dreamed of that book deal that had to be just around the corner. I wanted, I wanted…

But nothing happened, and it didn’t matter how hard I tried to get help, get happy, and find any kind of relief for the pain I felt. Nothing. Happened. I’d never seen so many closed doors—slammed-shut doors—ever in my life. Even the shrink kept double booking, closing early, and somehow cancelling on me. It was ridiculous.

The One Open Door

When God planted our family in the desert, He planted us two blocks from a friend from the Fort Benning years. A friend whose claim to fame was church shopping whenever the Army moved her family. I asked her to take me to church on the first Wednesday of January of 2013.

I fell in His arms. Surrendered, defeated, and dependent. Or what God likes to call—ready. I was born again two weeks later and was baptized on Super Bowl Sunday that February.

Gloria’s “Something Missing”

I had tickets to go to New York for the Writer’s Digest conference that spring, but sometime in March, it dawned on me: “You silly goose of a girl. You wrote a salvation story without the salvation piece.” My first coach, Gloria Kempton, had been right all along. There was something missing!

A Season to Dance isn’t just the story of a small-town professional ballerina who dreams of dancing at the Met in New York and the two men who love her. It’s also the story of a girl desperately trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with often misguided career and romantic pursuits.

I deleted Mrs. Hart’s email that week. Yes, it was still in my inbox. Job well done, Mrs. Hart.

Now, I had work to do. I spent 2013 and the first half of 2014 rewriting the novel. Five ladies from my Sunday school read chapter after chapter as I produced them and cheered me on through that gruesome process. I couldn’t have done it without their support. God is good.

Jeff Gerke edited my novel in the summer of 2014 and had me read Robert McGee’s The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes. God is good.

I went to my first Christian writers conference, the ACFW 2014 in St. Louis. Two weeks later, Les Stobbe offered to represent me. God is good.

ACFW 2015 was fantastic and many houses are looking at that first manuscript. God is good.

My family got saved, too. My husband in July of 2013. Our son in December of 2013. My mom in the fall of 2014. And our little girl just this past summer, the summer of 2015. God is amazingly good.

Q&A with Patricia Beal

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

Patricia — The desire to write a novel came about 35 years ago, when as a teenage girl back home in Brazil, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist touched my heart. I wanted to do that to people, touch their hearts with a simple story that had something to say about the human condition. 

Now, the first time I saw myself as a fiction writer, was much later. That happened during a writers’ meeting at the Barnes & Noble in Columbus, Georgia, about ten years ago. 

Here’s that story –

Someone once told me that getting a book published was like shooting the moon. “What are you really going to do with the rest of your life?”

That conversation bothered me, but I started writing a novel anyway. 

When I took the first chapter of A Season to Dance – fresh out of my head and hot off my cheap printer – to my Barnes & Noble writing group, I asked the leader to read it to the group for me (my accent is something else). As she did, I saw a box of motivational cards on a shelf behind her. It read: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars…”

That hard-to-please group loved my first chapter guys, and I’d received a sign. Yay! Cinderella story, right? I felt like a writer. Big time. 

Now, two years later the novel hadn’t gone far. I stand corrected. It’d gone far – just not successfully. In the summer of 2012, the novel was rejected in three different continents in the same week.

Then Jesus passed by. 

Six months later I was born again and realized that for two years I’d been writing my own salvation story. The novel wasn’t working yet because it was missing a layer. It was more than the story of a ballerina with big dreams and dreamy suitors. It’s about a young woman trying to fill the God-shaped hole in her heart with misguided career and romantic pursuits. 

The bad news was that the rewrite would be lengthy and painful. God gave me people who encouraged me through the fourteen months of labor, and the work got done. He gave me something else too. A Cadillac commercial that remined me of the moon sign – a reminder of where we’d been, and where we were going.

In the commercial, a kid is riding with his dad. It’s dark. There’s nothing to be seen anywhere. Suddenly you start hearing lunar landing audio:

“We are now in the approach phase–everything looking good.”
“Velocity twelve hundred feet per second.”
“You are looking great to us, Eagle.”
“Two thousand feet.”

A big moon shows up at the end of the road. Dad’s hands are strong on the wheel. The kid and Dad exchange an expectant look.

“Still looking very good.”
“Fourteen hundred feet.”

Dad goes faster. The music gets bigger. The moon gets bigger.

Narrator: “Funny thing happens when you shoot for the moon.”
Lunar landing audio: “That’s affirmative.”
Narrator: “You get there.”
Lunar landing audio: “You are GO for landing–over.”

Here’s the commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf_NavbP3GA 

I love sharing that story because I think it’s so important to celebrate our miracles, share them and remember…

If you’re paralyzed by fear today, be free from it. Do you write? Are you doubting your calling? Most of us do. Don’t let that stop you. God already knows most of us feel that way. 

I love this conversation between Jesus and a dad who asks for help for his possessed child: Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (Mark 9:23-24).

God can handle our tendency to believe and not believe at the same time. He’s not surprised. Ask Him for help, like this Bible dad did. He got his miracle. You’ll get yours. Believe. Keep working. Let me be your shoot-for-the-moon box of cards today. Do it. Shoot for the moon! Write that book. Pitch. Submit. Rewrite. Repeat. Get published. 

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

Patricia — On-site visits whenever possible. It’s like I see the characters. All I have to do is write down what I observe. 

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

Patricia — Redemption. Redemption. Redemption. My name is Patricia Beal, and I write beauty-for-ashes stories 😊

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV) 

Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Giftcard!

https://promosimple.com/ps/10068/a-season-to-dance-celebration-scavenger-hunt-giveaway

Scavenger Hunt!

My word for the scavenger hunt is 

To connect with all those participating, click HERE!

Book Review And Giveaway: Dead Silence

22 Jun

About The Book

Book:  Dead Silence

Author: Robin Caroll

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release Date: June 2020

Political games can be deadly…

Elise Carmichael is a court sign language interpreter who reads lips all the time. As a widow with a young son who is deaf, lip reading is simply second nature, until the day she reads the lips of someone on the phone discussing an attempt to be made on a senator’s life — a senator who just happens to be her mother-in-law. Before she can decide what she needs to do, she receives the information that her son is rushed to the ER and she must leave. Then she later sees the news report that her mother-in-law has been shot and killed. But when she comes forward, her life, as well as her son’s life, may now be in the crosshairs of the assassin.

 

 

Click here to get your copy!


 

 

My Impressions:

I always love a suspense witten by Robin Caroll. She consistently produces unique page turning plots with twists and turns that keep a reader up way past their bedtime. 😉 Dead Silence is no exception. The fast-paced action starts right at the beginning and never lets off the gas. I liked main character Elise Carmichael, a single mom with a special needs child who is a mama bear when it comes to the safety of her son. Elise is involved in solving the case early on, even though she has constant run-ins with the FBI. She and her family and new-found friend follow the leads wherever they go. This kept the main character in the thick of things even when there is a lapse in cooperation between her and the authorities. Elise’s role probably does not meet standard operating procedures. Elise is tough, but her heart has become hard towards God as well. I liked her struggle — it felt very realistic. As the book goes on she learns a lot about herself and the nature of God. I thought the spiritual thread was handled very well. Dead Silence is pure suspense, no romantic threads at all. So if you want all suspense, all the time, this book is for you. Dead Silence is definitely a recommended read!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit and Shiloh Run Press for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better. Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey — aspects Robin weaves into each of her twenty-five-plus published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home. Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as executive director/conference director for ACFW. Her books have been recognized in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year. You can find out more about Robin by visiting http://www.robincaroll.com.

 

 

More from Robin

Hi, there . . . Robin here. I’m getting so excited for the release of my thirty-fourth novel, DEAD SILENCE. I have to say, I love this book. The heroine is strong, yet flawed. Her love for her son — willing to do anything to protect him is a mother’s instinct I relate to so well, having three daughters and two grandsons. The love of a mother for her child is so ingrained in me that I wanted to share that in a story.

I’ve been asked why I opted for a heroine who is an ASL translator and who has a deaf son. Many years ago, I became friends with someone who is deaf. She shared with me some of her frustrations, but also how her way of life is in comparison to mine. It got me to thinking that being deaf could be thought of as a disability but could also be used as an advantage…it was all in how you looked at it. My friend shared many stories of how she “eavesdropped” by reading lips and learned much about people and how they reacted to issues, enough that it led her into her career field today—a counselor, specializing in providing therapy for the hearing impaired as they live in a hearing world. I hope that I portrayed my characters in this positive light.

While I’m a Louisiana girl at heart, I reside in Little Rock, the capitol city for Arkansas. Since Bill and Hilary Clinton lived here and claimed it home before Bill was President, we have many political plans and posturing here. I saw it as a perfect backdrop for this particular story with the political undercurrents running rampant throughout the story.

 

I hope that you enjoy reading DEAD SILENCE as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, June 19

deb’s Book Review, June 19

Texas Book-aholic, June 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 20

Emily Yager, June 20

For the Love of Literature, June 21

Rebecca Tews, June 21

By The Book, June 22

Spoken from the Heart, June 22

Genesis 5020, June 22

KarenSueHadley, June 23

Hebrews 12 Endurance, June 23

Betti Mace, June 24

Remembrancy, June 24

Older & Smarter?, June 24

Inklings and notions, June 25

Read Review Rejoice, June 25

Through the Fire Blogs, June 26

Splashes of Joy, June 26

HookMeInABook, June 26

For Him and My Family, June 27

Mary Hake, June 27

Simple Harvest Reads, June 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, June 28

amandainpa, June 28

Worthy2Read, June 29

Pause for Tales, June 29

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, June 30

Hallie Reads, June 30

Daysong Reflections, July 1

Lights in a Dark World, July 1

Quiet Quilter, July 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 2

Maureen’s Musings, July 2

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Robin 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/fcd1/dead-silence-celebration-tour-giveaway

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 Review + Giveaway! — The House at The End of The Moor

30 Apr

About The Book

Book: House at The End of The Moor

Author: Michelle Griep

Genre: Christian Historical

Release Date: April 2020

An Opulent London Opera Star Escapes to the Rugged Landscape of the English Moors

Opera star Maggie Lee escapes her opulent lifestyle when threatened by a powerful politician who aims to ruin her life. She runs off to the wilds of the moors to live in anonymity. All that changes the day she discovers a half-dead man near her house. Escaped convict Oliver Ward is on the run to prove his innocence, until he gets hurt and is taken in by Maggie. He discovers some jewels in her possession—the very same jewels that got him convicted. Together they hatch a plan to return the jewels, clearing Oliver’s name and hopefully maintaining Maggie’s anonymity.

Click here for your copy!

My Impressions:

Michelle Griep has done it again! She has created a book world worthy of Charles Dickens himself. The House at The End of The Moor has all you could love — Dickensian flavor, wonderful characters, sinister villains, a twisting, turning plot, spot-on spiritual themes, and romance. I loved the setting particularly. Victorian England with all its contrasts — reform and injustice, opulence and slums — is represented well. Griep has a way of making it all come alive for the reader with her detailed descriptions. The two main characters are complexly drawn as they struggle with the need for vengeance and the necessity of forgiveness. You will love the development of their romance as well. This historical novel is also great for fans of mystery/suspense — the action is non-stop with developments you will never see coming! Schemes, intrigues, betrayals, and the ultimate mercy of God makes this novel a recommended read!

Recommended. 

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at http://www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

More from Michelle

What comes to mind when you hear the word moor? For some, images of Jane Eyre spring to life. For others, The Hound of the Baskervilles starts barking. But for most, it’s a big fat goose egg. The fact is that most Americans don’t have a clue what a moor is, but never fear, my friend…after you read the next few paragraphs, you’ll never again go blank-minded when you hear the word moor.

Last summer I skipped across the pond and tromped around Dartmoor with my daughter and husband. What an awesome experience. I learned first-hand just how windy this vast stretch of land can be, for that’s really what a moor is at heart: a vast stretch of land. Webster’s defines it as an expanse of open rolling infertile land. Sounds rather desolate, eh? Yeah. Kind of. But it’s oh so much more.

In spring and summer, green does abound. Gorse bushes. Scrubby grasses. Lambs and sheep and goats. All these animals roam free so there are trails worn into the dirt that you can hike along. But I hear you…where could you possibly go if there’s nothing besides some farm animals roaming around the place?

You could hike to a tor, which is a “high, craggy hill.” Some of them can be a little treacherous to climb, but sweet mercy, what a view! The earth stretches out like a green and brown quilt. As I hiked that day last spring, whispers in the wind inspired me to wonder a lot of what-ifs, and those what-ifs came together in a story of intrigue and betrayal.

What would you do if you found a half-dead man bleeding in the middle of nowhere? Find out what heroine Maggie Lee does in The House at the End of the Moor.

Blog Stops

Batya’s Bits, April 18

The Avid Reader, April 18

Life of Literature, April 18

The Power of Words, April 18

For Him and My Family, April 19

Texas Book-aholic, April 19

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 19

Among the Reads, April 20

My Devotional Thoughts, April 20

As He Leads is Joy, April 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, April 20

Just the Write Escape, April 21

Reflections From My Bookshelves, April 21

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 21

Where Faith and Books Meet, April 22

deb’s Book Review, April 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 22

Inklings and notions, April 22

Remembrancy, April 23

Hookmeinabook, April 23

Christian Bookaholic, April 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, April 23

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 24

Britt Reads Fiction, April 24

Emily Yager, April 24

Betti Mace, April 25

Stories By Gina, April 25

Adventures of a Traveling Wife, April 25

Blossoms and Blessings, April 25

Splashes of Joy, April 26

Simple Harvest Reads, April 26 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Vicky Sluiter, April 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 26

Blessed & Bookish, April 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 27

Pause for Tales, April 27

Through the Fire Blogs, April 28

Hallie Reads, April 28

Faery Tales Are Real, April 28

To Everything There Is A Season, April 28

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, April 29

Bigreadersite, April 29

Older & Smarter?, April 29

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 29

Genesis 5020, April 30

Read Review Rejoice, April 30

By The Book, April 30

For the Love of Literature, April 30

All-of-a-kind Mom, May 1

Bookishly Beverly, May 1

Daysong Reflections, May 1

Artistic Nobody, May 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Michelle is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a free copy of the book!!

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

 

Book Review + Giveaway!: Flight Risk

16 Apr

About The Book

Book:  Flight Risk

Author: Cara Putman

Genre:  Romantic Legal Suspense

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Bestselling author Cara Putman returns with a romantic legal thriller that will challenge the assumptions of truth tellers everywhere.

Savannah Daniels has worked hard to build her law practice, to surround herself with good friends, and to be the loyal aunt her troubled niece can always count on. But since her ex-husband’s betrayal, she has trouble trusting anyone.

Jett Glover’s father committed suicide over a false newspaper report that ruined his reputation. Now a fierce champion of truth, Jett is writing the story of his journalism career — an international sex-trafficking exposé that will bring down a celebrity baseball player and the men closest to him, including Savannah’s ex-husband.

When Jett’s story breaks, tragedy ensues. Then a commercial airline crashes, and one of Savannah’s clients is implicated in the crash. Men connected to the scandal, including her ex, begin to die amid mysterious circumstances, and Savannah’s niece becomes an unwitting target.

Against their better instincts, Jett and Savannah join ranks to sort the facts from fiction. But can Savannah trust the reporter who threw her life into chaos? And can Jett face the possibility that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

My Impressions:

Cara Putman has sealed it for me. After reading Flight Risk, she is a must-read author. I have enjoyed other books by this talented romantic suspense writer, but her latest offering was unputdownable! If you are looking for a book that will keep you furiously turning pages to find out how it’s all going to end, then you need to get your hands on this one right now!

Flight Risk has the same setting as Putman’s Hidden Justice series. In fact, you will find familiar characters from those three books as you revisit the Arlington/Alexandria, VA area. I liked that Putman included those characters I had come to know and love. Flight Risk features attorney Savannah Daniels and journalist Jett Glover. Their instant attraction let this reader know that romance would follow. But theirs is not an easy relationship, and I loved the balance that the author created. In the midst of the suspense that includes plane crashes, hit-and-run accidents, and murder, the two main characters are cautious in their interactions. This seemed much more natural than if the two spent pages and pages gazing into each other’s eyes while the world crashed around them. 😉 As Savannah and Jett work through seemingly unrelated events, the bad guy is slowly revealed to the reader. I loved this too. And while I knew by the last quarter of the book who he was, there were still plenty of twists that kept me guessing at what was to come.  Truth is a hard commodity to find, and the characters and the reader are left with a lot to ponder.

I really, really liked Flight Risk. It is one of the best romantic suspense novels I have read this year. And although it is a standalone, if you haven’t yet read Putman’s Hidden Justice series, it will make you seek them out. Binge-reading anyone?

Highly Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Celebrate Lit for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history. There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing award-winning books. She is currently writing book 33 and dreaming up future books, not hard when she sees what-ifs everywhere.

Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW and gives back to the writing community through her service on Executive Board. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and served as the Area Coordinator for Indiana.

Cara is also an attorney, full-time lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women’s ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School, and Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. You can learn more about Cara at http://www.caraputman.com http://www.caraputman.com/.

 

Learn more about Flight Risk and Cara Putman here!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, April 6

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, April 6

A Baker’s Perspective, April 6

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 7

Read Review Rejoice, April 7

deb’s Book Review, April 7

Betti Mace, April 8

Maureen’s Musings, April 8

Texas Book-aholic, April 8

Genesis 5020, April 9

Inklings and notions, April 9

Becka Jiménez’s FB, April 9

For Him and My Family, April 10

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, April 10

CarpeDiem, April 10

Through the Fire Blogs, April 11

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 11

LIfe, Love, Writing, April 11

Emily Yager, April 12

Splashes of Joy, April 12

Lights in a Dark World, April 12

Mary Hake, April 12

Older & Smarter?, April 13

Daysong Reflections, April 13

Book of Ruth Ann, April 13

Kat’s Corner Books, April 14

Blessed & Bookish, April 14

Remembrancy, April 14

Blossoms and Blessings, April 15

Spoken from the Heart, April 15

Simple Harvest Reads, April 15 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)

Writer Without a Space, April 16

By The Book, April 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 16

Bigreadersite, April 17

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, April 17

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 17

As He Leads is Joy, April 18

Pause for Tales, April 18

For The Love of Books, April 18

Hallie Reads, April 19

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, April 19

EmpowerMoms, April 19

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away the grand prize package of a Vera Bradley travel cosmetics set, a journal for capturing vacation memories, a copy of Flight Risk, and a bracelet!!

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/f963/flight-risk-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Spotlight + Giveaway! — Border Breach

1 Apr

Border Breach JustRead Blog Tour
Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Border Breach by Darlene L. Turner, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Border BreachTitle: Border Breach
Author: Darlene L. Turner
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Release Date: April 1, 2020
Genre: Inspirational Romantic Suspense

When drugs are smuggled across the border

it’s their duty to stop the culprits…at any cost.

Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case?

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

 

Excerpt

Kaylin jumped into the constable’s vehicle and slammed the door. Why did she have to work with him again? When they’d worked together last time, he’d taken over the case, pushing her aside so he could fly solo. He had a problem with authority and only wanted to do things his way. She folded her arms and stared out the window.

Didn’t matter that Hudson Steeves was one of the best-looking men she’d ever met. Those cornflower blue eyes were hard not to get lost in, but she was determined not to get sucked into another man’s good looks. Jake, her ex-fiancé, was incentive enough to steer her away from all men. His tricks had taken the ultimate toll and there was no way she’d open herself up to that kind of pain again.

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darlene Turner

Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.

CONNECT WITH DARLENE: Website | FacebookTwitter | Instagram

 


TOUR GIVEAWAY

(1) winner will receive a cross pendant, bookmarks, pens, and $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Border Breach JustRead Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight March 31, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on April 7, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE
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Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

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*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Book Spotlight And Author Interview (+ Giveaway!)– The Builder’s Reluctant Bride

25 Mar

The Builders reluctent bride

About The Book

Book:  The Builder’s Reluctant Bride

Author: Stacey Weeks

Genre:  Christian romance, women’s fiction

Release Date: July 8, 2016

The Builders reluctant bride coverHe wants a second chance. She says there’s no going back. Ten years ago, a public disgrace sent Jenna Jenkins running from her hometown. Now, the success of her professional future hinges on joining her hometown church restoration project. Her partner and team leader on the job is William Scott—expert renovator, volunteer fireman, and the ex-flame who ruined her life.  William is in crisis, facing the tightening screws of personal and professional failure. When the interior designer on the church renovation project turns out to be Jenna Jenkins, William sees it as a chance to make amends. But Jenna wants nothing to do with him.  How much will William sacrifice to redeem his mistakes and prove his love? Can Jenna protect her heart this time or will William break her for good?

 

Click here to get your copy.

 

 

About The Author

stacey weeksStacey Weeks is the multi-award-winning author of Glorious Surrender (2016), and Chasing Holiness (2020), inspirational romances The Builder’s Reluctant Bride (2016), Mistletoe Melody (2018), Mistletoe Mission (2019), and inspirational romantic suspense novels In Too Deep (2017), and Fatal Homecoming (2019). Stacey lives in Ontario where she speaks at women’s conferences, teaches writing and bible study workshops, and writes about the things of the Lord. www.staceyweeks.com

 

More from Stacey

Afflicted but Not Crushed

I created the character, Jenna, from The Builder’s Reluctant Bride, during a time of life filled with chaos. Changed ripped stability out from underneath me. I couldn’t tell if my challenges were from God deigned to build my faith or if they were a temptation from the enemy to doubt God. Life struck with a severity that stole the breath from my lungs, so I retreated into a fictional world to process. I needed to be reminded, like Jenna, that my current struggles didn’t negate the ways God was using me. I needed to remember that God would use everything in my life to shape me into His image and draw me closer to Him.

“I thought after his mom died, I had lost the both of them. Then, you came around.” The corners of his eyes crinkled.

“Me?” she squeaked.

“Yes. You changed everything for him. I know you left for college right after graduation, so you likely didn’t see the change. But God took that seed you planted in my son and grew this man.” He gestured to William, who stood with his fire jacket off and held a dog while it licked his soot-covered face. “This man of God.” Carmen looked squarely into her eyes. “I am indebted to you, Jenna.”

She squirmed at his unquestionable sincerity. She didn’t deserve his praise for directing his son to faith, the same faith that later let her down in every conceivable way.

When life’s chaos hit Jenna, it caused her to question her faith and question God’s goodness. It took her time to sift through the mess and find the truth. God is good.

Still.

Always.

Never changing.

Good.

It might not feel good. You might want to give up. You might think there is no way for God to redeem your story, but Jenna would tell you that you would be wrong.

Q&A with Stacey Weeks

Why did you choose the contemporary romance genre?

Our culture often depicts love in steamy images as if love is solely based on sexual feelings. Our culture manipulates hearts and stirs up inappropriate passions. I believe this world needs clean, wholesome, and God-honouring stories. It needs authors bold enough to call cheap, broken, and worldly lust what it is—sin. It needs stories of purity, characters that honour God first, and illustrations of how true satisfaction comes from a right relationship with God, not from a human relationship. Ephesians 4:29 refers to speech, but it applies to authors as well, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Christian romance stories thrive within the boundaries God has created for love, and that gives hope to those who have only known broken love. Not hope in the right man, but hope in the Lord. 

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

I will research whatever the book requires. One book required me to become familiar with augmented reality gaming. The kids and I participated in one game using my smart phone. This game superimposed images into our environment when we looked through the lens of the camera phone. 

For another book, we climbed a rock wall before I wrote the rock-climbing scene, and I used a zipline (but that never made it into the book). Less hands-on research has included interviews with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, firemen, paramedics, police officers, a sniper, and a private detective. I complete as much research as I can online and use face-to-face interviews to discover the information unavailable online.

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

I write nearly every day, but I would say I am informal with my schedule. I rise before the children wake and reserve those early hours for the Lord. I’ve found that when I prioritize the most important things in life, not allowing hobbies or personal interests to shove aside the absolutes to which God has called me, I manage my remaining available time better. As a home-schooling mom, my mornings are spent teaching the children, but I might get a bit of writing time in before we start. I try to carve out a few hours in the afternoon to pick up my latest work-in-progress while the kids are participating in sports. If the evening permits, I’ll write more. I enjoy trading fiction writing with non-fiction. The intensity and emotional investment for each are vastly different, providing a sweet mental break. I am always thinking about my story and taking notes. I try to hold loose to my schedule and take each day as it comes. Several times a year, I will block off an entire day to write, and at least once a year, I try to get away for a few days to focus on writing. 

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

I hope they realize that they are, right now, in a love story. Some love stories are dramas. They’re full of heart-wrenching moments and climatic events. Some love stories are like a feel-good-girls-night-out; everything falls into place at the right moment and clicks. Some love stories are suspenseful; they have us biting our nails and wondering if good will ever prevail. 

And some of you are thinking – a love story? – yeah right!

I don’t know your circumstances or life story, but what I hope all my readers understand is that there is Someone who does. He is greater than any fictional prince, and He left his kingdom to pursue your heart. Not only is He pursuing you, but He is writing your story as a part of His story. He has promised that the stories of all His children end in victory for His glory.

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

I am working on the final installment of a trilogy of novellas set in the quaint Christmassy town of Mistletoe Meadows. I loved writing book one, Mistletoe Melody, which was inspired by two young women who endured unexpected trials. Book two, Mistletoe Mission, blends several personal experiences, including a trip to Haiti. I’m still drafting book three, and I am having so much fun wrapping up the stories of this beautiful place. I’m also working on a free devotional series that will lead up to the release of my next non-fiction book in August.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 14

deb’s Book Review, March 15

Texas Book-aholic, March 16

Artistic Nobody, March 17 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, March 18

For Him and My Family, March 19

Andrea Christenson, March 20 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 21

A Baker’s Perspective, March 22 (Author Interview)

Create! Teach! Inspire!, March 23

CarpeDiem, March 24

By The Book, March 25 (Author Interview)

Simple Harvest Reads, March 26

For the Love of Literature, March 27 (Author Interview)

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Stacey is giving away the grand prize of a dainty bracelet with each word spelled out in Morse Code with beads!!

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/f661/the-builder-s-reluctant-bride-celebration-tour-giveaway

Book Spotlight + Giveaway! — Lost In The Storm

21 Feb

About The Book

Book: Lost in the Storm

Author: Tamera Lynn Kraft

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release Date: August 1, 2019

Will war bring them love or will they be Lost in the Storm!

Lavena, a journalist during the Civil War, wants to become a war correspondent. She finally gets her chance, but there’s a catch. She has to get an interview from a war hero who has refused to tell his story to every other journalist, and she has to accomplish this impossible task in a month or she’ll lose her job.

Captain Cage, the war hero, has a secret that will destroy his military career and reputation. Now, a new journalist is trying to get him to tell what he’s been hiding. He wants to ignore her, but from the moment she came into camp, he can’t get her out of his mind.

Leading up to the turbulent Battles for the city of Chattanooga, will Lavena and Cage find the courage to love and forgive, or will they be swept away by their past mistakes that don’t want to stay buried?

Meet the Ladies of Oberlin, the causes they’re willing to fight for, and the men who capture their hearts.

Click here to get your copy.

About The Author

Award winning author Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures. She loves to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in her stories. Alice’s Notions, Red Sky Over America, Lost in the Storm, Resurrection of Hope, and Soldier’s Heart are among her published works.

Tamera been married for 40 years to the love of her life, Rick, and has two married adult children and three grandchildren. She has been a children’s pastor for over 20 years. She is the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire for Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist and has written children’s church curriculum. She is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

More from Tamera

History is my Passion

I love to read all genres of Christian fiction, but when I go to write, it always ends up being a Christian historical. The reason for that is I have a passion for history. I love to read about historical events, and frequently, I begin wondering what it would be like to live through those chaotic events in history. Out of that thought process, my characters and my stories take on a life of their own.

For instance, my series, Ladies of Oberlin, came out of reading about the great Christian women who advance social and spiritual movements in the late 1800s. I found over and over that the common denominator of these women was they all had a connection with Oberlin College, the first college that allow women and black to receive degrees alongside white men before the Civil War. I gained a treasure trove of research from a college only an hour away from where I lived.

As I researched Oberlin, I found out it was in the middle of every social and spiritual movement of the time. Charles Finney, the fiery Second Great Awakening evangelist, was the president of the college. Ninety percent of missionaries sent overseas between 1860 and 1900 were graduates of the college. Many of the women’s suffrage leaders, women’s educational leaders, women doctors and scholars, abolitionists, and prohibitionist leaders were from Oberlin College. At that point, I knew I wanted to tell their stories in my novels. I decided to write three stories covering three college roommates.

My first novel in the series set shortly before the Civil War was Red Sky Over America, the story of America Leighton, a woman abolitionist who was studying to become a missionary in China. She decided she couldn’t make a stand for the Gospel in China until she confronted her father to free his slaves. To make things more interesting, her love interest has plans of his own in Kentucky. The results were explosive as you can imagine.

The second in the series, released August first, is Lost in the Storm set during the Civil War. Lavena Falcon is determined to be an independent woman who advances the causes she believes in by being a journalist. Her greatest desire is to travel to where the heroic Ohio Seventh Regiment is fighting and report about these brave men. The problem is if she doesn’t get an interview with an illusive captain who doesn’t want to talk to reporters, she’ll lose her job. It doesn’t help that she’s attracted to him.

The third novel, due to release late next year, is set shortly after the Civil War in Northeast Ohio. Betsy Teagan’s husband is back from the war, but things aren’t going according to plan. He is haunted by the war and finds solace in the local saloon drinking himself into oblivion. She tries everything to help him including protesting in front of the bar.

 

Blog Stops

Through the Fire Blogs, February 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9

Texas Book-aholic, February 10

deb’s Book Review, February 11

Betti Mace, February 12

Inklings and notions, February 13

Artistic Nobody, February 14 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 15

Simple Harvest Reads, February 16 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 16

For the Love of Literature, February 17

My Devotional Thoughts, February 18

A Baker’s Perspective, February 19 (Author Interview)

For Him and My Family, February 20

By The Book, February 21 (Author Interview)

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Tamera is giving away the grand prize package of a a $25 gift certificate and 3 paperbacks: Red Sky Over America, Lost in the Storm, and Forks in the Road!!

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

 

Spotlight And Author Interview (+ Giveaway!) — Childhood

20 Feb

About The Book

Book: Childhood

Author: Greg Schaffer

Genre: Contemporary

Release Date: February 10, 2020

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

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

Click here for your copy.

About The Author

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

More from Greg

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

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

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

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

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

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

But how to deal with the problem?

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

 

Q&A with Greg Schaffer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That there is always hope.

 

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 11

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 12

Older & Smarter?, February 13

Artistic Nobody, February 14 (Author Interview)

Inklings and notions, February 15

For Him and My Family, February 16

Through the Fire Blogs, February 17 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 17

deb’s Book Review, February 18

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 19

By The Book, February 20 (Author Interview)

Just the Write Escape, February 21

Mamma Loves Books, February 22

Lukewarm Tea, February 23 (Author Interview)

Spoken from the Heart, February 24

Giveaway

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

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

 

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

19 Feb

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

 

Q&A with Lori Benton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, I’ll be writing its sequel.

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

 

Giveaway!

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

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