Blog


Your Categories
Uncategorized Excerpts and reviews Catching up with you JoAnn's writing news Book Reviews Visit with Authors

Visit with Authors

 

Thanks for stopping by. I know it's been a long time since I've had anyone to visit, so today is a treat. I'd like to welcome LYNN WILLIS, author of The Rising. lynnchandlerwillisIt's great to have you here, Lynn. Before we start our interview, I'd like to share with folks your biography, then we'll jump into the fun questions.

Lynn Chandler-Willis has worked in the corporate world (hated it!), the television news business (fun job) and the newspaper industry (not a fan of the word "apparently" and phrase "according to"). She keeps coming back to fiction because she likes making stuff up and you just can't do that in the newspaper or television news business.

She was born, raised, and continues to live in the heart of North Carolina within walking distance to her kids and their spouses and her nine grandchildren. She shares her home, and heart, with Sam the cocker spaniel.

She is the author of the best-selling true crime book, Unholy Covenant. The Rising is her debut novel.

And there you have it folks, Lynn Willis.

In your bio you talk about living close to your family. That's an awesome oppertunity and one I often wish I had. Speaking of living...if you and your family could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Ireland. My dad's ancestors hailed from County Galway so I've always been fascinated with all things Celtic.

 

I bet it is beautiful country. Okay, here's another question, this time in relation to writing... What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write? It depends on what I'm writing. I make a playlist before I type the first word and will play it during every writing session. I pick songs that are similar to the overall tone of the story.

Interesting. I don't know why, but for some reason, I like it quiet when I write. Well, actually with four teenage boys around, it's never quiet, but I don't have any intental noise in the room. :) What or who inspires you to write? Knowing I am creating something that someone I may never meet is enjoying is very inspiring.

Why did you begin writing? I've always enjoyed making up stories and developing make-believe characters, but in all honesty, it was probably my tenth-grade American lit class that made me want to become a writer. I remember the teacher asking what we thought the author meant by a simple passage such as "the curtains were blue". I thought it would have been so funny if, after all the wondering, the author meant no more than, well, the curtains were blue. So I guess I knew I wanted to be a writer when the thought of tortured tenth graders looking for non-existent meanings in my words made me smile.

That's awsome. What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing? Treasure Island. It was the first real novel I had to read for a seventh grade project. The whole idea of simple words being able to transport you to another world was mesmerizing.

I agree, that is a great book. What do you find most rewarding about writing? When total strangers enjoy reading something I've written. It's humbling to know they have no connection to you other than through a story you created.

 

Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it? Sleep on it. Seriously. If I'm stuck on an idea, I've found a good night's sleep, or even a short nap will recharge the motor.

 

Sounds like great advice. Let's talk about your book.What is it about? The Rising is about a dead child that isn't dead. A cop with a personal life out of control. Can the unexplained be a source of justice...and redemption?

 lynn willis

Wow, is that a hook or what?! How did you come up with your premise for The Rising? I started rolling the idea around of what would happen if a detective's murder victim came back to life. Making the victim a child added another layer.

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us? Jesse was supposed to be a minor character. If you read the book, you'll understand why every time he appeared on the page, I ended up shaking my head.

How did you decide on the setting? I'm in love with the North Carolina mountains and the plot needed snow, so it was a natural fit.

Is there a message in The Rising that you want readers to grasp? The healing power of forgiveness. It's one of the hardest things to give freely, and even harder when you need to forgive yourself.

 

Sounds great. Let's give our visitors a bit of a deep peek through an extended blurb and excerpt...

 

A little boy, beaten and left to die in an alley. A cop with a personal life out of control. When their worlds collide, God intervenes. Detective Ellie Saunders's homicide investigation takes a dramatic turn when a young victim "wakes up" in the morgue. The child has no memory prior to his "rising" except walking with his father along a shiny road. Ellie likes dealing with facts. She'd rather leave all the God-talk to her father, a retired minister, and to her partner, Jesse, a former vice cop with an annoying habit of inserting himself into her life. But will the facts she follows puts Ellie's life in mortal danger? And will she finally allow God into her heart forever?

 

Excerpt:

"Jack told me you were at lunch. Caper’s is one of my favorites, so I thought I’d take a chance." He winked at her then sidled closer. "Anyway, I was thinking about your dead kid—"

"He’s not dead."

A waitress slammed a sandwich down in front of Ellie, and Jesse helped himself to a homemade chip.

"OK, so he’s not dead. You have sent his picture to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children?"

She huffed. "Did Jack send you?"

"No, Jack didn’t send me. I was just thinking if the center didn’t get a hit, I’ve got a few connections with the FBI, and they’ve got some really cool equipment."

Ellie pulled a piece of bacon from her sandwich and chewed on one end. "Thanks, but no thanks. I really don’t want the Feds involved."

Jesse snatched another chip and shook his head. "No black suit with shades is going to swoop in and take your case, Detective Saunders." He grinned and helped himself to another chip. "I thought we could get them to run his picture through the facial recognition scanner. Maybe we’ll get a hit."

What was with all the we stuff? The case was complicated enough. The last thing she needed was Jesse involved. She didn’t need a constant reminder of her downward spiral.

And that concludes our visit today. Thanks so much for stopping by! If you'd like to leave Lynn a comment, you can either click on the heading of this blog post, or leave it for her in the comments section on my home page. Oh, and I can't forget to tell you where you can scoop up your copy...

http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_47&products_id=475

Blessings~

*~*~*~*

I have some exciting news!

Today, and for a limited time, our featured book, WHISPERS ON SHADOW BAY is free on amazon...  http://www.amazon.com/Whispers-on-Shadow-Bay-ebook/dp/B009M9MJR2 (This is a limited time offer so scoop up your copy ASAP.)

 51sEQPRSJyL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-69,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Blurb:
Ejected from her privileged life, Rosetta comes to Noble Island with a broken heart and shaken faith. She is enticed by hope in the arms of the dark and brooding Simon Hale, but people keep dying at Shadow Bay Hall, and Rosetta hears something in the walls.
Simon Hale finds the reclusive Rosetta both beautiful and intriguing, but when she seeks out the truth behind Shadow Bay Hall’s unexplained happenings, he is torn between hope for the future and his need to protect a dangerous secret.
With dark forces determined to keep truth at bay, Rosetta and Simon fight to uncover lies that imprison the island with fear. His wife’ death, tangled memories, a Romany feud; Rosetta must decide if she is strong enough to discover what’s behind The Whispers on Shadow Bay.
Excerpt:
I dropped my purse on the bed and looked around. A wrought iron twin bed, nightstand, and an empty book case were all that furnished the room. Thin white curtains covered a shuttered, crescent-shaped window over the bookcase. They rustled softly as wind forced itself through a crack in the glass making a low whistle.
Tired, I sat on the bed, arms around my knees, and fought back tears. Unsettled as this old mansion made me feel, come morning I had nowhere to go and just a bit of money left. Biting back the frustration, I hugged myself tighter, resolving to be strong. Still, in the ache of my heart, I wondered.
I did what you asked, Lord, and lost everything. How could you let that happen? How am I supposed to have faith when it feels like You abandoned me right when I needed you most?
Suddenly, waves of sorrow and shame I’d fought so hard to quell washed over me, and I flashed on my day at the church. The feel of white satin under my hands, the bouquet clasped to my sobbing chest as my would-be sister-in-law led me from the vestibule. He wasn’t coming. He didn’t want me anymore.
And now this. I’d summoned all my courage to travel to these wet and cold woods for what? To be rejected all over again. To be not good enough once more? I had to get out of here. I couldn’t bear to feel their eyes on me in the morning, looks of pity that I’d grown to dread. Shaking my head, I grabbed my purse and yanked open the door. Walking quickly along the corridor, down the steps, and back to the front door, I moved as silently as I could.
Pushing through the double wood doors, I dragged the suitcase behind me. In my hurry, I stumbled down the stone steps, nearly losing my footing as the oversized case tumbled, coming to rest near the front tire.
I fought with the suitcase, shoving it into the back seat with ragged pleas for its cooperation on my trembling lips. I climbed into the driver’s seat, slammed the car door, and tried with shaking hands to start the car. It coughed, then revved. The front door cracked open and Mr. O’Shay stared out at me with a puzzled look.
"Go, just go," I sobbed.
Pulling away, I took the turn around the driveway way too wide, and ran over some bushes as the car barreled back down the road towards the iron gate. Eyes blurry with tears, I didn’t react to the headlights that burst suddenly from the thick mist. A horn blared as I swerved. The wheel jerked from my hands, and I veered off the path. The car rattled and bounced down the embankment’s uneven ground. A large tree jumped out of the fog right in front of me. I screamed as the car hit it with a jarring blow, and my jaw snapped shut as my head hit the steering wheel. Everything stopped.
Moaning, I felt the bump on my forehead. Pain flashed behind my eyes, and I gasped with the force of it. Unclasping the seatbelt, I stumbled from the car, groping blindly in the dark fog.
"What were you thinking?" A man’s voice, low and tense, called out from the fog. "You were speeding."
Confused, I heard movement, and someone scrambling down the embankment.
"Are you OK?" The man shouted.
I couldn’t tell the direction from which it came, and I turned in a circle. A wave of dizziness made my stomach lurch. I staggered for the car.
"My head," I croaked. "I hit—"
The ground tilted. My head spun. I was falling. Strong arms snatched me before I hit the ground.
"Whoa," the man said, concern creeping into his voice. "You shouldn’t try to walk ’til we get help."
I glanced up. Framed in the glow of the headlight, a man with piercing blue eyes and light hair looked down at me, his handsome face etched with a thin scar that ran the length of his jaw. It made him all the more magnetic. I smiled at him, my thoughts tumbling together; I thought he was old. How did he get that scar?
"I came to take care of you, Mr. Hale." My words sounded muffled to me; far away.
"Take care of me?" His blond hair, backlit by the headlight, made a halo around him. "You’re hurt. Be still."
Sudden clarity rang through my mind at his mention of injury, and I tried to stand. "I’m fine, Mr. Hale." I tried to wiggle free of his hold, but he held fast.
"You don’t look fine." His eyes narrowed. Sounding gruff, almost irritated, he bent and lifted me in his arms and carried me up to the road.
"This is unnecessary," I protested, but my head spun again, and I rested my cheek against his chest as he climbed. Warm and solid, he smelled like grass and sunshine. When he set me on my feet, I glanced back down the embankment at the sedan’s off-kilter lights, worry gripping me again. "I’m so sorry, Mr. Hale, really. I’ll pay for the damage and for the bushes, too."
He opened his car door, and the interior light cast his face in shadows. My heart thrummed, a flush creeping up my neck under his intense gaze.
"I’m not Davenport Hale," he said. "I’m his son, Simon."
A far away buzzing sounded in my ears. I shook my head, trying to clear it. The movement sent a fresh stab of pain flashing across my vision.
Simon reached for me.
"I’m…" I didn’t get the rest out before the world grayed and blinked out.

  About the author~ Raquel Byrnes

RaquelByrnes_tmbI live in Southern, California with my husband of sixteen years and our six children. I've been homeschooling for ten years.

I enjoy going to writer's conferences and love to do research for my books. From taking a private investigator course to learning to target shoot, I consider writing a way of life. I have written several books to date.

I love to read and consider it a wonderful way to minister to others. Sometimes taking a spiritual journey with a character you identify with can open up your eyes to the awesome generostiy of the Lord.

visit: http://www.raquelbyrnes.com/

 --

My Review of WHISPERS ON SHADOW BAY: A blend of a "who-dunnit" and inspirational romance - darkness and light - hopelessness and strength - gypsy and families of affluence... Whispers on Shadow Bay has it all.

This book reads as a "sit on the edge of your chair" type of story that I found delightful. Up until the very end, I was held in suspense as to what really happened on the island, years prior, when the main character lost family members.

The characters felt real, the story world is well rounded, and the ending is beautifully satisfying. There was only one small thin plot thread, which was left dangling in my mind. That is, why was the caretaker left with scratches and bruises on several occasions? (I have my suspicions, though I'm not sure.) However, this didn't take away from my enjoyment of the plot. I'm giving it two thumbs up.

Warning: This is not a book you want to start late at night, because you won't want to go to bed!

--

You can leave a comment on my guest book sign in to the right of this page, or by clicking on this blog post title and scrolling back down.

Have a wonderful week!

Your name was choosen as the winner for the pendant Lynette Endicott is giving away. Please contact me with your address so she can send it to you.

Please welcome back Lynette Endicott. Earlier this week, she visited with her latest release. Today, we have the opportunity to get to know her a bit. So, grab a hot drink and join us for a little while.

 Endicott_Lynette_WebsiteImage(1) 

Lynette, let’s start with this… where were you born?

I was born in Danville, Illinois and grew up in Greenville, down near St. Louis. Since high school graduation I have lived in Scottsbluff/Gering, Nebraska, Hays, Kansas and Fresno, California. 

Wow, that’s quite a bit of moving around. Hmm, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Vancouver, BC 

What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

My dog and his work as a Tail Waggin' Tutor. I didn't own any animals until I was over 50. I have also rescued three cats (one now lives with my daughter), a bird, and a little Terrier mix named Ollie. He is wonderful with the children and when I see him at work I am so proud. Little kids pet him and read to him and have him do tricks - but it is mostly about helping them to read out loud and love it -- which builds their reading skills even though they hardly know they are working on it.  

Very neat. Two weeks ago, my son was in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy. Twice, therapy dogs stopped by his room for some snuggles and pets. Nothing can light up a boy’s face quicker than a good wet kiss from a dog. :) Let me move on to some questions about your writing. Why did you begin to write?

One year at church camp our church publishing company's Editor in Chief taught a journalism class. We all wrote about a field trip to a prison. He gathered them up and picked mine to publish (with excerpts as quotations from others) and I was hooked. I published 14 short stories or articles in that publication before I graduated from High School. Even though I only puttered after that -- a few articles and lots of work related newsletters, grants, brochures and reports. I have always known I would go back to writing and this time write books. 

Noting like hands-on-experience is there! What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing?

Everything. Truly. I literally worked my way through the entire library at grade school and junior high. I even read things I wasn't as interested in, like sports books targeted for the boys and Hardy Boys mysteries on top of my Nancy Drew reading. I loved getting lost in any story. Some of my favorite children's books are the Chronicles of Narnia, but I didn't discover them until I was in college. 

When is your next book due out, and what’s it about?

In April the second book in the Time After Time Saga, Survival Instinct, will be published with Desert Breeze. This is a joint effort with another Desert Breeze author, Tami Dee. In July the final book in the Starting Over books, Finding Her Voice, will be released. 

Great. Let’s take a few minutes to take a closer look at your latest book. How did you come up with your premise for Return of Joy?

This is actually my first book written -- although it is the third to be published. I have been writing it for so long, in so many different versions, that I have lost the origins of it. I remember, though, that I wanted to write a series about starting over. The first book in the Starting Over series is More Than a Job, about a woman who loses her job. Joy is much more difficult - about a woman who loses her husband. The final book in the series is the toughest one, but I will leave that for another day. I am working on it right now, and I get teary every time I sit down to it. 

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

Joy's dead husband visits her in her dreams, night after night until nothing else will do - - she must go to the cabin, the dream house Steve gave her, to solve the mystery of his death. With their daughter and Steve's mom Joy settles into the mountains of New Mexico, much to the displeasure of Mark, the caretaker. Then the evil that took Steve's life is reawakened.  Will the mountain cabin be a retreat, or will danger and fear drive them away? Can Mark keep Joy and her little family safe, risking his heart to a woman who claims she can never love again? 

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?

This is the first book to feature a therapy dog. I borrowed the name and photos on my website from a friend who also has a therapy dog, a yellow lab named Atlas. My dog, Ollie, will appear in Voice.  

Do you have a link where we can access the book discussion questions? http://www.lynetteendicott.com/return-of-joy/ 

How did you decide on the setting?

Remember this is the oldest manuscript? First I set it in Colorado, in the Rockies because I had lived near them. Then I moved it to the Sierra in California because we moved to California so I knew those even better. Then my daughter convinced me that some of the characters from the first book in the series should appear in this one -- and since the only possible mountains (since they live in Missouri) were near where Josh's parents live in New Mexico, that was the final setting for the book.  

For those who may have missed the purchase link on Monday, here it is again:http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-357/Starting-Over-Book-Two-cln-/Detail.bok 

Be sure to check out these other books by Ms. Endicott too:

AnimalInstinctCoverArt  MorethanaJobCoverArt  TheReturnofJoyCoverArt(1) 

Well, that wraps up today’s interview. Thanks so much for hanging out with us for a bit. Lynette will be drawing a commenter’s name and giving away a pendant later this week so be sure to say hi!

 --

A bit about her...

When a high school writing assignment resulted in publication of an article in a youth magazine, at age 14, Lynette Endicott was hooked. Writing has always been part of her life; journaling, grants for work, or newletters for non-profits where she worked have kept that alive.

 

 

She has been part of the Disability Rights movement since 1979, and continues to consult with organizations that serve people with disabilities.

 

 

Lynette grew up in Illinois, met her husband in Western Nebraska, lived 25 years in Kansas where their daughter was born, and has been in Fresno, California since 2000. She has a son-in-law (who lives with her daughter nearby), and has rescued a dog and three cats. She and Ollie, her terrier mix, volunteer as a team at the local library, where children read to the dog. Endicott_Lynette_WebsiteImage

 

 

This week's featured book ~ THE RETURN OF JOY

 

BLURB 

 

Joy's dead husband visits her in her dreams, night after night until nothing else will do - - she must go to the cabin, the dream house Steve gave her, to solve the mystery of his death. With their daughter and Steve's mom Joy settles into the mountains of New Mexico, much to the displeasure of Mark, the caretaker.
The evil that took Steve's life is reawakened. Will the mountain cabin be a retreat, or will danger and fear drive them away? Can Mark keep Joy and her little family safe, risking his heart to a woman who claims she can never love again? 
TheReturnofJoyCoverArt
Excerpt:

            Mark cleared his throat. "I usually walk this time of day." He nodded toward the steps to the upper level. "Will Charity sleep a little longer? We can catch the sunrise if you want to come along."
"She'll probably sleep for a while. Yesterday was an even bigger day for her than it was for us." Joy smiled. "What do you think Atlas will do if she wakes up?"
"He’d probably like it if we release him from watching her and take him along. Should we wait until Evelyn is up?"
"I’m up," Evelyn said from the top of the stairs. Joy looked up at her, still in her robe. "You two --or three." She gestured behind her where Atlas was still on guard. "Go enjoy your morning walk. Charity and I will be women of leisure."
"Thanks, Evelyn. I'd like to go." Joy smiled up at her, then turned back to Mark. "I used to walk every morning. It's been a long time since--" She broke off. She hadn't taken a morning walk since she'd lost Steve. Sometimes she'd felt a need to hide away and heal, and now she realized she didn't want to hide any more. "I'd love to walk, and I have someplace I want to go, if you don't mind."
Mark raised his eyebrows, nodded, and set his empty cup on the table. He gave a short whistle, and Atlas loped down the steps to join them.
"You take the lead, then," he encouraged. Each of them scooped up their apple slices to finish on the trail, and they set off.
The air was cool, and Joy wrapped her arms around herself. They had just enough light to see. Joy hesitated a moment at the base of the steps to get her bearings. Then she headed upstream, north and then northeast, munching her apple slices. They walked in silence, the sounds of the forest reaching out to them. The birds had begun their morning serenade, and occasionally a twig snapped underfoot. Atlas meandered into the woods on either side of the path, snuffling and nosing around in the brush. The crisp snap of apple and the quiet cadence of their steps blended with the morning sounds. She turned the last curve, and there it was.
The large, flat rock overlooked the river where it joined the brook tumbling past the cabin. The sky had turned pink and orange with the coming sun. Mark followed her up the path. She was pleased with herself at how the memory of something she'd only seen on paper came back to her. She found a seat at the edge of the rock and dangled her legs, eager for the change in the eastern sky where the sun edged above the distant snow-capped peak. She patted the rock beside her, and Atlas stretched out, his flank warm against her thigh. Mark joined them.
"I am amazed," he admitted with a frown. "Do you know how uncanny it is to watch you walk off into woods you've never visited and lead me to my own favorite place?"
She looked at him. Maybe he didn't like sharing his place with her. Well, tough. She was here, and she was going to do the things she'd always dreamed of doing here. If living her dream crowded this man, then so be it. She gestured toward the view in silence.
He took the hint and they sat quietly, soaking up the beauty of the morning, the roar of the river and the call of an eagle in the distance.
Tears pricked Joy's eyes as she took in the vista before her. Why had she waited so long to come here? She took a deep, tremulous breath of the cool, fresh air and the scents of the trees and water. St. Louis never smelled like this. If Steve were only here to share this with her --
No. Mark sat next to her, not Steve. Their arms brushed whenever they both patted the dog, just enough for her feel the heat of his body. His strong, brown thighs were only inches from her own pale ones, even with the dog squeezed between them. Awareness skittered along her arm, raising goose bumps. She examined his left hand, fingers spread on the dog’s head just inches from her own. A muscular hand, tanned from the outdoors, and strong-looking. She wanted to turn it over and see if he had calluses, or if his hands were smooth. It mattered, somehow, that he worked with his hands as well as with his computer -- but of course he did. He'd chopped the wood for the fireplace and kept the cabin in good repair.
Joy looked up to find him watching her again, and something in his gaze struck her as too personal. As if he were tracing her thoughts.
"You knew how to find this place." His words -- a statement, not a question -- repeated his earlier remark. Did she detect a note of understanding in his voice? Well, he deserved an answer. Maybe it would soften his attitude regarding sharing this place with her.
"You knew Steve and I worked together on this project," she said.
He nodded.
She hesitated, twisting her hand through Atlas' thick yellow coat. "Every detail of this place is etched in my mind as a part of the dream we shared. We planned what walks we'd take, where we'd ride, what this place would be like at different times of the year."
Mark remained silent.
She twisted her wedding ring as tears gathered in her eyes, then slipped down her cheeks. "After we bought the land, after we developed the plans, we lived here in our minds, making something real from our dreams."
He covered her right hand with his and gave it a gentle squeeze, then rubbed his thumb over her fingertips as he continued to hold her hand in comfort. His hand was rough with calluses, and much larger and stronger than her own. He listened in silence.
"It took awhile to build the cabin. By the time we finished, I was too pregnant to travel." She swallowed, swiping at her tears with her left hand. "Steve and I never got to see it together. Sometimes I miss him so much." She hoped she wouldn't sob. "How unfair he had to miss all this."
"Yes, it is unfair." Mark's voice was firm. He took a deep breath and let out a sigh.
Together, they stared across the river and at the mountains in silence.
When the rose and purple of the sunrise finally faded to blue, Joy shivered. She'd been still too long. Even with her legs pulled up tight against Atlas and one arm wrapped around them, she had goose bumps. Only the hand Mark held was warm. She pulled away to rub her arms, then got to her feet. When Mark glanced up, she flashed him a smile and turned on her heel.
"Race you home," she called over her shoulder.
He took a moment to register that she'd issued a challenge. All to her advantage. She laughed when Mark called out, "Hey, no fair. You got a head start."
His strong legs soon ate up the distance between them and they settled into an easy jog, side by side, Atlas between them, running the rest of the way to the cabin.

 
Connect with Lynette! Lynette's Web site
 
Be sure to check back on Wednesday for an interview with Ms. Endcott (If we don't have power due to hurricane Sandy, I'll post it ASAP.) Also, feel free to leave her a comment by clicking on today's heading, "Welcome Lynette Endicott with THE RETURN TO JOY!" and then scroll down to the end of this post. Stay safe, everyone!

Photobucket 

Today, please welcome with me, Shaunna Gonzales. She currently resides with her family in Western Washington. Once told by her doctors that she would never leave her wheelchair -- due to her Multiple sclerosis. It remains unable to climb the stairs so she leaves it in the garage -- to collect dust mites.

A storyteller in her youth, she endevored to extend her love of stories to the written word and in 2005 began to write her first novel. Though that manuscript will remain buried, she has continued to learn and is excited to share her work.

She has lived in many states among people of varying backgrounds. Recently she met a small group of veterans and in doing so became intrigued with the effects of PTSD on their lives and that of their families. Although PTSD is different for each individual, she has learned that it is very real.

DarkDaysofPromiseCoverArt

Dark Days of Promise AVAILABLE – September 21, 2012

While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father -- a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes -- she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.



EXCERPT

Was he telling me the truth about Carter calling? Why had I decided to accept a ride from such a dangerous man? Would I survive the night? In the light of morning, could I say I’d made the right choice? Although grateful for the ride, and the warmth of his Jeep, a cold shudder of terror slithered up my spine every time he glanced in my direction. The locked door added to my apprehension. Cold overwhelmed me again.

He exercised a considerable amount of care in adjusting the army blanket higher across my chest with one hand. His warm hand brushed against my skin. I flinched, wanting to scream, but managed to keep it in check, in all honesty because I couldn't... The phantom pressure of his hands lingered at my throat.

It seemed incomprehensible. I'd once thought him in need of my comfort, only to have him turn on me, becoming a killer. Never, if I lived forever, would I forget the coldness in his eyes at the moment I knew I'd die. The memory of his eyes, the cold purposeful reflection of them, caused me to shudder. I couldn't bring myself to look at him. Would his seeming gentleness be absent, replaced instead by the killer I knew existed behind the veil of concern for my well-being? Though good-looking, he'd proved beyond dangerous -- he'd proven deadly. He'd held my life in his hands. The option of my continued breathing his choice and his alone. Why did I continue to breathe? Could it be a calculated move on his part to heighten my terror? I wasn't sure.

It required a firm determination on my part to remain calm. I couldn't help but consider myself his prisoner. Distrust replaced my calm acceptance of his explanation of finding me with emphatic surety. I tried in vain to calm my instincts to run should the opportunity present itself.

(Okay, folks, grab your cup of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate because it's interview time. :)

It's great to have you here with us today! I'm looking forward to getting to know you a bit more and I'll bet our readers are too.

Where were you born?

Believe it or not, I was born in a nursing home for the elderly in Rigby, Idaho. My life history begins with "I was born a poor black child--black and blue from lack of oxygen." I was born breach, the doctor pulled so hard on my leg that he thought he'd broken it. Now, more than a few years later, I'm pretty sure which leg he pulled on though my mother could never tell me.

Wow, that's amazing. What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the friends it has brought into my life. After the first scene that I wrote between Kelly and Victoria (The one I wrote, not the one that they both appear in) I realized that I must learn why Kelly reacted the way he did. I had no idea that the scene would become such a pivotal point in my own life.

I went forward with one question in mind. What would make someone behave is such a way?

The only clue I had was memories of stories shared by my brother about his best friend. I'll try to boil those stories down to a single sentence. "You just never, under any circumstance, touched George (the best friend) when he was asleep." This best friend served as a Green Beret. That sums up what I knew.

Memories from childhood spurned me to ask the only military personnel I knew at the time some difficult questions. That one-on-one soon grew to a small group, me, the inquisitive mind and three gentlemen, one actively serving at the time and two veterans. All three were very kind, allowing me a very unique inclusion for a brief time into a very tight brotherhood. I soon learned that each had a unique story to tell as well as many they will never share.

I had to learn military acronyms, most of which I have forgotten and most importantly how to ask questions and when to back off. The sure fire and humorous but deadly response of "I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you" taught me first. That was followed by recognizing expressions that warned I'd asked a dangerous question.

I love these guys and appreciate all they have shared. Friendships and trust run deeper than I ever imagined they would or could.

The novel complete, it is time to develop other friendships. Friendships that are teaching me that one does not need to be a soldier to suffer from PTSD. And with each story that is shared with me, I always ask, "May I use this in a novel?" So far, no one has said "no."

Neat. I'm so glad they are willing to share their expereinces with you. I'll bet it's a win-win situation.Can you tell us, what or who inspires you to write?

I'd rather answer "Who and What." Many things. Of late I believe it is my husband when he prays for me "To do what I love." Oh he knows me so well.

What started your love for writing?

After reading most of J.K.Rowlings Harry Potter series I craved more great reads and went to the local library. After spending months wading through awful fiction, one touting its prize winning status, I threw it across the room. (In my weakened condition it only made it to the bed for a soft landing.)

"I could write better than this!" I grumbled. My hubby, ever understanding of my turbulent moods answered with a calm, "Then why don't you?" It wasn't long before I set out to do just that!

He sounds like a great guy.

What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing? 

Oh I'd have to say I read everything by Walter Farley, especially his The Black Stallion Series. Girls and horses…I wanted to belive my horse was the Black Stallion reincarnate even if she was a buckskin with no Arabian blood in her.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

When a reader thanks for for dealing with PTSD realistically. Oh that is sweet, brings tears to my eyes.

I imagine it would. Have you experienced writer’s block?

And if so, how did you cure it?

I often become stumped, especially in my current WIP. Those are times to take a water or food break to feed the head and the body. Of course there is the nature break. If the stump was small, it is usually fixed with the small distraction. Other times I have to walk away and get involved in living until the "Wow, it's been awhile. I better go see what is happening in my WIP." Some times that is just a day, but other times a bit longer.

Okay, so now I'd like to ask you a few questions about your soon-to-be release that we saw up above. How did you come up with your premise for Dark Days of Promise?

I had this love story so smooth that it bored me, the writer to tears, literally. I knew I had to "speed" it up, give it something to make it fly but didn't know what. I prayed and pulled my chair up to the computer. My fingers flew with very few mistakes, something that is unusual for me. That scene is in the book with very few changes -- only a few grammatical corrections. I'll give you a hint: Victoria goes flying!

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?

Other than Victoria Flying? Hmm. Carter and Phillip are very loosely based on my children. And we once lived near where the story takes place.

How did you decide on the setting?

That was difficult. I knew I had to have snow and that I needed to know the area at least vaguely. So maybe readers in Tooele and the surrounding areas will tell me how well I did or how bad my memory is. Okay, so as I writer I took a good share of creative license. Hope residents don't hate me forever.

Is there a message in Dark Days of Promise you want readers to grasp?

It is my hope that readers will become more aware of PTSD. It effects more than the veterans and their families, those who love them. It isn't unusual for me to be talking with someone and get this "Oh, they are dealing with Post Traumatic Stress" this way or that way. The "Disorder" part, as far as I have learned, comes from intense stress, such as battle and other potentially fatal situations. Some deal with PTSD with faith and prayers on the one hand while others use counseling and sometimes drugs to manage the disorder. But for me, my PTSD is rather low key and manageable.

What is the purchase link? http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-345/Dark-Days-of-Promise/Detail.bok

 

Awesome! Well, thanks for stopping by and chatting with me. And for all you readers -- thanks for coming over. If you'd like to leave Shaunna a comment, you can either sign the guest book on the right hand side of this page or click on the title link for this post, (A visit with Shunna Gonzales) then scroll back down to the bottom here.

Have a great week!

Shaunna,
I'd love to know how you did your research on PTSD. Do you know anyone personally who suffers from this -- and if so, how are they coping now?
As I continue to talk with people and make more friends of those willing to share I have learned that I, on a much smaller scale than those veterans I've spoken with, suffer with PTSD. No, for me it is not a disorder but yes, I must learn to deal with it. Coping with stress in dangerous situations usually falls under the "fight or flight" category. Let me share this.
A few years ago I was in an mild auto accident. I was not harmed...physically. The other driver went into the Fight part of coping immediately with accusations and threats. Understandable to me at the moment in a detached way, I listened and let her rant. The intersection is one I had to negotiate 70% of the time I left our home.

For over a year I shuddered at the thought of driving through that intersection and even felt my body tense when my husband drove through that intersection. I avoided it when ever possible. Fast forward to realizing I must learn to cope. I first drove the intersection in the other lane where I didn't need to cross traffic and thus avoided the exact location of the accident while desensitizing myself. About a year ago, I took a deep breath and drove the same route as I did when in the accident. Hey! I didn't get hit again! I wasn't instantly cured, but after repeating the process again and again as necessary in my travels, I no longer tense but I still remember vividly.
I share this not to point out that I'm on equal footing with those suffering from PTSD but to encourage others to be more aware and more open minded to those whose PTSD is more pronounced. On occasion, PTSD is life altering for those dealing in the first person chair as well as those who love them.
Shaunna

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Bryan K. Johnson...

f7e0ce5e7cd018e468b1d9c6c625d281(1) 

 I'm looking forward to learning about his book, Yield (Book 1 of the Armageddia Series.) However, before we jump into that, let's get to learn more about him as an individual.

WELCOME Bryan! Can you tell us a bit about where you were born?

I was born on a military base in Pullman, Washington, many stories ago. My dad was in the Navy, and we moved around quite a bit when I was little. After my parents got divorced, I moved down to Woodburn, Oregon, where I grew up and eventually went to high school. After that, my life blurred across four states before finally settling back in Oregon with my beautiful wife and two kids of my own.

Sounds like you’ve traveled a bit. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love the Oregon Coast, so even if I could choose to live anywhere in the world, I'd still have a house overlooking those crashing waves. There's just something so inspiring and powerful about watching the tide come in. New inspiration always seems to ebb and flow with that sound. I've sat out on the beach for hours on moonless nights, just listening to the water scatter across the sand . . . feeling it beside me in the black. There's nothing quite like it.

That's awesome to be so content and inspired in the State you currently live in! What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?

Creativity is one of those things that I think can easily cross over into other disciplines. Outside of writing, I love to draw. I sketched out many of my characters and even some backdrops for Yield. You can check them out at: http://www.armageddia.com/Artwork.html At one point in high school, I actually wanted to be a comic book artist, but I just didn't have the speed for it. The really good artists can finish several full pages in a day. My sketches, like my writing, I spent so much time reworking that they took considerably longer than that.

I also made all of my own book trailers and enjoy building motion graphics and 3D animations on the computer. That's what I did in the television industry for many, many years. I've won a dozen or so awards for my broadcast design and marketing work over the years. I play the guitar as well, sometimes using that as an escape. Jamming out on my Gibson has a way of freeing the mind.

Sounds like the Lord has gifted you in many ways! One of my sons is currently in a comic book drawing kick. I love to see the creative juices he puts into his work. Guess we’ll have to wait and see where the Lord directs his paths.

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?

When I'm not writing, there's usually hard rock cranked up on my iPhone. Three Days Grace, Nickelback, Fireflight. When I'm writing, my brain goes to a very different place and I have to listen to music without lyrics. For some reason, vocals distract my own words from coming out so I listen to an eclectic mix of trance, classical, and movie themes when I write. The various tones and emotion in the music I'm listening to can manifest themselves in very interesting ways throughout the writing process. I once had the idea for an entire screenplay while listening to an instrumental rendition of a Led Zeppelin song. I just couldn't scribble down the thoughts fast enough.

I have quiet a few friends that are the same way. Im guess I'm one of the weird ones who writes in silence. Speaking of writing... what or who inspires you to write?

My journey as a writer started out first as a reader. I loved exploring the science fiction worlds of Tolkien, Brian Jacques, and David Eddings growing up. I was always amazed by the feeling that a good book series could give you. I remember as I finished up one of Eddings's five-part story lines in high school, having this almost overwhelming feeling of disappointment that it was over. I didn't want the characters that I had been through so much with to leave my mind. Great writers make us feel like we truly know the characters, and can bring them to life in a way that is so real and personal. We feel their fears. Laugh at their triumphs. Cry at their pain. I started writing in high school at first to continue some of those incredible stories that I just didn't want to end. I moved on to graphic novels, toying with the idea of being a comic book illustrator, then on to screenplays, and finally my debut novel, Yield.

We enjoy the author’s you mentioned as well. We’ve heard many of their books on tape for our long car rides to visit relatives. I'm wondering, what do you find most rewarding about writing?

To write is to create. It is as fluid as a plot twist or as concrete and tangible as the printed word. Writing is life. It constructs entire worlds on an anatomical scale, creating adventures one purposeful letter at a time. That is an incredible feeling for me, to know that what I put down someone else will ultimately pick up and experience in a completely unique way. There is something so incredibly freeing in that. Anything can happen when those words pour from your fingertips, like a monsoon of new possibility raining down. It is transformation itselfre-imagined at every glance.

When is your next book due out, and whats it about?

Yield was just released on August 14th, so I'm still in the launch and marketing phase for that one. In the waking seconds between, I'm also currently working on book two of the Armageddia Series, and love the direction it's going. I feel like I learned a lot while writing Yield, and that's helped my process on book two tremendously. The follow-up to Yield explores a darkening world, one filled with revenge, retribution, and a desperate struggle to find hope within the chaos. Book one saw the transition from normality to a new way of life. It was very sudden and immediate in the lives of Devin and the other characters. Book two of the Armageddia Seriestakes place a year later, and is more about the sustained struggle to survive, showing how the characters have changed in bery different ways to do just that.

How did you come up with your premise for YIELD?

It was an unassuming and singular experience. I was on a plane from San Francisco to Bend for a job interview, and the fog was so thick over the bay that it blotted out the sky. As we took off above the cloud bank, everything just disappeared beneath me. Mankind and all our worries seemed to fade into the grey. I wondered what would happen if the world changed at that very moment. What if the life I knew didn't exist when I landed? What if my world died somewhere under those clouds?

That one flight started my entire thought process, and even turned into one of my favorite scenes in Yield. As our main character, disgraced firefighter Devin Bane, takes off on the way towards his own interview, everything he knows changes while he's in the air. Devin crashes headfirst into a chaos he doesn't understand, fighting not only to get back to his wife and kids, but also to protect the other survivors now looking to him for a leadership he wants no part of.

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

Sure, here's the scoop:

Ex-fire chief Devin Bane rises above the thick clouds for an interview in Seattle and the promise of a better life. Packing up his carry-on items for their descent into the city, Devin is blinded by a distant flash, followed by the screams and chaos of a crash landing.

Outside the plane's wreckage, a new nightmare surrounds him. Seattle's iconic skyline is gone.

Searching for answers as he flees through the ruins, Devin and a handful of survivors are surrounded by the most primitive side of human nature. Plunged into the darkness of a broken society, their tattered souls are each tested by the horrors they face. Even if Devin can escape the city, a far worse danger now blocks his path back home . . . back to his family and the dawning of a changed world.

30f50f03f1bc8177e3812ad7a6295876 What is the purchase link (and cost)?

You can get YIELD now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both paperback and eBook formats. All the links, prices, as well as some exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes info, is available now at www.armageddia.com.

Awesome. Thanks for being here today, Bryan. It was nice to get to know you a bit. Your book sounds wonderful. Best wishes for much success!

--

To leave Bryan a comment, please scroll back to the top and click on today’s heading, “A visit with a Science Fiction Author”Then, scroll back down to here and there’s a comment box you can type in.

 

Have a great week!

Found_in_the_Woo_4ff4755c2320f_200x300Beth Phillips returns to Platteville , Nebraska in order to begin a new life and to hide from her abusive ex-husband. The secluded cabin offers a chance to stay hidden and to draw closer to God, but Beth quickly discovers she is not alone in the woods. She befriends a curious, displaced wolf, but instead of fearing the animal Beth finds comfort in his company.
When field biologist, Aiden Holt, follows up on reported wolf sightings, he finds the animal and Beth Phillips. With emotional baggage of his own, Aiden usually prefers animals to people, but Beth's passion to keep the wolf draws Aiden in. Experience tells him the wolf needs relocation. His heart tells him he needs Beth Phillips. He camps nearby to capture the wolf, but can he capture Beth's heart, too?
Two souls, each lost in their own way, are brought together by one of God's beautiful creations. Will the Lord's path to their destiny be found in the woods?
Excerpt:
Beth’s insides had been fluttery and nervous ever since her fingers grazed Aiden’s back. Had he felt it, too? That zing was still there. She’d folded her hands between her knees, trying to get rid of the tingle, but the connection remained.
It didn’t help that she had imagined being held by him.
Even though the Lord fulfilled her deepest longings, she still yearned for a human touch, the assurance she could be wanted for the right reasons.
She jumped up from her chair, as antsy as Aiden for something to do. She’d been tempted by too many men. Didn’t want to go there. He was a decent enough guy, but too much was as stake for her to be so attracted.
Attraction. Could that be the reason he was restless?
“Would you mind bringing in a couple logs?” She didn’t give him the chance to answer. She yanked his coat off the chair and turned, arms outstretched. Aiden was so close in the small room, leaning forward and invading her space, that her knuckles hit him in the sternum.
Awareness of his body heat, his nearness, awakened her nerve endings.
He bent nearer still. She smelled the chocolate on his breath. He pulled her towards him until only her hands fisted in the folds of his coat separated them.
In slow motion, he lowered his head. Only his strong arm supporting her back kept her from falling. She raised her face degree by degree, trying to concentrate on his sparkling, multi-colored brown eyes. But then she saw only his lips as he drew closer.
His smell came close to intoxicating her. She was a goner. Aiden tasted as good as he smelled, earthy. Like fresh new leaves, wood, straight-from-the-trees outdoors, and a little smoky from her own fire.
Meeting his lips was as familiar as a recurring dream, yet as frightening as a nightmare.
His arms pulled her to him. The coat sighed to the floor.
She felt her hands encircle his neck as though they had a mind of their own. In Aiden’s arms, Beth felt as fragile as a sapling fighting for survival during the spring storm.
He pulled back. Had he felt what she did at their explosive connection?
She kept her eyes closed, and concentrated on savoring the moment as she felt his warm breath on her face.
The reality of being in Aiden’s arms was an exaggeration of any white-knight fantasy. His arms again obliterated the outside world.
Her whole body jolted at the intensity of their next kiss. The pressure of his lips deepened and swept her away. Sanity eventually returned. Beth turned her head and pushed on his shoulders. Did he react the way she had, with spots and flashes behind her eyelids? Would she reveal too much of those fireworks when she opened her eyes? She didn’t want him to view her as vulnerable.
“I’ve tried to imagine how you would taste.” He reached for her hands and lowered them in his. “You are the real deal, Ms. Beth Phillips.”
No. I’m all mixed up.
Lord, why would you bring someone like Aiden into my life when I’ve had such a weakness for men in the past?
That old looking-for-love-in-all-the-wrong-places phrase hit her full force. Now that she was a Christian, she had no business becoming interested in a man who, by all indications, didn’t share her faith. She took two giant steps backward, until she felt a camp chair against her leg.
But space between them meant nothing. Aiden had slid under her defenses and rattled her solitary foundation.
“I’ll help keep your wolf safe,” he rasped as he bent to retrieve his coat.
“Keep your Lakota safe.”
His pronouncement rocked her to the marrow.
As his promise to help the wolf sank in, her mouth remained open. Before she could formulate a response, he shut the door behind him.
 
A bit about the author:
A lifelong Nebraskan, LoRee Peery has lived most of her life in the country, where she feels grounded in her sense of place. She learned to read when she was four and has devoured books since. She values one-on-one time with her grandchildren and loves time spent with other writers.
LoRee clings to the word overcomer and the knowledge she has victory in Jesus. When she considers being set apart as a child of God, she is humbled. She feels closest to the Lord when she worships through singing. And one thing she’s sure of: “Jesus loves me, this I know. And He will never let me go.”  LoreePeery
You can find her on the web at:
www.loreepeery.com
https://www.facebook.com/LoReePeery
Christian Romance Author
www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/ 
Purchase Link:
Feel free to leave LoRee a comment by clicking on today's heading, This weeks featured book: FOUND IN THE WOODS by LoRee Peery, and scrolling back here to the end of the post. Have a great week!
 --

TapestryOfTrust_w11100_120 

BLURB:

Surrendered Hearts—Interwoven Grace Isabelle had always envisioned Charlie Hamilton as the hero depicted in the romantic tapestry hanging in the Hamilton home. Then Charlie abandoned her to make decisions no one should make alone. Now, six years later, Charlie’s back, and despite Isabelle’s best efforts, she can’t ignore the longing his presence reignites. Charlie wants a second chance, but can Isabelle trust the man he’s become? Can she surrender her threadbare heart long enough for God to weave Isabelle's own happily-ever-after tapestry?

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Isabelle Crafton’s breath stilled at the sight of the man standing on the other side of the doorway. No. It couldn’t be.

Charlie Hamilton. His name clattered in her head as his gaze held hers. The traitor she’d spent the last six years trying to forget.

Unable to move, unable to wrench her gaze away, she bit her lip to keep from gaping. No longer the gangly soccer star who’d scored the winning goals in high school, broad shoulders now filled his tailored suit, his face square and chiseled, and those eyes… Would she ever forget those eyes? Dark and warm. Once as soothing as sipping hot chocolate on a blistery winter’s day.

"Isabelle, I can’t believe it’s you."

She blinked and looked away, her heart pounding. Get a grip. After all, his visit presented one redeeming quality. He was holding her cat.

She lifted the feline from Charlie’s arms. "There you are Humphrey, you had me so worried. Bad kitty!" She scolded him the way she’d love to scold Charlie, but held back. Her roommate Kate, was in the apartment and well within earshot. "Charlie, thank you." She forced her voice to remain calm.

"You look great." He smiled, brushing cat hair from his jacket.

Likewise. She scrunched Humphrey closer. "You found my cat. I’ve been so worried. I’m not sure if you remember Humphrey, but he’s deaf."

Charlie nodded. "He was hanging out in the drainage ditch near the parking lot. The woman in the office told me who lost a cat. She offered to return him, but I had to see if it was really you. And here you are." He opened his arms and stepped closer.

Unexpected emotion clogged Isabelle’s throat. Swallowing hard, she grabbed the knob and pushed the front door halfway shut, blocking his entrance into the apartment. How dare he act like nothing had happened between them? "I must say, you’re the last person I expected to see." The last person she wanted to see.

For a moment, their eyes clashed. The corners of his lips curved up. "Yes, a nice surprise. It’s been a long time, Isabelle. Too long." His gaze drifted from her face to the furry bundle in her arms. "I should have recognized Humphrey."

Surprise? Yes.

Too long? A lifetime wouldn’t be long enough. And why would he recognize her cat? He hadn’t been around since Humphrey was a kitten.

Isabelle eased the door within a couple inches of closing. "See you around, Charlie." Except for a discreet glance through lowered lashes, she kept her gaze averted, cuddling the cat closer to her face.

"Isabelle, wait." Charlie pushed against the door. "Tell me how you’ve been. What are you doing here in Austin?"

Isabelle froze and peered at him through the space he’d created. She wanted to tell him she’d graduated from college and was doing fine without him. Raking her fingers through Humphrey’s knotted fur, she tried to transform bitter thoughts into a civil response. A beat passed, then another. "Not much to tell. Just working," she blurted finally after what seemed like eons."

"She teaches second grade at McGee Elementary," Kate bellowed from behind her. "We came here last year after graduating from East Texas."

Thanks, Kate. Isabelle sucked in air to hold back a sigh.

A dimple flashed in Charlie’s cheek. "Isabelle, congratulations."

Her heart gave a little leap despite her efforts to control it.

"The man is trying to make conversation." Kate breezed up beside her and squeezed her arm.

"I’m sorry. I just don’t have time to chat right…" Isabelle’s words faded in defeat, as Kate swung the door wide open.

"It would be nice to catch up, Isabelle." Charlie shifted even closer. He sunk his hands into his trouser pockets.

She caught a scent of his cologne, tickling her nose. Something, clean and fresh like…Stop it. Isabelle blinked. What was she doing? She tightened her arms around Humphrey and backed away, doubling the distance between them.

How could she ever forget?

Eighteen… and pregnant. She ground her teeth. Life before Jesus. Shaking her head, she pushed out a weary breath. "Who knows when Humphrey ate last? I better feed him."

As if on cue, Humphrey let loose a scraggly meow.

"Isabelle, so good to see you."

Charlie’s gaze narrowed, and she was struck by the unexpected intensity. Perhaps he had regrets. Well… so did she.

"Let’s talk soon."

She started to answer, to tell him to forget about her, but why bother. Her response would only fuel more conversation. "Again, thanks for finding Humphrey."

"No problem. I look forward to catching up with you soon."

She ignored the comment and stalked out the entry and into the kitchen. Maybe, Charlie would pick up on her hint and take a hike himself.

Isabelle set Humphrey on the floor, stretched on tiptoes, and yanked open the cabinet over the stove. She grabbed the plastic container of cat food and poured fish-shaped morsels into a bowl. With whiskers twitching, the cat licked his forepaws and stared up at her. She crouched and set the bowl in front of him. "I’m glad you’re safe." She pulled a twig from his fur.

Even at this distance, Isabelle could hear the conversation in the entry. She glanced at her watch and sighed when Kate burst into a hearty laugh. Didn’t Charlie have somewhere to be?

"I can’t believe you’re in graduate school with Mark." Kate’s voice lifted.

Isabelle rolled her eyes. Perfect.

"Yeah, he’s in my study group this semester. Nice guy."

"I think so, too." Kate giggled. "This is such a busy semester for him, with our wedding and all. I can’t wait until he’s finished."

"I’m right there with you. School can’t end soon enough for me either." A pleasant chuckle trailed Charlie’s words.

"So, you graduate in May, also?"

"Yep."

Grad school. Lucky Charlie. No hiccups in his life. No change of course. Unlike hers, whose life made a U-turn when she got pregnant and spun further out of control when she’d lost the baby. Their baby. Isabelle shook her head. Why Charlie? Why couldn’t you have— She flinched. History, she reminded herself. One she wanted to forget.

The kitchen started to feel stuffy. She pushed to her feet and slid open the window above the sink. Fresh air blew against her face. Who cares when Charlie graduates anyway? Their life together ended years ago. She pinched dead leaves off the potted ivy meandering across the windowsill.

A moment passed, then another. She inched toward the doorway. She cocked her head and gnawed on an already too short fingernail, reassuring herself Charlie no longer meant anything to her.

"I’ve been working at my gir―, uh, friend’s father’s marketing company in San Marcos. After graduation, I’ll be a director there."

Isabelle slapped her hands over her ears. She braced herself against the counter before her wobbly knees gave out. Of course, he had a girlfriend. After six years, people moved on.

Well, most people.

Even as the thought crossed her mind, she shook her head. The last thing she wanted was Charlie to be privy to how boring her life had become. Not that her boredom had anything to do with missing him. Straightening, she lifted her chin. She’d just been busy, that’s all.

Still, why, out of the hundreds of people in their apartment complex, did he have to be the one to find her cat? She picked up the cat food container and shoved it back into the cabinet. Humphrey crunched his meal on the floor next to her. Snagging a deep breath, she grabbed a dishcloth and ran circles across the already spotless counter. Then she jerked open the refrigerator door and yanked old take-out containers from the shelves. If she had to be stuck in the kitchen, she might as well get something done.

Charlie’s tone rose above the trilling grind of the garbage disposal. "Tell Isabelle good-bye for me. I’ll catch up with her soon. Oh…and make sure she lets Sadie in the office know to take the sign down now that Humphrey’s home safe."

That did it. Isabelle thumped her hands on the counter and opened her mouth to shout a retort, but no words came—only tears. Charlie hadn’t changed. Still trying to take care of things. Why wouldn’t she tell Sadie? Who did he think put the sign up in the first place? She clenched her left fist, nails digging into her palm. Six years ago she’d asked for his advice, and he had nothing of value for her. In fact, he had nothing to say about the matter at all.

Squaring her shoulders, she wiped hot tears and resisted the rush of illogical nostalgia parading through her. No, she wouldn’t look back. Instead, she slammed her eyes shut and prayed—for God’s grace.

****

Charlie climbed the stairs to his second floor apartment, trying to sort through the whirlwind of emotion warring inside him. Facing Isabelle and her lukewarm reaction after all these years served only to remind him―he’d messed up. Big time!

Procrastination. Ten days he’d pondered. Ten days too long.

He couldn’t blame Isabelle for her coolness. Their years apart had taken care of that. Then again, wouldn’t she think he might harbor some resentment? After all, she’d never answered his calls or letters.

Melancholy swept through him in the wave of a memory, tugging at his already tight chest. He thought about the message from his mother, via Isabelle’s aunt. A miscarriage and Isabelle wouldn’t be coming back. His breath grew shallow. He would have been there for her if only he’d known her whereabouts.

Charlie opened his apartment door and trudged inside. Despite the angst tumbling in his gut, he couldn’t help but think how unbelievable it was that Isabelle lived in the same complex, and he’d found her cat. Coincidence? He flung his keys on the table and shrugged off his jacket. He knew better than that.

No longer concerned with his hunger, he leaned against the counter and rolled the quandary around in his head. He could have said something more to Isabelle, reminded her of the good times. Reminded her they were young, but with her roommate there, that might have only made things worse.

Isabelle. He worked his finger over the stubble on his chin. The woman he’d loved for the better part of his youth. He had to admit those feelings still gripped his core. It only took a few shallow relationships, especially his last, to remind him what he’d lost when he lost Isabelle.

As he stood alone in his kitchen, he couldn’t help but replay the what if’s and if onlys, wondering what life would be like if he and Isabelle hadn’t compromised and if fear hadn’t gotten the best of him. No! He slammed the brakes on that train of thought.

Despite lingering regrets, a grin tugged at his lips. He hadn’t seen a ring on her finger. Maybe it was time to put history behind them and get reacquainted.

He scratched his head. An intriguing thought, but from her cool reception he doubted she wanted the same.

--

You can pick up your copy today at: http://www.amazon.com/Tapestry-of-Trust-ebook/dp/B008BMOYUG

Find Mary Annslee Urban on the Web!
Author, maryurban.blogspot.com
Stories to stir the heart, about love, honor and God's grace!

Thank you for visiting today! If you'd like to leave Mary a comment, please click on the bold green heading for today, "Featured Book: Tapestry of Trust by Mary Annslee Urban" then, scroll down to the bottom of the post.

Have a great weekend!

 Thanks for stopping by! Today's book feature is about a story written by Stephenia McGee.
ALegacyofLiesCoverArt
 
Blurb:

Sarah Sanders is so stressed-out at college that she’s having fainting spells. She’s behind on the rent and facing eviction. Dropping out of school feels inevitable. Needing a break, she accepts her boyfriend’s invitation to visit his parents’ ranch out west. But she finds much more in Montana than fresh air and mountain trails.

Ranch hand Jim Anderson has suffered from night terrors for over a year. But despite this secret struggle, his life at the ranch had been a welcomed escape from his past. Until those terrifying dark shadows started coming for him in the middle of the afternoon.

Brought together by an unseen hand, Sarah and Jim must travel across the country to unravel a web of deceit and uncover Jim’s long history of lies before the evidence is sealed away forever.

Excerpt:

Jim settled into the brushed leather of his ranching saddle. The saddle had a deep seat and the fenders turned the stirrups out perfectly. He was as comfortable here as most men were in a recliner in front of the television. He tried to keep his mind off Sarah's emerald eyes. No luck.

Focus on something else.

The deep indigos and golden streaks had faded from the sky, the sun now sat high enough over the white mountain peaks to start warming the air. A clear sky promised a peaceful day. It would be nice to spend the day--

What the...

A streak of color blurred past him. Ciervo lurched underneath him. Jim cursed under his breath, trying to steady his spooked mount. Up ahead he saw clods of soft earth flying up from behind galloping hooves. Panic set in.

Runaway horse.

Sarah.

Jim squeezed his legs as he leaned into the saddle and lowered his head. Ciervo dipped his haunches and rocketed forward. Within a stride his horse extended to a full gallop, his hooves barely hitting the ground. In mere seconds, they were gaining on the other horse. A sorrel.

Jim flung the reins around his body. The leather ends popped into Ciervo's thick hindquarters. The horse lowered his head and surged. Amazingly, the powerful buckskin found another gear. Jim's hat flew off, the leather strap catching hard against his neck. The wind buffeted his face. He squinted his eyes, leaned forward in the saddle, and gripped the reins with both hands. His body was now moving in rhythm with the horsepower beneath him.

Ciervo heaved in massive amounts of air. Pounding hooves and the horse's deep snorting breaths drowned the startled cries behind them. Ciervo's tail whipped through the air. Jim urged him on. Ten more feet. Five. He came even with the sorrel and reached for the reins, his fingers barely grazing the leather. He leaned further and Ciervo followed Jim's lead, nearly brushing against the other horse as the two animals raced across the valley. He reached out again and finally grabbed the runaway horse's rein.

"Hang on." Jim shouted above the deafening thunder of pounding hooves.

In one fluid motion, he planted his feet in the stirrups, rocked back in the saddle, and jerked Sarah's left rein down to his thigh. Sassy's head jerked, her neck curving until her muzzle met her shoulder. The mare's front feet planted into the soft earth, her massive weight tearing loose the grass underneath. As Sarah crashed into the saddle horn, a whoosh of air escaped her lips. Ciervo lowered his haunches and buried down to his hocks in the dirt. They came jerking to a halt. For a second no one moved. Jim let out his breath.

He looked at Sarah. She bent over the saddle horn, gasping for air. Her face splotchy red. When she caught her breath, she glared at him, her eyes nearly shooting daggers.

"What do you think you're doing? Are you crazy?" Sarah yelled at him and snatched her rein from his hand. Jim's jaw dropped. He could only stare at her. He'd just risked his life to save hers and she yelled at him? His fingers tightened on his reins, clenching into tight fists.

He knew it. Nothing but trouble.

Buy Links:

Desert Breeze Publishing:

Amazon:

Barns and Noble:

Also available for download with iBooks for the iPad.

Blessings,

Stephenia McGee
www.StepheniaMcGee.com

Have a great Day!
--

JoyRestoredCoverArt_thumb

Kate Davidson purrs along in her remodeled life, but inwardly wages war with God, whom she thinks snuffed out her husband’s life on that mountain curve. Not acceptable. Clayton may as well have died in the jungles of Vietnam as in a one-car accident on Wolf’s Creek Bridge--Kate’s unrehearsed for her reaction when widower Seth Orbin wades through rain and lightning to rescue her and her kids, who love being stranded at Seth’s mountain cabin. Kate and Seth sidestep a surprising attraction.

Seth feels conflicted when discovering their spiritual gulf. He longs for Kate’s parched faith to heal, while she’s convinced he’s deluding himself with ideas of peace.

Seth knows he can’t marry Elizabeth Koger, not after meeting Kate.

At a low moment, Kate accepts a date from Willard Wittenberg. She bites her folly when he won’t leave her alone and his history with Elizabeth unveils.

A suspicious fire at Seth’s sawmill--one implicating Willard and injuring Seth--creates turbulence.

Barely conscious from his injuries, Seth declares his love for Kate. She can’t understand such faith, much less the love offered.

Family illnesses reinforce Seth’s tragedy-proof peace. Kate’s heart softens to God and Seth.

Joy is restored as only God can.



EXCERPT

Whose clothes were these anyway? What exactly had Mr. Cornelius said about Seth Orbin?

"You look comfortable," Kate said to everyone as she came back into the living area.

In the short time she showered, Seth had made the children hot cocoa and sandwiches, and they now sat before the warm fire. Benji leaned against Seth while Maggie sat quietly nearby with her legs tucked under. Even Paddy looked tired. The fright and excitement of the storm had won. They probably wouldn't be going home.

"Very comfortable, I believe," Seth said. He looked at the kids. "A nap may be just the thing to rest up for the evening." He eased a drowsy Benji onto the couch, covering him with a green plaid blanket. With care, he tucked the blanket under Benji's chin.

Kate liked his tender touch.

"He'll be all right here. Paddy and Maggie, you can nap in the twin beds in the loft. Okay with you, Katalina? Let me show you."

She nodded.

He lifted a sleepy Maggie into his arms and headed for the stairs. Paddy followed after, blowing a kiss to his mother.

With the children settled, Seth descended the stairs. He walked toward Kate, who was standing near the sink. She turned, unable to escape his nearness. He said nothing, but looked so long at her jeans and shirt she began to fidget. What was he thinking?

She shifted and before she realized it, was biting the inside of her lower lip. She followed his gaze as it wandered from her wet hair, across her eyes, over her nose and down to her mouth, where it lingered before going back to her eyes. Kate couldn't move. A tremble surged through her body. He still said nothing, and the thudding of her heart pounded in her ears. A minute had never seemed longer.

Finally Seth broke the spell with a soft, husky laugh. "Let me recheck your arm to make sure I don't have to amputate." He lifted her arm and looked into her eyes again. "Do you always bite your lip like that, or am I the cause"
--Purchase links: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-template/JudeUrbanski/Page.bok Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Chanute-Crossing-Book-ebook/dp/B0067DDZ8S/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1322667736&sr=1-1-spell good reads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13063251-the-chronicles-of-chanute-crossing-book-one Find Jude on the web:www.judeurbanski.comhttp://judeurbanski.blogspot.com

WATCH FOR BOOK TWO COMING JUNE 11th!

Nurtured in Purple, Book Two in The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing, continues the now-married love story of Seth Orbin and Kate Davidson of Joy Restored, Book One, but nemesis' Willard Wittenberg and Elizabeth Koger come center stage still pursuing personal vendettas against Seth and Kate.

Seth again faces potential loss of wife and child with Kate's life-threatening pregnancy complication, while Willard maneuvers to ruin Seth's business. Willard and Elizabeth, once lovers, engage and marry, but her flame for Seth has never died. Married life proves ragged.

Late-blooming love comes to Ninville Cornelius and Margie Craig and new characters of Ruby Moody, alcoholic wife of a deceased Vietnam vet, and her small son Bobo are introduced.

Can Seth and Kate, modeling God's grace and forgiveness, bring hope and light to Willard and Elizabeth and Ruby and Bobo, all so needy of God's redeeming love?

--

Thank you for stopping by! You can leave Jude a comment if you wish by clicking on the bold, green heading of today's post and scrolling down to the bottom.

Have a great day!

TrespassesCoverArt

Wounded Heroes Book Two: Trespasses

A forensic sketch artist uses her talents to catch a killer before she becomes the next victim.

Purchase Link: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-293/Wounded-Heroes-Book-Two-cln-/Detail.bok

--

AVAILABLE TOMORROW – May 11, 2012

When the skeletal remains of three young women are discovered on the vacation estate of a U.S. Senator, the local sheriff enlists the help of Special Agent Gabe Landry and a local forensic sketch artist to help him solve the murders. As a profiler, Gabe knows his skills are useless until they discover the identity of the victims.

That’s where the beautiful and talented Mackayla Kensington comes in. Mackayla is all too familiar with the heartache of not knowing the fate of a loved one. The brutal murder of her own daughter is the driving force behind her determination to bring closure to families missing loved ones. Using her artistry skills, Mackayla works frantically to put faces to the skulls so that their identities can be revealed and the killer can be caught. When the killer realizes how good she is, it appears she may be the next to die.



EXCERPT

"Agent Landry," a woman's voice called out.

He turned to his left and saw a woman, or at least what he thought was a woman, approach him. She wore hiking boots, blue jeans, gray sweatshirt, and a backwards baseball cap. On her back, she toted a backpack almost as big as she was. She looked like she'd been trekking across the Himalayas. "They switched gates on us at the last minute." She offered her hand, along with a beautiful smile. "Mackayla Kensington. It's nice to meet you."

"How'd you know who I was?"

"I phoned Adam from the plane. He told me a federal agent would be meeting me, and you G-men all look alike."

"Do you have luggage?"

"I'm wearing it. I figured you wouldn't be leaving without me so I saved you a trip to baggage."

"Thanks. Appreciate it."

The trip from the airport to the parking lot was filled with polite conversation, mostly consisting of how much cooler it was compared to El Salvador. Arriving at his rental car, a gray Crown Victoria, he helped her off with her backpack. As heavy as it was, he wondered if she had taken along her whole wardrobe. "Do you want to pick up something to eat on the way to the lab, or do you need to get some sleep first?" he asked, slipping the pack into the trunk.

"I slept on the plane, and I'm not hungry."

Relieved of the pack, she was a lot smaller in appearance. A few inches shorter than him, he guessed she couldn't weigh much more than one-thirty. She was still wearing the backwards baseball cap, her brown hair neatly braided, draped loosely over her left shoulder. She looked to be in her mid to late thirties, somewhat older than he'd expected.

"You've only been a forensic sketch artist for six years?" he asked as he maneuvered his way onto the interstate.

"Yes. I was an art teacher previous. Seventh and eighth graders. I like this job better, the skulls don't talk back."

Gabe smiled at her. He liked her sense of humor. "So how long before you can get started?"

"I can get started tonight if you have the forensic data and Forrester left me his notes."

He liked her enthusiasm too. "Are you sure you're up to it?"

"The sooner we get started the sooner we can get these women home to their families."

"And the murderer behind bars," he added.

"Did Adam tell you I work out of my home? I have a dark room and studio there."

"No. Where's home?"

"I'll show you as soon as we stop by and pick up the skull. That is if you don't mind the extra driving. My neighbor usually takes me to the airport, 'cause I never know how long I'll be gone."

You can leave Ms. Patrick a comment by clicking on the green heading of today's blog post "Anne Patrick's Book Spotlight"

--

PerfectonPaperCoverArt72dpi(1) 

Perfect on Paper

By Patty Froese © 2012

Excerpt

"I thought our business was complete?" She crossed her arms and watched him with humor in her eyes. He laughed and shook his head, looking a little bashful.

"It doesn't have to be, does it?"

It was Anne's turn to blush. She thought for a moment, trying to keep her face from betraying too much. She busied herself with getting the mug and teabag ready.

"Unless you'd rather not..."

"It's just..." Anne started.

"You'd rather not." He sounded embarrassed, and her heart went out to him.

"No, I would," Anne said quickly, then blushed again and shook her head. "Except... Oh, I don't know. We want different things, Jake."

"But I'm fun," he reminded her with a playful look.

"You're fun, I'll give you that."

"And I know all the decent restaurants around here. I'm pretty useful."

"You know the good restaurants too." She couldn't help but chuckle.

"What do we want that is so different?"

"I want a career. You want... a housewife."

"Maybe I do." There was no apology in his voice.

"I'm pretty much the furthest thing away from your domestic bliss that you could find."

"Isn't it a bit early to be worrying about that?"

Anne felt the heat rising in her cheeks again. Maybe it was... maybe it wasn't. It wasn't like she was planning her wedding colors after one date, or rather business dinner, but she could see the writing on the wall. She also didn't like to toss her emotions into the fray just to have her heart broken when the inevitable happened.

"We aren't kids anymore," Anne said. "Why start something that doesn't have a future?"

"You have a point." His voice was soft and low. "But it was tempting."

***

What’s the book about? Perfect on Paper is a story about a writer who inherits her late maiden aunt's bookstore.The lawyer in charge of her aunt's estate just happens to be the most eligible bachelor in town, except for one small flaw--he wants a housewife.Anne is a career driven novelist who has worked too hard to get where she is to give it up now. When some hints start to surface, suggesting that the maiden aunt wasn't so maiden after all, Anne pours herself into finding the story behind her aunt's mysterious love.Can a story about a secret passion during wartime unravel the secret of what makes for a true and lasting love before it is too late for both of them?Can Anne really have it all, or does “the complete package” look a little different than she’d always imagined?In this story about true love, romantic ideals and faith, Anne and Jake discover the depth of a love grounded in God and a faith inherited from generations past.

JoAnn’s Thoughts: Brief overview: Both the hero and heroine have specific goals for their lives. These goals seem to clash, yet their mutual attraction towards one another will not diminish -- despite what commonsense tells them. Can they work through their differences, in enough time, to give them both what they dreamed for their futures?

Ms. Froese is very good at setting a scene. I really had a feel for the town and people as seen through the eyes of the main characters. I also think there were a few take-home-values to ponder as I reached the end. The first is that for any relationship to work there needs to be "give and take" between the two parties. The second, what we think will give us a sense of fulfillment or happiness isn't necessarily what will. Finally, as Scripture says... a cord of three strands is not easily broken. The strongest relationships will have Christ at the center.

Great reminders from this inspirational romance.
Pick up your copy here:

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-284/Perfect-on-Paper-Patty/Detail.bok

You can learn more about this author...patty

Find Patty Froese on the Web:
Patty's Website

 

Patty's Facebook

Email Patty

-- Thanks for stopping by today. If you'd like to leave Patty a comment, feel free to click on this post's title "Book Feature: Perfect on Paper" and scroll down to the bottom of the post.

Happy Thursday!!!

 

image

Today, I'm honored to have Joanne Troppello, visit the blog. The heading of her post looks very interesting. Let's see what she has to say...

Oh, and I'm sure she'd love to hear from you. You can leave a comment by clicking on today's heading and scrolling to the bottom of the post. You never know, a little special prize may be in store. All I'm saying is, be sure to check back on Tuesday if you left a comment. J

Why I Gave up Writing

So you’re being interviewed by a reporter and he or she asks the questionwhy do you write? How do you answer that? Have you ever been asked that question or even asked it of yourself? If you haven’t dug down deep inside to find out your reasons for writing, maybe your best work is not pouring out onto the page yet.

"Being an author is not a profession it’s a condition." (John Wain)

I’ve asked that question of myself a few years ago. I was reading The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian and God spoke to me through that book. I felt very strongly that He asked me to lay down my passion for writing on His altar—if He gave me the go-ahead to continue with my writing career, I would have the green light. If not, well, then I’d be crushed, but would give up writing if that’s what He asked me to do—for Him. This may sound weird to some, but that’s what I felt in my spirit and that’s what I did. For almost a year, I gave up writing and spent hours and hours of quality time with the Lord—digging into the Bible and praying during my free time at work at lunch breaks and in the morning and evenings.

Obviously I can’t read the mind of God and understand specifically His reasoning behind the request to lay down my passion for writing—however, I grew tremendously in my spiritual life during that year and when I picked up writing again, my perspective changed and I had a new attitude toward why I was writing. No longer was I writing for myself or only because I loved to write and had to write. I started writing because I realized God gave me a gift to write and wanted me to tell stories that would glorify Him.

Writing takes work and discipline and effort in regard to getting it right and then marketing the work—yet, when your perspective is tuned into God’s view, and how He wants to speak through your words, all of the tedious aspects fade into the distance—leaving only the true joy of doing God’s will for your life. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was in high school, but that day during my lunch break when God asked me if I loved Him more than my passion for writing—everything changed. My passion for writing is so STRONG, I can’t express it enough. Being asked to give that up forever…I mean, really, I wasn’t so sure I could do it, but my love for God was stronger.

The beauty of the entire situation was that just about one year later, God permitted me to take back my passion for writing and a new story was born and I quickly got to work. I’ve been happily working on my books ever since—truly knowing that I have God’s blessing to write. Whenever the doubt sets in that maybe I’m not good enough as a writer or should I be pursuing this career, I have this time in my life to fall back on. I can know beyond any shadow of doubt that God wants me to pursue writing books. That fact has been a great comfort to me in that last few years.

I will not limit myself and put God in a box ~ His ways are not my ways. He knows what He is doing and has a perfect plan for my life. No matter how things turn out, I will keep on writing books because that is my passion and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given. I want to do the best that I can with what I’ve been given and be a good steward of my talents. God has a plan for your life, too ~ just trust in His Divine Providence to be your guiding light!

--

Joanne Troppello is an author of romantic suspense novels. She has published three books: Shadowed Remembrances, Mr. Shipley’s Governess and Bella Lucia (which you can find out more about below.) Currently, she is working on her new writing project, The Paradise Redeemed Series. Joanne is married and loves spending time with her husband and family. She enjoys interacting with readers at The Mustard Seed Blog.

Author Contact Links

Joanne's Blog: The Mustard Seed

Find Joanne on Facebook

Find Joanne on Twitter

--Bella Lucia 500x750Book Blurb for Joanne's latest release: Bella Lucia~

After being married for six years, Gwen and Lucas DeStefano are dealing with the pain of a childless marriage and trying to trust God for their future. On a weekend getaway to the Poconos, they attempt to relax and renew their marriage, but witness an event that turns their lives upside down. They see a body dump in the woods while they are on a hike and their lives become entangled in a web of suspense and God’s ultimate blessing in the form of a little baby girl, named Bella Lucia. Will Gwen learn to trust God with childlike faith and wholeheartedly accept His plan?

Det. Marc Abrams is assigned to the murder investigation of Sabrina Reysen and he will do whatever it takes to find her killer. He has his suspicions and is pleasantly surprised when he meets Samantha "Sam" Collins, the attractive US Marshall assigned to protect one of the witnesses in this case. Will Det. Abrams find the killer before it’s too late and is the attraction between him and Sam strong enough to survive?

 

Purchase Link for Bella Lucia

Thanks for your honesty and sharing your experience of fasting from writing for a year. It's a great reminder to continually seek the face of Christ in all I do.

Many blessings on your writing!

Today, I’d like to give a warm welcome to June Foster! (Feel free to leave her a comment by clicking on today’s blog post title, A VISIT WITH MS. FOSTER. Then scroll to the end of the post.) JuneTo help us get to know you better, I’d like to ask you a few questions before we get to talking about your new story. Sound good? Okay, let’s start with… can you name some of your most favorite things?

My Bible, my scrapbooks I've finished of kids, family, and grandkids, and my Kindle.

Great selection! I’d have to agree with you on all but the Kindle. (I still am living in the dark ages where I have to read e-books off my computer. J) What’s your favorite Bible verse or verse that has sustained you recently and why?

Proverbs 3: 5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Since I just started writing fiction for the first time in the last two years, I have to lean on the Lord for everything. My ability to learn how to write, what to write about, who my characters are, how the make proposals, everything a writer has to do. In addition, we live and travel in our RV so my husband and I seek the Lord's guidance everyday for direction.

So very true and speaking of writing, I’d like to ask you a few questions about that. What or who inspires you to write?

That's easy. As a Christian, the Lord puts the stories in my heart and I try to honor Him with the situations and characters. Why did you begin writing? It sounds a little crazy. I was a happy grandma doing scrapbooking and card making. Then the Lord opened up my heart and put a story inside. When I told my daughter about the tale, she made the casual remark that I should write it. I got zapped. The spark I needed.

Wow! That’s neat. What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing?

Growing up I loved Nancy Drew Mysteries and the Bobsey Twins but nothing I read inspired me to write. I didn't have any desire to do so until two years ago.

How did you come up with your premise for Give Us This Day? GiveUsThisDayCoverArt

Give Us This Day is the first in the Bellewood Series Trilogy. For each story, I thought of an issue which either I or someone I know has experienced. I assigned the problems to my heroes and heroines and studied my Bible in search of a Biblical solution.

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

Jess Colton can earn a PHD in computer science but can’t manage his own life. Raised by a doting mother and controlling father, Jess battles against his addictive nature. When Jesus comes into his life, he trades one addiction for another—food for alcohol. His doctor warns him of his poor health as his weight soared past 300 pounds. Jess is baffled when the beautiful Holly Harrison comes into his life and declares her affection for him. What could she possibly see in him?

Holly Harrison has a past. But it catches up with her when she loses her leg and her unborn baby in one night as a result of a motorcycle accident. At this low point in her life, she finds strength through God and a relationship with Jesus Christ while she works as a dental hygienist.But now, no Christian man would want her so she avoids serious relationships. She doesn’t plan on falling in love with Jess Colton. She sees past his rolls of fat to the godly, tender man inside. When Jess drives a wedge between them, she loses all hope of having a future together.

Can Holly overcome her handicap? Does Jess find control over his eating and his life? Only God can provide the answers they need.

Sounds like a great story. How did you decide on the setting?

The trilogy is set in the Seattle area. My husband and I lived there for 10 years before we started traveling in our RV. The area is beautiful with so many wonderful places to visit that I decided to allow my characters to live and work in Washington state.

What is the purchase link (and cost)?

The book is available through Desert Breeze Publishing Company for $4.98. It can also be downloaded from the Amazon Kindle store, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo, Sony Readerstore, Apple's ibookstore, All Romance ebooks, Christianbook.com, and Books on Board ibookstore.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, June. It was great to get to know you a bit more and to learn more about Give Us This Day. May God richly bless your writing endeavors.

For those of you who enjoy visiting blogs, I will be over at June's blog on the 15th to share a bit about the book being released that day, Mercies In Disguise. Hope you can stop by. http://junefoster.blogspot.com

--

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to an author to Kathryn Bain. I'm glad we have this oppertunity to get to know you a bit more! (Please be sure to leave a comment by clicking on today's heading, "An interview with Kathryn Bain" to be entered into a drawing for a copy of this e-book.)197597_1007733841260_1462365699_13278_7836_n[1]So, let's start at the beginning, shall we? Where were you born? I was born in Spokane, Washington, then immediately shipped across the border. (To Coeur d’Alene, Idaho not Canada.)

That's a pretty part of the country. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? If I could live anywhere, it would probably be on the West Coast of Florida right on the Gulf. Pensacola and Destin are so beautiful, and they’re still small enough they have that small city charm to them.

 

You must enjoy being close to water. Let me see here, ah... here's a good question, what music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write? I love Skillet, Disciple, and Cutlass. Yes, you are talking to an original head-banger. I even met Judas Priest so many years ago I don’t want to think about it. Boy, am I old.

Wow -- you actually met him. That must have been an experience! I like some of the groups you mentioned too. We have their CD's in our Youth Group's library. But I can't say I'd ever be tempted to put those CD's in while I'm writing. :) OK -- here's another question, what or who inspires you to write? I think God inspires me to write. In fact, he forces me. If I don’t, the voices won’t stop talking to me. Also, I am a huge fan of Janet Evanovich. I think she’s hilarious.

 

I love to ask this question... why did you begin writing? I started dabbling in writing about ten years ago, thought I didn’t get serious for a couple of years. It was then I realized I didn’t know anything about writing. It only took that long to figure out how to do it right.

When is your next book due out, and what’s it about? My next book which should be out in March is a novella called Game of Hearts. It’s humorous women’s fiction about a woman who has to deal with a deadbeat dad, teenagers, financial stress, and a store manager’s glare.

About Your latest book: Breathless_w5147_300

How did you come up with your premise for Breathless? This story was inspired by the Toby Keith song "God Love Her". The whole idea of a Bible on a motorcycle got me thinking about ministers on motorcycles.

Wow -- sounds neat. For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb? Lydia Frederickson is afraid to answer her telephone. Widowed and alone, she only wants to get through another anniversary of her husband’s death without falling to pieces, but a stalker isn’t making that goal easy. The disturbing calls are becoming increasingly personal and threatening, and everyone who knows her is suspect. The only person she knows isn’t making the calls is her new ponytailed, tattooed—and breathtakingly handsome— minister, Matthew Winters.

Former-narcotics-agent-turned-minister Matthew Winters knows he’s not what the town expected in their new pastor, but he’s up for the challenge. What he doesn’t expect is the sudden attraction he feels for parishioner Lydia Frederickson. When he discovers she’s the victim of a stalker, he feels God’s intervention has led him—both a cop and a preacher—to her. Matthew knows he’s falling for the beautiful widow, but a secret from his past may undermine their future.

What a great premise! Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us? Part of this story is ripped-from-the-headlines. In Nassau County, Florida a man was stopped on his motorcycle for speeding. While he waited, he pulled out a bag of marijuana from his pocket. Someone riding along with the police officer yelled that he had a gun. The police officer shot the guy and killed him. I changed it a bit, but used the premise in my story.

Wow. Do you have a link where we can access the book discussion questions? You can find the link for the e-book at http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/. It’s $4.99. Just look up my name by Kathryn. If you’d like a signed printed book ($14.99), go to my website at www.kathrynjbain.com. You can only get a printed book through my website. Also, since I’m all about saving money, there is a $2.00 off plus free shipping coupon on the site so the cost would only be $12.99.

Kathryn, it's be a pleasure having you here with us today! Blessings on your writing endevors!

(And for those visiting, please don't forget to leave a comment.)

-- 

 

 

 

 

Blurb:  WhiteChristmas_w5169_300

After his very public break-up from his fiancé, Chad Fletcher is convinced that a healthy marriage and his rising political career won’t mix, and Christmas at his Aunt Nell’s home in White, Arizona is a great way to start fresh. Political watch dog, Tessa Conway, plans to spend her vacation enjoying her grandparents’ ranch before they must sell it, so she is not pleased with Grandma Sophie and Aunt Nell’s efforts to throw her and Chad together. Chad begins to believe Tessa may be the perfect antidote to his unhealthy relationships of the past, but when he decides to take support from a company with questionable ethics, his perfect bubble is burst. Fearing Chad is not the Godly man she believed him to be, Tessa ends their budding romance. Will Chad find the strength and courage to do what’s right even if it costs him his career?

Excerpt:

Now he remembered her. She always wore her hair tied back in a bun and secured with combs. She’d been so business-like, so informed and capable. Her curls and her embarrassment over the nickname made her human and real.

"Your secret is safe with me," he said, laughter still in his tone. "I won’t remind you or rub it in. Especially after all the nice things you said about my work. I want to keep you on my side. In fact, I’m thinking of asking you to be my campaign manager."

Suddenly, the laughter left her eyes and she gazed up in all seriousness. "Will there be a campaign? Is that why you refused another term in the assembly so you can run for Senator Rizzi’s seat when he retires next year?"

Chad caught his breath, wondering how he’d let that happen. He never spoke out of turn or let information slip. But they’d been talking like old friends and it just happened. What was it about this young woman that made him so comfortable? Before he could gather his thoughts and come up with a reason, she held up her hand.

"Don’t answer that," she said, closing her eyes. "I’m sorry I even asked it. That’s none of my business and I don’t know why I said it. I--I just feel like I know you."

Chad smiled, thinking how her words echoed his feelings. "We do. We’ve even worked together."

Tessa opened her eyes and stared at him. A slow, sweet smile spread over her lips and made her blue eyes sparkle. He thought it just might be the prettiest smile he’d ever seen.

That’s when the alarm bells started going off.

Suddenly, he noticed that it had gotten dark and Aunt Nell still hadn’t shown up. He looked around. "Well, it was nice talking to you."

He stopped short of saying Tessa. The name had taken on new meaning for him…untamed strawberry curls and a sweet smile. Now, it sounded far too personal.

"My aunt’s waiting for me, so I’d better get back," he said rather shortly.

She nodded. "My grandmother’s waiting, too."

Her tone sounded disappointed and those blue eyes that had sparkled all night lost some of their shimmer. She gestured across the street. He turned and saw Aunt Nell sitting on a park bench. Beside her was another little white-haired lady. They both smiled and waved.

"Wait a minute," he said beneath his breath. "You’re not-"

He turned back around.

Tessa smiled and held out her hand. "Nice to meet you. I’m Sophie’s granddaughter."

**** 

White Christmas is available now in the Holiday Extravaganza Bundle—12 novellas for $12 Pelican Book Group:

http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/extravaganza-bundle

It will be available for individual purchase on December 21 at Pelican Book Group

http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/white-christmas

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/White-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B006G5EH2K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323832654&sr=1-1

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/white-christmas-tanya-stowe/1107871506?ean=2940013480124&itm=5&usri=white+christmas

Tanya Stowe has had an eclectic career in market research, arts education and event coordination. She has written for television, publicity firms, national publications, and even collaborated on a Christmas musical. She’s taught at writing conferences, numerous workshops, and seminars. Her first full-length novel was a time-travel romance. Her first inspirational romance was released in 2010.

A Bit About the Author: Tanya has been married to her high school sweetheart for thirty-seven years. They have four children and eighteen grandchildren. Recently her husband retired from government work to take a new position. They will be traveling to the Middle East to work and begin a new adventure!

Thanks for stopping by today. You can leave a comment for Tanya if you wish, by clicking on the post title, "A Book Feature: WHITE CHRISTMAS" up above and scrolling back down to here.

--

Please give a warm welcome with me to author, Pamela Thibodeaux! I know she's planning on picking a few winners from people who have commented on her blog tour on December 17th to revieve an autographed copy of The Visionary. So friends, be sure to leave a comment today! :)

tn

Pamela, it's great to have you stop by and share with us about your new book. Before we talk about your lastest story, can I ask you a few questions? If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

A place where the temperature never goes above 85 or below 60 - where the climate is rich, the air is clean, the humidity is low & where it rains only at night. Haven't found that place yet LOL! So I'll settle for where I'm living now. Seriously I've visited/live in TX, OK, MS, FL, TN, WA, AK & NY but there's no place like home. ☺

I completly understand. What’s your favorite color?

Peach and I'm quite find of fuchsia.

I know this might sound like an odd combination, but it works well. In our bathroom we have peach and lavender. Okay, here's another question... what music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?

Unlike most authors, I don't listen to music while I'm writing. I can have background noise (TV or radio in another room) but music playing beside me or on my computer distracts me and interrupts my train of thought.

Hmm. Same is true for me. What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

Reading! I've been an avid reader since about 3 or 4 yrs of age. Other than that, my passion is family.

Speaking of passions, what are some of your most favorite things?

Books, bubble baths, dancing, horseback riding, nativity scenes & crosses.

What’s your favorite Bible verse or verse that has sustained you recently and why?

My all-time favorite verse is Romans 8:28: "For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose." This promise has sustained me through all the years of pain and rejection along the road to publication and helped me focus on HIM & His promises after the death of my husband in 2009.

I love that verse too. What or who inspires you to write?

I'm inspired by the desire to share my faith and to show the power of God's love to a hurting world.

What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing?

My favorite books growing up were the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and then romances of all kinds. A couple that really stuck in my mind were Love's Tender Fury and Celia Garth - however none of those actually inspired me to write. I was inspired to try my hand at writing after reading one-too-many insipid stories.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I guess what means the most to me is when a reader emails with how my book, story or article helped them with an issue in their life, encouraged them into a deeper walk with God or touched their heart in some way.

That is very special! Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?

I doubt there is a write alive today who hasn't felt the threat of writer's block. For me, this malady usually occurs when I'm very tired or trying to write the story my way instead of the way God wants it written. Prayer and oftentimes, repentance and/or taking a break usually gets me over that hump.

That's some great advice. I'm wondering, how did you come up with your premise for The Visionary?

When I first wrote this story I had in mind to write about a set of twins who own an architectural firm which is hired to restore this old home to its original grandeur. I honestly thought this would be my light, sweet romance but when the Holy Spirit is your muse and you've committed your writing to God and prayed to never write "just another romance" but something that will glorify HIM, you never know what kind of adventure you'll be on.

You've got that right! For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

A visionary is someone who sees into the future Taylor Forrestier sees into the past but only as it pertains to her work. Hailed by her peers as "a visionary with an instinct for beauty and an eye for the unique" Taylor is undoubtedly a brilliant architect and gifted designer. But she and twin brother Trevor, share more than a successful business. The two share a childhood wrought with lies and deceit and the kind of abuse that’s disgustingly prevalent in today’s society. Can the love of God and the awesome healing power of His grace and mercy free the twins from their past and open their hearts to the good plan and the future He has for their lives? Find out in…The Visionary ~ Where the awesome power of God's love heals the most wounded of souls.

the visionary(1)Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?

In the original draft of the story, a hurricane is brewing in the Gulf of Mexico and when confronted by the hero as to why she is out in the weather, the heroine retorts... "Oh, you people panic too easily. A hurricane hasn't hit this area in fifty years." Well, between the original writing and time of submission, this area was impacted by one major hurricane (Rita in 2005) and two others in 2008 (Gustav & Ike). So, when the book was actually contracted in 2010 I had to go in and change that remark and some details and description of the area to compensate.

How did you decide on the setting?

My family is descendants of one of the original settlers in the Lake Charles area and at one time owned quite a bit of land. I'd visited the LeBleu estate where Jean LaFitte was rumored to have carved his initials in the barn. My initial thoughts were to write a story where the old homestead is restored to its original grandeur.

Wow! Is there a message in The Visionary you want readers to grasp?

Yes. No matter who you are or what you've done, the Blood of Jesus can wash away the ugliest of sins and the awesome power of God's love can heal the most wounded of souls.

Sounds great. What is the purchase link (and cost)?

The book is available in hardcover at Amazon
http://amzn.to/n8as1b and B&N http://bit.ly/oEh0sc for $25.95

Can you tell us what review of your story meant the most to you and why.

The review that means the most to me so far, is one that was written back before The Visionary was contracted by Five Star.

Amanda Killgore, an avid fan and book reviewer said... "Once again, I am struck by Ms. Thibodeaux's ability to create realistic characters and situations that both portray things the way they truly are for Christians and honor God, while never becoming graphic. While many romance writers feel it necessary for people in love to automatically say "yes," she shows that it is possible to do the right thing and in a way that can be seen as the hero and heroine being strong, not white Wonder bread milquetoasts. This story in particular tackles tough, dark gritty subjects, not the least of which being how difficult forgiveness can be. It is a true crime she is not on the NY Times bestseller list; the world desperately needs to read things like this timely, relevant tale."

I've received more recent reviews that are just as glowing, however, Amanda is now deceased but her words still touch my heart.

 Thanks for visiting with us today. It was great to learn a bit more about you and your latest book!

A Bit More About This Author:

Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, "Inspirational with an Edge!" and reviewed as "steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message." Website address:
http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com

Blog: http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Bayou Writers Group: http://bayouwritersgroup.com

Thanks for stopping by today. Don't forget to click the heading of this post to leave a comment to be entered into Pamela's contest.

Have a great day!

 --

 

Trapped by Carol Ann Erhardt

Editorial Book Description:

Summer Grant is on the run when her car tumbles down a mountain leaving her TRAPPED in Havens Creek. A father, grieving from his only son's death...a death he blames her for...isn't far behind. Danger is drawing nearer and the target isn't just Summer. Book one in the Havens Creek Series. An inspirational romantic suspense novel.

She's a woman who doesn't trust cops. He's a cop. She's determined to keep her past a secret. He's determined to find out what she's hiding. High school bus driver, Summer Grant, flees from death threats and winds up trapped in Havens Creek, a small town not far enough away from danger. With a broken leg and no transportation, she is forced to accept the hospitality of strangers. Staying with the police chief's sister and five-year-old daughter in an isolated mountain home might be the ideal place for her to hide until she can get back on her feet, but if the man she's hiding from learns her whereabouts, no one will be safe. Havens Creek Police Chief, Jake Taylor, always protects his own. He feels duty-bound to help Summer when she ends up in his small town claiming she has no family. He has a soft spot for strays, but this two-legged one is hiding something, and he's determined to solve the mystery. An unwanted attraction draws them together. Evil threatens to rip them apart.

--

JoAnn's Thoughts:

This book came as a delightful surprise. I read lots of books. When I first picked up this story, I was a bit rushed with Thanksgiving preparations and such, so I didn't read the blurb. I looked at the cover and thought... okay, this story must fall into the "General Fiction" category. (Which I enjoy as well.) Only it doesn't. That's the first of many surprises I encountered along the way.

The product description gives you a great feel for the gist of the story and I don't want to give anything else away. Let me just say, if you love inspirational romantic suspense, this is the story for you. Before you reach the end of the book, the cover will make perfect sense too. :)

 (This book is available through Amazon.com)

--

Expect A Miracle

by Carol Ann Erhardt (c) 2011 

Recently I ran across a small pamphlet "Expect a Miracle—Make Miracles Happen" by Norman Vincent Peale. These words from the first time I read them made an impact on my life. The miracle principle is based on six words: "Expect a miracle—make a miracle happen." I know people who are always negative. Everything bad seems to happen to them. They pronounce doom and gloom and they can really sap another person’s energy. Nothing can change their mind, for they always have a reason to look at the worst. You know the type of personality I’m talking about?

I know miracles happen. They happen every single day. Christ answers prayers to heal others, to help in financial situations, to guide surgeon’s hands, to bring comfort, to bring people to salvation, and so many more. Sometimes my prayers are quickly sent up. Others happen during a quiet session spent talking with Christ.

I believe in miracles. They happen every single day. Perhaps they aren’t as spectacular as the burning bush or the parting of the Red Sea, but they exist. If a person expects the worst to happen, it will! But, what if a person expects the best to happen? Having a positive outlook and expecting wonderful things can bring joy and happiness. I believe in this principle. I live it. Through Christ…who strengthens me.

A bit about Carol Ann: Carol Ann

Inspirational romantic suspense writer, Carol Ann Erhardt, touches the hearts and emotions of her readers. Fans categorize her books as emotional, suspenseful and inspirational. Carol Ann spent her early writing years working at a corporate job and writing late at night. Her first novels, contemporary romantic suspense, sold well, but she didn’t feel fulfilled—in fact, felt as if she’d compromised on what her heart wanted to write. She began praying for God’s guidance in her writing. In the quiet solitude of prayer, God showed her the path He wanted her to take. Her third novel was an inspirational romantic suspense. Now she writes each and every day hoping to bring messages of hope, happiness, and inspiration to those who read her novels. She gives all the glory to God.

About her latest release: TRAPPED bookcover

She’s a woman who doesn’t trust cops. He’s a cop. She’s determined to keep her past a secret. He’s determined to find out what she’s hiding.

High school bus driver, Summer Grant, flees from death threats and winds up trapped in Havens Creek, a small town not far enough away from danger. With a broken leg and no transportation, she is forced to accept the hospitality of strangers. Staying with the police chief’s sister and five-year-old daughter in an isolated mountain home might be the ideal place for her to hide until she can get back on her feet, but if the man she’s hiding from learns her whereabouts, no one will be safe.

Havens Creek Police Chief, Jake Taylor, always protects his own. He feels duty-bound to help Summer when she ends up in his small town claiming she has no family. He has a soft spot for strays, but this two-legged one is hiding something, and he’s determined to solve the mystery.

An unwanted attraction draws them together. Evil threatens to rip them apart.

Excerpt:

Summer got out of the car and patted the dog. He wriggled sideways bumping her leg.

Jake smiled. "He’s glad to see you. Come on in."

"Do you mind if I wait here?"

He gave her a puzzled look. "If you want." He pointed to the canopy swing. "Have a seat. I’ll only be a couple of minutes. Do you like pizza?"

"Yes."

"The best pizza around these parts is Pizza Haven. Sound all right?"

"Sure." Though she didn’t think she’d be able to eat. Not with the way her stomach was churning.

"Be right back."

Jake walked into the house and Summer sat in the swing.

In just a few minutes, he returned. He handed her a bottled water and sat beside her.

She took a drink, grateful for his thoughtfulness.

He placed an arm across the back of the swing.

"Do you mind if we talk before we leave?" he asked.

She took a deep breath. "No. What did Michael say?"

He pulled her close against his side. "Tom Beery, one of my officers stopped at the diner to eat. He spotted the Impala and a man I’m assuming was Michael getting inside. They had a conversation about the car. Then Michael mentioned he was in town looking for an old friend."

He looked at her. "You."

Summer felt a chill despite the heat.

"Said he had left the directions to where you were staying at home."

Summer flinched. "And I suppose Tom told him how to get to Becca’s place."

"You suppose right," Jake said. "I’m not happy about it and I’ve reprimanded him for his actions. He had no business disclosing the information to a stranger no matter how convincing he was."

"Michael has a knack for manipulating situations to his benefit. I hope you weren’t too hard on him."

"No more so than necessary. Tell me more about Michael."

"Where should I start?"

"At the beginning. I want to know everything about this creep."

Summer looked at Jake. "You mean you believe me?"

"Of course I believe you."

She stared at him looking for a reason to doubt his words. She found none. He believed her.

Like an overflowing fountain, she spilled out everything that happened. "When I moved to Pine Cove I rented a small house only two doors from Michael’s place. He didn’t seem like a friendly neighbor, but after I was there a few months I learned everyone knew and respected him. He kept busy working in his garage. He’s a mechanic. A good one from what I hear. After I turned down an offer to have dinner with him, he never gave me the time of day. His son, Dylan, was a great kid. He liked to sit on my front steps and we’d talk in the afternoon after school. Sometimes Michael would finish work early and if he saw Dylan with me, he yelled for him to get home where he belonged."

"That kid’s dad has a serious problem."

"That kid’s name is…was Dylan."

He took her hand. "I’m sorry. Dylan’s dad has a serious problem."

She sniffed. "Dylan was a good kid, a star football player. I really liked him. He was the opposite of his dad—warm, outgoing. He shouldn’t have died."

"What happened was a terrible thing, but it was an accident. You weren’t to blame for his death, no matter what his dad thinks."

She’d finally accepted that as fact after her therapy sessions. "I know. But I was a bitter reminder to Michael of what had been stolen from him. His only child."

"That must have been tough, but it doesn’t give him the right to harass you. What he did was illegal."

"Worse," she said. "When I was in the hospital, Michael came to see me." She shivered, reliving that horrible moment. "He brought me a vase of dead roses."

Anger crossed Jake’s face, tightening the muscles around his mouth.

She took a drink of water.

"I tried to talk to him," she continued. "I told him how sorry I was. I asked him to forgive me but he…he just stared at me…and then walked away. That hurt so bad."

"What about his wife? Or would that be ex-wife?"

"His wife died when Dylan was little."

Jake shook his head. "Poor kid."

He laced their fingers together. She took a deep breath and continued.

"About four weeks after the accident, I started receiving phone calls late at night. I didn’t have to recognize the voice to know it was Michael. He said one word. Murderer."

Jake’s fingers tightened on hers.

"A few months later, things got worse," she said. "I found a note on my windshield that said I should kill myself before someone did it for me."

He released her hand. "What? The sheriff didn’t tell me about the note," he said.

Bereft of his touch, she folded her arms across her chest.

"After the sheriff found nothing to verify the phone calls, I didn’t tell him about the note. I couldn’t prove Michael typed it. He didn’t sign it."

"It was proof that somebody was threatening you," he said.

She would not cry. "I didn’t think

--

I just started reading TRAPPED this weekend and it's been wonderful. Be sure to check back on my website later this week for the review!

Buy link for TRAPPED: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0066AEZX6

Website: www.carolannerhardt.com

 THANKS FOR VISITING TODAY. :)

 

 

Today I'd like to welcome Anne Patrick with a quick book feature for her latest release. Check it out!

Former combat medic Kory Wagner has been in four war zones, served three tours in Iraq, survived countless firefights, RPG’s, IED’s and even a helicopter crash. Now she’s home and out of the Army for good and someone is trying to kill her in her own backyard. Just as disturbing is the handsome sheriff who’s on the case.

Sheriff Sean Harding doesn’t quite know what to think of the decorated veteran that managed to outsmart an entire search party. What bothers him more is the body of a PI, whom she hired to find her sister's killer, was found dead in a building Kory owns. And Kory isn’t being very cooperative with helping him find the answers as to why someone would kill her sister and want her dead. Will he be able to keep her alive along enough to discover the truth?

 Anne PatrickExcerpt

The steel door creaked as she pushed it open, the sound echoing throughout the metal building. "Mr. Urlik?" She waited for her eyes to adjust to the change in lighting before stepping all the way inside. A wide stream of light from the door spread out in front of her. "Mr. Urlik. Are you in here?"

Kory heard a sound a few yards in front of her. She quickly scanned the area. Three rows of huge metal shelves lined the interior. She inched forward, peering around the corner of the second row. Mr. Urlik lay on his side, facing her, clutching his chest. His eyes were opened and his mouth moved, but no sound came out. A heart attack? She ran to him, knelt down on the cement floor, and took his hand. It was wet, slimy. She looked down and saw his hand covered in blood. Her eyes shifted to his chest. A large crimson stain spread across the width of his white shirt from a small hole near the center. He was breathing erratically. Experience told her a bullet had pierced at least one lung and he didn't have much time. She immediately pressed the heel of her right hand against the wound.

"I'm sorry," he murmured.

"Where's your cell phone?" Hers was in her backpack but she didn't want to waste valuable time digging it out.

"No time. Get out."

"Who did this, Mr. Urlik?"

He grabbed her right hand and squeezed it tightly. "You were right -- no accident."

His hand went limp.

Kory felt something in the palm of her hand, looked down and saw it was a key. She shoved it into her jeans pocket. A whizzing sound buzzed past her, followed by the unmistakable clink of a bullet ricocheting off metal. She instinctively threw herself over his body as another bullet struck metal. Kory felt for a pulse. There was none. She lowered her hand to his chest and felt under both arms and along his waist. I thought all PIs carried guns. Just my luck this one didn't.

She scrambled to her feet, as more shots ricocheted around her, and dove through an opening on the first row of shelves. A piercing pain sliced through her upper arm as she took cover behind some boxes. They wouldn't shield her from the gunfire but they would conceal her presence while she figured out how she was going to get out of there. She paused long enough to grab her cell phone from her backpack, wishing she hadn't when another bullet tore through a box beside her. She ducked lower to the floor.

Kory ignored the throbbing in her arm and slithered along the floor toward the back of the building. As a child, she and her sister, Callie, had often accompanied her grandfather to the warehouse where he worked on boats as a hobby. She remembered a back exit that led to the side parking lot and nearby woods. If she could reach the door, she had a chance of getting out of this alive. She looked down at the tear in her shirt, drenched with blood.

This isn't good!

 ***

Kill Shot: Book One Wounded Heroes can be purchased at most online bookstores or from my publisher – Desert Breeze Publishing: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-227/Wounded-Heros-Book-One/Detail.bok

 

Anne's Bio: Anne Patrick is the author of more than a dozen novels of Romance, Mayhem & Faith, including the award-winning and best-selling Fire and Ash, Lethal Dreams and Sabotage. When she's not killing off people or falling in love with dashing heroes, you can find her surfing the web or spending time with family and friends.  Born and raised in Oklahoma, she now makes her home in Kansas.

To learn more about Anne, please visit her website: http://www.annepatrick.weebly.com (where I have monthly giveaways) or blog: http://www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com .

Sounds like a great story to scoop up. Thanks for stopping by today. Until next time~ JoAnn

BTW- I know it would encorage Anne Patrick if you took a moment to leave a comment. Simply click on the title of this post and scroll down to the bottom.

*~*~*~

Today, guest blogger, Cheryl Malandrinos shares a special post with us. (To leave her a comment, please click on the title, Help Your Family Make the Holidays Meaningful and then scroll down.) Thanks for stopping by!

 

Does your blood pressure go up a few points every time you hear your children screech, "I want that!" while gazing blankly into the television set? At times I become so frustrated with the "I wants" that I consider tossing the TV into the woods for the chipmunks to use as a hotel.

Even though the level of television advertising has significantly increased over the past forty years, there are several ways parents can encourage their families to embrace the spirit of the season and to think of others. Here are just a few ideas that might work for your family.

Volunteering

Volunteering is an excellent way to help your family move their focus to others. Whether you choose to volunteer at church, raise money for charities or help out at a local food pantry or shelter, it’s a good idea to consider what causes and issues are important to your family and what skills your family has to offer before selecting volunteer opportunities.

Donating gently used items

At least twice a year I go through clothes, toys, and other household items to decide what can be donated to our local crisis center and the church’s annual tag sale.

But this doesn’t have to be a one-person chore.

Include your family in the process by starting off with a brief discussion of being thankful. Encourage family members to share what they are most thankful for and help them understand there are many people who are in need of some of the things they already own.

Ask each family member to donate three gently used items and decide as a group which shelter or organization will receive these items.

Visit Shut-ins

Do you have a relative or neighbor who can no longer drive? Plan a visit with your family. Bring along a baked good or other homemade item to make your visit extra special. Offer to help him/her do a bit of shopping or to decorate his/her home for the holidays.

Focus on People, Not Things

It’s easy to get so tied up in buying gifts, baking, and decorating that we forget to spend time together. Help your family enjoy the peace and love of the season by dedicating one night a week to each other. Now is the perfect time to cut back on watching television and have family reading nights. Pick a favorite holiday classic, like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and settle into the family room together and read a small portion each night.

Children learn a lot by watching their parents, so lead by example. Encourage your family not to focus on how many gifts they receive by spending less money while increasing the amount of time you spend together.

When you make people, not things, the priority, everyone can have a truly meaningful holiday season!

--

Copyright 2011 Cheryl Malandrinos - All Rights Reserved

 CherylCheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI.

Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.

Visit Cheryl at her newly redesigned website http://ccmalandrinos.com/ or visit the Little Shepherd book blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/.

Little Shepherd

***

TheKeyToCharlotte_w5071_300It's great to have E.A. West here with us today. She's been on tour this past week with her latest release that she'll tell us about in just a second. Before we do that though, I wanted to let you know about a great contest she's running. You'll find all the details about it and how to enter to win at the end of this post, so be sure to read on. Okay, so let's get going here, shall we?

E.A, I'd love to learn more about you as a woman and an author. Can I ask you a few questions? What hidden talent do you possess, outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?
I love to create my own cookie recipes for both humans and dogs. My family enjoys most of my kitchen experiments, although every once in a while my recipe will need more work. The dogs, however, enjoy every recipe I come up with for them. They do let me know which ones are their favorites, however, with lots of tail wagging and begging for more.
Oh boy, my family would love to have you around. We're all cookie monsters. A batch doesn't even last a day here. J
What’s your favorite Bible verse or verse that has sustained you recently and why?
I actually have two favorite verses. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." My other favorite verse is Philippians 4:13, which says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Both of these verses have sustained me through difficult times. They serve as reminders to me that God is in control and that my strength comes from Him. If I remember that even in the worst of circumstances, I come through the situation much better than if I try to rely on my own strength or think that the world is out of control.
There's nothing to add to that but, 'Amen!' Let's talk a little bit about your writing. What do you find most rewarding about it?
I find two things highly rewarding. One, I love to watch my ideas take shape on the page. It’s always great to see how that "What if…" question I started with grew into a complete story. The other thing I find rewarding about writing is reader reactions. One of my goals for writing has always been to share my stories with others, so when I receive a positive review or a reader tells me he or she loves something I wrote, it is so uplifting.
I agree. There's a great sense of satisfaction in creating a story, completing a project, to finally discovering the readers reactions. There's nothing quite like it. On the flip side, have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?
I have suffered from writer’s block on occasion. When I get stuck on a manuscript or have no idea what to write next, I’ll set that story aside and work on something else. After a few days or even weeks, I’ll suddenly have an idea for that first manuscript and continue on from where I left off. On the rare occasions when I can’t think of anything to write on any work in progress, I’ll take a break from writing and give myself to re-energize. During those times, I do something I enjoy for a few days. I may work on a knitting project, do some extra gardening, read some fun books, etc. The most important thing I’ve learned about writer’s block is that it will eventually pass. If I worry about it, getting past the block takes longer than if I just shift my mind to something else for a while.
I understand that. I like to think of it as my story going into the "think tank." Sometimes just a bit of time away gives me fresh perspective.
Let's move on to your new release. I've been visiting a few of the sites were you've been this past week and the uniqueness of your story has really intrigued me. How did you come up with your premise for The Key to Charlotte?
I wanted to write an autistic heroine, but I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to take it. A vague idea for Charlotte Harris came to mind, and as I thought about her, a series of "what if…" questions that built off of each other. The story just flowed naturally from there.
For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?
Charlotte Harris can't speak due to a quirk in her autistic brain, but that doesn't stop her from communicating with others. Unfortunately, it prevents her from achieving two of her dreams--to praise God through singing and to carry on a simple conversation with her own voice.
Zakaria Rush is the new Director of Children's Ministries at Charlotte's church, and he can't keep his thoughts off the partially mute blonde with a love for guitar music. Her innocence and love of the simple things in life intrigue him and make him long to give her what she wants more than anything: her voice.
Can Zakaria help Charlotte find the key to unlocking her ability to speak, or will his attempt to help her only lock away their chance for love?
Doesn't that sound awesome, friends? E.A, are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?
I based the design of Charlotte’s cell phone off of my sister’s cell phone. Also, the floor plan of church in the story is identical to the floor plan of my family’s church, although I added a couple of rooms that don’t exist in the real church.
That's neat. How did you decide on the setting?
I decided to live up to the old adage of "write what you know" and set the story in a small Indiana town. The town is fictional, although it bears resemblance to any number of small towns I’ve seen throughout my life in Indiana and elsewhere.
Is there a message in The Key to Charlotte you want readers to grasp?
While I didn’t write The Key to Charlotte with any particular message in mind, my personal beliefs about autism managed to come through. So much of what people hear paints autism in a negative light, but my experience with autism and the experience of many others I’ve met is far from negative. The character of Charlotte shows a different side of autism, one where it is just a part of life. Yes, she has difficult moments and wishes she could change some things about herself, but that is something everyone experiences. Basically, I hope readers will see that autism is part of a person, the same as liking rock music or being good at painting. It doesn’t have to be devastating; it is just a difference with its own unique challenges.
I think we can all relate to a heroine who would like to, as you said, change some things about ourselves. Okay, so now where can we find your book?
The Key to Charlotte is available on the Pelican Book Group website as well as Amazon.com for $2.99.
Sound like the perfect kind of book to read over Thanksgiving break. Was there any last comments you wanted to make?
Thank you, JoAnn, for having me here today! I hope your readers enjoyed this interview as I much as I did.
Ah, the pleasure it mine. Thanks for visiting and best wishes on your writing endeavors!
--
CONTEST ALERT!
To celebrate the release of The Key to Charlotte, I’m (E.A. West) giving a copy to two lucky commenters on this blog tour. The rules are simple. Between October 28 and November 6, leave a comment on any of my blog tour stops (including this post) with your name and email address letting me know you want to be entered into the drawing. You can find a complete list of the blog tour stops on my blog
http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com. I will draw two names at random from all of the entries and announce the winners on November 7 (winners will also be contacted by email). The two winners will each receive a free PDF of The Key to Charlotte. Good luck to you all!
--

Today, I'm excited to have a new author with us, Michael Duncan. Why not grab a cup of coffee or tea and join us? First, l want to show you this cover and let you read the blurb so you know what we'll be talking about in just a bit...
ShadowsShadows: Book of Aleth, Part One

"If history is written by the victorious, what if the victors lied?"

A stolen text...When the Book of Aleth is stolen, Aaron, captain of the Royal Guard, is ordered by Emperor Therion to reclaim the ancient tome. The mission thrusts Aaron into a world he's never known--a world of elves and dwarves, races long thought extinct; a world where everything he has known and believed is a lie.

A secret past... Forced to challenge his long-held beliefs, Aaron and his companions, two soldiers of the Royal Guard and two men of the Dwarvish kingdom of Brekken-Dahl, set out on a quest to recover the Book. Aaron resolves to discover the truth, and rescue the empire he is sworn to protect.

Doesn't that sound awesome? I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but I'm looking forward to doing so soon. Michael, thanks for being here today. It's going to be great to know you a bit more. Lets start with with question, where were you born?

I was born in Walla Walla, Washington. "A town so nice, they named it twice!"

Cute! If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I suppose I would love to try and live in Scotland, in a town called Dunoon. It is where one of my greatest Christian heroes, Oswald Chambers, served the Lord. If not there, then right here in Washington State – perhaps the most beautiful place in the U.S. My third choice: Vermont, maybe on Lake Champlain. But, wherever I am, I want to be near the water, especially an ocean.

I saw some photos up on your website of Washington that were georgous. To be honest, it kind of reminded me of Vermont. Now Scotland... well I don't know much about that, but it does sound like a great place. Okay, here's our next question... what is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?

I don’t think I can recall just one. I love to laugh, and God has made us to live in this world with joy. I suppose what tickles me is my son and his wit. He is a journeyman at it, but he takes after his dad and has a quip or a line that just fills a room with mirth. Soon, he’ll be a master!

Sounds like you live in a fun household. What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?

I am a self-taught guitar player, piano player and am a three handicap at golf – my all-time favorite sport.

Gotta love that answer. I often tell folks I'm a jack-of all trades, master of of none. :) What’s your favorite color?

Teal Green

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?

 

Currently, I’m listening to Celtic Thunder. But, when I write, I don’t listen to music.

Interesting. What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

 

It would have to be preaching! I love God’s word and believe that it is God’s message of hope and restoration to a lost and desperate world.

That reminds me of a book I've been reading, Radical. There have been several things to challenge me and for me to glean from. Sorry about that little rabbit trail. Hmm, lets see, can you name some of your most favorite things?

 

Cheesecake, coffee, and the freshness of the air after a gentle rain. I love the thwack of a golf ball off the head of a club and coursing my way across Puget Sound on a ferry boat. I love to hear my children laugh and am overwhelmed with joy to watch them grow. I enjoy late night talks with my wife and that morning cup of coffee that we share every day.

What’s your favorite Bible verse or verse that has sustained you recently and why?

Psalm 84:5-7, "Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage… They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion." This verse is my life-verse. I see life truly as a journey from the wilderness of this world to the promised land of Heaven. God wants us to pass through and make it a place of springs, leaving behind a blessing as we sojourn, increasing in strength until we arrive at His home.

That is a beautiful verse, and challenging as well. It's so easy for our hearts to get sidetracked isn't it? Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about your writing? What or who inspires you to write?

I am inspired by the power of the word of God. I have seen God’s word save a man’s life—my own. I’m inspired by what I see around me. I look up at the mountains that surround my little town and can imagine that dwarves might have lived there. To walk upon a golf course, nestled in the sylvan valleys of my state, draws me to dream of elves and sprites and all other manner of mystical beings.

I agree. God and His creation is full of inspiration. Why did you begin writing?

It was cathartic. When I was young (a teenager) I loved the world of my own imagination – it seemed more interesting than the one I saw around me. Many (and I mean MANY) years later I went through a very traumatic time, a time of great persecution that forever changed my life. During that time, I began to rediscover my childhood imagination and started to write. I used it as an escape, but discovered that God was also using it as a place of healing and restoration in my own soul.

What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing?

It would have to be either Terry Brooks Shannara series or David Eddings Belgariad series. I also loved Tolkien, Piers Anthony, and many others.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

Perhaps it’s the freedom I have to express my heart in a way that is not limited by the conventional. Allegory and story are powerful mediums to present the truth of God. I have found that as I preach more people will connect with the illustrative stories than the theological points. There is an emotional draw to a powerful story, one that penetrates quickly to the heart. And once there, the seed of God’s word can be planted!

I enjoy allegorical fiction very much. Hinds Feet on High Places and The Screw Tape Letters are two of my favorites. Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?

Yes! Egad, Yes! I’ve sat staring at a blank screen for an hour without a thought in my head as to what to put down. I cure it by a couple of things. First, I walk away. Sitting for a useless hour is, well, useless. So I’ll get up, move away from the work and concentrate on something else for a time. I have plenty of other things to do, so finding something else is not too difficult. Then, when the dam clears, I return and start again. Another thing I do is to read. I pick up a book and just explore another person’s world for a while. Often I will find that I am quickly cured with the medicine of another’s imagination.

When is your next book due out, and what’s it about?

My first novel, Shadows, came out on October 1st. The second is called, Revelation, and it is due out in the summer of 2012. The whole series is an epic, allegorical fantasy of a nation that has lost the truth and one man’s quest to restore it.

Sounds great. I'm wondering, how did you come up with your premise for Shadows?

I simply looked at the world around me and realized that our country is quickly losing the truth. It dawned on me that once a nation has lost the truth then the only thing that will regulate it is a lie. So, I created Celedon, a nation that had forsaken the truth and now were ruled by a usurping emperor who controlled through fear and deception.

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us?

Hmm… there is deception, betrayal, strange friends and assorted monsters that have never been seen before. Fear and courage, daring escapes and amazing vistas await those who are willing to enter the land of Celedon.

Do you have a link where we can access the book discussion questions?

I would love people to come to my website! You can find me at www.michael-duncan.net and you can connect with me there. Also, you can find me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/luvtogolf1 or on LinkedIn. All this is on my website in the contact page.

As I mentioned eariler, I've been to your site and I can attest, it's a great place to check out. Let's start to wrap up with a few last questions. How did you decide on the setting?

I love fantasy so it was natural for me to set the stage of this story in a world of magical landscapes and of mystical creatures.

 

Is there a message in Shadows you want readers to grasp?

 

YES!!! The message is this: the truth is worth fighting for. When we lose the truth we have nothing left but deception. In Proverbs 23:23 it says, "Buy the truth and do not sell it." Jesus said that if we know the truth, "the truth will set you free." How long have people allowed lies to rule the land? There is a truth that God has made available and that truth is the Word of God. Truth cannot be destroyed; it is impervious to the power of the enemy. But, truth can be hidden and it can be lost. When that happens, those who hold to the truth must run the risk of suffering and persecution in order to restore the truth to a deceived people. Nobody has ever been saved by a lie – salvation requires the truth!

That is a great point to ponder! And for those of us who are ready to dig into this story, what is the purchase link (and cost)?

You can purchase the book several places. You can get it at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Harbourlight Books (Pelican Book Group) and many other online retailers. The best thing to do is simply go to my website where I have all these links: www.michael-duncan.net/books.html. The cost of the book is $14.99 for the print and $5.99 for e-book copies (i.e. Kindle and Nook).

It's been great to get to know you and learn a bit about your story. Let's end with this question, can you tell us what review meant the most to you and why?

I suppose the first one meant the most because it was the first – and it was positive! God used it to let me know that He will utilize this work for His glory and the encouragement of others.

Awesome! Well, there you have it, Folks. Why not leave – a comment by clicking on the green heading for today's post? I know it would encourage Michael Duncan to know you stopped by. Until next time~

--

A bit more about the Author:

 

Michael has spent over 20 years preaching and teaching God's Word. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, Rev. Duncan entered into public ministry and has served in four churches. He now resides in Washington State with his wife and three children and serves as pastor. When Michael is not preaching or teaching God's word, he spends time writing. Shadows is his first novel. He is an apprentice-level alumnus of the Christian Writer's Guild. Michael is also a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association and serves as a board member and a critique group facilitator. Given the opportunity, he also enjoys time on the golf course.



Please welcome with me, K.Dawn Byrd! Today she’s hanging out over here with us and sharing about her young adult novel, Mistaken Identity. However, before she does that, lets learn a bit more about her.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I vacation there twice a year and absolutely love it.

I’ve only been there once, but that is a pretty place by the water. Okay, here’s another question for you, what hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at? Raising tropical fish. I recently hatched killifish eggs and raised some of the fry to maturity. I've also raised guppies and platys. I'm working on getting a pair of flowerhorn cichlids now and hope to raise fry from them.

Wow. Sounds like a neat hobby. You must really love all things water related. Beach – fish—does the same hold true for your taste in music? What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write? I don't play music while I write. I must have total peace and quiet, which totally handicaps me at times.

My household would be tough for you. (We have three teenage boys and one preteen. Quiet is a novelty.) What or who inspires you to write? Writing is such a passion for me. I can't go more than a few days without writing or editing something. I can't quiet explain it. Something happens deep inside me and comes bubbling up on the page.

Why did you begin writing? I began writing because I've always loved to read and it seemed to be the logical next step. There were times I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to read, so I thought, "Why not try to write it?"

What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing? I won't say that I had a favorite book, but I did have a favorite series. I absolutely loved the Nancy Drew series. This carried over into my adulthood. I don't read them anymore, but I have over 1,000 starting in the 1930s and moving forward. Every time I ran across one at an antique store, I'd pick it up, which led to me having several of the same titles, but in different versions.

Wow. That’s a lot of books! What do you find most rewarding about writing? I've always loved a challenge and it makes me feel good to complete a book. It's the ultimate high.

Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it? I cure writer's block by cleaning house. I'll clean and think about where the plot should go next as I dust or vacuum. Writer's block is pretty rare for me, which means that my house doesn't get a good scrubbing that often. LOL

What a great idea to clean and plot at the same time. Okay, I know you have a new book that is just releasing. What’s it about? It's a contemporary adult romance called, This Time for Keeps. Here's the blurb: India McGuire had no idea that a long, lost love from years ago would breeze back into town the night she accepts an engagement ring from another man. Should she keep the ring and the stability that comes with it or risk everything and follow her heart?

How did you come up with your premise for Mistaken Identity?

Sometimes my mind works overtime. While watching some teenagers interact at church, I noticed that one looked like she was unsaved and living totally in the world. She wore a very short skirt and was a little loud and pretty flirty with the guys. I began to wonder what would happen if a new guy moved into town and two best friends (one a sweet Christian and the other a gorgeous party girl) fell in love with him. Mistaken Identity was born!

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb? Eden Morgan longs for a boyfriend of her own, an impossible goal when her best friend, Lexi Branson, gets all the attention and all the guys. When they fall in love with the same guy, Eden believes she doesn't have a chance. She can only hope that sometimes the good girl gets the guy.

Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us? My heroine is the average American teenage girl. She's worried about the few extra pounds she'd like to lose. She loves cars and wants a Mustang for her sixteenth birthday. She works a part-time job and has a younger sister who gets on her nerves.

How did you decide on the setting? I needed the high school to be large enough so my two BFFs didn't run into each other unless they planned to do so. However, my heroine lives in a relatively rural area with a lake nearby.

Is there a message in Mistaken Identity you want readers to grasp? I wanted to encourage Christian teens who are striving to live for God. I wanted readers to see a character just like them who makes mistakes, but who picks herself up and keeps on keeping on. The sequel, Shattered Identity, will be out in April 2012. In it, I tell Lexi's story. She's my wild party girl. Its message is that there are consequences for your actions.

What is the purchase link (and cost)? Amazon: $5.99 http://www.amazon.com/Mistaken-Identity-ebook/dp/B0056AT186/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316561884&sr=8-1It's also available at Barnes & Noble, Sony, christianbook.com and other E book outlets.

Can you tell us what review of your story meant the most to you and why. The following is just a few lines from P.L.M. on Amazon. Her review meant so much to me because she connected with my heroine. It was my goal to make my characters so realistic that teens would feel like they knew them. All through the story, I felt like Eden and I had a connection. I totally got her, and I LOVED the story! I will definitely be reading any other YA lit by Byrd! Mistaken Identity is the best book like it since Jenny b. Jones's Charmed Life series (which I totally adored)!


Sounds like a great story. Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with us today! And for those of you who have enjoyed this post, please leave K.D Byrd a comment and your name will be entered into her drawing! MistakenIdentityCoverArt

I have read almost every one of Clare Revell's stories and there hasn't been one that I haven't enjoyed. This author has the flare for detail that helps me jump into the story world. Cassie's Wedding Dress is another fine example of this style of writing. In fact, as the wedding dress was described, I could see it as clearly as if I were actually in the room.

Here I am going on about a story and an author that you may not be familiar with. So, let me rectify that by giving you the editorial blurb and a bit about Ms. Revell...

CassiesWeddingDress_w5048_300Steeplechase jockey Cassie Hinton's dream was to walk down the aisle in her medieval wedding gown to become Mrs. Jack Chambers. Injured in the Grand National, she returns home...only to find Jack is now the Pastor of her parent's church.

Jack Chambers, now a widower and single parent, still has feelings for Cassie, but she sees him as nothing more than a Pastor. Even if he could change her mind, there is still his position to consider.

With the Royal Wedding fast approaching, Cassie makes her dress, little dreaming of the consequences of doing so.

Extract:

"Everyone else has photos of the royal couple and ribbons, silver bells, hearts and balloons. I wanted something more sophisticated but this…" she gestured at the window, "…isn’t it."

"Maybe tie it in with what Danny sells. After all, the bakers did a wedding cake and the printers did invitations."

Cassie nodded, her mind whirling. "Yeah…thank you."

Jack glanced at his watch. "I’d best be off and get Lara from school. She complains if I’m late. I hope you find a solution to your problem."

"Thank you. Bye." Cassie smiled and turned back to her display, watching Jack’s reflection in the glass as he walked away. He’d always been a Godly man, even as a teenager, and despite everything that happened he kept his faith—unlike her. Her life and her faith lay in ruins.

She used to hope he’d ask her out one day, but it never happened. And now it never would. She was down and out before anything even got started.

He was a pastor, and she was his parishioner. A fallen- without- hope- of- redemption parishioner, at that. Strike one.

He was a widower with a small daughter. Strike two.

Her leg—her disability. No man would ever want a one-legged ex-jockey. Strike three.

You can pick up your copy today at http://www.pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/cassie-s-wedding-dress

--About the Author: me3

Clare lives in a small town in England with her husband of 19 years and her three children. Writing from a early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fanfiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children's stories. When she's not writing, reading, sewing or keeping house or doing the many piles of laundry her children manage to make, she's working part time in the breakfast club at one of the local schools.

She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of three registrars.

Feel free to encourage Clare today by leaving her a comment here. (Click on the green title of this post "Cassis's Wedding Dress") If you do so, your name will be entered into a larger drawing that she is hosting for her blog tour. The winner will be contacted directly from her.

Thanks for stopping by!

 MovingOnCoverArt72dpiToday, I’d love to welcome, June Belfie, a fellow Desert Breeze Publishing author. To help us get to know her a bit more, I’m going to ask a few ions.  Want to join us? Perhaps you could even grab a cup of tea like June has and sit back and relax for a spell. (Feel free to leave a comment for her by clicking on today’s blog post title, “WELCOME, JUNE BELFIE”)  mombeach 017(1)

 June, let’s start with a fun question. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

Lake Como, Italy popped into my head immediately. It is situated in the northern part of Italy, surrounded by the Alps. A writer's paradise, plus fantastic food. Trouble is, I'd have to pack up my family and with eight grandkids…          

Hmm… that would be quite the trip! Bet you’d come back with a lot of memories. Speaking of which, what is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?  

My husband, sweetheart that he is, is also a procrastinator. Years ago, we were living on an old farm in rural Pennsylvania. A small porch extended off of the kitchen. I loved sitting with my coffee in the morning and observing the wildlife on a nearby pond. It was a bit rickety and I feared it would one day collapse. One Sunday my mother came for dinner and she and my adult daughter stood on the porch observing the beauty of the landscape. Jester, our brilliant, but nasty cat had joined us. I mentioned the sad state of the porch to my husband. "So when are you going to get around to fixing it?" "When the thing breaks, I guess," he answered as always. With this, one half of the flooring gave out, I grabbed my daughter, my mother hugged the railing and the cat swatted my husband. No one was injured, but oh how I wish I'd had a video. Everyone, aside from Jester, found it hilarious.  

Oh, man. That sounds like something that would happen to me. J What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?  

 I began piano lessons at seven and my mother never had to urge me to practice. I took lessons forever and still enjoy playing - mostly for my own enjoyment. Chopin is my absolute favorite and his music can be challenging. Music is more than a hobby. It is a catharsis for my every emotion. When my kids were small, they knew to watch out for Mommy - if they heard me playing Grieg's Piano Concerto or Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C# Major!  

 I love to listen to the Piano! It’s so inspiring and the perfect lead into this next question, what or who inspires you to write?  

I guess I'm inspired by my desire to share my love of God through the written word. Fiction can be very powerful and non-threatening to the reader. My father was a published (technical) writer and going way back, I can trace my line to Louisa May Alcott and William Jennings Bryan. Golly, are my genes tainted?    

 Awesome! Why did you begin writing?  

I remember writing plays for my friends in second grade and I loved writing short stories. I started a diary at age ten, but gave it up at fourteen when I had my first boyfriend. Couldn't be sure my mom wouldn't find it! Later, as a busy mother of four, I only wrote out grocery lists and occasional journal entries - usually when I was under stress. What would start as a poem, usually ended as a prayer. My pen became my confidante.    

I hear you! I’m curious with the background that you’ve shared, what was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing?

   I enjoyed the Wind in the Willows, Mary Poppins and the Dr. Doolittle books, though I never guessed I'd end up being a writer. I really preferred playing the piano and oil painting and for years I painted professionally.    

What do you find most rewarding about writing?  

Call it escapism maybe. Or the desire to have control? When everything else is in chaos in my life, I have my protagonist to control -- although she  often plays tricks on me and shocks me right off my page! Actually, I just enjoy the process of writing and sharing thoughts with others.  

Have you experienced writer’s block? 

I have to admit I have not had writer's block. I'm usually tossing two or three future novels around in my head at one time. The last book I completed was in the thinking process for over a year, but when I began typing, I completed the manuscript in three and a half weeks. Of course, that's about all I did. You can ask my husband. We ate a lot of salads.  

 Can you tell us a bit about the book that was just released last week?  

It's called, Moving On, and it's about a woman who was married to a physician and found herself in a divorce situation. It just so happened that I was divorced years ago. My main character, Laura, is not me however. (She's much nicer.) I'm sure my experiences colored the plot line. Divorce is difficult for anyone, but being a Christian, puts a slightly different perspective on it. Laura meets a widower who has placed his dead wife on a pedestal. Will they end up falling in love or will her ex come back into her life? Her daughter and her parents play major roles in her life and have influence upon her decisions, but when an unexpected event takes place, her future takes a fresh course.

 Thank you, June for visiting with us today! If you're interested in purchasing a copy of her book, you can do so at Desert Breeze Publishing, Amazon.com, or Barnes and Noble. Don't forget to leave a comment for June.

Until next time~ Blessings!  

Today, I'm so happy to have a special guest with us, Raquel Byrnes.
RaquelByrnes_tmbI thought it might be fun to do an interview and she has graciously agreed. So without further ado, welcome, Raquel!
(For anyone wanting to encourage her by leaving a comment, please click on the heading for todays post, "Welcome, Raquel Byrnes.")Let's start with this question, where were you born? I was born in North Carolina on the military base, Camp Le Jeune.

Ah, a southern girl. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? On a secluded and deserted island or in one of those ice hotels in Sweden…though my husband may object.
   
Whoa, you must have an adventurous streak. LOL I would never have thought about an ice-hotel! What hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at? I am an excellent pastry chef. I used to apprentice at a European bakery and love…LOVE, decadent treats.

Yum! You can come up to Vermont any time. :) What’s your favorite color? Anything in blue family…oceans, turquoises, aquamarines.

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write? I have a library of movie sound tracks that I use for whichever scene I’m writing. I ride the pulse of Aerosmith for car chases and float along the bayou sounds for mystery.

Very neat. I have a few questions about your writing. Why did you begin writing? I’ve always written. Often filled notebooks with stories, but it wasn’t until my husband encouraged me to take a fiction writing class at the local college that it really hit me as something I had a passion for.

I've often wondered if I should take a class like that. Sounds like it was perfect for you. What was your favorite book growing up that inspired you to try your hand at writing? I am a huge fan of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I loved them as a child and often wrote mysteries for my younger brothers to figure out.

Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it? This may sound odd, but I watch movie trailers whenever I get writer’s block. They tell a story so succinctly, so powerfully, that you want more. They inspire me…I know…weird.

I wouldn't call that weird. I think it’s a great idea. So, I'd love to know, what's the scoop on your book, Purple Knot? Purple Knot just released on June 3rd.  It’s about Reyna Cruz, a petite private detective who is forced to team up with her ex fiancé to solve her best friend’s mysterious death.

PurpleKnot_150x300FictionAddict


A killer strikes. A love rekindled. A life-altering choice.
When her best friend, is murdered, Reyna Cruz doesn't believe the police have the whole story. An investigator by trade, she has the talent to track Summer’s killer, but when clues lead to a family connection and a vicious gang, she suddenly becomes the hunted. At the end of her rope, Reyna must decide to trust the God she believes abandoned her.

Wanting justice for his sister’s murder, lawyer Jimmy Corbeau agrees to help Reyna—even though she’s his ex-fiancé, and their break-up devastated him. Romance is reawakened, but so are memories of their tragic undoing. Jimmy must decide if he will fight for a future with Reyna or allow their past to derail the investigation and his second chance at love.

When the investigation goes awry and Summer’s infant daughter is kidnapped, Reyna must put her life on the line. Will Jimmy and Reyna survive the desperate measures it takes to recover his niece, catch a killer, and secure a happily-ever-after for them all?


Are there any fun tid-bits about this story you can share with us? There is a hacker that appears halfway through the book whose handle (online moniker) is Nitewriter6…that is my real online name. Those who follow my writing blog will see it.


How did you decide on the setting? My brother lives in Seattle and I visit him there often. He works so a lot of the time I spent there was just wandering the city on foot and by bus and finding out the local places tourists never know about.

Your story sounds awesome. If anyone out there wants to grab a copy, you can purchase it at http://www.whiterosepublishing.com/Purple-Knot
PurpleKnot_w5011_300
Thanks so much for visiting today Raquel. I wish you the best in your writing endeavors!

A bit more about Raquel~
Raquel Byrnes lives in Southern, California with her husband of sixteen years and their six children. She considers inspirational fiction a wonderful way to minister to others. She writes romantic suspense with an edge-your-seat pace. Her first book the Shades of Hope Series, Purple Knot, is set to release from White Rose Publishing.com on June 3rd. You can visit her at her website: www.raquelbyrnes.com and her writing blog, Edge of Your Seat Romance.

meet Dora …  DoraHiers_tmb

After a successful auditing career, Dora left the corporate world to be a stay-at-home mom to her two sons. Eventually, needing something more to fill her days, she started writing heart racing, God-gracing books that glorify her Creator. Dora belongs to the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Carolina Christian Writers.

Dora and her husband make their home in Kannapolis, North Carolina. When she’s not writing, Dora enjoys spending time with her family, guzzling café con leche, kicking back in her recliner with a good book, teaching Sunday School, vacationing in the mountains, watching football, walking her dog, and did somebody say shopping?

JOURNEY’S END Blurb:  JourneysEnd_w4991_tmb

Devastated after the brutal murder of her husband, Chelsea Hammond vows never to love another lawman. Intent on rebuilding her shattered life, she turns her focus to helping troubled teens. But when an angry father bent on retaliation, threatens her, Chelsea must turn to the one man she never thought to trust: Deputy U.S. Marshal Trey Colten.

Trey wants only to protect Chelsea, but she blames him for her husband’s death.Trey can relate. He blames himself, also. As danger lurks, Trey begs Chelsea to heed his warnings. He let down one Hammond. He won’t let down another—especially one who now holds his heart.

When Chelsea is snatched from her home, can she put aside her fear, and trust Trey with her life? Can she forgive him for destroying her past and let him help to rebuild her future?

Where one journey ends, another begins…

JOURNEY’S END Excerpt:

"I suppose I should have been a vet." Chelsea stroked the dog’s fur from his head all the way down his back, careful not to touch his wounded leg.

"Maybe. But I don’t think you’ve wasted your energy or your talents as a guidance counselor. Teenagers can’t seem to resist you, either."

That produced a full-fledged smile in his direction. Way to go, Colten!

"Remember that natural charm I warned you about?"

He threw back his head and laughed. "Yes. And after a few days in your presence, I’m inclined to agree with you."

He pulled into the veterinarian’s parking lot and glanced her way, surprised to see her grinning. "What?"

"Saved by the vet."

Her words hit him like a piano dropping ten stories. She was flirting with him.

He took his time walking around to her side of the truck. He opened the door and leaned in, planting his hand on the seat next to her shapely legs. His face hovered inches from hers while he savored the way her wavy hair cascaded down her shoulders, the lips that curved in that always graceful way, and the eyes that spoke everything his heart wanted to hear.

Her eyes closed, and her lips parted slightly.

Trey snapped out of it. He couldn’t do this. He was on the job. She didn’t know the secrets he knew, the truth about her husband.

Her eyes startled open. As much as he wanted to partake and enjoy, he couldn’t. He touched a silky curl framing her face and ran it through his fingers. "You need to know that right now I’m working. But there will come a time, soon, when I’m not."

 

She can’t bear to look at yesterday.

She has no strength to face today.

She won’t believe in tomorrow.

You can purchase this book at (either as an e-book or paperback) at: http://www.whiterosepublishing.com/Journey39S-End?CDpath=3

Thanks for stopping by. If you want to leave Dora a comment to encourage her, please click on the green heading of this blog post "A visit with Dora Hiers."

Have a blessed week!

 

 

 

I am thrilled to have Penny Zeller here with us today. Learn more about her by reading our interview, then make sure you check out the contest details below to be entered to win a book!

Penny Zeller is the author of several books and numerous magazine articles in national and regional publications. She is also the author of the humor blog "A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author" (www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com). She is an active volunteer in her community, serving as a women’s Bible study small-group leader and co-organizing a women’s prayer group. Penny devotes her time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ. Her passion is to use the gift of the written word that God has given her to glorify Him and to benefit His kingdom. Kaydie follows McKenzie in Montana Skies, her first series with Whitaker House. When she’s not writing, Penny enjoys spending time with her family and camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing volleyball. She and her husband, Lon, reside in Wyoming with their two children. Penny loves to hear from her readers at her Website, www.pennyzeller.com

 penny_zeller-0770_pp[1]

Hello, JoAnn, it’s great to be a guest on your blog!

Thank you, Penny. It's great to have you here with us. I'd love to start out today by asking, what is your favorite part of the writing process?

I love the creation of characters. My books are character-driven, so I love being able to create situations and dialogue. I enjoy developing how the characters will respond to various situations throughout the book based on their personalities.

I love to read character driven stories. Okay, since we now know what your favorite part of writing is-- what is your least favorite part of the writing process?

That would be easy – editing. J

LOL. I hear you! Tell us a bit about your typical (if there is such a thing as typical) day.

I agree, JoAnn, there really is no such thing as a typical day!J Each day varies, but most of my weekdays follow this routine: When the alarm goes off in the morning, my young daughters come in for some snuggle time and morning prayers. Finally on the fourth or fifth alarm, we climb out of bed and prepare for our day. While my girls are getting ready for school, I spend time alone in God’s Word; then right before breakfast, we read Keys for Kids devotions together.

After dropping my daughters off at school, I spend the first couple hours or so responding to emails and taking care of the marketing side of writing. Then I break for some exercise and to listen to David Jeremiah’s broadcast on the radio. J After that, it’s time for lunch, then back to writing. I spend the latter half of the day working on my newest writing projects.

Because I do a lot of volunteer work, I also factor in time for that as well, which varies from day to day. (And I also fit in the housework too, LOL). Once I pick my girls up from school, writing work for the day is done, unless I’m on a tight deadline. Time for my "mom/wife life" to begin - soccer and piano practice, homework, and preparing dinner before my husband comes home become my focus.

Hmm. I think we must have a lot in common. I have four boys and I try my hardest to be finished with my "writing" day before they get home. So here's a fun question... say you just finished your book several days before your deadline. How will you celebrate or reward yourself?

My husband takes us out for a delicious dinner at this tiny Mexican restaurant in our town. I am quite fond of cheese enchiladas and Spanish rice. J

Yum! Sounds great. What genre do you enjoy reading the most?

My favorite is historical romance. There’s something neat about being able to pick up this genre and escape into a simpler time. Contemporary romance comes in second.

What book have you recently enjoyed reading?

I recently read the contemporary romance novel "Grow Old With Me" by Melinda Evaul. What a wonderful book!

What was your favorite subject(s) in school?

English was my favorite subject (surprise, surprise) after recess, of course! I liked pretty much all of the subjects in school, with the exception of anything related to math. Math and I have never gotten along!

And I don't know about your children, but here in Vermont, they're doing weird things with math now that makes it more confusing then ever! Before I run down that rabbit trail, let me ask you another question. Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

I love so many verses in the Bible that it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. However, Psalm 91 is high on the list of all-time favorites.

I know what you mean. It's hard to pick just one verse.

In your opinion, what is your best trait? What is your worst?

My best trait is being a devoted wife and mother, encourager, prayer warrior, and lover of laughter. My worst trait is that I tend to be a worrywart. J

Your most recent book is Kaydie, which is Book 2 in your Montana Skies Series, is scheduled for release this month. Can you please give us a brief synopsis? 

kaydie I am thrilled about the release of Kaydie. A short synopsis is as follows:

Since the death of her abusive husband, Kaydie Kraemer’s life has been easier, but she’s wary of men and builds a wall of protection around her, staying with her sister McKenzie as she awaits the birth of her baby. Haunted by her painful marriage, Kaydie is determined never to fall in love again, and it will take the grace of God to change her mind—the same grace that works in the heart of ranch hand Jonah Dickenson, a confirmed bachelor who has unhealed wounds of his own to overcome.

Cindy Sproles produced a fantastic book trailer for

Kaydie, which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwihs6rsqDk

Sounds great! Where can readers purchase a copy of Kaydie?

Kaydie is available everywhere books are sold, including Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Kaydie-Montana-Skies-Penny-Zeller/dp/1603742174/ref=pd_sim_b_1

What’s up next for your readers?

I just finished the third book in the series, Hailee, which is scheduled for release in September. I'm also working on a second historical romance series that takes place in the Post-Civil War Era. I recently finished book one in the series and have started writing book two.

Sounds like your staying real busy with lots of great stories in your future. Where can fans find you on the internet?

I love to connect with my readers at my website www.pennyzeller.com,

my blog www.pennyzeller.wordpress.com,

on Twitter at http://twitter.com/pennyzeller, and

on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Penny-A-Zeller/96391560959?ref=ts

Do you have any parting comments?

I would like to thank you, JoAnn, for having me here, and also thank my readers for their support and encouragement. I couldn’t do it without you! Secondly, I would like to let everyone know that from April 1 – May 15 is my official blog tour for Kaydie. I will have all the details (including a chance to win Hailee, the third book in the series) on my FB author page, so be sure to stop by!

Well, it was a pleasure to have you here today. And for all you folks who have stopped by, leave a comment (by clicking on the green title of today's post) and YOU CAN WIN a paperback of Kaydie, (if you are an international winner, you will receive a pdf ebook copy of the book).

That's if for now folks. Penny, again I wish you the best with your writing ministry!

~ * ~ * ~

Good Morning! Steph and I have prepared a fun interview that we'd love to share with you. Make sure you read all the way through for your chance to win something special. :) Feel free to leave Steph a comment by clicking on the green heading for todays post. 

Steph: JoAnn, thanks so much for having me here today. Let me just share a little about me:  I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, I joined the US Army. I spent 11 years in the military, 7 in Germany. I left the Army in 1997 and settled in California, but my favorite football team is still the New England Patriots.  I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I've been married for 19 years. I have two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4. Little known fact: I was married in the Danish city of Nykobig in 1991.

JoAnn: Steph, I'm so glad you could be here with us today. Since I'm currently a New England gal myself, could you tell us a bit more about where were you born?

Steph: I was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. Even though I live in California now, I have a strong affinity for New England. One of my earliest memories is going to Hampton Beach, NH on the seacoast and playing in the Atlantic Ocean chasing waves. I loved going to Bear Brook State Park during the summer and picking blueberries with my grandmother.

I miss the dynamic change of the four seasons – watching the leaves turn gold, red, and orange, the snow falling, the lilacs blooming and visiting the lakes in the summertime. 

I saw the Old Man of the Mountain before it fell down, visited Ben & Jerry's in Vermont and toured the mansions of Newport, RI. All these places have left vivid memories in my heart.

JoAnn: There're so great memories! I love the seasons here too. What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

Steph: My youngest, Joseph, who is four, has what's called Sensory Integration Dysfunction. His brain receives sensory input correctly, but misinterupts the signals. He's received several therapies – speech therapy, occupational therapy, and child development therapy. He's come a long way, but there are still challenges. He's sensitive to sounds and is a sensory seeker. Potty training is a bear because he often doesn't feel the sensation of a full bladder. He's fun loving, loves bear hugs and often tells me "I'm the best mommy in the world," but people learn through their sensory systems and Joe is challenged in that regard. SID does present by itself. It is real, and it doesn't get as much attention as it should.

JoAnn: I love this... He's fun loving, loves bear hugs and often tells me I'm the best mommy in the world. What a sweetheart. Okay, here's another question for you, w
hat or who inspires you to write?

Steph: The inspiration comes from deep inside my soul. It's a part of my essense, so in that sense, I would say it's a spiritual inspiration. Juliet, my muse, would of course take all the credit. –wink.

JoAnn: Why did you begin writing?

Steph: I wanted to play with words.

JoAnn: How did you come up with the premise for "A Polish Heart?"

Steph: When Rebecca Vickory, who runs Victory Tales Press, put out a call for the Spring/Easter Anthology, I jumped at the chance to write a story for it. I wanted the story to be a contemporary one with an international flavor so I chose Poland to fit my international theme.  I researched Poland and its Easter traditions. Armed with that knowledge, it was easy to draft a plot.

JoAnn: Neat. Is that how you decided on the setting as well?

Steph: Well, I tapped into my own Polish heritage. I'm Polish on my mother's side and Easter was a very family oriented holiday. Familiar with Polish traditions, it seemed almost natural to set the story in Poland.

"A Polish Heart" is a sweet inspirational/family romance in the Victory Tales Press Spring/Easter Anthology.

springeasteranthologyBlurb: When Darrin falls for his beautiful Polish interpreter, will Sophia's faith give him his heart back?

GOODIE TIME: Leave a comment (by clicking on the green heading for today's post) and win an autographed print copy of the Anthology. I'll be back tomorrow to announce the winner.

Here's a small excerpt:

He stopped in front of her and held out his flowers. "Dzien dobry."

A wide grin crossed her lips and she dropped the sign she was holding. "Hello, Mr. Riverton."

A look of relief passed over his face. "You know, I practiced that phrase all morning on the plane."

"I admire the effort. Are the flowers for me?"
"Yes." His smile was full of pride.

Sofia took the flowers and held them up to her nose. "Freshly picked. Thank you."

"You're welcome."

He paused and it grew awkwardly silent between them. Sofia realized for the first time in meeting a client, she had forgotten her professionalism.

"Forgive my manners. My name is Sofia Buraczynski and I'll be your interpreter while you are here." She put the sign in her left hand and held out her right hand for a handshake.

He took her hand, his grip warm, full of strength, and his eyes brightened, laced with appreciation. "I'm Darrin. Darrin Douglas Riverton III. It's very formal. I wouldn't mind if you called me Darrin."

"Should we get your bags?" She pointed to the conveyor belt. Most of the people were gone, but a few milled around.

"Oh, sure, yeah." Again he paused, and Sofia thought he was a bit nervous. Charmingly nervous.  And she wanted to put him at ease.

His bags were already on the belt and he went right to them. Once secure, he let out a deep breath. "Where to?"

Sofia couldn't help but smile at his boyish charm and adventurous grin.

"Follow me. I'm going to take you to your hotel first and then, if you want, a lunch. We'll go to the office at two and you can meet Mr. Czyinski."

"He's overseeing the project?"
"Yes."

They exited baggage claim and crossed the street, entering the parking structure. Sofia went directly to her car, a yellow Toyota Corolla. It was a few years old, but very reliable and good on gas mileage. When she used it for company business, Mr. Czyinski would reimburse her expenses.

She opened the trunk for him and he placed his bags inside. They exchanged awkward smiles and he went to her door.

She arched an eyebrow. "Do you want to drive?"
A sweet dimple appeared in his cheek. "I just want to open the door for you."

"Ah, thank you." Sofia slid in as Darrin rounded the car and got in the passenger side door.

Darrin was a gentleman. It was small gestures like that which she appreciated. Too few men did those things anymore. She thought of her father and how he still opened doors for her mother.
--

Sounds great. For those who are intrested in finding out more about your latest release, they can check out a few things~
 

Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC6_397PerU

Buy Links:
Print Book:
Create Space: 
https://www.createspace.com/3579108

Ebook:
Lulu:  (PDF)
http://www.lulu.com/product/ebook/a-springeaster-collection-sweet/15166166

Smashwords: (multiple formats)  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/48682

The Anthology is also avail on Amazon as a Print & Ebook for Kindle.

Stephanie2Find Stephanie Burkhart on the Web at:
BLOG:
http://sgcardin.blogspot.com

WEBSITE:
http://www.stephanieburkhart.com

FACEBOOK:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1357922219

GOODREADS:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4031660.Stephanie_Burkhart

 

Thanks for visiting today! Make sure to stop back by later in the week to hear from another awesome author~

* ~ * ~ * ~

Today I'd like to welcome our last special guest for our faith and writing journey series, Cynthia MacGregor.  To leave her a comment, please click on the green title for today's blog post.

Tulips

*Can you tell me about your journey to faith?

I was raised Jewish and was very observant—much more so than my parents—attending services faithfully every Saturday morning and observing the holidays. But an incident that occurred in temple when I was 16, in which the rabbi humiliated me in front of the entire congregation for a medical condition I had no control over, turned me away from my faith. I became an agnostic—not an atheist but a doubter. Then, when I was 18 I wanted to move out on my own to New York City, so I went apartment hunting. It wasn’t like it is now—there were tons of vacant apartments to choose from. I found one and moved in, and I discovered that my next-door neighbor was an editor and, not only that, she suffered from anxiety attacks, which I also did (though I did not at the time know that they had a name or that anyone else suffered what I did). An editor! Who could be more awe-inspiring to an aspiring young writer? And she had the same “condition” I had. (This was not the medical problem the Rabbi had humiliated me over. I had more than one problem in those days.) This was the beginning of my return to belief in God, as I had to believe it was more than a coincidence that out of all the vacant apartments I had looked at, I had chosen that one.
    Though I returned to my faith in God, I did not return to my religious roots. I believed that since God is all around us, he can hear us wherever we are when we pray to him, and that no house of worship, of any faith, has a pipeline direct to God that will be heard any better than any prayer I send out from my heart.
    Many years later, working on a business project involving recording some songs I had written the lyrics of, the recording engineer said he had a place for us to record. Much to my surprise it was a church! I felt immediately drawn to this house of worship when I entered the sanctuary and sat amid its awe-inspiring hush. The recording engineer and the vocalist both expressed the opinion that I would be happy in this church and urged me to try attending services. I did and was hooked. I soon joined the church, attending services faithfully. I even met someone “special” there—a minister whom I started seeing romantically. “Why don’t you become a minister?” he suggested. I admitted that the thought had crossed my mind more than once, but that I couldn’t see myself going away to study. “You don’t have to,” he told me. “There is a group right here in West Palm Beach that you can study with and be ordained through.
    I talked it over with my friend and minister, Rev Glo, and she said that while Grant was perfectly correct, there were even better organizations to study with than the one he was recommending. (This despite the fact that she had been ordained by, after studying with, the same group that Grant was recommending.) She undertook to do some research on my behalf and came up with a respectable, accredited ministerial school offering distance learning courses. I would have to read books, take tests, write funeral services and sermons and a wedding service, deliver at least one sermon, and more, but at the end of it all—if I persevered and if I passed the tests—I would be ordained.
    A couple of years after beginning my studies, I completed the course and was ordained a minister in my home church--the same church I had first entered only for the purpose of making recordings of music some four years earlier. Rev Glo ordained me. Grant was there to cheer me on.
    I served as a co-minister in that church for a while but then felt called to start my own congregation, which I did, holding services in my home...till the Zoning Department read an article about me in the newspaper. At that point they taped a Cease and Desist order to my condo apartment door. Ironically, although the condo board was fully cognizant of my church and had no issues with it, the village did, and I was forced to stop holding services. With a new, small congregation, we couldn’t afford to rent space anywhere else—I was lucky if the collection plate held $10-- and I had to let the church go. It remains a legal entity but is not currently holding services anywhere.
    After that bring down, I said, “OK, God—what do you want me to do next?” The answer that came into my head was, “Find a nursing home or assisted living facility whose residents aren’t having their spiritual needs served, and minister to them.” So I did. For several years now, I have been conducting non-denominational Sunday morning worship services at a nearby assisted living facility.  I do not get paid for my work at the ALF. I do it to serve God and my fellow human. I have also officiated at several weddings and a couple of funerals and a renewal of vows ceremony for 14 couples, independent of my work at the ALF. (For those I got fees or honoraria.)
    I continue to write and edit as well—the ministerial work is neither very remunerative nor anything remotely approaching full-time. But it is very satisfying.
    And that is the story of my journey to, away from, and back to faith.

*Can you tell me about your journey to publication or how/why you started writing?

I have been writing all my life—from the time I learned to spell C-A-T. But as for getting paid for it.... Well, there were many steps along the way, from interning (though it wasn’t called that in those days) at the local weekly papers (first one, then its rival) in the community I grew up in, through writing nice little articles for various publications that brought in $15 or $25 if I was lucky, but I suppose you might be more interested in my first book.
    I had written two other books at the time (1991) that had not been published, one a book of humorous nonfiction that still has not been published but is currently being considered by two e-publishers, the other a children’s picture-book that was published a decade or so ago by a very tenth-rate publisher. I had written those two because the ideas had grabbed hold of me, and when that happens, you have to write. But I was basically more interested in writing short-form—articles and stories—rather than devoting months to writing a book that might, after all, not get published.
    I was, at the time, as I am now, freelance writing and editing. I had one steady editing client, for whom I worked regularly, and my then best friend worked with me as computer-typesetter on the magazines I was editing. As Christmas approached, she bemoaned the fact that she would have to entertain her then-young (now grown) kids over the school holiday. What was she going to do with them? It occurred to me that this was a universal problem...and I thought I had the answer: a one-shot magazine filled with activities to keep your kids occupied, not only over the school holiday but at other times too. It was too late to get it out in time for the upcoming Christmas break, but Easter?  If we worked fast and furious, we could make it in time for Easter break!
    I broached the topic to the publisher for whom I was doing the bulk of my editing, but although he was receptive to the idea, his brother/partner was cool to it. So much for that.
    But the idea wouldn’t let go of me. And I decided that if I couldn’t edit such a magazine, I just had to write it as a book!
    That was the genesis of Mommy, There’s Nothing to Do. One of the first publishers I sent it off to, Berkley, a large house in NYC, snapped it up. And that was the genesis of my writing career, as well. I followed up with a few more activity books before branching off into other types of writing. One of the publishers of an activity book of mine tapped me to write Why Do We Need Another Baby?, Why Do We Have to Move?, and Why Do People Die?, all “lap books” for little kids. Nearly 20 years later, they are still selling. Far afield from those, I have written books on a plethora of other subjects, mainly for adults but also for kids.
    I have 54 conventionally published books to my credit and a raft of e-books either already published or coming up soon.
    I invite you to visit www.cynthiamacgregor.com to learn more about me.
    You can also visit
http://secretcravingspublishing.com/CynthiaMacGregor.html to learn more about my books with the Living & Learning imprint of Secret Cravings Publishing. This coming Friday (2/18) Dust Bunnies Ate My Socks, which I co-authored with George Moyer, an ex-boyfriend I remain friends with, releases with Uncial Press. And starting in April I have about half a dozen books releasing through SynergEbooks.
    Like that famous battery bunny, I just keep going and going.

Hugs & blessings -
Cynthia MacGregor

--

Thanks for visiting the blog today. Please be sure to stop back by April 1st to learn more about Steph  new book!

* ~ * ~ *

Happy Friday! I hope you folks have been enjoying these post as much as I have. Today I'd like to welcome another specail guest, Naomi Musch. (Feel free to leave her a comment by click on the green title for today's blog post.)
Welcome Naomi. I'm so glad you could join us here today! Can you start by telling us a bit about your journey to faith? 
Jeff is my high school sweetheart and husband of 30 years. He always says that everything coming into our lives, no matter what it is, is bent to either draw us closer to God if we know Christ, or to introduce us if we don't. I believe that. In those teen years when he and I first met, we were doing most of the rebellious things that kids were doing back in the 70s. Still, in II Timothy 3:15, the verse that says, "From a child you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ" is true of me. I met God as a child and believed with a simple faith. God used those teen years to convict me of my sin.
The morning after I graduated from high school, Jeff and I packed a camper. He hooked it to a '66 Ford pickup, loaded a motorcycle on the back, I piled stuff into my old Chevy Nova, and we moved 250 miles from home. We spent the summer living in the woods of northern Wisconsin. During that time God began to really get a hold of our hearts. Conviction was thick -- we were living together, after all. And it seemed the only people we met were Christians. Together, we told God that we wanted to live for Him. The following New Year's Eve we were married. Ever since that time, God has steered our course, guided our paths, and grown us through joys and trials. Occasionally He's had to discipline us as well. He's been a faithful Father.
Thanks for sharing that, Naomi. He truly is a faithful Father that never gives up on us! Can you tell us a bit about your journey to writing now?
My writing journey ties closely to my faith journey, because God uses His Holy Hand to mold and form complete individuals. At the same time in which God was convicting me in my relationship with Him, he was drawing me toward writing. On one hand, I wrote a lot of youthful, rebellious poetry and tragic romance. On the other, I began to tackle larger issues of faith and ethics in journalistic pieces addressing such topics as love versus infatuation and teenage shoplifting. In high school I won 2nd place in the state of Wisconsin for high school feature writing. Later, I was taking the college course "Writing in Christian Service" at about the same time I stumbled upon Janette Oak's novel "Love Comes Softly".
Wow! I was thrilled. I'd never heard of "Christian fiction", or at least that which we consider it to be in modern terms. I swallowed it up while reading a lot of other classic literature too, especially Dickens and other historical fiction and creative non-fiction. I was reading Allan Eckert's The Frontiersman, a creative biography of famed Kentuckian Simon Kenton and the French and Indian war, and immediately knew that I wanted to write sweeping, epic, historical romances. My first attempt was a long, messy work that taught me I could do it, but that getting it right would take a lot of practice.
The going was very slow, however. I made a lot of starts and stops between having five babies and homeschooling them. I wrote articles, published a homeschooling newsletter for 16 years, and became a staff writer for a Midwestern Christian paper. Now and then I'd work on my fiction, studying the craft and honing my work.
Now my youngest is getting close to graduation. But even though it's been a long journey to having my fiction published, I believe the time spent has been part of God's college program, training me for eternity. Who knows what jobs and joys await us in Heaven's Kingdom!
 Cover Art(1)
The Green Veil, Book One of the Empire in Pine series is available now from Desert Breeze Publishing. Book Two: The Red Fury releases in Oct. 2011. http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com
Heart Not Taken is a contemporary novella available from Black Lyon Publishing. http://www.blacklyonpublishing.com
 Naomi
More information about me, my faith and writing, and excerpts of my books are available at http://www.naomimusch.com
HAPPY JOURNEYING!
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope it's been a blessing and encouragment to you~
As for Naomi's latest release, I was privileged to read it this past week and it was great. Feel free to read the review on my web-site under the book review link. Until next time... Blessings~
* ~ * ~ *

More than anything, Cascade Preston wants to forget her dark childhood in Sterling Lakes, so there’s no way she’ll agree to help refurbish that town’s church. Then she meets Dan McQuay. Will she be able to forgive the past and let the light of God’s love shine through into her heart?
Welcome blog friends to today's blog tour for Light of the Heart with author, Regina Andrews! (If you'd like to leave her a comment, please click on today's green blog post heading.) 
tn 
Back Cover Blurb
A stained-glass artist based in Boston, Cascade Preston’s world is a kaleidoscope of color and beauty. She has overcome a dark childhood, deeply shadowed by domestic violence, in the town of Sterling Lakes. When she is approached to design new windows for a refurbished church in Sterling Lakes, she ignores the request. But when the no-nonsense Project Manager Dan McQuay appears looking for the window plans, the project takes on a whole new light. Will Cascade be able to keep the dark, protective cocoon she has built around herself intact, or will McQuay break through and shine new light into her heart? Is it possible that God’s plan for Cascade will lead her to forgive the town that ignored the situation in her family?
--
Regina has offered a brand new excerpt just for us! Enjoy~
 

"So that concludes our interviews for this morning." Maryanne beamed into the camera. "Muchos gracias, thank you, and merci beaucoup to all our friends who assist us in our efforts to refurbish St. Luke's Church. And special thanks to the sixth grade students who were visiting us today. What a wonderful coincidence, because it was only at the very last minute that Cascade Preston filled in. Our other guest, Norma Clintock, the tennis pro at Sterling Lakes Country Club, became ill suddenly and will visit us another time soon. So thank you, Cascade Preston!"

"May I add one more thing, Maryanne?" Cascade's eyes were starting to ache from the bright lights on the stage.

At Maryanne's nod, Cascade jumped in. "Many of you may or may not know that I grew up in Sterling Lakes. I attended St. Luke's Church and have some very special memories of that time. I'd just like to say how thrilled I am to be involved in this project, and I promise to provide you all with the most beautiful stained-glass windows possible."

A cheer went up from the kids.

"The kids love you, Cascade!" Maryanne's cheeks were flushed with rosy color. The theme song to her show played throughout the studio. Audience members filed out. The show was over.

Cascade looked out into the studio audience, her view obscured by the bright lights. They were so hot, too. It made her wonder how anyone ever got used to it, but on second thought, she knew you could get used to anything if your heart was in it and you believed you were doing the right thing. She knew that from experience.

It was at that moment that she saw Dan. Sitting in the fifth row, he was in an end seat, his long legs stretched into the aisle.

She couldn't take her eyes off him, and he seemed to be looking back at her. Except the lights made it tough for her to see for sure. With all her heart, she hoped he was. She smiled in his general direction just in case he could see her. Then the stagehands arrived, and the lights dimmed.

Finally, she followed Maryanne back stage. When they got to the dressing room, Maryanne grabbed Cascade's hand.

"You did great! The call lines were lighting up non-stop. That's all donations for St. Luke's, Cascade. Good work."

"Yes, good job." Dan's voice boomed from the dressing room doorway.

"Dan, I'm so glad you could make it. Come on in." Cascade found him a chair.

"See you guys later." Maryanne closed the door behind her as she left.

"Tell me what you thought."

He looked at her. "Cascade, you were phenomenal. It seems like you were born to do this sort of thing. We are very fortunate to have you on our team."

"Thanks. But why don't I feel like my heart is in it? Why don't I feel happy?"

Dan was silent for a moment. "Maybe you aren't sure what to feel or what to expect, since this is all so new."

"You could be right," Cascade sighed.

"There's been a lot going on. It seems to be so much more positive than the Sterling lakes you remember."

She nodded. "Agreed, Dan. So much that every hour seems to present a new scenario to me."

"I can imagine. Yet, when you come right down to it, how different is it really, from your everyday life?"

"It's totally different." She regarded him quizzically. "I'm not sure I get what you mean."

"Someone I knew once said to me, 'Sometimes in life, Dan, things happen that are beyond your explaining.' Maybe this is one of them."

Cascade smiled. "I said that to you."

"Right."

Her heartbeat quickened as she lingered in his look, holding on and floating in the kindness she thought she saw there. "You might have a point. Maybe I don't know what's going on here."

He raised an eyebrow. "And?"

"And," she looked at the floor, then at him, "it might not be that bad after all."

"Even if it is in Sterling Lakes."

She nodded.

"Well, that's a complete change of heart from the night I met you in the parking lot. Maybe some prayers have been answered."

Cascade didn't understand what he meant and was just starting to ask him when he said, "Would you like to get away from here for a while before you go back to Boston?"

"That sounds like a dream. Let's go."

They left the studio and hopped into his truck.

"I want to show you something."

They bounced along the dirt side road off the main route from the studio.

"What about my car?"

"Don't worry. We'll come back and pick it up."

The sound of his voice was instant balm to her. Cascade loved his velvet tones. She loved how it felt to be next to him in the front seat, bumping along to who-knew-where. Every nerve ending, every fiber of her being, sparkled with life and goodness, operating at an intensity that reached beyond-peak capacity.

Oh Lord, she thought, this guy is really getting to me. If I'm not careful, I'm going to fall for him. That's not possibly what you want... is it?

Dan drove around the edge of Sterling's Lake Divine, the largest of the lakes in the area. He pulled the truck into a narrow, tree-lined passageway that reached almost to the shore.

Looking up, Cascade saw a gorgeous, unobstructed view of the sky overhead. The waters of the lake reached out beyond her field of vision. She looked over at Dan. Maybe it was the reflection of the sun in the water, but his face seemed to have a special glow.

"Boy, this is sublime," Cascade smiled.

With a nod, Dan turned to her. "Glad you get it."

She rested her head back against the headrest. "I do."

They sat together in silence, watching the ripples dance across the lake.

"Almost like home," Dan murmured.

"What?" Cascade sat up straight.

"I said it's almost like home here to me."

"That's nice. You didn't grow up here. You don't have any memories or any baggage."

He turned in his seat to face her. "No, I don't. But you do. We're working together, Cascade, and it's important for me to get to know what makes you tick. What's important to you. Do you want to fill me in about your past in Sterling Lakes?"

--About Regina Andrews: Gina

A resident of Providence, RI, Regina grew up in nearby Barrington. After graduating from Providence College she attended the University of Delaware, eventually earning her Master’s Degree in American Civilization from Brown University. She is inspired by anything to do with nature, and she and her husband enjoy visiting nearby Cape Cod.
Regina’s hobbies include Travel, Museums, Theater, Classical Music, Choral Singing and Gardening. She is a radio host for In-Sight, an association dedicated to providing services to the visually impaired of all ages.

Thank you so much for visiting today. I hope you enjoyed Regina's book tour. :)  Be sure to stop back by on Friday for a special "journey" post! Until then, Blessings~

~ * ~ * ~

Good Monday Morning! Did you get enough sleep? LOL-- I don't know about you, but this time change isn't agreeing with our family. We're talking MAJOR grumpy bugs this morning as everyone gets ready for their day. I'm so looking forward to reading another encouraging post... and today we have Marianne Evans joining us.
Welcome! (If you'd like to leave her a comment, please click on the green title for today's post.)   
*Can you tell me about your journey to faith? a-thoughtfull-pen-writing-3647581-2560-1702
Well, I’ve always been a believer in the loving grace, salvation and sovereignty of Jesus Christ. What I will say, though, is that my faith walk took enormous strides forward in intensity and purpose about ten years ago, when I attended a retreat about the "Fire of the Holy Spirit." The retreat was headed up by a Christian musician named John Michael Talbot. The setting was a church/conference center set at the top of a gorgeous mountain top in Arkansas. At the end of the retreat, attendees were prayed over, individually, by the pastor and deacon of the church, and I’ve never felt such a powerful influx of love, and power, and joy. It was truly God’s hand moving through me as one of His children.
I attended that retreat with my sister-in-law Mary, and my sister-in-law Kathy, and the resulting bond between the three of us a blessing for which I give thanks each and every day. I don’t have blood-sisters, but I have sisters by choice.
So, I guess you could say a simple, four-day trip became life altering in a number of ways…thanks be to God!
 
*Can you tell me about your journey to publication or how/why you started writing?
::Marianne checks her watch:: Hmmm…how much time do we have here…? LOL!!
Well, before we can get to the ‘highs’ on my journey to publication, we have to talk about the ‘lows.’ Without them, I wouldn’t be published. I actually did a blog post about the day I nearly quit writing. God kept me in the game, though, and I had angels watching over me without even realizing it until later.
Here’s a link:
My writing career took another shift as I felt called, with increasing urgency, to write Christian inspirational romance. The genre had always appealed to me, but two issues stood in my way: 1) I didn’t feel worthy of telling a Christ-centered story. I’m nobody’s theologian. 2) I didn’t feel a plotline take root in my heart and demand to be told.
In hindsight, I believe obstacle #1 was closely tied to obstacle #2.
Enter God’s hand once more. I was sitting in church, watching parishioners file forward for communion. As they did, the thought occurred to me: They each had a story to tell, each of them were precious and beautiful – full of dreams and joys and sorrows and triumphs.
From there, came the idea for the Woodland Series which is my offering from White Rose Publishing. Based on my moment in church, I decided to center a series of romances around the lives and loves of the parishioners of Woodland Church, and it evolved into something that could only be from God.
As a writer, words and books, and interactions with readers and authors, are my mission field. But I’m only a tool, a tool God uses, with the gifts He gave me, to spread His truth, and love, as far as he deems necessary.
What greater miracle could there be?
You can contact and learn more about Marianne at: www.marianneevans.com
marianne evans_pic


Thank you for visiting this blog today. I hope you were blessed and encouraged in some way through something Marinanne said. Please stop back later this week to catch another story. Until then...

~ * ~ * ~

Good Morning, folks! It's so good to have you here with us today. Tammy Doherty is sharing about her journey to faith and writing. I hope it will bring you as much encouragement you as much as it did to me. (To leave her a comment, please click on the green heading for today's post.)
Tammy, tell us about yourself ...
I’ve always been a Christian. My grandmother was very active in our local church and for the longest time I was known only as “Alice Green’s Granddaughter.” Even years after Gram died, the name stuck. I’ve since gained my own identity, thankfully. LOL!
In my teen years, faith was something I didn’t think about and certainly I didn’t talk about it to my friends. I went to Sunday School, occassionally, when I didn’t have something else to do. And every summer I went to camp with the church youth group. There, I did talk and think about faith and I grew closer to the Lord. The summer before my senior year, I invited a friend to come with me to camp. She accepted Jesus as her savior at the end of the week & I was thrilled! Afterwards, though, I continued to coast as a Christian.
When I was 26, my brother was killed in an alcohol-related car accident. Then my parents split up.  Family members said and did things that I’m sure they’d be ashamed of if they thought about it now. The whole year was full of terrible stuff. One day, driving home from work, a trailer truck was coming down the road in the opposite direction. I thought, “I could veer over into that lane and end it all now.” My hand even began turning the steering wheel. I can’t say God spoke to me that day, but something settled in my heart at that moment. A conviction that ending my life was wrong, that living life trying to please my parents or my boss was fruitless. It took time but I worked through all the grief. I began turning to the Lord when troubles arose. Gradually a new habit formed: I focused on my Faith and worked at bring Jesus into my daily life.
That was the start of my journey to publication. Eleven years ago, a friend gave me two Dee Henderson novels for my birthday. I’d always wanted to be a writer and after reading Danger In the Shadows the desire to write filled me once again. I began writing something that I’d first “created” as a teen, turning it into a grown-up and matured story. Yet something was missing. What was the point of it all? Why was it important that these things happened to these characters? Ah – light bulb moment! There needed to be a message about faith; I needed to show the importance of God in our daily lives. How? I looked at my heroine, Cristeen, and figured out her spiritual journey. Cristeen couldn’t trust anyone, not even God. Wow – that’s a big stumbling block to faith! Once I focused on this concept, the writing flowed easily.
After finishing the novel, and several self-edits, I was left wondering “what next?” I had no publishing contacts, was clueless about how to find an agent and didn’t even know about conferences. Friends and family encouraged me to go the route of self-publishing. So in 2003, my first novel was published by Xulon Press. I sold 500 copies of Celtic Cross in one year – not a bad feat for someone with no marketing knowledge or skills! Two more novels followed in 2004 and 2005. I joined RWA and their online chapter FHL, where I learned a great deal about the publishing world and some about writing craft. Then I joined ACFW – and my writing skills grew enormously! Here I was able to rub shoulders, figuratively, with some of my favorite authors. They even taught online workshops – I learned how to add depth to my plot from Colleen Coble!
Where is this journey taking me? I don’t know, but I do know as long as I keep my focus on the Lord, He’ll take me to places more wonderful than I can imagine. Just this past year, He led my critique partner Nike Chillemi to a publisher who ultimately offered her a contract. Her first novel is due out in May. We talk about both our journeys on our blog, Faith, Fiction & Friends. Pop on over to read more details and maybe share some of your own http://faith-fiction-friends.blogspot.com/. You can also learn more about my three novels at http://tammydoherty.com/
Thanks, again, Joann, for this opportunity to share.
You can find out more about Tammy Doherty and her books at http://tammydoherty.com 161180_1487462175_7485198_n
--
And that, Ladies and Gents, concludes our inspirational real-life "journey" story for today. Please stop back by on the 14th for our next special guest, Marianne Evans. 

~ * ~ * ~


Good Morning and welcome, friends! Today, we are continuing with our March Journey posts and featuring Jude Urbanski. So, sit back and relax and enjoy Jude's life's story.

 imagesCA38DM3F(To leave her a comment, please click on the green title up above.) 

How I Came to Faith

The thought of God’s knowing me even before I was born (Psa 139:13) and the thought He elected me (Col3:12) are special to me. Since I was near the end of a large family and had only my mother’s faith for guidance, such beliefs allow me to see how pleasing each of us is to Him.

No one attended church in my family, but at age seven, I found a small neighborhood church which became my salvation and impetus for my lifelong passion for a relationship with God. In time, every single family member came to God.

Though I’ve known God forever, my walk with Him hasn’t always been level. But throughout life, I’ve always found him there with just one more surprise!

 

How I Came to Write

It’s funny how my journey to writing is similar to my faith journey. It’s been with me forever it seems. Again, my mother was my inspirator. During the 30’s and 40’s, with a houseful of kids, she managed to pen several short stories and novellas of pure, sweet romance. Today, children and grandchildren pick up the pen also.

Words have always fascinated me as evidenced by my reading the dictionary as a kid. I know, pathetic, huh? I read practically every book in my elementary school library. I still remember the stories and values of those books.

Love of reading morphed into a love of writing. First came the proverbial diary, then long letters, then poems and finally the high school newspaper. Later, came the stories and the books.

My first book, non-fiction, was coauthored with my daughter to chronicle the healing journey of our family through the dark period of her traumatic brain injury.

Since, I’ve had free lance success and will have my first fiction novel, Joy Restored, published by Desert Breeze in November. I am also marketing a second novel.

‘Writing, growing, living for God’ is my mantra.

Jude Urbanski ec

Urbanski4u@aol.com

Judeurbanski.blogspot.com

--

Please stop back by on March 11th as Tammy Doherty stops by with a visit to share her story! 

* ~ * ~ *

Well, you never know what a day will hold, nor how it will unfold. We awoke this morning to 24 in of fresh snow--and it's still coming down! In the same way, Nike Chillemi shares with us her "journey" of writing and of faith. As she began her story, I wasn't sure where it would go. I'm so glad that I read it though... and I'm sure you will too. (If you'd like to leave Nike a comment, click on the green title for today's post.)

So, without further ado...welcome, Nike! Can you tell us your story?

I think personal faith plays a major role in my writing life. Well, if a writer thinks God has handed out a writing assignment, as I think He has given me, that sort of takes over. He hasn't released me from that assignment yet. So, I kept going, kept trying to make a way for myself in the Christian writing community. I wrote what I believed I was called to write and finally, after honing my craft for several years -- yes years -- I was offered a contract by Desert Breeze for my three book historical suspense Sanctuary Point series. For this, I'm very grateful. The first in the series, BURNING HEARTS, is due out in May, 2011. It's the story of a feisty seamstress escaping an arsonist/murderer while deciding if she trusts the dashing war hero some claim is the killer.

I write for a reader who is at the point I was when I first realized there was such a thing as a spiritual journey. I came from a family environment that was not at all typical when I was growing up, but which is not so unusual today. We were a mish-mosh in terms of spirituality. My dad was agnostic and belonged to a Unitarian Fellowship where atheists were welcome. My mom's side had been Eastern Orthodox in the Ukraine, but became Roman Catholic in upstate New York, as that was the most similar church to orthodoxy in the area. My grandfather never went to church and my uncles soon stopped going. Two of my uncles married Jewish ladies. I remember my cousins always had a decorated and lit Hanukkah bush in their house at Christmas. My oldest cousin followed a swami and spent summers at a Hindu center. Another cousin seems quasi-Buddhist.

I started becoming intrigued by Jesus in my mid-twenties. My father was disappointed, as he thought religion was for unintelligent people. That hurt a lot. I was embarking on something I knew was deep, exciting, and enthralling and he thought I'd stumbled intellectually. At that point, I thought Jesus was a master spiritual teacher. I found a church that taught that, and having no experience with Christ or Christianity, I believed that. Well, that's what He was when He was on earth, but He was so much more, is so much more. Back in the day, there weren't any Christian fiction works that could have spoken to me when I started asking spiritual questions. If there were, they weren't readily available. I was a reader and I read fiction. I think if there had been novels available addressing the quest of the individual who is just beginning to ponder the spiritual realm, and doesn't even know what questions to ask…it would've helped shortened my search for Christ by a good many years.

My novels are character driven. I like my heroine and hero to really engage in life and they'll have life deal them some low blows. All my heroes and heroines are flawed and none are syrupy sweet. However, my main characters, at their core, are decent and honorable people. I don't do a lot of sermonizing in my narrative. I try to have my Christian characters be a living epistle within the pages of my novel. Hopefully my readers will see the walk my Christian characters are on and will find something to ponder, something of value.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Nike! May God bless your writing ministry as you seek to touch the hearts of your readers with the Good News~

--

Chillemi_Nike_WebsiteImageYou can find Nike Chillemi here:

http://crimefictionandfaith.blogspot.com/

Coming Soon, Burning Hearts (Desert Breeze) ~ May 2011 Can a young seamstress with an independent streak escape an arsonist/murderer while deciding if she trusts the dashing war hero some claim is the killer?

* ~ * ~ *

Make sure to stop back by on Wed. with another author sharing her journey to faith and writing!

- - - - - - -

Pam, I'm so glad you're with us today. Can you tell us about your journey to faith?

Like many I was raised in church and like most, strayed when "church" didn’t fit what I thought I needed in my life at the time. Although I always felt an empty spot in my heart, I didn’t realize what it was until my marriage ended and I began searching for truth and fulfillment. I found both in Christ as well as a second chance to live my lifelong dream of being a wife and having a family. Many can tell you the exact time & place of their conversion or epiphany. I can’t. My relationship with Christ evolved over time into what it is today alongside my second chance at living my dream which lasted 20+ years and ended with the death of my husband in 2009 – but my faith, though tested has not faltered. For I know He has a plan for my life…plans for a hope and a future…a plan for my good and not my destruction. Jeremiah 29:11 promises me this and it is one promise, along with hundreds of others in His word I cling to every day and in every circumstance – especially those I don’t understand.

Can you tell me about your journey to publication or how/why you started writing? (Or if you're not an author please tell me about a dream that you have followed.)

My journey to publication began nearly 30 years ago when I read one-too-many insipid little romances. Disgusted, I thought I could do better! Pregnant at the time, I still can’t say whether that was hormones or divine destiny, but this was the moment I began writing in five-subject notebooks. Since romance is my favorite genre, romance is what I wrote. However, in 1989 – about the same time I seriously began cultivating my relationship with Christ – I committed my writing to God and prayed that I never write "just another romance" but something that would glorify Him. Since I had no idea at the time there were rules and regulations to writing, actual publication still took time along with lots of tears and heartache as I tried to conform to the numerous guidelines of what does/not belong in a "Christian" novel. One of the most important lessons I learned in the years between writing/submitting and publication is that if you stay true to yourself, your talent, your voice/style and the story God gives you, HE will honor and bless that in HIS time and HIS way. No, I’m not on the NY Times Best Seller list – or any other ‘best seller’ list that I know of, but I am on HIS list and I know HE gets my stories into the hands of readers who will be blessed by them – and that is ultimately what matters to me.

--pamelasthibodeauxAward-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, "Inspirational with an Edge!" and reviewed as "steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message." Find out more about Pam by visiting her website http://pamelathibodeaux.com, blog http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com, or follow her on Face Book: http://facebook.com/pamelasthibodeaux

If you'd like to leave Pam a commet, please click on the GREEN title to this post.

Please join us again on Monday for our next JOURNEY post!

~ * ~ * ~

I'm so excited. Today we have another wonderful true story of a woman's journey to faith and publication... LoRee Perry. (If you'd like to leave her a comment, you can do so by clicking on the green heading for today's post.)
LoRee, can you tell me about your journey to faith?
I grew up going to church and never doubted John 3:16. But that promise wasn't real until I was 27 years old. Thanks to Bible classes I became familiar with God's Word as a girl. I went through my teens and young addulthood with this weird idea that I was a Christian and would have a few seconds before dying to ask for and receive forgiveness of sins.
One April morning in 1975, I woke up to my husband asking, "You believe in God, don't you?" Then he told me my brother had called to say our father had been murdered. It rained the day of his service and from a distance afterwards, a rainbow arced over the grave.
A few months later, on the day before Thanksgiving, my husband fell off the 2 1/2 story garage roof and crushed both heels. The three days we waited for the swelling to go down in his feet to enable surgery (they were the size of footballs), I read a paperback New Testament in the waiting room of the hospital. I have no memory of specific verses, but God's Word was  my only solace.
The following April I was invited to attend a special luncheon where the speaker explained a relationship with Jesus as being personal. Jesus could be my friend as well. That was new to me. I never doubted He was the Savior of the world, but until that day it had been an ambiguous belief. 

Listening to the speaker that day changed me. I recognized sin for what it really is—something incurable that I had inherited at birth, for which only Jesus Christ is the cure.

Right there, with all those women in the room, my heart screamed, Jesus is the answer for all this emptiness! I realized that, starting with my dad’s death, Jesus had been calling me to acknowledge my need for Him.

Jesus Christ met me where I was that day and flooded my whole sinful being with a peace that defied description.

That's an amazing testomy. I'm sorry your father died, yet thankful that God redeemed that time by drawing you to Himself.
Can you tell me about your journey to publication or how/why you started writing?
I’ve been writing a long time, and I stopped for around ten years when pain was my life focus. But back to when I first started, I wrote as an outlet for grief. My first heroine was a woman going back to her home town to find out how her father had really died. By then, I was hooked on writing. Most days I couldn't not write something, even if it was only a journal entry. I’ve tried to quit writing several times, but I guess the Lord had another plan.
When I had three or four book-length manuscripts (and piled up rejections from editors in the process), I searched for an agent. Moselle ’s story was rejected by five agents, but feedback led me to believe I was close to acceptance. I had never considered going the route of an online publisher. But at the time, there was only one NY publisher that accepted unagented material, and they had rejected half my stories. Lori Graham, an editor for The Wild Rose Press and then editor for White Rose Publishing, came to Prairieland Romance Writers. She invited me to submit Moselle’s Insurance. It was rejected twice by White Rose editors, with the invitation to resubmit. I was devastated by the second, very detailed rejection letter, and quit writing for several months. At retreat in January of 2010, my fellow writers encouraged me to reconsider that best-kind-of-a rejection. So I went through the editor’s comments, agreed with her, revised, and resubmitted. Moselle ’s story was accepted in less than a week.
--
LoreePeeryYou can find LoRee here...
Rainn on My Parade coming soon from White Rose Publishing/
Moselle's Insurance
http://www.whiterosepublishing.com
--
Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you've been blessed as I have been. Make sure to stop by again on Saturday for our next encouraging, true story!
~*~*~*

Happy March 1, 2011! For this month on my blog, we're going to focus on journeys. So many of you have fascinating stories that come from your unique life experiences.

If you want to join me, there's only two questions you need to answer:
*Can you tell me about your journey to faith?
*Can you tell me about your journey to publication or how/why you started writing? (Or if you're not a author please tell me about a dream that you have followed.)
This is a great way to see how God has been at work--in a very personal and real way--right here amoung us. So why not send those answers to
jo.glenncarter@yahoo.com and I'll schedule you in!
imagesCANHK50M Image by Google.com
To start us off, I'd like to welcome, Dana Pratola! (Below you'll find her response. If you'd like to leave a comment, please click on the green heading for today's post.)
Hello JoAnn, to answer your questions: Hmm. I thought I knew how to answer this until I started, lol. I didn't think my journey to faith was full of drama - I wasn't a drug addict or hadn't been in prison or anything like that. But looking back I guess I did have a lot of drama going on in my life. My first real awareness of God was when I was 7. I remember it as plain as yesterday. I was just back from church with my parents, it was a sunny Spring day and I was staring down at a little patch of white flowers on our side lawn. And all of a sudden I felt inside, just knew, God is here, and He loves me. I carried that with me ever since. As I grew I always had great conviction when I did something I knew wasn't right. I was raised Catholic and asked God to forgive me on a regular basis, but I didn't accept Jesus as my Savior until I was 17. My sister had gotten saved and was like a terrier trying to talk to me, pray with me... It was too much at once I thought. Finally she wore me down, lol. Well the Holy Spirit did. And me and my boyfriend (now my husband) prayed with her. It's been a long, interesting ride since.


My journey to publication or how/why I started writing: I have been writing since I can remember, as I'm sure most writers will tell you. I used to put on news shows with my friends. We made a TV out of a box and would take turns kneeling inside it and reporting. But I always had a taste for romance. I wrote, wrote, wrote... but never completed a novel until now. I didn't have money to attend a conference so a friend told me about the Muse It Up online conference and that it was free!  I signed up, met with Nicola Martinez and she requested THE COVERING. She offered me a contract and now I'm telling you. God is good!

--

Thank you so much for joining us today, Dana! For those of you who may want to learn more about her, you can find her@
www.danapalooza.blogspot.com
Make sure you come back on Thursday to hear another encouraging true story! 
* ~ * ~*

 

Today, we have Danielle Thorne visiting with a special post that she wrote for us. Please feel free to encourage her by leaving a comment. (Click on the green heading above, "Appreciate Your Own Architecture by Dainelle Thorne.") Thanks for stopping by! Happy Thursday~

    danielleEdit(2)

Spring is near. A time for change. A time to unbundle and step out into the fresh air. Exercise. Rediscover our centers. Find joy in existence.

I see so much beauty in the women around me. Like the Dove soap ad, they are a vast array of girls from different backgrounds and decades. They are fair, some toned, dark and blond. My dearest friend towers over me in height and is a strong, robust woman. To me, her eyes, her smile and especially her laugh, makes her one of the most beautiful women I know.

Pears, triangles, hourglasses…we give our body shapes such flattering names. They bring to mind delicate fruit, the powerful Sphinx and shapely timekeepers. Why then, are we so darn hard on ourselves?

I know what it's like to be a skinny girl. Through no effort of my own, I've usually been on the petite side and never had to worry about watching what I ate until mid-life. (Oh, how that has changed!) What I do wish people understood, is that no one wants to hear how "tiny" they are. Or "How do you stay so small?" It's embarrassing. Unless you've worked out and earned it, thin people can be just as self-conscious about their figures as those who have more body mass.

The cold hard truth many people don't get is that being thin doesn't mean someone is healthy. If someone is not eating, they aren't getting the nutrition they need. Some of the thinnest people you know may be some of the unhealthiest. I speak from experience. At the happiest and healthiest times in my life, I have been several sizes out of my skinny pants. In my darkest hours, my ribs could be counted.

I'm not advocating being medically overweight, but I wish to impress upon you, that appreciating your body for what it is, admiring the curves and dimples, freckles, and sunspots, is a compliment to the very Force that made you. You are a work of art. Like the Sistine Chapel, you were planned, framed, and filled out, created to take your place in this world and make it a better place.

Don't seek substitute processed images in the mirror. See yourself for who you really are: the woman with the skin that glows, the arms that embrace everyone she meets, the pretty painted toenails, hair that is a beautiful silver, not gray; the small perky breasts, sparkling eyes, the quirky incisor that overlaps a front tooth…Your spirit brings your Cathedral to life. It doesn't matter to anyone who loves you, how you compare to the computer-manipulated supermodels in the magazines. Why should you love yourself any less?

This spring, get out and enjoy yourself. But appreciate your own architecture. Like Mona Lisa, you are an original.

~Danielle Thorne

Bio:
Danielle Thorne is the author of romantic adventure novels, all of them -- she hopes -- uplifting and inspiring. Since turning forty and being prescribed hormones for her kamikaze bouts of PMS, Danielle has to watch what she eats…just like everyone else! Visit Danielle and find out more about her new releases, JOSETTE and THE PRIVATEER, at http:www.daniellethorne.com

ThePrivateerCoverArt
 

I (JoAnn) haven't had the chance to read this book yet, but I did read By Heart And Compass.

Here's the editorial product description, When Lacey Whitman buys a restored Victorian home, she never dreams discovering an antique diary will lead her back to sea and into the arms of the dive bum she’d rather forget. Her habit of living in the past comes to a screeching halt as diver Max Bertrand and the diary of his ancestor take Lacey on the quest of a lifetime: To discover and raise the privateer ship, Specter, and bring the treasure and legacy of a true hero home again. But will finding it cost her heart?

--

This book is a "sweet"/clean romance adventure novel. Lacey's (the heroine) love for the past shines through in everything she does, whereas Max (the hero) seems to only live for the moment. I grew to understand the characters, their internal motivations become better known to me. Before long, these characters were more than just names on the page. Ms. Thorne brought me as the reader into their adventure. I won't spoil it for you, but let me just say, the ending is a real treat! If you like seafaring adventures with a splash of detective work and romance, you'll enjoy this book.

Please make sure you stop by March 1st. That's when the "Journey" tour starts. For more information, or to be a part of this exciting event, please look on my home page.

 

* ~ * ~ *

cherylc-malandrinos(1)Today, I'd like to welcome author, Cheryl Malandrinos to our blog. She has written something special just for us. Hope you'll enjoy~ 

With God There Are No Coincidences 

by Cheryl C. Malandrinos   

It was the wee hours of a May morning. Typically, I would be asleep next to my son’s father, our roommate sleeping in a room across the hall. His dad and our roommate, Steff, always slept like rocks. A freight train could drive right through the middle of the apartment and they wouldn’t even stir. 

This wasn’t, however, a typical morning.

I lay on my side, nursing three-day old John, which for some odd reason woke his father. Several times during the night, a person from Steff’s office called about problems at the retail store she managed. So, at 2:30 AM when we heard the pounding at the back door of our second-floor apartment, everyone was awake.

I ran to the door, not sure if I should open it. Who on earth could it be? I heard a woman’s voice calling through the closed door, but I couldn’t make out what she was saying, only that it sounded urgent.

I pulled open the door and swirls of smoke filtered into the kitchen. “Get out, the house is on fire!” she screamed, and then dashed up the stairs to the third floor.

I wrapped John in a blanket and his father pushed me out the front door and down the stairs to the outside. Steff soon joined me on the sidewalk, along with the other residents of the apartment, but John’s father was nowhere to be found. He had gone back upstairs to try and find our cat and dog. By this time, the fire had spread from the first floor, up the walls, and across the front porch. The awning over the front steps, fully engulfed in flames, came tumbling down mere seconds after John’s father reappeared, barely missing him.

After the fire was out, and surprisingly the damage to our apartment was limited to losing some clothes and having to deal with being relocated during repairs, we learned the fire had traveled up the walls through Steff’s bedroom, where on the floor she had several bottles of dry gas stored. We found the dog under the bed in the back bedroom, shaking, but unharmed. Days later, we found the third floor neighbors had been feeding the cat, who had escaped out the back door when the firemen kicked it in to gain access to the apartment. 

One could say these things happened by coincidence. Maybe it was fate that John needed to be fed right at that moment and that his father who usually slept soundly was awakened by my nursing. Perhaps it was just by chance that problems arose at Steff’s store keeping her awake. And maybe it was good luck that John’s father didn’t get hit over the head as the burning awning came crashing down.

I know, however, that God held us in His hands that night and guided us to safety. It’s all part of His plan. I can’t say I always understand why things work out the way they do, only that even in my darkest hours, I am comforted by knowing He is there.


Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. A regular contributor for Writer2Writer, her articles focus on increasing productivity through time management and organization. A founding member of Musing Our Children, Ms. Malandrinos is also Editor in Chief of the group’s quarterly newsletter, Pages & Pens.  
 
Cheryl is a Tour Coordinator for Pump Up Your Book, a book reviewer, and blogger. Little Shepherd is her first children’s book. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two young daughters. She also has a son who is married.

You can visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com or the Little Shepherd blog at http://littleshepherdchildrensbook.blogspot.com/. 
littleshepherd

Would you like to leave a comment for Cheryl? Please click on the green title, "Guest Blogger Today!"

 

*~ * ~ *

Norris_Amber_WebsiteImageAR, it's great to have you here today. I've been looking forward to this interview and learning more about you and your work. (For those of you who may want to drop AR a comment, please click on the green title above "Join in on our interview with AR Norris today")  

Let's get started with this question, where were you born?

I was born in Denver Colorado. It's surreal to my kids when I describe the contrast of that state, having the mountains on one side and the flat plains on the other when they've lived in a California valley surrounded by mountains on three sides and the bay on the fourth side all their life.

I've never been to Denver, but I can imagine its beauty. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would live in a boat and cruise up and down the Pacific coast, from South America up to Alaska. Hubby and I are planning this for our retirement but, man, sometimes I sit and daydream we could do it now. We have an 18-foot boat right now and let me tell you, I love taking it out on the water. There's nothing quite like laying relaxing on the deck with a book and an iced drink, reading the day away.

Ah, so you're a water nut. J I wonder if you like to fish—last year two of our sons, my husband, my father and I all went out on a little skiff in the bay. Anything and everything that could go wrong did. (My dad even lost half his pole and ended up fishing with just the bottom half with no reel.) But you know what... we caught more fish that day than I can ever remember. Speaking of some such times, what is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?

A long (long) time ago, my older sister and I were walking home from Middle School and along the sidewalk power lines dropped down from the end of telephone pole stretch and went in the ground. As we walked past, I grabbed them and pretended I was being electrocuted. My poor sister's eyes bugged out and she started screaming and jumping up and down flailing her arms. After she realized I was acting, and after she punched my shoulder a couple times, we broke up laughing so hard we almost wet our pants.

 

Good grief! I think I would have punched you too. J You must have quite the sense of adventure. Which brings us to the next question, why did you begin writing?

I can't really remember not writing. My first official story was for a 2nd grade contest, which I won a play kitchen from the local McDonalds for. I guess my first real writing, where I wanted to be published, was the summer before 9th grade. This story came to me first in dreams and then it was all I could think about until I wrote it out into a dime store spiral notebook. I wrote because these characters and their story wouldn't leave me alone. They pestered me constantly and I just couldn't concentrate.

 

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

The challenge of it. There's so much more work to building a story that's publishable than people realize. The details and layering behind the scenes and the character development and plot lines that need to be just right to get the vision from your head correctly into the manuscript. Every sentence needs to be checked to make sure the right emotion and purpose are coming across the way you intended and the way the story needs it too. It's all just an amazing, challenging, and wonderful process.

 

I agree! OK, so now I'm really wondering, what’s your book about and when will it be available?

My debut novel, Duty and Devotion, is due out June 15th with Desert Breeze Publishing. It's a science fiction romance set about 700 years in the future. The two main characters are sisters from the now ice covered planet of Earth.

They are drafted into the first war in several hundred years. No one really knows what to expect, not even the current militia, which is run more as a galactic monitoring system. The story takes us through their training and the very different paths they each go down. Nettie, the older one becomes a space fighter pilot while the younger sister, Rinny, is training to become a ground combat soldier.

 

When battle starts, both sisters find out what it really means to live in a time of war and fight for freedom. Nettie's pain and loss close her heart to anything but her duty, but Officer James Northman is focused on opening her heart again to see the happiness even in chaotic times. Rinny finds love and devotion right off the bat in Danny Gubvre, but learns war is a fickle beast when it rips it away as she's captured by the enemy. Now she's fighting to keep her home free, return home herself, and just maybe find her lost love.

Wow, that sounds great. I see glimpses of adventure even in your blurb. I can't wait to read it. Thanks so much for stopping by today. It's been fun. For those who may be interested in finding out more about AR, you can find her here:

Duty and Devotion - June 2011 - Desert Breeze Publishing

AmberNorris2000@yahoo.com

Adventures of a Sci-Fi Writer

The Norris Ranch

 

That's all for now folks, but please stop back by on the 17th when Cheryl Malandtinos visit's with a special blog post written just for us!

*~*~*

A SECRET LIST

He was born to a clan of noted warriors and musicians. Yet to protect his loved ones and escape the dark fate of his brothers, he abandons his identity. Hiding from relentless soldiers who want him dead, he vows to protect the woman he loves more than life, more than freedom, more than Scotland. But his presence throws her into

A VOW HONORED

She weds a stranger to save his life. But do vows make a marriage? When does a marriage become a marriage? What if she holds a different love inside her heart?

A SACRIFICE MADE

Steeling himself against the pain, he condemns himself to a life of heartbreak without her. Wanting her desperately, knowing he can’t have her, he surrenders her and heads alone to certain death. Outlawed, with a price on his head, does she love him enough to give up castle, lands, and family, and risk the agony of surrendering her heart a second time?

MASQUERADE MARRIAGE

 MasqueradeMarriage_w4879_tmbhttp://www.whiterosepublishing.com/Masquerade-Marriage ~ Written by Anne Greene

~ * ~

Anne, it's great to have you here with us today. I really enjoyed your book. It held my attention from the first page. (I could even hear the Scottish accent as I read.) In fact, the characters seemed to leap off the pages and interact as if I was watching a movie. I felt as if you stayed true to the time-period in setting, action, and manner of the people within the plot. You wove not only a beautiful romance, but also showed us a warming faith of both Megan and Brody. 

I've been looking forward to our interview so, lets get started...

Where were you born?

I was born in Concord Township, Ohio. Then I grew up in Urbana, a small farming town in Ohio.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I love the United Kingdom and would live in Ireland, Scotland, or England very happily. I also love Italy, especially the excellent food.

I've never been to the United Kingdom, but from photos I've seen it's beautiful. OK, I'm wondering....what hidden talent do you possess outside of writing... something you do for fun, but are good at?

I’m really good at games. My family won’t play with me because I always win. I’m also a pretty good artist. Some of my pictures are on my website, but my best two aren’t finished yet.

Our family loves games too! For Christmas we got Settler's of Catan. We have so many special memories built around games. :)

Ah... an artist. I'll need to check out your webpage! What’s your favorite color?

Red—and green—and blue. I love bright colors. I never wear black or brown. I like yellow too.

What music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?

None. I have to have silence when I write.

I'm the same way. Growing up, the radio always needed to be on. Now I crave the quiet moments. :)

What are you most passionate about, other than writing?

About my Savior. And my family. Also, I love the outdoors and hate to see urban sprawl. In the United Kingdom the people know how to conserve their land because they have so little of it. They have cities—and country. None of the strip shopping malls that take of so much country.

Name some of your most favorite things.

I love hanging with friends, new ones as well as old ones. I love sports—where I’m playing, not watching. I love sailing, vacationing, travel. I love not having to dress-up, just wearing comfortable clothes—but I do like my make-up. Got to put on that face even if it’s paired with jeans and a sweat shirt. Life is made up of favorite things. Jesus said He came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. And He does!

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I like the process. I like becoming the characters and living in the settings. I like the adventure of finding out what’s going to happen. I love working with words. I like to rewrite and polish. I like it all.

Most days I do too, but there have been times when I'm ready to pull my hair out. Have you experienced writer’s block?

Nope. I’ve never experienced writer’s block!

Since that's the case, when is your next book due out, and what’s it about?

I wish I knew. I am working on three books right now and love them all. I have yet to send them out into the world of publishers.

Well, Anne, I wish you the best of success. That's for visiting my blog. It's been fun~

More about Anne... AnneGreene_tmb

ANNE GREENE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. She writes both historical and suspense novels. After falling in love with several countries and their people, Anne set a number of her books in exotic locations. She and her hero husband, Army Special Forces Colonel Larry Greene, have visited twenty-five countries, including three communist countries. A visit to Scotland resulted in her newest book release, Masquerade Marriage, published by White Rose Publishing. When she’s not deployed with her husband, Anne makes her home in McKinney, Texas. Two of her four children live nearby. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. In 1990, Anne graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Literary Studies from the University of Texas, Dallas. Her highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. To learn more of Anne and to view pictures from her extensive travel, visit her at AnneGreeneAuthor.com.

Thank you for stopping by today. If you'd like to leave a comment for Anne, please click on the green heading, "A VISIT WITH ANNE GREEN", at the beginning of this post.

~*~

Make sure to head back over to my blog on Feb. 17th. Guest blogger, Cheryl  Malandrinos, writes a special post just for us. 

Today I'd like to welcome...MaryManners_tmb(1)

Mary Manners was born in Chicago, Illinois, the second of five children. She knew she wanted to write from a very early age. Most of her earliest childhood memories are centered around writing (or ‘pretending’ to write). She attended the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and received a teaching degree in Special Education. Mary moved to East Tennessee following her college graduation and she has taught middle-school students for the past 25 years. She continued to write and enter contests (and her sweet daughter offered to kiss the envelope of each submission for good luck J ). Mary is married to Tim, the most supportive and patient man on the face of the earth. She has one daughter, Danni, and two sons named Tyler and Brad, who are both serving in the air force.

 TenderMercies_w4925_tmbRecently I read her latest release, Tender Mercies, and enjoyed it very much. This is how she describes her story...

Tender Mercies is the second-chance love story of Lexi Taylor and Cooper Jackson. Cooper was a star quarterback for the University of Tennessee before her went on to a lucrative NFL career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He and Lexi dated were childhood friends and dated through college. They planned to marry…until the lure of the NFL swept Cooper away. Lexi runs a youth center called Thursday’s child, and she hosts an online dating auction to raise funds for the program. When she’s matched with Cooper, who’s returned home following a career-threatening injury, the door is open to their reconciliation. But what Cooper doesn’t know is that Lexi’s been carrying a terrible secret since the day he left.

I won’t tell you the secret…you’ll have to read the book to find out J

As I mentioned earlier, I thought this was a great story that I didn't want to put down! Lexi, the heroine in this story, has such a warm heart and special presence throughout the plot. Even in her relationship with her nephew, whom she is raising in her sisters absence, was a testimony to who she was and how she strived to live her life for the Lord without judging others.

If only it was as easy to forgive herself for a past mistake! Cooper's arrival to town makes her address the issues this mistake has caused, and is still affecting her, to this very day.

This is a wonderful 'second-chances' plot that has faith, redemption, and loved masterfully weaved within its pages. Once again, Ms. Manners has written a novel that will stay with me for a long time.

  Below you'll find a great interview where Cheryl Malandrinos asks Mary some interesting questions, which first appeared at THE BOOK CONNECTION http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com

Interview: 

When did you begin writing? I began writing at birth J . No, really, my earliest memories are of writing (or ‘scribbling’ as it was in the beginning). It has always been a passion of mine—like breathing.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments? I love to get up super-early when the rest of the world is sleeping. My best writing is done then, and by eight o’clock when everyone is just beginning to wake, I feel like I still have a full day ahead of me—and I do. My favorite day is when I can wake up in the dark and write until dark that evening without any distractions. It rarely happens, but when it does it’s so sweet.

What inspired you to write it? My husband absolutely loves football, and Tennessee tradition runs deep here in the Knoxville area. I wanted to combine football and a love story and see what happened. I really like the result!

Who is your biggest supporter? Oh…definitely my husband and kids. Just a few weeks before I got ‘the email’ my daughter said—out of the blue as we were driving home from school one afternoon—"Mama, I know you’re gonna get published soon." Wow, that just warmed my heart and made my whole week!

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one? I don’t have an agent. I work directly with my editor at White Rose Publishing, Nicola Martinez. Nicola, by the way, is positively wonderful. I cannot imagine working for a kinder, more business-savvy person.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride? It was…all of the above and then some. I run marathons, and I truly believe the long-distance training has served me well on my pursuit to publication. It took a long, long time and billions of words and countless rejections, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. God’s timing is perfect, and I’m truly a testament to that. All the hard work has paid off, and I’m a worlds better writer today that I was when I began the journey.

What is up next for you? Oh…a lot. I have a Dollar Download, Brenna’s Choice, due out in February, and a novel, Light The Fire releasing in the spring. I also have another novel, a Dollar Download, a Free Read and a four book series in the works, so readers should check my website and the White Rose Publishing website often for updates.

BrennasChoice_w4957_tmb(1)             LightTheFire_w4862_tmb(1)

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more? Yes, I can be found at http://www.marymannersromance.com/www.MaryMannersRomance.com or on the author page at
www.WhiteRosePublishing.com I love to hear from my readers, and will be glad to mail information on upcoming releases to anyone who signs up on my contact page. Also, autographed print copies of my books can be ordered through my website.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? I do not have a trailer for Tender Mercies or Mended Heart, but there will be one for my upcoming release, Light The Fire. Watch for it on utube. Check my website for updates and further information.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere? My advice is simple—WRITE WRITE WRITE and believe in yourself. Don’t quit. That’s it.

Is there anything you would like to add? I’d like to say thanks to everyone who’s visited today and taken the time to get to know a bit about me and my books. I appreciate you!

--

Thank you for visiting today! If you'd like to leave a comment for Mary, click on the blog heading for today, "A visit with Mary Manners." I know she'd love to hear from you~

 

If you get the chance, please stop back

Feb. 1, for a visit with Anne Green. 

~ * ~

Is a little respect too much to ask at a parent’s funeral?

Apparently it is for Destiny May. Clay Gallagher is built like a small mountain and far more vocal than is fitting when he shows up late to her mother’s "going away party." When it turns out he’s not even at the right funeral, Destiny demands retribution in the form of an escape from the day’s dreary proceedings. Spending time with a handsome stranger who makes her laugh is more therapeutic than fighting with her overbearing family.

Clay finds Destiny beautiful, charming...and intelligent. So why is she stubbornly determined to open a Christian dating service? Clay has little respect for such a frivolous profession, and doesn’t think the small, conservative town of Castle Creek will welcome such a progressive business. But when Destiny is threatened by an anonymous caller who deeply resents her and what she does for a living, Clay makes it his business to keep the saucy redhead out of harm’s way.

Trouble is, spending time in her company weakens his defenses, and Destiny may be the one thing Clay can’t escape...if he even wants

Destiny’s Dream is available at White Rose Publishing and Amazon. DestinysDream_w4904_tmb

--

And that, dear friends, was an introduction to our featured author's latest release, Destiny's Dream by DELIA LATHAM.

Welcome!

Make sure you read all the way through this post because there are contests you can enter today.

About Delia: delialatham

Delia is a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. While she considers each of these roles important ones, she treasures most of all her role as a child of the King and an heir to the throne.

A former newspaper staff writer, Delia promised herself a novel for years, while raising her four children, working at various jobs and writing the occasional article, poem, or song. She fulfilled that promise when Vintage Romance Publishing released Goldeneyes in 2008. A Christian historical romance with a touch of the divine, Goldeneyes is set in the farm country of the author’s childhood, and therefore close to her heart. In 2010, White Rose Publishing released Yesterday’s Promise in electronic format, and Destiny’s Dream in print and e-format. A children’s book will be available early in 2011.

Delia grew up in Weedpatch, a tiny agricultural community near Bakersfield, in California’s San Joaquin Valley. She and her husband Johnny recently transplanted from that area to Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.

CONTESTS:

1
. The Daughters of Destiny contest will be underway as of December 1. In lieu of giveaways from blog to blog, Delia is encouraging all of you to visit
my contest page and take part in this giveaway. She also encourages you to tell your friends about it…and their friends…and theirs! J She say, "I have TWO absolutely stunning decorative bottles, AND a wonderful, aromatic anointing oil to go in them. The contest has two parts. One decorative bottle/anointing oil will be awarded in each part. There are ample opportunities build up your entries, so come on over and check it out!"

Find out more at:

Website

Blog

Facebook Reader Page

Newsletter

2. What I love about these blog tours is the opportunity for us as readers to encourage authors. So, if you leave a comment for Deila today (click on the bold title at the top of this post) or sign my guest book, I'll put your name in a hat to be drawn on 1/22/11. Winner will receive a complementary e-copy of Smuggler of the Heart. SmugglerOfTheHeart_w4206_680(1)

Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to come back on the 27th for an interview and visit with Inspirational Romance Author, Mary Manners!

I have a special treat for you today. Tanya Stowe, a talented Inspirational Romance Author, is joining us right here as a stop on her blog tour. Not only that, but she's giving away some prizes. (* Be sure to read below to find out more details.) Welcome, welcome, Tanya! To start, I have a question for you. Can you tell us a bit about your Christmas preparations?

I have 17 grandchildren so it’s difficult to buy Christmas presents for all of them plus their parents and friends and other family. I concentrate on special birthday presents throughout the year.

For Christmas, I try to create something unique for our family. My husband’s family sings a lot, including old folk songs I had never heard until I married him. For one Christmas, we looked up the history of those songs, wrote down the lyrics and put them in a bound book. Then my husband sang the songs and recorded them on a DVD to go with the book.

I collect Santa figures so one year, I wrote a short Christmas story about snow sprites and international Santas. My daughter-in-law’s sister did some lovely little illustrations and we bound it again.

I can’t tell you what I’m doing this year because my oldest granddaughters are following my blog tour and it might ruin the surprise, but I’ll give them a teaser! It will have some family history.

I bet with all those people in your family—and all the personal histories that could bring into play in your gift—whatever it is it's bound to be interesting!

Speaking of gifts, only of another kind... I had the privilege to read Tanya's book, Tender Touch, which she will be telling us more about today. For me, her characters came alive on the page. *If you'd like a chance to win this book as well, anyone who comments on this post today will have their name entered in a drawing to win two books…Tender Touch and Rodeo Redemption by fellow White Rose author, Teri Wilson. (Click on today's blog title above and be sure to leave your e-mail address so she can contact you if you're the lucky winner.)

TenderTouch_w4592_300
 Official Blurb:

Lacy Butler is graced with the gift of healing. She can save strangers…even those undeserving…yet fails to save her mother. Rejecting her gift, God, and society, she's content to live alone high above the mining town of Harperville. But her solitude is shattered when Royce Darnell builds a water flume through the middle of her mountain. To protect her sanctuary, Lacy sabotages his efforts. Little does she expect Royce to track her through a blizzard and end up half frozen to death on her doorstep. She can heal him, but why should she when he threatens to steal her peace...and her heart? With the livelihood of the miners and their families depending on his project, Royce refuses to stop building, no matter how good the reason or how lovely the masked saboteur turns out to be. Besides, he's convinced God wants Lacy to use her gift for good and not to hole up in her cabin like a reticent recluse afraid of human contact. But first, she must learn to trust, and Lacy doesn't trust anyone, not Royce and especially not God. Soon Royce finds himself in a battle to save the two things he loves the most…Harperville and Lacy. Is his faith strong enough to save them both?

Would you like to know what inspired this story? Well, then read on~

Years ago when my children were young, my husband discovered that he needed to return to school to complete some of his studies. His classes were intense and I found myself acting as a single parent to four young, rambunctious children. To help me out, my sister organized a long summer vacation touring the California Gold Country.

One sunny morning we set off in her motorhome, my four children, my sister and I. We visited Sutter’s Mill, Columbia, Angel’s Camp, most of the major gold camps of the past. I was struck by the beauty of the gold country, the mountains, caverns and rivers, so different from the deserts of Southern California where I lived.

We parked in many remote spots. During the day, we let the kids romp and play but at night, we locked the camper door, shut the blinds and put on a video for the kids. Yes, this was pre-DVD days! As the kids settled down and the night grew quiet, I wondered what it must have been like for those early pioneers alone, in this rugged land, filled with gold fever and determination. But mostly I wondered how these lovely little towns survived after all the gold fever passed. That’s where Lacy’s story started … twenty years ago on a more than memorable trip through California’s back country!

Here's a little excerpt for you to enjoy...

"Lacy--look at me," Royce commanded. She looked up. "Feel the music, Lacy. Just move with me."

Her muscles eased. Her breathing slowed. She seemed to sense the rhythm of his body and took her cues from the slight touch of his hand. He dipped, she followed. He swept, she flowed, her skirts swinging in a graceful arc behind them. They sailed around the room in perfect motion.

Royce smiled. "I knew you could do it."

"Thank you for teaching me," she murmured.

Royce looked at the woman in his arms. He'd known the minute she'd entered the room. He was shocked to see her, knowing instinctively that the crowd and the noise would not be to her liking. But, when he'd seen the pink of her cheeks and the high color of her eyes, he knew she was enjoying herself ... and that made him happy. He liked the little giggle she tried to suppress and the way her eyes lit when the dancers came near her. So he’d asked her to dance.

"Thank you," Lacy repeated.

"My pleasure, ma'am. Is there anything else I can do for you?"

Her features turned somber. "You can let me go, now, before it's too late."

She was asking him to do what he'd vowed to do. But looking at her lovely features, he knew he wouldn't do it.

"I can't, Lacy. I've tried and I can't."

The truth of his words flowed over both of them. They stood still in the middle of the dance floor. He wondered where the words had come from, and how he would take care of this fragile, beautiful creature in his arms.

Sounds great, huh? If you'd like to purchase a copy, please go to whiterosepublishing.com.

A bit about Tanya:

Tanya Stowe Photo 2

Tanya Stowe has written for the real estate industry, television, publicity firms and national publications. Her first novel, a time-travel adventure, Time’s Embrace, was released in the United States in 1993 and internationally released in 1995. Tanya has an eclectic career, doing market research, working at a performing arts center and for the American Cancer Society. Recently, Tanya contributed to a collection of women’s survival stories titled, Triumph! The Beautiful Face of Courage and collaborated on her first full-length play, a Christmas musical titled, The Night Before Christmas.

Tanya has been married to her high school sweetheart for thirty-seven years which is a romance story in itself. Currently they are visiting the East Coast and soon they will travel to the Middle East to begin a new adventure!

Where to find Tanya:

www.TanyaStowe.com

www.creativewritingforces.blogspot.com

www.stoweberry.blogspot.com

Thanks for joining us today! Be sure to come back by on Jan. 20th to meet my next featured author, Delia Latham.

 

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Good Morning, Cyber friends! Thanks for stopping by.

Today, author Joanne Troppello is joining us. She is the first of many guest authors I will be hosting over the next few months. If you'd like to leave her a comment, please click on the green title of this blog, "An interview with Joanne Troppello." We'd love to hear from you.

So, with out any further ado... Joanne thanks for visiting today. We're looking forward to getting to know a bit about you and your latest project. Let's start with a fun question. What music groups/artists do you enjoy listening to while you write?

I love contemporary country music, as well as worship music. However when I write, I listen to instrumental music, like Kenny G or Jim Brickman. Such instrumental music is very inspirational to me, especially when I’m working on my romance manuscripts. When I’m working on my mystery manuscripts, country music works well to keep me creative.

Wow—I would have never guessed country music and plotting a mystery blend together... but apparently, it works for you. That's so interesting, and speaking of interesting, I'm curious, what are you most passionate about, other than writing?

Writing is a very important part of my life, but my relationship with Jesus is my greatest passion. I have been a Christian since I was fourteen. Sharing my faith through what I write is an awesome privilege.

I'm with you on that. What are some of your most favorite things in life?

I love to spend time with my husband and family and friends. Relationships are very important to me. I am fortunate that my husband shares my love of movies. Aside from writing, I am an avid reader and have been from a young age. I also enjoy spending time outdoors and sightseeing at various historical sites.

Sounds like we have a bit in common. Okay, so now I have a few questions I'd like to ask you about your writing. What or who inspires you to write?

God inspires me to write. I already love to write and I want to share my faith, so writing fiction novels is the perfect opportunity for me to express myself. I am inspired by God’s hand upon my life and the lives of my family and friends. I want to share my faith with others and hopefully the stories I write will be an inspiration to people in their own lives and lead them to God.

Why did you begin writing?

I feel compelled to write. If I’m not writing, I am missing something in my life. I started writing in high school and later on felt confident enough in my writing to submit my first manuscript to a publisher in 2004 (years after graduating). I love to write and have many stories to tell and can’t wait every day to get to my laptop to see where my characters are taking me in their stories.

Ah, so you are a panzer. Have you experienced writer’s block? And if so, how did you cure it?

I have experienced writer’s block and it’s not always easy to break that and get back into the writing mode. When I experience writer’s block, I make myself sit in front of the computer and try to brainstorm or free write. Listening to music also helps inspire me. My best weapon is to take preventive measures by making sure to write every day, whether in my daily blog or my current WIP or other writing projects.

And speaking of writing, for those who are not familiar with Mr. Shipley’s Governess, the story you would like to feature today, would you please give us the blurb?

Will Sophie find peace from her past at the Shipley mansion? For Jane Austen enthusiasts, this is the story you just have to read. Sophie Baird is looking for a way to escape the painful reality of her parents’ tragic deaths. She can no longer live in their home because the memories are too painful. She decides to leave her position as a teacher at the local elementary school and takes a job as a tutor for Anastasia Shipley, a young girl with an illness who has never attended a day of school in her entire life. Sophie has walked away from God, angry that He chose not to save her parents. Unprepared for the emotional connection she makes with Sebastian Shipley, Anastasia’s father, Sophie gets swept up in an unexpected romance with him and a renewing of her relationship with God.

ShipleysGovernessCOVER

How did you decide on the setting?

The beginning third of the story takes place in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The rest of the story takes place in London, England and then in France, Italy and various parts of Ireland. Jane Austen is my favorite author of literature. I like to think that I have captured some of that classic feel to my story line. I have never been to the United Kingdom or to Italy or France, but I have always wanted to go and I think subconsciously, that is one reason I set a good portion of my story in those locations. I needed to do a great deal of research to accurately describe the locations, but I had fun learning about each country. Hopefully someday I’ll get to visit the places Sophie and Mr. Shipley visited.

I love to research as well, and I hope you will get the chance to visit those places, which you long to see.

Okay, so if someone is interested in purchasing your book, can you tell us how to go about it?

My book, Mr. Shipley’s Governess, is available through Wild Horse Press . For more information, visit my website: http://www.joannetroppello.weebly.com

Well, it's been good to get to know you a bit better, Joanne. I wish you the best of success with this story and your books to come.

For the rest of you out there, I know Joanne has a book trailer where you can learn more about this book over at her website.

Happy Tuesday!!!

Be sure to stop back by on Dec. 8th, when Tanya Stowe, author of Tender Touch will be a guest right here.

Please join us November 16th for a visit with...


Book Reviews

A Legacy of Lies
04/07/2012

In, A Legacy of Lies, author Stephenia McGee pens an intriguing story with a blend of romance, the supernatural, and faith. Unlike the typical "romance" novel, many characters play a part in this multi-threaded story, leaving a broader scope of impact.

The characterization is well done, the setting is clear, and although as I mentioned above there is that element of supernatural, at no time did the story seem too far-fetched to be believable.

If you are a person who loves to try to put the pieces of a puzzle together, I think you'll enjoy digging into this title. I'm giving this story a 4.5 rating out of 5 stars.

Mickey from YOU GOTTA READ REVIEWS said, "It is wonderful when you can read a book and find enjoyment in it and uncover life lessons as well. Teacher’s Plans is that book, one that can entertain and guide at the same time, certainly the best of both worlds."


To read the full review, please go to: http://yougottareadreviews.blogspot.com/search/label/Joann%20Carter

It's my first "YOU GOTTA READ" rating for Smuggler of the Heart. Check the review out here:

http://yougottareadreviews.blogspot.com/2009/09/review-smuggler-of-heart-by-joann.html

 

I just received word about a new review for Teacher's Plans. I think it's one of the nicest reviews I've ever been given. Not only for the rating, but for the content of the review itself.
You know, I pray over each one of my stories, that God would be glorified in and through them and that He would encourage the readers somehow. I know I'm no super wordsmith, grammar pro, or even particularly gifted writer, but what I have I give to Him. It's awesome to hear that somehow, someone was encouraged by reading this story. It's definitely a God thing!
 Feel free to leave a comment for the review there as well.

Lynn from reviewyourbook.com said, "...This is the second short story that I have read of Ms. Carters and I have great appreciation for her books and her writing style. She draws one right into the story line right along with her characters. This was an amazing book and if you would like a quick afternoon lunch hour read then I recommend By The Book."

Debra Graymore for bookreview said,

"...This is a  well written cozy mystery that will hold your interest from beginning to end. This is a great inspirational story."

To read the full review please go to http://bookreviewsbydebra.com/index.php/reviews.html?review=1899-Sweet-Rest

Lynn from ReviewYourBook.com said,

“…If your looking for a quick afternoon read with a wonderful story line then I highly recommend this book. An excellent read with high praise for the author.”

For the full review, please go to: ReviewYourBook.com (Christian Romance.)


JoAnn's writing news

Hidden Paths
12/15/2011

Wow... the day I've been waiting for the past few months is finally here... and nope, I don't mean Christmas. :) This is special in a different kind of way. HIDDEN PATHS, a young adult short novel is here!

What's it about? Julie Hemmingway, a recent college graduate, is preparing to leave for the mission field. When she meets Adam Jacobs, her well-organized plans begin to go awry. Will she fight to hold onto her own agenda, or open her heart to a new – yet, Hidden Path?

Purchase Link: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-235/Hidden-Paths-JoAnne-Carter/Detail.bok and it is also available at Amazon & B&N as well as other e-book retailers.

First review hot off the press: Tanya Stowe says, "In Hidden Paths, JoAnn Carter tackles two of Christianity’s most difficult questions: Am I doing God’s will or my own and why do bad things happen to good people? Ms. Carter sends main character, Julie Hemmingway, into life’s most difficult situations. When Julie’s life plans are abruptly changed, she leans on God…and her new found friend and employer, Adam. But when crisis strikes again, even Adam can’t find his way and Julie has only her faith to guide her. During Julie’s journey Ms. Carter takes us through tragedy, pain, romance and even a new born faith. It’s a joy to see how Julie meets those challenges head-on with her courage and faith intact. It’s a four-star story I definitely recommend!"

AND... for any of you YA inspiratioanl romance fans, PARADOX is now on sale through the end of the month for .99 cents! http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-168/JoAnne-Carter-Paradox/Detail.bok as well as Amazon and B&N. Scoop up your copy today.

Daniella
09/27/2011

Do you like inspirational romance with a touch of suspense? Then you might enjoy DANELLA. You can read the blurb/excerpt/and a bit about the scenes behind the story over at http://www.donnabsnow.blogspot.com/

In the mean time, here's a peek at her review ~ "Ms. Carter’s depiction of "real" people in extenuating circumstances is very well done.

Danielle, "Dani", is so much a picture of an everyday person that I couldn’t help but understand her every motivation. And her head over heels infatuation with her boss’s son is what nightmares and nervous anxiety are made of.


With a theme of industrial espionage running behind the developing romance, you’re never sure what might happen next."

Hope to see you there ~

imagesCA38DM3FWelcome, welcome! I'm so glad you could make it to this release party! Be sure to pop in and out as you are able since there will be several different post going up (about every half hour or so) and door prizes and such to give away. Let me start the morning by telling you a bit about Paradox

 

Blurb:

Lilly Holland’s passion is flowers-not people. All she’s ever dreamed of was a peaceful life surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. The exact opposite of what life is like at the touristy Holland Lodge in the small town of Paradox. So, why does she feel like God is nudging her to go? He, if anyone, should know better than ask this of her.

Ric Walker, Holland Lodge’s grounds keeper, is Lilly’s only link to sanity. His steady presence and strong faith encourages her through this trying situation. However, that sanity is threatened as she realizes her feelings for him are changing into something more, something deeper.

Will Lilly learn that Paradox is more than a town’s name, but rather a divine place where God can reveal His power, bring healing, and love, just when she thinks all hope is gone?

Excerpt:

It was only Tuesday evening... a few days on the job, but it already felt like a few years. The last thing she wanted to do was drive Sharon back to her condo in Jericho, but she had promised. R9ic rapped twice on the office door before popping his head in. "Hey."

"Hey, yourself."

He came in and leaned up against the doorframe. "The truck's loaded up."

Lilly shut down the computer. "Great, thanks for helping Sharon get her stuff out there."

"No problem." Ric looked over his shoulder and then back to Lilly. "I don't have any plans for the evening. Would you like me to help you ladies get Sharon's stuff unloaded?"

Lilly shook her head and looked at him -- really looked at him for the first time since he came into her office. His broad shoulders filled the doorway. The sheer breadth made her wonder if he could easily carry any burden life handed to him, physical or emotional. Tempted though she might be to share some of her concerns, she couldn't afford to grow to depend on him -- or anyone for that matter. Granted, it was nice to spend time with Ric and get to know him more. She valued his friendship and looked forward to the times when she could be with him, but this was only a temporary situation. There was no way she would ever let herself forget it. If she did -- she might lose sight of her own dreams -- dreams that didn't include Paradox when all was said and done. "You don't need to worry about us, Ric. We'll manage."

"Are you sure? It's no problem and it might be nice to have some company on the way back."

Lilly sighed. "You're right. It would be, but honestly I'd rather take care of this myself."

Ric stood up and took a few steps into the room. With him came the smell of clean soap and shaving cream. "It can be a mighty lonely life if you never let anyone get close to you, you know."

Shoot, he saw right through the walls that she was trying to erect to protect herself. "There are people I'm close to."

"Oh yeah, who?"

 

Purchase link:

http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-168/JoAnne-Carter-Paradox/Detail.bok

(It is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble)

Please keep reading below. I'll be posting at different times this morning! Leave a comment for your chance to win a door prize.

Paradox_animated_webbanner

If you are just arriving thanks so much for visiting! Sit back and join in the fun.

A few months ago, after I had written this story, I heard a song on the radio by Mercy Me, called Beautiful. The lyrics astounded me -- it was as if Lilly's story came to life in this song.

 

 

 

Perhaps today, you're feeling stuck in a rut and listening to the lie that you're not worth anything and what you've done in your past defines who you are today. Don't believe it. No matter where you are, what you've done, or who you are, your heavenly Father loves you -- dearly. Some days that feels like such a paradox! I love Merriam-Webster definition of that word, "a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is true"...such is the love of God. Why He loves me so is beyond my comprehension. Yet He does and it is my prayer that each person who reads this book will be challenged to consider that and what it means for your life.

Have you ever listened to a lie? What was it, and how did you overcome it? To leave a comment (click on the blog title 9:30 post) and your name will be entered in to periodic drawings throughout the morning.

--

A few places you may want to check out: Daniella Thorne,

http://www.thebalancedwriter.blogspot.com/ and Regina Andrews: http://reginaandrews.wordpress.com/

~ * ~ *~

Why YA?
05/16/2011

Welcome, welcome! Perhaps you've been here already this morning, or maybe this is your first time. Thanks for stopping by!

So, why YA? Lilly is 21 years old – older than the typical main character in a Young Adult story. So, why did I request it be marketed as a YA?

It is because people of any age often wrestle with that Lilly (the main character) struggles with. We fall into the trap of believing we need to earn God's favor and that couldn't be further from the truth. I want to encourage young, old, and in between to really think about what motivates us.

Another big issue in her life is past regrets. Even young women can become lost and caught up in mistakes she has made. Sometimes even wishing she could live someone else's life. (This ties in with the last post I wrote at 9:30 and you can find below.)

Therefore, I dedicated the book as follows

DEDICATION:

To every young woman who ever questioned why she was made the way she was and wished she could be someone different...

 

Please know you are beautiful the way you are!

 

If you were going to write a story (or perhaps you have) what age group and genre is your favorite?

 

To leave a comment (click on the blog title) and your name will be entered in to periodic drawings throughout the morning!

A review
05/16/2011

Christina Freeburn from The Self Rescue Princess said, "My heart ached for Lilly. I rooted for her. She wanted so much to be the self-rescuing princess that not only saved herself but her family as well. I cheered her on to be the full-fledge self-rescue princess I knew she could be. What I loved about Lilly was that she acknowledged the trap that gripped her, one of her own doing, and didn't place the blame on others.

I loved seeing how Lilly grew not only in her walk with God but in learning to trust and believe in herself and in the people that loved her. It was wonderful to read about an accomplished Christian young woman that faced her insecurities in order to be the woman God intended her to be."

To read the full review, please go to:

http://theselfrescueprincess.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/srp-review-paradox-by-joann-carter/#comment-24 ParadoxCoverArt72dpi(2)

A special moment...
05/16/2011

One day last month (during Holy Week), I was lying in bed in the early pre-dawn I heard a bird singing out a beautiful melody. Normally, this would make my heart happy, but then I'd just turn over and try to catch a few more moments of rest. But not this day... this day was extra special. Why? Because crazy as this may sound, this little birdie was lifting it's sweet praises in the midst of a thunderstorm. Amazing! God used two rather "ordinary" things to create and extraordinary experience for me—God showed me something awesome and real—a perfect picture of peace. Thunderclouds rolled in, lighting flashed across the dark gray sky, and rain teamed down the windowpane yet this bird was secure. In fact, it was more than secure, it was full of joy, willing and wanting to sing.

 

This sends Goosebumps up my spine as I think about it. It's a paradox and truly a God thing. Especially since this word, paradox, has been near and dear to my heart. In fact, I kid you not; this is the very title of the book that I wanted to share with you today. Yet, perhaps paradox is not a word you're familiar with, so let me explain. Paradox is flowers on snow, joy in the midst of trials, compassion for others as your own heart breaks. It's what many of us just celebrated, Easter-- Jesus laying down his life for me, someone sinful and undeserving. It's victory and life born out of death and suffering.

Through this experience, God reminded me that He delights in using those ordinary things to accomplish His marvelous purposes. And that's super news! If He can use Fishermen, tax collectors, birds, and thunderstorms, I know He can use me—a very average, ordinary person to do extraordinary things for Him. Perhaps you're feeling "ordinary" today. Take heart, it's through that very thing that God can show His creativity, His power, and even His love just like He did for me in the midst of this early mornings storm.

How about you, have you ever had one of the "Ah-ha" moments?

(Leave your comment by clicking on the heading A special moment... then scrolling down to the end of this post.)

A Mission trip to Mexico!
Yes, your read that right. This summer, our family is headed to serve in Mexico. Writing wise, in the middle of our time away, The Floating Palace ~ A Historical Inspirational Romance will be released. (July 15, 2011) You can check it out here~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDcuTF8v9bg
Then in December, Hidden Paths another Young Adult Inspirational Romance will release through Desert Breeze Publishing. What a great way to finish up 2011, huh?
God has been so faithful.

There are not too many husbands out there that would give two thumbs up to having his wife pursue a dream of writing when he knows most likely this will not be an endeavor which will advance the families finances. In fact, it could very well be the opposite. J However, this September, when the boys all went back to school, I mentioned to my husband what I would like to do for the year 2011 and not only did he gave me his blessing, but he encouraged me to do it. What a guy, huh?

 

 

To be honest, after the Roar'in 20 Series wraps up next year, I'm not sure what the future will hold. But I am confidant that the Lord will lead me one day at a time.

 

Speaking of my hubby, we're going to have a special lunch today. Beef & broccoli and Ben & Jerry's ice cream to top it off! It' been a crazy fun morning. Thanks for sharing it with me!

Tomorrow from 9-12 noon there's going to be a release party right here for Paradox with fun door prizes, different little tidbits about the story and a few other fun things though out the morning.

I hope you can join us. ParadoxCoverArt72dpi

Purchase link: http://www.whiterosepublishing.com/Teacher39S-Plans

Have you ever been in what you thought was a disastrous situation--only to turn out to be one of the biggest blessings in your life? As I thought about that, this story started to coming to life for me. Truly, God's ways are higher than ours. This book was a fun outlet for me to share and explore just one way that we could see that come to be...

Blurb: When Amanda Manning, an exhausted, short-handed special education teacher, is given an assistant, things don't turn out as she planned. Her new assistant is anything but what Amanda expected—most strikingly, a male.

Tracy Atkins secured a job as a teacher's assistant, but will he be able to secure the hand of the woman he is falling in love with? Especially when she finds out about the secret he is hiding?

Come join their adventure as both Amanda and Tracy learn that God's plans are far better than their own. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Read an excerpt!
Amanda reached out to shake his hand when his words hit her full force. She withdrew her hand like she just touched fire and squeaked, "You’re who?"

"I’m your new assistant. The principal said to meet you here."

Silence engulfed the room. Tracy shifted his weight to one hip, looking slightly uncomfortable for the first time. "He said you would be expecting me."

Amanda tried to cover up her shock. "Um, right…it’s just…" You’re a man—not just any man—a drop dead gorgeous man! She felt like she was drowning with no way out; she needed time to gather her wits. "Were you by any chance at an interview in the Board of Education building on June 13th?"

Tracy laughed. "I think my first impression of you was correct after all."

Read the Reviews!

"If your looking for a quick afternoon read with a wonderful story line then I highly recommend this book. An excellent read with high praise for the author."
--Reviewyourbook.com

"It is wonderful when you can read a book and find enjoyment in it and uncover life lessons as well. Teacher’s Plans is that book, one that can entertain and guide at the same time, certainly the best of both worlds."
--You Gotta Read Reviews

"Ms. JoAnn Carter has, once again, written a great inspirational book with a wonderful plot... I loved the way Carter told this story. It was one of the best I’ve read in a long while."
--The Romance Studio

Book group discussion questions are available for this title at whiterosepublishing.com

online_signing_banner(1)

75 Christian Authors * One Amazing Online Event

The Christian Review of Books in conjunction with CrossPurposes Bookstore
is excited to announce the first annual Christmas Book Signing Bash.

Beginning on the day after Thanksgiving and lasting ten days (26 November
- 7 December), this book signing will be an unprecedented online event. 75
of today’s favorite Christian Authors have come together to answer
questions, chat with their readers, and offer signed copies of their
books—all without leaving the comforts of home and hearth!

Readers can search by author, title, or genre at the Christian Review of
Books (www.ChristianReviewofBooks.com) and then follow the purchase links
to CrossPurposes Bookstore (www.CrossPurposesBooks.com) and buy autographed
copies of each book featured. The authors will sign the books and ship them
to the customers.

For a full list of participating authors, visit the CRoB.

It's been about a year and a half (or more) of submitting many things and receiving lots of rejection slips... so in late Aug. I went back through a list of possible publishers to bug--ah, I mean submit to. :) Then along comes a random e-mail from a dear friend mentioning a publisher I had on that list, Desert Breeze Publishing.

Fast forward a month.

Rejection letter for The Floating Palace rec'd 10/2/10  - Query sent to Desert Breeze Pub. 10/2/10 for a historical series. (I'm currently working on book 2) That same day I get an e-mail stating not to expect to hear back until July 2010.

GULP! Looks like another possible dead-end. 10/5/10 an e-mail arrives... they like the series! UNBELIEVABLE! I can't wait to see what God will do next. I can only sit in this roller-coaster seat and enjoy the ride. 

Sale Alert!
06/02/2010

Buy Smuggler of the Heart for $2.00 and get Daniella for 25% off! (Follow the link below.)

http://www.whiterosepublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=1273

Gabe’s father bequeathed a legacy. There's only one problem. That person is a stranger, and Gabe needs to find this person in a rather unconventional way. Longing for closure after losing her grandfather, Bridget heads to Barnegat lighthouse. It is there that she notices an abandoned skiff drifting out in the distance. Can this one small object draw two unsuspecting hearts together...

FINDERS KEEPERS, a free short story is now available here:
http://www.whiterosepublishing.com/product_info.php?cPath=156&products_id=1332

Hi folks,

Tomorrow, 5/22/10, DANIELLA is being spotlighted at http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

Hope you can stop by for a minute or two.

Nights and Weekends will be spotlighting me on their web site 3/1/2010. If you get the chance, please stop by. http://www.nightsandweekends.com/articles/10/NW1000082.php

Well, tonight I worked on a book trailer for Daniella. If you'd like to see it, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rExz49PPw_4

A release date has been set for DANIELLA... Dec. 18, 2009!

Just in time for Christmas. :)

Hi Friends~

I have some good news. A contract for DANIELLA has been offered from White Rose Publishing! I'll let you know more details soon.

 

Yesterday, I was offered a contract through White Rose Publishing on Smuggler of the Heart. I'll be working with a wonderful editor, Elizabeth West. I'll let you know when I have any more details on this short story.

Borders Express
05/15/2009

I heard from Borders Express at University Mall today. They are in the process of ordering copies of Teacher's Plans and would like to discuss with the possibility of having a reading/signing in their store this summer. I'll keep you posted if this works out. Perhaps I'll get to meet you at the mall. :) 

The release date for By the Book has been set for June 26, 2009. For more information go to whiterosepublishing.com

Hi folks!

 The first copies of TEACHER'S PLANS were delievered to my door-step today. Contact me to get your copy. :)

By the Book
03/16/2009

Today, White Rose Publishing has offered me a contract on By the Book. For those of you who are familiar with my writing, you will realize this will be a re-release of a story published two years ago through By Grace Publishing.

I'm thankful for this opportunity. It's going to be the same fun plot, but polished a bit more. Hopefully, this will reflect my growth as a writer as well as the quality of editing staff at White Rose Publishing.

To God be the glory!

I just heard back from my editor of Sweet Rest. She said the release date will be available in about three weeks. I'll keep you posted on those developments as they happen.

Have a great week!

This morning I've been offerd a contract on SWEET REST through The Wild Rose Press. Due to the lenght of this manuscipt, it will be released as an e-book. I'll give you more detail as soon as I know more.

Release information for Teacher's Plans 

ISBN: 1-60154-412-X , Print ISBN 13: 9781601544124 Digital Release Date: 2009-04-17 (Digital Price: 6.00) Print Release Date: 2009-04-17 (Print Price: 11.99)

Blurb: When Amanda Manning, an exhausted, short-handed special education teacher, is given an assistant, things don't turn out as she planned. Her new assistant is anything but what Amanda expected—most strikingly, a male. Tracy Atkins secured a job as a teacher's assistant, but will he be able to secure the hand of the woman he is falling in love with? Especially when she finds out about the secret he is hiding? Come join their adventure as both Amanda and Tracy learn that God's plans are far better than their own. (Jeremiah 29:11

Fun publicity news
10/03/2008

CMI, the local Christian radio station, asked if I would review books for them. If that wasn't great enough, they said they'd like to start off the sagment by announcing me, not as so and so's mom, or the youth pastors wife, or any thing like that but as an... author/speaker. 
I'm not very good at promoting my work. It's awsome to see God's taking care of it for me in ways that I would have never imagined. 
Then, on Monday I e-mailed the local schools offering a copy of Professor Wampum for the library and making myself available to them to speak. No sooner had I hit the send key and the Middle School called me up all excited and asked if I would come speak to a group of eighty some kids in May. I don't know what God has in store yet for that meeting, but pray that the kids would see Christ in me.


Catching up with you

Just like last month, http://www.christianfictionbookreviews.org/2012/10/win-kindle-fire-hd-seriously.html is giving away a FIRE KINDLE. Be sure to stop by their web page for complete details.

I found the neatest website. It often list books that are free for a limited time on Amazon and... isn't this awesome?! (I copied it from their site. For more information go directly to http://www.christianfictionbookreviews.org/2012/09/300-kindle-shopping-spree_5.html

IT'S THE $300 KINDLE SHOPPING SPREE!
made possible by the generosity of these authors



THE WINNER WILL RECEIVE A $300 GIFT CARD FOR AMAZON

It's a new year! Don't you just love fresh starts and new beginnings? It's the one time of year where I sit down and take stock of what has been accomplished and what I'd like to see accomplished.

This year I had a shocker. As I sat down to write goals and pray over my writing and what direction God wants me to go in, God showed me something that still has my head spinning. You know, I've always said that I wanted to write to be a pen in God's hands -- to touch other's lives and encourage their faith. I believed that, and yet, gulp... I found myself judging my success (or lack of) by the numbers of books I sold. In fact, so much so that I'm ashamed to say, I became addicted to checking my books rankings at least once a day and sometimes five or six times – within a 24 hour period. (I know – nothing like overkill!) Why is it so easy to get our eyes off the goal and become so sidetracked?

I knew I was going to need some help. I told my husband and one of my sons, who was sitting with us at that time, about my desire to lay my books, once again, at the foot of the cross. It is still my desire to allow God to use them however He sees fit. I asked Glenn and Jonathan to help me stay accountable. They gladly said yes and we made a deal. So, this is what we came up with... if I look at my books more than once a week, I need to wash and dry the dishes when it's their turn. And you know what? Granted, we're only three days into the year, but it's kept me on track so far. J

I realize without Christ, none of my "work" has eternal value. For 2012, I want to have a soft heart towards God. I want to completely give my writing – any and everything I do -- to Him. And if He wills, and it's time to move on from writing to something different, I want to be willing to give it up. For I know that when I'm walking in fellowship and obedience – that's where He will be able to use me to be His hands and feet and bring about His purposes in my life.

What does that mean for my writing goals for 2012? Well, I'm going to finish the contracted project I have now and then I plan on just waiting on the Lord. I'm confident that He will direct my path. With a new project in the works or not, if I can keep my eyes fixed on Him, it's going to be an awesome year!

Passion for Christ
02/06/2011

 Recently, I was sitting somewhere listening to a speaker. He was obviously intelligent and well versed but I found my mind wandering—yet again. No matter how hard I tried to stay focused, it felt like the words were all strung together in one long stream of monotone.

Why?

 I looked around me and glassy stares confirmed my suspicion... I wasn't the only one having difficulties embracing this opportunity to learn. As I mulled over the situation, I suddenly thought about the Super Bowl that millions will watch in a few hours. For those who enjoy football, I bet there will not be one pair of sleepy eyes fixed on the screen, no feelings of wanting to be anywhere else, no trouble sitting still. Rather the room will feel like it's charged with expectancy, hope, and frustration when distractions arise. The difference you ask? Passion... passion for the game, your favorite players, for the sense of competition.football

Here's another example for those who may not be football fans; have you ever had the chance to watch someone play a musical instrument—someone who had the ability, but no love or inner glow that shines when they play? It's so different that watching someone caress an instrument with their fingers and play from their heart. And you know what... even if they are playing the exact same music, after a bit of time has passed, I find my interest in the first musician will quickly wane, where as I could listen to the second one all day.

That made me think about my relationship with Jesus. Am I still as passionate about Him as I once was...as passionate as those millions of sports spectators today that will spend their precious time watching the Super Bowl or that talented musician that desires to spend countless hours in practice? Have I nurtured my spirit by sitting at His feet, basking in His love, and enjoying His fellowship? Or have I slipped into walking around like a spiritual zombie—living on auto-pilot rather than having a living, vibrant faith born out of a love for Christ. If I have any hopes of making a difference in this world and reaching others for Christ, I need to rekindle my first love. It's out of my love for Him that other's lives can be impacted with the gospel. If not, I will only be like a clanging cymbal or sounding brass. Sure, I can make lots of noise, but no one will want hear me.

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. Let' s make sure we take the time to remember the special love that God has for us and in return, lets respond with a rekindled passion for Him and the world around us.

I found this today on verseoftheday.com and wanted to share it with you...

Today's Verse

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Thoughts on Today's Verse...

Sometimes there is nothing left for us to do except praise God! While we may sometimes dream of doing great things for God and his Kingdom, the dreams aren't as big as God's plans. While we may be richly talented, influential, powerful, or rich, these are merely tools in God's hands, not symbols of our sufficiency. "God is able" has to be one of the best and most accurate phrases in the Bible. But this time, it's said about his work in you in me. He is able to do much more than we imagine to work through and in us. What can we say to that? Hallelujah!
~ VERSEOFTHEDAY.COM

Check this out...
12/10/2010

Tina Pinson's running an awesome contest where you can win a Nook! Check it out here... http://tinapinson.blogspot.com/p/contests.html

Perhaps you've written one story—or a hundred—but I think we've all reach times when we feel like we're at the end of our rope and want to give up, or at least question will I ever sell this book?!

I know I've been there, even quite recently. I kept waiting for news—good news—not the pile of growing rejection slips. But it wasn't happening. Even worse, I found that instead of focusing on the joy of writing I had become side tracked. Somewhere along the line, my goals had shifted from enjoying the writing process to making a sale. Instead of rejoicing with my friends over a contract awarded, I began to cringe and wonder will my turn ever come? That's when I knew something was wrong—dreadfully wrong. Where did the love for writing—not to mention my fellow writers—go?

It wasn't until I hit this place, going full speed mind you, that I realized God was up to something. Whether I was ever offered another contract or not, He was using this time to tenderly teach me some hard lessons.

  1. Love: I can't let the rejection letter's pull me down. Instead, I need to embrace to love of writing. Write for the love the craft and out of my love for the Lord.
  2. Hope: With each new proposal I send out, I'm not going to give up on hope. Writing is fickle. What one person loves, another may reject. Its about finding the right person as God allows. You never know when a window or door will open.
  3. Patience: Writing has stretched me in areas of patience. Instead of cringing over the length of time a publisher is holding my story, I can use this time to work on another project.
  4. Joy: I don't want to loose the joy of my project and get bogged down with the passing of time. Instead, I'll choose to enjoy each and every moment of this growing process and seek out lessons that the Lord wants me to learn
  5. Peace: This gives me great peace...knowing as I alluded to above, if God wants my story published, it will in be--in His good and perfect timing.
  6. Kindness: It's now always easy showing kindness to folks who criticize your work.(I'm not referring to the helpful edits that editors do, rather the general remarks that are made, which make you feel like your manuscript is only fit for the trash.) I have found in writing, I need to have thick skin. I'll glean what I can from their comments, perhaps they have a valid point(s)—but if that's not the case, I'm choosing to let their personal opinion go. After all, what is one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Did you ever think God could use the writing process to help us learn more about the Fruits of the Spirit? What a totally creative and awesome God we serve! Don't grow weary in your writing. Instead, lets choose today to do our best for the Lord—and allow Him to accomplish His purposes in our lives.

Best wishes on your personal writing success.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
— Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

I have a rather uncomfortable confession to make… I’ve just discovered I’m a NY Yankee hater. Oh, not for the typical reasons one might hate a baseball team, but rather because of how it seems to steal my husband away. That’s why when I came to the verse in Teri Wilson’s latest release, Rodeo Redemption, the verse about “enjoying the wife of your youth” made me stop and think. God wants us to work on keeping the romance alive in our own marriages. However, life isn’t a work of fiction. Happily ever after is not guaranteed. It’s hard work!

For those who are married, I don’t know where you’re at in your marriage relationship--you may be on a hill top or in a valley--but one thing I do know…God does care. He doesn’t just want us to survive in our marriage, but to thrive.

Let’s take a few moments today to pray for our spouse, our family and for those who are struggling around us~

*That God would give us love when we feel less then loving

*That He would give us words to communicate rather than just “blow off steam”

*That we would have a soft heart and tenderness towards our spouse.

*That rather than focusing and finding flaws in our mate, we would remember and enjoy the wife/husband of our youth.

Children... I don't know if you have any children of your own or not, but it never ceases to amaze me how much I can learn from them. Here's a few examples. Last week I was caring for a boy who has sever disabilities. This fellow only has one arm, his vocabulary consists of about four words, he has health issues and... he has the most beautiful smile in the whole world. The look on his face when you play "peek-a-boo" with him--well, the only equivalent I can think of would be like me being offered a million dollar contract for a book. Such joy!
On the 4th of July, we headed over to a friends house for a BBQ. All the children we're splish-splashing in the pool. A mother came up to where I was standing and asked if the water was cold. She went on to explain that she won't get near a pool unless it's bath temperature. The kids however, didn't worry about the temperature, they are so resilient. When and why did we lose that?
Then this morning, my husband, one of my sons and I went jogging. Now you need to understand, here in Vermont, our summers are very short and heat is not something we need to deal with on a regular basis. But...yesterday my husband dug out our window unit air conditioner to deal with this "heat wave." Need I say more? OK...so back to today. I stepped one foot out of the house and saw the haze across the sky and thought to myself, This is NOT going to be fun. Off we go-- down around the bend, up a hill and wham... I felt like I was trying to stuff a brick wall into my lungs. The humidity was just too much! That's when I looked at my son next to me who turned and gave me a bright grin. "It's a little hot today, huh?"
I groaned, "I little?!"
Kids don't let things zap their energy.
There are so many other great lessons to learn as we watch the children around us, but even just these few made me stop and think of the passages in the Bible where it says how we need to embrace the simplicity of life to understand it.  
Matthew 18:2-6; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17 (The Message)
Matthew 18:2-6
2-5For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me. 6-7"But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you'll soon wish you hadn't. You'd be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don't have to make it worse―and it's doomsday to you if you do.
 
Mark 10:15
13-16The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.
Luke 18:17
15-17People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. "Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."
 
Perhaps today you're feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. I'd like to encourage you to remember the beauty in simple pleasures and joys that the Lord surrounds us with everyday. Today, lets look at things with the wonder and joy of a child.
 

Joyfully,

JoAnn

This is neat. As I mentioned yesterday, our family has just returned from a trip to Washington D.C. While running around yesterday morning to pick up some groceries and a wireless router, I heard a program on the Christian Radio, "Joni and Friends."
Guess what she was talking about—the Washington Monument and how in our nation’s capitol, where issues of faith and God are often under attack, the rocks declare His glory—just as the Bible says. How awesome it was to experience this first hand and also to be reminded of our we need to keep our nation and our leaders in our prayers.
If you’d like more information about the broadcast that I heard…
Her web page says, "Thursday, May 6 is National Day of Prayer for the US, so we've posted a special video. In this video I share about the words "Laus Deo" which are carved in the stone of our nation's prominent Washington Monument. It's pretty amazing that God has preserved this testimony and others on the stone monuments and buildings right there in Washington D.C., our nation's capitol. The rocks and monuments are declaring the greatness of God, so join me in asking God to please move in the hearts of the people of our nation this week as we celebrate National Day of Prayer."
Here’s a few different photos (with some of those stones of remembrance in the background) from our vacation…

Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."


When our sons were very young, my mother would often say, "For every age the boys will hit, you'll find good things about it and some difficulties." And you know what--she was 100% right!

I find this is true for more than just developmental stages. It's true for life in general. When things seem dark and dismal, there is a blessing to be found even there. God invites us to draw near to Him, and He will draw near to us. God is our Rock and Fortress, our stronghold in the time of trouble. He takes the winter of our hearts and warms us with His love, fresh and pure like the spring breeze.

 

Do you have any "spring" stories to share about how God has warmed your heart and where you've seen Him at work in your life?

027

I've been praying lately about the future. I'm unsure of where and what I'm supposed to be doing. Should I continue to write stories, or is it time to move on?

Would you please pray along side me? Pray for God's direction in my life as I apply for a "regular" job. That if it's His will-- that doors would be open-- and if it's not, that the door would stay firmly closed.

Candy, Anyone?
03/04/2010

Easter Bunnies, Easter Baskets, candy…candy…candy…

This year, I’m thankful there are so many of these sweets around. It’s not that I want to eat it--well, perhaps that's not totally true--but rather what it reminds me of.

A few weeks ago at Church, a father relayed this true story; he was driving in his car with his son, who happened to have a teenaged size sweet tooth. In this young man’s pocket was a box of Jr. mints and every so often, he would pop one in his mouth. After a while, he turned to his dad and said, "Would you like a piece?"

With a sudden brain storm, the father turned to his son, "Sure."

The boy handed over his treasure and with that, the father rolled down the window and threw the candy out.

"What ya do that for?" the son demanded.

The wise father said, "You know, some times God gives us gifts as well. However, rather than enjoy them-we simply ignore them or throw them away."

I couldn’t get this man’s simple, spur-of-the-moment object lesson out of my mind. I though about it in relation to many aspects of my life, even my writing. Like this young man, sometimes I ignore and/or take for granted what God has entrusted to me. Worse than that, I realized that at times, I don’t even acknowledge that any gifts, abilities, and treasures I have are from God. I did nothing to earn them--it’s not about me, yet if I’m not careful, I find myself taking the glory. Oh, my foolish pride!

What would the world look like if His children didn’t ignore or abuse the gifts He’s given us, but offered them back to Him, giving Him the honor and glory? As we prepare for this Easter season, may our hearts be open to receive and acknowledge all the good gifts God has given us…starting with His Son, Jesus.

The next time you see a piece of candy, I hope you’ll think of this man’s story, and check your hearts window. What are you doing with the treasures God has given to you?

I've had the honor to be spotlighted over at Nights and Weekends. Check it out here: http://www.nightsandweekends.com/articles/10/NW1000082.php 

Join us White Rose Publishing's readers loop for this free read and many more... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WhiteRosePublishing/

Hamster Wheel by: JoAnn Carter

Veterinarian, Rachel Warren has hit a wall in her spiritual life. She’s decided that she is the one that needs to look out for "Numero Uno." That is until Myles Bowden, shows up at Rachel’s office with the puppy he’s looking after for his niece. What is it about him that makes her feel she needs someone to take care of her? And would it bother her enough to stick around to see if he may be the man who can help?

Our home school writer's group took up the challenge and has written Professor Wampum's Experiment 2. If you'd like to see how the story contiued, we've put it up on LuLu so our friends could enjoy it as well. (Download is $1.00)

 http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/professor-wampums-experiment-2/7257768  

God at work
02/03/2009

God’s been doing some pretty amazing things in my life. I stand in awe when I catch glimpses of Him at work. I wanted to share a few things in regards to my writing.

First, as you all know, By Grace Publishing went out of business in December—but perhaps I should back up even further. In 2006 I sent a book proposal to them for By the Book. The publisher/owner contacted me that she was interested in my story. This was the first time someone showed serious interest in my work and I was ecstatic!

Over the course of the next year, I contracted two more manuscripts with them—but I never felt like my writing was where it needed to be. I noticed silly editing errors that I missed before it went to print. As I grew in my writing skills, I cringed each time I opened a cover realizing how far my skills had fallen short of where they should have been. It was then that I realized if I wanted to write my best for the Lord, I needed to learn more. With that intent, even before I knew By Grace was closing, I sent proposals to other publishers. To my amazement, another e-publisher, The Wild Rose Press/ White Rose Imprint, offered me a contract. Mind you, this is still another fairly small publishing house, but not nearly as small as By Grace. The editing help I received there was helpful. I feel more at peace about the books I have contracted, which will be released this year.

So, let me fast forward a bit. Now it’s January and I have my rights back from the books I had contracted with By Grace. I query’d the first book I ever sold, By the Book to TWPR. Last week, I heard back from them and it wasn’t the news that every writer wants to hear, but rather, ‘it’s good, BUT…’

However, it’s the news I needed to hear. This editor seems really on the ball. I read through her suggestions and I’m going to start on my rewrites. I don’t know if they’ll offer me a contract when that’s done, but I will have a stronger story either way. J

I think that God is up to some amazing things. I’m looking forward to learning more about the craft of writing as I work with this skilled professional. It’s still my dream to write for a large publishing house like Barbour or Bethany House, but it is in God’s hands. If He wants me there, I’ll get there in His timing.

Guest Book
01/22/2009

Hot Dog! I finally was able to get my guest book up and running again. (My web server has added a saftey feature so that yucky spam won't show up on my website.) If you have the chance, I'd love to hear from you!

Sad news
12/09/2008

My mother-in-law passed away this moring. Please keep my husband and our family in your prayers.

Something New
10/30/2008

Today, the first book review for CMI has been posted. If you get the chance, check it out in my "links".

How cool is this?!
10/08/2008

Today, the public middle school invited me to come speak to a group of students about... inspirational fiction. I'm so excited about this oppertunity. Especially since our Moms In Touch group has been praying for this very school. Please pray with me that my light would shine brightly and that God would be glorified through my time there.

Book Fair
09/12/2008

Tomorrow, for our Fall kick-off, our local ACW chapter is heading into Burlington for a Book Fair to attend two workshops. 

I'm so blessed to be a part of my writer's group. If you also enjoy the craft of writing, I hope you have a group of friends that can encourage you, stretch you, and pray with you. If not, why not find one in your area today? You won't be sorry. :)   

Fall is just around the corner, and I’m looking forward to digging into my writing projects. Boy, have I missed writing! Here’s what’s on my plate for the fall/winter season…

  1. Teacher’s Plans is in the editing & production process at The Wild Rose Press. I don’t have a release date set yet, but think I will hear back about that soon.
  2. The Floating Palace is in the re-writing phase so I can send it to the publisher for consideration.
  3. Hidden Paths needs some re-writing and editing touches.
  4. The Hamster Wheel I’m hoping to finish this story up to send to a publisher in 2009’.

I have a lot more that I’d like to do, but I don’t want to make my "To-Do" list so long that it becomes overwhelming. J


Excerpts and reviews

Review for Daniella
05/18/2010

Check out this neat review for DANIELLA on http://my-book-bag.blogspot.com/

Got Romance Reviews has posted a review for Daniella. You can read the review here:

http://gotromancereviews.blogspot.com/2010/01/daniella-by-joann-carter.html

Wow... God's amazing! I was feeling kinda blue for a few reasons...
1. I found out this morning that my son's friend--his brother, who is about 11 has been placed on hospice with just a few days left to live.
2. The friend I went to the Philly conference with has been so discouraged since she returned that she hasn't written anything since.
3. I'm struggling with the story I'm working on which is not an inspirational romance. The emotions are raw (a husband has been deployed and the main character is left to raise her boys on her own). Oh... how I'd rather be working on a romance!
Anyway, all that said, I just happened to plug into the google search engine Smuggler of the Heart to see what would happen and the following greeted me..
It's another instance of God's timing!

Brenda Talley from THE ROMANCE STUDIO has given TEACHER'S PLANS a five heart review!

"... Ms. JoAnn Carter has, once again, written a great inspirational book with a wonderful plot. These two characters were so well matched that it was amazing watching their lives intertwine. Both of these young people loved the Lord and actively pursued their life’s decisions to honor that commitment. Both were strong individuals that felt a connection even though it was certainly strange with her the lead teacher and him, obviously an executive-type, answering to her.

The year was unusual to say the least. Their friends played a big role in this storyline. The church people and beliefs were obvious, but were not offensive at all. I loved the way Carter told this story. It was one of the best I’ve read in a long while.

I highly recommend this book and this author. I can guarantee a great read and an author who will become a “must-read” in your library. This book can be read by all age groups and is certainly one to look forward to. And the ending was definitely a surprise. "

Here's a short excerpt from SWEET REST

(c)JoAnn Carter 2009 

Her resolve was fixed. "I'll come and help you."

"No," he said firmly as if he had already made up his mind. "I don't want you to

get hurt."

No one said 'no' to Leah. She jut her chin up. "I may be short, but I can take care

of myself. Besides, I know I'll be able to help you solve this mystery."

Mike held up his hands as if in self-defense. "I'd feel responsible for you. There're too many unknowns I'm uncomfortable with."

She put her hand on his arm and waited until his blue eyes connected with hers. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure."

"Do you have any qualms about the project I asked you to shoot for me and BeautyPlus?"

He shook his head. "Not from the details you gave me."

"Good. Then book me a flight because I'm going with you. Together we can find

Bob."

Leah had to hand it to Mike. Not many could hold her stare for as long as he did.

She hated the fact that she was the first to look away.

Mike sighed and she held her breath.

After what seemed like a lifetime he rose from the bench and said, "We aren't

the professionals. Any signs of danger and you're on the first flight home. Got it?"

Well, not really, but she wasn't about to throw away her only chance. She nodded as if she were in total agreement with him.

With a resigned sigh, Mike softly said, "I'll see what I can do."

http://www.onceuponaromance.net/WinterWondersReview.htm

Robyn, from Once Upon A Romance reviewed Winter Wonders. 

"...A cozy story that makes you feel good when you read it. Tim and Samantha have to overcome some issues from the past, but you root for them the entire time. The ending is pure romance. I loved the story and the promise for tomorrow that is found at the end of it."

For the full review, please go to the link posted above. 

 

This is an excerpt from SMUGGLER OF THE HEART

(c) 2008 by JoAnn Carter (You can win an e-copy of this short story featured in By Grace Publishing's 2008' "Winter Wonders" anthology. See my home page for more details.)

“Follow me.” Tim laid out a blanket, sat down, and patted the place beside him. Samantha joined him. The lights from the sleigh cast a dim, romantic shadow over their blanket. “I have something for you.” Tim unzipped his backpack and low and behold, there was the chest.
“What…what are you doing with that?”
“Your grandmother gave it to me.”
“Do you…do you know the story?”
His eyes sparkled. “I do. I couldn’t let you go again without you realizing what you mean to me.” Tim held it out to her. “Here, open it.”
It couldn’t be a ring. We hardly know each other anymore. He’s going to be a youth pastor now, and yet it feels as if we never were apart.
She inched the chest up; half hoping it was a ring and half not. Inside a letter rested upon a pile of silk cloth.
Tim smiled. “Disappointed?”
“What is it?”
“Just something for you to take back to New Jersey.”
It was as if the clock struck midnight and her carriage was now a pumpkin. The reality of life reared its ugly head. Yes, back to New Jersey.

Buried Treasure

By: J.C. Carter (c) 2008

 

Glenn swatted the dust bunnies floating near his face as he rummaged through the battered trunk. He could almost hear his mom saying, "It’s 2508. You’d think by now some genius would have made an invention to stop dust!" Nose twitching and eyes itching, a black and silver item caught his attention.

His heart hammered.

Something told him this wasn’t another piece of junk. This was special. He gingerly lifted out the rectangular shaped object. It was about the same size as the box lid his bedroom slippers came in. Glenn turned it this way and that, examining it in the bright sunlight streaming through the oval attic porthole. He noticed a small black button on its side. Holding his breath, he wondered what might happen if he pressed it. Would a genie pop out and grant him three wishes or something?

He held it at arm’s length, and gave it a try.

Nothing.

Bringing the box closer to his face, he saw a slot beside the button. He tried sliding it. The lid popped open and he lurched, but only a little. Glenn was far too curious about what might be inside.

He poked at the perfectly round, shallow indentation. The thin gleaming disk moved. Plucking it from the box, Glenn held it up, turned it this way and that. "What is it?" he wondered. If anyone would know, it would be Dad.

Sticking the disk back into its slot, he snapped the box shut and tucked it under his arm. Half-running through the piles of stuff he’d pulled from the trunk, he almost plowed right into his older brother.

"Hey," Jay grabbed Glenn’s shoulders to keep him from toppling over, "watch it." Jay pointed to the treasure. "What’s that?"

Glenn hid it behind his back. "Nothin’."

Jay took a step forward. "Lemme see it."

This wasn’t the first time Glenn wished he were the older brother. "It’s mine. I found it." He turned and ran as fast as his seven-year-old feet could take him. He ducked under the dining room’s floating table, and hopped over Dad’s new air massage recliner.

No luck. Jay stayed right behind him.

Glenn turned and faced him, head on. "I’m going to find Dad," he gasped, holding out the box, "and when I do, he’ll tell me what this is."

"Good idea." Jay shrugged. "I’ll come, too."

****

Glenn’s found his father working on a project in his workroom. "Dad, do you know what this is?"

"Wow!" Glenn’s dad chuckled as he reached for the box. "I think it’s an old portable DVD player."

"A what?"

"Let me see…" In no time at all, his Dad had it opened. "There’s even a disk here." He wiggled his eyebrows. "Want to see if we can get it to work? We’ll need to rig up a converter."

Glenn stood as close to his dad as space allowed. "Why?"

"Because, this old DVD player ran on electricity."

Jay stepped up. "Electricity? Neat! We were talking about that in history yesterday!"

Glenn grudgingly admired his brother for his knowledge about ‘lectricity’, or whatever they were talking about, but he would rather die than admit it.

****

It was like stepping into a time machine.

Glenn stared in awe at the screen. "Who’s that?"

"I think that’s your great-great-great-great grandfather, Joshua. He must be putting on a play or something."

Glenn continued to gawk as Jay said, "Man, this recording is so… primitive." He pointed to screen. "Just look at that dwelling in the background."

Laughing, Dad said, "Several hundred years ago they didn’t live in porta-domes, they lived in houses… stationary dwellings."

Glenn barely noticed. "Shh," he said, one finger in the air, "listen…."

Teenaged Joshua stood with his feet shoulder width apart and recited, "George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.""

A sweet voice called, "Josh, surely you’ve memorized that speech by now."

"Almost, Mom. Just a few more--"

"You can finish up later after you’ve fed the dog."

Joshua looked toward the heavens and sighed. "Be right there, mom." He walked toward the camera and reached out until the only thing visible was the palm of his hand, and then the screen went blue.

"Guess that’s it," Glenn’s Dad said.

Jay, elbows on the workbench, said, "What did he mean, doomed to repeat history?"

Dad thought for a moment before he answered. "Glenn, m’boy," he said, ruffling his youngest son’s brown hair, "I believe you’ve found a treasure here— not just the opportunity to see Joshua, but something even greater."

Glenn’s eyes grew wide, "Really?"

"Yup. This quote is worth its weight in gold."

Glenn didn’t know exactly what that meant, but he figured one day he’d learn, just like he’d learn about "lectricity."

THE END

 

The Hamster Wheel

(c) 2008 JoAnn Carter

She opened the door, and a gust of chilly January air swished into the room. A frazzled man, wearing a faded denim coat and equally faded jeans with a hole in one knee, stood in the doorway. He held the puppy out to Kathy. "Can you help him?"

Rachel almost laughed out loud when she watched Kathy’s comical facial expressions. She looked from the man with wild, frizzy hair, and a brown straggly goatee, to the soft golden fur of the puppy he was trying to unload on her. Finally she demanded, "What’s wrong with him?"

For some unknown reason, Rachel shivered. Was it the cold air or the shipwrecked looking man with his pet, obviously in some sort of peril, that sent that odd sensation up her spine? "Here, let me have a look." She held out her hands and the man promptly deposited the softball of fur to her without reservation. For as unkempt as he looked, she was surprised as he followed her to the desk, how nice he smelled. It reminded her of her trips to Maine, of sunshine and water. Was it weird to ask a man what aftershave he was wearing? Rachel wondered as she held up the puppy and noticed foam coming from its mouth.

Okay, enough foolishness. This pup needs some attention. And clearly, your mind is all muddled. Rachel turned toward the examination room, effectively cutting off any temptation to study the man further. "Kathy, would you take this little pups history while I examine at him?"

"Sure." She ushered the man over to the reception desk with a wave of her hand. "Here, follow me."

Kathy only had time to take the puppy’s name and address before Rachel said, "Ah, ha! Here’s the problem." She called triumphantly while she made her way back to the waiting room with the puppy wiggling in one arm, and the thick, short twig in the other hand. "Poor little tyke had this wedged between his teeth in the roof of his mouth."

If possible, the man’s face grew even paler than before. He reached for the chair behind him and sank into it. "Thank you, God."

"Excuse me?" Rachel asked with a furrowed brow.

The man looked up. Hidden behind the black rimmed spectacles were the most intense blue eyes Rachel ever seen. It felt like he was looking right into her soul—and that was not a place she wanted anyone to see. Now it was her turn to grow pale.

He cocked his head to the side. "I was just talking to God."

He talks to God…

"It’s not my dog." He interrupted her musing. "He’s my niece’s. I thought for sure I he was dying and well…." How he ran his hand through his hair without getting caught in a knot, Rachel will never know, but she stood there almost mesmerized by this strange man as he continued, "My sister bought him a few weeks ago when my brother-in-law left for Iraq. I never prayed so hard for an animal before in my life!"

Odd. How very odd. This man looked dirty at first glance, but up closer, you could see his rumpled clothes were almost organized chaos. You wouldn’t think he even finished high school, and yet, the intelligent spark in his eyes behind his glasses belied that fact. When he spoke, his smooth tone was cultured-- not like one who had been lost at sea. And apparently he’s sensitive toward his niece’s feelings? Who is this man? She felt like giggling at that thought. It sounded like something out of a hooky superhero show, and as far as she could tell, this man wasn’t superhero material.

Robyn Roberts from Once Upon A Romance said,

"Harrison keeps such a strong presence throughout the story and I found myself rooting for him to win Dani’s heart… I found it to be an easy and enjoyable read."

For the full review please visit: http://www.onceuponaromance.net/Mr.Beckman%27sSecretaryReview.htm

Review
08/08/2008

Another review for Mr. Beckman's Secretary come in tonight.

"...Very inspirational, very uplifting--just an all-round satisfying read. Well done!"
Review by Peony
The Long and the Short of It
For the full review, please go to http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/0708/MrBeckmansSecretary-JC.htm

 

 Excerpt #1- Teacher's Plans (c) 2008 by: JoAnn Carter

Amanda reached out to shake his hand when his words hit her full force. She withdrew her hand like she just touched fire and squeaked, "You’re who?"

"I’m your new assistant. The principal said to meet you here."

Silence engulfed the room.

Tracy shifted his weight to one hip looking slightly uncomfortable for the first time. "He said you would be expecting me."

Amanda tried to cover up her shock. "Um, right… it’s just…" You’re a man--and not just any man--a drop dead gorgeous one! She felt like she was drowning with no way out. She grabbed at straws for anything to say; she needed time to gather her wits. "Were you by any chance at an interview in the Board of Education building on June 13th?"

Tracy laughed. "I think my first impression of you was correct after all."

Here's a link to the latest review for Winter Wonders...

http://longandshortreviews.blogspot.com/2008/05/review-winter-wonders.html

Review by Black-eyed Susan at the Long and Short Reviews

She writes, "...Ms. Carter does a credible job of reconnecting the heroine to her roots via a historical old box that had been used for smuggling in the Vermont Mountains - a box with a very romantic story attached to it. The ending seemed like it was going to be predictable, but I was pleasantly surprised by the subtle - and definitely romantic - twist."

* Before you read this post, it's not too late to enter the contest I am running to win a free down load of a title of your choice! Contact me today.  

Excerpt #2, PROFESSOR WAMPUM'S EXPERIMENT

(c) 2008 JoAnn Carter 

In the land of Teensyville, where a colony of Itsys dwell…

Professor Wampum stood peering with one orange eye into his invention. It sat atop the high pile of books that rested on the counter. Putting most of his weight on giant toes, his body tilted forward. My, oh my, I do wish I could put my equipment down a little lower. He sighed, because while a shorter desk would solve the problem of easy reach, it would cause many, many more issues. If only we Itsys weren’t so clumsy…

With a trembling hand, he switched the lens on the scope and sighed sadly. I am getting old and losing my strength. I don’t know how much longer I can keep at this.

The Professor rubbed his tired eye, then scribbled new space coordinates on his clipboard before moving the viewing scope seventy degrees west, forty-five degrees north. He looked again into his invention and mumbled, "I’m on to something, I just know it!"

Suddenly the field snapped into focus and the Professor screamed, "AAH, AAH, AAH!" In one quick movement, he thrust himself back, away from his equipment, lost his balance and fell backwards.

He trembled just thinking about the strangest looking creature he had ever seen. His rolly body swayed like a boat at sea as he stared up at the ceiling and tried to understand what he had just seen. He squeezed his eye shut and gathered his courage. Once again the Professor rolled back onto the platform for another peek. There it was… an obnoxiously large and frightful looking being. He began to quake; certain this marked the most pivotal moment of his life-- not only his own life but also the lives of everyone in the Teensyville colony!

"Enormousis…that’s what I shall call it. For enormous it is!"

With riveting fascination, the Professor stayed glued to his equipment, not bothering to eat, drink, or sleep for many days as he filled pad after pad with his observations.

A new review has come in from Coffee Time Romance. Here's a little tid-bit from it... 

"Mr. Beckman’s Secretary is such a sweet romance that you will smile all the way through it. Ms. Carter has written such unique characters that are so real their lives touch you. You cannot help but want Daniella and Harrison end up together. I enjoyed the strength the characters have in their own faith and convictions. It is very refreshing to see such honesty in a story. This is a book that deserves a recommendation as a must read. Wonderfully done, Ms. Carter."

Matilda
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

For the full review please visit: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/Mrbeckmanssecretary.html

Mr. Beckman's Secretary recieved a five heart review from The Romance Studio. Here's a snidbit from the reviewer Brenda Talley...
"Ms. JoAnn Carter has written a well-developed, interesting story about the personal development of an insecure young woman and the daily walk with the Lord of a humble man. Her main characters are strongly written and interesting. This unique plot tells a story of the coming out of a woman whose entire life has been less than desirable. Ms. Carter has told this story in such a way that the main, as well as the supporting, characters are practically drawn in color for us to visualize. She has done a great job of conveying this storyline in such a way that it was absolutely impossible for me to put down."
For the full review, please go to:
  

Winter Wonders captures the heart of the reader and leaves a great feeling. Each story is extraordinary and makes the reader feel as if they have stepped inside the homes of each individual. With a blend of romance, faith, and a bit of magic in the air, these stories are wonderfully done. Each author is skillful in their own special way. I felt the believability, along with the stirring love within the characters, and just a robust feeling of desire that breathes life in the pages. I absolutely loved these stories and I believe anyone who reads these tales will also feel the love move within their hearts. Wonderfully mastered, ladies!

Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

For the full review, please go to:

http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/Winterwonders.html

Harrison watched this attractive but peculiar woman stand awkwardly by his door. It looked as if she wanted to hide behind the inter-personnel folder she was holding. "Come on in," he urged, as he left his desk to walk closer to her, hopefully to put her more at ease. "I promise not to bite."

That seemed to make it worse. Her rosy cheeks turned deathly pale.

Harrison resorted to grabbing for words, like a metal arm in a toy machine, hoping he’d come up with something. "You’re really quick. Thanks for dropping the minutes off. I always like to review them while the meeting is still fresh in my mind."

Dani held out the folder with the notes and spoke so softly, he had to bend down to catch her words. "I understand, Mr. Beckman."

Harrison took the folder from her extended hand. Her hand seemed so small and he had the strangest desire to protect her from whatever inner battle she was fighting. "I’m sorry, I know you’ve been with us for quite a while now, but until today I’ve never met you." He added with a smile, "Forgive me, I’m horrible with names. What’s yours again?"

Dani eyes grew wide. With a nervous catch she replied, "Daniella Duncan."

"I like that name. May I call you Daniella?"

She shrugged, "Everybody calls me Dani."

"I think I prefer Daniella." Still studying her face, Harrison added, "Somehow, Dani doesn't seem to fit you."

"Oh, Dani fits me all right. It sounds short and fat." Her hand clamped over her mouth and her eyes grew even wider. Harrison’s heart nearly broke when she asked, "Did I really say that out loud?"

It had been drilled into his head since he was a boy, never to talk to women about two things, their age and weight. Now what should he do with this hanging hot potato? Ignore it. "I didn’t hear anything if you didn’t." He tried to continue with the previous introductions. "Everyone calls my father Mr. Beckman, so I go by Harrison."

"Okay. I'll try to remember that." Dani seemed to have reached her limit; she looked like a cat being chased by a mouse, desperate for escape. "Umm, I really need to get back now…"

"Sure. Thanks again." Harrison didn’t even know if she heard him as she turned and left with quick steps.

He stood quietly by his door and listened to the clickly-clack sound Daniella’s shoes made on the linoleum fade into a soft pitter-patter as she retreated down the hallway. He shut his door while contemplating the strange woman who was just in his office. Pretty, but strange…yes, definitely strange. Finally, he shrugged his shoulders and went back to the tasks at hand.


Uncategorized

Hope you all can join me, welcoming Tanya Stone, to my blog Dec. 8th.

 

Train Station, Burlington VT, 7:45 PM~

A large handsome man with short brown hair held a sign with her name on it. Abigail's heart fell to her toes. If only she wasn’t so confoundly shy! Where was Ellie?

The man approached, offering her a smile. He held out an envelope. "You must be Miss Knight."

Although Abigail’s heart raced, she collected every ounce of poise she posessed and clutched it around her like a protective cloak. She knew how it probably appeared—that she was stand-offish. Hadn’t her mother complained countless times that Abigail was too aloof and unfriendly? But it simply wasn’t true. She sucked in a deep breath and wondered for the thousandth time, why couldn’t her mother understand her. And if her own mother couldn’t understand her, how could she ever hope to find a man who would?

(c) 2010 JoAnn Carter
WIP~ Winds of Change

Stanely Fisher walked back to the pilot house of the steamboat Ticonderoga without paying any attention to where he was going. Instead he studied the photo that Ellie, the stewardess, had just given him of her best friend. Even though the photo was in black and white, the woman’s eyes held him captive. There was a peace, so elusive to him, to be found in their depths. The woman seemed timeless. Rather than having the short bob hairstyle so many women embraced, her hair cascaded to her shoulders in soft curls. He turned the photograph over. In flowerly letters it read, Abigail Knight 1923. He couldn’t help but wonder, would he be as attracted to this Abigail in person as he was to her picture?

Welcome to the little historical fictional world of Winds of Change. Here you will meet Abigail and Stanley as well as threads of their story, which were first introduced in The Floating Palace. Their story is one of hope and endurance. Romans 12:12 (NIV) "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

Today will be the last post where you hear my voice. From now on, you'll find yourselves right within the pages of the story. However, to help you understand a bit this is what is happening. The year is 1924. Captain Lawhorn and Ellie have recently become engaged. Upon Ellie's request, Abigail prepares to take a trip back to Vermont to help Ellie with the wedding preparations. The next post, we'll find out just what Abigail thinks about this situation.

(This is a cross post from the White Rose In Bloom Blog. Today's entry was written by Kara Russell.)

If you are reading this blog, chances are, you are a fan of inspirational romance. But all fans are not the same! Fortunately White Rose Publishing has something for everyone. They really do. What? You don't believe me? Then I'll show you.

Let's take best friends Tammy, Becky, Jane and Sandra. (Yes, I am making these people up for the sake of example.) Part of the reason they are friends is that they all love reading and discussing inspirational romance. But they don't always read the same books.

Tammy loves to cuddle up in her favorite chair with her cat on her lap and a historical romance in hand. At White Rose Publishing she'll find titles to choose from such as All or Nothing, Journey to Forgiveness, and Fragile Dreams. All of these are available as print books as well as ebooks. But Tammy is fortunate enough to have an ebook reader so she also enjoys shorter stories she can download such as Dilema of the Heart or Wildflower in Bloom

Becky adores contemporary stories such as Alvarado Gold, Beneath a Texas Sky and Case of the Heart. These are all available in print. But wait. Becky is a cubicle dweller and she really likes short stories that she can read on her computer during her lunch hour. So she might prefer Child of My Heart, By Another Name or Dreams Do Come True.

Jane wants a bit of mystery or suspense thrown in with the romance. She might enjoy Lethal Lasagna, A Matter of Trust or First I'm Nobody. Jane is often on the go. For those times when she's standing in line or stuck in a waiting room she likes shorter stories that she can read on her smart phone. She could choose from titles such as Daniella, Sweet Rest or Through a Glass Darkly.

Sandra is a stay-at-home mom. She doesn't care what kind of romance she reads as long as it fits into her budget. White Rose Publishing offers free reads on their site such as A Perfect Fit, Matchmaker of Love or Review of Love. Sandra joined the White Rose Publishing group on Yahoo to get some of the free "members only" reads there. As an added bonus, she's found a source of adult interaction that she can access without leaving the house! When she runs out of free reads, she'll probably start on the Dollar Downloads. Those include titles such as Cathy's Angel, Hyacinths in Winter, or Turning Back.

This is a just a few titles I pulled out at random. The White Rose catalog is much, much bigger and includes more categories than I listed. Jewel of the Adriatic and Rose of the Adriatic include mystic elements. Isanne's Revelation is a time travel romance. And don't even get my started on the great holiday stories! In my series Orchard Hill Romances, each story centers around a holiday. (See how I just slipped that into the conversation. You almost didn't notice that it was a plug for my own books, right?)

I hope this little post has made you curious. I wish I could have included the blurb for each title, but this would be an enormously long post if I did. I also don't have the patience to add a link to each title, but you can access the White Rose catalog here. If you are not familiar with White Rose Publishing I think you are in for a big treat! Happy Reading!

Amazon.com
06/03/2008

Yesterday I went over to Amazon.com and guess what? They've released Professor Wampum earlier than I anticipated. (The link to purchase this book is on my home page.)

I still have the release date on my 'events' page for the 16th. (I think my family and I are going to have a "Release Date Pizza Party.)

Yahoo!

The e-copy of Professor Wampum's Experiment is ready! ($2.19)

Please follow this link to Lulu.com 

http://www.lulu.com/browse/book_view.php?fCID=2296901&fBuyItem=5

The trade paperback will be available June 16th from Amazon.com or contact me to order directly. (Free shipping)

April Fools
04/01/2008

This is NO fools--

All four of my children have been sick with a nasty virus. It's been 8 days. Things finally were looking up then...

This morning at 5:45, my son came into my room. "Mom, Jeremy's stomack hurts!"

My head hit the pillow again as I silently groaned. I managed a mumble, "Okay, I'll be right there."

"April Fools!" hee, hee, hee.

Needless to say, he was the only one laughing. :) How about you? Did anyone fool you good today?

 

Bonus Devotions from Mr. Beckman’s Secretary

Week 2: Day 5

Hanging on…just barely--

A look at Job

Things I need to do today:

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

Physical Health:

Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

___I’ve taken my daily vitamin

Today’s Exercise: ________________________________________________________

Spiritual Health:

Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inspirational Motivation

Daily Bible Reading: Job 42

Personal Reflections from God’s Word:

1. After his trials, what does Job say in verse 5?  ________________________________________________________________________

2. How much did God bless Job with? (vs.10) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. Why is ten more children considered double when he had ten to begin with? (Vs. 13) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

At the end of Job's life, what was siad about him? (vs. 17)_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Thought of the Day: 

"We know not what the future holds, but we know who holds the future." - Author Unknown.

Mental Health:

To ponder- Can you relate to Job at any point in our study this week? Be encouraged, God is walking with you.  

Day’s End Activity:

____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.

____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today

Personal Reflections from my day:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Devotion day 4 wk 2
03/26/2008

For today's devotion, we're goint to do something a little different. Spring has finally arrived so try to find a sunny place and a comfortable chair then grab your Bible and join me in reading Job chapter 19.

The New Living Translation in verse 25-27 says, "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!"

Spend some extra time with God today in prayer. Thank Him that when life is crashing in around you, like Job, we can have the confidence that God is for us, not against us. (Romans 8:31) Rely on God's infinit strenght today.

 

 Bonus Devotions from Mr. Beckman’s Secretary

Week 2: Day 3

Hanging on…just barely--

A look at Job

Things I need to do today:

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

Physical Health:

Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

___I’ve taken my daily vitamin

Today’s Exercise: ________________________________________________________

Spiritual Health:

Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inspirational Motivation

Daily Bible Reading: Job 9

Personal Reflections from God’s Word:

1. What is Job's question?(vs 2)  ________________________________________________________________________

2. Name three things God can do from these verses. (vs.4-12) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. What does Job seek? (Vs. 33) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Thought of the Day: 

Have you noticed Job was completely honest with God about his feelings. In the same way, we can pour ourselves out to God. God's not afraid of our honesty. He can handle it.

Mental Health:

To ponder- Why is Jesus the perfect mediator for us?

Knowing Jesus Christ is our mediator can be a great encouragement when you feel far from God. 

Day’s End Activity:

____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.

____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today

Personal Reflections from my day:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

WEEK TWO

Bonus Devotions from Mr. Beckman’s Secretary

 

Week 2: Day 1

Hanging on…just barely--

A look at Job

Things I need to do today:

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

Physical Health:

Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

___I’ve taken my daily vitamin

Today’s Exercise: ________________________________________________________

Spiritual Health:

Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inspirational Motivation

Daily Bible Reading: Job- chapter 2

Personal Reflections from God’s Word:

1. Was Job’s trouble from his sin? (vs. 3) ________________________________________________________________________

2. Was his wife supportive of him? (vs.9) _____________________

3. What was Job’s response?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thought of the Day: Staying focused on God gives perseverance, where as staying focused on self will cause you to give-up.

Mental Health:

Where is your focus today? On God or yourself? Do you have any friends who are suffering in some way? Pray for them today and encourage them with a hug, note, or phone call.

Day’s End Activity:

____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.

____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today

Personal Reflections from my day:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Bonus Devotions from Mr. Beckman’s Secretary

Week 2: Day 2

Hanging on…just barely--

A look at Job

Things I need to do today:

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

Physical Health:

Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

___I’ve taken my daily vitamin

Today’s Exercise: ________________________________________________________

Spiritual Health:

Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inspirational Motivation

Daily Bible Reading: Job 6: 1-30

Personal Reflections from God’s Word:

1. What did Job compare his sadness to?(vs 2)  ________________________________________________________________________

2. What evidence is given here that job is certianly in a personal crisis? (vs.8-13) _____________________

3. Who is Job talking to? (Vs. 25) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thought of the Day: 

"I will turn your mourning into dancing..."

Mental Health:

To ponder- What is faith? What is hope?

In times of crisis, cling to Jesus because he may be the only thing you have to hold on to. Praise God, Jesus is enough! 

Day’s End Activity:

____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.

____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today

Personal Reflections from my day:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A few quick things~
03/19/2008

At the request of a friend, like last week, I will continue posting a short devotion until the end of March. This will start on Monday. Feel free to copy them and print them out to use!

Not too much longer now-- Friday, release day, is quickly approaching!

News...News...News
03/17/2008

The release date for Mr. Beckman's Secretary have been moved up to this Friday!

The cover for Mr. Beckman's Secretary was realeased today. Please look in my photo gallery to see it.

Week 1: Day 6/7

The Queen Esther Challenge

Things I need to do today:

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

Physical Health:

Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

___I’ve taken my daily vitamin

Today’s Exercise: ____________________________

Spiritual Health:

Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inspirational Motivation

Daily Bible Reading: Esther 6:1-7:10

What made the King review the records?_______________________________________

What question did the King ask after looking through the records?______________________

(vs. 4) Do you think it was a coincidence that Haman was in the outer court?__________

(vs. 12) How had Haman’s attitude changed?___________________________________

(7:9) What was Haman’s fate?______________________ Do you think he wrote his own death sentence, why or why not?_____________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

Personal Reflections from God’s Word:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thought of the Day:

God’s justice will always prevail.

Mental Health:

Haman wanted to be popular. He bragged to his family and friends about being invited to the King and Queen’s banquet. Learning all that we have in the past few days, it’s easy to see that being popular comes with a price tag. If this is your focus it can cost you your self-respect, morals, beliefs, friends, the list go on. Think about it today…how important is being popular to you? Is your scale balanced?

Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 4:1-3

"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God."

Day’s End Activity:

____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.

____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today

 

Personal Reflections from my day:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

****

 

 

Look over this weeks journal. Where do you see God working in your life?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Devotional - Day 5
03/09/2008

Beautiful: A Princess’ Diary

Week 1: Day 5

The Queen Esther Challenge

Things I need to do today:

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

Physical Health:

Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

___I’ve taken my daily vitamin

Today’s Exercise: ____________________________

Spiritual Health:

Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inspirational Motivation

Daily Bible Reading: Esther 5:1-14

*Why was Haman mad?(vs. 9)_________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

*What did Haman do? (vs. 11) ________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

*Read verse 13 again. Why do you think he couldn’t just let it go? ___________

_______________________________________________________________________

*Vs. 14 What did his wife and friends suggest?___________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

 

Personal Reflections from God’s Word:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thought of the Day: When something other than God is consuming my thoughts…watch out! It’s a sure sign of trouble.

Mental Health:

Spend time on a hobby you enjoy today. While you’re doing that, think about why and how Mordecai was able to sit, seeming not nervous before Haman knowing what Haman was up to? Do you have that kind of peace?

Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 4:1-3

"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God."

Day’s End Activity:

____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.

____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today.

 

Personal Reflections from my day:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Devotional - Day 4
03/08/2008

Beautiful: A Princess’ Diary

Week 1: Day 4

The Queen Esther Challenge

Things I need to do today:

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

Physical Health:

Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

___I’ve taken my daily vitamin

Today’s Exercise: ____________________________

 

Spiritual Health:

Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inspirational Motivation

Daily Bible Reading: Esther 4:1-17

*verse 8- What did Mordecai want Esther to do? __________________________ _______________________________________________________________________

*Did she want to do what he asked? (VS 11) _____________________________

* Verse 14- What was Mordecai’s Response? _____________________________

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

* Verse 16 What did Esther purpose to do?_______________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Personal Reflections from God’s Word:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thought of the Day: God uses the right person at the right time.

Mental Health:

Ponder: Am I willing to be like Esther and let God use me where I am?

Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 4:1-3

"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God."

Day’s End Activity:

____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.

____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today.

Personal Reflections from my day:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

****

Devotional - Day 3
03/07/2008

 

Beautiful: A Princess’ Diary

Week 1: Day 3

The Queen Esther Challenge

Things I need to do today:

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

____________________________ ______________________________

Physical Health:

Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

___I’ve taken my daily vitamin

Today’s Exercise: ____________________________

 

Spiritual Health:

Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Inspirational Motivation

Daily Bible Reading: Esther 3: 1-15

* re-read verses 2-4. Can you think of, or locate a different Bible passage that is similar to Mordecai’s experience here?_________________________________________

*Verse 13 - What was to happen to the Jews?_____________________________

*When was it to take place?___________________________________________

*Verse 15 - What happened to the city of Susa when the messengers were to deliver the decree? ________________________________________________________

Personal Reflections from God’s Word:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thought of the Day: There will be times in your life when you feel like you are the only one willing to stand for what is right. Think of the examples in Mordecai, Daniel, and others and be encouraged.

Mental Health:

Something to ponder: We know that every day is precious. What if, like Mordecai, you knew that in one year you would die? Take time now to consider how you are investing your gift of time. Is it being used wisely for the Kingdom? If not consider how you can change this.

Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 4:1-2

"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God."

Day’s End Activity:

____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.

____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today.

 

Personal Reflections from my day:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Devotional Day 2
03/06/2008

 

Beautiful: A Princess’ Diary
Week 1: Day 2
The Queen Esther Challenge
Things I need to do today:
____________________________ ______________________________
____________________________ ______________________________
____________________________ ______________________________
Physical Health:
Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
___I’ve taken my daily vitamin
Today’s Exercise: ____________________________
Spiritual Health:
Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Inspirational Motivation
Daily Bible Reading: Esther 2:1-23
1. In verse 9 a special menu and beauty treatments were prescribed. How about you personally…do you think what you eat is important? Support your answer. ________________________________________________________________________
2. In verse 15 what does it say that Esther does? ___________________________
3.What was the end result of the months of preparation?_____________________
4. Verse 22. Does Esther take credit for herself here?_______ Would you be tempted to?_____________
Personal Reflections from God’s Word:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
One thought to meditate on throughout my day:
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Mental Health:
Think about yesterday’s Bible reading and how Queen Vashti refused to show up at the kings Party.
It is not always clear what will be the results of our actions. Our actions do have consequences, sometimes unexpected.
* Queen Vashti was usurped from being queen.
*It also opened the door for Esther to be in a position to save God’s chosen people.
There is an old saying, "We know not what the future holds, but we know who holds the future." And if you’re His princess you can be sure He’s working it all out for the Kingdom and for your good.
Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 4:1-2 (write here)
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Day’s End Activity:
____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.
____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy.
Personal Reflections from my day:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Here is a little some thing special in conjunction with the March relase of Mr. Beckman's Secretary.
A daily devotional... 
Dani's Princess' Diary
Although Dani, the main character in Mr. Beckman's Secretary, is a fictional character, I have the feeling most of us can relate to some of her struggles with self image. It isn't until near the end of the novel, Dani realizes her outward appearance doesn't define who she was--likewise, neither does it define us.
Join me over the next two weeks for a 'beauty treatment' that will remind us that we are princess of the King of Kings. Please feel free to print it out and keep it in a binder. Here's day one...
2 Corinthians 4: 16-17
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us and eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
WEEK ONE
Beautiful: A Princess’ Diary
(c)2008
JoAnn Carter
Week 1: Day 1
The Queen Esther Challenge
Things I need to do today:
____________________________ ______________________________
____________________________ ______________________________
____________________________ ______________________________
Physical Health:
Circle numbers of 8oz. water you drink: (goal is at least 8)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
___I’ve taken my daily vitamin
Today’s Exercise: ________________________________________________________
Spiritual Health:
Prayer Request(s) & Praise/Thanksgiving:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Inspirational Motivation
Daily Bible Reading: Esther 1:1-22
1. King Xerxes displayed vast wealth. As you read this passage, did he seem content? Why or why not? ________________________________________________________________________
2. Who did the king look to for wisdom? _____________________ Who do you look to?_________________________________ Who should you look to?___________
Personal Reflections from God’s Word:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Thought of the Day: "Do not store up treasures on earth where thieves break in and moths destroy but rather, store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven."
Mental Health:
Listen to a half hour of music or curl up with a good book. Talk to a friend about what you listened to or read.
*Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 4:1-2
"Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God."
Day’s End Activity:
____ I’ve taken 15 minutes of focused time to visit with my Father, at the Kings Throne.
____ I’ve chosen to eat healthy today
Personal Reflections from my day:
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Isn't it awsome when God sends something extra special our way! Today's been one of those days for me.

We went to a friend's home for lunch and they took us into the basement to show us something. Guess what I noticed  on his desk? A box filled with facts on the Ticonderoga--there was even a copy of a newspaper from 1923! That is the exact year and place my historical fiction is set in. Some of the resources in the box I've already read, but some I've never seen before, like actual log accounts and such.

I can't wait to learn more as I dig through this box! Yeppie. :0)

Here's the review from Huntress' Books. (http://www.huntressreviews.com/especial.htm) 

Winter Wonders

**** If you are suffering burnout from the plethora of bad news, holiday let down, or just stress, pick this up. These four darling stories will refresh your soul. Only two are labeled inspirational, but all will be that if you are receptive. Snow Kissed by Cindy Green gives us two people finally realizing they are in love, just on the verge of it being too late, Smuggler of the Heart by JoAnn Carter has a young woman discovering her place in the world, thanks to prayers. Meg Allison gives us the classic story of strangers ringing in the new year and finding more. Muncy Chapman shows us that helping strangers brings rewards. All in all, this is a set to lighten your soul. ****


For your convenience you may read more about, or purchase this book, from By Grace Publishing by clicking HERE!

 

Reviewed by Amanda Killgore.

While in the middle of writing this story, I heard the song MIRROR MIRROR by Barlow Girl on the radio. As I listened to the lyrics, it hit me how many women like Dani, (the heroine in Mr. Beckman’s Secretary) struggles with self-image.

As the plot develops, and Dani comes to the realization God loves her the way he made her. I had to be honest and ask myself, "Do I believe that?" It’s easy for me to nod my head while I’m writing this, but it’s another story when I’m standing in one of those dinky changing rooms try to find a bathing suit for the summer!

Accepting myself is sometimes is a daily struggle. In the same way this story has challenged me, as you experience Dani growth reading this book, it’s my prayer that it will draw you closer to God as well. (If you’d like to hear Mirror Mirror, click onto this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZgq8pA-ipY&feature=related )

 

I just found the neatest thing! 15 folks headed out to Uganda on behalf of Compassion and are blogging about their experiences.

This is an incredible oppertunity for us to experience what it's like to be there and to make a difference in the lives of many children in Jesus' name! Check out their link @ http://blog.compassion.com/

SNOW KISSED by Cindy K. Green
Snow Kissed is a sweet, touching romance between two people who love each other, but haven't yet found the courage to say the words. I adored Logan. He might know exactly what he wants - Holly - yet he has no idea how to court her. The story also felt complete, primarily because although it was a short story, it was about two people who are best friends finally realizing the extent of their feelings. Snow Kissed was my favorite story in the anthology. (Read the entire review at Kathy’s Review Corner)
SMUGGLER OF THE HEART by JoAnn Carter
Smuggler of the Heart was an inspirational romance about a woman reuniting with God. By finding Him, she is able to realize what she wants and needs in her life. The inspirational aspect of this story is the primary focus and should satisfy readers searching for a good inspirational read. Samantha was a well developed character. The reader experiences her growth in allowing God back into her life. (Read the entire review at Kathy’s Review Corner)
GWEN’S RESOLUTION by Meg Allison
Gwen's Resolution was a pleasant short story of two people unexpectedly coming together. I found it more realistic since it was a small town, where others would be able to allay Gwen's nerves about meeting a stranger. I enjoyed the characters and was thrilled with the movie marathon they attended. I adore those movies as well. (Read the entire review at Kathy’s Review Corner)
MAYBE FOREVER by Muncy G. Chapman
Maybe Forever was a very enjoyable short story with a variety of facets. There was the romance, a bit of suspense, a touch of inspirational, and a dash of adventure. I was very impressed with how Muncy Chapman created such a well rounded story in a few words. (Read the entire review at Kathy’s Review Corner)
Winter Wonders is now available at By Grace Publishing in e-book format or trade paperback.

By the Book is such an uplifting read. Sarah is spirited and lively but her past often keeps her from coming out of her shell to trust any man. I liked the close friendship she has with Ellen as well as her conversations with Helen, who is protective of her. Dylan is the kind of man that any mother would wish for her daughter to find and marry. He is noteworthy and caring, and I liked his traits. JoAnn Carter creates a lovely setting with memorable characters, a moving storyline with just the right amount of romance, and inspiration that gives the reader much encouragement. I enjoyed the way she instilled the love of God and some scriptures, into the story showing how one can make a change in one’s life, often for the better. I found the book enlightening.

Reviewed by: Linda L

For the full review please go to: http://www.fallenangelreviews.com/2007/June/LindaL-ByTheBook.htm

 

 

MR. BECKMAN’S SECRETARY

by: JoAnn Carter (c) 2008

"For nothing is impossible with God." Luke 1:37

PROLOGUE

Daniella’s nine-year-old heart hammered in her chest, like a jackrabbit chased by a hound dog, as the boy stormed toward her.

"Hey, you little runt. Give me that bat!"

The heavy wooden club dropped from Daniella’s grip and landed with a puff of dry dust. The pungent smell of dirt overwhelmed her, and, coughing, she waved away the cloud of grit with a chubby hand.

The granules hadn’t even settled before the bully sneered, "You ain’t never gonna be on my team fatso. You ain’t good enough."

Daniella took a step backwards; her breath came in quick, shallow gasps.

The large boy loomed over her and the gym teacher called out, "All right, Troy."

The boy continued to stare holes into her. Daniella somehow managed to drag her gaze away from him and looked across the field to where Mr. Hunt stood on the sidelines. He called out in a gruff voice, "I said, that’s enough."

Troy spat in the dirt, narrowly missing the toe of Daniella’s worn left sneaker. "Aw," he complained, "why do I always get stuck with the nerds?"

Mr. Hunt scrubbed a hand over his sweaty face and sighed. "Troy."

Troy groaned, "Yeah, yeah, I know."

Slump-shouldered, Mr. Hunt said to Daniella, "I want you to pick up the bat and at least try to keep your eyes on the ball this time."

Daniella’s pulse pounded in her ears, making the teacher’s voice sound miles away. She fixed her eyes on the bat and wished the ground would swallow her up whole.

* * * *

 

The relentless beep, beep, beep of the alarm startled her awake. Dani slipped one hand from beneath the flannel sheets to slap the snooze button. Same old stupid, horrible dream she thought, burrowing deeper under the covers. Just a dream but

She rolled onto her back. Dani knew she had to get a grip, had to do something about this disruptive nightmare she’d had since elementary school.

Unfortunately, she’d always been one of those ‘once I’m awake, the night’s over’ types, so she flung the covers aside and slid both feet into her slippers, then shuffled toward the window. One quick tug at the bottom of the shade sent it flapping and snapping to the top, and the warm winter sun, peeping over the horizon, slanted across her room.

The clutter certainly had accumulated over the years. Stuffed animals scattered across the red carpet stared sightlessly through wide, shoe-button eyes. Her desk, littered with dictionaries, magazines, monitor and computer tower, sagged from the weight of its burdens. Rumpled bed linens spoiled the ‘look’ of her beautiful canopied bed, while Precious Moments collectibles collected dust on the bookshelves. There was even her baby blanket crocheted by Aunt Thelma, hanging over the back of Grandma Faye’s overstuffed chair. She really did need to get a grip, because the nightmare had overflowed from her dreams into just about every area of her life.

Like every other morning of her twenty-six year existence, Dani squeezed her eyes shut, as if that could blot out the ugliness from her room… from her life. But if pretending for those few tranquil seconds that her life was, indeed, in order hadn’t worked in all these years, she had no reason to hope it would work today.

Eyes opened and teeth clenched, she folded her arms across her chest and straightened her spine. She had to start somewhere if her dream of an organized life was to come true.

I’ll start right after work, she promised herself.

Cindy Green and I have put in a few requests for reviews for WINTER WONDERS. Cindy has already heard back from one company. Next week, when the full review is listed on their web-site, I'll post the link here.

Hope you're staying warm.

Are you wondering how to purchase your copy of WINTER WONDERS when it becomes available? There are a few different ways.

1. Log on to bygracepublishing.com and click on WINTER WONDERS to purchase an e-copy or trade paperback. If you would like to order the paper back, it will take you to LuLu's webpage. (That is who prints and binds the book.)

2. OR- Contact me. I will have copies of the trade paperback that you can purchase directly from me.

Thank you for your support!

Thanks for you support!

Dedication for Smuggler of the Heart:

To my Vermont writing buddies and dear friends: Barbara, Laurel, Cyndy and Tammy. You’re a blessing to me.

Mom and Dad, you’re two people who have modeled love for me my whole life. Thanks for your encouraging me to pursue my dreams.

And Glenn, my husband of fifteen years-- I love you so much!

But, most importantly, this book is dedicated to God, my Savior, Creator of all things

Smuggler of the Heart

By: JoAnn Carter (C) 2007

CHAPTER ONE

Saturday

Psalm 55:2 (NIV) "Hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught…"

 

 

Samantha felt a rush of adrenaline course through her body. She gingerly reached for the newfound treasure. Her nerves jingled the instant her fingers caressed the soft, worn wood. Instinctively she sensed there was something special about the small chest.

"That you making a racket up there, Sammie?"

Samantha blew a puff of dust off the curved lid and then sat down Indian-style on the painted, but worn, wide plank attic floor. "I\\\'ll be down in a few minutes, Gram."

Grandma Betti chuckled. "Sure, and pigs can fly too." Grandma might be eighty something, but she didn’t miss much. She knew Samantha’s passion for history and antiques, and how long it had been since she had visited her grandparent’s beloved 1820\\\'s Victorian home’s attic. For that matter, how long since she’d been in Vermont, period.

Samantha fiddled with the latch on the chest. Her finger brushed against a small, metal protrusion on the side of the lock. In a sudden, swift motion, the latch sprung open and the lid lifted a quarter of an inch, almost as if the chest wanted to share its secrets and stories with her. She lifted it up further and peered inside. The musty smell of aged wood and paper greeted her like a welcoming, familiar friend she hadn’t seen for a long, long time.

She clutched the box to her chest and rushed downstairs. Breathless, she held out her find for her grandmother to see. "Do you know what this is?"

"I do." Grandma’s eyes sparkled. "And, I must say, it’s good to see there’s some life in you. I’ve been worried about you since you’ve come home."

Gram didn’t need to worry about her. She was a strong independent woman-- at least she liked to think she was. "The chest?"

Grandma Betti motioned for Samantha to join her on the couch. "That chest’s said to have held letters from one of the caves in the Notch."

"Smuggler’s?"

"You remember the history?"

"Sure." Samantha nodded, "when I drive through Smuggler’s Notch, I can picture it as it must have been prior to the War of 1812, when the U.S Congress placed an embargo on the imports from England." Samantha looked out windows to the mountains. "I imagine smugglers hiding in the thick forest and storing their supplies of food, clothing, cattle, and such from Canada in the caves and caverns along the Long Trail. And then of course, a hundred years later, when U.S. Congress passed a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol, it happened again."

Grandma Betti nodded. "Smugglers avoided the revenue agents by storing the alcohol in the caves where they freely smuggled it through the Notch Pass, down to central and southern New England. Thus it’s aptly named…"

Together they chorused, "Smuggler’s Notch."

Samantha smiled at her grandmother’s joy, which must have been mirrored, in her own eyes.

History…her passion. But lately, without her even realizing it, until this moment, the joy and excitement she usually felt had fallen flat. Perhaps coming back to Vermont for winter break was what she needed.

"Samantha, I know I don’t tell you this often enough, but I think you’re a gifted history teacher. I only wish you’d come back home where you belong."

There were many subjects Samantha would be delighted to discuss, but her personal life wasn’t one of them. "Gram, let’s not go there. How about this chest?"

Grandma Betti rolled her eyes. "You’re more stubborn than that old manual lawn mower. I guess I should expect as much with all that red hair."

Samantha lifted her chin. "It’s not red. It’s auburn."

Was it her imagination, or was Grandma fighting a smile?

Grandma Betti coughed in her hand. "Where were we, oh, yes…this chest stayed in a cave where it held correspondence or information from one party to the next."

"How’d you get it?"

"I’m saving that part of the story."

Samantha’s face fell. "Why?"

"So I can be sure you’ll come back home from time to time."

Why do you write romance novels?

I write romance novels because, well, first of all… I like to read them. Besides that, I love happy-ever-afters and writing them is blast.

What love song would you pick to be the "Theme Love Song" for your releasing novel/novella?

Actually, I had two songs I was thinking of when I penned Smuggler of the Heart. I don’t know if you’d call them "Love Songs" but here goes:

1.Toby Mac- "Made To Love"

2. Nicole Mullins- "My Redeemer Lives"

Which came first: the story or the characters for your releasing novel/novella?

Neither really. It was the setting. When they told me about the opportunity to participate in a winter anthology, Vermont, where I call home, seemed like a no-brainer. From there the story and characters soon jumped on board.

Of the writing process, what do you enjoy most?

Receiving a contract?! Seriously, I love dreaming up the story and plotting. For this story, the research aspect was a lot of fun as well.

I had so much fun with this story. I went to visit Smuggler’s Notch with myhusband's family and had a blast gathering the rich history that surrounds it. It’s a quaint small town. If you ever come to Vermont, it’s a great place to visit.

 

© 2007 JoAnn Carter

excerpt from: By The Book

Sarah swiveled her chair so she could face Helen. "Now, what were we saying?"

Helen grunted and pushed her thick glasses up further on the bridge of her nose. "Independence," She remarked dryly. "Have you ever stopped to consider, being able to depend on someone other than yourself might not be such a bad thing?"

Here we go again, Sarah gritted her teeth to keep from saying something she would regret later. She picked a piece of lint off her pants. "You're right."

"I know I'm right." Helen's eyes widened as if Sarah had a temporary loss of her senses. "But in the five years we've worked together you've never agreed with me before."

"That's because you've never quite said it that way. But where man will fail, God will not. He is the only one I ever want to depend on." Sarah put her headset on and watched the monitor's black blinking cursor.

With a groan, Helen put her head into her hands and murmured, "Back to square one!"

Sarah lowered her eye lashes, "Helen, honestly, I like my life just as it is." Sarah knew the concern she saw in Helen's eyes was for her. However, she also knew men were on a whole were a problem, not a solution.

"Fine. But, I don't understand why you won't even entertain the thought of dating someone."

Sarah swatted at the finger Helen had pointed at her nose. A spurt of anger drew her chin up a notch as she wondered why, of all times, did the radios need to be quiet now? "I'm happy. Why spoil it?"

© 2007 by JoAnn Carter

By The Book offers food for thought within the pages of a sweet blossoming romance.

Connie - Once Upon A Romance

For the full review please go to: http://www.onceuponaromance.net/ByTheBookReview.htm

BY THE BOOK by JoAnn Carter, was a very light and romantic read. If you want a short, quick and lighthearted read for an afternoon, this one is for you.

Reviewed by Maisha Walker for The Road to Romance

For a the full review, please go to... http://www.roadtoromance.ca/reviews0705/reviewbythebook.htm


 
JoAnn