My Personal Pick of Books For Holiday Gift Giving

I love to read. What books have you read this year?

I love to read. What books have you read this year?

Over the last few years I have written almost 80 reviews. My goal is to reach 100 in 2015. Because I love to read and people often ask me for book recommendations I thought I’d share a list of some of the goodies I’ve read in past year.

Add some to your to-read-list or buy them for your favorite book worms.

I’ll divide them by genre and encourage you to check out my reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

Some on this list are debut novels of exceptional quality. All of the authors have a wonderful grasp on the craft of writing and draw readers into their stories. This list reflects my love of reading and willingness to review books outside my own genre of historical.

Historical:

World War II settings:

With Music in Their Hearts by Carole Brown

Under the Silk Hibiscus by Alice J Wisler

Lightning on a Quiet Night by Donn Taylor

Revolutionary War setting:

Fields of the Fatherless (YA book) by Elaine Cooper

1800s setting:

Kincaid Brides Trilogy by Mary McConeally

Trouble In Texas Series by Mary McConeally

Mystery:

The Cat Lady’s Secret (cozy) by Linda Yazak

Chapel Springs Revival (humorous) by Ane Mulligan

Murder on Edisto by C Hope Clark

The Simulacrum by Brad Seggie and Linda Yezak

Firewall (FBI Houston #1) by DiAnn Mills

Contemporary Fiction:

Breathing On Her Own by Rebecca Waters

Reservations For Two by Ann Patrick

Traveler’s Rest by Ann Tatlock

All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

Lake Surrender by Carol Grace Stratton

Give The Lady A Ride by Linda Yezak

Fantasy:

Blood For Blood (Vampires, 1800s setting) by Ben Wolf

Innocent Blood; Equinox of Reckoning (Halloween setting with Celtic lore) by John Turney

Crossing Into The Mystic (The Crossing Trilogy #1) (Ghosts) by D L Koontz

Whiskey Sunrise (Crime Drama involving the supernatural) by John Turney

Devotionals:

Dare U To Open This (8-12 yrs. olds boys) by Carol McAdams Moore

Just Sayin’ (8-12 yrs. old girls) by Carol McAdams Moore

God, Me and Sweet Tea (women) By Rose Chandler Johnson

Hungry For God, Starving For Time (women) by Lori Hatcher

These are only a portion of the ones I read this year. Some authors I would recommend that may or may not have made this short list whose overall body of work are wonderful reads are C Hope Clark, DiAnn Mills, Brandilyn Collins, Virginia Smith, Gilbert Morris, Jerry B Jenkins, Carole Brown, Elaine Cooper, Mary Conneally, Cynthia Ruchti, and James Scott Bell.

What books have you read this year? Which ones would you recommend?

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A Peek Into The Writing World of Award Winning Author Carole Brown

carole180 

I am so excited to have author Carole Brown with me today. This is her second visit to my blog. I interviewed her in October 2013 when her novel The Redemption of Caralynn Hayman was released. With Music in Their Heart is different in a number of ways but the strands of excellence and adventure run through both of them. For those of you who missed my previous blog post where I introduced this exciting book click here.

With Music in Their Hearts

Carole, welcome to Writer’s Patchwork and thank you for taking the time from your busy writing schedule to visit.

First I have to ask, what sparked the idea of WWII spies? More specifically, spies on American soil?

That’s a great question. It’s a two-fold answer. ☺

First, we had an elderly gentleman who wrote a self-published small book about a man who served as a civilian spy during WWII. It was said, that HE was the spy, but he never confirmed or denied it. Still his basic thought made for a great plot for my With Music in Their Hearts!

Secondly, I wanted a story with a heroine that honored my mother, and when I began this novel, I used my mother’s name, Emma Jane (Jaine, in the book). Mother never especially liked her name, but I love it and think it fits my female protagonist perfectly.

Where did you do your research?

Mostly the internet, although books and people comprise some of my research too. I love having the information at my finger tips but interacting with individuals is something personal and interesting that is quite rewarding, especially when he or she has intimate information from their own memories or family history.

I found a pastor as a spy very intriguing. Why a pastor?

Why not? ☺ Pastors are people too with desires to matter and do “great” things. Seriously, the basic idea stemmed from the answer to your first question.

But the question begs to be answered: How would HE handle it? Especially as devoted to God and the church as Tyrell is. Would he stride-for-stride be as brave, as forceful, as smart as his FBI cousin and best friend, Ben Hardy?

It was an unusual situation that created a difficult situation for a man in a position most people would consider to be a job that is mild and peace-loving. What people forget (at times, I think) is that ministers have strong feelings about loyalty and faith and right and wrong. That’s why Tyrell felt pulled between disgust and compassion for Hank, one of the boarders. And to put a godly man in a secret position to spy on people he also needed to minister to–oh, my, what intrigue!

As I wrote my interview I felt like I was in the middle of an old black and white movie watching the story unfold. Loved the dialogue-so true to the time. How did you keep the dialogue and character interaction circa 1941 without interjecting 21st century jargon and mindset?

Carefulness. I’ve listened to a lot of talk from that era in many avenues. I’ve studied sites with lots of phrases and words, and read books. Then there’s always my imagination. Somehow I can usually picture the actions and moves of the characters and even “hear” their conversations. The more I wrote, the more I edited, the more I “lived” then. I immersed myself in that time period until I could “hear” the characters talking as they should.

Emma Jaine and her sisters represented the young people growing up in 1940s America so well. You mentioned the main character has your mother’s name. Did you use some of your family’s stories as a basis for your characters’ everyday activities? Perhaps you had a spy in your clan? Were any of the boarders based on actual people?

Sort of. My mother’s stories of her life, jobs and the struggles during the war period. The pictures are wonderful and transported me straight back into those early war days. Lol, about the spy in my ancestors’ lives. Who knows? I’ve never heard of any, but that’s not saying there wasn’t.

Spies have always interested me. It’s hard to separate “good” spies from the “bad” ones, because we’ve all heard of the things they have to do and be involved in at times. How many times can you lie your way out of a mishap or lie your way into a situation? Will your conscience allow you to even go as far as some go? All those questions and more complicate matters even more so when I  plopped a pastor into the role.

Carole, your writing is always stellar. Tell us a little about your journey to becoming a multi-published author.

Thank you, Cindy! I appreciate that.

About three years ago, I was on the verge of quitting–totally and completely. It was the first time I had ever sunk so low into despair and discouragement with my writing. Little did I know, that God had a plan, and my feelings were part of it.

I’ll try to be brief. I’ve written for years, but not seriously as a career fiction author. When I got back into it, I dived in head first, re-learning everything I needed to know: critique partners, conferences, workshops. I attained an agent, submitted to contests and editors. I did my homework, and gradually developed my own style.

But the year I sank low, I had had enough of a million (well, it did feel like it!) rejections. A dear older friend sat me down, figuratively, and said, God gave me this talent. I needed to trust him and keep writing.

It wasn’t easy, and I still had little faith, but I plastered those words across my computer screen and dug in deeper. I finished, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman and submitted it to The Lighthouse of the Carolinas Publishing House at their request, was accepted, and rest is history.

Now, I have three books out, with more on the way in months. God has blest me immensely, and I truly, truly feel humbled by his love to me for allowing me to have this talent and joy in knowing I’m an author.

Before we close this delightful interview, do you have any last minute thoughts to add? Don’t forget to mention upcoming books, your website and any other ways we can contact you.

I’d just like to encourage any writers out there, to never quit. Seek and discover the writing journey God has for YOU, then follow his plan. Only when we submit to his best plans for US do we find true satisfaction and peace.

I’d love it if your readers would check out my three published books:

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

The first book in the Denton and Alex Davies cozy mystery series: Hog Insane

With Music in Their Hearts, the first book in the WWII Spy series

These are ones I’m working on now:

The second book in my mystery series, Bat Crazy, is scheduled for release late winter.

I’m working and hoping to have a late 1800s light suspense book ready soon too.(Caleb’s Destiny).

I’m striving to finish the second book in The Spies Series: A Flute in the Willows, for publication late next year.

And I always have others on a back burner to work on as I have time.
Thanks so much, Cindy, for allowing me to share a little. It’s been fun answering these questions.

It has been my pleasure. Let me give you a hug before we part and add you are an inspiration to struggling writers. Thanks so much for stopping by.

A few more things you may not know about Carole Brown and how to follow her.

Brown not only has her award winning (RWA International Digital Awards finalist in Inspiration, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel.

November, 2013, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies. Look for the second book, Bat Crazy, late 2014 winter.

Released November 1, 2014, is the first book in a new WWII romantic suspense series: With Music In Their Hearts. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:

Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

She is also a part of several other blogs:

Stitches in Time:  http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/

Carole is giving away a copy of With Music In Their Heart to one lucky commenter. You can choose either paperback or e-book. This is a wonderful gift for the bookworm on your Christmas list.

We will draw the winner on Friday.

 

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My Promised Interview with Carol McAdams Moore Interview

Just as I promised I have invited Carol McAdams Moore to my blog to pick her brain and have a fun giveaway of her devotionals Dare U To Open This Book and Just Sayin’. You can see my reviews here.

Carol Welcome to Writer’s Patchwork. After receiving your devotionals to do a review I was so impressed with these delightful books I wanted to have you come and share the how, the why and the inspiration behind these devotionals.  So, please ignore the clutter in my office and let’s get started.

Carol McAdams Moore_Author Photo

What kind of adventures have you encountered on your journey to publication?

Thank you for having me today, Cindy! I have been on the road to this kind of publication for about 12 years. When I attended my first writers conference (Write-to-Publish in Wheaton, IL), I was unpublished. I soon latched on to the idea of building my experience through writing articles, fillers, and curriculum. Now I attend Write-to-Publish every June. It is more than a writing conference for me. It is kind of a check in time with God to make sure I am following His will for this writing journey. That journey, like any path with God, is definitely an adventure. 

 

Just Sayin'

How did you come up with the idea for these creative devotionals?

I teach fourth and fifth graders during the week. Several years ago, I noticed that many of my students came back from the Scholastic Book Fair with books that shared a similar format – something that asked kids a question or gave them a prompt to write or draw about. When I saw how engaged the kids were in the books, I knew that I wanted to write devotionals with the same format. God’s hand was evident in the next step when I contacted Zonderkidz. The editor had been looking at a similar book (Wreck This Journal) and hoped to publish a devo for tweens with the same format.

Cute cover don't you think.

Cute cover don’t you think.

What is it about this age group that intrigues you?

I love that kids who are 8-12 are confident readers, ready to explore the Bible on their own. It is a critical time (just before junior high). I love to watch kids read the Bible and discover its value for their own lives.

What do you hope kids come away with working through these devotionals?

It says it right on the back covers – to follow Jesus. Best. Idea. Ever.

I love your covers. How did you go about choosing the right ones that would reach out and grab kids attention.

Thank you, Cindy! I love the covers, too. They are the work of the awesome design team at Zonderkidz!

I have to know—did you work on these book simultaneously or one at a time?

At any given step, I worked on one of them at a time. For example, initially I chose the Bible verses for one of them, but if something jumped out at me for the other one I would take a little detour and work on that one for a brief time. Then, I followed that process throughout the publication steps.

Do you have plans for more kids devotionals?

I am waiting to hear back on several new ideas. Right now, I can’t say more than that. Stay tuned to my blog or my facebook wall for updates!

Can you pass on a few tips about writing kids devotionals for those who may have the same passion for kids growing in Christ.

I would encourage those who want to write devotionals for kids to spend a lot of time with them. Listen to how they talk. Listen to what they talk about. If at all possible, spend time with kids in different settings. For example, the same child will be different at home, at school, at church, and in the neighborhood.

Another thing I would suggest is to make note of what kids are reading.

Last, invest in some good writing tools. I use a child’s thesaurus, a children’s disctionary, The Children’s Writer’s Word Book, and the Flip Dictionary to name a few.

Great ideas. You really have your hand on the pulse of  tweens and it shows in your devotionals.

Any future books in the works?

Again, I am waiting to hear back on several new ideas. Besides writing nonfiction, I am working on several fiction ideas.

How can we contact you?

I love to hear from readers! Let’s connect!

Facebook        https://www.facebook.com/cmcadamsmoore

Pinterest         http://pinterest.com/cmcadamsmoore/

Blog                http://carolmcadamsmoore.blogspot.com/

Twitter            https://twitter.com/CMcAdamsMoore

Email              carolmcadamsmoore@gmail.com

And for those who don’t win in the drawing where can they order you books.

Dare U 2 Open This Book and Just Sayin’ are available at Family Christian Stores, Lifeway Stores, and at Barnes and Noble. Also, future readers (or their parents or grandparents) can order the books on Amazon or directly from Zondervan.

Okay, here’s your chance. Leave a comment for Carol about writing devotions, tweens or her writing journey or just tell her you want in the drawing. Each name will be entered in a drawing for either Dare U To Open This Book or Just Sayin’.

To be eligible for the drawing you must comment on this blog post not my FB page.

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Ceasing the Moments to Write

Well, my plan was to rise early to get some writing done. Because this day before thanks giving is going to be full of activity. I don’t have guests coming here but I need to prepare pies to take to my sisters. I have a chiropractor’s appointment this morning because it had to be moved from Monday. Having a new grandbaby is a great reason to move it. And then there is my monthly hair appointment. I almost slept in. I felt so lovely not to have to get up at 4:30. Well, I managed ten extra minutes. My six year old granddaughter woke me with tummy trouble. After some Imodium she is resting on the couch while I set at the other end typing this blog.

I have plans to finish other writing projects. Those are temporarily shifted in priority while I put musing that have taken over my mind with my granddaughter’s early morning need.

toddler girl sleeping

Write where you can when you can.

Often ideal moments never come. I am most productive early morning because by 9pm my brain is fried of all creativity. On my days off three or four hours of early morning writing is a blessing. On work days 20 or 30 minutes of vomiting thoughts on a page gives me a feeling of exhilaration.

Often the time I set aside to write gets shifted because family needs or a dirty bathroom take precedence. (You know how easy that toothpaste encrusted sink can turning into an hour of thoroughly cleaning the bathroom,)

Laptop will travel

There are times I take my laptop to a different location in my home to work. I’ve sat near the grandkids while they play. Wrote during commercials during family time. (This is the get the thoughts on paper kind of writing). Nothing really creative happens while your brain multi-task between TV and word craft.

My laptop may sit on the kitchen table while I pop something in the oven for dinner. Staying near the oven to actually hear the timer is preferred to hearing the smoke detector from my office. If the grandchildren insist on helping me cook the laptop remains ideal in my office.

I have a rolling desk in my bedroom. I can use it while propped up in bed which is a great place to stay when I don’t want any interruptions in the afternoon or early evening. My room is off limit to all family members. Except my hubby who lately has decided that’s a great time to take a nap or look as FB on his phone. The sound of snoring or chuckling become background noise to my writing process.

On your feet

When my back is sore from all the sitting I use my kitchen counter to get a few paragraphs on paper. That’s often the time I clear out my email, make comments on blogs I follow and post FB status. At least in those moments I’m growing my internet footprint and working on my platform.

writing

At my day job and other places

My work uniform pockets, on slow days, often fill with scrapes of paper. Each containing either a writing to do list, a great line, story premise or a rewritten scene. My little notebook may come out in the car, the doctor’s waiting room or during a sermon to jot down the words, ideas and visions floating around in my head.

Because my writing life is rarely without interruptions I’ve learned to grab the time as I can. Whether pockets of time throughout a day or early morning watching over a sick child grabbing those moments gets me that much closer to completing my goals.

My goals

Getting paid to do the thing I love and share that love with as many people as I can.

What is your writing goal and how do you find time to write toward that goal?

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An Introduction to With Music In Their Hearts A World War II Spy Novel

With Music in Their HeartsI loved With Music in Their Hearts and am so honored Author Carole Brown agreed to an interview. She will be sitting down with me next month to share about the creation of this novel and her writing journey. I am so excited I thought I’d share a few things to wet your reading appetite. Hopefully, get you as excited as I am about the interview. So I am sharing the review I post on Amazon, the back cover copy and an excerpt from the first chapter (Carole gave me permission) to generate some interest in this fascinating novel.

My review

I opened to chapter one in my Kindle and heard the music coming from the piano at the boarding house. I felt a part of the intrigue and saw the characters as they interacted with one another. Carole Brown’s World War II spy novel With Music in Their Hearts is a fascinating read. The realistic dialogue, setting and characters dress drew me into this 1940’s mystery. Americans spying on Americans during a turbulent time in history perked my interest. Make that spy a pastor and add some romance and I was fully engaged. The character’s reminded me of an old black and white movie from the period especially the way the men and women flirty and behaved. Carole is a gifted writer and meticulous researcher. Both talents show through in this page turner. Some may refer to it as cozy because there isn’t a lot of graphic violence. But the suspense still rings true. Lovers of World War II historicals aren’t the only ones who will enjoy this novel. If this time period is not your normal fare give With Music In their Hearts a look you won’t be disappointed.

The Blurb

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

Excerpt from Chapter 1

A vehicle’s tires spinning gravel behind him warned him he’d not lost the black

car. Slowing. Creeping. Engine purring. Only a few feet separated him from the car and

making a sudden decision, he jogged around the corner and hugged the building trying to

put distance between it. The car’s tires squealed as the car sped up. The driver took the

corner, gravel crunching and spinning into the air.

They must have spotted him for the driver braked, throwing the passenger

forward. Tyrell flung himself at the car and grabbed for the door handle.

The window slid down.

Something tugged at his arm.

And the handle tore from his grasp as the car accelerated.

The seemingly belated, reverberating crack of a gun vibrated the air around him.

The car spun around a far corner, and Tyrell reached up to rub his stinging arm.

The sticky wetness drew his attention.

Blood. He saw the tear in his coat sleeve, the minute traces of blood oozing.

He’d been shot?

Why would they—whoever they were—want to shoot at him? It was a scratch,

and they’d been close enough to kill him if they’d wanted to.

They didn’t want to. What were they after? A scare tactic? To warn him away?

From what? Perhaps all this was a coincidence, a figment of his active imagination.

No sign of the car. Satisfied he was rid of them, he entered the hotel. At the

reception desk, he filled out the necessary papers, climbed the stairs, and headed down

the hallway.

At the far end, a red-haired woman inserted a key into the lock.

Was she the same woman who’d been in the recruitment office? That hat . . . He

called out, “Hey, lady.”

She glanced his way, her luxurious hat tilted at just the right angle to hide one

side of her face. With a flip of her plaid skirt, she shoved open her door and disappeared

inside.

Tyrell hesitated at his own door, next to her’s, but inserted his key and entered.

Inside, he switched on a light then as quickly flicked it off. He stepped to the window.

And drew in a breath as if he’d been sucker-punched.

Down below, across from the hotel, the streetlight reflected off a long, black

Oldsmobile. Standing beside the car staring up at the hotel, stood Ben Hardy.

His cousin and best friend.

 

With Music in Their Heart

Kindle Link:   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OVFWA5S?pldnSite=1

Print Link:    http://www.amazon.com/Music-Their-Hearts-Spies-World/dp/1941622038/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415113865&sr=1-1&keywords=With+Music+in+Their+Hearts

If you’re curious enough to add this to your reading list I hope you will stop by on Monday, December 1st to see the interview with this wonderful writer. By the way it is available in e-book format as well.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss this upcoming interview as well as interviews with other authors who have agreed to share with me. There will be giveaways :)

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Devotionals for Tweens that Make Exploring God’s Word Fun

Carol McAdams Moore has written two delightful devotionals for tweens. That’s 8-12 year olds if you want to know. This is the age where drawing, coloring and lots of glitter are the best ways to express feelings and tell tales. These books would be great for Sunday School teachers to gift their class to encourage person devotions. Oh, where were these kinds of books back when my children were young.

Cute cover don't you think.

Cute cover don’t you think.

Parents with sons who hate to read or don’t seat still for long devotional reading will find a fun place to explore God’s Word in Dare U To Open This Book. The title of Carol McAdams Moore’s devotional for tween boys takes that dare to fun places. Ninety days of scripture and what if questions to spark boys imaginations. Chances to doodle and expand the concepts creatively, no essay writing involved. Lessons are short allowing the reader to take as much or as little time as he feels inspired to with each lesson.

Just Sayin'

If you are looking for a fun devotional for your daughter that challenges their thinking without a lot of boring fill in the blank questions have I got the book for you. Just Sayin’ is Carol McAdams Moore’s devotional for tween girls. It’s jam packed with 90 fun activity pages. Every page has a verse and spectacular ideas to ponder. Laid out like a scrap book it has short, sweet and creative daily devotional pages. Lots of markers, glitter and gel pens are needed to doodle and create answers to the questions for each day. Perfect for girls to visualize the truths of God’s Word without using a lot of words.

Carol McAdams Moore_Author Photo

I‘ll be interviewing Carol soon about all things devotional. If you have any questions I’ll pass them along for you. She’s also having a drawing to giveaway these books to some lucky commenters.

Don’t forget to click the subscribe button to follow me.

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Blood for Blood’s Creator-An Interview with Ben Wolf

Ben Wolf  is his own hero and villian.

Ben Wolf is his own hero and villian.

Today I welcome Ben Wolf, owner and founder of Splickety Publishing Group, to my blog. I met Ben Wolf at a writer’s conference a few years ago and have watched his career grow from there. After reading his debut novel Blood for Blood I wanted to invite him to take a seat in my very cluttered office to share a little about how he decided on his theme. For those of you who have not read my book review let me give you the one second recap: A vampire gets saved. Kind of weird yet intriguing at the same time. Hey, that kind of describes you, Ben. Let me clear off that chair over there and we can get started.

Tell my readers a little bit about yourself. The normal along with the weird.

Hi, Cindy. I’m both the hero and the villain in my own story, which makes for some interesting sword-fighting duels in my sleep. As you said, I’m the founder/owner/Executive Editor of Splickety Publishing Group, your source for the best flash fiction in the world. When I’m not working on Splickety stuff, people pay me small fortunes (emphasis on small) to freelance edit their writing, whether it’s nonfiction, fiction, or just about anything else.

I’m also the author of Blood for Blood, as you said in your delightful introduction. And yes, a vampire does get saved. The story focuses on what happens to him after that experience, specifically on how he tries to stop becoming a vampire and how other Christians treat him.

It’s obvious to anyone who meets you and follows you on Facebook that you write and love speculative fiction. How does this genre fit in the Christian market?

For readers who don’t know what spec fiction is, it’s anything weird: super heroes, vampires, aliens, fantasy, sci-fi, Steampunk, paranormal, supernatural and much, much more. As to its place in the Christian market…most of us are still trying to figure out exactly what that is. Right now the Christian market is dominated by romance and other inspirational genres (including historical). Suspense/thriller/crime/mystery stories are also up there, probably ahead of speculative fiction.

But that’s rapidly changing. Very, very rapidly. We’re poised to take over, and it’s going to be amazing. Within the next 10 years, I anticipate that you’ll see more and more Christian spec fiction (or just spec fic in general) on your bookshelves, and more on Amazon.com and other online retailers as well. The younger generation doesn’t go in for romance stories like previous generations have—they grew up with spec fic in pop culture, so that’s what they love. That’s what they write, that’s what they read, and that’s what they’ll be buying.

Blood for Blood Cover

Blood for Blood centers around a vampire. Why vampires?

Vampires, in their traditional form as set down primarily by Bram Stoker in Dracula, are diametrically opposed to everything that Christianity stands for. My friend Matt Sheehy, also an author, suggested to me that a vampire getting saved would be hilarious because of all the various vampire taboos he’d have to face as a result. I did a 10-part blog series on the particulars of what my main character Raven endures after he becomes a Christian and why vampires are vexed by Christian principles.

Beyond that, I wanted to explore the question of whether or not a vampire even could be saved. Traditionally, vampires don’t have souls. Therefore a vampire can’t be saved. However, we serve a God who is capable of doing the impossible. He raised Jesus, Lazarus, and others from the dead, and in Psalm 23 King David talks about God “restoring his soul,” so add a bit of fiction to it and hey, maybe this could actually work out.

An Italian evangelist was a surprise to me. Not your stereotypical minister. Talk a little bit about him and his goals.

Luco Zambini is the Italian evangelist in the story. He sort of takes Raven under his wing and tries to help him walk in his new faith. It’s unusual for an Italian in this time period to be non-Catholic, but not impossible, so Luco is an example of an exception. The fact that he’s Italian comes into play when Raven accidentally eats pasta sauce at Luco’s house that contains garlic.

Long story short, Luco’s intention is to prove to his congregation and his family that Raven is capable of genuine change because God is capable of inspiring that change. It’s his hope that Raven’s soul will be fully restored and that he’ll be able to walk in daylight again, just like normal humans do, and just like raven used to do when he was a human.

I found your theme compelling. This coming from a non-vampire reader. Psalms 23:5 is your focus scripture. The restoration of a soul is a wonderful thing. But taking it to the extreme of a soulless man was genius. Now that I’ve totally stroked your ego tell us what this verse means to you personally.

Thanks. My ego and I will sleep well tonight. For me, Psalm 23 (the entire chapter) was something my parents recited with me every night before bedtime when I was a kid. On some level, it must have stuck with me. The imagery of King David’s poetry is powerful and loaded with meaning beyond just the beautiful prose when you understand the context of some of the things he’s saying.

Suffice it to say that we all venture into that valley of the shadow of death at times, and we all need the Lord to guide us, me included. Psalm 23 is a great reminder of that.

This book is written with the new adult audience (young people in their 20s) in mind yet I haven’t seen that decade in a while and I enjoyed it. Pretend you’re speaking to a room full of people my age and share with us why we would find value in reading this story.

I’ve got two things to say to you on this matter: Blood for Blood may be geared for the “new adult” age range, but the principles of a good story are all there: a solid plot with believable characters, compelling conflict and tense interactions, and twists that you’ll never see coming. Tosca Lee, a New York Times bestselling author, said it best: “Action, humor, romance… Ben Wolf goes for the jugular and dares to ask: is anyone beyond the grace of God?”

As for reason number two, it is beneficial to know what folks of all ages are reading. If you’re not in that new adult range and you’re a YA reader, this book will still appeal to you. If you’re older than that new adult range, then you probably know some younger folks who would get a kick out of this book and other books like it. If you’re a parent or a grandparent to someone in the new adult or young adult range, then read this book to screen it for your loved ones, or just get it for them because it’s bound to be right up their alley.

It’s been great visiting with you and before you go can you share with my readers about Splickety’s magazines and how they can subscribe. Don’t forget to mention the anthology. And please feel free to promote yourself shamelessly.

Ben's Pic 2

Splickety always has some sort of deal going on, and right now so do I. Subscribing to Splickety’s magazines is as easy as visiting our website, clicking a few subscribe buttons, giving us your info, and then paying via PayPal. But there’s a better deal going on that isn’t currently on the website.

Right now, you can get a digital copy of my novel Blood for Blood AND a one-year digital subscription to Splickety’s magazines for $19.95 if you email me with the code B4B1995 at 1BenWolf@gmail.com. I’ll then provide instructions on where to mail the payment (or we can do PayPal) and we’ll make sure we get you signed up.

Normally the subscription alone costs $24.95, and Blood for Blood sells on Amazon for $4.99, so you’re saving about ten bucks with this deal. As Cindy said, our first-ever Splickety anthology is coming out soon as well, and that’ll be available for purchase soon after the new year rolls in.

If you’re looking for an editor, for consulting, or for a great public speaker, check out my website at www.benwolf.com, contact me, and we can talk about those things at your leisure.

I want to add how much I enjoy Splickety magazines. Great flash fiction coming to your email or mail box every month.  As Ben suggested check it out.

If you have any questions for Ben about his writing process, writerly things or vampires leave a comment.

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