From one Book Addict to Another- Book Reviews

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while has probably heard me mention I’m addicted to book. Here are a few I’ve read over the past few weeks that I’d like to share with you. I picked five from five different genres. I have read many more than these but it would make this post way too long and reveal just how addicted I am.

Historical Romance

Setting Two Hearts Free Book# 3 in Janet Grunst series is available for preorder. It releases November 6th. Reading the two previous books adds to the story. Those are A Heart Set Free and A Heart for Freedom.

I enjoyed my ARC copy of Setting Two Hearts Free it deals with rebuilding lives after traumas. Janet isn’t afraid to tackle the hard subjects. PTSD is not a new thing and Donald Duncan has to deal with it after returning home from the Revolutionary War. Well-researched, well-written, and very engaging. Once I read A Heart Set Free I’ve been a follower of this series. Buy link

Would their love survive the invisible wounds of war?

Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.

Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost; Setting Two Hearts Free?

 

Literary Fiction-Time Slip Genre

White by Denise Weimer book#1 of The Restoration Trilogy

This time-slip book uncovers a mystery in a family’s history. The author seamlessly takes us from modern time to the 1920s and back again.  I found this story both intriguing and educational. Denise takes the time to paint the setting and architecture of the restoration project in detail. There is no way a reader can’t feel like they are working alongside the preservationist. Can’t wait to read Book # 2 Buy link

In White: The Restoration Trilogy, Book One, as historic preservationist Jennifer and brooding bachelor Michael restore his ancestors’ historic doctor’s residence in a rural Georgia community, they uncover the 1920s-era prejudice and secrets that caused Michael’s branch to fall off the family tree. Jennifer is determined to fulfill her first professional position with integrity even if her employer lacks a proper appreciation of history. Far more challenging — and sinister — than the social landscape of Hermon are the strange accidents hinting that someone doesn’t want them on the Dunham property. Yet Michael’s and Jennifer’s pasts pose the biggest obstacles to laying a fresh foundation of family and community.

Time Travel Romance

I am a sucker for Time Travel stories and this one is unique. In Book 1 Cowboy Out of Time, a cowboy shows up in 1985 from 1885. He rescues Rose, the damsel who doesn’t know she’s in distress then they get engaged and disappear into time. I enjoyed their story and when the sequel came out I wanted to know where Hunt and Rose went. I wasn’t disappointed. The author has done a lot of research to make their rescue mission in Nazi-occupied France exciting. I love the author’s choice to break the rules a bit regarding what Time Travelers can and can not do. After all Time Travel is fictitious so why not make things more interesting by bending those rules. At times I thought the cowboy Hunt sounded a bit dumb. But he is a believable hero. Cowboys don’t back down from a fight. Rose manages to adjust to their plight and once the mission is complete they disappear into time again. Such a fun read. Buy link

Cowboy Ambushed in Time: A Time Travel Romance  Book 2 in the Rose Roamer Series by J. l Salter

Rose Roamer didn’t set out to become a time traveler. She and her brand new fiancé, Hunt Weston, just left 1985 south Alabama a moment ago. Now they’re huddled against a stone wall in a dark town somewhere else. Soon enough, they’re able to figure out their general location, but a lot depends on what year this is.

All Rose knows about Vector’s time travel assignments is that he’d sent a bewildered cowboy stranger 100 years into the future to save her life. In that process, they’d also fallen hopelessly in love. Now that they’re engaged, she assumes they are both being assigned to save somebody else — but who? Why? Where? And, importantly, when?

They’re about to realize how little they know about their new assignment from the mysterious Mr. Vector because he’s provided no explanations: just a torn poker card with a name, a place, and a date. Not much to go on when you zoom across time in the darkness.

A few things Rose knows for certain: it will be a lot different, quite difficult, and almost certainly dangerous. Something else on Rose’s troubled mind: who will they encounter in this different time and place?

Contemporary Second Chance Romance

I loved this realistic storyline of pain and restoration. There is a clear redemption message and we see the characters grow personally as well as being drawn together. Place the two troubled souls in a gossipy small town and you have a formula for a pot full of conflict. Well-developed and believable characters. I’ll be picking up the next book in the series when it comes out. Buy link

Matching Points (Driftwood Cover Series Book #1) by Nancy Farrier

Fresh out of prison, Asia Jessup wishes she could change her past and maybe her future. She has no family and no one to turn to, except for a newfound faith. She returns to the town where she spent a couple of idyllic summers to find the family she didn’t know she had. Her devastating secret won’t bring a joyful reunion. Will it destroy her last hope?

Ian Kittridge has his own thriving restaurant, is a respected business owner, and is active in his community. Thanks to a teenage Asia’s empathy one summer he’d been pulled back from the brink of ruining his life and ending up like his father-a murderer. He is working hard to eradicate the past and rise above the murmurs of “like father, like son.”

When Ian runs into Asia he can’t believe she’s returned to their coastal California town. Although he’s eager to reconnect, he isn’t looking for a serious relationship-he can’t take the chance of becoming his father. Asia can’t get close to Ian because of her shameful past and the sins of her mother and father. As Asia’s secrets quake the family she hoped to find, can she and Ian find their way through the storm, find a peaceful resolution, and look toward the future?

 

Christian Mystery and Suspense

This was a creative, fun read. I’m a fan of Leverage, a TV show about a group of con-artists who righted wrongs for the underdog. The Mischief Thief has the same mixture of intrigue and compassion. Most of the background was well-researched and the scenes were believable. The blood transfusion scene not so much. (I spent years working in a blood center which makes me a bit picky over details.) Despite that one scene I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. Watching Chaney change and Adam stretch beyond the boundaries of his comfort zone made this mystery so intriguing. Buy Link

The Mischief Thief (The Mosiac Collection) Rose and Thorne Book 1 by Johnnie Alexander

Two wrongs don’t make a right . . . except when they do.

For con artist Chaney Rose, life hasn’t been easy. In desperate need of cash, she readily agrees to find Mischief, a stolen racehorse. Hunting for clues, she breaks into the suspected horse thief’s home only to be caught—with a few pilfered items in her pockets—by the police detective who’s tailing her.

By-the-book Adam Thorne was fired from his church because of his father’s involvement with the valuable thoroughbred. In a burst of Les Miserables-inspired grace, Adam tells the detective that he gave Chaney the stolen items.

Adam wants Chaney to find his missing father. When Chaney learns that Mischief’s owner intends to kill the racehorse, she needs Adam’s help to expose the cruel plan before it’s too late.

Will a con artist with a conscience and a minister without a ministry risk imprisonment to do the wrong thing for the right reason?

What are some great books you’ve read recently? Please share and feed my addiction.

A peek at Sherri Stewart’s newest work and a giveaway

Sherri Stewart is my special guest today. Like me, she is a Jubilee Writer. One who started her career later in life. I am so encouraged by her life message and her newest release.

Welcome, Sherri. I always like to start out these interviews learning about my guest’s writing journey.

I came to writing late in life, but my publisher has been helpful in keeping her writers busy writing for new series and collections. I’ve had a lot of careers: French teacher, Principal, Flight Attendant, and Immigration Attorney, which inform my writing a great deal. Word Weavers International opened my eyes to the world of writing and helped me improve. Now I run a freelance editing business and have too much work since March when the pandemic began. I guess there are a lot of writers who dusted off old projects during the last five months.

As busy as you are you’ve managed to get another of your own projects done. Tell us a bit about it.

The Promise Keeper is a romance novella that will also be part of a Christmas collection. The common theme is “Misstletoe,” missed chances. Readers who enjoyed Serendipity, An Affair to Remember, and Sleepless in Seattle will like this book.

I’m intrigued. I loved those movies.

All writers do research on some level to bring realism to their work. How do you research your books?

First, I read every book I can find on the period and place in which the book takes place. I watch every documentary on Prime and on YouTube. There’s a goldmine of information on YouTube. So for my latest release, The Promise Keeper, the characters meet in London at an Eagles’ concert, so I bought tickets to their concert at Wembley Stadium, and if the characters eat at a specific restaurant, I eat at the restaurant—even order the same food. I walk the streets to get a feel for the architecture, the atmosphere, the smells, etc. Sadly, because of the COVID virus, I had to cancel my trip to the UK. But I’ve been studying the Welsh language for the last six months, and I’ve watched every travel film I could find on Wales. Fortunately, some of the book took place in Atlanta so we were able to visit without fear of spreading the virus to other lands.

I appreciate that you didn’t let COVID keep you from your research. There is so much available information out there without traveling to a location. I love how immersed you get in your research. Can’t wait to read The Promise Keeper. We authors often get a germ of an idea that evolves from there. What inspired you to write your book?

I’m not a big chick-flick fan, but I have my favorites—Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding, Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, and Kate Beckinsale in Serendipity. In fact, it was Serendipity that made me start thinking, what if? There’s something charming about destiny bringing two people together, yet it’s even more exciting if the God who created us has a special someone in mind for us, and He brings us together in creative ways. That’s the essence of the providence of God. So I started thinking: What if God had two Americans who live far apart meet up in another country? Since they’d eventually return to their own homes, they’d have to make plans to meet up sometime in the future. Wales came to mind. I don’t know why because I’ve never been there, but since choosing Wales, I’ve fallen in love with the country and have been studying Welsh, which is a daunting language.

Wow! What a wonderful premise. Thank you so much for giving us a peek into your writing process and your upcoming novella.

A bit more about my guest:

Sherri Stewart loves a clean novel, sprinkled with romance, and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Her passion is traveling to the settings of her books, sampling the food, and visiting the sites. Sadly, her research for The Promise Keeper trip to Wales and London was canceled due to COVID, but she did visit Atlanta, and she’s still learning Welsh for a future visit. A recent widow, Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her lazy dog, Lily, and her son, Joshua, who can fix anything. She shares recipes, tidbits of the book’s locations, and pix in her newsletter. Subscribe at http://eepurl.com/gZ-mv9

A giveaway- who doesn’t love those.

 Sherri will do a giveaway of The Promise Keeper. Leave a comment here on teh blog for a chance to win. She’ll choose a winner on Friday to receive either a paperback or e-book copy.

Link for The Promise Keeper: https://amzn.to/2Y07QP0

 

Connect with Sherri Stewart

https://www.amazon.com/author/sherristewart/ 

https://www.facebook.com/sherristewartauthor/

https://twitter.com/machere

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/758893.Sherri_Stewart

www.stewartwriting.com

https://www.instagram.com/stewart_sherri/

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherri-stewart

 

If you are visiting for the first time and enjoyed this interview why not subscribe to get more sneak peek interviews and other writerly content.

 

 

 

Sex in Inspirational and Clean Romance

I know I am opening a can of worms here, but It’s my blog and I’ll say what I want too. 😊

As a romance writer whose audience prefers a clean read the question authors have is how to define it. Clean or cozy romance general means all the steamy stuff happens behind closed doors. The details are left to the readers’ imagination. But the attraction, the warm fuzzies, and sexual tension are part of what the reader sees on the page. Hugs, kisses that grow in intensity, cuddling close, and pressing close fully clothed are all acceptable in this definition. Lots of sparks and tingly sensations and a head full of thoughts of the love interest. Keeping the bedroom door closed is the basic definition of a clean romance. Inspirational romance falls in that same category. There may be intense moments and a suggestion of sex, but the shades are drawn for the reader.

Marriage bed

Now we come to the burning question, what about married sex?  That is an interesting question. I recently read a series of inspirational historical romance where among the scripture references and prayer the reader watches the main characters have sex for the first time. The author I suppose did it tastefully, but it still mentioned body parts and what the couple was doing including groans. Not something I’d want my middle-school granddaughter to read. And that is the key. Most people who read clean romance, especially of the inspirational kind will share the book with the younger generation. The characters are an example of the kind of successful relationship I would want my granddaughters to experience. Although we live in a very liberal society I find it discomforting to think she might stumble across something explicit on my bookshelf.

In the middle ages when royalty wed there were witnesses on their wedding night. A priest and perhaps another man would watch the couple consummate their marriage. Then there was no doubt that the two were truly married in every way. I’m sorry—but EWWW! I wouldn’t be married today if someone had been permitted to watch.

But it’s make-believe

Yes, I know, romance novels aren’t about real people. But explicit descriptions stir things in a reader that may make them uncomfortable. When they pick up what they expect to be clean and find more than they bargained for they will either throw it across the room or give the author a terrible review or both.

Because the scripture is my guidebook and every reference to sex in the Bible leaves the details to the imagination I use that as my guide as I write my stories. Sex in the confines of marriage is to be celebrated. Even if we have characters who struggle with the issues of intimacy the writer can show how they overcame it without giving graphic details.

Let’s define graphic

Graphic details have a different meaning from one person to another. Some readers don’t even want the name of body parts mentioned i.e. breasts would become upper torso. (I know that is extreme.)  For others, the steam can get intense but at that key moment the door is shut for the reader and we rejoin the couple the next morning.

Most publishers have their definition of what is acceptable in the pages of their novels based on their audience. Before you begin to craft those scenes, read books from their romance line, and learn what they expect. If it makes you feel uncomfortable then find a different publisher who fits your preferences.

A well-written romance will sell even without sex scenes. The story arc, the characters’ inner struggles, and eventually victories of the hero and heroine are what these readers want. A truly happily-ever-after ending leaves them giddy.

This whole post is about clean romance only. Now I’m going to ask you: –

What are your thoughts on the subject?  

 

Fiction outside the Box

I’m so excited to have Norma Gail here again to talk about her newest release Within Golden Bands. Could not put this wonderful books down.

Fiction Outside the Box

By Norma Gail

 

Fiction Outside the Box could be my tagline instead of Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. My new release, Within Golden Bands follows the lead of my debut novel, Land of My Dreams in that it’s not a predictable “Hallmark Movie” scenario. I write Christian romance, and romantic suspense. However, if you don’t read romance because of worn and repetitive elements, you’ll find more than one twist in my books.

 

Set in contemporary times, American female protagonist, Bonny, moved to Scotland in Book One, where she met Kieran MacDonell, a Scottish sheep farmer. My second book, following the same characters, enters the realm of romantic suspense. Some elements edge toward women’s fiction, since the story explores infertility and adoption. Add in long-hidden family secrets and a crazed stalker who seeks to steal their livelihood and their lives. Kieran and Bonny, never have a dull moment.

Lest the term women’s fiction sound too heavy, throw in a blend of ingredients from happily-ever-after, to fast-moving suspense, with a dash of heartbreak. In a world where nothing goes as planned, fiction shouldn’t be predictable either. To borrow from one of my reviewers: anyone can write a love story where the couple falls in love and lives happily ever after. Within Golden Bands offers a tale of deep commitment, hardship, and loss, tied together by an abiding faith in Christ.

 

Abortion is a hot topic once again. As the adoptive mom of two adult children, I believe more people should see adoption as a positive option for an unplanned pregnancy. No spoilers, but fertility treatments can create tension in any marriage. This isn’t my story but Bonny and Kieran’s emotions are typical.

 

For added interest, tie in a desert-dweller’s adjustment to life in the rainiest part of Scotland. The comparison and contrast between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and misty Scottish Highlands create a backdrop for Bonny’s ping-pong ball emotions as a head-over-heels-in-love new wife to a frightened woman who longs for safety.

I invite you to hop over to my blog at NormaGail.org to read the free first chapters of both books under “Norma’s Book News.”  Here’s hoping that my books will be your cup of Scottish Breakfast tea!

 

Author Bio:

Norma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (released May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, or Amazon.

 

I am excited to announce that anyone who comments on my blog will be put in a drawing for a chance to win a copy of Within Golden Bands. The winner can choose either e-book format or paperback ( US only).

 

Returning to Writing After Life Interrupts and a Giveaway

During this time when life threw us a curveball. I think this guest blog by Norma Gail is very timely.  The time gap between her first novel and its sequel is a lesson for all of us Thank you for joining us, Norma.

In the midst of building your writing career what put the skids on it for a season?

The first book came too easy. I received a contract following my second writer’s conference. The second was to take six years. My debut novel, Land of My Dreams, released in April of 2014. Two years later, the sequel was written, but it was rejected. I set it aside and concentrated on promoting the book I had, fearing more rejection. Sure enough, when I got up the courage to pitch it again, the editor rejected it. Then life got complicated.

About four years ago, I began to make a five-hour trip about every 2-3 months to help my childless aunt and uncle in their 90’s. My mom died halfway through that time period, shortly after my second knee replacement. Within two months, my cousins and I moved our aunt and uncle to assisted living near me. I helped clean out both houses. My aunt died several months after their move, and I had two ablations for atrial fibrillation. I still care for my uncle.

Throughout these experiences, there has been a lot of pain and struggle. I couldn’t write a sentence that didn’t sound hurt and angry. That’s not a heart attitude that allows you to share your words with others.

I understand that feeling. But you did begin again.

When did you know it was time to resume writing and how did you go about restarting?

When you fall off a bicycle, you get back on and try again. Twenty-five percent of the reviews for Land of My Dreams ask for another book. I felt a responsibility to give them one. I also knew that God had given me the story for the sequel, one very dear to me. I started slow, just re-reading the manuscript, which had been edited. Reading it reminded me of how much I loved the characters and the story. I wanted it to be read. I began to write again, and things just flowed. The editor loved it more than the first book.

Add a comment for a chance to win a copy.

I couldn’t blog or write anything after my mom died, exhausted from surgery and emotion. A year later, I attended another writer’s conference and pitched my sequel again. I felt this story was truly what God wanted me to write. A publisher who knew the first book, and believed there was a market for the second one, offered to publish it for me. The result is Within Golden Bands, the story of my heart.

How did it feel to finally get words on paper again?

I had let Within Golden Bands go, but the book wouldn’t let go of me. As I regained strength, the desire to write returned. After I knew it would finally be published, I began blogging again. I’m not doing as much as I did before, that will come with time, but I am writing again. I’ve been through a lot. Sitting down and writing is good therapy. It helps me heal and it’s a good escape.

 I admire your determination. What lessons did you learn during this time?

The biggest lesson is that it’s a mistake to quit writing completely. If all you can do is journal, then journal every day, but never stop putting words on paper like I did. That hurt more than anything else. To not write created a hole in my heart. If I had written, I would have healed faster. Two deaths, four surgeries, and all the family dynamics that surround such major life changes needed an outlet.

Writing is a gift, and God calls us to use the gifts He has given us. After leading women’s Bible studies for over 21 years, I knew better than to ignore a call from the Lord. I also felt the need to minister to someone out of all the things I experienced. Both writing fiction and the devotionals for my blog stem from what the Lord has done in my life, lessons learned from walking with Him for many years. Once I began to write, all the hurt from my difficult experiences began to heal.

Fiction speaks to people who will never attend a Bible study. My feelings come out through the experiences of my characters. Writing allows me to share how the Lord has worked in my own life, even it’s not my personal story. I see writing as a ministry, the same as leading Bible studies. I must write.

About Land of My Dreams:

Alone and betrayed by a former fiancé, American professor Bonny Bryant accepts a position at a small college in Fort William, Scotland. But when she meets a fellow professor, Bonny discovers her wounds may be the scars of healing Kieran MacDonell needs to reach past his own grief. Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

About Within Golden Bands:

Newly married Bonny MacDonell finds the transition from American college professor to Scottish sheep farmer’s wife more difficult than she expected. When her miracle pregnancy ends in a devastating miscarriage, she fears her husband’s reaction will hurt more than the loss of their child.

But Kieran never shows up at the hospital. When found, he is beaten and unconscious. The only memory of his attacker is the words, “Get off my land.” Reeling from the threat to her husband and the loss of their child, Bonny struggles to hold her marriage together. When faith in love is not enough, where do you turn?

Norma, your feelings do truly come out in your words and many women will be touched by them. Thank you for coming. I look forward to having you visit a few more times as the release of Within Golded Bands draws near.

Giveaway:

While we wait were going to have a drawing for the first book in the series: Land of My Dreams.

Tell us about any struggles you are having trying to get words on paper or just say I’d love a copy of the book in the comment section below.

Your name will be entered in a drawing. The winner may choose either a Kindle or a paperback version.

About Norma Gail:

Norma Gail writes Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit. Her contemporary novels, Land of My Dreams, which won the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award, and Within Golden Bands (releasing May 19, 2020), explore the theme of women whose faith triumphs over trials. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, Inspire a Fire, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Historical Writers of America, and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 44 years. They have two adult children. To connect with her, you can follow her blog, or join her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, or Amazon.

Follow her on social media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNormaGail/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Norma_Gail

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/norma-gail-holtman-3b271a42/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/normagailth/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/normagailwrites/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7874459.Norma_Gail

Amazon Author Page – https://www.amazon.com/Norma-Gail/e/B00ILHXBAK/

Order her books:

Land of My Dreamshttps://www.amazon.com/Land-My-Dreams-Norma-Gail-ebook/dp/B01ENKEL02/

Within Golden Bands – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084TSQ432/

 

Before I sign off, don’t forget to comment below for a chance to win Land of My Dreams.

 

Dakota Peace author Megan Kinney shares her story

Today I welcome Megan Kinney. I received a preview copy of her debut novel Dakota Peace. it’s moving and wonderful. We’re going to learn about her journey and how she came up with the idea for Dakota Peace.

I’ve always loved to write, but I started writing fiction when I was pregnant with my first child over sixteen years ago. I was naïve enough to think that just because I had a great idea and the love of writing I’d be able to write a great novel. After my first rejection, I signed up for a correspondence course on how to write fiction, then I went to my first writer’s conference.  There I learned gobs of information about the writing industry, met some amazing people, and got my second rejection, but with it constructive criticism. Five years after writing my first novel, I completed my second and sent it to a publishing company for rejection number three. Four years ago, after a tragedy in my hometown, I decided to write in order to find closure. Two years later I went to another writer’s conference, and this time an editor liked my pitch, starting the two year process from rough edits to published manuscript.

I was inspired to write Dakota Peace after two police officers were killed in my hometown.  At the funerals, the same dispatcher who took the initial call when the officers lost their lives called the officers’ number over the first responders’ radios several times. Then in a ten-code she tells them their free to go home, to rest in peace, and that the other officers would take it from here. This tugged at my heart as I imagined the pain and courage of this dispatcher. In the following months, the story of a dispatcher struggling with burnout emerged.

Much of this story is from my own experience as a law enforcement wife and a foster parent as the main characters are searching for a kidnapped foster child. I ask lots of questions to experts I know whether they are dispatchers, police officers, nurses, or social workers. I had the unique opportunity to take a citizen’s dispatch course for four hours one night. That gave me firsthand knowledge of what a dispatcher does during a shift. Then lots of research is done looking things up online.

My favorite verse is Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” God delights over me whether the words are flowing or I’m struggling with edits or I’m just having a rough day. This verse says nothing about what I’ve done to earn His love because He loves me first.

If I could go back and give my younger self advice I’d tell myself to take every opportunity to learn about the craft of writing, start networking with other writers sooner and build a platform as soon as possible.

My favorite place to write would be either in my bedroom where I can look out over the neighborhood or at the lake, depending on what I’m working on and how much I need to concentrate.  Although I write modern-day women’s fiction, I love to read historical fiction. I love stepping into another time period through the pages of a well-written book.

Back Cover for Dakota Peace:

She went looking for peace, but trouble found her.

After a traumatic call, emergency dispatcher Natalia Brynner flees the city, desperate for some distance from her stressful life. Her peace is short lived when a flat tire strands her on the other side of South Dakota with nothing but her high heels and a speeding ticket. State Trooper Travis Wilkins offers to keep her company while she waits for a new tire, but the quick fix turns into an overnight stay which turns into an extended stay. She soon finds herself in the middle of a foster child’s kidnapping case helping the handsome law man. His presence doesn’t quite settle her anxious heart. With the support of her new friends and her blossoming relationship, Natalia starts to believe she could finally experience a peaceful life … until an armed madman threatens it all.

Facebook launch party is live today. 6-8 MST (& CST and 8EST) Here’s the link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/618959645602534/

 

More about Megan Kinney:

A foster mom and police wife, Megan Kinney combines her experiences and love of writing in her debut novel. When she’s not behind a book or computer, she’s enjoying the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and four daughters.

Social media links:

megankinney.net

m.facebook.com/megankinney.net/

instagram.com/megan_kinney_author/

Buy links:

shoplpc.com/dakota-peace/

amazon.com/Dakota-Peace-Megan-Kinney/dp/1645262553

Also, Megan is offering a free e-copy of Dakota Peace to one lucky commenter. This is your chance to ask her about South Dakota, who resembles her police hero and dispatcher heroine. Or just to ask to be put in the drawing. The winner will be drawn on Friday.

 

Candee Fick Shares about her new release Sing a New Song

SingaNewSong 500x750Today I welcome back Candee Fick to talk about her latest release and give us some background information. Take it away, Candee.

Sing a New Song is the third book in The Wardrobe series and features the pampered diva who was a secondary character in the first two books. When we first met her, Gloria Houghton was a poor-little-rich-girl who was used to being the center of attention. But when the spotlight shifted, she found herself scrambling to hold onto her position and her identity. In the second book of the series, she was challenged by the notion that some things are more important than the spotlight. Now, with a nagging knee injury and a lingering sense of dissatisfaction, she found a new stage where she could use her voice as her ticket to stardom. Except the pampered diva is about to meet her match.

You’ve got my attention. I remember how much I didn’t like her in Dance Over Me. What inspired you to write Gloria’s story?

While writing the first book in the series, I was fascinated by my antagonist and in a quest to make her more three-dimensional, I wondered what made her tick. And what it would take to make her change. The seeds for a new story took root in my imagination and I was then able to weave in pieces of her backstory through the first two books. I also knew that she would need to be brought low before she could be rebuilt on the right foundation, so I began brainstorming a succession of events to chip away at her self-reliance until she could only rely on God.

I like that you planned her introduction. How did you research for your book?

There’s a scene in the middle of the book where Gloria comes face-to-beak with a feisty rooster. And to be honest, that scene was inspired while doing chores for my parents. After facing off with their mean rooster, I decided that Gloria deserved an equal encounter because she would certainly be out of her element! However, for the singing scenes, I truly enjoyed the relative hardship of attending several shows in Branson Missouri, a place our family has vacationed for several years. I then created a fictional singing family inspired by several real examples in the area.

EXCERPT:

Nearing the backstage area, she scanned the map on her phone to locate the rehearsal room.

Almost there. Gloria glanced up just in time for her foot to slip out from under her on the wet floor. Her weak knee buckled, and the concrete floor came rushing toward her. Reaching for anything to break her fall, her fingers grazed the edge of a rolling bucket of mop water, tipping her phone into the liquid a moment before it—and the mop—toppled over. She landed hard on her right shoulder an instant before a flood of water soaked the upper half of her body.

Ouch. That would leave a bruise.

She blinked a couple of times, then lifted her head.

Nearby, a bearded man set down a yellow Caution sign before wiping black-streaked hands on his coveralls. A tool belt hung low around his waist.

Behind him, she caught a glimpse of the stage between the side curtains as the applause of the crowd faded into a burst of conversation with the show ending.

Gloria’s hands slid a little on the wet surface as she pushed herself upright. The new soreness in her shoulder competed with the familiar ache in her knee. She must have tweaked her old injury a bit on her way down.

The janitor approached, reaching out a hand as if to help her to her feet.

“No thanks. You’ve helped quite enough already.” She stabbed a manicured finger in the direction of the tardy sign. Even if she had been paying attention, there had been no warning about a wet floor.

She attempted to hasten his retreat with a glare. Except, the water dripping from her hair ruined the effect, and his frown turned into a bit of a smirk, as if she’d provided his entertainment for the day.

How fun. Can’t wait to read this. Thanks for stopping by, Candee.

 Here’s a bit about Candee and links to check out all her books and become a fan.

Candee Fick_Headshot

Candee Fick is a multipublished, award-winning author. She is also the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy writing, editing, or coaching other authors, she can be found cheering on the home team at sporting events, exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book.

Candee’s Giveaway

The Rafflecopter direct link is: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b9a55db3360/?

This takes you to a generic page to enter the giveaway but doesn’t give the prize details. First prize is a complete set of the series (paperback for US or ebook only for other) plus $25 Amazon card. Second prize is copy of Sing a New Song (paper or ebook depending on country) plus $10 Amazon card.

Sounds like a great contest.

Candee Fick’s Links:

Website and Blog – CandeeFick.com

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/candee-fick

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Author.Candee.Fick

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CandeeFick

BUY link for Sing a New Song (Kindle) – Book 3 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QHYNTJC/

BUY Focus On Love (Kindle) – Book 2 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077TYHD4T/

BUY Dance Over Me (Kindle) – Book 1 – https://www.amazon.com/Dance-Over-Me-bright-lights-ebook/dp/B01JBFLO2M/

If you enjoy these author interviews and writing tips don’t forget to subsribe to Jubilee Writer to recieve a new posts in your email.

 

Cozy up with a Christmas Novella

The Holiday season can be a busy time of year. For me it’s not Christmas without reading a few Christmas novels. It’s a tradition as beloved as watching the cheesy Hallmark movies. If you can’t read a whole novel why not a novella?

Let me share a few I’ve read this year.

A Door County Christmas

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All four novellas are set in Door County, all have a Christmas cactus in the mix and each has healing framed in humor.

Backcover copy

.In this new and updated release of a popular Christmas novella collection, peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up—just as Lola the innkeeper promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love—along with cactus blooms—as promised?

 

If you only have time to read one Christmas novella I strongly recommend The ornament Keeper.

The Ornament Keeper.

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Eva Marie Everson is a fav author of mine. She writes southern fiction that keeps the reader engaged and in the scene until the last word on the last page. The main characters in this novella are married with a family and a messed-up relationship. As a reader we get to see the problems. It takes the couple a bit longer to figure it out. Ornaments play a key role in revealing things to the reader. I loved it. Read it in a few hours.

Back Cover copy:

Award-winning author Eva Marie Everson wraps up a Christmas story of hope, love, and forgiveness just in time for the holidays. The Ornament Keeper, a contemporary Christmas novella, features Felicia and Jackson Morgan who are spending their first Christmas apart after twenty years of marriage. But a lifetime of gifted ornaments helps Felicia piece together the story of their marriage and the one mistake of unforgiveness she made before they said, “I do.” Can these memory-filled ornaments reunite this family before Christmas? Only time will tell.

For all my historical romance readers you’ll love Mary Conneally’s collection.

Three Christmas Novellas: Longhorn Christmas, The Sweetest Gift, and The Christmas Candle.

Three aweet stories that take you back to a different time and remind you of the true meaning of Christmas. I was particularly interested in The Sweet Gift as it is based on her great grandparents love story.

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Back cover copy:

Three previously released Christmas novellas.
Longhorn Christmas
Netty Lewis, a lonely young widow is saved from a raging mama longhorn by a passing cowboy who’s been wandering since the end of the Civil War.
She needs help surviving her rugged life and caring for Jeremiah, her young son. And that means rounding up a nice-sized herd of wild-as-wolves longhorns.
Netty and Roy, along with Jeremiah begin a journey toward Christmas, family, home and love.
And a herd of longhorns are making the way hard.

A sweet re-telling of The Gift of the Magi–with a happy ending
The Sweetest Gift
She longs for music. He needs a valuable horse to improve his herd.
When Christmas comes the gift they truly give is the gift of love.

The Christmas Candle
A lonely widower with a pair of out-of-control sons he never got to know while their mother was alive.
A woman with a love of nature and beauty and scent…and the little boys seem determined to destroy her way of life.
A feisty Ozark mountain granny who doesn’t put up with much nonsense.
The gift of a candle for Christmas and a Christ child who is a perfect match for this scent of heaven.

Grab a blanket, your favorite beverage and snuggle up with a Christmas story. Share in the comments your favorite Christmas novel, novella or collection. Maybe it will inspire someone for a last minute Christmas gift.

 

 

 

An interview with Normandie Fischer and a Release Day Giveaway

Welcome, Normandie. I love your novels centered around sailing. Excited about your newest one  The Sea Prayers releasing today. I just got my preordered copy today. So excited. Before we talk about your novel let’s talk about your writing journey.

Author N Fischer

My brilliant eighth-grade English teacher inspired me to write poetry, and that poetic voice carried me through the turbulent teen years and all that came next in a life filled with messy moments. In my mid-twenties, I was hired as a proofreader and moved from that to copy editor and finally to senior substantive editor for a publishing company in Washington, DC—excellent for honing my skills in non-fiction and narrative non-fiction. It wasn’t until my early thirties that I decided to try writing fiction as a creative outlet. I’d been sculpting (mostly commissioned portraits by then), but I wanted more, and writing what I loved to read seemed to fill that need.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to go from paring a manuscript to bare bones for a technical tome to enlarging those spare words to create a fictional world? I read every how-to book published by Writers Digest Books, and I wrote, slashed, added, rewrote, and learned.

My first foray into crafting a full-length novel brought accolades, a contest win, and my first agent, but no publishing contract. So I wrote another manuscript and another and another. By now I had a second agent to whom I submitted manuscripts from on board our boat, Sea Venture. I was having so much fun sailing the Sea of Cortez that I didn’t push very hard for greater success; I just wrote and rewrote in gorgeous settings.

By 2011, my husband and I had to return home to NC to care for my aging mama. My life as a published author began with the sale of my debut novel, Becalmed, (which happened to be my third manuscript) and its release in 2013. Now I write from the Carolina coast, which is spectacular in its own way, and instead of dodging hurricanes by sailing to a safe port, we dodge by driving to a safe haven.

What a wonderful adventure you’ve had. Now let’s tak about your latest publishing project?

Sea Prayers ebook 9

The Sea Prayers!

Release date Today!

A waitress, a megastar, and an ex-addict wage war for the heart of a young girl.

Thirteen years ago, a spiked drink left Agnes with a permanent reminder of the man who date-raped her.

Her daughter looks like him, sounds like him, and even listens to his platinum records (of course, the dude’s a mega star because nothing is fair) but Brisa is everything Agnes has in the world. At least, she is until the day this music star sets his sights on getting himself a ready-made family.

He’s got millions of dollars, millions of fans, a high-powered legal team, and half Brisa’s DNA. Agnes has a run-down house, a friend who’s almost three years sober and afraid to say he loves her, and a lawyer willing to work pro bono.

Oh, and the whole town of Beaufort. That’s right. She’s got all those Beaufort folk at her back, praying to the God she has rejected, and not one of them is going to let Brisa go without a fight.

Another story of faith and redemption from the author of Sailing out of Darkness.

What inspired you to write The Sea Prayers?

Characters show up in my head, hinting at a story through snippets of dialogue or a line of narrative. For The Sea Prayers, it was this one: “How had her accidental sperm donor—or, to be more precise, her rapist sperm planter—found her?”

I couldn’t wait to find out more. Think of the questions those words generate.

Who was raped? What was she like at the time of the rape—and now?

What made her vulnerable?

Who raped her? What happened to him?

Were there consequences for her? How does she deal with them?

What happens?

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to tour younger self about writing, what would it be?

You don’t have to aspire to be someone else’s idea of great; you have to aspire to be the best you possible. Don’t put off beginning the process just because you imagine you’re better at something else and don’t ever let rejection hit a pause button in your head.

What’s next after The Sea prayers.

In what I imagine will be the final Carolina Coast story, my WIP, Shoal Waters, revolves around a woman who discovers that her memory is failing—and who tries to protect herself while she still can from her manipulative and very unhappy daughter. (I’m also working on a third Isaac’s House novel, just to keep my hand in the world of romantic suspense.)

What genre do you read for fun?

I require happy endings—or at least hopeful ones—in the books I enjoy. My attention was caught early on by comedy of manners authors such as Jane Austen and Balzac in translation, then by the humorous books of Georgette Heyer. But I read prolifically, which means I’m open to many genres if the books are well written (excepting futuristic, vampire, or erotica). Currently, my very favorite author is Charles Martin, who just writes good books.

More about Normandie:

A life-long sailor, Normandie Fischer has been writing and editing professionally since the seventies. She and her husband retired from cruising Pacific Mexico in their ketch, Sea Venture, to care for her aging mother. In 2013, the three of them sailed from Beaufort, NC, to NYC to publicize Becalmed and to welcome Normandie’s first grandchild, Ella, into the world. The Sea Prayers is Normandie’s seventh book, and number five among the Carolina Coast novels.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

My Website:

www.normandiefischer.com

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

Amazon Author:  https://www.amazon.com/author/normandiefischer/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingOnBoard/

Buy Links:

Carolina Coast Novels:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H5PYJSW/

Isaac’s House Novels:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MYV8IHQ/

The Sea Prayers

https://amzn.to/2wFSa5X

https://www.books2read.com/u/m0geDl

Thanks for sharing Normandie. Now for your giveaway. Comment on this post for a chance to win an e-book copy of The Sea Prayer.  Tell me what part of her interview inspires you and/or if you sail.  Winner will announced next Tuesday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with the Hero of New Duet Dan Sweeney

As promised, I have Dan Sweeney, the hero of my latest novel New Duet. And once again we’ll be talking about some interesting factoids that may not have made it into the novel.

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Welcome Dan, or should I call you Daniel?

No ma’am, the name is Dan. Dad never liked long names. Then Uncle Paul told me an Old Testament character was named Dan. I had a heck of a time convincing teachers and the army that Dan was my legal name.

If you hadn’t mentioned the army, I’d have guessed it by the ma’am address. Is that where you lost your leg?

No, ma’am. I left my fingers in Afghanistan and shards from an IED explosion cut my cheek. I lost my leg in the good old USA. You’ll need to read the novel to get the whole story. God only knows why I’m not dead and only lost my leg. I’m grateful for the second chance. I’d planned a career in the army so it’s taking time to readjust to civilian life and my disability. It’s harder than anything I did while in uniform.

Tell us a bit about Brutus.

Even though I tell myself I don’t need a service dog, I do. Brutus keeps my panic attacks at bay reducing my need for meds. He helps me if I fall. Super dog, Brutus knows how to perform tasks beyond my needs. Which is at times annoying. He was trained for a boy with severe disabilities who died. Brutus has bonded with me. He seems to know my thoughts. He’s a great companion but his manners around women need work.

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I understand you have a home in Aurora you’re fixing up. Why Aurora?

My uncle lives in Aurora. I’m not close to my sister, and my folks passed. I graduated from East Aurora High School, so it made sense to find a place there. I’ve been working on it every leave I had for three years. Then I had the accident. My buddy Steve and a few friends rehabbed the bathroom and some doors to make my ranch home handicap accessible. I won’t let them do any more. It’s my house, my project.

How’s your social life?

You sound like Steve. He grilled me on it hard one day. Tried his hand at matchmaking. And I’m not saying anymore, ma’am. Any further reference to my social life is on a need to know basis. Only those who buy New Duet will be upgraded to need-to-know status.

Clever, Dan, very clever way not to reveal too much of the plot. What’s been the hardest thing for you since you got out of the service?

Adjusting to a lost leg and a lost career. I’m back in college with a bunch of kids and it’s not easy. But good friends, a supportive family, my goofy dog and a special someone makes the adjustment easier.

 

Thanks for giving us a peek into your world.

Here’s the link to the book trailer.

New Duet is available in e-book and paperback on Amazon. You can request it at any bookstore and it’s also available to order online at Barnes & Noble. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss future posts with interviews of real people and information on other writerly stuff.