Tuesday, September 27, 2016

THE LOVE BUG - Jamie Bryant - One Free Book

Welcome back, Jamie. What is your inspiration for writing?
This particular book, The Love Bug, was inspired by the word of God in Galatians 5:22, 23. As I read that passage one day my mind imagined characters and how they could live out the nine fruits of the Spirit. I wrote down the nine titles that day, nearly eighteen years ago.

Since you primarily write children’s books, do you ever have children read and offer suggestions in the editing process?
Absolutely! I have nine grandchildren and all of them have had input in the books I’ve had published this year. My favorite conversation to date is when two of my granddaughters told me what they loved about my book. Next they had me sit down while they gently shared their suggestions for correction. It was adorable and great feedback.

What legacy do you hope to leave in your writing for your children and grandchildren?
Eventually I would love to leave a few dollars from sales of the books, but mostly just the laughter, the fun, and getting to read “Grandma’s heart.”

Does your writing make you laugh out loud?
Most certainly at times. I smile a lot too especially when I see the illustrations complete.

Aren’t there enough children’s books already out there?
Absolutely Not!

Name a children’s book that makes you smile.
Without question, Clifford, The Big Red Dog.

If a children’s book was written about you, what would the title be and why?
She Saw It All. I tend to see everything, especially people. I always notice the person who just walked in a room that no one is talking to. I notice a family in the distance who are having a disagreement. I notice children sitting, reading, and playing. I notice when someone is not themselves. I just see things, and I’m sure it’s a gift from the Lord to notice especially when people are hurting and try to help.

5 Quick Answers:
Salt or Pepper?                                  
My answer:  Pepper
Coffee or Tea?                                   
My answer:  Coffee
Blue or Red?                          
My answer:  Blue
Breakfast or Dinner?                         
My answer: Breakfast for Dinner :-)
Fishing or Sitting on a Beach? 
My answer: Fishing Every time!

When did you know you would be a writer?
Always I believe. I’ve always had something to say. (just ask my family and friends) I journal. I save every card and letter. I have all my high school scrapbooks, and even a calendar of what took place day by day when I was 17 years old dating my future husband.

What’s in your heart that hasn’t made it to paper yet? 
A novel about my grandparents.

I’d love to see you writing that. What would you like to tell us about the featured book? 
The Love Bug is a story about a very special lady bug, that has black hearts instead of black dots on her little body. She gets made fun of by a sassy Bumblebee, and her mother has the opportunity to teach her about the fruit of the Spirit “love” from the Bible.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook@jamiebryantbooks
Twitter@readjamiebryant

Instagram@jamiebryantsbooks

Thank you for sharing this new book with us. My great grandson's loved the first one. I'm sure they'll love this one, too.

Readers, here is a link to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Love Bug (The Fruit of the Spirit Collection Book 1) - Kindle

The print book is available here:
Anchordistributors.com

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Monday, September 26, 2016

DOWN SQUASH BLOSSOM ROAD - Janet Chester Bly - One Free Book

Welcome back, Janet. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
One of the toughest challenges we face on this earth is doing relationships. Whether fiction or nonfiction, my books deal with the tough stuff of figuring out how to get along with others. Also, Bly Books fiction evolves around the historical and contemporary lifestyles of western culture.

We’ve always lived in and traveled the many highways and dirt road trails of the western states. This was my late husband Stephen Bly’s passion and I caught it from him. He knew the history of the Old West and could recall most every detail he ever studied or learned. In keeping with the western theme brand, but staying in a more familiar and doable zone for me, my mystery fiction stories happen in a contemporary western setting. The most recent solo series, The Trails of Reba Cahill, takes place the summer of 1991.

Most all my nonfiction books go back to the theme of tackling relationships, whether devotionals or family topics or themes such as The Heart of a Runaway.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Maybe it was the day Stephen received nine book contracts from Crossway Books on the very same day … six of them for the Nathan T. Riggins Series (8-12 yrs old) and three for the first of the Stuart Brannon Series (which eventually became a total of seven). We made a habit of eating a steak dinner at our favorite restaurant whenever we got a contract. We weren’t quite sure how to properly celebrate such an incredible multiple bonanza. So we included all the members of our family in the outing—three sons and their wives and the grandkids. A sweet memory! Also, that day plunged us into fulltime writing.

How has being published changed your life?
Being published confirmed my God-given task in how I could communicate God’s truth—through the written page. I knew where to invest my time, strength, and gifts to learning how to improve the messages He created me to share. Also, I’ve gained so many friendships that otherwise would not have been possible—readers, other writers, as well as various folks in the publishing field.

If I had never been published, I would presume writing wasn’t for me. I’d have pursued other avenues of ministry. Now that I’m in my senior years, I still plug away with stories and projects and keep chasing the sparks of ideas that might work in print.

What are you reading right now?
A variety of books that make an intriguing combination. 1) The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End of Times, by Dr. Henry M. Morris, founder of the Institute of Creation Research. 2) I’m re-reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn. 3) The last three novels I just finished were very different, but kept my interest and impressed me with the likeable characters, settings, and writing style: From Russia With Love, The Heirs of Anton, Book 1, by Susan May Warren; A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley; and Silenced, Alaskan Courage Series, Book 4, by Dani Pettrey—loved the uniqueness of the rock climbing skills of the main character in this one.

What is your current work in progress?
Now that Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 2 of the Trails of Reba Cahill Series has been launched, I hope to re-release about nine more of our out-of-print children’s books, including The Crystal Blake Adventure Series (9-12 yrs old). Then sometime next Spring, I’ll be adapting several former devotional books into a revision entitled Grace Spilling Over/True Stories of God’s Tender Mercies.

As soon as I’ve completed these projects, I’ll begin Book 3 of The Trails of Reba Cahill with the working title: Beneath a Camperdown Elm. Most of the research has been done for this conclusion of Reba Cahill’s story and a number of scenes have already been rumbling around in my mind. In one way, it’s hard to wait to get started with the next book in the series. In another, I truly need the break from the tyranny of that consuming pace and pursue some semblance of a social life. With the other writing projects, I can have a more relaxed schedule.

What would be your dream vacation?
My late husband and I traveled so many places. We visited every state in the U.S., including Hawaii, traveled across Canada, and all over Europe. We enjoyed all those sights and adventures so much. However, our favorite trips happened in his pickup when we had a general direction in mind, but no appointments or definite destination. We pulled off every side road and into any town that got our attention. So much of our creative writing ideas were generated during those long hours of sightseeing. Just thinking about it makes me miss again my travel buddy. Hard to imagine a dream vacation without him.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
First of all, it has to be in one of the western states. That narrows it down a bit.

Second, it has to be somewhere I’ve spent some time or will be headed to. The beginning scenes in Wind in the Wires, Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill, happen in a fictional town in north-central Idaho, high on the mountain top Camas Prairie, just like the one I live in. So, the setting’s one I experience every day. No one can tell me I didn’t get it right.

But then one of the characters, an elderly man named Seth Stroud, insists on taking a long journey in a Model T to Goldfield, Nevada. My heroine Reba Cahill is nudged to go with him. That required more work. I had to take the same trek myself. Much of that research I could also use in another road trip, for Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 2 in the series.

The two cozy mystery fiction series co-authored with Stephen were placed in towns we visited and enjoyed. Fox Island, Washington; Jerome, Arizona; and Columbia Falls, Montana, were all part of the Hidden West Series, contemporary mysteries. We set the historical Carson City Chronicles in a Nevada town near Lake Tahoe, a wonderful place to vacation while doing research.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Whoever is reading this blog right now. Would love to sit with you, listen to your stories, and empathize with your troubles. I’d like to find out who you are, what you’ve done, and what you still want to do. I love meeting new people and finding out interesting things about them. There are always pleasant surprises. And who knows? You might be the inspiration for a character in a novel sometime.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I used to have all sorts of hobbies, such as making wreaths, pottery, and embroidery. But all of those fell to the wayside when I started writing. Besides, I overdid it on all those activities. I made so many items for friends and family and myself, yet wasn’t interested in traveling to fairs and bazaars to sell them. There was no point in continuing.

Any extra time these days is given to library board (as president) and church board (as clerk) and ministering with the church worship team and choir (as director).  

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Readers have told me that I tend to have too many people and names in my stories and sometimes they get lost. I have tried to correct that by cutting the number of characters, such as totally deleting lesser important ones or combining some of them. I also added a Character Names List to the newest novel just released, Down Squash Blossom Road. I am hoping that will help!

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Today is so different. Anyone can publish a book about anything, anytime. That’s the benefit and also the bane. If you want to become a good writer and find a sizeable reader base, steady yourself to be able to take critique. Develop a team that will provide helpful, honest feedback and who understands your genre and writing style. That may take some time and testing. Determine to improve your skills with each project and welcome evaluation.

If you’re not under contract with a mainline publisher who has their own editor, I recommend you hire at least one pro. Trading editing favors with other writers can also be very helpful.
Stephen and I had a rule that either of us could edit the other with any amount of red marks we felt were warranted. However, the creator of the project had the last say on what stayed and what got deleted. We learned from each other that way over the years. We each had a different approach and gifts that complemented the team effort.

Tell us about the featured book.
Cowgirl Reba Cahill’s schedule is full. Save the family ranch. Free her mom from a mental institute. Solve a murder and kidnapping. Evade a stalker. Can she also squeeze in romance? 

Reba tried to focus on ranch duties, to help out her widowed grandmother. But a crippled Champ Runcie returns to Road’s End, Idaho in a wheelchair and seeks revenge for the accident that put him there. He blames Reba’s horse. Meanwhile, a letter from her estranged mom forces her and Grandma Pearl back on the road: I can leave now. Come get me. Love, Mom 
When they arrive in Reno, her mother issues a demand and refuses to return to Idaho. They head west instead. In California, Reba’s friend Ginny’s marriage is on the rocks. The family business is threatened. And squabbles turn deadly.

Reba digs deep for stamina to forge a relationship with her mom and escape a crazed man’s obsession. She also faces an uncertain future as a trainer offers her another horse … and maybe more.

Please give us the first page of the book.
July 4, 1991, Road’s End, Idaho
The dark speck in the sky seemed to float toward them, then swooshed at a fast clip. Or so it seemed to the Welcome Home party of several hundred Road’s End residents scattered along the field behind the Grange Hall.

“Here he comes!” Six-year-old Kaitlyn Runcie clutched handpicked bunches of Syringa and Indian Paintbrush for her great-grandpa flying in the sky. Three-year-old brother William crowded beside her on a child-sized tractor.

As the helicopter droned closer, Reba Cahill followed the gradual, graceful descent with a mix of trepidation and curiosity. Her head throbbed and her stomach cramped. Soon they would greet Champ Runcie for the first time since his tragic fall over a cliff in the Nevada desert, while riding Reba’s favorite black horse Johnny Poe, and despite a protest and warning. This grand appearance of the city’s leading citizen incited excitement and angst for them all amidst the July 4th city-wide celebrations.

He was supposed to arrive in time to be Grand Marshal in the Main Street parade, same as the past nine years. But when word arrived of a delay, Grandson Tim Runcie and wife Sue Anne took the honors on his behalf, riding and waving with their children in Champ’s 1957 white Cadillac. The Mathwig triplets who owned the Road’s End Hotel rode horseback behind them on their proudest possessions, sidesaddles with plush red seats. Afterward, parade participants mulled around to wait for the mayor’s homecoming, including rodeo royalty and high school band members.

The woman who raised Reba clutched the arm of old friend and temporary fill-in Cahill Ranch foreman, Vincent Quaid. “Can you imagine? Paralyzed from the waist down.” Grandma Pearl whispered the diagnosis everyone now knew.

Download Now! 5 Free Chapters of Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 2!

Sign up for Almost Monthly Bly Books News...
Receive 5 free chapters Wind in the Wires, Book 1!

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Website: www.BlyBooks.com
Bly Books Blog: http://www.blybooks.com/blog/  
Facebook Personal Page: https://www.facebook.com/janetchesterbly 
“Like” Bly Books Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BlyBooks 

Follow Bly Books on Amazon Author Page for new releases: http://www.amazon.com/author/stephenbly

Thank you, Janet, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Down Squash Blossom Road (Trails of Reba Cahill) (Volume 2) - Paperback
Down Squash Blossom Road (Trails of Reba Cahill Book 2) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book--print book in US and PDF ebook file if winner is not in US. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

Sunday, September 25, 2016

WINNERS!!!!!

Mary P (AUS) is the winner of the ebook Unexpected Allies and Recurring Warts by Grace Marshall.

Debra (LA) is the winner of Merry Matchmakers by Darlene Franklin.

Leslie (US) is the winner of 365 Family Dinners and Devotions by Kathleen Y'Barbo.

Marcia (TX) is the winner of Rescue Me by Sandy Nadeau.

Msshannan (IL) is the winner of Secret Places Revealed by Paulette Harper.

If you won a book and you like it, please consider giving the author the courtesy of writing a review on Goodreads, Amazon.com, Christianbooks.com, Barnes and Noble, or other Internet sites. 

Also, tell your friends about the book ... and this blog. Thank you.

Congratulations
, everyone. If you won a print book, send me your mailing address:
Click the Contact Me link at the top of the blog, and send me an Email.


If you won an ebook, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.

When you contact me, please give the title and author of the book you won, so I won't have to look it up.


Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

CANDY CANE KISSES - 8 Bestselling Christian Authors - One Free Book on This Blog, Plus More

Candy Cane Kisses – 8 Book Box Set


Eight bestselling Christian authors…
Eight brand new Christmas romance novellas…
 
Susan May Warren – Oh! The Weather Outside is Frightful
Q:  Tell us about the featured book.
A:  Oh! The Weather Outside is Frightful is the story of CJ and Hannah, two characters who came to the forefront in Burnin’ For You is book #3 in my Montana Fire trilogy.  In that book, Hannah and CJ survived a terrible plane crash, and Frightful picks up their story five months later as they are putting their lives back together. Neither can admit how much they’ve fallen for the other one…and it’ll take another crazy night of tragedy and survival to help them face the truth. An epic romantic adventure during a blizzard in Montana!
  

Margaret Daley – Deadly Night, Silent Night
Q: What is appealing about a bed and breakfast as a place to stay?
A: I've been to several and what I enjoyed the most about the ones I stayed in was they were historical homes. The one in Natchez, Mississippi, was a plantation home from the 19th century. I love history and there was so much in the bed and breakfast places I stay. Another one I stayed in Colorado was an old high school converted. A very neat place, but then I was a teacher for twenty seven years.
  


Kimberly Rae Jordan – The Wonder of His Love
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about the characters in your story, The Wonder of His Love and what inspired them?
A: In The Wonder of His Love, we are introduced to Noella Sanderson and Ian Kinnaird. After growing up in the foster system and having very little control of her life, Noella is very much in control of things now and has a definite plan for her life. It is a plan, however, that doesn’t include Ian Kinnaird because he doesn’t fit the requirements she has for the man she plans to marry. But for some reason, Ian seems to feel that he can, in fact, be that person. He is determined to help her see that love and security aren’t mutually exclusive.

Noella’s character came to me rather slowly as I created the series Fostered by Love—of which The Wonder of His Love is the first book. The premise of the series helped me prep her back story and develop the driving need she has to be in control of all aspects of her life. At the time I began thinking of this story, my daughter was in the midst of preparing to move to Scotland for a year. Being surrounded by a lot of information about the country made me think it would be fun to have a character who was Scottish. As plans have continued with my daughter, the character of Ian has also been fleshed out. I’ve spent time watching vlogs by people from Scotland in hopes of being able to capture the way they speak so I can accurately portray that with Ian. He also has a few surprises that have popped up as I’ve held mental conversations with him.

No, the voices in my head don’t mean I’m crazy, just that I’m a writer. *grin*

I hope that readers will enjoy Noella and Ian’s story and fall in love with them the way I have.

I find it more difficult to write a standalone book than I do a series, so when I had the opportunity to do two Christmas boxed sets, I started to think about how I could connect them. As it turned out, a series I’m currently working on had a few secondary characters that would tie in well together, so I decided to create a new series called Fostered by Love. I have planned for this series to have four books starting with The Wonder of His Love which is in the Candy Cane Kisses boxed set.

In The Wonder of His Love, we will meet Noella Sanderson and three of her foster siblings.  

Autumn Macarthur – Calm and Bright
Q: How much of yourself did you write into your characters in this story?
A: I always find that as I write, God uses the situation my characters are in to teach me the spiritual lessons I need to learn, too! Though I’ve never been in quite the same situation as Maddie is in Calm and Bright, there’s a lot there that I can relate to, and I hope readers will relate to as well.

One doesn’t need to go through divorce to experience the need to let go of anger and forgive someone we love who has hurt us. And we often have to deal with juggling conflicting things that seem equally important and right. For Maddie, it’s choosing behind staying with a husband who puts his high-flying career first, vs her longing to give their son a simpler and more grounded life as well as providing care for her beloved aging grandmother. Thankfully, though Maddie can’t see the way though her conflict, God has a plan for her and her family, as I trust He has a plan for the highest good of each of us!   

Lesley Ann McDaniel – Heavenly Peace
Q: What was the inspiration for this story?
A: Several years ago, I was working as the wardrobe head for the small stage at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. It was Christmastime, and one of the actresses told me a story about helping her son pick out a tag from a Giving Tree. The tag was from a little girl who made an unusual and gut-wrenching request. "All I want for Christmas is...." I won't tell you what the request was, but it got me thinking a writer's favorite question; What if?
So in Heavenly Peace, my main character, Valerie, finds herself in exactly that position. How is she going to help make this little girl's Christmas wish come true, when it will require nothing short of a miracle?
 
Jan Thompson – Wish You Joy
Q: How do you choose your settings for each book?
A: Wish You Joy is book 9 in my Savannah Sweethearts series. The entire series is set primarily in the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia, and on the nearby Tybee Island on the Atlantic Cost. I tend to choose places that I have been to because it gives me an excuse to take another vacation a.k.a. book research trip. No, seriously, Savannah is one of my favorite places in the world, and from the very early stages of this 10-book series, I knew I had to write about Savannah. In Book 9, Wish You Joy, we spend Christmas in Savannah. It rarely snows in Savannah, but the winter chill is there. I hope this novella will warm our readers’ hearts as we read about how the Untermeyers and the Therouxes weather this Christmas with the next generation at loggerheads with each other. 

Marion Ueckermann – A Husband for Holly

Q: How did you choose your characters’ names?
A:The heroine’s name for this book came easy. A Husband for Holly is Book 4 of a seven-book series titled Seven Suitors for Seven Sisters. Each story is about one of the Blume sisters. Their father is a horticulturist, and because of their surname (not to mention his wife, her mother, and her grandmother’s names), they decided to name each of their seven daughters after flowers. As this is a Christmas story, it was natural for this heroine to be named Holly.

The hero was a little more difficult. His first name came naturally. One of the little quirks I’ve worked into this series is that each hero is modeled on a Biblical hero, ie. he has a similar name, and has characteristics and/or happenings in his life similar to the Bible hero. Again, Christmas played a huge role in naming my hero. Christopher is modelled on Christ. His surname was quite a challenge and changed several times. It wasn’t until I found the perfect image for the back cover of my print book that I finally decided on his surname. The hero is Scottish, and I wanted to portray this on the back cover. When I researched the tartan the cover model was wearing, I discovered it was Stewart tartan. I therefore had no option but to make him a Stewart, and tartan or not, it was the perfect choice.  

Suzette Williams – Maid for Marriage
Q: Have you ever met anyone who whose parents had arranged a marriage for them?
A: Part of the idea behind Maid for Marriage was remembering a friend from high school whose parents had arranged a marriage for her. I met up with this friend on Facebook years later and couldn't help but ask if she ended up marrying the person her parents had arranged for her to marry. She said, “No.”

This friend had also just gone through a recent divorce, so it made me wonder whether arranged marriages worked any better than just meeting and falling in love. Perhaps the sense of commitment because your family has expectations plays a part. I don't know. I do know we’ve always told our children, “Don’t marry the person you can live with. Marry the person you can’t live without!”

Candy Cane Kisses releases on September 27th! Not only wonderful holiday reading with 8 all-new Christian contemporary romances, but also your chance to win a $50 gift card and 8 other ebooks in the launch sweepstakes! Enter now at http://bit.ly/CCKentries 
Sorry, sweepstakes entry open to US residents only, closes October 2nd 2016.

Thank you, for sharing this new collection with us. What a wonderful selection! I know my readers will want to get a copy when it releases.

Readers, in addition to this wonderful contest, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the ebook from this blog. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

OUT OF THE FRYING PAN - Michelle Griep - One Free Book

Welcome back, Michelle. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
Forgiveness and compassion are two of my favorite themes, probably because those are my favorite attributes of Jesus.

What other books of yours are coming out soon?
The Captive Heart comes out in October, but you can pre-order now at Amazon. Here’s a short blurb:

Governess ELEANOR MORGAN flees to America, but the family she’s to serve never arrives to collect her. She must settle for what’s left—an offer of marriage. Backwoodsman SAMUEL HEATH is a survivor. He will find a mother for his young daughter. The trouble is who would marry a murderer?

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Wow. Tough question. There are so many! I’m going to go with Ann Voskamp, the author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. Her outlook on things, her perspective of grace, continually blows me away.

What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Charlotte Bronte. Yes, another author, and my all-time favorite. How much of Jane Eyre is in her? That’s what I’d want to discuss.

How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Keep writing, whether you think you’ll get published or not. It’s always God’s timing, not yours.

Tell us about the featured book.
Out of the Frying Pan is a zany romantic mystery with a few older main characters. The American population is aging, so why not include a few seniors? Here’s a blurb:

Murder in Paradise whips life into a froth for FERN and ZULA HOPKINS. When the retirement center’s chef is found dead, the two ladies get folded in with the case. Their zany attempts to track down the killer land them in hot water with Detective JARED FLYNN. Should he be concerned about their safety—or the criminal’s?

But there are deadly ingredients none of them expect. Drugs. Extortion. International cartels. And worst of all…broken hearts, especially when the Hopkins sisters’ niece KC arrives on the scene.

Life at Sunset Paradise Retirement Village will never be the same.

Please give us the first page of the book.
It always surprised Zula Hopkins when her eyelids opened to another day. She should be dead by now. She’d outlived four presidents, a beloved husband, and even her son. But she hadn’t outlasted Fern. Fern had her beat by two years.

Probably for spite.

She rubbed away the negativity along with the sleep from her lashes. Pre-dawn light filtered through the open bedroom blinds, and she blinked. Would it be cool enough to wear her leopard print cardigan today or…wait a minute. What day was it, anyway? Flipping through the pages on her mental calendar, she landed on Tuesday, end of May.

End of May?
           
She flung the iris-print comforter off her body with such force, Fifi rolled to the floor and yelped. Poor old girl. Hopefully the little dog hadn’t broken a bone—no time for a vet visit on the day after Memorial Weekend.
           
“Mama’s sorry, baby, but today’s special.” Humming her own rendition of “Born Free,” she snatched her robe and crossed the room at a good clip. Fifi followed, bumping and re-bumping against her lower calves like a crazed ball-bearing in a pinball game. Evidently, the poor little dear forgave her for the rude awakening.
           
The bedroom door rubbed against the frame as she yanked it open, creaking worse than an arthritic joint. Hmm…it’d be a humid one today, then.
           
Pausing, she shifted her gaze from Fern’s closed door to the bathroom, then back. What to do first—begin her morning routine or awaken her roommate?
           
Expedience mattered, though she’d never tell her sister-in-law. Fern would for sure put a damper on her plans to hop the senior shuttle into Ocala. The day after Memorial Day was historically the best opportunity to browse the discarded silk and plastic flowers that didn’t sell for the holiday. Her heart raced just thinking of the booty in the dumpster behind Flowerama Gifts. No, she couldn’t tell Fern.
           
But she would not be late and miss that shuttle, either.
           
“Oh, Fern,” she crooned.

Even with the shades drawn, the barren beige walls of her sister-in-law’s bedroom glared at her. She clamped her lips against the decorating advice bubbling up in her mouth like an Alka Seltzer gone bad. A simple pair of floral-print valances would add so much color. She could whip up this monochrome bear’s den into a swirling vortex of color in no time at all, if only Fern would let her.

Which she wouldn’t.
           
No matter. She’d soon be up to her elbows in plastic gardenias and silk fuchsias. Her lips unfurled into song. “Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping, sister Fern? Sister Fern? Morning bells are ringing—” she ducked a pillow projectile and whirled for the window “—Morning bells are ringing. Ding, ding, dong—”
           
The second pillow nailed her in the behind, and she let loose the shade she’d been opening to flip-flap a slap dance on the roller. “I declare, Fern, you’re getting as mean as Irma Benton. Now, let’s uncover our sunny dispositions and greet the day, shall we?”
           
Her sister-in-law grasped the blanket’s satin edging and plastered it over her head. No matter how hard Zula yanked, the earth-toned covering refused to budge from Fern’s skinny form.
Muffled words rumbled from beneath the barrier. “The sun’s not even up yet, so why should I be?”
           
Zula straightened, weighing her options. Fight or flight? At least if she flew to the bathroom, she could begin her beauty regimen. Careful to sidestep Fifi, she retreated and finished her serenade, “—Ding, ding, dong.”   
           
She scooted out the door to the whap! of Fern’s last pillow smacking the oak veneer.

Sounds like a fun read, as well as a  cozy mystery. How can readers find you on the Internet?
If you’d like to keep up with Michelle’s escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Thank you, Michelle, for sharing this book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Out of the Frying Pan - A cozy little romance ... with murder on the side. - paperback
Out of the Frying Pan - A cozy little romance ... with murder on the side. - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

THE UNDOING OF SAINT SILVANUS - Beth Moore - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I am privileged to be able to introduce you to Beth Moore’s first novel. I haven’t met her, but I feel like I know her. I have been in the studio audience for the taping of her and her husband on James and Betty Robison’s show. And I’ve been involved in her Bible studies with the ladies’ life group I’m a part of in our church.

Bio: Beth Moore has written many best–selling books and is a dynamic teacher and a prolific Bible–study author whose public speaking engagements take her across the United States to challenge tens of thousands. Beth is focused on teaching women all over the world and is known and respected wherever she goes. She is a dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters and lives in Houston, Texas, where she leads Living Proof Ministries and teaches an adult Sunday school class. Beth is one of the best known women in the evangelical Christian market. Her first book with Tyndale House, So Long, Insecurity, was a NYT bestseller.

Welcome Beth. You are well known to millions around the globe as a Bible study teacher, speaker, and the author of nonfiction books including So Long, Insecurity. What made you decide to write your first work of fiction?
I was ambushed by the love of story from both sides of my bloodline. My mother all but ate books, and from the time I was six years old, my father managed movie theaters. My fate was sealed. I still love both forms of entertainment, but to this day, what I love best about a movie is not landscape or costume. It’s dialogue. It all boils down to words with me. Before I could write my ABCs, I’d cat-scratch pretend cursive all over Big Chief tablets from the Piggly Wiggly, playing like I was writing a book. Through the years of writing Bible study curriculum and nonfiction trade books, I’ve been drawn like a magnet to the stories of the men and women in Scripture that seemed particularly complex. David and Absalom, for instance. Miriam and Moses. I love narrative. I love imagining what these lives of faith were like away from the page and how these men and women in the sacred pages interacted with those in their sphere of influence. Sometimes those imaginations would turn into creative writings.

Way down deep in my heart I wondered if I’d ever try a novel. Bible study curriculum is my first love and keeps me busier than I can even manage, so I couldn’t imagine how the time would present itself. Still, that seed was down in that soil, where I figured it would always stay. One day in discussions about So Long, Insecurity, Karen Watson glanced across the table and asked out of the blue, “Hey, Beth, have you ever thought about trying your hand at fiction?” I felt the heat go to my face like someone knew something on me she wasn’t supposed to know. And I don’t know how else to explain it—it was like she tipped a cup of water right over that soil and that sleepy seed started waking up. I went through something really hard not long after that. Something I wasn’t free to talk about. There at home, trapped in my imagination, a storyline began to sprout, green and gawky but with enough semblance of form, I kept at it. I couldn’t have imagined I’d ever keep writing it, let alone finish it.

New Orleans is a fascinating setting for your novel. Why did you choose to place your first work of fiction in this particular locale?
When I was fifteen, my little brother and I, the only two kids left at home, took a grueling two-day road-trip with our parents to our cousins’ house in Florida for vacation. Houston reaches Florida by the long, skinny arm of Interstate 10, the only decent bicep of the trip being New Orleans. I have no idea what got into my father’s head, but he decided to trot the four of us right down Bourbon Street. We’d only recently moved to Houston from a small town in Arkansas, so we hadn’t even acclimated to crowds yet. I’m pretty sure he had no idea what he was going to walk his family into the middle of. I was not an innocent adolescent. Our family had dangled on the precipice of hell for several years. I would have told you I wasn’t naïve, but I’d never walked by a strip bar in my life. Not sure I’d ever driven by one. The pictures posted at the front doors were explicit and so disturbing that I couldn’t shake them out of my head for years. Dodging drunks, we finally made our way to Jackson Square past painters and sidewalk entertainers and palm readers. It was the wildest thing I’d ever seen.

Fast forward many years, and Keith and I would go back to that city for anniversaries and bask in the deep-fried goodness of New Orleans’s brighter side. Still plenty spicy. Just not as seedy.

Fast forward a few more years, and I was asked to teach the women of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church at their annual conference. I guess it was as close as I’ve ever come to love at first sight. That whole congregation accepted this white girl like I was one of them. To be loved and embraced by them is still one of the greatest honors and joys of my ministry life. We are blood kin in Jesus. My Bible study Breaking Free was taped in their auditorium. When my younger brother was transferred there for work, FABC also threw their arms open wide to him. He attended that wonderful, warm church for several years until he was transferred again.

New Orleans is second in my heart only to Houston. I’m not sure I can explain exactly why. I’ve had a complex relationship with it. But that’s just it. I’m somehow rarely drawn to simple relationships.

Readers are wondering about the striking cover: can you give us a clue as to what the three sharp finials on the wrought iron gate represent?
The thought didn’t come to Karen and me until we were deliberating over covers, but when we finally decided on that one, we thought perhaps those finials were pretty decent representations of three primary characters in the book, all just about that strong and just about that flexible.

The characters who populate Saint Sans are multigenerational and multiethnic. How did you come to select your cast? Are they fictional representatives of people whom you’ve come to know?
I always figured if I ever wrote fiction, the characters would have a certain obligation to mirror the figures in my life, particularly since I have known and loved some terribly quirky people, but that just didn’t happen. They are all bits and pieces of this one and that one. The one male resident comes very close to a man I love dearly but not so close he’d even recognize the resemblance. Caren, the young medical student, is patterned after a friend of mine in New Orleans by that same name, but only in physical appearance.

The novel demonstrates how the power of Christ can break the bondage of generational patterns of sin, a theme you explored in your groundbreaking Bible study Breaking Free. Are there ways in which you feel a novel can deliver this message even beyond the scope of a nonfiction work?
I deeply hope so. I think virtually any reader can recognize how darkness and detachment and disillusion can invade an entire family. These toxic dynamics can be so pervasive that the thought never even occurs to us life could exist any other way. We just accept things how they are and don’t realize how dramatically God can change us and, through us, perhaps an entire environment. I’m praying for someone to pick it up who could never picture herself as the type Jesus would seek out. I don’t know what people on the sidewalk think they’re seeing through the windows of a church, but after thirty years of active, hands-on ministry, I promise you those inside have had the same kinds of problems, addictions, fears, crises, losses, disappointment, injuries, and tragedies. But the thing is, you could live in a church and still never let Jesus do what He longs to do.

What are some of the compromises depicted in The Undoing of Saint Silvanus that many women make in search for security and the desire for relationship?
For starters, so many girls, starting in early adolescence, think they’re only as valuable as they are desirable. Women develop an inordinate measure of their identity from how men respond to them. You’ll see some of the effects of that in the novel. As many great guys as we know and can find out there, only Jesus gets to define an individual’s worth. A lot of women are also trained to think that any man in your life or bed is better than no man. They don’t know who they are apart from a man. I’m pro-relationship and still believe in romance, but how on earth do we know what we have to offer any relationship when we do not even know who we are? Until we begin to know who we are, our choices regarding what we want can get woefully skewed.

How can shame and failure drive us away from God and the people we need most in our lives?
It’s can be one big miserable cycle. We feel shame and we don’t even know why. Our shame sets us up for failure. Our failure creates more shame. Increased shame brings on more failure because we naturally act out of our deepest beliefs. And that’s the way it goes until it either buries us or we let God break the cycle. Shame always thrives in secret so we avoid letting the very people in who could help us the most and point the way out. But all that can change. And then we can be the ones who point the way out for others.
Which of the characters in your book best illustrate the need to build bridges toward healing?

I’d have to say the two that start out on opposite sides of the Golden Gate. Never underestimate the huge step that can be taken by crossing a smaller bridge, though. As I reflect on the story line, small bridges are all over it.

How has your own family responded to your first work of fiction? Can we anticipate more novels in the future?
Do you want to hear something wild? This is the first book of mine I think Keith Moore may read from beginning to end. Makes me laugh. He has supported and prayed over every book I’ve ever written and been so proud to keep a box of them in the back of his pickup truck to give away. But I’ve never seen him sit down with one and appear to get lost in it. It has intrigued me, pleased me and made me really antsy. I’ll tell you what’s awkward: putting on my mascara for work in the morning while he’s within eyeshot, his face in the novel, and I’m trying to read his expression in the mirror to see if he likes it or not. He’s especially proud of it somehow. He told me that again this morning.

My daughters are so happy I did it. Amanda has always wanted me to try it because she has memories of bedtime stories I made up for them when they were little. She is a very busy pastor’s wife and mom and was expecting their third child over the last months I worked on the manuscript, so she never read any of it in process but encouraged me profusely to stay with it. Melissa couldn’t have had a bigger impact on the novel moving to press. Her role caught me by surprise because she’s usually neck-deep in academic work. My intention was to have my big brother as my first reader. I chose him because he appreciates the genre, he’s tremendously creative, not easy to please, and gut-honest. He’s also way outside my serving world and I felt like, if he canned it, nobody would ever even have to know it existed. As it turned out, he had a work crisis and couldn’t read it. That’s when Melissa stepped in and insisted she was my reader. I initially argued that she’d have a hard time telling her own mother, “Bless your heart, you’ve worked so hard but it stinks.” She countered that she could do it and I handed it over. The feeling of vulnerability was nearly overwhelming. It was nothing but crickets for the next 48 hours and I was so nervous I could have thrown up. Finally I thought up a reason to text her about something else entirely and she jotted back an abbreviated reply: “Can’t talk right now. Wrapped up in a novel.” I was so relieved, I laughed and cried.

As for my grandkids, they simply wanted to know if they were in it. Made me laugh and made me wish I could say yes!

More novels? I just have no idea. No plans for another right now but I didn’t plan this one. So many factors would have to come together for me to know it was the will of God. A story line, obviously, but also a steadfast sense that a temporary departure into fiction serves an important-enough purpose to carve out the many hours it takes. I want my life to bear fruit in the name of Jesus to the glory of God. If my shot at this genre bears very little fruit in the lives of readers, I’ll know my job is to stick entirely with nonfiction. I have dear friends who are called by God to primarily write fiction, and at times they take temporary departures into nonfiction. They’re looking for the same thing I am: leadership from God on the best use of their gifting and time to His great glory. We want to please God and serve in a way that really helps people. My nonnegotiable calling is to teach Bible study. That one stays in place no matter what. God willing, that’s what I’ll do till I die. But I so hope and pray someone is also served and helped by the story woven through the chapters of this novel. Dear Lord in heaven, I pray this wasn’t a colossal waste of time. We’ll find out.

Many authors write a bit of themselves into one of their characters. Do any of the residents of Saint Sans have a little Beth in them?
Not nearly as much as I thought they would! But they’re all the kind of people I’m somehow drawn toward, for better or for worse. Jillian reflects some of my old insecurities—at times in the novel, painfully so. Adella, the manager, has a little bit of me in her but not as much as I planned. I don’t know what happened there. I just started liking the characters for themselves. They each sort of went off their own way.

Is there anything you’d like to tell us about the novel that I haven’t asked?
I can only think of one thing right now and I’ll set it up by supplying the question.
“Beth, did you enjoy the process of writing a novel?”

Every single second of it.

Thank you, Beth Moore, for allowing me to introduce your novel to my readers. I am eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Undoing of Saint Silvanus - Christianbook.com
The Undoing of Saint Silvanus - Amazon Hardback
The Undoing of Saint Silvanus - Kindle
The Undoing of Saint Silvanus - Audio

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:
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