Friday, November 17, 2017

CALLUM'S COMPASS - Sara L Foust - One Free Book

Welcome, Sara. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Oh man, I think each of my female characters has some little piece of me in them. Maybe a past fear or doubt or a career I find interesting. I try to put myself in their shoes when I am writing an emotional reaction scene, using my past experiences with that particular emotion to help create authenticity for the scene.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
This is hard! I don’t feel like I’m a very quirky person (my hubs may disagree ha!). I’m usually a planner and so quirky isn’t really my go-to nature. I do have some quirky pet peeves, though. I don’t like the sound of liquids being poured (I know, weird) and I do not like the feel of slime (which my kids think is hilarious). Oh! I did call in sick to work one time to go to a kissing contest sponsored by a local radio station. Actually, my husband called in sick too. And we won the concert tickets! That’s pretty quirky, I guess.

That sounds like fun. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote my first story before kindergarten. I brought my mom a purple note pad and said, “You write. I draw the pictures.” Then in second grade I won an award for a story I wrote, “My Amaginary Friend.” It was that moment I knew I wanted to write.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I will pretty much read anything. I love Zane Grey westerns, Robert Morgan’s Appalachian fiction, Kelly Irvin’s contemporary Amish fiction. As long as it isn’t a book that’s too graphic or full of curse words, I will try it.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Lots and lots and lots of prayer. I try to study in God’s word each morning while my coffee is making and that helps me start my days out calmly and in meditation. My mom also notices that I sigh a lot, and I guess that must be my way of expelling extra stress throughout the day haha!

How do you choose your characters’ names?
My character’s names are usually ones that have connotations in my mind toward the personality traits I want them to display. In Callum’s Compass, Kat is my heroine, and to me the name Kat says, “Adventurer.” Ryan is the hero, and to me that says, “Strong and a little goofy.” Of course, everyone has different associations with names, and may not feel the same connotations I do. But it works for me.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’ve dreamed of finishing a novel and seeing it in print since that second grade award. So holding my book in my hands for the first time and seeing my name on the cover was extremely gratifying.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d have to say a dolphin. I could hold my breath forever and see the underwater world, then leap above the waves and play. And also still be considered an intelligent mammal.

What is your favorite food?
I have a hard time picking a favorite. I do love pizza. And Mexican.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest roadblock was definitely self-doubt and fear. It was scary putting pieces of myself into the world for people to criticize. And in the early stages of getting those first critiques, not everyone was kind. I have a very supportive family, especially my cousin and best friend Becky and my husband. Neither of them would let me give up. Plus, I knew I felt I had been called to share God’s love through the written word, so giving up would be failing Him. And I have no desire to do that!

Tell us about the featured book.
Callum’s Compass is a story very near and dear to my heart. It is set in the East Tennessee mountains that I love, and in fact, in my hometown for a large portion of the book. It also has a treasure hunt, which is a huge part of my childhood and early adult life memories. My Uncle Jim used to set up treasure hunts for us on family vacations. One time he even buried gold coins on the beach and we had to use a metal detector to find them. It is also a story about love and the journey to accept God’s forgiving and unconditional love.

Please give us the first page of the book.
A persistent knock at the front door dragged Kat Williams awake. She rubbed her eyes and slipped a sweatshirt over her pajama top. Hadn’t she just fallen asleep? The past week was a blur. Visiting her neighbor Clayton at the hospital every day was taking its toll on her physically and emotionally.

She stumbled to the door and peeked through the curtain-covered glass. Clayton’s daughter stood with her back to the window, arms crossed over her chest.

Kat pulled the door open. “Nicole.”

“Can I come in?”

“Of course. How’s Clayton?”

Nicole slumped onto the couch and buried her face in her hands. “Dad’s dead. I can’t believe it.” Tears leaked around the fingers hiding her eyes. Kat’s golden retriever, Scout, put his head in her lap and licked her elbow, but Nicole didn’t seem to notice. “What am I going to do?”

Kat sat and rubbed her friend’s back, fighting her own tears. “I’m so sorry. Everything’s going to be okay, though.” Did she really believe that herself? A fist held her heart, squeezing until she couldn’t breathe. Clayton was such a good friend. He never judged Kat or asked too many questions about the burdens she carried. She could be herself with him, and she would miss that.

“No it’s not.” Nicole sniffled and jumped up, bashing Scout’s chin with her knee.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is the best place: www.saralfoust.com. I have blog stories, author interviews, and devotionals there. As well as my newsletter sign-up. I’d love to have some more subscribers. And, when you sign up, you will receive a free digital scrapbook detailing some of the real-life locations that inspired scenes in Callum’s Compass! Readers can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and, of course, Amazon!


Thank you, Sara, for sharing this book with us. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Callum's Compass: Love, Hope, and Faith Series - Paperback
Callum's Compass: Love, Hope, and Faith Series - 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.

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, November 15, 2017

DANGEROUS ILLUSIONS - Irene Hannon - One Free Book

Three-Time RITA Award Winner Begins Explosive
New Code of Honor Series

“Hannon is a master at her craft, and her unique way of handling suspense makes her a cut above the other writers in the genre.”
RT Book Reviews on Thin Ice

Bio: Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Buried Secrets, Thin Ice, and Tangled Webs, as well as the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. In addition to many other honors, she is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA’s elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Welcome, Irene. Can you please tell us about your new series?
The Code of Honor series features three childhood friends whose bond has been strengthened by time—and danger. As children, they vowed to help make the world a better place when they grew up, and each chose a career that does just that. Colin, the hero of Dangerous Illusions, is a police detective. Kristin, the heroine of book 2, runs a fair-trade shop. And the hero of book 3, Rick, joined the military but now runs a camp for foster kids. This is a group of honorable high-achievers, and I love the dynamic among the three friends.

How did you come up with the plot for Dangerous Illusions?
I wanted to start this series off with a story that had a very unusual plot twist, and I think the idea I came up with will truly give readers a “wow” moment when they realize what’s going on. I can’t say more than that without giving the surprise away!

Which character is your favorite and why?
That’s like asking a mother to pick her favorite child! Every character in this book—bad and good—has a unique story, and all of them fascinate me.

How did you choose the setting for your novel?
Since this is a book with a strong psychological suspense element versus an action/adventure novel in which the setting plays a critical role, it could have taken place almost anywhere. The book did, however, require huge amounts of research—so I chose a setting I know well, which shaved some research hours off the writing process.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while doing research for your book?
I learn a tremendous amount with every book I write. But if I shared the most interesting things I learned while working on this one, I’d give away some significant plot surprises!

What lesson(s) do you hope readers will take away from reading Dangerous Illusions?
That even in the toughest times, God is at work in our lives. I want readers to finish the book uplifted, filled with hope, and more cognizant of the tremendous power of love to transform lives.

What can you tell us about the story?
Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death—and puts Trish under police scrutiny—her world is once again thrown into turmoil.

Detective Colin Flynn isn’t certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake, or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge—and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn’t just dangerous . . . it’s deadly.

What are you working on next?
I recently turned in the next book in my Oregon coast Hope Harbor series, Pelican Point, which will be out in April 2018. That’s a contemporary romance/women’s fiction novel. I’m now fine-tuning book 2 in my Code of Honor series, which is due at the end of the summer and will release in October 2018.

How can readers connect with you?
They can visit my website at www.irenehannon.com or follow me on Facebook and Twitter. I’m very active on Facebook and love to interact with readers there.

Thank you, Irene, for sharing this new book with us. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Dangerous Illusions - Christianbook.com
Dangerous Illusions (Code of Honor) - Amazon paperback
Dangerous Illusions (Code of Honor Book 1) - Kindle
Dangerous Illusions: Code of Honor, Book 1 - 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:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

CHRISTY Giveaway, Blog Tour, and Facebook Live Party - One Free Book on This Blog

Some stories are evergreen, their themes and lessons standing the test of time and connecting with readers generation after generation. Reconnect with Catherine Marshall's beloved Christy as it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new edition! As nineteen-year-old teacher Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home of Cutter Gap, some see her-and her one-room school as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove. Yearning to make a difference, will Christy's determination and devotion be enough?

Celebrate the new 50th anniversary edition of Christy by entering to win one of TWO $50 Visa cash cards (details below) and by attending a Facebook Live party on December 5!


TWO grand prize winners will receive:
  • One copy of Christy
  • One $50 Visa Cash Card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 5. The winner will be announced at the Christy Facebook Live Party. RSVP for a chance to connect with authors who've been impacted by Christy and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

RSVP today and spread the word-tell your friends about the giveaway and Facebook Live party via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!


Dear Readers, Christy was a favorite book of mine. I think I first read it about 40-45 years ago. I'm so glad I was invited to be part of the 50th anniversary celebration.

The train taking nineteen-year-old teacher Christy Huddleston from her home in Asheville, North Carolina, might as well be transporting her to another world. The Smoky Mountain community of Cutter Gap feels suspended in time, trapped by poverty, superstitions, and century-old traditions.

But as Christy struggles to find acceptance in her new home, some see her - and her one-room school - as a threat to their way of life. Her faith is challenged and her heart is torn between two strong men with conflicting views about how to care for the families of the Cove.

Yearning to make a difference, will Christy's determination and devotion be enough?

Bio:
Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), The New York Times best-selling author of 30 books, is best known for her novel Christy. Based on the life of her mother, Christy captured the hearts of millions and became a popular CBS television series. Around the kitchen table at Evergreen Farm, as her mother reminisced, Catherine probed for details and insights into the rugged lives of these Appalachian highlanders. Catherine shared the story of her husband, Dr. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the United States Senate, in A Man Called Peter. A decade after Dr. Marshall's untimely death, Catherine married Leonard LeSourd, Executive Editor of Guideposts, forging a dynamic writer-editor partnership. A beloved inspirational writer and speaker, Catherine's enduring career spanned four decades and reached over 30 million readers.

Find out more about Catherine at http://gileadpublishing.com/christy/.

Readers, as you know, there isn’t an author interview. But leave your comments as always for a chance to win a copy of the hardback book.

Have you read Christy?

Did you ever see the TV series based on 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:

Monday, November 13, 2017

THE CHRISTMAS BLESSING - Melody Carlson - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Melody Carlson’s Christmas book this year. I’ve enjoyed her Christmas novels for several years. This one is historical, a real heartwarming story of loss and reconciliation. The characters really grabbed my heart and held on until the end of the story. I know you’ll love it, too.

Welcome back, Melody. What is the title of your most recent book?
The Christmas Blessing

Who is the primary audience for The Christmas Blessing
Readers of all ages, who want to read an uplifting Christmas story.

What was your inspiration for writing a book set in World War II?
The Christmas Blessing is set during WWII, an era that’s not only admirable for the heroic efforts performed by that generation, but it’s also ripe with an endless supply of fascinating stories. Including ones of bravery on the home-front. So I imagined a young mother with some tough challenges—and then I simply let the story roll out.

How do ideas for books or storylines or characters come to you?
Usually in a small snippet—and usually in the form of a character who has a specific problem and in a setting that interests me. Then I simply jump in and find out how it all works out.

What do you hope readers can gain from reading The Christmas Blessing?
That God is loving and good—and there is hope for everyone and anyone.

What are you working on next?
I almost always have something in the works. Even though I’m trying to slow my writing down, there’s always a story brewing—sometimes it’s just putting down notes for a future project. Right now I’m finishing my Christmas novella (for 2018) and am about to get back to the fourth and final book in my historical Mulligan Sisters series (set in WWII San Francisco).

Tell us about the story, for my readers.
During World War II, Amelia Richards had been serving as USO hostess, when she met James Bradley at the USO New Year’s Eve dance. They immediately fell in love and he proposed 4 days later. That same afternoon he was commanded to report back to the ship. In late 1944, Amelia received news from the War Department that his plane was shot down in the South Pacific. Now she is alone with their infant son Jimmy and the dilemma of contacting James’ parents in Montana to let them know that they are grandparents. Amelia prays that they will accept this grandchild even if she and James did not have the chance to marry?

Thank you, Melody, for sharing this book with us. I loved reading it.

Readers, you can find out more about Melody here:

Here are links to the book.
The Christmas Blessing - Christianbook.com
The Christmas Blessing - Amazon
The Christmas Blessing - 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.

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:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

WINNERS!!!

Ann (TX) is the winner of The Final Ride by Linda W Yezak.

VanG (NC) is the winner of Christmas in Abundance,  by Sally Bayless.

Bonnie (AZ) is the winner of The Starlight Inn by Lucie Ulrich.

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.

Friday, November 10, 2017

PENDANT - M L Hamilton - One Free Book

Bio: Monsters under the bed never bothered M L Hamilton. What kept her awake was the man hiding in her closet. She never did figure out who he was, how he managed to hide in her messy closet, or why he was waiting until she fell asleep to jump out and harm her. But since then, she’s imagined all sorts of other scary situations, which she plans to use as a basis for more mystery/suspense stories.

When not writing, she enjoys knitting, spending time with her family, and a little amateur photography. She and her husband make their home in Texas.

Welcome, M L. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My main character often starts out with a personality similar to mine, which is not a good thing because I’m generally not a decisive, action-oriented person. I always have to work at making my protagonists more headstrong, more willing to take action and risks. But I think my sense of humor comes through in at least one character in every story.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m not a quirky person, but when I was much younger and single, I moved across the country from my close-knit family to a place where I didn’t know anyone, simply for a sense of adventure. I’m typically a cocoon-er who loves being in familiar surroundings with my family nearby. These days, my husband is the explorer and he usually has to drag me along kicking and screaming until I realize it’s kind of fun to see and experience new things.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, whether it was letters to friends or keeping a diary or making up stories based on personal experiences. But after college, I was responsible for writing a monthly newsletter for the organization where I worked. People often told me they enjoyed reading the newsletter and asked if I’d ever written for publication. So I guess that’s when I discovered I could write.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I most enjoy women’s fiction and mystery/suspense, as long as there’s very little romance involved. Occasionally, I also read historical fiction or non-fiction, along with a biography or memoir once in a while.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Now that my kids are grown, I find it fairly easy. As an introvert, I crave time alone. I can be home all day by myself without listening to the radio or television and not feel lonely. I’m also very good at saying no, so I’m rarely overcommitted.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have a couple books of baby names that are my first resource. I also look at the Social Security website that lists the most popular names for any given year. That really helps with various ages of my characters. I’ve also been known to dig out high school yearbooks for help with surnames, and I often keep programs from graduations and other events that list names. 

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My proudest accomplishment has been raising three incredible kids. It’s such a joy to watch them grow into adulthood and see the different directions they take in life. I’d rather be with them than anyone else. 

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I might be a sea otter. They’re so playful and cute. I like being around water, and I’ll choose play over work any day.

When we went to the Monterrey Peninsula to visit my aunt, I loved watching the sea otters. What is your favorite food?
Chocolate. Offer me a dark chocolate chunk cookie and I’ll do almost anything for you!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I find writing the first draft especially hard. I’d prefer to know specifically how the story ends, so I can write to that. But I seem to be better at figuring out beginnings. With this last book, I became more confident in praying and waiting on the Lord to reveal things to me. It might take a couple days or a couple weeks, but He always provided answers to whatever I was stuck on, whether through talking with others about it, or as an idea in my own head.

Tell us about the featured book.
Pendant is about a middle-age woman who was forced out of teaching after one of her students disappeared from a field trip and was never found. She’s lived under the guilt and shame for more than a decade when she finally stumbles across a vital clue and discovers someone will do anything to keep the truth buried. When her own life is threatened, she allows the one person she trusts to whisk her away to safety in Texas. But assuming a false identity and hiding among the quirky residents of a retirement home is not what she had in mind. Now she must solve the mystery from afar, as soon as she figures out if her friend is keeping her from danger…or keeping her from the truth.

Please give us the first page of the book.
The squealing brakes of the arriving school bus formed an odd harmony with a distant siren. I bent over to pick up the newspaper on my driveway while the bus came to a stop, its warning lights blinking yellow to red. Seven children lined up at the door, the older ones hunched under the weight of their backpacks. Off to one side, mothers formed a tight circle, no doubt discussing the latest in school gossip—who wasn’t speaking to whom, which teacher was giving unreasonable homework, why so-and-so wasn’t invited to a birthday party.

At least I no longer had to deal with those issues. Emma, my ten-year-old neighbor, shouted to her mother and waved good-bye, but Lauren failed to respond, apparently too engrossed in conversation to notice.

“Have a good day, Emma!” I called. The girl turned my way, smiled and waved back.

I slapped the newspaper against my palm, contemplating the possibilities of what I might do if someone attempted to snatch one of the children. The potential harm inflicted by a fifty-eight-year-old woman beating someone with a rolled-up newspaper was laughable, but it might buy some time, create enough of a distraction for the child to escape. Roy always warned me about the personal danger of injecting myself into such a situation, but saving a child would be worth the cost. That was one truth I’d become certain of in the past twelve years.

The last student climbed the bus steps. The driver closed the door then waved in my direction before the bus roared on to the next stop, leaving behind a pungent cloud of diesel exhaust. Across the street, Amanda Fisher tossed her purse and backpack into the car then climbed into the driver’s seat. At twenty, she looked more and more like her mother, Nicole. Had it already been five years since that beautiful woman died of breast cancer? Amanda tapped the horn and waved to me as she left for class at the community college.

I brushed grains of sand and dirt from the newspaper’s wrapper before pulling my sweater tight against the morning chill and retracing my steps to the front door. Weeds had sprouted overnight in the flowerbed, and I stooped to tear at them. May was starting out warmer than usual this year despite the winds that give Chicago its nickname.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’d love to hear from readers. They can find me in these places:
Email (mary@maryhamiltonbooks.com)

Purchase link: http://amzn.to/2y9czD9

Thank you, M L, for sharing your new book with us. I’m eager to read it, and I know my readers are, too.

Readers, here is a link to the book.

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:

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

CHRISTMAS DOUBLE CROSS - Jodie Bailey - One Free Book or Ebook

Welcome, Jodie. So happy to have you on my blog. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
It’s inevitable that part of me shows up in every character. It’s hard not to pour yourself onto the page. Sometimes it’s an accident, sometimes it’s on purpose. A lot of my characters have spiritual issues that echo ones I’ve wrestled with, because those are the things that help me connect best with them as I’m writing. For example, in Smokescreen, Ashley has severe panic attacks, something I dealt with for ten years before God healed me. It can be something big like that or smaller, like an insecurity that creeps up. So yes, there is a small part of me in each character, but that’s what makes it fun.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I must be the most boring person in the world, because I asked my husband how he’d answer this question about me and he said, “Well, you DO eat mayonnaise on banana sandwiches.” So there you go, folks. I’m a downright, genuine specimen of weirdness. Seriously, I’d say it was when I was in my late twenties and had just gotten a video camera (there I go dating myself), and my best friend and I went to the beach for the weekend. We literally filmed everything we did, from walking up the street to riding in the car to cooking dinner. It was all ridiculously mundane, nothing crazy. We were practically our own reality show. People were trying to figure out if we were famous at one point, which was fun. It was totally silly, but that video is still one of my most treasured possessions because we had so much fun doing it and the memories are wonderful.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I have written my entire life. I asked for a typewriter when I was ten. (Yes, I’m that old.) Before that, I wrote on my grandmother’s typewriter. When she passed away, we found stories tucked away in her desk from when I was barely able to form letters. (“Ann Goes to the Fair” had all the marks of a runaway bestseller, I tell you.) I majored in English lit in college and tacked on a second major in creative writing “just for fun.” I never planned to do anything more with it than shove the stories in my drawer, but God… One day, when our kiddo was three, I was contemplating going back to teaching. I was sitting in a Beth Moore Bible study thinking, “Man, she has the greatest job in the world. She gets to write and talk about God all of the time!” And it was like I almost audibly heard God say, “Duh, child. Do you think I gave you this heart for writing just to stick it in a drawer?” It was the first time I ever realized that I could do this too. It felt like saying, “I want to be a rock star when I grow up,” because it seemed so farfetched that I’d ever be published. But God...

I love all the But God … moments in our lives. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I will read just about anything. When I was a kid, I was caught reading the dictionary when there was nothing else available. I’ve been known to read cookbooks like they were novels. Mostly, I love anything with a romance element, from historical to suspense to contemporary… I’m not the biggest fan of sci-fi or nonfiction (sadly), though I’ve read plenty of it. The only thing that’s essentially off the table for me is horror.

I so agree with you. You could have been writing my reading habits. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Every morning, I get my coffee and my Bible and whatever study I’m doing at the time, and I sit at the kitchen table to have God time. I treasure that time of being in my Bible, of praying, sometimes journaling… It’s what keeps me connected to Him and reminds me of who is really in charge of the world. It’s that one moment of the day when everything is still, even the inside of me.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Sometimes they just pop up. I wish that happened more often! For last names, I Google common surnames for the region of the country I’ve set the story in. Once I’ve picked a handful, the search is on for common baby names in my hero’s birth year. It’s a matter of playing with combinations until one clicks!

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I have no idea how to answer this. I could say so many things, because God has done so many things in my life. But if you force me to choose just one (besides our kiddo, because everybody expects me to say that…), I’d say surviving as an Army wife. As a teenager, I was crazy insecure and codependent. If you’d have told me—or anyone who knew me—I’d survive three deployments as a stateside spouse and actually grow and have fun doing it, you’d have been laughed out of the room. But God worked in me so much before all of that happened and changed so much of who I used to be, that those times are not simply lost years like the could have been, but years full of treasured memories with friends and even of us growing together as spouses because we communicated largely through letters and learned so much about who we are together and apart. So yes, being a wife and mother who could hold things down at home so my husband didn’t have to worry about us while he was gone is probably the thing I’m most proud of.

Kudos to you, Jodie. Women like you have as much influence in helping protect our country as the military husbands do. I salute you both. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
My dog has it made. I know a lot of people say they’d be a cat or a dog, but seriously, my Bubs has the life. The food, the pets, the naps in the sunshine, the treats, the snuggles… Who wouldn’t want that?

What is your favorite food?
I love nachos. Like, love them. Whenever I work out, I crave them, which makes it hard… J But I think my favorite meal would be charcoal-grilled steak, a baked potato all loaded up, and a salad with creamy Italian dressing. Also, I’d give a whole lot to taste my grandmother’s fried chicken and homemade mashed potatoes and gravy just one more time. Nobody can make them like she could.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Oh, I haven’t overcome it, I’ve just lassoed it and am holding on tight. Social media is my biggest problem with writing. Writing is a solitary adventure. Some days, I crave social interaction, and it turns into write two sentences, check Facebook. Write two sentences, check Twitter. That isn’t a great way to build up momentum on a story. So I downloaded an app that shuts down the internet on my computer during work hours. That’s helped tremendously! Problem is, I can still check my phone, so…

Tell us about the featured book.
I was so honored to be a part of this series with Elizabeth and Sharon! Christmas Double Cross is book two of the Texas Ranger Holidays series. Ranger Colt Blackthorn is tracking a woman he believes to be Adriana Garcia, the fugitive sister of a dangerous cartel leader. When she’s almost kidnapped right in front of him, he discovers she’s actually another woman, Danielle Segovia. The problem is, Danielle looks enough like Adriana that the cartel leader has mistaken her for his sister as well, and he’s out for revenge. Colt finds himself having to protect Danielle, but he’s battling his own past failings at the same time and isn’t even sure he’s cut out to be a Ranger anymore. He has to learn to trust his own instincts at the same time that Danielle is having to learn to trust him.

I enjoyed reading Sharon’s book, and I look forward to reading yours. Please give us the first page of the book.
Texas Ranger Colter Blackthorn shifted his borrowed Dodge Challenger into Park and left the engine running, the heater combating the near-freezing temperatures of an El Paso winter evening.

Pulling his neck to one side, he stretched tight muscles and scanned the front of the small strip mall. The reflection of Christmas lights danced on the windows of the few cars in the lot as the center neared closing time. Somewhere in the distance, a speaker piped “White Christmas” to the handful of shoppers rushing along the sidewalk on their last few days of preparation before the holiday hit full force.

He let his gaze linger on the store closest to him, on the end near the main road. Nothing moved in the shadows behind the building, but a figure moved inside by the front window, pausing to reposition a blanket beneath the D in Mexican Artifacts and Crafts by Danielle.

His fingers tightened on the steering wheel. It had to be her.

“Colt.” The voice shot through his earpiece. Ranger Austin Brewer’s voice was tight, not with anger, but with concern. “If you need to wave off, then let Major Vance know now, before you go in. We can send somebody—”

“I’m fine.” His voice came out more clipped than he’d meant it to, but really, he didn’t need to be babied. He was no rookie. This wasn’t his first time undercover, and it wasn’t as though he was going deep. All he had to do was confirm that the woman pretending to be Danielle Segovia was indeed Adriana Garcia.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
The easiest way is to head over to www.jodiebailey.com. There are links to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter there, as well as links to buy each of my books.

Thank you, Jodie, for sharing this new book with us. I’m so glad my good friend Elizabeth Goddard introduced us online.

Readers, Jodie will send a print book if the winner is in the US or an ebook if the winner is foreign. Here are links to the book.
Christmas Double Cross - Christianbook.com
Christmas Double Cross (Texas Ranger Holidays) - Amazon paperback
Christmas Double Cross (Texas Ranger Holidays) - 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.

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:

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

AN ACCIDENTAL MESSIAH - Dan Sofer - One Free Book

Welcome back, Dan. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
My writing allows me to explore situations and ideas that fascinate me. For instance, An Accidental Messiah (and the Dry Bones Society series as a whole) explores the Biblical prophecies of the Messianic Era and the End of Days.

What would life be like if the dead returned to life and society had to adjust? How would the Messiah get the job done and what problems would arise?
I love books that both make me think and make me smile, and I aim for that in my novels too.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
My wedding day and the births of our daughters are at the top of the list.

How has being published changed your life?
Through my books I’ve met a lot of interesting people, specifically readers of different cultures, beliefs, and origins. This has given me a window into other lives.

What are you reading right now?
Brilliance by Marcus Sakey, and Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. I know, I have very eclectic reading taste.

What is your current work in progress?
The third (and final) part of the Dry Bones Society series, A Premature Apocalypse.

What would be your dream vacation?
A tropical island. Sun, sea, and sand.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
All of my novels so far take place in Jerusalem, and they are all intimately connected to the Holy City. I lived in Jerusalem for seven years and so I’m very familiar with its sights and sounds.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
My wife, of course, and I get to do that every evening. As for famous people, I can’t think of anyone in particular. There are a lot of people whose writing, acting, or other works I admire, but I’m not sure I’d like to spend a whole evening with them. (No offense!)

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I enjoy travel and scuba diving, although I haven’t done much of the latter recently. With writing and reading, I have had little time left over for other hobbies.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Finishing the first draft. That bit can seem daunting – pulling words out of thin air, and there are just so many, many words in a novel. Once you have your first draft, then you can relax and edit the “raw material.” There’s no magic solution. You just have to keep going until you hit THE END. Practice helps.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Give yourself permission to write rubbish in your first draft. Turn off that inner critic. Once you hit the end, go back and edit.

Tell us about the featured book.
An Accidental Messiah picks up where the first novel, An Unexpected Afterlife, left off.

Moshe Karlin, a newly resurrected Jerusalemite, discovers that defeating death was easier than dealing with government bureaucracy! To lead a normal life again, he’ll have to out-maneuver corrupt politicians and brutal gangsters. Will he usher in an era of peaceful Utopia or trigger a civil war?

Elsewhere in Jerusalem, a recovering prophet hides his apocalyptic delusions, a scientist unearths the shocking secret to peace in the Middle East, and a lovesick suicide bomber wanders the streets in search of his own personal redemption.

In the midst of it all, one chronic latecomer is on everyone's mind—the Messiah!

Please give us the first page of the book.
The tour guide had just welcomed his first group of the day to the Mount Herzl National Cemetery when he saw the naked man. Among the bushes at the edge of the Jerusalem Forest, the pale streaker scratched his head and stroked the stately brown beard that fell to his chest.

Despite having been trained to handle this exact situation, the tour guide choked up, and his group of Japanese tourists, with their matching yellow hats and oversized cameras, chattered among themselves and eyed their catatonic guide with concern.

He had approached the rumors with a healthy dose of skepticism at first—after all, dead people didn’t spontaneously rise from their graves—until early one morning a fellow guide had discovered a man, naked and alone, among the tombstones of the military cemetery. The former soldier had saved his brothers-in-arms by diving onto a grenade during the Second Lebanon War.
A camera crew had arrived to immortalize the moment of his return, and the number of visitors to the park had spiked—resurrection tourists mostly—but after a few days life on Mount Herzl had returned to normal.

Over the following weeks, however, more casualties sprouted from their graves: shell-shocked tank drivers of the Yom Kippur War; commando fighters of the Six Day War; and then the waves of gaunt Eastern Europeans mowed down during the War of Independence.

The phenomenon, bizarre and surreal by any standard, soon became routine, and they no longer bothered to notify the media when a long-deceased Jew turned up among the hedges. They did notice one trend: as time progressed, the arrivals returned from further back in the past, and the guides placed bets on which of them—if any of them at all—would welcome back to the land of the living the personage enshrined at the heart of the national park.

Today was this guide’s lucky day. 

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Visit http://dansofer.com (and download a free story).

Thank you, Dan, for sharing this book with us. I’m sure my blog readers are eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
An Accidental Messiah (The Dry Bones Society) An Accidental Messiah: A Novel (The Dry Bones Society Book 2)

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:

Monday, November 06, 2017

MURDER IN DISGUISE - Donn Taylor - One Free Book

Welcome back, Donn. How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Murder in Disguise is the third book in the Preston Barclay Mystery series. In the first two books, hero and heroine—Press and Mara—had solved two murders on their home campus, one in the fall semester and one in spring semester. For the third book, I took them to the state university for a summer term and gave them a different kind of murder to solve. For once, it was mostly just logic—working out of something different enough to make a new book. Also, as a member of the National Association of Scholars, I've been concerned about universities' routine violations of students' constitutional rights. This setting provided the opportunity to look at some of those problems, though the main thrust of the book of course had to be an entertaining mystery.

If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
To include a suspense writer, I would invite Harry Wegley. He also brings a good background in technology, and he's well read in philosophical subjects. I would bring Kelli Hughett so that if the philosophical discussion got dull she could lead a discussion of pro football. I'd bring Brenda Hupp Norris for her sense of humor and her ability to make the Maine landscape entertaining. (Actually, she might count for two because she and her sister publish under the pseudonyms Sadie and Sophie Cuff.) I would add Aaron Gansky to bring fantasy to the group, and Linda Glaz to balance that with hard-nosed research into the world of human trafficking. And I'd round out the group with Deborah Dee Harper, the only writer I know who can punctuate the tightest suspense scene with something that will make you laugh.

Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
I would start with Kathy Rouser and Susan Craft to tell us different aspects of the American Revolutionary War period. Then I would add Ann Shorey to bring us into the problems with slavery just before the War Between the States. And I would like Ann Tatlock to tell us stories from more recent times, using her rare talent to explore the emotional nuances. By then we'd be ready for a new subject, so I would ask Latayne Scott to explain who really wrote the book of Hebrews. And to finish the party, I would ask Rick Barry to entertain us with his tales of aviation in World War II. He knows as much about the P-47 as I did about the planes I flew in Vietnam, and Rick's ability to outpun anyone in sight would send us home happy.

Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
My most difficult problem now is finding genuinely new subjects to write about. In my two suspense novels I used my Army and aviation background, plus a good body of research on the international black market traffic in weapons. With Mildred, I took time out for a historical novel, a nostalgia trip to Northeast Mississippi for the years when we grew up there. And with three mysteries set on college campuses, I exploited my years as a professor. Now I'm ready for something genuinely new and different, but years of caregiving have thinned out my reading, so while I write one more mystery I'm scraping around for that magic subject that will open up a new fictional world.

I so understand. Tell us about the featured book.
Like its two predecessors, Murder in Disguise is a lighthearted mystery that still manages to touch on a few serious subjects. Professor Preston Barclay (Press) has been invited to teach a summer term at the state university. Mara Thorn is there for her own research. But the department chairman who invited Press has committed suicide, and his replacement doesn't make Press feel welcome. Then the deceased's widow asks Press to prove that her husband was murdered. He has enough problems already in proving his competence to students and faculty, for the new department chairman and campus radicals do all they can to undermine him. And the sexy female siren assigned as his student assistant creates problems there and with his courtship of Mara Thorn.

 Press’s questions don’t find adequate answers, rumors accuse his friend of disgraceful activities, and Mara’s research reveals a wide range of criminal activity stretching from the community onto the campus itself. The more things don’t add up, the more dangerous the threats become, and the more determined Press becomes to clear his friend’s name and learn the truth about the alleged suicide. The question is whether he can find anything definitive before the people making the threats decide they've had enough . . .

Please give us the first page of the book.
It seemed like a routine summer term at the state university until the threat.

There was the usual process of settling into one of the just-off-campus apartments they keep for visiting professors. There was the matter of checking at the bookstore to be sure the textbooks I’d prescribed were on hand. To keep from getting ticketed by campus police, I picked up my temporary parking sticker, known locally as a hunting license because parking spaces are scarce. And there was the usual difficulty that the department chairman was away from his office.

“I’m Preston Barclay,” I told the bearded student who’d been left to man the telephone. “I’m teaching one summer term. Can you tell me which office I’ll be using?”

He looked up from his book, eyed the briefcase in my hand, and blinked a couple of times. “Uh ... I think it’s right next door, Professor Barclay. But they don’t let me give out keys. Can you come back between three and four?”

I nodded and straightened my trifocals. “That used to be the department chairman’s office.”

“Yeah, it used to be. But Dr. Elam said he couldn’t work there because of what happened.” The student tugged at his beard, perhaps reassuring himself that he’d actually grown one. “The last chairman blew his brains out in that office. About a month ago. I still get the creeps just thinking about it.”

“But it’s fine for visiting professors.”

The student looked away. “Dr. Elam said it wouldn’t worry the temporaries because they wouldn’t know about it.”

“Thanks for keeping me from worrying.”

Recognition dawned in his eyes. “Say, aren’t you the guy ... uh ... the professor ... that solved them two murders in Overton City?”

“Those two murders,” I said, looking for a way to change the subject. “My colleague Professor Mara Thorn actually solved them. I just teach history.”

“I’ve heard about her,” he said. “They say she’s a real h...” I think he was going to say hottie, but he gulped and said, “I’ve heard she was ... well ... what your generation would call ‘a real knockout.’”

“Touch her elbow, and you’ll see who gets knocked out,” I said. After her ill-fated teenage marriage, Mara abhorred being touched. I’d found that out the hard way, though she’d made a few exceptions after we became friends. But I wasn’t going to talk about her with a student.

“I’ll come back later,” I said.

In the hallway outside my office-to-be, I paused and breathed the decades-old odors of waxed floors and oiled hardwood. They brought pleasant memories of other summer terms, but those were now marred with sadness. For my friend Jordan Collier, the former chairman who’d brought me here several times as a visiting professor, was no longer here. One month before, without warning, he’d committed suicide in that office. I not only missed him as a friend, but I could already feel the difference in the department.

I’m eager to read this new book, and it’s on my table right now. But I’ve been completing some of my own writing assignments. It’s at the top of my to-be-read pile. How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website is www.donntaylor.com and I'm on Twitter at www.twitter.com/donntaylor3. My most active place is my Facebook page. I post something there every day. Five days of the week it's something funny, and others join in to see who can make the worst puns. On Wednesdays it's a serious quotation and on Sundays it's a scripture passage. Everyone is invited to come join the fun. That's at www.facebook.com/donntaylor.

Thank you, Donn. I believe I will be starting your book today or tomorrow. And I know my readers are eager as I am to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Murder in Disguise (A Preston Barclay Mystery) - Paperback
Murder in Disguise (A Preston Barclay Mystery Book 3) - 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.

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: