Wednesday, September 28, 2016

CASTLES IN THE CLOUDS - Myra Johnson - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I’ve known Myra Johnson through ACFW for a long time. I’m thrilled to share her new release with you.

Welcome, Myra. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
Wow, ask the hardest questions first! All I know is that I have to write the stories that tug at my heart. Historical or contemporary, romance or women’s fiction, if I’m not emotionally connected to the characters and their issues in some tangible way, I can’t make them believable for my readers. Since I’m (mostly) a seat-of-the-pants writer, I do a lot of listening to my characters. As they tell me who they are and what they want most in life, their stories take shape on the page. Honestly, how it all happens, this thing we call “writing a book,” is a mystery to me, and I relish every minute of the discovery process!

That is so true of us SOTP writers. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Another hard question, with too many possible answers! I’m just going to say the day I married my husband. We’ll soon celebrate 45 years of marriage, and though it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, our commitment to each other is solid. He’s my confidant, my #1 cheerleader, and my very best friend.

How has being published changed your life?
The simple answer is that I’m no longer writing only for my own pleasure or when I feel inspired. Now I have an obligation to meet deadlines while attempting to keep both editors and readers happy. I have to be much more disciplined about keeping to a daily writing schedule. And it’s no longer just about writing. I have to allot time for doing research, crafting proposals, completing edits and revisions, etc. Then there are all the related marketing and promotion activities, including guest blog interviews like this one, blogging with my Seekerville clan, and staying active on social media.

What are you reading right now?
Not sure what I’m going to pick up next, but I just finished reading Charles Martin’s latest, Long Way Gone. I like to read in a variety of genres, something a little different each time. I always lean toward stories with intriguing characters and emotional depth.

What is your current work in progress?
I recently sent my editor the next book in the Flowers of Eden series, which will be Rose’s story. I’m now working on a contemporary women’s fiction manuscript about estranged sisters healing from difficult family issues.

What would be your dream vacation?
Anything tropical, but with all the amenities. Sandy beaches lapped by crystal-blue waves, a plush hotel room with a great view, no crowds, plenty of time to relax and enjoy.

Sounds wonderful. How do you choose your settings for each book?
I prefer to write about settings I have some familiarity with, which is one reason my Flowers of Eden historical romance series, as well as the previous series, Till We Meet Again, are both set in Arkansas. We’ve vacationed in the Hot Springs area for many years, and the more we visited, the more my interest in the local history grew.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
It wouldn’t be just one person, but my two wonderful daughters. They’re both busy moms now, and it’s very rare that we have some quality time for adult conversation. I miss those moments!

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I’m not really a “hobby” person, as the business of writing takes up a huge chunk of each day. I do enjoy singing in our church choir, and I love spending time with my grandkids. I love animals, especially our two very pampered rescue dogs. For a break from writing, sometimes I open up PhotoShop and get creative with photo images.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I’m such a private person that the hardest thing for me is promotion. In fact, I’m sure there are a number of people in the wider circle of my acquaintances who haven’t yet discovered I’m a writer. In many ways, social media has made it easier for introverts like me to be more open and engaging. I can coax out my “inner extrovert” much more comfortably online than in face-to-face conversations.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write something every day. Study the craft, especially books like Stanley Williams’s The Moral Premise and Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer, along with any of James Scott Bell’s books on the writing craft. And don’t neglect grammar and spelling, because first impressions count and writers should have a level of mastery over the most basic tools of our trade. I’d also extend a standing invitation to visit Seekerville, where we cover a writing-related topic at least five days a week, and the archives are filled with posts on the basics of writing.

Tell us about the featured book.
Castles in the Clouds. Larkspur Linwood, the second of the Linwood sisters introduced in The Sweetest Rain, is a young woman who yearns to become a teacher. Young and impressionable, Lark mistakes a college professor’s interest for romantic love. When he offers her the chance to join his efforts serving at a mission a school in Kenya, she pictures herself bringing the light of knowledge to hundreds of African children eager to learn. But the menial tasks she’s assigned at the school aren’t so different from life on the Arkansas tenant farm where she grew up. Worse, her fragile heart is broken when she realizes her feelings for the charismatic professor are not returned. Miserable and deflated, she gives up and returns home.

Professor Anson Schafer is partially blinded from an eye infection he contracted while serving at the Kenyan mission school and must leave Africa. He visits Lark’s college to recruit teachers for the founding of schools here in the U.S. for those struggling through the Depression. Still stinging from her experience in Kenya, Lark is reluctant to risk more disappointment, but she is drawn to Anson’s cause and soon joins him in his efforts. As they work side by side, Lark begins to realize that the deepest satisfaction comes not so much from what you do, or where you do it, but from the attitude of your heart. She also slowly realizes that the gentle, determined Anson is the true love of her life.

Please give us the first page of the book.
May 1932
Henderson State Teachers College
Arkadelphia, Arkansas
A bad case of jitters had Larkspur Linwood by the scruff of the neck. She’d passed all her exams, hadn’t she? With flying colors, every one. Then why this curt summons to Professor Keene’s office?

She halted outside his closed door, a stack of library books due back today clutched firmly against her chest. Professor Keene hadn’t specified a time, only that she must see him this afternoon at her earliest convenience.

Perhaps she should deliver the books first and come back later. Much later, when he’d likely be anxious to get home to his supper and wouldn’t lecture her overly long about...whatever this was about!

The bald truth was the man both enchanted and terrified her. His smile could change in an instant from warm invitation to a sanctimonious smirk. In her two years at Henderson State Teachers College, Lark had been the unwitting victim of both.

Eyes squeezed shut, mouth in a twist, she prepared for a hasty escape.

The door swung open.

“Miss Linwood. Please come in.”

He would look so fine today, dark hair slicked back and shiny, broad shoulders tugging against the fabric of his starched white shirt. With a gentlemanly sweep of his arm, Professor Keene motioned Lark into the office. He relieved her of the library books and plopped them on a low bookshelf by the door, then held a chair while she sat.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Website:  www.myrajohnson.com
Twitter: @MyraJohnson and @TheGrammarQueen
Instagram:  mjwrites
Pinterest:  mjwrites
Seekerville: www.seekerville.blogspot.com

Thank you, Myra, for sharing this story with me and my readers. (Just a side note, I attended a few classes at Henderston State Teachers College when I was a student at Ouachita Baptist College across the highway.)

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Castles in the Clouds - Christianbook,com
Castles in the Clouds (Flowers of Eden) - Amazon.com paperback
Castles in the Clouds (Flowers of Eden Book 2) - Kindle
Castles in the Clouds: Flowers of Eden, Book 2 - 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:
Http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

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.

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