Tuesday, February 18, 2020

ARTEMISIAN SUMMER - Rachael Acree - One Free Book

Dear Readers, it gives me great joy to introduce you to this up-and-coming author.

Welcome, Rachael. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I think all of them have a little part of me in them. Some characters have more than others, and the main characters have the most. It’s hard to put it into words since I really don’t make a conscious choice about how much of me goes into them.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Embarassingly enough, I once drew a sword to scare off what I thought was an intruder in my apartment. I’d had a long and rough day at work so all I wanted was a hot shower and my bed, but when I got home, our downstairs neighbors were blaring a genre of music that I personally can’t stand. They had been doing it consistently for some time and this was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. So I found the most obnoxious Broadway musical I could find in my phone, cranked it to full volume and put it on the floor. I got done and noticed that they had turned the music down or off so I went to my room to get ready for bed. That’s when I thought I heard something in the living room and I realized I had forgotten to lock the front door, and in those apartments a strong wind could open the door if the deadbolt wasn’t locked. And then, of course, what any normal person would do would be to get dressed THEN find out where the noise came from. Is that what I did? No, I immediately grabbed my sword and went to investigate, all the while hoping I wouldn’t have to actually use it because I can’t wield it one handed. I went to the living room and looked everywhere with nothing to show for it. That’s when I heard the noise again coming from the kitchen. It was our ice maker. At least my over active imagination gets put to good use.

That sounds like something you would do, Rachal. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
It was in 2008, I believe. I’d had to drop out of college due to finances, so I came home and had no clue what I was doing with my life. Up ’til then I’d dabbled in writing fan fiction (because I’m an epic nerd). I remember finding a fanfic I wrote for Narnia and thinking it didn’t have much to do with the series beyond characters and location. So I struck out on my own to turn it into an original work. It was terrible and won’t see the light of day without extensive re-writes, but that was when I realized I could actually do this.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love fantasy, though I have to be careful of the spiritual content. I read a lot of YA, and of course romance is my go-to genre.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I make sure I carve out time for myself. Usually it looks like binge reading a great author or watching Netflix.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
It’s hard to say. Sometimes it’s as simple as a name that I just like, like Geneva. Sometimes I choose them specifically for their meanings. And then sometimes I’ll just go through a baby name book looking for something that stands out.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I was the first person in my family to graduate from college.

That’s wonderful. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A penguin, because they’re adorable.

What is your favorite food?
Mmm depends on the mood? Though a general I’m always in the mood for is seafood.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Honestly, inexperience. I had no idea what I was doing and it showed. But God, in His infinite wisdom, orchestrated things so that I ended up in Lena’s critique group and that has made such a difference.

And I’m glad He brought you to us. You’re a real asset to the group. Tell us about the featured book.
Artemisian Summer was written for a summer novella collection in 2017. It was the first time I’d ever written anything on a deadline and it was so daunting. The gist of it is Abby, who’s had her heart broken, shows up at a summer camp for some time away from her problems. She needs to heal, and in doing so God brings her someone who loves her in spite of everything.

Please give us the first page of the book for my blog readers.
Abby exited the backseat of an Uber, her insides scrambled like eggs. Did I make the right decision? The car sped off spraying gravel behind it, a few of the rocks pinged her legs. She shed her hoodie, now too warm in the mid-May sun, and gathered it into her arms. The whole camp spread out before the front gate where she stood. The lake glistened in the sun that shone down from a cloudless sky. Just beyond that stood the zip-line platform and high ropes course. Abby shook her head thankful that, as the archery instructor, she could keep her feet firmly planted on the ground. Off to the left two long buildings took up most of the space along the road. She guessed that one housed the chapel since there was a cross bolted to the wall.
           
Here goes nothing. Abby tied her hoodie around her waist and extended the telescopic handle of her suitcase. There had to be an office sign somewhere. Or any directional sign for that matter. Dead ahead, the cabins were arranged in a semi-circle around a central green and what looked like a fire pit. As she walked, the cool air off the mountains teased a stray wisp of hair into her eyes. Clusters of trees dotted the verdant hilltop.
           
She had to admit, the layout of the camp was nice. There were enough modern conveniences so as not to send campers, or staff, into shock. Yet the whole thing had enough of a rustic feel that a person could easily escape the harsh realities of life, even if it was only for a few months.
           
After walking around and lugging her wheeled suitcase through gravel, Abby finally spotted a sign scrawled with “office” and an arrow to her right. She followed the sign to a lone building next to a beautiful garden, complete with Koi pond. When she turned the knob on the door, it stuck in the frame.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
By checking out my website, http://.www.rachaelacreeauthor.com  
From there you can connect with me through Facebook and Instagram. There’s also a link to my Amazon author page.

Thank you, Rachael, for letting me introduce your work to my blog readers. I absolutely love the story. By the way, I love your headshot.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Artemisian Summer - Paperback
Artemisian Summer - 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, 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, February 17, 2020

CONVERGENCE - Clare Revell - One Free Ebook


Bio: CLARE REVELL is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.

She currently looks like the photo below, although her hair style changes daily depending on how the hair dryer actually dries it. This photo was taken on a good hair day.

Welcome, Clare. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There is probably more of me in them than I realize. Hubby says they use the same phrases I do, afty instead of afternoon for example. But it’s hard not to. They also all sound British…funny that since I am British. But none of them like peas, they are all terrified of spiders, and all the heroines crochet in their spare time. Even if that’s not in the book it’s in the character notes I have on every single person I’ve included in a book.

Dad would say a lot. I sneak little bits from real life in to everything I write and Dad always finds them. Sometimes really little things, like the couple who hold hands in church on a Sunday, to big things like events from holidays when I was growing up.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’ll think about that one and come back to it. OK, thought and came back to it. Still don’t know. Let me go and stir the slow cooker – yes it’s only 11.46am but dinner’s been in there since about 9.30 and it needs a stir.

OK, it must have been eighteen months ago when I dyed my hair. Instead of blonde it went orange. Bright orange. So I redyed it and it went a revolting dark orange. So I gave in and went to the hairdresser. She said she could fix it but it’d cost £60. I asked how much to have it all chopped off. She said £15. No contest. I had a grade two. It’s finally long enough to tie back again now. Needless to say, the hairdresser now dyes it for me. Well, highlights it blonde to hide the grey. Kids say I’m not old enough to be grey yet…

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was five, I always wrote detailed stories in school. I got a commendation for creative writing when I was ten and never looked back. I started in fanfiction – sci fi actually – Blake’s Seven, Dr. Who, Stargate – and then turned to my own stories.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
It’d probably be easier to say what I don’t like reading. I love romance, thrillers, sci-fi. Action books as well as long as police procedural novels. So Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwall, Elizabeth George, Marianne Evans, and Mary Manners are a few that spring to mind.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I bury myself in a new book. I crochet, play games in the evening with my daughter. I’ve also started to read the Bible in a year. The version I have is a chronological one for my kindle and it’s fascinating. Really hard not to just keep going, and it’s much easier to read this way than in columns for some reason.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have a notebook with all the names I’ve used so far. I’m trying not to use the same letter quite so much. The letter J features rather a lot. So if I have an unused letter, I’ll go to a baby name site online and pick one that way. Or if there’s a name on the TV I like, then I’ll use that.
I also cast the characters which usually comes before their names. So they have to look like an Yvetta or a John or a Toby or whatever. It’s no good having a character called Juan Hernandez and making him white and Scottish for example.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Trying not to be proud of anything, but that would be my three children and being married for 27 years.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An owl, because they, like me, are up all night long or at least awake for a great part of it. Does make good writing time though as the house is quiet.

What is your favorite food?
Chocolate! Other than that it’s roast beef, Yorkshire puds, roast spuds, roast parsnips, swede, cauliflower, cheese, carrots, cabbage, and leeks. Covered in beef gravy made with the juices of the meat.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Getting distracted. Best avoided by not doing laundry, hoovering, ironing, cooking, or working on the computer. Although that leads to people complaining there is no uniform and no dinner. And missing deadlines as nothing is typed up.

Tell us about the featured book.
Convergence is a time travel romance with a fantasy edge. It started life about three years ago, under the title Dancing Man, then a dozen other titles before we settled on Convergence. Draft one was written during nanowrimo as an add-on to the already completed 50k of something else.  In my head, Yvetta was played by Claire Bowen and Blaize/John by David Bowie. So this picture  is what I had in front of me as I wrote.

And I’m totally in love with the cover. It was designed by Nicola Martinez and she did an amazing job as always.

Blurb:
Even as a teenager Yvetta Graham had vivid dreams. Ones she couldn't tell from reality. Only now she's almost thirty and beyond such things.
Only the new store manager is a dead ringer for the man from those dreams. Who is John Smyth? What is his reason for coming to Headley Cross? Is he really a time traveler?
As dreams and reality converge, Yvetta is in a fight for both her sanity and soul.

Buy links:

Please give us the first page of the book.
Prologue
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. ~Ruth 1:16
Yvetta ran down the stone hallway of the huge castle and stopped breathless as a tall boy with spiky yellow hair moved from behind the pillar to stand in front of her. His funny clothing looked weird, but somehow suited him—even if he was wearing tights with a long shirt over the top of them, and an even longer blue coat over that.

The boy hunkered down to her height, balancing easily on the balls of his feet. His strange eyes glinted in the torch light. One was green and the other one was brown. “Hello. I’m Blaize. What’s your name?”

“Yvetta May Graham. I’m eight.”

The young man smiled. “In that case, Yvetta May Graham, my name is John Blaize Smyth Kilpatrick.”

She squeaked out a nervous giggle. “That must take ages to write in school when they want your full name.”

“Which is why everyone calls me Blaize. At school they call me Smyth Kilpatrick, but that is just as much of a mouthful, and I really don’t care for it much.” He tilted his head. “It seems to me the last time we met you said your name was Etta.”

She nodded, twirling a long strand of hair around her fingers.

“So, how about I call you Etta and you call me Blaize, and we forget the long names and formalities?”

She thought for a moment. He wasn’t a stranger because she knew his name. Plus, she’d met him before, so it must be all right to talk to him. “OK.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can find me at:

Thank you, Clare, for sharing this book with us. Time Travel fascinates me.

Readers,  leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the ebook. 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, 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, February 16, 2020

WINNERS!!!

IMPORTANT: Instructions for winners  - When you send me the email, make sure your subject line says this: Winner - (book title) - (author's name) If you don't do this, your email could get lost in my hundreds of emails per day. I WILL SEARCH FOR POST TITLES STARTING THAT WAY.

Holly (KY) is the winner of Waltz in the Wilderness by Kathleen Denly.

Robin (NC) is the winner of Cowboy of Her Own (Crinoline Cowboys) by Patty Smith Hall.

Sharon (SC) is the winner of Off the Ground by Catherine Richmond.

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. Reviews are such a blessing to an author.

Also, tell your friends about the book you won ... 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 or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.
Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

YELLOWSTONE YONDERINGS - Kristen Joy Wilks - One Free Eook

Welcome, Kristen. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I choose a distinct personality type for each character first. For Yellowstone Yondering, I made my heroine a 7 on the enneagram, an adventurer. I made my hero a 1, a perfectionist, because I wanted them to clash wildly. I know writers who use the Myers-Briggs personality test for their characters, but I can never keep track of that many types. There is another personality system that has just four types of people but that feels too simple. The Enneagram has nine types and that is perfect for my head to get around. Well, once I have chosen a personality type, I place myself into the shoes of my character and dig down and find the moments when I was like her/him. I am not a 7 or a 1, but I have certainly had 7ish and 1ish moments and I pull those out, brush them off, and live in them as I write that character’s scene. I put as much of myself as I can into each character, imagining that I am in their shoes with their personality and concerns. It really is a strange process.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Ha, there are several moments that come to mind. But considering that this book features a heroine being wildly reckless around some pretty dangerous wildlife and geological features, I know what story to tell you. I grew up riding horses with the neighbor girls on a mountain meadow that was surrounded by forest. At that time, we had a herd of over 200 elk that lived there for the summer. I was a tomboy, but shy. My neighbor was undeniably fierce. One day, as we were riding, we looked out across the meadow and saw that all 200 elk were milling about cropping grass. Now, elk are not like deer. They are quite large and one should never mess around with them. You leave them alone, and they leave you alone and all goes well. But if you are stupid around elk, you just might get trampled and since a large bull can top 1,000 lbs, they are able to get all the trampling done that they consider necessary. Well, my neighbor just happened to be riding with a lasso. I know, a lasso? I attempted to talk her out of it, but despite my reasoniong, she cantered directly into the herd with the goal of lassoing an elk calf. What she would have done with a calf, I do not know, but lasso she did. Fool that I was, I kicked my horse Sundance into a run and we rode right into the center of the milling elk, splitting the herd. Now, my friend did lasso a calf, but his mother sternly warned her back and thankfully when faced with several hundred pounds of maternal fury, my neighbor’s senses returned to her and we fled as fast as our enthusiastic horses could go. So yes, I have ridden directly into a herd of elk. No, it was not a good idea. Don’t do this at home, kids!

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was seven, one child from each grade was chosen to attend a young writer’s conference where Steven Kellogg was keynoting. I had never even considered myself capable of writing, but that first grade teacher saw something in me and it was a soft, soaking rain and warm sunlight on the soil of my heart. Maybe I could be a writer! So I wrote a terrifying story of danger and daring. The book was shaped like a giant guinea pig and was based on the time that our Scottish terrier mix (Inky) attempted to murder my brother’s guinea pig. Fluffy (the guinea pig) was a smart little critter though and thwarted his efforts by hiding under the smashed lid of her cage when he attacked. Yes, it was smashed when he jumped directly on top of the cage! Incidentally, the way too bold for his own good dog Ainsley in Yellowstone Yondering is also based upon Inky. Inky had about nine lives and was known to attack big dogs on a whim. This made us very popular on walks as you can imagine!

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorite genres are young adult and middle grade, but I love so many different kinds of stories. I adore picture books, romantic comedy, fantasy, mystery, coming of age stories, cozy mysteries, and funny books. I also like historical fiction, Sci-fi, and graphic novels. I am not a huge fan of women’s fiction or literary novels, although my best friend and I will force each other to read a book that is out of our genre as a birthday gift each year. She always picks a literary novel for me (A Gentleman in Moscow, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye) and I will pick fantasy or sci-fi for her (Inkheart, Artemis Fowl, Cinder) and then we get to tell each other how we barely survived! Actually, I love getting pushed out of my rut every year to read something that she loved. It’s good for me!

Sounds like a wonderful friendship. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Who says I’m sane? But I do try to get to bed by 9:00 and then I wake up at 4:00AM to write before my family awakens. That way I can get something done in the quiet hours, before the rush of life takes over.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I go to the U.S. Social Security website and plug in the year that my character was born. I then pull up the top 100 names for that year and choose a name I like. This is the selection of names I chose from for Kayla and Alexander. https://www.ssa.gov/cgi-bin/popularnames.cgi  I scan the list and gather several names that I like and that fit the personality of each character. Then I might try them out and see if they work in the story. Eventually, I settle on who they are and make a final decision.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I once had a well-known leader in our writing community tell me that my story was exactly what she needed on the day that she read it for a contest. Yes, it was such a thrill to win the contest. But when she pulled me aside and explained how much my crazy humor encouraged her on a hard day, that truly filled me with joy!

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Oh, probably a horse that is easily spooked or a big princess dog like our Newfoundland, Princess Leia Freyja. I had a horse who loved to be scared. He wasn’t actually terrified at all; you could ride him right up to a tree with a bear in it! But he pretended to be, just so that your ride was exciting! He would snort and prance and dance around when we rode by a scary-looking bush. It was hilarious to ride him. I imagine myself like that, only I’m actually scared, ha! Or a big fluffy dog who likes to know that she is special. Our girl Leia wants her drink of water fresh from the sink and in a mug, not her bowl. As a mom who is busy with running a family, it is nice when someone makes you feel special by paying close attention to what you love. She takes it a bit far, but I understand the heart behind it. She loves a bit of TLC … well in her case, perhaps more than just a bit!

What is your favorite food?
I am quite fond of pastries, pizza, homemade bread, and an amazing African peanut soup that our former camp cook taught me to make. I included one of my favorite foods in Yellowstone Yondering though. A fair-trade dark chocolate bar with bits of candied ginger. Yum!

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I have a hard time rushing through the sequel (or the rest and introspection) that comes after an exciting scene to get to the next exciting scene. After hearing from critique partners to slow down and allow my characters to react to events that just happened, I learned not to speed on to the next action without allowing the characters to learn and grow as well.

Tell us about the featured book.
The story spark came when we took our three boys to visit Yellowstone National Park. The park is visited by many tourists for whom English is a second language. Therefore, they try to make the warnings clear to one and all through the use of terrifying drawings. My sons were amazed by the drawing of a young boy being tossed in the air by a raging bison, waving a bag of marshmallows as a grizzly charged toward his sugary snack, and succumbing to the boiling waters of a thermal zone as he cracked through the thin crust to his doom! The same hapless child was featured on all the signs and so my husband named the poor lad, Jimmy. As we toured the beautiful park and remarked upon Jimmy’s many perils, I got to thinking … . Writers are always trying to menace their characters with dangerous situations. What better place to menace a heroine than Yellowstone National Park? But she would have to break all of those perfectly reasonable rules. What could I do to cause such a rash of foolish behavior in an otherwise sane adult? Put her pup in peril, of course! I once saw my grandmother dart in front of a moving car to scoop up her little Shih Tzu. We read Death in Yellowstone by Lee H. Whittlesey aloud as a family while vacationing (remember, I have 3 sons) and discovered that a parkgoer once dove into a boiling pool after his dog. People love their dogs and tend to throw caution to the wind when a beloved pet’s life is endangered. I had my motivation!
 
When a free-spirited wildlife photographer loses her Scottish terrier in a herd of bison, she sets out to rescue her furbaby before he is devoured. But will she succeed when Yellowstone National Park is chock full of boiling, bubbling, and rampaging hazards (both mammalian and geographical) -- not to mention a rule-obsessed park ranger whose many rescues thwart her efforts to find her poor pup?

They say opposites attract, and when it comes to Kayla Dineen and Ranger Alexander Brandt, no two people have ever been more opposed...or attractive. Old Faithful isn't the only thing making noise at Yellowstone this season.

Please give us the first page of the book.
So Many Rules, So Little Time

Kayla slowed her motorcycle to a crawl, tapping out an impatient beat on the hand grips. The traffic bunched into four long lines as they approached the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park. A mournful whine drifted from the travel carrier strapped behind her. Kayla turned to address her furry passenger. “I know, you want to feel the wind in your ears, boy. At least they don’t make you wear a helmet.” She pulled off the hated head protection and shook out a tumble of long brown hair. The dry August wind made her scalp prickle as the sweat of the ride evaporated.

The whine turned into a fierce barrage of barking. A Great Dane out for a potty break flinched away from her bike, nearly toppling his master. The massive beast held his ears at a lopsided, concerned-looking angle and peered from behind his owner’s legs.

“Hush, Ainsley.” Kayla tried to be stern but knew Ainsley could hear the smile in her voice. The little black dog hushed for all of two seconds before he spotted something even more sinister. Now this was too good to pass up. Kayla unzipped Ainsley’s carrier just enough for his head to poke out and then dug in the saddle bags for her camera. Her bike wobbled as she leaned way back to get a shot of Ainsley’s perky ears in the foreground with a large sign in the background.
“That’s not even a real bison, boy.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Instagram: kristenjoywilksauthor

Thank you, Kristen, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. It sounds hilarious.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.
Yellowstone Yondering Kindle
https://pbgrp.link/KJWaudio - Audio

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the ebook. 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, 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, February 11, 2020

ALL MY TEARS - Kathy McKinsey - One Free Book



Welcome, Kathy. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
A lot, I think. None of the stories are actual things that have happened in my life, but the emotions, the questions and struggles are mine.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
It took me a while to think of something that wasn’t either kind of mean or a little disgusting.

One year, my husband Murray and I showed up at church for VBS wearing bunny ears. “You did say this was Vacation Bunny School, didn’t you?”

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I started writing down silly stories when I was about ten.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love mysteries, American pioneer stories, World War II fiction and nonfiction. Mysteries include everything from stories in the Middle Ages, archeological settings in the early 1900s, as well as present-day.

I’ll read science fiction occasionally with my husband. Philip Yancey and Max Lucado are two of my favorite authors, and To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book ever.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
That’s something I’m still struggling with. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed, I want to bury my head under my pillow.

Lately, I’m trying to start each day with, “What absolutely has to be done today?” Then if I’m able to do anything else, it’s an added treat.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I have made a list of first and last names. From friends, family, co-workers, characters in lists of books, names from the internet.

When I get ready to write a story, I look at my list and pick out the ones who fit my characters.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I give myself little credit for this, but I have five adult children who make me tear up with pride.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A dog. They are so friendly and happy.

What is your favorite food?
Hamburgers with lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayonnaise.

You’re making me hungry, only my burger would be with mustard. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Writing every day. I am still working to overcome that struggle.

Tell us about the featured book.
All My Tears is a collection of five novellas about women struggling with real-life troubles and failures. My goal is to give them hope, through relationships, new unexpected doors opening in their lives, hearing from God.

I want readers to know that God is our loving Father. He is watching and waiting for us and runs to greet us as soon as we take a step toward him.

Please give us the first page of the book.
When I opened my eyes, my brother Jeff sat beside me, his head in his hands, asleep.

Where was I? I didn’t know this room. What . . . “Jeff?” My voice croaked.

He jerked awake, then looked straight at me. “Cassie. Hey.”

“Why are you here?” My eyes were heavy and my mouth dry. Turning my head, I saw the IV attached to my arm. “Is this a hospital? Why, what, why are you here?”

Jeff leaned over and put his face right beside mine. “Because there’s nowhere else I’d rather be right now.”

“What—what happened?” I lay in a bed, and my head was confused and groggy. “Jeff?”

“You’re hurt.” He laid his hand on my shoulder. “But yes, this is a hospital, and you’re going to be okay. Just sleep now. I promise I’ll stay with you.”

Relaxing, I closed my eyes. He wasn’t going anywhere.

--

The next time I woke and found my brother sitting beside my bed, I was more alert. “Jeff?”

He closed the magazine in his hands and turned toward me. “Hey, little bird, how are you?”

I couldn’t meet his eyes. “I think I heard . . . one of the nurses said . . . I tried to kill myself. Is that true?”

He knelt on the floor beside my bed and laid his head close to me. “Yes, honey.”

“I don’t remember anything about it. That’s, that’s scary.” It was a struggle to sit up. My hands, covered with bandages, hurt when I put weight on them.

Jeff pushed some pillows to prop me in a more comfortable position. “It is scary.” He put his hands on my shoulders and gazed straight in my eyes. “But we’re going to help you.”

“I don’t understand. Why would I?” restless, I twisted, trying to sit up more.

He rested his hand on my cheek. “Shh, try to relax. The doctor said you can leave the hospital on Tuesday. Today’s Saturday.” He looked worried, and his smile didn’t reach his eyes. “Sharon and I want you to come stay with us and the kids for a while, as long as you need. We’ll help you. We’ll find doctors and counselors there. You’re not going to be alone with this.”

My head pulsed. In the hall outside, a page came over the loudspeaker. “What about my apartment? My job?”

He squeezed my fingers. “Those things can wait a while, so you can get well. There’s nothing you need to be in a hurry about. I’m going to keep telling you not to be in a hurry.”

My eyes closed, and I took a deep breath. That was not how I handled life. I always kept myself under pressure, trying to stay one or two steps ahead of things at work. Biting my lip, I shook my head. After all, how well had I handled my life?

I want to know what happens next. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. It’s the next book I’m going to read.

Readers, 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, 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, February 10, 2020

THE SOLID GROUNDS COFFEE COMPANY - Carla Laureano - One Free Book

Welcome, Carla. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There’s always something of myself in each of my characters, even the ones that are completely dissimilar to me. I find it’s easier to relate to them if I give them some of my own quirks or background. For example, Melody in Brunch at Bittersweet Café graduated high school at sixteen, just as I did. In my recent release, The Solid Grounds Coffee Company, Ana is the same personality and Enneagram type I am, though I’m not quite as type A as she is. 

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don’t think of myself as particularly quirky, though it may surprise people to know that while my books are all about modern career women, I love many old-fashioned arts: I’m an avid knitter and crocheter, and I can cross-stitch and do blackwork embroidery. Years ago, I used to make historically accurate costumes, but I no longer find sewing relaxing so I only do it when I have to.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I’ve wanted to write for as long as I can remember. I spent all my free time as a kid writing short stories—when I wasn’t reading, that is. I knew that someday I would publish a book; I just didn’t expect it to take until I was 35!

It took me until I was 40. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read very widely, both in Christian fiction and general market. I love romance, women’s fiction, literary fiction, fantasy, science fiction, suspense, memoir, you name it. The only thing I won’t read is horror. I’ve never really had the stomach for it.

I don’t read horror either, even the Christian horror books. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
It’s an ongoing process, for sure, because I can easily get caught up in the need to do more all the time. It’s helped to block out my time: I only work on publishing-related tasks while my kids are at school. When they’re home, it’s family time. And I make sure to schedule myself time every day for reading, prayer, and exercise. Having boundaries helps me ensure I’m not getting too caught up in one thing or another.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Usually, they just come to me. I’m very “auditory”—what they sound like is important. Once I’ve come up with potential names, I then check them against my favorite naming tool, The Secret Universe of Names. It’s about naming convention based on language theory and lists personalities according to sounds contained in the name. Every time a name hasn’t quite worked for me, I’ve checked the book and found that the stated personality was not right for the character. Now I just go there first.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Personally, my proudest accomplishment is raising two boys who are turning into Christlike young men. Professionally, I’m fairly pleased with having published twelve books in seven years.

What is your favorite food?
Indian butter chicken. I order it any time it’s on the menu at an Indian restaurant and make it at least once a month at home.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
It’s not necessarily related to writing itself, but rather the business of writing. I have the tendency to overextend myself and then get stressed out, so in the last seven years, I’ve learned to differentiate between the “must dos” and the “nice to dos.” Once all the “must dos” are finished, I can move on to the other stuff, but otherwise I have to let it go. Let’s just say I’m a work in progress on this count.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Solid Grounds Coffee Company is the third book in my Supper Club series, featuring characters we’ve seen in the first two books: crisis publicist Analyn Sanchez and professional climber Bryan Shaw. As the book opens, they both experience devastating professional setbacks: Bryan loses his sponsorships because of a poor decision, and Ana gets put on leave when she refuses to compromise her morals for a client. When Bryan buys a coffee farm in Colombia with the intention of starting a roasting business in Colorado, Ana and her marketing savvy are his only hopes for success. Despite their wildly different personalities and approaches to life, romance blossoms in the process, as does a deeper understanding of who they are in Christ.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
You can always find me at my website, on Facebook, or on Instagram. Subscribers to my mailing list also receive a free romance novella. I love to hear from readers, so please get in touch!

Thank you, Carla, for sharing this new book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here are links to the book.
THE SOLID GROUNDS COFFEE COMPANY - Christianbook.com Paperback
The Solid Grounds Coffee Company (The Saturday Night Supper Club) Amazon.com Paperback
The Solid Grounds Coffee Company (The Saturday Night Supper Club) Kindle
The Solid Grounds Coffee Company - Audio 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, 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, February 09, 2020

WINNERS!!!

IMPORTANT: Instructions for winners  - When you send me the email, make sure your subject line says this: Winner - (book title) - (author's name) If you don't do this, your email could get lost in my hundreds of emails per day. I WILL SEARCH FOR POST TITLES STARTING THAT WAY.

Connie (WV) is the winner of A Chance Mistake by Jackie Zack.

Diana (SC) is the winner of The Duke's Refuge by Lorri Dudley.

Abigail (VA) is the winner of Lone Star Ranger by Renae Brumbaugh Green.

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. Reviews are such a blessing to an author.

Also, tell your friends about the book you won ... 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 or audio book, just let me know what email address it should be sent to.
Remember, you have 4 weeks to claim your book.

Friday, February 07, 2020

OFF THE GROUND - Catherine Richmond - One Free Book

Welcome back, Catherine. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I write the stories that come to me. Looking back, worthiness stands out as an overarching theme. You are worthy of God’s love, even if you’re shy like the mail-order bride in Spring for Susannah, even if you fail at your mission like Sophia in Through Rushing Water, even if your boss thinks you’re incompetent like Mabel in Gilding the Waters, even if you have a child with a disability like Caroline in Third Strand of the Cord. And in Off the Ground, my heroine hopes her parents will finally recognize her worth if she sets an aviation record.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
This Christmas was incredibly happy. I was blessed to celebrate Jesus’ birth with my adult children and extended family. We sang, cooked, hiked, played games – nothing elaborate, but everything meaningful because we were together.

How has being published changed your life?
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?  I feel time pressure to write more, market more, do more. Phillipians 4:19 says God will meet all our needs according to the riches of His glory. I need to trust Him for time to write. And stop reading articles entitled “Five Secrets of Publishing Success!”

What are you reading right now?
I recently finished American Eden by Victoria Johnson, about an 18th century physician who built a botanical garden to research the use of plants as medicine. Nearly everyone involved in the founding of the United States crossed his path. In fact, he was the doctor present during the Burr-Hamilton duel. I’m excited to start An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz, one of my favorite historical authors.

What is your current work in progress?
The decade before the Civil War saw a number of communal settlements in the US. The most well-known is the Amana Colony in Iowa. I’m writing about a smaller, more obscure group. Why did people join these sects and why did they stay? How did membership impact an individual’s spiritual journey?

What would be your dream vacation?
Many places on my bucket list are inspired by my reading. The Morse Museum in Winter Haven, Florida, was prompted by Deanne Gist’s Tiffany Girl. Ca d’Zan made the list after I read Kristy Cambron’s Ringmaster’s Wife. Dorothy Love’s historicals have me exploring Savannah and Charleston.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
The story chooses the setting. Off the Ground is based on a black diamond my grandfather sold early in his career as a jeweler. His story starts in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area and ends in Royal Oak, Michigan, so that’s where Off the Ground is set.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I’m scanning my bookshelves and thinking how delightful it’s been to meet so many authors, including  Mary Connealy, Lynn Gentry, Lorna Seilstad, Dawn Ford, Julie Lessman. I haven’t met Joanne Bischof, but I’d love to!

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I love to travel! In 2018, I was blessed to tour the Holy Land, to see the places the Bible tells about, to walk where Jesus walked. All those Bible stories are now in color and 3-D!

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Find a good critique group. Feedback from other writers will refine your skills. You may not find a good fit in the first group you visit, so try more than one. Writers who build each other up are worth their weight in gold.

Tell us about the featured book.
As the Roaring Twenties come to a close, Mac McFarland falls head over heels for live-wire Corrie Tinley. Now that she’s graduated, they’re allowed to date. But before he can sweep her off the dance floor and into his life, her father gives her a winged death-trap – a biplane. Refusing to stick around to see her crash, Mac leaves without saying goodbye.

Corrie’s family treats her like a dumb Dora, but her former basketball coach is respectful and attentive. Mac has a noble air like Lindbergh and dark hair waving over his forehead like Gary Cooper. She can’t wait to take him flying in her new biplane, but he’s disappeared. If she can’t find him, is she destined to fly solo the rest of her life?

Please give us the first page of the book.
“Swanky.” Miss Sackett, school librarian and girls’ basketball coach whistled. “Corrie’s papa has some heavy sugar.”

“Hope Miss Klemfuss doesn’t hear you.” Mac maneuvered his Tin Lizzie between a Pierce Arrow and the Chrysler parked on either side of the road. One scratch would cost his next paycheck.

Miss Sackett blew a raspberry. “We can sling slang to our heart’s content. No one invites the school secretary to their graduation party.”

He lowered his voice. “Miss Klemfuss hears all, sees all, knows all.”

“Class of twenty-nine! More than fine!” chanted three fellows in slacks and shirts as they crossed the road. None wore a suit coat or tie. Mac let out a breath. He’d borrowed a light-brown suit from Mr. Smooth’s closet. The cuffed slacks fit well, but the double-breasted coat was too big in the shoulders. He’d leave it in the car.

“Which house is it?”

Miss Sackett peered at the library catalog card on which she’d written Corrie’s address. “The big white one. Go ahead and park.”

“I’ll let you out by the front door.” He inched past another long touring car. Who in Omaha could afford a Duesenberg? “Haven’t spent all winter coaching your basketball team to have you hurt your leg again.”

“Ankle’s better than new.” She poked him with her cane. “Park now or I’ll bean you right in the kisser.”

Mac squeezed into the next spot. “What’s your hurry?”

“You got to take your shot before the other guy.”

“What other guy? What shot?”

“Mac McFarland, you’re not fooling anyone. You’ve been carrying a torch for Corrie since the day you met.”

I love the conversation that is authentic to the time period.
How can readers find you on the Internet? I love to hear from readers! Please contact me at www.CatherineRichmond.com or https://www.facebook.com/catherinerichmondfans/
Thanks for having me on your blog, Lena!

My pleasure, Catherine. I know my blog readers will be interested in your book.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Off the Ground - Paperback
Off the Ground - 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, 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: