INTERVIEW & SPOTLIGHT: Author Diane E. Tatum

Hello, Readers! A special Wednesday edition for you of Author Spotlight! Today I have an author who writes clean romance – both contemporary AND historical! Author Diane E. Tatum has a new release that is the second book in a three part series set in early American history. And I am just itching to get my hands on it. But let me introduce you to Diane and get this interview going…

Welcome, Diane! First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Michael Browning was the first child of Amanda and Colin in Book 1. His parents have died when he was 19, leaving four siblings who needed his care. A blacksmith like his father, Michael has run the forge and supported and cared for his siblings. When his Uncle Ben died, Michael feels left alone with no hope for a life of his own now that his siblings are grown and gone. Like Beauty and the Beast, he became bitter, striking out at those around him, particularly the beautiful new pastor’s daughter Susannah who encouraged his youngest sister to elope and has promised to care for him. In the days before the War of 1812, Michael and Susannah find they have A Time to Love.

Interesting storyline…and take on Beauty and the Beast. Care to share the more historically significant events behind A Tie to Love?

Michael’s brother Theo is impressed into the British Navy. Michael postpones his and Susannah’s wedding to find Theo and bring him home before he is murdered.

Quite a twist! What was the inspiration for A Time to Love?                      

I wrote book 3 before the others because the Civil War is so integral to the American experience. Clearly Book 1 was about the American Revolution. Being an intergenerational story, I needed to write Michael’s story, and the historical setting had to be prior to the War of 1812. Having been born during the Battle at Bunker Hill, Michael’s age is older than the average to be married and having a family. His bitterness at not having that experience due to his parents’ early death reminded me of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. So I brought a beauty to help him shed the curse of bitterness.

Fabulous! I love how the writer’s mind has to work like this. And I love even more that I’m not the only one!

Did you always want to be a writer?

I always wanted to write, but I was also pragmatic. I studied Accounting for my first degree, then married and had 2 sons. When they entered high school, I went back to college to get a Masters of Teaching – Language Arts and a teacher certification.

Finally, my husband asked me to retire from teaching and “come home to write your stories.” Gold Earrings is my first novel. I began it as a short story when I was in high school.

How wonderful to have such a supportive and encouraging husband! I have one at home, too. We are blessed for certain.

But not everything about writing is roses and sunshine, as you well know. Some things would be great to “farm out” if we could. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Marketing and finding a publisher

I know for most of us our first love was reading, and most of what we learn is intuitively picked up from reading other authors, or from research, or from reading books on the craft of writing. What about you? What are you currently reading?

The Black Prince: England’s Greatest Medieval Warrior  by Michael Jones

This is research for a contemporary romance set in Oxford, England, called Oxford Fairy Tale.

Love it! I generally have to “set the mood” when I write. I love instrumental music of some connection to what I’m writing. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t listen to any particular music while writing, but I do have themes for each of my novels, should anyone want to produce them for Hallmark!

What about your writing environment? Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I’m an adjunct English professor teaching Composition 1 & 2 in the dual enrollment program for our local community college at our local high school from 7-8:15 AM Fall and Spring semesters. I love being able to come home by 8:30 and still have the whole day to write. Mornings are my best times.

Sounds like a nice segue. Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

A Time to Choose, Book 3 of Colonial Dream. The latest novel of the Browning family as they navigate the Civil War.

Kudzu Sculptures, a Main Street Mystery, Book 1

Dorie Hudson moves to Daelin, GA, to be an investigative journalist who discovers a murder and works to solve it with her fiancé Ross MacAvoy.

How exciting. I, too, have to have multiple projects going at one time.

Thanks again, Diane, for your time and for visiting. I appreciate you sharing about your process and your works as well. Now, I’ll not delay, but let my readers dive into A Time to Love!

A Time to Love


Michael Browning, a child of the American Revolution, becomes surrogate father for his four siblings after the early death of his parents. His Uncle Ben has also died, leaving the pulpit empty in the church he started after the war. Bitterness has overcome Michael as each of his siblings finds love with only his youngest sister, Louisa, remaining at home. When the new pastor and his daughter, Susannah, take over the rectory adjacent to the Browning home, he cannot accept Reverend Hawthorne as a substitute for his Uncle Ben. When Louisa falls in love with Susannah’s cousin Theo, Susannah encourages Louisa to elope and offers to serve Michael in her stead. Susannah enjoys matchmaking and sets out to find a match for Michael.
When Michael’s brother Isaiah is taken by the British Navy, Michael must leave his bride before the wedding to find and save his brother as the country begins a new war with Britain.

Can the beauty tame the beast and his bitterness to create a new relationship based on trust and love?
How will a second war for Independence from Britain affect their love?

Enjoy a Video

CLICK FOR VIDEO LINK

Enjoy an Excerpt

Chapter 1

A Time to Elope

Warwick Village, VA, 1810

After a hard day at the forge, Michael Browning entered the kitchen. The aroma of the mouth-watering stew emitted from the iron pot hanging over the fire. His sister Louisa was known throughout the village for her stew. He began eating as soon as she served him.

“Wonderful stew, as always.”

Louisa nodded, then bowed her head in prayer.

Michael had no use for religion since Uncle Ben died. A new pastor filled Ben’s pulpit and parsonage. He couldn’t abide that.                 

When she looked up, he asked, “What issues fill your prayers, Louisa?”

She stretched out her hand to cover his enormous one.

“A ring?” Michael jumped up from the table. “What does this mean?”

“Theodore asked me to marry him. I said yes.”

“Without consulting me nor asking for my approval? I am the head of this household. In lieu of Papa, he should have asked me for your hand.” Michael sat back down, but he shook. He softened his tone. “Do you love him, baby sister? Has he found a home here then?”

Louisa came to him and knelt beside him. She turned her blue eyes up to meet his. “I love him with an everlasting love, Michael. But he’s returning to Baltimore tonight. Talks with the British are failing, creating political disruption in the District of Columbia. He feels he needs to return now.”

Michael kissed her forehead and tucked loose strands of her blonde hair behind her ear. He remembered the first time he’d had to braid her fine hair after Mama died. “When does he plan to return for this wedding?”

Louisa’s eyes were bright with unshed tears. “The wedding is tonight. Please give us your blessing and come with me to the church.”

“Tonight?” Michael’s voice sounded louder than he intended. “Were you going to tell me this at all? No, I forbid you to leave with Theodore James tonight, or any night. You’ve not posted banns at church. He has not asked me for your hand!

Tears flowed down Louisa’s blushed cheeks. “You must let me go sometime.”

“I forbid it. I cannot run the forge and the household without you.” Only then did Michael notice her bag by the door, packed and ready to go. Why hadn’t he noticed it before now?

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Diane Tatum grew up in St. Louis, MO. She started writing her own stories in elementary school. Her first novel grew out of a short story she wrote in high school. College was a detour to a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Business Administration and later a Masters in Teaching Language Arts. Between degrees, she stayed home raising her boys and began writing again. She started freelance writing for magazines and church Sunday school curriculum. She also finished her novel, Gold Earrings.

After teaching middle school language arts in Tullahoma City Schools for 11 years, she retired with her husband’s encouragement to write the historical fiction books that she had been starting and saving on her computer. Gold Earrings was published in 2011. She completed her second novel, A Time to Choose, in 2012, and finished her third, Colonial Dream, in 2013. In addition she serves as an adjunct English professor at Motlow State Community College.

Diane has taught and worked with youth at her church for 38 years. Her Bible study Guide and Resource Book are meant to help youth workers create new Bible studies to use with their youth groups.

If interested in these youth materials, you can find them by clicking HEREfor Bible Study Materials and HERE for Resources

Connect with Diane and her works

www.dianeetatumwriter.com

Facebook:

Diane Elaine Tatum

Diane E. Tatum (author page)

Gold Earrings (book page)

Twitter: @DianeTatum

Instagram: tatumlight

Check out some of Diane’s other works

Buy Link: Amazon
Buy Link: Amazon
Buy Link: Amazon

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Kathleen Neely

Hello, readers. I am welcoming back to the blog an author who visited a couple of months ago – author Kathleen Neely. She has a new release to share and a giveaway opportunity! So, let’s tune in with Kathleen and find out what she’s got for us today.

Welcome back, Kathleen! Can you tell us a little about your newest release?

Beauty for Ashes is a story about living with guilt, recognizing its far-reaching consequences, and seeking redemption. Novelist Nathan Drummond carries a secret for ten years, one that gripped him with panic attacks at the thought of it being revealed. Vowing to never forget the cost of his sinful folly, he journals. With his fear of discovery, he burns each journal entry, keeping the ashes hidden in a jar.

When he’s forced to move back to his hometown, Nathan comes face to face with his past. He begins to write a novel that parallels the events of ten years ago. He begins to see the cost of his sin and realizes it will cost him the only woman that he’s ever loved. 

Beauty for Ashes blurb:

Nathan Drummond’s actions at the age of eighteen had devastating consequences. Writing became therapeutic, leading him into a successful career as a mystery writer. With seven novels to his credit, Nathan is rapidly becoming a household name. 

Family responsibilities force him to return to his home town , pushing him too close to painful memories. Although he’d intended the living situation to be temporary, Nathan didn’t count on falling in love. 

As guilt threatens a return of panic attacks, Nathan begins to write a novel paralleling the tragic event from his youthful folly. Will the novel be seen as a work of fiction, or will it expose his secret? 

Wow. I’m interest in piqued. What was the inspiration for Beauty for Ashes?

I read Water from My Heart, a novel by Charles Martin, one of my favorite authors. When I finished that remarkable novel, I knew that I wanted to write something with a similar theme, living with guilt, seeing its far-reaching effects, and seeking redemption. My novel is a different story, different plot, setting, and characters, but the over-arching theme is the same.

I do like this theme – one of my favorite tropes.

Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

I think that characterization is one of the most important elements of writing a novel. Authors need to dig deep down inside their characters, show what drives them, how they think and feel. I recently read a novel that gripped me. When I finished, I realized the simplicity of the plot. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t a deeply orchestrated story line. I lived it through the well-written characters.  

James Scott Bell writes about this quite a bit. He believes the plot should be simple enough to explain in a couple of sentences and simple enough for most anyone to grasp. It truly is the characters that set it apart and, in the end, drive the story. Great advice!

Do you have a favorite time of day to write What about a favorite place?

Writing a book takes a long time. For me, it’s the better part of a year. It’s important to be comfortable. I like natural light. When the house is empty and quiet, I move from my office to the kitchen table, right beside a big double window. That’s where I work best. When I can’t claim that spot, I hide away in my office. My desk is beside a window, but light is more hampered by trees and my Camellia bush.

I like this perspective – “writing a book takes a long time…it’s important to be comfortable…” I don’t often put that much thought into my writing sessions. But I will from now on.

Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Readers will encounter an urban ministry, details about basketball and the NBA, dyslexia, and classical violin.

Nathan finds himself volunteering at an urban afterschool center working with teens. He tutors and mentors a dyslexic teen. They share a love for basketball.

Angie, an employee at the center, plays classical violin. I had the assistance of a first chair violinist from a major symphony orchestra as part of my research.

That’s quite a bit! Great tidbits!

Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m doing on a story about a mother’s love. After a teenage pregnancy, she gave her baby up. Twelve years later, she has another chance to be part of his life. Until the unthinkable happens. That’s all you get. Sorry. No spoiler alert.

Thank you so much for your time, Kathleen, and for sharing about your process. Now, readers, let’s dive intoBeauty for Ashes !

Beauty for Ashes

Enjoy an ExcerptE

Nathan picked up their sandwiches at the counter while Angie found a booth. He slid in to join her. They made small talk, avoiding the obvious conversation. The question hung heavy. Did they have a chance at a relationship? Nathan found his heart and his brain at war with each other, knowing his brain would win. It felt like a knife to his heart. How ironic. He had saved a woman from her knife wounds but couldn’t stop his own from bleeding. 

Angie dabbed at her mouth. “Carlos probably won’t be returning to the center. His Aunt Rosa told me she plans to take them to live with her. She has two children and was frightened to do it when his father was a threat. If his mother agrees, they will move in with them.” 

Nathan finished his sandwich and pushed his plate to the side. “I hope he doesn’t have to go back to the house for anything, even after they clean it up. It would be way too traumatic.”

When they finished their sandwiches, they stood and walked toward the door. Angie reached for Nathan’s hand, turning her eyes toward him. Coffee brown with fringed lashes, flecked with light. The eyes that he froze on his TV screen. Could he really walk away from her?  “Is your car still at the center? Shall I take you there or home?” he asked.

“Yes, it’s there, but I’m weary. Would you just take me home? I’ll ride in with Elizabeth in the morning.” 

Nathan turned onto her street and parked in front of her house. “Is Elizabeth home?”

“No.” Angie raised her eyebrows with a slight smile. “She’s with her friend.”

Nathan opened his car door. She stopped him. “I’m fine, Nathan.”  He ignored her and walked around to open her car door. Angie walked beside him, fishing her keys out of her pocket. When they reached the door, he took the key from her and unlocked the front door.  They entered in the darkness until Angie reached the light. “I never expected to be this late or I’d have left lights on.”

Nathan glanced up toward the porch. “You should have motion-detector lights here. OK if I check your house out? Your dad would want me to.”

“Yes, worrywart.” But pleasure glowed from her eyes. “Shall I make us some tea?” 

He should check the house and leave. There was no good that could come from spending any more time with her. After a prolonged pause, he nodded. “Sure.” As Nathan did a quick walk-through, another irony hit him like a boulder. He was walking through Ramón Garcia’s home. This is where he’d lived, laughed, loved his wife, raised his daughter. And now, ten years later, the man who killed him walked through his home. Nathan returned to the kitchen. 

“No monsters under the beds?” Angie teased as she reached the mugs. 

“Nope. All clear.” Only me.  They carried their mugs to the living room. He should have chosen the chair, but Angie sat on the sofa and looked up at him with those doe eyes. None of this was her fault. They had started something, and he owed her more than a brush off. He sat beside her and placed the steaming mug on a coaster before moving an arm behind her.  “Angie, it was wrong for me to kiss you. Wrong to care for you as much as I do. There’s no possibility of a future for us. I know you don’t understand the reasons, but please trust me on this.” 

“Why don’t you just tell me the reasons? How can I trust you when I don’t know? You said it’s something in your past, but I don’t care about your past. I care about the man sitting here with me today.”

“You can say that because you don’t know everything about me. If you did, you’d probably hate me.” 

She raised her hand and laid a curved palm against his cheek. “I could never hate you, mi amor.” 

Mi amor, my love. It was Nathan’s undoing. He pulled her close and held her as he had done at the crime scene. Only now, she was the strong one, and he needed a place of respite. Her hands went around his neck, buried in his hair as she cradled his head against her. Her lips touched his cheek, and he turned to meet them. The kiss deepened, leaving him breathless.  “Oh, Angie,” he whispered against her. 

She stepped back and tilted her head so she could see his face. Her eyes twinkled. “Nathan, here’s the wonderful thing. You have a mysterious secret in your past, but that is past. You say we cannot have a future together, but the future’s not here. Today is not the past or the future. It’s the present, so it’s our time together.”

Her words brought a curve to the sides of his mouth. “Yes, it is. But what does that make tomorrow? Isn’t that the future?”

“Yes, but here’s the beauty. When it arrives, it will then be the present.”

He suppressed a chuckle. “And next week?”

“It’s also the future that will soon become the present.”

He allowed the smile to grow. “Angie, Angie. Always the optimist. Are you ever a skeptic?”

“Not if I can help it. What good does it do? We can choose sorrow or joy. I choose joy.”

He leaned in and kissed her again.  She held her face inches from his. “Nathan, do I make you happy?”

He rested his forehead against hers. Had he ever really been happy before Angie? He’d had accomplishments that pleased him. He had enjoyment playing basketball. But those were temporary— superficial feelings that didn’t touch the heart. Angie awakened something deeper that had been missing. “More than anyone ever has.”

“Then choose joy, mi amor. Choose joy.”

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Kathleen Neely resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.

She is the author of The Street Singer and Beauty for Ashes. A third novel, The Least of These, will be released in May, 2019. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions.

Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.

Connect with Kathleen and her books

Website – www.KathleenNeely.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/kathy.neely.98

Twitter – https://twitter.com/NeelyKneely3628

GIVEAWAY

Kathleen is offering a digital copy of Beauty for Ashes to one (1) winner, chosen by Rafflecopter. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Candice Sue Patterson

Hello, readers! I am pleased to introduce you to author Candice Sue Patterson today. I met Candice through the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Romance Genre Facebook group page. I’ve mentioned how much I appreciate these networking, assisting, and encouraging opportunities afforded to us through this organization. At any rate, let’s meet Candice!

Thanks for being on my blog today, Candice! First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

How to Stir a Baker’s Heart is a contemporary romance set in coastal Maine. It’s book two in my Cadence of Acadia series. They’re written as standalone novels, so book two can be read without reading book one first. Here is the back cover description of the novel:

Certified mental health therapist Olivia Hudson has spiraled into a dark depression her own training can’t pull her out of. Since Olivia can’t return to her practice when she can’t even help herself, she moves to Stone Harbor, Maine, to heal and help her dementia-ridden grandmother run her once-famous bakery.

Blake Hartford is living his dream of farming blueberries and restoring a Victorian farmhouse on his coastal property, while his beloved community withers away under a rocky economy. Blake joins the town board to help revamp things and boost the much-needed tourism that can turn his community around. 

After a misunderstanding with the bakery owner’s granddaughter and the town board’s suggestion they lead the tourism project together, life in Stone Harbor gets a little bit sweeter. But when the truth of Olivia’s past comes to light, Blake is forced to confront his own. 

How to Stir a Baker’s Heart is a story of healing and forgiveness, proving God can mend our brokenness and soften even the hardest of hearts.

This seems particularly interesting to me. I have experienced postpartum depression after each of my three children’s births. I feel depression is just now coming out “into the light” and being understood at large. We as a society are fighting the stigma and being more open. I hope that your book is only one of many that increases others’ understanding. So, thank you.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I’ve wanted to write books since I was old enough to hold them. They’ve always held a fascination for me. I always wanted to be a librarian, too. It drove my mom crazy when I would “stamp” the inside covers of my books, pretending to be a librarian. When we passed those books along years later, the covers were full of black ink. I’m blessed to be living both dreams now.

Fun! My grandfather always said “find something you love, then find someone who will pay pay you to do that.”

What are you currently reading?

Tamera Alexander’s With This Pledge. She’s one of my favorite historical romance authors. Her attention to detail, and the complex, moving way she writes her characters amazes me every time.

I, too, am a Tamera Alexander fan. I am just starting to make my way through her books. Looking forward toWith This Pledge myself.

What about your writing environment? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t listen to music, but I listen to sounds to immerse me in the setting. For example, my Cadence of Acadia series is set in coastal Maine, so I would listen to ocean waves while writing. Sometimes I’ll even light a candle for inspiration. If I’m writing a Christmas novella, I’ll light a balsam and cedar candle to help set the mood.

Interesting. Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Yes! My favorite time of day to write is in the morning after my quiet time with God until around noon. My mind is most clear and active during these hours, and I get more accomplished. Unfortunately, I can’t utilize that time slot often, unless it’s a long break from school or summer break (I’m an elementary librarian), so I mostly write after work or on lunch breaks.

We do what we can, right? How long does it take you to write a book?

If I’m able to write consistently every day, a novella will take me about three to four months (that’s from first draft to critique partners, another polish, and then to the editor). A full-length novel will take me eight to ten months.

One last question before I let you go…can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb?

Several things in the novel were real-life experiences I had when I visited Maine in 2011. For example, there’s a scene where the hero takes the heroine to a shoreline off the beaten path to hunt for heart-shaped rocks. She’s so busy looking that she’s not paying attention to the fact high tide is beginning and large waves are heading her way, and she gets soaked in icy water. I’ll never forget how cold that water was.

There’s another scene where they stumble upon a group of seals sunbathing in a cove. This will always be one of my favorite memories from that trip.

I love those authentic moments that are breathed into the story!

Thanks again, Candice, for taking the time to share about your release and your process a little bit. I won’t keep my readers waiting any longer…I’ll let them dig into your fabulous cover and excerpt. But read on, there’s something fun at the end.

How to Stir a Baker’s Heart

Enjoy an Excerpt

Here is the first page of the novel:

For Olivia Hudson, starting over was like trying to bake an award-winning pie out

of olives and sauerkraut. No matter what ingredients she added to balance the flavors or how she arranged them, it wouldn’t work. Life was not a beach or a box of chocolates. Though chocolate did help.

The delectable, fudgy scent of her triple layer chocolate cake stirred Olivia’s senses as she stretched across the bakery counter and placed a fresh slice in front of her favorite customer. In the four months Olivia had lived in Stone Harbor, Maine, she’d formed an attachment to Arianne Anderson. The sugar-craving bridal boutique owner had an honest, down-to-earth personality Olivia found refreshing.

“Thanks.” Arianne lifted her fork as though it weighed a hundred pounds.

“Vanilla latte?” Olivia picked up a disposable cup and started the process, already knowing Arianne’s answer.

“With a shot of espresso.”

“Wow, someone’s had a rough day.”

Arianne stared at the thick brown frosting in a daze, sighed, and swallowed her first bite. Her eyelids fluttered closed, and her shoulders relaxed.

Olivia chuckled. All would be well in Arianne’s world now—at least until the plate was empty.

“It’s hot.” Olivia placed the latte in front of her friend then leaned her elbows on the counter and clasped her hands, her lower back grateful for the reprieve. “What’s got you down?”

Arianne’s dark blue eyes pooled with tears. She swallowed and tucked a strand of curly blonde hair behind her ear. “I….” Arianne glanced down at the cake. “I’m cheating on my husband.”

Olivia straightened.

A tear dropped onto the granite countertop. Arianne swiped away the dampness on her cheeks and sighed. “Two evenings a week for the past three months, I’ve had things to catch up on at work,”—she made air quotes over the last word—“when really I’ve been driving twenty miles to escape my husband and indulge in the sinful ecstasy of your baking.”

The tight band around Olivia’s throat eased. “There isn’t another man?”

Arianne shook her head. “No. But the way I lust after this cake when I’m with Huck is adultery.”

Relief almost swept Olivia’s legs out from under her. She threw a wadded napkin at her friend, satisfied when it made contact with Arianne’s nose. “You scared me.”

More tears. Now that Arianne’s faucet was running, there was no turning it off.

Olivia checked the time on the tea-stained clock with a cupcake from an old Victorian postcard decoupaged to the face. Close enough. She locked the front door and flipped the sign to Closed. “What’s got you running?”

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Candice Sue Patterson studied at the Institute of Children’s Literature and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons in a restored farmhouse overtaken by books. When she’s not tending to her chickens, watching her kids play sports, or helping children discover a love for reading as an elementary librarian, she’s working on a new story. Candice writes Modern Vintage Romance—where the past and present collide with faith. She is represented by Linda S. Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency.

Connect with Candice and her books

Readers can always find me on Facebook at: https://m.facebook.com/Candice-Sue-Patterson-Author-420360958035447/

My website is also a great place to contact me: www.candicesuepatterson.com

I LOVE  to hear from readers!

GIVEAWAY

Candice is offering an ebook copy of her novel How to Charm a Beekeeper’s Heart to one winner, chosen by Rafflecopter. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Robin Densmore Fuson

Welcome, all, to another day and another blog! I have another Tennessee author for you today – author Robin Densmore Fuson. And my interview with her was just delightful. I can’t wait for you to dive in. But keep with me, there is a giveaway if you can hang in there. But I doubt that will be a problem.

I met Robin through our affiliation with the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), but it seems we have other things in common as well. I have been a part of a critique group (mine is online) called Word Weavers International that she is a member of as well (we are not in the same critique group). This is a fabulous group that can place you in a group that will offer valuable feedback no matter where you are in your writing journey.

Again, I ramble. Let me jump right into the interview…

Welcome to my blog, Robin. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

At first blush, fifty-two-year-old Renee Harris appears to be a confident sophisticated woman. Hidden are the scars of deep pain and fear. A meeting in an ordinary elevator will not only take Renee to the designated floor but also on a journey of discovery.

Chaplain Lance Freeman’s only thought is to help a family in their hour of need though unknown to him, the woman in the elevator needs him more than the family down the hall.

Elevators can be strange things. Full of ups and downs, they may be used as a vehicle to change the course of someone’s life. Renee and Lance are about to find out just how much a chance meeting can alter a person’s direction. Can real love be a part of their new beginnings? Will they allow God to lead and interrupt their lives so they can eventually find peace, joy, and love?

Interesting. And I must say, rather intriguing. I don’t see a ton of romance novels where the primary characters are more in the prime of life. What was the inspiration for The Encounter?

My publisher, Cynthia Hickey asked for a romance where the characters were older than the typical young love. I have experience with this. A few years after my husband passed away, I met and married my husband, Jimmy. Older people have more life experience and can have a bit more baggage. At age fifty-three, my character Renee has both. She needs to heal and learn who she is in Christ. Some of the issues Renee faces I had to face. Love reigned supreme in my life as well as Renee’s. I pray this book will touch hearts with romance and help people solidify how the Lord sees them.

So great. I love it when the book contains a bit more of the writer’s own experience.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

 I didn’t dream of becoming a writer although I loved to tell stories. I first wanted to be a chiropractor then an elementary school teacher.

Fun! But eventually, that writing bug got ya!

I know we as writers are always learning more about our craft. Some of tht is learned, I believe, intuitively from what we read. And, reading is often a writer’s first love…

What are you currently reading?

I have a book going all the time. Currently I’m reading, Canyon of Death by J. Carol Nemeth. I love to read friends books and new author’s works and review them.

Same here. I like to find new authors to introduce my readers to. (And to find those gems for myself.)

One thing I do to “set the tone” when I write is listen to music. Especially i a coffee shop…some of those places have the strangest music playing 🙂

What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

In romance scenes, I listen to romantic music mostly songs from favorites from eras gone by. When suspense is going on the page, I gravitate to exciting instrumentals or movie tracks. I also listen to praise and worship music. There is always music going or I’m singing. 

Love it! Do you have a favorite time of day to write?

I’m not a morning person so I don’t typically hit the keyboard till after 11am. I am known to work nights but my favorite block of time is 12 to 3 in the afternoon. I wake in the night and jot down things in the dark—sometime whole scenes. My husband is amazed it’s legible.   

I’m amazed it’s legible! Jotting notes is the last thing I can imagine doing at night!

What about a favorite place?

I love my office. The room is bright and cheery. I angled my computer desk so I can see out the window to the beauty of God’s creation and listen to the birds as well as see down the hall into the living room.

Sounds so nice! A pleasant set up 🙂

Readers are always curious about this next question: How long does it take you to write a book?

I’ve written children’s chapter books and novellas which typically take me two to three months, start to finish. The historical works take a bit longer because of the research needed. I also write flash fiction which is a complete story in under a thousand words. Those I can complete in a day. The novel I’m writing is a long project of the last few years. I fulfill my contracts for the novellas and go back to, The Race of Her Heart.I

I would be remiss if I let you go without asking this one last question: Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

As I stated, The Race of her Heart is a novel I’m always working on. LOL! This contemporary story takes place in Durango, Colorado. A romantic suspense set in the rugged and majestic Rocky Mountains. An injured Olympian, Jalyn is being stalked and threatened. Jalyn’s name is a combo of my parent’s middle names. Jay and Lynn, only with five letters because my name and my children’s names all have five letters. I’m also delving into devotionals and hope to submit them soon. 

Seems like you are one busy lady! I wish you well with those endeavors. Thank you again for coming on the blog and sharing about your release and your process with us. I don’t want to ramble too much before I let my readers jump into the details of your novel (including a video and except!)…

The Encounter

Book Trailer

Enjoy an Excerpt

The elevator moved as slow as a sloth on a tree branch. The normally crowded elevator stood vacant a moment ago as Renee glided her blue tennis shoe-clad foot into the gaping space. The cubical swallowed her as the doors closed with the usual swish and she pressed the top floor number, causing it to light up. Tension snarled her shoulders as the conveyer inched upward.

Only acquainted with the three parts of the hospital, she tried to steady her nerves as she ascended to the floor and the familiar place where her husband lay in a bed all alone. She had only been gone to the cafeteria for half an hour when she received a call from the nurse to hurry back up.

Earlier, the nurse on duty, Carol, practically pushed her out the door. “Girl, go grab some food. I called down and they still have some of the amazing chili and sandwiches. Even at three in the morning, they serve some delicious food. You need to keep your strength up. He will be fine. Now, go.”

The ascending lift seemed to slow even more as thoughts crept into her mind, she mulled over the crash. What could they have done differently? Darin said he had swerved to miss the deer. She had screamed when the car swerved. The car began the skid that took them off the shoulder of the road. Renee awoke to men banging on the window for her to unlock the door.

The throbbing in her casted arm and headache reminded her that she was one lucky woman whereas Darin’s injuries were far worse. She sighed.

The elevator chimed as it came to a stop. The door slid open and a tall man entered. That’s when she glanced up and saw she hadn’t made it to her destination. Renee scooted back and to the right out of the man’s path.

He nodded. “I see I’m not the only one up. Well, the staff are, of course. Visiting?” He frowned as he took in her cast and sling.

“Yes. My husband.”

His eyes bespoke of compassion and intelligence that had quickly summed up her ordeal. Blue eyes. Crinkles of laugh lines around them. The badge hanging from the lanyard read “Chaplain.” A shudder skimmed down her spine. She pulled her sweater closer but it slipped out of her grasp, causing it to slide off instead.

“Here, let me help.” He took hold and clasped the edges and buttoned it before dropping in into place. Not touching her but it felt as if he had.

“Thank you.” The automatic words slipped out. The ding of the elevator saved her. She glanced up. Relieved. “My floor.”

He stepped up and placed his hand on the edge of the door to keep it open so she could make her way through. She heard him follow. Of course. This was the top floor, after all. She kept her eyes on the hall in front of her that led to Darin’s room. Before she got to his open door, she paused to place the smile on her face and squared her shoulders. The scene that met her inside caused the world to spin out of control.

~

Lance noticed the sway and grabbed her before she collapsed. He swiftly took in the scene and guided her to the only chair, close to the door. He helped her sit and then stood next to her with his hand on her shoulder as the emergency team worked on the man in the bed whom he assumed to be her husband.

One nurse glanced up and nodded before returning her attention to the task at hand. Lance turned his attention to the whiteboard. Patient’s name, Darin, interesting spelling. Wife, Renee. Nurse, Carol. Phone numbers followed. Area code—not from Utah. No secondary contact. Renee must be alone. He counted five people trying to get a response out of the heart they jolted. The team worked feverishly but to no avail. The doctor he assumed, shook his head. “Time?”

“Three forty-three a.m.” They turned in unison at the gasp from the woman beside him.

Lance aided her to stand. The staff parted, clearing the way as she walked to the bed and took hold of the still hand. Her husband’s bare chest did not rise. Dead. Lance hated the word. He itched to help this woman, this stranger. Spiritual needs were heightened during this sort of crisis. He grabbed the chair and took it over and again clasped her elbow and guided her to sit. The silent staff wheeled out the machines…

Buy Link

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More About the Author

Robin recently moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband Jimmy. Together, they celebrate with seventeen grandchildren. An award winner for romance and flash fiction, Robin is multi-published and also writes stories on her blog for children. Her historical and contemporary romances are wrapped around a twist of intrigue. The Rosita Valdez series for children lends itself to a character building lesson through an adventure. Robin is a member of Word Weavers International, ACFW, and a member of John316 Marketing Network. She enjoys the new challenge of helping a start-up church, NewPath Community, touch lives in the Antioch, Tennessee. Robin loves company and challenging her young guests to discover the many giraffes in the obvious and hidden nooks and crannies of their home.

Connect with Robin and her work

Robin Densmore Fuson

http://www.robindensmorefuson.com/

Blog, kid Bible lessons

http://www.kidbiblelessons.com/

Twitter, Robin L Fuson

@RobinLFuson

Facebook, Author Robin Densmore Fuson

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorRobinDensmoreFuson/

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Densmore-Fuson/e/B06XGKVDDV/ref

Google+, Robin Densmore Fuson

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RobinDensmoreFuson

Pinterest,

https://www.pinterest.com/revelation411/the-encounter/

Goodreads,

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6604786.Robin_Densmore_Fuson

GIVEAWAY!

Robin is offering an e-book copy of The Encounter to one winner, chosen by Rafflecopter. Please follow the instructions below to enter.

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SPOTLIGHT & INTERVIEW: Author Sara L. Foust

Welcome to another Friday and another author on my blog! This week I have another special friend for you to meet. Although, this author friend is one I have met, face to face! Author Sara L. Foust and I met at a Writers Retreat that the writing ministry I help lead, Clarksville Christian Writers, hosted a few years ago. Sara was an absolute delight and I am all too eager to introduce you to her and her books…

Welcome to my blog, Sara! I’m so happy to have you visit. First things first…can you tell us a little about your novel?

On the surface, SIMON FINCUFF and FERN STRONGBOW have nothing in common. Simon has served his sentence, but his past conviction still haunts him. Fern is a veterinarian and grew up on an off-the-grid homestead. The one thing they share? Each has a dark secret they would do almost anything to protect.

When their current careers are yanked away, they are left scrambling to pick up the pieces. A reality television show falls into their paths, offering a life-changing opportunity that tests their resolve and their faith.

These two unlikely partners must battle to survive for thirty days in the untouched wilderness of Rarity Mountain with only a handful of survival items and a director who is out for drama, no matter the cost. With their lives and their carefully guarded skeletons on the line, they will discover how far they are willing to go to win the million-dollar prize for Survival Tennessee.

Ooohhh….sounds interesting. I love settings I’m familiar with. Being a Tennessee girl myself (as you know), I’m intrigued!

What was the inspiration for Rarity Mountain?

I enjoy watching survival shows and, after much prayer, God gave me the idea for Rarity Mountain. I’ve also thought East Tennessee is so wild in places, it would make a great location for a reality show, so why not write one?

East Tennessee is wild. And is ripe as an amazing setting for such a book. Love it! I love all the places inspiration can come from for writers.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I have always wanted to be a writer. I’ve also wanted to be a veterinarian, a horse boarding stable owner, a National Geographic photographer, and a mom.

I wanted to be a veterinarian for a short while. Quickly dismissed it. I know they love, care for, and help animals in pain, but I didn’t think I could mange the regularity of seeing animals in pain. Though I know that’s not what it’s really about…just a 7 year old girl’s tender heart…

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Second grade.

Nice! And I’m sure, like most other writers, there are parts of the journey you like and parts you are not such a fan of. Is there a part of the writing process you dread?

I love writing. I love editing for other people. I do not love editing for myself. Once I write the story, I want to move on but I can’t and I have to go back so many times for thorough editing. Ugh!

I hear you! Once I’ve been through the story for the umpteenth time, I am soooo done! Soooo tedious!

What are you currently reading?

I am in between fiction books right now and reading a couple different self-help, psyche-understanding nonfiction books.

Interesting. I, too, try to keep my fiction and non-fiction running at the same time. I’m sure you find the same struggle I do…house and kiddos and ministry means the time left a balancing act between writing and reading. So difficult!

What about your writing process? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t listen to music when I write. Usually, I listen to whatever chaos is happening with my kiddos ha!

I’ve got plenty over here if you run out! Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

I tend to grab writing time whenever it is available, and I love writing outside. I think better with fresh air, sunshine, and birds chirping.

Sounds wonderful! I’m so glad it’s warming up. My deck is calling to me!

I get this question a lot…people seem very interested in writers’ processes and their productivity. So, about how long does it take you to write a book?

It takes me about 6 months to write a full-length book and then another 1-2 to edit.

Last question, I promise, then I’ll let my readers dig into Rarity Mountain! Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share? 

I am writing a book called, Jade Owl.  It is the first book in the Serafina Jones Chronicles and tells the story of a self-conscious archaeologist looking for pirate treasure somewhere in the Smoky Mountains.

Another book series based in this region. I love it!

Sara, thanks so much for being on the blog and taking the time to share about your writing and giving us a peek atRarity Mountain. So, without further ado, I’ll let you all (readers) jump right in:

Rarity Mountain

Excerpt

Dr. Fern Strongbow settled into a folding chair across the desk from Dr. Sylvia Greenlee. Fern popped a flower into her mouth and smiled as her friend and mentor grimaced. “Dandelion?”

Sylvia shook her head. “You eat some strange things, Fern.”

“They’re delicious.” Fern ate another yellow top and smiled. “What’s on the agenda for our weekly session?”

A dog whined in the next room, drawing Fern’s gaze to the office door. No doubt Max was having trouble awakening from his dental surgery. Pentothal did some strange things to their patients in recovery.

“I’m sure Kaylee can handle that.”

She was probably right. But what if Kaylee was otherwise occupied? Fern leaned back into the cold metal and sighed. “I miss the old chairs.”

“Well, they were worth $50 at the farmer’s market. Paid the water bill last month.”

Max whined again.

Fern’s gaze once again darted to the closed door. “You sure Kaylee isn’t busy with something else?”

“Max will be fine. We need to talk.”

Sylvia’s gaze landed on the wall behind Fern’s head instead of greeting her head on in that penetrating, straightforward way Fern had come to appreciate long ago. Strange. Did she have more news about the clinic? Fern’s pulse skipped.

“As you know, things have been tight around here. But I haven’t been completely honest with you about how bad things are.”

Fern’s stomach flip-flopped. Her chewing mouth stopped. “Oh?”

“I know I promised you partnership in another nineteen months, but we aren’t going to make it that long.”

Wait. What? Her pulse swished in her ears, thumping like the poor dog’s tail against his crate-prison in the next room. “What are you saying?”

“As of today, I’m seeking a buyer for the clinic. I’m sorry.”

Words ping-ponged around in Fern’s mind, but none of them found her mouth. She swallowed the bitter flower.

“You’ll be fine, Fern. You’re a survivor.”

Her neck stiffened. “Survivalist. There’s a difference. We’ve discussed it a million times.”

“I mean it. You are a survivalist, but you’re also a survivor.”

No, she wasn’t. She was a mess inside. Barely keeping it together so no one noticed. Where would she go now, with her dreams of part ownership in Knox Highway Veterinary Clinic dashed? Her safety net yanked away, feet dangling over open space, a chasm of uncertainty yawning below. How could she remain in control when everything was being turned upside down?

####

Simon Fincuff returned his attention to the strips of flooring. Not a hard floor to lay, but one that required his best work considering the customer. Arnie reminded him of that every morning when they arrived.

Mrs. Golden’s nasal squeak sounded from the other room. Growing louder with each word.

Upset again. Why didn’t that surprise him? Was it his imagination or did he hear her spit out his name?

Arnie’s muffled argument ended with the slam of a door.

Simon glanced up as Arnie entered the room, reading the words on his boss’s face before they formed on his lips.

Arnie shook his head. “I’m sorry, man.”

“Not your fault.”

“It’s different this time.”

Simon’s motions froze. The next words coming, the sentence forming in Arnie’s mind would change everything, wouldn’t it? Again.

“I’ve got to let you go, Simon. She insisted. I’m sorry.”

Heat burned Simon’s cheeks. “Not your fault.”

“She did a background check of her own, you know. I didn’t tell her.”

“I know.”

“If I have another job I’ll call you.”

Yeah, that’s what they all said. Once he’d been let go, he never got that follow-up call.

Simon gently gathered his tools and tucked them into his canvas bag. He didn’t say goodbye to Arnie or the job site. No one would miss him after a few days passed. Why couldn’t people see past his past? Yes, it was dark but there was light underneath. One he wanted to shine brighter than the penned ink of failure.

Another job lost. Another uncertainty looming. What was he supposed to do now?

####

“Come in, Betty.” Gregory Vanderbilt, III, laid down his pen and took the chewed lid from his mouth. “Don’t hover.”

“Sorry, sir. I didn’t want to interrupt.”

“We do this every day. What exactly did you think you were interrupting?”

“I don’t know, sir. Sorry.”

Gregory held out his hand. “List.”

Betty’s hands shook as she gave him the clipboard.

She wouldn’t last another week. He’d bet money on it. “This is all of them?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Buy. Pass. Buy. Buy. Pass.”

“Sorry, which ones?”

“Good gravy.” He picked up the pen and scribbled in the margins. Buy veterinary clinic. Pass putt-putt course. Buy television station. A good buy, that one. Buy the gas station. With an overhaul of its front appearance, it should be profitable. Pass on the bank. He owned enough banks already. Well, his dad did anyway.

Gregory thrust the clipboard into Betty’s hands and waved her out.

The Knoxville Sunsphere’s copper sides glittered under the gaze of a late summer’s sunset. Would Pops be satisfied with his purchases today? How would he react if he wasn’t?

Buy Links

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More About the Author

Sara is a multi-published, award-winning author and homeschooling mother of five who writes surrounded by the beauty of East Tennessee. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is the author of the Love, Hope, and Faith Series, which includes Callum’s Compass (2017), Camp Hope (2018), and Rarity Mountain (March 2019).  She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and a novella, Of Walls (November 2018).

Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com

Connect with Sara and her books

SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY: Author Catherine Brakefield

I have such a treat for you today! Author Catherine Brakefield is back on the blog sharing about her Destiny Series. And there is some fabulous bits of history in these books. I am soooo in love! But I won’t bore you with my thoughts…I’ll get you to Catherine as fast as possible!

Catherine Brakefield’s Destiny Series

Sara, it is a true pleasure to be back on your blog with you and talking about the third book in the Destiny series, Destiny of Heart. I was on last year talking about Destiny’s Whirlwind and really enjoyed myself!

Before I begin, I’d like to refresh you and your reader’s memory about the series:

Swept into Destiny, book 1, begins in 1857. Maggie Gatlan may be a Southern belle on the outside, but inside she’s a rebel. She meets the handsome, strong Irish immigrant Ben McConnell. Ben is enchanted by Maggie’s beauty and fiery spirit, but for him the South she dearly loves represents the injustice and deprivation he left behind in Ireland. As the country divides and Ben joins the Union, Maggie and Ben are forced to call each other enemies.

Destiny’s Whirlwind, book two, begins in 1898. Smallpox and the townspeople’s fears capture the McConnell family into its evil clutches. Collina promises her dying father that his legacy for Shushan will continue. Dashing Rough Rider Franklin Long offers his help and suddenly Collina’s heart has a will of its own. War calls him to the shores of Cuba. Collina is flung into a tangled web of deception and greed when a vindictive lawyer places the family in peril. Will Franklin return in time?

Tell us a little about your novel, Destiny of Heart?

Book three opens in 1917 and Ruby McConnell (Collina’s sister) is married to Stephen Meir. The story unfolds as they travel to the prairies of Colorado for Stephen’s health. Ruby’s sister Collina and Franklin Long are also in this story. Destiny of Heart covers a large span of history and three states: Colorado, Kentucky, and Michigan. The reader will experience the patriotic fan-waving that plunged America into World War I, as well as the extravagant lifestyles of the Roaring Twenties, and the grand old sport of fox hunting. 





Readers will experience those affluent lifestyles evaporating in a blink of an eye and Maggie, Ruby, Collina, and Franklin’s spirals into the Great Depression. Destiny of Heart concludes in 1933 after Theodore Roosevelt’s inauguration into the presidency and a life-altering decision must be made.  

Thank you for that wonderful synopsis! I am all the more eager to hear more! First, can you share the more historically significant events behind your story?

I’d love to! I could not rely solely on the internet for my research, nor modern-day history books or Hollywood movies. When I tried, I felt out of step with the story. I had one foot in modern pop culture and one foot in a watered-down version of the past. I sought out people who had lived the era and interviewed them.

WWI – troops marching toward the Battle of Somme

I learned that the typical American did not cherish the modern conveniences of their day. Their family, however, was a vital part of their existence. Wow! I realized that people of this century were polar opposites of their ancestors who did not carry a phone in their pockets or check the latest news, weather, and style.

Our children are brought up to believe they are ‘the enlightened generation,’ but I want my readers to experience a feeling of entering a time capsule. I decided not to watch any show or read any books dated from the 1960s forward.

History books published before 1959 gave me insight, as did old newspaper clippings and interviews. From the 1800s up through the 1940s scripture verses were a common part of everyday language. Some of you might recall seeing a Bible where your ancestors recorded their marriages, births, baptisms, and deaths within the reverend folds of their Holy Bible.

Wow! I so appreciate your dedication to your research!

What was the inspiration for your Destiny series?

My grandmother’s stories and my father’s memoirs are a major part of the Destiny series. My siblings and I would ask Dad, “What was it like back then?” So he wrote about the good ol’ days. We sure learned those days weren’t always so good. You will learn more about that in book 4, Waltz into Destiny, which releases on D Day, June 6.

I think what Harry S. Truman one said sort of sums this up: “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”

Much that our young people are learning today about our America is a watered-down version of the truth. Much of our classic literature that I grew up reading are now being banned or edited. I feel this is wrong. I have heard the age-old jargon that history can repeat itself. So how can our young people know what not to do if they don’t know the truth about our American history? Hence, my reason for writing the Destiny series.

Enjoy an Excerpt

President Wilson’s words blared out. “The right is more precious than peace, and we shall fight for the things which we have carried nearest our hearts.

“Come on.” Stephen took her hand and they rushed down the stairway. Bus boys arrayed in flashing red and gold braided suits greeted her. Crystal chandeliers twinkled gaily about the lavishly decorated lobby of the hotel, accenting the deep red and gold drapes and rich mahogany furniture in the lobby.

The doorman opened the outside doors of the Grand Hotel; a gust of cold air greeted them. Snow lined the newly shoveled walkways. The horses’ neighs and the tinkling of sabers clashing against the soldiers’ stirrup irons mingled with the cheers of the crowd.

A regiment of the cavalrymen rode before them, the insignia of the crossed swords displayed on their sleeves and cavalry blankets. “How dashing.” Ruby squealed with delight. “I can envision that gallant Rough Rider Franklin Long there among them.”

“Far better it is to dare mighty things…even though checkered by failure,” Stephen said, quoting Theodore Roosevelt. “The United States became a world power because of the Rough Riders when America defeated Spain in 1898.”

The horses nodded their fine heads, and their flowing manes caught the sunlight and glistening snow, as they pranced forward as proudly as the foot soldiers in the snow that last evening and this morning.

Stephen laughed. “I seriously doubt we have seen the last of Franklin Long.” He drew her hand to his lips and kissed it. “Shall we purchase our tickets for tomorrow’s train to Colorado?”

“No, you mustn’t,” the woman’s voice vibrated with emotion. She dotted her eyes. Her embroidered handkerchief was moist. “The porter said the railroad crew just tunneled through a large drift.”

Stephen nodded. “He told me that Amarillo’s never seen a storm of this magnitude.”

The woman dabbed at her eyes again. “True. This morning I overheard one of the workers on the railroad crew tell the engineer that they hadn’t been able to clear all the track… He said the passenger car could become a steel death trap for those foolish enough to ride the iron horse tomorrow.”

More About the Author

I am an award-winning author of the inspirational historical romance Wilted Dandelions. My faith-based Destiny series includes Swept into Destiny, Destiny’s Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and Waltz into Destiny, which releases June 6.

I have written two pictorial history books. Images of America: The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County

My short stories have been published in Guidepost Books True Stories of Extraordinary Answers to Prayer, Unexpected Answers and Desires of Your Heart; Baker Books, Revell, The Dog Next Door, Horse of my Heart, Second-Chance Dogs, The Horse of my Dreams (releases on September 17);CrossRiver Media Publishers, The Benefit Package and Abba’s Promise; Bethany House Publishers, Jesus Talked to Me Today.

I am a longtime Michigan resident and live with my husband of 45 years and our Arabian horses in the picturesque hills of Addison Township. I love traveling the byroads across America and spoiling my two handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters!

Connect with Catherine and Her Books

https://www.catherineulrichbrakefield.com/

Blog: Hopes, Hearts, & Hoofbeats: https://catherineulrichbrakefield.wordpress.com/

Twitter: : https://twitter.com/CUBrakefield

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

https://www.linkedin.com/in/catherine-brakefield-4710b315/detail/recent-activity/shares/

https://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Ulrich-Brakefield/e/B001H6UI8U/ref=dbs_p_ebk_rwt_abau

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3387463.Catherine_Ulrich_Brakefield

https://www.instagram.com/catherineulrichbrakefield/

GIVEAWAY

Catherine is offering a giveaway! A copy of Destiny of Heart or whichever novel the winner chooses in the Destiny series. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter:

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INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Wendy May Andrews

Hello, readers! Author Wendy May Andrews is back on my blog today with a new clean Historical Romance. And the cover is oh so good! I won’t delay you any longer. Let’s get right to Wendy!

Hey, Wendy! Thanks for rejoining us on the blog. It’s good to have you back. I’m sure I’m not the only one eager to learn more about this new novel. So, what was the inspiration for The Debutante Bride?

This story explores the rollercoaster of emotions that could ensue if an arranged marriage starts off on the wrong foot. I’m always fascinated by the possibilities when a couple is forced together by circumstances. It wasn’t so uncommon throughout history. But what if there are too many factors tearing them apart? In this story, I wanted to explore how love could conquer the external and internal pressures society and we ourselves put upon relationships, but in the complicated context of the Regency era.

Interesting. I do love reading in the Regency Era, but have never tried to write in that time period. Just hasn’t spoken to me…or maybe it just intimidates me 🙂

Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?

I did go through a phase as a child when I wanted to be a writer but I thought it was too fantastical of an idea. Then I wanted to be a vet until I realized how allergic I am to cats. Then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do except that I knew I wanted to work in an office in a brand new building in my home town – it was so big and shiny. I took a couple side trips as an executive assistant and an insurance broker before returning to my first love – the written word.

I know…once you get bitten by the writing bug….as they say…

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

After I wrote my first book 🙂 I wrote my first book more as fulfilling a dare from my husband. I never really considered that it could be a serious pursuit. Then I fell in love with writing and the rest is history.

I hear ya! But as much as we love it, I know there are those things we don’t love as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Editing is my least favorite. By the time I’ve gone through the manuscript 35 times I’m ready to throw it across the room. But the discovery of first draft writing is the joy that keeps me returning story after story.

Isn’t that the truth! So many times through the manuscript.

Just for curiosity’s sake…what are you currently reading?

A non-fiction book on marketing. There’s always something more to learn.

Sometimes I like to write in silence, but most often I get the right mood going…music and everything. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I don’t listen to music while I’m writing. I think it would be distracting. I find music to be very inspiring. But I don’t want to run after new ideas while I’m working on my current WIP.

I can understand that. What about your atmosphere? Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?

Whenever the words are flowing is my favorite time of day 🙂 But I’m a morning person so first thing in the morning is usually my most productive time. I have my computer set up in one room, so that’s where most of my writing takes place. But I carry a notebook with me wherever I go so that I can jot down any notes that come to me when I’m not in front of my computer.

Readers are always curious about this next question: How long does it take you to write a book?

It really varies for me from book to book, depending on what else is happening with LIFE while I’m writing. So anywhere from two months to two years has been my experience. I have written the first draft of a full-length book in as short of time as two weeks. But then there are the edits…

My last question…Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m currently in edits for my second Proxy Brides story – A Bride for Ransom (set to release in April) and brainstorming for the third. It has been a fun multi-author project to be a part of.

Wendy, thanks so much for your time and for sharing about your process. I know I’ve got readers eager to see your cover (if they haven’t peeked already) and read more about it. So, I’ll turn them loose to dive in 🙂

The Debutante Bride

First comes marriage, then comes love.

Miss Elizabeth Dunseith grew up in genteel poverty, happy despite her abusive father and weak mother. The marriage her father has arranged for her seems shady, but despite her fears for her future, Beth is relieved to get away from home with her handsome, new husband.

Justin Fulton, Earl of Westfield, is puzzled by the contradictory behavior of his purchased bride. One moment she is haughty and cool, the next she is warm and endearing.

Their relationship is just starting to develop when Justin’s meddling sister throws them off course and an old friend of Beth’s complicates matters further.

Can their differences get sorted before it’s too late to claim their happily ever after?

Enjoy an Excerpt

As she came to wakefulness, Beth held herself very still, momentarily surprised to find herself in a strange bed, but then it all rushed back to her consciousness. She was a married lady. A countess at that. And she had only met her husband thirty-six hours before.

The thrill of freedom flowed through her as she reminded herself once more that she would never again have to return to the house she grew up in unless she so chose. Of course, she would want to see her mother again, but she allowed herself to bask in the contentment she was experiencing. She wiggled her toes and stretched her arms, revelling in the new sensation.

The unknown factor of her new husband was obviously of concern, but so far, he had been remarkably even tempered. She would even go so far as to describe him as kind, at least what she had seen of him in their short acquaintance. Beth could not decide how she felt about how handsome he was. He was deliciously attractive, but she was unsure if that could be trusted. No doubt other women would find it to be a point in his favour.

Feeling surprisingly rested from the long day of travel but reluctant to climb from the warm, comfortable bed, Beth allowed her mind to drift as she thought of the varied events she had experienced over the last day and a half. It had all started when she had spotted her father’s carriage bowling down the road, and it had felt like she was in a runaway carriage ever since.

She pondered her new circumstances and allowed her mind to drift. After several moments of quiet reflection, Beth felt very much awake and remarkably cheerful. She blinked languidly against the sunshine that was streaming into her room. The sound of chirping birds filled the air, causing her to smile slightly. It was rare for her to awaken to such peace, so for a moment, she simply lay there in wonder at the feeling of lightness she felt. Then she remembered that she was free of her father forever, and although she had always been told the devil you know is better than the one you don’t, her naturally optimistic outlook allowed her to have some hope for her future.

Buy Link

Buy linkhttps://amzn.to/2Uwejxt

More About the Author

Wendy May Andrews loves words. She loves words so much she’ll even read the cereal box repeatedly. This love affair has lead her to her new love, writing. So far she has published thirteen sweet, historical romance novels. Wendy and her husband love to travel either for hiking or for research and they are happiest whenever they manage to combine the two. When not traipsing around the world, Wendy can be found in front of her computer or with her head buried in a book in their cozy home in Toronto. She loves hearing from her readers and hopes you love her books as much as she does.

Connect with Wendy and her books

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-May-Andrews/e/B002W42H3A

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

Website: http://wendymayandrews.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/WendyMayAndrews

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/WendyMayAndrews

Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/wendy-may-andrews

Pure Romance Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/readersofpureromance

Giveaway

Wendy May Andrews is offering an ebook copy of Book 1 in her Orphan Train Series to one (1) winner chosen by Rafflecopter. See directions below.

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INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Kathleen Neely

Hello, all! I have a fresh face to introduce you to today, Kathleen Neely. Kathleen is another author I have encountered through ACFW. This wonderful organization allows authors to network and glean from each other in the most amazing way. I wish I’d joined sooner 🙂

Thanks for being on my blog today, Kathleen. First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

I love novels that focus on relationships, particularly inter-generational. I also enjoy reading stories that involve the legal system—law suits, court cases, attorneys. The Street Singer is actually my second novel, although the first to reach publication. When I finished my first novel and breathed a big sigh of relief, my mind went to work weaving story lines, building and discarding ideas, until I decided on what eventually became The Street Singer. It’s about Trisha, a final-year law student, and Adda, a once famous recording artist known as Adaline. Although it’s their story, everyone loves a little romance. That keeps things interesting.

The Street Singer blurb:

Trisha Mills, a student in her final semester of law school, has fond memories of listening to the music of Adaline, a once famous recording artist. She learns that Adaline, now Adda
Marsh, is a street singer in Asheville, NC. Adda’s sole means of support in her senior years comes from the donation box. Along with her meager possessions, Adda has a box labeled, “Things to Remember.” Adda agrees to show Trisha the contents. With it comes her story. Adda reveals her journey by sharing a few items at a time, beginning as a sharecropper’s daughter in Mississippi, to fame in Nashville, and to poverty in her old age.

Trisha is busy cleaning out the home of her deceased grandfather, preparing to sit for the bar exam, and planning her wedding to Grant Ramsey. However, she cannot overlook the
injustices that Adda has experienced. Aided by Rusty Bergstrom, an attorney who will work pro bono, Trisha convinces Adda to seek restitution. Will her growing friendship with Rusty Bergstrom affect her engagement to Grant?

Sounds interesting. I love novels that give us multiple storylines like this. I always have to ask fellow authors: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

My advice is more for new writers. Surround yourself with people in the industry. Garner all of the help they can give you. I’ve found writers to be the best and most willing mentors. Read trade books on writing and attend conferences.

That is sound advice. Never stop learning. Non-writers are always curious about the length of time to complete a novel. Now, most understand this varies from author to author. What about you? How long does it take you to write a book?

Writing a book takes the better part of a year. About six months of that time is actually drafting the manuscript. After that, comes editing and rewrites. Unlike what I hear from many authors, I enjoy editing—not the line editing checking for every punctuation mark. Once the skeleton of a story is written, I enjoy embellishing it, bringing it to life with words. I go through my manuscript many times, looking to add sensory details and thinking through the emotions that should be evident. I use beta readers to review the finished work, then, if needed, will do further edits.

You’ve got one on me. I certainly do add depth, but editing is not my favorite 🙂

Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb?

I was mesmerized by a youtube video of a drum circle. I knew I had to have a scene in The Street Singer that included it. Here’s a link:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O6melWFemg

So cool! Lastly, do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’m working on a story about a mother’s love. After a teenage pregnancy, she gave her baby up. Twelve years later, she has another chance to be part of his life. Until the unthinkable happens. That’s all you get. Sorry. No spoiler alert.

Oh my goodness! What a teaser that is!

Research in Writing:

Research is a vital part of writing, and is not limited to historic settings. Most people know a little bit about the legal system. I knew enough to get myself in trouble if I hadn’t consulted an expert. Actually, two experts. I reached out to an attorney who read the legal portions of my manuscript and provided feedback on my misunderstandings, then passed it along to her husband whose area of law was more closely compatible.

An interesting sub-theme shows the renovation of an older home. That research was easy for me. My husband has worked for decades in every area of home building. He walked me through each phase of the work.

Thanks, Kathleen, for sharing your insight and for being on the blog! And now, it is my pleasure to introduce you all toThe Street Singer

The Street Singer

Enjoy an Excerpt

Excerpt from The Street Singer

“I done figured you knew. You wore them questions all over your face. She opened her water bottle and took a long, slow drink. Here’s what you gotta know. There ain’t no more Adaline. I’m Adda, my given name. That’s all I am.”

Trisha nodded but remained unsatisfied. “Can I ask what happened?”

Adda laughed. “Honey, age happened. You too young to understand. The body goes. The voice goes. The energy goes.

“I know, but your records, they sold…maybe millions.”

Adda chuckled at that. “Well, you be givin’ me too much credit, but yeah, they did sell back in the day.” Adda looked at her watch and took a bite of her sandwich. “So, I guess you’re wondering where all my money went.”

Trisha backpedaled. The bluntness made it sound so callous. “That’s none of my business, but…”

“You right there. It ain’t none of your business. But I’ll tell you anyways. My daddy, he was a sharecropper in Mississippi. We young’uns had to help when we got big enough to hold a shovel. I never got me past primary schooling. Them record people knowed it and all them fancy papers I signed didn’t give me much left over.”

Trisha gasped. “That’s terrible.”

Adda looked up from her lunch. “Oh, they treated me good. Real good. Set me up in a fancy place to live, bought me clothes and food. Dressed me for pictures and took me to the studio. But they never let me go places where I’d get to talk and never let me talk in microphones where I went to sing. Didn’t want me having no friends. I knew they feared my poor schooling would show. Them fancy papers I signed didn’t leave me much left over.”

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Kathleen Neely resides in Greenville, SC with her husband, two cats, and one dog. She is a retired elementary principal, and enjoys time with family, visiting her two grandsons, traveling, and reading.

She is the author of The Street Singer, to be released in February, 2019. Beauty for Ashes and The Least of These will be released in 2019. Kathleen won second place in a short story contest through ACFW-VA for her short story “The Missing Piece” and an honorable mention for her story “The Dance”. Both were published in a Christmas anthology. Her first novel, The Least of These, was awarded first place in the 2015 Fresh Voices contest through Almost an Author. She has numerous devotions published through Christian Devotions. Kathleen continues to speak to students about writing and publication processes. She is a member of Association of Christian Fiction Writers.

Connect with Kathleen and her books

Website – www.KathleenNeely.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/kathy.neely.98

Twitter – https://twitter.com/NeelyKneely3628

GIVEAWAY

Kathleen is offering a giveaway to one (1) winner within the continental United States: a scripture print (picture with related scripture). Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

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