INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Dana Mentink

I have a fabulous, award-winning author for you to meet today. And is she ever prolific! Author Dana Mentink has joined me today on my blog to share about her release and is offering a giveaway as well as talking about her process! Let’s jump right in…

Welcome to the blog, Dana! First, can you tell us a little about your novel?

Danger on the Ranch is a romantic suspense novel set on the California coast. Hero Mitch Whitehorse is a loner since he put his serial killer brother in prison, but things are about to change when Wade escapes and returns to settle the score.

Whoa…a serial killer brother!? You’ve got this Law & Order enthusiast’s attention. What was the inspiration for Danger on the Ranch?

I read a non fiction book about a woman who was married to a serial killer and had no idea what he was up to. I wondered what kind of impact that would have on a person’s psyche, and how they could triumph over that terrible situation.

I have to say, that thought has crossed my mind, too. But not for long enough to birth a story…I am intrigued!

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

I wanted to be an Olympic ice skater, and a circus clown. Now I am a third grade teacher and a writer, so that wasn’t even close!

Circus clown? That’s different. I loved watching ice skaters when I was young! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a story teller. My fifth grade teacher really encouraged me to write fiction and I’ve been doing it ever since!

I know you know this…The beginning to end of putting a book out into the world is not all fun and games…as with pretty much any occupation, there are things we writers would rather pass off to someone else if we could. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Writing a synopsis is like crawling over glass. It’s just a nasty, ugly process to strip down a story to the bare bones. I usually wind up cleaning out closets and reorganizing the spice cupboard to avoid this job.

It can be a bear! Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?

Read, read, read. The best writers are passionate readers.

Sound advice…

I usually “set the mood” for my extended writing sessions…music included. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

Not a thing. I need quiet or I can’t get anything on the page.

That seems to be the majority of writers I encounter…

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

If I can sit in my garden, early in the morning and bang away on the keyboard, I’m a happy camper!

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

The series follows the men and women who work on or around the Roughwater Ranch. They are unofficial siblings. This was very special to write, as I am also a third grade teacher and I’ve seen so many “unofficial” families that are just as loving and caring as biological families. Our God given capacity to love one another is breathtaking.

What a wonderful thread to hold a series together!

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

I write three books a year for Love Inspired Suspense. I also write ebooks for Forget Me Not Romances, and I’m looking forward to clacking away on a mystery series idea.

Fabulous! That is just amazing how prolific you are! Thank you so much, again, for being on the blog and sharing about yourself and your books. Well…I won’t linger too long, I want to give my readers the chance to dive into the featured work, Danger on the Ranch, the excerpt, and the other wonderful things below! So, here goes…

Danger on the Ranch


A Roughwater Ranch Cowboys story

Her child’s life is on the line

After putting his serial killer brother in prison, former US marshal Mitch Whitehorse chooses a solitary country life—until his brother escapes. Now Mitch’s former sister-in-law, Jane Reyes, needs protection…for herself and the toddler she’s kept a secret. Mitch still isn’t sure of Jane’s innocence in his brother’s crimes, but to keep his nephew out of a killer’s grasp, trusting her is his only option.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Storm’s coming.

The illogical notion trickled again through Mitch Whitehorse’s gut as he surveyed the late afternoon fog choking the windswept cove. Strange, since there was no sign of a weather front moving in through the mist. He fingered the scar that grooved his cheek, the rough patch oddly numb, a dead spot courtesy of his brother. The occasional blurred vision and migraines were an additional reminder of how close he’d come to dying at Wade’s hand.

But it wasn’t so much the pain of having his occipital bone crushed or the resulting symptoms that stuck in his mind, it was his brother’s smile. Even when Wade was led from the courtroom after the guilty verdict which would send him to prison for two lifetime sentences, he’d been smiling right at Mitch, a smile of pure evil, cold as the grave, unrepentant, undefeated.

Rosie, the big roan mare, shifted underneath Mitch, probably wondering why they were standing on a bluff in the numbing fog, staring out at the crawling Pacific instead of sheltering from the February wind. They’d spent a full day moving a herd of cattle from one pasture to another and chasing down an ailing cow to administer medicine. Straightening, Mitch ignored the twinge in his back, courtesy of his days as a US Marshal and the fact that he was now a hardworking cowboy staring forty in the face.

Storm’s coming.

There it was again, the warning his instincts kept whispering in spite of what his eyes could see. 

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Dana Mentink lives in California where the weather is golden and the cheese is divine. Her family includes two teen girls (affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo.) Papa Bear is retired from the fire department and he met Dana doing a dinner theater production of The Velveteen Rabbit. Ironically, their parts were husband and wife.

Dana is an American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year finalist for romantic suspense and a two time ACFW Carol Award winner. Her suspense novel, Betrayal in the Badlands, earned a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She is honored to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired, Harlequin Heartwarming, and Harvest House Publishers. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a dog with social anxiety problems, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

Connect with Dana and her books

Website –danamentink.com

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/danamentink/

Twitter – @DanaMentink

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authordanamentink/

YouTube – Author Dana Mentink

Instagram – dana_mentink

Giveaway!

Dana is offering a giveaway! She is offering a print copy or ebook of Danger on the Ranch (print in continental U.S. only). Please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Sara Jane Jacobs

Welcome back, readers! And I am welcoming back another author for you today as well! Author Sara Jane Jacobs is sharing with us about her upcoming release, Season of Faith. And she has some wonderful extras for us as well! Including a peek at the cover! So, let’s dive in…

Thanks for being on the blog today, Sara! First, can you tell us a little about your upcoming release?

My new release (scheduled for June) brings everyone from the first story, Season of Hope, back to Nathan’s Mountain. What starts as a reunion full of joy and new beginnings will soon turn into tragedy.

We can’t have everything going smoothly, now can we? What was the inspiration for Season of Faith?

Although I was satisfied with the amount of closure at the end of book two, I had readers asking me if there would be a third book in the series. I told everyone that I was starting a new series that focused on Hannah who is mentioned in Season of Deception, as Eric’s former girlfriend. In the back of my mind I was entertaining the idea of something like a special Christmas novella to wrap up the story of Tyler and Amanda. (The story of Hannah had been rolling around in my head since 2006 and I needed to get it out!) In May of last year, I was well into writing that story when a song came on the radio that sort of threw me off track and started me thinking about Tyler and Amanda again. Although I was nearing the completion of Hannah’s Story, by August I completely switched gears because I had become convinced that there was definitely going to be one more Season and it needed to come first. So, that’s when I started on Season of Faith. Now readers will get better closure and I’ll feel like the story has closure as well. That’s the long answer, lol. The short answer is this song:

I like the long answer (and the short answer). I love how the creative mind works!

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

No. When I was little, I was always fascinated by child actors and was about eleven when I decided that was what I wanted to be. Although I was painfully shy, when I started high school, I ventured out of my comfort zone to audition for plays at our community theater. That eventually led me to writing. To me, writing is like every part of making a movie and I love it!

So fun! I hadn’t thought of it like that, but that’s true.

But as much as we love writing, there are parts that we don’t love as much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

After I type that last sentence and my seemingly endless rounds of editing begin! It can be daunting when you’ve put all that time into getting the story out but you know it’s nowhere near finished.  Once I start working with my editor, I actually enjoy it because of the team work involved. I love reading her reactions and getting her suggestions along with the challenge of rewriting things to make them better. 

Neat. I, too, like getting my editor’s reactions. I love the feedback.

What are you currently reading?

Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter. I’m only on chapter three but this book drew me in quickly. I actually just picked up a copy from the library so my daughter could read it with me! I’m really excited about this book!

It always intrigues me when someone uses that phrase “it drew me in quickly.” I might have to give that a look.

I always set a “mood” when I write…just my process…music is a big part of that. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I mostly have the windows open so I can hear the birds but occasionally I will put on some classical (I can’t write if there are words!) Sometimes I will write a scene that has a song on the radio or in the background. I will pause the writing and start listening to a variety of genres for inspiration. So far, all of my books reference a song or hint at lyrics. Even Hannah’s Story.

I like it. Before I let you go, I have to ask–can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Hmm. Someone very unexpected is going to show up. It even caught me by surprise. This was not planned.

That is by far my favorite thing about writing—the surprise, the unexpected things that happen as the story unfolds for me, much like it will for my readers! Love it!

Thanks for being here with us, Sara. I’ve enjoyed our interview. But I don’t want to delay getting the readers to the details of your book and the fabulous excerpt below. So, here you go….

Season of Faith

Enjoy an Excerpt

Excerpt from Season of Faith.  Tyler and Amanda have just been talking about where they’ll go after they get married . . .

“Sounds perfect.” She welcomed his lips as they brushed across hers. His strong hands caressed her shoulders before wrapping around her. Nuzzling his neck as her cheek rested against his shoulder, she caught the faint scent of his cologne. This time she picked up on the notes of oakmoss, Brazilian rosewood, and juniper. Feeling like they had just made a small step toward reconnecting, now seemed like the right time to bring up her plans to return to modeling. “And since we’re not really sure when that is going to be, I’m thinking seriously about going back to New York.”

“Oh. Like, to visit?”

She lifted her head to monitor his reaction. “Um, I was thinking more like to live . . .  and model.”

His embrace loosened slowly and then it was gone as he released her.  Moving hands to hips, a puzzled look clouded his face, followed by a shake of his head. Dropping his gaze to the dusty floor, it seemed as if he was searching for a way to handle her announcement.

“Why?” was the only word that came out as he lifted his eyes back to hers.

She caught a glimpse of the slight twitch in his square jaw. Why did this have to be so hard? He had to know how much she loved him. And she knew he loved her. Yet emotionally, it felt like there was a canyon between them most of the time. How were they supposed to get across it and stay close without his deployments pulling them apart again and again? She’d eventually figure it out but while she was experimenting with different coping methods, she knew staying busy was what would work for her right now. 

“Because, I go a little crazy when you leave on deployments and I barely get to communicate with you. And I feel like I need a life besides the one where I’m constantly thinking about when I’ll be able to talk to you again.”

“Do you not want to do this?”

“Do what?”

“Get married?”

She threw her arms out to the side and let them drop as her words came out with a mix of anger and frustration. “Here we go again with that question! You haven’t exactly asked me to marry you yet!”

Tyler barely let a second pass before he reacted. “You know, what? You should go to New York. Go get your life back.”

Amanda froze. She lowered her jaw, and a tiny puff of air escaped her lungs with a muted, “Ha.” She was way too stubborn to let him see her cry right now. “That’s it, huh?” She nodded and her eyes locked with his. Their bright blue color had the power to melt her heart again and again. But not this time. “Okay, then.” The words came out with a quiet but fierce determination. With a single shake of her head, she stormed past him, secretly hating the fact that he didn’t stop her this time. Her determined strides had her out of the barn, across the stretch of pasture and almost to the house in just under a minute.

“Did you find him?” Her father stopped rocking as Amanda raced up the steps.

 Amanda pulled the screen door ajar, her voice trembling as she continued to hold back her tears. “No. The only person out in the barn is a stranger. I have no idea where Tyler is.” Rushing inside, she let the door close with its familiar squeak of the spring, followed by the slapping sound of wood on wood. As Amanda hurried through the den, her mother’s laughter echoed from the kitchen, fading behind her as she ran up the stairs to hide inside her old room.

A sob caught in her throat at the sudden memory of her last time in here; changing out of wet clothes after a playful fight out in the yard with Tyler over the water hose. Lowering herself onto the bed, she let the tears come as her head fell across the blue and yellow floral pillow sham. Rolling over on her side, her body shook with the cries she fought to keep silent.

Buy Links

Season of Hope FREE DOWNLOAD – HERE **MAY 3rd is the LAST DAY**

Season of Deception BUY HERE

Season of Faith – COMING SOON

More About the Author

Sara Jane Jacobs is an author of contemporary romance who makes her home in Pensacola, Florida. Her summer vacations in her father’s hometown of Franklin, North Carolina were the inspiration behind her first novel, Season of Hope. A few of the adventures of her characters on the fictitious Nathan’s Mountain outside of Bryson City give us a glimpse into some of her cherished childhood memories. While Jane loves the Florida sunshine and Pensacola’s sugar-white sand beaches, the Great Smoky Mountains hold a special place in her heart. She’s a mom to two, Nonni to four and shares her home with a family of felines.

Connect with Sara and her books

Website – https://sarajanejacobs.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sarajanejacobsauthor

Twitter – https://twitter.com/sarajanejacobs

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/jacobsjanesara

Instagram – https://instagram.com/authorsarajanejacobs

GIVEAWAY!

Since Season of Hope is still be free for download today, Sara is offering to one (1) winner, the second book in the series – Season of Deception – as an ebook. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Author Brett Armstrong

Hello, readers…coming to you a bit later in the day. I have a returning author for you to “meet” again. Author Brett Armstrong is here, sharing about his newest release. And a special treat, he has some hand-drawn images of this world he has built narratively AND a giveaway! So, I won’t keep you from the post, but let you have at it:

Thanks, Brett, for being on the blog today! Can you first tell us a little about your new release?

It’s the first entry in a saga that revolves around two characters, Jason and Anargen, who live centuries from one another. Jason has a dark past he’s trying to escape and accidentally stumbles on an inn where the owner is telling a story about Anargen. Jason’s world is an early 20th Century society so they regard the stories from Anargen’s early 17th Century world as fables. But as he listens to the storyteller, he notices the teller himself doesn’t seem crazy. Or like he questions the reality of what he’s saying. Jason gets pulled into the very quest Anargen was on centuries before and their efforts to fulfill this quest span the length of the Quest of Fire series, gradually weaving together and building off one another.

ORIGINAL ARTWORK FROM AUTHOR BRETT ARMSTRONG: Ecthel Honorguardsman, tasked with protecting the Viceroy of Ecthelowall on the eve of a historic peace accord. Intensely loyal, they stick by their ruler no matter the cost to themselves or those in their way.

Wow! Just fascinating. What was the inspiration for THE GATHERING DARK?

This book had a kind of fun start. It began as an assignment in my high school creative writing class. We were told to write a three to five-page fairy tale retelling. My teacher was really accommodating for me, so what I wrote was a twenty-seven-page fusion of my favorite parts of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve re-written over and over and over since then. It looks very different, thankfully, from back then. The inspirations, still carry through, along with Biblical influences. I got the idea for swords that burn without being consumed from the account of Moses and the burning bush, for instance.

And this is why I so like your work…creative, imaginative, and has those recognizable Biblical influences.

Now, we know that the writing process is not all rainbows and sunshine. There are things we don’t all love so much. What part of the writing process do you dread?

Everything after release. Tolkien said it rightly when he released Lord of the Rings: “I am dreading the publication, for it will be impossible not to mind what is said. I have exposed my heart to be shot at.” It’s kind of nerve-wracking waiting to see whether people will love what you’ve written the way you did. Writing is like trekking through the mountains for me. During the writing I discover things much like a reader would. I’m also not much of a salesman, so getting the word out about my books isn’t my strong suit either.

So much agree with this. I discover with my characters and readers as I write. And I am not the promoter I could be either.

Here’ s a question for curiosity’s sake…what are you currently reading?

I’m in between reads, but I’m planning to start Jason Joyner’s Launch soon, which is a Christian superhero novel. I’ve been following him as an author and after all the excitement over Avengers: Endgame, I kind of wanted a little more superhero storytelling in my life.

Interesting….I am on a kick to watch all the Marvel superhero movies right now myself leading up to this weekend, when my husband and I will finally watch Endgame. It’s been interesting, this intense movie-watching of one genre…

Now, as my readers, know, I usually “set a mood” when I write with music and whatnot. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

All different kinds. Classical, movie scores and soundtracks, Christian hymns and contemporary music, select classic and alternative rock, etc. While writing this I really like the sound of the Hunger Games: Sounds From District 12 and Beyond. There’s a lot of folk music in it with that Appalachian sound to it. Which having grown up in Appalachia seems like an obvious choice though it was more for the tonal quality. I feel like even when it’s a happy song, Appalachian music has a kind of somber almost melancholy edge to it. That tenuous balance between tragedy and triumph fits well with a lot of The Gathering Dark. I also really like TobyMac’s Move and Beyond Me for thematic reasons as well.

Neat. I typically do a lot of instrumental soundtracks and had my go-to mix. But recently have made a new mix for each book based on historical time/place.

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

My favorite time isn’t really a specific time of day, its’ that first instant when an idea hits me. Like really hits me and I can’t stop imagining how this bit of a scene or dialogue or sometimes whole chapters play out. I’ve never quite had writer’s block, but normal writing compared moments like those are almost like writer’s block by comparison. They can hit me anytime, anywhere. So long as I have the means to write everything down, that place and that time are my favorites.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It varies pretty wildly. I’ve written books in a few months, others I’ve refined for years. The Gathering Dark took about fourteen years from the first time I wrote about Anargen to holding all 424 pages in my hands. I believe God works everything out in His timing, and with books sometimes there is some essential element of what a book could be that is lacking when you first type “The End.” It’s kind of like making pottery. Every time you hit “The End” again after the first is like the clay spinning around and around, being shaped, reshaped, and ever so subtly adjusted till at last you have something more than the sum all it was composed from. I feel like that might be an “artsy” type answer, but writing is art. And craft. And a journey for reader and writer. Above all, it’s a phenomenal privilege, whether it takes a couple months or a decade and more.

It really is a journey…each time. Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I keep a page with some select projects in the works on my website: https://brettarmstrong.net/works-in-progress/. I will say that in addition to those listed there, I’m closing in on finishing edits to my dystopian/sci-fi novel, Day Moon. I’m pretty excited for that because it’s the first time I’ve had expectations from readers. People ask when I’m going to be done with it and that’s a pretty great feeling. Even if it’s also terrifying, because I don’t want to let anyone down. For the record though, I think Veiled Sun is pretty special and works a lot like Empire Strikes Back for my Tomorrow’s Edge Trilogy.

Nice! Well, I appreciate you coming back on the blog and sharing more about your work and especially opening up about your newest release. I won’t ramble on here though, I bet my readers are eager to jump into the details and the excerpt!

Quest of Fire: The Gathering Dark

Jason is an expert at running from his past. When it catches up, he finds himself hiding in a peculiar inn listening to a tale from centuries past.

The story is Anargen’s, a teen who is pulled from all he loves to follow his oaths of loyalty to the fabled King of the Realms. Together with his mentor, Cinaed, he rides north on a special quest to mediate peace talks between ancient foes—the men of Ecthelowall and the dwarfs of Ordumair. Nothing goes as planned. Many on both sides of the dispute despise Anargen’s Order. Worse, an arcane evil has returned to the North. This “Grey Scourge” seeks to ruin the peace talks and ensure a lost treasure held by the dwarfs is never found by those for whom it is meant.

As Anargen’s story unfolds, Jason begins to wonder whether it is truly just a fable. He soon finds himself drawn into the conflict Anargen faced—a battle which has shaped and can destroy his world.

Enjoy an Excerpt

As much as Quest of Fire is epic fantasy and has adventure and action, I think this scene was among the most fun to write. There are layers of things going on here in both Anargen and his mentor Cinaed, with the backstory for Cinaed appearing in a novella that will release soon. It also inspired the song that became the theme music for the whole book (you can hear the melody in the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/embed/t3KEBnl7E80?rel=0).

Anargen ducked a low hanging tree limb. As he passed under it, he felt its gnarled branches rake over his back like fingers through hair. Spurring his horse on a little faster, he worked his way past the offending tree. Rain continued to fall on the stand of trees in a steady downpour. It was as though the Knights were walking through curtains of rain suspended before them rather than it simply falling from the sky.

After days journeying across a rolling plain of tall, verdant grasses, Anargen should have been glad for this forest. It was, after all, far more evocative of the home he’d left behind. Before entering it, however, the wind took on a boisterous bluster, buffeting them as if trying to push them back to the coast. Then came the rains, which persisted ever since. Today marked a full day of rain. A full day of rain in a wood lacking most of the beauty to which Anargen was accustomed. This stand of spindly ironwoods and other gangly trees was bereft of most of its leaves already. Coarse bushes and thorny vines filled out the spaces and complicated the passage. The scent of multi-flora rose was heavy here, almost sickly sweet.

Somewhere in the distance a limb broke loose and crashed with a muted cry to the ground below. Anargen wanted to spur his horse on faster, but the forest passage was too narrow.

At the head of a single file column, Sir Cinaed cut the path. Into the dark, he trilled the notes of a song.

“Will you be home, will our wait ever end?

What friend may we seek, for our hearts’ rends?”

Cinaed’s voice was clear and mellifluous, the best Anargen had ever heard. But the song was about a family waiting for a father who would never come home. It was the saddest song Walhonde’s mountains ever bore.

“When all our journeys’ ways mend,

Will you be home again?

Will you be home again?”

The songs words pierced between the plates of Anargen’s armor. Passing his mail coat unopposed to strike his heart. Memories of a fire, warm and low in his home’s hearth beset him. His father’s laughter as he told familiar stories with fresh mirth. Mother cooking a savory stew from the autumn garden gleanings.

Then there was something new to the scene. Seren’s smile. Her hand soft and sure in his own as they sat by the fire. It was no longer memory but a longing. Hiraeth. Cinaed’s song was more than words now, it was in his very bones.

Anargen shook his head and refocused his thoughts on where he was. In the unfamiliar wood, dark and cold, riding to the unknown. The storm masked the sky and only the luminance of their armor afforded any light.

Amidst the sea of dreariness, the rain drops sticking to their armor did not extinguish the faint flames. As the drops slid down, they glowed. Ahead, Sir Cinaed looked like a body of earthbound stars gliding through the ebon night.

Of a sudden, the song and stellar migration halted, hovering in wait. Sir Cinaed had reached a wider point in the path. The sound of rain striking the softened soil was like the roar of a small waterfall. Over it, Sir Cinaed boomed, “We’re only a mile or so from a village. We’ll stay there the night and head out tomorrow. Pair up so you don’t get lost, the path becomes rather winding soon.”

Buy Links

Amazon – ebook

Amazon – print

Barnes & Noble

More About the Author

Brett Armstrong has been exploring other worlds as a writer since age nine. Years later, he still writes, but now invites others along on his excursions. He’s shown readers hauntingly sorrowful historical fiction (Destitutio Quod Remissio), scary-real dystopian sci-fi (Day Moon), and dark, sweeping epic fantasy (Quest of Fire – April 2019). Where he heads next is as much a discovery for him as readers. Through dark, despair, light, joy, and everything in between, the end is always meant to leave his fellow literary explorers with wonder and hope.

Connect with Brett and his books

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/brettarmstrongwv

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/BArmstrongWV

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/BrettArmstrongAuthor

Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/ChristianKid044

Website – https://BrettArmstrong.net

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8281587.Brett_Armstrong

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/embed/t3KEBnl7E80?rel=0

GIVEAWAY

Brett is offering one copy of the Kindle version of Quest of Fire: The Gathering Dark one winner. Please follow the directions on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

INTERVIEW & SPOTLIGHT: Author Amy R. Anguish

Welcome, all, to another edition of the blog and another fabulous author for you to meet–author Amy R. Anguish. Amy writes clean contemporary romance. I met her through the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Romance Genre Facebook page, which I continue to enjoy networking and learning through. But enough of that…let’s meet Amy!

Welcome to the blog, Amy! First, can you tell us a little about your novel? 

I got the idea for this book at a time when my sister and I didn’t see eye-to-eye. I’m sure most siblings go through years like that, even after they’re grown. We’re much closer now, but the idea was still there.

What would happen if two sisters who didn’t along were forced to spend a summer together? Would it push their relationship to the limits? Would it bring them closer together?

I let this idea stew for several years, before I realized it paired well with another idea that had been simmering in the back of my brain about a girl who has finally overcome her infertility struggle. Faith, the older sister in my book, is that girl. The younger sister has other issues – mainly trying to figure out what she really wants to do with her life now that she’s lost her dream job. And, of course, there’s a bit of romance, too. 😊

Intriguing…my sister and I did go through this period as well. And now she is one of my best friends!

My readers already know this about me: I definitely set the mood when I write…I have my coffee, my instrumental music…you know? What about you? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?

I’ve heard that you’ll always prefer the music you grew up with to any other kind that comes along later. That’s probably why I listen to a lot of 90s pop when I write. Although I do branch out and listen to some of what my parents grew up with sometimes (ABBA, the Monkees, the Carpenters, etc) or every now and then I throw in my Glenn Miller CD.

Sweet! I grew up on my dad’s favorite music–the Beatles!

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

I don’t know if it’s my favorite time of day, but the time of day I can actually find a quiet moment to write is usually early afternoon. That’s when my kids are napping. I have a comfy chair that rocks a bit and is beside the window and the fireplace with stacks of papers and books around that I can never keep cleaned up.

Kids napping–I know that’s right! Mine are just now starting school. My last one will start this next Fall. Having them home has been a joy, but it does limit your writing time 🙂

How long does it take you to write a book?

Amazingly enough, most of my books were written (first draft) in 30 days. I participate in Nanowrimo every year, and the goal is 50,000 words or more in 30 days. I think I’ve only ever written one manuscript outside of that.

That’s cool! I have done a few manuscripts during Nanowrimo, but not all. That’s a really interesting factoid!

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

This book is set in central Texas, a place my husband and I lived for five years. Even though we love where we live now in Tennessee, there are a lot of things about that area that we miss. Right now, I’m missing the bluebonnets.

Aw…I’m a Tennessee girl myself. Born and raised. Lived in Central Florida for a few years, then moved back to really settle down. Can’t say I miss the palm trees though…

Before I let you go, I have to ask…do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?

I’ve got one manuscript on the back burner, waiting to see if it gets accepted by the publisher I’ve submitted it to. It’s about a girl who tries to adopt a baby who is the only other survivor in a wreck she’s in. I’m also re-writing another manuscript written ages ago that had good bones, but lousy everything else. It’s about a widow who is trying not to fall in love with her husband’s best friend.

What an interesting concept! Hope you have success developing those. Editing and re-writing can be so much harder than writing that first draft.

Thanks again for being on the blog…for sharing about your process and your release. And now, readers, without further ado…I release you to experience this peek at Faith and Hope!

Faith and Hope

Two sisters. One summer. Multiple problems.

Younger sister Hope has lost her job, her car, and her boyfriend all in one day. Her well-laid plans for life have gone sideways, as has her hope in God.

Older sister Faith is finally getting her dream-come-true after years of struggles and prayers. But when her mom talks her into letting Hope move in for the summer, will the stress turn her dream into a nightmare? Is her faith in God strong enough to handle everything?

For two sisters who haven’t gotten along in years, this summer together could be a disaster … or it could lead them to a closer relationship with each other and God. Can they overcome all life is throwing at them? Or is this going to destroy their relationship for good?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“In all honesty, I really thought this meeting might have been to say I was going to get a raise next year.” Hope Cook gave a little chuckle. Anything was better than bursting into tears in front of her boss, even if it was faking laughter.

“Trust me, Hope. If I could have done that, you would be at the top of my list.” Mr. Smith straightened some papers. “Unfortunately, the school board has spoken. The team has to have another coach.”

“I know.” Hope half-heartedly held up a fist. “Go Buckley!”

“If anything changes at all, I’ll let you know.”

Hope couldn’t help but slump her shoulders as she opened the doors to rain. Evidently, the weather was in the same mood she was. She stepped out from under the overhang … and directly into a puddle.

Laid off.

Wet clothes.

Soaked feet.

She listed every bad thing the afternoon had wrought thus far as she squished her way through the parking lot.

“You have got to be kidding me.” The umbrella doused her with another shower as she fought to close it. She tossed the miscreant tool into her backseat and slammed the door.

She took a moment to lay her head on the steering wheel and give in to her depression. “Why, God? Why give me my dream job only to take it away?”

A clap of thunder sounded. She lifted her head and hands.

“Okay, okay. Sorry. But I don’t understand.”

She shook her head. Was she really arguing with God? Obviously, she needed to go home and rest.

Buy Link

Amazon

More About the Author

Amy R Anguish grew up a preacher’s kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a bossy cat or two. Amy has an English degree from Freed-Hardeman University that she intends to use to glorify God, and she wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.

Connect with Amy and her books

Follow her at http://abitofanguish.weebly.com or http://www.facebook.com/amyanguishauthor

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

Amazon

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

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:

a Rafflecopter giveaway