Monday, July 30, 2012

Author Interview: Taming the Wild Wind by Donita K. Paul

Welcome to the CBRB, Donita! Thank you for being here! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was a teacher for several years. After I retired, I decided to try writing professionally. I began writing Christian romance novels and short stories. I eventually broke out of my traditional genre and wrote a young adult Christian fantasy novel. This led me to write an entire fantasy series and a spin-off series.

Recently, I dusted off an old manuscript, rewrote it, and published it as an e-book. This book is a historical Christian romance novel, Taming the Wild Wind.

In my other life, I am a mother and a grandmother. I have four brilliant children (my two and the two they married) and two delightful grandsons. They keep me busy.

Is there a particular genre you enjoy reading/writing and why is it your favorite?


I enjoy reading fantasy, preferably anything with dragons. There are so many opportunities for creativity and imagination in fantasy writing, as well as chances to incorporate allegorical insights. As CS Lewis and others discovered, Christian themes work well in fantasy settings.

Can you tell us two or three things that most readers don’t know about you?


I live in a Hobbit hole (basement apartment).
I have a walk-thru closet (goes to the laundry room and beyond).
I love to sing, but I can never remember the words. So, a lot of my songs have nonsense syllables in them . Do-dum, de-dum, dah-dah-dum.

What five things do you love/like the most?


Since there are more than five members in my family, I will count them all as “one thing.”

It might seem obvious, but I love a good book. The right combination of humor, adventure, romance, character depth, and skillful writing are absolutely delightful.

I also love to craft. I find jewelry making, stamping, and knitting to be relaxing.

One of my favorite things is engage in fellowship with other Christians. I love to surround myself with people.

I find humor to be a necessary ingredient to my continuing sanity. I love to watch funny movies, read humorous books, search the Internet for comical jokes and pictures. On my Pinterest account, I have several boards full of pictures that make me laugh.

If you could meet one person (besides Jesus, because who doesn’t want to meet Him!), who would you choose?


I would love to meet Max Lucado. He is one of my favorite writers. His work is encouraging and hopeful.

What is your favorite Bible story?

I love the story of Gideon. It seems like Gideon kept trying to get out of leading the army, but God showed immense patience and kept His promise.

How do you choose your characters names?

I often create character names based on people I know.

Sometimes, especially with my fantasy novels, I will search through the phone book and pick different syllables to mix together.

If you weren’t an author, what would your dream job be?


A children’s librarian. I would love to find books for kids and encourage them to find joy in reading.

My family might argue that I am already a children’s librarian because I possess a library’s worth of picture books.

Do you have any books that are soon-to-be-released that we should keep an eye out for?


Right now I am in-between projects. I am waiting for my publisher’s approval to write another Christian fantasy novel. This one will be set in a new world.

When there is information available, it will be on my website, www.donitakpaul.com.


Please tell us about the featured book.

http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1319685071l/12565767.jpg
Buy At Amazon

Taming the Wild Wind is my first self-published e-book.

It takes place in the 1840s, in the American Indian Territory.

Ida Meade is a young lady from a proper Pittsburg family. She is chosen, with her fiancé, to start a school out west for Indian children. Ida travels to rugged Oklahoma, where she discovers the wild beauty of God’s creation. While waiting for her fiancé to join her, Ida falls in love with the Indian children and culture.

During her transition from sheltered socialite to independent missionary, Ida deals with ghost stories, fearful prejudices, and kidnappings, while learning about worship, faith, and love.

Can you please give us the first page?

“That house is haunted.”
Ida Meade nodded wearily at the pronouncement. She’d heard it a dozen times since checking into the hotel a week before. Her response remained the same, “I don’t believe in ghosts.”
“Haunted,” the brawny man grunted and hoisted a burlap bag of rice to his shoulder. “That’s what I said.” He carried his load to the waiting buggy.
Watching Lucas plod back and forth from the storeroom door to the surrey, Ida recalled some of the others in town who’d nervously couched their warnings with snickers.
“I don’t believe it myself,” the clerk at the front desk of the Granger Hotel had said. He tapped a stubby pencil on the polished check-in desk. He looked cautiously around the lobby before leaning closer to whisper, “But there’s been people seen things. Things that aren’t natural.”

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Book Review: A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn

Buy At Amazon
"An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them?

Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business?

Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?"

This year I have read many debut novels and I must say that Keli's has surpassed them all. Everything was done perfectly! From vivid descriptions to believable and lovable characters. From a fast-paced plot to a heart-fluttering romance. Keli certainly included all the ingredients to create the perfect novel... and she has accomplished just that.

Elenora was a very strong-headed heroine. Her enthusiasm to accomplish things to the best of her ability was admirable. And Tildy was such a fun character! Her zest for life was inspiring and she definitely added a humorous edge to the book. Miles, once he stopped being so pig-headed (prideful), was a wonderful hero;) The secondary characters rounded out the story nicely, as well.

As I mentioned before, the plot was fast-paced and encouraged me to continue reading. I had to know how the story finished! From being interested in how Elenora progressed in her business to anticipating the next run-in between the hero and heroine, there was never a dull moment! And I must add that the romance was very well done. In a romance, I expect the author to throw the main characters together at every possible moment and Keli did just that.

As I'm sure you've noticed, I enjoyed Keli's debut novel novel immensely and I am eagerly awaiting her next release (I would love to see Tildy have a story all on her own, hint, hint, Keli:). I highly recommend A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. It rightfully earns 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Many thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy of this book **

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Peek Into A Blogger's Book Life: Interview 3~ Katie McCurdy

For the third post in a "Peek Into A Blogger's Book Life" series, please welcome to the CBRB, Katie McCurdy!:) If you haven't read and joined in on the discussion(s) for the last two interviews, you can click the following two links to access them (Amber is giving away a $10 Amazon gift-card for anyone who joins in on her discussion): Amber and Casey.

I hope you enjoy this week's interview and please join in on the discussion- the more the merrier!

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Welcome to the CBRB, Katie! I’m so glad to have you here! What is your favorite genre?

Thank you so much for having me here! :-) Oh, that’s an easy question—Definitely suspense! Suspense, action, adventure, and thrillers. Those always…thrill me!! :-)

I have to agree with you on that answer, Katie. Suspense is one of the best genres! What is your all time favorite book?

Ohhh, tough question! There are so many AMAZING books out there! Hmm. My favorite series (if that’s okay to name a series instead of a book) is without a doubt Lisa Bergren’s River of Time series. I could rave about that series all day, and still have more to say. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!

What character has stood the test of time?

Lord Roldolfo Greco. As soon as I read about him in Cascade by Lisa Bergren, I was intrigued. By the time I read Torrent I had totally fallen for him. And no matter what book I’ve read with an awesome hero…no one has yet taken (or will ever take!) Greco’s place! ;-)

What was the most boring book you've read?

Oh. Hmm. I’ve never really thought of what book I thought the worst. Seems so mean, haha! Let me think…I would have to say that the most boring book I can think of at the moment was Missing in Mexico by Stuart Gustafson. I’m sorry, but it just wasn’t my type and near-torture to finish that book!

What book has had the most BANG! ending?

Let’s see. There are a lot of books that have really awesome endings…but one that totally threw me (in a good and bad way) was Inside Threat by  Jason Elam and Steven Yohn. I really did like the book, but the ending was so unexpected and shocking…I seriously felt shell-shocked when I read the last page. Took me a while after closing the book to fully digest it all. Wow, yeah, I’d name Inside Threat as having a BANG! of an ending!

Which character has disgusted you the most?

I would have to say that Bruzon from Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig really disgusted me. He was calculating and made the perfect ‘bad guy’ and he just totally disgusted me in the way he tortured Dani while she was captured. Ugh! I was glad to see that guy finally get his due.

Which character has been the Villain of Villains?

Paratore from the River of Time series. That guy made my skin crawl!! To use Gabi’s expression, that guy is “Major Creeporama!”

Okay, a really fun question: If you could choose one character to be your husband who would you choose?

Oh! I totally know this one! :-D If I could marry a fictitious character, it would be Lord Rodolfo Greco from Lisa Bergren’s River of Time series. Definitely. In a heartbeat. Without a doubt. And I’d live happy ever after!!! ;-)

Last question: what is the ideal Christian fiction novel?

Hmm…I think I’d pick The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund. The other books I mentioned here (Bergren and Kendig) are really good, but Hedlund also needs to be noticed, I feel. The Doctor’s Lady was just such an awesome historical read—I loved it! There are many other authors out there that I could also name. In the past few years we have been blessed by some wonderful Christian fiction coming out into the market!

Thank you so much for having me here today! Those questions were a ton of fun to answer! :-D

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Wow, Katie. If you hadn't already convinced me that the River of Time series was a must read, I would be convinced after reading this interview:)  I agree with another blogger who said that you must be Lisa's biggest fan. Anyway, thank you once again for being here!

Readers, the discussion question for this week is "If you could choose one character to be your husband who would you choose?" Okay, I'm really eager to see your answers! Hmm, I think I would have to say Nick Franco from the Rose Trilogy by Beverly Lewis... except he won't be Amish;) So, which hero has wove his way into your heart the most? Leave a comment with your answer!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: To See The Sun by Peggy Phifer

Welcome to the CBRB, Peg! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

    I am a retired executive secretary with a Fortune 500 company. Went through an unwanted divorce 32 years ago which ended up in my relocation from the cold climes of northern Wisconsin to the desert warmth of southern Nevada. But I'll tell you this: as much as I hated the cold winters up north—I HATE being cold—I'm not overly fond of the broiling heat here in the summer, either.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?


    Reading has always been my passion. I think I ingested the love of books and reading with Mother's milk. But as I grew into my adolescence I began to think "I can write like that . . . even better" and thus began my slip into the writing end of books. I would sometimes rewrite the endings to something I liked better. ::smile::

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

    Because it's the genre I most like to read. There's something compelling about a Suspense, whether Romantic or not, that fascinates me. Everyone likes to try to figure out 'whodunit' and I like to keep them off balance.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?


    Time. Still is. Discipline comes next. I think these are ongoing battles for me.

Has writing changed your life in any way?


    I think I'd go crazy in retirement if I couldn't write. God gave me the talent and He gives me the story.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

    That's hard to say. There are many that have spoken to me at different points through this journey. Perhaps the one with the most "push" for me is Acts 20:24: "But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."
    What better verse could a writer have?

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

    Oh, wow, that's tough. Many, many books have lingered in my mind long after reading them. "Exodus" by Leon Uris is one. "Tender Victory" by Taylor Caldwell is another. And, believe it or not, Tolstoy's "War and Peace." I've actually read it twice.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

    Neither funny nor quirky, but I'd have to say this spring/summer has been a doozie. Broke a bone in my foot in April and walked on it for a month before realizing it. I was put into one of those ugly black walking boots for eight weeks.
    Then, while still wearing "Clugly," (my name for the beast…clunky and ugly) IT caused me to fall when it caught on the doorsill and threw me out onto our concrete patio, breaking my arm just below the wrist. I'll be in a cast for at least six weeks.

Please tell us about the featured book.

  
Buy At Amazon
Pregnant and widowed hadn’t been part of her “happily ever after” dream. And now, someone was trying to kill her . . .

Erin Macintyre never expected to be a widow and a new mother in the same year, anymore than she expected mysterious notes, threatening phone calls, and a strange homeless man who seems to know all about her. The thought of raising a child without a father is daunting enough—worse when you have no idea who might want to harm you. Put an old flame into the mix, and her life begins a tailspin into a world she never knew existed.

When P.I. Clay Buchanan, stumbles upon Erin at her husband's gravesite, he’s totally unprepared for her advanced pregnancy. Her venomous reaction at seeing him, however, was predictable. But Clay can’t let her distrust, or his guilt, get in the way—not when he has evidence that proves Erin’s life is in danger.

With few options left, Erin begrudgingly accepts Clay’s help . . . and it just might be her undoing.

Can you please give us the first page?

Friday, March 26, late afternoon


What a fantastic day
. A bid won. A contract signed. The job of a lifetime that would put Stuart and Macintyre at the top of the construction heap, not just in Las Vegas, but all of southern Nevada.
Whistling, Justin Macintyre pressed the keyless remote of his Cadillac Escalade, tossed his briefcase across the console to the passenger seat and slid behind the wheel.  To top it all off, after seven long years, he and his wife, Erin, were going to have a baby. A baby! He laughed aloud at the overwhelming joy of it.
"Hey, world, I'm going to be a daddy!"
He shifted the SUV into gear and pulled out of the Mt. Charleston Lodge area onto Kyle Canyon Road and headed down the mountain to the Las Vegas Valley below. Despite the successful day, Justin couldn't banish his worry over a recent discovery of some irregularities in the company's finances. Nothing concrete, and his Uncle Sebastian, S&M's CFO, assured him everything was fine. Nevertheless, Justin's uneasiness had prompted him to send what little proof he had to his long-time friend, Clay Buchanan, a private investigator in Texas.
Preoccupied with his thoughts, he vaguely registered the yellow and black blind curve warning sign. Too late he saw the stalled car across the center line. No time to stop! He spun the  wheel to the right.
I'm going too fast! God, help me . . .!
###
Seconds passed and silence settled once more over the mountainside. A shadow emerged from behind a Joshua tree and stepped to the edge of the ravine. After a moment, the form walked to the car in the road and drove away.

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Giveaway!
Okay, readers, you won't want to miss out on this giveaway opportunity. Peg has graciously offered to giveaway "one Gift Card for a Kindle or Nook copy of To See the Sun (e-book version), winner's choice!" Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. And be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

While your commenting, why don't you holler a big thanks to Peg for her generosity!?

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using Random.org.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Mary's Blessing by Lena Nelson Dooley

Welcome to the CBRB, Lena! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been married to the love of my life for almost 48 years. We live in north Texas. We enjoy spending time with friends and family. All of our immediate family, except our army grandson, live in the same area we do.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?

I grew up in a family where everyone wrote. I didn’t know people didn’t write until I grew up. The only one besides me who is published is my brother who is a pastor. He had a nonfiction book published several years ago.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

I write the kind of books that I like to read—books with characters, who grip your heart. They can appear in various genres, and I have written in a number of genres. Right now, my last three books that a publisher contracted were historical romantic fiction. And the next four contracted books are as well.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

Probably all the waiting. To overcome that, I had to learn to be patient. And God gave me plenty of opportunities to do that.

Has writing changed your life in any way?


It has enriched my life—both by knowing editors, agents, and other authors as well as connecting with amazing readers. It has also changed my reading habits. With all the research I do and reading other authors’ manuscripts for possible endorsements, my own reading for enjoyment has decreased.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?


God has given me several personal scripture verses at various times in my life—Proverbs 37: 4-5, Jeremiah 29: 13-14a, and now, Philippians 3:10.

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

There are so many fantastic books published recently. I could make a rather long list. Come over to my blog and meet some of the authors:
http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

There are so many things. Which one do I chose? I’m a recovering perfectionist. I like everything done a specific way. When I’m home, I even lay out my vitamins and herbs in a certain order before I take them. If I were to have had a mental illness, I’m sure it would have been obsessive/compulsive disorder. Praise the Lord, He has kept me from that.

Ha! Ha! I'm quite opposite from you in that aspect;) Please tell us about the featured book.
Buy At Amazon

I loved writing this series. Identical triplets born on one of the last wagon trains on the Oregon Trail. Their mother died giving birth, and their father was so heartbroken, he can’t think straight, so he gives away two of the girls to other families on the wagon train. The girls grow up not knowing they have sisters. They find out near their 18th birthday.

With Mary’s Blessing, here’s the back cover copy:
When her mother dies, Mary Lenora must grow up quickly to take care of her brothers and sisters. Can love help her to shoulder the burden?

Mary Lenora Caine knows she is adopted. As she was growing up, her mother called her “God’s blessing.” But now that she’s gone, Mary no longer feels like any kind of blessing. Her father, in his grief, has cut himself off from the family, leaving the running of the home entirely in Mary’s hands.
As she nears her eighteenth birthday, Mary can’t see anything in her future but drudgery. Then her childhood friend Daniel begins to court her, promising her a life of riches and ease. But her fairy-tale dreams turn to dust when her family becomes too much for Daniel, and he abandons her in her time of deepest need.

Will Daniel come to grips with God’s plan for him? And if he does return, can Mary trust that this time he will really follow through?

Can you please give us the first page?

Chapter 1
Outside Oregon City
April 1885
    “Pa?” Mary Lenora Murray shouted back over her shoulder as she picked up the heavy picnic basket. “You ready to go?” Why does he always drag his feet when we’re going to church?
    Her father came through the mud room into the kitchen, letting the screen door slam shut behind him. He smelled of heat, hay, and sunshine, with the strong tang of muck from the barn mingled in. By the looks of his clothes, attending church was the farthest thing from his mind. His ratty trousers held smudges of several dark colors. She didn’t even want to guess what they were. And the long sleeves of his undershirt, the only thing covering his torso, were shoved above his elbows. Grayed and dingy, the shirt would never be white again, no matter how hard she tried to get it clean.
    Mary bit her tongue to keep from scolding him as she did her younger brothers and sister when they made such a racket entering the house. No doubt, he would give her some excuse about having too much work to go to church. Not a big surprise. She’d heard it all before too many times.
    He set a bucket of fresh water beside the dry sink and gripped his fingers around the front straps of his suspenders. That always signaled he was about to tell her something she didn’t want to hear.
    “I’m not going today.” This time, he didn’t really make any excuses. Just this bald-faced comment.
    She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm her anger. She’d give him a sweet answer even if the words tasted bitter in her mouth. “The new pastor is coming today. We’re having dinner on the grounds after the service. Remember, I told you when we got home last Sunday.” She flashed what she hoped was a warm smile at him and prayed he couldn’t tell it was fake.

Where can readers learn more information about you?

I’m all over the Internet. In addition to my blog, which I gave the link for above, I’m here:
Website: www.lenanelsondooley.com
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lenandooley/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lena.nelson.dooley
Official Fan Page: www.facebook.com/pages/Lena-Nelson-Dooley/42960748768?ref=ts
Twitter: @lenandooley
Shoutlife: http://www.shoutlife.com/lenanelsondooley
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/333031.Lena_Nelson_Dooley

Thank you again for being here, Lena! For those who missed the link to Lena's blog, which happens to be one of my favorite blogs, here it is: http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com. Just out of curiosity, have any of you read one of Lena's books? If so, which one(s) have you read and what was your favorite aspect of the story?
 

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Giveaway!
Lena has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of Mary's Blessing! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only. (If you win and you don't live in the U.S., you will receive an eBook copy of Mary's Blessing.) Be sure to check the sidebar (under Winner Announcement) after the giveaway is over to see if you've won. The winner must contact me by going to my "Contact Me" page and sending me an email. 

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Friday, August 10, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using Random.org.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Peek Into A Blogger's Book Life: Interview 2- Casey Herringshaw

Wow, a week has passed by already... and it's time for the next post in the "A Peek Into A Blogger's Book Life" series. Today I'm featuring Casey- a lovely young woman whose blog has both edified and inspired me. (If you missed the last interview with Amber, go check it out HERE. I've decided to extend the giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift-card that Amber has graciously offered. God willing, the winner will be announced in the last post of this series.)

Okay, without further ado, here's Casey...

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Welcome to the CBRB, Casey! I’m thrilled to have you here! What is your favorite genre?

LOL! What genre ISN’T would be a better question. ;-) If I had to pick just one though that I could never deviate from reading ever again, I would say inspirational contemporary fiction. So much to love and it’s wide enough to include many of my varying tastes in reading.

What is your all time favorite book?

Again, tough question. I would probably say Hidden Places by Lynn Austin. That book has SUCH a strong plot to it and characters that leap from the page. I think I’ve read the book three times now. It’s almost time for a fourth.

What character has stood the test of time?

Definitely Faith O’Connor in A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman. If there is someone I want to be when I grow up, it’s Faith.

What was the most boring book you've read?

Oh….think I’ll pass on this question. Trust me, I’ve read them. Just don’t like to bash them. ;-)

I completely understand;-) What book has had the most BANG! ending?

Hmm. I actually don’t like “bang” endings, because they come on too fast most of the time. I will say the ending to Brandilyn Collins’ Over the Edge was WOW, what just happened?? But in a good way.
 
Which character has disgusted you the most?

It’s usually a villain, or someone who plays a villain like character in a book. I hate it when in-laws try and take something away from their daughter-or son-in-law, because they think they deserve it. Makes my blood boil when I read that.

Which character has been the Villain of Villains?

I think I’m going to go back to Hidden Places and say Frank Wyatt. That man was controlling people even from the grave. Shudder. Definitely a villain to remember.

Okay, a really fun question: If you could choose one character to be your husband who would you choose?

LOL! Hmm. I think I would have to say Levi Grant from To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer. THAT character was truly one that made my heart sigh—in so many ways.

Last question: what is the ideal Christian fiction novel?

Ideal for me is: gritty characters and/or story line that rise above their circumstances, their faith in God strengthened and oftentimes challenged. Romance is always a good mix to blend the plot and a story that is rife with conflict and challenge, but moves me at the heart level. That is what equates “ideal” to me. And I’m so thankful to find that more times than not!

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Thank you again, Casey, for being here! I'm adding those books you mentioned to my ever growing "to be read" pile:-)  Alright readers, the discussion question for this week is "What character has stood the test of time?" Or, in other words, if you could invite one character to have tea- or coffee- with you, who would you choose? (And just for fun... which beverage do you prefer: coffee or tea? I think I already know the answer:-)

Hmm, since I'm asking the question, I suppose I have the right to slightly modify it:)- I can't narrow it down to one character but I can name one family. The Tucker Family from the Shiloh Legacy series by Bodie and Brock Thoene. They have definitely stood the test of time! So, join in on the discussion! Who knows, maybe one of you just might win a prize;-)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Litfuse Blog Tour (Book Review): Inescapable by Nancy Mehl

Buy At Amazon
About the Book:
"Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, Kingdom, Kansas, with plans never to return.

But five years later, the new life she built is falling apart. Lizzie knows she's being followed, and she's certain the same mysterious stranger is behind the threatening letters she's received. Realizing she'll have to run again, the only escape Lizzie can manage is a return to the last place she wants to go.

Once she arrives in Kingdom, Lizzie is confident she'll be safe until she comes up with a new plan. In reacquainting herself with the town and its people--especially her old friend, Noah Housler--she wonders if she judged her hometown and her Mennonite faith too harshly. However, just as she begins to come to terms with her roots, Lizzie is horrified to discover the danger she ran from is closer than ever. 

No longer sure who to trust and fearful for her life and the lives of those around her, Lizzie finds she has only one place left to run--to the Father whose love is inescapable."



My Thoughts:
Inescapable was a nice, fast-paced read. The premise and setting of the story intrigued me immediately. Nancy certainly met my expectations in the mystery department! Multiple twists and turns kept me guessing and on my toes- and the ending was somewhat unexpected.

The relationship Lizzie had with her daughter Charity, or Cherry-Bear as Lizzie called her, was sweet. Charity was a lovable character who had me chuckling quite a bit. In fact, there were several scenes in the book that had me laughing- especially one of the ending scenes. Considering the genre, the humorous factor was unexpected, yet wholly welcome.

Unfortunately, I could not connect with any of the other characters. They seemed rather one-dimensional since the book was written in first person- another thing I disliked. Also, because the book was written in first person (Lizzie's perspective), there was no chance to "fall in love" with the hero. Furthermore, I felt the romance was lacking. I would flip through several pages before finding another scene where the main characters would interact.

Overall, this was a nice, one-time read with a fair amount of surprises. I rate it 4 stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Thanks to Litfuse  for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review 


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Celebrate with Nancy by entering her "Inescapable" Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 7/26!

Find out what readers are saying here.


One winner will receive:
  • A Handmade Mennonite Quilt
  • A copy of Inescapable by Nancy Mehl
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 25th. Winner will be announced at the "Inescapable" Author Chat Facebook Party on 7/26. Nancy will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills (how much do you know about the Mennonites?) and giving away some great prizes!
So grab your copy of Inescapable and join Nancy on the evening of the July 26th for a chance to connect with Nancy and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun- RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 26th!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Peek Into A Blogger's Book Life: Interview 1- Amber Stokes

For the month of July, I've decided to do something a little out of the ordinary (at least, for this blog:). Each Friday, I'll introduce you to a wonderful person I've met on the Blogosphere and, hopefully, you'll enjoy the fun questions I've asked them concerning books. Hopefully, you'll also join in on the discussion we'll be having at the end of each interview.

Okay, on this first interview we'll get a peek into Amber Stokes "book life." Hope you enjoy it!


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Welcome to the CBRB, Amber! I’m so glad to have you here! What is your favorite genre?

Thank you so much for inviting me! It’s an honor to be here. =)

Generally, my favorite genre to read and to write is Christian Historical Romance. I’m glad I’m not limited to reading just one genre, though!

What is your all time favorite book?

Well, as cliché as it probably sounds, I really do have to say that my all time favorite book is the Bible. God’s word to us, full of the guidance and wisdom and grace that we need – it just can’t get any better than that!

As far as choosing a favorite fiction book, this really is a crazy-hard decision! I can tell you at least one of my favorites: The Redemption by MaryLu Tyndall. Historical romance with pirate flair first caught my attention in elementary school, when I read the “Buccaneers” series by Linda Lee Chaikin. Adventure and romance and purpose – I loved it! And then reading “The Legacy of the King’s Pirates” series by MaryLu Tyndall in high school… Talk about great books!

What character has stood the test of time?


Sherlock Holmes. OK, I’m definitely thinking of his character as it’s been portrayed not just in the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, but in the new BBC modern-day television series. I love how unique and quirky and legendary his character is, and how he continues to fascinate us in the 21st century. I’ve been inspired to read some more of the original stories because of how much I love the BBC series!

What was the most boring book you've read?


Can I choose a book that I never finished? Because I know Moby Dick is a classic, but that book just goes on and on. In a blog post author Jonathan Rogers wrote that “Moby Dick is a book about whaling.” [Here’s the link to that blog post: http://jonathan-rogers.com/?p=1520.] Studying it for a literature class to try and find the symbolism and all that… Yeah, I just don’t know. I’m sure there’s some there. But it seems to be mostly a book about whaling with lots and lots of details regarding the subject!

Another book that seems to go on and on that I never finished? Great Expectations. (OK, I really shouldn’t be sharing this since I was an English major in college – but not every book is going to capture everyone’s attention, you know?)

What book has had the most BANG! ending?


One Christian fiction book that has a literal “BANG!” ending is Pompeii: City on Fire by T. L. Higley. I’m not a huge fan of volcanoes. (I seriously dislike the movie Dante’s Peak!) But I AM a huge fan of Higley’s work – and this book is another great one that brought a tear to my eye at the powerful ending.

A couple of vampire books that have kind of intense endings are the classic Dracula by Bram Stoker (I really did like this classic, LOL!) and Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis . (Leanna Ellis is a Christian author, but this vampire book is written for a secular audience, just to clarify.)

I also have to throw a YA fantasy series in here: the “Phantom Island” series by Krissi Dallas. All three books – Windchaser, Windfall, and Watercrossing (with more to come!) – have great, albeit sometimes frustrating, endings!

Which character has disgusted you the most?


Charity in A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman. I love that book, and it’s so emotionally absorbing that it’s easy to get super-frustrated with Charity and her shenanigans!!

Which character has been the Villain of Villains?


Hmmm… I could go with Iago in Othello or the two hateful daughters in King Lear (both plays by Shakespeare) – or even Moriarty, since I brought up Sherlock Holmes earlier. ;) But as far as Christian fiction goes, I’ll say the villains in Treasures of the North by Tracie Peterson and Snow Angel by Jamie Carie. I read Treasures of the North when I was younger, and that villain’s treachery adds a lot of suspense to the book – and makes the romance all the sweeter. Kind of the same thing in Snow Angel, actually. Books where the villain is completely obsessive and actively pursuing the heroine, which then causes the hero to shine all the brighter due to his true, sacrificing love… What can I say? I just really love a good romance story!

Okay, a really fun question: If you could choose one character to be your husband who would you choose?

Oh, that IS a fun question! Although it’s difficult to narrow it down, LOL! There are a few heroes that especially stand out to me: Jesse from Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond, Robert Cranwell from Chateau of Echoes by Siri Mitchell, Captain Merrick from The Redemption by MaryLu Tyndall, and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (I confess I saw the PBS Masterpiece movie before I read the book, so I picture Henry looking like JJ Field). Jesse embodies tenderness and patience; Cranwell stands out to me as a mature, well-rounded, sweet, caring man; Captain Merrick is unswervingly loyal and incredibly dashing/charming; and Henry is intelligent and has a great sense of humor.

So… Can I get a man that has all of these traits?? ;) Of course, I think I’m also slightly biased toward my own characters in the works I’m writing. Maybe, if it’s the Lord’s will, I’ll get to introduce ya’ll to some of my heroes someday!

Last question: what is the ideal Christian fiction novel?


I think the ideal Christian fiction novel is one that has great characters – flawed but ultimately inspiring – and a great storyline with plenty of action and humor and romance (if it fits in the genre, of course!). But, most importantly, it should have an overall theme (usually emphasized through some specific element or scene) that inspires or challenges or encourages the reader to think more deeply about God’s truths, to embrace His promises, and to grow in godly characteristics (i.e.: understanding, patience, love, hope). Really, everything just has to come together into a well-written story that is authentic (that is, not “preachy”) and moving and powerful in its reminder of what it is to be human and how much we need God. It’s a tall order, for sure, but we ARE talking ideals here!

Thank you again for this opportunity to share my thoughts about books with you and your readers! You can learn more about me at my blog, “Seasons of Humility,” and on Twitter (@SeasonsHumility). [Link to my blog: http://seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/]


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Okay, readers, it's your turn now. Today's question is, "What is your all time favorite book?" I'm eager to see your answers! Mine is- for now- For Time and Eternity by Allison Pittman. A PHENOMENAL story! So, what's yours? Do any of you share the same one(s) as Amber and I?

P.S. Amber is graciously offering a $10 Amazon gift-card to one blessed person who joins in on  the discussion. God willing, I'll announce the winner next Friday on the second post of this "A Peek Into A Blogger's Book Life" series.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Rainbow's End by Valerie Comer, Annalisa Daughety, Cara Putman, and Nicole O'Dell

Valerie
Welcome to the CBRB, Valerie, Annalisa, Cara, and Nicole! Thank you for the honor of featuring you, ladies! To get to know each of you a little bit, can each of you please tell us about yourself?

Valerie Comer is a gardener, beekeeper, and local food advocate, living on a farm in western Canada with her husband and various livestock. Besides writing, she loves camping and geocaching, snuggling her granddaughters, and eating dark chocolate. Not necessarily in that order.

Annalisa Daughety writes contemporary fiction set in historic locations. Rainbow’s End is her eighth release and she has three more novels scheduled to release in 2012. In addition to writing, Annalisa works for the National Foundation for Transplants. She lives in Arkansas with three spoiled dogs.

Cara Putman is an attorney and a homeschooling mom, living in Indiana with her husband and four kids. She's the author of a 14 novels: some contemporary romantic mystery, the rest World War II homefront stories.

Nicole O'Dell is the mom of six, including preschool triplets, and lives in Illinois. She's passionate about helping teens and parents and, as such, is the founder of Choose NOW Ministries and author of both fiction for teens and parenting books for those who love them.
Annalisa

Is there a particular genre you enjoy reading/writing and why is it your favorite?

Valerie: I enjoy both reading and writing contemporary romance, in part because our culture faces so many interesting challenges these days. I particularly enjoy stories that give insight into environmental issues from a Christian worldview.

Annalisa: I like to read to escape—so I enjoy light-hearted books (usually contemporary romance) that have a bit of humor. I also really enjoy cozy mysteries. I’m also a history buff—so I like to set my contemporary stories in a place where I can bring out a bit of the history of a place.

Cara: I love a good romantic suspense or strong suspense story. I want characters who are growing and changing throughout the story. And I love a historical set in a new time period – especially if it has strong characters with humor. Oddly enough those are also the types of stories I love to write!

Nicole: I like reading gritty books about issues—and that’s what I write. I particularly enjoy writing stories about people who overcome hardships and are faced with some tough decisions. I like to work out the consequences of choice through the story.
 
Cara
Can you tell us two or three things that most readers don’t know about you?

Valerie: I love camping by a mountain stream and picking
huckleberries on hot August days.

Annalisa: I just started taking tap dancing lessons and am also training for my first half marathon.

Cara: I’ve completed three mini-marathons, and my husband started talking me into a fall one before we ran our last in May. I have also taught classes at a law school, Big Ten university, community college, and currently an international graduate school.

Nicole: I turned in my first two books from my hospital bed while I was waiting for my triplets to be born. I haven’t slept since. 

What five things do you love/like the most?
Nicole

Valerie: My granddaughters, garden-fresh tomatoes, my morning mocha, my loaded Kindle, and my laptop.

Annalisa: My family/friends/dogs, Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks, a beach vacation, the feeling on Friday afternoon when the weekend stretches ahead, and college football season.

Cara: I love what everyone else had to say. Love Peppermint Mochas, college football, classic movies, my family (extended to include 20 nieces and nephews – it’s a clan!) and my Savior!

Nicole: My family, a nice long bike ride, a jacuzzi soak, a bowl of popcorn, and a movie. That also describes my perfect day!

If you could meet one person (besides Jesus, because who doesn’t want to meet Him!), who
would you choose?

Valerie: Edward Brown, author of "Our Father's World" and a man who's done a lot to mobilize the church to care for God's creation.

Annalisa: I’m a huge sports fan—so I’m going to have to go with Tim Tebow.  He’s such a good example to so many people and seems like a genuinely nice person.

Cara: Margaret Thatcher. I’ve long admired her conviction at a difficult time in world history and the fact she was a woman in a traditionally male role. The impact she had on Europe and the world in the 1980s is still being felt – the European WSJ had an article this week about how we need a new Maggie Thatcher. (though I wouldn’t mind being part of Annalisa and Nicole’s either!)

Nicole: Beth Moore. I’d love to pick her brain and raid her closet. 

What is your favorite Bible story?


Valerie: I've been thinking a lot lately on Jeremiah 18 and how we are all lumps of clay in the Potter's hands. 2 Corinthians 4:7 makes it current: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us."

Annalisa: I’ve always loved the story of Jesus calming the storm. It reminds me that no matter what is going on or how chaotic my life seems, He is in control.

Cara: I love the story of Esther and the idea that we are here on this planet for such a time as this. There’s no accident to the timing – besides I would have been stoned for not fitting into the tiny box women had thousands of years ago.

Nicole: I love the story of Hezekiah when God told him he was to die. Hezekiah asked for more time, and God granted it. To me it’s proof that prayer can change things, and that God hears and answers.

Amen to all of your answers! How do you choose your characters names?


Valerie: It usually takes a bit of searching online or in baby name books, because the name has to match the personality. Once the name is right, the character kind of clicks together.

Annalisa: Sometimes I name characters after friends or family. Or sometimes I hear a name somewhere and jot it down to use later. I’ve changed names right at the last edit because they didn’t feel right.

Cara: Often it’s a lot of prayer and flipping through baby name books. Sometimes I will borrow a name from someone I want to honor. Sometimes the name just comes to me. But often it takes some serious thought.

Nicole: I’m a little more haphazard at the choice. I really don’t spend a lot of time on it. I pick what comes to mind and then just wait to see if it sticks. I’ve been known to change a name if it’s not working out.

If you weren’t an author, what would your dream job be?

Valerie: I'm currently doing double duty by writing and managing a small-town flooring shop, which allows me to play with one of my other loves, interior decorating. I enjoy helping homeowners pull their desired look together.

Annalisa: I used to be a park ranger for the National Park Service. That was definitely a dream job. I’ve incorporated it into my writing by setting some of my books in National Parks.

Cara: I would love to be a judge or politician. For a long time I thought that or journalism was where I was headed. But I love the path God has me on.

Nicole: I’d love to have been a doctor of some kind. Or a politician—most people don’t know that about me. I have definite political tendencies.

What is the hardest thing about writing a part of a novella collection?

Valerie: Getting a complete romantic arc into 1/4 the length I was used to writing in. Oh the subplots and threads I had to chop out!

Annalisa: I agree! Making sure the story felt “complete” even though it was short was a little tough.

Cara: The key to novellas (I’ve found) is to focus on the romance with one other sub-plot. For Rainbow’s End, that subplot in mine had a suspense/stalker take. But I kept everything else focused on moving the romance forward in the setting of geo-coaching.

Nicole: I agree with Val, it was short. But it was a good exercise in using fewer words—something most novelists can use help with.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?

Valerie: For me, working with these awesome gals got me my first writing contract (and thus, my agent), so the impact was huge.

Annalisa: I really loved working with Valerie, Cara, and Nicole. Writing can seem so lonely sometimes. It was nice to have their support and input as I wrote. I’d do it again without hesitating!

Cara: As an extrovert I LOVED working with them. I already knew Annalisa and Nicole…and loved getting to be part of Valerie landing her first contract. It is fun to brainstorm, crit each other’s novellas, etc.

Nicole: I just LOVE all of these women and count it a great honor to be listed among them on this project. Not typically a group-project person, myself, I had my reservations. In the end, it was perfect and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Please tell us about the featured book, Rainbow's End.
Buy At Amazon

Join a geocaching adventure in the spectacular Lake of the Ozarks wilderness, with Lyssa, the reluctant volunteer whose former nemesis is now her chief sponsor; Madison, a city girl paired with an outdoorsy guy who gets on her very last nerve; cautious Reagan, who meets an equally cautious guy; and Hadley, who doesn’t know enough about guys to realize she’s met a womanizer. Will they find the treasure they’re looking for … or something else entirely?

Can you please give us the first page?


"Topaz Treasure" (by Valerie Comer) is the first novella in the book.

Lyssa Quinn clutched a bright-pink folder stuffed with advertising forms against her chest and squeezed her eyes shut. Please God. Help me be brave. She squared her shoulders and released each cramped finger individually. She could do this.

Frigid air conditioning laced with the odor of new carpet blasted into the Missouri humidity as Lyssa shouldered open the glass door of Osage Beach’s newest shop. This looked like the kind of corporate sponsor the Rainbow’s End Treasure Hunt needed, with a name like Communication Location: Home of Gizmos, Gadgets, and More—gadgets that included cell phones and GPS handhelds, if the posters plastering the windows were to be believed. Along with a smaller sign that announced Opening Soon. Well, she didn’t have time to wait, not if she was to have all the advertising and sponsorship in place before the middle of June. Only a month to go.

At least the door was unlocked and the fluorescents blazed down. Stacks of cardboard boxes lined the aisles next to partially filled shelves. Somebody must be around. If she was lucky, somebody sympathetic.

But what if they weren’t? Maybe she should come back another day. Or never. How had Noah talked her into this? She glanced at the folder in her hands, covered with decals from her third-grade class. Cute stickers with chalkboards and apples. #1 Teacher. If she could face twenty-nine kids five days a week, surely she could face one manager.

Where can readers learn more information about each of you?


You can discover our blogs, newsletters, and links to connect with each of us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc, on our websites:

Valerie Comer: http://valeriecomer.com
Annalisa Daughety: http://annalisadaughety.com
Cara Putman: http://caraputman.com
Nicole O'Dell: http://nicoleodell.com

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GIVEAWAY!
Nicole (and the other fine ladies, I'm sure!) has (have) kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of Rainbow's End to one blessed winner. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Be a subscriber +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using Random.org.