Monday, September 18, 2017
Monday, September 11, 2017
Looking Out the Window: Anne Patrick Talks About Her New Thriller, Cold Blooded. Gives Away a Kindle Copy
A Warm Welcome to Anne Patrick
Anne will give away a Kindle copy of Cold Blooded. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.
Hi Anne, first, tell us a little about yourself.
I've written over a dozen stories of Romance, Mayhem, and Faith. When I'm not working on my next novel I enjoy spending time with family and friends. Formerly a native of Oklahoma, I now reside in Kansas.
Lots of writers loved to read as children. Did you? If so what did you read?
Oh yes. I've been a mystery lover since I was a kid. Mostly Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. As I grew older, my mother introduced me to Phyllis A. Whitney's books. One of my favorites was 'The Mystery of the Haunted Pool' which won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Juvenile novel.
Why do you write?
I've always been a storyteller, even as a kid. I'd dream up these wild adventures which a lot of times got me into trouble. Finally, my mother convinced me to start writing the stories down instead of participating in them. I didn't get grounded quite as much.
LOL. Tell us about your latest book.
Cold Blooded is a romantic suspense. My heroine, Gwen Jamison, is a headstrong detective who is currently working a string of armed robberies. When a clerk ends up getting murdered, Gwen is convinced the suspect has killed before and may be connected to an unsolved case from a few years ago. Now she must race against the clock to find a sole witness to solve the case, all the while butting heads with her new lieutenant.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
The idea first came to mind a few years ago while reading a newspaper article. That's where a lot of my ideas come from.
What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?
Gwen had a tough upbringing, which eventually destroyed what little faith she had. During the course of this story, she must come to terms with her past and in the process learns that God never abandoned her. He always placed people in her life to help her on her journey. When something bad happens in our life and we have no one else to blame, we often blame God and fail to see the work He does in bringing about some good from every bad situation.
How do you get to know your characters?
Once I have a clear picture of who they are and what their goals and motivations are they sort of come alive in me. They're with me constantly throughout the day and often in my dreams. I know that sounds weird and maybe a little crazy but I don't know how else to explain it. They more or less write the story. I just listen and type.
What themes do you write about?
In all my books I like to include a little romance, mystery, and a faith element. God has blessed me with this gift and I want to use it in a way that is pleasing to Him.
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I've been fortunate in the past couple of years to be able to go part time in my day job, which allows me more writing time. Afternoons and evenings is when I do most of my writing, leaving the weekends to spend with friends and family.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
Oh I'm a pantzer all the way. Once my characters come alive I let them take over and tell me their story. I of course have an idea of the plot and where it'll eventually take me but there are a lot of surprises along the way and that's what I love about being a pantzer. It's like riding a roller coaster. You never know what's over the hill or around the corner. A lot of the times I don't know who the bad guy is until I'm almost to the end of the book.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Absolutely! I think everyone struggles in their faith at one time or another. I know I have. I like to include this theme in a lot of my stories. Like me, my characters aren't perfect. Things happen in life that sometimes make it difficult to believe in the existence of a loving God. I want my readers to know that no matter what dark valley you're traveling through, He is right beside you. He will never, ever, forsake you!
What a great message to share. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The best piece of advice I can offer to a new or budding author is to never give up. There are a lot of ups and downs in the craft and there will be times you may want to throw in the towel, but don't. Sooner or later the door will open for you and you'll find your groove. Undoubtedly, the best book I've read about the craft is Stephen King's book 'On Writing.' He may not be your cup of tea, but he offers some great advice.
More About Cold Blooded
Detective Gwen Jamison has the highest closure rate in her division, but when a string of armed robberies turn deadly she must race against the clock to find the sole witness that can end the carnage. Standing in her way is a cold-blooded killer who she fears has murdered before.
Lieutenant Ian McKean knew he would have his hands full when he took over leadership of the detectives unit. He wasn't prepared for the headstrong Detective Jamison, though, who quickly becomes a thorn in his side.
If they can stop butting heads long enough they might realize they are more alike than either imagined.
Buy Cold Blooded on Amazon
Anne loves to hear from readers. Visit her on her website
And on Facebook
Sunday, September 10, 2017
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Looking Out The Window: Laura V. Hilton Discusses Her Newest Book, Christmas Admirer, And The Story Behind It. Shares Glass Blowing Photos. Gives Away A Book.
A Warm Welcome to Laura Hilton
Laura will give away EITHER an ebook OR a print book (US only). Winner’s choice. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.
Glass Blowing and The Christmas Admirer
By Laura V. Hilton
Right before my youngest son joined the Coast Guard we went on a short mini-vacation to Springfield, Missouri, actually going farther north almost to Kansas City to see another Amish community near there in Osceola. There is a cheese factory there and my son wanted to try some of their cheeses – such as a ghost pepper cheese. Too spicy for me.
But upon the return to Springfield, Steve read about a glass blowers shop in the downtown area. We found the address and went to visit it. It is owned by an older gentleman and his son. They had a display area set up where people could see their wares and buy them and then a work area where the son mostly worked, and talked about how the fire needed to be so hot, and showed us how he worked and made things. As we watched, he made a lovely flower, a lily, in different colors of glass, green, white, pinks.
It was fascinating.
And I got to thinking what if…
So I did some more research. Asked questions. Probably drove them nuts. But when Whitaker House indicated they’d be interested in a Christmas novel, I proposed one about a glass blower.
The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and while completely stand alone, it does have some continuing characters from other books I’ve written set in Jamesport. If you are interested, the books set there are:
The Snow Globe
The Amish Firefighter
The Amish Wanderer
The Kissing Bridge (part of Springs of Love collection)
The Christmas Admirer
Gingerbread Wishes (part of A Plain Thanksgiving collection--November 2018)
Love by the Numbers (February 2018)
I haven’t read any books about an Amish glass blower, but that’s not to say they aren’t out there. I haven’t read all the Amish books available. Jamesport is an area that is more tourist-oriented than the books set in Seymour / Webster County Missouri. They give buggy tours, have bed and breakfasts, open their homes for visitors to eat supper with them, and have businesses.
All Amish districts are different and the rules vary depending on the bishop and preachers. Some are more liberal and some more conservative. Some keep themselves distant and don’t welcome attention from non-Amish and some embrace it. While Jamesport is not as touristy as some districts in Lancaster Pennsylvania or in Ohio, it is much more so than others.
About The Christmas Admirer
Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but other than a lone summer filled with romantic buggy rides, marrying her remains an elusive dream. When his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, they left him as the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters and his grandparents. What woman wants to step into a ready-made family like his? Still, he leaves her monthly gifts from “A Secret Admirer,” hoping she’ll know that someone loves her, even though he isn’t free to step forward.
Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, and hopes he’s her secret admirer, but now the clock is ticking. Susanna’s father is remarrying in January and his wife-to-be doesn’t want to leave her Amish community and family in Iowa. So when Susanna’s daed sells his glass-blowing business to his right-hand man, Benaiah, she’s left with three options: 1) Go with Daed to his new home with a new frau and step-kinner, 2) Flush out her mysterious secret admirer, or 3) Resign herself to life as an old maid. She doesn’t want to follow Daed where his new frau is leading him. And number three isn’t happening. Marrying Benaiah is her greatest desire—but he broke her heart, and now he treats her like a pesky younger sister. Can she make him see her as a woman, one who could stand by his side as he cares for his family?
As Christmas approaches, Susanna and her friends start making gingerbread houses for select members of the community. Susanna plans for hers to go to Benaiah’s family. But while her gingerbread may find a home—will her heart?
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
Learn more about Laura
At Lighthouse-Academy Blog
Purchase Laura's books:
Barnes and Noble
Saturday, September 2, 2017
September 2017 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Planting Hope by Brenda S. Anderson -- Jess Beaumont is trying to get her separated parents together again by restoring the family cabin gardens that helped them fall in love. Luke Harrison inherited his Gran’s candy store, but would rather have a Vice President position in his family’s land development business—a sure sign of his father’s approval. To get the promotion, he must acquire the land on both sides of his store within five months, including the Beaumont cabin. As Luke gets to know Jess, he realizes buying the Beaumont cabin and land will nip their blossoming romance in the bud. Even worse, it could end her parents’ marriage. But if he doesn’t succeed, he could be trading his corner office for the candy store counter…for good. Is their romance doomed? Or could the classic combination of chocolate and flowers solve everything? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
An Amish Christmas Love by Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Ruth Reid, and Beth Wiseman -- Fall in love this Christmas to the gentle pace of Amish courtship. In Winter Kisses by Beth Wiseman, six lonely hearts find healing in the Stoltzfus homestead basement while waiting out a Christmas Eve storm. In The Christmas Cat by Amy Clipston, a group of young people and a forbidden house cat bring reminders of love and hope to a grieving widow at Christmas. In Snow Angels by Kelly Irvin, A young woman’s prayer for a Christmas proposal is delayed by the appearance of her potential groom’s first love, whom me met on his rumspringa. In Home for Christmas by Ruth Reid, an Englisch woman thinks she’s breaking into the house her aenti left to her, only to discover she’s trespassing upon an Amish widower and his young daughter, whose quiet way of life tempts her to stay. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
Magnolia Storms by Janet W. Ferguson --Maggie Marovich lost her father to Hurricane Katrina, so she’s dedicated her life to meteorology and plans never to return to the Mississippi Coast or the ship pilot she once loved—until a family crisis sends her running headlong into a storm. (Contemporary, Independently Published)
The Christmas Admirer by Laura V. Hilton -- Susanna’s left with three options: one, go with Daed to his new home with a new mom; two, stay in Jamesport, Missouri, as an old maid; or, three, the best yet, flush out her mysterious secret admirer. But how could she be with anyone else when her heart is still with Benaiah? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)
Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington by Annette Irby -- Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancé. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and accumulated debt. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue Mikaela if she ever returned to the island single. But what will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela? (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)
Returning Home by Toni Shiloh -- Jo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings. Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker. Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from? (Contemporary, Independently Published)
All This Time by Melissa Tagg -- Ten years ago, Bear McKinley gave up everything—his freedom and his reputation—for his mess of a family. But after years of distance and too many attempts at starting over, he finally has a new life doing noble work in Brazil . . . until his past catches up to him. Raegan Walker is happy working a slew of part-time jobs, still living in her childhood bedroom and rarely venturing from her hometown. At least, that’s what she tells everyone . . . and herself. But she can’t help wondering what might’ve happened if she hadn’t abandoned her art so many years ago—and if Bear McKinley had never left. When Bear returns and she’s commissioned for a painting that just might revive her artistic ambition all in one week, it’s time to finally reach for more. But doing so means facing the fears that have held her back all this time, including admitting the secret she’s kept from Bear and her family. With her dream and her heart on the line, how much will Raegan have to risk to finally chase her happy ending? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Home All Along by Beth Wiseman -- Charlotte has made a home for herself in Amish Country with Daniel. But unforeseen events rock their fragile world and may move them even further away from the life they long for. Charlotte, an Englisher, is living in Amish Country, and fallen in love with an Amish man. But just when she is considering a permanent conversion to the Amish way of life, her world crashes around her. An unexpected death and a mysterious visitor unsettle Charlotte, and she begins to question her faith and her choices. Will Charlotte and Daniel’s relationship succumb to the many pressures around them, or will their faith and community help them become strong enough to build a life together? (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)
Mercy Triumphs by Jana Kelley -- Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger have become commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God’s mercy becomes evident in their lives, they must choose whether or not to offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it. Based on real-life events, Mercy Triumphs reveals some of the struggles Christians face when living under Islamic law. (General from New Hope Publishers)
Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan -- Is it a midlife pregnancy or ... cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she’s sure but it isn’t easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins double wedding, the caterer cancelling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire s life is upside down. Meanwhile, shy Lacey Dawson faces the emotional effects of traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction, and rumors of gold in Chapel Springs have greedy investors clamoring to buy all the homes in town and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs ever be the same? (General from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
A Conspiracy of Breath by Latayne C. Scott -- What would it have been like to be a woman, a Gentile, and someone onto whom the Holy Breath moved - to produce what became the mysterious Epistle to the Hebrews in the Bible? (Historical from TSU Press [Trinity Southwest University])
Queen of Sheba by Jill Eileen Smith -- King Solomon meets his equal in the Queen of Sheba and does his best to give her everything she seeks to find, but will he be able to give her the deepest longing of her heart? (Historical from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)
These Healing Hills by Ann H. Gabhart -- When life takes an unexpected turn, Francine Howard finds work in the mountains as a midwife where healing and love await her. (Historical Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)
12 Days at Bleakly Manor by Michelle Griep -- Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation and is promised a sum of five hundred pounds if she will remain a guest at Bleakly Manor for the duration of a twelve-day Christmas celebration. Then she learns Benjamin Lane, who left her at the altar, is also in attendance. Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whomever stole his honor. Torn between money, revenge, and love, will Clara and Ben last the full twelve days at Bleakly Manor and learn what matters most at Christmas? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
When the Bishop Needs and Alibi by Vannetta Chapman -- Amish bishop Henry Lapp eagerly awaits the annual arrival of 20,000 sandhill cranes to the San Luis Valley of Colorado. But his visit to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge reveals more than just a miracle of God's creation. Hidden among the bulrushes and cattails is the deceased body of a young woman. As the local authorities attempt to unravel the mystery, Henry feels God's calling to use his extraordinary talent to aid in the investigation. His ability to draw from memory in photographic detail could help solve this puzzling case. Henry's closest friend, Emma Fisher, has always urged him to embrace his gift. As their relationship deepens, Henry realizes his involvement could put him and those he loves in the direct path of a killer, one who is willing to do anything to cover up a brutal crime, including framing the bishop. (Mystery from Harvest House)
The House Next Door by Susan Page Davis -- As Jennifer’s due date approaches, Harvey decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement? (Mystery, Independently Published)
Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel -- Detective Jasper Hollock thought he wanted nothing more than a real case. But when the man who raised him stands on the brink of suicide and mysterious incidents sabotage the factory, Jasper has 24 days to unravel the malicious plot and convince his employer that life is worth living. (Mystery, Independently Published)
Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley -- A security specialist is accused of murder and must clear her name or her career is over, but her investigation draws her into the path of a killer, and she finds herself fighting for her life. When a man from her past is called in to investigate, she may find that he's the biggest security threat yet . . . to her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)
Rescued Hearts by Hope Toler Dougherty -- An innocent bike ride leads to a hostage situation, jeopardizing an undercover mission and two stubborn hearts. (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)
Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan -- A female attorney hires a former Army Ranger turned private investigator to help research an alleged pharmaceutical cover-up. As the case deepens, both hearts and lives become endangered. It appears someone is willing to risk everything--even murder--to keep the case from going to trial. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])
Uncharted Hope by Keely Brooke Keith --
Sophia Ashton must prove herself in her new job while researching the gray leaf medicine and dealing with her toxic family. (Romantic Suspense from Edenbrooke Press)
Crown of Souls by Ronie Kendig -- Perhaps the only person as skilled as Cole "Tox" Russell is Alec King, a rogue Special Forces operator who vanished months ago. Now he’s back, and he's out for justice. Furious with orders that got his men killed, he intends to make those responsible pay. And he insists Tox join him, believing they are the same breed of soldier. Afraid his old friend could be right, Tox battles a growing darkness within himself as he and his team are forced into another deadly encounter with antiquity. It appears Alec is harnessing the power of a mysterious artifact, a crown that history has linked to some of the worst slaughters in humanity. Racing to stop Alec before his vengeance is unleashed, Tox must fight the monster without becoming one. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])
Witness Protection by Carol Kinsey -- After four years in witness protection, Ty Westgate’s identity has been exposed - with the help of a struggling nurse, the ex-lawyer with a new faith must work to unravel the truth behind his adversaries before he’s silenced permanently. (Thriller/Suspense, Independently Published)
Friday, September 1, 2017
Monday, August 28, 2017
Looking Out The Window: Best-Selling, Award-Winning Author Nancy Mehl Talks About Dark Deception, Book Two In The Defenders Of Justice Series. Gives Away A Print Copy.
A Warm Welcome To Nancy Mehl
Nancy will give away a print copy (U.S. residents only) of her latest book, Dark Deception, Book Two in her Defenders of Justice Series. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.
She also shares one of her favorite Bible verses and a yummy recipe for peach cobbler.
Now also when I am old and gray headed,
O God, do not forsake me,
Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.
This is one of my favorite scriptures. I pray this almost every day that God would use me to declare His strength to this generation and His power to everyone who is to come.
I believe books can leave behind a legacy after we’re gone. Not only do I pray that my books will touch those who read them now, while I’m alive, but even after I’m gone, they will point to the Lord of Lord and the King of Kings. What a blessing to be able to minister His love, His grace and His power after I’m in heaven! There’s nothing else I’d rather do than write for Him.
For years, my husband has asked me to make peach cobbler “like your grandmother made.” Easier said than done. Especially since my grandmother wasn’t known for writing her recipes down. When we’d ask her how to make something, she’d wrinkle her nose and say, “Well, you take a little of this and a little of that, and you put it all together.” Pointing out that her “little” and my “little” might not be the same didn’t seem to bother her.
Then, not long ago, I was cleaning out a box. Two moves in the last four years means many, many boxes and a lot of things packed away and forgotten. I found an old recipe box I couldn’t even remember. I have no idea where it came from or how long I’ve had it. But guess what? I found a recipe for “Essie’s Cobbler.” My grandmother’s cobbler recipe! Amazing. Haven’t made it yet, but I will soon. It was the best cobbler I’ve ever tasted. Serve it warm – with vanilla ice cream! (By the way, she used her own canned peaches in her recipe. They were incredible!)
1/4 c. soft butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. sifted flour
#2 can sliced peaches, drained. (You can also use fresh fruit)
1 c. orange juice
1 c. sugar
1 TB. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. milk
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and add to creamed mixture. Pour into loaf pan, spoon fruit over batter, sprinkle with sugar and juice. (You can also use a little cinnamon.) Bake 45 to 50 minutes.
About Dark Deception
Kate O'Brien's quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas is shaken when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and she's been in witness protection ever since.
When new evidence arises to suggest the convicted man wasn't the murderer, she's subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Afraid to go back into that world, Kate only agrees if Tony DeLuca, the deputy Marshal who protected her during the original trial, escorts her to St. Louis.
Tony readily takes on the assignment; Kate's beauty and inner strength made more of an impression on him than he expected. But when Kate's safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.
Buy Dark Deception on Amazon
Barnes and Noble Paperback
and Barnes and Noble Nook Book
Nancy Mehl is a best-selling, award winning author who lives in Missouri, with her husband, Norman, and her Puggle, Watson. She’s authored almost thirty books and is currently writing a new series for Bethany House Publishing based on the U.S. Marshals. The first book, Fatal Frost, in her Defenders of Justice Series, released on November 1st, 2016. The second book, Dark Deception, hit store shelves in June of 2017. Book three, Blind Betrayal, will be released in the spring of 2018. She is also working on a new cozy mystery series for Guideposts, The Mysteries of Martha’s Vineyard.
Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Website. She is part of The Suspense Sisters, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook.
Sunday, August 27, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
Looking Out the Window: DiAne Gates Talks About Twisted, Book Two in Her Young Adult Rodeo Series, Shares a Yummy Homemade Pizza Recipe, and Gives Away an Ebook.
A Warm Welcome to DiAne Gates
DiAne will give away an ebook of Twisted. To enter to win please leave an answer to the following questions in a comment with an email address.
Have you ever been to a rodeo?
If so, what's your favorite part?
Good morning, Gail. Thank you for having me on your blog today.
It's my pleasure. Tell us what's happening with your books.
What an exciting time this past month has been…experiencing the release of my second book of The Roped Series, TWISTED.
My office is still buried in the clutter a release creates. I keep hoping the good housecleaning fairy will appear and sweep away the mess, but Crandall, Texas, doesn’t seem to be on her work list. Yet!
LOL. I don't think Georgia's on her list either. Let's talk about your writing. When did you begin and why?
I must confess I was a slothful student, reluctant reader, but an active artist. Always drawing on everything, participating in decorating anything that stood still long enough at school. My dream was to go to art school, paint, and become a world renown artist. My parents didn’t agree.
In my early teens, I had to write an essay in the contest to determine who would be crowned Sweetheart at our church valentine banquet. I wrote “The Basis of a Great Nation is a Christian Home.” And I won. I still have the handwritten essay, but I cringe over the lack of writing skills…shoulda paid more attention in English. That title lit a flame in my heart that never died. I still write about the critical value and importance our Christian homes hold in today’s world.
Does your new release, Twisted , begin where Roped ended?
The Monday after that night at the rodeo. I’ve never liked books that tied all the bows and put everything in order—life’s generally not like that. I want to entice the reader to wonder what will happen…could the villain die…will the girls become friends or spend their lives battling? There were so many loose ends, I couldn’t afford to drop a single thread. And as Crissy and Jodie Lea tell their stories the depth of differences in these two families had to be explored and the Fairgate family secrets explode across each page. My goodness! No wonder Jodie Lea is the brat we met in Roped.
More About Twisted
What begins as a nasty rodeo competition morphs into a ring of horse thieves, an uncle with a past, and consequences that span generations.
TWISTED, continues the journey of the Crosby and Fairgate families. Will these two Texas teens finally overcome the past and discover the future God has planned, or will they forever be trapped by the crimes of their fathers?
What's the best way for readers to let you know they enjoyed these books? By writing a review
I’ve read in a previous interview, you’re working on Book Three, titled Untied. What’s up with that one?
When you’ve roped and twisted a rope, you’ve either got to untie or slash it. Wasn’t ready for a slashing…yet. Roped signifies their lives and how quickly our lives can become knotted in a twisted mess. Perhaps the girls will find the key to untie their relationship…however, I can assure my readers it will be costly and will require great changes in everyone’s’ lives. Goodness, I’m only on Chapter Seven, who knows what these two families will spring on me…and then there’s the real varmint…Uncle Bo…and you know…Jodie Lea’s mother. And well, Jodie Lea’s not a bundle of blessings!
Thanks for sharing a preview. Do you have a life verse and how did that verse become so important to you?
Actually, I have two verses that have become life-rings for times of fear and uncertainty.
Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”
In the months and years after our daughter’s sudden death I hammered heaven with the “Why God?” question. And one morning after a particularly difficult night, I turned randomly in my Bible and this verse popped off the page and into my heart. And I heard His still, small voice in my heart ask…Do you trust Me? The quiet calm of that moment still resonates in my heart. I’d love to tell you I fell on my face and assured the Lord of my complete trust and love for Him, but in truth my words were halting and whispered. Yes, Lord…and I gulped long and hard…I trust You. Because I knew what He was asking…complete surrender to accept His will. And that meant turning lose—saying goodbye to my daughter and leaving her in God’s hands, so I could move forward.
I’ve been privileged to lead GriefShare for the past thirteen plus years and one of the ladies on our DVD series said: “If Job had known why the Lord allowed his children to be taken, there would still have been empty places at the dinner table that night.”
Jesus tells us death is an enemy…but He didn’t leave us without hope. One day we will attend Death’s funeral, watch the nails pounded into Death’s coffin, and there will be no more Death…because Jesus paid the price for each one of us who believe and trust in Him.
Hebrews 12:1-4 is my other life verse. While I’m not an athlete by any means, my high school coach told me time and time again…you hold a baseball like a teacup. I was always the last one chosen when teams were picked. But I have a high metabolism…endless energy…and I understand the need to keep on keeping on.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
I would encourage you to turn to that scripture and read the rest of the verses and let The Spirit of God speak to your heart. He has selected the lane (road) we are to run life’s race in. And He holds us in the palm of His hand…no matter the circumstances, I’ll just keep running ‘til He calls me home or sends Jesus to fetch me.
Like Paul said: “For me to live is Christ…to die is gain…”
Aunt Liza's Homemade Pizza
1 pkg. yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
2.5 cups flour
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp salt
Dissolve yeast in warm water, add sugar, cover, and let rest until foamy.
Combine flour, olive oil and salt in mixer, add yeast mixture.
With dough hook mix slowly at first, then turn mixer on high until dough does not stick to sides.
Leave dough in mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, let rise in warm place for 1 hour.
Cut dough in quarters for very thin crust, or in half for thicker dough.
Flour a sheet pan, place dough you will use immediately on sheet and cover to rise a second time (45 minutes).
Place remaining dough in a freezer bag to be used another day. Remember when using the frozen dough, let it thaw, then rise…I leave mine out most of the day.
After the 45-minute rising time, roll out dough and place on stone if you have one or on baking sheet.
I pre-heat my oven to 500 degrees.
1 large can of tomatoes (I use whole or pieces – Cento Brand)
Garlic (fresh or powder)
Basil (fresh or flakes)
Sugar to taste (I use 2 teaspoons)
Red Pepper flakes (according to your family’s tolerance to heat)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor, blend.
This mixture will make way more than enough for one pizza. If I’m making spaghetti and meat sauce the next week, I use the remainder of this mixture with the sauce. Also, any Italian chicken dish you make, combine the remainder of this sauce with your regular mixture. It’s great!
Toppings…Your Choice! But I use:
Black olives sliced
Red Pepper, sliced
Monterey Pepper-Jack Cheese
Crumbled Goat Cheese
Aunt Lisa and Uncle Mike like the thin crust, with a small amount of sauce. They also don’t like the supreme junk we put on ours. I use more sauce and for a regular sized pizza I bake it—fully loaded about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how much crunch you like in your crust. Be creative! Prosciutto, Italian sausage, bacon…all good choices. Be sure to cook any raw meat, onions and garlic you use before putting them on the pizza. Enjoy.
Oh yum! Thanks so much!
Texas writer, DiAne Gates, writes for children, young adults, and serious non-fiction for adults through her two Word Press blogs, Moving the Ancient Boundaries and The Southern Side of Flavor.
Also, a freelance artist and photographer, DiAne leads LifeSavers, an edit group leader for North Texas Christian Writers, and is a GriefShare facilitator.
Writing several articles for the East Texas Rodeo Association magazine, gave birth to this western rodeo adventure series, released by Prism Book Group in August of 2015. ROPED--Available at Amazon.com. ROPED was awarded Top Ten Christian Reads for Teens and Tweens for 2016. The next book in The Roped Series, TWISTED, continues the journey of the Crosby and Fairgate families and was released by Pelican Book Group July 14, 2017. The third book of the series, UNTIED, is her current work-in-progress.
Wife, mother, and Mimi, whose passion is to share those hard life lessons God allows in our lives. Lessons she hopes will leap from the pages into your heart.
Connect with DiAne on her
Blog, Moving the Ancient Boundaries
The Southern Side of Flavor
Crosswalk Christian Online Magazine
Buy Roped on Amazon
Buy Twisted on Amazon
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Looking Out the Window: Laura Hilton Introduces The Second Chance Brides Collection and Her Novella, Married By Mistake
A Warm Welcome to Laura V. Hilton
Laura will give away a print copy of Second Chance Brides (USA only). To enter to win leave a comment below and an email address.
Laura's an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.
Hi Laura, Lots of writers enjoy reading as children. Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what did you read?
Yes, yes, yes. I read everthing I could get my hands on, including cereal boxes, grocery store ads, anything. Reading was a need. I was the type who went to the library and came home with a stack of books.
Let's talk about your writing. Why do you write?
I write because that is what God called me to do. I always wanted to be a writer.
Tell us about your latest book.
Married by Mistake is a novella in Second Chance Brides Romance Collection with eight other talented authors. The blurb for the collection is: Hope for Happy Endings Is Renewed in Nine Historical Romances
Meet nine women from history spanning from 1776 to 1944 feel the sting of having lost out on love. Can their hope for experiencing romance again be renewed?
Love in the Crossfire by Lauralee Bliss - Trenton, New Jersey, 1776
Gretchen Hanson watched her beau go off to war and never return. She soon falls for an enemy scout who stumbles upon her farm. If Jake is discovered, it could mean death for them all. Will Gretchen let go of love or stand strong?
Daughter of Orion by Ramona K. Cecil - New Bedford, Massachusetts, 1859
Whaling widow, Matilda Daggett, vows to never again give her heart to a seaman. But when debt drives her to masquerade as a cabin boy on a whaling ship, a young harpooner threatens both her vow and her heart.
The Substitute Husband and the Unexpected Bride by Pamela Griffin - Washington Territory, 1864
Cecily McGiver, a mail-order bride, arrives in the rugged Washington Territory shocked to find herself without a husband—that is until Garrett, a widower, offers to take the position. Can the challenges that face them lead to love?
The Prickly Pear Bride by Pam Hillman - Little Prickly Pear Creek, Montana Territory, 1884
Shepherdess Evelyn Arnold left her intended at the altar so he could marry the woman he really loved. Dubbed Miss Prickly Pear, Evelyn is resigned to a loveless life and the ridicule of her neighbors. When Cole Rawlins sweeps her out of a raging river, she realizes even a prickly pear can find love.
The Widow of St. Charles Avenue by Grace Hitchcock - New Orleans, 1895
Colette Olivier, a young widow who married out of obligation, finds herself at the end of her mourning period and besieged with suitors out for her inheritance. With her pick of any man, she is drawn to an unlikely choice.
Married by Mistake by Laura V. Hilton - Mackinac Island, 1902
When a plan to pose for advertising goes awry, Thomas Hale and Bessie O’Hara find themselves legally married. Now Bessie and Thomas must decide whether to continue the charade or walk away. Either choice could ruin them if the truth gets out.
Fanned Embers by Angela Breidenbach - Bitterroot Mountains, Montana/Idaho border, 1910
Stranded in the treacherous railroad camp after her husband’s murder, Juliana Hayes has no desire to marry a ruffian like Lukas Filips. Can she release prejudice to love again? Or will they even survive the fiery Pacific Northwest disaster to find out?
From a Distance by Amber Stockton - Breckenridge, Colorado, 1925
Financial Manager Trevor Fox sets out to find a lady to love him and not his money, then meets and falls for an average girl only to discover she’d deceived him to protect her heart after he unknowingly rejects her.
What the Heart Sees by Liz Tolsma - Hartford, Wisconsin, 1944
American Miriam Bradford is shocked to see Paul Albrecht, her summer fling from Germany in 1939, escorted into church as a POW. Can they rekindle their romance amid the overwhelming objections of almost everyone in town–including her father?
What inspired you to write this particular book? I was asked by my agent to join in a historical collection and I always wanted to get into one of Barbour Books collections so I agreed. When trying to come up with an idea, this one came to mind and it sounded fun.
Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it? I have five children and my husband is a pastor. I also homeschool. I survive on lists, but have had to learn to be flexible because my planned day can change with a single phone call.
Are you a plotter or a pantzer? I am very much a punster. But with a lot of prayer, God always comes through and it always amazes me how He manages to tie it all together.
Does your faith affect your writing? How? Oh, yes. My faith is very much a part of my writing and there is always a strong faith message and sometimes even the plan of salvation included.
Do you put yourself in your books? No, I haven’t. I don’t need to be in my stories. I’m content to be the one God uses to write them.
What are you working on right now? I’m writing a proposal for a potential Amish series my agent wants to pitch.
Learn more about Laura
Visit her blog
Purchase her books:
Barnes and Noble
Friday, August 11, 2017
A Warm Welcome to Sarah Ruut
How to Heal the Problem that Separates Us
As I walked down the hallway past my daughter’s bedroom door, I noticed the distinctive smell of a struck match. Curious what was going on (since she was probably one or two at the time and didn’t have access to matches), I pushed open her door. There in the middle of her floor sat her older brother, an open box of matches before him and one black-tipped match lying on the carpet.
I tried to keep panic from my voice. “What are you doing?”
“I wanted to see how these work.”
I proceeded to explain—again—why we don’t play with matches. He acknowledged that the flame had startled him, and he’d dropped the match. And I swallowed my panic yet again to gently explain to him what could have happened when he dropped that match! (Thankfully, the flame died before the match hit the carpet.)
His eyes grew huge as he realized what he might have caused, and my sweet preschooler said, “I’m sorry, Mommy!”
I gave him a hug and said very seriously, “Let’s not do that again, okay?” And he never has.
This potentially terrible story came back to my mind recently as I was reflecting on Proverbs 18:1: “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.”
Thankfully my son didn’t quarrel against my sound wisdom regarding matches, but the first part of the verse? When he snatched those matches from the kitchen counter (where I thought he couldn’t reach…), did he proceed to “seek his own desire” in the same room where I was? No. He separated himself from wise counsel by hiding in his sister’s room, where I wouldn’t be watching.
How often do we do the same thing?
When we are tempted to do something we know we shouldn’t, do we give in to that temptation publicly? Not usually. Usually, we don’t want others to know because they might judge us. So we find some way to keep it a secret.
And if others find out or suspect? Well, we just separate ourselves from them!
When we choose to continue in a pattern of sin, going to church becomes uncomfortable. We feel convicted there, as if every person around us somehow knows about our secret. So we just stop going to church.
James has a better solution.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
When we humble ourselves and acknowledge our failure, we can be forgiven. Our relationships can be restored and hearts can be healed.
That doesn’t happen when we’re still separating ourselves from “all sound wisdom.” We have to take that step to reach out to someone, confessing that what we’ve done was wrong. Seeking to restore the relationship.
(When someone shares their confession with us, we need to be about restoration and healing, not judgment and condemnation.)
And just like my match-testing son, when we acknowledge that what we did was wrong, we open the door for forgiveness and healing.
Have you separated yourself? I encourage you to seek out sound wisdom and confess so that your relationships can be restored and your heart healed.
Sarah Ruut is an avid reader of Christian fiction when she’s not busy homeschooling her four tweens and teens. She also runs two blogs where she hopes to connect with people right where they are. She loves sharing about books and their authors on her blog, Fiction, Faith, and Fun, where you’ll find reviews of Christian fiction, interviews with amazing authors, giveaways and more! She also offers encouragement for Christian living at Breaking Ordinary. You can connect with Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
August 2017 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Imperfect Lies by Elizabeth Noyes -- When another woman emerges from the past to claim Mallory Cameron's happily ever after, she cuts her losses and sets out to find a headline-worthy story to launch her journalism career. She embarks on a whirlwind journey that takes her across the United States, to the blue-green waters of the Caribbean, on to sunny Mexico, and deep into the dangerous parts of Africa where terror reigns. James Evers turned his back on a life of power and privilege to carve a place in the world for himself. Now that he's finally discovered his niche as a small-town sheriff and found the woman he wants in his future, a past indiscretion struts in on high heels and sends his newfound love fleeing headlong into peril. His mission: neutralize old enemies, defuse new threats, resolve past mistakes, settle family disputes, and—most importantly—find and rescue his woman from terrorists before the unthinkable happens. (Action/Adventure from Write Integrity Press)
The Bachelor’s Unexpected Family by Lisa Carter -- Young widow Kristina Montgomery moves to Kiptohanock, Virginia, hoping it will give her and her teenage son, Gray, a fresh start. She longs for the peace and quiet only a small town can provide. But her plans are thwarted by her new neighbor, Canyon Collier, a former Coast Guard pilot and a crop duster. Gray is instantly drawn to the pilot and his teenage niece, Jade—and Kristina's not far behind. She and Canyon are soon bonding over parenting their charges and their spark becomes undeniable. Could it be that the spirited pilot is just what Kristina needs to teach her heart to soar again? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Gift of the Magpie by Zoe M. McCarthy -- Amanda Larrowe’s lack of trust sabotages her relationships. The English teacher and award-winning author of middle-grade adventure books for boys has shut off communication with friends and family to meet her January 2 book deadline. Now, in the deepest snow accumulation Richmond, Virginia, has experienced in years, Camden Lancaster moves in across the street. After ten years, Amanda’s heart still smarts from the humiliating aftermath of their perfect high-school Valentine’s Day date. Camden may have transformed into a handsome, amiable man, but his likeability doesn’t instill trust in Amanda’s heart. When Cam doesn’t recognize her on their first two encounters, she thinks it’s safe to be his fair-weather neighbor. Boy is she wrong. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
A Mother for Leah by Rachel L. Miller --It’s been ten years since Leah Fisher’s mother died in a buggy accident. But when Leah’s father shows interest in Naomi Yoder, Leah isn’t ready for a new mother. Will Leah be able to let go of her own ideas and realize that God truly does know best for her or will she allow love to slip through her fingers, destroying Samuel Fisher and Naomi Yoder's happiness at the same time? (Contemporary from S & G Publishing)
Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli -- An antique ring reunites a Boston Marathon bombing survivor with the man who saved her. Together they unearth the two-hundred-year- old history of a woman who suffered tremendous loss in the Boston Massacre, a woman torn between the love of two men – one a patriot, one a Redcoat. (General Contemporary from Tyndale House)
Fresh Faith by Elise Phillips -- Joy Abbott had been trying to start her life over for years -- and failing. Then a letter summoned her to Texas and everything changed. (General Contemporary from Desert Breeze Publishing)
Enchanted Isle by Melanie Dobson -- In the spring of 1958, Jenny Winter embarks on a two-month adventure to a quaint village in England’s magical Lake District. With a new camera and an eye for capturing the beauty others miss, she can’t wait to explore the heathery fells and mystical waters. Adrian Kemp, a handsome and enigmatic local, makes the sightseeing even more beguiling. When Adrian shows Jenny his late father’s abandoned dream, a deserted island amusement park, she glimpses a kindred spirit in this reckless, haunted young man. Yet as she opens her heart to Adrian, the two stumble into a mystery leading back a generation to an unforgettable romance and an unsolved murder. As long-held secrets come to light, it’s left to Jenny and Adrian to put the past to rest and restore a lost dream. (Historical from Waterfall Press)
Titus: The Aristocrat by Katheryn Maddox Haddad -- Titus intends to become a famous lawyer in the Roman Empire. Instead, he is sent by Paul to arbitrate between arch enemies in wild Corinth, wilder Crete, and wildest Dalmatia. In each place he suffers. But, long before that, he suffers from guilt over the death of his mother when he was eleven years old. How does Titus survive it all? (Historical from Northern Lights Publishing House)
To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander -- With fates bound by a shared tragedy, a reformed gambler from the Colorado Territory and a Southern Belle bent on breaking free from society's expectations must work together to achieve their dreams - provided the truth doesn't tear them apart first. (Historical Romance from Zondervan)
The Second Chance Brides Collection by Lauralee Bliss, Angela Breidenbach, Ramona K. Cecil, Pamela Griffin, Grace Hitchcock, Pam Hillman, Laura V. Hilton, Tiffany Amber Stockton, and Liz Tolsma -- Meet nine women who each believe their chance for lifelong love has passed them by. From the girls who lost their beaus to war, to the wallflowers overshadowed by others, and the widows deeply hurt by their loss, the desire to love and be loved spans American history from 1777 to 1944. Experience the sweet pull of romance on each life and the blossom of faith that leads them to brighter futures. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman -- Anxious for his brothers to join him on the rugged frontier along the Mississippi River, Connor O’Shea has no choice but to indenture himself as a carpenter in exchange for their passage from Ireland. But when he’s sold to Isabella Bartholomew of Breeze Hill Plantation, Connor fears he’ll repeat past mistakes and vows not to be tempted by the lovely lady. The responsibilities of running Breeze Hill have fallen on Isabella’s shoulders after her brother was found dead in the swamps along the Natchez Trace and a suspicious fire devastated their crops, almost destroyed their home, and left her father seriously injured. Even with Connor’s help, Isabella fears she’ll lose her family’s plantation. Despite her growing feelings for the handsome Irish carpenter, she seriously considers accepting her wealthy and influential neighbor’s proposal of marriage. Soon, though, Connor realizes someone is out to eliminate the Bartholomew family. Can he set aside his own feelings to keep Isabella safe? (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)
Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason -- When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan's life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she's made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her--and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he's not about to let Haley fight this battle alone. In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories--and the depths of the heart--Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley's past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won't quit. (Romantic Suspense from Revell [Baker])
Plain Retribution by Dana R. Lynn -- Ten years ago while on rumspringa, Rebecca Miller and her friends were kidnapped and held captive…and now, living in the English world, she's nearly abducted again. One by one her friends who once helped send their abductor to jail are targeted, and she is next…unless police officer Miles Olsen can stop a killer. Deaf since birth, the only person on the force that Rebecca can communicate with is Miles, and he needs this case to redeem himself of past mistakes. When the relentless killer tracks them deep into the heart of Amish country, protecting Rebecca must be Miles's sole focus. Because a mistake this time will cost something worth more to him than his job—the woman he's falling for. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Cold Blooded by Anne Patrick -- Detective Gwen Jamison has the highest closure rate in her division, but a string of armed robberies is about to take over her life. Not only will her job be on the line, but the troubling case also wreaks havoc on her personal life. Lieutenant Ian McKean knew he would have his hands full when he took over leadership of the detectives unit. He wasn't prepared for the headstrong Detective Jamison, though, who quickly becomes a thorn in his side. If they can stop butting heads long enough they might realize they are more alike than either imagined. (Romantic Suspense from Anne Patrick)