Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Q & A with Mesu Andrews and #giveaway

Q&A with Mesu Andrews,
author of Isaiah’s Daughter

The author / publisher is graciously giving away one copy of Isaiah's daughter. USA only. Please include contact information  

1.       Can you tell us about your new book, Isaiah’s Daughter?

Isaiah’s Daughter is a story of both tragedy and triumph. It tells of difficult days in Judah’s history under King Ahaz’s reign, when moral bankruptcy and child sacrifice led to a nation on the verge of destruction. A little girl named Ishma sees her parents brutally murdered and is led into captivity, but a series of events finds her miraculously delivered to the prophet Isaiah’s home to live—so it seems—as a servant in his household. The rest of the story follows this little girl from captive orphan to captivating queen, and I hope readers will feel the same wonder I felt as I watched the story unfold through my research.

2.      What drew you to research the history of the main character, Hephzibah?

I don’t remember the first time I discovered the prophet Isaiah had a daughter, but I was immediately intrigued. The Bible mentions his two sons (Isa. 7:3; 8:1) and calls his wife a prophetess (Isa. 8:3), but there’s no direct reference to a daughter—at least not specifically calling her a daughter.In Isaiah 62:4, Isaiah mentions the coming of a “vindicated” Jerusalem and calls the new and righteous city, Hephzibah. Imagine my surprise when I discovered rabbinic tradition teaches that King Hezekiah’s wife—Hephzibah—was Isaiah’s daughter! Connecting Hezekiah’s wife with Isaiah’s daughter opened all sorts of “what ifs” in my imagination.

3.      Your biblical fiction novels tend to use biblical and historical facts as a foundation. What is your process like for interweaving these facts with fictional details?

Research is my favorite part of the writing process. I get to dig into ancient texts and Bible commentaries. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, cultural commentaries and all sorts of archaeological data make this part of writing like a big treasure hunt. Weaving them all together is somewhat less glamorous than you might imagine. I open a blank Excel sheet and start filling in confirmed dates on the left side—column A. I then put important “Names” across the top (Row 1) and begin listing events in the appropriate cells corresponding with date and name as I find information in biblical and historical resources (making note of which resources used). I begin a second sheet in the same Excel document, labeled “Historical/Biblical/Fiction,” and again place all the dates in column A. This time, however, I put only three divisions across the top: Historical, Biblical, and Fictional. Then I fill in events from the first sheet under the proper category—never changing the truth of Scripture or facts of history—and begin to “connect the dots” by adding whatever fictional details in the third column will smooth out the story for a believable plot.

4.      What was the most fascinating information you discovered in your research for this book?
I think the prophet Isaiah walking around barefoot and naked for three years (Isa. 20) was pretty fascinating—and quite shocking! Perhaps even more fascinating was the idea that Isaiah may have thought Hezekiah was the suffering Messiah he spoke of in Isaiah 53. Christians see that chapter as a clear description of Jesus Christ, but some of my research made a strong case that Isaiah might have thought Hezekiah “took up [Jerusalem’s]pain and bore [their] suffering” with his near-death illness in Isaiah 38. This book really made me think about how prophets might have viewed their own words in their current circumstances.

7.      How has your research and writing of biblical fiction impacted your understanding of God?

Thankfully, I’ve had two incredible editors, who won’t allow me to just write a story. They make me dig deeper into the characters to pull out meaning from the conflicts and events of the plot. When the characters learn something—that means I have to learn it with them. It’s not always fun; and it’s never easy; but it’s always worth it.

Book Summary: Gifted Bible teacher and award-winning author Mesu Andrews reaches into the pages of Biblical prophecy and Hebrew tradition to unearth a rags-to-royalty story of the devastated orphan, Ishma—meaning “desolation”—in Isaiah’s Daughter (Jan. 16, 2018, WaterBrook).  At just 5 years old, Ishma’s life crumbles around her when Israelite soldiers violently kill her family and take her into captivity. Upon her release, the royal prophet Isaiah welcomes her into his home where she meets Prince Hezekiah (Hezi)—a boy who has also experienced great tragedy. Ishma and Hezi bond in their suffering, and as they grow in age, so does their love for each other. Aware of their developing relationship, Isaiah adopts Ishma as his daughter and presents her with a new name that will qualify her to marry royalty—Hephzibah (Zibah), meaning “delight of the Lord.” Hezi and Zibah marry, but after difficult times of barrenness, Assyrian aggression, disease and challenging prophecies from Isaiah, Zibah remains trapped by fear. Can she entrust everything to the only One who gives life and delivers both a captive heart and a desperate nation?

Mesu Andrews is the award-winning author of Love Amid the Ashes and numerous other novels including The Pharaoh’s Daughter and Miriam. Her deep understanding of and love for God’s Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Andrews lives in North Carolina with her husband Roy and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren. For more information, visit www.mesuandrews.com.

Blog Tour Stops
1/16 – Seriously Write
1/18 – Kristie Moments
1/19 – Montana Made
1/21 – Angie Arndt
1/22 – Carole Towriss
1/22 – Backing Books
1/24 – Mommynificent
1/25 – Just Commonly
1/26 – The Mary Reader

Monday, January 15, 2018

Oath of Honor

When police officer Isabelle St. John's partner is murdered, she must work with Detective Ryan Marshall to solve a case that may force her to choose between family and justice.

Blue Justice #1

Paperback, ebook, audio, hardcover

January 2, 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Lacemaker

Paperback, hardcover, ebook

January 2, 2018

by Laura Frantz

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Revell 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800726638

It is the eve of a new age of freedom in the colonies. 
But can a proper English lady dare hope for her own independence?

When colonial Williamsburg explodes like a powder keg on the eve of the American Revolution, Lady Elisabeth "Liberty" Lawson is abandoned by her fiancé and suspected of being a spy for the hated British. No one comes to her aid save the Patriot Noble Rynallt, a man with formidable enemies of his own. Liberty is left with a terrible choice. Will the Virginia belle turned lacemaker side with the radical revolutionaries, or stay true to her English roots? And at what cost?

Historical romance favorite Laura Frantz is back with a suspenseful story of love, betrayal, and new beginnings. With her meticulous eye for detail and her knack for creating living, breathing characters, Frantz continues to enchant historical fiction readers who long to feel they are a part of the story. 

My thoughts:  THE LACEMAKER by Laura Frantz is a historical set before the Revolutionary War. Tension is high and while Tories and Patriots play nice when it comes to parties and engagements they are not so nice when politics are involved.  Elisabeth's family is loyal to the British crown (except her mother) and now they are fleeing Patriot loyal Williamsburg, Virginia to more British loyal Yorktown, Virginia. Except Elisabeth didn't know... so she finds herself in danger, house destroyed, servants gone, and at the mercy of rebel-rousers. 

I was excited to start this book because I've been to Williamsburg and Yorktown (thanks to my Coastie son) and I could picture the scenery as I read about it. Sadly, the colonial Williamsburg in Virginia that I visited was vastly different than the one described in this book, but when I voiced my concerns I was reminded that the places we visited was more about Pilgrims and less about 1775.... Okay, that helped, so I could get past the differences between what I saw and what I read. 

Noble - wow. He was cousin to Elisabeth's betrothed, and even though he was a Patriot he was quick to step in to help Elisabeth. He was hurting, yes, but he was an awesome hero. I wanted them to get together the second I met him in the pages of this book but with her betrothed it didn't seem likely. Then again, what is a romance without a happy ever after? 

The story is slow, and there is zero sexual tension, but plenty of political tension, for those who like it light on the romance but heavy on the drama.

Fans of Laura Frantz and of stories set around 1775 will want to read THE LACEMAKER. 

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Moving Target

Elite Guardians #3

 Paperback, ebook, hardcover, audio, and audio cd

January 31, 2017

by Lynette Eason 

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723248

Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.

When Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe don't show up for Quinn's surprise birthday party, his friends know that something is very wrong. Their search turns up little beyond evidence that Quinn and Maddy just decided to take off for a long overdue vacation. But it soon becomes apparent that they did not leave of their own accord.

Maddy awakens in a cement room with no idea where she is. But it's not long before she realizes she's in the clutches of a madman exacting revenge by hunting. His prey of choice? Humans. Now Maddy and Quinn must run for their lives, hoping to find their killer before the next game begins. Because if they don't win this game, they die.

Fast, furious, and flirty, Lynette Eason's relentless suspense barely gives her readers time to catch their breath in this third thrilling installment of the Elite Guardians series

My thoughts: MOVING TARGET is a  page-turning suspense that will keep you glued to the pages while the hero and heroine run for their lives.  I told my fifteen year old daughter that I realize we live in a fallen world and "there is nothing new  under the sun" but it absolutely terrifies me that something such as written about in this book could actually happen -- and did happen in the author's mind as she wrote the story.  My daughter responded with "I think all suspense authors are scary."  Hmm. Maybe. Maybe not.  I don't know any in real life.  

Whether Ms. Eason is scary or not isn't what is in question though. It's this story. And for the screamish, it'd probably be best to throw the book down and run screaming in the opposite direction. There are dead bodies everywhere. And more terror than you can imagine. For the not screamish, prepare to get no sleep until you finish this book because you just can't put it down. 

The faith message is very solidly worked through the entire book, in both the characters' private lives and in the suspense.  I felt sorry for Quinn but I didn't actually like him and he and Maddy argue almost constantly so I'm kind of wondering how well a relationship between them will work out.  

The suspense itself keeps you guessing pretty much. I did sort of figure it out when something was mentioned early on in the book, but I didn't completely figure it out. Then the whole thing seemed to end too soon, and the characters are like "we're safe" and I'm like no you aren't, there's too many pages left...  and then unbelievably the heroine does something totally INSANE and that of course is the real black moment when all will be revealed. 

Not my favorite Lynette Eason book but a still a page-turner. 

This is book three in the series, but it stands alone. Still, fans will want to read Always Watching,  Chasing Secrets, and Without Warning 

I got a copy off Netgalley. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Story Behind the Story by Caryl McAdoo and two book #giveaway

Today we welcome Caryl McAdoo to my blog. Caryl is giving away two books - see bottom of  post for more information. To enter, answer Caryl's question (at the end of post) and include contact information. USA only.  Please follow Caryl at her sites (links included) and comment if you did so you get extra entries. Also included are tweets to tweet for extra entries.

The idea for SON OF PROMISE, my 31st published title, came to mind at Early Morning Prayer. We’d started going to a small full gospel church close to home in Irving in 2006, and the men had started the prayer group seven mornings a week from six to seven. My husband walked around the sanctuary praying, and the Lord dropped the opening scene of the story on him.

Because we’d taken in four grandsons (ages six, four, three, and newborn home to us from the hospital in 2002), our time to write had dwindled. Plus at that time, our gusto for writing had dwindled as well since not much had happened with our first books—nine published at that time by four houses. There proved little reward for all the time spent.

Ron said, “Lord, what’s the deal? What’s this about?” And the Father responded, “You’re going to need it.” The characters in the scene, Travis and Emma Lee Buckmeyer, were major-minor players in the first historical romance we’d written quite a while before that one—back in the nineties—titled CHIEF OF SINNERS. They’d married in that book.

So when he came home that morning, he told me about what God had shown him, and I loved the idea! We wrote a couple of hundred pages on it, then put it aside when we moved the little boys, about ten horses, about eighty Nigerian dwarf goats, and several chickens, cats, and dogs to Red River County in 2008.

Didn’t write much for a while there with barns, corrals, loafing sheds, and fences to build, plus a living to make, so it sat in the recesses of our computer, filed away until—praise the Lord—against his fervent arguments, I talked him into forming the Red Rivers’ Writers Workshop in our new home, Clarksville, Texas. That’s where we started reading Son of Promise for critique.

We met a local writer, a history teacher, who’d done tons of research and would read at the meetings. He also went to the North East Texas Writers’ Organization (NETWO) and told us about it. Since a writer can only not write for so long, we got serious and plunged headlong into NETWO. At their twenty-eighth annual conference, we met New York agent Mary Sue Seymour.
She loved the writing of what we pitched (CHIEF OF SINNERS), but wanted a female protagonist. She told us to write her a historical Christian romance set in the 1800s and she’d sell it. Putting SON OF PROMISE aside aside again, in nine weeks, we wrote VOW UNBROKEN—now book one in the Texas Romance Family Saga—and sent it off.

She sent a contract to represent us then kept her word, selling the manuscript to Simon and Schuster two months later. VOW UNBROKEN debuted in March of 2014. Both Mary Sue and our S&S editor only wanted one name on the cover, and preferably a woman’s. My big, strong and silent type husband didn’t mind taking the backseat at all.

The youngest grandson sure did though! He started doting on his grandfather, bringing him water, asking was there anything he could get him. Then one day when I twirled around in my office chair to ask Ron a story question, Benjamen (about ten at the time) interjected, “Don’t help her O’Pa! Your name isn’t on the cover!”

We stayed busy writing and publishing twenty more titles in the next two years—able to get them into the market so quickly because after that first book to Simon and Schuster, we went Indie, publishing our stories ourselves. When we wrote VOW UNBROKEN, first in the Family Saga set in 1832, we used several of the surnames from our CHIEF OF SINNERS which became the last in the series, book ten. VOW’s hero is Patrick ‘Henry’ Buckmeyer.

In preparation of what we were going to do after CHIEF launched, we got out SON OF PROMISE and finished it a few months ago. It’s set in a neighboring county in the Texas Hill Country, has Henry’s grandson as its hero—son of David Crockett Buckmeyer—Travis Wayne Buckmeyer.

And THAT is the Story behind the Story.
Genre:Historical Christian Women’s Fiction
ISBN-13: 978-1979-8823-85  /  AISN:B0775ZWNRN
ISBN 10: 1979-8823-8-X

Launch : January 15, 2017

No Series, but :
Companion Book of the TEXAS ROMANCE Family Saga

Jacket Copy:
Be it known, your sins will find you out, but God’s mercy endureth forever!

Can a wife find the grace to forgive when her husband withholdsa truth? Travis Buckmeyer has a secret son, and the time to tell his sweet wife arrives. He hates breaking Emma Lee’s heart—shehasn’t been blessed to carry a baby to term. Every miscarriage made the telling harder, but his clock’s run out. He’s going for his son and praying he won’t lose her.
    Cody knows who his mother claims his father is, but he’s only interested in getting sprung from reform school then boosting enough from the do-gooder to bust out on his own.
     Can Travis find redemption, Emma Lee forgiveness, or Cody the love he’s longed for?

Excerpt:Lightning lit the dark sky, revealing a pale slender thread dipping out of an ugly boiling mass of blackness.
“Papa! Did you see that? What was it?”
“Where? What?” The truck slowed.
“Over there. Watch. It's real white. Like God's finger coming down out of the storm.”
He pulled the truck up on the side of the gravel road and watched the sky intently. Electricity rolled again through the black clouds.
“There.” Sandy pointed.
The truck leapt forward, and he gunned it when he shifted into second. “It's a twister. Watch it, Sandra. Tell me which way it's going.”
Almost constant flashes confirmed the finger had grown thick and black. “It looks like it's coming straight at us, Papa.”
He glanced over his shoulder. “Oh my God.” He skidded to a halt, grabbed Sandy's arm, and pulled her out of the truck. A deep rumbling like a herd of trains running side by side drowned out every other sound.The roar deepened as though the trains raced to Hades with the devil as engineer.


The coming of age story, Son of Promise, by Caryl McAdoo, grabbed this reviewer from the very first sentence. Mrs. McAdoo does have a way with words. Her writing echoes the wide rangeland of Texas enabling the reader to dive into the waving grasslands and lose themselves in the story. [It’s] laced with Scripture passages, prayers, visions, and other gifts of the Holy Spirit giving this book a decidedly Christian and Pentecostal flavor.

This book has no on scene intimacies or cursing. It's not sanitized in that its characters are tempted, fail, then repent, learning from the experience …a story of redemption, and conquering familial love; of truth, and lies; and of moral choices resulting in consequences. It contrasts life lived by instinct with a life lived by faith. Kept this reviewer awake far past her bedtime. Buy it, you’ll not be sorry.     – Cass Wessel

Son Of Promise opens up in Texas in the very early 1950’s, McAdoo brings in some of the former characters from previous books, although it is a stand-a-lone novel. I loved the history of Texas during this era and especially the colloquialism. A child born from a one night stand when Travis Buckmeyer was just a young unmarried man is now introduced into his family. It takes the Buckmeyer family a lot of faith in God and doing the right thing. This story shows that the love of God within can overcome all obstacles. Your past does not determine your future. Such a gentle story of faith, love,forgiveness, and yielding the sinful man to a higher power.
–Judy Schexnayder

Tweets:(Help spread the word! :)
#NewReleaseSON OF PROMISES #ChristianFiction #Historical #Womenshttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B0775ZWNRN

SON OF PROMISE #NewRelease 5-Star #Historical #Womenshttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B0775ZWNRN

@CarylMcAdoo #NewReleaseSON OF PROMISE#ChristianFiction #Historicalhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B0775ZWNRN

Bio: Caryl McAdoo prays her story brings God glory, and a quick scroll through her novels’ rankings by Christian readers attests to the Father’s faithfulness. She loves writing almost as much as singing the new songs He gives her—lookher up on YouTube to hear a few. Her high school sweetheart husband won her heart fifty-one years ago, andnow they share four children and seventeen grandsugars. Ron and Caryl live in the woods south of Clarksville, seat of Red River County in far Northeast Texas, waiting expectantly for God to open the next door. 

Author Pages:
     Simon & Schuster - http://tinyurl.com/S-SCarylsPage
     Sweet Americana Sweethearts - bit.ly/2q0tcfFbit.ly

                         (All First Chapters offered here)

                   (Hear Carylsing her New Songs!)

    The Word & the Music
    HeartWings (Devotional) - http://www.HeartWingsBlog.com
    Stitches Thru Time (Misc.) -   http://www.StitchesThruTime.blogspot.com
    Sweet Americana Sweethearts (Historical) -




At the end of the links where it says PUZZLE ----that's a fun link to a puzzle of the cover.

I'd be happy to giveaway a print copy of VOW UNBROKEN (book one) and an eBook copy of SON OF PROMISE.

Please use those author links and follow me, though it isn't necessary to win. 

Please answer this question: Have you ever had a project it took you ten-plus years to finish?

You're all invited to my Launch Party for this book at Celebrate (you can get the link off my FB page or website!