Friday, February 24, 2017

Interview with Delia Latham

Where did you grow up and attend school? Are there any other authors in your family?

I grew up in California, a little ways southwest of Bakersfield, in a tiny farming community called Weedpatch. Attended school there, as well – first in a public elementary school (1st through 4th grades), and then in a parochial school operated by our church (5th through 12th). My aunt and pastor’s wife, Rita Mae Dawson, self-published a couple of non-fiction books many years ago, mostly for distribution within their Apostolic church fellowship. She was my mentor and encourager, who convinced me at an early age that I could and should be a writer.

How did you get started writing? How old were you? What made you want to start? What did you enjoy reading as a child?

I think I’ve been writing since I could wrap my fingers around a pencil. I’ve often stated that I was born with a pen in my hand, and I don’t think it’s far from the truth. Even at a very early age, I wrote poems, songs, little stories. As I grew older, I learned to love reading. I read everything I could get my hands on, including the backs of Comet boxes and toothpaste tubes. J I loved Trixie Belden, The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames…even the Hardy Boys mysteries (I wasn’t a gender-specific reader!). And the list goes on. As I entered high school, I started writing more and more. My uncle and pastor was married to an amazing, very talented and intelligent woman, who was always a strong mentor to me. Rita Mae Dawson homed in on my God-given talent and encouraged me to develop it. I will forever be grateful for her!

How and when did you and your husband meet? Was it love at first sight? What does he think about your being an author?

I was 11 when I first saw my future husband, Johnny. My brother (4½ years older) and I were visiting a small church in a nearby town. Johnny (one of the pastor’s five sons) was dating one of the girl’s in the church, but it didn’t stop me from developing an instant crush. From that time on, when I played house with my friends, my name was always Mrs. Johnny Latham.

My brother and Johnny became very good friends, and when Johnny’s dad left that little church where we first met them, he and one of his brothers started attending ours. One happy day a few years later, my brother informed me that Johnny wanted to date me. “Too bad you like Aubrey so much,” he said. Poor, sweet Aubrey suffered an instant break-up…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Johnny is very supportive of my love for writing. Thank God! He’s the family cook anyway, which is such a huge load off my mind when I’m in the middle of a story. But he doesn’t stop there. If I’m on deadline and crunching to get a story done, he picks up the slack with laundry and whatever else must be done while I’m hidden away in my office. God is such a Master matchmaker!

How old are your children? Do they read your books? Have any of them got the writing bug, as well?

I have four children, all adults. None of them are much into Christian fiction, but each has read one or more of my books. Both of my boys are excellent writers and every once in a while, they’ll send me a story they’re working on, so I can advise and edit. The oldest actually completed a novel, but has never attempted to submit it anywhere, much to my disappointment. Maybe someday.

How do you research the communities and people you write about? Do you find yourself having do a lot of research?

Since I don’t write historical fiction, there’s less research than one might think. However, every book requires a certain amount of fact-checking – whether due to an unfamiliar locale, a character’s profession, or some other element of the storyline with which I’m unfamiliar. I do almost all research online. While I have visited a couple of locations in order to familiarize myself with them, many of my settings are fictional, which gives me some leeway with “facts.”

Which is your favorite book? Do you have a character in your books you identify with the most ?

My favorite book that I have written, or by another author? I’ll answer both.

My two favorite books ever are both epic good vs. evil novels: The Stand, by Stephen King and Swan Song, by Robert R. McCammon. Neither of these authors writes Christian fiction, but I love their good vs. evil storylines.


Choosing a favorite amongst my own books is really hard. The most recent is always “favorite” while it’s new—so right now, Spring Raine holds that title. Lol They are each “favorites” for different reasons. However…for the sake of giving an answer…Goldeneyes will probably always be the book of my heart, as it is set partially in Weedpatch, California. Many of the characters’ names are a mix of people I knew as a child growing up in that community and in our church. I also really love one in particular of my Heart’s Haven novellas—Love in the WINGS. It deals with spiritual oppression, and I fought a royal spiritual battle as I wrote the book. I think God was giving me a glimpse into the devastation that can be wrought on a person’s heart and soul by satanic forces that seek to destroy His children through oppression. I will always consider this book a triumph over evil, as it became more and more clear that Satan did not want the story written, and was willing to destroy me to keep it under wraps. As always, God prevailed. I pray the book is a blessing and a source of strength to anyone dealing with evil spirits and/or oppression.

Blurb for
Spring Raine, Paradise Pines series, Book 1:

An uncharacteristic, last-minute decision to do something "wild and crazy" before entering the stressful world of forensic science sends Raine Presley to Cambria, California. Against a cloud of disapproval from her slightly manipulative, over-protective parents, she signs a seasonal lease at the beautiful Paradise Pines Lodge...and winds up over her head in life and love.

Declan Keller's just minding his own business—literally—when Raine drops into his world and turns it upside down. He's far too busy carving beautiful shapes out of chunks of wood to be babysitting a gal from Pasadena. Even so, his father’s promise to an old friend obligates him, despite a looming deadline that could make or break his career in the art world. He’s praying for anything but Raine when she comes along.

Neither Declan nor Raine is prepared for the seemingly divine influence of Paradise Pines—and Miss Angelina Love. A mysterious lady who may or may not own the lodge, Miss Angie possesses an amazing talent for mending ruffled feathers, spouting proverbs, and somehow bending even the most determined of hearts to the power of love.

Bio:
Writing Heaven’s touch into earthly tales, Delia Latham puts her characters through the fire of earthly trials to bring them out victorious by the hand of God, His heavenly messengers, and good, old-fashioned love. You’ll always find a touch of the divine in this author’s sweet tales of romance.
Delia lives in East Texas with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author of inspirational romance…with a finger or two immersed in the design pool, where she creates beautiful marketing material for other authors. Delia treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and loves hearing from readers.

Contact this author at any of the following locations:


Amazon purchase link for Spring Raine, Paradise Pines Series, Book 1

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Teenage Zombie: Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in Your Home

My Teenage Zombie: Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in Your Home 

Paperback, ebook, audible

October 4, 2016

by David L. Henderson

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718031244

A must-read guide for parents and grandparents who want to practically and successfully help their teenager navigate the ever-lengthening stage of adolescence launching, them into society with confidence, vision, and success.
Zombies are not just found in horror movies, sometimes they’re lying on your living room couch. These are undead adolescents whose psychological and social development have come to a screeching halt. Torn by their yearning for freedom and their fear of surviving the outside world, they have stalled in their maturity, motivation, and purpose in life, hijacked by a helplessness and fear of responsibility. Parents often feel ill-equipped to love, support, and guide them—especially when they may be facing a midlife crisis of their own and battling some of the same issues in their own lives. Is it really possible to escape this “undead” state of being? 
In My Teenage Zombie board-certified psychiatrist and medical doctor David L. Henderson explains the parts of a teenage zombie (their brain, heart, and spirit), how they got into this undead state, and how to resurrect them back to life. Using real-life examples of families he has counseled, he describes both their physical and psychological characteristics and offers practical suggestions on how to deal with, and in many cases avoid, having an undead adolescent in your home.
The book is divided into three helpful sections:
  • The Rise of the Undead: Understanding the Nature of a Teenage Zombie
  • The Fear of the Undead: Facing the Anxiety of Confronting a Teenage Zombie
  • Resurrecting the Undead: Restoring Your Teenage Zombie to a Life Worth Living
If you are the parent of an undead adolescent, there is hope for you and your child. Or maybe you have children who are not yet adolescents. It’s never too early to prepare for the challenges that await you. Either way, stay calm and start resurrecting zombies!

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, MY TEENAGE ZOMBIE: Resurrecting the Undead Adolescent in Your Home is a timely book for those of us with Undead Zombies. 

I am somewhat behind on reviews due to four back-to-back book deadlines, and the publisher sent me a gentle reminder that my promised review for this was past due.  I opened it up, read the introduction, the first chapter, identified the area where my twenty-six year old zombie has issues, and flipped to that chapter (11).  Read that. My zombie has been quite alarmed by my reading the book and is arguing he is not a zombie. Not engaging. I know better. 

The tone of the book is rather clinical, but I suppose that seeing as Dr Henderson is a MD then it is to be expected. I struggled to wrap my mind around some of the things included, and I can see it is going to take some time, rereading and thought to thoroughly implement change in my child. In the mean time, what Dr. Henderson recommended in chapter 11 was to change locks, padlock the refrigerator, and impliment the command "He who will not work shall not eat."   Sounds rather harsh, and what parent wants others to judge him that way?  Not I.  But then again, is that going to be what's necessary to get him off his rump and out looking for work?  Or into college to earn that "stupid, worthless degree" that is oh so necessary to getting his dream job? 

This book would be helpful for other parents who struggles as I do. Is your child addicted to mind-altering drugs or alchohol?  Lazy?  Is he lacking spark, pulse, or fiber?  Not sure? Just know something is wrong?  This book will help you identify the problem and help you to take steps to solve it. I know I will be rereading my copy as I struggle to help my son find his pulse. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

An Uncommon Protector

An Uncommon Protector 

A Lone Star Hero’s Love Story

Paperback, ebook 

February 7, 2017


  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310345428


Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.
The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.
When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.
Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.
But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.


My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, AN UNCOMMON PROTECTOR is the second book in the A Lone Star Hero's series, but it stands alone. I didn't read the first book A Loyal Heart and had no trouble following along with this book. 

I mostly read Ms. Gray's Amish series, but have read one of her historicals in the past so decided to give this one a try. It has an interesting premise. Single girl losing ranch so she hires a convict (when he's release on (sort of) parole or really sold on the auction block) to work for her to save the ranch. 


When  Laurel brings Thomas home, her step-siblings rebel, attempting to call her bluff, and with no money or place to stay, walked eight miles to town. Laurel let them go. I didn't like the step-siblings at all. I did like Thomas' outspokenness, though he was inappropriate much of the time, and I'm glad he was a man of honor even if he did have a rather low opinion of himself. 

Laurel is learning to be outspoken, so she is struggling to find the fine footing between being a genteel lady and being owner of a ranch and forced to make her own decisions for herself and others.

Ms. Gray isn't real big on faith messages, her books are more sweet romances with little to no mention of faith, so this book shouldn't be offensive to anyone (even if they are anti-Christian). If you like a strong faith message, look further, but if you like sweet romances, then Ms. Gray is a writer to consider.  Her books are fun, imagitive, and light-hearted. 

Warning: there is use of God's name in vain and some soft-swear words. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Book Spotlight: Unquiet Ghosts

Unquiet Ghosts: A Novel 

Kindle Edition, audio CD, hardcover

  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • Publication Date: July 11, 2017
  • ASIN: B01HMXUY1M

Eight years ago, her husband and children were killed in a plane crash. Now, new evidence reveals that they didn’t die—her husband deliberately vanished—and that he knows a secret the powerful forces will stop at nothing to keep hidden.

Kathy Kelly’s world was shattered when a plane carrying her husband—an Iraq War veteran and devoted father—and her two children vanished from the sky one night. No trace of the plane was ever found.

Eight years later, Kathy has struggled to rebuild her life, but then wreckage of his plane is found in the wilderness of Great Smoky Mountain National Park—hundreds of miles from where her husband’s plane should have been. The pilot perished in the crash, but there is no sign of Jack or the children. Could they have made it out alive after all? But if so, where have they been all this time? Where are they now?

As Kathy searches for any clue about what happened to her family, the investigation uncovers some unsettling clues—including a briefcase containing millions of dollars in cash, a priceless mask stolen from an Iraqi museum, and a clue that links Jack’s disappearance with the suspicious death of Kathy’s mother years ago.

But she soon learns that others have been looking for the wreckage and its occupants for a long time. Others who are determined to make sure she never finds her family and that they remain dead. Shadowy, powerful people who will kill for what was on board—a secret her husband was the keeper of. A secret so powerful it will open a Pandora’s box of bloody revenge—one that reaches back into the past and into the highest echelons of wealth and power, all the way to the White House.

This breathless, pulse-pounding thriller examines the very real billions in cash and priceless artifacts that vanished into the pockets of powerful American men during the Iraq war, and examines the extreme lengths some people will go to protect the secrets of what really happened to all that money.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Her Baby's Protector


Her Baby's Protector: Saved by the Lawman\Saved by the SEAL 

Love Inspired Suspense

Mass Market Paperback, ebook

March 7, 2017

by Margaret Daley  (Author), Susan Sleeman  (Author)


  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373456932


KEEPING BABY SAFE 

Saved by the Lawman by Margaret Daley 
As an unknown assailant attempts to kidnap family-court judge Kate Forster's infant son, police officer Chase Walker thwarts the attack—and vows to keep the pair safe. But who will protect the ex-marine's heart when the widowed mother and her little boy make him long for a permanent spot in their family?

My thoughts: Saved by the Lawman was an interesting read. I enjoyed getting to know Chase. Kate seemed rather clinical about the whole thing, and not truly engaged, but it might just be because of who she is career-wise. She fought for her child, but she never seemed to get emotionally involved during the whole thing.  I would have liked to see more emotion from her both in the attempted kitnappings and the romance. The suspense part of it was good, and I thought it was pretty cut and dried, but the real bad guy came as a complete surprise. 
Saved by the SEAL by Susan Sleeman 
The tragedy that killed Bree Hatfield's best friends—and left her with custody of their young daughter—has been ruled an accident. But Bree knows it was murder. Scared and alone, she turns to her ex-boyfriend, navy SEAL Clint Reed, who'll risk everything to protect baby Ella and the woman he never stopped loving.

My thoughts: Saved by the Seal was a great read. I loved the nonstop action in this one as Bree and Clint try to figure out who murdered Bree's friends and why. Fans of romantic suspense love the nonstop action in Susan Sleeman's books and this one, although a novella, had just as much action. The romance developed quick, but both Clint and Bree dated each other before Clint joined the Navy, so it had a jumpstart. 

Overall, if you love romantic suspense you will love this dual by these two top romantic suspense authors. Don't miss Her Baby's Protector. 



Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Newcomer by Suzanne Woods Fisher


About the Book


Click to Purchase

Book: The Newcomer
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Genre: Historical; Amish
Release Date: January 31
In 1737, Anna Konig and her fellow church members stagger off a small wooden ship after ten weeks at sea, eager to start a new life in the vibrant but raw Pennsylvania frontier. On the docks of Port Philadelphia waits bishop Jacob Bauer, founder of the settlement and father to ship carpenter Bairn. It’s a time of new beginnings for the reunited Bauer family, and for Anna and Bairn’s shipboard romance to blossom.
But this perfect moment cannot last. As Bairn grasps the reality of what it means to be Amish in the New World–isolated, rigid with expectations, under the thumb of his domineering father–his enthusiasm evaporates. When a sea captain offers the chance to cross the ocean one more time, Bairn grabs it. Just one more crossing, he promises Anna. But will she wait for him?
When Henrik Newman joins the church just as it makes its way to the frontier, Anna is torn. He seems to be everything Bairn is not–bold, devoted, and delighted to vie for her heart. And the most dramatic difference? He is here; Bairn is not.
Far from the frontier, an unexpected turn of events weaves together the lives of Bairn, Anna, and Henrik. When a secret is revealed, which true love will emerge?
My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, I love Suzanne Woods Fisher’s contemporary Amish books and I probably shouldn’t have requested this one because I didn’t love Anna’s Crossing. It was hard for me to read the history of the Amish on the ship. I recognize it is based on real life history, but that doesn’t make it easier!

I hoped THE NEWCOMER would be less slow and hard to read. But I still found this book really difficult for me to get into. There is a lot of real life (nonfiction) characters included, and a lot of real life (nonfiction) history of the area, so part of it almost seems like an information dump. I also never really was able to connect with the main characters Anna and Bairn (or Hans).

As a whole, Ms. Fisher’s writing style is top-notch and I love the way she seamlessly weaves in a faith message. Ms. Fisher is one of the top Amish writers with good reason. As a rule she writes with wit, faith, and well-developed characters with an interesting storyline. This book – THE NEWCOMER – is second in the series, and readers should read Anna’s Crossing before reading this as they are tied together. You probably won’t be lost if you don’t, but it might help to make you more invested in the characters if you experience the hardships with them from the beginning.

If you like historical Amish books, then Ms. Fisher’s are ones to consider. She puts a lot of time and effort into research to get the details exact and it shows.   


About the Author


suzanne6Suzanne Woods Fisher
 is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher

Pennsylvania of 1737, the setting for The Newcomer, is like a foreign country. Parts of it might seem familiar—the same hills and creeks and blue sky, but we’d hardly recognize the settlers. People like Anna, or Bairn, or the mysterious Newcomer. We wouldn’t be able to understand their language, their customs and traditions. Their world was that different from our modern one.
The first group of Amish immigrants (first written about in Anna’s Crossing and followed up in The Newcomer) settled northwest of Philadelphia, then a vast wilderness, and relied on each other for safety, security, building projects, and church. In nearby Germantown, settlers were tradesmen, so they clustered houses together in small knots. The Amish farmers took out land warrants for sizeable properties and lived considerable distances from each other.
In The Newcomer, Anna cooked food in a cauldron over a large hearth. One-pot meals can trace their beginnings to open-hearth cooking when ingredients for a meal went into a large kettle suspended over the fire. Traditional dishes—ham and beans, pork and sauerkraut—used sturdy, available, and simple ingredients that improved with long, slow cooking. The dishes could be easily expanded when the need arose to set a few more places at the table. And it did, often. Large families and unannounced company inspired Amish cooks to find ways to “stretch the stew.”
Noodles (including dumplings and rivvels) could be tossed into a simmering broth to make a meal stretch. Most farms had a flock of chickens, so eggs were easily at hand. Today, homemade noodles are still a favorite dish.
Another “stew stretcher” was cornmeal mush, originally eaten as a bread substitute. Early German settlers who made their home in eastern Pennsylvania roasted the yellow field corn in a bake oven before it was shelled and ground at the mill. The roasting process gave a nutty rich flavor to the cornmeal. Mush is still part of the diet the Old Order Amish—cooked and fried, baked, added into scrapple, smothered in ketchup. Dress it up and you’ve got polenta.
Now here’s one thing we do have in common with 1737 Pennsylvania immigrants…a love of good food and a shortage of time! Here’s one of my favorite one-pot recipes—probably not the kind of stew Anna might have made for ship carpenter Bairn or the mysterious Newcomer (ah, which man one stole her heart?)…but definitely delicious. Enjoy!
Lentil Chili
Here’s one of my favorite “stew stretchers.” You can expand it even more by serving over rice.
Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
10 c. water
1 lb. dry lentils
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt (season to your taste)
½ tsp. pepper
2 c. salsa (your favorite variety)
29 oz. canned tomatoes, crushed

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Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a Kindle! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!https://promosimple.com/ps/b0d1