Sunday, January 22, 2017

Guest Post by Sandy Nadeau

Adventure in firefighting

    I’m often asked how I come up with ideas for my books. My latest one is called Rescue Me about a firefighter and a gal on the rescue squad. That one was easy since my hubby served over four years on a volunteer fire department. He was also the head of emergency services for a while. We were both very involved in the department. The women’s auxiliary was active in helping the firefighters on long calls by bringing coffee and sandwiches.

   There was a lot of fun stuff too. We competed in water ball (two teams shooting water through fire hoses at a keg strung on a heavy wire. Sort of like tug of war in the opposite), there were open house festivals to support the department, the women always threw a Christmas party for the children of the firefighters, and we loved to celebrate with holiday parties.

   One particular party was going along so well and we were all having so much fun, when the call signal came over all the pagers strapped to the belts of the volunteers. All talk in the room ceased as the emergency tone echoed around the room, the dispatcher announced the location and the incident, then the entire room cleared out so fast leaving the spouses sitting there. It was quite a sight.

   There were so many fire and rescue calls to draw upon for ideas for the book. And personalities. In the story, there’s a character named Troy who tends to be overzealous in his actions. True stuff. I did have to imagine the calls taking place in Colorado rather than in Minnesota where we lived at the time. But with all the exploring we did in the state once we moved there, it wasn’t hard.

   The department also had practice burns. Someone would basically donate an old house to be burned down so the volunteers could learn the techniques first hand. It was amazing to watch how fire can eat away at a house so fast.

   One particular fire call, a real one, had my hubby on the nozzle of the hose, first man in. His team on the balcony of the home and were hitting the fire from that side. One of the many dangers is a flashover where the fire blasts out an opening so hard and fast that it literally can knock you over. Which it did to my hubby. Thankfully, the next firefighter on the line, a female by the way, held him fast and they were not thrown off the balcony and were able to help get that fire out.

   So writing Rescue Me involved a lot of discussions and walks down memory lane with my hubby. We had so much fun brainstorming different scenarios of what could happen with Steve and Ronnie. Throw in some romance, a personal struggle deep in a heart and you have for a great story.

   Firefighters and rescue personnel go through a lot. If you see one, thank them!

Bio:
Sandy Nadeau loves to go on adventures, photograph them and equally loves to write about them. She and her husband did a lot of four-wheeling in the back country of Colorado and shared those experiences with others by taking them up in the mountains. Her writing experience includes a community news column in a small newspaper for twelve years, magazine articles and two novels with adventure, mystery, romance, but most importantly sharing God’s love. She is currently a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and has two books out. Married for a whopping 40 years, she and her husband are loving life as grandparents to their three grandchildren after the big move to Texas. Travel is their favorite thing to do and they don’t get to do it as often as they’d like. Adventure awaits around every corner, over every hill and mountain.

Links:






@sandynadeauCO 






Blurb:
First Responder Ronnie Spencer has a no-dating firefighters rule. She lost her father to a fire, and won't risk the heartbreak of losing someone else. But when Steve McNeal returns, Ronnie's heart is tested. How can she swear-off dating a firefighter when she has to work with the one man she used to love?

When the unthinkable happens, Ronnie has doubts. How can a loving God allow tragedy to stalk her life again? As her faith wavers, Ronnie must decide. Will their blossoming relationship be quickly extinguished by the very thing she feared, or will Ronnie trust God and allow her heart to be rescued—even if that means giving it to a firefighter?


Risking her life to save him is easy. Risking her heart to give him a second chance is impossible.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

In the Shadow of Denali

In the Shadow of Denali 

The Heart of Alaska #1 

Paperback, ebook, hardcover, audio

January 3, 2017


  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764219238

Their Future Depends on Unlocking the Secrets the Mountain Holds From the Past

Cassidy Ivanoff and her father, John, work at the new and prestigious Curry Hotel near the foot of Mount McKinley--Denali as it's still called by the natives. John is the wilderness and exploration guide for the wealthy tourists while Cassidy works in the kitchen as Cook's assistant. The entire staff buzzes with excitement during the busy days preparing for the President's imminent visit. His historic trip to dedicate the new national park on his way to driving in the golden spike to officially complete the Alaska Railroad will be the beginning of a new era for all of them and place The Curry at the heart of Alaska. 

Allan Brennan travels to the Curry Hotel to be an apprentice to the seasoned Alaska mountain guide, with hopes of discovering the truth about his father's death on the mountain years earlier. His father's business partner blames the guide for Henry Brennan's untimely death, but Allan cannot be at peace until he knows for sure. He finds an unlikely ally in Cassidy, and as the two begin to look into the mystery, they suddenly find that things are much less clear, and much more dangerous, than either could ever imagine.


My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, IN THE SHADOW OF DENALI was a very exciting book that held my attention from the first page to the very last. From the prologue it is very apparent who the bad guy is, but there is some remaining questions as to how, even though the why is clearly answered. 

I liked Allan and John. They both were hurting from the tragedy and both needed to heal and stop placing blame. I liked Thomas too, he was a dear, clumsy boy who was too eager for approval (which made him even clumsier.) 

Cassidy is a bit quick tempered, judgmental, and it took awhile for me to even begin to like her.  

The main draw for this story was the historical details, a presidential visit to Alaska, and the mystery. The romance was there, but lacking.  It was still a very enjoyable read. 


Friday, January 20, 2017

Guest Post by Lillian Duncan






DEADLY SILENCE

Silence is something I’ve been thinking about lately. In 2012, I developed bilateral brain tumors that have left me completely deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other. Considering that, it’s no surprise I wrote a book called DEADLY SILENCE.
There are many different kinds of silence—some good; some not so good.

Deadly Silence is the third in my Deadly Communications series that features Maven Morris, a speech pathologist, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble. That remains true in this book. Once again, Maven can’t just sit on the sidelines.

That might be a good characteristic but that’s also when things can turn deadly!
Even though DEADLY SILENCE is a suspense novel, the book explores silence from several different perspectives. First, there’s the good kind of silence, a golden silence. A quiet afternoon on a sun-drenched deck—just me and a good book. And maybe a glass of cold lemonade.

Then you have that awkward silence where everyone in the room stops talking because I did or said something “wrong.” Again.

Then there’s the silence that happens when you don’t have or you lose the connection between you and God. Maven experienced that deadly silence once before, but she’s determined not to let that happen again in spite of the horrible circumstances she finds herself.

There’s the sad silence that happens between estranged friends or family. This is the kind of silence Maven experiences in Deadly Silence when she’s left alone at the altar without an explanation.

She doesn’t expect to hear from the man who let her alone at the altar—at first. But as the weeks go by she wonders why no one has heard from him. Not his daughter—not his boss—and certainly not her. The more she wonders, the more curious she becomes… And that’s when things turn deadly!

BOOK BLURB:


FACED WITH ONLY SILENCE.

Her happily-ever-after is shattered when Maven Morris is left at the altar. Without a word of explanation, her fiancé, has disappeared, leaving Maven and the church filled with their family and friends. Maven refuses to give into the darkness of depression. Instead she takes on a new speech therapy client. Layla’s life has been shattered by silence, as well. As a late-deafened adult, Layla needs skills to cope with her now silent world.

TRUST YOUR EYES.

Those are words of advice Maven gives Layla. The words stir up something on the inside of Maven as she realizes there wasn’t a hint that Paul’s feet had turned cold about their upcoming nuptials. And that’s when silence turns deadly.


BIO:

Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at www.lillianduncan.net or www.lillian-duncan.com. She also has a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com.








Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Cat Burglars

The Cat Burglars

The Accidental Adventures, Episode 1 

Paperback 

September 3, 2016

by Max Elliot Anderson 

  • Series: The Accidental Adventures of Kurt Benson, and His Friends, Riley and Jordan
  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Elk Lake Publishing, Inc
  • ISBN-13: 978-1944430405

In The Cat Burglars, the first episode of the exciting new series “The Accidental Adventures of Kurt Benson and His Friends, Riley and Jordan,” readers follow Kurt, Riley, and Jordan as they try to solve the mystery of escalating burglaries in their neighborhood, all strangely tied in to Pletchers’ Bed and Biscuit where the boys work taking care of animals during their summer vacation. As the trio tries to balance spying on suspicious adults with doing their jobs and not worrying their parents, the boys find themselves in more danger than they ever could have imagined.

My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, THE CAT BURGLARS is the first book in a new mystery series for tween boys by Max Elliot Anderson. Mr. Anderson is an author that writes engaging books for tween boys (ages 8 - 12) who are reluctant readers and as a mom of a reluctant reader, I will testify they work. My son grew up to be an avid reader and he reads big books now, fiction and nonfiction. Mr. Anderson was one of his favorite authors when he was a boy. He inhaled everything Mr. Anderson had written. 

For adult readers, the voice is rather simplistic, but this is geared toward tweens. The main characters, Kurt, Riley, and Jordan are eleven years old and they are pooper-scoopers and dog walkers at Jordan's dad's kennel. When robberies happen, the boys are frantic, because it might mean the closing of the kennel when police tie the robberies with the kennel.  Who knows when pet owners will be away from home?  

Thing is, the boys see things, but neither the dad  nor the police are willing to listen to them. It was an engaging read even for an adult.  I passed my copy on to a grateful parent of a reluctant reader tween boy with high recommendations. Hopefully Mr. Anderson will gain a new reader as a result. 

If you have a tween son or grandson who hate reading, then THE CAT BURGLARS is a good book to start with. 



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Love Never Fails

Love Never Fails 

The Homeward Journey #3

Paperback, ebook 

November 4, 2014

by Martha Roger

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Realms

ISBN-13: 978-1621366478


At odds over their beliefs and separated by the war, Molly and Stefan must learn to depend of God.

In book three of the Homeward Journey series, Daniel and Sally Delaney’s daughter Molly finishes school and returns to her home to teach. When old friends of her parents come for a visit with their son, Stefan, Molly is attracted to the young man, but all he is interested in is talking about his position in the army. When he leaves to rejoin his regiment, Molly is both relieved and saddened. Can they overcome their differences and find love?

Molly has finished school and returns home to teach. When old friends of her parents visit with their son, Stefan Elliot, Molly is quickly attracted to him. Stefan talks about his position in the Army and his furlough, but keeps his attraction to Molly at bay because of her obvious disdain toward his views on war and weapons. 

When Stefan leaves to rejoin his regiment, Molly is both relieved and saddened. Yet when Stefan returns home from war because of a disfiguring injury, it is up to Molly to bring him back from depression. Will they depend on God and find love that knows no limitations?

The series continues its theme of strong Southern women forging ahead to new territories to find happiness through their faith. They prove that when all else is gone, love will be there.  


My thoughts: First, the disclaimer. "I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions are my own." That done, LOVE NEVER FAILS might be the third book in The Homeward Journey series, but it easily stands alone. I didn't read Love Stays True or Love Finds Faith but I didn't feel I missed anything in the reading of LOVE NEVER FAILS. 

Molly and Stefan seem mismatched. Stefan is in the Army and protecting the country and if necessary sacrificing his life is what he is trained to do. Molly might live in Texas with cowboys, but she is as gentile as her plantation-living friend and discussing Stefan's occupation makes her extremely uncomfortable. 

Stefan is very accommodating, letting Molly chat about her interests without a single complaint. A very sweet hero. The story is slow moving, but it's well-written and a nice way to unwind after a hectic day when you want something slow and calming.  If you like historical romances and have read other books by Martha Rogers, you will love LOVE NEVER FAILS. And if you  like to read series straight though (I know there are "finish the series" challenges going on right now) the books are in order, Love Stays True, Love Finds Faith, and LOVE NEVER FAILS. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Interview with Barbara Britton and #Giveaway!!!

Barbara M. Britton, “Providence: Hannah’s Journey”

Today we are blessed to have Barbara Britton join us. Barbara is graciously giving away a copy of her new book "Providence" to one commenter. Please be sure to leave contact information! 

Barbara, glad to have you. Where did you grow up and attend school?  Are there any authors in your family?

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, but after my freshman year in high school, my family moved to Connecticut. That was a difficult move for me as a teenager, and I had to “start” high school all over again as my high school in Westport began at grade 10. After I graduated, I relocated to sunny Texas to attend Baylor University. I lived in Dallas after graduation and met my husband who was a seminary student at Dallas Theological Seminary. He was, and is, a Chicago guy, so we eventually moved to Illinois and now we live in Wisconsin. I cheer on the Packers, but hubby is a stalwart Bear’s fan.

I am the only author in my family. My sons used to get a bit of sympathy when they had to write papers for school, but now I tell them, “You can’t fix a blank page.”

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 was in my early forties when I began writing. I was teaching chapel to kindergarten through fifth graders—all at once—at a nearby Christian school. I had to modify my curriculum for the vast age range I taught, or I had to write my own curriculum. I remember being tired at the end of the school year, and needing to decide what to teach the following year, so I prayed, “Lord, hit me with some creativity.” I wanted help with Bible stories, but I got a prompting to write. So, after nine years of writing, I sold my fourth book, “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” It was my first work of Biblical fiction.

As a child I liked to read mysteries. One of my favorite series was Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. Not many people have heard of this series, but I know I can’t be the only one to have read these adventures.

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

My husband and I met on a double date when we were with the other people. Yikes! After awhile, my husband asked his buddy if he was going to ask me out again, and when his friend wasn’t, my husband called me.

My husband has always supported me in my writing career. He is a non-fiction reader, so he hasn’t read any of my books. His advice when I was teaching chapel was not to just teach students the stories of the Bible, but to teach them the theology behind the story, so the kids would know why that event was in the Bible. All my books are based on a Bible story, or character, and the theology is there, hidden away.

I drew my inspiration for Hannah from the servant girl in the story of Naaman in II Kings 5.

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

My boys are in their early twenties. One started seminary this year, and one is finishing college. They have each read one of my books, but not the ones that are being published. My oldest son and his friends did a video of my first book for a class project.

The writing bug hasn’t infected my family, but they are all very supportive of my work.

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

Research is my friend. I tell myself that as I’m figuring out the dates that kings reigned, and when the prophets lived, and which tribe of Israel lived north of the Salt Sea. I try to have fun learning about the Bible, especially the Old Testament. I have a map of Jerusalem in Nehemiah’s day on my office door, and a map of the tribes of Israel from the time of the Judges on my wall. I enjoy studying the Bible because I always learn something new.

The Bible is my first resource. Since my husband is a theologian, I have a basement full of commentaries and study guides. I use my local library too.

Thanks for having me on your blog today Laura. It’s been fun.

Barb’s Bio:

Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction for teens and adults. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Barb kicked off her Tribes of Israel series in October with the release of “Providence: Hannah’s Journey.” Naomi’s journey is set to release this spring. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America.

Book blurb:

As the sole daughter of the chief priest, Hannah is publicly shamed when the prophet of Israel refuses to heal her.

Determined to restore her family’s honor, Hannah escapes Jerusalem in hopes of finding the prophet and convincing him to heal her deformities. Gilead, a young Hebrew guard sympathetic to her plight, willingly accompanies her. On their way, they are captured by a band of raiders.

Hannah is forced to serve in the household of the commander of the Aramean army, an officer who is in need of healing himself. 

Meanwhile Gilead is being used as sword practice for the Aramean soldiers.

Hannah must act fast to save Gilead and herself. But survival means coaxing the prophet of Israel to heal an enemy commander.




Monday, January 16, 2017

Interview with Pamela Meyers and #giveaway!!!

Today we welcome Pamela Meyers to my blog. Pam is graciously offering a giveaway of her book to one commenter.  Be sure to include contact information. 

Pam, glad you stopped by. Where did you grow up and attend school? Are there any other authors in your family?  

I grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, a picturesque small town on a beautiful lake about 12 miles north of the Illinois border. My creative genes come from my dad’s side of the family. He had artistic talent and could craft a good speech, but never was a writer. His maternal grandfather was a portrait photographer in the late 1800s and early 1900s and several generations before him, a cousin by the name of George Bancroft wrote a U.S. history book (a copy of which is in my local library) and was Secretary of the Navy under President Van Buren.

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 was an avid reader as a child, as was my mother. I was always interested in writing things down and asked for a diary for Christmas when I was eight. I never wrote stories, but I had a huge collection of paper dolls and would play for hours, developing storylines for them. I never thought about writing as a profession until I enrolled in an accelerated adult bachelor’s program at Trinity International University where I took a lot of elective writing classes including one on creative writing and discovered my love of telling stories. After graduation I attended the Write to Publish writers conference which is local to me. There I took continuing fiction writing classes from authors Gail Martin and Gayle Roper and learned about American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and joined that. In God’s own timing I signed my first book contract in 2011.

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

Each book has had it’s own unique form of research. Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, which is my hometown, had the greatest need of research. You’d think it would have been easy peasy given I grew up there, but it is an historical romance set in 1933, and I had to make sure everything I wrote about was there at that time. I spent hours at the Lake Geneva library (about an hour’s drive from my home), going over the local weekly newspaper on microfilm to be sure the stores, restaurants and other elements of the town I was using in the story were correct. The story is a romance, but it also focuses on the construction of a recreational building on the lakefront. I learned more about that building than I ever thought I would need to know.

For my current release, Second Chance Love, the story is set at a real rodeo that takes place every Labor Day weekend in a tiny village about five hours south of Chicago. A friend and I attend the rodeo every year, so I was very familiar with the setting. But, after I was contracted to write the story, my next attendance at the event was more about paying attention to the details and less to the actual rodeo. I took tons of pictures and drove around the town, ate at local restaurants, and paid attention to the routes to and from the rodeo and to other places mentioned in the story. I have a first-hand rodeo expert in a friend who is a retired bull rider and he was a huge help, but I also watched a lot of video on line, including teaching videos on how to ride a bull. No. I never tried to ride one. I’m not that crazy LOL.

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

For the most part, whatever book I’m working on becomes my favorite, but I’d have to say because of the personal connection to my Lake Geneva book, that one is very special. I’m very blessed to have had the opportunity to write a story set in my hometown. As I wrote the book I came to realize that the hero and heroine resembled my parents a lot, although their story is not at all like the one I wrote.

Having said that, loving to watch rodeo, and bull riding in particular, Second Chance Love is a close second as far as favorites go. It’s always exciting to write a story set in a real place and then take your book there and say, here’s a story I wrote about your town. It’s almost like a love letter to the town in thanks for wonderful memories I have of the area.

As for the character I relate to the most goes, I think there is a little of me in all my female characters and I can’t say any one is my favorite.

About the book: 


Chicago lawyer Sydney Knight and Texas bull rider Jace McGowan have nothing in common but everything to lose when they are thrust together during a weekend rodeo in rural Illinois. Neither one of them would have imagined two years ago that the deep attraction they sensed during a day-long outing would resurface when Sydney’s boss assigns her to Jace’s legal case.

Sydney has been through a world of hurt since losing her dad when she was sixteen, then being dumped the morning of her wedding. She’s sworn off romance and instead devotes her time toward a partnership in her father’s law office.

Jace has found faith in God and wants out of his sponsor contract with a risqué restaurant chain that requires him to pose with scantily-clad women. He’s about to bail on the contract and pay steep penalties—something he can ill afford, given that his deceased father left the family with unpaid taxes.

Sydney is determined she’ll get Jace out of his contract and return to Chicago with her heart intact, but Jace is just as determined to help her see they are meant to be together. Can a city girl with roots deep in Chicago and a bull-riding rancher with roots deep in Texas give themselves a second-chance love?


Bio: Pamela S. Meyers, Author of Inspirational Fiction




A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, author Pamela S. Meyers lives in suburban Chicago with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love and her historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Her novella. What Lies Ahead, is part of a novella collection, The Bucket List Dare, which is now available at Amazon in both print and Kindle formats. Second Chance Love from Bling!, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, releases in January 2017. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Wisconsin and other Midwestern spots for new story ideas.