Saturday, July 21, 2018

From This Moment


Called to Protect


CALLED TO PROTECT
Lynette Eason
ISBN 9780800727031 (E-Book)
Criminal Investigation / Christian suspense
Revell
181 pages
$15.99


She'll have to draw on all of her resources to crack the case--and guard her heart.


  For the past year, Chloe St. John has been working as a K-9 cop with her German shepherd partner, Hank. After being dumped by her fiancĂ© for another woman, Chloe has decided that Hank is just about the only male she likes. She's over the whole romance thing and focuses her attention on doing her job. Because a serious case of human trafficking with connections to her missing cousin just landed in her lap.

When US Marshall Blake MacCallum's daughter goes missing, he's ordered to kill the judge he's protecting and tell no one about his daughter's disappearance or she will die. Blake races against the clock to rescue his daughter while Chloe and Hank are asked to be a part of the task force assembled to bring down the traffickers. Chloe finds herself attracted to the silent, suffering man, but thanks to her previous bad judgment, she wonders if she can trust him. And can Blake trust himself around this firecracker of a woman?

Bestselling author Lynette Eason warns readers to buckle in for a fast and furious ride that will have their hearts pumping from the very start.

My thoughts (reviewed by Steve): I didn't get a chance to buckle my seatbelt.  So not fair.

Lynette Eason writes the way machine guns shoot . . . incredibly fast, and in a way that overloads your senses.  But that's a good thing, when you are writing a story.

With incredible ease, the reader is introduced to the characters, and forms an immediate bond with them.  At the same time, Eason ratchets up the tension to the point where you aren't putting this book down until the final page.

You've been warned.  Now, please open your book, CALLED TO PROTECT, to the prologue.  But first . . . buckle up!

Chloe St. John has BLUE running through her veins.  The daughter of the Chief of Police, she has two brothers, a sister, and a brother-in-law all dedicated to fighting crime.  You might say it's a family affair.  And one at which they all excel.

Chloe's partner, Hank, has two left feet.  He also has two right feet.  They are kind of a prerequisite for Dutch Shepherds.  And Hank excels in his job, as well.  While trained mainly for sniffing out narcotics, Hank's nose is versatile.  If he can smell it . . . he can track it.  A neat trick, that.

Chloe's recovering from a broken relationship, and the crime she's currently investigating is guaranteed to take her mind off of her personal issues.  It seems that a certain judge has a vendetta against human trafficking, and the criminals just want him to back off.  To the point where two innocent teenage girls have been kidnapped in an effort to get the judge eliminated by one of his own bodyguards.

U.S. Marshall Blake MacCallum's daughter has been kidnapped, and the ransom note has been delivered:  one dead judge, or else.  The Marshall's daughter is a Type 1 diabetic, so her health issues  further exacerbate the situation. 

As the task force closes in on the human trafficking ring, Chloe and Blake are drawn closer and closer together.  Is it just business, or could things actually be getting personal?

Touching on one of the most polarizing issues of this century - human trafficking - Lynette Eason exposes the crime in sufficient detail while still maintaining the dignity of its victims, conveying concern and compassion in equal measures.

CALLED TO PROTECT is the second book in the BLUE JUSTICE series by Lynette Eason.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

5 stars for riveting action and memorable characters

Friday, July 20, 2018

Interview with Ada Brownell and #giveaway!!!


Today we welcome Ada Brownell to my blog. Ada is very graciously giving away one copy of WHAT PRAYER CAN DO to one person who comments. Please leave contact information.

Ada, glad you stopped by. Tell us about your book – a brief blurb:



What prayer can do
By Ada Nicholson Brownell

Pray. God answers.


True testimonies of events where God intervened.

Ennis Surratt, known as the “meanest man in town,” changed in a moment. John Feliciano, blinded in an industrial accident, sees instantly. Marjorie Eager’s family escapes death when God stops a forest fire. A mother prays on her deathbed for her sons to meet her in heaven, and years later God grabs Gary Hilgers out of sin and turns him around. More amazing chapters originally published in The Pentecostal Evangel, enough for every week of the year, with three bonuses. Buy here: http://ow.ly/9CEI30h4IdL

What inspired you to write this book?

I didn’t want these true testimonies of God’s miraculous answers to prayer to be lost. I was inspired to write the beginning article when I was asked to speak to a youth group about prayer. When I started to prepare, I thought, What can I tell them about prayer they don’t already know? So I began asking people in my church, “What’s the greatest answer to prayer you’ve ever had?” I was amazed! The testimonies were so wonderful I wrote an article about them and it is the first chapter in this book. It appeared in The Evangel in 1969 and was reprinted in 2013.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I spent much of my life as a daily newspaper reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, but I had free lanced for Christian publications before I became a journalist. My brand is “Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement and that’s probably why I write fiction as well and non-fiction. I learned years ago writing a true story often is better when fiction techniques are used. But I was an old-fashioned objective news reporter which is “just the facts, Ma’am” compared to subjective reporting where the writer interprets the facts for the reader. I figure it’s best to allow the reader to decide what the it means, because so much of the news affects people.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The biggest thing is enough time, but also allowing words to show instead of tell is so important.  Too often the narrator pops in, trying to take over.

 Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action?

My romances are squeaky clean. In my college law and ethics class I had to study obscenity laws and maybe because I understand it, I am offended by Christian writers who  talk like sexual tension is a desired aspect of a novel. Sexual tension in nothing but arousing the prurient interest which is one way to define obscenity. If they enforced obscenity laws today, I imagine some books labeled “Christian” would be banned.

I’d rather for the romantic moments to be like how the viewer felt when Almanzo Wilder reached over, touched and held Laura Ingalls’ hand for the first time. Real romance and abstinence before marriage has an electricity that supersedes people hopping in bed or having to fight a lover off.

What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

The absolute worst is formatting my own indie book. It’s hard work, even though Amazon provides a great guidebook and technical folks you can contact for free.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Think about what you want to write. Pray and let God bring ideas and a new angle to something common. Join a writers’ group. Go to writing conferences. Be picky about your words.Create likeable amazing characters and put them through many complications when they’re trying to reach their goals. Or do a great interview (non-fiction) or write something God gave you, other people need, all based on God’s Word. Then polish, edit and find a publisher or go indie with Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon).

Do you have a favorite writing conference to attend? What is it?

 I’m a member of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. OCACW is a great group for personal interaction and info trading. ACFW is amazing. The membership fee isn’t that much for what you receive. You can join critique groups, go on the internet loop to ask questions, get a guest blog spot, take writing courses, and much more. I went to one ACFW conference and loved it, but I’ve been to many different writing conferences over the years, met agents, spoke to publishers, and met other writers. But for the cost to a retired person who doesn’t make that much from books, conferences cost way too much, especially with travel and hotel fees. Writers groups, for me, are a much better investment of time and money.


Bio:  MEET ADA BROWNELL

The sixth redhead in a family of achievers, Ada Nicholson Brownell writes with stick-to-your-soul encouragement from her Missouri home where she lives with her handsome husband. They have five children—not one of them with red hair or freckles. One is in heaven.
Ada gained experience before becoming a writer and newspaper reporter. The youngest of her parent’s eight children, she was the family tattle tale!

Her career started when she was age 15, when as a youth leader she wrote ideas for a leadership magazine. She expanded to articles for youth and then to full-length stories in Christian magazines and Sunday school papers. Her first news job was as a correspondent for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel—from Thompson, Utah, population 98.

The author of eight books, she loves inspirational historical suspense. She’s in the middle of her latest plot against her leading characters in the third book in her Peaches and Dreams series, Love’s Delicate Blossom. Plot is all about putting challenges and disaster into the lives of fictional characters, and it sometimes hurts her as well.

 She retired from her “real job” at The Pueblo Chieftain, but still writes occasional op-ed pieces for newspapers as well as devotions for a teen magazine, articles for Live, blogs and does other freelance writing.

Her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06

Links for social media and to buy
Twitter: @adellerella
Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement
Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06





Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Courtship On Huckleberry Hill

A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill 

(The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill #8) 

Mass Market Paperback, ebook

December 26, 2017

by Jennifer Beckstrand

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Zebra 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420144130

There's nothing Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin’s irrepressible eighty-somethings Anna and Felty Helmuth like better than a challenge. And the chance to matchmake their feisty granddaughter is their most delightful task yet…

Elsie Stutzman’s plain-spoken ways got her in trouble once before, so she needs to make a good impression at her new teaching job. But she's not about to let disabled student Wally Sensenig work below his potential. And she definitely won’t put up with his hot-headed older brother sabotaging her efforts, no matter how handsome he is. . . 

Sam is nearly at the end of his rope caring for his ailing, widowed mother, working their farm, and raising his siblings. He'll admit Elsie’s ideas are bringing Wally out of his angry shell—but why does she have to be as stubborn as she is pretty? Yet as it turns out, Elsie has taught Sam something about himself as well. And he’ll do whatever it takes to make up for his mistakes—and win her heart forever.

My thoughts: A COURTSHIP ON HUCKLEBERRY HILL is the eight book in Ms. Beckstrand's popular series The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill but it easily stands alone. One can't help but love Anna and Feltie and even laugh at some of the questionable meals that Anna concocts. Sam worries that Elsie can't cook when she eats around him as if she's starving, but seriously, I think the hungriest person would have trouble swallowing some of Anna's creations. 

I love Ms. Beckstrand's sense of humor, she has to be the queen of Amish romantic comedy.  Seriously.  Even if you don't like Amish fiction, if you love romantic comedy then you will absolutely adore Jennifer Beckstrand's romantic comedies. If you do love Amish fiction and haven't read her books you seriously must. That's all. 

Sam is stubborn and has a temper and even though he has some wrong ideas he honestly wants to do the right thing and he is so adorable. Elsie is more outspoken than most Amish heroines but she is wise and even though she angered almost everyone she stood up for herself and her methods. 

I seriously enjoy reading Jennifer Beckstrand's books and if you haven't discovered her yet, do pick up a copy of A COURTSHIP ON HUCKLEBERRY HILL. You will want to go back and read the first seven in any order you can get them in. 

I bought a used copy of this book, but not from Amazon so I will not show up as a verified buyer. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a review.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Interview with JoAnn Durgin and #giveaway


Today we welcome JoAnn Durgin to my blog. JoAnn is very graciously giving away a copy of her book Thee Will I Honor to one person who comments. Please include contact information. 

Good to have you stop by, JoAnn. Tell us about your book – a brief blurb:

After serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan, wounded First Lieutenant Matthew Henry Martin returns to Meadowvale, his beloved hometown nestled in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. He’s unemployed and facing an uncertain future, but surely God has a plan?

Lesley Ann Randall is a woman on a deeply personal mission. A small Virginia town is the last place her older sister, First Lieutenant Faith Randall, was spotted. When Lesley speeds into Meadowvale, she immediately captures the attention of the sheriff, the pastor, and a handsome war veteran with secrets of his own.

When Lesley and Matt join forces, will they discover something greater than they could have ever imagined?

What inspired you to write this book?

Thee Will I Honor is the second book in my three-book Treasured Vow Series. The books are about three (of four) siblings, and this installment focuses on Matthew Martin, the only son in a family with three sisters (the oldest is already married). As the children of well-known Christian marriage experts, the Martin offspring can sometimes be clueless about romance.

Thee Will I Honor released on Memorial Day, an appropriate and fitting day for a story about a returning war hero. I have all the respect in the world for the members of our military. In the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book, I talk about visiting Pearl Harbor this past December and poignant memories from that visit. I also wished to examine and bring to the readers’ attention the physical, emotional, and mental conflicts faced by a majority of our returning servicemen and women. They need our prayers whether they’re serving overseas or stateside. The heroine’s sister is also military which figures greatly into the book’s events and highlights some very real and current world security issues.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I write contemporary Christian romance with strong elements of faith, family, humor and (of course!) love and romance in all my books. I can’t write “flowery” to save my life, and focus more on deep characters, dialogue, and creative and unexpected plot twists. I like to believe I present sentimental and heartwarming characters I hope readers will want to get to know better. Nothing pleases me more than when a reader believes my characters are real and considers them as friends. In Thee Will I Honor, there’s a mystery running throughout the entire book (with a bit of suspense near the end). My books are very character-driven but with plenty of action to keep readers engaged and entertained so they’ll keep turning the pages!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I love sitting down in front of the blank computer screen and seeing where the Lord and my imagination will lead. My greatest challenge is not with writing but editing. Why? Well, I tend to edit as I move along in my manuscripts these days, and to be honest, working that way slows me down to the brink of frustration. The perfectionist in me can drive me absolutely crazy! I long to go back to the days when I could simply pound out the story and then go back and edit. Thankfully, I finally reach the point where I’m satisfied and know I’ve done the best job I can. Then move on to the next project!

Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action?

Readers are sometimes surprised to hear that wedding scenes are my least favorite to write. I don’t generally find them that interesting. They’re full of details, but readers seem to enjoy them to tie the pretty bow at the end of the book (especially in a standalone novel). What I’ve done in recent books is gloss over the actual wedding but give them enough basic details after-the fact. Then I tie up every loose end I can think of and give them that satisfying happy ending. So far, no complaints!

I especially enjoy writing tense scenes, whether it’s emotional or action-packed. I also write more of the lead-up to the kiss instead of focusing on the kiss itself. Those moments between a hero and his heroine before their lips meet can be very sweet and (in my humble opinion) even more romantic.

What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?

My least favorite aspect of the entire process are reviews, but let’s not dwell on that subject. I will say I’m a somewhat rare author who truly enjoys marketing and advertising. My Facebook author page has grown by more than 20K people in the past year by posting memes (illustrations and photos) with Scripture. You read that right, twenty thousand! It’s become a ministry all its own that ministers to people around the world. Most of those people will probably never read one of my books, but if I can touch a heart for Christ, that’s my ultimate goal! Only the Lord knew all those years ago in my college advertising courses how He’d one day use that training for His glory!

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Always keep writing. Try to write every day—no matter for how long, no matter whether or not you ever publish those words. The only way to learn anything, and the only way to improve, is by doing. Early on, it’s helpful to find likeminded individuals in a critique group or through conferences. Be accountable to someone for your work, pray for one another, encourage one another. Once you’ve sent off a submission to an agent or a publisher, don’t sit back and wait for something to happen. It can be a long process, so always keep moving forward and writing that next novel.

Do you have a favorite writing conference to attend? What is it?

I’ve attended a few writing conferences, and they were encouraging, uplifting, and energizing. I don’t currently plan on going to any conferences this year, however. It’s not that I feel like I’ve learned everything because I’ll never reach that point. Authors are always learning, evolving, and growing. Finances, family commitments, and the courses offered all figure into the decision-making process. The first ever SoCal (Southern California) Christian Writers Conference was in 2017, and that was the last writing conference I attended. We lived in California early in our marriage, and our first daughter was born there. I hadn’t returned in 25 years, so that was a real draw to attend last year (plus a good writing friend invited me).

I do attend monthly local meetings for Christian authors, and those could be considered mini-conferences. Being together with other writers is always energizing whether for a few hours or a few days. At this stage of my personal writing journey, I’m more interested in meeting with readers as our family travels to different locations in the country. I’ve been honored and privileged to meet a number of readers in recent years, and the thrill never gets old!

Bio:

JoAnn Durgin is the USA Today bestselling author of 30 novels including several series, seven Christmas books, and ten books (and counting) in her beloved, long-running Lewis Legacy Series. When she’s not writing, she’s always plotting or thinking about her characters. She was voted one of 35 “Essential Christian Romance Authors” for 2018 by the readers of Family Fiction Magazine. A formal estate administration paralegal, JoAnn and her husband, Jim, live in her native southern Indiana where they enjoy family time with their three children and first grandchild, Amelia Grace.

Links for social media:

The three main places to connect with JoAnn are as follows:


Amazon link to buy Thee Will I Honor (can also be borrowed free with Amazon Kindle Unlimited):




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Guestpost from Gail Kittleson and #giveaway!

Today we are welcoming Gail Kittleson to my blog. Gail is very graciously giving away a copy of In Times Like These to one person who comments. Please include contact information. 



What is your proclivity when it comes to fiction? Do you incline toward characterization, or have a predisposition for following a set plotline? Right now, I’m finding that my leaning toward writing from a character’s whispers can create an obstacle to getting started.

            A certain World War II nurse’s actual story has me in its grips. But it’s not a fictional character whispering the details in my ear, it’s her real, live daughter who lives about six hours away. I’ve never met this woman in person, but I think we discovered each other through Pinterest. I’ve pinned a lot of WWII nurse posters and photos, and so has she.. voila!

            Her mother’s saga, nothing short of jaw-dropping, along with all of her medals, blows me away. This Iowa woman’s contribution to the war goes above and beyond, imho. So why do I put off writing even the first scene?

            Well, my proclivity is making for an acclivity—an upward slope. Or possibly a barricade, maybe even a declivity. Can you tell I’ve been studying clivus,the Latin word for a slope or hill?

You’d think having a character presented on a platter would jumpstart the whole writing process—after all, a great deal of the research has already been done. Maybe that’s part of my hesitation—I like doing research. Going a bit deeper, perhaps I like being in control.

Ya think? At any rate, this writing life seems to offer continual challenges, and this one simply happens to be new. Am I able to approach this story from a different angle...explore this real woman who sacrificed so much during the war, and allow her opinions and proclivities to invade my senses? Am I will to let her take over for a while.  The other option, allowing fear (of not doing her story justice, or of stepping on someone’s toes, or of disappointing someone out there) to reign hardly seems acceptable.

I’d love to hear if anyone else has faced this situation, and how you proceeded out of the declivity in which I find myself these days.




"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than You."
                                                                       Dr. Seuss



BIO: An Iowa farm girl, Gail’s a late-blooming novelist after instructing ESL and writing. Her four published novels celebrate women’s contributions to World War II, and her memoir celebrates the power of women’s friendships. 


When Gail’s not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or editing, she facilitates writing workshops and retreats in Iowa and Arizona, where winters find her enjoying the incredibly gorgeous Mogollon Rim Ponderosa forest. Favorites:  grandchildren, exploring WWII sites with her husband, walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Dead Drift




Dead Drift 

(Chesapeake Valor #4) 

Paperback, ebook, hardcover, audio book 

July 3, 2018

by Dani Pettrey


  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212970



The Final Countdown to Stop an Imminent Attack Has Begun.

Burning debris littering the ground . . . smoke pluming in the acrid air . . . this is just the beginning if he fails.

Seven years ago, operative Luke Gallagher vanished to become part of an elite team set on capturing a deadly terrorist. When Luke returns to face those he left behind, their help becomes his only hope of stopping his target's latest threat of an attack that would shake America to its core.

Private investigator Kate Maxwell never stopped loving or looking for Luke after he disappeared. But she also never imagined he left her or his life by choice. Now he's back, and together they must unravel a twisting thread of secrets, lies, and betrayal, all while on the brink of a biological disaster. 

Will they and their love survive, or will Luke and Kate become the terrorist's next mark?



My thoughts:  DEAD DRIFT is the fourth and final book in Ms. Pettrey's Chesapeake Valor series, mostly set in Maryland. These characters do get around.  Fans will want to read the books in order, Cold Shot, Still Life, Blind Spot and DEAD DRIFT since it is all the same team and there is at least one investigation in common for all four books. 

DEAD DRIFT's primary storyline was about chemical warfare that was planned to be launched on USA soil. I won't lie and say this was easy reading. A lot of the chemical talk went right over this readers head, and I was somewhat confused by a lot of it. I also tended to skim when they began talking shop. I am a business major, not a chemist.  

It was an exciting race against time as they discovered when it was all planned to go down, and one wasn't sure who they could trust, who they couldn't and who wasn't what they seemed. 

With the primary suspense, you knew who did it and why, and even how. You even knew when. But you didn't know where and it was a pretty heavy question.  If was even factored in there but since this is the last book in the series it had to have a happy ever after, so that worry was not as heavy as it could've been. 

The secondary suspense that tied the four books together (in addition to the same team) you don't know who or why or when or where or anything except how and it was a huge issue. 

Ms. Pettrey is an award-winning author of romantic suspense for good reason. I fell in love with her writing with her first book set in Alaska and have read everything she's written since. 

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