Wednesday, February 28, 2018

An Author’s Journey by Pat Nichols


Today we welcome Pat Nichols to my blog. Pat is a new author and her book is releasing early next year. Pat is sharing a bit of her journey with us here today. 

As far back as I can remember, I was a night owl. Seven was my ideal wake-up time. When I retired the magic hour moved up to nine. It didn’t make sense to rise before the sun. Then four years ago I dove into the wonderful, whacky world of writing. Now my characters have me popping out of bed at five-thirty, ready to continue their voyage and discover what they’ll do next. And I love it.

During phase one of my writing journey I was a total pantser, relying on desire, and thanks to my corporate experience, discipline. After discovering my first manuscript overflowed with every novice mistake times ten, I turned to Sherri Stewart. A dear friend, editor, and published author, she helped me launch phase two—learn the craft.

While beginning a second manuscript, I combed the internet to read everything I could find about writing and attended a Christian writer’s conference.A critical review from Eva Marie Everson demonstrated I’d made progress, but still had a long way to go.Armed with new knowledge, I enrolled in Jerry Jenkins Writer’s Guild, read blogs, joined national ACFW, and became active in the north Georgia chapter with an amazing group of published and pre-published writers. Equally important, I wrote five, sometimes six days a week.

In the summer of 2016 I attended an ACFW conference. I arrived at the Nashville venue and learned I’d been scheduled for three sessions with publishers and editors and had the opportunity to sign up for a fourth. What’s crazy is during my corporate career I was interviewed on live television and radio programs and spoke to large audiences, with no more than a moment of apprehension. Yet the opportunity to pitch my work triggered angst and bombarded my mind with questions. Were my elevator pitches compelling? What if I couldn’t remember them? Had I missed errors on the pages I’d printed? What if no one liked my synopsis?

Thankfully, the professionals were gracious and encouraging. I survived all four rejections and walked away with another discipline to learn—platform building. As it turned out, the conference was a fruitful experience. Dozens of talented writers shared their knowledge through workshops and one-on-one conversations.

I joined Word Weavers, submitted chapters to contests, and enrolled in more online courses. Now, four years later phase three has begun—a year-long road to publication. I am blessed to have a contract with Guiding Light, a women’s fiction line for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Although a title and cover aren’t yet finalized, my debut novel—manuscript number three—is scheduled for release January 10, 2019.

Whether you have chosen to begin your journey during the spring, summer, or autumn of your life, savor every moment.Push your ego aside and seek feedback from contest judges, critique groups, and mentors.Study the craft, apply what you learn, and study some more. Connect with other writers and read their work. Establish a writing schedule and stick to it.And above all else, trust God to lead you and strengthen your talent.

The road to publication is long and full of bumps and unexpected curves. Yet, for aspiring, pre-published authors who stay the course, itis a journey well worth taking.

Bio:

Pat Nichols is a retired corporate executive who launched career number two as a writer and editor. She isproving it is never too late to pursue a dream. Her debut novel is scheduled for release January 10, 2019.She is an active member of ACFW, Word Weavers, Christian Pen, and Gwinnett Church (a campus of Northpoint Ministries). She lives in an Atlanta suburb with her husband, Tim, is the mother of two and grandmother of three.





Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Love Finds You in Frost, Minnesota

 

Paperback, ebook

October 1, 2013

by Judy Baer

  • Series: Love Finds You
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summerside Press, an imprint of Guideposts 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824934354

When Jack Frost returns home to Minnesota, he meets the town's newcomer. She's bubbly, beautiful, and his latest adversary.

Considering that her name is Merry Noel Blake and she was born on Christmas Eve, it's not surprising that Frost, Minnesota's newest resident, is crazy about the holiday. She has single-handedly convinced the entire town to help her turn Frost into a Christmas destination; there's a tableau of the stable in Bethlehem, a concert, many events at the church, and Merry's own holiday boutique.
Jack Frost has always tried to live down his whimsical name -- a gift from his playful parents -- and he does his best to deter Merry from making what he considers a kitschy mockery of the town and the season. But she believes that below Jack's frosty exterior is a warm heart -- and that she is the one to thaw it.
About the Love Finds You™ series: The Love Finds You series features standalone inspirational romance novels set in real towns and cities across America. This is the 56th book in the series.


My thoughts: I wanted to read all the books in this series, and it's taken years but I have finally succeeded. This is the last one I have to read. 

LOVE FINDS YOU IN FROST, MINNESOTA is not all I dreamed of. This is not Ms. Baer's best work. There is a lot of telling, author-intrusion, and some of the scenes are disjointed.

Merry is the perfect Kindergarten teacher. She's kind, energetic, friendly, considerate, and goes above and beyond. She also adores Christmas and has singlehandedly turned Frost into a Christmas wonderland with elves peeking out from behind snowdrifts and everything. She also runs a bed and breakfast and a Christmas store (similar to but on a smaller scale than the real life Bronners in  Michigan) 

Jack Frost (and you have to love his name) is the perfect hero for this story. He's just as icy as the legendary Jack Frost, and his family almost literally owns the town. He inherited it -- and a big mess when he learns that property he owns has somehow been sold and resold and now he's the enemy of the town when people learn that this stranger from California actually owns their home that they thought was theirs free and clear. 

This was a good Christmas themed story despite the storytelling, and I did enjoy it. With a dog named Peppermint and a cat name Eggnog, a dear little homeless girl and a missing grandma, there are lots to keep you reading. And when the worst case scenario happens, you are riveted to the edge of the seat until the characters work out their differences.

I bought my copy used at a garage sale and am not a verified buyer on Amazon. I was not required to write a review.   


Monday, February 26, 2018

Almost Like Being in Love

A Destination Wedding Novel

Paperback, ebook

June 28, 2016

by Beth K. Vogt 

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476789804

From the author of Somebody Like You, a RITA finalist, and one of Publishers Weekly’s top ten books of 2014, comes the story of a woman who has everything for a perfect wedding—except the groom!

Winning an all-expenses paid Colorado destination wedding might seem like a dream come true for some people—but Caron Hollister and her boyfriend Alex Madison aren’t even engaged. How is she supposed to tell him she’s won their wedding and honeymoon when he hasn’t asked her to marry him? Being “perfect for one another” seems like the absolute best reason to get married. But what if their supposedly faultless relationship is merely a safe place to protect his secrets and a way to keep their families happy? After quitting her job, Caron accepts her best friend’s offer to visit Colorado. She needs to catch her breath. Who knows, maybe visiting the destination wedding site will make a future with Alex seem like a reality.

Kade Webster just landed the biggest deal of his life with his company, Webster Select Realty, participating in the Colorado Springs Tour of Homes. He never imagined he would run into the woman who broke his heart—Caron Hollister—right when his career is taking off. Seeing her again, Kade can’t help but wonder why Caron walked away from him years ago, leaving him with no explanation. When Kade learns his home stager won’t be able to help with the Tour of Homes, he vaults past all the reasons he should stay away from Caron, and offers her a temporary job helping him on the project. This time, their relationship is purely business.

Spending time with Kade has Caron questioning everything. The man intrigues her—at times infuriates her—and reminds her of what she lost. Has she been settling for what everyone expects of her? Just because others believe she and Alex are an ideal couple, does that mean they should get married? And how can Caron say “I do” to one man when she’s wondering “what if?” about another?

My thoughts: ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE is a sweet romance. There are more than two points of view in this book, letting you know both Kade and Alex.  Both are really sweet men, both were human with issues, and I rooted for both of them. 

Caron got on my nerves sometimes. She acts immaturely at times, expecting entitlement for being her father's daughter and walking away from  everything when she doesn't get her way. She does that frequently in the book, even after breaking the destination wedding news to Alex, she's all upset he wasn't willing to jump in with both feet when she herself was unsure about it. Instead of being settled, she acted flighty, but it did work when she needed to be in another state and just dropped everything and went. 

I enjoyed reading this book. I'm pretty sure I've read Ms. Vogt's other books, but I will verify that. If I haven't, I want to read them. She is a fantastic contemporary romance writer. 

I received a copy of this book free. All opinions are my own. Her other books are:

Wish You Were Here 
You Made Me Love You
Catch a Falling Star
Somebody Like You
Can't Buy Me Love
Crazy Little Thing Called Love 
You Can't Hurry Love 



Sunday, February 25, 2018

Beneath the Summer Sun

(An Every Amish Season Novel #2)

Paperback, ebook, 

January 16, 2018

by Kelly Irvin


  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310348085


Jennie Troyer knows it’s time to remarry. Can she overcome a painful secret and open her heart to love?
 It’s been four years since Jennie’s husband died in a farming accident. Long enough that the elders in her Amish community think it’s time to marry again for the sake of her seven children. What they don’t know is that grief isn’t holding her back from a new relationship. Fear is. A terrible secret in her past keeps her from moving forward.
Mennonite book salesman Nathan Walker stops by Jennie’s farm whenever he’s in the area. Despite years of conversation and dinners together, she never seems to relax around him. He knows he should move on, but something about her keeps drawing him back.
 Meanwhile, Leo Graber nurtures a decades-long love for Jennie, but guilt plagues him—guilt for letting Jennie marry someone else and guilt for his father’s death on a hunting trip many years ago. How could anyone love him again—and how could he ever take a chance to love in return?
In this second book in the Every Amish Season series, three hearts try to discern God’s plan for the future—and find peace beneath the summer sun.

My thoughts:  BENEATH THE SUMMER SUN is set in Jamesport, Missouri, a real-life Amish community in northern Missouri. Kelly Irvin is the one who introduced me to this area when she went on a research trips several years ago and posted pictures.  I had to go visit the area for myself.  

Jennie is an abused woman, terrified to start over with a new man even though she's expected to remarry She has seven children, her oldest is fourteen and he's beginning to have anger issues like Jennie's deceased husband, but she's at a lose how to handle him. 

There are two men interested in Jennie, and both are sweet as anything. One is a talker and a bookworm, a real gentleman, but he's Mennonite. While he may be welcome in the community as a book salesman, but as a prospective groom for an Amish widow? Not so much.

Leo is the strong, silent type. He lost Jennie years ago and is suffering from acute guilt for his father's death.  I hurt for him. 

This is a love-triangle, which is frowned upon by some publishers, but it works. Both Leo and Nathan's point of view is included, and this reader cheered for first one then the other in the quest for Jennie's heart.  I couldn't decide who I wanted to win.  But the decision wasn't up to me and I was satisfied with the Happy Ever After ending,  A good read.

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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Sister's Secret

(Sisters of Holmes County #1) 

Mass Market Paperback, paperback, ebook, hardcover 

November 1, 2016

by Wanda E. Brunstetter 


  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Books; Reprint edition 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1634096737

Grace is the oldest sister in the Hostettler family. Having put her rumschpringe (running around years) behind her, she has returned to Holmes County, joined the Amish church, and begun a new life. For the past four years, everything has been going fairly well, until the day she sees an English man who knows enough of her past to jeopardize her future. Will Gary Walker's passion for Grace destroy more than one life? Amish man Cleon Schrock is planning to marry Grace, but ignorant of her past. Will love and faith triumph over shame and deception in Holmes County? 

A Sister's Secret is book 1 in the Sister's of Holmes County series. Other books in the series include A Sister's Test: Book 2 and A Sister's Hope Book 3.

My thoughts: A SISTER'S SECRET is a reprint of an older book that was published earlier, so many Amish fiction fans might have read it. I've been delinquent in my reading of books by this author and some have decided to further my Amish reading so they have sent me several of Wanda E. Brunstetter's books. 

Grace has a lot of secrets, not the least of it as to who Gary Walker is and what he knows about her--which is more than what even her fiance knows.  I kind of wondered how she thought she could keep her secrets past her wedding night, but maybe Cleon is a lot more innocent than Grace. 

There are three different sisters, and each has a point of view, plus several male characters and the parents, but the story is primarily about Grace and her secrets.  There is also a bit of a mystery as to who might be sabotaging the Amish, and a couple guesses who it might be. I made my decision fairly early on. 

Fans of sweet Amish stories will love Wanda E. Brunstetter -- which is probably why she has such a huge following.  If you happen to be as delinquent in her books as me, don't wait and grab a copy of A SISTER'S SECRET today. 

I was given a copy by a friend. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Interview with Heather Greer and #Giveaway!!!


Today we welcome Heather Greer to my blog. Heather is graciously giving away one print copy of her book and a handmade wooden ornament. Leave a comment (with contact information) to enter. USA only.  Picture at the end of the post.

 Heather, good to have you. Tell us about the book – can you share the blurb?  

Sometimes it’s the unexpected path that leads you on your journey back to fath.

Katie McGowan left her parents and their faith behind years ago. However, when faced with a devastating betrayal, Katie is ready to go back to Carbondale, Illinois to help her elderly parents despite their tempestuous relationship. Drained by the constant friction, Katie finds emotional support and encouragement in Austin. His practical, simple faith speaks to Katie, and she finds herself yearning for a new connection to God. As their friendship grows, so does the attraction between Katie and Austin.

Before her fledgling faith and thoughts of romance have a chance to take root, Katie’s cheating fiancĂ© returns, remorseful and promising change. Can her tentative faith strengthen their past love? And if her heart breaks again, will Katie’s journey to faith end before it has really begun?

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

It varies with each book. The inspiration for Faith’s Journey came from the idea of what a woman goes through when she’s been betrayed. No matter where the betrayal comes from, the hurt and insecurities can affect the choices of the one who was betrayed. This is what drove the story of Faith’s Journey.

What's your key environment that helps you get to writing? Do you have a writer’s nook, corner, getaway? Where do you do your most productive writing?

With three teenage boys at home, there isn’t a lot of personal space. I usually end up writing on my living room couch. Instead of privacy, I use music to shape my writing environment. Not only does the music help block out distractions, it also helps me keep the tone of what I’m writing.

 What are you saying in your book(s) that will encourage Christians today?

No matter what, there is hope. You’ve not gone too far from God to come back to Him. He still has a plan for your life, and it comes through seeking Him first.

How do you pick names for your characters?

I consider a lot of things in naming my characters. Their personalities, jobs, and the geographic area they come from are some of the criteria that affect what name I give them. Depending on the story, the time period and ancestry might also play a part. The name has to fit the character I’m writing. In Faith’s Journey, I paid respect to my great-grandmother by using the name Katie McGowan. Though my great-grandmother would never have let others call her Katie instead of Katherine, the name fit my main character.

How important are reviews to you?

I don’t think most readers realize how important reviews are to authors. As Christian authors, we want to encourage, challenge, or inspire readers while we entertain them with our stories. But our reach only goes so far. Good reviews go a long way in extending that reach. It lets what we write be seen by more people and lets the message in our books be heard. And writing a review is easier than people think. All it takes is telling others what you liked about the book. It doesn’t need to be complicated.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What genre is your favorite? What books have you enjoyed lately?

My favorite author is Kristen Heitzmann. I also enjoy Liz Curtis Higgs’ fictional books and Melanie Dickerson. I usually read Christian fiction. Though I’ve been reading more contemporary, I also enjoy historical settings. I like a bit of romance thrown in, but it doesn’t have to be the main thrust of the story. I’ve read a lot of newer authors recently, and I’ve found several I enjoy. Callum’s Compass by Sara Foust, A Melody for James by Hallee Bridgeman, and Don’t Ask Me to Leave by Micki Clark are three I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading.

Bio

I grew up as a pastor’s kid in rural Southern Illinois and have been a pastor’s wife for the last thirteen years. When I’m not busy with other ministries or writing, I enjoy reading, baking, crafting, and spending time with my husband, four children, and my grandson.

Links – social media and to buy

Book review/devotional blog: bythebook724.wordpress.com
Twitter: @Heather_Greer1
Instagram: 1heather.greer
Facebook: @AuthorHeatherGreer
Faith’s Journey can be purchased on Amazon in e-book and paperpack






Here is the picture of Heather's giveaway!  Leave contact information in comments!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Phoebe's Light with #giveaway!!!


 (Nantucket Legacy #1) 

Paperback, ebook, hardcover

February 6, 2018

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800721626




Phoebe Starbuck has always adjusted her sails and rudder to the whims of her father. Now, for the first time, she's doing what she wants to do: marrying Captain Phineas Foulger and sailing far away from Nantucket. As she leaves on her grand adventure, her father gives her two gifts, both of which Phoebe sees little need for. The first is an old sheepskin journal from Great Mary, her highly revered great-grandmother. The other is a "minder" on the whaling ship in the form of cooper Matthew Macy, a man whom she loathes.

Soon Phoebe discovers that life at sea is no easier than life on land. Lonely, seasick, and disillusioned, she turns the pages of Great Mary's journal and finds herself drawn into the life of this noble woman. To Phoebe's shock, her great-grandmother has left a secret behind that carries repercussions for everyone aboard the ship, especially her husband the captain and her shadow the cooper. This story within a story catapults Phoebe into seeing her life in an entirely new way--just in time. 

In this brand-new series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher brings her signature twists and turns to bear on a fascinating new faith community: the Quakers of colonial-era Nantucket Island.

My thoughts: PHOEBE'S LIGHT is the first book in Ms. Fisher's newest series, this one about the Quakers. I'm a long time fan of her contemporary Amish, and have to admire the research she put into the historical Amish series she wrote, and this new historical venture, set on Nantucket and centered around whaling and Quakers is just as worthy of admiration as her historical Amish.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a stellar, award-winning author. Some would call her the Queen of Amish fiction (others would say it's someone else such as Beverly Lewis) but all will admit, Ms. Fisher is on the top pier. She's definitely one of my favorite go-to authors. 


Phoebe is an eighteen-year-old innocent, but head-strong, sweetheart, in love with a man  more than double her age and one who thinks what she wants and does what she wants even though she doesn't take the time to think things through.  She has a lot of growing up to do on the voyage through this book.  I'm anxious to read more about her and her shadow the cooper. He won my heart. 


I know that not all Amish readers read Quaker fiction, and not all historical readers read "Plain" fiction, but for those who will, and who are interested in the history behind the Quakers, don't miss this book. A good read. Definitely eye-opening about a sect I didn't know much about beyond elementary school history and a book or two. There's also a lot of information about whaling I didn't know.


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



Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author



Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s CrossingThe Newcomer, and The Return in the Amish Beginnings series, 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

A Stroll down Petticoat Row
Thirty years ago, I talked my sister into going on a trip to Nantucket Island. It’s one of those places that had always intrigued me. As a girl in the 1930s, my mother’s family vacationed in Nantucket; she even has a lightship basket to show for it. I expected the island to be interesting and beautiful, and it certainly did not disappoint. But something else happened as I walked down Centre Street one morning. This island captured my imagination in a way that’s hard to put into words. At the risk of sounding a tiny bit sun touched, I could practically see 19th century people on the roads, hear the “thee’s and thou’s” in their speech, even smell the strong scents of a bygone century—the musky perfume of rendered whale oil, the burning wood of the blacksmith, all mingled with the bracing sea air.
Centre Street has a local nickname: Petticoat Row. It comes from the 1800s, when men were at sea for long periods and women stepped into their shoes to keep businesses going. Nantucket women gained a reputation for being strong and capable. Their competence was encouraged by the Society of Friends (Quakers), the island’s dominant religion, which believed in the equality of men and women in all aspects of life. That hasn’t changed. Today, half of all Nantucket businesses are run by women.
Petticoat Row stuck in my mind, and eventually became the hook to contract a series of historical fiction with Revell Books. The ‘Nantucket Legacy’ series covers the rise and fall of Nantucket’s whaling period, when it became the wealthiest port in the world.
First up is Phoebe’s Light, releasing in February 2018, a novel about a spirited young woman who seeks her fortune only to find out she already had it.
After reading about Phoebe, I hope you’ll consider planning a trip to Nantucket (though try to go off-season. The population swells five times in the summer!). When you go, include a stop at the Petticoat Row Bakery (35 Centre Street)—the very location where Phoebe grew up, albeit a few centuries ago. Don’t leave the island without trying the Morning Glory Muffins, an island favorite. So worth the trip!

Nantucket’s Famous Morning Glory Muffins
Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 ¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins
2 cup grated carrots (4 large)
1 apple, shredded
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup pecans or walnuts
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:
Sift together sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the fruit, carrots and nuts and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with oil and vanilla. Combine with dry ingredients and blend well.
Spoon batter into cupcake tins lined with muffin papers. Fill each cup to the brim. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. These muffins needs 24 hours to ripen their full flavor. They freeze extremely well.

Recipe courtesy of Pamela A. McKinstry, Sconset CafĂ©

Blog Sops

Aryn The LibraryanFebruary 15
With a Joyful Noise, February 16
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 16
A Greater Yes, February 16
ASC Book Reviews, February 17
Locks, Hooks and BooksFebruary 17
Book by Book, February 17
Texas Book-aholic, February 18
The Power of Words, February 18
Splashes of JoyFebruary 18
A Reader’s Brain, February 19
Karen Sue Hadley, February 19
Blossoms and BlessingsFebruary 19
All of a kind Mom, February 20
Baker Kella, February 21
Mommynificent, February 21
Janices book reviews, February 21
Lighthouse Academy, February 22
Readers cozy corner, February 22
Mary Hake, February 22
Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 22
Pause for Tales, February 23
Have A Wonderful Day, February 23
Faery Tales Are Real, February 23
Blogging With Carol, February 24
Among the Reads, February 24
Carpe Diem, February 24
Red Headed Book Lady, February 25
Just the Write Escape, February 25
By The Book, February 26
For The Love of Books, February 26
Margaret Kazmierczak, February 26
Simple Harvest Reads, February 26 (Guest post from Mindy)
Maureen’s Musings, February 27
Bigreadersite, February 27
Bibliophile Reviews, February 28
Pursuing Stacie, February 28

Giveaway


To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a grand prize of 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/c9e0