Monday, December 15, 2014

Interview with Children’s Author Ali Maier


Book Giveaway Dec 15 - 22: You have a chance to win a children’s book, Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer. Leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. Paperback: U.S. Only

Ali lives in a Cleveland suburb with her husband and two children. As an avid volunteer, hands on mom and former kindergarten aide, Ali has spent years working with children. Ali chose to write the Mom Made Us Write This series to encourage young readers to do something she loves – to read! Ali wanted to write a book series that would allow readers to laugh and encourage them to write and share their own stories.

Welcome to my blog, Ali. Please tell us about your children’s book: Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer.

A sister and brother, forced to write in the summer, and share ONE journal? Ugh. This is exactly what happens to 10-year-old twins Maggie and Max Pruitt. When Mom comes up with a plan for them to keep a summer journal, Maggie and Max can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share! Through their writing, Maggie and Max find out they have very different (and hilarious) views about growing up, family and life - a conclusion they only discovered because, as Max and Maggie say, “Mom Made Us Write This.”

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a journal-style book for children that capture the essence of sibling relationships. Anyone with a brother or sister will identify with the fun and struggles that Max and Maggie experience this summer! From a trip to the zoo to the annual check-up at the docs – read all about the life adventures of Maggie & Max.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book? My book’s main characters are 10-year-old siblings, Maggie and Max Pruitt. My children (Maddie and Matt J) gave me the inspiration for the characters. I originally started to write “Maggie and Max” stories to encourage them to see each other’s point of view when they disagreed (That’s my nice way of saying they were fighting with each other!!). I was fascinated watching my kids grow up, the best of friends one minute, then fighting and driving each other crazy the next!  They had same kind of he-said, she-said disagreements that I had with my sibling growing up. After publishing Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer, I’ve found that everyone seems to identify with the uniqueness of sibling relationships.

What age will enjoy this book the most?

The book is targeted at ages 8-12, but younger children, parents and teachers all enjoy it. The kids love it because it makes them laugh, parents love it because it’s safe and family friendly, and teachers love it because it encourages journaling.

I have actually been surprised by how many adults have told me they loved the book. So many people relate Maggie and Max to their own childhood experiences.

Between the 10-year-old twins, Maggie and Max Pruitt, who is your favorite character in this story and what do you love about him or her?

I love them both – remember they are loosely based on my own kids and family!! The characters are so intertwined. They are from a close and loving family that has fun and they laugh together, but they also tease, joke and argue sometimes. The characters make each other better – and one couldn’t exist without the other!  

What I love about Maggie – is her creativity and her “I don’t care what anyone else thinks” attitude.  She’s strong and free spirited, and never goes along with the crowd. She’s tough about almost everything, except babies and doctors.

What I love about Max – His sense of humor makes Max stand out from the crowd. Max finds humor in just about every situation – especially when it involves his sister! Plus, Max can create contraptions & catapults out of pretty much anything he finds, so he is never bored! Who knew a paperclip and a rubber band could be so much fun?

Your book sounds like a fun read. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget. I love this question because my readers and I get to know the real you.

OK, I will tell you my big secret… I love to write, but I am completely afraid of sharing my writing with other people. Writing a book was a lot of fun for me. Sharing that book with thousands of people to read and share and judge was terrifying! I am totally self-conscious about sharing my writing with anyone.

There were two things that made me get past that fear –

1. I love, love, love the Harry Potter book series. I love the story, but I also love the memories those books created for my family. We read all of the books as a family as our kids grew up – hours and hours and hours and hours of reading out loud and listening to the books on tape. As a big fan of JK Rowling, I would always read about her and the books in the news.

One day, I read an article about JK Rowling’s first attempt at getting the Sorcerer’s Stone (the Philosopher’s Stone in England) published. She was turned down by publisher after publisher. I am so thankful that she didn’t give up. That she didn’t let fear and self-doubt stop her from getting that first book published.

That was an inspiration to me. I still get nervous when people read my writing, but I don’t let it stop me anymore.

2. I have the best, most supportive and encouraging family and friends around. My husband has so much faith in me, that it absolutely stuns me sometimes.  When I was growing up, my parents always told me to choose friends that challenge you to become a better person, not ones who bring you down. And that is so very true. The support and encouragement of my family and friends gave me the confidence to push through my fears.

If those things hadn’t happened, Maggie and Max’s adventures would have stayed in a secret notebook next to my bed.

Thank you so much for this great interview, Ali. I hope my followers will check out your book about the Pruitt family.


Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Interview with Historical Romance Author Diane Dean White

Book Giveaway Dec 8 - 15: You have a chance to win a Christmas Novella, Winter Wonderland. Leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. E-book: International

Diane started her writing at an early age, but it wasn’t until her husband’s work took them to a small southern town that she wrote her first column, “Yankee Viewpoint’s” for a local newspaper. She was also a columnist for a weekly magazine for four years. Diane is the author of over three-hundred short stories. Her novels include On a Summer Night Stories from a Porch Swing, Texting Mr. Right, and her Christmas novella Winter Wonderland. Diane and her hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-two years, and are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals.

Welcome to my blog, Diane. I really love your book cover. Please tell us about this Christmas story.

Winter Wonderland is what my home state of Michigan is called. I’ve wanted to capture a story about Detroit in the early years, when the well-known J. L. Hudson Department Store was so popular. It was fun to research, as I wasn’t in Detroit in 1951, but in the sixties and early seventies I’d go with my mother, and then Steve, and we made some trips to shop at the huge department store. The malls started up in the late 60’s and in 1998 the well-known store was demolished. After WWII people came from all over to get factory jobs in Detroit, and my story follows one family from Florida with their twenty-year old daughter Ruth. She has had secretarial experience and secures a job in Hudson’s Department Store. A stranger she meets on her first day going for an interview becomes someone very special. Faith is a big part of my writing, and I share about a special outreach in this book, which is part of my husband’s grandparent’s ministry near Detroit.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book and do you include real life situations?

This story is fiction, however the information and research is true about Detroit. Many of my short-stories are true, but my novellas and novels are mostly fiction. Many things about them may stem from something in the past. Not necessarily mine, but having lived in a certain area. For instance, On a Summer Night starts out in the mid 60’s with two girls who go to Florida for their graduation gift; I’d gone to college in Florida, and knew about my subject. The area and the characters are fiction. I stay away from real people and don’t pattern anyone after anybody I know. I use fictional towns, but mention larger cities in the state.

What kind of research did you have to do?

A lot about J. L. Hudson’s…the time period, 1951 and what songs were popular; both in country music and top hits. Research about Ford Motor Company and when Borden’s changed from milk wagons to trucks! All kinds of little things had to be checked out to make sure information is accurate.

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him or her.

I used the name Ruth in memory of a sweet older woman who became very close to me. And is probably the model of what many of us wish our lives to be as Christian women.
I enjoyed creating Ruth in my book; her character is very kind and loving toward her family, and younger siblings. She works hard at her profession in 1951, as a secretary in a large city department store. Not being used to the ways of a city she enters J. L. Hudson’s using a revolving door and meets Mr. Green Eyes, who happens to share that section at the same time. Ruth is from a small town in Florida and her father comes to seek employment with Ford Motor Company.

Thanks, Diane, for this wonderful interview. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Because I have a back injury I don’t go out a lot. That’s been hard because I’ve always been active, but I also believe the Lord gave me this opportunity to develop my craft and write. I turn to Him daily and in all areas, and believe He leads me in my writing as well as my entire life. I don’t drink coffee or soda pop, but I am a chocoholic. J We have three grown children. Two are over seas, our son is in the mission field in Russia and our daughter and hubby, along with three grand-gals, are in China for two more years on a work assignment. Our oldest son is in South Carolina and still too far away. We are truly empty nesters and look forward to their visits each year.

Thank you, Linda, for your kindness and taking the time to chat.

You’re welcome, Diane. I hope all my followers will check out your books, especially this Christmas story.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Interview with Regency Romance Author Jeanna Ellsworth

Jeanna has written 6 books, 5 of which are Jane Austen inspired romances, and 1 original Regency romance. She is currently taking a short break from writing so she can get caught up on all the books that are on her to-be-read list. She doesn’t think that this is even possible. TBR lists are never ending. However, she is also confident that this hiatus will not last long. She enjoys going out to lunch with her friends, mommy-daughter dates, running and playing volleyball.

Welcome back to my blog, Jeanna. On the back cover of this novel, it says: If Mr. Darcy had met Elizabeth Bennet in his beloved Derbyshire, would he have recognized her as the love of his life instead of dismissing her as someone “not handsome enough to tempt” him? That is a very interesting concept. Please tell us about your new book.

One of the things that always made me curious about Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet was that she was so confident and self-assured. I found myself asking what makes a woman strong? I then thought of Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Oprah etc. and decided that these women had to overcome huge obstacles and stand strong in the face of opposition. I decided that Elizabeth Bennet must have had to overcome major life trials to be the wonderful heroine that we love. To Refine Like Silver is an alternative path where Darcy meets his newest neighbor, Elizabeth’s Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, in Derbyshire before that dreadful Meryton Assembly where he says those awful words. He is immediately drawn to Elizabeth’s strength and confidence, a confidence she earned by enduring trials. Georgiana is suffering significantly with depression and Darcy turns to Elizabeth for help with Georgiana. From this point on, Darcy and Georgiana slowly begin to turn toward God for their strength, instead of themselves. In so doing, they evolve, and learn a valuable lesson; our trials do not define us, rather they refine us.

You love to write alternative paths for Pride and Prejudice. What intrigues you most about writing these stories?

I enjoy the beauty of seeing two imperfect people, who are perfectly matched for each other, self-correct their weaknesses and eventually become worthy of the love and respect from the other. I suppose I’m a sucker for reformation. Darcy and Elizabeth have to be the most famous literary characters written about in the last 202 years. I have read so many books and seen them fall in love so many times that I fear there can be no greater ending to a story than their eventual Happily Ever After. I also love that in order for these two characters to deserve each other, and for anyone to find a Darcy or an Elizabeth, one has to be a Darcy or an Elizabeth. My Darcy is out there and in order to find him and recognize him as my soul mate, I need to behave like an Elizabeth. We all have a heroine lurking inside us and we just have to polish our flaws and remove our impurities until we shine. I suppose writing about Darcy and Elizabeth gives me hope that my Mr. Darcy is out there looking for my fine eyes and impertinence (or whatever unique qualities I have!) that set me apart from every other 38-year-old, single mother of three.

You have now finished 6 books in this genre but this one is your favorite. Why?

Great question! For so many reasons! For one, it was really fun to use a biblical scripture as a plot foundation. I use Malachi 3:3, God “shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver”, and the blacksmith metaphor that it implies to carry my plot. The idea is that our trials can be blessings from God and often we do not see how He is refining us into better people. The main reason I love this book the most is because I used to suffer horrendously with major depression. I lived in that dark abyss for ten years. But those years were not wasted. I never saw it at the time, but I was in the refiner’s fire and was being buffed and polished into the shining woman I am today. This, in a way, is my story. I felt like because I survived those ten years, I had an obligation to help those who struggle with depression. I felt obligated to help share what I learned.

You suffered a great deal with major depression but have been depression free for over 5 years now… ever since you began writing. This is so interesting. Please tell us why you think your depression has gone away.

There are so many ingredients to the magic recipe. Before I proceed, I do have to say that my recipe may not be what works for you. I recently took up long distance running. I had an epiphany while running and pondering my current problems. It was, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep heading in the right direction and you will get home.” Some of the things that worked for me was forgiving those who wronged me, learning to be grateful for the tiniest blessings, scripture reading, building close personal relationships with family and friends, getting out of unhealthy environments, exercising, finding fulfilling employment, the right cocktail of medication (and not giving up when it wasn’t quite right), and lastly, finding a way to do something hard and then rejoicing in my personal success. That last one was my writing. There are studies done that prove that using creativity is a great depression diverter. My writing has most definitely been my Xanax. I literally have not had one single day of depression since I started writing. Writing romance novels about true love and companionship only uplifts oneself. It makes you believe in the goodness the world has around you. You begin to see kindness and tenderness at every turn. That is a great way to fight off depression.

What a wonderful answer to depression! Where can my readers find you online?

Twitter: @ellsworthjeanna
My website, blog, and information about my books are located at www.HeyLadyPublications.com

Thank you so much Linda for hosting me and interviewing me about To Refine Like Silver. It really is my favorite book and have had such a great response from the readers so far. It impresses me that even the agnostics have enjoyed the messages. I think that is because forgiveness and gratitude and not religious topics, they are what make good people into better people. I hope you all get a chance to read it, or at least pass it on to someone who might be struggling with depression. Thanks again, happy reading! Good luck on the giveaway!

Thanks, Jeanna, for this wonderful interview about you and your book.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Colleen L. Reece


Colleen L. Reece was born and raised in a home without electricity or running water but filled with love for God and family. Colleen learned to read by kerosene lamplight and dreamed of someday writing a book. God multiplied her “someday” book into 150 “Books You Can Trust,” with six million copies sold. She considers herself an ordinary person with an extraordinary God.

Welcome to my blog, Colleen. This novel has two Christmas stories in one book. Please tell us about this Christmas novel.

Christmas Calling, co-authored with my dear friend Birdie L. Etchison, offers two heartwarming Christmas novellas: my Christmas Challenge (historical) and Birdie’s Christmas Snow (contemporary). The love stories are as mystifying as a white-out, as sweet as homemade cookies. Only by the grace of God can two troubled couples weather the storms of life and find true love.

Ahhhh… true love! Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

All of my stories contain elements from real life and many are based on actual incidents. I have strong feelings of family loyalty and a hatred for injustice, both foundation blocks for Christmas Challenge. My small town upbringing and living in a one-room school where my mother once taught all eight grades contributed a great deal to the heroine’s accepting a challenge to prove the pioneer spirit was still alive in the late 1800s.

What kind of research did you have to do?

Life in rural Montana in the 1880s. I had already set other stories there so this wasn’t as hard as might be expected.

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about her.

Valerie O’Shea is dear to my heart. She has the same kind of ancestors I do. Valerie and her father came to America on a coffin boat to escape the Irish potato famine. My great-grandparents went to a small, western Washington logging town in the early 1900s and built the first church—there was nothing there but seven saloons, a grocery store, and a one-room school.

I heard about that potato famine and what a hardship it was. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

God continues to restore my energy after chemo, a mastectomy, chemo, and radiation in the last two years. My side effects were minimal compared with what is normal. The medical personnel at St. Francis in Federal Way, WA call me their miracle patient. I came home the day after surgery and never had to take a pain or nausea pill—and I just turned 79.

I haven’t been able to do much writing, but God supplies my needs and gives me endless opportunities to witness. When my medical personnel say, “You are awesome,” I reply, “No. God is awesome. I am grateful.” I am. The past two years have taught me to trust Him in and for everything and encourage others to do the same.

Wow! You are a woman of great faith and have endured a lot. Thanks for this wonderful interview, Colleen. To buy a hard copy, go to Amazon. To buy an e-book, go to Amazon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Interview with Regency Romance Author Donna Hatch


Author of Historical Romance and Fantasy, award-winning author Donna Hatch is a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter. Her passion for writing began at age 8 she wrote her first short story, and she wrote her first full-length novel during her sophomore year in high school, a fantasy which was later published. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband), her day job, her work as a freelance editor and copywriter, and her many volunteer positions, she still makes time to write. After all, writing IS an obsession.  All of her heroes are patterned after her husband of over 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.

Welcome back to my blog, Donna. This Christmas story is all about the Gift of a Second Chance. Please tell us about your new book, A Christmas Reunion.

Heartbroken at the news that her betrothed has wed another woman, Emily is determined to pick up the pieces of her life and enjoy Christmas with her family. Newly returned from war, Bennett holds a secret and will do anything to ensure Emily, his only true love, never discovers it…even if it means losing her. Fate reunites the star-crossed lovers and reveals the truth that will either unite them or drive them apart forever.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

It came in the shower, of course, where most of my ideas decide to appear J  I was relaxed, my mind drifting, mulling over reasons why two people in love might have separated, and what might bring them back together. Then the idea of a Dear Jane letter came to me and the characters and plot formed around it. Originally, the title was The Letter but since my publisher already had a book by that title, we brainstormed and came up with Christmas Reunion, then added the subtitle, the Gift of a Second Chance.

That is a very interesting place to get your inspiration. Haha. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Really, the only thing I needed to research was dates and locations of battles during the Napoleonic War and if any convents would have been nearby—I needed to mention a hospital and a nun. Everything else I’d already learned in my last eight years of research.

You love to write regency romances. What intrigues you most about writing these stories?

I love many things about them but mostly it’s because of the men. In Regency England, duty and honor were everything. If a man said he’d do something, especially if he gave his word, he meant it, and others could count him to follow through, even if it came at a great personal cost.

Men in many historical eras were civilized and treated women with courtesy by standing up when a lady entered the room, doffed their hats, curtailed their language, offered an arm, bowed, and a hundred other little things I wish men still did today. But they were also very athletic; they hunted, raced, fenced, boxed, rode horses. They were manly. Strong. Noble. Resolute. Honorable. I love that about them! And that makes them perfect heroes for both historical fiction and historical romance novels.

That is a very good reason for writing your stories during that era. Where can my readers find you online?

Website is www.donnahatch.com 

Thank you, Donna, for a wonderful interview. I hope my readers will check out your book.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Interview with Fantasy Author Amarissa Ainsworth

Ever since Amarissa was young, she was intrigued by the worlds of fantasy, magic, and make-believe. As time went on, she became the ultimate fan of those genres. Now, besides raising two active boys and a busy husband, Amarissa finds time to put her imagination into words in her debut novel, The Secrets of Myth. She is now working on the two sequels.

"I am impressed with this fantasy. The characters drew me into a world of make believe so easily. I fell in love with them right away. That is what kept my interest. This story is fast paced and keeps you turning the pages. This is Amarissa's first book and she sounds like a professional story teller. I would recommend this book to both young adult and adult alike." --Linda Weaver Clarke, Author

Hello, Amarissa. I’ve read your book and it’s an intriguing story. I know that fantasy lovers will love this story. Please tell us about The Secrets of Myth.

Leila Butterfield, an exceptionally smart high school girl, finds her world turned upside down when she discovers she may not be human. After washing up on the beach at the age of six with no memories except for a disturbing reoccurring nightmare and an incapacitating fear of water, she is adopted into a family that knows nothing of her past. But someone does know and they aren’t telling. With the help of a mysterious stranger, they dive into her past, unlocking secrets about her life and who she really is. But time is running out. Leila races against the clock to find out the truth. But whom can she trust? One day could alter the course of her entire future, but will she even survive that long?

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I have always loved writing short stories. About seven years ago, before I had kids and my husband still worked late, I started reading a book my family told me about. When I reached the end, there was a big cliffhanger. I love cliffhangers as long as I have the next book in my hand, ready to read. But since this was a new book, the next book in the series had not been released yet. I was too involved with the characters, and agonized waiting to find out how the greater story ends. I distracted myself with another book. After finishing that book, in less than two days, I found that one was also a cliffhanger. Now I was worrying over, not one, but two books. I decided to read a stand-alone book to distract me from worrying about how those other two series’ would end. After finishing the third book, I realized that it too was part of a series. Frustration and excessive puzzling over each book started to become overwhelming. So as I sat home alone one night, counting down the days for the new books to come out, I directed my excessive obsessive energy into writing a book of my own.

Haha. That is so funny. Who is your favorite character in this story and what do you love about him or her?

In this book, The Secrets of Myth, my favorite character would have to be Leila’s little brother Eric. His easy personality and fun-loving nature made him easy to write. But I also love the magical creature characters. Gates was also an intriguing character to write, being surrounded by mystery and a little bit of danger.

What does your family think about you becoming a new author?

My family thinks it’s incredible that I have published my book. They’ve heard enough about it over the past seven years that they are thrilled it’s published. And even more thrilled they never have to hear me tell them about it again!

Haha. They can now hear about the sequels, right? It’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Leila, the main character in The Secrets of Myth, and I share a few traits in common. But the one thing that was the crux of her character is that she has an intense, irrational fear of water. I too share that fear. As much as I love boats and flying on an inner tube over a lake, I have only done it a handful of times in my life. As soon as the boat stops moving, I become enveloped with fear. Mermaids have always fascinated me, but the fear of water always made me nervous to be around the beach or dive into ocean-themed media. The question floated into my head, what if there was a mermaid that was scared of water? Thus, The Secrets of Myth was born.


That is so interesting. I never thought about not being afraid on a boat but when it comes to a stop it’s a completely different situation. Thank you for visiting my blog, Amarissa.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Interview with Historical Romance Author Cynthia Hickey


Cynthia Hickey’s first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. All of her cozy series have been in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She has several historical romances through Heartsong Presents, and has sold more than 200,000 copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads. Cynthia lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com

A Texas Ranger’s Arms is a sweet romance. I enjoyed this story about a Texas Ranger and a young girl who is trying to keep the land that was meant to be hers. Both characters were wonderfully developed. I totally fell in love with the Texas Ranger who is recuperating at his parents’ home.” – Linda Weaver Clarke, Author

Welcome to my Family Friendly Blog, Cynthia. You have written in several different genres. Will you please tell us what they are?

I write historical romance, cozy mystery, contemporary, and romantic suspense, whatever the story on my heart is.

You have published a few books under “Heartsong Presents.” Heartsong only publishes Christian Romance and I’ve read several, including yours. Please tell us about In A Texas Ranger’s Arms.

KATIE GAMBLE IS ON THE RUN. After her unscrupulous stepfather accuses her of being a thief, a horrified Katie hopes to hide out until she can prove otherwise. But slipping into obscurity in a small Texas town isn't so easy. Not with Texas Ranger Ward Alston on her tail. 

Ward's used to getting his man—or woman. But he's not used to the accused being so resolute in her innocence or so beautifully appealing. As he uncovers the truth, Ward realizes this Harvey Girl isn't all she seems. Together, can they evade danger and obey the law of their own hearts?

I enjoyed your story and the Texas Ranger was awesome. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Once I decided to do a series on the Harvey Girls, I researched towns where there was a Harvey House. When I ran across the town in Texas, I immediately knew I needed to do a story of a Texas Ranger and a woman on the run from the law. It was a lot of fun to write.

The fourth book in this series, A Doctor’s Heart, is being released Nov 1st. What is it about?

Betsy Colter's Heart is On the Line. Betrayed by her soldier fiancĂ©, Betsy takes a job as a Harvey Girl waitress and vows to steer clear of military romance. But soon she's falling for her army pen pal, Dr. Spencer Gregory. When a wounded Spencer returns home and rebuffs her friendship and love, Betsy's deepest fears come true.

Though he's a decorated soldier, Spencer sees himself as a burden—one he won't saddle Betsy with. But keeping her at arm's length is no longer an option when Betsy's former fiancĂ© shows up eager to win her back. If their romance is to survive the war, Spencer must set aside his pride and win her heart.

Thanks, Cynthia. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Wow! Hmmm, I’ve been on television twice. The first time almost got me fired from my high school job. I worked at a pickle factory and they were doing a documentary on the factory. My job was to throw out the holey pickle slices. All I’d ever been told when I asked why they were holey was that they were rotten. Apparently, that was a joke. They’re only over processed. Anyway, when the documentary crew asked me what I was doing and why I was throwing out the holey pickles, I said, “Because they’re rotten.” Boy, did I get a talking to from my boss.

Haha. I can imagine. Thank you so much for this interview, Cynthia. For those interested, you may visit Cynthia’s website at http://cynthiahickey.com and read about her other books.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Interview with YA Christian Author Gail Pallotta



Award-winning author, Gail Pallotta, is a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her teen book, Stopped Cold, was a best-seller on All Romance eBooks, finished fourth in the Preditors and Editors readers’ poll, and was a finalist for the 2013 Grace Awards. She’s published short stories in “Splickety” magazine and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

"Stopped Cold is filled with emotion, strong characters, teenage romance, adventure, danger and the intricate workings of modern day high school studies and sports." --Larry Hammersley, Author

Welcome back to my blog, Gail. For those who enjoy a bit of mystery, this book has it. Stopped Cold is being reintroduced with a new cover and publisher. Please tell us about your book.

The theme of the book is: You don’t have to be number one for God to love you. It takes place in a small mountain town, but things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville, North Carolina.

Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.
Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean. Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.
This book has a wonderful message for teens. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

As a young adult I saw lots of heartache in several instances when people weren’t number one. Sadly, the drive pushed some of them to destructive behavior. I could only imagine the pain they must have gone through and how their God-given talents were wasted simply because they weren’t “the best.” The fact that God gave us all a gift or gifts to use for Him kept rattling around in my head until I decided to write about it. When I thought of being number one, even though we can win everything from a pie-tasting contest to a spelling bee, sports came to mind. As a young person I loved Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and wanted to write a mystery. I pondered how to connect a sports story and a mystery and steroids came to mind. When I researched steroid use, one of the main reasons given for taking them was a desire to excel in athletics. This rounded out the book for my theme.  

What kind of research did you do for this book?

To learn about steroids I used the Physician’s Desk Reference in the library and several online sites. I also interviewed a couple policemen.

My daughter was a U.S. swimmer, and I swim laps, but I checked the local papers and heat sheets for up-to-date times for specific events and asked several people associated with the sport to check out the swimming scenes.

You did a lot of work, Gail. Did you put real experiences from your research in this story?

Oh yes. To name a few, the scene where the doctor explains steroids to Sean and Margaret’s mom reflects my research in the Physician’s Desk Reference book and the online sources. The entire character of Joe Garrett, the undercover cop, comes from talking with the police. The technical information about swimming shows up at every swim meet.

That’s awesome. You have a new young adult novel that was just released this week called Mountain of Love and Danger. Please tell us about it.

Mountain of Love and Danger is a novella. It’s a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk and will be book number four in a series with four other authors. In it Jack Greenthumb’s having fun—a different day—a different girl to ride around in Fairwilde Kingdom. Then Dad’s attacked and beaten up. The family farm’s destroyed and Jack’s true love, Gwendolyn Bante, kidnapped. A giant-sized criminal holds her captive atop a mountain accessible only by helicopter. Jack launches an undercover operation that reveals Gwenie’s whereabouts, but reaching her is a dangerous expedition even for a champion rock climber. A Greenthumb Acres employee plants a miraculous seed from Heaven at the base of the mountain for the rescue. Suspense and danger mounts as Jack makes the perilous climb. When he reaches  Gwenie, they must escape then face a treacherous descent. Mountain of Love is available at Smashwords and Amazon

Thank you, Gail, for this wonderful interview. Gail is giving two e-books away. If you have a preference which book you want, let us know in your comment.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Mary L. Ball



Mary L. Ball lives in North Carolina and writes Christian fiction. When she’s not working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing gospel songs with her husband. Readers can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Review for Stone of Destiny: “Taking Taylor's destiny in her hands, Grandma tries to make light of selling the family home, a home Taylor spent much time in as a child, and uses the ‘old lady’ excuse to shame her into staying there to oversee remodeling. Of course the remodeler is a hunk ... and the sparks of battle turn into sparks of romance.” –Lisa J. Lickel

Hello, Mary. This book is a sweet romance with a bit of mystery. Please tell us about your novel, Stone of Destiny.

Hello Linda, it's a pleasure to be here today. You have a wonderful blog. Here's the blurb to Stone of Destiny.

Taylor has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete--until her grandmother asks her to oversee the renovations of the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom. Her first contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning.

Unexpected feelings surface that she doesn't understand. Thoughts that should remain unspoken are voiced. Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself and forcing her to question everything she believes.

Is this a fairytale, or simply her soul reaching out for a different world--a life she can only find through faith and a divine trust in God?

Romance! Mystery! This story sounds so intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

My oldest grandson likes to read YA fantasy. One day while seeing him relaxing with his favorite book, I thought, I need to write a novel about spiritual wonders and remarkable things that happen when we put our trust in the Lord. Over the next week, the plot for Stone of Destiny was born.   

That’s so interesting. What kind of research did you have to do?
 I haven't been to Panama, so I spent countless time researching Central America, as my character spends a few months in the area.

The ring in Stone of Destiny is a sapphire. I used that gem because it's my birthstone, but during the editing process my publisher asked if I'd researched the meaning of a sapphire. I read the link and found the sapphire symbolizes mental clarity, faithfulness and truth, which are important components to the story.

Wow! So the sapphire was perfect to use in your story. Who is one of your favorite characters in this story and what do you love about him or her?

 I have a few and can't decide. I enjoy Taylor (the main character) she is like me in a lot of ways and finds herself questioning her path in life. Deep down she has different aspirations.

Taylor's love interest is Brent. He's a God-fearing, blue-collar worker who looks good in Wrangler Jeans. LOL

Then there is Granny Kaye. That lady has wisdom and lives by faith. She's the one constant in Taylor's life.
      
What wonderful characters! Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I live in a small town and like it that way. I'd much rather be at a lake than in a five-star restaurant.      

Thank you, Mary, for an awesome interview. I hope my readers will check out your book. I know they’ll enjoy it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Regina Andrews



Award-winning author Regina Andrews, a resident of Providence, Rhode Island, grew up in the seaside village of Barrington, about 20 miles South of Providence. After graduating from Providence College she earned her degree in American Civilization from Brown University. The author of numerous works including romantic fiction, plays, essays and articles, Regina is currently working on The Sterling Lakes Series. Regina is involved in numerous community organizations, and is a radio host for In-Sight, an association for the visually impaired. Her hobbies include travel, museums, theater, reading, chorale singing and gardening. She and her husband share their home with a semi-feral cat named Queen Tiana, whom they rescued from a shelter.

Welcome back to my blog. Regina. Your new book sounds intriguing. When I read your sample chapter, I was instantly interested in the story. What is your new book about?

Thank you so much for inviting me to visit, Linda. I am delighted to be here. This book is very exciting to me, as it is a re-issue that I am looking forward to having people enjoy.

THE PERFECT PROPOSAL centers on Lindsay Richardson, a quiet elementary school teacher, whose world is turned upside down when she becomes the assistant to Dean Singleton Copley, one of the nation’s most dynamic business leaders in the high-powered corporate world. Lindsay’s father recently died unexpectedly and the school where she was teaching could not allow her time off to take care of her mother, who has Alzheimer’s. Thanks to a chance encounter with one of her father’s friends, businessman Mr. Copley Sr., she is offered a position at his company. When she arrives at work, she discovers she will be working with Dean Jr., the dynamo – not the kindly elder Mr. Copley who knew her father.

This time in her life is a test of her faith, her courage, and her strength. Her questions extend to not knowing what the Lord expects from her regarding her new boss, a dashing bachelor so different from her on the surface. Lindsay begins to see that Dean is scarred from situations in his past. Only faith gives Lindsay the strength to deal with the many challenges of her new position, all her personal crises, and the turmoil in her family life.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Actually I read an article about a situation like this on the Wedding page of our Sunday paper many years ago. The two met at work and lived happily ever after!

I love “happily ever after” stories. What kind of research did you do for this book?

It was crucial to understand Alzheimer’s disease. There were many questions I had to research, and facts I had to verify. Such as, for example, the matter of a patient wandering away from the house, which is a scene in the book, or the phenomenon of “sundowning”, which also occurs. I tried very hard to treat the entire subject of Alzheimer’s disease and its ripple effect with the utmost respect and dignity. Additionally, I had to research a bit about the various social clubs at Brown University, which involved several enjoyable visits to the University’s facilities.

Did you put real experiences from your research in this story?

At one point I served as a member of the Senior Citizens Governing Board in Rhode Island, and much of my experience from this appointed position could be applied to the subject matter of this book.  The “research” in this case was my actual life experience.

Wow! To use your own experiences is fantastic. You love to write Inspirational Romances. What intrigues you most about writing these love stories?

To me, the most exciting aspect of Inspirational romance, Linda, is that unlike a traditional romance with two main characters - the hero and the heroine, an Inspirational romance actually has three main characters – the hero, the heroine and God. That dynamic creates a fluid, vibrant paradigm that propels the story along without my having to construct it, because it is not just the hero and heroine’s thoughts or the way they relate to each other that propels the plot along. Rather, it is the hero and heroine’s relationship with God in addition to their relationship to each other directly impacts the storyline. And since it is a romance and we can be assured of a positive outcome, the path towards that evolves very naturally in my stories. It is guided by human foibles, triumphs and actions -- all held within the loving heart of God.

You explained your reason for writing these stories so well. Thank you for this interview, Regina. To learn more about this author, visit her website at http://www.reginaandrews.com. You’ll find all her books at this site.

Thank you for having me visit, Linda. Your blog is lovely and it is a joy to be here. Happy reading, everyone!