Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sandra Orchard {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Sandra...

Sandra Orchard writes fast-paced, keep-you-guessing romantic suspense and mysteries with a dash of sweet romance. Her novels have garnered six Canadian Christian Writing Awards, a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit, and a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. In addition to her busy writing schedule, Sandra enjoys speaking at events and teaching writing workshops.

Connect with Sandra...

Purchase: Another Day Another Dali

Get to know Sandra...

You and Writing

I live in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada with my husband of almost thirty years, and an energetic husky who frequently drags me out of my fictional worlds to walk in the real one. I also have four adorable grandchildren with whom I love to hang out. In fact, following a near fatal accident in late May, I put my writing on hold and spent all my time with them. But happily we are all home again now and the creative juices are flowing.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it? Another Day, Another Dali is the second installment in my FBI art crime mystery series with special agent Serena Jones. When her grandmother asks Serena to investigate the switch of a valuable Salvador Dali painting, Serena hopes tracking down the original will also mean finally measuring up to Nana’s expectations. But when the evidence points to members of the owner’s own household—friends of her grandmother’s—it becomes increasingly clear that Serena won’t be winning any popularity contests.

To make matters worse, the Dali isn’t the only painting that’s fallen prey to the forgery-replacing thief, raising the specter of a sophisticated theft ring–one with links to dirty cops, an aspiring young artist, and the unsolved murder of Serena’s grandfather. The theft of a Matisse from a Venezuelan museum that went undetected for more than two years, because a forgery was hung in its place, was the inspiration for this story.

And those who read A Fool and His Monet will be happy to know that Serena’s zany aunt is still as eager as ever to help solve Serena’s cases, as are the two handsome men in Serena’s life…or so it would seem.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
A toddler with a contagious, dimpled smile, named Jed, who although he is only in one scene, is my favorite character in this book, because my grandson was his inspiration. At the time, he basically said one word—“uh”—but he said it with so many different inflections, you knew he meant it to mean different things. Serena just couldn’t decipher them. Nate fans will be happy to know he is great with Jed. And Serena’s foray into babysitting inspired this thought that all moms should appreciate:

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
In Another Day, Another Dali, Serena realizes her closely guarded secret has caused her to misinterpret her grandmother’s feelings toward her for years. Too often we see only what we expect to see in situations and in others. Sometimes it takes an appraiser’s objective perspective to recognize the forgery, whether in art or life. But identifying the forgery is only the beginning. As Serena discovers, getting to the truth requires a willingness to search, no matter how painful the outcome might be.

Is there a funny story associated with writing the book?
One night I woke up from the most bizarre dream. I was being chased by a giant zucchini. So…I decided to give the dream to Serena and include it in the novel, which made for some amusing asides in the pages that followed. Not to mention, the hilarious commentary my critique partner had on the matter.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
Obscure words that are funny to say. Serena has a neighbor who shares a word of the day and I like to keep them entertaining as well as relevant to the storyline. The one he shares the morning before Serena’s babysitting stint is particularly apropos.


Let’s talk about your writing life...

How long did you write before you got published?
I was offered my first contract almost six years to the day after beginning my first novel.

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
God can and will use your writing journey, long before you’re published, to teach and minister to others and to strengthen your own faith in ways you’d never imagined.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?
Brainstorming new stories is my favorite part. Writing them is my least favorite part, except on the rare occasions when the story just flows effortlessly from my fingertips.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
Don’t be in a hurry to get published or to self-publish. Take time to develop your craft.

Are there any books or resources you could recommend to younger writers looking to grow in their craft?
I have reviewed several books and listed many others that helped me get started, as well as compiled a list of blog posts I’ve written on various aspects of writing craft here:

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In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
Pumpkin bread.

When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be?
A gymnast like Nadia Comaneci who scored perfect 10s in her routine in 1976 in the Olympics held in Montreal. I can still remember watching her on TV as an awestruck young girl.

Will you participate in National Novel Writing Month? If so, what’s your plan to keep your writing on track?
Nope. I tend to edit as I go along and strive to meet a word count goal each day. The size of the goal varies, depending on deadlines and other writing obligations, such as interviews like this.

What are you currently reading?
A yet-to-be published mystery in a series for which I’m writing an installment for a book club called Annie’s Attic.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Ringmaster's Wife by Kristy Cambron | RE:View

A masterpiece of emotion and evocative storytelling, The Ringmaster's Wife's weaves together the fanciful notions and glamor of the circus amidst the rich tapestry of 1920s history. A superb story with vibrant characters, the sparkle of romance, and the power of courage.


I am lost to the thrills and magic of the circus. Please, don't send help. I want to stay here forever, trapped between the pages and avoiding the reality that I can't run off to the menagerie.

From the moment I opened this book I knew it was going to be special. I have long since been captivated by the circus and Kristy's fabulous writing drew to life every hope and dream within me. I saw the lights, smelled the molasses coated popcorn, and grew teary eyed at the stunning performances.

I loved the juxtaposition of characters from sweet and determined Lady Rosamund Easling and Irishman Colin Keary in all of his manly fastidious, to Mable and John Ringling and their unique relationship. It felt like a multitude of stories wrapped up into one that painted a beautiful picture of how the Lord orchestrates lives together in ways we would not suspect.

Being a lover of all things from the turn-of-the-century Jazz Age, I appreciated the thorough research Kristy put into this book.  I loved the addition of Walt Disney (though brief) and the history of Ca D'Zan. It's now on my travel list.

I urge you all to read this book if for no other reason than to lose yourself in the vibrant world of the circus and how two women's lives were radically affected by grace, hope, determination, and the power of courage. The history is organic to the story, the romance sweet and natural, and the plot will pull you through until the very end. A must read! Brava!

Rating: 5*
Purchase: The Ringmaster's Wife

Book Description
(from Amazon)
An ounce of courage.

A leap of faith.

Together, they propel two young women to chase a new life—one that’s reimagined from what they might have become.

In turn-of-the-century America, a young girl dreams of a world that stretches beyond the confi nes of a quiet life on the family farm. With little more than her wit and a cigar box of treasures, Mable steps away from all she knows, seeking the limitless marvels of the Chicago World’s Fair. There, a chance encounter triggers her destiny—a life with a famed showman by the name of John Ringling.

A quarter of a century later, Lady Rosamund Easling boards a ship to America as a last adventure before her arranged marriage. There, the twenties are roaring, and the rich and famous gather at opulent, Gatsby-esque parties. The Jazz Age has arrived, and with it, the golden era of the American circus, whose queen is none other than the enigmatic Mable Ringling.

When Rosamund’s path crosses with Mable’s and the Ringlings’ glittering world, she makes the life-altering decision to leave behind a comfortable future of estates and propriety, choosing instead the nomadic life of a trick rider in the Ringling Brothers’ circus.

A novel that is at once captivating, deeply poignant, and swirling with exquisite historical details of a bygone world, The Ringmaster’s Wife will escort readers into the center ring, with its bright lights, exotic animals, and a dazzling performance that can only be described as the Greatest Show on Earth!
I received a free copy of this book but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Accelerant & A Time To Rise: Release Day!!!

I am SO excited! Friends, you have no idea what glroious things await you today! It's RELEASE DAY for two of my favorite authors! Yes...that is TWO awesome books now avaialbe to you all.

by Ronie Kendig

He'll destroy the world. But first he has to save it.

The Nine Kingdoms bleed. Leaderless, ravaged, the land awaits deliverance from Poired Dyrth's devastating campaign. But what if one blight can only be cleansed by another?

The promised Fierian is known by many names. Judge. Destroyer. Scourge. And now one other: Haegan, Prince of Seultrie. Once a cripple, now a gifted Accelerant, Haegan can no longer run from the truth. But neither can he be reconciled to it. He knows only one thing for certain: as the only able-bodied heir to the Fire Throne, he must return to the Nine and fight for his people.

But there are insidious forces at work. When reality itself falls into question, Haegan struggles to know where to fight, whom to trust. Caught between duty to his country and duty to the world, Haegan must see clearly enough to choose the right path to save the world.

Purchase: Accelerant (book 2)
Purchase: Embers (book 1)

A Time To Rise
by Nadine Brandes

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least that's what the Council and the world thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

Purchase: A Time To Rise (book 3)
Purchase: A Time To Die (book 1) and A Time To Speak (book 2) 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Tracie Peterson {Writer Wednesday}

I don't know where my brain is folks! I'm preparing for a trip to the West Coast as well as updating my online shops and working on ghost writing and editing photos. Needless to say, I'm a little frazzled and nearly forgot this lovely interview! Introducing the lovely Traci Peterson...

A little bit about Tracie...

Tracie Peterson is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 100 books. Her work in historical romance garnered her the Best Western Romance Author of 2013 by True West Magazine. She was given the Life Time Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers in 2011 and the Career Achievement Award in 2007 from Romantic Times, as well as multiple best book awards.

Tracie has been married to Jim for over 35 years and enjoys working with him on historical research for each of her books. They make their home in the mountains of Montana. They have three grown children and three grandchildren. They also have an adopted family in Africa that has given them another seven grandchildren – two of whom were named for Tracie and Jim.

Connect with Tracie...

Purchase: A Love Transformed

Get to know Tracie...

--> You and Writing

How did you start writing? 
I’ve always loved to write and don’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read. I credit my mom for developing the storyteller in me, however. She would give me a pencil and paper in church to keep me quiet (those were the days before children’s church) and tell me to write a story. Of course at that young age most of the story was told in pictures. After church my mom would tell me to tell her my story. I think knowing I would have her undivided attention gave me a reason to create stories. I suppose it drives me still knowing that readers want to hear my stories.

What has kept you writing? 
The love and passion I have for storytelling and servicing God.

What or who is the biggest influence in your writing? 
That’s a hard question to answer because there are so many. As I mentioned my mother truly stimulated that creativity in my storytelling abilities, my husband has been my right hand in encouragement and historical research, and there are numerous authors who’ve stirred my passion to hone my skills and do a better job.

Why do you write? 
For me writing is first and foremost a ministry. I use the stories to show people in situations that are similar to ones we’ve all gone through and then I try to offer Biblical insight and encouragement. I also try to always include the Gospel message of salvation. I know there are so many people out there who won’t read the Bible, but who love historical fiction. This is a nice, non-preachy way to share God’s Word with them. I always tell people I want my books to do three things. I call them my 3E’s. I want them to entertain, educate and encourage.

--> Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book...

Why did you write it? 
I love history and the history of Yogo sapphires found only in Montana was something I could research right in my own backyard – well at least my own state.

Do you have a favorite character in this work?
If so, why? I think I would have to say Auntie Madeline and Unnca Paul because I based them on my own aunt and uncle. They are very dear people to me and quite wise.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
That God is a God of second chances and there is nothing so terrible about us that He can’t forgive and make right if we let Him.

What’s the theme? How did you come up with it?
Second Chances. I was actually influenced by something I’d heard someone say about their past being so bad that even God couldn’t forgive it. It saddened me to think that people out there honestly believe God incapable of something. I wanted to show how God is all about reconciliation and new starts.

What was a challenge you faced while writing it?
Satan is always trying to interfere with my work since it’s a ministry for God’s glory. There were all sorts of family issues and problems, as well as some health problems for me. However, God got me through as He always does.

What did you learn while writing it?
I learned quite a bit about the espionage going on in American during World War I.

Is there a funny story associated with writing the book?
I named the twins in the story after the children of a friend of mine. When she told the kids about this they were all excited and one of them exclaimed, “Now we’re going to be famous.” It made me giggle.

Was there a passage of scripture you came across or used while writing it that you’d like to share?
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
2nd Corinthians 10:5

Did you get to do any fun research for the book?
Always. I got to research sheep farms in Montana.

We're your characters easy to pin down or did you discover them along the way as you wrote the book?
They were well defined from the beginning. I knew I wanted to create a story about people’s past mistakes binding them and keeping them from moving ahead. It was easy enough to draw on examples from my own life and that of others around me.

What made you choose the setting for the book? 
The books starts in New York City and moves to Montana. This happened for a couple of reasons. I wanted to show some of the espionage going on in New York during WWI, while keeping the entire series grounded in Montana.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
Cemeteries in New York in 1917

What was one thing (or character) that surprised you while writing this book?
Well, I knew my hero was going to have had a bad time in his youth, but I didn’t realize he was going to have served time in prison until I got into the story and it just seemed natural as I was talking about him taking up with the wrong kind of people.

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
Chocolate of course.


Let’s talk about your writing life...

How long did you write before you got published?
I tried to get published from about the time I was 12, but it wasn’t until I was 33 that I got my first book contract.

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
I have a soft spot in my heart for new and young writers. It’s a hard industry to break into, but not an impossible one. I encourage new authors young and old to go to writer conferences. I can’t stress the value of them because you get to take classes and talk one-on-one with authors, editors and agents. The experience is invaluable and although expensive it has the potential to pay back in writing benefits.

How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
Too many to count

Are you a Panster or Plotter?
Definitely a Plotter

What does your writing process look like?
I start looking for new ideas whenever I read or travel. Once a subject strikes me as something I’d like to write about, I start reading everything I can get my hands on about that event, time period, etc. Then I write an outline of what I would want to accomplish in a 3 book series. Almost all of my books are a part of series so it just happens that way. When I have this in hand, I turn it in to the publisher for their approval and then start putting together a detailed synopsis for the first book. I am almost always research one book, while plotting out another, while writing a third and sometimes doing galley proofs for a fourth.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?
Going through galleys. My books are turned into the publisher a year in advance, but final galleys come about 4-6 months before publication. This is the final read through I’ll have before the book is published and by then I’ve moved on to so many other projects.

Are there any books or resources you could recommend to younger writers looking to grow in their craft?

There are a lot of great resources out there and like I mentioned – the writer conferences are some of the best places to learn about these. Another thing I encourage new writers to do is read, read and read some more. Read a book once for pleasure then read it again and start taking it apart. I especially encourage this with best-sellers. I encourage them to make a list of what they liked and didn’t like. Why do they think this book became a best seller? Make a list of characters and their characteristics. This helps them learn to develop characters. Do the same for the details of the time period and the setting. Plot out the book in a chapter outline. This is one of the best ways I know to learn how to do some of this stuff first hand.
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In honor of the fall, what’s your favorite fall treat?
Chocolate chip pumpkin nut bread. Yum!

When you were a child, what did you dream of growing up to be?
A doctor and writer

Will you participate in National Novel Writing Month? 
I had to laugh – for me – every month is National Novel Writing Month. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and write and read.

What are you currently reading?
A stack of research books on the Rogue River Indian wars and San Francisco 1906 Earthquake. For fiction, I have Becky Wade’s Undeniably Yours.

Emilie here: Thank you so much for being my guest Tracie! Isn't this a fantastic interview and what a generious giveaway! Make sure you share it around :)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Robin E. Mason | New Novel News

by Robin E. Mason

Published: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Independently Published
Purchase: Cissy

Evil words. Words that should never have been spoken. Words that she should not have heard.

But she did. And she believed them.

Everything changed when Cissy heard those words that day. She was five.

What torment is wrought when wicked words are spoken? Can Cissy’s ravaged life be redeemed? Or will she wreak havoc on all who love her?

Can the lie be undone? Is there a word powerful enough to break the curse and undo the unsavory heritage?

--> AUTHOR’S NOTE: Cissy is not easy reading. She faces evil and succumbs to it. She is seduced at a young age, and learns to wield her body to manipulate and wound those most dear to her. There are no graphic scenes, but neither do my scenes merely allude to what is happening. It is very much the Christian battle against evil. Cissy is the dark and gritty, high-tension climax to the unsavory heritage series. 

Get to know Robin...

Would you rather go to the future or go to the past?
The past. I love history and would love the chance to visit eras and places that I can only read about. I love doing research, but ya can only glean so much from reading—no matter how many tomes you pour through!

What’s your favorite book?
With such a vast array of “favorites” there are two that have stayed with me, passed the test of time. The first is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I read that as a child and the message was powerful, and made a deep impact on me. The second is The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy. I suffered depression for many of my adult years, and when I was coming out of that, with counseling and an Rx, I “happened” to pick up a copy of this book at the store. It’s long, and I read it in a week! One of the things about depression is that when I was not busy doing something I was down. Meaning I vegged, usually in front of the TV. (I was still working full time, and my kids were adolescents at the time, and there was always something to do.) To focus enough to read through any book, let alone some 700 pages, was impossible. This book represents for me, leaving that depressive state behind, and enjoying my life. That was over twenty years ago, and I’ve never looked back. And Ms. Binchy remains one of my favorite story tellers for that reason as well.

If you could live in a fantasy world, who’s would it be? 
Mine. Because I already know everybody here, er, there. I know the characters intimately, and I can banish anyone if I need to. You’re welcome to visit anytime, Emilie! I’d love to have you for tea and crumpets!!!

(BONUS) What are you reading right now?
Reluctantly Married, by Vistorine Lieske. Posting a review blitz next week for all four books in the series.

See more from Robin on her website:
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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Download Your Free How-To Guide for Bring Your Bible to School Day


Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are preparing for Hurricane Matthew to hit. For students in hurricane-affected states who are facing school closures but still want to participate in Bring Your Bible to School Day, the alternate date is Thursday, October 20.

This brings about a good point: Any day can be a day you organize your friends to bring your Bibles to school together!

By signing up during the month of October for Bring Your Bible to School Day (even if you missed the official celebration), you can download a free how-to guide for teens, parents, pastors, and elementary students. It's full of helpful information that will help you organize a day to take a stand for religious freedom and bring your Bible to school with your fellow classmates.

(Sign-ups must be received by midnight (MT), Oct. 7, in order to be automatically entered into the Newsboys giveaway.)

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey


Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Warrior's Seal by Ronie Kendig | RE:View

What do you get when you cross James Rollins-like writing with the excitement and history of Indiana Jones? Ronie Kendig's new and thrilling series: The Tox Files! Introductory novella, The Warrior's Seal, is just a taste of what's to come.

The Warrior's Seal is the perfect introduction to Cole "Tox" Russell and his Special Forces team. If you've read anything by Ronie Kendig, you'll know to expect fast-paced action, complex characters, and a plot that will leave you reeling from its complexity. The Warrior's Seal is all of these things and more!

Introducing Tox and his team, this novella sets the scene for great things to come, like book 1 in the series: Conspiracy of Silence (coming out December 6th). The novella is just enough to whet your appetite and provide familiarity with the team. As usual, Ronie does an excellent job depicting the dynamics of a Special Forces team. Her male characters always stand out on the page because of their authenticity and realness. No sissy men here!

I also absolutely loved the historical element that Ronie brought to the novella and how it is all comingled and weighted with importance to the present. It adds a very "Indiana Jones" like quality to the story--something I LOVE--as well as a depth that takes the story beyond the natural realm.

Given that this is just a novella, you expect the story to be slightly abbreviated, but that in no way made it less action-packed or exciting. By the end of the novella I was clinging to my Kindle and swiping pages like a mad woman (and staying up way past my bedtime...).

I highly recommend The Warrior's Seal to a wide range of readers. If you've read anything by Ronie Kendig, you'll love this. If you haven't, it's the perfect introduction to her writing! It will appeal to lovers of suspense, military fiction, thrillers, romantic suspense, and lovers of amazing fiction in general.

By the's FREE on Amazon Kindle! Go get your copy today!...Seriously, go get it now.

Rating: 5*
Purchase: (for free) The Warrior's Seal

Book Description
(from Amazon)
A Special Forces team is thrust into a war with the past to save the president after an artifact unleashes a deadly toxin.

Special Forces operative Cole "Tox" Russell and his team are tasked in a search-and-rescue--the U.S. president has been kidnapped during a goodwill tour. The mission nosedives when an ancient biblical artifact and a deadly toxin wipe out villages. Tox must stop the terrorists and the toxin to save the president.
I received a free copy of this book but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.