Thursday, April 16, 2015

Belated Final Favorites | March 2015

Oops! So, I missed the last day of March (*grins*) but to be fair I had one of my best friends and her husband visiting and they are more important than me being silly and talking about books ;) Plus, they were headed back overseas and when you only get to see people once every year and a half, you put everything else to the side! Then I had another friend visit and...well yes, it is D.C. in the Spring so of course people want to come and see the lovely cherry blossoms (and me too I guess).

Anyway, on to my Final Favorites for March. I found this month that I was overrun with stuff...on top of a too-ambitious posting schedule. There is so much to be said about Marketing and Social Media! I'll probably be posting more about this in the future, but I hope that what was posted was helpful!

On to the favorites...



Giving away some AWESOME books on the blog this week. Stop by the post (click on the titles below), leave a comment, and you'll be entered to win!

From the Start by Melissa Tagg

Dandelions for Dinner by Valeire Comer

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Valerie Comer {Writer Wednesday} +GIVEAWAY

A little bit about Valarie...

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her award-winning Farm Fresh Romance stories.

How to connect with Valarie...

Purchase: Dandelions for Dinner (A Farm Fresh Romance Book 4)

Getting to know you again...Valarie Comer

  You and Writing

Who is one of your favorite authors and why?
...Wow, I don't think I can narrow down my favorites to just one! I've gotten to know and read so many fabulous contemporary romances through my friends at and the box sets I'm in, that I don't dare to start naming names.

What is one book or resource you would recommend to other writers? Why?
...As above, I can't stop with one. ;) If you're considering going indie, you might want to check out David Gaughran's Let's Get Digital. If you're wondering how to lay out an indie career, I recommend Write. Publish. Repeat. by Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt (beware of language). (By the way, I heartily endorse the indie route.)

Share a writing-related milestone with us?
...Raspberries and Vinegar, the first book in my Farm Fresh Romance series, has achieved many milestones for me. It was my first published novel, the first to win an award (Canada's The Word Guild Award for best contemporary romance of 2013), the first to go in a multi-author box set, the first to be narrated as an audiobook, and the first to become permanently free as an e-book.

How do you balance your time between writing and other actives? Any helpful tips, tricks, or suggestions?
...Writing, publishing, and marketing is now my full-time job. I have no kids living at home, so my situation isn't the same as many of your readers, but I'm as capable as anyone else of frittering away my time and having little to show for it at the end of the day.

...My best writing time is in the morning, but if I check email, Facebook, or stats before opening my current manuscript, I can easily lose an hour or two. Self-discipline is hard! But without it, I'm spinning my wheels and will soon have nothing to publish or market. Writing comes first.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your current book, Dandelions for Dinner.
She hates him. He loves her not.

Men are weeds. Allison Hart doesn’t need them in her carefully tended life, though her friends at Green Acres seem happy with their guys. Why can’t Allison open her heart to anyone but her young nephew? Then again, he’ll be a man one day, too. If only the irritating contractor in charge of building her home and farm school wasn’t the boy’s favorite person.
Fireworks with Brent Callahan’s newest client shift from antagonism to the rocky possibility of a relationship. When he comes face to face with a history he’d much rather forget, he realizes hiding his failures isn’t the best option for finding forgiveness, let alone love.
Can a little boy help weed out the past before it chokes their future together?
Who is your favorite character and why?
...I protest! This is not a fair question. It's like choosing my favorite granddaughter.

...Allison Hart may be the least like of me of any character I've ever written. I didn't know the depths of her personal issues until I was well into writing the first draft. I knew she hated and mistrusted men, but the why eluded me. It was a privilege to draw her through the rough times and into a place of healing and hope. I know, I know. That makes it sound like she's a real person. Honestly, for the months she lived in my head, she was real, and now she's been set free. Have I mentioned lately that I love writing?

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...No matter what cards your life has dealt you—or perhaps that you've dealt yourself—there is always hope. There is always forgiveness. There is always love… and God's love is enough.


Book you’re reading right now: I'm in the midst of Heart's Design, a contemporary romance by JoAnn Durgin.

If you could go anywhere in the world for one month (for free) where would it be and why?
...Someday my husband and I would enjoy touring the United Kingdom. I'd love to experience the depth of history found there in comparison to the relative newness of the North American west. We'd ride the rails and travel by riverboat. We'd tour some castles, catch a glimpse or two of royalty, visit friends, and enjoy the local-food culture of the various regions.

...Hmm. Are you offering? We can pack our bags and be ready to head out in no time!

Leave a comment and you could win an eBook copy of Valerie's latest novel! 
It's so great to have you back on the blog Valarie!  So diplomatic of you not to choose a favorite author ;) But I do understand, it's hard to pick! I also agree with you 100% about getting suck into FB for waaay to long if it's the first thing I open on my computer. Ah, the lessons of self-control, eh? And I wish I could offer you and all my readers a free month long vacation! Wouldn't that be great? :) 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Winners All Around

Excited that we have so many winners on the blog today! I decided to just do one big ole post.

And the winner of Heart's Design...

Katrina Epperson

Congratulations Katrina!! 

And the winner of The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem is...

Virginia Winfield

I'm sure you'll enjoy this Virginia!

Excited to announce the winner of Erin Healy's Motherless and the $10 Starbucks gift card...

Emily Smith

(props on having an excellent name Emily hehe)

Thanks for everyone who participated! I'll be contacting you Emily and we'll arrange to get your your coffee card and book.

Winners of the above books...

by Dana R. Lynn

Melissa Oldaker

with Jennifer Ulharick

Joy Avery Melville

by Dana Mentink

Susan P

You may not have won today, but check out my giveaway from this week from author Melissa Tagg and Catherine West! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Melissa Tagg & Cathy West | New Novel News + GIVEAWY

From the Start
by Melissa Tagg

Published April 7, 2015
Bethany House
Purchase: From the Start

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn't kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays...until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend's hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he's lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he's never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it's like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn't part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that's ever happened to them?

Get to know Melissa...

What actor/actress would play you if your life was a movie?
Does it have to be a current actress? Because if not, my answer is so, SOOOO Katherine Hepburn. She’s my hero and my very favorite actress. Although, ooh, Jean Arthur would also probably play me to a “T.”

If it needs to be someone like, you know, alive then I’d probably say Tina Fey.

Do you have a nickname? Care to share?
I have had the most random collection of nicknames throughout my life. Everything from MC Tagger (which makes no sense because my middle name doesn’t even start with a C) to Milbo Taggins. But the two that stuck the longest are: Sparky (referring to an unfortunate fire I started my first month working at my job) and May (as in, Maytag).

Which of your characters do you secretly have a crush on?
What does it say about me if I admit to secretly (or perhaps not so secretly) having crushes on ALL of them? Haha! I think Matthew Knox from my first book, MADE TO LAST, will always have a special spot in my heart simply because he was my first hero and has basically every quality I appreciate in the real life men I know. However, probably the one I’ve had the biggest crush on is my newest hero, Logan Walker. People won’t meet him until 2016 when my second Walker Family book releases. He’s a former reporter/current speechwriter and he’s just, ahhh, my heart. Interestingly, the hero in my upcoming release, Colton Greene, was the hardest for me to connect with as I wrote but I’ll never forget the night I finally figured him out and cried my way through his last scene.

Bridge of Faith
by Catherine West

Published April, 2015
Purchase: Bridge of Faith

Two lives taken down different roads - one enduring love - one shot at starting over.  
If only they believed in second chances.

Julia Connelly is finally free from twelve long years in an abusive relationship. Now able to live the life she’s longed for, Julia takes her two children back home to Vermont, hoping for peace and healing. The last person she expects to see is the man she eloped with at eighteen—who then abandoned her two months into their marriage, with little explanation.

When an assignment in the Middle East ends in tragedy, popular news correspondent, Reid Wallace, returns to his hometown seeking answers and peace of mind.

Confronting his past was not in the plan.

Now he’s asking different questions. Like why the only woman he’s ever really loved still mesmerizes him. Why the haunted expression she wears reaches right into his soul.

And why her twelve year-old son looks just like him.

They say you can’t go home again. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.
Get to know Catherine...

What are the names of your pets? If you don't have any, what would you name your pets?
I have a Border Collie and he is called Noah. I’ve always liked the name Teagan for a dog as well, so if we get another at some point, I might pick that!

Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
I absolutely adore California. We’ve visited several times and I think it’s an amazing state, with so much to see and so much variety in one place.

Which of your characters do you secretly have a crush on?
LOL. Great question! :) Hands down, I have to say Luke Maddox from Yesterday’s Tomorrow. Because who wouldn’t?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Amber Schamel {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Amber...

Multi-published author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest". A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and is now the author of over half a dozen books. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. Amber is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.

How to connect with Amber...

Twitter: @AmberSchamel
Purchase: The Messiah's Sign (Book 2,Days of Messiah Series) 

Author Interview | Amber Schamel 

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?

...I have always had an active imagination, and a bit of a knack for storytelling. But the real thing that got me into writing was when I began to see how much of a need there was for good books with Christian morals and world view. I wanted to write riveting stories that bring HIStory to life for the reader.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I love each and every book, and each of them are unique, so I really can't pick a favorite.

If published, what was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The hardest thing about publishing is how much time it takes away from the actual writing. You suddenly have so many other things that take your time, there's hardly any left for writing the story. lol. Also, hitting the send button. 

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book or what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...The Messiah's Sign is the second book in the Days of Messiah series. It's a story about a man whose life is torn apart when his wife contracts leprosy, a judgment that confirms his dreams of her infidelity are true. He is determined to protect Malon, his only son. But when a thief threatens his son's life, Tyrus must battle extortion, family persecution, and the beguiling lies of a false messiah to keep Malon safe.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...Is it fair to say Jesus? Besides Him, it is hard to choose. Barabbas, as the villain, was a lot of fun to write! Aaliyah and Tyrus both have traits that mirror my own, so they hold a special place in my heart, but I think Malon is my favorite character in the series. He is full of life and curiosity, but with a really cute, sweet streak. He's modeled after my little brother, so I might be a bit bias. ;)

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...As hard as you try, you will never be sufficient on your own. It takes Christ working in you.
For those that have read volume one, I want them to realize that you cannot hate someone until you de-humanize them. The villain of book one becomes the hero of book two, and we see the motivations behind his 'heartless' acts. In truth, Tyrus was doing the best he could. If we can empathize with people in our lives, it will go a LONG way in keeping the roots of bitterness at bay.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...I would say, both. I get ideas everywhere. Sometimes it is just something I see as I go throughout my day, sometimes a historical tidbit I read, sometimes – like in the case of the Days of Messiah series- it comes from a passage of Scripture.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories? 
...To bring HIStory to life. To me, that means show the reader God's hand through history, in a way that brings it to vibrant life in their minds. I want them to walk away feeling as if they actually met the people in history and lived the story with them.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing? 
....Be teachable, learn as much as you can, and remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just because one agent/editor/publisher doesn't like your work doesn't mean that no one will. Keep making it better and submitting it until you find someone who sees the beauty.

...Also, start building your platform NOW. Now, as in yesterday. I made the mistake of thinking that I wouldn't need to work on my platform until I was published, I was wrong.


Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?

...Oh yes. Soundtracks. I LOVE soundtracks and listen to them whenever I write. It helps me focus on the story, rather than everything going on around me. That's important, because I often write on car trips.

What is your favorite season and why? 
...That is so hard. I love Fall, because it is so beautiful. I love Winter for the Christmas season, and I love Spring because it is the time of Easter when everything resurrects. I just can't pick!

What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it? 
...The same genre that I write. Historical fiction. I love history, and I love stories, so it's just natural. ;)

Thank you so much for being a guest Amber! I love your focus of "HIStory" :) Also, love the idea of what your readers will identify with in your book. Christ working in you! I listen to soundtracks as well. One of my favorites is the "new" Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. I'm with you on your season choices too - it's hard to choose!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dana R. Lynn, Jennifer Uhlarik, Dana Mentink | New Novel News

Presumed Guilty
by Dana R. Lynn

Published April 1, 2015
Love Inspired Suspense
Purchase: Presumed Guilty
“I’m innocent!” After four years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit, Melanie Swanson’s finally free. Yet starting over brings a heavy load of challenges. Nearly everyone believes she’s guilty- including police lieutenant Jace Tucker. Jace’s certainty cracks only when Melanie is repeatedly attacked, and when the people around her are picked off one by one. Melanie’s clearly innocent- and terrified. Someone wants her dead to keep her shattered memories from recalling the crime she witnessed rather than caused. She lost her friends, her fiancé and her freedom when she was found guilty- but proving her innocence could cost Melanie her life.
Get to know Dana...
What’s your favorite book? 
My favorite book ever is Pride and Prejudice. I have read it countless times, along with all the variation and spin off stories I could get my hands on. I have watched all the movies, too.

Cats or dogs? 
Cats. Definitely. They have so much personality. Plus, there’s something comforting about holding a purring cat in your arms.  

Would you rather go to the future or past? 
I would prefer the past. I will admit, however, that the idea of going without indoor plumbing terrifies me. And the lack of electricity…yeah, don’t much care for that idea either.

The Oregon Trail Romance Collection
with Jennifer Uhlarik

Published April 1, 2015
Purchase: The Oregon Trail Romance Collection
Dreams Are Challenged and Romance Is Born on the Journey West. Risking all their hopes and dreams on promises of fertile land in the Northwest, thousands set off on the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s. Despite the majestic landscape and daily opportunities for fireside chats, the trail was hardly the place these migrants expected to find romance. In these nine novellas, travelers on the wagon trains experience all the challenges and dangers of the trail. Travel along on romantic adventures in which faith is honed. Some will lose much, settled down along the trail, and even turn back home, while others endure to the end with a love by their side.

Get to know Jennifer...

What are the names of your pets? 
Gracie, Jake, Paisley, and Pippa. (The first two are dogs, the last two are cats).

Favorite place you’ve traveled to? 
Hawaii. My husband and I cruised around the islands for our honeymoon.

Favorite dessert? 
Cheesecake. Preferably one of the crazy flavors they serve at The Cheesecake Factory. (Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin…)

Secret Refuge
by Dana Mentink

Published April, 2015
Love Inspired Suspense
Purchase: Secret Refuge
Former parole officer Mick Hudson blames himself for the death of Keeley Stevens's sister. If he hadn't paroled a criminal, she might still be alive. When he hears that the suspected killer has been spotted in Keeley's hometown, he worries she might be the next victim. Keeley doesn't want to take help from the man who could have prevented her sister's death, but she has more than herself to worry about. She'll do anything it takes to protect her family. And Mick will risk his life to make sure that the past does not repeat itself.

Get to know Dana...

What are the names of your pets?
We've got a quirky German Shepard mix who answers to the name of Nala, and a geriatric box turtle named Boyd. My teen daughter also owns Indiana, a lovely yellow parakeet who resists my efforts to teach her to talk.

If you could live in a fantasy world, who’s would it be? 
I think I'd like to hang out in Narnia, or possibly Oz but only for a short time because there's no place like home, as they say!

What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning? 
I have to have my quiet time with a Bible reading and devotional. It just reminds me about what's important before I dive into the day.
Thanks for having me and God bless!

Leave your comments below to enter to win!

Monday, April 6, 2015

WIN a copy of Motherless by Erin Healy and $10 Starbucks Gift Card

It's been a while since I've done a giveaway that included the best friend for all who write and read: COFFEE. Those of you who know me know my addiction

>insert guilty look here<

You may remember my review of Erin Healy's novel, Motherless back in January. Well, now you can etner for the chance to read it yourself!

To enter, check out the Rafflecopter giveaway options below. Share with your friends!

I'll announce the winner on April 13th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway