Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cathy Elliott {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

Get to know Cathy...

Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer in northern California whose cozy mysteries reflect her personal interests from quilting and antique collecting to playing her fiddle with friends. She also leads music at church and cherishes time with her grandchildren. Cathy’s other plot-twisting works include Medals in the Attic and A Stitch in Crime.

Connect with Cathy...

--> Website & Occasional Blog:
Facebook: Author Cathy Elliott
Purchase: A Vase of Mistaken Identity

Author Interview | Cathy Elliott

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...Since high school, I wanted to be a writer, something I kept to myself. When my first book was published, a friend congratulated me, saying she knew I’d always wanted to write. What? Did I say that out loud?

...But it must have been obvious. I’d spent years reading books about writing, The Writer Magazine, taking an occasional writer class, attending author lectures, etc. Since I worked in a college library, all the new releases on the subject passed right by me. First. So, dedicating myself to the craft was my destiny. My happy ending.

...I keep writing because it gives me joy. Having books and articles published is the lovely by-product of the journey. But I write because I love to put those words on the page. And I love the writer community.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...After having three books traditionally published, that is a still hard question to answer. It’s all hard and all delightful. Most folks dislike the waiting, especially these days when they can just skip sending out a proposal and hoping for a sale by self-publishing their own books. Typically, we don’t like to wait for an editor to take a look or make a decision. I think that is hardest for most folks – but easier for me because I don’t mind waiting. In fact, I rather like my time in the waiting room. That’s where expectation & anticipation live.

Your Writing

Do you have a favorite character in this book? If so, why?
...A Vase of Mistaken Identity is the first of two of my books about amateur sleuth, Thea James, and the small town of Larkindale. I love Thea. But I cannot help but favor her grandmother, Gram, a British war bride with her bumbling ways. She is always “accidentally” spilling out Thea’s secrets. It’s great fun! 

A Vase of Mistaken Identity

Murder in Larkindale?

Thea James, proprietress of James & Company Antique Emporium, never thought murder would come to her small, surviving Gold Rush town of Larkindale. But when the Larkindale Lamplight reports the discovery of a body during the renovation of Larkin Lake Resort, Thea is caught up in the mystery.

Her world is further frenzied when she acquires a vintage vase from the town’s only homeless person. Thea finds a puzzling list tucked inside with four names written in a faded scrawl: two childhood friends from a summer camp, her sister Rosie, and . . . herself!

When the first woman on the list ends up in a coma and another mysteriously disappears, Thea knows she must save herself and her sister from harm. Her attempt to eliminate the vicious threat on their lives propels Thea to places she never wanted to visit.

Will she discover the connection before tragedy strikes?

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Most are a fictionalized combo of both – based on someone I know and also spun out of my imagination. Occasionally, a character may be based on pure fantasy, unlike anyone I’ve ever met. But usually, characters are reality-based with imaginary traits.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I so admire the high purpose of many books and struggled for a time to find one for mine, as well. Then I received a letter from one reader who’d been given my book to read in the hospital during a chemo drip. It had helped transport her to another place, away from something hard for a time. I decided that providing a little mental vacation amid a difficult day was a good enough reason to write.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...No matter what the path – traditional publishing or self-publishing or another way - I would encourage every author to write for excellence over publication. Let good writing be your goal. Write the book of your heart, take the time you need, set your standard high, and in the end, you’ll have something to be proud of, no matter the publication path.


Do you enjoy hot weather or cold better? 
...Hands down, cool weather. Maybe it’s getting older or something, but I never complain in the winter, even if it is a teeth-chattering, frigid day. I’m silent about rain, sleet, or snow. Low temps are always welcome. But June, July, and August, my mood revolves around the weather. Is today over 100 degrees? Is it humid? Oh, no! Sadly, I whine all summer long.

...Hey, that’s not a very good way to end, is it? Let me say my “heat impairment” has increased my empathy for others who suffer the same way. I can really relate! (Better?)

...Thanks, Emilie, for hosting me. I hope one of your readers will enjoy winning a copy of A Vase of Mistaken Identity, rereleased in January 2015, with a cheerful new cozy cover. I’m so pleased to give it life again!

Thanks so much for visiting Thinking Thoughts today! I love that you mention the writer community as reasons you've continued writing. I just love the writer community as well and have met so many amazing friends (online and in person). Props to you for not minding the waiting time! I find I'm terribly impatient at times ;) And I love your answer to why you write - I think there is nothing better than transporting a reader elsewhere! Thanks again Cathy and readers, make sure you leave a comment to enter to win this deadly book - it's simply purrfect, don't you think? (Ok, sorry for the puns but I couldn't help it!)


It was awesome to have Mike on the blog last week sharing about Centralia. He graciously has offered 2 books for this giveaway which means 2 winners (of course). 

I'm excited to wish congratulations to...

Shane Werlinger & Kris Hughe

Please contact me using the form on the sidebar so we can get you your books!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Love In Mistletoe Springs with Ginger Solomon | New Novel News

Love In Mistletoe Springs
with Ginger Solomon

Published July 4, 2015
Indie Published
Purchase: Love In Mistletoe Springs

The Mistletoe Springs animal shelter loses their grant, endangering the lives of countless stray dogs, cats, even birds and turtles. The community attempts to save the shelter by running a Christmas in July fundraiser. Groups of volunteers scramble to get all the details together while managing their personal lives. For ten people, love gets in the way.

Get to know Ginger...

What are the names of your pets?
We have two dogs, a cat, and a bunny. Zorro is my blue-merle miniature Australian shepherd. Midnight is our black lab/mix. Peeta is the cat—a gray tabby. Sam is the bunny—a nice gender neutral name since we don’t know if it’s a he or she. :)

What's one chore you hate doing?
I only get one? Well, if you insist. I hate cooking. I have to do it nearly every day for a mostly uncertain number of people—anywhere from four to nine, which makes it difficult. I spend as little time in the kitchen preparing meals as possible.

Favorite dessert? 
A banana split. I just love all the flavors: chocolate, vanilla, bananas, strawberry sauce, pineapple sauce, hot fudge, whipped cream, and the cherry (more than one if I can get away with it). All of it together just sends my taste buds soaring and my blood sugar. J I don’t indulge often because of the caloric content. I am over forty—shhh, don’t tell—and it takes a little longer to burn those extra calories.

 In case you missed it, I featured Love In Mistletoe Springs on my recent blog post featuring some GREAT eBook deals! Right now it's only $0.99 - you can't beat that

Woohoo! We've got a winner for Anita Higman's Summer's List...

Congrats to: Terrill Rosado
*Contact me using the form to the side so we can arrange to get you your book!

But don't forget friends - there is still a chane to enter to win one of 2 copies of Mike Dellosso's book Centralia. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Keep An Eye Out | Great Deals on Kindle Books

Hello, my dear readers! So, I just thought I'd do something fun today because I know some authors who are having sales this week as well as some eBooks that are a great deal and they are by people you SHOULD be me!

P.S. All prices shown here were accurate when I posted this, but they are subject to change by will of the publisher, author, or price-gods ;)

by Mike Dellosso

Yep, Mike was on the blog this week but his book Centralia is on sale in eBook format for $2.99

{And there's still time to enter to leave a comment for him on his post - he's giving away 2 copies!}

In Between 
by Jenny B. Jones

The Cactus Creek Challenge
by Erica Vetsch

$3.99 on Kindle
Chasing Amanda
by Robin Patchen

What A Girl Needs: An Ashley Stockingdale Novel
by Kristin Billerbeck

$4.99 on Kindle
To Mend A Dream
by Tamera Alexander

Three Little Words
by Melissa Tagg

FREE on Kindle
 A Lady of Esteem
by Kristi Ann Hunter

I Hope You Dance
by Robin Lee Hatcher

$3.99 on Kindle

The Wedding Chapel
by Rachel Hauck

by Ronie Kendig

$7.99 on Kindle

Operation Zulu | Beginning
by Ronie Kendig

More Than This 
by Staci Stallings

Good Enough for A Princess
by Carol Moncado

FREE on Kindle

The Curse of Crow Hollow
by Billy Coffee 

A Cast of Stones
By Patrick W. Carr

Rules of Murder
by Julianna Deering
 Courting Miss Amsel
by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Take and Give
by Amanda G. Stevens

Pre-Order for $3.03

The Isaac Project
by Sarah Monzon

Love in Mistletoe Springs
by Lee Carver, Kimberly Rose Johnson, Lee Tobin McClain, Gail Sattler, Ginger Solomon

The Hesitant Heiress
by Dawn Crandal

Sailing in Style
by Dana Mentink

$4.99 on Kindle

Truth or Dare
by Denise Hunter

$0.99 on Kindle

All for Anna
by Nicole Deese

The Ryn | Eyes of E'Veria
by Serena Chase

$3.99 on Kindle

I decided to do this post of my own volition. I haven't read all of these, but I love sharing a good deal! And, as noted on my "About" page, I am an affiliate with Amazon and for some purchase links provided, I will receive a portion of the sale. This does not affect your purchase price in any way.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mike Dellosso {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

A little bit about Mike...

Mike Dellosso is the author of nine novels. He also teaches writing at various conferences and as an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College. When Mike isn’t writing or teaching he’s usually spending time with his wife and four daughters.

How to connect with Mike...

Purchase: Centralia

Author Interview | Mike Dellosso

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I never wanted to be a writer. In fact, growing up I hated writing. Hated it. But in 1998 something happened that not only pushed me into writing but literally changed my life. My brother-in-law was in a very serious motorcycle accident. As he clung to life I wrestled with God, trying to make sense of such a senseless accident. As a way of coping with my pain, my anger, my hurt, my confusion, I turned to writing. It gave me an outlet, a means to express myself that was safe. And through that experience I fell in love with writing.

...Now, there’s another part to this story. Actually two. The first is that my brother-in-law pulled through and because of God’s grace and healing made a full recovery. The second is that through writing I discovered my voice. I have stuttered since I could talk. Growing up it was a severe disability. I could barely string together three fluent words. Writing gave me a voice, it allowed me to express myself without stuttering. And once that happened, the stuttering improved greatly. It was truly amazing.

What has kept me writing? 
...My readers. Literally. Honestly, every book I write I say will be my last. Writing is difficult and takes a lot of time. With a full time job and family I don’t have a lot of time. At times it feels like the payoff just isn’t there. I want to quit. But then I get an email or message from a reader saying how much she enjoyed one of my books, how much it inspired or encouraged or convicted her and then I remember why I write, why God has me doing this thing, and I determine to plug along.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...My favorite book of mine is DARLINGTON WOODS. It was the first book I wrote after battling colon cancer and there’s just a lot of symbolism and deep meaning in the book. It was truly therapeutic to write it and sort through all the emotions and struggles I’d had going through cancer. To this day that book holds a very special place in my heart.

What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...For me, the hardest thing is deadlines. If I miss a deadline it’s usually not by that much but just having that date looming over me is very counter-productive. I feel pressured, stressed, anxious . . . and that makes it difficult to focus on the work at hand, to feel creative and free to write. But the other side is that I can tend to be a procrastinator of sorts and the deadline helps keep me on track.

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book.
...My newest novel is CENTRALIA. It’s a psychological thriller in the tradition of the Jason Bourne series or Shutter Island or Total Recall. There’s intrigue, government conspiracy, action, suspense, and plenty of twists to keep the reader guessing right up to the end. The story is also about family and love and faith. It tackles an important thought: can our faith be taken away from us?

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...That no one can rob you of your faith. Faith resides not only in our minds but in our spirits. The mind can be manipulated, even stolen, but faith remains.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Both. I work full-time in the medical field and meet some very interesting people every day. Some of them become inspiration for a character. Many times settings are inspired by real places. Plots come from news stories, personal stories I’ve heard, my own life. I’m an observer by nature so I’m always watching what’s going on around me, listening, taking mental notes. And much of it becomes fodder for future books. I also have a very active imagination. People ask me about that and I tell them your imagination is like a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it gets. I love to imagine, to make up scenarios in my head, to create situations, people, worlds.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I have lots of intentions. To entertain the reader, to provoke thought and introspection, to inspire, encourage, and convict. I want my books to glorify God by pointing people to Him or causing readers to think about Him and how He works in our life. My writing has always been about more than just writing and creating stories, it’s about the readers, how they are impacted, what the story means to them, and what kind of influence the story will have on them.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Don’t give up. 100% of published authors didn’t give up. Think about that. It’s obvious but it’s true. Push on. Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep practicing. Discouragement will come, failures will happen, the road is long and rough, but if you just keep walking eventually you’ll reach your destination.


How did you celebrate the 4th of July?
...We went over my parents’ home, had a cook-out, then watched the fireworks in our hometown. Nothing special. Just being with family makes me happy.

How are you making the most of your time this summer for writing and relaxing? Do you do anything different in the summer months?
...Nope. I work full-time so nothing really changes for me in that regard. I try to keep the same writing habits all year long. This summer, though, we are hosting a young lady from an eastern European country. She is really a sweetheart and we are having a blast with her. It’s been an interesting journey so far and has reminded me of how precious family is.

Do you enjoy hot weather or cold better?
...Oh, cold all the way. My favorite months are October, November, and December. Can’t get enough of them. I love long pants and sweatshirt weather! Changing leaves, the holiday season, cool crisp air. It’s the best.

Thanks so much for being my guest today Mike! Your journey to writing is truly amazing. I love how God uses anything and everything to draw us to Him. I am right there with you about I post this I have a few looming ahead myself. Your advice to writers is fantastic as well - simple but so true: don't give up! And I am with you all the way on the cold weather. Is it Fall yet? 

Thanks again Mike and readers, make sure you comment here to enter to win one of 2 copies!!! Share away on social media too - I love being sociable and I'll retweet, comment, and like it all :) 



Super excited to announce all the winners from last week's giveaways! 

For Beth K Vogt's Crazy Little Thing Called Love we have...

Robin D

For The Convenient Bride Collection  featuring Jennifer Uhlarik the winner is...

Trixi O

And don't forget to enter now for a chance to win Anita Higman's Summer's List!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer's List by Anita Higman | New Novel News + GIVEAWAY

Summer's List
by Anita Higman

Published June 2015
Moody Publishers
Purchase: Summer's List

Life and love keep going awry for Summer Snow, until her grandmother sends her on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree—a kind and quirky young man from Summer's past.


Get to know Anita...

Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
The Italian Alps.

What’s your favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird.

What's one chore you hate doing?
Dusting doodads all over the house.

 Leave a comment for Anita to be entered to win a copy of Summer's List!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant | RE:View

First off, with a name like Stella for a main character I knew this book was going to be good. Follow that up with sarcastic whit, a handsome man named Chase, and a past history that's come knocking and you've got a great read in Love Arrives in Pieces. 

Stella Varland, former beauty pageant queen, struggling interior designer, and closet artist is broken. It's not just her divorce that tore her apart but a past history with none other than Chase Taylor.

Chase, handsome construction foreman and former heart breaker is also struggling with his own type of brokenness. Add in a mutual project where the two are thrown together, an interfering mother, an unlikely voice of wisdom, and some sparking chemistry and you've got yourself a great summer read. Not to mention the fact that Betsy isn't afraid to tackle the difficult aspects of life - death, divorce, and how the past affects the present.

I enjoyed Betsy's writing (this was my first book of hers) and found myself comparing it to the descriptive and sometimes, other-worldly writing of Rachel Hauck with the zinging twist of humor you're apt to find in Melissa Tagg's books. There is a lot of emotion-based description that helps their reader get into the head of a character and, though most of the time I found myself loving it, there were a few times I felt it was a bit much. Aside from that, I'd definitely recommend this to fans looking to enjoy romance that blossoms against all odds!

Rating: 4*

Purchase: Love Arrives in Pieces

Book Description 
(from Betsy's website)

For so long, Stella was known for her beauty. Now, with her heart stripped bare, she must discover who she really is.

Former pageant queen Stella Varland doesn’t trust beauty anymore after her divorce. Her appearance betrayed her and led to her brokenness—so instead of being beautiful, now she tries to make beautiful things, but always falls short. So she keeps her passion for her secret art to herself and focuses on her interior design work. But if she doesn’t get another job soon, she’ll be stuck living with her parents.

Contractor Chase Taylor is determined to live a life of no regrets after losing his fiancée in a car crash. Now he lives life at full speed, striving to see how much he can accomplish. He knows if he slows down, he’ll fall apart. So he returns home to Bayou Bend to renovate the town’s old theater, and is shocked to learn former flame Stella is the designer for the project.

Forced to work together, Chase and Stella battle their chemistry and their pasts as they struggle to compromise and come together on a vision for the theater. Chase doesn’t understand why Stella is such a subdued version of herself, while Stella doesn’t get why Chase thinks he understands her. Their wills clash as they attempt to hide their brokenness—and their unresolved feelings for each other—until Chase discovers the hidden parts of Stella, losing her trust in the process.

A near catastrophe, a fire, and a small-town gossip mill finally force both Stella and Chase to realize that they have a choice—to hold on to the shards of their pasts, or surrender their fragmented pieces to the One who makes a beautiful masterpiece from the broken.
I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, 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.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Brandy Heineman {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Brandy...

Brandy Heineman is a novelist writing stories seasoned with secrets from the past and mysteries of the faith. Her debut novel, Whispers in the Branches, finaled in the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest and was published by Elk Lake Publishing earlier this year. Brandy is a graduate of Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia with a degree in Business Administration and Communication. She and her husband, Michael, make their home in metro Atlanta, along with two needy, greedy cats.

How to connect with Brandy...

Purchase: Whispers in the Branches

Author Interview | Brandy Heineman
E.A. Creative Photography

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I was in second or third grade when I got my first encouraging comment—“Keep it up and maybe you’ll be a writer someday!” From there, I could mention any number of writerly moments . . . the time my dot matrix perforated pages caught the wind as I was getting off the school bus and furled out like a sail was I was crossing the street comes to mind. So does my first taste of publishing via the high school literary magazine when I was in ninth grade.

...However, there have always been fits and starts. I got serious about writing when I realized that (1) my thirtieth birthday was going to happen on schedule, regardless, and (2) I didn’t want to ever have to look Jesus in the eye and explain that I buried my talents for safekeeping.

Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?
...I have a quirky little short piece called His Pepper Heart. People who get my newsletter will be hearing a little more about that pretty soon…

...It’s my favorite because gave me something fresh and exciting to work on when another project was going poorly. Also, it’s largely a villain POV story, and I love my villains. And the research for it forced me to stop being scared of spicy food!

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book. Why did you write it?
...Sure! My debut novel is Whispers in the Branches. In it, Abby Wells has a crisis of faith when her mother passes away. She tries to connect with her southern roots, but she has questions no one can answer. When Aunt Ruby claims the old family home is haunted, Abby can’t resist the chance to investigate—but it’s her own past that nips at her heels, and the secrets she discovers aren’t the ones she wanted to find.

...The story changed many, many times before it became what it is today, but the undercurrent remained the same: I wanted to write a story about longing for something that could never be. In this story, some characters base their faith on what they wish to be true. I thought it was important to explore that, because a person can be deceived by a tiny lie. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...I love Aunt Ruby. It was so fun to create her character as a slightly spoiled southern belle in 1942 and her tough-as-grit present-day counterpart. Even though her life changes dramatically in the span of seventy years, her voice remains constant. Since this story deals with some heavy themes, I needed a few characters who could deliver some comic relief. Ruby definitely has her moments.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...I hope readers come away affirmed that God is working all the time, that even through our hardest times, He’s there.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...You don’t have to hang out with me for long to discover that I’m a big genealogy buff, and much of my inspiration comes from discoveries and questions about my ancestors. I write stories with two interconnected timelines, and my fiction seeks to make sense of the relationship between then and now.

When you write, what is your overall intention with your stories?
...I hope that my stories entertain, but with a subtext of significance. I’ve recently started praying for my readers each day when I set to work—that the Lord will bless them through the work He’s given me to do. Whether that means a pleasant mental vacation or a nugget of truth is up to Him. There have been so many times when I picked up a book and marveled at how the content connected to my life. The author can’t plan that—that’s under God’s purview!


How did you celebrate the 4th of July?
...A big family day with food and fireworks! We have a couple of July birthdays in my family too, so Independence Day usually turns into a birthday extravaganza.

How are you making the most of your time this summer for writing and relaxing? Do you do anything different in the summer months?
...We are really having quite a summer here in metro Atlanta this year, so there’s a fair amount of parking in front of the box fans to cool off, but in general, it’s business as usual.

...I always take Sundays off from writing, although it’s hard to look away from social media, email, etc. After church, I love to work on my family tree, read, or watch movies with my husband.

Do you enjoy hot weather or cold better?
...I’m thankful that Georgia winters are pretty mild. I can’t really say I’m loving these 90+ degree days we’re having, but I do like hot weather better than cold. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons, when it’s warm and beautiful out!


I got the chance to meet Brandy in person when I did headshots for her at the ACFW conference last year! I'm so happy to have her here on the blog. I am so encouraged by your second point from why you're a writer. I love the fact that our writing abilities are given to us by the Lord! Love your reader-takeaway as well. And I love how you talk about praying for your readers! I'm currently about to start a new book project and I've found myself praying for the story and for those who will read it in the future. Thanks again Brandy - and make sure you check out her book, my dear readers!


Well plant me in the ground and call me, not sure where that came from? Maybe it's all the western freelance work I'm writing hehe! But, either way, I've been a little lax on choosing my winners! I'm on time for Blood for Blood by Ben Wolf, but I forgot about my Loree Lough winners a few weeks back. My apologies! So, today I'm announcing ALL the winners :D

Once A Marine by Loree Lough
Winner: Deanna Stevens
Currency of the Heart by Loree Lough
Winner: Wuzzie2516
Blood for Blood by Ben Wolf
Winner: Kara Peck

And don't forget - if you didn't win here don't worry there are plenty more giveaways! Check out Monday's post and leave a comment to enter to win {two chances on this one}.