Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kelly Bridgewater {Writer Wednesday} + GIVEAWAY

A little bit about Kelly...

Kelly Bridgewater is the Assistant Editor and a Featured Reviewer at The Christian Manifesto. She is also an active member of My Book Therapy and ACFW. Two of her short stories, Letting Go and Moving on, have been published. She finished her Bachelor and Masters degree in English at Indiana State University where she taught Freshman Composition. She has completed two complete manuscripts, Missing and Deadly Hunt, which she hopes one day will be published. Currently, she's working on a three part trilogy that she's in the process of writing and can't wait to introduce Devin Sanders and Chloe Walker to the world. She resides in Western Indiana with her husband, their three sons, and their two dogs.
How to connect with Kelly...

Goodreads: Kelly Bridgewater
Two other blogs I am a contributor to: Hoosier Ink (Indiana’s ACFW) and Sleuths and Suspects (

Writer Interview | Kelly Bridgewater

You and Writing

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

...I am a stay-at-home mother of three boys ages 13, 10, and 6 and a half. My youngest started kindergarten this past fall, so I have more spare time to create and write, which has been really great. This fall, I have been married for fourteen years to my best friend. I’m extremely grateful that he allows me to stay home and pursue my dreams. I have a Bachelor’s in English and a Masters in Writing from Indiana State University where I taught Freshman composition for two years.

...I started writing when my father handed me a journal to record my thoughts, feelings, short stories, or anything. As an immature young lady, I only wrote in it when I was upset with my parents. The pages sprawled with red markings declaring I hated my parents. As I matured, I learned the value of writing down my feelings and my story ideas. I would fill notebook pages with chapters, wanting to complete my story. I used to get laughed out in school because I always had my nose in a book or a notebook where I daydreamed a lot.

...I have kept writing because I can’t stop. Trust me, I have tried a lot because I have entered a number of contests and haven’t earned high scores. I kept begging God to stop giving me this desire, but he keeps plopping down story ideas in front of me. The next thing I know, I’m sitting in front of a computer, typing away the hours, allowing my imagination to run free.

Do you have a favorite book?
...My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. I was introduced to this 1,062 page book when I was sophomore in high school. I signed up for a senior level creative writing course, and this was the book that was assigned. We had all semester to read it, but I finished it in one week. I loved it so much that I re-read it two more times that semester. Adventure. Revenge. Romance. Buried Treasure. Forgiveness. Just the type of books I’m still drawn to today.
**Leave a comment below to win a Kindle version of this book!

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about what you’re working on currently? Why are you/did you write it?
...I’m working on a three-part series called The Lockwood Mills Files. They are romantic suspense books, but I have tried to make it a little different than most romantic suspense books because I want the romance between the hero and heroine to take place over the course of the three books. The mystery will coincide with the same arch. I have written the trilogy so that the mystery will appear to be wrapped up in each individual book, but when you read the next one, you notice it wasn’t. It has been tricky, leaving my own trail of clues from the beginning to the end, but I’m working on it.

Do you have a favorite character in this work? If so, why?
...My favorite character is my hero, Devin Sanders. He carries around a lot of guilt from his past. From his parent’s divorce to the break-up between him and the heroine, Chloe Walker, but through the story, you will watch him change and grow, by owning up to his mistakes and allowing God to forgive him and accept his forgiveness. Because understanding God has forgiven us is easier sometimes than truly accepting his forgiveness. I want Devin to truly change before he can accept Chloe completely back into his life.

What is one take-away from your book that you hope readers identify with?
...I want readers to learn that forgiveness is easy to confess, but until you actually embrace that God has truly forgiven you, than it will be hard for you to truly forgive others.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...The first thing that comes to me when I’m writing is the ending. I may not even know who the hero or heroine is but the ending or the climactic moment jumps in front of me. I sit down and write down what I think should be the biggest moment of the story. I backtrack by thinking of climactic moments that could strangle my characters more and more. Eventually, I sit down and interview characters from my character bank before finding the perfect hero and heroine who would be great for my story.

...My inspiration for my characters come from maybe a clip of a character who I admire in a movie or television show, but then I walk away and come up with a backstory that I think fits the characters.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...Be patient! Keep writing! I have Psalm 37: 7 and James 5: 7-11 on notecards near my computer. It is really hard. I have wanted to give up so many times, but writing is liking breathing; I can’t live without it.


Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
...Yes, I listen to a radio station that I stream through the internet called Radiou ( They play alternative Christian music. I like my music a little louder than the contemporary Christian music. I like praise and worship, but it must be loud and vocal. A couple of my favorite bands are We As Humans, I am Empire, Wolves at the Gate, Thousand Foot Krutch, and House of Heroes. On a side note, I can’t stand Hillsong or Francesca Battistelli. Both make me cringe when they are played.

What is your favorite season and why?
...Winter. I love everything about winter. Snow, ice, sledding, making snowman, drinking hot cocoa, and bundling up in layers make me feel nice and cozy. I love sweaters. Winter gives me time to lose myself in a good book. I wish winter was all year round.

What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
...I love romantic suspense and action books. I don’t want to be bored with characters that do normal things while wondering over and over and over again if they really like someone or does someone like them. Kill someone already! I need the action of discovering a killer or stalker to keep me interested.
Thank you so much for being my guest today Kelly. Readers, this woman is awesome! We met a few years ago at the ACFW conference and I have been blessed by our friendship since. It helps that we both love great romantic suspense and write it too. I'm looking forward to reading Kelly's books in print one day :)

In the mean time, I thought it would be fun to offer one of Kelly's favorite classics as a fun little giveaway. Leave a comment below for Kelly or commenting on your favorite genre to read and you could win a Kindle version of this amazing book.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Caryl McAdoo | New Novel News

Sing a New Song
by Caryl McAdoo

Published April 15, 2015
Indie Published
Purchase: Sing a New Song (Red River Romance Book 2)

The untimely death of her father shatters Mary Esther Robbins’ heart and separates her from her grade school best friend, Samuel Levi Baylor. During their twenty years apart, she fulfills her life’s dream of penning new songs and singing God’s praise with a Christian band, while he tends his growing cattle herd and shares the Good News at every opportunity.

The Lord brings her home then throws them back together when Samuel agrees to help Mary Esther move and remodel her childhood home. The two decades lost vanish, and their time together convinces both the other is the true soul mate. But misunderstanding and fear keeps them from expressing their true love. Though jealousy rears its ugly head, can love and commitment hold the two together? And while they’re both committed to ministering the Gospel together, can they do it as husband and wife?
Get to know Caryl...

What are the names of your pets?

I have two inside dogs, Markies (part Maltese, part Yorkie), Berri Bitti ‘Belle’ is the mama (6 lb.), and her lil’ girl, 4 lb. Sassafras a.k.a. ‘Sassy’. Outdoors, 3 more dogs, Border Collie Faith, Great Pyrenees Zoe, and walk-up sorta lab-pit looking Bodark, and he’s plenty henpecked :) At last count, 7 barn cats – all the gray ones are ‘Charlie’ and there’s Pat (yellow tiger-striped) Smoky and Misty (calicos). And I have a horse named Bliss, a Rooster named Roscoe and his hen is Tulip. Roscoe has his own song :) I sing new songs like Mary Esther, my heroine, but not ALL are praise and worship :) Some are just fun!

Share one pet peeve you have.

Ooooo, you’ve gone and done it now, Emilie :) Christian women dressing immodestly! They model such bad examples for all the younger women we are SUPPOSED to be teaching to be modest. Rhinestones and sequins on back pockets only draw attention to that ‘area’. It breaks my hearts when mothers put those and those skin tight yoga pants on their precious little girls. How can it be that they want to draw the attention of so many perverts in the world - - - not to mention Christian brothers who may have trouble with lust! They also wear blouses too low cut showing cleavage or leaving nothing to anyone’s imagination if they lean forward! And clothes in general that are too tight.

Next time you’re at church, notice this: when everyone ‘stands’ see how many women grab their belt loops or waistbands and hike the jeans allowing their derrières to settle again. It’s going on all over the sanctuary every time we ‘stand’ again! How does that affect the men behind them? Do they even care? Shall I step down off my soapbox? I could go on…
Do you have a nickname? Care to share?

My favorite granddaddy called me Lavonnie (my middle name is Lavonne) and he’d razz me calling me a Prune Picker because I was born in California. MY cousins were Okie and Arkie. I figured I should at least be a Callie, although what I wanted him to call me was Texan! :) And my mother called me Queenie a lot. You know, I mean, I am the firstborn; and an only child for eight years. I guess somehow I grew up thinking I should have my way in pretty much every instance. Then I married Ron and he was as bad as Mama and Daddy spoiling me. He called me Queenie, too, sometimes :) tee hee hee I still get my way a lot! :)


Had the lovely Pepper Basham on the blog last week introducing her debut Historical Romance, The Thorn Bearer. She graciously offered a copy up as a giveaway and it's time to announce the winner! 

Congratulations to...

Rebecca Bell

Contact me Rebecca and we'll get you your copy :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Marian P. Merritt {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Marian...

Marian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. Her tagline, Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains, blends both loves. Her Christmas romances with Louisiana and Colorado connections include: Southern Fried Christmas, A Cajun Christmas Miracle, and Deep Freeze Christmas.

This Louisiana native writes from the Northwest Colorado home she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle. To receive updates and behind the scenes info, join her group on Facebook: Marian P. Merritt's Readers Group

How to connect with Marian...

Purchase: The Vigil

Author Interview | Marian P. Merritt

You and Writing

Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you start writing? What has kept you writing?
...I’ve been writing since 2003. My first book was published in 2012. I’d like to say that’s because I’m a patient person, but I don’t think so. I was determined not to stop. And I trusted what God had promised.
What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?
...The hardest thing for me is the waiting to hear if your story has been accepted, if so, then waiting for the edits, then waiting for a publication date, then waiting for the date…

...The easiest: Trusting the publisher with the particulars. 

Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book and what you’re working on currently. 
...The Vigil is a story of forgiveness. It deals with long-held family secrets and resentments. When truth comes to light, the heroine must deal with letting go of the past and moving forward.

...I’m currently writing two books:

The first is a novella set in Cavazzale, Italy. I recently visited there and just knew I had to set a story in the quaint Italian town!

The second is a Women’s Fiction set in Mandeville, Louisiana and Tuscany, Italy. Lots of drama in this one.


Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters? Are they based on real life or pure imagination or both?
...Characters usually come to me as a raw person not based on anyone. I can see them. I do a character interview and it’s then the plot emerges and the character’s personality comes through.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors for writing and/or publishing?
...The basic foundation for writers is to write well. Learn as much as possible about the craft. Write as much as possible. Don’t stop after the first novel. Keep writing. Yes, try to sell your book, but continue to learn and write another novel. Don’t get sucked into the publishing/marketing arena before you have a quality product to sell.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
...Funny, when I’m in the writing zone, I can write while the TV is blaring! But when I’m working and it's hard to focus, I need silence. When I do listen to music, it’s instrumental. I like the groups 2 Cellos” and “Escala.” Those are my new favorites for writing.

What is your favorite season and why?
...I live near the Rocky Mountains so fall is my absolute favorite. the changing Aspens are beautiful and always inspire me to write.

What is your favorite genre to read? Why do you enjoy it?
...I love Women’s Fiction. I like following characters through adversity and seeing how they handle the issues they’re faced with.

...Emilie, Thanks so much for having me here at Thinking Thoughts!
You're very welcome, Marian! Happy to have you here :)  It sounds like your upcoming writing will be transporting you back to that Italian trip! Of course now I'm thinking about my trip to Italy and wanting to go back haha.


Had Valerie Comer on the blog last week and she graciously offered a giveaway of her novel Dandelions for Dinner

The winner of this lovely novel is...

Linda Rainey

Congrats Linda! Contact me so we can get you your copy :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Melissa Tagg & Catherine West Giveaway Winners

We've got winners! 
I was so excited to host these two amazing ladies on the blog last week - if you missed it, check out their post HERE. And the fact that they were both so gracious to offer a giveaway was equally amazing :) We had a lot of entries (so awesome to see some new commenters here!) and I wish I could just give you all copies....but unfortunately that isn't possible.
Make sure you come back soon - I look forward to seeing you here again!

Winner: Debra Hancock

P.S. You may not have won, but Melissa does have a fun little eBook short out that's currently FREE on Amazon Kindle: Three Little Words (Walker Family): A Novella

Winner: Beth Gillihan

 If you didn't win this time, make sure you stop by regularly because I offer a lot of fun giveaways. Speaking of, there's still the chance to enter to win a copy of Dandelions for Dinner. Leave a comment on Valerie Comer's interview HERE. Winner chosen Wednesday April 22nd.


Pepper Basham + GIVEAWAY | New Novel News

The Thorn Bearer
by Pepper D. Basham

Published May 7th (hard copy) but available now in ebook form
Vinspire Publishing
Purchase:The Thornbearer (Penned in Time Book 1)
A wounded woman with a past to hide and an unpredictable future to salvage struggles to keep bitterness from stealing the hope of a romance with her best friend while nursing the wounded of WWI.

In short, it is about the beautiful power of forgiveness.

Get to know Pepper...

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Fying! I’ve always wanted to be able to fly! What an amazing experience that would be…and it would really cut down on travel time :)

What actor/actress would play you if your life was a movie?
A rom com person for sure. Maybe Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock or Amy Adams (I’d hope for Amy Adams….I just love her)

Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Derbyshire England! BEST! I can’t wait to go back to the UK some day. It felt like home.

Annnddd... Make sure to check back later today because I'll be posting the winners of Melissa Tagg and Catherine West's books! 

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Inn at Ocean's Edge by Colleen Coble | RE:View

An extravagant hotel high up on cliffs overlooking the ocean. Secrets surrounding a missing year in Claire Dellamarie's life. The mysterious disappearance of Luke Rocco's mother. What is behind the intrigue surrounding Claire and her family? What will become of the memories that are starting to surface? Will Luke finally be able to discover what happen to his mother?

The Inn at Ocean's Edge by Colleen Coble had me wrapped up in curiosity from start to finish. The introduction to Claire's life is at once intriguing and frustrating. Why won't people tell Claire the truth? What is the truth? Why does the Hotel Tourmaline hold a special place in Claire's memory?

In addition to these questions, I was also interested in finding out Luke's story. What happened to his mother? Did it have something to do with Claire's disappearance?

I enjoyed Claire and Luke's characters. Claire is a very strong woman who is forced into situations where that strength is tested. Luke is also strong, but in a different, steady way. I enjoyed their connection in the book and the zing of romance sparked between them.

The only thing I would note is that I felt some of the scenes were a little too abrupt. I enjoyed the read, but at times I felt as if there was some awkwardness or quick closure where I wanted to know more. Such is the nature of a mystery/suspense though.

I definitely recommend this to fans of romantic suspense and mystery novels. Colleen will keep you guessing! In the back of my mind I drew parallels to Murder, She Wrote (probably because I just love that show) due to the location and mysterious nature of the plot, but of course it was missing Jessica Fletcher ;)

Rating: 4*
Purchase:  The Inn at Ocean's Edge (Sunset Cove Novel)

Inn Ocean's Edge Colleen Coble

Also, check out this awesome Kindle Fire Giveaway hosted by LitFuse for The Inn at Ocean's Edge!

To enter, click HERE.

Book Description
Claire's visit to a luxury hotel in Maine awakens repressed memories, threatening all she holds dear.

In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year---and until now, Claire didn't even know she had ever been missing.

But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents' best efforts to keep them forgotten.

Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances---at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year.

With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire's very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone-maybe everyone-is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light.
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.

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!

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