Monday, January 30, 2017

Pamela S. Meyers & Christine Meunier | New Novel News

Second Chance Love
by Pamela S. Meyers

Published: January 24, 2017
Publisher: Bling!/Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Purchase: Second Chance Love


Chicago lawyer Sydney Knight and Texas bull rider Jace McGowan have nothing in common but everything to lose when they are thrust together during a weekend rodeo in rural Illinois. Neither one of them would have imagined two years ago that the deep attraction they sensed during a day-long outing would resurface when Sydney’s boss assigns her to Jace’s legal case.

Sydney has been through a world of hurt since losing her dad when she was sixteen, then being dumped the morning of her wedding. She’s sworn off romance and instead devotes her time toward a partnership in her father’s law office.

Jace has found faith in God and wants out of his sponsor contract with a risqué restaurant chain that requires him to pose with scantily-clad women. He’s about to bail on the contract and pay steep penalties—something he can ill afford, given that his deceased father left the family with unpaid taxes.

Sydney is determined she’ll get Jace out of his contract and return to Chicago with her heart intact, but Jace is just as determined to help her see they are meant to be together. Can a city girl with roots deep in Chicago and a bull-riding rancher with roots deep in Texas give themselves a second-chance love?

Get to know Pamela...

What are the names of your pets? If you don't have any, what would you name your pets? 
I have two rescue cats that I adopted about 2-1/2 years ago. They are named after my main characters in my novel, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva. Wisconsin, Jack and Meg (I often call her Meggie though). I have had cats most of my life and I had already decided to name my next male cat Jack. As I was driving to the cats’ foster home I agonized over what to call the girl and then it hit me. It was a no-brainer. They both know their names, but they have no idea who they are named after LOL.

Coffee or tea? 
Coffee, absolutely. I consider myself to be kind of a “coffee snob.” I used to buy coffee beans and grind them at home. That way I could blend two different types together. Then I discovered a marvelous invention called the Keurig and I said goodbye to my coffee grinder. But I still blend two different types. I found a great online coffee supplier that sells the cups a lot less than the stores do and I usually blend their Donut Shop and Columbian or Kona, depending if I need a strong jolt in the morning or a milder one. I usually only drink coffee in the morning unless I’m really dragging. Then I might even run down the road to one of those famous coffee shops and get a double shot mocha.

Which of your characters do you secretly have a crush on? 
I think I usually develop a crush on whomever is the hero in my current WIP. But I have to say that Jace McGowan, the leading man in Second Chance Love tweaked my heartstrings more than any of my other characters. It’s the cowboy mystique I think. I’ve had people who have read my story already tell me they are in love with Jace. Sandie Bricker, who sadly passed away last November of brain cancer, was my acquiring editor on this book, and when she read my manuscript, almost her first words to me were, “I’m in love with Jace.” I giggled when I read that. What did it matter that we were both old enough to be his mother. 😀

A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, author Pamela S. Meyers lives in suburban Chicago with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love and her historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Her novella, What Lies Ahead, is part of a novella collection, The Bucket List Dare, which is now available at Amazon in both print and Kindle formats. Second Chance Love from Bling!, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, releases in January 2017. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Wisconsin and other Midwestern spots for new story ideas.

Connect with Pam: 
Website: www.pammeyerswrites.com Blog: www.pamelasuemeyers.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/pamela.meyers www.facebook.com/PamelaSMeyersAuthor/ Twitter: pamelameyers

Recessive
by Christine Meunier

Published: January 8, 2017
Publisher: Independently Published
Purchase: Recessive

Savannah Reynier isn’t sure how she should classify her relationship with Craig Pieters. They’re not dating but she’s keen to spend as much time with him as possible. As she learns about his beliefs, that desire increases.

November proves to be a busy month at work for Savannah. The days fly by as she celebrates the Melbourne Cup, deals with a damaging storm and turns a year older. All the while Savannah is learning more about horses and breeding; more about the South African man who has come into her life.

As Craig helps her to increase her horse knowledge and challenges her to live out her faith, Savannah finds herself wanting more than friendship. But after Jackson, is she willing to make herself vulnerable again?

Get to know Christine...

What's your favorite chore?
Mowing the lawn! I love how it looks afterward; when I was working with horses I really enjoyed picking up paddocks – they look so much cleaner once they’re done!


Coffee or tea?
Tea – Irish Breakfast tea to be exact.


What’s one thing you must have/do in the morning?
Read my bible over a cup of tea.


Connect with Christine:
http://www.horsecountrybook.com/ - horse books with the Christian faith for adults

Friday, January 27, 2017

Physical Goals 2017


Have you been following my goals series? If not, check out my posts about Goal Setting, my Life Goals and my Writer Goals for 2017.

Today's post may sound a little strange. You may be wondering what fits under the category of "physical". Now, typically a lot of people have "weight loss" goals or things like that for a new year. Those are great, but I wanted to go deeper than just thinking about outward appearances. Below, I outline some goals that affect me physically for this next year.

Physical Goals for 2017

Going to Bed & Waking Up Differently 
This has been something on my mind for a while now. How do we wake up? To be honest, I usually hit the snooze too many times and then, when I finally pry those bleary eyes open, I pick up my phone and "connect". I usually look through my notifications, check out what needs to be taken care of (while I'm still in bed mind you), and then check my Instagram account. Okay, so to be honest that does wake me up rather sufficiently. My brain is engaged early on and I'm ready to go. But you know what else it does? It hijacks my morning.

In line with my Life Goals for this year is a desire to not let my phone control me. It is so hard to do this sometimes because I want to check my messages, see who's texted me, reply to comments on my Insta and so many other "connected things" but I don't think that's always super helpful for me a) as a person and b) as a writer.

One of my favorite authors did an interview (that I only just saw recently) and he talked about this very same thing I'd been thinking of! He says that he begins his day by NOT looking at his phone but reading a book or newspaper etc. He phrased it as keep his "world small" and I love that perspective. It not only allows him to jump into writing if needed, but to have time away from "the world" until later.

For me, I think this looks going to be different and waking up differently. It means going to bed earlier (I often stay up past 12), not spending those few moments before bed checking social media, and using an alarm clock instead of my phone to wake up. Or, if I keep using my phone (since it tracks my sleep) turning it off and not looking at it. I think the alarm clock will be my best option but we'll see.

Take time to organize
So this is kind of a trick-goal if there is such a thing. I LOVE to organize. Like, love it so much! That and washing dishes...weird, right? But, because of that, I often don't "let" myself go crazy with organizing because it takes a lot of time. This year I want to be okay with re-organizing when needed, but to have it as something I work into my time-budget. This way the urge wont explode one day I'm not planning for it and then suddenly I'm off my writing schedule because I organized and cleaned all day.

Eating Lunch
I often forget/don't take time to eat lunch *cringes*. When I get in the "zone" of work I am in it! Whatever "it" may be. That means a lot of the time I look up and it's 3pm and I haven't even thought about lunch...just a second cup of coffee. I can't do that...it's not good for my body or my brain. And, it kind of flows into my last goal...

 Walking More

Along with eating lunch I also want to be more diligent about my breaks. This means scheduling a walk every day if possible. This is really hard for me. Not because I don't like walking--I love it and often get in a run in the mornings before I start work--but I don't like the time it takes during the day. So, in order to 'reclaim' that time I will listen to an audio book, work on plot issues for a novel (the note app on my phone is so helpful for this), or take the time to pray and think.

What do you all think? Do you have "Physical Goals" for this year? If so, share one or two below! 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

L.R. Burkard | Author Chat


I'm excited to introduce you to...

Linore Rose Burkard is best known for her inspirational regency romance series with Harvest House Publishers. Today, as L.R.Burkard, she also writes YA/suspense. Linore teaches workshops for writers, is a mother of five, and still homeschools her youngest daughter—preferably with coffee in one hand and her iPad in the other. She grew up in a family of ten in New York City, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in English Literature from CUNY (City University of NY) and now lives in Ohio with her husband, children, three cats and a Shorkie.
Why did you choose to write this book?
PULSE shows the aftermath of a solar flare which has caused an EMP (an electromagnetic pulse) which takes down the electric grid for the continental United States. Life is changed, virtually instantly. Reduced to existence without the help of anything electric or electronic—no heating systems, no air conditioning, no telephones, (not even cell phones) no TV, radio or internet, people have to learn to survive like Pioneers. Most transportation would be immediately disrupted. (Your fancy new expensive car probably won't run after am EMP, either.) Can you imagine? I did. And thus, my series was born.

What did you learn while writing PULSE?
I learned SO much—that an EMP is possible, for starters. It's not broad science fiction—it can really happen, and has happened in the past. But the largest recorded event in history took place in 1859 before we had this tremendously fragile infrastructure based on electrical wires. If the same event were to occur today, the US Congress estimates that it would result in the deaths of over 70 million people in this country. That's the bad news. I also learned good things, that food storage is possible, and that there ARE ways to survive if such a disaster were to occur. But it takes preparation. Throughout the book, readers can see how some people did prepare and get by—and how others didn't.

What kind of planning do you do before writing a novel?
I'm not an in-depth planner. I plan one to two huge things to happen in the lives of all of the central characters—which may or may not overlap with each other—and then I fill in the blanks, supply the back story that is vital—and only that which is vital—to bring about those events. They may need foreshadowing, or earlier instances and these lead up to the main event, which becomes the turning point of the book—the climax. After that, I wind things up, tie loose ends, and I've got the whole book done. There's a lot of brainstorming that happens on the way, but it happens organically—one event leading to another. I don't artificially impose things on a story that isn't already going in that direction.

What's the most random thing you had to Google while writing the story?
I had to try and find out what ingredients are needed to build a bomb. This is important to the story, but I didn't enjoy having to look it up! I figured, now the feds are going to think I'm a terrorist, when I'm just an author doing research! (I've had to research many things for this series, including the Congressional Report about what the effects of an EMP on the United States would look like. Very eye-opening.)

Did you get to do any fun research for the book?
For Book Two in the series, I did (RESILIENCE). There's a really cool character named Roper, a beautiful guy who loves to tell one-liners. So I had to dig up a bunch of one-liners that aren't copyrighted, but also aren't so well known that the reader would've been familiar with them already. It was great having Roper in the story. He helped me inject a little humor—and romance—into an otherwise dystopian setting.

What are your favorite writing conferences and why?
The ones I'm teaching at! Why? Not because I don't enjoy learning from others, but because I relish helping other writers, and I hone my own skills and expertise when I prepare to present it for others. At a recent conference where I taught a class, an attendee said to me afterwards, "Your workshop was worth the price of the whole conference." Statements like that make the preparation worth it. I try to pack my classes with value a writer can walk away with and implement, whether in their writing, their marketing or their publishing.

What are you working on right now?
The third book in the PULSE EFFEX SERIES. PULSE is like Season One of a suspenseful show you'd watch on television. Book Two, RESILIENCE, is Season Two. So I'm almost finished with Book Three (RESISTANCE) and I'm considering adding a fourth installment, which I'll call RESURGENCE. Each book takes the characters further along as they survive in a world gone dark, while also introducing new characters, new dangers, and new close escapes. I'm a visual person and I see my scenes unfold like a movie—so that's the best way for me to describe each book—like a full season of a show. But I'm careful to remember my audience for this series—many of whom want to learn survival tips while they're entertained. Again, I want to pack as much value in my stories as I can. (Which is why there is almost always a character who is in need of—and gets to hear—the gospel.) "Never a dull moment," is how one reader put it, when reviewing this series.

Tell us a little more about yourself, with three things not many people know about you. 
I was a Fine Arts major for two years before getting my BA in English Lit. I love art, especially Impressionism, and I enjoy painting. #2. I'm a licensed firearm carrier—my husband and I enjoy spending time together at a little "shooting range" on our three acres. #3. I come from a family of eight children and grew up in a three story house with grandparents on the third floor for some of those years. That meant there were often a lot of people around at any given time! To this day, I can write with all kinds of noise around me.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I have a newsletter that has attracted a great group of "readers, writers, poets and dreamers." I send new issues out once or twice a month and I have content that not only informs readers of my book progress or news, but which gives inspiration and encouragement to writers as well. I love to include survey questions so I get to know my list. I also do two book drawings a month from that list, so anyone can get two chances a month to win a book by joining my tribe. They can sign up at either of my websites, which are http://www.LinoreBurkard.com, or http://www.LRBurkard.com.

Thanks for having me on your blog, Emilie!

You're very welcome! 

Websites: http://www.LinoreBurkard.com, and http://www.LRBurkard.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LinoreRBurkard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AuthorNewsfromLinore/ or https://www.facebook.com/linore.burkard, or https://www.facebook.com/LinoreRoseBurkard/
Blog: http://www.todayswomanoffaith.blogspot.com

PULSE
by L.R. Burkard

What do you do when the whole world stops? 

Andrea, Lexie and Sarah are just ordinary teens--until a mysterious event shuts down the entire electric grid. In the dead of winter, there's no heating systems, no internet, no cell phones, not even a stinking working car. In this chilling Christian YA tale, most of the population doesn't survive. Pitting faith and grit against a world without power, the girls and their families must beat the odds. But can they find the strength to survive when society collapses and technology fails?

Purchase: PULSE (The PULSE EFFEX, BOOK ONE)   

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Clarice G. James | Writer Wednesday

A little bit about Clarice...

After years of writing and editing for business and ministry, Clarice G. James now enjoys writing smart, fun, relatable contemporary fiction with a dash of humor, love, and mystery to keep things interesting. Double Header [Published by Mountainview Books LLC] was one of three winners in the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel contest. Her next novel, Party of One [Published by Elk Lake Publishing Inc.] will be out in 2017. Clarice and her husband, David, live in Southern New Hampshire. Together they have five children and ten grandchildren. She has been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 36 years.

Connect with Clarice...

Website: https://claricejames.com
Blog: https://claricejames.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14592059.Clarice_G_James
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/clarice.g.james
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClariceGJames
Email: cjames@claricejames.com
Purchase: Double Header

Get to know Clarice...


--> You and Writing
When people ask me why I write, I answer, “’Cause God didn’t give me any other talents.” Truthfully, I’ve always enjoyed writing in some capacity or other: letters, essays, articles, editorials, and marketing materials. Most of it was nonfiction or business related. About nine years ago, my husband suggested I try fiction. Now I’m hooked. It’s legal lying—and most of the time my family and friends have no clue I’m putting them in my stories.

Here’s a snapshot of my personality, quirks and all
  • I started writing fiction because the truth in my life was not believable.
  • My husband and I don’t keep score in Scrabble. We’re just happy we can spell.
  • When our community school offered a punctuation class, I was beside myself.
  • Time alone with my grandchildren gives me a legitimate reason to play make-believe.
  • My mouth kicks in before my brain because I have a sentence to compl-inish.
  • I believe debating–especially about politics—is a waste of my good hot air.
  • Some of my characters’ funniest lines, I stole from my husband during our conversations.
  • When I take a break from writing, it’s to work on a home decorating project.
  • I collect names for characters for future books. Then I change them.


--> Your Writing

Tell us a little bit about your book... 
In my debut novel, Double Header, protagonist Casey Gallagher credits a carefully crafted game plan for her wins: a solid marriage to Sam; a lucrative marketing career in Boston; and the popular sports column, Double Header, which she writes with her brother Griffin. When Casey discovers that her late father, the one man she idolized, had an affair which produced a son even he didn't know about, she’s determined to discover his identity before her father’s reputation is blemished.

The spiritual theme of the story is forgiveness. Readers have told me that Casey’s journey to forgiveness helped them conquer their own anger and resentment toward others. As an author, to hear that is a gift.

As a child, the only person I knew who followed baseball was my paternal grandfather. Since he usually fell asleep during games, I assumed baseball was boring. Later, I loved seeing my children get excited watching sports. Now, it’s even more enjoyable seeing them with their own children. When I came up with the premise, I thought it would be fun to incorporate my family’s love of baseball into my storyline. I had loads of fun with the sibling banter between Casey and her brother Griffin, mainly because much of it was based on my own three children.


--> Writing

Let’s talk about your writing life...

Since my husband and I recently retired, our favorite expression is, “Nobody’s the boss of us. We can do whatever we want.” Almost. Retirement is great—unless you like fancy vacations, expensive restaurants, and buying stuff. We had to come up with something to keep us out of trouble. I knew my husband had talent, so I encouraged him to join my critique group. Now, after our breakfast and devotional time, we talk about our works-in-progress, bounce ideas off one another, then get to work in our separate offices.

Two things have helped me immensely: 1) critique groups and 2) beta readers. The input of fellow writers and readers has been invaluable. I can’t stress this enough. In reviewing our own work, writers often read what we intended to write; we often tell readers less or more than is necessary; and we miss common errors. Even when writers are at different levels, their input is helpful.

My advice to writers is to use the gift God has given you to the best of your ability. Don’t let it go stale because you didn’t land that lucrative publishing contract. Make it count in ways that can’t be measured in dollars and cents. Write a serviceman. Write a note of sympathy. Write to encourage your children. Write stories for your grandchildren. Write for ministries. Write words of thanks and praise to your church leaders. Write for the pure enjoyment of it!

You

What’s one thing you are looking forward to in the New Year? 
I love encouraging other writers. I plan to conduct a few Nuts & Bolts of Writing & Publishing workshops for those in the New England area.

What are your writing goals for this New Year? 
I’ll work on getting my third book, titled Manhattan Grace, published. And I’ll finish my fourth novel, After Juliette. Once Party of One is released by Elk Lake Publishing, I’ll spend some time getting the word out.

What are you currently reading? 
For my book club, I’m reading Hearts of Fire, edited and published by Voice of the Martyrs. For nostalgia, I’m re-reading the classic The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I just cracked open Maggie’s War by Terrie Todd, a work of historical fiction set in Canada.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Writer Goals 2017


It's January and guess what? I'm talking about goals this month! If you've missed my first post about Goal Setting you can check it out here. I also talk about my Life Goals for 2017 here.

Today's post focuses on my writing goals for the year. I considered getting really specific (something I definitely advocate) but there's a lot of "what if's" in the writing industry and I don't want to get my (or anyone else's) hopes up with talking about specific projects. Instead, I'm sharing my focus for the year with regards to writing.

Writer Goals for 2017

Reading more craft book
I read--I mean, I read a lot. Not as much as I'd like to actually, and not as much as some people who read upwards of  100+ books a year, but I feel like with the amount of work that I do and being able to read 65 books last year that's not half bad. What is harder for me is reading writing craft books. I love them--don't get me wrong--but when I want to sit down with a book, I want to sit down and get lost in a fictional world. Not do more work, haha! This year I want to be consistent in honing my craft to end the year a better writer than how I have, and am currently, starting it.

Some craft books on my to-read list are:

Plot Versus Character by Jeff Gerke

Take Off Your Pants: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker

45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Story Trumps Structure by Steven James 

Hack Your Readers Brain by Jeff Gerke

Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development by K.M. Weiland

Probably a few books by James Scott Bell

Consistent Critique
One of the best ways to hone your writing is to have other eyes on it. I'll be honest and say this is hard for me. Not that I don't want to make my books better or that I don't trust my critique partners but...that's my baby they are cutting up! Ha! Then again, just like a rose bush grows and produces vibrant flowers by being pruned, so will a story grow. This year I really want to get into a consistent pattern of critiquing current projects as well as side ones as they come up.

Writing More Freely 
Call me crazy, but it's easy to listen to "the voices"--and I don't mean the ones in my head. They are the ones that talk about writing success, what you should and shouldn't do, how to write the "best story", how to get published, why my book stinks...and the list goes on. But I've decided this year I'm not going to listen to "them". Yes, I will seek out advice from trusted sources like my published author friends and those in the industry, but at the heart of it all, I want to listen to the inspiration in my soul--at least upon the initial writing of my manuscript. That, in my opinion, is the "sweet spot". The part of me that needs to be undeniable in the story. My voice. After it's out and editing begins I'll push that back a little to listen to those I trust, but I don't want to handicap myself by letting the outside in where my heart needs to lead the way.

Consistency on my Newsletter
Last, but not least, I really want to be better at getting my newsletter out to you all. It's a source of joy for me, but my time gets eaten by the many things vying for my attention and it gets pushed to the side. I do solemnly swear I will do my best to get it out once a month (to the best of my abilities). If you haven't signed up yet, do so now! It will go out next week and kick off my monthly commitment ;)

What about you? Any other writers out there? If so, share one writing goal you have for 2017! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Doctor's Texas Baby by Deb Kastner | New Novel News

The Doctor's Texas Baby
by Deb Kastner

Published: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Love Inspired
Purchase: The Doctor's Texas Baby

When Carolina Mason shows up in Haven, Texas, after a three-year absence, no one is more surprised than town veterinarian Wyatt Harrow. Especially when he sees Carolina's two-year-old son, Matty. Their son. How could she have kept his child a secret? Carolina doesn't deny the boy is his. She thought she was doing what was best for everyone when she left, but she realizes she was wrong. Though Wyatt is eager to make up for lost time with Matty, Carolina's not so sure that extends to her. Can these former sweethearts navigate their complicated past to make a family for their son.

Get to know Deb...

Who would I cast as my main characters?

HERO: Theo James for hero Wyatt Harrow. Age 34. Tall, dark and handsome with black hair and brown eyes. Wears a black Stetson and cowboy boots.


HEROINE: Kiera Knightly. Age 30. Long blond hair, golden brown eyes, petite.


What are the names of your pets?
Total dog lover here. I currently have a pack of four in the house—two of my own and two “grand-puppies” who are supposed to go home with their mommies (my daughters) in the near future.

Missy. I’ve always had a terrier mix in my house and heart, from as young as I can remember.

Sadie. I also have a thing for bully breeds. My favorite is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is very popular in England (they are called the Nanny Dog!) but not so much in the United States. Sadie is a pitbull-shepherd mix.

Mea. Youngest’s Chihuahua mix. Funny story—she was planning to get a male and name him Romeo, but she fell in love with Mea. So technically, you guessed it, her formal name is Romea, but everyone calls her Mea.

Jack-Jack. I have no idea why we can’t just say, “Jack,” but there you go. This little purebred teacup Yorkshire terrier belongs to Middle.

What's your favorite chore?
This is going to sound odd, but I would have to say washing the dishes. My hidden motivation is that I get time to listen to my audiobooks. I don’t have nearly enough time to read, and since no one wants to be anywhere near the kitchen when it’s a mess, I have some uninterrupted listening time.

Connect with Deb on her website: http://www.debkastnerbooks.com/

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Raven by Mike Nappa | Re:View

Nothing beats a sarcastic character. Really. Maybe I'm partial or maybe it's just Mike Nappa's writing style in regards to The Raven (the character, not the book in this case), but I love what he did in this second Coffee & Hill mystery/suspense series. 

I had a vague memory of reading the first part of this book at the end of Annabell Lee (book 1 in this series) and was excited to start this book. If life hadn't gotten in the way I think I would have finished it more quickly, but as it was, I finally turned to the end last night and found myself excited book 3 already!

I found The Raven's character by far my absolute favorite. Yes, the snark (as mentioned above) was a big factor but I think there was something honest and real about him that jumped off the page to me. He was almost supernaturally calm as a character (to me at least) but it didn't feel fake. It was more "this is how he really feels". As the book progresses we begin to see a lot more of his backstory but I'll just leave it at the fact that I really enjoyed his character.

Ah, *sigh*, things I want to say about Trudi and Sam. But they are things I won't say for fear of spoiling anything. What I will say is I'm liking the progression of the books and hoping that what I'm hoping happens isn't just hoping, but reality. (Yes, much hope). I enjoy their character's though and I will give a shout out to Mike (and/or his editor too) for his portrayal of Trudi's female mind. There were times when I found myself nodding and thinking - yes! as a woman, I have felt/thought this exact way. I'm impressed by his intuition with regards to the immensely complex feminine mind.

From Instagram: @createexploreread
Lastly, let's talk (and not talk) about the plot. It was well done, mostly fast-paced, and intriguing. Mike uses a very interesting technique where some chapters (all divided into POV's based on character) are backtracking after other chapters. I have mixed feelings on this. It created an interesting reality where you left off at one spot and then read from before that spot to "catch up" to present time. It also meant a lot of "this happened then this did etc." because a lot of it was in retrospect. It was well written and has a certain element of style to it as much as it aided in creating suspense in the story BUT it also took some suspense out because you already knew what was happening and then just got to see it from a different POV. Are you confused yet? Yeah...

All in all, I really enjoyed this book--more than Annabell Lee actually--and am confident in recommending it. I would call it more mystery than suspense/thriller though there are elements of action to it. I think the covers of this series make them seem darker than they are (not that I don't like the covers because I definitely do). So you don't have to feel the kind of "creepy tension" you do with other, more suspenseful books. There are moments of it, but it's milder (in my opinion).

My Rating: 4*
Purchase: The Raven 

Book Description
(from Amazon)
"A thrill ride into the stark territory between grace and the letter of the law."--Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author

As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience's pockets while they watch. It's harmless fun--until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn't seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his "personal assistants," The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, "Nevermore."

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues--and their complicated feelings for each other--to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge.
_______________
I received this book for free but was under no obligation to 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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Heather Day Gilbert | Author Chat


Please welcome Heather to the blog, friends. She is a...
"Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. You can find Heather's Viking historicals and West Virginia mystery/suspense novels here."
I connected with Heather through Instagram and am so excited to have her here for an Author Chat. So, grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and settle in to get the know the real & fun side of Heather.

What prank would you like to play on your main character?
Let's just put it this way—I would NEVER try to prank my Viking warrior woman lead, Freydis. She would likely take my head off in one slice of her curved knife with her honed killer instincts! LOL.

Which of your characters do you secretly have a crush on?
Generally, it's the male love interest (often the husband) in the book I'm currently writing. Honestly, I think most female authors are a little in love with several of our male characters, especially if you write first-person books like I do. But my top two picks are the ones most like my hubby, so that means Thorfinn Karlsefni in my Viking historicals and Thomas Spencer in my Appalachian mysteries.

Share about a failed meal you made.
Recently, I made my first Thanksgiving dinner for my family (we have always eaten with my in-laws or my parents, and this year my parents were out of town). While the turkey breast turned out great, sad to say I burned the gravy so badly it smelled (and tasted) like charcoal. I always forget to whisk the gravy packet with the water FIRST and then add to boiling water. However, to redeem myself, I will elaborate that I can whip up flour/milk gravy easily, but this time I was trying to make the kind that came with the turkey breast. ;)

Two truths and a lie (answer at the bottom):
This is so fun! Okay—my readers might guess one of these...
1. I had my daughter close me in a car trunk so I could see how hard it would be for my sleuth to escape.
2. I have a scar on my knee from when a drove a motorcycle into a cinder block wall.
3. I love to ski and had a brief stint as a ski instructor at our local ski lodge (Winterplace).
If your book became a movie, who would you cast as your main characters?
I have pondered this since God's Daughter is in negotiations for a movie option right now. I had pictured Michael Fassbender for Thorfinn Karlsefni (okay, maybe when he was a bit younger), Amanda Seyfried for Gudrid, and Lasselom (you can find him on Instagram) as Leif Eiriksson. But for Freydis in Forest Child, it's harder. I pictured a younger Tilda Swinton or Aslaug on the History Channel's Vikings series. You can check all my Pinterest boards out here and you'll be able to see who I pictured for my books.

From Heather's awesome Pinterest board!
Thanks so much for letting me visit, Emilie!

So happy to have you Heather!

You can connect with Heather online here:
Website: http://heatherdaygilbert.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/heatherdaygilbert
Twitter: @heatherdgilbert
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/heatherdgilbert/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7232683.Heather_Day_Gilbert
E-Mail: heatherdaygilbert@gmail.com


Forest Child 
by Heather Day Gilbert

Viking warrior. Dauntless leader. Protective mother.

Determined to rise above her rank as the illegitimate "forest child" of Eirik the Red, Freydis launches a second voyage to Vinland to solidify her power and to demand the respect she deserves. She will return home with enough plunder to force her brother, Leif, to sell her the family farm in Greenland.

But nothing can prepare her for the horrors she must confront in Vinland...and nothing can stand in her way when her family is threatened.

In her race to outrun the truths that might destroy her, Freydis ultimately collides with the only enemy she cannot silence—her own heart.

Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life. This immersive tale is Book Two in the bestselling Vikings of the New World Saga.


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...And the lie was #3

Monday, January 16, 2017

Safe Harbor by Kristen Terrette | New Novel News

Safe Harbor 
by Kristen Terrette

Published: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing, Hart & Soul Imprint Purchase: Safe Harbor

Eva Elliott is left with a jaded heart after the death of her boyfriend while she was pregnant. She pushed away the idea of God and love, focusing solely on her daughter, Willow. She accepts an offer from her mom to move to Moanna Island, off the coast of Georgia. She hopes the move will help her tuck away the guilt for the role she thinks she played in her boyfriend’s death.

Thad Smith is the local youth mentor and football coach, who’s finally recovered from his fall from grace when his NFL career ended. The day Eva arrives, Thad saves her daughter from drowning in the ocean the day, instantly connecting the pair. Eva stubbornly fights the stirring in her heart the moment Thad smiles, but since Thad coaches the football team where Eva teaches, and lives down the street, God continues to intertwine their lives. Eva will not agree to a date, so Thad uses his adventurous spirit to his advantage.

She doesn’t expect Thad’s ex to throw a kink in the fragile plan, nor for Thad’s relationship with God to convict her own shame and brokenness. Just when she opens the door to God, finally ready to make things right, an accident occurs that could leave Willow an orphan and Thad all alone again.

Get to know Kristen...

If your book became a movie, who would you cast for your main characters?
I am a totally addicted to Pinterest and therefore all my main characters have already been pinned as a celebrity look-alike about a million times at this point. When you see my Character Inspiration board, you’ll quickly see Jason Momoa splattered all over it. He is definitely Thad’s twin (Safe Harbor’s hero). He’s a super tall, muscle-clad, ex-football playing, brute of a man. He has some tattoos and an air of toughness about him, but when he smiles…your insides turn to mush. Thad and J. Momoa both have sincere smiles that leave creases all over their gorgeous faces.

My heroine, Eva, is more of a Rachel Bilson look-alike. She’s a dark beauty and on the petite side, which stands in stark contrast to Thad. Rachel comes across as a southern belle- which maybe because of her show Hart of Dixie- but Eva is much the same, only without the twangy voice.

What's your favorite chore?
I have gone through three Swifter Sweepers over the last handful of years. I wear them out! I buzz that little mini-vac with a duster cloth on the bottom all through my house at least once a day. Sometimes more. My family hates the sound it makes at this point.

What’s your favorite book?
At any given moment, the answer to this question could be different, but the book that popped in my head was Lynn Austin’s Hidden Places. The weave of characters and their life-stories was breathtaking to me as a writer. I kept thinking, “I want to write like this one day!” It was a stretch for me to even pick it up, because I normally only enjoy recent contemporary settings in the books I read- which is weird because I love history and just completed a literary fiction novel that spans generations. This story is set in the depression era, but was recommended by a trusted reader friend, so I read it and was so glad I did. It’s opened my mind to other stories out of my comfort zone ever since!


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Extraordinary


I was scrolling through my Facebook feed today and came across this amazing 13-year-old boy, Joey Alexander, from Indonesia, featured on my friend Paul's podcast (check out Mozart and Me here). Just watch this video and I'm sure you'll find your jaw dropping to the floor:


It got me thinking. I know I've been talking a lot about goals and goal setting here on the blog but I wanted to take a moment today, on this lovely Friday morning, to point out the fact that there are some truly amazing, talented, and gifted people in this world. Think of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis,   Mozart, and even little Joey Alexander here who are just filled to the brim with extraordinary talent.

Whether it's writing, art, science, cooking, sports, music, dancing, pottery, or whatever it may be, creativity is something we're gifted with. Some will be more talented in some areas and a few, like Joey here, will shine more brightly, but what I think I'll take with me today is that sense of wonder.

As a writer (especially one who loves Fantasy and Sci-Fi) I love thinking about the different giftings we all have and how we each get the chance to use them. I challenge you today to not look at others gifts and talents with envy, but appreciation and to recognize your own gifts (not in comparison to anyone else).

Happy Friday you talented people, you! 💛

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Life Goals 2017


As I shared last Thursday in my Goal Setting post, being specific about your goals is important. I've decided to split my posts up into these categories: Life Goals, Writer Goals, Physical Goals, and Mental Goals. At the end of that post I also mentioned being part of a team and that's where you all come into play.

YOU are part of my team! (Didn't know what you were getting into, did you?). I realize how important it is to have more 'personal' teammates as well and I would say that I do have friends who fill that role, but what better way to be kept accountable to my goals than by announcing them here to all of you.

*Blinks* I don't know if I thought this through. *Gulps* Um, you'll be nice, right guys? *Starts hyperventilating* Right...?

My Life Goals for 2017

For this post, I've honed in on a few goals I wanted to share with you. These goals fall in line with what I mentioned in my previous goal setting post but some are a bit vague to save us all time.

Be more present 
This seems slightly nebulous but I promise to break it down a little. What I mean by "more present" is that I do not want to be the person who considers their phone as essential to living. I don't want to go to coffee with a friend and set my phone on the table as if to say to the other person "Yeah, I'm here, but something more important could come up". Nope. I want to be able to separate from my phone and--guess what?--I'll still be a living, breathing, functioning person!

Check out this video by Simon Sinek on this very subject. It's kind of long but so worth it in my opinion. He makes some great points:


Goals:
- Spend less time on my phone in general. Set a timer for social media browsing etc.
- Don't let my phone be the "third person" in a conversation.
- Value face-to-face interactions over digital ones.
- Don't use my phone as an excuse not to interact in the "real world" (no matter how hard it is being an introvert *cringes*).

Stay focused
Oh, ye old freelance life. You are a blessing and a curse!

But really...I love my job and the fact that I can do it from literally anywhere, but it takes a lot of discipline. Some days I'm great at this and others...not so much. I really want my work time to be work time and my free time to be just that. Fun and free! Yes, the lines blur being a writer for my job and for my fun-time too, but I think I can do this. (More tips on this in the future on the blog!)

Goals:
- Create a workable schedule (see the next point)
- Keep work out of the weekends where possible
- Don't let social media and marketing rule my life (even if it is fun)
- Have friends keep me accountable to this

Consider time a precious commodity and spend it well
Time is one of the only things we cannot change no matter how amazing we are--that is, unless you're Doctor Who...but that's another matter. Because of this, I want to make sure I'm spending the time allotted to me wisely. I could literally spend an entire day answering and sending emails...but there comes a point when I just need to say no.

Goals: 
- Keep track of how long things really take me and then plan accordingly
- Prioritize what's important
- Spend my time on things that matter

Love well & help others
To me, there is nothing more important than loving people and helping those I can. This year I want to focus on this (as I want to do every year). I want to take time to listen, learn from others, encourage, help, sacrifice for, and regard them as more important than my own selfish desires. I also want to give back where possible.

Goals: 
- Consider others interests before my own
- Don't let my work become so important that I don't have time to be a good friend
- Do something (by myself and/or with others) when I see a need
- Find ways to help those less fortunate than myself
- Put LOVE above all things



Believe
Each year there is a word that I focus on. Last year's word was joy and...I'll be honest and say I'm not sure how well I did. The focus wasn't on me having joy so much as creating joy in others. It was my aim, though I'm not sure if I accomplished it well or not.

For this year, I wasn't sure I was even going to search for a word when one dropped into my lap. (Thanks God!) Believe is my word for 2017. For me, that looks like believing that what the Lord has in store for me this year is good. That's a tricky thing because "good" doesn't exactly mean "what I choose" or "what I think is good". God's good for me is often very different from "Emilie's choice of good" but, if I can be candid here...God's good is always always better, even if I don't always see that immediately.

Yeah, that's not an easy concept when this world is filled with bad things, hurts, and death...but ultimately I know that I don't live for this world. I live for something greater, for a purpose defined by Love and a Savior who died and rose again to show that love to me.

In 2017, I choose to believe that, no matter what happens, He will work things out for His good. That He will be with me through it all. That He will use me to encourage, cherish, love, and support those around me. Sounds like a pretty good focus for the year, huh?

Goals: 
- Take quiet time to listen to Him
- Don't be so obsessed with what I want but what He wants for me
- Release my anxiety about trying to plan my life (this is a tough one, friends)
- Spend time in His word, with His people, and talking to Him

So there you have it friends, my "Life Goals" for 2017. I'd love to hear a Life Goal you have for yourself this year! Share in the comments below!