Gail's Book Nook

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Looking In The Window: Stuck

   


      I carried the blue canvas stadium chair to the beach and planted it in the deep, white sand. A baby lizard lay in the seat. My husband, Rick, flipped it out with his hand and turned around to set up his chair. Tail and all, the tiny creature measured only one to one-and-a-half inches. It writhed in the grained earth.



     Bright sunshine lit up the spring day, but the shore felt chilly to my bare feet. He must be cold. I stared at the lizard. His little arms and legs so thin; his fingers, like short pieces of thread, wiggled frantically. “Now you’ve done it.”

     Rick sat down.

     “He can’t travel on the beach,” I said.

     Rick stood. Using his foot, he scooped up a large amount of sand with the lizard atop it. He took several steps, and the sand filtered to the ground, so he flicked off the lizard and repeated the process. At first the little reptile squirmed as though he tried to escape. But after a while lay very still while Rick moved him. At last Rick reached the fence in front of the dunes, where sea oats and vines grew. But the foot patrol wouldn’t work here.

     “I’ll get a piece of a vine and put it up to the lizard. He can grab hold of it,” I said.

     Rick raised his dark eyebrows. “You can try.”

     I poked a stem at the lizard’s feet. He lay like a stone. I tried again and got the same result. Finally, on the fourth attempt the lizard wrapped those tiny legs and arms around the vine and held on tight. I threw him over the fence into a patch of greenery. As far as I know, he’s enjoying his new home.

     I sometimes feel stuck like that lizard. I’m over-burdened and bogged down, often with problems or unpleasant situations. Like the lizard, I turn this way; then, that way, trying to escape. My mind spins so fast thinking of possible solutions, but I get nowhere. I think if I just work a little harder, I can handle things. Eventually, I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. But I’m still writhing around in the sand. I don’t find relief until I ask for God’s help. He is my lift and my lifeline.

Matthew 7:  7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

     

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Winner of The Inheritance



Hats...

Horns...

The winner of The Inheritance Is...

Congratulations, Cassandra!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Looking Out The Window: Pamela Thibodeaux Talks About The Inheritance, Her New Book About A Lonely Widow




A Warm Welcome To Pamela Thibodeaux

Pamela will give away a PDF copy of The Inheritance. Sign up for her newsletter here and receive a free short story.

To enter to win the PDF copy leave a comment and your email address in the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

Hi Pamela, first, tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks for having me Gail! I am a mother and grandmother, author, editor, promotions expert. I am a licensed insurance agent and am studying to be certified as a Life Coach. Those are the many hats I wear. On a more personal level I am a woman of God whose soul (and sole) purpose is to share my faith, knowledge and experience with others and in doing so, (hopefully) in some small way, soften hearts, open minds and touch lives.

Many writers were avid readers as children. Were you? If so, what did you read?

YES always! I’ve been an avid reader as far back as I remember and I read horse books (Black Stallion series, Misty of Chincoteague, etc.) voraciously. In fact, I still love horse stories and movies. Heartland is my favorite TV series LOL!

Let's talk about your writing. Why do you write?

I began writing because I was bored with what I’d been reading but that quickly turned to writing for the sheer love and joy of sharing….my faith, my heart, and the characters that become so real to me.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

This is one of those questions that’s hard to answer. Well not hard but the answer is everywhere….could be a snippet of conversation I overhear, news story, event in my or a friends life, a dream, a thought, or just a character who shows up in my mind and starts talking. I’ve written stories and novels from just about every scenario mentioned too LOL!

In three words describe your style of writing.

Inspirational with an Edge ™. OK that’s 4 words but they sum up my writing style. Although I write for God, I do not write conservative Christian.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?

I began writing in 5-subject notebooks 35 years ago then graduated to a word processor and after, a computer. I wrote daily, and in the years to follow–beginning Dec. 2000–I’ve had a work published nearly every year. That was my goal – a new book or new version (EX: E-version of current print book) every year. But after my husband’s death in 2009, my writing became very sporadic. I still had things published, but most were projects in various stages of completion or publication before his death. Not until 2016 was I able to start and finish an entire story and have it published (Keri’s Christmas Wish). 2017 was again very sporadic. I tried several times to write for a popular women’s magazine but haven’t been successful yet. However, my goal for 2018 is to focus once more and set aside a few hours at least 1 day each week to write personal fiction and non-fiction. As for where, I have a desk set up in my bedroom but am known to grab a piece of paper and pen from someone or write using the note feature on my phone.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

100% panster but I may try the Snowflake Method of plotting this year because I seriously want to write more and get something new out to my readers.

Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?

Always. When I recommitted my life to God in 1989, I committed my writing to Him, praying/vowing I always write something that brings Him glory. My focus changed from romance to inspirational romance. I had no idea of the CBA or any of its guidelines. As I mentioned in another Q/A – although my characters express their faith in God/Christ I do not write conservative, but my (and their) faith always sines through and it is amazing the Biblical or spiritual truths I learn through writing their story! So I guess you’d say my faith affects my writing and sometimes my writing affects my faith.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? 

*Stay open: Listen to constructive criticism and take the best advice to heart.
*Keep learning: Hone your craft! Reader’s expectations are always evolving and we as writers should too.
*Never quit! Writing is a gift and a talent given to you from God. Don’t hide your gift or bury your talent.

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?

I have no clue. I’ve recently been fascinated with photography so perhaps I’ll trade pen and paper (or computer screen) for film and lenses.




About The Inheritance

Widowed at age thirty-nine and suffering from empty nest syndrome, Rebecca Sinclair is overshadowed by grief and loneliness. Her husband has been deceased for a year, her oldest child has moved to New York in pursuit of an acting career and her youngest child is attending college in France. Having spent over half of her life as a wife and mother, she has no idea what God has in store for her now. Will an unexpected inheritance in the wine country of New York bring meaning and purpose to her life and give her the courage to love again?


US Postal worker Raymond Jacobey has been in love with the little widow since he first set eyes on her. A wanderer searching for the ever-illusive soul mate, Ray has never stayed in one place too long. Raised by self-centered, high-power executives, he's longed for the idyllic life of residing in a cozy house in a small town with the love of his life. Will he gain the heart of the lovely widow or will he lose her to the wine country of New York?


Excerpt

Rebecca’s heart fluttered at the charming, boyish grin he bestowed on her. She knew he’d spoken more than mere words; he’d spoken his heart. Tears filled her eyes and clogged her throat when she thought about what the future might hold. Standing on the threshold of that great unknown, she had never been more acutely aware of anything than she was of this moment, this man.

He looked at her intently. His thumbs stroked the back of her hands, chasing the chill from her blood. Lethargic warmth stole over her. As though in a fog, she watched him lift her hands to his mouth and press his lips to her palm in a touch so tender it sent shivers down her spine.

He lifted her chin and waited until she looked at him again. ‚I want to kiss you, Becca, here in the midst of Paradise.‛ His lips covered hers with devastating tenderness.

He let out a primitive grunt of satisfaction as he let go of her hands and pulled her closer. An answering purr escaped her as tiny pinpoints of pleasure bathed her senses with light and color. Never in her life had she felt so alive, so consumed with sensations.

Whether a moment or an eternity, she had no idea how long they stood there, his mouth in sweet possession of hers, but when the kiss was over, she realized she was pressed against his body. Her breathing came in sharp, almost painful rasps, and her fingers were clenched in his thick, sandy-colored hair. Appalled at her wanton response and the needy way in which she clung, Rebecca stumbled away with a startled cry of distress, and began to run.


Purchase Links

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Softcover

Bio: Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” ™ and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Learn more about Pamela on her website
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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Looking Out The Window: Diana Sharples Talks About Her New Young Adult Novel, Because...Anonymous




A Warm Welcome To Diana Sharples




Hi Diana, 

First, tell us a little about yourself.

Hey, y’all! I’m that crazy lady with the pink-streaked hair who rides that Screamin’ Eagle Harley and has and all the howling huskies! Actually, I’m Diana Sharples, and yes, I do have pink streaks in my hair. Because you gotta have fun in life, right? And I do ride my own Harley. For the same reason. I write clean, contemporary young adult fiction. My debut novel, Running Lean, was published several years ago by Zondervan, but shortly after that I fought a battle against breast cancer. It brought my marketing efforts to a halt but didn’t stop me from writing. So this year I’m finally back with not one, but five new novels.

Because … yes, I am a little insane. One of those novels is the sequel to my debut novel, and another is a much-loved book I’ve had around for a while and have rewritten several times. But what I’d like to talk about today is the new YA mystery series I’m self-publishing over the next few months.

Why do you write?

I write for and about teens because I’m fascinated with the whole scenario of “becoming.” Teenagers don’t just stand between childhood and adulthood, they stand on the verge of becoming something new, and something they were meant to be. There are so many questions in their minds, and so much wonder and enthusiasm for finding the answers. They’re breaking free and finding themselves in a wide world they barely understand but are grabbing with both hands. That’s so exciting and can be so traumatic at the same time. It’s a state of being that is so rich with possibility and conflict. Teens are allowed to make mistakes.

Teens are wide open for learning and growing. This “coming of age” is like a revelation, where every moment can make an impact. And honestly, I can’t imagine myself writing about anything else.

Tell us about your latest book.

Because…Anonymous is the first in a three-book series of short YA mysteries. Noah Dickerson is the bad-boy Romeo from Running Lean. In this book he and his mother are on the run from his abusive father and are trying to live under the radar in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. While his mother begs Noah to stay out of trouble, it seems that trouble finds him when all he does is talk to a pretty girl at school and ends up being accused of stalking her. To prove his innocence, Noah decides to figure out who has been leaving the girl dark, threatening poems in her locker. While he expects to find a social outcast as the stalker, what he finds is something deeper and more dangerous.

What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?

I’ve created some really quirky characters for this novel and had a lot of fun writing about them. First there is Simon, a sixteen-year-old boy who looks thirteen, with his hair colored green with KoolAid, wearing clothes that are about six sizes too big. Simon has a propensity to say weird and amazing things out of the blue, like suddenly changing the subject and quoting Aristotle. Then there are the Manganites, a group of kids who are fans of Japanese comic books … who aren’t as harmless as they seem. Writing about people, for me, is what writing is all about. There’s a plot that happens, but the plot happens to interesting people. And interesting teens are just SO much fun! I hope readers will come away from the book loving them and feeling like they could be their friends at school or in their kids’ youth group.

How do you get to know your characters?

When I was a child, I was an expert at pretending. As the only girl in the family, I either had to engage in the things my brothers were doing (which, in part, explains the motorcycle!) or I was left pretty much to entertain myself. Thus, I’m pretty adept at stepping away from my own reality and putting myself in the head of a character. And, having been raised with three brothers, I’m told that I do a pretty good job at writing the male perspective. Additionally, writing deep point of view is something I’ve worked at for a long time. So I guess my imagination often works overtime, and it pulls my heart along. I fall in love with my characters as if they were my own children, and the trials they go through can bring me to tears … even as I guide them through.





What is your writing schedule and where do you write?

This past year a dream of mine was realized. My husband and I purchased a 12x24 foot shed, and I then spent two months working on the interior finishing. I learned about insulation and framing and drywall and flooring. I built closets and a full-wall shelf unit. Half of the shed functions as my office for writing and graphic arts, and the other half is my art studio. Having this “she-shed” on our property allows me to get away from the distractions in the house and to treat my writing like a job. I’m proud to say that after one year, I have yet to toddle out to the shed in my pajamas! But … schedule? My schedule is pretty much dictated by what I’m doing and how deeply involved I am in it. There have been some nights when I was in the shed well past midnight. One of the advantages of having a commute of less than a minute.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?

I’m a little of both. I do write a loose outline of my plots and then fit the details into a calendar. Their schedule at school dictates a lot of what happens in the lives of teenagers, so knowing when there’s a school holiday, or Homecoming, or exams, helps me come up with plot elements for the story. Once I’ve got that outline down, though, I know that it’s going to change as I write, and as the character takes over. That inevitably happens, because no matter how much I think I know my characters when I start to write, as I get deeper into the story and into their minds, I’m going to discover more about them. I’m going to tap into their voices. As I take them into places they didn’t expect, I often find myself surprised as well. Where I get strict with my outline, though, is when I start the editing process. Then I push the story where I need it to go.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?

I am here, still writing, still alive even, because God willed it. I don’t think I was ever afraid of not surviving my fight with cancer, because we caught it so early, but I did despair for my writing career. Even my agent at the time said it was in a “delicate” place. Not being able to market my first book the way I wanted to meant the book itself languished, and I was in danger of “dropping out of the conversation” as they say. But I have trusted God and leaned on Jesus for strength and the understanding that He’s not done with me. That I have five books coming out this year is a testament to His faithfulness! However, my books are not evangelistic. You won’t find a conversion scene in them. If the main characters are Christian, the book will show them living with their faith and responding to their circumstances out of that worldview … or struggling against it. I want my fiction to appeal to a wide audience, and for my Christian characters to appear real, likeable, approachable, with flaws like everyone else and virtues that are attractive.

Do you put yourself in your books?

Not consciously, Although my character, Patty Moore, in Running Strong, who is the mother of the female protagonist, is somewhat like me and her struggle with breast cancer was inspired by my own. Apart from her, I tap into the lives of the people I know, or I will do a lot of research to get the details, emotions, and actions right.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on the edits for the next two novels in the Because… series. They’re titled Because…Vengeance and Because…Paranoid, and I’m planning to publish them in May and July. After that, I’ll be working on the second novel that follows after Finding Hero. One project I’m very eager to start on later this year, maybe for NaNoWriMo, is a modern retelling of a Greek tragedy.

If you could interview any character in one of your books which one would it be? What shocking thing might that character say? Why?

I’ve been researching teenagers living with type 1 Diabetes for the next full-length novel I’ll be working on. One of my brothers was diagnosed with “Juvenile Diabetes” when he was eleven. I’d love to be able to go back in time and interview him, as a teen, not just to see what the challenges are (because treatment and management of T1D has changed so much since then), but what it was like for him, emotionally and socially, dealing with his disease while trying to be a “normal” teen.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Learn about marketing! I know, it’s almost like a four-letter word for most writers. It still is for me. This is not my cup of tea! But branding and platform are among the first words to come out of any agent’s or editor’s mouths these days.

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?

I’m sure I would be doing more with my artwork. I have a degree in graphic arts, with a focus on illustration. However, I’ve always tried to infuse my art with some element of storytelling. I can do portraits and still lives, but I always want to say something with those paintings, or at least convey a certain mood. I believe writing and art come from the same place within us.





More About Because...Anonymous

It's tough to be a good guy ... when everyone thinks you're a stalker.
On the run from an abusive father, Noah Dickerson is supposed to be lying low and staying out of trouble.
Mistake #1, falling in with a group of anime fans who aren’t as harmless as they seem.
Mistake #2, crushing on a beautiful girl who isn’t fooled by Noah’s good looks and charm.
Mistake #3, being in the wrong place when she receives threatening notes in her locker.
But the biggest mistake, Noah learns, was when his mother escaped North Carolina with him. Because, it turns out, transporting a minor over state lines in the middle of the night is a felony.

Buy Because...Anonymous on Amazon

Bio: With a degree in art combined with a love for storytelling, Diana Sharples has won numerous awards for both her art and her writing. She writes clean, contemporary young adult fiction. Her first novel, Running Lean, was published in 2013 by Harper Collins. In 2015, her publishing career was derailed temporarily by a battle against cancer, but she's back in 2018 with five new books, including the long-awaited sequel to Running Lean. Her writing is inspired by the people and landscape of the south, especially North Carolina and Georgia. Diana is a wife and mom, a follower of Jesus Christ, a lover of many pets, and an avid motorcycle rider.

Learn more about Diana and her books on her website and Amazon page

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

American Christian Fiction Writers' April New Releases







April 2018 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.



Contemporary Romance:


Pelican Point by Irene Hannon -- After inheriting a crumbling lighthouse, ex-Army doctor Ben Garrison wants to sell it. But Hope Harbor Herald editor Marci Weber is determined to save the town landmark. Can these two romance-wary souls finds a meeting of the minds...and hearts? (Contemporary Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing)



An Amish Heirloom by Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Kelly Irvin, and Beth Wiseman -- From bestselling Amish authors come four novellas about the meaning and tradition found behind every family heirloom. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)


Historical Romance:


This Wilderness Journey by Misty Beller -- He’s been sent to retrieve the new missionary… But she’s not at all who he expects to find. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)



The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy -- Deborah and her sister and two little children survive a wagon train massacre. Trace finds them and takes them home. He finds himself their accidental guardian. He must protect them all and gain justice. When he does, all these friendly visitors--especially Deborah--will leave him forever. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])



First Love Forever Romance Collection by Susanne Dietze, Marcia Gruver, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancette Pagels, Martha Rogers, Lorna Seilstad, Connie Stevens, Erica Vetsch, and Jennifer Uhlarik -- Coming face to face with a lost love can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the “what ifs.” In settings from 1865 to 1910, nine couples are thrown back on the same path by life’s changes and challenges. Can love rekindle despite the separation of time and space? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)



All Things Beautiful by Keely Brooke Keith -- It’s 1868 in the settlement of Good Springs, and Hannah Vestal is passionate about writing fiction and keeping her stories to herself. When her father asks to read her work, she decides to have it printed secretly for his 50th birthday. Hannah tries to arrange the printing with the settlement’s pressman, but the witty and dapper Henry Roberts has better things to do with his ink. In order to secure settlement support for his printing press, the elder council says Henry must print an error-free copy of the New Testament before the settlement’s 8th anniversary celebration. He is determined to meet their challenge, but when the enigmatic Hannah proves to be a beguiling distraction, Henry longs for something more than a life at the letterpress. (Historical Romance from Edenbrooke Press)



Adoration by Olivia Rae -- Sir Darrin de Longue is desperate to get his lands back from Lady Faith de Sainte-Marie, the woman who betrayed him and may have had a hand in his father's murder. But King Richard discloses on his deathbed that Lady Faith is the king's daughter and then issues an ultimatum Darrin must obey. In order to reclaim his lands, he must marry Lady Faith and get her with child in a year's time. Lady Faith has loved the rowdy and bold Sir Darrin since childhood, but cannot be a true wife to the bitter, angry man whom she has wed. In order to gain his trust and love, she vows to find the truth about his father's murder. But when she stumbles upon deadly secrets, will she be able to prove her innocence--and his--to erase the past and win Darrin's heart? (Historical Romance from HopeKnight Press)



Under Prairie Skies by Cynthia Roemer -- Illinois prairie, 1855. Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths are destined to cross again. Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)



The Pirate Bride by Kathleen Y’Barbo -- The last time New Orleans attorney Jean-Luc Valmont saw Maribel Cordoba, a Spanish nobleman’s daughter, she was an eleven-year-old orphan perched in the riggings of his privateering vessel proving herself as the best lookout on his crew. Until the day his infamy caught up with them all and innocent lives were lost. Unsure why he survived but vowing to make something of the chance he was given, Jean-Luc has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—until a very much alive and very grown up Maribel Cordoba arrives on his doorstep and threatens all he now holds dear. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


General Contemporary:


Shadows of Hope by Georgiana Daniels -- Crisis pregnancy worker Marissa Moreau suspects her husband is cheating, but little does she know how close to home her husband’s infidelity hits. College student Kaitlyn Farrows is floundering after a relationship with her professor leaves her pregnant. Soon she lands a job and a support system at the local pregnancy resource center and things seem to be turning around. But when Marissa and Kaitlyn become friends, neither one knows they share a connection—Colin, Marissa’s husband and Kaitlyn’s former professor. When their private lives collide, the two women must face the ultimate test of their faith and choose how to move forward as they live in the shadows of hope. (General Contemporary from Barbour Publishing)


Romantic Suspense:


Secret Past by Sharee Stover -- With gunmen at her doorstep, Katie Tribani learns her true identity. She’s been in witness protection since childhood, and now her crime-lord father has found her. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Young Adult:


Chase by Glenn Haggerty -- Tyler, a middle school newbie, shadows drug runners to rat out the methamphetamine dealer before his friend turns into a brain-dead druggie. (Young Adult, Independently Published)



Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Blessings!



Christ's Unconditional Love and Sacrifice






“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)






“‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law, They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.’” (Mark 10: 33 – 34)





“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen…” (Luke 24: 1 – 6)




“Where, O death, is your
victory?
    Where, O death, is your
            sting?”


Photos courtesy of Photo Bucket, Pixabay and Google