Gail's Book Nook

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Winner of Because of Me

The winner of Because of Me...Drum roll

Congratulations to Jon and Vicki Marney!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Fay Lamb Talks About Because of Me, Shares an Excerpt and Gives Away a Copy

Because of Me was chosen as a finalist in the prestigious 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis Contest.

Fay will give away a copy. To enter to win leave a comment and your email address.

Welcome, Fay. First, tell us a little about yourself.
My husband and I live in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of both of our families were born and resided. I work as an acquisitions editor for Pelican Book Group, and I volunteer with American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), as secretary for their operating board and as a co-moderator of ACFW’s large critique group, Scribes.

Sometimes people are curious about a writer's motivations. Would you share why you write with us?
I write because I have to write. I have stories bouncing around in my head, and I have to get them on paper. Writing is a stress release, and it’s my passion.

Tell us about your latest book.
Because of Me is the story of Michael Hayes, once a promising young investigative reporter, and his fiancée, Issie Putnam. In his ambition, Michael leads Issie into a very dangerous situation, and their lives are changed forever. Michael is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison while Issie is left alone to raise a child born of a crime committed against her on that fateful night. When Michael returns to their hometown to protect Issie from the man who harmed her, he finds that she’s not alone. Issie is raising her son, and though Michael is not the child’s father, the boy was definitely born because of him.

What suspense! And interesting characters.! How do you get to know your characters?

I know that writers have various ways that they connect to their characters. Some have written back stories, some journal, some interview them. I simply learn about them as I write. I love being surprised by what a character will tell me and allowing the reader to experience the same surprise.

What themes do you write about?
I’m an issue-oriented writer. That doesn’t mean that I’ve gone through the situations in which I place my characters, but I have gone through the results of those situations: bitterness, anger, lack of self-esteem.

It sounds as though you put lots of emotion into your books. What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
My writing schedule varies because I have other projects. I have discovered that my most creative period of the day is between 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. That works well if I’m writing in the mountains and my time is pretty much my own. There I have a desk in my bedroom that sits in front of a window that overlooks the mountains. In Florida, I have an office in our house, and the window there overlooks our azalea garden in the front yard.

The mountains and azaleas offer an inspiring view. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I do juggle, but generally, I work better if I have several projects going at one time. If I have one project, my mind seems to wander. I’ve developed a routine that works well for my spastic mind: I assign several minutes in an hour to work on each job I have before me.

 Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I’m an in-between. I use the LOCK system James Scott Bell teaches where you use an index sized card and include the following: a LEAD character doing something interesting that moves the story forward; the OBJECTIVE of the lead character in that scene; the CONFLICT keeping the lead character from his objective; and the KICKER ending for the scene. This allows me to be more creative than an outline.

 Thanks for sharing. Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Although I’ve written since I was a small child, it wasn’t until I reached my mid-twenties, that I realized that any talent that I have been given to develop comes from God. If it weren’t for my faith, I’d have nothing worth writing.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Working with critique groups, I see so many take criticisms the wrong way. They fold when they should learn and continue forward. If the criticism is unfounded, learn to recognize that. If the critic is on point, adapt your writing accordingly. Writing is a career for the most patient. Don’t take shortcuts, but never give up.
Thanks, Fay.

About Because of Me
Not your typical Christian fiction.
Michael’s fiancée, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.
Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.
Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?
Available through all fine book retailers,, and Mountainview Publishing (, a division of Treble Heart Books.

Bio: Fay works as an editor for Pelican Book Group, the publisher of White Rose Publishing/Harbourlight Books. As a part of the Pelican Book Group Staff Blog, she contributes to Tactical Tuesdays: Advice for Self- Editing.
Learn more about Fay at her Web site

An Excerpt from Because of Me
Looking out her open window through the pouring rain, Issie stared in amazement at the ruts gouged deep in the mire where they’d spun in circles. Their path had taken them away from the creek and across the road to slam up against one of the hundred year old elms. A miracle for sure. Her airbags hadn’t even deployed. Deep, shuddering breaths shook her body. She collapsed over the steering wheel again and sobbed.
Cole touched her. “Mommy, we’re safe. We can walk from here.”
So calm. Where did he get that part of his nature?
Yes, they were safe for the moment, but she’d feel even safer at home with Cole in his pajamas after a warm shower.
Issie groped around in the back of the Jeep, feeling for the blanket she always kept there. Rough wool grazed her fingertips. She pushed open the door, stepped out of the vehicle, and tugged the blanket over her head. Cole climbed across the seat and out to stand under the blanket she’d spread over her. The make-shift shelter did little to protect them against the driving rain.
Cole’s hand gripped her shirt. Water dripped from his bangs onto his straight little nose. His drenched clothing stuck to his body. His teeth chattered, and he let out a broken “Brrr” under his breath. She kept the woolen cover over them and started down the road toward home.
She looked down at him. “What do you say to a warm shower, a grilled cheese sandwich, some warm cookies, and a glass of milk?”
He smiled up at her. “Yeah.”
“Are you okay?” The voice emanated from outside their cloth protection.
Someone was on her property. She was alone and vulnerable. Issie screamed and pushed her son behind her.
“Are you okay?” the man asked again.
Her entire body quaked. Even in the downpour she caught the faint scent of his bay rum cologne. She lifted the blanket.
A smile turned his lips and years fell away from his worn and weary features. Water ran in rivulets through his too-long hair and dripped from his scraggly mustache and goatee.
Issie placed her hand over her heart—the heart that would forever belong to him.
“Mommy, it’s Michael, just like I told you,” Cole sang out.
Issie swayed. Would God be so merciful to her to send him now when she needed him most?
Michael reached out and steadied her. She closed her eyes at his touch. This wasn’t a dream. He was home.
“Issie?” Her name on his lips brought a shiver, and she opened her eyes. Lightning illuminated the area for a brief second, and a boom of thunder broke over them. “My truck’s over here. Let me give you a ride home.”
“Are you really Michael?” Cole blinked the rain out of his eyes.
“And how would you be a’knowing that, lad?” Michael asked.
Issie giggled at the brogue he always mimicked so easily when he’d been around Matilda. Michael’s gaze fell on her lips as if fascinated by her action, the way he’d always done when she laughed.
“Michael.” She found her voice. “It really is you.”

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Winner of Inescapable

It was so difficult to choose a winner for Inescapable. I solicited help from my husband who drew a name.

Congratulations to Connie Almony!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Multi-published Author and Carol Award Winner Nancy Mehl Talks About Her Latest Book, Inescapable

Nancy will give away a copy of Inescapable. To enter to win leave a comment with your email address.

Welcome, Nancy. First, tell us a little about yourself.
My first novel was published in 2001. Since then twelve books have followed. Book three in my Ivy Towers’s series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the Carol Award for mystery in 2009. My Mennonite-themed Harmony novels have just been released as a trilogy. Also, six of my previously out-of-print cozy mysteries are now available as Ebooks. I’m very excited to see them get a new life.
I’m currently working on a Mennonite-themed suspense series for Bethany House Publishing. The first book in The Kingdom Series, Inescapable, just released. The second book, Unbreakable, will be out in February of 2013. That book will be followed by a third novel that is as of yet untitled.
I live in Wichita, Kansas with my husband Norman, and my very active puggle, Watson. I have one grown son, Danny, who is an award winning graphic designer. He lives with his beautiful wife, Shaen, in Missouri. We just recently found out that we’re going to be grandparents! Our grandchild is scheduled to be born on Christmas day! Now that would be the best Christmas present ever!
Besides writing, I love to work with my volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. I’ve also been teaching a novel writing workshop and really love it. I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Congratulations on the Christmas grandbaby. It sounds as though you stay busy. Many prolific writers developed a love of reading early. Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what did you read?
Absolutely. I’d check out four or five books from the library and read them at night with a flashlight, under my covers! I couldn’t get enough.
I loved Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, and anything with a touch of mystery in it.
Those were favorites of mine also.

We'd like to know about your latest book.
My newest book is “Inescapable.” It’s the first book in my “Road to Kingdom” series. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Engel is a young woman who escaped her hometown of Kingdom, Kansas, when she was eighteen years old. An unwed mother, she felt judged and rejected by her father and by the members of Kingdom’s Mennonite church. The church runs the town, and its conservative leaders work hard to keep the leaven of the world from destroying what they’ve fought so hard to establish. Living and working in Kansas City has given Lizzie a freedom she’s never known before. But when a stalker sets his sights on her and her daughter, Charity, Lizzie begins to fear for their safety. Then accusations of theft and the loss of her job leave her without any other choice. She must go back to the one place she never wanted to see again. Kingdom. Although she dreads the reception she will receive, she heads home. Surprisingly, she discovers that the rejection she expected doesn’t exist. Most of the people in Kingdom welcome her back with open arms. Unfortunately, her sense of safety and relief is short-lived. Evil has followed her, and her life is soon turned upside down by conflict, danger and something else she never expected. Love.

Wow! This sounds suspenseful, and I love that she’s accepted when she thought she might be rejected. What inspired you to write this particular book?
There are so many people who don’t realize that God has a plan for their lives. Besides pointing that out, I also wanted to address those who feel they’ve made so many mistakes, God can no longer use them. That’s not true! God can give us back our destiny as long as we trust Him enough to believe our unworthiness isn’t stronger than His overpowering love.

Thanks for those reassuring words. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?
I’m blessed to be able to write full time now, but there are still challenges balancing everything. Sometimes I have to say “No” to things I want to do. My friends have to understand that when I’m under a deadline, I can’t drop everything to go out for lunch. For the most part, they are very, very understanding.
One area that really bothers me is having to miss events with my volunteer group or not being able to help out at church the way I’d like to. But I learned long ago that being disciplined is a quality a writer must have.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
Both. I start out by the seat of my pants, and about halfway through, I begin plotting. So far, it’s worked for me. I’d love to plot out everything before I start to write, but I just haven’t been able to do it. Sometimes my plot takes off in a direction I hadn’t planned on, and I like that.

Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
Absolutely. I pray over every book before I start and ask God what He wants to say through my story. I believe He uses fiction to touch people. Every book is dedicated to Him first.

What are you working on right now?
To be honest, right now I’m working on a vacation! LOL! I need it so badly. We’re going to Branson in August and will be meeting our kids there for a few days. I can hardly wait!
Thanks so much, Nancy. Branson sounds like lots of fun. Have a great time.

More about "Inescapable"
Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, her family, and her faith with plans never to return. Five years later, Lizzie finds she'll have to run again. False accusations at her job, a stalker, and a string of anonymous threatening letters have left her with no other options. This time, however, her escape is back to Kingdom, her hometown.
As Lizzie becomes reacquainted with Kingdom, she realizes she may not have left her Mennonite roots and her faith as firmly in the past as she thought. She draws on the support of Noah Housler, an old friend, as she hides out and attempts to plan her next steps.
When it becomes painfully clear that the danger has followed Lizzie to Kingdom, suspicions and tensions run high, and she no longer knows who to trust. With her life and the lives of those she loves at risk, Lizzie will have to run one last time--to a Father whose love is inescapable.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Gail. It was fun!
It was my pleasure.

Read more about Nancy on her Web site
Visit her blog

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Winner of Joy Takes Flight

Choosing a winner for Joy Takes Flight was difficult. Finally, I mixed up the names and picked one.

Congratulations Janice!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Bonnie Leon Writes a Devotional About Jesus' Time in the Garden of Gethsemane. She's Giving Away a Copy of Her New Book, Joy Takes Flight.

Bonnie will give away a copy of her new book, Joy Takes Flight. To enter to win leave a comment with your email address.
A Perfect Prayer
Last Sunday, my pastor painted a vivid picture of Jesus' time in the Garden of Gethsemane the night of his arrest. Though I'm well acquainted with this portion of scripture I saw it with new eyes. I love that about God's Word--there is always more to learn.
That night, Jesus knew what lay ahead--his arrest, brutal beatings, rejection, crucifixion, the weight of the world's sin laid upon him and the forsaking of The Father. He was the man/God. As a man he asked three of his disciples to wait with him. He wanted his friends by His side. I believe he also wanted the disciples to witness his humanity and a humility which is greater than pride.
If the disciples had remained awake that night they would have seen the heart of their Lord. In Mark 14:33 & 34 it says, he was deeply distressed and in verse 34 Jesus tells the disciples, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." And then he goes away and he prays that if it were possible that the hour might pass from him. "Abba Father," he said, "Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
What a perfect example for us. Jesus told those he loved that he was distressed and he wanted them with him. (Sadly, his disciples let him down.) Jesus went to his Father and prayed his heart. He was honest with God when he asked if there might be another way, but ultimately Jesus’ desire was for God's will, not his own.
What a blessed reminder -- God's will, not mine.
In recent weeks I've said many prayers, beseeching God for mercy and help, wisdom and discernment. And he's answered. But when I look around me, all is not well. Life challenges my faith. There are no answers only a desire and need to trust. I pray my heart, but I pray for God's will above all else. I long for the faith to see beyond my present circumstances and for assurance that nothing touches me or the ones' I love except by God's permission.
When we place our lives into the hands of Almighty God and trust him, he will show us the way. He will give us peace. When Jesus knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane that fateful night He did not demand His own way. He placed himself under His Father's authority and he obeyed by laying down His life for all mankind. Where would we be if He had refused?
His prayer is a perfect prayer. His heart is a perfect heart. He is our perfect example.

About Joy Takes Flight
Kate Evans and Paul Anderson are finally married, settling in, and starting a family. They rejoice when Kate finds she is pregnant, but soon it is clear that there are hurdles ahead.
Should she continue in her dangerous profession as an Alaskan bush pilot? Can she really fall into the role of a wife? Then tragedy strikes, life begins to unravel, and Kate fears she may have lost Paul for good.
Chock-full of high-flying adventure, romance, and the drama of life, Joy Takes Flight is the exciting conclusion to Bonnie Leon's Alaskan Skies series.

Bonnie Leon is the author of nineteen novels, including the recently released Joy Takes Flight, book three in the Alaskan Skies series, the popular Sydney Cover series and the bestselling Journey of Eleven Moons. 
She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother.
Bonnie and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren.

Visit Bonnie's Web site