Gail's Book Nook

Monday, September 24, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Lillian Duncan Shares an Inspirational Devotional about the Dark Alleys of our Lives and Talks about Her New Book, Dark Alleys

Lillian will give away an e-book. To enter to win leave a comment and your email address.

James 4: 8
Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.
We humans are not necessarily the smartest of God’s creations even though we think we are! We seem to go out of our way to hurt ourselves in so many different creative ways. At one time or another most of us end up in a dark alley of our own making through our own bad choices and actions. And sometimes other people put us in those alleys or at least lead the way.

It always seems so dark and so lonely there, but God never abandons us—it only feels that way sometimes.

And that’s what I want readers to take away after reading DARK ALLEYS. No matter what we’ve done, God never stops loving us. He is always there waiting for us to ask for His help. In James 4: 8 it says, Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you."

To me that means, God is always there waiting for us to come to HIM.
One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29: 14, I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity. Another way of saying draw close to God and God will draw close to you. Of course, His help may not come in the form we want or expect, but then again His ways are higher than our ways.

The important thing to remember is that God loves us and he won’t abandon us.
My latest book, DARK ALLEYS is a story about a woman who ends up homeless and alone in a dark alley on a cold winter night. She witnesses a murder while in a drunken stupor and almost becomes his second victim. She awakens in the hospital with no clear memory of how she was injured. She attempts to put her life back together but, of course, the murderer has other plans.

I wanted to write a story where the main character was the queen of underdogs and I think I succeeded. Tessa is a mess, just like the rest of us. She could give up and no one could blame her, but she doesn’t. She keeps going—putting one step in front of the other. And some days that’s all any of us can do. Those are the days we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. And one step at a time He will lead out of that dark alley and into His light.

ABOUT DARK ALLEYS:  Being innocent and proving it are two different things, especially when a powerful politician is involved 
Tessa’s life spiraled out of control after the death of her only child, and she finds herself in a dark alley on a cold wintry night.  After she witnesses a murder, she almost becomes his second victim, but manages to escape—just barely.
Homeless and alone, she knows the authorities won’t believe someone like her, leaving her only one option—to run.

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Learn about Lillian and her books here
Visit her devotional blog here 

Buy Lillian's book here

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Winner of Nurtured in Purple

Choosing a winner was difficult, so I solicited the help of my husband. He picked...

Drum roll...

Becky...Congratulations, Becky.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Jude Urbanski Talks about Nurtured in Purple. Gives Away an E-book and Shares Grandma Glady's Fudge Recipe

Jude Urbanski's Favorites

Jude shares her favorite recipe. Yum. The fudge sounds delicious.

She also shares an inspirational story with her favorite Bible Verse.

She talks about her new book, Nurtured in Purple, and gives away an e-book. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address.

Nourish the Body
Below:  Grandma Glady who is so well loved!

                        Grandma’s Fudge
Family tradition has it that every Christmas and, occasionally in between, we make Grandma Glady’s fudge. Her mother probably taught her the secret recipe. Grandma Glady also bequeathed us the Christmas Coffee Cake recipe, but today you’ll make friends with the fudge of your life. This fudge is not even chocolate; it is caramel fudge, but family members call it Karo Fudge. Karo, now, doesn’t sound too appealing, but caramel—well, caramel brings out my addictive behaviors and I’ve been known to become sick from too much caramel fudge.

When made to perfection, this is the creamiest fudge to cross your lips. When the batch doesn’t quite gel, you have a very nice, thick ice cream sauce. Not a bad thing, but just not what Christmas means at this house.

So, a call is made for ‘all hands on deck’ when the fudge is started. After the blend of the luscious ingredients (nearly all sweet), a stirrer is needed for about 1-1 ½ hours. Until formation of the infamous ‘firm ball.’ Another stirring team takes over after this occurrence and is on deck for an additional 1-2 hours. Until that special ‘snap’ is heard (around the kitchen) and that sheen on the fudge glistens like diamonds.

At this point, the goal is in sight. In fact, the fudge must be dumped and spread at just this moment lest it gets too hard. I confess to the delicious satisfaction of spreading this beautiful fudge in my 9x13 pan. Wisdom says to cut into the size pieces wanted before it gets really settled for Christmas celebration. It’s a little harder to cut after this.
I can’t tell you how many years we have marched through the tradition of Grandma Glady’s fudge and how much enjoyment it has been in spite of the time required. Would that every family could have a similar tradition and you know what? It’s never too late to make memories or traditions.

Above is a photo of my old recipe and in case you can’t read the ingredients, here they are:
• 6 cups sugar
• 1 pint white Karo syrup
• 1 large can Carnation milk
• 1 small can Carnation milk
• 1 pound butter
• 2 cups English walnuts
Mix all together, bring to boil, stir continuously until firm ball forms, and beat until thick.
Nourish the Soul
One of My Favorite Bible Verses
I say one of my favs, because I have many. This one moved to the top of my list when I wrote a special book with our daughter. That book (2006) was called I Can’t Remember Me and the title is based on her amnesia after her tragic automobile accident in which her little son was killed and she suffered a forever traumatic brain injury.  With God’s help, our families journeyed through that dark time, came out victorious and acknowledge we have much to be thankful for.

But while going through those days, these verses from Habakkuk gave me supernatural strength. Even though nothing was right in the situation at that time, I still rejoiced in my Sovereign Lord and I knew it was not my strength. He was the one enabling me to go the heights and to have feet like a deer. 

So, even though there are no crops in the field, no grapes on the vine or sheep in the pens, yet will I choose to worship my Savior. Translated for us who write, it may go like this: even though today’s mail brought another rejection, even though I am can’t string two words together much less write a synopsis, I will still have a peace and know I am where I should be.

Hab 3:17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
Though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
Though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The sovereign Lord is my strength,
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer.
He enables me to go the heights.

About Jude's New Book, Nutured in Purple
The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing Book Two: Nurtured in Purple
Willard Wittenberg and Elizabeth Koger, antagonists in Book One of The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing, are slammed against the proverbial wall, but God's redeeming love shatters their darkness.

An Excerpt from Nurtured in Purple
Chapter One
Chill, Willard, chill.
I have to act cool if I want to bump Seth Orbin out of this big sale and I do. Oh, yes I do.

He transferred the phone receiver to his other ear. This conversation was heating up.
''Well, you see, Hansford, in my opinion, the wood from Orbin Sawmills is inferior and will not meet your expectations, by any means. I don't sell wood, but in my career as a paper salesman, I've seen a lot of wood, if I do say so. I know you're used to the best wood available."

He paused and paced around his desk.

''Now, there is this mill in Burkesville I think you'd like and I know a man who can get you the very best deal there is. Want me to talk to him?"

Willard waited, wiped sweat from his brow, and ran his fingers around the neck of his collar.

''You do?" He hesitated just slightly. "Great." A silent sigh of relief shuddered through him, but he allowed a smile to crawl up his face. ''I'll get right on it and call you back."
Maybe a few more sweet deals like this will make ole' Seth hurt.

He laughed and began dialing.

Willard Wittenberg had a vendetta to settle with Seth Orbin. His fiancée Elizabeth Koger had a vendetta to settle with Kate, Seth's pregnant wife.

Jude Urbanski writes women's fiction featuring a strong inspirational romance element. She invites you to stories of heroes and heroines who spin tragedy into triumph with help from God.

She has been writing in some fashion nearly all her life. Her mother wrote sweet romances in the 1930's, her daughters write, as do her grandchildren and several other family members.

First published in nonfiction, Jude continues to write in this field also. She has two electronic novels, The Chronicles of Chanute Crossing Series, published by Desert Breeze Publishing. She is a columnist for Maximum Living, a magazine focusing on spirituality and wellness for women. She has been a blogger for Ellechor Publishing, Hoosier Ink and her own blog.

Jude graduated from Indiana University with a Master’s Degree in Nursing. She is a member of national and area chapters of American Christian Fiction Writers and the National League of American Pen Women. She serves as president of her local Pen Women Branch. Jude and her husband Conrad live in Indiana, volunteer in the community and their church, love travel and biking and share a blended family of eight beautiful children and a gaggle of just- as-beautiful grandchildren.

Learn more about Jude at her Web site and Blog

Buy Nurtured in Purple at Amazon and Desert Breeze Publishing

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Winner of Catch Your Breath

It was hard to choose a winner, so I scrambled up the names then picked one.

Congratulations to Valerie McCoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Looking Out the Window: Kathryn Bain Talks About Catch Your Breath. An unmarried, pregnant woman searches her way back to God, but a killer might do her in.

Kathryn will give away a free e-book. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address.

Welcome Kathryn. Tell us a little about yourself. There’s not a lot to tell. I pay my bills by working as a paralegal. I’m also a mother of two grown daughters. Of course, there’s also my baby, Gretchen. She’s my dog. Half German Sheppard, half Greyhound.

Lots of writers also like to read. How about you? Were you an avid reader as a child? If so, what did you read? I read a lot as a kid. Mostly mysteries. The Hardy Boys were my favorites.

So many people, myself included, read The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Often readers ask writers why they write. Why do you write? If I didn’t the voices in my head would attack me.

LOL. I think lots of writers know that feeling. Tell us about your latest book. Catch Your Breath is my latest release. My heroine is a pregnant, unmarried woman who is trying to find her way back to God. Too bad a killer might do her in before she gets the chance.

 What inspired you to write this particular book? This is the sequel to Breathless. For those who read it, this story involves the quiet, extremely serious Sheriff Riley Owens.  A lot of readers seemed to like his character and wanted a book on him. Read an excerpt.

Where do you get ideas for your books? All over. I might hear a song and get an idea.  Breathless, my first book was inspired by the Toby Keith song "God Love Her". I liked the idea of the Bible on the motorcycle so much, it became a whole book.

In three words describe your style of writing. Not very deep. You won’t need a dictionary to read my work.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer? I’m a bit of both. I do a mini-synopsis with ideas I want to use, and that is basically my outline. Things change as I go along, but it’s there as a guide if I need it.

Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how? Oh yeah. I sometimes cross the line with God. He lets me know it, too. I also write secular books so I have to be careful there. Sometimes I like to put my toe over the line, but I bring it right back.

Do you put yourself in your books? No. Nothing exciting about a 51 year-old woman who does nothing but work and write all day.

Speaking of writing all day, what are you working on right now? My current manuscript is titled Repent. It’s secular suspense. Here’s a blurb: A specialized department of the U.S. government was formed directly to catch killers that could cause panic with local citizens. They call themselves the Dispatch Unit because they “dispatch people to the great beyond”. Mica Jorgenson is a member this team. She isn’t easily frightened. She doesn’t recall the last time she’d been scared of anyone else. Too bad she can’t say the same for her own mind. It's the one thing that terrorizes her. Showing signs of schizophrenia could get her kicked off the team. And work is the one thing that seems to delight The Voice in her head.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers? Read a lot, get in a good critique group, and join writer’s groups. Writing groups are a good way to keep your sanity. Other writers know what you’re going through when it comes to rejections, edits, etc. It’s nice to have others who understand when your publisher changes your release date at the last moment. (That happened to a friend of mine. She found out the day before her release date.)

What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done? I’m boring I tell you. I don’t do anything wacky. My goal is to commit a murder (in writing) behind the scenes of the PBR (Professional Bull Riding) Championships in Las Vegas though. Does that count?

 Sounds good and risk-taking! Thanks so much, Kathryn.

About Catch Your Breath:
Calley Regan only wants to get through her cousin’s bridal shower without anyone discovering her secret—she’s pregnant. Her sanctimonious family would never understand. Then the one person she confides in happens to tell the incredibly handsome, but seriously uptight, sheriff, Riley Owens—who’s just given her a speeding ticket! How can she trust the brooding, inflexible lawman when he’s everything she’s not? Riley Owens is instantly attracted to Calley Regan, but it won’t come to anything. For years, he’s lived mired in guilt, and carefree Calley is his polar opposite. But, when someone attacks Calley, Riley is determined to protect her no matter what it takes, and when her family deserts her, he takes Calley into his home. Years ago, he couldn’t save the woman he loved. He’s not about to let that happen again.

Kathryn J. Bain began writing more than ten years ago. Her first release "Breathless" came out January 13, 2012. Her novella “Game of Hearts” was released in March 2012 followed by her inspirational romantic suspense "Catch Your Breath".
She is the former President of Florida Sisters in Crime and is currently the Public Relations Director and Membership Director for Ancient City Romance Authors.
To survive and pay bills, she has been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law.
She has two daughters and a dog named Gretchen.
Kathryn grew up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. In 1981, she moved to Boise, but it apparently wasn't far enough south, because two years later she headed to Jacksonville, Florida and has lived in the sunshine ever since.

Learn more about Kathryn at here

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Winner of Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top

Wow! I scrambled up the names to get the best two out of three, and Teela won twice in a row!

Congratulations, Teela!