Gail's Book Nook

Monday, January 27, 2014

Looking Out the Window: Lisa Lickel Talks about The Last Detail, Gives Away a Copy and Shares a Great Cold-Weather Recipe


A Warm Welcome to Lisa Lickel!

Lisa’s latest novel is The Last Detail, released in January 2014 from the Prism Book Group.

About the book:

Hope, love, and loss meld two polar opposite personalities. How long can they keep passion for their ministry and each other after the wedding?

Medical missionary and avowed bachelor Merit Campbell is wounded during a skirmish at his Mideast clinic and sent home to recover. Restlessness propels him to explore the happier moments of his childhood in Illinois where he meets Amalia Kennedy, owner of The Last Detail, who enjoys helping people prepare for their final years. Merit ushers in new life; Amalia ushers it out. Love? Obviously. Marriage? Check. Dealing with the family closet? Step back…

Amalia enjoys her predictable life in a quiet little Illinois town—until long-time intended, Hudson, finally proposes in a way that shows her boring and old are coming way too fast. When a mutual friend introduces Merit and Amalia, the spark of attraction makes Merit reconsider his bachelorhood. When he can’t return to the mission, he accepts a call as pastor to Amalia’s church. As the two grow closer they weather constant interruptions from ministry, business, and family, even at their wedding and beyond. When tragedy strikes, they must learn to rely on each other in ways they couldn’t have prepared for.

How to buy The Last Detail:

ISBN: 978-1940099330
$3.99 eBook/$14.99 Print

Barnes and Noble
All Romance ebooks:

Nourish the body. Lisa shares one of her favorite recipes.

For a person who’s not very good at following recipes, one of my favorites (with constant variations depending on the day and the state of my cupboards) comes from a desire to do interesting things with venison, a staple in our house, and my past background with Russian studies as a college major. I make it up, usually making the gravy from bullion, occasionally a packet, and when I have time and am in the mood for a mess, I make noodles like my husband’s grandmother and mother. This is one dish my husband will ask for.

Venison Stroganoff
2 pounds lean venison cuts (of course you can use beef), sliced into strips
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6-8 oz your favorite fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 large bell pepper, sliced
Olive oil for cooking – several T.
Salt and pepper
2 c. brown gravy (either use purchased or make your own with bullion and flour roux or cornstarch)
1/2 cup Sour cream, more or less to taste
Cooked egg noodles

Brown the meat in the olive oil in a large skillet with a cover. Add in the onion and pepper and cook for a couple of minutes until they’re softened. Add mushroom, salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat, pour the gravy over, cover. Cook on low until meat is tender, up to an hour depending on cut, stirring occasionally to meld the ingredients.

Prepare egg noodles while cooking the meat and veggies.

When ready to serve, remove meat and swirl sour cream into the mixture, ladle over noodles. Can also allow guests to serve their own sour cream if desired.

Goes well with a salad or other side dishes, like squash, apple sauce, beets

Yum. That sounds great, and venison's so good for us.

Nourish the Soul

One of Lisa's favorite Bible verses:

“Let us hold unswervingly to the faith we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
It’s been my favorite verse for many years, a challenge and a comfort to me. I don’t succeed at holding unswervingly as often as I like, but I know in whom I believe, and he is faithful to me no matter what.

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. A muti-published, best-selling and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and magazine editor. Visit

Monday, January 13, 2014

Looking Out the Window: Join Lillian Duncan's New Release Celebration

Enter Lillian’s Gift Basket Contest

To celebrate the release of Betrayed, I’m giving away a virtual gift basket at Tiaras and Tennis Shoes at The virtual gift basket includes a copy of my books, Serenity Springs, Ohio; Dark Alleys; and Geese Mate for Life.  Along with the books, a $25 Amazon gift card is included plus a few books from some writer friends. To enter the contest, simply hop on over to Tiaras and Tennis Shoes at , leave a comment on the post titled CELEBRATION! Winner will be chosen and announced on February 14.


Welcome, Lillian. Thanks for stopping by to talk about your new book, Betrayed. Let's start with the story behind Betrayed.

There’s more to life than romance.

An odd statement coming from someone who writes romantic suspense novels, but the truth is the truth. We can’t survive on romance alone. We all need connection with other people in all sorts of different relationships—not just romantic ones.

Betrayed, the second in my Sisters by Choice series, will be released soon.
So, why did I choose the name Sisters by Choice for the series, especially when they are romantic suspense? As in life, not everything is about the romance!

Friendships are important!

For many people, their friends are more important in their daily lives than their family. With families scattered from one end of the country to the other and even across the world, friendships often replace the family bonds from past eras.
Sure, we still love our families but if they aren’t nearby, it can make for loneliness and feelings of isolation—if we let it! But we don’t have to let it and that’s what I wanted to show in the Sisters by Choice series.

Family isn’t just blood, it’s about the bonds we form.
Those bonds are formed as we go through life together. We can be there to help others during their crises and as we do emotional bonds will form. Those bonds can take strangers, acquaintances, and even friends, and transform them into family.

That’s what I want to show in my Sisters by Choice series. Women who are willing to help others in their time of crisis. Women who will go the extra mile—take the extra time—use the extra energy to help another woman in need.
Betrayed, the second in my Sisters by Choice series, will be released soon. The first in the series was Deception,which is about a pair of estranged twins. As Patti searches for her twin, she forges an unlikely bond with the wife of a terrorist. A wife who didn’t know her husband was a terrorist!

As they do, they become family to each other.

And we all need family—whether it’s by birth or by choice.

About Betrayed

Witness Protection Program claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules so Maria follows the rules--every rule. She's given up everything--her friends, her family, her past, even her name to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop. A life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood. A life where her daughter will never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past, but what if she's wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one...and that's her first mistake.

Lillian's Take on Writing Stories of Faith, Murder and Mayhem

Writing Stories of Faith...Mingled With Murder And Mayhem

Really? Christian Fiction and murder/suspense novels? On the surface the two don’t seem to go together. After all, how can a book where murders, mayhem, and bad guys abound promote Christian values?

Can a writer of suspense novels make a difference in a life? Surely not, you say. It might be good entertainment but that’s where it ends. Not so, I say.

Jesus used stories to teach a point—He called them parables.

People love stories. Stories can touch our hearts, stir our imagination, and teach us. Stories allow us to see the truth without the actual experience. Stories give us the opportunity to learn, change, and grow without all the growing pains.

As a writer of Christian fiction, I have two goals with every story I write. The first goal is to create an entertaining story. And the second goal is to further God’s Kingdom in some way. It may be as simple as portraying Christian characters in a positive light to an all-out salvation scene. It varies from book to book depending on where the story leads.

My latest release, Betrayed, is the second in my Sisters By Choice series. In Deception (the first in the series), there is a terrorist. I kept wondering what kind of woman could be married to a terrorist and not know it.

Betrayed is the answer.
It’s not a secret so I can tell you, my main character—Maria and her daughter—are in the witness protection program because Maria was betrayed by her husband in the most horrible of ways. (you’ll have to read the story to find out the details!)

Beauty for ashes! This phrase comes up several times in Betrayed. In fact, I would even go out on a limb and say it’s one of the themes of the story.

Betrayals hurt! I know—I’ve lived through a few and I’d venture to say most of us have. As the story progresses, Maria learns several spiritual lessons about betrayal, trust, and honoring God. My readers can learn from Maria’s experiences and make their own journey out of their own pain and bitterness of betrayal a bit easier.

That’s what a parable can do for those that choose to learn the lesson of the story.
Of course, that’s real life!

In fiction, it always gets worse before it gets better!  At least that’s my motto in the stories I write. In Betrayed, Maria has many more obstacles to face as she struggles to put her life back together—especially when her dead husband calls her from the grave!

Lillian is a multi-published writer who 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.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit:  She also has a devotional blog at:  as well as her personal blog, Tiaras and Tennis Shoes at