Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Looking Out the Window: Elaine Stock Talks About Her New Book, Always With You. Gives Away an e-Book
A Warm Welcome to Elaine Stock
Elaine will give away an e-Book of Always With You. To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below.
Hi Elaine, first, tell us a little about yourself.
Born and raised until I was fifteen in Brooklyn, NY, I’ve been living the majority of my life in upstate NY. First my family moved to the northern suburbs of the city, then I met my future husband at Albany State, further upstate, and we’ve been in the Capital District ever since. I grew up in the pre-historic era before computers or cell phones, enjoyed a black and white TV, and played outdoors with the neighbor kids. I believe all this fostered my imagination to create stories. Writing, truthfully, was also my way of coping with a very troubled family life.
Lots of writers loved to read as children. Did you? If so, what did you read?
As emotionally unstable as my mother was, she devoured novels and always had a book in her hand. She made a delightful fuss over me upon getting my first library card, as well as always took my brother and I to the library. So, yes, I loved to read… from billboards as we drove past to advertisements on public buses or museum signs to lots and lots of books. My penchant back then and pretty much now was/is suspense, on all levels.
I enjoy suspense also. Let's talk about your writing. What do you write?
I write what I call family drama fused with psychological suspense. However, I’ve begun my first time-slip novel based loosely on a few mysteries of my own family’s past.
How do you get to know your characters?
Pretty much the same way as my plots unfold: I let the kernel of a story swirl around and incubate in my mind for a while. I then play around with whatever words tap out of my fingers onto the keyboard. Research. Write. Research. Write. Write. Write. Edit. Edit. Edit. I’m a major seat of the pants writer and love the feel of both the characters and the story unfolding as I go along. Every time in the past when I’ve attempted to plot on paper or outline my story died.
What themes do you write about?
I enjoy writing about family and love, exploring how an unsteady family or couple can become stronger and solid. In writing with a slant toward Christian fiction I cannot escape the fact that I believe God’s hands are directly in control of us—if we open our eyes to His glory.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
Although I work 4 days a week, having a 3 day weekend, those work days begin with a wakeup time of 3 am and pure physical stand-on-my-feet labor until 1 pm. Throw in commuting time and running errands since I live out in a rural area, by the time I arrive home I’m often beat. That’s why my fantasy goal is to sooner than later “retire” from the day job and write full time. However, now that my first novel has made its debut release this past January I try my best to work on my writing whenever I can. Due to neck problems it’s better for me to work on a laptop on the couch, which is nice in the wintertime because I’m inches away from the woodstove!
Does your faith affect your writing? If so, how?
When I started to write in hopes of publication it was for the ABA-general market. It never made it. True, those were my earlier years of learning the writing craft and I had plenty to learn. Still do! However, it wasn’t until I dedicated my writing to God, matching my heart, that I started to see changes, getting closer and closer until I received a contract. My faith impacts my whole life and I’m unsure how I can separate it from my writing.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Listen to the advice of others, but definitely become attuned to what works best for you, and when. Believe in yourself even if others don’t. Keep submitting and entering contests despite the lack of contracts offered or not winning the contest, however, seek to improve your writing each time. And my biggest advice: accept the fact that you always, always have something more to learn each and every day, whether it is honing your writing craft, taking risks, promotion, or eating humble pie.
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
I’m very grateful to have a first novel out and have hope in future releases. I’m at the age that I don’t want another line of work. I can look back and imagine if things were different what I might have ventured into, but can’t we all?
What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
Continuing with what I said in response to the above question, the most risk-taking thing I’ve ever done is believing in my writing (though it took me many years to first become published). This means, unlike many others, I have not chased after a high-paying job and put my writing second. This means, I admit, struggling and juggling lots. But it also means trusting God. All the time. Every second.
About Always With You
Can she move forward without knowing her past?
Will he enjoy his present if he can’t free himself from what he left behind?
In the heart of the Adirondacks, Isabelle lives in the shadow of a dark family secret whose silent burden strips her family of emotional warmth and faith in God. Tyler belongs to the religious sect called The Faithful, which Isabelle’s father dislikes immensely. Yet, because Tyler belongs to this group, Isabelle sees only a man devoted to his family and faith.
She wants it; she gets it; they marry.
And when the truth comes out, Isabelle faces two choices: Staying could endanger her child.
Leaving could cost her life.
Buy on Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Take advantage of the special price of $9.99 for the print version on Amazon and .99 cents for the Kindle.
Elaine Stock is the author of Always With You, which released in January 2016 and has made the Kindle bestseller list. Her novels fuse family drama and psychological suspense. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and contributes to the international “Happy Sis Magazine.” In addition to Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, she hangs out on her active blog, Everyone’s Story, dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story and hope.
Connect with Elaine on her
Website/blog Everyone' Story
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Looking Out the Window: Jan Elder Discusses Her Books, Love, Lies and Fireflies and Frosting and Flurries. Gives Away Two e-Books
A Warm Welcome to Jan Elder
Jan will give away two kindle books—the first a kindle copy of Love, Lies, and Fireflies. The second, a kindle copy of the five-book set, Frosting and Flurries, where the readers will find her book, Moostletoe.
What a treat. Here's Janice Bittner’s Chocolate MOOSTLETOE Cake. In Moostletoe, the owner of the local coffee shop is a baker. There is a celebration in each of the five books, complete with a very special cake.
3 cups finely crushed chocolate graham crackers
¾ tsp. espresso powder
1 stick butter, melted
3 cups chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter
4 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 package (10 ounces) peanut butter chips
Mix the crushed crumbs and the espresso powder. Add the melted butter and mix well. Press into the bottom of a 9” or 10” springform pan. Chill until ready.
Beat the eggs and the egg yolks, and set aside.
Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a medium saucepan. Slowly add the egg mixture in 3-4 additions, whisking well after each addition. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.
With and electric mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Add the confectioners’ sugar, espresso powder and vanilla, and beat until stiff peaks form.
Stir about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the cooled chocolate, mixing well.
Gently fold in another 1/3 of the whipped cream. Gently fold in the last 1/3 of the whipped cream until as few streaks remain as possible without deflating the mousse.
Fold in the peanut butter chips.
Pour mousse onto the crust. Freeze until ready to eat. Thaw for about 1 hour before serving.
Yum! Thank you for sharing that delicious recipe with us!
About Mooseltoe, Jan's selection in the Frosting and Flurries boxed set
Fresh out of divinity school, Rev. Samantha Evans is ready to conquer the world for Christ. She lands in Moose Creek, Maine, a tiny backwater town with more moose per square mile than men. Even worse, one of her new parishioners chews up new ministers for breakfast, and he’s hell-bent on sending her packing.
Forest ranger Eric Palmer is done with women. Determined to live simply with no encumbrances, he’s moved to Northern Maine to study the moose population. With Christmas right around the corner, he runs into his buddy, Sammie, the girl who’d been his best friend when they were teenagers. Unlike most of the women in his life, he trusts her implicitly. But could she ever be more than a friend?
When Samantha’s career is on the line, Eric must save her job and rescue his own shattered heart in the process. But how does Matilda the town moose factor in?
Now, tell us a little about yourself.
I am privileged to come from a family of writers. My mother, brother, and sister are all published authors. Seven years ago, when I slammed into age 50, I guess I was feeling a little left behind. I decided it was high time to dive into my own writing career and I started a novel in earnest. My mom just turned 93 and she’s knee-deep in creating another book so I figure I have another several decades (I hope) of writing ahead of me. Yippee!
Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?
I’ve always been a reader. My favorite books growing up in elementary school were A Wrinkle in Time, The Island of the Blue Dolphins, and The Chronicles of Narnia. I’m also a night person. I loved summertime when I could stay up until all hours of the night reading. I’m sure my mom tried to get me to bed at a “normal” time, but after a while she gave up. No point. I’m still up until at least 2:00 a.m. enjoying a good book and my best time to write is after the sun goes down.
Tell us about your latest full-length novel, Love, Lies and Firelies.
Didi O’Brien is engaged—at least she was an hour ago. Now she’s not so sure. Her fiancé, the suave Kevin Cabot, has just revealed that he’s been unfaithful, and he’s not the least bit sorry. Reeling from the betrayal, with her plans for a happily-ever-after life in doubt, she prays for direction. The answer comes as a complete surprise. God has someone better in mind.
Middle school teacher, Jake Montgomery, is struggling with some issues of his own. Sadly, a year previously his fiancée had been killed in a car crash. Battling anger and despair, in a mountain-top experience, Jake wrestles with the Almighty, and is ready to live again. In his youth, he’d felt an unmistakable call to the ministry but, like the prophet Jonah, since then, he’s been running hard in the wrong direction.
Through a crisis of faith, and glimpses of mercy, Didi and Jake find each other. But can they find the strength to resolve the many obstacles that conspire to keep them apart?
In three words describe your style of writing.
By the seat of my pants.
Oops. Sorry. That’s twice the number of words you were looking for, but you get the point. When I write, I’m as surprised as the reader as to what happens. I just keep going until we get there.
How do you get to know your characters?
In Love, Lies and Fireflies, I gave my main characters a personality test (Myers-Briggs) and then I designed some of the responses from there. What would that type of person do in a particular situation? How would they react? And then what would he/she do next?
What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
Actually, I’m doing it. Not only do I get to write, I’m also a Christian life coach. I get to talk to people about their gifts and talents and explore who God made them to be. Talk about a great job! We all have something special to do in this world and I help people find out what that is.
What are you working on right now?
My newest book just released on November 1, 2016. It’s in a “boxed set” on Amazon of contemporary Christian novellas called Frosting and Flurries. This is the first time I’ve been privileged to be in a compilation with four other stellar authors, and I’m proud to say that I’m the newbie in the bunch. (I have four books out…and they have…lots.) Kind of nice to ride on everyone else’s coattails so I hope it’s a success. The other authors are Kimberly Rae Jordan, Cecelia Dowdy, Clare Revell, and Marion Ueckermann. Lots of fun! Right now I’m working on the second book in the series, Moosed Opportunities.
Buy Frosting and Flurries On Amazon
An excerpt from Jan's novel, Love, Lies, and Fireflies
While Love, Lies, and Fireflies is basically a romance, there are some decidedly suspenseful elements. When I was half-way through the book, the bad guy, Kevin Cabot, a.k.a. The Cad, demanded his own voice. I found it intriguing to get into the head of a villain. Below happens to be HIS favorite excerpt:
Leaving the side streets, Didi made a quick left, a hard right, and a headlong dash toward the woods at the edge of town. Now that she’d gone this far, there was no turning back. She veered left down Deer Hollow Road. She had no other option.
She hoped with all her heart Kevin wouldn’t risk getting his precious car dinged and defiled on the steep, slick gravel road, but to her dismay, he followed ever closer. A jagged streak of lightning strobed through the sky, and Didi glimpsed his grinning face in the mirror. The man Didi had once thought she loved was enjoying the chase.
She was going way too fast, but she didn’t have a choice. Didi hit the gas and sped on. Sliding down the steep hill, she steered the car as if her life depended on it, slamming into ruts, dips, and potholes. She narrowly missed the ditch on the right side of the road, swerved around the ancient oak on the left, and kept moving.
As she rounded the next curve in the road, she lost control of the car and sideswiped a giant walnut tree, crumpling the driver’s side door. Still, she kept going. For a split second, the Italian job seemed to slow, but it was only an illusion. Instead, at the end of the bend, Kevin was right on her bumper, inching closer, closer, closer. He flashed his lights and honked his horn as if this were all a joke. Keeping up the pressure, Kevin sped up and slowed down, teasing her, thrusting and lunging, fencing with her but never quite hitting her. Frightened out of her mind, Didi punched the gas pedal, the car nearly flying over a rise. On the other side of the hill, the old compact car slipped down the incline, slithering straight toward the swollen stream.
Didi shrieked in terror. The one-lane bridge was out. She had nowhere to go but down.
“Lord Jesus, help me!” She stamped hard on the brake. The little red car spun on its wheels, wet rocks skittering beneath her as she continued her relentless rollercoaster ride toward the creek.
Buy Love, Lies and Fireflies On Amazon
Jan Elder is an inspirational romance writer with a passion for telling stories other women can relate to on a deep level. She strives to write the kind of book that will strengthen the reader’s faith, introducing the reader to a loving and forgiving Lord who walks beside us in our daily lives, while also providing an entertaining and engrossing love story.
Happily married for thirteen years to loving (and supportive) husband, Steve, the two live in central Maryland along with Jamie (a chubby black and white tuxedo cat), and Shu-Shu (a willowy tortoiseshell cat). On the weekends, Jan and Steve comb the nearby countryside in search of the perfect ice cream flavor.
Visit Jan's Author Page on Amazon
Connect with Jan
on her website
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
November 2016 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Slender Reeds: Jochebed's Hope by Texie Susan Gregory -- In a deadly race to save her son, a young slave woman dares defy the most powerful man in the world. (Biblical from Barbour Publishing)
Crazy Woman Christmas by Renee Blare -- A quiet cowboy whisks Bianca to his ranch to ride out the Christmas blizzard where she discovers life is cold but also beautiful in the “Cowboy” state. (Contemporary Romance from Inspired [Prism Book Group])
Other Than a Halo by Valerie Comer -- Even though she’s a new woman in Christ, single mom Bren Haddock was no angel as a teen. Now managing the Hiller Farm for a CSA, life is good until a friend offers to enter her daughter into the Little Miss Snowflake Pageant. Old insecurities flare when she meets the intriguing head of marketing the pageant. Rob Santoro isn’t so sure about handling the pageant portfolio until he meets Bren. Soon he’s fallen for her and her two kids. When a Thanksgiving adventure goes awry, he’s left wondering how to love a woman who refuses to be loved. What will it take for Bren to retire her tarnished halo and move into the future God has for her? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
Do You Know What I Know? by Becky Melby -- What if a phone call from the obstetrician’s office went to the wrong person? Elizabeth Schmidt can’t figure out why her husband doesn’t seem excited about the news she’s sure he heard. Is he unhappy? Or is James cheating on her? Pastor Jay Davidson is in shock. Bethany Schmidt, the woman he’s in love with, is pregnant. Should he walk away, or is God asking him to play the part of Joseph in real life and not just in the church Christmas program? Bethany can’t figure out why Jay is acting so weird. Has he figured out one of the two secrets she’s keeping until after Christmas? Can a ponytailed itinerant carpenter with a pet chicken help unravel the confusion? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)
How to Charm a Beekeeper's Heart by Candice Sue Patterson -- Weddings are the last thing beekeeper Huck Anderson wants to be associated with, considering his past. So when he inherits a building occupied by a bridal boutique, he aims to evict the failing business and open a sporting goods store. That is until his tenant ends up being Arianne Winters, a woman he’s indebted to from a mistake made years ago. When a life-threatening injury derails Huck entirely, Arianne offers to aid in his lengthy recovery if he’ll allow her to remain in his building. But nursing her adversary proves challenging when her adolescent crush resurfaces. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])
A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay -- After a whirlwind romance and marriage, Emily Price returns home to Italy with her new husband and learns that life at its richest is only found when she accepts its chaotic beauty. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])
Contemporary Women's Fiction:
Forgiveness by Marianne Evans -- Country music bad boy, Chase Bradington is on the comeback trail. Fresh from rehab for alcohol addiction and transformed by the power of Christ, Chase is battling to rediscover the music he loves and a career he nearly ruined. Then he meets up-and-comer, Pyper Brock and instantly sparks ignite. Despite her rampant attraction to the handsome and talented icon, Pyper knows of Chase’s reputation and soundly dismisses his romantic overtures. No way will Pyper repeat the mistake of trusting a man whose done battle with the bottle. Can a sin-damaged past be released in favor of forgiveness? (Women’s Fiction from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])
Beneath a Golden Veil by Melanie Dobson -- As elegant as the Sacramento residence she operates, Isabelle Labrie keeps her past concealed, like the treasure she hides under the Golden Hotel. Then, unexpected guests—fugitive slaves seeking safe passage to the North—force her to confront her past and reconsider her path. (Historical from Waterfall Press)
Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert -- Historically based on the Icelandic Sagas, Forest Child brings the memorable, conflicted persona of Freydis Eiriksdottir to life. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)
The Lost Generation by Erica Marie Hogan -- On August 5th 1914, the world changed forever. For John and Beth Young, it meant the happiness they finally achieved was snatched out from under them. For Emma Cote, it meant that her husband Jared would do his duty, despite her feelings. For Christy Simmons it meant an uncertain future with the boy she loved. The lives of six people, spread across the British Empire to America were changed forever. (Historical from Elk Lake Publishing Inc.)
The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Amber Stockton, Niki Turner, Gina Welborn, and Becca Whitham -- Meet nine men and women whose competitive goals take them to state and county fairs between 1889 and 1930. From baking pie to polishing pigs, from sculpting butter to stitching quilts, everyone has something to prove to themselves and their communities. But in going for the blue ribbon, will nine women miss the greatest prize of all—the devoted heart of a godly man? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
Left at the Altar by Margaret Brownley -- In the wild and untamed West, time is set by the local jeweler...but Two-Time Texas has two: two feuding jewelers and two wildly conflicting time zones. Meg Lockwood's marriage was supposed to unite the families and finally bring peace until she's left at the altar by her no-good fiancé. Hired to defend the groom against a breach of promise lawsuit, Grant Garrison quickly realizes that the only thing worse than small-town trouble is falling for the jilted bride. But there's something about Meg's sweet smile and determined grit that draws him in...even as the whole crazy town seems set on keeping them apart. (Historical Romance from Sourcebooks)
Mail Order Mommy by Christine Johnson -- Nursing a broken heart, Amanda Porter had answered a frontier mail-order bride ad placed by Garrett Decker's children—only to find the groom-to-be didn't want a wife. But his adorable children are determined she'll be their mother by Christmas… His wife's betrayal and tragic death demolished Garrett's life. Now he can't even look at another woman, let alone marry Amanda, who resembles his first love. But with his daughter convinced Amanda is the perfect mother, will Garrett realize she's also his perfect match? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Hope's Design by Dawn Kinzer -- An independent city girl aspiring to be a fashion designer falls for a stubborn artist from the country who wants to keep his talent a secret. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
Brides of Wyoming by S. Dionne Moore -- Roam the Wyoming range alongside three couples who meet under danger from bands of outlaws. Renee escapes a gang of outlaws and lands in the arms of a sheepherder. Olivia’s sleuthing upturns secrets key to solving the murder of a reluctant rancher’s father. Maira is trying to keep her ranch running alone when a drifting cowboy offers a hand. Can love develop where suspicion and greed roam the range? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)
The Negotiated Marriage by Christina Rich -- When the railroad pushes to buy her land, orphaned Cameron Sims will do anything to keep the only home she and her sisters have ever known. Even if she must marry a stranger. Duncan Murray doesn’t want a wife. He wants Sims Creek, a sanctuary that can help him forget a troubled childhood. But his reluctant, and captivating, bride-to-be is key to making his dreams a reality. And despite their business arrangement, Camy and Duncan might be signing on the dotted line for true love… (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Love in the Seams by Jodie Wolfe -- A little girl on a quest for a new mama has the local seamstress in her sights. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)
His Perfect Love by Sharon K. Connell -- On the run from a hit man, Patricia Campbell is unaware of the FBI’s search for her to learn what information she might hold, so she continues to hide out. Then she meets a persistent computer technician, a charming philanthropist, and a handsome, wealthy businessman who wants to marry her. But her fears resurface, and she wonders if she can trust any of them. Can she survive long enough to find peace…and perfect love? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)
Counter Point by Marji Laine -- Her dad's gone, her diner's closing, and her car's in the lake. Cat McPherson has nothing left to lose ... except her life. And a madman, bent on revenge, is determined to take that, as well. Her former boyfriend, Ray Alexander, returns as a hero from his foreign mission, bringing back souvenirs in the form of death-threats. When several attempts are made on Cat’s life, she must find a way to trust Ray, the man who broke her heart. (Romantic Suspense from Write Integrity Press)
The Flaming Sword by Heather L.L. FitzGerald -- When evil joins forces in the Tethered World, Sadie Larcen must risk all to protect the Flaming Sword and her family...even if it takes her life. (Speculative Young Adult from Mountain Brook Ink)