Gail's Book Nook

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Donna Schlachter Talks About Her New Book In The Pony Express Romance Collection. Gives Away A Print Copy (U.S.)




A Warm Welcome to Donna Schlachter

Donna will give away a print copy of The Pony Express Romance Collection (U.S. Residents Only). To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below.

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

I am a Canadian by birth, an American by choice, and I consider myself more patriotic and more thankful for this country than many who were born here. When I was little, I would look at the map of North America, and wonder why my ancestors didn’t stay on the boat for another few months. Then again, when my ancestors came to Canada, there was no America. I am an accountant by training, and tend to be very linear. For that reason, although I’ve always wanted to take painting lessons, I’ve never tried because I’m sure I could paint cubes but not much else.

Lots of writers loved to read as children. How about you? If so, what did you read?

I was an avid reader. I once was so engrossed in a book I was reading on the school bus, I completely missed my stop and ended up at the bus depot about 20 miles from home. The driver had to call my mother who then came to pick me up. I also used to choose my books based on the most number of pages for the price. Scholastic Book Club was my favorite day, and my mother would give me a quarter, and I could usually get two 100-page books for that, plus a little left over for candy.

Why do you write?

I could go all spiritual on you and say because God called me to write. And that’s part of it. And I could go all intellectual on you and say because the stories are inside and they must come out. And that’s another huge part of my reason for writing. But recently, as I have looked back on what I write, I realize they share a common thread: stories of second chances. So I think that’s the reason I write. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, and should have been in prison or dead (that’s a tale for another day), and yet God has been so gracious and merciful in giving me second, and third, and fourth chances, that I want to share that grace and mercy with other broken people just like me who are seeking another opportunity to get it right.

Tell us about your latest book.

The Pony Express Romance Collection is my first traditionally published book, and it contains 9 novellas from different authors about the Pony Express. My particular story, Echoes of the Heart, is about a woman running from her past, and a man who thinks he has no future. Through a series of misunderstandings, they find themselves involved in intrigue and mystery, and must decide whether they will go forward together—or alone.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

 My good friend Mary Davis invited me to be part of this collection, and once I did the research, discovered I loved the Pony Express. I could bend your ear with about 3 hours of facts and information, but suffice it to say, I guess I wrote the story because I love the history and the romantic notion of the Pony Express.

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

I love the physical book itself—the cover art, the feel of the paper, the delightful old-fashioned look about it. The folks at Barbour Publishing did a fantastic job! I also love the sense of camaraderie that developed among the writers as we promoted the book. And I hope readers would be able to tell others that our history is accurate, our stories compelling, and our characters are just like them.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

I collect newspaper clippings, photos from magazines, snippets of information I overhear in coffee shops, internet news stories, and interesting stuff from museums and other historic displays. I like to ask “what if” about history, and I love watching videos. In short, from everywhere.

In three words describe your style of writing.

Constantly percolating and evolving

How do you get to know your characters?

Sometimes I spend the entire first chapter or two getting to know them, then I delete that and start where the story should start. Sometimes I already know them, because I’ve met them somewhere.

What themes do you write about?

Grace and mercy through second chances. I also like my stories to brighten the reader’s day, even if it’s a tough circumstance or topic.

What is your writing schedule and where do you write?

I write almost every day for at least some part of the day. I have an office that I share with my husband in our home, and I also love to write at a local coffee shop. In fact, every Monday morning, and many times 1 or 2 afternoons a week, I’m at the coffee shop writing. I find the change of scenery helps me focus more on the writing and less on the laundry.

Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities or other obligations? How do you balance it?

First of all, I am truly blessed to be a kept woman. I don’t have to work outside the home, and my husband is very supportive of my writing. That said, I try to compartmentalize the other things I do. I edit, ghostwrite, and publish for clients. I also proofread legal documents one day a week. I do some data entry for a company for about a half hour each morning. Bookkeeping, laundry, meals, etc. etc. all have their time and place. Hubby and I are also very active in an international ministry which takes time. So I use a calendar to keep it all straight, and a white board beside my desk that tells me the bigger tasks I have to do each day. Balance it? What’s that? If anybody can give me the answer to that question, I’d sure appreciate it. Although one thing I did this year is hire a virtual assistant to handle most of my social media.


More About The Pony Express Romance Collection
Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express.
Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials?

Buy The Pony Express Romance Collection on Amazon
and in Echoes of the Heart on Amazon

Bio:

Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick, her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts. She is a hybrid publisher who has published a number of books under her pen name and under her own name. Donna is also a ghostwriter and editor of fiction and non-fiction, and judges in a number of writing contests. Donna recently taught the popular Don't Let Your Subplots Sink Your Story, an online course for American Christian Fiction Writers, and will teach another course in May 2018 on The Middle Muddle. Donna loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.

Connect with Donna on

History Thru the Ages
Her website
Facebook
Twitter 


Monday, October 9, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Lillian Duncan Talks About Puzzle House, Her New Book. Shares A Link To Enter Her Giveaway





A Warm Welcome to Lillian Duncan 


To celebrate the release of Puzzle House, Lillian’s having a very special giveaway on her blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes. Leave a comment on one of her Puzzle House posts and you’re entered to win.


Hi Lillian, tell us a little about yourself.

My husband and I live in a small town in Ohio. I mean small—we only have 1 traffic light. I grew up in the area, but moved to the big city of Cleveland for many years. Like Dorothy, I love being home again.

What is your favorite genre to read? To write? 

Mostly I read and write Christian mystery and suspense with a little horror thrown in. Puzzle House is a complete departure from what I usually write. I would simply classify it as Christian Fiction, like the book War Room.

Tell us about Puzzle House. 

I call it the book I never wanted to write!

Really? Can you explain that?

Early on in the story, the main character (Rachel Summers) discovers she has brain tumors due to a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF 2).

Neuro…what?

That’s exactly what I said when I was diagnosed with NF 2 and bilateral brain tumors in 2012. Don’t gasp! The tumors are almost always non-cancerous but as I like to say that hasn’t stopped them from wreaking havoc on my health and my life.

And that is why I say Puzzle House is the book I never wanted to write. I would never have written it if I hadn’t developed the brain tumors. But I do have NF 2 and the brain tumors and Puzzle House is one of the good things that’s come from it.

What inspired you to write this novel in particular?

I wanted to show that even when you have a serious chronic illness, God can use you to help others.

What is Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2)?

It’s a rare genetic disease that allows tumors to grow anywhere there are nerves, but most people with NF2 develop brain tumors, which I did. The tumors affect both your hearing and your balance which can affect your health in significant ways. It’s been a difficult journey but God is good. There’s a lot I can’t do these days because of the brain tumors, but I can still write!

It's wonderful that you're writing. Tell us a bit about the main characters in your new book.

Rachel Summers was all about Rachel Summers until the day she crashed into a semi-truck. While in a coma she has a very special visitor that asks a very special question. Do you want to be healed or to be a healer? Her answer changes the course of her life as well as many others.

What’s the setting for Puzzle House

It starts out in the icy cold city of Cleveland, Ohio but moves on to the warmth of Georgia.

What do you want readers to take away from Puzzle House?

That God can and does still do miracles but the miracle we want isn’t always the miracle we need and God knows the difference.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a sequel to Puzzle House. It’s called The David Years and without giving too much of the plot of Puzzle House away, it follows one of the characters you meet in Puzzle House.




About Puzzle House

Life isn't a box of candy—it's a puzzle! Rachel Summers is all about Rachel Summers...until the day she crashes headlong into a semi-truck. As her life hangs in the balance, she has a visitor who asks a very simple question.Does she want to be healed or to be a healer?She makes her choice, but the journey doesn't go quite the way she expected. And so Rachel now runs The Puzzle House. Every guest is different and yet the same. They all come to the Puzzle House for one reason and one reason only—to be healed. Sometimes they receive their miracle, and sometimes they discover there's more than one kind of healing.Nia is a fifteen-year-old African-American girl who is dying. The doctors have told her there is nothing else to be done. No more treatments. No more hope. No more life. And she's angry about that. Very angry. Against her wishes, Nia's aunt brings her to The Puzzle House.Together, Nia and Rachel will take a journey that will change both their lives.

Buy on Amazon

Bio:
Lillian Duncan…Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published author who lives in the middle of Ohio Amish country with her husband and a menagerie of pets. After more than 30 years working as a speech pathologist for children, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us. To learn more about Lillian, visit her websiteblogdevotional blogFacebook and Twitter  @LillianDuncan.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Looking Out The Window: Catherine Castle Talks About Her New Romantic Comedy, A Groom For Mama




A Warm Welcome to Catherine Castle

Hi Catherine, Thanks for sharing a sweet devotional!



When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Pie

photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons


We’ve all experienced it—that thing or things that bring us down. Maybe it’s a health problem, the loss of a loved one, a broken heart, or disappointment at work or home. Whatever life-lemons you are handed it can be very hard to see the sweeter side of the problem.

There’s a lovely elderly lady in our church who has dementia. She’s at the stage where she knows she’s not remembering things. She can’t cook anymore because she can’t remember whether or not she’s added an ingredient, and most of the time she can’t remember the recipes she once knew by heart. We often eat supper with her after church and she sometimes can’t remember what she ordered. The ladies at the table watch out for her to make sure she gets the right drink and meal.

Dementia is one of the scariest diseases I know, yet Laurie (named changed to protect her) faces this disease smiling, joking about it even. The other day when I ran into her at the local diner, I asked her how she was. “Fine,” she said with a broad smile. Then she laughed and added, “If I was doing bad I wouldn’t remember it anyway. Might as well be fine.”

Lauri has been handed a big pile of lemons, pretty sour ones, yet somehow she’s found the recipe to make a sweet lemon pie from the awful thing that is happening to her. One of the ingredients she’s using to make her lemons more palatable is humor.

Science tells us that laughter is good for us. Not only does it trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers, laughter can increase your overall sense of well-being. Research has found that people who have a positive outlook on life tend to fight diseases better than people who tend to be more negative. Laughter can reduce stress hormones, lower your blood pressure, and even work your abs. If you’ve ever had a spell of uncontrollable laughter, the kind that puts you into tears, you know what I’m talking about.

The Bible also addresses the need for us to laugh and be happy, calling a merry heart “good medicine.”( Prov. 17:22 ) When Job’s friends came to cheer him up, they said, “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.” (Job 8:21), indicating that God would cheer Job up once again and that He is with us even in the lowest parts of our lives. Psalm 118:24 even commands us to be happy, saying. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Sometimes it’s hard to see the joy in a bad situation, and a good laugh won’t cure all your ills. But if, like my friend Laurie, when you can see the humor in spite of the pain—make a lemon pie from the sour hand you’ve been dealt, you may be able to find the joy and contentment in whatever situation you find yourself in.

Psalms 16: 8-11 says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

So, the next time life hands you lemons, try making a sweet pie with it. Believe me, it will taste much better than the bitterness of sorrow or anger.

In my sweet romantic comedy, A Groom for Mama, Mama uses humor and a positive attitude to deal with her troubles. She also isn’t above playing the scheming Cupid in order to get her daughter married to the right man. A string of disastrous dates, a search for a cancer treatment, and a hunt for a bridegroom bring Allison dangerously close to the last man she ever wants to marry. Or does she?





About A Groom for Mama

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

Bio:

Catherine Castle loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, watching movies, and the theatre. In the winter she quilts and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place is in her garden. She’s a passionate gardener who won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club.

Her debut inspiration romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, from Soul Mate Publishing was an ACFW Genesis Finalist, a 2014 EPIC finalist, and the winner of the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award and the 2014 RONE Award. Her most recent release, A Groom for Mama, is a sweet romantic comedy from Soul Mate Publishing.  Both books are available on Amazon.

Buy A Groom for Mama On Amazon

Connect with Catherine:

On her  website
blog 
Amazon page
Goodreads
twitter 
Facebook
Google+

Stitches Thru Time
SMP authors blog site


Monday, October 2, 2017

Looking Out The Window: American Christian Fiction Writers October New Releases








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

Contemporary Romance:


The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner -- Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that's obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she's made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she's chosen. She's still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she's not sure she can write anymore. She's beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a "scandalous" book. And the fact that she's falling in love with her pastor doesn't make things any easier. (Contemporary Romance from Revell - A Division of Baker Publishing Group)



A Waltz for Amber by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Amber, a struggling dance teacher, is desperate to make a success of her studio. The quickly approaching Christmas recital should help except for one problem—the high school music teacher scheduled the holiday program on the same night, causing a conflict for her students. Will she be able to sustain her business or will she lose everything in the pursuit of her dream? Chris is thrilled to be back in his hometown. However, his past won’t stay in the past, and the pretty dance instructor is a constant reminder of his failings. He wants to make up for his youthful mistake directed at her, but how? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



Secret Christmas Twins by Lee Tobin McClain -- Christmas came early for Erica Lindholm! Suddenly a mom to adorable twin baby boys and part owner of a snowy small-town Pennsylvania farm, Erica is living her dream. Until the boys' estranged uncle, Jason Stephanidis, comes home to celebrate the holidays. The handsome, brooding detective turns out to be a natural with the babies...and with Erica's wounded heart. But if Jason knew the truth about their identities, her picture-perfect life could melt away. Will Erica's secret cost her everything? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Fall Into Romance by Melanie D. Snitker Surround yourself in the romance of the autumn season with 10 heartwarming, sweet novellas from USA Today, national bestselling, and award-winning authors. Each story takes you inside the heart of a small town—its people—and features adorable animal friends in need of a forever home.
Take a trip to Romance, Oregon, where falling in love has never been easier and happily-ever-after is guaranteed! (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



A Texas Holiday Reunion by Shannon Taylor Vannatter -- With her foreman out of commission, Resa McCall needs horse trainer Colson Kincaid to run her family ranch through the holidays. But having the handsome single dad back in Bandera, Texas, is unsettling. Colson broke Resa's heart years ago, and she can't risk getting close again. Still, working with him and bonding with his sweet little girl is making the ranch feel merry and bright. Being at Resa's side stirs up emotions Colson thought were long gone. But he has a powerful secret that could keep them apart forever. Can Colson give Resa the one Christmas present that might finally bring them back together—the truth? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall -- Arson wasn't the only fire that ignited between them. Promises shattered. Lies spoken. She was arrested. He returned to the safety of his wealthy parents.
Almost ten years later, Hadley and Monroe are both specialists in the field of speech therapy. They meet again . . . thrown together to help a four-year-old-girl rendered mute after being rescued from a fire. Years of secrets and anger beg to be set free as Hadley and Monroe try to push aside past hurts and find common ground in order to help the traumatized child and her family. Can the love of Christmas past drift into the present, bringing healing and hope for all? (Contemporary Romance from Woodsmall Press)

General Contemporary (includes Women's Fiction):


Piper's Passion by Lee Carver -- Piper Jordan, an American reared in Brazil, had her pilot’s license before she could drive and her aviation maintenance certificate before her business degree. Pulled between two countries, two career paths, and separated parents, she strives to determine what is significant and what to do with her life.
Kyle Chamberlain, pilot with Outreach for Christ, wears a wedding ring that says he’s not ready to date again after Rosanna’s death. Wielding a wrench with the cutest pilot/mechanic he’s ever seen turns his head. But would a dynamic woman with her talents and eventual inheritance accept his missionary life in the Amazon? (Contemporary Women's Fiction, Independently Published)



Grace in Strange Disguise by Christine Dillon -- Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart? (General Contemporary, Independently Published)

Historical:


Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano -- When Aurelie Harcourt's father dies in debtor's prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet houseguest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company. When Aurelie decides to complete her father's unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother's disappearance--and perhaps even her father's death. (Historical from Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group)



The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia T Toney -- In 1925, a thirteen-year-old boy witnesses a crime—the murder of a family friend—and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy mobsters and corrupt police to save his family. (Historical from Write Integrity Press)

Historical Romance:

Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander -- In the midst of war and the fading dream of the Confederacy, a wounded soldier and a destitute widow discover the true meaning of Christmas, the cost of love . . . and of loving again. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)



The Captive Brides Collection by Jennifer AlLee, Angela Breidenbach, Susan Page Davis, Darlene Franklin, Patty Smith Hall, Cynthia Hickey, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Lucy Thompson, and Gina Welborn -- Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


A Mountain Christmas Romance by Misty M. Beller -- Stripped of the family so important to his Viking heritage, Matthias Bjork is now on the hunt for his sister. Despite combing the entire Wyoming Territory, he hasn’t found any substantial leads regarding his sister’s whereabouts, but he has discovered a most unusual woman.
Opal Boyd has finally found the haven she’s longed for all her life, in a most unlikely place—working for a German couple in this remote Wyoming mountain town. She learned long ago that most men couldn’t be trusted, but when a mountain man stops in the boarding house where she works, he seems to have the respect and affection of the two people she’s learned to trust implicitly.
But when Matthias’ search for his sister takes an unexpected twist, Opal is forced to make a choice that will alter the course of her life—no matter which answer she chooses. When Matthias’ decisions land Opal in danger, what must he sacrifice to rescue her? (Historical Romance, ACFW Qualified Independently Published)



Fool’s Notion by Lisa J. Flickinger -- Feisty Alda Lealand braves fifteen hundred miles with a pack string of mules—and the help of an unexpected cowboy--to save the family farm. (Historical Romance from Forget Me Not Romances [Winged Publications])



Playing by Heart by Carmela A. Martino -- Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the “second sister” means she’ll likely be sent to a convent instead. Ironically, Emilia’s pious older sister, Maria, would gladly become a nun. But Father won’t allow it—her brilliant language skills are too important to his quest for noble status. Emilia’s only hope is to prove her musical talents are as indispensable as her sister’s skills. First, though, Emilia must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Before she can carry out her plan, though, Emilia's mother dies in childbirth. In her sorrow, Emilia composes a heartrending sonata that causes the maestro to finally recognize her talent. He begins teaching her music theory alongside handsome violinist Antonio Bellini, the great-nephew of a wealthy marquis. The two begin as rivals, but Emilia gradually falls in love with him. (Historical Romance from Vinspire Publishing)

Historical Western:


Too Far Down by Mary Connealy -- A citified mine operator and a tough western cowgirl are the most unlikely couple of all as they team up to fight the outlaws that want the Cimarron Ranch. (Historical Western from Bethany House [Baker])

Romantic Suspense:


Dangerous Ground by Gayla K. Hiss -- Deputy Marshal Kate Phillips comes to the Great Smoky Mountains in search of answers concerning her uncle’s suspicious death, and finds herself in the middle of an ancient family feud and a land dispute with handsome first responder, David Jennings. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)



Christmas Captive by Liz Johnson -- On his cousin's Christmas cruise wedding, navy SEAL Jordan Somerton anticipated having the typical best man duties—not facing down criminals boarding the ship. But when the luxury liner is infiltrated by men determined to kidnap the flower girl, he's plunged into an unexpected mission. Maid of honor and DEA agent Amy Delgado hasn't forgiven Jordan for a misunderstanding in their pasts. But with her young niece targeted, she must draw on Jordan's skills as a protector. Signs point to an inside job. With a traitor in their midst, can they ensure that every passenger returns home safely for the holidays…even as they find love amid deepening danger? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Speculative:


Transfusion by Victoria Buck -- The world's first transhuman must save the world, or save the woman he loves. (Speculative from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Suspense:


Kill Zone by Rick Acker, Christy Barritt, Patricia Bradley, Braxton DeGarmo, Luana Ehrlich, Heather Day Gilbert, Heather I. James, Robert Liparulo, Jordyn Redwood, and Jan Thompson -- Espionage, hacking, police procedural, international crime and intrigue, covert action, spy, secret police, revenge, snipers...and so much more! Ten brand-new, never-before published novellas of suspense, intrigue, and thrills from ten bestselling Christian thriller authors, all packed into this one anthology. (Suspense from Georgia Press LLC)

Sunday, October 1, 2017