Gail's Book Nook

Monday, August 27, 2018

Looking Out The Window: Linda Rondeau Talks About Her New Book, Hosea's Heart, Shares A Devotional, Gives Away An E-book





A Warm Welcome to Linda Rondeau

Linda will give away an e-book of Hosea's Heart. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address below

Linda Shares a Devotional based on a passage from Hosea

Hosea Chapter 12 talks about Jacob's journey, how God called him and blessed him though he'd been a deceiver, how he wrestled with the angel until he submitted.

Jacob's family was riddled with strife. With two wives, sisters who obviously had serious jealousy issues, and two concubines who squabbled as well, and twelve sons who fought continuously. So fierce was there jealousy, they plotted to murder their little brother. Joseph's story is familiar. God used the dysfunction of a family to save a nation. Family rife is as old as Cain and Abel and sometimes with just as serious consequences.

In Hosea’s Heart, my main character, Aubrey Beaumont, worried for his children because of his addicted wife’s choices. Darlene became an overachiever, Paul excelled in golf and sought acceptance in sports, Bradley went into counseling services perhaps in some way to make sense of his life without a mother. The choices of parents can have far-reaching impact on children. I believe God is able to reach beyond a family's dysfunction and weave threads of gold from burnt cotton.

Thanks Linda, tell us a little about yourself.

Once I answered this questions with, “I was born in the usual way,” to which my interviewer became greatly worried. Was I a test tube baby? No. I merely mean that my birth and childhood were nothing out of the ordinary. I participated in choir and sports as do most children. I attended Houghton College. Then my life took a turn from ordinary to not so ordinary. My first marriage ended in disaster and I became a single mom. Though I’d studied to be a teacher, I ended up doing human services work. I remarried and that marriage has lasted over forty years. I believe God has used the messes in my life to be a better social worker and to encourage those whose lives may not have been the stuff of fairy tales.

Let's talk about your writing. Why do you do it?

Like most authors, I have always loved the art of storytelling. As an older elementary child, I often regaled younger children with my version of fairy tales and other made-up stories. Imagination was my middle name, according to my mother. In my work career, I particularly used my writing skills for client social summaries and case reports. At the ripe age of 54, God visited me with an undeniable call to begin writing professionally. I quit my day job. I don’t recommend anyone do that unless you are positive you have been asked by God to do so. I write to show others that, though we’ve made poor choices, our worst past, with God’s intervention, can become our best future.

Tell us about your latest book

Hosea’s Heart took many years to see daylight. This was my first attempt at fiction and had gone through many rewrites and title changes before landing with Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. Hosea’s Heart probably best portrays my mission of helping others to find Grace despite poor choices.
What inspired you to write this particular book?

The story of Hosea and Gomer is symbolic of God’s unconditional love for Israel as well as for us today. I wanted to bring their story into our current culture and demonstrate, though we must suffer consequences of our poor choices, God stands ready to turn our brokenness into beauty.

Are you a plotter or a panster. 

My writing process is both. I allow myself “free stream of consciousness” throughout most of my first draft, though I generally know my beginning, middle, and end before I start. I also know my message, target audience, and what style and presentation, I will use before I begin. When I do my first revisions, I make sure that my plot flows smoothly and in a logical progression.

How does your faith affect your writing?

In addition to fiction, I also write a devotional for my own blog, Snark and Sensibility, (found on my website and on Blogger). I cannot write gratuitous love scenes or formulaic stories. Not that there is anything wrong with that approach. However, my stories are written to impact those who are searching for answers rather than pure entertainment.


Linda's father plays the guitar for his little actress in the making

Do you put yourself in your books? 

That depends on what you mean, “yourself.” Like all authors, I draw on my personal experiences and emotional lessons learned and infuse them into my stories. A Wonderful Love, formerly known as It Really IS a Wonderful Life, was strongly influenced by years in Community Theater and a move into the tundra of Northern New York. The Other Side of Darkness draws heavily on my impressions of the Adirondack Mountains, where I spent many years. A Father’s Prayer, (aka A Christmas Prayer) was heavily influenced by both my social work experience and our caretaking experience of an autistic grandchild. Miracle on Maple Street was inspired by my relationship with a dear cousin. Though we never became estranged as in my story, years and distance drew us apart. Fiddler’s Fling was influenced by my love of music. Hosea’s Heart was greatly influenced by my years in human services.



Linda plays Sister Hubert in Nunsense

What would you be doing if you didn’t write?

I spent many years in Community Theater. If I did not write I would probably be more involved in this activity. Perhaps one of my fondest memories is my role as Sister Hubert in Nunsense. I have played many roles: a cigar-smoking elderly mystery writer, M’Lynn from Steal Magnolias, the mother in Under the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz, just to name a few.

Tell us about Aubrey Beaumont.

As if a call from God, Aubrey Beaumont knew he’d marry Joanna Curtis even before he walked across the room to introduce himself and even though she carried another man’s child. Their marriage had a few good years following her frequent rehabs. He loved her despite her addiction problems. He understood, that, though misguided, Joanna fled to protect her children from herself, realizing how harmful her addiction was to her family. Aubrey completed his ministerial studies after Joanna left him, but he never gave up his search for her, his driving passion behind his ministry. He takes a pastorate at a Silver Spring church after his friend and private detective told him she might have returned to Washington, D.C. where she was the daughter of a prominent politician but had lived in DC’s underground drug culture. After fifteen years, he feels that perhaps he should give up the search, realizing that Joanna simply did not want to be found. However, out of the blue, she contacts him. Terminally ill, she has become a material witness against her lover, a notorious D.C. drug lord. Aubrey’s faith is challenged as he struggles to forgive Joanna and is faced with the reality and enormity of her unfaithfulness. Like the prophet of old, God uses Aubrey’s struggles with an unfaithful wife to demonstrate the Lord’s compassion and great love for a world that scorns him.





More about Hosea's Heart 

How much should a wronged husband forgive?
Isn’t fifteen years long enough to search for a drug-addicted, runaway wife? His best friend, a private detective, tells him Joanna doesn’t want to be found. Since meeting the alluring Cynthia Prescott, he considers Gregg’s advice—get a divorce and move on.

A respectable minister of a Silver Spring church, Aubrey’s conundrum intensifies with Joanna’s reappearance. Claiming to be a new Christian, she confesses her life as a Madam for Washington’s rich and powerful and her plans to accept a plea bargain in exchange for testimony against Drug Czar, Joey Juarez, her former lover. She seeks Aubrey’s forgiveness.

 How can he believe her sincerity? Is all this brought about because of her terminal illness? What does God require? He could possibly forgive Joanna’s drug addiction. How can he overlook her prostitution and liaison with a murderous cartel? Should he love her like Hosea of Old who rescued his unfaithful wife from the bowels of degradation? And why would God bring her back to him now, only to watch her die?

Joanna accepts her probable end—her salvation and reunion with Aubrey is Grace enough. Yet, she prays for purpose in these final days. Is complete reconciliation with her family even possible? Or does God intend for her to help put a Washington menace behind bars? 

Joanna and Aubrey’s paths will lead them into unimagined territory as they crisscross through Washington’s underworld, testing faith and friendships. Only in retrospect will they realize God weaves threads of failure into tapestries of hope.

Buy Hosea's Heart on Amazon

Watch a trailer and learn more about Linda on her Website

Bio:

God is able to turn our worst past into our best future. This is the theme of every Rondeau book. A veteran social worker, Rondeau delves into the intricacies of human relationships, earning her critical acclaim for her heart-warming stories of deliverance and forgiveness. The author now resides in Hagerstown, MD with her best friend in life, her husband of forty years. Active in her local church, she enjoys playing the occasional round of golf, a common feature in many of her books. Readers may contact the author through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Instagram or visit her website: www.lindarondeau.com.



Sunday, August 26, 2018

Monday, August 20, 2018

Looking Out The Window: Dave Arp Talks About Me and Jake. Gives Away A Print Copy




A Warm Welcome to Dave Arp

Dave will give away a print copy of Me and Jake. (U.S. residents only) To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below.

Hi Dave, first, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m 60, married for 32 years, and I have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. I’ve spent the last 40 years working an equal time-on/off schedule, drilling oil and gas wells all over the world. When you hear someone say, “It’s on a slow boat from China,” I’ve been on one. Four years ago my relief and I moved a semi-submersible rig from Shanghai, China, to the Gulf of Mexico, 15,300 miles, in six months, on one tank of diesel fuel—4 million gallons.

Wow! What an exciting career. Lots of writers loved to read as children. How about you? If so, what did you read?

I survived through 12 years of informal education, and graduated, without reading a book. Not one. Not until a friend introduced me to Louis L’Amour after I graduated high school did I develop a love for reading. Since then, I’ve read thousands, fiction and nonfiction.

Let's talk about your writing. Why do you do it?

I began writing while living and working in Saudi Arabia, in my spare time, when rig activities allowed, and I discovered two things about myself: I loved to write and could not spell. I began doing crossword puzzles and acquired a dictionary. I kept writing. I love it. I still do.

Tell us about your latest book.

Me and Jake is a story about twin brothers, Ty and Cameron Ray, and their coonhound, Jake. The boys are 14 and normal enough for boys growing up in rural Arkansas, except for their family life. Their father was abusive. What seems to the boys like a string of coincidences, events and people popping in and out of their lives, turns out to be anything but.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

Me and Jake was inspired by a young man I met, again, on a drilling rig, offshore, Louisiana. As men do when working together, we talked and became fast friends, and I discovered that he was raised in a horrific, evil environment, all the making of his own father. I wrote his story as it happened and it was rejected. I rewrote it in a present/past format and it was rejected. Then I thought try fiction. Me and Jake is my imagination at work. My friend influenced the direction.

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

I love the boys. They’re boys. They want to hunt and fish and go to school and see their friends and ride a horse. They’re simple, almost innocent, to the point of being ignorant of worldly things. I hope my readers will walk away with the same knot in their throat as Ty has in his on the last page, then smile and tell others about Ty and Cameron.

Does faith affect your writing? If so, how?

I don’t/won’t write trash. I want to exchange eye contact with my mother, my grandmothers (were they still with us), the neighbor girl, my kids and grandkids, myself, and my God—unashamed.

What are you working on now?

I have two projects on my plate. A memoir for a veteran who did four tours of combat as a medic: two in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. And I’m taking Riley James across northern Saudi Arabia, on foot, trying to escape The Bloodletting after the Kingdom falls.

These sound like exciting books. Do you have to juggle writing with a job, family responsibilities, or other obligations? If so, how do you balance it?

A helicopter takes me to a drillship where I breathe, eat and sleep, on the job, for 14 days. In years past, during my spare time I read. Now I write. On my time off, back home in Colorado, I’m an early riser, like four to five in the morning early. Between then and seven when I take my bride a cup of coffee to begin her day, I write. I don’t know about balance. I just write when I can.

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?

Yes, I do. Write. Join a critique group, get involved, and write. As the adage goes, “No guts, no glory.”




More About Me and Jake 

Ty told his twin brother, Cameron, that he felt like something was going to happen to change their lives. Little did he know how prophetic that statement would be, or how soon it would come to pass. What seems like a series of coincidences are anything but, and what's more amazing, Ty's coon dog, Jake, might not be a dog at all.

Excerpt

The pond wasn’t big. About fifty paces across. Cameron and I had visited the little water hole many times for a drink when we could escape the hayfield without Dad catching us.  Sometimes the water was clear, most times not. The smell of mud, rotten plants, and frogs and such made me wonder how I’d put my lips in it for a long drink so many times before.

The woods opened up and the pond came into view. Jake swam around in the middle, like he couldn’t make up his mind which way to go. A big coon scurried out of the water and disappeared into the bushes on the opposite bank. To Jake’s left, another critter thrashed in the water. A red and white…what? Coon? I stopped and stared, stuck in the mud like a dead tree stump. Moron.

Cameron wore a red ball cap and a white shirt, but he couldn’t swim.

My scream propelled me into the water.

Buy Me and Jake

on Amazon and

Pelican Book Group's Main Page

Connect with Dave
on his website
on Facebook

Monday, August 13, 2018

Looking Out The Window: Carol Award Finalist Lillian Duncan Talks About Puzzle House. Gives Away An E-book.




A Warm Welcome to Lillian Duncan

Lillian will give away an e-book of Puzzle House

To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below

Congratulations, Lillian, on being a finalist for the prestigious Carol Award. Tell us about Puzzle House.

Puzzle House is the book I never wanted to write!

What??? Let me explain. Rachel Summers, the main character in my new book, Puzzle House, has brain tumors due to Neurofibromatosis Type 2.

Neuro…What?

That’s what I said when my doctor told me I had brain tumors because of something called Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2 for short) in 2012. The tumors are almost always benign, but there’s two meanings for benign. One being non-cancerous and the other being harmless. The good news is that my tumors are not cancerous, the bad news is they are definitely not harmless.
That’s why I say Puzzle House is the book I never wanted to write. I would never have written it if it weren’t for the brain tumors. But Romans 8: 28 promises that God works all things for the good of those who love Him.

Even brain tumors? Yes, even brain tumors. Recently, I was blessed with the news that Puzzle House is a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Carol Award. An award for excellence in Christian Fiction.

I won’t know if I’ve won or not until September. Of course, I want to win but the truth is I feel like I’ve already won just by being a finalist. I know everyone says that but now I know it’s true.
In many ways life is like a puzzle—not a box of candy! There’s lot of pieces that have to be put together before you can see the whole picture. Many times we don’t understand why we need a particular piece of our puzzle but God does.

If we trust God with all the puzzle pieces of our life, he will use them to create a thing of beauty.






More 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 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, usually from a life-threatening illness. 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
Pelican Book Group
Barnes and Noble

Bio: Lillian Duncan…mysteries, miracles & wonder.

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 as well as stories that demonstrate the wonder and power of God. To learn more about Lillian, you may visit her at her website or blog. She also has a devotional blog,  at www.PowerUpWithGod.comPower Up With God.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

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





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


Contemporary Romance:



Out of Their Element by Angela Breidenbach, Robin Lee Hatcher, Vickie McDonough, and Deborah Raney -- They are totally out of their element! Four mismatched couples find unexpected romance. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)



The Redemption Road by Christa MacDonald -- As Alex awaits retribution, he means to keep Annie safe at any cost, but she knows it’s redemption he needs and she’ll pay any price for him to find it. (Contemporary Romance from Mountain Brook Ink)



Scarlet Tears by Laura Hervey -- Caught in a romantic triangle with her brother’s best friend and a charming pastor, former call girl Carly Lawrence struggles to start a new life. (Contemporary Romance from Alabaster Box Press)


Historical Romance:


Rebecca’s Legacy by Betty Thomason Owens -- After a threat against her family, a spoiled heiress is sent to the country to work on her aunt’s produce farm and finds love. (Historical Romance from Write Integrity Press)




The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse -- Faith Jackson is a wealthy widow, friend of George Washington, and staunch supporter of the Patriot cause. Matthew Weber is friends with both Ben Franklin and his son William, who increasingly differ in their political views; and Matthew finds himself privy to information on both sides of the conflict. When a message needs to get to a spy among the Loyalists, Faith bravely steps up and in turn meets Matthew Weber. Suddenly she believes she could love again. But someone else has his eye on the Faith she portrays in elite social circles. What will Matthew and Faith have to sacrifice for the sake of their fledgling country? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Cozy Mystery:



Deadly Harvest by Marissa Shrock -- Georgia’s biggest challenge in the farming town of Wildcat Springs, Indiana, is figuring out how to win Evan Beckworth’s heart. Until the day she discovers the body of a former student in the woods. When she starts to suspect this wasn’t an accident, memories stir of her father’s murder nine years earlier. A murder never solved. As Georgia works with the sheriff's department’s newest detective, Cal Perkins, she finds her heart slipping into his hands. But her head is pummeled with conflicting evidence and anonymous threats of severe consequences if she digs any deeper. In the end, Georgia faces a paralyzing choice. Ignore the dark secrets inside the family and friends who surround her or be willing to risk her own life to uncover the truth. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)




Unknown Enemy by Janet Sketchley -- A young woman with a traumatic past must discover the truth about who's playing mind games with the Green Dory Inn's owner. (Cozy Mystery, Independently Published)


Romantic Suspense:



Hiding in Plain Sight by Mary Ellis -- When a Charleston PI rents a room above an Italian restaurant owned by a handsome chef, she lands in the middle of a family feud with robbery, arson and murder for the daily specials. (Romantic Suspense from Severn House Publishers LTD)



Wildfire by Gayla K. Hiss -- A female wildfire scientist and a firefighter team up to solve the mystery behind the outbreak of wildfires in the Rockies and find themselves at the center of a firestorm. (Romantic Suspense from Mountain Brook Ink)



Amish Country Ambush by Dana R. Lynn -- A police officer and a dispatcher travel deep into Amish country to rescue her nephew and to escape a killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])



Imperfect Promises by Elizabeth Noyes -- When a homegrown terrorist threatens the woman he loves, former Special Forces soldier Jonas Cameron calls on old friends to help him eliminate the danger. (Romantic Suspense from Write Integrity Press)



Cold Fear by Susan Sleeman -- When a sniper’s ex-girlfriend, a musician, is framed for murder during her summer tour, he jumps to defend her from an imminent arrest and a killer’s deadly rage. But the evidence against her stacks higher as three bodies are found with her name tattooed on their wrist. (Romantic Suspense from Edge of Your Seat Books, Inc.)



Cold Case Cover-Up by Virginia Vaughan -- The first thrilling Covert Operatives tale An infant is believed to have been murdered thirty years ago—but investigative journalist Dana Lang is convinced she’s that baby. Now someone’s willing to kill to stop her investigation. And only secretive deputy Quinn Dawson, whose grandfather may have faked Dana’s death to protect her, can keep her safe. But a killer’s dead set on burying the past—and them—for good. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Thriller/Suspense:


Pretense by John Di Frances -- A dark cloud hangs over Europe after the brutal murders of two heads of state just days apart. A diabolical plot appears to stretch westward to the United States, implicating the CIA. But do the facts reflect reality or is there a sinister force working behind the scenes to destabilize Europe and NATO? The team of investigators led by Interpol’s Marek Frakas, 'The Wolf,' moves quickly to track the perpetrators and uncover the identity of the unseen mastermind behind the conspiracy. This cadre includes the lovely Adrianna, a young forensic weapons expert who can hold her own on the male-dominated international team of investigators. Together they seek to understand reality versus the shattered mirror-like reflections meant to obfuscate the truth and shroud the mastermind’s identity and ultimate purpose. (Political Thriller from Reliance Books Publishing, LLC)



Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig -- Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies' blood. Cole "Tox" Russell wants only to put the dangers of his past behind him and begin his new life with Haven Cortes. First, though, he's called to complete a final mission: retrieve the sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order. The AFO, however, is determined to reunite the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the artifact is tied to a string of unsolved serial murders. Tox and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to target the true enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must destroy the AFO . . . or join them in the flames. (Military Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])