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Writer’s Life: Serena Chase

The Seahorse Legacy

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance. Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Serena Chase! Serena and I connected through her fabulous blog, Edgy Inspirational Romance. If you haven’t checked out her Wednesday feature, “The Author’s Casting Call,” you need to. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy seeing pictures of cute guys cast as heroes in our favorite books? That can’t be just me! Oh, and the heroines get cast too… 🙂 Serena also reviews novels for USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog and is the author  of The Eyes of E’veria series,  more info below. A new edition of the third book in the series, The Seahorse Legacy, is available now!

 

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Every once in a while a line or passage slips through your fingers and you realize that little nugget is speaking to your own heart as much (or more) than your audience. Those are magical moments!

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Summer vacation! With two kids still at home and a husband who is an elementary principal, summer vacation is great for them . . . but not so much for me, since I work from home. I love my family, truly, but when school breaks, so does my sanity, via my usually quiet writing space. It is really difficult to keep the flow going, to focus, with constant interruptions, noise and activity about the house and the yard, the need for transportation to the pool, practices, friends’ houses, driver’s ed . . . And don’t get me started on the guilt that results when I’m working and they’re all home and I feel like I should be with them, but I also need to play with my imaginary friends so I can meet a deadline . . . Oy!

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I am energized by travel–which I don’t do nearly enough–and by interacting with other fiction authors. Also, taking a break from reading for review (I review books for USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog and for the Edgy Inspirational Romance blog) and instead reading for pure enjoyment is good for me. Honestly, that is a treat! Since I couldn’t afford a real vacation this summer,  I took July and August off from reviewing (mostly) and I’ve been reading through the backlog of books I’ve wanted to read for a while, but couldn’t fit it with my review schedule. It’s been so much fun!

 

4. What are you working on now?

I just released a new edition of Eyes of E’veria book 3: The Seahorse Legacy, and I’m finishing up The Sunken Realm (Eyes of E’veria, book 4) It should release within the next couple of months, and once it’s out . . . I’m taking a break from that world (E’veria) to get after a contemporary paranormal romance series I’ve had on the back burner for a while. I am sooo excited to further develop this new project!

***

Summer truly is a challenge. I don’t envy you the driver’s training. We survived that last year, and we moved on to college visits this year.Yikes! I feel guilty for all the reasons you listed every day during the summer. We have to meet deadlines, but we want to be there for our family. It’s really hard.

Congratulations on wrapping up your gorgeous series this year. I’m intrigued by the contemporary paranormal romance series, too. Mmm! Thank you so much for being my guest!

 

***

The Seahorse Legacy

THE SEAHORSE LEGACY ~

 

a Pirate, bound by a centuries-old oath

As Keeper of the Seahorse Legacy, Cazien de Pollis is a King among pirates, divinely appointed to dispense justice on the seas. Bound by the sacred oath of a long-dead ancestor, he must fulfill a contract to wed the green-eyed Oracle’s Daughter named therein—or risk losing everything he and his people hold dear. But at nineteen, with the identity of his betrothed only recently revealed, Cazien resents the contract—and the urgency within him to see it satisfied.

a Knight, determined to prove her calling

Erielle de Gladiel returned from the quest for the Remedy, changed. Not only are her formerly-blue eyes now a brilliant shade of green, but she must don gloves to hide inky evidence that her prophetically-bestowed title, the Oracle’s Daughter, demands more from her than the task already completed. Erielle’s dearest-held dream is realized when she is knighted by her King, but unbeknownst to her, that very honor jeopardizes the prophesied purpose to which she and Cazien have been called.

a Legacy, demanding surrender

Just as Cazien summons the courage to collect his bride, dark rumors and darker deeds crawl up the coasts, calling its guardians, the Seahorse Pirates, into action—and Cazien away from Erielle. But even though the Oracle’s Daughter knows nothing of the contract to which she has been consigned, Cazien’s enemies have somehow learned of his interest in Erielle. And if they reach her before his ancestor’s weighty oath is executed, the Seahorse Legacy will be forfeited . . . and darkness will be given reign.

 

 

The third book in this series-within-a series, The Seahorse Legacy begins an epic tale of piracy, adventure, and romance. Giving subtle nods to several fairy tales, including an unexpected twist to the story of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, this romantic adventure will conclude in Eyes of E’veria, Book 4: The Sunken Realm, coming in 2015.

Want to dive deeper into the world of E’veria? Look for the first two-book set in the Eyes of E’veria series by Serena Chase! The Ryn (book 1) and The Remedy (book 2) retell the classic Grimm fairy tale Snow White & Rose Red on an inspirational and epic scale.

 

PURCHASE THE SEAHORSE LEGACY

***

Serena Chase

ABOUT SERENA ~

SERENA CHASE lives in Iowa with her husband, two teen daughters, and a big white dog named Albus. A frequent contributor to USA Today‘s Happy Ever After blog, Serena is an avid reader of young adult fiction and inspirational romance and has become a respected influencer within those communities. When not engaged in her varied roles within the publishing industry, Serena can be found watching action movies and dreaming about someday living in a cottage by the sea. Connect with Serena Chase on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter (@Serena_Chase) and visit www.serenachase.com to subscribe to her newsletter and gain access to exclusive, subscriber-only content.

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I read a lot of contemporary romance novels, but I love getting lost in a unique story-world like Serena’s! Is there a setting that really stood out for you in a novel? Do share!

Have a terrific day!

Writer’s Life: Danica Favorite

The Lawman's Redemption

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance novels. I’m thrilled to have Danica Favorite today! Danica and I met years ago at an RWA conference in Washington D.C. I knew her from the Harlequin forums, so I was especially happy to run into her in person. Since then, we’ve reconnected through ACFW, and I had the pleasure of a long, deep discussion with her over coffee in Dallas. I wish we lived closer to each other! Danica’s second Love Inspired Historical, The Lawman’s Redemption, released July 1! Yay!

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

I just really love exploring people’s stories and lives, so it’s all about getting to know these people and have their stories come to life, ending on a happy note. Probably the happy note is the most important part. There’s enough depressing stuff in this world going on, so I like to make sure the happy part really comes out.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Finding enough time to do it all. I work about 30 hours a week, have two busy kids, we just moved, and we’re building on to our new house. Did I also mention that I have a book to write? So it’s really interesting sometimes, finding a way to balance it all and finding time to fit everything in.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

Great question, because the answer is something I’m really passionate about. For writers, and pretty much anyone else, it’s so important to keep that creative well filled. I’ve created a lot of exercises to help people engage creatively with the world. That’s been the key to keeping my creative well full. I do a lot of art journaling, regular journaling, crafts, knitting, outdoor activities, prayer, meditation, creative movement, and a lot of other fun stuff. I think it’s important to shake things up now and then, so I’m always trying something new. I have a page on my website dedicated to my creative practice, so stop by!

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m in the middle of my third book, which is Emma Jane and Jasper’s story. And wow! It is quite the ride. I’m at the place most people call the “sagging middle” but with the way bullets are about to start flying, this book is doing anything but! I’m also working on some fun creativity books that I hope will help writers (and regular people!) engage in a deeper creative process.

 

***

Danica, I love your art journal! My son and I took some of your tips and have added to our art journals here and there. You’re so right about doing a variety of things to stay engaged. You inspire me!

***

The Lawman's Redemption

The Lawman’s Redemption ~

Lawman on a Mission

Former deputy Will Lawson is fighting to regain his reputation—and Mary Stone is his only lead to the bandit who framed him. Now that he’s tracked Mary to Leadville, Colorado, Will needs the proud beauty to reveal her past. Instead, his efforts spark a mighty inconvenient attraction…

Mary’s only real crime is that she once believed an outlaw’s lies. Still, she fears disclosing the truth to Will may land her in jail—and leave her young siblings without protection. Now she must choose between honesty and safeguarding her family. And if Will does clear his own name, can he convince the woman he loves to share it?

 

Buy The Lawman’s Redemption now!

 

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Danica Favorite

 

About Danica ~

A dedicated professional in the publishing world, Danica Favorite works as an online moderator for a major publisher where she connects readers and writers with new fiction releases. With four active kids, a devilishly handsome husband and insane dog, Danica’s never short of inspiration when it comes to writing characters for her latest book. She and her family make their home in Denver, Colorado, where they enjoy the mountain lifestyle with the comforts of the city.

***

Have you tried art journaling? It’s fun! Here’s a link to Danica’s Art Journal blog!

Have a great day!

Writer’s Life: Lyn Cote

Lake, Lyn Cote

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance novels. Today I’m blessed to have Lyn Cote on the blog! Lyn is an award-winning, multi-published author of contemporary and historical romance, and she’s also a generous writer who has helped many new authors like myself. Her new book, Blessing, the second in her historical romance series, Quaker Brides, came out this month!

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

I love it when my characters “take over” the story and start doing  and saying things I didn’t expect them to!

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Just keeping up with the demands of working with two publishers and also self-publishing books that don’t “fit” the traditional market but which I want to write.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

Where I live feeds my creativity. I live on a lake in the forest. Also I find trips–even day trips–energize my imagination.

Lake, Lyn Cote
Lyn Cote’s view of the lake!

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m just finishing up work on my Quaker Brides series for Tyndale House. The second book in the series Blessing released July 1st. I’ve just finished a proposal for another series for Love Inspired Romance and also a novella that will come out in November. See I’m keeping busy!

***

Lyn, I’m amazed at how many books you’ve published and continue to publish! Congratulations on all your hard work and success. Living on a lake in the forest would definitely fill my creative well. I love long walks outdoors! Thank you so much for being my guest today!

***

Blessing by Lyn Cote

Blessing ~

An impetuous love swept Blessing Brightman away from the Quaker community, into the highest ranks of Cincinnati society. But behind the glitter of ballroom and parlor, her spirit slowly eroded in an increasingly dangerous marriage. Widowed young, determined never to lose her independence again, Blessing reclaimed her faith and vowed to use her influence to fight for women’s rights and abolition.

Gerard Ramsay, scion of a wealthy Boston family, arrives in Cincinnati hoping to escape his father’s clutches with a strategy that will gain him independence. His plan is soon complicated, however, by the enchanting widow. Never before has a woman spoken as if she’s his equal—or challenged him to consider the lives of others.

In a city nearly ablaze with racial tensions quickly dividing the country, can two people worlds apart possibly find common ground?

Buy Blessing Now! 

***

Lyn Cote

About Lyn Cote ~

Author of over 40 books, award-winning author Lyn Cote writes contemporary and historical romance. Her homepage blog features “Strong Women, Brave Stories.” Visit her website/blog at LynCote.com and find her on Facebook, GoodReads and Twitter.

 

***

If you could live on any lake or ocean, which one would you choose?

Have a terrific day!!

 

We’re Talking Lighthouses with Jody Hedlund

Hearts Made Whole

Today, I have the pleasure of talking with Jody Hedlund about her lighthouse series, Beacons of Hope. The second story in the series, Hearts Made Whole, is available now. I loved it! My review is at the end of the post.

Let’s get to it.

 

1. Each of your lighthouse books is set at a real lighthouse that once existed in Michigan or still does exist. Tell us a little about the lighthouse in this second book.

 

In my first lighthouse book (Love Unexpected), the lighthouse was set at Presque Isle which is on Lake Huron on the north eastern side of the state. For the second book, I picked a lighthouse in a completely new location with the intention of giving readers a different flavor of climate, geography, and the population.

 

Windmill Point Lighthouse once existed on Lake St. Clair near Detroit, a much more urban and highly trafficked area than the remote wilderness of Presque Isle. Windmill Point Lighthouse was a strategic beacon that helped ships cross from Lake Huron over into Lake Erie as those ships transported raw goods from the Northwest states to eastern cities and seaports.

 

The lighthouse is named after the old ruins of a windmill where early frontiersmen brought their grain for grinding. Also, legends attribute the area to being an old battle field of a savage encounter between the early French settlers and Indians. As many as 1000 Fox Indians were slaughtered on the banks of Lake St. Clair. Later settlers to the area uncovered bones, arrowheads, tomahawks, and other gruesome mementos of the battle.

 

Today, all traces of the original windmill, lighthouse, and burial grounds are long gone. If you visit Grosse Pointe in the Detroit area, all that remains is a small conical structure with a white flashing light.

 

2. Many of the heroines in your books are inspired by real women. Is that true of the heroine in Hearts Made Whole? If so, what women provided inspiration?

 

The woman light keeper in Hearts Made Whole is inspired by Caroline Antaya. Caroline lived at the Mamajuda Lighthouse on the Detroit River a short distance away from Windmill Point Lighthouse.

 

Caroline’s husband served with honor in the Union army during the Civil War, losing several fingers on his hand at Gettysburg. Eventually after returning from the war, her husband was named as keeper of the Mamajuda Lighthouse, but he passed away of tuberculosis.

 

Part of what really impressed me about Caroline Antaya’s situation was that she had been doing a fantastic job as a light keeper. But the district lighthouse inspector trumped up charges against her saying that she was in ill-health and incompetent. He took away her position simply because she was a woman and gave it to a man instead. Fortunately, her community rose to her defense and enlisted the help of a Michigan Senator to help her get her position back and she went on to serve as a light keeper for another three years.

 

In those days, when women were regularly discriminated against because of gender, Caroline’s story is inspirational and an encouragement to persevere in the face of injustice. I admired Caroline’s will to stand up for herself and to pave the way for women coming after her to use their God-given talents and abilities in roles and jobs that had previously been closed to women.

 

3. Why lighthouses? What fascinates you about these shining beacons?

 

I’m fascinated with lighthouses for a number of reasons. First, my state of Michigan is home to the greatest concentration of lights in the United States. In fact, Michigan is noted as the state where the most lighthouses were erected. And now today, more than 120 remain compared to 500 total for the rest of the nation.

 

Not only are lighthouse beautiful and picturesque, but they bring back a sense of nostalgia, poignancy, and romance that few other historical markers do. They’re rich in historical details and stories. They’re wrought with danger and death. And they’re just plain fun to explore. Climbing the winding staircase, reaching the top, and peering out the tower windows (or in some cases going out onto the gallery) is breathtaking.

 

***

Thank you so much for sharing your fascinating lighthouse details with us today, Jody! I feel as if I’ve toured the lighthouses in book 1 and book 2 in the series. You brought them to life for us! And what better reward for a winding climb than a beautiful view of one of the Great Lakes.

 

***

Hearts Made Whole

 

Hearts Made Whole ~

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s been given the post as lighthouse keeper, and the isolation where he can drown in drink and hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s none-too-pleased to be giving up her position. They both quickly realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but Ryan’s unwilling to let anyone close, ravaged by memories and guilt. Caroline is drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

 

***

Jody Hedlund

About Jody ~

Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves history and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five children. When she’s not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading. For more information, go to JodyHedlund.com.

***

My review 5 STARS!!
I’ve been a fan of Jody Hedlund’s historical romances since her debut novel. I always say, “This is her best yet,” because each book is SO good! The same can be said for Hearts Made Whole. I loved this book!

This is the second in the Beacons of Hope series, and the story takes place on the shores of Lake St. Clair in Michigan right after the Civil War. Caroline Taylor has her hands full keeping the lighthouse after her father’s death, and the board refuses to consider allowing a woman–however capable–have the job. Ryan Chambers is given the job, but not because of his experience. The war left him guilt-filled, maimed, in constant pain and addicted to alcohol and opium.

I enjoyed how Caroline’s strong, compassionate personality helped heal Ryan, but they both acknowledged only God can heal. It was wonderfully woven together. I wanted them to have a beautiful life together, and the obstacles they had to overcome were tremendous. I didn’t want their story to end–and I was so happy at how it all worked out.

Now I just have to wait patiently until the third book comes out!
**I received an advance copy of this book with no obligation to review it. All opinions are my own.**

 

***

Would you be willing to climb a tall, winding staircase in a lighthouse to see the amazing view? (I would!)

Have a wonderful day!

Writer’s Life: Keli Gwyn

Family Of Her Dreams

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I’m so excited to have Keli Gwyn on the blog today! Keli and I connected online years ago, and she was the first person to ever interview me. Since then, we’ve met in person and kept in touch. I love Keli’s writing–her debut, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was one of my top picks when it released. Keli now writes for Love Inspired Historical, and Family of Her Dreams is out now! Keli is giving away a copy to one blessed commenter, instructions below!

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Those days when my characters are chatting away, the words are flowing freely and the story is coming together fill me with such joy that I feel like singing, even though my singing voice leaves a lot to be desired. Sometimes I sing anyway. It’s a good thing my cats aren’t music critics, although I have caught the fellows flinging their paws over their ears when I’ve had a good writing day and burst out with some goofy ditty I’ve composed on the spot.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

I wage an ongoing battle with the Doubt Dragon. The pesky fellow loves to perch on my shoulder and whisper in my ear.

“What were you thinking? Surely you can do better than this?”

~or~

“Look at this dreck. And you call yourself a writer?”

~or~

“Egads! This is the best you can do? Why don’t you just call it quits?”

I really need to invest in a muzzle and slap it on the noisy naysayer.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I walk. Strolling past the stately Victorian houses in my historic town of Placerville, California can transport me back in time and get the ideas flowing. If I’m working out a gnarly plot issue, my husband and I will often hit our wonderful hiking trail and brainstorm solutions.

Gwynly confessed recently that he likes to get me talking about my stories when we’re walking because I unconsciously up my pace when he taps into my passion for writing. Since he’s a foot taller than I am and has a much longer stride, he likes it when I cover ground more quickly. I’m glad he let me in on his secret. Now I can walk and talk writing guilt free.

 

4. What are you working on now?

I’m preparing the first draft of another historical romance set right here in Placerville. The story takes place in 1872. My main characters are reunited after many years apart. Each has endured loss due to the War Between the State. They both harbor secrets that prevent them from pursuing anything more than friendship, forcing them to fight their growing feelings for one another.

Thank you for hosting me, Jill. I enjoyed answering your fun questions. I’d like to end by asking your blog’s readers a question.

Do you enjoy singing, or are you hesitant to sing in front of others?

 

***

Keli, I fight the doubt dragon A LOT! I think it’s awesome you sing when you write! I’m not a singer. Well, I do sing in the car, but it’s not pretty. I would love to stroll past the Victorian homes you mentioned. How delightful! The architecture of yesteryear was gorgeous. Thanks so much for being my guest!

***

Family of Her Dreams

A Family to Cherish ~

Headstrong Tess Grimsby loves her new job caring for the children of a recently widowed man. But she never imagined that she’d fall for her handsome employer. Yet Spencer Abbott is as caring as he is attractive, and Tess can’t help but feel for him and his family. Though, for the sake of her job, she’ll keep any emotions about her boss to herself.

Between his stationmaster responsibilities in a gold-rush town and trying to put his family back together, Spencer has his hands full. He soon finds his new hire’s kind personality warming his frosty exterior. But could he ever admit to seeing her as more than just an employee?

Copyright © 2015 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
or its affiliated companies, used under license.

Visit Keli’s Victorian-style cyber home (http://keligwyn.com/library/my-books), where you can find purchase links for Family of Her Dreams on many of the major booksellers’ sites.

 

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Keli Gwyn

Keli Gwyn ~

Award-winning author Keli Gwyn, a native Californian, transports readers to the early days of the Golden State. She and her husband live in the heart of California’s Gold Country. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, historical museums and other Gold Rush-era towns. Keli loves hearing from readers and invites you to visit her Victorian-style cyber home at www.keligwyn.com, where you’ll find her contact information.

***

Keli Gwyn Giveaway!

Keli is giving away a copy to one commenter! If you’d like to be entered, simply leave your email address in the comments below. The giveaway is open until midnight, June 13, 2015 and is open to U.S. residents eighteen years and older. I will select a random winner and contact the winner via email.

***

Back to Keli’s question:

Do you enjoy singing, or are you hesitant to sing in front of others?

Have a terrific day!

Writer’s Life: Carla Laureano

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance novels! Today we have a special treat. Carla Laureano, one of my fave authors, graciously agreed to answer the big questions. I recently read Five Days in Skye, and I’m still swooning. What a terrific book! It had everything I love, a sassy, hardworking heroine, a hunky, loyal hero, an exotic location and oodles of romance. The second book in The MacDonald Family Trilogy, London Tides, releases June 1! Yes!

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

 

I usually get inspired by a character idea—whether it be appearance, job, or quirk—but it can take a while to dig into the details of what makes them tick. When I finally get to the heart of a character in a really specific way—hopes, dreams, and biggest fears—it’s an “aha” moment that makes the rest of the book fall into place around it. There’s no better feeling than when that list of traits on the page becomes a living, breathing person.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

 

Balance is always my biggest challenge as a person, not just a writer: trying to keep all the balls in the air without dropping anything important and without neglecting my family. 2015 is an extremely busy year, because I have three book releases: two fantasy novels and one romance. That means I’m doing a ton of promotion alongside writing my next book. Plus, I have two elementary school-aged boys who have busier schedules than I do! Some days I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

 

Anything creative that doesn’t involve books! Cooking, sewing, knitting, gardening, looking at good art, watching dance performances. And music is always a must. I get more inspiration from music than anything else in my surroundings. I’m always upgrading the memory on my phone because of my ever-expanding collection.

 

4. What are you working on now?

 

I’m putting the finishing touches on the last book in my MacDonald Family Trilogy, which will be off to my editor in a few days. Serena MacDonald finally gets her chance at love…and if you read London Tides carefully, you might catch a glimpse of the final book’s hero!

***

You write romance so well, Carla. It’s clear you dig deep to find the heart of the characters. I hear you on trying to balance everything. I’m terrible at it! It’s funny you avoid reading to fill your creative well. I read a lot of non-fiction when I’m writing a draft. Then, when I’m revising or plotting, I fill up on fiction! Thanks so much for being my guest!

 

***

London Tides

About London Tides ~

 

Irish photojournalist Grace Brennan travels the world’s war zones documenting the helpless and forgotten. After the death of her friend and colleague, Grace is shaken.

She returns to London hoping to rekindle the spark with the only man she ever loved—Scottish businessman Ian MacDonald. But he gave up his championship rowing career and dreams of Olympic gold years ago for Grace … only for her to choose career over him. Will life’s tides bring them back together … or tear them apart for good this time?

 

Buy your copy at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook.com

 

***

Carla Laureano

About Carla ~

 

Carla Laureano is the author of the RITA® award-winning romance Five Days in Skye as well as the Celtic fantasy series The Song of Seare (as C. E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.

 

***

Do you love it when a book is set in another country? (I do!!) What country would you like to visit?

 

Have a fabulous Wednesday!

Writer’s Life: Pepper D. Basham

The Thorn Bearer

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of inspirational or sweet romance novels. Today I have the pleasure of hosting Pepper D. Basham! I met Pepper at an ACFW conference a few years ago, and I was instantly charmed by her down-to-earth personality. Her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, just released! It looks amazing, and I love the cover! Congratulations, Pepper!

Let’s get to it.

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Two things: The entire creative process of watching a story grow! That is always amazing to me. You know that phrase from Chariots of Fire where Eric Liddel says “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure” – well, that’s how I feel when I’m creating a story. When I write, I feel God’s pleasure.

Second thing – I really enjoy watching the characters grow from beginning to end. I’m a happily-ever-after girl for sure, as seeing the struggles overcome, the insecurities calmed, and the fear braved in my characters reminds me of what God is doing in my life from start to finish.

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Time! I’ve always had to etch out time to write, but now that I’ve added deadlines and marketing to my daily dose of writing time, it’s really become more of a challenge to fit everything in. I work a full-time day job and then have my wonderful fam – so the added time crunch makes for a little more stress and whole lot more creativity in etching out the time I need to finish what’s on my to-do list.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I’m sure this is a common answer, but it’s true for me. I pray and read the Word. I usually find verses that pertain, not only to me, but also my characters journeys as I read the Bible. I also find music inspiring, good movies, and re-reading some of my favorite novels. Add a nice, beautiful walk to the list and I have a perfect bag of creativity-inducing activities.

4. What are you working on now?

I’m working on two different novels right now. I have my first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, debuting in December 2015. I’m also furiously writing book 2 in the Penned in Time series, my historical romance. It’s title is The Thorn Keeper and I’m really enjoying the characters in this novel.

***

You sound busy, busy, Pepper! I love the happy endings, too, that’s why I read so many romance novels. If you have any creative time-crunch tips, we’d sure love to hear them. I’m not a multi-tasker! Your inspiration list makes me smile. Looks perfect to me. 🙂 Thanks so much for being my guest!

***

Pepper Basham

About Pepper D. Basham ~

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction whenever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she works with kids with special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn and her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in April 2015. You can connect with Pepper on her website, Facebook  or Twitter.

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The Thorn Bearer

The Thorn Bearer

When Ashleigh Dougall’s fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman? In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone.

Sam Miller is always making up for his younger brother’s mistakes. Determined to help his friend, Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and companionship as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend.

As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship.

When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of the trenches of Europe and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.

Interested in purchasing The Thorn Bearer? Amazon | Barnes and Noble

 

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Confession: I’ve never watched Chariots of Fire. What famous movie have you never gotten around to seeing?

Have a terrific day!!

Writer’s Life: Patricia Johns

A Firefighter's Promise

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of sweet or inspirational romance novels. Today I’m giddy to have Patricia Johns as my guest! She has another Harlequin Love Inspired out this month– A Firefighter’s Promise! *swooning* One of these days, we will meet in real life. Until then, Patricia, congratulations on another gorgeous cover and on your upcoming Harlequin American Romance, Safe in the Lawman’s Arms!

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Being able to write full time is a dream come true! I’ve always been a writer, but being published has got to be the best high! The offer of a book contract really never gets old.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

Taking a break! I am doing my best to keep my writing within my office hours so that my family gets me during evenings and weekends, but it’s not easy. When my brain is firing ahead, it’s really hard to tell it to wait until Monday.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

 

I watch TV. I know that sounds so counterintuitive, but it just lets my brain swim for a bit. My days are pretty busy with writing, parenting, wifing… so having an hour to watch a show on TV is nice way to recharge.

 

 

4. What are you working on now?

 

Right now, I’m working on a proposal for a book for the American Romance line. It’s already contracted, and now it’s my turn to show them what it will look like! This is a fun stage. I like having so many possibilities.

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I love zoning out to HGTV’s Fixer Upper or to a Detroit Tigers Baseball game. It’s good to have creative downtime. I try to keep business hours, too, but some months are too busy. It’s hard! Thank you so much for being my guest!

 

 

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A Firefighter's Promise

A Firefighter’s Promise ~

 

When the baby he rescued seven years ago returns—with his widowed adoptive mom—Deputy Fire Chief Matt Bailey can’t turn them away. Desperate to escape the reminders of his failure in the line of duty, Matt is close to leaving town. But one look at Rachel Carter and her son, Christopher, has him second-guessing his plans. Rachel is a mom in need of a hero for her son. But as much as she wants the two to bond, she’s determined to keep her distance from Matt. After losing her husband on the job, she promised never to love another fireman. Yet somehow she finds herself drawn to the one man she should avoid.

Purchase A Firefighter’s Promise Here!!

 

 

 

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Patricia Johns

Patricia Johns writes from Alberta, Canada where the winters are long and cold–a perfect recipe for writing! She lives with one husband, one child, and two birds. She writes for both Harlequin Love Inspired and Harlequin American Romance. For more information, visit patriciajohnsromance.com.

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Okay, readers, be honest! You love a good fireman, right?? I know I do!

Have a terrific day!

We’re Talking Heroes with Jessica R. Patch!

Just The Way You Are

We are in for a treat! Jessica R. Patch, author of make-you-sit-back-and-sigh heroes, graciously agreed to answer my pressing questions today. Let’s talk about heroes!

Jess: Yes! I love talking heroes. I may have just swooned over the word. Yep. I did. I swooned.

Jill: Well, you know I love heroes, especially YOUR heroes! In Hope Under Mistletoe, the first in the Seasons of Hope series, Knox is a bad boy. Frankly, I liked him. A lot. Were you nervous about writing a bad boy for the Christian market?

Jessica: Not at all! I think there are a lot of women married or dating men who were once “bad boys.” Or they dated one in their past. In fact, the more flawed a person is, the more I enjoy writing them because the redemption is even more powerful.

Jill: And did you have as much fun writing his journey to redemption as we did reading it?

Jessica: Absolutely! I wrote this story originally for myself. I was burned out to be honest and I just wanted to write for ME. What I like to read. No rules. And out came Knox and Eden. It was utter enjoyment.

Jill: Your new story, Just the Way You Are, surprised me with its hero. Who knew Pastor Gabe—the opposite of a bad boy—could be so dreamy? (Yes, I said dreamy. It comes from my childhood love of Scooby Doo cartoons.)

Jessica:  Jinkies, Jill! Thanks! Hahaha He was dreamy in a completely different way than Knox. I had so much positive feedback about Knox and his “hotness” I admit to worrying what readers would think of Gabe since he’s not a “bad boy” but a solid Christian man who happens to be a pastor. But I think they’ll be happy. I was.

Jill: Which of Gabe’s qualities is your favorite?

Jessica: I love that Gabe knows how to balance being a red-blooded man and a pastor/Christian without crossing lines or boundaries. I love that he knows how to give a great kiss but also listen to the heart of the woman he loves. That’s such a romantic sigh-satisfying kind of man!  And I love his sacrificial love for Audrey. He’d give up everything for her. Do anything for her.

Jill: Okay, share the celebrity inspiration for Knox and Gabe with us! Pinterest links would help. We’re not gawking—just curious. Drooling a little and curious.

Jessica: No drooling…um…not! Ha! For Knox I knew immediately that Colin Farrell would fit his looks, build, and “bad boy” image. Here is Knox. I hope you guys love the board it was so fun to make! https://www.pinterest.com/jessicarpatch/hope-under-mistletoe/

Gabe was a little harder to picture in my head. At first I thought Daniel Gillies from The Originals…swoon, and I pictured him often when I wrote Hope Under Mistletoe, but then when I got to Just the Way You Are, he didn’t quite fit. To be honest, he was too sensual. I know. I said sensual when discussing a Christian book. I wanted an attractive man, with a softer/friendlier face. So I went with a young Noah Wyle. https://www.pinterest.com/jessicarpatch/just-the-way-you-are/

This was a fun board to create too! Especially all the Easter fun!

Jill: I know you’re an avid romance reader, as am I. What do you want in a fictional hero?

Jessica: I want a manly man. Rough. Gruff. A bit unpredictable and wild. A man who knows how to use snark and wit and then at the same time have a soft inside. A man who would move heaven and earth to give the woman he loves what she wants and needs. I want hero who knows how to do sweet and thoughtful things for his heroine, even if he feels like an idiot doing it. And I’m a sucker for the cliché tall, dark, and handsome. Can’t. Help. It.

Jill: What turns you off in a fictional hero?

Jessica: If a hero doesn’t know how to flirt, I turn my nose up. Is that shallow? Well, if it is, then I’m shallow. I want a hero who knows how to flirt and get a girl’s heart rate going.

Jill: This is a toughie, but can you pick an all-time favorite hero from a novel you’ve read? I know, I know—there are so many!

Jessica: Oh. My. That is so tough. Grr…I really adored Colonel McLinn from The Colonel’s Lady by Laura Frantz. I’m pretty sure I fanned myself good. He was dreamy. I read a saga by Nora Roberts called The Chesapeake Bay Saga. In the first book, Cameron Quinn stole my breath. I occasionally still think of him. It’s been 15- 20 years since I read that I think. This is just too hard.

Jill: I loved Colonel McLinn!! That book. Mm-mm! So good!! Thank you so much for your input on heroes today, Jessica!!

Readers, Jessica is generously offering a free digital copy of Just the Way You Are, the second in the Seasons of Hope series, to anyone who signs up for her newsletter! This is a limited time offer until April 24th!  What are you waiting for? Sign up!

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 Just the Way You Are

Just the Way You Are ~

When Pastor Gabe asks Audrey Gilbraith to use her mad florist skills to help him design a prayer garden, she’s all in, especially since it helps take her mind off the fact she’s about to lose her job and her apartment. But working closely with Gabe and not falling for him is complicated. She’s not pastor’s wife material, and she has the past to prove it.

Gabriel Brookson wants out of Audrey’s friend-zone, but when he pursues her romantically, he ruffles more than a few feathers in his congregation. How much is he willing to give up for this wonderful, quirky woman, and will Audrey accept him if he risks it all?

 

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Jessica R. Patch

Jessica R. Patch ~

Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, watching way too much Netflix with her daughter, dominating her son at board games, and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Her debut novel with Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense will release in January 2016. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

 

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What qualities do YOU love in a fictional hero?

 

Have a terrific day!

Writer’s Life: Catherine West

Bridge Of Faith

Welcome to another edition of Writer’s Life, my interview series with authors of inspirational or sweet romance. Today I’m delighted to have Catherine West! Catherine is an award-winning author and a witty friend. She has a new contemporary romance out, Bridge of Faith. It’s getting rave reviews, and I love the cover!

Let’s get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

Love this question, Jill! Oh, so many things. I love diving into a new story, creating the setting, discovering new characters and wondering what they’ll teach me. Because they always do – I like to think I’m in control of the story, but really, it’s astonishing what pops onto the page without my planning. I love having the freedom to just write. Too often I worry about things like is it good enough, will people like it, will it sell – when really, the joy comes in just getting the words down.

 

2. What is the biggest hurdle you’re facing right now as a writer?

 

Ha! Well, to be honest, it’s always been my goal to be traditionally published. I had a brief stint at a small publishing house, but we’ve never been able to infiltrate the walls of the bigger houses. My books seem to fall through the cracks somehow. Hence the decision to move forward with Indie publishing. While I don’t know what God has in store, I may still get that elusive big name publishing house behind me one day, but for right now, I’m changing my mindset (slowly) to being okay with it if it doesn’t happen. I will continue to write and continue to share my stories by whatever means possible. So that’s been a challenge, but I’m getting there. Another big one for me is faith in myself. Believing I’m good at this gig and I can do it! I think I’m getting there with that one too, thanks to the love and support and encouragement of wonderful friends and family.

 

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

I’m very blessed to live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, and our house overlooks the ocean, so I will often sit outside and just breathe in the view. That can recharge me quite quickly. I also love playing with my border collie, Noah, who is my third child! We go for long walks and he spends time in the garden with me when I’m weeding or tidying up. And reading. I can never get enough of reading. I love to paint too, and I started up again last year, but sadly, haven’t kept up with it. So much to do!!

 

4. What are you working on now?

 

Currently I’m working on marketing. Boring and tedious but very necessary! I have a few ideas kicking around for new books, but I haven’t made much headway on them so far. I have three unpublished books ready to go, so we’re waiting to see what happens with those as well. I’m taking a little sabbatical from writing anything new right now, but that won’t last long I’m sure.

 

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Catherine, I can relate to your tough journey. I’ve had nine books rejected since I first started submitting almost a decade ago. And the publishing climate has been pretty chilly for a few years now. I’m really proud of what you’ve done, and you should be too! Yes, marketing is tiring, but, as you say, necessary. Your dog sounds like a sweetheart. Border Collies are so smart. 🙂 Thanks so much for being my guest today!

 

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Bridge of Faith

Bridge of Faith ~

 

Two lives taken down different roads – one enduring love – one shot at starting over.

If only they believed in second chances.

Julia Connelly is finally free from twelve long years in an abusive relationship. Now able to live the life she’s longed for, Julia takes her two children back home to Vermont, hoping for peace and healing. The last person she expects to see is the man she eloped with at eighteen—who then abandoned her two months into their marriage, with little explanation.

 

When an assignment in the Middle East ends in tragedy, popular news correspondent, Reid Wallace, returns to his hometown seeking answers and peace of mind.

Confronting his past was not in the plan.

 

Now he’s asking different questions. Like why the only woman he’s ever really loved still mesmerizes him. Why the haunted expression she wears reaches right into his soul.

And why her twelve year-old son looks just like him.

They say you can’t go home again. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

 

Purchase Bridge of Faith here!

 

 

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Writer's Life: Catherine West

About Catherine West ~

 

INSPY Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or tending to her roses and orchids. She and her husband have two grown children. Connect with Catherine: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Google+

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Okay, who wants to visit Catherine in Bermuda?? I’m picturing turquoise water and endless sunshine. A far cry from April in Ohio!!

My good friend, Cynthia Herron, interviewed me on her blog today, and she’s giving away a copy of my book! Click HERE to stop by!

Have a terrific day!

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