Friday, April 28, 2017

Book Review & Giveaway: A Mother's Love by Charlotte Hubbard

Revealed secrets, love and forgiveness swirl through this superb new novel from Charlotte Hubbard.

A Mother's Love tells the story of Widow Rose Raber, who lost her father and husband in a sawmill fire. Raising her daughter Gracie while caring for her sick mother has been challenging. Then when on her death bed Lydia reveals Rose was adopted and she is not to seek out her birth mother because that woman has too much to lose if the secret comes out, her world is turned upside down. As Rose struggles to reconcile the truth with her faith, newcomer Matthias Wagler is another unexpected surprise in her life.

When her birth mother unexpectedly shows up at Rose's new job, their bond is instant and unmistakable. But Saul Hartzler isn't a man to be reckoned with. He soon realizes his wife's deception and is appalled that she bore a child he knew nothing about. Now this truth threatens Matthais' livelihood and Rose's future. Rose and Matthias must place all their faith in God and trust He will provide a miraculous resolution.

A Mother's Love is a captivating story. From the very first moment the reader is drawn into Rose's life: the ache of the loss of her family, her uncertainty and anger over learning about her birth mother, the challenges of being a single parent, the desire to find her birth mother, the need to carve out a new life for Gracie and her, and so much more. This story will tug at your heartstrings as much as it will comfort you in realizing that God works out all things for the good of His people.

With each new novel I read from Charlotte Hubbard I think, this is the best story she has ever written. Then she amazes me by writing another fabulous story that is even better. If you haven't read anything by Hubbard before, you're missing out on one of the best names in Amish fiction. Pick up a copy of A Mother's Love today and find out for yourself.

Excerpt:


“How was your morning with Jerusalem and Vernon?” Rose asked as she managed a smile for the bishop’s wife. “I hope you were a gut little guest?”

“The best company we could’ve asked for,” Jerusalem replied. “We gathered the eggs, and Gracie counted the new chicks in the barn—”

“Thirty-eight!” Gracie exclaimed.

“—and then we made French toast—”

“And I ate two whole pieces!” Gracie crowed. “With maple surple and fried apples.”

Jerusalem stopped at the edge of the tilled garden spot, and when she held out her hand, Gracie raced over to grab it. “And we played hide-and-seek with Vernon, too, didn’t we, dear?”

“Jah, but I found him every time!” Gracie replied. “He thought I wouldn’t see him under that tarp, but his big butt was stickin’ out!”

“Gracie,” Rose chided. “This is our bishop you’re talking about. Be polite.”

Jerusalem chuckled. “She speaks the truth. Hiding isn’t Vernon’s best talent, I’m afraid. But he was a gut sport about it when Gracie found him right off.”

“See, ‘Rusalem?” the little girl said, pointing to the mounded rows in the garden. “We put the lettuce on this end, and the peas down this way. Mamma said we could plant an extra long row of those, coz they’re my favorite.”

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Kensington (March 28, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 149670844X
ISBN-13: 978-1496708441

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.



Click on these links to buy this book now!


Ebook: 

Charlotte will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Many moons ago—like, in 1983 while she was still a school librarian—Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. This launched her into writing around seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and she’s been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. Over the course of her writing career, she has sold nearly 50 books—most recently, Amish romance series she’s written as Charlotte Hubbard or Naomi King.

Charlotte lived in Missouri for most of her life, so her Amish stories are set in imaginary Missouri towns. These days she lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.

WEBSITE www.CharlotteHubbard.com

Facebook www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1


Monday, April 24, 2017

Guest Blogger: F.M. Meredith, Author of Unresolved (Rocky Bluff P.D. Series)


Rocky Bluff P.D. is underpaid and understaffed and when two dead bodies turn up, the department is stretched to the limit. The mayor is the first body discovered, the second an older woman whose death is caused in a bizarre manner. Because no one liked the mayor, including his estranged wife and the members of the city council, the suspects are many, but each one has an alibi.

Copies may be purchased from Book and Table by emailing bookandtablevaldosta@gmail.com with a 10% discount and free shipping.

Books may be ordered from all the usual places as well.

One of My Favorite Characters in the Rocky Bluff P.D. Series

Cheryl asked me to tell about my favorite character in this series, but instead, I wanted to tell you about a fairly new character that I’m growing fond of, the new Chief of Police, Chandra Taylor.

Chandra, the second African American on the RBPD, came to Rocky Bluff from the San Francisco Police Department. She knew her chance of advancing beyond lieutenant were nil. Though the small beach town of Rocky Bluff certainly didn’t compare to San Francisco, it didn’t take long before Chandra began to enjoy her job, the police officers who worked under her and the community itself.

In A Crushing Death, Chandra’s life was threatened by a man she’d arrested in the past and Detective Milligan and his wife, Officer Stacey Milligan, not only protected her but became friends in the process.

When the mayor is murdered and the other members of the city council all become suspects, Chandra finds herself attracted to the man who has become the new mayor, Devon Duvall. Whether or not this attraction will develop, of course, depends upon Devon’s innocence.

It’s always fun for me as an author, when new and interesting characters become a part of the Rocky Bluff series. I hope that readers will enjoy this new twist as well.



F. M. Meredith lived for many years in a small beach community much like Rocky Bluff. She has many relatives and friends who are in law enforcement and share their experiences and expertise with her. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at http://fictionforyou.com and her blog at http://marilymeredith.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray

Her Secret

by Shelley Shepard Gray

on Tour April 17 – 28, 2017



Synopsis:

Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray begins a new series—The Amish of Hart County—with this suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she'll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he's misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

Book Details:

Genre: Amish Fiction

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: March 14th 2017

Number of Pages: 272

ISBN: 006246910X (ISBN13: 9780062469106)

Series: The Amish of Hart County #1

Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 



Read an excerpt:


CHAPTER 2


Someone was coming. After reeling in his line, Isaac Troyer set his pole on the bank next to Spot, his Australian shepherd, and turned in the direction of the noise.

He wasn’t worried about encountering a stranger as much as curious to know who would walk through the woods while managing to disturb every tree branch, twig, and bird in their midst. A silent tracker, this person was not.

Beside him, Spot, named for the spot of black fur ringing his eye, pricked his ears and tilted his head to one side as he, too, listened and watched for their guest to appear.

When they heard a muffled umph, followed by the crack of a branch, Isaac began to grow amused. Their visitor didn’t seem to be faring so well.

He wasn’t surprised. That path was rarely used and notoriously overrun with hollyhocks, poison oak, and ivy. For some reason, wild rosebushes also ran rampant there. Though walking on the old path made for a pretty journey, it also was a somewhat dangerous one, too. Those bushes had a lot of thorns. Most everyone he knew chose to walk on the road instead.

He was just wondering if, perhaps, he should brave the thorns and the possibility of rashes to offer his help—when a woman popped out.

The new girl. Hannah Hilty.

Obviously thinking she was completely alone, she stepped out of the shade of the bushes and lifted her face into the sun. She mumbled to herself as she pulled a black sweater off her light-blue short-sleeved dress. Then she turned her right arm this way and that, frowning at what looked like a sizable scrape on it.

He’d been introduced to her at church the first weekend her family had come. His first impression of her had been that she was a pretty thing, with dark-brown hair and hazel-colored eyes. She was fairly tall and willowy, too, and had been blessed with creamy-looking pale skin. But for all of that, she’d looked incredibly wary.

Thinking she was simply shy, he’d tried to be friendly, everyone in his family had. But instead of looking happy to meet him or his siblings, she’d merely stared at him the way a doe might stare at an oncoming car—with a bit of weariness and a great dose of fear.

He left her alone after that.

Every once in a while he’d see her. At church, or at the market with her mother. She always acted kind of odd. She was mostly silent, sometimes hardly even talking to her parents or siblings. Often, when he’d see her family in town shopping, she usually wasn’t with them. When she was, he’d see her following her parents. With them, yet separate. Silently watching her surroundings like she feared she was about to step off a cliff.

So, by his estimation, she was a strange girl. Weird.

And her actions just now? They seemed even odder. Feeling kind of sorry for her, he got to his feet. “Hey!” he called out.

Obviously startled, Hannah turned to him with a jerk, then froze.

Her unusual hazel eyes appeared dilated. She looked scared to death. Rethinking the step forward he’d been about to do, he stayed where he was. Maybe she wasn’t right in the mind? Maybe she was lost and needed help.

Feeling a little worried about her, he held up a hand. “Hey, Hannah. Are you okay?”

But instead of answering him, or even smiling back like a normal person would, she simply stared.

He tried again. “I’m Isaac Troyer.” When no look of recognition flickered in her eyes, he added, “I’m your neighbor. We met at church, soon after you moved in. Remember?”

She clenched her fists but otherwise seemed to be trying hard to regain some self-control. After another second, color bloomed in her cheeks. “I’m Hannah Hilty.”

“Yeah. I know.” Obviously, he’d known it. Hadn’t she heard him say her name? He smiled at her, hoping she’d see the humor in their conversation. It was awfully intense for two neighbors having to reacquaint themselves.
By his reckoning, anyway.

She still didn’t smile back. Actually, she didn’t do much of anything at all, besides gaze kind of blankly at him.

Belatedly, he started wondering if something had happened to her on her walk. “Hey, are you okay? Are you hurt or something?”

Her hand clenched into a fist. “Why do you ask?”

Everything he wanted to say sounded mean and rude. “You just, uh, seem out of breath.” And she was white as a sheet, looked like she’d just seen a monster, and could hardly speak.

Giving her an out, he said, “Are you lost?”

“Nee.”

He was starting to lose patience with her. All he’d wanted to do was sit on the bank with Spot and fish for an hour or two, not enter into some strange conversation with his neighbor girl.

“Okay, then. Well, I was just fishing, so I’m going to go back and do that.”

Just before he turned away, she took a deep breath. Then she spoke. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not making any sense.”

“You’re making sense.” Kind of. “But that said, you don’t got anything to be sorry for. It’s obvious you, too, were looking for a couple of minutes to be by yourself.”

“No, that ain’t it.” After taking another deep breath, she said, “Seeing you took me by surprise. That’s all.”
Isaac wasn’t enough of a jerk to not be aware that seeing a strange man, when you thought you were alone, might be scary to a timid girl like her.

“You took me by surprise, too. I never see anyone out here.”

Some of the muscles in her face and neck relaxed. After another second, she seemed to come to a decision and stepped closer to him. “Is that your dog?”

“Jah. His name is Spot, on account of the circle around his eye.”

“He looks to be a real fine hund.” She smiled.

And what a smile it was. Sweet, lighting up her eyes. Feeling a bit taken by surprise, too, he said, “He’s an Australian shepherd and real nice. Would you like to meet him?”

“Sure.” She smiled again, this time displaying pretty white teeth.

“Spot, come here, boy.”

With a stretch and a groan, Spot stood up, stretched again, then sauntered over. When he got to Isaac’s side, he paused. Isaac ran a hand along his back, then clicked his tongue, a sign for Spot to simply be a dog.

Spot walked right over and rubbed his nose along one of Hannah’s hands.

She giggled softly. “Hello, Spot. Aren’t you a handsome hund?” After she let Spot sniff her hand, she ran it along his soft fur. Spot, as could be expected, closed his eyes and enjoyed the attention.

“Look at that,” Hannah said. “He likes to be petted.”

“He’s friendly.”

“Do you go fishing here much?” she asked hesitantly.

“Not as much as I’d like to. I’m pretty busy. Usually, I’m helping my father on the farm or working in my uncle’s woodworking shop.” Because she seemed interested, he admitted, “I don’t get to sit around and just enjoy the day all that much.”

“And here I came and ruined your peace and quiet.”

“I didn’t say that. You’re fine.”

She didn’t look as if she believed him. Actually, she looked even more agitated. Taking a step backward, she said, “I should probably let you get back to your fishing, then.”

“I don’t care about that. I’d rather talk to you.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh?”

“Jah. I mean, we’re neighbors and all.” When she still looked doubtful, he said, “Besides, everyone is curious about you.”

“I don’t know why. I’m just an Amish girl.”

He thought she was anything but that. “Come on,” he chided. “You know what I’m talking about.”

Looking even more unsure, she shook her head.

“First off, I’ve hardly even seen you around town, only on Sundays when we have church. And even then you never stray from your parents’ side. That’s kind of odd.”

“I’m still getting used to being here in Kentucky,” she said quickly.

“What is there to get used to?” he joked. “We’re just a small community in the middle of cave country.”

To his surprise, she stepped back. “I guess getting used to my new home is taking me a while. But that doesn’t mean anything.”

Aware that he’d hurt her feelings, he realized that he should have really watched his tone. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just saying that the way you’ve been acting has everyone curious.  That’s why people are calling you ‘The Recluse.’ ”

“ ‘The Recluse’?”

“Well, jah. I mean you truly are an Amish woman of mystery,” he said, hoping she’d tease him right back like his older sister would have done.   

She did not.

Actually, she looked like she was about to cry, and it was his doing.

When was he ever going to learn to read people better? Actually, he should knock some sense into himself. He’d been a real jerk. “Sorry. I didn’t intend to sound so callous.”

“Well, you certainly did.”

“Ah, you are right. It was a bad joke.”

“I better go.”

Staring at her more closely, he noticed that those pretty hazel eyes of hers looked kind of shimmery, like a whole mess of tears was about to fall. Now he felt worse than bad.“Hey, are you going to be okay getting home? I could walk you back, if you’d like.”

“Danke, nee.”

Reaching out, he grasped Spot by his collar. “I don’t mind at all. It will give us a chance to—”

She cut him off. “I do not want or need your help.” She was staring at him like he was scary. Like he was the type of guy who would do her harm.

That bothered him.

“Look, I already apologized. You don’t need to look at me like I’m going to attack you or something. I’m just trying to be a good neighbor.”

She flinched before visibly collecting herself. “I understand. But like I said, I don’t want your help. I will be fine.”

When he noticed that Spot was also sensing her distress, he tried again even though he knew he should just let her go. “I was done fishing anyway. All I have to do is grab my pole. Then Spot and I could walk with you.”

“What else do I have to say for you to listen to me?” she fairly cried out. “Isaac, I do not want you to walk me anywhere.” She turned and darted away, sliding back into the brush. No doubt about to get covered in more scratches and poison ivy.

Well, she’d finally said his name, and it certainly did sound sweet on her lips.

Too bad she was now certain to avoid him for the rest of her life. He really hoped his mother was never going to hear about how awful he’d just been. She’d be so disappointed.

He was disappointed in himself, and was usually a lot more patient with people. He liked that about himself, too. And this girl? Well, she needed someone, too. But she seemed even afraid of her shadow.

***
Excerpt from Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray.  Copyright © 2017 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.




Shelley Shepard Gray



Author Bio:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.


Catch Up With Ms. Gray On:





Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Wendy Corsi Staub and William Morrow. There will be 2 winners of one $25 Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 15th and runs through May 2nd, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Interview & Giveaway with Shelley Schanfield, Author of The Mountain Goddess

Shelley Schanfield’s passion for Buddhism and yoga arose sixteen years ago, when she and her son earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The links between the martial arts and Buddhist techniques to calm and focus the mind fascinated her. By profession a librarian, Shelley plunged into research about the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500 years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some form, has a role in all of these traditions. Its transformational teachings soon prompted Shelley to hang up her black belt and begin a yoga practice that she follows to this day.

Because she loves historical fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. When she didn’t find one that satisfied her, she decided to write her own novels based on the spiritual struggles of women in the Buddha’s time. She published the first book in the Sadhana Trilogy, The Tigress and the Yogi, in 2016 and will publish the second, The Mountain Goddess in early 2017.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS

Where did you grow up?

I grew up near Minneapolis on beautiful Lake Minnetonka. Summers were filled with swimming, canoeing, and water skiing; winters with ice skating and skiing. Our house was filled with books, so when it was too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter, I never ran out of reading material.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I had a fortunate childhood and lots of good memories, but in a way they blur together so I wouldn’t single out just one.  I did have a rather mystical experience when I was maybe eight or nine, which both exhilarated and terrified me in a way that only began to make sense when I began Buddhist meditation and my yoga practice. It even figures in my second book, The Mountain Goddess. It happened when I stretched out on the grassy hill that overlooked the lake we lived on and looked up at the sky. It was a favorite pastime, but on this warm summer day as I gazed at the constantly changing clouds, the overwhelming sensation that I was falling up and would keep falling (or was it flying?) until I flew through the clouds and out of earth’s atmosphere into dark, infinite space entirely seized me. I felt huge and unbounded, truly like I was part of the universe, but at the same time tiny and insignificant. I could never call up the feeling but sometimes it struck me unawares. Even nowadays, it will sometimes come in my meditation practice, but it takes focus and concentration.

When did you begin writing?

I began writing fiction seriously in about 2000, seventeen years ago. It was around the time my husband’s father died. He was a very accomplished man, an aerospace engineer, a wonderful father-in-law and grandfather. Not long before his death he encouraged me to follow my dreams, whatever they might be. I took his advice to heart and signed up for my first writing class.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I love to get up around 1 or 2 a.m., when the world around me is asleep, and either take up a journal and write with black ink on a pristine white page or else sit at my computer and fill the screen. That’s the best time to create new work. I can pretty much edit any time of day.


What is this book about?

The Mountain Goddess is about the young woman who became the wife of Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. She’s a fierce warrior and a spiritual seeker in her own way. It’s the second book in the Sadhana Trilogy, which follows the transformational journeys of women of the Buddha’s time. The first book, The Tigress and the Yogi, takes a Buddhist legend about a man who becomes a vicious outlaw and gives it a feminist twist—the outlaw is a woman who escapes life as a low cast slave to seek vengeance as the ruthless leader of her own army.

What inspired you to write it?

An interest in Buddhism from childhood was reawakened when my son and I were earning out black belts in Tae Kwon Do. Did you know that Prince Siddhartha and many of his followers were warriors? Many Asian martial arts have links to Buddhist techniques for calming the mind and centering concentration. The more I began to read about the Buddha, the more the women of his time and place (2500 years ago in Northeastern India) began to interest me.                                                                                  
Who is your biggest supporter?

My bemused and patient husband.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

Yes, I have a fantastic critique group with which meets weekly and gives honest and helpful feedback. Sometimes it hurts; sometimes I don’t implement it; but I always listen to them and consider their thoughtful input.

Who is your favorite author?

Impossible to pick one. I’m a voracious reader—historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, literary fiction, as well as books on history, philosophy, and religion, and that’s just a sampling of my interests.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

I had one for a year. It meant a lot when I signed with her that someone thought they could sell my book. We parted ways when she didn’t, and by that time self-publishing was well-established and made complete sense for me.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Fairly smooth sailing to publication. The tough part is discoverability: getting the word out when there are hundreds of thousands of titles published every year is daunting.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Oh, of course. But I’m not sure my experience would be useful for others. Everyone’s path is different. The main thing is just to keep writing.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Both my books are available in paper and e-book editions now from all major on-line retailers. Bookstores can also order paperbacks from Ingram or directly from my distributor, Thomson-Shore. Links to all are on my website.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

My website has links to some interesting resources and brief bibliographies that include a small selection from what I used while writing.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

I’m not the greatest promoter, but one thing I knew was that I had to put a quality product out there. Many experienced publishing gurus say that word of mouth is what really sells a book, so you should write the best book you can. Viewed that way, I would say that the best investment I made was in a great developmental editor, Jane Ratcliffe, and Meghan Pinson , a great copyeditor. Next to that, it was a really talented book designer, Glendon Haddix at Streetlight Graphics.
           

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Trust your own gut about your story.

What is up next for you?

Right now I’m working on Book Three of the Sadhana Trilogy. Sign up at my website to get updates!

Is there anything you would like to add?

Keep writing!




Terms & Conditions:

By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
Five winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter to win one free e-copy of The Mountain Goddess.
This giveaway ends midnight April 28.
Good luck everyone!



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Interview with Ellen Meeropol, Author of Kinship of Clover

Ellen Meeropol is fascinated by characters on the fault lines of political upheaval. Previous work includes a dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children which has been produced in four U.S cities, most recently in Boston. Elli is the wife of Robert Meeropol, youngest son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Elli is a former nurse and independent bookstore event coordinator and the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, and the Writer’s Chronicle.  Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and GoodReads.


Where did you grow up?

In the Washington, D.C. area. I was born in the city, then lived in various towns in Virginia and Maryland. It was a particularly wonderful place to be a teenager. Every Saturday my friend Susan and I took the bus into Georgetown for the bookstores and coffeehouses, and then on downtown to visit museums and art galleries. And one of the back stories for this new novel actually comes from my teen years living in a community near Glen Echo Amusement Park, which was segregated and the site of a major civil rights integration movement in 1960.

When did you begin writing?

I always wrote as a child – bad poetry and melodramatic plays, an essay about my parents’ square dance obsession that was published when I was 12, a column in my high school newspaper. But I didn’t start writing fiction, and writing seriously, until I was in my 50’s. I consider myself a literary late bloomer.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

My writing habits have changed with my life circumstances. When I started writing fiction, I worked as a hospital-based nurse practitioner, so my day started early and ended when the last clinic patient was seen. I wrote after dinner until my eyes closed. When I left my job to write full-time, I continued that pattern until writing my second novel, On Hurricane Island. It’s a political thriller, and working on it before sleep gave me nightmares, so my writing schedule had to change. Now I write mostly in the morning and early afternoon, when I’m the most fresh and alert. And – sorry to say – frequently I also write in the wee hours, when insomnia strikes.

What is this book about?


Kinship of Clover is about how we try to make right the things we care about in the world that are wrong. The main characters are a botany college student who is desperate to save endangered plant species, and a lifelong radical activist who is losing herself to Alzheimer’s. These characters are linked by a 16-year-old girl who uses a wheelchair and has her own battles to fight regarding inclusion and change. The book has elements of magical realism that totally surprised me!

What inspired you to write it?

Jeremy, the college botany student, insisted I write it. He was a nine-year-old in my first novel, House Arrest, and he wasn’t done with me. I imagined him whispering in my ear, “Don’t you want to know what happened to me?” And, I did want to know. The other thing that inspired me were the notebooks I kept, recording conversations and bits of memory about my mother, who died in 2008 from complications of Alzheimer’s. Flo, the character in the book with Alzheimer’s is quite different from my mother, but they do share some personality traits, like being totally bossy and outrageous!

Who is your favorite character from the book?

I am very attached to the four main characters in the novel, Jeremy, Flo, Flo’s son Sam, and Flo’s granddaughter Zoe, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair for mobility. The fact that I love them all was one of the reasons I chose to write this book using an omniscient point of view. This allowed me to freely move from one character’s perspective into another, and sometimes pull way back and look at the story from a distance. Writing this way also provided a lot of anxiety – I had never tried it before, and it wasn’t easy to figure out how to make it work. If I use an omniscient POV again, maybe it’ll be smoother the second time around.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

With this book, the road to publication was smooth. It’s my third novel with Red Hen Press and I love working with them. I sent the manuscript to my editor and she liked it and that was that (well, not exactly of course. There’s always the contract to negotiate, and the title and jacket art, and revisions and editing, but those are easy issues compared to finding a publisher.) Having a press that’s a good match for my work, a literary home, is an enormous gift.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

Anything different in writing this book? Not really. Sometimes I wish I were a more cerebral writer, that I knew where I was going when I started, but I don’t. I start with an image, or a “what if,” or a character’s demands whispered in my ear, and I follow my nose. One of my favorite quotes about writing is something I heard E.L. Doctorow say, that writing a novel is like driving a car on a dark forest road at night with just your parking lights. You can only see right in front of you, but that’s all you need. In general, that’s all I need, and I love exploring the road and seeing what the light illuminates, a little at a time.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

I work part-time in an independent bookstore, so my preference is always that readers go to their favorite local bookstore and, if they don’t have my book, ask them to order it. You can find a bookstore near you via Indiebound or purchase Kinship of Clover online.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

The best investment I’ve made is hiring an independent publicist, one who with decades of experience, particularly promoting small press books. I call Mary Bisbee-Beek my fairy godmother, because …. well, because that’s what she is!

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Two pieces of advice: First read a lot, widely and deeply and read as a writer. When something strikes you, savor it and figure out why it works. I’ve learned so much from reading the books of writers I admire. Secondly, don’t give up. Writing is hard and it takes years for most of us to get good at it.

What is up next for you?

I’m finishing up my next novel, tentatively titled Her Sister’s Tattoo. It’s the story of two sisters, who are very close but become estranged after a political demonstration that goes wrong, and their lives change drastically. I say “finishing” with quotes and a small laugh because I’ve been working on this story for 17 years, and I’m still not sure I’ve got it right. Soon, in a few months if I’m lucky, I’ll send it off to my editor and see what she says.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for the opportunity to “meet” your readers - it’s one of the biggest rewards of having a book out in the world.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Pre-order What the Bishop Saw by Vannetta Chapman


Somewhere in the Embers Lies the Truth

A fire blazes out of control in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, leaving an elderly Amish bachelor dead. Bishop Henry Lapp rushes to the scene, and he learns the fire was no accident. Someone intended to kill Vernon Frey. But who would want to kill Vernon? Well, practically everyone—Amish and Englisch alike.

When the police point the finger at a suspect Henry knows is innocent, the bishop must decide whether or not to use his mysterious, God-given gift—one he's tried desperately to ignore all these years—to try and set the record straight. His close friend and neighbor, Emma, encourages Henry to follow God's leading.

Could the clue to solving the case be locked somewhere deep in his memory? Will Henry find the courage to move forward in faith and put the right person behind bars? Is his friendship with Emma becoming something more?


What the Bishop Saw
is a story of extraordinary talents, the bonds of love and friendship, and the unfailing grace of God.

Series: The Amish Bishop Mysteries (Book 1)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (May 1, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736966471
ISBN-13: 978-0736966474

Pre-order here!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Book Spotlight: The Spirit of Love Volumes 1, 2 & 3 by The Spirit of Love, Known as Glen


Title: THE SPIRIT OF LOVE
Author: the spirit of love, known as glen
Publisher: Aurora House
Pages: 196
Genre: Spirituality/Poetry


The Spirit of Love is a collection of short writings, poems and phrases written by a man who took himself into some of the darkest and most destructive depths that one can go with drug and alcohol addictions back in his early twenties.

The collection of writings contained within The Spirit of Love are the result of one man’s healing journey within himself and the deep questioning that has arisen from within it.

With the love, support and guidance of his dear friend Edwina, in helping to bring these writings from the handwritten scribbles on paper to how they are presented today, The Spirit of Love is a reminder that no matter how dark, desperate, alone, helpless or trapped one believes they may be, the sheer beauty of the perfection of life in its totality is silently and patiently living within us all, and its love is so powerful that it can heal anything that has come to pass.

Excerpt

6.
Take me now so that I need never feel again
Screaming inside I keep everything in
Release me now so I may tear this skin from off my shell
For free can I not be from this living hell?

7.
Why are you afraid?
Swept along without giving a moment to stop
Why are you going to the next place you want to be?
What’s wrong with where you are now?
Is the next place going to be any different or better?
Funny how unwilling you have become to look
Can it be that bad inside?
Afraid to feel life no more
Oh, how the voice is clever
Feeding the prey so as not to be hunted.

9.
Staring at you the battle begins
Nightmare’s voice always wins
Fighting so strongly against my will
Oh, the insanity contained in a pill
Within gulp of water’s cup
Battle lost I’ve given up
Slowly the chemicals suffocate my brain
The next few hours surely insane.

10.
How can you label I and in turn yourself?
For labels change as frequently as the weather
I am changeless – eternal
Let your sight not fool you into a world of form
Enjoy thy magic and mystery
Play with it joyfully and compassionately
But see yourself not of it
Are you your job?
Is that the limit of your destiny?
Why do you choose to do what you do?
Is it really you doing it?
Look what the eternal search has brought
A searching with no end to wanting
That which you truly not need.

11.
Stop it, stop it, I hear you scream, the voice constant in its demands of you
But what can be done if broken you have become?
Bound to a meaningless death whilst your feet still walk
Bow to grace as freedom is you just in being
See the butterfly kiss the wind as a graceful dance
What have you become outside yourself?
Smash all mirrors as they do not allow you to see what lies beneath
Seven colours formed of white
Form holds the illusion together not wanting it to be seen
All that allows it to be is what’s in-between
No sense I make, so that your mind can move beyond the hours of 9 till 5
I lie timeless for you.

20.
Is mankind reflecting upon itself?
From and within the boundless nothingness that I Am
Nothing more or less than degrees of variation
Like a leaf throughout the seasons of its cycle
Come within so that I am released from form
And journey from stillness back to stillness
As infinite space and eternal grace dance together in the hands of thy children
Mention not a word of I, nor a thought, nor emotion, invisible I remain
See that star in your eye?
It is your world beneath your world
A diamond in the form of a stone
Belong to silence, cometh to existence through seed of breath, even and pure.

24.
Cannot you feel the spirit within her? Why? Why? Why?
You poison her veins with fluorescent venom
Yet still she gives you soil to grow your food
You shatter her body with each bomb that tears at her skin
Yet still she gives you air to breathe
Your chemical mind soaks away her pure clear blood
Yet still she gives you water to quench greed’s thirst
Great Mother Earth, you inspire me to a love that holds no enemy
Take not a moment more to cleanse your soul from our mistrust
Seeing you create your balance now
A new earth awaits your presence
And yet still you wish to give us abundance’s dance
Your wisdom singing peacefully within thy true self
A self of love, a selfless love
My weeping heart bleeds its last drop into your soil
Take it and send me to my grave with your earthy kiss
For you have earned your rest from the hand of man.

37.
Is thy being too simple for belief?
A simple being of love sets everything free

40.
For whilst thoughts, emotions, content, story and experience is a part of the journey, it is a mere ripple on the surface of the vast depthless ocean of thy being, of which I know nothing.

PURCHASE AT:


Amazon | Barnes& Noble


At the peak of his destructive cycle glen was so consumed by addictions, that on any given day saw the abusive consumption of cocaine, MDMA powder, special K, ecstasy, crystal meth, marijuana, prescription drugs (anti-depressants, sleeping pills) and alcohol.

A time that saw him attempting and failing to out race police cars through the streets of a Melbourne suburb one night, to experiencing a near death experience while bleeding out from a glass injury when holidaying overseas, a time of daily self-harming with the prospect of suicide never being far out of reach.

However, through the unconditional love of his parents, glen found himself backpacking though South America where a collection of events and direct experiences with the local people and Mother Earth herself, triggered the beginning stages of what would later become known to him as the shattering and dissolving of the false identity of the illusionary mind-made-self and its “poor me” story.

An inner-journey that awakens the spirit of love, known as glen, to not being a personal identity as such but rather a way of being, a way of simplicity, a way of the heart, a way that embraces and dances with the perfection of the present moment like no other.

You can visit the author’s website at www.spiritoflove.com.au or his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thespiritoflovebook.