Writer of the Day–Gail Palotta

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BOOK GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate the release of her new book, Gail’s giving away a copy of one of her books, Barely Above Water. To learn how to enter the giveaway read to the bottom of the post!

Gail Palotta is my writer of the day.  Let’s learn a bit more about her. Award-winning author Gail Pallotta is a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. Gail’s a former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, a 2013 Grace Awards finalist and a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Book Award winner. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. To learn more about Gail and her books visit her website at http//gailpallotta.com.

Her latest book is Hair Calamities and Hot Cash. Sounds like a fun book. Gail’s going to share a behind the scenes look at it today.

The Story Behind The Story

My mother’s beauty shop in a small town at the foothills of the North Carolina Mountains inspired Hair Calamities and Hot Cash. While my mother rolled hair, she listened to as many troubles as the local psychologist and heard as much gossip as the area’s nosiest busybody. But the caring attitude of every customer who entered the shop etched a special memory on my heart for my mother’s business and the town where I grew up. It’s even more precious in our divided society now when the word community only means a place to live. I wanted to bring back the camaraderie, acceptance, and respect for others that existed then. And of course, in my mind every town needs romance, mystery and humor.

Blurb: New York stockbroker Philip Wells crashes his rental car into Eve Castleberry’s beauty shop in Triville, North Carolina. On the same day the young widow’s defective hair products cause wild hairdos. Philip’s attracted to the distraught top-notch hairstylist and asks her out. She starts dating him, but stops because she falls too hard for a wayfarer who’ll leave and break her heart. When there’s another catastrophe in the shop, Philip comes to Eve’s rescue and convinces her to go out as friends. Later he solicits her help to find the thieves who stole his client’s cash. Then they trail two of the FBI’s most-wanted criminals. Romance blossoms amid danger, suspense and Eve’s hair-brained plan to get back the money.

To celebrate the release of Hair Calamities and Hot Cash, she’s giving away a Kindle copy of Barely Above Water, a 2017 Reader’s Favorite Award Winner. To enter, leave a comment. Winner will be picked on August 22.

 

 

Buy Barely Above Water on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1W4fUXB 

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment, if you want to win! Winner will be chosen on November 15!

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

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Writer of the Day–Alice K. Arenz

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AND A GIVEAWAY!

My writer of the day is  Alice K. Arenz.  Though she’s known for her cozy mysteries and romantic mystery/suspense novels, the Carol Award winning author has branched out with her newest release, The Wedding Barter, a romance that is both serious and funny. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her first three novels were honored by two finals and one win in ACFW’s Carol Awards: cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist). These novels have been followed by An American Gothic, Portrait of Jenny, and short story, Home Cookin’.  Visit her at her website www.akawriter.com

 

Good news for you, Alice is going to giveaway an e-copy of her new book, The Wedding Barter. Keep reading to find out how to enter the giveaway.  So let’s find out how a mystery/suspense writer came to write a romance in her own words. Alice K. Arenz:

 

Though romance—to some degree—has always been part of my books in the past, I hadn’t attempted one in…well, let’s just say too many years to count out. Let’s just leave it as being in the ancient times of the early 80s. It didn’t go very well. I was told my contributions were filled with too much comedy, too much mystery, and not enough sensual content—at which point I said “EW-www,” then promptly moved on.

Back to the story of how The Wedding Barter came to be part of the TRYING OUT FOR LOVE boxed set published by my incredibly awesome published Forget Me Not Romances. To be honest, the encouragement and confidence in my ability to write a romance sealed the deal. I was convinced it was the correct decision when, after a lot of prayer, the title for my “short novel” as well as the names of the lead characters were “given to me.” From there, it was a question of how to fulfill my commitment—which had suddenly become more difficult because of health issues. But, I’m a firm believer that God wouldn’t have given me the idea and details if He didn’t have the solution already worked out.

After stewing over the dilemma for about a month, my husband suggested that I dictate to him as he typed on his laptop. Um, seriously? Would that work. Really??? He was not only serious, but was dedicated to the project—even when absolutely nothing was happening! He tried to understand how “my process” had always involved me sitting at my desk, eyes closed, fingers on the keyboard while I prayed and waited for the “connection.” I can’t even begin to explain how much more difficult it was to find a way to verbally describe what I saw happening in my head! But, like my characters in Barter reminded themselves, all it takes is a mustard seed of faith. That’s what I sought, and the result is a 49,000 word short novel—a romance based in the same fictional town of Tarryton, Missouri where The Bouncing Grandma Mystery series is set. No murders, but a few twists and turns, and, I hope, some laughs as well.

 

THE WEDDING BARTER by Alice K. Arenz

Riley Carr has been best friends with Amy Lawton since they were toddlers.  While Amy awaits her discharge from the Army, Riley’s been left in charge of helping to arrange “a very small, intimate ceremony with no fanfare” for Amy and her fiancé. But, Riley has something else in mind.

With the aid of two other friends, Riley presents her “wedding barter” idea to groom, David Herron. He agrees, providing best man, Mike Todd, stays in the loop to keep things from getting out of hand.

It doesn’t help that the giant of a man is threatening, overbearing, and just doesn’t seem to like her or her ideas. But, when Todd gives Riley an ultimatum of producing results in three weeks or he’ll take over, she’s determined to prove him wrong. . .in more ways than one.

AMAZON LINK

To enter to win an e-copy of the Wedding Barter, leave a comment. Winner will be picked on July 16th. Thanks!

Thanks, Alice for sharing your story with us–both the book and how you came to write a romance. So, readers, do you prefer your favorite writers stick to one genre or are you willing to read something different from them?

UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 25 Days of Christmas Family Devotional–Ruth O’Neil

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It’s the middle of November and you know what that means! Christmas is coming. My guest writer today is Ruth O’Neil. She’s sharing a favorite Christmas memory as part of her blog tour for her book–The 25 Days of Christmas Family Devotional.

AMAZON LINK

Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. You can find her book series “What a Difference a Year Makes” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or her website (http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/). You can also visit her on her blog at http://ruths-real-life.blogspot.com/. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.

And now let’s hear from Ruth O”Neil:

“I remember events b what we had to eat.”

That’s a quote from one of my sisters that proves we are related. I think the same way. Food was, and still is, a very important part of our lives, whether it’s celebrating a big holiday such as Christmas, or simply a girls’ weekend together.

We usually had Christmas dinner at my grandparents’ house when I was growing up. Grandma spent days baking entirely too much food. (I have taken up that tradition for myself, but at least I don’t have to cook for a few days afterward!) Grandma usually fixed turkey and ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, applesauce, rolls, coleslaw, and many other things. She would fix everyone’s favorites whether we could eat it all or not. That was Christmas afternoon and evening.

Christmas morning was spent at home and Mom would always make a special breakfast. Sometimes it was homemade cinnamon rolls or sticky buns, other times it was her famous braided bread. That braided bread has been a Christmas morning tradition in my home ever since the first Christmas my husband and I were married.

While food for the holidays is something that is very important to me, there is something better. It’s being together as a family and thinking of things we can do for others. That’s a big part of what my newest book is about. This book is a perfect way for families to spend time together during the Christmas season thinking of and doing for others. It’s meant to be read through in 25 days. Each day contains a story for children, devotion, song, and activity to work on together.

Thanks, Ruth, for sharing a memory and information about your new book, The 25 Days of Christmas Family Devotional. It sounds like a wonderful book for the holidays!

God Bless & Good Reading!

 

 

 

 

My Friday Friend–Sara Foust

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And once again, my Friday Friend is not on a Friday–oh well. Anyway I want to welcome Sara L. Foust.

Sara writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Tennessee Mountain Writers. Her debut novel Callum’s Compass won second place in Deep River Books’ 2017 Writer’s Contest. She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” appearing in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com.

Blurb:

KAT WILLIAMS’S brother died in a gruesome accident in the mountains of East Tennessee. She blames herself.

RYAN JENKINS’S fiancée was murdered. He couldn’t protect her.

With the death of her brother, Kat believes she is unworthy of love from anyone—even God. When a good friend elicits a promise that she will stop living in the past and then leaves her clues to a real-life treasure hunt, Kat embarks on an adventure chock-full of danger. To find the treasure, Kat will have to survive wild animals—and even wilder men. Can she rely on Ryan, the handsome wildlife officer assigned to protect her . . . without falling in love?

Ryan swore off love when his fiancée was murdered, but feelings long-buried rise to the surface around Kat. He volunteers to help with her treasure hunt, vowing to keep her safe. Together they venture deep into caves and tunnels . . . and even deeper into the depths of their unplumbed hearts.

 

Amazon Link:    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076B9PBZL

Thanks for stopping by, Sara.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

Friday Friend–Laura V. Hilton

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 Laura V. Hilton is my Friday Friend (and yes, I know it’s Saturday!) and an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New. Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and home schools her two youngest children. When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.

I’m excited to have Laura as my Friday Friend. I usually do a post or blog about their new book, but today we’re doing an interview with Laura about her Christmas novella, The Christmas Admirer.

Interview with Laura Hilton, author of The Christmas Admirer:

 

Amazon Link

What inspired you to write The Christmas Admirer?   My publisher was interested in another Christmas story, this one set in Jamesport. I had two characters left unclaimed at the singing after a wedding in The Amish Wanderer. One of them had her story told in Love by the Numbers, coming in February. I wondered at the other girl’s story and started writing it.

 

What is this story about? Paint a picture of the setting and explain why it’s special.  The story is set in Jamesport, Missouri, and it is a real life Amish community. My blurb is:

 Benaiah Troyer has loved Susanna King for as long as he can remember, but other than a lone summer filled with romantic buggy rides, marrying her remains an elusive dream. When his parents died in an accident a year ago, he broke up with her—for her own good. After all, they left him as the sole caregiver for his three younger sisters and his grandparents. What woman wants to step into a ready-made family like his? Still, he leaves her monthly gifts from “A Secret Admirer,” hoping she’ll know that someone loves her, even though he isn’t free to step forward.

Susanna has never gotten over losing Benaiah, and hopes he’s her secret admirer, but now the clock is ticking. Susanna’s father is remarrying in January and his wife-to-be doesn’t want to leave her Amish community and family in Iowa. So when Susanna’s daed sells his glass-blowing business to his right-hand man, Benaiah, she’s left with three options: 1) Go with Daed to his new home with a new frau and step-kinner, 2) Flush out her mysterious secret admirer, or 3) Resign herself to life as an old maid. She doesn’t want to follow Daed where his new frau is leading him. And number three isn’t happening. Marrying Benaiah is her greatest desire—but he broke her heart, and now he treats her like a pesky younger sister. Can she make him see her as a woman, one who could stand by his side as he cares for his family?

As Christmas approaches, Susanna and her friends start making gingerbread houses for select members of the community. Susanna plans for hers to go to Benaiah’s family. But while her gingerbread may find a home—will her heart?

Did you go on a research trip for writing this story? If not then describe what you did to make it believable.  I did go on research trips. I went to Jamesport initially when I researched for The Snow Globe and took pictures. And I went to a glassblowers shop in Springfield, Missouri to research that.

Benaiah Troyer is an interesting name for your story’s hero. How did you create it? Benaiah is a biblical hero who became King David’s bodyguard.  He has quite an interesting background and like King David has killed his own share of lions.

Describe Benaiah. What’s he like? Share his personality, passion and flaws.  Benaiah is the artistic type. Quiet, yet strong. He loves creating, he loves his family, but he doesn’t have enough faith that God will care for his needs—let alone everyone he’s responsible for. I know I can relate and I’m sure others can.

Susanna King is the heroine of your story. What’s she like? Describe her personality, looks and heart.  Susanna is driven. She wants what she wants and she will try to do it by hook or by crook. Which puts her and Benaiah and her father at odds because she’s butting heads with them.  She has honey blond hair, greenish-grey eyes and is average height.

Why does Benaiah love Susanna? Benaiah has loved Susanna since they were twelve and she helped him memorize lines for the Christmas play. They were best friends growing up which grew naturally into love.

What is it about Benaiah that draws Susanna into a relationship with him?  She admires how he always put her first, how he treated her and her grandmother, and like I said, their friendship grew naturally into love.

Why does marrying Susanna feel like “an elusive dream” to Benaiah?  His parents died, leaving him responsible for four younger sisters and his grandparents. He has a very limited income, little money for extras, and his home is a rundown rental. He doesn’t want to give up her life of ease and plenty to live in his reality of hardship. Not only that, but Susanna’s dad, a widower, is remarrying and moving him-and Susanna- to another state.

How has the pain of Benaiah’s past shaped his present?  It made him grow up and put the needs of his family before his own.

Why is Susanna’s “greatest desire” to marry Benaiah?  They’ve been together since they were twelve. They’ve courted since they were sixteen. They were promised to be married in the fall the year his parents died and changed it. Her love for him didn’t die. But she had to convince him she was willing to do whatever was necessary to win him.

What are the unique roadblocks that Benaiah and Susanna face on their journey to happily ever after?  Susanna’s dad is moving to Iowa , Benaiah is losing everything—including his job since he works for Susanna’s dad—and his home, and reality is scary.

What is the significance of gingerbread houses in this story?  I read a story once that included love potions and out of curiosity I looked up the ingredients. They are basically almost the same as for gingerbread. And since it is Christmas and a gingerbread house is a tradition in our family, that was a fun addition. It also worked into the faith message on Susanna’s part.

What was your favorite part of writing The Christmas Admirer? Why?  Benaiah and Susanna were such fun! Being madly in love but being forced apart yet together added tons of tension.

What do you want your readers to remember most about this story? The faith message is up to God, but what I came away with is God is bigger than the strongest lions you may face.

If you could spend Christmas Day with Benaiah and Susanna, what do you think that experience would include?  Tons of yummy food, laughter and family.

What is your favorite Christmas holiday treat (food or beverage)? Why?  My maternal grandma came from the Amish and she had these wonderful old fashioned sour cream cookies. I love them. We make some every year.

Do you have any closing comments?  Thank you for joining us, I hope you have the Merriest of Christmases with you and yours.

Thanks for the interview, Laura and Merry Christmas a few months early! Those cookies sound wonderful! Do you think you could share the recipe with my readers in the comment section?

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

My Friday Friend–Alexis A. Goring

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Alexis A. Goring is my Friday Friend today and is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ. She’s here to talk about her book, A Second Chance.

Buy links: Amazon (http://amzn.to/2f7waYL)

Barnes and Noble (http://bit.ly/2uguncU)

Book blurb: Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life.  Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness are of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death.  Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.

You can contact Alexis on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlexisAGoring/ or her website at https://alexisagoring.jimdo.com. 

Thanks, Alexis, for stopping by.

GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!

 

 

 

 

 

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

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BOOK GIVEAWAY ALERT!

My Friday Friend is Michelle Griep. She’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest

For information on the book giveaway read to the bottom of the post!

She’s here to ask and answer the question:

 How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

I’m frequently asked how long it takes me to write a book. That depends, of course, on how long the book is, but for an average 90-95k novel, I can do it in about 9 months. That includes my excessive editing and some research, assuming I have a basic knowledge of the era. If I don’t it takes longer. My newest release, however, is a gift book, meaning that it’s half the size of a regular novel, coming in at right around 45k words. That took me only 4 months to write.

So, now that you’ve got my numbers, how does that match up with other writers? Here are a some famous authors and their even more famous titles, along with the time it took them to write it.

GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell—–10 years

LES MISERABLES by Victor Hugo—-12 years

LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien—-16 years

A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens—-6 weeks

WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte—-9 months

TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyere—3 months

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald—-2 1/2 years

HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE by J.K. Rowling—-6 years

So, as you can see, there is no standard time for writing a novel. Nor is there a standard time for reading said novels. This is the perfect time of year to grab a hot drink and a blankie, then cozy up on a couch for a nice read . . .and have I got a read for you!

12 Days at Bleakly Manor

A mysterious invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home may bring danger…and love? England, 1851: When Clara Chapman receives an intriguing invitation to spend Christmas at an English manor home, she is hesitant yet feels compelled to attend—for if she remains the duration of the twelve-day celebration, she is promised a sum of five hundred pounds. But is she walking into danger? It appears so, especially when she comes face to face with one of the other guests—her former fiancé, Benjamin Lane. Imprisoned unjustly, Ben wants revenge on whoever stole his honor. When he’s given the chance to gain his freedom, he jumps at it—and is faced with the anger of the woman he stood up at the altar. Brought together under mysterious circumstances, Clara and Ben discover that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters. What matters most is what Christmas is all about . . . love. Pour a cup of tea and settle in for Book 1 of the Once Upon a Dickens Christmas series–a page-turning Victorian-era holiday tale–by Michelle Griep, a reader and critic favorite.

 

Thanks, Michelle. I loved seeing the stats on those books. I’m in awe that it only took 6 weeks to write A Christmas Carol! What about you, readers? Which one did you find surprising? Michelle has so kindly offered to give a copy of 12 Days at Bleakly Manor to one reader–print or ebook–the winner’s choice. Thanks so much, Michelle.

If you want to be entered to win the book, leave a comment and you’re entered. Contest will end on September 22!

God Bless & Good Reading!