Friday, May 12, 2017

Susan Day and Powerful Literary Role Models for Girls

How female characters can have a powerful influence on girls
Research certainly points to the fact that girls need strong role models from which they can form their own identity. If a girl is surrounded by women who can offer her positive attitudes, all the better. However, it is important not to underestimate how powerful female fictional characters can be and what kind of influence they can have. Importantly, we should be employing them to help shape our daughters’, and granddaughters’, views of themselves, and their visions of who they want to become.

Alice in Wonderland: A role model
Alice in Wonderland is probably one of the first female characters many girls meet. When the book was written it was unusual for a woman to take the lead role, never mind about a little girl.

But, Lewis Carroll gave us a strong role model who is marked by her incessant curiosity and never failing courage. Alice’s adventures are legendary and they are her reward for her strength of character, not to mention, her inability to take ‘no’ for an answer.

Alice is a sensible girl for the most part, but a bit reckless too. Fancy, accepting the advice on those bottles labelled ‘drink me’! She knows a villain when she sees one in the Queen of Hearts, and is naturally suspicious of the pipe smoking caterpillar, and the grinning cat. Whackos!

Alice’s most redeeming feature is her ability to reflect and curb her more audacious inclinations. As well, when she makes a mistake, she moves on with her head held high, and picks up where she left off. I couldn’t think of a more significant role model to begin my granddaughter’s education.

Women role models from literature
As girls grow they should be introduced to women of literature whose courage and determination make them noteworthy, and stand outs as powerful role models.

There are, of course, many strong female roles but perhaps my favorites are Maggie Tulliver, Mill on the Floss, Jane, Jane Eyre, and Lizzie Bennet, Pride and Prejudice. Although confined by the restrictions set by their respective societies and eras, these amazing women hinted to us that not all women should be powerless and subservient. They bent the roles, pushed the boundaries, and refused to be stereotyped regardless of who was watching or what was at stake, sometimes paying the highest price.

Modern female role models and writers
Of course, modern times calls for modern women to take the lead. Today’s teens have some very impressive women to lead and guide them too.

With Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, and Lisbeth Salander, from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I feel today’s generation are in good hands.

Having been a student of, Women who run with Wolves, I know why girls need strong, confident and resilient role models. For example, while Little Red Riding Hood shared Alice’s curiosity, she lacked Alice’s courage. Perhaps if she had she would have bopped that wicked wolf on the nose and spent a lovely afternoon with her grandmother instead.

I also must mention Caroline Paul’s, Gutsy Girl. I purchased a copy for a friend, a true gutsy girl, who walked the Kokoda Trail on her own. Once I read it, I realized that Paul’s accounts of her adventures; her amazing courage and her recklessness tempered with a whimsical bravado, where enthralling and needed to be celebrated. She soon became a role model I was excited about sharing so I purchased a copy for my granddaughter. At the time of writing this she is just one year old, but when she is older I will present it to her.

Her name is after all, Emma Jane; named after my daughter’s favorite fictional characters – Emma Woodhouse and Jane Eyre. Proof, I believe that I did something right in her education; filling her heart and her mind with powerful female characters from literature so much so she named her daughter after two of them.

About the author - Susan Day
Susan Day is an author of 15 books and a content marketer. Her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren. In particular, Susan specializes in helping grandparents share their love of books with their grandchildren. Susan is currently writing a book titled, The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing!

The Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing

Susan lives in Australia with four dogs, three boss cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo. And, apart from blogging, writing and reading; she loves drinking coffee, painting and learning to box.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Southside Hustle by Lou Holly

SOUTHSIDE HUSTLE: a gripping action thriller full of suspense by [HOLLY, LOU]

Southside Hustle by Lou Holly

“Every tough guy has a weak spot, and Trick’s is his love for his son.” Lee Graham

About the Book:
When a Mexican gang threatens his son, ex-con Patrick Halloran must turn back to crime.

Ex-con Patrick Halloran is trying to get a job and go straight. He missed out on his child’s early years, now all he wants is to spend more time with him. Getting back with his fiery ex, Ginger, would be a bonus.

In jail, Patrick concentrated on one thing: getting his head in order to do right by his son. He trained, studied and kept out of trouble; now he is hoping he can lead a normal life.

However, under pressure to pay off a debt, and unwilling to turn snitch, Patrick takes a risk, and ends up on the wrong side of a Mexican gang.

Having to raise cash quickly takes Patrick straight back into Chicago’s dangerous underworld where life is cheap, and deeper and deeper into an impossible predicament until he gets an offer he can’t refuse.

If you like tense and gritty crime fiction, look no further than SOUTHSIDE HUSTLE.

Published by The Book Folks crime action thriller publishers, March 27, 2016
E-book $2.99
Print $12.99
Buy on Amazon 

A brief interview with the Author

What do you love about this book?
The thing I like most about Southside Hustle is the realism. Some of the most outlandish things that take place are based on real life situations from the era, the mid-1980s. Southside Hustle was my attempt to write a crime novel that would appeal to women as well as men. Judging from the reviews that I’ve received from women, I succeeded. I like to think of Southside Hustle as a crime novel with a heart. Often, novels are either plot driven or character driven. I try to get a nice balance of the two in my stories.

Introduce us to your most difficult character.
The most difficult character to write was the protagonist, Patrick ‘Trick’ Halloran, because he walks a fine line between good and bad. He’s a thirty-year-old man who has just been released from prison after serving a term for a cocaine conviction. Now that he’s a free man again, all he wants is to reestablish a relationship with his now five-year-old son and work to pay off a financial debt he owes to an impatient, ruthless drug dealer. His attempts to stay out of trouble go terribly bad when an unusual situation draws him back into the dangerous world of crime in the southside area of Chicago.

Share some things you learned during the writing and publishing process for Southside Hustle.
The thing I learned most in writing Southside Hustle was the vast number of rewrites that it takes to polish up and complete a novel. The fun part of a project is the initial writing. The work is in the fine details.

What I’ve learned most about publishing is that you have to be willing to let your publisher make changes to the book that you’ve labored over for many months. Sometimes the changes can be minor, but sometimes they can be as major as writing out a character. There is a lot of negotiation that takes place. But hopefully, you can trust your publisher in their efforts to make your book as good as it can be. They are the experts, after all.

What are you reading now?
I just finished reading a 1957 paperback, Some Slips Don’t Show by A.A. Fair, who as many will know is a nom de plume for Erle Stanley Gardner of Perry Mason fame. I love the intricate plotting and the surprise parallel plot that is revealed later into the story. I’m now reading Suitcase Charlie, published 2015, by award winning writer John Guzlowski. John, like myself, is drawn to noir inspired tale telling.

What's next?
I recently finished writing another crime novel titled Razorback. It's about a bank robber named Vint Mercurio, who hops off a freight train in a small town in Arkansas, 1953. Vint gets into an altercation in a diner and accidentally kills a man in self-defense. While stuck in the town awaiting a hearing, he gets involved with two very different women, a shady English lawyer and two separate nefarious schemes. After he is cleared of the killing, the marshal wants Vint out of town, the brothers of the man he killed want him dead, but the temptation of a big score makes him stay when he should leave.

About the Author
One of six children, Lou Holly grew up on the southside of Chicago. As a young man, Lou worked in a number of factories to pay for community college classes. Otherwise, he has been self-employed most of his adult life. He owned a very successful band-booking agency in the 1980s and started his own limousine business in the 1990s, which attracted an array of celebrity customers. Lou’s writing career began as a reporter for a local newspaper in the late 1980s. His next foray into writing was a self-published book titled How to Succeed in the Limousine Business. With the success of the self-help book, he was invited to contribute articles to limousine publications in exchange for advertising and was awarded a bi-monthly column in Limousine Digest called "Chauffeur’s Corner." In 2009, Lou and his wife, Liz, launched the high-quality publication Keep Rockin’, a 1950s and 60s nostalgia magazine. Keep Rockin’ had subscribers in all 50 states and 11 countries. Lou retired in 2013 to become a full-time novelist. His first novel, Southside Hustle, was published by The Book Folks of London in 2016, and is receiving excellent reviews. Lou lives in Naperville, Illinois with his wife.

Facebook: Lou Holly Author
Twitter: @louholly_sr

Friday, May 5, 2017

How It All Began by Robin E Mason


Guest post by Robin E. Mason

 In the beginning God created…  Okay, not that beginning. Then again, in that beginning God created, and isn’t that what we are? As writers? Creators? (not to dis any other form of art, of course)

And when God created… ME, He instilled creativity in me. In mega doses, it seems. Fast forward a bit, and skipping over the why’s, for years I [attempted to] shoved that creativity into a nice little box—or cage. It didn’t stay.

And when I dove headlong into writing my debut novel, Tessa, in the fall of 2013, I realized I was swimming in the pond I should have been in all along. The water was perfect, there were—are—others like me here but not too crowded; we each have our own little eddy of space. And when those eddies coincide it’s a beautiful thing.

I tried for years to be something I’m not—a conformist. I tried to fit somebody else’s ideal for me. It didn’t fit. It didn’t work. And I was miserable. Then again, that very experience (years of that miserable experience) has given me the very thing I write about—identity. In discovering who I am and more importantly, who I am in Him, I discovered my purpose. And that is to write.

Interesting thing though. The more I discovered my identity as a writer, the more I discovered who I am in Him—which feeds my identity as a writer, which feeds who I am… Holy Spirit showed me something years ago about Psalm 37 verse 4.

Because they are tied together. The desires that are in our heart are there because Father put them there.

He made us that way. Whether it’s writing or singing or engineering or teaching—the thing we yearn for, that stirs within us is His to begin with. Therefore, when we pursue that very thing, we also are pursuing the One who put it there. Or perhaps, more accurately, we are fulfilling the purpose of the One who put it there.

I read a statement on another blog today, and I paraphrase here, “If my dream is not His dream, and if my dream does not bring honor and glory to Father, then I don’t want it.”

I’ve deviated from my journey as a writer. But maybe not. When I dove into that pond back in 2013, I truly had | no | clue. I wrote. And that was it. A friend hooked me up with Kindle (otherwise I was going to pay for vanity publishing! AACK!!) and even uploaded my doc for me. I started blogging, “I’ve been thrown into the deep end. Of a deep ocean. In a tidal wave.” That was my first blog. I floundered for several months, and published my book baby in print. After a few queries about a sequel (which I hadn’t considered before) I looked, and what to my wondering eyes did I see? Two distinct places, right there in Tessa, that point straight to Clara Bess. And even Cissy, the third and final book.

I’m still winging it, but I’ve learned more of the “air currents” of this crazy industry. With each book a read or blog I share, there’s something new to learn, something to apply in my writing or or networking or the dreaded marketing. With each word I write, I’m more selective, I’m writing sharper and tighter—and better. I’ve even ventured to write a couple of lovey-dovey scenes, something I’d not done before… reading plenty of them. (courtesy of Pepper Basham, and others)

Yeah, I’m in a new pond. And it’s my pond. And I’m swimming bolder and stronger and more confident every day. And I’m here to stay.

PS (and this is for Lisa) apparently I work better with a deadline…  ;-)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

New Historical Fiction from Janalyn Voigt

Western Historical Fiction: Hills of Nevermore by Janalyn Voigt

Hills of Nevermore, Montana Gold Book 1

Mountain Brook Ink Publishers
May 1, 2017

Inspirational historical romance
Electronic: $.99
Buy on Amazon

About the Book
Can a young widow hide her secret shame from the Irish preacher bent on helping her survive?

In an Idaho Territory boom town, America Liberty Reed overhears circuit preacher Shane Hayes try to persuade a hotel owner to close his saloon on Sunday. Shane lands face-down in the mud for his trouble, and there’s talk of shooting him. America intervenes and finds herself in an unexpectedly personal conversation with the blue-eyed preacher. Certain she has angered God in the past, she shies away from Shane.

Addie Martin, another widow, invites America to help in her cook tent in Virginia City, the new mining town. Even with Addie’s teenage son helping with America’s baby, life is hard. Shane urges America to depart for a more civilized location. Neither Shane’s persuasions nor road agents, murder, sickness, or vigilante violence can sway America. Loyalty and ambition hold her fast until dire circumstances force her to confront everything she believes about herself, Shane, and God.

Based on actual historical events during a time of unrest in America, Hills of Nevermore explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west.

My Review
Two lost souls risen from the ashes of loss of opposing hardships find freedom, redemption, and a new start on the American frontier.

A privileged young woman with a big lie on her heart feels she’d been dealt God’s justice when her new husband dies and she’s left to fend for herself and her newborn. A circuit preacher faces his sense of inadequacy when he sees little reward for his labors in the wild west just opening up to fortune-hunters and the fast life that goes with it.

America Reed and her infant daughter Liberty hitch up with a wagon train heading for Idaho, and befriends another woman and her teenage son who have suffered the terrible drowning loss of Addie’s husband on the route. The wagon train breaks up when they reach a settlement near which a gold strike entices many to stake their claim. America is disheartened by the roughness and wild antics of the west. Unwilling to return to her wealthy disinterested and dysfunctional home in St. Louis, she does the best she can, partnering with Addie who plans to open her own restaurant. When strange feelings over a circuit riding minister tickle America’s conscience, she knows she must spurn his interest in her lest he, too, serves as punishment for her sinful past.

Shane Hayes, an Irish immigrant so desperate to meld with America that he’s changed his name, faithfully follows God’s call to keep religion alive in a land determined to profane it. Hoping to make great advances for the Lord, he practices what he preaches by turning the other cheek and eye and jaw so often he loses the respect of those he wants to reach. To top it off, he’s become distracted by a widow who obviously needs Christian charity in light of her situation…and succeeds in securing more than his Christian love. Trying twice to convince his superiors he’s not fit for his call, one last piece of advice and encouragement from his friend helps Shane find his way.

Vogt’s research and use of recorded events bring this story of redemption and romance alive. The side stories all effectively channel the tale to a satisfying conclusion. Told in multiple viewpoints, those who enjoy reliving the wild west will enjoy this vicarious visit to the birth of Virginia City.

About the Author
Author and Speaker Janalyn Voigt My father instilled a love of literature in me at an early age by reading chapters from The Wizard of Oz, Robinson Crusoe and other classics. When I grew older, and he stopped reading bedtime stories, I put myself to sleep with tales I "wrote" in my head. My sixth-grade teacher noticed my penchant for writing and encouraged me to become a novelist.

I'm considered a multi-genre author, but I like to think of myself as a storyteller. The same elements appear in all my novels in proportions dictated by their genre: romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Meet Danielle E Shipley and her tales of Sherwood Forest

About The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale (Outlaws of Avalon 1)
Danielle E. Shipley

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

Buy the Books:

Behold, the author’s Outlaws of Avalon page for access to all available books in the series
For the full Danielle E. Shipley catalog, look here
Danielle's Amazon Author page
Danielle's Barnes and Noble page

What do you love about this book?
The Merry Men! I love their banter, their audacity, and most of all, their friendships. Probably one of my biggest deathbed regrets will be that I was never a member of their band, but since I don’t get to be, watching my little fairytale minstrel become one of them is the next best thing.

Introduce us to your most difficult character.

Most difficult to write? Possibly Allyn. For one, he has been known to break out into spontaneous song – which is all very delightful to read once I’ve written it, but a minstrel’s lyrics aren’t as easily come up with as prose. For two, he’s not the most forthcoming fellow; likes to hold his spirit in close, where people can’t see or touch or deem lacking. It’s lucky for me I have direct access to his thoughts, or he might never have let me get to know him!

Most difficult to live with? Will Scarlet. He is as much a joy as he is a lot to handle.

Most difficult to fully understand? Merlin. Wizards, amirite?

Share 2 things you learned during the writing and publishing.

Writing discovery: I actually can crank out over 50 thousand words in under 30 days! It was my first-ever National Novel Writing Month project, and my novels like to flirt with novella length, so I didn’t know for sure.

Publishing discovery: Wow, trying to wrangle reviewers to look at your book is … not easy. Ask maybe a dozen, get maybe two replies – one “yes,” one “sorry, too busy.” For those of us who are mildly terrified of reaching out to people, it’s not a great ratio.

Danielle, what are you reading now?

I’m a few pages into A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman – a YA novel in verse about a young Indian dancer who loses her leg. While fantasy stories tend to be my favorite to write, I like to experience a wide range of reading material. Mo’ variety, mo’ better, I always* say.

(* Never once have I said it, till now. But I stand by its truth!)

What’s next for you?

Outlaws of Avalon 2 (The Marriage of Allyn-a-Dale) released this past March; Outlaws 2.5 – a flash fiction collection right up a word nerd’s alley – is scheduled to launch in July; and the trilogy proper concludes this fall. I’ve saved the most emotional ride for last, so hold onto your hankies, readers!

And if anybody wants to talk books with me in the meantime, feel free to hit me up on my website, – or at this year’s Printers Row Lit Fest; I’ll be there selling (for the first time!) Sunday, June 11, 2 pm till closing.

~I hope you have a good time! I enjoyed Printer's Row!

About the Author:
Danielle E. Shipley is the author of the Wilderhark Tales novellas, the novel Inspired, and several other expressions of wishful thinking. She has spent most of her life in the Chicago area and increasing amounts of time in Germany. She hopes to ultimately retire to a private immortal forest. But first, there are stories to make.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

COTT Author Spotlight: Danny and Wanda Pelfrey

Danny and Wanda Pelfrey are longtime writers of non-fiction books in the educational and inspiration markets. They have for most of their lives been avid readers of mystery/suspense. AS A SHIELD and a previous mystery title are the result of a desire to entertain themselves and others as well as drive home important spiritual messages. Their passion is now “mysteries with a message.”
AS A SHIELD is one of four planned Davis Morgan mysteries set in a small North Georgia town. Davis, a pastor for almost twenty-five years, returns to his hometown after the death of his wife, to operate a rare and used bookstore. He is promptly appointed chaplain of the small police department and recruited by city officials to write a history of his home town. Mystery and romance seem always to be lurking around the corner for the popular bookseller.The reoccurring characters such as Charley Nelson, young police officer; Amy Morgan, Davis’s young daughter who is an English teacher; her roommate Deidre, who Davis is more and more drawn to as time passes; Miss Helen, the local historian and a host of others add to the fun and excitement.

 A visit to little Adairsville, Georgia will surely be a memorable event for anyone who chooses to drop-in. In AS A SHIELD, Davis, through his encounters with two strange villains, comes to experience for himself the truth of Psalm 5:12, “For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”

About the Authors: Danny and Wanda Pelfrey are a husband/wife team who in the past were active writers of non-fiction material, having, between them, cranked out several books. They are both graduates of Point University and Danny has a Masters from Kentucky Christian University. Danny has spent most of his adult life as a pastor and Wanda as a teacher.Their interest at present lies in the creation of mysteries with a message.

Danny and Wanda are the proud parents of two daughters and five grandchildren. They reside in a little Cape Cod style cottage in the small town in North Georgia that is the setting for their mysteries.

About the Book: Davis Morgan, having left the ministry after the death of his wife, returns to Adairsville, Georgia, his hometown. There he operates a used and rare bookstore while being appointed chaplain of the police department. He and Charley, a young policeman, after discovering the body of a tattooed man find themselves in a serious battle to bring justice to two strange villains who are threating the safety of Davis's daughter. While all this is going on, Davis is struggling with interpreting his relationship with a young history teacher who happens to be his daughter's roommate.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Book Review of Root Beer and Roadblocks

Root Beer amp; Roadblocks

Root Beer and Roadblocks, book 4 of the Orchard Hill series
Susan M Baganz

Read an interview with the author here

February, Prism Book Group, an imprint of Pelican Ventures LLC
$4.99 eBook
$15.99 Print

Buy on Amazon

About the Book
When God strips away all your hopes and dreams can you trust Him to give you something better?

Johnny Marshall's cancer is back . . . and so is the girl who broke his heart seven years ago. As Johnny struggles to find the will to live and fights his second round with the disease, he finds that hope comes in small packages with an energetic little boy named David.

Having bought in to her parents' narrow view of finding a man worthy of her, years ago, Katie abandoned the one man she'd ever loved. In all the years since, no one has ever compared to Johnny. Now as a single mom of a young boy, she wonders if their reunion right on time or is it too late for a future together?

My review
The stories coming from Orchard Hill just keep getting better and better, if you can call dealing with a lot of illness in various fashion “better.” Lots of emotion and a whirl of events help a young couple reunite under the most difficult circumstances.

Secrets come out of the closet in Root Beer and Roadblocks. Return of cancer for a member of a popular praise band puts Johnny in a funk. Even with the return of the woman of his dreams, he has a hard time willing a desire to grab life. Katie is just discovering who she is…or isn’t, in her opinion. When she realizes she’s turned herself “off,” so to speak, just to deal with being alive and handling devastating circumstances within a classically dysfunctional family, revelations of the stuff of nightmares aren’t as much of a shock. Together Katie and Johnny know they can win any obstacle course, especially with the fruit of their first love, David, and love for another child who comes into their lives and needs them, Khloe.

There’s a lot of ups and downs, tears all around, hugs and passion in this story of forgiveness and grace, and future uncertainties. Told in multiple viewpoints, old friends from the past stories haunt the pages in a good way, and it truly come around to needing a village to make life a good one for each other and our children. Nicely done, occasionally tear-jerking. Recommended for readers of contemporary romantic stories and couples learning to deal with the realities after the “I do.”

Monday, April 3, 2017

Clash of the Titles Champion!

Congratulations to Jennifer Vander Klip
and the novel
Protective Custody

About the book:
A cop burned by love falls for a key witness in a crime implicating the town's rich and powerful.

Lifestyle magazine editor Heather McAlister was in the wrong place at the wrong time. What she saw sends her faith and life into a tailspin. As a key witness in a crime shaking the roots of the town's power brokers, doing the right thing may cost her everything. Including her life.

Detective Kyle Taylor is in the midst of solving the town's worst crime spree, a case that cold make or break his career, when the woman he thinks he might have a future with witnesses a gang initiation gone wrong before they can finish their first date. He has spent his entire adult life protecting his hometown. Now he's protecting a woman he'll risk everything to save.

With more than their future at risk, they must discern betrayal from trust, image from truth while avoiding a danger closer than they think.

Christian Romantic Suspense

What Reviewers Are Saying:
I just kept turning pages to see what would happen next! Can't wait for the next one!—R. Cole

This is my second novel from Vander Klipp and I continue to be impressed with her writing.--Kelly T.

Add this book to your must-read list!—Regina F.

What COTT Voters Had to Say:
~Great Book, Jennifer! Kept me on the edge of my seat!!
~Jennifer Vanderklipp, keep on writing. Some days it may seem as if no one appreciates
your books, but believe me, we, your readers, are out here just waiting for your next
release. A. Zuniga
~You have an awesome cover.The book sounds great.
~In love with Jennifer's writings!!!
~Enjoying so many new titles from amazing authors that pour their hearts in to their work. However I have to say that Protective Custody is a nail biter beginning to end. I could not put it down. Kudos to Jennifer Vander Klipp. Looking forward to more great reads from her.
~I like suspense like Jennifer VanderKlipp writes!

About the Author:
I make beauty from neglect, order from chaos. I like fixing messes!

And I get to do that a lot since I’m a mom to two and stepmom to four, navigating the tweens and
teens while battling my daughter’s juvenile arthritis, exploring the delights of my son’s autism, and keeping gluten free. A California native transplanted to the Midwest, my favorite thing is discovering with my husband how much there is to love about seasons, snow, and the delight that is Michigan.

Upcoming Release:
Promise Me is a prequel novella to Protective Custody, and it is releasing in May. With the same great setting as Protective Custody, (Orange County, California) this story focuses on Cait Bellamy and Grayson Kendall, who make brief appearances in Protective Custody. But we also get introduced to the stars of Protective Custody, Detective Kyle Taylor and Heather McAlistair.

Marketing director for Samashima Family Farms Cait Bellamy, on a break from the endless restoration of her farmhouse, witnesses potentially-devastating vandalism at the farm. Car restoration hobbiest and real estate attorney Grayson Kendall finds himself intrigued by the happenings at the farm which seem to be related to his latest real estate development. He does some digging, unknowingly putting Cait and her beloved farmhouse in danger. Can they both learn trust each other and create something new out of the wreckage their pasts while trying to discover who wants to put the farm out of business?

To find out more about her books, her latest releases, and get free chapters sign up for her newsletter at www. JenniferVanderKl

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Clash of the Titles! Find a new author to love

Clash of the Titles presents four new springtime reads!
Peruse the images, read the blurbs,
then vote on your favorite in the survey.
I know which one is my favorite.
Enjoy, dear readers!


He's a nature photographer returning to make amends, and she's a camera-shy naturalist seeking privacy. Their love for a boy brings them together, but the camera could drive them apart.
~ ~ ~

Lifestyle magazine editor Heather McAlister was in the wrong place at the wrong time, witnessing a crime that shakes the roots of the town’s power brokers and sends her life into a tailspin. Previously burned by love, Detective Kyle Taylor has spent his entire adult life protecting his hometown, but now he’s protecting a woman he’ll risk everything to save.
~ ~ ~

She’s ready to fly free of a life-long cocoon; he’s looking for anything but Raine. Can Paradise Pines find a miracle for two unwilling hearts?

~ ~ ~

When a homeless man rescues Glorilyn Neilson from violent assault, he's not the man he seems. What powerful secret keeps him on the streets?

If you have trouble viewing the entire survey Click Here to load a dedicated page to the survey.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Rootbeer and Roadblocks with Susan Baganz

Product Details

About the Book
When God strips away all your hopes and dreams can you trust Him to give you something better?

Johnny Marshall’s cancer is back . . . and so is the girl who broke his heart seven years ago. As Johnny struggles to find the will to live and fights his second round with the disease, he finds hope comes in small packages with an energetic little boy named David.

Having bought in to her parents' narrow view of finding a man worthy of her, years ago, Katie abandoned the one man she'd ever loved. In all the years since, no one has ever compared to Johnny. Now as a single mom of a young boy, she wonders if their reunion right on time or is it too late for a future together?

Discover healing, forgiveness and second chances in Root Beer & Roadblocks, book four in the Orchard Hill series.

February 2017
Prism Book Group, an imprint of Pelican Ventures LLC
Inspirational Romance

eBook $4.99
Print $15.99

Susan what do you love about this book in the series?
            Root Beer & Roadblocks is probably one of my favorite stories. Johnny was a secondary character in Feta & Freeways and based on a real-life person who inspired both books. At the end of Feta I realized Johnny needed his own happily-ever-after. He was a particularly fun character to write, and especially the interactions between him and his cousin and best friend, Niko, a relationship that continues now from Johnny’s point of view in this story. Johnny’s a bit of a wild card, kind of sassy in Feta. Life got crazy for him in Root Beer & Roadblocks. When all seemed lost, hope broke through, but it was a rough journey. Kind of like Job, he felt like he had lost everything—but it was fun to surprise him and give him his own happily-ever-after. Also, kids can be fun to write as well and there are a few in this story and those interactions were sweet.

Does each book get easier or harder to write/publish/promote?
            Some are harder to write than others—but more because of life than the actual writing although I do hit a wall of fear with every novel where I think it’s pure rubbish and I think I’ve written myself into a corner. When I recognize that and push through I’m fine. I couldn’t tell you n any of my stories where that spot was. Publishing and going through the editing process is not something I mind (although the first round of revising the rough draft is the hardest). Promoting gets tedious and sometimes feels futile. Ultimately, I need to trust that God is the One who will use the words I write and get those books into the hands of those who need them.

What are you reading now?
Other than books I’m editingI’m in a book group at church reading Beyond Loneliness: The Gift of God’s Friendship by Trevor Hudson.

What's next?
I’m playing around with writing two different stories in between editing for others and reviewing submitted novels. One project, a romantic suspense, I started last year but need to do some research on before I can continue. Another book is one just for fun, because I was challenged to write it—kind of a murder/mystery with comedic elements. I was pushed by my boss as well as the owner of a music store where I take guitar lessons give it a shot. He wanted someone to write a comedy about a music store…but my boss wanted the murder element—the suspect list is long! So, I hope to combine the two. I may have to channel some Shawn Spencer from Psych for that book. Eventually, I hope to write book eight in the Orchard Hill series because there’s a poor guy who needs his own happily-ever-after so that’s brewing in my head as well. It’s quite busy up there.

About the Author
Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits and is a native of Wisconsin. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.
Susan speaks, teaches and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy ones—snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

You can learn more by following her blog, her twitter feed  or her fan page, and Pinterest at

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Keely Brooke Keith and Far Above Rubies

Above Rubies (Uncharted Beginnings) (Volume 2)

Far Above Rubies, book 2 of the Uncharted Beginnings series
Keely Brooke Keith

Edenbrooke Press
c. Feb 2017

Print $12.99
Ebook $3.99

Buy on Amazon 

About the Book
It’s 1863, and schoolteacher Olivia Owens believes education should be a top priority in the newly established settlement of Good Springs. Between planning lessons and helping out on her family’s homestead, Olivia doesn’t have time for Gabriel McIntosh’s charming advances. When the council denies her request to build a schoolhouse, Olivia must challenge their ruling and teach private lessons—all while hiding frequent bouts of word blindness (dyslexia). If the council knew the new teacher couldn’t always read, they wouldn’t allow Olivia to teach anymore. As a carpenter, Gabe McIntosh is working hard to help build the settlement of Good Springs, and once his land is granted, he begins constructing his own house. When Olivia discovers he plans to share it with her, she guards her heart from him. But Gabe is determined to win her affection and figure out what she’s hiding.

My Review
Oddly different from American settlements moving westward, this New England community shipwrecked on a very forgiving land prides itself in a strange mix of self-containment and communal resourcing. Two years after the hazardous sea journey, families have built themselves a village with the bare necessities of housing, gathering/worship center and are beginning to expand their agricultural and trade. Communal school for the children takes a distant backseat. So does medical science and the desire to experiment with properties of the gray leaf of their new home, even when Olivia pointed out its unusual properties in the first book. The first death touches everyone. A member of the society flouts agreed-upon regulations while another in the family loses touch with reality that results in the first trial. The author offers readers a picture of a community struggling to hold together, much less survive.

Keith has developed a good grasp of internal and external conflict. Her focus character in this story about the Land, is Olivia Owens, whose mother was a teacher in their home. Olivia wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps but self-doubt and the unusual reluctance of the members of the new settlement to provide regular education to their children hold her back. A strange and peculiar affliction challenges Olivia to work twice as hard at her chosen profession to the detriment of keeping her place in society and risking her future with Gabe McIntosh, a friend who has loved her from afar.

Although I studied the condition and taught dyslexic students, I never heard of it coming and going as Olivia experienced, though I could accept it might happen. The settlers who moved across our continent often built a school either before or at the same time as their house of worship and put education foremost. In this story, Olivia heeded her experienced mother’s advice to teach necessary lessons, though she still struggled to prove herself and the practice of communal education.

Told from Olivia’s point of view, this second story of survival in a new land focuses on developing society with all the intrigue, hand-holding, gossip, judgments, and growing romance. Those who enjoy pioneering stories will like Far Above Rubies.

About the Author
Keely Brooke Keith
Keely Brooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a slight Sci-Fi twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) and Aboard Providence (2017 INSPY Awards Longlist). Keely also creates resources for writers such as The Writer’s Book Launch Guide and The Writer’s Character Journal. Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely grew up in a family that frequently relocated. By graduation, she lived in 8 states and attended 14 schools.  When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys playing bass guitar, preparing homeschool lessons, and collecting antique textbooks. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.