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 www.susanbaganz.com, her twitter feed www.twitter.com/susanbaganz  or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz and Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/silygoos.

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.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Connie Cortright and Lead Me Home

Lead Me Home, Book 2 in Grace Alone
Connie Cortright

Milk Door Publications
February, 2017
eBook $4.99
Print: $13.99
Buy on Amazon

Historical romance

Maggie Ehlke, a younger sister of Emma from Guide Me Home, is sent from her home in Wisconsin to help care for Emma's and Neil's growing family. Since Neil is now a pastor at a church in Dubuque, Iowa, Maggie moves her belongings to this city on the shores of the Mississippi River. 

She struggles to understand why life seems so unfair. Her dream of attending college and making something of her life have fallen through because of the economy. Now the reality of being sent from home to her sister's house weighs on her mind. As the train takes her closer to Dubuque, she feels that her only comfort is the books packed in her weighty trunk. 

Cortright says, “Book Two of my series takes place nine years after my first book—1935. Of course, that means that my characters are living in the years of the Great Depression, where hunger, unemployment, and homelessness are common place in every town across the United States.”

Book 1 of Grace Alone: Guide Me Home is available on Amazon

A Interview with the Author:
Connie, tell us what you love about this book. 
I love how this book brings the history of the Great Depression to life. It shows what our grandparents/parents went through during those years especially living in the Midwest - lack of food, no money, dry years with bad crops, etc. It also shows how people back then had to make the best of things and still had happiness in their lives. Their faith in God’s saving grace brought peace into their lives no matter what the physical circumstances were just like faith in God fills our lives with peace today.

Introduce us to your hero. 
Super-shy Romy Iverson, who can hardly speak with any female, has to figure out how to live in the same house with Maggie Ehlke when she moves in with the family. How will he manage to tell Maggie how to light the fire in the wood stove or wash clothes with the wringer washer if he can’t speak to her? Her presence, after the death of Romy’s mother, is very much needed to help manage the household with Romy’s three sisters, but she complicates Romy’s life as much as she helps the situation. Romy has to deal with this new female in his life and learn how to come out of his shell.

Share two things that you learned while writing this story. 
I learned what an interesting city Dubuque, Iowa is. We traveled there several years ago and discovered the Fenelon Place Elevator which is a tram that takes people up a steep cliff. Of course, this tram shows up in my book when the heroine Maggie Ehlke moves to Dubuque. My husband and I rode on this short train taking us to the top of the bluff, so it was easy to describe the experience for my readers. We also found out about the Cassville Ferry that crosses the Mississippi River upstream from Dubuque. We found out that this ferry was working during the Great Depression and that young adults (who could afford it) would take a day trip from Dubuque north to the ferry and then drive back to Dubuque on the Wisconsin side of the river. Of course, that happens in my book also. As you can probably tell, learning about history is why I love to write historical fiction.

What are you reading now? 
I’m currently reading In Farleigh Fields: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen. This historical fiction story, set in England, gives the reader a hint of suspense. It has captured my attention as I read it on my Kindle. 

What’s next? 
That’s a complicated question for me at this point in my life. My husband and I are currently preparing to move to Prague, Czech Republic where he will be working as a missionary to tell people about Jesus. We hope to be moving over there sometime in May. I started writing book 3 in my series, but I have no idea how much I’ll be able to write until we actually relocate to Europe. Book 3 is about the youngest sister in the Ehlke family - Katie - and her adventures as a nurse in a POW camp for German soldiers located in New Ulm, Minnesota. I have about five chapters written already, but my writing life has been on hold for a time during this transition.

Lisa: My very best wishes for you and your husband. I hope you find time to write, as I look forward to the next story.

My review:
From our first meeting with the bashful and dreamy Romy, sent to pick up the pastor’s wife’s sister, and Maggie, on the train crossing the mighty Mississippi into Iowa, readers are pulled into their converging world.

Maggie feels like one mouth too many to feed in a large family during the harshness of what came to be known as the Great Depression. As she is thrown first into what came to be a short-lived reunion with family, and then into the harsh realities as caretaker of a motherless brood of virtual strangers, she feels abandoned not just by the people she loves, but also by God. Romy’s dedication to the family he adores wars with his adventurous side. All around him dreams are shriveling and dying during the harshness of the broken economy. His shyness has kept him from forming meaningful relationships with girls, but when he meets Maggie, her spirit and gumption in the light of her own disappointments points toward a new path for him to follow, even as tragedy strikes his family. A wealthy family takes up the ruined farm down the road and the dandified son takes up company with Maggie and Romy is forced to act in the best interests of everyone around him, even if the consequences lead him away from any chance at finding a home of his own.

Cortright’s story is beautifully detailed with all the nuances of love and faith and tragedy of that troublesome era of American and international history. Her characters are lovingly developed and the setting painstakingly recreated. Those who are familiar with Dubuque will feel right at home. Told in alternating points of view, readers can sympathize and rejoice and cry along with Maggie and Romy as life unfolds around them, and they respond by growing in faith and following their hearts.

About the Author

Raised on a farm in Wisconsin, Connie Cortright taught Lutheran elementary school before marrying a Lutheran pastor. She has traveled across the country and beyond, following his ministry. She enjoys writing Christian historical fiction where she sprinkles bits of her own experiences into her stories. Visit her website, www.conniecortright.com

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Welcome back Crystal from Time Counselor Chronicles

Today, I’m talking with Crystal Stuart, a TEMCO lab technician, from Danele Rotharmel’s new book, Time Search. Time Search is the third book in The Time Counselor Chronicles. Crystal, it’s nice talking with you again. I enjoyed our last interview in September.

I enjoyed chatting with you too, Lisa! Thank you so much for having me again!

It’s a pleasure, Crystal. Last time we spoke, you admitted that you had a crush on Marc Kerry, a professional time surfer. How is that going?

Frankly, like a lead balloon! It’s a big, fat, fizzling FAILURE!!! I know that you said Marc liked me, but I’m afraid you were wrong!

Are you sure about that?

TOTALLY sure! Today, Zeke assigned Marc to be my field partner, and Marc practically hit the roof. You should’ve heard the insulting things that Marc said about me! I know I can be a klutz, but Marc practically said that I was a galumphing camel with two left feet! I’m still angry about it! I had to leave the room in order to cool off, so I thought this would be a good chance for you and I to talk.

I’m glad you popped in to see me, but I’m sorry things aren’t going well between you and Marc.

Me too!!! Marc Kerry is an insufferable prig! I don’t care how cute he happens to be! In my opinion, he’s a real JERK! After I finish talking with you, I’m going back to NSU and confront him. He’d better be prepared to apologize BIG TIME!!!! He thinks he’s God’s ultimate gift to woman, but I’m one woman who doesn’t think he’s all that special! I called him a narcissist once, but that description was way too benign!

I know you’re angry with Marc, but if you’ll be honest, you still like him—don’t you?

LIKE HIM??? Are you serious? He’s a—

Come on, Crystal—be honest.

(Long pause) Okay, maybe I do like him. But just a little bit—a very, teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, microscopically small, little bit. (Chuckles) Lisa, Marc gets on my very last nerve, but when he smiles, I melt into a gooey, mushy puddle. (Sighs) He’s such a dreamboat. (Sits up straight and glares) But don’t you DARE tell him that! 

I wouldn’t dream of it, Crystal.

Good! I consider you a friend, and I’d hate to strike your name off my Christmas card list!

Your secret is safe with me. Now, Crystal, besides your tiff with Marc, how are you doing? I’ve heard you’ve been having nightmares.

You’d have nightmares too if a maniac whacked you on the head, locked you inside a flaming building, and left you to burn to death. (Shudders) I’m not sure when I last had a good night’s rest. And what’s worse is that besides the nightmares, I’ve started sleepwalking. When I was a little girl, I began sleepwalking after my father’s death. One time, I walked all the way to the bus station and tried to buy a ticket to my grandparents’ farm. My sleepwalking eventually cleared up, but the stress of what’s happening with Drake has started it up again. I’ll be lucky if I don’t end up sleepwalking down the middle of a busy street!

That’s awful! Have you told Zeke or Marc?

Zeke knows about my nightmares, but not about the sleepwalking. And as far as Marc, the LAST thing I need is for him to know any more of my quirks. He already thinks I’m weird—I don’t want to confirm it.

Hopefully, your nightmares will stop once Drake is caught. How is the hunt going?

(Huffs) Frustratingly slow!!! We know that Drake is using an alias, and we know that he’s angry with TEMCO because one of our counselors told his girlfriend to break up with him, but that’s ALL we know! TEMCO has counseled thousands of girls—trying to find one who’s connected with Drake is proving to be a monumental task—especially since we don’t know Drake’s real name!

When I interviewed Drake, he said that he’d given you all of the clues you needed to uncover his identity.

I don’t doubt it! Drake thinks he’s smarter than all of us put together. I know he’s laughing at our inability to solve his clues. But I’m not giving up! After what he did to Phoebe, he deserves to be nailed right to the wall! We’re going to catch him! And when we do, I’m going to make him pay!

By the way, how is Phoebe?

Oh, Lisa! I wish I knew. I’ve heard that she’s been taken someplace safe and that she’s recovering, but that’s all I know… I guess that’s good, though. Her safety depends on Drake being ignorant of her whereabouts. If he gets his hands on me, I don’t want to be able to squeal. Sometimes ignorance is bliss—FRUSTRATING bliss—but bliss all the same.

Do you know the location of TEMCO’s leaders?

Are you kidding??? Drake wants them all dead. They’ve been placed in protective custody until things clear up. Their location is TOP SECRET!!! Emphasis on T-O-P!

I’m sure that Dan and Gil aren’t very happy about the protective custody!

(Laughs) You can say that again! Gil is probably climbing the walls right now! She can’t stand to be on the sidelines, and Dan is SUPER protective of the TEMCO team. Hopefully, their new baby will keep them busy enough that their inactivity won’t drive them too crazy.

Have you seen the baby? Is he cute?

Oooooo!!!! Baby Jay is cuter than cute! He’s such a little love bug! I can’t wait until Dan and Gil are back in town. I’m going to beg Gil to let me babysit!

How about Peter and Laura? Any news on how they’re doing?

Only a bit. As you know, they managed to escape from Drake’s trap, but Peter was injured in the process…  Actually, he almost died. I’ve heard they’re doing well, but communication is sketchy at best.

What about Zeke and Nicole? How’s their romance shaping up?

Oh, Lisa! Watching Zeke when he’s around Nicole is SUCH A HOOT! He’s been alone for so long that he can’t believe his luck! Half the time he walks around with his chest puffed out like superman, and the other half of the time he walks around with a stunned expression on his face. And Nicole is just as bad. She’s ultra-sophisticated, but when she’s around Zeke, the sophistication gets dialed down until she’s just a simple girl who’s totally in love. Sometimes being in the same room with them is like being knee-deep in pink cotton candy and sticky, sweet syrup. But I love it! I’m so glad that Zeke is finally happy! He sure deserves it! And Nicole is a blast! Even though we’ve just met, I’m sure that we’re going to be best friends. 

I’m glad!

Me too!... Yikes!!! Gracious, will you look at the time? I’m afraid that I have to run. With Drake on the warpath, it’s all hands on deck at TEMCO. Thanks for interviewing me, Lisa! I enjoyed it…and it’s given me a chance to cool off. Thanks to you, I may be able to speak to Marc without biting his head off—but I’m still expecting him to give me a good apology!

I’m sure that he will, Crystal. I wasn’t joking when I said that he likes you.

Well, if Marc likes me, he has an awfully funny way of showing it! Sheesh! He’s supposed to be SUPER charismatic, but in my opinion, it’s not very charming to tell a person they’re a rampaging klutz! If his apology isn’t extra special, he’d better watch out! I know karate, and I’m not afraid to use it!  

(Laughs) You’ll have to keep me posted on what happens. I hope you have a wonderful day, Crystal! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Anytime! See you later!    

About the Book - Time Search
The Time Counselor Chronicles #3

A nameless evil lurks in the shadows…

In the wake of a recent wave of violence, TEMCO employees are left reeling. While some of the staff are put into hiding, others are left behind to discover the true identity of the mysterious nemesis who is determined to destroy them all. While Crystal, Marc, and Zeke search for clues to unravel the mystery of his real name, their enemy is lurking in the shadows searching for TEMCO’s missing leaders. It’s a race against the clock! And as the hours and seconds tick away, it’s anyone’s guess whose search will be completed first. It’s a classic battle of good versus evil, and the stakes couldn’t be higher!

Read my review here.
Prism Book Group, an imprint of Pelican Books
Print - $16.99
Ebook - $4.99

Buy on AmazonPrint
Buy on Barnes and Noble

About Danele Rotharmel

Danele RotharmelDanele Rotharmel grew up with a love of the literary word, and by age five, she knew she wanted to be a writer. However, her life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a low-level carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace in her home was slowly poisoning her. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and partial amnesia.

During this time, the hardest thing she faced was a crisis of faith. She had to quit her job and stop going to church. She couldn’t write, couldn’t drive, and could barely remember who she was. To say she was upset with the Lord was an understatement. She began reexamining her faith in light of her illness, and eventually, she came to the firm conclusion that God is real, God is good, God is interested and involved, and God is trustworthy regardless of tragedy.

When her illness became even more severe, she was put into quarantine and could only talk to friends and extended family through the glass of a window. This quarantine lasted for seven years. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.

Danele currently lives in Colorado where she continues to write. Although her journey back to health was long and difficult, it provided her with the opportunity to grow closer to God and to write her books. For that, she is forever thankful.

You can learn more about Danele by visiting her blog at https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hoping For Joy with Penelope Marzec


Hannah stares at the diamond ring on her finger. Her hopes for a wedding fade as Logan puts off the date. Does he love her anymore? Should she hand him the ring and move on? Should Hannah stop praying for a fiancé with no faith? 

Logan hopes to save his sister from her addiction while helping his father raise his young niece. With his life in turmoil, Logan’s dreams vanish. One night, his sister holds a knife to Hannah’s throat and robs her. Will Hannah forgive him? What will he do with Joy, his sister’s child? Where can he turn for help?

The Love Is Series from Prism
Ebook $3.99
Buy on Amazon
Read Lisa's review

A brief interview with the Author

Penny, what do you love about this book?

Writing this book gave me the opportunity to use one of my favorite settings. I grew up along the Jersey Shore, not far from a town with a small amusement park. I spent many happy hours as a child enjoying the rides and later when my daughters were young, hubby and I took our girls to the same amusement park. We used to laugh and say they all learned how to drive on the bumper cars. The amusement park employed many local teenagers during the summer and while my daughters didn't work there, many of their friends did. It was--and still is--very much a family place and to me an idyllic setting for a story. The dunes, the sand, the sky, the water, the beach, and the honky-tonk of the boardwalk are the essence of summertime on the Jersey Shore. 

Introduce us to your main character.

There are two main characters in the book, the hero, Logan, and the heroine, Hannah. The story is told from each of their points of view. Logan and Hannah met in college. When they graduated, Logan asked Hannah to marry him. However, he gets a job at one end of the state, while Hannah gets a teaching job near the home where she grew up along the shore of New Jersey. The distance and Logan's troubles erode their relationship. Logan's sister is addicted to drugs. His ailing father takes care of his sister's daughter. Logan helps his father as much as he can, but winds up putting off his wedding and rarely visits Hannah. She wonders if she should give the engagement ring back to him. With a lack of faith, Logan struggles to handle all his difficulties on his own while Hannah's formerly solid faith is tested along with her love for a man who isn't the same as the the man who once promised her forever.

Share something you learned while writing this book.

I learned about tattoos while writing this book since the heroine's cousin is a tattoo artist. I have never wanted to get inked, though it is quite popular with many people--young and old. Daughter #2, who is an artist, has always felt it's better to use a t-shirt to show off your designs or opinions. Right before the book was released, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. After a lumpectomy, I was treated with radiation and as part of that, I got tattooed. The tattoos are very small, freckle-sized dots used to aid technicians in targeting just the right spot. But I definitely felt the needle go in when I was inked. I can't imagine what it's like to have a large area of skin tattooed with a very elaborate design. While the skill of a good tattoo artist is impressive, everyone needs to be aware that there are those who tattoo people without proper knowledge and safety measures. Be careful when shopping for a tattoo. 

What are you reading now?

At this very moment, I'm reading St. Patrick of Ireland, by Philip Freeman. Daughter #1 handed it to me last week and it's appropriate for the season. I've always been intrigued with the Irish, since my great grandparents came to this country from Ireland. My great grandmother had nine children, the oldest was my grandfather. The entire clan reminded me of a bunch of leprechauns. They were witty, but devout, and always interesting. Recently, my uncle had a DNA test done and found that not only was he very much Irish, but there was a bit of Viking in him, too, which shouldn't be surprising. :-)

The next book I'll read will be one by a Prism Book Group author. You'll have to wait and see which one I pick. It's tough making a choice because they're all excellent. 

~Lisa: St.Patrick sounds great. I'll have to check that out. We were surprised to find a bit o' the Irish, too, in a DNA test.

What's next for you?

I've been working on a sequel to my Patriot series titled Patriot's Courage. It's set in 1794 in Ohio Territory. I added more than 24,000 words to the manuscript during the month of February in a writers' challenge. There's still plenty of writing to go before the book is finished, but I've been having a great time with it. I love history and delving into the era has fascinated me. 

I also have to get to work reissuing four of my contemporary Christian romances which were originally published with Awe-Struck many years ago. My fingers will be busy for quite a while. 

~Lisa: Good! I love your Patriot series. Best wishes. 

About the Author:
Penelope Marzec started reading romances at a young age even though her mother told her they would ruin her mind, which they did. She became hopelessly hooked on happy endings. She is a member of the New Jersey Romance Writers, the Liberty States Fiction Writers, and EPIC. Winning the EPPIE award twice for inspirational fiction, she has also been a finalist in the same contest. Her paranormal, Irons In The Fire, was a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Never Say Never Tomorrow with Judith Rolfs

This week we have a special treat! Author Judith Rolfs has been published in every genre. As an author and professional marriage and family counselor, Judith focuses on motivating people to live their best lives - emotionally, physically and spiritually. In her thirties, she researched the complexity of the natural world and moved from agnosticism to faith in God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today, she talks about her latest novel, Never Tomorrow.

Tell our readers about your new mystery novel Never Tomorrow.

Thanks for asking. It’s like having a new baby - I welcome a chance to talk about Never Tomorrow after literally years in the writing. This is a powerful murder mystery, plus more - a psychological thriller that probes the marriage relationship, infidelity and forgiveness. I use my insights and experiences as a psychotherapist for three decades to instill deep emotions in my characters– the grieving, the loves, and the deep joys, that we all experience in real life. These are integrated with a compelling murder mystery.

This is your seventeenth book but only your third mystery novel. Tell us about your switch to fiction from non-fiction.

My previous books were how-to books about marriage and parenting and family issues, also a devotional and a teen book. Mysteries are a huge change. They are much more difficult to write, but seem to have a greater impact on readers.

Which leads to my next question. I understand your slogan is Mysteries With A Message. Explain please.

My mysteries center on real life family issues while keeping the suspense steaming. Directive 99, my first self- suspense novel is about conflict between a woman’s career vs. family priorities. She makes major life changes when her husband is kidnapped. My next mystery novel Bullet in the Night with Prism Books is about genuine rehabilitation leading to life change and the value of nurturing friendships. I want readers to have a takeaway to ponder that can help them face situations in their own lives with more wisdom and confidence.

Tell us about where you like to write and a bit about your process.

My favorite writing places are my cottage in the woods in Fontana-on-Geneva Lake and a winter beach condo we rent in Venice, FL. I need solitude to create the story and develop my characters, but then I love to edit in coffee shops where I’m immersed in the energy of people. Relationships have always been fascinating to me, which is why I became a psychotherapist. Of course it’s helpful as an author to develop well-rounded characters. I also love to travel. In fact, Never Tomorrow starts out in Ballybunion, Ireland which I researched during a three-week trip there.

How and when did your writing career begin?

My writing career began at age ten creating stories for neighborhood children. I wrote newspaper editorials in high school, and was part of the Superior Student program at Marquette University, which published me in their literary journal. I love everything about writing especially contact with readers and other authors who are so gracious! I recently met Pat Gussin, New York Times Best Selling Author of After the Fall and she offered to read Never Tomorrow prior to publication. She blessed me with an amazing review: “Layer upon layer of intrigue—laced with murder–propels this novel to the pinnacle of suspense. An ingenious plot, dynamic and complex characters, and an insight into the troubled avenues of human behavior rarely exposed make NEVER TOMORROW a stand-out for readers of mysteries, thrillers, and suspense.”

In closing, where can we find your new book baby?

Never Tomorrow is available through Prism Book Group, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and through local libraries. If it’s not at the local library I hope readers will request it. Thank you for featuring me on your blog. It’s been a pleasure.

Read Lisa's review

Visit Judith at http://judithrolfs.com/Dr._Judith_Rolfs/Home.html

 A compelling mystery with a powerful theme of forgiveness and healing...
Journalist Whitney Barnes investigates the mysterious death of her mother and three women from Cortland City seeking the thread that links them to an enigmatic killer. Why are women being murdered with no apparent motives for their death? Police are mystified at the lack of clues and a growing sense of fear surrounds the community. Who will be the next victim?

Determined to find the killer, Whitney discovers these women were dealing with wounds from their troubling pasts, but what was their connection? She teams up with Dr. Sarah Stevens, an expert on women's issues, to ferret out information while TV talk show host Rich and real estate broker Jordan vie for Whitney' s affection.
Whitney discovers new strength within her, but is it powerful enough to cope with this dark force of evil? Suspense escalates as Whitney becomes the killer's next target.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Gail Kittleson and With Each New Dawn

My next “Women of the Heartland” novel is here!

With Each New Dawn
Women of the Heartland, book 2

February, 2017
Heritage Beacon Hill
$3.99 eBook
$7.95 Print

Buy on Amazon 

American RAF widow Kate Isaacs leaves war-torn London to parachute into southern France and aid the French Resistance. Her alliance with grieving Basque shepherd-turned-Resistance fighter Domingo Ibarra brings both sorrow and relief as she discovers her familial roots, along with second chances.

Domingo, a grieving Basque mountain guide-turned-saboteur, meets her parachute drop, tends her injured ankle, and carries her to safety. Reunited a few months later, they discover the injured Monsieur le Blanc who, with his dying breath, reveals a secret that changes Kate's life.

In the shadow of the Waffen SS, Domingo's younger brother Gabirel is missing. While Domingo seeks Gabirel, Domingo's parish priest, Père Gaspard, creates a new identity for Kate.

As Kate and Domingo subject their mutual attraction to the cause of freedom, can mere human will and moral courage change the war's tide and forge a future for them?

Gail, what do you love about this book? 
Just before the final edit of the proof copy, I thought, “I am SO tired of this manuscript…” But part way through, it hit me again how much I love the characters. Writing about World War II folks always intrigues me, and my characters’ integrity impresses me. I’ve learned there’s no reason to fear our questions, so why hide them? (My hero and heroine certainly don’t!)

This time, layering the personality of the Basque shepherd hero taught me so much about his origins and worldview.  As far as I know, I’ve yet to meet a person of Basque heritage, but Domingo is SO real to me. He’s humble, compassionate, strong, and his faith tempers his actions and attitudes. What a guy—can’t wait for readers to meet him.

Lisa: That sounds typical. Surprisingly there are people of Basque heritage in the western states!

Share two things you learned during the writing or publishing journey of this sequel?
Oh my...only two? I learned far more about various Waffen SS atrocities in Southern France en route to fight the Allies after D-Day.

Kate’s character also taught me many facets of the role and function of Secret British agents behind enemy lines.

Introduce us to your least favorite character.
This is a little tough, because I honestly feel close to them all. But I suppose Mrs. Culver would come in last. She’s not my type of woman at all—she’s organized, efficient, and always in control. Of course, without people like her, the world would probably stop turning ... I guess I have a basic resistance to folks who are extremely methodical and structured. I’d choose a spontaneous, impulsive character for a friend any day.

Lisa: Funny! It can be cathartic to create a character opposite of our comfort level.

What are you reading now?
A nonfiction book about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Amazing how carefully even their marital spats were detailed.

What’s next for you? I’m working on the third Women of the Heartland novel. Oh boy... tons more research, and right now, this story begins with a flashback. Never tried that before, but it seems right. We’ll see what an editor thinks, eh?

Thanks for having me, Lisa.

Lisa: Best wishes, Gail.

About the Author:
Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and English as a Second Language. Now she writes memoir and women's fiction, and facilitates writing workshops and women's retreats. She makes her home in northern Iowa, where she and her husband enjoy their grandchildren and gardening. In winter, the Arizona mountains provide new novel fodder.