Posted in 1940's, Author Interview, Books

Author Interview! Sarah Sundin

 

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Welcome to the third Author-Interview Monday on this blog! I can’t wait to share this lovely interview with author Sarah Sundin herself! Like, so excited. I’m a huge fan, and so to have her here on the blog – yep, pretty amazing!! I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…here’s the interview!!

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

My name is Sarah Sundin, and I write historical romance set during World War II.

 

 

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Of your books, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

I relate to all my main characters. When I write a novel, I really try to get into the skin of my hero and heroine. Before I begin the rough draft, I explore their lives up until the story begins, their personalities, fears, secrets, dreams, and hopes. In the process of writing, I imagine the story through the lens of their experiences. I feel like I get very close to them.

 

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

Names are very important to me. Sometimes the character’s name is just there, and other times I have to work to find it. Baby name books are very helpful, and I look at timeliness of names, ethnicity, and meaning as well as if it seems to fit the character. For Wyatt Paxton’s name in The Sea Before Us, I thought I might want a name with a meaning related to the sea, since he’s a naval officer. I found Wyatt, which means water, and it sounded like an appropriate name for my hero from Texas! For Dorothy Fairfax, I chose Dorothy because it was very popular in that time period and it just fit her.

 

 

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I do a lot of pre-writing. I fill out character charts, plot charts, and more. Lists and color-coding and timelines make me very happy!

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It usually energizes me. The plotting phase sometimes feels like a wrestling match as I’m trying to make the story and history and characters fit a structure, but it’s thrilling when it comes together. And the rest of the writing process is a blast—I love character development, research, the rough draft, and editing.

 

 

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing?

Very important. Each of my main characters has an issue to deal with—a sin issue, a faith issue, or a flaw he hasn’t dealt with. The events of the story forces him to turn to the Lord in order to grow and change.

 

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

Snicker. My husband is a pharmacist and he married a pharmacist—who turned into a novelist. It was kind of disorienting for him. He’s come to support his wife’s strange new career. When my daughter was a teenager, she thought my writing career was my way to torture her. She’s grown out of that now, thank goodness. My grown sons are great supporters and avid readers! My youngest son, a sailor in the Navy based in Japan, had his picture taken with one of my books at the top of Mount Fuji!

 

 

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If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her to relax, be patient, and enjoy the writing process. I was so eager and anxious to get published—as are most beginning writers. But discovering the joy of writing was a time to be savored and to explore.

 

 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have two complete unpublished novels and an unpublished novella. The novels will never—and should never—be published. But they served their purpose and showed me I could finish a full-length novel. As for the novella, I’m still fond of it and would enjoy doing something with it someday.

 

 

 

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What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

One of the joys of belonging to the Christian writing community is meeting dozens of authors. Some have become critique partners, some have become publicity partners, and some have “just” become dear friends. It’s an incredible blessing!

 

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “The Sea Before Us”?

Recently I’ve read and loved Kristy Cambron’s The Lost Castle (one of the three timelines involves the French Resistance leading up to D-day) and Jocelyn Green’s A Refuge Assured. Next on my to-be-read pile are two more World War II novels, Cathy Gohlke’s Until We Find Home and Liz Tolsma’s Melody of the Soul.

 

Image result for the lost castle by kristy cambronImage result for A refuge assured by jocelyn green  Image result for until we find home by cathy g Image result for melody of the soul

 

 

Thank you so very much, Mrs. Sundin!

 

 

 

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Sarah Sundin is the award-winning author of ten novels, including The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. Please visit her at www.sarahsundin.com.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sea Before Us.jpgBlurb for “The Sea Before Us”:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France, determined to redeem himself with the brothers he has betrayed. Dorothy Fairfax serves as a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, piecing together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day. As Wyatt and Dorothy work together, he hopes Dorothy will return his growing love. But will family secrets, misplaced affections—and the seas off Normandy—separate them forever?

 

 

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Wasn’t that superb, readers? I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed reading her answers. And I took encouragement from what she’d tell her younger-writer-self. To enjoy the writing time. It’s definitely easy to strive for that one day when you finally become published, but the writing process is my favourite part and I want to savor it while it’s here. :)

So many great answers, and I hope you all enjoyed reading them as well! Learning more about favourite authors is a great treat. :)

 

If you’re interested, you can also read my review of “The Sea Before Us” here.

 

And check back next Monday for another special Character-introduction post! :)

 

 

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*Some of the images are stock-photos or taken from Amazon/Goodreads. I don’t claim any ownership to those ones. 

 

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Posted in Author Interview, Books

Author Interview! MacKenzie Morganthal

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Welcome to the second Monthly Author Interview! I’m just tickled pink to be able to interview such lovely authors. :)  This month I have the delight of interviewing author MacKenzie Morganthal! Her name may be familiar to you readers because this isn’t her first time on my blog. Just type in her name in the ‘search box’ on the sidebar, and several posts will pop up – they’re all fun reads, with her book’s blog tours, some character spotlights, and more interviews.

But let’s get started on today’s interview, shall we? :)

 

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Welcome once again, Miss Morganthal, to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here on this return visit! For the benefit of new readers here, would you please introduce yourself and the genre of books you write?

 

I’m so happy to be back here at your lovely blog! :) I’m MacKenzie Morganthal and I write contemporary Christian fiction novels. I’ve been writing since I was about nine years old and have loved it ever since! My two published books are part of my Mission for Freedom series, and deal with the topic of human trafficking. My passion is to raise awareness and education about this topic of human trafficking, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do that through my writing. When I’m not writing, I love music, the creative arts, and working as a teacher aide with the goal of being a teacher someday.  

 

#Human TraffickingAwareness.pngIn your two released books, “Not Abandoned” and “Out of the Dark”, we primarily get to know sisters Haley and Avery Hampton; was one easier to write than the other? And if so, why?

 

Hmm, I would have to say that Avery was a bit harder to write than Haley’s character. Haley has always been my favorite character from this series, so she was always pretty easy to write. But Avery had a bit more dynamics to her character, as she was a victim of human trafficking. In “Out of the Dark” we see Avery going through a lot of ups and downs, and I grew pretty attached to Avery in this book, even though the emotional trauma she was wrestling with was heartbreaking. Not to give away any secrets, but I think book three will be my favorite part of Avery’s story. ;)

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?  No, I’ll usually just pick a name I like and go with that, haha! I like to try and find contemporary, yet unique names, so I’ll keep notes on my phone whenever I meet someone who has a unique name that would be great for a novel character, and then when I need to choose a new character name I’ll just scroll through my list and find one I like best. So nothing really special ;)

 

gerbera-1250287.jpgI have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one? If so, would you mind sharing?

Well, I guess I would have to say that when I write I like to format the size of my pages in my document before I start writing…weird, I know! I don’t have to do all the formatting right away, but if I’m starting a new novel it has to be on 5.5 x 8.5 paper and I like to fix my margins also before starting to write. If I’m writing an article or short story, I don’t mess with the formatting first, but I guess it’s just a quirk I have for novels!  

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I would have to say…energize, but it can also be exhausting, especially when I put deadlines on myself. I participated in NaNoWriMo this past November, and writing was the only thing I had time for and I still struggled to finish on time. (But I did finish!) So that was very exhausting. But for the most part it’s energizing for me, especially when working on a novel I’m really excited about, and I don’t have deadlines on myself, and I can just enjoy writing when God gives me the inspiration.  

 

cross-2209803_1920.jpgHow important to you is the faith-element in your writing?

It is very important to me! I have not written a book that does not have some kind of faith element in it. Without God, I would not have the gift of writing, so I can’t imagine leaving Him out of it. If I couldn’t include faith in my books, then I would have no purpose for writing. To me, books are more than just a few hours of entertainment. They have the ability to impact people, and if I’m going to be impacting people, then I want to be impacting them for Jesus and not myself.

 

What does your family think of your writing?

I think they like it ;) Haha! Truly, they have been my biggest fans and I couldn’t do this without them. Their feedback is very important to me, and it’s always really encouraging when they say things like “I couldn’t put it down!” I’m so thankful for their support and love.

 

pencil-1497126_1920.jpgIf you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think I would say to remember to be yourself. Don’t try to make your writing please everybody else. If you’re writing for God, then that’s all that matters. He’ll place it in the hands of those who need it. And just have fun! Writing should never be a chore. God gave me this gift to enjoy and have fun with. Don’t worry about being the next bestseller, just focus on enjoying every moment of the journey.

 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Wow…a lot! Besides my two published books, I have 9 other unpublished books. And probably hundreds of half-finished books! When I was younger especially, I would hop from one book idea to the next, which resulted in many incomplete ideas. Now I try to make myself wait to finish a book before moving on to the next…but it can be hard! And sometimes moving on to a new story is actually great for getting fresh inspiration for an old story that has run dry. Right now I’m very close to being finished with my third and final book in my Mission for Freedom series, and I’m also collaborating on a book with…you, our host Raechel! ;)  

 

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What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?   

My sister is my number one writing inspiration! She has worked so hard on expanding her writing platform and really puts her whole heart into it. Her example pushes me to better my writing and follow her lead. She’s amazing, and I hope to be at least half the writer she is someday. And of course my best friend, also you, Rae! =D Rae is an amazing writer, but you readers already know that if you follow her blog! I mentioned before that we are currently collaborating on a novel together…I kinda squeal excitedly anytime I talk about it. But writing alongside her has been so wonderful and she definitely helps me to be a better writer. I couldn’t write this new book without her! And I’m going to stop myself from talking about this new book now, because I could go on forever about it. Seriously. Y’all are going to love it.  

 

Awww, thanks for that! I think you’re an *amazing* author too, and you help me become a better writer too <3 And yes – loooove our story! <3

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your Mission for Freedom series?

Well, I absolutely love Lisa Harris, and her series Southern Crimes or Nikki Boyd Files are police mystery novels similar to my Mission for Freedom series. “Vendetta” book one in the Nikki Boyd Files was my favorite! I love police suspense/mystery novels, so I read a lot of them as inspiration for my Mission for Freedom series. Irene Hannon also has great mystery/suspense novels, and I really enjoyed “Deceived” in her Private Justice series. Another great book similar to mine is “Visible Threat” by Janice Cantore. I loved this one, and it also dealt with the topic of human trafficking like my series does.  

 

 

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Thank you so much, Miss Morganthal!!

 

 

 

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MacKenzie Morganthal is the author of the Mission for Freedom series. Book one, “Not Abandoned”, was her debut novel. She lives in Pennsylvania where she is a monthly e-magazine columnist, Creative Artist, and musician. She loves Jesus most, sweet tea, singing along to the radio, and spending too much time at Starbucks.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog, Seo, Internet, Web, Marketing  Instagram, Social Media, Icon, Set Facebook, Flat, Flat Icon, Social, Icon  Twitter, Social Media, Icon, Social

GoodReads

 

 

 

That was excellent – I personally loved reading each of her well-written answers – she inspires me, and it’s such a blessing to know her, and have her here on the blog too! I hope you readers enjoyed it as well. :)

Next Monday I might just be featuring one of her characters…so check back!! :)

 

Her heart was finally resting in the fact that God had been in control, and everything she couldn_t do, He had held in His hands.

 

 

 

Do you have any questions for MacKenzie Morganthal? I know she’d be pleased to answer them, if so. :) Just comment below!

Posted in Author Interview, blog tour, Book reviews

Blog Tour: Caselli Family Series by Ta’Mara Hanscom Author Inteview and Review!

Tour Banner

Ta’Mara has published her Caselli Family series before, but she is now relaunching the series starting with The Pretender and Pit of Ambition! Join this super fun blog tour and find out more about the first two books (of five). Below you’ll find an author interview and book review of “Pit of Ambition”. Also, make sure you check out the great giveaway!

About the Books

Cover OnlyThe Pretender: A Blackguard in Disguise is the first volume of 5 in the family epic series The Caselli Family Series. It begins in South Dakota in 1975 where eighteen-year-olds could order 3.2 beers in a bar and loaded guns were kept under the counter. Frankie Valli sang My Eyes Adored You, and American soldiers returning from Vietnam struggled with their new reality.

​It’s within this tumultuous season of American history that Tillie Caselli meets Noah Hansen, and they are never the same again. Their lives were mysteriously intertwined – and had been for many years – yet they had no idea.

​From the moment they met, Tillie and Noah wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, but a deliberate omission will keep them apart – and that same omission will be responsible for the escape of a murderer, and a bride’s deception.

​These compelling stories are interwoven with Biblical truths and light-hearted, real life events from the author’s own past. Easy to understand and relate to, as well as encouraging.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GPVK3FU/

Pit of AmbitionPit of Ambition is the second volume of 5 in the family epic series The Caselli Family Series.

Five years have passed since Noah and Tillie’s “chance” meeting. They’ve married other people by now, and are both beginning their families.

In the pursuit of professional and political success, Alex runs headlong into a pit of pride and ambition…and Giuseppe begins to hate the husband he chose for his daughter.

Alex and Noah are doing business on many fronts, which will bring Noah to town for an unintended meeting with Giuseppe. Tension abounds as he attempts to conceal his daughter’s identity from Noah.

Alex strays when Tillie needs him the most, and it’s Noah who will bring him home. But, instead of learning Tillie’s identity, he connects with her brothers, especially Marquette.

Unbeknownst to Noah, his new foreman is a member of the crime family Marquette has sought since 1968.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HT5IZHO/

About the Author

About the AuthorI was born and raised in South Dakota, and I love her people and rich history. For many years I’ve also had a deep love for Italy and her colorful chronology. I was fortunate enough to visit Italy on my 25th wedding anniversary, and I added some of the details of my travels to my fictional series The Caselli Family Series.

My favorite sport is baseball – Detroit Tigers – and I can’t wait until the next time I get to see them play in Comerica Park.

I live for the next family barbeque.

My husband and I own a national pizza franchise in Iowa, where we currently reside. We have three grown children and one grandson. We’ve rescued two cats and one Pomeranian.

I teach AWANA Cubbies and speak at women’s events.

www.TaMaraHanscomBooks.com.
https://tamarahanscom.wordpress.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TaMara-Hanscom-Author-473920855079/?ref=bookmarks
https://twitter.com/TaMaraHanscom?lang=en&lang=en

Giveaway

Giveaway

Ta’Mara is generously offering a $50 Amazon gift card! There are many different ways in the Rafflecopter to enter. The more you choose, the better chance you have of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Interview:

  • Welcome to my “Peculiar” blog! I’m happy to have you here. :) Would you please introduce yourself and your books? I’m Ta`Mara Hanscom and I write the Caselli Family Series, which is an Italian-American saga that begins in 1975 and works its way forward.

 

  • What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I don’t know that I have one particular quirk. I know that I get really lost in the story at times and I’ll look up and much of the day has passed without me even knowing it! It will be dark outside, and my office light is the only one on! Sometimes I’ve even forgotten about my little dog. If he falls asleep in my office and it’s really quiet, I’ll be just shocked to get up from my desk and see him there. Thankfully he really loves uninterrupted naps.

 

  • Does writing energize or exhaust you? Energizes me!

 

  • How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Extremely important. I can’t write anything decent unless I’m talking to my Savior on a regular basis (like, daily). And my faith has to come out on the pages or isn’t a story—then it’s just fluff on the page.

 

  • What does your family think of your writing? For the most part they really love it, my husband especially.

 

  • If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? Go to college, learn how to write. It’s too hard to learn all this stuff on your own.

 

  • How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have 3 more for the Casellis, and several more unpublished that are completely finished, one that is about half way there, and one new series in the works.

 

  • What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? My little sister, Mary Angela, is probably my closest writer friend. We share all sort of pointers with each other, and make each other read our books. We’re honest with each other, and that’s a big help.

 

  • And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your Caselli Family series? I like Irene Hannon, though hers are really full of action and suspense. You might like her too!

 

Thanks for visiting, Mrs. Hanscom!

Review:

 

Before I begin my review, I’d like to recommend that anyone who plans on reading this series start with the first novel for sure, as it is a continuing story.
I fell in love with Noah Hansen in book one, and was pretty much heart-broken by certain events that occurred. But I mended, and was prepared to dive into the second book. I came to terms with how it had ended, and the character’s marriages.
There is something about this series that just utterly pulls you in, and you become so very invested in these characters lives. So…effected. This can be good and bad. ^.^
I’m impressed with the author’s ability to weave a complex storyline that stretches across a five-book series. In most series, each novel deals with – and resolves – a certain topic/plot etc. But what I’ve noticed with these two books is that the next one builds off the last, continuing the main plot.
So, as I mentioned, I was prepared, going into this next book, with how the characters ‘stood’, and where their lives were at. Or so I thought….there were times during the reading of it where I had wished for a different outcome, but truly had accepted that it was not to be.
And I again loved Noah – his character really is my favourite. And seeing his devotion to Carrie, and their children – so endearing.
I liked Tillie a lot too, and commended her for her own devotion to Alex, even when he was not the most supportive husband. Alex was not my favourite character, but I respected their marriage, mainly because of Tillie.
I also like Tillie’s mother a lot. Her father, Guiseppi, put himself through a lot of turmoil. I ached to jump into the book and tell him he need only repent and leave the rest in God’s hands. Too bad we can’t jump into books, eh?! ^.^
I would like to explain why I am giving this book 3.5 stars instead of a full 4 – there were several moments where I was fully feeling a 4 rating, as I read. But when another bad thing occurred toward the end, and where I see this story starting to go…that kind of threw me. I know life does not always deal us good cards, but it seems like it’s just one bad thing happening to them after the next, and that gets a bit hard to read sometimes, I will admit. And I know that many may not share how I feel about that, and that’s fine. Each person is entitled to their own opinion.
The author’s note at the end of the book was really well spoken, and shared a great message. Really appreciated that part!
In conclusion, I loved many aspects of this book and struggled with a couple others. It will be interesting to see how this series continues. :)

 

 

Tour Schedule

 

February 26
Bookish Orchestration – Introductory post
Rachel Rossano’s Words – Author Interview
Adventures in Publishing – Author Interview
Rebekah Lyn Books – Book Review and Character Spotlight

February 27
Simply Kelina – Book Review
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima – Character Spotlight

February 28
Little Homeschool on the Prairie – Book Spotlight
Seasons of Opportunities – Book Review
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – Book Review

March 1
Moments – Book Spotlight
Reader’s Cozy Corner – Book Review
Fiction to Ignite Your Faith – Post from the author

March 2
New Horizon Reviews – Book Review
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Book Review
Adventures Of A King Daughter – Book Review

March 3
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway Winner

 

 

 

*I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author for the purpose of this review.

Posted in Author Interview, Books, Questions/answers

Author Interview! Roseanna M. White

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Hello readers! I’m very excited to share about one of my planned monthly features – an author interview! And I will be opening this new feature with none other than Roseanna M. White! Her latest book, “A Song Unheard” just released last month, and let me tell you, it’s a beautiful story. I am thoroughly enjoying the Shadows Over England series, and am looking forward to the next book in line, “Time Unspent”.  :)

Check back here on Valentine’s Day, February 14th for the cover reveal!!

 

So without further ado, let’s begin!

 

Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Please introduce yourself and what you write:

Thanks so much for having me, Raechel! I’m Roseanna M. White, and I write historical romance, usually with a thread of suspense or intrigue or mystery. My current series is set in the early days of World War One, in England.

 

Of your books, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

A combination of two. =) My personality is very much like Ella from A Lady Unrivaled, the last book in my previous series, Ladies of the Manor. By a lot me also worked its way into my novelist-hero in A Name Unknown, first book in this newest series.

 

 

A Name Unknown and A Song Unheard

Of your latest series, “Shadows Over England”, the first two books have their own theme – “A Name Unknown” being books, and “A Song Unheard” being music. Is there one pastime you prefer over the other?

Um…I guess if it came down to it, books—whether reading them or writing them—are my deepest passion. But I do love music. I’ve been playing piano since I was seven, and that’s where I turn when I’m anxious or nervous and need to kind of tune in (ha ha) to the Lord and find peace.

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

 

I don’t think I’m terribly quirky about my writing…I don’t think. It’s generally just me, my laptop, the kitchen table, and exactly two cups of coffee a day. Though I do tend to zone out when in the groove, and my family has learned that they often need to repeat things several times before I actually hear them…

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both, LOL, depending on the day, the project, and whether I’m in a good groove or just working hard under a deadline.

 

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing?

I’ve just been thinking about this! It’s vitally important. While I wrote a few novels back during college that I wanted to aim at the general market, I decided then that I just couldn’t do that—I couldn’t put them out there because I didn’t feel like they glorified God. I don’t regret writing them—they helped me grow as a writer—but writing for me is a calling and ministry, so if faith isn’t a part of it, then it’s a fail. Now, other writers have different callings, and I applaud that! Some are called to write in the general market, others view writing as a job and not a ministry, so I have no beef with them either, LOL. But for me, writing is all about faith. I feel like I’m robbing the story of its vitality if I leave out the faith element.

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

My parents and sister were always fully supportive and never minded me disappearing into my room where paper and pens called to me. My husband knew from the get-go that to love me was to support my passion, and he has been an AMAZING champion, going so far as to start a publishing company to help me achieve my dreams (WhiteFire now published 30 other authors too, which goes to show to degree of his awesomeness). As I enter each new stage of this writing life, he goes out of his way to make me successful, whether that means annual writing retreats with my best friend, conferences, or a weekly writing day away from the house. My kids have never known any other mama, LOL, so while they occasionally groan that I’m writing another book instead of playing Mario with them, they also love stories and are learning how much dedication it takes to chase a dream. Plus my daughter spends much of her own time drawing and writing, so I’ve definitely rubbed off! (The boy-child, not so much, LOL. Yet.)

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

That your path is your own, and it’s exactly the one the Lord wants for you. You’ll never be Francine Rivers or Lori Wick or [fill in the blank], but that’s okay. You’ll be you, and you’ll discover things about God and yourself through this journey that is worth far more than the biggest royalty check in the world.

 

Image result for The Ladies of the Manor series by roseanna m white

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Oh dear. Um… I have 17 finished manuscripts that are unpublished. (Some of them are earlier versions of what became The Ladies of the Manor Series, so they will definitely never be published in their original form. Others are the aforementioned general market ones that will never see the light of day. And others I still hope to find homes for eventually!) As for incomplete ones…not they’re all even half finished, but I have about 50 files in my “WIPs” folder. Most of them will probably languish there forever, but I do occasionally go back in and “steal” some characters or plot for contracted books, LOL. (Lukas De Wilde, for instance, was totally stolen from Giovanni, the hero of a book I wrote in college called To Dance with Lightning. Which title I also intend to steal at some point too, LOL.)

 

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Wow. Well, most of my friends at this point are other authors, including my very bestest friend ever, Stephanie Morrill. Stephanie writes young adult novels—we met at our first ACFW conferences, where we were both pregnant and had matching bags, which sparked conversation. We became critique partners afterward and soon got to the point where every stray thought must be shared. We just realized last fall when those kids we’d been pregnant with turned ten that it’s been a DECADE since we met! At that point in time, we were both unpublished. Now we’ve both worked with several different publishers, tried the indie/small press route, and gone through quite a lot of ups and downs together.

Stephanie makes me look at things differently, is always there to help brainstorm, all that fun stuff. But I think what I appreciate most about her critiquing is that she knows when to say, “No, that’s not what you meant to happen here. You meant her to do this.” And she’s inevitably right. Beyond that, Stephanie is also an avid reader of craft and industry books (which I am not) and will share new things she learns (I so appreciate that!) and we hold each other accountable. I can’t imagine being on this journey without her!

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And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your Shadows Over England series?

Absolutely! If they’re looking for the same era, they should check out books by Carrie Turansky. If they want similar style in historicals but not necessarily Edwardian/WWI, then I can’t recommend Laura Franz or Lori Benton enough. And if they want to advance a bit more into modern time, definitely check out Stephanie’s The Lost Girl of Astor Street!

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Thank you so very much, Mrs.White!

 

 

That was a fantastic interview – I love the faith-element answer, as well as what she’d tell her younger writer-self. So beautiful, and relateable for me too. I hope you enjoyed this interview, too, readers! Check back next Monday for a spotlight of “A Song Unheard”s main character, Willa Forsythe!

 

 
Roseanna White 2017

Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. Find out more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com and get exclusive content when you sign up for her newsletter.

 

 

 

 

*Some images were taken from google/pixabay, but some were provided by the author, or created by me.

Posted in Author Interview, blog tour

“Dandelion Dust” by Faith Potts ~ Blog Tour

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Welcome to one of the many blogs celebrating the release of “Dandelion Dust” ~ Faith Potts’ debut story!! I’m very excited for this today, because not only do I get to share this book with you, but I also have the author herself here for a visit! And don’t forget the fun giveaway at the end. Hope you enjoy, and be sure to check out this book! I know I can’t wait to read it. :)

 

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Synopsis:

 

Like a speck of dandelion dust riding the tides of a prairie wind, life is fleeting. Though I never realized just how fragile it was until that day . . .

Charity always had a dream. It was simple, really. Find a guy, fall in love, and get married.
The day she met Ryder, Charity knew he was the man God had chosen for her. But she never expected their relationship to be tested and tried through the fires of a freak accident. Suddenly, her world is thrown into chaos, and the bleak, white walls and sterile smells of a city hospital fill every spare minute. And then there comes the dreaded news. It was likely Ryder would never make it out of the hospital bed.
As her carefully laid plans for the future come crashing down around her and the sun seems to set on her dreams, can Charity still find hope in the dark of night?

Like a dandelion, life is beautiful. But treasure every moment. . . for one day, the flower will be gone.

Add on Goodreads

Author Interview!

R: Hello and welcome, Faith! I’m pleased to have you here on my blog today. Would you tell my blog readers a little bit about yourself and your new debut book, “Dandelion Dust”?

F: Hello! I’d be glad to. I’m Faith, a saved by grace, teenage writer who enjoys reading, blogging, and pottery…among other things. As far as genre, “Dandelion Dust” is a contemporary Christian fiction. But to me, it is a book that was actually inspired by a dream. The way God placed this story in my heart still amazes me. 

R: That’s great! I love when God does that. <3
R: Do you have a particular favourite character in “Dandelion Dust” that you liked writing the best? (Don’t worry, I won’t tell the other characters! ;)) 
F: Hehe, that’s a tough one. I really enjoyed Charity, because I could relate to her in so many ways. I didn’t have to review her character or ‘learn her,’ so to speak, to know how she would react in any given situation. Writing her felt natural. I never had to question it, I just knew. 
R: How long did it take you to write, edit, and publish DD from start to finish?
F: From the day I penned…er, typed the first words to the publication date totaled at 6 months and 4 days. Looking back, I’m really questioning how that was even possible, (I mean, half a year?!) but I sincerely believe God has a plan for this story. 
R: Do you have other books in the works for the near future?
F: I do! Aside from my WWII historical fiction novel, which I’m going to start editing soon, I’m planning to write a sequel to “Dandelion Dust” during Camp NaNo July. I’ve also been working on another contemporary on and off for several months. I’m not sure when it will be completed now, but I’m excited for it. :D 
R: Oooh, that is most exciting!
R: And one last question: Can you give a book recommendation for a novel that you feel is similar to or reminds you of “Dandelion Dust”? I can never get enough book recommendations. :)
F: Oooohh, good one. Well, my critique partner did compare “Dandelion Dust” to “This Quiet Sky” by Joanne Bischof. It’s sooo heartbreaking and beautiful. Quite the compliment to be compared to something so amazing, for sure. :) 
R: How sweet! I will have to read that book too now! :) Thanks for joining me today, Faith! So excited for this release of yours – congratulations!!
F: hank you for having me today, Raechel! :D 

About the Author


Displaying image3.PNGFaith Potts is a teenage writer, living with her family and beloved yellow labs in the southeastern US. When she’s not writing stories, consuming large amounts of coffee, reading books, or creating pottery, she can be found laughing harder than is healthy, daydreaming, and – of course – blowing dandelions.

Writing blog: Stories by Firefly

Faith blog: Chosen Vessels

Social media: Goodreads // Pinterest // Instagram

 

 

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Giveaway:

Because my blog never seems to want to show the actual giveaway gadget, I have a link instead—

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Other Blogs Involved in “Dandelion Dust” Blog Tour:

 

  • Wednesday, June 28th

Olivia @ Living for the Other Side // Book Spotlight   

Soleil @ ReviewsbySoleil // Book Spotlight & Review

Liv @ Liv K. Fisher // Book Spotlight & Author Interview

Mikayla @ Ordinary Girl Extraordinary Father // Book Review

Kaitlyn @ Twin Thoughts // Character Interview

 

  • Thursday, June 29th

Rebekah @ RebekahAshleigh // Book Spotlight

Angela @ The Peculiar Messenger// Author Interview

Raechel @ Gods Peculiar Treasure Rae // Book Spotlight & Author Interview

Lydia @ Lydia Therese // Book Review

Rebekah @ Rebekah’s Remarks  // Book Spotlight & Author Interview

Faith @ The Writer’s Song // Book Review & Author Interview

 

  • Friday, June 30th (Release Day!)

Rebekah @ RebekahAshleigh// Book Review

Anika Joy @ This Journey Called Life  // Book Spotlight & Review

Laura @ Books and Chapters // Book Review

Olivia @ Living for the Other Side // Book Review

Jesseca @ Whimsical Writings for His Glory // Book Spotlight, Review, & Author Interview

Bethany @ A Great God and Good Cocoa // Book Spotlight & Review

Micaiah @ Adventures Beyond the Horizon // Author Interview

 

Posted in 1940's, Author Interview, blog tour, Books

Book and Character Spotlight: “Brothers-in-Arms” by Jack Lewis Baillot

Today I am excited to share about the upcoming release of Jack Lewis Baillot’s amazing book, “Brothers-in-Arms”!! I really am happy for this release! I have read (review) this book previously and fell absolutely in love. I’m looking forward to reading this updated version too!

In addition to spotlighting this book, I am also featuring one of the characters – Japhet Buchanan. So read on to hear more about the book and to have Jack introduce Japhet to us!

 

 

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Release Date: May 31st

Synopsis:

Can a Jew and a Nazi survive Hitler’s Germany?

Franz Kappel and Japhet Buchanan never expected their friendship to be tested by the Third Reich. Friends from early childhood, the boys form an inseparable, brotherly bond. Growing up in a little German village, they escape most of the struggles of war until the day Japhet is banished from school for being a Jew, and later has a rib broken when other village boys beat him up. Franz learns he is putting himself in danger for spending so much time with Japhet but continues to stand up for his Jewish friend even at the risk to himself. Then one day their lives are shattered when they see first-hand that the price of being a Jew is dangerously high. 

With the war now on their doorsteps, Franz and Japhet come up with a desperate plan to save their families and get them out of Germany alive. Leaving behind the lives they’ve always known, they move into Berlin with nothing to protect them but forged papers and each other. Convinced their friendship can keep them going, the boys try and make a new life for themselves while trying to keep their true identities and Japhet’s heritage a secret. Taking his best friend’s safety upon himself, Franz joins the Nazis in an attempt to get valuable information. At the same time, Japhet joins the Jewish Resistance, neither friend telling the other of their new occupations.

With everyone in their world telling them a Nazi and a Jew can’t be friends, it is only a matter of time before they believe all the lies themselves, until neither is certain if they are fighting against a race of people or fighting for their homeland. Somehow they have to survive the horrors of World War II, even when all of Germany seems to be against them.

Character Spotlight: Japhet Buchanan

Raechel has asked to do a character spotlight during my blog tour, and she chose Japhet Buchanan as her character. I have to admit, I was very happy to get to write a spotlight for him. The moment he showed up and presented his story to me, years and years ago, I fell in love with him. (He arrived before Franz. I didn’t know it would also be Franz’s story until I started it.)

I wanted to write a story set in Germany during WWII. I read a book which started it, a book which showed a side of the WWII story my history books never spoke of. It was about a small group of Germans who fought the Nazis and tried to stop Hitler’s slaughter of babies with deformities.
Japhet showed up about this time. He didn’t tell me his name, he told me nothing really, just that he was a German, wasn’t a Nazi, had a story to be told, and he had a best friend. I ignored him because I didn’t want to write a WWII story, I knew it would be painful and I wasn’t ready for it.
Years later Japhet returned, this time with a fuller back story and big brown eyes which he used to charm me. He told me he had a story he knew I’d love to write and he wouldn’t go away even when I threw boots at his head. Then he took it one step further and started to tell me his story. A few weeks passed, and the next thing I knew I was sobbing in front of my computer as I wrote the story down.
I am attached to all my characters, but some have very special places in my heart. Japhet Buchanan is one of them, and I’m not even sure I really understand why. I just know I love him.
To give you a quick overview of who he is…
Japhet Josef Buchanan is the youngest of four. He has three older sisters. His family is Jewish and they live in a little German village where his family is well liked – until trouble starts.
Japhet has an out going personality. There are few people who meet him who don’t like him. He’s fun, light-hearted, and gets along with almost everyone. (This is his early history, of course things change.)
When he grows up Japhet has plans to become an artist. He loves to draw, mostly scenery pictures and animals. He’s not so good at drawing people, but his landscapes are stunning. Mostly though, Japhet just has fun getting into trouble with his best friend, Franz Kappel.

In spite of having a fun personality, Japhet is also loyal to his family. He has a fighting spirit and a hidden temper which smolders rather than explodes. When he’s upset, angry, or scared he keeps it all hidden away inside and lets it simmer. He won’t tell anyone his fears unless he is pushed hard enough to bring them up. He’d rather make people laugh than talk about anything serious. He’d also do anything to keep his family safe.

Japhet was a hard character for me to work with, and also really easy. I didn’t really get why I felt this way until the final edit and I realized how much of a change Japhet goes through in the book. (Then I had another crying moment.) He goes through so much that by the end of the book he is not the same boy at the beginning, and it wasn’t fun to see, but it also gave me a chance to do a complete character arch. I don’t think I’ve ever taken characters as low as Japhet and Franz, and for being an Author, it was almost fun to stretch myself to new limits. Painful, agonizing, but also kind of fun. (What can I say, Authors are weird beings.)
And…I guess there he is. Somewhat slightly summed up. I hope readers will be drawn into his and Franz’s story the same way I was and come to love them as much as I do. 

 

 

 

Thanks so much, Jack, for telling us about Japhet! And congratulations on this fantastic book release!!

 

 

(No idea why, but her photo won’t show up here no matter how many times I try or try to it differently…Sorry!)

 

Author Bio:

Jack is one of those strange people who calls herself an Author. She spends a lot of her time writing and even less time editing. She likes to write about friendships which is partly how Brothers-in-Arms came to be. More than ten years in the making, this is the book she dreaded the most writing, but which also has the most meaning for her.

When Jack isn’t writing, which doesn’t happen too often, she keeps busy with various other hobbies – such as reading, playing the bagpipes to the dread of her neighbors, and drinking tea – which might not be considered a hobby by most but which should be.

She lives in a cabin in the woods with her dog and a library which isn’t quite equal to Prince Adam’s but will be, given enough time and a secret doorway.

 

Contact Info:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JackLBaillot

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JackLBaillot

Goodreads –  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5862775.Jack_Lewis_Baillot

Blog – http://www.jacklewisbaillot.com/  

 

Goodreads link –  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24703965-brothers-in-arms

Brothers-in-Arms Pintrest Page – https://www.pinterest.com/jackbaillot/brothers-in-arms/

Posted in Author Interview, blog tour, Books, Give-aways, Questions/answers, reading, Writing

“All Our Empty Places” by Alicia G. Ruggieri -Spotlight, give-away, and Author Interview!

Release Tour banner - All Our Empty Places

I am so delighted to be sharing about this newest book in the A Time of Grace series by the lovely Alicia G. Ruggieri! I had read the first book in this series, “The Fragrance of Geraniums” just earlier this year and was immediately drawn in. And so when I heard that “All Our Empty Places” had a release date, I couldn’t have been more thrilled! You most likely have already seen my review of this lovely book, and thus you can see just how much I adored it. :) So, now it is my utmost pleasure to share about this book with you, along with an interview with the author! And don’t forget that giveaway. :)

 

 

 

Book cover - All Our Empty Places

In 1935, when the bank calls in her mortgage, Sarah Picoletti – now a penniless widow – finds herself and her children on the brink of homelessness. Sick at heart, she plans to beg her brother in New Jersey to take her family in.

Then Doctor Samuel Giorgi knocks on her door. Godly and well-off, Sam seems to have put the careless ways of his youth behind him, and he also appears to have one desire: to make Sarah his wife, two decades after he broke their engagement.
However, nothing prepares Sarah for the storm that breaks once she makes her decision. Everywhere she turns, the errors of her former choices confront her, insisting on her inferiority and the irreparable brokenness of her past. Sarah begins to wonder if Christ really can bring true redemption or if He is limited by her frailty.
Meanwhile, her daughter Grace faces new challenges in her own life. When her relationship with Paulie changes unexpectedly, Grace realizes that she must make a decision with the potential to alter both of their futures.
Compassionate and intensely poignant, All Our Empty Places paints the portrait of a mother and daughter with broken pasts, who dare to step into a future overflowing with the grace of the Cross.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author photo - Alicia G. Ruggieri

Alicia G. Ruggieri writes Christ-centered fiction that speaks of redemption. She received her B.A. in Communications and History from Rhode Island College and lives with her husband and their emotionally-disturbed pug on the New England coast.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri

Blog: http://www.abrighterdestiny.blogspot.com

Twitter: @aliciaruggieri

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/AliciaGRuggieri

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/aliciagruggieri

PURCHASE LINKS (And I, Raechel, do suggest this.. ;) Hehe!) :

All Our Empty Places (A Time of Grace, Book 2) – http://amzn.com/B014JVJYCK

The Fragrance of Geraniums (A Time of Grace, Book 1) – ON SALE for $0.99 through October 31, 2015 – http://amzn.com/B00P4PB7W6

THE GIVEAWAY:

Release Tour - giveaway

One winner will receive – a signed softcover of All Our Empty Places; a mug with 2 Corinthians 12:9 inscribed on it; Caramel Apple Biscotti; and Harvest Spice Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate mix. (Open to U.S. residents only due to shipping costs.)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview!

Welcome, Alicia! I am delighted to host you on my blog. :) Your books have made such an impact on my life and deeply echo in my heart. Congratulations on this newest release!

I’m glad to be here, Raechel. Your blog has been an encouragement to me since the first day I came across it.

Thank you so much for saying that, Alicia! That really blessed me. :)

  1. When did you first begin writing, and knew that it was ‘for you’?

I’ve always written something or other for as long as I can remember. The first “story” I can recall was a sequel to The Little Mermaid (before there was a sequel!) when I was probably five years old. My mom and some of my school teachers really encouraged me to keep writing as I grew up, and I’m so thankful for that. My writing now is just a continuation of that, as God opens doors.

  1. How did you get the inspiration for A Time of Grace series?

Well, the A Time of Grace series branched out of The Fragrance of Geraniums, which is now book 1 in the series. I’d had the idea for many years for a book that somehow involved an upstairs room full of the scent of geraniums – which is a spicy, almost-bitter fragrance. And that idea came from a real-life room in an elderly woman’s house that I visited as a child. The woman had brought me upstairs to her library room so that she could water her geraniums. The room made such an impression on my childhood self; I’ve always known that a story hid there, somehow, amongst the fragrance of geraniums.

Now I’m going on to writing a trilogy – called A Time of Grace collectively – both because there was positive reader feedback for The Fragrance of Geraniums… and also because I felt that the story wasn’t finished for Paulie, Grace, Sam, Sarah, and the rest of the Chetham, Rhode Island folks. My prayer is that the trilogy helps people to see that God truly can and does bring beauty out of our brokenness – that He wants us empty so that He can fill us with Himself.

How cool. I love when stories come about that way. :)

  1. Having read “All Our Empty Places”, I am curious – do we get to hear anymore from Ben in the third book?

Oh, Ben, Ben! Yes, you will hear a lot more from Ben in book three. I shouldn’t have favorite characters any more than a mother should have favorite children, but *if* I did, Ben would certainly be a contestant. Book three will also hold the conclusion (for now) of Grace and Paulie’s story, as well as bits and pieces of other characters that I’ve grown to love. So there’s a lot ahead in book three.

Oh yay!! Book three sounds so exciting and I can barely wait. :)

  1. Do you have a character that you relate best to in this series?

This is a little hard to answer because I don’t know if I could write a character that I couldn’t relate to in some way. Yes, even Charlie from Fragrance, terrible as that sounds. As John Proctor says in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, I know how black my own sins are! So I can usually relate to a character’s struggles in one way or another.

But I can definitely relate strongly to Sarah and Grace in All Our Empty Places – not to their particular struggles but to the general idea – that we as believers have to find our sufficiency in Christ alone. It’s so easy for me to try to make it through the days, through my life, in my own strength, in my own power. I’m so thankful for the Lord God bringing my focus back to Him and making me realize that I can only find my power to overcome through in Him.

I agree with that; there’s a little piece of us that goes into every character – no matter how ‘bad’ the character may be. And amen! I am also thankful that our Lord brings us back to Him over and over. <3

  1. And lastly, would you mind sharing one instance where you’ve experienced God’s great grace in your life?

The longer I live, the more I realize how much I’m dependent on God’s great grace in every single little area of my life. As Francois Mauriac says, “All is grace.”

But there is one circumstance that potently showed God’s great grace to me. A number of years ago, my family went through a time of extreme personal difficulty – a time of severe spiritual testing in many ways. God upheld us when we cried out to Him – He was our Rock “in a weary land,” as the hymn-writer says. He gave us the grace to step forward in faith, to stake our all on Him, individually and as a family. As a result of staking our all on Him, there was tremendous loss in this world, but there was also tremendous gain spiritually. The circumstances of receiving that grace still sadden me to think of, but I testify to you that our God does indeed give “grace and glory.” (Psalm 84:11) He will be a shield to those who trust in Him. So we need not be afraid to, as Jim Elliot says, “give what we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose.”

Wow, thank you for sharing that. The hardest times usually reaps the most grace!

Thank you again so much, Alicia for doing this! I pray your books get into the hands of many!!

Thanks for having me, Raechel. It’s been a joy! 

 

And readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as I did! Be sure to enter the giveaway and check out all of Alicia’s books – they are remarkable!! (If you like medieval type setting, check out her book “The House of Mercy” – I adored that one too!).

And be sure to check out the other blogs participating in this blog tour!

 

ALL OUR Empty PLACES

Release Tour Schedule

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 (release day)

Ready to be Offered

Rachel Rossano’s Words

Letters from Annie Douglass Lima

 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

Seasons of Humility

 

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2015

Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections

Christian Author A.M. Heath

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2015

With A Joyful Noise

The Overactive Imagination

Iola’s Christian Reads

A Writer’s Heart

 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2015

Tour wrap-up @ A Brighter Destiny

 

 

Congratulations on the new release, and may many read it! :)