Posted in Author Interview, Books, Give-aways

Author Interview: Lindsay Harrel! With GIVEAWAY!

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Good morning, and happy Monday! Today, not only do I have an amazing author interview to share, but she’s also offered a GIVEAWAY to go along with it! Isn’t that fantabulous? I fell in love with “The Heart Between Us”, and knew I’d love to have Lindsay Harrel for an author review. And when she offered a giveaway – well, goodness, what fun! Keep reading to find all the details, and don’t forget to enter for a COPY of “The Heart Between Us”!!

 

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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:

 Sure! My name is Lindsay Harrel and I write inspirational romantic women’s fiction. Thanks so much for having me!

 

 

What sparked the idea for your book, “The Heart Between Us”? (I thought it was so clever and absolutely loved the whole thing!)

 Thank you for your kind words. I heard a radio feature story on K-LOVE or some other station about a woman who went sky diving because her heart donor had always wanted to do it and never got to. It just made me ask the question, What if someone fulfilled her heart donor’s entire bucket list?

 

 

heart-1450300_1920.jpgIn “The Heart Between Us”, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

 Yes! The story is about twin sisters Megan and Crystal and how they have both been affected by Megan’s long-term illness and subsequent heart transplant. When I was first going to write the book, it was just going to be Megan’s story and Crystal was just the antagonist who was overprotective and didn’t understand Megan. But my agent challenged me to dig deeper and tell Crystal’s story too. When I did, I discovered a character who had been deeply affected by living with a sick sister her whole life. I could relate, since my mom was sick for many of my formative years. Between that and Crystal’s penchant for defining herself by her achievements, she became the character I related to most.

 

 

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

Not really. I always look up common baby names in the year the character is born and when one pops out at me as feeling “right” for the character, I choose it. Funny though—I didn’t do that with Megan’s character at first. I chose Maddie because I liked the name, but I got the comment that it made the character feel for high school age, not 32. So I went back, applied the process mentioned above, and chose Megan (I also have a good friend named Megan so that was a bit of fun in choosing that name).

 

 

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 really prefer silence when I write. I also can’t stand the idea of only writing part of a scene; if I’m going to write, I try to finish an entire scene in one sitting. It feels incomplete to me to write only, say, 500 or 1000 words at a time!

 

 

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Megan in “The Heart Between Us” is fulfilling the bucket list of her heart-donor; Do you have a bucket list yourself?

It’s not something I’ve actually written out, but yes! At the top right now is visiting Italy with my husband.

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Great question. I think both. I actually don’t care as much for the drafting stage of writing (I much prefer editing!); the blank page is a bit intimidating to me. But I am energized by the thought that I get to live my dream. It’s also exhausting to pour yourself and your emotions out on the page, and to be a good writer, I think you have to be constantly doing that.

 

 

cross-2209803_1920How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

I’ve read all sorts of Christian fiction, and the ones that resonate with me the most are those that infuse faith organically. So that is what I try to do. Some stories require more actual mention of faith; with others, the character kind of just has this misconception about God and has an epiphany at the end, but faith isn’t constantly mentioned. I think it just depends on what the story calls for. But because I am a Christian, I can’t help but write stories from that perspective and worldview, so I think in that sense, my stories will always be faith filled.

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

They are 100% supportive! Of course, my boys (who are 1 and 3.5 years old) don’t really understand it. But my husband is amazing in giving me time to write when I’m on deadline, and my mother-in-law and stepmom help with the kids too.

 

 

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

Stop worrying! Things will happen in their time. Just enjoy the process and stop stressing over how you’re going to get there (and when! and if!). :)

 

 

old-1130731_1920.jpg“The Heart Between Us” visits many places all over the world – have you traveled much in your life, and did you make any special travel-plans during the writing of this book?

In college, I took a study abroad trip to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Paris one summer. It was amazing and definitely shaped my desire to write about those places. I have wanted to go back, but my husband and I haven’t had the time or money. But we are saving and dreaming!

 

 

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

I am blessed to be friends with SO many in the writing community, and have been craft and brainstorming partners with Gabrielle Meyer, Melissa Tagg, and Alena Wendall. I’ve also been mentored by incredible authors like Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. All of them challenge me to do deeper with characters and—more than anything—they just encourage me when I’m down and help keep me grounded and rooted in the things that are most important on this writing journey. I’m so glad my writing life isn’t a solitary endeavor.

 

 

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

I think readers who enjoyed The Heart Between Us would enjoy anything by Katherine Reay, specifically Lizzy and Jane or her latest, The Austen Escape!

 

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image found on google; I do not claim any rights to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you so very much, Lindsay Harrel!

 

 

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Lindsay HarrelLindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and—of course—writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter.

 

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What a lovely interview, wouldn’t you say? I just love learning more about an author and their writing process/books! <3

And now, how about we get to that giveaway!

 

DETAILS: Lindsay Harrel is offering 1 (one) print copy to be given away to one reader! Follow the link below to enter this lovely giveaway – trust me, you don’t want to miss this book!

**US address only due to shipping costs**

 

Giveaway will start TODAY and will end SUNDAY the 10th, and the WINNER will be announced next MONDAY with the Character-Spotlight post, so be sure to check back!!

 

 

Click the graphic to be led to the giveaway widget, or click here.

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Best wishes on the giveaway!!

 

 

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Posted in Author Interview, Books

Author Interview! Connilyn Cossette

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Welcome to another Author-Interview Monday! I am beyond pleased to be sharing this author-interview with Connilyn Cossette for May! I adore her books. <3 When she replied to my inquiry about an interview, I was overjoyed to say the least. :) Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!!

 

 

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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:

Hi Raechel, Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog! My name is Connilyn Cossette (and yes that is my real name, not a nom du plume). I am the author of the Out from Egypt and Cities of Refuge Series with Bethany House Publishers which are Biblical Fiction (although I like to call it “outsider Biblical fiction” because my main characters are fictional, not people from the Bible). I have recently moved from Texas to North Carolina with my hubby of twenty years and my two kids, 11&13, whom I homeschool. So being a writer and a homeschool teacher on top of just doing my day to day stuff, my life is a little crazy, but its a good crazy!

 

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Aren’t they all so gorgeous?! And so excited for the next book!

 

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

Probably Shira from Shadow of the Storm. My kiddos came to me by adoption as well, so my struggles mirror Shira’s in many ways.  I also tend to be a glass-half full person, and sometime my rose-colored glasses end up shattered, but it does help me to look for the best in people. And, like Shira, music is also my worship language.

 

 

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

I use Hebraic versions of the Bible as a starting point and I have a couple of websites with Hebrew names I reference frequently. I also base names on Hebrew word meanings and shhhh, sometimes I make them up ;)

 

 

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

I sometimes like to write with my eyes closed. It allows me to be fully inside the scene to experience and build the sensory details. My son saw me doing it the other day and freaked out how accurately I can type with my eyes closed! Although at times it makes for some interesting spelling or words that I cannot decipher at all later.

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me unless I come to a wall and can’t find my way past it. But thinking about stories, talking about stories with my writing pals, crafting stories, and polishing stories through editing are all pretty much my favorite things in the world.

 

 

 

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

Faith is absolutely central to what I do. My heart is to draw people to the Word by sparking interest in the cultural and historical context through story form. I am not out to re-write the Bible, but only to spur imagination about what it might have been like for people whose lives connected in some way with all those Bible characters (who were real people!) that we know so well.

 

 

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

My kids are very inspired by what I do. They both are book-a-holics and love to write. My son especially has taken to writing his own stories, sometimes for hours at a time. My hubby of course is very proud of me, but being a non-reader (GASP!) he’s still a little mystified by the idea that I want to spend hour upon hour making up stories about imaginary people. They’ve all learned to be very tolerant of my tendency to stare at walls or out windows randomly, or to talk to myself, or to wave my arms around or make strange faces as I silently act out scenes. Hopefully that will stave off any plans to take me to the funny farm later in life ;)

 

 

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

To read more in different genres, to write what you would want to read instead of trying to copy anyone else’s style. To be okay with the weirdness of your brain and the fact that a lot of “normals” may just not get your particular brand of quirkiness. To not waste time or energy on second-guessing yourself but instead be brave and bold about who you are and the passions that God hard-wired into you.

 

 

gerbera-1250287How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I am about halfway done with the third book in the Cities of Refuge Series (and yes, that means I am SUPER behind) but otherwise I only have one half-finished novella sitting on my laptop that hopefully someday I will get around to working on, since it ties in with my Out from Egypt Series.

 

 

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

Nicole Deese and Tammy L. Gray are my bestie writing gals, we Google Chat every week now that I have moved across the country. They constantly challenge and inspire me to be a better writer. I don’t think I would have near the drive, the writing speed, or staying power to do what I do without them. We have developed a deep trust between us that allows us to be completely honest when something just doesn’t work and a willingness to take criticism without offense because we know that we all want each other’s work to be the best it can be.

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “A Light on the Hill”?

I can’t think of a specific book off the top of my head, but I always recommend any Biblical Fiction by Roseanna White, Mesu Andrews, Francine Rivers, Stephanie Landsem, or Tessa Afshar. These ladies write God-honoring stories that point readers back to the Word.

 

 

Thank you so very much, Mrs. Cossette!

 

 

 

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Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. There is not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of over twenty years and a son and daughter who fill her days with joy, laughter, and inspiration. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

 

 

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That was delightful! I can’t express just how much I love reading author’s answers to these questions, and getting to know them more. It feels like such a special experience and honor!

Writing with her eyes closed – love that, because I do that too. ^.^ It works well!

Also, her advice to her younger writers self – beautiful. I think the answers to those questions are the ones I soak up the most <3

 

 

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Check back next Monday for the Character Introduction post featuring one of Mrs.Cossette’s characters! <3

 

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.

 

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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. 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

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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!

Image result for The Lost Girl of Astor Street

 

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!

Image result for Carrie Turansky books

Image result for Laura Frantz books

 

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