Meet Connie Cross from Annabelle’s Ruth by Betty Thomason Owens

June 19, 2015

Annabelle's RuthToday, I am very pleased to welcome Connie Cross, the heroine of Annabelle’s Ruth by Betty Thomason Owens. Having just finished reading the novel myself, I have only the highest praise for the story, the author’s writing style, the characterization, and the message.

Before we chat with her, I’d like to share a bit about her story from the book’s back cover “blurb:”

After their husbands perish in a fishing boat accident, Connie Cross determines to follow her mother-in-law, Annabelle, from Southern California to Tennessee. Her misgivings begin as they cross the bridge over the muddy Mississippi River. In their new town, where living conditions are far below their previous expectations, they must set up a household and hunt for work to survive. Thanks to the kindness of Annabelle’s handsome, young cousin, life begins to settle down. But Connie has a secret that could uproot them once again. Inspired by the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth is a 1950’s era “Ruth” story, set in western Tennessee. How will Connie adapt to her new life amid the cotton farms, racial tension, and culture shock?

Connie, please tell us a little about your life growing up in Maui. What is your fondest childhood memory? What would you rather forget about your childhood? Oh my. Life on Maui. It is surely one of the most beautiful places on earth. Where the wind always blows. It’s very green. Black earth—blue ocean—do I sound like an artist now?

After World War II ended, Dad retired from the Navy. He bought a farm near a small village in the area of Makawao. It had once been part of a sugar plantation. He put us to work in the fields. He did his best to train the laziness out of us. I would rather forget those days. But the hardships I faced made me who I am today, so I can’t despise them.

In many ways, I had a rather idyllic childhood. While he was still in the Navy, Dad was away much of the time. My mother was never a very energetic person. At the age of five, I was already looking after two baby sisters. We played outside most of the day unless it was raining. My fondest memories are actually from that time. Mom’s people worshiped nature. She would wander out at night and sing and dance in the moonlight. She said this would give her good fortune. Sometimes, my sisters and I would join her. We’d sing at the top of our lungs and dance until we dropped.

How did you meet Joseph? Was it “love at first sight?” After high school I moved to Kahului. I found a summer job in a local movie theater to earn money for my trip to the mainland, where I hoped to attend college. The theater was a popular spot for sailors to hang out on a Friday night. One night, a slightly inebriated sailor made a pass at me, which I ignored. He became angry at me, actually pinning me against a wall. Another sailor came to my rescue. He towered over the perpetrator, ordering him to leave the premises or be reported, or something like that. Joseph was my rescuer, and yes, it was love at first sight.

What trait do you find most admirable in others? Several come to mind, like honesty and integrity, but I think the most important one is love, as Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 13.

Do you prefer cross-stitch and quilting or tending a garden? Why? Tending a garden. Because I love the smell of freshly-turned soil. I love planting seeds and watching them grow. But most of all, I love to harvest the fruit and vegetables and then eat them.

Connie, is there anything you’d like to tell us about yourself? I’m not really fond of talking about myself. I’m glad you can’t see me blushing right now! Who I am today—the woman I’ve become—is because of the love of a very special woman. Annabelle Cross took me under her wing. She led me to Christ, but she didn’t stop there. She showed me by example, how to live, and how to be a godly woman. This is why I stayed with her. And God has blessed both of us, healed our broken hearts, and filled us up again.

About the author:

Betty OwensBetty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers. She is a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and a contributing editor for the online magazine, Imaginate. Annabelle’s Ruth is the first novel in the Kinsman Redeemer Series for Write Integrity Press. Her 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (also Write Integrity Press). She writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor and Unlikely Merger, (2015). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

You can learn more about Betty and connect with her at the links below:

http://bettythomasonowens.com

 https://twitter.com/batowens

https://facebook.com/betty.owens.author

https://pinterest.com/btowens,

https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com


Meet the Characters in Julie Arduini’s Entrusted

May 20, 2015

EntrustedOne indicator of a good book is that you quickly begin to care for the characters. This is a charming story that will make you laugh, cry, and maybe even shake your head. As the heroine begins her new life in Speculator Falls, New York with a “bang,” she quickly becomes an engaging heroine, and the reader immediately wants her to succeed.

Although the first-person, present tense point of view took a little getting used to for me, a lot of people enjoy the “in-the-now” feeling as they read. The believable, quirky characters and the story with a clear spiritual message made it a very enjoyable read.

In a nutshell: A young woman ventures from her hometown to another state for the first time to live and work. What obstacles and tests of her faith will she encounter, and how will she attack each one? As she tries to encourage others to surrender their fears to the Lord, how does she cope with her own?

Jenna Anderson is a city girl who is clueless about small mountain town living. But one thing she does know is how to care about people.

Ben Regan meets Jenna in a most awkward and unusual circumstance. As the two become acquainted, he sends Jenna mixed signals that have her running through a gamut of emotions.

Sara Bivins, Ben’s grandmother, “village matriarch” becomes like a second mother to Jenna, freely imparting faith and wisdom in her lovingly persuasive manner.

Howard Wheaton is Jenna’s favorite “curmudgeon” at the senior center. She instinctively sees a side of Howard that he tries hard to hide.

Shirley McIlwain is the tenacious volunteer receptionist and self-proclaimed office manager at the senior center, who becomes Jenna’s right hand in organization.

Kyle Swarthmore is an arrogant financial mogul who has ulterior motives for his generosity and a plan to undermine Ben’s hopes to expand his business.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book which will keep you engaged and wanting to see what happens next. I loved the way Arduini employs humor in her story, and she had me giggling as I read. The characters are well-written and lovable. Well, most of them are lovable. But then antagonists aren’t supposed to be lovable, are they?

If you like easy, fun reads with substance, this one certainly fits the bill.


Julie ArduiniJulie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ through surrender. She’s the author of the Amazon bestseller, Entrusted and co-author of the international bestseller The Love Boat Bachelor. She also shared her story in the Amazon bestseller infertility devotional, A Walk in the Valley. She’s the fiction contributing editor for the digital magazine, Imaginate, and blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children.

Learn more about Julie by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com.

Connect with her on Facebook: http://facebook.com/JulieArduini,                                                          Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulieArduini,                                                               G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JulieArduini/posts,                                 Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/JulieArduini,                                        Instagram: http://instagram.com/JulieArduini,                              Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/JulieArduini,                               Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Arduini/e/B00PBKDRSQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427852247&sr=8-1

You can purchase her books at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and CBD.com.


Meet the Characters in Imperfect Wings by Elizabeth Noyes

April 10, 2015

Imperfect WingsWhen I read books for review, I periodically jot down things I want to remember to include about the story or the characters. By the time I reached chapter two of Imperfect Wings, I was so engrossed in the story, I tossed the pen aside because I couldn’t put the book down long enough to write a single note. That’s how enthralling this book is. If you like action-packed romantic suspense with an emphasis on the suspense and a touch of thriller, I highly recommend this book.

 The heroine was on a mission. But was it justice she wanted—or revenge? Either way, the fact that she witnessed a murder created further tragedy she couldn’t foresee and put many more innocent people in danger. Once she’d succeeded in rescuing the children from an orphanage in Honduras, her focus shifted to remaining a step ahead of her would-be captors and simply staying alive.

Her journey took her to middle-of-nowhere Idaho, where she finally began to feel safe, and where the host family was determined to protect her. But was it enough?

I invite you to grab a copy of this book, and hang on to your seat for a thrilling ride!

Meet the Characters:

T. J. McKendrick – A petite frame doesn’t necessarily mean fragility, and T. J. was hardly delicate. In fact, she could hold her own with well-trained men more than twice her size. But remaining hidden until she could testify in a trial that was sure to convict some evil people proved to be the biggest challenge of her life.

Don Rafael Castillo (“the Butcher”) had an agenda. He power, and he wanted T.J. dead. So did people in higher places with even more at risk.

Garrett Cameron gladly traded a life of violence for running his family’s ranch. However, the past would not let go of him, and he found himself bound to protect a person who’d already created havoc for him once before.

Mallory Cameron, one of the Cameron men’s younger sisters, knew them as well as anyone, and had no trouble discerning the heart of her older brother.

Agent Kevin Fowler was the person in charge of her safety and protection. Why was the warning in Mississippi so late it almost got her killed?

And who were the intriguing Cowboy, Rascal, Iceman, Dingo, Romeo, Farmboy, and Dawg, among others? Got to read the book to find out!

 ***

Betty NoyesElizabeth Noyes spent fourteen years working as a professional writer for a private company. After she retired, she began writing full-time, and has published A Dozen Apologies, a collaborative work involving twelve authors. Online readers selected her character as the favorite hero, which entitled her to write the final chapter of the book. Another collaborative book in which Elizabeth contributed, Love Boat Bachelor, released Valentine’s Day, 2015.

 Imperfect Wings, her first full-length novel, was a CAT 5 winner in the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest. It is the first of her Imperfect Series, and the Book Two, Imperfect Trust, is due out this year.

Elizabeth lives with her husband outside Atlanta, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She shares her expertise in a critique group, and is a mighty encourager.

Elizabeth was a featured author in the Jan/Feb 2015 the edition of Southern Writers Magazine. You can purchase her books at http://www.amazon.com/, and learn more about her by visiting her blog at http://elizabethnoyeswrites.com/.

 


Meet the Characters in Betty Thomason Owens’ Newest Novel, Amelia’s Legacy

February 22, 2015

Meet the Characters in Betty Thomason Owens’ Newest Novel, Amelia’s Legacy.


Meet the Characters in Betty Thomason Owens’ Newest Novel, Amelia’s Legacy

February 22, 2015

Amelia's Legacy FRONT CoverAmelia’s Legacy has an interesting, believable, relatable cast of characters, including some unexpected ones in a surprise turn of events. The plot is well developed, and twists are sure to keep your attention and turning the pages.

Nancy struggles to wrench herself away from Grandmother’s grasp and become her own person, only to find Amelia Sanderson’s grip is tighter than she’d ever imagined. After tragedy strikes, Nancy is unsure of who she can trust but is more determined than ever to get answers to questions that have plagued her for years.

I would recommend this book to young adults and as well as adults who enjoy a clean inspirational, historical romance. This is much more than a girl-meets-boy story. It is a story of family love, faith, and forgiveness with an ample dose of suspense mixed in.

~~~*~~~

Meet the Characters:

Nancy Sanderson  wanted nothing more than to be her own person, free from her domineering guardian grandmother. After all, she was old enough to make her own decisions, wasn’t she? Rejecting her grandmother’s well-ordered plan for her life, Nancy chose to find her freedom in exhilarating rendezvous with the handsome and exciting Nate Conners.

Amelia Woods Sanderson, Nancy’s guardian, will go to whatever lengths she deems necessary to protect her granddaughter. She’d run the family business as well as any man and strove to assure her only heir would be well taken care of — and well-connected after she was no longer there to care for her.

Nate Conners, the handsome and exciting college sophomore seemed to like Nancy as much as he appealed to her. “The fact that Grandmother would never approve of him made him even more interesting.”

Robert Emerson, magna cum laude graduate from Harvard, has a promising career in his father’s law firm. He is also Grandmother’s choice for Nancy for a husband, but he’s much too straight-laced for her.

Rebecca Lewis and Nancy (“of the Newport Lewises”) became friends and confidants after meeting during their cruise to Europe, and they became roommates at Jennings college.

~~~*~~~

I had a chance to ask the author a couple questions about her book.

What inspired you to choose the “Roaring Twenties” for the setting of your novel?

I’ve always had a fascination with the twenties. As a child I would spend hours looking through Grandma’s old pictures. There was one of a couple dressed in 1920s costumes (I thought) and I asked Grandma why they were dressed up like that. She told me that’s how they dressed back then. But she never did, since the flappers were considered “wild”—Grandma was a church girl, raised in a Southern Baptist church. When I was thinking about the setting for Amelia’s Legacy, I remembered that picture and thought it might be interesting to explore that time period.

How did Nancy and Amelia introduce themselves to you?

I saw the young Nancy sitting in that chair, enduring another scolding from her stern Grandmother. She “zoned out” as I often did, when I was subjected to a lecture. Sometimes I still do that. When she first popped into my head, sitting there like that, I realized she was a dreamer like me. But where I only dreamed about rebellion, she actually carried it out. Grandmother was stern because she had to be. She was a successful businesswoman in a day when men ruled the corporate ladders. These two women were dependent upon each other, but their relationship was a rocky one.

I actually really liked Amelia’s character, because she acted out of love, and I suppose that was her greatest legacy.

~~~*~~~

Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of Betty Owensarticles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers. She is a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and a contributing editor for the soon-to-be launched online magazine, Imaginate.

Her 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (Write Integrity Press). She also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequel, The Love Boat Bachelor, releasing January 26, 2015. She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale Books TM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM. Coming up next, a 1950’s historical novel based on the Book of Ruth, Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1, Ruth Series (Write Integrity Press).

You can connect with Betty on her personal webpage, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and at Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My!


Meet the Characters in Rachel Allord’s Mother of My Son

October 30, 2014

Mother of My SonMother of My Son is a beautiful, well-written story of redemption, forgiveness, and God’s unconditional love shown through His children. The author employs natural realistic dialog, and keeps the plot moving to the end which makes for a page-turning read. Rachel Allord reaches deep into the hearts and souls of her characters, so that you are intimately involved in their struggles, heartaches, and joys.

One of the most endearing parts of the story to me is when Beth’s husband says, “I’m in your corner,” and she replies, “And I’m in yours.”

One of the most glaring truths is that behaviors are passed from one generation to the next. However, when one allows Christ to take over, things change.

This debut author has clearly hit this one out of the park, and I highly recommend it!

Meet the Characters:

Amber Swansen, in shock, horror, and desperation, made the biggest mistake of her life. But so what? She’d always been told she was a loser—by her mother, no less. Her dreams of becoming a designer shattered, she struggles with what life brings her way the same way her mother does—with a string of boyfriends. True to her and her mother’s track record, one relationship is as toxic as the next.

Grandma Ginny hadn’t seen her granddaughter in fourteen years and prays for Amber every day. Although Amber sees her as a “holy roller,” Ginny becomes her granddaughter’s rock.

Beth Dilinger befriends Amber, gently guiding her toward the Savior. The worlds of both women threaten to explode when unlikely and bizarre facts are inadvertently exposed.

Michael Dilinger, Beth’s son, is soon going off to college in another town. Will Beth be able to cope with the inevitable empty nest?

Gretchen is Beth’s older sister, most trusted confidant, and mentor. Occasionally, she enjoys throwing a curve ball to her sister in an effort to get her out of her comfort zone and help her to grow.

Margaret Swansen, Amber’s mother, holds on to bitterness and resentment and seems to enjoy passing these emotions and attitudes down to her daughter.

Meet the Author:

Rachel AllordRachel Allord grew up as a pastor’s kid, vowed never to marry a pastor, and has been contentedly married to her husband, a worship pastor, for nineteen years. She holds a B.A. in English education and is privileged to be both a biological and adoptive mother. Her stories and articles have appeared in MomSense, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and various other publications. Mother of My Son, her debut novel, released in May 2013 through Pelican Book Group (Harbourlight). She resides in Wisconsin where she avidly consumes coffee, sushi, and novels– preferably at the same

Rachel, Do you have a favorite scene in this book?

One of the most personal scenes for me is when Beth is ripping up shag green carpet and scraping glue as she grapples with her infertility and hopes that the room in which she’s laboring will one day be a nursery. This is the most auto-biographical scene in the book. I tore up green carpet. I spent the summer scraping old glue, all the while wishing for my baby. By the time we came home from China with my baby girl, the floors of that room were sanded and beautiful and the room was ready.

 What is the most recent “curve ball” you’ve encountered? 

Homeschooling. Although I’ve taught in the public school and tutored home- schooled students, this is the first year I’m homeschooling one of my own. Life is totally different this year. It’s good, challenging, rewarding… all rolled into one. A definite curve ball for me.

What is most interesting thing you have learned while doing research for this book?

That I’m more like Amber then I originally thought. Even though she’s my protagonist, in the beginning I had a hard time connecting with her. I didn’t even like her at first which is a problem because if I didn’t like her, why would my readers? But as I continued to write and dig and pray I came to realize that even though our growing up experiences are totally different, and even though I haven’t walked in the same dark and desperate places she has, I’m just as much in desperate need of God’s grace and forgiveness.

 What is the most rewarding thing about being an adoptive parent?

This is going to sound terribly obvious but her. My daughter is the reward. Just as I feel fortunate to have been given the chance to give give birth to my son, I’m so thankful we were able adopt, to experience the fierce emotions that come with taking a child not of your own flesh and allowing God to knit you together as a family. Adoption is complicated, it comes with a lot of complicated emotions both for you and your child, but it’s so rich and spiritually profound. It’s messy but beautiful, much like the rest of life, but with all that said, I just love my daughter. I’m so grateful I get to be her mom.

Who are your favorite authors? Is there an author who has had a strong influence on your writing?

Close friends know I try to weave “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Les Miserable” into just about any conversation, so Harper Lee and Victor Hugo are at the top of the list. I’m also a fan of Leif Enger and Jodi Picult. As far as the author whose books I turn to to “mentor” me in terms of how tell a killer story while dishing out spiritual truth, I’d have to say Francine Rivers. Her books are old friends and as silly as this sounds, I fantasize about having coffee with her. 

 Do you have a favorite season of the year? What’s special about it for you?

I love fall. Even though it’s the season when, technically, everything is dying, it’s gorgeous and the paradox of it all is poetic. Fall always feels like a new start for me. Not to mention Wiscsonisn puts on some pretty spectacular displays of color.

 What is your favorite family activity?

Travel. Just about anywhere. We’ve been known to sell blood to pay for our travel addiction. Truly, we have.

What are you working on now? I’m nearly done with a novel that examines questions like…. what do you do if you meet your soul mate but you’re married to someone else? Is there even such a thing as soul-mates? Can a dead marriage be resurrected? What causes women to run away from their marriages? It’s a bit quirky, down to earth and, I pray, thought-provoking. I love this mix of flawed by earnest characters and I love how symbolism emerged during the writing process.

How can readers connect with you? You can find my blog, send me a message, or find out about upcoming books and speaker information at https://rachelallord.com.  You can also find me at https://www.facebook.com/RachelAllordFans or https://twitter.com/RachelAllord


Meet the Characters in Elizabeth Camden’s “With Every Breath”

September 20, 2014

With Every BreathElizabeth Camden is a master of historical romance novels. I once asked her how much time she spent doing research for each book, and she said, “about a year.” Not surprising the books she writes are so chock full of little known details that bring such life and authenticity to her stories.

Camden’s also an expert of painting word pictures. You feel as though you are there from scene to scene like you can reach out and physically touch the characters, while you intimately connect with the protagonist’s conscience.

With Every Breath is a most apropos title for this story incorporating tuberculosis research in the late 1800’s that brings the hero and heroine together in a most surprising way. As more background and the inner selves of the characters are revealed, the emotions become stronger, mystery and intrigue increase, and it’s very hard to put this book down.

One of the best things I liked about this book was the dialogue. Their personalities shone in detail as they bantered, quipped, struggled and competed with each other. While Camden’s stories have a romantic thread, they are much deeper and carry a positive spiritual message.

Kate Norton’s dream was shattered early in her life by “the terrible Trevor McDonough.” She suffered yet another major setback when she lost her husband., and after working for an unpleasant boss in a government job, Kate was ready for a change and a new challenge. And did she ever get both!

Trevor McDonough was a loner, a brilliant loner. Even in high school he had no friends. It seems he had no patience for incompetency, no human warmth to share with his patients, or anyone else for that matter, and no desire to share his heart with anyone, especially Kate. And he wasn’t about to reveal to her the secrets from his past.

Nurse Ackerman’s demeanor matched Dr. Kendall’s personality—cold and indifferent. She kept a close eye on the patients, aides, and orderlies on the hospital floor as well as keeping the doctor informed about the research’s publicity.

Neill McDonough had uprooted Trevor from his native Scotland at the tender age of thirteen when the lad had “become inconvenient” and sent him to live in America with Senator Campbell. Why, after all this time, was Neill McDonough set on re-establishing a relationship with his son?

Mrs. Kendall was the housekeeper at Senator Campbell’s house while Trevor lived there and Trevor’s only trusted friend. Could she be the source of information Kate needed to find out Trevor’s mysterious past?

Timothy “Tick” Norton, Kate’s brother whom she’d practically raised, longed for his sister to treat him as the responsible adult he’d become, especially since he was now a private in the United States Marine Corp.

~~~

I had a chance to ask Ms. Camden a couple of questions:

Pat: I know you love to research and write about the Victorian era and Gilded Age. What prompted you to make the decision to write about tuberculosis research during the end of the 19th century?

Elizabeth: “It all relates back to why I tend to pick the late 19th century for ALL my novels. This was a huge, amazing time of innovation, in which technology and medical discoveries were happening at the speed of light. TB had been the most feared disease for centuries, but in the 1880’s medical scientists FINALLY identified what caused it. The hope was that now the hard part had been tackled, it would be a snap to cure it. So this was a time of huge anticipation as people were waiting for imminent news of a cure. All this makes for great drama.

Of course…. the above sounds rather dry and technical, and I try to inject my stories with humor, joy, and a sparkling romance. The very nature of a hospital drama is a great backdrop for a dramatic story. I love to write about characters who are willing to fight and die for a cause, so this topic a great springboard for me to plunge two admirable, driven, and highly competitive characters into and then watch the sparks fly.”

 Pat: When is your next book coming out?

Elizabeth: The next book releases in January, called “Beyond All Dreams.” It is available for pre-order at Amazon.com. Beyond All Dreams

Here’s the blurb:

Anna O’Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. She is thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, but her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help. Luke Callahan was one of the nation’s most powerful congressmen until his promising career became shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by the winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of Congress. From the gilded halls of the Capitol, where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for themselves?

Elizabeth Camden

About Elizabeth Camden: “I am a college librarian in central Florida by day, but by night I can be found pounding out inspirational historical novels the moment the sun goes down. I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others.”

 

Learn more about Elizabeth Camden by visiting her website: http://elizabethcamden.com

 

 


Meet the Characters in Libby by Fay Lamb

August 29, 2014

 

 

Libby by Fay LambThe cover of this book brilliantly captures flavor of this contemporary romance. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more appropriate book cover. The Ties Than Bind series continues with book two. Libby, the heroine’s best friend from the novel Charisse, has recently buried her mother to whom she’d been a devoted caretaker for many years. Now, at nearly thirty years of age, it was time for Libby to get on with her life.

Had you told me Libby was a “romance” novel, I might not have been so eager to read it. But since I know this author’s work, there was no question it would definitely be worth the read. This book is so much more than your typical formula romance. An overtly Christian novel, it is a story of integrity, faith, victory, and God’s grace. I loved it, and I connected with Libby on the very first page. 

Libby Overstreet saw herself as plain and uninteresting—not the kind of girl that could attract the man of her dreams. When she compared herself to the beautiful and glamorous Hope Astor, in her own opinion Libby couldn’t hold a candle to her.

Charrise and Gideon Tabor knew the beautiful soul of their long-time friend and believed in Libby. How could they help her believe in herself and make this meant-to-be match happen?

Evan Carter dared to think he could turn Libby’s head. But could he keep his issues under control, and would she even give him a second glance once she learned of his past, his flaws, and the baggage he carried?

Delilah James, is still a snappy character previously introduced in Charisse, and friend of Libby’s nemesis, Hope Astor.

Hope Astor, the artist and quintessential party girl seemed to have her eyes set on Evan Carter. After all, they’d been friends and attended parties together many times. Could her coaxing and temptation possibly turn Evan Carter’s head her way?

***

 I had an opportunity to talk with the author about Libby.

Pat: I think Libby’s inner self clicks with a lot of women, especially those of us who’ve suffered from a less-than-sterling self-image in the past, or maybe still do to one extent or another. Also, I know she was a support character in Charisse, but how did Libby materialize/develop in your mind?  

Fay: Libby introduced herself as a friend of Charisse’s that she’d grown up with in our hometown of Titusville, Florida, and she literally came on the line in a phone conversation that is still included in Charisse. Not the first one that opens the book (that conversation was added later). This conversation not only surprised Charisse. Libby threw me for a loop in that call as well.

Libby presented herself as shy and timid, but there was a strength about her that couldn’t be denied. In the phone call, which Charisse makes to Libby because she’s very upset and needs someone to speak to about a situation regarding the hero, Libby became a comedian. She played off Charisse’s problems and by the end of the conversation both Charisse and I were laughing.

The problem was, I knew (and the readers learn in Charisse’s story) that Libby is sheltered and lonely for friendship with others her age. Then why would she be the one to make Charisse laugh almost as much as Charisse’s hero, Gideon?

I was able to explore Libby further in her own story, and I found a mirror of myself in this shy heroine. She is probably the character most like me, except she’s stronger in her faith, kinder to her friends, and braver than I’ll ever be. Oh, and I’ve learned I’m really not shy. I’m an introverted extrovert.

Libby’s had a lot of hurt in her life, and someone did something to her as a small child that built up a false image that Libby carries about herself. She cloaks herself in that image, and it holds her back from her desires and for all the good things the Lord has for her. What she sees in herself is definitely not what Charisse sees when she takes on a daunting Judge Delilah James, what Gideon saw when she stood up to him and told him he’d better not hurt Charisse, and what Libby saw in the mirror when she looked was definitely not the face of someone no one but her mother could love. Evan Carter found her beautiful from the very moment he saw her.

Libby has to learn the lesson that many women need to learn, including me. God looks upon our hearts. He created us, and He doesn’t create junk. Each of us is a masterpiece in the Artist’s eye. I still joke about my looks, but deep down inside, I know that someday Jesus is going to hold up a mirror in front of me, and all I’m going to see is Him. I fail quite often, and I struggle with remembering, but today, while I am here on this earth before Jesus holds up that mirror, I pray that I might be a reflection of Him for in His reflection there is nothing but beauty, and I want to work hard at keeping that image untarnished.

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 Fay Lamb author picFay Lamb’s emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has recently contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, the first two books the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase, and Charisse and Libby, the first two releases in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series are available. Look for upcoming novels in both series as well as the first novel in her Serenity Key series.

Fay is a past-secretary for American Christian Fiction Writers. She served for four years as the moderator for ACFW’s critique group, Scribes. She is the past-president and a founding member of the Central Florida ACFW “Sonshine” Scribes and currently serves as secretary. Fay loves to teach workshops on the art of storytelling and her greatest passion is working with authors.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchilden. Fay also spends much of her time in Western North Carolina where she enjoys writing and watching the ever-changing beauty of the Appalachian Mountains.

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You can learn more about Fay Lamb by checking out her website, www.faylamb.com, connect with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fay.lamb and www.facebook.com/TacticalEd. Fay’s books are available at www. Amazon.com and other book retailers.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Character Review of Kip Turner from Better Than Revenge by Fay Lamb

March 4, 2014

Better Than RevengeOftentimes, a support character provides depth, additional interest and an unexpected twist to a story. In Better Than Revenge, Kip Turner does just that. Today, I’m privileged to interview Kip and find out what makes him tick.

Kip, how did you meet Michael Hayes, and why were you mortal enemies at one time?
I met Michael through a mutual acquaintance, Tom Jervis. Jervis and I were planning a criminal act against a local authority, and Michael and his gal, Isabel—or Issie, as he calls her—joined us in planning the crime. Then Jervis and I discovered that Michael and Isabel were out to thwart our attempt. I did something pretty heinous, something I wish I could take back. I hurt both Michael and Issie terribly. I’d like to say it was because I wasn’t thinking straight, but that doesn’t make it right. I had a lot of hurt back then. A world of it. I guess I just wanted Michael to hurt as badly as I did so I took away from him what I had also lost.

How did you manage to forgive Michael after what he tried to do to you?
Well, after what I did to Michael, and to Isabel, I wouldn’t have blamed him if he never forgave me, but Jervis harmed a family member, and she let me know about it. She forgave me for bringing Jervis into our lives, and she begged me to talk to my pastor. It took a while for the pastor to get through to me, and it took a while for Michael to forgive me. Let’s just say that I had to show him forgiveness first. That’s what God used to open Michael’s heart. And I thank Him for that every day.

What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
I have a scar. A pretty ugly one. I’m sure people don’t want to even look at me at first, but I’ve gotten good at bringing them around. It isn’t really me I want them to see. I want them to see Christ in me. In order for them to do that, I need to get beyond that first impression. If they ask, I’m direct. It’s a good tool for evangelism.

How do you use this in a positive way?
I just don’t let it bother me. Soon they see past that barrier. I have a scar. A pretty ugly one. But God gave it to me via my best friend, and I’ll bear it if only to remember never to go back into the darkness of sin so deeply that I would ever harm another the way I harmed Michael and his gal. And like I said, if someone asks, I use it to share a story of profound forgiveness.

What in your life has had the most profound effect on you? Michael Hayes’ son called me “Uncle Kip.” I’d never let on to Michael. I’m tougher than that, but Cole really melted my heart with that one. Just the thought that the man who suffered so dearly at my hands, who lost so much, that his son would love me enough to give me that title…it’s beyond the imagination, as are all of God’s miracles.

What is your main goal in life now?
To live for Christ. To be His servant, and to follow His path for me. And well, I’d like to win at least one fishing bet with my brother-in-law, Ted.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d go back to the night eight years ago, and I’d hold a gun on Tom Jervis and not on Michael.

Michael, here: I understand what Kip is saying about that night. Some pretty awful stuff went down. Issie and I suffered through a lot of dark years, not only because of Kip and Jervis’s actions, but I made some pretty stupid mistakes myself. But I’m sure Kip will agree that when we trust in Him, He will turn our worse mistakes into the greatest blessing. Kip might love to hear Cole call him Uncle, but it isn’t nearly as powerful as hearing him call me Dad.

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 Isabel “Issie” Putnam’s sole agenda was protecting her son, Cole— from the truth—and from the man who wanted to take away from her the thing that mattered to her most, just as he had taken something very precious from her eight years ago—something she could never get back. Issie’s family seemed to be working against her in favor of their own selfish desires, but Tom Jervis must be stopped. What did the family do to put Issie and Cole in more danger than ever, and could the family ever be reconciled?

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 Fay Lamb author picFay Lamb works as an acquisition editor for Pelican Book Group. In addition to Better Than Revenge, she’s had Stalking Willow, Charisse, and The Art of Characterization published. She’s contributed to collaborative novellas from Write Integrity Press, including A Ruby Christmas, A Dozen Apologies, and Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt. Several more of Fay’s books are due to release in the near future. At her website, http://faylamb.com, you can access her blogs, Inner Source, On The Ledge, and Tactical Editor, as well as learn more about Fay.


No Longer Afraid, A Devotional by Betty Owens

January 29, 2014

Betty OwensI am pleased to welcome Betty Owens to my blog today. Betty is a co-conspirator in the Mara Adkins adventure, A Dozen Apologies, along with ten other very talented authors. More about that later.

December 14th, 2012, I was sitting in a crowded theater. The Hobbit was about to begin. My heart was beating hard and fast––too fast. I had difficulty breathing. I was more afraid than I’d ever been in my life. Was I going to die?

I was having a panic attack. A few minutes into the movie, I left. This was just the beginning. I spiraled into a depression, worse than any I’d ever experienced. Christmas, usually a wonderful family time for me, was an ordeal to be endured. I had to do something.

I didn’t want to go to my family doctor. In the past, he’d put me on medication for depression and told me I would be on it for the rest of my life. I stayed on it for a month, then slowly weaned myself back off. I would not be a slave to medication. I didn’t like how it made me feel.

This time, I was determined to beat it with God’s help. I prayed. I read the Bible. I meditated God’s Word. Though I didn’t always feel like it, I forced myself to take part in fellowship with friends and family.

Throughout all this, a word kept popping into my mind. Electrolytes. I don’t usually like sweet drinks, so Gaterade was not something I wanted to drink––at all. I found one that was less sweet and drank several over the next few days.

Even though it was midwinter, I bundled up and got outside in the sunshine. I went for long, leisurely walks whenever weather permitted. In bad weather, I went to a mall or department store and strolled around. I made an effort to eat right, and drink more water. I took supplements like vitamin D3 and C. I scanned the aisles of our favorite health food store and picked out herbal teas and supplements specifically for depression. Among these, GABA, Tulsi, and Aswagandha.

I began to pray for others. Many of my Facebook friends were going through painful illnesses and losses. I spoke words of encouragement to them and not only promised to pray, I did pray.

Slowly, I began to improve. The days were not so painful. I slept most nights. But I was still afraid. Afraid the depression would never end. Afraid the panic attacks would return. Afraid I would lose control. Then one night, while I was meditating on God’s Word and praying, a scripture dropped into my heart.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (I John 4:18 NKJV)

I was immediately convicted. I had not trusted God with my healing or my future. When I spoke the verse aloud, something happened. The Word established itself in my heart and I was no longer afraid.

Over the next few days and then weeks, each time I felt fear, I focused my mind on this verse. Whenever possible, I spoke it aloud. It always had the same effect: peace. A year has passed. The holidays came and went. There’s been no return of the panic attacks or depression.

Final note: If you suffer from depression, do see your doctor. There may be a physical reason for your pain. Eat better, exercise, and don’t neglect your spirit. Feed your soul and your spirit the Word of God. Meditate in it, day and night. Find a scripture like 1 John 4:18 you can stand on. Go to church, whether you feel like it or not. And don’t whine to everyone who’ll listen about all your troubles. Focus on God. Reach out to help others. Pray for those around you.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, I did finally see The Hobbit.

 

Born in the Pacific Northwest, Betty Owens grew up in such exotic places as West Tennessee and San Diego, California. She presently resides in Kentucky with her husband of thirty-nine mostly good years. They have three grown and married sons living in the area, along with three daughters-in-law, four beautiful granddaughters, and two handsome grandsons.

Though she’d always had an interest in storytelling, her writing career began to take off in 1986. As a busy homeschooling mom, she needed an outlet for all the extra joy in the house. A few years passed, and she had several novel-length manuscripts squirreled away. After self-publishing two fantasy-adventure novels, she attended a Christian writers’ conference in Kentucky then later joined American Christian Fiction Writers, hoping to learn more about the craft of writing.

Now semiretired, Betty spends most of her time writing and studying about writing, critiquing other peoples’ writing, and caring for her mini-schnauzer granddog.

She can also be found here:

Facebook
Facebook Author Page
Twitter
Website: http://www.bettythomasonowens.com
http://www.writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com

Betty most recently contributed to the collaborative novel A Dozen Apologies, which will be released as an ebook on Valentine’s Day. If you’d like to join the fun, visit http://writeintegrity.blogspot.com/.  Not only will you be able to get a head start on reading it, you will be able to vote on your favorite hero. Then the entire ebook will be offered free Valentine’s Day weekend, so you can see if your favorite guy gets the girl!

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up. In college, she and herA Dozen Apologies sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.


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