Who’s Behind All This? An Interview With Publisher Tracy Ruckman

January 24, 2014

Who's Behind All This? An Interview With Publisher Tracy Ruckman.


Who’s Behind All This? An Interview With Publisher Tracy Ruckman

January 24, 2014

Tracy Ruckman HeadshotIt is my distinct pleasure to welcome Tracy Ruckman to my blog today. As you read her interview, you will discover that God is the One behind (and ahead) of all the great things happening at Write Ingetrity Press. Thank you so much for visiting us today, Tracy.

Tracy, how long have you been writing yourself, and what piqued your interest in the craft?

In the mid-1980s, I wrote a letter to the editor of a Baptist Young Women’s magazine. For a year, nothing came of it. Then I received a letter apologizing for the delay, saying the letter had been lost, and that they liked it so much they wanted to pay me to use it as an article instead of a letter. I agreed (who wouldn’t?) and then they offered me a regular gig reviewing books. I was hooked, and began studying the writing craft at that time.

Would you share with us what encouraged you to begin in the business of publishing?

I lost my mind. Just kidding! Seriously, in 2009, my husband was forced into early retirement and we knew we needed to make some drastic changes in our lives. I decided to go back to college. I was already very involved with writers – I’d operated and grown the Pix-N-Pens blog since 2007, and we had also been offering online workshops for writers, so I was in a great place to be observant. Jeff Gerke had just opened Marcher Lord Press for fantasy/sci-fi/speculative fiction, and I began to wonder if I could do the same thing with a different focus. We prayed about it, and God just opened doors to make it happen.

How has God inspired, guided, provided, and sustained you in this endeavor?

Publishing is hard work. Writing is harder, and I stand in awe at the work of our authors. They work incredibly hard – not just with writing, but with marketing, speaking, ministry. And still manage to care for their families and friends. It’s all God. He gets all the credit, all the glory for everything we do. I just show up for work, and ask Him for guidance every step of the way.

What are your aspirations for Write Integrity Press and Pix N Pens Publishing?

We want to continue to publish two kinds of books – clean and wholesome books that may or may not have a strong gospel message, and for those who are already Christians or folks who are seeking a relationship, but don’t yet know it is the Lord they are seeking, books with a strong gospel message that point the way to Jesus.

My ultimate goal is to open a production company so we can produce clean and wholesome movies and television programs, many based on our books. I’ll earn my bachelor’s degree in May, and I’m in the process of applying for grad school, where I will seek an MFA in Screenwriting. I’ve been offered an opportunity to participate in a “Hollywood Experience” through my school this summer, and my best friend is trying to raise funds to make that happen. (Here’s the link: http://www.gofundme.com/65fh3w) For two weeks, a small group of us will be fully immersed in a Hollywood experience, learning from professional screenwriters, directors, producers from shows like The Ultimate Gift, Lost, Prison Break, and several others. This year’s focus is specifically on screenwriting, so it’s the perfect time for me to go. We desperately need Christian film makers putting their stamp on Hollywood. But we’ll see what happens with the fundraiser – if I’m given the opportunity to go, I’ll make the most of every second. If not, God must have something else in store.

What inspired you to begin collaborative books?

Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt FRONT Cover Late September 2012, one of our anthology authors pitched a Christmas book idea to me and I loved it. I asked some of our other authors if A Ruby Christmas FRONT COVER REVISEDthey might be interested in trying this experiment, and they all jumped at the opportunity. By December, we were publishing A Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt, and to our surprise, it became wildly successful. Our authors stayed on Amazon’s Top 100 Bestselling Authors list for eight straight days, beside such authors as John Grisham, Stephen King, Stephanie Myers. The book went into 16 different countries, and into the hands of tens of thousands – in just a few days. It was an incredible experience for us all, and it showed us the reach we actually have when we all work together. We also TOTALLY depended on God for every step of that project – and that made all the difference in the world. It was beautiful. And we were hooked! Now, we’re doing two collaborative novels a year – Christmas and Valentine’s, and a couple of us are toying with the idea of a summer idea as well.   Here are links to our websites:   www.WriteIntegrity.com, www.PixNPens.com.

A Dozen ApologiesThe authors of A Dozen Apologies have worked tirelessly on the writing and editing of this unique story, and even more on the marketing. So it’s going to be fun, and I just hope they all don’t want to shoot me after its over! Here’s a taste of the story of Mara:

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.

In college, Mara and her 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.

The full ebook releases on Valentine’s Day. Meanwhile, if you’d like to get a head start, come on over to www.WriteIntegrity.com, where you’ll have the opportunity to vote for your favorite hero.

Bio:

Tracy Ruckman is wife to Prince Charming, mom to two grown sons, servant to a spoiled rotten doggy, full-time student, and a traditional book publisher. In her spare time, she likes to squeeze in sleep, showers, cooking, and even occasional jaunts out into the public (usually the grocery store, farmers market, or writer’s conference) as time allows.

 


Meet the Characters in Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden with Author Interview

January 22, 2014

Into the WhirlwindThis is one of the most outstanding and fascinating historical romance books I’ve ever read.  The historical aspect of the story adds depth and dimension, while providing details of some the issues people faced post Civil War and during and after the Great Chicago Fire. The characters are as interesting and complex as the plot, and I felt as if I really knew them by the time I finished reading the book.

 Meet the Characters:

Mollie Knox inherited the 57th Illinois Watch Company from her father, and her life has been totally focused on the business and its employees ever since. Her concern and sense of responsibility for her “family” coupled with her faith presses her forward to overcome the devastation caused by the tragic fire. One cannot help but admire Mollie’s tenacity as she struggles to rebuild her business and her life.

Some of the employees of 57th Illinois Watch Company:

Frank Spencer – The blind attorney for the 57th is like a second father to Mollie.

Ulysses Adair lost a leg during the Civil War and, like the other faithful employees of the 57th, depends on the 57th Illinois Watch Company for his livelihood.

Alice Adair, wife of Ulysses and artisan, creates stunning designs for the watches.

Declan McNabb, metal polisher for the company, has post-war panic attacks.

Zack Kasmarek has admired Mollie from afar for three years. As the powerful attorney for the prestigious Hartman’s department store, he knows how to get what he wants. His obligation to the rich owner of Louis Hartman may jeopardize his chances with Mollie when he’s required to make an offer to purchase the 57th  from Mollie—“an offer she can’t refuse.”

Jozef and Joanna Kazmarek –Zack honors and protects his immigrant parents who have made it their life’s work to try to help restore autonomy to Poland, the country they loved and in which they were born.

Colonel Richard Lowe has his sights set on Mollie, is a handsome, cultured, heroic soldier.  He intends to help Mollie rebuild her business—and win her heart.

Sophie, homeless and hungry, is rescued from the fire by Zack and Mollie. Stubborn, demanding, and impatient, I was conflicted as to whether I wanted to hug her or choke her.

###

Elizabeth Camden is author of four published novels and four non-fiction books. She has won RITA, Christy, and Daphne du Maurier awards for her writing. She was kind enough to allow me to interview her so you can get to know her better.

Elizabeth Camden Pat: Elizabeth, I know you’ve written some nonfiction books. How long have you been writing fiction?

Elizabeth: I started writing fiction around seven years ago.  Five of those years were “practice years” while I learned the ropes.  It took a while before I had something that was ready for prime time.  My first novel, The Lady of Bolton Hill, was published in 2011, and I haven’t had time to take a breath since.

Pat: Which do you prefer writing: fiction or nonfiction?

Elizabeth: Although they seem similar, writing fiction and nonfiction are very different art forms.  I enjoyed the rigor of academic research that is necessary for nonfiction, but oh….the creativity, the adventure, the sheer exuberance of writing novels is surely my favorite.

Pat:  What inspired you to write historical fiction?

Elizabeth: My background as a research librarian gave me a leg-up in this area.  Research does not intimidate me, and I think I had a natural advantage when I tackled historical subjects, but I wouldn’t mind writing contemporary novels someday.  Right now there are practical considerations in building an audience that require I continue writing historical novels for a while, but perhaps someday I’ll have the opportunity to release some contemporaries.

Pat: How do you choose what historical events you write about?

Elizabeth: I like the late 19th century because I am naturally drawn to heroines who are working in the professions.  The late 19th century was an era where women were beginning to go to college and serve in respectable careers.  It was also an era that has the whiff of glamour and nostalgia for an earlier era, but with attitudes that are not so alien to modern sensibilities.

Pat: How much time do you spend researching for a book?

Elizabeth: After I pick a topic (which is usually something hugely vague like “a late 19th century catastrophe” or “a medical mystery”) I’ll start reading books about the era until I can hone in on an interesting angle.  Then I read more targeted books.  All this takes around six months.

Pat: What resources do you use in your research?

Elizabeth: Are you familiar with Google Books?  This is priceless for people writing in my era.  A few years ago Google began the noble, somewhat quixotic quest to scan the world’s books into the internet.  Because of copyright concerns, they began primarily with 19th century books, which means I can get my hands on what I need to know from the comfort of my living room.  For example, my current book is set in Washington D.C., 1891.  Low and behold, I was able to find a copy of the Rand McNally tour guide to Washington from that year (http://bit.ly/1eHNEmf)  This guide book gives me maps of the city, rates for local streetcar service, local attractions, really….almost anything I need to know.  This is merely the tip of the iceberg.  I use Google Books to hunt down historically accurate cookbook recipes, medical beliefs, slang, and curious facts to pepper throughout the book.

Pat:  What’s coming next?

Elizabeth: My next novel is called With Every Breath, and is due August 2014.  Here’s the blurb:

Washington D.C., 1891.  In the shadow of the nation’s capital, Kate Livingston has a respectable job as a government statistician when she encounters a rival from her past, the insufferable Trevor McDonough.  A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, so why did he track her down after more than ten years apart to recruit her onto his medical team?  In a daring move, Kate agrees to Trevor’s risky proposal to work side-by-side in a quest to rid the world of tuberculosis, a disease so deadly it could kill anyone coming too close.

As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor’s past, she begins falling in love with this fascinating man…but she soon learns his terrible secret.  Meanwhile, a shadowy enemy lurks in the background, threatening to destroy everything they hold dear.   A story of courage and betrayal, triumph and redemption, Kate and Trevor will risk everything to overcome the barriers between them.

Pat: Elizabeth, that sounds exciting and a book that I won’t want to miss.  Thank you so much for visiting us here!


God’s Plans vs. My Own, a Devotion by Jennifer Hallmark

January 21, 2014

Jennifer Dison HallmarkIt is my pleasure to welcome author Jennifer Dison Hallmark to my blog today. I’ve gotten to know Jennifer through our blogs, Facebook, and most recently working together on A Dozen Apologies. More about than later.

God’s Plan Vs. My Own

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

 I longed for adventure, a writing voyage of sorts. So in January of 2006, the quest to wear the title, writer/author, began. Yes, it was time for my life-long hobby to magically transform into a career. So I stepped out and signed up for a local class offered in creative writing. You too can be published. I had a lot to learn.

Eight years later, I’ve witnessed my fourth short story published, and three of them paid me. I finished writing novel three in my YA trilogy and novel one in my contemporary women’s fiction. I’m seeing my first publication with the inspirational romance novella, A Dozen Apologies. The expedition has been wonderful, but slow.

As I plod along at what seems like a snail’s pace, I came across words I wrote at the beginning of this journey, words that have carried me through when times were hard and doors didn’t open. I share these in hopes that any new/unpublished writers will focus on the positive from the start and not falter along the path. By the way, this works for any new venture. Just reword it to fit.

(1)  If I am never published, I can still improve my writing and learn from the study.  I can share with the church newsletter and my friends and they can benefit.

(2)  If no one wants my work, but God asked me to write, then I am obedient and He is glorified.

(3)  God has given me a talent to write and I enjoy writing.  There is so much to write about in the world and if God opens the door for me to write, He will equip me to meet deadlines.

(4)  If I am successful, I can glorify God with my writing, give more in tithes and offering, and reach others with the written word.

(5)  If God opens the door for me to be published, He will strengthen and equip me to write more things.

God has already done far above what I could ask or think. I thought published novel with a year or two. He thought new friends, rising above fear, travel, magazines, internet devotions, and a closer walk with Him. His plan is better, don’t you think?

 Father God, thank you that You’ve planned my steps and continually point me to Your path. Help me follow as close to You as I can. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Hallmark: writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. She loves to read detective fiction from the Golden Age, watch movies like LOTR, and play with her two precious granddaughters. At times, she writes.

Her website is Alabama-Inspired Fiction and she shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My! with friends, Christina, John, Ginger, Dicky, and Betty. She and Christina Rich share an encouraging blog for readers called The Most Important Thing.

Jennifer and her husband, Danny, have spent their married life in Alabama and have a basset hound, Max.

Website http://www.jenniferhallmark.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jenniferhallmark?fref=ts

Facebook author’s page https://www.facebook.com/authorjenniferhallmark

Twitter https://twitter.com/JenHwrites

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/jenlhallmark989/

                    ***

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.

A Dozen ApologiesIn college, Mara and her 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.

One  chapter at a time is being posted on the website of Write Integrity Press. It started yesterday.  You can visit www.WriteIntegrity.com, catch up on the fun, and vote for your favorite hero. Then, on Valentine’s Day, you can find out which hero “gets the girl.”

I hope you’re as excited as we are about this collaborative adventure!


Meet the Characters in The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown with Author Interview and Giveaway

December 8, 2013

Teh Redemption of Caralynne Hayman ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest and is receiving raving reviews!

I can certainly see why Carole Brown got so many endorsements for her debut novel. She has created an outstanding book that deals with the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the dark issues of cult activity, (spousal abuse and child abuse), in a straight-forward yet respectful manner. Although this is a fictional story, we’ve all heard of brainwashing by cults and this story reminds us of the reality that it exists.
In Carole’s book,the suspense builds chapter after chapter, and the reader is totally engaged throughout the entire book. You’ll find yourself cringing at times, crying, rejoicing, and perhaps even looking around to make sure your doors are locked.

                  See below to find out how you can win a digital copy of this book, but first:

MEET THE CHARACTERS:

Caralynne Hayman – Once freed from the control and abuse of her husband, Donald Hayman, she must escape with her two daughters from the Children of Righteous Cain, but not before she avenges the death of her oldest daughter, Lori. And not before she helps some of the other women trapped within the cult.

While Dayne MacFarland was away at seminary, he discovered the truth of God’s love and committed to a relationship with Christ. As the pastor of the church in this small West Virginia community, he’s determined to enlighten its members to the Truth, and help Caralynne regain her faith in God.

Elder Simmons will let nothing stand in the way of his authority over the group. He’s convinced the members that God talks only to and through him, and whatever he says becomes law for the members. To what lengths will he go to maintain total control?

Emery Hayman has had his sights on Caralynne for a long time, even before is brother, her husband, died. Now he’s determined to have her and bring her “under subjection.”

Professor Moore had studied cults for years. As Dayne’s instructor and mentor in seminary, they had established a close friendship. Would Professor Moore’s investigation bring out enough information to be able to put a stop to the insanity once and for all?

Carole Brown
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

Pat: Which genres of books do you most enjoy reading?
Carole: Is there anything but suspense (mystery, thriller)? Lol. I love an excellent romance, but add it to a suspense book, and that makes it perfect. Love great and fun mystery books, and thrillers keep you on the edge of your seat with the building suspense. My type of books!

Pat: How has being published changed your life?
Carole: Busier than ever. Marketing takes a lot of time, but fortunately, I began learning before The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman released so that helped. Still, there’s lots to do to keep on top, and I try hard to stay in that position. I also always have more than one book to work on at a time which keeps me interested and inspired. I think all authors could say they feel more responsibility in meeting deadlines, keeping on top of everything, writing and life in general. I wouldn’t trade it for any other job!

Pat: Tell me something about yourself that would surprise readers.
Carole: This is crazy, but I’m terrified of heights and snakes yet I’d rather live in the woods (Snakes!) and mountains or hills (heights!) than on flat open land. Makes no sense, but there you have it.

Pat: What is the funniest, weirdest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
Carole: Oh, my, it’s all interesting, fascinating and fun.  I love research. In my first suspense, I used the Native American tribe of Blackfoot (part of my husband’s way-back ancestry) and enjoyed learning so much about them. In my current novel researching tattoos probably stood out the most. I wanted something unique and different, but the more I searched, the less I was satisfied. There were so many options but nothing resonated. At last I realized that the emblem of an eye would be perfect. It fit the story line and would also work well with the first chapter–particularly important.
Just as a fun tidbit, the first novel I wrote, I had a notebook filled with close to three inches of research I did. Now although I still love it, it’s not quite that extensive.

Pat: Where can fans find you on the internet?
Carole: Connect with me here:
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/browncarole212
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown
I also am part of several other blogs:
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net/

What’s next?
My agent will be shopping a planned three book contemporary suspense series–the first book is finished and the second begun.
I’ve also finished a WWII novel (with two more to follow), that is dear to my heart
and have published the first book in a fun, lighthearted mystery series called Hog Insane (and no, it’s not about pigs! LOL). For 2014, I’d love to finish the second books in these series, plus finish a historical I’m working on too. So I have my work cut out for me!

Carole, I’m so happy you stopped by to talk with us. Wishing you the greatest success with your writing. You’ve certainly started out with a bang and I can’t wait for the next one!

You can purchase Carole’s book at:
Kindle version: http://amzn.to/17gf97c
Print version: http://amzn.to/1btCwrg

Carole is giving a FREE ebook to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment here by December 15th to be entered into the drawing.


Meet the Characters in Charisse by Fay Lamb with Author Interview

August 14, 2013

Charisse-Cover-FRONT-FINAL-4-192x300Charisse is an awesome story with great characters. Spiritual lessons abound in this book of life, love, loss, hope, and forgiveness, while well-woven word pictures clearly show the settings and actions of the people in this book. This sweet contemporary romance flows naturally and is a heartwarming book romance readers everywhere will enjoy.

Readers (particularly women) immediately connect with Charisse Wellman and her adorable son. As she struggles to maintain her home and provide for her son, she finds herself in a most perplexing circumstance: remain unemployed and risk being homeless and hungry or accept a position with a person for whom she’s harbored bitterness and anger for some time.

“V. J.” (Vance, Jr.), a lovable seven-year-old missed his daddy terribly, even after he’d been gone a whole year. V. J.’s friendship with Cletus was instant, as was his affection for Cletus’s master, and the connections seemed to begin to bring V. J. out of his grief.

Libby Overstreet and Charisse have been best friends since high school. They worked together planning the high school reunion and confided in each other about the struggles in their lives. A twist involving Libby toward the end of the story will have you giggling.

Gideon Tabor never married. A man of character and integrity, his heart belonged to the girl he’d loved in high school. Trouble was he’d never told her. Their friendship had ended on a sour note. Then he’d made a legal decision, as a judge in criminal court that unbeknownst to him had deepened her wound. Gideon’s has a plan to reveal his true feelings in a most unusual place. Will he be able to pull it off without blowing his chances at realizing his dream?

Judge Delilah James, tactless and self-assertive, coveted Gideon Tabor’s affection. However, he wanted no personal relationship with Delilah and had every right to banish her from his life. But he didn’t, consequently inviting trouble into his plans to reconnect with the love of his life. Why did he continue to tolerate her shenanigans, and will Gideon connect with this mysterious person at the high school reunion, or will Delilah sabotage his plans?

Fay Lamb author picAuthor Fay Lamb was very kind to answer a few questions I thought you might enjoy:
Read the rest of this entry »


My Review of A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

July 4, 2013

A Most Peculiar CircumstanceI must admit that the catchy title and cover enticed me to read this book, which promised something different, maybe even peculiar. I was ready for something different. I was not disappointed in that regard.

As an active, outspoken suffragette, Arabella Beckett has traveled all over the country for her cause, and on occasion she’s gotten herself into a bit of trouble. Particularly with gentlemen who believed that women belong in the home, having children, taking care of their husbands, and keeping their opinions to themselves.

Fiercely independent, Arabella does not readily accept aid from the opposite sex. However, there are times when it becomes necessary. Like when one finds herself in jail. Although a handsome private investigator shows up to rescue her from her predicament, calamity doesn’t end there. Arabella and Theodore are about as opposite as sugar and garlic.

I ordinarily write a “Meet the Characters” review of books, but in this case, A Most Peculiar Circumstance has a plethora of characters which I found confusing at times trying to keep up with who’s who. I did, however, enjoy the book, though I tromped through some of it thinking, there’s an awful lot of dialogue in this book–way more than what’s typical. Yet the dialogue did provide a good feel for the personalities of the characters. After all, isn’t that how we form opinions about the people we meet?

Nevertheless, there are some mildly suspenseful parts, a few interesting twists, and the predicted “happily ever after” ending. I appreciated the wit and humor sprinkled throughout.

The premise of the story is good in that the heroine, a woman of faith, learns some things about herself that we should all examine in our own lives. Do we have a feeling of superiority and look down upon the less fortunate, even as we try to help them? Is that how God wants us to feel about them? And, is God’s plan for our lives always what we think it is?

I give this book three stars for entertainment. I think I’d have rated it higher if setting were more clearly defined, and had it gone deeper into the reality of life for women in the 1800’s and how it related to Biblical teaching.

 


Meet the Characters in Stalking Willow by Fay Lamb

June 13, 2013

Stalking Willow book coverBeneath her professional persona, Willow Thomas’s heart harbored resentment. She had reason to be bitter—in fact, many reasons. As much as she loved Granny, she’d lied to Willow, concocting a story about her parents. The truth was her mother hadn’t wanted her, and her father’s devotion to his wife and his ambition were stronger than his love for his daughter. Her aunt hated her. Her cousin, Laurel, whom she’d grown up with, had turned on her. Even Quentin had ignored her all through high school.

After the paparazzi created chaos in Amazing Grace revealing the story of the starlet who’d abandoned her daughter, Granny died. Willow fled the little town for New York City without even as much as saying goodbye.

So, why would a stalker be the catalyst that brought her back home? Who was he and what did he want from her? It seemed she couldn’t hide from him, not even in Amazing Grace. Amidst her fear and confusion, could she trust her first and only love for support?

Fay Lamb has created plenty of action and suspense to keep the plot moving at a perfect pace and the reader intrigued. There are so many interesting characters in this book, it’s difficult to condense the list. However, here are some of the main ones:

Meet the Characters:

Willow Thomas couldn’t rely on anyone. She didn’t even trust God anymore. After all, she thought, what kind of life had He given her? One of deceit, loneliness, and resentment. And now–fear.

Quentin McPheron lived next door to Willow as she grew up under Granny’s care. They’d played together as children, practically inseparable. As a teenager she’d hidden in the woods and sketched him as he relaxed on the dock with his fishing pole. She loved him, but she couldn’t seem to get his attention until…

Laurel Thomas was Willow’s cousin and nemesis since high school. Why did the two cousins dislike each other so? Some time during the ten years of Willow’s absence, what had happened to change Laurel’s life and what effect would it have on the prodigal cousin?

Granny Thomas raised Willow from infancy. From what was she trying to protect Willow by fabricating the lie about her parents? Would the snippets of wisdom left around her house be enough to begin the healing process for her granddaughters?

Agatha Thomas, “Aunt Aggie,” lived with bitterness and jealousy for so long, she couldn’t seem to get along with anyone. But why? She hadn’t smiled in years, let alone laughed. And now Willow was back in town. Harrumph!

Bear – Who was this man who lived in the cabin behind Granny’s house? And how did he know so much about Willow?

LeBlanc thrived on terrorizing women a little at a time then killing them and watching the life seep from their bodies. He focused his sights on Willow Thomas. Why Willow? Where had he come from and what evoked this psychotic mentality?

~~~

Fay Lamb’s career has escalated to new heights in the past year, and she’s definitely an author to watch for more Fay Lamb author picexciting Christian fiction. After the release of Because of Me last year, she co-authored The Christmas Tree Hunt and signed with Write Integrity Press for two series.  Stalking Willow is the first in her Amazing Grace series.  The first book in The Ties That Bind series, Charisse releases next month.

Fay’s heart and ministry are in helping other writers achieve their dreams and be the best writers they can be. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she has served as secretary of the operating board and moderator of the Scribes critique group within the organization. She’s a founder of the ACFW Central Florida Chapter and currently serves as advisor to that group.

Learn more about Fay and read her blog, On The Ledge, at her website, www.FayLamb.com, and purchase her books at www.Amazon.com, www.Barnesandnoblecom, www.Christianbook.com, or at your local bookstore.


Meet the Characters in No Way Out by Susan Sleeman

June 5, 2013

No Way Out book coverAlsyssa Wells had been dealt some hard blows in life.  Trouble in her marriage. The loss of her police officer husband.  Coping with her children’s grief while dealing with her own. When she stumbles on the fact that her husband was framed for an illegal activity at the time of his death, and his murderer pursues her, Alyssa’s faith is tested beyond anything she could have imagined.

After discovering the one person she trusted most with her children is not as upright as she thought, can she trust a total stranger to protect them? And what is it about this new acquaintance that has her guarding her heart?

Meet the Characters:

Alyssa Wells –after all she’s been through, Alyssa maintains faith that God is in control. Her positive outlook puzzles her new friend. How can she help him see that her strength comes from God, and help him trust the Lord again?

Nolan Saunders  had been Todd Wells’ partner in the Pacific Bay Police Department. After Todd’s death, he clearly had his sights on Alyssa for more than friendship. While she wasn’t ready for another relationship, she’d trusted him completely after he’d helped her so selflessly after her husband’s death.

Frank Gibson, an officer with the local police department, was involved in methamphetamine distribution. After his son’s remission from leukemia, wanted to get out of deal, but the “boss” wasn’t going to let him out, at least not alive.

Cole Justice carried serious baggage from two tours of duty in Iraq. His partner had died, and Cole blamed himself. He’d given up on God two years ago. Or maybe God had given up on him? His siblings insisted he take some time off from the Justice Agency to deal with his issues at the beach. What he discovered there would change his life.

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Ms. Sleeman is a very talented and prolific writer whose characters warm your heart and whose stories of romanticSusan-Sleeman-228x300 suspense make it difficult to put her books down.  One of the things I like about her books is that they’re long enough to tell an exciting story, but short enough to read in a sitting or two.

I’ ve read all Susan Sleeman’s Justice Series books, and I love the Justice siblings, all five of them: Ethan, Cole, Kat, Derrick and Dani.  In my humble opinion, I believe these books could easily become as popular as the Hannah Swensen Series by Joanne Fluke.

I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Sleeman at a book signing event a year and a half ago. Little did I know I’d immediately become one of her biggest fans. Having read her Garden Gate series books, I started the Justice Agency series, and eagerly await each new release.

If you’d like to learn more about the author and her books, please visit her very interesting website at http://www.susansleeman.com.

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Meet the Characters in The Icecutter’s Daughter by Tracie Peterson

June 1, 2013

This is an intriguing novel that begins in the bitter cold winter in Minnesota with our heroine attending one of their Belgian mares as she struggles to give birth. She got my heart in the first paragraph.

The story contains interesting references to the German and Swedish cultures throughout, which adds to the delightful tale. The family’s ice cutting business held a fascination for me and gave me a clearer understanding of life in the late 1800’s. Like many other readers, I’d never realized that, back in the day, ice was obtained in that way. (Read the book to find out.)

Ms. Peterson is an expert word painter whose vivid prose readily invites you to enter into the world of her story. The characters are well-developed and one will easily be enchanted by the hero and heroine while fittingly disliking the antagonists.

This was one book I had a hard time putting down. The pacing was just right, and the plot  with interesting twists held my attention to the end. This one is definitely on my recommended reading list.

Merrill Krause possesses all the characteristics of a good wife and mother, only she’s all but given up on that dream. Caring for her father and brothers for the last ten years, her life is full. Now that she’s reached the ripe old age of twenty, she feels some are beginning to consider her a spinster. Merrill shies away from the pampered, frilly persona expected of ladies of that day, and she remains a woman of strength, virtue, and compassion.

Rurik Jorgenson is a man of gentle strength, and is not easily intimidated by anyone, least of all Merrill’s brothers. Thinking this journey to help his uncle Carl in his cabinet business is temporary, he soon finds that there are more reasons than one to consider remaining in Minnesota.

Granny Lassiter takes care of everyone, and Merrill holds a special place in her heart. She is the one person to whom Merrill can go to bare her heart and get trusted, Godly, feminine advice. Granny and cousin Corabeth are trying to convince Merrill to “gussy up” a bit and see if they can find a suitable match for her.

Nils Olsson and Rurik’s were best friends growing up back in Kansas. What is it that prompts Nils to take advantage of that friendship and pressure Rurik to become business partners?

Svea Olsson has marriage on her mind. Marriage to Rurik. What secret does she hold that motivates her to take advantage of his integrity and make an outrageous claim that initiating a scandal that will only hurt the one she  claims as her own.

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Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson has just been added to my favorite authors list. Having written more than ninety-five novels, she begins a new series, “Land of Shining Water” with  The Icecutter’s Daughter. I can hardly wait to read the rest of the series.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she was awarded their  Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. She has won numerous other awards and currently writes exclusively for Bethany House.

To learn more about Tracie and her books, visit www.traciepeterson.com.


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