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.

***

 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.

***

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet the Characters in Women of Valley View: Callie by Sharon Srock with Give-away

October 22, 2012

Obedience to God sometimes means getting out of your comfort zone, as Callie Stillman learns when she senses there is something disconcerting about one of her Sunday School students that draws her to the child. She’s suffered for a year over the outcome of the last child she thought she was helping. What would happen if she reached out to this child? Meet the main characters in this wonderful story of faith, healing, forgiveness and redemption:

Callie Stillman – Although she blames herself for the tragic death of a small child, Callie knows she must obey God and find out what’s happening with Iris Evans, even though her husband has well-intentioned objections to her becoming involved.

Benton Stillman  wants to protect his wife from more pain. But once he sees the courage and determination of this little family struggling to stay together, he not only relents, he offers his support.

Samantha “Sam” Evans has the tenacity to do whatever it takes to keep her family together. Trusting no one, she keeps her younger sister and her daughter out from under the radar and out of range of “the system,” which has already failed them once.

Iris Evans is wiser than her eleven years, yet she is a little girl who has a desire to enjoy the benefits of childhood. However, her love for her sister and her niece prompt her to keep the secret and care for little Bobbie while Sam works to support the family.

Steve Evans – Since he left the family ten years ago due to his drug use, he’s accepted the Lord into his life and become a best-selling author. He speaks at shelters and halfway houses in hopes of having a part in redeeming other souls. When he hears of his ex-wife’s death in an automobile accident, he determines to find his daughters. But, will he ever find them? And if he does, can he make up for all those lost years?

***

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

Learn more about the author:

Sharon, how much of yourself do you write into your characters?

I don’t, intentionally, write any of me into my characters. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a little piece of me in all of the women. Callie teaches Sunday school and loves her guacamole, Terri is looking for God’s will in her life and arguing the whole way, Pam is learning lessons in forgiveness. Yep, there I am.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I love a good courtroom drama. Fantasy when it’s well done. By well done, I mean it has to completely draw me into a different world. Mysteries, and Romantic suspense are devoured at my house like chocolate covered cherries.

How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of ours?

I guess I’m a product of our environment. I like being busy. Even on a vacation I have to consciously tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sanity…I’m a writer, that option took a hike a few years back.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

I’m going to assume you don’t mean raising terrific daughters.  Really? This book. Not just for the validation or a sense of “I can really do this”. But because I feel like it represent me, finally finding God’s place for me.

What is your favorite food?

I have two rules when I cook. If it’s sweet add chocolate. If it isn’t sweet add cheese.

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

It has to be a God thing. I wake up with these stories in my head, things I would never see or think of on my own. He gets all the credit.

In what ways has being published changed your life?

Besides making me busier that I used to be? The jury is still out on that one. Ask me again in a year or so.

 What is your current work in progress?

I’m working with my editor to get Terri’s story complete. Pam’s story is close to being at the word count I want. Then I’ll start the serious editing process for her. Samantha is knocking…

If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?

Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the I’ve come to destroy your world we see portrayed 99% of the time.

Of all the current technological marvels, which is your favorite and why?

My GPS. I don’t navigate. Now I don’t have to.

If you could have a do over on one day in your life what would you pick?

Fourth of July, 1996. It was the last day we spent with our little grandson before he was murdered. I wish I’d spent more time with him that day.

Where was the location of the best vacation you ever had?

Now you’ve opened the flood gates. For the last 7 years I’ve taken one of my grandchildren on a special vacation. We’ve been on cruises, been to Hawaii, visited The Grand Canyon and Vegas, Spent a week in Cozumel, Done the whole Disney thing in Orlando…God has placed a special blessing on these trips. They’ve all gone off without a hitch and there is no way to just pick one.

If you could travel back in time when and where would you go?

King Arthur’s court. I wouldn’t want to stay forever, I’d miss my hot rollers, but I think there was a elegance to life then that we don’t have any more.

What is your favorite season of the year? What’s special about it for you??

I only have three seasons to my year. Summer, Spring, and SWEATER. I have a serious sweater addiction, so Sweater is my favorite.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.

What is something that very few people know about you?

I’m a serious Trekker. I have my own uniform.

What is the hardest part in writing a story?

Editing and Editing and Editing….

What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?

That I don’t like research. Does that count? Seriously I write contemporary fiction so I don’t have to do a lot of research. I’d never Googled anything til about a year ago.

What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: iPod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)

My Kindle. It’s just the most amazing machine.

Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t do you know why?

My characters constantly surprise me. Their individual determination to be front and center in my brain is relentless. I’m a SOTP writer. I don’t work with an outline, so I can’t give you an example of where I planned to go one way and they insisted on taking their own way, but I continue to be amazed.

Do you have a favorite scene in this book and what would it be?

I think where Pam, Karla, and Terri come to Callie’s house with groceries and stuff for the girls. That is exactly like it would happen, has happened, in my life. Our church family is so generous. I have been on the giving and the receiving end of help.

What three things about you would surprise readers?

My favorite pet of all time was an iguana.

I hate reality TV

I love to mow the grass

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who  would it be and why?

Nora Roberts. I would pick her brain completely dry.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

A lack of time. I don’t think there is a way to overcome it until I retire. I just have to deal with not enough hours in the day.

Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?

For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.

If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose?

Australia. It’s on my bucket list. I’ll make it someday, God willing.

What was your favorite book as a child and now as an adult? Is there a connection between the two?

That is an impossible question to answer. You’ve heard about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Well, my mom must have had a terrible time giving birth to me with a book clutched in each hand. I can’t remember a time when reading wasn’t a priority. Picking a favorite out of 50 years worth of books…impossible.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?

You are looking at it. Learning the craft, editing, and revising were easy compared to putting myself in the path of perfect strangers and begging for their attention. I’m a pretty solitary person. If I had my way, I’d write the book and pay a look-alike to go out and face the public.

***

Sharon is giving away a wonderful basket including the following items: A copy of Callie’s story, a certificate for Terri’s story when it releases in April, a 6 piece Cherry Blossom bath set, a cosmetic bag, a bath wrap, a Cozy pink eye mask, a pair of aloe infused booties, a hair turban, a tennis bracelet, a 25.00 Amazon gift card. 

The rules are simple:  For every reader that comments on my feature, he/she gets an entry into the drawing. Be sure to include your contact information!  A winner will be drawn Monday November 19th. (The items add up to well over 100.00 in value.)

 


Meet the Characters in As We Forgive by June Foster

September 20, 2012

This is a lovely story showing how, as Christians, we have our own issues we face every day. Everything is not always as “perfect” as we’d like it to be, or as we’d like others to perceive. We all have faults and make mistakes—even ministers. But, we have a God who’s willing to forgive  and help us get over the hurdles, once we turn our battles over to Him.

 Meet the characters:

 Tim Garrett – Youth pastor of Bellewood Fellowship has a huge problem with anger. One of the teens in his youth group seems to be bent on inciting that anger in him at every opportunity. Tim’s desire to develop a relationship with his beautiful volunteer is hindered by his sense of alarm—would his anger issues drive her away, too?

 Roxanne Ratner— The new Christian who’s recently joined Bellewood Fellowship is obsessed with her image. She volunteered to coordinate a fund-raiser, a makeover event with the teen girls, an activity that was right up her alley.  After she learns of the youth pastor’s past, a question haunts her: How could a God-called man minister if he’s guilty of losing his temper? And how could she trust him to not lose his temper with her?

 Johnny Thompson—The student in Tim Garrett’s youth group who seems intent on antagonizing him. What is behind all the pranks and opposition? What is to get attention, or something much deeper?

 Jess and Holly Colton—The couple we met in June Foster’s first Bellewood Series book, Give Us This Day,” are Tim’s best friends. In this story, the tables are turned, and Tim goes to Jess for counsel. Jess’ love and understanding are manifested in care and prayer for the young youth pastor.

 Pastor Downing—The senior pastor of Bellewood Fellowship has something in his past he wishes no one would find out. Can it remain in his past, or will the events surrounding this story force it out in the open?  And if the board and the congregation find out, what will happen to him?

 Jack Thompson—Johnny’s father is the head of the finance committee of Bellewood Fellowship. He also seems to have some animosity toward Tim Garrett. What is behind that?

 Janelle Moore— Tim’s sister has nothing to say to him. But she has plenty to say to the pastor of Bellewood Fellowship. Is it sibling rivalry or something else that has her trying to discredit her brother?

 Rena Telles—Rena is Tim’s ex-fiance whom he met through his sister while she was attending the same university as Janelle. The version of Tim and Rena’s break-up that she tells Janelle has snowballing consequences.

June Foster is a retired teacher who travels full time with her husband in their RV.  She has three novels out now from Desert Breeze Publishing: Give Us This Day, the first of the Bellewood Series books,  Hometown Fourth of July and As We Forgive, the second Bellewood Series book.  Her novel Ryan’s Father will release from WhiteFire Publishing in January 2014. June’s books are available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Meet the Characters in Still Life in Shadows by Alice J. Wisler

September 18, 2012

This is a wonderful book of forgiveness and redemption; it is a captivating read with well-developed and diverse characters. I must say that Kiki is, hands down, my favorite.  This well-written, intriguing  story with unexpected twists keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next.  In my opinion, this is the author’s best book yet.

Meet the characters:

Gideon Miller, the story’s protagonist, is gripped by anger, hatred, and bitterness toward his father to whom he refers as “the Beast.”  Still, he has a caring heart—especially toward those who had suffered as he did under a tyrannical father and strangulated by Old Order Amish beliefs and isolationism. Helping young people who have left the Amish community acclimate to modern life, he became known as the “Getaway Savior.” Can he find it in his heart to forgive his father?

Moriah Miller, Gideon’s youngest brother, had suffered through the same kinds of physical, mental and emotional abuse from their father. Although he was a kind, generous, and thoughtful person, he had difficulty handling his newfound freedom in the English world. He made choices that would cause untold agony for his family and friends.

Kiki Yanagi was always herself—totally honest and uncomplicated. She loved people and she yearned for them to love her, especially her classmate, Angie.  She’d learned to endure thoughtless teasing from her peers, but she longed for Angie to be her friend. After her persistence lands her a job repairing bicycles at Russell Brothers Auto Repair where Gideon works, it isn’t long until she manages to steal the hearts of Ormond, the owner of the shop, and the other employees—even Gideon. Would Gideon ever have thought that a thirteen-year-old autistic girl would have such an impact on his life?

Mari Yanagi, Kiki’s older sister, runs Another Cup, the coffee shop/diner where Gideon eats lunch every day. Putting her own desires aside, she assumes responsibility of caring for her kid sister because of their mother’s mental illness. Gideon longed to know Mari better, but would she let him into her life?

Reginald Smithfield, son of a prominent resident, Luva Smithfield who “owned” Twin Branches, North Carolina, was an intolerant bigot who loathed anyone who was different, including blacks, American Indians, Jews, Asians, and Amish—anyone who wasn’t a white, mountain-born person.

Ormond, who owned Russell Brothers Auto Repair, was an easy-going, funny, wise and generous man of faith who would “give his right arm for his friends.”

Meet the Author:

Alice J. Wisler was born in Osaka, Japan to Presbyterian missionaries. She went to Eastern Mennonite University after graduating from Canadian Academy, an international high school in Kobe, Japan. She majored in social work and has worked across the U.S. in that field.  She taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in Japan and at a refugee camp in the Philippines.  She also studied Spanish at a language institute in San Jose, Costa Rica.

She has four children–Rachel, Daniel, Benjamin and Elizabeth.  Daniel died on 2/2/97 from cancer treatments at the age of four. Since then, Alice founded Daniel’s House Publications in her son’s memory.  This organization reaches out to others who have also lost a child to death. In 2000 and 2003, Alice compiled recipes and memories of children across the world to publish two memorial cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle.

Still Life in Shadows is Alice Wisler’s fifth novel.  Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation were all published by Bethany House.

Alice presents online writing courses–Writing the Heartache–and workshops across the country.  She also has a line of remembrance cards.       She is a contributing writer at Open to Hope and at the Raleigh Examiner where she writes on grief and loss. Her two blogs are Writing the Heartache and Alice’s Patchwork Quilt. I hope you’ll visit her there.


Testimonial for Carol Round’s book: Journaling With Jesus

September 3, 2012

     It never ceases to amaze me how God puts things (and people) in our path at the precise moment we need it. In my case, I had started a prayer journal several weeks ago and wasn’t as happy with it as I thought I should be. As I suppose others do also, my prayer journal was pretty much just a list of thanks, praises and requests, usually for other people.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We should pray for others. Daily. But I felt that something was missing.

Then I ran across Carol and her book. The very first chapter acknowledged this shortcoming to me as God spoke to me through His Word and Carol’s book. My journaling has now become much more meaningful–a learning tool, as well as a communication tool. Each day is a new “letter to God” in which I express freely the thoughts of my heart. Deep thoughts. Thoughts I’d never considered putting on paper.  After only a few days of “Journaling with Jesus,” I can see (and feel) the difference. If you are seeking a deeper relationship with the Savior, I definitely recommend this book.

The portions that I feel stood out the most for me are:

  • “Keeping a prayer journal guides you to gain a deeper insight into who you are, what your potential is, and how to attain it with God’s help.”
  • “…it requires you to slow down and take time to listen to His voice.”
  • “…questions for reflection that will jumpstart your healing through writing.”
  • What you need to get started and preparing to meet with God through journaling.
  • One of my favorite Scriptures: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8, NKJV

No matter how long we’ve been a child of the King, we can always learn something new and draw closer to God, if we have the desire and try.This is a short book–only sixty-one pages–but it has a lot to say, if you take the time to digest it as you go, and it is, in my opinion, well worth the money.       

Carol Round is a self-syndicated columnist, Christian author and inspirational speaker. She began her journey with the Lord in 2001 when she admitted her need His guidance. Since that time she has sought a deeper relationship with Him through reading Scripture, Bible Study, and the personal discipline of keeping a daily prayer journal. After being encouraged by other Christian women, Carol has compiled her experiences with prayer journaling into this book.

Journaling With Jesus, How to Draw Closer to God, is published by West Bow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson and is available from the author at http://journalingwithjesus.com/ , from Amazon.com or from the publisher at http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000522049/Journaling-with-Jesus.aspxand.


Nurturing the Seedlings

March 3, 2012

In an earlier post, I talked about planting seeds.  I watched as the spinach, squash, tomato, cucumber and chive sprouts seemed to leap out of the soil within days. I was so excited! We’d talked about planting a garden since last summer. Now here it was, the beginnings of the fruit of our labor.

Daily, I checked on them, making sure that they had enough water, sunshine, and no exposure to extreme cold. Remember, it is February.  Now, my little garden has many new plants. And these plants are very tender. They wouldn’t fare well in an environment of harsh winds, extreme heat, drought, or mistreatment.

Reminds me of a new Christian. They are tender, vulnerable little plants, babes, if you will.  Yes, God is the One germinated those seeds someone planted in them. God is the One who saved them, and God is the One who will keep them. But just as we nurture our little vegetable plants toward being strong, healthy, and fruit bearing, God expects us to care for new Christians, to help them to grow, to strengthen, to mature, and become fruitful.

Babes in Christ will associate with the convictions and values of those observed during the beginning of their walk with the Lord. They will be watching us and listening to us. They will model our behaviors, so we need to make sure that we represent Jesus in the most positive and accurate light. New Christians must be made aware of what it means to follow Christ.

We wouldn’t leave a newborn baby unattended without food, shelter, security. New believers simply cannot be thrust out into the world to flounder on their own unprepared and be expected to grow into mature Christians on their own. We need to do more than smile and shake their hand on Sunday morning. We need to call them and tell them how happy we are that they have become “one of us.”  We need to  pray for them, they need to see us pray and seek God’s will. We need to visit them and invite them into our home. We need to teach them. We need to show them that we care.


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