Thursday, July 16, 2015
The Mistletoe Springs animal shelter loses their grant, endangering the lives of countless stray dogs, cats, even birds and turtles. The community attempts to save the shelter by running a Christmas in July fundraiser. Groups of volunteers scramble to get all the details together while managing their personal lives. For ten people, love gets in the way.
It's been quite an adventure putting together a novella set with four other authors--something I've never tried before. Gail Sattler put out the call and served as head organizer. The premise came from her, and she wrote the prologue and epilogue, with tweaks from all of us. She also arranged for the cover art by an art student, Nicole Nelson. The five stories are as varied as their writers:
“A Cockatoo for Two” by myself: Nikki Waldrop is given a cockatoo because her son is allergic to hairy animals. But this biology teacher needs help from the principal, who once lived in Indonesia and knows about caring for a cockatoo. When the sick bird responds with “Gimme a kiss,” hearts begin to soar.
“Brewed with Love” by Kimberly Rose Johnson: When Amber Cook meets firefighter Bryan Grant, can she overcome her deep seated fear of fire and discover true love?
“Stray Gifts” by Lee Tobin McClain: Dani Cooper has vowed to focus on her four kids and stay away from strays, whether animal or human. But will she be able to resist the handsome, mysterious veteran who shows up on her doorstep looking for work...and maybe, for a home and family too?
“Mistletoe Madness” by Gail Sattler: To say Kayla can't function in a crowd is an understatement. The only help she can get to do her part to help the shelter is the bane of her existence, her brother's best friend who has teased and harassed her mercilessly all her life. But Drew's feelings for Kayla have suddenly changed. Can he both help the shelter, and help Kayla change her mind about him?
“Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge” by Ginger Solomon: Mitch Silverton agreed to be in charge of decorating for the fundraiser. And he needs his boss, Margaret Holberg, to donate her family's vast array of decorations to make the day unforgettable. BUT...She's not sharing. Christmas is not a holiday she wants to celebrate in July, and saving the animal shelter is not high on her list of important things to do. He wants her to share more than the decorations. He wants her heart. Will he succeed in changing Miss Scrooge into Mrs. Christmas?
You may enjoy the novel either in Kindle or print book form. It's sold on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1J3sOzu
We would love to have your feedback. Honest reviews posted on Amazon and Goodreads are so important to the success of a book!
Saturday, June 27, 2015
I've ignored my blogging responsibilities while completing a full-length novel and a novella, both of which are now sent out. The novella is a group set about which you'll hear release details soon. The cover is holding up the process.
The full-length novel, with the working title of Retreat to Shelter Creek, is with my agent. Though the plot is no surprise to her, she is concerned that it will be a hard sell in the Christian market. The heroine has retreated to the fictional small town of Shelter Creek to care for her grandmother through chemo. She is ever-so willing to do this because her husband of eight years has left her for his junior college student, who is pregnant with his child.
Divorce due to unfaithfulness is rampant in our society, even among Christians. Even among marriages which seemed stable and righteous at the beginning. My precious daughter and two of my nieces, all beautiful Christian women, fell victim to unfaithful husbands. I've written this novel from my heart, friends. With as much humor as possible considering the drama, and as much drama as possible considering the subject.
My agent has asked for endorsements and comparable books at the outset. What novel have you read lately, either inspirational or not, which dealt with a cast-aside wife? Do you feel a novel with this theme will be well received, hopefully read by women who have been hurt? My intention is to support and comfort. And yes, I gave my heroine a good man and a happily-ever-after ending--something I pray my daughter will onetime experience. The kind of love she deserves.
What do you say? Is a novel like this likely to be successful?
Friday, May 1, 2015
Acres of Dreams can fill your heart or break it.
In 1899 Katy, a young Irish girl, is sent to stay with her sister in Toronto. Her family intends her to find a husband, but Katy has other ideas. Then one night an incident dashes her plans for a career as well as her family's hopes for a suitable husband. Katy has no intention of being sent home in disgrace. Instead the opportunity opens to start a new life on a prairie homestead. As Katy journeys west, will she find love or will she face heartbreak?
Sharon reveals her inspiration for her new novel with a premise drawn from her family history:
My grandmother died when I was thirteen. Although she lived half of each year with us, I realize in looking back that I missed getting to know her.
Grandmother came from Ireland as a young woman in her early twenties sent, I'm sure, by her family to find a suitable husband. She spent time in Toronto with one married sister and in Chicago with another. Eventually she met and married a cousin and moved westward to the prairies with him, setting up a homestead farm.
Strangely I don't remember her talking about her family left behind in Ireland. There were twelve of them, half remaining in the "Old Country" and half emigrating to North America. The only one she talked about was her twin brother John, who started a small church outside Chicago and was with the Red Cross. I still have a picture of him, a handsome man in his Red Cross uniform. I never even knew the names of my great aunts and uncles until I made contact a few years ago with a third cousin in Belfast. It was as though Grandmother shucked off her old life and began a new one in this country. Was she angry with her family for sending her here? Was losing contact too painful to think about? I'll never know.
I want to know all about her, about her early life in Ireland, about growing up in such a large family, about crossing the ocean to an unknown country. How did she feel? What were her fears? How did she handle the loneliness in a vast empty land? Now it's too late and I could kick myself for not having the curiosity as a child to ask her.
Writing Acres of Dreams was a vicarious way of reconnecting with my grandmother. My heroine, Katy, begins in the same situation. The rest of the story is, of course, fiction. But, somehow, in writing this story I felt much closer to my grandmother, as though I had discovered her in a new way.
Lee: The title is beautiful. I was just reading an article on coming up with creative titles. How did you come up with this one?
Sharon: Acres of Dreams came from the name of a museum display on homesteading.
Lee: That's a good thing for historical authors to remember. Would you share an excerpt for our readers?
That night at the dance, she looked around at the familiar faces. They were the same ones she’d been seeing all week. Even her cousin, Robert, and his friend, Dan, were there, having a last social fling before their self banishment to the West. Martin was the first to ask her to dance. He swirled her away to a corner where he slowed the tempo and held her much closer than was comfortable.
She tried to pull away. “I need some air,” she said.
“Wonderful. Let’s go out on the balcony.” She tried to hang back, but his hand was firm on her arm. Once on the balcony he pulled her closer and, leaning down, kissed her full on the mouth.
“Stop it!” she said. “You’re being much too familiar, Martin. I’m going back inside.”
His response was to kiss her again, running his hands down her back with a most distressing familiarity. Now she was becoming frightened and pushed at him with all her strength.
“You are a little hellcat aren’t you? I knew from the way you responded at your sister’s that night that you were full of fire.” He pulled her around the corner into a dimly lit area of the garden, smothering her protests with his lips.
Katy had never been treated like this before. All the men she knew either treated her with respect or teased her like brothers. She lifted her foot and brought her heel down hard on his. He gave a yelp of pain and she managed to free herself, but her dress tore the entire way down the front as she escaped his grasp.
Robert had seen Katy leave the dance floor with Martin. But he had also seen a look on Katy’s face that made him follow. She had not looked at all pleased. He’d also noticed that Martin’s hand was tight on Katy’s arm.
When he found them at the end of the garden, Katy was crying and holding torn bits of her dress to her chest. Robert had never in his life felt the anger that rose in him at the sight of a sobbing, frightened Katy. He grabbed Martin by the shoulder, turned him around, and smashed his fist satisfactorily into that gloating smile.
Lee: That's quite a scene, and one which many of us empathize with. Following is a bio, which gives our readers a personal look at this talented author:
Sharon McGregor is a west coast transplant from the Canadian prairies, on a mission to escape the cold. Her imagination and story weaving got its start when she was an only child living on a farm. She's moved on from cowgirl dreams to romance and mystery, but hasn't lost her love for horses. She writes humour, romance and cozies, sometimes a combination of all three.
When not writing or reading, she is busy working in a shop she owns with her daughter, or walking the dogs along the ocean.
In spite of her attempts to escape winter, she loves watching her grandchildren at figure skating and hockey.
Sharon is offering a free e-book copy of her book to someone who leaves a comment below. Please write your contact info disguised from evil robots like this: LeeCarver2 (at) aol (dot)com. If you would like to stay in touch with new publications and offers, click on this page to become a follower. I'd love to have you aboard!
At the time of this blog posting, the e-book of Acres of Dreams may be purchased for a mere 99 cents on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Acres+of+Dreams+by+Sharon+McGregor&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AAcres+of+Dreams+by+Sharon+McGregor
Or simply type in the title in Amazon's search blank. Check the price in case this changes.
Friday, April 3, 2015
There’s never been a better fit for this blog than Kellie Coates Gilbert. Her novels are founded in truth and proof that fiction can be a realistic as life itself.
Kellie, welcome to “Truth in Fiction.” I’m thoroughly enjoying your TEXAS GOLD series. Woman of Fortune and Where Rivers Part, both legal dramas with tons of action and feeling, kept me reading into the night. Before that, Mother of Pearl gripped my heart and never let go. It’s a must-read for every mother of a teenage girl.
In Where Rivers Part, you set the scene so beautifully. The city of San Antonio, Texas, functions like a supporting character. I can see the need for several “research” trips along its waterway. How did you learn about the city, and why did you choose San Antonio?
I’m glad you mentioned the setting, Lee. When my publisher (Baker/Revell) signed me on a four-book contract, they asked if I could set the stories I’d pitched in Texas. I said, “Sure!” So, the Texas Gold collection was born—with four stand alone novels set in each of the metropolitan cities of Texas.
As you mention, Where Rivers Part is in San Antonio. I took a research trip and spent days exploring, finding places for the scenes I’d planned. I also did a lot of “armchair travelling” via Google! So tickled to be receiving emails from readers telling me they felt like they were in that beautiful city.
On a side note, I learned about the Edwards Aquifer underneath San Antonio and knew that would work beautifully in a water themed story!
Your years as a legal investigator and trial paralegal provide excellent footing for your novels. You’ve developed skill in keeping the balance between accuracy and overpowering the reader. Do you ever write a passage and then delete it? Or your editor deletes it?
I’m fortunate in that my editor modifies my stories only lightly, and almost never touches my legal scenes. That said, in my debut novel MOTHER OF PEARL, the editor urged me to remove paragraphs that were wonderful, but she felt the pacing needed to move really fast in those scenes. The advice was spot on!
What motivated you to tell the story of contaminated water?
Years back, I worked on a legal case involving an outbreak of foodborne illness resulting from undercooked hamburger. The outbreak sickened many and nearly toppled a multi-million dollar corporation.
During a key deposition of the executive who was in charge of quality control, the plaintiff’s attorney posed questions meant to vilify him and suggest his lack of oversight caused the death of four children. As you might expect, several hours of this took its toll. But, none of us in that room that day anticipated the moment the man buried his head in his hands and fell to tears.
I knew there was a story behind those tears and I wanted to tell it . . . even if only in my imagination.
You’ve been very active on the pages of Pinterest, and have come up with several good ideas for how to use Pinterest to stimulate interest in your books. Would you care to share?
I love Pinterest! Such a fun way to connect with readers. In addition to boards for each of my books, I have one I think your readers will especially love: a board that features promotions and contests where readers can enter to win free books and prizes. I have a board that features all my blog posts, one with the monthly contests I run from my website, I have boards that feature new Inspirational Fiction. And I have a lot of just pure fun boards where I pin things that I love!
Did you leave the legal work to become a writer, or did you become a writer after leaving that occupation?
I’m a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who spent more than a little time juggling the roles of wife and mother while working outside the home. During those years I wrote magazine articles here and there. In 2008, my husband made a career move that brought us to Dallas allowing me the freedom to transition to full-time novelist. I still own a contract paralegal business and a legal marketing business too, so my waking hours are pretty full!
When I went to Amazon.com to check the exact titles of your books, I saw that you have yet another novel ready for pre-order. Tell us about A Reason to Stay.
Oh, Lee! I can’t wait for October to get here so I can get A Reason to Stay in the hands of readers. This one tells the story of a young Houston power couple on the brink of divorce. Here’s the back cover copy:
As the host of her own television news show, Faith Marin works to expose the truth for her viewers. But in her personal life, she’s anchored her world with firm boundaries in order to hide a family history she’d like to forget. Her pro bass fisherman husband Geary’s life is an open book, and unfortunately his busybody family doesn’t know the meaning of boundaries. Deception and crippling differences soon derail their tender relationship, leading Faith to believe her only option is to end the marriage. But while divorce papers sit on her desk waiting to be signed, tragedy strikes and her heartrending decision is interrupted. With her life in the balance, Faith finds that the one she has been shutting out may be the very one she cannot bear to lose.
What are you working on now?
I’m smack-dab in the middle of writing the final book in this collection. This one has not yet been named, but is set in Austin. I can’t say much yet, but the story will have a political backdrop and has the heaviest romantic thread I’ve ever written. I’m loving how it’s shaping up!
You have excellent contact with your readers, and you’re known for openness to your fan base. How can people reach you?
Readers, I hope you’ll come tell me hello! All my social media links are on my website: www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com That’s also where you can sign up for Kellie’s Readers Club and get news of all my coming releases!
Kellie Coates Gilbert spent nearly twenty-five years working in courtrooms and behind the scenes of some of the largest and most well-known cases in America. Kellie was one of the lead paralegals in the Jack-in-the-Box litigation, where uncooked hamburger resulted in the deaths of several toddlers and made many more critically ill, which is now the subplot of her recently released WHERE RIVERS PART from Baker Publishing/Revell. Her books not only explore the heart issues that matter most to women, but often allow readers an inside peek into her former legal world.
Kellie is offering one free print book to someone who leaves a comment with your email address on this blog. You may disguise your email address from the evil bots by writing it in this form: LeeCarver2(at)aol(dot)com. Thank you for visiting us today. Happy Easter. Christ is risen!
Friday, March 6, 2015
Architect Aimee Hart, determined to locate her father, infiltrates Miles Stratton’s engineering firm as a secretary. Her presence wrenches the shaggy, wounded man from his penthouse, and the quest begins.
He’s been betrayed by his best friend. Miles would rather hide than help, especially Hart’s daughter. But it isn’t over. Someone’s trying to destroy Stratton Industrial. A war veteran, he knows how to defend his own. The Beast of Stratton can do it again.
Renee is offering a digital copy or signed paperback copy of Beast of Stratton to one person who leaves a comment with your e-mail address. I suggest, in order to avoid having your address copied by a roving bot in cyberland, you follow the form of my address here: LeeCarver2(at)aol(dot)com This is a brand new novel coming out on March 11, 2015. If you really enjoy the novel, you're so welcome to share a review on Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, your own FaceBook, Twitter, and any other avenue of advertisement. Purchase the book in print or Kindle at Amazon .
Welcome to "Truth in Fiction," Renee. I found your book to be filled with high emotion, dark mystery, and dramatic fluctuation of moods. Industrial intrigue leads to romance. Please tell us in what genre this new novel fits. When I began writing Beast of Stratton, I would’ve called it a contemporary suspense. As I wrote it, the plot evolved. It changed. A puzzle began to form within the story. It was literally like following a trail of breadcrumbs to the end. How would I classify it now? Romantic Suspense with a very strong mystery component.
Does Beast of Stratton have an inspirational thread? Yes. All of my books have an inspirational message. It may not be glaring or pounded from a pulpit, but it’s there.
That's definitely the best way to share a message. We don't need pulpit-pounding in our pleasure reading. How would you condense your theme? That God’s with you no matter what. Even when you don’t hear Him or possibly don’t want to. His love and strength can overcome any battles or obstacles you may face.
You’ve written with powerful verbs, every action dramatic and forceful. This isn’t the trait of a beginning novelist. How did you learn this skill? Believe it or not, I haven’t had many writing courses except for college and a creative writing course I took online. What you see is from years and years of reading. I also absorb everything I hear from fellow writers and put it into practice. I liken myself to a sponge. LOL I decided a long time ago I would never stop learning.
You’re a pharmacist. Do you involve pharmacy in your plots? Now that you mention it, yes, I do. In To Soar on Eagle’s Wings (my next novel due out in July), one of the characters is a pharmacist. The pharmacy isn’t prominent in that particular story but is used in a scene or two.
What are you working on now? I’m actually working on a novella for Prism Book Group called Racing Hearts. It’s a wonderful story of trust and faith in God and love.
Here’s a little bit about it…
Full of hope for the future, a young couple sets off on a new adventure. They welcome their home with open arms. The mountains glisten, the lakes sparkle, and a new life grows. But challenges soon arise and their fresh love faces a trial of almost insurmountable odds.
For the two Christians, placing the fate of their unborn child in the hands of God seems rather easy, but trusting each other? That may prove to be the challenge of a lifetime…as hearts race in the Rocky Mountains.
That sounds like another good one. You're part of a beautiful cooperative blog, “The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction.” Please tell us about it. The Diamond Mine’s a group blog that my critique group, Rough Diamond Writers started. We wanted to provide a place to highlight Christian Fiction. To dig among the many gems of Christian authors, put them out there for the world to see, and let them shine. We interview authors about what makes them tick, their works (new and old), display their latest work for a month, and host giveaways. It’s a lot of fun.
When you’re not writing, what do you do for pleasure and relaxation? I still love to read. In fact, when I go fishing with my husband, most of the time I laze on the shore and read a book. LOL Now that my shoulder’s fixed, I can pull my bow back, although I won’t be able to hunt with it for a while. I’m still pretty weak. Someday, I may be able to do that again. Yes, I like to hunt deer…whitetail to be exact. I do live in Wyoming. But give me a beach and blue water and I’m in heaven.
What type of book do you most like to read for your own enjoyment? I’m a sucker for a good Scottish romance. Toss in a romantic suspense or even a historical…say, medieval or renaissance? Hey, I’ve got a good two or three days of relaxation. I read really fast. Like I said before, I’ve been reading forever.
Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to Laramie and she’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.
Nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat, she serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her Christian stories, keeping them interesting with action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.
Blogs: Renee’s Inspirational Moments
The Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction
Social Media: Twitter.com/ReneeBlare, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr: The Journey
And now a sample of Beast of Stratton to whet the appetites of our readers:
Copyright 2015 © Renee Blare
She’d called his friends, the family. She’d even tried her stepmother who’d hung up on her. Well, okay, maybe that wasn’t the brightest idea.
A red rose rolled across her father’s tattered note, caught in the breeze from the open window. Sliding the pane down, she picked up the flower. The words on the page blurred as she buried her nose in the soft petals.
Instead of saying goodbye to his wife in his last letter, he’d simply left explicit instructions not to follow him. Aimee snorted. Like the woman would care. He’d sent it with the rose and an antique necklace. She held the thick chain aloft and peered at the golden key spinning in the light. The jewelry had probably cost a fortune.
And her stepmother was nowhere to be found. Scratch that. According to her, she wanted to be left alone. It didn’t make a difference to Aimee what the letter said and to whom, she’d follow. A small smile worked its way to her lips as she fastened the necklace around her neck.
The zipper stuck on the edge of the suitcase and she gave it a hard jerk. Dragging the bulging bag off the bed, it hit the floor with a thunk. She slid her arms into her jacket and looped her purse over the handle. She dropped the rose, and it landed beside her plane ticket next to her wallet. Before latching her fingers around her bag, she tucked the key under her shirt out of sight. “Stratton Industrial, here I come.”
Friday, January 2, 2015
Shannon Vannatter is offering a free print book to one person who leaves a comment on this blog between now and Jan. 17th, 2015.
TORI EATON IS READY TO START OVER
Brant is drawn to Tori. And as their friendship grows, so do his feelings for her. But Tori is still hounded by her past, and the walls she's built around her heart are high. Can he convince the wounded beauty that he's exactly the kind of man she needs—and deserves?
Preference for the free copy of Rodeo Family will be given to a commenter who promises to write a 25-word or more comment on www.Amazon.com. Does it matter? YES! Amazon treats novels with a good number of reader posts in various preferential ways which affect the visibility (and therefore the sales) of the books. Serious readers should also visit www.Goodreads.com, grab a free membership, and leave posts there of novels they read. Support the authors you enjoy reading.