Friday, March 5, 2021

Fiction Friday: New Releases for March 2021

March 2021 New Releases More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website
Romantic Suspense/Thriller:


Hours to Kill by Susan Sleeman -- Just as Homeland Security Agent Addison Leigh reaches the pinnacle of her cyber investigation into a firearms smuggling ring, she's attacked and left for dead. Her estranged husband, ICE Agent Mack Jordan, is notified that she's at the hospital in a coma. He may have let his past military trauma ruin their short marriage, but she never gave up on their relationship, and he remains her next of kin. hen a second attempt to take her life is made, it's clear something very sinister is going on, and Mack and Addison are in for the ride of their lives. (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House)

Unknown Threat by Lynn H. Blackburn -- US Secret Service Special Agent Luke Powell is lucky to be alive. Three of his fellow agents have died in unusual circumstances in the past ten weeks. Luke is devastated by the loss of his friends and colleagues, and his inability to locate the killer feels like a personal failure. He and his team are experts at shielding others, but now the protectors are in need of protection. (Romantic Suspense from Revell)

Abducted in Alaska by Darlene L. Turner -- Saving a boy who has escaped his captors puts Canadian border patrol officer Hannah Morgan right into the path of a ruthless child-smuggling ring. Now with help from police constable Layke Jackson, she must keep the child safe. But can they rescue the other abducted children and bring down the gang…all while protecting a little boy and keeping themselves alive? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Western:


Braced for Love by Mary Connealy -- Left with little back in Missouri, Kevin Hunt takes his younger siblings on a journey to Wyoming when he receives news that he's inheriting part of a ranch. The catch is that the ranch is also being given to a half-brother he never knew existed. Turns out, Kevin's supposedly dead father led a secret and scandalous life. (Western from Bethany House)

Biblical:


Miriam’s Song by Jill Eileen Smith -- In her eventful lifetime, Miriam was many things to many people: protective older sister, song leader, prophetess, leper. But between the highs and the lows, she was a girl who dreamed of freedom, a woman who longed for love, a leader who made mistakes, and a friend who valued connection. (Biblical from Revell)

General Contemporary:


Facing the Dawn by Cynthia Ruchti -- While her humanitarian husband Liam has been digging wells in Africa, Mara Jacobs has been struggling. She knows she's supposed to feel a warm glow that her husband is nine time zones away, caring for widows and orphans. But the reality is that she is exhausted, working a demanding yet unrewarding job, trying to manage their three detention-prone kids, failing at her to-repair list, and fading like a garment left too long in the sun. (General Contemporary from Revell)

Contemporary Romance:

A Brother’s Promise by Mindy Obenhaus -- He didn’t realize he wanted a family… Until he suddenly became a single dad. After his sister’s death, rancher Mick Ashford’s determined to ensure his orphaned niece, Sadie, feels at home. And accepting guidance from Christa Slocum is his first step. But just as Christa and Sadie begin to settle into Mick’s heart, Sadie’s paternal grandparents sue for custody. Now Mick must fight to keep them together…or risk losing the makeshift family he’s come to love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

General Historical:

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy -- Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. (General Historical from Bethany House)

The Rose Keeper by Jennifer Lamont Leo -- July 1944. Chicago nurse Clara Janacek has spent her whole life taking care of other people. Grumpy yet loveable, all she wants now is to live out her life in peace, tending her roses and protecting her heart. But beneath the gruff exterior lies a story, and when new neighbors move in and shake up her quiet world, Clara must grapple with long-buried realities. (General Historical, Independently Published )

Historical Romance:


Rayne’s Redemption by Linda Shenton Matchett -- Will she have to lose her identity to find true love? Twin sisters Rayne and Jessica Dalton have been swapping places their whole lives, so when Jessica dies on the eve of heading west to become a mail-order bride, Rayne decides to fill her sister’s shoes. The challenge will be faking Jessica’s faith in God. Can Rayne fool her prospective groom without losing her heart...or her soul? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

The Curator’s Daughter by Melanie Dobson -- 1940. Hanna Tillich cherishes her work as an archaeologist for the Third Reich, searching for the Holy Grail and other artifacts to bolster evidence of a master Aryan race. But when she is reassigned to work as a museum curator in Nuremberg, then forced to marry an SS officer and adopt a young girl, Hanna begins to see behind the Nazi facade. A prayer labyrinth becomes a storehouse for Hanna’s secrets, but as she comes to love Lilly as her own daughter, she fears that what she’s hiding―and what she begins to uncover―could put them both in mortal danger. (Historical Romance from Tyndale House)

My Dear MISS DUPRÉ by Grace Hitchcock -- Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father’s unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, plans changed. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan—find Willow a spokesman king in order for her to become queen of the empire. Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society’s elite group called the Four Hundred. She has six months to court the group and is expected to eliminate men each month to narrow her beaus. (Historical Romance from Bethany House)

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly -- Richard Stevens isn't who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name. Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey's singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn't suffer for her foolishness. (Historical Romance from Wild Heart Books)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:
 
 
Hunt for Grace by Tammy F. Kirty, Can two people find peace in the present when faced daily with their pasts? (Historical Romance)

 
 
Starstruck in Willow Falls by Pat Nichols, Heartwarming, emotionally charged saga of a small Southern town's struggle for survival and two women's challenge to balance family and career. (General Contemporary)

 
 
A Texas Bond by Shannon Taylor Vannatter, Learning he’s an uncle shocks Ross Lyles—but after years of handling his brother’s bombshells, at least this surprise is a blessing. A pair of five-year-old blessings Ross is determined to meet, if he can convince their aunt to give him a chance. (Contemporary Romance)

 
 
Matched Hearts by Cathe Swanson, She’s looking for one date. He’s looking for “Happily Ever After.” Is it a computer error or a match made in heaven? (Contemporary Romance)

 
 
Seasons of Love by Joan Deppa, The beautiful, western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with snow covered hills in the winter; Lake Superior, as well as inland lakes and numerous waterfalls in the summer; and colorful leaves in Autumn, are the setting for three couples who discover new adventures and enjoy the nature that surrounds them. (Contemporary Romance)

 
 
Kate’s Quest by Seralynn Lewis, Sparks fly in this opposites attract journey when a my way or the highway soldier collides with a determined woman on a mission to find her family. (Contemporary Romance)

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Rose Spiller and Chris Paxson

Talkshow Thursday: 
Welcome Back Rose Spiller and Chris Paxson!

Linda: Welcome back! It’s been about eight months since your book No Half Truths Allowed was published. Can you tell us a bit about the road to publication and how has the book changed things for you? 

ROSE & CHRIS: Thanks so much for having us, Linda! We are honored to be on your site! It’s always a little embarrassing when we get asked about the road to publication, because honestly, it was an incredibly easy road, and we know that is not the norm. No Half Truths Allowed – Understanding the Complete Gospel Message was born out of a Bible Study we wrote for a church we were attending and teaching a women’s Bible Study class at. Coming from years at a PCA church, we were surprised when we arrived at this church how little people really knew their Bible, including the complete Gospel message. We had been teaching ladies’ Bible Studies for about 15 years at that time and had a passion to teach these wonderful ladies. 
 
LM: Research is an important part of the writing process. What sort of research did you do for No Half Truths Allowed? Did you unearth anything that was totally unexpected that you knew you had to include? 

ROSE & CHRIS: When we decided to start writing our own Bible Studies, we knew we wanted to further feed our education, so we enrolled in Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary’s Dimensions of the Faith Program. We graduated in 14 months and continue our seminary education by taking online classes from Reformed Theological Seminary and through Biblical Training’s Institute Program. We also read and study many commentaries from Solid Biblical Theologians and listen to an insane amount of sermons from Reformed Pastors. I don’t know if we unearthed anything new, but while researching and writing this book, the absolute sovereignty of God over salvation and over everything hit us hard. It’s one of those Truths that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And that is what we wanted our readers to come away with when reading our book. When it comes to our salvation, we bring nothing to the table but our sin and our need to be saved. When we get that, everything else seems to fall into place. 
 
LM: You have an upcoming publication Bible in Six. Can you tell us a bit about that? 

ROSE & CHRIS: Actually, our publisher recently suggested changing the name of The Bible in Six.
They thought the title did not convey what the book was actually about, so we collaborated and came up with, “The Bible Blueprint – A Guide to Better Understanding the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.” And that’s pretty much what the book is about. We have divided all 66 books of the Bible into six parts – The Foundation, The Law, The Kings, The Prophets, The Gospels, and The Epistles. We give an overview of each of the books of the Bible, flesh out some of the more complicated passages, and show how, ultimately, everything in the entire Bible points to Jesus. The goal of this book is to arm people with the basic understanding of each of the books of the Bible, and help them to see that the Bible is one continuous story. Our prayer is that this gives people confidence and makes them hungry to dive into God’s Word for themselves. For the more seasoned Christian, it is a help with some of the complex passages and with doctrine. 

LM: You also co-host a podcast, and are co-founder of the Proverbs 9:10 Ministries. How do you balance your writing with your other responsibilities? 

ROSE & CHRIS: We do co-host the podcast, No Trash, Just Truth, which has weekly 20 – 30 minute episodes. Honestly, it is crazy! We each spend about 30 + hours a week between our ministry, podcast, research, classes, social media, and trying to get our 3rd book completed. We work as much and as often as we can, but we both know that we have other responsibilities that need our attention – namely, our husbands, children, parents, and grandchildren. So we work whenever we can, but understand that at any time, our time may be hijacked. Haha! Thankfully, God works it all out, and we always somehow get what we need done when we need to get it done. 

LM: What has been the most challenging part of the road to publication for you? What advice do you have for fledgling writers? 

ROSE & CHRIS: First, we want to encourage writers, keep plugging away. If your passion is writing, then write! If you are writing solo, get someone very competent to read through your manuscript with you before you submit it anywhere. Make sure it is formatted to the correct publisher standards, and make sure your book is good – fluent and easy to understand with proper grammar and sentence structure. Some publishers won’t even look at a manuscript that is not formatted properly. And almost as important, understand that writing your book is the easy part! Once you are accepted by a publisher, or begin self-publishing, understand there is hard work ahead. There are 2,700 books published every day. You need to get your book out there in front of people. There are a lot of different strategies to do that, but they all require a lot of time and a lot of work. 

LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? 

ROSE & CHRIS: This is easy! We both wish we were more technologically savvy! Everything new thing we do – social media sites, our podcast, videos, live events, our website, and other things, all come with a huge learning curve for us. We are in our 50’s, so we are right in between the younger, tech pro, generation, and the older, tech-challenged generation. We are amazed at what God has enabled us to learn and accomplish so far, but we have a long, long way to go!! 
 
LM: What is your next project? 

ROSE & CHRIS: Definitely, continuing in our classes and studying. We are currently working on our 3rd book, on the Book of Revelation. We are hoping that as things open us, we can go back to speaking and teaching at women’s events. But, as always, everything is prefaced by God willing; and if God has other plans, we will go with them. Our goal is always to serve and glorify God however He deems us to. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 


BOOK BLURB: The Bible Blueprint – A Guide to Better Understanding the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. 

Have you ever wanted to read the Bible, but found it intimidating? Have you ever read parts or all of it, but have come away more confused than ever? Does it seem like there are contradictions in the Bible? Why is there an Old Testament and New Testament? Does the Old Testament even matter to Christians today? How do the sixty-six books of the Bible fit together? Is there an overarching theme? If you have asked yourself any or of these questions, or others, you are not alone! The Bible Blueprint – A Guide to Better Understanding the Bible from Genesis to Revelation divides the entire Bible chronologically into six easy-to-read sections. It provides a basic understanding of Scripture as a complete story that links all the various books together. It gives an overview of each book, touching on highlights and some of the amazing and significant events in each, without getting bogged down in the more difficult sections. 
 
There is no substitute for the actual Bible! It is not only fascinating, it is the life-giving, life-saving, life-transforming Word of God! The Bible Blueprint is not a replacement for the Bible, but it will whet your appetite to dig deep into God’s Book for yourself while giving you the confidence to do so!


Monday, March 1, 2021

Mystery Monday: Meet Philo Vance

Mystery Monday: Philo Vance

“Philo Vance 
Needs a kick in the pance.” 
 
So wrote comic poet Ogden Nash about the wildly popular fictional detective created by S.S. Van Dine, the pseudonym for Willard Huntington Wright. Wright was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, but his parents soon moved to Santa Monica, California where his father purchased a hotel. His brother Stanton Macdonald-Wright was one of the first American abstract artists and co-founded the school of modern art known as Synchromism. 
 
At the age of 21, Wright secured a job at the Los Angeles Times as literary editor where he gained a reputation for scathing book reviews and irreverent opinions. He was particularly critical about romance and detective fiction. After being fired for “intentionally provoking the paper’s middle-class readership with his interest in unconventional and often sexually explicit fiction,” with help from friend H.L. Mencken, Wright found a job as editor with the New York literary magazine The Smart Set. 
 
The mid-1920s found Wright bedridden for two years as the result of a nervous breakdown. Ironically, he devoured mystery fiction (after having derided it years earlier) and found it entertaining and intriguing. In fact, after his recovery he would write an essay that explored the history, traditions, and conventions of detective fiction as an art form. 
 
Having exhausted the market of reading material, he decided to try his hand at writing in the genre. Embarrassed at turning from what he termed “intellectual fiction” to mass market fiction, Wright created the pen name S.S. Van Dine. In the books, Van Dine, referred to as Van acts as narrator much like Sherlock Holmes’s Dr. Watson. 
 
Described in the first publication, The Benson Murder Case, Philo is “what many would call a
dilettante, but the designation does him an injustice. He was a man of unusual culture and brilliance. An aristocrat by birth and instinct...in his manner there was an indefinable contempt for inferiority of all kinds.” A cynic, Vance was flippant rather than bitter, interested in human reactions, almost as a scientist. A Renaissance man, he had courses in the history of religions, the Greek classics, biology, civics, political economy, philosophy, anthropology, literature, psychology, and modern and ancient languages. 
 
The book goes on to describe Vance’s physical features: “He was unusually good-looking, although his mouth was ascetic and cruel...a slightly derisive hauteur in the lift of his eyebrows. His forehead was full and sloping...his cold grey eyes were widely spaced. His nose was straight and slender, and his chin narrow but prominent, with an unusually deep cleft.” 

A dozen Philo Vance novels were published between 1926 and 1939, with nearly all of them made into films with ten different actors taking the lead role. William Powell appeared in four of the movies; the other actors only once or twice. Vance also appeared on radio between 1945 and 1950 with Jose Ferrer, John Emery, and Jackson Beck each taking a series. Interestingly, in 1974, an Italian mini-series came out featuring Giorgio Albertazzi in the lead role. With scripts very close to the novels, the episodes were based on the first three books. 
 
Wright died April 11, 1939 at the age of 50, leaving behind a novelette that was published posthumously as The Winter Murder Case. Wright’s portrait, painted by his brother, hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. 
 
Are you familiar with Philo Vance? 
_______________________ 

Murder at Madison Square Garden:

The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare. 
 
Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit? 
 
Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart? 
 
Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3aZgZOD

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Jamie Adams

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Jamie Adams

Linda: Welcome and thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your most recent release Cold Creek Mountain. The premise sounds intriguing. What was your inspiration for the story? 

Jamie: I think it’s interesting that opposites attract. My husband and I are like night and day and very happy. This story is not based on us in any way, but I wanted to create two characters that were as different as I could imagine and see how they got along. 

LM: How do you come up with your characters? Are they based on any real people in your life, perhaps even yourself? 

Jamie: My characters are nothing like me. They often have character traits I admire in others, but I’ve never based one on someone I know. Once I start writing their personalities seem to come out on their own. I’m often surprised by what I learn about them. 

LM: Research is an important part of writing, especially historic fiction. What sort of research did you do for Cold Creek Mountain? Was there any sort of “aha” tidbit you found that you knew needed to be included? 

Jamie: Research is an added bonus to writing historical fiction. I could easily get lost ‘exploring’ the
era. I didn’t have any ‘aha’ moment in this story. Most of my research was making sure plant food sources were accurate to the season since my characters spend a majority of the trip living off the land. If I ever end up stranded in the Colorado mountains in early fall, I’ve got an idea on how to forage food. 
 
LM: What is your writing process? (e.g., Do you come up with the plotline first? Characters? Do you outline the entire story before beginning or just sit down and start) 

Jamie: My stories are character-driven. Once I get a good idea of who they are and where they come from, I start to plot as I’m writing. It’s not the best way but plotting first stifles my writing process. 

LM: In addition to being a writer, you also teach ESL to kids in China (remotely, of course!) How did that come about, and how do you juggle your multiple responsibilities? 

Jamie: I enjoy teaching English as a second language to children. It’s amazing how fast they can learn new language skills when they are young. I homeschooled my children and when they graduated, I had time on my hands. One day I saw an ad on Facebook for ESL teachers. I’m glad I did. The hours are crazy because of the time difference but it’s an extremely rewarding job. I get up at 3 or 4 am each morning and work until 9 then I nap until noon. It’s not something I could have done when I had young children at home. 
 
LM: What is your idea of the perfect vacation? 

Jamie: A private beach somewhere warm with my family. We went to Gulf Shores one year in September during the off season. It was still hot and there were very few other people. Some of my favorite family memories are from that vacation. 
 
LM: What is your next project? 
 
Jamie: I just finished a book set in the Ozarks. A small-town sheriff meets his match when a wagon load of women comes to town in need of shelter. I enjoy writing strong female characters and this story has some secondary characters who are amazing. The heroine has a secret that keeps her and the sheriff apart until he wins her trust. 
 
LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Jamie: 

About Cold Creek Mountain:

Lilly Fletcher's last duty to her recently deceased employer is to deliver his orphaned grandchildren from Omaha, Nebraska to their uncle on Cold Creek Mountain. The final step of the journey requires securing a guide, which is not an easy task for a governess who prides herself on being independent.

Ex-scout Hayden Dawson has been grieving the tragic loss of his family for several years. When he's asked to take a fancy governess from the city along with her wards up the mountain, he refuses at first because he has a ranch to run. However, outnumbered by his foreman and his meddling childhood teacher, he's coerced out of retirement for one last trip.

When the ride up Cold Creek Mountain doesn't go as planned, can these two wounded hearts work together to protect the children? Can Lilly find the strength to leave her wards behind or does God have a better path for her future?

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3cSqWPg

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Pat Nichols

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Pat Nichols 


Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your latest release, Starstruck in Willow Falls. Where did you get the inspiration for the story? Did you set out to write a series or was that unexpected? 

Pat: Two years into my writing journey an idea emerged and took root—a series following the lives of three women, strangers brought together by a tragedy and a long-held secret. Raised in Willow Falls—a North Georgia town on the brink of failure—Emily yearns to write a novel about the town’s unique history to attract visitors. Sadie returns to Willow Falls after serving a thirty-year prison term for killing the town hero. Rachel, raised in Atlanta, abandons her dream to act to live the life her father chose for her. 
 
The settings in The Secret of Willow Inn, book one in the series, are divided between Atlanta and Willow Falls. The fictional town plays an integral role in the stories as the quirky, opinionated residents invest time and resources to transform their community into a tourist attraction. In Trouble in Willow Falls Rachel, Emily, and Sadie struggle to overcome challenges threatening to undermine residents’ efforts. When planning Starstruck in Willow Falls, my publisher and I brainstormed ideas on how to disrupt the small town’s new normal. The result? An invading Hollywood film crew and famous movie stars. 
 
LM: The age old question for writers: are you a plotter or a pantster? 

Pat: In essence I’m a plotter with panster tendencies. I begin each manuscript by creating an excel spreadsheet separated into beginning, middle and end. Each section has four columns—word count, POV character, setting, and action. The panster part happens when the characters take me in different directions, which happens often. The spreadsheet makes it easy to move scenes around to accommodate the changes. 
 
LM: Research is an important part of writing a book. How did you go about researching Starstruck in Willow Falls, and did you unearth a particular fun fact you knew you had to include in the story? 
 
Pat: Research began with two memories, the first from a trip years ago. My husband and I happened
upon the filming of a street scene featuring Henry Winkler dashing to a phonebooth. That short segment took hours to set up, including wetting the street for effect. The second memory from the eighties when I spent three of my twenty-seven-year corporate career as one of five regional public relations managers. One summer we were filmed in New York City for an internal publicity story. The remainder of my research was online to learn about filming equipment and processes. The fun fact was explaining a dolly track to a curious senior citizen. 
 
LM: How do you come up with your characters? Are any based on people you know or yourself? 

Pat: While the characters in the Willow Falls series are straight from my imagination, they are composites of real people. For example, my mother was an only child who longed for a sister. Emily, Rachel, and Sadie are only children. 
 
Snippets from my own experiences seem to find their way into the stories. Emily flavors her coffee with vanilla creamer and honey. I use the creamer and our daughter the honey. One of Rachel’s favorite meals? Rack of lamb. Mine too, although I’ve only indulged in restaurants. Maybe one day I’ll summon the courage to prepare it at home. And then again, maybe not. 

LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process? 

Pat: Developing each chapter to build on the last and lead to the next. While some authors prepare a complete rough draft before editing, I prefer to edit as I write. Although that process doesn’t eliminate the need for an in depth edit before submission, it helps me identify plot holes as the characters take on a life of their own. 

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing (e.g. listen to music, set up in a certain location, etc.)? 

Pat: My husband and I normally awake at 5:30. Following morning devotions, I settle on a recliner in our living room, with my computer on a lap desk. My goal? Write 1000 words a day. Some days I finish by noon. By mid-afternoon, my brain and fingers call it quits. I record the day’s word count and reward myself with a square of dark chocolate. 
 
LM: What is your next project? 
 
Pat: After submitting a proposal for a stand-alone novel inspired by a young woman who drifted in and out of our lives for years, I began outlining another manuscript. The sixth since 2014, but not the last. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Pat: 


About Starstruck in Willow Falls

Two women whose dreams are about to come true find themselves in a town turned upside down. 

As a Hollywood film crew and famous movie stars swoop into Willow Falls to film a full-length motion picture, the town’s new normal as a popular North Georgia tourist destination is thrown into chaos. 

Rachel Streetman fears her life-long dream to act is drifting into oblivion and leaving behind bitter regret. Weeks away from marrying Charlie Bricker, the manager of the town’s new winery, Rachel questions if auditioning for a role in the movie will boost her lackluster career or open the door to a lifestyle incompatible with the small-town life she has come to accept. 

Rachel’s twin sister, Emily Hayes, also has a dream—to be a famous author. But the release of her debut novel is upstaged by the Hollywood invasion. When she and Rachel accept the job as the director’s liaisons, their patience is stretched to the limit by starstruck residents.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Gail Kittleson

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back, Gail Kittleson


Linda: Thanks for joining me today. You’ve published a memoir, several WWII novels, two non-fiction books about WWII, and most recently, co-authored a biography. Your upcoming release is a “pioneer story.” Can you tell us a bit about the book and what drew you to writing about this time period?
 
Gail: About twelve years ago, I experienced some dangerous consequences from chronic sinus infections every winter in Iowa. After trying many solutions, our local doctor suggested, “You have one alternative left—try altitude.” 
 
So while my husband was deployed to Iraq, I did, and discovered that the altitude of the Arizona
mountains brought relief. That’s a complicated beginning to what motivated me to write about a young woman named Abby. She traveled from Missouri to Arizona Territory’s Mogollon Rim Country 170 years ago. 
 
This is still rugged hardscrabble terrain settled by equally rugged folk. The Civil War era, when great population shifts took place, seemed the ideal backdrop for the story that developed. 
 
LM: Research is an important part of writing, especially historical fiction. How did you go about your research, and was your process different from that of your other books? Did you find a particularly intriguing fact you included in your story? 

Gail: This research seemed more difficult. I’m not sure why, because I used many of the same methods…visiting local museums, interviewing descendants of early pioneers, reading texts about life in the mid-1800’s, and studying Civil War battles that would fit into the plot. Maybe it’s that I had a better understanding of the timeline for World War II than for this one. 

LM: How different do you find the people of the “pioneer era” to those of the World War II era? The same? 

Gail: Such a good question. My heroine suffers almost unbearable loss at a young age, and reacts much as a young woman might have during World War II. Grief affects people throughout the ages, but now we have support groups, counselors, etc. 
 
My WWII characters did not enjoy these resources, and the losses that were thrown at them had to mount up. But back in the 1860’s, even fewer helps were available in Abby’s isolated situation. 
 
Men and women also respond differently to grief and loss, and unresolved grief can multiply the consequences we suffer. I think Abby’s sex, the suddenness of her bereavement, and the difficulty of resolution make her story unique. At that time, many chose the option of “going west” and starting over. But what a host of dangers they faced!
 
LM: Your story is set in Arizona. Did you choose that location for a specific reason? Have you had the opportunity to visit the area where you set your story? 
 
Gail: Yes, this is where I spend time in the winters. Meeting one of the men who helped excavate this area solidified the setting, because he said that the workers found a Native American grindstone right under the spot where our house is built. (Of course, they made off with it, but sometimes we still find pottery shards in our front yard.) 

LM: How did you go about creating your main characters? (e.g., do you determine their names first? Occupation? Etc.) 

Gail: The name usually occurs to me first. Their occupation develops as I study the time and locale. 
 
LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? 

Gail: I’d like to be able to dance really well. Love watching people who waltz so beautifully and
jitterbug, etc. 

LM: What is one piece of advice you’d like to offer to fledgling writers? 

Gail: Determination is a key element in this career. As Churchill said, “Never give up.” 
 
LM: What is your next project? 

Gail: Hmm…I’ll probably take another look at a WWII novella I wrote last year, and a short story, both WWII, and each with a Christmas theme. 
 
LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Gail: 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GailGkittleson @GailGkittleson 
Instagram: @gailkittlesonauthor

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Release Day: Vanessa's Replacement Valentine

 Release Day: Vanessa's Replacement Valentine


I'm excited to announce today's release: Vanessa's Replacement Valentine. Part of the Brides of Pelican Rapids series, this story was particularly interesting to research and write. The male protagonist is of Norwegian descent, and I enjoyed learning about this group of people who emigrated to the U.S. for religious motives, to escape poverty, and to seek employment in the more industrialized America. There are currently more than 4.5 million Norwegian-Americans, the tenth-largest European ancestry group in the U.S. I hope you enjoy Vanessa's and Miles's story.




Vanessa's Replacement Valentine is available for purchase or Kindle Unlimited. 
Grab your copy today.