Monday, October 23, 2017

Blog Tour: Straight Flies the Arrow

Blog Tour: Straight Flies the Arrow

About the Book


Name of book: Straight Flies the Arrow  
Author: Sydney Tooman Betts  
Genre: Historical, adventure, Romance  
Release Date: July 8, 2017

During the winter of 1841, Pacing Wolf, the esteemed leader of the Many Lodges, follows the trail of a brutal murderer, leaving behind his beloved woman, Small Doe. When his tracking party returns without him, the Sparrow Hawks’ Real Chief pronounces him dead, insisting Small Doe grieve, but she cannot bring herself to give up hope her husband will return. The coming spring offers her few choices. She can accept the courageous new warrior chosen for her or risk falling prey to his war-society rivals. Vengeance and loyalty, hatred and faithfulness, all vie within two enemy villages, one belonging to the Sparrow Hawks and the other the Allies, threatening to crush every hope of happiness for Small Doe and everyone she loves.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:

I had mixed reactions to Straight Flies the Arrow. Totally intrigued by the premise, I couldn't wait to get my hands on my copy. Unfortunately, for me the pace was too slow until about halfway through the book. As a disclaimer, I read a LOT of suspense and mystery fiction in which chapters are short and the pace is rocket-fast. So for others, perhaps the speed at which the book progresses will be just fine. As I said, by about the midway mark, the plot got moving and I found myself engrossed in the story. I loved Pacing Wolf and Small Doe; they are well-developed and I could relate to them. It was nice to read a love story about a married couple. I learned a ton about the Native American culture and was intrigued about how the Christian message was received or rejected among the tribes. It was also interesting to hear the Bible's stories through the Natives' viewpoints. Because of the era and Native culture, there is some violence in the book, but it is handled well and is not too graphic. I had trouble keeping track of all the characters. I appreciate that the author included a list of characters in the beginning of the book, but since I was using an ereader it was a hassle to "flip" back and forth to figure out who was who. The author periodically changed points of view midpage which was confusing at times. I'm not sure how much input the author had on the cover, but it is what drew me into wanting to read the book. Straight Flies the Arrow is the third book in a series, but can be read as a stand-alone.

I received a free copy of this book from CelebrateLit Publicity, and a favorable review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author


Sydney Tooman Betts and her protagonist-husband currently reside near the extensive cavern system that inspired the setting for several early chapters of this book. While single, Ms. Betts (B.S. Bible/Missiology, M.Ed) was involved in a variety of cross-cultural adventures in North and Central America. After marrying, she and her husband lived in Europe and the Middle East where he served in various mission-support capacities. Her teaching experiences span preschool to guest lecturing at the graduate level and serving as the Sunday School Superintendent, Children’s Church Director, or Women’s Ministries facilitator in several evangelical denominations. Before penning her first novel, A River too Deep, she ghost-wrote several stories for an adult literacy program.

Guest Post from Sydney Tooman Betts

You know you are created for a purpose, but honestly, how much of a difference can one person make in a life filled with one foot put in front of another, cooking for a family, washing clothes, combing out tangles… You know you are created for a purpose, but honestly, how much of a difference can one person make in a life filled with one foot put in front of another, cooking for a family, washing clothes, combing out tangles… Come walk alongside one woman whose singular choice changes life for generations

Blog Stops

Here are the remaining blog stops on Sydney's tour:

October 24: Karen Sue Hadley
October 25: Singing Librarian
October 27: Mary Hake
October 29: Big Reader Site
October 30: Janice's Book Reviews
November 1: Simple Harvest Reads


To celebrate her tour, Sydney is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a signed, soft-back set of The People of the Book trilogy!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Selah Saturday Book Deals

Selah Saturday Book Deals

Here is this week's book deal:

Ada Brownell's Peach Blossom Rancher, is $0.99 for a limited time!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Hope Dougherty

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Hope Dougherty

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You recently published your third book, Rescued Hearts, which sounds very intriguing! Where did you get your inspiration for the story?

Hope: Thank you, Linda. I live out in the country and ride my bike on two-lane roads. One afternoon, I took a detour off my regular route onto a dirt path. The lane meanders by the location of where a farm house once stood. Trees, bushes, and a couple of shelters have been left behind.

As I passed the lonely-looking spot, a creepy sensation tickled the back of my neck. My imagination kicked into gear. What if a bike rider rode by an abandoned house? What if she saw a kitten entangled in a honeysuckle vine at the porch steps? What if, while she tried to free the kitten, someone grabbed her and dragged her inside?

Those questions continued popping up in my mind. I began seeing the characters, then hearing them speak. Those questions led to the first chapter of Rescued Hearts.

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

Hope: The characters for Rescued Hearts appeared as I began to answer some of the questions to the previous questions. The characters aren’t based on people I know, but they do have some characteristics of family members or friends. For example, two characters enjoy carving objects from wood. My father is a wood carver.

LM: Research is an important part of the writing process. Do you have an interesting research incident to share?

Hope: Because I didn’t know anything about guns or undercover police work, I attended the Writers’ Police Academy. What a great weekend of learning from knowledgeable people including FBI agents, EMT workers, and undercover policemen. I also interviewed my local sheriff and several undercover deputies. They were all helpful, generous, and patient especially since I hadn’t published anything in fiction at the time and didn’t have an agent either.

LM: Fun! I've always wanted to attend one of those weekends. What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Hope: I like quiet when I write. I’ve tried writing in public places, but I’m too much of a people watcher to be productive in coffee shops. I write from my desk in the corner of our bonus room or on our back porch. I pray for God’s guidance and help, then I’m off to the story world!
LM: You’re from Eastern North Carolina, a beautiful area of the country. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Hope: I’d love to take another home exchange to Ireland or visit Italy for the first time. I also want to do a bicycle tour in Vermont and paddle boat down the Mississippi River. The best vacation I’ve had in a long time, however, happened two summers ago. My husband and I splurged and rented a house for a week right on a North Carolina beach. We and our four adult children read books, played board games, played cards, put a puzzle together, swam in the ocean, and relaxed the whole time. I would choose that vacation again, for sure!

LM: The random facts about you on your website list include lots of intriguing things. What’s left on your bucket list to learn or do?

Hope: Oh, fun question. I’d love to learn to play the banjo. I already play the piano, clarinet, and dulcimer. I love blue grass music, so learning the banjo would be fun.

LM: Good luck with that. What is your next project?

Hope: I’m working on a sweet romance set in Charlotte. No guns in this story!

LM: LOL! Where can folks find you on the web?

Hope: Thanks so much for having me, Linda. I love connecting with people, so I hope your readers will look for me. Here are my social media links:

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: Following the USO

Traveling Tuesday: Following the USO

Founded in 1941 and although congressionally chartered, the USO is not a government organization. Dependent on private funding, approximately thirty-three million dollars was raised by Thomas Dewey and Prescott Bush (today's equivalent=$433 million) between its founding and 1945. The organization's motto is "Until everyone comes home."

Known for its traveling camp shows and clubmobiles, the USO operated over 3,000 centers worldwide. Staffed by volunteer Senior and Junior hostesses, the centers provided recreational opportunities and dancing, a quiet place to write letters home, snacks and cigarettes (but no liquor), and even boxing rings. Not only did celebrities entertain the troops, but many volunteered as waitstaff or kitchen help.

Beginning in 1942, the mobile units toured every one of the forty-eight states during the war. The trucks carried generators, screens, and film projectors and many of the vehicles featured a public address system, turntable and records, sports gear, board games, and snacks. Most importantly the local USO would provide hostesses to dance with the young men.

Despite the danger, camp shows also operated in combat zones, and as a result thirty-seven performers lost their lives, including singer Tamara Drasin. According to historian Paul Holsinger the 702 traveling troupes conducted 293,738 performances during 208,178 separate visits entertaining more than 161 million service men and women. Mind-boggling numbers!

Today, the USO operates 160 centers worldwide and still depends on the generosity of others to provide funding.

The character in my current work-in-progress, Geneva Alexander, leaves home to join the Baltimore, MD USO. Where would you have been willing to serve?

Perhaps at one of these centers operating during WWII:

French Riviera USO

El Paso, Texas

USO in Elbow Beach, Bermuda

Temperature taking booth in Spain

USO in Hawaii

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Author Julie Arduini

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Author Julie Arduini

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You recently published book three in your Surrendering Time series. Where did you get your inspiration, and did you set out to write a series, or did that idea come later?

Julie: Thanks for having me, Linda. The inspiration came in the early 1990’s when I first visited the real village of Speculator in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY. As I walked around, I kept thinking about characters and asking, “What if...?” Those first questions transformed from an outline, to a few lousy drafts, so sitting on a shelf while I married and had kids, and then in 2010, I became serious and started learning the craft. I never thought this would become a series, let alone publish at all. When I pitched to a small publisher, they asked and I had ideas for a series. I never thought I’d see it through. I am an indie author now, and I’m so glad it evolved the way it did.

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

Julie: Most of them are very loosely based. I watch people and situations and think though various plots. Often characters have a similarity to me or someone I know.

LM: You have published both fiction and non-fiction books. How is the writing process different for them?

Julie: That’s a great question. Both involve a great deal of thinking, but I find the non-fiction is more emotional. One of the books is an infertility book I co authored with five other authors who experienced infertility. I had to return to a very hard season in my life and recall it. That was quite draining. Fiction writing often puts me in a zone where I block out what’s around me and enter story world, and sometimes it’s difficult to enter the real world because I get so involved. However, it isn’t as emotional.

LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Julie: I make sure to read through my devotionals and pray, I really want to stay Christ centered and make sure the words I type are truly His. I tend to write in the bedroom as both my husband and our son work from home.

LM: If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Julie: I’d love to take our entire family on a Disney Cruise. We did one with just the four of us, but it would be fun to take the older children, their kids, my sister and nephew.

LM: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Julie: There are so many things! I was the original wedding crasher and it ended up being at my dentist’s wedding, and I was his patient that Monday and he asked me about it while I was trapped in the chair!

LM: LOL! What is your next project?

Julie: I am finishing up You’re Beautiful, a middle grade book in the Surrendering Stinkin’ Thinkin’ series. The idea and the plot/characterization comes from our teen daughter who has slight special needs and has experienced things she wants girls to recognize and give it to God. The first book is about a mentoring ministry where a teen girl and a college aged mentor both struggle separately with feeling ugly. I am so proud of her on this. This fall I return to contemporary romance with my 6 book series on Surrendering Opinions with Anchored. Readers can find the series prologue at the end of ENGAGED.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


Monday, October 9, 2017

Mystery Monday: Margery Allingham

Mystery Monday: Margery Allingham

Known as one of the queens of crime, Margery Allingham wrote nearly fifty books in her career, most of which featured Albert Campion, the pseudonym for a prominent British aristocrat who becomes an "adventurer and a detective" in his mid 20s. Said to be a parody of Dorothy Sayer's Lord Wimsey, Campion starts out as a minor character in The Crime of Black Dudley published in 1929.

Both of her parents were writers, so it was only natural that Margery select that as her vocation. Her father was an editor and novelist, and her mother contributed stories to women's magazines. According to one source, she received her first fee when she was eight years old for a story she submitted to her aunt's magazine.

Margery continued to write for The Strand Magazine while her writing was gaining popularity.  Different than many of the other authors of The Golden Age of Detective Fiction, she included elements of romance and other secondary plot lines in her books. She is said to have considered the mystery novel as a "box with four sides: a killing, a mystery, an enquiry, and a conclusion with an element of satisfaction in it."

Two of Margery's best novels were written during WWII. The first, Traitor's Purse involves amnesia, The Tiger in the Smoke features an ex-commando and a search for treasure. What's not to love about that?
secrets, and treason woven together to create an intriguing, page-turning story.

Her writing is descriptive and her dialogue tight, creating characters and settings with few words. Timeless reads, her books are worth a trip to the library to pick up one or two or...

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Chatting With Lisa Flickinger

Talkshow Thursday: Chatting With Lisa Flickinger

Lisa Flickinger is joining me today and discussing her new book. Grab a chair and get to know this fascinating author.

Linda: Thanks for joining me today. Your latest book, Fool’s Notion is a story of a woman on the Oregon/California Trail with a pack string of mules. What made you decide to write this story?

Lisa: When I was eight years old, my family went on vacation to California and visited Knott’s Berry Farm. I remember vividly a miniature display of covered wagons on the Oregon Trail. At that moment I fell in love with the idea of pioneering.

LM: How did you decide which time period to set Fool’s Notion in?

Lisa: I use Borax detergent for “keeping my whites white” and there is a picture of a mule team on the box. When I researched the Borax “rush” I discovered it began in 1882. I picked 1883 as the year for my heroine, Alda, to have a reason to cross the country with her mules.

LM: Fascinating! I love hearing about those kinds of serendipitous inspirations. What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?

Lisa: I don’t do anything special to prepare, I generally only write at my desk, in my office. Sounds of any kind disturb my creative process ;)

LM: Writers are often people who grew up as voracious readers. Who was your favorite author when you were a child?
Lisa: I’m definitely a voracious reader and I’m pretty sure I read through all the chapter books for kids in our local library. My aunt started me on Nancy Drew mysteries, by author Carolyn Keene, from there I moved onto the Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden …

LM: Yep - those were some of my favorites too! So, you live in a gorgeous area of the world, one many people would visit on holiday. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Lisa: I have traveled to quite a few beautiful places in the world like Thailand, Philippines, Italy, and Switzerland, but my current wish list is to visit Ireland and Scotland. I would love to take a car tour and stay at B&B’s so we could stop and take in any sight we wished to.

LM: What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Lisa:  Hmmm, quirky. Perhaps think I could write a novel. Seriously though, I once washed the feet of street people in the Philippines on a downtown boulevard with a mission team. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.   

LM: What is your next project?

Lisa: I’m writing a story of a young woman with a secret child in the late 1800’s who’s living in a rough and tumble logging town along the Rockies. She meets a new pastor with his own secrets and the two of them attempt to form a relationship under difficult circumstances.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

LM: Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lisa: Thanks for the interview.