Thursday, June 29, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: A Season of Hope

Talkshow Thursday: A Season of Hope

Author Sara Jane Jacobs
Today I am welcoming debut novelist, Sara Jane Jacobs. Pull up a chair and get to know her and the story behind the story! Be sure to scroll all the way down to enter Sara's giveaway!

Linda:  Congratulations on your debut novel, Season of Hope, and thanks for joining me today. Where did you find your inspiration for this story?
Sara Jane: Thank you, Linda! I’m so happy to be here! Much of the inspiration for the story came from my visits to my father’s hometown of Franklin, North Carolina. We would go every summer when I was growing up. Tiny memories made their way into book one and book two (soon to be released). I was also inspired by a family vacation to Nantahala back in the 90s. That is when I began writing the story. I believe this is where I created the fictional setting of Nathan’s Mountain near Bryson City. The story grew from an idea I had for a short story which happened more than halfway through book two. From that scene, I went back about seventeen years and started writing.
LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing? For example do you listen to music or set up in a specific place?
Sara Jane: Occasionally, I will listen to music if there is already a song that I have come across that inspires me. But I don’t let music play in the background unless it’s classical. The words are too much of a distraction. Mostly I just sit down at my computer and force myself to stop doing other things. I love writing, but once I start it’s a bit like stepping through a portal/time warp. Before I know it, the sun is setting.
LM: Research is an important part of writing. Do you have an interesting or unusual research story to share?
Sara Jane: Originally, Tyler was going to attend West Point. The book was edited and I was almost ready to begin submitting to publishers when I realized this timeline was not going to work. I had to do a lot of writing and rewriting for him to become a Navy SEAL to keep the story from falling apart. This involved a crash course in everything Navy SEALs. I watched videos, listened to books and read real life stories online of real life heroes. It had quite an impact on me and was all I could talk about for a while. It has tremendously deepened my appreciation for the members of our military and their families.
LM: Your main characters are young people. Think about when you were growing up. What is your favorite book from your childhood?
Sara Jane:  I loved children’s books and remember Mike McClintock’s, A Fly Went By, being the first book I couldn’t wait to learn to read. I also fell in love with Little House on the Prairie later on.
LM: If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Sara Jane: Great question! If I could pull together my family and friends and we could all hike the Appalachian Trail together, that would be an awesome experience!  
LM: Thanks for joining us today. Where can readers connect with you?
About the Book: 
When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn't upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda's not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda's family over the next ten years.

As high school graduation nears, Tyler is shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he would have never imagined; he's crushing on his best friend. And for the first time in his life he's hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future. He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy SEAL, while Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then return home to the community college.

When Amanda's summer job catapults her into a modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler's impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that she's falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship with Tyler, she's hiding a secret, too.

Phoebe Garrison, Amanda's controlling aunt, is thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece. Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda's manager is just what she's been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler becomes aware of Phoebe's obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status, tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.

Enter below for a chance to win: 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: Buckingham Palace

Traveling Tuesday: Buckingham Palace

“It all happened so quickly that we only had time to look foolishly at each other when the scream hurtled past us and exploded with a tremendous crash in the quadrangle.” So said the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth about her experience during the September 13, 1940 attack made on Buckingham Palace by the Germans during WWII. She went on to say her “knees trembled a bit,” but she was “pleased by the behavior of their servants, some of whom were injured.”

Hitler was determined to break the morale of the English people, and used a period of incessant bombing that is now known at The Blitz to try to do so. Between September 7, 1940 and May 10, industrial and civilian centers. They began with London, specifically with Buckingham Palace.

The first of sixteen hits to the Palace and its grounds (nine of which were direct hits) was on September 8th. Fortunately that bomb was harmless. The second, which fell near the swimming pool, came the next day. The third attack, on September 13th found its mark. A single pilot specifically targeted the Palace with a stick of five high explosive bombs. Two hit the inner quadrangle, one hit the Royal Chapel, and the remaining two fell on the forecourt and roadway between the gates and the Victoria Memorial.

The King and Queen were in residence at the time, having publicly declared they would not leave London or flee to Canada as suggested by the Foreign Office. Elizabeth stated, “The children will not leave unless I do so. I shall not leave unless their Father does, the King will not leave the country in any circumstances, whatever.”

Two more attacks occurred that month, followed by one October and again in November of that year. A tantalizing target, Buckingham Palace would be bombed several more times before the end of the war. The building was damaged, but the British spirit that Hitler hoped to smash proved to be indomitable. 

Bombing Map of Buckingham Palace

Here are some photos of damage to the Palace during the Blitz.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet June Foster

Talkshow Thursday: Meet June Foster

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Your latest book is part of collection published by Forget Me Not Romances. How did that come about?

Author June Foster
June:  Cynthia Hickey, the owner and innovative editor, is putting together a collection which features contemporary and historical fiction set in every state of the US. Since I had a story brewing in my head set in an old silver mining ghost town, I chose Idaho which is famous for its silver mining.

LM: That sounds fascinating! You have published lots of books. What is your favorite part of the writing process?

June: Probably when the story and the characters begin to form in my mind. I love getting to know them better, understanding their goals, their fears, their spiritual standing. Then I begin to imagine in what difficult situations I can place them and how they grow in the Lord.

LM: Your novels feature locations all over the U.S. When you write, how do you go about choosing which location to use, and do you have a favorite?

June: Since my husband and I travel full time in our RV, it's not hard to come up with locations. When visiting an area, my author's brain goes to work imagining a story that takes place there. Sometimes, the editor's requests for a particular story will determine the location. For example, Cynthia wanted stories set in small towns. Since we lived in a small town in Alabama before we started traveling, I chose to set my story in a fictional town near Huntsville. I don't have a favorite but love each location where my characters live.

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

June: I seem to have a one track mind so listening to music is a distraction. I've found that morning is the best time for me to write, so after my quiet time with the Lord, I grab a caramel latte and sit down to write at my laptop perched on my tiny kitchen table.

LM: You’ve done a lot of traveling by RV. If money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

June: Ooo, a challenging question. It would probably be a getaway from the RV. Though I would love to visit Jerusalem and Israel, my second favorite would be a fabulous two week trip to the island of Kauai.

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

June I'm almost ashamed to admit this. But before I became a Christian, I was waiting for my husband at the officer's club where he worked while in the Army. I sat alone at a table with a glass of wine and one of the officer's asked if he could sit down. Why I said yes, I'll never know. But in the course of conversation, I fabricated a huge story. I told him I had been widowed recently and was trying to get my life together again. I never saw the guy again and looking back, I can see how the Lord has refined me like gold since those days without Him. But in retrospect, I can use some of these old experiences to better understand my unsaved characters who find the Lord by the end of the story.

LM: What is your next project?

June: I am just about finished with the small town story I mentioned above then I'll write a sequel where two secondary characters from the book will be the hero and heroine of the new story. After that, I'm writing a story which will take place at a Wyoming dude ranch. Most exciting is we are spending the summer in Shell, Wyoming, where I can do research.

LM: Lots on your plate! It has been such a pleasure getting to know you. Where can folks find you on the web?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Blog Tour: The Secret Slipper

Blog Tour: The Secret Slipper

ext-align: center;”> Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book


Book title: The Secret Slipper  
Author: Amanda Tero  
Release date: May 25, 2017  
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity? Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character? As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?

My Thoughts:

The Secret Slipper is a wonderful retelling of the Cinderella story. I love that the prince in this case was the father, and even though I'm quite familiar with the popular fairy tale, I found myself rooting for him as I wondered if he would ever find his daughter. I liked the flavor of the setting-kind of medieval, but not as primitive. The villain is so evil, it was a pleasure to dislike her, and I found myself getting angry as I read the injustices she meted out to Lia. There was a character near the end of the story who only purpose seemed to be to present the message of salvation to Lia. The woman seemed to have her own story, and I was disappointed the author didn't follow through with it. Perhaps a sequel? This is the first of Amanda Tero's books I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I plan to read the first in her Tale of Faith series, Befriending the Beast. Anyone who loves fairy tales or stories set in medieval times would enjoy this book. The main character, Lia, is thirteen, so teens may also like The Secret Slipper.

I received this book for free from Celebrate Lit, and a positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

A homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

Guest post from Amanda Tero

Do you ever have plans that come up from almost nowhere? That is kind of how “The Secret Slipper” started. I had written a fun novella, “Befriending the Beast.” It was a stand-alone. Just for fun. My relief project during a longer project. Well, no sooner had “Befriending the Beast” released when a friend asked me, “Hey, have you considered a father/daughter Cinderella story?” That night I stayed up until after midnight, mulling over ideas and coming up with the title. Lord Kiralyn, who appeared in “Befriending the Beast” as Belle’s uncle now had a story—involving a daughter that I didn’t know existed, but whose existence created a whirlwind of adventure, heartache, and excitement. And now that I have two books in the series, my brain is already pulling at ideas for a book three. But that’s another story for another day.

Blog Stops

Amanda has two more stops on her tour.

June 19: Henry Happens

June 19: Bookworm Mama


To celebrate her tour, Amanda is giving away a grand prize of paperback copies of Amanda’s three novellas: Journey to Love, Befriending the Beast, and The Secret Slipper.Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: The Atlantic Wall

Wartime Wednesday: The Atlantic Wall

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “The Atlantic Wall?” I imagined some sort of brick or concrete block structure similar to the Berlin Wall or Hadrian’s Wall. Perhaps even the Great Wall of China. Nope. That’s not it.

Turns out, the Atlantic Wall was an extensive system of fortifications and defenses created by the German Army along the coast of continental Europe and Scandinavia. Early in the war, Hitler anticipated an invasion by the Allies and set about to prevent their success. (The beaches of Normandy were part of this 1,670 mile “wall.”)

Nearly one million French were forced to build this collection of machine gun posts, emplacements, military installations, radar stations, mines, fortresses, and bunkers. It is reported that 1.2 million tons of steel (enough to make 20,000 tanks) and 17 cubic meters of concrete (the equivalent of 1,100 Yankee Stadiums) were used during the project. It cost 3.7 million Reichsmarks, equal to $306 billion in today’s money.

The Wall continues to create controversy in France. Some saw the Atlantic Wall as a sign of collaboration during the War. Many French construction companies got very rich out of building the Wall. Because these same companies were needed to help with reconstruction after the war, nothing was said, but others saw the abandoned defenses as a reminder of the occupation and couldn’t wait to tear them down. It wasn’t until decades later that the public began to preserve sections of the Wall, and these fortifications draw thousands of tourists.

Although never completed, bunkers still exist in Ostend, Channel Islands, Den Haag, Scandinavia, and other locations.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mystery Monday: Who was Peter Drax?

Mystery Monday: Who was Peter Drax?

There were many famous people who lost their lives during WWII: Carole Lombard, Glenn Miller, Leslie Howard, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Someone perhaps less well-known who was killed in action was author Eric Elrington Addis. Writing under the pseudonym Peter Drax, Addis published six crime novels during the Golden Age of detective fiction.

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1899, Eric was the son of a retired Indian civil servant and the daughter of an officer in the British Indian Army. He attended Edinburgh University and then entered the Royal Navy. After serving with distinction, he retired in 1929 and became a barrister focusing on admiralty law and divorce. (A barrister is a lawyer who specializes in courtroom litigation.) At the outbreak of WWII, he was called back in to service and was assigned to HMS Warspite. Unfortunately he was killed in action during an air raid on the British Navy base at Alexandria, Egypt.

Despite his short career as a novelist, Eric is considered an important author during the Golden Age. As one reviewer put it, “Rather than the artificial and outsize master sleuths and super crooks found in so many classic mysteries from the Gold Age, Drax’s novels concern police who are not endowed with supernatural powers and crooks who are also human.” Two of his books, Death by Two Hands and Tune to a Corpse were published in the United States, and received excellent reviews. When he died he left an unfinished manuscript Sing a Song of Murder, and his wife, author Hazel Iris Wilson completed the book, it was published in 1944.

Eric was a voracious reader of thrilled, and felt most were “lamentably unlikely affairs,” and set out to write mysteries that were “credible.” Critics and readers agree that he met his goal, creating seven gripping stories, not for the faint of heart. (An interesting aside, I searched for quite a while and never found a photograph of Eric.)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Carly Turnquist

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Carly Turnquist

Today we’ve managed to corral Carly Turnquist, forensic accountant, as she shares the story behind the story for her latest adventure, Hidden Assets. She is being interviewed by her creator, Leeann Betts.

Leeann:          Well, Carly, nice of you to drop in.

Carly: Not like I had any choice. I didn’t want you to write me out of my own series.     

LAB:   Hard to do that. But that’s a threat for another day. Carly, your readers love that you don’t take yourself seriously. Why is that?

CT:     Why do they love me, or why don’t I take my seriously?

LAB:   Why don’t you take yourself seriously?

CT:     My husband Mike says I’m a full-time job. I think he’s right, and that seems unfair. So I try to laugh at myself more than I cry, because I think maybe that will make his job easier. Also, although when I’m faced with a decision, I feel like I make the right decision, but when I look back, I can see I should have thought it through a little better. Which means I can laugh at myself later on. Not as much as Mike laughs at me, but some.

LAB:   You’re a forensic accountant. What exactly do you do?

CT:     Besides create work for Mike? (laughs) A forensic accountant is an accountant who has been specially trained to look for things people try to hide. For example, the IRS hires tons of us to ferret out taxable income people try to disguise as something else. Divorce attorneys hire us to help their clients find money and assets that the opposing party has hidden. Estate attorneys also use our services. Because we use standardized accounting principles, our work can be checked and tested, which gives us credibility in court. Forensic really just means “forum” or the ability to testify credibly in court. It doesn’t have anything to do with dead bodies. Although, I have been known to stumble over one or two bodies in the past.

LAB:   Which is what makes you an accidental sleuth, right?

CT:     That’s a term used by some, and I guess I like it better than amateur sleuth, because when it comes to me, I’m no amateur. Not like that railway copper I get mixed up with in this book. Now he–

LAB:   Not here to talk about him. So your friend asks you to help her find some missing property, right?

CT:     Right. She’s getting a divorce, and I know how that feels. And she thinks her husband has taken some of their joint marital property and hidden it so he won’t have to share it with her in the divorce settlement. Plus we haven’t seen each other in years. We were friends in college, and have kept in touch ever since.

LAB:   Apparently there’s a backseat driver story she’s going to share with Mike?

CT:     Apparently so. I was a little bit wild in college, not to mention a wee bit controlling. Don’t ask Mike, though. He’d say I haven’t changed a bit.

LAB:   And then there’s something going on with Mike’s client, right? Didn’t that happen in the last book, too?

CT:     Yes. In Broke, Busted, and Disgusted, Mike’s client ends up murdered, and Mike is suspected, except he is missing. Which caused me no end of grief, let me tell you. He hasn’t had the nerve to complain lately that I’m a full time job, after that little escapade. In Hidden Assets, his client is trying to pull the wool over his eyes. Mike is writing a new computer program for this client, and Mike discovers some bad practices and crooked dealings happening behind the scenes of the program, in a ghost module, so to speak.

LAB:   So why did you take the train to Wyoming?

CT:     Because of the episode on the plane to New Mexico, Mike thought it would be safer to take the train. Days of boring nothingness. At least, that’s what he hoped. And he was right, until the night we were due to get off.

LAB:   Without giving away the ending, does the story end well?

CT:     As you know, I have a strong sense of justice. Of course the story ends well. Not for everybody, of course. But the good guys win and the bad guys—not in the gender sense, because I don’t want to give it away, as you said—get theirs. Justice is satisfied, and I’m off home again to quiet Bear Cove, Maine.

LAB:   But Bear Cove, Maine, isn’t always peaceful, is it?

CT:     True. It probably has a higher per capita murder rate than New York City, but it keeps things interesting.

LAB:   So what’s up for you next?

CT:     Well, a good friend wants to thank me for solving the murder and saving her life, so she’s sending us on an Alaskan cruise. Think about it, seven days of sailing, whale watching, and eating. What could go wrong?

LAB:   Yes, Carly, what could go wrong, indeed?

Author bio: 

Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at or follow Leeann on

Find her on Facebook or Twitter. Her books are available on Amazon.