Thursday, November 30, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Fellow authors Terri Wangard and Jodie Wolfe

Talkshow Thursday: 
Fellow authors Terri Wangard and Jodie Wolfe

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today, ladies. I was thrilled when our publisher CelebrateLit invited me to be part of a Christmas collection with you titled The Hope of Christmas. I had just finished reading about the English country homes that were requisitioned by the government during WWII, so decided to wrap my story around that. How did you choose what to write about?

Terri: I learned about the USS Tabberer while doing research for Wheresoever They May Be. I loved the account of the crewmen’s heroics during the typhoon, but couldn’t use it in my book. When I heard about the short stories, I knew it was the perfect place to showcase the Tabby.

Jodie: : In my first collection with Celebrate Lit Publishing, Let Love Spring, my heroine was one of three sisters. So when I was contracted to write a second story with them, I decided to write about one of the other sisters. 

LM: When I was growing up, my paternal grandparents came to our home every Christmas. Even though they were staying the night, during their first trip into the house they would carry piles of gifts rather than suitcases. What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Terri: Going to church for Christmas Eve services. The children always took part, and one year, I was one of the angels who appeared to the shepherds. As we left the podium and went past the choir loft, one of the girls in the choir said to a friend, “They have bare feet.” Back in the day, it was scandalous to be barefoot in church, but do angels wear shoes?

Jodie: I was in second grade when our family moved from one town to another. We moved over Christmas break and I remember my parents were busy packing and I'm not sure what my brothers were up to. I remember sitting on the floor by the Christmas tree, with my back against the sofa and just staring up at the lights on the tree and enjoying the beauty of it.

LM: My story, A Doctor in the House, takes place in England, and I’ve been fortunate to visit, so I have experienced the country first hand. How did you research the settings for your stories?

Terri: Most of Typhoon Prompting takes place in the South Pacific. While I have been there on cruise ships, and even during rough weather, I haven’t been in a typhoon. So all my research came from books, one in particular that I bought used and have read several times.

Jodie: While my story Picking a Bride for Paul is set in a made-up town, it's based on a place in Kansas where my in-laws used to live. Since I had already come up with the town in my first story, it was easy to draw on it for this tale.

LM: I love to write stories, but I must confess that research is my favorite task. I can chase a factoid for days, ferreting out the details. What is your favorite aspect of the writing process?

Terri: I love the research, too. I do way too much.

Jodie: For me it's a toss-up between the research and the writing process. J

LM: What advice can you give to not-yet-published writers?

Terri: Have a lot of patience. Getting published can take years.

Jodie: Wait and trust God's timing.

LM: I’m currently working on a full length historical mystery about a young woman who joins the USO. What is your next project?

Terri:  I’m moving from World War II to World War I. My setting is the Lusitania.

Jodie: I have a full-length book coming out in May 2018 that is set in the back-drop of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893 in Oklahoma Territory.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Twitter: @TerriWangard



Purchase your copy today of The Hope of Christmas from Amazon

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wartime Wednesday: Children’s War Stories

Wartime Wednesday: Children’s War Stories

World War II impacted children and young adults at many levels, often because they had fathers, brothers, uncles, or cousins off in combat. But kids were also exposed to the war in the toys they played with (read my post about that here) or the books they read. Here are three of the era’s most prolific authors:

Wheaton College graduate and minister Roy Judson Snell wrote nearly one hundred children and YA books under his own name as well as several pseudonyms. Born in 1878, his first story was published in 1922. Most of his books were aimed at boys, however he did write a series about women in the uniformed services such as Norma Kent and the WACS, Sparky Ames of the Ferry Command, and Sally Scott of the WAVES.

Another author who wrote for young adults was Robert Sidney Bowen, Jr. A Boston native who served in WWI as an aviator, Bowen penned the fifteen volume Dave Dawson War Adventure series about a high school graduate who follows his father to Europe just before WWII begins. Dave befriends an English teen, and the two find themselves fighting beside the British troops. Bowen’s Red Randall series is about a young aviator who serves in the Pacific Theatre. In addition to his fiction career, he was a journalist for several newspapers and magazines.

Hilda Van Stockum was a Dutch native who lives for many years in the U.S. She published several children’s series about the war, some of which were based on her family’s experiences, such as The Mitchells: Five for Victory. Her best known book, The Winged Watchman tells how traditional windmills were used for signaling despite German occupation.

What books do you remember from your childhood?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mystery Monday: The Elusive Emma Lou Fetta

Mystery Monday: The Elusive Emma Lou Fetta

More is known about Susan Yates, Emma Lou Fetta’s fashion designing protagonist, than the author herself. Born Emma Louise Hawkins Fetta on September 21, 1898, she attended Earlham College, a Quaker institution located in her hometown of Richmond, Indiana. Initially a boarding school at its founding in 1947, a collegiate department was added in 1859. Ahead of its time, Earlham was the first co-educational Quaker college.

From 1918 to 1920, Emma worked as a reporter for the Richmond (IN) newspaper, the Palladium then moved on to the Cincinnati Enquirer where she was a feature writer. A talented journalist, she went on to work for Chicago and New York papers before becoming the American correspondent for one of the London paper and press chairman for the Fashion Group.

Information is sketchy, but somewhere during that time she met and married George Walling Minster. It is unclear how and where they became acquainted.

In 1939, she added novelist to her resume when she published Murder in Style, the first of her three books. Because of Emma’s experience reporting the world of fashion, it is no surprise she chose that as her setting. In Murder in Style, the main character, Susan, is suspected of the crime- killing of a fellow committee member, so she attempts to prove her innocence. Assistant ADA Lyle Curtis is assigned to the case, adding romantic tension to the story.

In Mystery Women, the author observed that this pairing formed the combination that became common in the 1980s of an established female professional in another field romantically tied to a male whose profession dealt with crime.

Emma Lou’s second book Murder on the Face of It, published in 1940, was chosen as a Crime Club Mystery Novel. Her third, Dressed to Kill was released in 1941. All three books are well-written, delightful cozies (before cozies became a subgenre) and received high marks from critics and readers. Why she stopped writing mysteries is a mystery itself.

Who is your favorite cozy writer?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Traveling Tuesday: Hatfield House

Traveling Tuesday: Hatfield House

Writers get their inspiration for stories in numerous places. I’ve culled ideas from newspaper articles, museum exhibits, and snippets of overheard conversation (a great “what if” starter). The basis for my most recent story, A Doctor in the House, part of “The Hope of Christmas” collection germinated from an episode of “Foyle’s War” in which a country home is requisitioned for use as a convalescent hospital.  

I was intrigued by the concept that homeowners in England could be forced from their property by the government during WWII. Most of the places taken were large country estates with acres of associated land. Sometimes as little as three days’ notice was given that the house was going to be used and the residents were required to vacate. Often there was a “cottage” on site where owners could live in for the duration of the war.

During my search for a setting, I discovered Hatfield House, located in Herefordshire, England. Located in the West Midlands on the border between England and Wales, the county is sparsely populated and known for its fruit and cider production and the Hereford cattle breed. The 135 mile River Wye weaves through the county before heading into Wales. Although the original structure no longer exists, there has been a Hereford Cathedral on the site since the late 600s.

The original Hatfield House was constructed in 1497 and was the childhood home and favorite residence of Queen Elizabeth I. When James I came to the throne, he didn’t like the property, so gave it to his minister, Robert Cecil, who promptly tore down three of the wings and used the bricks for the current home.

Exquisite gardens cover forty-two acres and date from the early 1600s. In addition to beautiful fields of flowers and shrubbery, the property has extensive woodlands which are home to fallow and red deer as well as many smaller animals.  A tour of Hatfield House can be seen here.

During WWI, the grounds were used to test the first British tanks. Trenches and craters were dug, and barbed wired strung to indicate German lines. Hatfield House also “did its bit” during WWII by serving as a hospital/Civil Resettlement Unit, a facility where returning British soldiers who had been POWs could learn to ease back into their families and society.

Pre-order your copy of A Doctor in the House today.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mystery Monday: Ruth Sawtell Wallis Anthropologist and Novelist

Mystery Monday: Ruth Sawtell Wallis 
Anthropologist and Novelist

Better known in the academic world of anthropology for her research and discoveries, Ruth Sawtell Wallis wrote mystery novels. Her first, Too May Bones, was published in 1943. She received an undergraduate degree in English from Radcliffe College, after which she traveled to Europe as part of her graduate program in anthropology at Columbia University. A brilliant scientist, Ruth went on to receive her doctorate and began to teach at the University of Iowa. A year later, she married Professor Wilson Dallam Wallis, and as was typical of the era, lost her job as a result. Over the years she was able to work in her field intermittently, and she also collaborated on books with her husband.

According to her obituary written by a colleague, Ruth began to write mysteries in 1940 while recovering from a serious illness. Her books involve academic settings, and anthropology plays an integral part in the solution to the crimes. Set in a museum, Too Many Bones won the Red Badge Prize for best mystery of the year. When her novels were written, there were no “sub-genres” in the mystery book industry, however, hers may very well be the first in that now popular sub-genre.

Check out the map from the back of the dust jacket! Perhaps another first in the mystery genre.

Ruth conveys her feelings about women’s treatment in academia, especially wage differences, through her main character, Kay Ellis. Unusual for the time, Ruth also includes two African-American characters who have their own subplot. Unfortunately for readers, she only published five novels during a ten year period. The good news is they can be found for reasonable prices at any number of online sites.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Celebrate Lit Tour: Cowboy Christmas Guardian

Celebrate Lit Tour: Cowboy Christmas Guardian

About the Book:

Name of book: Cowboy Christmas Guardian
Author: Dana Mentink
Genre: Isnpy Romance Suspense

Someone is dead set on stopping Shelby Arroyo from doing her job: assessing mineral rights in a mine in gold country. But after rancher Barrett Thorn rescues her from an attack, the handsome widowed cowboy seems to feel responsible for her. That is, until he discovers she’s from the family that he’ll never forgive for his wife’s death. As the threats against Shelby escalate, cowboy honor and an unexpected attraction keep Barrett by her side, even at his own risk. And since Shelby won’t back down, Barrett must protect the brave, loyal woman he has no business falling for…a woman someone wants to kill by Christmas.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts:

As a suburban woman raised on the East Coast, far-flung ranches in the west are foreign to me. Thanks to descriptive writing and realistic dialogue, I was immersed in horses, cowboys, and the challenging life of a rancher. I fell in love with Barrett Thorn, who is strong yet sensitive, and chivalrous without being a caricature. I could feel his grief as he mourned the loss of his wife. I also loved his family and was happy to discover this is the first book in a series. Each brother has his own personality, and I can’t wait to meet them more in depth. Shelby is a well-developed character, and I enjoyed learning about geology through her eyes (a subject I despised in school!). Her struggles are realistic, and I cheered for her successes as she searched the mine. A page-turner, the book raced toward the end as author Mentink ratcheted up the action and predicaments she subjected Barrett and Shelby too. I was sure I had figured out who the killer was, but in the end was wrong. The plot twist at the end when the real killer was revealed was fantastic. Highly recommended.

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:


Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over thirty-five titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, Yogi, Boo Boo, a nutty terrier, a chubby box turtle and a feisty parakeet.

Guest Post from Dana Mentink

Howdy, readers! I am thrilled to be bringing you this four book Gold Country Cowboys series that takes place in an area near and dear to my heart! My family and I have enjoyed many adventures in this amazing area, from exploring gold mines, to climbing through caverns, and soaking in the incredible history. As a matter of fact, we recently enjoyed a train trip on the historic V and T Railroad which took us past abandoned mines and even some active ones where people are engaged in modern day treasure hunting. California’s Gold Country is a fascinating place filled with secret treasures. I hope you will enjoy some wild adventures with four cowboy brothers who have some secrets of their own. God bless you all!

Blog Stops

Here are Dana's Remaining Blog Tour Stops:

November 19: Red Headed Book Lady
November 19: Remembrancy
November 21: Autism Mom
November 21: Janice's Book Reviews
November 22: Moments Dipped in Ink
November 23: New Horizon Reviews
November 24: Pause for Tales
November 24: Ashley's Bookshelft
November 25: Cafinated Reads
November 26: Blogging with Carol
November 26: Daysong Reflections
November 27: Carpe Diem
November 27: Karen Sue Hadley
November 28: Bab's Book Bistro
November 29: The Power of Words


In honor of her tour, Dana is giving away a copy of Cowboy Christmas Guardian in print or ebook, a horse scarf and a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Debut Author Jeanne Dickson

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Debut Author Jeanne Dickson

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Your debut novel, Grounded Hearts, was released in June of this year and is set during WWII. (My favorite time period!) Where did you find your inspiration for this story?

Jeanne: My father was stationed in England during WWII. Issued with a weekend pass, he decided to fly to the U.S. Army base in Northern Ireland, and then visit family who lived nearby. Once there, he borrowed a bicycle and peddled across the border into Eire, “Free Ireland.” A few minutes into his ride, a member of the Garda, the Irish National Police, stopped him. The officer told him to turn his army jacket inside out, or he’d have to arrest him as a combatant and send him to the K-Lines internment camp. My father did as directed and continued on his way without further incident, which was fortunate because 240 soldiers from both sides of the conflict faced internment in Ireland during the war.

Remembering the story, I started the “what if” game. The more I researched the period the Irish called “The Emergency,” the more fascinated I became, and a WWII romance between a downed RAF pilot and a feisty midwife emerged.

LM: That is fascinating. I love books based on true stories. First novels are often the result of a long journey toward publication. How did you get started as a writer, and how did you decide to seek publication?

Jeanne: Grounded Hearts is my debut novel, but not my first book. I penned five or six novels before I finally received my first contract. During this long slog to publication, I sometimes wondered why I thought writing fiction was a good idea, but when God puts something on your heart, it’s foolish to resist.
LM: Amen to that! The age old question for writers – are you a planner or a “panster,” and what is your favorite part of the writing process?

Jeanne: While I plan the novel’s journey, I allow for detours. It’s a process, and honestly, every book is a bit different. The “what if” is my favorite part and then research to back up my premise statement.

LM: Writing about a different era and culture required lots of research.What tidbit did you discover during that phase of writing that created an “aha” moment for you?

Jeanne: Ireland was neutral during WWII? What? They interned combatants? What?

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

Jeanne: Well, I guess I’m still doing it. I have a collection of Barbie dolls that I dress up as my characters in whatever book I’m working on. They’re my muses. And my only weakness. Maybe.

LM: How fun! What is your next project?

Jeanne:  I’m currently working on a contemporary romance. A woman falls in love with her contractor as she struggles to renovate an inherited Irish manor house, but when she discovers a buried body, it throws into question the role an ancestor may have played in the girl’s death, and the discovery of an ancient fairy ring creates friction in the town, pitting traditionalist against progressives.

LM: Ooooh. Sounds intriguing! What advice can you give to not-yet-published writers?

Jeanne: Don’t give up and don’t be in hurry. Getting published is going to take more time than you might think. Learn your craft. Find a writing community to hang out with because you are not alone. I belong to RWA and ACFW. It can be hard, but don’t be shy and go to conferences. I found many friends, my agent, and my editor at conferences.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?


Purchase your copy: 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

CelebrateLit Blog Tour: Into a Silent World

CelebrateLit Blog Tour: Into a Silent World

About the Book

Title: Into a Silent World  
Author: Carmina Edwards  
Genre: Biography, Memoir  
Release Date: August 15, 2016

Following Amy’s adventures in A Door Cracked Open, she heads into a world which will test her faith and perseverance to the limit. Instead of settling into a simple, safe and unchanging life like she imagined, Amy is strongly drawn to a vocation with even higher requirements, prompting her to plan some seemingly impossible missions in order to reach her goal.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Thoughts

Into a Silent World takes the reader on the journey of discovery of a young woman who aspires to become a nun. The story was educational for me because as a Protestant, I know very little about the inner workings of the Catholic faith, especially that of priests and nuns. I’ve also never been to France so enjoyed reading about the area. This was the second book in the series, and I think it would have been better for me to have read the first book. I had trouble relating to Amy because she is timid, uncertain, and sometimes fearful, but I enjoyed watching how others interacted with her. Her sweetness had a way of drawing people to her. It saddened me that her family was not more supportive, but it made sense because they didn’t share her faith. I admired that despite her timidity, she often told others about her faith and desire to become a nun, even complete strangers. I would have preferred more dialogue and showing rather than telling.

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

About the Author

I am a mother of two wonderful grown up children and currently living in the UK, after living in Sweden for three years where I wrote my first book, “A Door Cracked Open.” I was blessed to be able to spend six months in USA before returning to the UK, my home country, to work with my editor in California on the edits of this book and visit friends. I am an avid reader and linguist, having also spent some years living in France and have been fortunate enough to have taught Swedish and French over twenty-five years and translate for businesses and manuscripts in both languages. Being unemployed the past few years, has led to me becoming homeless. However, I never give up hope. As I try to portray in my books, God has always had His hand on me. Once again, He has stepped in right at the last minute. I now have a new job in Sweden and will be moving back there. Because I feel passionately about helping the homeless, a large percentage of my royalties will go directly to them.

Guest Post from Carmina Edwards

“Into a Silent World” follows on from Amy’s story in “A Door Cracked Open.” With a new beginning ahead of her, a long standing dream about to be realized, she was unprepared for the events which were about to unfold over the next two years. Why would God send her to this place of “absolute conviction” and allow her to remain there for that long, if He never meant for her to be there? Amy struggles to understand and seeks His will, but determined that it was His plan, she persevered in order for her dream to be fulfilled.

Blog Stops

Here are the remaining stops on Carmina's Tour:

Reading is my Superpower, November 13 (Interview)
The Power of Words, November 14 (Interview)
Margaret Kazmierczak, November 15
Splashes of Joy, November 16
A Readers BrainNovember 17
Multifarious, November 18
Artistic Nobody, November 19 (Karin Perry guest post)
Texas Book-aholic, November 20


To celebrate her tour, Carmina is giving away
Grand Prize:
Paperback copies of A Door Cracked Open & Into a Silent World
1st – 3rd place:
Ebook copy of A Door Cracked Open!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Talkshow Thursday: Sitting down with Angela Breidenbach

Talkshow Thursday: Sitting down with Angela Breidenbach

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Your most recent release is His Indentured Bride which is set during the Revolutionary War period. I love the premise of the book: Leaving Scotland for a short indenture with her betrothed, Maire Greer’s contract is sold when disaster strikes her kindly owner, and then extended through cruel circumstances. Can Kirk Lachlan’s service in the American Revolution saver her or will she lose love and freedom forever? 

What was your inspiration for that story?

Angela: Thank you for having me today, Linda :) My inspiration for His Indentured Bride came from doing my own family genealogy. I have a suspicion that one or more of my ancestors may have been an indentured servant that won his freedom by serving in the American Revolution. I haven't yet uncovered the document to prove it so that let me play with the "what-if" scenarios. The story emerged from the research about the indentured servant laws. They ranged so broadly and differently. The one that stumped me was that a child could be born into indentured servitude and be forced to serve up to 35 years even if their parent earned out the original contract!

LM: Wow! That’s hard to believe in today’s day and age. You’ve written a wide range of books from historical and contemporary fiction to non-fiction. What do you do differently in your writing to appeal to these very different audiences?

Angela: Oh boy, that's a huge question. But the simplest answer is the word usage and to some degree the way those words connect. There's an antiquity and cadence to historical writing that isn't in contemporary or non-fiction. My grandfather was born in 1883. He spoke English in a more formal style. I grew up with him and my grandmother (whose first language was Swedish) and so the more formal style of historicals comes easily to me. I had to learn how to speak more modern language to "fit in" with the world today. Writing contemporaries took more practice and thought than historicals. Non-fiction is more "how-to". When I write in non-fiction, I consider the logical sequence steps to achieving the goal. I think my style is a more straight forward narrative for that genre. Regardless, it's a mindset.

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

Angela: Funny, I do have different places in my house for different things. I write mostly in my upstairs office, but I work on my genealogical studies classes in my living room. I didn't notice I did that until the remodel started this summer. I had to move to completely different places in the house than normal. But then I had trouble getting myself into the mindset for the particular work.

LM: Writing about past eras and different cultures inside and outside the U.S. must involve a lot of research. Do you have an unusual or favorite research story to share?

Angela: I adore research. Adore it. I think the research for Captive Brides/His Indentured Bride was the most unusual story so far. Jason Sherman, the creator/producer for the movie The King's Highway, happened to friend me on Twitter. I followed the link and saw it was exactly the research I needed. So I emailed him and started a fun friendship. He sent me a prerelease link to the movie to watch online. I made notes and that's how Dr. Benjamin Rush, the Philadelphia hospital, the King's Highway, and several other pieces popped into my story. I strongly suggest watching The King's Highway. But how fun it will be to see if after watching the movie or reading my story readers tagged me on Facebook to tell me what unexpected connection between the movie and book were found? I'd adore that, too! I think this connection to real history and multimedia makes the deeper understanding even more special for readers. The King's Highway is on Amazon Prime or you can find out about an upcoming tour and the movie:

LM: How exciting! You live in Montana, a gorgeous area of the U.S., but if money were no object, what is your idea of the ultimate vacation?

Angela: Ultimate vacations for me always involve learning something. My hubby and I are planning a trip to visit my daughter in Scotland. But, I plan to go back at another time to spend several weeks touring the country with an emphasis on finding the places my ancestors were from so I can continue to write their stories. Then, the next spot would be Sweden for the same thing :)

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

Angela: Yikes, that's tough because I think I'm naturally quirky. I mean, I'm a creative, lol. I've gone with another writer friend to a ghost town and pretended to live there. I love ghost towns, ghost walks, any old historic anything. I prefer to walk into a place and just be there quietly because inside my head there's a roar of life happening as I imagine who did live there and what their lives were like.

LM: What is your next project?

Angela: I'm working on a contemporary romance that will come out in a boxed set with Robin Lee Hatcher, Vickie McDonough, and Deborah Raney in February 2018.

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Angela: Thanks for asking. My website is and my weekly radio show where I interview creatives and pick their brains on air to reveal industry tips and secrets is My social media "handle" is @AngBreidenbach.

LM: Thank you so much for stopping by. You are one interesting (and busy!) lady. 

Here is the buy link for the collection that includes Angela's book:

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Blog Tour: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah

Blog Tour: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah

About the Book

Name of book: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah  
Author: Angie Dicken
Genre: Historical Romance  
Release Date: November 1, 2017

Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life. Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble. Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him. When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

Click here to purchase Angie’s amazing book!

About the Author

Angie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots. My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth. Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee. You can connect with Angie at

Guest Post from Angie Dicken

My Publishing Story: A Journey of Perfect Timing

“Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

I wrote a story five years ago. My footing was finally solid on how to write, after a couple ACFW conferences and connecting with my bestie writing sister, Ashley. So in 2012, I poured my heart out within the parameters of what I’d learned. The story I wrote stemmed from my heritage. From a very young age, I’ve been inspired by my grandfather. He was the son of a Greek coal miner who came over from Greece in the 1910’s. My grandfather always had wonderful stories to tell–he stirred up my intrigue for WWII era as he was a Purple Heart recipient (twice), and spoke of freeing concentration camps and invading Hitler’s homes; my grandfather lived a rags to riches legacy, having been born in a tent in a coal town, and then becoming a successful home and commercial builder–I declared I’d be an architect at age eleven…even majoring in Landscape Architecture in college.

Papou was one of my greatest heroes. And my novel was a tribute to him, to my Greek roots, to an American legacy.

So, at ACFW 2012, I took my novel to conference with more confidence than I had before. This story caught the attention of an agent– and I signed a contract with the Steve Laube Agency in November of that year. That was amazing…I chuckle now because the name of the room that I interviewed with Tamela was the “McKee” room–the last name of my heroine. A sign? Maybe. When she sent my story out for all publishers to see that next month, I thought my time for that book was just around the corner. And… Now it’s 2017, and that story is under contract with a publisher as of Fall 2016. What timing, right? Why the heck did it take so long? Not for lack of trying. My agent and I took every possible measure. Why did I get rejection after rejection, and write two other books in the wait? What happened between then? Only in looking back, do I see why I had to wait for this book. And when I look back, I realize just how much Timing is His and there’s nothing I can do to speed it up or make it mine. All I can do is take courage, and wait. I’ll give you a quick recap of what happened between 2013–when the book was put in the proverbial drawer of unwanted manuscripts–and now, 2017, the year it will get published (um, after a few rewrites and edits–always learning…). In looking back, this is what I see:

My Community was Built. I fell in love with my writer friendships. A bit dramatic? Maybe, but it’s the truth. I connected with ladies who knew my heart as a writer, and allowed me into their lives in an authentic, Christ-loving way. I found hope in the writing journey because my friends held my hands and rubbed my back when all seemed lost. And in this, I grew not as a writer, but as a heart. My heart became soft for the needs of others and the value of authenticity in this short, precious life.


There was a Pride Monster, and He needed to kill it. Oh, Lord, if ever there was a pride monster, it was me. My gut reaction in every rejection, every criticism, every other person’s success was a measurement against them according to me. Yuck. Do you know what the best way to kill a Pride Monster? Starve it. Even though I had my sweet friends and my agent encouraging me along the way, my heart was set on publication and I was not getting that. I wanted it so badly that I turned ugly when it seemed to slip through my fingers with every rejection. And I spiraled and I came up for air to those authentic friendships speaking Truth in love. God knew what He was doing when He built my community, and He knew He would use it to lift me up and tear down my ugly.

The Darkest Valley Was Ahead. Everything stood still in 2014. My personal crisis gave me little room for any true focus on my writing success. If anything, it made the effort seem petty. When you go through your days wondering if you’ll make it to the next morning without a complete mental breakdown, you can’t really dream. My dream in those moments was to crawl out of my skin and run away. This was not about my writing, this was about God’s faithfulness to someone who was losing faith–in the person she loved, in the life she constructed, in the heart that was broken. Looking back (I did climb up and out of this valley), I needed this valley walk (or crawl) to happen when it did–without a book on the shelf, without confidence in something that I had accomplished. I needed brokenness to become stronger and know that my strength has nothing to do with me. There are several other moments and signs that I see as I look back, but I’m not going for the longest blog post of 2017, but I do want to share two sweet confirmations that the timing really is His.

First, I got a book contract! You know this, but, the contract came at a time when I had grown peaceful in the journey–the pride monster lay slain, and I picked up a pen and took an opportunity. My Oklahoma Land Run book with Love Inspired Historical won the Manuscript Matchmakers contest…and WAS coming out in Spring 2018. I had secretly told those closest to me, that it would’ve been nice for it to come out in September instead…just because that’s when the book opens–September, 1893–the historical date of the Land Run. So, what happens after I turn in my complete book a few days before its deadline? My editor tells me they bumped up my date to September of 2017. And I am sure, for them, it had nothing to do with the history, but for me, it was everything to do with the history–and His timing. Look for my debut novel, The Outlaw’s Second Chance this September! There’s more… My second contract came in! And this was a wonderful surprise. My agent and I had found out last spring that a new series was being launched based on geographical places around the U.S. I immediately thought of my Coal country story. So, I put together a proposal for a book I’d written long ago…and got a contract with Barbour this Fall for my novel, My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah. But, the timing? November 2017 is my release. God’s Timing in its finest…The book comes out during the centennial year of my grandfather’s birth. He was born in Dec. 1917 in Carbon County, Utah. My hero and my inspiration for this very book. I just can’t stop smiling at the chance to honor my late grandfather with a story written by his third generation Greek American granddaughter who was inspired by his roots grown a century ago. If only he could be here now. But I know he’s smiling, too. A century. It took a CENTURY. Only by God’s grace, and His perfect timing.

Blog Stops

Here are Angie's remaining blog stops:

November 6: Texas Book-aholic
November 7: Bab's Book Bistro
November 8: Singing Librarian
November 9: D's Quilts & Books
November 9: Neverending Stories
November 10: Have a Wonderful Day
November 10: Pause for Tales
November 11: Tell Tale Book Reviews
November 11: Mary A. Hake
November 11: Splashes of Joy
November 12: Bigreadersite
November 12: Blossoms and Blessings
November 13: Vicki Sluiter
November 13: Bibliophile Reviews


To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book The Outlaw’s Second Chance!!

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

Blog Tour: The Bachelor Missions

Blog Tour: The Bachelor Missions

About the Book:

Name of book: The Bachelor Missions  
Author: Jes Drew
Genre: Christian speculative spy fiction 
Release Date: February 18, 2017

The good-guys, the bad-guys, and the wild card- it’s the ultimate game of cloak and dagger…
Kristian Clark, private eye, thought his days as a special agent were behind him, but when he’s drafted into action, he finds himself reunited with his old team- and painful memories of why they broke up in the first place. But as he plunges into mission after mission- from a ‘holy heist’ to babysitting a young hacker to going undercover in a cult- Kristian find that everything he tried to leave behind is coming back to haunt him with a vengeance, and then some. First there’s the mysterious woman who knows more about Kristian- and his past- than makes sense while using science fiction weapons that don’t make sense period. Then there are the shady powers-that-be who are responsible for drafting him back into this world to satisfy their own nefarious agendas. It’s all Kristian can do to keep from being pulled into their games as he tries to figure out who to trust and what to fight for, even as the trap put in place to destroy him is set with a ticking clock.
When did espionage get so complicated?
Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author:

Jes Drew lives with her mom, dad, younger sister (the illustrious Nicki Chapelway), four younger brothers (yes, four), and two dogs. She is the author of both the Ninja and Hunter trilogy and the Howling Twenty trilogy. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, daydreaming, and her day job. There is also a possibility that she may or may not be a secret agent, but that’s classified. Still, you can contact her at

Guest Post from Jes Drew

I began writing at a very young age. I don’t think I even started school yet when I came out with my first children’s titles. The Swan Princess and Flamingo Queen was followed by a sequel The Duck Prince and Unicorn King (because I thought it was unfair that only the mom and sister had to go through transformations), and Julian and Juliette had many reprints- all carefully printed and illustrated by myself before moving to their final destination: safekeeping in my mom’s possession.
Years later, I resumed my writing craft near the end of elementary school with two series of chapter books I wrote and then read aloud to my family. However, it was not until I watched Marvel’s Avengers that I found my true muse (Captain America, obviously). The story was so enthralling, I could do nothing but pick up the pen and compose my first published trilogy: The Ninja and Hunter Series published when I was sixteen. This was followed by the tree books of The Howling Twenties two years later.

But, no longer a ‘young adult’ I’ve moved on beyond that genre to the next age group: New Adult. That genre infamously known for its many vices and sins. However, we as Christians are called to “Take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b), and a genre targeted toward twenty-somethings should be no exception.

So this is my first release in the New Adult genre. Kristian Clark might be a secret-agent-turned-private-investigator-turned-secret-agent again, but he still deals with the same problems all twenty-somethings face: adapting to a career, longing for a soul mate, and searching for deeper meaning in all the noise. With a little intrigue and cool gadgets on the side because, well, he is a secret-agent-turned-private-investigator-turned-secret-agent after all.

Blog Stops

Here are Jes's remaining Blog Tour stops:

November 6: Aryan the Libraryan
November 8: Blogging with Carol
November 9: Multifarious
November 10: Carpe Diem
November 11: A Reader's Brain
November 11: Karen Sue Hadley
November 12: Never Ending Stories
November 13: Mary Hake
November 14: Daysong Reflections
November 15: Ashley's Bookshelf


To celebrate her tour, Jes is giving away a Grand Prize of the Howling Twenties trilogy, signed, and a fifteen dollar Amazon gift card and a 1st Place Prize of The Time I Saved the Day, also signed, and a ten dollar Amazon gift card!!

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