Thursday, September 23, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome SaraBeth Williams

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome SaraBeth Williams

Linda: Welcome to my blog. It’s a pleasure to have you? Let’s chat about your debut novel, When Hearts Collide. What made you decide to write the novel, and what is the inspiration for the plot? 

Sara Beth: Thank you! I’m glad to be here. I had been writing stories for years, since 5th or 6th grade. Upon graduating high school (in ’04), I knew I wanted to publish something someday, and I knew I liked romance, but I knew I didn’t want to write general market romance. Christian Fiction was really just becoming a new thing and I didn’t know anything about it. But I knew I wanted to write something for that kind of market. I wrote early drafts of what would become When Hearts Collide ten years prior – then I later on, I began reading Christian romance. The more Christian Fiction I devoured, the more I thought to myself – I can totally do this! So, in 2014, I picked up my old drafts and wrote the entire (rough) first draft of When Hearts Collide in 4 months. I’ve only written one other manuscript that quickly since then haha! 
 
The story idea for When Hearts Collide is loosely based off of a few YA books I read in high school - as well as the death of a classmate who died in a tragic car accident. That unfortunate death was the catalyst for the story’s main premise, and then I gleaned from the books I was reading at the time. (This of course being the very early drafts from ’04) 

LM: How did you come up with your characters? Are any of them based upon people you know, including yourself? 
 
Sara Beth: Yes. Lacey embodies many of my personality traits. Tara’s physical appearance is similar to mine, and her personality is similar to that of one of my best friends. Joel, Lacey’s brother, incorporates personality traits from both my husband and my younger brother. And Jay – while his personality and background is nothing like my younger brother’s, in my head he looks like my brother LOL. A little taller and more intimidating maybe, but a lot of the physical traits were based off my brother. 
 
LM: Research is an important aspect of writing. How did you go about researching When Hearts Collide? 
 
Sara Beth: Lots of internet research regarding prison life as well as research into length of jail sentences
etc in California. I did talk to a lawyer at one point just to run by him whether the length of the sentence I gave my character matched the crime he committed. I watched a couple documentaries on prison life. Very early drafts incorporated more of that aspect but I chose to cut all that out and focus on the romance aspect instead of Jay’s prison sentence. 
 
LM: What do you do to prepare yourself for writing (e.g. listen to music, set up in a certain place, etc.), and how do you juggle it with your other responsibilities? 

Sara Beth: I prefer to be totally alone and work in complete silence, but that rarely happens anymore. These days I typically play some kind of instrumental worship music, or background ambiance sounds. I do my best writing at night after everyone is asleep. Even if I’m home alone during the day for some reason, I still end up doing my best writing at night. 
 
LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do? 

Sara Beth: I’ve always wanted to learn how to fence and horseback ride well. I’m a little lot obsessed with swashbuckling movies. I’ve only been horseback riding twice, and it was really fun. 
 
LM: Now that you have several books published, what advice can you give to fledgling writers? 

Sara Beth: Sometimes inspiration will knock you over and you’ll bust out a book in a snap. Other times, finding inspiration is like mining for gold in the middle of a desert. It feels impossible and exhausting and time-consuming and dragging all the words out on your project seems too daunting. My advice is to not give up and keep pushing at it. Some stories take a long time to germinate. After I wrote my first book so quickly, I was discouraged that the next 2 took so long, but the inspiration for all of the books I’ve written since then came intermittently through life experiences, sermons, my own studying of the bible, etc. It is worth it to take the time needed to finish a story and finish it well. Also, if you prefer pantsing, don’t be afraid to plot. If you prefer plotting, don’t be afraid to be a pantser once in a while. 

LM: What is your next project? 
 
Sara Beth: I am currently working on the third book in a small town beachy romance series set on the west coast of California called the Song of Grace series. As I’m still plotting book 3, the release of this entire series is yet to be determined. If you love beachy romances, you can definitely subscribe to my newsletter to keep tabs on what’s coming up in the future. Newsletter link: newsletter 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Sara Beth: 


About When Hearts Collide

One unforgivable secret could destroy their future: A reckless mistake landed Jacob “Jay” Mathews behind bars, but it was his inescapable guilt that led him to God. Upon his release, with the help of a spiritual mentor and friend, he strives to move forward with his life. Determined to graduate college, get a job, and follow God’s word, the last thing Jay needs or wants is a girlfriend. Until he meets Lacey Bennett. 
 
When fervent prayers for reconciliation between her divorced parents go unanswered, and her older sister tragically dies, Lacey questions how God could allow such tragedies to befall her family. Turning her back on her past and God, she focuses on her future. College and theater are her ultimate goals; falling for the one type of guy she swore to avoid—a Christian—is not. No matter how much she wants to resist, Jay is irresistible. 

As their relationship deepens, Jay struggles with Lacey’s unresolved anger and her unwillingness to even discuss faith. All he wants to do is reveal how God changed his life, but doing so would mean revealing his status as an ex-convict. Finally, as she begins to rekindle her faith, past secrets collide, threatening to destroy everything they’ve built. Now, Jay must rely on his faith more than he ever has before. Can they learn to forgive—or is their relationship fractured beyond repair?

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Mary K. Savarese

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Mary K. Savarese

LM: Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your most recent release The Girl in the Toile Wallpaper. What was your inspiration for the story (and BTW I love that it’s a fantasy adventure romance)? 
 
Mary: Thank you, yes it is. My inspiration for The Girl In The Toile Wallpaper was from my love of toiles. Toiles are in our daily lives, as wallpaper, fabrics, accents. They are usually two bold colors that tell a story. The story can be of anything. In my home, I have several wallpapers and so intrigued by one in my guest bathroom of a girl dancing, living her life, etc, I saw romance, betrayal, intrigue! And I wrote a story with intertwining romances around that. 
 
LM: You had a career in finance and insurance followed by a stint as a religious education instructor. How did you end up as an author? 

Mary: I am also a Eucharistic Minister for my Catholic Church. I raised my family and always had so many fantasy ideas for writing. I wrote my first manuscript followed by 4 more, rejection after rejection. I wanted to be traditionally published and to write for the Christian Marketplace. Ten years later my dream came true when my fourth manuscript, a cozy mystery romance with a spiritual twist, Tigers Love Bubble Baths & Obsession Perfume (who knew!) was accepted by a traditional publisher. 

LM: What is your favorite aspect of writing? 

Mary: Something inspires me for a title. I love to begin with a quirky title, a general idea develops, and
then I create the characters. The favorite part is creating, writing and seeing page after page develop into a story. 

LM: What do you do to prepare for writing? 

Mary: I begin with a little prayer for guidance. 

LM: In addition to being an author, you also are a speaker and have a YouTube channel. How do you juggle the different responsibilities? 

Mary: As an empty-nester I now have time to live my dream of being an author. I try to go with the flow and to enjoy every minute. 

LM: You’ve accomplished quite a lot. What is one thing you wish you could do? 

Mary: To make the NY Times Bestseller List. Still a dream! I keep praying! 

LM: What is your next project? 
 
Mary: The Girl In The Toile Wallpaper is the first book of the StarWriters trilogy. One to be published each year. Right now I am finishing up the manuscript for the second book. 

LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

Mary: Please visit my author website, https://www.maryksavarese.com/ for live excerpt readings, trailers, reviews, links to my books. Please go to the bottom and sign up on the email list. Beginning this month and each month after I will be choosing one winner a month for a giveaway of the hard copy of The Girl In The Toile Wallpaper. The publisher has created such an artful book cover! Also please recommend me for your book clubs. I would be honored to join you for discussion meetings via facetime, zoom, skype, or if we can swing it, in person. My Email: maryksavarese(at)gmail(dot)com. 

About The Girl in the Toile Wallpaper

A bright young man named Tyler Charles accompanies his aunt Meg on a trip to Italy when the camp he had planned to attend is closed unexpectedly. Once there, though, he is sucked through a portal into the past and meets a girl named Lyly, who has been trapped in a two-dimensional landscape within the titular wallpaper for over two hundred and fifty years. Lyly explains that she was imprisoned by a magician named Joroku at the behest of a rich noble, the father of the boy to whom she had been engaged. In defiance of her parents, Lyly had fallen in love and run away with a boy named Patrick, who has spent the past couple of centuries in the form of a cat, seeking to be reunited with his beloved. Tyler must find a way to restore the pair and return to his own time. Loves are gained and lost in this battle to bring back order.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/3z9w8pq

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Release Day: Daria's Duke

 Release Day: Daria's Duke



At long last, I'm thrilled to announce that Daria's Duke (Westward Home & Hearts Mail-Order Brides, Book 22) is now available! I had a blast researching and writing the story and learned more than I thought possible about the peerage in the United Kingdom. I also tossed in a bit of a Cinderella feel by giving poor Daria an evil stepmother and stepsisters and relegating her to the servants' quarters.

The story returns us to Rocky Mountain Springs, Wyoming where Rayne's Redemption takes place, so you'll run into some well-known characters as well as meet some new ones. 

About Daria's Duke:

Will a stolen inheritance and false accusations thwart the chance for happily-ever-after? 

After the death of her father, Daria Burke is thrust into the role of a servant by her stepmother. Locked in her room one night, Daria watches as the woman and her daughters sashay from the house wearing her mother’s gowns and jewelry. Realizing she’ll never be accepted as family, she flees the house and applies to be a mail-order bride. Then the sheriff arrives on the eve of her wedding with an arrest warrant. Can she prove her innocence or will she go to jail and lose her one chance at happiness? 

Ewan McKay’s father was stripped of his title, property, and wealth, and sent to prison for crimes he didn’t commit. The stain of his father’s incarceration prevents Ewan from finding a woman willing to be his wife, so he uses a matrimonial agency to secure a mail-order bride. But when she’s accused of stealing, he wonders if he is destined to go through life alone.

STILL $0.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME. GRAB YOUR COPY TODAY: https://amzn.to/3ty3A83


Have you seen the book trailer?





Friday, September 3, 2021

Fiction Friday: New Releases for September 2021

September 2021 New Releases More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website

Contemporary/Women’s Fiction:


The Gathering Table by Kathryn Springer -- Winsome Lake, Wisconsin, is postcard pretty, but for personal chef Jessica Keaton it's also a last resort. Fired from her dream job, Jess is starting over as a live-in cook and housekeeper. When she arrives, she finds her new employer is in rehab after having a stroke, and Jess expects she'll be all alone in Elaine Haviland's quaint house. A chef with no one to cook for. Instead, she encounters a constant stream of colorful visitors who draw her back into the world. (Contemporary/Women’s Fiction from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Contemporary Romance:

The Heart of Splendid Lake by Amy Clipston -- When Brianna Porter’s father unexpectedly dies, Brianna is steeped in grief and guilt—then left alone to clean up the mess. To make matters worse, a constant stream of real estate brokers begins marching through her property, offering to buy the family land. In particular, she keeps running into handsome real estate mogul Scott Gibson. As Brianna struggles to keep it all together, Scott finds his way into her heart. And as the two fight against their feelings, they just might find themselves forging a surprising and exciting new love at Splendid Lake. (Contemporary Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Historical Romance:

Brides of the Old West by Amanda Cabot -- Four unlikely couples. Four unexpected chances at happiness. Four unforgettable stories of love and faith in the Old West. (Historical Romance, Independently Published) < br> Daria’s Duke by Linda Shenton Matchett -- After the death of her father, Daria Burke is thrust into the role of a servant by her stepmother. Locked in her room one night, Daria watches as the woman and her daughters sashay from the house wearing her mother’s gowns and jewelry. Realizing she’ll never be accepted as family, she flees the house and applies to be a mail-order bride. Then the sheriff arrives on the eve of her wedding with an arrest warrant. Can she prove her innocence or will she go to jail and lose her one chance at happiness? (Historical Romance from Shortwave Press)

Hers to Love by Sherrinda Ketchersid -- Fiona McGowan, a beautiful Scottish widow without hope for a family of her own, travels to St. Mary’s Convent to become a nun. In route she is kidnapped by handsome Highlander Adam MacIntosh in a case of mistaken identity. Adam, laird of the MacIntosh clan, is attempting to free his brother held captive by the rival Fergus clan. The failure of his plan leaves him reeling with betrayal, death, and a wee babe in sore need of a healer. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Romance/Mystery:

The Secret of Emerald Cottage by Julie Lessman -- Twenty-five-year-old Molly Stewart—ex-Navy nurse and former evidence technician for the Charleston Police Department—has been burned by love. So when her friend, Pastor Chase Griffin, begs her to move to scenic Lake Loon to be a nurse and companion for Miss Lilly, his elderly landlady, she jumps at the chance. The secluded and cozy cottage on a clear mountain lake seems the perfect place to heal from her fiancĂ©’s betrayal as well as indulge in one of her greatest passions—cozy romance. First with reading them by the bookcase and then hopefully, if dreams come true, writing and solving them one day as an author and detective. But when Miss Lilly’s estranged great nephew shows up, it’s no mystery as to why he and Molly butt heads. Because it only takes one stolen kiss—while she’s sleeping, no less—to discover he’s an even bigger player than the ex-fiancĂ© who broke her heart. (Romance/Mystery, Independently Published)

Romantic Suspense:

Home Run by Cathe Swanson -- Phoebe Schenstrom's always been a bit bossy. After all, she's the oldest of ten children, has worked as a nanny and run the children's ministry at the Unity Plenkiss Community Center for three years. But when a clash - or two - with clients leads to her suspension, she needs to prove that she's more than a babysitter. (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Personal Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but when Sally’s young daughter, Emma, becomes the target of child traffickers, and the little girl’s biological father wants Sally dead, the Christmas season takes a dark turn. Police officer, Dillon Brady, responds to a call for help at the home of his friend and Protection Inc. bodyguard, Sally Wilson. When their relationship tips beyond friendship, Dillon is determined no one will hurt Sally or her daughter again. Will his resolve be enough? (Romantic Suspense, Independently Published)

Speculative Fiction:

The Next Fithian: An Ordinary Teen on a Strange, New World by Rick Barry -- Was this a new life - or a death sentence? When Rankin Johnson boards a flight to Israel, he expects an adventure in archeology. But the airplane comes under attack and explodes in midair. Rankin shouts, "God, I'm yours!" Instantly, he's in some other place. An angel informs Rankin the Lord is pleased to accept his offer. He dubs Rankin "the next Fithian" - a messenger from God, not to Earth, but to planet Zemna in the alternate dimension. What happened to the previous Fithian? "He was killed," the angel says before vanishing. (Speculative Fiction/Soft Science Fiction, Independently Published)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:  
 
Cold Case Double Cross by Jessica R. Patch, They’re on a cold trail and running out of time. (Thriller Suspense)
 
 
Moose Ridge: Ending to Beginning by Craig Hastings, Jazmine just knows, for once, everything is going to be exactly how she always dreamed it could be. Then she’s handed the letter. (Contemporary Romance)
 
 
A Summer in Shady Springs by Sarah Anne Crouch, How can Madeleine help A.J. discover a passion for the career he’s always wanted? And how can A.J. convince Madeleine to give God and Shady Springs a second chance? (Contemporary Romance)
 
 
Requilted with Love by Carrie Fancett Pagels, Find humor, family relationships, and romance blossoming at the 1889 Michigan State Fair in Lansing when a quilter finds herself literally falling for a balloonist! (Historical Romance)

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Talkshow Thursday: Meet KC Hart

 Talkshow Thursday: Meet KC Hart


Linda: Welcome to my blog. Congratulations on your upcoming release which is book seven in the Katy Cross mystery series. What was the inspiration for the story? 

KC: In Mistaken Murder and Small Town Status, a very valuable bull is shot by a deer hunter. The owner is standing beside the bull and is killed when the animal that weighs close to two thousand pounds lands on him. My husband and I were driving down the road by our house and we passed a field of beautiful silver Brahman cows. He said, why don’t you have a cow-tipping murder. That’s where the idea for this murder mystery came from. 
 
LM: Did you set out to write series or did that just happen? How many books do you plan to release in the series? I planned on writing a series. 
 
KC: I planned on writing a series. At first, I thought it would just be three books, but I kept coming up with all of these crazy scenarios for Katy Cross and her friends to get into. I already have book eight, the Christmas cozy, written. I’m editing right now with plans to release in November. I’m not sure how many books will be in the series. I already have one more brewing in my brain. I feel kind of bad about all the mayhem happening in Skeeterville, but I love the town and the people there. 
 
LM: What sort of research was required to prepare you to write the story, and did you find any tidbit(s) you knew you had to include? 

KC: I had to call my friend who is a large animal vet and ask all kinds of questions about these
extremely large, extremely expensive bulls. I learned all kinds of things about bull breeding, performing a necropsy, and a lot of other bovine information that I never would have found out about if I had not written this novel. I also had to learn about scopes and rifles and deer hunting. I knew I wanted a lot of banter and humor between Katy and her husband John about Hernando, the high-dollar bull. This flowed easily after I learned enough about the animals. There is a great tidbit that I came across that I would love to share, but I cannot because it might spoil the mystery. 
 
LM: Tell us a bit about your journey to publication and what lessons you learned along the way. 

KC: I decided to write a novel in October of 2019. In January of 2020, I decided to publish it in June of that same year. I had no idea what I was undertaking, but I had prayed about it and felt that I should self-publish. I started watching videos and reading every article I could get my hands on about self-publishing. In the meantime, I started writing book two. I joined the Mississippi Writers Guild and met my cover designer. She is amazing and I feel that God brought us together for this endeavor. 

From June of 2020 to the present, I have published six Christian cozy mysteries, and have two more coming out shortly. One lesson that I learned the hard way is that no matter how much I study and work, I cannot do absolutely everything. I published my first book without it being edited or having beta readers. I didn’t know what beta readers were at that time, but I did skip the editing even though I read that this was not a smart plan. I paid for this with some scathing reviews. After a few reviewers raked me over the coals about my grammar, I had a good cry, pulled the book down, and had it edited. The damage was already done and those reviews will be there for all posterity. They keep me very humble and remind me of the lesson I learned. 
 
LM: Do you do anything special to prepare yourself for writing your stories? (e.g., listen to music, go for a run, etc.) 

KC: No, not really. When I start a book, I set a goal of ten thousand words a week, or two thousand words daily for five days. I read the chapter I wrote the day before, look at what I want to accomplish with the upcoming scene and start typing. My mind goes to the story like I am watching a movie. Once I get going, the words come. The story never happens exactly how I thought it would, but that’s the fun part. If I do get stuck on the plot, or the mystery is not working out, I talk it out with my husband and kids. Talking through plot problems gets me back on track. 
 
LM: What is one piece of advice you can offer to fledgling writers? 

KC: Wow, I am honored to be asked this question. I would have to say do not give up. You are going to work hard and long and people are not going to respect the amount of work it takes to actually write a book. That’s why finding other Christian authors who are doing the same thing you are doing is so important. They understand how hard it is to make something out of nothing, which is what you do when you write a story. I have not arrived at success as it is viewed by many, but I am enjoying the journey. Enjoying the journey is a success in itself. 
 
LM: What is your next project? 
 
KC: I will be working on another cozy, but I am also contemplating writing an inspirational romance. I have several friends who write in this genre and I think I would like to try this. The great thing about being an indie author is that it is up to me. I just want my writing to be God-honoring, other than that, I am unsure. 
 
LM: Where can folks find you on the web? 

KC: My website is http://www.kchartauthor.com. You can sign up for my monthly newsletter there. 
 

About Mistaken Murder and Small Town Status:

Someone in Skeeterville has a serious beef with Hernando and it’s up to Katy to figure out who... 

Sixty-thousand-dollar stud bull Hernando is shot in his pasture and falls on one of his owners, crushing him to death. Katy Cross, along with everyone else in Skeeterville, assumes the shooting (and deadly cow-tipping) are nothing more sinister than a tragic accident and a case of terrible luck. 
 
Everyone else in Skeeterville, that is, except local Post Mistress Barbara Jean Nelson, who makes it her business to let everyone know she suspects foul play. Barbara Jean’s reputation as a hateful gossip proceeds her, however, and no one takes her accusations seriously... until she is attacked at the post office, barely escaping with her life. 
 
With one of Hernando’s owners in the grave and the only person who suspected foul play in the hospital, Katy decides it’s time to take the bull by the horns. Can she find the true murderer and uncover their connection to the dead cash cow? 
 
Join Katy Cross and her friends and family in Skeeterville as they work together to solve this latest mystery. This Christian cozy mystery contains no gore, sex, or foul language, but is full of humor and southern small-town charm.