Thursday, April 13, 2023

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Barbara Britton!

Talkshow Thursday: 
Welcome Back, Barbara M. Britton!

What was your inspiration for the story?
 I’m known as a Biblical Fiction author, so writing a Contemporary Romance took me out of my comfort zone. Publishing wisdom would tell me to stay in my lane, but I felt compelled to write about breast cancer and the storm damage that can be left after a cure.

Why did I feel like I had to write a story with cancer as a thread? I’m a seven-year breast cancer survivor. Praise God. Over the years, I have received calls from friends who received the same diagnosis. I was able to encourage them and tell them about my journey and what worked for me.

When I drafted my story and made my heroine twenty-three-years old, I thought she would be too young to have breast cancer. Unfortunately, breast cancer is hitting women at younger ages, so Samantha wasn’t too young to deal with a breast cancer diagnosis.

My goal was to write a light-hearted, and sometimes humorous, story even though cancer played a part in the book. That was no small task.

How do you develop your characters? (e.g. decide on their vocation, names, etc.)? Most of my characters come to me with a vocation intact. In Biblical Fiction, I am limited in the roles that women would have had, but jobs are limitless today. I have taught children for many years, so the teacher position for Samantha seemed like a good fit. I understood the mindset and challenges of teaching.

Cole’s vocation came to me while we were remodeling a house. We used a lot of tradesmen to do
Pixabay/Maximilian Frische
electrical and plumbing work. I decided to make Cole an electrician and also a part-time musician. My story was set near Nashville which is the home of country music. I peppered electricians who were working on our home with questions about their job.

With names, I try to find names that are easy to pronounce and that don’t start with the same letter. With historical characters, you are stuck with their given names.

Recently, with the rise of AI in storytelling, I have wondered how that will impact writing. I believe AI will be lacking in the characterization aspects of novel writing. Characters are imaginary friends to authors and only the author can develop characters in a certain way.

Did you set out to write a series? Why did you decide to write a series? I did not set out to write a series. I was going to write my contemporary story and then go back to Biblical Fiction. I happened to mention my story to an agent, and she asked for three blurbs to form a series. The agent passed on my story, but I didn’t let the blurbs go to waste. I am working on a sequel at the moment.

The moral of the story is to have at least three blurbs ready when pitching a story to an editor or agent. Make sure you have secondary characters that can be the protagonist in the next book. If you were to write a spin-off book about one of your secondary characters, which one would you choose and why?

I am currently writing about Samantha’s friend Emma and Cole’s brother, Wade. See my answer above about series blurbs and fun secondary characters.

Emma and Wade had fairly major roles in “Christmas at Whispering Creek.” They were easy to slip into a sequel.

What is your process for writing? (Do you outline, have a special place or time of day you write, etc.) What is your favorite part of the process? 
I’m not a very good typist. I asked to take typing class in high school, and I was placed in biology class. I never had any keyboarding classes either. My first drafts are written on paper and then I type the words into a computer. I edit the story as I go and I see where I need to add thoughts, feelings, setting, or actions. After I’m done typing a chapter, it goes to my critique group.

I prefer to write during the day, but if I need to finish a scene, I will write in the evening. The longer I have been writing, the more I can do it at any time of day.

What are common traps for aspiring writers? I’m thankful that I wrote my first books before social media became crucial for platform building. Trying to post on several social media platforms regularly can drain creativity and time from a writing schedule. I would advise writers to prioritize their writing time. There’s nothing like a new book launch to energize your platform. You may need to place a limit on how many social media platforms you can realistically engage with. The fear of missing out (FOMO) keeps writers trying to do too much. Our physical and mental health needs to be a priority.

There is nothing better than developing authentic relationships with other authors. They will be a constant support to you during your writing career.

What is your next project? I am finishing book two in my Whispering Creek series, but I plan to dive back into the world of Bible stories soon.

About Christmas at Whispering Creek:

All Samantha Williams wants to do is to use her teaching degree to instruct a classroom of second graders. But, after a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of twenty-three, and failed reconstruction surgery, Sam finds herself without a job and temporarily living with her parents. This isn't the life Sam expected. When a family friend dies and leaves Sam a house and land in Whispering Creek, Tennessee, Sam must decide if leaving Wisconsin for Southern living is in her lesson plans.

Nashville native, Cole Donoven, left his family' s electrical business to write country music. When Cole' s song-writing partner and girlfriend dumps him for a country music star, Cole abandons Nashville to hole up in Whispering Creek and compose one more song. The last thing Cole expects to find in the sleepy small town is a deceased friend, estate squabbles, and a Northern beauty. Will the chaos in Whispering Creek help create a bestselling song for Cole and possibly help him find a life-long collaborator?

Buy link:
Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast, Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. She writes Christian Fiction from Bible Times to present day USA. Her Tribes of Israel series brings little-known Bible characters to light. Her novel “Christmas at Whispering Creek,” is a compelling, yet fun story, shining a light on breast cancer. Barbara has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. You can find out more about Barbara and her books on her website Or follow her on, and

Friday, April 7, 2023

Fiction Friday: New Releases in Christian Fiction

April 2023 New Releases

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

Amish Romance:

Courage in the Storm by Laurel M. Blount -- Since witnessing the murder of her beloved parents, Miriam Hochstedler suffers from paralyzing anxiety and a deep-seated fear of the Englisch. Unwilling to venture beyond her family’s Tennessee farm, she forms a close bond with a badly injured gelding. Like Miriam herself, the traumatized animal seems unlikely to recover—until skilled horse whisperer Reuben Brenneman arrives. A survivor of an abusive childhood, Reuben understands fear better than most. He’ll do whatever it takes to help a terrified animal, but his compassion doesn’t extend to the church that turned a blind eye to his family’s suffering. Once he finishes this job, he’ll return to the Englisch world, putting his Amish heritage behind him forever. As Miriam works alongside Reuben, battling the horse’s fear—and her own—an unexpected friendship blooms and deepens into romance. But the Amish faith that sustains her inspires only distrust in Reuben, and the Englisch world he’s chosen has already broken her heart once. Falling in love was easy. But staying together will take all the courage they have. (Contemporary Romance, Berkley)

Contemporary Romance:

Holding on to Hope by Janet W. Ferguson -- Always the wedding planner, never the bride. Hope Rodriguez loves planning weddings. There’s nothing more special than helping a bride become a princess for a day, but she’s not sure that’s her calling in life anymore. If only she had her own special someone. Her only current prospect leaves her with more questions than answers about where she falls in his list of priorities. Yet, when a lifelong friend asks her to plan a destination wedding across the country in only two weeks, she’ll have to figure out how to pull off the impossible…alone. After being burned as a child and deserted by his family, Caleb Donnelly has an intimate relationship with pain. Despite all he’s endured, one ache refuses to leave him—the throbbing in his heart where Hope is concerned. So when Hope needs help with their friend’s wedding, he can’t stop himself from volunteering to travel two thousand miles to Jackson, Wyoming. As long as he keeps his feelings in check, he might not ruin their friendship. Because a beautiful woman like Hope could never love a scarred man like him. There’s no way their longtime friendship could ever become more. When Hope and Caleb’s plans go up in flames, it’s their hearts that might never recover. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

Home Away From Home by Penny Frost McGinnis -- Will Marigold and Johnny embrace love late in life? When Marigold Hayes turned fourteen, her mother died, and her father went missing. For forty years, she has searched for her dad and lived a quiet life on Abbott Island, until she met Johnny. As her love for Johnny grows, her sorrow from the relentless search for her father breaks her heart. She begs God to help her move forward with her life before she has no love left to give. Then three mysterious strangers show up who could change her life. Johnny Papadakis moved to Abbott Island ten years ago. His ex-wife had pushed him away and discouraged him from having a relationship with their daughter. After years of hard work, his restaurant flourishes, so does his relationship with Marigold. As he seeks Marigold's hand in marriage, his daughter shows up on his doorstep, looking for a place to call home. Can Marigold and Johnny settle the past and move toward the promise of a blessed future? (Contemporary Romance, from Mt. Zion Ridge Press)

Now or Never by Emily Conrad -- Will leaving positive legacies mean kissing their own happily-ever-after goodbye? If Tim Bergeron got a lifetime achievement award for anything, it’d be managing the iconic rock band, Awestruck, but he’d trade his successful career for the opportunity to prevent his daughter from repeating his mistakes. When a health scare proves time is short, he talks Isabella into a cross-country road trip. His attempts to talk her out of a hasty marriage drive a wedge between them, and it looks like the best he can hope for from the trip is scouting out promising new talent to represent. That is, until he meets Gabby. Widow Gabrielle Voss has responsibilities to her daughter and patients, deep roots in the community, and a dream that scares her. Though she’d never utter it to the people she lives and works among, the truth slips out with Tim, who’s not in Many Oaks, Iowa, to stay. As her fiftieth birthday party draws near and an attraction to Tim sparks to life, Gabby realizes she must pursue her dream now—or, more reasonably, never. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Baby Inheritance by Tina Radcliffe -- An infant in need… But she’s a package deal. After the tragic loss of his best friends, rancher Drew Morgan willingly accepts guardianship of their six-month-old baby—until he learns big-city professor Sadie Ross has temporary custody as well. Opposites in every way, the pair now has eight weeks together on Drew’s ranch to decide who will become the permanent parent. Could this makeshift family turn into something real…before the deadline is up? (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

The Rancher’s Sanctuary
by Linda Goodnight -- Could facing her fears…Heal her damaged heart? Physically and emotionally scarred, reclusive cowgirl Monroe Matheson prefers rescue dogs over handsome men. But when Nathan Garrison arrives in town, determined to fix up the guest ranch next door, he needs all the help he can get. Before long, Monroe knows there’s more to this stranger than meets the eye. Can working with a man carrying tragic memories be the key to overcoming Monroe’s wounds—both inside and out?. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired/Harlequin)

Historical Romance:

Across the Shores by Kelly Goshorn, et. al. -- More Than Gold (New South Wales, 1851) by Carolyn Miller Josephine Wilkins is headstrong and heartbroken--why else would she have left all she knew to follow her brother's dreams of finding gold across the seas? Daniel Jardine is simply seeking adventure, in a land far away from family responsibilities and duty, two burdens he's happy to disregard in his quest to be known for himself. When these two finally meet sparks are set to fly, as they discover that digging deeper than first impressions reveals the true value of one's character, and real love and faith is worth far more than gold. The Veil (Baltimore, 1877) by Kelly Goshorn After Caroline Wilkins is burned during a suitor's attack, she retreats behind a lace veil and vows only to remove it for a man who will profess his love without seeing what lies beneath. Franz Kohler is a mountain of a man with a gentle heart and a hidden dream of carving intricate Bavarian clocks. When a mutual attraction grows between them, neither is willing to reveal their secrets, jeopardizing any hope of a future together unless two hearts can find the courage to trust again. Running from Love (Canada, 1905) by Angela K. Couch Anna Kohler has left her home, and even her country, for the sake of her wayward brother. But when the local Mounted Police takes an interest in them, her hopes for the future collide. Constable Benjamin Cole has a duty to perform, no matter what his heart desires. Lauren's Song (Outer Banks, NC, 1942) by Cara Putman Lauren Randolph's world has fractured with the death of her father five years earlier in a boating accident. John Weary defied his father's wishes when he followed his grandfather's footsteps and joined the Coast Guard. When Lauren's brother goes missing at sea, John is determined to do what he can for Lauren, while continuing his work scouring the shoreline for U-Boats. Lauren focuses on her duties with the Civil Defense as they seek to uncover the real reason her brother disappeared. To do so, they have to unravel the truth about the woman who claims to carry John's child and whether fishermen are really seeing U-boats or something else entirely. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Dawn’s Untrodden Green by Carolyn Miller -- Not much happens in Theodosia Stapleton's tiny Northumberland village. Certainly not to her. She has resigned herself to spinsterhood, caring for her ailing mother in the home of her grandfather, known to the locals as "General Contrary." When her dear friend dies and leaves behind a daughter, it's simple enough to take the child into her own quiet world. That is, until her ward's famous uncle unexpectedly arrives and throws Theo's tidy orbit completely off-kilter. Fame was the last thing Daniel Balfour sought when he fought in the Peninsular War. But his brave exploits caught the attention of the King, and now the honors he was given hound him everywhere . . . even on his rushed trip to rescue his orphaned niece. Theo's quick wit and warm smile reassure him that Rebecca is in good hands, and he finds himself free to swiftly return to London and his responsibilities. But those caring hands are beginning to look like they could also safely hold his heart, and he's tempted to linger. Unfortunately, marriage is simply not in the cards; the army is spouse enough for him. Then an accident and a scandal lead both Theo and Daniel to discover that their best-laid plans may not have been what God designed for them after all. (Historical Romance from Kregel)

Romance: Various:

Charleston Light by Laurie Larsen, et. al. -- Hosanna’s Light, by Dianne Miley: Homeless and pregnant, Hosanna Oliver returns from years of rebellion to reconnect with her family, but someone else lives in her childhood home. At the lighthouse, she runs into her old friend Jonathan Salvador and an unspoken attraction is rekindled. When he encourages her to find her family, will she be able to forgive herself enough to accept love? Homecoming, by Jody Stallings: When a band nerd and a cheerleader find each other across a high school football field in 1988, love seems inevitable ... until they discover there's a far wider chasm to cross: time itself. Looks Aren’t Everything, a Retelling of the classic Fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling, by Laurie Larsen: Pediatric nurse Wanda Byrd feels an instant kinship with ten-year-old cancer patient Kendall, and it's not just because of their matching scars. But a surprise encounter with Kendall’s Uncle Mark immediately ignites her long-held insecurities due to his good looks and confident demeanor. Can an awkward-looking lighthouse, the wisdom of a little girl, and a confession from the man himself teach her that true value comes from within? Lighthouse of the Fireflies by Kelsey R Budd: Through a twist of fate, recent marine biology grad Lucia finds her plans to work at the local aquarium interrupted when Ben, a mysterious man in the Coast Guard, miraculously appears from the island lighthouse. Until they can figure out how to get him back to 1962, Ben plays Lucia’s boyfriend and helps as they act in a skit for the fundraising gala to repair the lighthouse. Together, they find healing for their pasts and hope for their futures, but will all the acting lead to real romance, and will time travel lead to real adventure? Shattered Darkness, by Laurie Ingram Sibley: Six years ago, Will Edgar left his high school sweetheart behind. Now he’s back in town, and vandalism to their beloved lighthouse throws them together. But Will and Raven are haunted by the past. Can they break free and learn to trust again? The Gold Note, by Christina Sinisi: Anna Rizzo has a long list of men she dated and dropped like loose change. She also lied, stole, and partied until she hit rock bottom, unconscious on her living room floor. By God's grace, she makes a fresh start. Can a mysterious admirer's coded gold notes help make her life whole again? Second Time Lighthouse Love by Melissa Henderson: After two years, widow Lana Pierce continues to grieve the loss of her beloved husband Stan. When the older woman finds a mysterious notebook left on their favorite bench, she wonders if this could be a secret message intended for her. Is another “forever love” possible? Following His Plans, by Annette Wiley: Consumed with the desire for wealth and status, Nora pours her energy into her prestigious interior design firm. But when her beloved aunt dies she drops everything to go to Rockland, Maine, where a set of precious gifts and a romantic relationship help light the way toward a new direction. (Romance: Various from Random Moon Books)

General Contemporary:

Perfectly Matched by Liana George -- Nicki Mayfield is getting married! Or is she? Three days after deciding to marry so she can adopt the young Chinese girl who has captured her heart, Nicki Mayfield heads to Texas to become Mrs. Ben Carrington. However, as the unlikely pair prepares to say, “I do,” a shocking revelation threatens their plans to become a family. While searching for the answers to the mystery holding her future hostage, Nicki must also keep Ms. O’Connor’s legacy alive at New Hope Orphanage – whose future is at serious risk. As she and Ben work toward building their unconventional family, they discover that sacrificial parenting requires putting the child first in ways that bring indescribable joy and unexpected heartbreak to everyone involved. In the end, will Nicki find her happily ever after or will circumstances stop her from being perfectly matched in work, life, and love? (General Contemporary from Scrivening’s Press)

General Historical:

The Whispering Wind by Janalyn Voight -- Phoebe can have her pick of suitors but never the man she wants. Fancy parties and embroidered fans hold little appeal for Phoebe Walsh. She would rather gallop across the open range or help her father with a wounded calf. Of her many admirers, none spark her interest. Ma seems determined to save her from becoming a spinster, but how can Phoebe accept her mother's choice of suitors when her heart belongs elsewhere? Several years have passed since Will Canfield stole a kiss and her heart. Remembering her passionate response still curls her insides, but how she feels doesn't matter. Will's interest in her isn't serious, as he's made clear. She needs to get over the man. If Uncle Con will stop throwing them together, that could be a whole lot easier. Will feels guilty about Phoebe, but he can't risk another heartbreak. Being left at the altar certainly changed his mind about romance. Phoebe is better off marrying someone else, even if the idea sets his teeth on edge. Phoebe and Will must both, with God's help, conquer an old fear before they can move ahead with their lives. Set during a troubled time in America, the Montana Gold series explores faith, courage, and love in the Wild West. (General Historical from Mountain Brook Ink)

Speculative Fiction:

War of Torment by Ronie Kendig -- hey followed him back. Against his will, against his intention. Now enemies threaten from every direction. Amidst it all Marco Dusan struggles to lead his people, to help them survive, even mayhap win the war. He will take any advantage to even the odds. But only after tragedy strikes does he learn just how much he’s willing to sacrifice. He's not alone. Droserans fight as one, united against the offworlders—Symmachians who covet their planet. With the aid of unexpected allies, the Droserans battle on longer than anyone could have anticipated. Yet they cannot win. And the Faa’Cris, those supernatural warriors, fair of face and fierce of mien, do nothing. But not all have turned their backs. After a bitter year of pain and loss, Kersei Dragoumis navigates a new heritage, ever intent on defending her people. Like her, light-years away from the Quadrants and even farther from the girl she thought she was, Eija Zacdari must come to terms with a new role. Or, rather, with an ancient one. And her success or failure may determine back in the Quadrants who lives and who dies. In the end, Marco will have vengeance for the torment brought by this war. No matter the price. Not even if the price is his soul. (Speculative Fiction from Enclave Publishing)


Expired Hope by Megan Besing -- She battled every fire she ever faced. He’s risking everything for the chance to belong. Veteran and therapist Natalie Atkinson watched her Army career explode in her face. All she ever wanted was to help people carry their burdens. Seeking a new future in Last Chance County doesn’t start so well when she’s the one being rescued from a client’s burning house. To make matters worse, now she’s stuck evaluating the truck and rescue squads for the fire department. When the chief overhears why she left her last job, she’s determined to prove to him and her boss that she’s still the right therapist to assess his crew. No matter if success takes everything she’s got. Fire Chief Macon James is the right man for the job. He doesn’t need a therapist interfering with the running of his crew or putting his position in jeopardy when a counselor is what tore his family apart. He’s got to get his firefighters to be a team, and he can do it without Natalie’s help. After an explosion destroys her car, it quickly becomes clear she might need him as much as everyone thinks he needs her. If these two stubborn hearts will surrender, they could have everything they want. Or it could all go down in flames. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic from Sunrise Publishing)

Plus check out these recent additions to Fiction Finder published within the past month:

A Novel Proposal: Denise Hunter, Will Sadie find the ring’s rightful owner? And will she manage to pen a career-saving romance novel by summer’s end? (Contemporary Romance)

Broken Silence Jane Daly, What if your deepest secret was revealed to those you hold dear? (General Contemporary)

The Shelter of Each Other Catherine Richmond, Welcome to 1850s Preparation, Iowa, where a man desperate to belong and a woman wanting to escape, join forces for peace. (Historical Romance)

Truth and Forgiveness Pat Nichols, An unsolved crime and shocking new evidence risk splitting the Butler family apart. (General Contemporary)

Under FireShawn Coleing, Now desperate to right past wrongs, Eva may do Julian's job for him, and finally be the one to bring an end to her own life. (Thriller/Suspense/Romantic)

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Talkshow Thursday: Welcome back, Amanda Cabot!

Talkshow Thursday: 
Welcome back, Amanda Cabot!

I am thrilled to welcome author Amanda Cabot back to my blog.  Her books rank among my favorites! Pull up your feet and get to know this lovely woman.

What was your inspiration for the story?

I’ve always been intrigued by the way birth order affects our relationships with our siblings, and so I decided to create a trilogy with three sisters as heroines. And, just to make things a bit more interesting, they’re part of what we would call a blended family where no two of them have the same two parents. All of that helped increase the tension between them and made writing this series a lot of fun.

If your book is part of a series: Did you set out to write a series? Why did you decide to write a series?

As you can tell from my answer to the last question, I intended this to be a series. Why? Two reasons: first of all, my publisher likes trilogies. Secondly, when I create a fictional town, I don’t want to leave it, so I plan on at least three stories set there.

If you were to write a spin-off book about one of your secondary characters, which one would you choose and why?

I’m so glad you asked that, because there’s a very minor character who’s been demanding a story of
Pixabay/Jill Wellington
her own. Her name is Phoebe, and she doesn’t speak a word in After the Shadows and has only a few lines of dialogue in the second book, Against the Wind, but she keeps telling me, “I need my own book. You see, Amanda, even though I’m an only child, I’m convinced I have a sister. Can you find her for me?” How can I say no?

What is your advice to fledgling writers?

I have three pieces of advice. First, read extensively in the genre you want to write. Secondly, join a writers’ group. The help and camaraderie are invaluable. And thirdly, never give up. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

The most common mistake I’ve seen is not following your own instincts. If the way another writer writes doesn’t make sense to you, don’t do it. Just because that other writer is a best seller doesn’t mean that her technique is the right one.

What was your favorite childhood book and why?

Actually, I had two favorites, Little Women and the Anne of Green Gables series. I liked many things about both, but the key element was that the heroines of both were aspiring writers.

What books are on your nightstand right now?

The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin and Windswept Way by Irene Hannon. I’m having a difficult time deciding which to read first, because I know they’ll both be wonderful.

What is your next project?

I’ve just finished the second draft of the third Secrets of Sweetwater Crossing book. There’s more work to be done on it, but it’s time for me to write a proposal for a new series. And, yes, Phoebe will be part of it.

About After the Shadows

A brighter future awaits—if she can escape the shadows of the past

Emily Leland sheds no tears when her abusive husband is killed in a bar fight, but what awaits her back home in Sweetwater Crossing is far from the welcome and comfort she expected. First, she discovers her father has died under mysterious circumstances. Then the house where the handsome new schoolteacher, Craig Ferguson, and his son are supposed to board burns, leaving them homeless. When Emily proposes turning the family home into a boardinghouse, her sister is so incensed that she leaves town.

Alone and broke, her family name sullied by controversy, Emily is determined to solve the mystery of her father’s death—and to aid Craig, despite her fears of men. The widowed schoolmaster proves to be a devoted father, an innovative teacher, and an unexpected ally. As they work to uncover the truth, they just may find the key to unlock a future neither could have imagined.

About Amanda

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than forty books and a variety of novellas. Her books have been honored with starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Award, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best.

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