Farm Life from the Farmer’s Wife: Head First

We weren’t really sure how this guy ended up in his predicament. Probably licking his feed bucket like it was an empty bowl of ice cream. However it happened, it was hilarious. We took video of him, and I wish I could find it to post here. As he walked around blindly, with the giant, sheep-eating bucket firmly planted on his head, he ran into everything. Thunk. Into the barn wall. Jangle. Into the fence. Crunch. Into the tree. “Baahh! Let me out!” We imagined he said. It was too funny not to watch for a few minutes, though. Our entire family stood, giggling for a bit, before my husband finally walked in and tugged him free of his plastic prison. He was so relieved! And thirsty and happy to be free. I wish you could have seen it!

Isn’t that like us sometimes? Don’t we see something we want and rush in without thinking of the consequences? Or, if we think of them, we reason the chances of problems are pretty slim. I’m sure that’s what our ram thought, too. He’d eaten from that bucket every day for years. Why not just put his head all the way in? Well, that didn’t work out so well.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen my goal and gone for it without stopping to pray. Simple things sometimes like buying groceries, or big things like purchasing a new car. Without praying, I run the risk of doing something against what God has in mind for me. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” It is so much easier to avoid unnecessary trouble when I remember to pray before I take a step. Or stick my head in a bucket.

I will see you next week with a second installment of Farm Life from the Farmer’s Wife. I hope you enjoyed this first one and maybe even laughed a little. Life on the farm is a lot of hard work, but there is much joy in it too. Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for important updates and special giveaways. We are getting so close to the release of Callum’s Compass! There will be a lot of big news I’d love to share with you in the next weeks!

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Interview with Author Victoria Kimble PLUS GIVEAWAY!!

It’s the last Summer Spotlight Series interview. Can you believe it? My favorite time of year is right around the corner. I can’t wait for all of our fun family fall activities! I will be kicking off my fall series next week titled, Farm Life from the Farmer’s Wife. I hope it will be loads of fun!

Our interviewee this week is author Victoria Kimble. Victoria is the author of The Choir Victoria KimbleGirls series. She is a wife, a mom to three girls, a full-fledged homebody, a so-so housekeeper, a mediocre musician and has dreamed of writing her whole life. She lives at the foot of the Rockies in Littleton, Colorado, and she will never take that for granted. She loves French fries, superhero TV shows and movies, and cats. She could probably love the beach if she ever spent any time there. Her thoughts live at www.victoriakimble.com.

The first three books in The Choir Girls middle-grade series, Soprano Trouble, Alto Secrets, and Harmony Blues are available on Amazon now. And book number four, Solo Disaster, releases October 6th!

SopranoTrouble_Kimble_FrontSummer McKidd is a bright, compassionate 7th grader. She has a good group of friends, which can be a hard feat for someone in junior high. She and her friends love to sing in their choir at school, and this is where her trouble begins. At the fall concert, her friends drag her into a mean prank and Summer is soon sentenced to nursery duty at church. When she walks into the nursery, she sees that the victim of their prank is also a volunteer. Summer begins a friendship with this girl but soon sees that she will have to choose between her group of friends and her new friend. Can Summer do what is right and keep her friends?\

What drew you to writing for children/YA?

Middle school is burned into my memory. There are a lot of things I’ve forgotten about my childhood, but I remember middle school vividly. So my heart goes out to every single kid who is entering the murky waters of seventh grade, especially the girls. I was not a popular kid during those years, so I spent a lot of time reading. Those books shaped much of my thoughts and beliefs about life. Because of that, I’ve always wanted to write stories for those kids who are deep in the trenches of middle school themselves.

What do you want children to learn from your books?

I hope every person who reads my stories has a “me too” experience. Those were my favorite stories. They still are my favorite stories. The ones where I connect with the characters or the situation on a level I wasn’t expecting. I hope middle school girls, especially, will realize that the situations they face every day in school and with their friends are situations that everyone faces. It is very easy to believe that you are the only one who feels a certain way, and if you feel isolated, then you can quickly feel shame. And that is so unnecessary. Every kid has those insecurities, and if kids truly understood that then they would be able to see that they don’t need to be afraid or ashamed of the things they are going through.

Have you always been a writer? When did you first know it was the career for you?

I’ve been creating stories since I was a kid. My first story was about a little alien I drew that I called a Whatzit. I quickly realized that I probably wasn’t going to be an author/illustrator, but the stories keep coming. I tried to be a journalism major in college, but I realized after the first year that I didn’t want to write news stories; I wanted to write my own stories. I’ve taken a couple of correspondence courses in writing fiction since then, and every time I did it just solidified my dream.

Who is your hero? 

I’ve always admired Robin Jones Gunn. She wrote the Christy Miller series, which had a huge impact on my teenage years. I’ve always wanted to write stories just like she does. Her stories are entertaining and lead people straight into a relationship with Jesus.

As a mom and a former middle schooler (ha!) I can totally relate. Middle school was scary, and I hope each of you moms out there reading this blog will consider reading Victoria’s books. They could really help your child (and maybe even you) cope with the not-so-easy moments! To celebrate the end of my Summer Spotlight Series, Victoria has graciously agreed to give away a paperback copy of Soprano Trouble!! Leave a comment below between now (Thursday, Sept 14th) and Saturday, Sept 16th, to be entered for a chance to win. One lucky winner will be drawn on 09/16 at 3 PM EST.

I’ll see you next week for the first installment of Farm Life from the Farmer’s Wife, featuring anecdotal (and often hilarious) stories from the farm! Sign up for my newsletter now and don’t miss any updates about the upcoming (and quickly approaching) release of Callum’s Compass, my debut Inspirational Romantic Suspense novel.

Interview with Author Gail Kittleson

Today’s guest on the Summer Spotlight Series is author Gail Kittleson. Welcome, Gail!

Gail Kittleson head shot

Gail Kittleson instructed college writing and ESL, facilitates writing workshops and women’s retreats, and enjoys family in northern Iowa. In winter, she and her husband visit Arizona Mogollon Rim Country. Each young Iowa woman in Gail’s Women of the Heartland series has personal mountains to climb, and contributes to the war effort in a unique way. In Times Like These & With Each New Dawn await a sequel, A Purpose True in November, 2017

Her newest installment in the Women of the Heartland Series, With Each New Dawn, is available on Amazon now.

London – Summer 1943. To honor her husband’s sacrifice—and in hopes of learning WithEachNewDawn 500x750 (1)more about her father, a World War I vet—widow Kate Isaacs joins the Special Operations Executive and parachutes into Nazi-occupied France to work with the Resistance. Domingo, a Resistance saboteur, meets her drop, tends to her sprained ankle, and carries Kate to her first assignment. During a clandestine mission Kate finds herself attracted to Domingo, but as Allied forces push across France and the Waffen SS closes in, the pair must put aside their feelings for the good of the Underground Resistance. Will moral courage and righteous faith triumph over oppression? Or will Kate and Domingo lose everything, including their growing affection for one another?

What is it that fascinates you with the WWII time period?

That’s a great question. We may be here a long, long time! One thing that intrigues me is how people coped with such an enormous degree of uncertainty.  My mother, for instance, a high school student, waited for her two brothers to return from the infantry. The INFANTRY—that means it’s probably miraculous that both of them returned.

The other night in a book talk at an Austin, MN, book store, I met a woman who recalls being beside her mother when a telegraph arrived, telling them that her brother had been shot down over Italy. No official came to explain, offer comfort, or share their grief. They just received that horrible message and had to deal with it. Isn’t that hard to imagine?

Another aspect of this era is the drastic amount of change people experienced. Overnight, Midwesterners hurried to one or the other coast to work in munitions factories, shipbuilding, or any number of other occupations necessary to the war effort.

Right out of high school, young women joined the ranks of workers thousands of miles away from home and family. And their mothers handled the angst. A girl from our area went to the southeast to thread bomb heads. She was eighteen years old.

One of my novels, In Times Like These, shares its title with a hymn written by a WWII woman. In times like these, you need an anchor … that is for sure!

These days, we’re used to stress calculators, counseling and support groups. These WWII folks enjoyed none of the above. They posted gold stars in their windows when they lost a son to the war, marking their grief, and held services even though most often, no body came home.

I should probably stop there, but could go on and on. These make-do people took what life handed them and did their best to survive. My hat is off to them.

Who is your favorite character from one of your novels? And why?

You’d think I’d pick a heroine, but in In This Together, the lonely widower-next-door who longs to share Dottie’s life is probably my favorite. He suffers from post traumatic stress from his World War I service, but keeps its manifestations well hidden.

He’s a steady, reliable guy with a heart to help others, the first to volunteer when he discovers a need. And he does his kind acts for them, in genuine concern, not for any other reason. He’s not one to try to impress people, because he’s self-motivated and his values integrate naturally into his actions.

What more can I say? You’d like Al—you’d want him as a friend if he lived in your town, or to have your back if you were in a battle. He’s that kind of strong, quiet man.

So is George, a secondary character in In Times Like These. He’s a veteran, too, and a widower who now faithfully delivers the mail to rural customers, including Addie. But it’s her mother-in-law that sparks George’s interest when she emerges from grief with a taste for JOY!

Now that I think about it, Domingo in With Each New Dawn has a lot in common with Al and George—a completely different setting in S. France, and Domingo is much younger.  But his Basque faith heritage compels him to do what he can for others during the war. And he ends up committing acts he never would have considered doing in peacetime. I imagine some of them will bother him in older age, just as Al’s do.

Where do you find ideas and inspiration?

Everywhere. I’ve been reading WWII texts and stories for many years—perhaps some of my ideas originate in those. Often I’m not certain where the ideas come from, they just come and I feel compelled to write.

Inspiration… that could mean inspiration to continue. Just yesterday, a friend who goes to dialysis 3 times a week told me he takes along my books to read. That inspired me—I’d never have imagined him as one of my readers. And that WWII woman I met last week with the memories of her brother shot down over Italy—she inspires me. These stories need to be told, before the Greatest Generation has completely faded from  sight.

What can we expect next from you writing-wise?

I just heard the release date for the sequel to With Each New Dawn. On November first, readers can discover what happens with Kate and Domingo. Some have written me that there MUST be a sequel, because they need to know.

Endings can be many-faceted, in my humble opinion. With Each New Dawn ends with some things not totally tied up into neat packages. But that’s actually a microcosm of what Kate, Domingo, and Addie and our grandparents lived through during the forties.

The war dragged on and on…and on. Many Americans thought once they entered the fray, it would soon come to a close. But the fighting ballooned even more, and what could our troops do but keep plunging ahead through extremely ambivalent times? We’d like to wave a magic wand and make everything okay, but life doesn’t often work this way. That’s why I write historical fiction.

My characters slog through years of trepidation, months of days  not knowing if they’ll be alive by sunset. Even though we like endings that relieve our anxiety, historical fiction cannot always deliver that easy satisfaction. A bit of patience is required to see this saga through to the end.

The Women of the Heartland series will still continue after the final book of Kate and Addie’s stories comes out in November. The future books have their moorings in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, with strong women making their contributions to the war effort.

In one, a high school graduate starts working at the POW camp in Algona, Iowa, that housed many Nazi officers captured in North Africa. In another, a small-town newspaper editor seeks to solve a church basement murder—this genre is a new wrinkle for me!

Thank you, Gail! Everything sounds so fascinating! I agree with you that it sounds hard to believe and that these stories need to be told. What an amazing generation of people and an amazing collection of stories. I hope you will visit Amazon and check out all of these wonderful books by Gail. You can also learn more about her at her website, www.gailkittleson.com.

I will see you next week with my last Summer Spotlight Series interview, Victoria Kimble.

Interview with Author Christina Rich

Can you believe it is almost September? Only a couple interviews left on the Summer Spotlight Series. Today I have Christina Rich.

A mother of four, Christina Rich is a Love Inspired Historical author as well as a 10422306_806633796050161_9151897696459019585_nForget Me Not Romance author. When she was younger, Christina tried to dig herself to China, loved Three Billy Goats Gruff, and had an obsession with maps. She gave up her dig to China but still jumps at the chance to travel, even if it’s just down the road. She loves watching modern takes on fairy tales and mythologies on the big screen and still has a huge obsession with maps. The older the better.

Her newest novel was released at the beginning of August and is available on Amazon here.

Deputy Quinn McCall has spent the last two years waiting for his wayward wife to return Quinn McCallhome, and when he discovers the real reason she left him, he wonders how she’ll ever forgive him for placing a bounty on her head.

Sadie McCall didn’t think she’d ever return to Drover’s Pass, but she can’t deny her father’s dying wish to be buried at the home he’d built with his own two hands, even if it means she’ll end up behind bars before she can tell her husband her biggest secret of all.

 

When did you know you wanted to be a writer? As a child I loved to read and make up my own stories, and most of my elective classes in high school were writing classes, but it wasn’t until 2006 that I really knew that I could be a writer, if that makes sense at all. I didn’t have a degree and I was a stay at home mom with four children. Who knew someone like me could publish a book?

What is your favorite thing about being an author? One of my favorite things is watching the story unfold. I’m a seat of the pants writer, which means I usually have a glimmer of an idea and then I write. My story rarely ends how I intended it when I first put pen to paper. And the other favorite thing: I love tormenting my characters. Least favorite thing? Once, I would have said my least favorite thing was putting my story out there for everyone to read. Now, I’d say it is the uncertainty of the market. Just because you publish once, twice, or even ten times, doesn’t mean you’ll get a next.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? If so, what is it? Yes. Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Do you have a favorite line or scene from your most recent novel? There are so many favorite lines that it’s hard to choose just one. However, this one stands out because when I first began this story, I had a slight idea of what I wanted to do but I had no idea of this little secret until my hero and heroine met face-to-face.

“About time you came home, darling.”

Thank you, Christina, for being my guest today and sharing! I am a mom of five, and I love getting to know other moms with big families! Congratulations on your newest book.

To learn more about Christina, please visit her on Amazon or at www.ThreeFoldStrand.com. I’ll see you all next week with author Gail Kittleson.

 

 

Interview with Author Julie Arduini

This week’s guest is author Julie Arduini. Thank you, Julie, for stopping by today!

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, Julie Arduini headshotENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past, and ENGAGED: Surrendering the Future. FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER is her 30 day devotional using the surrender themes and characters from the series. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read, and also is a blogger for Inspy Romance. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.

Julie’s third book in the Surrendering Time Series is Engaged. It is available on Amazon now!

Trish Maxwell’s back in Speculator Falls with egg on her face and a lot of apologies to make. She left the mountain town for her dream job in New York City, only to come back Engaged Cover Imageunemployed. With no prospects, she works at her mom’s department store and makes amends as she finds a new passion creating window displays for Adirondack businesses. She works hard and tries to convince the people of Speculator Falls she’s changed for the better.

As Trish pitches in with community events, she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson, the one man who doesn’t seem to judge her. She even makes friends with Jenna Regan, who helps Trish when people demand to know what’s next in Trish’s life. Living in New York City has been her goal, but the more she’s around Wayne and the Adirondack area, the more she’s drawn to revising her plans. Just when Trish thinks the plan for her life’s coming together, a second chance comes her way that could give her every career goal she’s ever wanted, but threaten to tear her and Wayne apart. Can Trish surrender fears about her future and discover God’s plan for her?

I asked Julie a few questions. If you have any for her, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Who is your favorite fictional character? And why?

 

 

From my own writing, Jenna Anderson Regan. She was my first character and I can relate to her. She’s confident, but she has insecurities as well. She’s got some sass, and I have that as well. Other than that, I love Ashley Stockingdale from Kristin Billerbeck’s Whats a Girl Wants. She’s sassy, she’s a mess, and she just wins your heart from page one. Ashley gave me the confidence that I could write a sassy character and make her shine.

 

Where did the idea for Engaged come from?

 

When I was pitching the first book, Entrusted, they asked if I had a series in mind. I thought about Jenna’s sister, Meg, but she didn’t really have a complete story to tell. Before I even had book 2 in mind, I realized the mean girl, Trish Maxwell, had a great story to tell. She’s lost her job and dream life in New York City. Most of the residents in her hometown are angry with her. Her high school boyfriend didn’t wait around for her, and now he’s engaged to the person who took over directing the senior center when Trish abandoned it. It was too soon to use Trish for the heroine in book 2, but for book 3, I couldn’t wait to write that story. And that’s Engaged.

 

What is your life like outside of writing?

 

Busy and full! I am married to Tom, and he travels a lot for work, so I try to keep things humming along at home. We have a son that is a college sophomore, and a daughter who is in the eighth grade. She has some health issues that put her in a special needs category. I am a step mom to two adult children who live out of state, and they are both married with new sons, so I am a grandma! Our family is back in Upstate NY, so we try to travel back there, too. I volunteer with the youth ministry at our church and we have a sub ministry for teen girls that has the ladies of the church meeting with the teens to encourage, love them, pray, and just be their friend. That’s so important to me. I also believe in the power of prayer, so there are times behind the scenes I am mentoring women and praying for and with them. It is an honor and amazing to watch God at work.

If you could say you learned one important life lesson from one of your novels, what would that be?

 

 

My writing is all about finding freedom in Christ through surrender. The Surrendering Time series is about letting go of fear, loss and change (Entrusted,) regret (Entangled,) and failed dreams in exchange for God’s best plan (Engaged.) During this series there was so much transition that I have had to really battle fear. That was Ben’s issue in Entrusted, and his way was to shut it down, literally. He was so hurt by loss and change that he decided the senior center should be shut down for good. When it was re-opened, he vowed never to step inside. I’ve wanted to do the same, but I’ve taken it to Jesus every time I feel the fear. I can picture myself dropping it at His feet so He can have it. And there is an exchange. There truly is His freedom in surrender, and I have His peace. There is nothing better.

I completely agree, Julie. I know God has plans for me, yet sometimes I still fear. It is amazing when I am able to surrender just how wonderful He handles everything. It always works out in big, amazing ways! It really is, as you said, an honor to watch God at work in our lives. Thank you for visiting me this week!

Next week I plan to have Christina Rich’s interview. Please stop back by and check it out!

You can connect with Julie here:

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JulieArduini

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulieArduini

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JulieArduini/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/JulieArduini

Instagram: http://instagram.com/JulieArduini

Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/JulieArduini

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/JulieArduini

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Arduini/e/B00PBKDRSQ/

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

Interview with Author Kristen Terrette

Only a few weeks of Summer left….sad! But I am looking forward to the fall, and the release of my first novel, Callum’s Compass! Today’s guest for the Summer Spotlight Series is author Kristen Terrette.

Kristen has been an elementary school teacher, real estate agent, stay-at-home mom, and a small business owner, proving she has eclectic tastes even in her career choices. But her latest day job has nestled inside her heart and won’t let go. She has been typing the Kristen Headshot #2(small size) 2016stories that play out in her head for a couple years now. The idea these stories are a ministry God can use is still new to her, though the typical ministry life is not. She has a Master’s degree in Theological Studies and was on staff at her church for over five years (yet another career), but her staff and leadership responsibilities did not stop there. She currently serves on the Ladies Leadership team and Prayer team, and she has been lucky enough to mentor many youth over the past ten years. With the support of her husband and two children, she currently stays at home and sits at her computer making up fantasy places and characters, allowing God to take the story where He needs it to go. This is her favorite creative outlet, though she does enjoy pinning thousands of things on Pinterest she’ll never get around to actually doing.

The second book in her Moanna Island series, Time and Tide, is available on Amazon now.

Addictions destroy lives. Chad Cusher’s own dependencies change everything he thought he knew about his future.
Time_and_Tide-Kristen_Terrette-500x800After almost killing himself and someone else, Chad’s legal problems, addiction recovery therapy, and physical therapy if he ever wants to walk normally again, are a part of his everyday life. He believes there is no chance at true happiness, certainly not love, and only hopes to become a better man than he was, to find redemption somehow.

Chad moves to Moanna Island, a small island close to Savannah off the Atlantic coast, to begin a job with his family’s real estate empire, a job he was supposed to have taken years ago.

Free-spirited Ryan Mason is a Moanna local girl from a blue-collar family. She’s dropped her own dreams to help her father care for her schizophrenic brother.

Their paths first cross at a Rehabilitation Center where Chad attends therapy and Ryan’s brother lives. Chad can’t believe his luck when he finds her on Moanna Island, forty-five minutes away from the Center, only days later.

Chad is drawn to Ryan’s joy, even through the pain and grief life tries to throw her way. His lonely void begins to dissipate with every island adventure spent with her. He soon finds out what her secret is. But is it possible to start over and be restored? Even so, can Ryan accept Chad’s horrible, even criminal past? Can their crazy worlds ever fit together once she finds out he is the sole heir to the Cusher Empire?

 

Tell us a bit about your books please!

The books I have out now are the first two in my Moanna Island series. Though the previous characters make appearances in each book, the setting in the book is what remains the same and makes it a series. Moanna island a fictional location resembling Hilton Head Island off the coast of South Carolina. It’s smaller but, like Hilton Head, is known as a low country island because of the large trees that expand over the roads and homes which are draped with Spanish moss. The beach has extreme high and low tides, which fishermen love. It is a perfect example of the beauty in God’s creation.

The characters in my series have all made mistakes or are living a fractured and painful life stemming from their past tragedies or heartbreaks. Some have already found Jesus as the One who saves them from their brokenness, and those characters serve as God’s instruments to help Him bring about healing and change.           

Do you have a favorite author you like to read? Or a favorite book of all time? If so, who or what or both?

I love any of Susan May Warren or Becky Wade’s stories- so I’d have to say they are my favorite authors. But my favorite book… man, that’s tough! I will always love Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers and Hidden Places by Lynn Austin- which is truly astonishing because I am mostly drawn to contemporary romance stories, not historicals, but those both have stuck with me over the years and are major reasons I began reading Christian and inspirational fiction.

If you could tell your readers one thing about you they don’t already know, what would it be?

I have a hard time living a clutter-free life. When I was working in ministry and had office hours, my desk was usually horrendous. Of course, I always knew where everything was (that’s what we all say). I had hopes when I transitioned to writing from my home office, I’d have a clean desk. It would have color-coordinated notebooks, a desktop calendar, and a coffee mug next to my computer- free of all the stacks of papers, books, and who knows what else. But I failed miserably. I barely have room for my computer some days! Parts of my house are like this too even though I feel like I am always trying to remove the clutter from my life. I have heard creative people are known to be clutter-y, so…I’m hoping it makes me a better writer. J

 What’s next for you writing-wise?

I’m a third of the way through the book three in my Moanna Island series. It’s about a woman who recently signed a deal for a reality TV show focusing on her restoration of old homes. She only has one shot to make the show a success and knows she needs an incredible house to make it happen. She sets her sights on one of the first homes built on Moanna. They start the renovation and the very first day she meets the boy next door, who happens to be a Coast Guard rescue swimmer. He’s on leave because of a family tragedy that he can’t shake free from. Can they both break free from their fears and move forward? Maybe find love even though they aren’t looking for it?

I am also querying a young adult historical manuscript that I’m very excited about. I am hoping it will get into readers’ hands one day!

 Book three sounds fun and exciting too! I hope you all will check out Kristen’s books on Amazon! You can also find her here:

https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenterrette/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16252020.Kristen_Terrette

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter by August 13th to receive a bonus from Kristen–a chapter 6 excerpt from Time and Tide.

Interview with Author Carol McClain

My guest this week on the Summer Spotlight Series is author Carol McClain. Thanks, Carol, for being here!

Versatile.

Others say weird.

In truth, McClain’s wacky and wonderful.87489044F054

As a youth, she believed herself an odd-ball, craved being like others. She even practiced writing in clichés because her classmates did, and if they thought the phrases were cool, they had to be.

Fortunately, that phase passed, and she now celebrates her own diversity. She plays bassoon, creates stained glass, enjoys high ropes, loves to run and, of course, she writes.

For thirty years she attempted to teach teenagers the joys of the English language. Judging from the prevalence of confusion with their, they’re and there–not to mention your and you’re and the rest, she hasn’t succeeded much. She’s now on a quest to make magic with her own words.

McClain writes women’s fiction and has three novels published with Desert Breeze Publishing: DWF: Divorced White Female, Waters of Separation and The Poison We Drink.

She’s a member of ACFW and active in the arts community in her adopted hometown of Jacksboro, Tennessee.

In her spare time she mentors recovering addicts, teaches children’s Sunday school, boats, and hikes the Smoky Mountains. During festival season, she and her husband, Neil, sell their work at the art fairs.

You can find her at www.carolmcclain.com.

Her books are available online wherever books are sold. And easy-to-find listing of the three can be found at here.

Her most recent novel is The Poison We Drink.

Summer is too short to labor over ponderous tomes. This novel will sweep you up in its drama and keep those pages zipping. You’ll not want to leave the beach until the last page has been read.

5x7How do you forgive the unforgivable? Torie Sullivan wrecks her car in a drunken fury and is rescued by a man she used to bully in middle school. Their worlds collide when Adam Benedict, now a paramedic, discovers Torie is homeless. He provides living accommodations for Torie with his girlfriend, Maya Vitale. The three unlikely friends must conquer their pasts to have a future. But some wrongs are too hard to overcome.

This novel sweeps you up in its tale of love, hatred and redemption. Readers say it is a 10/10–a must read.

Carol was kind to answer some of my questions.

Which of your characters have you most related to and why?

I most related to Anna Haas in Waters of Separation. First, I’m a firm believer in Fair Trade. Our overseas trade agreements hide the fact that we don’t pay foreign workers a living wage—thus the labor’s cheap.

Slavery is hidden in the production of goods, as well. We need to become cognizant of that.

However, on a deeper level, I have to learn to trust God more, just as Anna did. Her key Scripture in Waters is John 8:32, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Only by faith in God’s Word will we truly be free to be all we were meant to be.

Can you tell readers one thing they may not know about you?

I’m a kidney donor. About fifteen years ago, my youngest brother started the quest for a new kidney. The doctor said the testing was to have things in place for some time in the future. That future showed up about four months later.

It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done and have had no complications because of it.

If you know someone who needs a kidney, pray about it and consider being a living donor. A kidney from a live donor has a better chance of taking and functioning well. Also, a transplant before dialysis begins is more effective.

What do you have planned next in your writing future?

I’m currently writing a book located in Stinking Creek, Tennessee. It’s time travel without leaving the current century. A New York artist suddenly finds herself living in Stinking Creek. Her best friend is as conservative as she is liberal—and they won’t recognize they’re best friends, and in reality the same type of woman until that dark moment.

It’s funny and dramatic and wonderful.

What is the take-home message you want readers to discover in your latest novel, The Poison We Drink?

Forgiveness has nothing to do with the perpetrator of the wrong. Forgiveness sets the wounded one free. Torie Sullivan, the protagonist, faced horrors no person should have to face. It left her lost and bitter with a ruined life. Friendship and faith intertwine themselves in a deeply moving and satisfying tale of redemption.

I have learned so much about you, Carol! Thanks for sharing, and I love your cover for The Poison We Drink. The color scheme is beautiful! Best of luck in your writing career!

Stay tuned in to the Summer Spotlight Series here on saralfoust.com. Up next week, Author Kristen Terrette.

 

Interview with Author Christina Lorenzen

I have enjoyed the Summer Spotlight Series so far. I hope you have too. Today’s guest is Christina Lorenzen.

Christina started writing as a young teen, jotting stories in wire ring composition Christina Lorenzen Headshot Imagenotebooks. Her first typewriter made it faster to get all those stories out of her head and down on paper. Her love of writing has sustained her through a myriad of jobs that included hairdresser, legal secretary, waitress, and door-­to-‑door saleswoman.

Luckily for her, writing proved to be successful and a lot less walking than going door to door. Rapunzel’s Lighthouse is Christina’s sixth book. She is also the author of A Husband for Danna, its sequel, A Wife for Humphrey, Snow Globe Reunion, Harvest Blessings and Healing Seas. She is busy working on a sweet romance that is set in the small town of Marion, Massachusetts, a town she spent all of her childhood summers in at the home of her maternal grandparents. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found walking her dog, talking to her herd of cats, and spending time with her family.

Her most recent release, Rapunzel’s Lighthouse, is available on Amazon now.

Georgie Daniels rarely leaves the cottage attached to the Salt Cliffs lighthouse, except when necessary for a trip into town for food. For the last two years, since the lighthouse was declared a historic landmark, she’s lived in the cottage out of sight and, she hopes, Rapunzel's Lighthouse Cover Imageout of the minds of the town. With the defunct lighthouse in arrears and in disrepair, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse will be on the auction block of the town hall’s steps. With long hair that no one has seen before, except in the fabled fairy tale Rapunzel, things were going well until new neighbor Colby Ford shows up on her doorstep.

Colby Ford didn’t intend to retire from the Navy, at least not right now. When he finds himself with an injury that pushes him into an early retirement, the possibility of opening a sailing school in the coastal town of Salt Cliffs is his only hope. Renting the Moore cottage, he needs to find the right location for his school and a place to store the boats. While in town, a conversation with a store keeper makes his curiosity about the lighthouse burn even stronger – what kind of woman lives alone in a defunct lighthouse? In need of paint for the cottage porch, he pays Georgie a visit. Feeling like he’s seen her before, that’s when it hits him – Georgie Daniels is a real life Rapunzel. And this Rapunzel wants nothing to do with being neighborly. Until she’s forced to save him during a storm.

Georgie and Colby have both had their share of disappointments and heartache. Just as Georgie is beginning to open up to him, a letter she finds threatens to shut her down again. Can their shared desperate need for a home bring them together?

Your newest book is Rapunzel’s Lighthouse. What about the classic Rapunzel story attracted you the most? Honestly, what compelled me to write Rapunzel’s Lighthouse was not only my love for the story, but the fact that it was my bedtime story as a child. My grandmother lived with us and on the nights she babysat she would tell me that story every time. She’d always offer a ‘new’ story, but Rapunzel was my choice. I must have heard her tell it a hundred times lol.

If you could say you learned one thing from one of your characters, what would it be? If I were to choose a lesson from a character, it would be Georgie, my heroine. Georgie suffered a few losses that made her give up on people and shut out the world. I’d say she taught me that there are always good people in the world. Don’t shut everyone out. Take the time to heal and then give people a chance.

What is your life like outside of writing? Well, I have much more free time now that I’m not homeschooling my children anymore. My daughter has graduated college, and my son is married and lives in the city. Writing is my job, and so most of the hours of the day are devoted to writing and administrative tasks. I do love animals. I have three cats and a dog and take care of a stray cat in my yard. I teach writing classes at the library and adult education center. And I love reading and spending time outside with my family.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? If so, what is it? Yes. It’s the first verse that spoke to me years ago when I was going through a personal crisis after the loss of a young family member. Matthew 6:26-27. Though it’s an ongoing process, I have learned to worry less and trust God more.

To find out about Christina’s upcoming releases, visit her website at http://christinalorenzen.com/.

Subscribe to Christina’s newsletter and be entered automatically each month to win a $5 Amazon gift card at http://christinalorenzen.com/connect-with-christina

Thank you so much for appearing on my blog, Christina! I wish you the best of success in your writing career! If you have questions for Christina, feel free to leave a comment below. See you all next week with Author Carol McClain.

Interview with Author Alexis Goring

For this week’s Summer Spotlight, I have Alexis Goring. Welcome!

Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Alexis A. Goring Spring 2017Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.

Her novel, A Second Chance, released in January.
Book cover

Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life. 

Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness are of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death.

Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.
Alexis answered a few questions for me. If you have any questions, too, feel free to comment below! 

What has been your favorite character to create? And why?

My favorite character to create in this story, A Second Chance, was Carla because she’s feisty, beautiful, brilliant, and she’s a true friend to my story’s heroine Traci.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration from life. Stories on the news, storylines in my favorite movies, music (my main muse), and conversations (whether overheard or participated in) inspire me with ideas for fictional stories. God blessed me with the talent of writing so He definitely gets the ultimate credit. He helps my creativity to flow!

What do you see in your future writing career?

I’d love to write captivating, life-changing fictional stories that are so good that they win the following awards for my fiction writing: Carol Award, Golden Heart Award and the RITA Award.

I’d also love to write riveting nonfiction news and feature stories that win The Pulitzer Prize and help people improve their lives.

My goal is to win these awards at least once but ideally several times!

But more important than winning these highly regarded awards for my writing, I want to glorify God and write the stories that He inspires me to write in the way that He wants me to write it. I want my stories to help people heal, make them smile, warm their heart and fill their mind with the kind of treasure that you cannot buy—the hope of life eternal offered through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

You wear a variety of “writing hats.” Which genre is your favorite to write and why?

My favorite genre of writing is inspirational. I like to write inspirational romance for the Christian fiction book market and I like to write feature stories about real people who are doing remarkable things in life.

The reason why I love writing inspirational stories is because in a world infiltrated by the devastating side effects of sin, we need the kind of hope that only God can give. It is my goal to show my readers glimpses of that hope eternal and usher them into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. And for my readers who already know God and follow Jesus Christ, I’d like my writing to encourage them to keep on keeping on in their faith journey with God.

Alexis, I love your outlook, purpose, and especially those goals! I hope they come true for you!

We are almost halfway through our Summer Spotlights. Still to come–Christina Lorenzen, Carol McClain, Kristen Terette, Patrick Craig, Julie Arduini, Christina Rich, Gail Kittleson, and Victoria Kimble. I will also have three guest bloggers over on my devotional page too–Sherri Wilson-Johnson, June Foster, and Cynthia Roemer. I’m sure their devotionals will inspire us, so please check them out soon.

If you aren’t a member of my newsletter group yet, I’d love to have you. Sign up before the Summer Spotlight Series is over so you can receive all the extra bonus material! This week’s bonus is a special excerpt from Alexis’ A Second Chance! You can sign up here! See you next week.

Interview with Author Michelle Griep

I’d like to welcome Michelle Griep to my Summer Spotlight Series this week.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Michelle Griep HeadshotShe is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

9781683222637Her latest release, Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection, is available on Amazon now!

Journey along in nine historical romances with those whose lives are transformed by the opulence, growth, and great changes taking place in America’s Gilded Age. Nine couples meet during these exhilarating times and work to build a future together through fighting for social reform, celebrating new opportunities for leisure activities, taking advantage of economic growth and new inventions, and more.

 

Where do you find ideas for your novels and novellas?

Everywhere. No, really. Anything or anyone can send my now-there’s-a-story alarm into scream mode. A snippet of a news story. An overheard comment. A picture on Pinterest. Something funny a five-year-old says. Seriously, life is story, so stories can be found anywhere in your life.

When did you first know you wanted to be an author?

I started writing when I first discovered Crayolas and blank wall space, so I must’ve been about 3 years old at the time. I went through a short phase as a teenager, however, when I thought I wanted to be an astronaut. But, since I discovered I’d have to actually know how to do math and study science, I ditched that plan and went with my first love of writing.

Will there be more Romance Collections? If so, when can we expect them?

There will always be more romance collections to come. In fact my next one releases in November (The Regency Brides Collection).

Who is your favorite fictional character? And Why?

Mr. Rochester in Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Yeah, he’s kind of a jerk at first, but I adore his character arc. By the end of the story his anger has fizzled and he’s a far humbler man.

I hope you’ll take time to connect with Michelle and check out her books! They look so enticing!