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Author and Reader Connection

Up until the New Year, I was using a newsletter to connect with readers and writers each week, but that felt too intrusive. Yet, I had promised several great authors and wonderful readers that I would include them on a newsletter. What better way to start the New Year then meeting some refreshing authors and some wonderful readers?

WONDERFUL AUTHORS

MARJI LAINE CLUBINE:

Marji Laine Clubine is more than an author. She’s a publisher. She’s my publisher, and I’m her cohost, and so blessed that she asked me to join her each month on Down Publishing Laine. If you haven’t caught the show, be sure to mark your calendar and join us on the first Tuesday of every month.  I’m so delighted to get to introduce you to her (if you don’t know her already). Even though Marji and I haven’t met in person–or we did and don’t remember–we have had some misadventures over blog talk and on the phone. All of them fun.

Marji’s a former homeschooling mom who’s not looking forward to an empty nest. Thankfully, her final two graduates are gracing her with their presence for a little while longer. She loves family game night, hosting a weekly high-school/college Bible study, directing her church’s children’s choir, and singing harmony in the adult choir. When she’s not publishing others’ books or working on her own, she’s taking spontaneous road trips with her trusty camera and a couple of besties, or she’s scrapbooking or cover-making with a Hallmark movie on in the background. She love nanograms, Marvel movies, Hand and Foot, worship music, Tim Hawkins, “When Calls the Heart,” and “Live PD.” She prefer mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, winter to summer, and cookies to any other dessert. I have a passion for encouragement and spreading hope, and my goal is to show that through all of my stories.

Why Marji believes readers will enjoy her work:

I was editing my latest book, Ain’t Misbehaving a couple of days ago. I hadn’t read the manuscript in probably 2 or 3 years and was reduced to tears at least 4 times. The take-the-glasses-off and find-a-tissue type of tears. The characters in my stories are raw, broken, and struggling to follow the Lord just like I am. Just like most readers are. I swear they are real. In fact, the building where I situated CJ Whelen – my hero in Ain’t Misbehaving – is in downtown Dallas in the Arts District. And every time I drive past it on the freeway, I can’t help but glance up to the 18th floor, northwest corner balcony. One of these days, I’m just sure I’ll see him standing up there.

JAMES CRESSLER:

I’ve connected with and stayed connected with many authors I’ve met at conferences. James and I have been in contact for three or four years. I was intrigued by Jim’s Diary of an Oak Tree, a unique story for children, which is also a learning tool. James is multi-faceted in his writing.

James is a 2012 graduate of Valencia College. He lives in Orlando with his wife, Julia. His twenty years of Army service in the Cold War and Desert Storm gives Jim some of his writing inspiration. He is currently writing Demimonde, a fantasy fiction about a mysterious entity that traps and enslaves people in its half-world where reality, insanity, and addiction reign. Ben Astray escapes from Baser’s corner bars and Shantytown vices to Ism Harbor and boards a Treatment Ship to Sobriety Island. Will he die at sea, find truth and recover or is it all madness?

Why James believes readers will enjoy his work:

Diary of an Oak Tree is illustrated and LifeRich did a perfect job on the cover and pagination. But more importantly, like all of my work, it’s different. The reader gets to live the life of Notch, the governor squirrel, Dagger the cat, or the wayseer raccoon, Sage. They time travel to post-Edenic Earth. They learn a new language. They escape our world and live in another where everything is possible, even animated mother oak trees.

I write to create a legacy, something that will endure the test of time.

SHARON K. CONNELL

Sharon K. Connell was born in Wisconsin and lived there for five short days. From that time through college, she lived in Illinois. For over twenty years, Sharon made her home in Florida where she graduated from the Pensacola Bible Institute. She has also lived in California, Ohio, and Missouri. Now retired from the business world, she resides in Houston, Texas, enjoying every minute of her writing career.

Except for six, Sharon has visited every state in the United States. She has also travelled to Canada and Mexico. The stories in her four published novels reflect some of the experiences she has had in her travels. Sharon writes stories about people who discover God will allow things to happen in your life that will help you grow and/or increase your faith. Her genre is Christian/Romance/Suspense, with a little mystery and humor added for good measure.

Why Sharon believes readers will enjoy her work:

Readers love to read my books because the stories are written in a way that draws the reader into the lives of the characters. My characters have flaws just like real people, and struggle to find answers, just like real people do.

The style of writing I have adopted helps the reader to feel the emotions of the characters. I also include twists and turns which makes the story suspenseful and adds an element of mystery. But of course, I always have moments of humor, because laughter is good for the soul.

JUNE FOSTER

June is a good friend of mine. We have gone on a few adventures, some planned and some accidental, but all of them fun. We met when I fell in love with her hero in Ryan’s Father, and our friendship grew from there. I love June Foster’s quirky characters and plots.

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This DayAs We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Since then she’s also written Ryan’s Father, Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, The Almond Tree Series: For All EternityEchoes From the PastWhat God Knew and Almond Street Mission. Also available is Lavender Fields InnChristmas at Raccoon CreekRestoration of the HeartLetting Go, and Prescription for Romance. Find all June’s books at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Find June online at junefoster.com.

Why June believes readers will enjoy her work:

Great question. First I need to think about my target audience—people who might read my books. If I’m correct, women between eighteen and ninety read my work. Many are Christians, some are seeking the Lord, and others are working through spiritual issues in their lives. I believe they will like my work because they can identify with the struggles, the aspirations, the joys, the blessings, and changes God is making in their hearts. My characters deal with anger, obesity, low self esteem, abortion, loss, and even homosexuality, not to mention some who just enjoy life. And finally, others will enjoy my work because they will read a great story that keeps them engaged.

LINDA MARAN

I met Linda Maran through acquisitions, and fell in love with her style. Linda began writing poetry as a teenager and then turned to food and self-help article writing in her adult years. Now, in her sixties, she is blessed to have her first novel published, which has been her goal for many years.  She enjoys reading, writing, research, painting, music, playing drums, painting, walking, contemplative prayer, and sampling new eateries. Her personal experiences, both good and challenging, have become material for stories. This helps her to write about what she knows best, which lends authenticity to her platform. She has been married for thirty-eight years, is a practicing Catholic, and has been surrounded by musicians most of her life. She resides in both city and country settings.

Why Linda believes readers will enjoy her work?

I think readers will enjoy the book because it seems that at one time or another in our lives, we long to be part of something. We want to fit in. For some of us this happens as children or as teens, and for others at various times in our lives. When we get a new job. Join a new church. Meet our future in-laws. A part of being human, for me, is to know I am loved and belong to specific people. Be they my spouse, family or good friends. The heroine in the novel, Kristen, is trying to find herself and see where she fits in while experiencing the new sense of family and people who rally around her. I think we all want that, and for those of us who do not always have it, it encourages us to not lose hope. God provides for all of us in His own time and sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

SHIRLEY CROWDER

Born in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries, Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested through a myriad of ministry opportunities that include biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, speaking at conferences, writing, co-hosting a radio/TV program for women, and serving on the national advisory team for The Addiction Connection. Three published books and two soon-to-be released devotionals were contributed to, authored, or co-authored by Shirley. She has written a newspaper, Student Life, Seek Magazine, and Woman’s Missionary Union. Shirley has spiritual children and grandchildren serving the Lord in various ways throughout the world.

Why Shirley believes readers will enjoy her work:

Writers are busy people who usually have a gazillion projects in the works a the same time. These three devotionals examine what the Bible says through explanation and personal stories that the Holy Spirit can use to ignite or deepen the readers passion to now Him better. “Hope for New Beginnings” adds in-depth challenges to the reader as he or she interacts with the biblical principles and develop concrete steps for spiritual growth. The “Study Guide on Prayer: It’s Not About You by Harriet E. Michael” guides you, as you read a chapter in Harriet’s book, to delve deeper into the teachings, principles, and/or practices from each chapter.

Why Shirley’s publisher, Write Integrity Press, loves her work:

Shirley’s Bible study guide allows readers to go even deeper as they are studying Prayer: It’s Not About You. Her devotions include personal stories, some heartwarming and others full of humor. She writes encouragement and comfort for Christ-followers. And in all of her writings, she persuades the reader to draw closer to God.

AWESOME READERS

While we know that all authors should be readers, not all readers are authors. However, where would an author be without someone to read their work? Here are a few readers, I’ve asked the same questions to–purposefully. I wanted to see the variety of answers and introduce authors to the audiences for their chosen genres.

TINA BOYER

I met Tina online through our mutual friendship with author, Linda Maran, and she gladly accepted my invitation to answer these questions.

In what state or region do you reside?

I live in Arizona.

Besides reading, what is of major interest to you?

I am also interested in Film and Digital media/graphic design.

What is your favorite genre, and why?

Favorite genre is Inspiration Romance, which includes both historical and modern equally. I am a sucker for a good romance, but I prefer a “clean” and non-graphic romance, which is why I am drawn to the Inspirational Romances.

What is the book that you consider your all-time favorite?

All-Time favorite would be Christy by Catherine Marshall.

What book are you reading right now?

I am currently reading Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter.

MARJI LAINE CLUBINE

Marji’s back–this time as a reader, but she’s also a publisher, so authors might want to take note.

In what state or region do you reside?

I live in North Dallas. I group up in the suburbs on the east side and have lived in Northeast Texas (including college years) since I was 2 years old.

Besides reading, what is of major interest to you?

My major interest is publishing other authors’ books – I really love my job. But I also love leading our high school/college Bible study and directing our church’s children’s choir. Oh, and family game night – LOVE family game night!

What is your favorite genre, and why?

Romantic suspense and romantic mystery have always been my favorites. Phyllis A. Whitney, Mignon Eberhart, Agatha Christie, and Trixie Belden Mysteries when I was growing up. Now that I’m older, I enjoy Dana Mentink, Lynette Eason, Dani Pettrey, Kristen Hogrefe, Elizabeth Noyes, and Fay Lamb! 🙂

What is the book that you consider your all-time favorite?

I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one. I love the story of Pride and Prejudice, though I confess I only read half of the book. I’ve only read a handful of books more than once – most of them children’s chapter books when I did read-alouds as a teacher. I think my current favorite, though is the Rogue series by Kristen Hogrefe – masterfully written and full of action, mystery, and suspense – and romance. Yep. Gotta have some romance in it!

What book are you reading right now?

Another confession, now that my new job requires so much reading (editing) I seldom read for enjoyment. I find I’m correcting too much. But I do listen to books on Audible. I just finished Eason’s Elite Guardian series and am now listening to Joanne Fluke’s Hanna Swensen mysteries. I love the Hallmark movies based on these books and having fun with more of the stories.

ELIZABETH “BETTY” NOYES

Elizabeth “Betty” Noyes and I met as critique partners and we have become fast friends. I have been privileged to listen to her provide in-person critique, and I have been blessed to have her critique my work. I know she reads with a different eye, and I’m excited for you to meet her as a reader.

In what state or region do you reside?

Atlanta, Georgia.

Besides reading, what is of major interest to you?

Bible studies, Travel, Crocheting, Baking, Grandkids

What is your favorite genre, and why?

Favorite genre to read is sci fi; to write is romantic suspense.

What is the book that you consider your all-time favorite?

Gone With The Wind followed closely by The Stand.

What book are you reading right now?

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

SARAH BLANCHARD

Sarah is one of my favorite persons in the world. We met when were very young teenagers. She and her brother lived next to my grandmother’s “vacation” home on Merritt Island, and we spent a lot of time on the river and in Sarah’s house. Sarah’s beautiful mother, Nancy, was the one who encouraged me to keep writing all those years ago. We reunited for a sad day last year, but we’ve stayed in contact since, and I was very interested in getting Sarah’s answers to these questions.

In what state or region do you reside?

Tampa Bay, Florida

Besides reading, what is of major interest to you?

Florida’s environmental preservation, Christianity, and studying piano

What is your favorite genre and why?

Murder mysteries. I love to hide under the covers and lock all the doors and windows.

What is the book that you consider your all-time favorite?

Hiroshima, John Hersey.  A tough read and life-changing reading experience.

What book(s) are you reading now?

Dawn of The Belle EpochThe Paris of MonetZolaEiffelDebussyClemenceau, and Their Friends By Mary McAuliffe.

FAY LAMB:

Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories with a Romans 8:28 attitude, reminding readers that God is always in the details. Fay donates 100% of her royalties to Christian charities.

Storms in Serenity is the first book in Fay’s Serenity Key series, which will release in March of this year. Fay’s other series include, Amazing Grace and her novels, Stalking Willow, Better than RevengeEverybody’s Brokenand Frozen Notes. The Ties that Bind Series includes Charisse, Libby, and Hope. Delilah, is coming soon.

Fay’s is also the author of The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Why do I believe readers will enjoy my work?

When I sit down to write, I don’t plan on writing a book. I plan on creating a world inside of my readers’ imaginations where they can escape and unwind. I imagine my characters on stage, that I’m a part of the cast, and I’m in the midst of the story with them. In that way, I am sure that my readers will be in the story as well and not simply watching the stage from the audience.

A special thank you to all who took part in the spotlights.

I’m praying that reader and authors alike will have a very Blessed and Happy New Year!

And that pesky newsletter? I think I’ll bring it back in another format pretty soon. For now, here’s a little bit about me:

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview: Christine Lindsay

Christine Lindsay Author picToday’s guest is author Christine Lindsay, author of Veiled at Midnight.  Christine was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that great ship.

It was stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her Multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj. Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and the final installment to that series, Veiled at Midnight just released October 2014.

Londonderry Dreaming is Christine’s first romance which is set in Ireland.

Christine makes her home in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.

CONNECT WITH CHRISTINE: Please drop by Christine Lindsay’s website  or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest,  Facebook,  and  Goodreads.

Christine, I have enjoyed reading your books in this series. This particular story is The Twilight of the British Raj, and so much of India’s history was shared with this fascinating story.

I was struck by the fact that the British in India, many who called the country their home and who felt distanced from the British Isles would need to relocate. You brought that sadness home to me, and I wonder as a writer if you felt the sorrow of your characters?

Strangely enough, the majority of the British living in Colonial India were not brokenhearted to be returning to England, although it was a huge adjustment for sure. Most of the British were military folk, so moving to another part of the British Empire wasn’t too big a deal. Sadly, the majority were more miffed that they were losing their status as so-called upper-crust persons looking down on the natives. That insufferable bias toward non-whites is not something modern-day Brits are proud of from history.

There were those who did identify with the Indian people, and of course many in Christian circles felt a genuine love for India, and this is why many of those people stayed on long after Britain left. But the sorrow you picked up on in my book is shown in the heart of my Christian characters which reflects the sorrow of the Lord over a land that He loves—India.

As a Christian I relate to my Indian brothers and sisters in total equality. That’s one of the main points in this series. I hate racism, and so does the Lord Jesus. I hope my books make that clear.

Much of the history of that time involved relations between the Hindus, the Sikhs, and the Muslims. When I think of India, I do think of the Hindus, but they have had a violent history with the Muslims resulting in the events you portray in Veiled at Midnight. In the novel, the Muslims seemed to have been okay with the Christians while they fought with the Sikhs and Hindus. Today, though, when the fanatics scream “Death to the infidels” they are advocating the deaths of anyone who is not Muslim. Do you have an idea of why this has changed or maybe those Muslims felt differently than Muslims in Palestine?

The whole discussion on Muslims is so complex. In my novel I showed that at that time of the Partition of India the Muslims were sort of okay with Christians because the Christian population was such a minority, and of very little consequence to any of three major religions in India, Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh. It was the Christian’s lack of importance in India that has made it hard for them during the past fifty years.

Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim league in India and the father of Pakistan was also a fairly liberal Muslim leader compared to Muslim leaders today. While he wanted his totally Muslim state he also thought he could keep the other religions in his Pakistan safe. Jinnah wanted the world to approve of his new country Pakistan. Of course this blew up in everyone’s faces during the Partition.

For a time Christians were allowed to live freely in Pakistan, but as time went by that freedom was slowly eaten away. The Christian college Kinniard that I mention in my novel was eventually taken over and ceased to be a Christian institution. Christian missionaries continue to live in Pakistan, but as we can see from the news that liberal acceptance has eroded over the decades.

I mentioned this in Cam’s interview on Monday, but I felt that the story of Cam’s romance with Dassah mirrored his love for country. Is that what you intended? If so, would you elaborate? If not, what did you hope to bring out in this story?

You’re right, I did want Cam’s love for the Indian girl Dassah to mirror his love for India. I’m so glad you caught that undercurrent. As I already mentioned, racism is something I’ve tackled in this series. Cam is one of my Christian characters and I wanted his feelings about India to be in contrast to the general British population. At that time the majority of English looked down on the Indian people as lower than their white race, much the way Afro-Americans were looked down in the US at the same time.

Through my characters I tried to show what a Christian should feel for people with a different skin tone. So Cam in Veiled at Midnight is loving Dassah as his equal, the same way Christ wants His entire church with all its glorious skin tones to love each other.

Was there a Scripture of a Bible precept that God brought to you in your writing of Veiled at Midnight?

You bet. There is a scripture verse for all my books and usually a passage I refer to a number of times. The main verse is Romans 8:28, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. But really the whole chapter is talking about living in the Spirit, and how our human spirit is in conflict with God’s Spirit. It’s so hard to fight against our human traits. This is shown in how Cam works so hard to fight against his addiction, but he too learns that even his struggle with drinking can’t separate him for the love of Christ.

I’d love to know what you’re working on next. Would you mind sharing with us?

I am currently writing the non-fiction book about my experience relinquishing my first child to adoption back in 1979 and our reunion twenty years later in 1999. Meeting my daughter Sarah when she was 20 years old brought back all the pain of giving her up in the first place. But through that heartbreak I learned the most precious thing of all—how much God loves me as a Father. It was the verse Isaiah 49:15,16a that taught me this. “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”

That book will be released November 2015.

What a wonderful blessed event that arose from such a sad time in your life. I’m going to be looking for that book and many more to come from you, I’m sure. I hope you’ll come back and visit with us again at Inner Source.

VAM Polished coverMore About VEILED AT MIDNIGHT-Book 3 of the series Twilight of the British Raj

As the British Empire comes to an end, millions flee to the roads. Caught up in the turbulent wake is Captain Cam Fraser, his sister Miriam, and the beautiful Indian Dassah.

Cam has never been able to put Dassah from his mind, ever since the days when he played with the orphans at the mission as a boy. But a British officer and the aide to the last viceroy cannot marry a poor Indian woman, can he?

As this becomes clear to Dassah, she has no option but to run. Cam may hold her heart—but she cannot let him break it again.

Miriam rails against the separation of the land of her birth, but is Lieutenant Colonel Jack Sunderland her soulmate or a distraction from what God has called her to do?

The 1947 Partition has separated the country these three love…but can they find their true homes before it separates them forever.

Sarah  Lana as bookendsCAPTURED BY MOONLIGHT—by Christine Lindsay Finalist in Readers’ Favorite 2013 Christian Historical, currently a finalist for the 2013 Grace Award and The Word Guild Award. (Best book 2013 according to Author April Gardner. Top ten of Diana Flowers 2013 picks.

Prisoners to their own broken dreams….

After a daring rescue goes awry, the parched north of India grows too hot for nurse Laine Harkness and her friend Eshana. The women

flee to the tropical south…and run headlong into their respective pasts.

Laine takes a new nursing position at a plantation in the jungle, only to discover that her former fiancé is the owner…and that Adam has no more to say to her now than he did when he crushed her heart years ago. Why, then, is she still drawn to him, and to the tiger cub he is raising?

Eshana, captured by her traditional uncle and forced once more into the harsh Hindu customs of mourning, doubts whether freedom will ever again be in her future, much less the forbidden love that had begun to whisper to her. Is faith enough to live on? Or is her Savior calling her home?

Amid cyclones and epidemics, clashing faiths and consequences of the war, will the love of the True Master give hope to these searching hearts?

Watch the book trailer for Captured by Moonlight.

SHADOWED BY SILK by Christine Lindsay

She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger and a cruel father to their three-year old son. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. His faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

Be sure to check out the Inner Source interview with the heroine, Laine Harkness, of Captured by Moonlight.

She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger and a cruel father to their three-year old son. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. His faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

 

Character Interview: Cam Fraser from Christine Lindsay’s Veiled at Midnight

Cam memeToday’s guest at Inner Source is Cam Fraser, the hero of Christine Lindsay’s wonderful historical novel, Veiled at Midnight.

Cam comes to us from the mid-1940s India, an exciting time in his country’s history. Welcome.

Cam, I wanted to speak to you today because for me, you are an unlikely hero. At times in this story I wanted to smack you for the decisions you made, ones that hurt you and that hurt your heroine, Dassah. Looking back on those decisions, though, do you believe that, despite your sin, God ably turned all things to good as He promises in Romans 8:28?

I am no hero, and you’re not the only one who wanted to smack me. There was a time I wanted to end it all because of my sickening inability to be a decent man like my stepfather. But the disgusting human weakness of drunkenness came through my bloodline, from my natural father, and I ended up being enslaved to my mistress in a bottle.

The Lord knows how much I hated myself, but couldn’t seem to stop. I tried so many times…and failed miserably, like that natural man in chapter 8 of Romans.

That’s one of the good things that came out of my story. I learned that I cannot change myself. No matter how hard I fight against my human tendencies I fail. Only God can He change me.

And in a way, I’m grateful that my human sinfulness was easy to see—I was a drunk. If I had not had this very visible weakness, I might not have seen my need of Christ. As a man with a great military career, and the fact I knew how to act like a Christian, growing up in a Christian home with Christian parents, I could have just kept acting like a good person. But being a good person with a highly respected position can keep you from recognizing your need of the Savior.

So, the best of all things has been given to me—I am saved by Christ. I know who I am only in Him.

Well said. You literally had to fall flat on your face so that God could work in you. When you got to that point, what made you seek God?

I knew that if I did not surrender to God that I would truly die from drinking. As much as I thought I wanted to end my life, when it came down to it I yearned for life—the kind of abundant life that I saw my parents living.

I believe we all need to recognize that our human condition goes in one direction only—it shoves us toward death. I’m grateful today to be sober and feeling clean in my heart, mind, and soul. God rewarded me by my obedience. He renewed my relationship with my family, but most of all gave me back my precious wife.

Cam, your story is not only about a man’s love for a woman who convention tells him he should not love, but a man’s love for his country—one that is being taken away from him—is also very important to the story. Would you share with the reader what made you cling to the thoughts of Dassah throughout the years?

My stepfather taught me from a little boy that I should treat Indian people as my equals. That just because I was British and a member of the so-called ruling British class, that in God’s eyes this was nonsense. Black, white, brown, whatever the skin-tone, it is all from God and something He delights in. Learning to see India through my step-father’s eyes and through the eyes of God, I fell in love with India. And that love of India is wrapped up in the beautiful woman, Dassah. I love her culture, her voice, her language, her way of moving, the food she makes, and the warmth of her soul. She is a jewel in the great diversity of God’s creation.

Also, what is it about India and its people that endeared you to the nation?

Their smiles—such bright brown eyes. The aroma of their food, their music, the colors of their clothing, but most of all the people of India search for God with a passion I have never seen in any other race. They hunger and thirst for the truth about God.

In 1940, the culture in India was such that a British officer did not marry a woman of India. Looking back, I’d like to know how you and Dassah dealt with this type of bias throughout the years.

It wasn’t easy, even after the war. We made it to Canada, to the west coast of British Columbia where a large population of Indian people had fled to. In the Fraser Valley there was enough of a mixture of English, European, and Indian immigrants, that Dassah and I fit in. It didn’t happen right away. Even there, the stigma of an inter-racial marriage brought some tears to Dassah. I comforted her, and eventually after our third child was born things began to lighten in people’s minds. Also, people in our community began to take us at face value, people who love the Lord and seek to bring good to our neighbors.

Thank you so much for being our guest today, Cam. I’m so glad to see what God has done in your life. When you seemingly lost so much, He opened the door to more blessings. I look forward to the interview with your author, Christine Lindsay on Wednesday.

VAM Polished coverMore About VEILED AT MIDNIGHT-Book 3 of the series Twilight of the British Raj

As the British Empire comes to an end, millions flee to the roads. Caught up in the turbulent wake is Captain Cam Fraser, his sister Miriam, and the beautiful Indian Dassah.

Cam has never been able to put Dassah from his mind, ever since the days when he played with the orphans at the mission as a boy. But a British officer and the aide to the last viceroy cannot marry a poor Indian woman, can he?

As this becomes clear to Dassah, she has no option but to run. Cam may hold her heart—but she cannot let him break it again.

Miriam rails against the separation of the land of her birth, but is Lieutenant Colonel Jack Sunderland her soulmate or a distraction from what God has called her to do?

The 1947 Partition has separated the country these three love…but can they find their true homes before it separates them forever.

Sarah  Lana as bookendsCAPTURED BY MOONLIGHT—by Christine Lindsay Finalist in Readers’ Favorite 2013 Christian Historical, currently a finalist for the 2013 Grace Award and The Word Guild Award. (Best book 2013 according to Author April Gardner. Top ten of Diana Flowers 2013 picks.

Prisoners to their own broken dreams….

After a daring rescue goes awry, the parched north of India grows too hot for nurse Laine Harkness and her friend Eshana. The women

flee to the tropical south…and run headlong into their respective pasts.

Laine takes a new nursing position at a plantation in the jungle, only to discover that her former fiancé is the owner…and that Adam has no more to say to her now than he did when he crushed her heart years ago. Why, then, is she still drawn to him, and to the tiger cub he is raising?

Eshana, captured by her traditional uncle and forced once more into the harsh Hindu customs of mourning, doubts whether freedom will ever again be in her future, much less the forbidden love that had begun to whisper to her. Is faith enough to live on? Or is her Savior calling her home?

Amid cyclones and epidemics, clashing faiths and consequences of the war, will the love of the True Master give hope to these searching hearts?

Watch the book trailer for Captured by Moonlight.

SHADOWED BY SILK by Christine Lindsay

She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger and a cruel father to their three-year old son. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. His faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

Be sure to check out the Inner Source interview with the heroine, Laine Harkness, of Captured by Moonlight.

She was invisible to those who should have loved her.

After the Great War, Abby Fraser returns to India, where her husband is stationed with the British army. She has longed to go home to the land of glittering palaces and veiled women . . . but Nick has become a cruel stranger and a cruel father to their three-year old son. It will take more than her American pluck to survive.

Major Geoff Richards, broken over the loss of so many of his men in the trenches of France, returns to his cavalry post in Amritsar. His faith does little to help him understand the ruthlessness of his British peers toward the Indian people he loves. Nor does it explain how he is to protect Abby Fraser and her child from the husband who mistreats them.

Amid political unrest, inhospitable deserts, and Russian spies, tensions rise in India as the people cry for the freedom espoused by Gandhi. Caught between their own ideals and duty, Geoff and Abby stumble into sinister secrets . . . secrets that will thrust them out of the shadows and straight into the fire of revolution.

Christine Lindsay Author picAbout the Author:

Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that great ship.

It was stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her Multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj. Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and the final installment to that series, Veiled at Midnight just released October 2014.

Londonderry Dreaming is Christine’s first romance which is set in Ireland.

Christine makes her home in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.

CONNECT WITH CHRISTINE:

Please drop by Christine Lindsay’s website  or follow her on Twitter and be her friend on Pinterest,  Facebook,  and  Goodreads.

Author Interview: Angela Breidenbach

IMG_0455Today’s guest is Angela Breidenbach, the author of The Debutante Queen one of two novellas in the book Snowflake Tiara. Angela’s novella is historical, set in 1889 Helena, when Montana gained its statehood.

 Angela is a captivating speaker, coach, and author. Angela volunteers as the Christian Author Network’s president. She’s an editor, author, and speaker with Choose Now Publishing; a columnist for Leading Hearts; and an avid volunteer for the Jadyn Fred Foundation that helps Montana children. As Mrs. Montana International 2009, Angela loved promoting her state. As a Montana author it’s one of her favorite places to write about whether in an historical or contemporary setting. Books by Angela Breidenbach set in Montana include Snowflake TiaraEleven Pipers Piping (Sep. 30th, 2014), and A Healing Heart. Yes, quite a few more are coming… Don’t miss A-Muse-ings coming this fall, #Muse’s feline comedy, by popular demand.

Angela’s speaking engagements represented by Choose Now Ministries: 217-215-0515. You can also connect with Angela at her website, on TwitterPinterest, and Facebook. Also, Angela and co-author Valerie Comer have an interesting Snowflake Tiara page at Pinterest.

Angela, I enjoyed the story of this unique heroine who took on the plight of children who were part of The Orphan Train that resulted in the homeless and orphaned children being sent from urban areas to the west. I’d love to know some greater details from your research with regard to this movement that sent these children into indenture.

Hi, Fay! Thank you so much for reading Snowflake Tiara: The Debutante Queen. The Orphan Train often helped place children in adoptive homes and some were truly loving. The utopian idea was to take children out of desperation and place them with healthy farm families. It’s the predecessor of foster placement. But many of those children were either unwanted due to age, sibling groups, or even heritage. They’d been taken off the streets of New York in droves. (An estimated 30,000 children lived on the streets of NYC by the 1850s.)

People would gather as the train came through and choose a child. Some chose the children as workers, not as family members. Some chose to adopt because they wanted a particular boy or girl. But sometimes there were “leftovers” that rode all the way to the end of the line without ever being chosen. Many placements were reasonably successful, but some children were deeply abused. Those kiddos were sometimes runaways, but too often were just not claimed by anyone or later turned out because the family didn’t want the struggle or didn’t bond. They ended up on the streets—and Helena, MT happened to be the end of their train ride.

According to the Children’s Aid Society, the Orphan Train children were not indentured. But some children came with indentured parents to Helena (particularly women paying off their train fares lured with the promise of working as a maid or waitress then found they’d been snookered by a madam, and though the child hadn’t signed the papers, they were saddled with the legal responsibility of the parent because there weren’t laws to protect children at that time.) Some people felt placing a child into an indentured situation was humane to give them a trade. And some lived on the streets when a home didn’t work out. Helena eventually built a home—and that will be in the next story, Eleven Pipers Piping, releasing Sep. 30th.

I did read a lot about the Orphan Trains from both the Children’s Aid Society and Montana’s information from a special Montana Room in my local library. Valerie and I visited the museum in Helena too.

In the story, the heroine struggles with what is legal and what is moral. What would you say to a reader who might be facing a situation where someone is calling him or her to do what’s legal, but the legalities stand in the face of Scripture?

This is such a tough question for anyone to answer. But I believe we’re called to follow God’s sense of justice even if worldly laws disagree with God’s. I think it’s terrifying to disobey a law made by man when we are aware of the ramifications, but I have to hope that I’d do just what Calista did. When I make a decision, I imagine myself standing in front of God. I want Him to smile on me. I make my decisions based on God’s reaction, not man’s. And sometimes that isn’t popular. But I’ve never yet been in the situation of actually breaking a law to follow God’s. If I ever am, I pray that God will give me the courage to act in His will and love and not based on my fear of man’s laws.

This story takes place in and around the inaugural for the first governor of the State of Montana (not to be confused with the territorial governors appointed previously) and with Christmas festivities in Helena, Montana, 1889. Did you learn any special trivia that you’d like to share with our readers?

Oh yes! I searched and searched and searched for the inaugural ball date that Mr. Broadwater promised. He’d promised (and it was recorded in the newspaper by a reporter) to drain the Broadwater natatorium, put in a dance floor, and invite five thousand people to the inaugural ball for the new governor. That never happened. But it took me a few months to figure out why. The first week of statehood, the democrats and the republicans dissolved into major battles. They couldn’t even sit in the same room! So Broadwater never held the event. But the high society ladies of Helena, MT were so annoyed at the men they held a progressive party that went from salon to salon on January 1st, 1890. The party happened during a major cold spell, but they went from house to house all day celebrating the new year, new statehood, and that the women had so much more sense than the men! Totally cracked me up when I finally found that little snippet in an old history book in the Montana Room of the Missoula Public Library. I still smile when I think of those irritated ladies. I wouldn’t want to be one of those husbands getting an earful at each house! I think this is one of my very favorite historical tidbits about Montana—ever!

Something unique happens to your antagonist. I actually loved the outcome, and what occurred happened because of the actions of the heroine. In your life, have you found that standing strong in the face of adversity and sticking to your cause has made a difference in the lives of someone who has made life difficult for you?

I am so, so honored that you liked that twist! I want to believe people can choose to change. When I was in junior high, I had quite the bully after me. She was new to the school. I never saw her, never met her, never even knew she existed. Suddenly she started a rumor that I’d called someone a name (ironically, I never used that kind of language and everyone knew it). But it was junior high. Eventually I had to stand up to her because a group surrounded us on the playground. I’d have kept avoiding her, personally. And I really didn’t have a clue how to stand up to a bully. I refused to fight. I hadn’t done what I’d been accused of and I didn’t believe fighting would solve it. She grabbed my long hair and decked me. I walked away and into the school, humiliated. In my mind, every kid in school watched that happen to me. I drew on that feeling when I wrote Calista’s fear of performing in public due to previous ridicule. My friends had abandoned me because they didn’t want to get dragged into the fight. I felt unjustly targeted and very alone. I was thirteen and had just barely started making friends. So this was devastating to me.

Later, we were both suspended. Our mothers agreed to force me to spend time with the bully—at her home! Talk about pushing me into the fire! But I learned how badly she was treated by her family. I learned why she thought rudeness and violence garnered attention. It was miserable to watch and to experience. I learned compassion for her, though we never became real friends because I couldn’t build trust toward her. I worked hard to remember to smile at everyone so people didn’t feel snubbed. I felt (at thirteen) afraid that someone would even think I’d snubbed them. So I thought about the bully, and how I reacted to her to protect myself as a teen, as I built the character of Dora and the interaction with Calista. I saw vulnerability in that young bully that I wished she could have explored.

Though we were never close friends, I did see that girl get a little nicer over the years. When she saw me in high school, she’d say hi. I’d return the greeting. And that was as far as a relationship could go that started with lies, violence, and distrust. I don’t know where she is today, but I’d like to think she continued to become someone she could be happy with, and that she’d let go of the false front to be genuinely herself. Sometimes I pray for her because she still comes to mind. So many years later, I really wouldn’t mind having a coffee with her. I’d like to know how things turned out.

I’d love to hear what other works or projects you have planned in the future. Please share those with our readers.

Coming on Sep. 30th, Eleven Pipers Piping releases. It’s a continuing story from The Debutante Queen of Frankie and Joey. But it’s told through the eyes of another debutante, Mirielle Sheehan. I really fell in love with the newsies and their incredible influence on Helena, MT. But I honestly couldn’t leave Frankie and Joey out in the cold. So Mirielle is given the ultimatum of shaping up the street boys she’s cared for (since helping Calista) or watching them be placed either into indenture for a trade or sent to military school. But one of the boys isn’t like the others…and just who is his father?

Another project in the works is a comedy book with #Muse. He’s my feline investigative reporter that likes to entertain on Facebook. We’ve been asked numerous times for a book of his top humor vignettes and so we are going to do it. I’m not yet sure of the release date, but it should be this fall, in time for Christmas. Stay tuned!

Beyond that, I love to talk. So what better thing to do than have a radio talk show? In October, I’ll be introducing a new iTunes radio show called Grace Under Pressure: Becoming a woman of confidence, courage, and candor. And oh boy, talk about stretching my comfort zone!!

Angela, thank you for visiting with us at Inner Source. I loved the tidbits of Montana history and learning about the Orphan Train, and I enjoyed both of the novellas in Snowflake Tiara, and look forward to meeting Calista’s great-great-great granddaughter on Thursday. On Friday, Valerie Comer will be sharing about More than a Tiara the second novella in the book.

Final book cover ST10More About Debutante Queen and Snowflake Tiara:

What if you were caught doing something good, but the man you loved didn’t see it that way?

The Debutante Queen by Angela Breidenbach ~ 1889 (Helena, MT): Calista Blythe enters the first Miss Snowflake Pageant celebrating Montana statehood to expose the plight of street urchins. But hiding an indentured orphan could unravel Calista’s reputation, and her budding romance with pageant organizer, Albert Shanahan, if her secret is revealed. Will love or law prevail?

More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer ~ 2014 (Helena, MT): Marisa Hiller’s interest in competing in Miss Snowflake Pageant for the city of Helena’s 150th anniversary is at zip zero zilch when she discovers the official photographer is Jase Mackie. Can Jase make amends for past mistakes and offer her, not only a tiara, but a partner in her crusade to help needy children and families?

Meet Calista Blythe the heroine of The Debutante Queen

Character Interview: Kate Davidson from Joy Restored by Jude Urbanski

JoyRestoredCoverArt72dpi_(1)Kate Davidson, the heroine from Jude Urbanski’s Joy Restored, is our special guest today. Kate. you are from a recent historical era in our history. Would you mind telling us a little about your life, what you do, how the historical events in this era have effected your life?

I am originally from California and a loving, Irish family. My dad is in politics and my mother is an artist.  I seem to have inherited some of her ability. All our family is musical. I met Clayton in Texas while we were in college and afterwards we came to Chanute Crossing, Tennessee, because Clayton’s Scottish ancestors had lived here. I realize now Clayton was trying to find some peace in family history, so to speak. He was depressed. He had volunteered to go to war, because his family had had soldiers since the American Revolution. He never was able to get over the emotional impact the war made on him. And naturally, this affected our family greatly.

It can’t be any easier for a single mother in your time than it is for a mother today. Could you tell us a little about how you handle three children, a home, and a job—alone?

I was almost paralyzed after the death of Clayton and can only say my wonderful neighbors, Beulah and Sam, saved my life. They loved on me like parents. They helped me sell our hardware business (which I had to), helped me find a day care and a job. They were always there for me. I don’t think I could have made it otherwise. At least not as well.

Had my anger not separated me from God at that point, I know I would have had more peace in my life.

Kate, you husband didn’t die as a direct result of the war, but you lost him even before his death all the same? How did you cope with that, and how do you explain this to your children?

Clayton was never the same after returning from Vietnam. I knew he wasn’t the man I had married. We counseled, we tried hard, but nothing seemed to help him. I know his one-car wreck may not have been an accident. This I could not tell my small children, but hope in time we can revisit this part of their daddy’s life. I did not cope very well at first. Seth’s coming into my life with his larger-than-life faith in God finally made the difference for me.

I tried to ask all of my readers this question because I believe the depths of Romans 8:28 are so vast that we don’t always appreciate the truth of it when we are suffering. Kate, do you believe that despite the loss you and your children sustained, that God caused all things to work for good for you, for your children, for Seth, and even for Clayton?

No, I certainly did not believe Romans 8:28 when Clayton died. I was convinced God had played a cruel joke on me. His promises were a faded memory. All I felt was anger. In time, love of friends, a dear priest and Seth’s growing, deep love for me and the kids all worked to open my eyes to see God’s goodness in my pain. I know eventual good happened to me, Seth and the kids. Clayton I am not so sure of unfortunately.

I’m so glad for your honest answer. The truth of Romans 8:28 sometimes sees far from us until we are able to see what has happened beyond the tradegy.

Inquiring minds want to know if you were able to ever make friends with that nasty woman, Elizabeth.

Should I say that book two tells it all? God allowed me to see beyond the glossy, but insecure persona of Elizabeth Koger. She finally saw with spiritual eyes, but only after great loss and sadness. There are many Elizabeths in our Christian lives. Sometimes we are Elizabeth.

I can’t wait for Elizabeth to “get hers.” Thank you, Kate, for sharing your story with us here today on Inner Source.

More About Joy Restored:

Waging War against God

Kate Davidson wears a mask since her husband’s life was snuffed out on a mountain curve. Outwardly, she continues to care for her children and home. Inwardly, she wages battle with God. Clayton may as well have died in the jungles of Vietnam as in a one-car accident on the Wolf River Bridge.

Living Life for God

Widower Seth Orbin well understands life and death in God. He wades through rain and lightning to rescue Kate and her kids from a mountain-top storm. The kids find great adventure in being stranded at Seth’s cabin, but the adults sidestep an unexpected attraction that fateful night.

Hard-won Faith

After sensing their wide spiritual gulf, Seth is conflicted by his growing love for Kate. He longs for her parched faith to heal, but she’s convinced he’s deluding himself with ideas of peace. Besides, Seth’s longtime girlfriend won’t exit the love triangle gracefully.

Will Kate refuse God’s healing and Seth’s love? Or will death steal Seth from her as well?

judy_pic_2About the Author, Jude Urbanski:

Jude Urbanski, pen name for Judy Martin-Urban, is a multi-published, award-winning author who writes women’s fiction with inspirational romance elements. She weaves stories about strong characters spinning tragedy into triumph with God’s help. She is published in fiction and nonfiction. Jude was a columnist for Maximum Living, a Gannett magazinefor five years. She is a member of ACFW and National League of American Pen Women.

Jude invites you to contact her via her websiteblogFacebook or Twitter! You can also find out about her other releases by visiting Desert Breeze Publishing.

A True Romance by Sherri Wilson Johnson

9781602902862-Perfect.inddIn Victorian times, young debutantes waited for gentlemen to deliver their calling cards and take them for a stroll in their fancy teacarts. They picnicked and spent leisurely Sunday afternoons together after church talking about simple things. They spent evenings on the veranda sipping lemonade or warming by the fire nursing a cup of hot tea and reading literature. Any time together was special.

Because an accomplished gentleman might have traveled often, a lady would wait for a month or longer to receive a letter stating his interest or an invitation to an upcoming ball. Hours were spent pining away for the object of a lady’s desire, reading a poem he wrote, and if another lady set her eyes on him, clever (and sometime vicious) means were used to distract the competitor.

The suffrage movement of the late 1800s caused some women to shun traditional ways. In an effort to be recognized as a vital and equal part of society, women moved to the cities, went to work, learned to read, and went to college. For those who wanted the company of a man, they didn’t wait on calling cards to dictate with whom they spent their evenings.

Not long after the turn of the century, women began to see the fruit of their suffrage labors and experienced more freedom than any woman in the past. But at what cost? By the ’20s, the conservative upbringings of their mothers faded away and many women allowed themselves to be called a broad, a dame, the cat’s meow, or a doll to gain popularity, dates, and respect. A “charity girl” was a girl who didn’t save herself for marriage—or even for one man. Of course, the vast majority held true to the traditional courting ways and those who didn’t eventually realized that the respect they longed for couldn’t be found in a loose sort of lifestyle. They missed the days of hand-written love notes and spontaneously-picked flowers.

My novel, To Dance Once More, is a Victorian Inspirational Romance set in Florida in 1886. Lydia Barrington wants to leave her father’s plantation and the humdrum life of a debutante. The last thing she wants is to be betrothed to a man she doesn’t love. She wants adventure far from home and the freedom to choose her own spouse—if she decides she even wants one. However, this choice comes with sacrifices that Lydia may not be willing to make. She learns to trust God in every area of her life, especially in love.

No matter what the standards have been in the past and will be in the future for dating, one thing is for sure: women love to be romanced—to have a gentleman tell them how lovely they are and that their fragrance intoxicates them. To have a gentleman hang on their every word is better than a pot of gold. To hear the words “I love you” will never go out of style regardless of the fashions, the pastimes, or the etiquette. These desires stem from a deeper need. A need for the love of the Creator.

The love of the Heavenly Father is far better than the love of a man. Lydia discovered that without God, her life was meaningless and it mattered not who or if she married. Women today can experience this joy and freedom as well, and can know what it’s like to be valued for who they are on the inside and not what they look like on the outside or what they do or say. There’s freedom in the love of Jesus!

About the Author:

Sherri Wilson Johnson lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She loves to dream of romantic places and romance in general–good, clean romance. She is a bird-watcher, loves the ocean, roller coasters, ice cream, her family and her Chihuahua, who faithfully sits by her side every day when she writes. She is a blogger, virtual assistant, freelance editor and a former homeschooling mom. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More (OakTara), Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara) and To Laugh Once More (ChooseNOW Publishing, Dec 2014), and is a columnist for Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.

Catch up with Sherri at her website, on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads You can also find Sherri’s columns at Choose NOW and Habits for a Happy Home.

sherri-wilson-johnson-promo-pic (640x425)More about To Dance Once More:

All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore.

When Victorian debutante, Lydia Barrington, accidentally discovers that her father has promised her to the son of an unscrupulous businessman in payment for his own debts, she must make the biggest decision of her life…to concede or to fight. To Dance Once More explores the possibilities for a young woman, who longs to find God’s will for her life, yet is faced with a decision that will change her life forever. If she follows her heart, she disobeys her father; if she abides by her father’s wishes, she betrays herself.

Catch us with Sherri’s heroine Lydia Barrington and read Sherri’s interview.

Author Interview: Sherri Wilson Johnson

sherri-wilson-johnson-promo-pic (640x425)Today’s special guest is my friend, Sherri Wilson Johnson, author of To Dance Once More, an historical romance set in Florida in the 1880s.

Sherri, thank you for joining us today. As a fifth generation Floridian who has lived in the same small town all of my life, I was happy to see a historical novel set in my native state. I’d love to know why you chose to write a novel set in the post-Civil War South and why you set it in Florida.

To Dance Once More is set in Victorian-era Florida, bringing the romance of the beach, Victorian times, and debutante balls together because I’ve always loved the Victorian era, ball gowns, calling cards, carriages and gentlemen. I adore the beaches of Florida and grew up going there every summer for family vacation so I rarely tire of visiting the state.

Your heroine in To Dance Once More is a young woman who doesn’t want to live life the way that the society in which she lives would have her live. I wasn’t sure if Lydia was an adventurous or a discontented soul. How would you describe her?

Lydia Jane Barrington is quite discontented, and I think that makes her appear to be more adventurous than she really is. She definitely wants things in her life to change but she doesn’t know how to go about doing it so she comes across spoiled and self-centered. She doesn’t want to be like all of the women in her family. She wants adventure and travels and anything contrary to the ordinary life of a plantation owner’s wife. What she cannot see through her naiveté though is that in her day and time, if she wasn’t the wife of a plantation owner or a governess then more than likely she’d be cast into society as a worldly woman, left to fend for herself, subject to the charms of gentlemen who had something less than honorable in mind for her. She has a lot of maturing to do and even in the upcoming sequel, she’s still dealing with some of these issues.

How much of Lydia’s nature is something you have dealt with whether it is a soul yearning for adventure and unable to experience it or discontentment?

I can relate to both a yearning for adventure and discontentment. If you could label me as a character from Winnie the Pooh, I’d be more like Tigger than Eeyore or Rabbit. I love interaction with people and I love doing things I’ve never done before. So when the opportunity comes, I’m usually ready to try things. To me, that’s better than being stuck at home and bored to tears. However, just because I want to do something doesn’t mean I’m always able to drop what I’m doing and do it. I have family, work, writing deadlines, and church responsibilities to think of. If I become stuck in selfishness, I very quickly become resentful of my responsibilities and discontentment settles in. So having a soul-yearning for adventure and not being able to experience it can lead to discontentment but it can also, if used properly, lead to a goal-oriented, well-focused life. That’s what I strive for!

In your novel, is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bring to the light for your readers?

Psalm 30:11-12 is the scripture I picked out for To Dance Once More. It says, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” It’s quite fitting for this book because Lydia has no hope of ever feeling joy again—and of ever dancing again. But God is faithful to her. I also explore the concept of purity, remaining pure until married. There are characters that do and characters that don’t in this book. My hope is that readers will feel inspired to wait upon the Lord for all of his goodness, to have hope that there’s a better day ahead.

Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

The sequel to To Dance Once More is scheduled to release in December. Its prospective title is To Laugh Once More. Lydia struggles with many of the same issues she struggled with in the first book but from the perspective of a married woman and not a debutante. This book addresses the issues that many modern women deal with, such as: infertility, purpose, jealousy, grief. I hope it will be an inspiring read for all its readers.

I’m sure that it will be. Thank you for sharing with us today on Inner Source. If our readers missed Monday’s interview with your character, Lydia, I hope they will visit and learn a little more about her story.

More about the Author:

Sherri Wilson Johnson lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She loves to dream of romantic places and romance in general–good, clean romance. She is a bird-watcher, loves the ocean, roller coasters, ice cream, her family and her Chihuahua, who faithfully sits by her side every day when she writes. She is a blogger, virtual assistant, freelance editor and a former homeschooling mom. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More (OakTara), Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara) and To Laugh Once More (ChooseNOW Publishing, Dec 2014), and is a columnist for Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.

Catch up with Sherri at her website, on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads You can also find Sherri’s columns at Choose NOW and Habits for a Happy Home.

9781602902862-Perfect.inddMore about To Dance Once More:

All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore.

When Victorian debutante, Lydia Barrington, accidentally discovers that her father has promised her to the son of an unscrupulous businessman in payment for his own debts, she must make the biggest decision of her life…to concede or to fight. To Dance Once More explores the possibilities for a young woman, who longs to find God’s will for her life, yet is faced with a decision that will change her life forever. If she follows her heart, she disobeys her father; if she abides by her father’s wishes, she betrays herself.

Character Interview: Lydia Jane Barrington from To Dance Once More by Sherri Wilson Johnson

9781602902862-Perfect.inddToday’s guest is heroine, Lydia Jane Barrington, from Sherri Wilson Johnson’s historical romance, To Dance Once More.

Lydia, thank you for being with us, and please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak beyond the pages of the book. I am from Gulf Resort, Florida, and I live on my father’s plantation, Live Oaks, with my parents and older siblings. One of them is my twin brother, Nathan.

What are your aspirations?

 I want to make a difference to someone in this world. While I understand the value of being a wife and a mother, I long to do something extra special, something beyond the confines of the walls of my home. I’ve dreamed of being a nurse or a writer. Someday I will do something grand with my life.

My great-grandparents settled in Central Florida before the Civil War, and our family is rich in Florida history. Your story is set in the 1880s in Florida. What is it like living here during that time?

Living on a plantation in Florida far away from the city can be quite isolating at times. Although we are considered one of the wealthiest families around these parts, we don’t travel much. So we spend a lot of time here at home or with the families in our church. My father runs a lumber and turpentine business so our plantation is full of trees. My favorite thing to do is ride my horse, Gabriel, all over the plantation. My second favorite thing to do is fish in the pond, although my mother says it’s not ladylike. When I read, I sit in our gazebo out in front of our mansion. All too often, I daydream about my future and don’t get as much reading done as I should. Isabel Ann is our cook but she is like a second mama to me. I listen to her scolding more than I listen to Mama’s. She’s such a wise woman and never leads me astray. A few times a year we have social events with dancing. Sometimes we have bonfires and picnics. Life on the plantation is fun although I do dream of living in a city one day. Although I do not live as near to the beach as I would like, it is my favorite place to visit. I love to visit Shell Island with my family and with my hero, Hamilton Scarbrough. It’s a lovely place with crashing waves and beautiful shells.

You are a young lady with a lot of ambition for the era in which you live, and you run into quite a problem of your father’s making. What is it like living in a society where your parents define what and who you will be?

At times, it can be quite frustrating to be such a forward thinker in a time where women have little voice. My father is stern and my mother rarely argues against what he says. I often feel like a bird in a cage. I want to spread my wings and fly to a faraway land. However, when I listen to the wise words of my dear Isabel Ann, I understand that father has seen much more in his lifetime than I have and that he knows best. I am still young and I have the rest of my life to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. Time has a funny way of making you see that what you want today may not be what you’ll want tomorrow. I know that some of the things I’ve wanted to do have been nothing more than the hopes and aspirations of a little girl and that as I mature I will grow into the woman I’m supposed to be.

I have to tell you that I didn’t like the way that young Hamilton treated you during most of the story. I don’t want to give the story away, but tell me, how do you feel about the way Hamilton treated you?

I hated it! If I had been smarter and had a little more confidence in myself, I probably would have punched him in the stomach or socked him in the face. That’s what I would have done to my brother, Nathan, if he’d treated me that way. But Hamilton has grown a lot and matured and I have nothing but forgiveness for him in my heart now. However, don’t think I won’t give him a lashing with my tongue if he ever treats me poorly again!

Lydia, you learned some valuable lessons during your search for freedom and/or contentment. Would you mind sharing with our readers the biggest lesson learned?

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in the past few years. I’ve learned to sacrifice my own comfort for others. I’ve learned to make decisions wisely and not based off how my heart is feeling. Mostly, though, I’ve learned to seek God in all that I do. I can ask others what they think about a situation and I can go into a situation like a raging bull, but the best thing to do is to wait upon the Lord. He will never steer you in a wrong direction and he always wants what’s best for you.

Thank you for visiting with us. I look forward to speaking with your lovely author, Sherri on Wednesday.

More about To Dance Once More:

All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore.

When Victorian debutante, Lydia Barrington, accidentally discovers that her father has promised her to the son of an unscrupulous businessman in payment for his own debts, she must make the biggest decision of her life…to concede or to fight. To Dance Once More explores the possibilities for a young woman, who longs to find God’s will for her life, yet is faced with a decision that will change her life forever. If she follows her heart, she disobeys her father; if she abides by her father’s wishes, she betrays herself.

sherri-wilson-johnson-promo-pic (640x425)About the Author:

Sherri Wilson Johnson lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She loves to dream of romantic places and romance in general–good, clean romance. She is a bird-watcher, loves the ocean, roller coasters, ice cream, her family and her Chihuahua, who faithfully sits by her side every day when she writes. She is a blogger, virtual assistant, freelance editor and a former homeschooling mom. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More (OakTara), Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara) and To Laugh Once More (ChooseNOW Publishing, Dec 2014), and is a columnist for Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.

Catch up with Sherri at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads You can also find Sherri’s columns at Choose NOW and Habits for a Happy Home.

Am I My Brother’s Keeper? by Kathleen Y’Barbo

3LmfcXq0In my newest historical romance, Sadie’s Secret, I chose Genesis 4:9 for my key scripture: The Lord said unto Cane, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? It is a verse that is often quoted and can have several meanings. For the purposes of my novel, I chose to focus on the relational aspect between siblings, especially brothers.

This scripture fit well for both the hero and heroine’s lives and struggles as well as those of the villain. All three main players in this tale had siblings and family who were part of their struggles. Sadie Callum was an apt and adept Pinkerton agent whose family had no idea of her career and whose brothers insisted on protecting her at every turn. Villain and hero are brothers –twins actually—and their impossibly intertwined lives were the source of struggle and ultimately redemption.

Creating a heroine with a secret is not new to Christian fiction, but creating a woman worthy of besting the feat of the two previous heroes in The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series? That was a challenge, especially since said heroine would be dodging her five ever-so-helpful-and-yet-unhelpful brothers! Sadie’s struggle to manage her brothers and their unpredictable but steadfast desires to protect her ultimately makes her a better Pinkerton agent. It also makes her love her brothers even more, if that is possible, and to care for their safety as they care for hers. So, is she her brothers’ keeper? Yes, I think she is, even as she dodges them, she wants no harm to come to them.

Unfortunately, Will Tucker—the villain and namesake of The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series—has an entirely different relationship with his brother. William Jefferson Tucker, hero of the novel Sadie’s Secret, is the half-British, half-Southern Scotland Yard detective who is also the twin brother of the hero.

Two William Tuckers? Yes and no. While the men look very much alike, except to Sadie, villain William John Tucker is quite the opposite of his twin, Detective William Jefferson Tucker. John and Jefferson, as they are known, were both raised with one foot figuratively planted in their mother’s London and the other in their father’s Mobile, Alabama. When Jefferson comes looking for his missing brother John, he finds not only his brother but also enough trouble for the both of them.

How do these brothers react to trouble? Their responses are as different as the men Sadie sees. Jefferson, the perpetual “good” brothers, takes the law seriously and the pursuit of lawbreakers even more so. Meanwhile, John courts trouble and evades his brother and numerous members of law enforcement on both sides of the Atlantic. When Jefferson arrives to see John in prison, John has the audacity to change places, leaving an innocent man behind bars and an escaped prisoner on the run. As you can imagine, this is not how Jefferson expected seeing to his brother would end up. What began as an inconvenience is now an impossible situation.

Enter Pinkerton Agent Sadie Callum, the woman who is charged with proving—or disproving—a prisoner’s claim that the wrong man is behind bars at Louisiana’s Angola Prison. While Sadie is more than up to the task, remember she has brothers who live in Louisiana, brothers who feel it is their duty to protect her. The chance to right a possible wrong wins over potential disaster with her brothers, and in short order, the falsely imprisoned Tucker has been freed. Per her assignment from headquarters, Sadie is quite literally this man’s keeper, at least until she bundles him off to the Pinkerton agent who will shadow him back to Mobile where John Tucker may be hiding.

Scotland Yard detective Jefferson Tucker has had plenty of time to plan how he will see this wrong righted, and he is quite adept at finding his brother without any help. In none of these imagined scenarios has he expected to share these duties with a feisty female Pinkerton agent. However, with their purposes leading in the same direction and their jobs on the line, Jefferson and Sadie follow John’s trail together, albeit reluctantly.

Sparks fly and trouble chases their steps all the way from Mobile to New Orleans and then east to Key West and Newport. Of course, this is a romance, so there will be a happily ever after.

I won’t give away the brother’s keeper ending. However, I will say the redemption that occurred between brothers surprised me—and I’m the writer!

About Author Kathleen Y’Barbo:

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of over forty novels with more than one million copies of her books in print in the United States and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified family law paralegal, she was recently nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well as a Reader’s Choice Award by Romantic Times magazine. Kathleen Y’Barbo has four grown children, seven bonus children, and her very own hero in combat boots. Find out more about Kathleen at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

You can also find Kathleen on TwitterFacebook, and you can download a sample chapter, read reviews, and see the trailer for Sadie’s Secret by visiting Harvest House Publishers.

18054664More About Sadie’s Secret

Louisiana, 1890—Sarah Louise “Sadie” Callum is a master of disguise, mostly due to her training as a Pinkerton agent but also from evading overprotective brothers as she grew up. When she takes on a new assignment with international connections, she has no idea her new cover will lead her on the adventure of a lifetime. Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage—pretend or otherwise—but his past is a secret, his twin brother has stolen his present, and his future is in the hands of the lovely Sadie Callum. Without her connections to the world of upper-crust New Orleans, Jefferson might never find a way to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years. Only God can help these two secret agents find a way to solve their case and uncover the truth about what is going on in their hearts.

Be sure to read Inner Source’s interviews with heroine Sadie Callum and with Sadie’s author, Kathleen Y’Barbo.

Author Interview: Kathleen Y’Barbo

3LmfcXq0Today’s guest on Inner Source is bestselling author, Kathleen Y’Barbo.  Kathleen is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of over forty novels with more than one million copies of her books in print in the United States and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified family law paralegal, she was recently nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well as a Reader’s Choice Award by Romantic Times magazine. Kathleen Y’Barbo has four grown children, seven bonus children, and her very own hero in combat boots. Find out more about Kathleen at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

You can also find Kathleen on TwitterFacebook, and you can download a sample chapter, read reviews, and see the trailer for Sadie’s Secret by visiting Harvest House Publishers.

Welcome to Inner Source, Kathleen. We’re so glad you could join us this week to share with our readers the issues behind Sadie’s Secret.

Sadie Callum is a very strong character. She’s intelligent, and her heart isn’t set on marriage and a family—not right away. She has an interesting career for a Southern woman in the post-Civil War era. In your research of the novel, did you find that there were other woman who exhibited this type of independent during this time in history?

Yes, absolutely. Women served as spies during the Civil War, sometimes due to circumstance and other times in order to further the cause of their side. These women served as inspiration to the generation that followed, allowing women to make strides into a world that was previously forbidden to them. However, even before the war, one lady Pinkerton made history. Kate Warne arrived at the Chicago Pinkerton Agency in answer to an advertisement for a secretary. There are several versions of how she made the leap from admin to agent, but suffice it to say that not only did Warne become the first female Pinkerton, her career was filled with exploits such as saving Abraham Lincoln from an assassination attempt before he took the oath of office as president.

I love history, and that’s a fascinating lesson. Ms. Warne must have been a truly exceptional woman for her time.

What do you feel is the most important issue that Sadie must overcome?

Sadie must learn that the truth of what she does and who she is must be told, and she cannot continue to live a dual life, no matter how noble her reasons.

How did you come to explore these issues and what did you learn from writing about them?

Exploring the issue of truth came about in a backwards way. Since the villain in this series has been around for two books, I needed to create a character who would not only be his nemesis, but also one who could understand that part of Will Tucker that required him to live a dual life. What better foe for such a villain than a lady Pinkerton who is guilty of living her own duality? As what I learned? That would have to be that truth always rises to the surface, no matter how deep it is hidden.

I was hit the other day by the fact that lying was the sin that brought death to man. There isn’t any wonder why God’s word tells us He hates it so much—in any form. And, yes, truth does rise to the surface. In your novel is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bring to the light for your readers?

I chose Genesis 4:9 for my key scripture: The Lord said unto Cane, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? This scripture fit well for both the hero and heroine’s lives and struggles as well as those of the villain. All three main players in this tale had siblings and family who were part of their struggles. Sadie was an apt and adept Pinkerton agent whose family had no idea of her career and whose brothers insisted on protecting her at every turn. Villain and hero are brothers –twins actually—and their impossibly intertwined lives were the source of struggle and ultimately redemption.

Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

I have so many future projects! Next up for me is a complete change of pace, a contemporary beach-themed romance from Love Inspired called Their Unexpected Love which releases in July 2014. This novel centers around two hard-headed but soft-hearted people whose ideas of how to serve the Lord and minister to the youth in their small beach town are completely different. It’s a study in how God uses our strengths and teaches us through our weakness. Oh…and love. They fall in love and live happily ever after, of course!

I hope you’ll come back to Inner Source when the book is released. We’d love to meet your characters and here the “rest of the story” from the author.

18054664More About Sadie’s Secret

Louisiana, 1890—Sarah Louise “Sadie” Callum is a master of disguise, mostly due to her training as a Pinkerton agent but also from evading overprotective brothers as she grew up. When she takes on a new assignment with international connections, she has no idea her new cover will lead her on the adventure of a lifetime. Undercover agent William Jefferson Tucker is not looking for marriage—pretend or otherwise—but his past is a secret, his twin brother has stolen his present, and his future is in the hands of the lovely Sadie Callum. Without her connections to the world of upper-crust New Orleans, Jefferson might never find a way to clear his name and solve the art forgery case that has eluded him for years. Only God can help these two secret agents find a way to solve their case and uncover the truth about what is going on in their hearts.

Be sure to read Inner Source’s interview with heroine Sadie Callum.