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Posts tagged ‘romantic suspense’

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: Therese M. Travis

Therese TravisToday’s special guest is Therese M. Travis, an author is who is also a wife, mother, grandmother, follower of Christ. She’s been writing stories since the age of eight, and “telling stories” (you know what that means) since long before. She finally figured out how to put those stories onto the page. She loves to talk about Jesus and His love for us, about her family, crafting, writing, and praying. You can connect with Therese at Pinterest and on Facebook.

Therese, thank you for being here today. I loved Annabelle’s story because my favorite heroes and heroines are those that are not absolutely perfect. In Annabelle’s case, her flaws are physical, and she sees herself as flawed and not at all the way God sees her. This flaw prevents her from truly living. Have you ever known anyone who suffers from what they would consider a physical flaw and allowed themselves to be ruled by their own fears of what others see in them?

Welcome, Therese. It’s so good to have you return and talk about your newest romantic suspense novel, Fixing Perfect. 

Thanks, Fay. I love visiting with you.

The first question I have for you is: where in the world did you get the idea for this great suspense story with its unique heroine?

Several years ago, I attended a baseball game with my daughter and her family. My grandsons were volunteer runners for several handicapped players, and I just knew I had to use that concept in a story. From there, a comment I heard (I don’t remember where) about the “tragedy” of being handicapped, and I had my heroine who had a much better attitude. As I wrote Kerry, I realized he was based on a friend of mine. Every time he’d talk, I’d hear a different voice…

Catalina Island is another unique feature of the story. Why did you choose the island? Is there a connection or do you have another reason?

I went to the island for my honeymoon, and have always wanted to go back. Someday….Everything I learned about it as I researched just added another great layer to the story.

Robin is a fiercely independent woman despite her limitations. Do you know someone like Robin or do you write her from your own personal experience?

I’m not handicapped in the same way, but I have three different chronic illnesses that sap my energy. So that aspect of what Robin faces is straight from my own life. Also, from a very young age, I’ve been drawn to people with disabilities as much as to anyone else. I’ve learned to see them as people just like anyone else, rather than someone whose eyes you try not to catch when they walk by—or roll by.

You write suspense very well. The story builds and builds while you’re rooting for Robin and Sam to overcome the frightening events that are taking place in their lives. Have you ever been exposed to a similar situation? If so, do you want to share? If not, please tell us the secret behind your ability to bring the fear to your reader.

Thank you! No, I’ve never been in a similar situation. But I have an active (and somewhat sinister) imagination, and I use it fully! I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy getting into the killer’s head, but once I had, it made the story richer.

What are you working on now?

Several children’s books (middle reader level) and a short story set in Vatican City, that I hope to pitch for the Passport to Romance line. Also, a series of mysteries with a neurotic heroine. She’s very close to my heart. We share a lot of the same OCD tendencies.

FixingPerfect_h11394_300About Fixing Perfect:

In the community of Avalon on Catalina Island, a psychopath is kidnapping children and perfectly posing and painting the bodies of adult victims to resemble disabled artist, Robin Ingram.

Robin struggles with feelings of imperfection, and knowing some madman has a macabre agenda—which includes fixing her—is unsettling. She’s relieved when paramedic Sam Albrecht steps up to help.

Sam believes he knows the identity of the killer, and he wants nothing more than to prove it in order to keep Robin out of danger. Then Sam is arrested as a suspect for the crimes, and Robin’s life is thrown into a fresh whirlwind. She may not know who the real killer is, but she does know Sam is innocent…and she will find the proof to set him free, or she’ll die trying.

Other Works by Therese M. Travis:

Therese is the author of some of my favorite works:

AFistfulOfGod_w11310_680 (2)A Fistful of God:
 
Note from Inner Source: I not only rate this novel among my top five young adult novels. I rate it in my top five all-time favorites. This story is for audiences of all ages.
 

She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

AnnabellesAngel_w11882_680Annabelle’s Angel:

Annabelle Archer has been crushing on Rick Stockton for years. And now, when he notices her, it’s only because her brothers and sisters make it impossible for him to miss her. Annabelle still hasn’t decided if God’s will means she spends her life taking care of her six siblings, or if He has more in mind for her.Rick Stockton doesn’t mind that church activities and Annabelle’s brothers and sisters keep throwing Annabelle and Rick together. He just isn’t sure what it means. But as the kids keep trying to turn Rick into a snow angel—with sugar, baby powder, and more—he’ll work on figuring it out. Spending time with Annabelle’s family gives Rick a longing for one of his own…and an idea to make it happen.This Christmas, Annabelle may just find there’s a special angel in her corner, one that will stick around for a lifetime.

EverybodyLovesMickey_w11272_680Everybody Loves Mickey:

He’s a saint with a tarnished halo, and Aubrey Thomas can’t stand him…or can she?

Handsome fireman, Mickey Hurst is loved by all. He volunteers at the local parish where Aubrey Thomas works as an administrator. He sings in the choir. He leads the youth group. He even acts as the church handyman, but Aubrey knew him before he became Saint Mickey—when he told her he’d have to be drunk to kiss her…and he was. What’s so infuriating is that despite his horrible admission, Aubrey loves Mickey as much as everybody else.

Mickey doesn’t blame Aubrey for disliking him. After all, he kissed her when he wasn’t sober—and insulted her, to boot. Aubrey deserved a better man—a Godly man. But, since that fateful kiss, Mickey’s drawn closer to the Lord. With the intercession of God and the matchmaking parish staff, Mickey prays that this Christmas he will be able to prove to Aubrey he’s now the man for her.

 

Character Interview: Robin Ingram from Fixing Perfect by Therese M. Travis

FixingPerfect_h11394_300Today, we welcome Robin Ingram, the heroine from Therese M. Travis’s romantic suspense novel, Fixing Perfect.

Robin, you’re an island girl. Would you mind telling our readers a little about your life on Catalina Island?

I live with my grandmother in a beautiful house just a few blocks from the downtown area, nestled around Avalon Bay. Lucky for me, I don’t have to climb any mountains to get to the house, since I have only my golf cart to get there. I design and sew dolls for a co op gift shop, and I’m active in my church and with this great sports team. Everyone on the team has some sort of disability, but we don’t let it keep us from having a great time.

You’re an amazing woman. You live with disabilities, and you strive to help others. I know the title of Therese’s novel refers to you (without giving anything away), but I’d like to know from your perspective just how you view your disabilities.

I have disabilities? LOL. It’s something I’ve always had to deal with. Sometimes it frustrates me, a lot, but most of the time I’ve figured out a way around them. Some people seem to think I’m less of a person because I’m not exactly like everyone else. All I can say is, they’re wrong. If they want to find out why, they have to get to know me.

Your story is a suspenseful one, and I can just imagine the range of fears that you went through dealing with what was taking place on the island. How did you manage to even step outside your house?

God was with me every step of the way. He always has been. But yes, there were times when I was terrified. Sometimes I just had to close my eyes to what could happen and focus on what I needed to do. Just like in real life.

I fell in love with the hero of the story, Sam. He’s a topnotch guy. What would you say is Sam’s most redeeming quality—besides his heroism?

I fell in love with Sam, too! I think his best quality is that, while he has always acted as though I’m not disabled (at least most of the time), when he needs to, he just steps in and makes things happen for me. He’s always there for me.

You’ve been through a lot. What would you say is the most important precept you have learned through this ordeal?

I learned that I’m ok just as I am. I’m not less-than, less worthy, than anyone else. And I don’t need to be fixed!

More About Fixing Perfect:

In the community of Avalon on Catalina Island, a psychopath is kidnapping children and perfectly posing and painting the bodies of adult victims to resemble disabled artist, Robin Ingram.

Robin struggles with feelings of imperfection, and knowing some madman has a macabre agenda—which includes fixing her—is unsettling. She’s relieved when paramedic Sam Albrecht steps up to help.

Sam believes he knows the identity of the killer, and he wants nothing more than to prove it in order to keep Robin out of danger. Then Sam is arrested as a suspect for the crimes, and Robin’s life is thrown into a fresh whirlwind. She may not know who the real killer is, but she does know Sam is innocent…and she will find the proof to set him free, or she’ll die trying.

Therese TravisAbout the Author: 

Therese M. Travis is a wife, mother, grandmother, follower of Christ. She’s been writing stories since the age of eight, and “telling stories” (you know what that means) since long before. She finally figured out how to put those stories onto the page. She loves to talk about Jesus and His love for us, about her family, crafting, writing, and praying. You can connect with Therese at Pinterest and on Facebook.

Therese, thank you for being here today. I loved Annabelle’s story because my favorite heroes and heroines are those that are not absolutely perfect. In Annabelle’s case, her flaws are physical, and she sees herself as flawed and not at all the way God sees her. This flaw prevents her from truly living. Have you ever known anyone who suffers from what they would consider a physical flaw and allowed themselves to be ruled by their own fears of what others see in them?

Other Works by Therese M. Travis:

Therese is the author of some of my favorite works:

AFistfulOfGod_w11310_680 (2)A Fistful of God:
 
Note from Inner Source: I not only rate this novel among my top five young adult novels. I rate it in my top five all-time favorites. This story is for audiences of all ages.
 

She’s never taken a drink, but she’s recovering from alcoholism all the same.

After the death of her father, teenager Aidyn Pierce spends all her time cleaning up her mother’s messes. So when Mom announces she’s getting sober, Aidyn doesn’t believe her. Mom has tried before, and Aidyn knows there will come a time—a day, a week, maybe even a month from now—when the cravings will be too much, and her mother will start drinking again. So, when Aidyn is encouraged to attend support meetings, she refuses. No point in wasting her time when her mother’s going to drink again, anyway.

But what Aidyn doesn’t count on is the healing power of love and friendship, and the incredible strength of God to walk both mother and daughter through the dark valley of addiction and recovery.

AnnabellesAngel_w11882_680Annabelle’s Angel:

Annabelle Archer has been crushing on Rick Stockton for years. And now, when he notices her, it’s only because her brothers and sisters make it impossible for him to miss her. Annabelle still hasn’t decided if God’s will means she spends her life taking care of her six siblings, or if He has more in mind for her.Rick Stockton doesn’t mind that church activities and Annabelle’s brothers and sisters keep throwing Annabelle and Rick together. He just isn’t sure what it means. But as the kids keep trying to turn Rick into a snow angel—with sugar, baby powder, and more—he’ll work on figuring it out. Spending time with Annabelle’s family gives Rick a longing for one of his own…and an idea to make it happen.This Christmas, Annabelle may just find there’s a special angel in her corner, one that will stick around for a lifetime.

EverybodyLovesMickey_w11272_680Everybody Loves Mickey:

He’s a saint with a tarnished halo, and Aubrey Thomas can’t stand him…or can she?

Handsome fireman, Mickey Hurst is loved by all. He volunteers at the local parish where Aubrey Thomas works as an administrator. He sings in the choir. He leads the youth group. He even acts as the church handyman, but Aubrey knew him before he became Saint Mickey—when he told her he’d have to be drunk to kiss her…and he was. What’s so infuriating is that despite his horrible admission, Aubrey loves Mickey as much as everybody else.

Mickey doesn’t blame Aubrey for disliking him. After all, he kissed her when he wasn’t sober—and insulted her, to boot. Aubrey deserved a better man—a Godly man. But, since that fateful kiss, Mickey’s drawn closer to the Lord. With the intercession of God and the matchmaking parish staff, Mickey prays that this Christmas he will be able to prove to Aubrey he’s now the man for her.

 

Control and Trust by Janet Sketchley

Jesus will be thereThe back cover of my new novel, Secrets and Lies, says that unlike Carol (the heroine) I’m not related to a dangerous offender. I have a happy home life, and I’ve never been threatened by a drug lord. I’ve also never endured a miscarriage, the death of a husband (she’s better off without him) or of an adolescent son. Nor was there domestic violence in my home as a child.

What made me want to write Carol’s story? Well, for one thing, she’s had a lot of hardship, and I wanted to bring her to a better place. Even if that better place was only accessible by walking through more trouble. Enter the drug lord and his threatening phone calls.

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Trouble can break us, but it can also make us. Like Joseph discovered in the Old Testament, even the things our enemies mean to harm us can be used by God for good. (Genesis 45:5-8, NIV)

Carol reacts to stress by pulling in on herself and exerting as much control as she can over the pieces of life within her grasp. Including her son, who she’s pushing away with her restrictions.

Control isn’t a healthy way to live. We know that, but trust issues can make it nearly impossible to let go.

Even for Christians.

Then the question becomes not simply do I trust others, but do I trust God? Do I trust His heart, His ability to make a difference…do I trust Him even when He doesn’t do things my way? Even if He allows the unthinkable?

Not that we could stop Him, but we can worry ourselves sick thinking about what-ifs. That’s why I keep reminding myself that whatever happens, Jesus will be there. And I choose to trust God to pick up the pieces. The better I know Him, through life experience and through the Bible, the easier it is to trust Him. Even if the way leads through trouble.

The other reason to write Carol’s story? It let me explore my own questions about control. This is one of those lifetime journey issues, but I hope her experiences led us both to a place of releasing a bit more of the controlling tendencies that can wall us off from the world. When we’re walled off, we’re not free. We’re not living the life God wants to give us, and we’re certainly not showing our unbelieving friends and family members that God is worth trusting.

I’m not suggesting we become passive. Instead, we can cultivate an active, obedient trust that lives in expectation of God’s care – even when we have no idea what that care will look like or how He could possibly come through for us this time. He’s the same God who has sustained His people for thousands of years, and He hasn’t failed one of us yet.

What are some of the ways you keep fear and control from defining your life?

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350About the Author:

Janet Sketchley is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.

Secrets and Lies webMore about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Author Interview: Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley headshot 350x350Today, our guest is Janet Sketchley, the author of Secrets and Lies. Janet is the author of Heaven’s Prey and Secrets and Lies, two novels of suspense and redemption. She also blogs about faith and books. Janet loves adventure stories, worship music, tea and Formula 1 racing. Like Carol in Secrets and Lies, she loves music and tea. Unlike Carol, Janet isn’t related to a dangerous offender, has a happy home life, and has never been threatened by a drug lord. May those tidbits continue to hold true! You can find Janet online at her website.  Fans of Christian suspense are invited to join Janet’s writing journey through her monthly newsletter. You can also catch up with Janet on the Secret and Lies website, on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon Author Central, and Pinterest.

Janet, welcome to Inner Source. I enjoyed your story of Carol Daniels. It has plenty of suspense, along with some pretty important issues that Christians often have to wade through. Would you mind telling me where the idea from the story originated with you?

Thanks for inviting me to visit, Fay, and I’m glad you enjoyed Carol’s story. I “met” Carol through writing her brother Harry’s story in Heaven’s Prey, and I knew her life had not been easy. I also knew she needed the Lord. Secrets and Lies gives her the chance to find Him—unless her enemies find her first. I think themes like trust grew out of who she is and the choices she’s made.

Carol is a woman who has suffered a lot of loss, and she endures different types of grief. I’d even go so far as to say that relief was a part of her grief when it came to certain people. Did you write this character from experience?

She’d tell you that losing her husband was a relief! I didn’t write Carol’s grief from experience, although the grief of friends and fictional characters over the years helped me imagine what it must have been like for her. The parts of Carol that come from my experience are more linked to her—ahem—controlling tendencies and her fear. Not that I have tangible enemies, like she has.

Your heroine is a tough one. She seems to handle things that are thrown at her with more strength than I think she even realizes. Have you had an example of someone in your life who has exhibited this type of strength?

Carol doesn’t realize it, no. All she can see is the ongoing battle. It’s funny you’d ask about a real-life example. I could list Christians I know who rely on God’s strength and survive multiple storms, but Carol is someone who survives on her own. (At least she thinks she does—who knows how much strength the Lord subtly lends to those who are still on their way to finding Him?) You’ve reminded me of a friend who was like Carol in the sense that she’d ask us to pray for her while refusing to pray for herself. K was strong, sweet-tempered but very persistent. She, too, had a difficult marriage and her husband died suddenly. Her life wasn’t easy even then. I longed to see the Lord draw her to Himself, and my prayer and hope is that He ultimately did so before she died.

What would you, the author, say to someone who approached you and talked to you about grief, fear, and the regrets that Carol seems to have? Would you have a Biblical response for him or her?

There’s no easy answer for a person with deep hurts, and I’d be praying for wisdom of what and when to speak—and when to be silent. I think key, Biblical aspects of a response would include a reassurance that it’s okay to bring God our questions and our pain (think of David in the Psalms) but that we need to keep looking at God to see what He might say or do. Also that we can trust the heart of God—not to do what we want, but to love us and to work even in the worst times. So I’d encourage the person to discover God’s character through His Word. Ultimately, it would be God Himself who opened the person to believe and receive His love.

In the novel, the character of Joey says a few of the things I’d say: trusting the heart of God, prayer is important, and that we can work with God to re-shape our fears and reactions. As Joey does with Carol, this sort of conversation is long and slow, with lots of pauses. The best thing I could give someone in this situation would be my care and attention, and a willingness to walk with them no matter how far the journey appears to be.

Please tell us a little about your upcoming release No Safe Place and about any other future releases.

The Redemption’s Edge series introduces three members of the Silver family: villain Harry, his sister Carol, and their cousin Amy.

In No Safe Place, Amy Silver is injured in the plane crash that kills her fiancé. His best friend’s offer of shelter sounds ideal, even if the faith he lives by seems too good to be true. But has she found sanctuary…  or something more sinister?

I hope and trust there will be more stories after these, but they’re just thoughts and vague ideas right now. Thanks so much for hosting me, Fay. You ask thought-provoking questions! It was fun answering as Carol in her interview, too.

Janet, it was a pleasure having you with us, and I can’t wait to share your post on Friday.

Secrets and Lies webMore about Secrets and Lies

A single mother must protect her teenage son—from organized crime and from himself.

Carol Daniels thinks she out-ran her enemies, until a detective arrives at her door with a warning from her convict brother. Minor incidents take on a sinister meaning. An anonymous phone call warns her not to hide again.

Now she must cooperate with a drug lord while the police work to trap him. Carol has always handled crisis alone, but this one might break her. Late-night deejay Joey Hill offers friendship and moral support. Can she trust him? One thing’s certain. She can’t risk prayer.

Besides the Amazon link given above, Secrets and Lies can also be purchased at Createspace, at Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Character Interview: TJ McKendrick from Elizabeth Noyes’s Imperfect Wings

Imperfect Wings cover concept5Today’s guest is TJ McKendrick, the heroine from Elizabeth Noyes’ wonderful novel, Imperfect Wings.

TJ, thank you for being with us today.

Hello, Fay. Thank you for this opportunity.

You have a very fascinating story to tell us, but I want to know a little about you. Where are you from? What type of work did you do before the story began, and what led you to the place where all the trouble started?

Well, I guess you could say I’m from all over. You see, my dad was a lifer in Army-talk, meaning he planned to stay in for a full twenty years or more. I was born in the Army Hospital in Nuremberg, Germany, but we moved around a lot. Lexington, Kentucky, Richmond, Virginia, and Atlanta, Georgia are some the places I remember best

Dad was a highly decorated marksman who’d qualified for the Olympic team twice. He traveled extensively for the Army and was away more than he was home. When my mom was killed in a car accident, we didn’t have any close relatives to take me in. Dad couldn’t very well drag a teenage girl with him all over the globe, so he gave up his career. We were still in Atlanta at the time.

After high school, I enrolled at Georgia State University, earned a degree in Economics, and got a job after graduation with one the Big Four accounting firms there.

When I went off to college, Dad moved to Honduras. He’d become involved with Central American missions through our church and wanted to help improve the economic and living conditions in the underdeveloped areas. He fell in love with the people of La Cruza and stayed on to teach in the school he helped build. He was killed there. Murdered.

I didn’t find out for almost four months. The story of how he died didn’t make sense. There were too many holes, too many inconsistencies. I went through the first four stages of grief—denial and isolation, anger with their government and ours, bargaining with God, and an awful depression—but without a body to bury, I couldn’t accept that he was gone. It took me three long, grief-filled years to realize why. He’d chosen those foreign kids over me. I needed to know why. I needed answers to how and why he died.

You faced some loneliness in your life from a mother and father who were both distant in different ways. How did that strengthen you for the journey that you had to take?

As a child, I wasn’t allowed to go to my friends’ homes or have them over to ours. Dad was gone a lot and Mom didn’t do well left all alone. Conversely; too much stimulation would set off one of her ‘nervous’ attacks. After she died, I learned she’d been diagnosed as bi-polar. She was never good about taking the prescribed medication.

You have to understand, this was my childhood, my normal. I had no other point of reference. I figured out later how wrong those early years were, but all I knew growing up was that someone had to be the adult. I was more of a mother to my mom than she was to me.

You do what you have to, no matter the cost. It’s that or you break. I was lucky. I might be damaged, but I didn’t break.

In the course of your story, you travel quite a bit from the Deep South to south of the border and back to the Deep South again and then you end up in Idaho. How do you feel about the places God has taken you both physically and emotionally?

I once heard things don’t just happen, they come to pass. God won’t put anything in your life that He can’t handle. The trick is to let Him. My journey through all this was hard. It took a physical, mental, and emotional toll. I despaired every single day and gave up more times than I can count, but God always came through. He sent me to Senora Ramirez. He provided that crazy helicopter pilot, who turned out to be the best thing in my life. The military team that rescued me, Ed, David and Carrie Anne, Sheriff Evers, the Camerons—every step of the way, God sent the people I needed to lift me back up and help me take one more step.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God says, “all things” I believe He means even the bad things that happen to us. Did you discover this on your journey, and if so, how?

Not at first. Actually, not for a long time. You see, I went to Honduras seeking justice when I really wanted vengeance. The moment I knew Castillo wanted me dead, I panicked. All I could think was run. Get away. So I did. Somewhere along the way though, I realized how insignificant my needs were. The bigger picture was so much more important—stopping the drugs and destruction, giving the people of La Cruza and other unprotected villages a chance at freedom, bringing the corruption in our own government to light. That’s when my personal demons faded away.

And this is one question I have to ask. After getting to know Garrett better, do you find this tough cowboy has some soft edges?

Garrett Cameron is like no other. He’s tough as rawhide, bossy, arrogant, demanding, prickly, and opinionated. He’s also the most honorable man I’ve ever known. He’ll give you the shirt off his back or whatever else is needed—but you can’t take it. I’ve seen him nurse a baby eagle with a broken wing back to health, and stay through the night with a foaling mare just to comfort her. Do you recall the cougar he killed to save me? The man went back to bury the remains.

He won’t compromise on right and wrong, but yes, he most definitely has a softer side, though he tries to hide it. God blessed me big time by sending this man to sweep me off my feet, and I thank Him every day. But don’t tell Garret that!

More About Imperfect Wings:

Evil stalks TJ McKendrick. Three years after burying her father, TJ visits Honduras where he died. While there, she witnesses a murder and is forced to flee.

Don Castillo dreams of power. Funnel the drugs into the States and it’s his. First, he must kill the woman who dared spy on him.

The last thing Garrett Cameron needs is another woman interrupting his life, but when the feisty vixen that blew his mission two years ago shows up at his ranch running for her life, what can he do?

As attraction ignites between TJ and Garrett, she lets go of past betrayals and allows him to protect her. He’s lived a life of violence. Love isn’t for someone like him. Does he dare reveal his soul’s dark side and risk driving her away?

Only faith in God and trust in each other can overcome the deadly odds they face.

ENoyesAbout the Author:

Elizabeth Noyes is recently retired and resides in northeast Atlanta where she now writes full time. A world traveler, avid reader, and self-professed dreamer, she draws on her life experiences to create the many “real” characters in her stories.

You can connect with Elizabeth at her website, on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Author Interview: H. L. Wegley

 

SONY DSCToday’s guest is the author of On the Pineapple Express, H. L. Wegley.  H. L. served in the US Air Force as an Intelligence Analyst and a Weather Officer. He is a Meteorologist who, while working as a forecaster and a research scientist in Atmospheric Physics, published extensively in the scientific literature. After earning an MS in Computer Science, he worked more than two decades as a Systems Programmer at Boeing before retiring in the Seattle area, where he and his wife of 47 years enjoy small-group ministry, their grandchildren, hiking beaches on the Olympic Peninsula, snorkeling Maui whenever he gets a chance, and where he writes inspirational thrillers and romantic suspense novels. Besides his scientific publications, he published one non-fiction work, Colby and Me: Growing up in the ’50s, a humorous collection of the childhood adventures of an early baby boomer.

Welcome to Inner Source, H.L. You’ve taken on a very heavy subject with On the Pineapple Express. Would you mind sharing with the reafer how this issue came to light for you and why you felt led to write about it?

About three years ago, while I was planning a second novel in the Pure Genius Series, a neighbor asked us to attend a human trafficking awareness meeting. Dr. Cyndi Romine, who has rescued women all around the globe from sex trafficking, spoke to us. Also present were local law enforcement and local government agencies tasked with stopping human trafficking. The statistics we heard horrified us. The county we live in is one of the worst places in the nation for child prostitution. When we learned that children were being lured from street corners in our neighborhood, from food courts in local malls, anywhere kids gather, I wanted to do something. Using my hero and heroine from Hide and Seek, the first book in the series, I plotted a story about the rescue of a group of girls from an international human trafficking syndicate.

The hero in On the Pineapple Express is a meteorologist. Is this field something in your expertise? And in a related question, is there really such a force as The Pineapple Express?

Yes, Lee Brandt, the hero, is a meteorologist. Actually, I gave Lee a shortened version of my own resume. I have been a weather officer in the Air Force, a weather forecaster, and a research scientist in atmospheric physics. Later, I jumped ship and went into computer science work. So did Lee. But I’m digressing. You asked about the Pineapple Express. When the jet stream dips down near the Hawaiian Islands and then flows northeastward to the Pacific Northwest, it pumps a lot of moisture from the tropics our way and often creates torrential rains and flooding in WesternWashingtonState. That’s the Pineapple Express. Straight from Hawaii. For my story, I added another variation to the weather situation. I re-created the meteorological conditions that spawned the 1962, Columbus Day Storm, the strongest wind storm ever to hit the West Coast of the United States. Why have one weather danger when you can have two? ☺

I can’t imagine the materials that must have been researched on the subject of human trafficking. What can you tell us about this worldwide plague of humanity?

On the Pineapple Express required a lot of research into human trafficking, which is mostly sex trafficking. Unlike the research for most of my novels, this research was not pleasant. It took me into dark places that I do not wish to revisit. I don’t mind dealing with dark subjects in my stories, but I try to do it in a way that is not overly graphic, always presents hope, and where good and justice eventually prevail. In our fallen world, in this age, that is not always the case. In one area of our state 3,000 girls disappeared in one year. You cannot derive accurate statistics from police records — too many missing children are listed as runaways, so they are not in the crime statistics. Trafficking of children is so profitable that organized crime, such as arms dealers and drug cartels, are incorporating it into their operations. This crime is pandemic in our world and has become epidemic in our nation, reaching even into the smaller communities. Worldwide, it is estimated that 2 million children are victims. All children are potential targets of traffickers, but especially young girls. The average age of girls entering into prostitution used to be 13, but it is now nearer to 12 and steadily dropping. For every 18-year-old, how many much, much younger children are needed to produce that average? You can do the math and it paints an ugly picture. On the brighter side, awareness is growing, and people who want to get involved can usually find a local organization that fights labor trafficking, sex trafficking, and other sorts of slavery.

When writing, sometimes the Lord will place a truth on our hearts about a certain subject. Did God do that with you during your work on this novel? If so, would you mind sharing that with us?

The relationships between fear, courage and doing God’s will came up many times as I wrote this story. My heroine had to face her worst fear in several scenes and she placed her life on the line for people she didn’t even know. God’s word says more than 400 times, “Do not be afraid.” But I don’t believe He is talking about a complete absence of fear, rather it’s the paralyzing fear that causes us to fail because we won’t even try. When we are willing to obey despite our fear, He provides the courage we need. That’s a subject I would like to talk about a little more in Friday’s blog post.

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

I have 5 future projects, all romantic thrillers, in various stages of completion, ranging from a completed first draft to a couple of novels awaiting scheduled release dates. We ended the previous subject with a few words about winning battles and learning to trust God more. That’s the theme of Moon over Maalaea Bay, the next book in the series, a romantic thriller releasing June 13. This story has a team of 4 protagonists that learn about trusting God more when the international syndicate bent on revenge abducts the heroine in Maui a few hours after her wedding. I just finished proofing the galleys for the final book in the Pure Genius Series, Triple Threat, which should release this fall. In it a young woman seems to have it all, a PhD candidate with a genius-level IQ, beauty, incredible athletic ability, but scars from the foster care system drive her to keep trying to prove she’s worthy of love and acceptance. She takes too many chances … a deadly mistake when you’re exposing a three-pronged terrorist attack which, if successful, will dwarf 9-11.

Thank you, H.L., for making us aware of this horrible crime and for making people aware. I have six precious grandchildren, and until you mentioned it here, I didn’t think anything about them going to the mall’s food court. I know I’ll be much more careful in the future. You can catch up with H. L. at his website, his blog, on FacebookTwitter, his Amazon Author Page, and on his Publisher’s Book Page.

perf5.500x8.500.inddMore about On the Pineapple Express:

In one of the most beautiful places on earth the ugliest of crimes holds young, innocent lives in its evil grip. An intercepted cell-phone call from a remote area on the Olympic Peninsula tells beautiful, brilliant NSA researcher, Jennifer Akihara, a group of girls will soon be sold into slavery by human traffickers. She enlists her fiancé, Lee Brandt, to help find the holding location and convince the FBI to intervene. With the clock ticking off the last few hours before both the sale of the girls and the arrival of a deadly storm, and with international criminals pursuing them, can Jennifer and Lee save the girls, or will their wedding plans be cancelled … permanently?

Hide_and_SeekAlso available Hide and Seek:

A computer security breach within a US defense contractor’s firewalls leads investigators, Lee Brandt and beautiful, brilliant Jennifer Akihara, onto the cyber-turf of terrorists, where they are detected and targeted for elimination. Lee leads them on a desperate and prayer-filled flight for survival into the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Will Jennifer’s pursuit of truth about the conspiracy, and the deepest issues of life, lead her into the clutches of terrorists, into the arms of Lee Brandt, or into the arms of the God she deems untrustworthy?

On Monday, Inner Source interviewed Jennifer Akihara.