Monday, August 21, 2017
Sunday, August 20, 2017
About the Book
Book title: Out of Darkness
Author: Erynn Newman
Release date: May 18, 2017
Genre: Romantic suspense
Elisabeth Allen gave her heart to Jesus as a little girl and to Drew Marek as a teenager. When their wedding day finally arrives, it’s the happiest day of her life–until a car bomb transforms her dream come true into a living nightmare.
As Best Man at the wedding, Gabriel Di Salvo promises Drew–his best friend and CIA partner–he’ll look after Elisabeth, but he never dreams it will become necessary so soon. As Elisabeth struggles to put the pieces of her life back together without Drew, Gabe becomes her rock, and as they share their grief and begin to heal, their friendship gradually deepens into something more.
Three years later, Gabe and Elisabeth are planning a future together when he receives a shocking call from the one man who can upend his happiness: Drew. Suspecting someone at the CIA is behind his abduction, Drew refuses to come home. Instead, he asks Gabe to bring Elisabeth to him. Now Gabe just has to figure out how to let her go.
Drew and Elisabeth race across Europe, dodging international arms dealers and attempting to reclaim what was stolen from them. But years of captivity and torture have left their mark on Drew. He is no longer the same boy Elisabeth fell in love with, but he is still her husband, and she’s determined to build something new and leave her relationship with Gabe in the past, if her heart will get the memo.
When their enemies close in and the threat of a terrorist attack escalates, Gabe may be the only person they can trust. Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe are thrown into a fight for their lives–one that will test their loyalties to God, country . . . and each other.
I recommend reading "First Light" the prequel novella to "Out of Darkness" first as it gives the backstory to Drew and Elizabeth's love story. Even though I knew that Drew was still alive, there were still several times that I cried. I felt bad for Gabe that he had to give Elizabeth up and part of me wished they could end up together, which was odd as I was glad that Elizabeth and Drew got to be together again, too! I liked the gospel message portrayed in the story. I found the book to be well written and kept me guessing as to what was going on.
About the Author
Erynn Newman is a pastor’s kid, raised in churches all over the Eastern Seaboard. Since earning her degree in Christian Studies, she has traveled the world and served as a missionary, a counselor, an ESL teacher, and a nanny. Though she has never worked with the CIA, her DVR contains a veritable Who’s Who of international spies. She is a Carolina girl, a wife, and Mama to a very busy little boy, two cats, and a gaggle of characters that live inside her head.
20 Facts About Out of Darkness
- I write novels while the rest of the house sleeps. That’s also when I do most of my editing work and social media stalking. During the day, I get to hang out with an awesome 4-year-old who is the reason I get up in the morning (both because he’s my heart and because he’s staring into my soul asking me to make pancakes).
- I don’t like wine or coffee. My writer fuel is partially frozen Cherry Pepsi.
- It took me a long time to realize I was a writer. I thought that everyone made up imaginary people and back stories for them and imagined the lives they lived and sometimes talked to them in traffic. Turns out no. Fortunately other writers found me and helped me figure it out.
- My greatest nemeses are also my greatest inspirations. Facebook and Netflix. Finding the balance of hanging out with other writers and readers and being inspired by great story telling and actually doing the work is the hardest thing for me.
- I am obsessed with casting characters. Finding the perfect actor/actress or model who embodies my characters is one of my favorite parts of the process. I also do this for every single book I read.
- So, of course now you want to know who I chose for Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe. I’m glad you asked.
- Drew is based on Matt Bomer’s portrayal of Bryce Larkin in the show Chuck (there are quite a few nods to this show hidden throughout Out of Darkness).
- Elisabeth is partially based on a character from a show I watched when I was in college (also a waitress and artist), but she looks like this model.
- Gabe is based not that loosely on (young) Anthony DiNozzo from NCIS.
- Our house has a really great office with a nice desk and comfortable chair that looks out on our wooded back yard. But I work almost exclusively while sitting on the couch with my laptop propped up on the back of it. My uniform is yoga pants and an old t-shirt. The author life is G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S.
- I got my start writing fan fiction. Most of it has been obliterated from the interwebs, but there may still be a few Star Wars stories floating around out there (I owe this to my love for Ewan MacGregor and my hatred of Annakin Skywalker). Fan fiction is also the way I found my very first critique group. And our leader, Susan Kaye Quinn, best-selling author and real life rocket scientist, helped me realize I could be a real author. And later she taught me how to publish. I want to be her when I grow up.
- Speaking of fan fiction, the original idea for Out of Darkness was a fan fiction based on that character from that show I talked about above. The waitress/artist who lost her first love and then fell for someone else. And then when her love returned, he was… recast. And terrible. And she forgot who she was and made every wrong decision. And everyone was miserable ever after.
And I was like, what even IS this show?!?! So I started writing my version of how it should have gone.
But then a surprising thing happened. My characters took on lives of their own, and I fell in love with ALL of them, and I knew I had to tell their story. So I started creating a different back story for them (and I introduced them to Jesus), and then they became their own characters and started telling me what to do. And I’m a little insane now, but I’m not even mad because I love what this story has turned into (and turned ME into).
- I started writing Out of Darkness in its earliest form in 2006. I stopped and restarted several times. I wrote other things that may or may not ever see the light of day. I learned that I was writing all wrong, and I ripped it apart, started over and stitched it back together piece by piece. In fact, my original chapter one is now chapter FOURTEEN. And all of that is after the first fifty pages that now comprise First Light, the prequel novelette that tells the story of how Drew and Elisabeth met and fell in love.
- Of all the exotic locations mentioned in Out of Darkness: Venice, Italy; Paris, France; Cordoba, Spain; Trim, Ireland; and even Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, I have been to two—Baltimore and Paris.
Google Maps Street View and Wikipedia are an author’s best friends.
- Music inspires me to write, but I can’t write to music. I often hear a song that makes me think of a scene or helps me get the emotion right. And I add those to my play list, but when I write, I prefer quiet (or instrumental music).
- I want the Gospel to be front and center in every story I write (including my own), but there were two scenes in particular that I really felt like the Holy Spirit guided me in writing. One is when Drew finds his Bible in the backpack Gabe packed for them, and the other is Gabe’s argument with God when he decides to let Elisabeth go. In both instances, I feel like God really led me to the right Scriptures and gave me the words in a way I didn’t experience with any other scenes.
- The hardest scenes were all of the ones with Drew and the gas. Both because I don’t like to torture my characters (contrary to what you may believe) and because the science behind the weapon is way above my head. I worked with a couple of microbiologists to get it at least to plausible/possible, but I’m sure there are still some issues with my science there.
- I cried several times while writing this book. Elisabeth and I grieve much the same way, so I saw a lot of myself in her moments crying out to God—especially in the ones where she just wanted to feel Him and couldn’t. I cried when Drew fell apart reading his Bible, and I cried at the end when I wasn’t sure who would live or die.
- Gabe was the biggest surprise of the writing process. He was supposed to be out of the picture after chapter sixteen. He was just supposed to be a supporting character in the first half of the book, but at every turn he was tapping me on the shoulder and telling me, “there’s so much more to my story.”
- A few scenes didn’t make it into the final book. Two of them are in the outtakes section of my website, but don’t read those until after you’ve read the book. Seriously.
- After being told by one agent that Out of Darkness would never sell because it didn’t fit neatly into a genre category, I signed with my current agent in 2012, and we submitted it to several publishers. I received lots of compliments on my writing, but ultimately, people didn’t seem to like the fact that both of my leading men were good guys, and there was no one to root against. One even suggested that I make Gabe complicit in Drew’s abduction. And one suggested I kill Drew (again!) so Elisabeth and Gabe could end up together. Both interesting ideas, but neither were the story I wanted to tell. In the end, I decided to indie publish, which has been really challenging, but I’m so happy with the way everything turned out. We all got the ending we were supposed to have.
- Speaking of endings, the one in the final version is very different from the original. I’ll try not to be too spoilery, but let’s just say that the original ending was far less happy, but I felt like it was the only way out. One of my characters made a choice that I couldn’t see any way around. And I thought that a happy ending would be too fake. I didn’t want to tie everything up with a pretty pink bow and say “they all lived happily ever after,” because after everything they’d been through, that wouldn’t be real life. But a very good friend of mine convinced me that I could instead tie everything up with a frayed knot. It’s still messy and difficult and a little raw, but I think it’s real… and full of hope and possibility.
- So what’s next, you ask? There’s more to explore here perhaps, but I honestly don’t know what comes next for these characters. That’s something I’m still thinking about.
The story I’m working on right now also begins in D.C. but takes place mostly in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the story of an ex Army Ranger who has to protect his three little brothers when the youngest witnesses their parents’ murder. And there may also be a girl involved.
August 17: A Baker’s Perspective
August17: Genesis 5020
August18: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
August 18: Reading Is My SuperPower
August 19: Fiction Aficionado
August 19:Inklings and notions
August 20: Reflections from my Bookshelves
August 20: Blossoms and Blessings
August 21: History, Mystery & Faith
August 21: Blogging With Carol
August 22: Faithfully Bookish
August 22: Mommynificent
August 23: Just the Write Escape
August 23: Moments Dipped in Ink
August 24: 100 pages per hour
August 25: Carpe Diem
August 25: Christian Bookaholic
August 26: J.E. Grace Bog
August 26: Karen Sue Hadley
August 27: God’s Little Bookworm
August 27: Back Porch Reads
August 27: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
August 28: Margaret Kazmierczak
August 28: Daysong Reflections
August 29: The Fizzy Pop Collection
August 29: Remembrancy
August 30: Avid Reader Book Reviews
August 30: Henry Happens
To celebrate her tour, Erynn is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Out of Darkness, a signed copy of First Light, The Joy Eternal~A Sweet and Bitter Providence CD, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Creme Cookies.!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/beac
Sunday, August 13, 2017
I love that she gives the clear salvation message right at the beginning of the book. I found this book to be helpful in not letting the Devil make me feel not good enough. While I was doing this study I recognized the exact thing we were studying happening with a member of my family. It helped me get through it better.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
I did not know what to expect with this book as I had not read anything about it. It was written in 1st person. At times it felt like we were with Jenna and she was telling us about her day. Other times it felt like a list of things. It was a unique writing style. I was glad to see the growth in Jenna's life. The Biblical content was well done. I really did not like Jenna's family.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
About the Book
Book title: The Return
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Release date: Sept 1, 2017
In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans—but then she never had to. Not until the night she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she’s developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.
Greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?
Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.
About the Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.comand follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.
My Thoughts "The Return" is the final book in the "Amish Beginnings" series. It would be best to read them in order to fully grasp the context of the story. The book flowed well and I was easily immersed in 1763 Amish country. The story was told from the viewpoint of many different characters: Betsy Zook, Tessa Bauer, Felix Bauer, & Anna Bauer. I kept wishing I could read faster so I could find out was was going to happen and who ended up with who romantically! I thought it seemed wrong that Tessa had a crush on Hans. While he wasn't biologically related to her father, he was raised as his brother, so she should think of him as an uncle. I changed what I wanted to happen several times. I was surprised by what happened and saddened to read that the massacre was based on reality. I had thought of this as Tessa's story, but it is also just as much Betsy's story (especially with the title). Tessa grew in her character and became a stronger, nicer person. Betsy also had a different kind of growth. I will definitely be reading more books by Suzanne Woods Fisher.
Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Three Sisters’ Garden: Corn, Squash & Beans!
Corn was a new food to the immigrants to the New World, introduced to them by Native Americans. Soon, it became an essential part of their daily diet, in one form or another. Growing it brought yet another new discovery: companion planting in the form of the Three Sisters’ Garden.
According to Iroquois legend, corn, squash and beans were three inseparable sisters who only grew and thrived together. 18th century Native Americans wouldn’t have understood the science behind why companion planting worked, but they knew it did. Beans, like all legumes, have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can use. Corn, which requires a lot of nitrogen to grow, benefits from the legumes and provides a pole support for the beans to climb. Low growing squash leaves shade the soil and prevent weed growth. Their sharp and prickly leaves deter pests. This tradition, of planting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, became a sustainable system to provide long-term soil fertility among Native American tribes that farmed.
The wisdom of planting Three Sisters’ Garden was adopted by the immigrants, including our own Betsy Zook from The Return. Betsy learned of the technique while a captive among a tribe of Indians and later, after she had been returned to the Amish, shared her knowledge with Anna and Bairn.
Have you ever considered growing a Three Sisters’ garden? All you need is the right kind of seeds, a mound of dirt in a sunny spot, and to not forget to water. Mother Nature will do the rest.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling, award-winning author of novels about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, who was raised as a Dunkard (German Baptist) on a farm in Pennsylvania. Suzanne loves to connect with readers! You can find her on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.
*Images courtesy of Dream Home Improvement and Technology Exchange Lab
August 1: Quiet Quilter
August 1: A Baker’s Perspective
August 1: Remembrancy
August 2: Bigreadersite
August 2: lighthouse academy
August 2: Zerina Blossom’s Books
August 3: Genesis 5020
August 3: Book by Book
August 3: Blogging With Carol
August 4: Seasons of Opportunities
August 4: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
August 4: Carpe Diem
August 5: DEE’S QUILTS & BOOKS
August 5: Jeanette’s Thoughts
August 6: Artistic Nobody
August 6: Just the Write Escape
August 6: Locks, Hooks and Books
August 7: A Reader’s Brain
August 7: Pause for Tales
August 7: Splashes of Joy
August 8: Bibliophile Reviews
August 8: Christian Bookaholic
August 8: Live.Love.Read.
August 9: Blossoms and Blessings
August 9: Mary Hake
August 9: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
August 10: For the Love of Books
August 10: The Fizzy Pop Collection
August 10: A Simply Enchanted Life
August 11: The Power of Words
August 11: Karen Sue Hadley
August 11: Neverending Stories
August 12: Cafinated Reads
August 12: TinaTruelove
August 12: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
August 13: God’s Little Bookworm
August 13: Southern Gal Loves to Read
August 13: Connie’s History Classroom
August 14: Vicky Sluiter
August 14: By The Book
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is doing an amazing giveaway from August 1 through 14! Check it out:
Four winners will receive one of the prizes below:
An Amish Gift Basket and a copy of The Return
Amish popcorn sampler and a copy of The Return
The Amish Beginning 3 book set series
One grand prize winner will receive:
An iPad Mini
You can enter at Suzanne’s website (http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/contests/) or on her Facebook page (http://gvwy.io/q1kb9u4)
"The Return" is available in paperback:
and in Kindle edition:
I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.