Thursday, August 31, 2017

Month in Review: August



  • Wrote 
  • Sculpted 0 babies
  • Tatted 1 crosses
  • Sewed 1 sock monkeys
  • Knit 0 hats
  • Exercised 20 days
  • Read in the Bible 28 days
  • Wrote up 0 backlogged book reviews 
  • Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "The Duke's Dilemma" by Elaine Manders

    About the Book




    dukesd (8)
    Click to purchase

    Book title: The Duke’s Dilemma
    Author: Elaine Manders
    Release date: May 27, 2017
    Genre: Historical Romance, subgenre: Regency
    Should he wed the perfect match—or the one he loves?
    Edward Dalton, the new Duke of Langsdale, must soon take a wife to ensure the hereditary line. A young war widow seems the perfect choice. She is charming, well respected with impeccable character, and her connections to the Ton’s most important people is an asset he can’t ignore. But Edward is intrigued by another widow. The mysterious, hauntingly beautiful Lady Wayte.
    Cassandra Wayte could not be a more unsuitable match. She isn’t received by polite society, and her notorious dealings with London’s underclass is the talk of nobility from White’s patrons to the most fashionable hostesses. It’s even whispered she murdered her elderly husband. But Edward sees a different side of the tragic lady, and he determines to discover the secrets tormenting her. As he peels away the layers of her resistance, he discovers a malevolent adversary stalking Lady Wayte and exposes a level of depravity that shocks even his war-hardened sensibilities. Can he win her trust and her heart? And at what cost to the dukedom?
    As Cassandra’s relentless search for her husband’s murderer exposes both her and Edward to unseen dangers, all they can rely on is their love for each other and their faith in God.
     My Thoughts "The Duke's Dilemma" is the 2nd book in the "Wolf Deceivers" series. I read the first one before reading this one, but there is no connection between the books. They truly are stand alone books being in different eras and locations. This book, though set in the Regency period, is relevant to issues today with it dealing with human trafficking and girls pressed into serving in brothels. It was handled tastefully without mention of what takes place in such places (it calls it torment or vile acts). I found the book to be well written and kept me reading to find out what was going to happen. I never expected the twists that came. I liked Edward and his gentle way with Cassandra. Sarah and her matchmaking was cute. The only books of Elaine Manders that I've read were the two books in this series, but I will be reading more of her books in the future.

    About the Author

    photo 3Elaine Manders writes wholesome Christian romance and suspense about the bold, capable women of history and the strong, dependable men who love them. She prefers stories that twist and turn and surprise, told by characters of faith. She lives in Central Georgia with a happy bichon-poodle mix. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, crafts, and spending time with her friends, daughter, and grandchildren.

    Guest post from Elaine Manders

    Historical romance became my favorite genre back in the seventies and eighties, and one of my favorite settings was Regency England. A Regency can be a romance in the Jane Austin mode or historical romance set during the Regency period. There is a difference, and The Duke’s Dilemma falls into this latter category. Yes, there is some of usual drawing room intrigue in an Austen novel, but The Duke’s Dilemma contains a serious spiritual theme. The plot fitted perfectly into my new series, The Wolf Deceivers.
    I wrote the original manuscript nearly twenty years ago as a light, secular romance, but when I revised it to Christian romance, I was delighted to find the inspirational thread deepened the characters. Instead of merely fighting for her reputation while trying to wrest the duke from another woman, Cassandra, the heroine, must fight for her survival. Instead of being another handsome, sardonic nobleman, Edward, the hero, uses his intelligence and grace to protect Cassandra and win her love.
    Even the secondary characters captivated me. Little Sarah’s match-making antics suited the Regency theme and provided some levity during the darker moments of the plot. Lady Ashford, Cassandra’s foil, developed a tenacity I had to admire in spite of all her shortcomings. And Sir Harcrumb became a villain I loved to hate.
    Though the characters changed a great deal in the retelling, the plot remained basically the same. The only thing I added was a surprise twist at the end—something that has inadvertently become a part of my brand.
    Every story is a learning experience for me, and I’m always grateful for how much I learn from my research and from the Holy Spirit. I’ve become more aware of those who deceive, and how vulnerable people, especially young people, are to Satan’s tactics. Also, I’ve unexpectedly come away with a better understanding of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Although this is a new label, we all know it has affected people throughout history.
    Yes, The Duke’s Dilemma has taught me much, and I hated to say good-bye to these characters. I love stories that move me during the writing and only ask two things of my books. That they bring enjoyment to my readers and glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I hope this one does both.

    Blog Stops

    August 23: Blogging With Carol
    August 24: Genesis 5020
    August 26: Jami’s Words
    August 27: Karen Sue Hadley
    August 28: Remembrancy
    September 1: Pause for Tales
    September 1: Caffeinated Reads
    September 2: Live. Love. Read.
    September 3: Just the Write Escape
    September 4: Henry Happens

    Giveaway

    e5f4939d-cd96-45de-b748-8fb15bc1a0af
    To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away:
    Grand prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
    1st place: paperback copies of Books 1 and 2 of the Wolf Deceivers series, The Chieftain’s Choice and The Duke’s Dilemma!!
    Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bbab

    "The Duke's Dilemma" is available in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 699 KB
    • Print Length: 382 pages
    • Publication Date: May 25, 2017
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0723DRHQQ

    I got a free copy of this book to participate in the blog tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.

    Sunday, August 27, 2017

    Temperature Blanket - Week 34

    Aug 20: 83
    Aug 21: 84
    Aug 22: 78 Rain 5:30 - 9:00 am
    Aug 23: 73
    Aug 24: 66
    Aug 25: 71
    Aug 26: 74

    Monday, August 21, 2017

    Scavenger Hunt with Molly Jebber

    Scavenger Hunt Stops

    Stop by each blog to collect their special word then input the sentence it creates into the giveaway for NINE extra entries! While you are at each stop, don’t forget to comment to claim your bonus entries in the giveaway (the bonus entries for a comment on a blog can be claimed multiple times but only once in a 24 hour period).

    August 9: Quiet Quilter
    August 12: With a Joyful Noise
    August 13: Bigreadersite
    August 15: Karen Sue Hadley
    August 16: Blogging With Carol
    August 17: cherylbbookblog
    August 18: Baker Kella
    August 20: The Power of Words

    About Molly’s Books:

    Change of Heart

    change-of-heart-1.jpg
    Click to Purchase

    A modern new century brings a young Amish woman an unexpected new life—and a chance to discover love’s true way home…
    Ohio, 1899. Soft-spoken midwife Becca Yost lived by her Amish faith’s strict rules—until her fiancĂ© jilted her before their entire community. She’s never been away from home, but the bustling Englischer town of Massillon, Ohio, is a welcome unexpected refuge. Especially when she goes to work for Dr. Matt Carrington, who shares her passion for healing those in need. His outgoing spirit and gentle strength show Becca a surprising new world of choices—and irresistible love. But there is one formidable obstacle: Matt’s wealthy mother is determined her son will marry a society woman.
    With her newfound resolve challenged, Becca decides that she and Matt must not be destined for each other after all. She accepts that she will have to forge a life alone—until a wrenching crisis and life-changing revelations teach her that true faith lies in all things, especially impossible second chances. . .


    Grace’s Forgiveness

    Click to Purchase
    Click to Purchase

    A handsome newcomer with secrets shows a yearning Amish woman a chance at happiness—but their love will need all their courage to keep . . .
    Grace Blauch is skilled at midwifery—and crafting quilts that help others pass on messages of enduring family love. But a disfiguring birthmark keeps the young Amish woman from a husband and home of her own—until Mark King arrives from another community. His helpfulness and independent nature earn Grace’s respect. And he finds her outspoken ways and determination to do right irresistibly appealing. Soon Grace is planning a wedding quilt of her very own . . . until her father discovers that Mark’s shunned brother is hiding somewhere in town . . .
    Grace can well understand why Mark took such a risk once she hears his wrenching reasons. But she fears even prayer will not convince her father to restore his blessing on their union. She wills herself to face the end of her dreams, but sudden danger and an impossible act of generosity will show her that abiding hope can inspire the most precious of miracles  . . .


    Two Suitors for Anna

    Click to Purchase
    Click to Purchase

    In 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for and a new, very different future…
    Since Anna Plank moved to Berlin, Ohio, with her widowed mamm and two schweschders, she’s found a real sense of belonging. As soon as her beloved Noah Schwartz proposes, they’ll begin a new chapter here together. But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they’re married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves.
    Daniel Bontrager’s arrival adds to Anna’s confusion. Since taking over his late brother’s farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share…
    See my review for "Two Suitors for Anna" here

    About Molly:

    Molly Jebber’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times has given them a near excellent rating. She’s on RWA’s Honor Roll. She’s a speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and she offers presentations on writing, publishing, Amish lifestyle and traditions. She has received widespread media coverage, including live interviews, across the United States for her books and speaking engagements.
    She’s just signed a new contract for four more Amish books! She loves interacting with her readers. She loves God, her husband, family and friends. She has a hard time saying no to cupcakes, swimming, nine holes of golf, and walks on the beach. Coconut, oatmeal, and onions, on the other hand, are not hard to say no to!

    Guest Post from Molly:

    In TWO SUITORS FOR ANNA:
    Anna and her sisters are hiding a secret. One Anna knows is wrong to keep. The love of her life wants her to leave her family behind and travel with him. Her life is in turmoil, and she isn’t sure which way to turn? What does the future hold for Anna?
    Have you read CHANGE OF HEART and GRACE’S FORGIVENESS? The first two books in the Keepsake Pocket Quilt Series? They are available in bookstores and online.
    I love interacting with you, and thank you for participating!
     The word for my post is: NOVELLAS

    Giveaway

    Sunday, August 20, 2017

    Temperature Blanket - Week 33

    Aug 13: 78
    Aug 14: 81
    Aug 15: 81 Rain 4:30 - 5:30 am
    Aug 16: 85
    Aug 17: 82 Rain 4:30 - 6:30 am, 11:15 am - 1:30 pm, 10:00 - 11:15 pm
    Aug 18: 73 Rain 6:00 - 7:00 am, 9:00 - 9:30 am
    Aug 19: 79

    Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway: "Out of Darkness" by Erynn

    About the Book



    Out of Darkness - Ebook Small (1)
    Click to purchase

    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.

    Gabe
     My Thoughts 
    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

    ERN 3 cropErynn 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

    1. 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).
    2. I don’t like wine or coffee. My writer fuel is partially frozen Cherry Pepsi.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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).
    10. 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 Lightthe prequel novelette that tells the story of how Drew and Elisabeth met and fell in love.
    11. 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.
    12. 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).
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.”
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.

    Blog Stops

    August17: Genesis 5020
    August 19: Fiction Aficionado
    August 21: Blogging With Carol
    August 22: Faithfully Bookish
    August 22: Mommynificent
    August 24: 100 pages per hour
    August 25: Carpe Diem
    August 26: J.E. Grace Bog
    August 26: Karen Sue Hadley
    August 27: Back Porch Reads
    August 28: Daysong Reflections
    August 29: Remembrancy
    August 30: Henry Happens

    Giveaway

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    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

    "Out of Darkness" is available in paperback:
    • Paperback: 406 pages
    • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (May 3, 2017)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1544261691
    • ISBN-13: 978-1544261690
    • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches

    and Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 856 KB
    • Print Length: 406 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1544261691
    • Publication Date: May 18, 2017
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B0722XXZYN

    I got a free copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and given voluntarily. No compensation was received.