Saturday, November 30, 2019

Month in Review -- November

  • Wrote 50,004 words
  • Sculpted  0 babies
  • Tatted 0 crosses
  • Sewed 0 sock monkeys  
  • Knit 0 hats
  • Exercised 15 days
  • Read in the Bible 29 days
  • Wrote up 0 backlogged book reviews 
  • Sunday, November 24, 2019

    "Lone Falcon" by Merrijoy Wennerlind Buist -- Author Interview, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

    About the Book

    Cover concept (flat v3)
    Book: Lone Falcon
    Author: Merrijoy Wennerlind Buist
    Genre: Christian Romance/Coming of Age
    Release Date: October 2, 2018
    What if you had to choose between your friends and your faith?
    It is 1971. Eighteen year-old Carrie Falconer goes to college and joins the rowing team, where she receives praise and popularity for the first time. She also finds her first boyfriend. Not just anyone, but the heart-throb men’s crew captain! As coxswain of the varsity squad, she leads her team to four gold medals, allowing them to qualify for Nationals. However, while pursuing her collegiate dreams, she has left behind most of her traditional religious beliefs. While preparing for the National tournament, she is hit by a life changing consequence and is forced to decide between pleasing her team or letting them down by following what she believes to be the right path.

    Click here to get your copy.
    Author Interview

    Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

    I am not a plotter but a ‘pantser’. I fly by the seat of my pants to where an idea leads me. Sometimes characters who appear out of nowhere can take over the story. I find myself writing down the dialogue and actions they give to me. These become my favorite characters.

    When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
    When I was in 6th grade, I stapled together a little book and wrote a story about my sister, myself, and our friends. I decided right then I loved writing because there is no exact answer set or single path to proceed. To this day, I struggle with genre formulas since I want to be free to create something from nothing.
    How long does it usually take you to write a book?

    This is a funny question since I started Lone Falcon in college and it was finally published in October 2018, forty years later. I didn’t, however, spend all that time writing. Life got in the way, but when I got serious and became part of a writing critique group, it took about two years. I kept the 70s setting for both Lone Falcon and the upcoming sequel, Lone Choices. I tend to work a year on the first draft, and then with emotional distance do my re-editing and prep for publishing.

    What is your work schedule/routine when you write?

    I envy writers who can write and correct as they go. My first draft gets the idea out, and it’s mostly dialogue, which is my strong suit. The next day, I take these rough pages and edit them. I end up writing in the margins and sometimes even back of the pages. Sometimes there is more pen ink on the page than computer print. I return to the computer, put in all the edits, and polish it. I’ll print it out again and then proof it. Then I print copies for my critique group to review. I incorporate their suggestions later.

    Do bits of yourself/friends show up in your characters?

    When my mother first read Lone Falcon, she freaked out thinking Carrie was me, and this is what I did in college. No! I assured her this is not a memoir. She then went through each of my characters and matched them up to the various friends I have. I found this hilarious since my characters are a compilation of people I know.

    I was brought up in a Christian family, so a lot of my faith comes through in my characters. I myself went through a great crisis of faith when I moved from a Christian college to a secular University, so Carrie experiences a lot of what I did.

    Now, Mandy is a character who got a lot of flak from my early readers. Everyone seemed to hate her. They’re responding to scenes where she reacts out of jealousy to Carrie. I wondered why I was so hurt when people put Mandy down until I realized - Mandy was me! I know what it’s like when someone else has a boyfriend and you don’t, and how it can bring out your nasty jealous shadowy side.

    About the Author

    Mjs Author Photo

    The first four chapters of Lone Falcon and the general plot were written when Merrijoy Wennerlind, was a student at the University of Washington. The rest was finished up years later by Merrijoy (MJ.) Buist who worked hard to keep her 24-year-old spirit alive.
    MJ. is currently a Diaconal Minister at the Anaheim United Methodist Church. A native of Seattle and a UW graduate, she lives in Santa Ana, California with her husband and two sons. She is currently working on the sequel, Lone Choices, which tells how Carrie lives out her decision. You can reach MJ. at her facebook page: Merrijoy Wennerlind Buist@mjwb

    More from MJ

    How far would you go to research your book? Would you sit on a narrow crew boat with eight other women and learn to row? That’s what I did to get a feel for what my main character, Carrie Falconer, in Lone Falcon experiences as she joins and excels in the college crew team.
    Why did I choose rowing over another sport? I couldn’t resist the metaphor of steering your own boat, which led me to the sport of rowing and its navigator, the coxswain. I fell in love with the idea of choosing your own path and what happens when one goes off course.
    You, the reader, will follow Carrie from her strict Christian upbringing to attending a secular college, experiencing her joys and victories as she rises to popularity, and of her first love, the hunky Lenny, men’s team captain. You will struggle along with her as she makes a life decision of whether to turn back to her faith or do what her friends ask.
    I originally wrote Lone Falcon in response to all the Young Adult (YA) books and T.V. shows of the times which said, “Your parents and their beliefs are all wrong, do what your friends and the times say.” In the wisdom I’ve acquired in my years of mothering, earning my master’s degree, and becoming a Minister, I adjusted my theme to making your own choices, not what others and society may tell you to do.
    I hope this book will encourage other brave young women to live up to what they believe within and not be influenced by what others without tell them to do.

    Blog Stops

    Rebecca Tews , November 23
    Blossoms and Blessings, November 24 (Author Interview)
    CarpeDiem, November 25
    Texas Book-aholic, November 29
    janicesbookreviews, November 30
    Through the Fire Blogs, December 1 (Author Interview)
    A Reader’s Brain, December 3
    Godly Book Reviews, December 5


    To celebrate her tour, M.J. is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Barnes and Nobles Gift Card, autographed copy of Lone Falcon, and autographed copy of Lone Choices when it comes out!!
    Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

    Saturday, November 16, 2019

    "Lake Season" by Denise Hunter -- Book Review and Blog Tour

    About the Book

    Book: Lake Season
    Author: Denise Hunter
    Genre:  Contemporary Romance
    Release Date: November 12, 2019
    Lake SeasonA lost letter, a new love, and old secrets beckon this summer at the Bluebell Inn.
    When their parents die in a tragic accident, Molly Bennett and her siblings pull together to fulfill their parents’ dream: turning their historic Bluebell, North Carolina home back into an inn. The situation would just be temporary—three years at the most—then they would sell the inn and Molly could get back to chasing her own dreams.
    Adam Bradford (aka bestselling author Nathanial Quinn) is a reclusive novelist with a bad case of writer’s block. Desperate for inspiration as his deadline approaches, he travels to the setting of his next book, a North Carolina lake town. There he immediately meets his muse, a young innkeeper who fancies herself in love with his alter ego.
    Molly and Adam strike up an instant friendship. When Molly finds a long-lost letter in the walls of her inn she embarks on a mission with Adam to find the star-crossed lovers and bring them the closure they deserve. But Adam has secrets of his own. Past and present collide as truths are revealed, and Molly and Adam will have to decide if love is worth trusting.
    My Thoughts

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Lake Season". I loved the idea of finding an old letter in the wall and figuring out the mystery behind it and the people it involved. I liked Adam and his cerebral ways and Molly and her personable cheerfulness. There were many emotions while I read the book. I had a "What if" questions early on in my reading that turned out to be what actually happened so it wasn't as big of a deal for me when I got to that part, but it was still exciting to read. It made me want to go visit the Bluebell Inn and meet Molly, Grace, and Levi (and Adam if he was around). There was a light spiritual thread and the characters grew through the things that they went through. I look forward to reading more of Denise Hunter's books.

    About the Author

    Hunter DeniseDenise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest. To learn more about Denise, visit her website; Facebook: AuthorDeniseHunter; Twitter: @DeniseAHunter; Instagram: deniseahunter.

    Read a premium Excerpt

    You can read a premium excerpt of Denise’s Lake Season here.

    Blog Stops

    The Power of Words, November 12
    Mia Reads, November 13
    Back Porch Reads, November 13
    Carla Loves To Read, November 14
    All-of-a-kind Mom, November 14
    Among the Reads, November 14
    Genesis 5020, November 14
    Wishful Endings, November 15
    CarpeDiem, November 15
    Older & Smarter?, November 16
    Cultivating Us, November 16
    Inside the Wong Mind, November 16
    Sara Jane Jacobs, November 17
    Avid Reader Nurse, November 17
    For Him and My Family, November 18
    Jeanette’s Thoughts, November 18
    Splashes of Joy, November 18
    Robin’s Nest, November 19
    Mary Hake, November 19
    Baker Kella, November 19
    Simple Harvest Reads, November 20 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
    SusanLovesBooks, November 20
    Vicky Sluiter, November 21
    Quiet Quilter, November 22
    Andrea Christenson, November 22
    Pause for Tales, November 22
    Hallie Reads, November 23
    Texas Book-aholic, November 24
    janicesbookreviews, November 24
    A Reader’s Brain, November 24
    Inklings and notions, November 24
    Batya’s Bits, November 25
    Livin’ Lit, November 25
    Remembrancy, November 25

    "Lake Season" is available in paperback:
    • Series: A Bluebell Inn Romance (Book 1)
    • Paperback: 352 pages
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 12, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0785222723
    • ISBN-13: 978-0785222729
    • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 5552 KB
    • Print Length: 352 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
    • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 12, 2019)
    • Publication Date: November 12, 2019
    • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07QH4MQDY

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

    Sunday, November 10, 2019

    "Love's Allegiance" by Linda Shenton Matchett -- Book Review, Blog Tour, and Giveaway

    About the Book

    Book: Love’s Allegiance
    Author: Linda Shenton Matchett
    Genre:  Historical Romance
    Release Date: August 15, 2019
    Love's Allegiance ebook jpg coverWith most U.S. boys fighting for Uncle Sam in far off countries, Rochelle Addams has given up hope for a wedding in her future. Then she receives an intriguing offer from a distant relative to consider a marriage of convenience.
    Conscientious objector Irwin Terrell is looking forward to his assignment at Shady Hills Mental hospital to minister to the less fortunate in lieu of bearing arms. At the arrival of the potential bride his father has selected for him, Irwin’s well-ordered life is turned upside down. And after being left at the altar two years ago, he has no interest in risking romance again.
    Despite his best efforts to remain aloof to Rochelle, Irwin is drawn to the enigmatic and beautiful young woman, but will time run out before his wounded heart can find room for her?
    Inspired by the biblical love story of Rebekkah and Isaac, Love’s Allegiance explores the struggles and sacrifices of those whose beliefs were at odds with a world at war.
    My Thoughts

    "Love's Allegiance" is the fourth book in the Wartime Brides series set during WWII. It is a standalone book, however, and you don't have to have read the other books first. It wasn't until the end of the third chapter that I realized that this was a retelling of the Biblical story of Isaac and Rebekah. I like how Linda Shenton Matchett used the same first initial for the characters (Isaac/Irwin & Rebekah/Rochelle). There was a nice faith thread through the book. The information about the COs during the war was interesting. I didn't know that they had to register with the Selective Service. The book was a fast read. I look forward to reading more books by Linda Shenton Matchett.

    About the Author

    Linda Matchett Head ShotLinda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

    More from Linda

    Love’s Allegiance is the fourth book in the Wartime Brides series that retells biblical stories by setting them during World War II. Each story was challenging to write in some way, and this novella was no different.
    While brainstorming ways to twist Rebekkah’s and Isaacs’s love story, I happened to take a phone call from my younger brother who is a pastor. I mentioned my quandary that I wasn’t sure which aspect of the home front to address with their story, and he suggested the topic of conscientious objectors (COs).
    After we hung up, I realized I knew very little about COs and that I wasn’t sure how I felt about them. Were they cowards, as many people assumed? Were they right? Wrong? Were their convictions biblically based?
    I began my research by reading first person account articles and watched oral history interviews with men who served in the Civilian Public Service, a government organization created to use COs who refused military service as medics and other non-combatant roles. More than 12,000 conscientious objectors chose not to take up arms during the war, and I knew I had to tell their side of the story.

    Blog Stops

    Batya’s Bits, November 9
    Betti Mace, November 11
    Rebecca Tews, November 11
    Genesis 5020, November 12
    mpbooks, November 13
    As He Leads is Joy, November 13
    Back Porch Reads, November 15
    Texas Book-aholic, November 17
    For Him and My Family, November 17
    janicesbookreviews, November 19
    Inspired by fiction, November 19
    A Reader’s Brain, November 20


    To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away all four books in the Wartime Brides series and a $10 Amazon gift card!!
    Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

    "Love's Allegiance" is available in paperback:
    • Series: Wartime Brides (Book 4)
    • Paperback: 168 pages
    • Publisher: Shortwave Press (August 15, 2019)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0998526584
    • ISBN-13: 978-0998526584
    • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches

    and in Kindle edition:
    • File Size: 236 KB
    • Print Length: 125 pages
    • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
    • Publisher: Shortwave Press (August 15, 2019)
    • Publication Date: August 15, 2019
    • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B07V1XWZKX

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