Monday, July 28, 2014

Interview with romantic comedy writer Barbara Oliverio

Barbara Oliverio loves learning and reading, and manages to have a book to read with her at all times. The daughter of Italian immigrants, she grew up in North Central West Virginia and after moves that included several years living in Italy, she now lives in suburban Denver.

When Barbara isn’t reading she enjoys working the NYT crossword puzzle and is a rabid fan of Downtown Abbey, Game of Thrones, and Dancing with the Stars. She and her husband love to travel, eat good food, and disagree over their favorite sports teams.

Barbara is here today chatting about her novel Love on the Lido Deck: A Nautical Romantic Comedy. This is just one of many tour stops she has with Goddess Fish Promotions. She’ll be awarding $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner during the tour,

To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome Barbara. Please tell us about your current release.
Keira Graham has moved into the fast-paced world of event planning and as she gets the job of a lifetime – planning a Caribbean cruise package for foodies on the world’s largest cruise ship – she learns that her widowed mother has a serious love interest. Keira invites both of them to accompany her on the voyage and join a cast of characters including Keira’s best friend Alexandria, her extended family, and sassy assistant. What follows is a rollicking fun-in-the-sun adventure – not to mention more than one encounter with charming cruise director Brennan McAllister.

What inspired you to write this book?
This book is a sequel to my first novel Love on the Back Burner: A Tasty Romantic Comedy. The two books together are a complete story of two best friends and their searches for career and romantic happiness. The inspiration for the books was the ability to provide clean romantic comedy. Specifically, I wanted to give young women realistic role models who were modern, witty and had fun while managing to maintain their values in life.

“This is ridiculous, Mother.” I felt like we were in a bad sitcom. “You said you wanted to talk to me ‘girl-to- girl.’ Now, unless you’ve taken your cue from endless episodes of some program on the Lifetime Channel, something is up. Spill!” She dabbed at her mouth delicately with her napkin—private Catholic girls’ school training had not been wasted on Maeve Graham—then cleared her throat and dropped a bomb on me. 

“Keira, I’ve been dating a nice gentleman, and it’s becoming serious.” 

I was dumbstruck. 

“Keira? ... Keira! Say something!”

I paused. I wanted to make sure that just exactly the right mature, calm words would come out of my mouth. Then I spoke.


Um. Perhaps not so mature.

“You forbid it?” To my mother’s credit, she was very calm.

I mentally stepped back. After all, I had gone to private Catholic girls’ school as well. I could be ladylike.

“NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!”

Oh. Yes. That was soooo much better.

My mother cleared her throat.

“Keira! Listen to yourself. You sound like you are five years old.”

“I do not!”

Just kept getting worse! I jumped off the stool and ran to the window and looked out across the back grounds. That didn’t help. All I saw were the stables. Daddy’s stables. I whipped around.

“Mother,” I started patiently. “Who? What? Why?” I trailed off.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on another romantic comedy, but this one has a new set of characters. I’d prefer not to get into detail, but I will tell you that the main character is a young woman trying to make it in an off-beat profession. I do stay true to my goals of keeping the story PG and showing that a good romance can be told with dialog and plot and not rely on sex and crude language.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have written in one form or another all my life ever since I learned how to put pen to paper. As a college undergraduate, I chose journalism as one half of my double major (the other being mathematics). I started my business career as a tech writer and documented everything from oscilloscopes to software. Switching to marketing I wrote sales copy, PR copy, and web content. Though I am now a novelist, I still write articles for periodicals and write for other projects as well. I really can’t remember when I HAVEN’T written in one form or another!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I identify myself as a full-time writer, so I set a schedule to write so many hours and/or words per day based on the projects I am working on. As I get closer to finishing a book, the hours get longer. However, I maintain a heavy volunteer schedule at my church that I need to fit in around my writing schedule as well.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sometimes I speak the dialog of my characters out loud as I write it to see if the inflections work. This can get quite tricky if I’m writing while other people are around!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to grow up and have a single-gal career where I could live in a fantastic apartment in the city, wear trendy clothes, and have a group of witty, fabulous friends – think “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” or, for those of you a bit older, “That Girl”. The profession didn’t matter as much as the setting and wardrobe. I did grow up to move to the city and have a great single-gal lifestyle – before my wonderful husband snagged me and made sure we have a great married life.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Since I’m a voracious reader, I love getting recommendations on good books! Also, if you’ve tried one of the recipes in the books, please let me know. Please send me your thoughts on that or other comments.


Thanks, Barbara!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book excerpt from The Ashes that Remain by A.M. Griffin

A. M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.

Today features a book excerpt from her new novel, The Ashes that Remain.

During her tour, A.M. will be awarding a grand prize of $20 Amazon gift card to a lucky winner, and the runner up will receive a $10 Amazon gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

We’re at war against the aliens that have invaded Earth, fighting the only way we can—by surviving. I have more than most people do, but although I know it’s stupid to hold on, I can’t let go of what might have been—can’t help dreaming of something more. No matter how I tell myself it would be easier to do what everyone else wants me to, there’s a part of me that can’t give in.

Making the best of the situation is one thing. Settling, even to make other people happy, is something else.

Then we hear the alien mother ships have disappeared. Of course we have to go and investigate. What we find lands us in a huge mess that we somehow have to clean up and, as our little enclave is rocked to the core with even more changes, I’m learning a hard lesson.

The more things change—for the better or the worse—there’s no fighting human nature, and building on the ashes that remain will take everything we have. And maybe more.

I can hear Dave talking from down the hall. As he thunders on I cringe. To be late for a meeting Dave called is a big no-no unless you want the evil stink-eye. And since I can hear him talking adamantly about something, I’m preparing for his wrath.

Mia moves behind Ian, pushing him in front of her. “You go in first.”

Not missing out on my opportunity for protection, I hide behind Mia. Maybe by the time Dave gets through chewing out Ian then Mia he’ll be too tired to cut into me.

“Mia, I sent you to get everyone over thirty minutes ago,” Dave says.

So he’s skipping right over Ian to Mia. I could either throw her under the bus or help her out.

Loyalty makes me step from behind her. “I’m sorry, Dave. I held her up.”

Dave glares at me. He’s an older man with grey hair and a big build and, although he’s usually good natured, he’s serious when it comes to Arrowwood community business.

I shuffle on my feet and feel the odd need to explain myself further. “I…um…needed her help with something.”

With a shake of his head he dismisses us, leaving Ian, Mia and I to take some open seats. Glancing around I can tell everyone is here. My mom is sitting up front next to Rocky and Rocky’s ten year-old daughter Brooklynn. Wade waves to me from where he’s sitting at a table on the other side of the room. He has an empty seat next to him and when he indicates to it I shrug. “Sorry,” I mouth to him. I want to take the closest seat. Moving across the room would probably only irk Dave even more.

“As I was saying,” Dave says, after we’ve found our seats, “Since the mother ship has left Detroit, we’re going to investigate to find out what’s going on.”

It’s gone?

My breath seems to leave me.

“Wait, back-up,” Ian says. “The big spaceship is gone?”

“Are all of them gone?” I add. The last news report we’d seen said there were one hundred mother ships hovering over the largest cities of the world. That had been last May while we were still at band camp in Tallahassee. None of us knew if that number had grown less or more since then.

Dave shakes his head. “Unfortunately we don’t know. All we know is that the one over Detroit is gone, Jorin saw it take off while he was in one of the trees using his Ham radio. We don’t know if it’s gone for just a little while or gone for good. We’re forming a team to leave tomorrow at 1800 hours. Rocky will lead, MJ, Wade and Jorin are in.” Then he glances over to Ian. “How about you? Can we count on you as well?”

Ian glances at Mia before answering. If she had a problem with him leaving I’d expect him not to go. But she gives him a nod. Ian reaches out to hold her hand before he turns to Dave. “I’m in.”

“Good, we’ll find out—”

“I’m going too,” I blurt out.

Connecting with A.M.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interview with debut sci fi novelist S.L. Dunn

Today’s spotlight shines on debut sci-fi novelist S.L. Dunn. He’s doing a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions for Anthem’s Fall.

During the tour, S.L. will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other stops along S.L.’s tour and enter there, too!

S.L. Dunn is the debut author of Anthem’s Fall, a novel he wrote amid the wanderings of his mid twenties. He has written while living intermittently in St. John USVI, Boston, Maine and Seattle. Raised on big screen superheroes and pop science fiction, he sought to create a novel that bridged a near-sci-fi thriller with a grand new fantasy. He currently resides in Seattle with his girlfriend Liz and their dog Lucy, and is hard at work completing the next book of the Anthem’s Fall series.

Welcome, S.L. Please tell us about your current release.
I am excited to be releasing my debut novel, Anthem’s Fall (Prospect Hill Press, July 31, 2014). Anthem’s Fall takes elements from science fiction and fantasy, and reads like a Michael Crichton novel that collides with more of a Marvel/DC superhero kind of thing. It’s one part near-sci-fi technothriller, and one part superhero story.

Above a horrified New York City, genetics and ethics collide as the fallen emperor and a banished exile of the same herculean race ignite into battle over the city’s rooftops. In the streets below, a brilliant young scientist has discovered a technology that can defeat them both, yet might be more terrible than either.

Set both in modern New York City and in the technologically sophisticated yet politically savage world of Anthem,Anthem’s Fall unfurls into a plot where larger than life characters born with the prowess of gods are pitted against the shrewd brilliance of a familiar and unlikely heroine.

What inspired you to write this book?
The characters! I was driving on a highway in Vermont a few years ago, and the three main characters presented themselves to me all at once: the leader, the dreamer, and the genius. Between the three of them erupts a plot which revolves around a dreadful technology. There’s a ton of awesome scenes, and new exciting characters. It was a total blast to write.

Excerpt from Anthem’s Fall:
The sharp knife of apocalypse struck without warning, burying itself into the unsuspecting skies of a sun-swept afternoon.

In the northernmost continent of Anthem, the remote city of Municera abruptly reported massive and inexplicable reports of rioting and hysteria. The limited transmissions that came out of the city were fragmented and unclear. Imperial Army regiments were at once dispatched to restore order to the city of Municera, yet all troops lost radio contact within minutes of their arrival. Powerful reverberations shook through the surrounding lands, reaching miles in every direction. It felt as though the gods themselves were hammering the very world with furious impacts. From a distance, billowing black pillars of smoke could be seen reaching high into the sky above the smoldering city. When the smoke and cloud of ash dispersed in the northern winds, the glimmering skyscrapers that had long been an icon of the elegant Municera had vanished from the skyline. Their steel and glass splendor was replaced with a blanket of alarming ruin. By midafternoon, the once prominent city was nothing more than wreckage against the horizon.

Most disturbing were the spreading rumors that a number of Imperial First Class soldiers had flown into the chaos of Municera and had yet to return.

The migration out of the region—an anticipated exodus for which the Imperial Council had quickly prepared—never arrived, and as a disquieting sun set on the remaining cities of the Epsilon empire, the truth became increasingly clear. There were no survivors.

Municera had been home to seven million Primus.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the sequel to Anthem’s Fall! I’m hoping to release it last this fall or in the early winter.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write in bursts. I’ll sit staring at a blank computer screen for four hours, and then at hour four a thousand worlds will spill out of me in twenty minutes. It’s frustrating in a way, but it seems like a process that I don’t have much control over. The words either flow or they don’t.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wasn’t the type of person to be dead-set on any individual vocational path, as my mind was always far too scattered for such specificity. That being said, a list of random things I once aspired to be includes: horticulturalist, Japanese koi garden guru, Iron Chef, woodworker, microbrewer, meteorologist, arborist, shipwright, sommelier, video game tester, biologist, World of Warcraft freelance arena strategist, etc etc. That particular list could go on for pages…
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I give away a ton of free paperback and e-book copies of Anthem’s Fall from my website, so don’t be a stranger and sign up for my newsletter! I’m releasing some fun and unrelated shorter works over the next month or so, which will be cool to check out. I’ll also be talking a lot about my writing process on social media as I plug away through book two and connect with new readers. Reach out if you want to talk, I’d love to chat!


Thanks, S.L. Happy writing!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book excerpt for Eyes Die Last from Teri Riggs

Today I'm hosting a book excerpt for mystery thriller author Teri Riggs and her new novel, Eyes Die Last.

During her tour, Teri will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a lucky person. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

Teri Riggs was destined to be a writer. As a small girl she didn’t read bedtime stories, she made up her own. Who needed Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs when there were so many great tales bouncing around in her head? When she grew up and became a mother to three little girls, she continued the tradition of making up bedtime stories. On the occasions she chose to tell conventional fairytales, Teri usually gave them a bit of tweaking here and there or added a new ending. Her girls loved it.

After her daughters had the nerve to actually grow up and leave home, Teri discovered she had a passion for writing and jumped right in. It came as no surprise she chose to write mysteries and happily-ever-after’s since that’s the genres she loves to read.

Teri lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, one of her daughters and two dogs that seem to think they rule the world. And some days Teri thinks maybe they do.

Teri still frequently tells herself stories as she falls asleep. The only difference now is she wakes up the next morning and turns her bedtime stories into books.

The Las Vegas Mayoral race is heating up, and the incumbent doesn’t have a prayer. Wealthy real estate speculator Nick Campenelli, who wants to legalize prostitution in Clark County, and former pastor Louis St. Louis, running on a 'clean-up-Vegas-by-getting-rid-of-the-whores' platform, are the front runners.

They’re also front runners on the suspect list for a string of murders. Kennedy O’Brien, four-year detective with cop blood running in her veins, and her partner Wilder “Wild Thing” James, a veteran, are determined to find the man who’s murdering prostitutes who work the wrong side of the street, and they don’t care how important or politically active he is.

The killer is a man with a mission. He stalks the women before he kills them, leaving a “BEFORE” photo on their bodies, and sending an “AFTER” shot to the local news hound. Ed Hershey, an aging newscaster with just the right amount of grey in his hair, is determined to turn this story into a network gig, and his interference, along with the LVTVS legal team, are making Kennedy and Wilder look bad. Campenelli’s good looks and charm, and St. Louis’ vitriolic hatred of prostitutes are muddying the waters too, and now the killer seems to have taken a liking to Kennedy. 

So the big question remains. Can she get him before he gets her?

Nick, leaning against a marble pillar with his arms crossed, observed the detective as she took in the view. He tried to figure out what was going on in that beautiful head of hers.

She was stunning. Her hair, a rich sable color, fell just below her shoulders. Long, dark lashes surrounded rare blue-violet eyes. Her lips were full and softly sculpted. She was tall and lithe, and when she moved, he got a glimpse of the soft, womanly curves hidden beneath her jacket. She wrapped her arms around her waist.

Was that a little shiver?

She tilted her head back and took a deep breath, and then let it out with a long sigh.

“Are you chilled, Detective? I can get you a wrap.”

She turned and snarled. “I just lost my balance for a second. You shouldn’t sneak up on a person like that. You’re lucky I didn’t shoot you.” She didn’t give him a chance to respond. “Why in the hell would anyone want an office way up here anyway?”

He found the slight Irish cadence that had slipped into her voice, very, very sexy. “For the view of course. I’ve caught you admiring it. Or was the sigh for me?”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Slick. Not that it’s any of your business, but that was an attempt to keep my morning coffee down. The ride up could make a bird nauseous.”

“Not fond of heights, I take it. Too bad. Being at the top gives a person a much clearer picture of everything.” He stepped forward and stood side by side, shoulder to shoulder with her, enjoying the view himself. “Can you honestly deny how great the view is from here?”

“Being this high up makes my heart pound and knees weak. I feel so woozy I could hurl. But strangely enough, I can’t help but look.” Her voice softened. “It’s a really spectacular view.”

Nick could tell the minute Kennedy realized what she’d said. She turned to face him, looking totally mortified. Her eyes narrowed and her body stiffened.

“I’m glad you enjoy it, Detective. Give yourself a few minutes and the weak knees and the urge to hurl, as you so delicately put it, will go away. Then you can relax and enjoy the panorama.”

 “Sorry, I don’t have the time to stand around getting off on scenery. And I sure as hell don’t have time to worry about whether or not I speak delicately. I have a few more questions I need you to answer.” Her voice had regained its hard edge.

“No problem, Detective. Let’s move over to my desk, or the couch. Whichever you’d feel more comfortable at.”

“Your desk will be fine. This shouldn’t take long, Mr. Campenelli.”

“Please, call me Nick.” He led her over to his desk and offered her a chair across from his own.

“Mr. Campenelli—”

“Nick, please,” he interrupted.

“I’m not here to make nice, Mr. Campenelli. I’d like for you to tell me about the photos of prostitutes you have plastered on the break room wall at your campaign headquarters. Can you explain what that’s all about?”

He felt the beginnings of anger snake up his spine, then take root at the base of his skull. “I see you’ve been talking to Ed Hershey. He asked me the same question and I told him to go to hell as it was none of his business. I assume since you’re wearing that nice shiny badge, I wouldn’t get away with giving you the same explanation.”

“You assume right.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Interview with contemporary romance author MK Harkins

Today’s special post features an interview with contemporary romance author MK Harkins.

MK Harkins is the author of the romantic novel Intentional. An avid reader, she began writing fiction when she ran out of reading selections on her Kindle. Her new novel, Unintentional, is a sequel to her first work and is based on the life of the character Cade.

A business owner, Harkins spends her free time traveling, watching movies, reading voraciously, in addition to creating her own fiction.

The author currently lives in Mercer Island, Washington.

MK is currently touring her novel, Unintentional with Goddess Fish Promotions. This is book 2 in the Intentional series.

As part of her tour, MK is giving away a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a lucky person. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit MK’s other tour stops and enter there, too!

Blurb for Unintentional:
Cade, the gorgeous song man, has every reason to steer clear of commitment and train his soulful eyes, killer dimples, and sexy voice on every beauty swaying to his band. So why is it that he finds himself truly, deeply and unintentionally, fixed on the one woman who is not so easily swept away?

The sequel to Intentional, the debut romantic novel by MK Harkins, Unintentional is the heart-racing new work that follows the tangled thread of Cade in the aftermath of his heartbreak in losing the one woman he thought was his soul mate. After taking a hiatus from his job as an engineer, as well as his role in the band as lead singer, Cade reemerges in the Seattle music scene. Enter Laurel, the tenacious and determined music agent. Laurel is determined to sign him, no matter how clearly reluctant he is. Though they try to resist one another romantically, the magnetism is as immediate as it is powerful.

Unintentional offers readers an intricate, riveting story about the fraught paces of love, while also offering strains of heartwarming humor. With rich detail, authentic characters, and plenty of blood-pumping romance, Unintentional is a moving and multilayered look at how love can slip through our fingers, only to be pulled back again at the most surprising, stirring moments.

Excerpt from Unintentional:
I scan the room, taking in the atmosphere, when I notice the fourth member of the band jump onto the stage. Oh! My jaw drops as I look at him. This couldn’t be the lead singer. He’s, he’s…almost unreal. I rifle through my notes with shaking hands. Sophie prepared a bio on each one, but didn’t include pictures. Maybe if I had some warning, I wouldn’t be sitting here like some idiot with my mouth gaping open.

What the hell is wrong with me? It’s that guy, Cade, or whatever his name is. I’m so flustered, I can’t keep the pages in order. He is absolutely gorgeous! What is my problem? I’m a professional. I see good looking men all the time.
I look back over at Cade as he smiles at someone across the bar. Oh my God, he has dimples. Could he be any better looking? Nope. I think I just turned into a groupie. Well, maybe I’m not that far gone yet, but I’m close. I have to get control of myself. I take a deep breath in, hoping my heart will return its normal rate, exhale out. It didn’t work, so I try again.

I’m in the process of calming myself when Sophie asks, “Laurel, you feeling okay?”

I look back at her. “Have you seen the lead singer yet? Sophie, that man should not be legal.”

Sophie looks up at the stage, and her expression turns to shock.

She laughs at me. “I’d be willing to get arrested for that one!”

Good, it’s not just me. This should be an interesting night. I’m fanning myself, trying to order my body to calm down. I look over at Sophie, she’s grinning at me.

What?” I ask.

She laughs. “Oh, Laurel, this is rich! I’ve never seen you in such a state. Why don’t you go up and introduce yourself before they start?”

“No, I want to see how they perform first. Don’t you remember? We’re going to check them out first. We don’t want to waste their time or ours if they don’t cut it.”

Sophie shrugs. “I don’t think it would be a waste. Look at them, Laurel. I know Cade is super-hot, but did you see the other one? I think his name is Ayden. Can’t we just meet them anyway? Even if they aren’t what we’re looking for, they might be in another area. You know what I mean?” She winks at me.

Who is the last person you hugged?
My husband

What is the story of your first kiss?
All I can say about it – slobbery, wet, and disturbing (summer before 6th grade)

What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?
There are so many things! I can’t even pick one! I’m surrounded by a wonderful group of family and friends.

What kind of music you like?
All of it. I appreciate the talent it takes to put music together

Do you like to dance?
Yes, when you put a few glasses of champagne in my system

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Interview with women's Christian fiction author Ginger Marcinkowski

Ginger Marcinkowski was born as one of eight siblings in northern Maine along the Canadian border, a setting that plays a prominent role in her novels.

Her debut novel, Run, River Currents, was published in August 2012, was a 2012 semi-finalist in the ACFW Genesis Awards and a 2013 Kindle Book Award Finalist. An interesting fact about Ginger is that she is a million-mile flier with United Airlines and had been a multi-million dollar travel agent in the past. Her travel experience will be the catalyst for a new series of mysteries whose main characters are travel agents.

Today’s interview focuses on Ginger’s newest novel, The Button Legacy-Emily's Inheritance.

Blurb from The Button Legacy:
Based on the true story of one family’s spiritual saga revealed through buttons that have been secreted away in an antique box, and that ultimately hold the key to each generation’s salvation.

Ginger Marcinkowski’s first novel, Run, River Currents featured Emily Evans, who as a girl shared a special understanding with her grandfather, John Polk. Despite the scars of her father's abuse John taught her to look to the future in faith, promising Emily God's grace can be seen even in the simplest thing—a button.

Years after her grandfather John's death, the unexpected delivery of a decorated tin, still brimming with odd-colored buttons is delivered to Emily. The reappearance of the family buttons unlocks joyous memories and guides Emily to realize a secret her grandfather promised lay within the stories of that worn button box; the healing power of prayer. In The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance each button connects one generation to the next as their interrelated stories unfold across the timeless landscape of their spiritual journey.

Ginger will be awarding a $10 Starbucks Card + e-book copy of The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and enter there, too.

What made you ever want to write a book?
Actually, I had no intention of ever writing a book. My writing dream had been to write short stories and magazine articles, as I have a very short attention span. When I started my M.F.A. one of the first instructors I came into contact with told me that there is a story inside every writer that has to be told. He said that once that story was written, the writer would be free to write anything they want to. I found that to be true as I began writing my first novel, Run, River Currents. When that was completed, it was so easy for me to keep writing longer pieces. The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance then became a labor of love.

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?
I wrote this story as a way to honor the influence my godly grandfather had on my life and the way God uses even the simplest things—like a button—to convey His word to others.

What is your favorite thing about your main character in your most recent book?
So much of this book has reality in it, so I’d have to say John Polk, as he represents my own grandfather, John Lovean. Grampy was a godly influence in my life. Unfortunately, it took me until adulthood to know or understand how important his quiet witness was to all of his grandchildrenI loved how he used the simple things in his life to teach his children and grandchildren lessons about God’s forgiving grace.

Excerpt from The Button Legacy:
The buttons buckled against the tin, sounding like marbles in a jar. Maureen’s hand stirred them for what seemed like an hour before she grasped a multicolored globe that reminded John of a fishing lure. Ellen tilted her head and stared at the button, a question knitted on her brow.

“I don’t recognize this one, John,” she said as Maureen dropped it into her mother’s hand. The button rolled in Ellen’s palm, the light from the fireplace piercing the glossy circle and sending flashes of color across the room.

“Well,” John slowly responded, allowing the anticipation of the coming story to rise, “this is a fishing story, girls.” John held out his hand, and Ellen dropped the button into his palm. “You do know that fishing stories might contain an untruth or two, don’t you?”

The girls giggled. Ellen rolled her eyes.

“My brother Frank and I were just about your age when Dad allowed us to fish the Tobique on our own for the first time.” The girls cuddled up near their mother, Maureen pulling a crocheted blanket over her feet before leaning into Ellen. “Yup, that was the summer I got my first fishing pole.”

The memory stuck in his mind like honey, sweet and savory. John had been standing near the front porch whittling a piece of birch bark into the shape of a canoe. He and his brother often raced the makeshift boats on the Tobique when they joined their father’s fly-fishing excursions for the trout that would become the evening meal. Frank was coming out of the barn, two handmade poles and a bucket in his right hand.

How do you balance writing with your job, life, and family?
As of January 2013, I retired from a job that had kept me travelling full-time. I thought I’d have loads of time to write, but I don’t. Instead, I eek out blocks of time each week to work on my latest project. In between, I am an online English instructor and a grandmother named “Tootsie.” Nothing on earth is as important as the 2 ½ year-old grandson I adore.

When did you decide to become a writer?
Although I had written various things throughout my life, I never really believed I had the talent to be a writer. It was a self-esteem issue. When the company I worked for required all staff to do some form of continuing education, I decided to get my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. I looked at it as a honing of my writing skills for my job, not as a full-time career. I was 53-years-old and had already come through four careers in my life. I guess I really never intended to follow this dream. The dream just followed me!

What genre are your books?
I write Christian fiction and Women’s Fiction, but the new series I am working on will be cozy mysteries that are clean and can crossover into the secular market.

What, if anything, have you learned about yourself since you started writing?
Great question! I have learned that I am very good at creating a sense of place in my works. I also have learned that I am able to write and fictionalize the truth and stay distant to it at the same time. It is very freeing to a writer to find something special that they do well!

What advice would you give someone who might be thinking of writing a book?
I can think of two important things. One is to just write. Quit thinking about writing. Quit saying you want to write. Quit making excuses not to write. Instead…write. If writing is important enough, and not an afterthought, you will write. Secondly, write the truth. So many new writers worry about hurting someone’s feelings or about people not understanding their writing. I say, write the truth, no matter how hard it is to write, no matter who might believe you or challenge your faith. If you write the truth, God will honor that whether your truth is written in fiction or non-fiction.

Who are your favorite authors?
I have eclectic tastes when it comes to reading. I love humorous books, like Gail Martin’s, Who Killed Tom Jones? and Sara Pritchard’s, Help Wanted: Female. I have read every Maeve Binchey book, as she could write a strong sense of place.

Have you authored any other books?
The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance was written to balance my first novel, Run, River Currents. In that dark book, which was based on a true event of abuse in my life, the main character, Emily Evans, carried around a tremendous burden of guilt, shame and anger because of her father had sexually abused her. The book alludes to the fact that Emily’s grandparents were praying and witnessing to her, but it was not until the end of the book that Emily came to know Christ as her Savior. In The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance, the reader gets “the other side” of her dark story. It shows how God’s grace was holding Emily up during her dark times and in the end, allowed the character to see how God would continue to be passed on to her own son. My first novel was a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction’s Writer’s Genesis Award and a 2013 Kindle Book Award Finalist.

What are you working on right now?
I have started what will become a series of cozy mysteries about a group of travel agents, and will be billed at The Travel Girl Mysteries. Each time one of the agents travels to an exotic tourist destination, a new mystery arises. There will be humor and destinations with a strong sense of place.

Is there a story tugging at the back of your creative mind that begs to be written?
Yes and it is what I am working on right now, The Travel Girl Mystery Series.

What is the most difficult aspect of being a writer?
Marketing your work. Writer’s want to write. We don’t want to have to tweet, Facebook or waste our time in social media, but we are also realists. We understand the great task before us, and the hard work our editors and publicists do on our behalf. We know we must do our part. It is just not the favorite part of what we do. Personally, I prefer to meet and speak with people at conferences and seminars, as I am a relationship builder and prefer the personal contact.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
I don’t think any part of writing is easy. Instead, I believe doing what I love to do is rewarding. It fills me with joy to connect with others while doing something I really want to do.

How long did it take you to write your book?
The first book, Run, River Currents took me three years to write. The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance took about 11 months.

Do you get writer’s block? How do you overcome it?
I don’t get writer’s block. Instead, if I am unsure where to go with the story I stop what I am working on and free write. I look around the room or open my button box and let my imagination run away with itself. The usual result is that I am able to take the unrelated piece of work I have written and adapt it to what I am working on.

Anything else to share with the readers today?

Thanks, Ginger! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book excerpt for romance novel Compromising Miss Tisdale by Jessica Jefferson

Today I’m featuring a book excerpt for the romance novel Compromising Miss Tisdale, by Jessica Jefferson.

Jessica is doing a virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions and will be awarding a $25 Amazon (or Barnes and Noble) give card to a lucky commenter. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Ambrosia Tisdale is the very picture of propriety and the epitome of what a respectable young lady should be. Haunted by a memory and compelled by her family, she pursues perfection to a fault.

The Earl of Bristol, Duncan Maddox, has returned to London after years of familial imposed exile. As the second son, he has led a life filled with frivolity, leisure, and a healthy dose of debauchery. Now his older brother has died, leaving the family’s flailing legacy in Duncan’s unwilling arms.

At the behest of his uncle, Duncan is advised to do the one thing that could provide instant fortune and respectability – he must marry. But there is only one prospect who meets the unique requirements to solve all the Earl’s problems – the lovely Miss Ambrosia Tisdale. But securing the prudent daughter of a Viscount’s hand proves to be more challenging than this scandal ridden second son of an Earl has bargained for.

With scandal, extortion, treachery, and even love itself threatening to keep him from his goal, will Duncan succeed in compromising Miss Tisdale?

Duncan spun her around the room with a grace that was unprecedented, despite her extensive experience. She was suddenly very aware of her own awkward steps. Ambrosia raised her eyes to look into his, taking note of just how many lines crinkled at the corners when he smiled – which was often. He smiled much like her sister Tamsin – unadulterated, as if no care in the world can dampen their spirits. She was often jealous of her sister’s easy joy, but as she basked under the light of his, she too felt a bit more carefree.

And that was what attracted her to this wicked man - the expectations of society, of her family, and herself were made lighter by proxy.

The music coming from the orchestra drowned out the other couples and the spinning made her feel as if she were in some sort of inebriated state, despite only indulging in only two cups of ratafia. Ambrosia was by no means a dainty woman, but in his arms she felt as if she were light as air.

Duncan appeared cheerful, but not nearly as heady as she felt. “I hope you find my dancing agreeable. It is somewhat an area of pride for me. When I was younger, my uncle insisted I learn to dance well, and years later I am eternally grateful for the skill. In fact, I’ve been told many times that it is certainly the best thing I do . . . on two feet.” The gold flecks in his eyes flashed with the wicked innuendo of his statement.

Author information:
Jessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it – almost Chicago. Jessica originally attended college in hopes of achieving an English degree and writing the next great American novel. Ten years later she was working as a registered nurse and reading historical romance when she decided to give writing another go-round.

Jessica writes likes she speaks, which has a tendency to be fast paced and humorous. Jessica is heavily inspired by sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy to transport the reader into a story they miss long after the last page is read. She invites you to visit her at and read her random romance musings.

Ways to connect:
Website | Facebook | Twitter

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