Monthly Archives: December 2014

Masterpiece Marriage

masterpieceThis week we welcome back Gina Welborn who is here to share with us about her latest release Masterpiece Marriage. The title is intriguing, GinaPlease tell us about Masterpiece Marriage. First let me say I’m blessed to be a part of Abingdon’s Quilts of Love Series. Masterpiece Marriage is about a Philadelphia textile mill owner who seeks his aunt’s help to create a quilt pattern to salvage his damage fabrics. When he arrives at her summer quilting bee, he discovers the only way to get what he wants is to partner with a vexing lady botanist, who isn’t any more welcome to his aunt’s matchmaking designs.

How long did it take you to write? I save a new file each day I write so I know how many actual days I spend on a manuscript. For Masterpiece, it was 53 days.

Do you have a favorite scene you’d like to share with us? Here’s a link to read the first three chapters. My favorite “scene,” though, actually covers two chapters. Zenus and Mary go to the strawberry auction, but buying strawberries is not either’s focus.

Did you do any special research for this book? I didn’t do any more or less research for this book than I do for any other story. Prior to writing, I do check to ensure my setting will work. With Masterpiece, I’d initially set it in the early 1880s. I needed Virginia’s Eastern Shore to have both electricity and train travel to Philadelphia, so I had to move the setting forward a decade.

Where do you write? Bedroom. Family room. Dining room. Sometimes I’ve hidden in one of my kids’ room. Clearly I don’t have an office.

Do any of your characters resemble you in any way? They do when they say what they think, or at least Zenus and Arel do. My heroine Mary is British so she’s more circumspect, unless being candid is needed.

Is this book a stand alone or part of a series? Masterpiece Marriage is a stand alone. Someday I may write Arel’s story, but at this time I don’t have a story planned. She’s a hand— well, a mind-full.

Do you have a special holiday tradition? We eat food. Play card and board games (recent years we’ve done tournaments). Go look at Christmas lights then stop at Starbucks or Braums afterward for hot chocolate and coffee. We also do a Lord of the Rings marathon on New Year’s Eve, Day, or Eve Eve depending when family has to return home. The “special” part of traditions for us isn’t the doing-the-same-thing-every-year but being together when we doing stuff.

How do you celebrate Christmas? With family, both immediate and extended. Before opening presents, we read the story of Jesus’s birth. A couple of years ago, the children and grandchildren acted it out. Our dog played sheep. He kept wanting to lick Mary’s face. The wisemen were more like three stooges.

What is next for you? My next Barbour novella release in May. “Baker’s Dozen” is part of the Most Eligible Bachelor Collection. It’s my take on The Bachelor tv show. In addition, I have a fifth Barbour novella releasing in spring of 2016. “All’s Fair” is part of the Lassoed by Marriage Collection.

Thank you for sharing with us, Gina. It was fun getting to hear about your book and your family traditions!

Gina has offered to give away one copy of her book. Please tell her about one tradition you did this year during the holiday season to be entered for a chance to win.

Rules: Open to USA mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited by law. Drawing ends 1/4/2015. The winner will be notified 1/5/2015 and have until 1/11/2015 to respond or forfeit the book. No new winner will be drawn.

GINA 2012 cropAfter Gina Welborn earned a Communications degee from an Oklahoma university, she thought the perfect career choice was working at a news radio station writing commercial copy, public service announcements, and news reports. A PSA writer, sadly, can only be so creative when describing ketchup and Geronimo’s grave. (No, she never combined those two elements in the same script, but now that she thinks about it, she wishes … ) Thus Gina “retired” to focus on goal, motivation, and conflict within her family before discovering her niche in writing romances. A member of RWA and ACFW, Gina has three published novellas, including one in the ECPA-bestselling Mistletoe Memories, and is contracted for two more. The year 2014 unshers in the release of her novels: The Heiress’s Courtship, The Marshal’s Pursuit, and Masterpiece Marriage. A moderately obsessive fan of Community, Once Upon a Time, and Chopped, Gina lives in Oklahoma with her pastor husband, their five Okie-Hokie children, a box-lab, two rabbits, four guinea pigs, and a fancy Russian dwarf hamster named Tom Bob Deucalion. Gina is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.

 

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Sleigh Ride Together With You Giveaway and JoAnn Durgin

SleighRideTogetherWithYou_w11863_680 (2)This week we welcome back JoAnn Durgin. Thanks for joining us once again, JoAnn. Please tell us about Sleigh Ride Together with You. Sure! First of all, this book represented a fun “first” for me as an author in that the story was written in direct response to request from readers. The heroine in Sleigh Ride is the ex-girlfriend of the firefighter hero, Jake Marston, in the first book of the series, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. Enough readers felt compassion for Nicole that she wasn’t the woman for Jake and asked me to write her happily-ever after romance. So, that’s how the idea for this book began.

Perhaps the best way is to give readers the “back cover” blurb to give you the basic idea of the story and the characters. Here it is:

As the popular television co-host of Wake Up, Des Moines! Nicole Reardon has achieved her dream. So why has the network sent “image maker” Alex Kingsfield to the station? The irritatingly handsome man is also the first man she’s been attracted to since Jake Marston dumped her three years ago in Starlight, Iowa. When an unexpected assignment sends Nicole and Alex to Starlight, can she rise above the past and make this interview the defining moment of her career?

Alex Kingsfield knows Nicole is poised on the cusp of network stardom. But beneath the professional exterior is a small-town girl at heart, genuine and God-honoring. Alex holds the power to boost Nicole’s career to unknown heights. Or crush her dreams. From any angle, he’s caught in a “no win” situation when he finds himself falling for the beautiful Nicole. What’s a man to do when love comes calling at Christmas?

Do you have a favorite scene you’d like to share with us? Here’s one of my favorites between Nicole and Alex (Nicole is speaking first and we’re in Alex’s point of view):

“Maybe you shouldn’t go to Starlight with me. I can get one of the camera guys. That’s what I’m saying.”

Frustration rose to the surface. “Now you’re talking crazy, Nicole. Why not?”

“Well, for one thing—and trust me, I feel silly enough even saying this—people have a tendency to fall in love in Starlight. Maybe it’s in the water or something. Or maybe in the proverbial stars. No, I know better. It’s God. He’s everywhere in Starlight—in a special way—and you can’t help but feel His love.” She raised her hands in frustration. “It’s like this warm, cozy blanket of love that covers everyone and everything in that town.”

Alex stepped closer. “And that’s such a bad thing?”

 Thanks for sharing that with us, JoAnn! Is this book a standalone book or part of a series?

Sleigh Ride Together with You is the third installment of my Starlight Christmas Series, following Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (2012) and Starlight, Star Bright (2013).

Readers, I’ve read two of the books in the series and even though they are part of a series, I had no problem getting into the stories and I feel like these books can easily stand alone. That being said, JoAnn’s books can best be appreciated when you read them in order since the characters are not exclusive to one book in all cases. 🙂 FYI, I am really enjoying Sleigh Ride Together With You so far.

Did you do any special research for this book? I researched a bit about the hierarchy of a television network and a morning news program’s personnel and procedures. The television show in the book is called Wake Up, Des Moines!, and I did a bit of research about Des Moines, Iowa. A famous theme restaurant in Des Moines is called Zombie Burger, and I checked out the history and the menu online. Don’t worry, no zombies or undead characters are in this book! But I love writing fun dialogue between my characters, and with menu items called Dawn of the Dead and They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara, I couldn’t resist featuring it in Sleigh Ride Together with You! Christian romance author Melissa Tagg lives in Des Moines and was able to provide some more specific information about Zombie Burger. Other than that, a portion of the book takes place in my fictional town of Starlight, Iowa. I did go back to the previous two books in the series in order to double check myself on certain events and characters. For one thing, I’d never given Nicole a last name in the first book, but I had to make sure!

Do any of your characters resemble you in any way? My heroine always shares one or more character traits with her author. In the case of Nicole in Sleigh Ride Together with You, she’s independent, she’s smart, and she’s pursuing her dream of working in broadcast journalism. While I never had the desire to pursue working in television, I knew from the time I was in high school that I wanted to be a writer—in one way or another. Even then, however, I had no idea I’d one day become a novelist! It’s been a thrill ride all its own, and the Lord has blessed my efforts over and above what I could ever have imagined!

What is next for you? I’m currently preparing the prequel to my Lewis Legacy Series, called Prelude. It’s the love story of Sam Lewis and Sarah Jordan, the parents of the core character in the series, Sam Lewis, Jr. I’m having an absolute blast with this one! This book is different in that it’s the first time my hero and heroine have known each other for years. In this case, they were neighbors, and Sam is six years older than Sarah. In the beginning of the book, Sam is an Air Force Captain returning from his tour of duty in the Vietnam War and discovers his little neighbor girl has grown up into a fascinating woman. Let the romance begin! The fun research for Prelude included listening to the favorite songs of the early 1960s, and also revisited the hairstyles, fashions, words and expressions, etc. In many ways, the novel “reads” modern, but it’s also reflects certain aspects of that era. I just can’t believe this book is considered historical! I like to call it “modern historical.”

Prelude is available to pre-order on Amazon Kindle now, and releases on December 19, 2014.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, JoAnn and for offering to do a giveaway! Readers, if you would like to be entered into the drawing for Sleigh Ride Together With You please let JoAnn know if you’ve ever been on a sleigh ride and what it was like.

My one and only sleigh ride took place in a near blizzard. We all had to wear ski goggles just to keep the snow out of our eyes. We were bundled to the point no part of our skin was exposed to the elements. I’m sure we were a sight. lol You may wonder why we even went. It was at a resort in Central Oregon and we booked the sleigh ride in advance. Unfortunately it was one of those places where you don’t get your money back, unless they cancel, which they didn’t. 🙂 It’s an experience I will never forget.

Drawing Rules: Open to USA addresses only. For the drawing to take place there must be at least ten qualifying comments, my comments and JoAnn’s don’t count, sorry. Void where prohibited by law. Drawing ends 12/28/1014. The winner will be notified by email on 12/29/2014 and have until 1/4/2015 to reply or forfeit Sleigh Ride Together With You. No new winner will be drawn.

JoAnn Author Photo (Princess Cruise)JoAnn Durgin is the author of five novels (and counting) in the popular Lewis Legacy Series as well as a standalone novel, Catching Serenity. Her novellas include Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, Starlight, Star Bright, Sleigh Ride Together with You, and Echoes of Edinburgh. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers, JoAnn lives with her husband and three children in southern Indiana. She’s recently *retired* from her paralegal position to write full-time. She loves to hear from her readers at www.joanndurgin.com or www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin.

 

Deep Freeze Christmas

This week we welcome Marian P. Merritt to share with us about her book Deep Freeze Christmas

DeepFreezeChristmas_w11849_680Deep Freeze Christmas is a novella set near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In keeping with my tagline, Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains, I brought a young gourmet chef and her mentor from New Orleans and placed them cooking for a movie producer’s holiday guests in his mountain lodge at Christmas.

Here’s the book blurb:

Louisiana Chef Leona Buquet agrees to cook for CG Fleming Jr, movie producer at his mountain lodge in the Colorado Mountains during the Christmas holiday.

When Leona meets handsome Cameron, CG’s son, she is taken by his striking good looks and warm personality, but with the glamorous actress, Marissa Madison, clamoring for his attention will he even notice Leona?

Cameron struggles with being in a career he hates only to please his father. When he meets Leona he feels he’s known her all his life. He wants an opportunity to get to know her, but she keeps avoiding him. When they become stranded in a hunter’s cabin, will she lower her guard and open her heart to Cameron?

Where do you write? That’s a question I’ve never answered before. I have been known to pull out my smart phone and write a scene while waiting for my sliced deli meats! I’ve also written scenes while waiting in line at the grocery store. Mostly, I write using a laptop so I write in my favorite living room chair, my office, in bed when my hubby is away at work, but my most favorite place to write is on my back porch.

Marian sent me a wonderful picture of her back porch, but I couldn’t get it to post. It’s a wood deck with wood railings and a view of hills. She has pretty potted flowers that sit at the base of the railing. It’s a very pretty setting.

Do you have a favorite scene you’d like to share with us? To set up this scene: Leona has just arrived at CG’s Mountain lodge and she’s looking for the back room freezer so she and Julian (her mentor and employer) can begin preparing dinner.

“Great, I’ll see what I can find.” She opened the door that led down a hallway. The first door she opened led into a pantry the size of her bedroom in her tiny apartment. She was pretty sure she’d died and gone to chef-heaven, a to-die-for kitchen, and now this. Stocked shelves lined the walls with a counter down the middle with drawers underneath. Anything they needed, she was pretty sure they’d find in here.

She backed out and went down the hallway again in search of the “freezer room.” Another door jetted off to the right, she opened it and understood why CG had said freezer room instead of walk-in freezer. The room held seven commercial grade freezers with another door leading into a large walk-in freezer.

She found bags of shrimp and a few other items they’d need for tonight’s meal. Before she headed back to the kitchen, the door at the end of the hallway beaconed. To where did it lead? When she opened it, a blast of cold air rushed in and took her breath away followed by a blur of white the size of a small horse. Before she knew what hit her, she was flat on her back getting sloppy dog kisses—all over her face.

“Max. Stop!” CG appeared and captured Max’s leash. “Stop, boy! Sit.”

Max picked the worst time to obey. He stopped licking and sat—on Leona. CG pulled the near hundred pound, snow-dripping lab off her. “I’m so sorry. He’s still a puppy, and we’re working on manners. Seems the snow makes him a little frisky. Are you OK?”

“Yes, I’m fine.” She laughed and rubbed the dog’s ear. “Still a puppy? I can’t imagine how big he’ll be when he’s full grown. Hello, Max.”

“He should grow into those feet at about one-hundred twenty pounds.”

He sat on the floor next to her and leaned over and licked her face again.

She laughed and rubbed his head. His dark eyes followed her hand and seemed to relax at her touch. “Nice to meet you, Max.”

“Here let me help you up.” CG offered his hand. After she stood, he gathered the frozen items before Max had a chance to check them out.

Leona took the items into the kitchen while CG led Max out the back door. She plopped the cold items on the counter. “You’ve got to check out the pantry and freezer. Aaa-mazing.”

“I’m sure it is. I wouldn’t expect less from CG. You OK?” Chef Julian pointed to her jacket.

She looked down to where Julian pointed. Several large muddy paw prints adorned the front of her white jacket. “Yikes. Guess I need to change.”

“Oh and Leona, you might want to wash your face, too.” Chef gave her one of his famous grins and a nod.

After Max’s licking, she could only imagine what her face looked like. It would just take a minute to run upstairs and change. She climbed the back stairs and turned the corner headed to her room.

“Hello, there.” The smooth voice belonged to six feet of pure handsome. She felt sure she’d be a puddle before long if he kept staring at her with those crystal blue eyes. This had to be CG’s son.

He pointed to her jacket. “I see you’ve met Max.”

“Um…yes, we met.” She laughed. “Quite intimately, I might add.”

He held out his hand. “I’m Cameron Fleming, CG’s son.”

“Cameron, I’m Leona Buquet, the Sous Chef. It’s nice to meet you.” She shook his hand.

“Buquet, are you from Louisiana?”

“I am.” She finally let go of his hand.

“I used—”

“Cameron, there you are.” A sultry voice drifted from behind Cameron and when its owner materialized, Leona recognized the gorgeous actress, Marissa Madison. Known for her high-maintenance expectations and temper tantrums when she didn’t get her way.

Following celebrity gossip was a vice Leona still worked against.

Marissa scanned Leona’s jacket and then her face and hair. She raised an eyebrow and then scrunched her nose. “Did something explode in the kitchen?”

Did you do any special research for this book? I had to research the recipes—such a chore… <grin>. Seriously, it was the part I really loved—scouring the Internet and planning the meals. I didn’t, however, know a lot about snowmobiles. Because they are an integral part of the plot, I needed to become familiar with them. Thankfully, I have several friends who own them and were only a Facebook post away! I set up a Pinterest board with the recipes I found and a few other goodies. If any of your readers are interested in Cajun recipes and photos depicting some of the scenes in the book, they can follow this link: http://www.pinterest.com/mpmerritt/deep-freeze-christmas-novella/

 What is next for you? This year has been a good one for writing. I have another book that also recently released called, A CAJUN CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Amazon buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Cajun-Christmas-Miracle-Belle-Camellia-ebook/dp/B00O1B1H3I/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1412523709&sr=1-1

I did a Pinterest board for this book as well. It can be viewed here:

http://www.pinterest.com/mpmerritt/a-cajun-christmas-miracle/

I’m waiting on a release date for my contracted Women’s Fiction title, THE VIGIL-A BIJOU BAYOU NOVEL. I anticipate a first or second quarter 2015 date.

I’m currently writing a Women’s Fiction story set in Tuscany and am plotting the next book in the BIJOU BAYOU SERIES.

Marian HeadshotB&WMarian Pellegrin Merritt writes stories that blend her love of the mountains with her deep Southern roots. She is an author and freelance writer with over ten years experience. Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, online websites, and garnered a first place award in ACFW’s Genesis contest.

Marian is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Women’s Fiction Writers Association.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and an accounting certificate from the University of South Alabama. This Louisiana native writes from the Northwest Colorado home she shares with her husband and a very spoiled Labradoodle. Connect with her through Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

You’re One of God’s Favorite Stories by guest blogger Terri Gillespie

2013-11-08 04.38.50Do you have a favorite book or movie? Do you enjoy reading or watching it over and over again? I do. There is a unique kind of contentment in knowing that certain familiar scenes we love are approaching. We know that no matter how difficult the situation may become for the character, there is that beautiful, satisfying scene on its way.

The other day, I was musing about how our heavenly Father, since the beginning of time (Isaiah 46:10) has known what happens to all of us from our conception to our reunion with Him. That may sound depressing or fatalistic, but really it’s quite comforting. He knows our days (Psalm 139:16)—every single one of them. Before we were born, He knew us (Jeremiah 1:5).

No matter what happens in our lives—wonderful or tragic—He already saw each and every event. And somehow, in His omnipotent and omniscient way, it all has purpose.

This means when something transpires in my life that seems to come out of nowhere, and throws me for a spiritual or physical loop, I am confident that my Abba knew it would happen all along. In other words, He is not in heaven, wringing His hands and fretting that He let something bad slip through His fingers. That’s reassuring, don’t you think?

Then there’s the good stuff that happens in our lives. He knows about those, too. He saw those times as well, from the beginning. Think of one of the happiest days of our life, He chose that day for us—and oh, how He took pleasure in it.

So, that got me to thinking—as so often happens with writers— about some “what ifs?”

What if while the Children of Israel were crossing the Red Sea on dry land, God was thinking, “You know this reminds me of the time when I will rescue Terri from drowning.”

What if while David danced before the Lord with all his might, He would look forward with delight in my dancing before Him all by myself?

What if, right now, He eagerly anticipates the fulfillment of a blessing He has prepared for us since the beginning of time?

Sound silly? Maybe. But, doesn’t God truly know the number of hairs on our head (Matt. 10:30)? Doesn’t He count and value each of our tears (Psalm 56:8)?

Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). We are His stories. That also means our story—our testimony—will be “read” or “watched” by those around us. It’s an important thing to remember, especially in difficult times. For them, our story can challenge, edify, and teach. Ultimately, we want our story to point to our Author—the Finisher of our faith.

Today, as we reread the scenes of the saints of the Bible, and meditate on our loving Abba, why not imagine Him in joyful anticipation of our scenes of “glory” or “joy”. I wonder, does He like replaying them, too?

Terri Gillespie is the author of The Hair Maven series, modern day Ruth and Naomi stories set in a hair salon. She loves connecting with readers on Facebook and Twitter @TerriGMavens or on her website www.terrigillespie.com

Libby with Fay Lamb

This week Fay Lamb shares with us about her book, Libby. Welcome, Fay, Please tell us about Libby. Libby is the second book in The Ties That Bind series.

Libbycover FayLibby Overstreet can’t see herself as anything but shy and socially awkward. She’s nearing thirty, and she’s never even been on a date. Then she meets the man of her dreams, but Libby knows he would never be interested in a wallflower like her. All she wants to do is to buy that garden nursery on the outskirts of town and settle down with the life she has always dreamed about.

Evan Carter has been watching the sweet woman in the coffee shop for weeks when his friend tells him that the object of his affection plans to buy a garden nursery and needs Evan’s expertise as an architect/contractor.

When they meet, Libby is more enamored of Evan and even more convinced that he would never look at her as anything but a friend.

However, that’s far from the truth. Evan would love to get to know the innocent beauty God has placed in this path. Trouble is, he fears that a lovely flower like Libby will wilt under the sins of his past, and he’ll do everything in his power to keep that from happening.

This sounds like a good read. JHow long did it take you to write? Libby’s story came to me when I met her as a secondary character in Charisse. So it didn’t take me long to write the story. Now, editing? That’s a different question.

LOL, isn’t that the way it is? At least for me, the stories often flow, but editing take forever!

Do you have a favorite scene you’d like to share with us? My favorite scene is actually between Libby and her best friend, Charisse. Libby has just been hurt terribly by a misunderstanding with her hero, Evan, and Charisse is there to hopefully clear it up. Here’s the scene.

Libby sat in the darkness of her room. Someone pounded on her front door.

“Libby, let me in, or I’ll use my key,” Charisse insisted. “I have it, and I won’t hesitate.”

“Use it already,” Libby called from the hallway. She went into her bathroom and shut her door. Charisse needed to learn to stop meddling. The fact she was here said it all. Charisse and her husband had set this date up. Somehow, they’d convinced Evan to take her to the gardens.

She’d acted like a fool in front of him, flitting around the gardens, actually pretending that he wanted to be with her, and Evan was just nice enough to let her pretend.

But his attraction to Hope Astor was so very obvious. If seeing the painting one more time hadn’t been so important, she’d still be blissfully ignorant. At least now, Evan was spared from ever needing to see Libby again. Still, he’d apparently cared enough to let Charisse know she was absolutely insane—breaking down and crying in front of him like a silly, lovesick, heartbroken fool.

Light filtered through the bottom of the bathroom door. “Where are you?” Charisse demanded.

Libby ran the water in the sink and splashed her face.

“Are you okay?”

The faucet handle squeaked as she turned it off. With her eyes closed, she searched the counter for her towel and then patted her face. In the darkness, she couldn’t see her image, but she’d bet her cheeks were red and splotchy from all the tears she’d cried.

“I’m waiting.”

She wasn’t going out until Charisse left. Libby backed up against the door and slid down. “I’m not coming out.”

“Great. Just great. I came all the way over here to talk to a door.”

“What made you think you needed to come over?” Libby slammed her fist against her leg.

“I’m here because a man who couldn’t stand to be alone is sitting in my living room with my husband. He sought out Gideon rather than a bottle of whiskey.”

“Nothing happened.” Libby brought her knees up and lowered her forehead to them.

“He said you changed. You were as different as night and day. He can’t figure out how he hurt you. I had to convince him you’re not schizophrenic.”

“Ha-ha. Not funny, Charisse.” Libby banged her head against the door and placed her hand where it hurt.

“Libby, I gotta tell you something. You need to understand that Evan’s being cautious with you because he’s afraid of physically hurting you.”

“That’s ridiculous.” She wiped her hands over her face.

“I shouldn’t tell you this because Gideon shared it with me—”

“Don’t gossip, Charisse.”

“You need to know what you’ve done to the guy.”

Libby opened her mouth wide in surprise. “What I did to him?”

“Libby, Evan has some deep scars—physical ones. Gideon says he was horribly abused by his father.”

Evan had mentioned the abuse, but his main concern had been with the welfare of his brothers. She closed her eyes. If she was ever allowed to show him she loved him, she would show him how little the scars bothered her. She would caress them, and she’d love him so he could forget what Nate had done.

“In his mind, he’s inherited his father’s propensity toward aggression. He admits to being a violent drunk. So, when you became distant, and you didn’t tell him what he’d done—”

“He left me in the middle of the art show, and he went back to find Hope Astor.” In light of Charisse’s words, it all seemed so childish to her now.

“Oops,” Charisse said.

“Oops? Is that all you have to say?” Libby sat back. Her head thudded against the door again. She turned so she wouldn’t repeat that mistake and then cried out at the ache in her unhealed shoulder.

“If I told you his meeting with Hope Astor was something you shouldn’t have seen, what would you say?”

“What would I say?”

“Yeah, you weren’t supposed to see them together.”

“That’s obvious.” Libby agreed. “Are you telling me he told you he saw Hope? If so, why didn’t he tell me? He must have known I was upset.” She needed to let it go. Evan’s heart was burdened because of her actions.

“Do you trust me?”

Libby thought for a minute. How could she say yes? Gideon and Charisse had brought Evan and her to this. “Not anymore.”

“Yikes.”

“Do you think I don’t know you’re behind this, you and your husband? Look what you’ve done. Evan’s hurting because of your meddling.”

“Evan’s ready to take a drink because he left you when you were upset, and he thinks he’s the cause.”

“Please tell him it has nothing to do with him.” Really, it didn’t. Evan was a victim of her traitorous, romanticizing heart. “Since you’ve shared his past with me, tell him I’m not ready for a relationship. I’m realizing I haven’t gotten over the first rejection of my life.”

“Libby, he’s not rejecting you. Believe me. He had a very good reason for talking with Hope, and someday you’ll understand. I just can’t tell you right now.”

Libby stood. “I’m not good enough for him. Evan needs someone like Hope Astor. She’s sophisticated, beautiful, and not as childish as me.”

“I’m sorry, Libby, but you think that—that trollop—is sophisticated and beautiful? And mature? Hope Astor has a lot of growing up before she’ll ever have what you have. And while I’ll agree you’re being a little immature about this, I understand. Evan is your first real love. But, honey, you don’t know the hold you have over people who are lucky enough to get to know you.”

Libby opened the door. “Some hold I have over him, huh? He’s sitting at your house so he won’t drink. If you and Gideon had stayed out of this, Evan would never have met me. He’d be fine, and so would I.”

“And you’d both be miserable trying to figure out how to say hello to one another. You are so transparent. I watched you the first time you saw him. Libby, your eyes took on a twinkle I haven’t seen in forever—not since we were kids.”

Libby stared at Charisse. Was her friend a lunatic? “Do I look happy now?”

“You are. You’re living in incredible blissfulness. You just don’t know it yet.” Charisse turned on her heels.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going back home to tell Evan what’s got you so upset—let the air out of his balloon of despair.”

Libby started to speak, but Charisse sprang out her door. Libby sank to the floor in disbelief. If this was happiness, she’d rather return to the sad, lonely, pathetic life she had a year before. At least her mother never spoke in riddles.

Thanks for sharing, Fay. Did you do any special research for this book? With regard to the issues of self-esteem and discovering how God sees us versus the way we see ourselves, I only had to look on the inside and remember my own journey.

The research that I did need to do related to some of the locations in the book. This series is centered in Central Florida—actually Orlando and the Space Coast.

The Space Coast is very familiar to me as I’ve lived here my entire life. Orlando, though it is only about a forty minute drive (without traffic) is more of a mystery to me. I wanted to bring in areas other than the better known tourist traps…I mean destinations.

With the characters all living in Orlando, I had to discover some restaurants, a coffee shop, and even had to look into the Harry P. Leu Gardens.

My husband and I went to Orlando for the very first time last December, and I hope to go back someday. We stayed at a famous tourist trap/destinationJ and had the time of our lives.

Where do you write? I have an office on the opposite side of the house from my husband’s office. When I’m lucky enough to get to the mountains, I write in my room where my desk overlooks the edge of Lake Junaluska and the surrounding mountains.

Do any of your characters resemble you in any way? Funny you should ask that. Libby is the character who most resembles me. We both grew up in Titusville, had an absent father, an ill mother … and a true lack of self-esteem. Libby’s story and her issues are very much like mine.

Is this book a stand alone or part of a series? Libby is part of a series, but I always write my novels so that they can stand alone, yet it is my desire that as the reader meets and gets to know the characters, that they will want to read the rest of the series.

I enjoy books that are part of series, but stand-alone as well. Books that leave me hanging drive me out of my mind, and I usually won’t buy the next one because I’m so annoyed the story didn’t finish—it’s a huge pet peeve of mine.

Do you have a special holiday tradition? I have collected ornaments since my marriage. We head out during the weekend of Thanksgiving and get a real tree. I pull out the treasures I collected, all of them with special meaning, and I look back over the years as I place them on the tree.

I love that tradition. How do you celebrate Christmas? Unless Christmas falls on a Sunday, my church has its choir special and services prior to the day. Otherwise, each Christmas Day is always the same. My husband and I wake up and we travel to his mother’s house. This is where our kids and their families gather as well. We open our presents while dinner is cooking. Then we have a nice Christmas dinner.

What is next for you? My next release is scheduled for early 2015. Storms in Serenity is the first book in my contemporary fiction series, Serenity Key. It is a modern-day retelling of the aftermath of David’s sin with Bathsheba.

I’m also part of a multi-author collaboration, The Love Boat Bachelor, a sequel to last year’s Valentine’s Day hit, A Dozen Apologizes. This novella will be available for Valentine’s Day, and just as the readers did last year for Mara Adkins, the readers will get to vote on their favorite heroine and have a say in who gets the hero.

I heard about The Love Boat Bachelor from one of the authors that is part of it. It sounds like a fun project. J

Thanks for sharing with us, Fay!

Fay Lamb is an author, editor, and writing coach.

Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.

Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

Blurb for Libby

Libby Overstreet can’t see herself as anything but shy and socially awkward. She’s nearing thirty, and she’s never even been on a date. Then she meets the man of her dreams, but Libby knows he would never be interested in a wallflower like her. All she wants to do is to buy that garden nursery on the outskirts of town and settle down with the life she has always dreamed about.

Evan Carter has been watching the sweet woman in the coffee shop for weeks when his friend tells him that the object of his affection plans to buy a garden nursery and needs Evan’s expertise as an architect/contractor.

When they meet, Libby is more enamored of Evan and even more convinced that he would never look at her as anything but a friend.

However, that’s far from the truth. Evan would love to get to know the innocent beauty God has placed in this path. Trouble is, he fears that a lovely flower like Libby will wilt under the sins of his past, and he’ll do everything in his power to keep that from happening.

Is your Light Shining?

 

DSCF0480In my upcoming January release, A Match for Meghan, my hero, Ben, is in a tense situation. He flips on the light and says, “A little light makes all the difference.” Meghan was about ready to knock him silly with a fire extinguisher, until she saw who he was.

My mind works in weird ways and this one sentence “A Little light makes all the difference,” got me thinking about how we as Christians should be a light to those around us. Just as Jesus is the light of the world according to John 8:12, so are we to be a light to the world according to Matthew 5:14.

This world can be a dark place. We can be a beacon of light and share a hope for the future with others. We can do this in so many ways: a smile, a kind word, a word of encouragement, letting that car in front of you that needs over, taking a moment to calm down in a heated moment rather than lash out, or inviting someone to coffee.There are so many things we can do or say to be a light to others.

When I was a little girl we used to sing a song about letting our light shine. You may know the song This Little Light of Mine. I want to let my little light shine today. I hope you do too.

If someone has been a light in your life, please encourage the rest of us by sharing the highlights briefly in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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