Sunday, May 24, 2015

Love is in the Air: Author interview with Deborah M. Piccurelli

It's an honor to host Deborah M. Piccurelli, author of Love Comes Calling, on my blog today.

If you love stories about forgiveness, second chances and romance then you will truly enjoy this book by Deborah. Here's the best news--Deborah is giving away not one, not two but three copies of Love Comes Calling! So that means a total of three people can each win a book in this particular book giveaway contest! 

So read on, enjoy the author interview of Deborah and remember to follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget (found at the end of the interview) for your chance to WIN a book! :)

*Please note: Interview questions by Alexis are in bold, answers from Deborah are not in bold.

~*~
Alexis: I loved your book, Love Comes Calling! It’s such a delightful read. What can you tell my readers about your book? Speak to those who have not read it yet.

Deborah: Thank you for the compliment, Alexis! What I want to tell your readers about my novella is that they will enjoy the story if they are fans of tender, sweet love stories. They will also like it if they enjoy reading stories of forgiveness and redemption. Also, this book has what I hoped is a unique story line. How could a woman forgive a man who almost killed her two years before, let alone fall in love with him?

What did you love the most about writing Love Comes Calling?

It was just a fun book to write. The characters were fun and took over the story almost from the beginning.

Share your favorite memory from writing and publishing Love Comes Calling.

The publishing of this book was sort of a surprise. I heard that Prism Book Group was holding a contest. I didn’t have anything currently completed, but the first thing that came to my mind was this novella, Love Comes Calling I had written years before, so I checked it out to see if it was ready to submit the portion the publisher requested. I found that it needed a good bit of editing, so did a first edit myself. Then a friend, who is a professional editor, also critiqued it. I was one of three authors to win and get to send the complete manuscript in. After a few suggestions to revise, the editor then offered me a contract. I was so excited to see that a little novella I never thought would go anywhere would be published!

The first character we meet in Love Comes Calling is Derek Spencer. Tell my readers about Mr. Spencer. What do you hope readers will respect about him? Is there anything to not like about him? What is his purpose in your story?


I hope that readers will respect the fact that Derek is caring, kind and dashing. And that he wants to make things right, once he has become a Christian. I don’t know if there is really anything to not like about him. Maybe that he deceived Charlie from the beginning? Or that he almost caused her death two years before they met? But he was changed, so he sought forgiveness from the Lord and Charlie, too. But then he lies . . . Derek’s purpose is to be the love interest for Charlie, and an example of the redeemed.

Charlotte "Charlie" is your leading lady. She’s been through trauma but survived. What makes her so strong? What are her hopes, dreams and desires?

Charlie’s strength comes from the Lord, first and foremost. Then she has a strong and loving support system in her family. Her dream was to be a ballet dancer for most of her career life, but that dream has been crushed by Derek. Now, her hope is that, if she can’t dance herself, she’ll teach children to dance. 


Charlotte’s character in Love Comes Calling addresses an issue many women deal with—acceptance. Charlotte does not believe a man will love her just the way she is—scars, flaws and all. Why did you choose to allow this to be Charlotte’s journey? What are you hoping female readers will learn as they read Charlotte’s story?

For people who feel inferior because of looks, lack of talent or social skills can learn that, first, God loves them. They are his workmanship. Next, I would hope the story will encourage them and show that there are people in the world who don’t care what the outside looks like, but will look inside a person to find the beauty there. Lastly, I would hope this story will give them confidence in themselves, and help them to be exactly who God created them to be.

What would you say is the main theme of your novel, Love Comes Calling?

Forgiveness. Forgiveness of self, and forgiveness of one who has offended.

Let’s pretend your book is being made into a movie. What would be a few songs on the soundtrack to Love Comes Calling?


Ah, the first song that comes to mind is from the 70's, I think, and I don’t remember who performed it, but it’s "I Love You Just the Way You Are."

If you book really were made into a movie, who would you want to play Charlotte and Derek? Explain why.


Goodness, I’m not up on the young stars, since I don’t watch a lot of current TV shows and movies. The best I can do is Channing Tatum for Derek, even though Derek has blonde hair and Channing doesn’t. Maybe Rachel McAdams for Charlotte. These two have worked together before, so I know there’s an on-screen chemistry there.

Complete this sentence: As a writer, I love to _______________because
_________________.

As a writer, I love to read because it’s like my own personal, little vacation, and helps me to keep my skills up to par.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Deborah! If you’d like to give away a copy of Love Comes Calling, please leave a question for my readers.

Deborah: Thank you so much for hosting me, Alexis! Great questions. 

Deborah's question for the book giveaway contest is: What would you do if the man who almost killed you and ruined your life showed up on your doorstep two years later?
a Rafflecopter giveaway
~*~
Author bio: 
After years of reading books and watching movies with an element of romance, Deborah M. Piccurelli’s desire to write romance novels came naturally. She is active in her church and is an advocate for sanctity of life. 

Deborah is the author of two novels, a novella and several cause-related newspaper articles. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the New Jersey Society of Christian Writers. 

As one of the winners in a contest by The Christian Authors Show, details of Deborah’s writing journey can be found in the 2013-2014 edition of the book, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. Deborah lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two sons. 

~*~
Blurb for Love Comes Calling:

The day new Christian, Derek Spencer, shows up on Charlie Parkes’s doorstep to make up for what he’d done, is the very day he falls in love with her. But Charlie’s sister mistakes him for a home improvement contractor, and he decides to play along until he finds a way to tell her who he really is.

Charlie is attracted to Derek, but knows the attention he pays her is only flattery. How could such a great-looking guy fall for someone with a face like hers? Nevertheless, the two form a relationship that brings a joy to Charlie that’s way beyond her wildest dreams.

But what will happen when Derek’s true identity is revealed?

~*~
Buy Deborah’s book:
Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/1FIENAj
Barnes & Noble - http://bit.ly/1ErjNsC

~*~
Connect with Deborah:
Facebook - www.facebook.com/deborah.piccurelli
Pinterest - Pinterest.com/DebPiccurelli
Twitter -@DebPiccurelli

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Love is in the Air: Sally Bradley, indie author of the award-winning Contemporary Christian novel, "Kept"

Meet Sally Bradley:

She's the author of this book:

It's received 197 reviews on Amazon.com as of today and most are five-star! Here's a classic example of reader reviews for Sally's novel

“Vibrant characters, compelling questions, modern-day issues... Kept is a contemporary Christian classic along the lines of Redeeming Love. Impossible to put down, this story pulls us into the heart of Chicago and shows us how God’s hand can work, even when we repeatedly make the wrong choices. Sally Bradley’s voice is gripping and clear, and her debut is a shining beacon of how very relevant Christian fiction can be.” ~Heather Day Gilbert, author of God’s Daughter, Miranda Warning, and Trial by Twelve

~*~
Blurb for Kept:

"Gutsy and fast-paced."—Laura Frantz, author of Love's Reckoning 

"One of the most surprising and best books I’ve read this year."—MaryLu Tyndall, best-selling author of Legacy of the King's Pirates series

Life has taught Miska Tomlinson that there are no honorable men. Her womanizing brothers, her absentee father, and Mark, the married baseball player who claims to love her—all have proven undependable. But Miska has life under control. She runs her editing business from her luxury condo, stays fit with daily jogs along Chicago's lakefront, and in her free time blogs anonymously about life as a kept woman.

Enter new neighbor Dillan Foster. Between his unexpected friendship and her father's sudden reappearance, Miska loses control of her orderly life. Her relationship with Mark deteriorates, and Miska can't help comparing him to Dillan. His religious views are so foreign, yet the way he treats her is something she's longed for. But Dillan discovers exactly who she is and what she has done. Too late she finds herself longing for a man who is determined to never look her way again.

When her blog receives unexpected national press, Miska realizes that her anonymity was an illusion. Caught in a scandal about to break across the nation, Miska wonders if the God Dillan talks about would bother with a woman like her—a woman who's gone too far and done too much. 

~*~
Sally is so nice, she provided an excerpt from Kept:

Sally says: This scene comes very close to the middle of Kept. Miska, our heroine, has just come off a really bad, no-good, awful, horrible week. She’s really close to hitting bottom—and is beginning to realize it. For the first time she’s admitting that life the way she’s doing it just isn’t working, and while this is a dramatic, somewhat painful moment for her, it’s necessary for her to face in order to change. Now she’s home after a not-so-wonderful lunch with her dad. She’s upset about something he did and has called him to let him know how she feels.

Excerpt: 

Dad sighed on his end of the phone. “You know it’s awfully hard to be a good dad when you didn’t have one yourself.”

So there it was. It wasn’t his fault, just like it wasn’t Wade’s fault or Zane’s fault that they couldn’t make a marriage last. “You know, Dad, I’m sorry you had a rotten family life. I am, because I know what that’s like.”

“Don’t throw that back at me.”

“I’m not. Honestly. But don’t you think someone needs to stand up and say enough? That it’s time to quit passing on the mistakes of our parents? Don’t you get tired of that?”

He didn’t say anything.

“I have a nephew I never see because he lives with his mom who hates Zane’s guts. And Zane thinks his son will be fine without him because he was fine without his dad. And I wonder what that little boy will grow up to be, what he’ll do to a woman twenty years from now. And all I wish is that some man out there would step in and be his dad and show him how to be the right kind of man.”

“Like I wasn’t, you mean.”

“It’s the truth, isn’t it?” She groaned. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to rub your past in your face. I’m just thinking out loud. Wishing I could make things better.”

“Some things can’t be fixed.”

“But we can’t give up on the future either.” What did her future hold? True love? A hot, faithful man who’d love her no matter what? Could Mark be that for her?

What about Dillan?

She pushed that idea away. Dillan would be faithful to his wife, just like he’d said. She tightened her grip on the phone. “I really have to go.”

“Miska—”

“No, Dad. I’ll talk to you later.” She hung up. Already she hated some woman she didn’t know, some woman who’d end up with a crazy-tall, decent-looking guy who’d love her in ways Miska couldn’t imagine.

She set the phone aside. “Enough,” she whispered.

Nothing changed. Mark was still coming back. And Dillan—

Dillan would never look at her again.

~*~
Author bio: Sally Bradley writes big-city fiction with real issues and real hope. A Chicagoan since age five, she now lives in the Kansas City area with her family, but they still get back to Chicago once in a while for important things—like good pizza and a White Sox game. Fiction has been her passion since childhood, and she’s thrilled now to be writing books that not only entertain, but point back to Christ. 

~*~
Buy Sally's book:
Kept is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

~*~
Connect with Sally: 
Website - sallybradley.com 
Twitter - @SallyBWrites

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Love is in the Air: Is Falling in Love An Unavoidable Dive?

Today's special guest married the man of her dreams when she turned Sweet 16. True story, Ada became Mrs. Brownell on her 16th birthday! 

The married couple are celebrating 62 years of wedded bliss that produced five children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

You'd think a couple who share such a remarkable life story would have good advice to share about matters of the heart. So today, I invited Ada to share her story and invite your mind to ponder the whether or not falling in love is unavoidable.

Enjoy! :)

~*~
Is Falling in Love An Unavoidable Dive?
Written by Ada Brownell

I’ve studied and written about love many times, but writing my historical romance, The Lady Fugitive, was an exceptional experience. As with my own, that love takes a while to burst into full bloom.

Truth is, I wasn’t looking for romance when for some reason I caught the eye of my future husband. He’s my brother-in-law’s brother and I at almost 15 barely noticed him, except I knew several girls in our church were crazy about him. He was handsome, but nearly five years older and working for the railroad.

I was president of the youth group and busy with a job, school, and ministry. I’d had a couple of dates but I didn’t like either of the guys much. I didn’t expect romance until later. After all, a freckled redhead would never have a bunch of handsome suitors.

I’d noticed L.C. watching me before, but it was at a Sunday school ice skating party that I knew something was going on. He had taken skating lessons while in telegraph school in Minneapolis. My dad found skates at an auction for me and my brother and I spent part of every winter on frozen ponds and canals.

L.C. and I were about the only ones at the party who knew how to skate. Others spent their time wobbling on their blades and drinking hot chocolate around the fire.

This young man began talking to me as we went around the moon-lit curves in the canal. I wondered why he was talking to me. Then he asked if he could take me home. Afterward, he asked me for a date. Flattered, I accepted, but I didn’t expect love. After all, my sister was engaged five times before she married.

I didn’t know he was smitten and hunting for a wife.

That led to a year of dating, breaking up, making up, and then a proposal and engagement. But even then I broke up with him and almost refused to have anything to do with him. He wanted to tell me what to do. I wanted no part of that. Yet, he persisted and finally we married on my 16th birthday.

We’ve had a wonderful life together, have five children and have been married 62 years.

I finished high school, later earned my college degree, and I’ve studied love a long time.

Falling in love is an act of the will. Cupid doesn’t shoot you with a poison love arrow and “twang!” you’re a goner. Love happens because of several circumstances.

1. You are around the person of the opposite sex frequently (that’s called propinquity—what happens when you are near in time and space).

2. You desire someone in your life.

3. Your God-given instincts are telling you to create a family.

4. The person will build your ego.

5. Because you decide to fall in love to create excitement in your life.

6. Because no one better is available.

7. Because you have similar interests.

8. Because you are lonely.

9. Because someone else thinks it’s a good idea.

10. Most important: Because while you were in the womb God had a plan for your lives, and your love is so strong you feel you can’t live without one another (Psalm 37:23).

Finally, long marriages happen because you decide to continue to love one another, obey God’s Word, and honor the vows made before God to cherish only each other until death—the most romantic words ever spoken.

~*~
Author bio:

Ada Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado. She also is a veteran youth Christian education teacher. 

After moving to Missouri in her retirement, she continues to write books, free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and blogs with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. 

She is the author of six books. She is a member of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have five children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

~*~
Blurb for Ada's book, The Lady Fugitive: 


How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?

Jenny Louise Parks escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch. 

Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder. 

Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in?

~*~
Buy Ada's book, The Lady Fugitive, on Ada's Amazon Author page:

~*~
Connect with Ada:
Blog - http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement


Twitter - @AdaBrownell

Monday, May 18, 2015

Love is in the Air: The Appeal of Happily-Ever-After

Women who love reading books about love, believe in the beautiful fairy tale of boy-meets-girl stories that end with "and they lived happily ever after." But how attainable is such a happy ending in real-life?

Today, I invited inspirational romance author Amanda Cabot to my blog in order to talk about happy endings in real-life and on the page. 

Enjoy! :)

~*~
The Appeal of Happily-Ever-After
A guest post written by Amanda Cabot

“And they all lived happily ever after.” For as long as I can remember, the stories that caught my fancy were the ones that ended with those words. They didn’t have to begin with those other famous words, “Once upon a time, many long years ago,” because I was just as happy reading books about happily-ever-after in modern times, but one thing was definite: I wanted a happy ending. I loved the books and the movies where the hero and heroine walked off into the sunset, hand in hand, leaving no doubt they would have their happily-ever-after. Why? Maybe it’s because I’m a hopeless romantic. But then so are many others. That’s why romance is the best selling form of genre fiction.

Love is definitely in the air … and on the page. Though romance novels are often considered the Rodney Dangerfields of the literary world, not getting much respect and being dismissed as little more than cotton candy, they have literally millions of loyal readers and represent sales of more than a billion – yes, that’s a “b” – dollars each year.

Were you surprised by that? That would be a lot of cotton candy, wouldn’t it? But romance novels aren’t cotton candy. They’re books that celebrate a fundamental aspect of human life: the need to be loved. Embedded inside each person is the desire to find that one special person who knows us better than anyone else, who puts stars in our eyes, who makes us feel complete. And when we do find that person, the world seems a better place.

My friend and fellow romance author, April Kihlstrom, says, “The message of romance novels is that one can be true to oneself, really true to oneself, and find love and acceptance. It’s about men and women coming together in ways that empower both and diminish neither. It’s about love and fidelity and commitment – too rare in our society these days – and it’s about empowering women to imagine all the possibilities open to them to live fulfilling lives.” Wow! That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? And it’s true.

There are other reasons why romance novels are so popular and why they outsell other forms of genre fiction. The first is that readers know what to expect when they pick up a romance. The contract we authors make with our readers is twofold: first, we promise that our protagonists are admirable characters. They may be flawed, but they’re intrinsically good people. You won’t find a serial killer or a psychopath as the hero of a romance novel. The second promise we make is that there will be a happy or at least a satisfying ending. In a world of ambiguities, we provide certainties, and that’s satisfying to readers.

But just because we have basically honorable people who will eventually find their happy ending doesn’t mean that the books are fluff. No, indeed. Some romance novels deal with heavy subjects, everything from domestic violence, death and serious illness to PTSD and drug abuse. That doesn’t sound like cotton candy, does it? It sounds like real life. But it’s real life within what some refer to as a “safe” framework.

What do I mean by safe? It’s that contract we authors make with readers, that there will be a happy ending. Including serious and sometimes heart-breaking subjects in a romance novel gives readers the opportunity to confront their fears and to overcome them by indentifying with fictional characters who face the same problems but manage to surmount them. Knowing there will be a happy ending allows readers to experience the pain and sorrow that the fictional characters endure, because no matter how dire the circumstances, readers know that at the end they will find healing along with the characters. For some readers, this is therapy without the high price tag. For others, it’s an affirmation that while their lives may not be perfect, they’re better than the fictional heroine’s. In either case, these serious romances deliver the message that love heals, and oh, what a powerful message that is.

Whether they celebrate the sometimes humorous bumps on the road to true love or the way love can heal even the deepest hurts, romance novels share several characteristics. They are powerful; they are empowering; they celebrate a fundamental human need. That’s why I love reading and writing them. So, let’s celebrate, because love is in the air.

~*~
Author bio:
 
Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. 

A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. 

Amanda is delighted to now be a full-time writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

~*~
Blurb for Amanda's book, In Firefly Valley:


She’s lost her dream job—but has she found the man of her dreams?

Devastated by a downsizing, Marisa St. George has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it means a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow’s End resort. The only silver lining: Blake Kendall, a new guest who might make her believe in love at first sight. But will Marisa’s dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers Blake’s real identity?

This warm and witty story of dreams deferred and mistaken identity will have you believing in second chances.

~*~
Buy Amanda's book, In Firefly Valley:
Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/1Fi3AtM
Barnes & Noble - http://bit.ly/1IK0mBu
Christianbook.com - http://bit.ly/1JRlCUs

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Love is in the Air: Author interview with Caryl McAdoo

Let's welcome traditionally published author Caryl McAdoo who is here today to visit with us again, this time to talk about two of her latest books! :)

Caryl's new novel, One and Done, releases this July. However, her current novel Sins of the Mothers released earlier this month of May. The exciting news is, Caryl is giving away one copy of her novel Sins of the Mothers! You can enter the book giveaway contest by answering Caryl's question in the comment section and filling out the option on the Rafflecopter widget which you will find below after Caryl's author interview.

Enjoy your time with Caryl as you discover more about her love for writing, insight into how she creates the characters of her books, tips she shares for aspiring authors, and reasons why she loves her family.

*Please note my questions are in bold and Caryl's answers are not in bold. 

~*~
Alexis: Tell me about your next book. What is it called? When does it release?

Caryl: My next novel, One and Done, debuts in July just in time for baseball’s All-Star Break. It’s book three of the Red River Romance contemporary series and its hero George Herman Walter Johnson is phenom on the pitcher’s mound, playing for a Mexican team, but the Rangers have scouted him and the rumors are…His heroine is Samantha Danielle, the cutest weather girl on Dallas TV, is sent south of the border to get ahead of the story…if there is one. His charm and debonair bowls her over, but turns out, he’s such a goody two-shoes, she can’t even get him to first base.

Why did you write it?

My husband is a huge baseball fan—and a writer, too, so we thought it would be fun. He kept me straight on all the baseball lingo. I love doing projects with him, whether shopping for groceries, building a new room onto the house, or writing a book. He never liked romance because everyone knows who’s going to get with who, so I figured with a baseball backdrop…um hum.

What is the inspiration behind the title?


I birthed three boys and a girl, then almost as soon as those were reared and I had me an empty nest, God filled it right back up with four more boys. All of them played baseball as did all my other grandsons, and O’Pa coached them and Grami was usually team mom. I thought if I told them I wrote a baseball book, they might read it.

Who are your main characters? What are their names? What do they like and dislikes? What are their flaws, strengths and motivation?


Sammi Dan is a young woman who grew up in Dimples, Texas, a little community in Red River County. Her mama divorced her daddy and married her old high school sweetheart when Samantha was only eight, and she stayed with her daddy. So she’s not so sure about committing, and is caught up in her career and partying. She’s an avid reader, too. Her hero in One and Done was reared by his grandfather, so they have something in common, except that Gij (his nickname from George after Babe Ruth) had a father figure whose first love was God, and he’d trained his boy up in the way he should go. This becomes a huge source of conflict for the unlikely couple.

If you could spend a weekend with one of your characters in your latest book, how would you spend it? Why?

Oh, yes, my latest book is Sins of The Mothers. It debuted May 3 and I’d love to spend a weekend with Henry Buckmeyer visiting Jethro Risen’s orphanage outside San Francisco. I love children and would enjoy hugging and telling stories and singing songs with all the little ones growing up there. Be an honorary Grami to them.

Share insight into your creative process. When do you write? How much time per day do you spend writing? How do you write, what inspires you?

The real writing goes on in the mind, working out the story and back story, thinking about the characters and their motivations. It has to be believable. So by the time I sit down to go to work, it’s already written and that’s when I fix sentence structures and add the sensory detail and bring my friends to life on the page. I write all times of the day, depending on the set plans, like writers workshop at noon on odd Wednesdays, the Brown Bag Book Club on the second Tuesdays, and gathering with my Luncheon Ladies once a month. I write to give God glory and advance His Kingdom, sharing the Truths He’s shared with me. My stories come from Him, and so He is my inspiration.

What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors on character creation?


Base them on people you know, putting a lot of yourself in them – at least I do in my heroines. My heroes are a lot like my husband of forty-seven years. Give them flaws, no one is perfect. Do not make them all sound like you. Everyone doesn’t talk like you do, we all have nuances to our ‘voice’ and sound different. You need to know their back story, so work all that out, but do not dump it on your readers. Use it like salt – sprinkled through your story. Too much in one place spoils it. Write villains you love to hate, but they can’t be all bad either. Give your hero a sidekick and a mentor. Make them your friends, fall in love yourself, and your readers will, too.

As an author, what’s your specialty? Do you only write one genre like historical or contemporary romance? Explain.

One of my favorite mentors—Berkley’s bestselling western author—told me one time, “Caryl, pick a genre.” But I never could until I found Christian fiction. Within that wide covering, I write historical and contemporary romance and Biblical fiction. I also love writing Christian fiction for Mid-Grade readers. Why do I write what I write? To bring God glory and advance His Kingdom on earth!

Describe your writing space. What makes it special to you?

I have a large armoire in my master bedroom, a window that looks over the front of the house on my right and a fireplace on my left. We live in the woods, so I see lots of green shades in the trees and birdies and some of the flowers I’ve planted, and my dogs and cats walk by some, too.

What makes you strong as a writer?

My faith in God. I have studied to shew myself approved and learned my craft well—because God led me (that’s most important) to an awesome writers’ workshop where I attended once a week for fifteen years barely missing a handful of meetings (commitment) and gave me a brain able to soak up the knowledge shared there. I understand point of view, the difference between passive and active, characterization and the necessary growth of my characters. I continue to study and learn, always seeking to improve. It is the best compliment when one of my regular readers says, “This one is even better than the last.” That’s music to my ears!

How did you start working with Simon & Schuster?

My agent Mary Sue Seymour told me to write her a historical Christian romance set in the 1800s and she’d sell it. I wrote the novel in nine weeks and sent it to her, and two months after she signed me, she sold my Vow Unbroken (manuscript) to Simon and Schuster’s Howard Books division. My editor there was awesome and I enjoyed working with her and all the other editors they ran the manuscript through. In many ways, they did improve it, but they also made it fit into their ‘formula’ for success. My proofreader, when after much prayer I decided to go Indie (publish my own stories), told me, “Caryl, I truly loved Vow Unbroken. It was a wonderful book, but book two, Hearts Stolen…it’s the cat’s meow.” Book three Hope Reborn, debuted this past January, and book four, Sins of The Mothers, launched May 3. So many are saying book four is the best of the series.

What advice do you have to aspiring authors who want to be traditionally published?

Pray. Study your craft. Be faithful to a GOOD writers’ group – not one where the members always tell you how great your writing is, find one where they almost make you cry tearing your work apart. Then when…if…you finally hear a “Good Read” you’ll know you earned it. Attend conferences to learn more about the craft and get comfortable speaking with agents and editors. Keep writing and if you know God brought you to it, never give up.

What is your go-to food or drink when you’re on deadline?


Don’t have a go-to food. I’m fine just not eating until I’m done, and will stay in my seat. Now if anyone brings me something, I’ll set my keyboard up top and eat a bite while I work. But that’s come-here food, so I’m never picky. Whatever anyone brings, I’ll eat and be thankful!

How do you get over writer’s block? Or do you never have that problem?

Not really what I’d call writers’ block. I would never say I get that. I believe that God creates the fruit of my lips so I try my best not to ever speak negatively over myself. BUT, I’ve discovered if my characters stop moving the story along and nothing is working, if I go back to where they were happy and the words flowed onto the monitor, and let them take me in the direction that’s right, I’m able to go right on ahead. It’s fun to say my characters, but I know it’s Holy Spirit.

Why do you love writing about love?

God IS love, and He is my everything. Romances have blessed, happy endings. I love instilling through my stories that only with God as a third party in the love between a man and woman can true joy be found.

How does your faith in God play into your storytelling?

I pray my story gives God glory. Every word, paragraph, page, scene, and chapter from beginning to end, plays into my storytelling by my faith which in itself is a gift from my Beloved.

What do you hope your readers remember most about your latest book?


How it drew them into a closer love-walk with Him, encouraged them to be bolder in their faith, taught them a Biblical principal they hadn’t thought of or had never seen before. How much they can’t wait to read every book I write! And what they can do to be sure this novel is made into a movie to bless even more people!

Complete this sentence: As a writer, I _____________ because __________________________.


As a writer, I always pray because without Him I am nothing.

Thank you for the interview, Caryl! Would you like to give away a copy of your latest book? If yes, please leave a question for my readers to answer.

I’d be happy to give away a copy of Sins of the Mothers.

Caryl's question: As a reader of Christian fiction, what do you enjoy most in a story?


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Author bio:
Simon & Schuster published Christian hybrid author, Caryl McAdoo is currently writing three series: her historical Christian ‘Texas Romance’; the contemporary ‘Red River Romance’; and ‘The Generations’, her Biblical fiction.

The novelist loves singing new songs the Lord gives her, and she paints. In 2008, she and her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-five years—to the woods of Red River County.

Caryl counts four children and fourteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Praying her story gives God glory, she hopes each one will also minister His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. Caryl and Ron live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State.

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Book blurb for Sins of the Mothers


Blind love propels Mary Rachel to defy her father and elope to California with Caleb Wheeler where betrayal and murder drive her to despair. Who will ever love her enough to cover her sins and deliver her from the pit she’s dug for herself?




Excerpt from Sins of the Mothers:

With everyone on the porch for the clan’s sendoff, Mary Rachel decided for sure and for certain and could wait no longer. She took a deep breath and hugged his neck. “Daddy, I’m sorry. I really am, but I can’t go. No, I mean I’m not going. I can’t leave. I won’t.”

He leaned back and stared at her for too long a minute, his face suddenly stone cold. “What did you just say?”

She grimaced; steam rose to her cheeks. He softened just like he always had when her mother turned on him. Saying it aloud made it all the more real, strengthened her resolve. “I cannot be gone for seven months. I thought for a while maybe I could, but I can’t, Daddy.”

Her new mother stepped close. “But Mary Rachel, why? It’s the trip of a lifetime. I promise you’ll adore Europe.”

“It’s just Mary now, please. No Rachel. That’s what Caleb calls me.”

His voice lowered to almost a whisper, he slipped some of the steel back on. “So. This is about that boy.”

“He’s a man, Daddy, and you know it. We love each other.”

“If he loves you, baby, then he’ll wait. It’s only seven months. He should be thrilled you have this opportunity to travel Europe.”

“Well, I’ve made my decision, and I’m not going.”

“We’ve booked your passage.”

“I know, and I’m sorry. I should have told you sooner, but I knew you wouldn’t be happy about my decision.” She looked off at the tree line, hating the disappointment in his eyes. But that was a coward’s way, so she faced him again. “Like I said, I thought I could. Anyway, let Bonnie take my place.”

From somewhere, her youngest sister burst into the middle. “Can I, Daddy? Please take me! I’ll be good. Mama, tell him how good I’ll be.” She turned those doe eyes on him. “Pleeeease.”

* * * * *
Six miles, north by northwest as the turkey vultures soar from Clarksville, Texas, the very reason Mary stayed home, rode his best mule as he skidded the black walnut saw log back to his cabin. Caleb looked behind. “Slow, girl, almost there.”

He nudged the animal a bit further, the timber only feet from his makeshift hoist. Two more steps, then he eased Harley Sue to a stop. He hopped down then rubbed the old girl’s near ear. “You sure are a good mule.”

The distant rattle of trace chains turned him east, for a minute he stared, then she waved. “Well, look here what the cat drug in.”

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Book reviews for Sins of the Mothers:

"I've often wondered if the past can repeat itself in a person's life and Mary Rachel Buckmeyer gave me my answer. Love, betrayal, despair, the sweet faith of little children, and the perseverance of a miner. These all made for a wonderful story of what life was like in San Francisco during the gold rush of the 1850's. When I finished the last page of Mary's story, I smiled and thought... I loved this story! But... There had better be another book coming because I want more of these Buckmeyer's! I'd recommend this story to anyone who enjoys reading a good Christian, historical fiction of the 1800's."- Deanna Stevens, Nebraska reader

"Sins of the Mother. Caryl McAdoo does it again with what I think is the best book yet in this series. The characters are so real and have a heap of real issues on their plates from page one. Pick it up and you won't be able to put it down." - Holly Michael

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Buy Caryl's books:

Connect with Caryl:

Website - http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com  (All First Chapters are offered here)

Newsletter - http://carylmcadoo.com/sign-up-to-the-caryler/ 
(Get FREE books for subscribing!)

Reviewer? - http://carylmcadoo.com/christian-evaluaters/
(Join Caryl’s Street Team!)


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Love is in the Air: Once-in-A-Lifetime Kind of Love, a book review


I love, Love, LOVED this book by Inspirational Contemporary Romance Author Becky Wade!

A Love Like Ours--the story of Lyndie and Jake--is one of those books that takes you by the hand and leads you through a whirlwind tale of innocence, heartbreak, trauma, drama, restoration then lets you down gently with a very happy ending! 

So it is with great honor that I feature Becky Wade's latest novel, which Bethany House Publishers sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

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Once-in-A-Lifetime Kind of Love
Review written by Alexis A. Goring for Becky Wade’s book , A Love Like Ours

A Love Like Ours is one of Becky Wade’s finest, most intense, well-written books!

She explores the layers of her characters, perfectly painting a clear and correct picture of their hearts on paper.

The author takes Lyndie James—a beautiful free-spirit with an optimistic personality and a heart of compassion—and matches her with Jake Porter, perhaps the most handsome of all the three Porter brothers but also the most troubled.

Described as “Tall, dark and brooding,” Jake is wrestling with his PTSD caused by a traumatic accident during his days as a Marine. Despite not being able to control the circumstances that led to the accident and the death of his comrades, Jake who was in charge of his crew, blames himself and relives the trauma of that explosive moment very often to the point where he cannot sleep.

Deep within his heart is a safe place. It’s the place where he remembers his childhood friend, Lyndie. But since Lyndie left when her family moved away from Texas to California, that safe place is also a broken place and he blames Lyndie for breaking his heart.

So when Lyndie and her family return to Holley (Texas), Jake is more angry than happy to see her. But he’s not exactly angry out of well, anger; he’s angry out of fear because he realizes the place in his heart for Lyndie after all these years is still soft and he feels the need to protect her at all costs.

Jake’s innate need to protect Lyndie is challenged from the start of this story when Lyndie tells him she wants to exercise his horses and be a jockey for one of his struggling stallions named Silver Leaf. While Lyndie and her family lived in California, she received the experience and expertise that prepared her to be a great jockey and her compassionate heart that has a way with horses makes her the perfect person to help Silver Leaf reach his full potential as a race horse.

As the story progresses, the reader learns that Lyndie wants to help Jake too. The hurt in his eyes and his dark brooding nature does not deter Lyndie from her goal. A woman of faith, Lyndie believes all things are possible with God who is in the miracle-making business. But will Jake’s stubbornness and years of suffering from PTSD keep a permanent wall of steel surrounding his heart? Or will Lyndie’s love for horses and Jake break through?

You’ll have to read to find out the answers to those questions but I can tell you that you may fall in love with this story! It made me laugh, cry and smile.

The author is a pro at developing deep characterization, describing the settings and mastering the art of “showing” the story not “telling” the readers the action.

The reader will grow endeared to the childhood version of the characters as told in the Prologue and the reader will be captivated by the grown up version, dialogue and scenarios from Jake and Lyndie’s adult lives starting at the moment they are reunited in Chapter 1.

It’s such a beautiful story! The author takes you by then hand from page one and leads you through Jake and Lyndie’s journey from the beautiful beginning, through the challenging times and moments of despair, to the very sweet end.

What makes this book extra special to me is the Bible verse the author leaves on the last page of the book contains a beautiful promise from God in real life—Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version) which reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Another reason why I love this story—that’s my “life verse” and the reason why is a whole other story which I will not go into for the sake of closing this book review.

If you’re not convinced to buy Becky’s book yet, you may when you see the lovely book cover which in itself is endearing. The book summary also speaks volumes.

A Love Like Ours is worth every bit of a five-star rating. I can see this book being of one of my favorite stories forever.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Love is in the Air: Be God's

"Be Mine" and "You Belong to Me" are popular phrases spoken by people we know and sung by famous musicians in every language around the world. These words and song lyrics convey a universal message known to humankind: We all want to be loved. Such sentiments fill our minds with romantic notions. Such words sweetly spoken (or sung) to us capture our hearts and inspire our minds with the idea of falling in love with a special someone and spending forever together.

Did you know that you as a human are already loved? You're not just loved by people you know and can see, you are loved and deeply known by the invisible, Almighty God who wants you to know and love Him too. Yes, you heard me right. The Creator of the Universe (God) wants to be yours! It's true. Read Ephesians 1:4 for proof. God loves you with all of His divine heart and He asks you to be His not just on Valentine's Day but every single day of your life. Best of all, a relationship with God lasts forever as in eternity!

Today, my dear writer friend Brandy Bruce is here to encourage you to "Be God's". 

I hope you are encouraged and inspired by her devotional. 

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Be God’s
A devotional written by Brandy Bruce

When I was in high school, I was a huge Rich Mullins fan. Songs like "Awesome God", "Sometimes by Step" and "Hold Me, Jesus" inspired me and strengthened my faith. I still remember how utterly sad I was to hear of his tragic death. Just a college student at the time myself, I knew the world had lost something special when Rich Mullins past away. A couple of years later I went to a concert by his band, the Ragamuffins. They were selling T-shirts with a phrase on them that Rich loved: Be God’s.

The phrase has stuck with me ever since. Be God’s.

What does it mean? To be honest, I’m still learning that. But along my winding faith journey, I think I’ve learned what it doesn’t mean.

Let me back up a bit. The truth is that my faith journey has had its ups and downs. Periods of intense doubt. Mountain top highs. Deep valley lows. Moments where I’ve felt close to God. Moments where I’ve been unsure. Not everyone can relate, I know.

Some can.

I’ve struggled with faith. I still do sometimes, but I’ve reached a point where I cling to faith even when I’m not sure. I choose faith even when riddled with unbelief. I choose Jesus, over and over again. I’m not saying it always comes easy. It’s a choice made with my heart and my mind and my soul.

During one specific season of my life, I found myself feeling hopeless, feeling broken. Maybe you’ve been there.

In the midst of doubt and brokenness, I only had the spiritual strength to whisper, “I still believe.”

And it was enough.

That’s when I learned what it means to be God’s . . . and what it doesn’t. My faith doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Yours doesn’t have to resemble mine—your faith journey is your own. Like mine is my own. I’ve looked at other women in my life and beyond, and thought to myself: I can’t be like her. My faith is so wobbly, God could never use me like he uses her. She probably never goes through periods of doubt. She probably reads her Bible every single morning. She probably never skips church. She would never read that book or watch that movie. She’s probably an amazing wife and mother, and her husband adores her. She probably walks and talks and breathes spirituality. I’m nothing like her. The terrible part is that I don’t even want to be! It looks exhausting.

Have you had thoughts like that?

In the middle of that season of doubt, I found Jesus still there. It occurred to me that because He’s enough, I don’t have to worry about whether I am. When thoughts like the ones above swirl through my mind, He’s that voice telling me that I don’t have to be like anyone else. He loves me just as I am. My relationship with Him is unique, like any real relationship. It’s our own love story, you know. I’m just me. I’m a work in progress, and I’m loved by God through every step of the refining process. I was loved before I chose to be God’s. He loved me then. He loves me now.

He loves you too.

I have no idea what happened to that T-shirt I bought that day. It was white, with black letters scrawled across in Rich’s handwriting. I wore it until the edges frayed and the white wasn’t quite so bright. Be God’s.

Not “be perfect” or “be like her” or “be better” or even “be strong.” Just be God’s. It’s enough.

When I first started to write Second Chance Café, I didn’t know that Isabella’s faith journey would start to look like mine. As her character began to take shape, I recognized her questions, those doubts and fears, as my own. Her story is close to my heart. It’s a picture of a woman struggling to hold on to a faith that feels cold. She’s frustrated by life’s disappointments. She’s wondering who she is. She needs God to show up in a real way.

She has to learn, as I did, that it’s enough just to be His. He’ll hold on tight enough for the both of them. It’s true for all of us. Our faith journeys are our own. They’re going to look different and that’s okay. Different is beautiful. Just be God’s. It’s the best place to start.

I hope you’ll check out Isabella’s story in Second Chance Café and let me know what you think!

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Author bio: 

Brandy Bruce has worked in book publishing for more than ten years. 

She's an editor and an author and a woman who really loves dessert. 

Brandy lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. 

You can find her online at brandybruce.blogspot.com.

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Blurb for Brandy's book, Second Chance Café:

Isabella Romano has given up on love. Between her demanding work as a nurse and her father's poor health, Isabella has no time for distractions. So when a handsome firefighter practically falls at her feet, she keeps him at arm's length. But Ethan Carter is determined to win her over.

Orphaned at a young age, Ethan longs for a family of his own--and he's sure Isabella is his match. But when he opens a cafe near his firehouse, Isabella is less than thrilled. She knows firsthand the strain of being a restaurant owner, and wants no part of that life. Can Ethan convince the busy nurse they can overcome any obstacle and have their happily ever after together?

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Buy Brandy’s book:
Amazon.com - http://amzn.to/1R3D2Cx
Barnes& Noble - http://bit.ly/1GT3YPO
Christianbook.com - http://bit.ly/1cbfkEG
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Connect with Brandy:
Blog - http://brandybruce.blogspot.com/