Monday, August 27, 2012

Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan by Melanie Dobson


 
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of ten contemporary and historical novels including her most recent release, Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan. She is the former corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and worked in public relations for fifteen years before she began writing fiction fulltime. When she’s not writing, Melanie loves exploring the mountains in her home state of Oregon with her husband and two daughters.

Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
I’m afraid it’s not very exciting. I’m wearing a summer dress and sweating like crazy at our local pool while my girls take swim lessons. If I get distracted, it’s because of one them is shouting, “Look at me!”

What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
Great question! I’m a bit of a research junkie (writing is really just my excuse to research) so I’ve learned all sorts of things I find interesting over the years. One of the most significant pieces of information I learned was when I was interviewing an Amana woman about the history of the Amana people. I asked her what was the most important to Amana women who lived during their communal days, and she didn’t hesitate with her answer. It wasn’t their children, husband, work, or church community. The most important thing to Amana women was their friendships. That bit of information transformed my entire story.

If you were told you were being sent back to live in the 19th Century, and you could bring one thing from today, what would that be?
I guess my IPhone or computer wouldn’t work well without today’s technology so I think I would have to test out Edison’s electricity with my Vitamix.

What is something that very few people know about you?
I love to explore caves. When I was in my twenties, I did quite a bit of caving with friends in Virginia and West Virginia. Our kids are too young to rappel or go over large boulders right now, but we’ve had fun in the last year exploring the volcanic Ape Caves in Washington as well as the beautiful Oregon Caves.

What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)
It sounds so unsentimental, but it would have to be my laptop because it has all my pictures, email from friends, research notes, and both my published work and the “no one reads this but me” writing.   

If you could live in any time period other than the one we live in, when and where would that be and why?
My husband and I backpacked Europe nine years ago, and I fell in love with it. If I wasn’t born in Illinois (at the tail end of the sixties), I would love to live in a village in Austria, Switzerland, or Germany when there was peace and religious freedom.
 
Do you think birth order affects the way you write?
I’m honestly not sure. I’ve been told I’m driven because I’m firstborn, but my husband is quite driven as well and he’s the last of three. Come to think of it, though, he keeps telling me to slow down.

If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be?
Oh my goodness. That’s another great question, but I’m so bad at titling a 90,000-word book, I can’t imagine trying to title my whole life. It would definitely be something about God’s faithfulness and redemption. And the incredible journey of adopting our girls and pursuing the dreams He’s given us. Where’s my writer’s group? They are so much better than I am at titles!

What one novel did you read that made you want to be a part of the story?
Definitely Jan Karon’s Mitford series. I so want to retire in Mitford! I’ve been to Blowing Rock, (NC), but it’s not quite the same….

 I love Blowing Rock! Been there many times. 

As the Gilded Age comes to a close, Elena Bissette’s once-wealthy family has nearly lost its fortune. The Bissettes still own a home on fashionable Mackinac Island, where they will spend one last summer in the hope of introducing Elena to a wealthy suitor. But Elena is repulsed by the idea of marrying for money. Quickly tiring of the extravagant balls, she spends most evenings escaping back into Mackinac’s rugged forest. There she meets Chase, a handsome laborer who shares her love for the night sky. The two begin to meet in secret at an abandoned lighthouse, where they work together to solve a mystery buried in the pages of a tattered diary.

As Elena falls in love with Chase, her mother relentlessly contrives to introduce her to Chester Darrington, the island’s most eligible bachelor. Marriage to the elusive millionaire would solve the Bissettes’ financial woes, and Elena is torn between duty and love.

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING by following my blog with Powered by FEEDBURNER on the right, and don't miss any giveaways (the button with the flame). If you already follow my blog go ahead and follow by FEEDBURNER so you can be entered twice. If you're not getting an email telling you I have a new giveaway you're not following through Feedburner. Just mention that you follow through Feedburner when you leave a comment with each giveaway and you'll be entered twice.

Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday, September 2nd, 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Monday, August 20, 2012

When Shadows Fall by Tina Pinson ends August 27th



Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with her husband of thirty plus years, Danny. They are blessed to have three sons, and five grandchildren with one on the way. Tina started her first novel in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories. In the Manor of the Ghost and Touched By Mercy were published through Desert Breeze Publishers.
Tina is giving away When Shadows Fall. Answer her question at the bottom of the article or leave a comment to be entered.
Skewing History

I saw this interesting photo not long ago where this Honda crotch rocket had gone completely into the front seat of a VW. I found the picture fascinating and my curiosity getting the better of me I wanted to read the story beneath.

It went something like this: a young man is going at a high rate of speed on his Honda crotch rocket, when this with VW Rabbit with two young girls pulls out right in front of him. He doesn't have time to stop and ploughs right into them. They are all killed instantly.

The story goes on to say that the young driver of the VW was on her cell phone at the time, and had she been paying attention it might not have happened.

Awful story. Horrifying that so many lives were taken in one tragic accident. The story had everyone talking about why we shouldn't talk or text while driving. Granted we probably shouldn't be talking and texting while we drive, but that's not the point I want to make. Nor do I want to distract from the fact that lives were lost.

Another account says. The young man on the Honda was going at a high rate of speed and he'd just received his license. The occupants of the VW, an elderly couple did indeed pull out on him, and because of his high rate of speed and inability to react or inattentiveness, he couldn't slow down and caused the accident.

The last account comes from a police report of the accident. It says that the VW turned left in front of the Honda, which was traveling in the opposite direction on a country road. The Honda hit the car with such force the driver and motorcycle landed in the car and the VW rolled. Then the story didn't even happen in the US as implied, it happened in Sweden some four or five years before. Cells phones were never mentioned

Someone now saw a chance to rewrite history, to skew it to fit their agenda.

As a fiction writer, I insert I my characters in history all the time. Sometimes, when writing Sci Fi or Speculative, I even make up my own worlds. When I wrote When Shadows Fall some twenty plus years ago. My main source of research was the library. I did a little on the internet, but it wasn't the bastion of research it is now. I looked for the older accounts, for diaries and journals and papers. Did I get it right, I sure hope so, given the things I found. I don't want to change history.

Fast forward to now, I went back to the library and asked where the research books were and was told they didn't carry many, most research was done on line. Which can be unfortunate if you a person doesn't weed through the truths and untruths.

It seems that some people want to rewrite history to fit their mold. To fit their idea of the truth. To some the Holocaust is myth, millions of people were never slaughtered. There was a war, but not the major loss of life.

Christ was never born, although ancient scholars and historians write that he was, it's preferable to remove him from history. Our children's history books are being changed to fit ideas and mold new, usually incorrect ones.

The truth is skewed and little details removed or added, until the truth is slanted enough toward the lie. And sadly others believe it is the truth.

So my question to you is this… How do you guard against feeding misinformation and history when you write your stories? How do you research? And what might be some of the things you've found where history has been skewed and no one seems to care?
 
The Civil War rages, and Rebekah fights to keep her world intact. Loss and sorrow seeps into her heart. Her sights on Oregon, she prays New Eden will be a place of peace for her and her son. A refuge. She travels to Missouri to start her journey and is denied the opportunity to join the train. Matthew battles his way through the war thinking of Rebekah, planning to help her west. He fears his biggest battle lies ahead. Will Rebekah open up her heart and allow him to be the one to hold her When the Shadows Fall?


When Shadows Fall is available through Desert Breeze Publishing. The next two installments of the Shadow Series; Shadowed Dreams and To Catch a Shadow continues the story of Matthew and Rebekah on the Oregon Trail, releases November 2012 and June 2012 respectively.

DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING by following my blog with Powered by FEEDBURNER on the right, and don't miss any giveaways (the button with the flame). If you already follow my blog go ahead and follow by FEEDBURNER so you can be entered twice. If you're not getting an email telling you I have a new giveaway you're not following through Feedburner. Just mention that you follow through Feedburner when you leave a comment with each giveaway and you'll be entered twice.



Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday, August 27, 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

Monday, August 13, 2012

To Dance Once More by Sherri Wilson Johnson ends August 20th

Sherri Wilson Johnson is an Inspirational Romance novelist, a speaker, social media junkie, and a former homeschooling mom who loves to share God with others, while sharing her life experiences with them. She lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She loves to dream of romantic places and romance in general. She’s a bird-watcher, loves the ocean, dolphins, roller coasters, tigers, ice cream, her family and her Chihuahua, who faithfully sits by her side every day when she writes. She longs to do something exciting like sky diving one day. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More (OakTara) and Song of the Meadowlark (due out in August by OakTara). She is currently writing To Dance Once More’s sequel, To Laugh Once More, and is polishing her novel, After the Raging Storm. She enjoys writing Bible Study guides, homeschool resources, and articles on a wide variety of topics.

Sherri is giving away an e-copy of To Dance Once More. Leave a comment to be entered.

Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth. I’m in the living room on my couch wearing my favorite stretchy pants and t-shirt, watching the Olympics.

What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research? I guess I would have to say the most interesting thing I have learned most recently in my research would be how in the first few decades of the 20th century young women were no longer being betrothed to men they didn’t love or even know well. They went off to the universities to find men of their own. They were bolder in their attempts and not all ladies had a goal of marriage in mind. Women didn’t mind being called a broad, a dame, the cat’s meow, or a doll. And a girl called a “charity girl” was a girl who didn’t save herself for marriage. Of course, the vast majority held true to the traditional family structure.

If you were told you were being sent back to live in the 19th Century, and you could bring one thing from today, what would that be? My laptop! It has the Bible on it and all my writing files and many family pictures.

What is something that very few people know about you? Surprisingly, many people don’t know I’m a writer. It’s kind of strange but a lot of folks I’ve known for years still seem shocked when I say I’m published.

What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair) I guess I would have to say my favorite material item is my mother’s study Bible. It’s marked with notes that I treasure.

If you could live in any time period other than the one we live in, when and where would that be and why? I’d love to live in the Victorian times at the beach in Florida (the setting of To Dance Once More.) I love the simpler times and I love the beach.

Do you think birth order affects the way you write? Birth order affects me as a person so I suppose it affects my writing as well. I’ve never really given much thought to it. I am a second born and very free spirited. I think that free spirit and a creative mind plays into how I write.

If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be? A Pocketful of Posey because my Chihuahua Posey is by my side every minute of the day and makes life quite interesting! Seriously though, I think it would be something like Striving to Be a Refined Woman of God.

What one novel did you read that made you want to be a part of the story? Most recently, Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer.

All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore.
April 1886
Debutante Lydia Jane Barrington lives a carefree, protected existence on Live Oaks Plantation in Florida. But while her sisters happily learn the traditional tasks of women and talk of courting, Lydia dreams of adventure and independence. Even her friendship with handsome Hamilton Scarbrough isn’t enough to hold her back.
Then one day Hamilton opens Lydia’s eyes and her heart to love. But before they can receive permission to court, Lydia overhears a secret conversation about an unscrupulous business deal. Worse, it has everything to do with her and her future. Now she’s faced with the biggest decision of her life—to concede or to fight. Either choice will require great sacrifice…and, perhaps, countless rewards.
Passion. Friendship. A bitter enemy. A life-changing decision.
Set in Victorian-era Florida.

 Sherri Wilson Johnson
Where Faith and Fiction Collide
To Dance Once More (OakTara) September 2011
Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara) August 2012
To Laugh Once More (OakTara) Fall 2012
http://sherriwilsonjohnson.com
http://sherrijinga.wordpress.com
http://sherriwilsonjohnson.blogspot.com
https://twitter.com/#!/swj_thewriter
http://nicoleodell.com/sherri-wilson-johnson-on-inspiring-purity/
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5233294.Sherri_Wilson_Johnson


DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING by following my blog with Powered by FEEDBURNER on the right, and don't miss any giveaways (the button with the flame). If you already follow my blog go ahead and follow by FEEDBURNER so you can be entered twice. If you're not getting an email telling you I have a new giveaway you're not following through Feedburner. Just mention that you follow through Feedburner when you leave a comment with each giveaway and you'll be entered twice.

Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday, August 20, 8:00 A.M. EST. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Katia by Bruce Judisch Ends August 13th

 
Bruce Judisch is a senior analyst on contract to the Department of Defense.  He has authored both non-fiction (Bible studies and professional articles) and fictional works which are featured here.  He reviews Christian fiction on his blog “It Is To Write” (www.brucejudisch.blogspot.com) and details his fictional work on his Web site at www.brucejudisch.com.  Bruce and the wife of his youth in whom he delights, Jeannie, are high-school sweethearts, parents of three, and grandparents of fourteen.  Celebrating their 40th year of marriage this December, they live in San Antonio, Texas.

Bruce is giving way a copy of his book Katia. Answer the question, "When you read a historical novel, what do you most expect to get out of it?  An escape?  Learn something new about the subject or era?  Is it more a serious endeavor for you, or strictly entertainment?" to be entered to win.

Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.

I’m  in a restaurant in Alexandria, VA—and appropriately dressed (even for Alexandria).  Trust me on this.  J


Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t  do you know why?

Oh, my goodness.  I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer.  If my characters never surprised me, there would be no surprises at all (with all due respect to outliners).  I think the most memorable character-surprise came in The Journey Begun, part one of “A Prophet’s Tale.”  Late in the book, I introduced a character who I originally intended to have a minuscule part—little more than a prop—at the very end of a scene.  As I was typing, he jumped up and did something completely unexpectedly.  I sat back from the keyboard and thought, “Okay, so what was that all about?”  Perplexed, I leaned forward and began pounding keys again, just to see what he’d do.  He ended up as the antagonist in perhaps the most climactic scene of the book.  And I never did give him a name; his punishment for stealing my plotline from me.


If you could be any character in any literary book who would you be and why?

Wow, what a question.  Hold on, let me think a minute.  Okay, I’ve got it.  I would be Paris, in The Iliad.  After all, he got Helen, right?  Oh, okay, he loses a duel (I’m not much at fencing, either), but no one less than Aphrodite rescues him and he’s back with Helen.  I mean, think about that:  Helen…Aphrodite.  My guy card is secure!

In all honesty, the above clearly betrays me to be better suited to Walter Mitty.  Think?


What is something that very few people know about you?

Unfortunately, too few people—i.e., book-buying readers—know that I’m an author.


What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)

Hmmm…at the risk of seeming melodramatic, my mom died when I was 12 years old.  My dad had her wedding ring resized and made into a man’s pinky ring.  Years later, he gave it to me.  I love it so much that I gave it to my son shortly after he married.  I feel like, in a very significant way, I still own it.


If you could meet any person alive or dead who would that be and why? (excluding the Lord)

I hope this isn’t cheating, but I’d really like to see my mom again.  I’d like her to know her efforts weren’t entirely in vain—or at least give her a chance to judge that for herself.


What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?

Boy, are you good at questions.  Since I write historical fiction, I do an awful lot of research.  I would have to say that, when working on For Maria, the personal contacts I made were the most interesting and the most satisfying—to the extent that I’ve formed great friendships with a couple of my sources.  To explain, the historical portion of the novel (For Maria is a hybrid contemporary-historical, as is its prequel, Katia) deals with the Kindertransport.  For those not familiar with the term, it refers to the efforts carried out from 1934-1945 to rescue displaced children—most Jewish, but not all—from the clutches of the Nazis and bring them to places like South America, North America, Palestine, and even China.  There they awaited reunion with their families, who were incarcerated in the concentration camps, at the conclusion of the war.  Needless to say, most of those reunions never took place.  Two of my sources were alumni of the Kindertransport, the only members of their families to survive the Holocaust (if you look closely, you’ll see the name of one on the front cover of the book).  There was an interesting response to some of my probing for information.  Most of those involved were very supportive of my project.  One, though, was very resistant, claiming that fictionalizing their story would somehow demean it.  I tried to assure her that was the opposite of my intention, that I wanted to bring honor to those who suffered as she did, but I don’t think I convinced her.  Interestingly, she was one of the fortunate few who actually was reunited with her parents.

If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be?

Gee, I Wonder How This is Going to End Up

If you could have written any piece of literature in history, be it books, speech, poetry, what piece would you want to say Written By Authors Name here

An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope, 1711.  Not that I’d want to steal it from him, but would that I could so beautifully express myself as did he.


 
For Maria
December, 1939: The Gestapo haul Izaak and Maria Szpilmann away to the Lublin concentration camp, leaving their twin infant daughters behind to die. But the twins do not die. Rescued by a neighbor couple, Gustaw and Ròsa Dudek, they escape occupied Poland to Salzburg, Austria. They are not heard from again.
Today: Maria Szpilmann has survived Lublin, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen. She is now grandmother to Madeline Sommers, a young journalist who, despite the odds, passionately clings to the belief that the lost twins are still alive. She makes it her single-focused mission to find and reunite them with her failing grandmother before it’s too late


GIVEAWAY FOR  
 Katia
“Seek the truth, embrace the pain, cherish the freedom.”
Spirited Madeline “Maddy” McAllister is a twenty-one year-old journalism major completing her year as an exchange student at the Freie Universität, in Berlin, Germany. She has a career to launch.
Stalwart Katia Mahler is a sixty year-old German invalid who grew up in post-World War II East Berlin. She has a story to tell.
Enigmatic Oskar Schultmann brings together the journalist and the storyteller. Maddy’s task: to chronicle Katia Mahler’s life.
All three of them discover more to Katia’s story than they bargained for.
Cultures and generations clash, as the young American and the German matron strive to understand each other’s present and past. Maddy learns more than a personal history; Katia receives more than a memoir. And always in the background is Oskar, who gets drawn into the story in ways he never intended.
Peek behind the Iron Curtain and over the Berlin Wall as Katia’s story—the story of a lost generation from a failed state—comes to life through the scribbled notes of a girl struggling to grasp the significance of what she has written for her own life as well as for future generations.

 Want to see what other books Bruce has out there? Take a peek below.


 Amittai: First Call
A naïve and tentative Jonah ben Amittai witnesses the horror of Assyrian warfare at tender age and it changes his life. Elihu, King Jehu's young armor bearer, shares this raw experience, but comes away with a different perspective. Throughout their lives, the points of view these closest of friends clash and complement―and by God's grace, they complement at just the right time.









The Journey Begun
God commissions Jonah to preach in Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-2). However, repulsed by his hatred for the Assyrians, and prodded by a demon who has no intention of letting a prophet of God onto her Mesopotamian turf, Jonah flees to Joppa. In his rebellion, a series of misadventures befalls him: separation from his family, estrangement from his best friend, betrayal of another friend and entrapment with a young orphan forced into harlotry. In Joppa, he boards the Ba'al Hayam―a ship with a past of its own―bound for Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). After his harrowing escape from the storm at sea, the angel re-commissions him to preach in Nineveh (Jonah 1:4-3:2); however, the angel informs him, "There are wrongs to right that are added to your journey." Jonah retraces his steps back to his home in Gath-hepher where his most poignant task awaits him: reconciliation with his family.


 
The Word Fulfilled
Israel. A prophet endures unimaginable hardships on his journey to deliver a message of hope to Assyria. Dark forces dog his every step while angels protect the word he carries.
Nineveh. A young girl’s coming-of-age ritual goes terribly wrong. A priestess would have the maiden as her own, but a 'goddess' has different plans. The unlikely love of a young man becomes the girl’s only hope.