Monday, October 8, 2018

An Anchor on Her Heart by Patricia Lee ends October 15th


When I first signed the contract to write the Mended Hearts series for Mountain Brook Ink, two of the books were, for the most part, completed. The third book, A Kite on the Wind, waited like a blank page on a computer to be written. The tiny paragraph I’d cobbled together to provide a story sketch haunted me from its bare bones structure. I’d never before agreed to write a 90,000 word novel with so little to launch it. To say I was nervous would be an understatement.

I found a minor character from the first novel, Claire Simpson, to be the main protagonist. She was a teacher, not married, and specialized in helping children learn. The setting was a given from the first novel—Newport, Oregon. But I had exhausted many of Newport’s attractions in that first book, so finding new points of interest to keep readers invested would prove challenging. That’s when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) entered the story. 
I knew that NOAA had decided to move its headquarters in Bellevue, Washington to Newport in 2009. The agency created quite a stir in the coastal community, bringing hope for an influx of new families, an increased need for schools, and a general imprint on the economy. My son, who had studied Marine Biology at the Hatfield Marine Science Center a few years before, knew many of the people named as essential players in the switch. Several had been his professors.

Not everyone involved with NOAA, though, made the move to Oregon. Many kept their homes in Washington, since much of their work happened at sea. They opted to work from a Newport base, but to go home to Seattle. That triggered a need in my story to provide a really good reason for moving south. 

With that background in mind, I created the hero, Montgomery Chandler, and his family, who might have chosen or needed to make the move from Seattle to Newport. But to be a romance, he couldn’t be married. So I upped the stakes. He was widowed and had two children—a set of twins. His work for NOAA often meant extended tours on the ocean and with two small children and no other family around, he needed help. Enter his sister Ellen who has time on her hands and lives (where else?) in Newport. She can provide the family support he needs to do his job.  She will also provide the emotional stability for this threesome to heal from their grief and move on.
Claire, though, needed her own set of problems. I had to ask a lot of questions. Why was she single? Had she had opportunities for love? Was Newport too small to find a forever love? Had something in her past made her shy away from relationships?
Yes! That was it. She’d been jilted by a former love interest, and not just any boyfriend, but her fiancé who backed out of their engagement three days before the wedding. Ouch!  

Forgiveness plays a huge part in this story. Claire believes she has forgiven the man for his role in hurting her, but when her fiancé makes a reappearance in her life she discovers that forgetting what he did is much more complicated. 

Readers face those same challenges in their everyday lives. Forgiving someone for something he or she did to hurt us often takes all of our inner strength to accomplish it. Moving on to forgetting the incident often proves to be one requirement too many. Claire will find that fact to be too true, but so necessary
Both Claire and Monty face hurdles they must overcome before they can find their way back to love. The walls they have built around their hearts must be torn down. Can love overcome the barriers they hide behind?
I hope you like the story. 

GIVEAWAY: Patricia is giving away a pdf copy of An Anchor on Her Heart. Leave a comment below to be entered and don't forget to leave our email so we can contact you if you win!
 




Is love strong enough to overcome the walls they hide behind?

Left waiting at the altar, Claire Simpson has buried her past and moved on, carving out a life for herself as a teacher on the Oregon coast. When her former fiance appears, he threatens to unravel the peaceful independence she has worked so hard to achieve after their relationship failed. 

Montgomery Chandler has moved to NOAA headquarters in Newport, Oregon to make new, happier memories for his children after his wife died of a lingering illness. Their home in Seattle held nothing but the whispers of their earlier lives. Starting over will help all of them heal, but Monty is resolved not to risk love again. 

When the handsome widower enrolls his hurting children at the school where Claire teaches, her resolve to remain uninvolved vanishes at the whim of a snowstorm. This family needs her expertise. Can she help them without losing                                              her heart again?


McKenna Nichols, a young wife abandoned by her husband in favor of his work, is left alone to raise their autistic child. She promised to love him until death parted them. But when circumstances drive a wedge into their marriage and Dane chooses to escape what life has dealt them, how long can she be strong? Can she remain faithful to her marriage vows when tempted by the friendship of an unlikely stranger?

Rudy Taylor, who senses McKenna's loneliness and understands the difficulty of raising her daughter, struggles to keep his concern for the young woman biblical.  Will McKenna’s faith in God and Rudy’s commitment to his Lord be enough to keep their relationship simple until McKenna's husband one day returns?





ABOUT PATRICIA: Patricia Lee is a published author, having written since she first learned what words could do at the age of six. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Oregon. Articles to her credit have appeared in Moody Monthly, Power for Living, Expecting and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse as well as in two anthologies— Cup of Comfort Bible Promises and In the Company of Angels. She is part of a team of bloggers who submit short devotionals for FaithHappenings.com.

Patricia is a member of the Oregon Christian Writers and of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have two adult children and live in the Pacific Northwest with two sleepy cats.


Monday, October 1, 2018

The Art of Verbal Discrestion PLUS Giveaway ends October 8th

Please welcome Denise Weimer to my blog today. Denise is giving away a copy of her book Redeeming Grace. Read on down to find out how to enter. 


The Art of Verbal Discretion
I’ll never forget the first time I watched Sense and Sensibility – the version with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson. I didn’t want the movie to end. Would Elinor succeed in snagging Edward, and would Marianne be swept away by Willoughby or finally find affection for Colonel Brandon?
At first glance, these appear to be simple romantic plot elements. But the thickening agent in Jane Austen’s literary pudding was almost always the unsaid. The machinations and drama arose not from shocking declarations and the heroine hurling herself into the hero’s arms, but from restraint. The roots of this restraint, a characteristic of historical polite society, pushed past the soil of public expectation into the bedrock of selflessness. Ah, what a refreshing concept. 
Some examples:

·        In “Becoming Jane,” the movie about Jane Austen herself, Jane sees Tom Lefroy as sowing his wild oats, but on their elopement trip discovers a letter from his family of origin thanking him for the money he’s been sending them. Jane knows that if he marries her, he’ll be unable to provide for all concerned. In another self-sacrificing gesture, Jane lets him go. Might this have inspired Jane’s future writing?

·        Darcy in Pride and Prejudice quietly pays off Wickham’s debts so that the scoundrel can wed the compromised Lydia, Elizabeth’s foolish sister. He does this out of love for Elizabeth. And he does so when Elizabeth still thinks him arrogant and self-centered.

·        In Sense & Sensibility, Edward can’t declare his feelings for Elinor because of his money-hungry mother and his former secret engagement. When his old sweetheart worms her way into Elinor’s confidence, Elinor’s promise to not speak of the engagement keeps her from the man she loves. Meanwhile, free-spirited younger sister Marianne falls for charming and handsome Willoughby. Marianne is also admired by the older, reserved Colonel Brandon, who knows Willoughby acted the scoundrel in the past. Yet he refuses to use the matter to get into Marianne’s good graces. 

Watching these characters go through their complicated and foreign dance of silence, hints, glances, and suppressed tears, we want to scream “just say it!” But in the end, we are teary-eyed with joy when, truly tested, love is declared.
Contrast that communication style to our modern one. We may never have met our online friends in person. On social media, where we can quickly and easily connect with many people simultaneously, we have a lot of power.

Some things to think about before posting …

·        Are our words all about us, broadcasting triumphs or sharing details better held until a private conversation with one or two trusted confidants?

·        Are we sometimes speaking when silence would be wiser?

·        Are we typing what we’d never say in person?

·        Are we juggling cyber relationships with many to the exclusion of face-to-face time with special friends?

Something to think about before writing fiction …

·        How can we use verbal discretion as an effective plot element? Chime in below!

The art of verbal discretion doesn’t have to be a thing of the past. It can be a beautiful gift if we learn how to employ it in our modern lives. 
 

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, NKJV).

 Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, Denise Weimer holds a journalism degree with a minor in history from Asbury University. She’s an editor for the historical imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and the author of The Georgia Gold Series, The Restoration Trilogy, and a number of novellas, including Across Three Autumns of Barbour’s Colonial Backcountry Brides Collection. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses! Connect with Denise here:





GIVEAWAY:
Denise is giving away a Kindle copy of her first novella, Redeeming Grace. Answer one of her questions above from 'some things to think about' to be entered in the giveaway. Don't forget to leave your email address. 


Searching for something she cannot define and breaking under the stress as a rising star at The Metropolitan Opera, Grace Galveston travels to Tallulah Falls, Georgia, for a reprieve. In the summer of 1886, Tallulah Gorge, with its multiple waterfalls, spectacular mountain scenery, and lavish resort hotels, was already known as “The Niagara of the South.” Even amid the crowds and excitement surrounding the attempt of an aerialist to cross the chasm on a high wire, Grace hopes to find peace. Unexpectedly, though, the trip sheds light on the secret pain in her heart. Can the blessing of friendship and the possibility of love with a local minister guide her toward healing? Or will their differences and the call of her life back in New York mean even greater heartbreak?


Monday, September 24, 2018

My Crazy Girls by Sherri Stewart PLUS 2 GIVEAWAYS!!! Ends October 1st



My Crazy Girls
By Sherri Stewart

You might think from the title that I have a bevy of daughters, but I don’t. I have one son, Josh, who’s more quirky than crazy. What I’m referring to are the leading ladies of my books. They all deal with “issues,” that are exacerbated by the suspenseful occurrences and romance in their lives.
Meet my first female character, Julie Richards, an attorney, who’s afraid to leave her house. It’s called agoraphobia, which for Julie started when her parents died in a plane crash. She tamped down grief due to the rigors of law school and refused to get help. Now years later, she’s a mess and her house isn’t so safe anymore. Come Out of Hiding.
My newest female lead, Lily Rountree, deals with guilt, which only occurs around Christmas. It manifests itself in her propensity to forget things, like showing up for dates and appointments, and forgetting to turn off the kitchen faucet. She also likes to sleep in the most embarrassing places. Sleeping through Christmas.


All of my lovelies are believers. Most have made Christ their Savior, but there’s a disconnect when it comes to their issues. It could be that they’re embarrassed. After all, if they truly believed in God, wouldn’t they be able to resolve their problems? As in life, sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better. Writers call it Character Arc, and by the end of the book, the ladies confront their issues and move toward overcoming them. I say, move toward, because life requires baby steps.
How about you? Have you ever dealt with a deep issue that manifested itself at a certain time of year in a unique way?


GIVEAWAY: Sherri is giving away a copy of Sleeping through Christmas and a copy of Love Reunited at Christmas. Answer the above question to be entered in the drawing. Be sure to leave your email address too!




About Sherri
Sherri Stewart loves a good suspense novel, sprinkled with romance and a strong message that challenges her faith. She spends her working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing her own. Sherri loves traveling to potential settings for future stories. Israel was her last trip; a series of bed and breakfasts is her next. Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her family and lazy dog, Lily. She loves to chat with readers about their ideas. Contact her at www.stewartwriting.com.
Social Media Contacts
Website www.stewartwriting.com/blog
Facebook 

Goodreads

Books by Sherri Stewart 
Come Out of Hiding 
A Well-Founded Fear of Death 
Stranded with Pearls 
Très Chic 
Inn Danger 
Last Chance Island 
The Good Little Nurse 
Call Me Jane 
Rag Doll 
What she saw in Room 223