Monday, June 25, 2018

Rag Doll by Sherri Stewart ends July 2nd


Please welcome Sherri Stewart to my blog this week. 
Sherri is giving away a copy of Rag Doll. Read on down on how to enter. 

Scruffy or Handsome?
By Sherri Stewart
In many romance novels or novellas, the lead males are handsome. They have sapphire blue eyes, chocolate brown eyes, or emerald ones that sparkle, probe, and have the ability to see into the soul. Their hair is chestnut or chocolate, but never brown or red. Whenever they touch the female lead, electricity happens. We used to call it static electricity, usually caused by the heat inside during the winter months—the same sensation that causes socks to stick to the back of our skirts and our hair to fly up after being brushed.
In many of my books, the scruffy guy is overlooked for the handsome guy, but Mr. Scruffy usually wins in the end. It takes time to fall for a scruffy-looking guy. His clothes need pressing and his car smells like a locker room. My husband’s Vega came by the smell honestly—the backseat was full of hockey skates. But I noticed things about Bobby—the way he searched for a watering can for a Russian defenseman who was having trouble growing a houseplant. Or the way he always brought me back a candy bar or a keychain from whatever city the team was playing in.
In Rag Doll, Ben Farris is handsome and tall and rich. But he’s also kind. He stands up for the underdog; when he makes a promise, he keeps it; and cares deeply about God. Because of his strong character, his eyes sparkle, his teeth gleam, and his touch could start a car.
Appearance can get in the way of sound judgment. In I Samuel 16:7, God warned Samuel about Saul. “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I’m so glad I wasn’t deceived by the polished, debonair Patricks of my youth. Patrick’s character was as bland as a piece of paper. I’m more than glad that I gave the scruffy guy a second glance.

1. How important is appearance in first impressions with regard to romance?
2. What are the three essentials to look for in a romantic relationship? 
3. For those of you who have been in a relationship for a long time, has your list of essentials changed over the years? 

GIVEAWAY: Sherri is giving away a copy of her book Rag Doll. To enter her giveaway answer one of the above questions. Don't forget to leave your email addy!




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. Her hobby is traveling to potential settings for future stories. Next stop: Israel. Sherri lives in the Orlando area with her family and lazy dog, Lily. She loves to chat with readers about their ideas and questions.


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Books by Sherri Stewart


Monday, June 18, 2018

The Backcountry Brides Collection with Carrie Fancett Pagels ends June 25th

Please welcome my sweet friend, Carrie Fancett Pagels this week! I'm so glad she could be here with us. Be sure to read on down to learn about her giveaway!


When The Voices Won’t Quit
by
Carrie Fancett Pagels

I was a psychologist for twenty-five years (and thought I would be until when I expected to retire at about seventy—then I would write for the Lord.) God had other plans. But in any case, don’t worry about me hearing voices—they are the characters I write. When you read about authors such as James Scott Bell talking about the “boys in the basement” I think—I’ve got a lot of ladies in the attic calling out to me. They want to be written into existence. Some characters won’t stop until they have their stories told. I have to think those are the ones God wants written and shared. Magda, in “Shenandoah Hearts” in The Backcountry Brides Collection (Barbour, May 2018)  is one of those heroines.

Magda Sehler lives in Philadelphia with her family from the Palatinate of Germany (which at that time was composed of several duchies). Some of her family members had to indenture themselves to get the family transported. Her mother is a semi-invalid (loosely modeled after myself as I am disabled from Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disorder.) Magda is a talented silversmith. Jacob Owens, her employer, calls her Ladysmith.

I’m all about following God’s lead and overcoming with His help (my blog is www.OvercomingwithGod.com and my tagline is Hearts Overcoming Through Time). I think that’s why Jacob’s and Magda’s story had to be told—they are both following God’s lead and once they are where He has put them, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, they face much to overcome.

So, how do characters start rattling the chains on the attic door? I might read something for research in colonial America (I have another group blog www.ColonialQuills.org) and think—wow, wouldn’t that possible character have that as part of her story arc. I might be driving and see something. On a trip back from a research trip in Michigan, we drove by the sign for Ladysmith in Virginia. Now I had seen that sign a whole bunch of times, but driving back into Virginia and having just finaled in the prestigious Holt Medallion contest for my Virginia-set romance novella, The Steeplechase, things began to click. My brain was primed for unlocking that attic door and “hanging out” with Magda as a lady silversmith. Other times, I could simply be doing something, e.g., cooking something, and a character may “speak to me” saying that they do that kind of thing or they do it a different way and so I’ve learned a little something more about them.

If you’ve seen the movie about Charles Dickens as he wrote A Christmas Carol, then you get a glimpse into how some writers develop their characters. Sometimes Characters show up. But it is really only when they begin to “talk” to you that you begin to understand them. How they move. How they speak. The cadence or rhythm of their speech. Their facial expressions. Once they really bring their voice to some authors, like myself, it becomes impossible to ignore them until they are released onto the page. Often they love to show up just at bedtime and show a mini-reel of their “movie” to me. That’s usually a clue I better start writing their story or lose a lot of sleep!

You can read a portion of the collection here 


Blurb: Shenandoah Hearts by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1754 - Great Wagon Road, into the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia)
As the French-Indian War commences, Magda Sehler wonders if Jacob Owens lost his mind to have abandoned his Philadelphia business and moved to the Shenandoah Valley. Or has he lost his heart?

Questions: If you are a writer, how do your characters reveal themselves to you? If you’re a reader, are you surprised that this is how some characters come to an author?



Giveaway: Answer one of the above questions for a chance to win Carrie's a signed paperback copy of The Backcountry Brides with stories by Carrie, Shannon McNear, Pegg Thomas, Debra E. Marvin, Angela Couch, Denise Weimer, Gabrielle Meyer, and Jennifer Hudson Taylor.

Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.



Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at 

My Pinterest page for 18th Century clothing https://www.pinterest.com/carriefpagels/18th-century-clothing/
  


PURCHASE LINKS:

Check at your local Christian bookstores, e.g., Lifeway, to see if they have copies, too!



Friday, June 15, 2018

The Widow's Plight by Mary Davis ends June 18th

Please welcome Mary Davis to my blog this weekend. Mary is giving away a PDF e-copy of The Widow's Plight. Read on down to find out how to enter. 

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS KAMOLA?

I love my home state of Washington. I live on the western side of the state. The rainy side. The GREEN side!
I love how fresh and clean the rain makes the air smell and how green it makes everything.
And I love setting stories in my home state. Whenever I get the chance, I try to set my stories here, but I’m not tied to that. Not every story I want to write is suited to take place in Washington, and I’m good with that.
So when deciding where to set my Quilting Circle series, I naturally looked at Washington first. After considering the state as a whole and deciding “yes” Washington will work well, I looked at areas I have lived in before because I have a knowledge base to start with.


After some consideration, I chose the town where I went to college, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use a “real” town or not. As a writer, this is a question I face with each story. Real town? Or fictional? I have used both, and both have their strengths and weaknesses.
“Real Town” strengths; it’s already there so I don’t have to make up the town layout and such, readers can recognize the town therefore connecting with it, and readers get excited when their town (or a town they know) is mentioned in a book. Weaknesses; it’s already platted and the layout might not suit the needs of the story, readers recognize the town and someone will know when one tiny thing is wrong (even in a historical), and readers get pulled out of a story if the town doesn’t feel like the town they know or don’t have key figures they would expect.
“Fictional Town” strengths; the sky is the limit. I can layout the town to best suit the story. I won’t get the details wrong because it’s my own creation. Weaknesses; it doesn’t have that real-life personal connection, readers won’t recognize it, and with nothing concrete to look back to, I might forget things when the second book (which I’m currently writing) comes along and misplace a building or two.
So I chose a fictional town based off of a real town because my characters would be moving around in town a lot. But those who know Ellensburg will recognize it as such.



Now came the task of naming my town. I decided to name it after my residents hall, Kamola, and named a couple of the college professors in the boarding house after another residents hall (Mr. Lumbard) and the dining hall (Mr. Tunstall). Whenever I read those names it take me back to my college days.
In a novella that released in January 2018, I set the story in the real town of Ellensburg. Well, not really in the town but outside of it on a cattle ranch. I chose the real town name for two reasons. One, I loved my college years in Ellensburg and wanted to use it. Two, my characters weren’t in town much, just at the train station, so using the real town name worked well.
So to answer my title question, “Where in the world is the town of Kamola?” In my imagination, so wherever I am, there is Kamola. And wherever the reader is, there is Kamola also. =0)

Do you prefer reading stories set in real towns—even if the author changes some of the details to suit the story—or fictional where everything is fresh and new?
GIVEAWAY:
Answer the above question to be entered to win a PDF e-copy of The Widow's Plight. Don't forget to leave your email.



THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT ~ A sweet historical romance that will tug at your heart. This is book 1 in the Quilting Circle series. Washington State, 1893.


   When Lily Lexington Bremmer arrives in Kamola with her young son, she’s reluctant to join the social center of her new community, the quilting circle, but the friendly ladies pull her in. She begins piecing a sunshine and shadows quilt because it mirrors her life. She has a secret that lurks in the shadows and hopes it doesn’t come out into the light. Dark places in her past are best forgotten, but her new life is full of sunshine. Will her secrets cast shadows on her bright future?

   Widower Edric Hammond and his father are doing their best to raise his two young daughters. He meets Lily and her son when they arrive in town and helps her find a job and a place to live. Lily resists Edric’s charms at first but finds herself falling in love with this kind, gentle man and his two darling daughters. Lily has stolen his heart with her first warm smile, but he’s cautious about bringing another woman into his girls’ lives due to the harshness of their own mother. Can Edric forgive Lily her past to take hold of a promising chance at love?
   THE WIDOW'S PLIGHT will release in ebook on July 1, and will be out in paperback by mid-June.


About Mary:
MARY DAVIS is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. She has five titles releasing in 2018; "Holly & Ivy" in A Bouquet of Brides Collection in January, Courting Her Amish Heart in March, The Widow’s Plight in July, Courting Her Secret Heart September, & “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in MISSAdventure Brides Collection in December. She’s a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-three years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren.