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Summer BBQ Recipe Roundup: IF IT RAINS by Jennifer L. Wright + Giveaway!
Author Guest / July 21, 2021

Another day, another awesome author to feature in the Summer BBQ Recipe Roundup! Today, historical fiction author Jennifer L. Wright is here with more info about her new book, a tasty and easy recipe to share, and a chance to win a copy of IF IT RAINS (details below)!  Have you checked out our recipes from Days 1 and 2? Please do! Day 1 with Minerva Spencer Day 2 with Sera Taíno *** In my novel IF IT RAINS, fourteen-year-old Kathryn is forced from her Oklahoma farm by the Dust Bowl. Her trip is interrupted, however, when she becomes separated from her father and is forced to continue the journey on her own. Crippled, frightened, and alone in a strange land, Kathryn longs for familiarity. She longs for comfort. She longs for home. As a military spouse, I am deeply familiar with this ache. In the past fourteen years, I’ve lived in three different countries and four different states. Just as soon as some place starts to feel like home, the Air Force sends my family and me packing again. It’s a hard life, but it’s also full of beauty. Because I don’t just have one home; I have several….

Shawn Smucker | 20 Questions: THE WEIGHT OF MEMORY
Author Guest / July 9, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? THE WEIGHT OF MEMORY 2–What is it about? Paul Elias receives a terminal diagnosis so he decides to take his granddaughter, Pearl, who he is raising, back to the isolated lakeside area where he grew up. But when they get there, Pearl begins having visions of things that relate to Paul’s teenage years and the mysterious death of his wife forty years ago.  3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  It’s eerie and isolated and really gives the two main characters the chance to work through the situation presented to them: trying to figure out what happened forty years ago, trying to figure out what is real. 4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  Pearl became very dedicated to the idea of helping this mysterious person she meets in the woods—her courage and determination surprised me.  5–Why will readers relate to your characters?  I think we all want to know what’s waiting for us on the other side of death, and I think we all want to somehow make up for the mistakes we’ve made in the past.  6–What was one of your biggest challenges while writing this book…

Susie Finkbeiner | 20 Questions: THE NATURE OF SMALL BIRDS
Author Guest / July 9, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? THE NATURE OF SMALL BIRDS 2–What is it about? In 1975, 3,000 children were airlifted out of Vietnam to be adopted into families in Australia, Canada, and the United States in what was known as Operation Babylift. This is a story of a family who adopted one of these little girls.  3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  This story is set in a fictional town in Northern Michigan. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to do my home state justice, but I really love living here. That’s why I love writing stories about people who are fellow Michiganders.  4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  This is the kind of book that needed more than one main character. That certainly surprised me while I was writing it! Bruce has the 2013 timeline, Sonny narrates 1988, and Linda is the main character in 1975. But, really, all of their stories point to Minh, the daughter who was adopted from Vietnam.  5–Why will readers relate to your characters?  You know, in a lot of ways this is a story about letting go. Letting go of long-held wishes in…

Tessa Afshar | Exclusive Excerpt: JEWEL OF THE NILE
Author Guest / June 4, 2021

PROLOGUE Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God. PSALM 68:31 AD 31 He took one last aching look outside the crumbling window; the Nile was molten gold in the light of the rising sun, a sparkling coil winding its way into the horizon. Forcing himself to turn away, he came to kneel by the pallet where his bride lay sleeping. To have this woman, he would have to give up the lush beauty of his land, give up his family and heritage. He smiled. She was worth all the loss. For his sake, she had given up as much and more. “Time to wake up, love.” She groaned something incoherent, more asleep than awake. “Come now, lazy. Open those enchanting sea-green eyes. We can’t linger here. They will have discovered our absence by now.” He spoke in a light tone, making sure none of his mounting anxiety leaked into his voice. Still, the reminder of their vulnerability was enough to banish the last vestiges of her sleep. She snapped her eyes open and sat up in one smooth motion, holding the sheet to her throat. “How long have we been here?” “Too long.” He motioned to the…

Jody Hedlund | Author-Reader Match: COME BACK TO ME
Author Guest / June 4, 2021

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Jody Hedlund! Writes: Come Back to Me: Research scientist Marian Creighton, thinks her father’s quest to find the ultimate cure is crazy, even if it stems from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. When her father finds and drinks a vial of ancient holy water and falls into a coma, Marian discovers clues that suggest he’s crossed back in time. At first she thinks he’s insane, until she tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages smack dab in the middle of the bloody Peasant Revolt of 1381. William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian’s rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to? About: Award-winning and best-selling author Jody…

Chris Fabry | Exclusive Excerpt: A PIECE OF THE MOON
Author Guest / April 2, 2021

TD sat in a sound booth at the recording studio in Clarkston with walls treated with what looked like egg cartons. He snapped his fingers in front of the long silver microphone with the word Neumann on it. The sound in the room was deader than a doornail. And that microphone looked like it cost more than his tow truck. In front of him sat a clear acrylic stand holding ad copy and he read it through silently. Butch Williams had car dealerships in three states and ran spots on stations in all of those markets. They were looking for an “authentic” voice that stood out. This was TD’s chance. A bearded man in the control room pushed a talkback button and spoke into TD’s headphones. “It’s Titus, right?” “I go by TD.” “All right, TD. Whenever you’re ready. I’m rolling.” TD rubbed his hands on his jeans. His tongue felt thick, his mouth full of cotton. The door opened in the control room and someone stepped in and stood in the dark corner. “If you’re looking for a deal on a new or used car, come see Butch. We’ve got dependable, affordable used cars that won’t break your budget….

Jill Eileen Smith | Title Challenge: MIRIAM’S SONG
Author Guest / March 5, 2021

MIRIAM’S SONG is a biblical novel – my newest release – about one of the Bible’s most famous yet little-known women – Moses’ sister, Miriam. I had to dig into her brothers’ lives to get to know her better, and what I learned about her life, and God’s holiness and longing for us as I studied her, inspired me. I hope it does the same for you. M – is for Miriam, whom we meet in childhood in Scripture. She is the little girl who watches her brother floating in a little ark in the Nile. Her family is hoping someone will save his life from the Pharaoh’s plot to kill boy babies. A complicated job for a girl of about five, but Miriam’s life as she grows older becomes even more complicated. I – is for Independent. Miriam is a strong woman and is later listed as one of three leaders who led the children of Israel out of Egypt. R – is for Ready. Miriam is more than ready to leave the land of Egypt and move to the Promised Land as God has intended for Israel. I – is for Israel. Miriam was one of three leaders…

Amanda Cabot | Exclusive Excerpt: DREAMS REKINDLED
Author Guest / February 26, 2021

She was being as silly as Laura. Dorothy frowned as she placed the hat on her head for what felt like the hundredth time, tilting it ever so slightly to the left. It wasn’t as if she were about to meet the president. All she was doing was going for a walk. There was no reason to fuss so much over her appearance. Today was the fourth day since Brandon Holloway had come to Mesquite Springs, and it seemed that both he and Laura had fallen into a routine. Each day Brandon came to Polly’s Place for his midday meal. Each day Laura kept peeking out the kitchen door, almost as if she didn’t trust Dorothy to tell her when he arrived. And when he did, she insisted on taking Brandon’s meal to him, returning to the kitchen with the same report: there was no question about it; he was the man she was meant to marry. Finally satisfied with the angle of the hat, Dorothy secured it with two of her prettiest hatpins, then descended the stairs. Once a quick look confirmed that nothing in the kitchen needed her attention, she opened the back door and stepped out into…

Heidi Chiavaroli | Top Five Reasons Readers Love Strong Female Characters
Author Guest / February 10, 2021

As I sat down to write my new novel, THE ORCHARD HOUSE, I couldn’t help but think about the inspiration behind it—Louisa May Alcott and her timeless classic, Little Women. Louisa captivated readers around the world with her seemingly simple domestic tale filled with honesty, complexity, and ultimately, joy in the messiness. But something else has us captivated. Or rather, someone else. Namely Jo March. When I was a girl, I wanted to be Jo. She was feisty, bold, but also incredibly caring and tenderhearted. She stood up for what she believed in and she was determined to be a writer one day (as was I!). In short, she was a tremendous and gigantic female character that readers fell in love with. But why is it that we appreciate strong female protagonists such as Jo March? Here are five reasons I think a gutsy female lead is likely to win us over: 1–We can relate to them in their shortcomings. Strong female characters aren’t perfect. Think of Jo’s struggle to control her temper. Katniss Everdeen’s rashness. Scarlett O’Hara’s lack of empathy. Sometimes, though, these flaws can be avenues to actually help them—either in their physical world or in their internal…

Robin W. Pearson | Better Than Friends: Mother-Daughter Dynamics
Author Guest / February 2, 2021

You know how gum adheres to the bottom of your sneaker on a hot summer day? You can’t shake your foot free or peel it off, at least not that easily. What you don’t remove gets pressed in between the grooves, becoming so enmeshed over time, it blends with the sole. That’s how my mama’s words stick to me. I remember how quickly my folks declared, “Nothing good happens after midnight” when I asked about changes to my curfew. Mama drove this point home one Friday night at a school dance when I was partying too hard to realize the time. Suddenly the music stopped and the deejay announced, “Robin, your mom is here to pick you up.” Trust me, not even Cinderella in her pumpkin could’ve caught me scooting out of that high school dance. But I didn’t run far from Mama’s words of wisdom. Just ask my own little people. When she says something, you’d best believe it, hold on to it, and apply it. So when she told me, “Robin, I’m not your friend,” I took that pronouncement to heart, just like an arrow to its target. Her words hurt for a time, more than any sticks…