WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE?

What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Linda S. Clare and Free Books!

 photo 9781426752797_zpscebb638b.jpgIn 1951 Phoenix, Arizona, Lakota woman Frankie Chasing Bear and her son Harold must create a new life for themselves with the help of a half-breed named Nick and a Lakota Star quilt.

Before we visit today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the signed copy of The Pelican Bride, by Beth White, is:

jrs362@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll email you today to get your mailing address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways! Subscribers are entered a second time when they comment.

And now let's visit with Linda S. Clare, author of A Sky without Stars, Quilts of Love series (Abingdon Press, February 2014).

 photo Lindaheadshot2013519x640519x640_zps5a46870a.jpgLinda S. Clare is an award-winning author of books, essays, short stories, and poems. She edits and mentors writers and is a frequent conference speaker and church retreat leader.

She and her husband have four grown children. They live in Eugene, Oregon, with their three wayward cats.

Please tell us three random things we might not know about you.

--I am a polio survivor who, due to paralysis of my left arm, types with one hand.

--I was once a professional singer.

--I cannot stand to eat pickles of any kind.

Oh, Linda, God bless you for overcoming the effects of polio and pursuing writing! Very impressive.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of A Sky without Stars.

 photo 9781426752797_zpscebb638b.jpgAfter her husband is killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Frankie Chasing Bear wants a fresh start. But in 1951, relocating through the US government’s Relocation Program didn’t just mean a new town; it meant a new way of life. Frankie quickly learns that raising her son, Harold, to revere his Lakota heritage, will be a challenge in the white man’s world. Searching for a way for her son to respect his ancestors but also embrace a future of opportunity, she begins a Lakota Star-pattern quilt with tribal wisdom sung, sewn, and prayed into it—something that will not let him forget where he came from.

A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, but neither the quilt nor her new life come easily to Frankie. Federal Agent Nick Parker, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust. She’s already struggling to understand Nick’s culture, how can she embrace his Christian faith?

Will Frankie learn that love is the most important ingredient for her son’s quilt—and life itself?

What is it about your lead characters that will make your readers care about them?

Frankie is stepping out of her comfort zone by seeking out a “white” education for her and Harold. She’s courageous but at first she thinks she must do it all alone.

Nick Parker is a handsome half-breed Lakota who’s also a recovering alcoholic and a practicing Christian. He’s so attracted to Frankie and adores Harold, but he worries his faith or a looming relapse will drive her and her son away.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

 photo Unknown_zpse402cbcc.jpegI’d love to see an American Indian actress portray Frankie. Don’t know of many, but Heather Rae comes to mind.




 photo 0f1dba7e4daaa59d8f5df2d07d804b10_zps94e13324.jpgFor Nick (the half-breed) I love Moses Brings Plenty, who portrayed Quanah Parker in a History channel documentary.





 photo images_zps864cb7e4.jpegIf these weren’t available, could we go with Sandra Bullock



 photo Unknown-1_zps0c995380.jpegand Johnny Depp?




 photo robert-looks-twice-jim-cortez_zps6c674108.jpgHarold, Frankie’s son, would definitely be a Lakota boy named Robert Looks Twice—featured on a 2011 ABC Diane Sawyer special, “Hidden America: Children of the Plains.”

What is your greatest distraction when you’re trying to write? How do you overcome it?

My greatest distractions are also one of my greatest joys: my writing students. I’m so honored that people look to me to teach them the writing craft, but many times I find my own writing life suffering for it. A deadline is the best way for me to get back in the chair and write.

I'm with you on that deadline discipline, Linda! That's what keeps me on task!

What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

I loved Billy Coffey’s When Mockingbirds Sing (T. Nelson, 2013).  I’m excited about a meaty approach to Christian fiction. Coffey defies the standard advice that Christian fiction not be weighty or “Oprah Book Pick” material. Coffey makes you think, delivers an exciting story and all while writing beautiful prose.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a novel called A Symphony of Motion. Frankly I’m being told this is like an “Oprah Book Pick, (see above) so not sure when or if this story will find a CBA home. It’s about ten-year-old CC, musically gifted but mute due to trauma of the recent disappearance of her jazz-pianist dad.

When CC is sent to live with her aunt, the live-in boarder Pops—a former symphony conductor with Advanced Parkinson’s disease, she plays his grand piano, resulting in Pops’ Parkinson’s remission. Is it a miracle or simply the power of love? CC and Pops must each find the way to God.

Where else can readers find you online?

I am on Facebook, or Twitter or at my website www.Lindasclare.com. Just started on Pinterest.com. I also have a humorous alter ego, Miss Crankypants, who blogs at misswriterlycrankypants.blogspot.com.

The book can be purchased in fine book stores and online via the following buttons:



CBD.com
752797: A Sky without Stars, Quilts of Love Series #15


Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

What kinds of qualities do you like to see in a main character? Are you more interested in someone just like you or do you prefer to read about someone who is very different either culturally or ethnically? Why?

Thanks, Linda, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Linda has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Monday, May 5. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Linda's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interview with Davalynn Spencer, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of the book.

Also, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Davalynn Spencer and Free Books!

 photo BrandingWranglersHeart_2_zpsa957792c.jpgWhen Livvy Hartman’s old enemy rides to her rescue, she wonders if he might turn out to be much more than a new friend.

Before we visit today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Critical Condition, by Richard Mabry, is:

donvelma@ . . .

and the winner of the signed copy of Dynamo, by Eleanor Gustafson, is:

eileenmaryv@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll email you today to get your mailing addresses, and we'll get your books to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways! Subscribers are entered a second time when they comment.

And now let's visit with Davalynn Spencer, author of Branding the Wrangler’s Heart (Heartsong Presents | Harlequin, May 2014).

 photo mug_2_zpsc9203a09.jpgWhen the handsome, dark-eyed cowboy sauntered into Davalynn Spencer’s life, the gate to adventure swung wide. So began her journey as a bullfighter’s wife and an award-winning national rodeo journalist.

Her passion for words has also taken her from the city crime beat of a mid-size daily newspaper to inspirational publication with David C. Cook, The Upper Room, Chicken Soup for the Soul and others. When she’s not writing western romance, she teaches at Pueblo Community College and writes a slice-of-life column for her local newspaper.

She and her handsome cowboy have three children and four grandchildren and make their home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue.

Davalynn, please tell us three random things we might not know about you.

-- I was on the Price is Right.

-- In high school, I sat in the front pew of a church one Sunday morning waiting for the pastor to call on me to sing. He never did. I was in the wrong church.

-- When my rodeo clown husband was injured by a bull and forbidden by the plastic surgeon to return to the arena, I dressed up in my husband’s clown clothes, painted my face, and worked with another clown to keep the comedy acts going between events. Didn’t fight bulls, though. Mama didn’t raise no fool.

Those are great personal facts, Davalynn! I love the wrong-church one in particular.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Branding the Wrangler's Heart.

 photo BrandingWranglersHeart_2_zpsa957792c.jpg Finally out of school and bored silly at her parent’s Denver parsonage, Livvy Hartman moves in with her widowed grandfather to help take care of him and cook for his ranch hands on the Bar–HB near Cañon City, Colorado.

 But the ranch foreman is none other than her childhood nemesis, Whit Hutton, who teased and tormented her when she and her family used to visit. Whit still has that arrogant glint in his eye, but the rest of him is certainly no boy.

Livvy and Whit strike a tenuous truce until her grandfather invites her on the roundup against Whit’s wishes. Livvy proves she can hold her own with a branding iron, and even survives a sudden Rocky Mountain lightning storm.

But when she rides out on her own hunting for a patch of columbines, Whit finds the woman he’s fallen in love with cornered by a lethal enemy. Can he make it to her in time?

What is it about Livvy that will make your readers care about her?

Livvy longs to be her own person and does not want Whit Hutton telling her what she can and cannot do. She grew up spending summers at her grandfather’s ranch, and is determined to prove that she’s just as good with cattle and horses as any man.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

 photo Unknown_zps87caaa61.jpegCowgirl model, Angie Meadors




 photo c6e9bac69edca1f6a37a01c2644bbf74_zps55d88c7d.jpgand Eric Decker.





What is your greatest distraction when you’re trying to write? How do you overcome it?

Email. I check it too frequently for messages from various writer groups, my agent and editors, or comments on a Facebook post I’ve made. I try to keep it limited to mornings and spend the day aiming for my word count of 2,000 words minimum.

What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin. I enjoy reading well-written books, and this one certainly is. Plus it has a gripping plot and incredible characterization. It will leave you listening for God’s voice.

What are you working on now?

I have a long contemporary romance novel—with a cowboy, of course—that my agent is shopping, and I’m writing book four in the continuation of my Cañon City historical series. Branding the Wrangler’s Heart is book two, and book three, Romancing the Widow, will release in August.

Where else can readers find you online?

My website and blog: www.davalynnspencer.com
Facebook
Twitter: @davalynnspencer
Pinterest


The book can be purchased in fine book stores and online via the following buttons:



CBD.com
487091: Branding the Wrangler"s Heart


Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

Have you ever related to a character’s life and/or challenges so deeply, that you were encouraged to make changes in your own life? If so, how did the author of that character reach your heart?

Thanks, Davalynn, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Davalynn has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, May 1. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Davalynn's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interview with Beth White, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of the book.

Also, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Beth White and Free Books!

 photo 160189401_zps966f9162.jpegIn 1704, a French mail-order bride harbors a dangerous secret that jeopardizes the new Louisiana Colony.

Today we're visiting with novelist Beth White, author of The Pelican Bride (Revell, April 2014).

 photo IMG_7432Facebook_zps78055c1a.jpgBeth White is a native Southerner, born on the Gulf Coast and reared in northwest Mississippi. With undergraduate degrees in music and English education, plus a Masters in Creative Writing, she has spent the last thirty years teaching fine arts to preschoolers through college students.

Besides performing professionally as a singer and flutist, in the last thirteen years she has published (as Elizabeth White) four novellas and ten full-length novels with such publishers as Tyndale House, Zondervan, and Steeple Hill.

Beth’s current and most ambitious writing project to date is the culmination of a decade’s research into the cultural, political and religious development of the American Gulf Coast. The Pelican Bride launches The Gulf Coast Chronicles with the adventures of a ship full of French mail order brides.

Beth and her husband Scott have two married adult children and one grandchild. Beth teaches piano and chorus at an urban high school in Mobile, Alabama, an occupation which will undoubtedly one day become a story thread in a novel.

Please tell us three random things we might not know about you.

--I have a bird phobia. Chickens (live ones, anyway) totally creep me out.

--I went to high school with John Grisham at Southaven High School in Southaven, Mississippi. We had the same English teacher. I was a band geek; he was the star football quarterback.

--I have sold a few chalk pastel paintings—mostly portraits and landscapes in chalk pastel.

For an odd bit of trivia, Beth, my father had health issues with his eyes years ago, and his doctor said it was because he grew up on a chicken farm. There's something about being around chicken waste that's harmful to one's eyes. Nasty bit of info there, but your chicken phobia isn't completely out of place!

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of The Pelican Bride.


 photo 160189401_zps966f9162.jpegIt is 1704 when Frenchwoman Geneviève Gaillain and her sister board the frigate Pélican bound for the distant Louisiana colony. Both have promised to marry one of the rough men toiling in this strange new world in order to escape suffering in the old. Geneviève knows life won’t be easy, but at least here she can establish a home and family without fear of persecution for her outlawed religious beliefs.

When she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer-turned-farmer whose checkered past is shrouded in mystery, Geneviève realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. Trouble is brewing outside the fort between the French colonists and the native people surrounding them. And an even more sinister enemy may lurk within. Could the secret Geneviève harbors mean the undoing of the colony itself?

What is it about your lead characters that will make your readers care about them?

This being a romance, Geneviève and Tristan share the stage just about equally. Geneviève holds Protestant beliefs in a time and place when “reformists” faced large-scale persecution, but she tries to protect her younger sister from the consequences of her illegal faith.

Tristan is a reluctant diplomat who must reconcile his national loyalty with compassion for native peoples, and still protect the young women—especially Geneviève—who have come to help settle the colony.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

 photo images-1_zpsc56e3db0.jpegGeneviève would be Evangeline Lilly of Lost fame.




 photo images-2_zps5c161fd5.jpegTristan would be…maybe Colin Farrell?




What is your greatest distraction when you’re trying to write? How do you overcome it?

Squirrel! haha — everything distracts me. But especially Sudoku. When I figure out how to overcome it, I’ll let you know.

What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello. I don’t think it’s the first book in the Raleigh Harmon series, but it’s the last one I read. Highly recommended. Great mystery, and superb writing!

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the second book in The Gulf Coast Chronicles. It’s called The Creole Princess. Descendents of Geneviève and Tristan of The Pelican Bride, set during the American Revolution. Spanish gold. Pirates. Creole food. Mardi Gras. Lots of fun stuff!

That sounds great! Where else can readers find you online?

I hang out on Facebook, which sends my posts to Twitter. I occasionally post on the blog on my website.

The book can be purchased in fine book stores and online via the following buttons:




CBD.com
721973: The Pelican Bride, Gulf Coast Chronicles Series #1


Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

How many character point of views is too many for you? In other words, how many characters can you identify with and still stay connected to the story? Or does that even matter to you?

Thanks, Beth, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Beth has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Monday, April 28. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Beth's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interviews with Eleanor Gustafson and Richard Mabry, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of the book.

Also, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Richard Mabry and Free Books!

 photo CriticalConditioncoverrevised_zpsc70cb78c.jpgIt was supposed to be a quiet dinner party with her colleagues—not the scene of a murder.

Today we're visiting with Richard Mabry, author of Critical Condition (Harper Collins Christian Fiction, April 2014).

 photo RLMheadshot2_zps95d6841c.jpgRichard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and author of “medical suspense with heart.” His novels have been a semifinalist for International Thriller Writers’ debut novel, finalists for the Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Reader’s Choice Award, and winner of the Selah Award. Critical Condition is his seventh published novel.

Please tell us three random things we might not know about you.

— While serving in the Air Force in the Azores, I participated in a helicopter rescue at sea (although I’m scared of heights).

-- I still have the ball from the hit I got off Hall of Fame Yankees pitcher, Whitey Ford.

-- Kay and I spent our honeymoon in Thailand, where I was lecturing (and where I almost pushed her off an elephant).

I don't believe I'm familiar with that particular Thai marital custom, Richard.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Critical Condition.

 photo CriticalConditioncoverrevised_zpsc70cb78c.jpgThe murder of a stranger on her front lawn is only the first in a string of events that have Dr. Shannon Frasier’s life teetering on the edge of chaos: She’s unable to make the deeper commitment her boyfriend deserves. Her sister shows up at Shannon’s home needing a place to stay, but with no promise she’ll stay sober. And her father is diagnosed with cancer.

Then Shannon’s life stops teetering, and plunges into the abyss. Because the person behind the guttural voice on the phone wants to know what the stranger said before he died. And he won’t stop until Shannon gives him the information wants—even if she doesn’t have it.

He’s coming for her. She’s not sure the police on the case can be trusted. And her only hope of escape—for herself, and for those she loves—is to overcome her buried past.

What is it about Shannon that will make your readers care about her?

If anyone thinks Christians lead a charmed life, all they have to do is look at Dr. Shannon Frasier to learn differently. Her world is crumbling around her, but she keeps on trying (and leaning on God).

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

 photo Unknown_zpsb3aec7b6.jpegFor Dr. Shannon Frasier: Kate Hudson




 photo Unknown-1_zps0e80d23f.jpegFor Dr. Mark Gilbert: Nick Jonas




What is your greatest distraction when you’re trying to write? How do you overcome it?

I work at home, and there are times I think of something I want to tell Kay or vice-versa. If it’s important, I use the Radio Shack intercom between our offices. If it’s not important, I jot down a note. And if she interrupts me, I smile, turn away from the computer, and listen—I’m no dummy.

Indeed! What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

As a writer of suspense, I continually reread books in that genre in order to keep my “suspense” skills sharp. Currently I’m reading Dennis Lehane’s A Drink Before the War. I also reread the work of master novelists like Robert B. Parker, John Grisham, Lawrence Block, James Scott Bell, and many more. (It’s like spelling “Mississippi”—it’s easy to start, hard to stop).

What are you working on now?

I’m putting the finishing touches on a novel with the working title of Dead On Arrival. It begins when an ER doctor sees a nurse he’s been dating pushing a wheelchair into the ER. The man in the chair is bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. A gunman holds a pistol to the nurse’s head. “Save my brother’s life or everyone dies—starting with her.”

Pretty gripping beginning! I'm always impressed with thriller writers' ability to start at that level and keep it ramped up.

Where else can readers find you online?

I have a website. I blog every Tuesday and Friday. I’m on Twitter, have a Facebook author page, and you can find me on Goodreads.

The book can be purchased in fine book stores and online via the following buttons:



CBD.com
9110066: Dynamo


Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

About how many books a week/month/year do you read, and are they mainly fiction or non-fiction?

Thank you, Richard, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Richard has offered to give a signed copy of his book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, April 24. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Richard's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interview with Eleanor Gustafson, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of the book.

Also, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eleanor Gustafson and Free Books!

 photo image003_zpsbfa1c615.jpgDynamo appears to be about a nasty, five-gaited stallion, but the real main characters are Jeth and God. They seriously tangle, but in the end, God wins. ☺

Before we visit today's author, I want to announce that the winners of the signed copies of The Guy I'm Not Dating, by yours truly, are:

strgth4yu@ . . . and   ABreading4fun@ . . .

and the winner of the signed copy of A Captain for Laura Rose, by Stephanie Grace Whitson, is:

pattymh20009@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll email you today to get your mailing addresses, and we'll get your books to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways! Subscribers are entered a second time when they comment.

And now let's visit with Eleanor Gustafson, author of Dynamo (Whitaker House, April, 2014).

 photo GreenEllie_zps852f3a49.jpegEleanor K. Gustafson began thinking up stories when she was five or six. When she started to read, God drew her to Himself with, yes—a story. Her fascination with story continued, but after reading early written attempts, friends and even her mother told her straight out to stick to music as a career. She pushed manfully along, however, and began publishing both fiction and nonfiction in 1978.

Dynamo is her fifth novel and builds off her lifelong love of horses. Her previous title with Whitaker House is The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David.

A graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois, Eleanor has been actively involved in church life as a minister’s wife, teacher, musician, writer, and encourager. Additional experiences include gardening, house construction, tree farming, and parenting—all of which have helped bring color and humor to her fiction.

One of her major writing goals has been to make scriptural principles understandable and relevant for today’s readers through the undeniable power of story.

Please tell us three random things we might not know about you.

—I am addicted to Sudoku.

—I was Miss Branchville in the 1954 Sussex County Farm and Horse Show.

—My skeleton in the closet is a distant (as in 14 generations) genealogical connection with Al Gore, through the Schooley family.

So that's your inconvenient truth, is it, Eleanor?

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Dynamo.

 photo image003_zpsbfa1c615.jpgJeth Cavanaugh is searching for a new life along one of Pennsylvania's mountain ridges when he stumbles upon a stable of show jumpers owned by Rob and Katie Chilton. Throw in a volatile gaited stallion named Dynamo, and Jeth will do anything to work there. He earns his living by training and showing Rob's jumpers, but Dynamo is his primary passion.

Everything changes when God enters his life—in the unconventional form of a hard slap by an old girlfriend—and ignites a new, greater passion within him. But along with fervor comes fear at the undeniable evidence of God's hand on his life. Inexplicable events, both good and bad, make him moan plaintively, "Why does God do this to me? I get the feeling I'm being set up for something."

He is, indeed. Jeth's life is anything but predictable, much like the God he serves. The real Dynamo and his ultimate trainer emerge out of an excruciating mix of disaster and brokenness, which are never beyond the reach of redemption. This story is God in your face: Who is He, really? What does He ask of us?

What is it about Jeth that will make your readers care about him?

Jeth is real and has rough edges, both before and after his conversion. The story picks up on issues of anger, broken marriages, the pain of disaster, spiritual struggles, and teenage angst—and Jeth has to deal with all of them. But he has a heart for God and for people—a true servant.

What is your greatest distraction when you’re trying to write? How do you overcome it?

Too many other things call for my attention—caring for missionaries, devotional time and prayer needs, responding to emails, food prep and other household chores, exercise (2-3 miles/day), church involvement, and, of course, the social networking necessary for publicizing books. Which of these do you recommend I give up on? ☺ My problem exactly.

Yes, we do what we must do, and we hope the rest will fall into place, right?

What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

The Truth Teller by Angela Hunt. It’s well written; it grabs you right up front and won’t let you go till the end.

What are you working on now?

My writing has gone on hold until after Dynamo comes out, but I do have a novel, An Unpresentable Glory, that is in pretty good shape, except that I have yet to find a reader who really likes it. A lot of work still ahead! ☺

You made me laugh with that comment about your work in progress, Eleanor. Everyone's a critic!

Where else can readers find you online?

My website is www.eleanorgustafson.com. I blog every other week (www.eleanorgustafson.com/blog ) and have gotten good responses. Please check me out and bulk up my readership.

I’m also engaged in a Hartline Agency project of promoting each other’s books on Facebook, the idea being to reach a wide selection of readers, rather than just authors. It’s time consuming, but 40 sets of other people’s Facebook Friends is significant publicity.

I am on Linkedin but have not yet tackled Pinterest or Twitter. I do have an Author Page on Amazon , and my email is egus@me.com.

The book can be purchased in fine book stores and online via the following buttons:



CBD.com
9110066: Dynamo




Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

Given a choice, would you opt to read literary or well-written genre-based fiction, and for what reasons?

Thanks, Eleanor, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Eleanor has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, April 24. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Eleanor's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Also, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Monday, April 7, 2014

April Releases and Free Books!

 photo notdating_sm_zpsb9bc5a3d.jpgThis could be the start of a "they lived happily ever after" love story, if only she hadn't sworn off dating.

Next week I'm going to give away two copies of my first novel, The Guy I'm Not Dating. But today we're giving away books by two authors featured here last week.

The winner of the signed copy of A Beauty So Rare, by Tamera Alexander, is:

mstalgal1966@ . . .

and the winner of the signed copy of Marriage by Arrangement, by Anne Greene, is:

wileygreen1@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll email you today to get your mailing addresses, and we'll get your books to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways! Subscribers are entered a second time when they comment.

Now to next Monday's giveaway. Every once in awhile I give away one of my own novels, and next week I'm giving away two signed copies of my first published novel, The Guy I'm Not Dating.

Here's the storyline in a nutshell:

 photo notdating_sm_zpsb9bc5a3d.jpgKara Richardson has finally suffered one breakup too many. She's decided to go the no-dating route to romance, although she's not quite sure how that works.

She couldn't have picked a worse time to meet Gabe Paolino. Gorgeous men hardly faze Kara. A personal trainer, she works with hunks every day. But Gabe, the handsome young deli owner in town, proves way too available and way too challenging for Kara's vow of friendship. How will she adhere to her new lifestyle without scaring Gabe away?

Enter matchmaking friends, a strange elderly aunt, three demanding teens, and one hard-to-take vixen with eyes for Gabe. Add an overcrowded road trip and plenty of God's blessings, and Kara may discover that the guy she's not dating is the best boyfriend she's ever had.

And since I usually ask my guests to give us an idea of who they would cast in the movie version of their novels, I'm reposting what I said a few years ago about the hero and heroine of The Guy: 

Now let me show you my movie leads. Today I'll just show you who I pictured when writing Kara Richardson and Gabe Paolino, the heroine and hero from The Guy I'm Not Dating.


This is Shelby Lynne, a country music singer. I haven't a clue whether or not the girl can act, but this particular picture of her was very much how I pictured Kara (although Kara was less serious looking than this).





And this guy? I have no idea who this person is in real life, but he's how I pictured Gabe. Tall, dark, not too pretty, not too rugged. Juuuuuuuuust right. Okay, maybe he looks a little bit pretty here, but picture him in a white T-shirt and jeans. That's Gabe.



I've never been a hardcore proponent of the no-dating approach to relationships, but I did enjoy exploring the idea for this novel in a lighthearted and romantic fashion. The no-dating, courtship concept was popularized in Josh Harris's book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye.

My questions to you are, what is your take on the courtship idea? Do you know anyone who used that relationship method successfully?

Leave your answer in the comments section below to be entered in next week's drawing.

Be sure to check out my interview with Stephanie Grace Whitson, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of the book.

Also, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

As you scroll to the bottom of the post to leave your comment, take a look at some of the exciting new Inspirational fiction being released in April!

Contemporary Romance:

A Plain Man by Mary Ellis -- When a man returns to Amish ways after years apart, rigid district rules, a judgmental father, and his own pride conspire to separate him from the woman he loves. Josie Yoder was just a girl when he left. All grown up now, she gives Caleb hope for the future and reminds him that while his faith may have wavered, God never left his side. But will past mistakes end up destroying their fledgling romance before it really has a chance to begin? (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert -- After ten years in the fashion industry, twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark has learned a sacred truth-appearance is everything. When it starts to unravel, she'll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother's bridal wear line-an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. If only her tenuous future didn't rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Is it possible that God sees her-a woman stained and broken by the world-yet wants her still? (Contemporary Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

Rescued by the Firefighter by Gail Gaymer Martin -- A firefighter who has saved many lives except his own meets a woman with a surprising secret who could save him if she would allow him to save her first. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Unexpected Wedding by Carla Rossi -- In a wheelchair since a fall in college, Rocky Lionakis plays guitar and shares his testimony every week with the campers at Towering Pines summer church camp. At peace with his chair, he has settled into a boring but successful career in technology...but then stunning camp counselor, Gia Rinaldi, enters his life and turns it upside down. Giavanna Rinaldi, with a trail of bad choices in her wake, has finally grown up and found her niche as a student of Christian child psychology. She returns to Camp Towering Pines where she's worked since high school, but unsettling dreams and an unexplained illness lead her to a harrowing discovery. (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Rodeo Song by Shannon Taylor Vannatter -- Jenna Wentworth found the man of her dreams. But when silken-voiced Garrett Steele set out for stardom, he left Jenna-and his cowboy past-far behind. A chance encounter at one of his concerts propels him back into Jenna's life. Once upon a time, Garrett vowed he'd be a success, no matter what. But that path shattered his soul. His reunion with Jenna makes him long for things he once took for granted. Now he must show her that he's found what he was looking for all along...right here in his hometown. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Historical Romance:

For Such a Time by Kate Breslin -- A young, bitter, Jewess-in-hiding must send her own people to Auschwitz in order to survive, or put her trust in God by giving her heart to the man responsible for their doom. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Rainy Day Dreams by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith -- When the Burgert family moves to Seattle in 1852, Kathryn is convinced her father has destroyed her life. The backwoods settlement offers none of the comforts and culture she loves in San Francisco. She cares nothing for the new sawmill the townsfolk are so excited about. That is, until she meets Jason, a lumberjack with dreams for a bright future. As she comes to know Jason, Kathryn can't help catching his vision. But the future they hope for is anything but secure. There are some who see Seattle as a threat and will stop at nothing to make sure the sawmill fails. A gripping story of love, tenderness, and survival in the rugged Pacific Northwest. (Historical Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

The Preacher's Bride Claim by Laurie Kingery -- For the Thornton brothers, the Oklahoma Land Rush is the perfect opportunity to finally put down some roots. A new start, a new community-what more could preacher Elijah Thornton need. Not a wife-not after losing his fiancée. But something draws him to the pretty nurse whose eyes are clouded by trouble. (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Sincerely Yours by Ann Shorey, Laurie Alice Eakes, Amanda Cabot, and Jane Kirkpatrick -- Four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path toward a changed life--and perhaps lifelong love. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver's workshop to a remote and controversial hospital, readers will love being swept into the lives of four young women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

The Pelican Bride by Beth White -- It is 1704 when Genevieve Gaillain and her sister board a French ship headed for the Louisiana colony as mail-order brides. Genevieve knows life won't be easy, but at least here she can establish a home and family without fear of beheading. But when she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer whose courageous stand for fair treatment of native peoples has made him decidedly unpopular in the young colony, Genevieve realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker PublishingGroup])

Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White-- Baltimore, 1865--Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy...but espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unbeknownst to her, a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union she loves has been meeting in her basement. When she discovers the plots and papers covering her walls, she feels as though she is losing her world. Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to help end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn't just their inner workings that baffle him--it's the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet...somehow not an enemy of the Union. Can he trust her? (Historical Romance from Harvest House Publishers)

Contemporary:

Dynamo by Eleanor Gustafson -- Jeth Cavenaugh trains both show jumpers and the 5-gaited stallion Dynamo, but God, in extraordinary ways, is training Jeth-for what? (Contemporary from Whitaker House)

Just 18 Summers by Rene Gutteridge and Michelle Cox -- After the tragic death of Butch Browning's wife, Jenny, four families begin to realize how precious-and fleeting-their time together is. Each is at a different stage in life: Butch is facing single parenthood. The O'Reillys are expecting their first child. The Andersons are approaching an empty nest, and the Buckleys are so focused on providing their children with everything that they've forgotten what they truly need. With just eighteen summers before their children are grown, how do they make the most of that time when life so often gets in the way? (Contemporary from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

The Women of Valley View: Pam by Sharon Srock -- Pam's divorce broke her heart. The cruelty of her ex-husband broke her spirit. A bottle of sleeping pills almost took her life. Four years later the scars of Alan Archer's emotional abuse are beginning to fade under the love of her new husband. When Alan returns to Garfield, Pam must learn that buried secrets and carefully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness. (Contemporary from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Medical Thriller:

Critical Condition by Richard L. Mabry M.D. -- It was supposed to be a quiet dinner party with her colleagues. Not the scene of a murder. Dr. Frasier couldn't save the gunshot victim on her front lawn. Now she's fighting for her own life. With a sister suffering from addiction, and her own fear of commitment to her "almost-fiancé" causing guilt, she turns to her pastor-father for help, only to learn he's just been diagnosed with leukemia. Shannon thought it couldn't get any worse. Then the late-night, threatening phone calls begin, the rough voice asking, "What did he say before he died?" With everything around her in a critical state, simply staying alive will require all the resources and focus Shannon has. (Thriller/Suspense from HarperCollins [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

Romantic Suspense:

Perilous Waters by Sandra Orchard -- On an Alaskan cruise, an undercover FBI agent, seeking evidence of art crimes, befriends an heiress trying to convince her twin to sell their gallery, except an assassin has different plans. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Happy reading!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Stephanie Grace Whitson and Free Books!

 photo ACaptainforLauraRose_zps82c9b353.jpg Life on a Missouri River steamboat is all Laura Rose White as ever wanted, and unless she finds a pilot willing to take orders from a woman, she’s going to lose the fight to keep her Laura Rose.

Today we're revisiting with novelist Stephanie Grace Whitson, author of A Captain for Laura Rose (FaithWords, March 2014).

 photo StephanieGraceWhitson_zps24be2f80.jpgWith the spring 2014 release of A Captain for Laura Rose, best-selling, award-winning author Stephanie Grace Whitson will have twenty-six novels and two works of non-fiction to her credit.

She received her MA in Historical Studies from Nebraska Wesleyan University in May of 2012 and is a frequent guest speaker/lecturer on a variety of historical and inspirational topics for civic organizations, libraries, quilt guilds, and church groups.

Her husband and blended family, her church, historical research, antique quilts, and Kitty—her motorcycle—all rank high on her list of “favorite things.”

Please tell us three random things we might not know about you.

--I’ve studied quilt and textile history for over twenty years and once considered becoming a certified quilt appraiser.

--I “met” the famous race horse Secretariat and gave him one of his favorite treats—peppermint candy.

--I love to hand quilt and hate to sit at a sewing machine—and recently paid $2.50 for an antique quilting frame at an estate sale.

I imagine working with a quilting frame as being very therapeutic.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of A Captain for Laura Rose.

 photo ACaptainforLauraRose_zps82c9b353.jpg It is 1867, and no one is inclined to accept the idea of licensing a female as a Missouri River boat pilot—even though Laura’s well-respected father has taught her everything he knew about piloting. When tragedy strikes, Laura must make the two-month journey from St. Louis to Fort Benton, Montana and back in order to save her family’s legacy, her home, and the only life she’s ever known.

The only way for Laura to overcome the nearly insurmountable odds is with the help of her brother’s disreputable friend Finn MacKnight, a skilled pilot with a terrible reputation. Laura loathes having to accept MacKnight as her copilot, especially when she learns she must also provide passage for his two sisters. Straitlaced Fiona has a fear of water, and unpredictable Adele seems much too comfortable with the idea of life in the rough-and-tumble environment of the untamed river and the men who ply it.

What is it about Laura that will make your readers care about her?

Laura is the kind of woman we all admire. She’s caught up in a seemingly impossible situation, and she refuses to give up. She has courage and tenacity—but she also has some lessons to learn about what’s really important in life.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

 photo Unknown-1_zps14fcbc7b.jpeg I could see Keira Knightly as Laura.




 photo Unknown-2_zps37da726d.jpegFinn would be a bit more difficult to cast. Laura calls him “dark and dangerous-looking.” I just googled “dark and dangerous-looking film stars” and the images made me laugh. No Finn there. I suppose Tom Cruise could pull it off, but he’d have to be more Jack Reacher and less boy-next-door.


 photo Unknown-3_zpsb2cea797.jpegMaybe Javier Bardem—without the evil edge that he’s so good at playing.





What is your greatest distraction when you’re trying to write?

Myself. I have a multitude of interests that beg for attention…not the least of which is six wondermous grandchildren who live right here in my home town and who are growing up way too fast.

Ah, nearby grandchildren. That sounds like such a blessing, but I can see how, in this circumstance, that could be a procrastination curse!  My amazing grandkids are a solid hour away, so visiting them requires deliberate scheduling. 

How do you overcome your distractions?

Not very well, sometimes. Balancing life in 2014 is a perpetual challenge.

Amen to that. 

What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

I don’t know if it’s the last one (I read two or three novels a week), but I loved Ann Tatlock’s book Sweet Mercy, which my local Christian fiction book club read together. Ann has a gentle touch when it comes to the real issues behind her character’s struggles, and yet she does a beautiful job of making her readers think about those issues.

One of the characters who spoke to me most was a young woman who was very “black and white” and who tended to be judgmental of others who had made less-than-perfect decisions about life. Seeing that young woman mature and realize that life isn’t always “black and white” spoke to me personally.

What are you working on now?

My 2015 book for FaithWords, Daughter of the Regiment. Maggie Malone is an Irish immigrant who, in 1861, really just wants “the Americans” to settle their problems and leave her and her family out of it. But the Malone farm is in a part of Missouri known as Little Dixie.

When Maggie’s two brothers join the Union Army’s Irish Brigade, Maggie and a neighbor named Libbie Blair (whose brother owns a hemp plantation worked by slaves) are both caught up in the neighbor-against-neighbor conflict that characterized Missouri in the Civil War.

Where else can readers find you online?

www.stephaniewhitson.com
Facebook
I also have an author blog and a history blog. Links to both appear on the home page of my web site.


The book can be purchased in fine book stores and online via the following buttons:




CBD.com
529056: A Captain for Laura Rose


Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

Have you ever been to St. Louis or traveled along the Missouri River? What was your favorite historical site? Why?

Thanks, Stephanie, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Stephanie has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Monday, April 14. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Stephanie's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interviews with Tamera Alexander and Anne Greene, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of the book.

Also, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.
 

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