Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Change is Inevitable

Today's tip is a bit different than some of my other posts. This one incorporates a wonderful book that could give you a new perspective on something few people enjoy: change! Like it or not, it is something we must deal with on a regular basis, often daily. Strong's book encourages the reader to embrace change instead of run from it.

My Review...

Change. Does anyone really enjoy it? Unfortunately, it is inevitable. Change is a source of great stress for many people. Strong wants to help the reader look at change in a new way: as a blessing from God and not a curse. This can be done by focusing on God’s purpose instead of worrying about the situation. By doing this, it is actually possible for someone to thrive amidst change. Our reactions to change shape our life.

Often, God uses change to get our attention. Strong shares her personal struggles, along with relevant stories (such as Joseph and his brothers and Abram) and Scripture verses, which makes this book a quick, identifiable, and easy read. Her authentic voice feels like you are listening to a friend offer suggestions on how to approach change from a different perspective. This is important, as it is impossible to outrun change. Each chapter ends with a prayer.

Some key takeaways from this book are:
  • “Life’s limitations are God’s invitation to change our expectations.”
  • “If God is sending you to a new place, He’s sending you with a promise.”
  • “If God is close to us amidst change He brings to us, then He is working through it to bring out some positive change in us as well.”
  • “God doesn’t want us to worry about the tomorrows of change because He wants us to see all the ways He’s taking care of us today.”

While change may still be uncomfortable, Strong helps the reader to remember that God is always there. Change is a bit easier when we remember to alter our attitude about change and trust God.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher (Revell Reads blogger program) in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Reads with "The Sweetest Rain" by Myra Johnson

To celebrate her latest release, Myra is giving away one (1) copy of "The Sweetest Rain" (hard copy - US ONLY). To enter, go to the Rafflecopter box at the end of this post. The last day to enter is September 30, 2015. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I will contact you and then pass your information along to Myra. Good luck!

Inspiration behind the story…

     After I completed my post-WWI romance series, Till We Meet Again, my editor suggested a new series set in the 1930s. I picked up several books about the era, including one with personal accounts of survivors of the Great Depression in Arkansas. Ideas started percolating, especially as I read about the devastating drought of 1930-31. I imagined three sisters living on a struggling tenant farm and the hopes and dreams they might hold dear. I chose the name Eden for the community where they lived because of the sharp contrast between the searing heat of that Arkansas summer and the lush beauty of the biblical Eden. Then it seemed only natural to give the three girls flower names—Bryony, Larkspur, and Rose—reminders of something pretty, green, and growing, and the hope of better days to come.
     As it turned out, the publishing house I had been working with changed course, so for a while I wondered if I’d have the opportunity to see these stories in print. I was thrilled when my agent found another home for them with Franciscan Media!

My Review…

Bryony Linwood dreams of a different life. Instead, her reality includes raising her sisters on their grandfather’s struggling tenant farm in Arkansas during the middle of a drought. Food is scarce and their money is about gone. Bryony devises a plan which she hopes will help them keep their farm. Unfortunately, it involves working as a housemaid for Sebastian Heath, their strict landlord who is seemingly without compassion.

Michael Heath is trying to forget the war he barely survived, all the while struggling with shell shock and damage from mustard gas. The one thing that brings him any solace is drawing, particularly botanical illustrations. His father, however, is pressuring him to join in the family business of overseeing the plantation, which Michael vows not to do.

Days are long for Bryony, as she spends all day working at the mansion and then goes home to care for her sisters. She begins to develop feelings for Michael, which is something that could only lead to problems for both of them if his father were to find out. However, the heart wants what the heart wants. Is it possible for them to move beyond their positions and have a future together? Or will Michael bow to his father’s wishes to protect all he holds dear?

There is so much to say about this book, starting with the wonderful cover that is closely linked to the main character, Bryony, who has a beautiful name. She is a strong, independent heroine who is willing to do whatever it takes to hold her family together. Some scenes have a bit of a Gone with the Wind feel to them, particularly in the discussions of plantations. Johnson educates the reader along the way on various topics, such as the harsh realities during the Great Depression, racial division, Alzheimer’s disease, and the England Food Riot of 1931. The characters also demonstrate sacrificial love, which may remind the reader of what God did for us through Jesus. This book was different from what I normally read, but I found it to be extremely engaging. I told myself, “Just one more chapter.” on more than one occasion! I look forward to reading the second book in the series.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Q & A with Myra…

 Q:  What are your thoughts on the publishing industry, particularly in relation to self-publishing?
 A:  There are certainly a lot more options for getting published these days, and the stigma of self-publishing isn’t what it once was. Unfortunately, there are still a few companies out there ready to lock uninformed writers into expensive self-publishing deals and then give them nothing for their money except a garage full of books they then have to sell themselves.
            Personally, I’m happy to be a hybrid author, both traditionally and independently published. Having your book contracted by a reputable publishing house gives an air of credibility and (usually) the assurance of skilled editing and at least some level of in-house marketing and promotion. Independent publishing, on the other hand, gives the author full control over content, design, and production, and also can be a viable alternative when the story doesn’t easily fit into a single marketable genre—true of my novel Pearl of Great Price.
However, I can’t help but be concerned about the growing number of self-published books now available on Amazon and through other independent sources. Authors who invest in quality editing and attractively designed covers have an edge that I hope won’t be undercut by those who are just throwing their books out there without the benefit of professional input.

Q:  What would you be doing if you were not an author?
A:  It would probably be something animal-related, like fostering rescue dogs or volunteering at an animal shelter. Several years ago, before my writing career began to take so much time, my husband and I volunteered several hours a week at a therapeutic horseback riding center. I’d probably still be doing that if we hadn’t moved from the area and the writing life hadn’t gotten so busy.

Q:  What advice do you have for new authors?
A:  First, naturally, I’d invite them to visit Seekerville, my group blog devoted to teaching and encouraging others along the writing journey. The archives are filled with instructional and motivational posts about writing. I’d also recommend joining a writers group and connecting with a critique partner whose opinions and skills you respect. And read! Read lots and lots and lots of books in your chosen genre. Not only will you get a feel for what editors are publishing and readers are buying, but you’ll learn which publishing houses would be the best fit for your stories.

Q:  What is the next project you are working on?
A:  I just turned in book two in my “Flowers of Eden” series and am ready to start writing the third book, which will feature Rose, the youngest of the three Linwood sisters. Set on the family tenant farm in 1933-34, this book will tell the love story of Rose and her longtime best friend, Caleb Wieland, both of whom were first introduced in The Sweetest Rain.

Q:  What is your favorite writing-related book?
A:  Probably the most helpful instructional book I’ve ever read is Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer. If I had to recommend just one book to an aspiring writer, that would be the one. A close second is Dr. Stanley Williams’s The Moral Premise: Harnessing Virtue & Vice for Box Office Success. Stan’s teachings have helped me tremendously to identify the single universal truth at the heart of each story and make sure this truth is reflected in each character’s growth and plot development.

Q:  PC or Mac?
A:  Mac, definitely! I’ve been an Apple convert since 2007!

Q:  City or country?
A:  A little of each, preferably. I like being near the city for shopping, restaurants, etc., but I prefer a “country” feel—a little space between us and the neighbors, lots of trees, birds and wildlife in abundance (except the creepy-crawly kind!).

Q:  Cat or dog?
A:  I love them both! For several years, though, we’ve just had dogs (two rescue pooches these days). A grandson was severely allergic to cats, so since our last cat went to kitty heaven, we haven’t gotten another.

Q:  Introvert or extrovert?
A:  Terribly, incurably introverted!

Q:  Tea or coffee?
A:  Earl Grey every morning, the occasional decaf after dinner or with a yummy slice of pie.

Q:  Mountains or ocean?
A:  I love the beach! Mountains make me a little claustrophobic.

Q:  Winter or summer?
A:  Definitely summer. Give me a warm, sunny day anytime! Snow is pretty to look at once or twice a year, but I despise being cold.

Q:  Casual or dressy?
A:  Um, all I can say is, I’m glad you can’t see what I’m wearing right now! (And I guarantee it isn’t dressy!)

Q:  Twitter or Facebook?
A:  Both, for different reasons. But keeping up can be so hard!

Q:  Mexican food or Italian food?
A:  Both, just not at the same time—LOL! And make mine Tex-Mex since I grew up in the Texas Rio Grande Valley!

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Myra. I'm sure my readers will enjoy getting to know you a bit better :) And, I totally agree with you about creepy-crawly bugs and being a casually dressed introvert!

About Myra…

Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Her historical romance When the Clouds Roll By won the 2014 Christian Retailing’s Best award for historical fiction. Myra is also a two-time finalist for the ACFW Carol Award and winner of the 2005 RWA Golden Heart. Married since 1972, Myra and her husband have two beautiful daughters and seven grandchildren. They reside in beautiful North Carolina near four of their grandchildren, but as a native Texan Myra sorely misses real Texas barbecue and those gorgeous bluebonnets every spring! The Johnsons share their home with two pampered rescue dogs.

Readers can keep up with the latest by subscribing to my e-newsletter (http://myrajohnson.com/newsletter-signup/) or visiting me online at the links below:

Twitter: @MyraJohnson and @TheGrammarQueen

Amazon link for purchase...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Next Door to a Star by Krysten Lindsay Hager

My Review...

Hadley Daniels already feels invisible in her school, and after her best friend moves, she finds herself feeling all alone among the crowds and cliques. Thankfully, her plans for summer look bright. They will be spent with her grandparents in Grand Haven, Michigan, staying next door to the popular teenage star Simone Hendrickson. Hadley envisions getting closer to Simone, and they do become friends. However, in her excitement, she begins to neglect her other friend, Charlotte. Then there is Nick Jenkins, the boy that she is crushing on. Unfortunately, he believes some rumors and puts their budding relationship on the back burner. When Hadley’s family decides to move to town, she is positive that the upcoming school year will be the best ever. Who knows what other famous people she will encounter? Could it include her celebrity crush, Jack Brogger? Will she finally have a year to look forward to, which will include best friends, a boyfriend, and a social life?

Who hasn’t dreamed of living next door to a celebrity, hanging out with them, and actually being able to call them a friend? I know I would love that, and I’m an adult! That excitement would only be magnified for a teenager. Hager totally nails teen drama and angst, complete with cliques, first loves, first kisses, and all the associated gossip with that age group. There are a number of humorous scenes, and one in particular involving self-tanners. Unfortunately, that one may be relatable for many readers. I particularly enjoyed Hadley’s grandparents, who are well-meaning but lovably clueless at times. Starting over is tough for anyone, and especially difficult for teenage girls. Hager has the ability to transport the reader back in time and, in this case, will have them envisioning what their teenage years would have been like if they had been living next door to a star.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon link for purchase...


Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Taming Your To-Do List

I'm going to do things a bit differently for my "Tuesday Tip" today. I recently had the opportunity to read a wonderful book, and I would like to share my thoughts and review with all of you.

I don't know about you, but I know that I have a daily "To-Do" list. Some of the items on my list are things which must be completed that day, and others are items that have been shifted from list to list to list. In addition to my daily list, I have a number of sticky note reminders all over my desk. Does this sound at all familiar to anyone?

When I came across this book, I was hopeful that it would give me some tips on making my list more productive. I am happy to report that I was not disappointed. If you are struggling to do the same with your "To-Do" list, I hope you will read my review and consider reading this book.

My Review...

 Are you someone who feels that their "To-Do" list will never end? Or, do you feel that you accomplish everything you want to do in a day? Many people tend to focus on what is not completed instead of what is actually accomplished each day. If this sounds like you, then this is a book to check out. It is for busy people everywhere (and not just women).

Whitwer is a self-proclaimed procrastinator. In her latest book, she offers practical tips and advice that get right to the point. She addresses topics such as why people procrastinate, learning to get the right things done, and how perfectionism can make us feel like a failure. Her easy writing style makes this a relatable book.

In today’s society, people often feel the need to constantly be available to everyone at all times, and they tend to put off the important things. It is a common practice to fill the day with busy work versus important work.  However, this does not necessarily mean that being busy is a bad thing. Learning how to prioritize and organize are key components of this book. Whitwer offers ideas on making specific, measurable goals. Each chapter ends with a “Practical Application” section. She weaves in a number of biblical truths along the way.

There are a number of poignant takeaways, including:

  •   “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall bend and not be broken.”
  • “I can’t be perfect, but I can be perfectly me.”
  • “All procrastination is delay, but not all delay is procrastination.”
  •  “Your worth and value will never be found in how quickly you complete a task or how many items you check off your to-do list.”

I recommend adding this book to your “To-do” list today.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher (Revell Reads blogger program) in exchange for an honest review.

Link for purchase:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

September Featured Book #2 ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Bonnie has graciously offered to give away a copy of the book to one lucky person (US only). To enter, see the Rafflecopter box at the bottom of this post.  (Contest ends September 30, 2015.) If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you and then pass your information on to Bonnie. Good luck!

A Word from Bonnie...

Leslie, thank you for including me on your blog. I’m excited to share the story behind the story of my new book, To Dance With Dolphins. It’s been a long journey getting here.

When my van was hit by a log truck in 1991, leaving me with a permanently injured spine and disability, I had no idea what God was going to do with my life. And the story To Dance With Dolphins wasn’t even a glimmer in my eye.

The accident left me unable to return to work, and I didn’t know what I was going to do with the rest of my “miserable” life. As always, the Lord came through. He lifted me up out of my pit of despair and offered me purpose and a new direction. He gave me writing, and I created my first novel The Journey of Eleven Moons in 1993. I’ve been writing ever since.

I love to write and I’m grateful for God’s gift, but living with chronic pain and disability is a rough road, and one I would not have chosen. Having experienced the challenges that come with such a life I’ve longed to create a story that would uplift and give hope to others like me and to encourage those who stand with loved ones who suffer. I also hope the book will help the healthy among us to have a better understanding of what life with a chronic illness, emotional or physical, looks like.

The story of Claire, Sean, Willow, Tom, and Taylor has been simmering in my mind and heart for many years. There always seemed to be a more pressing project that required my attention and the development of the book remained on the proverbial shelf ... until last year. I decided nothing would keep me from creating the story, and I went to work.

When I presented the idea to Ashberry Lane Publishing, they caught the vision right away. They helped me bring my unique cast of characters and their story to the world.

Some readers may fear that a book about chronic illness will be depressing ... and it could be, but To Dance With Dolphins is not. Its lively characters bring to life the reality of what it means to live with chronic illness and the questions that come with it—such as, How can a God of mercy allow suffering?—and what should our response be to His sovereignty? But readers also get to ride along with the travelers as they live out a life-changing adventure of fun and challenges that open up the possibilities of joy and discarded dreams.

No matter what our circumstance in life may be, we all have hopes and dreams. We need to believe they are obtainable or, at the very least, find contentment and perhaps joy in a new direction.

You can find my review on the RT Bookreviews website at the following link:
(4.5 - TOP PICK/4.5 stars)

About Bonnie...

Bonnie Leon is the author of twenty-one novels, including the newly released To Dance With Dolphins.  She and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon.  They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.

Buy Links...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Reads: "Basket Case" by Nancy Haddock (and a GIVEAWAY!)

In celebration of her latest release, Nancy has agreed to give away two (2) copies of "Basket Case" (winner's choice of either a hard copy or eBook). You can enter by going to the Rafflecopter box at the end of this post. You must do this by September 17, 2015 to be eligible to win. If you are one of the randomly chosen winners, I will contact you to get your information to pass along to the author. Good luck!

A Word from Nancy …

Greetings, Leslie and Readers! What a high it is to be here sharing some things that inspired me to write Basket Case. The first point of inspiration has to be growing up in a small town – namely, Sapulpa, OK. Sapulpa had (still has!) a main drag rather than a town square, and there was I time I think I knew every inch of it.
The second and perhaps most important factor that inspired the book was being witness to my parents’ forever friendships - with people in our neighborhood, with those they’d met via my dad’s time in the Marine Corps, and those they’d met through work, volunteering, etc. Watching my parents and their friends age wasn’t always pretty, but they taught me the grace of growing older. Now I’m privileged to have my own relationship with my parents’ friends – and with their children.
Basket Case is set in fictional Lilyvale, Arkansas, but the town is based primarily on Magnolia, AR. A funny thing happened to me there, and though I don’t want to give it away, I did use an exaggerated version of the incident in the book. That paired with the fact that one of my older friends was raised in Magnolia sealed the deal in using the town as a template. I hope you’ll have fun meeting the Silver Six, their family, and their friends!

My Review…

(I gave it 4/4.5 stars.)

About Nancy…

Nancy Haddock is an award-winning and national bestselling author of mystery romance who now writes cozy mystery. Basket Case, the first book in the Silver Six Crafting mysteries, will be released in Sept. 2015 with Berkley Prime Crime. Her earlier books, also with Berkley, are La Vida Vampire, Last Vampire Standing, and Always The Vampire, feature Cesca, aka Gidget with fangs, and are set in Haddock’s current hometown, St. Augustine, FL. Nancy draws on historic wealth, southern culture, and the plain old quirkiness of places for her books. She lives with her husband and rescue dog Baron.

You can find Nancy online at the following:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tuesday Tip: Run-on Sentences and Comma Splices

Tuesday Tip
Run-on Sentences and Comma Splices

These are two problems commonly found in fiction. A run-on sentence is a sentence that joins two independent clauses without punctuation or without an appropriate conjunction. A comma splice is similar, but it uses a comma to join two clauses without an appropriate conjunction.

There are various ways to fix the problem. These include:

  1. The two independent clauses can be separated into individual sentences.
  2. The comma can be replaced with a coordinating conjunction (for, and, not, but, or, yet).
  3. The comma can be replaced with a semicolon.
  4. The comma can be replaced by a subordinating conjunction (after, although, before, as, because, unless, if, even though, since, while, when, until).
  5. The comma can be replaced with a semicolon and a transitional word (otherwise, as a result, however, moreover, on the other hand, also, nevertheless, instead, consequently, therefore).

Here are some examples:

  • Incorrect: You can use a pencil or pen, there are various choices.
  • Correct:    You can use a pencil or pen. There are various choices.
  • Correct:    You can use a pencil or pen for there are various choices
  • Correct:    You can use a pencil or pen; there are various choices.
  • Correct:    You can use a pencil or pen, because there are various choices.
  • Correct:    You can use a pencil or pen; therefore, there are various choices. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Reads with "Refuge of the Heart" by Ruth Logan Herne (and a GIVEAWAY!)

To celebrate her latest release, Ruth is giving away one (1) copy of "Refuge of the Heart" (reader's choice of hard copy or eBook). To enter, go to the Rafflecopter box at the end of this post. The last day to enter is September 10, 2015. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I will contact you to find out your preference and pass your information along to Ruth. Good luck!

Inspiration behind the Story...

Well, this is the most important thing of all. Like most stories, a combination of things came together and made me say, "What it?" My daughter was sent to Myanmar to study refugee camps there… a chance encounter with a parking lot cart boy who thanked me for putting my cart back because so many people don't bother…and then all of a sudden, I saw "Lena," a refugee who goes the distance, a victimized woman with a rise-above mentality strengthened by faith, hope, and love. The love of her family, of her mother, of her little sister, born out of grievous circumstances. Chechnya was in a frantic state at the time, so many people seized and killed, and there was little to be done. So much blame, and so little action. But when I read of one small Catholic enclave that had been obliterated, one by one, that helped cement where the story should be set…and Lena's history was born. Fiction from fact.

We have many refugees here in upstate New York. Each one has a story. Most stories aren't as dark as Lena's, but I worked with Cambodians who had to escape their country post-Vietnam as they helped Americans. They made it across a great space, and across the river, and eventually here, to America where they worked cleaning restaurants and businesses…and now the son owns a beautiful restaurant, employing two dozen people.

So many things came together to make this story happen, but primarily it was spirit-driven. Lena's story came to me like a blessing from the Holy Spirit… and it needed to be told. God has surely blessed America!

My Review ...

Refugee Magdalena (“Lena”) Serida and her five-year-old sister Anna escaped an uprising in Chechnya and headed to America to pursue a better life. Lena is in nursing school and struggling to support her sister, but she is quite content with her new life. She meets District Attorney Mitchell Sanderson when he helps her with a flat tire. This chance encounter is the start of a new friendship. A tragic accident once cost Mitch everything he loved, so he is not looking for a relationship at this time. Or so he thought. He finds himself falling for the Christian refugee from an Islamic region as she slowly turns his world upside down. Lena has a strong faith, which is something that Mitch is struggling with. He can tell she is fearful about something related to her past, and he wonders what it is. How will he feel about her when he learns the whole story?

This is the first full-length novel from Ruth Logan Herne, and I certainly hope it will not be her last! There is so much to be said about this book. The story details how opposites can truly attract. There are a number of emotionally gripping scenes, including some humorous ones as Lena tries to get a grasp of the American language.

While Mitch is a strong, driven character, and Anna is endearing, Lena is truly the heart and soul of this novel. She is a strong, courageous, and inspiring character — one of the best characters I have encountered in a long time (and I read a lot of books!). She is a kind soul despite her past circumstances, and she is determined not to be stopped by those events. Lena has many wonderful insights about faith, such as: “Perhaps faith is the equalizer. If we are born with varied talents and strengths, perhaps it is the valor of God which brings us to new heights.” As a refugee, she understands how much responsibility comes with the freedom that many people take for granted every day. Lena also exemplifies the importance of remembering to bless others when we, ourselves, have been blessed.

This is a well-researched novel and it educates the reader on refugees and Chechnya, which may be unfamiliar to some readers. The relationships develop at a realistic pace, and the emotional ending will stick with you beyond the final sentence.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Q & A  with Ruth...

Q: What are your thoughts on current trends in the publishing industry, including self-publishing?
A:  This is the best time ever to be an author! No longer must authors wait to be discovered and published by diminishing publishers and their lists. We have a host of choices awaiting us! Now this shouldn't minimize our responsibility to bring the best work possible to readers, but I trust readers to find me (my traditional and indie published works) and they do! I am so blessed to have a foot in both waters.

Q:  What would you be doing if you weren't an author?
A:  Well, I'm still doing it, LOL! Like so many others, I'm still working a full-time job with children, and I love it. Keeping myself immersed in young families helps me to keep my fingers on the pulse of today's family dynamic: the good, the bad, and the funny! I have six children, and now a 14th grandchild on the way, and I love being surrounded by mayhem. While this works for me, most folks would cringe … But I'm okay with controlled chaos and kids love it!

Q:   What advice do you have for new authors?
A:   I get all Winston Churchill on them: Never give up. Never, ever, ever give up. Write every day. Don't take a day off. Develop writer habits early. Don't whine :)

Q:   What is your next project that you are currently working on?
A:   Several! I'm so delighted to say that! I've got several novella collections coming out in early October: "Home for Christmas," a historical collection, "A Heart Full of Christmas," a contemporary collection, and a duo/duet called "Ribbons and Roses" with Mia Ross, a friend and fellow Love Inspired author. Then I have my first Grace Haven release for Love Inspired in January, "An Unexpected Groom," a Franciscan release in March, "More Than a Promise,"and then the first Double S Ranch book for Waterbrook/Multnomah, "Back in the Saddle." It is been a crazy, fun, busy year here on the farm, Leslie!

Q:   What is your favorite writing-related book?
A:   Don't hate me. I never read writing-related books. I do study authors. I'm self-taught. I never went to college, so what you get from me are life-shaped stories that embrace all of the beauty, wonder, and sometimes ill, of mankind, but with the strength and wonder of faith, hope, and love, and how that strengthens us — ALL OF US! — To those times of trouble. But what I do believe is that practice, practice, practice makes better writers. I don't learn by reading … I learn by doing, so once I recognized that, I pushed myself to be like Dorrie on Finding Nemo : (imagine sing-song voice) "Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing…" :)

Q:   Now for a few fun getting-to-know-you questions. PC or Mac?
A:   PC, an HP laptop that I love, love, love with Windows 7, because why on earth would I want to waste good writing time teaching myself Windows 8??

Q:  City or country?
A:   Both. I live in the country. We have a small farm, so summer is crazy busy, but I love going down to NYC (about five hours away). I'm in upstate, so envision Lake Ontario, with hills and green, green, green, deciduous forest land. If you don't mow it or plow it, a forest will appear, and fairly quickly! Amazing! But I love going to the Big Apple, Philly, Baltimore, etc. I love cities!

Q:   Cat or dog?
A:   Dog, but we have two farm cats, too, and they are sweeties.

Q:   Introvert or extrovert?
A:   Extrovert. I love people.

Q:   Tea or coffee?
A:   HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA :)  I am an admitted coffee addict. But I'm safe to drive with, so that's good, right???

Q:   Mountains or ocean?
A:   Gosh, both. Who wouldn't love both? But if I was to live by one or the other, it would be water. I love watching storms roll and ebb across the water.

Q:   Winter or summer?
A:   Winter. Hot and muggy and bug-infested aren't my thing. I love winter. I'm weird, I own that, but by the end of February I'm ready to be done with it and embrace spring. Up here, winter is not generally that accommodating!

Q:   Casual or dressy?
A:   Both. Mostly casual by nature of working with kids, but I love to dress up now and again and make sure I'm still a girl!

Q:   Twitter or Facebook?
A:   Facebook. I love human contact. I love chatting back and forth with people!

Q:   Mexican food or Italian food?
A:   Italian, Italian, Italian! I love pasta! I will never be a skinny woman because I love pasta and potatoes (I'm Irish, so of course, right??) and homemade bread.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I'm sure my readers will enjoy getting to know you a bit better :)

About Ruth...

Multi-published, best-selling author Ruth Logan Herne lives in upstate New York where record-setting snowfall buys her extra time to write sweet books mid-winter. Inaccessibility has its advantages! She loves God, her family, her country, dogs, chocolate, and coffee. The order of preference varies depending on mood and season. She loves to hear from readers. You can friend her on Facebook or stop by her website (http://ruthloganherne.com/), visit her in Seekerville (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/), or the Yankee Belle Cafe (http://yankeebellecafe.blogspot.com/), where she and a sweet group of regional authors share recipes, thoughts, and pictures of life, sweet life!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September Featured Book #1

A Word from Lillian…

I'll share a bit about how I came up with Maven, a crime-fighting speech pathologist.

I was a school speech pathologist, also known as an SLP, for more than thirty years. I've also been writing for twenty. During that time, I never figured out a way to merge the two together until about two years ago, when three things happened within a week of each other.

First, I was talking with someone whose daughter had been in a serious accident that resulted in brain damage. She was having difficulty with her expressive language skills. He was telling me about a program they planned on attending to help.

Second, my brother was talking with me about my writing. He wondered why I never featured a speech therapist in any of my books. My honest answer was that I had never figured out how to work a speech therapist into a suspense story. I loved being a speech pathologist, but I'll be the first to admit that it can be a bit boring listening to a student practice S or R again for the 600th time!

Anyway, later in the week, I wasn't doing anything in particular. Probably writing in the car or with my husband watching TV. Two activities that promote daydreaming in me.

All of a sudden, a 10-second movie blip played in my head. I saw a young woman running through the woods. As she emerged from the trees, she ran onto a highway where the headlights of a truck blinded her.

In that instant, the plot of Deadly Communications was born and from that Maven, my crime-fighting speech therapist, was created. I love Maven. In many ways, she reminds me of myself. In other ways, not at all. She's definitely the adventurous one!

My Review…

Maven Morris is convinced by her friend Lizzie to become a foster parent to a troubled, abandoned young boy. As he seems unable to speak, she is unsure of his name and decides to call him “Moses.”  Due to medical issues, Maven is on leave from her job as a speech pathologist. Lizzie believes that Maven is the one who can bring Moses out of his shell in order to help them determine his identity. Though she’s terrified, Maven realizes that God has brought them together. Her neighbor Paul wants to help find Moses’ family. However, he finds himself looking for Maven when she goes missing. What secrets will Maven uncover on her search, and will it cost her her own life? 

This is an engaging story filled with tons of action which drives the plot. Maven suffers from Bell’s Palsy, and Duncan does a nice job of educating the reader about this disorder. This is the second book in Duncan’s “Deadly Communications” series. However, it could be easily read as a standalone. It is a quick read which will leave the reader looking forward to the next installment.

About Lillian Duncan…

Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!

Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. She writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us.

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com

To celebrate the release of Deadly Intent, she's having a giveaway on her blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes, at www.lillian-duncan.com. Grand prize is a $25 Amazon gift card, but that’s not all! Five more winners will get a $5 Amazon gift card. How’s that for a celebration?

All you have to do is hop over to www.lillian-duncan.com and leave a comment on the Deadly Intent announcement. The contest ends September 26. 

PS. When you leave a comment, be sure to tell her what blog you read about her on. Then check back on her blog after September 26, 2015 to see if you’re a winner!