Special Feature: ARANSAS MORNING by Jeff Hampton {giveaway}

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ARANSAS MORNING

by
JEFF HAMPTON
  Genre: Literary Fiction / Family Life
Date of Publication: September 22, 2017
Number of Pages: 304

Scroll down for the giveaway!

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When Sam Barnes’ high-flying life in Dallas falls apart, he flees to the coastal town of Port Aransas, Texas and fades into the life of a reclusive beach bum. But things start to change when he meets Dave, a young widower working through his own loss; Shelly, owner of the Dream Bean coffee shop; Bo, a crusty old shrimper; and Allie, Bo’s free-spirited daughter. Together they are tested and forced to confront their own issues. In doing so they discover family and community.
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PRAISE FOR ARANSAS MORNING:

“Engrossing characters that keep doing unexpected things. Strong sense of place along the Texas coast and deep knowledge of the culture. This book is about relationships and how ‘family’ and ‘community’ might be redefined.”

“In this heartwarming book, Jeff Hampton took me to a place I’ve never been and captured me with his delightful characters, seaside landscape, and deft use of words to portray a small group of people who came together to create and run the Dream Bean cafe. Great summer reading.”

“I loved the characters, with their flaws and their graces. It is an honest and heart-warming story of redemption coming through community. I’m really glad I read it.”

“Really nice character development, articulating in a very comfortable and readable style the messy, complex, joyous and hopeful ways we build, break and nurture ‘community.’”

“Very quickly in the story, the characters became like friends. The book is engaging and held my interest.”

CLICK TO PURCHASE:
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Author pic Jeff Hampton
During a 35-year career in journalism and communications, Jeff Hampton has covered and written about topics ranging from business and finance to history and faith. His bylines have appeared in publications ranging from The Dallas Morning News to The New York Times.
He attended Baylor University where he majored in journalism and was editor of the Baylor Lariat campus newspaper. He began his professional career at the Waco Tribune-Herald and has written for newspapers, magazines, businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies.
Hampton has based his life and career in Texas where his interest in observing the people around him has led him to write essays, short stories, and novels that explore relationships and communities in their many forms.
Aransas Morning is his fifth book, following Grandpa Jack, When the Light Returned to Main Street, Jonah Prophet and The Snowman Uprising on Hickory Lane.
Watch for Aransas Evening, a sequel to Aransas Morning, in 2018.
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1/27/18
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Author Interview
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Interview: Molly E. Lee, author of LOVE BETWEEN ENEMIES

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Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

I write young adult and adult books because that is what I love to read. Especially romance. I’m a sucker for a great romantic plot, so when I started writing, I knew I’d have romance in every story.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I fell in love with reading before I could actually read. I was lucky that my mother read to me all the time and developed a deep love for stories. By the time I was in second grade, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. An author. My teacher had given us a new assignment—write and illustrate our own stories into little hardback books. Now, I couldn’t draw, but I did fall totally in love with the process of creating a story (mine was about aliens), and after that, I was hooked. I’ve never wanted to be anything else, and I’m beyond grateful I get to live my dream.

How long have you been writing?

Since I learned how to scribble on a page.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Romance with strong female leads, and the men who aren’t afraid to follow them. I love having characters who challenge each other, who make each other better, stronger, sharper. That is something that is recurrent in all my books—the exploration of character development between two people, who couldn’t help but fall in love, and how that experience strengthens them.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?  

It was hard to write both parental dynamics within the same book. Gordon’s dad is extremely supportive of his dreams whereas Zoey’s parents have already made up their minds of what they want her to do. So nailing the completely opposite voices for each was difficult.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved writing these two voices—these rivals who have been at each other for years. It was fun watching them slowly realize they were a match in every way. It was also fun to return to the grad night party and experience it from a different point of view.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

This is SUCH a hard question! I’m a fan of so many wonderful authors, but my absolute favorites would include: J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Kimberly Derting, and Molly McAdams. Each of these authors has taught me something through their work, and each of them have the ability to create such amazing characters the reader can’t help but blow through the books in one sitting. Every time I pick up one of their books I’m inspired to be better, to improve my craft, and to adapt a unique style all my own.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

I’m a full-time writer and a full-time mom. I’m the luckiest woman on the planet. I may also be the most exhausted, but it is all absolutely worth it!

What do you like to read in your free time?

I love to read fantasy and paranormal romance! I read across all genres, but these two are my favorites.

What projects are you working on at the present?

Right now, I am focusing on finishing the final book in the Grad Night series, which I am super excited about because it is Lennon and Jade’s story. I’ve been dying to dig into their characters since book one!

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have a new secret young adult contemporary project I’m working on, but can’t say anything specific yet! Once I can I’ll be excited to tell everyone about it! Also, someday far in the future, I’d love to write a paranormal romance just because I love reading them so much!

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I never say never. The books I choose to write really choose me. They’re characters with voices all their own and a story to tell. I’m not sure if there is anything that would hit me where I would say “no, I can’t do that.” The more a subject scares you, moves you, or saddens you…the more likely the story will be just as intense for the reader.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Oh, this is a tough one! I suppose I’d have telepathy? I have a knack for reading body language (I used to play poker…a lot. It paid for my books in college), and so that could be translated as a superpower. Though, that wouldn’t be as cool as flying or having super strength. LOL!

If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?

It would probably be something super simple like, The Reader, and then I’d have a wicked cool, super comfy costume made from fabric with all my favorite books written on it.

Thank you so much for having me!!!

 Aboutthebook (1)

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About Love Between Enemies:

Zoey Handler is ready to put an end to her decade-long rivalry with Gordon Meyers. They’ve traded top spot between valedictorian and salutatorian for years, but all that’s over now. Right? But after a crazy graduation speech prank gets out of hand, suddenly their rivalry turns into all-out war. Time to make peace with a little friendly payback.

Step one? Make him believe they’re now friends.

Step two? Show him the time of his life at an epic graduation party.

Step three? Don’t fall for his tricks.

Step four? Absolutely, positively, do not kiss him again.

So what if he’s cute? (Okay, hot.) So what if he’s charming? (Heaven help her, tempting.) So what if he apologizes? (That has to be fake.) She knows the real Gordon. And no matter how much her heart begs her to stop, there’s no turning back.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one epic party, complete with every high-schoolers-gone-bad shenanigan, and two rivals who discover maybe they could be something much more…if only they’d stop fighting long enough to notice it.

Buy link: https://entangledpublishing.com/love-between-enemies.html

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About Molly E. Lee:

Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her debut novel EDGE OF CHAOS, and as a mentor at Pitch Wars – a program which connects promising writers to established authors in the community. Molly writes New Adult and Young Adult contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

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Author Website: mollyelee.com

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Review: FALLING UNDER by Lisa Renee Jones

FALLING UNDER by Lisa Renee Jones

JANUARY 23, 2018

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Add to Goodreads ➜ http://bit.ly/FallingUnderGoodreads

 

ABOUT

A new sexy standalone from Lisa Renee Jones…

Ex-special forces, Jacob King, is a man who keeps to himself, having learned the hard way that letting people close to you, trusting them, might just get you killed. A lesson he learned when members of his Special Ops team turned dirty, while others, men he considered friends, died. He made them pay. He made them hurt. He put them in jail. And so he doesn’t trust anyone anymore. He keeps his women hot and fast, his friends few to none, and his clients through the elite Walker Security at a professional distance, but safe.

It works for him. Until it doesn’t.

His newest job should be simple and cut and dry. Jewel Carpenter, the daughter of the CEO of Carpenter Enterprises, is receiving death threats. He’s to protect her and find out who is issuing the treats.

Simple. Cut and Dry.

Until it’s not.

Until the chemistry between he and Jewel is all about love, hate, and sex. But even as he fights the attraction to Jewel and discovers there is more to her than meets the eye, the real threat comes not from the threats she’s receiving, but the connection she has to him. Because his past has come full circle, and those men he’s made pay for their sins now want him to pay. And what better way than the woman in his bed?

BUY LINKS

Amazon US ➜ http://bit.ly/FallingUnderAmazon

Amazon UK ➜ http://bit.ly/FallingUnderAmazonUK

Amazon CA ➜ http://bit.ly/FallingUnderAmazonCA

B&N ➜ http://bit.ly/FallingUnderBN

iBooks ➜ http://bit.ly/FallingUnderiBooks

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REVIEW

Another sizzler by Lisa Renee Jones.

Jacob King is serious about his job.  He does it well and doesn’t let himself get distracted.  That is, until he’s assigned to Jewel.

Detective Jewel Carpenter is far from excited about the new detail her father has put on her since receiving threats against her.  To add stress to the situation, her new “bodyguard” is hot as hell, and she can’t stop thinking of things she’d like to do with his body.

When Jacob discovers that the threat’s motive might have more to do with him than with her father’s company, along with their intense attraction, he’ll do anything to stop it.

Jones is the master of sizzle.  As with all of her books, the heat is on and cooking!  The sexual tension between the two main characters is palpable and kept me turning pages to see what was going to happen with them.  Throw in a little danger and some secrets in the past, and you have the perfect equation for an intense page-turner.

Well-done and highly recommended.

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EXCERPT

“Just to be clear,” he says, his voice low and rough. “I’m breaking every rule I own with you. I don’t fuck women I’m protecting.”

“You could hand me over to someone else,” I suggest, “and it won’t matter.”

“Not a chance in hell,” he says, his hand sliding under my hair to cup my neck. “We’ll break the rules together.”

“I’m not sure I like how you do ‘together’.”

“I’ll make sure you do,” he promises, his lips slanting over mine, and this time he kisses me like he owns me, like he wants to control me, and like I really am his, like I belong to him, and in this very moment, I can honestly say

I am. I want him, and I can’t get enough of him.

And how can it ever be enough when he’s this damn impossibly hot, and he’s such a damn good kisser. The way he makes me want his mouth on every part of me and the way he makes me want my mouth on every part of him. And so, there it is. I’m his, but I’m going to make damn sure he’s mine, too. I kiss him back as passionately as he’s kissing me. I meet him stroke for stroke, arching into him, telling him I am here and present, and I’m not even close to afraid of him or of this. He doesn’t get to control me. He isn’t making me do this. I control me, and I choose him and this.

Arching into him, his shoulder holster and mine are in the way, and I want them gone. I want him naked. Just to be certain that he knows that’s where I want this to go, my hand presses between us and I stroke the hard line of his shaft. He groans low in his throat, a sexy rough sound that tells me he gets the point. This isn’t his show. It’s ours. It’s us together, or there is no show, with or without our clothes on.

His reaction is to tear his mouth from mine, his lips lingering there though, as if he wants to kiss me again, and just when I would kiss him again, he leans away just enough to shrug out of his jacket. I take one step backward, and do the same with my blazer. I reach down and pull off my boots and he does the same. Next, we disconnect our shoulder holsters, and the truth is, it’s the first time I’ve ever been with a man who is probably more armed than me. That feels significant when it perhaps is not. He’s not a cop. He’s not that kind of career complication. He’s a Green-fucking-Beret, and one hell of a hot one, for that matter.

He sets his weapon on the couch and snags my hand, walking me toward him and taking my holster and weapon as he does. “Just making sure you don’t end up shooting me before this is over,” he says, setting it with his before shackling my hip.

“I told you I’ll wait until after the orgasms.”

“Careful,” he says, a hint of a smile on his lips again. “I might hold that orgasm and you captive.”

“You can try,” I say, but my head isn’t in the game in this moment, and somehow my hand is on his face, right by the almost smile, that seems to have complicated what should be sex, an escape, a way to pull back the emotions that umbrella stirred in me. That smile reminds me that Mr. Robot is his wall, his way to cope with death, with whatever makes him protect Jesse Marks.

He captures my hand. “What are you thinking?”

“That you have on too many clothes,” I say, before I let this go someplace emotional, somewhere that two people like us never want to go.

My hands press under his shirt, but he doesn’t immediately give me what I want. He studies me for several beats and then kisses me hard and fast. Too fast, but I get over it when he pulls his shirt off. He cups my face and kisses me, his hand sliding up my shirt, his touch fire that has me helping him pull my shirt over my head. Letting him drag me to him where he now sits on the couch. I straddle him, my bra somehow gone by the time I’m there. But my hands press to his shoulders, and I hold him at bay. “I will still arrest you if I need to,” I promise. “This doesn’t change that.”

“You aren’t going to arrest me any more than you hate me.” He glances down at my chest, his gaze a hot caress as it rakes over my breasts, my nipples, before his eyes meet mine. “Because you know I’m protecting you.”

I ignore the ache between my thighs. Or I try. “From what? The slayer or the Jesse Marks damage patrol?”

His hand slides between my shoulder blades and he molds my chest to his. “Do you really want to talk about Jesse Marks right now? Because if you ask me questions, I’m going to ask you questions when I’d much rather be inside you, giving you as many reasons as I can not to arrest me. But you pick. Conversation or fucking.”

“Both,” I say, because it’s the truth. I want answers and I want the conversation my emotions are having in my head to shut up. “Fucking first.” I push away from him and stand up, unbuttoning my pants, sliding them down my hips, and he watches me with that unreadable, robot expression that is admittedly sexy as hell. I press my lips to his and that’s all it takes.

We are crazy, hot, kissing, his hands on my breasts, my nipples, my neck. I can’t touch him enough. I can’t feel him enough, can’t get close enough, and that’s new to me. I don’t need anyone the way I feel I need this man. I don’t want to need anyone this much, but it’s too late. At least, right here, right now, I do. He rolls us to our sides, facing one another, the wide cushion of the couch more than holding us and the next kiss isn’t fast and frenzied. It’s long, drugging, and somewhere in the midst of his tongue stroking my tongue, I end up on my back with the heavy weight of him on top of me…

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OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Check out books one and two in the WALKER SECURITY series: Deep Under and Pulled Under are both available now and FREE in the KINDLEUNLIMITED PROGRAM! All three books in the series are standalones.

MORE DETAILS HERE: http://mybook.to/WalkerSecurityAmazon

Interview: Gina Hooten Popp, author of UP NEAR DALLAS

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UP NEAR DALLAS

Winds of Change — Book III

by
GINA HOOTEN POPP
  Genre:  Texas Historical Fiction / Romance
Date of Publication: November 12, 2017
Number of Pages: 307

Scroll down for the giveaway!

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The year is 1934. Economic turbulence rocks the country. And record drought dries up crops, along with the spirits of every farmer south of the Mason-Dixon. Yet for sixteen-year-old Mick McLaren, life is good as he takes to the open road to chase his dream of being a musician. Riding boxcars, hitchhiking, walking and driving his way across Depression Era Texas, he finds not only himself, but the love of a girl from Dallas named Margaret. Along the way, they befriend Cowboy Larson, a Delta Blues guitarist. Together the three teens, from three very different worlds, come-of-age as their life-changing journey carries them through killer dust storms, extreme poverty, and the unprecedented gangster activity of the Dirty Thirties.


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AuthorInterview

 

How has Texas influenced your writing?

For starters, all my books are set in Texas. This was not a conscious decision on my part, it just happened that way. I think it may be because there are so many good stories to tell about this area of the country. Take for example my latest book, Up Near Dallas, set in 1934. The characters roam all over the state hopping boxcars but end up back in Dallas where the music scene was hot at the time. Texas has always had a lot of musicians and artists on the forefront of things—from Austin to San Antonio to Dallas and more—Texans have paved the way into new creative territory. I’ve always thought that this is because Texas is a little untamed and not too fast to tell others what they can and cannot do. Therefore, if a guy plants Cadillacs upright in a row or starts a new style of country music, then good for him because there are all kinds of people around the state and the country that will more than appreciate it.

Why did you choose to write historical books?

I’ve always had a love for history and literary books, so it was only natural for me to write what I love to read. My sister got me hooked on historical fiction novels. So, you’d have to blame her, I guess.

Where did your love of storytelling come from?

My grandmother was a great storyteller. From a young age, I would ask for a story and she’d just make one up out of thin air, and it would be interesting. In fact, she could even make a story about going to the grocery store or the gas station tense and exciting. Nothing in her life was ever mundane. And, as the old saying goes, the nut doesn’t fall for from the tree. In fact, you’ll see a lot of her colorful sayings in my stories. I think she’d be proud.   

How long have you been writing?

I have a long history of creativity and writing. In school, I always did well in literature classes and art classes. When I graduated from Texas A&M/Commerce, I went into advertising. First, I started as an art director. Then I kept writing behind the scenes on ads, menus, and brochures. After I’d collected enough awards for writing, my boss at The Richards Group (Stan Richards) let me work as a writer/art director. I’m forever grateful to him because it made for a great career as I moved from agency to agency as well as worked on my own as a freelancer. So, I’d been professionally writing for about fifteen to twenty years when I decided to start writing novels. About ten years ago, I took a class at Texas A&M/Canyon in West Texas and got involved with the West Texas Writers’ Academy, hosted by New York Times bestselling author, Jodi Thomas. I would suggest that anyone wanting to write books seriously consider this week-long summer camp. It’s a game changer for making it in the world of writing.

How does your book relate to your faith?

Before I do any creative project, I always pray God will allow the Holy Spirit to flow through me influencing my work. Yes, I’ve always done this whether I’m working on websites and brochures for an airline, tech company, or restaurant, or whether I’m writing a novel about a hurricane, drug dealer, or fighter pilot. I see myself as a vessel through which creativity flows.  

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I write in a simple conversational style that moves fast for the reader.

What is your favorite quote?

I have two favorite quotes at the moment:

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”        —Mother Teresa   

“Be kind to one another.” —Ellen DeGeneres

 

A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. Along with writing novels, Gina has enjoyed a long career as a professional writer in advertising. Her debut novel THE STORM AFTER was a finalist in the 2014 RONE Awards, and her just-released book CHICO BOY: A NOVEL was a 2016 Medalist Winner in the New Apple Annual Book Awards. Recently, her novel LUCKY’S WAY, about a young fighter pilot from Houston, was endorsed by the United States World War One Centennial Commission. 


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Guest Post: Erica Cameron, author of the new YA release, SEA OF STRANGERS

How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Conference or Convention

Since I started writing in 2007, I have queried agents, gone on submission to editors, and attended dozens of conferences. Each experience has its own set of rules and expectations, and conference and conventions can be the hardest of them all to navigate if only because there’s far less information available online for them. Today, I have four points to help you make the most out of your next conference or convention.

 

Be aware.

 

There are hundreds of writing-related events all across the country. Some have particular focuses—SCBWI, for example, is a wonderful organization for those writing for children and teens—and others are going to be broader in scope and scale. Research organizations that match the genre you write in and see if they host any annual conferences. Pick the one that will help you learn and grow in your genre as much as possible. Those will also be the events that put you in contact with the people you need to meet.

 

Be prepared.

 

Once you’ve picked which conference you’re attending, start doing research on the attendees. Who’s speaking? Are any agents or editors taking pitches? What does each agent or editor specialize in? What were their recent sales or acquisitions? It doesn’t usually do much good to try selling a dark sci-fi series to someone who specializes in light-hearted women’s fiction. For agents, check out their submission guidelines and create a printout you can bring with you. If you’re meeting with editors and can’t find any submission guidelines, having one chapter and a one-page summary of your book is usually a good place to start. However, it’s expensive to travel. Agents and editors usually have to cram everything they need for the conference or convention into a small bag. It’s hard for them to carry stacks of printed pages and materials home with them again. A business card, though? That’s absolutely doable. Even if you’re coming as an aspiring author, it’s not a bad idea to have business cards. They should include your name, email address, the genre you write in, and any applicable website or social media information.

 

Be respectful.

 

Agents and editors come to conferences to find new talent. That is specifically why they’re there, so it’s okay to approach them with questions or to start a conversation. The thing to remember is respect. It’s business, yes, but they’re also people with lives outside of publishing. Don’t expect hours of attention. Try not to interrupt if they’re in conversation with someone else, though joining a conversation with a group is often fine if you have something to contribute. Whatever you do, don’t try to pitch a book in the bathroom. It sounds obvious, but it happens far more often than it should. I know this because industry professionals talk. They tell stories at events about all of the ridiculous, rude, and outlandish interactions they have had with authors in the past. Good stories won’t be passed around like office gossip, but a bad interaction absolutely will.

 

Be open.

 

Opportunity slips up beside you unexpectedly sometimes, but the only way to take advantage of the moment is to take every chance offered. In 2015, a group of young adult authors organized a lunch during RT, and I ended up sitting next to a debut author named Kate Brauning. What I didn’t realize at the time was that she was also an editor with Entangled Teen. That casual conversation sparked a second, more in-depth discussion, and eventually turned into a three-book deal for my young adult fantasy series, The Ryogan Chronicles. At the same convention, a panel appearance I did attracted interest from another publisher, and after another conversation and a proposal, I sold the Assassins duology to Riptide’s YA imprint Triton Books. The point is that you may go to an event intending to pitch to one person, but you never know who you might end up talking to. Be open to talking to those around you and ready to discuss what you’re writing, and you never know what a single conversation could bring.

 

Aboutthebook

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About Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles, #2):

Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.
Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

 

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abouttheauthor

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About Erica Cameron:

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

 

Author Links:

Author Website: ByEricaCameron.com

Author Blog: ByEricaCameron.com/wp/blog/

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ByEricaCameron

Author Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ByEricaCameron

Author Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ericacameron

Newsletter: http://byericacameron.com/wp/newsletter/

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Author Tumblr: http://byericacameron.tumblr.com/

 

Guest Post by Christina Mandelski, author of the new YA release, THE FIRST KISS HYPOTHESIS

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Don’t Let Rejection Win!

Thank you so much for having me on the blog today!

I’d like to spend some time talking about rejection. It happens in love – like in my new release The First Kiss Hypothesis, and it happens in life too, especially if you’re in a creative field.

My book, about a girl who trusts that science will find her true love, and the boy who plans to prove her wrong, comes six long years after the release of my first YA novel, The Sweetest Thing. There were a few manuscripts shopped around in those interim years, which were subsequently rejected, and this led to lots of self-doubt.

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As in love, writing rejection can be devastating, paralyzing, and cause you to eat way more cake than anyone ever should.

And reader, I did.

Over the last six years, I’ve often wondered, what is it like to face rejection as say, an accountant?

Like, maybe your boss comes around and tells you your columns don’t add up? I don’t mean to make light of accountancy. As someone who can barely do math, I have huge respect for anyone who can make sense of it – but maybe there’s a comfort to knowing that if the numbers don’t add up, you can always re-work them.

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Not so in writing. If you write a manuscript that no one wants to buy, re-writing is always an option, but it’s not a guarantee. Yeah, that’s depressing. Which is why, if you are determined to see your story published, I highly recommend these three steps:

  1. Surround yourself with encouragers.
  2. Keep doing the work.
  3. Be open to new things.

I am lucky to have in my corner an amazing critique group. I’ve been with them for over a decade now, and we read, comment, edit, assist, chime in, and yeah, we eat cake too. It’s been important for me to have this support system. When our members sell a book, celebrating those sales gives me hope, reminds me not to give up. I also have a few other author friends who will willingly and honestly read my work if I need them, and I have fabulous agent, Danielle Chiotti, who never, ever lets me throw in the towel.

These last years of bubbling self-doubt bring me to bullet number 2 – keep doing the work. Write, write, write and don’t stop, don’t give up! I don’t think you have to write every single day, that’s a lot of pressure. But I do think that the more you write, the more likely you are to be published, and the more often you will be published.

Finally – if you are a writer – be open to new things! When my agent first suggested that I try writing category romance – I wasn’t sure. I’d written a contemporary YA with some romance – but all romance, swoon and heat? I didn’t know if that was for me.

After some thinking, I decided to take a chance. Long story short, I love it! I love working with Entangled – my editor and the staff are fantastic. I love the challenge of writing a fresh and fun romance, and because I was willing to give it a shot, I have a new book out – and another two in 2018!

I know it’s hard to do this job. There are days of woe, and days of pure joy. Today, I’m celebrating a new book, tomorrow I may write 1,000 terrible words that should all be deleted. The important thing is to focus on the successes, the possibilities. Celebrate the little things, like the days when you write a hundred beautiful words that can stay right where they are. When that happens – throw yourself a party – and make sure there’s cake!

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And always, always, just keep writing. Good luck!

Thanks again for having me!

 

Aboutthebook

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About The First Kiss Hypothesis:

Nora Reid believes scientific laws control everything, even love. With her grandparents’ epic first kiss story cemented in her brain, Nora develops a hypothesis she’s determined to prove:for each person in the world, there is exactly one other person, and at first kiss, they’ll experience an immediate and intense reaction. 

But after four years of zero-reaction kisses, she comes up with a new theory: maybe that pesky crush on her stunningly hot best friend Eli Costas is skewing her results.

She needs to get rid of him, and fast.

Eli Costas is an injury-prone lacrosse star with a problem—the one chance he had at winning over the girl next door resulted in the most epically sucktastic first kiss ever. And now she’s…trying to get rid of him? Hell no. It’s time to disprove her theory and show her exactly what she’s missing. 
Game. On.

Disclaimer: This book contains a stunningly hot lacrosse player who isn’t above playing dirty to win over the stubborn girl-next-door of his dreams.

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abouttheauthor

christina-mandelski

Christina Mandelski loves to bring the characters in her head to life on the page. When she isn’t writing, she spends time with her family, working as a substitute teacher, eating (sweets, usually), traveling and reading (preferably under an umbrella at the beach).  Chris lives with her husband and two daughters in Houston. You can visit her at www.christinamandelski.com

 

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Guest Post: Mary Lindsay, author of the new YA PNR Release, HAVEN

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Writing is my Haven (See what I did there?)

I’m so excited to be on The Librarian Talks today! It’s been a crazy week for me answering interviews and doing a couple of podcasts for my new novel, HAVEN.

(releasing TODAY, November 7, 2017 in hardcover and ebook)

One of the most common questions I receive is, “Have you always wanted to be a writer?”

Short answer: No.

I never wanted to be a writer growing up. I successfully avoided all creative writing classes and projects all the way through college, even faking sick in grade school on poetry days. Creating something original terrified me.

Becoming a writer happened unexpectedly as the result of my losing a game of “Chicken” with my eleven-year-old daughter. Losing was one of the best things to happen to me. She was complaining about how heroes in young adult books she’d read believed themselves to be evil or cursed. Her rant morphed into how she believed heroes should be written and finally, to make her feel better, I bluffed and said, “Hey, tell you what… I’ll write that book for you.” I never expected to carry through. I mean, that’s the stuff of nightmares for me. I figured she’d be satisfied and we’d forget all about it.

Nope. She called my bluff.

She looked at me with those trusting, huge eyes and said, “Really? You would really write a book for me?”

Well, crap. Busted. I had no choice but to go through with it…sort of. Surely, after a chapter of the certain garbage I’d produce, she’d beg me to stop and I’d be off the hook. Instead, she loved the first chapter and asked for more.

After that, I was hooked. Completely and totally obsessed with writing—the very thing I’d avoided my entire life. Thirty days later, I handed her the last chapter of the seven-hundred-page manuscript, which, needless to say was not my finest work. But, it was my first work and led to where I am right now, celebrating my tenth published book.

Writing, once my personal hell, became my safe haven. << Look at that blatantly obvious segue into telling you about my book.

Aboutthebook

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About HAVEN:

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart. 

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

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BOOK IS AVAILABLE ON ALL PLATFORMS, AS WELL AS IN HARDBACK AT THE ABOVE LINK

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abouttheauthor

 

All About Mary:

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Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. Her books Shattered Souls and Fragile Spirits have been selected for the 2017 Spirit of Texas Reading Program. 

Mary lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband. Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

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Interview: Shawn Smucker, Author of THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL

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THE DAY THE ANGELS FELL

by

SHAWN SMUCKER

Genre: Psychological Fiction / Christian

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: September 5, 2017

Number of Pages: 320

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Cover Med Res The Day the Angels Fell     

Shawn Smucker will capture readers’ imaginations with this masterfully written debut novel that combines elements of mystery and magical realism.

It was the summer of storms, strays, and strangers. The summer that lightning struck the big oak tree in the front yard. The summer his mother died in a tragic accident.

Twelve-year-old Samuel Chambers would do anything to turn back time. Prompted by three strange carnival fortune-tellers and the surfacing of his mysterious and reclusive neighbor, Samuel begins his search for the Tree of Life—the only thing that could possibly bring his mother back. His quest to defeat death entangles him and his best friend, Abra, in an ancient conflict and forces Samuel to grapple with an unwelcome question: could it be possible that death is a gift?

Haunting and hypnotic, The Day the Angels Fell is a story that explores the difficult questions of life in a voice that is fresh, friendly, and unafraid. With this powerful novel, Shawn Smucker has carved out a spot for himself in the tradition of authors Madeleine L’Engle and Lois Lowry.

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Praise for The Day the Angels Fell

“Neil Gaiman meets Madeleine L’Engle. I read it in two days!”Anne Bogel, Modern Mrs. Darcy

“Shawn Smucker enchants with a deftly woven tale of mystery and magic that will leave you not only spellbound but wanting more.”Billy Coffey, author of There Will Be Stars

 

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AuthorInterview

Where did your love of writing come from?

I have an Amish great-great-grandfather, and there is a story about him that has been passed down. In his later years, he took to writing on the wooden barn walls at his farm. He wrote about things that happened in his community, little bits and pieces of news and gossip. One day there was a fire and the barn burned to the ground – some of the lumber still had his writing on it but it was all discarded. My great-uncle was just a boy when this happened, and he regrets not keeping a piece of that barn.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for many, many years. I’m 40 years old, and I can’t remember exactly when I started, but I know I was young. I started writing every day when I was in college, and I wrote fiction for 17 years before I signed a three-book deal that included The Day the Angels Fell.

What kinds of writing do you do?

I co-write and ghostwrite memoirs for individuals and publishers for a living. I love writing fiction, and I have a small, free eBook of poems called We Might Never Die.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

When I’m writing well, I’m writing in a melancholy, reflective tone that brings out the best in looking back and remembering earlier times. I love to think about our relationship to time, and as I grow older I think a lot about how my memories have become more like legends. There are some deep truths hidden in the way we remember our lives, and I like to have my characters caught in the tension between how they remember things and how they actually happened.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?

In my first novel, The Day the Angels Fell, the idea that death is a gift and the death-positive messages are certainly under-represented in our culture that seems obsessed with endless youth and living forever. It’s not something I can categorically say — that death is ALWAYS a gift. But I think it’s a valid question to be asking.

Who are some of your favorite authors you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

Madeleine L’Engle and Neil Gaiman have been huge influences on me in the way they write about surreal things happening in a very real world. I love how they allow their characters to be themselves, make gigantic mistakes, and then act with unexpected bravery. To me, that’s a reflection of the best lives each of us could live.

     

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Shawn Smucker lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Day the Angels Fell is his first novel. 

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Guest Post: REJECTION & MY ROAD TO PUBLICATION by Meg Kassel

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Rejection and My Road to Publication

When looking at an authors published book, its easy to only see what they accomplished and to forget that there were likely many failures before publication. I only know of a few authors who enjoyed success straight off with the first book they wrote. Those rare, fortunate birds are the exception to the rule. Most of the time, the road to publication is a long, bumpy one, with plenty of stops and starts. My journey was like this, complete with crushing disappointments and hundreds of rejections. I wouldnt change a single thing about it.

No one will ever read my first book. It was a dreadful adult paranormal romance with a vampire and C4 explosives and a weirdly awkward love scene that told me very clearly: you are not an adult romance writer. Message received, but not after a few more failed attempts. My first young adult novel, on the other hand, was the first manuscript I wrote where I felt like my writing, storytelling and voice, all leveled up. My critique partners loved the book. My mom loved the book. I started querying. Rejections came, but so did requests for the full, and then came a delightful little thing in publishing called a revise and resubmit. It was an edit letter, essentially, which if you make the suggested changes, the agent will consider your manuscript again. I dug in and revised the crap out of that manuscript. That agent passed, but the revisions paid off when another agent offered and I signed with her. At that point, I was so naive, I thought for sure the book would sell. I mean, the agent wouldnt have signed me if it wasnt a sure thing, right?

The book did not sell. It came close three times, but didnt make it through the acquisition meetings. This was the first time I felt the rejection as more than brief, generalized disappointment. My mistake was thinking this whole process was easier than it was. Let me back up a moment and explain my thing with rejection letters: They are form letters sent from a person who doesnt know you, essentially telling you that your book isnt what theyre looking for. Ive never taken this personally because there is nothing remotely personal about them. I have known writers who do take them to heart and it seems like a terrific expenditure of energy. Maybe I was sleep deprived, or maybe Im missing a brain component, but either way, when rejection letters came, I checked off that agent and went back to work.

Several books later, a manuscript did sell, but I wasnt out of the rejection waters yet. My hardest trial was to come several months later when the publisher closed its U.S. division, orphaning over fifty projects and five debut novels, including mine. Not long afterward, I began to realize that my agent and I werent the perfect fit any longer. After another failed submission on a new project, my agent and I parted ways on good terms and I took the first break from writing I had since Id begun writing in earnest, five years earlier. This was the first and only time I felt defeated. Maybe Id made a mistake, thinking I could do this. Maybe I should find something more productive to do with my time. I took up soap making as a hobbywhy, I dont know. I think I made about fifty pounds of soap, but while weighing out oils and water and lye, my brain started incubating a new story idea. Not long after that, I was back at the computer, doing what I loved most (although, I DO miss smelling like sandalwood and lavender).

The summer after my Soap Adventure, I received an offer on the orphaned book AND signed with a new agent. That book is my debut, Black Bird of the Gallows, and when I hold it, I feel my whole history as a writer under my fingers. Its all therethe triumphs and the disappointments; the hope and the anxiety. All the rejected manuscripts that perished in order to push me to write better, plot better, tell the story better, served a purpose. Im sure I havent seen my last rejection letter. Im not so naive anymore, and I am still not the writer I know I can be. Rejection can be a crushing blow, or it can steel your resolve. You really do have a choice in the matter. Then again, no one has ever rejected a pleasantly scented bar of handmade soap.

 

abouttheauthor

 

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Meg Kassel is an author of paranormal and speculative books for young adults. A New Jersey native, Meg graduated from Parson’s School of Design and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a writer. She now lives in Maine with her husband and daughter and is busy at work on her next novel. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart© winner in YA.

Author Links: 

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Entangled Publishing

 

Aboutthebook

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Black Bird of the Gallows 

Young Adult Romantic Fantasy/Entangled Teen – Entangled Publishing

 

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full. 

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

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Interview: Ann H. Gabhart, Author of THESE HEALING HILLS

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THESE HEALING HILLS
by
ANN GABHART
  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
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Bestselling Author Transports Readers to the Appalachian Mountains for Adventure and Healing

Packed with history, These Healing Hills by bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart introduces readers to the fascinating and difficult life of frontier nursing.

When the soldier Francine Howard planned to marry after WWII writes to tell her he is in love with a woman in England, Francine is devastated and in need of a change. She seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Services.

It is in these mountains that Francine crosses paths with Ben Locke, a soldier still very much suffering from the horrors of war. With his future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

While Francine and Ben find they are from completely different worlds and possess very different values, they both learn that things don’t always go the way we plan. Ann H. Gabhart invites readers to witness the healing power of love and step forward to tantalizing new possibilities. 
Praise for These Healing Hills:
“Reading These Healing Hills is like wrapping up in a beloved quilt and stepping back in time. Ann H. Gabhart captures a fascinating slice of Appalachian history in this tale of a mountain midwife and a soldier, bringing it to life as only a native Kentuckian can. Poignant and romantic, witty and wise, with enduring spiritual truths, this is my favorite novel of hers to date.”
—Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

“What a wonderful story! Filled with true-to-life characters (including some four-footed ones) and fascinating historical details, These Healing Hills is a beautifully written, heartwarming story of life in the Appalachian Mountains at the end of the Second World War. Ann Gabhart combines vivid descriptions, meticulous research, and a deep understanding of the human heart to create a story that will linger in readers’ memories long after the last page is turned. This is a book to savor, not just once, but over and over. A true keeper.”
—Amanda Cabot, bestselling author of A Stolen Heart

“Ann H. Gabhart delivers a rich tale set in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains at the close of World War II. Francine buries the painful loss of the man she loves beneath the difficult work of a frontier nurse-midwife. The mountain people touch a place deep in her heart, and she gladly sacrifices the life she always wanted in order to serve them. But can she ever be truly happy among the hills and hollows where modern medicine often gives way to ancient folk cures? These Healing Hills is a fascinating and beautifully crafted story that I highly recommend.”
—Virginia Smith, bestselling author of The Amish Widower

“You are sure to enjoy this endearing story of love lost and found in the enchanting hills of Kentucky.”
—Jan Watson, author of the Troublesome Creek series
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AuthorInterview

Why did you decide to write about the Frontier Nursing Service?

While poking about for a new idea for a story, I happened upon a book about Mary Breckinridge, the founder of the Frontier Nursing Service. She was a woman with a vision. After losing her two children at young ages, she wanted to make a difference in the health of mothers and children. So after much training and research on the best place for her health initiative, she established the Frontier Nursing Service in the Kentucky Appalachian Mountains where very little medical care was available in 1925. At first, all the midwives were from England due to no midwife schools in America, but when WW II broke out in Europe, the English midwives felt compelled to return home to help with the war effort. So Breckinridge started her own Frontier Nursing School in the mountain town of Hyden, Kentucky, to train new midwives. She had always actively sought contributions to fund the Frontier Nursing Service, but now she and others also began recruiting applicants to the school. The more I read about the women, who came to the program from easier lifestyles but were enchanted by the mountains, the more I wanted to let my character be one of these women. And then I liked getting to know the mountain people through my research. Great history, mountain settings, and strong characters all made a great jumping off place for me to start writing this story.

How did you so vividly capture the Appalachian area? Did you visit?

I’m a lifelong Kentuckian and while I don’t live in the Appalachian area, I’m very familiar with that part of Kentucky. I have often visited the state parks in the mountains and have read many stories set in Appalachia. I did visit Wendover, Mary Breckinridge’s home in the mountains that was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1991. It’s a bed and breakfast now where people can visit and learn more about the history of the Frontier Nursing Service and the beauty of the mountains. The Frontier Nursing School is still actively training students in nearby Hyden, Kentucky. A book by James Still, The Wolfpen Notebooks, that I bought at a book fair many years ago was very useful in helping me capture a little of the mountain speak. It also helps that I grew up on a farm, and although it wasn’t in the mountains, farm folks everywhere have some similar ways and a like respect and love for the land.

What was the most interesting thing you learned while doing research for this book?

The firsthand experiences of the nurse/midwives as they treated their patients were eye-opening for me. I admired their dedication in fording flooded rivers and riding horses along icy trails and through snowstorms—or whatever obstacles nature threw at them—

in order to reach the homes of their patients. I also liked the family feel of the Nursing Service and how the nurses respected the mountain people in spite of their different ways. Then it was inspiring to think about the difference one determined woman with a vision made in the lives of so many. From the FNS beginnings in 1925 to 1975, the FNS nurse/midwives recorded delivering 17,053 babies with only 11 maternal deaths. That is an amazing statistic in an area that Mrs. Breckinridge chose for her service because of the high childbirth mortality rates.

Do you relate to Francine in any way?

I’m certainly no nurse. I do love a mountain vista, and Francine fell in love with the mountains too. I never think I base my characters on me in any way. My characters come to my stories as separate people with stories to share. That said, I’m sure my personality or feelings do sneak into my characters from time to time. Oh, and with Francine, there is how she loves her dog, Sarge. I’ve loved dogs ever since I begged my parents to let me have a dog when I was eight or nine.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I liked learning more about the Frontier Nursing Service and also about the Appalachian Mountain area and the history of the people who live there. The unique mountain speak was fun to sprinkle into my story. Things like saying someone is punying around which means they don’t feel well or blossom patch for a flower garden.

What lesson(s) do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?  

I don’t set out to write a story full of lessons. I write to share stories with readers. If they are introduced to interesting history or fascinating places or perhaps new ways to think or feel, that’s a bonus. I hope following along the story trail with my characters will encourage them in their own walks through life. Perhaps in this story, These Healing Hills, a reader might understand how the Lord continues to work in our lives even when things aren’t going the way we think they should. As Francine’s grandmother tells her, where one door closes another opens. Or if not a door, a window somewhere. Sometimes blessings await us on the far side of disappointments. And then I want readers to feel that rhythm of nature Granny Em tries to get Francine to notice in the mountains.

In what way would you say your faith is worked into the book?

My faith is an integral part of my life and my worldview. Not that I don’t stumble at times and have questions. Some of my characters are that way too with a sure belief even when they are challenged by life happenings. Other characters are exploring what they believe and either finding faith or strengthening their wavering faith. We are all on

different life paths. I feel blessed when I’m writing and a bit of a Bible verse or a Bible story comes to mind that perfectly fits my character’s situation. I try not to be preachy in my stories, but I do like weaving faith threads through the story in a way that seems a natural part of the characters’ lives.

How long have you been writing?

I started scribbling words in a wire bound notebook doing my best Hardy Boy mystery imitation when I was ten years old. That means I’ve been writing over fifty years. That’s a lot of words under the bridge of time. My first book, a historical romance, was published in 1978. These Healing Hills is my thirty-third published novel. I’ve had a great time walking story paths with so many different characters over the years.

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

Many of my stories feature characters you might meet on any small town street. I like finding ways to make my people come to life on the pages of my books and then letting them whisper their stories in my writing ear. I’ve been told by readers that they feel as though my characters are part of their families and that’s what I want to hear because those characters are definitely part of my fictional family.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Naming my characters is a big step in getting to know them, so yes, names are very important to me. While I’m testing out names by writing them down in a notebook and trying out different combinations, I get an early glimmer of my character’s personality. I choose both on how the names sound and what they mean. The sound and how their first and last names fit together trumps the meaning of the name, but it is fun when both the sound and the meaning work for my characters. I have an old baby name book that I’ve had for fifty years. It’s falling apart, but it’s still my go to place for naming new characters.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I just finished another historical novel set in a small town in Kentucky that centers on a true event that happened during the cholera epidemic of 1833. Louis, a slave was unaffected by cholera and he heroically buried the fifty plus victims of the disease after most of the citizens left town to escape the disease. Twelve years later when his owner died and it appeared as though Louis would be sold, the town bought his freedom. My story is how I imagine that might have come about. That story awaits edits as I consider a return to my fictional Shaker village of Harmony Hill for my next story.

If you were an animal in a zoo, what would you be?

A tiger. I’d be so graceful as I climbed around on the rocks and lay around in the sun. And if anybody bothered me I’d snarl and growl until they went away.


Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of several Shaker novels—The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted—as well as Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, Love Comes Home, Words Spoken True, and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. 
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Copy of These Healing Hills + The Kentucky Snack Basket (11 items including a Derby Pie Tart, Bourbon Pecan Brittle, Bourbon Chocolates, Spiced Pretzels, Modjeskas, Coffee, Snack Mix, Candy Bar, Caramel Corn, and a Horseshoe from Churchill Downs!)
First Runner-Up:
Copy of These Healing Hills + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Second Runner-Up:
Copy of These Healing Hills + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
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