Review: UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS by Tui Snider {giveaway}

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UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS

A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards

(Messages from the Dead)

by

TUI SNIDER

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

  Genre: History / Landmarks & Monuments / Iconography

Publisher: Castle Azle Press

Date of Publication: August 19, 2017

Number of Pages: 250

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Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider helps history buffs, genealogists, ghost hunters, and other curiosity seekers decode the forgotten meanings of the symbols our ancestors placed on their headstones. By understanding the meaning behind the architecture, acronyms, & symbols found in America’s burial grounds, readers will gain a deeper appreciation for these “messages from the dead.”

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Praise for Understanding Cemetery Symbols:

“When I ordered this book I thought it would be good for information concerning cemetery symbolism. I was wrong. It is GREAT!!!! This has already become my go to guide for all types of cemetery information. By far the best book I have come across!”  – Amazon verified purchase, wearylibrarian

“Wow! What a great book! I got bit by the bug doing genealogy research. I always wondered what the symbols meant and could not find a reliable resource for the info. With Ms. Snider’s book along with the symbiology and great pictures, also a creative process of Tui’s, are plenty of interesting tidbits! Useful and entertaining! The book is small enough to keep in the glove box or your handbag or backpack!!” – Amazon verified purchase, Rev. Joy Daley

“I always enjoyed walking through a cemetery and looking at the stones. Now it will give it a much deeper meaning. I really enjoyed reading this book!”  – Amazon verified purchase, Deborah D.

“Perfect book to get an idea for symbols and meaning. Only glanced through it and already picked up a few facts! Welcome addition to our growing library…” – Amazon verified purchase, Toripotterfan

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Book  Graveyard Journal Workbbook Ghost Hunters Journal

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Check out the book trailer! Music by Tui Snider!

 

review

UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS is THE most essential field guide for field genealogy research and cemetery hounds.

Sometimes you happen upon something that you didn’t know you needed, until you have it.  And then you can’t imagine why or how you ever managed without it.

That’s what UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS is to me.

I began my genealogy and family history research sixteen years ago when I was pregnant with my first child.  Some of my most treasured artifacts from my research are the narratives that I have discovered or pieced together about an ancestor (who they were, and what was important to them).  This book gives me an exciting new tool to add information to those narratives, and I am SO excited to get to use the information to create a clearer picture of who my ancestors were, simply by checking out their gravestones.

UNDERSTANDING CEMETERY SYMBOLS is a comprehensive guide to the hidden or long-forgotten meanings behind the symbols and architecture of not only headstones but the cemeteries, as well.  The guide is filled with pictures and explanations of everything and includes a TON of narratives and examples (thrilling the history addict in me).  Everyone from the curious history buff to the avid genealogist, and including the ghost hunter types will find the content in this volume useful in translating the “message” that each headstone is trying to tell us.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  You will not be sorry for grabbing a copy to take on your next field trip to a historic cemetery.  Also see the companion GRAVEYARD JOURNAL for note-taking on your trek, or the GHOST HUNTERS JOURNAL for keeping data on your investigations.

 

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Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in quirky travel, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences and bookstores. Her best-selling books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, Unexpected Texas, and Understanding Cemetery Symbols. She recently taught classes based on her books at Texas Christian University.

When not writing books, you can find Tui exploring the historic graveyards and backroads of Texas with her husband, Larry. 

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Review: LOVING LUTHER by Allison Pittman

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LOVING LUTHER

by
ALLISON PITTMAN
  Genre: Christian Historical Romance 
Publisher: Tyndale House
Date of Publication: September 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 432
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Germany, 1505
In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her. 

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows–a choice more practical than pious–but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.


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Praise for Loving Luther

[Pittman] pens an exquisite tale, capturing the emotions of a nun grappling with the faith she’s always known vs. a new and unfamiliar freedom in faith.  Simmering with tension of Katharina’s discontent and longings, the novel unveils a slow morphing that follows Katharina’s own personal transformation, from reverence to spirited determination in choosing her own way in the world. — Booklist
 
Loving Luther is a moving and rich historical romance based on Luther’s relationship with his wife Katharina.  In addition, it shows how their marriage was actually significant to the Lutheran faith.  Instead of dwelling on the couple’s courtship, the story goes deep into the roots of the Reformation.  Luther and Katharina interrogate their faith, living out their convictions in a way that is both inspiring and profoundly human.  Loving Luther has depth, and it is unexpectedly touching.  Katharina and Luther, in search of a happy ending, find one another.  Their love, Pittman shows, really did change the world. — Foreword Magazine
 
A historical novel with characters who are brave, strong and willing to take chances in times of persecution.  The plot is partially based on the teachings of Martin Luther and the many lives he changed, some for the better, some for the worse.  Pittman is a talented author who touches on topics that have been debated over the decades and are still being talked about today. — Romantic Times Reviews

Fascinating Historical Romantic Tale of one of history’s less-known heroines during The Reformation

Katharina Von Bora would one day become the wife of the Master of Reformation, Martin Luther, but the story of how she got there is a less-known tale.  

Upon her mother’s death at an early age, her father left her at a convent to be raised in the Faith by the nuns of the Order.  She was cloistered and taught the ways of the Catholic church, bonding with many of the Sisters of the convent.  As was expected, she took her vows at sixteen and joined the Order, despite questions and doubts.  

She happens upon a bit of parchment with translated scripture upon it, written by the outcast Martin Luther, and even though she is forbidden to read them, she takes them, and takes the words to heart.  This begins a reformation of her own being, and before long, she has left the convent and her vows.  The rest of the book tells the story of her relationship with Luther and role in the Reformation movement, by his side.  It is a wonderful story of faith, love and loyalty.

I recommend this book to historical fiction readers who like the glimpse at what the life of lesser-known heroes and heroines who supported large movements in history and larger historical characters.  Well-done.

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives near San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike.
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Top 10: Eliza Maxwell, author of THE UNREMEMBERED GIRL

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THE UNREMEMBERED GIRL

by
ELIZA MAXWELL
  Genre: Psychological Suspense / Mystery
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Date of Publication: November 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 332
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In the deep woods of East Texas, Henry supports his family by selling bootleg liquor. It’s all he can do to keep his compassionate but ailing mother and his stepfather—a fanatical grassroots minister with a bruising rhetoric—from ruin. But they have no idea they’ve become the obsession of the girl in the woods.
Abandoned and nearly feral, Eve has been watching them, seduced by the notion of family—something she’s known only in the most brutal sense. Soon she can’t resist the temptation to get close. Where Henry’s mother sees a poor girl in need, his father sees only wickedness. When Henry forges an unexpected bond with Eve, he believes he might be able to save her. He doesn’t know how wrong he is.
Eve is about to take charge of her own destiny—and that of Henry’s family. As both their worlds spin violently out of control, Henry must make an impossible choice: protect the broken young woman who’s claimed a piece of his soul, or put everyone he loves at risk in order to do the right thing.


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Praise for The Grave Tender, Maxwell’s previous book:

“An emotional powerhouse of a story that will leave readers reeling from the beginning to the end.” —Christena Stephens, Forgotten Winds
“Beautiful and intoxicating.” —Chelsea Humphrey, The Suspense is Thrilling Me
“Haunting. Lyrical. Beautiful. Dark. At times, sickening.” —Julia Byers, Books in the Garden
“This is dark psychological suspense that skillfully inspires a slow-dawning dread. . .It will shred you.” — Michelle Newby, Lone Star Literary Life
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Top Ten

Eliza Maxwell’s Top Ten Books – and a Few Pet Peeves

When someone asks for a personal top ten list for books, I always panic a little.  “That’s too vague!” I cry, already imagining the amazing books that I won’t be able to fit onto the list.  “Ten books written for kids? Ten beautifully written books that moved me to tears? Ten books by women? Ten books by men? Ten mysteries that shocked me? Ten circus books? Ten books that taught me something about life, love, diversity, culture, death, parenthood, millennials?  It’s too much!  I need parameters!”

My husband, ever the voice of reason, says, “Calm down. Just list the books you’ve read more than once.”

Whew. Sigh of relief.  I can do that.  So without political agenda and without worrying about whether there is enough representation for the various amazing authors, stories, and voices out there, I’ve gone through my shelves and tipped out the first ten books (or series of books) that I have verifiably read more than once, most more than twice.

#10

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

“I have not broken your heart – you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.”
― Emily BrontëWuthering Heights

#9

Ender’s Game/ Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

“Sometimes David kills Goliath, and people never forget. But there were a lot of little guys Goliath had already mashed into the ground. Nobody sang songs about those fights…”
― Orson Scott CardEnder’s Shadow

#8

It by Stephen King

“Home is the place where when you go there, you have to finally face the thing in the dark.”
― Stephen KingIt

#7

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

“Now … if you trust in yourself … and believe in your dreams … and follow your star … you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy. Goodbye.”
― Terry PratchettThe Wee Free Men

#6

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“Men are simpler than you imagine my sweet child. But what goes on in the twisted, tortuous minds of women would baffle anyone.”
― Daphne du MaurierRebecca

#5

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

“You think you know how this story is going to end, but you don’t.”
― Christopher MooreLamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

#4

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

“I wanted to cry, but I realized that I was too old for that. I would be a woman soon and I would have to learn how to live with a divided heart.”
― Anita DiamantThe Red Tent

#3

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

“It has been said that civilization is twenty-four hours and two meals away from barbarism.”
― Neil Gaiman/Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

#2

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

“Have a biscuit, Potter.”

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

#1

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

“Did they all live happily ever after? They did not. No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say.”
― Stephen KingThe Eyes of the Dragon

 

As a bonus for those of you who made it to the end, I’ll throw in a mini-list of Pet Peeves: (You’re welcome. ☺ )

  1. Sitting in a warm seat
  2. Putting peanut butter in the fridge.
  3. People in my personal space in the check-out line.
  4. Reading the end of the book first.
  5. Duck faces.

 

Eliza Maxwell lives in Texas with her ever patient husband and two kids. She’s an artist and writer, an introvert and a British cop drama addict. She loves nothing more than to hear from readers.
You can find her at theelizamaxwell@gmail.com
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Review: AN INCONVENIENT BEAUTY by Kristi Ann Hunter

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AN INCONVENIENT BEAUTY
Hawthorne House, Book 4

by
KRISTI ANN HUNTER
  Genre: Regency Romance 
Publisher: Bethany House
Date of Publication: September 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
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Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, so he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. While he’s certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, she is strangely elusive, and he can’t seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.
Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, she has no choice but to agree to a bargain that puts her at odds with all her romantic hopes—as well as her conscience. And the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she regrets the unpleasant obligation that prevents her from any dream of a future with him.
As all Griffith’s and Isabella’s long-held expectations are shaken to the core, can they set aside their pride and fear long enough to claim a happily-ever-after?
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Praise for An Inconvenient Beauty:
“With the latest superbly written installment in her Hawthorne House series, RITA award-winning Hunter once again proves she has the key to inspirational-romance and traditional-Regency readers’ hearts as she gifts them with another gracefully executed love story that delivers all of the richly nuanced characters, impeccably researched historical plotting, and sweet romance they could ever crave.”—Booklist
“The final book in the Hawthorne House series brings Hunter’s saga to a sigh-worthy conclusion. These family members have become like real people, and although readers will celebrate that the characters have found love, it is bittersweet to say goodbye. The plot moves briskly, yet the romance never feels forced. The period details are, as always, charming, and entrench the reader in the culture and traditions of the era.”—RT Book Reviews
“Hunter’s final installment in the Hawthorne House series will delight those already invested in the series as well as any reader who enjoys stories set in Regency-era England. . . . As the London Season plays out, secrets are revealed, past loves return, and hearts align—despite a fair amount of underhanded conniving–to create a fitting finale to the series and a lovely addition to the Regency genre.”—Publishers Weekly starred review
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review
A Charming, Heartfelt and Delightful Regency-era Romance.

The Duke of Riverton knows it is time for him to take a bride and produce an heir, but he’s not taking the task lightly.  He’s picked the most practical and least exciting potential bride to court.  But her cousin, Isabella is always around, and as much as he doesn’t want the complication, he can’t help but be drawn to her.
Isabella Breckenridge comes to London for her first season as a debutant, but it comes with a hitch.  She’s struck a deal with her uncle to entertain the attention of the society men for his political advantage.  If she does what he asks, her family’s farm will be saved.  If she doesn’t, they risk losing everything.   So when she falls for Riverton, she must choose between love or family.
I’ve been very lucky to find so many wonderful historical romances this year, and this one ranks high up there amongst them.  Hunter’s writing is suberb and her voice is perfect for the era.  It was easy to imagine a ballroom filled with couples sweeping across the floor in dance as groups gathered on the fringes to watch and mingle. I was easily transported to the scenes, and eager to read more.  The romance between Griffith and Isabella is wonderful and swoon-worthy.  Both characters are struggling with their own problems and insecurities, and must rely on faith to bring them together.
It’s a wonderful, heart-warming story, and an ending with ALL THE FEELS.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

 

 

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in computer science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is the author of the Hawthorne House series and a 2016 RITA Award winner and Christy Award finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

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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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Author Pic Smucker_Shawn1     

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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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:
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September 5 – 14, 2017
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Spotlight: THE CURSE OF SACERDOZIO by Glen Aaron

BNR The Curse of Sacerdozio PNG

THE CURSE OF SACERDOZIO
a tale of judicial conspiracy
The Supremes, Book 1
by
GLEN AARON
  Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Mystery
Publisher: BookBaby
Date of Publication: June 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 275
Scroll down for giveaway!

In​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​books,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​seldom​ ​the​ ​intrigue​ ​of​ ​murder​ ​and​ ​of​ ​crime​ ​and​ ​punishment within​ ​the​ ​chambers.​ ​The​ ​Curse​ ​of​ ​Sacerdozio​ ​takes​ ​the​ ​death​ ​of​ ​Justice​ ​Antonin​ ​Scalia​ ​on​ ​a fictional​ ​journey​ ​that​ ​keeps​ ​you​ ​turning​ ​pages.​ ​As​ ​President​ ​Trump​ ​takes​ ​power,​ ​this​ ​tale​ ​raises questions​ ​about​ ​what​ ​influences​ ​drive​ ​him​ ​in​ ​judicial​ ​appointments,​ ​while​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time entertaining​ ​the​ ​reader​ ​in​ ​a​ ​political​ ​and​ ​legal​ ​thriller.

The​ ​issues​ ​of​ ​abortion, ​ ​marriage,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​conduct​ ​of​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​Justices​ ​wrapped​ ​in judicial​ ​conspiracy​ ​to​ ​control​ ​the​ ​Court​ ​and​ ​Congress​ ​come​ ​into​ ​stark​ ​conflict.​ ​The​ ​power​ ​of​ ​the church​ ​and​ ​motivated​ ​thinking​ ​highly​ ​organized​ ​pressure​ ​groups​ ​like​ ​the​ ​Federalist​ ​Society​ ​and Opus​ ​Dei​ ​are​ ​revealed​ ​in​ ​this​ ​plot​ ​driven​ ​novel.

While​ ​the​ ​story​ ​of​ ​the​ ​protagonist,​ ​Tommy​ ​Jon,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​success​ ​story​ ​within​ ​itself,​ ​as​ ​he​ ​is​ ​the​ ​first Jicarilla​ ​Apache​ ​to​ ​graduate​ ​from​ ​Harvard​ ​Law​ ​School​ ​and​ ​clerk​ ​for​ ​a​ ​Supreme​ ​Court​ ​Justice, his​ ​downfall​ ​is​ ​in​ ​contesting​ ​the​ ​judicial​ ​philosophy​ ​of​ ​Justice​ ​Sacerdozio.​ ​When​ ​the​ ​judge​ ​is found​ ​dead​ ​floating​ ​in​ ​a​ ​hot​ ​mineral​ ​pool​ ​on​ ​a​ ​ranch​ ​retreat​ ​in​ ​West​ ​Texas,​ ​Tommy​ ​Jon becomes​ ​a​ ​target​ ​of​ ​the​ ​FBI​ ​in​ ​suspicion​ ​of​ ​murder.​ ​The​ ​climax​ ​of​ ​the​ ​novel​ ​is​ ​his​ ​trial​ ​in​ ​the Federal​ ​District Court​ ​in​ ​El​ ​Paso.

Underlying​ ​the​ ​plot,​ ​the​ ​reader​ ​will​ ​realize​ ​a​ ​serious​ ​concern​ ​about​ ​just​ ​who​ ​President​ ​Trump really​ ​is.​ ​The​ ​political​ ​conspiracy​ ​that​ ​has​ ​brought​ ​the​ ​religious​ ​right​ ​and​ ​the​ ​judiciary​ ​together​ ​is unfolding​ ​and​ ​coming​ ​to​ ​fruition,​ ​now,​ ​in​ ​Washington.​ ​The​ ​Curse​ ​Of​ ​Sacerdozio​ ​is​ ​fictional​ ​in​ ​its tale​ ​but​ ​realistic​ ​in​ ​its​ ​revelations.
Praise for The Curse of Sacerdozio:
“The Curse of Sacerdozio: A Tale of Judicial Conspiracy rings through with originality, a story that will have readers gripped from beginning to end.” – Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite
“The characters are all wonderful, and some are more than what they seem.” – Jay Snook
“Aaron has done his research!” – Jenn Jilks, Cottage Country Reflections
“The novel entertains as it educates allowing the reader to be both intrigued and informed.” – The Nerdy Girl Express
“Aaron displays a knack for describing and creating emotion in any event.” — Sharon Kurack, StarryMag

CLICK TO PURCHASE:

Glen Aaron was born in Big Spring, Texas and raised in Midland. In 1962, while attending Baylor, he ran for State Representative from Midland at he age of 21. He lost that election in a runoff by 42 votes. Deciding politics was not for him, he graduated Baylor with a BA and moved on to the University of Texas law school. There, he won the Moot Court competition arguing before the Supreme Court of Texas sitting en banc. After acquiring his JD, Glen spent forty years in trial law and international business and banking. Today, he lives in Midland with his wife Jane Hellinghausen and two rottweilers. He enjoys writing and working with the Permian Basin Bookies. Author of: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime; The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying; The Prison Experience; The Prison People.

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Review: KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS by Linda Broday {giveaway}

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KNIGHT ON THE 
TEXAS PLAINS
Texas Heroes Series
by
LINDA BRODAY
  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 352

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Duel McClain buries his wife and infant son, climbs in the saddle, and rides off. Locked in grief, he drifts from one Texas town to another as the months pass. He rides into a border town and gets in a card game in the saloon. On the last hand, the opponent across from him runs out of money. The man reaches down for a baby and plunks her in the center of the table. Whoever wins the pot, gets her too. After Duel wins with the Deadman’s Hand, he tries to give the baby back. But when the man tells him he’ll sell her, Duel keeps his prize.
On the way back to his home, he runs across a woman covered in blood. She only says her name is Jessie and the blood isn’t hers. The deep fear in her eyes touches Duel and he has to do something. He strikes a bargain—he’ll take her anywhere she wants to go in return for helping with the child.
Jessie sees honor, respect, and kindness in his eyes. And the moment she holds the baby in her arms, her heart melts. Once they reach Duel’s home, she confesses she killed her husband and tells him the law will come. Desperate to save her, he offers marriage and she accepts.

They settle in and love develops. But each day grows more tense. Lawmen are coming and they can’t stop them. Soon, she’ll face the hangman’s rope.

CLICK TO PURCHASE
———–
Praise for Knight on the Texas Plains:
“Broday (the Men of Legend series) has a knack for capturing the hesitations of both Duel and Jessie and unfurling a twisting plot without resorting to melodrama. Through carefully deployed flashbacks, she slowly exposes the horrors of Jessie’s marriage, culminating in a truly grisly image of depravity without overwhelming the tender love story. Fans of historical romances will be pleased.”  ~~ Publisher’s Weekly
“The instant a sweet baby girl, an abused woman, a stray dog, and a reluctant hero meet, readers are drawn into a tender and tough love story that touches many emotions and will have them believing in the healing power of love.”  ~~ Romantic Times 4 ½ Stars Top Pick!
“Broday’s latest is a tender romance to touch the heart.”  ~~ Bookpage
“This story is simply endearing, packed with powerful message of humanity and the true healing power of family and love!!” ~~ Addicted to Romance
“Throughout the well-paced story, there was suspense, tears, fear, revulsion, and no shortage of laughter and joy. I didn’t want the story to end.” ~~ Teresa on Goodreads
review

Traditional Western Romance with a TON of Heart.
Duel McLain has taken to wandering the Texas landscape since he lost everything, except his honor.  A winning hand of poker sets his life on a path he never expected.  And now he has a child to see to safety.
Jessie Foltry is running for her life.  Hungry and battered, she stumbles upon Duel’s campsite, and his honor compels him to bring her along to safety back home.  
Duel and Jessie find a way to put their tortured pasts behind them and find salvation in one another, while making a life and a place in their hearts for the little girl, Marley Rose.  But the past is never far behind, and they must trust in each other to get through the trials ahead.
Linda Broday is an exceptional storyteller.  The scenery comes to life around her characters as she weaves the story of Duel and Jessie on the page.  The characters are truly unforgettable and are guaranteed to stay with me for a long time.  I absolutely adored this story.  It was a delightful tale of loss and redemption, and honor.  I highly recommend KNIGHT ON THE TEXAS PLAINS to those who love historical western romances with a sweet romance and an ending that will leave you warm and fuzzy long after the last page.

Linda Broday, Historical Western Romance Author  I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 8 full length historical western romance novels, with another set to release 2017, and 10 short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. At times, I can feel their ghosts lurking around every corner. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here. I love research and looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I confess to being a rock hound. I’ve been accused (and quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places. I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.

WEBSITE   FACEBOOK     PINTEREST

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  August 15-24, 2017 

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Notable Quotable
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8/21/17
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8/22/17
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Excerpt: COMFORT PLANS by Kimberly Fish

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COMFORT PLANS
by
KIMBERLY FISH
  Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Date of Publication: May 23, 2017
Number of Pages: 320
Scroll down for giveaway!
 

Colette Sheridan is being remodeled.

As a San Antonio architect, she’d have vowed her career was to investigate the history and create new functions for the structures everyone else saw as eyesores. The old German farmhouse in Comfort, Texas, might be the screeching end of that dream job. The assignment seemed so ideal at the start; generous clients, a stunning location, and a pocketful of letters that were surely meant to explain the ranch’s story. All that goodness crashed louder than a pile of two-by-fours when her grandfather announced he’d lured Colette’s ex-husband back to San Antonio to take over the family architecture firm. Now, not only does Colette have to endure the challenges posed by Beau Jefferson, the client’s handpicked contractor, a house that resists efforts to be modernized, and letters that may hold the secret to buried treasure, but she also has to decide if she has the courage to fight for her future.
Set against the backdrop of the Texas Hill Country, Colette and Beau have to rely on plans neither of them constructed in order to navigate the changes of a house with a story to tell, and a future they couldn’t even imagine.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.”
–Vickie Phelps,Author of Moved, Left No Address

Excerpt

Excerpt, Chapter 1, Part 3

from Comfort Plans

Continued from the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/5/17 Stop

Scooping up a handful of chiffon, Colette scooted across the leather driver’s seat and wondered if her grandfather followed-through with a candidate, if a new president at Sheridan’s would gain much traction in the market. The boutique firm specialized in historical restoration and had a niche in South Texas. Since Nathan Sheridan was the guru of that style, she doubted anyone would ever replicate the success her grandfather had maintained in an industry that could change on the whims of the stock market.

Point number twelve for why he needed to groom a stronger replacement.

She backed out of the driveway but stole one last glance at the man who never went a day without Brylcreem. His custom-tailored shirt was rolled at the sleeves, and he was wearing his dress slacks on a Saturday night. The Big Ben of her world—he was classy, reliable, and just as unbending as any national monument London had ever produced.

He was flagging her to roll down her window.

Colette cranked the window below her nose. “Yes?”

“Aren’t you at all curious who I’ve finally selected to manage my empire?”

Empire was a bit of a leap. The last quarter-profits weren’t anything to get excited about. “Knowing that you would scour the face of the earth to find someone worthy of the Sheridan name and that it’s taken you years since the last serious candidate, I’m hopeful this man is capable of carrying your legacy forward.”

“That’s a lot of faith from the girl who questioned me about the wisdom of maintaining my breakfast ritual at Earl Abel’s.”

He did have a nasty habit of smothering all forms of nutrition with sausage gravy, which was another reason to force him into a doctor’s appointment.

“I’m looking out for your general health because I want you to hang around and torment me for years to come.” Which was true. She adored her resident curmudgeon and delighted in being one of the few people in the world who could make him laugh.

His lips turned down even more than usual. “I’m one of the short timers, which is why I want to know that you and my firm are going to be in good hands.”

She shivered. “Don’t talk like that. You know what Momma says about positive thinking.”

“Your mother is a flake.”

Colette sighed and knew she’d be even later to this wedding than was acceptable. “I can see you want to tell me who you’ve hired, so what’s his name? Or am I supposed to guess based on last month’s Architectural Digest article about the ‘it guy’ from Los Angeles?”

She’d seen her grandfather poring over those pages like they were printed in gold leaf. She hadn’t seen anything brilliant when she’d snatched the article from the breakfast table, but her inability to see modern trends was another excuse she’d offered as to why she’d make a lousy president of the firm.

Finish reading Chapter One on the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/13/17 Stop

Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won The Writer’s League of Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting.
She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats and in 2017, released the first novel in a series set during the World War II years in Longview, Texas – The Big Inch.
She lives with her family in East Texas.
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Author Interview: Lynette Eason (CHASING SECRETS) + {giveaway}

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CHASING SECRETS
Elite Guardians, Book 4
by
Lynette Eason
  Genre: Romantic Suspense / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Number of Pages: 336
Scroll down for giveaway!
Intensity. Skill. Tenacity.
The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have it all.
When a photo leads investigators in West Ireland to open a twenty-five-year-old cold case, Elite Guardians bodyguard Haley Callaghan’s life is suddenly in danger. Haley knows how to take care of herself; after all, she’s made a career out of taking care of others. But after she has an uncomfortably close call, Detective Steven Rothwell takes it upon himself to stay with her—and the young client she has taken under her wing. A protector at heart, he’s not about to let Haley fight this battle alone.
In a sweeping plot that takes them into long-buried memories—and the depths of the heart—Haley and Steven will have to solve the mystery of Haley’s past while dodging bullets, bombs, and bad guys who just won’t quit.
Praise for the Elite Guardians Series:
“A thrill ride from the first page until the last.”
—RT Book Reviews, top pick, 4½ stars for Always Watching
“Witty dialogue and a simmering attraction will have readers flying through this tension-laced thriller.”
—Family Fiction on Without Warning
“Fast, furious, and flirty, Lynette Eason’s relentless suspense barely gives her readers time to catch their breath.”
Relz Reviews on Moving Target
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AuthorInterview

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

Full time…sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s not. When I wasn’t working full time as a writer, I had specific time that was mine for just writing. Now that I’m writing full time, it’s easier to procrastinate.

 
What are some day jobs that you have held?  Did any impact your writing?

I’ve worked in fast food, retail, and full-time teaching. I can’t say it’s really impacted my writing other than I’ve used the experiences to enhance it.

 
Why did you choose to write romantic suspense?

I’ve always love suspense stories and I’ve always loved a good romance, so choosing to write Romantic Suspense seemed like a logical step for me.

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

No, I’m pretty open to writing whatever is laid on my heart.

 
What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

I think the most useful thing was just pieces of good advice. One of those was “Just write. Don’t worry if it’s good or bad, just get the words down. You can fix words, you can’t fix a blank page.” When I’m staring at a blank screen or the start of a new chapter, I just write. Then I go back and fix it. I think the most destructive thing—or a bad piece of advice is the phrase “finding time to write.” I’ll often hear pre-published writers say, “I just can’t find the time.” Well, no one can. We all have packed schedules. In my opinion, it’s not a matter of “finding time” it’s a matter of “making time.” Is your writing a priority? My morning looks like this most of the time when school is in session: Get up, fix my breakfast, sit at the kitchen table, have a quiet time, then open my laptop and work until my son comes down. So, before I even see my child in the morning, I’ve already written for about an hour or an hour and a half. Yes, I could have stayed in bed, but I chose to get up and make the time to write. That’s just one example. And everyone can do it. I don’t care what your hours are or whether you have one kid or six kids. So, I don’t accept the whining about not being able to find time to write. Because if you’re looking for it, you won’t find it. You have to carve out that time.

 

Readers have been devouring your Elite Guardians series. What makes Chasing Secrets, the final book of the series, different from the rest?  

I’m so thankful that readers have enjoyed the books! I must say, I’m truly sad to see this series come to an end. I’m thinking there might have to be a novella in the future to really wrap it all up. As for what makes Chasing Secrets different, I would say that it’s only different in that it’s a completely different story in and of itself. It takes you to Ireland and back to South Carolina. Haley, the heroine, learns who she really is when the past comes back to confront her. She has to work to protect herself as well as the client she’s taken under her wing. Not only is she chasing her own secrets and trying to find out about her family, but she also commits to raising two boys who need a home. This book is really all about family. Blood relatives or adoptives, we find out that it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is love.

 

How does your Chasing Secrets relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

Since I’m always putting a faith element in the story, I’m always looking up scripture that relates to the story. This keeps me in the word. And being a writer ALWAYS ensures my prayer life is active and consistent!

 

Many of the scenes in Chasing Secrets have readers racing to the next page. Were there any scenes that took you by surprise when writing?

What took me by surprise was the way the scenes all fit together. Finally! But, yes, there was one character I ended up killing off that took me by complete surprise. I didn’t expect this character to die, and when it happened, I was so sad!


Lynette Eason is the bestselling author of the Women of Justice, Deadly Reunions, and Hidden Identity series, as well as Always Watching, Without Warning, and Moving Target in the Elite Guardians series.

She is the winner of two ACFW Carol Awards, the Selah Award, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. She lives in South Carolina.




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