Wednesday, March 22, 2017

10 Reading Quirks

Erica here:

I don't remember learning how to read, but I do know it was an epoch in my life. From the time I was little, I was never without a book.

I do remember being put in the remedial reading group in third grade, and my mother being stunned, since I read all the time.

That hasn't changed. I am all about books, reading, fiction, learning, research...books, books, books!!!

I am NEVER without at least one book going. Sometimes two or three. And I have a handful of other reading quirks, too:

Currently reading this one

1. I never peek at the end of the book.
2. I never write in a book.
3. I read fiction on my kindle, non-fiction in print.
4. I love mysteries, but I never try to figure out whodunnit. I just let the story unfold.
5. If there is a choice between a book or the movie made based on the book, I will always say the book is better.
6. I am not a bandwagon reader. If a book is super popular, I put off reading it. (I am just now reading the first Harry Potter book.)
7. If I find an author I like, I want to read everything they ever wrote.
8. I have some 'auto buys.' Lee Child, Craig Johnson, Michael Connelly, and for years, Dick Francis. I have pre-ordered more than six months in advance when my favorite authors have books coming out.
9. I tend to read more male authors than female authors. No clue why.
10. I have more than 1000 books in my house right now, and that's after culling through a TON of them.

Currently reading this one, too

Bonus quirk...I am a re-reader. I have many books that I have read more than a dozen times.

Just finished this one for about the twentieth time...not my signed
British first edition, but the one on my kindle. 
How about you? Do you have reading quirks? Do we share any reading quirks?

SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER
Find me on AMAZON.COM
Find me on FACEBOOK

Monday, March 20, 2017

Story Stoppers: To Die or Not to Die?

That is the question.
Anne here.
So, get your coffee or tea and let's talk story stoppers. What makes you stop reading a book, or stop watching a movie? I'm going more for emotion, craft, form, or writing style stoppers than genre. I read a very wonderful article this week about death and dying and it made me wonder. Since death is such a universal experience, it can really strike a visceral cord. (article link--warning: get tissues! I know you love me--now let me die) The article isn't fiction, but I wondered: if a story character gets killed off by the author, will that make you stop reading? Because death is so real, and we all have our own experiences with it--both resolved and unresolved. You have Jaime's stories, where death and dead bodies are a suspense requisite, but my stories are on the sweet romantic side--but that doesn't mean I avoid writing about death. Do you avoid books with death? For instance, I've watched Old Yeller, and Where the Red Fern Grows, where the main dog character dies, but I could only watch them once. Or like, Schindler's List and Titanic--both must see films, but I couldn't see them more than once. Too heart-wrenching, you know? Once I learned  <SPOILER ALERT> the dog dies in Marley & Me, it was a stopper for me, didn't see it. If you learn the main character gets killed off, will you still read the story?


What other things might be a stopper for you? Jaime and I are pretty much die-hard third person writers and readers. I'll read a first person story, but I don't prefer it. I'm always disappointed if I get a great looking book, if I've been hooked by the cover and the back blurb--and get home to find it's first person. I might drop it immediately unless there are rave reviews. Especially if it's historical. I don't mind it so much if it's a contemporary. But somehow it feels like a historical story should be in third person since it has already occurred in the past. Any first person readers out there? Do you have some examples of your favorites?

What are other stoppers? Subtitles on a movie? Can you do that if it's worth it? I think that last English subtitled movie I saw was 1987's Babette's Feast. I only watched it because it's one of my sister-in-law's favorites, but it was good.


Or darker, deeper plots and character arcs? Do you prefer a challenge, something to ponder? Or more the light hearted read with a sweet romance where no one dies? Do you stick only to light romantic comedy? Many people read to escape and be entertained. Fiction writers are told to write realistic characters with universal themes. So it makes it a challenge of craft and voice to write realistically, touching on the human experience, yet transporting the reader from their real world while still connecting.

Above all, I can keep reading a good story, even if a beloved character dies--if I feel the author is showing me hope. For me, I think hope is that essential piece that no matter how dark or real the story, if the reader can join in the sense of hope for overcoming life's challenges, it's worth it. I mean L.M. Montgomery let Matthew Cuthbert die in the Anne series, but I'd watch that again and again because the story is so delightful and full of hope!


For fun, let's go around the coffee table and vote:
Hands up if you prefer strictly fun, light hearted, romantic or comedy.
Thumbs down if you would put down a book (or be tempted) if someone dear dies, or too dark?
Coffee mug raised if you would read either one, as long as it's relatable and brings you hope?

~~~~~
The winner of Susan Meissner's copy of A Bridge Across the Ocean is Joyce Heffron! Look for an email, Joyce! :)
-------------
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com
Find me on:Facebook
Find me on: Pinterest
Find me on: Goodreads
Find me on: Twitter
Find me on: Instagram

Friday, March 17, 2017

Interview & #Giveaway with Author Sarah Sundin

Plug your ears. I'm (Jaime) going to scream! Sarah Sundin is on the blog today! You have no idea what this does to me. She's one of my all-time favorite authors. I totally fan-girled when I met her at a writer's conference a few years ago. She may not KNOW I fan-girled because I stood there impassive and making small talk, but inside, I was doing cartwheels and throwing garbagebag-fulls of confetti.

That being said, if you love WWII history, fiction, and romance, Sarah's books will make your bookshelves swell with pride. Her stories are the perfect balance between all three. I'm a WWII junkie, of sorts. In fact, if you visited my office, you'd think I wrote WWII fiction because my entire office is decorate 1940's with WWII artifacts and newsclippings. But I don't write WWII fiction, because Sarah does it soooooo much better and I love to have a genre to sit back and just drink in like a fine wine -- or cup of really good coffee.

SO! ENJOY meeting Sarah, and be sure to read to the end because she is giving away a copy of her newest release!

_________________________________________

Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?

When Tides Turn is the third book in the Waves of Freedom series, but it stands alone. When Quintessa Beaumont learns the US Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, eager to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. Lt. Dan Avery employs his skills in antisubmarine warfare to fight U-boats at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, but the last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving Tess. As Dan and Tess work together in Boston, the changes in Tess challenge his notions—and his heart.

The novel was inspired by history and by two characters who needed a story. For the plot, I wanted to finish the story of the US involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic that I began in Through Waters Deep. In this book, my naval officer hero is involved in the climax and the turning point of the long struggle between Allied warships and German U-boats. As for the characters, Dan Avery had appeared in the earlier books as the no-nonsense oldest brother, determined to make admiral and to avoid distractions, especially of the feminine variety. And Quintessa Beaumont was the vivacious friend who introduced some…drama…in the earlier books and received some humbling. I knew Tess needed to challenge herself and to find some purpose.

Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?

I don’t know why, but I often have the most fun with my male characters. Dan is so black-and-white, and it was fun being in the head of someone who knows his own mind so thoroughly. And then to shake him up and make him rethink all his assumptions.

If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them?

I’m probably the only author today who doesn’t “cast” her characters. I see them so clearly in my head, I rarely find faces that match. Then I have to scramble to find pictures for cover questionnaires and names for interviews like this. And even then, I’m drawn to classic movie stars for the right look and feel. For Tess, I’d pick Betty Grable—perky and beautiful, but in a friendly, accessible way. For Dan, I’d choose Tyrone Power with his rugged dark good looks. But really, can’t I pick the cover models? They’re absolutely perfect! I’ve been in contact with the family of the woman who “plays Tess,” and apparently she has a similar personality—sweet and vivacious. Isn’t that fun?

How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?

For the Waves of Freedom series, I wanted to tell the story of the US Navy’s involvement in the Battle of the Atlantic, plus have Home Front mysteries for my heroines. I needed an East Coast city with a destroyer base for my naval officers and a Navy Yard for the sabotage mystery in the first novel. Boston met those requirements, plus I’ve visited the city several times and just love it. The more I researched, the more I realized Boston was the perfect setting for the series.

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

I don’t think I could write a story set primarily in a Nazi concentration camp or a Japanese POW camp. Those stories must be told, but I’m not the author to do so. I know myself too well—I think it would devastate me.

Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What literary character is most like you and why?

Oh goodness. I identify a bit with almost every character I read about. Like all novelists, I have a lot of Anne Shirley’s dreaminess—although I don’t share her penchant for getting in trouble. I have a lot of Hermione Granger’s attention to detail at the expense of social skills. I have a lot of Anne Elliot’s (Persuasion) quiet perseverance. I’ve learned courage, fortitude, and balance from fictional characters.

What strange writing habits do you have? Like standing on your head while you write with a pen between your teeth?

Huh. I’m odd, but I’ve never been able to stand on my head. What most people think strange about my writing habits is my excessive pre-writing. I do lots of preparation before I start the rough draft—character charts and plot charts and outlines and scene sketches. And research too. See Hermione above.

Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way?

SO many! I’ve been blessed by dozens of authors who have taught, encouraged, and pushed me along this road. Writers’ conferences, especially Mount Hermon and ACFW, have introduced me to some of my best friends and mentors—and now mentees as well!

We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?

Faith is deeply ingrained in my writing. Usually in my rough draft I think I’m not getting “spiritual enough.” Then I re-read it before editing and see the faith thread. It just comes out. Often I have to edit it down a bit! Since God is such a part of my life, He colors how I see the world and how I portray it on the page. I don’t see how I could write a novel without faith as an element—it would feel so restrictive.

Because Jaime has some darker elements to her split-time historical and contemporary romantic suspense coming out this year, she likes to ask weird questions. So, if you were responsible to write your own epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?

Mother, pharmacist, author. She never could decide what she wanted to be when she grew up.

Anne is an insatiable romantic with a serious vintage aura in all she writes. Do you have fabulous love story in your family history that you could share with us in a few words? If not, what about your own?

I love my parents’ story because it defies expectations. They met on a blind date set up by my father’s fraternity brother at the University of Michigan in September. He gave her his pin a few months later. They never officially got engaged. They eloped in January, and didn’t tell their parents until they learned I was on the way. I was born in November (don’t bother counting—it was ten months, all right!). And their marriage grows stronger every day—they celebrated fifty-two years this January.

Erica and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. How does romance influence your own writing?

I’m a hopeless romantic. Every movie I watch or book I read—I seek the romance. And I’m disappointed if it isn’t there or it’s weak. When I’m writing, the romantic plot drives the story in my mind. The action plots interest me and the emotional/spiritual arcs draw me deep, but the romance is what keeps me at the keyboard. Writing a fun bit of banter or a juicy kiss—that makes my day!

We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! J Please share something below:

This is from the first chapter of When Tides Turn. Quintessa Beaumont is working at Filene’s, a department store in Boston. Her roommate’s big brother, naval officer Lt. Dan Avery, comes to buy a birthday gift for his mother.

“How about this?” Quintessa held up a tailored cream blouse with a brown yoke and short brown sleeves. An embroidered green vine with delicate yellow flowers softened the border between cream and brown.
“I’ll take it.”
“Let’s see what else we have.”
“Why?” Dan gestured to the blouse. “Is it her size?”
“Yes.”
“Do you think she’ll like it?”
“Well, yes, but—”
“I’ll take it.”
The man certainly knew his mind. One of many things she found attractive about him. “All right then.”
Quintessa took the blouse to the cash register and rang up the purchase. “How are things at the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit?”
One dark eyebrow lifted, and he pulled out his wallet. “We’re making progress, but personally, I want to get back out to sea.”
“That’s where the excitement is.”
“And the real work. We finally have convoys along the East Coast, and we’ve pretty much driven the U-boats away. But they’re back to their old hunting grounds in the North Atlantic, and they’re wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The battle’s constantly changing, and we have to stay on top of it.”
Quintessa focused on making change. Concentration was always difficult when Dan Avery spoke about the war or ships or the Navy. Passion lit the strong lines of his face and animated his firm mouth. If only he’d remove his white officer’s cap and run his hand through his wavy black hair. The wildness of it.

__________________________________

OH my! A Naval officer with black hair and strong lines? *Jaime just geeked out*

Do ya'll see what I mean? It's like a modern-day Hermoine Granger meets 1940 meets romance. Happy sighs.

Get your copy of this novel today! 



And don't forget a chance to win a copy too!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Crazy Sales!

Erica Here:

I'm on deadline, trying to fit in as much basketball watching as I can, and today we're at Mayo for a checkup for my husband. (Praying for clear scans and blood work.)

As a result of the uber-crammed nature of my schedule, I'll be brief.


The Seven Brides for Seven Texans novella collection is on sale this week for just $1.99 for kindle and nook, and for $1.59 at christianbook.com

Here are the links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2lYHnQN

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2mqGs75

Christianbook.com http://bit.ly/2mHt7ZU


Also, and I don't know how long the sale will go on, but my January 2017 release, My Heart Belongs in Fort Bliss, TX: Priscilla's Reveille is FREE for kindle and nook right now!



The link to download the FREE Book is:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mqHXDi

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2mLKSJ6


SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER
Find me on AMAZON.COM
Find me on FACEBOOK


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Reading to Escape, with Angela Mills

I, Jaime, am immersed in book deadlines this week, so I recruited someone you ALL will love to meet! Angela Mills is a literary agency-mate and sweet friend who's love for people and her faith shine through her writing. Please help me welcome my blog stand-in today ...

______________________________

 I’m one of those readers that will read the shampoo bottle in the shower. Anyone out there get this? Reading is such a second nature to me that I have to be careful when I’m at someone’s house, because if there’s a document out on the table, my eyes may just start to scan it without even thinking about it.

When I say I love reading, I mean I love reading. And while reading does come naturally to me (yes, even in the shower), not all reading is equal. There’s reading for education or information, reading to grade papers for my homeschool students, reading to get to know someone, reading to be inspired. Then, there’s my favorite kind of reading… Reading to escape.

There is nothing like digging deep into a story and forgetting everything else around you. My kids used to mock me, saying that they could tell me that we were being robbed, and if my nose was in a book, I’d answer, “Hold on, let me finish this chapter,” and keep reading. They may have jokingly tested this theory once or twice, and let’s just say that their point was made.

I began reading avidly as a child, and even though I didn’t realize it, oftentimes I would use reading as a way to get away whatever was going on in my life. I would read for hours at a time, falling in love with stories about girls who had superficial problems, and nice, tidy endings.

As I got older, I longed for deeper stories, with characters that were flawed and endings that were complicated, yet satisfying.

The realization that I was using books to put off coping with life hit me when I was an adult. One day, when it had been quite awhile since I had read a book, I said to my husband, “I’m craving a book. I need to read something!” He thought I was a weirdo, but for some reason, saying those words made it all make sense to me. It was a stressful time in our life, I was overtired, and I just wanted to snuggle up with a good book and forget everything for a while. I wanted to escape.

So, I did. But then I started to question myself. This was when I was a young mother and mom guilt had seeped into every fiber of my being. I couldn’t even exist without feeling guilty about it. The analyzing began as soon as I shut my book. Was I wrong to want to escape life? Was reading fiction a waste of time? Shouldn’t I be reading something educational? Shouldn’t I be doing something productive?

Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to completely banish mom guilt from my life and now live happily in a grace-filled existence. But even back then, in my guilt-ridden days, I came to the conclusion that I needed fiction in my life.

 But it came with a caveat: It can’t simply be a great story.

If I’m reading to escape life for a bit, and get drawn into a wonderfully paced story that keeps me hooked, but is otherwise meaningless, I still feel empty when I come up for air.

However, if I’m reading a fantastic story that is also sneakily speaking truths to my heart,  I come up refreshed and filled with hope.

That is the kind of reading that soothes me on weary days. That’s the kind of reading I need in my life.

That is why I love inspirational fiction, and why I write it.

What is your favorite kind of reading?

______________________________

Angela Mills blogs at http://www.angela-mills.com, where she has become known for her transparency and encouragement for women. Married to her best friend for seventeen years, and a homeschool mom to two daughters, Angela does not shy away from discussing the difficult aspects of family life. 

In addition to her blog, she runs a https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlessingYourHusbandDailyChallenges/ Facebook group for over 775 Christian wives and has written over 60 articles online for various websites. Her eBook, Blessing Your Husband 30 Day Challenge, has been downloaded over 6,000 times. 

Angela is passionate about following Jesus, helping marriages thrive, and encouraging women to intentionally love their husbands and children. When she’s not reading the shampoo bottle, she is currently writing a historical family saga.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Interview & Giveaway with Author Susan Meissner

Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! 
Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?


My new book, A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN, is a story about two European women who meet aboard the RMS Queen Mary in 1946. They are bound for America on a ship full of other war brides to be reunited with their servicemen husbands. Both women survived the hell of World War II, but only one of them, Simone, is an actual war bride; the other, Annaliese, is pretending to be a Belgian war bride to escape the Nazi husband she’d been forced to marry. Annaliese’s secret is laid bare on the voyage however, and the last day of the voyage is anything but peaceful. Meanwhile in the current day, thirty-something Brette just wants to live a normal, uncomplicated life but the family gift of being able to see ghosts is making that impossible. When Brette visits the famed and notoriously haunted Queen Mary (now a floating hotel) as a favor to a friend, she comes face to face with the ghostly echoes of that 1946 crossing and is soon on a quest to uncover the truth, right an old wrong, and maybe figure out how to live in peace with the way she is. This story was inspired by a visit to this grand ship, which has been at home in California’s Long Beach harbor for the past 40 years.


Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?

All three protagonists were such interesting characters to spend time with and clothe with personalities and quirks and strengths and weaknesses. It’s actually hard to choose one among Brette, Annaliese, and Simone as a favorite. There is a secondary character though, who doesn’t get as much air time as these three women, but she was totally enjoyable to create because I have never come up with a character quite like her, and probably won’t again for a long time. She starts the book out and appears every now and then as the story progresses. And she’s a ghost. But there’s nothing scary or malevolent about her. She’s just like the mortal characters in the story who want something and must overcome an obstacle to get it.

If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them?

What a fun question! Okay for Simone, who is a daughter of a murdered French Resistance spy, I pick the talented Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, Brooklyn). For Annaliese, the German ballerina married to a Nazi monster, Brie Larson (she stole the show as the abducted woman in Room.) For their cabinmate Phoebe, Daisy Ridley of the Stars Wars movie, The Force Awakens. For Annaliese’s brute of a husband, Jack Gleeson, who played evil Joffrey in Game of Thrones so well, and for Simone’s American pilot husband, Josh Hutcherson, who won our hearts as Peeta in The Hunger Games trilogy.

How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?

I had visited the Queen Mary two years ago; she is now a floating hotel on the southern California coast and I knew the second I stepped aboard that she’d be a beautiful location for a story because she has such a storied past – first as a 1930's luxury liner, then a troop carrier during the war, then a transport for war brides after WWII, and lastly as hotel. I had barely begun to research the ship when I learned she is apparently also one of the most haunted locations in the U.S., a lovely tidbit I just couldn’t pass up. Paranormal experts disagree how many ghosts supposedly call The Queen Mary home but it’s more than the number of people who actually died aboard her.


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

With subject matter, I tend not to toss out absolutes. There are certain genres though that I won’t write, horror and erotica being two of them, just because they’re not my cup of tea.

Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. 
We’ll help! What literary character is most like you and why?

Well, when I Google INFJ literary characters (I’m an INFJ on the Meyers-Briggs test), here’s what I come up with: I’m like Galadriel from Lord of the Rings, Beth March from Little Women, Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. We INFJs are insightful people who understand the complexities of relationships and what makes people tick. We want to engage in pursuits and activities that truly matter and to make the world a better place; so says Professor Google. So there you go.

What strange writing habits do you have? Like standing on your head while you write with a pen between your teeth?

I don’t like there to be music playing while I write – not even instrumental – and I don’t like my feet to be cold. So I need average white noise and warm socks. Aside from that, I can write just about anywhere.

Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way?

I draw inspiration and motivation from reading my favorite authors. They are Geraldine Brooks, Kate Morton, Alice Hoffman, Ann Patchett, and Khaled Hosseini. When I read their books I just automatically raise the bar on quality for my own novels. They make me want to be a better writer.

We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?

My faith affects my writing in that how I think about the world and people bleeds out of me into everything I do, which includes storytelling. I don’t write Christian fiction, but I am a Christian who writes fiction. I am like the Christian who is a baker who bakes the best bread she can. It’s not Christian bread. It’s just bread, but I want it to taste amazing and be memorable. My stories are all about themes that matter to me like love, hope, acceptance, forgiveness, meaning, relationships, and the preciousness of life itself. These are all woven into my life as a believer, so I think they show up, at least subtly so, in the pages of my books.

Because Jaime has some darker elements to her split-time historical and contemporary romantic suspense coming out this year, she likes to ask weird questions. So, if you were responsible to write your own epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?

Love it! Thanks, Jaime.
It may sound a little too syrupy sweet but I’d like to have made the world a better place. I am an INFJ after all. So this little quote would be nice, along with my name, and the dates and a few titles like daughter, wife, and mother. “To live in the hearts of others is not to die.”

Anne is an insatiable romantic with a serious vintage aura in all she writes. Do you have a fabulous love story in your family history that you could share with us in a few words? If not, what about your own?

My paternal grandparents were just 18 and 20 when they eloped on the 4th of July in 1936. It was a national holiday of course, so they had to drive around looking for a courthouse where a judge wouldn’t mind opening up the place to marry them. They found such a judge. They were together for decades upon decades. He died at 84 and they were still very much in love.

Erica and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. 
How does romance influence your own writing?

Romantic love shows up in just about every one of my books. I can’t think of one out of the 18 I’ve written where it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s a big story thread, sometimes it’s a small one, but it’s there. Life traveled together with someone you love and who loves you is amazing and never boring. We are the best and worst versions of ourselves with the people we love best and who love us best. That makes for good story material!

And for some extra fun . . .
If you could pick one superhero to save you from impending doom, who would it be and why?

Ironman, because of his dry sense of humor and because he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

If you could guest star in one TV show, what would be and what would your ideal role be?

These days, I’d like to be a guest star on NBC’s This is Us. I’d want to be Rebecca’s best friend who has known her for years, and who knows exactly how and when her Rebecca’s husband Jack died because of how long they’ve been friends.  Can you tell as I write this that this little detail is yet a mystery after a dozen emotionally-gripping episodes?

Name one significant heirloom or keepsake you have and why it’s important to you:

I’ve got my grandmother’s pearls; the same grandma who eloped with my Papa. They remind me that love is luminescent and mysterious and precious, and that from an irritating grain of sand, something beautiful can result.

We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! ☺ Please share something below:

I’d be happy to. Here you go!

RMS Queen Mary
Southampton, England
May 1936

The afternoon sun lies low and sweet among the clouds that hug the harbor, bathing the promenade deck in shimmering half-light. On the pier, a brass band plays a happy tune as good-byes are said at the far end of the gangway. Men with cameras are jockeying for position to catch the best view of us pulling away from the dock.
Today is different than all the other days. I feel the change all around me. Something new is about to happen.
I study each person as they step aboard, but no one pays me any mind. They don’t know I am here so they do not stiffen at my touch or reach for me or gape wide-eyed in surprise or alarm. They alight on the decks, cheerful and carefree, joyfully reaching for glasses of champagne offered by white-coated stewards.
I drift among them all, unseen, unnoticed.
But then a woman with peacock feathers in her hat breathes in deep when I swirl about her, as though she has caught my scent and is mesmerized by it. Intrigued, I linger. Her eyes widen in surprise as she stands there at a portside railing.
“Where are you?” the woman murmurs, so soft, it is almost like a whispered prayer.
She is speaking to me. She senses my presence. This woman is the first. I did not know this was possible.
“Don’t be afraid,” she says. “Where are you?”
I fold in closer to her. “Here,” is what I want to say.
“Do you want to tell me your name?” she asks kindly.
And oh yes, how I want to. But I cannot.
“Have you been here awhile?” she asks.
I don’t know the answer to this question. And that troubles me.
“It’s all right. You can trust me,” she says soothingly.
I want to trust her but I hesitate. Her questions fill me with unease. Another woman, this one red-haired and wearing a tweed coat, approaches. A wave of concern washes over her as she looks at the woman in the peacock feather hat.
“Who in the world are you talking to?” says this new woman.
The woman who knows I am here startles. Her gaze darts about, as though she thinks I might scamper away at this intrusion. Instead, I move closer to her. The silken strands of the feathers on her hat ripple like sea grass under water as I draw near. She opens her mouth in awe…
Reprinted with permission from A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN by Susan Meissner from Berkley Books, copyright 2017.

Readers: 
Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy.
Have you cruised before?
Which oceans have you seen?
What's your favorite thing about our interview with Susan today?


Thank you so much for visiting today, Susan! It was a blast!


Here are Susan's links:
http://susanlmeissner.com
On Facebook as susan.meissner
On Twitter as @SusanMeissner
On Instagram as @soozmeissner
Buy link page: http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/318418/a-bridge-across-the-ocean-by-susan-meissner/9780451476005

-------------
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com
Find me on:Facebook
Find me on: Pinterest
Find me on: Goodreads
Find me on: Twitter
Find me on: Instagram

Friday, March 10, 2017

Interview & Giveaway with Author Kathleen Y'Barbo Turner

Super happy to have Kathleen Y'Barbo with us today!  Bestselling author, Kathleen is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than eighty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and is the winner of the  Inspirational Romance of the Year by Romantic Times magazine. To connect with her through social media check out the links on her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.

_______________________________
  
Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?

Thank you for having me! My newest release is a novella called The Princess of Polecat Creek, and it can be found in the Secret Admirer Romance Collection (May 2017). Here’s the blurb: Scandal divided them. Two kidnappings and a wedding later, can a Texas cowboy turned Washington lawyer and the girl-next-door who secretly loved him since childhood save their marriage of inconvenience?

Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?

I had so much fun writing about Deke Wyatt, hero of the story and the eldest of six brothers. This poor guy was stuck between loyalty to his very proper high society mama from New York City and the Polecat Creek Ranch in Texas where he was born and raised. Even though he left to become a lawyer and is preparing for a move to join his grandfather’s law firm in Washington, DC, he still has to deal with those brothers of his one more time while settling his later father’s affairs. If you’ve ever had to walk a tightrope between pleasing family members or doing what you felt called to do, I think you’ll sympathize with Deke.


If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them?

Henry Cavill would make a fabulous Deke, although I could totally go old school on this Rhett Butler-type guy and say Clark Gable. I like Emma Stone for Pearl, or possibly Julianne Hough. Since this is a Texas novel, I’ve got to add one more: Sam Elliott as Deke’s grandpa!

How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?

Actually, Polecat Creek is the name of a real creek that crosses Interstate 75 just south of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Every time we drove past the Polecat Creek sign, I thought about how great that would sound in a book. Then the title came to me: The Princess of Polecat Creek. I had no idea what the plot would be, but I loved that title. It sat in a file on my computer for almost two years before I was approached about writing a novella about a secret admirer. I found the file and decided it was time to give the title a story, although I did move that story from Oklahoma to Texas (just as we moved a few weeks after I turned in the completed story, ironically).

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

I had to think very hard to answer this one because I cannot imagine limiting what I would write if God told me to write about it. However, I did write a book (Beloved Counterfeit) where the heroine was raped by the villain who had been threatening her throughout the book. Although I only alluded to what happened and never showed any details of the event, I got emails from readers who felt that was a trigger for them.

Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What literary character is most like you and why?

When I asked my husband this question, he said I was like Anne of Green Gables because I like to write and no one can tell me what to do. Ha! I prefer Alice from Alice in Wonderland because when I go down the rabbit hole of writing, I never know which interesting characters I will meet.

What strange writing habits do you have? Like standing on your head while you write with a pen between your teeth?

There was a time when I could write in total chaos, but that time is long ago when all four of my grown children were little. Now my desk has to be clear and everything in its place before I can concentrate on my book, probably because if it isn’t I either get distracted or I waste time putting everything back into order again.


Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way?

DiAnn Mills was an early mentor of mine, and she still inspires me with her work ethic. My best encouragers are the writer women with whom I’ve kept an ongoing text group for the past four years. Linda Kozar, Dannelle Woody, Janice Thompson, and Sharen Watson lift me up when I’m low, celebrate with me when things are going well, and generally kick my rear into gear when the occasion calls for it. I cannot imagine trying to do life, much less the writing life, without my girls.


We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?

My faith is integral to my writing because writing a book itself is an act of faith. When I plot out my stories, I always ask my characters what their faith looks like because that tells me where each of them is in their relationship with the Lord. None of what I know about this may even come out overtly in the story, but it will be built into the thoughts and actions of each character. Who we are in the inside always shows on the outside—eventually.


Because Jaime has some darker elements to her split-time historical and contemporary romantic suspense coming out this year, she likes to ask weird questions. So, if you were responsible to write your own epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?

Wife, Mother, Child of God


Anne is an insatiable romantic with a serious vintage aura in all she writes. Do you have fabulous love story in your family history that you could share with us in a few words? If not, what about your own?

I wrote about a love story from my family’s history (circa 1850s Texas) in the novella Saving Grace. My own love story is much briefer but so much better, I think. You see, my husband and I are relative newlyweds (7 years married this October) after finding each other again on Facebook. All my friends and readers got to watch as my hunky hero in combat boots and I reconnected after 35 years and then eloped to Hawaii. Just writing that makes me smile because I was a single mom for sever years prior to that and never thought God had a romance in store for me. Unlike my novels, where I always know what will happen, I was blindsided by our story—in the best possible way.

Erica and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. How does romance influence your own writing?
I love romances! Every story I write, even the historical mysteries, have an element of romance. To me, the best part of the story is making the reader wonder how two people who absolutely cannot possibly fall in love manage to do so anyway.

And for some extra fun . . .

If you could pick one superhero to save you from impending doom, who would it be and why?

My husband, of course. After 28 years in the military, he’s my go-to super hero.

If you could guest star in one TV show, what would be and what would your ideal role be?

Dr. Who! I would be the companion who brings back the tenth doctor. Somehow. No clue how, of course, but I’m sure the writers can figure that out.

Name one significant heirloom or keepsake you have and why it’s important to you:

There are two of them, actually, and they are my maternal and paternal grandmothers’ wedding rings (I should add that as the first grandchild on both sides, I was named after both of them). My maternal grandmother’s gold and platinum band is special to me because it is the ring that my husband put on my finger in Hawaii on our wedding day.

My paternal grandmother’s diamond wedding band is special because I thought it had been lost in my move from Texas to Oklahoma in 2010. We scoured the house looking for it and finally gave up. When we were packing to make our move to Texas last summer, my husband found it in the bottom of a vase of silk flowers that had been sitting in our bathroom the entire time! I now wear that ring along with my wedding band and engagement ring, not only to remind me of these two special women I was named after but also in hopes that our marriage will last until death do we part just as theirs did.

We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! J Please share something below:

Glad to! This is a scene where Deke has arrived at the ranch and learned that his brothers have not only accidentally been mistaken as train robbers in a dare gone wrong, but they have also managed to kidnap a childhood friend from a neighboring ranch in the process. This is Pearl and Deke’s first meeting in the book, and I had so much fun writing it.

“Joke? Do I look like I am amused?” Her hands crossed over that tiny waist of hers and her toe went to tapping. Oh but she was a beauty when she was angry.
Who was he kidding? Pearl Barrett was a beauty. Period.
And no, she did not look amused.
Once again he thought of the marriage hunt that had so worried his mother. Whoever ended up with this spitfire was to be pitied.
She tilted her head slightly and a ray of afternoon sunshine slanted across her face. Perhaps pitied wasn’t exactly the right word, for no matter what sort of orders her groom would be receiving, he would still be putting his boots under the same bed where that woman slept.
Deke shook off the thought and aimed his gaze at the blue sky overhead. Patience had never been one of the virtues the Lord bestowed on him, but it didn’t hurt to ask for an extra dose of it right now.
So he asked. And he waited, but only long enough to hear his name being called yet again. And not in a particularly fond manner.
He shifted his attention in time to see Eli once again walk behind Pearl, this time carrying the washstand. He paused as if watching the interaction between them.
Half his family tree might have originated on the best side of Boston, but the other half’s roots were dug deep in Texas soil, Polecat Creek Ranch soil to be exact. That little woman might think she could order him around, but she was sadly mistaken if she thought he’d sit on that horse and ignore her shrewish behavior.
“If you’re telling the truth about not playing any part in this situation-”
“Other than being the person stuffed into the feed sack, you mean? That, I will claim a part in, though I did not go willingly.”
“That’s the truth,” Eli called. “She bit Ben on the hand, though she didn’t draw blood.”
She turned and said something to Eli that Deke couldn’t hear. A moment later, his brother disappeared. Pearl returned her attention to him. “You were saying?”
“I was saying that if you’re telling the truth, then we’ve got a situation that needs dealing with.”
“Oh, I am, and you know it. And yes we do.”



Thank you again for allowing me to visit! I had a great time answering these questions. You really made me think!!

Contact links:

Buy links:
The book is up for pre-order on Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2mRywjP and Christian Book Distributers here: http://bit.ly/2n8wkVw .

As of now, there is no pre-order on Barnes & Noble or Lifeway, but keep looking and I’m sure the book will be on there soon and in stores by May 1.

AND WE'RE GIVING AWAY A COPY TOO!!! ENTER TO WIN!!




a Rafflecopter giveaway