Friday, March 31, 2017

Interview & #Giveaway with Kristi Ann Hunter of @Bethany_House

EEEEEEK!! (That was Jaime screaming) So much excitement today as we feature Bethany House Author, Kristi Ann Hunter. Not just because her novel is to die for, but because she's also freakishly cool!

Please. Round of applause for Ms. Hunter ...

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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?

An Uncommon Courtship is the story of two people who thought they knew where they were going in life only to have that idea completely disrupted by an accident that caused them to have to marry. While Adelaide always expected to marry a near stranger, Trent had grand plans of marrying for love. Now he was a wife he hardly knows and no idea what to do with her. The story was inspired by the question, "What is love?" What happens when the choice of finding that person that makes your heart flutter is removed and you really have to examine what it means to choose to love a person.

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

Oh, that's difficult. I'd spent so much time with Trent as a side character in the earlier novels that it was great to really spend time in his head, but at the same time Adelaide was such a joy to get to know because she ended up being very different than I originally thought she would be.

When it comes to side characters, though, it was great to really show people the hidden depths of Trent's mother, Lady Blackstone. She's got some great lines.


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

I have an appearance inspiration board for each book. For this one, Adelaide was based off of Zooey Deschanel while Trent was based off of Bradley James from Merlin.

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

I love Regency England, which is why I've chosen to write in that time period. Unlike the other books in the series, though, this one takes place almost entirely in London. This is mostly because it shows a distinction to Trent as a younger brother. He's always been more social, more connected and so, for him, home has really been London since reaching adulthood.

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

I never say never because as soon as I do, God starts laughing at me and plops a story in my lap. That being said, though, I very much doubt that you will ever see me writing true suspense or thriller because I simply can't go there mentally. I can't even watch procedural cop shows because they creep me out.

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

I can never answer these questions so I asked my husband and he says I'm Debra Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond. The fact that she's on TV and not in a book means nothing. ;)

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

Sadly my talents do not extend to contortionism. I don't know if any of my writing habits are really that strange. I listen to movie sound tracks while I write and contemporary music while I plot (there are inspiration playlists on my website). I use a lot of Post-It notes. Like… a lot… of Post-It Notes.
  
Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way?

There have been so many because they've all come at different times and in different ways. Patty Smith Hall took me under her wings and really guided me through those first few years of pitching and querying and what to do with my first contract and signing an agent and the like. My inspiration to become a writer stemmed from Karen Witemeyer and Julia Quinn and I've had the opportunity to speak with and learn from both ladies but there have been so many more that have helped me on the way. Authors in general are an amazingly helpful and supportive bunch.

 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 threads through every aspect of my writing. I truly believe the stories are God's to do with what He wills. When ever I launch a book I have a prayer group at my house to pray over the book and pass it into God's hands, trusting Him to get it where it needs to go. I know He can do amazing things with obedience, so I try very hard to write the book He has given me.

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?

I've moved. See Jesus for directions.

 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?

My parents met on a bet at the Baptist Student Union in college. They were the first married couple to graduate together from Georgia Tech. Many years later, my brother met his wife and I met my husband in the same building.

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

I love romance. I cannot write a story without a romance in it. There is so much revealed about ourselves and humanity as people walk the path to joining forever with another person. Two becoming one is a powerful game changer.

And for some extra fun . . .

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

Just one? I can't have all of the Avengers ride to my rescue? Fine. Thor. Because then I'd get to fly but I wouldn't have to worry about annoying him and making him drop me like I would if Iron Man rescued me.

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

Okay, this is going to be a little strange, but it would be some action show, probably a super hero one. Because I would really like to pretend that I have the ability to kick major butt while saying really awesome, snarky one-liners.

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

I tend to be rather sentimental so there's a lot of these. I'll stick with writing, though. I have a Pandora bracelet with a charm for every book I've published or contracted and every award I've won.

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

Lord Trent Hawthorne was convinced that breakfast was one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. What better way to celebrate the Lord’s new mercies and fresh beginnings than rejoicing in the day’s opportunities by eating a crispy rasher of bacon? Even after his father had passed, the morning meal had been a source of consolation for Trent, a reminder that God still had a reason for him to be in this world. Yes, for most of his life, Trent had awoken every day secure in the knowledge that nothing could ruin breakfast.

It took a wedding to prove him wrong.

Specifically, it took his wedding.

To a woman he barely knew.


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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Power of Prayer

Gabrielle Here:

It's been quite a week for the Meyer family. If you're friends with me on Facebook, you saw that my family has been hit hard with illnesses. Three of my children and my husband suffered through the stomach flu and last Wednesday evening, I started running a fever, got the chills, a headache--the whole gamut of flu symptoms. Friday I was diagnosed with Influenza A. I went on Tamiflu and was hoping to feel better by Monday, but instead, I felt worse. I went into the clinic again and this time my doctor ran a strep test. When she came back in and said: "Your test came back positive. You have strep throat, too." I honestly thought she was kidding for a split-second. Needless to say, by that point, I had hit my limit.

I've had influenza before, and I was literally off my game for three weeks because of it. It's nothing to laugh at.

I've also had strep before (more times than I'd care to admit since becoming a mom), and I'm usually miserable for several days following the start of antibiotics. My body gets hit hard by these kinds of things and it takes a while to bounce back.

But I didn't have the luxury of taking too long to heal, because Erica and I are supposed to teach two workshops each this coming weekend at a writers conference, and we have a whole trip planned.

When I left the clinic on Monday, after getting the strep test, I called Erica in tears. Not only was I tired of feeling sick, I was also concerned that I wouldn't be able to go to the writing conference. After all, in the past, it's taken me longer than four days to heal.

I went on an antibiotic, and I'm telling you, by bedtime I felt so much better. The next day, I felt way better. I started to get some chores done around the house and I was able to make plans for my twins' 7th birthday the next day. I kept telling everyone that antibiotics are miraculous (which they are), but the truth is that I know a lot of people were praying for me--and I fully believe in the power of prayer. I know I am ready to travel today, just four days after getting tested positive for strep--and less than a week after being tested positive for Influenza A, because there were so many people praying for me.

Even as I type this, I'm amazed all over again. Maybe this won't sound miraculous to anyone else, but like I said earlier, I take weeks to feel better after just one of those illnesses--two seems almost insurmountable.

Yesterday was my boys' 7th birthday and one of the things they wanted to do was go to the park. It was so much fun to just feel good enough to play with them. We had a fun day.

I was challenged by my family to balance on this yesterday--
it's harder than it looks! But I'm so happy I was feeling well
enough to play with the boys.
Now, I'm off to Erica's house and we have an awesome weekend planned. I'm sure we'll share our adventures here next week, but until then, I'd love to hear about the power of prayer from you. When have you seen prayer in action? When have you had a prayer answered? Is there anything we can pray for you now?

Gabrielle Meyer
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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Katie- Bar the Door

Erica here:

What a week.


  • I'm on a tight deadline, and I'm wrestling with my story. 



  • My beloved Jayhawks lost in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Men's Tournament.





  • As a birthday gift, my daughter gave me Season 4 of Sherlock, and we watched it in the evenings.






  • My husband is a deacon at church, and this week has called upon him to do some serious deacon-ing. Which means shuffled dinner times, phone calls and emails in the evenings, and meetings.



  • My daughter got a new-to-her car after being in a hit and run accident that totaled her van. She's unhurt, but the van had to be junked, which caused some sadness, as it was her first car. But she's enjoying her new one, a little black Ford that she has named Toothless.



  • My son stopped by to hang out with us on Sunday afternoon. It had been awhile since we'd all been together as a family.



  • My sister-in-law came one afternoon and we sewed up five baby quilts for a charity. Sometimes it's good to get the focus off yourself and what you're facing and do something nice for someone else...and in this case do something nice WITH someone else. :)





  • I ran a TON of errands, including finishing up our income tax appointments with the accountant. We owe more taxes this year instead of getting a refund...boo hiss!


What were you up to this week?

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Interview & Giveaway with @JessicaRPatch

Lots of fun is in store when we have Jessica Patch visit our blog! 


Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She is the author of the Seasons of Hope series and several Love Inspired Suspense novels including, Fatal ReunionProtective DutyConcealed Identity, and Final Verdict. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or going on adventurous trips in the name of research with willing friends, you can find her spending time with her family and collecting recipes to amazing dishes she’ll probably never cook. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Management.

Today she's saving me (Jaime) as I charge ahead on content edits and a new book, and coming to hang out so you can get to know her better. AND, she's giving away a copy of her book --- BONUS!


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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 latest release is Unleashing Love which is a romantic comedy novella in a rom/com collection! Eight authors. Eight stories from light-hearted to laugh out loud. Reviewers are saying Unleashing Love is Laugh-Out-Loud funny. I’m glad because I thought it was but I think I’m funny so… *wink* Unleashing Love is about a dog walker who’s kinda stuck in a rut in her life. She wants to go back to business school but she really doesn’t see how she can. Enter my construction mogul, Griffin Noble, who is married to work and learns that his sister has passed away and they want to put his infant niece in his care for relative placement. He agrees, reluctantly and he hires my heroine, Emma Kate—who thinks she’s going to nannying a fur baby.  What inspired me? Hmm…I just woke up one morning and thought, hey I wanna write a book about a woman who loves dogs and works with them and pair her with a man who detests them (traumatic reasons).



Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why? Toughie. Most of the time, I tend to enjoy writing my heroes over my heroines but Emma Kate was a blast to write because I got to explore her fanatical love for dogs. Although, dog lovers might just call it…love. J She’s sarcastic (in a nice way) and quirky. She loves to eat and is curvy. I tend to relate to all those things.



If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them? Oh this is easy! Hilary Duff would play Emma Kate and Henry Cavill would be cast as Griffin Noble.







How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel? I knew I wanted Emma Kate to be from the South (like me) and I wanted him to not be. So I set in Chicago because I’m familiar this city. So we get a little North and a little South.



Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it and why? I don’t want to say “no” because the minute I do, God will impress me to do it! It’s like praying for patience. You pray it and then you’re surrounded by people who drive you mad. I’m kinda kidding. But not really. J


Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What literary character is most like you and why? I’m married to my college sweetheart going on 21 years. Or 22. It blurs after awhile. My daughter is heading off to college in the fall and I cry every single time I think about it or buy an extra toiletry item for her. My son is in 7th grade and unless he’s hungry, I never know J Who am I most like? I can’t say Anne of Green Gables because I’ve never read it. Don’t hate me. I was busy reading Sweet Valley High. Maybe Nancy Drew because I love a good mystery, I’m nosy, and I need answers to every question I ask. I’ve learned you don’t always get the answers, but I still snoop around looking for them. Also, I’m curious about everything and everyone. So yeah, Nancy works.
he’s in the house. He does love those video game tutorials. I’m a glass running over and spilling out kinda girl. I like to see the good and funny in everything. I don’t laugh, I cackle. I don’t know how to whisper or talk low. And it takes a whole lot to embarrass me which is good since I’m constantly doing things that SHOULD embarrass me.

What strange writing habits do you have? Like standing on your head while you write with a pen between your teeth? I can’t stand on my head for anything. I can’t even do a somersault. I don’t have any stranger writing habit. Sometimes I repeat out loud what I wrote but it has nothing to do with wanting to hear it read aloud. I just do it. I guess that’s strange?


Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way? I don’t have a mentor but I’ve always wanted one! I do have a solid circle of authors/writers who have always been available to me when I have questions or need feedback. I love that no one is competitive in the sense that they hide knowledge. I’ve never known a single author to do that. I love the writing community!


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 my writing. It’s how I see the world around me. How I would react/respond in any given circumstance and I want readers to see that no matter what there is always hope in Jesus Christ. Not all my characters are Christians and those who are, aren’t squeaky clean. Find me one human being who is squeaky clean and I’ll call “LIAR!” J But there is always hope. Always forgiveness from God, always a way to make it through when you have faith. So yeah, faith is everything to me!


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? Hmmm… I guess it would depend how much the engraving cost. Like is it by the line? The amount character spaces? You know, I wouldn’t want to burden my family with the cost of a paragraph and I am an overwriter so…Let’s say it had to be Tombstone written in a tweet:
Jessica Patch
Beloved of Jesus
Devoted wife and mom
Friend
Dreamer
Loved by most
Laughed at by many
Now part of the Cloud of Witnesses Club

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? My love story starts with a young man eyeing a young girl in a college cafeteria, leaning over to his pal and telling him, “I’m going to marry her.” What was supposed to be a friend only Valentine’s Day dinner turned into 21 (or 22) years of marriage, two beautiful children, much laughter, and a happily-ever-after. I’ll never forget him opening my car door and in the seat lay a dozen roses, chocolates and a card. I asked him, “I said this wasn’t a date.” And his reply was, “You don’t know me well. I do this for all my friends.” That grin. Those dimples. He pretty much sealed my marital fate right then. *swoon*


Erica and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. How does romance influence your own writing? I have loved romance all my life. I say that because my mother watched soap operas and they shaped my formative years. Hey, God works everything together for good for those who love Him, am I right? My divine romance makes my heart flutter and some days I could so step off into eternity and not look back. I want readers to fall in love with the romance between the hero and heroine, but mostly I want them to see the pursuit, passion, and perseverance of Jesus as He woos them in a divine romance. It’s breathtaking!


And for some extra fun . . .

If you could pick one superhero to save you from impending doom, who would it be and why? Hands down Superman. He’s my favorite. Always has been. I think he’s a picture of Jesus—minus the new movie when he gets in the tub with Lois Lane. I was all NO! That is not what Superman would do! But still…Superman.

If you could guest star in one TV show, what would be and what would your ideal role be? That’s so tough. I watch soooo much TV! Haha. Maybe the new Lethal Weapon show. I’d be FBI or something. It’s all action, suspense, some mystery and great one-liners and laughs. Since I mostly write a crime procedurals, it fits my curiosity and adventure level.

Name one significant heirloom or keepsake you have and why it’s important to you: I have a porcelain tea cup and saucer with a poinsettia on it. When I was a little girl, my grandma set it out every Christmas and she let me pretend to have tea with it. I felt so fancy! And maybe English. Now, on December 1, I put it out and I remember and shed some happy tears.


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

“How much different are dogs than babies? They eat. They bark/babble. They poop,” Griffin retorted.
“Are you being serious right now? Did Creed give you a concussion last night?”
 “I have no clue what to do with a baby. But I see you practically every night taking excellent care of that dog—when you’re not losing him that is. And since this baby is small and can’t walk, I’d think you’d have a better handle on her.” That horrid desperate look entered his eyes again and Emma Kate ignored his barb. He’d seen her. Noticed her.
Ignored her.
“So you want a temporary nanny. For a baby. A human child.” Guess the permanent nanny would be here in a month.
He rubbed the back of his neck. “Yes. I need you 24/7. Are you in?”
24/7. “Are you being metaphorical right now or precise? Because clearly we have some communication issues.”
“Precise. I need you twenty four hours a day. So let me show you to your room.” He started toward the stairs and stopped. “She probably can’t be left alone, can she?”
“No.” Emma Kate shook her head. “But we have bigger dogs to wrangle here. I’m not living with you. I don’t even know you!”
“I’m Griffin Noble. I’m the CEO of Noble Construction. I’m thirty-three years old. I’m single. No record. Not even a parking ticket. I have a housekeeper who comes twice a week—so no cleaning or cooking involved here. I have lived in Chicago my whole life and—”
“Stop.” Emma Kate stared blankly. He was serious. “You can tell me all day long how nice you are. But you know what people say on TV interviews after authorities find nine-hundred dead girls in a backyard? They say, ‘I can’t believe this. He was so nice. Lived here all his life. Had a good job. We had no idea he was a serial killer.’ So your nice guy speech is falling on deaf ears.”
He tilted his head as if she was the one not making sense. “All of our nannies lived with us.”
The way he said it. As if everyone had nannies plural. She put on her best Julie Andrews accent and placed her hand over her heart. “Oh, well…if aaaall your nannies lived with you then…” She rolled her eyes.
“Okay, that came out—”
“Snotty?” Uppity. Privileged.
“Slightly arrogant.” He narrowed his eyes. “But I am paying you eighty grand.”

___________________________________________


Annnnnnnd on that note, I'd say you all better sign up to win a copy of this novella and/or buy it! :)




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Monday, March 27, 2017

Desperate Need of Liquid Sunshine!

This was my post two years ago, and though it's spring and finally above freezing, it's still cool and drab here in northern Indiana. I've been swamped with work, writing, and various volunteer commitments as I prep for some much needed time off. Until I'm back, enjoy this repost:

Last week we had a huge blizzard here in the Midwest. From last week to this week, there's been huge temperature gradient, from -39 wind chill to today's 46 degrees and sunny. I was bummed I had to be inside all day staring at the computer screen. Sunday my husband took me to get fast food for lunch and parked me in the sunshine to bask while he ordered. I realized I had lost track of the number of weeks it's been since I've felt the sun on my skin, in my face, or on the backs of my eyelids.

It's the end of winter in Indiana, and I'm in desperate need of some liquid sunshine in any of these forms!

My back yard in June

Cayo Casta State Park, FL

Quiet morning in the Caribbean

Or especially an all day coffee guzzle at the Blue Spoon with Jaime! 

Do you ever get the winter doldrums?
What's your Sunshine of choice on a dreary day?
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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.
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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?

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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! :)
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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
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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!

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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.

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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! 



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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


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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 ...

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 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?

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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.