Saturday, June 27, 2015

"In Firefly Valley" Takes the Crown!



A NOTE TO PUBLISHED AUTHORS:

If you had a novel release any time in 2014, you're invited to submit to Clash of the Titles' Laurel Award.

SUBMISSION DATES: June 1-July 3, 2015

Novels participating in the Laurel are judged by their audience—readers who are well-versed in Christian fiction yet not a part of the CBA industry. The Laurel judges the first two chapters (or 3,500 words) of published novels. Any genre of Christian novel (30,000 words or more) is eligible, including indie.

Subscribers to our quarterly newsletter will be entered into a drawing to receive a refund of their $15.00 submission fee! Subscribe HERE. Learn more about the Laurel Awards HERE.
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And now for our latest Clash winner...!
I know, technically Summer just started, but...

Thank you all for participating in our special May releases Clash of the Titles. We appreciate the efforts of all of our fans, and particularly our authors this month: 

Rachel JamesJennifer RodewaldHeather Day Gilbert, and Sarah Loudin Thomas



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Some of the very encouraging words from our readers include:
--Love reading your books. Can't put them down.

--Great looking reads. All new authors to me. So, looks like I have great TBR pile for the rest of the summer.

--Love all of Amanda Cabot's books. I have Firefly Valley here ready to read.

--I love Heather Gilbert's books. She writes in such a fresh and wonderful way, I feel I'm right there with her characters. I especially love Tess's character!

--Sarah Loudin Thomas, I have loved both of your books! Keep 'em comin'!

--Trial by Twelve is a masterful suspense novel. I love that it is set in West Virginia and has a married couple as main characters. I hope there is a sequel! Bravo, Heather Gilbert!

--Blue Columbine is a favorite and can't wait for more of Jen's books to come out.

--Rachel James is an exciting new author of engaging historical characters.

And the champ of this clash is...
Amanda Cabot, In Firefly Valley

 

She’s lost her dream job—but has she found the man of her dreams?

Devastated by a downsizing, Marisa St. George has no choice but to return to the small Texas town where she grew up. Though it means a giant step backward, she accepts a position as business manager at the struggling Rainbow’s End resort. The only silver lining: Blake Kendall, a new guest who might make her believe in love at first sight. But will Marisa’s dreams of happily-ever-after be turned upside down when she discovers Blake’s real identity?

This warm and witty story of dreams deferred and mistaken identity will have you believing in second chances.

Buy the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble

A NOTE FROM AMANDA

My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who helped make In Firefly Valley the winner of this month’s Clash of the Titles. Your support means so much to me! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you’re the reason I write. Thank you for your belief in me and my writing.

I’ve been delighted with the response to this book. A number of you have told me you think it’s even better than the first of the Texas Crossroads stories, At Bluebonnet Lake. Since I hope that my writing improves with each book, hearing that has been the encouragement I need to work even harder on the next book.

I’ve also been pleased with the praise reviewers have given In Firefly Valley. RT BookReviews rated it a page turner and said, “Cabot’s heartfelt storytelling rings true as she addresses the pains of bitterness and resentment, as well as the hard fight to love again and forgive all hurts. ...Charming secondary characters and the beautiful Texas Hill Country setting cap off a story that is a delight to read.”

Blogger Trudy Shiroma Koeffler had the following to say: “To say I have a new favorite author is an understatement! This book was absolutely fantastic on so many levels! First of all it brought deep spiritual truths into the story naturally and realistically. The love story was the sweetest one I’ve read in a long time, but it was not a predictable love story at all. It had twists and turns, and nail biting episodes that had me guessing till the end. I was impressed with the mature way love was displayed in this story on all fronts with the various characters. This book is not some fairytale romance but rather a tale of characters with real issues, fears, heartaches and hang-ups. The author deals with each issue in a detailed, emotionally healthy and spiritual rich way. The description of landscape, cabins, cooking and friendships will make you wish you could take a little trip to Dupree and visit Firefly Valley yourself!”

Thank you again for your support. I’m excited, overwhelmed and more pleased than I can ever say at having In Firefly Valley win this award. And, for those of you who’ve asked “what’s next?” the third of the Texas Crossroads books, On Lone Star Trail, will be released in February 2016. If you’d like to learn more about that and my other books, I invite you to sign up for my online newsletter. It’s simple: just send me an email. You’ll find the address on my web page. I look forward to hearing from you.

About Amanda: Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of more than thirty novels including the Texas Dreams trilogy, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. A former director of Information Technology, she has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages. Amanda is delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian romances, living happily ever after with her husband in Wyoming.

Visit her website and Facebook page Twitter  Blog


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What Floats Sally Chambers' Boat? Oh, a Giveaway, too.

I AM SO DELIGHTED TO HAVE AS MY GUEST TODAY, DEBUT AUTHOR SALLY CHAMBERS, A LONGTIME (ONLINE) FRIEND. I was trying to remember when we first connected, but I think–correct me if I’m wrong, Sally–in 1995 through Sandy Brooks on AOL and her Christian Writers Fellowship International [CWFI] organization.

Anyway, I shot her some interview questions and she graciously answered them, though she said I make her work!. So sit back to learn more about Sally Chambers. Oh, we’ll talk about her debut book, The Stonekeepers, too. (See below for giveaway details.)

Sally Chambers 70 percent

So, Sally, let’s chat.

When people find out we’re writers, someone will inevitably say ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book’ or, ‘I’d like to write a book someday,’ and you’re probably no exception. What is/would be your response?

My blog title speaks to that! A year ago, I named it, Everyone Has a Story, because I believe everyone does. I think God has tucked the bud of a thought into our hearts that’s hungry to bloom—that each of us have stories to tell about a time/s in our lives we think others will enjoy hearing or profit from reading about. But! If you’re serious, learn the craft of writing well and since writing is a lonely business, join writing organizations and a critique group. Find someone who shares your passion and write your heart out! Literally.

Where is your favorite writing place?

On the southeast corner of the house, away from the living areas, there’s sunshiny, airy room that’s my haven. With large windows facing south and east, when the weather permits, they are wide open. I hear the water splashing from the small fountain in the front pond, hear the birds, and feel the breeze. The area is calm, peaceful, and conducive to putting words to work.

I’m always curious about other writer’s habits, quirks, and the like background music, or complete silence? Share some of yours.

I enjoy the serenity of silence or the sounds of nature – birds, wind through the trees, splashing water, in the background as I write. In reality though, the sounds of life happen. Like the air conditioning cycling on and off or my husband working on a noisy project or mowing the yard. And I can usually tune those out.

Do you snack when you write?

It’s probably a good thing I’m not much of a snacker, especially around my keyboard! It’s been blessed with a coffee bath (and I like honey in my coffee—a keyboard killer) as well as water and it somehow survived, so I’ve learned to head for the kitchen if I get thirsty or crave something chocolate.☺

Ooh, that must have been a sticky mess. How much of yourself goes into your characters?

I think my younger self was much like the main character in The Stonekeepers, Lexi. But, at eighteen, Lexi’s smarter, savvier, and a lot more gutsy. We’re both very loyal to our friends and family, our faith and growth as Christians is a work-in-progress, pray (still working on our trusting), and we do a lot of self-talk. Like Lexi, I’m still working on training my impulse gene. She’s impatient—it makes her crazy when her friends are late. I’m much more laid back. We share an innate curiosity about everything, love to research, and are pretty much perfectionists in many areas of our lives.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I’m fascinated with names and titles. They get prayed over and chosen with a lot of care. I comb through the baby-namer sites, listen for unusual names and look up their meanings, go through the Bible for names, and more. They have to fit and feel right to me and sometimes they get changed. Each part of the character’s name has significance to me.

What genres do you like to read?

Variety! I enjoy spiritual/inspirational fiction and nonfiction, techno-thriller, mystery, spy fiction, action-adventure, thriller-suspense, historical, and romance, many of the newer light inspirational romance novels.

And what are you reading right now?

I’m finishing Terri Tiffany’s debut novel, The Mulligan, and it’s good . . . nice twists, and has me emotionally involved. I’m also a quarter of the way through Baldacci’s King and Maxwell, but I’m able to put it down much too easily.

Let’s say you’re planning a writing retreat and there’s only space/room enough for four other authors. Who would they be, and why? Where would it be? Why there?

Well, since you didn’t hem me in with the caveat that they must all be living authors, I’ll invite, Catherine Marshall, Mark Twain, Anna Sewell, and Billy Graham. I’d invite these four because I’d like to learn why they were/are so beloved as writers. I’d invite them to be my guest for a week at the historic Baker House  1650 in the Hamptons. (Since expense is not an issue when the imagination is playing!) I opted for renting the entire Baker House because it has a reputation for having luxurious accommodations, lovely gardens, spacious, and access to nearby beaches. Amidst impeccable English gardens with sweeping lawns, is an elegant landscape with matured, natural beauty. We’d meet and walk beside vine-covered garden walls and a 200 year-old wisteria, that evokes the perfection of the English countryside.

Ah, that was my mistake. But I like your choices. What is your favorite food?

Parmesan crusted chicken or pepperoni-pineapple pizza

That sounds yummy, except the pineapple part. Fun question: If you’d been born into the animal kingdom instead of the human race, what would you be, and why?

A German shepherd trained to search and rescue. I’d be on call to go all over the world to search and rescue those lost. I’d be physically fit, smart, obedient, and agile!

If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not family) who would it be, and, of course, why?

JK Rowling. why? Aside from doing so much good with her wealth and her volunteering, since her last book was published, she said openly that she was a Christian. I’d like to listen and learn how large a part her faith played as she wrote her books.

Okay, now let’s talk about your debut book. How did you come to write it?

The Stonekeepers Cover 2First, a name that leapt from the page of a magazine and sparked my imagination. Then ideas that caught fire as I mentored junior high school girls to help lower the school dropout numbers in my area. I’d been writing for children and the desire grew to write for the older girls—a novel, but nothing like what they were used to reading. Through story, I wanted them to get to know a girl a little older than they were, someone they could relate to, learn from, and look up to. But . . . someone who faced the things of life from a background of faith. A girl similar to the teenaged Christian girls I was teaching in a Sunday school class, who had plenty of problems, but chose to pray about them. Girls who read the Bible and learned from it, and who loved the Lord, all just as naturally as breathing.

Fascinating! What kind of research did you have to do?

Since I wanted my protagonist to face a variety of challenges, I threw mountains at Lexi to deal with, like suddenly secretive and overly protective parents, finding herself involved with something priceless, having her life threatened, and more. That meant every time I imagined and wrote about one of those challenges, I had to make sure it was believable. That took me into researching things like airline schedules, early 19th century door handles, paparazzi, night vision goggles, papyrus, the strength of gold, and the effects of ether, Israeli Intelligence and Special Operations, shaay,—endless and fascinating research.

What’s on the back cover (the ‘blurb’)?

For the past eighteen years, Lexi Christensen has been sheltered from the truth by a soft-cushioned life of normalcy, until the contents of an envelope link her to an ancient vow. All Lexi wants is to get out from between the vise grips of her suddenly protective parents, rescue an historic mansion before she leaves for college, and stop herself from falling in love with the man her best friend claims to love. But finding the envelope thrusts her into difficult and dangerous choices. Someone knows more about Lexi’s heritage than she does, wants what she’s found, and threatens her life to get it.

As her future twists into an incredible mission that propels her from her sand-ringed island home to a foreign mountaintop, Lexi is in a race against both time and danger. Her faith may be strong, but is God asking too much?

Great teaser. That’s usually the first thing I check when I’m looking for a new book to read.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY: THIS GIVEAWY IS NOW CLOSED
Sally is giving away one free paperback copy of The Stonekeepers to one of you readers. Sorry, Lower 48 States only. TO ENTER: Leave a comment below with your name and contact information, like this, zippity (at) doodah (dot) com, replacing the red words with your info. so we can notify you in case you win.

Giveaway ends at Midnight, Tuesday, July 7 Central Time. To make it fair, I require  a minimum of 5 (five) entries. So, if you want to win, tell your friends to enter. Hey, one chance out of five or more, is better than no chance at all. Right?

Winner will be determined through Random.org

Many thanks to Sally for sharing herself and her time with Whispers in Purple, and to YOU READERS who visit. Be sure to come back on July 15 for an interview with Sally's character Lexi Christensen. 

God Bless!

TWEETABLES:

[bctt tweet="Someone desperately wants what Lexi has found. Sally Chambers’@sallychambers2 ‘The Stonekeepers’ #YA #fiction" via="no"]

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Message from my Father

Daddy_smWilliam (Bill) Blann, July 6, 1914 / April 7, 2002

In honor of Father’s Day, the below is a copy of an email I received from Daddy dated January 30, 2002, just four months before he entered the Gates of Heaven.

On March 24 of this year I posted a blog titled Found Treasure about memories and treasured things from the past.

This post is one of my favorite treasures. In my dad’s words.

 

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  • Each time I pick up one of my Bibles, the section I need opens up an additional concept that had not occurred to me previously. That’s an amazing experience!
  • My Bibles are the best reference library, dictionary, glossary, encyclopedia and concordance–to support what might have escaped from memory.
  • The Bible is the record of who God is, what God has done and to whom, and what God is doing now and will be doing soon.

“Behold, I shew you a mystery…”

MYSTERY!

What is the meaning of this word…in the Bible?

“I have always been interested in this word and what it means as used in the Bible. My brother, John, a retired missionary, sent me this biblical definition:

It denotes, not the mysterious (as with the English word), but that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by Divine revelation, and is known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those who are illumined by His Spirit. In the ordinary sense, a mystery implies knowledge withheld; its Scriptural significance is–truth revealed. [by E.W. Vine]

So, my own interest in this word sent me to the Internet and a site called The Bible Gateway, which is the Internet Bible used in the Verse of Today, which comes to me each day via Email. My search for the word mystery, using the New American Standard Version [NASB] found 28 references where it is used.

The first is found in the Book of Daniel and the disturbing dream that King Nebuchadnezzar had one night. It was troubling to him because he couldn’t remember it to tell his officials. That was indeed a mystery, but he didn’t use that word.

Even the Chaldean wise men knew that only gods knew the answers to man’s dreams. They answered the king and said:

There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer of Chaldean. Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh. [Daniel 2:10-11.]

I can imagine Daniel and his friends spending a considerable length of time praying to God to give them the answer to the actual dream that the king had dreamed, as well as the interpretation! What a challenge to have to interpret someone else’s dream. I wonder how long that prayer session was? For the answer was given to Daniel in another dream, together with its answer!

Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; Daniel said, ‘Let the name of God be blesses forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes Kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for You have given me wisdom and power; even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, for You have made known to us the king’s matter.’ [Daniel 2:10-23] 

Notice how Daniel takes no credit for himself when he is received by King Nebuchadnezzar:

The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, ‘Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered before the king and said. ‘As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days.’ [Daniel 2:26-28]

It is now plain that the basic meaning of the word MYSTERY in the Bible is—TRUTH REVEALED!

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Peg here:

I hope you have enjoyed this study from my Dad. He was a true Bible scholar. I have one of his Bibles which is the NEW SCHOFIELD REFERENCE EDITION from Oxford University Press, 1967. The spine is taped together at the bottom, some pages are also taped, but the biggest blessings are the notes and highlights throughout. Truly another Found Treasure.

Friday, June 19, 2015

COTT's Sizzling Summer Reading Clash


 

Looking for some awesome take-me-away Summer Reading?


Check out these new releases and I dare you to tell me which one you'd put on the top of your reading list. We offer contemporary and historical romance, a little fantasy, danger, mystery, suspense!

Vote for your next most likely read, and leave the author a word of encouragement, then share with your friends. 



Scroll down, vote in the survey box, and come back next week for the Reveal!


*******************************

 

Fantasy




Rachel A. James


To unite the kingdoms and bring peace, Princess Alena must enter into a royal marital alliance, but when the handsome physician, Sherwin, befalls her, matters become complicated. Torn between obligations to her young son and country, she faces a difficult decision, will Alena obey the king’s orders, or choose to follow her heart?

*****


Romance




Jennifer Rodewald


Friendship, love, and then betrayal...for Jamie Carson one thing becomes clear: Andrew needs a savior, and she cannot be it. Will Andrew allow the hand of grace to redeem his legacy of addiction, or will he and Jamie remain the casualties of heartbreak?

*****


Suspense




Heather Day Gilbert


Tess Spencer loves her low-key job at the Crystal Mountain Spa, which allows her plenty of down-time with her one-year old daughter and lawyer husband, Thomas. But when a pool installation turns up eight skeletons in the spa's back yard, Tess becomes entangled in a sleuthing job destined to go awry...even as she sifts through layers of deceit, Tess realizes too late that a serial killer's sights have zeroed in on her.

*****


Contemporary Romance




Amanda Cabot


Marisa St. George has lost her dream job and come home to manage the struggling Rainbow’s End resort in the small Texas town where she grew up. The only silver lining is Blake Kendall, a new guest who is making her believe in love at first sight. But is he really who she thinks he is?

*****


Historical Romance




Sarah Loudin Thomas


When family tragedy derails Henry Phillips’s college studies, he consoles himself with his fiddle and the family farm. His grandmother’s helper, Margaret Hoffman, is always around, ready to push his buttons, and it seems she doesn’t care about his troubles. But Margaret has her own problems. Henry and Margaret soon find themselves relying on each other as they face potential loss and find healing in the most surprising places.

*****

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Hope Sweetheart: Author Patty Smith Hall

Whispers in Purple is pleased to welcome multi-published author PATTY SMITH HALL, who will share an article…AND an Interview with her character today.

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Patty’s Bio:

Patty Smith-Hall is a multi-published, award-winning author with Love Inspired Historical/Heartsong and currently serves as president of the ACFW-Atlanta chapter. She currently lives in North Georgia with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. Her next release, New Hope Sweethearts will be available July 2 on Amazon.

Connect with Patty:

 

Hi, Patty, welcome! As they say on Facebook: What’s on your mind?

 

Last week, during my Bible time, I came across a devotional that punched me in the heart. It was from 1 John, chapter 4, verse 1:

Dear Friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

The author of the devotional goes on to talk about how we should be discerning, that we can not believe every spirit. To quote her, “just because someone claims to be a Christian preacher, speaker, or author doesn’t mean we should automatically accept everything he or she teaches without weighing it against the truth of God’s Word.”

As a Christian, I know that and have at times, put down a Bible study or stopped listening to a preacher because what was being taught was so far from the ultimate authority of Scripture. Once, I listened to a speaker teach that Christian fiction was an abomination and that storytellers were basically liars who needed to be publicly corrected by the church.

The rest of her message lost traction with me after that.

No, what struck me about this devotion is the grave responsibility I have as an author of Christian fiction. It’s not like I haven’t thought of this before; as a writer, I know the difference one word can make—hope, redemption, forgiveness. I try to bath my work in prayer and Bible study. I start my writing day committing my work to Him.

And if I fail. If I became a ‘false prophet?’ Just the thought of letting God down makes me want to try harder, to bury myself deeper into His Word, to keep a constant prayer on my lips, asking, pleading for Him the be the focus of my heart and for that to pour out in my stories.

My daddy use to tell me when I was growing up that I needed to walk the walk rather than talk the talk. Nevermore is that true for me than now. Words have purpose, and I can only pray that my words point others to focus on Him.

 

New Hope SweetheartsAnd now: Hero Interview with Dr. Jefferson Muster from New Hope Sweethearts

1) A doctor, huh? What made you go into medicine?

I’m really not a medical doctor in the sense that I don’t have an office or patients. Not sure I’d like that. No, my degree is in microbiology and infectious diseases. My work focuses on what makes a person sick rather than helping them get well. As far as why I went into that field, I guess it goes back to my mother. When I was about nine, she had a really bad case of the flu which damaged the mitral valve in her heart. She had surgery but she died a year later.

2) I’m so sorry. That had to be tough.

It was, particularly on my dad. He was crazy about Mom, and all of a sudden, he’s left alone to care for me and my sister. I don’t think he’ll ever get over losing her like that.

3) So, tell me the most interesting thing about yourself?

I don’t know. I’m not sure there is anything interesting about me. I’ve always been kind of a nerd. I love anything involving science. Growing up, I never missed Bill Nye, the Science Guy on TV. Oh, I collect John Wayne memorabilia —last week, I bought the spurs he used in True Grit at an online auction.

4) Is that what you do for fun? Collect things?

Yeah, that and gardening. I like to work in my yard, you know, cut grass, trim back the hedges. I’ve also got a little vegetable garden out back that I mess around in on the weekends. Nothing beats a fresh tomato sandwich.

5) What are you afraid of?

Nothing I can think of, except maybe not making a difference in this world. I don’t want to go to my grave without accomplishing SOMETHING.

6) Is that what you want out of life? To make a difference?

Doesn’t everyone want to know that they’ve spent their time on this earth doing something that will matter? I got into microbiology and infectious diseases because I’ve seen first hand how one tiny organism can wreck someone’s entire life. If I can keep someone else from going through that pain, then my work has been worth it.

7) What do you put off because you just dread the thought of doing it?

Visiting patients. Which is why I’m not a medical doctor. People are just trouble any way you look at it.

8) That’s a very cynical view.

Maybe, but it’s true. Either they want something from you or they’re passing their mistakes off on you. And if you do get close, that’s when they have the power to hurt you the most.

9) Do you have any pets? Dog or cat person?

No, my life is too busy with work right now to have a pet. I did have a dog when I first got out of college, a rat terrier called Barney. But he died several years ago and I just haven’t felt like committing to another animal yet. Maybe after I retire.

Friday, June 12, 2015

COTT Spotlight on: Diamonds or Donuts



Good morning! I'm very excited to have Lucie Ulrich with us here today to tell us about her new release, Diamonds or Donuts. First, isn't this such a fun cover? Wow!



Blurb:

Sarah Alexander’s marriage to millionaire Logan Montgomery is put on hold when Logan is offered the opportunity to go on an extended archeological dig in Egypt. Though not happy with his decision, Sarah supports her fiancĂ©, despite the fact she’s already given up her apartment and teaching position.

When Sarah’s best friend, Pippa, suggests Sarah move to Sunset Cove, she figures a new town, new job, and new friends are just what she needs to help her through the separation. If she’d known one of those friends would turn out to be kind-hearted, good-looking, well-built, Officer Kevin Jenkins, she might have figured a little harder.

Though Sarah goes out of her way to keep her relationship with Kevin on a friends-only basis, it’s clear their feelings for one another are teetering toward something more. Now Sarah must make the most important decision of her life. Will she choose the man who can shower her with diamonds or the one who isn’t able to offer much more than free donuts?
***

This sounds like a WHOLE lot of fun! (And really makes me want a donut.) Want a sneak peek? Lucie was kind enough to share an excerpt with us today, too.


Short Excerpt:

Sarah changed into her pajamas, pulled out the sofa bed, and crawled under the sheets. Sleep, however, didn’t come easily. She wanted to talk to Logan—needed to talk to him, but it wasn’t possible.

When sleep finally came, it was accompanied by dreams of missed phone calls, arguments, and misunderstandings. There might even have been a fight between Logan and Kevin, but it was all too blurry to remember. She awoke with a headache and heartache.

Pippa’s bedroom door opened and she appeared makeup applied, dressed and ready for church. She stopped short at the side of the couch. “Yikes! Who did you wrestle with last night?”

“Crazy dreams.” Sarah pushed herself to a seated position and ran a hand through the tangles in her hair.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, Pippa placed a hand on Sarah’s arm. “What’s going on?”

Tears clouded Sarah’s vision. “Guess I’m having a harder time dealing with Logan’s absence than I thought I would.” She blew out a breath. “I should be planning my wedding, not moving into a new apartment. Alone.”

“It’s barely been a month since he broke the news. Your reaction is normal. I’m sure it’ll get better with time.”

“He got mad at me yesterday.”

“Who? Logan?”

His harsh tone replayed in Sarah’s head. She nodded. “He was upset that I didn’t have dinner with his folks, and we parted on less than loving terms.”

“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. You seemed to be having such a good time with Kevin that I never suspected anything.”

Her headache intensified. “Yeah, that’s another thing. I’m starting to feel guilty about spending time with Kevin. He’s a great guy and I like him a lot, but I’m afraid I might be giving him the wrong idea.”

Pippa’s eyes widened. “Like how? I know better than to think you’ve been flirting with him.”
“No, nothing like that.” Sarah thought back to last night and the other times they’d been together. Had she been flirting? Had he? “It’s just that I really like him. We’re so comfortable together, I forget he’s a gorgeous, well-built guy and I’m an engaged woman.

***

Ruh-roh Methinks someone's in trouble! The kind that's oh-so-fun to watch unfold. ;-)


A few questions for Lucie:



1. Diamonds or Donuts is an interesting title. How did you come up with it?

My first two novels delve deeply into the world of hurting people. Physical and emotional scars, feuding brothers, and long-kept family secrets barely scratch the surface. Before tackling another such story, I felt the need to try my hand at something more lighthearted. I decided to play around with the idea of a girl who has to make a choice between two men—one rich, the other not. When I decided to make “the other man” a policeman, the title came very quickly. I love being able to begin a story with the title already decided.

2. Is there a message or moral to your story?

Absolutely! Even though Diamonds or Donuts is a light read, there is substance to the story. I don’t like flighty characters—at least not lead characters, and I didn’t want that to be the case with Sarah. I chose to show her struggle between remaining faithful to her fiancĂ©, while battling her emerging feelings for another man. One reviewer spoke about Sarah’s moral compass being right where it should be, which is exactly what I was going for. When we think we know what’s best for us, God often has different plans.

3. Share a bit about your writing process.

I don’t outline, so I take things as they come. I do have notes and ideas, and I usually know how my books will begin and how they will end. For me, the best part is watching the characters evolve, and allowing them to take me along for the ride. I’m always thrilled when I see something one way in my head, but my characters beg to disagree. Needless to say, the characters win the majority of the time.

4. If you had to do it again, would you change anything in your book?

There are a number of things I would change in books one and two, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing in Diamonds or Donuts. It was a blast to write. I love all the characters, the setting, and especially the ending.



Those are the best! :) Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Lucie. Readers, you can get a copy of the book at the following links:




Video teaser by Videos By O:

 


About the Author:
Lucie Ulrich took her time becoming a writer. Not much of a reader as a child, writing was of no interest to her--until she joined a church drama team. The desire to write a skit, and not simply act out someone else's was so strong, that once she started, she couldn't seem to stop. That first skit led to her becoming the drama team director, then eventually, the performing arts director at a small Christian school.Lucie's first novel was penned under a tree in a field in Holland. Though her first, second, and third attempts never saw the light of day, parts of each of them became the foundation for "Broken Vessels," her first published work. No longer involved with the performing arts, Lucie enjoys going on photo shoots with her husband, and taking long (or short) road trips. She hopes to find inspiration as she and her husband explore the four corners of the United States.


Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inspywriter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucieUlrich

Website: http://lucieulrich.com/
**Come visit us next week for our next Clash featuring May releases, hosted by Lisa Lickel!**

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

#amediting

edit sentenceDay before yesterday I reached THE END of my current work-in-progress. Yay!

Problem was, I was at least 2,000 words OVER the maximum word count limit. Obviously some ruthless editing was in order.

So yesterday I spent several hours doing just that. (Incidentally, that image is NOT a copy of a page from my manuscript.)

I did the usual eliminating unnecessary words, checking my use of adverbs, looking for ‘pet’ phrases, and so on, but I was still over max limit.

You see, this is a short story—not a full-length novel—part of a series I’m writing, with a maximum word count of 10,000 words each.

Anyway, as I did my initial editing yesterday, I found some scenes and incidents where I did not follow through before reaching the end. Oops. That has to be fixed one way or the other. And…*sigh*…that will add more words to the total count.

So today I will be doing a deep line-by-line edit, hunting down and killing those weasel words such as ‘just,’ ‘very,’ and ‘only,’ words that don’t need to be there and serve no purpose except to bloat the manuscript. You writers out there will understand this.

Writers are not normal people. We live in an imaginary world, peopled with people we create out of thin air, scenes and places the do not exist, or places that DO exist but we’ve never been there which requires research for accuracy. I think, at times, we must be a little insane, or warped. But we’re happy and content to be there, cocooned in our own little, crazy world .

Now, for the curious. The title of this series I’m writing is SWEETWATER RIVER, Volume 2: Undercurrents. You can read the first, UNedited first chapter HERE.

SWEETWATER RIVER, Volume 1:Ripples, can be found on Amazon for $0.99, OR you can purchase and listen to it for $2.99 HERE

Thanks for visiting THIS crazy writer’s world. Would LOVE to hear from you. Either leave a comment below, or use the Contact Peg tab above

Monday, June 8, 2015

Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin--Oh my!

Socail Media, who needs it? Odds are YOU do. Me too.


Social-media-buttons

 

I hear and read about it all the time, and I try to absorb it and implement it. But trying to connect with them all is a nighmare and can (and has) lead to frustration, discouragement and wanting to throw up my hands and yell I CAN'T DO THIS!

It can be pretty scary stuff.

The key to getting started, I've learned, is to be judicious in selecting only a few KEY ones, those that will provide the best coverage and give the most exposure. Like the two biggies...Facebook and Twitter. When you get comfortable with those two, check into a few of the next ones like Pinterest, Google Plus, and Linkedin.

No, I'm not about to explain all the why's and whyfor's, how to get started with them, nor how to use them because I'm still trying to figure out which ones are doing me the most good.

I'll leave that up to one of my favorite 'Go-to' blogs maintained by Edie Melson, at www.thewriteconversation.blogspot.com to explain and educate. Edie is a veritable encyclopedia on social media. Her Monday posts, especially, are devoted to this very topic. I urge you to visit her blog, check out some of her posts—not just on Monday—and subscribe to her blog posts. Trust me.

That being said, or what I'm getting at, basically, is that as I continue to tweak and improve this blog, I'm thinking of creating a new 'page', listing links to my readers' blogs to Share the love. Hey...that might even be a good title for the page itself!

If you're interested in being on that page, send me your BLOG links by using the comments option below, or use the Contact Peg button on the navigation bar above (or click HERE)

Now, since I've not yet figured out a way to get all these embeded on this blog somehow, allow me to share MY social media links. Feel free to Like, Follow, Join, or whatever, (even ignore...I won't be offended) if you're part of any of these below.

I'd love to have some interaction with you!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Author Sally Chambers Debut Release

Sally Chambers 70 percentI am so excited to be featuring—and helping promote—my friend from Florida, Sally Chambers.

Over the coming weeks, you’ll have a chance to get acquainted with Sally, find out what makes her tick, and some insight about this new book.

You’ll also be able to get inside the head of Lexi, the main character in The Stonekeepers.

And later on, you’ll get to read an in-depth review of this wonderful YA/NA book

Below is the brief synopsis of The Stonekeepers. Does it whet your appetite? It sure does me!

For the past eighteen years, Lexi Christensen has been sheltered from the truth, protected by a soft-cushioned life ofThe Stonekeepers Cover 2 normalcy, until the contents of an envelope link her to an ancient vow. All Lexi wants is to get out from between the vise grips of her suddenly protective parents, rescue an historic mansion before she leaves for college, and stop herself from falling in love with the man her best friend claims to love. But finding the envelope thrusts her into new choices . . . and new danger. Someone knows more about Lexi’s heritage than she does, wants what she’s found, and will risk her life to get it.

As her future twists into an incredible mission that propels her from her sand-ringed island home to a foreign mountaintop, she’s in a race against both time and danger. Her faith may be strong, but is God asking too much?

So here’s the schedule:

  • June 24: Interview with Sally w/Giveaway

  • July 15: Interview with Lexi Christensen w/Giveaway

  • A date TBA: In-depth review of The Stonekeepers.


Help spread the word!

Tweetables:

[bctt tweet="Lexi Christensen finds an envelope. What does it mean? #fiction #YA #Sally Chambers #TheStonekeepers @sallychambers2" via="no"]

Friday, June 5, 2015

Featuring Pesto and Potholes by Susan M. Baganz



 
Poignant romance of two lost souls learning about the things that go wrong, humanity’s fault lines and how to grow and love again despite the potholes that inevitably crop up. Baganz manages to throw some laughter and joy into desperate situations in this debut novel. Read Pesto and Potholes for a crazy adventure that makes Italian food with a side of Ninja warriors seem natural.

--Lisa Lickel



Pesto & Potholes

by Susan M. Baganz


About the book:

Renata tries to escape her past and runs straight into . . . love.

Renata Blake has moved to the Milwaukee area to leave behind a painful past as a victim of abuse. She discovers a family like she’s never had before at Orchard Hill Church and is drawn to handsome Packer fanatic, Antonio. After all she’s suffered through, could she ever trust a man again?

Antonio DeLuca has a full life with his family, church and his job as chef and manager at DeLuca’s Cucina. Having been betrayed in love, he is afraid to trust a woman again. How would he fit her into his already full life anyway?

As circumstances draw them together and attempt to tear them apart, life becomes a combination of savory pesto and painful potholes as both Tony and Renata learn that with God’s help, and the support of a faith community, they can both learn to love again.

And maybe fight a few ninjas along the way.


PURCHASE




What COTT Voters Had to Say:
--Susan, I feel so privileged to have had the opportunity to read your book. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

--Loving reading this, Susan Bagnanz.

--I'm so excited for you, Susan! Congratulations.

--Going to order this one today, Susan Baganz! Thank you for writing great books!

--Great job, Susan. Way to go!

--Great cover and great story premise, Susan Baganz.

--Excited about Susan's book. The title is so intriguing.

--Susan M. Baganz - I like the happy sound of this story!

--Sounds intriguing, Susan Baganz!

--Susan M. Baganz - You are doing great and your stories are so captivating! Thanks for writing and sharing your gift with others!

 







We don't often get excerpts from authors, so enjoy this one from Pest and Potholes!


Sunday was cold. The sun shined brightly, and Renata sat at church surrounded by more of the De Luca clan. Tony winked at her, and they worshipped together. She experienced such joy and freedom in the music and lyrics. This was the new Renata. Free. Joyful. Loved. What a difference from a year ago.
After church, she raced home to change into jeans, sneakers, a sweater and coat. She pulled on knit gloves to keep her hands warm and found a matching knit cap to put on her head.

Tony arrived to pick her up in his car and they went through the drive-thru at Taco Bell for something to eat. Renata laughed when part of Tony’s burrito dribbled onto his sweatshirt.

They arrived at Brown Deer Park early, and Tony suggested they take a walk over by a small pond.

“This is such a peaceful place.” Reverent awe filled her voice as she gazed about.

“Sure is, but watch out for the goose doo doo.”


“Doo doo? Is that an Italian term for poop?”Tony laughed, “No, that’s me trying to be more delicate since I am with a gorgeous woman in a beautiful place.”“Awww, Tony, you are sweet.” They walked side by side, not touching. Renata could see their breath in the air.“Edith agrees with you.”“Edith? My neighbor?” Renata stopped to stare at him.

“Yeah, the other night she gave me a kiss because you had neglected to do it for her.”

Renata laughed. “Is she my competition for your affections?”

“Are you seeking my affections?” He looked at her with one eyebrow raised.

Renata looked away. Her entire neck and head grew warm.

“You have no competition. No one can compare to you.” His voice was seductive to her ears when he used those words.

“Now you go too far, Tony. I’m not as perfect as you think I am.” She had to reign this in. She didn’t want to lead him on.

“Who said you were perfect? Surely not I.” He placed his hand flat on his chest.

Renata laughed and gave Tony a playful punch in the arm, but was quickly distracted. She pointed to the pond. “Look at the geese coming in to land. They look like they are waterskiing when they put their feet down.”

“Waterskiing geese. Now I’ve seen everything. What will you think of next, Ren?”

“I don’t know. I thought it was your turn to be absurd for a while.”

Tony reached out and tickled Renata. “Stop!” She laughed and started tickling him back and took off running into the grass. Tony ran after her and with his longer legs managed to catch her causing them both to fall on the leaf-covered lawn. Renata grabbed a handful of leaves and tossed them at Tony, and he returned the favor. Soon they lay there in the leaves giggling and gasping for a breath.

“It is beautiful out here.” Renata said. “It’s hard to believe this is Milwaukee.”

“It’s hard for me to believe my good fortune to be sharing this with you.” Tony looked over to Renata and reached to grab her hand to give it a squeeze.

Renata’s shoulder muscles seized at his touch. The touching, the laughter, and the sense they were alone in the world without any past or present or future to worry about, shook her. She needed him too much. No. She wanted him. She desired him. She looked at his face, so close to hers and imagined what it would feel like to kiss him. Stop. This has to stop. No man will ever love you. No man will ever see you as more than a plaything. The messages bombarded her.

The monsters were back.


About the author:

Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits, and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group, specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.

Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church. Her favorite pastimes are lazy…snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com, her Twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Changing things up a bit

Changes-Ahead-NewspaperOh, c’mon, no groans or grimaces, change is good, at least here.

The first change you’ll notice is the new blog header image. I love it. Of course, it’s Purple! … and it looks like a lot of sparkling gems. What do you think?

But that’s not all that’s changing. As you’ll note in the description above the banner on the right, my focus is on connecting Writers with Readers.

Next, I’m eliminating the COZY DEN category. All blog posts will have the same format.

The primary objective for Whispers in Purple is to spotlight writers, both new and established—and their books—in order to attract new readers.

So…

I have set up some new submission guidelines HERE.

In a nutshell, here’s what I’m trying to do:

There is potential for a three-prong spotlight for authors wishing to participate for some great exposure.

I will do,

  1. An interview of you and promo of your book

  2. An interview of your main character, or character of your choice, and promo of your book

  3. An in-depth review of your book on the blog, plus a condensed version for Amazon and other sites where the book is available.

  4. Each post will include at least one Tweetable link which can also be used on Facebook


NOTE: If you wish me to do a review, I must have it in eBook format as I can no longer read print books, darn it!

Thoughts? Suggestions? Comment below, I love hearing from you!

Monday, June 1, 2015

I’ve Got Mail! Oh, wait . . . where’d it go?

poofComputers – and all other modern-day electronics-seem to have become a necessary evil in our everyday lives. Most of us have at least one computer, some sort of tablet, and cell phones, all catering to the need for instant information and instant gratification.

This is not necessarily bad, mind you. The advantages far outweigh the the annoyances…generally.

We can bank online, eliminating the need for stamps, writing checks, addressing envelops, going to the post office..well, you get the idea, and the beauty of direct deposit is wonderful.

We can go online for research on just about everything without having to make a trip to a library.

And e-mail, oh my. Instant contact!  The people we communicate with often are alphabetically listed in your email program’s contact list. No running around looking for your well-worn paper address book. There’s no denying that all this stuff has its advantages.

It has also become the bane of my existence, especially E-mail. I work mostly on my 23” desktop computer because of its size. With failing eyesight, that’s my biggest blessing. I use my laptop when I want to take my writing elsewhere.

Okay, back to E-mail.

I use I use Outlook, part of my MS Office suite, and I love it! Until recently. Notice the title of this post?

I have multiple folders and sub-folders, each with a ‘rule’ that’s (supposed) to automatically sort incoming mail. Some I’ll check immediately and keep the others unread until I have more time to deal with them.

But lately those rules have become unruly. The other day I created a new sub-folder to save an email I wanted to keep, away from my main Inbox. After setting it up, I clicked on Move To, selected the new subfolder and POOF! it disappeared. Gone. I checked to see if I’d clicked on the wrong one, looking in other folders…nothing. It was nowhere to be found.

So instead of doing that, I simply did a drag and drop. That seems to be working okay…this time.

But what got my dander up today, prompting this post, was an incoming email I’d read, marked as UNread, because it had information I needed to follow through on but didn’t have the time to work on it. A bit later, I clicked on that unread email to open it. It did open but a second later it…vanished. Gone, never to be seen again. Not in my deleted items folder; not in a different folder; not in my recycle bin…absolutely G.O.N.E. And that’s not the first time this has happened. I’m one hair away from screaming.

Has anyone reading this ever experienced anything like this? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

Please share, I’m at my wits end.