Thursday, March 31, 2016

Up Close and Personal with Author/Speaker Kathi Macias

by Peggy Blann Phifer @pegphifer

Today I am pleased to welcome one of my favorite long-time friends whom I’ve never met . . . Author / Speaker Kathi Macias. Kathi is also one of my fellow Helping Hands Press authors. She’ll be sharing a bit about herself with us here. So, let’s get started, shall we?

0019 Kathi Macias -  EDITED emailed

Kathi Macias ( is a multi-award author of more than 50 books, as well as countless short stories and magazine articles. A wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Kathi is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences and women’s events. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Al.

♦ ♦ ♦

Hi, Kathi, and welcome!

As a writing reader, do you find it difficult to read for pure enjoyment without a critical eye?

Absolutely! I keep telling myself to take off my editor hat before putting on my reading-for-fun hat, but it’s tough to do.

I am insatiably curious about my fellow authors’ writing habits and quirks. For example, I almost always have some music playing while I write. Instrumentals, though, no vocals. And I’m a snacker. So, how about you? Do share.

I want complete quiet, though that’s tough to come by, I’m afraid, especially with a retired husband under foot. But we work it out. (I’ve drawn boundaries.) And yes, I too am a snacker, especially when it’s been a long day and I still have a way to go before I can quit. That’s when I need something to give me some “wake-up” energy.

What was/is the problem with writing that was/is your greatest roadblock and how did/do you overcome it?

Eons ago (when I first became a writer of articles/short stories/newspaper columns) I had bought into the myth of “writer’s block.” I’d find myself stuck, waiting for the so-called “muse” to whisper. Then I landed my first regular writing gig (for the local newspaper) and discovered the meaning of deadlines--i.e., if you don’t meet the deadline, you don’t get paid. Newspaper writing, which often had to be done immediately if not sooner, was the best remedy I ever ran across for moving past writer’s block.

If you could lay out the perfect day for writing, just the way you’d love it to be, describe it for us.

Get up late (for me, that means 7:30 or 8:00); have a cup of tea (or two) while I read my Bible and pray; go through emails, Facebook messages, etc.; then straighten the house, take a shower, etc., before diving into that first line of writing. After that, just some peaceful time to write without unreasonable deadlines--though I find I do my best work under pressure.

What are you working on right now?

I have recently turned in my 2016 Christmas novel (A Husband’s Christmas Prayer) and am working on some freelance editing, as well as pulling things together for a couple of upcoming writers’ conferences (classes, fiction-writing track, keynote, etc.). After that I plan to take some extended time off--the perks of being “semi-retired.”

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

A Husband’s Christmas Prayer is scheduled for a Fall 2016 release.

What book would you like to talk about?


  • Title: Return to Christmas

  • Publisher: New Hope Publishers

  • Release Date: Fall 2015

  • Genre: Contemporary fiction

  • Back cover blurb: Will his tough Marine exterior prevent him from experiencing the great Gift of all?

Purchase links:

Where can readers find you on the Internet?

Kathi, thank you so much for being my guest today, and for taking the time to answer my interview questions. It’s been a pleasure having you here.

[bctt tweet="Get up close and personal with Author/Speaker Kathi Macias @alandkathi #Interview #WhispersinPurple"]

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Favorite February Releases!

At Clash of the Titles we make things easy for book lovers everywhere--including handpicking new releases we know you'll love. This week, we present five of Christian fiction's hottest new titles. Surely, one of them will be the right fit for you. 


Introducing, February's New Releases clashing novels...


Don't forget to vote for the one that most catches your interest!

Will the quest for gold tear the Connor family apart?



He receives a diagnosis that alters the course of his life; she is an ICU nurse on the verge of burnout. Faith doesn't come easy for either.


When a pregnant widow returns from the mission field, family and friends rally to help. However she harbors a secret that threatens her relationship with God and may lead to her spiritual downfall.



Two women engineers race the clock to build the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft amid the backdrop of sabotage and murder, and while trying to deal with their own muddled personal lives.


Unwilling to deal with his cancer prognosis, Dr. Steven Moore retreats to a happier time in his past—to the woman who once stole his heart, never suspecting she might offer hope for his future.


Cast your vote below. Winner announced next Thursday, March 31!

Create your own user feedback survey

Happy, Blessed Easter!

I think I have shared this here before, but today is RESSURECTION DAY, so what could be more appropriate?

Enjoy, and Praise the Lord! HE IS RISEN!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Getting to know Author Patti J Smith

THIS IS PART 4 OF MY INTERVIEWS WITH MY FELLOW HELPING HANDS PRESS WRITERS. Patti and I, along with the others I’ve been featuring this month, have been participants in several short-story compilations with HHP sincejuat before Christmas 2013.

Now, let’s get on with this interview.

As a writing reader, do you find it difficult to read for pure enjoyment without a critical eye?

No, not at all. In fact, it provides me with a mental vacation, especially when I’m suffering from writer’s block!

Ah, yes . . . the great escape. I have to agree with you, on that one. Smile

Next: When reading, what are some of the things that bug you? Pet peeves, etc. What are some of your hot buttons?

Nothing frustrates me more than having to flip back to prior chapters to figure out how one character is connected to another. Another hot button is when the story constantly jumps from one point of view to another without a smooth transition.

I am insatiably curious about my fellow authors’ writing habits and quirks. For example, I almost always have some music playing while I write. Instrumentals, though, no vocals. And I’m a snacker. So, how about you? Do share.

I am a nocturnal-recliner writer … settling in to my recliner around 11:00 p.m. and ending around 3:00 a.m. Being a coffeeholic, there’s always a cup at the ready as well as a cookie (or two or three!).

What was/is the problem with writing that was/is your greatest roadblock and how did/do you overcome it?

The biggest roadblock is getting started. It’s sometimes difficult to set aside thoughts and concerns of the day and focus on the work-in-progress. I find if I start out in “editor” mode I’m able to gradually shift from wife, caregiver, etc., to writer.

If you could lay out the perfect day for writing, just the way you’d love it to be, describe it for us.

I would be in a cabin (all alone), my recliner facing a large picture window overlooking a lake -- a light, but steady rain coming down and a fire crackling in the fireplace. Ahhhh……

What are you working on right now?

I have three projects in the works. Series II of my Grave Obsessions (Suspense/Thriller) Series, Solace in Scripture (a devotional on grief using personalized scripture) and a collaborative effort with my publisher: Welcome to Shadeport (a humor-filled, cozy mystery series).

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

To be honest, I have no idea at this point. I have been on a sabbatical of sorts due to my father’s illness and recent passing, so finishing up my works in progress are a priority.

I can appreciate that, Patti.

Now, what about the book we’re featuring here?


  • Title: Grave Obsessions – Series I
  • Publisher: Helping Hands Press
  • Release Date: 3/25/15
  • Genre: Mystery/Suspense

Back cover blurb: Grave Obsessions reads like an episode of a television crime drama with its swift action and unexpected plot twists. Be it an elusive psychopath or child abductor, Detective Dallas Keegan pursues each with dogged determination and gut instinct while struggling with her faith and ghosts from the past.

♦ ♦ ♦


1935522_1949288118629622_4630133862991984587_nAuthor of devotionals, light romance and suspense. I was born to a military family in Wimpole Park, England and traveled extensively during my childhood. I worked for the federal government as an auditor for the Department of Labor and Veteran's Administration Offices of Inspector General, as an Elementary School Office Manager for the San Jacinto Unified School District, served ten years in the U.S. Army Reserves and recently retired as a background investigator. I am a member of the Association of Christian Therapists, Associate of the Order of St. Luke the Physician, serve as Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and lead Rachel's Hope After-Abortion Healing Retreats and a follow-up retreat, "The Healing Continues."  I publicly share my story of redemption in a variety of venues, have been a guest on Immaculate Heart and Blogtalk Radio, Radio Maria and Cradle My Heart.  I also appear in the newly-released documentary, “The Sidewalk Chronicles”.
I live in Vista, CA with my husband, am a caregiver for my uncle and have four beautiful granddaughters - and one on the way.  I'm a prolific blogger and reader, and proudly admit to being a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and Fantasy Football fanatic. My travel adventures include Spain, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Fiji, South Korea and almost all states - including Hawaii and Alaska.

♦ ♦ ♦


Visit my blog:
Visit my author's page:

♦ ♦ ♦

Thank you so much for taking part in my interviews with our fellow HHP authors. It’s been a pleasure getting to know more about you. I hope you’ve enjoyes your visit here, too


Midway Between Palm Sunday and Easter - Enjoy!

This is tenor David Phelps with a voice like no other, part of the Gaither Vocal Band. I thought you'd like to watch...

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Featuring "Dressed for Death"

A recency-era costume party should be no more than an amusing diversion, but it seems, wherever Drew Farthing goes, mystery--and murder--are on the guest list.

Drew and Madeline Farthering arrive at a Regency-Era house party at Winteroak House, excited to be reunited with old friends, including Drew’s former Oxford classmate Talbot Cummins. Tal is there with his fiancée, Alice Henley, and though many present seem worried about the couple, nobody is prepared when Alice dies from an apparent overdose. Tal refuses to believe she’d taken the drugs intentionally, and a dark question arises of whether the death is an accident or murder. The police have their own information though, and Drew is shocked when they arrest someone he’s trusted and admired since his childhood—someone who’s been smuggling drugs into the country for years. Stunned by what has happened, Tal begs Drew to get to the bottom of everything, but Drew’s never felt more unsettled. Questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, Drew doesn’t know who to trust, and he’s not ready for the secrets he’s about to uncover—or the danger he’ll bring down on everyone he holds dear.


About the author:

JULIANNA DEERING has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Why would author Debra Marvin like to be a beaver? ♦ Giveaway

Please welcome author Debra Marvin in a fun Q & A with me here on Whispers in Purple. First . . . an introduction:

DM_headshot (1)

Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She’d like to live just a wee bit closer to her grandchildren, but is thankful that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor.

Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, she has pretty normal obsessions: fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas and whatever mystery series she’s currently reading. Visit her at, the Inkwell Inspirations Blog, @debraemarvin on twitter and Debra E Marvin on Facebook and Pinterest, but not her house because she usually has dirty dishes

There’s a Giveaway attached to this post. See details below next to the PURPLE arrow .

Now let’s get to the interview.


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?

It hasn’t happened a lot. I say ‘it’s a lot of work, but why don’t you get it a try.’ And I try very hard not to make a face!

Ha! I’m always curious about other writer’s habits, quirks, and the like: background music, or complete silence? Do you snack when you write? Share some of yours.

I like music but it has to be instrumental and suitable for my story’s setting. If I hear lyrics, they seem to come out of my fingers and an odd word will show up on the screen. Strange how that happens. I really try not to snack while I’m writing. It’s so hard to stop mindless eating and you know how mindless writers can be! I also like to have photos of someone I think matches my characters; it’s easier for me to get in their head if I can look in their eyes.

Same with me, Debra. Tell us five random things about you.

I have a horticulture degree. I live on a lake. I like to make costumes but I wouldn’t want to do it full time—It’s more of a case of designing something and creating it. I drive a stick shift (truck!), and I’ve always wanted to sing like Gladys Knight.

If you could spend the day with one contemporary (living) person–NOT family–who would it be, and, of course, why?

Peg, this is a really tough question! I’ve over-thunk this to death. My first thought was a famous writer, but they’d probably want to write and not have me bothering them… A full day with someone would be a great way to learn something I want to learn (Can you tell I’m task oriented?) so I think I’d choose Lydia Bastianich. A great cook with a great cooking show that I’ve watched for years. I promise to bring you back something tasty. Mangia, mangia!

Interesting answer! What sparks your creativity when feeling drained?

Pinterest, a nap, a good book or movie. I’m usually most creative when I’m not at my home keyboard. Pinterest has a way of making me think I can do great things. Apparently, I’m not alone!

For sure! Describe your favorite writing space.

That would be my recliner with my laptop. It happens to be my cat’s favorite napping place too, so I’ve developed very long arms!

Coffee or tea?

Decaf coffee.

Fun question: If you’d been born into the animal kingdom instead of the human race, what animal would you be, and why?

I think it would have to be a beaver. I have these two big front teeth for one thing. I’d love to swim with such ease, and then live in my cozy little house on an island I made with my bare…paws. A satisfactory day’s work and a solid family relationship. Sounds good to me!

LOVE that answer! Smile

Now, let’s get to the book we’re featuring today.

Austen in Austin V1

Title: Austen in Austin (Vol 1)

Publisher: WhiteFire

Release Date: January 15, 2016

Genre: Historical romance

Stand alone or series: well, it’s like this…My novella Alarmingly Charming is one of four novellas in an anthology. Four more novellas are coming out in Vol 2 later this year.

Purchase links: Austen in Austin:

And Alarmingly Charming:


What’s the book about and how did you come to write it?

Years ago, my blog-mates from Inkwell Inspirations and I discussed doing a collections of novellas. We settled on Regency or Jane Austen-inspired…or a western theme. Luckily for us, we put them together! I chose Northanger Abbey as the Austen novel I’d ‘play’ with, because I’m a big fan of mysteries, and suspense, and I’d been writing something rather dark and gothic. Northanger Abbey was Austen’s take on the gothic novels that were popular at the time, and I sort of parodied her parody, with a bookworm heroine visiting 1887 Austin, Texas.

alarmingly charming cover1


Give us the back cover blurb: ALARMINGLY CHARMING: As travel companion to her condescending cousin, Philadelphian Kathryn Morton dreamily anticipates a week in the Wild West as the best cure for meekness. After a long rail journey and a steady diet of gothic dime novels, she shivers, despite the Texas heat, at the ghastly tales of the Austin Axe Murderer. Kathryn has little time to fret, given the competing attentions of quiet rancher Harmon Gray and elegant gentleman Jonathan Wellington. With her new-found confidence and her boundless imagination, she sets out to solve the mystery of Hyde Park Cemetery before another student flees Austen Abbey. Only then can she return home to her English-born parents as an independent American woman. A woman in love. But on the stormiest of nights, Kathryn learns that solving the mystery may destroy a future with the man she’s fallen for in a big Texas way.


Where can folks find you on the Internet?


purple curved arrowAbout the Giveaway:

Debra says: I will give away a print copy of Austen in Austin, and a bonus ebook of Alarmingly Charming. Commenters must note if they’d like the paperback or the eBook, and answer this question: A week in Regency–era England or a week in contemporary Austin?

Giveaway ends one week from today on Thursday, March 24, at Midnight CDT. Winner will be drawn via and notified via email. Bonne chance!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sharing a Day with Author June Foster ♦ Giveaway, too!





An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day, As We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Ryan's Father is available from WhiteFire Publishing. Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and The Almond Tree Series, For All Eternity, Echoes From the Past, and What God Knew are available from Misty Hollow and A New Family are published by Helping Hands Press and available at Amazon. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Find June online at

Let’s start chatting, June.

As a writing reader, do you find it difficult to read for pure enjoyment without a critical eye?

Most definitely. In fact sometimes it distracts from the enjoyment of the story. Or I lose track of what the author is saying because I'm thinking about how I would've rephrased it. Ah, the author's curse.

When reading, what are some of the things that bug you? Pet peeves, etc. What are some of your hot buttons?

Shh, don't tell anyone, but sometimes I skim through a story by reading the first line of every paragraph. When the author becomes repetitive, or says the same thing three or four times in different words, it drives me nuts. Also when the story drags a bit, I do my speed reading trick. I saw this, however, at the risk of possibly doing the same thing. So Peg, the next time you find a sagging middle in my story, please forgive me.

Of course, and I’d expect no less from you when it comes to my writing.

I am insatiably curious about my fellow authors’ writing habits and quirks. For example, I almost always have some music playing while I write. Instrumentals, though, no vocals. And I’m a snacker. So, how about you? Do share.

I have a one-track mind and get distracted by music or other noise in the room. Unfortunately I'm a snacker, too which doesn't help my dress size one bit. I'm trying to wean myself to sugarless gum or even a large glass of ice water.

What was/is the problem with writing that was/is your greatest roadblock and how did/do you overcome it?

Confidence in my ability as a writer and the urge to compare myself with others. God forbid the old green-eyed monster would make an appearance. Daily I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author or my faith and try to write for Him.

If you could lay out the perfect day for writing, just the way you’d love it to be, describe it for us.

A day with no distractions, lots of goodies in the fridge, and plenty of motivation.

Ah, I hear ya! What are you working on right now?

I'm writing Almond Street Mission, a continuation of the Nelson family's story. JD's little sister, Glorilyn is the heroine of the story and falls in love with a homeless man.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?

I'm thinking about writing some light, romantic novellas and, if I get my courage up, I'd like to write a story out of my normal genre. Maybe a romantic suspense or historical romance.

Let’s talk about your featured book.

Cover - 16

Title: What God Knew

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: October 5, 2015

Genre: Inspirational romance

Back cover blurb: Tammy Crawford wants nothing to do with her sister Joella's religion but when she falls in love with handsome Dr. Michael Clark, he challenges her long-held resistance. Can two people of different races and beliefs find a life together?

Purchase links: Amazon 

Barnes and Noble



About the Giveaway:

June is offering to give away one eBook copy of What God Knew to one of readers. Entering is easy . . . just leave a comment in the section below, with your eMail address (disguised, e.g: you (at) abcxyz (dot) com) and you’re in the drawing. Giveaway ends a week from today, Thursday, March 24, at Midnight CDT. Winner will be drawn on Friday using and notified via email. That’s it!

June, thank you so much for being my guest today. It’s been my pleasure. I love to help promote and support all my fellow writers!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Chat with Jennifer Slattery ♦ Giveaway ♦

BCheadshot2013Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Hi, Jennifer, welcome to Whispers in Purple. So tickled to have you here. By the way, are you ever called Jen, Jenna, or do you prefer Jennifer?

I’ll go by anything, but most of my readers call me Jennifer. Smile

You and I have been connected for a number of years through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) as well as the Clash of the Titles Blog Alliance. I almost feel as if I know you. But let’s find out, huh?

What five words best describe you?

It’s always so hard to describe oneself. I had to ask my husband this one. He said studious, reader, writer, loving, wife. And that was interesting—hearing his top five descriptions.

What is the scariest/strangest thing you believed as a child?

Boy, I’m failing this interview thing. Haha. I don’t know if I really believed anything frightening. I did believe something I’m pretty sure terrified my parents, however. That was that I was invincible and could do whatever I set my mind to do. Whether that meant attempting to swing across a lake or practicing my balk walkover on a bridge railing. (Luckily my parents happened to be driving by for the latter and yanked me down before I did anything stupid.)

Invincible? Oh, no! I’d have been terrified, too!

How do you start your day?

With Bible study and coffee. My mornings are my absolute favorite part of my day, and it’s while I prayerfully read Scripture that God sets me up for the day ahead. I rarely rush this time, and will often spend an hour or more journaling, praying, and making note of my focal verse for the day.

Write a limerick starring you. C’mon, you can do it Smile

I had to Google what a limerick is; I’d forgotten!

Poetry has never been my thing

Neither did I learn to sing

But hand me a book

And I’ll lounge by the brook

Biding my time reading till spring

Good one! What sparks your creativity when feeling drained?

Sometimes going for a walk with my phone and its Pandora app, or spending time with friends or my husband. I love to read and find a great book can trigger a stream of creativity.

Have you ever read a bookor watched a movie–that’s haunted you? What was it, and why did it have such impact on you?

I don’t like scary movies and tend to avoid them. Actually, I’m not much of a movie-goer period. As for books, yes, Kathi Macias Freedom Series leveled me—because I knew though her stories were fiction, the topic—sex slavery—sadly, exists. In America. It’s hard to realize there are precious, defenseless children being horrifically abused at this moment.

I’m with you on the scary movies, but there’s one movie I watched years ago, Dr. Zhivago, that has hauntingly stuck with me ever since.

Now I’m ready to ask you about your book.

  • BreakingFree_N1664109Title: Breaking Free

  • Publisher: New Hope Publishers

  • Release Date: May 7th online, April 4th in stores

  • Genre: Women’s fiction

Back cover blurb: Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters.
Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

You can read a free, 33-page excerpt here:

Where can readers buy this book?


What’s coming up next for you?

I’m revising what I hope to be the third book in my Midwestern Romance series and am plotting a fun romance set in Austin. Hopefully I’ll be back in the relatively near future to tell you more about those novels!


Where can our readers find you on the Internet?

Visit with Jennifer online at  and connect with her on Facebook at

Many thanks, Jennifer, for your willingness to be my guest here. I hope you’ve enjoyed answering these interview questions. My aim is to make each set of questions uniquely different and fun for the interviewee. I hope I’ve been succeeded here. It’s been fun getting to know you.


Jennifer will be giving away a print copy of the book featured here, Breaking Free, to one winner drawn randomly from the commenters below. Winner limited to the Continental US, only, please. Giveaway ends on Monday, Feb 21, at Midnight, CDT. Winner will be notified via email on Tuesday, so be sure to include your email contact info, disguised so those snoopy bots can't sniff it out 


Friday, March 11, 2016

New Contemporary Release: Grace in the Flames ♦ Giveaway ♦


Debut Release by Michelle Massaro:

Grace in the Flames

"I couldn't put it down, consider yourself warned."
~ Amazon reviewer

About the book:

Three people. One God of grace.

John Douglas thought he knew the future God had for him--raise a family and grow old with his bride, Hannah. But then a deadly house fire incinerates his faith, destroying the man he’d been.

Worship leader Jenni Dupont conquered her demons years ago and has the scars to prove it. But temptation strikes when her world is shattered, and this time she's not sure if God can carry her through.

Bar waitress April Johanson lives with the secret trauma of an abusive past. Desperate to stay off the streets of Vegas, she’ll do whatever is necessary to pay the rent.

When their lives intersect, God will ask them to do the impossible. To love Him even if…


>>Buy on Amazon<<

What readers are saying:
  • "intense"
  • "I was hooked from the first chapter"
  • "outstanding debut novel"
  • "couldn't put it down"


Tweet or otherwise post online about the book with the Amazon link ( and be entered to receive a free digital copy of the book. (suggested tweetables provided at end of this post.) Then, share a link to your post in the comments section of this blog, and tell me what your favorite Easter tradition or song is. Mine: The End of the Beginning (David Phelps)... chills every time!

Michelle, what made you write this story?

The story premise came to me as I was just pondering my faith, asking myself how deep does it go, would it survive if truly challenged? The characters wrestle with some of life's toughest questions—How could God let this happen to me? Where is God when my heart is breaking? I believe in God, but my hurt is so big I’m not sure He’s enough. These are all thoughts that I've encountered in my life as well.

But even when life is unbearably hard, God is right there placing our tears in a bottle and inviting us into His arms to carry us through. I hope readers come away with a better sense of that truth when they read Grace in the Flames.

What's next?

I’m about to release my second novel, a fun dual-genre story I co-wrote with the amazing April W Gardner called Better than Fiction. It’s a Women’s fiction wrapped around a historical romance set in 1916 Corona during the height of its auto racing glory. The short description is:
While creating a fictional romance between her 1916 heroine and a reckless racecar driver, a novelist falls prey to an emotional affair with the man who inspires her handsome hero.
Corona, California is my hometown and it’s been a blast to dig into our rich history. The release will coincide with the town’s 100th anniversary of the final race, and we are so excited! We have a Facebook page set up for the book: and will be offering a free digital copy to subscribers, so check that out, too!


About the Author:

MICHELLE MASSARO writes contemporary fiction soaked in grace. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband of over two decades and their four children. She’s dabbled in homeschooling, teaching Creation Science, and leading worship. When she isn’t tinkering with words, Michelle enjoys old Rogers and Hammerstein movies, making kefir, and Sudoku. A new lipstick and a good French roast always make her happy.
Sign up for bonuses and insider info:
Connect with her online:

"I was hooked from the first chapter" Check out Grace in the Flames! #NewRelease #ChristianFiction
"intense" Grace in the Flames is now in the #Kindle store!
"couldn't put it down" ~ check out new #Christian #novel Grace in the Flames!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bide a While with Author Anne Baxter Campbell ♦ Interview

Welcome back, dear readers, to the 2nd scheduled interview with one of my fellow Helping Hands Press authors, Anne Baxter Campbell. Along with her own writing, Anne has blessed me with her editing skills in my stories through the three Sweetland series’. Thank you, Anne, and welcome to Whispers in Purple. (Remember, readers, all five of these featured authors were given the same five questions to answer.) 

OK, Anne, let’s chat a while.

Peg: As a writing reader, do you find it difficult to read for pure enjoyment without a critical eye?

Anne: It depends a lot on the book and why I’m reading it. Sometimes I do beta reads or editing, in which case I’m working on trying to find errors and if it’s really good I get so absorbed in the story I forget to do that! Other times I’m reading to review and I want to read that for enjoyment too. You see, I don’t review books I don’t like or can’t get into. A lot of mistakes can do that. Minor typos don’t worry me.

Peg: When reading, what are some of the things that bug you? Pet peeves, etc. What are some of your hot buttons?

Anne: Since I concentrate on Christian books, there are a few things that do truly turn me off: swearing; skewing scripture, condemning other Christian religions, paranormal…. That type of thing.

Peg: I am insatiably curious about my fellow authors’ writing habits and quirks. For example, I almost always have some music playing while I write. Instrumentals, though, no vocals. And I’m a snacker. So, how about you? Do share.

Anne: Music works for me too. No snacks while I’m typing, although a spot of tea or coffee works.

Peg: I’m all for the coffee part, but you can drop the ‘s’ from the word ‘spot’ as far as I’m concerned.

What was/is the problem with writing that was/is your greatest roadblock and how did/do you overcome it?

Anne: I’m working on that now. I have written very little for about a year now. I could blame it on my husband being sick, but truth be told there were a lot of times I could have been going gangbusters. I promised HHP (and myself) that next week I’d start writing again. Glimmers of the other side of the block have been appearing….

Peg: If you could lay out the perfect day for writing, just the way you’d love it to be, describe it for us.

Anne: Okay—I’m sitting on a balcony on a balmy day overlooking the ocean. The gentle swooshing of the waves on the golden sand give me a sense of peace. Brahms’s Lullaby plays on the radio behind me. Hm. Well, that would work for the gentle scenes―but what about those tense scenes? Gotta have crashing waves, a howling wind, thunder drowning out the sound of the William Tell Overture.

Peg: Nice! What are you working on right now?

Anne: This Q&A. Oh, you mean besides this? I’m working on a story about Luke the Physician and some of his companions.

Peg: Ha! What can we look forward to from you in the future?

Anne: I don’t know right now if this work of fiction will expand into a series or not, but I do have another one that I wrote several years ago. It has some of the same things that I listed as hot buttons above, so I have to work on that. It needs a total revision, but I think it has promise. It’s about a woman and her husband with marital problems, who take a very, very long trip to reconnect with their little girl.

Where can readers find you on the ‘Net’? (Social Media links)


About your featured book:


  • clip_image002Title: The Truth Trilogy
  • Publisher: Helping Hands Press
  • Release Date: September 25, 2014
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Back cover blurb: (There isn’t one, really. It just says it’s a combination of three books in a series.) The first book is about a Roman centurion (Julius) and a Jewish girl (Miriam)―and yes, it has romance in it, but also a good bit of adventure. The second is about Julius’s best friend, Marcus, who’d like to become a centurion, but the humdrum life of rescuing kidnapped damsels (especially a pretty Egyptian slave girl) keeps getting in the way. The third is about Marcus’s father and a Greek widow. All three deal with journeys from disbelief to belief, mixed liberally with a bunch of adventures and a tad of romance.
  • Purchase links:





I’m first and foremost a follower of the One God (Father, Son, and Spirit). I’m a recent widow still trying to find my way past the sorrow. I’m a devoted mother and grandmother. Last but not least, I’m a writer who would love to show readers a glimmer of One who loves them more than life.


Anne, I can’t thank you enough for sharing this time with me and my blog readers. We’ll have to do this again sometime.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Write What You Want to Know ♦ Donna Schlachter ♦ Writing Talk Tuesday

Write What You Want to Know, By Donna Schlachter

purple_question-marks.jpgWe’ve all heard “write what you know”, and that’s all well and good as far as it goes. But what happens if what you know could fill a thimble? Or if what you know is already well-written by others? Do you simply stop writing?


That’s the time when you step out and write what you want to know.

That’s the time you do some research into a topic that’s always interested you. That’s the time you branch out from what you know and specialize. For example, let’s say you are a bank teller, so you know about banking policies and procedures. Might make an interesting main character in a book or a series. Firewall, with Harrison Ford, was one such movie.

But let’s take your knowledge a little deeper. You’ve had training in spotting counterfeit currency and negotiable documents, so maybe that’s who your character is. You’ve had training in investments, so maybe your character is an investment banker. “Wait,” you say, “I don’t know anything about that.”

So now’s the excuse—and the time—to learn.

And here’s the great thing about research—you can also research settings. Say you have a great idea for a counterfeiter-turned-honest but you want the story set in San Jose, California because you need to be close to a naval base because your character has to try to break into a naval base with counterfeit documents. But you’ve never been to San Jose, CA.

That’s the time you take a trip there. Take lots of pictures, map out the city, pick where your hero lives, where he works, where he goes to the gym—decide where would make great settings for scenes, and go there. Now when you write about San Jose, your writing will have a layer of credibility you couldn’t have gotten any other way.

Writing what you know and writing where you know is always a good place to start, but when you need something new, think about writing what you want to know and where you want to go.

Author Bio:
lives in Denver with her husband Patrick, who is her first-line editor and biggest fan. She writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, who Donna says is cute and perky and everything she isn’t. She has ghostwritten several projects, but still gets a thrill out of seeing her own name on the cover. You can follow her and Leeann on Facebook and Twitter, and on their blogs at: and . Her websites are and . Their books are available at in digital and print, and at in digital. Donna travels every chance she gets, and looks forward to making things up as she goes along.

So, folks, join the conversation! If you’re a writer, where would YOU like to go for research with an idea for a story you have? Do share…in the comments section below.

A note from Peg: While I agree with…and love Donna’s suggestion to GO where you want/need to go, but, realistically, it’s not always possible, unless it’s into town to visit a Real Estate Office, or a bank, for example. But if the person who wants to visit San Jose for story info lives in Pittsburgh…not so much.

My suggestion, though not as much fun as doing the actual travel, is to find someone who lives there, maybe through an email loop you belong to, or a relative, perhaps even a family member who has actually been there, or once lived there. And of course, there’s always Google, or Bing search, Google Earth…lots of places online to seek what information you’re looking for. Countless pictures to print to keep in your novel’s folder.

February Release Champion!!

Let's hear it for this week's clash winner, A WORTHY HEART! Way to go, Susan! 

Here's what her readers are saying:

A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason is on the already at the top of my TBR!!

Love love love Susan Mason books! Can't wait for the next one!

Susan Anne Mason's historical fiction has well developed stories and fascinating characters. I hate it when they end! 

On top of the beautiful stories in Susan Anne Mason's Courage to Dream series, they are also some of the most intriguing and gorgeous book covers. I'm very excited to read the second book in this series.

As her readers know, there's so much more to this book than an intriguing blurb and a beautiful picture on the front. Let's peek behind the cover and learn a little more about it.

Susan, what was your inspiration for this book?

I guess the loose inspiration was the biblical story of the prodigal son. Adam personifies the prodigal son who betrays his father with a life of sin and returns home with nothing, willing to work at the lowest job in the stables. Yet unlike the prodigal son in the Bible, Adam is not met with joy from his father, but rather anger and distrust — which puts a whole new spin on the story. And, of course, adds great conflict!

Talk about the theme. What can readers hope to learn from reading this novel? 

I believe the theme is worthiness. Adam struggles with feelings of unworthiness because of his past mistakes. During his prison stay, the prison chaplain rekindles Adam’s faith and allows him to believe he is a worthy child of God. Even so, Adam’s main goal upon his release from prison is to prove his worthiness to his mother and father in order to earn back their respect. Once he meets Maggie, however, he longs to be worthy of her heart, a goal that seems impossible given all the obstacles in their way. 

Interested? Here's the full description:

The answer to Maggie Montgomery's dream of seeing America has arrived at just the right time. Not only will she be reunited with her beloved brother Rylan, but she'll finally be able to escape Neill Fitzgerald and his increasingly unwanted attentions. She's intent on never returning to Ireland, hoping to build her future in the land of opportunity and perhaps find the love of her life.

While visiting Irish Meadows, she meets an intriguing man she thinks is a stable hand. Only when her brother demands she stay away from Adam O'Leary does she learn he's Rylan's brother-in-law, recently released from prison. Nonetheless, Maggie can't seem to make her stubborn heart conform to her brother's request.

Adam O'Leary has never felt worthy of his place in the family. Now a free man, Adam's only desire is to earn back his family's trust. Falling in love with the newly arrived Maggie, however, was never in his plans. Despite everyone's efforts to keep them apart, the two develop a bond it seems nothing can break--but they soon discover the past isn't easy to overcome.


Susan Anne Mason describes her writing style as “romance sprinkled with faith.” She loves incorporating inspirational messages of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness into her characters’ journeys. A Worthy Heart is her second historical novel in the Courage to Dream series. Irish Meadows won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Authors chapter of RWA. 

Susan lives outside Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She loves red wine and chocolate, is not partial to snow even though she’s Canadian, and is ecstatic on the rare occasions she has the house to herself. In addition to writing, Susan likes to research her family history on-line, and occasionally indulges in scrapbooking. Learn more about Susan and her books at

People can contact me through my website:

Or my author page on Facebook:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Spotlight is On: Writer/Speaker Sue Badeau ♦ With Giveaway

I’ve been eagerly waiting for March to roll around since the first of the year, when I decided to put the spotlight on some of my fellow authors contracted with Helping Hands Press. So, each Thursday this month I will be introducing you to five of these special women in an interview. I’m especially excited to welcome author/speaker Sue Badeau, the person who has been of tremendous help to me as I wrote my part of the Sweetland series’ as I tackled the subjects of adoption and the foster care system, and continues to make herself available as I continue writing a series of my own with the same subject matter. You’ll soon see why I treasure her so.

Sue will be giving away a copy of Are We There Yet? to One Commenter ♦ See Details Below

Please welcome Sue Badeau!

♦ ♦ ♦

Sue Badeau-bl-gr face-on cross-armsSue Badeau is a nationally known speaker, writer and consultant with a heart for children. She and her husband, Hector, are lifetime parents of twenty-two children, (twenty adopted). They have authored books including, Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids, on or on Sue’s website – - Sue is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and a graduate of Christian Communicators Conference.


Okay, Sue, here we go:

As a writing reader, do you find it difficult to read for pure enjoyment without a critical eye?

If the writing is particularly bad, I may have a hard time! But I am an avid reader and so I enjoy reading without being too critical. What I find challenging is when I read material that connects to my world of work (foster care, adoption, child trauma, juvenile justice) OR to a geographic location I happen to be very familiar with (New England, Philadelphia). If the author doesn’t get those kinds of details right, I can be very critical and sometimes can’t even stand to keep reading!

When reading, what are some of the things that bug you? Pet peeves, etc. What are some of your hot buttons? As noted above, I can’t stand when an author writes about a place and then gets the details wrong. For me, when reading fiction, the setting is like another character – a very critical element. I want to feel like I am really there with all five of my senses. I want the author to transport me to the place and time where the story takes place. And yet, even though I love for the setting to come alive, I rarely like to read lengthy descriptive passages. The setting has to come alive through the action and interaction of the characters!

Another hot button is when characters do not behave in ways that are consistent, and particularly when characters behave in ways that a person with that history or of that developmental age or from that professional would not behave. I hate when men or women or people of various racial or ethnic groups are pigeon-holed into stereotypical roles. And when I am reading Christian fiction, I hate when the Christian message is too heavy-handed and takes away from the quality of the writing and the story.

I am insatiably curious about my fellow authors’ writing habits and quirks. For example, I almost always have some music playing while I write. Instrumentals, though, no vocals. And I’m a snacker. So, how about you? Do share.

I rarely snack when I am writing but I always have something to drink at my side. I prefer hot beverages almost year round, a good cup of tea is the best. I cannot write with music on, I get too distracted. I really do like to have a pretty quiet, distraction-free environment when I am actually writing. Now when I am “percolating” my writing ideas, I can do that while driving, cooking, watching kids, or listening to music. And a lot of my time is spent that way before I actually put words on paper. My best writing is usually done in the wee hours of the morning.

What was/is the problem with writing that was/is your greatest roadblock and how did/do you overcome it? I would say there are two things. One is discipline. I have a very hard time sitting down and writing when I am “not in the mood.” (LOL) When I don’t feel that “rush” of ideas and words dancing around in my head begging to get down on paper (or computer), I find it hard to discipline myself to just write. My only way of overcoming this is to force myself to write at least a little each day. But overall I am still a procrastinator and then I can write for five days straight without coming up to breathe when I am “in the zone.” My second challenge is editing. I am not a good self-editor at all. I have certain things I do, like never getting “its” and it’s” right, no matter how often I try that I just don’t seem to catch in my own writing. I’m working on it. I try editing other people’s work and that helps some.

If you could lay out the perfect day for writing, just the way you’d love it to be, describe it for us.

Get up around 4:30 AM after a good night of sleep feeling energized and well-rested. Make a cup of tea, have a nice quiet time and then head to the computer. Sit down and write and suddenly look up and notice that it is four in the afternoon and wonder where did the time go because I was so engrossed in my writing that the time flew by and the words kept coming! Really, that is my perfect day. When we wrote our family memoir, I had day after day like that and it was grand. Unfortunately, I don’t get those kinds of days all too often, however.

What are you working on right now? I am quite excited about my current project. I do a lot of speaking and training events around the country about childhood trauma. Most of my talks involve providing information, strategies and tips to help parents and other caregivers learn how to help the child who has experienced trauma. So for years people have asked me if I had a workbook or a companion book to go along with my teaching. I have struggled to find the best way to present a workbook until my daughter (who is an artist) suggested that we make a workbook/coloring book. Since coloring with children is one of the trauma-healing strategies, it makes perfect sense. I am excited to work with my daughter and some other family members are also contributing some of the art work. The finished product will have tips, inspirational sayings, (including the relevant Bible passages) and artwork to color. I can’t wait to see it when it is finished!

What can we look forward to from you in the future? I loved doing the Sweetland series and so I hope there will be more series like that in my future. I am also about half way through a novel that I am writing about a mystery at the (fictional) Loonstone Lake. The first few installments have been released in Kindle format and on audio books and I am eager to finish it. Last year I released my first devotional and it has generated a lot of positive feedback. Several groups are using it for their Lenten devotional this year and that really makes me so happy! So there might be more devotionals in my future as well. Meanwhile, I will continue speaking and teaching anywhere that anyone will have me!

Below are two of Sue’s Books:


Clean Heart

  • Title: Clean Heart, Renewed Joy: A Six Week Journey Through the Psalms
  • Publisher: Helping Hands Press
  • Release Date: 2015
  • Genre: Devotional/Bible Study

Back cover blurb: Does Psalm 51 stir your soul? Do you long for the “clean heart” and “renewed joy” promised in these familiar verses. This Psalm contains a perfect and complete framework, divided into six themes, for the Christian walk of continual renewal, growth and purpose. This six-week devotional is a perfect guide when you are ready to embark on a season of reflection and renewal. Begin expectantly and come away refreshed and re-invigorated with a renewed sense of joy and purpose!

Purchase links: or Amazon


  • AWTY Front CoverTitle: Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids
  • Publisher: Carpenter’s Son Publishing
  • Release Date – 2013
  • Genre: Memoir

Back Cover blurb: Come along with Hector and Sue Badeau on their ultimate road trip – adopting and raising 22 children, from diverse backgrounds with many special needs. Like any road trip, their story has twists and turns, detours, and surprises. You’ll be inspired, laugh out loud, and shed tears as you share their experiences in foster care and adoption, coping with teenage pregnancies, addictions, unimaginable accomplishments, and raw moments of grief after the untimely deaths of three beloved children. Are We There Yet? Is an entertaining story which also imparts nuggets of parenting wisdom for any parent or grandparent. It is packed with spiritual truths and life lessons for teachers, social workers, pastors and others.

Purchase links: or Amazon

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ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, (Mar 10, 2016) Sue will be drawing one name from all who leave a comment, including your contact information, i.e. you (at) abcxzy (dot) com, for a free copy of Are We There Yet? Don’t miss your chance to win this delightful book!

Thank you, Sue, for stepping up to the plate and being my first interviewee this month. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your answers to my questions. You lead an amazing life!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

An Interview with author Dawn Cahill

Hi, Dawn, welcome to Whispers in Purple. So happy to have you drop in for a visit. Let’s chat a while.

How long have you been writing?

I wrote a lot of short stories as a kid, so,…a long time! But once I got serious about it, I actually finished a novel for the first time. That was 3 years ago.

Has your writing journey been as you envisioned it? If so, tell us a bit about it. If not, how is it different?

It’s been a funny journey (funny as in unexpected). When I finished my first novel, I immediately submitted it to a First Novel contest, and my family was highly confident it would do well. LOL! I learned it usually does not happen that way. It didn’t do poorly, but nowhere near as well as I’d hoped. I still had much to learn about the craft. Since then, I’ve taken an online fiction writing course, joined critique groups, attended umpteen writers conferences, gotten professional feedback.

Finally, earlier this year, entering contests at last paid off. My first novel (still unpublished) finished in the semifinals in the Genesis contest. And then, my second novel (Sapphire Secrets, featured today) finished in the finals in the First Impressions contest.

What sparks your creativity when feeling drained?

A good book and a long nap! But when I need inspiration, a long walk or hike does the trick.

What have you learned recently about yourself, and how has it affected your writing?

I’ve discovered, through various means, that God wired me to write, and by abandoning my writing dream while raising children, I was violating my true God-given nature.

Here are some quotes by George Orwell that resonate with me. Do they resonate with you as well?

Orwell: "I had the lonely child's habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons."

"From ... the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. ... I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books."

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

Funny you should ask! I just wrote a blog post about that. In Sapphire Secrets, while writing my protagonist’s conversion, I relived my own salvation experience. And some of my character Scott’s funny quirks I “borrowed” from myself. For instance, I hum a lot, and sometimes the song I hum reveals what I’m thinking. Scott is the same way, except he whistles. And sometimes, he gives himself away. It makes for some semi-embarrassing moments. ;)

Do you write in one place or switch off to different locations? Describe your favorite writing place.

I write in the bedroom that I used to rent out. Prior to that it was my son’s before he went off to college. Once he took his old bed, it became the perfect writing spot. Plenty of daylight, big table, lots of room. My cats love to hang out in here with me while I write.

Let’s pretend: An anonymous donor has gifted you with a 5-day stay at a place of your choice, and you can bring four other contemporary (not family) with you.

A: Where would you go, and why?

To Ireland, because I’m so fascinated with the Irish people, their history and culture. I’m part Irish myself, and love a good limerick and all shades of green. Smile

B: Who would you take with you, and why?

If I could take family, I’d take my three sons, because they’d feel right at home. They look Irish, and all three have Irish names! But since I can’t bring them, I’d bring four of my single women friends because they deserve a vacation.

Tell us something about your book.

  • SapphireSecretsFrontCover· Title: Sapphire Secrets
  • · Publisher: Kindle Direct
  • · Release Date: January 13, 2016
  • · Genre: Women’s fiction
  • · Series or Stand-alone: Book 1, Seattle Trilogy
  • · Target Audience: Christian fiction readers aged 20 to 50+

· Back cover blurb: Filled with mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters, Sapphire Secrets is the story of a Seattle woman’s relentless pursuit of truth and God’s power to heal and transform broken lives.
Twins Livy and DeeDee McCreary open a dance studio in honor of their late mother, whom they lost when they were six. Problem is, Livy remembers nothing of the day her mother died. The more she questions her family about that awful day, the more she suspects she’s been lied to all her life. While she’s seeking answers to what really happened, she keeps crossing paths with handsome engineer Scott Lorenzo, who compels her to question the New Age philosophy she was raised on. What if there is a personal God out there who cares about her?
Before Livy can discover answers, a brutal accident interrupts her search. Her life flips upside down as she faces a future she is not prepared for. Yet the unanswered questions continue to haunt her. Can she find the strength to keep on with her quest, even if it means losing the two people most dear to her—her twin, and the man she loves?

2015 Finalist, ACFW First Impressions Contest

· Buy links:

Finally, where can readers find you?

About the Author:

Author Dawn V. Cahill pens “Stories of Victorious Faith for the 21st Century,” nearly always with a crossword puzzle, sudoku, or dark chocolate nearby. “The characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that’s the world I write about.”

Seeing an unfilled niche in the Christian fiction market, Ms Cahill birthed Hot Topic Fiction at an intensive four-day writers conference. HTF isn’t afraid to explore the question, how does God want us to live out our faith in this not-so-brave new world? Without insulting the reader by offering pat or easy answers–because there aren’t any–HTF tells stories of ordinary Christians following hard after Christ in a world of terror and violence, of upside-down morality, of hostility to Judeo-Christian values.

Ms. Cahill also blogs about puppies, substance abuse, and single parenting…sometimes all in the same day. She’s going to finish that novel she started at age 11 called Mitch and the Martians…someday. She has written several newspaper articles, two Christian contemporary novels, and more limericks than she can count. Email her at, or find her on Facebook. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Dawn, thank you so much for being my guest today. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you.

You are very welcome! It was my pleasure.