Author Interview: Sara Willoughby

A new friend from the Young Writers Workshop is releasing a new book! She’s written what sounds like a great book about chronic illness. She also let me ask her some questions for an author interview.

About the Book

Are you a teenager trying to navigate faith through chronic illness? I’m here to tell you, you are not alone.

When sickness takes over your life, it’s a never-ending battle to make it through each day. How do you cope? How do you keep fighting? Most of all though, how do you find God in the midst of the suffering?

Through my own journey of sickness, I’ve struggled with the same questions—questions we all think but are afraid to ask. My name is Sara, and I’ve been sick with Lyme disease and more since I was fourteen.

Those questions you’re afraid to ask? I’ve asked them too—as have many others. Continue reading

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Character Q & A with Henry

All The Way My Savior Leads

Today I have a special treat for you. First, my new book is out. Second, Henry is here to join us to answer a few questions. I had a few great questions submitted and Henry is waiting to answer them. Be sure to check out the giveaway and other blogs as well.

About the Book

Caroline and I walked out the back door and went into the barn.
“What are we going to do?” Caroline asked.
“Head out on our own. Saddle Whitey, please.”
Caroline’s mouth gaped open. “They’ll find us.”
“I know.”
Caroline sighed. “What can we do then?”
I shook my head. “We can stick together. Always.” Continue reading

Introducing Adelaide Brown

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Who doesn’t like a good mystery? I’m sure there are a few, but most people do like mysteries. What about a mystery within a mystery. Faith Blum’s new novella is just that. First there’s the mystery of who tried to dupe five mail order brides. Then Adelaide finds out someone is claiming she’s a runaway bride. What happens to her? Find out in Blessed Assurance.

About the Book

Blessed Assurance_FrontBlessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

 Adelaide lost her parents a year before and now a rich man in town is making unwanted advances toward her. Desperate, she writes to two men and quickly accepts the one from Cheyenne, Wyoming. On the final leg of her journey, in a stagecoach with four other mail order brides, her suspicions are confirmed. Will she ever find a man she can truly trust?

buy-button-amazonAbout the Author

Continue reading

The Gladiator and the Guard

Today, I have author Annie Douglass Lima on my blog talking about her new book, The Gladiator and the Guard. Make sure you read through for an exciting excerpt and interview as well as the link to the giveaway.

I’m excited to announce that Annie’s young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon 

for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused
of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early
death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue
him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment
designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his
choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty
of the arena system and
seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!


Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

Interview:

  1. What was your favorite part of writing The Gladiator and the Guard?

It was fun revisiting the characters I had created for The Collar and the Cavvarach, and figuring out what they’re like four years down the road. I had to get to know Bensin and his sister Ellie all over again, as an eighteen-year-old and a nine-year-old now. I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how having a safe and stable life for the last four years would have shaped their personalities as they grew.

 

  1. If you could spend a day with one of your characters (from any book) who would it be and why?

I think it would be interesting to spend a day with Skipper, from right here in The Gladiator and the Guard. Skipper isn’t his real name, but he keeps his real identity a secret, and with good reason: if the authorities found out that he uses his sailboat to smuggle slaves away to freedom, his boat would be impounded and he would be sold into slavery himself. But I would love to hear about the different people this brave young college student has helped, and the stories behind how they managed to escape. Of course, convincing Skipper that it would be safe to talk to me about them might be tricky.

 

  1. The Gladiator and the Guardis the second in the series. How many do you plan to write?

There will be at least three altogether. I may eventually write a few more books, or perhaps short stories, set in the same world, but they would probably have a different cast of characters.

 

  1. What do you hope your readers will get out of reading The Gladiator and the Guard?

I hope readers will realize, as Bensin eventually does, that we can all choose the type of person we want to be, no matter what our circumstances are. We might not have a say in what happens to us, but we can decide how we will respond and who we will be.

 

  1. Who is your favorite fictional character?

Hmm, that’s a tough question. Maybe Eanren, the faerie cat/man in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. He’s got a fun personality, especially as he interacts with the character of Imraldera. I definitely recommend those books for anyone who likes fantasy!

Excerpt:

“Excuse me,” put in the man who had followed Bensin over. He shouldered his way forward and stuck out a hand. “Steene Mayvins? I’m Gile Murton, the manager here at Red Arena.”

“Oh.” Coach handed Bensin the icepacks and shook hands, his expression puzzled. “Okay. Nice to meet you.”

“Congratulations on your slave’s performance today. His skills are impressive, and it’s obvious he’s had the benefit of some excellent training.”

You could almost see Coach swelling with pride. “Thanks! Yeah, Bensin’s sure been doing great. I couldn’t be more proud. We’ve been working really hard for this, and I fully expect him to take first place next weekend.”

“Me too,” whispered Ellie.

“It will be his second time.” Coach grinned down at Bensin. “He won back when he was fourteen, as well.”

“Yes, I know. The Grand Imperial was held in Red Arena that year, too. But due to an injury sustained in the final match, he was unable to compete in cavvara shil for much of the next year. Though he did qualify for the next Grand Imperial in Blue Arena, he lost in the second rung. The year after that, fighting in the under-eighteen age group in Green Arena, he made it all the way to the seventh rung. Last year in Yellow Arena he came in third.”

They were all staring at the man now. “I make it my business to follow the careers of promising slave fighters,” Mr. Murton explained to Coach. “As you may know, Red Arena’s gladiators have a reputation for being the finest warriors in the business. Occasionally, when we see someone who we believe would be a good fit for our arena, we make his owner an offer.” He pulled a business card out of his pocket and handed it to Coach. “Regardless of how much further your slave advances in this year’s tournament, we’ve seen all we need to. If you’re interested in selling, we’ll make it more than worth your while.”

But Coach was already shaking his head. “No. Thank you, but Bensin’s not for sale.”

“Think it over,” the man urged. “You don’t have to decide right now. Red Arena has a large budget, and we’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. Or name your price.”

“I’m already refusing.” Coach handed the card back. “Bensin’s practically my son; I mean, I adopted his sister and everything. I’m not selling him. Besides, after next weekend, I’m setting him free. He just has to win enough prize money first for me to buy a new truck. My current one isn’t going to last much longer.”

“Red Arena would pay you enough to buy several brand new vehicles. At least keep us in mind if he doesn’t win.”

The man tried to hand the card to him again, but Coach shook his head and wouldn’t take it. “No. I’m sorry; I’m not even going to consider it.”

“All right, then.” Mr. Murton turned to Bensin, who was icing his injuries on the floor. Smiling, he crouched down and held the card out to him instead. “Bensin. Congratulations on your upcoming change in status. Considering the talent you’ve shown so far, I have no doubt that you’re going to win next weekend and earn your freedom. Once you’re at liberty to make your own choices, keep Red Arena in mind. We mostly buy slaves, but we do occasionally sign contracts with free athletes. It would be a lifetime commitment, but we pay in advance, and I think you’ll find you’d be getting quite a deal. Why, you could put your sister through college with what we’re prepared to offer.”

From the corner of his eye, Bensin could see Coach frowning, but he took the card. “Okay. I’ll think about it.”

“Please do,” Mr. Murton urged, still smiling. “It’s obvious how much you love cavvara shil. Can you imagine being able to spend all day at it? No more hiring out, no more chores around the house. Nothing but training and competing in the sport you love, all day, every day, for the rest of your life, surrounded by people who feel the same way.”

“Sounds great.” Bensin slipped the card into his pocket. “Thank you, sir.”

“Call me Gile.” The man stuck out his hand, and Bensin shook it. It was always a little weird shaking hands with free people, but it felt good. “I’m so glad to have finally met you in person, Bensin. I can’t wait to watch you win next weekend, but remember, we’ll be glad to take you no matter how you do.” With a last warm smile, the man stood up and walked away, not sparing another glance for Coach Steene.

Coach was still frowning. “You should throw that card away. You don’t want to be a gladiator.”

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and

later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her
husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at
Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since
her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her
students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially
fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.
Connect with the Author Online:

Email: AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!
Or find the giveaway at this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ad2fd99a3/?

Continue reading

Half-Blood: a Review and Interview

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I’m excited to be part of the New Release blog tour for Jaye’s newest book. This book is a novella called Half-Blood. You may remember the cover reveal I participated in for her novella a couple months ago. I also had a chance to beta-read the book and now to review it as well. Without further ado, some info about the book and the review. And make sure you check out the fun interview as well.

Check out the cover of Jaye L. Knight’s upcoming novella, Half-Blood, and learn about this prequel story to Ilyon Chronicles! Make sure you also enter the giveaway at the bottom!

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About the Book

The gasps and murmuring grew. Though some were hardly more than whispers, clear words reached Jace’s ears—dangerous, monster, animal, soulless. He tried to back away from their accusing eyes, but the collar pulled hard against his throat and held him in place.

For all his years as a slave, Jace has known nothing but the hatred people hold for his mixed blood—one half human, the other half the blood of a race considered monsters. Always, he is the outsider and quickly learns it is better to keep to himself. But, when his volatile ryrik blood leads him to do the unthinkable, he is thrown into a world of violence and bloodshed.

Forced to become a gladiator, Jace finds more and more of his heart dying as his master works to break down his will not to become the monster everyone believes he is. When a stranger interferes with his master’s harsh punishment, Jace’s world is upended yet again. But with it comes the possibility of hope that has long since died. Could the man possibly hold the key to escaping the hopeless darkness that is Jace’s life? Is there such a thing as life beyond the cruelty of slavery?

See where Jace’s story all began . . . Continue reading

Finding Hope: A Review and Interview

June and July must be book release months. Not only do I have two books novellas coming out, but so do others. Today, we have Melanie Snitker and her book, Finding Hope. I was given the opportunity to read it ahead of the release. And, well… Read the review. Then go buy the book. After reading the book and reviewing it, a couple in our church found out that he has cancer. He’s in his 80s, but he is also her second husband. She lost her first husband to cancer. I cannot imagine what she is going through, but after reading this book, I can imagine a little better. If you think to pray about this sweet couple, I know they would appreciate your prayers.

And now, here’s a little info about the book. Isn’t the cover gorgeous?

About the Book

FindingHope-FINALCancer.

That one word has rocked Lexi Chandler’s life to the core. Her focus has always been to help others. She loves being a nurse and enjoys spending time with her family. Things had been going according to plan. Now she’s struggling to pick up the pieces and make sense of the changes in her life.

Lance Davenport has cared for Lexi since they were kids. Between their age difference and bad timing, he’s turned burying his feelings into an art. Now, watching Lexi battle with cancer has made him realize just how much he’s missed. He doesn’t know what their future holds, but he’s determined to not waste another minute.

The people closest to Lexi pull together as she tries to navigate her way down a path none of them ever dreamed she’d have to travel.

Review

Introduction

Help me! I’m addicted! *tries to catch breath* This book had me laughing, crying, and frustrated. Sometimes all at the same time. I laughed at the humor and teasing between many of the characters. It reminded me of our family sometimes. I cried during the sad parts and when one of the minor characters did something super sweet for the struggling main character (intentionally vague to avoid spoiler). And I was frustrated when Lexi kept being so dense! Seriously, Lexi! Can’t you see…? I really am trying not to give you any spoilers. You’ll just have to read the book to see why I responded this way. 😉

Characters: 1/1

Lexi, Lance, Tuck, Laurie, Serenity, Gideon, Finnegan, Lance’s family… They’re all super fun and well developed. I want to meet them all in real life, but that’s impossible. Unfortunately.

Dialogue: 1/1

Sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious, sometimes perfectly romantic, and sometimes beautifully serious, honest, and open. The dialogue was perfect for each of the characters and unique to all of them.

Plot/storyline: 1/1

The words I would choose to describe the plot are: unpredictable, fun, serious, heart-wrenching, and relevant. This book is about a young woman who gets cancer. If you know anyone who has fought cancer, you will be able to relate to this book. Even if you haven’t had to stand beside someone who has fought with cancer, you should still be able to relate. I did.

Over-all writing quality: 1/1

The writing was engaging, well-edited, and well done. Nothing in the book pulled me out of the book except for the two minor typos I saw. But, since it was an Advanced Reader Copy that I was reading and got directly from the author (who asked me to let her know if I found anything), I told her about them and I am confident they have been fixed. Even those two things only pulled me out for the time it took me to highlight them so I could remember where they were later.

Un-put-down-ability: 1/1

I received this book this morning and read it in less than three hours. Only putting it down for family devotions, piano practice, and breakfast (all of which were right in a row). That should tell you how hard it was to put down. Especially since I usually do put books down so I can write or do something else, no matter how good they are.

Conclusion: 5/5

In conclusion, I highly recommend this book. It is a quick, easy read, but full of depth and wonderful characters. If that doesn’t entice you enough, read it so you can find out why Lance always goes by his nickname of “Lance” and why, even many of his friends growing up didn’t know what his full name is.

Interview

AuthorBluebonnets

Where do you usually do most of your writing?

I use my laptop 99% of the time. I have a desk set up and I work there a lot. But I also lounge in the recliner in the evenings, too. I don’t use a mouse, though. I prefer my trackball.

Do you and your family have any pets?

We have two dogs named Jasper and Jessie. Both dogs are great with the kids and Jessie, especially, loves to play with them. We also have a twenty gallon aquarium with two black mollies, one swordtail, one zebra danio, and two dojo loaches. One dojo loach in particular, Leroy, has quite the personality.

Sounds like a busy household! What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy reading and photography a lot. The whole family is into archery. I like to bake and experiment with different combinations or ways to make a recipe healthier. My favorite thing is hanging out with my family, no matter where we are.

Tell us a little about your latest release, Finding Hope.        

When I first wrote Finding Peace, I knew I wanted to have a book dedicated to Lexi. She’s such a strong, independent character. Sure, she’s faced challenges in the past. Her dad passed away some years ago and the relationship between Lexi and her younger sister, Serenity, isn’t what she wants it to be. But, in general, things are going well for Lexi now.

She goes into her doctor worried about one thing, and is completely shocked when she’s told she may have cancer. It makes her re-evaluate everything in her life and she has to give up some of her independence to rely on the people around her.

Hard, hard stuff there, but I thought you did a great job with it. What was the inspiration for the story line?

I personally have never had cancer. But both my mom and my aunt have as well as some other family members and friends. It’s a nasty disease that attempts to steal the hope and joy from those it affects. I have seen people face cancer with such an incredible amount of dignity. Towards the end of writing this book, a wonderful lady I’ve known for years lost her life to cancer. There were a lot of emotions for me as I wrote this story.

Wow. That is sad, but it made for a very powerful book. What’s next for the series?

I’m currently working on Finding Courage, which is about Avalon and Duke. I first introduce Avalon in Finding Hope and as soon as her character came to life, I knew she needed a book of her own. I’m working towards a release of early October. The next book after that will be about Serenity and her son, Gideon.

Thanks for joining us today, Melanie! And here’s an excerpt from Finding Hope.

Book Excerpt

“A mass.” Lexi heard herself say the words, but it sounded like they were coming back to her through a tunnel. That her pain was caused by anything more than a stubborn ovarian cyst had never occurred to her. Now she tried to wrap her mind around that idea and it wasn’t working.

“Most likely it’s benign, but this isn’t something you want to assume. It will not go away on its own and it’s causing you discomfort.” Doctor Yates wrote some notes down in her chart. “At the least, the mass needs to be removed.”

Of course it needed to be removed. If there was even a remote chance that the mass wasn’t benign, Lexi was tempted to reach in and yank it out herself. She felt betrayed by her own body. She wasn’t even thirty-years-old — whether a mass was malignant or not shouldn’t be on her radar. “What do I do?”

“I’m going to refer you to an oncologist. It’s better to go that route because if the doctor gets in there and it isn’t benign, you can be sure you’re getting the best care.”

Oncologist. Ice penetrated her heart. The chill traveled through her blood to every part of her body. She realized Doctor Yates was still talking and forced herself to focus on his words.

“Go ahead and get dressed. I’ll come back in with some information.” He paused, studying her closely. “Are you okay?”

Lexi stared at her legs, no longer seeing the flimsy paper gown. Minutes ago, covering her legs had been a priority. Now, she felt exposed in an entirely different way. There had been many things she’d taken for granted in her life, including her health.

The doctor was waiting for a response. She nodded and watched as he walked out of the room followed by the technician.

Was she okay?

Not remotely.

She got dressed again, her fingers numb as she tried to smooth the front of her shirt. A twinge in her side made her cringe. She’d always pictured a cyst on her ovary. Now, in her mind’s eye, she imagined a nasty little monster clinging to her organ and sucking the life out of her body.

There was a knock on the door and it swung open. Lexi jumped and folded her arms.

Doctor Yates handed her a piece of paper. “Here’s the name of the oncologist I’m referring you to. She’s in the Dallas area, but it’s worth the drive. Her office will call you back this week to schedule an appointment. If you don’t hear from them, call them on Monday.” He handed her a pamphlet. “This has information about the process you’ll be going through to determine what the mass might be. As a nurse, I’m sure you’re familiar with all of it and you may have resources where you work that other people might not have access to.”

Lexi reached for the information. “I appreciate that.”

Five minutes later, she stepped out of the doctor’s office and into the sunshine. It was an unseasonably warm summer, and she could feel the heat on her arms. It did little to thaw the chill inside her. Somehow, she managed to put one foot in front of the other until she was enveloped within the safety of her car.

She tossed the information onto the passenger seat. The words at the top of one piece of paper — Cancer Center — seemed to leap off the page. She moved the pages so that it ended up at the bottom and the words were no longer visible.

Her shift at the hospital didn’t start until that evening. All of the plans she’d had for the rest of the afternoon seemed trivial.

What was she supposed to do now?

Fining Hope is available on Kindle and in paperback
Amazon Barnes and Noble

 

Other books by Melanie:

Finding Peace (Love’s Compass: Book One)

Police Officer Tuck Chandler is good at his job. He’s also good at holding women at arm’s length. JiltedFindingPeaceWeb by his fiancée for his dedication to his job, he’s not about to open himself up to hurt like that again.

Laurie Blake is a struggling photographer. After growing up in a wealthy family, she’s determined to make it on her own, even if it means doing it the hard way.

When Tuck is assigned to a puzzling burglary involving Laurie’s fledgling photography business, he goes into it with his usual perseverance. He wants to help her – if she’ll let him. As the case unfolds and the mystery deepens, another question arises.

Will the past get in the way of their future?

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Calming the Storm

CalmingtheStormWebA marriage of convenience isn’t exactly what Rachel Peters had in mind.

What else can she do if she wants to raise her young niece, and give her a more stable home than she and her sister grew up in? Rachel is at risk of losing custody of her last blood relative, and she needs to prove she can provide for her niece and raise her in a nurturing environment.

Professor Brandon Barlow is invested in his college students’ lives, wanting to ensure their success. When it is clear that Rachel is struggling, he takes a personal interest in trying to help her. But can he keep his heart from getting involved in the process?

Brandon reaches out to Rachel as he tries to break through the walls she has built up over the years. With love and patience, Brandon hopes to help Rachel realize that, even when she experiences storms in her life, she isn’t always alone.

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

 

Connect with Melanie at:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
E-mail | Amazon Author Page | Pinterest

God’s Amazing Grace

AG Blog Tour Graphic

This year as I have been preparing my book for publication, I have learned a lot about God’s grace. It’s amazing how when you are learning something in one area of life, it keeps popping up everywhere. Every sermon you listen to seems to talk about it, every Bible class, a lot of the books you read, all of them seem to talk about the same thing. Do you ever get the feeling that God is trying to hit you over the head with certain lessons sometimes?

Although I didn’t necessarily see it as I went through my year, I have seen it as I look back. The end of December and beginning of January were hard. I had one book I was supposed to be editing and another I was supposed to be writing. And I couldn’t do anything either editing or writing. It was awful. Continue reading