Author * Speaker * Editor

Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting, and gritty, persevering characters

September 12, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
5 Comments

The Story behind Rule of Law by Randy Singer

This week’s guest is Randy Singer, out with his new book Rule of Law. Before we hear the story behind the story, here’s a teaser for the book.

What did the president know? And when did she know it?

For the members of SEAL Team Six, it was a rare mission ordered by the president, monitored in real time from the Situation Room. The Houthi rebels in Yemen had captured an American journalist and a member of the Saudi royal family. Their executions were scheduled for Easter Sunday. The SEAL team would break them out.

But when the mission results in spectacular failure, the finger-pointing goes all the way to the top.

Did the president play political games with the lives of U.S. service members?

Paige Chambers, a determined young lawyer, has a very personal reason for wanting to know the answer. The case she files will polarize the nation and test the resiliency of the Constitution. The stakes are huge, the alliances shaky, and she will be left to wonder if the saying on the Supreme Court building still holds true.

Equal justice under law.

It makes a nice motto. But will it work when one of the most powerful people on the planet is also a defendant?

Learn more and purchase a copy here.

Sounds amazing. What led you to write it, Randy?

I write legal thrillers but in real life also work as a trial attorney (and a pastor, but that’s another story). And sometimes, the inspiration for my next novel comes straight to me, cleverly disguised as a client. The inspiration behind Rule of Law, the story behind the story, is a tale of two clients.

The first is Mark McAlister. He was working for the United Nations on October 20, 2015, in Yemen, when he was captured by the Houthi rebels (who were convinced he was a CIA agent). For the next six months Mark was confined to a small, windowless cell where he was abused and interrogated. Through it all, he never renounced his faith. On the contrary, he boldly told his captors that he was a follower of Jesus. After they took his Bible, Mark would pace his small cell, reminding himself of the miracles of Jesus while praying.

“Lord, if you can walk on water, you can get me out of this cell. Lord, if you can heal the blind, you can get me out of this cell. Lord, if you can come back from the dead after three days, you can get me out of this cell.”

Six months into his captivity, Mark was miraculously released by his Houthi captors. By then, he had won their respect and developed a relationship with them. I had Mark share his testimony with my church which can be accessed, along with the message I preached that day, here: Lord of the Nations.

 Rule of Law begins with a SEAL Team raid of a prison camp in Yemen where the SEALs are attempting to free an American journalist. At the end of the book, one of the protagonists is back in Yemen, where a surprising relationship with a Muslim cleric pays a pivotal role in the story. Mark’s spirit is a part of this story.

The second client who inspired this book was Dana Wise. She is the widow of a former NAVY Seal who attended the church I pastor and was killed by a terrorist in Afghanistan. Jeremy Wise, a strong believer, gave his life serving his country at the Camp Chapman CIA base in Afghanistan. He had left med school to become a seal and chase his life-long dream. He died a hero, trying to stop a triple-agent suicide bomber working with Al Qaeda.

Dana’s strength, grace and class in the midst of tragedy have been an incredible testimony to so many people and have certainly glorified God. The main character in this book is a young female lawyer who is on a mission to avenge the death of her boyfriend, a Navy SEAL killed in the line of duty. Dana served as a great model for my protagonist. Dana shared her story on Memorial Day at our church, which can be seen, along with my message, here: Greater Love

In Rule of Law, I want readers to experience triumph in the midst of tragedy, and justice rising out of pain.

Wow, some amazing stories came together to make this one! Thanks for sharing them with out.

Randy Singer is a critically acclaimed author and veteran trial attorney. He has penned more than 10 legal thrillers, including his Christy award-winning debut novel, Directed Verdict, and ECPA’s 2015 Christian Book Award winner for fiction, The Advocate. He was also named a finalist, along with John Grisham and Michael Connelly, for the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction sponsored by the American Bar Association and the University of Alabama Law School.

In addition to his law practice and writing, Randy serves as a teaching pastor for Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He calls it his “Jekyll and Hyde thing” — part lawyer, part pastor. He also serves as Attorney in Residence and Director of the Singer Civil Litigation Practicum at Regent Law School.

He and his wife, Rhonda, live in Virginia Beach. They have two adult children. Visit his website at www.randysinger.net.

Randy is giving away a copy of the book. Follow the instructions below to enter.

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Thanks for joining us, Randy!

September 5, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
9 Comments

The Story behind Life in Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan

We have the delightful Ane Mulligan joining us this week to share the story behind her book Life in Chapel Springs. Before we hear from her, here’s a bit about the book.

Life in Chapel Springs has turned upside down and inside out.

Shy Lacey Dawson was happily writing murder mysteries for the community theater with her eye on Broadway. Then, a freak accident results in traumatic injuries requiring facial reconstruction. When the bandages come off, Lacey’s world is tuned inside out. Will Chapel Springs rally behind its own … or will life unravel?

Is it a midlife pregnancy or … cancer? Claire will keep her secret until she’s sure—but it isn’t easy. Neither is trying to buy a home pregnancy test without anyone finding out. Between her twins’ double wedding, the caterer cancelling, a looming nationwide art tour and her health, Claire’s life is upside down.

Gold has been discovered in Chapel Springs and the ensuing fever is rising. Then Mayor Riley discovers someone has bought the mineral rights to his land. A stranger and his nefarious investors set out to buy all the homes in Chapel Springs and mine the gold. Will life in Chapel Springs become the tailings of a gold mine?

Wow, sounds like a wonderfully quirky cast of characters. What led you to write the book?

People ask me what prompted this story. Why Lacey? Why the accident and reconstruction? To be honest, the answer is the character herself.

I’m a visual writer, so I need photos. When I start out, I find photos of people who look like the character I’m imagining. I find most of my characters in magazines and keep files of faces I’ve torn out of them. While looking for Lacey, I came across two photos looking like a before and after of the same woman.

The resemblance was striking and sparked the “what if” that became Lacey’s story. Many women have life-altering surgery, whether elective, emergency, or life saving. Often—more often than not—they have a difficult time with the results. A high percentage dislikes the “new” self. It doesn’t match the image we women tend to carry inside us.

My research and interviews included a plastic surgeon and a psychologist, so I could be sure I had the psyche right and the surgery results correct. I still had one problem. The character Lacey was a shy quiet young woman, so shy and quiet, she wasn’t even talking to me! I had to sit on her story for three years.

Finally, after two more Chapel Springs books, Lacey “talked” to me. I understood her and could write her story. Maybe she was ready to tell it.  What we both hope women will take away from Lacey’s story in Life in Chapel Springs is that each of us is uniquely made by God, and as Great Aunt Lola used to say, “God don’t make no junk.”

While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, award-winning author Ane Mulligan has worn many: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), CEO of a Community Theatre group, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband. You can find her on her website, Amazon Author page, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Thanks for joining us, Ane. And if you’d like to enter to win a copy of the book, just follow the simple instructions below.
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It’s been great having you, Ane!

August 29, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
10 Comments

The Story behind Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot by Stephen, Janet, Russ, Mike, and Aaron Bly

This week, we welcome Janet Bly who shares the very personal and touching story behind Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot. First, a little bit about the book.

IT TOOK A PERSONAL REQUEST FROM PRESIDENT TEDDY ROOSEVELT TO PUT STUART BRANNON BACK IN ACTION. In 1905, at 58 years old, legendary lawman Stuart Brannon now a rancher and widower had no intention of leaving his beloved Arizona Territory to attend the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland, Oregon, nor to participate in the celebrity golf tournament for the Willamette Orphan Farm. Even an emotional appeal for a longtime friend didnt persuade him. His life no longer consisted of bloodthirsty men to track down people trying to kill him lawless gangs preying on the innocent. Then the telegram came: Stuart, I need you in Portland. Tim Wiseman is missing. I think theres a cover-up going on. Tell folks youre going to the Exposition. Nose around. Find out how a U.S. Marshal can disappear and no one knows why. Ill contact you there. T.R. No way could Stuart Brannon refuse a personal request from the President of the United States. Filled with humor and heart, adventure and romance, Stuart Brannons Last Shot is the story of a man who embodied the Code of the West.

Janet, can you share with us how this book came to be?

January 2011, my late husband Stephen Bly resolved to complete his 106th novel, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot. He passed away after a five-year battle with 10% of a manuscript done, a one-page synopsis and dozens of character names. My sons said, “Let’s get that book done.”

Although I co-authored children’s adventure novels and adult cozy mysteries with Steve, I’d never written adult fiction on my own before. Steve did the lion’s share of storytelling. To prepare, I tore into writing and historical books for tips and shared excerpts with the sons.

Soon I realized the wisdom of including Russ, Mike and Aaron. For one thing, the three together incorporated Steve’s input. Our sons possessed a part of his creative genes. They also knew about golf swings and poker hands. They loved critiquing movie characters and plots. So I joined another partnership.

Challenges

Finding Steve’s rhythm. Writing from a man’s point of view. Plus, westerns were Steve’s genre. He knew the geography, history, facts about guns and horses, the language and the lifestyle. We had to play catch-up on all fronts. This story had to read like a Stuart Brannon character (7th book in the series) and a Stephen Bly novel.

In addition, the last scenes Steve dictated to me in a quarantined hospital room, when read aloud, the sons commented, “Doesn’t flow with the rest of the story.” In order to include these vignettes, we devised dream sequences for Brannon.

A young Indian says, “The old chiefs dream many dreams.”

Brannon ponders, “Am I like an old chief? Are we getting so close to the next world that this one and the other start to blur together?”

That tied it in.

Frustrations

With the four month time crunch, there wasn’t space to give the manuscript a rest, to put it aside so we could come back to it fresh one last time. Instead, we turned it in after frantic days of rewrites.

Satisfaction

What a joy to work with my sons. We labored on behalf of someone we dearly loved and missed. We laughed and grieved together. The process proved cathartic. And the intimate journey along the soul of Steve’s favorite character’s was like peering into Steve’s.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Janet.

Janet Chester Bly has authored 35 nonfiction and fiction books, 20 she co-authored with Christy Award winning western author, Stephen Bly. Titles include The Hidden West Series, The Carson City Chronicles, Hope Lives Here, Awakening Your Sense of Wonder  and The Heart of a Runaway. Her most recent releases are Wind in the Wires and Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 1 & Book 2, Trails of Reba Cahill series, contemporary western mysteries with a touch of romance. She resides at 4200 ft. elev. on the north Idaho Nez Perce Indian Reservation. Her 3 married sons, Russell, Michael and Aaron, live down the mountain from her with their families. Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot was a Selah Award Finalist.

Find Janet online here:

Website: www.BlyBooks.com

Bly Books Blog: http://www.blybooks.com/blog/

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

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BlyBooks

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/janetcbly/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/269265.Janet_Chester_Bly

Twitter: https://twitter.com/blybooks/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/janetchesterbly

Janet is giving away a copy of the book. Just follow the directions below to enter.

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Thanks again for joining us, Janet!

August 15, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
40 Comments

The Story behind Grounded Hearts by Jeanne Dickson

It’s always a thrill for me to welcome a fellow WWII author to the blog. Jeanne Dickson is stopping by this week to share the inspiration for her new novel, Grounded Hearts. Here’s a little bit about the book:

What do you get when you mix World War II, a brave midwife, a wounded pilot, and a risky secret? When midwife Nan O’Neil finds a wounded young Canadian pilot at her door, she knows she’s taking a huge risk by letting him in. Still, something compels Nan to take in “flyboy” Dutch Whitney, an RAF pilot whose bomber has just crashed over County Clare. While she tends to his wounds and gives him a secret place of refuge, the two begin to form a mutual affection—and an unbreakable bond.

Jeanne, what inspired you to write the story?

Grounded Hearts is very dear to me. The idea came from family history and stories.

After my mother passed away, my father and I became very close. When I’d visit him at his ranch in Paso Robles, we’d sit together at sunset on the deck overlooking the vineyard, and he’d open up to me in ways he never had before. I suppose he’d only shared his inner thoughts with my mother before she passed, but now I treasure our conversations. The germ of a story that would become Grounded Hearts came from one of those late night discussions.

My father was stationed in England during WWII. Issued with a weekend pass, he decided to fly to the U.S. Army base in Northern Ireland, and then visit family who lived nearby. Once there, he borrowed a bicycle and peddled across the border into Eire, “Free Ireland.” A few minutes into his ride, a member of the Garda, the Irish National Police, stopped him. The officer told him to turn his army jacket inside out, or he’d have to arrest him as a combatant and send him to the K-Lines internment camp. My father did as directed and continued on his way without further incident, which was fortunate because 240 soldiers from both sides of the conflict faced internment in Ireland during the war.

Remembering the story, I started the “what if” game. When I researched the period the Irish called “The Emergency,” the more fascinated I became and a WWII romance between a downed RAF pilot and a feisty midwife emerged.

Unfortunately, my father went to join my mother in heaven before Grounded Hearts was published, but I’d like to think he’d get a kick out of the book because some of the people in the town are based on family stories. And indeed, the gutsy women in my book resemble members of my extended Irish family.

Jeanne M. Dickson was born into an Irish American family, the only girl surrounded by four brothers. She credits her mother, her aunts, and her grandmother with her love of storytelling. Perfecting her craft, she attends many writer’s conferences and over the years, she has won and finaled in numerous RWA romance writing awards inclu ding the Daphne du Maurier Award, the Maggie Award, The Molly, The Tara, and she was the overall contest winner of Launching A Star. Today she lives in Coastal San Diego with her fabulous husband, her two wonderful girls, and a dozen disobedient rose bushes.

Wow, what an incredible story, Jeanne. Thanks for sharing it with us! Jeanne is giving away a copy of the book. Just follow the instructions below to enter.
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Thanks for joining us, Jeanne!

August 2, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
36 Comments

The Melody of the Soul Cover Reveal

It’s here!!! It’s finally here!!!! Are you ready for it? Gilead Publishing did an amazing job on this cover, even incorporating certain elements I really wanted. If you weren’t able to join me on Facebook Live for the reveal, don’t worry. You can still enter to win a copy of the book. Just scroll down below the cover. And, if you aren’t already a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll find the directions to become part of it to the right of this post. All of my newsletter subscribers will get a sneak peek at the prologue! So, are you ready to see it? Keep scrolling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t it beautiful??? The picture of the Charles Bridge in Prague is one I picked out. Just fell in love with it. One scene in the book takes place on this bridge. And the violin is a huge part of the story.The book is also available for preorder.

To enter to win a copy of the book, follow the directions here. It’s simple, I promise 🙂

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Can’t wait for all of you to read it! Thanks for stopping by!

August 1, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
8 Comments

The Story behind My Daughter’s Legacy by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

This week we have not one author but two of them! A bonus! Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould are stopping by to share with us what inspired their new book My Daughter’s Legacy As always, let’s start with a little bit about the book.

A thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God’s leading, make the most of second chances, and find true love at last

Virginia, 1864

Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love—whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor—ever fit in her broken world?

Virginia, present day

Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained—her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man—to unlock the secrets of the past.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

Wow, how interesting! What inspired the book?

My Daughter’s Legacy is the third book in our Cousins of the Dove series and the story behind the story of all three books is woven together. It all started when a dear reader shared about her Huguenot ancestors. After doing some research, we decided they’d be a great people group to use as the center of a series.

The Huguenots were French Protestants and many were forced to flee France by Louis XIV during the late 1600s, so we decided to start our series in France during that time period. Leslie and her husband headed to France to do research with the help of family friends who are French. What they soon found out was that their friends are descendants of Huguenots who stayed in France!

As we plotted the series, we came up with two fictional families, the Talbots and the Gillets, who appear in the first book, My Brother’s Crown. My Sister’s Prayer, the second in the series, takes place as a branch of the Talbot family immigrates to Virginia. My Daughter’s Legacy picks up with descendants of that family and their community in the area of Richmond, Virginia during the throes of the Civil War.

The books are all dual-timeline novels, with a historical and modern thread. We met in Richmond to research the settings for both threads of My Daughter’s Legacy, which was delightful! (Mindy returned a couple of other times too to do more research.) The city is full of museums, great restaurants, fun neighborhoods, and fascinating historical sites.

As we wrote My Daughter’s Legacy, we were especially aware of the impact each generation has on future generations and how important it is to be mindful of the legacy we hope to leave.

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with over a million copies sold. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania. Find out more about Mindy Starns at http://mindystarnsclark.com.

Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including “Beyond the Blue” and “Garden of Dreams.” She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children. Find out more about Leslie at http://www.lesliegould.com/.

What fun research! Mindy and Leslie are giving away a copy of the book. Follow the instructions below to enter.
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And for the rest of the day today, you can enter to win a $75 gift card! Click on the picture to enter.

July 26, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
8 Comments

The Story behind Road to Harmony by Sherry Kyle

Please join me in welcoming Sherry Kyle to the blog this week. She’s here to share how her new release, Road to Harmony, came to be. First, here’s a glimpse into what the book is about.

It’s 1907 and a cattle thief is loose in Harmony Valley. Elena Seifert wants to help her father guard his dairy farm, but everyone thinks that’s a man’s job. When her childhood sweetheart returns to Harmony, her heart is torn between Jonas Bollinger, her secret love, and Lars Rissler, the wealthy middle-aged store owner her parents hope she marries.

Jonas never imagined he’d be back in Harmony Valley, but his pa isn’t well. When Jonas makes a promise he wishes he didn’t have to keep, he is torn between loyalty to his family and the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

While a dispute among dairy farmers stirs up discord in the Valley, the thief continues to strike. Is a truce possible so everyone can live in harmony? And will Elena and Jonas find the inner peace to choose love and still do what is best for their families?

Sounds like a fun read, Sherry. What inspired you to write it?

I enjoy setting my stories in real places along the California coast, and when I discovered the story behind this small town, I knew I had to write a historical romance about it. Yes, Road to Harmony is based loosely on actual events. In 1907, rivalries and feuding among dairy farmers caused chaos in the valley. After one shooting death, a truce was called. From then on, all agreed to live in harmony, and named the town Harmony as a symbol of their truce.

During the time I was writing the first draft, a writing friend and I visited Harmony Valley and the nearby coastal town of Cayucos where Lars Rissler, the shopkeeper, owns his store. It was fun stepping into the pages of my manuscript and imagining my characters in that setting.  I could picture Elena and Jonas living and working their families’ dairy farms among the hills of Harmony Valley as they struggled to find inner peace.

You can still visit Harmony today! The old-time creamery and historic structures have been repurposed to house a glassblowing studio, blacksmith’s gallery, garden shop, pottery store, music studio, and the Harmony Café. If you enjoy a glass of wine, Harmony Cellars Winery produces award-winning wines and offers a remarkable view of the coastal countryside.

I love to connect with my readers!

You can find me here: www.sherrykyle.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sherry Kyle is the award-winning author of books for tween girls, including The Christian Girl’s Guide to Style and Love, Lexi: Letters to God. She also writes novels for women set along the coast of California where she makes her home with her college sweetheart and their four children. When she isn’t writing or hanging out with her family, Sherry spends her time reading, having coffee with friends, and decorating her beach home.

Thanks for visiting with us, Sherry, and taking us to a very charming sounding town.

Sherry is giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter.
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Thanks for joining us, Sherry! It’s been great to have you.

July 18, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
Comments Off on The Story behind His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray

The Story behind His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray

I’m please to welcome Shelley Shepard Gray. It’s great to have her along. Her most recent release is His Guilt. Here’s a little more about the book:

Will a man wrongly accused of assault be convinced to return and stay in the Amish community he left? Find out in His Guilt, the next book in Shelley Shepard Gray’s The Amish of Hart County series. Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn’t believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta’s is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. Will Mark be able to find the attacker before Neeta becomes his next victim?

Shelley, can you tell us a little more about the story behind this story?

As much as I try to write a detailed outline and synopsis before I begin each book, I never get very far. Instead, I have a rather convoluted writing process. It works for me, but it is messy-and I imagine for most people-rather exasperating. For some books, like HER SECRET, the first novel in the Amish of Hart County, my writing process goes fairly quickly.  I finish the book with time to spare and feel more or less pleased with the novel the whole time I’m writing it.

This didn’t happen with HIS GUILT.

My first drafts are usually made up with a whole lot of short chapters. I write ten pages a day and clip along at a good pace. Then, during the second and third drafts, I add details and check for discrepancies. While writing this novel, I kept moving the scenes around. And adding characters. And then cutting them…and then putting them back in the book. For a while, I didn’t think it was ever going to get done!

Maybe it’s because I knew that the characters I was choosing to write about were complex, had complicated back stories and didn’t always make the best decisions because of that…especially the hero of the novel, Mark Fisher.

The reader discovers during the first couple of pages that Mark has a past, and that they’re a lot of rumors spinning around about him, too. This makes him wary and gruff and untrusting. Excellent qualities for a character! Difficult qualities for the hero of a novel! <g> I found myself getting frustrated with him more often than not.

However, like Waneta Cain, the heroine in the novel, I didn’t give up on Mark. I enjoyed how Waneta’s teasing and needling softened Mark’s shell, and eventually allowed all the other characters to witness both his outstanding character but also his faith.

I love having multiple storylines in novels, and while I did struggle with Mark and Waneta’s romance a bit, I thoroughly enjoyed writing about Lora and Eddie’s relationship. Lora Weaver’s character echoes Mark’s in many ways. She’s still struggling for acceptance and to find her place in the community. I loved that she finds her own happily ever after with a very surprising man.

When I at last finished the novel just days before it was due to be turned into my editor, I realized why I have adopted the writing process that I have.  It allows me to go on the journey with my characters. They surprise me, intrigue me and yes, sometimes even frustrate me.  But I end up loving them in spite of their imperfections.

I hope you will feel the same way about HIS GUILT. It’s filled with a lot of characters who are hoping for a better future, and just happen to be surrounded by someone who is causing a lot of danger and havoc in Horse Cave, KY.

Shelley Shepard Gray is a “New York Times” and “USA Today” bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

July 11, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
3 Comments

The Story behind Driver Confessional by David Winters

If you are looking for a fun summer read, this has to be it! David Winters joins us today and shares how his new release, Driver Confessional, came to be. First, a little bit about the book.

Ride share driver Antonio cruises the streets of Washington, D.C. looking for his next fare.

He has an unusual gift for relaxing his customers and stimulating their desire to reveal more than they planned. By the completion of their ride, many feel so comfortable that they confess their sins great and small. Antonio’s faith guides his discussions and points him in new directions. Suddenly, his peaceful world is turned upside down by a mysterious business woman. As she heads to a midnight rendezvous, she confesses more than Antonio can handle. Her story sends him into a world of espionage, international terrorism and danger.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

So, share with our readers what drove you to write Driver Confessional (pun intended).

On the last day of December, 2016, my life as a Government manager ended and my journey as a writer began. With my first book already in the can and waiting for the right editor, it was time for a diversion. Not being able to imagine sitting around all day, I accepted a friend’s challenge to drive 50 Uber rides so he could get a $350 bonus. After learning that Uber was a ride-share app that worked through phones of drivers and passengers, the challenge was accepted.

Little did I know what I was getting into. That first night was New Year’s Eve. Washington, D.C. was hopping and surge pricing was in effect. After the first few rides, I was hooked. This part-time job came with a crazy amount of fun and the cure for retirement blahs.

It is hard to explain, even for a writer, the crazy things ordinary people do and say in the backseat of another person’s car. My experience included giving rides to the White House and to a crack house. (The app doesn’t tell you where you are going until after the rider is in the car.) Many of the insanely fun memories are woven into the book Driver Confessional.

One older couple made me wince, chuckle and yell all in the same ride. Originally hailing from “The Islands,” they bantered back and forth about the husband’s clandestine purchase of donuts while the wife had been shopping for their groceries. Her concern drove her to incredible lengths to get him to abandon the sugary treats and stay on his diabetic health diet. After a bitter argument and the husband taking an exaggerated bite out of a jelly donut, the missus shoved the rest of the donut into his face. The story has a happy ending and I knew the story needed to be told with several other of my Ubering stories in Driver Confessional.

As a fiction writer, the idea of a ride-share driver getting mixed up in a murder mystery held much allure. By mixing in some highlights from my five-month Uber driving career and some technical expertise from my 35 years in defense and homeland security science administration, the result is a murder mystery with international terrorists, a likable ride-share driver and a conclusion played out among Washington’s iconic monuments. Hopefully, this will be an enjoyable ride for all.

David L Winters is an award-winning author, humorist and speaker, originally from Ohio, who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. His first book, “Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace,” won several awards including a Silver Illumination Award from the Jenkins Group and two Finalist Medals from the Next Generation Indies Book Awards.

Find out more about David at http://www.sabbaticalofthemind.net.

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Thanks so much for joining us, David! We look forward to reading it.

July 4, 2017
by liztolsma@gmail.com
18 Comments

The Story behind The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere

Please join me in welcoming Jennifer Delamere to the blog this week. She has a new release, The Captain’s Daughter, and a great story about how it came to be. First, here’s a peek at what the book is about.

London, 1879

Forced to Leave All She Loves Behind, She Seeks a New Life in a City Bursting with Opportunity, But Fraught with Danger

When a series of circumstances beyond her control leaves Rosalyn Bernay alone and penniless in London, she chances upon a job backstage at a theater putting on the most popular show in the city. A talented musician and singer, she feels immediately at home and soon becomes enthralled with the idea of pursuing a career on the stage. That is, as long as the shadows from her past don’t catch up with her.

After a hand injury forces Nate Moran from his army regiment in India, he returns home to London, a place that holds bitter memories. He agrees to fill in temporarily as a stagehand while his brother recuperates from a broken leg, but Nate is counting down the days until he can rejoin his regiment. His future is decided–until he meets a beautiful woman who has found a new lease on life in the very place Nate yearns to leave behind.

Sounds great, Jennifer. What inspired you to write it?

Many scenes in The Captain’s Daughter take place backstage during the original production of HMS Pinafore by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Pinafore was their fourth collaboration, and they would go on to write ten more. This comic opera was wildly popular, and it is still enjoyed and performed today.

Most of the events referred to in relation to the show are based on actual history. There are a few “cameo” roles by real people, such as Gilbert and Sullivan, Helen Lenoir (assistant, and later wife, to Richard D’Oyly Carte, the show’s impresario and theater manager), and several of the actors who played starring roles. Jessie Bond, who performed the mezzo-soprano roles for many Gilbert and Sullivan operas, befriends Rosalyn, the heroine of The Captain’s Daughter. The title of the book is a reference to a line in Pinafore, as well as to Rosalyn’s own background.

The time frame of the story includes not only HMS Pinafore, but also preparations for the new show that was to come after it: The Pirates of Penzance. Gilbert and Sullivan had been frustrated because the popularity of Pinafore spurred many unauthorized productions in the United States. Not only did this deprive Gilbert and Sullivan of their rightful royalties, but the shows were often substandard as well. When it came time to produce The Pirates of Penzance, they enacted a plan to secure copyright on both sides of the Atlantic. A single performance was given in the seaside town of Paignton in Devon, England, the day before the grand premiere in New York. The official English premiere would not take place until four months later in London, but the performance in Paignton met the legal requirements for copyright protection. Or, as one of the characters in the book quips, the purpose of the Paignton show was to “protect Pirates from the pirates”!

The show in Paignton was bare bones, with almost no rehearsal time and minimal costumes or scenery. In fact, the performers held their sheet music during the show! It was a travel adventure, too, as getting to Paignton from London would have taken a good part of the day by train. The Paignton performance provided a fun and intriguing backdrop for several important scenes in The Captain’s Daughter. I hope the reader enjoys this foray into the world of the Victorian theater!

Jennifer Delamere writes tales of the past…and new beginnings. Her novels set in Victorian England have won numerous accolades, including a starred review from Publishers Weekly and nomination for the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award. Jennifer earned a B.A. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and has been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades. She loves reading classics and histories, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the people and places in her books. A longtime resident of North Carolina, Jennifer can often be found hiking the mountains with her husband or planning their next travel adventure.

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Thanks for joining us, Jennifer!