Archive for August, 2011

From This Day Forward by Margaret Daley

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Rachel Gordon is stranded in South Carolina, pregnant, a recent widow when her husband fell overboard on the voyage to America. Nathan Stuart, a physician who came home from serving in the American army during the War of 1812, disenchanted with his life and the Lord, rescues Rachel and saves her life. Feeling responsible for her, Nathan tries to discourage her from living at a rundown farm her husband bought to start a new future in America. He wants her to return to England.

Rachel refuses to go back to England where her father disowned her for marrying against his wishes. The farm is all she has, and she is determined to make it on her own. But Nathan has other ideas and becomes her farmhand to discourage her from staying in America. Instead he ends up protecting her and being challenged by her. Can two wounded people heal each other?

Chapter One Excerpt:

March 1816
“We are going to die,” Rachel Gordon’s young maid cried out.
Rachel looked up at the clouds rolling in. Dark, ominous ones. She shivered and pulled her shawl tighter about her as the breeze picked up. A storm brewed, and she still had several miles to go until she reached her new home in South Carolina. “God willing, we will make it, Maddy.”
Fear deepened the lines on Maddy’s plain face. “’Tis like the squall on the boat.”
Lightning flashed, momentarily brightening the shadows of the forest. A clap of thunder rumbled the ground. Maddy screamed. The old gelding that pulled the cart—all Rachel’s meager coins could afford—increased its speed, weaving from side to side. Out of control.
Determined to be there before nightfall and in one piece, Rachel gripped the reins and fought to slow the maddening pace of the horse. Finally it resumed its plodding step. The weather-beaten cart she had bought near the dock in Charleston hit a bump in the road, jostling her into Maddy. Her maid clutched the seat with one hand and held onto Rachel with the other.
Steadying herself, Rachel rested her wrists on her rounded stomach. She had more than herself and Maddy to worry about now. Her life had changed so much since she left her ancestral home in England. She had married, conceived a child, and was now a widow, all in the space of a year. And worse, she was going to a place she had never seen because she had nowhere else to go. Her husband had used most of their money to purchase this plantation she was traveling to. It was her future, whether she wanted it to be or not.
The warmth of a spring day quickly faded as the sky grew blacker. Rachel stared at the menacing clouds through the treetops and realized she would not make it to her new home before the storm broke. She scanned the area for a place to seek shelter.
Sinister shadows lurked just beyond the road. Again she shivered, her imagination conjuring images of wild animals staring at her from the depths of the forest. She’d heard stories about the bears. Huge. Fierce. Sharp teeth and claws. Shifting on the seat, she darted a glance from side to side, feeling as though she were some beast’s next meal. She could not stop, even if it poured down rain.
Oh, how she missed England, with its gently rolling hills and refined beauty—not this raw wilderness. Like a fish floundering on land, she did not belong here. Nothing in her life had prepared her for this strange environment.
Drops of water spattered her. The wind picked up.
“That man on the boat told me about a big cat. They are out there.” Maddy whimpered, draping her shawl over her head and hunching her shoulders. “Lord, have mercy on us.”
Rachel forced herself to keep her gaze fixed on the road ahead. Once they were at the plantation Maddy would settle down. The squall two days out of Charleston had nearly sunk the ship they had traveled in. Surely this storm would not be as bad.
Taking deep breaths, Rachel calmed her racing thoughts and heartbeat. Pain spread through her lower back. She gripped the reins, the leather digging into her palms. The pain dulled to an ache. Another deep inhalation and the panic nibbling at her composure abated. Soon she would be at her new home and could sit in front of a warm fire, put her legs up, and rest. Hopefully the letter her husband had sent ahead would alert any staff to her arrival. Her glance strayed to the tall pine trees, swaying in the gust. Everything would be all right when she arrived at Dalton Plantation.
But even with Maddy next to her on the seat, the feeling she was the only person in the world overwhelmed her.
The wind picked up, whipping strands of her long brown hair that had escaped its coiffure about her face and threatening to whisk away her bonnet. Lightning zigzagged across the sky, followed by thunder. Maddy jumped in her seat. The gelding’s ears flattened.
A chill embedded itself deep in Rachel. She arched her back to ease the pang still plaguing her. Suddenly lightning struck a tree nearby, its flash a beacon in the growing darkness. A crack as the pine split into two pieces echoed through the forest. Immediately afterward, a boom of thunder cleaved the air. Maddy shrieked. The horse increased its pace while a few more splotches of water splashed Rachel. Then all at once rain fell in gray sheets.
The gelding lurched forward even faster. Rachel grasped the reins, trying to maintain control. She pulled on the leather straps to slow the horse. Nothing. He kept galloping down the road, oblivious to his surroundings, as though the hounds of hell were nipping at his hooves.

“A wonderful love story in the American Tapestries series with characters who are trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after the War of 1812. Daley turns the ugliness of war into a new beginning for the ones who pick up the pieces. Her characters are willing to do what they need to in order to survive, but also are willing to give a friendly hand to those around them.”
Reviewed By: Patsy Glans from RT


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, Holt Medallion and the Barclay Gold Contest. She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines, romantic suspense for Abingdon Press and historical romance for Summerside Press. She has sold seventy-five books to date.

Margaret is currently the President for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization of over 2300 members. She was one of the founding members of the first ACFW local chapter, WIN in Oklahoma. She has taught numerous classes for online groups, ACFW and RWA chapters. She enjoys mentoring other authors.

Until she retired a few years ago, she was a teacher of students with special needs for twenty-seven years and volunteered with Special Olympics as a coach. She currently is on the Outreach committee at her church, working on several projects in her community as well as serving on her church’s vestry.

On a more personal note, she has been married for over forty years to Mike and has one son and four granddaughters. She treasures her time with her family and friends.

FIND OUT MORE HERE

The Price of Silence by Staci Stallings

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Cover

Where do you turn when the watching eyes are everywhere? Where do you go when no place is safe? Who do you turn to when saying anything could get someone killed? Who can you trust when “they” could be anyone?

Robyn Lockhart liked her simple but predictable life in the small Iowa town she grew up in. But when her mother moves them to the big city, Robyn has no choice but to brave the tumultuous high school she’s thrust into. Then, with barely a blink and as an outsider looking in, Robyn begins asking questions that no one seems willing to face. Is it possible to stay silent while simultaneously shouting from the rooftops that something is deadly wrong? And if you shout, beyond those watching every move you make, who will even hear?

A VISIT WITH AUTHOR STACI STALLINGS

1. Thanks for inviting us over, Staci. Tell us a little something about you.

Welcome! Please come in. Excuse the mess. (There’s always a mess in my house!) Oh, don’t trip over the toys or the science project. Feel free to move the stuff on the couch to the floor and have a seat.

Yes, that’s pretty much my life. Three kids, a husband, and me with a serious writing addiction equals no time to clean or to play Martha Stewart. Don’t get me wrong. I love my life, but I am now realistic enough about my limitations that I don’t think I have to have the perfect house, spotless everything, with an impeccable supper waiting on the table to be worth something. It took me awhile to get there, but God has a way of bringing out the real you when you give Him the reins of your life. At least He did in my life!

2. You have eight published titles. How long have you been writing? Do you write exclusively for the Christian market? Why or why not?

I do write exclusively Christian because, frankly, I write who I am and what I know. Early on, before they even had Christian romance in the stores, I had to make a choice: Do I write what’s marketable or do I write what I know? I literally had a character in a freezing river trying to save a small child after a plane crash, and I was asking the immensely stupid question: “Hmm, can I have this person praying to God to help her out of this or not?” Why did I ask this? Because back then, I’d never read a single book where a character prayed about anything. I clearly remember saying to myself, “Okay, I would pray. Yes, she has to pray. I have to write what I know otherwise it’s not worth it to me to write at all.” That’s how I became a Christian romance writer.

I now have five in-print Christian novels, and I have at last count eight eBook titles, plus two non-fiction Christian titles. All told, I have written 30 full-length novels. I’ve been writing Christian romance for 16 years now. It is my escape and my way of capturing the stories God has given me from dreams and other venues.

3. How many hours a day to you devote to writing?

That’s a toss-up. Some days I write a lot (20-30 pages). Some whole weeks (even months), nothing at all. With the three kids and two businesses, there is no rhyme or reason to my writing schedule. With various after school commitments and activities, a schedule would create more problems than it would solve for me. There was a time this haphazard schedule would’ve made me crazy. Now, I put my day’s schedule in God’s hands and let Him figure it out–writing, not writing, marketing, or what have you. When I get to write, great. When I don’t, I know He has more important things for me to do that day. It’s a great way to stay sane.

4. Where do you get your ideas?

From the time I was very young, I would have dreams in which I was in a situation that felt very real. It wasn’t so much a dream as being someone else and living that moment of his life. These dreams always fascinated me. When I woke up, I would begin to ask questions and formulate an entire story around the parts I remembered. Then, night after night I would make up more of the story—backward and forward—as I went to sleep. It was like making my own movies in my head.

Shortly after starting my first book, I had just such a dream. I had about 30 seconds to go on. I was in a hotel room. There was a knock on the door. For some reason I was on crutches. I went to the door, opened it, and standing there was a guy I knew that I knew (although I didn’t recognize him from my real life). I was extremely surprised to see him because there was a part of me that believed I would never see him again for some reason I didn’t really understand. And then, I woke up. Bummer!

True to what I’d always done, I started constructing a story around this one moment in time. That ended up being my first full-length novel, Flight 259. It is not out yet, but I hope to put it out in the next two or three years.

Many of my stories have a dream basis. Others come from conversations I’ve had with friends or are the natural progression from a first book. In the first book you find out what happened to these two characters, but character three is left in the cold. So the second book follows character three finding love also. That type of thing. I don’t plan books. For me, they just happen.

5. Which of your published novels is your favorite and why?

Oh, boy. That’s like saying, “Which of your children is your favorite?” They all have a special place for the lessons they’ve taught me. Of my published novels, I will tell you about two of them and leave it at that.

“Lucky” was a true gift from God. It taught me so much about letting go and surrendering to a story (and to God) even if you don’t understand where a character is or why he or she acts a certain way. Writing that book was a real act of faith. It was a “dream book” and came on so suddenly I had no chance to plot anything. I just wrote and wrote, and the characters and storyline flowed with no real guidance from me. That was way cool even though I was writing things I didn’t even understand until God put the last pieces in place. (Plus, I’m a lot like Kalin. He says he would play for the squirrels if they’d listen. Well, I’d write for the squirrels if they’d read!)

The other title that really changed me was “Dreams by Starlight.” This book really reflects who I was in high school. The geek, the brain, who is shy and afraid of anyone noticing she’s around. And then here she is, thrust into the spotlight of the lead in the school play with the guy everyone fawns over as her co-star. It’s really a story about seeing beneath the exterior of people and learning to believe in yourself. I’ve been told that “this should be required reading for every kid in America.” All I know is I was lucky to have it be a part of my life.

I hope everyone has enjoyed visiting my house. I’d give you a goody-bag to take home with you, but you probably don’t like burnt chocolate chip cookies, and I really have to get back to writing! God bless! Staci

Staci

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Her novel, The Price of Silence, is currently on sale for $0.99 in Amazon’s Kindle store. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure. That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas, and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Books In Print, Kindle, & FREE on Spirit Light Works:
http://stacistallings.wordpress.com

The Price of Silence, for $0.99 now at:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Price-of-Silence-ebook/dp/B004E9U7P6

Spirit Light Books–The Blog:
http://spiritlightbooks.wordpress.com/

And Staci’s website: http://www.stacistallings.com

Come on over for a visit . . .
You’ll feel better for the experience!

Live Simply — Simply Live

Friday, August 19th, 2011

Overwhelmed? Check out some solutions on Inkwell Inspirations HERE.

The Greatest Mystery Writer You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Check out my favorite classic mystery writer on Inkwell Inspirations HERE.

Margery Allingham

Plain Fear: Forsaken by Leanna Ellis

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Hannah Schmidt, a young Amish woman mourning the mysterious death of her beloved Jacob, must decide between two brothers, between good and evil. When she learns her first love is now the vampire Akiva, she must forsake him and cling to a new love, a lasting love, one that will save her soul.

Amish and vampires? Really? Yes, really. I’m asked a lot how this book came into being. Forsaken actually began as a joke. I was at a book signing and another author and I made a joke about we should write an Amish/vampire story because those were the two genres that were selling so well. Well, it really was a joke. I didn’t rush home and start writing the book. But I suppose some seed was planted in my warped little brain and took root. Soon a character was speaking to me about her story and wanting me to write it. I resisted. But there was a very intriguing element that I couldn’t seem to ignore. To me, this was a Phantom of the Opera type story, with a love triangle, and a clear dividing line between good and evil.

So I wrote the prologue and first chapter. Then I set it aside because I was busy meeting other deadlines. Besides what was I to do with an Amish/vampire story? I mentioned it eventually to a couple of writer friends.They laughed but in a good way and encouraged me to write it. Well, I wasn’t so sure although I was becoming obsessed with the story. I spent a lot of time in prayer over this book, because I don’t want to write something that God doesn’t want me to write. Also, I knew I’d have to leave the Christian market and sell it in the secular market. I wasn’t about to make that move without God’s clear direction. And he began to show me in more ways than one that this was the book He wanted me to write.

More than a year passed, and I was at a writer’s conference minding my own business and not pursuing this story at all. An editor said the perfect submission would be…you guessed it! An Amish/vampire story. So I made an appointment to meet that editor and just talk about the idea.It almost felt like when an addict first admits she has a problem. I felt like I was teetering on the edge when I said, “I’m a writer and I’ve written anAmish/vampire story.” Well, she requested it.

What I love about this story is that it shows the battle of good and evil. Evil doesn’t always appear with a pitchfork and horns. Quite often, evil is appealing and attractive and hooks us in before we realize what has happened. Such is the case with my heroine Hannah. She simply loved a boy. But she opens her heart and her mind too easily and the consequences could be devastating. Even though this story is published in the secular world, it has a powerful spiritual message, a message the world needs to hear.

Bio:

Winner of the National Readers Choice Award, Leanna Ellis writes women’s fiction.Known for her quirky characters and wacky plots, don’t let the quirkiness fool you as Ellis probes deep in the heart and plucks at the heartstrings. She lives deep in the heart of Texas with her husband and children and an assortment of dogs and cats, including her crazy labradoodle, aka Hilo Monster, and her new kitten, Sawyer.

Buy from Amazon

Excerpt

www.leannaellis.com

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The Chastelayne Trilogy Now Available On Nook!

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

For all you Nook readers, thanks to the incredible technical abilities of the one and only Robin Hardy (no, she did NOT write The Wicker Man), my medieval trilogy is for the very first time available for Nook readers HERE.

In Honor Bound

By Love Redeemed

According to reviewer Michelle Sutton, this is “Fabulous, passionate, intense fiction. That’s what In Honor Bound was for me. In fact, I enjoyed the fantasy world so much that I plan to read the next two books in the series as well. This series sucked me in as much as Francine Rivers’s Mark of the Lion Series. It’s THAT good.” Read the whole review HERE.

What’s more, you can get all this for a mere $2.99 per book. It’s a steal. 🙂

Don’t worry, Kindle readers, the series is available for you, too, at the same incredibly low price. Check it out HERE.

August’s Hot Off The Press

Monday, August 1st, 2011

This month’s hot new releases:

Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin: Judson Morgan’s Texas roots are drenched in blood. His father died for Texas’s freedom during the war for independence. So when the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas (the Verein) attempts to colonize a New Germany in his country, he takes a stand against them. After her fiance marries someone else, a young fraulein determines to make a new life for herself in Texas, but can the rancher put aside his prejudice to forge a new future?

Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming by Miralee Ferrell: Angel Ramirez is tired of living a lie. But can she live like a lady? On the run from a dangerous outlaw, Angel works her way across several states disguised as a boy and working as a varmint tracker and horse wrangler. After taking a job on a Wyoming ranch owned by a bachelor and his widowed sister, she finally reveals her true identity and must fight to prove her worth as a ranch hand while somehow discovering her role as woman. Hiring a woman doesn’t sit well with Travis Morgan, and the dark-haired beauty is causing a ruckus among his cowboys. Just as Angel decides she’ll never be able to please her boss, an unexpected surprise arrives from across the ocean and makes trouble on the ranch. Will Angel leave with the person who’s come so far to claim her?