Monday, May 20, 2013
Looking Out the Window: Read about the Inspirational Writing of Regina Andrews. She Shares Her Thoughts on Writing and Faith.
Regina will give away a $10.00 Amazon gift card and a PDF copy of EITHER Light of the Heart OR Angels of the Heart. See below for Regina's question to answer to enter to win. Then leave your comment with an email address.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Gail. I am thrilled to visit and happy to share my thoughts on writing with you and your readers.
It’s wonderful to have you. Tell us about your latest book. I am very excited about my newest release. It is a reissue from Writer’s Exchange Publishing titled Angels of the Heart. This is book two in my Sterling Lakes series.
What inspired you to write this particular book? That’s an interesting question because usually I rely on my imagination for inspiration. This plot, however, has one particular element that actually happened to me. In the book, developers come into town and their plans for a strip mall require the destruction of the Townsend Barn, a beloved local landmark. In real life, I lived in a rural area where a developer swooped in and wanted to build a complex that would destroy much of the open space in our town. Almost overnight, we became activists. I am happy to report that we were successful and the open space is still preserved to this day.
Congratulations! And thank you for sharing your inspiration for it with us. What themes do you write about in general?
Mostly all about the different forms of love. Since my books are Inspirational romances, there is a sizzling romance between a man and a woman. Then there is a relationship with God. The romance and the love of God are intertwined in most of my plots. Other themes are faith, courage and the past and the present. The road is never easy, but the ending is always happy.
I love happy endings. Your faith must affect your writing. Tell us how.
It is my belief that everything comes from God. We are here because of Him, to open our hearts to Him and really trust him. Not just by praying “Let me get this” or “Give this to me”. We have to turn the table. Prayers such as “What do you want from me?” or “I trust you to carry me through this” are prayers that demonstrate a respect and awe for His power. His will is the ultimate truth; not how or what we want, but what He wants from us. So yes, absolutely, this faith, this outlook of mine colors everything I do, including my writing. I am constantly writing about good people who hit really hard times and have to find their way out. Always the answer comes from God. Not a lightening bolt, though. It could be a song they hear or something another character says to them. This is the Holy Spirit inspiring them – egging them on – to perceive God’s message. That moment of realizing His presence and His word is the beginning along the path of healing and rebirth. It is not instant joy, with rainbows and bluebirds. It takes effort and courage. But the end result is always joyful.
What a beautiful force to have behind your writing. Your words make me think of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God…”
Do you put yourself in your books?
No. There’s a lot of my sister, however, in Patty O’Malley in the Sterling Lakes series.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Yes, I would say don’t ever, ever give up. Believe in yourself and your talent and express your message the best way you possibly can. Keep working. Keep reading. Ask everyone to read your work. Listen to feedback. Keep an open mind. Most of all, toss your ego into the local landfill!
LOL. Good advice. Thanks so much.
Thanks for having me, Gail.
About Angels of the Heart
The life of a television journalist has been good to Maryanne Lynch. That is, until she learns of developer Travis Collimore's plans to destroy the Townsend Barn, a cherished Sterling Lakes landmark, and build a strip mall in its place. Will Maryanne's efforts to stop him be successful? Or will Travis' plans for the future prevail over her attachment to the past?
Brief excerpt from Angels of the Heart
"Thank you for visiting the show today."
His brown eyes traveled up and down her frame. "No problem." "Everyone is all worked up about the renovations to St. Luke's Church and the new face of Sterling Lakes. It's a hot topic."
"It's good the town folks are interested."
"They are more than interested, they are reborn. This is the new lease on life that Sterling Lakes has been praying for so very long. You can't imagine what it means to us."
"Heartwarming. Now, if you'll excuse me?"
Maryanne had done enough interviews to know his tone of voice probably meant he was not really interested. She took one step closer to him. "There's just another thing to clear up. If you develop St. Luke's the way you explained on my show, it means you'll have to raze the Townsend Barn."
"There is a structure--"
He nodded. "There is a structure, Townsend Barn, thank you, which currently stands right in the middle of the land that will house the rectory and youth center. To build the extension, the barn has to go."
"That can't happen."
"The architect has designed for it to happen that way."
"The people of Sterling Lakes love the barn. It has an angel weather vane. That's very rare, you know."
"I don't know what to tell you. The plans have been drawn up and approved."
Maryanne arched one eyebrow. "Really? We all know plans are made to be broken."
About Light of the Heart, the first book in Regina's Sterling Lake Series
Stained-glass artist Cascade Preston has overcome a dark childhood, deeply shadowed by domestic violence, in the town of Sterling Lakes. When she is approached to design new windows for a refurbished church in Sterling Lakes, she ignores the request. But when the no-nonsense Project Manager Dan McQuay appears looking for the window plans, the project takes on a whole new light.
Will Cascade be able to keep the dark, protective cocoon she has built around herself intact, or will McQuay break through and shine new light into her heart? Is it possible that God's plan for Cascade will lead her to forgive the town that ignored the situation with her family?
Brief excerpt from Light of the Heart
Cascade watched the sun, dappled from the leafy trees nearby, play across the firm planes of his face. "Being back here, I don't feel like anything has changed."
"Does that surprise you?" he asked.
"The way things are going lately, everything is coming as a surprise. I'm just trying to process it all."
"Want to go into the church?"
"Sounds like a great idea." She looked over at him but could not read his expression. They walked past the dirt piles toward the front of the church. A songbird trilled in one of the rhododendron shrubs as they moved by. Sunbeams glinted off the colorful stained glass windows. At the top of the wooden staircase, Cascade held the brass handle to open the ornately carved door.
"Go on." Dan reached beyond her and held the door open for her.
She entered the vestibule, blinking her eyes as they adjusted to the darkness. Images of the past flooded her mind. Some of them good, some of them not so good. She turned to Dan. "Come with me."
"You got it. "
They walked together down the main aisle. Cascade inhaled the familiar scents of wood, candle, and incense. She stopped midway and turned to face the back of the church. "These windows are beautiful," she whispered, looking up at the large round West window. "This is where I was inspired to do what I do and to be who I am today."
Regina also has an inspirational romance, In Good Faith, available from Awe-struck Publishing at http://www.awe-struck.net/books/in_good_faith.html
Read more about Regina and her books at the following links:
I belong to a wonderful group of writers called the Jewels of the Quill. Check us out here:
Regina's Contest: Leave me a comment and tell me what you thought of this post. What theme do you find the most compelling as a reader? A winner will be drawn at random and will receive a $10 Amazon Gift card and a PDF copy of either Light of the Heart or Angels of the Heart. Good luck to everyone. Thank you and blessings, Gail.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Looking Out the Window: Nike Chillemi Talks about Burning Hearts, a Finalist in the 2011 Grace Awards. Now in Print.
Arson, Murder, Action all part of this sweet romance set right after World War II.
Can a sheltered young seamstress, disillusioned by the horrors of WWII, escape an arsonist/murderer who has killed her employer and mentor, while trying to decide if she can trust the dashing war hero who’s ridden into town on his Harley—who some say is the murderer?
Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. Many boys she grew up with had fallen in the WWII, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her most desperate need. A woman who is her close friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. After making an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Erica stands by as this man rushes into the inferno and carries her friend’s lifeless body out.
Lorne Kincade can’t out run his past on his Harley Davidson WLA, the civilian model of the motorcycle he rode in the war. He’s tried. He’s been a vagabond biker in the year since the war ended. His Uncle Ivar bequeathed him a ramshackle cottage in Sanctuary Point, on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY and now he’d like to hope for a future again, repair the miniscule place, and settle down. The only problem is, a young woman with hair the color of mink is starting to get under his skin and that’s the last thing he needs.
Such a fascinating novel and time. I love the patriotism of our country just before, during and right after WWII. Why did you pick this era to write about?
I've been intrigued by that ear for quite a while and decided to put my hand to writing about it. It's a time when America came out of the pain and loss of a war that they hoped would end all wars. The nation pulled together, became a little wiser about evil in the world, and America rose up to even greater heights. I admire the America of that era and wanted to look back at it. Immigrants with little but the clothes on their backs were pouring into the country from Europe, particularly Eastern Europe. They were not always met with open arms. There were struggles and difficulties. Yet there was an American can do spirit. Americans of that time held themselves with a great deal of dignity and class.
Is there significance (symbolic or otherwise) connected to the Harley motor cycle?
Nike: I think the Harley Davidson is a romantic symbol in the classic sense of the word romantic. It's also an all-American symbol. The Harley was used in WWII. In fact hero Lorne Kincaid rides the civilian model which is a replica of the one he rode in the war where he was a courier going on missions under General Patton.
Is there a personal connection to any part of the story? If so, what?
Nike: Erica Brogna, my heroine, is a bit like me. She wants to be a dress designer and I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked in the bridal industry. She's independent and stubborn and it gets her into trouble. I'm independent and stubborn but it never got me into any trouble at all. Yeah, right. Something I didn't realize until the book was in edits is that Erica's mother is very similar to my Czechoslovak grandmother. Mrs B excels in the kitchen and has a great sense of humor. So did my grandmother. Mrs. B teases her children and is teased by them. I recall my grandmother swatting my dad with a kitchen towel. He'd laugh and hug her.
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.
She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. BURNING HEARTS, the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, finaled in the Grace Awards 2011 in the Romance/Historical Romance category. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series released in December, 2011 won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, third in the series released July, 2012, and DARKEST HOUR, the fourth in the series released in February, 2013. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
Purchase Links for Burning Hearts:
Amazon/Print and Kindle. http://tiny.cc/m1v1ww
Also Available in Ebook at Barnes and Noble/Nook.
Friday, May 10, 2013
A very Happy Mothers Day to all the Moms!
May you have
and scrumptious dishes.
May you make
memories so dear
they bring a happy tear.
they bring a happy tear.
May you enjoy
surprises in store
and hugs galore.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Looking Out the Window: Sharon Srock Announces the Second Book in Series, The Women of Valley View: Terri
Sharon shares an excerpt, gives us her mother's recipe for pumpkin bread, and tells us her favorite Bible verse. She'll give away a print copy of Terri. To enter to win leave a comment and an email address.
Nourish the Body -- Pumpkin Bread
2 & 2/3 Cups flour
3 Cups sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Cup oil
2/3 Cup water
2 Cups pumpkin
1 Cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
Preheat oven to 325. Spray your bunt pan with Pam Baking spray, set aside.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl to completely combined. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour. Since oven temps vary, after an hour touch the top of the cake, if it doesn't feel done to you give it 5-10 more minutes. Insert a toothpick, if it comes out with moist crumbs attached, you're done.
Loosen the cake from the pan and invert onto a serving dish.
For the frosting, mix up enough powdered sugar, a splash of milk and a teaspoon vanilla. You can add more milk, in small amounts, until you have a thick, but pourable consistency. Drizzle over warm cake.
Yum! Sounds like something good to nibble on while reading a book.
Nourish the Soul
Sharon's Favorite Bible Verse
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
About The Women of Valley View: Terri
Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a temporary solution is an answered prayer.
Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster child. She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother.
Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive Kelsey’s family further apart and put a wedge between Terri and Steve? Or does God have another plan in store?
Terri Hayes chewed her bottom lip and prayed. Outside her windows on this sunny Friday afternoon, the Oklahoma summer persisted in spite of the September date circled on her calendar. Her hands sweated, and she clasped them behind her back. She would have raked them through her hair, but she wanted to telegraph calm and collected, not the nervous anticipation churning like ocean waves in her stomach. The weeks of preparation, the evenings spent in class, the hours of prayer, all came down to this.
The curly black head of her visitor disappeared under the kitchen sink. Terri heard grunts and clanks as the woman shifted and examined the contents of the cabinet. Her visitor stood and yanked the top of her crisply tailored suit back into place, her stern face thoughtful as she scribbled notes on a clipboard.
Despite Terri’s desire for calm, her lip chewing graduated to nail biting. Had she missed something? “Ms. Wilson, I…”
Cindy Wilson held up a hand. “Please, Ms. Hayes, I prefer to conduct my investigation uninterrupted. We’ll discuss my findings when I’m done.”
Terri swallowed her comments with a nod and trailed behind the imposing African-American woman whose job it was to poke and prod into every corner of Terri’s home. She ran through her own mental checklist as they proceeded from room to room. Outlets covered, medicines locked away, cleaning supplies stored out of reach, covers on all of her trash cans. A second perusal of Ms. Wilson’s expression produced no further insight. Pass or fail? Terri shook her head. I wonder if this woman plays poker.
Terri opened the door to the larger of her two spare bedrooms. The odor of fresh paint drifted out to greet them. This was the pride of her summer. She motioned her guest inside, aching to point out the highlights of what she’d worked so hard to accomplish, but she held her peace in the face of Ms. Wilson’s strident and silent inspection. More notes on the clipboard, murmurs, and hums. Approval or disapproval? How can I tell?
Inspection completed, Terri followed her visitor back to her sunken living room and made an effort to gain some control over the situation. “Have a seat, Ms. Wilson. I have iced tea or soda if you’d like something to drink”
“No, thank you.” Ms. Wilson sat on the sofa and studied her notes. Her pen tapped an annoying beat as she read. Terri took a chair across from her and waited in helpless anticipation.
“It says here that your decision to apply to our program was motivated by a television show. Can you clarify that for me, please?”
Terri clasped white-knuckled hands in her lap. “It was a documentary. I cried for the whole hour. It broke my heart to see so much to be done and so few people willing to make a difference.”
“So this is an emotional decision on your part?”
“Yes…I mean no. I—”
Wow! A great excerpt
Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s debut novel, The Women of Valley View: Callie released in October 2012. The second in the series, The Women of Valley View: Terri releases in April 2013.
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/cud7xb6
Pelican book group: http://tinyurl.com/cd5zqar
Connect with Sharon here:Blog: http://www.womenofvalleyview.blogspot.com/