Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Looking Out the Window: Brandy Heineman Talks about Writing and Her New Book, Whispers in the Braches

A Warm Welcome to Brandy Heineman

Photo credit: Copyright Emilie Hendryx of E. A. Creative Photography, 2014.

Hi Brandy, lots of writers enjoyed reading as a child. How about you? If so, what did you read?

Oh, yes. I always loved to read. I adored mysteries—The Dollhouse Murders and Behind the Attic Wall come to mind—and of course I had my Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High phase, my Roald Dahl phase, my Judy Bloom phase . . . I was quite a bookish child, I’d say!

About Whispers in the Branches

In 1942, Ruby lost something. In 2012, Abby found it.

Abby’s love life, career, and faith are in shambles when she first hears Great Aunt Ruby’s claims that the family home is haunted. Abby moves in, determined to shake out a ghost, but the secrets she discovers there aren’t the ones she hopes to find.

Whispers in the Branches is my first novel. It was released earlier this year by Elk Lake Publishing.

Buy Whispers in the Branches on Amazon

Where do you get ideas for your books?
Since I love to write (and read!) stories that mingle past and present, very often the relics of another time will send me down the rabbit hole of “What if?”

Now, the Eureka moment tends to get all the attention, but it takes roughly a zillion ideas to write a book—character quirks, events, bits of dialogue, plot twists. The joke is to be careful what you say to a writer because it’ll end up in a book, but that’s really true. The key is assembling all those little pieces into a brand new picture.

In three words describe your style of writing.

Metaphorical, considered, mischievous.

How do you get to know your characters?
Sometimes I use character interviews, and personality profiles can be helpful, but for the most part, I just have to write and write about them and see who they become on the page. Oftentimes, this means that inconsistencies get worked out between the early ideation stage and their later, more developed forms. In my current project, I’m at the fun stage where I feel like I know both the hero and heroine really well.

I have a quick funny story on that, in fact. Just today I said to my husband, “Sometimes I just can’t believe my characters aren’t actually real people.”

His response? A slight pause, followed by, “All righty, then!”

That’s okay. I know being married to a writer is a laugh-and-a-half. He’s so patient!

What themes do you write about?
Those past-present connections get me every time. What opportunities were missed in the past? Can one generation make up for the regrets of an earlier one? Does history—family history, personal history—ever really teach us anything?

I love to explore these kinds of ideas in my fiction.

Are you a plotter or a pantzer?
I keep trying to be a plotter, but all the interesting stuff seems to pop up as I’m writing along and some fascinating little detail finds its way from my head to my fingertips . . . and then, of course, I have to see where it goes.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Very much so. God really made the parable of the talents personal for me, and I know it is part of my calling to use His gifts wisely. I pray over my work, and I pray for my readers. It’s particularly important to me that whatever treasure the Lord seeds in my heart through His word and the experiences He gives me, that I weave it into my stories in a way that is as beautiful and real as I can make it.

What would you be doing if you weren’t writing?
I’m sure it would be something creative and expressive. I’m a visual learner and I’ve always been a dabbler in arts like photography, page design, photo manipulation, and scrapbooking. If writing hadn’t been the outlet for me, I might have pursued something along those lines more seriously. Who knows—I might still!

For fun, what is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?
I’m fairly self-conscious anyway, so I might confuse “most embarrassing thing” with “just another Tuesday,” but I’ll tell you a doozy . . .  A few years ago our church had a drama ministry, and we used to put on little skits to publicize church events and sometimes longer plays at major holidays.
In one skit, I was to enter after the other actor was already on stage. I was waiting outside the choir loft door, which leads to an open hallway behind the sanctuary, and our pastor and another person were there having a minor pre-service conversation. I worried they would think I was eavesdropping, when all I wanted was to focus on what was happening on the other side of that door and to remember my lines! (You don’t spend six weeks rehearsing for a three-minute skit, you know?)
When I heard my cue, I was never happier to walk out on stage . . . but because I was distracted, I forgot to turn on my headset microphone before I did. I realized my mistake immediately, but it was too late. The other actor spoke her lines normally, but I had to call upon some very rusty, very minimal theatre training to project from the bottom of my not-particularly-powerful lungs.
I suppose the bright side is that I only made that mistake in the second service, so only half of our entire church saw me goof on stage. I’m still cringing.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Just that I’m so happy to have been a part of your blog today! And if readers would like to stay up-to-date with what’s up next… I have a newsletter! This is where my book release updates, giveaway alerts, and other fun tidbits get announced. Sign-up here: http://eepurl.com/boitO9
Thanks so much for having me, Gail!

It was my pleasure.

BRANDY HEINEMAN is a Christ-follower. She’s also a book hoarder, a cat herder, a first-generation Southerner, and a self-appointed family historian. She likes to cook when it’s convenient, and to order pizza when it’s not. An alumna of Wesleyan College (Macon, Ga.), she has written for ACFW’s The Journal, Writer Interrupted, and Book Fun Magazine. Brandy resides in metro Atlanta with her Captain of Street Cred and super-hero hubby, Michael. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and at Brandy Heineman

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Looking Out the Window: Kim McMahill Talks about Her New Suspense, A Dose of Danger


A Warm Welcome to Kim McMahill

Hi Kim, first, tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Wyoming, which is probably where I developed my sense of adventure and love of the outdoors. I started out writing non-fiction, and had over eighty travel and geographic articles appear in magazine and other publications. As exciting as that was to see my work in print, my passion for exotic world travel, outrageous adventures, stories of survival, and happily-ever-after endings soon drew me into a world of romantic suspense. When not writing, I enjoy gardening, traveling, putting together jigsaw puzzles, listening to live music, college sports, and spending time with family.

Tell us about your latest book.

A Dose of Danger is a romantic suspense novel and the first in a developing series. When researcher Grace Talbot and her team discover a possible solution for weight loss they become targets of a group dedicated to controlling the multi-billion dollar a year diet-product industry. From the lab in Salt Lake City, Utah to the family ranch in Wyoming, danger closes in on Grace as she struggles to deal with tragedy in the wake of a fire, and the task of keeping all the animals alive throughout a harsher than normal winter. As the investigation progresses and the stakes get higher, she becomes more dependent on the local sheriff’s deputy. With her colleagues either dead, missing, or on the run she soon realizes that she must trust him with her life, but can she trust him with her heart?

Wow! That sounds suspenseful. What inspired you to write this particular book?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun paying more attention to what I eat and my overall health. The more I read about nutrition and fitness the more confused I become, especially when it comes to supplements. There are a myriad of products out there that make all sorts of claims, but what’s true? I’m sure the answer is very complex because there are a lot of variables that influence a products effectiveness, which makes the subject an excellent topic for fiction. With so many options, it’s difficult to know which companies and claims to trust.

What do you love about this book? And what do you hope readers will tell others about it?

I love stories of survival against the odds, and this book has plenty of that. Most of my stories have heroes or heroines who push their physical and emotional capabilities to the breaking point in order to prevail. I always hope I have that much fortitude if I find myself in a bad situation.  I hope readers will tell others that it is a well written book full of action, suspense, drama, and realistic romance. I hope they find it exciting and entertaining, and worthy of recommending to friends and family.

Where do you get ideas for your books?

I get my ideas from a host of different places. A lot of inspiration comes from my travels. I used to spend a lot of time in Mexico, which is where Marked In Mexico and Deadly Ruins came from. Big Horn Storm has a number of ties to my upbringing around horses, Deadly Exodus was inspired by a remnant of a dream I remembered one morning, and Shrouded In Secrets was spawned from watching a show on various mysteries, and one delved into the legends surrounding a group of crystal skulls. My latest novel, A Dose of Danger, may be a manifestation of my mild conspiracy theory paranoia and suspicions of market manipulation on nearly every front, especially when it comes to the health and diet product industry. 

What themes do you write about?

Survival—as mentioned earlier, I’ve always loved stories about testing one’s physical and emotional strength, and surviving against formidable odds. I also enjoy exploring true and lasting love developed through shared tragedy or adventure. I’m not a huge fan of the lust first, love later model.

What are you working on right now?

I just finished with a second novel in the series which begins with A Dose of Danger. The deadly market manipulation continues as the corrupt coalition wields its lethal influence in the manufacturing of those healthy frozen meals that fill the freezer section of every grocery store.

What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?

One of my riskiest adventures came from following a small group of cows over a steep embankment during a cattle drive I was on with my dad as a teenager. We were taking the cattle to a high grazing lease for the summer. By the time we reached the steepest, last big push, the cows were getting tired and a few decided it would be easier to slide back down the mountain than to keep climbing. My dad was on a green-broke colt which wasn’t as surefooted as my palomino gelding, and getting a little tired herself with her heavier load. To make a long story short, my dad told me to go after them. I looked at him like he was mad, but nudged my horse, assuming he wouldn’t go if he thought it was too steep. He was a good cow horse, so he didn’t hesitate to plunge over the edge after the cattle. The slope was too steep and the dirt too loose to stop and I ended up beating the cows to the bottom. As calmly as possible with one’s life flashing before her eyes, I gathered the cows up and herded them back to the dirt road where my dad was waiting to help me guide the cows up the hill to the rest of the herd. I still occasionally have those, “Man From Snowy River,” flashbacks, but the experience did help me write a couple scenes in Big Horn Storm. My dad clearly had a lot more faith in the horse and my ability than I did, and thankfully he was right.

That sounds exciting! What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?

The list is lengthy, but probably one of the funniest was the time I went shopping with my husband to a fairly large town about 45 miles away. While he was washing the truck I looked down and noticed I had my slippers on. We had gone too far to turn around, so I proudly wore them while running errands, shopping, and eating out for the rest of the day.

Introduce us to the main character in your new book. 

Grace Talbot is a researcher for a company that develops nutritional supplements for humans and animals. She primarily works on supplements for animals, but stumbles on a product that if it can be modified for human consumption, has the ability to make a few people very rich and end the need for dieting. Grace was raised by her uncle at his ranch in Wyoming after being abandoned by her parents as a child, so she’s had to work through her share of issues to get where she is today. She has a successful career and is a loving niece to her lone family member. 

Learn More about Kim and A Dose of Danger at

Kim's Web site
Kim's blog

About A Dose of Danger

When researcher Grace Talbot and her team discover a possible solution for weight loss they are targeted by a group dedicated to controlling the multi-billion dollar a year diet-product industry. Her unsanctioned testing methods bring tragedy to the family ranch and the attention of the local sheriff’s deputy. With her colleagues either dead, missing, or on the run she soon realizes she must trust the deputy with her life, but can she trust him with her heart?   

Buy A Dose of Danger on Amazon

An Excerpt from A Dose of Danger

She hadn’t heard Logan enter, but she didn’t object when he pried the handset from her fingers and put his arm around her shoulders. 

“Hey, Moss. How are you feeling today?”

Grace could only hear one side of the conversation, but it was enough to know Moss wasn’t the only one who cared about her fate.

“Don’t worry. I’ll keep her safe, I promise. Yes, I’ve noticed she can be a bit stubborn, but she knows when to cooperate and hasn’t given me too much trouble. No, I can’t give you any details. The less you know the better. We’ll leave as soon as the sheriff calls back with a location.  You have what? Where? If we need it, thanks. If we don’t I never heard those words. Yes, I noticed the trailer lights aren’t working, and the clutch on your truck sticks a bit. I may be from Arizona, but I do know how to pull a horse trailer and operate a truck in four-wheel-drive. We better not tie up the line too long, but we’ll call as soon as we get to wherever we’re going. What? Yes, I’d be happy to do that for you. Take care.”

By the time Logan hung up, the tears were gone. Hearing Moss treating the big, strong deputy like a child made her smile. She missed her uncle so much it hurt. Even in a hospital bed hundreds of miles away, he was still trying to take care of her.

“What would you be happy to do for Uncle Moss?” 

“This,” he replied as he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. His lips moved slowly over hers until he felt her arms slide up around his neck. He deepened the kiss, and her response sent fire through his body. Even without his heavy coat on, he knew he would be burning just as hot. She fit against him like they were made for each other. When he finally let her go, she looked up at him with a wicked smile that made him itch to grab for her again.

As if sensing his intention, Grace took several steps back. “I’m fairly certain that wasn’t what Moss asked you to do for him.” 

“Maybe he said something about giving you a hug for him, but I started tuning him out when he decided I needed driving instructions. Anyway, I didn’t want to disappoint an injured old man, so I winged it.” 

Grace studied him for a moment. Maybe he won’t walk out on me, but even if he does, I might as well make the most of every moment we have together. She smiled and moved within reach.

Logan needed no further encouragement. He pulled her toward him. With one arm firmly around her waist, he ran his fingers through her hair. “Yes, those curls are just as soft as they look,” he moaned as his lips descended to hers, cutting off any response.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Winner of For Our Good

I'm drawing a name...

Drum roll....

And the winner is...


Congratulations, Mary!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Looking Out the Window: Award-winning Author Paula Mowery Talks about Her Latest Book, For Our Good. Gives Away an E-book

A Warm Welcome to Paula Mowery

Paula will give away an e-book of For Our Good. To enter to win leave a comment and an e-mail address below.

About For Our Good

Charlie Jarvis is haunted by loss that fuels her desire to rid the world of drug traffickers. When her next assignment takes her back to her hometown, she has to confront her painful past. She has no interest in a relationship since God seems to kill everyone she loves.

Colton Thomas appreciates material things and the status of being a corporate pilot. When someone approaches him to deliver a package for a large sum of money that could wipe out his debts, temptation knocks loud on his door even as his partner, Marshall, slams it shut. Meeting Charlie challenges his non-committal stance with women. As he considers who he has become and the kind of man he would want to be for Charlie, he confronts his own shallow lifestyle and the fear that he would never be able to help her heal her wounds.

As Charlie pursues the man causing young boys to die of overdoses, she struggles with the secrets she keeps from Colton. With people around them shining the light of God and encouraging their courtship, both Charlie and Colton have to face hard truths about life, death, love, and faith. And maybe find a fresh start for them both.

An excerpt from the Bible Study in the back of For Our Good
The book's title is from the verse in Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28-39:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  

*Choose a verse that stands out to you and explain its meaning for you personally. 

Things happen as a result of sin, but God works all for the good. There are things that happen which test us.  

*Has something happened in your life that causes you to doubt God or His plan? 

*Can you look back and see God’s hand in past situations? 

Bad things happen that we don’t understand, but God is not against us. He is for us and loves us with a love that can’t be severed. God doesn’t promise us an easy life with no struggles. On the contrary, He warns often in His Word that we will face trials. But his promise is that He will never leave us. He is always near and always loving us. That is where our comfort comes from. Furthermore, God may even teach us something from our struggles that could increase our faith or our intimacy with Him. Experiencing a trial is not wasted time but more like an opportunity. When we know our struggles have purpose, we can be comforted and overcome.  

*Has God taught you something from a struggle in your life? 

Always be prepared to share God’s truths and how He’s seen you through problems as well as the lessons He has taught you along the way.  

Bio: Paula Mowery is a published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her first two published works were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group. Both are women’s fiction, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013, her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance and was a finalist in the Carolyn Readers Choice Awards in 2015.

Reviewers of her writing characterize it as “thundering with emotion.” Her articles have appeared in Woman’s World, The Christian Online Magazine, and the multi-author devotional blog, Full Flavored Living. She wrote a section for Join the Insanity by Rhonda Rhea. She has devotionals included in several collaborative books.

As an acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group, Paula particularly looks for romance stories with Christian values at its core. She’s especially attracted to those manuscripts that leave the reader mulling over the story long after turning the last page.

Having been an avid reader of Christian fiction, she now puts that love to use by writing book reviews. She is a member of ACFW and is on the author interview team. She was a member of the 2014 and 2015 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference faculty.

Paula is a pastor’s wife and mom to a college student. She homeschooled her daughter through all twelve years, and they both lived to tell about it. Before educating her daughter at home, she was an English teacher in public school.

You can follow Paula at Facebook.
Learn more about Paula at her blog or enjoy her monthly columns on Christian Online Magazine. You can also check out her blog for Christian writers.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Looking out the Window: Mamarazzi, a New Release by Brooke Williams

A Warm Welcome to Brooke Williams



By Brooke Williams


Release Date: September 11, 2015 from Prism Book Group

Read Mamarazzi if…

Hello blog readers! And thank you to Gail for allowing my to take over her blog today with a guest post including details about my latest novel, “Mamarazzi.” There are many reasons why you may choose to read the books you read. Time is limited, you can only ready so many, right? Now that you’ve seen the Mamarazzi cover and perhaps have even read the book’s blurb, you might be wondering whether or not it is the book for you to dive into at the moment. I hope the answer is ‘yes,’ but I’m biased and can’t provide the answer for you. What I CAN do, though, is give you a few facts about the book so you can make an informed decision yourself! You should read Mamarazzi if…

-You enjoy light-hearted books
This novel was written with a romantic comedy slant. One of the main characters gets drenched with water often in purely accidental manners. If you want something to make you smile that also makes you feel lighter once you put it down, this might be a good read for you.

-You are looking for a clean romance read
Not all romances are created equal and there are many different genres within the romance genre itself. This novel is a completely clean, and yet still a romantic read. There’s no bad language and nothing in the book that will make you blush. You can read it in front of anyone and out loud to anyone with no fear!

-You are between the ages of 12-99+
Mamarazzi is a great read for any age group. Since it is a clean read, it’s perfect for teenagers, but it’s also fun for adults. It might be a book to read with a variety of people at the same time so you can enjoy discussing it. Come one come all, Mamarazzi spans the generations!

-You want to read something quick
Mamarazzi is not a huge, intimidating book. The characters are easy to get to know and the book ticks along quickly. If you want a good weekend read, grab this book and get to it!

-You’ve wondered what the grass is like on the other side of the fence
With all the fun and romance aside, Mamarazzi, at its core, is about whether or not the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I don’t know many people who haven’t wondered what life is like for others and perhaps even wished to trade places. That exact thing happens to the main character. She spends all her time examining the other side…and then finds herself ON it! See what happens next and then question whether or not you want to step over to the other side of the fence in your life!

-You want to get away from everyday life
Mamarazzi is not a deep book that will cause your head to hurt from all the thinking you are doing. It is simply an escape from your everyday life.

Order HERE
Join the Sept. 15th Release Day Party on Facebook HERE

Enjoy giveaways with a dozen different authors!

Danica Bennett isn't sure what she hates more...her job or the fact that she's good at it.  As one of the many Hollywood paparazzi, she lives her life incognito and sneaks around trying to get the best shot of the latest star.  When she is mistaken for an extra on a new, up and coming TV show, her own star rises and she becomes the one being photographed.  Add that to the fact that she's falling for her co-star, Eliot Lane, and Danica is in a whole heap of trouble.
Add “Mamarazzi” to your Goodreads list HERE

About the Author

 Brooke Williams writes in a sleep-deprived state while her daughters nap. Her romantic comedy is best read in the same state. Brooke has twelve years of radio in her background, both behind the scenes and on the air. She was also a television traffic reporter for a short time despite the fact that she could care less about hair and make-up. Today, Brooke stays at home with her daughters and works as a freelance writer for a variety of companies. When she isn’t working for paying clients, she makes things up, which results in books like “Accept this Dandelion.”  Brooke is also the author of "Accept this Dandelion," “Wrong Place, Right Time,” “Someone Always Loved You,”  “Beyond the Bars.” She plans to continue the Dandelion story into a series and looks forward to her first children's book release “Baby Sheep Gets a Haircut” in June 2016. Brooke and her husband Sean have been married since 2002 and have two beautiful daughters, Kaelyn (5) and Sadie (nearly 2).

Connect with Brooke:

Note from the Author on the book's inspiration:

I've always been fascinated by the Hollywood life and the idea that "they" are different from "us." The idea for Mamarazzi has been with me for a long time. I'm not even exactly sure when I came up with it, but in college, I had a screenwriting class and I had to write a portion of a screenplay. I wrote "Paparazzi," which was the same general idea only with a male lead character. When I began writing romantic comedy, the idea came back to me and I decided to chance the main character to a female and call it "Mamarazzi." I even had a naming contest so that facebook fans and blog readers could name the characters in the book. Every character in the novel is reader named and approved! Overall, I wanted to examine what happens when you take someone from one side of the fence and plop them on the other side. In the end, famous or not, we're all just people. And in this book, they all have secrets...

And next from Brooke Williams....


"Dandelions on the Road"

releases November 5, 2015...

pre-order today by clicking below


Friday, September 4, 2015

Thanks to My Readers

Thanks to my readers!

Mountain of Love and Danger was #2 in Fairy Tales and #3 in Collections in the Free Kindle Store.

It's available now for only .99 - http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NKV31LG

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Looking in the Window: Mountain of Love and Danger Free for a Limited Time

Jack Greenthumb finds romance in Fairwilde Kingdom—a different day—a different girl. Then a cruel mystery begins. Dad’s beaten, the family farm destroyed and Jack’s true love, Gwendolyn Bante, kidnapped. Jack’s undercover operation reveals Gwenie’s a captive atop a mountain accessible only by helicopter. Reaching her is a dangerous expedition even for a champion rock climber like Jack. However, a Greenthumb Acres employee plants a miraculous seed from Heaven for the rescue. Suspense mounts as Jack scales the perilous cliff to face a brute and a treacherous descent in this retelling of the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Two five-star reviews

When I was a youngster, I loved fairy tales. Now that I'm an adult, this book showed me I still do. Fantasy? Sure, and we need that in our world today. Suspense? You betcha! Romance? Yep, it is in there too. Adventure? Oh my, yes! Throw in some Christian inspiration, and you have a wonderful read. The tale starts off with Jack and Gwen having a car wreck. Jack rushes Gwen to the hospital where a giant of a man kidnaps her from the hospital bed. Jack determines to find his love and save the family business at the same time, and he's got a mountain to climb to achieve it. Gay Lewis

This novel kept me reading and wondering what was going to happen next. It is filled with emotion as Jack suffers through his missing sweetheart, his father’s illness, and destruction of the farm’s property. I was kept in the dark about why Gwenie was kidnapped, and why the property is so important. These questions also kept me reading. Added to that was how to scale the mountain and get back down. Just when I thought the story was over, I experienced more chapters that made the ending more satisfying. Larry Hammersley

Check our more five-star reviews on Amazon
Free for a limited time at the buy links below
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