Thursday, August 22, 2019

Interview with Maria T. Henriksen & spotlight of Not Again...

We're happy to have Maria T. Henriksen with us today talking about her book Not Again. To learn more about Maria and Not Again, read on!

Book description/blurb:
Christina De Rosa holds a potentially deadly secret that threatens to get out. As an innocent young teenager, Christina survives a terrifying detailed sexual assault that destroys her self-worth and trust. 

In her daily struggle, Christina searches for ways to keep her torment at bay, so she can function as a "normal" teenager. Meanwhile, Christina's spiritual journey leads her down a path causing conflict within, as she's riddled with guilt and shame. 

A chance encounter with her longtime, hot crush, Avery Evans, sparks a fire in Christina that she can't  extinguish. As the sweet, loving, knight in shining armor he readily portrays, Avery offers the safety and security that Christina craves.

In her quest for internal peace, Christina must make a decision. Will she give her heart, body and soul to the super popular, Avery Evans? 

Will Christina's nightmares become all-consuming or will her discoveries lead her to a renewed way of life?

Find out if true love triumphs in this edgy, faith-based young adult page-tuner, set in the 1980s.

*Not Again is NOT your typical Christian coming of age story. Fierce faith doesn't come without a fight. Prepare for heartache, self-harm, traumatic events, real romance, and actual scripture in these pages. 

Tell us a little about yourself:
Hi, I'm a debut author and I am super excited to have recently launched my first novel called Not Again. Not Again is a young adult edgy Christian romance novel that follows the spiritual journey of a young teenage girl during the 1980s. There's real romance, actual scripture and lots of heartache as well as humor. 

I started reading young adult novels when I began to substitute teach because it was convenient to check out books at the school library. Before I knew it, I was hooked on reading that genre. I decided to combine elements that I like to read like romance and make it faith based with a literary flair. As a teacher, I can't resist an opportunity for a teaching lesson as demonstrated by the various themes in the novel.

Being a substitute teacher and parent of boy/girl teenagers causes me to be immersed in the daily struggles of teens. Life is messy and teenagers have their own challenges in navigating life. Not Again speaks to those struggles in a meaningful way.

During the revisions of my novel, I experienced a tremendous amount of physical pain and stress, including neck surgery. As a result, I found it necessary to employ coping mechanisms to get me through that difficult season of my life. In turn, I incorporated those same techniques in my novel. My hope is that my book will transform lives by it's inspirational message, and not just the lives of teens, but adults as well.

Tell us five things about yourself that many people don't know:
I placed 3rd in my age group for a 10K after only running for less than a year. 
I spent 1.5 years in physical therapy the past 2 years nursing multiple injuries.
I aspire to run a half marathon.
I took the photos, video and wrote the song for the book trailer & cover. 
I want to become an inspirational speaker.

Tell us about your journey to publication:
The most challenging aspect of publishing  novel was the actual publishing portion of it. The writing and revising was the easy fun part. Trying to figure out what avenue to publish and how to go about executing my plan was excruciating. 

Technical issues were abound. It seemed as if every fluky issue that could be experienced, I experienced it. There were epic fails all over the place. I had to buy a brand new computer, a brand new phone, a brand new tripod to broadcast live and I'm still having issues, not the same ones, different ones. 

You have to be a jack of all trades to self-publish and promote yourself. It's grueling and frustrating. There are many obstacles to overcome. Is it worth it? I honestly don't think I will know the full impact of my novel, but it was written out of obedience to Christ.

I have a message, a ministry. The book was inspired by God as I never knew what was coming next. Not Again was written with many themes that I hope my readers will take to heart.

When I'm not writing, you can find me jogging, reading or listening to live music music performed by talented 


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Interview with Jan Cline & spotlight of The Pruning...

We're happy to have Jan Cline with us today talking about her book, The Pruning. To learn more about Jan and her inspirational historical fiction book, read on!

Back cover blurb
Clarissa Wilding can’t run away from her past. Moving from the drought-ridden Kansas plains to the green hills of the Pacific Northwest has only drawn her secrets to the surface, threatening the new life she has built with her husband, Frank, and their boys. When Frank introduces her to his brother, everything changes, and Clarissa must deal with new revelations that test their family bond and may forever alter their happiness.

The first page of the book:
Chapter One
Pasco, Washington, June 1935
After three long days and two nights sitting on a lumpy seat, Clarissa had looked forward to getting off this train, but now all she wanted was to slither into the safety of the grimy locomotive and go back where she’d come from. Despite a promise of a new beginning, her life was about to fall into an abyss deeper than the sand dunes she had just escaped.
Her throat tightened as she tried to pull in some air. Like the dust storms around their homestead on the Kansas plains, the sight of her husband, Frank, hugging his estranged brother, robbed her of breath. If her first impression was correct, another kind of storm brewed before her eyes.
It can’t be him. Her gut told her this wasn’t her imagination, but indeed a cruel twist in her plans for a brighter future for what was left of her family. One more long look at his face, his stature, and any lingering doubt faded.                                  
She turned from the scene and scanned the yard around the clapboard station house. The sheer beauty of the clear skies and rolling hills in the distance should have been her welcome. The sight of blooming flowers and tall leafy trees might have excited her but for the shock of seeing him again.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.
1)    I’m a craft-a-holic.
2)    I have been singing since I was 6 years old – sometimes professionally.
3)    I founded and directed a writers conference for 5 years.
4)    In my family I’m known as the cheesecake queen.
5)    I was first published when I was in the 3rd grade. Been writing ever since.
Why did you choose to write this book?
This book is the 2nd in a series on a topic I became fascinated with while watching some documentaries. The depression/dust bowl era has so many stories left untold. I believe in keeping history alive, and the characters in my book make that happen for me, and I hope for my readers. Once I developed my make-believe family in book 1, I had to continue their journey through all the tough years Americans endured. 

What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand? 
How much hard work it takes to organize and write a good story. That most talented authors have to study the craft and learn what makes a good read. The majority of authors don’t earn a living just from writing books. I’d like non-writers to know that while it’s great to get a book for free, authors work very hard to get that story to them. Please thank your favorite authors with reviews on Amazon.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Writing the next book, and making it better than the last. Book 3 of my series is based on the life of my mother. As I finish the manuscript, I feel pressured to get the characterization right while still telling a great partially true story. This has been a struggle for me – sort of mixed emotions at times. But I know I’m supposed to write this book. I’ve researched it for years and just want to get it right.

What do you hope readers to take away from your novel?
I hope my readers see that even through the most difficult times, determination and faith can move mountains. The women in my books all find that inner strength to endure impossible situations. It’s a lesson in humility for most of us who have never had to suffer through devastating circumstances like those of the dust bowl, the great depression, and WW2.

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
Creating and directing my conference was a huge thing for me, and I feel good that so many writers were encouraged and even published through those conferences. The other thing is just finishing a novel, then 2, then 3!

 What do you do for fun when not writing?
Crafts, RV camping, golf. We also have a cabin on a small lake that is a good getaway.

What are you working on now? 
Book 3 of this American Dreams series. As I mentioned, it is based on the life of my mother – and her WW2 bomber pilot husband. Then I have another WW2 story up my sleeve for next year.

Where else can readers find you online?
Facebook: Jan Cline Author
Twitter: @Jan_Cline
Anyone can join my monthly newsletter and receive a free short story!

Jan has been writing most of her life, but wasn’t published until later in life. After writing non-fiction for several years, fiction became her focus, with emphasis on the stories from America’s history. Her first novel, Emancipated Heart, was published in 2016. Jan enjoys her life in northern Idaho, living with her newly retired husband and very spoiled dog. She has 9 grandchildren to keep her busy. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Interview with Heather Norman Smith & spotlight of Where I was Planted...

We're excited to have Heather Norman Smith with us today talking about her book Where I was planted. To learn more about Heather and her book, read on!

give us the first page of the book.
spent a lot of time thinking about weeds. Not just the dandelion and chickweed
that pops up uninvited in people’s vegetable gardens. I’m talking about the
kind of weeds that squeeze themselves up through the tiniest of cracks in
sidewalks, and in roads and parking lots, and in little crevices in rocks.
They’re unattractive to most people, but I think these plants are remarkable.
Shallow soil, short roots, and trampled on by every pair of feet that happens
their way—not to mention tires. But still they manage to keep growing, or at
the very least, sprout up a little and stay green. I reckon most people have
never even thought about it, how special they are. But I’ve thought about it a
lot . . . because I’m one of them.
figured it out on a Saturday afternoon, in the early spring of my fifth-grade
year, at Susie Pennywell’s eleventh birthday party. I hadn’t laid eyes on Bert
in three days, as he came and went mostly while I was at school or asleep, so
it seemed okay to go without asking his permission.
was a long walk to Susie’s house. I started out with a swift pace, determined
not to be the last kid at the party. But after the first twenty minutes, it
felt like my shoes were filled with lead. I shoved my hands down deep into the
pockets of my denim trousers and forced my legs to work harder, step by step.
That cake’s gonna be worth it, Nate. Just keep walkin’. That birthday cake will
surely be worth it, I thought.

Back cover blurb
In the spring of 1961,
ten-year-old Nate "Weenie" Dooley has a revelation—his father is not
a good one. Inspired by National Geographic, his favorite thing next to the
Bible storybook his mother gave him before she died, Nate plans to leave his
father and their home in the Smokies to set out on adventure.

When he discovers that
his father has left him first, it will take the help of a stray dog, some kind
neighbors, a one-man-band, letters from a long-lost-aunt, and a new
understanding of God to figure out he isn't really alone.

Will he find that Copper
Creek is where he's always belonged? Or will his wanderlust keep him from ever
coming back?

Please tell us five random things we might not
know about you.
My favorite drinks are
black coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper.
I love to sing.
I’m a mom of four. My
kids are twelve, eight, and six, and my adorable foster son is two.
My dad has been my pastor
all my life.
I play the alto saxophone.

Why did you choose to write this book?
I don’t remember a specific inspiration for this
story. As with my first book, the characters seemed to show up in my brain one
day, and after I met them, I had to tell their story. The general concept of
the book probably comes from my heart for orphans, though. My desire to bring
awareness to the needs of children drives a lot of my writing.

What one
thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand? 
I must write! It’s
something I am compelled to keep doing. And if I can’t find time to write for
several days, it starts to affect me emotionally. I feel like something is
What is the toughest test
you've faced as a writer?
Being patient. It takes a long time to bring a book
into the world, and I’m not very good at the waiting part.
What do you hope readers to take away from your novel?
That God is good, regardless of our circumstances.

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of,
writing-related or not?
Anything good about me comes from God, not me, so
I try to focus on gratitude instead of pride. I am extremely grateful for the
opportunity to publish my first two novels.
What do you do for fun when not writing?
I enjoy being outdoors with my family—at
the beach or in the mountains. And I recently enjoyed performing in an outdoor
community theater production with my oldest daughter.
What are you
working on now? 
For a very short while, I’ve put novel writing on hold
to work on a devotional. I didn’t intend to start this project until much
later, but it feels like what I’m supposed to be doing now.

Where else
can readers find you online?   

Heather Norman Smith is
an author of inspirational fiction and a devotional blogger. Her goal is to use
the written word to entertain and encourage, while illuminating the redemptive
love of God. She also enjoys writing songs and singing about Jesus.

Heather is proud to be a
life-long North Carolinian and aims to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State
in her writing. Her home is just outside Winston-Salem, NC, where she lives
with her husband and their three children. She and her husband are also foster

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Interview with Allen Steadham & spotlight of Mindfire...

We're happy to have Allen Steadham with us today talking about his book Mindfire. To learn more about Allen and his Christian Superhero Thriller, read on!

Back cover blurb
"For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required."
Leia Hamilton can move things and set them on fire with her mind.
Leia's father and step-mother tried to hide their past: a time when they were part of a team of superheroes. But despite being disbanded for over twenty years following a series of tragedies, their problems were passed to their children and Leia finds that her future collides with their past.
In the diverse world of human and superhuman, heroes and villains, friends and enemies, some of Leia's choices have terrible consequences. For Leia, this leads to a personal crossroads and a search for redemption.
Not your normal superhero novel, Mindfire isn't about secret identities, costumes, or evil plots endangering the world. Instead, self-discovery and adaptation is at the forefront as the reader follows the lives of the characters who are unafraid to show love and explore spirituality.
Can redemption and renewed grace weather the flames of absolute power and superhuman strength?

Please give us the first page of the book.

SWEATING FROM HER BRISK WALK across the Digby College campus
in record-breaking near-ninety-degree July heat, Leia Hamilton dragged
herself into an empty seat towards the back of the large Jason V. Frederick
lecture hall, which wasn’t well-lit or properly ventilated. The building itself
must have been at least twenty-five to thirty years old. The acoustics carried
well enough but also made it seem like all sound escaped from a human-sized
tin can. Students were always tempted to sleep but their success often
depended on the teacher.

Professor Angela Merrick, whom Leia had nicknamed “Professor Doom,”
scowled and deliberately made direct eye contact with Leia but said nothing,
continuing her lecture. The professor radiated confidence and something else,
Leia wasn’t sure what. The professor’s long black hair was often worn in a
bun like today but sometimes she wore it down. Leia believed the professor
would be very beautiful if she didn’t always project a certain amount of
tension. It had given her worry lines that made her look a few years older than
she probably was.

Thirty minutes later, Josh Manning saw Leia escaping her first class of the
day. Mentally noting her distressed expression, he whirled her around and
kissed her passionately in front of the other class escapees in the hallway. He
was red-haired, even taller than Leia and lanky. He also had more than a bit of
Southern charm to accompany his slight Alabama drawl. Suddenly, he pulled
back, confused and concerned.

“Your skin is, like, really hot!” Josh put his hand on her forehead. “You
have a fever or something?”
“I’m fine,” Leia pulled back and glared at Josh. “Now what are you doing?
You said you’d keep things mellow on-campus!”
“You looked like you needed cheering up,” Josh said.

Leia facepalmed. And a moment later, she grabbed his arms in a rage.

“What is wrong with you?” Leia screamed. “Save that stuff for when
we’re alone!”
“Oh yeah, that’s subtle,” Josh replied. “Do you think anyone didn’t hear
you just now? All I did was kiss you!”

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.
1.     I am interracially married (my wife is African-American)
2.     I’ve played electric bass guitar since 1986
3.     I take sky pictures with my iPhone & post them on Instagram and Facebook
4.     My wife and I have the same birthday (5 years apart)
5.     I studied journalism in high school and college

Why did you choose to write this book?
This was my first full-length, completed novel. I chose to undertake it for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) in November 2013 and completed the first draft in three weeks. I asked the Lord to bless me with inspiration and he did. I took characters and story elements from original superhero comic book I wrote and drew, starting at age ten. I continued that comic into my twenties, finishing it in my thirties. But now, I wanted to only write Christian fiction. And the Lord took my familiarity with these characters and their histories to craft a story in the present day, a story that would point towards Him. A redemption story. So that’s what Mindfire is. It’s all to God’s glory.

What one thing about writing do you wish non-writers would understand? 
It’s a process. No one starts out a great writer. People may have great ideas but it takes time, practice and mistakes to get better. A writer is always learning and growing. A writer should never think they’re “good enough,” they should keep pushing themselves. That’s what makes a person a writer.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Depicting salvation. It’s one thing to show a character going through trials or realizing that they need God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But to show that person actually ask for and receive the greatest Gift ever bestowed, it takes me as a writer submitting myself to this Holy God and allowing Him to show me the way to depict it. Salvation is the same but the way people approach, perceive and accept it is different each time. It’s a very personal experience and that has to be respected and shown properly. Otherwise, one runs the risk of making the Divine seem commonplace, which it is not and never can be. It is extraordinary.

What do you hope readers to take away from your novel?
While it is very normal for people to try and solve their own problems, the only lasting solution is Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate superhero who died for our sins to give us eternal life.

What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of, writing-related or not?
I’m proud of completing Mindfire. It is the culmination of a lifetime of character building while also saying goodbye to a part of my past in a satisfying way. It’s knowing that theses characters’ stories may be able to help someone who may not even know they’re seeking the Lord. Or it may bring peace to someone who is struggling in their walk with Christ. I don’t know how the book will be received but I know what the Lord can do. It’s an honor to be used by Him for anything.

What do you do for fun when not writing?
I like to watch Star Trek (all series) and foreign dramas. My oldest son and I go to the movies somewhat frequently. My wife and I love spending time together. I also enjoy doing things with the whole family.

What are you working on now? 
I’m working on the first book in a Christian steampunk trilogy.

Where else can readers find you online?   

Allen Steadham created comic books and webcomics before he started writing novels. He has been married to his wife, Angel, since 1995 and they have two sons and a daughter. When not writing stories, Allen and his wife are singers, songwriters and musicians. They have been in a Christian band together since 1997. They live in Central Texas.

Interview with Maria T. Henriksen & spotlight of Not Again...

We're happy to have Maria T. Henriksen with us today talking about her book Not Again . To learn more about Maria and Not Agai...