Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nicole Odell's "The Embittered Ruby"

Title: The Embittered Ruby
Publisher: Barbour Publishing.

Cover blurb: Sixteen-year-old Carmen Castillo wonders what it would be like to have a pair of ruby slippers.“There’s no place like home. . .”   “There’s no place like home. . .”   “There’s no place like home.”

But then reality sets in, and Carmen concludes that ruby slippers are mere fiction. Constant prayers that her parents will patch things up remain unanswered. . .and her hurtful world becomes too much for her to bear. Trapped by resentment and anger, Carmen lashes out the only way she knows how and soon finds herself at a crossroads. Will Carmen find the path to ultimate peace and contentment that her heart longs for? Or will her troubled soul remain forever embittered?

Series Description: DIAMOND ESTATES. Three girls are on a journey to find hope and healing. Each coming to Diamond Estates seeking solace… Each with her own unique set of struggles… And each capturing hearts and challenging the faith of teen girls.

1) How did this story come to you?
As a teen, I went through a residential Teen Challenge program much like the Diamond Estates program…minus the stone monastery and the mountains. The girls I met there, plus my own experiences, gave me the inspiration for most of the Diamond Estates series—just wait for book three in December!

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
Hmm. There’s not much to tell about this. It was pretty textbook, I think. Nothing really challenging and no major upsets. My agent sent off the proposal, and the offer came a few weeks later. Don’t worry—it hasn’t always been that easy. ;)

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. I have three-year-old triplets—most of you probably already knew that, though.
2. I graduated high school and started college at 15.
3. I’m a member of Mensa.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I have some non-fiction I’m working on right now and a super-fun fiction proposal being shopped around to publishers. I have so many book releases this year (nine total) that I am kind of focusing on birthing rather than creating at this moment. Next up is the release of Rainbow’s End, a novella anthology about geocaching in the Ozarks, also with Barbour Publishing. (5/1) The first two non-fiction books in the Hot Buttons series, (Kregel) release on 6/1. It’s all in God’s hands, and I’m excited!

5) Parting comments?
There are three things I pray for myself, my kids, my readers, and you:
I pray that the motivation for sin would be illuminated by God’s spotlight so we can identify it, deal with it, and kick it out. Next I pray for the strength to embrace change and disappointment as part of God’s refining fire. Finally, I pray for the power to rise above pain and poor choices, reinventing the person shaped by lies into an embodiment of truth.

“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

Nicole O'Dell, mom of six, founder of Choose NOW Ministries and host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk, is a youth culture expert who writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life's tough choices. She’s author of YA fiction, including the popular Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series and the Diamond Estates Series, and non-fiction for teens including Girl Talk, 2/1/12, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column. Hot Buttons, O’Dell’s non-fiction series for parents helps pre-empt peer pressure by tackling tough issues. Visit  for more info.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
My website is  or I’m on facebook at or twitter at and

Monday, April 9, 2012

S. Dionne Moore's books

Book #3 Your Goose is Cooked: When LaTisha Barnhart’s chief cook overhears a hitman being hired to take out the mayor, he tells the amateur sleuth right away. And when said hitman turns up dead, the plot thickens like pan of stale gravy. Lord knows there’s no shortage of suspicious activity around town—just keeping track is making LaTisha’s head spin. But when she is nearly run down in broad daylight, she realizes her goose might be cooked. Your Goose Is Cooked is a feast for mystery fans!

Book #2 Polly Dent Loses Grip (2010 Carol Award Silver)
While LaTisha Barnhart is helping her mother-in-law move into Bridgeton Towers Assisted Living and Nursing, Polly Dent loses grip on a facility treadmill and takes a fatal spill that's ruled an accident. The residents' gossip is revealing all kinds of motives for murder and LaTisha's nose smells trouble simmering. Can she stay on her achin' feet, and one step ahead of the villain, long enough to solve yet another crime?

Book #1 Murder on the Ol' Bunions(2008 Genesis Silver)
LaTisha Barnhart's bunions tell her something's afoot as she delves deeper into the murder of her former employer, Marion Peters. She's burping Mark Hamm's bad cooking to investigate his beef with Marion. . .getting her hair styled at a high falutin' beauty parlor to see what has Regina Rogane in a snarl. . .playing self-appointed matchmaker between the local chief and a prime suspect. . .and thinking Payton O'Mahney's music store lease might be the reason he's singing a sour note when discussion of Marion's murder arises. LaTisha's just might use the reward money to get her bunions surgically removed, but she's got to catch the crook first.

1. Where did you get the idea for your main character LaTisha Barnhart?
I had an agent tell me she loved my spunky, mature women characters. I decided to base a story around such a character and since Barbour was starting a new mystery line and I just happen to love mysteries, I gave it a shot. LaTisha’s height is based on one of my close friends, with Hardy’s based on her husband—they make quite the couple, just like Hardy and LaTisha.

2. What gave you the idea for the plot?
I love history. Old ghost towns and treasure hunts. . .pirates and cops and robbers. . .well, my imagination got so stirred up I decided to use a modern town whose businesses occupied old buildings. Then I spiked that with the town legend of the assayer stealing gold from Maple Gap citizens and getting shot for his deed.

3. Who chose the clever title?
Originally, LaTisha’s story was called Get Off My Bunions, but when it became a mystery, my editor and I decided Murder on the Ol’ Bunions would be a better fit.

4. What was the most difficult thing about writing this story?
Ugh, making sure all the clues tied in and that no thread of the plot had been dropped. Writing a mystery is TIGHT writing.

5. What was the most fun?
I love doing the scenes between Hardy and LaTisha. They are so much fun and so real to me. Hardy is LaTisha’s conscience when she gets carried away, and his softness plays well against her tough gal demeanor. Of course, LaTisha is really a teddy bear inside too.

6. What advice would you give to those desiring to write mystery?
Start with something else. Writing a mystery is much more difficult than writing a romance where there are only two main characters. Mysteries involve so many clues and red herrings, twists and turns. . .it’s pure craziness trying to keep everything straight.

7. What is your favorite thing about writing?
Doing the writing is my favorite part. I hate editing. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Once I’ve finished a story, I want to take a break from it. A LONG break, but I seldom get that opportunity since content edits and line edits are a reality of signing a contract.

8. Will we see more of LaTisha and Hardy?
Absolutely! Polly Dent Loses Grip, a 2010 Carol Award Finalist, will Release April 1 (no foolin'!) followed by Your Goose Is Cooked. I'm especially excited about the release of this ebook because it was the last in the series and never was printed. This is the last of the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series. Anyone who loved (or hated) the Mayor in the first book will find out what happens to him in the third, when LaTisha investigates a hit on a hitman. When she almost gets run down in the road she knows she'd better solve the case before her goose is cooked!

9. Any words of wisdom for new writers?
Try your hand at writing in a completely different genre than you imagined. So many get stuck writing in one genre that they never stretch themselves. I wrote historicals for years. Murder on the Ol’ Bunions was my first try at a mystery. Can you believe that? If I hadn’t taken the plunge I would have never known I could do it.

Mistaken Identity or Shattered Identity by K. Dawn Byrd

Mistaken Identity: Eden Morgan longs for a boyfriend of her own, an impossible goal when her best friend, Lexi Branson, gets all the attention and all the guys. When they fall in love with the same guy, Eden believes she doesn't have a chance. She can only hope that sometimes the good girl gets the guy.

Mistaken Identity YouTube book trailer:

Shattered Identity: Nineteen-year-old Lexi Branson thinks she's found the guy of her dreams. He's hot, wealthy, and older. She soon finds out that sometimes the perfect guy turns out to be perfectly dangerous.

YouTube book trailer: