The Surrendering Time series is an entertaining yet reflective adventure to the Adirondack Mountains. Each book takes an element of time (past, present, future) and explores through flawed and humorous characters what a surrender journey looks like.
In ENGAGED, Trish Maxwell’s back in Speculator Falls with egg on her face and a lot of apologies to make. She left the mountain town for her dream job in New York City, only to come back unemployed. With no prospects, she works at her family’s department store and makes amends as she finds a new passion creating window displays for Adirondack businesses. She works hard and tries to convince the people of Speculator Falls she’s changed for the better.
As Trish pitches in with community events, she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson, the one man who doesn’t seem to judge her. She even makes friends with Jenna Regan, who helps Trish when people demand to know what’s next in Trish’s life. Living in New York City has been her goal, but the more she’s around Wayne and the Adirondack area, the more she’s drawn to revising her plans. Just when Trish thinks the plan for her life’s coming together, a second chance comes her way that could give her every career goal she’s ever wanted, but threaten to tear her and Wayne apart. Can Trish surrender fears about her future and discover God’s plan for her?
my point of view:
I was so thrilled to win this book as a package from Inspy Romance, and it is my first time reading a Julie Arduini book! I see there were two previous books to this series, but honestly, I completely enjoyed this story not having read the others – although now I want to get them too, ha! The setting is a favorite of mine – Upstate New York! I grew up vacationing in the Catskill Mountains, so this was like a trip down memory lane for me!
Trish is definitely a work in progress (aren’t we all?) having had a very self-centered and selfish attitude about herself, she has to come to terms with the reality of growing up. I adored her friends and parents, and the seniors at the center! They all manage to come together and show Trish what’s really important in life, with God always at the center! Wayne is a wonderful guy, who has flaws of his own he needs to work on, but the journey is well worth the results! This lovely story is full of humor and love, romance, friendship, and faith, I couldn’t ask for anything more and I highly recommend it!.
About Julie Arduini
Welcome to Chapel Cove, Oregon, where life begins at forty.
What she most needed was right there in front of her all along.
At the age of thirteen, Clarise Aylward and her two best friends each pen a wish list of things they want to achieve. Deciding to bury a tin containing their life goals, the friends vow to unearth the metal box once they’ve all turned forty. But as the decades pass and each girl chases her dreams, the lists are forgotten.
Heath Brock has been in love with Clarise for over twenty-seven years and counting. As a young man, he’d plucked up the courage to ask her out on a Valentine’s date, but the couple succumbed to pent-up passions, sending Clarise dashing for the other side of the country.
Years after Clarise’s sudden departure, Heath serves as youth pastor. He’d held out hope of Clarise’s return, but buries his feelings for his childhood sweetheart when he learns she’s married.
Almost penniless, divorced, and with nowhere to go, Clarise returns home to Chapel Cove, her future uncertain. She’s approaching forty with her dreams in tatters. When old feelings resurface, Clarise wonders whether she’s ever really fallen out of love with Heath.
What’s the man of God to do when his old flame returns, seemingly to stay?
With Clarise back in town, Heath is determined not to repeat past mistakes, but if he has anything to say about it, never again will he lose the only woman he’s ever loved.
Hello and Thank You, Marion, for joining us today for coffee! It comes as no surprise to our readers what a fan I am of your writing, so this is indeed a treat for me! I am so excited about this new series – Chapel Cove Romances that you are collaborating on with Alexa Verde and Autumn Macarthur.
MU: Thanks for having me, Paula. It’s great to be sitting down with you over a cup of brew again. Believe me, Autumn, Alexa, and myself are just as excited about Chapel Cove.
PM: Can you tell me a little bit about what inspired you to write a series where ‘life begins at forty’?
MU: Paula, it all started with a post I did on our readers’ group, TAaaB (Three Authors and a Blogger), on October 8th, 2018. I was giving everyone an update about a sixty-something set I was in, and my book, A Time to Push Daisies. In that post I asked the question: Do you think there’s a gap in the market for stories with older couples?It was Robin Widner Moore’s response—“I would love the same thing for 40s- 50s. I think there is a gap for anyone over 40”—that got Autumn, Alexa, and me thinking. By the end of that day we were sold on the idea of a new trilogy of three friends, nearing the big four oh.
Around the same time, the question was asked on Avid Readers of Christian Fiction: What is a topic you wish you saw more in CF books? Mature adults (40’s/50’s) was something mentioned that stood out to us, and we realized there was a gap in the market for books of this kind.
But we already had our schedules planned for the next two years with two other series we wanted to collaborate on. However, the more we chatted and brainstormed about a forty-something series, the more the idea and the characters grew on us. Very soon, we all felt that THIS was the series God wanted us to write next. Soon we’d pushed the other series back and planned Chapel Cove for September this year. But still Reese, Kristina, and Nai called to us, demanding their stories were the next we told, and so by October 13th (5 days after the idea was sparked), we were all in agreement that Chapel Cove would happen in March 2019. We’d initially thought just three books, but it didn’t take much to realize we were creating a storyworld that shouldn’t be wasted on only three stories. And so, we settled on nine books in the series (three each). That soon changed to twelve (four each). Who knows once we’ve written those twelve books whether more characters will emerge demanding their stories be told?
Here’s a little sneak peek at our storyworld, Chapel Cove. It’ll be an evolving town/map as more stories are told.
PM: That is so wonderful to hear! I love that you not only listen to the readers wishes, but of course, follow God’s leading in all of it!
In Remember Me, Reese goes about reinventing herself a few times, but the hardest to me must be after her return to Chapel Cove divorced, and basically penniless. I must tell you, this is an experience I have actually lived through – only younger than Reese was, and as a single parent – not an easy transition under any circumstances. You captured Reese’s struggles beautifully, I hate admit, but I have been in that very ‘same’ pawn shop myself. I’m not sure I want to ask how you were able to get such insight to this particular struggle……?
MU: So sorry you’ve been there, Paula. Thankfully, I’ve never been in that situation before. My sister did have a troublesome first marriage, so I did witness her struggles since I was about ten (she’s a decade older than me), even though she tried for thirty years to hide so much from the family. Movies probably…although none in particular… But I’m sure there were those that subconsciously helped me visualize the scenes. However, I do believe that my insight came from God, that He helped me get into the mind and heart of the woman scorned, the one who lost everything—like Reese.
PM: I am thankful that you have never had that struggle yourself, Marion, and my prayers to your sister!
I love second chance at love stories, especially when one party has remained head over heels in love with the other….no matter how much time has passed. This makes me swoon, lol! In your own opinion, why do you think so many people love the second chance at love – with the same person – stories?
MU: Good question, Paula. I think maybe because it’s great to see people FINALLY getting it right. For me anyway, that’s why I love the trope.
PM: I love the idea of the girls having a ‘bucket’ list for when they reach the ripe old age of forty, lol. I remember having a few things I had hoped to accomplish later in life, but never made an actual list. Is that something you ever did – at any age?
MU: Not that I can recall. I did want to marry my younger brother when I was a little girl. That was before I learned it wasn’t the done thing and long before the days of my landing my fist through his bedroom door. Thankfully I discovered there were many, many interesting boys out there LOL. Much as I love them, I definitely wouldn’t want to marry any of my brothers.
PM: I am so curious as to how the three of you authors work out the dynamics when crossing over your characters, you all did it – and with even more authors- in A Tuscan Legacy and I can imagine it might be hard to get into the other author’s mindset when writing one of their character’s into your own story. Can you give us any inside scope on that?
MU: We do a lot of brainstorming before writing, so we do get a good feel for each others’ characters initially. Then we just write and send the scenes back and forth to each other to check if we’ve gotten the other authors’ characters right. It’s all quite an interesting undertaking. The biggest challenge though is keeping the timeline accurate.
PM: I completely connected with Clarise wanting to go by a new name – Reese, and sort of re-invent herself. Goodness knows I have certainly gone through that phase as well, hahaha – I never liked my name, lol. What gave you the idea to have Clarise be teased by the movie Silence of the Lambs? I’ll be honest, I have never seen the movie, but do recall the promotions with him saying that line very well…so it worked perfectly for me!
MU: LOL, to be honest, Paula, I’ve never been crazy on my name either. I mean, really, it means bitter??? But I have learned to live with it…my mom and dad must’ve liked it when they chose it, so I figured I could too. Plus, I don’t really know many Marions…two or three, that’s all.
When I chose the name Clarise, the first thing I thought of was that line in the movie (yes, I did see it), and I could just imagine this teen boy teasing poor Reese. I only just made it to using the film reference as the movie was released merely months before Clarise’s birthday. I first had the scene written with the girls surmising Heath’s brother had hired the movie.
Then we realised the movie wouldn’t have been released yet on DVD, so I had to rework the scene.
Oh, and remember I said Reese was very insistent on many things? Her name was one of those things. She insisted it was Clarise with one S and Reese with an S, not a C. She drove me, Alexa, and Autumn crazy, LOL.
PM: I just loved meeting Clarise and her friends in Remember Me as teens, they are all three so different and yet band together so well! I have to ask – do you still have friendships today with your own girlfriends as a teen?
MU: Life has taken me far away from where I grew up—even overseas to Ireland for a while—so sadly I lost touch with my childhood friends. Thanks to Facebook though, I have reestablished contact with many of those old school friends, and it’s great to keep abreast with what is happening in their lives.
I do have two friends I’d like to single out though. I made friends with Cathy at my first job almost 40 years ago. She lives in Swizerland. We don’t keep in contact much, but when our paths do cross, it’s like no time has passed since we last saw each other, even though it would’ve been years. In 2017, when she heard we would be holidaying in Italy, she and her hubby drove six hours from Zurich to Cinque Terre on the Italian coast and we enjoyed two nights and a wonderful day together. Here’s a photo of us on that holiday (she bought me the hat and it’s my favorite).
Then there is Sandy. We met through work around 2008—part of my job was planning corporate events, and she worked for a travel agency. She assisted me in finding suitable venues. Several years ago, she moved to the UK, but always comes to stay with me if she visits South Africa. And when we went to England in 2017, we made sure to visit her for a night. We’re not in contact much either (she’s not fond of social media), but we know we’re always there for each other.
Both Cathy and Sandy have fascinating lives, and I could certainly base some great books on them. Maybe one day I will.
And then I can’t not mention my Irish sister, Libby. She adopted herself into our family when I was a teen. Fresh off the boat from Ireland, she and her hubby lived in our small South African town for a few years. At that time she was friends with my oldest brother, but over the past two decades, Libby and I have become very close friends and “sisters”. This was us wandering the streets of Robin Hood’s Bay (A Hero for Heather and A Husband for Holly storyworld).
PM: You did an outstanding job portraying Heath – I absolutely adored him from day one. I especially enjoyed the way he comes off as a total beach bum, still living in the RV he did as a teenager! You really made him earn his way back into Reese’s heart, lol…..but of course that is half the fun! What I found so interesting is how you had Reese being closer to God growing up, and being pulled away from Him in adulthood, and just the opposite for Heath. What do you think would have happened if Reese and Heath were on the same “page” as teenagers, do you feel like they would have been able to make their relationship with God and each other work at that tender age, or did they truly need the years apart from one another to be at the right place and time down the road?
MU: My gut feeling is that Reese and Heath needed those two decades apart to allow God to work in each of their lives. I’m not sure that Heath would’ve changed as dramatically for God (if at all) had they gone from high school to married couple. He needed that heartache, from the loss of both Reese and his father, to get him to the place of realizing he needed God in his life. And he needed those kids to channel his energy into. It gave him a sense of purpose. And Reese…well, she would never have felt fulfilled if she hadn’t chased her ultimate dream. But when that was all stripped away from her, God was able to mold her into the vessel he’d always designed her to be.
PM: I completely agree with you on that, it’s just so hard to live through those struggles, but God knows the plans He has for us!
Reese’s parents are absolutely adorable, but tell me, how hard was it for you to make them practice the tough love with their only daughter? I’m not sure how most parents would handle that, lol, in my big Italian family the momma’s are only too happy to have their young one’s back home so they can coddle them, lol!
MU: Paula, it was pretty tough writing them that way, and it was hard for them to take that stance. But they knew their daughter, knew what she was capable of achieving, and what they’d seen for nearly two months wasn’t it. They had little doubt that taking a lesson from the birds and kicking their little chick out of the nest, she would learn to fly high once again.
And they were wise enough to realize that the alternative of leaving her to continue wallowing in her misery, would be to Reese’s detriment. So they were willing to take a chance on tough love. Of course, whether they actually would have kicked their daughter out onto the streets had she not pulled her life together in the time they’d given her…well, thankfully neither us nor them needed to find out.
PM: Yes, you certainly got them off the hook, lol! Last question – are we going to get to see Reese and Heath’s love story progress as we get more installments in the series? Inquiring minds need to know, lol!
MU: Reese and Heath will definitely pop up in all the rest of my three planned Chapel Cove stories, so yes, readers will get to enjoy snippets of their lives.
Marion is being so incredibly generous as to offer not just one but FIVE ebook versions!! Please comment on this post and tell us what your “dream career” was growing up is to enter! This contest will run for one week from today and winners will be notified via email!
Love Me by Alexa Verde
Can the biggest disaster of her life become the beginning of something wonderful?
Growing up, Kristina Vela never imagined she’d meet her fortieth birthday divorced by her cheating, manipulative husband, and without a house, degree, or career. Back in her hometown, Chapel Cove, to start anew, she’s given up on men. Then she meets grieving widower Greg Matthews and his adorable five-year-old daughter and helps them renovate a house. Just when Kristina feels she can love again, her ex gives her an ultimatum. Can she choose between her own happiness and Greg’s?
Former snowboarder Greg Matthews is moving to Chapel Cove so his daughter can be close to her grandparents. After his wife died, his heart closed to romance. As caring and compassionate Kristina helps him repair his house and his life, he might be falling for her. But if she decides to leave, will he survive a second heartbreak?
Be still my heart, we have another series from three of my favorite authors! Welcome to Chapel Cove, a sleepy little beach town on the coast of Oregon that I would gladly move to – if it were real! These books are all about “life begins at forty” and I couldn’t be happier about a mature group of characters! These beautiful girls are friends from childhood and after trials and tribulations, all return to their hometown at about their fortieth birthday.
This is the second installment of the series. We first met Kristina in Remember Me by Marion Ueckermann, but she has the starring role in Love Me. I could so identify with Kristina as she married young believing in the fairytale, and ends up being married to a man who is emotionally controlling. This book is bittersweet in some areas and incredibly joyful in others. I fell in love with Chelsea immediately – who can resist a precious, motherless five year old?
I am a sucker for second chance at love and children in the story, so you had me from the get go! But I would have to say, my favorite part was when Kristina finally finds her way back to her true self – thanks to God – and is able to stand up for herself, I practically shouted out loud I was so thrilled! I don’t want to give to much of it away, because you all really need to read this book for yourself, lol!!
Please join me, if you haven’t already, in following the Chapel Cove page to keep up to date with all the books:
Welcome to Chapel Cove, Oregon, where life begins at forty.
As their fortieth birthdays loom, three childhood friends return unexpectedly to their home town. Stunning coastline, a harbor against life’s storms, and a welcoming community await them. Hurt by challenges, disappointments, and failures; reminded of their unfulfilled hopes and dreams, they’re offered a fresh start. And, if they’re brave enough to accept it, a second chance at love. Will they allow God to safely anchor them in their hearts’ home, or will doubt and uncertainty drive them to repeat their old mistakes?
Discover this small town filled with love, hope, and faith, in Chapel Cove, a series of sweet and clean standalone Christian romances. Join bestselling authors Marion Ueckermann, Alexa Verde, and Autumn Macarthur in Chapel Cove today!
Alexa Verde writes small-town Christian romances, heartfelt and heartwarming. She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Rios Azules Christmas and Secrets of Rios Azules. For giveaways, news, and recipes, please sign up for her newsletter at www.alexaverde.com. Twitter: @AlexaVerde3. Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexaverdeauthor. She loves hearing from her readers and hopes and prays that her books will bring joy to them.
Alexa is being so incredibly generous as to offer not just an ebook version of this book, but also a $10 Amazon gift card!! Please comment on this post and tell us what your favorite fair ride is to enter! This contest will run through 6pm EST 04/18/19 and winner will be notified via email!
Now she finally has a small taste of freedom. With it has come the blessings of friendship–and the responsibility of keeping those friends off her mother’s radar.
And love? That was not in the plans. Until she met the handsome man assigned to take care of her.
The first time Marcus Miller was assigned to watch over the Morganson family, he felt an overwhelming need to protect the girl with the sad golden eyes. When he saw Melanie again four years later, he was awestruck by the beautiful woman she’d become.
Now, he’s been asked to look after her again—only this time, his own heart is at stake.
As he enters her world he can’t shake the feeling that he has just become another player in an elaborate game that no one is supposed to win . . .
****Though the timeline of Marc and Melanie’s story predates My Beauty for Your Ashes, book 1 in the Promises to Zion Series, there are spoilers, so if you have not read My Beauty For Your Ashes yet I would suggest you do so first.****
About Traci Wooden-Carlisle
I am thrilled to have Lisa Prysock with us today! Thank you so much for joining us!
PM: You have written stories in so many different genres, I hate to ask, but do you have a favorite, or at least one genre you lean more favorably to?
LM: First, thank you so much, Paula, for hosting me for Coffee Questions.
Favorite genre to write in? I lean toward historical romance, bouncing from the Victorian Gilded Age, to Regency, to the Scarlett O’Hara Era, to Mail Order Bride and the Pioneer Era. However, once I finally tried to write contemporary, I fell in love with it also, and then there’s the whole world of Royal Romance and the stuff fairy tales are made of. I can’t seem to pick just one. I am completely smitten with them all. If I can dream it, I can write it.
PM: When do you find the time to write? Where is your favorite place to write?
LM: Since my children graduated from homeschool (I homeschooled the youngest two for six years), I write as a full time career.
My favorite place to write in the winter is the dining room table near the fireplace, bookcases, our piano, and a hutch with a few of my favorite dishes. However, I usually write in my writing office. It doubles as a craft/sewing room. Hubby installed a ginormous L-shaped desk for me and it faces a wooded area across the street. The view is serene and inspires my writing.
PM: From your bio, I see you have lived in several different area’s of the US and Kentucky is your home, what do you love most about living in Kentucky?
LM: I love the lay of the land and the rich history here. I am also in love with the people here. Many of them have a kind of southern charm and friendliness, along with a love for God and country.
PM: If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
LM: Can I be a princess and help make the world a better place? My kingdom will be a place of love and kindness where evil isn’t allowed to exist.
PM: If we were to open you your refrigerator right now, what would we find in it?
LM: Yogurt, Golden Delicious apples, leftover spaghetti, green beans, coffee creamer, water, spinach dip, and salad. Did I mention coffee creamer? Heh, heh. Lots of coffee creamer.
PM: What are you reading for fun right now?
PM: Do you write stories more from your own experiences, or do you spend a lot time doing research on the type of characters your creating?
LM: Definitely some of both. I research a ton of stuff, but I also draw upon my own experiences.
PM: Who was your greatest influence when you decided to become an author?
LM: Lucy Maude Montgomery, Jane Austen, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Mitchell, and Jesus have been my main influences.
I fell in love with books at a young age. My mother and grandparents loved books and had extensive collections. My mom would read lots of stories to my sisters and me when we were children. Then I discovered the world of modern day Christian Historical Romance and many writers continued to influence me like Tracy Peterson and Janette Oke. I’d have to say growing up watching television producers like Michael Landon drew me to writing as well. A dream for me is to have Michael Landon, Jr. bring my books to life on screen. (I hope he’s reading this.)
PM: Tell us what you enjoy doing the most when you are not writing or reading?
LM: I like swimming, taking a walk, going to visit and tour historical houses, cross stitching, crochet, drawing, gardening, dancing around the house while I’m cooking or cleaning to Christian contemporary artists, going out to dinner with my family, and watching a really great Hallmark or family oriented movie, but my guilty pleasure is watching a really awesome PBS series with my husband like “Downton Abbey,” “Pride & Prejudice,” “Poldark,” or anything I can find that’s completely old-fashioned.
PM: How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
LM: Check out my author website at www.LisaPrysock.com and sign up for my newsletter while you’re there. (There’s a little box that pops up with an invitation.)
PM: Finally, coffee or tea? Cream, sugar?
LM: Coffee, with cream, no sugar. Tea in the afternoons, with sugar, and sometimes honey.
Lisa is being SUPER generous and offering not one, but TWO ebook giveaways! Please comment on this post and tell us what YOU would name Harry & Megan’s Royal baby if they asked you! Suggest both a boy and girl name and you will be entered to win either Becoming Princess Olivia OR Victoria by Lisa Prysock! Contest will run for one week from today and winners will be notified via email!
About Lisa M. Prysock
During the American Revolution, Aurinda Whitney lives with her cold and calloused father, an embittered veteran of the previous war. Aurinda’s life changed forever when her father returned for her after that war, taking her away from the only place she’d ever experienced affection. Since her father blamed Aurinda for the death of his wife in childbirth, Aurinda is convinced she is unworthy of love.
Zadok Wooding believes he is a failure as he tends the smithy at home while others go to battle against the British. Just when he has an opportunity to become a hero, he is blinded in an accident. Now he fears he will never live up to the Biblical “mighty man of valor” for whom he was named.
When the couple meet, they are both challenged to overcome adversity as well as their inadequacies. Unexpected secrets of their past emerge that can change their lives forever. But can they look past their present circumstances to heal—and find love?
my point of view:
First off, let me say I have always enjoyed a good historical, I like to learn something each time I read a new book, and this one does not disappoint! The American Revolution is such a volatile time in history, and most of us have learned of it through history classes in school. But so many battles and situations never made it into the history text books. Elaine Marie Cooper has certainly done her research and provides an enigmatic background to this beautiful romance.
Aurinda and Zadok grab you from the page one and don’t let go! I especially liked how each of them have a “past” and present situation to overcome in their own lives, before they can ever become a couple. To me a great story has to have a personal journey for at least one of the main characters. In this story we are blessed with both the hero and the heroine having to face issues from their upbringing that have held them back in one way or another from fulfilling their best for God. I think my favorite thing about this novel is how both Aurinda and Zadok have a strong faith and honor God’s will in their lives, even when their own feelings may wish to lead them in a different direction.
I so enjoyed reading the historical features of the Revolution, little tidbits like an appearance of Benedict Arnold was a fun experience for me. Another huge plus for me in reading this book is the secondary characters. When an author can incorporate several other characters into a story, well, that makes it all the more special for me. From Zadok’s family to Aurinda’s doctor, they are all interesting and have journeys of their own that we follow in the story, and, honestly, I look forward to reading more about all of them!
Katrion (Katie) James, the oldest daughter of the Broken J ranch has always been the serious, responsible one. Can she finally let go and answer the call of her heart, or will her mother’s dying words forever bind her to a life without a love of her own?
Strong, independent and dedicated to her family Katie believes that life is all about responsibility. Working alongside her father to see that the ranch is successful she has all but forgotten she is a woman.
Wilson Robertson, is down on his luck and tired of dusting the trails. Pushing thirty he longs for a piece of land of his own; a home. But when he meets the Cattleman’s daughter his dreams could be lost for ever.
Can two people determined to live up to their responsibilities learn that there is more to caring and loving than simply doing the right thing? Find out in this sweet historical western romance.
my point of view: This is my first book by Danni Roan, and it was a beauty! I love a good western, set in the 1800’s and was thrilled to have found this story.The setting is wonderful, a ranch in the middle of nowhere, run by a bunch of “old timers” who work hard to keep things running. Katie is the oldest daughter who has a sense of needing to be the head of the family, after her father of course, but sometimes we get it into our heads that we must sacrifice our own dreams to keep the dreams of our loved ones alive.
Preconceived notions are pretty much never a good thing, lol! Promises made as children can oft times be misconstrued as adults….and as adults we sometimes don’t realize the implications of words we speak to children. Stories like this one tend to remind us of how far reaching our words can be!
Will has his own notions as well, thinking he’s never going to be “good enough”. Thank goodness the good Lord sent Jesus to save us all because none of us will ever be ‘good enough’ yet we are saved by Jesus. This sweet story takes us all on a journey into the past and life on a ranch, which I admit to having a love of both the historical and western aspects! But more importantly it takes us on a journey to realizing God does not separate us into classes of okay, just right, or good enough! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series, as all of these characters have stolen my heart! And hey, what an adorable cover photo too! I am not a huge fan of photo covers, but truth be told, these two fit the writer’s descriptions to a “T” and I couldn’t be more pleased!
Today I am excited to have Elaine Stock with us for coffee and a chance to get to know her better!
PM: I see you are a New York native! I am from NJ and love NY, my father is from Greenwood Lake, and he never stopped loving the area! My favorite part is actually the Catskills, I spent many a summer day up there! What is your favorite part of the area you live in?
Paula, heartfelt thanks and much appreciation for hosting me on your lovely blog. May your mission of sharing Christian Fiction with readers continue to be blessed.
Yes, I was born in Brooklyn, NY and lived with my family there until I was fifteen when we moved to the then half rural-half suburb area a little north of the city (it’s now massively suburb, nearly city status in population). Small world!! I lived not far from Greenwood Lake and have visited that area often, having had friends who lived there. As I write this reply I look out my window and see snow everywhere, and ice on the cars. Yet, as much as I daydream and long for 70 degree weather and sunshine year-round, it would be difficult for me to shake loose of my NY origins. There’s something wonderful about the Hudson River that always calls to me. While I’m not too fond of big city living anymore, I do love the more rural areal where I live now. I enjoy the back dirt roads with canopied tree-shade and thick woods. I marvel at the hills and lakes, and of the grassy meadows where cows, horses, and sheep graze. But, permit me to burst a myth: Country life is not quiet. LOL—well, at least not where I live.
PM: That all sounds so beautiful to me, wish I could join you! Thank you for your kind words, I hope to be a blessing for many with this little blog! Have you always known you had the writing bug (and ability)?
As a child I was greatly influenced by my mother who glorified books and reading (and dabbled in poetry) and my aunt who loved to entertain my brother and I with oral stories. I remember creating my own story-worlds without thinking much more about it, however as far back as 3rd grade I did win a writing contest of some sort (the sweet honor remains in my mind, but not the details). Throughout high school and in my young 20s I wrote for the pleasure of it, but it wasn’t until I was 26, when my mother died from ovarian cancer, did I take my writing more seriously. She was a creative soul whose mental illness limited her abilities to express herself.
PM: I have read Her Good Girl, and found myself quite intrigued at the depth of where you were able to take the storyline. What surprises did you find while researching this?
There are three.
First is the scope of mental illness in a family (please note: since I associated above the term “mental illness” with my mother I’d like to emphasize that the problems she suffered from were not Munchausen by Proxy Disorder; Her Good Girl is not autobiographical). To fully understand MBP one must see that this disorder extends way beyond the giver and the recipient and peer into the blinded eyes of the other family members and perhaps friends. And, for that matter, anyone in the medical or social services area that don’t recognize what’s happening. Yet, to be fair, this disorder is extremely sneaky. It has an everything-is-fine persona on the outside to present to the public, but behind closed doors it’s a whole different story. There’s also the surprise of how strong the desire to cling to normalcy in the face of denial can be for a family member.
Second is the subject of underground caving. Wow! Understatement. I researched heavily caving techniques and watched hours of caving videos (and had a spelunker check the manuscript). How these people can go into the darkness of this below ground earth is still beyond my ability to comprehend fully. It is not for the meek and timid, for sure.
Last, I have to admit, I surprised myself with the degree I assimilated into each of the characters. While I wrote this story, I’d slipped out of myself, away from upstate NY, and was transported to West Virginia with Sadie and her family.
PM: Wow – that is a lot of information you gathered! I admit, I kind of got carried away with the characters journey as well! If we were to open your refrigerator right now, what would we find in it?
What a fun and unique question! With desserts now reserved for only weekends, one would find lots of fresh veggies like kale, carrots, and Brussels sprouts, salad fixings, fruit, and because as of 1.5 years ago I’ve become lactose intolerant, Lactaid milk. Also, because I often fix both breakfast and dinner in the morning due to my day job (I work until 8 p.m. and eat dinner there) and my husband’s uh…let’s say…limited cooking style, one would find his homemade meal in the fridge waiting for him.
PM: If you couldn’t be a writer, what career path do you think you’d choose to be on?
Interestingly, I’d majored in psychology and sociology in college but have no regrets that I didn’t make this into a profession. In all things connected to writing and marketing, what I’ve really come to love is graphic arts. If not disciplined I could easily spend too many hours playing with designs and fonts, so perhaps I would have gone into opening a business to design for other authors/businesses. Perhaps I would have taken up an old childhood pastime of designing house interiors on graph paper (call me weird, if you’d like!) and become an architect. Who knows! Quoting Popeye: I yam what I yam.
PM: Who was your greatest influence when you decided to become an author?
If you meant which authors greatly influenced me, I’d say Jodi Picoult, Joy Fielding, Harlan Coben, and yes, I admit, the earlier writings of Danielle Steele. As for sticking out the much-too-long process of writing, editing, and honing craft and patience, without hesitation I thank God for His love of me whether or not I would ever publish a book.
PM: What is one thing about you that your readers would be shocked to know?
Well, I don’t know whether it’s shocking or not, but I am daily challenged by my social awkwardness. I am a true introvert who lives on Planet Earth, a place where it’s not so much of survival of the fittest but survival of the brave to move one foot in front of the other and face the world despite daydreaming of running home and slamming the door shut to the outside. Again, I beseech my loving Father to help me because without Him, I’d never get out of bed and venture beyond my front door.
PM: How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
I enjoy interacting with readers; I love the book community! The best way to keep up with my new releases (Book 2 of the Kindred Lake Romance Series will be out this spring) is to subscribe to my Author Newsletter. Here’s the link, plus how one can receive my Free novella, And You Came Along: https://elainestock.com/free-gift-for-you
My website is: https://elainestock.com
My Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1JYAwNy
Also, here are the social media links I’m on (I’m slowly branching out to others this year):
PM: Finally, coffee or tea? Cream, sugar?
Definitely coffee, preferably with Lactaid Milk or black, and no sugar. I’ve been a proud coffee drinker since my grandmother introduced me to the heavenly beverage when I was eight…and no, it hadn’t stunted my growth—LOL.
Elaine Stock is dedicated to uplifting and encouraging all readers through the power of story to see hope during both the bright and dark times of life. She is the author of several award winning novels, notably Her Good Girl, which was graced with the Outstanding Christian/Religious Fiction in the 2018 IAN Book of the Year Awards, 2018 Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal in Christian Fiction and the 2018 American Fiction Awards in the Christian Inspirational category.
Elaine is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. For fun and occasional eyebrow lifts of amazement, she hangs out on Twitter and Facebook, and of course, Goodreads.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.
Elaine Stock is being so kind as to offer one of our wonderful USA BASED readers a free paperback of Her Good Girl! Simply comment on this post and tell us one item we could find in YOUR refridgerator! Contest will be open for one week from today and winner will be notified via email!
Gina Hernandez, Brynn’s best friend, has had her ups and downs. A sketchy home life and childhood trauma made her into a determined young woman who struggles with insecurities. She’s a passionate caregiver whose heart beats for others, even if she doesn’t fully trust them.
Youth pastor Jaydon Bennett has seen his share of the ugly side of life. The pain of a failed marriage still taunts him, but snarky Gina reawakens his hopes for a healthy relationship. But there’s something about the new girl in his youth group that reminds him of Gina.
While sparks fly and their bond grows stronger, Jaydon and Gina have to navigate some tough situations to figure out how they can help the girl and her family before Gina’s history repeats itself. Or worse.
Can Gina trust herself, trust Jaydon, and hardest of all, trust God to handle it all?
my point of view:
This is my first book by Jaycee Weaver, and i was blessed to have received this in a contest giveaway. I promise you it will not be my last! I absolutely adored this story, the writing, the characters, the struggles, and most importantly the faith behind every word written! Even though this is the second book in the series, I never read the first one and I can promise you this stands on its own quite beautifully. I was so taken with Gina, she has such a huge personality that will have you literally laughing out loud! I just know I would be friends with her in real life. To me, that is one of the highest praises I can give a character in a novel!
Gina has had such a rough go in her upbringing that has caused her to have insecurities we can only imagine….but she has a faith in God that is unshakable, and this makes for one amazing heroine! Gina is so giving and caring about everyone around her, that sometimes you lose sight of yourself, until you meet that one person who really sees inside you….enter Jaydon. Ah, the big bear of a youth pastor that has such a gentle heart…a heart that has been broken, but not shattered. Can these two help each other while they continue to help all those around them? You will need to read it to find out, lol! I promise you will not be disappointed!
Jaycee Weaver lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with her amazing husband, three daughters, a crazy shih-tzu, and a dwarf rabbit. When she’s not writing, she’s probably in hot pursuit of her 90 million other hobbies or shuttling the kids around. Jaycee loves to read books in multiple genres, drink too much coffee (honestly, when are they going to make the coffee IV a real thing?!), sing, take landscape and floral photos, sew, cook, bake, and craft nearly anything. She considers herself a recovering perfectionist and sometimes hot mess. She does her best to live her faith in action, being open, honest, and real; letting God be Lord over the good, the bad, and the ugly even when it’s hard.