I am so pleased to bring you this Coffee chat today with Mary Manners! Please take a few moments to relax and get to know this lovely author with me!
PM: Thank you so much for joining us today, Mary! So happy to have you here! I see from your bio that you are a Tennessee girl! Have you lived there all your life or are ‘transplanted’ from someplace else?
MM: Thanks so much for hosting me today. I am thrilled to be here! I was born just outside of Chicago, in Elmwood Park, and later moved to Itasca. Following my time at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbad south to the Knoxville, TN area and have loved every minute of my time here. I am a country girl at heart, so the mini farm my husband and I call home is the perfect place for me.
PM: I see you are an author in The Potter’s House series, which I love! How are you enjoying working with everyone on such an amazing journey?
MM: Oh, my…I have been blessed beyond measure by my time with fellow Potter’s House authors. Such a generous group of people, and I have learned so much and grown as a writer while working with them. I am so thankful to be a part of this faith-based journey.
PM: If we were to open you your refrigerator right now, what would we find in it?
MM: Yikes! A pitcher of unsweet tea laced with orange wedges (I know…definitely NOT southern, but I can’t stand all the sugar), a half-eaten breakfast casserole, loads of veggies from my garden, and multi-colored farm-fresh eggs from my flock of chickens. And ice cream…chocolate for me and blueberry for my husband.
PM: If you could be any character in fiction, whom would you be?
MM: I would be Kinsey Millhone, from Patricia Cornwell’s mystery series. I love Kinsey’s spunk and sense of honor, and the fact that she’s always getting herself into fixes, yet remaining honorable to friends and family, as well as clients, while she unravels the mysteries and figures things out. She’s got a great sense of humor, too, which always helps.
PM: If you couldn’t be a writer, what career path do you think you’d choose to be on?
MM: Well, I spent 31 years as a teacher and principal of both special needs and middle school children and absolutely loved my time in the school setting. I retired to full-time writing two years ago. Although I miss the kids, I am thrilled to realize my life-long dream of penning stories for a living.
PM: What is one thing about you that your readers would be shocked to know?
MM:I don’t know if it would shock anyone more than give them a good chuckle, but I sing my chickens a lullaby every night when they return to the coop. They seem to enjoy it, and so do the dog and cats. I also enjoy distance running, and have completed three marathons to date (not while singing, though).
PM: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite gender?
MM: I grew up with three sisters and only one brother, and I have a daughter, so I haven’t had a whole lot of experience around guys. Sometimes getting their emotions down can be a challenge. But I read a lot and like to people watch, so that helps me figure things out pretty well.
MM: Yes! One of the perks of living on a farm is the ability to have pets that have room to roam. I have a rescue dog named Axel, two rescue cats named Colby and Rascal, six chickens (Pearl, Susie, Honor, Rosie, Cinnamon, and Spice), and twelve fish. They are all precious and full of spunk. I’ve been trying to talk my husband into a pig but so far, no luck.
PM: How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
MM: I love to chat with readers through my website: http://MaryMannersRomance.com and also love to share tidbits about my family, upcoming books, contests, and free reads through my newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/f6w0j6
PM: Finally, coffee or tea? Cream, sugar?
MM: I love both coffee AND tea, but black coffee is usually my go-to drink. I love the flavored varieties…French vanilla, hazelnut, and mocha. Yum.
Mary has so kindly offered a free copy – PRINT or ebook – winners choice! Of Her newest book to be released 10/02/18! Simply comment on this post and tell us about your family pet (or lack of one) to enter to win! Contest will run for one week from post and winner will be notified via email! Good luck!
Here is the information on Tragedy & Trust:
When Chloe Rylin flees New York City and her dream of becoming a Broadway
performer, she returns to her hometown harboring a life-altering secret and the
shame of a shattered past. Best friend Kelsie asks her to help build a house
through the local Shelter the Homeless program, where Chloe meets Zack Coleman and his
mischievous Saint Bernard.
Zack is dealing with a devastating loss of his own, yet his gentleness and patience melt Chloe’s resolve never to trust, much less fall in love, again. But what will Zack think when he discovers the shame of Chloe’s past? Will he reject her, or can their fledgling love heal hurting hearts and blossom into a happily-ever-after?
Hello, and welcome to the group! We’re so glad you dropped by! So, introduction time. The three authors of the group name are Marion Ueckermann, Alexa Verde, and Autumn Macarthur.
Our theme Bible verse is: Two people can stand back-to-back to defend each other. And three people are even stronger. They are like a rope that has three parts wrapped together—it is very hard to break. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (ERV)
Marion, Alexa and Autumn prove this daily, as we work together and support each other to create, write, and share our stories of love and faith. We have some wonderful joint projects we hope to share soon! With every book we write, we hope to bless our readers. To entertain, encourage, and uplift you. And we hope to share how much we love God, who shows us the perfect example of the Power of Three as Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit work together in our lives to bring us nearer to Him.
Joining us is Paula Marie, a wonderful book blogger, supporter of Christian authors, and a dear friend, whose superpower is organizing and encouraging! The rope of three parts becomes four – with God the strength at the center, holding it all together.
In this group, we’re hoping to work on a relaxed four week cycle. One week, Paula will host a Book Club discussing the book of the month, as well as posting at other times. Then the three authors will take a week each posting chat topics and giveaways related to our books and reading.
Please come along on our journey!
Click on the link to join: https://facebook.com/groups/247218999320897
Brenda Anderson is joining me today for Coffee with Paula! Thank you, Brenda, I am so pleased to have you join me!
Thank you for welcoming me! I’m thrilled to be on your fabulous book blog!
PM: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to let me and our readers get to know you better! I see you grew up on a dairy farm, and I find that fascinating. I grew up a city girl, well, a small town really, just outside of New York City, so anything to do with farm life is foreign to me! Can you tell me what you loved most about farm life?
BA: I don’t know that I can narrow it down to one thing as the benefits of growing up on a farm were many! We learned the value and love of family, friends, and faith. We learned how to work hard and play hard. It’s the playing hard part my kids are jealous of. We had a sledding hill right across the road from our house. We had a pond that was perfect for ice skating and hockey. We had miles of roads for biking. And abundance of lakes for swimming. The hay loft was a perfect place for family games and making forts and giving concerts. And there was so much more! I’m sad that my own children didn’t get that same experience.
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?
BA: All of my stories have pieces of my own experiences, but most require a good amount of research. My latest release, Place Called Home, was about a young woman who’d lived in an emotional abusive situation. Not having experienced that first hand, I had to do a lot of digging to learn what that looked like, especially on an emotional level.
PM: I enjoy hearing how different authors plan out their books, do you have the entire plot of the story ahead of time, or do you simply sit down in front of the keyboard and let the characters take over and lead you in the direction they are going?
BA: I’m a complete seat-of-the-pantser, though I’ve tried plotting. It never works for me, though it should as I’m an organizer who doesn’t like surprises in my non-fiction life. But being a pantser, I have to tune in to God more. Many days I’ll sit in front of the computer with no clue where I’m going to. I’ll often have a conversation with God, telling him I have no clue what I’m doing, so I need His help, then once I start writing, the story just seems to flow. Once I type The End, the story requires a lot of editing and fattening up, which I enjoy doing.
PM: Out of all your books which would you say was the hardest so far to write, in your opinion and why?
BA: The hardest to write was definitely Planting Hope. That’s the final book in my Where the Heart Is contemporary romance series. Writing romance is not a natural gift—I only wrote the first books because that’s what the market was demanding at that time, and the first in the series, Risking Love, was the first of my books to capture publishing industry attention. Over the span of two – three years, I had several stops and starts on Planting Hope. It was only when I had an opportunity to go on a week-long, writing-only retreat that I was able to push my way through the story. I ended up really liking the book, but it certainly didn’t come easy!
Now I’m back to writing the family drama / women’s fiction stories I have a passion for telling.
PM: I love to know what authors do with their free time when not writing or spending time with family, what are your favorite things to do when not writing or reading?
BA: I love going to movies (Marvel movies are my favorite!) with my family. I love roller coasters and baseball games and hiking along Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior. I love theater and concerts and singing and am blessed to have a gifted daughter who seems to go from one musical production to the next. It’s so much fun watching our children use the gifts God gave them!
PM: As a full-time writer, do you lock yourself away in an office and hang out a “Do not Disturb” sign during your scheduled writing time? Do you prefer total silence, or like to have background music playing while writing?
BA: You nailed it. I lock myself in my office, and I actually have a warning sign on my door. (Not that it helps!) With the exception of nature singing outside my office window, I need silence. No music. No people interruptions.
PM: At my full-time job when we are interviewing for a new employee I always ask them what the last fictional novel is that they have read….so now I will ask you the same thing!
PM: If you could go anywhere in the world you have never been to spend an entire week, where would that be?
BA: I’ve always wanted to go to Israel. Our church has a group that goes every other year, and every time I ask God, “Can I go now?” but so far His answer has been “Wait.” Someday!
PM: How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
BA: A couple of ways:
They can check out my website at BrendaAndersonBooks.com or they can Subscribe to my newsletter which typically goes out once per month: http://brendaandersonbooks.com/subscribe/. For subscribing, they can download a FREE copy of my Coming Home Series short story, Coming Home.
PM: Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
BA: None of the above! My parents were coffee drinkers, but I never acquired the taste. I don’t care for tea either. But if you serve hot cocoa in the winter or fruit slushies in the summer, I’m perfectly happy.
Brenda has been so kind as to offer one commenter a free ebook of her latest in The Potter’s House series – Place Called Home!
Just comment below and tell us where in the world you’d like to spend a week to enter! Contest will run for 7 days after publication, and winner will be notified via email!
I am actually going to do things a little differently for the next few weeks! Starting today I am going to bring you the first of my three part review on an entire collection of books, 3 at a time!! These are going to be about the amazing series – A Tuscan Legacy – there are a total of 9 books and 7 authors!
These books are all going to be available for just $0.99 on the dates listed for each of them – check the pricing before you buy!!
That’s Amore: That’s Love by Marion Ueckermann, A Tuscan Legacy Book 1 on sale from September 15th through the 21st for just 99 cents!!
After deciding to take a six-month sabbatical, Italian lawyer Rafaele Rossi moves from Florence to Tuscany, resigned to managing the family farm for his aging nonna after his father’s passing. Convinced a family get-together is what Nonna needs to lift her spirits, he plans an eightieth birthday party for her, making sure his siblings and cousins attend.
The Keswick jewelry store where Jayne Austin has worked for seven years closes its doors. Jayne takes her generous severance pay and heads off to Italy—Tuscany to be precise. Choosing to leave her fate in God’s hands, she prays she’ll miraculously bump into the handsome best man she’d danced the night away with at a friend’s Tuscan wedding two years ago. She hasn’t been able to forget those smoldering brown eyes and that rich Italian accent.
Jayne’s prayers are answered swiftly and in the most unexpected way. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s a guest not only at Isabella Rossi’s birthday party, but at Villa Rossi too.
When Rafaele receives what appears to be a valuable painting from an unknown benefactor, he’s reminded that he doesn’t want to lose Jayne again. After what he’s done to drive her from the villa, though, what kind of a commitment will it take for her to stay?
my point of view:
I may be just a little bit prejudiced since I my ancestry is from Italy, but I loved this premise!! I was so anticipating this series that I had every one of them on pre order as soon as it was offered! I was part of the Facebook group so I would get notified of all the promotions, etc. Then when the first one was released, I thought, oh my goodness, I am sure to love this series so much I will be beside myself waiting for each release…….so I decided to practice restraint.
Something I have never been very good at, but hey, I was going to give it my best college try! I did try too, gave it my best, but as everyone kept talking about the books and I tried not to read, well, I couldn’t take it for too long and I finally started reading them. I consoled myself with the fact that by the time I got through the first ones, the last would be out and I’d be in good shape!
It worked out pretty darn good too, as I was able to read them all straight through! I must tell you, the way these authors brought the stories together is amazing!
Book one introduces us to the entire family of Nonna and her grandchildren. Sounds like a busy time, but add this to the author’s plate – not only must she write this love story about Rafaele and Jayne, but she is laying the foundation for all the other central characters that other authors are going to be writing about! She does a great job in this, book one, but you don’t really get HOW great of job Marion has done until you have read all of the books! The scenery of Tuscany makes me feel as if I was there (wish I was)! The descriptions are beautiful!
Luna Rosa: Blushing Moon by Elizabeth Maddrey, A Tuscan Legacy Book 2 on Sale from September 21st through the 27th for just 99 cents!!
Nick Carter’s career as a piano tuner and teacher keeps him off-stage and allows him plenty of time to compose music he has no intention of ever publishing. Enter Louisiana Chalfant, the new symphony pianist who embodies the word diva. She’s exactly the kind of woman Nick has vowed to avoid, but when they’re cajoled into playing a duet he finds there’s more to her than he first thought.
Louisiana settles into her temporary role with the symphony in Washington, D.C., glad for the reprieve from touring professionally. She’s astonished to discover immense talent in the handsome man who keeps her piano in tune.
Practicing for a duet at church gives her the perfect opportunity to get to know the real Nick.
As they play together, Nick and Louisiana develop a friendship that begins to morph into something more, but what happens when their diverging goals threaten to upstage their love?
my point of view:
Book two brings us to the good ole USA and the world of classical music! Elizabeth brings Washington DC to life during the 4th of July celebrations with fireworks happening between the main characters that are such fun! I have actually been able to visit the DC area many times, and I enjoyed Elizabeth taking me there through this book, it brought back a lot of happy memories. I did enjoy learning about classic musical, from piano tuning, to composing and playing. I never imagined the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into most of it. I always sort of figured you have the talent or you don’t!
Louisiana is such a dear, I adored her “mis-ques” and her momma is a hoot! Down home Alabama grown Southern woman who tells it like it is and gives her daughter the funniest tips on winning your man! Nick Carter is a wonderful hero, he is so unsure of his musical talents, and that carries over to other areas in his life. God always finds a way to bring the right people together at the right time…and Elizabeth has just the right talent to put the words together for an amazing story!
Another aspect in this is the continuation of the series characters; we see messages between the cousins, get snippets of updates, and of course another mystery painting! But honestly, the stand alone quality is wonderful, to the point I almost forgot the about the paintings!
Rapsodia: Rhapsody by Alexa Verde, A Tuscan Legacy Book 3 on Sale from September 27th through October 3rd for just 99 Cents!!
After the woman he loved left him for a richer guy, Marco Carter turned all his passion toward the chain of pizzerias he founded. He can control his business, unlike love. Then his world is turned upside down. He meets Samantha Jenkins on his flight home to Texas after his grandmother’s eightieth birthday.
Many hours with the guarded but beautiful Samantha has him questioning his career-centered mindset.
A born risk taker and fiercely independent, Samantha misses her former life as a travel photographer and extreme sports aficionado. But more than anything, she grieves her fiancé. On her trip from Italy on the anniversary of his tragic passing, the last thing she expects is to become drawn to her neighbor on her flight. Deep inside, she still blames herself for her fiancé’s death…
Though Marco is determined to forget Samantha, the arrival of a mysterious painting reminds him of all that is missing in his life. Hoping for a new chance with her, Marco opens a pizzeria in Samantha’s hometown in south Texas. Spending time with her, he’s learning to surrender control to the Lord. But apparently it’s easier to earn millions than to make Samantha open her heart again. What will it take for her to heal enough to trust in God and take the biggest risk of all-to love again?
my point of view:
Alright – full disclosure here, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know Alexa is near and dear to my heart, so naturally I adore this book! I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to see a character from a previous book of hers! Bonus points, we get to see Joy and Dillon from Season of Joy!!
Keeping true to the series, this third book actually begins with Marco’s plane ride home from the family reunion in Tuscany for their Nonna’s birthday. Meeting Samantha on the plane when she is at one of her lowest points emotionally brings these two together to forge an unlikely bond.Walking away from one another was really just the beginning!
Marco can’t get past his issues with being liked for himself or his money, and Samantha is wracked with guilt for her fiance’s tragic death. These two characters are absolutely precious. I love how they take the journey of stepping out in faith to over come their past and face their future.
Here is a link to the series website with videos and photos:
That was Then reprinted with authors permission:
From a USA Today Bestselling Author, comes the first book of the Always Faithful series.
When her mother died, only one person came to mind for Meg Bailey to call. Wyatt Deluca—U.S. Marine, first love, ex-husband.
Seven years have passed since they’ve seen one another. To fulfill a parting promise to always be there for Meg if she needed him, Wyatt–scarred, broken, and in need of healing–returns to his small hometown of Lilston, Pennsylvania.
He went to comfort Meg. In Meg, he finds solace. Can time heal their battered spirits and restore their lost years?
A heartwarming inspirational romance for all those who seek life abundant in the midst of life’s trials.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV
my point of view:
I have been lucky enough to have read several of Leah Atwood’s novels, but this one really stood out to me so much! I have a huge soft spot for any military hero’s, as nearly all the men in my immediate and extended family have served in the military, covering all the branches. Currently my cousin is serving in Afghanistan with the Army, after having been a Marine first for several years, so you get the idea. I also have an affinity for second chance / reunion genres, so this book hits the mark twice for me.
The journey for Meg and Wyatt started years prior, but they both needed to go their separate ways in order to be their best for God’s will. Leah’s writing of their story takes us from their childhood through their early marriage and to the place they come together after years apart. It is obvious from the very beginning that Wyatt and Meg, while divorced, still have a powerful pull for each other. When Meg’s mother passes suddenly, her first thought is to reach out to Wyatt, needing him by her side during this emotional upheaval in her life. When Wyatt answers her call, he doesn’t hesitate to leave the next morning to be at her side.
What neither of them realized is that Wyatt needs comforting from meg as much as she needs from him. This title is perfect, as we read through their story we begin to see how the the past brings us to the people we are today. It is a journey i thoroughly enjoyed and happy to bring to all of you!
About the Author:USA Today Bestselling Author Leah Atwood is a small-town girl at heart and currently lives in a rural town in the deep South, though Maryland will always be home. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in International Business but gave up a career in sales and marketing to follow love, a decision she’s never regretted.
From the old west to Cajun country, Leah infuses true-to-life characters with small-town charm to invite her readers into a world where faith and love will always prevail. In both her historical and contemporary works, she believes in delivering inspirational stories that will leave her readers with a smile.
When not writing, she’s busy raising two kids and corralling two dogs (an eighty-four-pound shepherd/lab mix and a seven-pound rat terrier/jack russell mix), or participating in a myriad of community and church events.
Leah has also GENEROUSLY offered to have a free ~*Giveaway*~ to one of our blog members!! Simply comment on this post to be entered to receive the ebook of That Was Then! Giveaway is open for seven days from today and winner will be notified via email!
I am so thankful to have Autumn Macarthur here today for our coffee chat! I hope you all have a large mug of your favorite beverage while you settle back and enjoy getting to know this amazing best selling author a little better!
Paula: I truly appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me today! I know how busy you are, so it means a lot to me! I have so enjoyed your writing! When did first realize you wanted to be an author?
Autumn: I knew I wanted to be a writer from when I first was able to form letters. My first “publication” was a poem in the school magazine when I was 6! LOL! Though I didn’t realize people could actually make a living from writing till my teens, I settled for a sensible job till my late 40’s when I decided it was time to give writing for publication a serious try. Five years and eight “practice” books later, I launched my first book.
Paula: I know you are from Australia, and now reside in London….what do you miss most about Australia? What do you love most about living in London?
Autumn: There are three major things I miss about Australia. #1, and the biggest – my family. Coming probably a tie after that are sunny winters, and space! Thankfully we’ve been blessed with more sunlight the past few winters, but I’ve had a few where there is seriously no sunshine for a month or more. This Aussie girl needs her sun! And I need space, too. Australia is so much bigger, and yet contains so many fewer people. There’s a lot more room to move, larger yards, less crowds. The things I love most about London – history, being right there surrounded by so much living history. The first few days I was in London, I walked around in a daze, just repeating to myself. “I’m in London, I’m really in London!” LOL, jet lag may have also had something to do with it, but far from all of it! And the other thing I love is the River Thames. I’m not sure why, but there’s something so special and so appealing about walking along the river.I tend to send my couples on a riverside walk in most of my books set in London!
Paula: What is your best time of the day (or night) for your Bible reading time?
Autumn: Any time! I always read and ponder on a chapter right before bed, but I keep a daily journal, that I try to write as soon as I can after I get up, and often I’ll want to look up a verse or two. I love Bible Gateway for that, and for being able to read verses or whole chapters in several different translations or paraphrases at once! All those verses I can kinda remember, but aren’t sure where they come from. Which is too many! I really need to get a lot better at properly memorizing verses.
Autumn: Sure can! Robert the Rose Horse. That was the first book I read all by myself, and the first book I actually owned, after it was given to me as a fifth birthday gift in Kindergarten. It’s still in print, too! That was the start of my life-long love affair with books.
Paula: You have written some difficult struggles for your characters and it makes me wonder,do you suffer right along with them as you write their stories?
Autumn: Writing is always emotionally powerful for me, and yep, whatever spiritual lessons the characters need to learn in the course of the story are ones I learn right along with them. Though thankfully I haven’t personally experienced everything my characters have lived through, often I’ve experienced similar situations, losses, challenges. If I get stuck on a story, often it’s because I’m refusing to learn whatever lesson God wantsme to learn. Or I’m trying to avoid digging deep enough into the characters’ situations. Because ouch, that’s going to hurt, for sure! I love love LOVE reaching those joyful happy ever afters with them, and the deeper their struggles, the ultimately more joyful and uplifting their endings will be.
Paula: What is your favorite go to snack, midnight or any time?
Autumn: LOL, what’s my favorite snack I wish I could still eat, or what can I actually eat? I have developed zillions of food intolerances, to a crazy range of foods and drinks. The itchy rashes, burning mouth, or migraines if I eat what I shouldn’t are no fun! I adore milk and dark chocolate, but need to stay away from chocolate. So the last couple of years, I’ve gotten good at making alternative treats. Sometimes wildly alternative! Raspberry and macadamia vegan grain-free cookie, anyone? I’m thinking I need to add some white chocolate to these, and then they’d be just about perfect!
Paula: If you had to chose any other career path, what would be your “dream” occupation and why?
Autumn: Oh, that is a tough question! My real-life career path was working as a nurse and midwife for over 35 years. Tough, heart-breaking at times, but very rewarding. If I couldn’t be an author, and if I didn’t have these pesky food intolerance’s, I think I’d be a chocolate maker. Maybe one specializing in chocolate treats for people with food allergies or intolerance’s!
Paula: Do you think about your characters as friends? I always wonder if the author worries about where the story-line is going, and if you ever find your story is going in another direction than you had planned.
Autumn: I need to like my characters, and they do become real people for me. Authors need to be a little bit nuts, I think, or we wouldn’t sit around talking to our imaginary friends all day! I have a load of ongoing storylines in my head, where I see what happens to them after the story ends. Sometimes that comes out in other stories from the same series, sometimes not. LOL, stories going in directions I didn’t plan? All the time! I’m not a super-detailed planner, with the whole story outlined and mapped out before I start, but I like to have some sort of idea where the story is going and what the main plot points might be. Then as I’m writing, I discover all sorts of things I didn’t know about the characters and the road map gets thrown out the window! I’ve learned not to fight that. Trying to stick of my plan and make the story be what it’s not never works.
Paula: Tell us how all your fans can keep up with your upcoming projects!
Autumn: The best way is by subscribing to my no-more-than-weekly reader newsletter! As well as getting all my book news, subscribers are entered in an monthly subscriber-only contest, and get a few other little goodies now and then. The sign-up link is https://dl.bookfunnel.com/7luq95last . That link also gives access to a gift ebook, newsletter subscription not required, though obviously I hope readers will want to get all my book news!Or anyone who wants to know about my new releases without getting so many emails can follow me on Amazon instead: https://amzn.to/2xc38Ag
Paula: Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
Autumn: Oh, I hate to be so boring! Just water, please! I’ve never been a big coffee or tea drinker. Like a cup of really good coffee after dinner maybe once or twice a year. Cream,no sugar. I do admit to loving diet cola, to the point I may have been the teensiest bit addicted! Though now I’m blessed with this pesky chronic migraine thing, I need to avoid any caffeine at all. :(But hey, we’re talking virtual beverages! Food intolerances needn’t be an issue. The evenings are beginning to get cooler, so I’ll have a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream and Cadbury Flake sprinkles on top, please! Yum!
Autumn is generously giving away one ecopy of Come To The Lake – a three book set!! Please comment on this post within one week from today and share what YOUR favorite midnight snack is to enter to win! Winner will be notified via email!
I seriously cannot tell you how excited I am for this book to come out!!!
This is the best of the Urban Farm Fresh Romance yet!
DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS DEAL!!
From a USA Today bestselling author!
God’s love is the gold mending broken hearts and dreams
As her friends pair off, Kassidy North thinks happily-ever-after has passed her by, but she’s too busy running a busy bistro and once-a-month cooking club to be bothered by it. Much. Until a single dad moves into the neighborhood and threatens to invade her dreams and well-ordered life.
Metal sculptor Wesley Ferguson is a cynic when it comes to romance, but something in Kass makes him want to believe again. He’s not so sure he agrees when she insists forever love begins with God. What has God ever done for him?
Unable to avoid one another in the close-knit community of Bridgeview, Kass and Wesley develop the beginnings of a friendship. But when relationships break around them, can they see God as the glue capable of holding broken pieces together… forever?
About the Urban Farm Fresh Christian Romance Series
0. Promise of Peppermint
1. Secrets of Sunbeams
2. Butterflies on Breezes
3. Memories of Mist
4. Wishes on Wildflowers
5. Flavors of Forever
The Urban Farm Fresh Romance series follows the adventures, romantic and otherwise, of a group of friends in the fictional neighborhood of Bridgeview in Spokane, Washington. A Christian romance series, these urban farming stories explore what an urban community focused on local food might look like: raising goats, chickens, and bees in the heart of the city while sharing in food projects and engaging in each others’ lives through community gardens and permaculture. Each story stands alone.
While the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series shares a world and some characters from the Farm Fresh Romance series, it stands complete in its own setting.
Paula Marie: I am chuffed to have Shirley Corder in our coffee chat today, welcome! I appreciate you taking the time to be with us, Shirley!
Shirley: LOL! What do you want me to say, except I’m also chuffed that I’ve taught you a new word! (For anyone who doesn’t know what it means, I’m sure you can work it out.) Paula Marie, thank you for inviting me to be here.
Paula Marie: You and I were ‘introduced’ by Marion Ueckermann, and I am so grateful for that introduction! I have been blessed to meet you, and to have had the opportunity to read some of your books (of which there are many)! Can you tell us a little bit about how you decided to write the non fiction creative stories of some of the lessor known women in the Bible?
Shirley: My husband was a full-time pastor for most of our working years, and I often worked alongside him in presenting Bible Studies to groups. He would teach the background and meaning of the passages, and it was often up to me to bring the story and people to life, and make them applicable to modern life. I have a special love for the stories and characters of the Bible, but I noticed how many people saw the characters as super-heroes and not ordinary people who faced issues similar to us. When I started writing full-time, I found myself more and more drawn to the “lesser-known” men and women, whom many think they know, but they actually know very little about.
Paula Marie: Sounds like you have been preparing for these books for quite a while!
Shirley: Oh yeah, perhaps I should mention that although writing was a hobby since I was young, I only started to write for publication following a life-threatening tangle with aggressive breast cancer. My surgeon didn’t expect me to survive a year. (That was almost 21 years ago!) On a day when I felt particularly close to death, I received a word from the Lord, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done” (Psalms 118:17). I knew then that He planned for me to survive, despite the medical opinion and the way I felt. However, I thought He meant I would talk about what He had done. A few days later, He clarified what He wanted: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run” (Habakkuk 2:2).
Two years later, He prodded me during my daily Quiet Time by giving me BOTH verses one after the other. I finally got the message . . . and I’ve been writing ever since.
Paula Marie: How did you get involved with the Chicken Soup for the Soul books? I am curious, as I have enjoyed many of them, they are just right for those quick bits of uplifting “feel good” stories!
Shirley: I enjoyed reading them myself, and one day decided to try and see if I could write for one of their topics. They usually have a good number of options available, many of which appealed to me. I wrote several, but despite following their very clear guidelines, I had a number of rejections. Then one day, something clicked, and I realized their real need. They don’t just want true stories that entertain. They want stories that touch the soul of the readers. I’ve had several stories published since then, and I have a further two under consideration at the moment. I belong to a writers’ critique group run by Tracy Crump who has not only had many stories published with them she has taught courses on their requirements. As a result, a number of us in the group submit fairly regularly to them. I don’t submit as often as I’d like because of the time-pressure involved in my books and also keeping my two websites running.
Paula Marie: Goodness, you are definitely a busy person! Bless you for continuing to pursue the submissions, I do not take rejection well, lol.
Shirley: Rejection challenges me. I get mad, and set out to prove them wrong.
Paula Marie: What kinds of fictional books do you like to read (if any)?
Shirley: Ooh, I love Christian Suspense novels, and I always have one on the go, either on my Kindle or on my bedside table. Some of my favorite authors are Lisa Harris, Irene Hannon, Terri Blackstock and many others.
Paula Marie: I enjoy suspense novels as well, and will need to check out those authors – if you ever want more recommendations for suspense authors, let me know! Have you ever thought of writing a fictional story?
Shirley: I have actually written a number of novels, all except one during NaNoWriMo, and I actually intended to go that way when I started out writing. But there always seems to be a non-fiction topic calling my name. So my novels remain on my computer! I grow to love my fictional characters too much and can’t stand hurting them! My stories have to all have a happy ending, and my main characters need to stay safe, which tends to make them somewhat predictable! That doesn’t always work too well for a novelist! I would still give it a try if I could only figure out how to add a few days to my week. I think that is why I gravitated towards creative nonfiction. That gives me the chance to use fictional techniques while writing nonfiction!
Paula Marie: That is absolutely precious, Shirley! I think that it is so sweet that you love your characters, I find myself falling in love with book characters as well! If you ever decide to publish them, I hope you will make sure to let me know, I’d love to be one of the first to read them!
Shirley: Sure. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll get the news. Having said that, I think we’re stuck with one another anyway! LOL!
Paula Marie: I love that you live in South Africa….it sounds so exotic to me! Can you tell me where is your favorite place to spend time in your home town?
Shirley: LOL! I suppose exotic is somewhere foreign to your home country! I am actually Scottish-born, and grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) but I do love all things African. My favorite place is really anywhere near the sea. When my husband and I married, we said to the Lord we wanted to one day retire to near the sea. If we got much closer, we’d get our feet wet! We live a six-minute walk from the beach, so I get to walk there almost every day. We have some of the most beautiful beaches in South Africa and as I’m not a swimmer, I love just settling down on the sand or on a seat overlooking the ocean and letting my mind roam.
Paula Marie: That is absolutely stunning! I could definitely get behind living there!
Shirley: Yes, I’m blessed.
Paula Marie What is your favorite hobby to do when you are all alone and not writing?
Shirley: My kids would tell you that they never know what I’ll tackle next. I’ve gone through a vast selection of hobbies, but since my husband retired and we had to scale down, I’ve had to settle on one hobby that takes space, and restrict the amount of materials I need to hoard. I am a musician, and I am co-leader of a senior choir that my husband and I both belong to. They are a group of over 30 lovely people, and they sing really well. We give concerts to senior groups, old age homes, frail cares etc, totaling between 25 – 30 a year. So that takes up quite a bit of time.
I also make creative greeting cards (that’s where the hoarding comes in!) In addition to doing it alone, I can do it to a limited degree in front of TV while my ever-patient husband pauses the DVD and rewinds whenever I miss an important part of the story! I belong to a group of lovely Christian ladies who get together once a month to learn new techniques and enjoy one another’s company.
Paula Marie: You have about worn me out just reading all the things you do! These are lovely photos, and what talent you have, the card is beautiful!
Shirley: Aww, thank you! Can I make an admission? I tend to wear myself out too.
Paula Marie: I love journals, notebooks, etc. I always have at least one or two going at the same time! So, I was wondering if you are a journaler…I suppose that is not a word, lol. What I mean is, do you keep writings in a personal journal and then turn some of those into published devotionals?
Shirley: This is another embarrassing question, LOL! I keep LOTS of journals and notebooks. Although I have taught on journaling and I have written on the topic, I tend to be most disorganized. I have a journal especially for devotional messages received during my daily Quiet Time with the Lord. However, it is often missing when I need it, so I will grab another journal, or my daily diary, or even a scrap of paper, and furiously scribble the message down. If I don’t get it onto my computer within hours, they’ll often get lost and I may spend hours searching through all the journals and pieces of paper to find them! My husband claims to be scared to leave a piece of important paper lying around in case he finds an article scrawled across the back! He once found a devotion (which I’d lost) on the back of a bank statement.
Paula Marie: Oh, please do not be embarrassed! I love hearing how authors go about their daily lives and get their ideas down! I can only imagine that your writing requires serious concentration and maybe mediation and alone time – with such a busy life, children and grands, what is your favorite time and place to write?
Shirley: Re my children and grandkids, I don’t see much of them, so sadly they don’t take up much time. My daughter and her husband live in Montenegro so we only see them once or sometimes twice a year. (And since I KNOW your readers are going to ask, it’s across the sea from the heel of Italy’s boot!
I have a grandson in the States doing post-grad work with whom I only have occasional contact on Skype, and then the rest of our family live in four different parts of South Africa. I’m really looking forward to a rare family get-together in Johannesburg (3 hour plane trip away) in November for a nephew’s wedding.
My really favorite place to write during summer is before it gets too hot (i.e. early morning) when I sometimes take my laptop out onto the stoep (porch) and enjoy the birds and the ocean breeze with the laptop perched on my knees and my feet on a chair!
I do most of my writing in my study which I share with my husband who still preaches a couple of times a month. We each have our own corner with our computer desks and we’re pretty good with applying to our own work. However, I write most of the day, in between taking walks and participating in concerts, and I do have a couple of favorite spots.
Of course, winter is another story. I start early but don’t always make it to my desk until it warms up a bit!
Paula Marie: Thank you so much for sharing these amazing photos, you are so adorable! How can fans keep up with your books and new releases?
Shirley: Definitely via my newsletter which is short and is only sent out when there are items of interest. http://eepurl.com/c9Vuln
Other ways to follow me include:
Website for those in the cancer valley: https://riseandsoar.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Shirley.M.Corder
Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/shirleycorder
Paula Marie: Finally, thank you so much for joining me today, are you a coffee drinker, tea, or something altogether different?
Shirley: Of choice, I drink black Rooibos tea which I don’t think you get in the USA, but fortunately I also enjoy a cup of black coffee with no milk or sugar. BUT, be warned. My friends call my coffee “dirty water” as it has to be so weak you can see the bottom of the mug! (And yes, there’s a story to that. Maybe another time.)
Paula Marie: I am looking forward to hearing about that someday!
Shirley: Thanks so much for the fun interview! Every blessing on your blog and all you do to encourage writers.
Shirley has generously offered a free ebook of Miriam: Part 1 – Devoted Sister to a lucky participant of this blog! Simply comment below on your favorite place to read to win! Contest will be open for one week from posting, winner will be notified via email, good luck!
Most of us know about Miriam, the little girl who watched over her three-month-old brother as he sails in a basket boat on the crocodile-infested River Nile. We’ve probably also heard the story of the Hebrew boy who grew up in an Egyptian palace. But during that time, what was happening to his sister, Miriam?
This book is the 3rd in the “Out of the Shadow” devotional series for women. Miriam lived her entire life under the shadow of her little brother, Moses. Join Miriam as she steps out of that shadow and develops her own God-ordained leadership role.
Written in creative non-fiction, the story stays close to the biblical narrative, but Shirley Corder brings Miriam to life in a way that will help you meditate on this fascinating woman as well as gain insight into the ways of life during those difficult years. The “Read and Reflect” section that follows each short chapter will help you relate to the story and apply lessons to your own life.
Each book features one of the childhood friends in the group nicknamed the Danger Girls, and each story is a complete romance. Color of Danger, Taste of Danger, and Touch of Danger were also published as solo books.
Welcome to Rios Azules, a small south Texas town, where rivers and emotions run deep, and the secrets are deadly.
Color of Danger
Life as the sister of a serial killer is never easy, especially when a former runaway Mari Del Lobo becomes a target herself. A recent crime has her late brother’s signature and MO, what Mari finds highly unusual, as she still blames herself for her only sibling’s death. Soon Mari encounters an unexpected – and a very attractive – ally in Dr. Luke Goodman. Luke couldn’t save his fiancée from the Smiling Killer, but he’ll do anything to prevent more murders, even ask help from the serial killer’s sister. Finding a kindred tortured soul in Mari, Luke is determined to keep her alive, but it’s not easy to protect the stubborn ex-rebel. Can Mari survive to solve the mystery, renew her faith, and find love and redemption?
Taste of Danger
Small-town librarian Soledad Sokolova has three days to find a hidden Russian treasure – or she and her father will die. Out of options, she turns for help to a hunky stranger, private investigator James O’Hara. But she knows better than to let a ladies’ man break her heart for the second time. Bound by his word to Soledad’s father, James is ready to protect her at all costs. However, once betrayed, he’s reluctant to fall in love again. Will James and Soledad escape danger and find treasures of faith, love, and hope?
Touch of Danger
Rookie cop Ivan Vargas blames small-town accountant Julia Morrison for his brother’s suicide, as claimed in the note. When Julia is attacked, Ivan wonders if she’s right about the suicide being staged. He’s determined to find his brother’s killer and keep Julia safe but reluctant to lose his heart to the stubborn beauty who’s known to break them…
Hurt in the past, Julia has avoided letting men too close. But she needs Ivan’s help to uncover traumatic secrets someone would kill to keep hidden. Can she stay alive long enough to learn to love and trust again?
my point of view:
These books are in my top favorites for a series! I love boxed sets too, and for 99 cents, who can pass that up?? I did a review months ago on the prequel for this series, River of Danger, and admitted to you all back then that I had never really been a big fan of suspense and mystery stories – until I met the Danger Girls!
This group of misfit girls have quickly found a place in my heart, as well as their author, Alexa Verde! I always gravitate to a romance story, but I do love to read friendship stories that make you wish you could join their club. When you bring together a group of girls who have next to nothing in common, yet form a bond that is so unbreakable it touches your heart. There is nothing these ladies wouldn’t do or sacrifice for each other!
In Color of Danger we meet Mari Del Lobo, a character you will not soon forget, from her super spunky attitude to her pet German Shepherd Nowa, Mari kept me entertained from page one! Dr. Luke is not only incredibly focused, but he is wonderfully caring. These two practically jump out of the pages at you with their personalities. The mystery had me on the edge of my seat with the twist and turns, I could not put it down!
Next up is Taste of Danger and Soledad’s story. This warm hearted, quiet librarian is thrown smack down in the middle of suspense and intrigue involving Russian treasure and family inheritances. James wants nothing more than to help his mentor and protect Soledad, but these two cannot help but be drawn to one another as they take us along for the ride. I was so sure that I knew who the bad guy was, but I kept changing my mind every step of the way as Alexa is a master at mystery novels!
Rounding up this box set is Touch of Danger. I believe Julia is the one Danger Girl I can relate to the most, as I was often misjudged as a teen and people assumed they knew what “kind of girl” I was, when it couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Ivan and Julia grew up together, and have always been in love, but circumstances and other people have caused them to distrust themselves and their love. With a killer on the loose, they must learn to lean on one another to stop the murderer, and find a way to get back to the love they once cherished.
Want to read it for free? Comment on this post and tell Alexa what you love best about a good mystery for a chance to win an ebook! Contest will be open for one week, and winner will be notified via email. Can’t wait that long – and really, why would you want to, hahaha?
It’s ONLY 99 cents for all three! So, grab your copy right here: https://amzn.to/2wNQJlJ, and then enter with your comments to get a free copy you can then share with a friend!!
This is the first book I have read of Chloe Flanagan, but I can PROMISE you it will not be the last! I am excited to bring this new to me author to your attention and I sincerely hope you will all take the time to give this a read!
Reprinted with author’s permission:
Seven years ago, Madeline Pine went mad. At least it seemed that way. She traded in her fast-paced New York City lifestyle for a quiet small town existence. On the upside, she now has faith and a sense of purpose.
Yet her tranquil world is upended when her nephew witnesses a murder, and she is faced with the challenge of keeping him safe. Compelling and enigmatic business mogul, Hiram MacArthur offers to assist her, but their growing attraction makes him more distracting than helpful.
New dangers, old memories, and a potential romance will all challenge what Madeline thought God wanted for her life. Will she trust His plan enough to embrace a new season?
my point of view:
The title of this novel is part of one of my favorite Bible verses, so I was intrigued right away. Then you give me a character that is ‘middle-aged’ and you definitely get my attention, hahaha! Let’s face it, it isn’t often we get an older set of main characters, so I am always pleased when I can find such a book that I truly enjoy reading!
Chloe certainly does not disappoint with Madeline and Hiram in this story. I literally laughed out loud over Madeline’s nickname – Mad! How cute can you get, especially when you are talking about a 50 something woman who spent the majority of her life being a single, serious, career driven woman who suddenly decides to change absolutely everything about her life? She must have “gone mad”, right?
This book bring a wonderful murder mystery, suspense and danger that leaves you with getting your hubs to do the cooking because you simply cannot put this book down! There is delightful romance, heartbreaking loss and a sense of humor that will leave you smiling and giggling out loud. There is also the precious gift of forgiveness….who among us doesn’t have issues with that? There is the struggle with forgiving others, forgiveness that God grants us, and forgiveness of our own past mistakes.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone that loves a sweet romance, a suspense filled mystery, or a fun read! Any time I can read a book, especially a mystery, that makes me gasp and say “I never saw that coming!” I mark that as a winner on my check list!
This is actually the second book of the series An Offer of Grace by Ms. Flanagan, but it can definitely stand on it’s own…….that being said, I immediately went and purchased the first book – Forward to What Lies Ahead – and will be looking for the next installment with baited breath!
About the author:
Chloe S. Flanagan is an author, technical writer, blogger, and graduate of New York University. She enjoys exploring the Christian walk frankly and thoughtfully in her fiction and in her blog, The Candid Corinthian. When she’s not writing, Chloe loves music, travel, reading books in all genres, and spending time with family.
Giveaway! Chloe Flanagan has generously offered one of our blog members a FREE ebook of A Time for Every Matter! To enter, simply comment on this post and tell us your favorite genre of Christian Fiction. Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.