Thursday, January 28, 2016

COTT {Clash of the Titles} January Winner

The Winner of the January Clash

Thanks to all of January’s wonderful authors! 

Here’s what readers had to say: 

All of these books look like so much fun! When I first saw The Volk Advent by Kristen Wilks, I was intrigued by the combination of a teen trying to escape murder charges and a pack of wolves, and I like to read historical fiction because I can experience other cultures.

Cynthia Hickey is a wonderful author. Engaging characters with twists you don’t expect. I love her books!

Andrea Boeshars’ Seasons of Love—Love reading them

Beth Wiseman just happens to be the best of the best! Her novels are outstanding at character and plot development
Runaways is a book you start and can’t put down

Am so looking forward to reading Runaways by Brenda Poulos!!!

Congratulations Brenda Poulos on your new hit, Runaways: The Long Journey Home

Excellent reading. Great job, Brenda
Introducing Our Winner
Congratulations Brenda Poulos!

No Mama. An abusive father. A hound dog for a best friend.

A victim of physical and emotional abuse at the hand of his father, Jake runs away following the most severe beating he’s ever endured. Leaving the only home he’s ever known in the backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains, he escapes into unknown territory with only his dog beside him. Jake and Hound face bitter cold and near starvation as they seek a new life--one free from fear, loneliness, and pain. And Father hunts Jake down with the very rifle he used to kill Sam and Mama.

Led by unseen forces. Protected by his dog. Jake experiences acceptance and unconditional love when he is befriended by a kindly older couple.

But, will he be able to put his past problems behind him and embrace a future made possible through the power of forgiveness?

Will he find a new life filled with hope for the future and learn to trust?

And when he is confronted with the biggest decision of his life, will he choose to run away, again, or face his father?

Runaways: The Long Journey Home is available on Amazon

From Brenda

For years, I had a recurring dream...a boy leaving a wilderness cabin on a cold winter’s night. No coat. No shoes. Totally unprepared for life on his own. And yet, I knew he was desperate to get away.
I was compelled to find out who the boy was, what circumstances he was running away from, where he would go, and if he would survive...

At this point, the dream left off, and the story—Jake’s story—began to take shape.

I sat at my computer day after day for almost two years. Eyes closed, I wrote as I experienced the journey along with this determined and resilient ten-year-old boy.

Reviews for Runaways: The Long Journey Home
Brenda Poulos should be a best-selling author! She is a masterful writer. Her ability to develop characters within the context of a compelling and spell-binding story is captivating. If you are looking for a fun read that will leave you wanting more, Runaways is a great selection. You’ll read this and find yourself recommending it to your friends. by J. Akerson on Amazon

Runaways is a book you won't be able to put down. The writing style of Brenda Poulos will pull you in as if you're a main part of the story. You will be on the edge of your seat in anticipation of what's coming next. And I'd bet the emotions of the characters will be felt throughout and will touch your heart. Wow! Perhaps a top-rated movie in the future? A+ by Jon Peterson on Amazon

Brenda does a wonderful job developing characters you care about while driving a story that is compelling and inspirational. This is a must read for all people who are looking for a story for the soul. by an Amazon customer

I couldn’t put this book down! Engagingly written, authentic characters, pain, and grace all intermingle in a believable way. Poulos lit up my mind’s eye with her vivid imagery. I will definitely read more from this author. by Kirsten Samuel on Amazon

Bio: Formerly an elementary school teacher and counselor, Brenda Poulos has now embarked on a new career as an author of Christian fiction. Her concern for families suffering abuse and her passion to reveal the power of forgiveness in creating lives with hope for the future were the catalysts for writing her first novel, Runaways: The Long Journey Home.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Making this delicious and easy Soapapilla Cheesecake for Valentine's Day . . . 

Sopapilla Cheesecake

*2 cans Pillsbury Crescent rolls
*2-8oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
*1 1/2 cups Sugar
*1 tsp. Vanilla extract
*1 tsp Cinnamon
*1 stick butter (1/2 cup real butter not margarine)

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Unroll and press 1 can crescent rolls into the bottom of your baking dish press the seams together. In a separate bowl blend the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla  spread over top of dough. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture pressing seams together again. Melt butter and pour over top layer of crescents. Mix the reaming 1/2 cup of sugar & cinnamon together. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture generously over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and bottom crust is slightly brown. So easy and delicious! Cool, slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

{Kregel Blog Tour} The Peacock Throne by Lisa Karon Richardson

Book Description: A mysterious throne holds the key to two murders; an epic adventure steeped in treachery and romance

When Miss Lydia Garrett's guardian is murdered, and the authorities refuse to investigate the odd circumstances, she vows to catch the culprit. The same night the Earl of Danbury is murdered in his bed. Against all odds it appears that the murders are related―and Anthony Douglas, the new Lord Danbury, is bent on revenge.
The clues point to the former earl’s first naval command. In 1758 the earl spirited away and hid the magnificent Peacock Throne at the behest of the Indian royal family. To draw out the murderer, Anthony and Lydia agree that they must locate the throne.
They are not the only ones interested in the Peacock Throne, however. Marcus Wiltshire, a British intelligence, has received hints that Bonaparte intends to return the throne to India and leverage its mystical significance to foment rebellion and cut England off from her most important trading partner.
When the amateur sleuths join forces with the professional agent, the quest for the throne leads them around the globe on an adventure steeped in danger, treachery, and romance.

My Thoughts:  Lisa Karon Richardson is a brand new author for me.  I believe that she has written several novels including this one, The Peacock Throne.
As I began reading this story I quickly found out that Lydia Garrett is a young woman who is not afraid of life.  She is also bent on finding out the truth when a crime hits her own home.  
Her guardian is murdered and, lo and behold, the police don't think this is a crime worthy of their attention.  But on the same night Anthony Douglas, the new Lord of Danbury, is also killed while sleeping in his own bed.  
Are the two crimes related?  Well, Miss Lydia Garrett is going to find out.  But she could use help...enter Marcus Wilshire of the British intelligence.  
However, Marcus has hints/clues that the mystery of the deaths surround The Peacock Throne.  The Peacock Throne was a famous jeweled throne that was the seat of the Mughal emperors that conquered Northern India. It was commissioned in the early 17th century by emperor Shah Jahan and was located in the Red Fort of Delhi. The original throne was subsequently captured and taken as a war trophy in 1739 by the Persian king Nader Shah, and has been lost ever since.
An interesting mystery surrounding the Peacock Throne.

*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

About the Author:  

Influenced by books like THE SECRET GARDEN and THE LITTLE PRINCESS, Lisa Karon Richardson's early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she's (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She's been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction (November 27, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782641785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782641780

Monday, January 25, 2016

COTT {Clash of the Titles} Smashing Selections Brighten the New Year in This January Clash

Smashing Selections Brighten the New Year in This January Clash

What an exciting 2016 kick-off for Clash of the Titles. Readers can choose from a teen novel, mystery, suspense/ thriller, love trilogy and an Amish novella collection of sweet romances. One of each sounds good. Peruse the selections, decide which to put at the top of this year's to-be-read list.

An orphaned Siberian teen faces murder charges 
and an escaped pack of pet wolves

What Stormi doesn't expect is the final, life-altering gift from Matt's ex-girlfriend. Nor does she expect her bachelorette party to lead to murder.

Jake escapes from the remote Appalachian cabin—the only home he has ever known. And Father hunts him down with the very rifle he used to kill Sam and Mama.

 In the novella, An Apple a Day, Dr. Brian Coridan needs a break so he vacations in quiet Blossom Lake, Wisconsin where he never expects to be distracted by Talia Fountain, the town's "health food nut." In September Sonata, Krissy and Blaine's marriage is in its autumn season...or is it just over?—and in Let it Snow, they were once a couple, engaged to be married, until Shari Kretlow ran off with another guy, but decades later, Shari is a widow who finds herself stranded in a Wisconsin blizzard on Christmas Eve, and it's her former fiancé, Brenan Sheppard, who comes to her rescue. 

 Spend a year in Amish country with four sweet romances.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

An Amish Year: Four Amish Novellas by Beth Wiseman

Book Description:  Spend a year in Amish country with four sweet romances.

Rooted in Love (previously published in An Amish Garden)
Rosemary Lantz is doing her best to run her family’s household. She excels at all her tasks except one: gardening. Saul Petersheim has pursued Rosemary for years, but Rosemary keeps turning him down. What Saul doesn’t know is that she has good reason—something no one can know—especially not him.
A Love for Irma Rose
The year is 1957, and young Irma Rose has a choice to make. Date the man who is “right” for her? Or give Jonas a chance, the wild and reckless suitor who refuses to take no for an answer?  Irma Rose steps onto the path she believes God has planned for her, but when she loses her footing, she is forced to rethink her choice.   
Patchwork Perfect
Eli Byler has been a widower for two years when he chooses to make a fresh start in Paradise, Pennsylvania. As Eli juggles the admiration of two women, he meets Miriam Fisher—the most unconventional Amish woman he’s ever met. She doesn’t fit the mold for what Eli is looking for, but it isn’t long before Eli realizes that Miriam is everything he wants. But Miriam has no plans to get married—ever.  Will Eli be able to change her mind?
When Christmas Comes Again (previously published in An Amish Second Christmas)
Katherine knows the first Christmas without Elias will be hard for her and the children. But when a mysterious Englischer appears with photographs of her late husband, Katherine begins to wonder what other blessings Christmas could have in store.

My Thoughts:  It's been awhile since I've read a story by Beth Wisemen so I was excited to receive this book.  What I didn't realize was a that there are four novellas in this one book and I had already read two of the stories because they were included in other publications.  But that was okay since I still was able to read two new stories.
I truly enjoy novellas.  These short stories are great for when one is busy but needs to take a few moments to relax with a story.
And my favorite story out of all four of the novellas was Patchwork Perfect.  It was sweet just.right.for.the.holidays read!
This is also a book that makes a great gift for that Amish story lover on your list.  This is all about the Amish (well, at least through the author's perspective).
And just a side note it won't take the reader a year to read these novellas but it takes the reader through a year of Amish peoples love stories.
I enjoyed these novellas and hope you do too.

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (December 8, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401689779
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401689773

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Not a recipe today, instead you may need this life hack!  
Such a good resource!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Curio (Blink Series) by Evangeline Denmark

Book Description:  Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her small western town. But she has always followed the rules, taking the potion the Chemists ration out that helps the town’s people survive. A potion that Grey suspects she—like her grandfather and father—may not actually need.
By working at her grandfather’s repair shop, sorting the small gears and dusting the curio cabinet inside, Grey has tried to stay unnoticed—or as unnoticed as a tall, strong girl can in a town of diminutive, underdeveloped citizens. Then her best friend, Whit, is caught by the Chemists’ enforcers after trying to protect Grey one night, and after seeing the extent of his punishment, suddenly taking risks seems the only decision she can make.
But with the risk comes the reality that the Chemists know her family’s secret, and the Chemists soon decide to use her for their own purposes. Panicked, Grey retreats to the only safe place she knows—her grandfather’s shop. There, however, a larger secret confronts her when her touch unlocks the old curio cabinet in the corner and reveals a world where porcelain and clockwork people are real. There, she could find the key that may save Whit’s life and also end the Chemists’ dark rule forever.

My Thoughts:  This is a wonderful hardback book . . . I love the cover of this book!  And it enticed me so much,  even though I had no idea what steampunk writing meant.  I looked up the word steampunk and just in case you didn't know either here is a "simple" definition:  Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. So, with that said. . . 
After I picked this lovely book and began reading I was quite taken in.  What a story!  The reader must keep in mind that this is fantasy with some science fiction and has do with small machinery involved.

Once you understand those "facts" then the whole story flows together.

I loved Grey and the way she sorts out mysteries.  The "mystery" here is the potion that her grandfather takes but does he really need it.  And "this" town is so eery in their undeveloped depth of thinking/life.  Reminded me a little of "the walking dead."  But the author does not describe this this way, just my over reaching imagination.

Once Grey finds "facts" she involves her good friend, Whit.  But Whit gets caught and his life is in danger.  Grey has a lot of  discovering and truths to uncover to "get rid" of the Chemists (bad guys). 

What a story!

In my opinion, you will either hate this story or love it!  It is written for young adults.  But as an adult I love the story!

*This book was provided by BookLook*

Meet the Author: 
Evangeline Denmark cannot sing. This tragic discovery led to bouts of angst-ridden poetry writing in her teens, an ill-advised relationship with Edward Fairfax Rochester, and the compulsive creation of her own fictional worlds. 
Having found her true voice, Evangeline writes fiction with hints of whimsy, glimmers of fantasy, and strokes of the supernatural. Her debut novel, Curio, sets coming-of-age and first love against a backdrop of steam-propelled greed and societal repression. For a peek into the origins of the Curio world check out the prequel novella, Mark of Blood and Alchemy.
Evangeline lives in Colorado with her husband, an engineer with a sense of humor and an artistic streak, two ravenous sons who steal her laptop and demand dinner, a cat, two turtles, and a cattle dog who runs the house.

  • Series: Blink
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Blink (January 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310729661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310729662

With This Ring?: A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, Melissa Jagears

Book Description:  Humorous Historical Romance Novella 

Collection Offers Love and Laughs

Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer's "The Husband Maneuver," Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins when the ranch foreman she loves seems to be leaving forever. Regina Jennings offers "Her Dearly Unintended," where friends stranded by a rising river pretend to be newlyweds when a dangerous stranger arrives. 

Mary Connealy's "Runaway Bride" finds a Texas ranger getting more than he expected when he rescues a young woman fleeing a dangerous arranged marriage. And Melissa Jagears' "Engaging the Competition" finds a young woman forced to assist the man she's often sparred with after an accident leaves him helpless. Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers. 

My Thoughts:  A fun and light read for the reader who needs a laugh...somtimes a belly laugh from the antics of these proposals gone south.
The novellas are wonderful short stories of love and romance but there's a hitch!  These aren't in the know or are truly lacking in the romance department.  
Love can be quite unexpected and sometimes quite unplanned.

The Husband Maneuver:  This story is about Marietta Hawkins who feels that she must take the lead in the romance department when the ranch foreman, Daniel Barrett, decides he is leaving forever.  Marietta comes up with a plan to lasso Daniel to the altar.
Her Dearly Unintended is a more serious story with Josiah Huckabee trying to save Katie Ellen Watson when a storm comes.  But with a washed out bridge and no way out they must stay put...and then a menacing stranger comes along.  Josiah and Katie [pretend to be married to save their reputations but also to save a life.  However, can a pretend marriage turn into a real marriage?

Runaway Bride is another mini story about a man trying to keep a woman safe by helping her escape from a "bad" man intent on marrying her.  Carrie and Big John, a solitary Texas Ranger, soon finds himself not just taking care of a lady but falling for this lady.  A cute story.

Engaging the Competition introduces us to a tomboy, Charlotte Andrews and Harrison Gray,,,they have been rivals for years.  And Charlotte is intended for another man.  But when Charlotte breaks Harrison's glasses, he cannot see thing.  Charlotte must help him with his teaching position making for a fun read.

A thoroughly enjoyable read with four great mini stories from four great western authors!

*This book was provided for review by Bethany House*

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764217720
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764217722

Monday, January 18, 2016

COTT {Clash of the Titles} "After"

Featuring Contemporary Novel "After"

After, an inspirational novel by contemporary Christian fiction author, Joy Ohagwu, is poised to spotlight the strength in transformation, courage in love, and hope in times of despair.


About the book:

One step will transform her life.

Sixty thousand people watched as Candace Rodriguez literally fell off the stage while performing the national anthem, wrecking more than her self-esteem. Is her music career over? Now, weighing 350 pounds and jilted by her fiancé after the shame of her public fall, can she find another chance at true love? Will her new Christian faith anchor her future hopes?
Former highbrow stock trader, "JB" Patrickson has had enough of life making mockery of his best laid-out future plans. His father insisted he'd never make it more than selling " chickn" stock in Kentucky. Proving him wrong, JB succeeded at the NY Stock Exchange, becoming one of the best US traders...until the market crashed in 2008. Seven years later and mired in debt, he can't shake the urge that God is leading him down a different path. The path of accepting his grandmother's request to come help manage her farm, couple hundred miles away, despite his little to nothing knowledge about farming. Has he fallen low enough to toil with his hands to eke out a single meal? What future could God plan for him on a farm?

Twenty years after returning to the US from a fulfilling medical mission in Asia, Dr. and Dr. Mrs. Cantwell gratefully send off two sons to college, purchase a flourishing twenty-acre farm, and prepare to settle into their empty nest stage. But what will they do if God leads one more life into their path, one needing stitches of the soul not of the body? Can they answer His call to service, or will overlooked pain from the past threaten the fragile peace they'd so desperately coaxed into existence to survive together?

What our voters had to say:
--I love the book, AFTER! The cover is catchy, and the contents, inspiring!
--Congratulations, Joy! A lovely book inside and out.~~~Deirdre Lockhart
--I personally saw the love poured into writing "After" and I hope it blesses everyone who reads it! It's Awesome!!!
--Thumbs up, Joy!
Q: Joy, what was writing After like?
A: Thank you for asking. First, I’d like to appreciate everyone that voted for After during the COTT contest. Thank you all very much. I started writing After during NaNoWriMo 2013. Then earlier in summer 2015, after I wrote Candace in as a character for Blossom and Josh's story(which is now After 2), her personality and voice got so strong that she took over the story! It was amazing. I trusted my gut, went with the flow, and ended up publishing Candace's and JB's story as the first in the AFTER series. The AFTER series is about transformation and positively changing one’s lifestyle through fitness. But more importantly, After shows us that we should allow God to assist us in every area of our lives, especially those places where everyone expects us to fail. You can read the story here. Although I enjoyed writing about Candace and JB, I'm glad that I finally completed Blossom and Josh's story as well and it released as After 2 in November 2015. 

Q: Can you share with us about your next book?
A: Sure. I'd love to. I'm presently writing Uncommon Ground, the first book in a romantic suspense series, and I’ll share what the story is about. Stella is a widow who's juggling a career and raising an older teen that doesn't believe in God. A disaster occurs that separates them and turns their world upside down. Stella's concerns multiply in the ensuing chaos after she meets Michael, a Christian man with a mysterious past and she wonders how many more unseen twists God trusts her to handle. Like Psalm 68 verse 5 says, God is a defender of the widows. Uncommon Ground is a story where we can identify with each of the characters’ struggles, and if we let it, it can potentially kick our faith higher into greater dimensions. After reading Uncommon Ground, we get to appreciate some of the things we usually take for granted as Christians. Uncommon Ground becomes available for preorder Jan 1, 2016, and I pray everyone gets their copy. 

Thank you very much for having me here. God bless you!

About Bestselling Author Joy Ohagwu:
Joy Ohagwu is the bestselling author of The New Rulebook suspense series. Her novels are romantic suspense and inspirational stories geared to engage, inspire and entertain readers. She earned a Masters' Degree in International Affairs from American University, Washington DC; and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan. Professionally, she’s been honored with multiple awards for pioneer academic research, student leadership and overall excellence. Joy is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers(ACFW) organization. She pens stories during evenings, weekends, and whenever the food takes too long to cook. Despite the many hurdles she has faced, she counts God as being faithful in her life. Joy lives in the beautiful State of Maryland.

You can connect with Joy on her website, and follow her Author page.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Step by Step (Crisis Team) by Candace Calvert

Book Description:  Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point―“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.
While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.
When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?

My Thoughts:  The first novel I read my Candace Calvert was By your Side.  I enjoyed the read so much that I was thrilled to receive Step by Step the next book in the Crisis Team "series."  Don't worry these books don't have to be read in order.  
Step by Step is about ER nurse Taylor Cabot (Candace is an ER nurse so the scenarios are first hand knowledge).  Since her husband was tragically killed she is trying to get on with her life.  And the handsome plastic surgeon makes her think that maybe she can move on.  And then, the crisis chaplain, Seth Donovan, reappears in her life.
Seth has feelings for Taylor but Taylor seems to want nothing to do with Seth or the Crisis Team....she has a new man and wants to move on.
But then a crisis hits their community and Taylor and Seth must work together.  With emotions running on nerve endings it seems that no one is getting anywhere fast in the love lane. 
And interesting and fast reads.  The medical books are my favorite reads lately because they deal with "things" I know nothing about.
Loved this read!

*This book was provided for review by Tyndale*

Author Q & A Candace Calvert │Step by Step
  1. This is the second installment in your latest trilogy, the Crisis Team series. What is the background on this series?
    The Crisis Team series, set in my native California, offers exciting medical scenarios within the fictional Hope medical system, and features the selfless and compassionate work of volunteer community chaplainstrue heroes.
  2. How do you expect this series to resonate with your audience? What are you most excited for your readers to experience through reading these novels?
    I have found, almost universally, that most of my readers weren’t aware of the vital work done by crisis responders (chaplains). It’s an honor to feature these dedicated volunteers and puts an intriguing new slant on my exciting and highly emotional medical fiction. I also think it adds to the element of hope for my readers, to know that these teams are “out there” in real life.
  3. Crisis teams are becoming increasingly vital and active in the world today. How would you describe their role, and how can we learn more?
    Crisis responders are volunteers from all walks of life, trained to assist survivors of tragedy, whether it be from a major disaster (weather related catastrophes, fires, bombings, mass shootings, etc.) or of a more personal nature like the sudden death of a loved one from a heart attack, accident, suicide, homicide, sudden infant death, or other unexpected cause. These volunteers work alongside other rescue personnel (fire, police, rescue) offering support, a compassionate ear, and resources to folks trying to cope in the wake of an incident that will forever change their lives. Crisis responders have been referred to as “emotional paramedics,” and I think that says it well.
    In creating my stories, I’m grateful for the assistance of U.S. Crisis Care. Here is a link:
    U.S. Crisis Care
  4. As a former ER nurse who has had crisis chaplain training, what has been your most rewarding or memorable experience in the field?

In my role as a CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) peer counselor, I was part of team that ministered to fellow medical team members affected by work-related tragedy. We responded to (and conducted debriefings for) hospital staff after situations involving infant and child death, mass casualties, personal assaults, and accidental death (or suicide) of fellow team members. As often seen in my stories, medical (rescue, fire, law enforcement, and chaplaincy) workers are not immune to the heartbreak of tragedy. The cliché of a self-protective, indifferent, “professionally distant” service provider couldn’t be further from the truth. We cry, too.
  1. What was your inspiration for this particular book and the main characters, Taylor and Seth?
    Nurse Taylor Cabot and Chaplain Seth Donovan were secondary characters, friends and volunteer team mates, in By Your Side. In this new story readers have the opportunity to learn more about them and follow their heart tugging journey. The setting is beautiful San Diego, California where, in opening scene, a small plane crashes onto the beach. The continuing story offers exciting medical drama, an in depth look a crisis chaplaincy, warm humor, romance . . . and a few tears (Kleenex advised).
  2. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
    The unifying message in Step by Step is one of forgiveness and healing, by allowing God’s loving plan to guide the way instead of stubbornly insisting on personal control.
  3. As an author, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
    Readers have come to expect animals in my stories, and in Step by Step the relationship between Taylor and her aging Golden Retriever, Hooper, was particularly poignant for me. I also got a kick out of showing Taylor’s (controlling) tendency toward checklists, calorie counting, and tracking her exercise by logging every “step”—I have a Fitbit bracelet, too!
  4. What are some of the unique challenges of writing contemporary romance in a medical setting?
    I think the challenge of the medical aspect is to provide realistic (and accurate) medical detail without talking over the heads of readers, but not talking down to them either. Because of the popularity of medical TV drama and the opportunity for people to “Google” their way into medical jargon, symptomology, and treatment adjuncts, readers are far more savvy these days. I try my best to sort of parachute my readers into the medical scenes, allowing them feel as if they are part of the team.

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As far as the romance aspect goes, while it’s true that team mates working in life-and-death situations often develop strong (and sometimes romantic) bonds, I can guarantee there is no TV-type trysts going on in hospital storage rooms!
  1. Have you received any feedback from your fans on the Crisis Team series? How are they responding?
    The response (I’m grateful) has been very positive; readers love these compassionate crisis responders. And, of course, I’m so honored that Booklist chose this seriesfirst story, By Your Side, as a Top 10 Inspirational Book of 2015.
  2. What is the best advice or encouragement you have received either personally or professionally?

    I would have to say the best advice I’ve received both professionally and personally is also a tenet of crisis chaplaincy: to simply listen.
    We all (especially service providers) have a great need to “do and fix.”
    And certainly talk, advise . . . sometimes lecture.

    One of the biggest blessings, gifts, we can give another person is to listen, really hear them. It also speaks, of course, to one of my favorite verses:
    Psalm 46:10

    . . . Be still, and know that I am God . . .
11. What are you most proud of in your writing career?
I’m not sure “proud” is the word, but I think I’m most pleased (still pinching myself) that readers say my stories have touched their hearts, encouraged them at a time of despair-- even changed their lives. It’s powerful, humbling, amazing.
I’m definitely proud of my publishing team—Tyndale House is beyond awesome.
12. What are some future projects you’re working on?
At this moment, I’m preparing for the redline edits on Maybe It’s You, the third Crisis Team story, scheduled for release in early 2017. 

  • Series: Crisis Team
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 1, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414390343
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414390345