2/28/13

Thursday Author Spotlight: Patrick E. Craig

I had the privilege of meeting and working with Patrick last year at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. His first book was recently released from Harvest House. I reviewed it here and really enjoyed it.

Here are a few questions (and answers) from Patrick.

PeCraig2

 

You are a man who writes Amish fiction and there are very few out there. Why Amish?

In late 2010, I read a blog by Nick Harrison, a senior editor at Harvest House Publishers, whom I had met at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. Nick said for the first month of 2011 he would accept story ideas, and he liked Amish and quilting stories.

At first I thought, I’m a man and I know nothing about the Amish or quilting, but I felt compelled to go for it anyway. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God had put a wide-open door in front of me. I went for it and sent Nick a one-sheet for a story called “A Quilt For Jenna.”

What happened then?

Nick really liked the story idea and proposed that we consider it for an anthology of short stories. He asked for some sample chapters so I wrote three short ones, thinking that we were working on a short story.

So you were writing short chapters for a short story. How did it become a novel?

The 2011 Mt. Hermon Conference was coming up and I sent the chapters to Steve Laube, a literary agent, for a critique. At the conference, I met with Steve. He asked if the story could be a novel and if I could make a three-book series out of it. I took a deep breath and said that I could. I spoke with Nick, and he also encouraged me to make it into a novel.

So did you get your book deal then or later?

Much later. I left Mt. Hermon in April with a mission—to write two chapters a week and finish by August. I sent the complete manuscript to Nick and Steve on September 15th. Steve contacted me about representing me, and Nick pitched it to the editorial committee at Harvest House. Then three weeks later, I got an e-mail from Nick that said, “It’s a yes!” I signed with Steve, he negotiated the contract, and we were on the way. In a few short months I had gone from knowing nothing about the Amish or quilting to having a three-book deal with Harvest House and a top literary agent to represent me. I’m now working on the second book, “The Road Home.”

What did you learn from this experience?

I learned two things: first—if the Lord opens a door, step through it, and second—you must let the Lord put you in the way of people who can help you. Writer’s conferences are great for that, and Mt. Hermon is one of the best.

____________________

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career to follow Christ in 1984. He spent twenty-six years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor. He signed a three-book deal with Harvest House Publishers for his Apple Creek Dreams series. The first book, A Quilt for Jenna, was released February 1, 2013. You can contact Patrick by email at Patrick@patrickecraig.com or on Twitter @patrickecraig.

2/27/13

Woe! It’s Wednesday

I’ve noticed a theme forming for this year. I often take a word or phrase and try to consciously live it throughout the year. I’ve done Kindness, Speaking the Truth in Love, Defy Gravity. In 2013 the word that keeps cropping up is Fearless. Several books have crossed my path on taming fears.

I don’t tend to think of myself as a fearful person. My husband was a cop for nearly thirty years and people often asked me I worried about him and I truthfully said I did not.

I appear fearless. I’ve gone scuba diving and snorkeling. I rode a bike down Haleakala. I drive in San Francisco and LA. I fly.

But I’m coming to realize that fear and worry are not the same thing.

I am afraid of offending people so I tend to keep my opinions to myself until I feel safe.

I am afraid of being hurt.

In a recent writing exercise, I had to write why I was afraid to write the story. As I wrote a lot of reasons why I wasn’t afraid, it became apparent that I was afraid it would be good and then there would be expectations placed on me to do it again. So I’m afraid of success.

I’m afraid of rejection. I’ve talked about that one before, it’s a big one with me.

I’m a collector of quotes for all occasions. My current favorite is from Jillian Michaels, one of The Biggest Loser trainers. She says, “Feel the fear. Do it anyway.”

That’s my goal for this year. Figure out my fears. Acknowledge them. Do something scary anyway.

2/26/13

Book Talk Tuesday: Three Sisters

I’m a newcomer to Susan Mallery’s books but that just gives me more of her backlist to look forward to reading.

Three SistersAndi Gordon was jilted at the altar and in response she did the first impulsive thing in her life: she picked up stakes and moved to Blackberry Island off the coast of Seattle. She buys a worn down house on a cul-de-sac. Her house sits between two others. A perfectly restored home and one with more whimsy.

Artist Boston King thought she and her high school sweetheart husband were going to be together forever. They probably would be, except for the heartbreak that has torn them apart. Each is so wounded they may never find their way through the grief, much less back to each other.

Deanna Phillips confronts her husband about an assumed affair. She discovers that her marriage is in much more trouble than she ever suspected. And it has nothing to do with another woman. Deanna has worked hard to have the perfect family, the perfect marriage, and the perfect home. How will she survive if anyone finds out her life is a sham?

Each of the three women on the street needs a new beginning. Along the way they find each other and the life they are meant to live.

I really enjoyed Three Sisters. It was more women’s fiction that romance, although there’s plenty of that too. In fact, I need to caution my blog readers, there was a bit more sex than in the books I usually recommend, just FYI. Not a lot, but it was there and fairly graphic, although nowhere near pornographic. Okay? Okay.

Anyway, there was humor, heart, and real life. I believed these women could be living on an island, making margaritas, and encouraging each other. None of them pretend to have all the answers. Or any answers. But that’s what made them likeable and made me root for them.

I loved this one. My mountain of To Be Read books is so massive, I’ll likely never see the bottom of it, but I’ll definitely seek out another Blackberry Island novel by Susan Mallery. Anyone who enjoys Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, or Susan Wigg’s Lakeshore Chronicles series will love this one.

2/22/13

Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

 

The Bandbox Hat

Previously: The charm ceremony was underway. Linda saved Cassie and a few other girls. Nathan saved Amanda and Shelly. Austin saved two girls. No one would look at SarahJane. Austin was about to announce his last girl.

Chapter Forty-Five

I blinked to keep the tears from spilling as Austin walked to me. “May I walk you out?” he asked.

I nodded, but truthfully I didn’t care if I ever saw him again. How had I let myself be sucked into this thing? It was billed as a game but I’d never had my heart broken by Clue or Monopoly.

“I owe you an explanation,” Austin said.

The cameraman backed down the steps in front of us. Just the sight of Joe with his black beanie and New Balance sneakers told me this was real. I wasn’t dreaming and it wasn’t some weird twist of the producers. Austin and Linda didn’t want me around anymore.

“I really do like you, SarahJane.” Austin took my hand and tucked it over his elbow. He guided me toward the waiting limo. “It’s not personal.”

I stopped and pierced him with what I hoped was a soul-searing gaze. “What are you talking about? This is a dating game. Of course it’s personal.”

He sighed. “I was afraid you’d see it like that.”

“Is there another way?”

“Look, I told you my mom was an actress. This was as much to get her back into the viewers’ eyesight as it was for me to fall in love. More, if we’re being completely honest.”

“Oh, please, let’s be honest for once.”

He opened the rear door and pulled me close for a good-bye hug. I might have believed in his sincerity if he hadn’t angled his face toward Joe’s camera and me towards the now hovering full moon behind the limo.

“You’re too likeable and too sweet. Mom and Liam think it’s better if I let you go.”

I pushed him back and crawled into the back seat. “No worries, Austin. I had fun.” I’d have pulled it off too, except my voice cracked just then and Austin shot me a look that—if I didn’t know better—I might have thought was caring and concern.

He raised a hand, his eyes stricken. “SarahJane—”

“Let’s go, please, Mike,” I said to the driver.

He obligingly put the car into drive and we headed down the hill to the exit.

2/20/13

Woe! It’s Wednesday

We’re back from Portland and we had a lovely time.

Yes, it rained.  DSC01007

But it didn’t slow us down at all.

I did worry a bit about being disappointed but I wasn’t.

We visited Voodoo Donuts, Stumptown Coffee, Caffee Vita, Jake’s Famous Crawfish, Powell’s Books (it’s free to visit, but we spent money in there at a rate of about $100 an hour), Tillamook Cheese in Tillamook, Penner-Ash Winery, Erath Winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, The Station Pizzeria, Piazza Italia, Mount Hood, Multnomah Falls (above), Horsetail Falls, Pine State Biscuits (below) and Cannon Beach.

DSC00888

Did you sense a theme?

We do tend to focus on the food when we travel.

God is so gracious. We never got lost (or so lost we couldn’t figure out where we were). We didn’t argue (until the last day after 10 hours of driving so that’s not only understandable but kind of a foregone conclusion). The weather didn’t stop us from doing what we wanted. We ate some amazing food.

We’re ready to go back anytime.

2/19/13

Book Talk Tuesday: Kindred in Death

I’m crazy about J.D. Robb and her Lt. Eve Dallas. I love the stories. I love the near future setting of a gritty New York City. I love the character growth of both Eve and her husband Roarke.

coverKindred in Death isn’t a new release, but I just got to it in my stack. I’ve actually read the next few already but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this one at all.

Eve is enjoying a rare weekend off but she’s called in to work when a fellow police officer arrived home early from a holiday weekend to find his teenage daughter brutally murdered.

I love how Robb takes us along with Eve on her investigation. We’re in it together and completely baffled at the beginning. As Eve begins, we get the clues and test results back as she does and we get to follow her brain process as she figures out who the killer is and why. The second murder is a slap in her face and ours and we’re racing around the city to stop the next one.

Eve and Roarke’s personal lives are interwoven skillfully. Eve is maturing from book to book and learning how to be a loving wife and friend.

If you like tightly plotted mysteries and haven’t discovered Lt. Eve Dallas, treat yourself. Kindred in Death would be a great introduction.

 

2/15/13

Fiction Friday: The Bandbox Hat

 

The Bandbox Hat

Previously: SarahJane, Cassie, Austin, and Nathan met up before the charm ceremony. They bonded over making nachos together. The ceremony was about to begin.

Chapter Forty-Four

Austin stuffed a last chip in his mouth as Liam entered the kitchen. “Time to go. Austin and Nathan with me. Cassie and SarahJane into the living room.”

We obediently shuffled off to our assigned spots. Austin caught my eye and winked as he swallowed and grinned. I had to smile back. He was so darn cute.

The girls in the living room ignored Cassie and me when we entered. Cassie cast me a puzzled look and I shrugged. Was it our fault they took forever to get dressed and missed out on some alone time with the guys? No. I didn’t think so.

“Gather around the couches. Everyone find a spot.” Liam stuck his head in from the hallway. The camera and sound people sorted themselves out while the rest of settled on the couch cushions and along the arms. We were down to half the number we’d started with so it wasn’t quite the crunch as it had been.

“Ouch!” Cassie glared at Amanda. “You stepped on me.”

“Oh, sugar, I’m so sorry,” Amanda cooed. I might have bought it except for the sly tilt of her lips.

Harrison Taylor strode into the room and gave us all a long look before clapping his hands once. “All right, let’s do this. As you know, Austin and Linda will be handing out charms to add your bracelets. It’s up to you to accept or decline the charm.”

“Like anyone here would say no.” Amanda spoke softly but a few girls burst into giggles.

“Whenever you’re ready, Harrison,” Liam said.

Harrison paused a beat then addressed the camera. After reminding viewers what was going on he brought Linda, Austin, and Nathan into the room. I couldn’t help it. My dang traitorous heart actually skipped a beat when Austin came in. How clich├ęd is that?

Linda made her choices. Cassie, of course. A couple of other girls. I might have imagined it, but it seemed like she was avoiding my gaze. She skipped right over me when she swept the pair of us on the arm of the couch. Oh well. That just meant I was on Austin’s list that night. Just because Linda had been the one to save me each night before now didn’t mean anything. She and Austin discussed their picks ahead of time.

After Linda, it was Nathan’s turn to save two girls.

He rubbed a charm between his thumb and forefinger. It sort of seemed that he was avoiding me too. He drew a deep breath before speaking. “Amanda.” She slithered out from between Cassie and Jessica and made her way to Nathan’s side.

“Yes, Nathan. I’d love to accept your charm.” She kissed him and I had to hold back my gag reflex.

Nathan then bestowed his second charm on Shelly, one of the sweeter girls there.

Harrison announced a commercial break. He immediately huddled with Linda and Austin. A shiver of tension shot up my back. It wasn’t my imagination. No one on the crew, not Harrison, Linda, Austin, or my own brother would look me in the eyes.

Oh no. The horror and the realization hit me at the same time as Harrison grinned into the camera and told us it was Austin’s turn to make the final three charm announcements.

He gave a charm to Mindy. Then one to Yvonne.

Cassie gave me a panicked look but I could only shake my head in response. I knew what was coming. Why oh why did I ever let myself think I could win anything against the kind of gameplay of Amanda and her friends?

Austin held the last charm in his hand. His eyes flicked from one end of our couch to the other. He never wavered or paused near me. I drew a deep breath. This was it. I was finished.

He finally said the last girl’s name.

2/14/13

Spotlight Thursday: Victoria Pitts-Caine

I’ve know Vicki Caine for several years now and am thrilled to be able to tell you about her and her books.

Victoria Pitts Caine is a native Californian and lives in the bountiful San Joaquin Valley. Her varied interests include genealogy and exotic gemstone collecting both of which she’s incorporated into her novels. While her genre is inspirational, she likes to refer to herself as a Christian Romance Adventure Novelist.

The author has received recognition in both fiction and nonfiction from: Enduring Romance top 10 picks for 2008, William Saroyan Writing Conference, Byline Magazine, Writer’s Journal Magazine and The Southern California Genealogical Society. Her first novel, Alvarado Gold, was published in 2007.

Victoria is a former staff technician for the environmental sector working in air pollution control. She is the mother of two daughters. Victoria and her husband enjoy travel, church service and emergency radio communications.

Q. Why did you pick Inspirational romance as your genre?

At first, I wanted to write an adventure novel. I didn’t see myself as a romance writer, but I learned quickly if I didn’t have a genre, I wasn’t going anywhere. I added a romance to my first book, Alvarado Gold, AlvaradoGold_wrp467_120and because of my beliefs and preferences in what I read myself, inspirational was the next step.

Q. Who is one of your favorite characters in your books and why?

There is a little bit of “me” in all of my female characters. Addie Brown is about as close to me as any of my heroines since the book is based on a family story of my own. I’m technically Addie in the family breakdown of the six cousins in the book.


Q. How long does it take you to write a book?

It usually takes me about two years. However, I have one on the back burner I haven’t gotten beyond the first chapter. It is written in a style I’m not familiar with and it takes me to a different place that takes considerable thought.

Q. How did you come up with your titles?

Cairo_CoverAlvarado Gold came from the name of the small town near where my family originally settled in Texas. Cairo, which is the next book in the series, follows Addie and Gary on an ill-fated vacation to Egypt. The Tempering Agent is also set in Egypt and is the third in the series. The title for that book came from the agent mixed into clay that gives it strength and stability. Alvarado Gold is available on Amazon and Cairo and The Tempering Agent will be released this year from PRISM BOOK GROUP

 

Q. When did you start writing?

I wrote a story for an adoption magazine years ago and was urged to have it published in a national magazine. When I didn’t get any takers, I set writing aside for another twenty years until I started attending a writing critique group.  TheTemperingAgent_Cover

Q. How hard was it to find a publisher?

I think the real question for me is: was it hard to find the right publisher? I wanted my three books to be with the same house and when I saw that wasn’t going to happen I looked for a long time to find a house to take the other two. I actually was just short of signing a contract when I realized I couldn’t do everything that particular publisher wanted. As they say, good things come to those who wait because my current publisher is awesome.

Q. What’s new with your writing?

LikeaLily_Piits-CaineI’m excited to announce I’ll have an Easter novella coming out next month with PRISM BOOK GROUP. The name of the story is Like a Lily. I don’t have the exact release date but it will be available on their website and Amazon the first part of March.

 

 

 

 

Purchase information:

Like a Lily: http://www.prismbookgroup.com/LikeaLily.html

Alvarado Gold: Amazon.com paperback and Kindle versions

Cairo and The Tempering Agent: http://www.prismbookgroup.com/victoriapittscaine.html

Website: http://vcaine.homestead.com

Blog: http://victoriapitts-caine.blogspot.com

Email: alvaradogold9@gmail.com

Facebook: facebook.com/victoria.pittscaine.5 or: facebook.com/Victoria.Pitts.Caine

2/13/13

Woe! It’s Wednesday: I’m not a good Christian

I try to be.

But I’m not.

For several reasons.

1) Scripture says I’m not. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” And Romans 3:10 is pretty clear, too: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” (My italics added.)

2) I don’t love others the way I should. I’m petty and selfish and I think of myself far too often.

3) I tire of pretending that I’m a nice person. But I know so many nice people that I’m afraid to let them see the petty and selfish real me.

4) I’m too … cynical. Maybe that’s too strong. Prosaic? or skeptical maybe. Because I’m not a good Christian, I judge others. I second guess their motives. 

5) I don’t really care about theology and Calvinism vs Arminianism or pre-Trib vs. post-Trib, Creationist-young-earth or Intelligent Design old earth. Those arguments just get people riled up and angry and give them an excuse to hold a grudge here on earth. It’s not going to matter even a little bit when we get to heaven. There’s no entrance exam! In his January 29th blog Donald Miller made that point. He said God will look up and say, “Hey, you! I know you! Come on in.”

6) I have a gay friend who is dying. I’m not trying to convert him. He says he loves Jesus. That’s good enough for me, but not for some others who think I should be urging him to repudiate his lifestyle and sexual preferences.

Those are the reasons I’m not a good Christian.

But … Jesus loves me anyway. And that’s pretty great and makes all of that other stuff meaningless.

2/12/13

Book Talk Tuesday: Vanished

Yes, I’m on a romantic suspense bandwagon and am tooting Irene Hannon’s horn.

Vanished is the first in a new series called Private Justice.

VanishedMoira Harrison is returning home on a rainy night when she comes around a corner and a woman is standing in the road. Moira skids off the road, but caught a glimpse of the terrified woman’s face. A Good Samaritan offers help and Moira passes out. When she wakes, an hour has passed and no one has seen the Good Samaritan or the woman.

The police and medical personnel say she imagined the pair due to a concussion.

Moira knows better. She approaches private investigator Cal Burke. He agrees to check into her story. Moira recognizes the voice of her Good Samaritan on television receiving an award. She visits him but he doesn’t know her.

By then, little things aren’t adding up and Cal takes Moira’s story seriously. They get drawn into a case of a missing person as they grow closer.

Moira had a bad relationship with a cheating fiance’. Cal’s wife died because of his police work, sending him into the PI business. They both have wounds to deal with before they’re ready for a real relationship.

I enjoyed this one a lot. I didn’t think it was quite as good as In Harm’s Way, but I still stayed up way too late at night turning the pages. I recommend it.

The next two books will be about Cal’s partners in the PI firm. Hence the Private Justice title for the series. I’m looking forward to what and who are up next!

2/7/13

Spotlight Thursday: Janice Hanna Thompson

We’re starting a new blog feature. Spotlight Thursday when we’ll showcase one author and their newest release.

Our inaugural Spotlight Thursday post features Janice Hanna Thompson.

I’ve reviewed several of her Weddings by Bella books here in the past. In fact, the first one, Fools Rush In, is a free Kindle download right now!

Well, Bella’s Back!

Enjoy this fun interview with author Janice Thompson where she shares the story-behind-the-story regarding Bella’s return.

Janice, welcome! I really enjoyed the Weddings by Bella series and am excited to read the spin-off series.  

1. Can you tell us more about why you decided to write it?

Sure! (Thanks for hosting me, by the way!) When I wrote Fools Rush In (book one in the Weddings by Bella series) I knew I had something special on my hands. The characters really resonated with me, but there was more. I felt as if I’d created a world of real, wonderful, wacky people. Sure, I’d breathed life into them on the page, but they seemed to take it from there, springing to life and moving the story forward as they willed. I wrapped up the series with Swinging on a Star and It Had to be You, but my readers weren’t satisfied! At least once a week I got a letter from a fan saying, “Are there more? Please keep this story going!” I sent several of those letters to my editor, and before long she agreed that we should, indeed, keep the story going! That’s how the Weddings by Design story began. I’m so relieved to have more to offer. Since Fools Rush In went free on kindle, it has been downloaded nearly 300,000 times. Crazy! So, I have many, many new readers, aching for more!

2. How are these stories similar to the novels in the Weddings by Bella series?

This is a wedding-themed series, just like the first, and loaded with fun, quirky mishaps on the way to the altar! Readers will experience the same “feel” of Galveston Island and my ever-present humor, which drives the stories forward. I truly hope that readers pick up the first book in this new series and sigh with relief as they catch up with their favorite characters from the last series: Bella, D.J., Aunt Rosa, Uncle Laz, the three ladies from Splendora, Brock Benson, and so on. Here’s what the publisher had to say about the new series: With her contagious humor and cast of quirky characters, Janice Thompson gives readers more of the bridal business drama they want in a brand-new series all about those long-suffering people who make beautiful weddings happen. Readers are desperately waiting for more of Bella and this new series brings her back in a big way, while introducing new characters fans will love. Fans will laugh out loud as they experience this breezy and entertaining novel from a great storyteller.”

3. What sets this new series apart from the last one?

The Weddings by Design novels are told from the point of view of new characters. Book one, Picture Perfect, is about a wedding photographer named Hannah. Book two, The Icing on the Cake, is about a wedding cake designer named Scarlet. Book three, The Dream Dress, is about a dress designer named Gabi. Book four (yet unpublished) is about a wedding florist named Gina. Each of these ladies longs to work with the most fabulous wedding coordinator on the island—Bella (Rossi) Neeley, so everything loops back to Club Wed, just like the first series.

4. When does the new series release?

Book one, Picture Perfect, is already available on amazon. The kindle version will be ready for download on February 15th. (Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all!) I received my author copies last week, so autographed copies are available for purchase ($12) if readers are interested in that. They can email me at booksbyjanice@aol.com for more information.

5. Can you tell us about Picture Perfect, the first book in the series?

Oooh, I’d love to! The synopsis should answer any questions:

She’s trying to focus on her future. How can one man make everything feel so . . . fuzzy?

Hannah McDermott has a successful photography studio. She’ll soon be featured in Texas Bride magazine. And she has a celebrity client whose Galveston ceremony will be her ticket to the top spot on wedding coordinator Bella Neeley’s list of recommended photographers. But it could all come crashing down around her because of one man: archrival and photographer extraordinaire Drew Kincaid.

As the competition between Hannah and Drew heats up, Hannah is surprised to find that it’s not the only thing getting more intense. She can’t get the handsome man out of her thoughts-or even out of her line of sight-and the job of her dreams is turning into a nightmare. Will everything she’s worked for slip out of her hands? And can she see past her pride to find a picture-perfect love?

6. How is the new series doing with readers so far?

Great! Folks who’ve read the book have already contacted me to say they love it! I’m also thrilled that Picture Perfect got a great Romantic Times review. . .four stars! Here’s what the reviewer had to say: "Fans of romantic comedies are in for a treat just in time for Valentine’s Day. Book one in the Weddings by Design series does not disappoint! Funny one-liners and absolutely lovable characters combine with just enough romantic tension to keep the pages turning at a brisk pace — but readers will want to slow down to savor this one."

7. How are you kicking off the new series?

I’m hosting an online party! I’m calling this my “Bing & Bob” party and it will be held on the night of February 18th at 7:00 p.m. central time. These two funny fellas hold a special place in the heart of my characters and they will provide the entertainment at our gathering! This fun, interactive party will take place inside the “Bella’s Back” group on facebook. Join me for an interactive chat, video teasers, Bing Crosby music and giveaways! Some lucky reader/participant will win a free kindle fire! To be entered, you must join the Bella’s Back facebook group and attend the party. (i.e. “Must be present when your named is called.”)

For more information about the party, check out this video invitation.

8. Can you share a little bit from the novel?

Prologue

Going My Way

May your troubles be as few and as far apart as my grandmother’s teeth.

Irish proverb

My life has been a series of almosts.

Take, for instance, the time I almost made the cheerleading squad in high school but lost out to my archnemesis, Jacquie Practically-Perfect-in-Every-Way Goldfarb. Then there was the time Matt Hudson, the hunkiest football player at my high school, almost asked me to the prom but ended up going with Jacquie instead. Oh, and we can’t forget the time I almost got a photographer’s dream job, shooting superstar Brock Benson’s wedding. Yep. Another almost. That time, the opportunity of a lifetime slipped through my fingers and into the open palms of my chief competitor, Drew Kincaid of Kincaid Photography.

Some people are haunted by memories of things they’ve done. Me? I’m haunted by all of the things I nearly accomplished but missed by a quarter of an inch. That’s why, when faced with yet another unbelievable opportunity—a profile piece in Texas Bride magazine to promote my new Galveston-based photography business—I couldn’t blow it. No more almosts for me. This time I would hit the finish line a winner. My meeting with the Texas Bride reporter would transform my career and propel me into the limelight, winning me the favor of the island’s top wedding planner, Bella Neeley. If I could just keep from messing it up.

Oh, but this time I wouldn’t! In fact, I could almost hear my Grandpa Aengus cheering me on from the great beyond: “Hannah Grace, if you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough.”

I didn’t happen to believe in luck, but if being Irish meant I stood a better chance at succeeding in business, I would embrace my heritage as never before. I would bathe with Irish Spring soap, dress in the vibrant colors of the family crest, skip through fields of shamrocks, and listen to my father’s nightly tales of Clan McDermott’s glory days. And I would do it all with a smile on my face and confidence in my stride.

From his mansion up in heaven, Grandpa Aengus smiled down on me, his gold-capped front tooth gleaming like the precious stones in the pearly gate. I could sense his pleasure as I made up my mind to do the McDermotts proud. Like my warring ancestors of yesteryear, I would fight to the finish, wielding my bloody sword—er, my two-thousand-dollar digital camera with stellar resolution and optical zoom—until I took the prize. I would come out a victor in the end, or make a fool of myself trying.

Either way, I wouldn’t go down without a fight. A true McDermott never did.

Thanks for visiting with us, Janice! Looking forward to the new series!

STAY CONNECTED WITH THE AUTHOR:

Visit Janice’s Website

Connect with Janice on Facebook

Join the “Bella’s Back” Facebook group

Watch the Bing & Bob party video invitation

Check out the Bella’s Back Video on youtube

Read Fools Rush In (the first Bella book) for free on your kindle

2/6/13

Woe! It’s Wednesday: New Seasons

I’m writing this about ten days before it will post.

Hopefully, if all goes according to plan, when it posts, I’ll be in Oregon visiting the Portland area.

I’ve never been north of California and I’m so excited, I can hardly stand it.

I have a story that I’ve been working on for several years. I tried to set this story and the characters in a place I was familiar with. Fresno. San Francisco. Somewhere in California, at least.

They refused. They live in Portland and that’s all there is to it. I’ll get to see the coffee shop where Cricket goes for her daily cup. I’ll see the warehouse where she witnessed the murder that sent her into the Witness Security Program. I’ll see Powell’s City of Books. It’s not in my story, but I know it’s a must stop for every bibliophile who passes through. Which will include me in a week or so!

I’m also working on not getting my hopes set too high. I know it’s an iffy time of year and weather could deter or delay us or necessitate a change in plans and itinerary.

So it’s a high wire balancing act of excitement, tempered by realism. As our day of departure nears though, the excitement is winning.

See you in a week!

 

2/5/13

Book Talk Tuesday: Heiress

I’ve reviewed other Susan May Warren books here so it’s no secret I’m a big fan.

Heiress Heiress is the first of her Daughters of Fortune series. Heiress starts at the end of the 19th century and focuses on two sisters, Esme and Jinx. As the eldest, Esme is forced into betrothal to save her family’s social standing and give their finances an influx of cash. But Esme longs to write hard hitting journalism pieces, like her inspiration Nellie Bly. When her newspaper publisher father finds out she’s been writing anonymous pieces for his own paper, he orders the wedding be moved up to the next night.

Jinx longs for the time she’ll be the Price daughter attending the balls and dancing with the bachelors. When Esme runs away, Jinx, smitten with her sister’s fiance’, offers herself as the bride.

Each daughter gets what she wanted and so much more. And so much less.

Heiress kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed the look at the turn of the last century mores and societal strictures. But more than that I was caught up in the story and the characters. Esme and Jinx both seemed like real women. Their parents’ backstory was doled out as needed and did much to illuminate the events of the story.

I’ll look for the next in the series, Baroness.