Friday, November 18, 2016

Finding Margo by Jen Turano


 
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book



Off the charts and on the run.

International pop star Margo Hartman could use a night off. A grueling tour and overbearing entourage have sent her over the edge. It’s time for this diva to disappear. And who would think to look for the superstar in a small town in Ohio?

Sheriff’s deputy Brock Moore is undercover as well. He knows Margo isn’t who she appears to be, but her uncanny resemblance to a local Amish woman is raising all sorts of questions . . . the kinds that make her a target for a killer.

Both are determined to find answers, but their mutual attraction stands in the way of either of them doing it alone. Is finding Margo the solution to Brock’s problems or the just the beginning . . . ?

 

My Review


Finding Margo delivered in so many ways to me as the reader. We get to meet the enchanting, quirky, sweet, and exhausted Margo who just wants a break from her pushy mother and demanding pop star career. Thanks to colliding with a duck (which was cute and humorous), she ends up in the town of Millersburg, OH which is famously known for it's large Amish community. We get to see worlds collide as Margo's English pop star world collides with a simple Amish one. One that ends up being full of thrilling suspense and life-threatening circumstances that one wouldn't expect in a cozy community of Amish. Brock is on a quest of his own trying to figure out the key to his sister's death. In steps Margo who throws him for a loop in more way than one ;) Finding herself confined to the Amish world and in hiding, Margo truly finds her way back to God and back to her home that she always longed for. The plot of this story will keep you laughing, smiling, sighing, cringing, and crying along with the characters. It is a rare thing indeed to be able to have an intriguing, page-turning, shocking thriller in the midst of an Amish setting, but Ms Turano pulls it off seamlessly. The characters were clear along with their actions and conversations- I felt like I was part of the action. I couldn't put the book down once I had started! I will definitely be watching for more installments from Ms. Turano- the sooner the better!!

 

I received a copy of this book for free. All opinions given are my own.

 

 

 

About the Author



USA Today best-selling author Jen Turano writes contemporary and historical romances with quirky characters and unusual storylines. Just outside Denver, Colorado, Jen and her husband live as empty-nesters, and they do so fabulously. Contact Jen at jenturano.com.

 

 

 

 

Guest Post from Jen Turano

The Making of “Finding Margo”

By Jen Turano

To say that my entrance into the publishing world was a tad difficult is certainly an understatement. My very first attempt at writing was centered around a middle grade book, specifically written for my son who was in the third grade at the time. After finishing that, and sending it out to all of five companies, none of whom represented middle grade, I then moved on to young adult with a little more interest sent my way, but no success story to report in the end. Not one to embrace the idea of complete and utter failure, I then tried my hand at a contemporary romance, moved on to what I assumed was a delightful regency romance, but one that turned out to be not that delightful, at least according to numerous agents, and finally landed on gilded age stories, filled with quirky heroines. That is when I finally received my very first publishing contract, which then saw me catapulted into the very weird world of publishing. After completing the second gilded age story of my two-book contract, I found myself with some time on my hands as I waited to see if anyone would read my stories, which might then result in an offer of additional book contracts. As I waited, I decided I might as well keep writing, so decided to try another contemporary story, although my agent at that time suggested I try to write an Amish book since she had numerous requests from publishers for those specific books. Because my writing voice is not what anyone might consider normal, I really didn’t believe I’d be able to do justice to an authentic Amish story.

Because of that, I settled on the idea of writing a contemporary romantic suspense, being a huge fan of that genre. I had a vague notion of exploring a theme centered around a dog walker who might stumble on a body while walking her pack of dogs, or perhaps have a storyline that centered around a makeup artist who witnessed a crime while setting out her makeup for a client, but those ideas went straight away when I pulled out the vacuum one fine day.

Vacuuming, as well as staining the deck, cleaning the shower, and power-washing the garage, are my go-to activities when I need to get the muse working right before I start a first draft. On that particular day, as I pushed the vacuum around the house, I suddenly had the most intriguing idea – an idea that started off with two delightful little words…What…and…If.

That was all it took for a premise to begin festering through my mind, a fester that grew into this – What if three Amish children were stolen straight out of their beds, never to be seen or heard from again until… Now here’s where it gets interesting. I decided to have a woman by the name of Margo Hartman, an international superstar no less, stumble into this small Ohio town quite by accident, and…she happens to bear an uncommon resemblance to an Amish woman who lives in this town. To add an addition sense of intrigue, someone immediately begins trying their very best to kill poor Margo.

By the time I was done vacuuming, the storyline for “Finding Margo” was firmly cemented in my mind, which translates into Jen had no choice other than to write the story. However, before my agent at that time found a home for the manuscript, I signed another contract for more gilded age books, which meant I did not have the time to commit to what was certainly going to have to be a three-book series since, well, there were three Amish children who’d gone missing.

Fast forward around five years and I found myself a little ahead of schedule at exactly the right time. There was a new publishing house in town, my current agent remembered me talking about this quirky book I’d written long ago, and as luck would have it, I found the flash drive that’s been home to “Finding Margo” for all these years.

Since my writing style has certainly changed since I first wrote Margo’s story, I ended up rewriting the entire book, and I must say that I’m still just as intrigued with the storyline as I was when it popped to mind while vacuuming what seems like ages ago. I’m just tickled to death that Margo Hartman has finally found her way out of a flash drive and onto the pages of a book. I’m hoping readers will enjoy her as much as I enjoyed writing her.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me today, and for supporting my books over the years. I cannot properly express how important all my readers have become to me, and I’m incredibly thankful for every one of you. You’ve brightened up my life and without you, well, I wouldn’t have anyone to share the stories that always seem to rumble around my mind.

God bless!

~ Jen ~



Blog Stops


November 17: Book by Book
November 17: cherylbbookblog
November 18: A Reader’s Brain
November 18: I Hope You Dance
November 18: Blogging with Carol
November 19: ASC Book Reviews
November 19: Bibliophile Reviews
November 20: Lighthouse Academy
November 20: Karen Sue Hadley
November 20: Back Porch Reads
November 21: Genesis 5020
November 21: 100 Pages per Hour
November 22: Pause for Tales
November 22: Quiet Quilter
November 22: Bigreadersite
November 23: Just Commonly
November 23: A Greater Yes
November 23: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 24: Smiling Book Reviews
November 24: Ashley’s Bookshelf
November 25: inklings and notions
November 26: Daysong Reflections
November 26: The Scribbler
November 26: Blossoms and Blessings
November 28: The Power of Words
November 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner
November 29: Faithfully Bookish
November 29: Christian Bookaholic



Giveaway



To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copies of her book! Click the link below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine entries on the giveaway!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Christmas Lights by Vikki Kestell, Cathe Swanson, April Hayman, and Chautona Havig



To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book



Four novellas in a variety of genres—that’s all they are. Just four stories to quiet your heart and soul as you embrace the beauty of the Christmas season. Inside, you’ll find Vikki Kestell's historical romance and a reminder that the Lord’s plans are always just what we need. You’ll be introduced to Cathe Swanson's  unlikely romance about a woman who sets out to do one good deed and is drawn into the lives of a cast of eccentric elderly people. You’ll meet April Hayman and her southern madcap mystery featuring an FBI agent, a con artist or two, and a few eccentric elderly people of her own. And you’ll find Chautona Havig's Christian fiction novella that blends comedy, suspense, with a garnish of romance.

In the hope that through these Christmas stories your heart will be lightened and brightened, we offer you this collection. Merry Christmas! And a happy, light read!

 

My Review


Christmas Lights certainly did what I hoped it would do by reading the title- put me into the Christmas mood! It was a unique opportunity to read the offerings of different genres and authors to help me ring in the holiday season. While each book is totally unique and ambitious in it's own way, I was able to get that warm, fuzzy feeling from a feel-good read in each book.

 

In The Heart of Joy, we read of a lonely widow who has thrown herself into serving down-trodden women. She avoids the hope of loving anyone again because her love for her late husband is still such as strong presence in her life. Can she accept her husband's best friend as a suitor? I was touched by the spiritual aspect of this book in unfolding the plan that the Lord had for the character's lives which were contrary to what they had planned for themselves.

 

In Snow Angels, we find an unexpected setting for a feel-good Christmas novella- a homeless shelter. I have to say it was an unexpected setting. We follow our heroine as she learns the importance of seeing all men as equal no matter where they find themselves in circumstances and how everyone should be treated with dignity. We see her reach out to to others in need and find an unexpected treasure along the way. I have to applaud the ambitiousness of working from this setting and with this plot, because it's a sad, eye-opening look into the life of the homeless which touched me in a special way.

 

In Trip the Light Fantastic, we find a humorous yet serious character that I identified with highly due to his clumsiness :) He is a dedicated agent who is committed to finding his promotion and helping his family out how he can while depriving them of his time and presence which in the end is what we all need from each others- love and attention. I found the story line mischevious, endearing, and humorous and I have to admit that Landry was my favorite character as well. 

 

In Christmas Stalkings, we find a humorous but suspenseful tale of a "crazy cat lady," or so we have heard them called. This book was every bit as humorous as it was suspenseful, while we wonder who would want to bother sweet Wendy and threaten her and her cats, we have an amazing revelation that turns us on our heads when we realize the true colors of the characters that Wendy rubs elbows with frequently. You will laugh and sneak along with Wendy in this endearing, suspenseful tale.

 

Thank you ladies for the endearing, inspirational, suspenseful, humorous, Christmas read!

 

*I received this book for free and all opinions given are my own.

 

 

 

About the Author



Vikki Kestell is the author of the acclaimed inspirational series, A Prairie Heritage—a compelling saga of family, faith, and great courage. Vikki’s contribution to this collection, The Heart of Joy, asks, “Can true, enduring love happen twice in a lifetime?”  





 


Cathe Swanson: Author of contemporary mystery and romantic suspense, Cathe brings us Snow Angels – an entertaining companion novella and introduction to her upcoming Great Lakes series.  






 
April Hayman : Author of Heirlooms of Deception series, debuts with a novella featuring mystery, humor, and “divine intervention.”









 

Chautona Havig: Author of the Amazon bestselling Aggie’s Inheritance, Past Forward, and HearthLand series, Chautona brings humor, stalkings, and stockings to this collection.

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Post from the Authors

The Christmas Lights Collection formed in the spring of 2016 with the idea of bringing four novellas together with one unifying theme: light. After all, each author in this collection has one primary focus in life: Jesus. And in the book of John, He is called the “Light of Men.”

We thought we’d share what inspired our novellas and pray that these books are a delight and encouragement to all.  

The Heart of Joy: This novella is a spin-off story from Vikki Kestell’s Prairie Heritage series and features one of her most beloved characters, Joy Thoresen, from book three, Joy on This Mountain. After three years of widowhood, Joy mourns not only the loss of her husband but the child someone has kidnapped as well. Only her faith sustains her through difficult days.

Vikki’s goal in writing is to provide FaithFilledFiction to Christians, and this novella is no exception. She worked to show that even amid our sorrow, the Lord brings good, hope-filled gifts to us even when we think we’re not ready for them. She also desired to fill in small, time-veiled gaps in Joy’s story. The Heart of Joy puts the finishing touches on Joy’s story.  

Snow Angels: The idea for Snow Angels came to Cathe in slow increments. The idea of using homeless veterans originally prompted research into homeless shelters and programs, but the scope of those became too much for a novella. Still, those characters had stories Cathe wanted to tell, so she continued her research and became increasingly concerned with the plight of homeless veterans—particularly the women. For some reason, we often forget that women serve, get PTSD, and end up on the streets just like the men.

Cathe wanted to combine those realities with other misconceptions that often blind us to the person behind the fa├žade. She wanted to demonstrate how people in otherwise normal lives also can be thrust into situations that trigger PTSD and how those people work through it. Of course, with such a heavy topic, Cathe chose to write the story with a liberal dusting of humor to lighten the mood as you read.

As her debut novel, Cathe introduces readers to characters we’ll see more of in her Great Lakes series and paves the way for her upcoming novel, Baggage Claim, releasing in early 2017.  

Trip the Light Fantastic: April has been working on a mystery surrounding, of all things, Shakespeare’s inkwell! So, when she was invited to be a part of the Christmas Lights Collection, April decided to do an introductory novel to her Heirlooms of Deception series and Lance “Trip” Devereaux was “born.”

April admits to loving another character, Landry, just a little bit more than the others. Yet, he could never be a main character. He’s too much of a rascal and a mastermind, so he works best from the shadows. While this book wasn’t about him directly, it could be about someone similar—someone who works in the light but has lost his way and needs help from God and some new friends. Trip the Light Fantastic is a sideways introduction into a character that April hopes will entertain readers for more books to come.

April set her series in Mississippi where her grandparents lived, so the books are rich in southern manners, mannerisms, and manors! Well, there’s one plantation belonging to her irascible but charming con-artist. Watch for a book set at the Crawford house in Spilled Ink, releasing in December 2016.  

Christmas Stalkings: A couple of years ago, Chautona was on a Facebook group and a young woman admitted to having seven Christmas trees. Intrigued, she named it the “Seven Tree Obsession” and wondered what kind of character would have seven trees—and why. Well, the more she thought about it, the more interesting it became. After all, what would happen if ornaments got moved around when she wasn’t looking? Who would do that? Why? And what could she add to complicate it?

So, when the opportunity to do the Christmas Lights Collection came, Chautona decided she wanted to do that story. It seemed easy enough to contain into forty-thousand words. HA! But she got in her car, turned on her trusty voice recorder, and in the three-hour trek to her ACFW meeting, she schemed, plotted, and laughed until her sides ached at the ideas she came up with. Half never made it into the book, of course, but that’s okay. Chautona has a prequel/sequel planned for it. Lord willing, New Year's Revolutions will release on December 31. It’s the “Paul Harvey” version—the “rest of the story.”

While Christmas Stalkings does stand alone, Chautona wanted to explore Neal’s side of things a bit. So she is. It’ll be the fastest “write-to-publication” she’s ever done, but she just had to try. So, for NaNoWriMo Chautona is off to try to figure out what’s up with Neal and why he’s such a crusty curmudgeon. He’s too young for that! And maybe, just maybe, he’ll embrace a “new life” in the New Year.

Blog Stops

 


November 15: Bibliophile Reviews
November 16: blogging it out
November 17: A Reader’s Brain
November 17: Blogging With Carol
November 19: Daysong Reflections
November 19: Splashes of Joy
November 20: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
November 20: Christian Bookaholic
November 21: Bigreadersite
November 22: A Greater Yes
November 23: Back Porch Reads
November 24: Blossoms and Blessings
November 25: A Path of Joy
November 26: Bukwurmzzz
November 28: Once upon a time
November 28: Carpe Diem

Giveaway



To celebrate their tour, the authors are giving away a $25 Amazon gift card! Click the link below to enter.
Be sure to comment on this blog post to claim nine extra entries in the giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a8ae

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, & Fancy Dresses by Nicki Chapelway


 
To purchase your copy, click here.

About the Book



Chelsea Welling is a completely normal fifteen year old girl… well normal except for the pesky fact that she thinks she is going crazy. Either that or she really is being transported to a magical world known locally as Amar. However when Chelsea is transported to Amar with her friend Easton, she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that these little trips are more than figments of her imagination. Then the unthinkable happens. Chelsea, Easton, Chelsea’s brother Clint, and their mutual friend Bobby are all stranded in Amar. They cannot return to Earth until they finish a dangerous quest that their fathers set out on over twenty years ago.

Chelsea is in for one trying week as she flees from werewolves, faces down faeries, and fits into fancy dresses- all while she struggles alongside her friends to fulfill the all-but-impossible tasks of finding out what the quest their fathers set out on was, and succeeding where their fathers failed.


My Review

First of all I have to say Wow! No way a fifteen year old teenager wrote this book- and what a terrific job she did of it! So bravo for that Ms. Chapelway! I have to say that I resonated with the story line as I am a big fan of Chronicles of Narnia/Lord of the Rings genres and movies. What I love about this story is that it all of the sudden drops you into the world of Amar with Chelsea and her friends and instantly the action begins- whether it be running from a werewolf or trying to fit into a stuffy, fancy dress. The seamless transition from the "normal" reality into Amar made the journey very exciting and kept you guessing from page to page where our characters would end up next whether in a dirty pond or in the midst of faeries! Another aspect that I really enjoyed was the fact that all of the characters were down to earth, everyday contemporary teens . . .until they find themselves in Amar. Each character finds his/her strength in the obstacles they face together- many of them life-threatening faced with an opponent they have no experience with. I had fun with this story because I enjoy the whimsical and adventurous edge to it. The description of the action was quite clear in my mind, and the emotions of the characters were quite vivid as well. I could hear and see the action and conversation clearly. The quality of authorship was very evident. While this story is definitely young adult fiction, I quite enjoyed it as a wife and mother as well and can be enjoyed by all ages!  It is not often that I have had the pleasure to read a story from the mindset of an average teen dealing with a not so average adventure. Keep writing, Ms. Chapelway- you definitely have a gift!

 

*I was given this book for free and all opinions stated are my own.


About the Author


Nicki Chapelway is the pseudonym used by a completely ordinary- as in you could pass her in the street and not be the wiser- teenage girl. She is only fifteen years old- I know, a real child prodigy- and this is the first of- hopefully- many stories written by her. She enjoys reading, writing (she wrote this book for her own entertainment- not yours; you just get to benefit from her hobby), swimming when she can, and obsessing about other peoples’ stories almost as much as her own. She also enjoys watching TV, her favorite movies and TV shows include: Doctor Who, Avengers, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Nicki currently resides in Ohio with her family of eight and two dogs, Rylie and Zoey. She is now working on the next books in this series- when she’s not distracted by other stories (both hers and others’). You can contact her at http://pausefortales.blogspot.com
 

 

Guest Post from Nicki Chapelway

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to write. I wished this even before I enjoyed reading (I actually spent the first half of my childhood hating to read and avoiding books like the plague).

I believe that the desire to write was inspired by my older sister (an author herself). When I as younger she would tell me stories that took place in the books that she was writing. In my eyes these books were the coolest things in the whole wide world, and my sister was one of the smartest, cleverest, most ingenuous people I have ever known (besides my parents of course) to have come up with them. I wanted to be just like her. The only problem?

I couldn’t write.

While my sister was writing great works (at least to my young mind) like Julien and Juliet I was trying to write lame stories such as The Princess in the Sewer. I thought it would be a great idea to write about a princess living in a sewer (you know ignoring the whole disgusting-ness of it all). However, that was as far as I ever got. As soon as I tried to come up with the prince and the villain, or at the very least an explanation what the princess was doing living in a sewer I realized that I was in way over my head.

After that I didn’t give up on writing per se but I certainly stopped trying so hard. I contented myself to simply play with myself, devising worlds and making up bad guys for myself to fight. I acted this all out, using my imagination to transform my Living Room into an enchanted forest. I devised whole worlds with interesting characters, strong heroines (played by mwa), and evil villians. Little did I know that I was world building and creating stories, something that I had previously thought impossible for me to do.

Fast forward some years and now I’m eleven years old. It’s two months till my sister’s birthday and a crazy idea comes to me. I can write her a story for her birthday based off of a game we played together called The Blue Butterfly. I figured that since it was already a reasonably well-developed story I would be able to just write the story without getting caught on the thing that always got me every time I tried to write a book, my inability (or so I thought) to come up with a story and a plot all my own. But it didn’t exactly work like that, I surprised myself by taking my own path while writing the story, changing some things and developing a different plot. I was shocked that the ideas for writing a story actually came to me. Then I realized something, I had been doing this all along when I had been playing my games, and if I truly wanted to be an author I could just write what I had been playing all these years.

At this realization, flood gates opened. Suddenly whole worlds- worlds that I never thought possible for me to see- were opened to me. All at once I got ideas for half a dozen books, and it seemed that everything I looked at gave me at least two other ideas. To a person who had spent her whole life up to this point in time simply languishing to come up with one doable idea this was all quite overwhelming.

I no longer had problems coming up with ideas, no my problem was now quite the opposite. I was bombarded by ideas. I spent three years simply flitting from idea to idea never able to settle on one long enough to actually write it before I was distracted by something new and shinier.

Finally the summer of my fourteenth year I sat myself down and told myself that I was going to have to come up with a book idea and stick with it until I finished it, and so My Time in Amar book one A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses was born. Which I am so excited to have on a blog tour at Celebrate Lit. I really want to thank everyone on the Celebrate Lit team who made this possible, most especially Sandra, as well as everyone who is a part of this tour.

And to all my future readers, I hope you enjoy the book!

Blog Stops

October 28: Artistic Nobody
October 31: Genesis 5020
November 2: A Readers Brain
November 3: Bukwurmzzz
November 6: The Power of Words (Spotlight)


Giveaway



In honor of her tour, Nicki is giving away a signed copy of A Week of Werewolves, Faeries, and Fancy Dresses as well as a signed copy of Nicki’s soon-to-be-released second book! Click the link below to enter; be sure to comment on this post to claim your nine bonus entries for this giveaway! https://promosimple.com/ps/a5f0