My Dress Shopping Saga Continues, a guest blog by Katy Lee, RITA Finalist

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(Preslaysa here: I am so thrilled to have Katy on the blog today. She’s an awesome person. If you haven’t read her books, I urge you to buy them at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Take it away, Katy…)

My name is Katy Lee, and I hate to shop. There, I said it. I know I am not the norm and most of you are probably wondering how this possibly could be, but, alas, it is. The last dress I bought was on the return rack in the dressing room. I grabbed it after I had already tried on everything I thought would look good on me…and didn’t. It was a dress I would never have picked out to try on, because on the hanger it didn’t look good. Or, at least, that’s what I thought, and there lies my problem. I don’t know what I should be looking for. Sigh

Now, I find myself in need of a gown for the RITA Awards in July. I am nominated this year and really want to look nice, but every dress I pick out looks atrocious on me. It doesn’t help that my teenage daughter sidles up to me in the same dress—a few sizes smaller—and looks stunning in it. (I thought taking her shopping would help. Maybe I need to leave her home.) Anyway, I know there has to be a dress out there that will compliment my figure, I’m just not skilled enough in the gown department to know what I should steer away from and which dress I should be saying, “Yes” to. The last gown I wore was fourteen years ago at my brother’s wedding, and I looked like I was wearing a tent. Of course, it didn’t help that a bird pooped down the whole front of the dress on the way to the ceremony. But that should tell you something. Even he didn’t like it.

So, please, all you expert clothes shoppers, help a girl out. I’m 5’1” and a little round in the middle. What should I be looking for? Any tips would be much appreciated.

Thank you for inviting me to visit, Preslaysa!

About Katy Lee

Rita nominated, Katy Lee is the author of five published novels. She likes to say she writes higher purpose stories at high speed because her suspenseful romances thrill, inspire, and satisfy the reader—from the edge of their seat. A native New Englander, Katy loves to knit warm wooly things. She enjoys traveling the side-roads and exploring the locals’ hideaways. A homeschooling mom of three competitive swimmers, Katy often writes from the stands while cheering them on. Her Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense, Grave Danger, is both a RITA and Daphne Du Maurier finalist. Keep in touch with Katy at her website, www.KatyLeeBooks.com. There you will see links to Facebook and Twitter.

About Permanent Vacancy

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When Gretchen Bauer begins renovating an old Victorian house to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast, she barely escapes several dangerous “accidents” at her home. Colm McCrae, host of the home improvement TV show helping her renovate, refuses to believe these aren’t on purpose. Could this be a harmful ploy by his boss to boost ratings? Yet with Colm’s smooth-talking Irish brogue, Gretchen wonders whether he could be involved. But with a whole town full of neighbors disgruntled about the inn bringing strangers to their shores, Gretchen has a list of more likely suspects. Now she must trust Colm if she wants to keep her new business venture from turning into a five-star death trap.

You can buy Permanent Vacancy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 

Interview with Anita Higman

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Give us the back cover blurb for your new novel, Summer’s List.

Life and love keep going awry for Summer Snow, until her grandmother sends her on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree—a kind and quirky young man from Summer’s past. With Laney the Chihuahua along for the ride, a childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

Summer's List front cover

You like fairytales. Tell us about that.

My mother read me fairytales when I was a kid, and I believe these stories had a profound effect on me. I have been told my stories read like modern-day fairytales, and I am hoping that Summer’s List will have that same fun feel to it.

Do you have any unique rituals while at the computer?

In the morning, I answer my emails. Then I allow myself a bit of time for social media. After that I check to see how my ranking is on Amazon and if there are more reviews. I probably will not read those, although I might. Then when all of that is accomplished I start on my work for the day.

Tell us a bit about your writing journey.

I have been writing for thirty years, and I have forty books published. To be honest, it’s been a rough journey. I have known a great deal of failure before I ever knew any success. But then that is a common tale among writers. As far as where my journey will go, only God knows the answer to that question.

Got any pet peeves?

Sure. I suppose one of them is that occasionally we’ve forgotten how to be polite and kind when it comes to social media posts and emails. I think it would be lovely to go back in time to a simpler, gentler era when people had a deeper sense of the preciousness of humanity. Harsh words spoken in haste can really hurt—sometimes for a lifetime. I say this from having experience on both sides of this issue, so I’m not holding myself up as perfect. I’m far from perfect. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to care about each other in the same way Christ loves us?

Do you have a Bible verse that is particularly meaningful to you?

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NIV)

What is the hardest part of writing?

All of it. I’m not kidding. Sometimes I still can’t believe I write books. Yes, it’s about fun creative stuff, but it’s also about keeping my bum in the chair and writing even when I’m not inspired. It’s about getting the job done. No. Matter. What. And sometimes that’s not easy to do.

Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere. While I’m running errands. While I’m at church. While I’m talking to friends and family. With each story, colorful bits of life end up in my final piece of art—a little like the way a mosaic comes together, making a lovely picture.

What have you read recently?

Recently I read Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. It’s a masterwork—a true story about slavery in America—and a book that everyone should read.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about your new novel, Summer’s List?

One of my characters is taken from real life—a sweet Chihuahua named Laney. This little dog was considered a love-gift from God since she helped my daughter-in-law get through a painful passage in her life. It was a true joy for me to add this beloved dog, Laney, to my story.

How can your readers get in touch with you?

Here are two of my media links. I’d love to hear from you!

www.anitahigman.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnitaHigman

About Anita

Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has forty books published. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA in the combined fields of speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, traveling to exotic places, and brunch with her friends.

Please check out Anita’s latest novel, Summer’s List, through Moody Publishers. Feel free to drop by her website at www.anitahigman.com or connect with her on her Facebook Reader Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnitaHigman. She would love to hear from you!

A Prodigal Romance, a guest post by Paula Mowery

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As I contemplated writing about the romance in my book, Legacy and Love, I remembered the premise that blossomed into the story, The Prayer Shawl. What if my heroine was a devoted Christian who comes face to face with a prodigal? And, suppose my hero is attracted to the heroine but resists due to his strayed position?

The Prayer Shawl’s hero is named Sean. He has experienced what I have witnessed many college students doing. He was raised in a Christian home but somewhere between attending classes where professors want nothing more than to disillusion and watching as his so-called Christian friends destroy their witness, he strays. Sean seemingly rejects all of his upbringing.

Enter our heroine, Hope. Her life has been anything but rosy, but still her faith is intact and a vital part of her everyday existence. She freely shares her witness, even in tangible ways through making prayer shawls.

The reporter and magazine writer in Sean can’t resist a story about Hope and her shawls. He finds it hard to resist Hope in every way.

Hope finds Sean attractive but struggles with the idea that she doesn’t want to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever.

You’ll have to check out the story to see how it all works out.

But, I still think about those around me who have prodigals in their lives. Being a pastor’s wife, I hear so many stories from grieving parents, grandparents, husbands, and wives who have prayed for long periods of time for their loved one to return to their Christian upbringing.

My dear friend and fellow author, Andrea Merrell, just released a book called Praying for the Prodigal. In this book she shares about her prodigal son and daughter as well as gives encouragement for those facing the grief of waiting on a prodigal to return.

When a prodigal does return, it is a love story in itself. The person is returning to his or her first and most important love, Jesus Christ.

Through our Lord is the only way we can have true romance. We are told in the Word that God is love and He is the one who instituted marriage, the bringing together of a man and a woman.

Through Hope and Sean’s story I hope readers can catch a glimpse of true romance and love.

Her latest book, Legacy and Love, can be purchased here.

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About Paula

Paula Mowery is a published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her first two published works were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group. Both are women’s fiction, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013, her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance.

Reviewers of her writing characterize it as “thundering with emotion.” Her articles have appeared in Woman’s World, The Christian Online Magazine, and the multi-author devotional blog, Full Flavored Living. She wrote a section for Join the Insanity by Rhonda Rhea. She has devotionals included in several collaborative books.

As an acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group, Paula particularly looks for romance stories with Christian values at its core. She’s especially attracted to those manuscripts that leave the reader mulling over the story long after turning the last page.

Having been an avid reader of Christian fiction, she now puts that love to use by writing book reviews. She is a member of ACFW and is on the author interview team. She was a member of the 2014 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference faculty.

Paula is a pastor’s wife and mom to a college student. She homeschooled her daughter through all twelve years, and they both lived to tell about it. Before educating her daughter at home, she was an English teacher in public school.

You can follow Paula at www.facebook.com/pages/Paula-Mowery/175869562589187. Learn more about Paula at her blog at www.paulamowery.blogspot.com or enjoy her monthly columns on www.christianonlinemagazine.com. You can also check out her blog for Christian writers at www.ccwcu.blogspot.com.

How Studying Characterization Helped My Marriage, a guest post by Karin Beery

My husband and I had a rough first year of marriage—we both started new jobs, moved into a new house, and then my husband was diagnosed with cancer. I needed an emotional escape, so I started reading novels. Then I started writing them.

After all the chemo, surgeries, and recovery, the hubs and I tried to figure out what it meant to be “happily married.” Nothing about our early marriage had been normal, so we weren’t sure how to make it work. I wanted to go out together with friends and have parties at our house. He wanted to work in the garage and tend to the yard.

As we struggled with our different expectations and needs, we ended up hurting each other. We started to withdraw. I dove into my fiction writing, since my husband was outside working. I started researching how to create realistic characters and found the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator. I wanted to learn to write believable characters, but I thought it would be fun to take the test myself. I also asked my husband to take it.

Turns out we are complete opposites, but the thing that helped the most was finding out that I’m an extrovert and my husband is an introvert.

I thought extroverts were outgoing and introverts were shy. The end. Boy was I wrong. Realizing that helped save my marriage.

I had always assumed I was introverted – I hate meeting new people and am naturally shy. I assumed my husband was an extrovert – he knows everybody and introduced himself to our neighbors as soon as we moved into our house.

Turns out I’m a shy extrovert and my husband is an outgoing introvert. The distinction has nothing to do with how well we interact with others, it’s more about how we, as individuals, recharge our batteries. After a long hard week, an extrovert relaxes by hanging out with friends. An introvert would rather go home and enjoy some quiet time.

It’s not that my husband didn’t want to spend time with me, and it wasn’t that he preferred tinkering in the garage to going out on a date. It had to do with how worn out he felt and how he needed to recharge. That revelation saved us.

Now I know that Saturday mornings are the worst times to ask my husband to attend a social function. He needs some time alone to re-energize. It’s also one of my favorite times to get out of the house and do something, so I often go alone. It’s not that we don’t want to be together, but when I’m with friends while he’s having some quiet time, we’re both relaxing. Then, when we come back together, we’re both in better moods and excited to see each other.

I may have never understood this subtle distinction if I hadn’t started writing fiction.

About Karin Beery

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Owner of Write Now Editing and Copywriting Services, a wife, novelist, and homemaker, Karin Beery has had more than 450 articles published in various periodicals, in addition to writing her novels. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, the American Christian Writers Association, and Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network. She is represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at WordWise Media. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com

Romancing the Law, a guest post by Nike Chillemi

Some might think law enforcement and romance are a contradiction in terms. I hope to dispel that notion. For as one reviewer of my most recently released detective story, HARMFUL INTENT, put it…Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes gives new meaning to the term southern comfort.

HARMFUL INTENT is the first detective novel in my new couples series and is action filled and sassy all at the same time with liberal use of humor. The idea of a “couples series” in detective fiction is kind of new and by its very nature, lends itself to romance. Still, these are first and foremost detective stories where the murder mystery and the chase to catch the killer is the main element.

The first three novels in this series will feature Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, lady PI and Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger now a county deputy in west Texas. Ronnie is impulsive, a competent private investigator, and endearing. Dawson Hughes is the perennial stalwart detective, a true blue guy. There will be three more sets of law enforcement couples…twelve novels in all. Many of these novels will be high stakes, featuring crimes with national security implications.

Ronnie and Dawson take it very slow in the romance department and in fact sometimes spar with each other. However, senior-citizen characters Hoot Dagney and Bertha, who are one of the main comic interests in what has been called a zany , seat-of-the-pants detective story, move faster in the romance department. Bertha is a widow and though Hoot’s backstory is not delved into, at the opening of the story he is a bachelor. I strove to write two characters who would tickle the readers’ funny bones and warm their hearts. Yet the reader would have the utmost respect for the two characters’ strong Christian beliefs. I can’t tell you the number of readers who have said they were charmed and delighted by Bertha and Hoot’s love story.

DEADLY DESIGNS, the second novel in this series, will come out this summer. Ronnie and Dawson team up to find a geeky radio broadcaster’s missing runway model wife and young daughter. They fear the woman and child were taken by Islamic terrorists as revenge against the husband’s pro-Israel, conspiracy theory broadcasts.

 

 

About HARMFUL INTENT:

Harmful Intent

Sweet, askance romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

About Nikki:

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Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction.  She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press finaled in the Grace Awards 2014. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists, and John 3:16 Marketing Network.  http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/