Interview of Carol Post and Giveaway!

Carol Post-100.150Thank you for being willing to be interviewed on my blog!

1. What got you interested in writing?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed writing. I was one of those strange kids that actually enjoyed doing book reports and research papers. In the late 1980s, my husband and I worked with Marriage Encounter, doing marriage enrichment weekends. We had to write out our talks ahead of time and send them to the lead team couple for approval. I really enjoyed writing those talks, and that’s what got me thinking about trying to write for publication. A couple of years later, I got my first article accepted, then followed up with several more for a variety of Christian and children’s publications. Eventually I decided to try writing a novel, and many more years passed. It was my third complete book that finally got picked up by Love Inspired Suspense in 2012.

2. If there is one thing that you want a reader to take away from your books, what would it be?

I write about hurting people who have been through some rough times. They are damaged and often have difficulty trusting and letting other people into their lives. I want my books to appeal to believers and nonbelievers alike, so rather than preaching at the reader, I try to show through my characters’ experiences the difference trusting God can make in our lives. The most important thing I want readers to take away from my books is that when we come to God for forgiveness, healing, strength and comfort, He accepts us with open arms. He is always there and will never leave us or forsake us. A relationship with God at its center can withstand anything the world throws at it.

3. Who or what would you consider to have the greatest influences on your writing?

The most obvious influence on my writing is, of course, the Lord. My relationship with Him is the reason that I write for the inspirational market. Another influence has been all the books I’ve read through the years. I think to be a good writer, you have to be a reader. Lastly, my husband has had a big influence on my writing, so much so, I patterned the hero in my debut book, Midnight Shadows, after him. I even gave him the same name! I wouldn’t have attempted this career if it weren’t for Chris’ encouragement and support.

4. Do you have any favorite authors that you recommend?

I would recommend any of my fellow Love Inspired Suspense authors. I’ve read books by Terri Reed, Lenora Worth, Jill Elizabeth Nelson and Roxanne Rustand, to name just a few, and they’re always very good. When I’m not reading suspense, I often read in the young adult genre, for something totally different from what I write. I enjoy Heather Burch’s books, both her young adult and her adult books, which though not necessarily inspirational, are always clean.

5. Can you tell us about what you’re working on now?

I am currently working on two series—one for Love Inspired Suspense set in Cedar Key, Florida, and another for Love Inspired set in Murphy, North Carolina. The Murphy series is brand new. I’m working on the first book. In the Cedar Key series, I’ve completed three books (Shattered Haven, Hidden Identity and Mistletoe Justice) and am starting on the fourth. I like setting books in places that I enjoy visiting. I have family in Murphy,

and Cedar Key is just a fun escape. The second oldest city in Florida (behind St. Augustine), it’s quaint and artsy with a real “Old Florida” feel. My husband and I just spent our anniversary there a couple of weeks ago.

Thank you, Embassie for having me on your blog. I’ve enjoyed the visit!

BIO

Carol J. Post writes for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line and lives in sunshiny Central Florida. Besides writing, she works alongside her music minister husband singing and playing the piano. She also enjoys sailing, hiking, camping—almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund. You can find her at http://www.caroljpost.com. For news and fun contests, sign up for her newsletter. (The link is on her website.)

BOOK BLURB

After becoming trapped in a web of blackmail and murder, Meagan Berry escapes by faking her death. She finds anonymity on Florida’s Cedar Key until she is caught on camera rescuing a senator, and the nightmare begins anew. Something tells Cedar Key police officer Hunter Kingston that Meagan isn’t who she claims to be, but the fear in her eyes and the vulnerability beneath that aloof exterior reach out to him. When he learns the truth, he is determined to protect her, whatever the cost, because at least one person is dead set on making sure the next time Meagan “dies,” it’ll be for real.

Giveaway

If this book has captured your fancy (and I hope it does!), there’s an opportunity for you to win your own copy! The author has graciously decided to giveaway an autographed copy of Hidden Identity! All you need to do is leave a comment with your email address. The giveaway ends on July 24th! The winner will be randomly selected (and must be from the US or Canada). If you win, you have 48 hours to respond to the notification before I will choose another winner. Happy Reading!

Mary Connealy’s Now and Forever

Shannon Wilde is the middle sister–and the one who loves animals. She’s established her own homestead and is raising sheep for their wool. Things are going fine…until Shannon gets swept over a cliff by Matthew Tucker!

Tucker seizes every opportunity to get away from civilization, but one particular walk in the woods ends with him sprinting away from an angry grizzly and plunging into a raging river, accidentally taking Shannon Wilde with him. Their adventure in the wilderness results in the solitary mountain man finding himself hitched to a young woman with a passel of relatives, a homestead, and a flock of sheep to care for.

As Tucker and Shannon learn to live with each other, strange things begin to happen on Shannon’s land. Someone clearly wants to drive her off, but whoever it is apparently didn’t count on Tucker. Trying to scare Matthew Tucker just makes him mad–and trying to hurt the woman he’s falling in love with sets off something even he never expected.

Review

I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Here are my thoughts about the second:

What I liked:

The Wilde sisters. I love that they are these complex individuals who served in the Civil War, started their own homesteads, and yet still need help from time to time. Kyle was the more feminine one, but Shannon has a heart of gold. Though Connealy, often writes about tough women, these women don’t exactly put me in mind of her previous heroines.

Old day customs. Connealy doesn’t play when it comes to marriage and honestly, I think people married up quick in those days. And she not only follows the old days customs when it comes to marriage, but also when it comes to fleshing out the men in her novels, like Tucker in this instance. He’s very much a mountain man of his times.

Suspense. There is always suspense in a Connealy novel and I thought it was well done here. Initially, I didn’t think the bad guy was that bad, but the guy is sufficiently creepy by the end of the novel.

Humor. There is no Connealy novel without humor.

Spiritually, the novel talks about being able to trust God with your doubts and the ugliness of this world and knowing that He can and will listen and will help you through it.

What I didn’t like:

Silliness. Mary Connealy writes good books. Hence why I continually read them. But sometimes they border on silly. The first one in this series actually didn’t come across as silly to me, but this one had a few silly moments that I didn’t care for.

Romantic Scale: 7.9

Overall, a very satisfying read. It’s cute, it’s light, it’s fluffy, and I’m super excited about Bailey’s story!

** I received this copy from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**

Monday Musings…Do You Trust Your Favorite Authors?

Have you ever given up on an author? I know I have. I’ve even written a blog post about how I’ve stopped reading some authors because after a while it felt like all their books were the same even if the name was changed or the plot was different. But recently, I was going through some new releases and realized that I had stopped reading several of the authors….even though they are good authors. And the reason I did that was due to one thing: drama.

As a reader, I like to trust the author. I like to know that no matter how high or low the author takes me, that I can trust them to write a satisfactory story. But I have discovered that some authors, who I used to consider favorites, have lost me because of a choice or choices that they made…in one book! Is it fair that I’ve stopped reading and buying their books because I didn’t like one? No, but let me tell you…I really didn’t like what they chose to do with the book. Maybe one day I will go back and check them out, but they lost my trust as a reader and if I were to pick up a book today, I would probably be reading like:

I know as someone who writes that there is an innate desire to have your new book be different than your last. And so if you have level-headed heroines all the time, people might get tired of them. If you have main characters who wisely choose left, they might be boring. Or, people might not relate to them since it appears that your main characters always make the right choice. I don’t know. I just happen to think the risk is greater in having main characters make poor choices.

What do you think? Have you read any authors that you think are awesome…except for the tiny fact that you don’t trust them?

Mini-Reviews

From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all. When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman? In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone. Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend’s mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend’s former fiancé and his own childhood companion. As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship. When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.

Review

I thought this book was very engaging. I loved that some of it took place on the Lusitania, I really liked the romantic setup between Ashleigh and Sam, and I was constantly turning pages. My only negative point with this one is that at the end, the drama felt a bit contrived and I felt like it could have ended sooner.

Two lives taken down different roads – one enduring love – one shot at starting over. If only they believed in second chances..

Julia Connelly is finally free from twelve long years in an abusive relationship. Now able to live the life she’s longed for, Julia takes her two children back home to Vermont, hoping for peace and healing. The last person she expects to see is the man she eloped with at eighteen—who then abandoned her two months into their marriage, with little explanation. .

When an assignment in the Middle East ends in tragedy, popular news correspondent, Reid Wallace, returns to his hometown seeking answers and peace of mind. .

Confronting his past was not in the plan. .

Now he’s asking different questions. Like why the only woman he’s ever really loved still mesmerizes him. Why the haunted expression she wears reaches right into his soul. .

And why her twelve year-old son looks just like him. .

They say you can’t go home again. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Review

Catherine West is another fabulous storyteller who had me immersed in a novel that I did not want to put down. I will say that the premise is slightly familiar, but that didn’t matter because most of the characters were awesome and completely pulled me in. My problem with this book was Julia. Anytime you hide a man’s child your reason had better be amazing. Her reason was not. And in the end she really just kept coming off as selfish. Every decision she made was based on her feelings, her pride, her hurt and rarely did she put her kid first. But fantastic writing as usual, if you start it you won’t want to set it down.

Twelve years ago Matthew “the Rocket” Rising had it all. Married to his high school sweetheart and one of the winningest quarterbacks in the history of college football, he was the number one NFL draft pick. But on the night of the draft, he plummeted from the pinnacle of esteem. Falsely accused of a heinous crime with irrefutable evidence, it seemed in an instant all was lost–his reputation, his career, his freedom, and most devastatingly, the love of his life.

Having served his sentence and never played a down of professional football, Matthew leaves prison with one goal–to find his wife, Audrey, whom no one has seen since the trial. He returns to an unwelcoming reception from his Gardi, Georgia, hometown to learn that Audrey has taken shelter from the media with the nuns at a Catholic school. There she has discovered a young man with the talent to achieve the football career Matthew should have had. All he needs is the right coach. Although helping the boy means Matthew violates the conditions of his release and–if discovered–reincarceration for life, he’ll take the chance with hope of winning back Audrey’s love.
Review
Oh this book. No one can pull on my heart strings quite like Charles Martin can. His writing makes me want to write. The story is sad, but it never stays that way and I promise you will become super invested in the characters. The only problem I had (ok there were two) was that there was definitely a lot of football talk and me being not particularly sports-like, I pretty much skimmed those sections and the wife. On the one hand, I understood the wife, on the other hand, if I knew someone as well as she supposedly knew Matthew, there is no way I would give up on them like that. I just felt like she should have done more. But, as always, a top notch novel and am sorry it took me so long to read it.

Paula Vince’s Best Forgotten

A young accident victim wakes up in hospital and can’t remember who he is. Why does he have nothing in common with his family? Why does he despise the person he was supposed to be? Why has his best friend disappeared without a trace? Is somebody after him? His family can offer no solutions. His girlfriend is strangely aloof and he cannot shake off a feeling that the answers will prove more unpleasant than his amnesia. Somehow he must find out as it seems time is running out. Paula Vince has woven elements of secrecy and suspense with her trademark warmth and compassion. Best Forgotten is an inspirational masterpiece you won’t forget.

Review

I’ve discovered a recent love for fiction that showcases amnesia. And not just any case of amnesia, but the kind where only the main character can’t remember what happened but everyone around him knows bits and pieces of what happened. Believe you me, it makes for quite the suspenseful book…especially when you know someone has probably been murdered. This book did not disappoint. Here’s why:

What I liked

Intriguing. I was pulled in from the first page. Right away you get that something bad has happened and that the main character is in trouble, but he doesn’t know why.

Humor. I love, love, love that when the hero of the story went home, he was totally confused about his former self. It made for quite a few funny situations. I mean, he wakes up and he does not understand a single thing about himself. Several times he was highly disgusted with his former self’s old ways.

Suspense. The hero wakes up and knows that someone is out to get him but he can’t remember who or why or when or anything. Every person is suspect.

Reconciliation. Because the hero can’t remember the past, he begins to reconcile with people he has hurt or who has hurt him and I just loved watching him fix relationships that had been broken.

The message. I really liked the message that we are a sum of our memories and our actions. The hero discovers it’s not that he’s so different that his former self so much that his past made him who he was before his amnesia.

Spiritually, the hero is not a believer at the beginning of the novel, but it is almost the first thing on this mind. He goes searching for the truth and very slowly he begins to gain an understanding of who God is. And honestly, how much God really loves him.

What I didn’t like:

The only thing that didn’t really work for me was the romance. And that’s only because she was suspect too. By the time I figured out what was going on, it was a little late for me to care whether or not he cared for her. I will be honest, though and say that this book didn’t necessarily need the romance.

Romantic Scale: 7.5

Overall, so good and highly recommended!

**I won a copy from the author. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Monday Musings….Historical Romances to Look Forward To

In the new novel by the three-time Christy Award-winning author of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, a woman’s startling secrets lead her into unexpected danger and romance in Regency England… 
One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…

Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie.

But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.

July, 2015

The American Revolution is finally over, and Sophie Menzies is starved for good news. When her nearest neighbor, General Seamus Ogilvy, finally comes home to Tall Acre, she hopes it is a sign of better days to come. But the general is now a widower with a small daughter in desperate need of a mother. Nearly destitute, Sophie agrees to marry Seamus and become the mistress of Tall Acre in what seems a safe, sensible arrangement. But when a woman from the general’s past returns without warning, the ties that bind this fledgling family together will be strained to the utmost. When all is said and done, who will be the rightful mistress of Tall Acre?

Triumph and tragedy, loyalty and betrayal–readers find it all in the rich pages of this newest historical novel from the talented pen of Laura Frantz. Her careful historical details immerse the reader in the story world, and her emotional writing and finely tuned characters never cease to enchant fans both old and new.

September, 2015

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

November, 2015

She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.

His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.

Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.

But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.

Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

October, 2015

Is there any single one that you absolutely can’t wait for? These all sound amazing to me. I’m so excited about Jody Hedlund’s but very much looking forward to Julie Klassen. Laura Frantz’s novels are usually very romantic and there’s nothing quite like a fairytale (Melanie Dickerson).

Interview of Jennifer Hartz +Giveaway!

Thank you for willing to be interviewed!

1. What was your inspiration behind the Heroes of the Horde series?

You mean aside from being a huge fan of superhero stories, right? I think the real heart of Heroes of the Horde is the characters. I’ve always loved writing realistic characters who find themselves thrust into unbelievably unrealistic circumstances. My heroes are no different. I wanted to write a superhero story with characters that we can all relate to. We can all think of a classmate like Mike. We’ve all felt shy like Shelly at some point. We call can recall the cutest guy in school like Jimmy. The characters are what really inspired me. Namely Maggie. I had her in mind and new she needed a story. Slowly Heroes came to me.

2. Do you have a favorite character in the Heroes of the Horde series?

Hmmm… that’s a tough question. I think if I had to pick one, it would be Jimmy. I just love his character arch. Especially since he ended up in a place I didn’t anticipate when I set out the write the series. Plus, I’m a sucker for the “bad” boy.

3. When you started the first book in the series, did you know where each character would end up by book 4?

I thought I did! But oh my lovely heroes had a mind of their own! A few of the characters did stick close to my original plan, but a few (like Jimmy as I stated above) felt the need to leave my skeletal framework and do their own thing. Those pesky teens!

4. What is one thing you want readers to take away from this series?

The entire crux of the series is that God will use whatever means necessary to reach His people. Even 200 year old demons and superpowers.

5. Can you tell us what you’re working on next?

I just finished the edits on Hunter’s Fury. This story is New Adult, Paranormal, Romance. Like Heroes of the Horde, it’s not exactly a Christian novel, but there are some Christian elements. Especially at the end of the story where I throw a major Christian curveball that will hopefully mess with people’s minds!

Giveaway!

If this book has captured your fancy (and I hope it does!), there’s an opportunity for you to win your own copy! The author has graciously decided to giveaway three copies of the first book in the series and for the grand prize winner will win all four books in the series! All you need to do is leave a comment with your email address. The giveaway ends on July 17th! The winner will be randomly selected. If you win, you have 48 hours to respond to the notification before I will choose another winner. Happy Reading!