Happy Wednesday, Reader Friends!!
I pray you're having a fantastic week. There are those who are battling natural disasters, so I thought it was a good time to pray for safekeeping. Please join me in prayer and/or leave a prayer request. Don't forget you can fill out the contact form if you wish to keep it between me and you.
Happy Tuesday, Reader Friends!!
Today, I'm sharing an Interview with Patricia Beal. She's stopped by to talk about her debut novel, A Season to Dance. Grab a cup a coffee or tea and join in!
About the Book
From the back cover:
"Ana Brassfield has her path to the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House all figured out until her first love, renowned German dancer Claus Gert, returns to Georgia to win her back. Despite a promising start towards her ballet career and pending marriage to landscape architect, Peter Engberg, Ana wonders if her dreams of dancing at the Met are as impossible as her previous romantic relationship with Claus.
Then, an on-stage kiss between Ana and Claus changes everything.
Convinced the kiss is more than a one-time mistake, Peter breaks off their engagement. With an old dog crippled by arthritis and dreams deferred but not left behind, Ana moves to Germany to be with Claus. But the ghost of his late wife, Ana’s own feelings for Peter, and the pressure of earning a spot in a large ballet company are a high price for a shot at success. Ana seems on the verge of having everything she ever dreamed of, but will it be enough?"
Purchase: Amazon, B&N, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
Welcome, Patricia! I’m so excited to talk about your latest release, A Season to Dance. How did you decide to write a story about a ballerina? Anyone who has followed you on social media, knows your affinity for the ballet. Do you have personal experience with this art form?
I started dancing when I was eight after seeing Brazilian ballerina Aurea Hammerli on TV (the one hugging me on the photo—my mom took me to Rio de Janeiro to watch her live after I’d started my studies). I never stopped. My dream of becoming a professional ballerina didn’t work out, but I managed to dance in pre-professional companies in South America, Europe, and the United States.
My love for ballet goes beyond the art though. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder.
One of the hardest aspects of life for us is making small talk and developing relationships. We don’t know what to say when there is nothing important to communicate, and we don’t understand body language, so it’s hard to bond with people. But in ballet, we spend hours in class and rehearsals not talking at all or exchanging only vital information. The gestures are coded. When dancers get together outside the studio, it’s often to watch more ballet—live or on TV. So it’s the perfect environment for someone with Asperger’s to thrive in and make friends—lots of passion, minimal talk.
Last year my husband retired from active duty service, so I’m now working for the Army full-time again. I don’t get to dance as much as I used to, unfortunately. But I still show up to class when I can. I will always love ballet and the ballet studio—a bastion of civility in an everything-goes world, like Ana says in the novel.
Thank you so much for sharing!
Your story takes the readers from America to Germany. What kind of research did you have to do to make it authentic? Are there real places in your story or are they fictionalized?
All the places are real places. I wrote most of the novel while we were stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, so the story begins in that area (chapter 2 does). My husband is a retired infantryman. The theater is the theater where I was dancing at the time as a member of the Columbus Ballet, and Callaway Gardens was less than an hour away—I visited it often. When the story travels to Germany, I used Wiesbaden as the main setting because it’s a big city and I know it well. I lived there as an Army public affairs officer in 2003. The small town of Rüdesheim is special to the story too, a place of decisions, joys, and sorrows. By the time I polished those scenes, we were serving in Germany again (Baumholder this time) and visited Rüdesheim often. Tough life. I know. Thank you, Uncle Sam 😊
Thank you so much for serving our country!
I’m excited that Ana is half-Brazilian and half-American. Did you pull from your personal background when creating her character?
I knew I wanted her name to be Ana, after Brazilian ballerina Ana Botafogo. But why would an American girl have that name? Mom. Of course. That also worked with the Catholic background I gave her, a background similar to mine, and I did grow up in Brazil, so I know the whole thing would be legit – yes, personal background.
Are you a pantser or a plotter? Care to share how your writing process goes?
Pantser all the way. The novel began in my mind as a single scene—a ballerina stuck at the top of a marquee, something that kind of happened to me once. From there it grew a chapter at a time, one per Saturday, during a six-month period.
I wasn’t a Christian when I wrote the first version of A Season to Dance, so the story was initially just about big dreams and dreamy suitors. But the whole time, God had me writing my own salvation story.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but for most of my life I believed there had to be some kind of god out there and that being a good person was important. But in the summer of 2012, that early version of the novel was rejected in three different continents on the same week. I was tired and lonely, and I freaked out. I decided the notion of a loving god was absurd. There was no loving god, if there was a god at all.
Self-gratification became the chief end of my existence, and I looked behind every door for happiness and satisfaction. I didn’t find anything worth keeping though, and at the end of every new pursuit, I was still tired and lonely.
Then Jesus passed by. I was born again in January of 2013, and soon after that, I realized the novel wasn’t complete. I cancelled a trip to a secular writers’ conference and started a fourteen-month rewrite. This book, A Season to Dance, wrote me—not the other way around. I journeyed with Ana and pray that now others will journey with us, beyond expectations and suffering and to the very heart of Christ.
I think God is a plotter. He knew where the whole thing was going all along. But how could I have known that I was writing my own salvation story? ❤
That is so beautiful. God is definitely a plotter!
What are three elements that are always present in your writing and why?
Ballet – because it’s my forever passion. It wakes up the magic in me.
God – because the world is so busy and loud, if what I do doesn’t help seek and save that which is lost, I can use my God-given 24 hours a day doing something else.
Reality – because I have Asperger’s and it would drive me crazy to make up a place and what’s in it. I have to know with certainty. If I write an airport scene (like the opening of the manuscript I’m polishing now), I have to be at that airport, at the time of day and day of the week the characters are there. I don’t want to imagine the sounds and the smells, I want to report what’s actually there—in lyrical prose. That’s where the artistry comes in. To have my work grounded in a healthy degree of reality is important to me. In A Season to Dance, I really was lost when I wrote the lost parts. I really was discovering Christianity when I wrote those parts. I really was at Callaway Gardens when I wrote Callaway. I was in Germany when I wrote Germany. I was losing my dog, when I wrote Ana’s dog. I was born again when Ana was born again. There was a personal surrender that went along with her every surrender. And I really am a ballerina, too. But she’s better than me. I never moved beyond pre-professional companies.
That's awesome how you use reality. How about some fun fact questions?
Mamba or Starburst?
Starburst the candy? I like that… Let me go Google “Mamba” … I’m back. Candy. I’ve never tried Mamba. Maybe I should.
You should! It's good. Shorts or skirts?
Opera or Play?
Coffee or tea?
Both. Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.
Makes sense to me! How can readers support you on your writing journey?
Read my book ❤
I pray you find many readers! Thank you so much for coming!
Thank you for having me here. How fun!
About the Author
Patricia Beal is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She is represented by Les Stobbe of the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency, and A Season to Dance is her debut novel (Bling! Romance / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, May 2017). Patricia writes from El Paso, Texas, where she lives with her husband and two children.
Follow: Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Website
Happy Monday, Reader Friends!!
I'm kicking this week off with a blog hop tour by SLB. Today, I'm sharing some info from Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands Romance Collection. I have a guest post from Carrie Fancett Pagels, one of the authors in the collection. Let's get started!
nor title, could escape to the American frontier. Educated and ordained an Anglican priest, his trip to America is his “last hurrah” before accepting a vicarage in a small town far from his aristocratic family’s estate. When a series of misadventures leaves him without money and stranded, he must take up employment immediately.
After her father dies, widow Caroline Kane becomes the owner and proprietor of a restaurant and inn. She also assumes responsibility for her five teenaged siblings. Caroline’s busybody married sister insists that an Englishman who purports to answer an ad for help, is the perfect candidate for Caroline’s next husband. While she’s relieved to have help, Caroline finds Barden’s primary asset to be his silver tongue. When his efforts finally bring fruit, Barden receives word from England that could leave Caroline worse off than before, for her heart will leave with him. Will Barden answer his heart and God’s call in Kansas, or will his family responsibilities compel him to leave his dreams behind?
Links: Amazon, Goodreads
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is an ECPA bestselling and award-winning author. With a dozen Christian historical romances published, this former “Yooper” writes Christian historical romances about overcoming. She grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where many of her stories are set. Possessed with an overactive imagination, that wasn’t “cured” by twenty-five years as a psychologist, she loves bringing characters to life. Carrie and her family reside in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, which is perfect for her fascination with history. Carrie enjoys reading, traveling, baking, and beading-but not all at the same time!
Her short story, The Quilting Contest, was Historical Fiction Winner of Family Fiction’s “The Story” national contest. Her novella, The Substitute Bride was a 2016 Maggie Award published finalist for Romance Novellas. Grand Exposé was a 2014 Maggie Award honorable mention for a novel set on Mackinac Island (now entitled My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring, Barbour, July 2017). All three of her Christy Lumber Camp books were long list finalists for Family Fiction’s Book of the Year and The Fruitcake Challenge was a Selah Award finalist. Her novel, Saving the Marquise’s Granddaughter (White Rose/Pelican, June, 2016) received a Starred Review by RT Book Reviews.
Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Amazon, Goodreads, Overcoming with God, Colonial Quills
"We're In Kansas, Toto!!!": How Story Worlds Overlap
First let me say that I really enjoy staying in my story worlds. Most of the time, I “live” in the fictional story worlds I’ve set up in turn-of-the-century Michigan, in particular the straits of Mackinac. I also have stories set here in Virginia, where I live. Since I’ve spent so much time in those story worlds (my 15th romance releases in 2018), I’ve a pretty well-developed sense of what happens there. I also like overlapping some of my characters and their ancestors, when possible.
But in Seven Brides for Seven Mail-Order Husbands I found myself in Kansas! And I really felt for Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, except for in reverse! You see instead of being gone from Kansas, I was being yanked out of Virginia and story world turn-of-the-century Michigan. And now, Toto, I found myself in Kansas! I have never been to Kansas and I’ve never written an American-set story where I hadn’t visited the area I was writing about. I was out of my real world and story world comfort zone! So to bring a little of my story world with me, I had the Tumbleston’s deceased matriarch be from a family in Virginia. Her backstory included being raised on a plantation in Virginia.
While researching another story, I was reading the history of Fort Mackinac, located on Mackinac Island in the Straits of Mackinac. Imagine my surprise to learn that after the Civil War (story time frame for Dime Novel Suitor), injured soldiers from a regiment stationed in the west traveled back to Mackinac Island where they were able to have light duty, housing, and food and to recover from what had happened to them. So I worked that into the Dime Novel Suitor plot.
May 29: Reading Is My SuperPower | Soulfully Romantic | Zerina Blossom's Books
May 30: Puddletown Reviews | Wishful Endings | Bookworm Lisa
May 31: Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen | Mel's Shelves | Blossoms and Blessings
June 1: Singing Librarian Books | Heidi Reads... | Bookworm Lisa
June 2: Cafinated Reads | Smiling Book Reviews | A Baker's Perspective
June 3: aTransParentMom | Paulette's Papers | Puddletown Reviews
Happy Friday, Reader Friends!!
I pray this week's been good to you. Now, it's time to relax and read. :)
My author friends have sent me their info for Friday's list of Freebies, Releases, Giveaways & Facebook Parties!! It's a fantastic list so get ready to add to your TBR pile!
Cara Putman's Canteen Dreams
This eBook is FREE!
Snippet of the Blurb: "In the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Nebraska schoolteacher Audrey Stone wants to support the war effort in any way she can. When her community starts a canteen at the train station, Audrey spends nearly every spare moment there, offering food and kindness to the soldiers passing through. She never expected to fall for a local boy…or face the challenges of budding love in the face of war."
Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Nadine C. Keels' World of the Innocent
The Blurb: "Jhoi couldn’t imagine having much to do with a strange guy like Marcas, a brilliant fellow artist. But through wise counsel, Jhoi will discover a link between intimate friendship and becoming a steward of an era. A tale of love, enduring belief, and the meaning of innocence—based on a true story."
Follow: Website, Twitter, Goodreads
The Matchmakers Anthology
The Blurb: "Octogenarian Ellie Alexander is in love. And the only thing sweeter would be if Libby, Natalie, and Stephanie, her three unmarried, unattached granddaughters, could find the same happiness. Maybe with a little help from her and her beau Blake Parker . . .
"A Match Made in Williamstown" by Jean C. Gordon
"A Match Made in Sheffield" by Terri Weldon
"A Match Made in Freedom" by Lisa Belcastro"
Purchase: Amazon, B&N, Books2Read
Follow: Jean C. Gordon, Terri Weldon, Lisa Belcastro
Melanie D. Snitker's Someone to Trust
The Blurb: "Brooke perfected the art of hiding her feelings from Chess. In a moment of weakness, she reveals the truth and his immediate rejection shatters her heart. Chess can’t be the person Brooke needs. As they grapple with the changes in their friendship, they realize moving apart won’t end their struggles. Only by taking the journey together can it lead to the redemption and love they both so desperately seek."
Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub, Newsletter
Susan Lantz Simpson's Plain Haven
Snippet of the Blurb: "Lilly Brandt was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now she is running for her life—straight into a small, obscure Amish community in Southern Maryland. Now as Hannah Kurtz, she vows to remain aloof since she doesn’t expect to be in Cherry Hill long enough to form any attachments. But her head has neglected to inform her heart of this plan. She hadn’t counted on meeting and being attracted to the kind, young man with the amazing blue eyes."
Purchase: Amazon, B&N
Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest
Rondi Bauer Olson's All Things Now Living
The Blurb: "Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she meets Daniel, she determines to save him."
Purchase: Amazon, Giveaway opportunity
Follow: Website, Goodreads
Cindy M. Amos' Mesa Verde Meltdown
The Blurb: "In August 1955, pictograph restoration artist Kathleen Litton meets geologist Miles McShane at iconic Balcony House. After discovering a contaminated seep, their friendship elevates as they team up to safeguard the ancient Anasazi structures. When the threat escalates, Kat's painting in the tower of Cliff House places her in harm's way. Brokenhearted, Miles must decode her last desperate clue to keep treasured antiquities from unraveling. Abandonment holds untold secrets at Mesa Verde."
Cara Putman's Beyond Justice
Snippet of the Blurb: "Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she's just been handed doesn't destroy her first."
Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Jude Urbanski's Joy Restored
The Blurb: "Kate Davidson purrs along in her remodeled life, but inwardly wages war with God, whom she thinks snuffed out her husband’s life on that mountain curve. Clayton may as well have died in the jungles of Vietnam as in a car accident on Wolf River Bridge. God remains faithful to those with little faith."
Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon
Robin Carroll's Weaver's Needle
Coming June 1st!
The Blurb: "Pitted against each other to recover a map to the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, two recovery specialists follow the trail to Arizona. But someone doesn’t want them to find the map. . .or the mine. They must work together despite their mistrust and growing attraction, to save themselves."
Pre-order: Amazon, B&N
Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter
Springs of Love: An Amish Spring Collection
Coming June 7th! Interested in a giveaway? Enter HERE!
About: "Check out the three stories: The Kissing Bride, Sold on Love, and, Cowboys and Amish Girls."
Follow: Laura V. Hilton, Rachel J. Good, Thomas Nye
You can enter the giveaway for two eBook boxed sets until June 15th HERE.
Follow: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blog
ACFW Virginia June Virtual Book Party
Join the authors of the ACFW Virginia chapter as they talk about books. There will be fun, prizes, and all things bookish. Join HERE to attend the June 2nd party, which starts at 4pm EDT!
Happy Thursday, Reader Friends!!
Today's TBT Feature Novel, Man of Her Dreams, by Sue Barr. This novel was released 2 years ago! Have you read it? If not, enter the giveaway below!
About the Book
The Blurb: "Making it in a man’s world as a home renovation expert is tough, but Lindsay Swanson’s up for the job – leaving no time for any kind of social life, until…
Jared Kane moved to Ravenwood for some much needed peace and quiet to finish his next book, which is hard to do when his sexy neighbor is the one renovating his kitchen…
Then Lindsay overhears Jared talking about her notebook. A notebook wherein she and her BFF – after one too mhHany bad dates and one too many glasses wine – concocted a checklist of the perfect guy. Is Jared the real deal, or has he been molding himself into the man of her dreams to get past her defenses?"
Add to shelf: Goodreads
About the Author
Sue Barr is a transplanted Prairie girl who now resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her retired Air Force hubby. She (and hubby – let’s not forget him) have two handsome sons, four beautiful grandchildren and more fur babies than she cares to admit ownership of. Let’s just state the obvious - she’s a cat lady in training….
To learn more about Sue Barr and her books visit her author page on Amazon.
Links: Facebook, Twitter
Ms. Barr is giving away an eBook copy of Man of Her Dreams (international). Leave a comment by 5/31/17 11:59pm EDT for a chance to win. I will use a random generator to pick a winner on 6/1/17 (be sure to come back and check if you won). To enter leave a blog comment.
*Giveaway Policy here.
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