Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my 
Christmas Books Giveaway Hop! 
This hop is being hosted by I Am a Reader Not a Writer and co-hosted by Laurie Here.

For this giveaway, I have two options for you to choose from.  You may choose one of the below titles which are two of my favorite Christmas stories ever or you may choose another Christmas book of your choice from the Book Depository.

Sometimes, the things that can change your life will cross your path in one instant-and then, in a fleeting moment, they're gone. But if you open your eyes, and watch carefully, you will believe....

Robert is a successful attorney who has everything in life-and nothing at all. Focused on professional achievement and material rewards, Robert is on the brink of losing his marriage. He has lost sight of his wife, Kate, their two daughters, and ultimately himself. Eight year old Nathan has a beloved mother, Maggie, whom he is losing to cancer. But Nathan and his family are building a simple yet full life, and struggling to hold onto every moment they have together. A chance meeting on Christmas Even brings Robert and Nathan together-he is shopping for a family he hardly knows and Nathan is shopping for a mother he is soon to lose. In this one encounter, their lives are forever altered as Robert learns an important lesson: sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference. The Christmas Shoes is a universal story of the deeper meaning of serendipity, a tale of our shared humanity, and of how a power greater than ourselves can shape, and even save, our lives.


What would happen if Santa fell to Earth? Christmas through the eyes of Cornelia Funke: quirky, funny, ultimately heartwarming, and packaged in a collectible format. A new holiday classic!

Scared by a storm, Twinklestar, the least reliable reindeer, bolts--causing Santa and his sleigh to crash-land. And though Santa has dropped into a friendly neighborhood, he's not safe: Jeremiah Goblynch, the ruthless new leader of the Council of Yuleland, is determind to put an end to children's wishes and turn the holiday season into his own personal moneymaking scheme. As the last REAL St. Nick around, only Santa stands between Goblynch and his grinchlike plan. With the help and hope of kids Charlotte and Ben, Santa must face Goblynch and his Nutcracker goons to save Christmas!


GIVEAWAY RULES

Open to anyone who can legally enter and receive a book through The Book Depository. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 13 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BLOG TOUR: The Paperboy by Stan Crader

THE PAPERBOY
by Stan Crader
Wheatmark, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58736-908-7
YA/Adult Historical Fiction
Grades 8 and up
Complimentary copy received in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE PAPERBOY

Paperboy tells the story as only an afternoon paperboy in rural America in the sixties can. Thousands of readers identified with the unique characters of Colby while reading The Bridge. They grew to love Tommy and the band of boys, were entertained by their childish pranks, and touched by their generosity.

In Paperboy, change is coming to Colby. The shoe factory has sold and a hat factory is taking its place. A factory manager has been named and he’s definitely not from Colby. There’s an influx of interesting newcomers.
The high school principal is also new to Colby. He must deal with teenage pregnancy, the snooping high school office secretary, and the Colby Curls rumor mill. He, too, has a mysterious past and uses it to his advantage.

The pregnant teen and her auto-mechanic single mother aren’t Colby natives either. Rumors about both abound. The mother has a past which touches the present, and eventually involves the entire town. Tommy and Booger, while delivering the Colby Telegraph, discover that Colby’s patriarch, Mr. Koch, has a heroic but classified history. While raking leaves for Mrs. Whitener, they learn the origin of her accent and how she got to Colby. It’s not what most people think.

Jupiter Storm, the town’s primary purveyor of gossip, whose opinion always exceeds his knowledge, is perpetually annoying. But Tommy and Booger learn that Jupiter is a decorated World War II veteran. And when a threatening stranger appears on the scene, the entire town learns of Jupiter’s unique but redeeming skill. How will Colby be different, and how will it be the same?

ABOUT STAN CRADER

 Stan Crader’s first book, ‘The Bridge’ spent several days on the best seller list for Christian fiction at both BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. His articles about flying have been published in flying magazines and local newspapers. He won a Bronze Quill award from the International Association of Business Communications for articles written for his company’s quarterly newsletter.

Stan was born and raised in Bollinger County Missouri. Coming of age in rural Missouri provided him the material for many of the rich characters in his books. He credits the variety of jobs he had as a child and the people with which he worked for providing him his creative foundation.

Stan’s childhood jobs included grocery store carry out, a paper route, mowing lawns, farm equipment set-up, sawmills, and janitor. “You learn a great deal about people when you see what groceries they purchase,” Stan says.

After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Missouri, where he met his future wife, Debbie at a Missouri / Nebraska football game. It was Debbie who first made Stan realize that his childhood was unique.

They spent the early years of their marriage living in Bollinger County, Missouri. Stan joined the family business and Debbie worked as a community nurse. As a nurse, working with a caring country doctor, she began to collect stories of her own.

The two of them raised three boys and a golden retriever as the life experiences continued. Stan began writing Christmas letters. Friends and family began to look forward to the somewhat informative but largely humorous Christmas epistle.

Stan’s first novel was written after the encouragement of those on his Christmas letter mailing list and the recipients of the company’s quarterly newsletter. He’s flattered beyond measure each time someone who has read ‘The Bridge’ asks about a sequel.

Visit Stan’s site:  http://www.stancrader.com

Please note that all proceeds go to support Resurrecting Lives, a non-profit that supports veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

 REVIEW

When I really like characters, it is always a thrill to read more about them. I was eager to read this follow-up to Crader's The Bridge. It was interesting to return to Colby and find out more about its residents.  Tommy and Booger are once again the main characters but there are many others both old and new that Tommy and Booger interact with. As a paperboy, Tommy knows most of the people in his town, but there are always surprising new things to discover.  Crader does a great job of creating a wonderful setting with realistic characters with real strengths and weaknesses.  If you enjoy good-ole, country-home stories than I highly recommend this one.



Check out the rest of the tour here.  Be sure to check  review of the first book, The Bridge.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BLOG TOUR: The Bridge by Stan Crader

THE BRIDGE
by Stan Crader
Wheatmark, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58736-908-7
YA/Adult Historical Fiction
Grades 8 and up
Complimentary copy received in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BRIDGE

Tommy Thompson recalls with vivid detail the summer of 1967, when he was twelve years old and living in a small town in rural America. At that time in his life, all he wanted was a Honda motorbike, and he believed the smartest person in the world was his Uncle Cletus. The Bridge follows Tommy’s summer-long quest for the Honda and his love, Wendy, whom he pursues with the comical romanticism of a young boy.
During the course of the summer Tommy helps his best friend, Booger, cope with family tragedy. He is terrorized by Clyde Goodpasture, the biggest bully in the sixth grade, and the town of Colby is shaken by news that its hat factory will close. While he isn’t a religious child, Tommy faces these challenges armed with the few Bible verses that he knows and the support of his Christian family. Tommy has a knack for doing the right thing and ultimately makes a sacrifice that shows without a doubt that his heart is in the right place.


ABOUT STAN CRADER

 Stan Crader’s first book, ‘The Bridge’ spent several days on the best seller list for Christian fiction at both BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. His articles about flying have been published in flying magazines and local newspapers. He won a Bronze Quill award from the International Association of Business Communications for articles written for his company’s quarterly newsletter.

Stan was born and raised in Bollinger County Missouri. Coming of age in rural Missouri provided him the material for many of the rich characters in his books. He credits the variety of jobs he had as a child and the people with which he worked for providing him his creative foundation.

Stan’s childhood jobs included grocery store carry out, a paper route, mowing lawns, farm equipment set-up, sawmills, and janitor. “You learn a great deal about people when you see what groceries they purchase,” Stan says.

After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Missouri, where he met his future wife, Debbie at a Missouri / Nebraska football game. It was Debbie who first made Stan realize that his childhood was unique.

They spent the early years of their marriage living in Bollinger County, Missouri. Stan joined the family business and Debbie worked as a community nurse. As a nurse, working with a caring country doctor, she began to collect stories of her own.

The two of them raised three boys and a golden retriever as the life experiences continued. Stan began writing Christmas letters. Friends and family began to look forward to the somewhat informative but largely humorous Christmas epistle.

Stan’s first novel was written after the encouragement of those on his Christmas letter mailing list and the recipients of the company’s quarterly newsletter. He’s flattered beyond measure each time someone who has read ‘The Bridge’ asks about a sequel.

Visit Stan’s site:  http://www.stancrader.com

Please note that all proceeds go to support Resurrecting Lives, a non-profit that supports veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

REVIEW

I love this kind of book, a great combination of history and story.  While the main characters are twelve-year-old boys, the book does seem to be aimed at adults.  But I think that young adults could really enjoy it as well.  The story follows the ordinary adventures of Tommy and his best friend, Booger (Randy), who are determined to earn the money to buy Honda Mini-Trails (mini motorcycles).  In order to do so, the set up a lawn mowing business.  But at the same time they deal with the same sorts of things that teenagers the world over deal with, bullies, girls, and the loss of a family member. I especially enjoyed the honest approach that Tommy takes, even though he has a tendency to speak first and think later, it's clear that he is a good kid, but a normal twelve-year-old boy (there are some gross jokes).  I think what I liked the best though was how well the author creates life in a small town in Missouri in the 1960s.  I felt like I was there. For me, historical fiction doesn't work if the setting and feel of the story aren't believable. This book does not have this problem. The book is full of humor, life, and genuineness. I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy great historical fiction.


 
Check out the rest of the tour here.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of the sequel, The Paperboy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY: All I Want by Jolene Perry, Kaylee Baldwin, Rachael Anderson

Tour Schedule

ALL I WANT

THREE STORIES. THREE COUPLES. ONE HOLIDAY.

Pretty Near Perfect

by Jolene Perry

The last thing Norah needs is to be attracted to anyone – especially in her deceased fiancĂ©'s parents' home. Collin’s starting a new career, and has no business getting involved – especially while staying with his roommate’s family, who very kindly offered to take him in for the holidays. Unfortunately, you just don’t always pick the most convenient time and place to fall for someone.

Six Days of Christmas
by Kaylee Baldwin

When Natalie goes home with her best friend for Christmas, she expects plenty of quiet time to work on a winning ad so she can turn her dream internship into her dream job. Instead, she gets time-consuming Christmas festivities, a house full of children, and Jimmy, her best friend’s brother - someone who makes her question everything she’s always thought she wanted.

Twist of Fate
by Rachael Anderson

When a postcard meant for Kenzie winds up in Ty's mailbox, Ty's faced with a decision. Should he tell her that her fiancĂ© is breaking up with her and let it ruin her favorite holiday, or should he do what he’s wanted to do since he met her - make a move and hope that he can win her over before she discovers there won’t be a wedding after all.




Author Jolene Perry

Jolene Perry is an enigmatic figure. She is most often seen behind her laptop, staring at the words flying onto the screen with reckless abandon.

She survived growing up in rural Alaska, driving like a lunatic, and her husband’s careers in the military, as a perpetual student, and an Alaska State Prosecutor. She also survived as a middle school math teacher using her degree of Political Science and French.

One day Jolene was playing her guitar (probably some-thing juvenile for her kids) when she wondered what it would be like to write a song for a rockstar, and her first book was born. (that book is shelved)

She now lives a very glamorous life as a stay at home mom, elbow deep in dirty dishes and peanut butter sandwiches. She doesn’t even attempt to keep up with the laundry because non-writing time is precious, and her family is sorta awesome.

Links:


Author Rachael Anderson

Rachael Anderson is the author of four contemporary romances: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four, can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Links:


Author Kaylee Baldwin

I grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University

with a degree in English literature.
I currently live in southern Arizona with my husband, Jeremy, and our three children. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, starting new craft projects, and spending time with my family.

Links:


REVIEW


Nothing makes me sigh quite as happily the way a sweet romance does and this book has three of them. While shorter than I normally like, I really enjoyed all three.  In the first story, Norah meets Collin at the house of her dead fiance's family, talk about awkward.  It becomes even more so when Collin seems to return her feelings. I enjoyed the way the characters really connected but still referred to the relationship as just a beginning. That seems more realistic to me than the whole 'love at first sight' stuff.  The second story revolves around Natalie who is trying to come up with an ad campaign that will hopefully win her her dream job.  But between her boyfriend, Grant who offers her no listening ear or support whatsoever and Jimmy, her best friend's brother, who won't stop pestering her, she wonders if her dream is even possible.  In this one I especially enjoyed the interactions between Jimmy and Natalie, they were sweet and funny. The last story focuses on Ty and Kenzie who live in the same apartment complex.  When Ty gets a postcard for Kenzie involving her fiance breaking up with her, he decides to hold it until after Christmas. But his intentions aren't entirely noble, he wants a chance to see if given a choice, Kenzie will choose him over her fiance.  In this one I enjoyed the way Ty was, in most ways, a good friend who offered Kenzie love and support.  All of the stories had a nice amount of romance with a decent amount of depth. While there were a number of editorial errors, I found them easy to overlook in the enjoyment of the stories.  (I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review, all opinions herein expressed are solely my own.)


Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Ends 12/24/12

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BOOK BLAST and GIVEAWAY: Imperfectly Beautiful by Diony George

Imperfectly Beautiful by Diony George


At 1:30 am, in New York City, Regan Wright is ripped out of a sound sleep with a jolt - her heart thuds in her ears and her face feels flushed. Straining to hear anything out of the ordinary, she fumbles to turn on the bedside lamp. Nothing seems out of place. Suddenly her stomach twists in knots - it's her identical twin, Rebecca. Something is terribly wrong...

Though twins, Rebecca and Regan couldn't be more different.

Independent and outspoken, Regan chose a high-profile career as a fashion designer in New York City. Despite her hard-earned success, Regan’s become disillusioned by the glamour and the glitz. She’s tired of coming home to a lonely penthouse apartment welcomed only by her cat and has all but given up on ever finding “Mr. Right.”

Steady and reliable, Rebecca chose to be a wife and stay-at-home mom. From the very first moment she met James Conrad—tall and muscular with eyes as blue as a cloudless sky—she was captivated. Married and four children later, Rebecca’s life is not what she expected. Her marriage has lost its shine and her sweet babies have become challenging and often unappreciative children.

Both Rebecca and Regan must discover, a higher power has the answers to what matters most, but when a serial killer strikes nearby, and his victims look eerily similar to the twins, will it be too late?

Praise for Imperfectly Beautiful

“5 Stars! Great Novel-Romance with Suspense. Captures your attention from the very beginning...then difficult to put down...A good solid read!”
-Booklover, amazon review

“This was a great book. I could relate to Rebecca and the trials she was going through with her marriage and her children. I feel this way at times too. I liked the suspense and it was enough to keep my hooked…” 
-K. Neilson, Utah

“I enjoyed the development of the characters. Lots of dialogue took me right into the everyday lives and struggles of each person. The underlying story of the unsolved murders of women who look like the twin sisters simmers through out the chapters until it finally boils over into an exciting ending! I recommend it!”
-J.T. Bolla, Washington
Purchase


Author Diony George


Diony George is a wife, full-time mom of seven, grandmother of two, and a published author of uplifting women’s fiction and inspiring nonfiction. She is also a regular contributing writer for Deseret Connect and FamilyHow. Originally from Alaska, she currently lives in Salt Lake City with her family. Besides writing she loves to read, especially romantic suspense, bake, sew and craft.

Her current fiction WIP, Inside the Heart, is based around the kidnapping and disappearance of four-year-old Emma and is slated for release in Feb 2013. Her next nonfiction book, Heaven’s Just a Prayer Away will be released by Cedar Fort, Inc in July 2013.

Links

Book Blast Giveaway
$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 11/29/12
*You need not enter your twitter name for each entry. Simply enter it for the first person you follow and leave the others blank.

Open to anyone who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent's permission. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 19, 2012

BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY: All Fall Down by Julie Coulter Bellon


ABOUT THE BOOK

 Ring around the rosy, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes we all fall down . . .

That simple rhyme turns negotiator Claire Michaels’ current hostage situation into an international incident. Claire just wants to help get everyone out safely, but as the crisis escalates she realizes she’s dealing with an al-Qaeda operative who has the means to become another bin Laden---with the potential to attack America. Claire has her own personal reasons for wanting to stop al-Qaeda, but time is slipping away as negotiations break down. Can she overcome her scars of the past in order to get the hostage out alive and possibly stop an assault on U.S. national security?

Navy SEAL Rafe Kelly is on leave to recover from a knee injury he suffered during his tour in Afghanistan and he doesn’t expect to be fighting terrorists on his home turf. But when he is taken hostage and his brother is kidnapped, Rafe teams up with a hostage negotiator in order to stay alive and get his brother back. The terrorist is always one step ahead of them, however, and the situation quickly turns from desperate to deadly. Will Rafe be able to save himself and his country without anyone he loves getting caught in the crossfire?

 
Purchase the Book

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Coulter Bellon is the author of seven international suspense novels: Through Love's Trials, On the Edge, Time Will Tell, All's Fair, Dangerous Connections, Ribbon of Darkness and All Fall Down. She loves her work partly because she gets to travel to distant lands to research and add an authentic feel to all of her books. Her favorite cities so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She taught journalism at BYU for fourteen years and that kept her on the cutting edge of current events and world news---which is where she gets her story ideas.

She also has one non-fiction title: Be Prepared: A Parent's Guide to the Duty to God and Eagle Scout Awards---What You Should Know and is part of two compilations, How Will Christmas Find Us and Life Lessons From Mothers of Faith.

She is the mother of eight children and when she's not busy being a mom or a writer, you will find her browsing through bookstores to add to her book collection, at the library borrowing books, or reading the treasures she's found. 




AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is the 'story behind the story' of All Fall Down?

I was watching the Discovery Channel one night and it was on SEAL Team Six and what they went through to penetrate the compound in Pakistan where Osama bin Laden had been hiding.  They talked about the computers they confiscated and how those files were turned over to the Department of Defense for decrypting.  My mind started turning because my husband used to work for a computer forensics company and I thought, what if the DoD couldn’t decrypt one of those files that would have important information on it that people would kill to have?  And what if they gave it to a civilian company and al-Qaeda got wind of it?  And the story went from there.

What research did you have to do to write the story?

I had to do a lot of research on SEALs, Afghanistan, DoD, next-gen weaponry, hostage negotiation teams, you name it.  I got to meet and talk with a lot of great people that helped me make it as realistic as possible, though, and I’m grateful for their patience with all my questions!

What's your favorite thing about writing? Least favorite?

My favorite thing is holding the book in my hands.  There is something so satisfying to telling a story that other people can read. 

My least favorite thing is having a story in my head that I really want to write down, but not having enough computer time to get to it.  Eventually I always do, but if I had one wish it would be for an extra bit of computer time each day.

Where would you love to travel if you could go anywhere?

I would love to visit Australia.  The Man From Snowy River was always one of my favorite movies and I’d love to see some of that country.

Do you have a particular process for when you write? A favorite place to write?

My process is to write down everything I’ve been thinking of all day, each scene and piece of dialogue.  When time is limited, you do what you have to do.  My desk is right between my family and kitchen so while it may not be my favorite place, I can always stay in the thick of family things while I’m writing.  Not many writers can be stirring dinner and writing at the same time!

What is your favorite kind of dessert?

Well, it depends.  On rainy days it’s chocolate chip cookies.  On sunny days it’s cinnamon rolls.  On every other day it’s anything with chocolate in it.  But my ultimate dessert is Canadian chocolate.  Yum.  (Now I’m hungry and craving chocolate.  Thanks a lot!)

And thanks for the interview!


REVIEW


Whoa. What a ride! If you decide to read this be prepared to have a hard time putting it down. I found the book action-packed and full of interesting characters. Rafe and Claire make for a great pair. While I would have liked more character development, I did really enjoy the book.  The focus is on the action which starts in chapter one when Rafe is taken hostage by his friend Gary who has been forced to do so.  Claire steps in as hostage negotiator and before she realizes it finds herself neck deep in a fight for not only her own life but the lives of others she cares about.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy romantic suspense with lots of action.


 GIVEAWAY

Julie is generously offering 7, yes 7 awesome giveaways for the tour!! (I want to win them myself!) That means you have 7 chances at winning! (Pretty good odds, huh?!)

The prizes include:
  • (2) "Book Lovers'" baskets which include a copy of All Fall Down, a hand tied lap blanket, Julie's favorite hot chocolate mix, and a copy of Janice Sperry's Christmas novella, The Candy Cane Queen
  • (3) Print copies of All Fall Down
  • (2) Ebook copies of All Fall Down
To enter to win these prizes, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form provided. (Each tour stop will have the same Rafflecopter form).
  • Open from November 12 to December 7.
  • Must be 13+ years of age to enter
  • US and Canadian mailing addresses only 
Earn entries by doing any/all of the following:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 15, 2012

BLOG TOUR/AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Rosemary Opens Her Heart by Naomi King



ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART
by Naomi King
New American Library, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-451-23797-2
Christian Fiction

 ABOUT THE BOOK

Another spring reminds the Amish of Cedar Creek, Missouri, that for everything there is a season.

Zanna Lambright is finally marrying Jonny Ropp, and friends and family have come from far and wide to celebrate. Among them is young widow Rosemary Yutzy, mother of toddler Katie, whose husband was tragically killed last fall. With a willing heart Rosemary has taken over care of her in-law’s family and continued to run a baked goods business from home, but privately she still mourns her lost Joe…and is unprepared for the changes that are coming…

Rosemary’s father-in-law wants to merge his lamb-raising business with Matt Lambright’s—a move that will require the Yutzys to relocate from their nearby town to Cedar Creek. Moreoever, it will bring Rosemary into constant contact with Matt, who is making no secret of his romantic interest in her. The challenges of contemplating a future unlike any she expected are overwhelming for Rosemary. And although Matt is strong and kind, his courtship is so persistent, she often wants to run the other way. As Rosemary struggles to see beyond her immediate joys and sorrows, will she embrace the outpouring of welcome and support from the people of Cedar Creek…and accept this new chance to open her heart to a more abundant life?

 See here for my review of the book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too!  While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.
Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my new Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.

Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my new Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.
I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.

To find out more about Naomi, please visit her at http://www.naomikingauthor.com/.
Visit her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiC.King

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is the 'story behind the story'?


The idea for ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART came about in an off-hand sort of way when I first saw the cover for ABBY FINDS HER CALLING. Alongside Abby are some sheep...although sheep had nothing to do with her, I was tickled to see the Border collie, because I have one! The sheep belong to her nephew Matt, who is plenty old enough to be looking for a wife. And because my editor had nixed the plot for book #2 in my original proposal, it seemed like an opportune time to find Matt a girlfriend for this new story.

He's just not crazy about Emma Graber across the road, even though she has her heart set on marrying him. So once Matt meets Rosemary Yutzy at Zanna's weddingtaking up right where ABBY FINDS HER CALLING leaves offthe heartbreak with Emma begins. Rosemary wants nothing to do with Matt, either. Thank goodness for those Border collies who watch over Matt's sheep attract little Katie Yutzy over to play, because then Rosemary has to come chasing after her toddler, who is both entranced by Matt and effortlessly wrapping him around her little finger.
          
Kids and dogs. An unbeatable combination! So that picture on ABBY FINDS HER CALLING was worth more than a thousand words!

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

 Even though I write out a fairly detailed synopsis for each book before I write it (partly because I work better with a roadmap, and partly because my editors require one) I still have about 330 pages to fill, and the words don't necessarily flow from God's lips to my fingers. What makes the slower writing days worthwhile, however, are those sparkly ideas that come at me out of nowhereor, in this book, it was the way three-year-old Katie just reached out of the page and grabbed me, and then took over her scenes. Soon as that kid opened her mouth (or stuck her finger in it to gaze up at Matt) she was telling her story her way. It made my job a lot easier because she brought Rosemary and Matt together whether they wanted to be or not!

Where do you like to do your writing? Do you have a particular schedule you like to follow?

My office is in the third bedroom of our home, where I have a nice desk with a Mac on it, my library of research books, and two windows looking out over the back yard. Quite often, however, I get a lot of pages written out on the deck in summer, or in the kitchen when it's colder, using my iPad and the wireless, full-size keyboard it hooks into. I like to work in the kitchen while Im making soup or have something in the oven, so I dont forget about whats cooking! When I compose on the iPad, I can then email the pages to my Mac and edit them there to copy/paste into the main manuscript.

Ideally, I do my day's writing right after breakfast and walking the dogotherwise, it's waaayy too easy to get caught up in email, social media, errands, you name it, and the day gets past me before I get my pages written. Writing two different Amish series for two different publishers means I have a deadline about every four months, so I can't afford to get behind on a book. I don't write very fast, so I have to keep at it nearly every day, sometimes even on weekends if I'm behind after a planned vacationor an unplanned family situation, etc. I keep a week-by-week schedule of how many pages I need to write so I can tick each week's section off as I complete it.

While I'm writing the main draft of one book, I almost always have to do copy edits on a book for the other publisher. Right now I have three books in the pipeline: two books in my Charlotte Hubbard series are on my Kensington editor's desk, and I'm writing the #3 book for my Naomi King NAL seriesand yes, because I'm doing this Virtual Tour for ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART (#2 of Naomi's series) I have these interviews and blog posts to keep up with, as well. Add in the time for both of my Facebook pages (you can Friend me as Charlotte Hubbard and LIKE my Naomi C. King author page), a newsletter, the occasional speaking gig/bookstore signing, and I don't have time to get bored. Or behind!

What is the best thing that has happened to you since being published?

Gee, I have to think about that one, as we're spanning a 22-year period since my first book came outand 2013 will mark the 30th year since I first sold stories to mags like True Confessions! It's gratifying indeed to have survived that long in this crazy, unpredictable publishing business, even though I've never hit any of the major bestseller lists.

I will say, however, that it's a wonderful thing when not one but two major publishing houses invited me to write these Amish series for them. Usually, when you're not a big name, you have to write up proposals on spec and submit them, hoping an editor somewhere will be interested. This wave of fascination with the Amish culture has created quite a demand for stories about them, and for once, I was in the right time and place with the right writing style. 

While I understand the advantages of all the self-publishing that can be done now, I feel truly honored to be writing these books for two of the most respected editors in the business, and to be working with an agent who has been such a compassionate, hard-working partner in my career.

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
           
You know, I never met an ice cream I didn't like...but sometimes it depends on the brand! When we lived in Jefferson City, MO, Central Dairy (local dairy, that makes the best ice cream and has an ice cream parlor in town) flavors like cinnamon, peppermint stick, and bear claw (dark chocolate ice cream studded with chocolate-covered cashews) were my choices. If I'm buying it in the store, here in Minna-Soda, I choose Blue Bunny's "Homemade" vanilla flavor. Otherwise, when brand isn't an issue, I go with cookies and cream or chocolate brownie. This is more than you wanted to know about my taste in ice cream, isn't it?

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Dad worked for TWA, so the travel bug bit me early and often! These days I really to love to cruiseyou unpack just once, yet you can visit a bunch of ports on the same trip (and I love being on the water). We've been to Alaska, the Panama Canal, and other neat places. Got one booked for Hawaii in March to celebrate my birthday. One of these days I'd like to visit England and Italy/the Mediterranean, and I'm sure we will! Would love to visit Australia, as well, but wish it didn't require an 18-hour flight.

Why these places? Because theyre out there! Anymore, I dont care where the cruise ships, goingI just want to be on it!

Tell us something that most people don't know about you.

As research for one of my earlier books, I bought an accordion and taught myself to play it. Got it onlinea beautiful Sofia Marie instrument, along with how-to-play books. I've played a lot instruments over the years, so taking up the accordion wasn't all that much of a stretch, musically. It was, however, a weight-bearing exercise because I unknowingly bought one that was too big for me! (Ok, I'm short.) So before we moved to MN, I sold it. This summer I bought a nice classical guitar and am taking lessons,  building on the chords and stuff I learned when I got a guitar for Christmas in junior high. Gets me away from the computer and out of the house to take the lessons, and gives my brain something non-verbal to work on.

Thanks so much for spending this time with me! For more info and excerpts of all of my Amish stories, visit me at www.NaomiKingAuthor.com. To be sure you dont miss any new releases, feel free to sign up for my newsletter while youre there!

BLOG TOUR: Rosemary Opens Her Heart by Naomi King


ROSEMARY OPENS HER HEART
by Naomi King
New American Library, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-451-23797-2
Christian Fiction

ABOUT THE BOOK

Another spring reminds the Amish of Cedar Creek, Missouri, that for everything there is a season.

Zanna Lambright is finally marrying Jonny Ropp, and friends and family have come from far and wide to celebrate. Among them is young widow Rosemary Yutzy, mother of toddler Katie, whose husband was tragically killed last fall. With a willing heart Rosemary has taken over care of her in-law’s family and continued to run a baked goods business from home, but privately she still mourns her lost Joe…and is unprepared for the changes that are coming…

Rosemary’s father-in-law wants to merge his lamb-raising business with Matt Lambright’s—a move that will require the Yutzys to relocate from their nearby town to Cedar Creek. Moreoever, it will bring Rosemary into constant contact with Matt, who is making no secret of his romantic interest in her. The challenges of contemplating a future unlike any she expected are overwhelming for Rosemary. And although Matt is strong and kind, his courtship is so persistent, she often wants to run the other way. As Rosemary struggles to see beyond her immediate joys and sorrows, will she embrace the outpouring of welcome and support from the people of Cedar Creek…and accept this new chance to open her heart to a more abundant life?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


I’ve called Missouri home for most of my life, and most folks don’t realize that several Old Older Amish and Mennonite communities make their home here, as well. The rolling pastureland, woods, and small towns along county highways make a wonderful setting for Plain populations—and for stories about them, too!  While Jamesport, Missouri is the largest Old Order Amish settlement west of the Mississippi River, other communities have also found the affordable farm land ideal for raising crops, livestock, and running the small family-owned businesses that support their families.
Like my heroine, Miriam Lantz, of my new Seasons of the Heart series, I love to feed people—to share my hearth and home. I bake bread and goodies and I love to try new recipes. I put up jars and jars of green beans, tomatoes, beets and other veggies every summer. All my adult life, I’ve been a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and we hosted a potluck group in our home for more than twenty years.

Like Abby Lambright, heroine of my new Home at Cedar Creek series, I consider it a personal mission to be a listener and a peacemaker—to heal broken hearts and wounded souls. Faith and family, farming and frugality matter to me: like Abby, I sew and enjoy fabric arts—I made my wedding dress and the one Mom wore, too, when I married into an Iowa farm family more than thirty-five years ago! When I’m not writing, I crochet and sew, and I love to travel.
I recently moved to Minnesota when my husband got a wonderful new job, so now he and I and our border collie, Ramona, are exploring our new state and making new friends.

To find out more about Naomi, please visit her at http://www.naomikingauthor.com/.
Visit her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/NaomiC.King

REVIEW

Rosemary Opens Her Heart is a sweet, tender story about love and healing from loss. Rosemary is still recovering from the loss of her beloved husband, Joe.  When Matt Lambright makes it clear he is interested in courting her, she is very uncertain and unready to deal with future possibilities. Can Matt win her over? And what Rosemary's young daughter, sister-in-law, and father-in-law with whom she lives? Where do her responsibilities lie? And what about her own desires? I love this type of book, with ordinary people living ordinary lives struggling with the ups and downs of life.  The writing is very smooth and flowing which I enjoyed very much.  The descriptions of food made me hungry. ;) I also enjoyed getting to know the other characters, Matt and Rosemary's friends and family.

I don't have much knowledge about the Amish lifestyle and beliefs, but this book was a gentle introduction to them. I enjoyed reading about another way of life and culture.  This is a sweet series that reminds me in some ways of Jan Karon's Mitford series with the way the story comes together and how the community comes together to help and support each other and yet has problems and weaknesses as does any community. I highly recommend this series to those who enjoy an inspiring Amish series.


 
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