Monday, April 29, 2013

Sharon Srock's interview, new release Terri, and giveaway--ends May 3 10 PM

Welcome, Sharon! We are so happy to have you here this week, and that you have agreed to share a bit about yourself.

Q: First of all—brownies, cookies, tofu bars (gack!) or ice cream?
 Sharon: Can I cheat? Warm brownies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Q: When did you first know you were a writer?
Sharon: Not till God told me 25 years ago. Believe me I was more than a little surprised. God gave me 20 years to recover from the shock, then he became very insistent.

Q: Does history play into your writing?
Sharon: Not very much. With 2 jobs other than writing, I don’t have a lot of time for research. Contemporary stories let me write about the things I know.

Q: If you could sit down and interview any person, fictitious or real from any time, who would that be and what is the first question you would ask?
Sharon: Again, I need to cheat. I think Spock of Vulcan or Merlin. If I had them in my kitchen, I think the first question would be “What do you think of the 21st. century.” I think Spock would laugh, I think Merlin would be in too much shock to answer.

Q: Who have been your mentors, and how did they help you most?
Sharon: The whole group of OCFW writers. That’s the Oklahoma City branch of ACFW. When I came to that first meeting, I had 2 ½ manuscripts, voices in my head that I was sure would drive me crazy and not a single clue what to do with any of it. They took me under their wing, shared their wisdom with me and gave me a place to grow. They are beyond great!

Q:  What do you hope your readers will take away from your stories?
Sharon: My stories are about ordinary women using their faith to do extraordinary things. They aren’t doctors, lawyers, detectives, or scientist. They are you and me. Mothers, grandmothers, wives, Sunday school teachers…they have jobs, they fight with their spouses, but they still make a positive difference in the world around them when they listen to their hearts and to God.

Q: Do you have a question you would like our blog readers to answer?
Sharon: Could you follow God’s direction even if you felt like it went contrary to your dreams?

Follow me on Twitter:!/SharonSrock

Come and meet the Women of Valley View!  free PDF download, as a thank you gift for visiting 

Purchase your own copy at:
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Sharon is generously offering to give away a copy of Terri to one lucky commenter. Please leave your email addy and answer Sharon's question. For extra chances to win, follow this blog and Sharon's, or like her author page on facebook. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pink Party continues: Carrie Fancett Pagels interview

To celebrate Carrie Fancett Pagels' debut novella Return to Shirley Plantation this week, I am reposting an interview I did with her last October. Pay special attention to what she says about being published below, and celebrate with us as we rejoice with her!

Welcome, Dr. Pagels, or as I have been privileged to call you, Carrie :D

Q: coffee, tea, soft drink, water, or home juiced vegetables?
Until recently it was coffee at breakfast, water all day long, and hot tea in the afternoon. But I am off coffee now and drink water, tea, and juice throughout the day.

Q: When did you first know you were a writer?
When I was a little girl and finished reading Anne of Green Gables and I wrote an epilogue in the back of my book!

Q: How do your roles of mother, wife, professional, daughter of Christ, resident of Virginia etc. play into your writing?
“Overcoming Through Time—With God’s Help” ( is my blog address. A little over a year ago I began to invite others to join me there. And I have been so blessed to now share this blog ministry with two wonderful American reviewers and two international reviewers! We are trying to reach people who are dealing with some of life’s difficult blows but with Christ’s help are overcoming—and who enjoy reading Christian fiction as part of that process. We love sharing writers’/authors’ interviews in which they share their own journeys and difficulties. We are in the process of renaming our blog because my tagline for my fiction writing is Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help and we need to use that for my brand spanking new website, which I am very excited about!
Recently I realized that I was no longer anyone’s daughter (anyone living) but that I am God’s daughter. That was a weird feeling to know I no longer have that role. A sad feeling. As a resident
of Virginia I am blessed to have so much cool historical stuff nearby, including Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Victory Center, Shirley Plantation, and other great sites! I was raised in upper Michigan and am a former Yooper, which has greatly impacted my life. But I was raised by a Kentucky-born mother. And although my father was Yooper born and bred (and you’d be surprised to know that most are NOT the rednecks they are sometimes portrayed as being) my father’s maternal side was from Kentucky, within a short distance of where my mother’s people lived but they didn’t know that until after they wed.
During some genealogical research, which I did because my mother’s side of the family wasn’t well documented, I found out I had ancestors whose nine sons participated in the American Revolution. Between that and living in the colonial triangle of Virginia, that got me started on writing a fictionalized account of these ancestors’ journey to colonial America. That manuscript and three book proposal is out on submission. As the administrator and contributor for the group blog “Colonial Quills” ( I love seeing us get out more information about this era and promoting this subgenre in Christian fiction!

Q: You love history, as do I. If you could sit down and interview any figure from any time, real or fictional, who would that be and what is the first question you would ask?

I would want to ask my ancestor, Johan Rousch, who I wrote about. I’d like to hear why he left Germany to come to the colonies and how he felt about it. Can I cheat and also ask to meet Susanne, his wife? I find it horribly unfair that he was recognized by the SAR but I don’t believe anything was done by the DAR for her. And she birthed the nine sons who fought in the American Revolution!

Q: Who have been your mentors, and how did they help you most?

I had AMAZING English teachers growing up in my hometown. The high school teachers, in particular, were so good. I took the CLEPP exam and was allowed to exempt college English (at age 17.) However, I ended up enrolled in a freshman English class. Day one when I arrived at class I was met by the frail and elderly professor and when he heard my name he took me aside. Told me that my essay was the best he had read, ever, at the college. I think I blinked at him. I hope I thanked him! That has never left me. God must have prompted him to say something. Within about six weeks he had passed away. It was rather surreal. When he had asked me my major and I told him psychology he’d seem so disappointed and had encouraged me to write.
I met my agent, Joyce Hart, at the Philadelphia conference Write His Word, four years ago. She gave me some of the best advice about my writing that I ever could have received. She took me on as a client in 2011 and I consider her a mentor.
Laura Frantz is someone I consider a mentor although she might scoff at that. I met her via Rachel Hauck’s directive in an ACFW online class that we track down comparable books to our own MSes. I found Laura’s “The Frontiersman’s Daughter” for pre-order online. At first I was like—oh nooooo—someone has something similar to what I am doing. Is it too similar? Then I got in touch with Laura and we began an email correspondence. I have learned a lot about the everyday life of a published author from her, especially like what it is like to transition over from a non-published writer to author.
Lena Nelson Dooley gave me a paid critique at the ACFW conference in 2010 and I won a critique with her and did that in 2011. She was the first person to offer me endorsement, which I will never forget. She also spent a lot of time with me at conference last year and is such an encouraging person.

As far as my writing, both Vickie McCollum and Lynn Squire as the leaders of the Fellowship of Christian Writers critique group were the first people to say to me “You are ready to be published.” Their mentorship was critical in getting me to the next big steps I needed to make from a writer with a ton of unfinished manuscripts to someone who had clarity and purpose and finally moved forward to begin the process of preparing those for publication.

Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from their time and investment in your books and blogs?
Overcoming With God blog--I hope readers will feel like they had just spent a visit with friends and shared words of encouragement as well as their love of Christian fiction!
In my MSes, which Lord willing will be published, I hope that readers will feel, really feel, what my characters are going through and see how God could deliver the characters and themselves.

Q: Since your blog is about overcoming, can you share with us here what is the biggest thing you have had to overcome and how?
Kathy, what I deal with daily is overcoming, one day at a time, the effects of multiple forms of arthritis. Only with God’s grace do I literally put one foot in front of the other each day. I don’t know why He hasn’t (yet!) removed this difficulty from me, but I trust Him. We also have a child with different issues, but he is doing great—literally overcoming with God’s help, through time! The hardest thing was when our little guy was in the throes of full blown autism and having meltdown and other unsavory issues and life was a daily horrendous battle. And no one seemed to understand. You are isolated and dealing with severe issues that others might have no clue about. I thank God we are past the most severe stage and that He has enabled us to receive multiple treatments and that He has brought about much healing.
Kathy, you and others ask how I do so many things—I am the ACFW MidAtlantic zone director, have the two blogs, and a special needs child. We also travel and I go to historical sites frequently for research. And I have been completing manuscripts at the rate of about one every seven or eight months, which is getting faster for me. But because of my physical limitations I am not as mobile as other people. God has limited my span of activities and so my butt in the chair time is likely much higher than other writers’.
And I want to give a praise here. Since I started writing this interview only three weeks ago (as of OCTOBER), I have gone through some things that are resulting in improvement in my arthritis symptoms, praise God! Although some has been really difficult to go through, I am seeing results from where God has taken me and moved me to. A lot of this is in dealing with food and medication allergies. And I am on very little medication for my Rheumatoid arthritis right now, thank you Jesus! And my mobility is greatly improving!!!

Kathy, you are such a sweetheart. Thanks so much for having me on your blog! Many blessings!

Carrie, you are a delight and an inspiration to me, and to many! Thank you for being so gracious with your time.

Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., writes “romantic historical fiction.” Represented by Joyce Hart, “Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance” is Carrie’s first fiction release. Carrie contributed to “God’s Provision in Tough Times” releasing May, 2013. Previously a psychologist, Carrie lives in Virginia with her family. Carrie blogs at “Colonial Quills” and “Overcoming With God.” She has served in ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) leadership positions as Zone Director, Area Coordinator, and continues as co-chairman of a local group. Member ACFW, Romance Writers of America, Faith-Hope-Love RWA affiliate group and FaithWriters. Columnist/Board Member of The Book Club Network ezine. Loves God, history, and romance!

You can get an extra entry for either Carrie's novella or the pink basket delight if you answer this question in the comments below.

Question for our readers: If you could time travel to Carrie back in October and tell her something now that she is a published writer, what would it be? 

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's book launch time: Return to Shirley Plantation by Carrie Fancett Pagels, plus giveaways!

This month, Carrie Fancett Pagels and I both have novellas releasing in the Civil War collection Cry of Freedom, Murray Pura's brainchild with Helping Hands Press. The series includes 15 unique short stories and novellas covering 1863.
I had the privilege of being a beta reader/crit partner for Return to Shirley Plantation. It was a pleasure having a first-hand look at this historical romance as well as receiving Debbie Lynne Costello's and Carrie's help on mine.

Carrie is visiting this week to celebrate! Shh, don't tell her, but this is a pink party stop! We are featuring the launch of her first novella, Return to Shirley Plantation with a giveaway copy to one lucky winner, plus a basket of pinkness delight! To make the celebration even more amazing, Carrie just learned that she will have a short story in the Guideposts Christmas collection as well! And she also has a nonfiction releasing which she contributed to. In the Bible, three is a number of completion. I feel God is speaking, don't you?  He is saying "Carrie girl, you are a published writer, you are a published writer, you are a published writer!" I am tickled pink for her!

I loved Return to Shirley Plantation for so many reasons, I can't begin to count them. This delightful and insightful romance is set in the oldest plantation in Virginia, this year celebrating its 400 anniversary. Chocked with factual information gleaned by many hours of research and personal tours with resident historian Julian Charity, this story will transport you.

Carrie Fancett Pagels has spun gold in her tale about a real and beautiful place and time, with elements of romance and fiction told by a master story teller. This debut novella, part of the Civil War collection by Murray Pura, depicts the story of a Copperhead senator's son from Ohio who is conscripted by the Confederate army. Matthew Scott is a thespian whose theater troupe makes loose ties to John Wilkes Booth. Before he knows it, Matthew finds himself serving on the front lines in Virginia, and among the wounded transported to Shirley Plantation near Harrison's Landing.

Angelina Rose is a 1/8 black former slave woman who would have gone North except for two things, her commitment to her niece and nephew still in slavery's grip, and a strong impression from the Lord to wait. When Matthew arrives as one of the wounded, they catch one another's eye.
How will a Union man escape forced conscription into an army he does not sympathize with? Matthew faces this dilemma and others, wondering why the Lord has led him here. Could it be that God's leading could bring love, answers to long-standing questions of his past, and a new family he never imagined?

This novella is a big story wrapped in a short package. A heart stealing cast of characters and a lovely, authentic, and well researched setting will delight every fan of historical fiction, and the sweet and satisfying romance will make you wish this book could go on forever.
A great new voice from debut author Carrie Fancett Pagels will surely make you put her on your watch list of new talent.

You can purchase your very own copy for only $2.99 by clicking here

Carrie is offering a copy of her novella to one lucky commenter. I am offering a basket of pink delights, to another winner.
Here are the rules: Leave a comment below if you can guess Carrie's favorite color. Gain extra entries if you follow any of her blogs or social media:
and more extra points if you share this post on any of the buttons top right of this page--facebook, twitter or Google+. Let me know what you did and I will credit you with up to 7 entries~
winners drawn Friday April 26 at 10 PM eastern by

Monday, April 1, 2013

Forsaken Dreams by MaryLu Tyndall--review and giveaway

MaryLu  Tyndall can't seem to write a bad book. Each new series  she pens brings fresh material and settings to life. And being a fanatic of all things Civil War, I thought I had read everything on the subject. Decidedly not so. Because this newest release explores a part of post-Civil War history I never knew.

This book kept me up into the wee hours on several occasions to see what would become of its wonderful cast of characters on their perilous journey. To say that Ms. Tyndall leaves you gripping the edge of your seat is an understatement. My recliner has claw marks in it, thanks to her superb, suspenseful writing and intriguing plot twists. And yet, Forsaken Dreams is not primarily a suspense, but a romance. And it is that romance that kept me reading to the very last page, longing and aching for the hero and the heroine to overcome the impossible odds against them and find their happily ever after.
I would give away my gently used copy but I am selfish. LOL  The copy I own has a personal note written to me from the author that means a great deal to me, so alas! I cannot offer this copy to anyone. But I do have a $10 Amazon gift card that will buy someone's very own copy. Just leave your comment with your email addy, and one lucky commenter will receive this terrific book in either kindle edition or paperback, winner's choice. 
If you sign up to follow this blog, that is an additional entry, and two more if you share on facebook and twitter. 

Eliza Crawford holds a secret that she prays the passengers of the New Hope never discover. An expedition to Brazil gives these displaced southerners a new chance at living the rest of their lives in peace after the bitter defeat of the Civil War. They seek a fresh start after the home they love is no longer a welcoming place, and dauntless Colonel Blake Wallace is just the man to lead them.

The war has left a toll on Blake--health, sanity, family, fortune, career. . . even his very life if they had captured and tried him as a southern war criminal. The last thing he wants is a reminder of all the North has taken from him. Smooth sailing to Brazil and the affection and care of a lovely nurse promise to heal him. Until everything is turned upside down.

Once again, the plot, characters, and rich writing of this author held me in their charms to the very last satisfied sigh. The spiritual elements create tension, sometimes spine tingling, and always ring true. Subplots and minor characters set up story questions for sequels, and make me want to know what becomes of them all. I am so glad I will not have to bid a permanent adieu to these heart-stealing people.

Giveaway ends Friday, April 5 8PM Eastern. Good luck!