Thursday, August 27, 2020

Welcome, Christian Author Janet Palmer Grunst Q & A

Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight who lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband. 

Her debut novel, A Heart Set Free was a Selah Award winner. A Heart For Freedom was a Christian Indie Award winner. 

A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, bring inspiration, and encouragement to the reader.

                                                                             Q & A

Tell me about yourself. 

I grew up in a military family and was a military wife. Living in many different places was an education and a blessing. My husband and I have a blended family, my two sons, his daughter, and their families. The three guys are all military officers and their wives are incredible. We have ten grandchildren, four are quads. When we retired in 2006 and sold his contracting company and I retired from working for Community Bile Study we moved from Northern VA to Williamsburg, in the historic triangle (Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown).

What got you started writing?

In the early 80’s when I was a stay-at-home mom I had a column in our community paper and one in a regional tabloid. A story had been germinating in my mind so I asked God if I could serve Him through writing fiction? Would He give me two or three hours a day to write if I would willingly put it aside after that time to take care of my family? I felt His confirmation and began researching and studying the craft of writing fiction. The Lord faithfully gave me those hours while my sons were in pre-school and elementary school.

How did you come up with your book idea? What inspired you? 

Setting Two Hearts Free is the third book in my Revolutionary War series and it primarily deals with the next generation. While it is a stand-alone story, the main characters are ones the reader has gotten to know in the previous two books. The story addresses what we now refer to as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. Throughout history, men and women have borne invisible injuries from war and other life experiences, and they can be very long-lasting. For many people, faith helps them to cope with these issues.

What was the most difficult part of writing this book? 

The subject matter was complex and personal but it’s a topic that needs acknowledgment and empathy. I wanted to address it honestly, sensitively, and hopefully.

How did you overcome this difficulty? 

I prayed constantly through the writing and editing process and listened to my agent's and editors’ suggestions.

Who is your favorite character from the novel? 


What about them makes them your favorite?
While I have great empathy for Mary’s struggles, For many decades I’ve had a heart for those who bear the invisible wounds of war. They often face incredible challenges once they leave the battlefield and need understanding as they adjust to life post-combat.

Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or agenda? 

All the time. I’m a “pantster” not a “plotter” so I’m often surprised where the characters take me. 😉

How has writing this book impacted you personally?  At times it was emotionally draining, at other times it was restorative.

How many books do you currently have published? What genres?  

This is my third novel, I also have a novella in LPC’s Smitten’s Highlander Collection. All are Historical Romances.

What is your favorite thing about writing?  

Research. I love studying history and it is required for historicals, even down to knowing what words and idioms were in use during the subject era.

Your least favorite?  

Marketing. I find promoting my books very challenging. There are so many other talented authors with wonderful books on the market.

What authors in your genre inspire you most? 

There are too many current authors to mention, but reading Janette Oke, first inspired me to think about writing historical fiction.

What would you tell a beginning author who wants to publish but doesn’t believe he/she has enough talent?

Pray about writing, learn all you can about the craft, and write about something you love. I didn’t start writing intending to get published, I just wanted to find out if I could write a story. Get a critique partner for objective feedback. Learn about the process of submitting a manuscript. Find an agent who believes in your writing and with whom you have a good rapport. Develop a tough skin to deal with rejections, and be open to suggestions. Keep learning about the craft.

Release Date: October 6th

Donald Duncan joined the Patriot cause for noble reasons, battling the British while enduring deprivation and hardship on every side. The war has changed him, and now the battle is internal. Returning home to Virginia is in sight where a new life and his Mary wait for him.

Mary Stewart spends the war years with her family at Stewarts’ Green, helping them operate their ordinary. Daily, she prays for Donald’s safe return, eagerly waiting for him … until that day the evil side of war touches her.

Two hearts changed by a war that dragged on for six years. Two hearts left hurting and struggling to find the love and trust they once knew. Is there a path for them to rekindle what was lost, Setting Two Hearts Free?

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A Dream for Harper Blog Tour & Giveaway by Teresa Slack

About the Book

Book: A Dream for Harper

Author: Teresa Slack
Genre: Christian Historical Western Fiction
Release Date: June 2

With no prospects for a better life at home in Kentucky, Harper Dixon’s mother sends her to Willow Wood, Idaho to become a companion to her cousin Ellie Lundy. Ellie was jilted by a man who everyone believes was only interested in her for her money. Harper doesn’t know how she can help Ellie without having been in love herself, and with no prospects.

Harper believes the only way to help Ellie recover from her melancholy is to find out what happened to Matthew Dunleavy, the man who broke her heart. She enlists the help of Logan Kinski, the family’s hired man who knew more about Matthew and his secrets than anyone.

Logan doesn’t trust the cousin from Kentucky. He believes Harper
is here to take advantage of Ellie and worm her way into the family’s immense
fortune. Harper doesn’t have time or patience to deal with a hard-headed
man who keeps getting between her and the truth.

Danger and suspicions mount as Harper and Logan uncover secrets about
Matthew Dunleavy and his dangerous past. Did he leave town on his own,
or did someone from his past with a score to settle catch up to him?

Can Harper and Logan put their mutual distrust aside in order to protect
Ellie? Will their suspicions prevent their growing attraction from
blossoming into love before the search for the truth destroys them?

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

Teresa Slack loves reading, writing, and falling in love. Creating clean and wholesome western romances where fearless cowboys still sweep independent heroines off their feet was an easy choice for her.

Her first book, Streams of Mercy, won the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association Award for Best First Fiction. The Willow Wood Brides Series is her first series of western historicals and her third series of Christian fiction novels. She also has two stand-alone contemporary romances and contemporary suspense, Joy Redefined.

She writes from her home in the beautiful southern Ohio hills, which she shares with her husband and rescue dog and rescue cat. Any errors and typos she blames on the cat randomly running across her keyboard.

Learn more about Teresa Slack and her books by visiting her website at .Readers who sign up for her newsletter will receive
a free download of A Promise for Josie: A Willow Wood Prequel.


Harper leaves her family and goes to be a companion to her cousin, Ellie, in Willow Wood, who has a case of melancholy due to her fiance' leaving her. Harper finds herself in a difficult position. Ellie's father is hardly ever there and Ellie seems distant and hard to reach.

The story has a lot of mystery surrounding it, a twist I didn't see coming, and lots of suspense. It's a story of forgiveness, new relationships, new love, and accepting yourself and moving on.

The characters were well-developed. Ellie was withdrawn but still learned to reach out. Harper was a loving person dedicated to truly making a difference. Logan was strong in his faith and a strong character with lots to give. I enjoyed following their growth throughout the story.

Highly recommended. A tear-jerker at times, but very inspirational.

I received a copy of the book and voluntarily choose to review it.

More from Teresa Slack

When people say nothing ever happens in a small town, they’re just not paying attention. I’ve always been intrigued by the real stories behind small-town scandals and gossip. That’s why I write the stories I write and create the towns I create.

A Dream for Harper is based on a short story I started about twenty years ago. I never finished it and pretty much forgot it. When I started researching the Old West for the Willow Wood Brides Series and devouring Louis L’Amour and Elmore Leonard's stories as research, I remembered that unfinished short story.

I knew it would make a great addition to the series. In the story, Harper leaves the loving arms of her large family in Kentucky to travel to Willow Wood, Idaho to help a cousin she never met. She is thrust into a world completely foreign to her, but she’s determined to help Ellie overcome her crippling depression. I think most of us can relate to Harper’s story. Feeling like a fish out of water and unqualified to fix the mess we’re handed. A little mystery, a lot of romance, and some unexpected twists and turns show Harper that God hasn’t put more on her plate than she can eat. Just like us.

                               Blog Stops

lakesidelivingsite, August 18
The Book Chic Blog, August 22
Older & Smarter, August 24
Texas Book-aholic, August 25
Artistic Nobody, August 26 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
Bizwings Blog, August 26
Connect in Fiction, August 29
Splashes of Joy, August 30
Pause for Tales, August 30
Simple Harvest Reads, August 31 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)


To celebrate her tour, Teresa is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! 

Click the link below to enter the giveaway

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

On Tour with Prism Book Tours-Darling Hedgehog: Goes Down a Foxhole by Auralee Arkinsly

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Darling Hedgehog: Goes Down a Foxhole
By Auralee Arkinsly
Children's Chapter Book
Paperback & ebook, 44 Pages
August 8, 2019 by Capture Books

Darling Hedgehog goes on an adventure to look for her parents who dropped out of sight. 

Darling Hedgehog learns about the animal nature of things in high humor and carefree, cute, and winning episodes. Learn about opposites, homophones, and similes as two animals in nature roll into fantasy land. For children 4-8 or preschool and kindergarten, as a read-to-me picture book, and first grade and second grade as a chapter book.

Darling and Miss Fox come to life as Darling introduces herself to the strange animal who is Miss Fox. Miss Fox gives her gifts so that Darling is distracted from her mission. The two animals look for things to do together in fantastical attempts to be friendly. When Darling enters Miss Fox's kitchen, she realizes that by nature, not all strangers are good for you. Will Darling save the day when it's already dinner time?

Pictures similar to Charlotte's Web and the Mercy Watson series are characterized and painted in full-color, though the pages are set up like a chapter book.

This book helps to train children in natural wisdom, analysis, and discernment. It helps to balance the teachings of acceptance of everyone and friendliness to all. There may be good purposes for everyone to exist under heaven, yet all purposes may not be good for a child. So, beware, and flee from crafty foxes especially when they are holding your parents in the pantry.

(Affiliate links included.)

About the Author

Auralee Arkinsly writes in good humor about serious subjects because kids of all ages can learn a lot from laughing. Since opposites exist, she believes children can learn to identify the nature of things and get out of a risky situation. "Good Laughter sparks the mind." She reckons if she can save some from the bumps and bruises, then she has done a good day's work.

My Review

Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole has a great storyline. Every child has experiences with friends, so it's a story they can relate to. It teaches the reader a lesson about knowing which friends are best suited for you.

The illustrations are well-drawn and the bright colors used make them appeal to a young child. The story length is adequate and should hold a young child's attention. It's well written and easy to understand.

I received a copy and voluntarily choose to review it.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card

Open internationally to those who can receive the gift card through one of Amazon's branches
Ends September 2, 2020

Grab Our Button!

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Welcome Christian Author, Teresa Smyser Q & A

Teresa Smyser lives in Northern Alabama with her minister husband and their deaf cat, Spock. They have two married children, two grandsons, and two granddaughters.

 She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and now works as an accountant and divides the rest of her time between family, friends, church activities, and writing.

Teresa's prayer is that not only will her novels entertain, but they will point people to the love and the hope found in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

She loves hearing from her readers and reading their reviews.

                                                                      Q & A

Tell me about yourself. What got you started writing?

Born and raised in Kentucky, I now live in Alabama with my Godly warrior husband, Keith, and our deaf, rescue cat, Spock. I’m a wife, a mother, an accountant, a super-fun Mimi, a cat-lover, and a Bible-study teacher. When I’m not writing, you’ll find me reading, traveling to historical sites with my husband, or loving on my grandbabies. What a blessed life!

Frequently, people ask if I grew up wanting to be a writer. Not exactly. As a young girl, it was quite common to find me in my bedroom reading the latest Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden books. Years down the road while rocking my baby girl to sleep, she asked to hear stories about a picture hanging on the wall or about her toys. She desired new fairytales each time we sat in the rocker for a nap. Actually, I believe it was her stall method. However, not until my daughter was in college did I consider penning my first novel. After reading several uninteresting books, my daughter said, “Mom, you could write better than this.”

Challenge accepted!

My passion for writing Christian fiction sprouted from her challenge. You will find adventure, bizarre plot twists, flawed characters, and believable romantic friction in my novels. So, kick back and browse through my website.

How did you come up with your book idea? What inspired you?

I love reading historical romances. They take me to far-away places where I can’t afford to visit and put me in a different setting in history. Since I’ve never traveled to Scotland or England, I enjoy researching the area and visualizing it through my imagination. Even though medieval times were not all glamorous, I romanticize about it in my mind. The dresses are beautiful, the men are strong warriors and chivalry abounds.

 Book 1 of my Warrior Bride series took root as I dreamed about medieval castles and all the events that could take place without the luxuries we have today. Book 2 & 3 of the series follow the family I set up in Book 1. When I came near the completion of book 1, I had already picked out a character to develop in book 2 and then book 3. I build each story around one or two Godly principles that I want to showcase in the book. This helps me stay focused on the end result.

What was the most difficult part of writing this book? How did you overcome this difficulty?

One difficult part of writing this book was finding a place for my evil deeds to take place. This required me to do extensive research of the area during the time period I had chosen. This necessitates lots of reading but a nice byproduct is absorbing new history lessons. Once I found a place, my imagination went wild allowing my story to pick up speed.

Who is your favorite character from the novel? What about them makes them your favorite?

My heroine—Philippa Emma Gail Fairwick or Pippa for short. Thrust into a dire situation requires her to make a hard choice. She sacrifices for the good of her people. Oftentimes, each of us are faced with a hard decision. If we’re walking with God, He will direct our paths. His choice is always best and will work for our good if we allow it. Pippa steps out in faith even against the advice of close advisors. In the end, her obedience brings blessings. God teaches this in His Word. If His children will stay close through Bible study and prayer, and obey His commands, blessings will follow. Pippa is my favorite because she is a strong woman who follows her God through the good and the bad as each Christian woman should strive to do. She puts the needs of her subjects ahead of her own needs. This exemplifies an admirable leader and friend.

Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or agenda?

I begin each story with a goal in mind. However, as I write, the characters often develop their own agendas. This springs from my over-active imagination. Since becoming a writer, I observe movie characters for new personality insights. I might see an expression or a mannerism I want to incorporate into one of my novel characters. On occasion, I see a person in public that catches my eye. I file these observations away and my imagination pulls them out as I write. It’s cool how it all works together without extra effort on my part.

How has writing this book impacted you personally?

It’s funny you ask this question. When my daughter reads my books, she says she can hear me saying a certain phrase or word from my story. I put my all into each book. Capture a Heart of Stone reminds me how my own attitude affects the way I treat people whether negative or positive. It also points out how I can get ahead of God and have disastrous results. Just like Pippa and William, I have areas in my life that I don’t wish to relinquish control to God and insist on holding on to it for a time even though God’s way is better. However, I would say the biggest reminder for me is how God alone controls my destiny. Every situation in my life is to lead me to be more like Jesus.

How many books do you currently have published? What genres?

I have self-published one contemporary Christian romance—Heaven Help Us! Self-published three Christian historical romances—The Warrior & Lady Rebel, In His Embrace, and Capture a Heart of Stone—this is my Warrior Bride Series during Medieval times. I’m presently working on book 4 which will be with a traditional publisher. I also self-published one non-fiction book for women called Women of God Arise: Conquer Daily Goliaths with Godly Power.

What is your favorite thing about writing? Your least favorite?

My favorite thing is creating an alternate reality. It gives me an outlet for the stories rattling around in my mind. The least favorite is sitting for long hours. I did purchase a Vera desk to help with the constant sitting.

What authors in your genre inspire you most?

Tamera Leigh, Kathleen Morgan, Debbie Costello, Carol Umberger, and the old book by Lori Wick—The Knight and the Dove.

What would you tell a beginning author who wants to publish but doesn’t believe he/she has enough talent?

Your personal goals will direct how you want to approach writing. If you just need to get a story out there and don’t care about sales, then go for it. If you want to be a best-seller, then you’ll need to put hours into achieving that goal. STUDY, LEARN, APPLY!

As a new author, I spent many hours learning the craft. I went to conferences and listened to podcasts or webinars about writing. This is especially easy during this time with everything offered on-line. I subscribed to several email lists like Jerry Jenkins,, who offer free information on writing. It will take time, but research great writers and check out the resources they offer.

While you’re learning the craft, look for a good editor to polish your novel. Then find beta readers who aren’t your friends. You need unbiased opinions. Don’t be sensitive to criticism. I welcome constructive criticism to help improve my novels.

When you feel your book is the best it can be, get it published. I lost countless hours looking for an agent to represent me—time wasted for me. I then applied at publishers—again—time wasted for me. I chose self-publishing and have had moderate success with selling my books. Recently, I signed with a young publishing company and look forward to this new journey.

Don’t allow others to squash your dreams. Life is too short. DREAM BIG!

Capture a Heart of Stone

Warrior Bride Series

A mercenary . . .

A desperate heir . . .

A hard choice . . .

As William McKinnon hunts for his father’s kidnappers, unexpected events hurl him down a treacherous path fraught with danger and deceit. With a hardened heart, he runs toward revenge.

After her father’s murder, Philippa Emma Gail Fairwick is the sole heir to his estate. Faced with a damaged castle and a starving people, she exposes her secret defense in order to obtain the help she requires.

Will this unlikely pair set aside their own desires to embrace God’s best for them? Follow William and Pippa as they traverse a twisted path to discover how self-sacrifice and obedience bring blessings.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Welcome, Children's Author, Mary Ann Vitale

Mary Ann Vitale is a bilingual, Amazon Best Selling award-winning author of children's books. Her first published book "The Water Lily Fairy" is the winner of the 2013 YATR Literary Awards Best Children's Book.

Her book "The Street Where the Dollar Tree Grew" is the winner of the 2014 LSOR Reviewers Choice Awards. She is married and has three grown children. She loves spending quality time with her grandchildren, teaching them the wonderful traditions learned from her heritage.

Mary Ann never dreamed of writing children's books. The language barrier was a challenge to her writing career. She was born in Sicily. As a young child, she always loved books, even though they were not available.

At a young age, she moved to the U.S.A. She attended Cosmetology School and college. She is fluent in Italian, Sicilian, and English languages. At the age of fifty, she wrote her first story for children. Urged by constant inspiration, she wrote many other stories and poems.

One day, she woke up with the realization "a writer was born!" Mary Ann has always kept in close contact with her inner child. She taps in her Sicilian folklore to entertain and cultivate children and the child in all of us.

Mary Ann realizes the importance of preserving a language and is writing Sicilian proverbs and Sicilian old sayings. Her books are available online by Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Author House, and worldwide. Mary Ann loves God, her family, gardening, traveling, and art.

                                                Q & A

Tell me about yourself. What got you started writing?

My name is Mary Ann Vitale. I am a children’s book author. I was not planning to write any books. It just happened. At the age of fifty, I was inspired to write my first story for my granddaughter. She was just a baby, and I felt motivated to write something interesting for her. Through the years, many more stories were created by the experiences we shared together.

How did you come up with your book idea? What inspired you?

A red fish on TV caught my attention, while I was playing with my granddaughter. That sparked the idea to write my first story, “Simon, the Red Fish,” which was recently published in the book, “Hidden Treasures in a Book, A Collection of Seven Children’s Tales, Vol.1.”

What was the most difficult part of writing this book? How did you overcome this difficulty?

The most difficult part of writing this story was been creative, trying to figure out what to write about a small fish. Once I wrote it, I read it to my granddaughter to see her reaction. She was attentive. Throughout the years, I acquired better writing skills. When it was time to publish this story, I noticed it was lacking a purpose, a teaching lesson. I completed it by making some slight changes, thus giving a better comprehension to a parent reading this story on the expectations of a young child.   

Who is your favorite character from the novel? What about them makes them your favorite?

My favorite is the starfish. Sometimes, when we lose our way, God sends us angels in disguise, to guide us in the right path. I feel the starfish was the guiding star in the sea.

Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or agenda?

My characters are meant to be a good example to others and a positive influence on a child’s life.  

How has writing this book impacted you personally?

It has taught me the importance of writing stories for children that give good lessons. As grownups, we forget to be more understanding toward children, to stoop ourselves at their level, and in turn, to learn to tolerate their shortcomings.

How many books do you currently have published? What genres?
I have published fifteen fiction books for children.

What is your favorite thing about writing? Your least favorite?

My favorite part of writing is creating a story which will impact the lives of children and spark their imagination, but at the same time, editing and the inability to publish my stories fast enough are my least favorite part of writing.  

What authors in your genre inspire you most?

Cindy Freland. She has written a series of inspiring books for children, similar to my story, “Simon, the Red Fish.”

What would you tell a beginning author who wants to publish but doesn’t believe he/she has enough talent?

I would suggest a beginning author not to fear. We all have trod the same path. Good writing skills develop in time, and they build confidence. You can always rely on other authors for help. We learn together.

Celebrate the beginning of "Hidden Treasures in a Book" collection, featuring seven illustrated short stories for children: Reach for a Star; Catch the Rainbows; A Sparkle from Heaven; Simon, the Red Fish; Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Bell; The Pumpkin Patch; Angels. 

This 37 page book-collection is a wonderful way to introduce some of Mary Ann Vitale's best tales, perfect for reading aloud, curling up, or snuggling on a rocking chair.

Can a fairy make a change in the lives of poor people? Can she listen to their longings and through acts of kindness fulfill their dreams? 

The water lily fairy is curious about the people of Corleone, Sicily. She hides in a pond among water lilies. As she explores the town, she is aware of the poverty of the people. 

The fairy grants their hearts' desires by showering them with random gifts every day.

Have you ever wished to find a dollar tree? What would you do if you found one? A young boy, Lincoln, just happens to discover a dollar tree in an amazing secret garden. Is it a coincidence that strange things begin to happen when he does not share his treasure with others? 

The boy struggles with a wise old woman’s advice and his childish desires. Should he listen to his inner voice or give in to temptations? In the end, Lincoln learns a valuable lesson about giving and receiving in return.

From the proceeds of this book, a donation will be given to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sara Turnquist-New Release "Among the Pages" Review

I'm a coffee lovin', word slinging, Historical Romance author, whose superpower is converting caffeine into novels. I love those odd little tidbits of history that are stranger than fiction. That's what inspires me. Well, that and a good love story.

But of all the love stories I know, mine is my favorite. I live happily with my own Prince Charming and our gaggle of minions. Three to be exact. They sure know how to distract a writer! But, alas, the stories must be written, even if it must happen in the wee hours of the morning.

Twitter @sarat1701

Among the Pages

Publish Date: Aug. 18th

A woman’s choice…is in question.

Brianne is a somewhat naïve college freshman. She becomes disillusioned as her professors and peers challenge many of her long-held beliefs. When she finds a diary that belonged to a distant relative, she hopes it will offer much-needed distraction. And she is soon drawn into the story of a passionate woman who seems to whisper from the past.

In 1915’s New York, idealist, and primary teacher Margaret struggles with the problems women face at home and in society. She is first timid about speaking her mind, but in time cannot keep her impassioned spirit hidden—not even from the gentleman who teaches in the classroom next door. His concern for her stretches the limits of their friendship, pressing into something more. Caught up in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, she faces down authority figures and others who question her beliefs.

And so, Brianne is whisked along on this journey as Margaret joins the fight for women’s rights, all the while trying to work through her own questions and experiences with modern feminism.

Before long, things spin out of control and she wonders where her newfound relationship fits into everything? Are there any clear answers? Will she land on her feet? Or be forever lost to herself?

My Review

The story is a surprising two stories in one woven through the eyes of a diary that Briana finds in the attic. It belongs to Margaret, a relative involved in the suffragette movement in 1915, as well as, raising a family of her own. Her struggles were touching.

The historical aspects of Margaret's day made the story real and wrapped the two time periods up nicely. The struggles of both characters were well written. Margaret with the struggles of family and her commitment to the movement, and Briana with her own demons to slay.

The story is inspirational, compassionate, and one of forgiveness and grace. I loved the growth of Briana and how she drew from strength in God to see her through the darkness.

I received an ARC from the author and voluntarily choose to review it. My opinions are my own.