Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Blog Tour: An Interview with Carolyn Frank, author of "Remembrance"

I was approached a short time ago to feature this intriguing new book.  Carolyn was kind enough to send me an excerpt and I definitely want to try the rest of the series.    It's also on a topic that would be very appropriate for the holidays.

First, an excerpt to put my questions into perspective.  You'll see soon why I call it intriguing.

Right now, before his eyes, Jesus was literally suffering for Josh’s sins—and everyone
 else’s—so they wouldn’t have to suffer for them . . . if they accepted Him. 

Another question filled Josh’s thoughts. Why? Why would Jesus do this for me? The 
question pulled at him, twisting his heart as it begged for an answer. 

He gazed again across the wretched hilltop at Jesus hanging on the cross, and lightning 
flashing through the blackened sky. He would know the answer. 

Did Josh dare use Uncle Rueben’s feature now? Would it be wrong? Inappropriate?  
I’ll only do it for a second. Just long enough to find out. Josh looked skyward. I promise. 
I just need to know. 

Setting his sights again on the cross, Josh hesitated. He saw Jesus look toward heaven 
and say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That only served to move Josh further, wondering how in the world Jesus could feel that way after all the terrible things these people had done to Him.  

He concentrated on Jesus and willed himself to switch characters. 

He opened his eyes. For a split second, he could see the wall of Jerusalem in the distance 
and its massive gate. And then he was hit with such an intensity of feelings, he was sure he’d explode. Though the feelings couldn’t have lasted for more than a millisecond, their essence etched themselves clearly in his brain as the wall of Jerusalem was torn from his view. Flashes of light against a backdrop of darkness took its place. Buzzing, popping, shattering sounds filled his ears. Then everything went black and the old portrait of Uncle Rueben came into focus, though somewhat dingier than usual.  
Josh was out of the Loom.  

He glanced around, noticing Ester frantically surveying the room. She too appeared 
confused by the darkness, and why all the multicolored lights no longer flashed from the big desk. Uncle Rueben came running into the room, sandwich in hand. He tossed it onto a 
bookshelf and rushed over to the Loom, typing his fingers frantically upon the computer’s 
keyboard that lay to the side of the Bible. “Dead! Totally dead!” He looked at Ester, then Josh. 

“What happened in there? Every fuse in the house has been blown.” Uncle Rueben’s shocked  expression morphed into a child-like grin. “Good thing I’ve installed a back-up power system.” 

He pointed to the yellowish glow transmitted by his emergency lighting that Josh had 
experienced that time with Pierce. Then he focused back on Josh and Ester, as if waiting for an answer.
Ester shrugged. “I was just playing Mary, the mother of Jesus, and was crying my eyes 
out there at the base of the cross, and then bam, I’m here. No portal, no feeling like I was being squeezed through a tiny hole, nothing!” 

Josh sensed Ester’s eyes on him as he slouched next to her in the big office chair. “Maybe 
I caused this.” He swept his hand over the darkened desk, glancing up at the shattered green lightbulb that hung over his head. “I must have fried the poor Loom’s circuits or something.” 

“What did you do?” Uncle Rueben’s eyes opened wide as a curious grin spread across his 

Josh ducked his head. “I tried to slip into the character of Christ.” He brought his head 
up. “But it was only going to be for a second. I just needed to know!” 

Uncle Rueben’s grin widened. “Interesting.”  

“Know what?” Ester said. Then she elbowed him. “Christ? Seriously, Josh?” 

“What was it you wanted to know?” Uncle Rueben’s tender expression touched Josh’s 

 “Why? Why Jesus would die for me?” 

“Did you get your answer, son?” 

A remnant of that feeling was still there, burning its sweet warmth inside Josh’s soul. 
That held the answer. He’d felt it for only for a split second, as he also endured that horrible 
agony. The Loom—before it’d had crashed—told him that what he’d experienced was only an infinitesimal fraction of what Christ had actually felt, and that it would be impossible for any human to experience. 

“That had to be what happened. The Loom attempted to go where it couldn’t, Josh said to 
himself and then looked at Uncle Rueben. “But it gave me enough of a glimpse that, yeah, I got my answer.” He choked up. “Love . . . unfathomable love.” 

Q&A with Carolyn:  
1). I can see this as a project that parents and children could read together and discuss.  How intentional was that?

This wasn’t intentional, though I think it would be wonderful if families did that. I feel that this book could appeal to both teens and adults alike, and there are many spiritual and historical points that could be the basis for good discussions.

2). In the excerpt you sent me, love short-circuits the technology.  Is this a metaphor for how internal faith has to be?

No, actually it was more of a metaphor of how Christ’s love is beyond our comprehension and the Loom was unable to relay the magnitude of His love to Josh, so its circuits became fried.

3).  Are there secular uses planned for this technology?  If they aren't there yet, who would you have the characters experience?

They did travel through secular books. Josh’s trip through the life of Christ was the first truly religious book he ever traveled. However, every book he did travel previously, he experienced things that aided him in his search for God. Mostly he traveled through history books, so in this way it gives the series a time travel feel.
These are the books/characters he traveled:
Book 1: Joan of Arc, William Tyndale (the man who translated the Bible into English at the peril of his own life), George Washington,
Book 2: Watson and Crick (discovers of DNA), a fictitious story about Nazi Germany, Galileo,
Book 3: George Frideric Handel, a fantasy/dystopic novel about a society that forgot their past and thus was destined to repeat the horrors they had once fled, The Christmas story in the New Testament

4).  Where did the concept come from and did it alter from the first version?

My original intention with the first book (I hadn’t always intended it to be a series) was to write a novel in such a way that I could bring the story of Joan of Arc to teens. I had read the book, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by Mark Twain, and was so moved by it, that I wanted my children and other youth to experience what I had felt. I knew most kids wouldn’t want to read a 600 page, literary novel, so I came up with the idea of the Literary Loom which allowed my characters to travel through books, and thus I could retell Joan’s story in a way that teens could relate to. Then the stories grew from there.

5).  What's next for you?

I love to write historical novels. Besides the Quantum Faith Effect series, I have two WWII novels that are closely based on true stories that have been published. I have plans to work on another one of those. I’m just waiting to hear back from a gentleman in Eastern Germany who is translating the notes of a particular man who was a missionary behind the Iron Curtain in Communist East Germany when that was against the law. I hope there is enough for a story there—I won’t know until I get the notes.

Currently I am working on an Old West Historical Romance series. I am also working on illustrating a children’s picture book for a manuscript I had written several years ago. That is entitled: My Friend is a Tree. (I’m a botanist and a tree hugger in my spare time).

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Christmas Countdown Blitz: Color Me Christmas

DAY 3 (I'm caught up!):  Color My Christmas

Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author. 
Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian photography, Frozen Charlotte dolls, and antique poison bottles. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.
She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

Q & A With The Author:
1.      1.       What is the hardest thing you've ever done?
Had to cut toxic people out of my life. People I once cared deeply for.

2.       Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?

A few months ago, I was walking through a church cemetery. The majority of the graves are from the eighteenth century. A lot of the epitaphs are no longer readable due to age and the weather. On the side of the church and against the wall, I found a beautiful gravestone for a woman named Hannah. There is an almost perfectly readable epitaph that describes her as twenty-seven years old, and leaving behind her beloved husband and new baby. As lovely as it is, there is something so sad about it as well. She’s all alone. There are no relatives buried near her. It was like she was loved, and then her family moved on, and she is now forgotten. I visit her grave every time I’m in the area and leave her a crystal gemstone that I bury near the gravestone.

After an unfortunate incident, Dr. Timothy Martin’s career as a surgeon is in tatters. Unable to cope with the changes in his life, his mother insists he visit Meggie Marie, a woman she says can perform miracles with her alternative therapy.
Timothy is reluctant, but maybe Meggie is his last chance to heal.
When he sees Meggie, he is intrigued by the eccentric woman with vibrant red hair, who wears tie-dye and flower headbands. When he gets to know her, she becomes something else to him – hope, joy, and maybe even love.
But is Meggie for real, or is she simply providing him with her special brand of therapy?
With Christmas just around the corner, has Timothy found his Christmas miracle, or is Meggie’s motive something darker waiting to be discovered?

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Christmas Countdown Blitz: The Tree Keeper's Promise and The Christmas Bike

Confession:  Sometimes, I'm not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.
Translation:  I was meant to post this earlier and apologize for my failure.  There was a miscommunication and now that it's been cleared up, I'm on track.

Welcome to the Christmas Countdown!  You can see what will be coming your way in the future above. 

Day 1:  The Tree Keeper's Promise
Tamara Passey was born and raised in Massachusetts around a large family, one that has served as inspiration for most of her writing. She was named Arizona Young Mother of the Year in 2013 and contributes marriage and family articles to She loves most creative endeavors and when she isn't writing or re-writing, you can find her baking or cross-stitching or walking--though not all at the same time. She lives with her husband and three children in Arizona. Other titles by Tamara include The Christmas Tree Keeper: A Novel, and Mothering through the Whirlwind, a short memoir.

Four seasons. That’s how long Angela Donovan hoped to know Mark Shafer before they married. But less than a year later, she still fears that she’s repeating the mistake of a failed relationship. 

As Christmas approaches, she senses Mark’s plans for a proposal, and wonders if she can learn to trust again. Mark has learned all there is to know about the Shafer miracle trees—or so he thinks. 

Papa reveals secrets about the trees’ matchmaking power just as a highway expansion threatens to destroy the family legacy. Mark is determined to save the farm, and the promise of love stirring in the branches of the Shafer miracle trees. Heartwarming and engaging, 

The Tree Keeper’s Promise captures the warmth and wonder of the holiday season.

Top Ten List:

·  Won some poetry contests in high school, probably gave me way too much encouragement.
·  Favorite odd job: worked security at an art museum.
·  I can spell gobbledygook.
·  I miss fall foliage, cool misty rain, and the need for a warm sweater. But I don’t miss shoveling snow.
·  I prefer ocean over mountain, sunset over sunrise. Yet when I head to the gym I get to watch the sunrise over a fair-sized mountain and it’s beautiful every time.
·  Love Jane Eyre.
·  Favorite word: optimism.
·  To get through revisions, I bake a lot of chocolate chip cookies.
·  New favorite food: salted-caramel gelato.
·  One crafty thing I like to do: make new wreaths for my door.

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Day 2:  The Christmas Bike

2 small snippets from your story

First off, this Christmas story is true and it happened to my son and I.

* Blurb - Christmas is already going to be tough for Marie and her family. When a series of events is set in motion long before a Christmas Eve tragedy, she is too occupied to notice God's grace. An emergency letter to Santa sets her on a quest for a Christmas miracle. With time running out, she prays for the first time in a long time. A miracle does happen, but it is not what she expected.

I placed my flip flop on the pedal and pushed behind Anthony as we made our way along the sidewalk. We wove along the neighborhood streets, looking at the dry creek beds and gravel landscaping. Christmas lights were wrapped around the trunks of palm trees and weaved in and out of cactus prickles. It took a very brave soul to decorate the saguaro or prickly pear plants, and yet so many did.
Another example that I wasn't made of tough enough stuff to bloom in the desert.
Even the Acacia, Ironwood, and Mesquite trees had thorns. And the lovely fuchsia Bougainvillea? I looked down at some scratches on my fleshy arms. Well, the Bougainvillea had won the battle the other day when I'd tried to give it a winter haircut.
Every single plant in the desert wanted to kill me.

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Instagram - taramayoros
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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Top Ten List: The Soulstealer's Daughter

I'm pleased to present today's featured book, The Soulstealer's Child.  The author has provided one of my favorite types of features, a Top Ten list.  But first, some info to introduce the book.

Brandon Gray is the pen name of Braden Bell (Brandon writes YA fiction; Braden writes for middle grades). Braden holds a Ph.D. from New York University. He and his family live on a quiet, wooded lot in Tennessee, where he teaches middle school theatre and music. An experienced performer, Braden enjoys reading, gardening, and long summer afternoons writing in his hammock. His most notable skill is being able to eat a full rack of BBQ ribs with one hand on long drives.

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 When soul-eating demons overrun his world, Kaelis, a young seraph warrior, uses the Queen’s ring to open a portal in space and flee with the infant heir to the throne, landing on earth. Unbeknownst to him, the demon leader, Nsark, follows through the portal, determined to devour the soul of every last seraph, especially the Queen’s heir. After Kaelis hides the baby, Nsark creates the ultimate weapon by fathering a half-human, half-demon: a soul-stealer’s child. 

Sixteen years later, an awkward teen named James struggles to fit in with his peers. In a last-ditch effort, he joins the school play, where he meets Lucy. Something deep draws them together, and their friendship reveals their hidden pasts: one is an angel, one is half-demon. Lucy and James find themselves pulled into an age-old war between their peoples. Hunted by relentless enemies, and grappling with deep-seated instincts and strange new powers, they must fight for their lives, their souls, and each other.

And now for Braden's special(er) feature!

Top Ten List:

1. My wife
2. My kids
3. My students
4. Dr. Pepper
5. BBQ ribs
6. Amazon gift cards
7. Old Christmas movies
8. Turner Classic Movies
9. My new Amazon Firestick (love this!!!)
10. My job--teaching choir and theatre at a middle school. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I love these kinds of events because long before I get to pick a copy up, I get to see a sneak peek at what the book will be like.  Nothing is quite as telling as the cover when done right, so here we go for Saving Lord Whitton's Daughter.
About the author
Susan was born and raised a California girl but is grateful to have lived on the Oregon coast and in the Rocky Mountains of northern Utah. She’s now enjoying living with her husband in the incomparable beauty of the Redwood forest, nestled against the rugged coast of Northern California.
Susan raised a tribe of children, making ends meet as a registered nurse and lactation consultant, and now her tribe members have tribes of their own and she just doesn’t get to see enough of them. She loves to travel and is thrilled with a good movie or a great book, but writing is her passion. She writes almost anything, especially epic fantasy and romance. Saving Lord Whitton’s Daughter is her first Regency Romance. 

Susan would love to hear your comments. Please review her book at your favorite retailer, and at Goodreads, and/ or drop her a note at:
About the book

Lady Bethany would rather die a spinster than submit to marriage—and thus reveal the horrible secret she has harbored for more than a year
Lord Locke is far too immersed in his service to the Crown for romance, but Lady Bethany is in dire circumstances.
Indebted to Bethany’s late father and his close friend, the earl offers a perfect solution for both of them: a marriage in name only.
Perfect, if only they weren’t so irresistibly drawn to each other—and if Bethany hadn’t found herself falling in love with a man even more mysterious than his reputation. Perfect, until she unwittingly learns he’s protecting her from a threat to her life.
To Mark, Bethany is just another assignment, a woman he’s convinced is hiding something. His offer of marriage was meant only to make it easier to safeguard her.
But when the simple threat turns to attempted murder and treason, Mark realizes that Bethany has stolen his heart and he can do nothing less than throw himself into a race against time to save her, whatever the price.

And now...

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Monday, November 14, 2016

A tidbit of terror from "A Doorway to Murder."

For our second treat of the day, I have the pleasure of introducing what looks like a great thriller, A Doorway to Murder.  Carol Pouliot has provided me with an excerpt so you can see what I mean.  As usual, thanks go to Loving the Book for the chance to participate in this  blog tour.

 Secrets lurk in a small New York town and betrayal is just around the corner. The morning after the worst blizzard of 1934, Detective Steven Blackwell takes on a highly charged murder case. The investigation starts badly: one clue, lots of lies and alibis. To make things worse, Steven is seeing visions of a woman in his house.

One night, she speaks. Her name is Olivia Watson and she lives in 2014. She believes time has folded over in the house they share. As their relationship deepens, Steven’s investigation intensifies. Soon he can no longer trust anyone in his own time. Can Olivia help crack the case—and catch a killer?

Chapter 2
The man bent forward Sisyphus-like, struggling to plow through snowdrifts already up to his knees. He was a big bear of a man bundled up in a heavy brown overcoat and woolen hat, with a long scarf wrapped around his neck and face. Thick flakes stuck to his lashes. He could barely see where he was going; but he knew if he stopped, the blizzard would bury him. He pressed on, stumbled, nearly fell into the street—it was impossible to tell where the sidewalk ended and the road began. Not that it mattered. Nothing was moving.  
                The clock in the tower struck two. Its knell echoed through the streets mingling with the howling wind.
How much further? I could still turn back.
But he didn’t.
As he fought his way down what he hoped was the Margate Road, a moonbeam reached around a cloud, striping the path before him, illuminating the way. He was on the right track. After what seemed like hours, he reached his destination and paused to catch his breath. Listening and looking around to make sure he was still alone, he turned into the alley behind the First National Bank and Trust Company.
The man took a key from the depths of his pocket and fit it into the opening. He closed the door behind him but left it unlocked. He moved to the side and quickly turned off the alarm. In near darkness, he made his way from memory to the large, walk-in vault. He flipped the switch on his lantern. Shadows leaped up on the walls and snaked across the ceiling.
In the dim light he squinted at the numbers. He pulled off his dripping hat and shoved it in his pocket, then wiped the melting snow out of his eyes. He spun the dial ten to the left, eighteen to the right, back to the left four marks. Click. He heaved the door open and entered. He unsnapped the lock on his satchel and began stuffing in bills.
As he attempted to close the over-filled bag, he heard a scraping in the hall. He froze, cocked his head to listen, but, before he could react, someone flew at him. With lightning speed, the attacker hit him hard. The man dropped like a stone, dead before his head hit the floor.

The assailant filled his own bag, took his weapon and, leaving his victim crumpled on the smooth cold floor, closed the vault. He spun the dial and moments later walked out through the bank's rear exit, pulling the door tightly shut. 

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