Friday, 30 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "Guilty Hearts"


Thank you so much for supporting Susan during her week in the spotlight. :) Leave a comment on today's post today, Saturday, and Sunday and I'll pick a winner on Monday to receive a PDF copy of Guilty Hearts from Susan. Remember to leave your email in the post so we can get ahold of you. Enjoy this excerpt of Guilty Hearts.

Smiles
Moderator Steph

****************

Matt watched the two of them struggle against the stiff wind on their walk back to their
car. Jared stood almost as tall as Dee. He had forgotten how petite Dee was. He remembered how much she hated her given name, Deidra. She had shortened it to Dee long ago. When anyone but her parents used her full name, she turned into a little she-cat. Kind of like when she jumped him earlier. He could feel his lips curving into a smile. Damn, she felt good. She may be small, but her thin legs around his waist had a firm hold, and her body was warm and inviting. She had cut her hair into a short chin-length do, but her sable eyes were the same, still tugging at his heartstrings.

"Did I hear voices, Matt?" He turned to see his father approaching, bringing him back to
the present. His father shuffled across the store, and Matt's guilt stabbed at his chest. He shouldn't have stayed away so long. His father had lost his vibrancy somewhere along the way, and Matt knew disappearing for thirteen years had contributed to his downfall. He promised himself he would make up for it while he could.

"Yeah, Dad. Dee was here to pick up some paint with Jared." Matt watched his father
wince.

"How did it go?"

"Alright. She seems like she has gotten along really well through the years. Why didn't
you ever tell me she had a child with Steve?"

Tom shook his head. "It always seemed to upset you to hear her name, so we didn't think it was wise to tell you at the time. As the years passed, it didn't seem as important."

"It was a bit of a shock, I must admit."

"Sorry, son. You just were nuts about her at one point, but by the time you left, you only
held contempt in your heart for her. We wanted you to have time to heal."

Matt walked over to give his father's slumped shoulders a gentle squeeze. His father's
bones were so brittle, and with his recent weight loss, Tom had become frail and thin. "It doesn't matter now. What's done is done, and it's time to move on."

"Then you're over her?" Tom's watery blue eyes held hope, and Matt didn't have the heart to destroy it. Every wrinkle and every silver hair on Tom's head was probably caused by something he had done.

"The minute she turned her back on me, I got over her." Or at least he liked to believe he did.

**********

Reviews:
Guilty Hearts is a great book. I felt like I was right there with the characters; empathized and laughed right along with them. Loved the surprise twists and had me guessing the outcome right to the end. Can't wait for Susan Jaymes next book release. Reader: Anna Hoff.

What a great story. It was really hard to put the book down. You'll want to continue reading to find out what happens next. Reader: Dawn Margelofsky

I could not stop reading, I was hooked after the first few pages. I would highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed. Reader's review from Amazon (Cody74)

Find me at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Jaymes
Twitter: susan_jaymes
Website: http://www.susanjaymes.com

Where to buy:
http://www.amazon.com/Guilty-Hearts-ebook/dp/B007K1OCQA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332552126&sr=1-1
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/guilty-hearts-susan-jaymes/1107712025
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-guiltyhearts-751695-149.html
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-274/Guilty-Hearts-Susan-Jaymes/Detail.bok

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Susan Jaymes and "Jared" from Guilty Hearts talk



Susan: Today I have with me Jared Adams. He is here to tell us a little bit about himself. Hi Jared. How are you today?
Jared: Fine

Susan: You seem a little nervous. I promise this will be painless. You are a big part of Guilty Hearts and we'd like to get to know more about you. How old are you?

Jared: Twelve. Almost a teen ager and I can't wait.

Susan: What do you like to do in Pine Crest?

Jared: Swim, play baseball, ice fish, and play video games.

Susan: Do you like the snow?

Jared: Yep. I love tobogganing.

Susan: Do your parents take you? Or do you have brothers or sisters?

Jared: Nope, just me. I don't have a dad. Mom would go with me but I don't like her to come.

Susan: Why not?

Jared: I look like a baby.

Susan: Ah, I see. What happen to your father?

Jared: He died before I was born. My Grandma and Grandpa tell me I was his gift to my mother.

Susan: I'm so sorry to hear about your father. I bet you were the best to gift your mom could ever have.

Jared: She won't talk about Dad.

Susan: Does that make you mad?

Jared: Yeah. I want to know about him but she won't tell me. My Grandma and Grandpa do though.

Susan: That's good.

Jared: And I met this really cool guy named Matt Black. He knew my Dad really good. Mom doesn't like him much though.

Susan: Why not?

Jared: I don't know.

Susan: What do you like about Matt?

Jared: He's funny and nice.

Susan: He sounds like a nice man. I hope your mom and Matt work things out so you can have Matt as a friend. Thanks for spending time with me.

Jared: You're welcome.


********

Reviews:
Guilty Hearts is a great book. I felt like I was right there with the characters; empathized and laughed right along with them. Loved the surprise twists and had me guessing the outcome right to the end. Can't wait for Susan Jaymes next book release. Reader: Anna Hoff.

What a great story. It was really hard to put the book down. You'll want to continue reading to find out what happens next. Reader: Dawn Margelofsky

I could not stop reading, I was hooked after the first few pages. I would highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed. Reader's review from Amazon (Cody74)

Find me at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Jaymes
Twitter: susan_jaymes
Website: http://www.susanjaymes.com

Where to buy:
http://www.amazon.com/Guilty-Hearts-ebook/dp/B007K1OCQA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332552126&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/guilty-hearts-susan-jaymes/1107712025
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-guiltyhearts-751695-149.html
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-274/Guilty-Hearts-Susan-Jaymes/Detail.bok

Author Spotlight - Susan Jaymes talks about setting goals



Guilty Hearts is set in a fictional town. However, certain aspects of the story are based on a little town of Green Lake, Wisconsin. My husband grew up in Green Lake. They also have a lake by the same name where we spent many hours at.

In the winter like in Guilty Hearts, my boys would ice fish on the lake. He'd park his ice shack there as soon as the ice was safe and would keep it there until March. He had a wood stove inside where he would cook and heat the tiny shack. It'd get so hot in there you'd swear if not for the ice and snow outside, it was summer. They would spend entire weekends in it and come home exhausted. There was an annual fisheree where they even won a few prizes at.



In the summer we had a pontoon boat we would park in the inlet and enjoy the water and the cool breeze. The boys would swim and I would read. Unfortunately as the boys grew up, their interest in the boat faded. Too big for just my husband and I, we sold the boat and my husband bought a fishing boat instead. I often think of those days with fond memories.

I knew I wanted to have a similar lake in my book even if I only touched on it briefly. The lake was a place where families could enjoy one another through hot summer days or crystal clear freezing days.



*******

Reviews:

Guilty Hearts is a great book. I felt like I was right there with the characters; empathized and laughed right along with them. Loved the surprise twists and had me guessing the outcome right to the end. Can't wait for Susan Jaymes next book release. Reader: Anna Hoff.

What a great story. It was really hard to put the book down. You'll want to continue reading to find out what happens next. Reader: Dawn Margelofsky



I could not stop reading, I was hooked after the first few pages. I would highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed. Reader's review from Amazon (Cody74)

Find me at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Jaymes
Twitter: susan_jaymes
Website: http://www.susanjaymes.com

Where to buy:
http://www.amazon.com/Guilty-Hearts-ebook/dp/B007K1OCQA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332552126&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/guilty-hearts-susan-jaymes/1107712025
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-guiltyhearts-751695-149.html
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-274/Guilty-Hearts-Susan-Jaymes/Detail.bok

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Susan Jaymes talks about setting goals


My son has always had a dream to become a pro golfer. He's determined and confident he will do it someday. He gave me the courage to pursue my lifelong dream of writing. However, I always need a plan and a goal to work toward.

When I decided to get serious about my writing, I gave myself a five year goal. At that point, I decide if I wanted to continue or if maybe it just wasn't meant to be. I wrote it out in big letters. Published by 2014 and posted it on my wall.

I then set out to learn all I needed to know to get started. I took online classes and reached out to a few fellow writers for critique partners. I went through about four that just disappeared or our writing style wasn't compatible. Since Guilty Hearts was geared to the Harlequin market, I went on their forums where others posted for a critique partner. I came across another that was already published in the emarket and reached out to her. Susan Palmquist became my critique partner and still is to this day. She gave me enormous support. As it turns out, Harlequin rejected Guilty Hearts and Susan suggested Desert Breeze Publishing and here I am.

I think I'm proof that any age and with commitment and hard work, a dream can come true. My son will graduate from college with his masters come May but he still believes he will be that pro golfer in the future. I think he's right. We always can be what we want to be. I hope everyone has the chance to dream and have the dream come true like I did.

******

Reviews:
Guilty Hearts is a great book. I felt like I was right there with the characters; empathized and laughed right along with them. Loved the surprise twists and had me guessing the outcome right to the end. Can't wait for Susan Jaymes next book release. Reader: Anna Hoff.

What a great story. It was really hard to put the book down. You'll want to continue reading to find out what happens next. Reader: Dawn Margelofsky

I could not stop reading, I was hooked after the first few pages. I would highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed. Reader's review from Amazon (Cody74)

Find me at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Jaymes
Twitter: susan_jaymes
Website: http://www.susanjaymes.com

Where to buy:
http://www.amazon.com/Guilty-Hearts-ebook/dp/B007K1OCQA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332552126&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/guilty-hearts-susan-jaymes/1107712025
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-guiltyhearts-751695-149.html
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-274/Guilty-Hearts-Susan-Jaymes/Detail.bok

Monday, 26 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Susan Jaymes


STEPH: I don't know much about "Guilty Hearts." What's it about?

SUSAN: Dee harbors a secret that will affect everyone close to her. When Matt, a long lost love, returns to town, the secret unravels and all her fears turn to reality. Now she must rectify her deception to all the people she hurt.

STEPH: How long did it take to write?
SUSAN: It took me two years and I rewrote it three times before I finally had it right.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for the novel?

SUSAN: Most of the story comes from personal experience. The story is emotional driven which we can all relate to. At the time my sons had both left the nest and I knew exactly how Dee felt with Jared pulling away from her.

STEPH: How important is the setting to the novel?



SUSAN: Although Guilty Hearts takes place in a fictional town, I based it on my husband's hometown. However, Green Lake was too small of a town. I needed a place where the characters would run into one another, but yet big enough where the secret could be kept. The Bottomless Lake actually is Green Lake where my husband ice fished with my two boys for many years.

STEPH: Dee is the heroine. What are her faults? Strengths?

SUSAN: Dee's main fault is not trusting in anyone. Her strength is the ability to put her son first which also gets her in trouble.

STEPH: What does Matt find appealing about Dee?

SUSAN: Matt loves her spunk and her devotion to her son.

STEPH: What's the theme of the novel?

SUSAN: Secrets always come back to bite you. It's only a matter of time.

STEPH: Are you a plotter or a panster?

SUSAN: Defiantly a plotter. I plot out every chapter from beginning to end before I even start writing the first draft.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

SUSAN: I do. I have a kindle my son bought me for Mother's Day and I love it.

STEPH: Fun question: Easter is coming up soon. What do you like to eat on Easter?

SUSAN: That's a tough one. I love ham and only have it at Christmas and Easter but I also love the light pastel M&M's. It's something about the pretty colors that just make them taste better!


********

Reviews:
Guilty Hearts is a great book. I felt like I was right there with the characters; empathized and laughed right along with them. Loved the surprise twists and had me guessing the outcome right to the end. Can't wait for Susan Jaymes next book release. Reader: Anna Hoff.

What a great story. It was really hard to put the book down. You'll want to continue reading to find out what happens next. Reader: Dawn Margelofsky

I could not stop reading, I was hooked after the first few pages. I would highly recommend this book, you will not be disappointed. Reader's review from Amazon (Cody74)
Find me at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Susan-Jaymes
Twitter: susan_jaymes
Website: http://www.susanjaymes.com

Where to buy:
http://www.amazon.com/Guilty-Hearts-ebook/dp/B007K1OCQA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1332552126&sr=1-1
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/guilty-hearts-susan-jaymes/1107712025
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-guiltyhearts-751695-149.html
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-274/Guilty-Hearts-Susan-Jaymes/Detail.bok

Friday, 23 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "A Legacy of Lies"


Thank you so much for supporting Stephenia during her spotlight week. Leave a comment on the excerpt post today, Saturday, or Sunday, and you'll be entered in a drawing to receive a PDF copy of the book from Stephenia. Leave your email as well so we can get ahold of you. I'll announce the winner here and on the Connections Yahoo Group.

Smiles to all
Moderator Steph

*************

It was cold.
Too cold.

The eerie silence of a moonless, starless night engulfed him.

Jim shivered. It had been high noon only a few minutes ago. Had he fallen asleep? He didn't remember being tired. He shook his head and tried to focus his groggy mind. He peered around cautiously. Where was his horse?

A rustling sound in the bushes startled him. His eyes darted to investigate.

Nothing.

No, wait. There it was again. Off to the left. His eyes strained, searching for the slightest movement or shape. Something.

Anything.
Silence.

He felt like a kid afraid of the dark.
Get a hold of yourself, man.

Fingers of fear teased along the back of his neck. The hairs stood on end. He shivered. Where was that horse?

"Ciervo!" His voice sounded weak even to his own ears. He tried again. Now he was completely hoarse.

Swallowing the panic rising from the pit of his stomach, he took a cautious step forward. He heard stirring in the woods behind him. Squirrels? He listened intently.

The noise came again. No. Definitely not a squirrel. Something was pacing in the woods. Deliberate. Stalking. Jim's mouth went dry.

Mountain lion.
His heart raced and he looked desperately around, scanning the darkness. Blackness blanketed the meadow. Jim hoped Ciervo hadn't wandered too far. He started to walk. Slowly. Calculating. He couldn't tell in what direction he moved.

His cell! He could use it as a light source. Jim's hand brushed at his hip. It wasn't there. He frowned. It always stayed on his belt. He never left the ranch without it.

Jim's eyes strained, but he could barely make out his surroundings. The farther he walked, the darker it got. His breathing came in quick, rapid intakes.

A shrill sound broke the silence. His heart leaped.

"Ciervo?"

Where was he? Was the mountain lion after him?
Hoof beats. Thank goodness.

They were pounding quicker than his rapidly drumming heart. A shadow appeared about thirty feet in front of him.

It wasn't his beloved horse. It looked like something galloping up from Hell.

The horrid creature ran wildly toward him. The cold air caused the hot breath to billow from its nostrils like a smoking dragon.
The monster's eyes looked like no earthly thing he had ever seen. The bulging orbs had a luminescent shine that came from deep behind the pupils. In the pitch black they glowed like a ghostly beacon.

The horse-shaped beast lowered his head. The creature was preparing to slam into him. Jim threw himself out of its path and landed sharply on his hip. His right thigh slammed into a large, extruded boulder. Fire shot down his leg. Ignoring the pain, he jumped to his feet, eyes probing the darkness for the crazed brute. The ghostly version of Ciervo had vanished.

Despite the cold, he began to sweat. Jim felt eyes boring into him. Someone or something watched him. He was exposed.
Unprepared. His heart hammered in his chest. His body refused to move.

Another sound. Different. It wasn't rustling limbs or bushes, and it certainly wasn't the horse's wild hoof beats. It was quiet, like a soft whisper. Crying? No, calling out for something.

He strained to catch the garbled words. The voice grew louder. More urgent. Still he couldn't make out the woeful tone. Then, as if his brain finished translating some cryptic code, the word became clear.

"James!"

Again. Louder this time. "James... James..." The voice rose and fell in the darkness. Its eerie sound slithered into his ears.
"Hello?" His voice echoed hoarsely. He held onto a feeble hope the voice came from someone nearby lost in the dark along with him. No one here knew him by that name. He stood holding his breath, listening.

Suddenly, a freight train of frigid air knocked him backward. Terrified, he dared not to move. The voice came again.

"You must help. Soon it will be too late--"

An insidious roar erupted around him. Hot, musty breath bathed Jim's face. He struggled backward. He couldn't quite make out the figure standing over him. The silhouette was enormous. Its shoulders spanned at least four feet. An odd-shaped head swayed from side-to-side.

It growled.

Paralyzed with fear, Jim lay helpless. The creature rose to stand upright. Seven. Eight feet tall. Jim gasped for air. His feet tore into the soft ground, trying to gain footing. Desperately trying to get away. The creature came crashing toward him.
*********
"A Legacy of Lies is a compelling read to the very end! The chemistry between the characters is electrifying. I praise Stephenia McGee in her ability to draw you in and keep you wanting more!"

Jezika Stevens -- Reader

"An absolute page-turner. A Legacy of Lies is a book you won't want to put down. The reader is shown how we are all on a path chosen for us as each characters life intersects with the other. In her debut, Stephenia H. McGee truly delivers a heart-felt story of spiritual turmoil and redemption."

Jessica Lewis -- Reader

"A Legacy of Lies is a heart-warming tale of a man's search for forgiveness. A blend of Western Romance and Big City Intrigue, Stephenia H. McGee takes the parable of the prodigal son and creates a modern twist readers won't see coming until the final page."

Jennifer Lindsay, Editor and Writer

And here are some links to the book online:

Desert Breeze
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-273/A-Legacy-of-Lies/Detail.bok

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/A-Legacy-of-Lies-ebook/dp/B007K1LS58/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332042156&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-legacy-of-lies-stephenia-mcgee/1107713261?ean=2940014338950&itm=1&usri=stephenia+mcgee

All Romance eBooks
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-alegacyoflies-751693-149.html

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Stephenia McGee talks about finding inspiration

A scene from 2005 Pride and Prejudice

I have a very active imagination. I can listen to my little boys' movies in the car when we are taking long trips and actually "watch" the movie along with them. Everything is a story that plays out in my head, even situations and conversations I'm thinking about for later. This is probably why I can swear I've talked to my husband about something, and he can swear that we never really had that conversation.

When I'm reading a good book, this "watching" can be even more vivid. I can see the story as if I am standing there as it happens. That's why I love to read. I'm not sure if this is how everyone experiences a novel or if it is a special gift that God gives to us bookworms.

When I was in middle school, I used to take a large paper sack to the library. The wonderful older lady that worked there would help me fill it up, and two weeks later, my mom would take me back to turn in all the finished novels and bring home another sack full. These weren't always youth books, either. I loved the classics, my favorites being Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.

My imagination is usually my inspiration. When I am zoned in on a scene and really focused on a manuscript, that's when the story really writes itself. My characters come alive, and all I have to do is try to capture everything I see. (Of course, it doesn't always happen this way. Sometimes writing is real work, but these days are certainly the most fun.) Writing out some of what plays in my head just feels like a natural extension, and I believe, something that God designed me to do.
*********
"A Legacy of Lies is a compelling read to the very end! The chemistry between the characters is electrifying. I praise Stephenia McGee in her ability to draw you in and keep you wanting more!"

Jezika Stevens -- Reader

"An absolute page-turner. A Legacy of Lies is a book you won't want to put down. The reader is shown how we are all on a path chosen for us as each characters life intersects with the other. In her debut, Stephenia H. McGee truly delivers a heart-felt story of spiritual turmoil and redemption."

Jessica Lewis -- Reader

"A Legacy of Lies is a heart-warming tale of a man's search for forgiveness. A blend of Western Romance and Big City Intrigue, Stephenia H. McGee takes the parable of the prodigal son and creates a modern twist readers won't see coming until the final page."

Jennifer Lindsay, Editor and Writer

And here are some links to the book online:

Desert Breeze
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-273/A-Legacy-of-Lies/Detail.bok

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/A-Legacy-of-Lies-ebook/dp/B007K1LS58/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332042156&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-legacy-of-lies-stephenia-mcgee/1107713261?ean=2940014338950&itm=1&usri=stephenia+mcgee

All Romance eBooks
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-alegacyoflies-751693-149.html

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Stephenia McGee has advice for new/aspiring authors



When I first started writing I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I could just sit down at the computer and write a story. How hard could that be? As it turns out, much harder than I thought. I thought that as long as I had a great story, the rest didn’t matter. I mean, that’s what editors were for, right? Wrong.

I remember going to my first writers’ conference. I’d never joined a writers group, taken a class or really done any research on how to write fiction. I’d sat down, typed out 78,000 words and thought I was ready to pitch it to publishers. I’d printed out several proposals and copies of my manuscript (yes, the whole thing!) and packed it for Colorado. Imagine going through security at the airport and explaining why the x-ray shows an entire suitcase full of large, dense rectangular items. For some reason, I thought editors were going to want to read my book on their way home. But in case they didn’t, I also had several copies saved on CD.

I signed up to meet with every editor I could. I made a sad attempt at pitching, and they politely told me that while my idea was interesting, my writing still needed “polishing”. One editor smiled sweetly and asked if this was my first conference. When I nodded, she said, “I could tell. You look like a deer in the headlights.”

The moral of this little story? Writing a book is a lot more than just typing out a plot. Learn the craft. That doesn’t mean don’t find your own style and voice, but it does mean that you have to do more than read a lot of books to be able to write them. Take the time to learn how to shine up your writing. I promise it’s worth it!
*********
"A Legacy of Lies is a compelling read to the very end! The chemistry between the characters is electrifying. I praise Stephenia McGee in her ability to draw you in and keep you wanting more!"

Jezika Stevens -- Reader

"An absolute page-turner. A Legacy of Lies is a book you won't want to put down. The reader is shown how we are all on a path chosen for us as each characters life intersects with the other. In her debut, Stephenia H. McGee truly delivers a heart-felt story of spiritual turmoil and redemption."

Jessica Lewis -- Reader

"A Legacy of Lies is a heart-warming tale of a man's search for forgiveness. A blend of Western Romance and Big City Intrigue, Stephenia H. McGee takes the parable of the prodigal son and creates a modern twist readers won't see coming until the final page."

Jennifer Lindsay, Editor and Writer

And here are some links to the book online:

Desert Breeze
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-273/A-Legacy-of-Lies/Detail.bok

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/A-Legacy-of-Lies-ebook/dp/B007K1LS58/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332042156&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-legacy-of-lies-stephenia-mcgee/1107713261?ean=2940014338950&itm=1&usri=stephenia+mcgee

All Romance eBooks
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-alegacyoflies-751693-149.html

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Stephenia McGee talks about natural horsemanship


In A Legacy of Lies, the hero works as a cow hand at a Montana ranch. He has this "way with horses" that the other cowboys don't understand. Jim has crazy training methods, but he gets some pretty crazy results, too. This aspect of my character really came from my own life experience. I have spent several years studying the art of natural horsemanship.

Natural horsemanship is essentially equine communication. By learning how a horse communicates, you can more effectively give cues and expect better responses.

The most important thing to know about horse communication is to understand two very basic equine characteristics. First, horses are prey animals. Humans are carnivores. This may seem inconsequential to us, but believe me, it makes a world of difference to a horse. If you approach a horse head-on, focused, and intense, most likely you will be chasing it all over the pasture. You look too much like a predator, and your horse feels too much like prey. It's his instinct to stay clear of you. Second, horses are herd animals. They have a very distinct herd pecking-order. If you can be the leader of the herd (yes, this is quite possible) then your horse might test you, but will always do as you ask. Learn to speak his body language, and he will follow your leadership.

Spend some time watching horses. Notice which one is the leader and how it controls the others. Ears back and a bite to the neck means "I am the dominate horse, and I want your front shoulders out of my way." By using this same idea, I can frown at my horses, tap her neck and she steps right out of my way.

That's a very basic overview of natural horsemanship. Read my story to see some really cool things that Jim can do with his horse, Ciervo. That part's not fiction. My mare Fancy and I do it all the time.

*********
"A Legacy of Lies is a compelling read to the very end! The chemistry between the characters is electrifying. I praise Stephenia McGee in her ability to draw you in and keep you wanting more!"

Jezika Stevens -- Reader

"An absolute page-turner. A Legacy of Lies is a book you won't want to put down. The reader is shown how we are all on a path chosen for us as each characters life intersects with the other. In her debut, Stephenia H. McGee truly delivers a heart-felt story of spiritual turmoil and redemption."

Jessica Lewis -- Reader

"A Legacy of Lies is a heart-warming tale of a man's search for forgiveness. A blend of Western Romance and Big City Intrigue, Stephenia H. McGee takes the parable of the prodigal son and creates a modern twist readers won't see coming until the final page."

Jennifer Lindsay, Editor and Writer

And here are some links to the book online:

Desert Breeze
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-273/A-Legacy-of-Lies/Detail.bok

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/A-Legacy-of-Lies-ebook/dp/B007K1LS58/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332042156&sr=8-1

Barnes and Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-legacy-of-lies-stephenia-mcgee/1107713261?ean=2940014338950&itm=1&usri=stephenia+mcgee

All Romance eBooks
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-alegacyoflies-751693-149.html

Monday, 19 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Stephenia McGee


STEPH: I don't know much about "A Legacy of Lies." What's it about?

STEPHENIA: A life built on a legacy – A legacy built on lies.

When Sarah Sanders finally accepts her boyfriend’s invitation to visit his parents’ ranch in Montana, she finds herself drawn to a mysterious cowboy that infuriates as much as fascinates her.

Ranch hand Jim Anderson has suffered from night terrors for over a year. But despite this secret struggle, his life at the ranch had been a welcomed escape from his past. Until those terrifying dark shadows start coming for him in the middle of the afternoon. When he is called back to the life he desperately tried to flee, only the quiet strength of the beautiful woman willing to walk the path with him keeps him hanging onto hope.

Brought together by an unseen hand, Sarah and Jim must travel across the country to face the man who nearly drove Jim to the brink. Forced to question everything they believe, they must find the strength to unravel Jim’s long history of lies.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

STEPHENIA: That’s a tough one. I worked on this book on and off for about six years. This was my very first manuscript, although the published version is a good bit different from the original. As I started writing, taking classes and going to conferences, I learned a lot. What I learned I applied to my story. It grew along with me.

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind the story?

STEPHENIA: My husband and I were killing time on the two hour drive from our college to his parent’s house. We were talking about how I’d always loved to write and throwing around story ideas. We actually started with a man in hospital room and the preacher who comes to hear his final confession. That prologue no longer exists, but the entire story stems from his confession.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for the novel? What kind?



STEPHENIA: Most of the research I needed for this book I had already done in real life. My hero uses natural horsemanship, and it is something I have studied, practiced and taught for some time now. The other things, such as information for the ranch, average temperatures, and the names of local landmarks, I found on the internet. Miles City and the Tongue River are real places in Montana.

STEPH: Sarah is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?

STEPHENIA: In a way, Sarah’s strength is also her weakness. She has become so self-sufficient that she has walled herself in, afraid of opening up to anyone or letting someone help her. But Sarah also has a very strong faith in God, and it this faith that pushes her to take risks.

STEPH: What does the hero, Jim, find appealing about her?

STEPHENIA: Jim is drawn to Sarah’s quite strength, honesty, and spunk. He’s also rather taken with her emerald eyes and her love for horses.

STEPH: What do you want readers to take with them after reading the novel?

STEPHENIA: Life is full of tragedy. Yet in the end, woven like a golden thread, God quietly sews it all into a beautiful tapestry. I hope the reader will finish the last line and put the book away feeling that no matter how deeply they’ve been hurt, there is always hope. There is always a chance for healing.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

STEPHENIA: I have a Kindle and I love it!

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

STEPHENIA: Well, I am currently sitting here typing for the very first time in my own office. My husband turned one of the bedrooms into an office and studio (I’m also a painter) for me. Usually, I’m sitting at the kitchen table, in the small storage room (that was just big enough for my desk!) or anywhere in the house that that was actually quiet. He wanted me to have my own space now that I’m a “professional writer” and all. He’s a very sweet man!

STEPH: Do you have any Easter traditions you'd like to share?

STEPHENIA: Easter for us is about the resurrection. We want to teach our sons about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us. They are still a little young, but they do know that Easter celebrates Jesus saving us, just like Christmas celebrates His birthday. Every year we have a big egg hunt with the family. The kids all find their eggs, and then the adults get to search for the prize eggs my father-in-law hides. They usually have change or small bills, with the golden egg holding the big prize of $20. It’s loads of fun watching that many adults scramble around after eggs!

*******
"A Legacy of Lies is a compelling read to the very end! The chemistry between the characters is electrifying. I praise Stephenia McGee in her ability to draw you in and keep you wanting more!"

Jezika Stevens -- Reader

"An absolute page-turner. A Legacy of Lies is a book you won't want to put down. The reader is shown how we are all on a path chosen for us as each characters life intersects with the other. In her debut, Stephenia H. McGee truly delivers a heart-felt story of spiritual turmoil and redemption."

Jessica Lewis -- Reader

"A Legacy of Lies is a heart-warming tale of a man's search for forgiveness. A blend of Western Romance and Big City Intrigue, Stephenia H. McGee takes the parable of the prodigal son and creates a modern twist readers won't see coming until the final page."

Jennifer Lindsay, Editor and Writer

And here are some links to the book online:

Desert Breeze
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-273/A-Legacy-of-Lies/Detail.bok
Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/A-Legacy-of-Lies-ebook/dp/B007K1LS58/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332042156&sr=8-1
Barns and Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-legacy-of-lies-stephenia-mcgee/1107713261?ean=2940014338950&itm=1&usri=stephenia+mcgee
All Romance eBooks
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-alegacyoflies-751693-149.html

Friday, 16 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "The Mission"


Thanks so much for supporting Michelle during her spotlight week. Leave a comment here on the excerpt post today, Saturday, and Sunday and I'll pick a winner randomly to receive a mousepad from Michelle. Don't forget to leave your email so we can get in touch with you if you win. Enjoy the excerpt!
Smiles
Moderator Steph

**********

(Note for new readers who haven't met Tommy yet -- he's in a wheelchair)

"I'm sorry." Paul turned to Claire. "That was..."

"Unavoidable?" To his relief, amusement glimmered in Claire's eyes. "Poor Jennifer. She'll probably get the same treatment from all the desperate bachelors next week." She patted Paul's arm and stepped away, heading for the office. "No harm, no foul."

"I think I better have a talk with Sammy," he said, and turned down the hall. He could barely make out the silhouettes of his daughter and Tommy, outside in the bright sunshine, framed in the doorway.

"Tell you what, shorty," Tommy said as Paul drew close enough to the end of the hall to hear them speak. "You and me, we'll be partners in this, okay? We'll make a pact."

"What's a pact?" Sammy said, tipping her head back. She perched on Tommy's knees, gripping his wrists, and leaning backwards.

Paul nearly called out in a jolt of panic, but he saw the way Tommy's big hands held onto Sammy's wrists in turn, and he knew the young man wouldn't let his daughter fall.

"It's like a solemn promise. Just about as serious as one you make to God, understand?" Tommy waited until Sammy nodded.
"Okay, this pact says you and me, we're going to protect your dad from all those stupid girls who want to drag him down the aisle."

"And do what?"

Paul muffled laughter at the total confusion in his daughter's chirping voice.

"You don't want to know." Tommy's voice temporarily dropped to a sepulchral level. "And we'll get Claire to relax and go out on dates with him. That protects both of them from really stupid people who want to run their lives for them. Okay?"

"Okay." Sammy nodded. "Do you like my daddy?"

"Yeah, he's a great guy. I think he'd be good for my sister."

"When Daddy marries Miss Claire, you'll be my uncle, right?"

"Yep."

"Can I call you Uncle Tommy right now?"

"You bet, shorty." Tommy laughed when Sammy launched herself forward and wrapped her arms around his big, muscular neck. "Hey, I like you, too."

"Do you got a girlfriend, Uncle Tommy?"

"I... well, I'm not really sure. I had a girlfriend. I was dating a girl who lived in the dorms right over there." He gestured in the direction of the dormitories across Cane Street from the Mission. "But she's home for the summer -- she lives in Canada -- and I've got the feeling she's not coming back in the fall. She got scared last winter. Lots of bad memories."

"That's so sad." Sammy settled down on his lap, facing him again. "If you want, when I grow up, I'll be your girlfriend."

"You know, I think I'd rather have a niece." Tommy grinned, but the sunlight glanced off a suspicious wetness in his eyes that Paul could see, even standing back in the shadows of the hallway, fighting a new ache in his chest. "Me and Claire, we don't have anybody in the entire world for family. I'm gonna like being an uncle. Lots more fun." He tipped back in a wheelie, earning a squeal from Sammy, who clutched at the front of his shirt. "You know, it's like a law here in Ohio. Uncles have to give their nieces ice cream at least once a week."

"Really?"

"Absatively. Let's go introduce you to Joe, and see what he has in the kitchen, okay?"

Paul ducked out of the way, into the gymnasium doorway, as Tommy bumped up over the threshold and back into the building, with Sammy perched on his lap. He watched them go, blinking away ridiculous tears.

"Thank You, Lord. This was definitely the right move," he whispered.

And resolved that first thing in the morning, he'd build a ramp in that doorway.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Characters are Everything


Characters are everything.

Sounds like that slogan you hear on USA -- or is it TNT? I can never keep them separate -- they run some of the same shows!
Anyway, The Mission, my newest Tabor Heights release, is in some ways a tribute to my brother, Dean.

Tommy Donnelly, Claire's "little" brother, is very closely based on Dean, who has Cerebral Palsy and has been in a wheelchair all his life. His various physical limitations forced him to find creative outlets for interacting with a world that expected him, as physically handicapped, to be meek and quiet and slooooow. Can we say "Tiny Tim Syndrome" here?

Or -- the only other handicapped role model he could find -- end up like Igor. "Yesssss, Massster! Shall I dig up another brain for you, Masssster?"

Dean became a comedian. He learned to have a witty comeback when people made stupid remarks or just plain assumed that physical handicap = mental handicap. His strategy was to learn how to play with people's brains until they bounced around the room. Some of the things that come out of Tommy's mouth came from Dean's mouth, first. His attitude is pretty close, too.

Gimps are people, too. And even if I'm pretty sure that when he went to camp, Dean and his buddies were plotting the overthrow of the able-bodied world ... I'm proud to have a gimp in my life.

By the way, Tommy gets his own book in Year Two -- entitled "Wheels," and based on a script I almost sold to "MacGuyver." Only don't tell MacGuyver what I did with his character ........

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Michelle Leviigne talks about RT - Romantic Times



RT, anyone?

That's the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, which will be in Chicago this year.

A LOT of Desert Breeze Authors will be there. We're even heading up a panel talking about Inspirational Romance, and how it's changed. We're not buggies and bonnets anymore. (Thank goodness -- I don't know about you, but I could never get into "prairie romances." I'm sorry, but I'd be too cranky in those corsets and heavy skirts to ever fall in love!)

Please come look for us at RT and say hi. We'd all love to see you. We'd love to get feedback from you, our readers, on what you enjoy about Desert Breeze books, and maybe stories you're waiting for from us.

PLUS: Desert Breeze Authors are giving away a Nook Color. We're having a contest -- details to be released at RT -- but it includes finding us in the crowd, getting our signatures, and then turning in the paper for the drawing. So make sure you look for the contest details and LOOK FOR US!

Let's make a deal: Find me at RT, and I'll have a special goody for everyone who identifies themselves as Desert Breeze readers AND you've bought one of my Tabor Heights books. What could it be? You'll have to show up at the conference and find me and find out! But if you want to help me plan ahead and have enough goodies to give you -- or even make arrangements to MEET THERE .... post a comment here, with your email address, and I'll contact you.

Do we have a date?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Author Spotlight - The Tabor Heights Series - Who's your Favorite Citizen?


The Mission is my 11th Tabor Heights novel, and only one book away from the "end" of Year One of the Tabor Heights books. While my readers are settling in to revisit the town and old friends, and find out what's happening with people who they've only glimpsed previously, I'm working on rough drafting Year Two of Tabor Heights!

I'm trying to carry on the pattern I've already established with the first "year," in that events during the year will be mentioned from one book to another. In fact, the first book of Year Two, "Invitation to a Wedding," will have a large section in the middle that is all correspondence between the hero and heroine. He's going to seminary in the West, and she's keeping him updated on what's happening in town -- the relationships, weddings, tragedies, scandals. And along the way, you learn a little more about the two of them and their relationship with each other. But to do that, I have to know what's happening in all the other books!

Why do I keep punishing myself like this? I mean, I like challenges, but not ridiculous ones!

Well, I hope that my readers enjoy it!

How about posting comments here on the blog, and let me know if there are any citizens you've met in Tabor Heights who you think you'd like to see find a happily-ever-after in Year Two?

Monday, 12 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Michelle Levigne


STEPH: I don't know much about "The Mission." What's it about?

MICHELLE: The Mission, the building, is an old school that Tabor Christian Church bought and is using as a community outreach. They have a daycare, a kitchen that puts together meals for shut-ins, and a senior center. Now that the Arc Foundation has partnered with them, they have the funds to make renovations and start using those locked up, damaged rooms, and start expanding their services.

Paul Hunter comes in as new head custodian -- he was introduced in "Forgiven," as friend and mentor to Brock. He is taking the place of Rich Thomas, who had been stealing from the Mission and ended up putting Pastor Wally in the hospital when he was caught. Paul is a widower with a 5-year-old daughter, Sammy.

Claire, our heroine, is Pastor Wally's right hand. She and her wheelchair-bound brother, Tommy, have been in Tabor about 6 years now, and as far as anyone knows, they are alone in the world. Which, the reader soon learns, is only partly true. There was a big schism in their family, partially resulting from the accident that put Tommy in his wheelchair when he was a child. Their past tries to catch up with them during the events of the story.

STEPH: "The Mission" is part of the Tabor Heights Series. What's the underlying theme of the series that ties the books together?

MICHELLE: It's funny, but I don't really think about themes when I write the stories, but I always end up with one. I think the general theme is facing your past, learning when to forgive, and when it's a waste of time to give someone a second chance, because you'll only get hurt!

Paul has a bad past -- he rescued his wife from an abusive family situation, and in the process was falsely accused of kidnapping her, and served some jail time. Those abusive, powerful, lying relatives don't have any use for him or Sammy, his daughter, until it profits them. At the same time, Claire is facing a recurring "family problem," that she thought had been left behind forever -- to the point that no one in town even knew she had more family than Tommy.

Then there is a "secondary" relationship/couple, who have to learn to look past a pretty rotten shared past -- her mother had an affair with his father, destroying both their families. How far do you let the ripple effect from those bad choices impact your life? It's one thing to say you're both innocent of the crimes of your parents, but how do you live like you believe that?



STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

MICHELLE: Well, I wrote the first twenty pages or so about ten-plus years ago, then I had to put it aside. It just wasn't going anywhere. Last summer, I picked it up again and wrote the first draft in August -- for the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge. Then I did three revisions and turned it in to Gail in November. So it was a fast, fast write and revise process. And I had a really sparse outline to work from, so I had very little idea what I originally planned on writing when I first started the book so many years ago.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for the novel?

MICHELLE: No -- mostly because I had been getting brainstorms and snippets of ideas for months, since I started revising all the other Tabor Heights books, and had a good idea how other people's stories would impact The Mission -- once I got it written, of course. There are some events or incidents that closely echo actual events or relationships that I either witnessed or heard about -- would you call it research?

On the other hand, I had to do a lot of looking back through other people's stories in Tabor Heights to make sure that I didn't contradict the days/dates of events, and that I didn't have people show up on one side of town when they should have been on the other side of town. That sort of stupidity that I thought I had handled -- but no matter how carefully you keep those calendars and notes and maps ... something slips through. It's frustrating, but still fun. It's like a puzzle that's half-blank as you put the pieces together, and the picture only appears once you have some of the pieces in place. If that makes any sense ........
Sometimes, writing my stories is like hearing someone tell me the story as I'm going along -- I didn't plan for something to happen, or I didn't even know that person existed, but it's like they step up and tap me on the shoulder -- or sometimes whack me across the back of the head to get my attention, like Gibbs on NCIS -- and say, "Hey, what about me? Don't forget to tell them about me!"

I love when that happens.

STEPH: What was the inspiration for the story?

MICHELLE: Don't laugh, but in a roundabout way, it was "MacGuyver."

I was trying to sell a script to the show, in what turned out to be the final season. My script featured MacGuyver working with a community outreach group that had a handicapped awareness day project, and he spent the day going around town with a guy in a wheelchair who happened to be a comedian. The "threat" through all this was that the wheelchair comedian's brother-in-law had criminal connections in his past, and they were threatening the whole family to get this guy to rejoin their organization. Of course, MacGuyver saves the day.

Anyway, I got the "brilliant" idea to turn that script into a Tabor Heights book, but I had to have a set-up, establishing the family in town. I already had established the Mission elsewhere, and I had put Claire in charge -- why not give her a handicapped brother with an extremely smart mouth? But there was the little girl and the husband with criminal connections ... where have they been all this time? So, in a roundabout method, to be able to eventually write Tommy's romance, I had to write Claire and Paul's romance, first.

STEPH: The cover has a construction sign displayed on a fence in front of a building. What's the meaning of the cover?

MICHELLE: Well, it's generally referring to all the new construction and renovations about to take place on the Mission itself.
If you want to get philosophical ... the construction and renovations taking place in the lives of the characters? Nah ... let's not get philosophical. I sometimes do a lousy job filling out the art questionnaire, and Jenifer always does a fantastic job, finding artwork near to what we ask for, or she goes off in a different direction and that alternative works better than what we writers envisioned. She's incredible, and we're so lucky at DBP to have her to make our stories "pretty" and catch reader's attention long enough to read the blurbs and consider buying the books.

STEPH: How long have you been writing?

MICHELLE: *sigh* More than 30 years. At least, that's how long I have been writing with the conscious intent of getting published "someday." High school, definitely. I had this story in my head and it was interferring with studying for semester exams. We were a college prep high school, and those semester exam grades were dang important, so I had to kill this story to let me study. Always before when I tried to write down stories, they died in agony. This one didn't. The rest is history.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

MICHELLE: Dedicated readers: Nook

Multiple-use gizmos that have e-book programs on them: iPod and iPad, with software for Nook, Kindle, and iBooks.
I also had a very old Palm Tungsten that was my first e-book reader. It still works! I'm holding onto it for sentimental reasons, and also because there are some books on it I haven't loaded onto other readers yet ....

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

MICHELLE: Right now it's a very crowded mess, because it's full of projects to get ready for RT -- I'm making T-shirts and mousepads for other authors to give away, and filling up boxes with freebie stuff to mail ahead of me. And notes all over the place for projects and updating my web site, and my walls are covered with charts and maps and notes to myself of things to do. It's wall-to-wall furniture with shelves full of books, and a computer hutch, and a drafting table where I do most of my work, and a rolling cart with my stereo on it and ... And a NordicTrak in the center of the room that I should be using at least three times a day, but I'm lucky if I get on it once a day. I am not going to lose all that weight for RT that I had hoped to ....

STEPH: Fun question: What do you do for St. Patrick's Day?

MICHELLE: Nothing, except maybe eat corned beef and cabbage. Yeah, I'm booooooooring!

When I worked Downtown Cleveland, we would stop and watch the big, noisy, fun parade that went down Superior Avenue, right under our windows. That was convenient. People would show up first thing in the morning, so there were always people in costumes and carrying all sorts of Irish-y stuff on the bus and the Rapid. It was fun!

It's not that big a day for me. Sorry.
Part of it might be that I'm Italian, not Irish.

What's the song Joanne Worley sang, in that dramatization of "The Gift of the Magi"? Something about mixing Minestrone with Irish baloney ....

Friday, 9 March 2012

Author Spotlight: Excerpt from Evacuation


Thanks so much for supporting Jennifer during her spotlight week. Jennifer's giving away a copy of Book 1 of the Future Savior Series, "Conception." Leave a comment for Jennifer today, tomorrow, and Sunday on the excerpt blog and a winner will be chosen on Monday, 12 MAR. Please leave your email so we can get ahold of you. Thanks again,
Smiles
Moderator Steph

**********


We readied ourselves for the ensuing battle. The odds were horribly stacked against us, but I felt confident in my powers and in the abilities of my brave friends. Using the fallen rubble from the wall as a bridge across the newly created ravine, the enemy charged us. I stepped in front of my friends. I had no clue if the plan slowly forming in my mind would work, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to try.

Forcing all the power I could muster into my telekinesis, I wrenched dozens of the huge grey rocks and boulders previously a part of the wall out of the ground and into the air. Even though my powers had grown immensely, trying to move this large amount of weight certainly zapped my strength. I concentrated as hard as I could and threw the humongous rocks at the front lines charging toward us. The rocks wiped out the first wave of advancing troops and our enemies behind them looked utterly stunned at my display of power.

"That was incredible!" Markella exclaimed.

"Too bad I don't think I can do it again. It was way too heavy." I dropped to one knee to try and recollect my strength. Shaw knelt down beside me and placed a strong arm around my shoulder.

"Are you all right?"

"I'll be fine. Let's just get ready." I smiled at him. Then I looked up as the stunned humans and Leviathans recommenced their charge.

"Well, let's giddy up and go!" Drexton hollered, gripping his whip and readying himself for the battle.

Within seconds we were all enveloped in combat. Sword clangs and spear clashes rang out through the plains around us like thunder. Looking at the vast numbers continually flowing from the city, I was immediately concerned for my friends. Sure they were all trained fighters, but our numbers were so lacking. That's when my mind landed on Charis. Through everything I had endured here in Meric, I had never seen her in a battle. As far as I knew she didn't even have a sword. All she ever carried was a white staff.

I used my powers to throw a particularly large Leviathan back into his comrades. He knocked them down like bowling pins. During the slight hiatus after my Leviathan toss, I looked around for Charis. Worry instantly overtook me when I couldn't find her anywhere. I edged my way over to Shaw who was fighting right beside me. He was doing exceptionally well, as usual.

"Where's Charis," I asked him. I wrenched my slender rapier sword out of the belly of an exceptionally tall man. It was really difficult for me not to focus on the fact that during this battle I would be killing humans. The only way I could possibly fight them without excessive amounts of guilt was by realizing they were trying to kill me and my friends. A feeble attempt at easing my conscience, but it was all I could do to keep my mind focused on the battle.

"I have no idea," he replied and he looked around the fighting to see if he could see our silver haired friend, but she was gone.
Just past Shaw I saw Markella cutting a line through the human fighters. I always loved Markella's fighting style. She used two lightweight swords with such elegance and grace her fighting looked more like a dance than the deadly onslaught it actually was.

The sun would be setting soon. We had maybe an hour of full daylight left. As soon as darkness fell, the Nitehawks would join the fray. Not only would that increase the number of our enemies, but they would be attacking us from the air. The last time I encountered the Nitehawks I still was unaware of my levitation abilities. Should I try to fight these monsters in the air?


Pick up your copy of Future Savior Book Three: Evacuation at the following locations:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007F422AU/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_ask_urHID.1M1VA2B

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/future-savior-book-three-jennifer-hartz/1109161021?ean=2940013890671&itm=1&usri=jennifer+hartz

Desert Breeze Publishing:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-268/Future-Savior-Book-Three/Detail.bok

Also, please feel free to harass me on the web at the following places:

Website: http://jenniferhartz.com
Twitter: @JenniferLHartz
Facebook: : http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000624983529

And don't forget my exciting contest:
BECOME PART OF THE STORY! Ever wish you could be a character in a fantasy novel? Now's your chance! Stop by my website to learn more – http://jenniferhartz.com

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Jennifer Hartz talks about her favorite authors


Today I'm supposed to talk about my favorite author and how they influenced me… Yikes! How do I pick just one? I guess the best way to answer this is to look at the author's who directly influenced Future Savior. I have always been an avid reader. Back in my pre-teen years it was The Babysitter's Club by Ann M. Martin. I have always enjoyed reading books in a series. I like following the lives the characters I've grown to love and watching them, and the story, grow and evolve over a long period of time. I think this early exposure to series helped to lead to my own stories falling into series form.

Another major contributor to Future Savior would be The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien is truly the father of all fantasy stories and all fantasy writers need to tip their hat to this genius. Right alongside Tolkien, C.S. Lewis was a major influence of Future Savior. The Chronicles of Narnia is an amazing example of a Christian fantasy series which helped spur many of the ideas in Future Savior.



I would be remiss if I didn't pay homage to J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter is arguably the best speculative series ever written. Rowling created a fantasy world so intricate, elaborate, and amazing that it will capture hearts for generations to come. However, this is not what I took from Rowling, what I loved was how Harry was a seemingly normal boy thrust into not so normal circumstances only to find out that he was anything but normal. Christina Vaughn from Future Savior takes a similar journey.

Taking a look back at my favorites, one thing is abundantly clear, I should change my name from Jennifer Hartz to J.L. Hartz!

Pick up your copy of Future Savior Book Three: Evacuation at the following locations:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007F422AU/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_ask_urHID.1M1VA2B

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/future-savior-book-three-jennifer-hartz/1109161021?ean=2940013890671&itm=1&usri=jennifer+hartz

Desert Breeze Publishing:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-268/Future-Savior-Book-Three/Detail.bok

Also, please feel free to harass me on the web at the following places:

Website: http://jenniferhartz.com
Twitter: @JenniferLHartz
Facebook: : http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000624983529

And don't forget my exciting contest:
BECOME PART OF THE STORY! Ever wish you could be a character in a fantasy novel? Now's your chance! Stop by my website to learn more – http://jenniferhartz.com

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Character Interview with Christina & Shaw from "Evacuation"


Hey Readers! Today we've got a real treat for you. I was able to sit down with Christina and Shaw from The Future Savior Series. They've allowed me to ask them a few questions. I hope you enjoy!

***Spoilers!***
If you haven't read Future Savior Book 1: Conception or Book 2: Resurrection, be warned, there are spoilers afoot!

Good morning, Christina, Shaw. I’m so glad you two could be here with us today! Would you like to introduce yourselves to the readers?


Christina: I'm Christina Vaughn, originally from Pittsburgh until Charis, the prophet, somehow transported me to Meric. Apparently Meric needs me to save them from the evil tyrant Leticia. She has the ability to control people's thoughts. I've discovered that I can move things with my mind and I have visions of the past, present, and future. Leticia also has a very powerful son, Rayliex. Basically, I'm just trying not to get myself killed!

Shaw: Hello. I am Christina's Watcher. It's my job to keep her safe. I also have shape shifting abilities.

How are things between the two of you since I last heard from you in Jenn’s accounts of your adventure in Future Savior Book 2: Resurrection?

Christina: Actually, not very good at all. I just left Shaw at the altar because I found out he killed my father. The love of my life killed my father. How would you feel?

Shaw: I just hope Christina can somehow forgive me. I'm the reason she had to grow up away from Meric and never knew her father.


If you could describe yourselves in 4 words or less, what would they be?

Christina: Ugh! I hate this question! Okay… let me think… sarcastic, brave, kindhearted and adventurous.

Shaw: I would have to say: honorable, dutiful, strong, devoted.

Christina, what do you miss the most about home?

Christina: Indoor plumbing, hands down! Meric would be way better if I could take a hot shower!



Shaw, were you ever homesick for Meric during the time you were keeping watch over Christina?

Shaw: Although I grew up in Meric and it is my home, I never really belonged. I had to live with the Elves since I was a small boy. I was the only human with the Elves and, yes, they were very accepting of me, but I was still an outcast. I did miss King Davis and Queen Lorna, but Davis was dead by my hand… honestly, I think I liked being away so I didn't have to deal with killing my friend and king.


Christina, what is your fondest memory of Shaw? And Shaw, what is your fondest memory of Christina?

Christina: Fondest memory? Well, I will never forget the first time I set eyes on Shaw. He had just transformed right before my very eyes into the most handsome man I had ever seen! It was amazing!

Shaw: The first time Christina and I kissed. It was right after she came back from the dead. It seemed like I had waited a hundred years to kiss her. I'll wait a hundred more if that's what it takes for her to forgive me.

So it seems like Shaw and Christina have some issues to work out… I can give you a hint that things will come to a head in Future Savior Book 3: Evacuation. Pick up your copy at the following locations:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007F422AU/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_ask_urHID.1M1VA2B
Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/future-savior-book-three-jennifer-hartz/1109161021?ean=2940013890671&itm=1&usri=jennifer+hartz
Desert Breeze Publishing:
http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-268/Future-Savior-Book-Three/Detail.bok

Also, please feel free to harass me on the web at the following places:
Website: http://jenniferhartz.com
Twitter: @JenniferLHartz
Facebook: : http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000624983529

And don't forget my exciting contest:
BECOME PART OF THE STORY! Ever wish you could be a character in a fantasy novel? Now's your chance! Stop by my website to learn more – http://jenniferhartz.com

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Casting the Future Savior Series w/Jennifer Hartz

Before I really get to the heart of this blog, I'd like to tell everyone about an awesome contest I'm having:

BECOME A PART OF THE STORY!!! Have you ever wished you could be a character in a fantasy novel? Well, now's your chance! Swing by my website to learn more: http://jenniferhartz.com

Okay, for today's blog I thought it might be fun to cast the book! People like to ask me who I would cast as the characters in Future Savior if it ever became a movie (dream big!) so I thought it would be fun to share my picks with all of you.

Christina:

Ugh! She's the hardest one to cast! I think since Future Savior Book One: Conception, I've picked about five or six different actresses for Christina. Here are some of them: Alyssa Milano, Serena Gilroy, Kate Beckinsale. Right now? I like Sarah Bolger from The Spiderwick Chronicles. She might be a little bit young for Christina, but I think she would do well. What do you guys think?





Shaw:

Excuse me while I drool for a second…. Okay, I'm back. I don't think I would let people make a movie of Future Savior unless they cast Kellan Lutz as Shaw! If they wanted to do it without him I wouldn't sell the rights to it! He IS Shaw.





Jonus:


Zac Efron would make a fantastic Prince Jonus.








Rayliex:


Hayden Christensen is another actor who I had picked a long time ago. Rayliex is the tortured bad guy… who better to play that then Darth Vader! Plus he really looks the part.










Drexton:


Ryan Reynolds has the perfect amount of cheeky charisma to pull off Drexton. He's hysterical, but can also show a serious side when need be… plus he's easy on the eyes which helps too!












Beliza:



Not only is Mandy Moore so beautiful, but she also has the singing chops that Beliza needs.








Charis:

I've always liked Carla Gugino for Charis. I'm not sure what it is about Carla that fits, but every time I see her in a move I say, "Hey, it's Charis!"





I hope you've enjoyed casting the book with me. Sure there are many other characters in Future Savior that would be fun to cast like Markella, Leticia, Brezkin and Trayd. Maybe we'll hit those characters up next time.

But now it's your turn to BECOME PART OF THE STORY! Don't forget to go to my website http://jenniferhartz.com to learn more about this exciting contest. You could be a character in Future Savior Book Four: Desecration. And who knows, maybe someday we'll be casting you in the book ☺

Here's the blurb from Future Savior Book One: Conception… just to wet your appetite!

"I do not think it is a question of where, but when." were the words that Charis left my mother with thirty years ago when I disappeared from Meric…before I was born.

Shortly after being sent back I've been attacked by man-eating Vaipes. I've learned that my father was a power wielding Guardian. I've discovered that the silvery-blue eyes intriguing me my entire life belong to my Watcher, Shaw who is without a doubt the most handsome man I have ever seen. And somehow I need to stop a war mongering tyrant who can manipulate people's thoughts.

So my question isn't where or when. It is how? How can I help the people of Meric when I can't stop myself from falling in love?
Please feel free to harass me on the web at the following places:

Website: http://jenniferhartz.com
Twitter: @JenniferLHartz
Facebook: : http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000624983529

Monday, 5 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Jennifer Hartz


STEPH: I don't know much about Evacuation. What's it about?

JENNIFER: Evacuation is the third book in The Future Savior Series. This series is a Speculative Christian Fantasy. The main character, Christina, is mysteriously sent from our world to the land of Meric… at least she thinks Meric is a different land. Christina soon learns of a prophesy claiming that she will be the savior of Meric and that she has amazing powers.

STEPH: Evacuation is book three in the future savior series. What's the underlying theme that ties the books together?

JENNIFER: Future Savior is a true hero's journey, combined with intricate Biblical allegory. Future Savior is one very long story broken into five parts. They cannot stand alone. Christina's hero journey takes place over the course of all five books.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write the novel?

JENNIFER:It took me about five months to writer Evacuation.

STEPH: What was the inspiration behind Evacuation's plot?

JENNIFER: The inspiration for the entire Future Savior Series comes from several places. First and foremost, the Bible. Someone familiar with the Bible will catch all of the Bible stories being played out in Future Savior. Even someone with limited Bible knowledge will be cognizant of at least of few of the more obvious ones, but there are some more subtle Bible stories in there too. Another big contributor to Future Savior was some of my favorite fiction stories like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

STEPH: Christina is a main character. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?

JENNIFER: Christina likes to joke that she has the super power of sarcasm, but in actuality she is quite powerful. She has supernatural abilities like telekinesis and levitation she also has visions of the past, present and future. As far as weaknesses, she has a tendency to be self-sacrificial which is a detrimental since she is always willing to sacrifice herself for her friends and for Shaw, the love of her life. If she dies for them, she won't be around to save Meric.

STEPH: What do you want readers to take with them after reading the story?

JENNIFER: Hopefully a desire to read Book 4! Besides that, I hope they become interested in their Bible. By reading The Future Savior Series they'll catch the Bible stories that I talked about before. I hope Future Savior makes them scratch their head and say, "Hey! That story is familiar!" So they pick up their Bible and investigate.

STEPH: The cover has a castle by a lake at nighttime. What aspect of the story does it represent?




JENNIFER: castle on the cover represents Bristol Fortress which is the home of King Malcolm and Queen Aladonna. They were two of the four original Guardians who died almost one-hundred years ago. There is only one Guardian still alive, Leticia, and she is the evil tyrant that Christina must save Meric from. Christina's father, King Davis, was the fourth Guardian, but he died before Christina was born.

STEPH: What's your writing space like?

JENNIFER: Anywhere I can find! Sometimes I write in the library during my off-bell at work. (I work as a teacher) Sometimes I write with my laptop on my couch. Sometimes my husband will watch our young son so I can spend some time in a coffee shop. I've even been known to write in the car.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

JENNIFER: I have an Amazon Kindle and I absolutely LOVE it! It's so convenient for holding a ton of books and easy to hold in my hand. Plus it's really nice since I live almost an hour from the nearest Barnes and Noble. I like being able to get books so easily and instantly.

STEPH: Fun Question: How do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?

JENNIFER: Even though I'm part Irish and I love all things from the emerald isle (I even gave my son a Gaelic name!) I don't really celebrate St. Patty's Day. I might wear some green and try to get my hands on a Shamrock Shake! But my biggest dream (besides having a book made into a movie *dream big*) is to have a long, fantastic vacation to Ireland someday.

But before I take my Irish trip (LOL!) let me leave you with a small snippet from Future Savior Book Three: Evacuation.
Excerpt:

We readied ourselves for the ensuing battle. The odds were horribly stacked against us, but I felt confident in my powers and in the abilities of my brave friends. Using the fallen rubble from the wall as a bridge across the newly created ravine, the enemy charged us. I stepped in front of my friends. I had no clue if the plan slowly forming in my mind would work, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to try.

Forcing all the power I could muster into my telekinesis, I wrenched dozens of the huge grey rocks and boulders previously a part of the wall out of the ground and into the air. Even though my powers had grown immensely, trying to move this large amount of weight certainly zapped my strength. I concentrated as hard as I could and threw the humongous rocks at the front lines charging toward us. The rocks wiped out the first wave of advancing troops and our enemies behind them looked utterly stunned at my display of power.

"That was incredible!" Markella exclaimed.

"Too bad I don't think I can do it again. It was way too heavy." I dropped to one knee to try and recollect my strength. Shaw knelt down beside me and placed a strong arm around my shoulder.

"Are you all right?"

"I'll be fine. Let's just get ready." I smiled at him. Then I looked up as the stunned humans and Leviathans recommenced their charge.

"Well, let's giddy up and go!" Drexton hollered, gripping his whip and readying himself for the battle.

Within seconds we were all enveloped in combat. Sword clangs and spear clashes rang out through the plains around us like thunder. Looking at the vast numbers continually flowing from the city, I was immediately concerned for my friends. Sure they were all trained fighters, but our numbers were so lacking. That's when my mind landed on Charis. Through everything I had endured here in Meric, I had never seen her in a battle. As far as I knew she didn't even have a sword. All she ever carried was a white staff.

I used my powers to throw a particularly large Leviathan back into his comrades. He knocked them down like bowling pins. During the slight hiatus after my Leviathan toss, I looked around for Charis. Worry instantly overtook me when I couldn't find her anywhere. I edged my way over to Shaw who was fighting right beside me. He was doing exceptionally well, as usual.

"Where's Charis," I asked him. I wrenched my slender rapier sword out of the belly of an exceptionally tall man. It was really difficult for me not to focus on the fact that during this battle I would be killing humans. The only way I could possibly fight them without excessive amounts of guilt was by realizing they were trying to kill me and my friends. A feeble attempt at easing my conscience, but it was all I could do to keep my mind focused on the battle.

"I have no idea," he replied and he looked around the fighting to see if he could see our silver haired friend, but she was gone.
Just past Shaw I saw Markella cutting a line through the human fighters. I always loved Markella's fighting style. She used two lightweight swords with such elegance and grace her fighting looked more like a dance than the deadly onslaught it actually was.

The sun would be setting soon. We had maybe an hour of full daylight left. As soon as darkness fell, the Nitehawks would join the fray. Not only would that increase the number of our enemies, but they would be attacking us from the air. The last time I encountered the Nitehawks I still was unaware of my levitation abilities. Should I try to fight these monsters in the air?

Here's where you can find me on the web.
Website: http://jenniferhartz.com
Twitter: @JenniferLHartz
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000624983529

Plus some buy links for Future Savior: Evacuation:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007F422AU/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_ask_urHID.1M1VA2B
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/future-savior-book-three-jennifer-hartz/1109161021?ean=2940013890671&itm=1&usri=jennifer+hartz
Desert Breeze Publishing: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-268/Future-Savior-Book-Three/Detail.bok

Friday, 2 March 2012

Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "Quest for Justice"


Blurb:
Abby Ryals goes behind the sheriff's back to accept an undercover assignment with another agency to avenge fellow detective C.J. Bowman's death, and is stunned to learn he's very much alive when he leaves witness protection and follows her undercover to help keep her safe. Together, they must race the clock to defeat a notorious drug lord before he can discover their true identities.

Excerpt:
The unrelenting volleys of the twenty-one-gun salute reverberated inside Abby Ryal's head. With each shot fired, her heart skipped another beat. She tried to breathe, to draw in the cool fall air and clear her muddled senses, but she couldn't. The ache inside her only intensified, and she worried she might throw up right here in front of C.J.'s polished mahogany casket.

C.J. Bowman. Fellow Keller County detective. Her best friend, and former lover.

Dead.

Her stomach heaved. She wrapped her arms around her middle and dropped her head onto her knees. The ancient folding chair creaked as she released a shuddering breath.

Don't throw up. Don't throw up. Not here. C.J. will laugh his fool head off if you toss your cookies on the funeral wreaths. Their too-sweet smell is bad enough, and if you...

She sat up and smothered a laugh.

Oh, God. I can just picture him sauntering through the cemetery with that trademark smirk on his face, making fun of me. He gets off on that. He's always so--

The idea that she would never see him again curdled her stomach.

"You self-centered bastard," she whispered to herself, cringing as the line of uniformed policemen fired yet another round. Leave it to C.J. to go down in dramatic fashion, waging a one-man gun battle with one of the Deep South's most infamous drug cartels.

Tears filled her eyes as she murmured, "Always playing the hero. Only, this time it got you killed, didn't it?"

"Abby, you okay?" Jonah McKee, the detective who'd mentored her since she first got her gold shield six months ago, leaned over and asked with concern.

She nodded stiffly, unable to voice her pain, and aimed her gaze at the shimmering red and gold leaves on the trees bordering the tiny country cemetery. The brisk November breeze iced her heart. C.J. had loved this time of year. He loved to hunt, loved the contest of man against beast. Why, oh why had he chosen to challenge the most frightening beast on the planet -- Salvador Salazar, better known as Sal-Sal -- instead of climbing into his deer stand and scouring the wooded terrain for a prime ten-point buck?

Links:
To buy Quest for Justice: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-245/Keller-County-Cops-Book/Detail.bok
Website: http://www.melanieatkins.com
Blog: http://melanieatkins.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.face-book.com/melanie.atkins
Twitter: http://twitter.com/melanie_atkins
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/melanieatkins/