Saturday, July 28, 2018

Finding Christmas Joy - Spotlight Book Tour

Melonie  Brown  just  wants  to  get  away  from  all  of  the  pain  and  heartache  that  this  year  has  brought  upon  her,  and  Starlight  Lodge  seems  like  the  perfect  place  to  do  so.  With  no  plans  beyond  a  Christmas  escape,  she  drives  out  to  the  lodge.  Can  she  bottle  up  the  peace  and  joy  that  she  finds  in  this  special  place  to  help  her  face  the  challenges  she  may  have  in  the  upcoming  year?  

Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again - starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. 

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)

Connect with Amanda:


July  heat  causes  many  of  us  to  yearn  for  the  chill  of  Christmas—at  least,  if  you’re  like  me  and  prefer  coolness  over  heat  (and  if  you  live  in  the  South,  where  humidity  and  heat  combat  for  the  highest  number).  Sure,  Christmas  may  be  far  from  our  minds,  but  it  will  be  here  before  we  know  it! 

And  when  Christmas  season  comes  around,  there  is  just  that  “feeling  in  the  air.”Christmas  music  plays  in  all  of  the  stores,  Christmas  movies  take  center  stage,  and  everything  is  decked  in  red  and  green.  

So  often  though,  what  does  not  take  center  stage  is  Jesus  Christ—the  One  for  Whom  we  even  celebrate  Christmas.    

It  was  Christmas  2017  and  I  had  watched  a  few  Christmas  movies.  They  all  justmissed  the  mark.  It  was  the  “joy  of  the  season”  and  the  “magic  of  the  holiday”  that  provided  the  solution  to  their  problems.  As  I  was  thinking  about  it,  the  idea  for  “Finding  Christmas  Joy”  popped  into  my  head.  I  wrote  the  entire  rough  draft  in  one  sitting,  not  100%  sure  where  all  God  was  going  to  lead  this  idea.  

Melonie’s  struggle  was  influenced  by  some  events  from  people  in  my  life.  It  is  definitely  something  different  than  I’ve  ever  written  before,  involving  a  girl  who  is  in  a  relationship  (or  was).  

Though  not  everyone  is  going  through  a  break-up  during  the  Christmas  season,  and  though  the  solution  to  your  struggle  may  not  be  salvation  (if  you’re  already  saved),  I  pray  that  the  reminder  that  the  true  foundation  of  joy  in  Jesus  is  as  much  a  blessing  to  you  as  it  was  to  me.

Amanda  Tero  is  giving  away  a  copy  of  “Finding  Christmas  Joy”with  one  of  her  piano  CD’s!  You’ll  be  able  to  enjoy  the  music  of  the  season  as  well  as  a  story  that  brings  you  the  happiness  of  the  season. 

(Note:  there  are  two  giveaways:  one  for  physical  copies  for  residents  of  USA,  and  another  for  international  residents)

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July 28, 2018

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Friday, July 27, 2018

First Line Fridays

I have read several books by Carolyn Miller, and each has been so good!  Therefore, I cannot wait to read this next text in her Regency Brides series.  I'm sure many of you have this novel on your Amazon wish list.  :) 

I hope everyone is having a lovely summer.  It is so strange to realize that today is the last First Line Friday of July.  Where did the summer go?  Thankfully, we still have a couple more months of warm weather--even if back to school starts next week.  Have a wonderful day and happy reading! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Miss Serena's Secret 
by Carolyn Miller 

And the first line is...

Bath, Somerset 
June 1817

"Warm summer sun lit the scene before her: a golden-yellow oak table boasting a squat blue vase with an arrangement of ferns and pink roses.  The tension forever lining Serena Winthrop's heart eased a fraction, as if in obedience to the florist's intention."  

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating! 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Trial on Mount Koya - Spotlight Book Tour

Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Seventh Street Books
Paperback & eBook; 256 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Hiro Hattori, Book #6

Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.

November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple’s priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife–the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests–including Father Mateo–become 
unwilling members of the killer’s grisly council of the dead.

Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo.

Susan began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

Susan is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year, a former president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (National and Sacramento chapters), the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is represented by literary agent Sandra Bond of Bond Literary Agency.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, photography, and hiking. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two cats, and travels to Japan on a regular basis.

For more information, please visit Susan Spann’s website. You can find Susan on Facebook and Twitter (@SusanSpann), where she founded the #PubLaw hashtag to provide legal and business information for writers.

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 copies of Trial on Mount Koya! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Trial on Mount Koya

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Secret of Haversham House - My Review

Genre:  Christian, Fiction, Historical, Regency, Romance
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Publication date: June 12, 2018
Francesca Haversham is eighteen years old and about to step into a glittering future – all she has to do is secure her wealth with an advantageous marriage. Then she learns the truth:her entire identity is a lie. Now Francesca faces a horrible choice. Will she give up all she knows or continue to lie about her past and risk everything, including her heart?

Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children. She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ ( for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’. 

Julie Matern is another new author for me.  Her book, The Secret of Haversham House, is a wonderful read for someone who enjoys books that are set in England or Europe.  And as many know, I love stories that are set in England, and this book is set in the nineteenth-century, which makes it extra special.  The mystery surrounding the main family gives a certain edge for the reader to discover—mostly because the reader wonders if and when the secret will be revealed.  Deception, danger, honor, love, and pain are the base ingredients for this novel, and it is so exciting to discover the never-ending possibilities that are tied to each character. 

Francesca Haversham has lived in England all her life.  Her parents, John and Emily, love her very much—more than life itself.  And they were so thankful when the Lord blessed them with a baby girl.  Growing up in society, Francesca had to learn and understand the rules and privileges that come with being a young lady—a young lady who is in search of a husband.  Her family knows she must marry, yet no one seems to catch her eye, until a dashing young man enters the picture.  However, does this gentleman’s looks hide something about him that might be important to uncover?  Will Francesca unknowingly be swept away to a place she would never dare enter? 

Phillip cares for Francesca from a distance, because he and Francesca are best friends.  He gives her advice, and she tells him about her days.  All in all, it is a lovely friendship and existence.  However, Phillip longs for the day when he can tell her how he truly feels.  Yet, she seems to always be looking elsewhere for love and companionship.  She never sees him standing before her.  Unfortunately, Francesca finds herself in terrible trouble, but Phillip does not know if he can help, and he also does not understand his initial feelings on the matter.  Will he be able to stay a true friend to Francesca?  Or will he abandon her like so many others have done?  
This was a fantastic story that was quite the page turner for me.  I knew how I wanted to the story to end, but I wondered if the actions of the characters would allow certain moments to take place--this is how much I enjoyed this book.  It was surprising the see the twists and turns in the lives of each character only to discover their ultimate fate.  I highly recommend checking out this book.  Happy reading!  

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Singing Librarian Books for my copy.

1. If you could go to tea with any of the characters in The Secret of Haversham House, who would you go with and why?
Lady Augusta Haversham firstly, though she might refuse the invitation as I am a social ‘nobody’! I would ask her if she is lonely and whether her pride is worth the price of exclusion from her family. I would also ask her if she has any regrets about her own behavior.
Secondly, I would be very interested to talk to Antonio, Francesca’s birth father, about how he felt when he learned that he had a daughter and all the emotions it stirred up and if he was angry about the contract they made him sign.
I think I might also like to go to tea with Mario and ask what he really thought of Giorgio’s revelation about a secret granddaughter and the search for her.
2. Did you travel to gather research for The Secret of Haversham House?  If so, where did you go? If not, what did you do to gather your research for this story?
I travel to England frequently to visit family and I have lived in France twice and often pop over when I am in England. So my research has been conducted over a lifetime. I have been to Italy once but a daughter spent time there on a study abroad and shared her love of it. In terms of research of the language style, I read Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Gaskill and watch lots of period dramas.
3. What did your writing process look like for The Secret of Haversham House?
This was my first book for adults and though I was careful not to write down to the middle grade readers obviously, the language for an adult regency book needed to be of a higher level. Also, the number of characters was much greater (necessitating some family group sheets and family trees to keep it all straight!) and the plot was more complex. I am not an extensive planner when I write (though many authors are). I know the end and perhaps the middle but then I let the story write itself. It can surprise me and is an exciting way to write. The characters are like this to some extent too. I write a bio of each character for reference at the beginning but they often change during the course of the novel and I have to go back and edit the bio. I also often write amidst lots of noise and activity. I am drawn into the writing so much that I am able to block the disturbance out, fortunately, which means I can be in the middle of my family while writing and not closeted away.
4. What inspired the idea for The Secret of Haversham House?
Social class. It is still alive and well in England but not to the extent it was in this period. One day I wondered what would happen to a person who discovered that they were actually from a much lower class. Would it change the way friends and family treated them? I decided it would and thus a main character with a secret past was born.
5. What did you as a writer take away from writing The Secret of Haversham House?
When I started the novel I did not know that Phillip was going to experience an emotional crisis. His reaction to Francesca’s heritage showed me that we all might have hidden prejudices that we only discover when circumstances tease them out. I also firmly believe that through Christ we can overcome all and any prejudices.
6. What is your current WIP?  What can you share with us about this project?
Arranged marriage was obviously the standard during this period. Jane Austen’s writings show us that marrying for love was an often unattainable wish. It is a concept so foreign to our culture that I wanted to examine it. In order to do this, I created a character who is thrust into different households as a governess. She experiences the difficulties of arranged marriage as an observer. I plan on writing a third novel from the viewpoint of the bride of an arranged marriage.​

Book covers are somewhat of a science, incredibly. I recently took a class at a writer’s conference where the presenter shared a story about an author who was having moderate sales of a book and then changed the cover, after researching popular covers in the genre, and how the sales soared. Covers matter.
My publisher creates the covers of their author’s books. They asked me some questions about the plot and the main character and what I might like depicted on the cover. They also explained that I would not have the final say, though my input would be considered. Then the graphic designer created the cover. Fortunately, I loved it immediately. If I had not liked it I would have been able to say why and they would have again considered my opinions but that does not mean it would have been changed. Like I said, it’s a science and they are the professionals in that area and I trust them.
If you do a quick search of the genre on Amazon, most of the covers have a photo of a girl in period dress on them so mine fits right in with what is trending. 

10 Behind the Scenes Facts About the Book

  1. The view from the villa in Grasse, France is the view from my apartment when I worked there one summer. I pulled back the shutters ( all French homes have them) and just gasped. 
  2. Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. It was such a delicious name I had to use it. Although the actual man was not a vicar the name seemed to suggest that profession to me. 
  3. I have been to Italy but only to Rome. The movie, ‘A Room with a view’ was my inspiration for Giorgio’s empire. 
  4. The first manuscript was full of dates. Then one day I realized that the French Revolution might prevent some of my events and after further research I took out all the dates so that the timeline was more vague. 
  5. My first two books were historical fiction for ages 8-13. There was a small cast of characters so keeping track of them was easy. Not so with this book. Every new event seemed to call for new characters and in the end I had to put them on a genealogical tree and fill out family group sheets for each family to keep them straight. I also had a bio sheet for each character for reference. 
  6. Many of my ancestors are from Wiltshire which made it a good choice for Haversham House. Having been raised in London myself and taking every opportunity to visit the places of interest I think I’ll have to set a future novel there. 
  7. The idea of arranged marriage is a very foreign notion to our culture but quite standard for the upper classes of that period. I am fascinated by it. Francesca’s paternal grandparents, though both selfish and egotistical have managed to build a workable relationship when we first meet them. It makes me wonder how many people were able to be happy in such forced unions? It is a topic I will continue to prod in future novels. 
  8. I do not need a quiet place to write and I am able write in snippets if that’s all the time I have. This year I opened a fortune cookie and this was inside: (picture) ( I’ll send it in a separate email as I can’t figure out how to insert it here on my phone. Hopefully you can make that magic happen!)
  9. I thought perhaps Augusta Haversham was too unrealistically awful and that no one would treat their granddaughter that badly but I am part of a closed FB group and not long after I created Augusta someone shared a true story about how awful her mother was to her and I decided perhaps Augusta wasn’t unrealistic but that I was just blessed to be part of a great family!
  10. I must confess that I have never dated anyone as heartless as Mr Ashbourne. My husband is definitely a Phillip!

Tour Schedule

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Darkwater Secrets - Spotlight Book Tour

The Darkwater Inn stands tall and proud in the French Quarter, the hub of New Orleans. Bourbon Street is bustling, and General Manager Adelaide Fountaine has her hands full with a hotel at capacity. She, along with everyone else, is shocked when a body is found: a hotel guest stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Detective Beau Savoie, Adelaide’s childhood friend, is on the case. As Beau digs into the victim’s past, he unearths a shocking connection between Adelaide and the murdered guest. Beau is hurt that his friend—the woman he’s quietly loved for years—kept the truth from him. To make matters worse, the stress of the investigation has sent Adelaide right into the comforting arms of her coworker Dimitri. But Beau can’t press Adelaide too hard . . . he’s keeping secrets of his own.

Can Adelaide and Beau afford to hide from the truth with a killer on the loose?

PURCHASE: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | CBD | Book Depository

robin  caroll

͞I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I've never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.  Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-five-plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

She serves the writing community as Executive Director/Conference Director for ACFW. Her twenty-five books have been finaled and placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year.

CONNECT WITH ROBIN: website| Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Beauregard Savoie stared out into the city streets. His city. He’d lived in New Orleans all his life and had no desire to be anywhere else. Yet just because he loved the area didn’t mean he was unaware of the harshness hiding behind the slower, simpler way of life. 

Monsters could—and often did, hide in the dim back-alleys and passages. It was Beau’s job to find the monsters and put them away, but not tonight. After the discussion with his captain about the possibility of him being promoted . . . no, he wouldn’t fight monsters tonight.

darkwater  secrets  blitz  giveaway

Robin Caroll is giving away:

  • print copy of Darkwater Secrets
  • your own key to the Darkwater Inn
  • The Darkwater Inn Recipe Book
  • an Uptown Stroll candle

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below:

Giveaway will begin at midnight July 21, 2018 and last through 11:59pm July 28, 2018. US only. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along with the tour at JustRead for the full schedule!
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Friday, July 20, 2018

First Line Fridays

This week I wanted to highlight a book that was written by one of our very own First Line Friday participants!  I'm so excited to announce her book--Reluctant to Wed by Anneliese Dalaba.  I have her book on my Kindle, and I cannot wait to read it.  So many books to read...the struggle is real.  :)  I hope all of you are having a lovely summer.  Stay cool and happy reading! 

Grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line!

Today I am going to post a line from: 

  Reluctant to Wed
by Anneliese Dalaba

And the first line is...

England, 1817

"Sitting in her grandfather's traveling coach, Emma suddenly felt the impact of her decision." 

Happy reading and happy Friday!   

Let me know your first line in the comments & then head over to Hoarding Books  to see who else is participating!