Saturday, October 22, 2016

Interview with Historical Author Heidi Thomas

Book Giveaway Oct 22 - 31: An award winning historical book, Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women. To enter the contest, make a comment and leave your email. Enter another giveaway here
Book: U.S. or E-book: Canada

Heidi M. Thomas grew up on a working ranch in eastern Montana, riding and gathering cattle for branding and shipping. Her parents taught her a love of books, and her grandmother rode bucking stock in rodeos. She followed her dream of writing, with a journalism degree from the University of Montana. Her first novel, Cowgirl Dreams, won an EPIC Award and the USA Book News Best Book Finalists award, and her second novel, Follow the Dream, won a WILLA Literary Award. Dare to Dream, the third in the novel trilogy, was a finalist in the International Book Awards. Cowgirl Up! is Heidi’s first non-fiction book and won the Global E-Book Award for non-fiction/history.

Welcome to my blog. Please tell us about your book: Cowgirl Up! A History of Rodeo Women.

When someone says “Cowgirl Up!” it means to rise to the occasion, don’t give up, and do it all without whining or complaining. And the cowgirls of the early twentieth century did it all, just like the men, only wearing skirts and sometimes with a baby waiting behind the chutes. Women leaned to rope and ride out of necessity, helping their fathers, brothers, and husbands with the ranch work. But for some women, it went further than that. They caught the fever of freedom, the thirst for adrenaline, and the thrill of competition, and many started their rodeo careers as early as age fourteen.

This book won the Global E-book Award for non-fiction/history. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

This book was inspired first by my grandmother who rode bucking stock in rodeos during the 1920s. The research I did for the novel trilogy based on her life led to a non-fiction history of those women who competed with men on bucking broncs, bulls and steers.

What kind of research did you do?

I read books about the old-time cowgirls, researched newspaper articles, I had stories my dad told me about my grandmother, and I interviewed descendants of some of the cowgirls.

America is known for their rodeos. What makes you so interested in cowgirl and rodeo history?

My grandmother. After she passed away when I was about 12, my dad and I were going through some photo albums and he made a casual remark: “Did you know Grandma rode steers in rodeos?” I knew she loved horses and preferred riding the range to domestic chores, but that tidbit of information intrigued me. I filed it away until many years later when I decided to write a book to tell her story. That casual remark led to four published books!

Where can my readers find you online?

Twitter: @heidiwriter

Thank you for this interview, Heidi. I hope my readers will check out this book.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Interview with Contemporary Romance Author Charissa Stastny

Book Giveaway Oct 17 - 24: A Contemporary Romance, Between Hope & the Highway. To enter the contest, make a comment and leave your email. Reader’s choice! Book: U.S. or E-book: International

Charissa Stastny hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled a handle of a slot machine and can't shuffle cards to save her life. Her hobbies include reading, writing, painting, spending time outdoors, and savoring good food (especially sushi and chocolate...but not together). She resides in Salem, Utah with her husband, children, and lazy English Cream Retriever (where shuffling isn't required, thank goodness). She has written four books: The Bending Willow Trilogy and Between Hope & the Highway.

Welcome to my blog. Please tell us about your novel, Between Hope & the Highway.

This is a heart-warming redemption story with a forgiveness theme. Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes things get so messed up you have to pick up and get the heck out of Dodge. That’s what Liz Ruthersford does. Memories can be weapons, and hers have become incoming missiles. Fleeing home and her parents’ pity, she seeks refuge on a remote ranch in Montana where no one knows her tragic past. When she meets Bentley and Rawson Law, brothers with wounds of their own, life veers off course from her plans. Embers of hope and love flicker to life, but will Liz let them burn bright enough to warm her heart? Or will she hit the highway and run once again?

Some of your books are suspense/romance, but this one is different. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

My first three books were contemporary romantic suspense. This one doesn’t have the danger and intrigue those had; it’s a lighter romance set on a Montana ranch with cowboys, horses, cattle, and lots of heart. Part of my inspiration came from this quote I heard on Oprah. It’s by Lily Tomlin: Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. My characters have some issues they are trying to heal from so their past mistakes don’t define the present.

My husband is a real fan of your works and talks about them quite often. What kind of research did you do for this book?

In comparison to my first three suspense works, I felt this book only required ‘mild’ research. I didn’t feel like I would alert the FBI by my search terms of drug cartels, torture methods, and guns like last time. For this book, I researched the workings of cattle ranchers, horse trainers, different horse breeds, and stuff like that. It was fun.   

That was what grabbed me. I loved the setting for this book and I loved the lightheartedness of the characters. You had me laughing so much. Do you consider your female character to be feisty or meek yet spirited?

Liz Ruthersford is sweet and strong, but very vulnerable. She’s been verbally beaten down all her life by a hen-pecking mom who has never seen eye to eye with her, but she’s still resilient and kind-hearted despite that obstacle. She harbors deep insecurities because of her upbringing though, that she has to overcome over the course of the story.  

I agree, and she sure can be strong and sassy when she wants to get even with Rawsom. Haha. Where can my readers find you online?

My website’s the best place to go. It has all my social media links, as well as Amazon links, blurbs, and trailers for each of my books. If you sign up for my newsletter there, I will send you a free book as a welcome gift.

Thank you for this interview, Charissa. I hope my readers will check out this book. Here is my review for this book below.

I truly enjoyed this story. It’s done in first person and each chapter is from a different person’s viewpoint: Liz, Rawson, and Bentley. Liz is an adorable young woman and I love both her innocence and spunkiness. Bentley is a 12-year-old boy who is physically disabled and has a heart of gold. Rawson is very masculine and has a great sense of humor. He is the complete opposite from Liz. He had me laughing so much, simply because of his love of Star Wars and his flirtatious attitude toward Liz. I loved how he gradually changed to be a better person throughout the story. This book is done in 4 parts and I love how the author slowly develops the love story between Liz and Rawson. It did not take long for Rawson to realize that respect of Liz’s values was the way to win her heart. They were an adorable couple. This story is one that I would read again.” Review written by Linda Weaver Clarke

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Tale of Fantasy, Mystery, and Romance!

Audiobook Giveaway Oct 8 - 21: To enter this contest, you must have an Audible or Amazon account. You must also have the Audible App on your Kindle, smartphone, or reading device. (Enter more giveaways here.)

To enter this contest, tell me why you like listening to audiobooks.

Magic is always a common element in fantasy. In this story, you find out that some magic is good, while others use it for evil. Katie Watkins, of Katie’s Clean Book Collection, wrote:

I love a good story with an arranged marriage in it--especially if it involves royalty. How could I not love this one? Gabrielle is offered up to marry handsome Prince Alec in order to forge an alliance that will help in the coming war. Their relationship progresses slowly and naturally and I really enjoyed watching it unfold.

“Gabrielle wants to be loved, but she remembers the prince from her younger years and always thought of him as a playboy. I know I would have a hard time getting over those memories and she wasn't any different. I can't imagine being thrown (forced) into a new situation like that. I thought she did a good job of making the best of her situation.

“I loved the mystery and adventure and thought there was just the right amount of fantasy. Of course, my favorite parts were the romance. I loved how kind and gracious this couple was and how they worked together to find a solution to the problems at hand. I really liked the first book, but I loved this one! So far, they just keep getting better!”

In The Alliance of Isian, war is coming and all the kingdoms must choose a side. Isian decides to make an alliance with their long time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and her new husband, Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war. With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials or tear them apart? Enjoy the fantasy, danger, mystery, and romance!

Jonel Boyko, Confessions of a Bibliophile, wrote: “Wow! This series just keeps getting better. Clarke melds fantasy with a vivid manner of storytelling that had me hooked. The intricate descriptions lend themselves to Clarke's vivid world building while the intimate voice allowed me to really get into the exciting and fast paced plot.

"I love how Clarke showed the separation between those who approve of magic and those who don't. It's not just a given thing in this world. Many are against it, and for good reason. This divide added a complexity to this tale that I never expected.

"I love how character driven this story was. It really allowed me a mulit-perspective view of the story. Beyond that, I truly enjoyed getting to know these new characters. They quickly and easily found a place in my heart. All in all this was a fantastic story on it's own and an unforgettable addition to the Isian series.”

Visit Serena Clarke’s website:
Listen to a sample at:

LEARN HOW TO GET A FREE AUDIO BOOK FROM AUDIBLE.COM! Receive this audiobook free if you join Membership includes two free audiobooks and you can choose from 150,000+ titles.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Interview with Regency Romance Author Donna Hatch

Book Giveaway Oct 3 - 10: A Regency Romance, Heart Strings. To enter the contest, make a comment and leave your email. Book: US and Canada, e-book: international

Donna Hatch, author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series," is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart. A music lover, she sings and plays the harp. She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six children. A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Welcome to my blog. Please tell us about your novel: Heart Strings.

Gently bred young ladies don’t run away from home to find employment, but when forced to choose between marrying a brutish oaf or becoming another man’s mistress, Susanna makes an unconventional decision. Following her passion for music, she flees to London with dreams of securing a position as a harpist. Becoming entangled with a handsome violinist who calls himself Kit, but who seems too aristocratic for a working-class musician, may be more problematic than sleeping in the streets. Kit's attention is captured by Susanna’s breath-taking talent, admirable grace, and winsome smiles…until a lawman exposes the new harpist as a runaway bride and a thief. With peril lurking in the shadows, Susanna’s imminent danger not only forces Kit to choose between his better judgment and his heart, but he must also embrace the life to which he swore he would never return.

This sounds like an intriguing book. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I am a harpist, and I mention a harp or a harpist in almost all of my stories. However, I wanted to write a plot that centered around the heroine being a harpist—not just for fun, but for her livelihood—which created some fun predicaments.

I’m so impressed. I love listening to the harp. I have a CD with harp music that I go to sleep with. I love it. What kind of research did you do?

Since I’m a harpist and my daughter is a violinist, I already knew all I needed about that aspect of the plot. However, I did some research regarding how professional orchestras were run. When I was unable to learn much about how they operated in England during the Regency, I had to rely upon orchestras of today. So, I contacted a friend who is a professional musician with an orchestra. She offered a few guidelines to help me. I also researched the Watermen’s Stairs in Wapping—I can’t wait to see that in person someday.

Tell me about one of the main characters and what you love about him or her?

I love both of my main characters! However, Kit was especially fun to write because he’s such a happy, kind person, yet still has some room for character growth. Writing his relationship with his sister was a delight.

You love to write regency romances. Why is that?

As a child, my most beloved books were historicals. My favorites were the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. I read those books over and over. Later, I discovered other historicals like Little Women, Jane Eyre, and Anne of Green Gables. So my love for historicals grew at an early age.

Historicals are like a whole new world, totally different from the modern world in which I live. Regency in particular is fun because the manners of society are so formal and lavish (unlike my reality). Besides what’s not to love about men who can dance? Not to mention that there are few things as manly as riding horseback or fencing or being willing to engage in a dual to protect his honor. Mostly, I love Regency because of the men. Or at least, my perception of the men. They were gentlemen. They were committed to duty and were so wrapped up in honor that they were willing to die for it. And that is a character trait I find immensely attractive.

I totally agree. Historical fiction not only helps us to understand what our ancestors’ lives must have been like, but for some reason it feels so much more romantic. Hahaha. Women who fought for their rights, for equality and respect…and men who were swashbuckling heroes intrigue me. Here is my review of this Regency Romance below.

Heart Strings is a tale of a young woman treated cruelly by her relations after the death of her parents. This story reminds me a lot of Cinderella. Susanna’s aunt dressed her in rags, half starved her, and locked her in her bedroom if she felt inclined to do so. The aunt reminded me of the “evil step mother” in Cinderella. The difference between the two stories is that Susanna would not put up with the abuse of her aunt any longer and decided to run away. The harp lessons that her parents gave her would now help her to escape the cruelty of her aunt. Dressed in threadbare clothes, she searches for a job as a musician. Kit, a wealthy man incognito, comes to her rescue and helps her to audition as a harpist in an orchestra. I was touched by his kindness and sympathy towards her. Susanna doesn’t find out he’s wealthy until towards the end of the story. This love story is lovely and I really enjoyed it.” –Written by Linda Weaver Clarke

Monday, September 26, 2016

Interview with Suspense/Inspirational Author Gail Pallotta

Book Giveaway Sept 26 – Oct 3: You have a chance to win a book of novellas, Breaking Barriers. To enter the contest, make a comment about the interview.
Ebook: international.

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her teen book, Stopped Cold, was a best-seller on All Romance eBooks, finished fourth in the Preditors and Editors readers’ poll, and was a finalist for the 2013 Grace Awards. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

Welcome back to my blog, Gail. This book is number eight in Prism Book Group’s Love Is...series. Please tell us about this series.

It’s taken from I Corinthians 13: 4 - 8. Each author has written a novella about one of the phrases in the passage. Book number one, based on “Love is patient,” is Hounded, by Anita Klumpers. Each book is released as a single e-book and will be paired, or already has been grouped with another e-book, for print copies. My book, Breaking Barriers, will be in print with Julie Cosgrove’s Navy Blues, book number seven based on “Love Is Not Self-seeking.”

Your story in this series is Romantic Suspense. Tell us about your novella, Breaking Barriers, which is based on Love Is Not Easily Angered.

In this action-packed thriller gunshots ring out as Ann Jones enters church. She hides in the bathroom until they stop then stumbles into the sanctuary. The congregation lies dead in pools of blood. To rebuild the church she starts True Light Guardians. At the first meeting she’s attacked by a terrorist but rescued by James Crawford. He melts her heart, cold from her father’s abuse, and they fall for each other. She’s afraid to commit to love that might grow angry later like the type she knew as a child. James yearns to stop other attempts on Ann’s life, but can’t. Tormented by her constant risks, he breaks up with her. When an assault sends her to the hospital, an unlikely ally shares Ann’s plight with James, but he reveals a lead that puts all three of them in even more danger.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

When I learned that Prism Book Group wanted to publish a series taken from I Corinthians 13: 4 - 8, I wanted to be part of it, but wondered if I could write something worthy of the Scripture. How could I even choose? I kept reading the verses until finally “Love isn’t easily angered” caught my eye. Years before I had written a book about Christians worshipping underground because those angry at Christianity tried to destroy churches and their congregations.

I wanted to also add a personal story too. I decided to contrast a consistently loving character to one who claimed to love, but demonstrated anger in his actions and words. I gave the victim of this anger a strong faith. Christianity is her fortress. It means so much to her she’s willing to defend it against the unsavory people attempting to destroy it. The book had been in my desk and my heart for a long time, and now when it appears we need to wrap ourselves around all the kindness we can find, it seemed right to bring it to life.

Tell me about the main character and what you love about him or her?

The main character, Ann Jones, has survived physical and verbal abuse by her father and her beloved mother’s death. By clinging to the faith her mother taught her as a child, she’s finished college and manages Beach Lady, a boutique in White Sands, Florida. She’s depended on God to fill the voids and needs of her life for as long as she can remember. When she loses her church home to a terrorist massacre and learns other churches are receiving threats, she’s determined to keep Christianity alive.

I love her devotion to her faith, her perseverance and bravery. 

Where can my readers find you online?

Twitter, Gail Pallotta @Hopefulwords

Thank you so much, Gail, for this interview. I read this book and have posted a review below. I thoroughly enjoyed this story.

Breaking Barriers begins with a church that is being attacked by an anti-Christian terrorist group. This story is a suspenseful romance. When Ann Jones organizes an underground group of Christians, then the terrorist leader finds out and hires someone to get rid of her. The underground group is called True Light Guardians and they discuss ways of protecting themselves and still worship God. Since the anti-Christian terrorists are attacking all the Christian churches and killing anyone who carries a bible or cross, Ann is trying to help those who are afraid for their lives and the lives of their family. With the help of James, a caring and romantic guy, they both try to protect the Christian world from attack.” –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Monday, September 19, 2016

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Candee Fick

Candee Fick is the wife of a high school football coach and the mother of three children, including a daughter with a rare genetic syndrome. When not busy with her day job or writing, she can be found cheering on the home team at football, basketball, baseball, and Special Olympics games. In what little free time remains, she enjoys exploring the great Colorado outdoors, indulging in dark chocolate, and savoring happily-ever-after endings through a good book

Welcome back to my blog, Candee. Please tell us about Dance Over Me.

Dance Over Me is the story of a fledgling actress (Dani) searching for her long-lost brother and her place on the stage, except that a jealous cast member threatens to drop the curtain on her dreams. It’s also the story of a young man (Alex) living his dream as a musician. When Dani dances into his life, he hopes he’s found the missing piece to his heart but fears the bright lights of a bigger stage could steal her away. In addition to the romance, it’s also an adoption reunion story set at the fictional Wardrobe Dinner Theater where readers will find their toes tapping to the sound of Big Band trumpet and rousing tap dance numbers. Just try to avoid the backstage diva drama.

This sounds like a fun book. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

The initial story nugget came in a dream years ago but changed a lot as I dug deeper into the characters and created believable situations for Dani’s story. Actually, now that I’ve drifted back down memory lane, my initial idea fits better into the current book I’m writing (book three of The Wardrobe series) so I suppose my subconscious has been playing with that dream for a long time! I chose to set it at a dinner theater because they bring the Broadway musical experience closer to home and make a perfect date night. The title for the book actually comes from a song by Phillips Craig and Dean (“Amazed”) about God dancing over us while we are unaware. It’s perfect for this story because of the dancing piece but also the reminder that God is working behind the scenes in our lives.

I am a fan of musicals, ever since I was a kid. I have the DVDs of the Roger and Hammerstein musicals and many others, too. Since this story is about dancing and Broadway musicals, what kind of research did you do?

Since I adore musicals and love going to dinner theaters, I could draw on a lot of my personal experiences and memories. However, I still bought tickets to see the two plays performed in the book—42nd Street and White Christmas. I also contacted the three closest dinner theaters with a list of questions. One responded with the phone number of an actress who answered those questions and many more over the course of an hour. When she revealed that her company supplied shared apartments for the cast, my mind buzzed with plot possibilities for more conflict outside the theater doors. As far as dancing or acting goes, I’ve dabbled a little during church Passion plays and an Israeli folk dance group but had to research the names of specific tap dance steps in order to bring that authenticity.

Do you consider your female character to be feisty or meek yet spirited?

Dani’s a fighter inside, but after spending years growing up in foster care, she’s learned the hard way that sometimes it is better to get along at all costs. She tries really hard not to step on anyone’s toes and would prefer to avoid the spotlight of attention. Part of her motivation is living out her faith with humility and kindness, but a bigger part is fear of having a target placed on her back and losing what security she has gained. Of course, through the challenges she faces, she’ll gain the confidence to take a stand when necessary.

Where can my readers find you online?

My online home base is my website/blog at where readers can find out about my other books and get a peek at the first chapters of my novels when they sign up for email updates. I’m also active on Twitter ( and Facebook (

Thank you so much for this interview, Candee. I hop my readers will check out this new book.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Interview with Children’s Author John Briggs

John Briggs is a former nationally syndicated children’s TV critic who now writes books for children. He is the author of the picture book Leaping Lemmings, as well as several middle-grade biographies, including Judy Garland: Little Woman, Big Talent and Mary Dyer, Friend of Freedom. A Pennsylvania native, John enjoys baseball, tea, and spending time with his children, ranging in age from thirteen years to nine months. He currently lives in New York’s Capital District, where, unlike his lemming characters, he has never, ever jumped off a cliff.

Welcome to my blog, John. Please tell us about your children’s book, Leaping Lemmings.

Thanks for having me. Leaping Lemmings is a fun story about a lemming who won’t jump off cliffs with his friends, even though they want him to. He thinks they’re nuts, and spends most of the book trying to stop them. The story teaches children to think for themselves and not give in to peer pressure, particularly if their friends want them to do something dangerous. Leaping Lemmings shows them, in a fun way, that they don’t have to be lemmings. They really should look before they leap.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I was looking for an animal you don’t see much in picture books, and while on a long, four-hour drive, I thought of lemmings. Maybe it was all those cars on the highway, in a straight line, heading in the same direction, but that furry little animal really caught my attention. When I realized that lemmings are best known for jumping off cliffs (even though they don’t), I thought about how much pressure it would take to get me to do something like that. From there, it was a short leap (yes, pun intended) to writing a book about the peer pressure children face. By the time my drive was over, I had an outline for the story and a character I just loved – an independent lemming who could think for himself.

This book is meant for ages 3 – 8 and parents can read it to their children. Are the words easy enough to be read by young people, as well?

Three- and four-year-olds will most likely need help, but the older readers should have no problem. Fortunately, for the youngest readers, there are several sight words in the refrain (“If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” “No!”) that will keep them engaged and joining in the story, and picking up a few short words along the way. I know with my own kids, I loved reading to them when they were very young, and then having them read the same book back to me when they got older. It’s wonderful to see that progress.

What other picture books have you written?

Leaping Lemmings is my first picture book, though hopefully not my last! I just love the art form. That interplay between the text and illustrations that lets you tell a complete story in so few words is exhilarating. I have written several books for older readers, though, including the first children’s books about legendary actress Judy Garland and civil rights hero Mary Dyer. I guess I’m just attracted to strong, independent characters (whether human or lemming!).

Haha! That’s wonderful! Where can my readers find you or your books online?

Thank you so much for this interview. I hope my followers will check this book out.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Searching For True Happiness In Your Life

Everyone is seeking for true happiness in their lives. It’s the most sought-after subject on earth. To be truly happy is a great mystery to many, as they search for joy in everyday life. In the book, Searching For True Happiness, you will learn specific things that will bring you true happiness.

If more people took the advice from this book and used it to its fullest, the world would be a different place. Some of the ideas are rather simple but the overall message is profound. Happiness isn't sitting where you'd think. But it's easy enough to find with a little work and a few extra steps. I hope many, not only read this book, but also take it to heart.” –Author Brooke Williams

In this book, you will be assigned a few tasks to do. They are simple things, but yet very important for true happiness. Joy in one’s life doesn’t come without working on a few things to enrich your life. Inishowen Cailín said that it was “a lovely little book that I am sure to read many times.” The reason for reading it more than once is to help remind you of the things that will make you happy.

Inishowen Cailín wrote: “At the beginning of the book the author gives us a few tasks to complete in order to kick start our journey to personal happiness. One of her assignments is to greet someone each day. I live in a town where it is a normal everyday practice to greet every single person you meet, whether you know them or this was an easy one for me. Her other tasks are also simple, fun and rewarding to complete- show love to others, gives hugs etc. I really enjoyed reading all the stories the author researched for her book as well as all the stories from her own family. I think when I reread this book I will be inspired by something different each time. It is a simple guide to put you on the right path to feeling happy and optimistic. A worthwhile read.”

In the first chapter of Searching For True Happiness, it says:

Do we believe that happiness will finally be ours if we find our true love or have a baby or find a new job? When we’re feeling discontent, we tend to think a change in our lives is the answer to our restlessness. After making that change, we find that it was not the answer we hoped for after all. The fact is, I never find the joy I’m seeking if I’m looking for it. There’s much more to finding happiness than we think. In this book, I will discuss how this can be accomplished. I would like to list a few things to consider that have to do with happiness.

About the Author
I have traveled throughout the United States, teaching people to write their family history and autobiography. I am the author of several historical romances, a mystery/adventure series, a children’s book, and a cozy mystery series. All my books are family friendly. Visit

Monday, August 29, 2016

Interview with Author Melissa Martz

I have been a Nanny since 1997, and absolutely love my job. I have also written freelance articles for more than 30 publications, both print and online, but now have switched to writing books. Inclusive Playgrounds: Play for Every Child is my first book I published. I am currently writing a book about finding and hiring childcare, with the intended release date of Fall 2016.

 “This book will help playing side-by-side at the playground to occur and will also help with anti-bullying, and cultivate friendships, understanding and tolerance among all students.” –Melissa Martz

Welcome to my blog, Melissa. Please tell us about Play for Every Child.

Inclusive Playground: Play for Every Child tells the story of one family's quest of implementing a fully inclusive playground in their neighbourhood so their daughter who has special needs could play alongside her friends, and not watch them from the sidelines. I also give a glimpse to several other inclusive playgrounds throughout Ontario. This book gives you the framework of how one would go about bringing an inclusive playground to their community. Even though this book features playgrounds in Ontario, Canada, they are universally designed.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I read an article in our local newspaper about the Meissner family, and their plight to bring a fully inclusive playground to their town of Elmira, Ontario. This twinged my interest in what an inclusive playground was. I emailed Kelly (Kate's Mom)  to see what I could do to help. I wrote an article for a Canadian magazine called “Abilities” about inclusive playgrounds, and then a second article for a local magazine here in Kitchener called “Grand” Living Well in Waterloo Region. But still I felt I needed to do more, as in 2025 all public playgrounds in Ontario are suppose to be fully inclusive, and I found no resources available on the topic...with Canadian content; thus the birth of the book came. Inclusive Playgrounds: Play for Every Child was released on September 18, 2015

What kind of research did you do?

I researched with ABC Recreation Ltd (the Canadian version of Landscape Structures Ltd). Nancy Lochner of ABC Recreation Ltd was phenomenal! I went online and began searching for other inclusive playgrounds in Ontario.

Teachers are using it as a resource to help teach the concept of inclusion and disabilities to their students. The book has several photos, so kids will enjoy looking at the photos to determine what playground features they like best.

Where can my readers find you online?

My website has several of my freelance articles at:

I am on Facebook. I am on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @write_nanny and I am on Instagram: melissa.martz

Thank you so much for this interview, Melissa. I hope you will be able to educate the public about this important matter. All children need to be included at playgrounds.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Gail Pallotta

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s been a best-selling author on All Romance eBooks. She’s published five books, poems, short stories, and several hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums.

Welcome back to my blog, Gail. Please tell us about your new book, Barely Above Water.

An illness comes out of nowhere and strikes Suzie Morris. Her boyfriend dumps her. She has no living family, and her physician can’t diagnose the malady. Suzie relies on her Christian faith as she faces the uncertainty of the disease, and turns to a renowned alternative doctor in Destin, Florida. She takes a job coaching a county-sponsored summer swim team and is determined to turn the fun, sometimes comical, rag-tag bunch into winners. Her handsome boss renews her belief in love, but learns of her mysterious affliction and abruptly cuts romantic ties. Later he has regrets, but can he overcome his fear of losing a loved one and regain Suzie’s trust?

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

Ten years ago I grew very ill. After a month of tests, the doctor told me they couldn’t diagnose my malady, so they couldn’t treat me. The last name of a chiropractor a friend of mine had seen ten years earlier kept popping in my head. I ignored it because I needed medical help, not an adjustment, but the name persisted until finally I called my friend and asked about him. He turned out to be David Lee, D.C., Ph.D., C.Ad., now an alternative doctor as well as a chiropractor. I scheduled an appointment, and he started treating me immediately for a toxic substance. Later, a scan at Dr. Lee’s office showed the bacteria for Chronic Lyme disease. Since then I’ve met and heard of many people suffering from Chronic Lyme disease, or an illness that can’t be diagnosed. Their stories touched my heart and inspired me to write Barely Above Water, which gives information about symptoms and treatments for the disease. I wanted the book to be fun as well as informative, so I included a romance and a cute group of youngsters on a summer league swim team.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

Even though I personally have had the alternative treatments mentioned in the book, I read pamphlets and online information about them. Also, I’ve had them explained to me by Dr. Lee and assistants in his office.

Do you consider your female character to be strong and determined or meek yet spirited?

In Barely Above Water Suzie’s so determined to get better she leaves every trace of life as she has known it behind and moves to Destin, Florida, to receive the treatments she needs. Only because she’s strong in her faith can she take the drastic step, cope with the disease and coach the youngsters.

Where can my readers find you online?

I love to hear from readers. My web site is
Twitter - Gail Pallotta @Hopefulwords (

Thank you, Gail, for this wonderful interview. I read your book and was so impressed with what I learned. Here is my review.

Suzie's relationship with Matt is adorable. Not only did I enjoy a sweet love story, but I learned about a mysterious illness that I had never heard of before. All the symptoms of the young woman made me want to read on to find out what she had. What could this illness be? I also found out how hard young children have to work to be in a swim meet. This was something new to me. The children are adorable as they interact with both Suzie and Matt. I loved the story and it was very well written!” –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Monday, August 15, 2016

Interview with Regency Romance Author Donna Hatch

Donna Hatch, author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series," is a hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart. A music lover, she sings and plays the harp. She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions as well as her six children. A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

Welcome back to my blog, Donna. Where did you get your inspiration for The Rogue Hearts Series?

My intention was never to write a series. My idea for the first book, The Stranger She Married came, oddly enough, in part from Phantom of the Opera but with the idea that maybe the man with the mask was not a monster, but rather a kind and honorable man, and that maybe he had more substance than the handsome young man vying for her attention. Of course, my story has a few twists. The idea for writing book 2 came from a random sentence I typed without any forethought that he had a brother who was a pirate. And so book 2 was born. Then my editor suggested I should write a book about each of the four brothers. So I did. Two more books, about the sisters in this family, are not yet completed.

Please give us a short description of book one: The Stranger She Married.

Desperate to save her family from debtor’s prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. Her choices? A scarred cripple with the heart of a poet or a handsome rake with a deadly secret.

I read the first book in this series and absolutely loved it. It’s full of mystery. Now tell us about book two: The Guise of a Gentleman.

So glad to hear you loved it! The Guise of a Gentleman is about a young widow whose proper English world is shattered when a charming rogue re-awakens her yearning for adventure. The stranger’s irrepressible grin and sea-green eyes hide a terrible secret that will test both her love and her courage. I promise it is NOT your typical pirate romance. Where The Stranger She Married has more mystery, this one has more adventure.

"The Guise of a Gentleman was very well done. The hero of the story acted rough and tough, just like a pirate would. Jared even looked at Elise, who is the main character, as a pirate would, which was not very gentlemanly. He was the perfect swashbuckling hero. It was fun to read a “clean” romance with a lot of intrigue and adventure. I was so impressed with was all the research this author must have done. She knew all the technical names of a ship, how they did their coordinates to know where to sail, and the ways of a pirate ship, such as having “articles” that they stood by. Great research! I learned a lot." –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke
A Perfect Secret is the third book. Please tell us about it.

Genevieve breaks off her engagement with Christian to marry the blackmailer threatening her father, but flees her husband’s violence. Though fate brings her back to Christian, her husband tracks her down, stalks her, and threatens everyone she loves. This book is more suspenseful than the others.

"A Perfect Secret had a very sad beginning but soon changed into one of suspense and forgotten love. This is the first time I’ve read a regency romance that began with sorrow, but I soon realized that the couple would be able to overcome their trials of the past. I absolutely loved Christian’s personality. He was humble, noble, and courageous. The secret that I loved about the relationship of this couple was the respect Christian had for Genevieve even when he was hurting. I just knew that his love would win out." –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke
The fourth book is called The Suspect's Daughter. What is this one about?

This is the book my fans have been demanding since the very first book. It’s about the cynical brother of the family, Grant, and the woman who is his match, Jocelyn. She is determined to clear her father’s name in a murder plot. Jocelyn aids an intriguing wounded war hero, Grant, to find the conspirators. England’s future hangs in the balance…and so does their love.

Each book is written to be a stand-alone novel, so reading the previous books in the series is not required to understand what is happening in subsequent books.

Thank you for this awesome interview, Donna. I have read your books and thoroughly enjoyed them. Below is my review for The Stranger She Married, which is my favorite book out of the series.
"The Stranger She Married was not only a clean romance, but was filled with action and suspense as well. What would it be like to marry a man you didn’t love but had no other choice? The most memorable moment in this story was when the heroine realized she was finally falling in love with her husband and told him so. I was waiting for that moment because I saw him as a caring and loving man. I wanted her to see that, also. The only time I was concerned was when the heroine had feelings for her husband’s cousin... that is, until I began figuring things out." –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke