Wednesday, February 26, 2014

GIVEAWAY For Such a Time/Interview With Kate Breslin

 Kate, thank you for visiting today.  I'm excited to give away four ARCs for you novel, For Such a Time!
We want to hear about you and promote your new book that releases in April, For Such a Time. Hi, Linda, thank you for hosting me today. I am so honored to share my journey through this novel with you and others!

The holocaust is a tough topic, particularly today. What made you decide to do an historical on such a difficult issue?  The idea initially came as I was reading from the Biblical Book of Esther. I knew the Jewish people had suffered at the hands of one society or another throughout history, and as I observed similarities between the wicked Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews and Hitler’s Holocaust of WWII, I wondered if I could superimpose Queen Esther’s story into this more modern venue. Yet I had no idea how emotional this journey would be for me. I knew little about the subject when I began my research, and so the stories of Nazi brutality versus the courage and faith-keeping of those who faced death moved me as nothing else could. Needless to say I had to write this story, and tread carefully with it; the Holocaust remains a sensitive subject and rightly so; I strove to treat it with the solemnity it deserved, while writing a fiction romance novel.

Let’s face it, your endorsement by Debbie Macomber, #1 NYT bestseller, is going to intrigue a lot of people and encourage them to buy your book. Why else should a reader pick up your novel and want to open it? I think many readers enjoy Queen Esther’s story from the Bible. It’s not only a love story, but Esther’s courage in the face of death is legendary—both ideals I think readers want to identify with. I also hope they are curious to know more about events that took place during the Holocaust (though my characters are fictitious) and ultimately to reaffirm that love, combined with faith in God is the most powerful force on earth; that with it nothing is impossible.

You are obviously drawn to historic detail. What started you down that road? That’s funny—I used to sit and daydream during history class in school. J But I have to thank the deft hand of those historical romance authors who rekindled my passion for the subject. As I read and got my history lessons (without knowing it) that passion became a determination to write my own historical novels.

You weave a strong romantic thread in your novel. Did you find that hard to do considering the topic? Yes, very difficult; I had to really climb inside my characters’ heads in order to make the events believable. I’ll just say at this point, there are no two-dimensional characters. Even the worst villain loves his mother.

Can you tell us something about you that we might not know or imagine? My writing career started very early; I wrote poems as a child—inside hand-made birthday cards, framed in pictures, or scribbled on sheets of notebook paper. If I misbehaved, I’d apologize by composing a poem for my mom and tuck it beneath her pillow so she’d find it when she awoke in the morning. That usually worked, too! J

What kind of time do you give your writing? Was this something you wrote over five years, or did the idea hit with a passion and let you go for it right away?  This story was long in the making because of its nature; there was so much research, rewriting, revising, and it simply took years to accomplish. And I wasn’t always writing on it; oftentimes, I’d just sit thinking about how it might come together, making my characters and the entire event believable. Nowadays, with another story for Bethany House in the works, I try and write several hours each day during the work week and sometimes the weekend.

So…tell us. What’s up your sleeve for a future story? Ah, yes, I’m very excited about the next novel. It’s another historical romance, one which takes place in Britain during WWI. The current release date is April of 2015. Much of my research is finished, so I’ve dug in and am happily typing away!

Visit Kate on her site for more information:
http://www.katebreslin.com/


And don't forget to leave your email addy for a chance to win one of four ARCs . . . For Such a Time!

Monday, February 24, 2014

CONGRATS!

Congratulations, Beth! You won the ARC for Kate's book, For Such a Time!
Come back and visit on Wednesday, I'm doing an interview with Kate and will be giving away another four ARCs of the novel.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Breslin book GIVEAWAY! Realistic Christian Fiction About the Holocaust?


Well, is it doable? Can Christian fiction turn out a truly realistic story about the Holocaust?

YOU BE THE JUDGE! WE’LL GIVE YOU AN ARC TO DECIDE!
I read that someone thought it was doubtful an author could do realistic Christian fiction about the Holocaust. I have to say they were wrong. But you be the judge...
Meet Author Kate Breslin:  A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. Next to spending time with her husband and two cats, she loves being with friends and fellow authors. An avid gardener, she makes her own herbal vinegars and oils; she also enjoys traveling—especially visiting other countries and cultures. She’s published several articles on her adventures and collected some great ideas for future books. An award-winning poet and RWA Golden Heart finalist, Kate now writes inspiring stories about the healing power of God’s love.
With years of research and a heart for difficult topics, can Kate put together a novel that will touch hearts with healing and forgiveness? Not only did she in For Such a Time, but bestselling authors agree:
“I absolutely loved this book. FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS kept me up at night, flipping the pages and holding my breath wanting to know what would happen next. Based on the Biblical book of Esther, the story takes the reader to a concentration camp inside World War II Germany, where a young Jewish girl has captured the attention of the Commandant and has the opportunity to save her people, much as Esther did in the Biblical account. The story is gripping, compelling and I dare anyone to close the cover before the last suspenseful page.” 
                                                                                                                                                                --NYT Bestselling Author, Debbie Macomber

"When I finished Kate Breslin's novel for the first time, I had an urge to flip back to page one and start reading all over again. It's that good. For Such a Time is an intimate portrait painted on grand scale, bringing to life the drama and pain of suffering with the triumph and joy of freedom. This book deserves a wide audience, and newcomer Breslin has a bright future."

--#1 New York Times bestselling author, Susan Wiggs

But how about if you decide?
I’m giving away an ARC for the novel For Such a Time, and I’d love to know what you think!
Just leave your email addy below and I’ll draw a name.
AND IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH, next weekend, I’ll give away four more! Come back on Wednesday for an interview with Kate and a chance to win one of four copies.

You be the judge and you decide.
Does Kate’s novel For Such a Time touch your heart in a meaningful and realistic way?

 


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Character Study

After reading, tell me something about this character. What did you learn from this excerpt?

Maggie Reinholdt grabbed the flashlight and pushing wide the narrow door at the end of the spare bedroom, she re-entered the attic for the third time. And for the third time, she wiped lint-caked spider webs from her sweaty face and damp hair. Hefty gray boxes of receipts and case studies lined the right wall where Erik had neatly stacked them. Christmas decorations, suitcases, and remnants of their old home filled the left. At last a red-labeled box flagged her attention in the far right corner by the attic fan. She slouched down to paw her way to the other side without cracking her head on the beams. Even eight feet away, she recognized the handwriting on the side as that of Dr. Reinhold Eriksen, Erik’s illustrious father. She snorted at the mental description.
Stooping lower, she avoided stepping on dead crickets, spiders, and an occasional mouse dropping on her way to the carton. Her gaze snagged on the cradle and she halted midway. Even her breathing stopped. Delicate flowers in an extravagant scroll shaped the word BABY on the cradle’s side. With stiff movements, she squatted lower and stretched out her hand to stroke the dusty letters. The finish was smooth—smooth as an infant’s behind. She had powdered Ricky’s sweet, sweet baby skin until he laughed and she cried. She closed her eyes. The memories of his beautiful smile and dimples carved into pink cheeks brought him to life. Silky black curls like her mother’s had filtered through her fingers a hundred times a day. Their favorite game, where did the curls come from?
Her hands drew up until she could feel him in her arms, pressed against her breast where she nursed him and sang him to sleep. His bright blue eyes staring into hers, trusting her, believing in her to do the right thing for his life.
Oh Ricky, I let you down.
She sagged against the cradle and allowed her heavy lids to droop.
“Hush tiny baby, don’t you cry now . . .”
She opened her eyes and her singsong voice trailed away. Then she dropped her head into her empty palms and let out a loud, piecing wail.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Interview with Marji Laine


Hey, Marji, thanks for stopping by to talk with us. Tell, us, what drives a good romance!

Heroes Drive a Romance

I love a strong heroine in a romance. She, for the most part, shapes a well-rounded book. The plot generally stems from her conflicts. The depth of the story originates with her character arch—her values, motivations, and goals, as well as the dark moment that defines the lie she believes and the wound that must be healed.

That part is the most fun to me. I love crafting new, distinct heroines.

However, while the heroine provides the framework for the plot, the hero is the driving force of a romance. His values, motivations, or goals initiate the interaction between the two. His backstory tends to throw up the obstacles that threaten to defeat the new relationship. And ultimately, it’s his strength that develops the happily ever after – or not.

Let’s look at a few examples.

·         Pride and Prejudice: Darcy attends the “country dance” because of his station and circumstance as a guest of Bingley. His values initiate the interaction with Elizabeth Bennett, even though it has a negative result. His backstory of wealth and rank throws obstacles in the way of the budding romance. Those obstacles include his aunt, his friend’s obnoxious sister, and his arrogance when finally facing his growing feelings. Finally, his true personality appears. Though Elizabeth is drawn to him, she dares not believe his feelings remain after her rude rebuff. His perseverance is the only thing that happily resolves the situation.

·         While You Were Sleeping: This one works differently because the true plot of the story emerges from a subplot. The true romance is Jack and Lucy. His value of family drives him home at the perfect time to meet Lucy. His backstory of experience with his brother gives him cause to not trust her all that much. The other obvious obstacle was the fact that she was engaged to his own brother, so he thought. Had she been the fiancĂ©e of anyone else, he might have disregarded that relationship. But she belonged to his brother who was lying in a hospital bed. Big obstacle. Finally, when all the secrets came out, the story would have ended in sadness if not for Jack’s love for Lucy and his willingness to forgive her deception.

·         Sense and Sensibility: Edward arrives at the Dashwood home as a favor to his sister Fanny. His sense of family obligations drove him there and initiated the interaction between him and Eleanor Dashwood. His backstory of status creates the first obstacle, assuring that Eleanor would make a poor match for him. His second obstacle is the secret engagement in which he is involved with Lucy Steele. In this case, the love story is a tragedy if not for the greed of Lucy Steele. (I think Edward is a little on the weak side.) But having been granted a reprieve from marrying the vixen, he is able to return to Eleanor.

·         Romeo and Juliet: Romeo initiates the original encounter by crashing Juliet’s family party. He is taken with her and determines to have her despite the obvious obstacle that he is from a family that is a sworn enemy of Juliet’s. Add to that the murder of Juliet’s cousin, by Romeo’s hand, and there are plenty of reasons for this romance to fail. Finally, it is Romeo’s choice to commit suicide that ended the story as a tragedy. Frankly, with their lack of communication, it didn’t have a chance.

Do you agree? Think I’m all wet? Or maybe you have another story to analyze. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Speaking of heroes, A Dozen Apologies (currently posting at Write Integrity Press blog, http://WriteIntegrity.com) has twelve of them. And yes, they do drive the story along! As a bonus, readers get to decide which man is the best hero. Vote today until February 8 for your favorite. The man with the most votes gets the girls. The final chapter will be chosen and only available in the Amazon e-book, but A Dozen Apologies will be free on Valentines Day!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Congrats, ladies!

Congrats, Sadie and Sophie and Nancy Sullivan!
A CHANCE FOR ANOTHER BOOK FOLLOWING
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN FAUBION!
 
What made you so interested in the direction social media is going?
Two factors here.
One, I’m in the business. As a software developer, I’m responsible for a bunch of credit and debit card processing. That is, I provide the software tools to get it done. Because I’ve been at this a long time, I’m very aware of how much personal info is transmitted back and forth in the daily course of business. We encrypt it, tunnel it, protect it the best we can. And yet there are breaches.
When we’re involved in social media, we’re far more careless about the information we throw around. You and I can get a near-complete life history on anyone that approaches us on any of the various platforms. It is not usually very difficult at all. Sometimes it only requires two or three minutes to accomplish.
So social media is a major minefield. That makes it an entire new frontier for a writer to work in.
Two, I want to be a Christian that pays attention to the cultural shifts going on around us. I remember standing in my grandmother’s home as a little boy, hearing her ring up the operator and give her a four-digit phone number. In the short span of my lifetime, we’ve gone from that simple beginning, cascaded through the prank phone calls (“Is your refrigerator running? Better go catch it!”), to #900 sex numbers, and now to virtual people and virtual lives.
Back in 1970 a man named Alvin Toffler wrote a book called, Future Shock, where he dealt with the exponential growth of knowledge and technology. I read that as a missionary in Taiwan back in 1978. He defined the title with reference to, “too much change in too short a period of time.” We’re experiencing that in a big way, right now.
The greatest dangers are to the GenX and Millenials. They’ve grown up with this technology as a given. They’re not cautious, typically careless. A whole generation is at risk.
People are taught to “trust technology.” Ridiculous. As a tech provider, I can tell you that behind way too many finished tech products, there is a guy, or group of guys, who wanted nothing more than to get home and play video games. They’re the ones you’re trusting.
I’m afraid there’s just more than I can say about it here.

Did a specific event prompt your writing Friend Me?
Sure did. A bunch of software designers (myself included) were sitting around in a meeting in late 2010. Someone said that all the great ideas had already been done.
While we were talking, something occurred to me that had not been done yet. Something really revolutionary. There were bits and pieces of it all over the world wide web, but no one had yet brought them together yet, not in the way I was thinking.
Consider the whole Facebook phenomenon. How people want to be “friended” and “friend” other people. What a lot of people really want is a true friend. Someone they can pour their hearts out to. A person who is totally trustworthy, and who would keep every confidence sacred.  The truth is, there are not many like that!
But what if. . . you could design your own friend. Not a real person, but just as good as real. A virtual person. You would pour into your design all the traits that you thought were most important — trustworthy, friendly, discreet, constant, forgiving. Just think about your list. When you were done, you’d have the perfect friend.
Your friend (we’ll call her “she”) would remember your birthday, email you every day and encourage you. She’d remind you about important events, and she’d keep your secrets. You could tell her anything, and it would never go any further.
I told my wife about this. . . that maybe I’d get some people together and we’d do it. Make such a product available and see if we could make it work. I got back an unequivocal, “NO.” When she explained why, she made sense. Women would be designing boyfriends, men would do girlfriends. Widows (it gets creepy) would design their lost husbands, and mothers their lost children.
It would really get weird, and pretty fast. So she said to me, “Why don’t you write about it? Just don’t really do the software.”
She was right. That’s where Friend Me came from. I wrote the novel in such a way that it was demonstrably possible, given current technology.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born again on May 9, 1965. An arrogant young man, already married for over a year to a sweet girl I’d known since first grade, and for the first time confronted with the Gospel.
I was in the Air Force then, at a Minuteman ballistic missle base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We trusted the Lord together that day, and never looked back.
I went to Vietnam (military), then to Bible college. When we were done with that, we moved back to Vietnam as missionaries. Until the Lord took her home in 1989, we’d worked in full-time Christian service the whole time.
God, with indescribable grace, gave me a second wife in 1990. We took my third daughter, and new six-week old son off to Beijing in 1991. We ministered in Chinese until 1999 when we returned (along with a fourth daughter!) to the USA. Since that time I’ve worked as a senior applications developer for a big electronics and appliance chain.
Can you see the Hand of God in all that? The details are even better. I thank God for every moment of life He’s given me.

An excerpt from Friend Me:
Melissa (the antagonist) discovers that her computer system has found her ideal man. She is sitting alone in her darkened office,…
            “This was the one for whom she had kept herself all this time.
            “If she didn’t click the mouse, then nothing would change. She would go on in her work, acknowledged as a success in her field. She would have the respect and admiration of all the people who knew her. But she’d resign herself to a life of loneliness and cold despair.
            “With eyes closed, she leaned back in the high-backed chair and stretched out her legs. How would he touch me? Would he love me? I would be everything to him. Yes, I would become the only object of his love.
            “She sat there in the dim light until there was no more doubt. Until she knew with deadly certainty exactly what she must do, no matter who he was.”
Thanks, John, for stopping by.
LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDY AND ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF FRIEND ME BY JOHN FAUBION.