Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Introducing Author Morgan Busse

Tell our readers about you and your family.
I am married to a wonderful man who is also a pastor. We have four children, including a set of twins (the twins were a total surprise for us). Many times when people find out I’m a mother of four children, they ask when do I find the time to write. I tell them little by little and hour by hour. When my kids were younger, I wrote during their naps (as long as I didn’t need one too) and during the evenings my husband had meetings.

I was also known to have my laptop set up on the dryer while I folded clothes because for some reason I would have some of my best ideas at that time (I guess that’s a positive reason to do laundry, besides have cleaning clothing to wear ;).

Now my children are in school, which allows me more structured time to write. But my family always comes first before my writing. And I am blessed with a family that encourages me to write.

Oh yes, and my family would not be complete without furry critters. I currently have two dogs, a cat, and two long haired guinea pigs. The Busse household is definitely crazy!

What is your favorite Bible verse?
That’s a hard one. I love the book of John, especially the first chapter. “In the beginning was the Word…” “The Word gave life to everything that was created…”. The story of God saving us did not begin with a baby in a manger; it began when God first chose to create, knowing what would happen next.

But I think my favorite verse is this: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:5). I have been through a lot of darkness in my life: cancer scares, months of unemployment, almost losing my youngest son, and hurt by the church. But God was still there. The dark circumstances of my life could not blot Him out. It tried, and there were moments I felt I could not see God anymore and despaired. But He never forsook me.

You can see the influence of John chapter 1 in my own writing. I believe that in the darkest of times there is still light, and that light is Jesus Christ.

Why did you choose to write the particular genre?
I have always loved the fantasy genre. It began when my dad introduced me to The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. As a child, my imagination soared beyond this world. I would imagine I was a unicorn, or a lost princess, or some other fantastical thing.

When I became an adult, I began reading more science fiction and fantasy. I enjoyed the stories I found, but wished I could find an engaging story that also brought me closer to God. I walked into a Christian bookstore one day and asked to see their science fiction and fantasy section. The lady gave me a strange look and then pointed to a lone Frank Peretti book at the end of the aisle. I went home disappointed.

Shortly after that event, my husband said I should write. I had never thought about writing before and wasn’t sure I wanted to. Then I had an idea of a woman who, with a touch of her hand, could see inside the soul. It took eight years to write and find a publisher, but last month my debut book released. It is an epic adult fantasy that follows a young woman named Rowen who possesses this terrifying power. The first book in this series is Daughter of Light.

What is the most important thing you hope your readers will take away from your books and why?
Life is hard and it can be very dark. There will be things that happen to us that we cannot explain. And it will hurt deeply. But no matter what happens, or how dark the path is that God has us follow, He will always be there with us.

What are you writing now? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
I am now working on the second book, Son of Truth. In Daughter of Light, the reader is introduced to a ruthless assassin named Caleb Tala. Son of Truth will continue Rowen’s journey, but will now follow Caleb as he discovers who he really is and the choice he will have to make.

Do you have a website or blog?
I do have a blog. I write about anything and everything on my heart, from how to deal with bitterness and hurt, to regaining a faith lost, to what it’s like being a pastor’s wife. I also do book reviews, mainly Christian speculative novels. So if you’re looking for a good fantasy or science fiction, check out what I have to say.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Marcher Lord Press (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935929496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935929499
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review of A Perfect Square by Vannetta Chapman


There's more to the quaint northern Indiana town of Shipshewana than handcrafted quilts, Amish-made furniture, immaculate farms and close-knit families. When a dead girl is found floating in a local pond, murder is also afoot. And Reuben Fisher is in jail as the suspect! Reuben refuses to divulge any information, even to clear himself of a crime Deborah is certain he didn't commit. So, with her English friend, Callie---fellow sleuth and owner of Daisy's Quilt Shop---Deborah sets out to uncover the truth. But the mystery deepens when an elderly man seeks Callie's help in finding his long-lost daughter, missing since the days of the 1965 Palm Sunday Tornadoes. An old man who has lost his past. A young man who may lose his future. Once again Deborah and Callie find themselves trying to piece together a crazy quilt of lives and events---one that can bring unexpected touches of God's grace and resolve the tragedy that has shaken this quiet Amish community.

About the Vannetta Chapman
Vannetta Chapman has published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, receiving over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. She discovered her love for the Amish while researching her grandfather's birthplace of Albion, Pennsylvania. Her first novel, A Simple Amish Christmas, quickly became a bestseller. Chapman lives in the Texas hill country with her husband. 
My ReviewLet me start by saying I was not sure I was going to like these books, I had read Mrs. Chapman's first book A Simple Amish Christmas And I LOVED it. But  an Amish mystery I was just not so sure about that. Well I must tell you I read both books in two days and was left wanting MORE!

Vannetta includes mystery, suspense. and a little romance into this GREAT read. This is filled with GREAT characters. My favorite character is Max. This book was so intriguing, I could not stop reading until the very last page; I just had to find out what was going to happen next.  This was a book where I could not anticipate what was going to happen next. I love the mystery in this book, it was definitely a page turner. I felt as though I was right there in the middle of Shipshewana with all of the characters.

I pray that she sends me Book Number Three in the series! 

5 STARS for sure!

I was given a copy of this book by the author

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Interview with Karen Robbins

I'm pleased to present Karen Robbins, author of Murder Among The Orchids

Tell us all about your writing  journey.
My writing journey, as Casey in Murder Among the Orchids might say, is a lot like a baseball season. The batting average goes up and down. Sometimes you hit a single, sometimes a home run and sometimes you strike out. I've never been a good waiter and I get very impatient sometimes when God makes me wait but it's always best when it is in His timing and I've seen the rewards of waiting. My journey started out in 1987 with my first published essay in a Sunday school take-home paper. Along the way I've written for magazines, newspapers, and anthologies (including the Chicken Soup for the Soul books), coauthored several books and had a few of my own published. Right now, like my favorite baseball team, the Indians, I'm experiencing a great season but I know there will be a time to rest and a time to write (Spring training) and another season opener where I'm up to bat again. But like Casey's friend, Max, said, "God's the manager. When He says 'bunt,' you bunt.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?
A while ago I had a family crisis that had me driving from one end of town to the other and praying all the way for guidance in the situation. I was totally frustrated and remember shouting out loud, "God just tell me what you want me to do!" All of a sudden a church sign appeared along side the road that said, "Relax, God is in control." As Casey and Max investigate the murder of Casey's boss, there is a thread to the story that shows that God is in control--especially at the end. 

Do you like to read? What do you like to read?
I think I was born with a book in my hand. It always frustrated my mother because I would find any cubby hole I could to hide away with a book. I am an eclectic reader. In fiction, I read mysteries, love stories, suspense, character-driven stories that touch hearts, novels that take me to faraway places. But I also enjoy a good biography, a memoir, a good inspirational book, or just a fun humorous take on life. 

Can you tell us about your family?
My husband, Bob, and I will celebrate our 44th anniversary this year. We have five children who have all left the nest and eight grandchildren who have brought a whole new perspective to life. Lots of material throughout the years to coauthor our A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts.

Do you plan to write another book?
In addition to the next book in the Casey Stengel series, Death Among the Deckchairs, which I hope to finish this summer, I have several others in progress. One will be published in the fall. It's one of my favorites that I wrote a long time ago but has just now found a publisher. The title is In a Pickle and it is about a 65 year old widowed pickle entrepreneur who manages to get marijuana instead of marjoram into her pickle recipe and finds herself. . .well, you get the title now. In addition to that, I also have a historical that I've been working on that takes place during the Great Depression. 

Do you have a website or a blog?
My blog is called Writer's Wanderings and is travel themed since Bob and I travel so much and the places we visit often become part of my stories.
My website is

Karen is a mom, grandmother, travel addict, and scuba diver.  She has published over 250 articles and essays in regional, national, and online publications. Recently, in addition to her mystery, Murder Among The Orchids,  Karen  coauthored A Scrapbook of Motherhood Firsts (Leafwood Publisher) and contributed stories to three Chicken Soup For The Soul books: The Magic of Mothers & Daughters, Here Comes The Bride, and Married Life! An award winning Toastmaster speaker, Karen and her family make their home in Ohio

Monday, May 21, 2012

Interview with Karen Arnpriester

Tell us why you wrote a novel at this point in your life.

Why now? … Because God inspired me.

We had finished a devotional/testimony book for our women’s group through our church.  I had several submissions. Many ladies approached me and said that they really enjoyed my contributions and had I ever considered writing. I did have an idea for a book, just the beginning and end. It started as a whim, something to entertain myself. I never expected it to be anywhere but on my computer. A few close friends read the chapters as I wrote. Their encouragement was pivotal in my decision to finish the book and attempt to have it published.

While writing the book, I truly felt the presence of God. I would write myself into a corner, and He would download pictures of where the book should go. I had no outline, no characters in mind and no chapter to chapter plot. It played out as I wrote. I would find myself crying or laughing while I typed. It became an opportunity to share God’s love and how Heaven reaches down and touches our lives.  I knew God was smiling down on me as I followed His lead and wrote from the heart.

Share your experiences as a foster parent.

I had always wanted to be a foster parent but my son was a challenge. We didn’t feel that kids with their own issues would be comfortable in our upheaval. Once my son moved out on his own, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. This delayed our plans to do foster care again. We finally felt our home was stable enough to focus on kids that needed a family. We went through the training and waited for months. Where were all the kids that needed a family? We almost left the private Christian agency for the county, but just as I started the transfer, we got our two daughters. I know now that God left our home open, waiting for these specific girls.

The day after we got the girls, I noticed the little one, five years old, was breathing oddly. We took her to ER and they informed us that she had asthma. This was news to us and the foster care agency. The hospital treated her and released her after several hours. A short time later, she was much worse and we headed back to ER. X-rays revealed solid pneumonia in both lungs. We were taken by helicopter to Children’s Hospital. Our sweetheart was in ICU for 7 days, and released in 10 days. We were told that if we hadn’t gotten her to ER that night, she would not have survived till morning. Her oxygen levels were dangerously low. This experience was a quick bond. Sadly, the hospital staff commented frequently that I was the first foster parent that stayed with the patient twenty four-seven. How do you leave a five year old alone in a hospital when everything they knew had just been ripped away?

I cannot say it has all been easy. These kids come with pain, confusion, lack of social graces and anger. But within two years, we fell in love and when we were told the girls were eligible for adoption, we knew what we must do. The adoption of both our girls should be final this June. It is scary for sure, we are not spring chickens. We did consider our ages, the girls deserve younger parents. But when we heard the sad statistics regarding their chance of being adopted, we knew we were ones to give them a family.

Have angels played a role in your life?

Oh yes. I felt physical touch and whispered warnings. I truly believe the Bible, these wonderful creatures are Heaven’s gift to us. Our protectors. I was driving without a seatbelt, first rain of the season and roads were slippery. I stopped at a light and a brain flash said PUT ON YOUR SEATBELT.” I truly heard a female voice, not mine, in my head. I put on my seatbelt and within two blocks I was in a very serious accident. Another time, my back was killing me from several nights on a hotel bed. I was at a women’s retreat. I was lying on the bed, on my side, enjoying my pity party, when I felt a fingertip press into my neck, The pain was gone in that area of my back. Every few inches this fingertip would press in and relieve the pain. I was in shock and couldn’t believe that Heaven cared enough to bring me relief from something as basic as back pain. And, if you’re asking, no one was behind me!

Can you tell us some reactions that you have gotten from some of your readers?

One mother called me and thanked me over and over again. Her daughter was disrespectful and showed a strong sense of entitlement. This mom had pulled all of her daughter’s privileges, stripped her room of all conveniences. While sitting in her room,  her daughter asked what she was supposed to do? Her mom threw in my book and told her to read. Whenever she would check in on her, she was still reading, tears flowing. After finishing the book, she took her mother aside and sobbed. She apologized for not understanding what a good life she had and how much she was loved. The mom said that my book touched her daughter in a profound way, which improved their relationship dramatically.  Many others have shared that through the story, they saw how they created ripples in the lives around them. They wanted to make a difference in the world that were positive and loving. They understood the importance of their existence.

Do you have any advice for novice writers?

Just do it. Don’t worry about who’s going to read it, or if it’s good enough. Get it down. Revisions and editing is a big part of the process, but if you don’t write your story, there is nothing to polish and refine. Let your imagination go wild. There are no limits. The world can be as you describe it. The freedom is exhilarating.  I sometimes get all caught up in getting published and wanting the confirmation that I did something good. And that would be great, but I ask myself, “What if you never get published, will you stop writing?” I realized that the writing is the motivation. I won’t stop writing. I might be the only person who can appreciate my efforts, but that’s okay. I soar when I write. I leave this life of responsibility and routine. I become limitless.

Which authors do you enjoy reading?

I used to focus on Koontz and King. But my tastes have expanded over the last few years. I love books that inspire while entertain. Stories that take me somewhere far and magical. I love twists and turns that are unexpected. Human resilience and the struggle to do what’s right, not what is self-serving.

I just finished the Hunger Games series written by Suzanne Collins. I really enjoyed her talent for story telling. I searched and found another series written by Suzanne, probably for teens, but I loved them. They are Gregor the Overlander series.  William P. Young had a very strong influence on my spiritual walk with God and my interest in writing. I hadn’t read anything similar and I found his boldness fascinating. I was the person sitting at the desk in the cave, judging. I know there is a lot of controversy about The Shack, but God touched me deeply regarding struggles I had with my Christianity while reading this book.

 Can you tell us about your next book?

I love this story, Raider’s Vendetta. It is the conflict between an older Christian woman trying to be all that God asks of her and an enraged man who hates God. She is taken as a bank robbery hostage and once Raider realizes she is a Christian, he unleashes his fury on her. His torment and disregard for her is so difficult for Charley to understand, let alone endure. The conflict the young man harbors is based on twenty years of my own doubt about God’s love for mankind. The questions thrown at Charley are my questions. Questions that kept me a terrible distance from my Heavenly Father. I have found comfort in the discovery of some answers, but there are still questions that challenge my faith today.

It was fun to be the bad guy and think of ways to be nasty. I generally am a very kind, loving person and this outlet was rather revealing. I have the ability to think vindictive and cruel.  That is good for the story, but maybe not my husband. You hate Raider, but you can understand his journey. What drove him to the point of such fury. The book has twists and turns and a very unexpected ending.

I am excited to see where God takes both of these books.  I know that He knows who needs to read them and when. I trust that my writing is my ripple, my chance to make a difference in lives. I thank God for this gift, a gift I never expected to receive. He knew what would make my heart soar while I spread the story of His love for mankind.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Review of Following Your Heart by Jerry Eicher - 2 BOOK GIVEAWAY FOR 1 LUCKY PERSON!

Readers will delight in this warmhearted novel by bestselling author Jerry Eicher (more than 350,000 books sold), a former Amish man, who writes with authenticity and compassion about the people he grew up with.

Susan Hostetler a young Amish woman who had left her community for life in the outside world, returns home to her family with her English friend, Teresa Long, and Teresa’s newborn, fatherless son. Teresa has come in hopes of settling with the Amish people.Deacon Ray gets wind of the situation and forbids the unwed mother from attending the church services, fearing she will pollute the young people of the community.

Susan’s estranged boyfriend, Thomas Stoll, who still has hopes of winning her back, fears the trouble with Teresa will drive Susan back into the English world.

Thomas convinces Yost Byler, an old bachelor, to propose to Teresa and adopt her child after the marriage. When Yost visits Deacon Ray with his plan, Deacon Ray agrees to the idea and removes the restriction, allowing Teresa to begin attending instruction classes.Outraged at this turn of events, Susan is unable to persuade Teresa from her plans to marry Yost. Yet throughout it all, Deacon Ray’s son, James, notices the depth of Teresa’s devotion to the faith and to her son, and finds himself drawn to her.

With two Amish men interested in her, Teresa has a decision to make...and so does Susan. Will Susan stay in the community she loves....or venture back to the freedom she enjoyed in the English world?

About  Jerry

Jerry Eicher's bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah's Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he's been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

My Review

Susan's' story continues in this book: Susan returns back home and brings her new Englisha friend, Teresa, with her to her family's Amish farm. Teresa is an unmarried mother of a baby boy who is trying to start her life over again.  While at Susan's families farm she finds the Lord and plenty of  loving friends, it sure was tough going for a while.

Will Susan get baptized into the Amish church and will she end up with Thomas?  You will want to read Book Three "Where Love Grows" to find out.

I will be giving one lucky reader a chance to win both copies of Book One "Missing Your Smile" and Book Two "Following your Heart". 

To be entered to win both books you must: 1) leave a comment, 2) post a link to this review on all your social media and let me know you did (Facebook, Twitter, your blog) and 3) invite 1 friend who loves Amish fiction to follow this blog.

I was so happy when I received Jerry Eicher's Second book in the Fields of Home series, "Following your Heart". I become totally lost in the homey world that Jerry creates in this series of books. Because he comes from the Amish world, he is able to expertly weave in details in his stories that make the reader feel as though they are inside the book with the characters, experiencing everything.  I became completely lost in this book. I'm a big fan of Amish fiction and Jerry's books never disappoint! Each of his books become better than the one before.

I was given a copy of this book by Harvest House to review.

The winner of both books will be announced on Monday, May 21st.

(Book Two in the Fields of Home series)

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; 2nd edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736944788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736944786 
To purchase the book on Amazon click here 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Interview with Deanna Nowadnick, Author of "Fruit of My Spirit"

This is my first book. I never planned to become a writer. Even though I majored in English at Pacific Lutheran University, I never enjoyed writing assignments. I actually think it had more to do with being told what to write, rather than the writing itself.
My “day job” is with The Planner’s Edge, a financial advisory firm in Washington State. The boss and I have been together for 22 years. Today I’m his Client Service Coordinator.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of his practice and working with his clients. And since I telecommute, I have even more time to write!
I live in Monroe, Washington in the sunny Pacific Northwest. I’m active in my church, editing the monthly newsletter and playing violin during worship services. I love to knit, adore chocolate, and enjoy a blessed marriage to Kurt.
Can you tell us why you wrote Fruit of My Spirit? Tell us all about your journey.
As I said in my bio, I did not intend to write a book. I just wanted my sons Kyle and Kevin to know how I met their father. The chapter on Love went straight into the chapter on Self-Discipline. And by the time I was done with those two chapters, there was no stopping me. While writing I had no idea where the book would go and where it would end up. I did know that by the time I got to Patience, a theme had developed.
The words and stories came to me very quickly. After waiting over fifty years to speak, I had the book’s first draft done in three short months. I have loved every part of the process, especially the people God has placed before me at every twist and turn. I still thumb the pages of my copy and marvel at the whole project.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
God has made us exactly as we were meant to be. It’s easy to focus on all our shortcomings and failings, but those shortcomings and failings are the very tools God can use for the work ahead, His work. God has chosen us to be a witness to the life that possible in Him and through Him. Whether we’re standing in the line at the grocery store (for some of us, like me, not likely) or getting a facial (for some of us, like me, more likely), we get to be His representative at that exact moment. To do that, we get to be our own loving, imperfect, dynamic, challenging, passionate, impatient selves, just the people God needs us to be.
Do you like to read? What do you like to read?
I love to read. I always have books with me—hard copies and on my Kindle. There are times I will bury myself in a Jane Austen classic and other times I can be found delighting in a new discovery. I’ll race through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games and catch my breath with another local author’s No Road Home. Anne Lamott continues to inspire me; Beth Moore nurtures my faith. And can I mention Carolyn Keene? I grew up immersed in Nancy Drew mysteries. In fourth grade, I just wanted to grow up and be Nancy Drew. I will be forever grateful for authors whose stories carried me away to another time and place.
Can you tell us about your family?
My husband Kurt and I met in college 39 years ago. We’ve been married almost 31 years. We are the proud parents of two adult sons, Kyle and Kevin. Kyle is a financial advisor and Kevin is in training to become a commercial real estate appraiser. Both boys are close enough for a quick lunch and visits as a family.
Kurt is my best friend, my favorite companion. As I write, we’ve just returned from ten days together in Palm Springs. We thoroughly enjoy our time together, alone just the two of us and also together with the boys. We still date, catching the latest movie and grabbing dinner at our favorite restaurants.
Tell us your favorite memory you share with Kurt?
My husband Kurt was a high school teacher and coach before retiring. I will forever treasure watching him in the classroom and on the football field. He was passionate about his work and totally dedicated to his students. He gave them his very best and expected the same in return. He would challenge, correct, guide and direct. And then I would hear him clap his hands, gather the kids around him, and say, “Are we having fun yet?” It still makes me smile to think about it.
Do you plan to write another book?
Yes, I’m working on Book 2 now. Signs in Life: Meeting God at the Corner of Grace and Mercy tells of those times when God has come alongside and guided, directed and turned me. The book is another collection of short stories, this time recounting when God has met me at life’s crossroads, when I’ve been “on point” with God, not because of anything I’ve done, but because a loving, gracious, merciful God has been there time after time, again and again.
Do you have a website or a blog?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Whose book are all these famous celebrities reading?

Keep reading to find out!

Nicholas Sparks (NY Times Best Selling Author) at his own book signing
Lisa Whelchel (Author, Speaker, Actress - "Facts of Life")

Amy Grant(Grammy Winning Recording Artist) and Marlayne Giron at Life & Faith Tour

Today I’m pleased to interview Marlayne Giron, author of The Victor, Make a Wish and In Plain Sight.

You’ve got an amazing story of triumph over chronic illness, one in which you not only survived but thrived to the point of authoring 3 books. Briefly tell us about that journey.
I suffered with increasingly severe ulcerative colitis beginning in 1984 and culminating with surgery in 1988. It was a very debilitating disease.  Had I not had my colon removed; it would eventually have resulted in colon cancer. My hospital stay was to have been only 10 days but due to an obstruction (that could have killed me) I ended up having a 2nd surgery and was in the hospital for a total of 30.

Tell us about how you were blessed with your daughter through adoption after battling infertility.
After my abdominal surgery parts of my reproductive system had shifted around and I couldn't conceive. Being limited in funds, we did try some minor techniques once to get pregnant which ended up resulting in a uterine infection instead of a baby. After five years of heartache we came to the conclusion that the only way we'd have a family was to adopt.  The only affordable option for us was through the county system. I was terrified because of all the horror stories I had heard about the children who were available in the system as a result of neglect or abuse (or both)  but we went forward on sheer faith. Two weeks before Christmas and a year before it was supposed to happen, we were introduced to our daughter, Karina who was an adorable 3-1/2 year old at the time. We visited with her over the course of the next week or so and she came home as our daughter on Christmas Eve. We introduced her to our entire family as our new daughter (a big surprise) at the family's annual Holiday get-together later that month. She will be graduating from high school next month.

You are Jewish by birth yet you hold to the Christian faith.  Please share your testimony with us.
When I was 17 (back in 1977) a new television series came on for that Easter called Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zefferelli. I wanted to see the Ten Commandments (again) and my mom insisted on Jesus of Nazareth (she won). It was perhaps the first time I saw a realistic and well-acted portrayal of biblical events.  During the crucifixion scene my eyes were divinely “opened” and I remember thinking: if He could do that for me, the least I can do is give Him my life and I did so, praying right in front of the television set. The next day I asked a Christian friend to take me to her church so I could officially accept Jesus in front of witnesses and in the days and weeks following, I began to call and write family and friends about how they too needed to be saved.

How did you come to be a writer? 
When I was 12 my best friend, Lisa Savy and I would take turns sleeping over each other's homes and one of those times she produced a typewritten story in which she had put us in as characters.  We read it aloud to each other and it was so much fun that I created the second story for the next get together.  From then on we took turns typing these stories which were based on a very popular television show at the time: The Six Million Dollar Man.  We wrote hundreds of similar short stories each and even a “feature” length story to boot when I was 13 (which I still have). Lisa has always wanted to be a teacher (and is currently a H.S. math teacher) so pretty soon I found her red-marking my stories for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors.  This would make me furious and I became determined to write a story she couldn't find fault with.  This decision, in addition to the spirit of competition to see who could write a better story really honed my English skills. As a result of writing so much,  I intuitively picked up on a lot of creative writing techniques.  Unlike Lisa, who has a Masters in Mathematics, I never went to college or studied journalism. It was this that gave me the idea for my second book, Make a Wish.
Me and Lisa at 42
Me and Lisa at 12

You call yourself a “very atypical author” and have said, “I am the most unlikely person to have a book published.” Why is that?
My complete lack of a formal education in creative writing (other than high school); the most consistent form of writing I usually perform is business correspondence.

Of all the encouragement you’ve received through the years, who stands out as being your most helpful supporter and why? 
This is the sad part of your interview.  Up until The Victor went into publication I would have to honestly say no one. I couldn’t pay friends or family to read my book!  Eventually even I gave up on it! My husband would often kid me during difficult economic times and say “Well, maybe someday when you finally sell that book we can...” (you fill in the blank) but it was always said in jest.

I'm sure you've read a ton of books. Is there one you've read you wish you had wrote?  If so why?I wish that I had written Lord of the Rings. It is an absolute masterpiece and the “gold standard” in fantasy fiction. I read The Hobbit and the entire LOTR trilogy in a single weekend when I was 14 and wept, laughed and endured the pain along with all the characters. It is probably one of the most majestic and profound books ever written.

Where did you get your idea for The Victor?
Almost 30 years ago I was hit with a sudden inspiration while listening to Amy Grant's (then) latest album “Father's Eyes” in a song entitled “Fairytale”:  “...two princes wage the battle for eternity but the victor has been known from the start”.  A mental picture appeared in my head of Jesus in a suit of “shining armor” and Satan/Lucifer in a suit of “black armor” crossing swords over “the bride of Christ”. I instantly knew what I wanted the story to convey; the ultimate love story of all time between Christ and his bride, “the church” and I knew how I wanted it to end; I just wasn't exactly sure how it would begin or what I would put in between!   I have always loved books and movies dealing King Arthur, Robin Hood, etc., and fairytale stories with Lords, Ladies, knights, and mystical swords. It just seemed a natural to rewrite the story of Christ's redemptive work as a grown-up “fairytale” that Christians and non-Christians alike could enjoy. 

Life came full circle when I finally got meet Amy Grant in person at the Life and Faith Concert tour in Richmond, VA a few years ago. The photo at the top of this blog was taken of that meeting.

Tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.
Three years before I met my husband I wrote a story (which I illustrated) for myself where Jesus takes me out on a date and introduces me to the man he has chosen for me. I used to pray for my husband by name (it was always Michael) and had a very detailed list of what I hoped to get in my future husband. The Lord answered my prayers right down to his name, looks and everything on the list and our first date a total stranger who was part of our “six-some” told Michael and his sister that I would be his future wife. To read the details they are all in my book, “Make a Wish” (“A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”).

Favorite scripture and/or quote:
Shortly after I began writing The Victor, (which I felt was an idea inspired by the Lord) I asked Him to give me a scripture that would confirm that the story idea was from Him.
The words: PSALM 45 popped into my head and when I looked it up, I couldn't believe what the first verse said:

“My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.”

It has since become my “tag line”. The rest of the Psalm describes the wedding of the king to his bride which I use almost in its entirety at the end of my book. The Lord could not have given me a more perfect confirmation. 

Name five things you “can’t” live without (the Lord already being a given).
1) My husband, Michael, who is the love of my life.
2) My friends
3) Having time to myself and the resources to be creative
4) Dark chocolate
5) Classical music playing at work

Favorite book ~ Favorite movie ~ Favorite TV show
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – Same movie – Once Upon a Time (what else?)

Where is the most interesting place you have been?
New York City – I was there in the fall of 1999.  Everyone wears black! You can eat a different food at every meal for months without repeating but the corned beef sandwiches are the BOMB!

What did you want to be when you grew up?
An independent adult so I could make my own decisions about my life.

Me at age 3

Five Fun Facts About Marlayne
1.      I once rode the public bus all the way from the South Bay to downtown Los Angeles with a round, red, “JESUS LOVES YOU” sticker stuck to the end of my nose when I was a new Christian looking to share the gospel.  No one on the bus would look at me.

2.    I wrote and illustrated a short fiction story in which Jesus introduces my character to the man he had chosen as my future husband five years before I actually met him. The future husband in the fiction story and the real thing were both named Michael (I also always prayed for him in advance by this name) and he looked just like the illustration. On our first date (a triple date) a girl who had met me for the first time that night told Michael and his sister that I was his future wife while I was in the ladies room (to which he replied no way now!)  Five years later we were married and that story disappeared at our reception.

3.    Significant dates in my life: I accepted Jesus as my Savior during Easter Week; met my future husband during Easter Week; became the mom to our adopted 3-1/2 year old daughter on Christmas Eve and my book, The Victor, was released in Easter Week. A “coincidence”? I think not...

4.    I used to take private ice-skating lessons and got rather good at it (I could do jumps and spins). I still miss it a lot and hope heaven has an ice-rink where I can ice-skate for the Lord and do the doubles, axels and footwork I found impossible to do in my 20's.  Does that mean that heaven has to freeze over...?!

5.    I met Fabio (yes…the Fabio) at a book signing he did in a local Target in 1995. I got a photo with him.  My husband’s best friend who worked security at that store called him up and told him that he had caught me with “another man” and had it on video (it was the security tape from the signing). Photo is below:
New Romance Novel cover anyone?

Biography of Marlayne Giron

Marlayne Giron is a Messianic Jew, wife and mother living in Orange County, California with her husband of over 25 years, her dog, Buddy and teenage daughter, Karina.  She grew up in a nonreligious Jewish home but found Jesus at the age of 17 while watching Jesus of Nazareth on television in 1977. 

DON’T TOUCH THAT DIAL! Stay tuned to this blog to find out what other famous celebrities are reading The Victor!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hannah's Joy by Marta Perry

Unexpected tragedy has left Hannah without her soldier husband and a home for her baby son, Jamie. Seeking refuge, she comes to live with her aunt in Pleasant Valley, a place she hasn’t seen since childhood, when her parents left the Mennonite faith. Working in her aunt’s bakery is a way for Hannah to get back on her feet, but she isn’t sure if she can live by tradition—or if she and Jamie should stay for good. She finds an unexpected, sympathetic listener in furniture maker William Brand. His stutter makes him feel like a permanent outsider in his Amish community, and he understands her loneliness.

Hannah is irresistibly drawn to the shy, caring William, and her education in speech therapy makes it natural for her to want to help him speak more easily. But how can she encourage his attention when she might someday leave Pleasant Valley, and when her father-in-law, a military officer, is scheming to take Jamie away from her? As William seeks the courage to stand up for the woman who believes in him, Hannah must decide where her true home lies—in the free, ever-changing world she knows, or in the simpler, loving community she’s found…

I am so honored to announce that I got Marta Perry's  Book Number Six in the Pleasant Valley Series to review from the publisher.

Amish book are ferhoodled if you don't go out and pick-up a copy of Hannah's Joy RIGHT NOW!

My Review:

This book starts with a tragedy which right away sets you up to wonder how Hannah is going to make it as a new widow with her small son, Jamie. Hannah was never baptized into the Amish community and now finds herself as a transplant from the English community. I really loved the fact that she was a fledgling speech therapist who had to move back to her family home in an Amish community. She meets William, a shy Amish man, who has a speech impediment and they grow close as she helps him overcome his stuttering.  The two of them connect quickly as a result of feeling lonely in the community. To complicate matters, her former father-in-law is making threats to take away her son; thinking the Amish are a bunch of crazy people. Throughout most of the book, Hannah struggles to figure out what she wants to do with her life.

I love Amish fiction and I have to tell you that I couldn't put this book down by Marta Perry until I finished the last word.

In fact, I loved this book so much that I'm sorry to tell all of you Amish reading fans out there that there will NOT be a giveaway because it is staying on my book shelf for me to keep and reread; that's how good it is!

5 out of 5 Stars!

Be sure to look for book number Seven Naomi's Christmas, later this year!!

Berkley kindly provided a review copy of her book for this review

Biography of Marta Perry

I realized I wanted to be a writer at age eight, when I read my first Nancy Drew novel, The Secret of the Old Clock.  Most little girls reach the end of that book wanting to be Nancy. I wanted to be the person who created the story!

The dream lay hidden for years while I became a teacher, married, had children...all the usual things. But eventually it re-surfaced, and I began to write, beginning with short children's stories for Sunday school take-home papers. It seemed a long time until that first acceptance, but eventually I began to sell. After some three hundred published short stories, I finally found the courage to work on the novel I'd always wanted to write.

Thirty-some published novels later I still feel the same excitement every time I begin a new book--a mix of not believing I can do it combined with an overwhelming urge to see the story on the page.

A lifetime spent in rural Pennsylvania and my own Pennsylvania Dutch roots eventually led me to the books I'm writing now about the Amish. The Pleasant Valley Amish series from Berkley Books are longer, more complex emotional stories with Amish main characters, while my forthcoming HQN suspense novels are more adventure-filled books set in Pennsylvania Dutch country.  I'm also writing a Love Inspired series, The Bodine Family, set in the South Carolina coast where we have a second home.

When I'm not writing, I'm busy with church activities, traveling, and spending time with my three children and six beautiful grandchildren.