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Interview: Anita Higman + GIVEAWAY

24 Nov

Anita Higman

 

Welcome to Buzzing About Books, Anita!  Congratulations on your recent release, A Question of Destiny!  I am excited to share your interview and giveaway and appreciate your kindness and generosity.

 

 

Can you tell me a little bit about your novel, A Question of Destiny?

I’d be happy to. It’s basically a rags-to-riches story with a few surprises along the way. Here’s a short blurb to give you a few more details.

 Lucy O’Brien is about to be given ten millions dollars and a chance to live a life she never imagined. Will this new found wealth be Lucy’s undoing, or can she rise above the temptations within high society and choose to become a nobler version of herself? And will the solitary Andrew Whitfield—a man who watches over Lucy as she adapts to her new lifestyle—cause her to close the door on her dreams or be the key that opens the rest of Lucy’s destiny?

How did you come up with this story?

 I’ve always thought the rags-to-riches concept was fascinating. There’s so much ready-made conflict. Even though we’ve been told by the world that to receive a windfall would be an idyllic situation, in reality, a lot can go wrong. You can truly lose your way. In life, love, faith. Everything. Since a writer needs a lot of conflict to keep those lovely readers turning the pages, I thought this would be a good plot element to add to a love story.

In A Question of Destiny you have the hero loving the city while the heroine loves the country, and it becomes a sticky point between them. Where did you get your inspiration for this conflict?

I suppose both of these viewpoints are inside me. I grew up on a farm, but I now live near Houston. I love the city and the country equally, and so does my husband. So, we are building our retirement home in the country, but because of a soon-to-be-built freeway nearby, we will have access to the city. But I won’t tell you how my heroine and hero work out this intense disagreement!

What is the farthest place from home you’ve ever been?

Melbourne, Australia. I loved it there. It’s such a beautiful and fascinating city. So much so, I set part of a novel there, which was entitled, Winter in Full Bloom. I’d love to go back to Australia someday, but it’s expensive, and it’s a very, very long flight!

Want to share one of your dreams?

I would love to have one of my books made into a movie. Right now two of my novels are optioned for movies, so I’m hoping something exciting will transpire from that.

How long have you known that you wanted to be a writer?

Growing up I dreamed of telling stories. When I was very young I started working on a novel about a man from Mars who wanted to go to college in New York. I never finished that novel, but it left an impression on me. I knew deep down that writing was my dream, even though I didn’t get around to fulfilling it until I was in my thirties.

What do you hope your readers will come away with after reading one of your novels?

I would love for them to be inspired, challenged, and entertained. If I accomplish even one of those things I would feel my writing time wasn’t wasted.

If you could have dinner with two well-known people, who would they be?

Josh Groban, because his music inspires me and Leif Enger, because I love the way he writes.

Is there something about you most people wouldn’t know?

I love licorice ice cream, but it’s a rare find.

Any advice for new writers?

My advice would be, “Don’t rush the process. Take your time. Read and learn about the craft, network, and attend conferences. Start a blog, and find your own unique voice. Be faithful to your stories and write every day. If you really have a passion for writing, you won’t find my suggestions to be a punishment—but a pleasure.”

How can your readers connect with you?

I would love for you to visit my website at www.anitahigman.com and connect with me through the “Contact Me” button, or you can go to my Facebook Reader Page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnitaHigman.

 

Destiny

GIVEAWAY- 3 Winners!!

Anita has graciously offered to give away two Kindle copies of A Question of Destiny and one novel-related gift, so 3 lucky winners will be drawn.  This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends Saturday, November 29 at 11:59 pm CST. 

Please leave a comment, including your email address.  Just for fun, I would love for you to answer the following question. 

What is one of your dreams?

 

To earn additional entries, you may do the following:
◦ Let me know you follow this blog, Buzzing About Books
◦ Sign up to follow this blog if you are not a follower
◦ Share this giveaway through Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or email

Be sure and leave a comment letting me know what you have done to earn additional entries.  Good luck!

Blog Tour: How a Star Falls- Review + Interview + GIVEAWAY

21 Nov

How a Star Falls bannerHow a Star Falls by Amber Stokes

Sweet NA Contemporary Romance Novella

How does a star fall?
Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly.

Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he’ll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it’s far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won’t stop trying to run his life.

Then Brielle falls into his world.

She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she’s crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can’t just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home.

And his whole world falls apart.

A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.

Thoughts:

How-a-Star-Falls-ebook-cover2How a Star Falls is a delightful, contemporary romance! I am such a fan of Amber Stokes’ historicals, and was excited about her new story and new genre, New Adult. I don’t normally read New Adult stories, but was so glad for the opportunity to read this one.

I enjoyed the charm and whimsy of Derrick and Brielle’s story. Their struggles, emotions, and vulnerabilities were wonderfully portrayed! I also enjoyed the vividness of the seaside setting of Humboldt County. How a Star Falls is certainly “heartfelt and fanciful”; a story of the power of believing in yourself and believing in others!

My thanks to Amber Stokes for the complimentary copy of How a Star Falls. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Purchase your copy of How a Star Falls on Amazon.

 

Amber has graciously answered a few of my questions.  Enjoy the interview below!

Amber Stokes Author Pic
Amber Stokes works as a content writer (marketing services) for a Christian publisher. On the side, she self-publishes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor’s degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, this new chapter of her career takes place in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she’s always considered home. Learn more about Amber’s books at www.SeasonsofaStory.blogspot.com.

 

Your previous publications have all been historicals. What prompted this journey into a new genre?

About a year ago, this vague sort of story idea about dancing stars hit me, and then it became “official” when my designer made me that beautiful cover. This came about before I’d published Forget Me Not and the companion short stories, so I guess it was just one of those times where a story inkling intrigued me and made me want to explore it. The genre that seemed to fit best was contemporary—a mixture of contemporary and fantasy, I suppose.

I’ve been reading more and more contemporary and fantasy stories lately, including plenty in the young-adult range, so I think the genre switch bloomed naturally from my growing reading preferences, as well as my desire to have something different to work on after “The Heart’s Spring.” That was the plan—to publish How a Star Falls after I completed my historical series. But Morning Glory (Book 3) wasn’t ready (or perhaps I should say I wasn’t ready for that story?), so my novella pushed its way to the front of my mind and heart. With all the transitions in my life this year (moving out on my own for the first time, starting a new full-time job, etc.), the final version of How a Star Falls flowed from more recent emotions and experiences.

How do you balance all of your writing responsibilities?

With a full-time job in marketing, this indie-author thing has become somewhat of a different animal! It probably helps that I write shorter pieces of fiction and not super long, epic novels. 🙂 So far, I guess I’m just learning how to prioritize tasks. While working on the first draft of How a Star Falls, I wrote some scenes in my journal, which allowed me to get some writing done during lunch at work. And since finishing the novella, I’ve just been focusing on one step at a time. Edits. Final proofing. Pre-order promotion. Release-time marketing. Etc.

I had hoped to start on a new story already, but I guess that will come soon enough. Baby steps, right? Of course, between work and my writing/book-blogging, I confess I do spend a ton of time in front of the computer…

Do you plan to revisit Derrick and Brielle in future stories?

I had planned for How a Star Falls to be a stand-alone. I’ve had some ideas about other new-adult novellas, and for a while I was thinking they’d be about different characters. But it always seems like reader feedback makes me want to write more about the characters I fall in love with. 🙂 Now I’m contemplating writing stories for Derrick’s sisters…which would, of course, include updates on Derrick and Brielle. But we’ll see how it goes! I find that my writing plans change and grow quite a bit over time. Maybe it’s that “pantser” part of me that likes to go with the creative flow!

Thank you so much, Amber!  I wish you much success with the release of How a Star Falls!

 

Connect with Amber:

Twitter: @SeasonsHumility

Blog: www.seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com

Website: www.seasonsofastory.blogspot.com

Pinterest: pinterest.com/seasonshumility

Goodreads: Amber Stokes

Google +:  +AmberStokes

 

GIVEAWAY!

Share in the excitement of Amber’s new release with a special starry giveaway!  You can enter to win one of three prize packs using the Rafflecopter form below.  Open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Ask the Author: Miralee Ferrell + GIVEAWAY

17 Nov

Miralee Ferrell- headshot
I am thrilled to welcome Miralee Ferrell back to Buzzing About Books!  Miralee loves interacting with readers and wants to answer your questions.  She is graciously offering one book from her Love Blossoms in Oregon series, winner’s choice.  To enter, simply ask Miralee a question in the comments below and stop by later to read her answer.

 

 

Miralee and her husband, Allen, live on eleven acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and go sailing. She is also able to combine two other passions—horseback riding and spending time with her grown children—since her married daughter lives nearby, and they often ride together on the wooded trails near their home. During early 2013 the family welcomed a baby granddaughter, and Miralee is totally in love with being a grandmother to baby Kate.

Ironically, Miralee, now the author of nine novels and a contributor in four compilations, never had a burning desire to write—at least more than her own memoirs for her children. So she was shocked when God called her to start writing after she turned fifty. To Miralee, writing is a ministry that she hopes will impact hearts, and she anticipates how God will use each of her books to bless and change lives.

An avid reader, Miralee has a large collection of first edition Zane Grey books that she started collecting as a young teen. Her love for his storytelling ability inspired her desire to write fiction set in the Old West. “But I started writing historical fiction without even meaning to,” Miralee says, laughing. She’d always planned on writing contemporary women’s fiction, but God had other ideas. After signing her first contract for the novel Love Find You in Last Chance, California, she decided to research the town and area. To her dismay, she discovered the town no longer existed and hadn’t since the 1960s. Though it had been a booming town in the late 1880s, it had pretty much died out in the 1930s. So her editor suggested switching to a historical version, and Miralee agreed, although she’d never even considered that era.

It didn’t take long to discover she had a natural flair for that time period, having read and watched so many Western stories while growing up. From that point on she was hooked. Her 1880s stories continue to grow in acclaim each year. Her novel Love Finds You in Sundance, WY, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction, and Universal Studios requested a copy of her debut novel, The Other Daughter, for a potential family movie.

Aside from writing and her outdoor activities, Miralee has lived a varied life. She and her husband have been deeply involved in building two of their own homes over the years, as well as doing a full remodel on a one-hundred-year-old Craftsman style home they owned and loved for four years. They also owned a saw mill at the time and were able to provide much of the interior wood products. Miralee has done everything from driving a fork lift, to stoking the huge, 120 year-old-boiler, and off-bearing lumber, to running a small planer and staking boards in the dry kiln.

Besides their horse friends, Miralee and her husband have owned cats, dogs (a six-pound, long-haired Chihuahua named Lacey was often curled up on her lap as she wrote this book), rabbits, and yes, even two cougars, Spunky and Sierra, rescued from breeders who didn’t have the ability or means to care for them properly.

Miralee and Allen have lived in Alaska and the San Juan Islands for just under a year each, where she became actively involved in women’s ministry. Later, she took a counseling course and earned her accreditation with the American Association of Christian Counselors, as well as being a licensed minister (not a pastor) through her denomination.

Miralee also speaks at women’s groups, libraries, historical societies, and churches about her writing journey.

http://www.miraleeferrell.com
http://www.twitter.com/miraleeferrell
http://www.facebook.com/miraleeferrell

 

RECENT RELEASES:

DreamingDaisies_Revised

 When her father’s debts, brought on by heavy drinking, threaten Leah Carlson’s family ranch, she fights to save it. When handsome banker Steven Harding must decline her loan request, he determines to do what he can to help. Just as he arrives to serve as a much-needed ranch hand, Leah’s family secrets—and the pain of her past—come to a head. They could destroy everything she’s fought for. And they could keep her from ever opening her heart again.

 

The Nativity Bride

 

Deborah Summers has waited five years and prayed for Curt Warren to return to Goldendale, Washington, passing up another marriage proposal by believing in her first love. When tragedy finally brings him home, will a rift with his father drive him away too quickly?

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY!

To enter to win your choice of one Love Blossoms in Oregon book, please ask Miralee a question in the comments below.  Then, enter the Rafflecopter.  Be sure to stop back by and read Miralee’s answers!  This giveaways is open to US residents only and ends Saturday, November 22 at 11:59 CST.   

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love Blossom in Oregon

 

 

Interview: Cynthia Hickey + GIVEAWAY

27 Oct

Cynthia Hickey

Multi-published and Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. Her first mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, won first place in the inspirational category of the Great Expectations contest in 2007. Her third cozy, Chocolate-Covered Crime, received a four-star review from Romantic Times. All three cozies have been re-released as ebooks through the MacGregor Literary Agency, along with a new cozy series, all of which stay in the top 50 of Amazon’s ebooks for their genre. She has several historical romances releasing in 2013, 2014, 2015 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold more than 260,000 copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs and two cats. She has five grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at http://www.cynthiahickey.com

Welcome to Buzzing About Books, Cynthia!

When did you decide to pursue writing and eventually publication?

I started writing seriously in 2007 and got my first book contract. I haven’t stopped since and now have over 30 books in either ebook or print form

What is your writing process like?  Do you write daily?  Are you a plotter or a pantster? 

I am a pantser, with a very small outline. I write Monday thru Friday from 8 to 2, and sometimes on Saturday if I have a deadline approaching. This is my job, which I love, and I treat it as such.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?  Least favorite?

My favorite is finishing a new book. I would have to say marketing is my least favorite

What is one of the most interesting things you’ve discovered in your research? 

My Harvey Girl series through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line was very interesting in the fact that these ladies of old played such a big part in taming the west. Many of these women who worked the restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad married at the end of their six-month contract and moved west.

Please tell us about your latest release, Handcarved Christmas.  Handcarved Christmas

Laura Worth answers an advertisement for a bride and leaves Missouri to meet her groom in Montana. When she gets there, she realizes her husband-to-be, Ben Cooper, has no knowledge of having sent for her. She is devastated, even more so when she breaks a precious heirloom. Ben’s heart goes out to the beautiful woman and he marries her in answer to his mother’s dying wish. As Christmas approaches, the two wonder whether their marriage will hold the love and intimacy God intended it to have. Will Ben win the heart of his unexpected gift?

Who or what inspired this special story? 

I thought it would be a lot of fun to have two people who knew nothing about each other, form a loving marriage from a surprise Christmas gift.

In Handcarved Christmas, an unexpected gift becomes a great blessing.  Have you experienced such a gift in your life? 

Not really, but wouldn’t it be fun?

The heroine, Laura Worth, treasures a precious heirloom.  Do you treasure any special heirlooms?    

I have a large volume of Little Women with handpainted pictures within the pages. I treasured this book as a child and it holds a prominent place on my bookshelf.

What special traditions or celebrations do you and your family enjoy during the holiday season?

We hang a stocking for Jesus. Before we can dig into our stockings or open presents, we must give Jesus something only we can give Him.

Is there anything else you would like to share?  What will you be working on next? 

I am working on a new series for Harlequin Heartsong presents dealing with natural disasters in America’s history and how love finds you despite adversity.

Thank you so much, Cynthia!  Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

http://www.cynthiahickey.com

 

GIVEAWAY!

A Doctor's Heart
Cynthia has graciously offered to give away one copy of A Doctor’s Heart!  Leave a comment, including your email address, to be entered to win.  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends Saturday, Nov. 1 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

To earn additional entries, you may do the following:
◦ Let me know you follow this blog
◦ Sign up to follow this blog if you are not a follower
◦ Share this giveaway through Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or email

Be sure and leave a comment letting me know what you have done to earn additional entries.

Interview: Darlene Franklin + GIVEAWAY

20 Oct

 

DarleneWelcome to Buzzing About Books, Darlene! Please share a little about yourself.

My greatest claim to fame is that I write full-time from a nursing home. I live in Oklahoma, near my son and his family, and continue my interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. I am an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. I have written over thirty books and has written more than 250 devotionals.

When did you decide to pursue writing and eventually publication?

After I was divorced, 23 years ago now, I felt compelled to write about the things God was teaching me. Once I got into the habit of writing every day, I never stopped.

What is your writing process like? How has it changed in the last few years?

I tend to have a warm up routine. I check any recent interviews and blog spots for comments, emails to answer, sales trends to follow . . .in other words, I waste a lot of time. My computer rests on a movable table in my room. Turn on light and computer and television and get to work.

When I entered the nursing home 2 years ago, I had to adjust my daily goals. I have less time to write, and so I take longer to write a book. I do play fewer online games than I used to.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?

My favorite part? Brainstorming ideas. Seeing the finished product. The satisfaction that the process worked and I have another good book on my hands.

The least favorite is the writing itself. It is long and hard and boring. At times, it is agonizing. In the book I’m currently writing, I’m reliving my days of raising troubled teens as a divorced mother.

What is one of the most interesting things you’ve discovered while doing research?

I was in the Colorado History Museum researching the history of Italians in Colorado when I heard elephants bugling. When I tracked down the exhibit, I learned that circus elephants who spent their winter months in Denver helped with clearing the streets after the worst storm in state history. That scene made it into my story, Dressed in Scarlet.

An Apple for ChristmasPlease tell us about your latest release, An Apple for Christmas.

An Apple for Christmas is Book 4 in the Christmas Traditions series. Ruby Nelson trades her job in the laboratory for teaching in a small girls’ school in Vermont. Twin sisters challenge her position—and their father captivates her imagination. Will the orchard grower graft Ruby onto his heart?

What inspired this delightful story?

I have been writing about Vermont for years – nine books in all, from the Revolutionary War to contemporary. I don’t expect to write any more books set in Maple Notch. But I love the setting (I’m a native New England), so I looked at Vermont industries in the 1890s and was surprised to learn they were leaders in apples nationwide. So I wrote my apple story.

In An Apple for Christmas, I enjoyed the characters’ names and their meanings. How did you decide which names to use?

Choosing Mac(intosh) for the hero was the easy part. I originally chose the last name “Brown” but then decided that Cortland was a fine last name which also happened to refer to apples.

Choosing the girls’ names was harder. Today there are several apples with female names. However, few of them were in production in the 1890s. Margil and Pippin were among the few I could confirm were grown in the United States in that period.

I could nearly smell the scent of apples as I read, especially during the scene where Margil was cooking in the kitchen! What are some of your favorite apple treats?

McDonald’s apple pies. Apple pie of any kind. Apple crisp. Caramel apples, except I can’t chew them anymore.

Is there anything else you would like to share? What will you be working on next?

Thank you for asking. I am finishing up my 8th Maple Notch story, Runaway Love. It should come out from Harlequin Heartsong Presents next August. After that, I will write the final book of the series, Homecoming.

In December, my novella Miss Bliss in the Bear will appear in The Preacher’s Bride Collection. This year, people seem drawn to Colorado Melodies and The New England Romance Collection.

Thank you so much, Darlene. Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

For now, the best places are my author page at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Franklin/e/B001K8993A/.

They can also find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Poet.Darlene.Franklin

An Apple for Christmas is available on Amazon

 

GIVEAWAY!

Darlene has graciously offered to give away one Kindle copy of An Apple for Christmas!  Leave a comment, including your email address, to be entered to win this delightful novella.  This giveaway ends Saturday, Oct. 25 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

To earn additional entries, you may do the following:
◦ Let me know you follow my blog
◦ Sign up to follow my blog if you are not a follower
◦ Share this giveaway through Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or email

Be sure and leave a comment letting me know what you have done to earn additional entries.