Love Takes Flight (Book Review)

LoveTakesFlight copyLove Takes Flight is the latest novel by Lee Carver. Her first offering was a historical World War II novel called A Secret Life. This story, while contemporary romance is no less filled with adventure!

Camille Ringold is an American nurse whose dream of marrying a doctor and living a fine life in the suburbs is destroyed. To escape the shame and give herself time to heal she volunteers to serve for two weeks in the Amazon. She is forced to face the harsh reality of life in the jungle and the desperation of the lost souls she learns to love.

On a mission of mercy the Wings of Hope plane is hijacked and she and missionary pilot Luke Strong barely make it away alive but have to survive in the jungle. Luke has been a challenge for her, a woman used to finer things and afraid of flying. But his faith compels her to dig deeper within to seek God’s leading. Her heart plays tug of war with the growing attraction to the handsome pilot and her struggle to give up on the more comfortable life she temporarily has left behind.

Returning home she is confronted with the persistent pursuit of the rejected lying doctor and she discovers that the dangers of the Amazon are nothing compared to what was waiting for her at home from this man.

Does she have the faith to risk it all for love? Is that even what God is asking of her or is it another escape? And as much as she adores Luke Strong, would he ever consider her as a possible partner in ministry and life?

This is a fast paced book filled with adventure and a realistic look at the hardship faced by those who serve indigenous people groups who desperately need to hear the gospel. I loved the way Camille’s struggles are portrayed. No idealistic dreams of saving the world but the reality of just how much sacrifice is involved is told with brutal clarity. Luke Strong is not a perfect hero either but is steadfast and lives up to his name as he protects and guides Camille . . . only to find him being saved by her dedication.

I loved this story and highly recommend it. Lee Carver is a master story-teller with an eye to detail that will make you feel like you are right there with the characters.

Writer Wednesday with Becky Wade

my stubborn heartBecky Wade quickly became one of my  favorite Contemporary inspirational authors with her debut novel, My Stubborn Heart which has become a cherished book read multiple times. I’ve enjoyed her subsequent novels as well. It is an honor to have her on my blog today!

When did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?
I decided to become an author shortly after graduating from college. I’d always been a reader. But it wasn’t until I frowned down at a book I disliked that I first thought, Maybe I could do this better? I was living overseas with my husband back then and had lots of time on my hands, a computer, and an imagination. As soon as I began work on that first manuscript, I fell in love with the process of writing. I’ve completed ten manuscripts now and that love for it has remained.
B-46

What’s your pet peeve?

When people take up a coveted space at the gas pump and then run inside to buy something inside the station.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?
At the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in 2013, I sat down at the Bethany House dinner and said to the woman seated next to me, “Hi, I’m Becky. What’s your name?” Um, it was the head of marketing at Bethany House. This is someone I communicate with via email ALL THE TIME. Someone I’d met face to face previously. So embarrassing! In my defense, she’d completely changed her hairstyle. And it had been more than two years since we’d seen each other.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?
Finding a balance between my writing responsibilities and my family responsibilities. My kids need a lot of my time and my writing needs a lot of my time, too. I typically put the kids first, but then I feel the pressure of the writing piling up. It’s stressful.

undeniably yoursHow do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?
Negative reviews: Honestly, I avoid reading them as much as possible. When I do read one, I simply tell myself that my books aren’t for everyone. If I tried to write to please everyone, I’d end up pleasing no one, least of all myself and God.

Rewrite requests from my editors: I let them simmer in my mind for a few days, sometimes as long as a week. While they’re simmering there, I’m striving to re-imagine the story in new ways, trying to figure out, ‘How could I make those suggestions work?’ I’ve found that, for me, it’s best to take an active fix-it approach rather than to sulk. Fixing it accomplishes more than sulking. :)

That said, there are times when business-related things I have no control over begin to tug me down. During those times, I read the Bible and pray and re-focus myself on what I’m doing with my books and why. I wait, in faith, for my positivity to return. And it always does.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?
For me, this job is about the quality of the work. God has called me and equipped me to be a writer so I truly want each book to be as good as I can make it. For Him. And I truly want to tell the story that He leads me to tell each time. My best success has been found in the feeling of satisfaction I receive when I come to a place where I finally feel that I’ve accomplished those goals with a story.

MeanttoBeMine_compWhat would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?
1. Write what you love.
2. Learn the craft.
3. Don’t worry so much about trying to build a platform and blogging and self-imposed deadlines. The joy in being unpublished is that you have freedom and time. Enjoy it! Have fun with your novel and your characters!

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?
A ministry of books that encourage believers in their faith and encourage non-believers to know Christ.

What is your current work in process?
I’m working on the final Porter family novel, Dru Porter’s story. It’s not yet titled and won’t release until May 2016!

Connect with Becky Wade on social media:

Website         Facebook          Twitter        Blog        Pinterest

Writer Wednesday with Melissa Tagg

melissa taggMelissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she’s also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever (not that she’s biased), watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next story. She’s passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings.

When did you decided that you would be an author? Was it something you fell into, felt called to… ?

I have always wanted to be an author. I loved books as a child and at some point my little kid brain realized that somewhere out there were people writing these books I loved. So I decided I’d do the same one day. That dream never left me.

What’s your pet peeve?

People who give me mean looks at stoplights when I’ve got my music loud in my car.  I’m sorry, I like to blare Needtobreathe when I drive!

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?made to last

I don’t embarrass too easily, but I’ll never forget winning an award, going up to give my speech and blurting out “holy crap.” Not exactly the composed speech I’d hoped to give.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

The biggest challenge has definitely been balancing my writing life with my fulltime day job with my attempts at having a social life. Juggling is hard, and this past year especially has been a challenge. But I keep thinking God doesn’t get us started on a path only to abandon us halfway down the road. So when my schedule gets overwhelming, I try to remember I’m not in this alone.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Ohhh those pesky reviews. I don’t yet have the self-control of some authors who just plain never read reviews. I definitely skim reviews and if I see a one- or two-star review, it’s similar to watching a scary scene in a movie when you know you should look away but just can’t. J Honestly, though, I have been blessed with somewhat thick skin…I don’t tend to dwell too long on negative reviews.

The couple times a not-so-great review has managed to get under my skin, I try to remind myself that not every story is for every person. And that very likely, the person writing the negative review doesn’t have anything against me personally…and also probably has no idea that the book they trashed was a piece of my heart. To them it’s just, you know, another book. I remind myself of all that…and then go eat ice cream.

Here to stayWhat do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Well, I’m still very much a newbie, but I think finishing my third book has been my biggest success so far. I have no idea what reader reaction will be to this story (From the Start, releasing April 2015) but it was definitely the hardest thing I’ve written so far…so simply getting it done feels like a massive success.

What would be your top three pieces of advice to newer, up and coming authors?

  1. Definitely, definitely focus on learning the craft…and the best way to do that is through joining a writing organizations like My Book Therapy. Hands-down one of the best things I ever did for my writing was to learn from award-winning authors like Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck who know the craft inside and out. Plus, the community and friendships I’ve formed through MBT are amazing.
  2. Find a craft partner…it doesn’t have to be someone who regularly critiques your work, although that can be beneficial too. But for me, simply having a craft partner to brainstorm with, to text when I’m stuck or frustrated, to share goals and prayer requests with, that’s such a wonderful thing. I have both a craft partner and a small group of writing friends who I work with and I can’t imagine doing this writing thing without them!
  3. Trust God. I know, it can sound like the most trite thing ever. And I’m great at talking about trusting God and not always so good at doing it. But I really, really believe he is capable of opening the coolest doors at the best times. There’s a lot of peace and rest that comes from handing our dreams over to him.

As a Christian author, what would you like your legacy to be?

Ooh, that’s a big question. I guess I’d like my legacy to be summed up in one word: love. I’d like to be remembered as someone who loves God and the people around me and who puts Gods love for us on display through my stories.

from the startWhat is your current work in process?

I just turned in the rewrites on my third book, From the Start, which releases next year. It’s about a jaded romance scriptwriter and a wounded ex-football player. She’s hungry for what she thinks is gritty, real life…and he just wants to keep living in the make believe world of his past fame.

Next up is book four which I’m plotting as we speak.

Links to social media:

Website    Facebook   Twitter   Goodreads

Instagram    G+

Wishing on Buttercups (Book Review)

buttercups      I managed to snag a free copy of Wishing on Buttercups by Miralee Ferrell. This is book 2 in her Love Blossoms in Oregon series and is a great stand-alone romance.
     Beth Roberts has run away to a small town in Oregon to escape heartache and a painful past. No only does she keep a physically painful secret but she also keeps her profession a secret as well. She doesn’t believe she could trust anyone with the truth of who she really is.
     Jeffery Tucker has run away as well, from family expectations and demands, in order to pursue his own dreams as a novelist. LIving in the same boarding house as Beth and her aunt, he finds himself drawn to the young woman of faith and mystery. He finds himself intrigued not only with who she is, but also her views of a personal God and a living faith.
     Memories surface revealing more and more of the pain of Beth’s shadowy past as two men seek her out. Who can she trust? She finds herself drawn to Jeffery and even more so when her illustrations are part of his debut novel appearing in a series in a national magazine. Little does she know that even with a pseudonym she has drawn attention to someone from her past.
Can she trust Jeffery with the truth? She’s drawn to the man but in her heart believes that no one would ever be able to love her. As the past merges into the present both Beth and Jeffery have ot confront their deepest pains and struggle to forgive. And maybe, just maybe find love she never thought could be hers.
     This is a sweet novel. Some of the dialogue seemed stilted but this is 1880’s West and even in the rough and tumble wilderness of Oregon politeness and proprieties would be observed so I’m not even sure that is an entirely just criticism. The story is well written and the characters make you want to care about them and their potential for a future together. Miralee does a good job at keeping Beth’s past as much a mystery to the reader as it is to her until it is fully revealed toward the end of the story. Sweet title and nice cover. This is a charming inspirational romance.

World Wide Blog Hop

I’m answering four questions from Cheri Burbach for the World Wide Blog Hop.

Baganz 0524 Edited color

What am I working on?

I’ve got a lot of things going right now. I’m trying to finish up some editing projects for other authors with Prism Book Group so I can be ready for November which is National Novel Writing month. I’ll be writing my fifth book in a series (the first two are already contracted. Pesto and Potholes releases Spring of 2015). This will be my third full length novel this year. I’ve never accomplished that before. This will be my sixth year doing NaNoWriMo. I also am working on edits of my historical.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Every author has their own unique voice. The Orchard Hill series is set against the backdrop of Orchard Hill Church to show the importance of a viable faith in this crazy, mixed up world. I guess that would be the biggest uniqueness is that the church is its own character in the novels. I love the local church and have found my own biggest growth has taken place in community with other believers and especially under healthy, godly leadership. I want to show how wonderful and messy that can be . . . and how vital it is for any believer. I think I manage that without being preachy as I focus more on relationships than deep theology.

Why do I write/create what I do?

The world is scary and hard and I wanted to tackle the reality of those struggles for especially 20-30 something adults but make faith in Christ an integral and fundamental part of facing those challenges. I think my hope is to give them solid truth to cling to in a world that tells them compromise is acceptable. Ultimately our emotional and spiritual growth compels us to maturity in our faith, but it’s through the challenges we really grow. I’m a romance author so that is woven in. I love happily-ever-afters.

How does my writing/creating process work?

I’m a panster which means I write by the seat of my pants. I often will come up with a title and maybe my two main characters. Sometimes I will do a character interview with them before I start writing but sometimes the story just comes. I get that first inciting incident and I write it and the characters take over from there. It’s a wild roller coaster ride wondering what’s going to happen next and at times even I am surprised at the way things go in my story or how my characters react to events. I love the rush of a first draft.

_______________________________________

That’s enough about me! Here are three writers I’d like to introduce you to. Feel free to visit them as they continue with the blog hop:

Rachel A JamesRachel James

Born and bred in England, Rachel writes inspirational medieval romance, she is also a pastor’s wife, and has three beautiful little princesses. She minored in creative writing at university and strives to entertain, inspire and encourage others in their own spiritual journey. She’s also captivated by romantic tales… combine it with a little history and a hot cup of tea, and she’s smitten! Find her at www.rachelajames.com for more information.

Connect with Rachel: Website   Facebook   Amazon Author   Twitter   Google+

 

Renee Headshot2Renee Blare

Renee Blare’s nose has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the awesome town of Laramie. She’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

After a brief detour to Texas, she back home, nestled against the Black Hills with her husband, crazy old dog and ornery cat. Add her son and parents dropping in for a home-cooked meal, and life’s never dull around her house. She serves the community of northeastern Wyoming as a pharmacist and pens her stories about struggling Christians as they travel along the journeys of their lives—meanwhile keeping things interesting with some action and intrigue, of course. She loves to interact with readers and invites you to check out her website, blog, and social media.

Social Media Contacts: Website   Facebook   Twitter     Groupblog   Pinterest   Goodreads  Tumblr    LinkedIN     Google+

HeadShotAug2014Lee Carver

Lee has lived in six foreign countries and studied nine languages including German and French. She and her husband traveled extensively throughout Europe while living in Spain. A five-week World War II history tour covering the areas where her father-in-law fought created the stimulus for this book.

Lee taught biology and chemistry, served as a volunteer church musician, and in retirement was a missionary in the Brazilian Amazon. She is a member of ACFW and president of its ACFW-DFW “Ready Writers” Chapter, and is active in Stephen Ministry and Kid’s Hope.

Lee is a member of ACFW and president of its local chapter, ACFW-DFW Chapter aka Ready Writers, and enjoys quite a few non-writerly endeavors.

Website   Facebook

 

The Forgotten Princess of Elmetia (Book Review)

Lost princessThe Forgotten Princess of Elmetia by Rachel James is a Medieval romance with plenty of action. The book takes place in the 600’s AD of Great Britain in the region of Elmetia where Princess Teagan as a girl finds escape from the carnage of her father’s kingdom in taking on the identity of a servant. She is transported to another land where she serves an evil king, all the while believing that not only had her father perished in the battle, but her older brother, Niall, as well.

Teagan comes across information that her brother is still alive and a warrior, Ryce is being commissioned to kill him. She escapes to try to seek out her brother and warn him. Unfortunately a series of misadventures occur when she is rescued by Ryce and his side-kick Sherwin, then captured and rescued and . . . well, I don’t want to give away spoilers!

Teagan is an intrepid young woman and devoted to her family but even finding her home as royalty again, she realizes that she didn’t gain the freedom she thought she had and struggles with her role as Princess in a new land. Learning to trust Ryce, the Saxon warrior who was initially her enemy adds an interesting wrinkle to the story as well as Ryce and Sherwin’s struggle to understand the God of the Bible as being superior to multiple gods.

I was amazed at the amount of research this author put into her story and I believe that women, young and old will enjoy the tale of this Princess and her struggle not only for freedom for her and her people, but also for her own identity and for love, will grip the heart of any princess-tale loving little girl who still lives in many women.

I look forward to reading the sequel when it comes out next year!

Breach of Trust (Book Review)

breach of trustDiAnn Mills is a fabulous romantic suspense author so when I came across her book Breach of Trust, I was thrilled. This book was the winner of the 2010 Christy Award as well as the 2010 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. And for good reason.

When Daniel Keary runs as a candidate for governor of her state, former CIA agent, Paige Rogers is on edge. Having worked with him seven years ago, his betrayal and lies cost her everything. Her identity, her family, her career . . . and her son. Now he wants her under his thumb but Paige isn’t quite so gullible. Her newfound faith since the tragedy of those events, propels her to work on the side of truth, before more people are killed to bankroll Keary’s dreams.

In hiding as a small town librarian, she runs into a snag with the attentions of the High School football coach. But if she admits who she really is, she will lose all she holds dear and risks lives of those she loves most, even those she had befriended in her new town.

But there’s at least one mole, in her town or in the CIA that is undermining her attempts to seek to protect the citizens of her state. But along with choices in who to trust becomes an issue of how she can live a lie while clinging to God. How far can she trust Him with the truth and the outcome if she steps out of the shadows to confront evil?

This was an anxiety producing read. It was hard to put down because the characters were so well-developed and the layers of mystery unfolded at such a pace to keep the reader wondering if Paige was really going to succeed, much less survive. Could all the dreams had sacrificed be restored to her if she stepped out in faith? You’ll have to read the book to find out! There’s a reason it won awards.