Spatzle Speaks: Hounded (Anita Klumpers)

houndedFinally, a book about dogs. Could anything be better? Well, the answer is yes, as author Anita Klumpers writes a fascinating tale about dogs called Hounded.

Mom says that’s not true. It’s about a woman.

Really? 

Okay. So it’s about a widow named Elise. She’s not too sad that her stuffy husband croaked. After all she has to dogs to love her. But this is the second husband she’s lost and this one is filthy rich. (Mom says she wished she could relate to that, but I’m content.) And now they think he was murdered and she is suspect number one.

This book is part of a new series by Prism Book Group called “Love is . . .” which is exploring 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a. This one looks at “Love is patient.”

An old friend who happens to be a pastor is really patient with Elise. Oh, boy is he patient. But love makes you do weird things from what I understand. I love my mom and dance for her for a treat so I can relate. But the dogs keep getting into mischief and the last thing she wants is to hear about the God who allowed her first husband, who she loved, to die. Life isn’t fair and she was having nothing of a God who orchestrated that.

This is a fast-paced romantic suspense that will keep the reader turning the pages. Anita has a special way with words and obviously with dogs because I kept panting for more. It’s a tail-wagger for sure. I give it five bones because that’s what I do. I’m a dog. I don’t do stars and I lack thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

 

5 bones for blog

 

 

 

Writer Wednesday: Danele Rotharmel

Danele Rotharmel

Danele is a sweet spirit with a personal story as compelling as the fiction she writes. I hope you enjoy getting to know and enjoy her as much as I have since we first met face to face in May of 2014 in the Rocky Mountains.

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

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was five, but illness seemed to cut those dreams short. A faulty furnace in my home had a low-level carbon monoxide leak that almost killed me. This poisoning triggered severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. My illness continued to worsen, and eventually, I was quarantined in my home for seven years. As I began to regain my health, I used writing as a way to escape my physical pain and loneliness. When the pain was especially bad, I would lie in bed, look up at the ceiling, and think up plot twists and funny scenes. The Time Counselor Chronicles was my secret land. It was my escape hatch. It was the place where my pain, heartache, and loneliness couldn’t invade. By the time quarantine was over, I had written the first six book in my series. Time Tsunami, my first book, was published just a few weeks ago. When I was writing my books, I harbored a breathless dream that they would someday be published, but publication wasn’t why I was writing. I was writing to entertain myself and give myself hope.

What’s your pet peeve?

Besides pens that leak all over my manuscript or running out of Post-It-Notes? I suppose it would be lack of time. The days stream by so quickly. It feels like I just get up and then it’s time to go to bed again. I don’t know how the hours fly by so fast! I get whiplash just by looking at the clock! I also HATE hyphens. I drive myself NUTS over hyphens. Honestly, they are the bane of my existence. It doesn’t matter how much I study the rules surrounding them—I still get confused. Most people get confused over commas—but me?? Ugg!! It’s those nasty little hyphens. I actually had a nightmare about them once—the hyphens in my manuscript turned into squirmy, hissing snakes and crawled over and tried to strangle me.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

Oh, Susan! You ACTUALLY want me to admit it?? It’s funny now, but it was horrible at the time. When I was getting ready for the Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park, Colorado, one of the things I had to do was prepare a synopsis of Time Tsunami. I worked for months on that synopsis. I perfected EVERY detail. I scrutinized every comma—the placement of every sentence. But when I went to the conference and began handing my synopsis out to editors, I realized that I had misspelled tsunami. Oh!—The!—Agony! It reminded me of my high school graduation party when I “Mr. Cleaned” the counters twenty times and totally forgot to dust the end tables by the couch. Somehow, the word “tsunami” was wrong in my computer’s dictionary, and I never caught the mistake. Luckily, no one at the conference did either—or else they were too nice to mention it.

 What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

Hands down, my illness. There were years when I literally couldn’t write a word. I’d try so hard to write, but it was as if the creative part of my brain was frozen. It was like trying to run on crippled feet or trying to see with blind eyes. When my partial amnesia cleared up, so did my problems with writing. I was so glad when I could write stories again. There is such a creative rush that occurs during the writing process. I really missed it when I was ill.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Being a writer can be very scary. You’re taking a secret part of yourself, putting it on display, and holding it up for criticism. You’ve spent countless hours agonizing over your book, trying to make it just right. You hope that everyone will love it, but that’s not realistic. We live in a world where some people don’t like chocolate or ice cream. And if that’s the case, there’s no way everyone is going to like what you write. Rejection hurts, but I try to put it in perspective. And the first step is to categorize why the negative review is coming my way. Is it constructive and meant to make me better? Is it a matter of taste—like broccoli vs. green beans? Or is it mean? If it’s constructive, I listen and try to learn. If it’s a matter of taste, I try to shrug it off. If it’s mean-spirited, I pray for that person and realize that everyone has bad days. When it comes to rejection, I think the most important thing is to be confident in who you are and what you are writing. If you love your book, it doesn’t really matter what anyone says–but OUCH it hurts sometimes!

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

The proudest moment of my life was when my father told me he loved my book.

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

  1. Don’t force publication. Wait on God’s timing. Make sure you’re where God wants you to be. Seek His face. God has a perfect plan in motion—wait for it to unfold. And when God tells you to move—do it!
  2. Try to make a schedule and write something—even if it’s only a sentence—every day. Use the moments right before you go to sleep, and right after you wake up, to think about your story. I plan most of my dialogue and plot twists that way—not at the computer.
  3. Enjoy writing. Make it fun. Write for YOUR pleasure. Get a KICK out of it! If your book is entertaining to you—it probably will be for your readers too. Giggle at your funny scenes. Cry at your sad ones. Be breathless. Be energized. Don’t stand aloof from your characters—live the story with them. Let your book come alive. Immerse yourself in it, and HAVE A BLAST!

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

I wrote my novels as a way to distract myself from physical pain and the loneliness of quarantine. I want my books to be an enjoyable escape for my readers.  I want them to get lost in the world I created. But more than that, I want my readers to see God’s love. During quarantine, I came to a deeper understanding of God and my relationship with Him. I’m hoping that some of what I learned is transmitted through the pages of my novels.

What is your current work in process?

On January 15th my book, Time Tsunami, was released. Time Tsunami is the first book in The Time Counselor Chronicles. I wrote it while I was in quarantine, and I had such a BLAST creating the characters and engineering plot twists! Here’s the back cover blurb:

To stop a cruel serial killer, she must travel twenty-four years into the past… Gil Montgomery, a cadet in the Temporal Counseling Program, can’t wait to pass her field exam and become a professional time surfer. The TEMCO program targets death-row offenders for time-based counseling while they’re children.  For her exam, Gil will travel twenty-four years into the past to counsel ten-year-old Danny Winston before he murders his abusive babysitter, Rick Olsen.  Preventing the stabbing should stop the chain of events leading to Danny’s eventual execution. Gil’s assignment seems simple until her adviser, Dr. William Ableman, learns that Rick is a serial killer targeting Danny’s mother.  If Gil stays and protects the Winstons, she might not survive.  William wants the woman he loves to be pulled from the field, but if Gil fails to complete her assignment, it will unleash a Time Tsunami and destroy the timeline. As TEMCO undergoes an emergency lockdown, and Gil’s fellow cadets try to figure out what’s happening, Gil and William learn the importance of faith and the price of true love. Everyone’s fate is resting in Gil’s hands, but does she have the strength she needs to defeat a ruthless serial killer intent on annihilating everyone in his path? Will she return from the deadly mission…

I hope that people will really enjoy my book. I hope it brings them happiness.

Thank you so much for interviewing me, Susan! I really appreciate the opportunity to talk with you and your readers.

 Links to social media:

 My Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

My Blog’s Welcome Page: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

Amazon link to my book: Time Tsunami

 

 

 

Spatzle Speaks: Catch of a Lifetime (Book Review)

downloadMom likes football, but only watches the Packers. She’s not big into sports but said she really enjoyed Candee Fick’s novel, Catch of a Lifetime. She must have because she stayed up late reading it instead of snuggling with me for sleep.

Cassie has come to Colorado from Alabama, but not with a banjo on her knee. More like with a weight of sorrow and unforgiveness in her heart. She’s going to be an athletic trainer but is dismayed to find out that she has to work with football players. Initially Mom didn’t know why this was a problem for Cassie but it does get revealed later in the story.

Reed lost his career in football to an injury so now he’s coaching but this is his first job and his best player isn’t doing well in academics. Cassie has to be the bearer of the bad news and the one to tutor the guy. Reed soon realizes she has her own lost dreams and is really good at what she does in helping players recover from injuries. Pretty soon he think he might wanting more of a relationship with this young woman, but she’s a student and employed by the department. A higher authority gives him permission as long as they keep it hush-hush.

Not an easy thing to do. Challenges abound as the season wears on and love grows. Disaster strikes but God brings some wonderful things out of that including proof that the hard work Reed has done in instilling values and integrity in the majority of his players proves that some things are more important than winning a game. Faith plays a key role as well and is woven in seemlessly.

Because Mom couldn’t put the book down and finished in less than 24 hours, it earns a five bone rating. Because I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

5 bones for blog

Stephanie’s Story (Salsa & Speed Bumps)

How do I come to write a story? My friend Lisa Lickel teaches about using the “what if?” question. So I did that with my character Stephanie. What if a nice Christian gal is dating a guy and raped within that relationship. She doesn’t report (most don’t) and finds out later that because of that one event, she’s now pregnant?

And “what if?” she meets the man of her dreams while she’s debating whether to keep or give the baby up for adoption.

Just how complicated could that relationship be?

Let’s just say: VERY. (Yeah, a word an author is not supposed to use).

Salsa & Speedbumps has released and there is so much packed within those pages, I hope readers will enjoy taking the journey with Stephanie and Roberto. And for fans of Renata and Tony from Pesto & Potholes, you’ll get a glimpse into their lives too! So fun!

This is more than a romance. Far more.

If I were to come up with a song for Stephanie it would be:

If I were to come up with a song that represented Roberto it would be this old classic becuase “I would give it all, I would sacrifice” fits Roberto so well:

 

Spatzle Speaks: Salsa and Speed Bumps (Book Review)

SalsaandSpeedbumps copy (2)Mom said I shouldn’t be reviewing her book. But I insisted (as did some of my fans). Mom wrote a cool book called Salsa & Speed Bumps and it’s pretty good even if there is no dog in it.

But Stephanie would like a dog. There’s a scene in there where they talk about it. I guess that’s close enough since her apartment won’t allow them to have one. *sigh* What’s up with human’s and those kinds of restrictions anyway? We’re man’s best friend, aren’t we? I’m Mom’s best friend and her biggest fan.

Here’s the “puppy” scene. It’s my favorite: 

 “Christmas is just around the corner.”
   “Really? I hadn’t noticed.”
    “Come on, Mom and Dad didn’t do too bad getting a tree up and decorated.”
    “They did a fine job. Much better than I could have managed with my bulging belly getting in the way.”
   “I happen to be fond of your bulging belly. Reminds me of Santa Claus.”
   “Very funny.” She snuggled up to Robbie’s side. “If you had a wish for Christmas, what would it be?”
   “That forty years from now, I would be as in love with you as I am today.”
   Stephanie smiled. “I like that.”
   “Did you have Christmas wish?”
   “Mine isn’t big enough.”
   “What was it?”
   “You’ll laugh at me.”
   “Come on, I want to know.”
   “I want a puppy.”
   “A puppy.”
   “Yes, a puppy.”
   “We may need to wait a while for that one. Dogs aren’t allowed on our lease.”
   “I know, but you asked. Wishes don’t have to be realistic.”
   “No, they don’t. But how about I lick your face and pant in your ear. Will that do in the meantime?”
   Stephanie grinned and gave her husband a kiss, “Oh, that’ll do.”

If you read Pesto & Potholes, you’ll recognize Stephanie as Renata’s roommate. But Renata has moved on and now Stephanie is facing a big challenge. New life. New love. New battles.

Roberto is a cute lawyer. He has blue eyes. I have one brown and one blue eye. Why couldn’t Mom write a character like that? Maybe someday? Anyway, he’s a stand-up guy trying to do the right thing and not letting Stephanie’s challenge keep him from seeking a relationship with her. He’s got his own issues anyway although looking at him one would never know that. But Mom struggles to with some things that most would never know about (Except me. I am after all her best friend).

As the two of them date they both face challenges along the way. I gotta say that there’s a little more “heat” and adventure in this book than in Pesto & Potholes. Spicy salsa really isn’t my thing but I do like the chips. Nacho cheese is fine too. But I digress. Are there ninjas? Yeah, but not like in Pesto & Potholes. Mom assures me this is the last book they show up in. There are several more in this series and Feta & Freeways is up next (I like cheese).

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

I appreciate how Mom wove faith into this and it’s fun seeing the down side as well as the blessings of being part of a church and how that hindered and helped Stephanie and Roberto. Mom said it’s so easy, even as a Christian to judge on outward appearances and that sometimes she’s ashamed to admit she does that too. Ooops. That’s probably supposed to be confidential. 

Mom writes historical fiction and she said that there is a phrase in the book that dates back to the early 1800’s and she wants to know if readers can find it. She said it’s in there three times! Guess she got confused what century she was writing for.

I give my mom five bones and lots of kisses for this book. She’s worked very hard on it. No stars, because I’m a dog.

5 bones for blog

 

Spatzle Speaks: Time Tsunami (Book Review)

time tsunamiMom spoke so highly of Danele’s writing that I was eager to get my paws on her debut novel, Time Tsunami.

Okay, so here’s the scoop, and I’m not talking a pooper-scooper either, this is a good one. There’s a girl named Gil. Well, a woman really and she surfs through time to prevent people from ending up on death-row. The only problem is on this particular job, saving one person might result in other deaths. It’s a conundrum. (Mom had to explain that word to me, but I still don’t get it).

There’s romance in the works too with Will and he’s worried that Gil might not survive. He wants her to come home but she wants to do her job. If she fails then the effects will destroy the timeline.

Sounds a little like Doctor Who meets the future and actually tries to change the past. But he doesn’t surf and Gil does. Sounds cool right? Surfing time? That’d be fine if I liked water. It’s fine to drink but not fond of baths or getting my feet wet. I can enjoy it in a book though.

Twists and turns keep the reader from wanting to put this book down. Mom stopped petting me as she read it she got so engrossed in the story. And she thought it was more fun than tummy rubs. Really? As if anything could be more wonderful than that. Apparently this is.

5 bones for blog Danele writes compelling stories. It would be cool if this were a movie someday. Timey-wimy stuff ain’t got nothing on Time Tsunami. It’s way better. I give it five bones, again, because I’m a dog. I don’t do stars.

 

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

Writer Wednesday: Beth Ziarnik

Beth's head shotBeth Ziarnik has been an unexpected blessing early on in my own writing journey and it’s a thrill that after all she’s invested in me and so many others, that I can celebrate with her the fruit of her efforts: her first published novel, Her Deadly Inheritance.

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

I was in elementary school—maybe nine or ten years old. Standing within our small town library, I gazed at a shelf of fairy tale books—the Green Book, the Red Book, the Blue Book, the Yellow Book, and so many more. That’s when I decided I’d love to write stories that gave readers as much enjoyment as those books gave me. Actually, I’m not far off the mark as I writing romantic suspense. Fairy tales are love stories, right? And each has some huge and frightening obstacle the heroes and heroines must overcome. It wasn’t until my late teens that I fell in love with romantic suspense. About fifteen years later, I began to dream and plan to write my own novels—long before Christian publishers considered releasing the genre. I’ve learned since then that dreams are often planted in our hearts by God who is already guiding us along paths that prepare us to take hold of those dreams.

What’s your pet peeve?

I’m not sure I have one. Twelve years of severe Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome knocked a boatload of impatience out of me. As for the illness, the Lord healed me almost 16 years ago.

What was your most embarrassing moment as a writer?

During the 2013 Write-to-Publish Conference Awards Banquet while relaxing after dinner and enjoying the presentations. When Chris Richards announced the winner of her company’s award, she said something about “Beth” and not wanting to butcher the writer’s last name. I looked around, expecting some other Beth to stand up. I turned back, and Chris smiled at me and nodded. I totally froze! Couldn’t move a muscle. Not until the writer next to me grinned and leaned over to whisper, “Beth, you have to go up and receive the award.”

I quickly joined Chris and turned my back to the microphone to ask her, “Are you sure?” Yes, it was real! And, from the soft, supportive laughter in the room, it seems everyone there knew at the start that I was the Beth Chris had been talking about.

What has been your most difficult challenge as an author?

her deadly inheritanceHanging in there down through the years as I was learning the skills to become a published novelist. Especially the last few years before Rowena Kuo at Lighthouse of the Carolinas offered a contract to publish Her Deadly Inheritance. During that time of waiting for breakthrough, I knew I was close but couldn’t quite make it. Editors and agents asked for the full manuscript. No one made an offer—though they all encouraged me to keep seeking the agent who would love and champion my work. That agent turned out to be Jim Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. I signed with him in August 2013. Then in December 2014, Rowena offered a contract and teamed me with editor Chris Richards who, about the time of the contract offer, had joined the LPC family.

How do you process rejections and/or negative reviews?

Rejection is difficult, but I’ve learned not to take it personally. Editors and agents want us to succeed, but first, we have to get to the necessary level of skill, and then offer them something they can actually use in their magazine or book line-up.

What do you feel is the best success so far in your writing career?

Making the multitude of wonderful friends in the industry—writers (published or unpublished), mentors, editors, agents, conference directors and staff. All with beautiful hearts determined to serve the Lord and honor him with their growing talents. I am blessed and so thankful to God for them. I feel the same about readers, whether or not they have responded to my articles and columns to let me know what those writings have meant to them.

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

  • Be patient and keep working on your craft. It will happen! You will get published, if you don’t quit. Keep learning and practicing.
  • Go to writer’s conferences and seminars. You will learn more than you ever dreamed. You’ll be encouraged, make lasting friendships, and have the blessed chance to encourage others. You will also speed up your journey to the land of published works and learn how to continue to grow in skill and be published.
  • Pray! God alone knows your path to published works. Lay your ideas and manuscripts at his feet. Ask him for wisdom and guidance to both write and market. He’ll be happy to help you, if only you ask and obey.

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

That, through my writings, I have encouraged others to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) and to love in the beautiful, unselfish way the Lord describes in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

What is your current work in process?

I’m writing a continuation of Jill’s and Clay’s story as they face another life-threatening situation and new challenges to their growing love. It’s Christmas time as they arrive at her birth father’s Milwaukee mansion to spend a few days getting to know him. There they find him gravely ill and his life in danger from some unknown source—a danger that spreads to include Jill. Add to the mix, Jill’s former fiancé who decides to give Clay serious competition.

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