Tag Archive | Bethany House

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.

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


Tried and True (Book Review)

Tried and TrueI had the opportunity to get a copy of Tried and True (Wild at Heart) by Mary Connealy in exchange for a review. Now this is not an onerous task by any means. Mary’s style of writing her westerns has always been flavored with a unique voice that adds a bit of humor to even the most challenging situations her characters encounter.

Tried and True was no exception to this as she starts a new series, Wild at Heart that I suspect will follow the adventures of the Wilde sisters who, in disguise, fought in the Civil war after their brother was killed. Their father is a bit wrapped up in his grief and they’ve traveled west to homestead using their time served to help pay for the time needed to claim a homestead.

That plan however is a bit unnerved by the fact that Kylie Wilde, the youngest sister, really likes being a woman. While wearing pants has its advantages at times, she likes her hair long and wearing skirts and dreams of a more civilized life in the East.

She encounters land agent Aaron Masterson who  quickly discovers the ruse the girls have plotted to gain their land. Can he let them keep their secret as he falls in love with Kylie? He just wants to finish his job and move far from civilization as possible.

As both struggle to reconcile their conflicting dreams with their growing attraction, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Kylie has a choice to make to follow her heart and desire for this man over her desire for tea parties and pretty dresses. Can she give that up and live in the untamed West?

I love Mary’s writing and her characters are lively and I look forward to reading the rest of this series. This was a book that was hard to put down and I smile every time I think about it, because it was just that enjoyable. Kudos again to Bethany House for their amazing cover design.

Silenced (Book Review)

Book - SilencedSilenced is the fourth and final book in Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series. I find this terribly sad because I wanted Reef to have his own story! Boo hoo.

Kayden McKenna is probably the most walled up emotionally of the family. Things changed between her and Jake Westin during the last adventure when his past was revealed. It stripped away Kayden’s defenses as her heart warms to the tragic past Jake had hidden from them all.

Kayden however is thrust into solving a crime with Jake after she discovers the body of a dead climber and realizes that it had to be murder. Asking questions in small Alaskan villages amongst the tight-knit climbing community seems to have put her, and Jake, in the crosshairs of the killer who is teasing them and stringing them along. But is there one murderer to track?

Jake is head over heels in love with Kayden but doubts she would ever return the affection. As they work side by side and face an enemy from his past, will either of them be alive long enough for him to tell her how he really feels?

Stalkers and uncovering the ugly sins of others has consequences, even for those who have done nothing wrong and Jake and Kayden have to work together to uncover the killer(s). Fascinating story that kept me guessing while giving an inside look into the world of rock climbing (that I will never engage in!). I’m only sad it is the final story in the series, but look forward to seeing what Dani comes up with next to keep us from sleeping at night.

Stranded (Book Review)

StrandedDani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series has me hooked and apparently others too since I had to wait for others to finish her novels before I could get my hands on them at the library. Stranded is book number three and filled with adventure while looking at . . . well, not giving away spoilers!

Darcy St. James had been the pesky reporter in book #2 (Shattered). She had helped prove Reef’s innocence while falling in love with the McKenna family . . . and particularly Gage. She had given up investigative reporting until an urgent call from her old partner compels her to join the staff of a cruises ship as a travel reporter to uncover some mystery.  But when Darcy arrives, her friend suddenly disappears and the intrigue deepens.

Gage McKenna has been contracted to lead expeditions for the cruise line and is shocked to find himself coming face to face with Darcy. The fact that she’s a reporter doesn’t make it easier. The fact that she’s investigating a hidden crime for trouble she’s unaware of, deeply concerns him.

Eventually Gage and most of McKenna clan are involved in solving this mystery . . . and keeping Darcy safe. The deeper the trouble goes, the more Gage is forced to admit two things–he desperately needs God and he’s in love with the pesky reporter. But can he find her, alive in time to tell her so?

Beautiful scenery and adventure are hallmarks of Dani Pettrey’s writing in this series and her characters become much-loved as you follow their stories, love and faith. I don’t think this book would disappoint anyone seeking a romantic suspense that will keep you guessing.

A Match of Wits (Book Review)

a match of witsA Match of Wits by Jen Turano is the fourth book in her historical romance series. I was given this book to review at my request. I have enjoyed Jen’s writings ever since reading her first book A Change of Fortune. I equally enjoyed A Talent for Trouble and A Most Peculiar Circumstance. A Match of Wits did not disappoint in displaying Jen’s unique voice filled with wit and whimsy.

Agatha is a reporter from New York who someone wants dead. To preserve her life she heads West to seek stories and write, encountering a series of adventures along the way, keeping her bodyguard and companion busy. Her deepest secret is the love she had for a certain man, Zayne, who reappears when she least expects it in a Colorado mining town.

Zayne is at his low point in life and looks now more like a scraggly mountain man than the dashing man about town Agatha used to know. Having struck gold in a mine and been left with a permanent and painful leg, Zayne Beckett has chosen a life of isolation to nurse his wounds and avoid any real relationships, including that of his friends and family back in New York. Agatha however finds Zayne at this low point and through a further series of misadventures, and coerces him into going home to recover from his latest disaster.

Little did Zayne realize that the exquisite and irritating Agatha was the woman he loved all along. With her life in danger and his leg in a cast, how is he to protect her? And why, with all the schemes of the matchmakers around him, can he not woo this woman to be his wife?

If this book were a movie I think it would rival an old slapstick with the antics the characters engage in.  I could imagine a young Dick Van Dyke as Zayne! Jen writes her humorous romances with a light touch and while she places them in ridiculous situations at times, she writes a believable and enjoyable story filled with love and faith that will leave you smiling. Well done, Jen and again, a beautiful cover by Bethany House.


What’s Your Favorite Flavor?

Image courtesy of debspoons / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of debspoons / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? My oldest son is pure vanilla. My daughter loves cherry and my middle son love Reece’s ice cream.

Hubby will eat about anything. I don’t think he has a favorite.

I love a mint chocolate chip but have been known to enjoy butter pecan or praline ice cream at times. Because ice cream messes with my asthma, it’s a few and far between treat…and it better be the best there is when I do have it.

Now if you asked me about favorite popsicle flavor I would be all over the board. I love cherry but also root beer and banana!

Our reading tastes are as varied and diverse as our taste for cool deserts in summer. For instance, I love a good romance, but I’m not as keen on southern romances and avoid Amish. I’m a fan of western historical and Regency time period. I have friends who love WWII fiction. Others who love thrillers or mysteries. I love a good romantic suspense but not a pure suspense. Women’s fiction is great but not my “go to” kind of thing.

Reviews can reflect more the taste of the reader than the quality of the book. Let’s face it. I’m not a fan of Stephen King but that doesn’t mean he is a poor writer. He’s not. He’s brilliant and has carved out a career for himself. Nicholas Sparks has a following too but while I’ve read him, he’s not my fave either. Now personally, I won’t do reviews on books like that if I don’t absolutely have to. “Have to” is when I’ve been given a free copy and in return write a review–good, bad or indifferent about it. As an author (or even a reader looking at reviews to decide whether you want to read the book), take that into account as you read the especially negative ones. My favorites are those who got a free copy of a Christian book and then take issue with the faith element. Um, duh? It was clearly stated that there was going to be an inspirational component! Yeah, not all readers are as smart as you and me.

Editors and Agents have preferences too! Sometimes a book could be well written but just not quite what we prefer. At Prism Book Group we will often ask another editor to read it to see if they want to take it on. Sometimes we just don’t have the time though. It is hard to say no to a great story, but sometimes we have to because it has to be a favorite, not just dessert for the sake of ice cream.

Even publishing houses have their flavor. I had friend say, “I don’t have a Bethany House voice.” I had to stop and think about that because I do read a lot of Bethany House authors and I think that writer is correct. There is a particular kind of voice they like. But another publisher may not. And you may not either. I’ve had friends read a book I raved about and been disappointed. It wasn’t their flavor! And that’s okay.

Editors and Agents don’t like to give rejections, but let’s just face it. If I don’t love your story as much as you do, then you do not want me to do the editing job on it. It’s hard work to edit a book but I like to enjoy my work and if I have a less than thrilled attitude going in, no matter how hard I try, I can’t guarantee I’ll be bringing my best game to your project. Not that I wouldn’t try. I would. But you want your editor or agent to be a champion for your book, to cheer you on, encourage you to make it the best. You need to know we aren’t being nasty when we give you those edits, but we are trying to polish your book, make sure its flavor is the best it can be, so the right readers can enjoy it too.

What is your favorite flavor–of ice cream or novel?


Stuck Together (Book Review)

10948 StuckTogether_mck.inddI have always enjoyed Mary Connealy’s western romances with their high adventure and lovable characters. Stuck Together is the third in the Trouble in Texas series and I was given a free copy to read of the book for the purpose of this review.

Vince Yates has sworn to never marry. As the only law in the dead-end town of Broken Wheel, he has seen enough in his life to make him weary and cynical. He suffered horribly from the Civil War but that didn’t compare to the emotional wounds left by his tyrannical father. His deepest wounds are hidden under his rough “Invincible Vince” persona.

Tina Cahill lives with her brother, Jonas, one of the men who makes up his circle of friends. She pickets the saloon and cooks for the town at the diner and gives Vince sass right and left. He enjoys sparring with her and as one of the few single women in town, watching her walk her line all the while trying to keep her out of trouble.

Trouble comes in the form of Vince’s father, mother and a sister he had been unaware of. After he had refused a summons to come home to care for his mother suffering from dementia, they had come to him. His father high-tailed it out-of-town leaving the women in Vince’s unsuspecting care. His new sister falls for a friend leaving Tina and Vince in charge of his mother, trying to prevent her from endangering herself.

More trouble comes his way that threatens the well-being everyone he loves and Vince rushes headlong into the danger to save his friends, fearing that dementia is in his future which means he can never marry the woman he loves. They all learn hard lessons about trusting God with their future as they fight for it.

I love the complexity of Mary’s characters and the humor she adds to her stories. Danger, deep friendships and faith all weave together to give a romance and a happily ever after that will make you glad you came to Broken Wheel for a visit through the pages of this book.


Full Steam Ahead (Book Review)

full steam aheadI’ve enjoyed Karen Witemeyer’s books and when the opportunity came to read a galley for a review, I jumped at the chance. Full Steam Ahead is a slightly different turn for Karen’s historical romances, but one that is enjoyable none-the-less.

The story’s heroine is Nicole Renard, the only child of the owner of Renard Shipping. She’s been raised on shipping and fully capable, in her eyes, of being the heir her father needs for his business. If only he saw it that way.

A dagger that has been in the family for centuries has the superstition that the holder of it prospers. Renard’s competitors, the Jenkins, are eager to take possession and that desire has bordered now on an evil obsession that threatens the health and well-being of Nicole’s already sick father, and the safety of her and her mother.

In an attempt to save her family and the business, Nicole agrees to travel to find an acceptable heir to run the business. She will have the choice of the business associates of her father for the role. Unbeknownst to him, she secrets the dagger with her. To avoid capture by the evil Jenkin’s brothers, she takes a detour which deprives her of the majority of her funds. To continue on her journey she needs a job.

Darious Thornton has seen tragic things that have motivated him to pursue safety for steam travel. He desperately needs a secretary and in spite of the distraction of a female, he hires Nicole. Not only can she read his writing, she can correct his errors and he finds his work is moving along faster. Not only that but the delightful young woman who doesn’t fear challenging this crusty bachelor, saves his life. But he learns Nicole is keeping secrets, deadly secrets. He’s determined to protect her.

As the Jenkin’s brothers come searching for her, perhaps he can save her life well. And maybe gain a wife in the bargain. As both lean on God and face their own weakness in their faith and challenge each other to growth, love blooms. Can it overtake the evil? Would the eccentric inventor ever be a person Nicole’s father could accept as an heir? Can she trust her future to God instead of an old useless weapon?

I loved this story and had no trouble finding time to read it. This lacked some of Karen’s whimsy although a bit is there. The romance heats up in a tasteful and delightful way. The faith element is real and not in your face but an honest and authentic expression of the struggles the characters face. If you like western romances, you’ll enjoy this story rooted in serious issues of the time period that plant it solidly in history.

As usual, Bethany House has done a superb job on the cover art as well.

Undetected (Book Review)

UndetectedDee Henderson’s recent series of books has taken a different approach to romantic suspense. Her recent one, Undetected, was given to me free from the publisher in exchange for a review.

I fell in love with Dee Henderson’s writing when I managed to snag a free copy of The Negotiator (The O’Malley Series). The entire series is filled with intensity in the action along with the emotional and spiritual drama. Her Uncommon Heroes Series also had that same intensity.

The style of storytelling has changed with this series. Starting with Full Disclosure there was still some of that intensity. With Unspoken, the intensity was less and more of an emotional nature and suffered for not having the female’s point-of-view (in my opinion).

Undetected starts out slow. Commander Mark Bishop is in the US Navy commanding a ballistic missile submarine. He had been married once before but as a widower, longs for a partner to spend his shore leave and life with in between 90-day missions at sea.

Gina Gray is the sister of another commander and close friend of Mark’s and he’s known her for years. She’s on the lookout for a husband and her brother, Jeff, suggests to Mark that he look that direction. Due to an age difference (11 years), Mark initially balks this and gives way to another worthy Navy man to have the field.

As Gina “the genius” uncovers game-changing ways for the navy to use deployed submarines and protect them, Mark is by her side and guiding her through. So is his competition, Daniel. Gina continues to uncover ways to make life safer for her brother and his friends when deployed on the floors of the world’s oceans. It also comes with a cost. Security and the implications if other nation discovered these findings.

Mark has to convince Gina to consider him as a potential husband in between deployments and the emotional toll of uncovering complicated science for simple ideas that change the way underwater war is fought. Can she also see her way clearly to loving Mark?

This book has a bit of suspense towards the end. It is a well written romance filled with complicated details of the Navy and sonar and submarine science. This is not a book filled with an ongoing personal threat. I kept anticipating that since Gina was a security asset that her own personal safety would be at risk, but that never happened. (Sorry if that’s a spoiler.). This book is more of a contemporary/military romance.  It is well researched and written but consists more of a relationship being built than it does any major suspense.

Here to Stay (Book Review)

Here to stayI was asked by author Melissa Tagg if I would be willing to accept a copy of her book, Here to Stay and review it. I was delighted at the opportunity as I had enjoyed her previous novel: Made to Last.

While Here to Stay is a stand-alone romance it picks up a character from Made to Last and tells his story. You can read and enjoy this book without reading the first.

Blake Hunziker has traveled and lived a life of adventure for years as a way to cope with his grief. Finally, he decides to come back home and face the reality that some may still blame him for his brother’s death. No one could hurt him more than he does himself, because he knows the truth. He is surprised by a warm welcome by many and a chilly response from others. In attempt to redeem himself in the eyes of his town, he accepts the challenge of putting together the annual Christmas festival. The only problem is, he can’t do this alone.

Autumn Kingsley has been trying to hold the old family Bed and Breakfast together since her mother signed it over to her after her father’s death. The burden comes at a cost. Stuck in a small town she longs to travel and France has been her dream. Now a job awaits, but the B&B is struggling. Can she keep it going and hand it off to someone who will care for it while she jumps at her chance for adventure. The problem is that she needs a lot of repairs done and cannot afford to hire someone to do them.

Blake comes to Autumn to help with the festival and offers his handyman services in compensation for her help. This makes for a complicated relationship since his parents own her competition and her sister and his brother used to be an “item.” The problem is, she likes Blake, but can’t see giving away her heart which would also mean giving away her dream to leave this town. Blake is staying after having had his adventure. Can he let th woman he comes to love leave for hers?

Melissa is a great story-teller and her romances are complex and have a wonderful realism to them. This book makes me want to go back and re-read Made to Last to read them back to back since characters from the first book show up here. This was a wonderful story and unlike It’s a Wonderful Life where George Bailey gives up his dreams, Autumn and Blake do get to realize theirs.