Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Karen Witemeyer ~ FamilyFiction Plus


In my capacity as the Historical correspondent for FamilyFiction, I had the pleasure of interviewing the delightful Karen Witemeyer for the most recent edition of the FamilyFiction magazine.

I'm thrilled to post our full interview for you here. Karen and I hope you enjoy it and would love for you to comment!


Rel:~ You describe yourself as a hopeless romantic! How does that shape the stories you write?

Karen:~ I admit it. I'm a sap. I love rugged heroes, charming heroes, dark heroes, wounded heroes, take-charge heroes . . . oh, [ahem]and the heroines, too.

The truth is, for me there is something so alluring about that short window of time where two people who are meant to share a life together discover one another and fall in love. I've been married for nearly twenty years and am living out my own happily-ever-after, but I can still remember those early weeks and months when my husband courted me. Writing romantic stories allows me to relive those emotions and share them with others.

This summer, my daughter and I started watching old Hollywood musicals like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Singing in the Rain (I'm determined to pass my sappiness on to my children), and I realized how much my exposure to such movies in my teens years influenced my writing choices. Not only do I prefer historical settings, but I love giving my stories that same light-hearted spirit.

What is it about historical fiction that appeals to you and why do you think it is currently so popular?

For me, there is nothing more romantic than travelling to the past. It enhances the fairy-tale factor, the fantasy of the story. And when times are hard, like we've experienced over the last few years with our nation's economy, the need to escape drives our entertainment choices. The farther one can escape, the better. Escaping 130 years or more into the past allows readers to distance themselves for a few minutes or an hour from the realities of their contemporary life. I think that is also why Amish fiction is so popular. It may have a contemporary setting, but it reads like an historical story and allows readers to escape into another world far different and less complicated than their own.

You hold a Masters degree in psychology ~ do you find yourself applying the science of psychology when you create your characters?

I don't break out my DSM and search for neuroses to plague my characters with, but I have no doubt that my studies in psychology subconsciously influence my writing. There are so many different personality types and defence mechanisms that drive people in everyday life that any deeper understanding I can gain about my characters because of my psychology training is a blessing. In my first book, A Tailor-Made Bride, I have a secondary character who is mentally challenged and another who is so chained by grief that he subconsciously holds people at bay by allowing his personal hygiene to deteriorate to the point that no one wants to get near him. In Head in the Clouds, young Isabella suffers from elective mutism as a result of traumatic events in her recent past. Would these characters have come about if I didn't have a background in psychology? I don't know. But I believe having this background gives me insight into my characters that I wouldn't have otherwise.

Please share your inspiration for Head in the Clouds

Since I enjoy regency romances as well as those set in the American West, I thought it would be fun to blend the two by bringing an English nobleman to Texas.

Many times, I start with plot as I develop story ideas, but for Head in the Clouds, everything started with theme. I wanted to write about a woman with big dreams who grows impatient when God doesn't seem to be answering her prayers. The longer God is silent, the more confused and frustrated she becomes until she finally takes matters into her own hands and pursues her dreams in the way she thinks best. In the process, she makes a thorough mess of things. It is only when she learns to wait on the Lord that he begins to work in her life to bring about blessings she never before imagined.

I love the humour in your stories and the vivacious personalities of your female characters ~ is the humour and the feisty women a reflection of your own personality?

Hmmm. . . It depends who you ask. When I'm with close friends and family, I can be feisty and vivacious, but in other situations, my introversion takes over and holds that more lively side of my personality prisoner. One facet that remains constant, however, is my light-hearted spirit and cheerful outlook. I love to laugh. Whether it's being silly with my kids, giggling at one of my husband's quips, or smiling over the fact that the pancake I just turned more closely resembles a deformed slug than the teddy bear I'd intended, I truly believe that finding joy in life lends us strength. As a reader, I'm drawn to stories that make me laugh. I want action and drama, too, but if a witty turn of phrase can make me smile or a character's reaction can elicit a chuckle loud enough for the people around me to stare, that's even better. This is the type of experience I hope to create for my readers.

Can you give a sneak peek into your third novel and when it is set to release?

My third book with Bethany House will release next May. It is entitled To Win Her Heart and features a blacksmith with a criminal past and a librarian with pacifist ideals. Both long for a second chance, yet neither can escape the secrets that threaten their future.

This story set in the late 1880s asks the question – what happens after the prodigal son returns? So many times, we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received from his father, but have you ever asked what life was like for him after the celebration was over? How did he relate to his bitter older brother or the servants and townspeople who were only too aware of his past arrogance and wild living?

To Win Her Heart plays on those very questions. My hero is a man recently released from prison who has returned to his faith roots and rededicated his life to the Lord. The heroine is a woman who has been disappointed by men in the past and has little tolerance for those who don't meet her high standards. In an effort to make a clean start, Levi hides his past and Eden believes she has finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can a tarnished hero find a way to win back his lady's affection?

I hope you enjoyed this FamilyFiction Plus ~ we would love your thoughts!

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of A Tailor~Made Bride

Visit Karen's website


Buy Karen's books at Amazon or Koorong

Read FamilyFiction's second issue

Monday, 29 November 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Kaye Dacus' Zarah Mitchell & Bobby Patterson

Zarah & Bobby


Kaye Dacus writes stories that are centuries apart! From Regency to Contemporary romance, Kaye immerses her readers in lives and loves of her characters.

Enjoy meeting her latest couple, Zarah and Bobby:~


Brief physical description

Heroine Zarah Mitchell is what I like to call an average gal—she’s a little taller than average (about five foot eight) and that size that’s just between “normal” and “plus”—a size fourteen, which gives her a curvy, hourglass shape. The two features she dislikes most about herself are her frizzy hair and her nose, which she thinks is too big.

Hero Bobby Patterson is a former football player who spent many years in the Army before entering law enforcement. He’s quite tall, at six foot three, and muscular. But he’s not necessarily every woman’s ideal of attractive—with a heavy, square jaw and what another character describes as “aggressive” features, though he’s really a very nice guy.

Actor/famous person

The physical template for Zarah came from a Land’s End clothing catalogue from back in 2003:

The physical template for Bobby is Canadian actor Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse, Riverworld):

Strengths and weaknesses

Zarah’s biggest weakness is her inability to trust people—developed from a childhood of emotional abuse crowned by a broken relationship that left her almost incapable of forming relationships. But thanks to her grandparents, and the two women who would become her best friends, she healed and learned how to trust God, which has given her strength. Her strongest gift is the gift of serving others—though some feel that she does this to the exclusion of taking care of herself.

Bobby’s biggest weakness is Zarah. He regrets allowing himself to be manipulated into ending their relationship fourteen years ago, and now fears that the case he’s been given to investigate at work might make it impossible to see if they’ll ever have a chance at finding happiness together.

Quirk (if any)

For Zarah to have fun at a social event, she has to be the one refilling drinks or cleaning the kitchen—she can’t have fun unless she knows that everyone else is having fun.

When Bobby needs to clear his head, he runs—whether through the neighbourhood or on a treadmill in the workout room at his condo complex. For him, it’s like he can see his problems falling into place like bricks along the path in front of him as he runs.

Your inspiration for the character

This story came about because of my love for Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion—a story of two people who fell in love, wanted to marry, but were separated in such a way as to create hard feelings between them; then they come back together many years later. So the inspiration for both Zarah and Bobby came from Anne and Frederick—though there are pieces of me and other people/fictional characters mixed in to make them completely mine.

Background to the story

Nashville native Bobby Patterson has just returned home after many years away to take a position with the Tennessee Criminal Investigations Unit. His new job: lead a task force investigating potential real estate fraud connected with the Middle Tennessee Historic Preservation Commission. Zarah Mitchell, who’s worked at the Commission for more than a decade, is about to face a piece of history that could ruin the life she’s built in Nashville: Bobby Patterson—her first love and the reason her father kicked her out fourteen years ago. When Bobby realizes Zarah is part of his investigation, he is tempted to use his grandmother’s not-so-subtle setups as a way to learn if Zarah is involved in the fraud. Zarah, at her grandmother’s suggestion, tries to put the pain from the past aside to see if any love remains between her and Bobby. But when she learns he’s been investigating her, will she be able to forgive him a second time?

Thanks Kaye for this great insight into Zarah & Bobby :)



On Thursday, the spotlight shines on Pamela Griffin's Alison Stripling & Rafe Munroe from Love Finds You in Hope, Kansas.

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Stand-In Groom

Character spotlight on Kaye's William Ransome & Julia Witherington from Ransome's Honor

Visit Kaye's website

Buy Kaye's books at Amazon or Koorong

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson

Synopsis:~

Christmas is coming, but Lena Markham isn't looking forward to it. After being imprisoned on false charges, she's released---penniless and friendless. When her secondhand red coat lands her a job as Mrs. Santa, she thinks her luck is changing. But can she keep her past a secret?

A delightful story about fresh starts!


My take:~


Let me be upfront here! I'm am not a reader who get excited about reading Christmas novels once they start appearing in October so bear that in mind as you read this review. Melody Carlson has penned a lovely redemption story as her character Lena Markham struggles to find her place back in society after a stint in prison. Interesting and varied characters abound and their responses to Lena are authentic and run the spectrum from acceptance and understanding to derision and suspicion. That being said, I found it difficult to engage with the story and connect with Lena for a reason I can't quite determine.
Christmas at Harrington's is a solid story just not the one to pull me into Christmas tales but just might for you.


With thanks to Revell for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Interview with Melody

Character spotlight introduction to the Four Lindas

Further spotlight on the Four Lindas

Visit Melody's website

Buy Melody's books at Amazon or Koorong

Coming in mid 2011 from Zondervan

I'm really looking forward to a number of these titles from Zondervan as I think they offer something a little outside the box from the standard Christian fiction fare.

Mary always offers a meaningful and in-depth story of the travails and triumphs of the human heart, I love Noel Hynd's Alex LaDuca and am thrilled she is the subject of a new series, Michael Snyder writes with a completely unique voice and Don's books are always engaging.


And then there is Ace Collins - he is an excellent writer so I'm fascinated to see how he pulls off this Indiana Jones flavoured story.


How about you?


The Muir House by Mary DeMuth

“You’ll find home one day. Sure as sweet tea on a hot afternoon.”

Words from Willa Muir’s sketchy childhood haunt her dreams and color her days with longing, regret, and fear. What do the words mean? Willa is far from sure. When Hale Landon places a ring on her finger,
Willa panics, feeling she can’t possibly say yes when so much in her past is a mystery.

Bent on sorting out her history, Willa returns to Rockwall, Texas, to the Muir House Bed & Breakfast, a former funeral home. But the old place holds her empty memory close to itself. Willa’s mother utters unintelligible clues from her deathbed, and the caretaker of the house keeps coveted answers carefully protected. Throw in an old flame, and Willa careens farther away from ever knowing the truth.

Set in a growing suburb of Texas, The Muir House explores trauma, healing, love new and old, and the life-changing choices people
make to keep their reputations intact.

April, 2011





Hostage in Havana by Noel Hynd

From bestselling author Noel Hynd comes this new series, The Cuban Trilogy, bursting with intrigue and set against the backdrop of Havana, an explosive capital city of faded c
harm, locked in the past and torn by political intrigue.

U.S. Treasury Agent Alexandra LaDuca leaves her Manhattan home on an ill
egal mission to Cuba that could cost her everything. At stake? Her life … and the solution to a decades-old mystery, the recovery of a large amount of cash, and the return of an expatriate American fugitive to the United States. After slipping into the country on a small boat, Alex makes her way to Havana. Accompanying her is the attractive but dangerous Paul Guarneri, a Cuban-born exile who lives in the gray areas of the law. Together, they plunge into intrigue and danger in a climate of political repression and organized crime.

Without the support of the United States, Alex must navigate Cuban police, saboteurs, pro-Castro security forces, and a formidable network of those loyal to the American underworld. Bullets fly as allies become traitors and enemies become unexpected friends. Alex, recovering from the tragic loss of her fiancé a year before, reexamines faith and new love while taking readers on a fast-paced adventure.

If you enjoy thrillers such as those by John le Carré, David Baldacci, and Joel Rosenberg, you’ll love this series.


April, 2011






Jefferson Burke and the Secret of the Lost Scroll by Ace Collins

Jefferson Burke and the Secret of the Lost Scroll is a mystery as old as the Christian church wra
pped in a modern-day thriller.

Though an unwilling hero, professor Jefferson Burke's
intellectual curiosity pits him against the powerful Bruno Krueger in a race to find a 2000-year-old scroll that calls into question the divinity of Christ and could shake the foundation of Christian faith, upsetting the balance of power in the modern world. Their deadly quest spans the globe, involving officials from the Vatican, CIA and FBI agents, British royalty, a Hollywood actress, and modern terrorists.

This classic battle of good vs. evil will hook believers and doubters alike. The uncertainties raised by the very existence of the elusive scroll will have every reader questioning the basis of their faith and wondering what would happen if certain fundamental truths suddenly were proven untrue.

Artfully and thoughtfully told, this is the kind of action-packed adventure story that will keep loyal Ace Collins readers—and increasing legio
ns of new fans—coming back for more.

April, 2011




The Ambition by Lee Strobel

A corrupt judge in a mob murder case. A disillusioned pastor, hungry for power. A cynical reporter, sniffing for a scandal. A gambling addict whose secret tape threatens the lives of everyone who hears it.

New York Times bestselling author, Lee Strobel, weaves these edgy characters into an intricate thriller set in a gleaming, suburban megachurch, a big-city newspaper struggling for survival, and the shadowy corridors of political intrigue. The unexpected climax is as gripping as the contract killing that punctuates the opening scene.

May, 2011








Thunder of Heaven
by Tim LaHaye & Craig Parshall

From Tim LaHaye, creator and coauthor of the world-renowned Left Behind series—the most successful adult fiction series ever written—and Craig Parshall comes this epic story ripped from the headlines of world events and filtered through Scriptural prophecy. Set in the very near future, Thunder of Heaven chronicles the earth shattering events which eventually lead up to the Apocalypse foretold in Revelation.

Thunder of Heaven appeals to the tens of millions of readers who have already made Tim LaHaye a household name and one of the best selling authors of all time. This book is a return to form for Tim LaHaye whose previous prophetic fiction series, Left Behind, has sold roughly 70 million copies. Those who have read Left Behind and are eager for more highly charged fiction based on biblical prophesies will embrace Thunder of Heaven for the same reasons that turned Left Behind into the world’s most celebrated publishing phenomenons of the last two decades.

May, 2011





A Stand-Up Guy by Michael Snyder

It is often said that every good joke contains
some basic truth. In A Stand-Up Guy, aspiring comedian Oliver Miles puts that axiom to the test when he revamps his comedy act by filling it with darkly personal truths about friends and family. But, as the edgy humor begins to attract more attention, the young comic's personal life gets more complicated. When he realizes he has managed to turn the two women he cares about most into props for his act, he wonders if his honesty on-stage is making him dishonest in life. Despite the sobering reality of his world off stage, the laughter and the success is intoxicating, even for a stand-up guy.

A Stand-Up Guy is a real story about real people struggling with life's rights and wrongs. It will appeal to anyone who enjoys a uniquely-woven relational drama threaded with a little mystery and delivered with a lot of humor and insight.

June, 2011





Learning
by Karen Kin
gsbury

Bailey Flanigan is growing closer to her dream to be an actress and dancer in New York while Cody coaches a small high school football team … on and off the field. But neither feels complete without the chance to share
their dreams with one other. Can distance truly make the heart grow fonder? Or will Cody learn to turn to others to share in his happiness? And when tragedy strikes? Who will be there to provide comfort in the face of loss?

As Cody’s past catches up with him, he must learn to reach out for help or risk withdrawing permanently inside himself. Both Bailey and Cody find themselves learning significant life lessons in this poignant love story, featuring members from Karen Kingsbury’s popular Baxter family.

June, 2011





Thunder in the Morning Calm by Don Brown


Young naval intelligence officer Bob Molster never knew his grandfather who disappeared in Korea in 1950. Haunted for years by the uncertainty of his grandfather's fate, Molster is determined to find out the truth behind rumors that the North Koreas may still be holding some American POWs. He enlists the help of two retired special forces commandos, and finances an elaborate and dangero
us plan that takes the trio deep into North Korea. The only thing they know for sure is that they'll probably return heroes, or not at all.

Author Don Brown is building a loyal fan base by writing what he knows best: thrillers with heart. A former Navy JAG officer and action officer in the Pentagon, Brown pens action-packed plots and finely-drawn characters th
at are credible and compelling.

Thunder in the Morning Calm is a novel of bravery, duty, and family love that will keep readers of all ages reading straight through to the last page.


July, 2011

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Candace Calvert's Nick & Leigh Stathos

Nick & Leigh


Candace Calvert is back with a whisk wielding police officer and a doctor who has more faith in her horse than her husband!

Enjoy this insight into Nick & Leigh:~


Brief physical description

San Francisco police officer Nick Stathos:

Darkly handsome, reflective of his Greek roots: black, close-cropped hair, intense brown eyes, athletic build—looks equally good in a bullet proof vest or with a kitchen dishtowel slung over his shoulder.

ER physician Leigh Stathos:

Medium height, athletic but “curvy,” shoulder length dark hair and brown eyes—at home in hospital scrubs or wearing spurs.

Actor/famous person

Nick:

Joseph Fiennes from Flash Forward

Leigh:

Candace with her horse Winter Winds

Strengths and weaknesses

Nick:

Strong in that he never gives up, whether defending his patrol neighborhood or trying to save his marriage. Weakness: His weakest moment came when he let grief lead to the affair that threatened his marriage.

Leigh:

Shows strength, skill, and tenacity in her role as an emergency physician, even during the violent chaos of a hospital in lockdown. She shows weakness when she stubbornly runs from personal problems, especially in her marriage.

Quirk (if any)

Nick:

Owns both a Glock and an assortment of kitchen whisks, and is impressive handling either.

Leigh:

Refuses to own a table.

Your inspiration for the character

The character of Nick Stathos was partly inspired by my close association with members of law enforcement, both professionally and personally—and was a chance to indulge my passion for cooking.

Writing Leigh Stathos was both challenging and satisfying. I wanted readers to share my joy in the blessing of second chances. And I got to climb back into the saddle—always a plus for a horse-lover.

Background to the story

I teamed with my agent Natasha Kern to write this back cover description:

Dr. Leigh Stathos likes her ER shifts fast, furious and adrenaline-infused, “Treat ‘em and street ‘em” with no emotional complications. Life’s taught her a soul-rending lesson: nothing lasts forever, including marriage. The clock is ticking toward the end of hers. Then an unwelcome confrontation with “the other woman” begins a whole new set of lessons.

San Francisco police officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol neighborhood, holding fast to faith—or trying to save his marriage. Seven days is all he has to reach Leigh’s heart. But when a desperate act of violence slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events that will change lives forever.

Thanks for sharing with us again, Candy. Love it when you visit! Bring on the next series :)


Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Critical Care, Disaster Status & Code Triage

Character spotlight on Scott & Erin from Disaster Status

Character spotlight on Logan & Claire from Critical Care

Visit Candace's website and blog

Buy Candace's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who prayed for our daughter, EJ. After a week in hospital, it is wonderful to have her back home and improving every day. Your thoughts and care were so appreciated :)

Thanks also for your patience as I was otherwise occupied! Finally, I can announce the winners of my giveaways.


Stars in the Night ~ Sara B

The Silent O
rder ~ Jenny C

Congratulations! Look for your book to arrive soon.



Wednesday, 24 November 2010

More from Revell in 2011

A little something to tide you over until I'm back on deck!

EJ is making a slow but steady recovery ~ I can't thank you enough for your kind words and prayers for our family.

The Blessed by Ann H Gabhart

It is 1844 and Lacey Bishop's life is a tangled mess. Estranged from her own family, at age 16 she went to work for a preacher and his wife. When his wife died, the preacher convinced Lacey that the only decent thing to do was to marry him. That way she could continue to act as mother to the little girl who was left on his doorstop. But Lacey never expected he would decide to take them all off to a Shaker village. There she's still married but living in a community that believes marriage is a sin. And to make matters worse, she finds herself drawn to Isaac Kingston, a man who came to the Shakers after his young bride died. But of course any notion of love between them is only a forbidden dream. How will Lacey ever find true happiness?

Readers will find themselves engrossed in this heartrending tale of commitment and forgiveness, the latest from popular author Ann H. Gabhart.

July 2011



Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

Filled with daring and romance, Blue Skies Tomorrow will capture readers' hearts.

August, 2011

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Hospital blues


Thursday midnight heralded a bit of drama at our place with our 12 year old daughter, EJ, becoming very ill. Long story short she underwent surgery on Saturday morning for a perforated appendix and will be hospitalised for at least five days.

So don't expect any action here at Relz Reviewz this week while we care for her.

Your prayers for her speedy recovery would be so appreciated :)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Character Spotlight ~ Rick Acker's Allie Whitman & Connor Norman

Connor & Allie


I'm a big fan of Rick's books and his latest, When the Devil Whistles is terrific and as soon as I can get my review together you will see how much I enjoyed it. For now, meet the dynamic duo behind Devil to Pay, Inc. Over to you, Rick:~

Brief physical description

What Allie looks like depends on where she is. If she’s in the office of a company she’s investigating, she’ll have mousy brown hair pulled back, minimalist makeup, and a conservative suit that hides her tattoos. When she’s between jobs, she’ll probably be blond, have a ski tan, and wear something appropriate for a night of club hopping.

Actor/famous person

When she’s not on a job, she looks a lot like Kate Hudson. When she’s working, she looks like nothing in particular—which is the point.

Strengths and weaknesses

Allie is funny, caring, and whip-smart. She also genuinely wants to do the right thing, but she has difficulty making hard choices. She tends to ignore them and hope they’ll go away—which has devastating consequences.

Quirk (if any)

For an accountant, she’s not very responsible with money. Not only does she take lots of expensive vacations with her “pet rock star” (as Connor calls him), she makes extravagant gifts to her mother and sister. As the reader discovers, though, there are reasons why she acts the way she does.

Your inspiratio
n for the character

Allie is inspired by the real whistleblowers I deal with every day. They’re a colorful bunch—inspiring, flawed, courageous, untrustworthy, smart, and off-beat.

Background to the story

Allie Whitman is a professional whistleblower with a knack for sniffing out fraud in government contracts. Connor Norman is a gifted litigator with courtroom polish to spare. Together they formed Devil to Pay, Inc., a shell corporation that files lawsuits based on Allie’s investigations—and collects a generous share of the proceeds when the defendants settle. Allie and Connor have made good money making the devil pay, as they like to think of it. But then one of Allie’s targets turns the tables and blows the whistle on her, threatening to expose secrets that would ruin her career and put her in jail—unless she does them one little favor . . .

Allie and Connor soon find themselves fighting desperate—and potentially fatal—battles in and out of the courtroom. Their foe is a company that will go to any lengths to protect secrets much darker than padded bills.

Connor

Brief ph
ysical description

Connor is a wiry 5’10”. He has unruly brown hair and intelligent, gold-flecked brown eyes.

Actor/famous person

Jude Law or (for classic movie buffs) the great British actor and patriot Leslie Howard.

Strengths and weaknesses

On the positive side, Connor is a modern day aristocrat in the best sense of the word. His father is a retired senator and his mother is an heiress. As a result, Connor has gotten the very best education, both in and out of the classroom. His background hasn’t made him arrogant. Instead, it made him an idealist with a strong sense of right and wrong—which sometimes gets him in trouble at his law firm.

The big negative in Connor’s personality is that he’s not tolerant of people who make bad choices. When the story begins, he has never faced a hard decision. As a result, he’s not particularly sympathetic to people who do.

Quirk (if any)

This isn’t really a quirk, but Connor occasionally moonlights as a stunt pilot, flying his vintage P-51 in World War II movies. (Yes, there’s a little author wish fulfilment in those scenes.)

Your inspiration for the character

Connor is something of a composite of some of the better attorneys I knew during my days as a big firm lawyer in San Francisco. Specifically, I’m thinking of the members of the BT. You know who you are.

Background to the story

Allie Whitman is a professional whistleblower with a knack for sniffing out fraud in government contracts. Connor Norman is a gifted litigator with courtroom polish to spare. Together they formed Devil to Pay, Inc., a shell corporation that files lawsuits based on Allie’s investigations—and collects a generous share of the proceeds when the defendants settle. Allie and Connor have made good money making the devil pay, as they like to think of it. But then one of Allie’s targets turns the tables and blows the whistle on her, threatening to expose secrets that would ruin her career and put her in jail—unless she does them one little favor . . .

Allie and Connor soon find themselves fighting desperate—and potentially fatal—battles in and out of the courtroom. Their foe is a company that will go to any lengths to protect secrets much darker than padded bills.

Thanks for having Connor and Allie on Relz Reviewz!

Always a pleasure, Rick :) Keep writing great books!


On Monday the spotlight shines on Candace Calvert's Nick & Leigh Stathos from Code Triage

Relz Reviewz Extras

Review of Blood Brothers

Spotlight on Blood Brother's Ben & Noelle Corbin


Spotlight on Sergei Spassky

Interview with Rick

Visit Rick's website

Buy Rick's books from Amazon or Koorong

BONUS: When the Devil Whistles is currently free to download to Kindle, Kindle for PC & more. Click here to download

FamilyFiction Magazine ~ 2nd Edition


The second issue of FamilyFiction's digital magazine is now available and is chock full of fiction information. Enjoy author profiles and news columns for all genres so there is something for everyone.

I hope you enjoy my profiles on the fabulous Rachel Hauck and the talented Karen Witemeyer together with lots of book updates in the Historical and Romance News & Notes.

Enjoy the entire magazine here :)

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Snowflake by Jamie Carie with giveaways

Synopsis:~

In the wilds of the Alaskan gold rush, 1897, Ellen Pierce discovers a man she didn't know existed and a renewed dependence on God in a place called loneliness. She'd lost everything-family, her closeness with God, her heart.until the crystal blue eyes of a leader of men stepped up and asked her one question. Will she join the trek to Dawson or stay the winter on an ice-locked steamship full of strangers?

Buck Lewis is folk lore in the flesh, but his heart has been rendered asunder. In the land of snowflakes two roads converge. Will he choose the road less traveled?


My take:~

Known for her intense historical romances, Jamie Carie returns with her first novella, The Snowflake, a Christmas story you will not want to miss. With the wild frontier of Alaska as much a character of the book as Ellen Pierce and Buck Lewis, Jamie Carie creates an atmosphere that swirls with snow, danger, heartbreak and redemption. Battling the harsh elements and an attraction tainted by Buck’s tragic past, Ellen fights for survival and for Buck’s heart. Skilfully drawing her characters, the wild landscape and Dawson City, Jamie has once again created an intriguing tale of adventure, passion and perseverance against a backdrop of adversity and a journey of spiritual renewal. For anyone who collects Christmas stories or loves a moving romance, The Snowflake is a must have book of the season!

With thanks to the publisher for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras

Reviews of Love's First Light, Wind Dancer, Snow Angel, The Duchess and the Dragon and Angel's Den

Visit Jamie's website and blog


Buy Jamie's books at Amazon and Koorong


The winners of Petra are....


Aussie ~ Nolene & Graeme

US ~ Rebecca H & Michelle S


Congratulations! An email is on its way to you :)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

More from Thomas Nelson in 2011 ~ Contemporary & Suspense

Here's some more from Thomas Nelson ~ you can't go wrong with a Bug Man novel :)

Robert Whitlow's novels are great and I can recommend his Santee series, now reprinted.

Enjoy!


Nick of Time by Tim Downs

Tying the knot may be the toughest thing Nick Polchak has ever tried to do.

Nick Polchak is comfortable with bugs. Their world is orderly. He knows where he stands and exactly how to interpret the signs they give him. But a fiancée and an upcoming wedding? Not so much.

That's why—a mere four days before the nuptials—Nick finds himself driving to Philadelphia for the monthly meeting of the Vidocq society. Being among a group of forensic professionals consulting on cold cases will surely allow him to feel useful and normal.

But while there he discovers that a close friend has been murdered . . . and in classic Nick style, begins to follow the trail of evidence rather than returning to his fiancée. Fearing that his one-track mind won't lead him home by Saturday, Alena and three of her dogs go to track him down.

When she finally finds him, nothing is as Alena expected . . . because the twists in this case will surprise even the most dedicated Bug Man fans.

May, 2011



Water’s Edge by Robert Whitlow

Sometimes the smallest towns hold the biggest secrets.

Ambitious young attorney Tom Crane is about to become a partner in a big-city law firm. One final matter has to be cleared from his docket--the closing of his deceased father’s law practice in the small town of Bethel. Killed in a tragic boating accident, John Crane didn’t leave his son anything except the hassle of a bankrupt estate.

Then, within twenty-four hours, Tom loses his job, his girlfriend, and his cat. Job didn’t have it much worse.

Returning to Bethel with his pride ground to powder, Tom’s plan to quietly shut down his father’s practice and slink out of town runs into an unexpected roadblock – two million dollars of unclaimed money stashed in a secret bank account. Tom follows the money into a tangled web of lies, theft, and off-shore financial transactions manipulated by powerful men who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.

August, 2011



Life Support by Robert Whitlow

A tragic accident in the Carolina mountains leaves a young man paralyzed and in a coma. Soon, a fierce legal battle erupts between the man's wife who wants to terminate life support and the young man's father who wants to keep his son alive at all costs. Caught up in the turmoil is a young female attorney who takes the case and finds out that her client's husband isn't the only person in need of life saving measures.

A critically acclaimed author and practicing attorney, Whitlow’s fast-paced, true to life story reflects the power to heal that ultimately comes only from above. A combination of intrigue and inspiration, Life Support exemplifies why Whitlow has quickly become an award-winning and acclaimed novelist.

August, 2011




Life Everlasting by Robert Whitlow

This remarkable story will captivate fans of John Grisham and James Patterson. In it, Whitlow confidently weaves romance and mystery into this signature and suspenseful legal thriller.

Book two in the Santee Series picks up with Baxter Richardson’s recovery from a near-fatal fall from a cliff. Married to Rena, a suspicious and highly unstable woman, Baxter is faced with a choice of staggering ramifications.

While Rena Richardson is desperately trying to conceal her crime, her attorney, Alexia Lindale, struggles to put the pieces of the case - as well as her own life - back together. As the mysterious circumstances surrounding Baxter’s brush with death are revealed, the focus shifts from Life Support to the question of Life Everlasting.

August, 2011




Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh & Cindy Martinusen~Coloma

"Without the storm, how would we know the sweetness of shelter?" -Ruth

Out of the clear blue, Wren’s Grandma Ruth arrives on her doorstep, dreaming of a grand party to celebrate her 95th birthday. Wren and her young son Charlie love the idea, but it quickly gets complicated: Ruth wants Wren’s estranged siblings to attend and she wants Wren to sing her all-time favorite song: “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” It’s the very song Wren sang one fateful day during her childhood . . . and Wren hasn’t sung a note since.

Though she’s glad to have Grandma back in her life, Wren’s sleeping on the couch in her own house now . . . and worried about the expenses piling up. After all, her job at the community library is in jeopardy after budget cuts, and the fancy music program she wants for her son is getting farther and farther out of reach. What’s more, Paul—the guy she's drawn to yet avoids—ends up being a major part of an important library project.

With family arriving and old wounds resurfacing, Wren’s about to fly when she discovers something special—a gift of grace beyond her wildest dreams.

August, 2011

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