Friday, 29 July 2011

Book trailer for Jody Hedlund's The Doctor's Lady

Jody Hedlund's The Preacher's Bride was a favourite of mine last year, and all the more impressive as it was her debut novel. So, it is with much anticipation that I await the arrival of her second novel, The Doctor's Lady!

Enjoy the trailer :)

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Author Alert ~ Dani Pettrey

There is nothing I love more than discovering a new author, especially in a genre I love!   Introducing them to you is even better :)

Meet Dani Pettrey who is contracted to Bethany House for a three book romantic suspense series, kicking off with Submerged in March, 2012.

Dani has kindly shared the synopsis for Submerged and a favourite paragraph ~ enjoy!

A sabotaged flight.

Two murdered divers.

A single clue—a grainy image of sunken treasure.

Dive Rescue Captain Cole McKenna has never worked a case like this, but who he’s working with may prove more dangerous than the assignment. It’s been a lifetime since Bailey mangled his heart. Now she’s back in town and he needs her expertise to track down the illusive treasure.

Professor of Russian Studies Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again, but when her beloved aunt dies, she has no choice. Her plan of attack is simple: return for Agnes’s funeral, get the family business ready for a quick sale, and then put Yancey and all the heartbreaking memories wrapped up in it behind her for good.

Cole walking through her door, asking for her help on a murder investigation, wasn’t part of her plan, neither are the feelings he’s resurrecting—feelings best left dead. Agreeing to help for the sake of the victims, she and Cole travel across Alaska’s rugged terrain and deep beneath is coastal waters. As the case escalates, so do their feelings for one another. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to let go of the past and just when Bailey thinks she can’t take it any longer, the case shifts in a new and extremely personal direction, fastening her in for its duration. Racing against the clock and a rising body count, Cole and Bailey work together to find the treasure and uncover the hidden history at the root of it all. But will they be too late?

Loving the sound of this story and Cole and Bailey ~ how about you?  

Here's a favourite sneak peek from Dani.

Bailey kept her gaze downcast as people shuffled past. So many pairs of shoes moving by. So many who loved Agnes.

In a few minutes they’d all be gone and she could say a proper goodbye, without anyone peering on. She’d tell her aunt how much she loved her and how desperately she’d miss hearing that gravely voice encouraging her, prodding her on...even chastising her when she needed a good kick in the pants.

“Bailey.” A hand rested on her shoulder.

She flinched, her heart nearly stopping.

It wasn’t Pastor John, but she knew the voice. It haunted her often in her dreams.

Her heart sank as she gazed up into those eyes—the same seafoam green ones that first filled her with joy and then with shame.

It’d been futile thinking she could avoid him in a town Yancey’s size. He was as much a part of the place as tides were the ocean. Every memory of Yancey was wrapped up in him. Her best and worst.

“Sorry.” Cole offered a weak smile. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

She blinked. It was all she was capable of.

He extended a hand. “Cole McKenna. Don’t know if you remember me.”

How could she forget?

Check back soon for an exclusive interview with Dani and to see cover art once it is released.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley


Lucy Bradshaw dreams of working as a photographer at the Rocky Creek newspaper. If she can earn money making photographs, then maybe her father will see that what she does is worthy, more than just a distraction. And her deepest hope is that he'll see her as an artist, the way he thought of her deceased mother, a painter. But trouble follows Lucy on every photo shoot: a mess of petticoats and ribbons, an accidental shooting, even a fire.

When Lucy meets David Wolf, a quiet, rustic man who lives on the outskirts of town, she thinks she can catch the attention of the town with his photograph. She doesn't count on her feelings stirring whenever she's near him.

Two things happen next that forever change the course of her life: Lucy meets someone who sees her as no one else has-as the compassionate, creative young woman that God made in His image. And Lucy helps David uncover a secret that forces him to change his perspective on an event that left him deeply-scarred. God's arms are around this unlikely couple as they discover the truth about long-held assumptions and the importance of forgiveness.

My take:~

Margaret Brownley's historical romance novels have a great balance of humour, love and intrigue and A Vision of Lucy continues that trend. Lucy and David are appealing characters for different reasons. Lucy, with her enthusiastic approach to life and desire to forge a career in photography and David, battling prejudice and desperate to exact some justice for past wrongs against him. While there is a bit of he-man behaviour at the beginning of the book, this is a fun, sweet story with some more serious elements surrounding David's heritage and racial prejudice. Fans of Mary Connealy and Karen Witemeyer will certainly enjoy A Vision for Lucy and Margaret's other stories.

With thanks to Nancy Berland Public Relations for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of A Suitor for Jenny
Character spotlight on Jenny & Rhett
Visit Margaret's website 
Buy Margaret's books at Amazon or Koorong

The winners are.....

I've been a little slow in selecting the winners of these books! Here they are, thanks to

Cascade ~ Renee C

Wolfsbane ~ James N (USA) & Leola (AUS)

Congratulations!  Wolfsbane and Cascade are two of my absolute favourites for 2011 so I'm sure you are going to love them :)

And for those wondering, most of you are falling for Marcello in the Rivers of Time series and it was a tie between Marshall 'The Kid' Vaughan and Azzan 'Aladdin' Yasir for your vote to be the subject of another Discarded Heroes story!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Laura Frantz ~ FamilyFiction Plus

It was my absolute pleasure to interview Laura Frantz, author of The Frontiersman's Daughter, Courting Morrow Little and the just released, The Colonel's Lady, for the July edition of FamilyFiction's digital magazine. 

Enjoy the full interview with Laura :)

Please share the inspiration behind The Colonel’s Lady

Two years ago, I was visiting Locust Grove, the Kentucky estate that was the home of 18th-century hero, George Rogers Clark, and fell in love with a painting of him. He was quite the man with his legendary height and those red locks! But his life was tragic in many respects as he never married and struggled with alcoholism despite his many accomplishments. As I stood before that portrait, I thought that what he really needed was the love of a good woman and his Saviour. So I created Roxanna Rowan and gave him a better, happily ever after, eternal ending. It was a joy to do!

What was the most surprising information you discovered when researching TCL?

The unbelievable hardships Revolutionary War soldiers faced. Try going barefoot in deep snow with nothing to eat for days on end at Valley Forge - or being locked aboard a prison ship by the British! The fact America won that war was a miracle given the overwhelming hardships and obstacles. I also found it surprising/interesting to see the vital role women played during the period The Colonel’s Lady was written. Some became spies for the American side and died because of it. I’m sad that we’ve lost touch with so much of that noble history. Keeping it alive in readers’ heads and hearts is something I strive to do in my novels.

How difficult is it to put yourself in the shoes of an 18th century woman?

On a literal level, not hard at allJ. Recently I purchased a reproduction 18th-century gown and hat, pocket hoops, chemise, shoes, etc. When you don those clothes and hear the rustle of all that delicious silk, you get a glimpse of what it must have been like 200 years ago (for the gentry, anyway). To broaden my view of that tumultuous time and the women who lived back then, I read old diaries, letters, and biographies. The 18th-century was a very earthy, sensual period, seething with revolution and change. Colonial women were very different than their Victorian sisters!

What do you hope readers take away from The Colonel's Lady?

That God is ever-present no matter the difficulty you may be experiencing, even if you hate the dark place you find yourself in. He’s there and He will redeem it.

You have written some pretty memorable heroes. What defines a great literary hero, in your opinion?

A great literary hero is willing to accept a challenge greater than himself and overcome great obstacles to master it, nearly failing, and then triumphing, perhaps sacrificing himself in the process. Memorable heroes are such fun to create. I believe it helps if the author falls in love with the hero on the page. If that happens, the reader will likely follow.

What kind of story can we expect from you next time?

I’m switching gears in a huge way, leaving Kentucky and settling in Pennsylvania for a new series titled, The Ballantyne Legacy. It’s a mail- order groom type story involving an apprentice and two sisters. This new book is much more dialogue-driven than my more narrative works, something that surprised me at first, but I’m okay with now. Pennsylvania history is so rich that it’s easy to draw a series from. I’m becoming quite fond of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh!

Do you think you will ever write a contemporary story?

Oh, hope not! I fear I would sound so very dated :) I have to ask my sons to turn on the TV for me as I can’t figure out the remotes! And I don’t own a cell phone. So you can see how challenging crafting a contemp would be for me. There are so many fine contemporary writers out there who would put me to shame. Some, like Susan Meissner, blend history and contemporary so well. I’m afraid I find the past so fascinating that this age holds little appeal for me. My wish is to continue to write historicals till He calls me home, and then continue in heaven!

We hope you enjoyed this FamilyFiction Plus and would love your comments!

Relz Reviewz Extras
All things Frantz @ Relz Reviewz
Visit Laura's blog
Buy Laura's books at Amazon or Koorong
Read FamilyFiction's July issue

Monday, 25 July 2011

Character Spotlight ~ MaryLu Tyndall's Cassandra Channing and Luke Heaton

 Cassandra & Luke

MaryLu Tyndall returns with her final Surrender to Destiny story, Surrender the Dawn, the story of rebel and privateer, Luke Heaton and the independent and fiery Cassandra Channing.

Over to you, MaryLu:~

Cassandra Channing

Brief Description

Though Cassandra stands barely over five feet, she more than makes up for her petite frame by her fiery, independent spirit. Her flashing emerald eyes and red hair only hint at the temper and rebellion simmering within. A rebellion that began in her childhood when, unhappy in their marriage, her parents allowed Cassandra to run wild. Now, with her father long dead and her brothers off fighting in the war, Cassandra is left to support a self-centered, irritable mother, two younger sisters who are following in her rebellious footsteps, a bevy of servants, and a lovable, clumsy dog. Feeling abandoned by her father and brothers, Cassandra blames God and decides that He, too, has left her to her own devices. But Cassandra is a fighter. She is loyal to family and country and refuses to see her loved ones tossed on the street. Against all protocol, and desperate to save her family, she hires the only privateer willing to partner with a woman, the town rogue, Luke Heaton, a gambler, drinker, and womanizer.


Independent, smart, capable, fighter, loyal, kind


Quick-tempered, impatient, rash, stubborn, rebellious


You’ll often hear the phrase, “Oh, bother” from Cassandra when she hears bad news. Also, she taps her shoe on the ground when she is frustrated or annoyed.


I love Cassandra. She possesses the kind of courage and tenacity I wish I had. When she makes up her mind to do something, nothing stands in her way! Although this can be a great quality, lurking beneath it are the shadows of rebellion and unbelief. You see, God doesn’t want us to have to go it alone. He doesn’t want us to forge ahead without Him, determined to make our own way. When things get tough, He longs for us to turn to Him, seek Him, ask Him what to do, and then trust Him. I’ve met countless people who, when tragedy strikes, decide God has either left them or He isn’t real at all. In reality, we live in a fallen world. People make choices that hurt other people. God does not intervene in man’s will. Therefore, bad things happen. And people get hurt and die. There’s so much behind the curtain of this physical world that we cannot see. That’s why God asks us to trust Him. When we do, He can turn bad things out for our good. When we don’t, well.... you’ll see the trouble Cassandra causes for herself!

Luke Heaton

Brief Description

At 26, with black hair, blue eyes, a tall, muscular frame, and a grin that can melt any woman’s heart, Luke Heaton is the quintessential ruggedly handsome town rogue. His reputation as a drinker, gambler, womanizer and all around loser is well known among the citizens of Baltimore. But Luke has hit an all-time low. Recently, his best friend and captain, Noah Brenin, fired him as first mate from his privateer for being drunk on duty. Now, feeling more like a failure and with no way to make money to feed his gambling habit, Luke spends his time in a hopeless effort to fix a broken-down ship he won in a card game. His dream is to become a privateer like Noah, to redeem his bad reputation, and be a better role-model for his crippled brother. A brother he keeps a secret even from his closest friends. A brother Luke has raised since he was a babe and a savage fire claimed the lives of his missionary parents. Unable to rescue them from the fire, Luke carries around enormous guilt, which only feeds his insecurities and traps him in a cycle of mediocrity. Without the money to fix up his ship, Luke believes he will never break from that trap. That is, until Cassandra Channing walks into his life.


Courageous, Spontaneous, Intelligent, Charming, Loyal to family, Kindhearted


Immoral, Rash, Insecure, Hot-tempered, Fighter


I simply adore the wounded bad-boy hero. And Luke is the perfect example. Nothing has gone right for him since his parents died at the hand of the Indians they ministered to. Though Luke tried to save them, he blames his own cowardice for not dashing into the burning house and dragging them out. Honoring a promise to his mother, Luke has cared for his younger brother John since he was one. A task made all the more difficult due to John’s disease, Rickets, which has crippled the lad. Angry and disgusted with himself, Luke drowns his pain both in the bottle and in the arms of any woman who’ll have him. Though he doesn’t blame God, Luke no longer believes He exists. Luke is a character beaten up by life. Bad things have happened to him and he’s rejected the only One who can help him, missing the path God laid out for him. In Luke’s life, I wanted to show how unbelief coupled with a wounded heart can cause you to miss God’s perfect will for your life and lead you down a path of more pain and heartache.

Background for the story

Spring-Summer 1814, the British navy has blockaded the Chesapeake Bay, literally imprisoning Baltimore in its harbor. Regardless, the brave citizens still managed to send out more privateers than any other coastal city, granting them the name “Nest of Pirates” by their enemies. Baltimore privateers harassed British shipping, crippling their supply chain and stealing their ships. Many citizens became wealthy in the process. Yet eventually, this caused the British to set their sights on attacking Baltimore, taking over the city, and setting up their headquarters there. In the fall of 1814, spurred on by their defeat of the American Capital, the British fleet moved into position and readied itself to pummel Fort McHenry with more bombs than any fort should be able to withstand.

When the war of 1812 robs Cassandra Channing of her father and brothers, she must find a way to support her mother and younger siblings without being forced to marry a man she does not love. Determined to remain independent, she hires a privateer, captained by the town rogue.

Tortured by guilt for his parents’ death, Luke Heaton spends his time drinking and gambling. When Cassandra offers him enough money to fix up his ship, he sees an opportunity to redeem his reputation and help the lady he has loved from afar. Things go well until the British blackmail him into selling supplies to their ships. Still Luke cannot allow Cassandra’s family to be tossed on the streets.

Cassandra has fallen in love with Luke. When she begins to suspect his nefarious activities, she is heartbroken. Hoping to prove her suspicions wrong, she sets out to catch him in the act. But what she doesn’t expect is to get caught up in a massive British invasion.

When the entire British fleet heads toward Baltimore and begins to bombard Fort McHenry, lives, liberty, and the future of a nation are at stake. What destiny awaits the couple in one of the most decisive battles of the war?

Thanks so much for the detailed spotlight, MaryLu ~ so looking forward to Luke's story!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Reviews of The Red Siren and The Blue Enchantress 
Character spotlights for The Raven Saint, The Red Siren and The Blue Enchantress 
Visit MaryLu's website and blog 
Buy MaryLu's books at Amazon or Koorong

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Coming soon from Robin Caroll and B&H Fiction

Look for Robin Caroll's new romantic suspense series in January, 2012, beginning with Injustice for All and followed by To Write A Wrong (Sept, 12) and Blindswitch (Feb, 2013).

For those of you who had seen a different cover on Amazon, don't panic!  This is the final cover :)

Injustice for All by Robin Caroll

A federal judge lies bleeding on his office floor, betrayed by a most unlikely source—people who helped him bring criminals to justice. Now, why would someone working for the FBI need to disappear after witnessing this crime? When Remington Wyatt sees her godfather’s murder, she recognizes the killers and knows it’s only a matter of time before they come to silence her. She must do the only thing possible to stay alive . . . run.

FBI agent Rafe Baxter is serious about his career, and solving a cold case involving a federal judge’s death puts him in line for the promotion he so desires. But the case leads him to the small town of Hopewell, Louisiana, where some secrets seem inextricably hidden deep within the bayou.

Injustice for All explores what happens when everything a person believes in is utterly destroyed. Who can you trust?

January, 2012

Friday, 22 July 2011

Character Interview ~ Marshall Vaughan from Ronie Kendig's Wolfsbane

Introducing Marshall Vaughan, former Ranger and funny guy, whose intelligence and perceptiveness are often underestimated.  An integral part of the team since Nightshade, there is more to him than first impressions might lead you to believe.  

Be sure to pick up every book in this magnificent series and enjoy getting to know "The Kid"!

Marshall "The Kid" Vaughan

What drew you to the Army, and particularly the Army Rangers?

When you read stories of bravery and valor, it was the men on the ground who got the job done. Facing your enemy, winning or overcoming—that’s true grit, ya know? And I think it’s also the farthest from what my father thought I should do.

Each of the team brings a particular talent to the team – what’s yours? 
I know I get written off a lot, and part of that is my fault, but things get tense, ya know? And I think one skill I have is helping people come down off the ledge. Don’t get me wrong—I can hold my own with the best of them, but after the fight is over...adrenaline and attitudes are high. And, as Legend says, I have a particular talent for letting my mouth get in the way of my brain. Can I help it if I’m honest to a fault?

Well, you tell Legend your honesty is one of the things we love about you!

What is the best thing about your job?

I get to kill the bad guys. No, seriously—it’s awesome. I don’t sit at home, griping about some lowlife. I get to get in there, get my hands dirty, and deliver us from some evil.
So, be honest, are you a glutton for punishment? Personally, I think you are hilarious but the guys don’t always think so! How far do you really think you can push Legend or Max? 
Legend is like running into a rubber wall. We bounce off each other. I think he’d like to pound me into the ground, and he’s tried a few times. Have I told you he put in the hospital once with a concussion? Didn’t let him live that one down for a long time. And Max—well, I’ve threatened to send him my plastic surgeon’s bill. I got a good looking mug, and if he messes that up... ::snicker:: Seriously, I don’t work on pushing them, but they get so wound up from combat and I try to let it roll off me, so it grates on them. I try not to. I really do. It just doesn’t work.
Favourite movie? Why? 
I love sci-fi movies like Star Trek, Battlestar Gallactica. There’s just something about being off, fighting for what you believe in, fighting for those who can't fight for themselves. Maybe with it being set in space, it’s palatable to those who can’t stomach war in real life.
You have made quite an impression on a few of my single friends! (Waving to you, Lydia & Renee!!) They’d love to know what qualities you look for in a date.

She’s gotta be pretty (hey, I’m just sayin’...), but more than that, she’s gotta have a big heart. I’ve been around some of the best looking women in the country, thanks to my dad’s career, but there’s nothing but plastic (in more ways than one) to them. Ya know? I want substance—in the heart—to my girl. I just had a first date with this one girl, and I’m not going to say too much, but she’s...well, let’s just say anyone who can put up with me deserves a second date and a whole lotta special treatment. 

I'm delighted to hear that, Marshall ~ she must be a pretty special girl :)

Who takes your teasing the best on the team? The worst?

Canyon is the easiest going of the team, I think. He just laughs me off, told me once I reminded him of when he was younger and better looking (okay, maybe he didn’t say that last part but I think that’s what he meant). Colton doesn’t really get riled up but he also doesn’t mind giving me a swirlee either. That guy’s got a playful side you wouldn’t believe. But obviously—do you seriously even have to ask?—Max doesn’t take much of anything from me. I don’t hold it against him, though. He’s really got it going on, ya know? A great wife and kids. He knows how to tackle missions. I wish I could be like that—get it figured, get the team behind it, then get it done. I’d follow him to Hell and back, ya know? 

Colton, Canyon and Max are keen to spend time with the women in their lives now ~ who do you hang out with when you are not on mission?

I try to visit my sister when I’m home; she’s had a rough time and even though she’s older than me, I’ve always felt the need to protect her. 

I hear Legend and Cowboy “persuaded” you to get a tatt – care to tell that story? And what did you end up with?

I’m sorry. Could you restate the question? 

Chicken!  I'll get it out of you one day ;-D  

Loved having you hang around here for a bit, Marshall.  Hope we can do it again sometime ;-)

Relz Reviewz Extras
Reviews of Wolfsbane, Digitalis and Nightshade
Meet the team: Max ~ Colton ~ Canyon ~ Griffin
~ Azzan ~ John
Meet the women: Sydney ~ Piper ~ Dani ~ Kazi
Character spotlights: Max & Syd ~ Colton & Piper 

Visit Ronie's website and blog

Visit Ronie's Discarded Heroes website

Buy Ronie's books at Amazon or Koorong

Thursday, 21 July 2011

News & Notes

Amazon's BIG DEAL

Amazon has some fabulous deals going on at the moment for Kindle books which you won't want to miss.  Remember you don't have to have a Kindle to take advantage of these offers as you can download Kindle for PC for free.  

You can pick up some amazing books for $0.99, $1.99 and $2.99.  

Here's a few I can recommend for only $1.99:~

Digitalis by Ronie Kendig
The Pawn by Steven James
Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith
Rekindled by Tamera Alexander
Love Remains by Kaye Dacus


To celebrate the release of her second Alaskan Skies series, Wings of Promise, Bonnie Leon is offering a fabulous Escape to Alaska Adventure-in-a-Box contest with these great prizes, organised by great folk at PulsePoint Design:

The award-winning Over Alaska aerial tour DVD

The Heroes of the Horizon: Flying Adventures of Alaska book

A limited-edition, hand-painted C Allan Johnson Alaskan figurine- a rare collector’s item donated by the author’s mother just for this contest

A gold-plated airplane pendant on an antique brass chain (just like Kate’s!)

An Alaskan Bear Scrimshaw book mark

Two interlocking Lovebirds mugs, featuring handpainted Tinglit art

A selection of Wild Alaskan teas and a jar of Royal Alaskan Fireweed honey

A three-pack of Alaska Smokehouse smoked salmon

Be sure to visit Bonnie's website to get a good look at the prizes and enter for your chance to win


The gorgeous Camy Tang has just self published her fourth Sushi Series novel, Weddings and Wasabi, available now on Kindle for a bargain price, and also in paperback.  

You can also read about Camy's self publishing journey at Seekerville, here

After finally graduating with a culinary degree, Jennifer Lim is pressured by her family to work at her control-freak aunty’s restaurant. But after a family dispute, Jenn is determined to no longer be a doormat and instead starts her own catering company. Her search for a wine merchant brings John into her life—a tall, dark, handsome biker in form-fitting black leather, who’s Hispanic to boot. It would be wonderfully wild to snag a man like that!

Shy engineer Edward tentatively tries out his birthday present from his winery-owner uncle—a Harley-Davidson complete with the trimmings. Jennifer seems attracted to the rough, aggressive image, but it isn’t his real self. Is she latching onto him just to spite her horrified family? And if this spark between them is real, will showing her the true guy underneath put it out?

And what’s with the goat in the backyard? 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman


When Livy O'Brien spies a young boy jostling a man walking along the boardwalk, she recognizes the act for what it is. After all, she used to be known as Light-fingered Livy. But that was before she put her past behind her and moved to the growing town of Chestnut, Illinois, where she's helping to run an orphanage. Now she'll do almost anything to protect the street kids like herself.

Sheriff's deputy Jake Russell had no idea what he was in for when he ran into Livy--literally--while chasing down a pickpocket. With a rash of robberies and a growing number of street kids in town--as well as a loan on the family farm that needs to be paid off--Jake doesn't have time to pursue a girl. Still, he can't seem to get Livy out of his mind. He wants to get to know her better . . . but Livy isn't willing to trust any man, especially not a lawman.

My take:~

Pam Hillman's debut novel, Stealing Jake, is a little gem of a story and a credit to Pam's talent as a writer.  While a traditional Christian romance in many ways with a handsome and heroic lawman taken by a sweet young woman hiding her past, their attraction gentle and tender, Pam adds some grit with the story revolving it around street kids and their desperate will to survive.  Both Livy and Jake have complex back stories which add much authenticity and interest to the storyline as their past experiences impact on their perception of each other which makes for genuine conflict and misunderstanding.  The townsfolk and street kids add plenty of colour and interest.  All in all, Stealing Jake is a delightful beginning to Pam's writing career.

With thanks to Tyndale House from my review copy
Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Pam's blog
Buy Pam's book at Amazon

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Q&A with Major Jeff Struecker

Husband, father, pastor, soldier and author, Maj. Jeff Struecker, combines his experiences in these roles to write high octane military thrillers, about a spec ops team and their battles on mission and at home.  Grab his books and enjoy this Q&A!

What appeals to you most about writing fiction? 
There is an audience of men that only read fiction.  I want to be able to reach them with an exciting story about how faith and life collide with one another.

Why Christian fiction?
Because Jesus Christ is my king I want to serve him in all that I do, that includes in the material that I write.

Name five things you “can’t” live without 

My wife, children, church, Bible, and a good pair of running shoes

Favourite TV show


You have no doubt travelled extensively as a soldier ~ what is one place you would like to go back to as a tourist?  

I would love to go visit the mountains of Afghanistan when no one is shooting at me.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  

My heroes have always been soldiers.

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?  

Unfortunately there is not much about me that most folks don’t already know.

Have you ever worked with Australian soldiers?  Your thoughts?!
I have worked with some of the Australian special operations forces.  They are some of the most committed and talented warriors I have even known.

Fallen Angel

Which character do you connect with the most? 

I connect with Sergeant Major Eric Moyer and with J.J. Bartley.

How easy/difficult has it been to incorporate your personal experiences as a soldier into your novels?  

It has been pretty easy to use my experiences as a soldier to come up with the plot of a new novel.  However, it is difficult to incorporate some of my experiences in special operations without giving away national security secrets.

What was your favourite scene to write in Fallen Angel

Believe it or not, it was the epilogue.  I think this portrays the tension between the demands of family and the country at the same time.

What has been your favourite experience in your novel writing journey? 

It has been seeing guys who would never read the average Christian non-fiction book pick up one of these books and get drawn into the plot while at the same time reading the message of how faith in Jesus Christ can change a man’s life.

What’s next in your writing pipeline? 

Alton Gansky and I are working on the follow up to Fallen Angel right now.

Thanks Jeff ~ appreciate your time :)

Check back soon for my review of Fallen Angel with a great giveaway from the fabulous folk at B&H Fiction

Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Jeff's website
Buy  Jeff's books at Amazon or Koorong

Monday, 18 July 2011

Character Spotlight ~ Ronie Kendig's Canyon Metcalfe & Danielle Roark

Canyon & Dani

Ronie Kendig is back!  This time Canyon's story is revealed in her newly released military thriller, Wolfsbane.  Enjoy :)

Over to you, Ronie:~

Brief physical description

Canyon: sandy blonde hair, blue eyes known as the “Metcalfe blues,” athletic build but not overly muscular, and his impervious smirk 

Dani: Athletic build, half Venezuelan, half American so as a Latina, she has the olive skin coloring, long black hair. and, light brown eyes.  

Actor/famous person
For Canyon, I have a model whom I’ve used to portray him.

For Dani, Nikki Reed (with dark hair, not blond as in the Twilight series)

Strengths and weaknesses
Canyon’s strength is his fierce loyalty to those he admires and loves—his family, the Nightshade team, and yes—eventually “Roark” (as he calls her).  

For Dani, her strength is her resiliency and determination not to be a victim. She’s ready to take matters into her own hands to protect herself, even if means killing herself to do it.

Quirk (if any)

Canyon’s quirk is to NOT talk—he’s been trained that way and a tragedy seared into him that talk is useless.. He’s also got this smirk that annoys Dani.  

Your inspiration for the character 

The initial inspiration for Dani came from a real-life private who was rescued in a black ops mission. Everyone else on her team had died, but she was rescued.

Background to the story 

As part of the Nightshade team, Canyon is determined to protect a woman shattered by months of brutal captivity and rape. Danielle Roark faces a possible death sentence if she doesn’t prove her innocence. Together, they head into the blackest night of their lives.

Thanks once again for sharing your characters with us, Ronie ~ love it!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Reviews of Wolfsbane, Digitalis and Nightshade
Meet the team: Max ~ Colton ~ Canyon ~ Griffin
~ Azzan ~ John
Meet the women: Sydney ~ Piper ~ Dani ~ Kazi
Character spotlights: Max & Syd ~ Colton & Piper 

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Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder


Two babies—Kati and Josh—are born on opposite sides of the world at the very moment the Berlin Wall falls. You’d think such a potent freedom metaphor would become the soundtrack for their lives, but nothing could be further from the truth. Despite his flawless image, Josh, an artistic and gifted California skateboarder, struggles to find his true role in the world, and his growing aggression eventually breaks him.
Kati, a German with a penchant for classic Swiss watches and attic treasure-hunting, is crushed with disappointment for never being “enough” for anyone—most especially her mother. Craving liberation, Kati and Josh seem destined to claim their birthright of freedom together. After all, don’t the “chance” encounters transform your life…or are they really chance?
My take:~

David Housholder's debut novel is one of thought-provoking depth and wonder as the pages slowly peel back the layers of Josh and Katie's lives as they run parallel to each other yet continents apart.  The Blackberry Bush is one of those stories that settles slowly in your mind and leaves you with plenty to contemplate, not only as you read it, but for some time after the last page is turned.  With an angelic narrator, multiple points of view and a literary bent, it may take some adjustment for readers used to more traditional tales.  That said, the challenges are easily overcome as the strong storytelling captivates and intrigues from beginning to end.  As the author takes the reader back in time to the choices of generations past and reveals the impact of those choices on Katie and Josh, a unique coming of age story is exposed, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  With two levels of discussion questions at the end, this book is especially suited to book clubs and study groups, with plenty of layers to examine and contemplate.

With thanks to Summerside Press and The B&B Media Group for my review copy

Relz Reviewz
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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Character spotlight ~ Carla Stewart's Mitzi & Gabe Steiner and Brooke Woodson

Mitzi, Gabe & Brooke

Carla Stewart's writing is of the highest calibre ~ enjoy learning about her latest characters and be sure to check out her books, Broken Wings and Chasing Lilacs.

Over to you, Carla:~

Brief physical description

Mitzi Steiner is a former jazz singer, an eighty-something-year old who has kept her style and her looks, although the wrinkles have softened her. She still has her hair colored and styled and dresses in comfortable pants suits or her volunteer smock if she’s on duty at the county hospital. She wears reading glasses with rhinestones at the corners and still has a zip in her step. She’s not ready to embrace her sunset years just yet even though her husband and singing partner now has Alzheimer’s and resides in a care unit.

Gabe Steiner was once a tall, vigorous man with thick black hair, laughing dark eyes, and a wide smile. He’s growing more frail each day, his hair now silver, his eyes vacant.

Brooke Woodson is a little taller than average, slim, and has long dark hair and brown eyes. She’s attractive but in a subdued manner. She’s comfortable in well-cut suits and heels for her job as a paralegal, but she likes to relax in sweats when she’s not working.

Actor/famous person
For Mitzi, I would choose Betty White who is spunky, witty, and very cool for a little old lady, although I’m not sure Betty White sings.

Gabe – Ed Ames, both the young and older versions.

For Brooke, Sandra Bullock. Pretty face, long dark hair. More the casual, everyday Sandra Bullock, not the glamorous superstar.  

Strengths and weaknesses

Mitzi’s strengths: Compassion, zest for life, and generosity with both her time and resources. She’s a talented jazz singer and entertainer. Her life of faith has carried her through many storms in life.

Her weaknesses: She’d rather not think about the reality of Gabe’s diagnosis and is in denial that she, too, has limitations brought on by age, such as her decreasing vision and slower reactions. She can be stubborn and outspoken, with occasional moments of melancholy.

Brooke’s strengths: She’s very smart and has a great work ethic, trying to be compliant and please others. Although she’s in close contact with her mom and sister, they don’t always communicate well. She’s artistic and loves her cat, Cosmo. 

Her weaknesses: Denial about the reality of her abusive fiancĂ©. Believes falsely that she can fix the relationship if she’s a better person. Has always done what others expected of her which comes from an inner feeling of unworthiness. 

Gabe: He was brave, funny, honest, and talented, his body now ravaged by the effects of Alzheimer’s.

Quirk (if any)

Mitzi is a wicked gin rummy player and hums along to the old recordings she and Gabe made. 

Brooke has always been accident prone and bumps into things throwing her off balance. She learns to skip rocks with her dad late in the story which is sort of metaphorical for her lost childhood and becoming less stringent about life. 

Your inspiration for the character 

Mitzi was first a character in a short story I wrote several years ago. She was the oldest of three children orphaned when her mother perished in a dust storm, but was not the focal character. Every once in a while I would think about her and think that she had a story to tell. I also had an image of an aging jazz singer who had a story. I was quite surprised that they were the same character and that the child morphed into Mitzi, the singer. 

Brooke was invented as the person for Mitzi to relay her story to. There was no defining moment for Brooke and she was harder to get to know—perhaps because she was more reserved. The more I learned about her, the more I liked her and was happy that she grew stronger and was someone I would like to have for a friend. 

Funny about Gabe. I was watching a program on PBS with singing stars from the fifties and sixties and knew at once when I heard Ed Ames singing that he was Gabe. I recorded the show and watched it a dozen times, taking copious notes on his facial expressions and mannerisms. 
Background to the story
I mentioned wanting Mitzi to be able to tell her story of being orphaned and how she became a jazz singer. It wasn’t until I read an article in the Tulsa newspaper about the possible renovation of the Big Ten Ballroom (once a jazz hall that hosted many famous musicians in the forties and fifties) that I realized my story would be set in Tulsa. I love the jazz backdrop and rich heritage of the city where I live. The Swan Lake district in Broken Wings is a real neighborhood and has resident swans so that was a natural choice to connect the livelong mating of swans with a lifelong marriage. Friendship was a strong theme that emerged as the story was being written—one of the fun things that comes from being a seat of the pants writer :)
Thanks, Rel, for letting me share my characters with your readers!

Always, always a pleasure, Carla ~ thank you :)

Relz Reviewz Extras
Reviews of Broken Wings and Chasing Lilacs
Character spotlight on Chasing Lilacs characters
Visit Carla's website and blog
Buy Carla's books at Amazon or Koorong

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