Friday, August 28, 2015

Pam Hillman Gives the Scoop on STEALING JAKE

Quick note from Natalie: 
I was out of town last weekend and the last scheduled post completely escaped me. I'll postpone the next installment of the Encouragement for the Waiting series until next weekend.

To make it up to you, I have CBA bestselling author Pam Hillman here to tell us insider info about her August release, Stealing Jake! I'm also giving away my autographed paperback copy of Stealing Jake. I'll have to get another copy for myself, but this is a book that must be shared! And who better to share it with than you guys!



Hi, Pam! So glad to have you here! 
--So tell us in three sentences, what is this book about?



Can a former pickpocket fall in love with a small town sheriff, especially when he’s doing everything he can to get rid of the riffraff spilling out of Chicago onto his streets? And what will the sheriff do when he finds out about her past?


http://www.amazon.com/Stealing-Jake-Pam-Hillman-ebook/dp/B0057Z87DK/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1439670153&sr=8-1&keywords=stealing+jake+by+pam+hillman


Tell us about the main characters. Who are they, what makes them unique?



Livy O’Brien has a soft spot for street kids, since she used to be one herself. Changed by a kindly woman and the love of Jesus, she longs to help other street kids find hope and a future.



On the other hand, sheriff’s deputy Jake Russell, is determined to send the street kids roaming the alleys of Chestnut back to Chicago where they belong. It isn’t until he meets and falls in love with Livy that his eyes are opened to the true realities these kids face every day. Then he risks everything—including his life—to save them.



Gibbons’ family has a reputation to uphold as some of the most vile crooks in all of Chicago. But Chestnut is the perfect place for Gibbons show his family once and for all that he’s capable of being just as ruthless as the rest of them. And since no one cares for the street kids anyway, why not use them to their fullest potential?



Luke, a street kid from Chicago, is trying his best just to survive. When a string of robberies occurs in town, everyone suspects him and his little band of ragtag street urchins... but all he wants is to fill his stomach, survive the winter, and find his kid brother.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

I honestly can’t remember how I came up with the exact idea for the pickpocket theme, but it was the old adage of opposites attract. If she’s a thief (even if she’s reformed), he’d better be a lawman.


Give us one fact about each main character that no one else knows.



Jake blames himself for his father’s death and is determined to work night and day to care for his family, regardless of the cost to himself.



Livy is short for Olivia, which is a nod to Oliver Twist.

How do you believe this story relates to the lives of readers?



Livy’s ashamed of her past, and most of us have things in our past that we’re ashamed of. Livy knows God has forgiven her, but will the people in her new town accept her if they ever find out? From their actions and words toward the street kids, she’s afraid she knows the answer. Jake and the townspeople feel justified in their desire to get rid of the kids, but they don’t know the whole story. Sometimes it’s easy to assume the worst of others when we ourselves are well-fed, clothed, and sheltered.


What is the biblical background or basis for the book?



Forgiveness. Accepting God’s forgiveness, forgiving others, and possibly the hardest of all, forgiving oneself.

Why did you choose to focus on a female protagonist?



The premise called for a female pickpocket and a male sheriff. While they both have a sympathetic backstory, hers is much more emotionally gut-wrenching than his. The reader is going to cheer extra loud for her when she faces her fears and overcomes them. On the other hand, Jake faces his fears and overcomes them, too. But Livy has just a tiny bit of an edge on Jake when it comes to pulling readers’ heartstrings.



Describe your feelings when you opened the box and saw the first published copies of your very first book.



My heart smiled. I don’t know how else to explain it. I didn’t throw confetti or have a big party. But my heart smiled. Still does when I think about it.





What are your hopes for your future as an author?



I hope to keep telling stories that reach out and touch someone. If I entertain, encourage, and uplift one person today, I’ll call it a good day.


CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. 

You can connect with Pam through one of the following sites:


Twitter: https://twitter.com/PamHillman or @PamHillman





Seekerville (group blog): http://www.seekerville.blogspot.com



Up for grabs this week is an autographed copy of Stealing Jake. Comment with your email address to be entered! Open to U.S. residents only, please. Giveaway ends 9/3 at 12p.m. Central Daylight Time. Winner will be announced next weekend.

Comment fodder:
It's cooling off here in Mississippi. I'm so ready for fall! What's your favorite thing about fall? Hot apple cider? Scarves? Something else? 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stealing Jake, Reviewed + A Little Book Spine Poetry

Hey, folks! I just finished drinking a glass of sweet iced tea and re-reading (yes, I did) Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman. I couldn't wait to share my thoughts on this book and hopefully you'll enjoy hearing about it as much as I enjoyed reading it.

Stick around until the end of the post for a bit of fun with Book Spine Poetry. Thanks to Amada Chavez for suggesting I try Book Spine Poetry in my Improvement Questionnaire. If you haven't filled out the questionnaire, please do, as I look toward revamping The Sweet South blog for next year using your suggestions!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11873630-stealing-jake

Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


A sheriff and a former pick-pocket team up to rescue street kids and find unexpected love in Chestnut, Illinois. I like to break down my reviews into several elements...

The heroine: "Light-fingered" Livy is a wonderful heroine, feminine without being stiff, and gutsy without being overbearing. With her past, it is hard to see how things could ever work out between her and Jake, but that's what makes for great story conflict!

The hero: Jake is a down to earth, selfless hero that would make any lady's heart patter. He only has eyes for Livy, though, which makes him all the more swoon-worthy.

The romance: Sweet sorghum molasses! Jake does a handsome job of pursuing Livy against his better judgement. Shy, reticent girl that Livy is, Jake's attentions are of necessity determined, yet gentle and sweet. They melted this reader's heart more than once--okay, a lot.

The plot: This is a page-turner for sure. I was constantly guessing until the end, and the plight of the children really makes this story unique.

The setting: While reading this novel, I felt like I was living the scenes. The details immerse the reader into the snowy world of Illinois winter but never overwhelm or slow the pace too much. The effect feels effortless and is a mark of Pam's incredible talent.

The theme: Forgiving ourselves and overcoming secrets in our past is hard. Everyone can relate to making mistakes they'd rather no one else know. But through the blood of Jesus, we have forgiveness and He gives us victory over sin. The prejudices about street kids are also addressed along with our need to "be Jesus to the least of these." Matt. 25:40. This leads me to my final point...

The faith element: Pam Hillman writes her faith into her stories so gently and earnestly, the reader never feels preached to, but at the same time there's never a question this book was written to minister and encourage. Another mark of excellent fiction writing. I was happy to find a good read that speaks of Jesus' blood and His power to cleanse us from sin.

The audience: Because of the subplot with the courageous, desperate street kids, people of all ages will enjoy this story. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves good fiction.



As promised, here's a snippet of book spine poetry I put together from my shelves. Spine poetry is where you stack novels to where the titles form a sentence or idea. Disclaimer: I haven't read Mr. Knightly's Diary and don't know much about it, but I'm hoping it's an elegant followup to Emma.


Painless research projects: Mr. Knightly's diary.

Mr. Knightly's diary vanished. Emma? Deep trouble.

We had such good participation in Johnnie Alexander's giveaway of Where Treasure Hides, she has decided there should be TWO winners! Random.org has helped us out and the winners are BARBARA and AGBOSS (Alison). Congrats, Barbara & Alison! We'll be getting in touch with you soon!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Inspired by History" by Johnnie Alexander

Six wartime years.

Four European countries.

Several historical events.

One novel.

When I first imagined the story that became Where Treasure Hides, I already knew a little bit about my hero’s history.

British officer Ian Devlin and his mischievous hazel eyes came to life in an earlier manuscript when, as a major secondary character, he worked with an American actress to provide false intelligence to the Nazis.

That story established Ian’s capture at the Battle of Dunkirk and his escape from a prisoner-of-war camp.

But why those two facts?

I believe it all started with a trip to the library.

On those shelves, I found a thick book called Colditz Castle: The Untold Story of World War II’s Great Escapes by Henry Chancellor. Since The Great Escape, the classic movie starring James Garner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and several other well-known actors, was an all-time favorite, I had to, literally, check out Chancellor’s book.

In fact, I checked it out multiple times. And took pages of notes.

When the time came to write about Ian’s escape from this infamous prison stronghold, I used actual escapes as a template.

Now let’s back up a bit.

For Ian to escape from a POW camp, he first had to be captured. Enter the historic Battle of Dunkirk, renowned for the massive evacuation of Allied soldiers by a mixed flotilla that included battle destroyers but also fishing boats and lifeboats. Over 800 assorted sea crafts rescued over 330,000 soldiers in just a few days.

The internet helped me here, providing articles and even a couple of videos about the evacuation. I learned that the smoke from burning oil tanks polluted the air, and the stench of diesel fuel from the boats mixed with the odors of the English Channel and the smell of death.

Captured soldiers were forced to march for several days through Belgium and into Germany. 

Eventually they arrived at a collecting point where they were divided by nationality then taken by trucks or barges to different Oflags or POW camps.

Ian follows this same journey and is first imprisoned in a castle near the Austrian border before being transferred to Colditz.

Thankfully, not all my research involved events such as the Battle of Dunkirk or POW camps.

I also delved into art.

This trip into the past started with a DVD. While reading just about everything I could find about WWII, I stumbled across a documentary called The Rape of Europa which led me to a similarly titled book by Lynn H. Nicholas, The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War.

What I learned from watching the DVD and reading Ms. Nicholas’ book was jaw-dropping. Countless pieces of art stolen, hidden, destroyed, and lost.

I felt that familiar heart-tug and knew this was it: the massive art theft by the Nazis would be the centerpiece of my novel.

One resource led to another and another. I was researching and writing, writing and researching, rewriting and, yes, still researching almost to the day I submitted the final manuscript to Tyndale’s acquisition editor.

The story took directions I never intended or imagined as Ian and the woman he loves, a Dutch-American artist whose family owns a Rotterdam art gallery targeted by one of Hitler’s inner circle, courageously meet the challenges of war.

Six wartime years.

The story begins in August 1939 at Waterloo Station when an official tries to confiscate a violin from a young Kindertransport boy. The child plays the British national anthem for the other travelers, and the official is forced to let him keep the instrument. This true event, fictionalized a bit for my story, is what brings Ian and Alison together.

The story ends in May 1945. Or does it?!

Four European countries.

From London, England, to Rotterdam, Holland. To the shores of France and the prison camps of Germany. And actually a few other surprise stops, too.

Several historical events.

The war’s historical events provided a framework for the novel’s timeline. The Dunkirk evacuation and Rotterdam bombing play important roles in the story.

Near the end of the war, when Hitler realized his dreams of a Third Reich were crumbling, he issued an order to destroy the caches of invaluable art and cultural treasures he’d hidden. This order drives the story to its climax.

One novel.

Writing this post has been its own little trip into the past.

Tyndale released the ebook edition in 2013. The print edition has just released. (Yes, that’s me, squealing with delight.)

As I read my copy, certain scenes took me back to the places where I imagined and wrote them—in a corner of my leather couch, on a stool at the kitchen counter, on the screened porch of my cousin’s Ohio farmhouse, at Panera’s with my daughter who was working on her own manuscript.

Somehow, the memories mingle with Alison and Ian’s story to create an even deeper significance.



Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life.

Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow.

As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

You can buy the book on:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Christian Book Distributors
Target








Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). Her first contemporary romance, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series; Revell), and her first novella, “The Healing Promise” (Courageous Bride Collection; Barbour), release in 2016.
She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest). She volunteers as a category coordinator for the ACFW Genesis Contest, judges various contests, and serves as marketing director for the MidSouth Christian Writers Conference.


A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area with a small herd of alpacas and Rugby, the princely papillon who trees raccoons.

Follow Johnnie through any of the following links:
Facebook Author Page
RSS Feed




Sneak peek at the cover of Johnnie's next novel: 



 









Johnnie is generously offering a giveaway copy of Where Treasure Hides, winners choice in the US, Ebook otherwise. Comment with your email address to enter. Giveaway ends August 17th at 12 a.m.


Who else can't wait to see how Alison and Ian's story turns out?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mary Ellis Author Interview




Tell us a little about Midnight on the Mississippi.
What lies beneath the black water of the bayou? Hunter Galen, a New Orleans securities broker, suspects his business partner, James Nowak, of embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship. After James turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life. Nicki Price, a newly minted PI, intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder as she establishes herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen-Nowak Investments, Hunter’s fiancĂ©e, Ashley Menard, rubs her the wrong way. Nicki doesn’t trust the ostentatious woman who seems to be hiding something, but is the PI’s growing attraction to Hunter—the police’s only suspect—her true reason for disliking Ashley? As Hunter and Nicki encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and death threats both subtle and overt, danger swirls around them like the mysterious dark water of the bayou. Only their reliance on faith and fearless determination give them hope they will live to see another day.

What inspired you to write this story? I have been intrigued by the mystery and romance of the French Quarter of New Orleans for years. My husband and I took frequent trips there while my mother-in-law was living in the Panhandle of Florida in the pre-Katrina days. We’ve been back many times since, and I knew I needed to set my first mystery/romance in that timeless city that I fell in love with.

If you were in your heroine’s shoes when the story starts, would you react differently than she? How so? No, I believe I would have reacted exactly as Nicki Price did. I usually stumble into situations that I’m totally unprepared for, but I make it my life’s work to learn the necessary skills to improve myself, no matter what the occasion.

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, light, witty, humorous, adventurous? I would label it as poignant and heart-warming, but also adventurous and (hopefully!) humorous. I don’t like reading books that are dark or graphic, so I couldn’t write one if I tried.

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now? I’m putting the finishing touches on What Happened on Beale Street, book 2 of my Secrets of the South Mysteries. When a talented musician is found dead in Memphis, two PI’s are determined to find their friend’s killer among a list of suspects longer than the Mississippi River. Releases in February of 2016.

If your life were a book, what would the title be? I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now, by Mary Ellis

Describe your writing space. Right now I’m working in my screened-in porch. I absolutely love it out here, even when it gets hot and humid. Since I live in Ohio, I’m cooped up in my normal office space for far too many months of the year.


What do you do for a fun break if you find yourself overwhelmed with writing pressures? I take my dog for a long walk down my dead-end road. It’s good for both of us—mind and body!

Do you blog? If so, leave us the address. I blog from time-to-time at www.maryeellis.wordpress.com

Bonus fun questions:
Where is your favorite spot to read?   Anywhere next to water—a lake, the ocean, or even the creek that runs through my yard. I find peace and serenity near water.




Author bio: Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, Midnight on the Mississippi, first of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, is set in New Orleans. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. Mary enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Encouragement for the Waiting: A Time for Proving




Proving: (v.) to demonstrate the truth or existence of something by evidence.

 

·         Proving involves Soul-searching.



Psa 26:2  Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.



Psa 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:



Psa 139:24  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.



Waiting is a time for God to show us evidence about ourselves, our sin, and our commitment to Him. While you wait, God is testing you, proving your faithfulness to him.



Also, waiting is a time for us to prove to the world God is true to His word. Others are watching you. Maybe we should rethink those times of waiting we hate so much and consider them as witnessing opportunities, places in our life to show that God is Who He says He is. That He is enough.




One thing we often find when we’re searching our hearts is fear.



Maybe fear of the unknown and what may happen.

Fear of not living, thinking waiting on God may cause you to miss out.

Fear of living and taking the next step by faith when God says move.



Fear is the opposite of trust. The devil tries to fight our faith with fear. But the Bible says in I John 4:18 perfect love casts out fear—let God who IS LOVE prove Himself to you during your time of waiting. When Jesus is the Lover of your soul, you don’t have to fear what He will bring into your life.



I’ll show my ignorance by admitting I’m not sure who Mary Oliver is, but I like her quote I randomly found on Pinterest:


 



God is not late. He has not lost touch. He’s not limited. He will fill you in your time of waiting.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Susan Page Davis Interview and Blue Moon Bride Novella Featurette

Hi, Susan! So glad to have you back! Tell us a little about your new book.

This novella is a historical romance, and it’s a sequel to The Christmas Tree Bride, in which Polly had received a Christmas card from her friend Ava. In Blue Moon Bride, Ava rides the railroad to Cheyenne, Wyoming, to visit Polly. On the way, she finds danger and romance.

Gotta love the wildness of Wyoming! I was blessed to visit the historical Cheyenne Railroad station a couple years ago and took a photo beside the brass lady statue there (wish I could find the pic, I'd include it here). Fun! Alrighty, here's another question:

If you were in your heroine’s shoes when the story starts, would you react differently than she? How so?

Probably not. Ava’s younger sister is getting married before she does. I never had a younger sister, so I’m not sure how that would feel. I know being single does not have the stigma today that it did back then. But I would definitely see the trip to Wyoming as a grand adventure!

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, light, witty, humorous, adventurous?

Hopeful.

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now?

My son and I just finished writing a seafaring novel, about a nineteenth-century merchant ship manned by women. It was great fun writing the story, and we hope to continue the saga. Right now, publishers are looking at the concept.

What do you do for a fun break if you find yourself overwhelmed with writing pressures?

Where I live, Jeopardy comes on at 3 p.m. That makes a great break for me—relaxing, enjoyable, and not too long. I also have a piece of exercise equipment near where I watch, so I can work out while watching if I want to.

Do you blog? If so, leave us the address.

I’m a regular on www.hhhistory.com. The formal name of the blog is Heroes, Heroines, and History. It’s presented by 31 historical fiction writers. Once a month, each of us blogs about the historical topic of her choice. My day of each month is the 23rd. In June, I blogged about the color orange, and what English-speaking people called “orange” before they knew about the fruit by that name. It’s lots of fun, and the topics are widely varied. Come see us and leave a comment. We have several giveaways each month, too, so it’s a great place to win a book by a historical fiction author.

Bonus fun questions:
Where is your favorite spot to read?

In bed, under a cozy quilt, or out on the back deck.


Author bio.

Susan Page Davis is the author of more than fifty published novels and novellas. Her historical novels have won numerous awards, including the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest. She has also been a finalist in the More than Magic Contest and Willa Literary Awards. Susan lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim. She’s the mother of six and grandmother of nine. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com

Book blurb.
In Blue Moon Bride, two young Easterners travel West, Ava to visit her childhood friend and Joe on business. They meet on the train and find themselves allies when they are robbed by an outlaw gang. While Ava emerges unscathed, Joe loses his job in the aftermath of the robbery. Will he land on his feet—and will he ever see Ava again? It only happens once in a blue moon.

Blue Moon Bride is available as an e-book in the Twelve Brides of Summer collection #1 for Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XIW4FQ2 and for Nook at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-12-brides-of-summer-novella-collection-1-susan-page-davis/1121957907?ean=9781634095723



 
It is also found in the paperback anthology Old West Summer Brides, in Wal-Mart stores.














Susan is generously giving away either an e-book copy of Blue Moon Bride, or a paper copy of the collection it’s found in, Old West Summer Brides. Winner’s choice! Comment on the blog WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS (email at server dot com) to win.

  
Comment fodder:
What about you, readers? Where is YOUR favorite spot to read? 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Susan Anne Mason Interview


Hi, everyone! Please welcome Susan Anne Mason!

Hi, Sue! Give us a couple sentences describing what you write.
I write historical and contemporary inspirational romance. I describe my style as “romance sprinkled with faith” because in the midst of a wonderful romance, I love to spread God’s message of hope and love.

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, light, witty, humorous, adventurous?
I’d like to think of my stories as heart-warming, with some emotional angst (as is often the case when falling in love), mixed with a spiritual journey, and of course, a happily-ever-after!

What is the name of your latest book? My latest book is “Irish Meadows”, an historical romance set in 1911 New York. It’s a little different in that it chronicles two distinct romances of the O’Leary sisters.

Using any celebrity, past or present, whom would you cast as your main characters? And/Or give us a description, and we can give our own casting opinions in the comments!  Well, I have four main characters (two complete romances) in this story. I’ll concentrate on the main two. For the heroine, Brianna O’Leary, I picked actress Molly Quinn, who plays the daughter in the TV series “Castle”. With her red hair and pretty features, she definitely reminds me of Brianna. And for her love interest, Gilbert Whelan, I chose the very handsome Henry Cavill (Man of Steel) for his dark hair and blue eyes! If you like Pinterest, I have a board created for “Irish Meadows”. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out! https://www.pinterest.com/susanannemason/irish-meadows/

 

What is the theme of your story and how did you come to it? Any real-life inspiration? The main theme of my story, one that all the characters struggle with in one way or another, is that of being true to oneself. It’s something that resonated with me, as I’m sure many people can attest to, the need to follow our own heart, and stay true to our own inner moral compass, even when it disappoints other significant people in our lives.

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now? I’ll be working on galleys for book 2 in the Courage to Dream series called “A Worthy Heart” which is Adam O’Leary’s story.  And I’m in the beginning stages of the third book in the series, working title “Love’s Healing Grace”. This book will chronicle Deirdre O’Leary’s journey to love, with her brother Connor finding his life’s partner along the way!

Describe your writing space. Right now it’s my kitchen table near our bay window. It’s the cheeriest spot in the house and the one with the most light! One day, I hope to have my own office (when the children fly the nest!) and will decorate it exactly how I wish!

Bonus fun questions:
Which is your favorite hot drink to sip while reading? Tea, coffee, hot cocoa, apple cider, wassail or other?    Though I drink coffee in the morning, I normally sip tea while I’m writing (or reading). My favorite is a red African tea called Rooibos.

Favorite movie for this time of year? I love romantic comedies any time of year. One of my favorites is “You’ve Got Mail” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Another is “Leap Year” with Amy Adams!








Author bio. 
Susan Anne Mason describes her writing style as “romance sprinkled with faith.” She particularly enjoys exploring the themes of forgiveness and redemption in her stories. Irish Meadows is her first historical novel and won the Fiction from the Heartland contest sponsored by the Mid-American Romance Author chapter of RWA.
Susan lives outside of Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Learn more about Susan and her books at www.susanannemason.com.





Irish immigrant, James O’Leary, has spent his life building Irish Meadows into a thriving horse farm and is not about to let hard economic times threaten its success. He intends for his daughters to marry prosperous men—ones who will secure the family’s rightful place in society, and at the same time, guarantee the future of Irish Meadows. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.
Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their father expects them to marry well. Yet despite his wishes, Brianna, the quieter sister, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry—as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards. When stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from college and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach?