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The Because Fiction Podcast
34 minutes | 4 days ago
Episode 60- A Chat with Author T.I. Lowe
I never imagined that T.I. Lowe could possibly outdo herself after the Carolina Coast series, but... Under the Magnolias...wow. This combination coming-of-age and women's fiction novel offers a serious look at mental illness in a novel set back in the eighties. That combination of a relatable topic combined with a bit of distance from our time gives us a unique perspective that allows us to take in more than we might have thought possible. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide a small commission at no extra expense to you. Only a Master Storyteller Handles Mental Illness with Delicacy, Humor, and Grit Bestselling author T. I. Lowe releases her newest book today. Under the Magnolias is set in South Carolina in 1980. At a time and place where addressing mental health is even taboo than it can still be today, this book shows the real pain endured by those who don't feel as if they have anywhere to go. Lowe focuses heavily on trying to answer the question we all have when someone we love or respect gives up completely. Her heart for those who didn't feel as if they could ask for help shines through every word on the page. And yet, with such a difficult topic, this book doesn't weigh heavy on the reader. If anything, it offers hope and promise, with a twist of Lowe's particular brand of humor. I gushed about T.I. Lowe 's Driftwood Dreams in Episode 15. Don't be surprised if another episode follows this one in a few weeks--one of me gushing about this book. There's just so much to it. T.I. Lowe even created a Pinterest Board full of fun things from the eighties and things pertinent to her book. And one of the best things she shared was this fabulous song by Matthew West that really inspired her as she wrote the book. Under The Magnolias by T.I. Lowe This night not only marked the end to the drought, but also the end to the long-held secret we’d kept hidden under the magnolias. Magnolia, South Carolina, 1980 Austin Foster is barely a teenager when her mama dies giving birth to twins, leaving her to pick up the pieces while holding her six siblings together and doing her best to stop her daddy from retreating into his personal darkness. Scratching out a living on the family’s tobacco farm is as tough as it gets. When a few random acts of kindness help to ease the Fosters’ hardships, Austin finds herself relying upon some of Magnolia’s most colorful citizens for friendship and more. But it’s next to impossible to hide the truth about the goings-on at Nolia Farms, and Austin’s desperate attempts to save face all but break her. Just when it seems she might have something more waiting for her—with the son of a wealthy local family who she’s crushed on for years—her father makes a choice that will crack wide-open the family’s secrets and lead to a public reckoning. There are consequences for loving a boy like Vance Cumberland, but there is also freedom in the truth. T. I. Lowe’s gritty yet tender and uplifting tale reminds us that a great story can break your heart . . . then heal it in the best possible way. Find more about her and her books at tilowe.com Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher and more!
37 minutes | 7 days ago
Episode 59: Chat with Suspense Author, Tom Threadgill
Last month, I had the privilege of chatting with Christian author, Tom Threadgill about his Amara series (Collision of Lies and Network of Deceit) and about his Jeremy Winters series (for just a bit). Mostly, I gushed about the awesome characters he's created and the unique situation he gets himself and them into, and he graciously put up with it! See, here's the thing. Tom's books hold most of my favorite elements! Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. My Favorite Suspense Books Keep Me Up at Night & My Fingernails Trimmed Hold onto your seats, folks, it's going to be a bumpy ride to justice! Want proof? I actually typed "seets." Yeah. That. *rolls eyes at self.* As I state in the episode, I first learned of Tom Threadgill when I found his first Amara Alvarez book in a Christian bookstore in Indiana--Amish central. Just sayin'. As I'm doing videos about the great store and the books I found, and chat with #1daughter, this poor Amish woman kept glancing my way, probably wondering why I'm so enamored with the title, Collision of Lies. But seriously, an entire busload of kids are presumed dead... but then not? WHAT? Tom and I chatted (for far too long... I only recorded about half of it), and boy do we agree on a lot of things about books, writing, and what makes both fun and great. Call it "discovery" writing, "organic" writing, or the old tried and true, "pantsing," we both tend to start out on a book journey with some kind of idea where WE think we want the story to go and then get to find out if the characters agree or if they have minds of their own. Neither of us are much into gore. Both really hate preaching in books. As a Christian author, Tom Threadgill hints that his faith might show in his work, but his goal is to provide clean fiction for readers. He says, and I agree, that good fiction doesn't need profanity and smut, and he wants to provide that for any reader. Like I often say, keeping a Christian worldview out of a Christian's book is (and probably should be) almost impossible, but his intention isn't to provide spiritual depth but an alternative to the glut of content that readers might be embarrassed to be caught reading. So what is the Amara Alvarez series about? Take a property crimes officer, put her in a situation out of her element, let her flounder around figuring out how to do this thing, and bam! You have San Antonio's next homicide detective. Tom Threadgill's newest release, Network of Deceit, shows her at her first case as a detective, and whoa... is she thrown to the wolves. The medical examiner is confident the death they've ruled an accident is, in fact, murder. It's her job to prove it. She's not happy, and her boss is giving her very little time to figure out what is going on. Plus hackers. And life problems. And seriously, one of my newest and most favorite characters. Starskey. Oh, my. Love this dude. He's such a perfect blend of confidence in his own skin without being obnoxiously arrogant. WOOHOO! Okay, so I really like that medical examiner a lot, too, and we got a hint there might be a lot more of him in the next book. Squee! So what is Network of Deceit about? After her rescue of nearly fifty kidnapped children made international headlines, Amara Alvarez gets what she's worked for: a transfer to San Antonio's Homicide Division. Reality sets in quickly, though, as her first case, the suspicious death of a teenager at a crowded local water park, brings chaos to her personal life. As the investigation moves forward and she increases the pressure on the suspects, Amara finds herself under attack by cybercriminals. Her every move is being potentially watched online, and she's forced to resort to unconventional methods to find the killer. With few leads, she fights to keep her first murder investigation from ending up in the cold case files. Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring the detective who is willing to put everything on the line to see that justice is served and lives are protected. Tom Threadgill also has another series--Jeremy Winters While a bit "grittier" than the Amara Alvarez series, Tom assures us that it isn't gory or over-the-top. He doesn't enjoy that himself. I suspect I'll handle it all just fine. In fact, while trying to compare it to other authors, he pointed out that it was a lot tamer than say Ted Dekker. I thought that was helpful. ALSO! Both of Tom's series are available on audiobook (and Audible folks? You can get the Jeremy Winters as part of your subscription!) You can find out more about Tom Threadgill on his website, and as he pointed out, he loves reviews! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
30 minutes | 11 days ago
Episode 58- A Chat with Suspense Author, Melissa Koslin
I've never searched for a book longer or harder. Where on earth could it be? Rather than pulling out every book on my shelves, looking under tables and behind furniture, I had to search emails, computer files, accounts, and my Kindle. But it wasn't there. Around two o'clock, I gave up and went for a walk. Alone in the darkness, with a mystery playing through my headband, I felt like the world's worst detective. After all, you're supposed to follow the clues and nab the crook. There was one problem with that plan. I didn't have a clue! Somewhere there was a great romantic suspense book playing hide and seek with me, only no one told it the rule about "olly, olly, oxen free!" So when I called out. It remained silent. Sigh Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. What's Better Than a Suspenseful Book? What about a Romantic One? Okay, aside from her love of Jane Eyre, Melissa Koslin and I have a lot of things in common. We love suspense, and as long as it isn't "electric cheese," as one friend of mine calls it, we even love romantic suspense. With only the first pages from the "Look Inside" and the synopsis of Never Miss to go on, we started the interview and boy was it fun. First, let's talk about these characters. Kadence is an ex-CIA sniper who comes from a family of assassins. Did you read that? Think about it. You're at a party somewhere and one woman says, "My family is in real estate." Another says, "Oh, my family has been in the hospitality industry for decades." They turn to you and you say, "We're in problem eradication" and pray they don't ask for specifics. Awkward! But wait. There's more. How about a geeky scientist and a wild ride across the country because Kadence is on the "No Fly" list. EEEP! What about Biological Warfare? A threat on the president? (what else would you call releasing said warfare at the State of the Union Address?) Multiple personalities (okay, so just aliases but it sounded better the other way)? Guys, this book has it all. I spent a significant amount of time begging her for a series. Maybe Revell will listen and give us one, no? In addition to Never Miss, Melissa has another Christian Fiction suspense title under the name Melissa Kosci. She finished a series for author Mike Nappa, and I naively thought, "Oh, that's nice. I'll have to read those." Seriously... Look at these titles! Annabel Lee. The Raven. Dream within a Dream! It's the Coffey & Hill series, and I'm in love with the synopses. Must buy all the books! So, while you're waiting for the 24-book series I'm just SURE Melissa Koslin will end up doing--all about this assassin family, of course, you have these three books. Isn't it perfect? Meanwhile, let's look at Melissa Koslin and Never Miss. Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile's life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him--and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized. With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there's no one they can trust--except perhaps each other. EEEP! You can find out more about Melissa, her books (like the one coming out in the fall of 2022), and where to find her on social media (hint: she says she is Instagram challenged) by going to Melissa Koslin. In episode 55, I gave you 3 great springtime reads? Well... how about four? Oh, and I ended the interview by going to bakerbookhouse.com and preordering my paperback copy for ten bucks--no shipping charges. Ten bucks. That's cheaper than the Kindle version! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
47 minutes | 25 days ago
Episode 57: A Chat with Women's Fiction Author Cynthia Ruchti
One of the best ways to temper the heaviness of a book dealing with hard subjects is the judicious use of humor. Cynthia Ruchti is a new author to me (forgive my stupidity, won't you?) but the brilliant use of humor to open this novel set up a beautiful way to see the personality of a character before her world was turned upside down--genius. Facing the Dawn should be on every women's fiction lover's "next to read" list or at the top of the tottering TBR piles.
27 minutes | a month ago
Episode 56: A Chat with Erin Bartels about All That We Carried
In Erin Bartels latest release, All That We Carried, two sisters go on a journey not only of reconciliation but of spiritual discovery as well. This book spoke to me on so many levels and I can't recommend it enough. Listen as we discuss her why--her heart behind the story and how it still affects me weeks after reading.
54 minutes | a month ago
Episode 55: Three Great New Romantic Suspense Titles
Romantic Suspense is always a fabulous read, and this spring, we've got three fabulous ones to read. I had a short chat with three authors to learn more about their latest books and the series they are a part of. Patricia Bradley, Dana Mentink, and debut author, Kathleen J. Robison each have a fascinating book for us to hear about! Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. 3 Great New Romantic Suspense Novels for Your Springtime Reads The first of our mini-reviews, today we have three fabulous romantic suspense authors. First up: Patricia Bradley with her latest release, Obsession--part of the Natchez Trace Park Rangers Series. Natchez Trace Ranger and historian Emma Winters hoped never to see Sam Ryker again after she broke off her engagement to him. But when shots are fired at her at a historical landmark just off the Natchez Trace, she's forced to work alongside Sam as the Natchez Trace law enforcement district ranger in the ensuing investigation. To complicate matters, Emma has acquired a delusional secret admirer who is determined to have her as his own. Sam is merely an obstruction, one which must be removed. Sam knows that he has failed Emma in the past and he doesn't intend to let her down again. Especially since her life is on the line. As the threads of the investigation cross and tangle with their own personal history, Sam and Emma have a chance to discover the truth, not only about the victim but about what went wrong in their relationship. Award-winning author Patricia Bradley will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck with this nail-biting tale of obsession, misunderstanding, and forgiveness. Visit her at patriciabradley.com Mystery and Romantic Suspense Author, Dana Mentink The first book in a new series, Framed in Death Valley opens the Desert Justice series with a bang! A killer who will stop at nothing… Framed for a murder he didn’t commit, firefighter Beckett Duke gave up on everything—including his marriage to spirited Laney Holland. That is, until Laney’s life is threatened. Knowing the real killer is still at large, Beckett now has one purpose: protecting the woman he loves…and their unborn child. But sometimes an innocent man’s second chance comes with a deadly price. From Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith. Desert JusticeBook 1: Framed in Death Valley Find her at danamentink.com Next up is a debut romantic suspense author, Kathleen J. Robison. I'm pleased to know Kathleen from my ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) group. She's a lovely woman with a fabulous talent for storytelling. Like me, she likes to write in a variety of genres, but her heart seems most strongly fixed in romantic suspense. You can join her newsletter and get her novelette, Essential Ingredients, free. Or, you can order it in paperback from Amazon. Shattered Guilt by Kathleen J. Robison When they told her about Southern hospitality, no one mentioned human trafficking. The move to Bay Town, Mississippi was supposed to be a fresh start for single-mom Melanie and her daughter, Lacy. The quiet Southern town offers a nice relief after the frenetic-paced life of Los Angeles, but something sinister lurks beneath the surface. Her bridal business struggles to take off, and instead of turning to the Lord, Melanie makes a desperate plea for help--from her ex-husband. Lacey and a friend are attacked, and while Lacey is hospitalized, her friend goes missing—a victim of human trafficking out of New Orleans. With her ex-husband showing true signs of repentance, the pastor she'd begun to fall for taking a step back, and her daughter's friend lost to the animals who stole her, Melanie goes on a desperate, dangerous mission to rescue the girl and get their lives back. And she'll do it with or without the Lord's help. How can Melanie find the girls and rescue them without getting caught herself? Why can't she trust the Lord to keep them all safe, and which man in her life is the right one--if either? Read this heart-gripping, pulse-racing novel and see how the Lord's hand is on us, even when He seems so very far away. Find her at danamentink.com Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
38 minutes | a month ago
Episode 54: A Chat with Mystery Author Kay DiBianca
Whether you love cozies or procedural, forensic or amateur sleuth, or just get nostalgic about your childhood and Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys (Trixie Belden anyone?), mysteries are a great way to keep the mind sharp and the entertainment flowing. When I had the opportunity to review author Kay DiBianca's newest release, Dead Man's Watch, I jumped at it. Then, I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her books, why she writes mysteries, the struggles inherent in all that, and more. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. A Great Mystery Author for You to Watch Out For! There are few things better than a great mystery, so when I run across one I love, I'm all about it. Well, Kay DiBianca has written one that managed to get me to guess the WRONG culprit without cheap shots. Dead Man's Watch is also on sale right now, so snag it before the end of the month! A lot of what we talked about in the interview, I discussed in my review of Dead Man's Watch, but there is so much more to this interview. Kay DiBianca shared the frustrations of writing a complex and compelling mystery in this age of armchair forensic experts (my words, not hers). I mean, I know everything there is to know about how to kill someone. I got my degree in it from Forensic Files, after all. (Removes tongue from cheek... OUCH! ) The episode Kay mentions about the differences between mysteries, suspense novels, and thrillers is Episode 47. Additionally, we chatted about her inspiration for the series and her tagline. Part of the charm of this book is the inclusion of messianic Christians and the influence it had on Kay DiBianca and her husband (although, I'm sure her time in Israel didn't hurt). Part of the inspiration for the book came from an older mystery series, The Rabbi Small Series by Harry Kemelman. With those in mind, is it any wonder that Kay paraphrased a saying from the Talmud as her book's tagline? SAVING ONE LIFE IS LIKE SAVING THE WHOLE WORLD We even chatted about how one man giving His life ended up truly saving the whole world. Wow. Confession time: Though Kay DiBianca had made me doubt, at the time of our recording, I thought I'd figured out the whodunnit and I had a couple of theories why. I was wrong--completely. While I'd considered the true culprit, I'd tossed aside the idea as not as strong as someone else's. Of course, by the end of the book when I realized how very wrong I was, that suspect made more sense than anyone else I cannot wait to see what Kay does with this series. I hope for quite a few more from her! About Dead Man's Watch by Kay DiBianca SAVING ONE LIFE IS LIKE SAVING THE WHOLE WORLD Half-sisters Kathryn Frasier and Cece Goldman stumble into another mystery in this second book in the Watch series. When a former acquaintance of Kathryn's is accused of murder, she and Cece go on a mission to prove his innocence by finding the real killer. But things are never what they seem in this tangled web, and Kathryn's spunky determination to solve the mystery pushes her closer and closer to a deadly climax. Join the adventure as these two young women commit themselves to live up to the quote from the Jerusalem Talmud: "Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." And it's on sale through March 31, 2021!!! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
38 minutes | a month ago
Episode 53: A Chat with Katie Vorreiter
I promised that in March, the podcast would expand to more episodes, and I couldn't think of a better way to kick off this expansion than with a book that releases tomorrow on Palm Sunday! Our first Saturday episode is a full-length interview with Romantic Suspense author, Katie Vorreiter, talking about her release tomorrow of 50 Days. What would happen if Jesus’ death was yesterday instead of two thousand years ago? Katie explores this question through the eyes of the women we know so little about but in a setting we know better than that of the Bible—ours. She does this with insight, sensitivity, and without encroaching on the truth of Scripture. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why You Might Want to Read this Book As Soon as Possible It's that time of year--the one where the events of a Passover Saturday years ago are remembered with extra care and attention to detail. Palm Sunday gives way to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and a host of arguments as to what day Jesus actually died before Resurrection Sunday and the joy that comes with the realization that He is risen--just as He said! This year, Palm Sunday includes an extra special treat for lovers of Christian fiction--especially romantic suspense. I spoke with Katie Vorreiter about her release tomorrow--Fifty Days. This speculative fiction novel examines the lives of the women who served Jesus, their relationship with Him, and what it would be like to find His body missing. And she wrote it as if it happened just a couple of days ago. In the tradition of books like Eli by Bill Meyers and Yesterday Framed in Today by Grace Livingston Hill's aunt, Isabella Alden, Fifty Days looks at the period between the resurrection and Pentecost and what it might mean for those who thought they'd lost their dearest Friend. Katie Vorreiter and I agreed that this book is a perfect one for those who might reject the Bible. It explores all the depths of that time but in a contemporary setting with a riveting story that would keep anyone interested. So, perhaps that friend at work or that neighbor who rejects any mention of faith or the Bible might consider the story about a guy in trouble with the government for speaking out against corruption, evil, and oppression. Katie got the idea for the book while trying to focus on the crucifixion and resurrection story one Easter Sunday and says that she was jealous of the relationship that Mary Magdalene had with Jesus. I imagine exploring what that would look like probably brought her closer to the Lord. I know that kind of writing always does beautiful things in my heart. Fifty Days by Katie Vorreiter releases tomorrow! A young fugitive embarks on a search to find the one person who can clear her name but discovers he’s a lot harder to keep up with now that he’s been murdered. Maggie runs into Jarrett Adams on the street three days after the nation watched him die. Either she’s gone mad—again—or Jarrett really is back. As the US loses its grip on democracy, government thugs eager to contain what Maggie knows hound her every step, while the good intentions of a man from her past only tighten the noose. But Maggie’s worst nightmare has an upside, and in the next fifty days, she’ll find what she seeks in the most unexpected place. You can find out more about Katie, her books (including No Turning Back), and get a free short story on her WEBSITE. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
39 minutes | a month ago
Episode 52: A Chat with Teri Blake
Christian romance author has branched out into women’s fiction, and wow has she done a brilliant job! Her first book in the Driftwood Bay series releases today in the 12-author collection, A Place to Belong. Her book, The Rosewood Diary is a wonderful sister story of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and old hurts coming to the surface. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Meet a Brand-New Women’s Fiction Author in an “Old” Favorite When Historical and Contemporary Christian romance author, Kari Trumbo, decided she wanted to write women’s fiction, she knew that her romance readers would not necessarily be eager to jump into another genre, but seeing her name would tell them, “Oh! A new Kari Trumbo book!” So, for her new genre, she chose a new name–one to ensure her women’s fiction readers would be satisfied with the content, and one that would mean when romance readers saw Kari Trumbo, they didn’t end up with something they don’t actually want. Sometimes, a pseudonym like Teri Blake is the best answer to an author’s genre woes! The Rosewood Diary by Teri Blake is a heart-rending and uplifting women’s fiction novel. No, those aren’t contradictory statements. It really is a beautiful combination of both. Two sisters–estranged, but not–have little time to overcome trials that one sister doesn’t even knows exists. Through loss and heartache, pockets of humor and laid-bare honesty, Quinn (the oldest sister), grows in such beautiful, heart-aching ways that blessed me as a reader. The prose is beautiful (without being heavy-handed), and the story keeps you turning every single page. The Rosewood Diary is available in the A Place to Belong collection right now (released today 3/23/21) and is just .99 for 12 books! The authors are striving for the USA Today Bestseller’s list, so please consider spending a dollar and helping them out. But do it fast. It’s only a dollar for this week. A Place to Belong: 12 Heartwarming Novels with Animal Sidekicks Family and friends you can depend on, close-knit communities who embrace you, and the special animal companions that have a knack for changing lives and bringing us purpose… A PLACE TO BELONG has them all, ready and waiting for you. Immerse yourself in this 12-book collection of stories about women who rose to the challenges life threw their way and emerged stronger because of it. New York Times bestselling author Melissa Storm joins established and emerging talent in the genre of Women’s Fiction to bring you a heartwarming set of novels to entertain, inspire, and to show you the ones you love amidst its pages. Because home isn’t a place. It’s the people (and the animal friends) who give life its purpose. The Rosewood Diary: Author: Teri Blake Despite being inseparable as kids, the Morris sisters grew apart with age. Yet when Ryla sends Quin an urgent plea, Quin makes her long-overdue return to Rosewood House. To her great regret, she didn’t realize why her sister had called her back until it was too late. Lost and alone, Quin can’t see beyond her own grief. Comfort comes from an unlikely source when Paxton, Ryla’s hospice nurse and neighbor, offers a shoulder to cry on when she needs it most. His support comes with no strings attached—something Quin has never experienced before. Finding her sister’s diary churns up memories of their childhood and what it was like growing up in Rosewood House. Will this, along with Paxton’s soothing guidance, be the beacon of light that helps her through the darkest moment of her life? Or will she find new hope in a life she never dreamed possible at Rosewood? Get the beginning of the Driftwood Bay Series, focusing on family, relationships, and healing from life’s scars. Note: The Driftwood Diary will be available on ALL retail platforms next week as well as on Audible! EEEP! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
37 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 51: A Chat with Sarah Sundin
After years of good intentions, I finally read my first Sarah Sundin book, When Twilight Breaks, and oh my word! Amazing book! This combination book gush and author chat discusses what history has dubbed Kristallnacht, WWII fiction, family inspiration, and When Twilight Breaks in particular. Just a couple of chapters made me a fan!
30 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 50: A Chat with Jennifer Deibel
Set in Ireland in 1920, A Dance in Donegal mingles beautiful settings, story, and songs into a beautiful... well, dance! Jennifer Deibel has written a tale that will tangle your heartstrings into a perfect Celtic knot. Find out what inspired her in today's episode. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. What Is More Beautiful Than a Heart Stirring Story? Debut author, Jennifer Deibel gives us a beautiful look into a 1920s world most of us don't think of. Instead of flappers, jazz, and prohibition, we see the quiet countryside in the farthest most reaches of western Ireland. A place I've mispronounced since I was a little girl. Donegal. Having spent years living in Ireland on two separate occasions, Jennifer is uniquely suited to crafting a story that shows an American audience an authentic picture of life in Ireland while staying true to Irish sensibilities. As I said near the beginning of our conversation, I felt right at home in A Dance in Donegal the moment Sean "insulted" Moira in that classic, Irish teasing way. Residents of any small town will recognize the way neighbors not only stick their noses into Moira's business but consider that business to be their right. As we talked, Jennifer's passion for Ireland sang. Seriously, anyone who can't hear the love she has for Ireland and its people, its land, its culture--well, I'd argue they can't have listened well. But that's okay because all readers need to do is open the book and immerse themselves into the story. One thing I noted as I read the book was how very similar the people of Donegal are with the people from last week's book. What is that story? Well... A Dance in Donegal All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother's descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother's wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland. After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira's mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she's journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends--and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced--as she seeks to navigate a life she'd never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live. Jennifer Deibel's debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms. Connect with Jennifer on social media and sign up for her newsletter (so you can learn about her book club kit!) and see all the extras on Jennifer's website. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
55 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 49: A Chat with Suzanne Woods Fisher
Author of the newly released (and totally fabulous The Moonlight School, Suzanne Woods Fisher talks about her inspiration for the novel, what is factual and what she created for the book, about her other popular series, and even her unusual hobby!
38 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 48: A Chat with T.E. Price
What happens when you combine domestic violence with suspense? A hair-raising ride you won't want to miss. On March 2, T.E. Price 's book, Take Flight, releases on eBook, and boy is this one excellent story. Join me as I talk with Tiffany about her book, the inspiration, and all the excellence you'll find within the can't-put-it-down pages. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you! The 3 Best Things about This Domestic Abuse Suspense Novel A new author to me, T.E. Price knocked her suspense (and almost thriller) out of the park with three excellent elements to the book. Aside from wonderful and realistic characterization and edge-of-your-seat storytelling, T.E. Price also digs deep into a subject Christians sometimes like to pretend isn't a thing. And boy does she do it well. So if a great story that grips you and won't let you go isn't the best thing, what is? Well... I've got three. First, the writing is stellar. Let's face it, domestic abuse victims have cyclical thought patterns and actions that can feel redundant and become boring when you see it on the page, but Tiffany managed to avoid that while still showing how real and confusing it can be both for the person going through it and for those watching from the outside. Second, her laser focus on her subject. Domestic abuse is a multi-layered and faceted subject that spans so many different aspects of life. It would be easy and natural, even, to try to show it all with the one person who experienced it all, but T.E. Price keeps her focus on one woman's escape from that life and how it affects her relationship with the Lord and others. That's it. Third, T.E. Price shows her heart for the Lord and His people in every word on the page. While not preachy at all, and while often just the undercurrent of the story, there is no doubt in the reader's mind that Price wants the reader to learn both how to overcome as the victim of domestic violence and how to aid others in the church going through it. Additionally, that steady reminder of Who the only true support we truly have touches every aspect of Hallie McClain's life. There are so many other excellent elements to Take Flight, but I'd be chatting all day with Tiffany (and nearly did!) if I kept going. Don't forget! T.E. Price's book releases March 2, 2021 and on March 5, 2021 from 7-8 pm (EST) she is having a Facebook launch party with prizes and lots of information about it. HERE is a link to that party and I hope to be there to celebrate with her! Please join her and maybe you'll win an eBook copy of Take Flight! You can find more about T.E. Price (Tiffany) at her WEBSITE where you can also find her other novel, Love's True Colors. Title: Take Flight Author: T.E. Price Synopsis: Within Take Flight, readers follow Hallie McClain as she is faced with numerous fight-or-flight decisions in her attempt to escape her abusive husband, Jonathan McClain. Hallie has made the decision to leave him for good, but Jonathan has no intentions of complying. During their separation, Hallie grapples with trusting those closest to her, the gossip-mill of her small town, and her wavering trust in God. Living alone in a secret, secluded cabin in the woods, she is thrust into multiple circumstances where she has to balance her safety with the reality of inescapable encounters with her soon-to-be ex-husband. Jonathan soon discovers Hallie’s whereabouts, forcing her to escape to the city while awaiting the divorce, but her move isn’t the solution as her safety is still compromised. Hallie has to learn to trust God with her safety while leaning on the church body for support. The tantalizing storyline of Take Flight weaves through one “fight-or-flight” scenario after the next, filling Hallie with angst regarding her constant need for escape. Take Flight addresses the ugliness of domestic abuse and the need for support from the church community. Furthermore, it affirms God’s trustworthiness in the midst of difficult, sometimes even life-threatening, situations. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher You can find the Blog post HERE.
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 47: The Drew Farthering Mysteries
Why This Mystery Series Is One of My Favorites Mystery is probably my all-time favorite genre, and those from the “golden age” of mystery are the most wonderful. So, when I found this series of six mysteries set in 1930s England that reads like those classic mysteries with an infusion of faith, well… how could I resist? While all books have some element of “mystery” to them, mystery as a genre is a very specific sort of book–one that often is confused with a couple of others, namely suspense and thriller. Quite often, in groups and conversations, when someone asks for a mystery recommendation, the majority of suggestions will actually be suspense novels or thrillers. Therefore, first I wanted to clarify what these genres are and what defines them. Mystery A “mystery” is a puzzle for the reader to solve along with the protagonist (usually a detective of some sort). While the mystery genre has many subgenres–cozy, noir, detective, amateur sleuth, etc.–the key element is always that puzzle. From Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew to Mrs. Pollifax, the authors and characters vary as much as the storylines. Suspense While suspense may involve a mystery and vice versa, the key element of a suspense novel is emotion. The reader usually knows that the protagonist is in danger before the protagonist. I.e. woman in a white nightgown investigating a sound from the basement. We scream at her not to go down there–to get out of the house! Even when the character realizes they are in danger, some decide to confront it–to overcome the evil. This is when suspense turns into a… Thriller The difference between suspense and thriller is that not all suspenses include someone taking on the antagonist. Often, they’re trying to figure out who they can trust and who to run from. In a thriller, running is only a temporary solution to regroup so the character can take charge again. Many books in a wide variety of genres have some elements of all of these, which is why I think some readers become confused as to which is which. A sweet romance has some suspense. When will he finally ask her out? When will she quit resisting…? All the stuff. The mystery might come into play if it’s a secret admirer trope. And, of course, if there’s some stalker Mr. Hero is probably out to stop said dude. This likely makes it more romantic suspense, because I doubt both protagonists are out to stop the dude. Usually one or the other is running. And these distinctions are important when you’re writing a mystery series… or reading one! This week’s sponsor is Liz Tolsma’s The Silver Shadow. Part of the True Colors Crime series, this novel is set in Colorado in the year 1900 and features a young woman out to prove herself as a reporter. A local officer isn’t as convinced of her story as she is, but things begin looking pretty sketchy. This book releases May first, so instead of a bouquet of flowers on your door, how about preordering a bouquet of words for your Kindle! The book is on preorder now and I, for one, can’t wait to read it. I’ve reviewed Liz’s other books in the series. You can find those reviews below: The Pink Bonnet The Green Dress The Gold Digger Additionally, Episode 9 of The Because Fiction Podcast features six of these books, including the first two by Liz Tolsma. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why This Mystery Series Is One of My Favorites. As I said in this review, I found this series at the perfect time and quite by accident. With characters who are likable, flawed, and not too hackneyed, the Drew Farthering books have a lot to offer any lover of classical mysteries. Each book has a slightly different setting and since they’re all in “between wars” England, the settings are both exciting and classic. From country manors to theaters to the wilds of Scotland, this series offers them all. I’m not really sure why Julianna Deering (also writing as DeAnna Julie Dodson) only wrote the six mysteries, but I for one found them fabulous. The first is even available on Audible (and FREE to Kindle Unlimited subscribers). I’d love for folks to flood Bethany House with pleas for the rest of the series to be narrated! Additionally, we’re talking some seriously stunning covers. The series is as follows: Rules of Murder–Drew Farthering loves to read mysteries and decides to use what he’s learned to figure out what happened to the victim. Death by the Book— This time, Drew’s lawyer gets involved and well… um… yeah. Not so good. Murder at the Mikado— Poor Drew can’t even be engaged without bodies dropping and an old girlfriend popping up, begging for help! Dressed for Death— At a “fancy dress” house party, things go from Regency to death in shocking and terrifying ways! Murder on the Moor— Off to the wilds of Yorkshire, Drew finds himself in a land as brooding and mysterious as a “Bronte novel.” Death at Thorburn Hall— On holiday in Scotland, Drew finds himself investigating an embezzling scheme that leads to murder. All in all, Julianna Deering has written one of my favorite series, and I really hope she’ll write more. Additionally, I mentioned the Ever After Mysteries Cover releases… You can find out more about mine here (although the giveaway is over for that one) and today’s release HERE. It’s easy to win. Just keep watch on Amazon for the cover for Rebeka’s book, The Lost Dutchman’s Secret, to change from the plain “place-holder” cover to the vibrant one. When it does, share somewhere online, take a screenshot or grab a link, and email to email@example.com ! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
45 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 46: What Romances Do I Think Are Perfect for Valentine's Day?
With Valentine's Day this weekend, it seems only fitting to look at some great reads to celebrate the day. I probably wouldn't have thought of it if a friend hadn't said something. Thanks to Lucinda for the Valentine's Day reads suggestion. Whether you're looking for a few short novellas, a gentle trilogy with a bonus, a collection of interconnected novellas, or an Austen-inspired romp, it's all here. I've even got a romance for married folks! Let's check it out, shall we? Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. What Romances Do I Think Are Perfect for Valentine's Day? With the million and one possible book options for Valentine's day, how was I supposed to limit them to just enough to fill a podcast episode? It took far too long, but I finally came up with five solid suggestions--not all new works. Instead, I went with books that make great first reads and rereads. It feels weird to make such a big deal about reading romance for a holiday I didn't even remember is coming, but despite my personal aversion to it, I recognize that it's a beautiful thing the Lord created to illustrate His love and care for us as well as enrich our lives here. So, let's talk books! Liz Johnson’s Prince Edward Island Dreams The best thing about this series is how Liz Johnson manages to combine lovely characters, riveting plots, excellent writing, and a strong but gentle weaving of faith through the words. The Red Door Inn Where Two Hearts Meet Love's Gentle Shore Christmas at the Red Door Inn Sarah Monzon’s Book Nerds and Boyfriends Humorous, poignant, and engaging, Sarah's Book Nerds and Boyfriends series contains three novellas that somehow intertwine avid readers and plots that shake up said readers' lives. The entire series is about the length of an average novel, and you'll walk away in love with the characters, encouraged in your faith, and with a lighter heart than when you started. Bookishly Ever After Literarily for Keeps Novelly Upon a Time Betwixt Two Hearts This CrossRoads Collection combines a matchmaking service and six couples who may or may not be just perfect for each other. Novellas in various lengths from authors Amanda Tru, Cathe Swanson, Kari Trumbo, Alana Terry, Carol Moncado, and me! HERE is a link to the story I tell about how I got the idea for my book in this collection. As Only Mr. Darcy Can With all the humor that only Laura Hile can provide, As Only Mr. Darcy Can combines Valentines, Wickam in trouble, and one hilarious moment after the next. Bookers on the Rocks After twenty-five years, you'd think Ross and Tessa Booker would have this romance thing down pat. Instead, she avoids it as if Covid incarnate. See what she and Ross learn through one of the most romantic books I've ever written, Bookers on the Rocks. And that Valentine's Day gift to yourself I mentioned? Preorder this fantastic collection of TWELVE romance novellas for just $.99! When you do, you’ll be eligible to receive some fabulous monthly free gifts from our authors. Click HERE to enter. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
35 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 45: A Gush about Things We Didn't Say
There's nothing more wonderful than a new release that keeps you riveted to the page--or the audiobook app--from the first word to the last. Unless it happens to be by a debut author. That's right, Amy Lynn Green has written a phenomenal, gripping, insightful novel that every lover of good fiction should read. You can read the full show notes at chautona.com/because-fiction-45
40 minutes | 3 months ago
Episode 44: A Chat with Carolyn Miller
I'd seen the covers of her books--lovely Regency titles that intrigued me. However, when we put out the call for authors in our upcoming series, The Independence Islands, I never imagined I'd see her name among the applicants. Well, let's just say that not only was Carolyn Miller an excellent addition to the team, her books... guys, her books! I've read two of the island books now, and I hear the third is winging its way to my inbox. And well... what do I think? I think... Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. This New Contemporary Romance Has Southern Charm from Down Under It can't be easy for an Aussie to transition from contemporary Australia to Regency England, but I bet it's even harder to transition from that to contemporary Southern USA. Well... If it is, you'd never know it, because Carolyn Miller has mastered it. In this interview, we chatted about her original contemporary works (did you know she wrote romantic suspense? Was that the one she won awards for? I don't know. Here's the thing. I should have known. Because her second islands book? Yeah. Definitely romantic suspense in it. With just a bit of tweaking it would have been classified as Romantic suspense. How awesome is THAT? Well, last month was her debut contemporary novel as well as her first one of the Islands series, Restoring Fairhaven. Just as an overview of the story, Samantha (Sam) Greene takes over her father's landscaping business and has to deal with quite a bit of pushback from the men of the business but even more, a man whose assistant hires her to tackle the enormous grounds at the Fairhaven estate. This poor guy is grieving and brooding, which works for the kind of books he writes. Yep, he's an author (think Nicholas Sparks novels on steroids). Of course, personalities clash, and things just get really interesting. This book has three primary things going for it. Characterization: Miller writes lovely flawed characters who you can relate to and watch grow and stretch. I loved liking and disliking people and the works. It was great. Plot: Her story is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time, so it's really cool to see how she handled those. Spiritual aspects: She didn't get all preachy, but she did have a few spots where my brain went, "Hmm... what does the Bible say about that... cool..." and off I went to study, which is my favorite. But as we said, Carolyn Miller got her start in Regency Romance. With three series out and one beginning soon, she has quite a list ready for you. Regency Brides (A Legacy of Grace) Regency Brides (Daughters of Aynsley) Regency Brides (A Promise of Hope) Regency Brides (Regency Wallflowers--coming April 2021) I am most interested in the one about the girl who went to Gretna Green and the "after the wedding" story, so I'll be reading that, but since I can't remember which one it is, I'm going to start with her first book and work my way through until I can find it. But she joined the Independence Islands series to dip her toe into the contemporary waters because... She has a contemporary "hockey" series coming out next year (just in time for the winter Olympics) and readers need to know she can do this! Seriously, hearing the story of the closing ceremonies in Vancouver that inspired Carolyn's first book... I'm so excited about her hockey series, so check that out next year! You can find more about Carolyn Miller on her WEBSITE where you can also find her social media links as well as fascinating photos of her trips to England (Bath, the Peak District, Scotland, etc.) as well as gardens on the Independence Islands page (she cheats. Her husband is a horticulturist... just sayin'). And I'm going to give away a copy of Restoring Fairhaven to one commenter over at chautona.com/because-fiction-44 US residents will receive a paperback, and international will receive an eBook (sorry!). Just leave a comment about an interesting garden you visited and why you found it interesting. I loved the gardens at the Bellagio in Las Vegas a few years ago! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
27 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 43: A Chat with Allison Pearl
Great Things Happen When You Mix Danger and Donuts Suspense is a personal favorite genre, so when I heard about Allison Pearl's series, I knew I wanted to read them and chat with her about them. I only made it about a quarter of the way into the book before the interview, but that's mostly because I spent way too much time deliberating over whether I should finish the book, Sprinkled with Sabotage, or set it aside and go read the first two. That's actually a difficult thing about books in a series that stand alone. You can read them out of order, so the dilemma begins--kind of like whether to read The Narnia series in order of publication or in chronological order. Nah, everyone knows you need to read in order of publication. Hmm... maybe that solves my question on Allison Pearl's books, too. Hmmm... From the fun way she named the protagonists to our discussing the idea of a high-speed chase through the West Virginia mountains (I bet she could get those folks up to forty miles-per-hour! Trust me, if you've ever driven some of those roads, you'll know that IS high speed in that area!), we talked about just about everything. Faith in fiction, what got Allison writing suspense in the first place, locales for books, and... of course, what is coming next! The Love and Danger in St. Claire series by Allison Pearl is full of danger, tension, and sprinkled with romance for the heart-throbbers among us. Sprinkled with Sabotage Synopsis: Lizzy Bennet loves life as a lawyer in the city. And not just because of the miles it puts between her and her ex. However, when she’s attacked on the street just hours after learning her identity was stolen, she tries to call home for help and ends up with the last person she expects: the very same high school boyfriend who broke her heart. He says he’s there to help, but she’s not so sure, and now, all the endless questions and regrets are clouding her judgment and preventing her from seeing the dangerous saboteur closing in. Small-town auto mechanic, Koby Knightly, is looking forward to seeing a car show in the city. But when an unexpected call from his old girlfriend disconnects suddenly, he rushes to her aid. Throwing his plans out the window, Koby makes it his mission to protect her and discover the identity of the person trying to frame her. Will he also be able to figure out what went wrong between them back in high school or will a killer get to her first? Available in print, on Kindle, and also through Kindle Unlimited. Or, read the first books in the series: Glazed Suspicion Dunked in Trouble You can learn more about Allison Pearl, her upcoming books, and more on her website. Find out what else her publisher, Anaiah Press has to offer HERE.
38 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 42: A Chat with J'nell Ciesielski
I had a wonderful discussion with J'nell about her newest release (as in TODAY!), Beauty Among Ruins, about her vision for writing Christian fiction, and the goals Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins has for some of their Christian fiction titles/authors! Stay tuned for more in depth show notes in just a bit!
30 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 41: A Chat with Jennifer Pierce
Get your safety harness strapped on because this book will take you on a roller coaster ride of suspense, action, and all the feels. I’m talking about Jennifer Pierce’s, Deadly Connection, and today I’m talking with Jennifer Pierce herself! We talk about her love of fiction, her iffiness with romance, and how she became an avid reader and writer of romantic suspense. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. When Your Creativity Fails, Kill a Beloved Character Deadly Connection. Where do I begin? First, you should know that this book kicks off with just about everything it could. Ambiguous phone calls, orders to do something weird, a murder, an attempted kidnapping... arson. We're talking one kicker thing after the next, and here's the deal. None of it feels thrown in there for shock value. It all makes sense! A story that is fast-paced and crazy intense at times, you're dealing with a mom protecting her child, a guy with a past... and well, so does she. Just sayin'. And it started off as a contest entry for Love Inspired Suspense. When we talked about that, Jenn told about how she'd made a lot of requested changes, but one turned out to be more than she could do. If she changed that, the villain's entire motivation changed, and that would kill the story. So, as teachable as she obviously is, she wasn't willing to risk the integrity of her story in favor of trying to fulfill a dream. BRAVA! After all, would her dream truly be realized if she didn't recognize her own book by the time it got changed? Still, she told us a bit about another one coming up, and today I zipped her a reminder that readers like me want more. Just sayin'. But Deadly Connection isn't Jenn's only romantic suspense novel! With a few others in her head, she has two more in print. Hidden Danger Expecting Danger Not to mention a hysterical Christmas novella, Giving Grace. Come on... with a Maltese named Bob, who mistakes mailman legs for fire hydrants, what's not to crack up about? Jennifer has a lot of books planned or in the works... but she says God hasn't given her to go on which one to do next. I sure hope it's the first book she's doing in the Suamalie Islands series with Celebrate Lit. Or that wild cat story. Or maybe a sequel to Deadly Connection. Whatever it is, I'm just certain it'll be good! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple Castbox Google Play Libsyn RSS Spotify Stitcher
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