Friday, February 28, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 9

Indulge Your Biggest Passion

I've reached the tail end of a long writing project. 

It's done. Smack hands together in accomplishment. Roll kinks out of shoulders. I can now take time to locate the mop and bring my house to order. 


Keep Calm And Write On

And... no. While I enjoy keeping Crabapple House a tidy nest,
housewifery is not my BIGGEST passion. This Cinderella's mind is already pondering what comes next. 

And do you know what thrills me the most? 

Ripping into the next long writing project. 
Climbing Rose ~ Crabapple House

I guess I'm cheating on this week's challenge, a little. I'm not going far. Hey, I'm not really going anywhere. My biggest passion hums within and any author will tell you... there's nowhere to hide from the story. 

52 Dates For Writers suggests indulging in something other than writing when our story needs a poke or a prod.

I'm not there this week. I'm at the point where I'm soaring to have reached the end of a goal, and looking for a place to land where I can pick at another one. (Oh, I sound like a vulture ~ not very Ink Dots of me!) 

I consider myself blessed to carry around my biggest passion, but... 

if I were at a low, 

if I needed to nourish my flagging spirits, 

if I needed to indulge... I'd go where I've always found refreshment. 

My garden. And that's where I'm headed in the days ahead. After hosting a gang of landscapers in my yard since November for a pool installation, my poor, neglected garden is crying out for attention. Now that the last power tool's been packed away and the yard emptied of saw horses and paver pallets, I can reclaim and re-nourish what's been lost since early summer. 


Garden at Crabapple House

Trim. Feed. Water. I'll love my Crabapple House garden back to life and in doing so, breathe a little back into my own heart. Perhaps, that's exactly what God intended for my writer's soul. 

I hope a slice of your weekend includes indulging in a passion of your own.

Blessings, 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Jolina Petersheim ~ The Outcast



It's a pleasure to welcome Jolina Petersheim. This is Jolina's first visit to Ink Dots and I'm pleased to say she'll be back in June with more author news. 

Jolina's the bestselling author of The Outcast, which Library Journal called "outstanding . . . fresh and inspirational" in a starred review and named one of the best books of 2013. 

She holds degrees in English and communication arts from the University of the Cumberlands, and her writing has been featured in venues as varied as radio programs, nonfiction books, and numerous online and print publications. Her blog is syndicated with The Tennessean's "On Nashville" blog roll, and she also blogs weekly with four other bestselling novelists at Southern Belle View. 

Jolina and her husband share the same unique Amish and Mennonite heritage that originated in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but now live in the mountains of Tennessee with their young daughter. Follow Jolina and her blog at www.jolinapetersheim.com.


The Outcast Raised in an Old Order Mennonite community, Rachel Stoltzfus is a strong-willed single woman, content living apart from mainstream society until whispers stir the moment her belly swells with new life. Refusing to repent and name the partner in her sin, Rachel feels the wrath of the religious sect as she is shunned by those she loves most. She is eventually coerced into leaving by her brother-in-law, the bishop. But secrets run deep in this cloistered community, and the bishop is hiding some of his own, threatening his conscience and his very soul. When the life of Rachel’s baby is at stake, however, choices must be made that will bring the darkness to light, forever changing the lives of those who call Copper Creek home. 

Jolina Say...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be... Italy! I've visited Greece, Germany, Colombia, and traveled across the UK, but alas, I've never been to Italy. I don't know what I would be going for more, though, the scenery or the food! Authentic Italian food? Is there any better? I don't blame you for putting it top of your wish list. :)

The best thing I did today is... Since it's too early in the morning to claim any feat besides rolling out of bed, I will go with yesterday. My toddler-age daughter came to me with a book when I was in the middle of cooking for our cabin trip. I really, really did not want to read "Puppy, Please, Puppy, Please," but her little puppy dog eyes work me over every time. So I sat in the middle of the kitchen floor, cuddled her on my lap, and read. Aww, that's so sweet. Toddlers sure know the cutest methods of persuasion.  

A secret pleasure of mine is... chocolate! I like to have one piece of dark chocolate every day, along with a cup of hot tea. This moment usually happens after my daughter's taking a nap, and I'm preparing to write.

I wish I could relive the day when I... gave birth...or got married. For both of these life-changing events, I felt a little foggy because there was so much going on. This is why I am so thankful for pictures, though; I can cherish each moment even if I can't remember every detail.

Jolina Petersheim
When I was a child I dreamed I would... be a writer! After reading the Anne of Green Gables series when I was eight years old, I knew I wanted to write just like Anne. I informed everyone of my future plans as soon as they would take a breath in a conversation. It's been a journey, but getting to write from home and be with my daughter has truly been a dream come true. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I was a college cheerleader. As a flyer, I got dropped many, many times, and though I have great memories of those years on the squad, I will really protest if my daughter wants to cheer one day. I know some may find it hard to believe, but the sport's really too dangerous. Now, this Aussie didn't know some cheerleaders are known as 'flyers' and the term alone confirms my mama's instinct here, too. No flying! Too dangerous, indeed. :)

*****

Jolina: Thank you very much for having me on Ink Dots, Dorothy. Your questions were fun to answer. 

Dotti: Thank you for visiting with us, Jolina. I'm looking forward to The Outcast as part of my reading for a book club I've joined this year. Congratulations on its release.

*****

For Ink Dots readers ~  If you'd like an opportunity to win a NetGalley E-version of The Outcast, please leave a comment below. Since I'm already dreaming of Italian food, thanks to Jolina's wish to travel and eat all things Italiano, I'm asking about your all time favourite Italian menu item. 

For me, it's pasta. I can't eat gluten, so I'm going to dream the pasta dishes are all fine and there's a waiter about to bring me a steaming bowl of fresh, durum wheat fettucini. How about you? 

Look out for the winner's name on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, February 21, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 8

Go Book Browsing. 

You don't have to tell me twice. 

Book browsing is right up there alongside her three sisters. 

Book Buying, 
Book Reading and 
Book Writing. 

So browsing a second hand book store fit into my week with little effort ~ if you don't count the effort it took to walk out with only one purchase. 

The Merchant Of Fairness has been one of my favourite second hand book shops for years. The well-known Balwyn book-stop has moved into a smaller premises in recent days, but it still offers more than enough browsing for the dedicated book lover. 

I've adopted a healthy number of Australian history books from The Merchant of Fairness, and left half a dozen orphans behind this week, for another day.

I reminded myself I was there to browse. To linger and visit sections of the store beyond my love of fiction and history, and thumb through pages which took my fancy on shelves sometimes overlooked. 

52 Dates for Writers prods me to look at a bookstore with hope. To imagine my books right there, and ponder what my reader might feel about the characters and events of the novel. 

What would I like a reader to take away with them?  How will they feel when they see the cover for the first time? After a year? After more? 

So I touched one display, and then another. Imagining. Breathing in old book smells. Wondering about the authors and where they were now, if they were at all, anymore. 

I thought of my own author friends. Some who've only recently held their debut book for the first time. That moment when the dream crosses into the nearest a book will ever come to having flesh. To being a creation with breath. To pull a stream of tears, knock one into despair, elevate to hope ... and wrap up in that satisfying end we all crave. 

Most authors I know would love to write a classic. But most of us thrill to know there's a simple escape within the covers ~ space for our reader to wander into something new, familiar, entertaining or expected. Or scary. Or heartbreaking. 

A few footsteps from The Merchant of Fariness, a little cafe pays tribute to the plethora of books on the other side of their shared wall, with a display of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. 

A favourite of mine, as a student and literature teacher, it almost knocked on the window and whistled at me. 

30 years after I first read it, it remains a book I can't ignore or forget. One I'd stop to photograph. And write about. 

Yes, I was glad I stopped to go book browsing. 

In doing so I was reminded of what I want to give my reader. 

An emotional experience.

To draw them aside from wherever they might be going, and pull them into a cage of my own making.

Just until they reach... The End. 





Do you have an all-time favourite book? 
Blessings for a wonderful weekend,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Miralee Ferell ~ Wishing On Buttercups


It's a pleasure to welcome Miralle Ferell back to Ink Dots, once again. Miralee and her husband, Allen, live on eleven acres in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, play with their dogs, take walks, and sail. She combines two other passions—horseback riding and spending time with her grown children—since her married daughter lives nearby, and they often ride together on the wooded trails near their homes.

Her novel Love Finds You in Sundance, WY, won the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Western Fiction, and Universal Studios requested a copy of her contemporary debut novel, The Other Daughter, for a potential family movie. 

After serving five years as the president of the Portland/Vancouver chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Miralee now volunteers as a board member and belongs to a number of writers’ groups. She is an accredited lay-counselor with The American Association of Christian Counselors and also speaks at women’s groups, libraries, historical societies, and churches about her writing journey.

www.miraleesdesk.blogspot.com  --  includes newsletter signup form
  

Wishing on Buttercups – Book two in Love Blossoms in Oregon series

Can Love Survive When Secrets Collide?

She’d kept her secrets safely hidden—those from her past, and those in the present. Some things, Beth Roberts knows, a lady simply doesn’t share, even in the 1880’s West. The townspeople would never understand. No one ever has.

Jeffery Tucker, a handsome young writer, has kept his own secrets. He doesn’t have a right to pry into Beth’s affairs but finds himself strangely drawn to her and intrigued by the whiff of mystery surrounding her.

Beth knows that one day someone will unravel the threads of her past. And when two men from her past arrive, the truth might just hurt . . . Beth’s future and her heart.

As shadowy memories surface, Beth sketches the scenes she sees and is shocked by what—and who—her illustrations reveal. Dare she risk her heart again?

Miralee says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow, it would be...going back in time to the Old West, especially the cattle towns with large ranches nearby, during the era of the trail drives, booming mining towns, gunfighters and cowboys. You didn’t say I had to limit it to the present day. Ha, that's too funny, Miralee! I'm with you, a little time travel to Colonial Australia would just about make my modern day!

The best thing I did today is... fixed dinner with my hubby—we worked side-by-side in the kitchen, and when we were done, he cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed while I worked on this interview. It’s Valentine’s Day, and I think I’ll keep him a few more years! That's very sweet. 

A secret pleasure of mine is...I have a bag of dark Dove chocolates & Ghirardelli sea-salt caramels hidden in a cupboard, and when a chocolate craving hits, I don’t even try to resist.

I wish I could relive the day when I...brought my babies home from the hospital. I had no idea at the time how fast they would change and grow. Now my granddaughter is almost a year, and it seems like my own two should still be young. I would treasure those years even more, if I could go back and live them again. Yes, I'm with you on the newborn baby memories. Gone too quickly...

When I was a child I dreamed I would... grow up to marry a rancher and own lots of horses. It didn’t quite happen, as my husband had no desire to ranch. But we do own 11 acres in the country, and I’ve owned at least one horse (sometimes several) for over 40 years. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... I just finished writing a historical romance novella that fits in the Love Blossoms in Oregon series called Forget Me Not, which I’ll be self-publishing in mid to late March. I’ve very excited about completing it, so I’m eating a chocolate caramel right now to celebrate! Another great title. My garden is full of foget-me-nots in the spring. A perpetual gift from my mother-in-law's garden. 

*****

If you'd like the chance to win a copy of Miralee's Wishing on Buttercups, leave a comment below. She's inspired one of my favourite discussion topics: 

Where would you go, if time travel opened a door into any century ... and why? 

For me it's Australia in the 1870s. And I'd land on Phillip Island, the setting of my current stories-in-the-making. 

Cape Woolamai ~ Phillip Island

How about you? The winner will be drawn on Friday.

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, February 14, 2014

52 Author Dates - Week 7

Visit A Hall of Mirrors

Until my Beloved takes me to the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, or we revisit one of our earliest dates at Luna Park, I'll have to settle for the Pancake Parlour, where a handsome looking-glass offers the chance to view oneself in a convex/concave twist. 

My version of this week's author date... Visit A Hall Of Mirrors. 

Why would this be good for an author? Why stop to ponder a mirror... and a distorted one at that? 

I found out soon enough, when I paid my coffee bill and turned to face the giant frame, this week. No matter how many photos I took, and from which angle, I didn't like the ones of ME in the mirror. 

Short legs, stumpy body, scrunched up face... that wasn't me. In fact it was such a misrepresentation of me, I didn't want to take any of the shots I appeared in. 

There was nothing good about a picture distorted by a wonky mirror. And nothing true about the image, either. Just a hint at who looked back at me. Along with many mixed messages. 

It caused me to think about how we see people. Sometimes their most pronounced weaknesses jump out at us, bugging us until we can't see beyond the obvious. But underneath, we all know there's more than what the mirror shows. 

We know this about ourselves, first. When we see our reflection on a bad day, knowing we could appear brighter if we hadn't had a rough night. Knowing we could look younger if only we'd worn a more flattering colour, and knowing beyond doubt we're not the sum of a bad hair day. 

And then there's the image of ourselves a mirror could never show.  Not without cracking into a thousand shards at our feet. 

Some would appear deficient in empathy, full of pride and stirred by emotions they'd never care to admit. Others would glow with generosity and perfume the air with genuine love.

And others still, might blend the two in a mix all their own.

Thankfully, a mirror only captures some of the outside, and none of what's hidden beneath. 

And a good story teller knows it's a character's motivation and actions which reflect their true core. 

Do you find it difficult to look in a mirror? Hate photos of yourself? 

Take heart, there's only a hint of the real you there. God paid for the ugliest sins, and loved you before the slightest blemish took hold. 

And He still loves what He sees.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Narelle Atkins ~ Falling For The Farmer


It's a warm Ink Dots welcome this week to Australian debut author, and a very dear friends of mine, Narelle Atkins. A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to write for Heartsong Presents.



Falling For The Farmer

Kate Lawson is a runaway bride

And she's incredibly grateful when Jack Bradley offers her a job on his apple farm. Working side by side in the orchards with her best friend's brother seems like the perfect way to get over her disastrous engagement. Until Kate finds herself falling hard for the handsome farmer. 

Jack Bradley knows city-girl Kate isn't here to stay. Yet suddenly he's imagining a life with her in the country. When Kate considers going back to the city, can Jack find a way to show her that her real home is here on the farm, by his side?

Narelle says...

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow it would be… Alaska. I’ve just finished reading a great book set on an Alaskan cruise ship. We’re in the middle of a summer heat wave and I’m dreaming about snow, ice, cold weather, and escaping on a cruise. I hear you, Narelle. We're watching bush fires not far from home and very close to our son's school. A little cold weather and dumping of snow would be very welcome. 

The best thing I did today is… go to the gym. I’ve been slack in recent months with my gym routine, and I need to get back into the groove of regular exercise.

A secret pleasure of mine is… being pampered at the spa. I wish I could indulge more often because I have workaholic tendencies. Spa time forces me to stop, relax and take a break. 

I wish I could relive the day when I… married my husband. An incredible day that I will always remember and cherish.

When I was a child I dreamed I would… live by the beach forever. That dream hasn’t happened, and each move I’ve made has taken me further inland and away from the beach. There was talk of creating a manmade beach on the lake in Canberra, but who knows if that will ever happen? What a great idea! I hope the wheels of progress hurry along, and make this a reality for you guys. 

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but... my chocolate obsession at the moment is Cadbury’s Marvellous Creations Clinkers Raspberries Chips Marshmallows (the one with the green label). I have no self-control if there is a block sitting my pantry, calling my name… That's a long name for a chocolate, but I hear it calling MY name now. :) 

***** 

Dotti: Thanks for joining us, Narelle. I'm thrilled the day has finally arrived to celebrate the release of your debut romance. 

Narelle: Thanks for the opportunity to visit Ink Dots. 

*****
Having read and enjoyed Falling For The Farmer, I love that this story is set on an apple farm, and like me, I'm sure you'll enjoy a taste of our Aussie landscape and characters. 

Narelle has one giveaway copy of Falling For The Farmer for one Ink Dots visitor. To enter, please share your favourite apple treat in the comments below. 

My mum's apple pie recipe was one of the first I scribbled down when I took over my own kitchen. Spiced with cloves and cinnamon, it's a winner ~ summer or winter. How about you? What's your favourite? As always, the winner will be announced on Friday. 

Good luck and happy reading, 

Friday, February 07, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 6

Take Your Writing Outside

52 Dates For Writers tells me to take my writing outside because writing away from the comfort of inside not only allows for creativity flow in new ways, but aids in trouble shooting.

Ok, I'm committed to meeting all 52 challenges. And we all know how annoying trouble can be and how shots need firing when issues need sorting. So I bid farewell to my favourite writing room. For a morning. 

My dedicated writing space at Crabapple House sits upstairs where good friends books line the shelves and overflow to the floor where they knock against my ankles if I'm not careful where I step. 

(One of my author dates coming up is the challenge to Transform Your Writing Space. More about that later this year, and not a day too soon!) 

It's in this upstairs hidey-hole where most of my writing happens. I'm a creature of habit. I don't like to mess with my routine too much. On special occasions, I've followed my Beloved on business trips and written in hotel lounges, airport transit lounges, and any other lounge travellers find themselves. 

But I've stayed indoors, where all sensible writers work, right?  

Well, yesterday, I followed my 52 Dates instructions and set myself up in the outside section of a local cafe. (Gasp) 

With the stinking heat we've endured these last few weeks, it wasn't long before the sun beat down on the concrete floor and bounced up into the those brave enough to take their morning tea outside. Me included. 

At a quiet corner table, I cranked up the laptop and spread out my notes. 

But not before I winked at the cute toddler drawing on a wall-mounted blackboard with a stub of chalk as big as her fist. And not before I listened (couldn't help myself) to a group of mums discuss the names their mutual friend should chose for her newborn daughter. And not before I smiled at two patrons sitting back to back at different tables who worked out they were both celebrating their birthdays, and took a moment to wish each other a happy day. 

With my earbuds forgotten at home, there was no way to drown the happy chatter, and it drew me in. But I kept at my work, desperate for the moment when the last mum found her little one's flip flops and bundled him out of there for his nap. 

By then, my laptop was running low on juice, so I relocated to another outdoor table near an electrical plug. Under a giant fan, I cooled off a little and chased my coffee with a full carafe of water. And in that summery stillness where the whirring fan blew golden silence, I rewrote a scene and sorted the tangle I'd been working on at home. 

Did the change in writing environment help? Did the prickle of perspiration on my arms and legs heighten a sense I don't normally engage in my writing? 


Rel Mollet and Dorothy Adamek
I can't say for sure. But after three hours, I was happy with my achievements and glad for my reward ~ lunch with a kindred spirit who loves books more than anyone I know and who walked through the door to rescue my melted self at just the right moment. 

And secure us a table in the air-conditioned section of the cafe. (Thanks, Rel) 


*****

Have you ever taken an indoor activity, outside? Relocated... and found you blitzed your goals for the day? 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Falling For The Farmer ~ Blog Chase Stop 3 and Book Giveaway

I'm so excited to be celebrating with Narelle Atkins. 

Her debut romance, Falling For The Farmer releases today, and it's my pleasure to be a part of the blog chase. This is my first time at playing 'blog chase' and I know Ink Dots friends will have fun with all 6 stops, AND love reading this book. 

We will visit 6 blogs in Australia and New Zealand during the chase, ending at Narelle Atkins blog where you'll find the ENTRY FORM and giveaway information. 

Narelle's giving away three print copies of Falling for the Farmer to three lucky readers who provide the correct answers to all five blog chase questions. Each stop in the blog chase has a question. If you follow the blog chase in order, you can read the opening pages of Falling for the Farmer. I hope you enjoy the ride!




Back cover blurb:

KATE LAWSON IS A RUNAWAY BRIDE 

And she’s incredibly grateful when Jack Bradley offers her a job on his apple farm. Working side by side in the orchards with her best friend’s brother seems like the perfect way to get over her disastrous engagement. Until Kate finds herself falling hard for the handsome farmer. 

Jack Bradley knows city-girl Kate isn’t here to stay. Yet suddenly he’s imagining a life with her in the country. When Kate considers going back to the city, can Jack find a way to show her that her real home is here on the farm, by his side? 

CHAPTER ONE excerpt:

He switched on the ignition and the powerful engine rumbled to life. He drove out of the church parking lot, slowing to maneuver his prized Cadillac Eldorado through the narrow gate.

She gripped the skirt bunched on her lap, refusing to look back at the church and her mother. Jack needed to put his foot down on the accelerator and get her out of here. Now.

He merged into a gap in the traffic. “Where are we going?”

“Anywhere. I don’t care.” She hadn’t thought that far ahead. From the moment she had walked into the church and spotted Rodney’s smug face at the altar, fleeing the wedding had become her sole objective.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dotti here ~  Ooh...  and where might Kate run to? 

If she were a time travelling bride, Kate might take the next schooner south to the remote destination of Phillip Island, the setting for my Phillip Island series. 

Phillip Island lies southwest of Melbourne, and was first settled by pioneers in the 1840s. The historic Glen Isla House arrived packed in crates from the US and was built as a private home in the 1870s. Many of my scenes are written in and around this beautiful house which still stands, and serves as a boutique Bed & Breakfast. Doesn't it beckon with that Victorian era house and heritage listed gardens?


Glen Isla House ~ Phillip Island

Phillip Island is one of my favourite places in Australia. My family have been holidaying there for over 40 years. We're always drawn in by the rugged coastline, miles of sandy beaches and breathtaking views. 

My question for the blog chase: What's the name of the historic B&B on Phllip Island?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You're at Stop 3 on the Falling for the Farmer Blog Chase. 

Please fill in your answers to the questions located on each of the participating blogs when you reach Narelle’s blog at Stop 6. 

If you have five correct answers, you'll receive an entry in the drawing to win one of three print copies of Falling for the Farmer. 

You can gain a bonus entry in the drawing if you have five correct answers and leave a comment below on this post.  

Current and new subscribers to Narelle’s email list will automatically receive an extra entry if they correctly answer all five questions. The giveaway entry form and terms and conditions are included with Narelle’s post at Stop 6. The winners will be announced in a comment on this post on Wednesday, February 12. 

Your next stop on the blog chase is Come Meet AusJenny

The full blog chase itinerary is listed below.

Stop 1: Australasian Christian Writers (ACW) http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.com.au/ 

Stop 2: Iola’s Christian Reads http://christianreads.blogspot.com/ 

Stop 3: Ink Dots http://dorothyadamek.blogspot.com.au/ 

Stop 4: Come Meet Ausjenny http://ausjenny.blogspot.com/

Stop 5: Soul Inspirationz http://soulinspirationz.blogspot.com/ 

Stop 6: Narelle Atkins http://narelleatkins.wordpress.com/

Do you have a favourite B&B, tucked in some romantic spot you visit or drive by? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below. 

Good luck in the blog chase. 

************************************************************************************************************

This contest is now closed. Thanks to all who entered. 
Congratulations to the winners:
Linsey Painter
Linda M. Finn
Catherine Hudson

Text Copyright © 2014 by Narelle Atkins 
Cover Art Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited 
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. 
Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. 
All rights reserved. ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.
Copyright© 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited 
Cover copy used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited

Monday, February 03, 2014

Michael Reynolds ~ Songs of the Shenandoah



It's a big Aussie welcome to Michael K. Reynolds’s this week. Michael's debut novel, Flight of the Earls, about the Great Irish Potato Famine was recently nominated for RT Book Reviews 2013 novel of the year award in the category of Inspirational Romance. In Golden Splendor, set during the San Francisco Gold Rush, received similar high acclaim and Songs of the Shenandoah, the Civil War-era conclusion to the trilogy was just chosen as a Top Pick in RT Book Reviews. 

Michael is the author of a popular Christian Blog called Real Life. Real God. and he has been rated as one of the top 50 Christians on Twitter. He lives in Reno with his wife and three children. You can learn more at http://www.MichaelKReynolds.com

Songs of the Shenandoah

At the onset of the Civil War, Seamus heeds his wife’s wishes to return to her beloved family farm in the South, where he takes a post as chaplain for General Stonewall Jackson’s brigade. As Seamus ministers to the troops, his sister Clare ministers in a different way—by being a powerful voice in the Northern cause toward freeing the slaves. All this while their youngest brother Davin, who became wealthy during the Gold Rush, struggles to find love and identity in a fallen world. It’s a clash of loyalties and beliefs that threaten the entire family, each of them trying to hear God’s encouragement in the midst of the tragedy of war. The dramatic conclusion to the acclaimed Heirs of Ireland Series. 

Michael says... 

If I could explore anywhere in the world tomorrow it would be…I am going to cheat and give you two places…and both I have already visited several times. One is Ireland and the other is New York City. Both are heavily featured in my next series and after all of my research I am desperate to get my boots on the ground. Great places to explore. I'm not surprised you 'cheated' and gave us the two. 

The best thing I did today…Answer these questions. What could be better? 

A secret pleasure of mine...Watching the Cooking Channel and the Food Network while I ride my stationary bike in the morning. I am a wannabe gourmet chef and not only does it provide me with a home-based culinary institute it seems to make me exercise harder. It’s kind of like the mouse running on the wheel to get the cheese. Sounds like the perfect routine. 

Michael Reynolds
I wish I could relive the day when I…Got married. In addition to reliving the best day of my life I wouldn’t mind another shot at singing the song I wrote and performed for my wife during the service. (Dratted video cameras…I would have never known I was so off key.) How cool!! I sang a song to my husband on our wedding day, too. I didn't write it, but like you... I'm not a fan of watching the video too much... :/

When I was a child I dreamed I would…Be a novelist. The foolishness of youth.  

I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…After reading a review in RT Book Reviews that said, “Reynolds can write romance with the best of female writers”…my wife laughed. Apparently I am much more romantic on paper.  

*****

Thanks for joining us, Michael. I'm sure your wife remembers your wedding song with deep fondness. That should count for something. :) 

*****

If you'd like to win a copy of Michael's Songs of the Shenandoah, please leave a comment below. Tell us where you'd visit if you could only choose one holiday destination ~ New York City or Ireland. Having already been the Aussie tourist in NYC, I'd choose Ireland. So much inspiration there for an historical writer. 

How about you? Where would you go? I'll announce the winner on Friday. And don't forget my fingerless gloves giveaway. (Scroll down to previous post.) Entries for that also close this Friday.

Good luck and happy reading,