Celebrate the Power of the Mind! Mindspeak: Heather Sunseri

If you could read my
mind right now, you’d be hearing me gush about Heather Sunseri’s debut, young
adult novel, Mindspeak.
I wrote a review of
the book on Goodreads. You can read it HERE.
Heather has been
weighing her options between traditional publishing and self-publishing. I’ve
been amazed at the research she’s done and the knowledge she’s acquired while
deciding. In fact, she shares a lot of her journey and the information she’s
taken in on her blog. You can read them HERE.
A quality book with
a great message
–which she’ll be sharing with us soon! A message of identity
and purpose. This book is a great read, whether you’re a young adult or
slightly older, ahem, like me! I love this genre. And I can’t wait to read book
2.
It launched earlier
than expected and without the online parties, blog tours, or big push she’s
already rocking the Amazon chart! I’m so excited! So…
Today we’re scarfing
on virtual cupcakes (for those of you who are health nuts, green apples!) and coffee and I’m even popping a bottle of bubbly to
celebrate. Cider or Champagne–your choice!
Over at Heather’s,
she’s holding a party too, with a fabulous giveaway so jump on over there and enter to win: $50 Amazon cash! Read the details on
Heather’s blog.
Congratulate her on
a well-crafted, well-designed book and by all means, share the love! On
facebook, on twitter…any social media site you have.  PUrchase Heather’s
debut while it’s on sale for $2.99. 
Visit Heather’sFacebook author page for some more fun and to keep up with her writing and
witticism.
Here’s a sneak peek at Mindspeak:
She was
created for a purpose so revolutionary, someone was willing to kill for it.
Seventeen-year-old
Lexi Matthews keeps two secrets from her elite boarding school classmates—she’s
the daughter of a famous and controversial geneticist, and she can influence
people’s thoughts.
But after
new student Jack DeWeese heals her broken arm with an anything-but-simple
touch, he forces Lexi to face a new reality—her abilities reach much further
than speaking to the minds of others.
After
Lexi’s father goes missing and she receives threatening emails, she can’t
decide whether to fall into Jack’s arms or run and hide.
As Lexi
seeks answers to what she and Jack are, she discovers a truth more unsettling
than anything her science books can teach. And letting Jack into her life of
secrets is not only a threat to her very existence, but it just might break her
heart wide open.

You can purchase Mindspeak: at
 Amazon
B&N
Smashwords
Kobo
And soon at iTunes!

 *soon to be purchased at B&N, Smashwords, and Kobo
Congratulations
Heather!
If you could have any super power, what would it be?

If You Have a Craving, I Have a Cure: Book Review

Purchase your copy! HERE

I’ve read many a
book over the decades on healthy eating and eating in general. Many of them
have been faith-based books. When I had the opportunity to review Sheri Rose
Shepherd’s new book on experiencing food, faith & fulfillment a whole new
way, I jumped.
Shepherd’s view is
anything can be eaten and enjoyed without the guilt and depression one normally
has when eating something they think they shouldn’t.
She shares personal
experiences, New Life tips (scriptures that correlate with the chapters) and
Soul Food (more scriptures) as well as over 100+ recipes. I’ll be honest, I’m a
super picky eater. I haven’t found a single salad dressing I really like–not
even Ranch. And salad, well, it’s for the birds. Literally. So, having said
that, I’ll tell you that I didn’t find many of the recipes suitable to my
palette. But, for those of you who like onions, peppers, vinaigrettes, and feta
cheese you’ll be pleased. Not that every recipe has those ingredients. I’m just
letting you know how truly picky of an eater I am.
Each chapter has a
QR code that links you to her website for additional weight loss and coaching
tips, which I found uber-cool and helpful.
Is it my favorite
faith-based book on eating? No. But I was impressed with the  scriptures and enjoyed reading her own
personal experiences.  The chapter set up
is truly unique and it’s worth a read!
Visit Sheri at
Bible Life Coaching
Best-selling
Author, Speaker, Teacher, Humorist 

Sheri
Rose has a very refreshing way of bringing the Word of God to life. She knows
how to renew the Eternal Hope in our hearts. Her speaking style is humorous,
heartwarming and inspires every one to make their life count for eternity.

Sheri
Rose is a woman who can relate to almost any woman’s battle. This former Mrs.
United States grew up in a dysfunctional home and was severely overweight as a
teen. As a young woman, she battled depression and an eating disorder. She
understands the pain that comes from a broken home and she knows what it means
to fight for freedom from your past. In spite of an English teacher telling her
she was “born to lose” and a learning disorder–Dyslexia–Sheri Rose
has (in God’s strength) written best-selling books, founded His Princess
Ministries and speaks to tens of thousands each year at churches and women’s
conferences like the Extraordinary Women Tour.

Her Joy
for the Lord, humorous heart-warming stories mixed with truth and transparency
renews our Faith by reminding us how much we are truly loved and adored by our
Father in heaven. Once you heard Sheri Rose speak you will never again doubt
that you are…”God’s Chosen Princess”… here for a divine purpose!

She
lives in Southern California with her husband of 22 years and their daughter.

How many books (ballpark figure) would you say you’ve read on healthy eating? How many of those were faith-based books? 



*I appreciate Tyndale House for letting me review this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Faith Readers Group Review: Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas

A first time for all us, reading a Love Finds You line. But we chose Sandra D. Bricker’s Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas!

I made a Bavarian cream butter braid, well I at least let it rise and baked it. I can’t even braid my own hair, like I could do it with dough?

I was thinking about bringing those Snowball desserts by Little Debbie, but I hate marshmallow. I’m not wasting money on it for joke factor. Just sayin.

I also forgot to take our picture. But we had a good turnout and an array of opinion on this book. Here’s how it all went down…

“I was hooked from the first page. I laughed on the second paragraph.”

“I didn’t like the book at all. I thought the antics, and the fact the red-haired character named LUCY was a bit cliche and too much.”

“I thought the plot was predictable, but then it’s a Love Finds You so you know it’s going to be a HEA. But the dialogue and humor carried the predictability.”

“I took away that God has things right in front of us for our blessing, but many times we overlook them for things we think we want.”

“I didn’t even realize that message. Good eyes! And so true.”

“I don’t think she acted like a woman pushing thirty. Not in the journal entries, especially.”

“I liked the whole thing. I read for escape and this book was perfect to settle in with and just live someone else’s fun life. I try not to read into books. I just want an escape.”

“I think I laughed on every page. It could be a romantic comedy on the big screen. I’d go see it.”

“My only disappointment? She had ripe opportunity to say the phrase, ‘Not a snowball’s chance in…Arkansas.’ and she didn’t!” (that was me btw) lol 

“I’ll read more of her stuff.”

Star rating 1-5: 3 1/2 

Sandra Bricker
Here’s a sneak peek at Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas: 
So what if she can’t
hook a fish? This city girl has a plan to snag something else…and his name is
Justin.
Lucy Binoche is
reasonably attractive, intelligent, and fit. She has French lineage and
better-than-average hair. So why is she nearly 30 and still single?
Justin
Gerard is the rugged hottie new to her church’s singles group. When he signs up
for a camping trip in the Ozarks, Lucy loses no time writing her name on the
line beneath his. Theres only one problem Lucy’s idea of “roughing
it” is suffering through a long line at Starbucks. She assumes she can
rely on the grace of God and the assistance of her friend to get through.
But at
the campsite in Snowball, Arkansas, Lucy bungles everything she attempts as she
tries to impress Justin. She can’t fish, hike, or ride a horse; caves make her
hyperventilate; and hot-air balloons make her ill. Soon, events are snowballing
out of control. Will Lucy pretend to be someone shes not just to snag a
boyfriend? Or will she discover someone who loves her just as she is?
Do you like reading romantic comedy? Ever read Sandra Bricker? Do you eat those nasty snowball treats?

Faith Readers Group Review: Code Triage

Avgolemono soup in the crock pot!
Today’s another
Faith Readers Book Club review of Code Triage by @CandaceCalvert, but before I
dish the goods I’m pleased to announce the winner of the $5 Starbuck/Amazon
card
(winner choice)! Urban Fun Word Contest.
Drumroll……….
Erynn! Congratulations!
They were all really good and hard to choose from! 
Find my email
address on the “Connect” page and send me your address! I’ll make
sure to get it in the mail ASAP!
The night started
out with pre-excitement when our very own Jan Kerley aka Rockstar decided to be
brave and make the famous Greek soup, Avgolemono, that our hero cooked. Here’s
the link: Avgolemono soup! As a former chef with a Greek heritage obviously his specialty was the
Greek lemon soup that he made for the heroine before they were ever married. It
was a lovely way to meet and the soup itself was  yummy! Definitely a summer soup with the
lemon flavor, making it light! Jan also brought huge yeast rolls and since the
hero (former chef) is now a cop–we had doughnuts in honor of the stereotype!
Ha!
Here are some of the
things we chatted about over dinner and before we talked with Candace through
Skype!
“I
could identify with all the characters in one way or another. I didn’t like
what Sam was doing, but with her background, I could see it.”
“I
wanted to smack Sam and Nick at times!”
“I
loved the symbolism in the story through the lemon tree, the dining room table
and even the horse.”
“The
medical facts intrigued me. Made it feel very real.”
“My
favorite scene was the luau they put on for the neighbors’ anniversary. I could
see it in my head like a movie. It made me laugh.”
“I’d
like to read about Riley and her story.”
Our overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
Candace Calvert
We had so much fun
skyping with Candace. It felt like she’d been one of our friends forever! She
was chatty, personable and interested in what everyone had to say. She talked
about a few of her favorite scenes to write!
At the end, she did
a drawing and gave her current book, Trauma Plan (Riley’s story) to the lucky
winner! She also sent us book marks which was really cool. Especially for this
chick who loves them (even if I normally read from my Kindle)!
Here’s a peek at the
3rd book in her Grace Medical Series, Code Triage.
*We hadn’t read the
first two book when we chose Code Triage, but we had no trouble at all jumping
into the story and understanding everything until the short epilogue to give
the reader a glimpse into the other characters from the first two books!
Dr. Leigh Stathos
likes her ER shifts fast, furious, and adrenaline-infused—“Treat ’em and street
’em”—with no emotional complications. Life’s taught her a soul-rending lesson:
nothing lasts forever, including marriage. And the clock is ticking toward the
end of hers. Then an unwelcome confrontation with “the other woman” begins a
whole new set of lessons. 
San Francisco police
officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol
neighborhood, holding fast to faith—or trying to save his marriage. Seven days
is all he has to reach Leigh’s heart. But when a desperate act of violence
slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events
that will change lives forever. 
Do you read medical dramas, suspense or thrillers? And do you ever make recipes from novels? 

Faith Readers Review: Gone to Ground

I let it slip by. I guess I’ve been busy. Whatever. Point is, I haven’t posted our book club’s review of Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins. Brandilyn writes Seatbelt Suspense and she’s one of my favorite authors in Christian writing.

Vacations, night school and various other obligations kept many of our ladies from attending, but they did read the book. We kicked off conversation with brownies–an assortment. Turtle, chocolate chip, white icing and brownie bites. It was only fitting since Cherrie May, one of the southern characters ate them with the victim before the police found her dead! Dun, dun, dun!

We chose this book and by us, I mean the ladies. I choose the genre and give about 5 selections, then I sit back and watch them duke it out on which one to read. Kidding. They don’t duke it out…much. And when the picks all seem good to the ladies, they just download the others on their Kindles anyway!

Here’s a few things that were said: NO SPOILER ALERTS!!!


“I liked that she set it in Mississippi. I think she portrayed a small southern town well.” (Uh, we live in MS near Memphis)


“I thought using three women in first person was a little confusing at first.”


“I did too, but then once I figured out who was who, it didn’t bother me anymore.”


“I thought the twists were great and I had no idea who the killer was!”


“Me either!”


“I did.” (that was me btw)


“I thought the way she unfolded everything was well done. I hate books that at the end, the killer tells how he did everything. Who would do that? I mean a sprinkle of something maybe, but to basically tell the whole thing, uh, that’s the author not able to write a good story.” (Take notes, writers. Readers want organic story, not the villain telling it all at the end.)


“I didn’t care for the written dialect. I could figure out how she talked after the author described her. That just irritated me.”


“I loved her descriptions and I was into the story from page one.”


 “I let my mom read it and she devoured it in a night.” 


“I’d like to read more of her books.” 


Rating: 1-5 stars. 4!


Here’s a peek at Gone to Ground:

Brandilyn Collins website
Amaryllis, Mississippi is a scrappy little town of strong backbone and southern hospitality. A brick-paved Main Street, a park, and a legendary ghost in the local cemetery are all part of its heritage. Everybody knows everybody in Amaryllis, and gossip wafts on the breeze. Its people are friendly, its families tight. On the surface Amaryllis seems much like the flower for which it’s named–bright and fragrant. But the Amaryllis flower is poison. 

In the past three
years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were
women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their own homes. And just two
nights ago—a sixth murder.
Clearly a killer
lives among the good citizens of Amaryllis. And now three terrified women are
sure they know who he is—someone they love. None is aware of the others’
suspicions. And each must make the heartrending choice to bring the killer
down. But each woman suspects a different man. 



Our next genre was Medical Thrillers and the ladies chose, Code Triage by Candace Calvert. (I’ve finished it already!)


I talked about my crazy dog the other day at Lisa Jordan’s blog. Due to what happened, we had her groomed. I asked the people to cut her like a Schnauzer. OMG. I came home and my husband said, “Hey, what’s with the old Japanese Kung fu do?” 


“What?” 


Yeah…this is what they did to my dog! But I didn’t take her back and demand they fix her because after what she did to me, she has the grandpa beard coming. Punishment.

Before
After LOL!!!!
Everybody Wang Chung
tonight! Oh wait,
they can’t because…
Everybody was Kung
Fu Fighting!

Go read the story…you’ll understand! 



Do you read suspense? Why or why not? Also, what do you think of my dog? LOL! 




Faith Readers Review: Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert

The excitement was over-the-top! Not only was our rockstar, Jan Kerley, bringing Surprise Strawberry cupcakes (the surprise was a cream cheese and chocolate chip center…uh yeah, awesome) but we had the amazing opportunity to skype with author, Katie Ganshert–her first book club group to chat live with! Yay! You can see our picture on her book club page HERE! She has the cake from the story (which had I been on my A game, I’d have baked) as well as discussion questions and a youtube video for bookclubbers! So cool!  

We spent the first 30 minutes of our time discussing the book–yah know before Katie’s turn! 🙂  
Our rating 1-5 stars: 4 stars!

I think for the first time ever, everyone liked this book! Here’s some of the things we said pre-Katie:
“I connected with Bethany from the very get-go.”

“I didn’t connect with her at first but then I realized how insecure she was, and by the end I forgot she was a fictional character.”

“I loved the romance! It wasn’t too much but just enough that it didn’t overpower the real story.”

“I want to meet Evan! Whoo–that kiss!”

“Whoo–that dance!!”

“I thought Robin’s grief was real, too real. It hit home and that’s all I could focus on.” 

“I think the author wrote beautifully but not over my head.”

“I want that cake recipe!”

“I’d like Evan!”

And then we had the chance to skype with the beautiful, smart, and funny Katie Ganshert! She was very personable and interactive with us which is fabulous!  She even asked us questions! I loved that and so did our Faith Readers. It made us all feel valuable. I can’t quote everything said because I don’t want to give anything away! But here’s a few things I can share!
Katie sent us a picture of who she thought Evan looked like! 

She explained some of the changes her editor asked for, which was amazing how she pulled off those feats! 

She talked about some of her inspiration, people she talked to about grief and a book she read.

Everyone took turns on the camera asking questions and laughing. It was a great night! 


Katie’s debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter is an amazing book and I encourage anyone to read it! In honor of her release, I’ve invited Katie to spend the rest of the week on the blog!
Wednesday, she’ll be sharing a powerful devotion with you and on Friday we’ll play Would You Rather with Bethany and Evan, her main characters and Katie herself! It’s going to be lots of fun so make sure you come back and visit! 
Here’s a sneak peek at Wildflowers from Winter! 
A young architect at
a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her
trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother
reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is
called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any
emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected
inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces
Bethany to come up with a new plan.
Handsome farmhand
Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left
the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he
disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps
so carefully locked away. 
For Bethany, making
peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to
freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she’s not
even sure exists? 
What’s your favorite cupcake? Have you ever made a recipe an author included in the novel? 

Faith Readers Review: She Walks in Beauty

It all began at McAllister’s Deli to support our Haiti Missions Team! A fundraiser. Who doesn’t love to eat to help support missions? 

Afterwards we headed back to our Cornerstone Church cafe for assorted teas, scones, and chocolate cake bites! You can’t discuss a young woman’s debut into society without tea and scones. Uh, no…you can’t.

This book was an eye-opener to the times of a young lady trying to find a husband, learning all the rules of etiquette and socializing and fitting in.

Here are some of the comments made:

“Can you imagine having to sleep in a corset? I’d cut that thing off in a heartbeat!”

“I despised the aunt! How vain!”

“I don’t know that society today is less vain than the Victorian women, but I think we go about it in a different way. Both ways are equally sad.”

“I loved learning about the Victorian era and how the young women debuted.”

“I got tired of all the debut season. I skipped pages. I thought it went too slow.”

“I loved the romance and how it ended. I thought it was perfect.”

“I thought the ending was contrived.”

“The theme of God loving us the way we are needed to be said.”

“I’d have never made it in that day. Not if a 30 inch waist was considered overweight!”

Overall most everyone really enjoyed the book. The average rating from 1-5 was a 3.5!

After we discussed the book, we took a look at an online exhibition of  119 incredible works by two masters of the haute couture, Charles Frederick Worth 1825-1895 and Mainbocher 1891-1976. It was so much fun! We laughed, ooohed, aaahed, made fun of…made fun of some more…and laughed again. It was a fabulous book club! 
Here’s the link to the online exhibition! It’s worth a look just to see what they wore. Some dresses the women had to be sewn into! I know!
ONLINE EXHIBITION! CLICK HERE!

For a young society
woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her
social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the
affections of the city’s most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of
work–there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her
training soon pays off, however, as celebrity’s spotlight turns Clara into a
society-page darling. 
Yet Clara wonders if
this is the life she really wants, especially when she learns her best friend
has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to
love her simply for who she is, and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes
it’s not just her heart at stake–the future of her family depends on how she
plays the game. 

 I’m taking a blogging break this rest of this week and I’ll be back on Monday, May 14th with special guest, author Amy Clipston! I’ll be around facebook and twitter, not completely out of pocket! 

Today answer the question:

If you had $1000 to spend frivolously, what would you buy and why? 

Faith Readers Group Review: Pearl in the Sand

 
The story of Rahab is a fascinating story in the Bible, full of faith, hope, and happily ever after.  It’s also a beautiful picture of God’s saving grace and a testimony to all that He doesn’t care about our past. He can use anyone for His glory. I love this story. Don’t you? There’s so much to unpack.

For the month of March, we chose Biblical fiction. The book: Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar. Here’s a peek: 

“Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel’ Shockingly, the Bible’s answer is yes. Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab’s untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well–walls of fear, rejection, and unworthiness. A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith…of pride. A marriage only God would conceive! Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another’s worth and find healing in God.” 
Mixed feelings arose about this book.  Here are some of everyone’s thoughts.

“It stayed on point and accurate to Biblical history.”
“I could identify with Rahab wanting her father’s love. Everyone wants to feel safe and loved.”
“I was grabbed from the beginning. I laughed and cried.”
“I like to read to escape and this was an easy, quick read. I enjoyed it.”
“I didn’t like this book at all. The author rushed through the beginning and never really engaged me. I didn’t have any emotions for Rahab, so I didn’t care as much when she became a prostitute.”
“The author used phrases and words that were not around during that time. I seriously doubt Salmone would look at a tired Rahab and say, ‘You look spent.’ This happened several different times–using modern phrases and words. And she thought the water was cold as ‘ice’ which they didn’t have then.”
“I thought it was more of a told story. I never felt like the character going through the events.” 
“I thought the author said some really good things about life and any woman who’s had a past, not necessarily as a prostitute, but a promiscuous past would benefit from reading this. There’s  a lot of healing in this book.”
As you can see, not everyone agreed but that makes for great discussion! We also enjoyed the desserts and fruit with our coffee! 

Overall rating out of 5 stars (it was literally divided down the middle between 4 stars and 2 stars):  3 star average

This won’t be anyone’s last Biblical fiction read, that’s for sure. We’re reading She Walks in Beauty for April! 

Have you ever read Biblical fiction? What did you read? Do you like it or not? Why? 

Faith Readers Group Review: Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

I’m not sure if it was the fresh baked chocolate cobbler or heart-shaped pumpkin, chocolate chip muffins, or the chocolate cake with drizzled chocolate icing that threw me off or the heavenly aroma of coffee, but I forgot to get a picture of our Faith Readers book club group–and we had a brand new member!

For the month of February, we read the romantic comedy, Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

It was pretty funny as we sat around eating dessert and sipping coffee because no one had tons to say. Why? We were all in agreement! For once! 

Here’s some of the things that were said:

“I didn’t want to read this book. I’m not a fan of romance, but a few pages in, I was like, ‘hey, this book is really good’.” 

“I thought the comedy and the romance was a perfect blend.”

“My favorite part of the whole book? She was a size ten!”

We talked about who  we pictured playing the part in a movie, because this book could most definitely be right up there with some of the best romantic comedies

No one thought the girl on the cover fit their profile of Lucy, the main character, but after a long discussion and a second…or third piece of cake, it was agreed if Kate Hudson put on about 30 pounds she could play Lucy. 

Some more thoughts:

“I loved the scene when she was took off down the sidewalk in her pajamas and he drove along beside her.”

“I loved the prayer with the new quirky Christians, “like a gold card, Lord, like a gold card!

Serious Thoughts: 
“I loved when the Youth Pastor had the teenagers nail lies the enemy had been telling them to the cross. I think that’s a great idea. Lucy had been believing lies so long too.”

“I don’t know how I’d feel if I found out a lie about my family.”

We talked about forgiveness, lies the enemy tells us about who we are and what we can’t do. 

It wasn’t a simple, light-hearted read. The theme was deep, at times a tear-jerker, but the mix of relevant humor and fun gave us breathing room and things to laugh out loud about. Literally laugh out loud. 

Out of 5 stars, we rated it a 4! 
Here’s a peek:

Jenny B. Jones

“You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year with the most unlikely bride and groom. Save the date…and say your prayers. When funding for Lucy’s non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair Enterprises–the primary donor to Lucy’s non-profit organizaiton. Both Lucy and Alex have something the other desperately wants. Alex has it all…except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancee in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn’t quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart–and her future–on the line. Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams…and maybe even a date. “
If your life were a movie, what kind would it be? Drama, action-adventure, romantic comedy, B movie? LOL Can’t wait to hear these answers!

Get out of Dodge with Erica Vetsch!

I’ll start off with a secret. I’ve never read a Western. But I won A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas by my friend Erica Vetsch and how could I not read it?
You know what? It was good. Really good. Another secret? I didn’t realize this was where we get the phrase, “Get the heck out of Dodge.” Also? I said this for days after reading it! My husband nearly told me to get the heck out of the house!
So…let’s talk Erica Vetsch. She writes one of my favorite blogs. I always learn something and I always leave smiling. Her Friday Five proves we have tons in common! If you don’t follow her blog, you won’t regret popping over there and joining the site!
 Erica is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and reading, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical fiction set in the American West. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two terrific teens, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.
JP: Minnesota? Wow that’s gotta be cold right now! But enough about weather. Your novel includes real historical figures, which is so neat. How much research did you do for those people, setting, and the occupation of Addie?
EV: I did a boatload of research. I knew nothing about photography in the 1870’s, so I had to start from ground zero. I also read lots of biographies of Bat Masterson and histories of Dodge City. There is so much folklore surrounding Dodge, thanks to Gunsmoke, that it was difficult to wade through what was true and what wasn’t.
JP: Gunsmoke! That was in Dodge City? I droned when my dad watched that!  I did NO droning when reading your book! Which character did you relate to most and why?
EV: Probably Miles, because we both want to please people and we’re less than bold about sharing our faith.
JP: I could identify with him very much and I keep wanting to correct the spelling of his name! My son’s name is Myles. Okay, moving on.  What one thing other than writing are you passionate about?
EV: At the moment, homeschooling. I’ve homeschooled for many years now, and I’m down to one child at home. We’re deep into his 10th grade year, geometry, biology, American Lit, etc. Also basketball which is ruling our lives at the moment. He’s having a great time, and so am I, except for a serious case of bleacher-butt.
JP: OMG! I so know! Karate bleachers leave me walking like Frankenstein and trying not to cry when I stand up. It bugs. Speaking of, when did you get the writer’s bug?
EV: I’ve always been a story-lover, reading copiously and spinning stories in my head. A few years ago, I tried my hand at writing some stories down, and I was well and truly caught. I can’t imagine not writing now.
JP: Tell us your favorite line from the story and tell us why?
 Spoken by Bat Masterson “…If you don’t bring in the killer yourself, Miles, you’ll never have the respect of this town or the cowboys who ride in here. You might as well hang up your badge and get out of Dodge.” I LOVED being able to use “get out of Dodge” as originally intended.
JP: Loved that line! A lightbulb went off in my brain at that moment. Though, I added heck for some reason. LOL Name one place you’d like to go that you’ve never been and why?
EV:  I’ve always wanted to visit New Zealand. When I was about 14 I discovered Essie Summers romances. They are all set in New Zealand, and I’ve read every one of her 51 novels. I would love to visit the settings of her stories. She was a big influence on me and my dream of wanting to be a writer.
JP: Wow! That’s like me reading all of Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley High books! But not really. What genre do you like to read? Do you write that genre?
EV: I love to read historical romance and mystery and the best of both worlds for me is historical mysteries with a touch of romance. Authors like Ellis Peters, Elizabeth Peters, Anne Perry, Kathy Lynn Emerson. I would love to write more mystery, but it’s so hard to keep track of all the criminals and clues!
JP: If you could pick one villain from any book to be for a day, who would you choose?
 EV: Probably Moriarty because how cool would it be to match wits with Sherlock Holmes and be able to hold your own?
JP: That could possibly be the best villain pick yet.  Well played, Vetsch! Since we’re talking characters, who would play your characters?
Miles Carr
EV: I didn’t use to use pictures, but with the last few novels, I’ve found it very helpful. Easton Corbin was the template for Miles Carr, Amy Adams played Fran Seaton, Dylan Bruno was Jonas Spooner, and once I saw the cover art for A Bride’s Portrait, Alyssa Milano (but with blue eyes) became the template for Adeline Reid.
Fran Seaton
 JP:  Was it Alyssa? I thought it looked just like her! Well, I’ll be! Great choices, Erica. What would your characters say about you if they had the chance?
EV:  Probably “Stop being so mean to us!”
Bat Masterson for real
JP: LOL! Well in their defense, you were! Tell us what you’re working on now?
EV:  My next novel is called A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA. Here’s a brief overview:
Jonas Spooner
With her brother already on the front lines in France, Meghan becomes a Harvey Girl in Needles, California. Ready and willing to wait on the hundreds of doughboys heading for Europe, Meghan deems this service her way of contributing to the war effort. When her brother is injured in battle, she enlists the Harvey Girls into sewing a Red Cross signature quilt to raise money for wounded soldiers.
Horse breeder Caleb McBride makes his living by selling stock to the US Calvary and keeps his pride by remaining a loner. When Meghan meets Caleb, she senses something mysterious and wounded about him, piquing her curiosity. But when the townsfolk scorn him as a coward and profiteer, Caleb feels her pity and becomes even more guarded.
When Needles is hit with an influenza epidemic, the Harvey Girls’ hotel is made into a temporary hospital. While tending a stricken Caleb, Meghan discovers his shameful secret. Will both Caleb and Meghan find a way to kill their pride before their chance at love rips apart at the seams?
JP: Sold! That sounds intriguing! Thanks so much for coming by today, Erica. I truly loved your book–the plot, the solid characters, their quirks. I’ve already loaned it out! 
 Here’s a sneak peek at A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas.
Quench your craving for good fiction with this wonderfully written Old West adventure. Hoping to leave the shadows of her shady yesteryears behind, Adeline Reid is focusing on her photography career. But when her ex-boyfriend’s compatriot in crime shows up in Dodge City her entire past is threatened by exposure. Can Addie keep her secrets while helping to catch a killer? Deputy Miles Carr’s investigation into a shopkeeper’s murder leads him to Addie’s door. Will his attraction to this female photographer keep him from catching the true culprit? Or will Addie lead him off course in more ways than one? 
Before you go, Erica, would you like to ask everyone a question?
How do you feel about finding historical characters mixed in with your fiction? Love it, hate it, depends on the story?
You can connect with Erica on her blog, facebook, twitter, and the web