And the CLASH Goes On

A BRIDE AT LAST by Melissa Jagears! Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts. Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she’d been deceived about her intended groom, she’s now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she’ll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony–until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy’s father. Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony’s wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

 

 

 

 

Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly has to say:

In [Jagears’] latest novel [A Bride at Last], . . . the characters are all well-balanced and engaging: Silas’ struggle with his failed marriage, struggling faith, and dark past makes him sympathetic; Kate’s commitment to Anthony gives her depth and pathos; and their romance develops realistically . . . a memorable read for fans of redemptive historical romances.

Check out her upcoming release, With This Ring?

A historical novella compilation of four award winning authors – Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings and Melissa Jagears Four top historical romance novelists team up in this new collection to offer stories of love and romance with a twist of humor. In Karen Witemeyer’s “The Husband Maneuver,” Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins when the ranch foreman she loves seems to be leaving forever. Regina Jennings offers “Her Dearly Unintended,” where friends stranded by a rising river pretend to be newlyweds when a dangerous stranger arrives. Mary Connealy’s “Runaway Bride” finds a Texas ranger getting more than he expected when he rescues a young woman fleeing a dangerous arranged marriage. And Melissa Jagears’ “Engaging the Competition” finds a young woman forced to assist the man she’s often sparred with after an accident leaves him helpless. Each tale is a fun blend of history and romance that will delight readers.

Find it here on Amazon

 About Melissa:

Melissa Jagears is a homeschooling mom who writes Christian Historical Romance after everyone is asleep. She’s the author of the Unexpected Brides Series with Bethany House. The prequel ebook novella, Love by the Letter is free to try. You can learn more about her, her books, and where she hangs out online at www.melissajagears.com

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Guest Blogger Author Tina Pinson, Article, Book, and Giveaway!

Pinson_Tina_WebsiteImageAward Winning author Tina Pinson resides in Mesa, Arizona with Danny, her husband of thirty plus years. They are blessed to have three sons, and nine grandchildren. Tina started her first novel in elementary school. Her love of writing has caused her to seek creative outlets be it writing poetry, songs, or stories. She also loves to doodle and enjoys gardening.

It is her prayer that her stories, though fiction, will transport you to worlds beyond and touch your spirit and give you a closer insight to yourself and God.

In the Manor of the Ghost, Touched By Mercy To Carry Her Cross Black Rain Then There Was Grace, Black Rain, Christmas in Shades of Gray and the Shadow Series; When Shadows Fall, Shadowed Dreams , To Catch A Shadow and This Shadowed Land are available through Desert Breeze Publishing and major retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and CBD. Then There Was Grace took First Place in the Epic Awards for Contemporary Fiction and Christmas in Shades of Gray was a finalist in the Epic Awards for Paranormal Fiction. Her newest release Betrayed – Trail of the Sandpiper Book #1 placed third in the Genesis in 2003.

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War and Peacestilence

by

Tina Pinson

At the time the US was drawn into the war in 1941 the country was on the tail end of the Great Depression. In truth, it was the war that put the country on the path to financial recovery.

But it sent thousands to their death, many in island places we call exotic paradises, and hope to visit one day for vacation. We can visit these places today, having been vaccinated to hopefully protect us from any virus or disease we might confront.

But that wasn’t true for the soldiers in WWII. In 1942 the US Government vaccinated all personnel for tetanus, typhoid, smallpox, cholera, and yellow fever, which helped eradicate many of the diseases and kept outbreaks from spreading through the ranks like in prior wars.

Having prepared their army with every medical advance in their arsenal, the government sent them to war. Some headed to Europe to fight against the Nazis and others headed to the islands of the Pacific to face the Japanese.

Those fighting in the South Pacific soon found out it was nothing like home. At home they fought Tuberculosis, and Polio, Flu, and other diseases that scared them, but those diseases they understood and knew some precautions to take. In the South Pacific, they marched into jungles ready to fight the Japanese unaware they’d battle extremes of heat and incessant rains that would give them rashes and jungle rot so bad they itched, bled profusely, and could become gangrenous

They fought all kinds of bugs and disease carrying vermin and ended up with; dengue fever, malaria, hepatitis, dysentery, Leishmaniosis (black fever, sand fly disease), cholera and Scrub typhus (brought on by mites).

Living conditions and tainted drinking water caused cholera and dysentery, which would inflict the already fatigued soldier with diarrhea and cause dehydration. Canvas water bags (Lister bags) treated with chlorine were hung around camp to give a fresh supply of water, and many soldiers learned (some the hard way) the importance of a clean canteen and a clean mess kit.

Some soldiers got Dracunculiasis, or guinea worm disease, from drinking water infected with water fleas carrying the guinea worm larva. The soldier would have no symtoms initially, but after about a year they would develop a painful burning feeling, usually on their lower limbs. The matured worm would then come out of the skin over the next few weeks. This disease was usually deadly, but could you imagine trying to figure out why your skin was blistering only to learn it was from a drink of water you took almost a year before.

We know about these diseases, but people today can still get them from visiting countries where these diseases persist.

But in WWII many hadn’t even heard of Dracunuliasis and for every two men saved on the battlefield two or more might die from disease.

Soldiers, especially if taken prisoner and fed a staple of rice, also fought Beriberi, a vitamin B1 deficiency that caused a loss of feeling in hands and feet, vomiting, coma and even death.

Those who contracted Malaria carried it for years after, as there wasn’t much to then to stop the disease from revisiting when it wanted.

Another disease that lasted years after the war, was PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (or Syndrome,) even then we didn’t talk about it as much as we do today. Like a mental malaria PTSD hung around and attacked uninvited long after the soldier had returned home, leaving soldiers to relive the atrocities of war over and over again. Pulling them from their now quiet existence back to the battlefield. And yes, like today, there were those who took their lives to kill the echoes of war in their heads forever.

In Betrayed — Trail of the Sandpiper Book #1, I write about some of the pests and bugs on the island of New Guinea. And show some of what Trauma does. Lieutenant Tyler Merrick lives with reoccurring dreams from child hood and Pearl Harbor. And Justine Whitcomb is haunted by her own memories. Remember PTSD doesn’t just hit a soldier who’s been to war.

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BetrayedCoverArtBetrayed

Justine Whitcomb, who, after the missionary compound where she lives is attacked, is left to get herself and several children off the island of New Guinea. Escaping might be easier done if she didn’t have to get through Japanese lines and fight Lieutenant Tyler Merrick of the US Navy in the process.

Lt. Merrick is on a mission to find a rogue spy, and Justine’s independent nature and knowledge of the island has him believing she just might be the spy he’s after. Were it not for the children she’s protecting, he would’ve followed his instincts and taken her prisoner already.

Now she wants him to follow her through the jungle. He not certain he’s ready to trust her. But if they can’t put their fears aside and learn to trust one another, they might not get off the island alive.

It’s the summer of ’42. The world is at War and Japan’s Imperial Army is moving across the island of New Guinea.

After their mission is attacked, Justine is left with seven children to lead to safety through enemy lines. She leads them to a cave and goes back for her husband when she is taken captive. Upon her escape with the help of a friend, Virginia, she starts back for the children and runs into Lt. Tyler Merrick. She hopes he will help her. But he’s drunk and doesn’t believe there are children. He thinks Justine is the rogue spy he been sent to find.

Justine goes for the children and returns to an even angrier Lt. Merrick. He wants to tie her up. She hopes to win his trust. Because if they can’t stop fighting one another, they will never get off the island alive.

~♦~♦~

Where to find Tina “Out There”:

Book Links for Betrayed

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About the Giveaway:

Tina is giving away a free copy of Betrayed to one lucky winner who visits this blog. Entering is easy: just leave a comment below and your name will be entered into the drawing at Contest End, Midnight (Central) September 3. Winner will be selected in a drawing through random.org the next day and notified via email.

Tina, thank you so much for being my guest here on Whispers in Purple. I really enjoyed reading your article about the so very unpleasant–often deadly–things our brave military men faced, every one of them heroes. even if they didn’t return home. God bless them all.

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Interview with Author Pamela S. Meyers w/Giveaway

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A native of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, author Pamela S. Meyers lives in suburban Chicago with her two rescue cats. Her novels include Thyme for Love, and Love Will Find a Way, contemporary romantic mysteries, and her 1933 historical romance, Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. When she isn’t at her laptop writing her latest novel, she can often be found nosing around Wisconsin and other Midwestern spots for new story ideas.

Welcome, Pam. Let’s chat a bit. Tell us a little bit about you.

Although born in Ohio, I moved to southeastern Wisconsin with my parents at around two years of age, and I consider myself to be a native Wisconsinite. Or Cheesehead, if you will. :-) As an adult I spent about seven or eight months in New York City while chasing my dream but when that relationship imploded I followed my parents to the West Coast. My parents eventually returned to the Midwest but I stayed on in LA for about seven years. The lure of family and change of seasons and just wanted to get back to all things familiar brought me to the Chicago area and I’ve been in the northwest burbs ever since. I rarely venture to Chicago proper and love that I’m a scant more than an hour away from my hometown of Lake Geneva. I’m single and live with my two rescue cats. I was asked to take early retirement from my job about ten years ago and have been writing full time ever since.

Though you now live in Chicago, I know you grew up in Lake Geneva. Tell us about those years. 

The Lake Geneva, WI that I grew up in is a lot different than the Lake Geneva that exists today. Yet there are some things that are the same. Namely the beautiful glacier-carved spring-fed lake. Like most everyone, I took living near a lake like that for granted until I moved away. In the summer it was the gathering spot growing up. Swimming lessons in the morning and swimming and sunning on the beach in the afternoon. I feel very blessed to have grown up in a small town as opposed to a large city.

Have you ever done something so completely stupid you could kick yourself? How did you handle it?

I must do something like that at least once a week if not more LOL. Of course, now that you ask I can’t think of a specific instance. There’s been more than one time that I’ve hit send on an email and what I thought was a private message turned out to have been sent to an entire e-loop. You know that sinking feeling and then a mad dash to read the message to see what I said that will either let people know something they shouldn’t or offend someone. There’s really nothing to do but to apologize and hope people are understanding. I don’t think I’ve ever lost a friend over it.

Do you write in one specific place, or switch off to other locations? Describe your favorite writing area. 

I have a small condo and my dining area has been converted into an office. But I can’t show you a picture because right now it’s now suitable for viewing. LOL. The space is small and I have more in there that there is room for. But when it’s organized and cleaned up it’s quite cozy. If I don’t sit at the desk where I can plug my laptop into a large monitor, I’m camped out on the couch sideways with the laptop on my lap.

What do you do ‘just for you’?

I enjoy my cats, knitting and crocheting, movies and attending rodeos in the summer with a special friend who first introduced them to me about ten years ago.

What sparks your creativity when you feel drained?

When I get stuck with a story I need to be writing, I pick up a novel written by one of my favorite writers and start reading. Reading a good well-written story usually sparks my muse and then when I go back to my own story I’m suddenly able to start writing.

If you were born into the animal kingdom instead of the human race, what would you be, and why?

I love cats and I would have to say a cat. I’d love to be one for just a day to see how they think, how much they understand and find out how much I think I understand about them is correct LOL.

How much of yourself goes into your writing and your characters?

I think the answer varies with each story. I think there is some of me in each of my heroines, but most of all in April Love, the heroine in Thyme for Love, the book that I just republished a couple weeks ago.

How did the title of this book come to you?

I first began writing Thyme for Love (TFL) six or so years ago and was struggling to come up with a good title. I asked people in an online critique group to help me and told them it was about an in-house chef whose ex-fiancé shows up in her life again after eight years of separation. Someone suggested Thyme for Love and that is how it came to be. I can take no credit, but it’s perfect. I can’t remember if I’d already changed April’s last name to Love at that time or not. That also came from a friend. She was originally April Spencer and Ane Mulligan called me one day all excited and said “You’ve got to call her April Love.” Bingo. I have had a lot of fun with that name. Of course readers in their 20s and 30s may not have a clue as to why it’s so clever. I’ll just keep that to myself and let the readers find out when they read the book. I hope to write the third book of the series, which I’m calling the Cooking Up Love Series after I re-release the sequel to TFL.

Finally, tell us a bit about Thyme for Love.

Thyme for Love Front300TFL and its sequel, Love Will Find a Way, were both published by a small press several years ago. I requested the rights be returned to me and received them last January. I have spent the past six months preparing TFL for re-release and it’s now available in both Kindle and print. I completely edited the original version and updated the technology. Here’s the back of the book blurb.

New chef, April Love, has landed her dream job, but she never anticipated her former fiancé and a murdered boss would be on the menu.

When April Love applies for a job as an in-house chef at a century-old lakeshore mansion in Canoga Lake, Wisconsin, she never expected to find her old flame, Marc Thorne working there and looking more gorgeous than ever. He’d left her high and dry weeks before their planned wedding, and last she heard, he was living on the West Coast. Soon, the old attraction heats up. But, April senses Marc isn’t spilling all the beans about his past eight years, and no amount of questioning has him talking. Despite being unable to trust Marc for her future, she’s determined to not let him stand in the way of living out her dream.

Their boss is murdered, and Marc is falsely accused of the crime. He’s about to be indicted, and April has no choice but to turn detective and find Ramón Galvez’s real killer. It isn’t long before she realizes she may be the murderer’s next victim if she doesn’t stop her sleuthing. If she stops now, hopes for a future with Marc will end in a cellblock.

About the Giveaway:

Pam is offering a copy of either the print or Kindle version of Thyme for Love. To enter, just leave a comment in the comment section below. Winner will be selected in a random drawing through random.org and will be notified via email. Giveaway ends at Midnight, September 2, Central time. Winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday, Sept 3.

Where to find Pam on the Internet:

 

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Interview with author Lillian Duncan plus Giveaway

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Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!

Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. She writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us

Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

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Welcome to Whispers in Purple, Lillian, I’m so glad to have you visit.

Tell us a little about you.

My husband and I live in a small town in Ohio. I mean small—we only have one traffic light. But I love being back. I grew up in the area, but moved to the big city of Cleveland for many years. Like Dorothy, I love being home again.

What is your favorite genre to read? To write?

The answer to both is Christian mystery and suspense with a little horror thrown in from time to time. I guess writing is sort of like eating. You are what you read, and for me that means I’m a suspense/mystery writer.

Tell us about DEADLY INTENT.

Deadly Intent is the second in my Deadly Communications series that features Maven Morris, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who gets a little too involved with her clients. Okay, a lot too involved.

In Deadly Intent, she becomes a foster mother to an abandoned child who won’t or can’t speak. Then he disappears without a clue! And that’s when things start getting interesting not to mention deadly!

How long did it take you to write this book?

DEADLY INTENT is a novella so it didn’t take anywhere near as long as a full-length novel. I would say I finished the first draft within a month. Then another month to revise and polish before I submitted it.

Tell me a bit about your main characters. Who did you have the most fun creating? Why?

I had a great time creating Maven Morris—a crime-fighting speech pathologist! In many ways, we’re quite similar. I was a speech pathologist for more than 30 years! She’s short just like me, but not as short. She has Bell’s palsy, just like me. But we’re also different. I would never get myself into the trouble she gets herself into. I’m not nearly as adventurous or as fearless as she is!

What’s the setting for DEADLY INTENT?

Maven lives in the city of Wooster, Ohio. Coincidently, it’s a city I’ve lived near most of my life. But, of course, the story is fictional and not based on reality!

How did you come up with the title for the Deadly Communications series?

How could that not be the title? When a speech-language pathologist (SLP) gets involved in a murder mystery, what else could you name it?

Is DEADLY INTENT the first book you published?

I’ve been blessed to have several books published in the past several years. My last release was REDEMPTION, the third in my Sisters by Choice series.

How did the Deadly Communications series come about?

First, my brother asked why I didn’t write a story featuring a speech-language pathologist. To which my answer was that it would be difficult to come up with a suspense story and an SLP. I loved being an SLP, but most people would find the repetition somewhat boring.

Secondly, a few days later I was talking with someone whose daughter had been involved in an accident and was now experiencing communication difficulties.

Thirdly, as writers are prone to do, I was sitting daydreaming and had a vision of a young woman running through the woods and into ongoing traffic.

That’s all it took! My writer mind took over from there and DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS was born.

So, then it sounds as if you were a speech-language pathologist. Tell us a little about that job.

I retired as an SLP from a large city school district in Ohio, then spent several more years working part-time in smaller, rural districts near where I live. Between the two jobs, I don’t think there is any type of child I haven’t worked with at least once.

I loved my job and still miss it. Mostly I miss the children, not the paper work involved. If it weren’t for serious health issues, I would still be working.

What sort of serious health issues?

In 2012 I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors. Fortunately, they weren’t cancerous, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t wreaked havoc on my life.

Oh, my, Lillian. I so admire your courage and determination to keep writing despite this.

What do you want readers to take away from the DEADLY COMMUNICATION series?

Maven has experienced a series of life-changing events that led to depression. Maven chooses to get out of bed and keep moving. It’s not easy when life throws us a curve ball or two, like getting brain tumors.

It may not seem fair, but how we react to those things will determine the quality of our future. As the story moves forward we see Maven struggle with her spirituality but we also see her turn back to God. I want readers to know they can overcome difficult situations in their own life with God’s help.

Was it difficult to write a character with communication problems?

Not at all. In fact, that was part of the fun of writing DEADLY INTENT. When Maven meets her foster child for the first time, he won’t communicate with anyone and shows characteristics of autism. As the story proceeds we see him slowly improve his communication skills.

What is your writing process?

I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.

When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face, but anything goes after that. If I’m writing and start to feel bored—then I kill someone or blow something up. And that way it’s a surprise to me and to my readers.

Do you know who the bad guy is when you begin your story?

Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be and as the story comes to a conclusion, I’m surprised right along with my readers.

Most people don’t think of murder mysteries and suspense novels as Christian Fiction. What do you say to them?

I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s okay, I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.

I don’t promote or glorify violence in my stories and show characters experiencing the natural consequences of their bad choices and bad actions. My characters are usually on a spiritual journey as well—but some are further along than others.

What are you working on now?

I just finished the final edits on the third in the Deadly Communications series. Its title is DEADLY SILENCE. In it, Maven will be back and facing some very difficult life circumstances.

Along with that, she’s working with a late-deafened adult as a client. A subject near and dear to me since I’ve lost all my hearing in one ear and a significant amount in the other because of the brain tumors.

I also have several other stories in various stages that I’m working on.

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Book Title: Deadly Intent

Author: Lillian Duncan

Publisher: Pelican Ventures Book Group – Harbourlight Books

Release Date: August 2015

Genre: Mystery & Suspense

TAGLINE: Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. In this case, it could be lethal!

Book OVERVIEW:

Everyone belongs somewhere. The key to happiness is recognizing that place when you get there.

Maven Morris can’t seem to find that place. A childless widow, she has no immediate family. Forced into a medical leave, she has no career. At loose ends, she hasn’t a clue what’s next for her.

Her neighbor, Paul Jordan knows what he wants—to move their friendship to a new level. Maven may not know what’s next, but she does know she has no interest in romance with anyone— not even her handsome neighbor.

When a young boy is abandoned in the city park, he touches her heart. In spite of his obvious special needs, she agrees to provide a temporary foster home for him. She has no idea the impact he will have on her life—or the danger he brings to her doorstep.

HOW CAN READERS FIND YOU ON THE INTERNET?

My website is www.lillianduncan.net and I have a devotional blog at www.PowerUpWithGod.com My blog is TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com. I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan

To celebrate the release of Deadly Intent, I’m having a giveaway on my blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com. Grand prize is a $25 Amazon gift cards but that’s not all! Five more winners will get a $5 Amazon gift card. How’s that for a celebration?

All you have to do is hop over to www.lillian-duncan.com and leave a comment on the Deadly Intent announcement. The contest ends September 26. PS. When you leave a comment, be sure to tell me what blog you read about me on. Then check back to see if you’re a winner!

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com.

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The July Clash is on!

Beautiful New July Covers!

Welcome, fellow book lovers! As we wrap up summer, we’re bringing you four wonderful reads to take out on your deck chair. From the mountains to the rugged west, these books offer a great variety of escapes. But if you could only pick one, which would make it into your need-to-read pile? Vote at the end–and don’t forget to leave a kind word for your favorite author.

 

 
The Lady and the Mountain Fire by Misty M. Beller 
Claire Sullivan’s desire to help others carried her all the way to the Montana Territory to care for her blind grandmother, but the callous, hardworking doctor she meets there doesn’t fit her expectations. When disaster strikes their rough mining city, Claire must face her her greatest fear to help the man she’s come to love.
Purchase on Amazon 



A Bride At Last by Melissa Jagears
Silas and Kate are both wary of love after failed mail-order engagements, but when a common interest in a motherless boy leads to an interest in each other, they begin to think they can set aside past hurts. However, neither is prepared for the secrets that have yet to come to light.
Purchase on Amazon
To Soar on Eagle’s Wings by Renee Blare
While the sun shines in Timber Springs, snow falls on the Snowy Range, and trouble’s brewing in the meadows. The area’s new game warden, Steve Mitchell launches his first wildlife investigation of the season, but the trouble follows him—straight to town.
The Daughters of Jim Farrell by Sylvia Bambola
Pennsylvania 1873: When Jim Farrell is hanged for murder, his three daughters resolve to clear his name. But all too soon their dangerous quest rips the family apart and could cost them the men they love.

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Author Johnnie Alexander, Guest Blogger

Johnnie Alexander

Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Her first contemporary romance, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series), releases from Revell in January 2016. She recently signed a contract with Barbour for a novella that will appear in their Courageous Brides Collection (July 2016).

Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale, 2013), Johnnie’s debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011 Historical Fiction). “Beneath the Christmas Star,” her first short story, appeared in the Guideposts anthology A Cup of Christmas Cheer—Tales of Joy and Wonder for the Holidays (2013).

Johnnie also has won the Golden Leaf (Autumn in the Mountains Novelist Retreat), Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest).

She volunteers as a category coordinator for the ACFW Genesis Contest and as a judge for various contests. This year, she is also marketing director for the MidSouth Christian Writers Conference.

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

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Surprise! My Character Did What?

by

Johnnie Alexander

One of the most rewarding, awe-inspiring, and just plain fun aspects of fiction-writing is when the characters make their own decisions.

When secrets spill from their lips.

When they do the unexpected.

Alison Schuyler is a Dutch-American artist and heiress to an artistic legacy that stretches back to the days of Vermeer and Rembrandt. Several Old Masters hang in the family’s Rotterdam art gallery, but Alison’s treasures most The Girl in the Garden, a portrait of her deceased mother that was painted by her father.

I didn’t realize how much Alison valued this painting until she risked her life to protect it.

In fact, I didn’t realize how important the painting would become to the storyline until . . . well, until it did.

I’m fascinated how things like this happen. An object, a sentence, an action nonchalantly appears on the screen then later serves as unintentional foreshadowing of more important events. Once the value of these unintended gems is realized—which may not happen until I’m reading through the pages—they can inspire the story line.

It’s a mysterious process that I don’t pretend to understand. I only know I love it when it happens.

Curious to find out what Alison did to save her mother’s portrait and how The Girl in the Garden became an integral part of the story?

Then take a trip with me to Waterloo Station in August 1939. Listen to a young boy play “Rule, Britannia!” on his violin. And fall in love with Alison and a British soldier as they fall in love with each other.

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Where Treasure Hides, Book Overview

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

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

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

Chapter One

August 1939

The stringed notes of “Rule, Britannia!” grew louder as the crowd quieted, eyes and ears straining in their search for the violin soloist. The patriotic anthem echoed through Waterloo Station’s concourse, and as the second chorus began, sporadic voices sang the lyrics. Travel- weary Brits stood a little straighter, chins lifted, as the violinist completed the impromptu performance, the last note sounding long after the strings were silenced.

Alison Schuyler gripped her leather bag and threaded her way through the crowd toward the source of the music. As the final note faded inside the hushed terminal, she squeezed between a sailor and his girl, murmuring an apology at forc­ing them to part, and stepped onto a bench to see over the crowd. A dark-haired boy, no more than seven or eight, held the violin close to his anemic frame. His jacket, made of a finely woven cloth, hung loosely on his thin shoulders. The matching trousers would have slipped down his hips if not for his hand-tooled leather belt.

Either the boy had lost weight or his parents had purposely provided him clothes to grow into. Alison hoped for the latter, though from the rumors she’d heard, her first assumption was all too likely. She stared at the cardboard square, secured by a thick length of twine, that the boy wore as a cheap necklace. The penciled writing on the square numbered the boy as 127.

Other children crowded near the young musician, each one dressed in their fine traveling clothes, each one labeled with cardboard and twine. Germany’s castaways, transported to England for their own safety while their desperate parents paced the floors at home and vainly wished for an end to these troublesome days.

“Now will you allow him to keep his violin?” A man’s voice, pleasant but firm, broke the spell cast over the station. The children fidgeted and a low murmur rumbled through the crowd. The speaker, dressed in the khaki uniform of a British Army officer, ignored them, his gaze intent on the railroad official overseeing the children.

“He better,” said a woman standing near Alison. “Never heard anything so lovely. And the lad not even one of the king’s subjects. I’d take him home myself—yes, I would—if I’d a bed to spare.”

Alison mentally sketched the tableau before her, pinning the details into her memory. The officer’s hand resting on the boy’s shoulder; the official, a whistle around his neck, restlessly tapping his clipboard with his pencil; the dread and hope in the boy’s eyes as he clutched his prized instrument. The jagged square that tagged his identity.

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Meet Author Donn Taylor, Guest Blogger

Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. He was chosen by faculty as “Scholar of the Year” at one and by students as “Professor of the Year” at the other. His poetry is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond. In addition to his historical novel Lightning on a Quiet Night, he has published two suspense novels and a light-hearted mystery. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences and groups. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.

I am so happy to welcome author Donn Taylor to Whispers in Purple today. Donn has written a special article—along with some tongue-in-cheek chuckles—to share with us.

So, take it away, Donn!

 

Avoiding Misuse of Words

by

    Donn Taylor

One of the frustrations of being a writer of fiction or essays is the fact that we have only words to communicate with our readers. Novels and essays have no pictures or diagrams to clarify relationships, and gesturing with our hands or counting on our fingers does not help. The poet W.H. Auden went so far as to describe a poem as a “verbal contraption,” a machine made out of words, to convey the poet’s vision to the reader. Consequently, it behooves us as writers to respect words and their meanings, and to use them both correctly and appropriately. Here I will list some that are frequently misused in published writing, and then I will mention some that have become trite through overuse.

Let’s begin with a heavy error (pardon the pun): The past tense of the verb to lead is led, not lead. This one slips through the proofreading to appear in quite a few novels. I am not immune to this kind of error: In a recent novel I wrote that a character’s complexion was “unusually pail.” (No, that didn’t mean she would kick the bucket.) Fortunately, a proofreader caught my error before publication.

Another common error is confusion of the two verbs lie and lay. (They were separate verbs as far back as Middle English.) The forms of lie are lie, lay, lain, while the forms of lay are lay, laid, laid. Forms of lie never take a direct object: “I will lie down.” Forms of lay always do: “I will lay the book on the desk.” Confusion arises because the past tense of lie and the present tense of lay appear identical. The solution is to select the correct word in present tense and then convert to the appropriate tense. When all else fails, remember that we can only lay down if we are carrying duck feathers.

One frequently misused (and overused) word is incredible. Its first meaning describes something that can’t be believed. The second describes something so unusual as to be beyond belief. A problem arises when the writer intends the second meaning when the first meaning is also possible. One writer recently wrote that she belonged to “an incredible church.” Who would want to belong to a church that can’t be believed?

Certain modifying words are “absolute,” meaning that they cannot be modified as to degree. The most misused of these is unique, which means one of a kind. Something cannot be very one-of-a-kind or somewhat one-of-a-kind, yet one often hears the expression very unique or somewhat unique. Examples of other absolute words are equal, impossible, eternal, unanimous, square, round and perfect. (Yes, the US Constitution speaks of “a more perfect union.” When we write a Constitution of the United States, we’re entitled to use the same expression. Meanwhile, we must refrain from modifying absolute words.)

Some irritating usages occur when the writer attempts to sound sophisticated rather than write for plain meanings. One is using the term escalate for the more direct increase. (That is a cliché held over from the intellectuals of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.)

Next comes the attempt to sound sophisticated by using exacerbate when one means simply make worse. When we’re tempted to preen our sophistication, we should not rise to the exacer-bait.

Other words to avoid are those that have become clichéd through being overused. One such offender is Excuse me. In using it, the writer sarcastically feigns politeness while pretending to be victimized by a powerful but wrongheaded opposition. So many writers use this crutch that the victims apparently outnumber the oppressors.

Then there is using the word sure to introduce a sentence. (“Sure, some people still think the world is flat, but….”)

And there’s using the word Hey! as an attention-getter. (“Hey! Why do you want to use a cliché?”)

I suggest the following rules: 1. There is no excuse for excuse me. 2. Sure should be consigned to the sewer. 3. Hey should be fed to livestock. (They’ll never notice the difference in spelling.)

Ultimately, however, attempts to stamp out trite expressions are doomed to failure. One fundamental rule always applies: Whenever a writer can’t find his Pegasus, he’ll hitch old Dobbin to the cliché.

To summarize: For clarity, we writers should make it our business to know the meanings and accepted usages of words. For originality, we should avoid expressions that have become clichéd through overuse. As Auden said, each of our writings is a verbal contraption, our only means of conveying our vision to our readers.

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Lightning Cover - 300dpiBook Title: Lightning on a Quiet Night

Author: Donn Taylor

Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Release Date: November 2014

Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery

Overview:  In the years following World War II, a town too proud of its own virtues has to deal with its first murder. Despite the implications of this crime, the town of Beneficent, MS, population 479, tries desperately to hold onto its vain self-image. The young veteran Jack Davis holds that idyllic vision of the town and tries to share it with Lisa Kemper, newly arrived from Indiana. But she is repelled by everything in town. While the sheriff tries to find the murderer, Jack and Lisa’s contentious courtship reveals the town’s strange combination of astute perceptions and surprising blind spots. Then they stumble onto shocking discoveries about the true nature of the town. But where will these discoveries lead? To repentance? Or to denial and continuation in vanity?

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Here’s what Publishers Weekly said about Lightning: “Taylor’s powerful historical romance is filled with passion and heart, spiced with mystery and a keen understanding of the human condition.”

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Where to find Donn:

 

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♦Peg here: I hope you enjoyed Donn’s article as much as I did. I love his dry sense of humor. We would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts, or feel free to ask Donn some questions, in the Comments section below. Join the conversation!

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