I am excited to have Alexis as my guest on the blog today.
Alexis A. Goring is a passionate writer with a degree in Print Journalism and an MFA in Creative Writing. She loves the art of storytelling and hopes that her stories will connect readers with the enduring, forever love of Jesus Christ.
Her latest book, A Second Chance, came out January 25th.
Newly single food critic and newspaper reporter Traci Hightower is done with dating. After the man of her dreams left her at the altar on their wedding day and ran off with the woman she thought was her best friend, Traci resolves to focus on work and resigns herself to being a bachelorette for life.
Marc Roberts is a political reporter who is known as Mr. Nice Guy, the one who always finishes last. However, Marc’s compassion and kindness is of invaluable help to his newly widowed sister Gina Braxton who is trying to raise her two kids in the wake of her firefighter husband’s death.
Traci and Marc may be the perfect match, but they don’t know it yet. With God’s guidance and the help of Gina’s matchmaking skills honed by her career as a bestselling romance novelist, there is hope for a happily ever after for these two broken hearts.
Hi, Alexis! Thank you so much for joining us today. I see that you had a new release in January. A SECOND CHANCE sounds like a great book and the cover is just beautiful! Tell us a little about yourself.
What is one of the most challenging things you’ve faced as an author?
Alexis: One of the most challenging things I’ve faced as an author is pressing on and moving forward in writing more fictional stories when there’s so much trauma and drama going on in the real world.
What is your favorite thing about being an author?
Alexis: My favorite thing about being an author is creating fictional characters in fictional story settings and writing their fictional life stories. Lol. I love being able to express my creativity and heart through my characters. It’s an adventure every time I start a new story because I’m a pantser so I never know where the story may take me. However, since my second book, I have become a bit of a plotter.
Nowadays, before I start to write a story, I always get to know my characters now by filling out GMC (Goal/Motivation/Conflict) charts that identify their emotional, spiritual and physical desires. I credit my editor Liz Tolsma for teaching me this skill. Mastering the GMC for my main characters helps me to create a more solid story because I know the characters inside and out.
Melanie: I'm a pantser myself, so I definitely get what you mean about never knowing where a story may take you. I think that's half the fun!
What is your least favorite thing about being an author?
Alexis: My least favorite thing about being an author is having writer’s block!
Melanie: Oh, yes. Writer's block can be so hard to get through at times!
If there was one place you could go to research a book, where would it be?
Alexis: I’d love to go to Paris, France to research a book because I’ve always loved romantic cities and that is definitely one! I’d like to stroll down the cobblestone streets, eat authentic French bread in the fancy little cafes, enjoy dinner at the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower and take photos of everything I experience there—the food, fashion, scenery, people, etc.
While I’m in Europe, I’d also like to visit London (England) and Spain. I’d love to connect with fellow creative people (writers/photographers/chefs) and explore the culture through the arts, especially the culinary arts! ;)
One more note about this: While in London, I’d like to research The Goring Hotel. It’s a five-star luxury hotel where Princess Kate Middleton spent her last night as a single lady with her bridal party before the morning of her Royal Wedding. Exciting, isn’t it? I know there’s a story there that I may be connected to, and I want to discover it.
Melanie: That all sounds wonderful. I hope you'll get to go on an adventure like that sometime in the future. It would definitely be one you'd never forget.
If time and money were not a concern, what one skill would you like to learn?
Alexis: I’d love to learn how to sing professionally! Music is my love language. When I was growing up, I would choose to buy a new CD over new clothes and snacks with my allowance. As an adult, eating good food wins over buying new music (like, every time) but I still do love the art of song!
Melanie: How awesome! I love to sing, though it would take a miracle for me to sing professionally. lol
What project are you working on now?
Alexis: I’m working on a story about a fictional five-star quality bakery in the heart of a major city and the main characters that love it.
Melanie: That sounds like a great setting for a new story! Thanks again for joining us, Alexis. I’ve enjoyed chatting with you today!
Alexis: You’re welcome. Thanks for interviewing me and hosting me on your blog!
Let's face it. Fears are a part of life. But what do you do when you can't seem to overcome that fear? Or even talk about it?
Our son is eleven now and he's had a fear of puffer balls since he was three. You know what I'm talking about - those wiggly, spiny balls that can range from the size of a quarter to one as big as a basketball. They even come in different shapes and styles. Yep, those. I swear, you can find them in nearly EVERY STORE.
We don't really know what it is about them that's so scary. I remember he couldn't care less about them until one day we were in a sporting goods store waiting in line to check out. There was a bin full of large ones the size of a basketball and a couple of kids were playing with them. Without warning, our son started screaming and crying and trying to do everything he could to scramble out of the basket.
And that was it.
It put a serious restriction on his life!
That was the way he reacted every time he saw one. Sometimes, it even included leaping from baskets and running across a store while screaming bloody murder. It was bad, folks.
We couldn't go in a Mardel Christian Bookstore for years because they had those little toy displays right inside the door. There was always a puffer ball in one of the bins, and he knew it, too.
This is a boy who refused to look down the toy aisle at the grocery store for years. And a big toy store like Toys R Us? It caused anxiety you wouldn't believe. When it came time to do Christmas or birthday shopping for his little sister, we'd have to go down a toy aisle and bring back ideas or suggestions for him to approve or dismiss because he wasn't about to step foot down one himself.
When our daughter got old enough to understand what was going on, she would keep an eye out for the puffer balls and either hide them from her big brother's sight before he came down an aisle or warn us to steer clear of one.
It is completely heartbreaking to know your child is so afraid of something. And equally as heartbreaking when a speech impairment prevents him from telling you why. Did he have a nightmare about them that caused the whole phobia? Is it the way they look or move or both? We may never know.
But over the last eight months, we've been able to witness a very slow-moving miracle. At first, our son started watching YouTube videos about puffer balls. He'd talk about puffer balls with long spines versus short spines. Then, at his cousin's birthday party, they had little puffer bears with short spines in one of the rooms. While he screamed and covered them, by the end of the day, he was tentatively holding them. He couldn't stop talking about them for weeks afterwards.
We made a point of talking about puffer balls with little spines and how cute they are. He finally saw a picture online of a caterpillar with little spines and expressed an interest in it, saying, "It's not scary. It's cute." I asked if he'd like us to order one and he said he did. The day it came in, he was so nervous, he touched it with a single finger. But before long, he was holding it and petting it.
He now has a collection of puffers with short spines ranging from that caterpillar to a frog and even a pig.
But the biggest breakthrough - the one that had me in tears the most - was when we went to Mardel and he spotted the giant puffer balls with long spines down one of the aisles. We asked him if he'd like to go see him. He said yes. It took us a full five minutes to get down that aisle but in the end, he held one of them in his hands.
Our son, who had fought this phobia for years, was finally facing it.
He still gets nervous when going down toy aisles and he'll jump if he stumbles upon a puffer ball when he wasn't expecting it, but I think ninety percent of that fear is gone. I didn't realize how freeing it was to go through a store without keeping constant vigil and worrying our poor little boy was going to face that which terrified him most: A giant puffer ball.
Please welcome Robin Bayne. Her new book, REUNION AT CRANE LAKE is now available. This Christian romance is also the prequel to her novella, CHRISTMAS FOREVER.
Colt's memory is returning after the accident that ended his career. Now he wants to take over his family's inn, but he'll have to partner with his former fiancée to be able to afford it. He'll need forgiveness to make that happen. Tia's goal is clear: to return the inn to its former grandeur. And she'll even work with Colt to do so. But like the inn, their relationship needs a lot of work. He broke her heart...can she ever trust him again?
About the Author
Robin is the author of Christian and “sweet” romance, including the Carol Award winning “The Artist’s Granddaughter.” She compiled a collection of devotionals for writers, “Words to Write By,” featuring work by many well-known Christian authors including Robin Lee Hatcher and Cecil Murphy. She lives in Maryland with her husband of 26 years, and works a day job in community bank lending.
Please join me in welcoming Liwen Y. Ho to the blog today! Her newest short story, OF BUDS AND BLOSSOMS, is part of her Seasons of Love series and is available now. I had the opportunity to read an early copy of this story and it full of giggles and sweet romance. Chloe and Dill's story will leave you with a smile on your face.
Librarian Chloe McAlister finds solace in her books—and hats—but doesn’t know where to turn when her longtime crush gets engaged. On a whim, she signs up for a speed-dating mixer and convinces her best friend, Dill Thomas, to attend. All goes as planned until she realizes Dill means more to her than she thought ... and he goes and falls for someone else.
This 10,000-word short story is perfect for your lunch break, workout, or while you wait in line at the mall. Read it today to experience a hint of spring any time of the year!
“Is the beard a deal breaker? Serious question here.”
Chloe raised her brows. “Hm?”
“Do you like me rugged or clean? Be honest, I can take it.”
Dill had never cared about his appearance before, much less asked her about it. He was a no-frills kind of guy who couldn’t be bothered with designer clothes or the latest fashions. That’s why he lived in jeans and T-shirts at work and at home. For some reason, he was concerned about a beard? “You want my opinion?”
“Sure. You understand women better than I do. Would they be cool with this?”
Tilting her head to one side, then to the other, Chloe took a long, hard look at him. She pretended to give his question some thought, pursing her lips as she studied his face. His eyes still had the same self-assured, friendly sparkle in them as the freshman boy who always asked to borrow her lecture notes. A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth, revealing his playful, easygoing nature that hadn’t changed over the years. However, that’s where the déjà vu ended.
Now that she was staring at him so intently, she almost didn’t recognize the man sitting next to her. Because he was most definitely more of a man today than he had been when they met or graduated from college or … even last week. What had happened? This Dill had the angled features and square jawline, not to mention—her eyes traveled down—the broad shoulders and defined upper body of a hot guy. An attractive, rugged-looking hot guy. She swallowed, her mouth suddenly as dry as a desert. Was it hot in here or what? “Yes, the beard,” she managed to squeak out, “you should keep.”
“Seriously?” Dill threw his head back and laughed until he was wiping tears from his eyes. “I can’t believe you went full Yoda on me. The beard you should keep.”
“You know what I mean.”
“I thought you fell asleep during our Star Wars marathon. Maybe I’ll convert you into a fan after all.”
“Finish the profile, please,” Chloe urged, eager to move on from the awkward moment.
“Okay, okay,” he agreed, before joking, “the questions I will answer.”
Hot guy or not, he was still a goofball.
About the Author
Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA being a stay at home mom) and a writer by night. She penned her first children’s picture book, “A Rainbow of Nine Colors”, in high school (now available at Meegenius.com) and has been writing for grown-ups since 2014.
She also enjoys writing about real-life matters, such as marriage, parenting and faith because truth can be as strange and entertaining as fiction. Her work has appeared in various online publications, including LiteraryMama.com and MomLifeToday.com, and she is a regular contributor at StartMarriageRight.com.
In her pre-author life, she received a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children, and blogs about her adventures as a recovering perfectionist at www.2square2behip.com.
Congratulations to Melissa Storm on the release of her new book, LOVE'S PROMISE. The book just came out today and the cover is just gorgeous!
Check out the beautiful book trailer and then scroll down to learn more about the book, a week-long party to celebrate, and meet the author!
She's waiting for her prince to come … but was he right beside her all the time?
Kristina Rose Maher wants to know why fairytales never happen for fat girls. Certain that diner cook Jeff, handsome and fit, will never want her as more than a friend, she stuffs down her attraction to him. But when she finds herself facing a life-altering weight loss surgery, she discovers she's willing to do whatever it takes to embrace life—and love—to the fullest.
Jeffrey Berkley can't bear the thought of losing the friend he’s only just beginning to realize matters so much to him… no matter what size she is. But he is also terrified that helping her reach for her dreams will also mean finally reaching for his own—and letting down his family’s legacy in the process.
Both Kristina Rose and Jeffrey must learn to love themselves before they can find a way to make a promise to each other. Will they finally be able to lay their heavy burdens at the Lord's feet, and trust him to bring the happily-ever-after they both crave?
Don't miss this sweet tale of faith, love, and gastric bypass–get your copy of Love's Promise today!
Apple iBooks ~ http://www.melstorm.com/Promise_iBooks
Amazon Kindle ~ http://www.melstorm.com/Promise_Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook ~ http://www.melstorm.com/Promise_Nook
Kobo ~ http://www.melstorm.com/Promise_Kobo
Amazon UK ~ http://www.melstorm.com/Promise_AmazonUK
Amazon Canada ~ http://www.melstorm.com/Promise_AmazonCA
Amazon Australia ~ http://www.melstorm.com/Promise_AmazonAU
Paperback ~ http://www.melstorm.com/Promise_Paperback
Come Join the Party!
Join us for the Release Week Party of Melissa Storm's Newest Christian Romance!
Get your copy of LOVE'S PROMISE for just 99 cents with the special pre-order price. And be sure to join us on Facebook from March 6-11 for daily giveaways, games, and fun conversations, and behind-the-scenes info. We'll also have live video chats with the author herself!
About the Author
Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa's way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.
Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. When she's not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her four dogs, four parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub. Because priorities.
I'm excited to have Kristin Holt stop by the blog today to introduce her new book, SOPHIA'S LEAP-YEAR COURTSHIP. Check out my review below and make sure you enter the giveaway, too!
Union Pacific Station Agent Chadwick Hughes has everything in a state of readiness to welcome his mail order bride…everything but the bride. The woman he’s corresponded with for a year didn’t change her mind or miss her train in Omaha—she never existed. Chadwick’s mortified to discover he’s been swindled by a fraudulent matrimonial agency in Chicago. He needs a lawyer if he’ll ever recover a dime of the fortune he spent on worthless membership fees and the nonexistent bride’s transportation west.
Sophia Sorensen, Attorney at Law, is a spinster on the edge of propriety. The good people of Wyoming Territory are open to a lot of things, including Lady’s Privilege during Leap Years, but some aren’t fond of her day-to-day behavior. Why, the woman rides her bicycle hither and yon, showing her petticoat ruffle and ankles. She might be the least ladylike specimen beneath Wyoming skies, but it’s entertaining to watch her court the U.P. Station Agent, Chadwick Hughes, the most-eligible bachelor in the county.
~ My Review ~
This book was a lot of fun! I don't read historical fiction often, but when I do, I love coming away feeling as though I've learned something new. I knew very little about the etiquette of leap year during the Victorian Era and found it fascinating. It also made for a unique - and fun - basis for SOPHIA'S LEAP-YEAR COURTSHIP.
Kristin did a beautiful job of moving us along through time in this story. I often find that novellas feel rushed, but that wasn't the case here. It was all nicely done.
Chadwick and Sophia are both characters that are written well with wonderful personalities. I enjoyed their scenes together and ended the book with a big smile on my face. I admit this is the first of Kristin's books that I've read, but it definitely won't be the last!
~ Keep In Touch With Kristin ~
~ Giveaway ~
~ Blog Tour Schedule ~
Singing Librarian Books
LDS Writer Mom
Getting Your Read On
My Book a Day
Literary Time Out
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Smiling Book Reviews
Bubble Bath Books
Are you looking for a book to read? Check out these new releases!
Bobbins and Boots (Baker City Brides book 4) by Shanna Hatfield
Love at First Laugh by Heather Gray, Elizabeth Maddrey, Krista Phillips, Marion Ueckermann, and four others
Muffins & Moonbeams (Baxter Family Bakery 1) (Arcadia Valley Romance 3) by Elizabeth Maddrey
The Soldier and the Single Mom by Lee Tobin McClain
Season of Joy (Rios Azules Christmas 2) by Alexa Verde
Her Baby's Protector By Margaret Daley and Susan Sleeman
Reunion at Crane Lake by Robin Bayne
Bayside Promises (The Hunters Book 8) - By Stacy Claflin
Check out these new releases from authors involved with American Christian Fiction Writers. You're sure to find a new favorite!
Click below to browse all 18 new releases! More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Please join me in welcoming Faith Blum as we take a look at her new release, Savior, Like a Shepherd. Faith's new book explores the life of three orphans born during the Wild West.
This cover is gorgeous and my favorite of all Faith's covers. Does that location look amazingly peaceful? Keep reading to learn more about Savior, Like a Shepherd, meet one of the characters, and then make sure you read to the end to see the super fun giveaway she has going on, too! ...
Welcome to the "Kiss or Miss" Scavenger Hunt
Journey through all eight stops, following the order in the schedule. Each stop will include two or three clue words in red. Collect them all and enter to win our grand prize at the final stop on February 17th on Crystal's site.
Along each stop, you’ll get to meet an awesome author friend, read a super fun excerpt from one of their favorite kiss-or-miss scenes, and enter some sweet giveaways. ...
It's finally release day for Finding Joy (Love's Compass: Book 5). Can you tell I'm excited? :-D Parker and Chelsea's story was a lot of fun to write and I can't wait to share it with all of you. I hope you love it as much as I do!
Sometimes, what looks like a dead end, is really a new beginning.
A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. Unable to find solid footing in his disrupted life, he returns to his family's ranch, a place he thought he'd left behind for good. The scars on his face are a daily reminder of all he's lost, yet his mom still insists he needs to stop hiding and live his life again. The beautiful new employee she hires is the last thing he needs, despite his mom's best intentions, and he'll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers.
Nothing short of desperation would force Chelsea Blake to work on a local cattle ranch. But if she's going to avoid her parents' judgment when they arrive in three weeks, she must turn the temporary job into a permanent one. Between dodging mud, feeding longhorn cattle, and dealing with a handsome boss who keeps giving her the cold shoulder, staying gainfully employed is proving to be a challenge. Chelsea may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than Parker's efforts at forcing her to leave.
Unprepared to discover all they have in common, if they set aside their initial dislike, they just might find joy beyond measure.
Finding Joy is only $0.99
Now through February 19th
There are a number of wonderful people who helped spread the word about Finding Joy. I'd love it if you'd pay them a visit!
Shanna Hatfield - https://shannahatfield.com/2017/02/14/finding-joy/
Milou Koenings - http://www.miloukoenings.com/2017/02/14/finding-joy-melanie-d-snitker/
Faith Blum - https://bookishorchestrations.blogspot.com/2017/02/finding-joy-review.html - The post includes a review!
JJ Dibenedetto - http://writingdreams.net/book-tour-finding-joy-by-melanie-d-snitker/
Margaret Daley - http://margaretdaley.com/2017/02/10242/
Magdalena Scott - http://magdalenascott.blogspot.com/2017/02/new-release-finding-joy-by-melanie-d.html
Julie Jarnagin - http://juliejwrites.blogspot.com/2017/02/new-release-finding-joy-by-melanie.html
Franky A. Brown - http://frankybrown.com/finding-joy-2/
Kristin Holt - http://www.kristinholt.com/archives/10500 - Includes a review!
Hallee Bridgeman - A fun interview about Finding Joy - http://www.halleebridgeman.com/interview-melanie-snitker/
Cherry Christensen - https://cherrychristensen.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/finding-joy/
Jodie Wolfe - http://www.jodiewolfe.com/single-post/2017/02/22/Welcome-Melanie-Snitker - Complete with interview!
Check out the entire Love's Compass Series
and experience the stories of faith, love, and family.