Friday’s Feature with Mary Felkins

Mary Felkins

Today I have Mary Felkins talking about her new book, Call to Love and answering a few questions. Welcome, Mary. Let’s get started.

Tell us about your favorite character in your new book.

Oh, my! This is as difficult as choosing from among my own children, but I admit to having had the most fun writing Stephen, Tom’s athletic, rascally, and witty 14-year old son. The inspiration for Stephen came from own son who was about the same age when I first started writing Call to Love. My son also had a close friend his age who was overly prideful at times. On occasion, Mrs. Felkins felt the need to bring him down a peg or two so I created “The Humility Score” mentioned in the book. I still keep in touch with my son’s friend and I still assign him a low score (on a scale of 1 – 10) if I think he’s getting a big head. Lots of fun and smiles with it!

Do you read the reviews and comments of your readers? How important are reviews to authors?

Yes, I do read them but wearing a mighty thick skin, realizing reviews are opinions as vast and unique as the people who write them. Most authors refuse to read reviews for fear of negative ones, but this being my debut, I think it’s important to get a feel for how my work has impacted readers so I can consider this for future books.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

I could easily see a little of myself in every character, even the grumpy barista, Agnes Blumenshein of Co-Zee’s Coffee Shop. At the start, I spend a good bit of time creating my heroine and hero’s dark moment story from which they develop a wound, lie, and fear. While I may not have experienced the same event, I can often relate to the emotional impact it might have. As I write, the Spirit of God whispers through me, formulating thoughts that develop the character’s dialogue and emotion. My hero, Tom, is a divorced law enforcement officer left to raise his adolescent son on his own. Nothing of that is relatable to me personally, but the unforgiveness he bears toward his ex for leaving him high and dry is very relatable in other circumstances I’ve experienced.

Some people believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Ha. Glamorous is getting all gussied up and being whisked off to a big gala in a stretch limo, greeted by red carpet, doormen… cameras flashing. Not to say there aren’t glamorous moments associated with success, such as receiving an award on stage, but most of writing is a hard and, sometimes, lonely journey. In the quietness and obscurity associated with the call to write, all glory goes to God. There’s great sweetness in being obedient to it, knowing He is sovereign over where our words will go and to whom they will have impact.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Have you met any of them and found yourself having a fan-girl moment?

I’m a fan of Rachel Hauck and Susan May Warren’s writing. I’ve coached with these inspirational romance authors on several occasions during 5-day intensive writing retreats, Destin, Florida. In fact, the initial framework for Call to Love was created during brainstorming sessions with them.


    Call to Love

What if saying yes to love means trusting the kind of man you said you’d never marry?

What if pursuing a woman’s heart means restoring a painful past?

Tracy Cassidy, a fiercely independent ED nurse, must choose between her dream job or staying in her hometown to help support her mother’s faltering ministry. Even if it means risking her heart in love with the kind of man she said she’d never marry.

Why sign up to be Laurelton’s next cop widow?

Tom DeLaney, a hyper-vigilant cop and new hire from Texas, is wearied by years of failed rescue attempts to save his marriage to his ex. A free man, he moves to the foothills of North Carolina. Thing is, he hadn’t expected to fall for Tracy, his supervisor’s sister. But when his adolescent son is diagnosed with a chronic illness, he faces the risk of loving another woman with keep-out issues.

Fears related to the death of Tracy’s cop father and Tom’s inability to forgive the past threaten to sabotage any chance at love.

To trust again means surrender. Will they risk their hearts and answer the call?


Get your copy at any of these places

Amazon E-book https://amzn.to/2mZcLAb

Barnes&Noble https://bit.ly/2nm0TJ8

Apple Books https://apple.co/2mIzhNW

Google Play https://bit.ly/2nvoOWu

Pelican Book Store www.pelicanbookgroup.com


About Mary

Mary A. Felkins is an inspirational romance author, devotional writer, and contributor to an on-line Bible study magazine. Her debut, inspirational romance novel, Call To Love, (www.pelicanbookgroup) releases November 15th, 2019.

Raised in Houston, Texas–and forever a Lone Star girl-she and her husband Bruce moved to the foothills of North Carolina in 1997. They have four adolescent to young adult-ish children. She can be lured from her writing cave if presented with a large, unopened bag of Pnut M&Ms or to watch an episode of Fixer Upper. A surprise appearance by her teen idol, Donny Osmond, would also do the trick, although she’d likely pass out.

If, upon introduction, she likes your first or last name, expect to see it show up in one of her novels.

To receive Mary’s weekly story-style devotions and quarterly book news via email, subscribe on her website, www.maryfelkins.com

Wednesday’s Writer with LoRee Peery

LoRee Peery

Today I have multi-published author, LoRee Peery, answering some fun questions and talking about her new book, Without a Home. Welcome, LoRee.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

The first thing I remember wanting to “be” was a ballerina. That wish was never an option once my parents said they didn’t have one dollar a week for lessons (for piano, either, so I taught myself the treble clef). I wanted to be a missionary as a tween, and later a music teacher. Life has a way of changing direction and I found myself a young mother. My mother taught me to read by reading to me and I still obsessively devour books, one right after another. My desire to write happened in the 1980s when I slammed a magazine on my lap and said, “I could write better than this.” I wonder if my husband has ever regretted his challenge, “Why don’t you?”

Out of all the characters you’ve written about, is there one that is your favorite?

During the brainstorming and initial writing phases, the heroine I’m writing about is my favorite. Once in a while I like the hero better. I totally identified with the heroine of the book that will remain in a tote. Abby went home to her hometown to solve the case of her father’s “accidental” death. That story took ten years to complete and was cathartic in dealing with my father’s unsolved homicide. I self-published Touches of Time in 2016, and the Lord used that book to finally give me peace concerning the cold case. There’s probably a little bit of me or someone close to me in all my female protagonists. I enjoyed writing about Geneva and Lanae, older heroines in the Frivolities Series.

Have you ever received a rejection?

Oh, my goodness. Countless. That magazine I slapped on my lap had published a short romance. I fired off first versions without rewrites of countless short romances. I still attempt Woman’s World on occasion, but their silence is a rejection. Somewhere I have a tote with a heap of those rejections. (And wonder why I still have them.) Even after the publication of several books, my editor didn’t care for the heroine of my upcoming release Courting Country, and didn’t accept without a rewrite.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to an unpublished writer?

If the desire to write comes from the Lord, He put that desire in your heart. I tried to quit writing several times. A long time ago I heard an author say she couldn’t not write. And that’s the way it is with me. So never give up. Be tenacious. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep piling up rejections. Most importantly, keep praying. I didn’t get my first contract until I dealt with a spiritual condition of bitterness. Our writing journey is an individual one according to God’s time, like everything else in our lives.

Do you ever talk about your next project or do you like to keep it a secret?

Hmm. It depends. I’m a writer who can only work on one story at a time. Often as elements of a future tale come to me, I jot notes for when I’m ready for that project. During the brainstorming phase, I may ask friends or readers particular questions, but I usually don’t talk about a project unless I’m well into it.

How long does it take you to write a book?

It varies. For a novella such as the Christmas Extravaganza stories, I give myself a month and shoot for 20,000 words. It may take a couple more months before I have what I consider a finished project. Other times, it takes longer. I think I worked on my first time travel, Cowboy Just in Time (release date unknown), for a year. During that writing the historic rancher’s daughter kept raising her hand for me to tell her story, and Future of My Heart took less time because the heroine was a character in the first story. Due to my husband’s health, my own pain and surgeries in recent years, as well as a large family when anything can take me away from my desk, I always finish a story before I send it off.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Oh, gosh, I used to do so much! I still hope to get back to sewing, especially strip quilting and/or quilted wall hangings. I did get in my rock gardens and mess with my flowers this last summer, but mostly I switch out décor in the house according to the season or holiday. I love spending time one-on-one with grandchildren, walking outdoors or just sitting on the deck or porch. But always when I’m not doing something else, I’m reading. I used to think I’d go through and reread all the books on my shelves, but I went through those and took away 500 that I knew I’d never look at again. I LOVE that I have over 500 titles on my Kindle. I should probably reread those!!

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Readers love to know the answer to this question. I used to be curious as well, unable to comprehend how big name authors have 80-100 books available. Ideas are everywhere. A Blessed Blue Christmas originated with a picture. Meet in the Middle happened because I heard a pig squeal. I try to keep an open mind, listen for snippets of dialogue (where the title Hiding from Christmas originated) during TV shows, and “eavesdrop” out in public. (I’ve heard some outlandish things.) I’ve penned story notes during sermons when my mind wandered, but have gleaned from those messages for certain stories. I once kept newspaper articles, but there are ideas in TV news and of course a person can find almost anything on the Internet, so now I just have an idea notebook. Life around us and the past abound with stories to tell.

Thank you so much for being here today, LoRee. It’s always great to have you.

Thank you, Theresa, for hosting me today. I wish all your readers a thankful Thanksgiving and hopeful Christmas.


LoRee’s new book is out now ! Get it at AMAZON.


~~About LoRee~~

I am thankful my mother read to me, enabling me to read at age four. Life is as hard as it is pleasurable and I love to read stories about true-to-life characters. The desire to write should never be ignored, I am so glad I kept returning to the blank page. I am blessed to live under God’s redeeming grace, and to experience Nebraska’s sense of place. www.loreepeery.com

Friday’s Feature with Barbara Britton


Today I have Barbara Britton talking about her new book, Lioness. Barbara writes phenomenal Biblical fiction. She’s here today talking about the characters in her book and has even given us an excerpt to read.

Welcome, Barbara. Thank you for being here today.

Thank you for having me on the blog today, Theresa.

Tell us about your favorite character in your new book?

Mahlah is the main character in “Lioness,” and she has a lot on her shoulders as the eldest daughter of Zelophehad. When Mahlah and her sisters are orphaned, they make a bold “ask” for their father’s land (Numbers 27:1-11). Moses seeks God’s wisdom and God says the daughters are right. If a man dies without a son, his daughters inherit the family’s land. This was a huge change to the culture in Biblical times.

While Mahlah is steadfast and brave, I enjoyed writing the character of a mute shepherd named Jeremiah. I have a deaf family member and creating Jeremiah was a challenge but rewarding.

Do you read the reviews and comments of your readers?

Many authors have told me to avoid looking at reviews, but I always read reviews. Both the good reviews and the bad reviews tell me something about my writing. I find out what works and what doesn’t. Reviews are a window into my readership.

That being said, you have to be careful about reacting to reviews. I always say that not every book is for every reader. We all have our unique preferences in books. Some reviews can get personal and leap from not liking my story to questioning my walk with God. I remember the firm foundation that I stand on as a Christian and forget the personal attacks.

Reviews are very important to an author, especially on Amazon where they have algorithms to track the number of reviews a book has received. If you like a story, please leave a review. You can leave a review if you don’t like a story, but please stick to the facts and don’t get personal.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

I think my character are much more interesting than I am. I don’t have to fight for rights to own land, or fight to rebuild a city, or go to war to conquer land. The Israelites in the Old Testament stories encountered many challenges. God was using them to be a light to the nations. That is a big undertaking with flawed people.

I have been a Christian for over four decades and my faith has grown through grief and battling cancer. My characters have a strong faith in God, and I hope I can add some of my

faith story to their story. Some of my characters encourage my own faith. I am in awe of the daughters of Zelophehad and their certainty that God would support their inheritance.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered this amazing story. I couldn’t imagine it had gone unnoticed in my Bible readings for so many years.

The daughters of Zelophehad will have a growing fan base with the release of “Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey.” Their bravery has been hidden in the book of Numbers for too long.


 

Lioness

While the Israelites struggle to occupy the Promised Land of God, Mahlah bat Zelophehad is orphaned and left to care for her four sisters. But daughters of the dead are unable to inherit land, and it will take a miracle for Mahlah to obtain the means to care for her sisters and uphold the vow she made to her dying mother.

Mahlah must seek Moses, the leader of her people, and request something extraordinary—the right for a daughter to inherit her deceased father’s land. A right that will upset the ox-cart of male inheritance and cast her in the role of a rebel.

But, God is the protector of the orphan and the widow, and five orphaned daughters need His help. With God, anything is possible. Even changing man’s tradition.


 

Excerpt:

Her future and that of her sisters, overflowed with uncertainty. Being the firstborn of Zelophehad left her with little standing in her clan. The elders of her tribe were set to scatter her sisters into different tents. Some as wives, and others as servants.

Mahlah tipped her chin toward a bright blue sky. Her chest tightened, making breaths difficult. “I don’t have a mother or a father, God? But you know that. You know the truth.”

Tears seeped from her eyes and streaked down her cheeks. She didn’t bother to brush them away.

“How can I honor the vow I made to my mother when no one will let me? I am nothing in the elders’ eyes now that my father is dead.”

A wisp of a cloud drifted overhead.

“Are You listening, Lord? I’ve seen Your cloud over the Tent of Meeting. Your pillar of fire leading our people.” She swallowed, her throat thick and raw. “I saw Moses lifting a serpent on a stick so Your people would be saved. Or could be saved.” She shook the images of her father’s bloated body from her vision. “I know You care.”

She glanced around to make sure no one witnessed this spectacle of a girl talking to a cloud. Hadn’t she already stirred the curiosity of the fighting men waiting outside the camp?

“I am not a son, but I swear I love You more than some who wear a loincloth.” She hiccupped as the tears flowed. “Help me, Lord. I am pushed aside while my family is forgotten.”

Did the sky brighten? A ray of light broke free from the small cloud and illuminated the ground at her feet. Were her eyes playing tricks on her? She blinked.

Another ray of light burst from the cloud.

“God? Is that You?”

Dropping to her knees, she flung her father’s cloak over the rock and lifted her arms toward the blinding light. She closed her eyes and allowed the warmth to heat her flesh.

“O God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, hear my prayer. I am a woman without husband, or standing, or means. My mother and father are gone.” Her chest heaved, choking her petition. “Who is going to take care of me and my sisters?”

I Am.

Mahlah’s eyes flew open. Someone had spoken. Had Reuben followed her?

She whipped around, but no man stood anywhere near her.

It couldn’t have been? Could it?

The cloud hovered overhead in an expanse of endless sky. Her soul emptied of sorrow and soared like a skylark breaking free from the white mass and darting toward the heavens.

“What am I to do, Lord? I love my sisters. They can be brash and silly, but I love them with all my heart. We’re a family.” She licked her lips, warmed by the sun’s rays. “God are You truly listening?”

I Am.

Again. She heard it.

That voice.

Forehead to dirt, she bowed. Heart racing. “Toda raba, Lord. Give me Your wisdom.”

She stayed low to the ground until her back cooled and her limbs stopped trembling. She glanced at the blue hues above her. The cloud had vanished.


About Barbara

Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and Mainstream markets. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little known Bible characters to light in her stories. Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books at http://www.barbarambritton.com/books.html

 

Barb is on Twitter, Facebook, and BookBub

You can find her books on Amazon, B&N, and wherever books are sold.