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The Because Fiction Podcast

The Because Fiction Podcast

Author: Chautona Havig

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Taking the pulse of Christian fiction, Because Fiction explores the lastest trends in Christian fiction, discusses genres, specific authors, new releases, and classics as well. If it's Christian fiction (or something readers love), we talk about it.
50 Episodes
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Author of the newly released (and totally fabulous The Moonlight School, Suzanne Woods Fisher talks about her inspiration for the novel, what is factual and what she created for the book, about her other popular series, and even her unusual hobby!
What happens when you combine domestic violence with suspense?  A hair-raising ride you won't want to miss. On March 2, T.E. Price 's book, Take Flight, releases on eBook, and boy is this one excellent story.  Join me as I talk with Tiffany about her book, the inspiration, and all the excellence you'll find within the can't-put-it-down pages. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you! The 3 Best Things about This Domestic Abuse Suspense Novel A new author to me, T.E. Price knocked her suspense (and almost thriller) out of the park with three excellent elements to the book.   Aside from wonderful and realistic characterization and edge-of-your-seat storytelling, T.E. Price also digs deep into a subject Christians sometimes like to pretend isn't a thing.  And boy does she do it well.  So if a great story that grips you and won't let you go isn't the best thing, what is?  Well... I've got three. First, the writing is stellar. Let's face it, domestic abuse victims have cyclical thought patterns and actions that can feel redundant and become boring when you see it on the page, but Tiffany managed to avoid that while still showing how real and confusing it can be both for the person going through it and for those watching from the outside. Second, her laser focus on her subject. Domestic abuse is a multi-layered and faceted subject that spans so many different aspects of life. It would be easy and natural, even, to try to show it all with the one person who experienced it all, but T.E. Price keeps her focus on one woman's escape from that life and how it affects her relationship with the Lord and others. That's it.   Third, T.E. Price shows her heart for the Lord and His people in every word on the page. While not preachy at all, and while often just the undercurrent of the story, there is no doubt in the reader's mind that Price wants the reader to learn both how to overcome as the victim of domestic violence and how to aid others in the church going through it.  Additionally, that steady reminder of Who the only true support we truly have touches every aspect of Hallie McClain's life. There are so many other excellent elements to Take Flight, but I'd be chatting all day with Tiffany (and nearly did!) if I kept going. Don't forget! T.E. Price's book releases March 2, 2021 and on March 5, 2021  from 7-8 pm (EST) she is having a Facebook launch party with prizes and lots of information about it.  HERE is a link to that party and I hope to be there to celebrate with her!  Please join her and maybe you'll win an eBook copy of Take Flight! You can find more about T.E. Price (Tiffany) at her WEBSITE where you can also find her other novel, Love's True Colors. Title:  Take Flight Author: T.E. Price Synopsis:   Within Take Flight, readers follow Hallie McClain as she is faced with numerous fight-or-flight decisions in her attempt to escape her abusive husband, Jonathan McClain. Hallie has made the decision to leave him for good, but Jonathan has no intentions of complying. During their separation, Hallie grapples with trusting those closest to her, the gossip-mill of her small town, and her wavering trust in God. Living alone in a secret, secluded cabin in the woods, she is thrust into multiple circumstances where she has to balance her safety with the reality of inescapable encounters with her soon-to-be ex-husband. Jonathan soon discovers Hallie’s whereabouts, forcing her to escape to the city while awaiting the divorce, but her move isn’t the solution as her safety is still compromised. Hallie has to learn to trust God with her safety while leaning on the church body for support. The tantalizing storyline of Take Flight weaves through one “fight-or-flight” scenario after the next, filling Hallie with angst regarding her constant need for escape. Take Flight addresses the ugliness of domestic abuse and the need for support from the church community. Furthermore, it affirms God’s trustworthiness in the midst of difficult, sometimes even life-threatening, situations. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher You can find the Blog post HERE.
Why This Mystery Series Is One of My Favorites Mystery is probably my all-time favorite genre, and those from the “golden age” of mystery are the most wonderful. So, when I found this series of six mysteries set in 1930s England that reads like those classic mysteries with an infusion of faith, well… how could I resist? While all books have some element of “mystery” to them, mystery as a genre is a very specific sort of book–one that often is confused with a couple of others, namely suspense and thriller. Quite often, in groups and conversations, when someone asks for a mystery recommendation, the majority of suggestions will actually be suspense novels or thrillers.  Therefore, first I wanted to clarify what these genres are and what defines them. Mystery A “mystery” is a puzzle for the reader to solve along with the protagonist (usually a detective of some sort). While the mystery genre has many subgenres–cozy, noir, detective, amateur sleuth, etc.–the key element is always that puzzle.  From Sherlock Holmes to Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew to Mrs. Pollifax, the authors and characters vary as much as the storylines. Suspense While suspense may involve a mystery and vice versa, the key element of a suspense novel is emotion. The reader usually knows that the protagonist is in danger before the protagonist. I.e. woman in a white nightgown investigating a sound from the basement. We scream at her not to go down there–to get out of the house!  Even when the character realizes they are in danger, some decide to confront it–to overcome the evil.  This is when suspense turns into a… Thriller The difference between suspense and thriller is that not all suspenses include someone taking on the antagonist. Often, they’re trying to figure out who they can trust and who to run from.  In a thriller, running is only a temporary solution to regroup so the character can take charge again. Many books in a wide variety of genres have some elements of all of these, which is why I think some readers become confused as to which is which.  A sweet romance has some suspense.  When will he finally ask her out?  When will she quit resisting…?  All the stuff.  The mystery might come into play if it’s a secret admirer trope.  And, of course, if there’s some stalker Mr. Hero is probably out to stop said dude. This likely makes it more romantic suspense, because I doubt both protagonists are out to stop the dude. Usually one or the other is running. And these distinctions are important when you’re writing a mystery series… or reading one! This week’s sponsor is Liz Tolsma’s The Silver Shadow.  Part of the True Colors Crime series, this novel is set in Colorado in the year 1900 and features a young woman out to prove herself as a reporter.  A local officer isn’t as convinced of her story as she is, but things begin looking pretty sketchy. This book releases May first, so instead of a bouquet of flowers on your door, how about preordering a bouquet of words for your Kindle!  The book is on preorder now and I, for one, can’t wait to read it. I’ve reviewed Liz’s other books in the series. You can find those reviews below: The Pink Bonnet The Green Dress The Gold Digger Additionally, Episode 9 of The Because Fiction Podcast features six of these books, including the first two by Liz Tolsma.   Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why This Mystery Series Is One of My Favorites. As I said in this review, I found this series at the perfect time and quite by accident. With characters who are likable, flawed, and not too hackneyed, the Drew Farthering books have a lot to offer any lover of classical mysteries. Each book has a slightly different setting and since they’re all in “between wars” England, the settings are both exciting and classic. From country manors to theaters to the wilds of Scotland, this series offers them all. I’m not really sure why Julianna Deering (also writing as DeAnna Julie Dodson) only wrote the six mysteries, but I for one found them fabulous.  The first is even available on Audible (and FREE to Kindle Unlimited subscribers). I’d love for folks to flood Bethany House with pleas for the rest of the series to be narrated! Additionally, we’re talking some seriously stunning covers.   The series is as follows: Rules of Murder–Drew Farthering loves to read mysteries and decides to use what he’s learned to figure out what happened to the victim. Death by the Book— This time, Drew’s lawyer gets involved and well… um… yeah. Not so good. Murder at the Mikado— Poor Drew can’t even be engaged without bodies dropping and an old girlfriend popping up, begging for help! Dressed for Death— At a “fancy dress” house party, things go from Regency to death in shocking and terrifying ways! Murder on the Moor— Off to the wilds of Yorkshire, Drew finds himself in a land as brooding and mysterious as a “Bronte novel.” Death at Thorburn Hall— On holiday in Scotland, Drew finds himself investigating an embezzling scheme that leads to murder. All in all, Julianna Deering has written one of my favorite series, and I really hope she’ll write more. Additionally, I mentioned the Ever After Mysteries Cover releases… You can find out more about mine here (although the giveaway is over for that one) and today’s release HERE. It’s easy to win. Just keep watch on Amazon for the cover for Rebeka’s book, The Lost Dutchman’s Secret, to change from the plain “place-holder” cover to the vibrant one. When it does, share somewhere online, take a screenshot or grab a link, and email to celebratelit@celebratelit.com ! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
With Valentine's Day this weekend, it seems only fitting to look at some great reads to celebrate the day. I probably wouldn't have thought of it if a friend hadn't said something.  Thanks to Lucinda for the Valentine's Day reads suggestion. Whether you're looking for a few short novellas, a gentle trilogy with a bonus, a collection of interconnected novellas, or an Austen-inspired romp, it's all here.  I've even got a romance for married folks! Let's check it out, shall we? Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. What Romances Do I Think Are Perfect for Valentine's Day? With the million and one possible book options for Valentine's day, how was I supposed to limit them to just enough to fill a podcast episode?  It took far too long, but I finally came up with five solid suggestions--not all new works. Instead,  I went with books that make great first reads and rereads. It feels weird to make such a big deal about reading romance for a holiday I didn't even remember is coming, but despite my personal aversion to it, I recognize that it's a beautiful thing the Lord created to illustrate His love and care for us as well as enrich our lives here. So, let's talk books! Liz Johnson’s Prince Edward Island Dreams The best thing about this series is how Liz Johnson manages to combine lovely characters, riveting plots, excellent writing, and a strong but gentle weaving of faith through the words. The Red Door Inn Where Two Hearts Meet Love's Gentle Shore Christmas at the Red Door Inn Sarah Monzon’s Book Nerds and Boyfriends Humorous, poignant, and engaging, Sarah's Book Nerds and Boyfriends series contains three novellas that somehow intertwine avid readers and plots that shake up said readers' lives. The entire series is about the length of an average novel, and you'll walk away in love with the characters, encouraged in your faith, and with a lighter heart than when you started. Bookishly Ever After Literarily for Keeps Novelly Upon a Time Betwixt Two Hearts This CrossRoads Collection combines a matchmaking service and six couples who may or may not be just perfect for each other. Novellas in various lengths from authors Amanda Tru, Cathe Swanson, Kari Trumbo, Alana Terry, Carol Moncado, and me!  HERE is a link to the story I tell about how I got the idea for my book in this collection. As Only Mr. Darcy Can With all the humor that only Laura Hile can provide, As Only Mr. Darcy Can combines Valentines, Wickam in trouble, and one hilarious moment after the next. Bookers on the Rocks After twenty-five years, you'd think Ross and Tessa  Booker would have this romance thing down pat.  Instead, she avoids it as if Covid incarnate. See what she and Ross learn through one of the most romantic books I've ever written, Bookers on the Rocks. And that Valentine's Day gift to yourself I mentioned? Preorder this fantastic collection of TWELVE romance novellas for just $.99! When you do, you’ll be eligible to receive some fabulous monthly free gifts from our authors. Click HERE to enter. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
There's nothing more wonderful than a new release that keeps you riveted to the page--or the audiobook app--from the first word to the last. Unless it happens to be by a debut author.  That's right, Amy Lynn Green has written a phenomenal, gripping, insightful novel that every lover of good fiction should read.  You can read the full show notes at chautona.com/because-fiction-45
I'd seen the covers of her books--lovely Regency titles that intrigued me.  However, when we put out the call for authors in our upcoming series, The Independence Islands, I never imagined I'd see her name among the applicants. Well, let's just say that not only was Carolyn Miller an excellent addition to the team, her books... guys, her books!  I've read two of the island books now, and I hear the third is winging its way to my inbox.  And well... what do I think?  I think... Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. This New Contemporary Romance Has Southern Charm from Down Under It can't be easy for an Aussie to transition from contemporary Australia to Regency England, but I bet it's even harder to transition from that to contemporary Southern USA.  Well... If it is, you'd never know it, because Carolyn Miller has mastered it.   In this interview, we chatted about her original contemporary works (did you know she wrote romantic suspense?  Was that the one she won awards for?  I don't know.  Here's the thing.  I should have known. Because her second islands book?  Yeah.  Definitely romantic suspense in it.  With just a bit of tweaking it would have been classified as Romantic suspense.  How awesome is THAT? Well, last month was her debut contemporary novel as well as her first one of the Islands series, Restoring Fairhaven.  Just as an overview of the story, Samantha (Sam) Greene takes over her father's landscaping business and has to deal with quite a bit of pushback from the men of the business but even more, a man whose assistant hires her to tackle the enormous grounds at the Fairhaven estate. This poor guy is grieving and brooding, which works for the kind of books he writes.  Yep, he's an author (think Nicholas Sparks novels on steroids).  Of course, personalities clash, and things just get really interesting. This book has three primary things going for it. Characterization:  Miller writes lovely flawed characters who you can relate to and watch grow and stretch.  I loved liking and disliking people and the works.  It was great. Plot:  Her story is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time, so it's really cool to see how she handled those. Spiritual aspects:  She didn't get all preachy, but she did have a few spots where my brain went, "Hmm... what does the Bible say about that... cool..." and off I went to study, which is my favorite. But as we said, Carolyn Miller got her start in Regency Romance. With three series out and one beginning soon, she has quite a list ready for you. Regency Brides (A Legacy of Grace) Regency Brides (Daughters of Aynsley) Regency Brides (A Promise of Hope) Regency Brides (Regency Wallflowers--coming  April 2021) I am most interested in the one about the girl who went to Gretna Green and the "after the wedding" story, so I'll be reading that, but since I can't remember which one it is, I'm going to start with her first book and work my way through until I can find it. But she joined the Independence Islands series to dip her toe into the contemporary waters because... She has a contemporary "hockey" series coming out next year (just in time for the winter Olympics) and readers need to know she can do this!  Seriously, hearing the story of the closing ceremonies in Vancouver that inspired Carolyn's first book... I'm so excited about her hockey series, so check that out next year! You can find more about Carolyn Miller on her WEBSITE where you can also find her social media links as well as fascinating photos of her trips to England (Bath, the Peak District, Scotland, etc.) as well as gardens on the Independence Islands page (she cheats. Her husband is a horticulturist... just sayin'). And I'm going to give away a copy of Restoring Fairhaven to one commenter over at chautona.com/because-fiction-44 US residents will receive a paperback, and international will receive an eBook (sorry!).  Just leave a comment about an interesting garden you visited and why you found it interesting.  I loved the gardens at the Bellagio in Las Vegas a few years ago! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Great Things Happen When You Mix Danger and Donuts Suspense is a personal favorite genre, so when I heard about Allison Pearl's series, I knew I wanted to read them and chat with her about them.  I only made it about a quarter of the way into the book before the interview, but that's mostly because I spent way too much time deliberating over whether I should finish the book, Sprinkled with Sabotage, or set it aside and go read the first two.   That's actually a difficult thing about books in a series that stand alone.  You can read them out of order, so the dilemma begins--kind of like whether to read The Narnia series in order of publication or in chronological order. Nah, everyone knows you need to read in order of publication.  Hmm... maybe that solves my question on Allison Pearl's books, too.  Hmmm... From the fun way she named the protagonists to our discussing the idea of a high-speed chase through the West Virginia mountains (I bet she could get those folks up to forty miles-per-hour! Trust me, if you've ever driven some of those roads, you'll know that IS high speed in that area!), we talked about just about everything.  Faith in fiction, what got Allison writing suspense in the first place, locales for books, and... of course, what is coming next! The Love and Danger in St. Claire series by Allison Pearl is full of danger, tension, and sprinkled with romance for the heart-throbbers among us. Sprinkled with Sabotage Synopsis: Lizzy Bennet loves life as a lawyer in the city. And not just because of the miles it puts between her and her ex. However, when she’s attacked on the street just hours after learning her identity was stolen, she tries to call home for help and ends up with the last person she expects: the very same high school boyfriend who broke her heart. He says he’s there to help, but she’s not so sure, and now, all the endless questions and regrets are clouding her judgment and preventing her from seeing the dangerous saboteur closing in. Small-town auto mechanic, Koby Knightly, is looking forward to seeing a car show in the city. But when an unexpected call from his old girlfriend disconnects suddenly, he rushes to her aid. Throwing his plans out the window, Koby makes it his mission to protect her and discover the identity of the person trying to frame her. Will he also be able to figure out what went wrong between them back in high school or will a killer get to her first? Available in print, on Kindle, and also through Kindle Unlimited.  Or, read the first books in the series: Glazed Suspicion Dunked in Trouble You can learn more about Allison Pearl, her upcoming books, and more on her website. Find out what else her publisher, Anaiah Press has to offer HERE.
The cover got me first.  It was “my” Madeline, but of course, no one could tell if they didn’t know the photographer’s work. So, combine WWI, poppies, and “my” Madeline… well, I had to read it, right?  Yeah. Among the Poppies (review here) by J’nell Ciesielski was the best debut novel I’ve ever read.  Bar none.  I became an instant fan of J’nell Ciesielski that day, and I’ve read everything she’s written ever since. So, when I heard about her newest release, of course, I wanted to read it.  I wanted to talk to her about it–all the things. So, let’s talk about this book. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. My First “Top Book” of 2021 Begins HERE! I had a wonderful discussion with J’nell about her newest release (as in releases TODAY!), Beauty Among Ruins, about her vision for writing Christian fiction, and the goals Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins has for some of their Christian fiction titles/authors! Let’s start with this book: Beauty Among Ruins.  Guys… this book. Lily and Alec just hit the top tier of favorite characters ever. Not only that, but J’nell Ciesielski adds depth and richness to her cast by having supporting characters that I’m dying to know more about.  Sequel perchance?  I’d love that. Just sayin’… We learned the history of the book, how it got its title… hint, the original was hilarious but um… yeah.  Not one that I’d grab off the shelf unless I saw J’nell’s name on it!), and some of the research she had to do to keep her from using the hackneyed old solutions to familiar problems in early 20th century England… well!  WHEW! Oh, and speaking of those problems… One of J’nell’s most brilliant skills is taking the spine of a story you think you’ve read before and turning it into something fresh and new. For example, in Beauty Among Ruins, you have an American heiress, an aristocratic family who are floundering to keep up the family estate, a crumbling manor house turned into a hospital, and wounded soldiers.  Sound familiar? It’s not. And that’s the brilliance of J’nell. Add to that a storyline that keeps you guessing and full of rich history that never weighs you down with preachiness (seriously, preachy fiction isn’t just for Bible. It also happens with science, politics… and history! Speaking of preachy fiction… As much as I loved talking about her book, one of the highlights of the interview is getting an insider’s understanding of where Thomas Nelson is taking some of their fiction. I’ve been an outspoken critic of the lack of spiritual content in the Christian Fiction coming out of Thomas Nelson in recent years. When you buy “Christian fiction,” you expect to find something other than just “clean fiction.” In my discussion with J’nell, she described the publisher’s goal of using fiction with a Christian worldview and subtle elements to bridge the gap between Christian fiction and the general market. Knowing this is the plan rather than just a watering down of faith or something. Knowing that those elements are woven into subtext to be a gentle reach to readers who otherwise might not pick up Christian fiction makes that lack of overtness much more palatable. Additionally, J’nell didn’t just write a “clean” book. The spiritual elements are in there. They’re just layered into that subtext. I found myself going to the Bible to see what it said about several things.  This is what I want from my Christian fiction.  I don’t’ need a token prayer or Bible verse.  Those do nothing for me. But give me something to chew on for a while, and I’m thrilled. J’nell Ciesielski does that beautifully and has from the very first book of hers I read. She also told me about a book coming out this summer… The Ice Swan.  Isn’t that cover GORGEOUS? I’m so excited about Beauty Among Ruins  that I’m also giving away a copy of J’nell Ciesielski ‘s book to one commenter. Go to https://chautona.com/because-fiction-42 and tell me if you’ve ever read anything by J’nell and what your favorite was if you have. I’ll try to draw next week when I do episode 43. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Get your safety harness strapped on because this book will take you on a roller coaster ride of suspense, action, and all the feels. I’m talking about Jennifer Pierce’s, Deadly Connection, and today I’m talking with Jennifer Pierce herself! We talk about her love of fiction, her iffiness with romance, and how she became an avid reader and writer of romantic suspense. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. When Your Creativity Fails, Kill a Beloved Character Deadly Connection.  Where do I begin?  First, you should know that this book kicks off with just about everything it could. Ambiguous phone calls, orders to do something weird, a murder, an attempted kidnapping... arson.  We're talking one kicker thing after the next, and here's the deal.  None of it feels thrown in there for shock value.  It all makes sense! A story that is fast-paced and crazy intense at times, you're dealing with a mom protecting her child, a guy with a past... and well, so does she.  Just sayin'. And it started off as a contest entry for Love Inspired Suspense.  When we talked about that, Jenn told about how she'd made a lot of requested changes, but one turned out to be more than she could do.  If she changed that, the villain's entire motivation changed, and that would kill the story.  So, as teachable as she obviously is, she wasn't willing to risk the integrity of her story in favor of trying to fulfill a dream. BRAVA! After all, would her dream truly be realized if she didn't recognize her own book by the time it got changed? Still, she told us a bit about another one coming up, and today I zipped her a reminder that readers like me want more.  Just sayin'. But Deadly Connection isn't Jenn's only romantic suspense novel!   With a few others in her head, she has two more in print. Hidden Danger Expecting Danger Not to mention a hysterical Christmas novella, Giving Grace.  Come on... with a Maltese named Bob, who mistakes mailman legs for fire hydrants, what's not to crack up about? Jennifer has a lot of books planned or in the works... but she says God hasn't given her to go on which one to do next. I sure hope it's the first book she's doing in the Suamalie Islands series with Celebrate Lit.  Or that wild cat story.  Or maybe a sequel to Deadly Connection.  Whatever it is, I'm just certain it'll be good! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Some books are "once-in-a-lifetime" books.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of mine for reasons I talk about in THIS post. Recently, I read what for me has become another one. Bleak Landing In what feels like a delightful moment of happenstance, I saw it offered for just $1.99 on Amazon, and when I found the audiobook, listened a bit, and promptly decided I'd make it my next listen.  And yep.  I did. Oh, and remember how in Episode 34 I mentioned that you can save money by paying attention to Facebook groups and Instagram? Well... stay tuned for how! Note: Links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why Bleak Landing Is My Favorite Book of This Year! Bleak Landing. It's kind of crazy, but the title alone grabbed me. I had to find out more about it when I saw that $1.99 sale. Once I heard the audio narration, I was sunk--especially when I saw that with my Kindle Unlimited subscription, I could listen to it free!  SQUEE! I'm so glad I did because now I can buy the paperback as well!  Perfecto, right? This episode is an unusual gush, but a gush it is. I loved Bleak Landing, and I hope talking about it will help me unpack why! Talking about the writing itself, Terrie Todd uses a fabulous blend of simple writing that is deceptively complex. It becomes more and more so as the main character, Bridget O'Sullivan matures. Told in the first person, I loved even that part of it because of how Ms. Todd handled it. Characterization is positively brilliant  I didn't like Bridget after a while, but I loved her and cared about her, and I cheered when I could like her again. In fact, all of the characters possessed dual personalities in that even if we liked or disliked them, there was some aspect that contradicted their primary personality traits.  That kind of complexity worked well--beautifully, even. Prayer, though--this author is big on prayer. I've since listened to another of Terrie Todd's books, and prayer was a big part of it as well--even bigger, actually.  What I love about it is how the author shows that prayer is something we do, but we have no right to expect results. Note:  The writer does this through excellent writing and plotting rather than actual preaching (thankfully!). Spiritual elements in this book are used in practical ways and shown in the lives of the characters rather than inserted to create a "Christian" book.  Instead, they are masterfully woven into the story. Speaking of excellent writing, I saw parallels in Bleak Landing with a couple of other well-known books: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, as previously mentioned and Anne of Green Gables. Bleak Landing is recommended for lovers of excellent Christian fiction, historical fiction, and WWII fiction.  Yes, this book has romantic elements, but it mostly reads almost like light literary fiction.  So beautiful. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Why did I like the book?  The point-of-view character wasn’t likeable (for a LONG time), made stupid choices, used language I didn’t appreciate (not constantly but there were a few words here and there that made me squirm),  and basically made me uncomfortable. Of course, that was the point. By the time I realized that, I also realized that readers of Christian fiction have expectations about what they read–understandable ones.  We don’t want to fill our minds with the things Jesus has freed us from! That said, L.K. Simonds’ book taught me that we also need occasional reminders of what those things were and how many people are still slaves to their own sin natures.  A steady diet of “gritty” Christian fiction?  No, that’s not for me. An occasional dose of it to keep me grateful for the work God has done in my life and to give me compassion for those who reject the Savior who died for them?  A reminder to love those people sacrificially as Jesus did?  Yeah. I want that. No. I NEED that. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. I Love This Author’s Work but It Makes Me Uncomfortable This week, I enjoyed a nice long chat with L.K. Simonds about her books All In and recent release, Stork Bite. From her exciting career in the aeronautics industry to the birth of her first book–twice (there’s a metaphor in that! Just thought of it)–to the inspiration for her second, we dig deep into the heart of Lisa’s writing and what she hopes readers will take away from her unconventional Christian fiction novel. Lisa discussed her motivation for putting in the more difficult topics, and seeing her heart behind it is likely to help readers understand why she deviated from some expectations in Christian fiction. One thing she made a point of sharing is how the point-of-view character is not the protagonist of the story.  In that regard, this novel really has an unreliable narrator for the Christian element for the majority of the book. L.K. Simonds’ newest release, Stork Bite, is categorized as historical fiction rather than Christian fiction, but when you hear about the deep, redemptive quality of the story, I think you’ll agree that there’s a good chance it, too will fit in well among the edgier Christian fiction novels. Thank you, Lisa, for your excellent novel as well as your time! Just a bit more about Lisa’s books. You can read my review of All In HERE. About Stork Bite: From the novel: “Everything has to be reconciled eventually.” Caddo Parish, 1913. On an October morning, a Klansman confronts seventeen-year-old David Walker at a hidden oxbow lake where he has gone to hunt. David accidentally kills the man and hides the crime. His determination to protect his family from reprisal drives him far from home and into manhood. Shreveport, 1927. Cargie (rhymes with Margie) Barre and Mae Compton are two vastly different young women, but both are defying convention to reach for their dreams. The men in Cargie’s and Mae’s lives help and hinder them in more ways than one. After years in hiding, David Walker finally resurfaces, and we discover the past is never as far from the present as it seems.
Journalist, podcaster, and multi-genre author of Saving Ebenezer, S. Daniel Smith is this week's guest and here to talk with us about: His articles regarding missions during the Covid-19 pandemic His podcast and writing about science fiction and fantasy His fabulous Christmas novel, Saving Ebenezer (that I mentioned in Episode 21) If you want to skip to just our discussion of the book, you'll find that at approximately 23.5 minutes into the episode. But I encourage you to listen to Dan's heart for missions, what the Lord is doing with his writing, and how he got started. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Who Is S. Daniel Smith? Dan's first works were nonfiction articles for magazines and newspapers.  In fact, he has two recent articles about how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting missionaries in different countries. I'll get those links to those articles and add them in later here.  I thought I had them but can't find them. Stay tuned for those. Dan always wanted to write fiction, so he decided back in 2015 to learn how to write fiction. So he made that decision and started learning writing craft using things like the Novel Marketing's 5 Year Plan to Becoming a Best-Selling Author. That program helped him learn to write short stories which will help him with writing longer works. His Facebook group of Sci-Fi fans led to Dan's podcast, Coffee in Space. Guys, it's a fun podcast, so if you love Sci-Fi or fantasy, you might want to check it out. I mentioned in the podcast that I'd listened to the episode with Madeleine Mozley, and if you enjoy Christian Sci-fi, I think you'd really enjoy that episode. Why Saving Ebenezer Is My #1 Christmas Book Recommendation This Year Saving Ebenezer is one of the best novel continuations I've seen. While staying faithful to the original story, he gives us more and shows us where Dickens fell just a bit short of the true goal of Marley's warning. He even brings in one tiny element of It's a Wonderful Life, which, of course, makes perfect sense.  After all, It's a Wonderful Life is a retelling of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Saving Ebenezer begins seven years after the events of A Christmas Carol. It explores giving everything away without faith behind your actions. After an opening line that ripped out my heart, Dan then really made the whole Cratchit family come alive. He wrote with a flair and style very similar to Dickens without the excessive wordiness that Dickens employed. The characters stayed who Dickens made them to be, but they grew because that's what people do. Dan spoke to how the original manuscript for this went to a much darker place than he finally ended with in his final draft. Instead of that dark place, he and his editors and beta readers worked together to make sure the book ends on hope.  As we discussed in the podcast, Dickens focused on hope and love, but Dan brought the element of faith in here and created a perfect trifecta right there. Also... let's talk about a beautiful cover, guys.   Check this out.  See? Beautiful.  Here's the synopsis: Seven years after Jacob Marley and the three ghosts of Christmas changed Ebenezer’s life, Scrooge has a problem. He’s given away most of his money and brightened many lives, restored churches, and made London workhouses better for those living and working inside. If only all of that made him feel better about his life… Doubt plagues Ebenezer. Even with all of his philanthropy, he still has questions he can’t answer. Are the scales balanced? Did he do enough good after that fateful Christmas Eve to avoid Jacob Marley’s fate? And after a very special person dies, he adds another question: Why did God let it happen? When he falls ill himself, Ebenezer’s questions take on a new desperation. From the Cratchits to the workhouse fundraisers to nephew Fred, you’ll be reintroduced to several old friends, as well as a few new ones. With each visitor, Ebenezer tries to get closer to the answers to his questions. As the clock starts to run out, Ebenezer will need the words from an old friend to tip the scales in his favor. Saving Ebenezer picks up on a story started by Charles Dickens in 1843 with A Christmas Carol. Christians will appreciate a heartwarming story of God's love shown in tragedy while all readers will enjoy the common points between Saving Ebenezer and the original work. Even better than that... Read the book on Kindle Unlimited, and then go grab your kindle copy for .99!  That's right, Saving Ebenezer is on sale for just .99 right now. But once you are done reading it and seeing how awesome it is, go grab a paperback of the book for a gift or two or three. AND... leave a comment below about when you first read or heard A Christmas Carol read and I'll giveaway a copy next week. Also... did you hear what he says?  He is working on continuing the story of Belinda Cratchit and her adventures.  I'm so excited. To find out how to sign up for his newsletter, I recommend going HERE and emailing him. :) Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
One of the coolest things about having this podcast is the opportunity to talk with authors, see what inspires them, discover how they fell in love with writing. Some people decided to write as a child. Others had a teacher who inspired them. But I've noticed one common thread despite the differences in original inspiration. Every author has something to say. Some writers have a unique perspective, while others forge paths in directions no one has explored. There may be "nothing new under the sun;" however, authors often see the old in new ways. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. What Does Christian Romance Offer That Readers Need? In this week's episode, I chat with author Sara Beth Williams about her books, how she started writing, what inspired her first Christian romance book, and more. One of the greatest things we talked about was how so much secular fiction gets stuff backward.  And in Christian fiction, we might deal with the gritty side of life, but even in all that, we see the emphasis on what is good and right even when people don't get it right. But first, Sara's writing process. This woman is amazing. Her books have approximately a DOZEN drafts.  She tells us how she writes the emotionally charged scenes first, and then she writes in the rest of it. While she tries to keep those in order, she just writes them all and then creates an outline to help her fill in everything.  Wow! This reminded me a bit of Hallee Bridgeman's "layer" system of writing. Sarah Beth also writes a ton of backstory before she really gets going.  I hope I convinced her to take all that backstory and write another story for newsletter subscribers, so you might want to head over to her WEBSITE and sign up in case she really does. Oh, she's going to be offering spots on her launch team (can you say FREE BOOK as I mentioned in THIS episode). While she didn't plan to write a Christian romance series, research showed it was a good idea, and what she'd already done set it up for one, so she created a Second Chance Novel series.  All three books have titles with double meanings, and I LOVE that I caught it as I was reading. Sara Beth's books: Her first book, When Hearts Collide, is not a Romeo and Juliet retelling, however, there are hints of undertones from that play in the book. Guys, I'm in the middle of this book and I'm loving it. Additionally, I saw parallels between this book and Tammy L. Gray's, Mercy's Embrace. So, if you enjoyed that book, you'll probably love this! Not only that, but her publisher, Anaiah Press has a bunch of their books on SALE right now, so you might want to dash over and get your copies.  I'm going to get this book as a series. You can shop HERE. Meanwhile, the second book in this Christian romance series, A Worthy Heart, is a Selah Award finalist. We'll learn tomorrow if she wins.  Praying for all the finalists today!! The third book comes out in March of 2021, and it deals with mental health, grief, and of course, romance! :D She's writing a lot of depth into this series without making it heavy, and I'm impressed. Oh, and for a fun light read, she recommends Candee Fick! When Hearts Collide is similar enough to Nicholas Sparks' book, A Bend in the Road, that if you enjoyed that book, youll probably love Sara's!  :D Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Amish fiction tends to be a bit polarizing. Readers tend to love it or hate it. Are the criticisms valid?  One has to wonder because, despite the naysayers, Amish fiction has a huge following. What is so appealing about Amish fiction, what do readers expect, and is the claim that "If you've read one, you've read them all" a fair one? Amish author, Jennifer Beckstrand, joined me in a conversation about Amish fiction, her books, and a super exciting collection that released today, Amish Christmas Miracles. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why Amish Fiction Is Crazy Popular & More I had a list of questions that probably took poor Jennifer for a wild ride, but anyone who visits many of the Christian fiction Facebook groups, the Goodreads discussions, or just chats Christian fiction with friends knows that Amish fiction has rabid fans and derisive critics.  Knowing how readers felt about that, I thought it would be nice to get an author's perspective.  I asked about: Why people like Amish fiction. Jennifer loves it because enjoys a happy story, and she said that people appreciate the simplicity of the lifestyle and that it's a kinder, gentler romance than many contemporary romances.  I'm going to out her here and share that while I cut it out of the audio, she did coin a new word. "Kindler."  We had a good laugh over that. She also made a fascinating point about how it really does combine historical fiction with contemporary. That really hit home with me because the first Amish fiction I really loved was Suzanne Woods Fisher's Anna's Crossing series. Additionally, one of Amish fiction's most criticized elements is also why it is popular. Jennifer shared that publishers like it because Walmart does.  Readers know exactly what to expect from a book with an Amish cover.  The very predictability of general Amish plots is also what those readers like.  I found that fascinating. They also love the strong faith element of people whose entire lives are an act of worship. Are all Amish stories really the same? Not hardly. For example, in the collection we discussed, there are fourteen different Amish authors and Jennifer reckons that this probably means fourteen different locations including Maine and Maryland--two states that I didn't know had Amish communities. Some say that the characters in these books are a bit too "perfect," and Jennifer admits sometimes they are.  She and many authors like her, however, enjoy writing more flawed, relatable characters.  I pointed out that the tendency to write "Mary Sue" characters is by no means limited to Amish fiction, and after some reflection, I think that like many others, I've often held Amish fiction to a higher standard than other fiction. That doesn't seem quite right, does it? So we ended up discussing how genre fiction all have formulas within each genre and how the author's job is to avoid turning it into a cliche.  All the Amish aren't all alike! Not just location differences, but cultural differences within those locations make all Amish stories different.  They actually put a foreword in Amish Christmas Miracles pointing out that the different places would have different lives, rules, traditions, and things.  Jennifer also talked about her original research when she decided to write Amish fiction, and after immersing herself in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Amish culture, she decided to set her books in Wisconsin and was dismayed to learn from an Amish friend that those Wisconsin folks were very different! People have ideas about what Amish is and isn't and when we impose our ideas of what is and isn't sufficiently Amish, we're kind of arrogant.  Fun fact: In my daughter's Amish town, I saw an Amish man getting out of a car at McDonald's, talking on the phone.  That's okay there. However, they're only allowed to use a certain kind of (uncovered in crazy cold Indiana, no less) sort of buggy.  Larger families have "three-buggy garages" because they need them to fit everyone into said buggy! When I read Buried Secrets by Rachel J. Good, my knowledge of the Amish was limited to groups NOT like the one Rachel was writing about and that yes, some Amish do decorate nurseries for their babies! Why is Pennsylvania Dutch used where it is and when it is? People love varying amounts of the Pennsylvania Dutch in their books, and as we were talking about it, I realized it would be a good thing to have a list of authors who use a lot and others who don't use as much for folks who enjoy it. Jennifer likes to use just enough to create that setting--a reminder to the reader that these people are actually speaking and thinking in Pennsylvania Dutch. The Amish Christmas Miracles Collection Jennifer (J.E.B.) Spredemann was talking about how she wanted to do a box set, so eventually, those two and Rachel J. Good got together and found eleven more authors who wanted to do it. Now I read Jennifer's story, Peanut Butter Christmas, and seriously.  Amish, Santa Claus, Miracles, and faith struggles... what more could you want from a Christmas story. How about absolutely adorable twin boys who don't quite get how this Santa thing works.  I also told my own Santa story from my childhood.  Eeep! The authors are as follows and I'm listing a few of each authors' books that I thought you might want to take note of: Jennifer Beckstrand The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series Sweet as Honey from the Honeybee Sisters series Andrew from the Petersheim Brothers series Kathleen Fuller Amish Christmas Miracles Amish Christmas Wedding A Double Dose of Love J.E.B. Spredemann The author's Amazon page Dana R. Lynn Her Amazon page of various series Susan Lantz Simpson Plain Discovery  (Book One of the Plainly Maryland Series) The Promise (Book One of the Amish of Southern Maryland Series) Rosanna's Gift   Lizzie's Heart    Ashley Emma Amish Alias Undercover Amish Lenora Worth Their Amish Reunion Her Amish Child Seeking Refuge Amish Christmas Hideaway Serena B. Miller  Her Amazon page of various titles Loree Lough A Little Child Shall Lead Them Series Mistletoe and Murder: A Christmas Suspense Collection Rachel J. Good His Unexpected Amish Twins His Pretend Amish Bride His Accidental Amish Family  Amish Christmas Twins Laura Bradford The author's Amazon page Tracy Fredrychowski Secrets of Willow Springs – Book 1 Secrets of Willow Springs – Book 2 The Amish Women of Lawrence County Love Blooms at the Apple Blossom Inn Adina Senft The Wounded Heart Herb of Grace Mary Alford  Amish Country Murder  Amish Country Kidnapping The collection is .99 but only until 11/15/2020, so grab it now! The regular retail price is 9.99, so you really want to grab it fast.  Seriously, Jennifer's story is worth the dollar price tag several times over all by itself, so grab it while you can. Find the full show notes at Chautona.com
I blame MSN Messenger. Well, maybe it was my friend who used the messenger as the conduit for her crazy idea.  Okay, so it wasn't exactly her crazy idea, but she did tell me about it. Millions of people writing fifty-thousand words in thirty days.  During the month of November.  Yep, November--you know, that month where you're pretty much going non-stop from dawn until dusk for a whole week doing preparations for Thanksgiving?  Yeah. That month. So, like any rational and intelligent author, I went over to the NaNoWriMo (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth) website and signed up. That was October 2006.  I haven't missed a year doing NaNoWriMo books since, although last year I didn't get my words validated in time.  Killed my "winning streak" but at least I know I actually DID the work.  That counts in my book. You can see my list of NaNoWriMo book (s) HERE.  I won't rehash them in this post. Needless to say, I began with the book that eventually became Discovering Hope, and this year I'm doing Flipping Hearts. Later in the podcast, I talked about how every October 31, I spend the day cleaning my house and that night I eat Chinese food, hand out candy to kids, and write my annual parody.  Here's a list of those parodies! The Night before Nano (A “T‘was the Night Before Christmas” parody) The Raven (as in Poe’s, of course) Tease (as in Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees”) Till November (A “My Grandfather’s Clock” parody) Goin’ on a Book Hunt (Going on a Bear Hunt parody) Winking, Blinking, and Nod (ing)(Wynken, Blynken, and Nod)   Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Without further ado, books that were once NaNoWriMo book (s) you can read TODAY. Janine Rosche:  This Wandering Heart: 2018 Nano and released this year to rave reviews. I guess you could say I started my nanowrimo book Nov. 1st 2018, got a contract with Berkley in March 2019, and it was published 2020.    2019’s book, is available on preorder—Glory Falls—third in the series—  releases in January 2021 Two people scarred by past trauma have a chance to write a new chapter in their lives, overcome loss, and find love in the third entry in the Madison River Romance series. Carolyn Miller: My 5th novel Miss Serena’s Secret was a NaNo project, written just after I finished writing Winning Miss Winthrop. I was so inspired I wrote 80k words in 30 days! Toni Shiloh:  The Maple Run series (Buying Love, Enduring Love, Risking Love) Jennifer Lamont Leo: My 2016 debut novel, You're the Cream in My Coffee, began life as a Nano project. And my 2019 Nano project, The Rose Keeper, will release in March 2021. Regina Walker:  We Go On Writing in NaNo gives me permission to spend a month totally consumed by writing and  letting things slide. I get back to "normal" (whatever that is) after the month us up. But my family all knows I'm pretty much in book mode during NaNo and one of the camps. And I get to write the way I like (which tends toward obsessively). That style doesn't work 12 months a year with a husband and 7 kids. But for a month I can feed them easy dinners and kind of glide on everything to do this thing I LOVE. Cathe Swanson:  Her only NaNoWriMo book in print is Baggage Claim but she’s got others in the wings she’s editing and such.  Seriously, you’ve got to read this book! Bethany Turner: Wooing Cadie McCaffrey and Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish were... though I failed horribly at NaNo both times! ????? Starting again today! Carol Moncado: This is my 14th year. 9 of those 13 have been published in one form or another. 1-2 more may be completely revamped someday. 2 are unlikely to ever be. I nano because that’s where I started writing for real and started thinking this was a thing I might be able to do. My most important NaNo was around 2017 when I skipped two books ahead and wrote the bulk of The Indentured Queen. It has a character named and fashioned after my dying second cousin, and I wanted more than anything to get him a paper copy ASAP. It had gaps in the middle, but most of it was there, and he got to hold a copy six weeks or so before he passed. I know he read some of it but don’t know that he finished. Joanna Politano: A Rumored Fortune (my review is here) was a long-ago one that eventually was rewritten. The Love Note was last year's. Well, 50k of it Micki Clark:  Don’t Ask Me to Leave— a modern Ruth and Boaz Retelling. GOTTA  READ THIS BOOK.  SO adorable  Made it halfway before I had to stop and the COVER. Anne Perrault:  An Unusual Adventure  I didn't do much other than sleep and write that month lol. Naomi Musch: These three of mine (are NaNoWriMo book (s): The Deepest Sigh, The Love Coward, A Tender Siege (part of The Highlanders collection). Two others currently out of print that I hope to bring back. Logan Judy: Two of mine, actually. One, An Exalted Depravity (published in 2016, but was my 2014 project), and second, A Prison in the Sky, which is releasing here in about a week (was my 2015 project). I...take a long time to edit Kari Trumbo:  Kari, being the prolific gal she is, shared her NaNoWriMo project page with us! Sondra Kraak: One Plus One Equals Trouble My debut One Plus One Equals Trouble was a NaNo baby in 2015 and several others in the series since. I’m sad not to be doing it this year but I’m taking a few months off writing to take care of all the projects that built up in my list. I’m feeling sentimental about all these other writers participating! There will be another November... Joanne Markey:  Dreaming of More Joanne is an Aussie transplant to the Midwest.  She’s a homeschooling mom of a passel (seven or eight) children and writes delightful romance. Dreaming of More is her NaNoWriMo book. A fun tip about Joanne: her husband isn’t just the illustrator of HER novels, he’s the primary illustrator of my Marriages of Conviction series AND of the upcoming Ever After Mysteries! Amanda Cox:  The Edge of Belonging  This is one of those books that I keep seeing EVERYWHERE.  I mean, you can’t blink without someone saying, “Read this book!” So, I read the preview on Amazon.  Bought the book.  I’m dying to know what happens next. Piper Dow: Shades of Deception  Fun fact, her daughter is on the cover of her book and another daughter will be on the cover of an upcoming one! M.A.Malcolm:  His Last Hope   My debut novel "His Last Hope" (M. A. Malcolm). I started it in 2009 and then scrapped it and started from scratch for my first NaNoWriMo in 2013. It was a NaNoWinner. I then added another 39,000 words and published it in 2015. List of others written during NaNoWriMo:  Ruth Buchanan:  Collapsible and Flexible were both Nano babies!  (These sound HILARIOUS!) Judy Ducharme:  Blood Moon Redemption   Shawna Robison Young:  The Unsuspecting Heather Meyers   Tari Faris: You Belong with Me was her first NaNo project back In 2011. It's on my shelf to read. SQUEE! Alyssa Tillet:  Waves of Change Jane Lebak:  Shattered Walls, With Two Eyes into Gehenna, Forever and for Keeps, and Relic of His Heart were all Nano projects to start with. Oh, and Sacred Cups, too. Julie Arduini:  Entrusted   Robin Patchen:  Finding Amanda   (Read the synopsis.  AAAK!  MUST READ) Valerie Comer:  Sprouts of Love (2016) and Raindrops on Radishes (2018). Evelyn Grace:  Seascapes (Psst... sounds GOOD) Annette M. Irby:  Her Washington Island Series Christen Krumm:  It Happened at Christmas  (a YA twist on While You Were Sleeping!) Cathryn Brown:  Accidentally Matched Jessica White:  Song in the Dark  (Have to share the synopsis.  It sounds so good!) On the other side of darkness lies freedom … Hades/Persephone Inspired Romantic Suspense After graduating from Juilliard, harpist Jenna Fields returns home to Albany to escape her manipulative ex. But coming home means dealing with her mother who has orchestrated every detail of Jenna’s life. Waiting for a job offer that will allow her to escape New York and build a life of her own, Jenna volunteers to raise money for a local charity. Homicide detective Dean Blackburn spends his days seeking justice for the dead. But death taints everything including him. When his three Dobermans lead him to Jenna, he tries to resist the little siren. She not only starts a fire in his heart but brings light and joy to his lonely world. When her world crumbles beneath her feet and her dark secret revealed, Dean helps Jenna see that the key to escaping her mother’s gilded cage is already in her hands. Julie Carobini: Mocha Sunrise  But, there's one more way to look at this.  Not all authors are keen on the idea of NaNoWriMo. Jaycee Weaver:  Whatever Happens Next.  She says she writes slower for NaNo—likely all the pressure that doesn’t suit her recovering perfectionist tendencies.  She’s not trying it again, but I may be able to talk her into Camp Nano--less stress, more flexibility!  
Book habits can be expensive, especially when you like REAL books to hold in your hands, but there are ways to save money on paperback books, and I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorites—five, to be exact! Before I get into them, though, I want to point out that this is episode is about PHYSICAL books.  There are lots of ways to get free or very inexpensive ebooks.  Just a few are: Kindle Unlimited Net Galley Free Kindle Store Additionally, there are services that notify you of great ebook deals.  Sites like: 1531 Entertainment Bookbub Faithful Reads Also, sign up for your favorite authors’ newsletters. Many give you a heads up first on when books are going free etc. Blog post for show notes is here: Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. But how can we get free or really inexpensive books without having to scour used bookstores or driving halfway across the country to go to stores like Ollies etc.? The First Cheap Way: Shop Sales! Yeah, I know. It’s rather unromantic and prosaic, but sales are huge. In just the last couple of months, I’ve gotten tons of paperbacks for under 5.00 each (some just a couple of dollars!) on sale from regular retailers like Amazon and Christian Books. Once Upon a  Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep. I got several copies of this one for about three dollars each—thick paperback. This thing is beautiful with deckle-edged pages. I’ll be giving away one of these in a big promotion I’ll talk about in a bit. The Santa Claus Chronicles: Heartwarming Tales from a Real-Life Santa by Rene Gutteridge and Dan Short.  This one was like 2.30.  Seriously.  Hardback, beautiful book written by an author I love?  SOLD. Bought four or five of those, too.  I’ll use them as inexpensive gifts with a mug and hot chocolate and squee! Instant last-minute gift. I got these from Amazon and they shipped free with Prime, too.  Get this:  It’s 3.40 right now. Check out the synopsis: Santa Dan’s Stories Will Soothe Your Soul     Thirty years ago, Dan Short left the corporate world to follow a calling—to give the gift of God’s love to children and adults alike. How did he do it? By becoming Santa Claus, of course!   These are “Santa Dan’s” tales of hope and humor, collected from his three decades of playing Jolly Old Saint Nick. And as you might have guessed, Santa has his share of stories to tell—some tearful, some joyful, and all of them filled with heartwarming Christmas spirit. You’ll meet some of the unforgettable people Santa Dan has encountered…  Anna, a young cancer patient whose fulfillment of her dying wish becomes a life-changing experience for those around her. Rose, an elderly woman with a longstanding grudge against Saint Nick. Terry, a precocious boy with more moxie than clothing. Front Yard Santa, a neighborhood icon whose passing prompts a poignant gesture from a fellow Santa. Faith, Hope, and Grace, three enterprising young girls whose overwhelming generosity befits their virtuous names.  …and you’ll be inspired to share the joy of Jesus with those around you! CBD had their mega sale recently.  Aside from Bibles I’ve been wanting to replace (at half the usual price), I got a book by Carrie Stuart Parks for around four dollars and one by Colleen Coble for three. Stores like bookoutlet.com and booksamilllion.com have HUGE numbers of Christian fiction titles for three to five dollars. Booksamillion also has good deals And really, doing a good search on Amazon can find you great deals. Quite by accident, I found yesterday that my book, Deepest Roots of the Heart was reduced from 12.99 to 3.40. Now, it’s up to 4.79 as I type this, so who knows how long it will be on sale, but that’s still a great deal.  I didn’t know anything about it, and that’s a book that doesn’t go on sale very often. In fact, the paperback sale price right now is less expensive than the Kindle usually is. My second suggestion for finding inexpensive paperbacks: online used booksellers! Amazon has a HUGE number of used and discount booksellers on their site.  You can buy almost any paperback for just a couple of dollars in good condition, and usually, you can get “very good” for around five. Many of the used books found on Amazon can also be shipped free with Prime (which totally blows my mind every time I see it!).  So, I always check to see if I can get the book with prime and what the difference is. Often, I can get a book in good to very good condition, shipped to my door for five dollars.  This is usually 1/3 of the retail price of the book. There are other online retailers, of course.  I’ve purchased from: eBay ThriftBooks Paperbackswap and others Facebook has several buy/sell/swap groups where you can sell the books you don’t want and find others you do. Two of them I found are: Buy, Sell, Trade Christian Books Christian Fiction/Nonfiction Buy, Swap, Sell A third way to augment your paperback book budget is… Join Author Launch Teams! First off, I should point out that not all authors send out paperback books.  Indie authors, for example, can’t always afford it—especially if they’re doing blog tours, such as the ones I’ll share with you in a moment, but we do sometimes. Just remember that being on a launch team is a responsibility.  You’re agreeing to share, to review, to promote that book when you join. While books are not meant as payment for the review and promotion, they do come with that responsibility I mentioned. See, as a Christian when we agree to do something, we need to do all in your power to DO what we agreed to.  Last year, I dropped the ball on two launch teams I was on. I agreed before my life fell apart while I took care of my mom. When I sign up, I always do it with the personal understanding that I’m going to give it my all if I possibly can, but even then, it hurt when I saw promotions I couldn’t keep up with. So, this year, a few opportunities came up, but I still didn’t quite know what the new normal was with having my mom living with us, still playing catch up, etc. So I didn’t do it.  It’s one thing for life to knock you out of the ring in the middle of a boxing match, but it’s another to sign up for the match and not show up to the ring at all. Seriously, though, authors need readers.  We need folks to tell others about the books because none of us like to be that pathetic one out there pleading, “buy my book!”  It’s so much nicer when people who love the book share why with others who might like it, too. And closely related is… join a blog tour/reviewer team. Seriously, review teams are great ways to get free books—ebooks and paperbacks.  You have to be willing to put in the time to read the books on time, post your reviews on time, and even accept a lot of ebooks before you’re given the coveted (usually limited in number) paperbacks, but if you’re willing to put that effort in, you’ve got a great way to get a LOT (as many as you can keep up with usually) of free books! My Fourth Suggestion— Library sales and Little Free Libraries I don’t know about you, but our library in our town has a “Friends of the Library” sale every year (often more than once a year).  You can get a ton of great books—even ones you don’t necessarily want yourself but you know others might want to swap you for.  It’s a great way to stock your “share” pile so you can… Go find the little free libraries in your town or towns you plan to visit.  Take along a stack of books.  Check and see if there’s anything in the ones you visit that you’d like, and leave one of those ones you got behind. I suspect you won’t find tons of Christian fiction that you haven’t already read in most, but I know many authors (I’m one of them) who when they have books handy and are in unfamiliar places, they go find these libraries and pop a copy of their books in them.  You might just find a treasure, and if not, maybe you could leave one, right? Finally, the fifth one: Giveaways Seriously, follow blog tours and enter the giveaways for free paperbacks, audiobooks, and ebooks. Companies like CelebrateLit have five to seven tours starting every week!  MOST of those give away a book!  Many give away Amazon gift cards.  Enter.  Get those gift cards, and save ‘em up. Also, new book releases. There are parties on Facebook, Instagram, and even private ones on blogs.  Like, for example, this week the Independence Islands authors are celebrating the release of Rachel Skatvold’s, Her Merriweather Hero. Starting with Rachel’s Blog today, October 27th, you can go from blog to blog, and enter to win paperbacks, ebooks, and even an audiobook of the prequel to the series. That link will be in the show notes, but it’s just an example of how you can follow new releases. This is why you want to be on all your favorite authors’ newsletters.  They tell you about these things! Then there are bigger promos like CelebrateLit’s quarterly (and then some) multi-author promos. Most of those include some ebooks and some paperbacks, and they also have a good-sized amazon gift card (usually two to three hundred dollars or more!) and #BecauseFiction Magazine’s monthly giveaways from their authors. Finally, there are seasonal giveaways. Summertime usually has a few good ones for beach reads and such.  Christmas and Thanksgiving both have Facebook parties and multi-author promotional things.  In fact, I’m doing a fun one with twenty-five different authors this Christmas starting December 1.  I’ll be doing an advent countdown of prizes folks can win—prizes donated by some of your favorite authors such as Liz Tolsma, Robin Pachen, Cathe Swanson, Hallee Bridgeman, Jaycee Weaver, Carolyn Miller, Joanne Markey, Laura Hile, Angela Strong… the names go on. Twenty-five prizes (many of them books and some paperbacks!  In fact, mine is going to be a prize box that includes one of those Michelle Griep books and one of those Rene Gutteridge books as well as a couple of mine etc!). We’ll also have a hefty Amazon gift card giveaway as well. Giveaways are a GREAT way to win the books you can’t afford to buy.  Yes, you have to be patient, but you can enter while you do other things. In Conclusion: Look, if you’re creative, you can get a lot of books for a very little bit of money. This gives you lots of reading material without breaking the bank. I could probably come up with a dozen more ideas (there’s always the library!  Help an author and ask yours to get that book you keep seeing shared everywhere!) Meanwhile, have a good day, go read a good book, and I’ll see you next week! Sponsor: This week’s is Celebrate Lit Publicity Group.  Celebrate Lit offers blog tours which are a great way for readers to find out about books and authors and what other readers like them thought of said books and authors.  Both authors and readers should go to celebratelit.com, see what’s on tour this week, and see what books are available right now! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
So if there's one thing I LOVE it's Christmas fiction. So, this week, I'm going for maximum Christmas fiction impact--collections. Four, five, ten, fourteen books in one nice little file--often available on Kindle Unlimited! Who could ask for more? Every year, dozens of these fabulous collections come out, and I've collected the ones I've heard the most about, the ones that sounded the most interesting, and the ones that were shared with me.  These are all fresh, new collections for 2020. So, without further ado... Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you.   All the Great Christmas Collections Coming Out This Year! Okay, so it's a lie. It's not ALL the collections by a long shot, but I did manage to find a good variety of them!  SQUEE! What makes Christmas so awesome?  Well, I have a blog post about that! What makes fiction Christmas?  I've got a blog post about that, too! Finally, why do books make such great gifts  Here's a blog post about that as well. Okay, without further ado, we need to get to all the bookness! Historical: Joy to the World: Authors: Carolyn Miller, Amanda Barratt, Erica Vetsch Kindle 9.99 Inspirational Regency romance with a Christmas twist from three best-selling authors. In Joy to the World, three popular romance authors come together to offer a heartwarming collection of holiday Regency romance. Based on lines from a beloved Christmas carol, these three novellas have depth, faith, and satisfying stories all packed into the perfect length for readers to curl up and take a brief break from their holiday busyness. Heaven and Nature Sing by Carolyn Miller Two music lovers, deeply devoted to each other, were on the brink of engagement when family circumstances drove them apart. How can they ever overcome both their obligations and their fears to find their way back into each other’s arms? Far as the Curse Is Found by Amanda Barratt One winter night, a woman struggling to provide for her illegitimate child encounters a scarred veteran of the Napoleonic Wars on the streets of London. Can love conquer the darkness of two broken pasts? Wonders of His Love by Erica Vetsch A Scots portrait painter finds work at a noble manor house over the holidays. He never imagined he’d fall in love with the emotionally frozen widow there. Now he wants nothing more than to thaw her heart. A Western Romance Christmas Collection: Author: Nancy Jane Wyatt: Kindle: .99 or free on Kindle Unlimited A heartwarming collection of Christmas Mail-Order Bride romances, just in time for the holiday season. Follow along these touching stories of hardship and perseverance rewarded. Value priced for a limited time only! Clean Western Christmas Romance from best-selling author Nancy Jane Wyatt. Included in this box set: His Bride’s 1st Christmas on the Ranch A Christmas Wedding in Wyoming A Christmas Bride in Colorado Proclaiming Her Love at Christmas To Montana by Christmas Longing for a Warmer Christmas Regency Romance Christmas Collection: Author:  Grace Fletcher Kindle: .99 or free with Kindle unlimited A delightful collection of 8 Christmas Regency Romance novellas! Available at this low, low price for a limited time only! Another exquisite set of Regency Romance novellas selected especially for you this Christmas season. Journey back to the eloquence and majesty of this romantic era. This assortment of historical romances will keep you enthralled for hours of reading pleasure. These novellas are clean Regency Historical Romances. This Box Set includes: The Duke’s Christmas Sanctuary A Glorious Christmas of Forgiveness The Earl & Miss Abigail’s Christmas Delight The Earl’s Christmas Blessing Love’s Embrace at Christmas A Christmas Concert for the Duke The Earl’s Christmas Bride The Christmas Eve Ball Amish: Christmas Angels Collection 15 Book Box Set: Authors:  Hannah Schrock, Emma Ashwood, Elizabeth Downton, Serenity Jones Kindle:  .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited This beautiful box set collection contains 15 magical clean and wholesome romance Christmas stories. These Christmas stories are full of love, loss and hope, all at the heart of Christmas and the festive season. Even in troubled times the magic of Christmas lives on. Enjoy this collection. This Box Set includes: Dreams of Christmases Past The Two Christmas Gifts The Amish Christmas Angel The Maid’s Christmas Dream The Christmas Choice The Last Christmas The Christmas Clause The Christmas Grieving Christmas at Woodville Hall The Amish Christmas Box A Christmas Story of Two Sisters The Duke’s Christmas Confession The Christmas Escape Double Blessings at Christmas Kitty’s First Christmas An Amish Christmas Wedding: Four Stories: Authors: Amy Clipston, Kelly Irvin, Kathleen Fuller, Vannetta Chapman Kindle: 8.99 From bestselling authors of Amish fiction come four delightful stories perfect for celebrating love, joy, and the everyday miracles Christmas brings. Evergreen Love by Amy Clipston Ryan Lapp had promised to marry Lorene Bontrager as soon as he was able to build them a house, but the day never came. Ryan moved away. Five years later, Lorene has settled into her old maid role, and she’s shocked when her younger sister announces her quick engagement to Ryan’s younger brother. As they rush to plan the wedding, Lorene is constantly around the family she almost joined. Worse, she’s forced to face Ryan himself, who has returned to town. As both Ryan and Lorene examine their own feelings, they must decide if they can find grace with each other—and the young people they once were—this Christmas season. There just might still be love in their future. Holiday of Hope by Kelly Irvin Henry Lufkin is one of four bachelors who lived in the West Kootenai, Montana, cabins that were destroyed by wildfires. He’s the only one of them who hasn’t since married, but he likes his solitude. Then an old friend asks him to care for his son, and Henry has to share his small cabin and his life with bewildered and rebellious ten-year-old Tommy. When the child encounters trouble at school, Henry reaches out to Tommy's teacher. Leesa Yoder never expected to find herself single and teaching sixteen young scholars, and she certainly didn’t anticipate an inexperienced bachelor telling her how to do her job. Amid the flying sparks, can Henry and Leesa see that there might be hope and love in this unexpected situation? Wreathed in Joy by Kathleen Fuller Mary Wengerd and Jakob Mullet have been best friends since childhood. Pressured by friends and family, they decided to date—with disastrous results. When they break up, their friendship is ruined. A year later, Mary is baking her Englisch friend’s wedding and groom cakes for a Christmas Eve wedding. Mary loves the Christmas season, and had always dreamed of marrying during that time. Now she wonders if she’ll ever marry. After she and Jakob form a tenuous new friendship, Mary breaks her arm. As he steps in to help her with the cakes, Mary is inexplicably and suddenly falling for him. But they've already dated, and that ended so horribly. Could it be better this time? A Christmas Prayer by Vannetta Chapman Widower Micah Miller runs the Amish Tour Company, offering Englischers a glimpse of a simpler life as well as tea at Rachel King’s. Rachel has never married and has recently lost her parents. When Micah comes across an abandoned and injured dog, he gives it to Rachel for company. As Rachel is charmed by the dog and shocked by news of the existence of family she never expected, her heart and mind bend toward the possibilities of change in her life—even toward the possibility of love. Amish Christmas Miracles: 14 stories to touch your heart and warm your soul this Christmas : Authors: Jennifer Beckstrand, Kathleen Fuller, J.E.B. Spredemann, Dana R. Lynn, Susan Lantz Simpson, Ashley Emma, Lenora Worth, Serena B. Miller, Loree Lough, Rachel J. Good, Laura Bradford, Tracy Fredrychowski, Adina Senft, Mary Alford Kindle: .99 (at least during preorder)  Releases on November 4.  I don’t know if it’ll be in Kindle Unlimited or not.  Stay tuned for an episode just about this set later! Spend Christmas in Amish country. As snow falls softly outside the window, curl up by the fire with this collection of 14 stories by your favorite Amish fiction authors. Let them transport you to Amish communities all across the country. Travel to small towns where horses clip-clop down the road, farms dot the snow-covered landscape, and families gather to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Sigh over sweet stories that touch your heart. Laugh, cry, rejoice, and smile as couples renew their faith and find their perfect soul mates. May you be richly blessed this holiday season! Contemporary: Melodies of Christmas Love: Releases today! Authors:  Lynnette Bonner, JoAnn Durgin, Chautona Havig, Annette M. Irby, Dawn Kinzer, Lesley Ann McDaniel  (Author), Sylvia Stewart  (Author) Kindle: .99 and Kindle Unlimited The Heart of Christmas - Lynnette Bonner When Wynn Mason sees police lights at Misty Cove’s one-and-only bar, she goes inside to investigate and is just in time to see her ex-boyfriend punch Ryland Sage in the face. What is the star of her favorite TV show doing in their tiny Pacific Coast town? Since Wynn is the only medical help for miles around, she has to stitch up his face—and also maybe his heart—all while protecting her own heart from the worldly charmer. Love on a Mission in Millcreek - JoAnn Durgin Angelia Ford wonders if she’ll ever live down her unfortunate outburst at the end of the Millcreek Elementary Christmas program. Sixteen years later, she’s home to care for her grandfather and prays the town’s citizens have finally forgiven her youthful indiscretion. Millcreek’s newest resident, Nicholas Sanders, recognizes the beautiful blonde server at the local diner, but it’s clear Angel doesn’t remember him. What better time than the festive holiday season for Nick to reintroduce himself to the girl he’s never forgotten? The Bells of New Cheltenham - Chautona Havig When Justine Driscoll decides to enter a short story contest using a Christmas carol as the inspiration, she discovers love in the carols she investigates, in the story an ex-Army guy tells, and in the little tourist town of New Cheltenham. A Christmas Duet - Annette M. Irby A breakup steals a cellist’s inspiration. How will she create new compositions for her ensemble’s next album? Perhaps the church’s handsome music director could help. Join Kate Fleming and Zach Tillmon as Christmas music brings them together on Whidbey Island, Washington. A Night Divine - Dawn Kinzer One chilly December night, a tragedy connects successful model Camryn Tate and outreach minister Trace Gardner. As they share a common mission serving the homeless on the streets of Seattle, they provide more than food—they offer hope. But as Christmas Eve approaches, secrets have the potential to break Camryn’s heart. To Hear the Angels Sing - Lesley Ann McDaniel Being guardian of her niece isn’t as easy as Devlin Welsh might hope. When her niece is invited to be in a church show, the free childcare is hard to pass up. But when Devlin admits to knowing how to sew, she’s enlisted as costume designer. How will she find the time? That movie I mentioned in the episode was: Home Sweet Home and you can actually watch it on Amazon Prime. Not sure why I thought it was Pure Flix, so sorry about that, Lesley Ann! One of Jonah Ryan’s favorite parts of his job as worship leader is working on the kids’ Christmas musical. There’s something about the woman who’s volunteering to design costumes this year that gets him thinking. Could there be more to life than music? Prairie Rose - Sylvia Stewart For many years, Rose Morris has lived alone with her dog, Rusty. Mitch Foster, a handsome, un-married neighbor, brings her a bright red geranium, and insists on helping with chores. But who should drive into Rose’s farmyard? The scoundrel husband who had deserted her and her teenaged son years before. Later, a pre-teen runaway, found in her barn, adds his troubles to her own, so Rose decides to re-capture the peace and serenity of Christmas. Take the quiz and find out which carol fits YOU. Five Gold Rings:  A CrossRoads Collection: Here's the episode I promised about Amanda Tru and the collections. Some of today’s best-selling Christian authors weave five completely new, unique, interconnected stories where once jilted lovers find worth more precious than gold. Christmas Mercy by Jaycee Weaver As the web of lies that kept Rob away from Vera and their daughter unravels, the months following his return, test their capacity for mercy, forgiveness, and a second chance at love. The Seven Year Glitch by Hallee Bridgeman Seven years earlier, Timothy left Leanne at the altar stealing years of happiness. Leanne rescues him from a rooftop in a floodplain and it is clear there is much more to the story. Can their love redeem the hurts of the past to rescue their future? Laughing All the Way by Lesley Ann McDaniel When Jessica's friends put her up to "fixing" their commitment-phobic co-worker, Conner, she doesn't take them very seriously. Conner doesn't know whether to laugh at Jessica or tell her to mind her own business. Ghosted at the Altar by Chautona Havig After his fiancée, Brenna, abandons Mitchell on their wedding day, she insists she loves him and still wants to marry him. As truths come to light, her little sister, Lauren, turns sleuth to solve the mystery of why Brenna ghosted Mitchell at the altar. Five Gold Rings by Amanda Tru When three relationship-challenged couples wish for Christmas weddings, commitment coach, Oliver, teams up with a wedding planner, TeraLyn, to help make their marriage dreams come true. A Star Will Rise: A Mosaic Christmas Anthology II Authors:  Brenda S. Anderson, Eleanor Bertin, Sara Davison, Angela D. Meyer, Regina Rudd Merrick, Marion Ueckermann, Candace West Kindle: .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited on November 4 Christmas should be a time of wonder and expectation, but what if tragedy, illness, family secrets, or betrayal strip away every belief in what the future holds? And in a good and loving God? When circumstances beyond their control dramatically alter their lives, can broken, betrayed, and disillusioned people rediscover their faith and come to see that God's plans are far better for them than the ones they had imagined for themselves? Brenda S. Anderson | A Christmas Homecoming Eleanor Bertin | Love and Unexpected Stress Responses Sara Davison | Sixty Feet to Home Regina Rudd Merrick | The Twelve Days of Mandy Reno Angela D. Meyer | Returning to Christmas Marion Ueckermann | One Christmas Wish Candace West | A Garland of Grace Something Borrowed:  Christmas Weddings Collection The episode I referenced with the interview with Teresa Tysinger is HERE. Authors: Toni Shiloh  (Author), Jaycee Weaver  (Author), Mikal Dawn  (Author), Teresa Tysinger  (Author), Andrea Boyd Kindle: .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited Old friends, new loves, and a borrowed tiara. Always Been Yours by Jaycee Weaver — Hanady's planning her dream wedding, but her injured best friend Keenan isn't the groom. If she can't see she's marrying the wrong guy soon, his leg won't be the only thing broken. All the Moore by Toni Shiloh — Leilah Anderson has been living behind the screen to hide her disability, then she meets Reggie Moore face-to-face. Can their relationship survive the truth and distance between them? A Holly, Bolly Christmas by Mikal Dawn — A dream wedding venue at Christmas? Sign Chahna Kapoor up. Even if her fiancé doesn’t know it… Somehow, This Christmas by Teresa Tysinger — When not-so-merry mishaps threaten wedding planner Cate Forsyth's holiday wedding and reputation, will her own happily ever after with sweetheart Noah Bennett melt away? A Promise So Sweet by Andrea Boyd — Lydia Osborn hasn't heard from her ex in ten years, so imagine her surprise when he shows up proposing marriage. Tis the season for love? Hearts Aglow: Four Christmas Novella Romances (The Christmas Lights Collection Book 5) Authors: Cathe Swanson, Toni Shiloh, Chautona Havig, Jaycee Weaver Kindle: .99 or free with Kindle Unlimited Four Christmas novellas from four of your favorite authors in one collection designed to brighten your day and warm your heart this Christmas. Potato Flake Christmas: by Cathe Swanson Matchmaker, matchmaker, who’s getting matched? Both at crossroads in their professional lives, Claire and Jeffrey don’t need the matchmaking shenanigans of her grandmother or his great uncle. Although Jeffrey has fond memories of Christmas on the beach, Claire just can't imagine Christmas in a land filled with cactus and a different kind of sand. Can’t we order a freak snowstorm from some online retailer somewhere? Love is alive in the desert this Christmas. Here's that picture I promised. All I Want  by Toni Shiloh  When Angel is tasked to decorate Bishop's place, she longs to be seen for the woman she's become. He just wants to get through Christmas with his daughter and get on with his perfectly ordered life. Time together changes everything as her heart unexpectedly touches his. Snow Crossed Letters: by Chautona Havig  “...waitin' for the matchmakin' man with the (mail) bag..." When packages go awry in a series of snowstorms that bury Rockland in multiple layers of white two residents find cheering the elderly to be a big surprise! This and Every Christmas  by Jaycee Weaver Christmases past and present collide in a humorous yet bittersweet tale of a widowed tree-farm owner and his daughter’s music teacher as they collaborate to create a future worthy of her family’s wacky traditions and his family’s legacy. Grab your FIFTH ANNUAL Christmas Lights Collection, Hearts Aglow, today! And here are the links to both last year's paperback All Is Bright and this year's Hearts Aglow! But wait! There's more! One thing I didn't mention in the podcast episode because I didn't want to be too self-promotional, is that this year I took all the Christmas novels and novellas that I have that are not already in box sets and put them in some!  I call them Christmas Book Parties and they're broken up into these sets: Christmas Party in a Box (Set 1) 3 Contemporary Heartwarming Christmas Romances (full-length novels). Christmas Party in a Box "Noellas" (Set 2) 5 Contemporary Heartwarming Christmas "Noella" (Christmas novella) Romances Christmas Party in a Box "Noellas" (Set 3) 3 Contemporary Light Christmas Mystery and Suspense "noellas." Christmas Party in a Box "Noellas" (Set 4) 3 Contemporary Heartwarming Christmas Romances (full-length novels). For the website show notes, you can go here: https://chautona.com/because-fiction-33/ Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
On Amazon, every time I went looking for a book, there it was. The Orphan Beach.  I'd not read anything by the author, Laura Thomas.  Each time I started to click through, something distracted me. Then, I had an opportunity to interview her, and when I discovered that it was that Laura Thomas, well... DUH! Discussing her writing and publishing journey, the books in print and those to come, by the time I finished chatting about all things books, I felt like I'd made a new friend.  Laura Thomas is a fascinating and delightful woman, not to mention an eclectic author!   Note: Links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you Why It's Always Good to Make Dreams Come True The moment Laura said hello, I had to ask about her accent. See, I knew she lived in Canada, but the accent said otherwise. So, English/Canadian author, Laura Thomas tells us about her childhood dream of being the next Beatrix Potter--a dream she'd never told anyone until, after decades of marriage, her husband winkled it out of her! Still in the throes of homeschooling, Laura began taking correspondence courses to become a writer and eventually published her YA series, the Tears Trilogy. Of course, picture books were still the dream, but she continued on to writing a middle-grade short novel, The Candlemaker. Being the eclectic author she is, Laura then turned to non-fiction as a gift for her daughter, Pearls for the Bride. It may seem an unexpected progression from those to romantic suspense, but... A vacation, a lifelong fear, and a disappointment inspired Laura's first romantic suspense novel, The Glass Bottom Boat.  Intended to be a stand-alone, an agent's request turned it into a series, Flight to Freedom. And this series is this week's featured book! There is supposed to be a box set, but I didn't find it on Amazon. Still, all three books can be had for under six dollars, and two are on Kindle Unlimited! And the third book in the series is The Orphan Beach. This book starts off with a bang! the death of a loved one reeling from a failed romantic relationship struggling with her faith and targeted by a crazed killer About Orphan Beach I haven't finished the book (and much to my disappointment!) but it has several key strengths. characters--I cared about them almost (if not) from the first word the covers (they grab you) in particular, the title of The Orphan Beach. Although Laura doesn't say she'll never write more in the series, but a vacation to visit family in England last year inspired a new series--suspense. Set in a small village in England.  Stick me in a suitcase, I'm going with her! And coming full circle, those picture books she mentioned?  Well, two are being shopped to publishers.  One is about a French bulldog and her adventures, while the other is about an octopus making friends with a tea party!  Laura is about to get herself a French bulldog puppy of her own, and plans to name her "Lulu."  That prompted me to share a song from the 1920s that I loved as a girl, and I've added it here for your fun, too.  :) And Frank Sinatra did a fun parody of this with Bing Crosby for those who love the oldie moldie! If you'd like to learn more about Laura, visit her at: Her website! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher You can read the full show notes at chautona.com/because-fiction-32
The genius behind the deeply interconnected, multi-author CrossRoads Collections, Amanda Tru joined me for a fun night of laughter, insight, and hints about some of her personal upcoming work and the great stuff we can expect from the next couple of collections. Five Gold Rings is due to release this month, and the authors are so excited to share them with you.  But I'm excited to share the brain behind the books, Amanda Tru. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Mentioned in this podcast are The CrossRoads Collections: Out of the Blue Bouquet  Yesterday's Mail Under the Christmas Star Betwixt Two Hearts The Wedding Dress Yes When Snowflakes Never Cease and Five Gold Rings Next up is What Cannot Be Stolen! Also mentioned were Amanda's other fabulous books such as: The Christmas Card Series including: The Christmas Card A Cinderella Christmas and Once Upon a Christmas The Yesterday Series The Tru Exceptions Series The Brides by Mail Series Random Acts of Cupid To find out more about Amanda's books, visit amandatru.com To see full show notes after 10/15/2020, visit chautona.com/because-fiction-31  
She's fun, she's witty, and she has some fabulous characters you've got to meet.  Today, I am chatting with Teresa Tysinger on the release day of her newest book, Suddenly Forever (affiliate link). We talk about how she got started writing, how she writes "in the fringes," and about the books she's written and has coming out soon! Visit chautona.com/because-fiction-30 for the expanded show notes (coming 10/2/2020).
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