Monday, July 11, 2016

Character Interview ~ WITHIN THE VEIL by Brandy Vallance

Quick and Important Announcement: Instead of continuing to accidentally forget to post blog posts then trying to catch up, I'm going to take off from posting blogs through the end of July (this month), starting back up with my Q & A post on August 1. Thanks! (If you want to contribute to the Q & A post, ask a random question in the comments below--it'll give you bonus points in the giveaway!)


They never should have met. But they might be made for each other.

Feya Broon, a Scottish half-gypsy, knows what it is to go hungry. Trapped in the Edinburgh tenements with a father lost to his past and only the faded memory of her mother’s faith, Feya is desperate to provide for her siblings. When an ill-conceived plan leads to thievery, she finds herself in the last place she'd ever want to be—captured by a palace guard. But there's something about this man that tears at every preconceived notion she's even had about the haughty English.

Alasdair Cairncross never dreamed he’d be forced to transport a gypsy woman halfway across the wilds of Scotland. The timing is disastrous, considering his fiancée’s imminent arrival and his father’s political goals. Not only that, but the fiery young woman threatens to lay bare secrets Alasdair would rather keep hidden. And yet the farther they travel together, the less concerned he finds himself with duty—both to the crown and to the plans his family has for him.

As their walls begin to crumble, Feya and Alasdair must fight to survive a decades-old feud, a Highland kidnapping, and the awakening of their own hearts. 

 You can buy a copy here!



Hey, everybody. Natalie here. Y'all may remember my review of The Covered Deep, also written by Brandy Vallance. That book was easily the best I read in 2015. Now I'm excited to be reading Within the Veil! Brandy has agreed to let me interview Alasdair Cairncross, hero of Within the Veil. Enjoy!

Mr. Cairncross, has anything significant happened in your life in the past two weeks?

Indeed. My life has been invaded by a red haired, fiery Gypsy. I hardly know what to think anymore. Since that distressing incident in the woods . . . And then the cave . . . I find myself thinking the most disturbing thoughts. Life-altering thoughts. I am a man in a very dangerous predicament.


What is your first reaction when you meet a fetching lady?

A gentleman must know how to properly employ a smile. I do believe I’m quite good at that, at least Queen Victoria thinks so. And what more does a man need besides the approval of his sovereign?


Are there any children or pets in your life? What do you love about them?

My horse has been with me through two wars, the African sand, and the vexatious Scottish rain. I am proud to say that my horse is one of the finest in Her Majesty’s kingdom. How a man takes care of his horse is very telling of his character. Apart from that disastrous incident on the road to Stirling . . . No, I shant mention that. It’s not worth mentioning at all.

What are your hobbies?

Hobbies? Do you mean to imply that a man would let his mind go to waste in vain pursuits? When I do find myself in need of diversion—which is rarely—I read The Dictionary of National Biography. Fifty-five thousand entries does lend a certain point of convergence for the mind…No matter how many times I read the A section, the excerpt on Sir Robert Abercromby is especially entertaining. And the bit about Andrew Amos is probably the best two pages of the entire volume. After all, the man wrote all the laws of England down for posterity. What nobler cause could there be than that?

Any current romantic interests?

Indeed. I’m an engaged man. That is a fact I have had to remind myself over and over again these last few days . . .
 



Brandy Vallance fell in love with the Victorian time period at a young age, loving the customs, manners, and especially the intricate rules of love. Since time travel is theoretically impossible, she lives in the nineteenth century vicariously through her novels. Unaccountable amounts of black tea have fueled this ambition. Brandy's love of tea can only be paralleled by her love of Masterpiece Theater Classics, deep conversations, and a good book. Brandy is the 2013 Operation First Novel winner and the 2012 winner of the ACFW Genesis Contest for historical romance. Her critically acclaimed novel, The Covered Deep, has been featured in USA TODAY and Writer's Digest. You can connect with Brandy via her website www.brandyvallance.com, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, YouTube, or Twitter @BrandyVallance. 

Brandy has generously offered to giveaway an e-copy of her book, Within the Veil! Enter in the comments with your email in the following spam-free format: (emailATserverDOTcom). 


For an extra entry: if you have a question for the "Ask Me Anything" post going up August 1, ask in the comments of any post, and I'll do my best to answer! We're still needing a few more questions, so anything you ask will be fun! All you have to do is ask a random question, and I'll answer on the blog. Ask away! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

ACFW July 2016 New Releases

July 2016 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:

The Courtship Basket by Amy Clipston -- Devastated by a broken courtship, Rachel Fisher takes a position at a special Amish school for children with learning disabilities to keep her mind off of her pain. A new student joins the class, and when Rachel has problems getting him to pay attention, she reaches out to his older brother and guardian, Mike. She learns they are grieving their mother's death and begins sending food to them in a special basket she found in her parents' attic, a basket Rachel's father gave to her mother long ago. Rachel and Mike grow close, but he doubts whether he can be a good husband while caring for his brother and dat. As they face the hardest days of their lives, Rachel's old fears of another man leaving her come to the surface. Can they pull together and create hope for the future? (Contemporary Romance from Zondervan)

A Living Hope by E. C. Jackson -- It was a match made in heaven. Or so everyone thought. Sadie Mae Cummings is all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, Kyle, when she is assigned to tutor Lincoln, the new college football running back. Through her alternate relationships with both boys, she learns some burned bridges can never be restored. Now Sadie fights for a chance to restore broken dreams. Will love endure? (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

General Contemporary (Women's Fiction):

The Things We Knew by Catherine West -- After her mother's death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it. But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him, only it seems Nick is hiding things from her. As their father's failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. (Women's Fiction from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan])

Historical Romance:

The Courageous Brides Collection by Johnnie Alexander, Michelle Griep, Eileen Key, Debby Lee, Rose Allen McCauley, Donita Kathleen Paul, Jennifer Uhlarik, Jenness Walker, Renee Q. Yancy -- Ride into adventures alongside nine determined women of yesteryear whose acts of compassion and bravery attract male attention. Marcy helps displaced Indians. Emmy tends wounds at Fort Snelling. Ronnie stows away on a cattle drive. Daisy disguises herself as a Pony Express rider. Elinor becomes an abolitionist. Mae tames wild horses. Hannah gets help for accident victims. Lucy's curiosity unnerves criminals. Kate nurses soldiers on the battlefield. Will real dangers douse the sparks of love? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

No Way Up by Mary Connealy -- When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Badly injured, Chance demands that his will be read and its conditions be enforced immediately. Without anyone else to serve as a witness, Heath is pressed into reading the will. If Justin, Sadie, and Cole Boden don't live and work at home for the entire year, the ranch will go to their low-down cousin Mike. Then Heath discovers the avalanche was a murder attempt, and more danger might follow. Deeply involved with the family, Heath's desire to protect Sadie goes far beyond friendship. The danger keeps them close together, and their feelings grow until being apart is the last thing on their minds. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

To Follow Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino -- It is 1664 and Patience Terry is devastated to learn that Captain Jeremy Horton's ship has been shipwrecked off the coast of Barbados, with no survivors. She had hoped that Jeremy would someday give up the sea and settle down with her in Southold, Long Island. Unaware his memorial service is being planned, Jeremy is rescued and aboard a British Naval Gunship with secret orders to attack New Amsterdam and claim it for the British Crown. When he makes his surprise return to Southold--and to an overjoyed Patience--it's not the happily-ever-after his beloved had hoped for. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

An Elegant Façade by Kristi Ann Hunter -- Lady Georgina Hawthorne has worked tirelessly to seal her place as the Incomparable for her debut season. At her first London ball, she hopes to snag the attention of an earl. With money and business connections, but without impeccable bloodlines, Colin McCrae is invited everywhere but accepted nowhere. When he first encounters the fashionable Lady Georgina, he's irritated by his attraction to a woman who concerns herself only with status and appearance. What Colin doesn't know is that Georgina's desperate social aspirations are driven by the shameful secret she harbors. Association with Colin McCrae is not part of Georgina's plan, but as their paths continue to cross, they both must decide if the realization of their dreams is worth the sacrifices they must make. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Honor Redeemed by Christine Johnson -- Two years ago, Prosperity Jones waved farewell to her beloved David as the army sent him to faraway Key West. Now with her parents gone, she has but one prospect for the future: make the dangerous journey from Nantucket to Key West to reunite with David and secure a happier life. Arriving penniless in the South, Prosperity is dismayed to find David married to someone else. Scrambling to survive and nursing a broken heart, she gains the friendship--and the affection--of a kind doctor. Could he be the answer to her loneliness? Or will her life be upended by circumstance yet again? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

Lawman in Disguise by Laurie Kingery -- A Texas Ranger goes undercover to bring about the capture of a dangerous outlaw gang, but doesn't count on falling in love during the process. Can he achieve his goal and begin a new life with the woman he has come to love, or will he pay the ultimate price for his daring? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Resurrection of Hope by Tamera Lynn Kraft -- She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong? (Historical Romance from Desert Breeze Publishing)

A Changed Agent by Tracey J. Lyons -- When schoolteacher Elsie Mitchell meets rugged William Benton on a train platform in Albany, it appears they have nothing in common. He isn't the sort of fellow a proper young woman of the 1890s would ever speak to, much less become involved with. But when she arrives at her small town in the Adirondack Mountains, Elsie is offered a job as caregiver for this mysterious out-of-towner's niece and nephew, who've been tragically orphaned. Heartbroken for them, she accepts. Unknown to her, William is an undercover Pinkerton agent posing as a lumber-company foreman. He's never wanted family--his work is too dangerous. Yet as Elsie transforms his house into a home and he spends time with the children, he feels drawn to family life--and to Elsie. As a good Christian, Elsie is troubled by William's secrets…though she does find him intriguing. And when a sinister figure from her past arrives, Elsie and William will have to trust in faith and newfound love to protect their unlikely family from danger. (Historical Romance from Waterfall Press)

Sarah's Surrender by Vickie McDonough -- When Sarah Worley rejects Luke McNeil's proposal to pursue property in the Oklahoma Territory land lottery in 1901, the ranch hand pulls up stakes and goes after her. But he's the last person she wants to see. The land lottery gives Sarah the chance to realize her dream of independence and a home of her own. But with it comes challenges she never considered. When her dream becomes a nightmare, she must decide whether to stay on her land or give up and return to the life she left. Luke hopes that by winning a claim, he can give Sarah the home she's always wanted. How can he prove his love and show the stubborn woman that he's the right man for her? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)


Romantic Suspense:

Incriminating Evidence by Rachel Dylan -- When rookie prosecutor Jessica Hughes crosses the son of a major crime boss, she's determined to bring him to justice--if his family doesn't kill her first. And with newly minted FBI special agent Zach Taylor protecting her, she believes she can succeed. Zach will do anything to stay ahead of the crime syndicate and guard Jessica while she builds her case. The more time he spends with her, the more personal the assignment becomes. It's bad timing for falling in love, but as the threats against her life escalate, Zach realizes Jessica is everything to him--and he will do everything he can to make sure she has a future. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Through Raging Waters by Renee Blare -- Floods from spring runoff compounded by the storm of the century sends Timber Springs into a tailspin. Tossed into the role of rescuer, local pharmacist Paul Fitzgerald must face his past before the whole world falls apart. While he fights to contain the beast around him, he finds his steadfast control slipping through his fingers. And life…everyone's life…hangs by a thread once again. Melissa Hampton has her own demons to battle. She's never been a hero…but as waters rise and tension climbs within Timber Springs, she needs to rise to the challenge or lose the only man she's ever loved. (Romantic Suspense from Inspired (Prism Book Group)

Fractured Memory by Jordyn Redwood -- United States marshal Eli Cayne saved Julia Galloway's life once…and he's prepared to do it again. But his task would be easier if she could remember him--or the murderer who almost put her in an early grave and seems to be hunting her once more. To protect Julia from the latest threat against her life, Eli has to consider the possibility that he put an innocent man in jail. Julia has no memories of the serial killer called the Hangman, though, and no reason to trust Eli. But with the killer getting closer, she must work with Eli to confront her past—and the feelings growing between them. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

In a Killer's Sights by Sandra Robbins -- When Gwen Harwell witnesses someone dumping a body into a Tennessee river, she knows she's the killer's new target. Far from home on a work assignment, she isn't sure where to turn--especially when her ex-husband appears. Five years ago, Dean Harwell's burdens from his police work tore their marriage apart. But now he says he's changed. He's working as a rancher; he's put his problems behind him. And he's committed to keeping her safe until the killer is caught. With their troubled past, trusting him with her life is hard enough. Can she trust him with the truth about the child he doesn't know they have? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Suspense:

Deep Shadows by Vanetta Chapman -- Life in Abney, Texas is predictable and safe--until the night a massive solar flare wipes out all modern technology. (Suspense from Harvest House Publishers)


Speculative (High Fantasy):

Eirwen's Dream: Inside Snow White's Sleeping Mind by Kristen Reed -- After eating her stepmother's poison apple, Princess Eirwen has a fantastical dream in which she must defeat an evil Siren. (Speculative/High Fantasy, Independently Published)


Remember, folks, if you have a question for the "Ask Me Anything" post going up July 18, ask in the comments of any post, and I'll do my best to answer! We're still needing a few more questions, so anything you ask will be fun! All you have to do is ask a random question, and I'll answer on the blog. Ask away!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

ACFW 2015 Conference Catch Up



Obvious confession #1: I’m late posting this blog.

Obvious confession #2: I’m seriously late posting these photos!


Thought y’all might like to get a peek into last year’s American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. So I’ve scrounged up the photos I took with my cell phone and have added a bit of commentary. :) I have lots of other photos, but there was no room in this post. If you REALLY want to see them, tell me so in the comments, and I'll do more posts or put them on Facebook. :)

Also, I’m super excited to say the Lord has worked an all-out God-thing and made it where I can attend this year as well. I don’t know what all He has in store, but I’m looking forward to finding out! The conference this year will be held at the Omni Hotel and Resort in Nashville, TN, a gorgeous venue that I’m excited to explore. I’ll try to bring back lots of photos if I can keep my head on straight. :)




This is obviously what I felt when I found out I was able to go to the ACFW 2015 Writers Conference.


Of course, then I had to figure out how to wear my hair at the gala.
Turns out the hairstyle's not as easy as it looks on Youtube.
Finally got my business cards in the mail after one failed batch.
My fairy godmother--um, I mean critique partner Elaine Manders sewed this beautiful historical costume to my specifications with her excellent seamstress skills and a heart made of gold.

Trying on the dress as soon as it came in the mail, because I couldn't stand it.


Dallas skyscrapers!

Me with Jeanne Takenaka. Such a friendly and encouraging lady!
Revell author Beth White and I in costume at the genre dinner!
The incomparable Francine Rivers and I--can you see the excitement pinging off of me? My crit partner and I were exploring the hotel at 11pm and happened to run into Frannie. Total God thing!

Appetizer at the gala.


The amazing Sara Ella! I'm so excited I got to meet her in person after being friends online through our awesome friend Nancy Kimball!

My roommate--a total dream! She was awesome and so workable. Can't wait to see you this year, Elizabeth Van Tassel!


People cheering at the gala as awards were being granted.


Since the hotel was in Texas, they had some excellent decor. I love this movie!

The hotel walls were papered with famous Texan quotes!


Comment fodder:
What's the coolest place you visited in 2015?
Have you ever been to the Dallas, TX area? What was your favorite thing about your visit?

***REMEMBER, if you have a question for me, any question, I'll try to answer it on July 18th! Ask me in the comments!