Thursday, March 27, 2014

G. E. Hamlin Interviews Her Character Randall Connor

Hi, everyone. Please welcome today's guests, G. E. Hamlin and her character Randall Connor!

Hello, Natalie. I’m honored you’ve invited me to be interviewed for your blog. I write women’s fiction with a focus on troubled marriages. My writing style reflects the qualities of Nicholas Sparks’ soft side and the fast pace of James Patterson.

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, raucous, light, fresh, tummy-tickler (funny), educational, adventurous, witty, passionate, reminiscent, sweet, forceful, eye-opening?
I humbly say, all of the above. As in real life, my characters walk through an array of experiences, which stirs each of the emotions you’ve identified at various points in their lives. We’ve all experienced dark times in our lives, which hopefully have opened our eyes, as well as every other emotion you’ve listed in between.

What is the name of your latest book?

“Marriage Takes Three”, is my debut novel, and is scheduled for release from Chalfont House/HopeSprings Books on April 02, 2014.

Using any celebrity, past or present, who would you cast as your main characters?
This is a great question. I’d be interested to hear who the readers would cast in the roles of: Randall Connor, Darla Connor, Paul Connor, and the protagonist, country music artist Jack Collins (also known as J.J. Collins). As for me, when I wrote “Marriage Takes Three” I had specific actors in mind, so you can see why I like your question. 
Randall Connor – I envision a younger Alec Baldwin (I say in his 40s). 
Darla Connor – Diane Lane is my ideal actress for the character. 
Paul Connor – I pictured Zac Efron.

Jack Collins (J.J. Collins) I visualized a younger Kris Kristofferson (also in his 40s).

What is the theme of your story?
I’d like to invite one of the people, intimately involved with the theme of “Marriage Takes Three” to share his perspective. So, without further adieu, I introduce Mr. Randall Connor.
G.E. Hamlin: Hello, Randall. How are you feeling today?
Randall: In a word, Optimistic. Now if you ask me in twenty-four hours my answer may change. As a recovering alcoholic, I’ve learned to take it one day at a time.
G.E. Hamlin:  Randall, I’ve been asked to share about the theme of “Marriage Takes Three”, which is your family’s story, so it seemed appropriate to ask your perspective. Would you please tell me and Natalie’s readers what you feel the theme of “Marriage Takes Three” is about? One caveat, please don’t give too much away. LOL.
Randall: I’m humbled that you would want to include my opinion, and I certainly have one. My wife, Darla and teenage son, Paul, would say I have an opinion on just about everything. I believe the theme of “Marriage Takes Three” is about what happens when God is not part of a marriage. Many couples don’t include God in their marriages, look at the married couples who are struggling to stay in their marriages let alone enjoy them. The common denominator (I’m an accountant, so please forgive the analytical approach) is the majority of unhappy troubled marriages are godless, or best case scenario, only one spouse is putting God first in the marriage.
G.E. Hamlin: You mentioned your wife, Darla, and your son, Paul; I sensed a little tension when you said they feel as though you have an opinion about everything. What did you mean?
Randall: As a Christian man, who wants to be the head of my home -- under the leadership of Jesus Christ, it can be perceived as if it’s ‘my way or the highway’ when in fact, its God’s way that we should be seeking. Granted, my delivery isn’t always in love, but I try as best as I can with the help of Jesus to walk in love…. And trust me, He’s working on my delivery.
G.E. Hamlin:  What have you learned experientially that you didn’t know before your marital trials?
Randall: That’s easy. God is faithful even when I’m not and for that I am forever thankful and it also encourages me to be the person He wants me to be, versus who the world says I should be.
G.E. Hamlin: Randall, thank you for sharing your perspective. I couldn’t imagine doing this interview without prayer or your perspective.
Randall: Thank you, and thank you, Natalie, for allowing me to be included in the interview. G.E. Hamlin, as for your sentiment about not doing the interview without prayer or without me, I say, I couldn’t have done “Marriage Takes Three” without God or without you. Thank you.

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now?
Before I respond to that question, I want to say, Randall is such an interesting man. Thank you, Natalie for allowing me to include him in the interview. With regard to what I’m working on next, well, it is a subject matter that needs to come out of the dark and into the light. The topic is pornography. In my second novel “Forsaking All Others” a Christian married couple confronts the issue of pornography in the husband’s life and the fallout that occurs.

Wow, these are serious, prevalent issues Christians face today. I’m glad someone is taking them on to help minister to the struggling and brokenhearted. Do you blog? If so, leave us the address.
My Blog is titled “For Better or For Worse” and the URL is: HTTP://

Now some fun stuff... :)

On a dream research trip, where would you go? What would you ask to see/experience first?

On a dream research trip, I’d like to go on a ‘Couples Cruise’ to some wonderful tropical island, where I could pick the brains of the married couples about what they think works and doesn’t work in marriage.

Author Biography:
G.E. Hamlin (Ginny) passionately writes about broken marriages and the restorative power of Jesus Christ. Her stories stem from personal experiences and working in lay ministry as a member of her church. Her characters encounter the natural consequences of addiction to: alcohol, drugs, and sexual immorality. It is Ginny's hope each story will create a bridge for discussion in real life.

Ginny has been a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) for over six years. Her style of writing reflects the qualities of Nicholas Sparks' soft side and the fast pace of James Patterson.
She and her husband Ed have a blended family with five adult children and eight grandchildren. Ginny and her husband live in Southern California where they enjoy the beach, desert, and mountains. As a full time author, she is blessed with frequent opportunities to spend time with the grandchildren.

Marriage Takes Three - Blurb
Darla Connor is struggling with whether to stay in her troubled marriage or walk away. Maintaining a long distance friendship with an old sweetheart isn't making the decision easier, especially when that sweetheart, now a famous country music star declares his love for her, even though she is married. Randall Connor is a recovering alcoholic and wants to heal his broken marriage, and as a new believer, he is counting on God to help him. When Darla rejects his ultimatum to sever ties with her old boyfriend, he's in for the battle of his life. Will Darla follow promises of a better life with her old boyfriend, or will she surrender to God in time to save her marriage?

Which of these things can readers can do to help spread the word about this book?
Word of mouth Pre-order Marriage Takes Three

My main Facebook page is
You can find me on twitter

If you win/buy a copy, post a pic with the book,

Repin book quotes or cover art from the author on,

Recommend to a library or book club, or start one with this book!

Again, I humbly say…. All of the above please. ;)

Thank you, again, Natalie for having me and Mr. Randall Connor as your guests.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Connie Almony Interviews Character Carly Rose

Oh, my goodness! I'm so excited! Today is our first EVER character interview here on the blog!
Today, author Connie Almony is interviewing Carly Rose from her novella, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Carly Rose. I develop prosthetics to help people who’ve lost limbs. I work mostly with veterans. Though I grew up in the business, helping my father who started Rose Prosthetics, I wanted to learn all aspects of the field so received training as a physical therapist as well. Right now, my dad and I are trying to start a new company, since my brothers ruined the one he’s originally created.

What is the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
I don’t know if you’d call it quirky or downright crazy, but I moved in with a very bitter disabled Iraq-war vet, Cole Harrison, to help him rehab with my prototype prosthetic products. I was hoping to get him to invest in a new company and redeem the Rose family name. Only I didn’t realize the guy would be such a … oh well … Let’s just say he’s not all together pleasant (cough) a-beast. Ahem. Excuse me, I had something in my throat.

Tell us three things about you that may surprise people.
1)      My favorite part of my work is wielding a blow-torch. Yes, a blow-torch! We use them to heat molds for prosthetic sockets during the fitting process. I don’t know why I love that part so much. I guess it just makes me feel a little dangerous.
2)      I’m not real good filtering what I say, especially if I’ve been insulted. I tend to lash out. Dad says I got my temper from my mom. She’d been a little fiery when she was alive. Dad always smiles and winks when he tells me that.
3)      I’m not afraid of much, but I’m deathly afraid of horses, especially Cole’s horse, Lightning. No reason. No childhood trauma involving the big brutish creatures. I think it’s just because they are big, and I am not. Oh yeah, and they don’t talk so you can’t reason with them about not stepping on you, kicking you, or galloping off with you at top speed. And they’re big. Did I mention that yet?

What is your favorite thing to do?
I love to get lost in a book. It can be a well thought out classic or a fluffy, fun romance, just as long as it takes me away from the heaviness of worrying about my dad … not to mention bearing with the sardonic, arrogant curmudgeon I live with.

I especially love to read outdoors. One of the perks of this new living arrangement (with Oscar the Grouch) is that his estate is at the edge of a lush forest with beautiful trails and views. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring them, appreciating God’s creation in all its glory. Too bad Mr. Friendly doesn’t believe in God. He might better appreciate the work of the Master Creator.

When did things change dramatically in your life?
Things had been going slowly down hill since my brothers took over my dad’s prosthetics company, but it really hit the fan when a disabled vet fell down some stairs while using a prosthetic leg created by the Rose company that had a seriously defective screw. Between the lawsuits against the company and the recalls that followed, my father’s mood had become very dark. It was his dream to help amputees since his brother killed himself years ago, but his own sons have destroyed that dream.
Still, my life changed dramatically when I moved in with Cole. Our arrangement gave my father hope, so I didn’t have to worry about him so much. But now I traded that concern for the man I live with—a man who wrestles many demons, though I’ve been increasingly aware, has a softer, generous side. If only he didn’t feel such a great need to shield it from vulnerability.

Is there anyone you despise?
Oh, I can’t say I actually despise anyone, though I’m really angry at those wretched, selfish, beasts of brothers I have—Ahem—I mean, I’m not too happy with my siblings. Sometimes I’d like to wring their scrawny necks and throw mud on their former-model wives’ sequined gowns … but I couldn’t say I really despise them. I know, since God has forgiven me my sins, I need to forgive them theirs … someday … I hope.

What is your current life goal?
That would be to rebuild my father’s dream to help injured vets become whole again. My father did it by providing prosthetic limbs to amputees. I’d also like them to know there’s additional healing they can receive through Jesus.

What stands in the way of achieving that goal?
I guess that would be my brothers’ cutting costs and making inferior products that can injure rather than help. That’s why I started developing prosthetics on my own. However, my reputation is aligned with theirs, so no one will invest in my new designs. Except, maybe Cole. I don’t know why because he’s made it painfully clear he wanted nothing to do with prosthetics again. But for some reason, he’s trying ours.

In three words, describe yourself.
Tenacious, hard-working and plain.

Yeah, well, next to my brothers’ former-model wives, I think most people would call me plain.

Does Cole find you plain?
<Carly fidgets and lifts her chin> Yes, I believe he does. He often mocks me by calling me Beauty. Only sometimes I wonder … well … never mind. Yes, he thinks I’m plain.

Are you a highly scheduled person, or do you like to “wing it.”
I’d say I’m somewhere in between. I like to be organized and know how my day will be laid out. But if this time with Cole (and his personal demons) has taught me anything, it’s that life throws you curve balls now and again, and a person needs to adjust.

Do you trust yourself in your work or do you rely on the wisdom of others, feeling they may know more than you do?
I know the business of prosthetics inside and out. I’ve been trained in all aspects of the job from fitting patients to the right product, to rehabbing them. My father taught me to do everything as if for God, so I take my work seriously.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t remain open to suggestion. I’ve been very fortunate to have Cole’s horse trainer, Joe Sakamoto, give me advice about how to deal with the ornery owner of the manor. And Sam, the horse trainer’s son, has taught me the benefits of therapy with horses (hippotherapy)—even if they do scare the daylights out of me. We now use this therapy to help Cole heal both physically and from the psychological trauma of PTSD.

That sounds interesting.
Yes, it really is. But don’t tell Sam or Joe I said that. I’d get a tag-team attack of I-told-you-so from the two of them.

Thank you, Carly, for joining us today. I hope Cole decides to invest in your new company.

Book blurb:
At the Edge of a Dark Forest
Cole Harrison, a war veteran, wears his disfigurement like a barrier to those who might love him, shielding them from the ugliness inside. He agrees to try and potentially invest in, a prototype prosthetic with the goal of saving a hopeless man’s dreams.
Carly Rose contracts to live with Cole and train him to use his new limbs, only to discover the darkness that wars against the man he could become.
At the Edge of a Dark Forest is a modern-day retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only it is not her love that will make him whole.
Author Bio:
Connie Almony is trained as a mental health therapist and likes to mix a little fun with the serious stuff of life. She was a 2012 semi-finalist in the Genesis Contest for Women’s Fiction and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Winter 2012 WOW Flash Fiction Contest. Her newest release, At the Edge of a Dark Forest, is a modern-day re-telling of Beauty and the Beast about a war-vet, amputee struggling with PTSD.
You can find Connie on the web, writing book reviews for Jesus Freak Hideout, and hosting the following blogs: and
You can also meet her on the following social media outlets:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Valerie Comer Interview

I'm so excited about our author interview today! Everybody welcome Valerie Comer!

Hi, Valerie! Give us a couple sentences describing what you write.

Hi Natalie! Thanks for inviting me to your blog. I write contemporary romance from a rural perspective: farm lit where food meets faith.

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, raucous, light, fresh, tummy-tickler (funny), educational, adventurous, witty, passionate, reminiscent, sweet, forceful, eye-opening.

I'll go with fresh. After all, it's in the title of my current series, A Farm Fresh Romance. But light, funny, and heart-warming are all fighting for second place!

What is the name of your latest book?

Wild Mint Tea.

Using any celebrity, past or present, who would you cast as your main characters?

I can't really answer this, as I don't pay much attention to celebrities. However, readers can check out my Farm Fresh Romance board on Pinterest to see stock images of my characters: I've got other story inspiration on that board as well.

Cool! I love this. And LUV :) Gotta run go check it out for myself. Okay I'm back. Ya'll, there is seriously fun stuff on that pin board!

What is the theme of your story and how did you come to it? Any real-life inspiration?

In the end, I think the theme of Wild Mint Tea is "being enough." Claire worries about not keeping up her share of the expenses of Green Acres Farm that she bought along with her two friends, Jo and Sierra. Of meeting people's expectations.

And sure, it's a universal struggle, I think. I know it's a problem for me. Am I good enough wife, mom, grandmother, author? Am I meeting everyone's expectations, or do the people in my life look at me and shake their heads?

Zephaniah 3:17 is a great reminder. "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."

I'm not only "enough" for Him, but He writes me love songs. How cool is that?

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now?

Sweetened with Honey is the third book in the Farm Fresh Romance series. Both Sierra and Gabe played a large role in the first book, but Gabe wasn't around for the second story. Now I'm having a great time finding ways to push them further apart before allowing them their happy ending. Sweetened with Honey releases in March, 2015.

I've also joined forces with Angela Breidenbach to write Snowflake Tiara, a Christmas duo of novellas that releases in September. Angela's story is historical, and mine contemporary. And yes, my beauty pageant novella is still right on my brand of farm lit! You'll have to read it to see how.

Oooh! These stories sound like something I would love to sink my reader teeth into! Now, tell us where all these fun stories are born! Describe your writing space:

My laptop stand is right in front of a west-facing window upstairs in our little farmhouse. Today snow is drifting down and there's no evidence of mountains or even neighbors. In summer, the lush view includes my vegetable garden, our pastures, the neighbors' farms, and the mountains beyond.

Inside, I have a long worktable that forms an L with my makeshift desk. Above that rest two vital boards. One is a large inspiration board, covered in photos, maps, calendar printouts, floor plans, book covers, and other items that serve to keep me inspired about my work-in-progress. The other is a giant whiteboard, where I can scribble notes and jot mind maps when a little brainstorming is in order.

I share my office with visiting granddaughters from time to time, which means everything that could be remotely interesting to toddlers has to be removable!

Haha! I can imagine how fun that is! :) Speaking of grandchildren and keeping busy, do you work a “day job”? Is there a secret/technique you’ve found that helps with balancing the writing and working life?

I don't anymore, though I did for the first ten years of my writing life. These days I write fulltime from home, along with a couple of freelance online marketing jobs. I don't have any tricks. Every day it's a struggle to keep the balance between new words on the page, email, blogs (I'm part of 4 group blogs as well as my own), social media, marketing (my own and paid), and my real life which includes a lot of gardening and food preservation in the summers as well as time with my family.

Wow! I have enough trouble keeping up with my own little blog. (He he he. Valerie knows this well, since I actually forgot her interview until late today. I felt terrible for it, but Valerie is such a kind person and made it all okay. *smile*  ) Speaking of blogging, do you do you want to leave us the address to yours?

I do! I've been blogging at for a long time. It's morphed a number of times during those years, and I currently blog a "simple smile" on Tuesdays and a longer post, usually where food meets faith and fiction in some way, on Fridays.

Now some fun stuff about you... :)

On a dream research trip, where would you go? What would you ask to see/experience first?

As a farmer and foodie, I live my research, lol. But I'd love to see how others do it. Ideally, I'd go somewhere in the Pacific Northwest (where my series is set) or western Canada (where I live) and experience a farm-to-table restaurant, interviewing the owners and savoring the local food.

When you read, do you prefer paperback, e-book, or audio? Why?

For me, it's mostly digital reading. I have an eye disease that makes paperbacks challenging, so I'm very thankful for my Kindle that adjusts to meet my needs. I doubt if paper books make up even 5% of my reading any more! While I love podcasts and nonfiction by audio, I haven't yet ventured into fiction that way, but I should give it a try. My brain needs something to think about during all that weeding in summer!

Author bio.

Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary inspirational romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie and her family grow much of their own food and are active in the local foods movement as well as their creation-care-centric church. She only hopes her creations enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Valerie writes Farm Lit where food meets faith, injecting experience laced with humor into her stories. Raspberries and Vinegar, first in her series A Farm Fresh Romance, released in August, 2013.

You can connect with Valerie at her website and blog at, where you can join her newsletter list where she offers exclusive contests, giveaways, and news on upcoming releases. Her social media links are also available on her site. Please visit!

Book blurb:

She’s rooted deep. He flies free.

Local-foods chef Claire Halford envisions turning Green Acres Farm into an event destination. Weddings prove trickier than she imagined when the first one comes with a ruggedly handsome brother-of-the-bride, who has everything but a fixed address. Oh, and faith in God.

Noel Kenzie loves the freedom his reforestation company affords him. Why worry about deep stuff like God and commitment when he’s in his prime? Except there’s a woman who might make it worth giving up his wings…and digging in some roots. If he dares.

Which of these things can readers can do to help spread the word about this book?

Word of mouth, reviews,
Blog posts,
Tweets/Facebook posts,
Like the author's Facebook page, follow on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Goodreads,
If you win/buy a copy, post a pic with the book,
Repin book quotes or cover art from the author on,
Recommend to a library or book club, or start one with this book!

Absolutely! You have a great list here, Natalie. I think the biggest things that readers can do for a book they love is share it. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads really help a lot so that strangers will take a closer look at the title.

If you've read a book and loved it, also ask your public and church libraries to order a copy. Blog about it and tell people what, exactly, struck you as "true" about the story. Definitely tell your friends via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest!

And if you've loved one of my books, I welcome you to subscribe to my newsletter, where I offer contests and giveaways as well as exclusive content. This way, you'll be sure to know when there's something new in the pipeline. Join me at

Thanks so much for inviting me over, Natalie! I've loved chatting with you about Wild Mint Tea.

Your readers are welcome to enter my Goodreads giveaway (open until March 17) for a paperback. But I'm happy to offer one commenter a digital copy, as well—winner's choice of Kindle or ePub.

I shared one of my favorite scriptures (Zephaniah 3:17). What's one of yours? Why?

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wild Mint Tea by Valerie Comer

Wild Mint Tea

by Valerie Comer

Giveaway ends March 17, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Winner of last week's giveaway (Heidi Glick's Dog Tags) is Amanda. Congrats! I'll be emailing you shortly.