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My place for interviews, book reviews, and the occasional meditation. Do you enjoy a good book? I'll feature them here, so let's visit!
Congratulations, Julie Arduini! Your name has been drawn from all who commented on Linda Wood Rondeau's interview, and you have won a print copy of her fabulous book, Fiddler's Fling.
Thank you to everyone who visited Grace Notes and left a comment. I hope you'll come back soon.
Today we get to meet Linda Wood Rondeau and her book, Fiddler's Fling. Not only that, one lucky reader who leaves a comment below will win a print copy of this wonderful novel.
Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel, The Other Side of Darkness (Pelican Book Group), LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes blended contemporary fiction that speaks to the heart and offers hope to those with damaged lives. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida. A Christmas Prayer (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), (aka A Father’s Prayer) was a finalist for both the 2014 Selah and Carol Awards and joins It Really IS a Wonderful Life in LPCH’s lineup.
The author’s latest book, Fiddler’s Fling was released in November 2015 by Elk Lake Publishing. Watch for her upcoming release, Red Sky Promise.
Rondeau is well known for her vivid settings and characterizations.
When not writing, the author enjoys golfing, hiking, and spending time with her best friend in life, her husband of nearly forty years.
Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com where they’ll find her blog, Snark and Sensibility. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.
I was privileged to read and review Fiddler's Fling a few months ago, and it earned five stars! You can read my Amazon review here; http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1YMP20MMYQUE/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1942513690
Question and answer time, Linda!
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THIS STORY?
As a social worker in my previous life before my writing addiction took full root, I saw the tragedy of families torn asunder. Most of the time, these troubles were the result of an inability to communicate with one another/and or failing to surrender the rift to the Lord.
While this book is essentially a romance with suspense elements, it is also a story of forgiveness as Jolene works through the chasm that has separated her from the father she loves.
I previously lived in the Adirondacks, so the setting is one of my favorite places in the world. I wanted to develop a story to demonstrate that abortion is not the unpardonable sin. Abortion claims two victims: that of the fetus and the heart of the mother.
The church is quick to condemn but slow to offer healing to the the other victim.
WHAT IS THE TAKE AWAY MESSAGE?
That God is already at work in shaping our tomorrows. When we surrender our mistakes and poor choices to HIm, He turns our worst past into our best future.
Is there such a thing? I have spent my whole life trying to find a consistent rhythm to this thing called life. My husband and I are retired, but even though our children are away from home, we have discovered that one day is never like the previous day.
But I do have rituals, though they may not be molded to the whim of the clock.
When I rise, if the coffee is not already brewed, I start it. Coffee first, brain power second. Depending on the hour of the day, I prefer to have my personal devotion time before hubs wakes up.
I check my email and my social media while I'm drinking coffee and still trying to wake up. Then I shower and dress. I like to get a couple of hours of writing time in before lunch. I'm fortunate that my husband has taken over the cooking.
We watch a show or two then I head back to my office and try to get a few more hours of writing tasks done. Sometimes editing, sometimes marketing, sometimes working on new material or preparing my Sunday school lesson for my Primetime Ladies.
After dinner, I catch up with email and social media and try to get another hour or two of writing things done.
I like to settle in for the night between 9 or 10. I find I'm far more productive the next day if I get a good night's sleep.
I use the word "try" because life refuses to follow an predictable pattern where I'm concerned.
The key to accomplishing my tasks, for me, is commitment. I make a list of my must do tasks on the first of the month. Sometimes I remember to look at it. But it helps me to prioritize my work each day.
I would love to travel if our budget allowed. Like most writers, especially those published by small houses, I operate in the red. Mostly, I rely on personal interview, the library, and the Internet for my research. When it comes to sports, I know my husband will find the answer for me! Actually, he's a great research assistant. No we don't accept the first answer we find on the Internet. We triple check our facts.
WHAT IS MY NEXT WRITING PROJECT?
Currently I am working on a redo of a book that went out of print last year. Due to the craziness that is this industry and a long convoluted story, the Lord required that I take a number of books off the market. This broke my heart. I surrendered the loss to the Lord. "You gave me these words. They are yours to do as you please."
I was thrilled when a publisher and I were able to work out a solution to have one of these books revised and put back on the market. What a great time I'm having with revisiting this story. It is essentially a new book, but I've been able to keep the message intact.
I am also working on a new manuscript RED SKY PROMISE, contracted through Elk Publishing. The story deals with a young man's post traumatic distress involving childhood sexual abuse. It is also a love story and of course, is set in Northern New York!
COFFEE OR TEA
SNACKS: SWEET OR SALTY?
Both. I'm a creature of many moods, but I never go wrong with chocolate.
I have three. I want to go to the British Isles, Africa, and Israel.
NUMBER ONE ON MY BUCKET LIST?
Previously that would have been horseback riding. But two years ago, my husband arranged for us to experience an hour of horseback riding on the beach. What a great memory.
The next item is to go zip lining with my granddaughter. But to do that, I have to lose more weight. Working on it.
Zip-lining? Wow! You're much braver than I am. :)
Thank you, Linda. Now let's "meet" your book.
FIDDLER'S FLING (an Inspirational Romance) FROM AWARD WINNING AUTHOR, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
Engaged to a wealthy rising political star, a driven social worker returns to her small-town roots.
With her wedding to Robert Ashworth weeks away, Jolene Murdock receives a call from Dwight Etting, her estranged father’s junior partner and her former boyfriend. The business is crumbling and her father is dying.
Compelled to visit in spite of Robert’s objections, Jolene wonders if reconciliation is possible given her father’s hatred of all things Ashworth. And there was Dwight. How could she work side-by-side with him and not reveal her secret sin?
To complicate matters her father wants her to play a duet with him in the upcoming Essex County Fiddlers Fling; however, her fiddle was among the many things she left behind when she abandoned Brookside.
More than a romance.
Set in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, Fiddler's Fling depicts the struggle of the human spirit to find absolution in good deeds rather than accept the unconditional forgiveness God offers the repentant heart.
Ready to buy? Here's a link, because we love to make things easier for our readers! http://lindarondeau.com/viewproduct/4
Thanks for visiting Grace Notes!
Readers, don't forget to comment below for a chance to win your own print copy of Fiddler's Fling.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."TITLE: The Atonement
AUTHOR: Beverly Lewis
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
The mistakes of the past haunt Lucy Flaud, who years ago stopped attending the activities for courting-age young people in her hometown of Bird-in-Hand. Now twenty-five and solidly past the age of Amish courtship, Lucy has given up any hope of marriage, instead focusing her efforts on volunteering in both the Plain and fancy communities of Lancaster County. Yet no matter how hard Lucy strives, she feels uncertain that she'll ever find redemption.
Dale Wyeth has a deep mistrust of modern-day "advances" and the dependency they create. The young Englisher's interest in living off the grid is fueled further when he meets Christian Flaud, Lucy's father. Dale appreciates the self-sufficient ways of the Old Order Amish, and Christian invites him to learn more about them by staying at the family farm.
As Christian and Dale grow closer, developing a father-son rapport, Lucy begins to question what Dale's being there might mean for her. Could God be testing her? Or is it possible that even the most unworthy heart--and two people from very different walks of life--can somehow find a new beginning?
I wanted to love this book. Beverly Lewis is a New York Times bestselling author, and her name has been synonymous with Amish fiction for years. But I am sorry to admit that The Atonement did not fulfil my expectations. Lucy Flaud and the other characters were pleasant but not compelling, and I found myself skimming portions of the story. The bucolic setting is familiar to readers of this genre, and I was more attracted to the descriptions of Amish farm life than the plodding plot.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, which I have given. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Even though I wanted to award The Atonement at least four stars, it earned three and a half.
The winner of a print copy of MaryAnn Diorio's latest novel, The Madonna of Pisano, is...
Congratulations, Carolyn! Your book will soon be on its way to you, courtesy of the author.
Thank you for visiting Grace Notes and leaving a comment. It paid off!
TITLE: Counted With the Stars
AUTHOR: Connilyn Cossette
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.
To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she's only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she's ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?
Biblical fiction is tricky, but I was swept into Egypt with Counted With the Stars. Connilyn Cossette draws detailed scenes of life in the ancient city of Iunu, a fascinating whirl of colors, scents and customs. The story is told from Kiya’s viewpoint, in the first person, and the strategy works. We the readers see daily life and the trials of servanthood through her eyes, creating compassion and admiration in us.
Certain details like the parting of the sea didn’t ring true to me, but I found this story compelling and well written.
I was given a copy of Counted With the Stars by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. I award this book four stars. Recommended, especially for those who love Biblical fiction.
TITLE: A Fool & His Monet
AUTHOR: Sandra Orchard
Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art--one that's surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She's joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother's pleas to do something safer--like get married--Serena's learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.
When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather's murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.
FBI agent Serena Jones is an easy heroine to love, and not just by readers. She has two handsome, eligible men vying for her attention, and their competition adds even more fun to this delightful tale. I loved her quirk of comparing people in her life, especially men, to well-known actors. Little details like this created a lighthearted atmosphere in spite of some real danger.
All of the characters in this book were complex and realistic. I adore Serena’s Aunt Martha and hope to meet her in subsequent books.
A Fool & His Monet is the first in Sandra Orchard’s new Serena Jones Mysteries. As such, not all the questions were answered, but enough were resolved to keep this reader from frustration. I’m hooked and will look for future books in the series.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion, which is that A Fool & His Monet earns five stars. Definitely recommended!
Happy Monday, dear readers! Today it's my privilege to introduce a lovely lady, prolific writer, and award-winning author MaryAnn Diorio and her latest novel, The Madonna of Pisano.
As a special gift to you, one lucky commentor will win a print copy of this beautiful story set in 19th century Sicily. So don't forget to leave a comment with your name and contact info!
Dr. MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of riveting fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. Her latest work, THE MADONNA OF PISANO, is the first novel in her trilogy titled THE ITALIAN CHRONICLES. MaryAnn also writes picture books for children. She resides in New Jersey with her husband Dominic. They are blessed with two magnificent daughters, a wonderful son-in-law, and five rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn enjoys reading, painting, and spending time with her family. She may be reached at www.maryanndiorio.com.
Let's dig a little deeper, shall we?
1. What was your inspiration for this story?
An incident that occurred in my ancestral history.
2. What is its take-away message?
Unforgiveness enslaves; forgiveness sets free.
3. Tell us a bit about your writing routine. Do you have set hours?
Yes. I usually write from 9am-1pm five days a week. This sometimes varies based on family needs, etc., but I do my best to stick to my schedule. I consider my writing a business. Although I have a writing studio in my home, my mindset is that I am going to my job.
4. Do you get dressed first?
Yes. When I get dressed, I take myself more seriously. :) I even put on make-up, LOL! :)
5. Do you travel for research?
So far, I have written about places where I've either lived or that I have visited. I like to travel because it makes my research more authentic to me. There is something about being in a place physically that differs from reading about it online. When I am physically in a location, I can smell the air, feel the temperature, and enjoy the culture in a way that I cannot if I research online.
6. Where and when do you do your best work?
In my writing studio from 9am until 1pm.
7. What’s your next writing project?
I am currently completing the second novel of The Italian Chronicles Trilogy. The second book is titled A SICILIAN FAREWELL. It is scheduled for a summer release.
Just for fun:
1. Coffee or Tea? Coffee
2. Snacks: Sweet or Salty? Salty
3. Dream vacation The Holy Land
4. #1 on your Bucket List To know Jesus more intimately each day by deepening my relationship with His Holy Spirit.
Thanks for sharing with us, MaryAnn. Now let's take a closer look at this fascinating book.
BOOK BLURB: A young woman, a priest, and a secret that keeps them bitterly bound to each other . . .
SHORT EXCERPT from THE MADONNA OF PISANO:
MARIA LANDRO led her little son by the hand as they hurried down the winding road from Bella Terra toward the village. Distant, dark clouds gathered in the morning sky. Looked like a storm coming. The anxiety that had been churning for days in the pit of her stomach now spread to chill every part of her body. It was all she could do to keep herself from turning back.
Nico tugged on her wrist. "Are we almost there, Mama?"
She squeezed his hand in return, the hem of her skirt rustling against the pebbles as it swished along the cobblestone road. "Almost, darling. Are you all right?"
He looked up at her. He had her father's eyes. Kind, deep, and probing. They always made him so easy to love.
"I'm well, Mama." But his fingers fidgeted in her hand.
His nervousness only fueled her own. She squeezed his hand more tightly. Please let the village be kind to him. Regardless of what they believed about her.
A sudden gust of wind caught the end of her headscarf, pulling it back past her temples. "My, the wind is getting stronger. Let's hurry before the storm breaks. We don't want you to arrive at school soaking wet on your very first day, do we?"
"No, we don't, Mama. I would look silly." He laughed, and an arrow pierced her heart.
If anyone hurt him . . .
Ready to get your own copy? Here's the links for all of Dr. Diorio's books:
The Madonna of Pisano http://www.amazon.com/Madonna-Pisano-Italian-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B019EHCSEU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450474616&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Madonna+of+Pisano
Surrender to Love http://www.amazon.com/SURRENDER-LOVE-MaryAnn-Diorio-ebook/dp/B00ZSCU8SE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1435341774&sr=8-1&keywords=surrender+to+love+by+maryann+diorio
A Christmas Homecoming http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Homecoming-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B017QL62U2/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459176404&sr=8-1&keywords=A+Christmas+Homecoming+by+MaryAnn+Diorio
Who Is Jesus? http://www.amazon.com/Who-Jesus-Maryann-Diorio/dp/0930037146/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=141357090
Toby Too Small http://www.amazon.com/Toby-Too-Small-MaryAnn-Diorio-ebook/dp/B012H37JYM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440273255&sr=8-1&keywords=toby+too+small
Candle Love http://www.amazon.com/Candle-Love-MaryAnn-Diorio/dp/0930037332/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1447779976&sr=8-1
Before you go, dear readers, don't forget to comment below for your chance to win a print copy of The Madonna of Pisano.
Welcome, dear readers, to today's spotlight featuring uber-talented Marilyn Leach and her fun cozy mystery, Into the Clouds. As an added bonus, she is giving us a sneak peek at her next book, so read on.
At the age of nine, Marilyn wrote her first play with a childhood neighbor, “The Ghost and Mr. Giltwallet”. It was a mystery. And she’s been writing in one form or another, hobby or livelihood, since. As well as teaching art, she’s had the opportunity to co-author several plays that have been performed on both church and secular stages, as well as two screenplays. Marilyn has had the good fortune of “discovering her roots” while visiting England where she developed lasting relationships with wonderful people there. It has greatly impacted her writing. A keen fan of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and David Cook’s Hetty Wainthropp series, Marilyn was inspired to write her Berdie Elliott Mystery series. It takes place in a small English village where the vicar’s wife, Berdie Elliott, is the divine sleuth. Marilyn lives lakeside in a cottage on the outskirts of Denver near the foothills.
Now it's question and answer time!
1. What was your inspiration for this story?
Since I can remember, I’ve enjoyed reading and writing mysteries. I use the liturgical church calendar as themes for exploits of the lively Berdie Elliott, a vicar’s wife and sleuth extraordinaire, that lives in a small English village, which is my current series with Pelican Books. Candle for a Corpse is an Advent mystery. Up from the Grave is a Lenten mystery. My current story, Into the Clouds, is an Ascension mystery where an energetic church procession down the village High Street is rocked when someone who starts with the parade never arrives at the end. My next release, which happens in March of next year? A Pentecost mystery of course: Enigma of Fire.
2. What is its take-away message?
I like to give my readers a good ‘brain tickle’, gentle humor, and encouragement. Today’s world can be so uncertain sometimes, and a fun read where God’s goodness triumph’s over evil gives a nice uplift. It can make our day a bit brighter.
3. Tell us a bit about your writing routine. Do you have set hours? Do you get dressed first? Do you travel for research? Where and when do you do your best work?
Juggling is the best word for my writing routine at the moment. Marketing eats up so very much time, but I love the moments and hours of fleshing out my stories in a comfy chair on my laptop. It’s true joy. My travels to England have also been inspirational. I incorporate the sights, smells, atmosphere, and culture of this beloved country in all my writing.
4. What's your next writing project?
My next Berdie Elliott mystery, Enigma of Fire, is set to release in March of next year. No gifts are going spare when the village of Aidan Kirkwood is shaken by an explosive event that flames Berdie into action to solve the crime. This story sizzles! The ebook is available for pre-order at Amazon.
And now, just for fun...
1. Coffee or tea?
I am an astute tea drinker. Some may call me a tea snob, but I just say I’m an aficionado of sorts. My dear friends in England introduced me to the joys of fine tea.
2. Snacks: sweet or salty?
My favorite snack is dark, dark chocolate covered almonds, in limited amounts, of course.
3. Dream vacation:
My dream vacation is a kind of working holiday: 6 months to a year in England where I’d live on a canal in a longboat, a kind of houseboat that’s popular in rural England. You’d all be invited to drop by for an afternoon cuppa.
4. #1 on your bucket list:
. I’m still working on what I want in my bucket. One thing, there’s a play I co-wrote that’s been optioned with a film producer. I would love to see the tale of women celebrating all the different seasons on the road to maturity come to life on film. I’d delight in seeing any of my books go to filming, as far as that goes!
Thanks, Marilyn. We've enjoyed getting to know you.
And here's a look at Into the Clouds:
Look at this cover! Isn't it great?
Into the Clouds.
Red Ascension Sunday balloons are not the only things going missing from this small English village.
Ascension Sunday balloons are not the only things disappearing in the English village of Aidan Kirkwood. When the villagers celebrate the first Ascension Sunday Processional in fifty years, someone goes missing. A well off widow that was amongst the crowd has vanished into thin air. And, she’s not the only one who’s nowhere to be found.
Berdie Elliott, the local vicar’s wife, goes into sleuth mode as eccentric cat lovers, a secretive informant, Portuguese holidays, an enigmatic “tree” house, and tangled family dynamics all add to the perplexing affair. Don’t let this mystery slip from your sight.
I'll bet you're wondering where you can contact Marilyn and/or buy your own copy, and I'm happy to share with you:
As promised, here is your sneak peek at Marilyn Leach's next Berdie Elliott mystery, Enigma of Fire, coming soon from Pelican Book Group.
Watch for it!
Drum roll, please...The winner of the print copy of Niki Turner's Santiago Sol is DeAnn Dodson. Congratulations, DeAnna!
The winner of an e-copy of Santiago Sol is Gina Wellborn. Congratulations, Gina!
Please contact Niki Turner directly or me (at this website) with your full email and mailing addresses, so your wonderful prize can wing its way to you.
Thank you to everyone who commented, and a big thank you to Niki Turner.
I hope you'll all stop by Grace Notes often!
TITLE: The Red Door Inn
AUTHOR: Liz Johnson
Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she's hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.
Seth Sloane didn't move three thousand miles to work on his uncle's B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.
The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they've got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?
Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It's a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won't you stay for the season?
I would love to spend time at the Red Door Inn after reading this delightful book by Liz Johnson. She brings Prince Edward Island’s enchantment to vivid life as she draws readers into the troubled lives of Marie and Seth and their separate quests for a fresh start. At least, they intended to keep them separate. But God may have other plans.
Each of the characters in The Red Door Inn appealed to me in their own way. Jack Sloane, the widower who is determined to bring his beloved wife’s dream to fruition and antique-store owner Aretha Franklin (not the singer) add charm and some touches of humor to this story, as do the rest of the cast.
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I loved The Red Door Inn and didn’t want it to end. For that reason and many more, it earns five stars.
I’ve always loved music, even before the writing
bug hit. Grace notes are little extras, not the actual melody. Just something
that adds to the feel of the music. My desire for this blog is to encourage and
bless readers, to share a little grace.