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Clare writes inspirational romance, usually of a suspenseful nature. Her books are available through her publisher Pelican Book Group and Amazon. She is married with three kids and lives in the UK. She loves watching sci-fi, crime drama, cross stitching, reading and baking.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Irish Encounter by Hope Toler Dougherty



Blurb:

After almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her life. Perhaps she’ll find adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she’d buried with her husband.

After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn’t ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her–and God again.

Can Ellen accept a new life different than the one she planned? Can Payne release his guilt and accept the peace he’s longed for? Can they surrender their past pain and embrace healing together or will fear and doubt ruin this second chance at happiness?

Extract:
Payne and Ellen lingered over their food. He explained he was working in Africa and admitted he’d just arrived in Ireland when they met. “I’d been traveling for about two days with hardly any sleep, but it’s better to stay awake a while before crashing. I adjust to a new time zone faster…with less jet lag, too.”
“So those were safari clothes you wore yesterday, and you tried to stay awake by picking a fight with a stranger in a café.” She smiled at him as though she’d just given the correct answer in a board game.
He shook his head. “Huh uh. I stayed awake by talking with a beautiful woman.” He leaned his forearms against the table.
She blinked twice. Was he flirting with her? She wasn’t sure. A warm tingle rose from the bottom of her stomach, grabbing the breath from her lungs and stealing her smile. She searched for something to say. “Ah. Now I find out you’re a flatterer, too.”

“Wrong. I don’t flatter. I say what I mean. Always.”




Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master’s degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of ACW, RWA, and SinC, she has published articles on topics ranging from gardening with children to writing apprehension. She blogs for Almost An Author. She and her husband, Kevin, chat with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo from North Carolina. Her first novel, Irish Encounter, was released in May, 2015. Connect with Hope at hopetolerdougherty.com.




Amazon UK

Amazon US


Friday, 31 July 2015

Release Day. Signal Me #1 - November Charlie


November Charlie. If the tsunami doesn't kill them, the sharks just might.

The flags November Charlie means - I am in distress and require immediate assistance.

Today sees the release of November Charlie, the first in a series of 3 YA books. Be warned, it's a series and ends on a deliberate Cliff Hanger. As does book 2.

Blurb:

When Jim and Staci Kirk's parents go missing, he decides to search for them himself. Unbeknownst to him, his sister and their best friend Lou, stow away to join him.

It seems so simple on paper, sail from England to the Philippines and find the Kirks. But a hurricane named Erika and a relentless shark conspire against them to make the voyage one of the most perilous trips the teenagers have ever lived.

Can they endure the danger? Will they find the Kirks alive or does God have another idea in mind?

Extract:

Lou heard a siren and turned to look behind them. A flashing light identified the fast approaching boat as police. Four armed officers stood on deck and the loud hailer instructed them to pull over.
"Jim? What are you going to do?"
"Do what they want."
"You can’t."
"I have to." Jim began to slow the boat and moved it to rest at the side of the waterway.
The police boat shot past and one of the officers waved his thanks.
Lou released a sigh of relief. "For a moment I thought..."
"We all did," Jim said. He pulled out into the main waterway again and followed in the wake of the police boat.
"Wonder where they’re going?" Staci said.
"Somewhere in a hurry. Maybe they’re late for lunch," Lou said.
"With guns?"
"Maybe they’ve had lunch, and they’re off to kill the cook," Jim said grinning.
"There it is," Staci pointed. "It’s slowing down."
Suddenly an almighty explosion fragmented the police boat into a mass of flames and smoke. Shattered timbers and twisted metal flew everywhere.

Available in both ebook and paperback from
Pelican Book Group,
Amazon UK,
Amazon US,
Barnes and Noble

and probably other places too :)

Friday, 17 July 2015

Pirate by Night - by Lisa Asenato


His uncle wanted him dead. Instead, Nicholas Collington was given to pirates.
Robbed of his rightful title and position, Nicholas survived. Now he rides the high seas, helping the wronged and avenging the downtrodden while the man who stole his life goes unpunished.  But it’s time to reclaim his title and lands...time to make his uncle pay. However, to get close enough, Nicholas has a role to play.
Grace Thonburg is a gentle soul.  Ostracized by the Ton after an accident leaves her maimed, she is content to minister to the villagers with her dear friend and elderly vicar, Finn.  But Finn must leave, and a new vicar has arrived--A man so powerful and handsome that Grace is attracted to him in ways she hardly understands. She has accepted that she will never find love, but is this new vicar heaven sent? He seems unconcerned with her past or her position in Society...Yet, she senses he's hiding something.
After Nicholas assumes the role of the town's new vicar, his desire for revenge pales when compared to the desire he feels for Grace. But she is a lady, and he is a pirate.
He loves her unconditionally, but can he win her heart or will the weight of Nicholas's secret quash their new-found love?

excerpt:
He had been told the day he was born was idyllic and filled with promise.

His father paced the study in the silent manor, fear and hope wrapping their way around his heart. It was his duty to produce an heir, and it had taken ten years to accomplish the task. Beads of sweat trickled down his face, which he quickly mopped away with his crisp, monogrammed handkerchief. His wife was his life, more necessary than the air. He prayed she would survive the birth for without her, he could never go on.

Upstairs, the child’s mother brought him into the world of earldom. He was the first born male, the heir, the hope for the future. His titles were long and his riches unequalled, but as his mother held him close, all she saw was her longed-for child. They told him how she refused to give him to the nurse. Instead she held him, kissed him, and cried tears of joy, completely besotted.

He had felt the love of his mother everyday of her short life. He knew her gentle instruction, her warmth, and her graceful care. Never had there been a day that her laughter hadn’t rang out like a song throughout the manor, tickling his father’s serious eyes. Her gifted fingers flew over the piano keys, filling his memories with her music. In every corner of every room, her presence was evident. Always with a soft hand upon his shoulder, a kind word, and an eager ear—a mother’s love made perfect.

And when he looked into his father’s eyes, although he was too young to name pride and acceptance, he saw that he was exactly what he ought to be. He felt his value, his worth, and even his adoration.

Instead of the earl apparent, he had been treated like a royal prince, a valued treasure, a precious son. Every day of his first nine years had been light, burden-less, and filled with happiness.

Then, at just over nine years old, an eruption of the cruelest kind destroyed his life, as he was ripped from the only world he had ever known, and thrust into the darkest, most vile, inhumane place for a young child.

His life became distinctly separated into two parts; before and after. The memories of his former life, these stories of his birth, the knowledge he once knew of love and kindness, the memory of all that was pure and clean, he locked tightly inside a small brass chest, the key had been turned many years ago, and left somewhere in the depth of the Atlantic.

Every so often, his mind would recall that deeply buried coffin of memories, but never would he delve inside, for he no longer felt he deserved even a glance at such things. Over the years, he had come to wonder if the memories of his childhood were real or if in desperation, his mind created them as a way to cope with the harsh reality he had endured. And so, when those thoughts came, his mind, now well-trained, would recoil from that path, and return to the present.

At present, his consuming hunger for vengeance was his only driving force. He fed it as it roared, and it was sated for a while. And when it demanded more, he gave it more.

Buy link


Lisa Asenato lives in the Finger Lake region of New York State with her husband, three children, and a little dog who thinks she's a human. She writes romance because relationships that follow God's plan are one of the most beautiful of all His creations. She is a hopeless romantic, a glass half full, and a wannabe runner. A former Ladies Bible Study leader, she loves women, and would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Interview with Pastor David Magowan

Today I have an interview with Pastor David Magowan from Carey Baptist Church. He's been  co-pastor at Carey since 2009, although we'd known each other some time before that. (Carey of course is the church that I attend.)

The thinking behind this interview is that some people assume Pastor's work one day a week - Sunday. They turn up, preach and go home and don't come back til the following week. Unless there is a wedding on the Saturday.

So I asked David if he'd do an interview to show us what a Pastor does during the rest of the week, and he very kindly agreed. So, thank you very much for sharing so openly and honestly with us. 

On with the questions.


1.             How long have you been a Christian? Can you tell us a little about your conversion?

I became a Christian when I was 14 years old.  My parents were Christians, and when I was born they were missionaries in Jamaica. My father was a Methodist minister and was involved in church-based pastoral ministry.  When I was 10 years old, we moved to Northern Ireland where my parents were originally from. I grew up under my father’s ministry and was converted through his preaching of the gospel. I realized I was a sinner in need of forgiveness and I put my trust in Jesus for salvation.  I benefited greatly spiritually from Christian Endeavour and other church youth groups, and from the discipleship of older Christians.

2.             Did you always want to be a pastor?

I was keen not to go into church ministry just because my father was a pastor. My dad had left school at 14 years of age and worked as a telegram boy in Belfast and then as a Royal Navy storesman in Hong Kong before he went into pastoral ministry and he spoke to me about the benefits of experience in secular employment prior to going into full-time Christian ministry.  I was involved in leadership of the Christian Union as a student and sensed at that time that I might be a pastor in the future, but wanted to work first in secular employment.   

3.             Have you had any other jobs in the past?

I did a degree in civil engineering and after graduation worked as a site engineer in the West of Scotland for a year before moving into an engineering design office in Hampshire where I spent 12 years as an airport engineer. I worked on airport development projects in UK and overseas, and lived for a time in Madagascar and Tanzania.   

4.             How long on average does it take to write a sermon? 

Writing a sermon takes as much available time as I have in the course of a week.  In my first pastorate I was preaching 2 or 3 times every week, and so I had to prepare quickly. It was a good discipline.  Generally I try and get two full mornings for sermon preparation and then whatever other time I can glean in the week alongside my other pastoral responsibilities.

5.             Do you ever get a day off? I know you have a ‘designated day’ but do you ever get to keep it? What if something happens on your day off?

I try to have a full day off each week and will often spend the day with my wife. I find that I have to plan how to spend my free time as otherwise the temptation is to pick up some pastoral work that needs doing.  Occasionally there may be pastoral emergencies that demand a response on my day off and generally I will rearrange my plans to accommodate this, if no-one else is able to step into the situation.

6.             Most people think a pastor simply turns up on a Sunday and preaches, once possibly twice. What do you do the rest of the week?

In the rest of the week, I prepare for Sunday, with significant time spent in study for preaching.  I attend various meetings of the church each week e.g. seniors’ lunch, elders’ meeting, staff meeting, prayer meetings/homegroup.  I do some pastoral visitation including visiting members in hospital.  I often have a committee meeting e.g. mission, outreach, seniors. With my wife, I do marriage preparation classes with engaged couples. There is also some administration.  I meet 1:1 with some individuals.   

7.             How many churches have you worked at in the past?

I have been in one other church as a pastor prior to coming to Reading – Whitby Evangelical Church in North Yorkshire - where I was for 7 years. 

8.             How do you fit your pastoral duties with those of a husband and father?

I often say to my children that they probably see more of me during the week than they would if I was still working as a consulting engineer. I am busy in the evenings with church responsibilities, but I am able to sit with the family most days to eat an evening meal together.  I spend time with my wife on my day off (Friday) and try to ensure we have some family time on Saturdays.

9.             Have you ever questioned your faith or calling? Most of us have doubts at one time or another and assume pastors are immune from this (and things like losing our temper etc too)

I wouldn’t say I have ever really seriously questioned my faith or calling although there are times when I have found living the Christian life and serving full-time in the church difficult and draining.  Sometimes its hard thinking that I’ve been a Christian and a pastor for a reasonable length of time and I’m still struggling with prayer or witnessing or reading the Bible devotionally or some sin.  Its good to be reminded of my own weakness and to be reliant on God to provide the help and strength and grace that I need to live as a Christian and to serve others as a pastor. The doubts I have are not as much related to the truth of the gospel, but more to do with a lack of faith sometimes in the ability of God to work in the lives of people who seem so disinterested or antagonistic to the gospel.

10.         How can we best pray for you?

Pray that I would grow in my love for the Lord and for His people and for those who need to hear the gospel and believe in Jesus. Pray that the Lord would keep me faithful is serving Him and use me to evangelise, encourage and equip others.


Monday, 6 July 2015

Long time no blog

So it's been a very long time and no blog, but i'm back and hoping to do better now. I have a couple of posts in the works, but for now i thought i'd fill you in on what's been going on. Other than the fact the keyboard is refusing to capitalise I's properly all the time.

First, I signed three contracts last week for new books, all with Pelican Book Group. One is for Dutch Crocus, a free bonus book for the end of my Flower series. One for a new passport to romance called Welsh Wildfire. And the third for my Christmas Extravaganza book for this year - A Mummy For Christmas. More on those in a later post.

Second, we've had really hot weather here. Up in the high eighties, low nineties. All with no air conditioning.
Tilly hasn't been impressed at all.  She either hides in the grass pretending to be a grow bag, or under the table in the lounge.

Third - and the most scariest - my youngest daughter left school in the middle of June. We now just have to wait for her exam results before she decides what to do next.

I'm crocheting in a big way. Having made a blanket for a single bed and several pram blankets, I'm now doing a blanket for our double bed. A mere 400 plus squares. (And i thought that 240 for the single one was bad enough.) There will be pictures at some point, but right now it's just a mess of individual coloured squares.

Not long now until November Charlie comes out. More on that in the next post. Or maybe the one after.

And it won't be so long between posts next time. And my intent is that they won't all be book reviews now.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The shed that fed a million children. The story of Mary's Meals





Blurb:
In 1992, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow was enjoying a pint with his brother when he got an idea that would change his life – and radically change the lives of others.
After watching a news bulletin about war-torn Bosnia, the two brothers agreed to take a week’s hiatus from work to help.
What neither of them expected is that what began as a one-time road trip in a beaten-up Landrover rapidly grew to become Magnus’s life’s work – leading him to leave his job, sell his house and direct all his efforts to feeding thousands of the world’s poorest children.
Magnus retells how a series of miraculous circumstances and an overwhelming display of love from those around him led to the creation of Mary’s Meals; an organisation that could hold the key to eradicating child hunger altogether. This humble, heart-warming yet powerful story has never been more relevant in our society of plenty and privilege. It will open your eyes to the extraordinary impact that one person can make.

Review:
In this amazing, compelling read, Mr. MacFarlane-Barrow takes us on a journey. From a simple idea over a pint to an organization that feeds hundreds of thousands of children. The book makes you laugh and cry and is impossible to put down.

I received an advanced reader copy in return for a review.


Website


Buy link UK - availiable May 21

Buy link US - availiable May 21


Friday, 8 May 2015

Paisley's Pattern by LoRee Peery



Blurb:
Paisley and Rob love each other, but neither is willing to correct what needs to be fixed in their relationship, so Paisley relocates out of state. When she discovers a secret that may repair Rob’s view of his past, she reaches out. Rob is still bitter over Paisley’s inability to commit and her habit of running, but he believes she sincerely cares for him, so he investigates her claim to have found his unknown heritage. After the emotional turmoil of meeting a family he knew nothing about, Rob’s love for Paisley convinces him to reconcile their differences. His world is incomplete without Paisley. However, she is reluctant to move forward, and has an opportunity to flee again. Will Rob help convince Paisley the answer is not to move again, but lies with the Lord, or will Rob lose Paisley forever?

Extract:
“Love stories come…” Dust motes drifted in a shaft of bright autumn sunshine. Paisley jotted a price on a tangerine-hued tag and attached it to the beautiful cover of a Christian romance, then replaced it on the bookshelf. Prior to her e-reader days, she would have bought the book to read for herself.
She blew dust off the top of the next book. Once she caught a quick glance of the front, she tossed the tattered, risqué-covered paperback in the discard pile.
“And love stories go.” She hesitated before grabbing the next book. Had she tossed her love for Rob in the trash without giving it a chance to bloom?
Preparation for a tag sale was a whole new prospect for her. Who would have guessed she’d be in this nice frame house in northeast Nebraska? But she was always up for something new.
The home still smelled stale. Maybe the Waverly family should have made arrangements for it to be cleaned first. But thanks to the open windows, the odor’s vigor waned.
The first thing Paisley had done upon arriving at the empty house in Norfolk was get rid of musty unwashed clothing and bedding. So far, she’d run across no kidney-shaped paisley design in the place. That’s what Rob had called their names: kidney-shaped. She liked to think pear-shaped sounded prettier, as in a ripe fruit with a curlicue at the end. There were a multitude of examples of the beautiful paisley design on fabrics in gorgeous colors. Some shapes appeared slimmer, like happy, fat teardrops.
Robin Paisley and Paisley Robbins.
The idea of their names, and God’s sense of humor, still tickled her.


My Review:
Running from a broken relationship, Paisley is packing up a house ready for a sale. Only what she finds will impact the man she’s running from and contacting him means facing him again. I haven’t yet read a LoRee Peery book I haven’t liked and this one is no exception. From the get go, this book pulls the reader in and refuses to even let them up for air. A great read for a spring evening.
I was given a copy by the author in rtn for an honest review.

Character Interview
  1. Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Paisley Robbins. It’s so good to talk to you today. First, I love the name my mother gave me. Doesn’t paisley bring to mind lightness and happiness? Something about me…I’m so easy-going, I can move at the drop of a hat. I really don’t take anything serious except turning to the Lord for joy. And love.
  1. Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there?
Oh, is that a sore topic with my man, Rob. I’ve been a California girl all my life, but life took an unexpected turn after I handed him back a gorgeous diamond. Now there’s a story. Anyway, I’m in Norfolk, Nebraska, now. Of all places.
  1. What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn't know?
I’m pretty much an open book. An optimist who has little patience with those who look at life from a negative standpoint. My mother moved a lot whenever she got the urge to relocate, so I went with her. That developed the flighty pattern of my existence. I suppose deep down, I wanted to stay in one place, to nourish friendships and get established.
  1. Name two things you would hate people to know about you?
One thing is a secret from girlhood, which I finally told Rob, but won’t divulge here. As much as he claims to like my unruly curly hair, I’m planning to cut it short one day.
  1. Tell us about your special bloke. What makes him special? 
Oh, my man Robin Paisley sets my heart aflutter like no other. He is darkly handsome, haunted by an aspect of life he should have let go of long ago. He has the talent to repurpose castoff items or treasured antiques he’s hired to fix. He’s honest and ethical. And he loves me.
  1. The first time you saw him, what did you think? Did you like him immediately, or did he have to grow on you?
Due to the similarity of our names, we’d had contact several times because of mixed-up mail delivery. We’d spoken on the phone and I was drawn to his voice. When I first saw him, his eyes stole my breath. They were a turquoise blue-green. He’d been wearing colored contacts. Silly guy. His natural color reminds me of the sky before it turns to deep night. But his good heart came through, though he rarely smiled.
7. What would he hate people to know about him?
He is such a dear man. He probably would deal with teasing from other men if they knew the ways he’s influenced by me. He claims to not have a favorite color. If he likes something I’m wearing, he’ll call it his favorite. That means it could be sea-foam green one day or blushing rose the next.
  1. What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?
Anything I’ve grown myself, if I’m in any place long enough to plant herbs. One thing missing in Nebraska is the convenience of walking into a backyard and picking citrus fruits off a tree for juice or tea
9. If you had to fight, what would be your weapon of choice and why?
That’s a difficult question. I admit to being a bit of a physical wuss. But I’m strong on the inside because of my faith. So I’m going to say my weapon would be the Bible.
10. Pepsi or coke
They both tickle my nose. I’d rather have something fruity.
11. tea or coffee
Most definitely tea, preferable green with fruit or mint.
12. elephant or tiger
Tigers are too aggressive, though they are beautiful and sleek. Elephants bring to mind the impression of gentle giants.
13. roast dinner or burger and chips (fries for our US readers)
I love black bean veggie burgers on olive bread. Give me sweet potato fries, please.
14. classical music or pop
I grew up listening to hippie rock and roll with some harder guitar thrown in. When I hear it, I think of my parents and California. But I love the classical jazz Rob plays when he’s in his zone, working with his hands.
15. sunrise or sunset
Sunrise. I’m most energetic in the daylight hours. Sometimes clouds rule Nebraska skies, though.
16. walk or run
I believe a person misses what’s around them if they run. I move enough to keep in shape.
17. chocolate or crisps (chips for our US readers)
The health food industry has come up with so many flavored chips. I like them all as long as the fat content doesn’t outweigh value from the vegetables. I want my food to be as close to nature as possible.
18. What would you like on your epitaph?
Well that’s one I’ve never thought of before. How morbid is “Here lies Paisley…” What popped into my mind are clichés. Such as, “Love conquers all.” “All we need is love.” “Love makes the world go round.” My children, if I’m blessed to bear any, can come up with whatever. I’ll be looking at Jesus, so I doubt it will matter to me.



Author bio:
A Nebraska country girl, LoRee Peery attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral and means the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life. She clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. She is author of the Frivolities Series and other stories.